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A Celebration with a Different Flavour!

Congratulations to all!

May the 24th is a day of celebration and great pride for all Eritreans all over the world. The celebration is well deserved and fittingly earned. It came after a lengthy, painful and costly sacrifice by every segment of the Eritrean society. No segment alone can take credit for the accomplishment of the day of independence; neither the founders nor those who secured the final victory. The struggle for the independence was like a marathon race, where a group of runners take turns from the start to the finish line. The final victory belongs to all of them, they all made it happen. Every Eritrean, except for those who collaborated with the oppressors, had a share in the sacrifices made for gaining independence. Some gave more, some gave less. Those who gave their lives made the highest sacrifice and left behind memorable legacy and history. Mothers who lost their loved ones and experienced unsurmountable grief, orphans who lost their parents and lived a life of loneliness and abandonment, youth who lost opportunities to better shape their future and every Eritrean who was deprived of their right to live in peace and dignity, they all sacrificed.

All Eritrean deserves congratulation on this day for their sacrifice, perseverance, courage and firm stand for their rights.

Rituals of celebration

As part of the annual celebration of the day of independence, a sort of celebration “ritual” has been established over the past many years. This ritual typically has 3 components:

  • Moment of silence in remembrance of martyrs.
  • Speeches highlighting the great sacrifices Eritreans made to achieve victory, the challenges the country faced after independence and the accomplishments made despite all the challenges.
  • Cultural music and dancing.

Keeping alive the memory of the great sacrifices made is essential in creating generational awareness of the heavy price paid to gain independence and to maintain a sense of national pride and common purpose. Further, assessment of the post-independence challenges and accomplishments is necessary to build on strengths, remedy weaknesses and realign future directions.

“Rituals” have the advantage of creating consistency and setting expectations, but they also have the disadvantage of becoming monotonous and disconnected from their end goals and objectives. Accordingly, it is imperative to re-evaluate rituals to ensure they maintain their values and their purposes. As this year’s celebrations are underway, perhaps it is time for Eritreans to take a different approach in celebrating this year’s day of independence. To that end, the following two elements are worth considering.

1) Revisiting the objective of the struggle:

It is human nature to forget or to be side-tracked. As time passes the gap between the founding core objectives and the realities on the ground starts to widen. This widening gap could lead to what Martin Luther King, JR. referred to as “Schizophrenic personality”, “torn between selves” a self that “proudly professed” noble objectives and a self that “practiced the antithesis” of these objectives. Anniversaries are prime occasions for reconnecting the present to the past and revisiting goals and objectives.

A key element of Independence Day celebration should be revisiting the objectives of the Eritrean struggle and the assessment of the current state of affairs within the framework of those objectives. The best place to start with would obviously be the examination of the objectives of the struggle as stated by the founding fathers and mothers; as well, the general public sentiments expressed in poems, songs, and spontaneous expressions. Through this examination, the following four objectives come as the most discernible:

  • Dignity,
  • Freedom,
  • Equality,

Abdulkader Kebire articulated the value of dignity when he said in a letter he sent to a friend: “living one year with dignity is better than living one thousand years with humiliation”. Woldeab Woldemariam also highlighted the value of freedom when he noted: “People without freedom and liberty are considered as having no country at all”. Ibrahim Sultan unequivocally expressed the rejection of Eritreans of any subjugation “no matter what type it would be, whatever form it takes, or from which direction it comes”. Ibrahim Toteel, a veteran of the Eritrean struggle, beautifully articulated in a poem he wrote in Arabic the popular aspiration for a new dawn when he said*:

The laborer said: I have been living too long {under oppression}

The Shepard said: dear mother, I have been living too long under humility

The Farmer said: dear father, I have been living too long under servitude

They all said: let us go, let us go and search for a new dawn!

Following the liberation of Asmara, a jubilant mother articulated what independence meant for her and others when she said in Tigrinya: “Dehri Hiji meriet Adna Kem Delayna kin regsto ina”, “from now and on, we shall walk on the land of our country as we wish {freely}!”

The question that needs to be asked honestly on the occasion of independence day is how far or how close Eritrea is today in achieving these objectives. Specifically, the following question needs to be asked:

  • Can all Eritreans today speak freely with no fear?
  • Can all Eritreans freely move around their country?
  • Can all Eritreans in the diaspora, regardless of their political opinion, freely travel back and forth to their country?
  • Do all Eritreans, regardless of their religion, ethnicity, have the same opportunity and are treated equally?
  • Are all segments of Eritrean society fairly represented in the power structure of their country?

At a more practical level, perhaps the best place to start this assessment would be to look at the prison system in Eritrea and how a prisoner is treated. The success of a nation is measured not by its high rise buildings or its mega projects, but first and foremost by how it treats its citizens and particularly prison inmates who are the most susceptible to abuse and mistreatment. A prison gives a good synopsis of how dignified and well treated a citizen is. Some of the key question to ask in this regard:

  • Has the number of prisons in Eritrea increased or decreased?
  • Who are the prisoners? What crimes did they commit?
  • Are they real criminals or are they prisoners of conscience?
  • Were they duly imprisoned with an arrest warrant?
  • Are prisoners tortured? Are they forced to admit guilt?
  • Are they allowed regular visitations?
  • Do they have access to legal counsel?
  • Have they been sentenced by independent judges?
  • Did they have the right to appeal?

These questions, if they are fairly addressed, they can clearly tell how far or close Eritrea of today is to the objectives of the struggle. I leave it to the reader to come to their own conclusions, but I appeal to them to take off their partisan and factional hats and think objectively and on points of principle.

2) Taking responsibility for own failures:

As part of the official celebration of independence, it has been a cliché to talk about the conspiracies constructed by the enemies of Eritrea. These conspiracies are many, but the one that is consistently mentioned is “Wayne” conspiracy. Conspiracies are not new, they are part of life. Rivals and competitors in their efforts to gain the upper hand they conspire and collide. It is unfortunate, but that is part of the global political maneuvers. The impact of conspiracy on a given nation will depend on the nation’s internal state of affairs. If a nation has its house in order, conspiracy will be the least of its worries. But if a nation is internally insecure, it will be an easy target for conspirators. The remedy for conspiracy comes from within, not from outside. When a nation is at peace within itself and no segment of its citizens is alienated, every conspiracy will die before it’s born.

Many totalitarian nations today blame their neighboring countries for conspiring against them and hosting opposition groups. But the fact remains, if these nations had a more open political system, where the opposition can legally participate in the political discourse, there will be less room for external conspiracy and interference. The reality is that conspiracy gains grounds when it finds an internal incongruity.

Perhaps it is time for Eritreans to look first inwards before looking outwards. Some of the questions that honestly need to be asked:

  • Where did we fail?
  • Did we learn from our failures?
  • What could have we done differently?
  • What opportunities did we miss?
  • Why did we fail to make more friends than enemies?
  • What could have we done better to avoid costly conflicts?
  • Why are others conspiring against us?
  • How can we get our house in order and work collaboratively and positively with external parties?

Taking responsibility for own failure, admitting mistakes is key to a new direction and future progress. Looking for scapegoats or justifying failures or magnifying minor accomplishments is not only detrimental, but it is a path to perpetual stagnation and strife. The renowned Arabic poet, Al-Mutanabee once said: “We fault our time, but the fault is within us and our time has no fault other than us”!

With us or against us!

George Bush’s one-dimensional view of the world: “You are with us or against us” was an ill-conceived, polarizing and antagonistic view. It is a view that closes avenues for finding middle grounds and establishing positive dialogues. It is unfortunate that some of the political discourses on Eritrean national issues occasionally takes this one-dimensional line –with us or against us. With this perspective, the outcome of any discourse will be a forgone partisan based conclusion.

It is time that Eritrean discourses at every level be on basis of founding principles and objectives. The primary loyalty should be to these principles, not to parties or leaders or factions. Within this frame of understanding, a much objective and more factual conclusions can be reached.

It is my sense that the gap between the objectives of the Eritrean struggle and the realities on the ground has grown exponentially. This growing gap needs to be acknowledged and full responsibility is taken for causing it in the first place and rectifying it now. Beyond the “rituals” of celebration, the best way to celebrate the Independence Day and to honor the legacy of the martyrs is to be truthful to the noble objectives of the struggle and to ensure Eritrea remains the land of dignity, freedom, equality, and justice.

____________________________

* These words were turned into a popular song by the renowned Eritrean singer Hussien Mohamed Ali, the song is commonly known in Arabic as:واعلناها ثورة في الواحد والستينا !

 

About Ismael Ibrahim Mukhtar

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  • FishMilk

    Hi all. Sometimes things just don’t make sense. A couple of days ago it was announced that Eritrea is donating 40,000 metric tons of sorghum to South Sudan. In Ethiopia, Oxfam is now indicating that 700,000 are on the verge of starvation and 8.5 million are facing severe hunger. Today, China gave US 33.6 million in aid money to support WFP operations in Ethiopia of which a small part goes to feed Eritrean refugees. All at the same time, elevated levels of Eritrean migration to Europe continues.

  • Mez

    Good Day all,

    I just red a news piece on the Ethiopian government intention to invite even former Ethiopian “red” head of state “colonel Megistu” come back.

    We can learn contextually for Eritrea too.

    Thanks

    • Selam Mez,

      If the news is true, it is going to be a big mistake that could be taken as an insult to the memory of his victims. I do not know how their relatives may feel, who may see him walking in the streets of addis, where he committed the crimes. I am sure he is not going yo accept the invitation, because he is aware of his crimes.

      As to the other opposition groups coming back home, it is indeed the right move. They should be able to function from within the country under the constitution and without any restrictions, if the new government wants to be seen as democratic. With this, the electoral system should also change.

      Those political parties who find themselves at the helm of power one way or the other (usually illegal), and then declare that they are the only ones who know what is good for country and people, are simply scoundrels who are lying to stay in power.

      • Mez

        Hi Horizon,

        As you well said “if this news is true”, the social contradictions will be huge.

        I would conceptualize and approach the whole situation from the angle of “neuzeitgeist”.

        Thanks

  • Hope

    Hello All:

    Here is a Great Article for a great Debate by a Great Eri Citizen:..

    Enjoy:

    “Will Donald Yamamoto finish what Susan Rice, Richard Holbrooke and Anthony Lake started?”

    By Semere T. Habtemariam
    Source: EriMedrekh.Com

    • halafi mengedi

      Hope,
      Well, that point is moot now…Yamamoto is already replaced.
      hm

  • Selamat Ismael Mukhtar Ibrahim,

    This second to your last article submission, for me, reads more like a diminuendo bar on a harmonic melody minor scale when I compare it to your earlier crescendo on a major scale composition. Yes, it read for me as darker key note falling rather rapidly from forte forte forte to piano piano piano barely audible decibels. What I had hoped more for, I suppose subconsciously-a new dawn — the tired cobbler that I am.

    A new dawn more of your essay’s strong in the singular excellent question you asked: “How can we get our house in order and work collaboratively with external partners? This in the wake of better gestures by PMAA towards the Etirean State as well as the latter’s renewed vigorous relations with President Trump’s USofA, the “external partners.” I have sincerely asked all the other questions you have posed and the answers may not be consistent with one or more fellow Eritrean compatriots. You and I may agree on 57 percent or less with our respective answers to all of the questions you posed, the “..getting our house in order.” Much like the Admiral Saay7’s, regarding the ACHPR “overdue report”, I am struggling with coming up with the right permutations and or combinations for a new angle of Eritrean Discourse now your “24” will preoccupy me for Five 24 if not Twenty four SEVEN.

    Some if not all of this may be lost on you for the time being, rest assured however in your obtaining clarity in my thorough response. In the mean while, please contemplate the following excerpt I am partially quoting from the book WE HAVE NOT BEEN MOVED, edited by Martinez, Meyer and Carter. As you have quoted the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the one name I find synonyms with Freedom, I thought it fitting to point you to page 86 an interview of Vincent Harding by the Boston Research Center

    BRC>> “In your writings, you suggest this ‘revolution of values’ frees us from the barriers and institutions that hold us in bondage to ‘our worst selves.’ How does personal transformation relate to this process of social change?”

    VH>> “One of King’s greatest concerns was how to keep the issue of values at the forefront of this process. This is why, especially in the last three four years of his life, he kept saying, we don’t want to be inegrated into the kind of mainstream that is America today. We need to chain the mainstream, to create a new mainstream, because this mainstream is not good for people’s spirits or peoples lives.’ King was really calling for a redemptive movement among black people themselves and among all black people’s allies, so that we rethought our own values, our visions, our own vision, our own hope, as we asked ourselves. ‘What is the kind of America that we are really committed to? What do we want?” We could shape weapons of struggle that would be consistent with vision we’re trying to create? I think it ‘s absolutely clear that the relationship between personal transformation and the transformation of society was inextricable for him.”

    And for you dear Ismael, it sound as if you are calling for, as King, “redemptive movement among” Eritrea’s People? And it seems all of the questions in the above paragraph pertains to you vis-a-vis substituting “Eritrea” in place of “America.” Are you? How do you interpret the above response by VH as it pertains to Eritrea at 27Years? I predict a divergent from my interpretation as alluded earlier with my “57 or less agreement”, if we are fortunate, you and I can reach to all the questions you asked.
    nPr nCr
    An though you are generous with nearly two weeks time, for restarting plenty orchestra compositions that could and should consist of ample bars of crescendo with strings, brass and symbals forte forte forte, as you are focused on Eritrea’s Core Values do acknowledge the linear equation 2X + Saay’s 7 = 27yrs with X being:
    Abbu AAshera Weapon X – Evolution!

    AmErgitSAtSE Counter Narrative 2018, NesafiH NESAFIH (h)gdef “Nkhid Trayy.”
    tSAtSE

    N.B. Would my friend and Minister of Cabinets PMtSAtSE berhe_y expand on the above 27 – 10 syllables Haiku to my constituency Denmarkino AArkey Prof Paulos, Pillar Amde and the Admiral so that they are assured the Captain’s navigational tools or (Ok^2)^2 rebihu tedemiru nnN Hailyy kilte telaEilu^^ kulu gzie arbaEte…. Marx translated into geez ha you crack me up Admiral.

  • Natna Habuna

    Greetings Awates
    Finally,
    All that ends in good is Good
    Eske Ne Natna Habuna Bejakum.
    YeQenyelna !!!!!

  • sara

    Ato. Abi,
    i didn’t knew you are back here,,, welcome back.
    few days ago there was discussion here about building the wall
    and i was surprised the one you and I agree has taken traction,
    that even those you know well seemed to endorse it..
    but still most are shy to raise the issue who will pay for it…
    pass my salutation to my sister always in the kitchen making Enjera.

  • Natom Habom

    Selam Awate
    if you really mean it ,yes it will be a great respect for our fallen brave but we also know that
    none of you really care , if so none of you would go to Ethiopia knowing that they killed our brother ,butcher our fathers ,rape our sisters ,burn our villages and yet you guys went there ,
    you changing tone ,its good ,you should because Eritrea flipped over everything you concocted with the enemy ,look like is little too late ,the damage are very high
    Eritrea have done nothing to you opposition and yet you were the most vicious enemy to Eritrea , to your own country ,ignoring the fallen and working with the enemy .
    your first 5 question it s all yes and this is why there is peace in the country
    ether way we would be like Ethiopia right now ,
    if you mean free speech is let me lie ,let me saw the seed of discord between our people ,let me be a tool the anyone to bring Eritrea to it knee,the response is no ,
    there is law and law insure security to everyone ,so follow the lhe law
    ( እንተ ፡ ደይኰይኑ ፡ እግርካ ፡ ትቁሽመድ) sheers.

    • Mez

      Hi Natom,

      “… a great respect for our fallen brave …”.

      1) If you really want to restrict interaction due to the above quote, you may want to include Italy to the list (with Ethiopia) on equal footage; If not you are somehow biased.
      2) the irritating thing about contemporary political dynamics in Eritrea is to (big time hug) the relict of colonialism while simultiniously condemning it in all other dimentions.
      3) even though it is short of proper advertisements, I was happy to see something good going on in Massawa lately:
      [Video] Massawa Industrial Zone Update

      Thanks

      • FishMilk

        Hi Mez. Italy unlike Ethiopia, is not illegally occupying Eritrean land and frequently launching military offensives on Eritrea. Seems that many posters here are unwilling to acknowledge the fact that Ethiopia has since the EEBC ruling launched several military offensives on Eritrea. And yes, Eritrea is indeed in a state of war readiness and this has nothing to do with Isiais (or Italy) and everything to do with Ethiopia (TPLF).

        • Mez

          Dear Natom & Fishkill,

          Please read history books carefully .

          Thanks

          • FishMilk

            Hi Mez. Gee golly whiz thanks! However, even Anatoly Fomenko’s New Chronolgy take on history will not change the fact that Ethiopia and not Italy continues to illegally occupy Eritrean land , launch offensive military sorties on Eritrea and continues its efforts to economically strangle Eritrea. I guess for some history buffs here find that amuzing.

          • Mez

            Dear FishMilk,

            If history is going to be told the way it fits (read: “all sins by omission and commission”), a sort of flip-flop on the go; I strangely feel I am lost.

            What shall we do as a private professional citizens. Where is the least common denominator?

            Please advice.

            Thanks

          • FishMilk

            Hi Mez. Say that Isiais/PFDJ passes tomorrow and is replaced by progressive leadership. Do you believe that peaceful and productive relations would then be restored between Ethiopia and Eritrea!? My guess would that they would not, and for the very reason that Ethiopia continues to illegally occupy Badme, as it wishes Eritrea to avail Red Sea access. This is a major concession that Eritrea will never make. Unfortunately, while Ethiopia has been illegally camping on Eritrean land over the past two decades, the option of possibly negotiating preferential use f Assab port has all but dissapeared. To be clear, there is no stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea, for Ethiopia has a move to make but simply is not making it as they wish to play a ‘cheat game’.

          • Mez

            Good day FishMilk,

            I notice here tones and tones of assumptions.

            Thanks

          • Natom Habom

            dear Mez
            what history ?
            the 3000 years narrative or new agazian history

          • Mez

            Dear Natom,N

            I will stay put with my above statement.

          • blink

            Dear Mez
            The Eritreans who were captured by the Ethiopian feudal system in the war between the Amhara feudal and Italians were clearly forgotten at your history books, many said while all Italian POW were returned safely, all Eritreans were killed limped and all vanished at the hand of the feudalists , that is the history that you did not read . The genocide done by Haile the short and the killing done by Dergi and the deportations done by Meles evil is simply beyond any book you read , that’s the truth.

            Still Ethiopia is the one crossing the international border ruling , does it surprise you that many heritage hunters are rooting for Ethiopia

          • Abi

            Hi blink
            I never knew that there was a war between the Amhara feudal and the Italians.
            Please explain.

          • blink

            Dear Abi
            It would be extremely difficult to explain this and unpack the 3000 years

          • Abi

            Hi blink
            No worries. I knew your knowledge about everything Ethiopian is bleak at best.

          • blink

            Dear Abi
            What else do you have beyond the 3000 .

          • Abi

            Hi blink
            What more do you want beyond 3000 years of history?
            Ignorance is blink.

          • blink

            Dear Abi
            Could it be that you are living in a lie . What I am saying is everything about the 3000 is a lie .

          • Mez

            Hi Blink,

            That is all–(+/-) –part and parcel of the history of the State of Eritrea.

            However, this will not preclude the Italian colonial engagement in this country.

            Thanks

          • Selam blink,

            “killed limped and all vanished at the hand of the feudalists”. Well anything could be said to support one’s point. Let me ask, what were eritreans doing in ethiopia with the italian invaders? Were they not standing shoulder to shoulder with the italian imperialist army killing ethiopians and dying for italians? At least, ethiopians were defending their sovereignty and their freedom, so that they will not be enslaved like others.

            Eritreans who were fighting on the side of the italians against ethiopia were mercenaries. They were not fighting for eritrea, but for a foreign power, who came to enslave blacks. Here is an example of blacks fighting against blacks for the glory of the whiteman.

            From what i know mercenaries are not covered by the humanitarian law of POW for different reasons, although i do not condon inhumanity even towards criminals. Moreover, in 1896 the law did not exist.

            Eritreans fighting on the side of italians killed thousands of poorly armed ethiopians during the two aggressions by italy. What did they pay for this crime, compared to what they had done? The thousands of dead ethiopians by the bullets coming from eritrean mercenaries do not count, but the hundreds of arms and legs they lost. The problem is that you forget what eritreans did to ethiopians fighting for the glory of italy during the two italian wars of colonization against ethiopia.

          • blink

            Dear Horizon
            They were conscripted as Italian soldiers and these who saved their live were collecting their pension from Italian governments until recently. There was no price tag on their name . Mercenaries are paid soldiers. The main reason they were limped and killed was one and only that reason because they were Eritreans plus the white thing on Ethiopian leaders head .

          • Abi

            Hi blink
            I really need to know more about these people who were collecting pension from Italy.
            Did they collect their pension during the Great King and derg times?

          • Selamat Horizon,

            First of all there were thousands of Eritreans among Ethiopians fighting against Italians. Secondly the Eritreans fighting on the side of Italy can not be considered and by definition are not mercenaries. Wrong premises. Thirdly if the law governing treatment of POWs, the argument is that Ethiopia could have afforded the same treatment to the Eritrean Askari it captured as it did the Italians. Finally in combat Eritreans, Italians and Ethiopians were killing maiming one another to the best of their abilities and armaments. The issue is after combat of battles won and POWs captured and the disparity of treating the black soldier and white soldier. Simple black and white, that’s all.

            tSAtSE

      • Natom Habom

        My dear Mez
        Italy didn’t butcher our people but if its for Ethiopia
        they already payed and yet still helping you until today with EU investing or bailout your bankrupt country to keep you alive while you butchering innocent .
        you are never thankful and never be
        but Eritrea got nothing but the opposite maybe but its good for us
        , stretching hand is not in our nature Eritrean .
        and for massawa you right more is coming ,made by Eritrean sweat
        ( Apres la pluit le beau temp ) said the french ,Eritrea will shine for ever

      • halafi mengedi

        Mez,

        regarding massawa free trade zone, the hangars and airport and pport has been empty or near empty for a long time. this is despite dirt cheap price and a lot of effort by gov. 2 reasons.
        – insurance: because of the unstable peace with Ethiopia, it is very expensive to ensure assets in Eritrea and even ships pay huge insurance fees to dock in massawa or asseb.
        – work force: first, most companies are very careful to get into arrangement that may appear in anyway that the work force their using is conscripted by gov. remember, the housing project around halibet, by the Korean company, that was about take off was halted because gov want the company to use military conscript and pay their salary directly to the gov. Second, companies also don’t want the gov to take away their employees at whim for military training, maetot etc etc. you can’t do business like that.

        so, we will see if the gov is willing to change, although i highly doubt because it means beaking the pillars of the oppression mechanism IA uses.

        hm

        • Mez

          Hi Halafi,

          This looks like an economic bleeding. Very unfortunate for every one–where-ever one may stand in the political spectrum of the country.

    • FishMilk

      Hi Natom Habtom. You are 100% correct in that Eritreans (in general) should not be traveling to Ethiopia as it is the enemy and illegal occupier of Eritrea. Can you imagine Americans of German ethnicity freely traveling to Germany during WWII? They would have been arrested as spies and incarcerated! People have choices to make in regards to citizenship and cannot sleep in two beds at the same time. Eritreans living abroad who are in disagreement with PIA/PFDJ should stay away from Ethiopia unless they consider themselves more Ethiopian than Eritrean.

      • Selamat FishMilk,

        Why all of a sudden you sound as if you are following strict directives or a script with talking points you are commanded to highlight? On many Eritrean Core Values demands there are plenty of frustrating hot buttons many have been championing without giving any consideration to travel to or tote Ethiopia`s carriage. If I am not wrong, one such example is Saay7.

        Trust me no one is close to declaring check mate for kab quidmi Abbu AAshera Weapon X = Evolution attHizu itti mizanu bgramat kilograms wetruu NewiH AAserte iyu.
        Nab lbkha temeles Kemta zjemerkaya natSa.

        tSAtSE

    • blink

      Dear Nahom
      I used to read the republic of fear by Kanan Makiya and keep arguing about the Ba’ath party with one of my family. Then there was another family member who was and still is fun of the old Ba’ath party in Iraq .what I still remember is the man as well as the way sadam took power on live TV as well as murdering the CC while he smoke his cigarettes that’s was very very bad scenery to watch as human being. But after all these horrific things in Iraq, in 2003 Kanan Makiya lobbied the Bush Administration to oust Sadam , we all know what happened after that . Here people like the wide out PFDJ by gun group can not and will not tell you about this and so do Kanan Makiya. At one time when I was in the midwest , I heard that Kanan Makiya was around and I was simply beyond any reasonable price to meet the man I and my family debated and still blame his uncounted participation in slaughtering iragi innocent children.

      Now you can notice why I am bringing the intellectual of half Arab in to this , guess what Issaias did to the CC and many others except it was not on TV . Read Kanan Makiya book “ The republic of fear .

  • saay7

    Selamat Abdulworld:

    You have a bold name, buddy:)

    One of the accepted dogmas in the US is that the path to economic development is political pluralism and free markets. But clearly, there is at least one exception: and that’s China. And for years I tried to understand how and why that is the case and all the literature gave a one-word explanation: “Confucianism.” But Confucianism has been in Vietnam for just as long (1,000 years of Chinese occupation) and it didn’t save the State from being fractured or from poverty. So why China? The lecture by Martin, I found, illuminating because of his introduction of the term “civilization-state.”

    I agree my claim that Eritrea sees itself as a “civilization state” is weak. But PFDJ has been aggressively promoting that when, for example, defending the absence of rule of law it will say, “what? We are a civilized state! We know about laws and rule of law for millenia” and it will bring out Professor Asmerom Legesse to make that point.

    saay

    • halafi mengedi

      saay,
      at some point their favorite line was ‘ there are no killing in Eritrea by gov because capital punishment is illegal in Eritrea’…they were even arguing that Eritrea was more advance than US because of capital punishment…
      hm

      • Paulos

        Selam HM,

        I wonder what kind of sentence Isaias will receive should he stands in a court of law for all the transgressions against the Eritrean people.

        • halafi mengedi

          Paulos,
          it would be more than enough to just see him face his victims in court.
          hm

      • saay7

        halafi mengedi:

        Check out the weather in hell: it may have frozen over because I am going to give the PFDJistas the benefit of doubt here. It’s not benefit of soubt, really, it’s actually that they are tongue tied because if they open their mouth, there will be a whole lot of follow up questions for which they have no good answers.

        The penal code Eritrea used until 2012 when it wrote its own was the one it inherited from Haile Selasse (1957 Ethiopian Penal Code.) And this Penal Code was a product of its time: it imposed the death penalty on an array of crimes, including burglary, cowardice and capitulation in the military (sound familiar on what the G-15 were accused of?) The new Eritrean Penal Code does allow for the death penalty but only for Class 1 Serious Offense which are: Genocide Crimes against humanity War crimes against civilians, crimes against the wounded, sick or ship-wrecked, POW, and crimes of high treason, aggravated sabotage, and piracy.

        That is: unlike a serial murderer in Texas, a serial murderer in Asmara will not get the death penalty regardless of the gravity of the crime. And when IA was quoted (by Wikileaks) as saying that those who ask me to bring the accused to a court of law have no idea that what they are calling for is their death sentence. So I am doing them a favor.

        He can’t say that openly because then people will date him to bring them to a court of law where their lawyer will show evidence that the capitulation and high treason came not from them but the Presidents Office.

        saay

        • halafi mengedi

          saay,

          like the rebuttal. are you sure you are not a lawyer?

          hm

          • saay7

            halafi mengedi:

            yes. But I do have a refugee story involving me and the admissions office at Santa Clara University. (I call all my stupid decisions in the first 10 years in the US “refugee stories.”)

            saay

          • halafi mengedi

            Saay,

            Funny… some of us are still in that refugee phase…

            hm

    • abdulworld

      Hello Saay,
      Well, the Eritrea government will use any excuse to give it maximum control over the society. I am generally very skeptical of government that close universities instead of opening new ones.

      I mention the Confucianism because it clearly specifies relation between government and people. It is mutual relation where each party plays an important role.
      According to Martin, “China the state is seen as an intimate, as part of the family, indeed as the head of the family; interestingly, in this context, the Chinese term for nation-state is ‘nation-family’.”

      I believe that Confucianism at its core. It is complete contrast with with how government is viewed in united states.

      I don’t know how to answer your statement about Vietnam since south Korea and Singapore are considered Confucian society are doing well.
      Another thing Martin doesn’t say is that the nation-state is fairly new concept even in the west. Nationalism or nation-state started taking routes in about 150 years ago in europe. It started taking root as the greeks, serbian, etc all these “people” assert themselves as empire were crumbling..
      Before that you had Russian, British, French, Turkish worlds, etc..
      these were empires and less of nation-states.. French had their own “mission civilisatrice”..
      “One of the accepted dogmas in the US is that the path to economic development is political pluralism and free markets. But clearly, there is at least one exception: and that’s China.”
      Actually China is not unique or special when it comes to this. During what is called the “development state” South Korea and Singapore and other countries didn’t have any multi-party or what you can call free-market. I believe Zenawi and Ethiopian government are using the development state model also..

      This prescription that the west has political pluralism and free-markets as condition for economic development is factually and historical false.
      I would recommend Ha-Joon Chang several books from kicking the ladder to bad Samaritan.

  • Abraham H.

    Selam Ayneta, same here, the Eritrea of today, 25 years after its official declaration of independence is far worse by any measure than the Eritrea of 25 or 27 yrs ago. And it is NOT becasue of Badme or Weyane or America or CIA as the PFDJ apologists would deafen us with, but because of our own internal mess.

    • FishMilk

      Hi Abraham H. Do you really believe that should Eritrea be led by angelic Government, that the actions of the TPLF/U.S.A. and U.S.A. controlled U.N. Security Council, would not have any negative effect on the situation in Eritrea? PIA is a bad boy and must shoulder part BUT not all of the blame for the deplorable situation inside Eritrea these days. And, please do not underestimate the negative effect of Ethiopia’s illegal occupation of Badme or its continued launch of offensive military sorties.

  • Peace!

    Selam Ayneta,

    Well, some people sacrificed their lives for the independence you wish to enjoy, and now you are asking justice and respect, who is going to do it for you?

    Peace!

  • Peace!

    Abish,

    ምንድነው በረድክብኝ ይቅርታህን ተቀብለናል.

    https://youtu.be/6wvCZdj8gXE

    Peace!

    • Abi

      Hi Peace
      My favorite of all Muluqen’s songs. Thanks a million.
      I’m quietly celebrating Independence Day. I just don’t want to make unnecessary noises and disturb the noisy neighbors.
      I’m learning to be more considerate of my actions not to poke less fortunate ones during Independence Day.
      I miss you too.

      • Tzigereda

        Hey Abi,
        I know it is late…
        እንቋዕ ብደሓን ተመለስካ!

        • Abi

          Hi Tsigereda
          Yeqenyeley Haftey
          My wife is celebrating Mothers Day because of my skinny, long ,persistent and courageous hands that braved the darkness in the trenches.
          Happy Mothers Day for all Mothers!!!
          Btw, your article is one of my favorites. Please come back with more of the same kind.
          Thanks again.

      • blink

        Dear Abi
        You can also call your buddy sahay and drink coffee while celebrating. What do you think ?

      • Peace!

        Abish,

        Sorry, your neighbors were too noisy why didn’t you join them usually it is a rave party? But hey..that song is timeless and noise-proof 🙂 Indeed it is one of the greatest timeless songs of all time. It reminds me Nazret, Debrezeit all the way to Sodere…

        Sewunetwa is something else too….. https://youtu.be/SUJ6uDp1wAU

        Peace!

  • said

    Greeting Ismail
    Your comments is nourishing food for thought for anyone who reads it attentively and care to know and reflect . Even if it is straight forward article for It’s not an easy read, but it’s not an easy subject either , In doing so you know best and you pinpoints all the element ,it is one of the great intellectual and moral problems we are facing today, a moral challenge it is constant challenge, coming from many angles ,first it deals with us as Eritreans as whole ,we failed to stop dictatorship before it happened and failed to changed and challenged after it happened and how this happened at the first place ,understanding nature of Asmara regime and PFDJ dogma—is dangerously arrogant, and can’t even begin to understand or contemplate changing the system itself. With sharp mind and unflinchingly, with your usual unusual combination of depth, breadth and intellectual courage, you tackle injustice we face today . And, given the subject, easy and simple probably wouldn’t be a good thing but it is the real realty of Eritrea that you reflected wisely so . Your thoughtful and high moral idealism with the right motive, and in the right consciousness way, that is not for every one, nor is it easy for every one to refract deeply as why this happened to us the answer is in your article ,but not obviousness essay. You brought one thing that stack in our collective MEMORY founding fathers saying ,that we did not live up too. Today’s real challenge,is eternal,for lake for better words the enemy is us ,even when we know our eternal enemy by name,they are part of us,that we need to get off and cleansed,we start with our selves, if we indeed we do ,change will come you . how about an ending long list of grievances and suffering of the whole population,it start with us but they can’t speak out for themselves .Eritrean are dreaming one day ,a system that is to take Eritrea society along any path of democracy, freedom, justice, dignity and reason. And only then Eritrean will celebrate with real juices and happens for what they scarified for.

    That day we will come soon and will celebrate fervently – both in Eritrea and diaspora community and create civil society at large – and to be more compassionate society in which everyone is more politically ,culturally and spiritually comfortable, but because we still do believe in those value and that making the effort to do so will leads us toward enlightened self-fulfilment and anchored in pluralism, it is as important as human rights to ensure peace, democracy and a better quality of life for all in a new changed Eritrea .insuring and in emphasising equality and equity and that our diversity is a gift of the divine and the importance of education, healthcare and providing necessity of life, in a democratically elected governments are bound to intervene to insure that equity and social justice prevail, and, much in the example of one-man one vote, healthcare, education and food must be guaranteed on equal basis to every individual, to every citizen of a nation. for the betterment of Eritrean life to come .

  • saay7

    Selamat Hope:

    From your bullet list, what am I skipping and what am I debating?

    A debate implies there is disagreement. Can you tell me what my disagreement with Ismael is?

    I was hypothesizing that while three core values of Eritreans are dignity, justice, equality, it doesn’t appear that we value freedom (individual civil liberties). The Eritrean armed struggle was to reverse an injustice (injustice of UN. Injustice of Haile Selasse annexing Eritrea. Injustice of Derg bombing civilians.) It was a struggle of the people (collectively) to reverse this injustice and make it permanent. That’s why the only national vote we have had in 27 years is the referendum vote: to register our voice to formally reverse the injustice. Calls for individual civil liberty (of, say, prisoners of conscience) are drowned by calls to reverse the “injustice” of the “UNjust UN sanctions” and the injustice of the UNjust UN failure to demarcate the border.

    saay

  • Paulos

    Selam My Good People,

    Given the recent new developments in the Horn as in PMAA’s change of wording with respect to Eritrea and Yamamoto’s visit to Eritrea, would it be optimism run amok to expect President Isaias Afwerki say something change of courses in his yearly Independence Day interview?

    • Berhe Y

      Dear Paulos,

      I would not hold my hopes high. I have never remember anything positive, optimism or hope that comes out of his mouth. It’s always dire and glim reflecting his mental state and trying to hide his bad record of bad governance.

      Words do matter and if the right words they become actions.

      Jeff Bezos of Amazon says it’s always “Day 1” at amazon. Look it up it’s amazing when asked what day 2 means.

      Berhe

      • Paulos

        Selam Berhino,

        I didn’t know about the “Day 1.” I just looked it up and it is profound. Thank you. And let’s hope for the best for the Sun will always rise.

    • Peace!

      Hi Paulosay,

      ካብ ዝብኢስ ዓጽሚ Despite It is clear that the current stalemate is not sustainable for both countries, and the absence of regional cooperation is increasingly making the Horn of Africa vulnerable to misguided rather dangerous foreign interventions, I don’t think PFDJ’s wishes matters as long as it sees the demise of TPLF is the only path for its full recovery and become macho man in the region and as long as Eritreans see PFDJ as severely broken organization with zero capacity to lead the country. Similarly, it is also proven that TPLF lead Ethiopia cannot sustain economically and politically without peaceful Eritrea, not ports, on her side. With that in mind, the only road to a realistic solution is for both Eritreans and Ethiopians to reclaim power and own their destiny.

      Peace!

      • Paulos

        Selamat Abi Seb,

        ኣታ Peace ሓወይ ኣነስ እዚ ዓምና ኽጂስ ሸምጊሉ እዩ’ሞ ቁሩብ ሕልናዶ ይገብር ኢለ እየ: : መቸም ንወዲሰብ ተስፋ እንድዩ ቐለቡ ተስፋ ንግበር ክወግሕ ቀሪቡ እዩ::

        • Peace!

          Paulosay,

          ሕልና ዳኣ ቀደም ዝሓረእዋ ዘይቅበጹ ዳኣ ኮይኖም እምበር ምቕታልን ምእሳርን ኣወል ቡኖም ካብ ዝኽው ዓመታት ኮይኑ 🙂

          Peace!

      • FishMilk

        Hi Peace! It is simply incorrect to call the situation between Ethiopia and Eritrea a stalemate for Ethiopia CAN and SHOULD make the legally and morally correct MOVE to withdraw from Badme. Eritrea on the other hand, does not have any move that it can make in regards to Ethiopia. The ball is entirely in Ethiopia’s court!

        • Berhe Y

          Hi FM,

          If Ethiopia continue with the current position, as they have for the past 15 years.

          What exactly Eritrea can do about it?

          How do you make them “CAN” and “SHiuld”, in practical terms.

          Let’s forget the empty slogan and be realistic. What’s Eritreas plan B?

          Berhe

          • Paulos

            Berhino,

            That’s pretty easy. Eritrea’s plan B is actually Plan A.

          • FishMilk

            Hi Paulos. Ethiopia (TPLF) would agree that 1 + 1 = 1 but would first insist on having ‘implementation’ discussions.

          • FishMilk

            Hi Berne Y: Because Ethiopia is able to get away with murder in regards to Eritrea doesn’t make it right. You seem almost proud that Ethiopia can lie, cheat and make a mockery of Eritrea with impunity.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi FM,

            I thought so.

            You have nothing but your whole argument depends on the well wish of your “sworn enemy” that wants to do our country and our people harm, US, UN, AU and Ethiopia to change their mind and “get out” from badime.

            In the mean time, HRQan nab hzbi ertra newrudo.

            You know you remind me of a man abused by his boss and takes on his anger by drinking heavily and comes home and beat his defenceless wife and children.

            He could:
            1) face his boss and fight him back
            2) quite his job and look for another job

            In Eritrea’s case:
            1) kick Ethiopia out
            2) find Eritrea other means and leave the people alone to support and help themselves.

            PS. I never said I am proud of Ethiopias refusal, but I am not stupid to NOT know the harm the country is exposed because of the stupid boarder, that Eritrea has no control to ever get demarcated.

            Wey Gobo Kun, wey mS gobo TeSegaE.

            Berhe

          • FishMilk

            Hi Berhe Y. Enjoy your Kitfo for you’ve acclimated well to your Ethiopian environment and (TPLF) standards of moral and ethical behavior. However, be aware that those same supportive forces, such as the U.S., that enabled your TPLF brotherin in the performance of their dirty deeds, are ready to do a complete about face on you. Badme will soon be coming back home to Eritrea as U.S. strategic interests have changed and the fruit of Yamamoto’s visit will soon be known.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear FM,

            If Badime returned to Eritrea and the boarder demarcated, all for the better. I have no objection for it and I don’t think there is a single Rriyrran who would oppose to this. Kem Afka yigbwrelna.

            But I don’t understand how you guys miss weyane so much that anything and everything revolves around them. Is there anything I said that’s in support of weyane or TPLF.

            All I am saying to you and all the PFDJ propagandist here send to sell the PFDJ to us, weyane have our land and refused to leave. Ok, ok we get it, and we also want them to leave.

            What I am saying, what is stopping you from letting the people free to develop their country. Why are you emptying our country and our people?

            So if you have anyone to convince, please go ahead and convince the devil in our country to let our people life free.

            Is this really too much to ask, instead of crying day and night about the Ethiopian people freedom.

            Berhe

          • Natom Habom

            my dear berhe
            you are the proof itself ,you and your friends masquerading as eritrean to saw the seed of discord between eritrean
            you dont do that for free ,it have it s own agenda ,
            some of even are traying to push eritrean to ask themselves again about their independance . if there is any difference betwen the derg or ethiopian rule era and now
            traying to kill by all mean the very good history of eritrea.
            what more danger for eritrea than that ? we all know the war wasn t about badime but to reverse eritrean independance ,to kill pfdj and by mixing with eritrea building abay tigray or the agazian land (woyane funded group ) or biruh masaii ,so yes woyane is our number one enemy .
            as long this cancer live there will not be peace in the horn of africa .

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Natom,

            Call me all day weyane and twice on Sunday.

            All I ask is please ask your PFDJ government in the next makete meeting, to be kind to the ERITREAN people.

            Can you do that ?

            Berhe

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam berhe
            U can’t be a proud weyane and at the same time kind to eritrean people. It is contradictory, weyane is not even kind to the people of tigrai, it’s constituency.
            weyane is not even democratic towards its own people.
            The minute u proudly say “call me all day weyane and twice on Sunday” ur kindness will sound Hippocratic covered with ulterior motives.
            If u want show ur kindness to the people of eritrea , show them by being constant with ur logic.

          • blink

            Dear teodrose
            You are really cruel in a good way , how dare you say such to berhe . Saay will click the Disqus downvote .

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam blink
            No, he won’t, all i said is he can’t be in love with unkind gov and act kind to other people.
            I didn’t attack him in order to make him look like he is unfairly attacked.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Tedros,

            I told Nahom, many times that I am Eritrean but he chose to baptize me “weyane” and he doesn’t take my words for it.

            So i gave up.

            Berhe

    • Abraham H.

      Selam Paulos, sorry to disappoint you, but there is nothing new we could expect from the despot, other than the repetition of the same tired lecture he has been giving since 1991.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam BLM,

    I think you like the slogan “Black Lives Matter”, if you chose it as your nick name. Would you like if our minorities came with the slogan “Eritrean minorities’s right matter”?

    Regards

  • Paulos

    BLM,

    We are not asking much just basic political institutions as in Rule of Law, Accountability and Transparency. The guy can stay in power for all we care where it was never an issue in the first place. Again, the question is how hard can it be to implement political institutions? Being a President is not an easy job and if he wants to have it for life, he can have it as long as he governs with reason and justice.

    • saay7

      Paulos:

      I think what you are telling BLM is that ELM (Eritrean Lives Matter) and this horrific gov we have gives no indication that it believes that. Thus, our reflection, which is the prerequisite to action.

      saay

    • FishMilk

      Hi Paulos. Isaias was/remains a strong adherent to Enver Hoxja’s (Hoxhaism) ideology wherein accountability, transparency and individual liberties are neither prioritiesed nor are they consistent with the Government’s strict socialist doctrine. We had expectations that a post-liberation Isaias would have softened his stance on Hoxhaism; unfortunately he has not and seems even more entranced in it. Inasmuch, we cannot speak of, nor really comparatively measure, an Isaias dictatorial Government against a democratic yardstick. Why nobody in really attacking the unsuitability of Isaias’s Eritrean Hoxhaism experiment, remains a huge question to me.

  • saay7

    Selamat BLM:

    I understand the point you are making: May 24th is not the day to reflect but to celebrate. You equated this with the American fireworks of 4th of July: it is all hot dogs and b-b-qs, music, sports: let the good times roll.

    Here’s where I think your metaphor falls apart: Americans discuss the gap between reality and ideal from July 5 to July 3 of the next year. So taking a break for one day, 4th of July, is normal. In Eritrea, that’s not the case: the time in Eritrea is always “not the right time.” Yeah, 27 years is relatively a small time, the problem is we are regressing: we had a constitution in 1997, but we don’t have a constitution 20 years later in 2017. And, no, I don’t buy the reasons the government gives no matter how often it repeats them.

    saay

  • saay7

    Hala Ismael:

    It’s always a pleasure to read your articles as they always manage to remind us of our better angels and, notwithstanding the heavy subjects covered, you always manage to infuse it with optimism. And the reason for that, I think, is that you always put things in context in terms of Eritreans core values: dignity, equalty, tolerance. If not our core values, at least our values at our best.

    May 24th is, of course, a magical date. It is, as you correctly described, the fruit of the labor of generations of Eritreans, in the millions: while the vessels for fulfilling this dream may have changed, what matters is that the dream was fulfilled. And the dream was no more complicated than to have the freedom to determine your path. There were many obstacles in this simple demand either via direct hostility–two Ethiopian regimes and their allies, international organizations (UN), regional organizations (OAU now AU)–or indifference (almost the entire rest of the world, with few notable exceptions to whom we should always be grateful.

    In 2010, about 18 African countries who became independent states in 1960 (and who all received UN membership on the same day), were taken account of what is it they can show for their 40 years of independence. And their assessment, written more dryly than yours was: very little. Still, not one of them said, “gee, it was a mistake for us to be independent.” As MLK said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” From a historical perspective, our arc has been relatively short–27 years, less than the armed struggle itself– and it will bend to justice. The problem is that we don’t have a common understanding of justice (is administering harshness equally, without discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, gender “justice”? The PFDJ supporters say “yes”) and we don’t emphasize enough something more important: freedom. Specially freedom FROM government.

    saay

    • Paulos

      Selam Sal,

      Hope Ayay will make a video on this: This is purely hypothetical–one of those if and only if scenarios where one can not reverse the arrow of time if you will. And you don’t have to comment on it if you don’t feel like it or if you think it will be one of those ኮለል debates.

      If Italy came out victorious or even if World War II didn’t happen for that matter, would you say, it would still be imperative for Eritreans to fight against the colony despite the fact that Italian colonization transformed the country for better as in massive investment practically in all sectors?

      • saay7

        Paulos:

        Of course, fighting colonizers is a must and a rite of passage for nearly all Africans. And yep, it will be an absolute ኮለል. And SGJ already touched on the revisionists in his first video: that he is a proud Ghedli-romantic and will remain so for life.

        saay

        • Paulos

          Sal,

          Thank you really and I respect that.

        • iSem

          Hi Sal Sal ኢሂናይ ድኣ!!
          When Paul wrote ኮለል, I remembered my all time favorite song and singer, Hilleyely:-)
          and in the voice of Tefeno and words of Lingo here is why we should CELEBRATE and not REFLECT
          ኣንቲ ዉጽ መዓት
          ራሓሲ ጾም ኣርብዓ
          ከም ዓይንቲ ትሕሎ
          ከም ቆልዓ መብጽዓ
          ሕለልለይ!
          ሻቡ አኸልኪ እዋን መርዓን ደርዓን?
          ንዓኺ ኢለ ግዳም ዝሓዲረርኩ ክንሰይ
          ዓይነይ ሰልም ምስ በለት ምስ ተዛነኹ
          እቲ ጎርዞ ከለኺ ተወናውኒ
          እቲ ንሕጸን መዎስቦን ዳምዳን እናበልኩ
          እቲ እኽሊን ሽሻይን ክናዲ
          እዶም አምበሩልኪ እቶም ጎናብለ
          እዶም ሰዲዶምሊኪ እቶም እምባ ኮለለ
          ዘዝመጸት አለዳ አለዋ ለይቲ
          ኮይኑ ናትኪ

          • saay7

            Hey iSem:

            ኣይተረዳኣናን…. how did one remind you of the other? Could you explain ንሓንሳብን ንሓዋሩን how they are ሓደን ተመሳሳሊን?

            Saay

        • Mez

          Hi Saay,

          …will remain so for life….

          I am not so certain about it.

          Understandings depend on how you model, and from what angle you observe things.

          You never know what tomorrow would bring.

          Thanks

          • saay7

            Selam Mez:

            Tomorrow, and everyday for the foreseeable future, the sun will rise. Unless a massive black hole absorbs it.

            There are some things whose probability is so low they are discounted as a possibility. SGJs view of Ghedli (which was one of the primary reasons he started a video series per his pilot episode) falls in that category. If we assume he is 60 and he has been a Ghedli advocate since he was 20…. Possible to change (because everything is possible and that’s why the religious would admonish me to always add “inshallah” or God Willing), but so unlikely that it doesn’t change the certitude.

            saay

          • Mez

            Hi Saay,

            I just want to add, with age comes maturity.

      • Saleh Johar

        Paulos,

        I will do one on Italian colonization. Just to yield to your request though the theme might not be exactly what you have in mind but on how they destroyed our self-esteem. I do not know when I will have it ready but I will record the main content.

        • Paulos

          Selam Ayay,

          That would be great* and of course at your convenience. I actually expected Sal to hit on the “Self Esteem” angle where if they had adorned us with infrastructures, as you have aptly put it, they destroyed our self-esteem.

          In one of her series lectures titled, “ወለዶ ኣለና,” ነብሳ ይምሓር Ararat Iyob tells her readers that, in the 1940s, the Italian Governer put out a decree where Eritreans address every male Italian as “ጎይታና” where addressing them with their given names was punishable by law. I should stop here for you will have more to say on that.

          *It is great to see your assertive and forceful editorials translated into videos as you reach out to the wider audience with ease and clarity.

    • Kaddis

      Hi saay,
      The past few weeks there’s a protest against a goldmine; now it’s operation suspended. what surprised me was the demand by many in social media to confiscate by the regional government. It looks our people still expect a lot from government than the private sector. Freedom from government sounds very Republican :)) And needs to be defined

      • saay7

        Selamat Kaddis:

        I was going to send you a link to a Tedtalk address given by Martin Jacques but because internet connectivity has not made it to the Top 50 Priorities of PMAA, I will share with you an excerpt of the transcript. Namely, that Eritreans and Ethiopians view themselves the way the Chinese do: we are not a nation-state but a civilization-state. And in civilization-states, the State is viewed extremely favorably:

        Or let me give you my third building block, the Chinese state. Now the relationship between the state and society in China is very different from that in the West. Now we in the West overwhelmingly seem to think — in these days at least — that the authority and legitimacy of the state is a function of democracy. The problem with this proposition is that the Chinese state enjoys more legitimacy and more authority amongst the Chinese than is true with any Western state. And the reason for this is because — well, there are two reasons, I think. And it’s obviously got nothing to do with democracy, because in our terms the Chinese certainly don’t have a democracy. And the reason for this is, firstly, because the state in China is given a very special — it enjoys a very special significance as the representative, the embodiment and the guardian of Chinese civilization, of the civilization-state. This is as close as China gets to a kind of spiritual role.

        10:16
        And the second reason is because, whereas in Europe and North America, the state’s power is continuously challenged — I mean in the European tradition, historically against the church, against other sectors of the aristocracy, against merchants and so on — for 1,000 years, the power of the Chinese state has not been challenged. It’s had no serious rivals. So you can see that the way in which power has been constructed in China is very different from our experience in Western history. The result, by the way, is that the Chinese have a very different view of the state. Whereas we tend to view it as an intruder, a stranger, certainly an organ whose powers need to be limited or defined and constrained, the Chinese don’t see the state like that at all. The Chinese view the state as an intimate — not just as an intimate actually, as a member of the family — not just in fact as a member of the family, but as the head of the family, the patriarch of the family. This is the Chinese view of the state — very, very different to ours. It’s embedded in society in a different kind of way to what is the case in the West.

        This is why Ethiopians are demanding that the State (an intimate paternal figure) punish the naughty sibling (the mining company.) a lot of the talk even among our opposition politicos is a call for “justice” and not freedom. And with Justice they mean for the State to use its coercive powers to right a wrong.

        As for liberty and Republicanism, how much time do you have? There is the Greek school and the Roman school of defining it:)

        https://ted.com/talks/martin_jacques_understanding_the_rise_of_china?utm_source=sms&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tedspread

        saay

        • Kaddis

          Dear Saay, thanks a lot, very educational.
          Not a timely discussion yet, but we have seen incidents the government was instrumental to protect the right of assembly, eg the Protestants (even the LGBT int’l meeting Addis once) against a charged resistance.
          Our politicians, as you rightly said, are equally confused of their role : to be an outside reformers of the state or an alternative.

          I was just poking you on the Republicanism – US politics is not interesting for me.
          BTW, just found out Tibor Najgh? replaced Yamamatto. I think the Atlantic council, which is doing a suburb job for Eritrea, might not find it as easy. From my few years back reading, Tibor sounded to limit the diaspora influence and wanted the government to be given chance referring to his Hungary decent diaspora days.
          Happy weekend ::))

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Merhaba Saay,

          This is very enlightening. I love his argument. His concept of “civilization state” is a new refreshing idea. Actually, his prediction of China, of becoming the leading economic superpower is imminent in the near future, if we observe the trends of the trajectory economic growth of China in the last two decades. As far as their policy of non interference in the politics of other states maintained and continue on their economic developmental relations with other states, as oppose to the policy of the “west”, they will insure the economic superpower. Thank you for the clip Abu Salah.

          • Paulos

            Selam Professor A. Hidrat,

            I haven’t watched the TED series of lectures Sal provided but of course, I just read the excerpt of the transcript. And I found it not so convincing—why that is the case about China with respect to the Western World.

            First of, Legalism in China traces its roots in tandem with a State formation circa 3000 years ago when Meritocracy was the sole modus operandi of the day. Civil servants for instance, had to pass through regorious exams to be employed by the State way back when not only Europe was in the “Dark Ages” but when North America was a “Waste Land” if you will. Moreover, Confucianism had tremendous influence in the philosophy of Meritocracy where Patron-Client relationship or Nepotism and Cronyism if you will had no place at all.

            What’s more, the Emperors were taken as representatives of Heaven here on Earth. As such, the hierarchial system was extremely rigid and uncompromising as well. In fact, it is said that, in later years, when the Western powers approached one of the Chinese Emperors and the convoy introduced himself as an Ambassador, the Emperor was intrigued by the concept of Ambassadorship for he truly believed that, he was the only true embodiment or representative of the Universe here on Earth.

            In the meantime, after two and half millennia of State formation in China, in Western Europe on the other hand, two factors emerged in curving up State formation. The Catholic Church and the concept of War.

            The former introduced Legal codes when it sanctioned heretics and awarded believers and the latter, in a rather strange way, when Kings and Principalities went on invading spree, they taxed the subjects to fund the war effort and in the long run, the taxation mechanism started to take on a bureaucratic structure and eventually in a well functioning State with specific interests.

            In the mean time, we see two striking differences with respect to State formation between Great Britain and Prussia-Germany. In the former, two contending powers emerged in a bid to garner power—the Monarchy and the Nobility [Land Owners were Parliamentarians] and it was in this power struggle between the two [The Monarch and The Parliamentarians] that, the English Civil war ensued and King Charles the First was eventually executed and as a result the State was rendered weak. A parliamentarian Oliver Cromwell assumed power.

            In Prussia-Germany on the other hand, because of its precarious geographical location, the Monarch started the first ever “Military Industrial Complex” and crushed any revolting attempt from the Nobility. And the State became extremely centralized and strong as well.

            When these ever shifting power dynamics shaped up State formation including Judeo-Christian moral imperatives in Western Europe and North America, China on the other hand lacked the “I Am My Brothers Keeper” dictum which is still the moral anchor that hitherto placed the Western belief in Universalism way ahead of China when China pursues aggressive economic rendition across the globe including its new “Marshall Plan sans Grants and Aids” otherwise known as “One Belt One Road.”

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Doctor Paulos,

            First, I am following your exchanges with Hailat and is very enjoyable. Keep up guys. On the speech: when you have time, please listen and get back to me. I found it amazing his concept on the “civilization state.” Actually, he mentioned in his speech the cultural and historical difference between the West and China that you mentioned in your comment. It is very fascinating. Saay our “ፍሒራ” is always very helpful in digging out some valuable documents and links.

        • Admassie

          Selam Saay
           
          Thank you for sharing the TERM how we view our states, civilization-state. That, somehow, explains the relation between citizens and a state in our respective countries. In Ethiopia, a state is perceived as a parent (Ethiopian parent) and is expected to act in a way a child expects its parent to act. We assume a state is responsible for everything. The state, a reflection of its citizens (represented by the same citizens who believe a state should act like a parent), also assumes similarly, it is responsible for everything in the way a parent is responsible for.

          However, I want to differ to fully associate our reality (at least Ethiopia) to the Chinese. Because, in the case of the Chinese, the role and the relation are clear. But in our case, both citizens and state do not act like what they are supposed to – that is – citizens are not acting like a “good” child, keep silent and leave everything to the parent/state and the state is not only acting like a civilization-state acts but at the same time it also wants to act as a nation-state acts. Confusingly, the citizens also want the state to act both ways.

          That means our situation is neither to the Chinese nor to the westerns. I believe it is somewhere in the series of a gray area. May be we are in a misunderstanding between our inflated wish and our poor reality.

          Did I write what I want to comment? Anyway,
          ይህን ለመጻፍ የፈጀብኝ ጊዜ ስንት ልጅ ያሳድግ ነበር መሰለህ!

          Admassie A.

          • Selam Admassie A,

            The difference in the relationship between the state and society in china and in the west, as very well described, is interesting. In the west the neo-liberals waving the banner of globalization and individualism are demanding for less government intervention in the economy, while in china it seems that more government intervention is welcomed.

            Ethiopia is said to be aspiring to become little china economically by implementing the so-called “revolutionary democracy and the developmental state”.

            The tplf/eprdf government tried to copy the chinese way, but in a skewed and corrupted way. A corrupt and kleptocratic regime seems to have had partial success, but at what debt burden, nobody really knows. In addition, it is difficult to say that the tplf led eprdf government existed the guardian of ethiopia’s unity, or fully acted as the representative and embodiment of the ethiopian history and civilization, and national interest, opposite to what the chinese government did and continues to do. One of the results of all these was the recent political instability.

            The important question for ethiopia at this point is, if the new pm could combine the country’s civilization and history with democracy and good governance to unite the people and country to achieve the dream of making ethiopia the little china some people hope for. Why not be part of the future, which seems to belong to china, with the west gradually declining, thanks to people like trump?

            As to “In Ethiopia, a state is perceived as a parent” in my opinion may have been somehow believed by the people during the emperor’s reign, but not really afterwards, when they came to understand that all governments are there for personal interests, and they do not care much for their citizens.

          • Admassie

            Selamm Horizon

            Thank you for engaging. I am fully in agreement with the intervention of the government in the economy, especially in a poor country like ours. The result is undeniably open to see.

            EPRDF’s stand regarding Ethiopian history, unity and interest in contrast to the Chinese state, at the beginning, I had similar view like you said, but later on, after a couple years, I started to see it in a different glass after I made a naïve dialogue with myself:

            Question:   “Who created boundaries/countries?”

            Answer:     “It is not God but Man (ስው)”
            Question:   “Do boundaries/countries change?”
            Answer:     “Yes depending on Man’s interest and interaction”
            Question:   “Does it mean there are no permanent boundaries”
            Answer:     “I do not think boundaries had been permanent and would be permanent as long as Man’s interest and interaction is changing”

            This was my first revelation to accept Eritrea’s independence.

            I was also angry, like many, to hear these says then: ትልቅ የመነጋሪያና ጉድ ያስኙ አባባሎች ” ኢትዮጵያ የመቶ ዓመት ታሪክ ነው ያላት” ፤ ” ባንዴራ ጨርቅ ነው” ፤ የአክሱም ሐወልት ለወላይታ ምኑ ነው” ፤ መንገዱን ጨርቅ ያድርግላችሁ” ወዘተ. But later on, I blamed myself to be carried away by my anger and start to look things contextually.  

            Therefore, we may agree or disagree with its radical policies such as supporting the independence of Eritrea, but I do not believe EPRDF (its leaders and members) lacks the passion of ኢትዮጵያዊነት.

            Regarding PMAA’s role, in my opinion, long lasting positive change in all aspects could be possible if he gives a policy priority in changing the mindset of citizens in all aspects.  One simple example, years ago, AIDS was a nightmare to our country. The focus and priority given then, made it possible that the epidemic drops significantly, to the extent, people start forgetting its existent.

            Let me also give you some examples how incompetency of citizens creates frustration to a country.

            1. Years ago Lease Proclamation was issued. People start panicking because, officials, one after the other try to explain an article and say “if you want selling your land property, you will take only the value of what you have built, because the land belongs to the state.” People assumed the government wants a share and became furious and Transaction was halted. The context of the article was not as the officials try to interpret.  But the lack of simple presentation to the ordinary people made them feel hostile to the state.

            2. Again a few years back, the Addis Ababa Master Plan was revised together with the neighboring Oromiya towns. It triggers the assumption that Addis Ababa was encroaching to grab land and next you know what happened. But in reality, Addis Ababa has lost 2000 hectares of land to the neighbors. Much later, after the situation cooled down, I heard PMHD was briefed about the fact and he was angry that a country was devastated on false premises.

            3. Two years ago, there was a tax reform. Again as usual, people start panicking because, officials, one after the other instead of explaining how the reform benefits businesses, they were rambling about the concept of tax and how it helps the economy and the country. Do people care to hear that? Hell no! It was a big chaos and people were bitter. But in reality most of the smaller business owners paid less than the previous years.

            እንግዲህ ይኸውልህ በአውላላ ሜዳ ላይ በነጋ በጠባ አገርን ቀውጢ የሚያደርግ ስህተት እየፈጠርን በተአምሯ አገር ሰላም እንድትሆን እንጠብቃለን!

            Admassie A.

          • Selam Admassie A.,

            A great comment, thanks.

            I remember, once somebody had said that ‘everything good and bad comes from our big brother, america (usa)’. He was a whiteman. Of course, not anymore, since the rise of china. Along this line i say that ‘everything good and bad in a country comes from the government’ The people are at the receiving end of the actions and policies of those in power, and if they react to it, it should not be taken as misunderstanding of the message or a criminal act, but a reaction, almost all the time for good reason.

            I am among those who have no problem eritrea is independent from ethiopia. Only that it was carried out in a humiliating way by tplf and eplf, with nobody standing for ethiopia’s long term interest, which is the main cause of the impasse between the two countries today, and will remain so.

            About the mindset of citizens; in my opinion, the first thing that should change is the mindset of the governing class, vis-a-vis, the government. The people do not make policies, they cannot decide on anything and they are in no way near power so that they may misuse it or become corrupted. They do not have the army and the security on their side as the government, but only their voices. They do not even have their votes to influence the decisions of the government or change the government, because their vote is vote only in name and not in its result (e.g. the weird and unreal meto-be-meto).

            The list will not be complete if we forget the infamous anti-terrorism and anti-NGO laws, which gave the government the muscle to squash dissent, free expression and the information the people needed to organize themselves and know their rights.

            Can we say that the government acted above the law in many situations? The indiscriminate killings and incarcerations for minor offenses, the illegal enrichment of government officials, etc, are there to testify against the government. These are some of the things people do not want to see repeated under the new government.

            Finally unless democracy and good governance do not go hand in hand with the economic success we are talking about, the economy will be consumed from its core by corruption and kleptocracy that will bring its demise.

            The last uprising was not only about power politics, on the contrary, it was mainly about economic and political injustice against the people. If these are not rightly addressed, there is the possibility that the genie could visit us again.

            Therefore, the problem and its solution are in the hands of the government and not the people, and we should accept that people are not puppets in the hands of power mongers. They are oriented by their economic interests and their rights as human beings, which if ignored could be exploited by elites who are lurking for power.

          • Admassie

            Selam Horizon

            Again, I agree with what you said that democracy and good governance need to go hand in hand with economic achievements and your conclusion that the problem and solition lays in the hands of the government.

            How successful I would be, I do not know, but let me put some of my assumption which I base my comments.

            1. I believe politicians whether in power or in opposition, come from the people and, therefore, hold the same culture and share the same set of mind as the people.

            2. Good governance, justice, rule of law and all values of democracy can not be achived with out the transformation of those people which the politicians are coming from.

            Let me add a sort of metaphor, it may be simplistic, but I hope it sums-up what I want to base:

            Assume the water coming to our tap is from a dirty source. The right spot where to clean effectively is not at each end of our taps, rather it should be at the source where the dirty water is coming from.

            Now my opinion.
            What the three examples I gave you in my previous comment was meant to hint what ordinary citizens care about i.e guarantee of property, security and the convinience of doing business.

            Adding to that, the people care:

            1. If they get appropriate services at qebele, wereda and subcity level

            2. If they get affordable house as they have been promissed

            3. If they get water and electric supply and maintenance properly

            4. If they get affordabhealthcareare

            5. If they get affordable transport

            6. If they get proper treatment in the court

            7. If police handles their case appropriately

            8. If any bureaucracy responds properly and timely

            9. If their complaints and grievances get proper attention and respond

            The list can go on. These are the everyday worries of the people and the source of most grievances and bitterness. The basic decency of working ethically and responsibly lacks at the very local level.

            The questions come, as a nation (at least in the urban areas and not rhetorically but in reality)

            1. Do we respect human beings – Its right to express oneself, to oppose, to choose, to worship etc?

            2. Are we transparent as the way we expect others to be?

            3. Do we have the culture of tolerating and respecting differences?

            4. Do we really believe in hard working?

            5. Do we really know what work ethics is and do we practice it?

            6. Do we feel responsible and accountable for what we have signed for?

            7. Do we care about our country and people?

            8. Do we have the culture of working for a common goal?

            9. Do we care for our common properties and resources?

            10. Do we genuinely denounce corruption?

            Again, the list can go on. These are the basic elements we need to address at citizens level, so that the foundation for democracy and prosperity gets a stable base. For this to happen it needs policy priority and undeterred focus from every stakeholder.  

            Admassie A.

          • Selam Admassie A.,

            Politicians come from the people, nevertheless, they forget all about the people soon after they are elected to office. This is the drama of politics, even in the developed countries of the west. Moreover, because politicians come from the people, it does not mean that the society is responsible for their transgressions. It is the politicians who transform themselves from soft and good speaking folks to monsters, soon after they see themselves above the ordinary people.

            You have to see dictators how they are transformed from men of the people to the enemies of the people, and they become masters of the people instead of their servants. The power of dictators comes from the barrel of the gun, and they are not given the power by the people.

            The responsibility of politicians is to solve all the worries of the people you mentioned, because the public can not solve them by itself, and the reason it contributes through taxation so that the money return to the public to solves such problems.

            What can you say when government officials become rent seekers, they evict ordinary people from their lands without sufficient compensation, and generally instead of working for the people they end up working for their personal interest and enrichment. The people are not responsible for such behavior of their politicians.

            Usually it is the government that should lead the way by being good example, so that people can follow. If there is no work ethics, people should be taught, if one should fight corruption it should start with the government officials so that they have the moral high ground to fight corruption at a community level. They should stop embezzling public money, and the state should educate the people to produce responsible citizens.

            Usually citizens do what they see their politicians doing. In our case, the last uprising shows that the ordinary people are disappointed with their politicians, and they are against bad governance and misuse of power. I believe that there should be no excuse for politicians who misbehave and impoverish an already poor country and people.

          • Admassie

            Selam Horizon

            I feel we both are on the same page. I do not have any problem to say that there are a lot of corrupt official in EPRDF’s government and it is them who are resposible for the mayhem and I say let us hang them. (I am not in the opinion that citizens are responsible. But the culture and mindset of citizens is.)

            But that will not end the problem and it is not a one time job. EPRDF is not on power for ever. Any party could be on the throne. But still it is not going to be an angle. It need to be checked. And it is in every government’s blood that to resist being checked. That is why we need a balancing power. But that is not going to happen with out an informed and transformed society.

            No one has able to eliminate the possibility of having a corrupt politician in the power. Because it is in the human nature. But , we can create an informed and well organized society so that such corrupt officials could be checked.

            Corruption is one of the problems but not the only one. We have many challenges and it will not be tackeled with out the mobilization of all stakeholders. A government can set policies and lead, but not capable of bringing change with out the participation of its citizens.

            We need free press not by government, not by the opposion parties, but by citizens.

            We need active civic societies by citizrnes for citizens but not politically affiliated to any direction.

            Finally, our challenges are not limited to the relation between citzens and the state. We have also similar problems among citizens which makes the need for transformation very urgent.

            Admassie A.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam admassie
            1, I agree tplf came from the people of tigrai and it’s fair to say they r the reflection of the people of tigrai but that is not true for the other members of eprdf special andm.
            2, ethiopia’s problem is systemic not just corrupt officials, u can prove that by just watching the ethnic tension and the mess all over ethiopia. corrupted officials r everywhere in the world but u don’t see a mess like ethiopia in most part of the world.
            3, if u think u so called “elites” r better than the ordinary citizens u guys r dead wrong. Ethiopia so called “elite” by far the most stupid and confused elite of the world and the prove is everywhere anybody can see it except the so called “elite” themselves.
            4, admassie , amba geyorgis is weird, it doesn’t match. admass is a right word and ie to show love is not a name . it show ur heart.

          • Admassie

            Dear Teodros

            ” ኣቱም ገዛ ከመይ ውዒልኩም? እንጣጢዕ ንዘርእ’ለና፡፡”

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam admassie
            Need translation.

          • Admassie

            Selam Teodros
            ማለት፦
            “ፍየል ወድያ ቅዝምዝም ወዲህ፡፡”
            ሃሳባችን አልተግባብቶም።

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam admassie
            Still don’t understand.
            And reread ur conversation with horizon from the beginning.

          • Mez

            Dear Admassie,

            Your write-up is a sort of fuzzy & funny.

            Thanks

          • Admassie

            Dear Mez,

            You are right it seems in coherent.

            The first part was to answer the usual accusation that at the beginning TPLF/EPRDF had not had Ethiopia’s interest at heart and the issues were, as you know, Eritrea’s independence, Ethiopian history, flag and so on. I gave some examples which shows a change I made on myself, because i was also one of the accusers. Therefore, if we see things reasonably, I believe, our accusation is baseless.

            The last three examples are to show that while the intention of the government is perfectly good, citzens respinsible doing the job can turn things upside down for lack of competence.

            The over all message I tended to pass was there must be a policy priority to bring chang in citzens.

            Thanks.

            Admassie A.

          • Mez

            Hi Admassie,

            Thanks for the conversation.

            I would think the political opening towards multiparty competition across Ethiopia is the healthiest way forward.

            I would sum up the eprdf/tplf–past and present–as a self contradictory political organization.

            Thanks

          • saay7

            Admassie:

            There is a quote attributed to Jefferson (who never said it) which goes something like this: “a government that is powerful enough to give you rights is powerful enough to take them.” Wish he had said it:) What he DID say is “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yeild, and government to gain ground.” (Yeah, that’s how they spelled “yield” back then.)

            In California, where I live, the state legislature introduces 2,000 new laws per year. No, I am not rounding or exaggerating for effect: 2000. Two thousand. A libertarian group, the Federalist, summarized it thusly:

            In California, a 15-year-old girl can abort a viable baby without telling her parents, but starting now a married 20-year-old with a job and kids can’t buy a pack of cigarettes. Or get a drink. That same 15-year-old girl is banned from getting an indoor tan, and a woman must obtain, and give, “affirmative consent” before kissing someone during her college years.

            No one can use foam takeout containers or plastic carryout bags or play online poker. This is a state that wanted to ban you from eating the livers of waterfowl. If the state discovers you’ve purchased raw milk, a confiscation team may visit your home to impound the supply. The sale of caffeinated beer is forbidden. E-cigarettes are now treated as if they were tobacco, even if they are not.

            In San Francisco, where it’s illegal to light your own fireplace during Christmas, if you fail to recycle your trash correctly you can be fined up to $500, but you can’t get a toy with your Happy Meal because they’re banned. In Los Angeles, you have to wear a condom to make a porno, but you can have unprotected sex in Caligula-style orgies as long as you don’t film it.

            As long as you mention “children” (“it is for our children! we must protect them!”) you can get any law passed in California, which is essentially a one-party state. I have no idea why I still live here: the weather is nice, sure, but everything else about it is insane.

            saay

      • Mez

        Dear Kadis,

        This gold mining licence renewal is becoming an interesting challenge for the Ethiopian authorities. This will really be a litmus test on the transparency of government handling of its daily business.
        1) the people are complaining their cattles downstream are dying, especially since this mining operation started.
        2) the licensing authority is saying all environmental impact studies are done, and there is no negative impact donstream.
        3) such primary gold sites are generally volcanic in origin and:
        3.1) while extracting, other highly corrosive compounds may come to the surface of the earth (from where they were burried, in a natural way),
        3.2) in gold processing, different chemicals such as Hg(Mercury) May be in use.
        3.3) the licence giving agency didn’t indicate, that it has a permanent environmental impact observation post there.
        4) several things shall be done to fix this. The most important one being to go to court for probably three main reasons: 4.1) the way the mining operates and disposes its waste (by product), 4.2) the need for government agencies to provide that no toxic chemicals get exposed to air, 4.3) if all the agreements for this mining are intact, current, and valid.
        5) The parties involved could be: the residing farmers affected (as plaintiffs), the government agencies involved, the Wereda administration, ministry of justice.
        6) Once at the court, the judge will have to sort all these out; in the mean time the court may issue injunction for the partial or full operation of the company while the hearing continues. To do this the judge may order a new environmental assessment downstream the mining site by independent specialized companies on a short notice.
        7) I have the general feeling that the mining company releases some toxic material over time.
        8) If this company is government owned or private, the problem will remain the same.

        The rule of law is what matters.

        Thanks

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam Mez,

          The issue of mining and its impact to environmental health issue is understood. Your approach on how the Ethiopians should handle the issue is very interesting.

        • Kaddis

          Selamat Mez,
          I dont think there is a gap of handling this technicaly or legally. Its the issue of representation (political). If the surrounding people felt well represented in a functioning parliament – Edaw Gebse neber.
          Now the protest falls in the formula of collapsing the state structure using a text book revolutionary steps, dismantling the economy, security etc…
          I anticipate the water factories, the flower farms, the dams, more mines, the factories will be rocked with protest. Its the clear move to make the state ungovernable.

          • Mez

            Dear Kaddis,
            Just to follow-up:
            1) “…I dont think there is a gap of handling this technicaly or legally….”
            I don’t really understand why you say so. The discussion with the stake holders, in Shakiso, indicates otherwise. The farmers are saying: we lost cattles after this mineis operational. Motuma was saying: we did studies with a couple of companies on environmental safety. This apparently at the start of the operation. Home take question: is this mining company releasing by product affecting life in a wider sense? To answer this, the best and shortest way is rule of law. The Shakiso mining complication is a typical court case.
            2) “…Its the issue of representation (political)…”
            This is even more fundamental. The earlier it is addressed, the better it will be. Proper political representation is a lifelong struggle–always on motion.
            3) “…protes falls in the formula of collapsing the state structure using a text book revolutionary steps….”
            Not really. We read the same data–but reach opposing conclusion. There is a lot more into this, than just the the upstream toxic water release by the mining company.
            4) “…clear move to make the state ungovernable…”
            Your observation may be correct; But hard to prove.
            5) over the years of the “revolutionary democracy” policy implementation by EPRDF in Ethiopia, you observe a couple of critical fuzzy junktures.
            5.1) The implementation of land policy is one of them. Land is not commercialized. At the end of the day, the executive body of the government is the judge. This opens a disproportionally big hole–be it in the ownership, marketing, commercial use, and added value in property appreciation. What this means: Regarding land policy, the same EPRDF is the initiater, the owner, the controller, and the implimenter–leaving the citizens out of the picture.

            Thanks

        • Selam Mez,

          I do not know anything about gold mining or any other mining for that matter, nevertheless, here is one example i know. In the country i live, a gold mine operated by a canadian company, was closed recently due to major opposition and demonstrations by the local residents. It was said that people were afraid that it was having an impact on the environment, fishing and tourism, because these were the main activities pursued by the locals.

          Therefore, the ethiopian government must demand that international norms of gold mining are implemented so that the impact is minimized as much as possible, and part of the income must go to the local population to improve their lives.

          • Mez

            Dear Horizon,

            Every thing in mining operation is dictated by cost-benefit balance. I strongly think the Ethiopian government shall aggressively work on rule of law and transparency; then things will go their natural way in a couple of iterations.

            Thanks

          • blink

            Dear Horizon
            Mining is always not easy business and it has been consistent in its negative effects on environment. Call any state of the art mining in the world it has side effects on the environment and local people. Call any mining with the super large companies and put all necessary laws on the face of them and still has the negative consequences for locals and environment. Ethiopia is developing country and it has to own big chunks of any mining company in order to keep the interest of the locals and the environment. My sister works with a very big multinational mining company in Australia and she always said this “ locals lose big and the enormous cost to clean the environment is always left to the local governmen which economically big or to the government if it is in Africa I think it is fair to put regulations in par to the west environmental standards. Ethiopians can only benefit if the environment is kept safe at all cost because if not clearing it will cost double due to shortage of know how in cleaning the damages.

          • Selam blink,

            It is not about blocking the mining business, but about the right sop that should be followed before irreparable damage is done to the environment, and people and animal health is affected.

            There is a saying, if an infant does not cry, even the mother forgets to feed it. The same is true for citizens, if they expect everything from the government, or if they have always to go through the legal channel, in a country where justice does not come too easily and on time, and if they believe that the government will always care for their environment, they will find themselves before an unhappy surprise.

            The core issue is if there is pollution or not, and in this case it is more than certain that there is. You may remember, some years ago there was this issue of lake Koka extremely polluted by the flower companies, and the water was green with algae and the local residents were complaining of health problems for themselves, their children and their animals were dying. This is happening just about 60 or so km away from the metropolis.

            I do not know the details, but there was a big problem and reaction to the industrial contamination of the water supply of an american city during president obama’s presidency, and he had to drink from their water supply to prove to them that the problem has been solved and the water was now potable. The air in big cities in china is difficult to breathe, and the niger delta in nigeria is too dangerous to be inhabited.

            These show that if left to the government alone, even in developed countries, let alone in backward countries of africa, the environment will be destroyed for the sake of industrialization and because of corruption, unless measures are taken in advance before the damage is done. It is up to the locals to make the wake up call to the governing body that is not at the place of damage and government officials do not care because of ulterior motives.

            As your sister said, who knows very well about mining and what the industry leaves behind, the burden for the local people economically and health-wise would be too big to manage, even by the central government, unless there are laws and regulations in place in advance to minimize the damage.

          • blink

            Dear Horizon
            You are right but as we all know the mining was running quite well until recently and could demand for compensation, cleanup environmental hazards, jobs and many more benefit to them but to ask the government to revoke the license is really not good one . We know locals benefit too little from anything that has to do with mining but the state can benefit more hard currency and also leverage their negotiating principles more . It is a bad thing to revoke an investment license because locals protested especially at this time when the federal government is looking for more investment.

        • Kim Hanna

          Selam Mez,
          .
          I realize I am dealing with inadequate information on the specifics. However, I have noticed that the Ethiopian Government is responding immediately to public demonstration and threats of escalation, which is dangerous because it encourages more.
          I said this at the time hotels and businesses were torched in Ambo area due to some political demands.

          Without going in to the merits of the issue here, there is a glaring pattern that is developing.
          Are there organization or organizations that are operating within the country. If so, are these entities connected to outside sources of leadership and funding.
          The pattern appears to me to be organized and disciplined and operate in a set playbook.
          How can such organizations and operations pop up without the Government’s awareness. Do we have a government within a government.

          As you said, the rule of law is what matters. If there are people down stream with the problem described, the Gov. should have addressed the issue way before the organizers’s call for demonstration, demands and disobedience. Things don’t happen in a vacuum.

          I only hope this is a sign of political adjustments and necessary changes for the betterment of Ethiopia and not the back door to power or a method of weakening the country.

          Mr. K.H

          • Mez

            Good Day Kim,

            Your observations are to the point. Most of your worries are not out of the blue.

            I just want to say: the Ethiopian government is being led by the social events in the country–instead of leading, and facilitating for things to happen. This by itself creats a big discordance.

            Thanks

  • Paulos

    Thanks Abinism!

  • Lelom

    Hey, Congratulations!!!!!
    I want to get some honest answer for below Pts ?

    1) What is meant to be independent for Eritreans ? is it only from separation point of view or it has some psychological impacts?

    2) What did Eritrean get a special thing from its Independence unlike before?

    3)What is the logical difference B/n the Eritrean situation before independence and after independence, Regarding on economically,politically and on other factors?

    Thanks

    • blink

      Dear Lelom
      If you are Eritrean , you know everything and if you aren’t ,it will not matter to you and you wouldn’t know what and how it feels . There are people who pray for the return of Dergi and there are people who are not and the Dergi babies are not to scratch a lottery card any more .

      • Berhe Y

        Hi blink,

        He asked for an honest answer, but as you usual you are never honest. The way you talk about “Derg babies” the only person that I know of, I wouldn’t be surprised if you are one.

        No Eritrean prays for the return of the Derg, we proved that with 99.9% of our votes.

        But every Eritrean knows we have worst than the derg, PFDJ who is in power.

        I wouldn’t bother replying to you, but I only did so don’t turn off Lemon.

        Berhe

        • blink

          Dear Berhe
          Why all this ? My reply was simple and clear . There was no corners or any thing hidden. What I said is this , if he is Eritrean there is no reason he will be lectured by Eritrean on his own and if he is a Dergi baby he can not get a lottery card to scratch for the old saying . Now take this as a brotherly reply because I really do not think you are a dergi one . You have to smile I upgraded your identity away from dergi.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear blink,

            I do not want to make the discussion useless by arguing with you. I also do not need your approval to know who I am.

            What I can’t stand is the level of degradation people like putting our country and people, to justify in defending the disputable regime.

            Every Eritrean who oppose this regime, no matter how small his or her contribution, their hands is clean, their concise is pure and they live a purposeful life.

            Unlike the liars, the abusers, the murderurous regime and their pathetic supports.

            Don’t worry all things come to an end, and they will nurture to the trash bin of history.

            Betri Haqis TiQeTn ember aytisber.

            Berhe

          • blink

            Dear Berhe
            You see your problem, you could have replied to person question quietly but since you are Berhe you jumped in a wagon without horse waiting for the horse to come and the sad part about this is sir , No horse for you . Sit there and wait.

            For me Eritrea as a country is not Issaias ,better days are ahead for Eritrea, at least that is what I believe. You on the other hand are simply past tense .

        • Natom Habom

          selam, berhe
          pfdj is not worse than the derg ,we have all the scarce of it
          the derg used to hire people that speak our languge ,know our people
          those from the mereb milash yes then it is worse for you ,you cannot work freely to destroy our people like before but you can still hide behind computer to full confusion and it s not working at all sheers

      • Mez

        Hi Blink,

        ….who pray for the return of Dergi …..

        God forbid them.

  • Yohannes

    Hi All,
    When you write an article, do not write it to yourself !!
    I read the article top-to-down and side-to-side but failed to pin point the word, for example, “Ethiopia” – have you noticed that?….simply, that word “Ethiopia ” casually designated by “oppressor” or “colonizer”. so, just for fun, I printed and passed the article to my white-man friend and asked him to read it and identity the colonizer/s – After reading it, his answer was quick and funny….”some European country may be !!”

    Dear all,
    And finally, allow me to say this:
    The charismatic, charming, calculating and cruel DIA did not rise in a vacuum – he came to power on the backs of so many countless Eritreans that he ultimately disdain and discard at will……Sadly tho, what is discussed less often is that YOU “the people” who trusted, believed in and followed the bully dictator. You people are the one need to be examined and reflect on as well. Why did you worship and enable the leader in the first place? The independent wont be complete unless and otherwise the Colonizer vacate Bademe….That I say, Chapter II : narration of a Nation, the tyrant and his delusional subjects continues….. you know what I mean !!

    Thanks a Lot

  • blink

    Dear Ismail Mukhtar
    Thanks for looking at our heart . It would have been great if we could find many like Ismail Mukhtar , sad that we don’t have many in the opposition leadership.

    Happy Independence Day to all Eritreans

    • sara

      blink dear,
      you said it right….. about Ismail Mukhtar.
      happy independence day and Ramadan Kareem to all eritreans..

  • Paulos

    Selam Ismail Mukhtar,

    Many thanks for the article. It is indeed with mixed feelings that we celebrate May 24 where as you have aptly put it, the gap between the objectives of the struggle for independence and 27 years after the fact is wider by the day.

    If the last decade and half is to be remembered, it was a time of interospection and reflection where as opposed to the “Split Selves”, it was disillusionment instead that took hold on the populace. How did we get here became an obsessing question with a plethora of contending objectifications.

    If the contending theories had a sequential life of their own, first, it was blame it on the Weyanes and other external “entities”, then it was the “Fifth Columnists” but later on those who blame cease to be the staunch supporters of the regime, instead, elements with in the Opposition started to examine and question if the objectives of the struggle was to be blamed for the status quo.

    The main rationale behind the inquiry, however, was not if the indices of a better society is how prisoners are treated, rather, if the entire society lives a life worth living particularly in the 21st century. It seems to me, the pointers you jotted down in a question format ought to be directed to a responsible government when we don’t have the luxury to ask those questions, simply because we need to have the basic necessities of life in the first place.

    Happy Independence Day!

  • Paulos

    Alex,

    Hope you got my point when Awate for the stated reason decided to issue a new guideline and closed the previous thread accordingly. Back in the days in Asmara, we used to say, ምስ ባሊቃ ወጺና when we overstayed at a Bar and the owner starts sweeping the floor before closing.

    • Alex

      Hi Paulos,
      I was compelled to respond to your comments since I find your response to berhe about other awatistas exchange with him to be condensanding. Like I stated before that is not what I expected from you since I have a lot of respect on your opinion.

  • abdulworld

    Hello Ismael,
    This is a thoughtful article. Independence day in addition to been a day of recognizing people who made the ultimate sacrifice- it should be a day of introspection.
    There are only a few countries in the world that have made as much sacrifice to assert their identity. We have been pawns in game of different empires. Sudanese, Egyptian, Ethiopia, Italian. We faced a giants. we rebelled and preserved for 30 years against all odds. The existence of country called Eritrea is not because of soldiers or any leader but people. We have had weak leaders, mediocre leaders, foolish leaders, good leaders but without the people there would be no Eritrea.
    Independence day is day every Eritrean should look in mirror. I am person that makes Eritrea. It is day we Eritrean should hug each other or shake each others hand and say “I am Eritrean”

    I find it strange that Independence has become another day to get together and celebrate except the moment of silence.
    What about the future? What are we passing to future generation. America has its declaration of independence.
    Where is our Independence day document?

    For the people in diaspora in major cities, every year we should aim to have independence day celebration in our own community center- with land and building we own.

    We should put our weakness, mediocrity, and foolishness aside and organize intelligently to create a non-political non-religious community center that can honor our future generation and people who died so we assert our identity.

  • Haile S.

    Selam all,
    Emma, I agree with you this is an excellent piece. It is one of the best cakes I have tasted where no crumbs will be left. It is covered with the most delicious icing, i.e. the call to end this absurdity “With us or against us!”. Thank you Ismael Ibrahim Mukhtar.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Ismail,

    This is an excellent piece, reminding us on what was the goals of our struggle, the gap between the goals set forth and the realities on the ground, and what should be done going forward. Thank you very much.

    Regards