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“Crusaders” Branding Others, “Islamists”

Today’s Negarit is about Yosef EFND, coincidentally, there is an Egyptians word that sounds like it, Effendi (افندي); it is attached before the name of a Western clothed and educated persons. In many countries, the mandarin orange is also called Yousif Effendi—I am glad I found a pet name for my friends, the Yosef EFNDi.

Reconciliation has been my motto for a long time and in time I coupled it with freedom of expression; these two are dear to my heart because they cut through everything I stand for. Like many others, I have made huge investment on these two; I recognize that our salvation lies in truth and reconciliation—twin ideals that are the cornerstone of our nation. Surely I am disappointed by our collective failure as a nation to show meaningful achievements, and I share all the frustration that plagues us. However, God knows I have tried my best and I will continue to do so despite the setbacks. It has never been my habit to shy away from controversy not to annoy my friends and compatriots, because I have a promise to keep.

Reconciliation is a common national interest and I embrace everything and anything that produces the tiniest contribution to it. It’s with this spirit that I write this edition of Negarit; my intentions are, as always, to help in correcting wrong positions and to show a different, sometimes uncomfortable, perspectives. I do this not out of malice, but because I have made it my life’s mission to “inform, inspire and embolden” my fellow Eritreans, so we can achieve the reconciliation that we desperately need and deserve.

Today’s edition could be read as a follow-up to my article of April 17, 2014, “The Politics Of Nouns And Topography.” But this time it expresses my envy of the “Crusaders” within the “Eritrean for Facilitating National Dialogue” (EFND), who present themselves as “reconcilers” when they haven’t reconciled themselves with their conscience. Yet, they have the temerity to identify themselves as “progressive liberals” and others as “Islamists.” I am one of their victims and I really envy them. And I wonder: why do most people meekly pass such outrageous branding instead of challenging the bigots? What if I start to call anyone I do not agree with as an “Islamist” or a “Crusader”? But I am resisting though I am being provoked to do that. Attacking individuals on their strength is an evil tactic that bigots use.

Any Muslim Eritrean whose name they don’t like is simply branded an “Islamist” and “Jihadiast.” Thanks to the Western media, the two brands have been overly repeated, promoted, and became  accepted political lexicon, a useful tool that some of the drivers of EFND liberally used.

In the outset, I have a disclosure to make: this message is general, but specific to a few individuals—they know themselves: the self-proclaimed “progressive liberals.” But there is a Christian equivalent of “Islamists and Jiahdists,” and it snugly fits them: Crusaders.

In August 2013, when the EFND group held its first conference in Arlington, Virginia, they had these names that resemble a meeting of relatives, a village “Uqqub” club:

Dr. Okbazghi Yohannes
Dr. Afeworki Paulos
Dr. Kidane Mengisteab
Dr. Ghirmai Negash
Dr. Mantai Mesmer
Dr. Yebio Woldemariam
Mr. Teklai Abraha
Mr. Tesfagiorgis Ghebreslassie
Dr. Angessom Atsbaha
* Mr. Amanuel Hidrat
* Mr. Tewolde Stephanos

* Three scholars requested their names not to be listed, but I do not have to guess their names.

In October 2014, they met again in Vienna, Virginia, and they had these names—you cannot miss the one name that makes it “diverse!”

Dr. Okbazghi Yohannes
Dr. Araya Debessay
Dr. Yebio Woldemariam
Dr. Tseggai Isaac
Habtom Yohannes
Amanuel Hidrat

Beyan Negash
Dr. Awet T. Weldemichael
Tewelde Stephanos

Unquestionably there was an attempt by a few genuine activists among them to make the meeting inclusive, but a frantic shopping for Muslim participants didn’t yield much as the list shows. Still, I don’t think those who brand themselves “progressive” learned the lesson in which they have been repeatedly failing Eritreans—since the days of the sectarian “Eritreans for Liberation in North America” (ELNA), which is widely remembered by its Tigrinya acronym, “Enasa’a” and whose legacy is still crippling the Eritrean struggle.

An old friend who used to live in Ethiopia once told me that he made a business trip to the USA in the mid-seventies; he was a staunch supporter of Popular Liberation Front (identified with Isaias and Sabbe jointly). In the East Coast he attended a wedding party and was surprised to hear the Enasa’a crowd badmouthing Sabbe in a gwayla song they were playing: “Sabbe AdHarhari; yaAaho, AdHarHari!” My friend said, “I knew Sabbe as the leaders of the organization that I supported and here the cadres were branding him as a sectarian and corrupt leader!”

May Sabbe’s soul rest in peace, he was abused by many Eritreans like no one else in our modern history.

The sting of that gwayla’s bug must have been dormant, it awakened in the mid-nineties and my friend of yesteryear admonished me for my anti-PFDJ stand; he severed our friendship.

As I remember the story today, I am afraid a few individuals might severe their friendship with me after reading this, but I can’t help it; my choice is to sleep on the proverbial railroad.

The ENFD communiqué sounds very genuine about inclusiveness and diversity. Its members portrayed an inclusive character, particularly when they moved frantically to recruit Muslims while preparing for the meeting. Alas! They failed to attract anyone who doesn’t look like them. Yet, they never took a pause to honestly ask themselves why they failed! Did they try having a diverse network of friends to begin with? I am hoping my advice, which I am repeating for the umpteenth time, helps them and all pro-justice Eritreans to find the real cause.

Any segment of a nation has a national concern that is shared by everyone else, and its own particular concern related to its citizenship rights. For example, on national issues, liberal and patriotic Muslims should be concerned when the PFDJ trespasses into the Orthodox Church affairs. Since that concerns half their compatriots, it immediately becomes their issues and they should struggle against the transgression by openly expressing their objection. Similarly, patriotic Christians should be concerned about Muslim issues because it concerns half their compatriots. That way, we can all have a complete national cause, undivided. And that helps us reconcile with our conscience, and among ourselves.

It is an established fact that Muslims are absent in most Eritrean Diaspora meetings in the West. This concerns many Eritreans and they try their best to narrow the gap while a few view it as a normal affairs of business. I know that Muslims, with the exception of a few, are not interested in  monologues performed by initiatives like that of the EFND, similarly, Christians are not interested in Muslim monologues.

Courage is needed to raise issues that are mostly swept under the table. Citizens should raise real issues and decide if they are national or not. If they are of national proportions, concerning any segment of our society, they should be adopted in the different programs. We should advocate for them as our own individual national issues. Then, the much abused jingle of “our unity” will be replaced by real concern for reconciliation and national unity. And it will not be difficult to achieve because everyone seems to subscribe to it.

Reading the 17-page EFND “working memorandum”, one is struck by the lack of concern for the refugees in Sudan, the land of Western Eritrea, the cultural issues concerning Muslims, etc. And these are not fringe issues; they run deep within the Eritrean Muslim grievances. Instead, the EFND document is full of Kenyan, Chinese, and Somali examples; it exposes the ignorance and shallowness of the group regarding Eritrean issues. The document gives the impression that the boundaries of Eritrea stops at the confines of the Highlands, or at Ad-Teklezan, as Herui T. Bairu once remarked. I suppose the ample PhD holders would know about Eritrean geography, if not its different segments.

It is disheartening that some people lurk someplace until the struggle reaches what appears to be the pinnacle, and then they emerge expecting people to receive them with red carpets. They come out late from their slumber and instead of humbly adding their energy to the struggle, they attempt to grade other activists who have been in the fry for too long—perhaps they feel they are our teachers and we were waiting for them to grade our exam papers! But if you take the initiative and liberty to grade others, they have the obligation to grade you as well.

The four people who were doing the invitation for the last EFDN get-together are: Dr. Afwerki Paulos, Dr. Okbazghi, Dr. Kidane, and Dr. Araya Debessay. And if you haven’t guessed it so far, please understand that I have no issues with any of them. I might even enjoy their company, or debating them; I am just doing my best to help them see another perspective that they might consider acceptable in private, but taboo in public. It’s about time that such issues are taken more seriously. The EFND’s initiative and efforts are good, but the substance, instead of being positive, it has a negative contribution. Now, before I go any further, let me introduce them to you.

Dr. Afwerki Paulos‘ bio is the most prominent: he appeared in a video clip in 1993 in a public meeting where Isaias Afwerki was present. Since then, he was apparently studying the Eritrean struggle and in 2010 he openly dived into the opposition camp just prior to the Awassa congress where he was elected an MP (actually its equivalent). His achievement? It is a feat because he, “asked Isaias about the Asmara University debacle in a 1993 public meeting in Washington, DC!” Though a member, he also had a role in crippling the Eritrean National Council which was born deformed and suffocated in its infancy.

Dr. Araya Debessay is among my favorites. He likes to come up with many proposals and initiatives, but he quickly gets bored and disappears. He doesn’t approve of the organized political parties and would like to replace them with seasonal activists—so much for inclusiveness! In short, Dr Araya likes to start everything from scratch, every other season.

Dr. Kidane Mengisteab: Who? I heard of him a few years ago when my friend Kasahun Chekole sent me a book Dr. Kidane wrote (or co-wrote, not sure) about Eritrea. I can’t say much about the book, but he is apparently more into Kenya, Uganda, and others than Eritrean issues.

Dr. Okbazghi Yohannes: a gentleman of whom I always hear good things but never had the chance to meet—unfortunately bsenki ngutz yneded rHus [live wood burns because of its proximity to deadwood.] I wish he was not in the list, but I still I have a great respect for him.

Do you think some of these people have any moral authority to brand anyone, with any negative brand at all? Okay, if someone they do not like is a Muslim, he is conveniently branded an Islamists! And this is why I envy the bigots among them; bad luck for me, the Islamist and Jihadist equivalent brands for Christian bigots is Crusaders, but it is not well promoted.

As for the rest of the crowd affiliated to EFND, I would like to make the following exclusions from the target of this edition of Negarit: I exclude my friend Amanuel Hidrat and Girmai Negash from any of the above; and the invitees who tried to challenge and educate the EFND initiators about their crooked approach to national issues; the delegates of the political organizations including Mulu Negassi (bless her heart) and others; and of course I forgive the generous who are, pen-in-hand, ready to endorse anything they see. As for the disappointing individuals, suffice to say that I do not respect their judgment, their wishy-washy positions, and their shallowness.

Now that I have expressed what needs to be expressed, let me go to the advice.

Sebqet AlAhmadi,” [The Ahmadi Paint] is a Kuwaiti saying which unfortunately I will not explain in detail because its origin is contested. It’s commonly uttered to expose a fake product or pretentious behavior, meaning something camouflaged and presented to look or sound like what it is not. Therefore, if we remove the veneer of paint, however we define EFND, it is an equivalent to the other regional and sectarian groups. No camouflage will hide that. EFND would be better off admitting that and embracing it openly. If it is really concerned about reconciliation, and since its membership is a sectarian group that expresses its fear of “Islamists” and “closet Jihadists” (basically anyone with a Muslim name), it can only meet and discuss with movements that equally suspect and fear its politics and aspiration of hegemony. It should know that there are others who shudder at the mention of the names of its members. I advise EFND members to openly brand their group “Nhnan Elamanan“, with courage, and advance Kebessa/Christian issues that they feel they represent; then they can meet their equals who I am sure would openly tell them what is wrong with them and their attitudes and approaches.

The second part of my advice is for EFND to meet the Eritrean Lowland League (ELL) because it is their best option. It would be good for the struggle if the two would discuss all issues and reach a consensus, though there is a snag: EFND doesn’t have a fraction of ELL’s constituency, therefore, humbleness is essential. It is also a condition that must be met for my advice to work.

The third part of the advice is for EFND to leave the liberal democrats alone because they don’t have similar attributes to it. And I encourage EFND to meet its equals (never mind the lack of a constituency, for now) and reach a kind of understanding.

Last advice, I publicly volunteer to try to arrange for a meeting between EFND and The ELL. Other than that, there is no Eritrean who has a divine mandate to rule over the rest of us, except with the consent of the people—the rule of Isaias Afwerki and his PFDJ clique is bad enough!

Finally, I hope that those restless people understand that the one and only problems that Eritreans are entangled in is a conflict between justice seeking Eritreans on one side and PFDJ on the other.

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

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

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If there is anything Eritreans and Ethiopians (and beyond) agree upon, it is the fact …

  • Hameed Al-Arabi

    Selam Amde;

    Thank you Mr. Amde. Your comment has revealed
    for me your thought horizon, and the extent of knowledge you hold outside your
    circle. Let me explain this by quoting from your comment. Quote: “Communities that are nomadic, i.e not tied to a defined
    geographic space.” Here you looked to the vast area the nomads move, from
    the view point of the hamlet you have being brought up at. This confined
    thought made you understand moving from place to place is a sign of none claiming
    of belonging to specific area. From your point of view, to belong means to be
    cemented to confined hamlet.

    Again you perceive owning of land
    from the strictly demarcated piece of land (girat) that you possess. Therefore,
    when you see the nomads in continuous move with their herds through a vast area
    of land they possess, your hamlet confined mind is unable to digest it.

    We have in the world, my good friend, big and
    small countries, some of them have small area of land but very populated, and
    some others have a vast area of land with is scarcely populated. For example,
    China which is a highly populated county has no right to claim that she should
    share the land of Australia, which is scarcely populated continent.

    Mr. Amede didn’t stop there, but he
    continued portraying how far his thinking doesn’t cross the border of his hamlet.
    His hamlet is the standard with which he judges everything in the world. Let us
    look what he says, ” People that are nomads travel around for survival purposes so a
    loner or even a single family that tries to travel or live by itself will not
    get much in terms of protection or survival.” Amede as a child was feeling in his hamlet in peace,
    warm, and content. His father was ploughing his land and fills his stores with
    the grains he harvests. This is the top standard of living for Amede. Anything
    outside this standard is dangerous and unsafe. It doesn’t come to his mind
    there are different kinds of leading life in the world. Mr. Amede, the nomads
    see the large area they move along the same as you see your hamlet. The
    valleys, mountains, fields, trees, rivers, etc. are as friendly as your village
    to you. They were happy with their nomadic life more than you imagine it. They
    were receiving their guests warmly and entertain them by slaughtering one of
    their animals. You seem you don’t know these people, therefore, it is better to
    ask those who know them.

    The problem is: Mr. Amede moved from
    his hamlet to town, then crossed the border of Eritrea, countries, seas,
    oceans, and now may be living in America or Europe without any change in his
    hamlet mind set. What is the reason that makes him resistant to any change in
    his perception? The reason is his hamlet mind set background, and propaganda of
    colonizers who used lowlanders as scarecrow. This early childhood perception
    makes him feel unsafe outside his hamlet even if he lived among the most
    developed countries peoples. Mr. Amede even if he achieved a doctorate, the
    ghost is always chasing him. I think, this is the reason that makes him always
    hamlet-centric (ethnocentric). Unfortunately, his mind stopped to function because
    of the severe fear exposed to in his early ages. Of course, it is unfounded
    fear, because may be he has seen or mingled with the lowlanders, and found
    nothing that justifies his fear, but the ghost is still there chasing him.

  • habtom yohannes

    My apologies; it should have been Regards, Habtom Yohannes!

    To all of you: all the best and in case you can reach me at fithi7@gmail.com. Regards, Habtom

    • Rodab

      Hahaha Habtom,
      Don’t forget your name buddy

      • Habtom Yohannes

        Selam Rodab,

        What do you think? I had several debates with my compatriots from Jeberti. Some of them want to be recognized as a separate ethnic group than the Tigrawot/Tigrigna. It is upto a democratically elected central Eritrean government; if that is ever to come! but in the meantime I don’t have any problem to accommodate everybody in his/her choice. We will see which group will follow with a ‘separate statehood’. I hope I have explained this to your satisfaction. Regards, Rodab (oh Sorry, I mean Habtom Yohannes)

        • Rodab

          Thanks Habtom. Satisfied.
          Btw, I think you are probably correct to think Tigrigna and Tigrawot is the same thing. I just didn’t hear that before in reference to biHere Tigrigna. Technically, the word Tigrawot can be used to biHere Tigre, too because the word Tigre would have derivatives Tigraweyti, Tigraway, Tigrawot.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Dear Rodab,

            Tigre is a language name, Mr. Rodab. No one of the Tigre speakers will tell you I am a Tigre. So please search for a way out (meshlukhi) in something else other than Tigre language. I think, the way you are looking for a solution will lead you to a deadlock. The only way out is to reconcile with history. Bye Rodab. Hameed Al-Arabi

          • Rodab

            Hey Hameed,
            Yes Tigre (Tigrayit) is a language. So is Tigrigna, so is Hidareb, Saho, Afar…all nine ethnic groups are identified by their languages.
            If a Tigre wouldn’t identify himself as a Tigre, what would he say he is then?

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Dear Rodab;

            They identify themselves with their tribes; for example, If you ask a Bin Amir his identity, he will answer you, I am Bin Amir.
            Hameed Al-Arabi

          • dawit

            Wrong Hameed Habeshi, Tigre also represent a set of people, who were landless in region who were consdered as tenants and often worked as serfs.Tigre is not only a language but also refers to a subset of people. On a larger use of the word ‘Tigre’ also refers to all people in Tigray and Eritrea, That is how the word Tigre is reffered in Ethiopia. Go and swim in your merky Arabian Sea. The Eritrean Sea is pure, ‘Hade Hizbi, Hade Libi’.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            ear Dawit;

            All the Tigre language speakers have a tribe name. The second meaning of the word “tigre” means a citizen. Anything your mind crammed with is a distorted information. Please, try to get someone to format you and load a new corrected information, otherwise, you will continue to live “chiqa fi chiqa”

            Hameed Al-Arabi

          • SAEED TSSUWA

            They don’t call themselves Tigre! So what do they call themselves then? More Importantly, how do they identify or label themselves. Do they identified themselves by their tribal names or their regoin? This leads me to ask the question, what are the tribes of Tigre? Excuse my ignorance, but I never heard of them. Language is the most prominent aspect of ethnic identity and to the best of my knowledge, Eritreans are categorized into langauge groups for instance, Afar, Bilen, Kunama, Saho and so on. This system was not inventedl by Shabia・E and has existed at all times throughout Eritrean history (successive governments in Eritrea : Turkish, Italian and Ethiopian). Traditionally, we are talking about a common histoty, languge, culture and a common territorial association. That being said, when talk about Afar, Blien or Saho, we are not referring to thier tribes or the rigoin they live in but people called Afar or Kunama, who share a common heritage. Finally, Hameed , do Tigre share a common culture of some sort. By the way, when the Bin Amir leave their homeland and live else where they say they r Tigre. Can u imagine, if eveyone in Eritrea identifies himself as tribe A to tribe Z

          • Amde

            Selam Hameed,

            Your posts made me think of a pet theory of mine (I am sure someone has studied it). Nevertheless it goes like this.

            Communities that are nomadic, i.e not tied to a defined geographic space – form their strongest bonds with the people they travel with (or sharing time with – to put it another way). People that are nomads travel around for survival purposes so a loner or even a single family that tries to travel or live by itself will not get much in terms of protection or survival. Especially in the old days, when herding was all or nothing, it made sense stick together as much as possible. Now obviously there has to be a limit to the number of people travelling together since a group that is too large will inevitably destroy the pastures, and made organization unwieldy. Hence, the group tends to be relatively small and insular. Marriages are within close family members (cousins etc…). All these tend to re-inforce identities based on shared kinship, such as tribes or clans. Modern (or should I say “European”) ideas of the state and citizenship have a hard time being reconciled to the idea of the clan or tribe. Hence, the difficulties in having people’s primary allegiance to a central institution based on the concept of a shared space (i.e the modern state) The best example of this in our region are the Somalis – ethnically homogeneous but from a primarily tribal culture. For them, a Somali Republic that tries to introduce the concept of a community based on shared space is not as compelling as allegiances to tribe or clan.

            Communities that are sedentary – and make their living by staying put in space – have people that share space over generations. These are mostly farming communities but could also be other communities (perhaps trading posts, mining towns etc) They identify then more with the other people that share the same space. Ties of blood, or language may be important and will tend to strengthen the bonds of people within the community, but the primary tie is due to sharing of the same space. Hence people from these backgrounds will tell you they identify as being from such and such land, village, province etc….(geographic space). For these cultures, the concept of “citizenship”, i.e. membership into a state based on the concept of a shared geographic space, is not a leap that is too large.

            The concept of a Tigre vs Beni Amir identity are excellent tools to understand this difference. For sedentary communities, the easiest way to tell where you potential affinities lie is to ask what language you use, as the language is the primary method by which the multi-generational sharing of space is made effective. For nomadic communities, the ties of kinship from travelling together are more important hence language is not as critical. Someone taking space-sharing as the primary determinant of community identification will say they are Tigre. Someone taking time-sharing as primary determinant will say they are Beni-Amir.

            What is important is not what others call them but what they call themselves. If someone chooses to identify themselves via the villages or adi, there is nothing that makes them qualitatively worse than others that identify themselves per clan or tribe. To make such generalization is rather arrogant.

            Amde

  • Dmxi Hiwot

    Interesting and educational discussion.
    After reading several times Hameed’s plight and decision to become Arab in his comments; especially, referring to one of his execuse, which is his identity crisis, I could not help asking, if Hameed also is suffering from other psychological ailment in addition to his identity crises.

    What was interesting in his counter arguments is, how narsisticly express his feeling. He sounded like his own feelings and experiences are mirrored reflaction of all Eritreans.

    He seem to be out of touch, illisionist taken by the arabization philosophy. To read His emphasis on solution to our country political misery to the identity crise of his own, was indeed entertaining show like Tom and Jerry.
    Create your own problem and then try to solve it, by chaising it to death.

    I have to say, he destroyed the very article that communicated elegantly about inclussion, to nonsense tribialism. What a pity.

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Dmxi Hiwot;

      Entertain and beguile yourself with perceptions which you stated in your comment , it may give you a relief for sometime from your identity-crisis. I think the ethnocentric guys are the ones who are out of touch with the majority of the Eritrean people. If this is not an illusion, then what will be an illusion?

      • Dmxi Hiwot

        I would say to demand or suggest a confession of arabization from 5 plus million people, as a solution to nationa political turmoil somehow is the magic wand for you. I am sorry to say, it still sound Tom and Jerry show to me.

        If I were you, i wouldn’t push on my writing ability as much yet, but i would start reading a lot of history and political books. I would also stop watching too much TV.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Salam Awatistas

    መን ንመን ፈጊሩ
    መን ነመን ኣሲሩ
    መን ንመን ብዲሉ
    መን ካብ ፍትሒ ተገሊሉ
    ፍትሒ ወዲ ኣዳም መን ገሃሶ
    ማሕቡስ ዔላ ዕሮ መን ሃንደሶ
    እፍ ዜጋታት መን ዓበሶ
    ሃገር ብዓለሙ መን ኣብረሶ
    ኢልና ከይጸብጸብና፡ ከይመርመርና
    ጠንቁ ከይበርበርና ጽቡቕ ከየብሰልና
    ወለዶ ክንጽብጽብ ግዜ ረኺብና?

    Guys, your genes are just fine. Relax.
    – We will have historians, anthropologists,
    linguists… who will tell us who came from where, but we need to create a free
    society first for that to happen.

    – Yes, and we will have genealogists who will help those interested trace their family tree, but
    first we need to help our nation open Asmara University, and add some more
    universities.

    – We will have an Eritrea where our social groups will have the right to call themselves whatever
    name they choose, and still will remain to be proud Eritreans; but first we
    will need to put fear driven arguments aside. Let’s spend our time and energy
    where they are needed most.

    • Habtom Yohannes

      Merhaba Mahmuday Saleh! Thank you!

  • SAEED TSSUWA

    Is there a common Eritrean culture? Eritrea is a multicultural and multi-ethnic country and therefore, there’s not really such thing as Eritrean culture. Defining a none-existent culture is not an easy task, in fact it almost impossible. Eritreans, are classified into language groups, it is fair to speak of a Tigre,Tigrina, and Saho and so on. Regardless of time period, present Eritrea or before Eritrea came into existence – the answer remains the same.
    Good luck Habotom, really wish u luck

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Habtomay,

    I hate to debate religion in politics. But I would like to correct you two things (a) ELF with the late Osman Saleh Sabbe are not the Epitomization of “Eritrea is Arab” mentality. It is all the propeganda of Isayas and his organization. I feel sorry you are repeating their propaganda as we speak. I don’t expect from you such kind of arguments (b) The axumite empire had only its influences in the highland are of Eritrea of the now modern Eritrea. So don’t assume as if all parts of the modern Eritrea was under the influence of the axumite. So I will advice you to pull from such kind of argument. Avoid to debate religion and politics as they are antagonist by their natures.
    Hawka,
    Amanuel Hidrat

    • Habtom Yohannes

      Merhaba Aman,

      Merhaba Aman,

      Thank you. As much as I have great respect &
      admiration for you, allow me to disagree on this with you.

      a. If wrote the old-ELF before the first congress
      of 1971; however some elements continued the “Eritrea is Arab and we are Arabs”
      mentality to this day. Sabbe -some
      perceive it as diplomacy and others as conviction, secured weapons and money
      from Arab countries by “selling Eritrea and Eritreans as Arabs”; every time he
      was challenged as a remote-control leader, he used that leverage to throttlehold
      the field (whether the old ELF with its ethno-religious-regional divisions or
      later the popular forces). I try to stick to the truth irrespective of the
      source as long as I verify this from various sources and using my rationale.

      b. I have never said that the Axumite Empire did
      control all parts of current Eritrea; let alone at that time, even the current
      African nation-states fail to control and influence all parts of their colonial
      defined territories; Max Weber would have used another definition. But nobody
      can deny the fact that it was the powers in Axum and those who sprouted from it
      who defended the area from various foreign invasions. Or am I wrong in this? I
      think historical facts support me in this. Assume the assertion is correct that
      the powers that evolved around Axum didn’t control all parts of the current
      Eritrea; under whose control were these areas?

      c. You wrote: “Avoid debating religion and politics
      together as they are antagonist to each other by their natures.” I know how
      enlightened person you are but like Voltaire, Orwell and others I would like to
      debate religion, politics and everything else as they come on my way. I am a
      secular believer; this sounds contradiction in terminus but it is not. I
      believe in a strict separation of religion and state; with an open and relaxed
      space for a continuous debate. However this doesn’t mean, as many leftist
      intellectuals -I perceive myself also as a leftist by the way- within the ELF/EPLF and outside those fronts,
      perceive in total separation FAITH and politics. I have always been in
      disagreement with people who contend that the faithful/intellectuals should not
      talk about politics and with politicians/intellectuals who defend the notion
      that we should not talk about faith and politics.

      d. My dear Aman if you stick to your position which
      I respect, then you are closing your eyes for the naked fact that Christianity
      through the years and through a “process of purification” has learned to value
      it’s place and leave the realm of the nation-state to secular (not
      anti-religious and anti-faith) elected leaders, and it has learned to accept
      the social contract of Hobbes, Lock and Jefferson above their Bible for running
      of a multicultural and multi-religious society. As you know there are various
      religions whereby the political nation-state and the religious commune conflate.
      If we don’t debate this, then where will we be. The facts on the ground will debate
      on us and impact our live. Not necessarily you but I have said time and again during various presentations that the persecution of believers in Eritrea was a brain-child of our intellectuals during our liberation struggle. In a debate I had with the former Eritrean Ambassador Andebrhan Woldeghiorgis I mentioned it and he couldn’t believe that it was concoccted during the armed struggle by leftist intellectuals till I show him parts of EPLF programs; this was not different for the ELF. At the same I understand the compelling situation for both of you to unite the multi-religious, multi-ethnic, multi-regional divisions of Eritrea…

      I value your advice and please continue to bestow me with them privately and
      publicly!

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Dear Habtomay,

        Politics is the art of administrating social interests and governing society peacefully. In this debate you are not doing good service to the art of politics, on how to bring people, live together, and govern themselves. I wish Saleh was prudent and sensitive to the reality of our societies, albeit he has failed miserably to understand the consequences of this article before he publish it. Now, at the top of it, you are adding inflammatory, misguided historical account, to the already flaming human emotions as a result of Saleh’s article. One who opt to engage in politics (a) must be careful about the language he uses (b) must understand the social contradiction of his society (c) must have the understanding of the rules of engagement to resolve the diverse interest of his society (d) must have accommodative mentality to govern the interests of diversities (e) must have thick skin to face negative remarks . If we don’t acquire the above qualities, politics is not our place.

        Second, even if we are truth loving individuals, the truth must serve for unity and harmony not for conflict and division. By that I mean we must know what the contours of truth ought to be in order to serve for the common good of society. Since truth is “relative” in the mind of the beholder, especially in politics, we must be careful ourselves from being the messiah of truth in politics. Truth in politics has different values of measurement as oppose to other truths.

        I wish your argument was how to separate religion and politics, but it wasn’t. Look in your point (d) you are talking about process of purification of Christianity. What brought the process of purification in politics. Hisebelu de’A. That is why I tried to hint you about the antagonism of politics and religion. Once religion interfere in politics it is dangerous. Anyway it is still advise from your brother.

        Regards,

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Amanuel, you have said it perfectly as usual. but he Haabtom is doing fine also to come with his view. people are really confused of politics due to the back ground they had and as you know our politicians (those corrupted once) were using religion and other tendencies for their advantage. you will still face innocent and nice people mixing politics with religion and that will be the role of intellectuals like you to teach how religion should be handled in our democratic nation making process. than you very much.

          • Saleh Johar

            KS,
            I think you are missing a point. Religion has two dimensions: the spiritual and the identity.
            You might be a hardcore atheist but society will identify you as belonging to this or that religion based on your religious identity. You are stuck with that identity regardless of your core beliefs or manners. That is why people jump into religion whenever identity is discussed in its political sense. There is no mixing of religion here, but discussing the identities of diverse Eritreans, identities related to their political, economic and social rights. If you ask fora right as a citizen, you are not expressing your religious right, but demanding your citizen right.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Mr.Saleh,

            You see teacher, this is what I have understood from my long life experience. We human beings in general are missing wisdom while we have a lot of knowledge. Yet, there is no escape and we are facing a deep change. And yes we own ready program on our mind to accept the change and proceed. Religion is the most misunderstood subject that has complicated our life. As you have classified the two dimensions but I believe are connected. Being the spiritual is not well understood, the identity will follow. In here if you notice what I am saying is – we have much to do together leaving that religion thing aside or leaving to everyone experience freely by keeping others respected.

            I am a Muslim.But Forget what religion I believe for now and let me be clear for you that the people who believe my religion don’t know their true religion except to follow it extremely – talking day and night about past greatness of Muslim leaders and scientists (they live in the past doing nothing today except praying ) That has made them lazy– thinking , repeating words of their holy book will late God be cheated and put them in heaven in here after. With their dogma ideology they have come to the level of “our belief is the only belief”. This is the reason you hear from people like me saying “please don’t give more space to religion in our political surface except freedom of belief”

            Eritrea’s land is not divided by religion – thanks God. For example Eritrean Jeberty are most of them living with their Christian brothers in highlands. Ethiopian king had tried to attract Christians for their political agenda – and of course for some time some Christians had seen that the king belong to them and committed some mistakes. If only they didn’t mix religion with politics they wouldn’t make that mistake.We can’t repeat that type of mistake after this long experience. Jebertiy people didn’t do that , like categorizing themselves with Arab Muslim world but continue peacefully struggling for their right while giving priority the national identity. Jeberty people had and have 2 big chances to make themselves strong one joining their Jeberti brothers from Ethiopia and joining Arab Muslims – that could have created a mess. If you are following, Ethiopia is facing a lot of problem with Muslims. And that could have been easy to make it as wider as horn. PIA’s and his mafia group were always against Jeberty but Jeberty are so awaken they are carefully handling the case separating religion from Politics while still keep going for their right of identity. If only Eritrean people hear the voice of Jebery long back,Eritrea could have been free before you born sorry to say that sir that is just the truth. Today high land Christians and highland Muslims have common work to do as the entire Eritrea do. And they have learned respect is two ways more than before. This is good example why I am against people who mix religion with politics. the christian highland society has paid equal or more than Jeberty to free Eritrea. Again today they suffer equally and are paying equal price. this makes me learn that putting religion and politics together will only let you go back and work. “ተሃዊኸን ይኽዕወኦ ኮፍ ኢለን ይኣርየኦ”

            Yes Mr. Saleh even still there are people (but few ) who think PIA should stay on power or be replaced by Christians while still there are people who believe PIA should go and be replaced by Muslims because he is Christian – that is a disaster,isn’t it? I believe we should have a manual on how we should be governed and we should depend on that not on one man or group of people. And the manual should be equal for everybody giving enough space everyone to experience on what he believes. Will that describe me “a hardcore atheist”? If yes, okay let it be.

            History is nothing but a school and if we don’t accept our past mistakes we will still repeat it.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            I can only say Amazing.

          • Habtom Yohannes

            Consists a lot of wisdom and may I say Kokhob Selam: Amen?

        • Tesfabirhan WR

          Thank you dear Amanuel.

        • Habtom Yohannes

          Dear Aman,

          “I never considered a difference of opinion (NOT INSULTS, HY) in politics, in religion,
          in philosophy as cause for withdrawing from a friend” Thomas Jefferson (may I
          add and even not from humanity).

          Opinion about religion, politics or whatever is not the reason for fire and war; NO! The main cause lies there where inflammable people pretend to defend God, religion, nation, people, culture and use weapons to silence others.

          This as an introduction.

          Dear Aman

          Thank you for your valuable advice. However I sense you are reading me from your sensitiveness which I respect but find it unhealthy if we want to debate issues frankly. The
          cover-ups and appeasements of the fronts has brought us where we are.

          Let me start with your last paragraph regarding the “purification of Christianity”. It was a response to your remark regarding religion & politics. Religions (mainly Christianity), especially in Northern Europe, Canada and the USA have learned to respect their place after a lot of sufferings, religious wars and rightful uprisings against the stiffening power of clergy and king. Now please tell me why people are so paralyzing sensitive to debate about these issues? Please tell me what makes debating these issues inflammatory. I haven’t insulted anybody let alone a group of people, religion, region, ethnicity or a group of Eritreans as “crusaders”, “neo-nazi’s”, “land grabbers”, “settlers” and “colonists”. If I did that, I stand to be corrected and ready to apologize.

          Again thank you for telling me how I should operate if I want to be a politician. I am not a
          politician and God forbid that I would be one, especially in Africa and the Middle East. However, I am always ready to serve my people and humanity as long as I get the space to remain true to my conscience. Many understand politics as lying, tricks, deceit, and appeasement. God forbid that I use one of these to push my agenda.

          With all respect Aman, your sensitiveness is so paralyzing that it doesn’t good to an
          open debate. Putting the pressurised lid seems to create the superficial ‘hade libi hade hizbi’. I wish we were frank to each other and to Saleh Gadi Johar, Hameed and the likes as well. Frankly speaking, sorry for the arrogance, I think I am the one who took them serious in my debate with them.

          Again Frankly speaking the other official and semi-official responses to the writing ““Crusaders”
          Branding Others, “Islamists” are not dealing with what Saleh Gadi has raised. If he gets satisfied with the “responses” he got, then he is double unworthy to put any trust on him. He either has to come up with name and number as to who called him (and his group?) “Islamists” or he should be courageous enough to withdraw his insults. Besides I expect him to correct the misleading facts he has presented to the reader. Saleh Gadi Johar should tell the reader that he has got what he fought for all that based on facts. Otherwise his allegations will go as double false.

          Having said that, I admire people who speak their minds without insulting others.

          Back to your accusations:

          1. You wrote: “Now, at the top of it, you are adding inflammatory, misguided historical account, to the already flaming human emotions as a result of Saleh’s article”.

          What are the ‘misguided historical account’?

          Which accounts are inflammatory and why? Just because you have developed
          extra sensitiveness to what I express; I would learn more if you could be
          specific.

          2. You wrote: “One who opt to engage in politics (a) must be careful about the language he uses (b) must understand the social contradiction of his society (c) must have the understanding of the rules of engagement to resolve the diverse interest of his society (d) must have accommodative mentality to govern the interests of diversities (e) must have thick skin to face negative remarks. If we don’t acquire the above qualities, politics is not our place.”

          As I wrote earlier and in many occasions, I don’t have the ambition to be a politician and certainly not in the regions I already have mentioned. I see myself as a journalist, sociologist, and political scientist. But to state the above and address them to me shows that you either don’t know me good or there is something wrong with your observation.

          You stated: “(a) must be careful about the language he uses”. What are you referring to? Then I can apologize or not. “ (b) must understand the social contradiction of his society”: Do you think that I don’t understand the social contradiction in Eritrea? “(c) must have the understanding of the rules of engagement to resolve the diverse interest of his society” It is a good statement. “(d) must have accommodative mentality to govern the interests of diversities” Again a good lecture but be specific. “(e) must have thick skin to face negative remarks. If we don’t acquire the above qualities, politics is not our place.” If I were not, then I would have severed my relationship with many and I wouldn’t have even supported them in various ways.

          My dear Aman as much as I respect you, It would be helpful if we could be as direct to each other as towards the PFDJ. When dealing with pfdj there seems to be restriction but when dealing with certain groups in the opposition -and this has been always one direction- people tend to use only expensive velvet gloves. This is sad and never good to build a tolerant,
          accommodating, secular and democratic society. It started in the 1940s continued all the way to the demise of the federation. It continued with the remote-control leaders from Cairo and Kessala, during the ELF, People’s Front’s period, EPLF period and it is still haunting us. Please don’t blame PFDJ or Isaias for this. Isaias was not holding the pen of Ali Salim or others who have been engaged in provocation – BTW: talking about thick skin: have you ever read
          a response of mine to those provocations? I even defended the right of this site to publish them. I don’t have to agree with them but let them express what is in their hearts and minds. Then we might find a cure. But cover up and appeasement is deadly if not for us then certainly for the generations to come.

          Thank you and with appreciation.

          • Saleh Johar

            Dear Habtom.
            I don’t really need an answer for this comment, I am just commenting hoping you will consider it in your thought process. I do not believe any one person represents a group, or a sect, or a region unless dully delegated by the concerned. Therefore, I do not think that if I call you (this is just an example) a “Crusader” it doesn’t extend to whoever you believe you present. If you call anyone a “Jihadi” I will not consider that an insult to me by extension, since I do not represent any identity level that I belong to. If you have a personal reply, attend to that, prudence and disclaimer is always good. If I have an issue with you, then it is between you and me, it doesn’t involve anyone else. I still say, if one takes the liberty to brand others, he should expect the same. If you brand me, make sure I will brand you. If I brand you, I expect you will respond in the same manner. But we should not run to assemble Zeray by appealing to those who we perceive belong to our side whenever we cannot take the heat. If calling Eritreans compatriots Jihadi is fine, then calling them Crusaders should be fine. And I know you have hypocrisy and double standard. That is all.

          • Habtom Yohannes

            Selam Saleh,

            What you wrote here is an abstract of your ‘article’: {“Crusaders” branding others “Islamists”.

            1. You are extremely good in superlatives and exaggerations but still fail to provide facts: Who (mention name and number) labelled you “Jihadist” or “Islamist”? If you can’t mention with names and quotations then your allegations are shallow and even can be called ‘naked lies”. I am saying “can be” where evidence is left out.

            2. To use your own word “Zeray” it has been Saleh Gadi Johar who has been appealing to Zerayat by appealing to the sub-national feelings of some; by:

            A. Making the alleged labelling of Saleh Gadi as Jihadist, Islamist – if it is done by????- as if done by EFND as a whole; while you fail to quote who said what, when and how. You fail to quote anything in that direction from the document the EFND published,

            B. You even misinformed your readers as who was present and who was not at the meeting. I myself did told you through a private message that I won’t be able to attend; this is some two or three weeks before the conference. I asked if one of you were going and I received a Nope answer. Others told you that HY was not present but accepting mistakes and asking apologies are probably on vacation..

            C. I have never ever used those words to depict a human being or a group of people; let alone my compatriots. I debate them using facts if I think they are wrong; like what I have been doing with you. I have no grudges or whatever. I am dissappointed but time will heal things.

            D. You are the one who more than implied that EFND and those who expressed support to the meeting and it’s vision are “crusaders”. You promoted yourself overtely to represent a certain segement of the Eritrean population that is excluded by EFND without doing your homework (read the corrections of Beyan, Tewelde and Amanuel). You drew alleged insults against Saleh Sabe and so on…

            3. You are right we should fight hypocricy and double standard! But let us start with ourselves; first and foremost Saleh Gadi. If you don’t provide facts for your allegations then your article is worse than hypocrite and your cry about “double standard” and “hypocricy” is just crocodile tears.

            Aside from your failure as I wrote here above and in my article, I admire for speaking your mind; but please accompany your opinion with facts.

            Take care.

          • Saleh Johar

            Habtom,
            I promise to give you one fact every night to prove your follies.
            This is what I wrote:

            In October 2014, they met again in Vienna, Virginia, and they had these names—you cannot miss the one name that makes it “diverse!”

            Dr. Okbazghi Yohannes
            Dr. Araya Debessay
            Dr. Yebio Woldemariam
            Dr. Tseggai Isaac
            Habtom Yohannes
            Amanuel Hidrat
            Beyan Negash
            Dr. Awet T. Weldemichael
            Tewelde Stephanos

            The above is copied from EFND statement, if it is wrong, then I am not the one who inserted your name. It was there. If you didn’t attend, then the statement didn’t say who attended and who didn’t.

            Tonight’s fact #1: correct your allegation that I wantonly inserted your name.

            Unsolicited advice: please stay focused and learn how to present your ideas briefly. As a “journalist” you should know that verbosity and redundancy do not help comprehension and no editor tolerates it. Also, please stay on topic, don’t branch out because I am not interested in argumentative back and forth.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saleh,

            Please I will ask you to read the document. The list of names at the end of the document doesn’t in anyway infer the participant of the conference. You are really twisting things and it is not healthy. It clearly says the purpose why they are listed in the document. Time after time you perceptions are proved to be wrong.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Saleh Johar

            Selam Amanuel,
            I didn’t say attended or not attended.

          • Habtom Yohannes

            “In October 2014, they met again in Vienna, Virginia, and they had these names—you cannot miss the one name that makes it “diverse!” ” Saleh Gadi Johar

            It remind me of a Dutch book: Voltaire Help!

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Amanuel,

            Allow me to put my point.

            If one is acknowledged in preparing a document, then s/he has an input. It is not necessary one to attend a meetings. In fcat, I give more weight to those who play in preparing to the working memorandum.

            Whether Habtom was in the meetings or not, he is responsible. I am happy to see his list in such historical document but denying his contribution makes it questionable.

            One can attend a conference but if s/he left the conference without any footprint, we can not consider is as an attendant. Therefore, whether Habtom was in the meetings or not, his name is listed in the major document you produced. This makes hims as one of the contributors and equally responsible. I don’t see any reason for denying his presence as presence is not only limited to physical.

            Habtom must be proud for been part of the EFND contibutors. And no one questioned who was attended or not. Personally, I am happy to read such documents and I encourage to make a move. But, questioning your work is good for transparency. This is what we are doing and what I believe Saleh Gadi’s intention was.

            I appreciate you haw Amanauel Hidrat for making things clear and I encourage others to make the same lead. Habtom is not doing good and you have put it in your point earlier. Work hard brother Amanuel and be the gospel. You are perfectly fit for that. On his analysis, brother Saleh didn’t discard and damped EFND or the working memorandum. He is calling for more inclusiveness and transparency. (This is my view and if I am wrong, I will stay corrected).

            Hence, brother Amanuel, go with it and encourage Habtom to believe on his presence be it physically, materially, or spiritually.I wish I was there.

            Thank you

            Hawka
            tes

          • Habtom Yohannes

            Merhaba Saleh,

            Thank you; also for your promise and I think that the reader will be happy when you substantiate your allegations with facts.

            1. Regarding the above: thank you for exposing yourself!

            This is what the EFND report says:

            “Note, we are indebted to the following friends who sent their inputs in writing:
            Dr. Araya Debessay, Dr. Yebio Woldemariam, Dr. Tseggai Isaac, Habtom Yohannes, Amanuel Hidrat, Beyan Negash, Dr. Awet T. Weldemichael, and Tewelde Stephanos.”

            Combine this with the private facebook-message-exchange we had prior to the meeting. Your naked denials and twisting of facts force me to publish them here below:

            Facebook message exchange between Habtom Yohannes and Saleh Gadi Johar on October 15!
            ————————————————————————————————————————–
            “Hi Habtom, I dint do it but I checked and it reads ” like his predecessor… It must have been an error. Thank you for keeping an eye on it. That is how work improved” Saleh Gadi

            Hi Saleh,
            “Merhaba Saleh: more than welcome! Are one of you going to Washington DC (Vienna, Virginia) next week? They invited me but I can’t” Habtom Yohannes

            Written on 15 October 16:02!!!

            Hi Habtom,
            Nope!
            Saleh Gadi
            Chat conversation end

            ————————————————————————————————————————–

            You knew I was not present at the meeting but for reasons I fail to grasp other than speculations, you mentioned me in the list – probably you want to expand the number of “crusaders”.

            Then some readers informed you: “Saleh, Habtom was not there and he is not a member. He just sent his input.”

            Like in the past you catagorically reject to adhere to basic descency (certainly of serious journalism) to apologize and correct your mistakes. That is worse than making mistakes. We all make mistakes. I do them regularly; but I fight daily to reduce them and to apologize where I see my mistakes.

            *******************************
            2. The readers is more interested in the facts behind your allegations. Your article, which would have ended in the garbage bin in serious journalistic media, carries the title: “Crusaders” branding others “Islamists” in relation to EFND.

            A. Who said this in the EFND-meeting? Is it published in their document?

            B. Were you labelled as Islamist or Jihadist in the past because of articles you entertained on your site that branded a segement of the Eritrean people as ‘neo-nazi’s’, ‘land grabbers’, ‘colonizers’, ‘settlers’, ‘commandos’ and so on?
            By whome?

            I am not here to write what you are interested in as you are not there to write what interests me.
            I have witnessed long time ago that you have a flauwed understanding of copy-rights and journalism in general. You have tried to cover it up with statements like: “At Awate we are not journalist but activists forced by circumstance to do journalistic work”.

            Eager to hear your facts; one every night…Thank you.

            Regards,
            Habtom

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Habtomay,

            I don’t think we can solve our differences starting from the history of our ghedli to how we should handle the social contradictions in our society in such kind of forum. If there is any solution to our difference, it could only be face to face to debate not to argue. Your argument reminds me what I was saying early when I join ghedli Eritrea. What I mean by that is, I was trying to give a political prescription before I know the grievances of our society. My last advice is please try to learn the grievances of our social groups before any political engagement. Diversity politics is not that easy, and you couldn’t prescribe it from the political view of western politics. We have to know the socio-political and socio-economic stage of our society. In any case since to Often cyber debate doesn’t bring us to common understanding, I am here resting my case. Thank you for the civilized exchanges, though we are at opposite end of the political spectrum, something I have learned from our exchange.
            Thank you again,
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Habtom Yohannes

            Merhaba Aman,

            I am the one who must be thankful. Thank you.

            1. I agree 100% face to face debate is the best! Since that is not always possible one is oblidged to respond to allegations and twisting of facts,

            2. It is an “honour” when you compare my mentality with that of you when you were freshman at the ELF. Don’t you think it is odd when people praise you when you fight for justice against PFDJ gross human rights violations (without discrimination in ethnicity, region, religion, class, sex or gender) and when people imply that “you don’t know the grievances of our society” when you express opinions that they find difficult to swallow? I don’t know if I had to expect this from you.

            3. I know you and we have discussed some of these issues in the past; since I know you and I have respect for you, I don’t know if I should find your implications insulting. I can’t. With all respect your position is full of appeasment and nurtures victimhood of one segement of our society.

            4. During the Addis conference of scholars and intellectuals -some of EFND members were present- it took us three four days to talk about the “grievances of some sgements of society”. The mantra was: “the hegemony of Tigrigna should and must be broken if we want to achieve change in Eritrea. Tigrigna are the backbone of Isaias Afwerki and the Tigrigna should and must be broken”. There were even some with the title Dr. who said: “you killed us when you were commandos and you are killing us now”. My thick skin (to use your words) had enough and I stood up and told the audience: I can accept this anymore! I asked the good Dr. if he ever had heard about Wokudiba let alone the massacre of Wokudiba. He had never heard of it. He is an Eritrean. I told him that my father-in-law had buried 38 members of his family during the Degue era. I told him of experience I saw and heard in the highlands of Eritrea; he was dumpfounded. I asked him if he had heard about the persecution of charismatic and critical church leaders and the faithfull. None. Let me speak only to myself I resisted to the last point the condemnation of Tigrigna by some who consider themselves Eritreans. The social grievances might vary from area to area, from group to group due to various reasons, but the whole Eritrean people has been vitimized by the current system.

            5. I repect your conclusion “Thank you for the civilized exchanges, though we are at opposite end of the political spectrum, something I have learned from our exchange.” However I can’t substantiatge this with facts. I have asked for fact but you failed to provide them; only gernalizations and appeasement.

            Again thanks for your time and energy.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Habtomay,

            Fighting against the gross human right violation is one thing. Knowing the grievances of our social groups and acting to address them to reduce the mistrust among them is different thing. We are equally oppressed by the regime is not enough to the mistrusts that has been going for decades.

            So since your regard yourself as “journalist, sociologist, and political scientist” (as you noted in your earlier comment), you make me eager to ask you the following questions: what are “the grievances of our social groups”? is it inter-related grievances? Or are all independent of themselves? As Habtom a political scientist, did you ever envisioned a political solution to address those grievances you have studied? If you had come with “researched solution” based on the actual grievances you have studied, did you try to share with them in particular and with general public in general? The reason I am asking you is because I had wrong info about your qualification. People told me that you are a Journalist only. May be it is my mistake I should have asked you directly. I apologize for that. The only thing I am afraid of is, if your study is limited to the Addis meeting. As a scholar and a political scientist, the task of researches demands beyond one meeting observation. That in itself only doesn’t give you any hint to the nature of their grievances, it only indicate you, that they have unresolved political contradictions. Not more than that. If you answer my questions, I will pull the comparison I made to your reaction with that of my early ghedli experience’s reaction along with full public apology. I wasn’t to continue this discussion, but since you drop me a bomb of multiple qualifications, I want to find a conclusion to your final reaction once for all.

            Regards,

            Amanuel Hidrat

  • Saleh Johar

    Thank you Habtom,

    As much as you responded candidly, I promise to do the same.

    A. Honestly Habtom, I really do not know your core belief–given what you state in different mediums. But this last comments really clarifies your beliefs. Thank you for that.

    At the outset, let me state that you have displayed all the cultural traits that I do not condone, and I know many who do not. Yet, I also understand that your core beliefs as displayed by this last comment is not unique to you. Many also share with you in this core belief. And as you know, it is easy to categorize those views: who espouses these traits and who doesn’t.

    Please understand that not all Eritreans agree with your division of Eritreans as per the regime’s segmentation. Therefore, let’s start with the premise that no one owns the right to unilaterally define Eritreans. A humble recognition of the right of other citizens to differ with the segmentation, and not to try to impose one’s convictions with the power of the gun, would go a long way towards reconciliation.

    Democratic values require us to recognize people’s narration of their self and their self-expression. Your statement of “…late comers to Eritrea,” is unbecoming. Don’t we all know that there are others who came to Asmara at the same time with the Rashaida, maybe later? Why are the Rashaida alone considered late comers? Don’t we have entire neighberhoods that arrived to present Eritrea in the late 19th century? Don’t we have people from Tigray, Begemedir, Gojjam, Yemen, and other places who settled in Eritrea at the same time with the Rashaida–why pick on the Rashaida alone? That I find unfair, undemocratic and it should be avoided in our political discourse.

    I know many tribes who narrate their history and assert that they decend from Arab descendants: Beni Amer, Saho tribes, Afar tribes, a big chunk of Semhar and a few Jeberti. Now who has the right to impose a new narration to replace a narration thay carried generation after generation?

    You see Habtom, there is a powerful group that espouses ethnocentric views. I am not accusing them for doing it consciously, but they upbringing and cultural background has shaped their views and they think everyone should think like them and accept their narration and classification. And this group has always been the curse of Eritrea, throughout its history. Do you think it is difficult to recognize the right of people to define themselves, as equal citizens and not appendages to a nation living in the peripheries? I think you recognize that right, don’t you?

    Indeed, culture is dynamic, and it evolved. But it doesn’t evolve into a dull uniform culture. A uni-culture can only be imposed through conquest, repression and sheer fascism. But it can evolve to forma uni-cultural nation through democratic governance, education and influence, or through extensive social re-engineering. Which one would a person be practicing when he claims the right to define the culture of others?

    Historically, I believe there was no difference between the people of Tigray and that of Highland Eritrea in many aspects except the feudal warfare among worlords. And you say, “Historically the Eritrea and Eritreans – also when they were part of the Axumite, Tigrayan/Ethiopian empires-have been resisting the Arabization of the area…”

    What you forget is that a chunk of Eritrea has nothing to do with the Axumite kingdom; super imposing that history of choice on others is a wrong avenue.

    Historically,Arabphobia was introduce into Abyssinia with the likes of Alvarez and the Portuguese. Until then, even the seals of Abyssinian kings carried Arabic inscription. Trade and commerce, cross immigration was all too common. True, the extremism of the Portuguese and the Turks, to expand their respective empires was played a role in instilling Islamophobis (which is currently being manifested in Arabphobi) Remember that Jesuits wanted to rebaptize the the Abyssinian Orthodox, whom they thought were not “christian enoough.” There, many of us know the origin of Arabphobia. We also know that many would not think of the Arab culture and ancestry outside the religious mold. That extreme paranoia has led some to trample on history, human rights, and cultural rights to satiate their thirst for phobic instincts, sometimes trampling on the rights of Eritrean citizens.

    You see Habtom, this ethnocentric narration of “Axumite Kingdom” ancestry, as if the Axumite Kingdom was a race and not a political entity, is at the core of all hegemonic and chauvinist attitude that is preventing a civilized discourse. And your obvious statement, “…the old ELF with the late Osman Saleh Sabbe as the epitomization of “Eritrea is Arab” mentality” encapsulates everything that is wrong with the type of thinking I described above. It is out of the ethno-centric cultivation in Hafash Wddbat that many people cannot let go of that indoctrination, which has manifested itself in the PFDJ that is damaging Eritreans.

    If you delve outside the deformed narration, you would know that Sabbe created the EPLF, secured all its resources and made it stand up. To do this, he had the political acumen to craft his diplomatic campaigns that the crude PFDJ doesn’t understand a fraction of. Of course, seen from the perspective of a narrow ethno-centric group, Sabbe is even worse than Isaias, for his crime of being an assertive man, and the best diplomat Eritrea ever produced.

    I rest assured knowing that no imposition of identity, or historical narration, or racial ancestry can be accepted by the people concerned. Those who keep on imposing their values will only contribute to the fragmentation of the struggle. And I don’t think anyone is in a rush to see any change in Eritrea fearing those kind of heavy-handedness, and on your face arrogance, that might be repeated in the post Isaias era. So, where we do we go with this dead end, one sided prescription?

    • Habtom Yohannes

      Selam Saleh, (I would appreciate it very much if you can put my response either in bold or italics, so that the reader can differentiate easily between the two of us; thank you for the hard work! With all our differences, i appreciate very much what you have been doing! Thank you!!!)

      Thank you for your comment. Allow me to put some
      statements of you under quotation and I will try to respond after each quotation.

      “As much as you responded candidly, I promise to
      do the same.A. Honestly Habtom, I really do not know your core belief–given
      what you state in different mediums. But this last comments really clarifies
      your beliefs. Thank you for that.”

      You contradict yourself. You either don’t know my belief or you “happily”
      take the last bait as my believe; I leave that to you.

      “At the outset, let me state that you have
      displayed all the cultural traits that I do not condone, and I know many who do
      not. Yet, I also understand that your core beliefs as displayed by this last
      comment is not unique to you. Many also share with you in this core belief. And
      as you know, it is easy to categorize those views: who espouses these traits
      and who doesn’t.”

      It is sad but you seem to indulge and enjoy in such kinds shallow
      description of others; especially the Christian highlanders: the settlers, the
      neo-nazi’s, the occupiers, the land-grabbers.

      “Please understand that not all Eritreans agree with your division of Eritreans
      as per the regime’s segmentation. Therefore, let’s start with the premise that
      no one owns the right to unilaterally define Eritreans. A humble recognition of
      the right of other citizens to differ with the segmentation, and not to try to
      impose one’s convictions with the power of the gun, would go a long way towards
      reconciliation.”

      I speak for myself and it would be good if you do the same. We both are
      sheer individuals; so please don’t pull an invisible group of Eritreans behind
      you to make your point. Nobody has elected us to be their representatives. I
      don’t believe in imposition of whatever sort with a gun or a sword. I also
      believe reconciliation does entail more than 14 letters. I would say walk the
      talk in writing and practice. Victimization doesn’t help.

      “Democratic values require us to recognize
      people’s narration of their individual history and their self-expression. Your
      statement of “…late comers to Eritrea,” is unbecoming. Don’t we all
      know that there are others who came to Asmara at the same time with the
      Rashaida, maybe later? Why are the Rashaida alone considered late comers? Don’t
      we have entire neighborhoods that arrived to present Eritrea in the late 19th
      century? Don’t we have people from Tigray, Begemedir, Gojjam, Yemen, and other
      places who settled in Eritrea at the same time with the Rashaida–why pick on the
      Rashaida alone? That I find unfair, undemocratic and it should be avoided in
      our political discourse.”

      You are right. Since I have argued against people who have been saying
      “deki 40”, “deki gele”, it is unfortunate that I have used this term. My
      apologies if I have offended anyone. It was meant as an argument to those who
      want to Arabize the whole Eritrea whose 8 nationalities has nothing to do with
      being Arab than African (and a mixture)…

      “I know many tribes who narrate their history
      and assert that they descend from Arab ancestors: Beni Amer, Saho tribes, Afar
      tribes, a big chunk of Semhar and a few Jeberti. Now who has the right to
      impose a new narration to replace a narration they carried generation after
      generation?”

      I have never denied the right of Saleh Gadi Johar if he tells me that he is
      a black Arab descended from Saturnus. Well and good. That is his right and I
      will respect that and even accommodate him in cultural exchange with his
      ancestors. What I question is his wisdom to impose that on the rest of the
      Eritrean population and sell that in his external diplomacy by telling others
      that Eritrea is an Arab country with descendants from Arab; like what your idol
      Saleh Sabbe was doing.

      “You see Habtom, there is a powerful group that
      espouses ethnocentric views. I am not accusing them for doing it consciously,
      but their upbringing and cultural background has shaped their views and they
      think everyone should think like them and accept their narration and
      classification. And this group has always been the curse of Eritrea, throughout
      its history. Do you think it is difficult to recognize the right of people to
      define themselves, as equal citizens and not appendages to a nation living in
      the peripheries? I think you recognize that right, don’t you?”

      You see Saleh, there are things I value in you but also things I came to
      not value (an understatement). Things that belong into the last category is
      that you talk too much to yourself. Be specific and come up with facts; to use
      Aman’s repertoire from this discussion: avoid bela-below. You have a habit to
      talk about individuals and groups at the same time. If you mean with
      “ethnocentric” the undersigned, then you are dead wrong. You don’t know me. My
      ethnocentrism is critical thinking and that develops every day; whether towards
      religion, politics, culture or what have you. I believe in decentralized
      democratic governance, in secular (not anti-religion) system where the majority
      accommodates the minority (that is for me democracy); from the individual to
      the group. I value a human being as myself since I do want to be treated as I
      treat others. All the other things are secondary. I want to share what I have
      with an atheist, a Muslim, a Christian, an Arab or whatever. But don’t expect
      from me to swallow every propaganda as fact. What you have been doing under the
      mantra of reconciliation and what have you is that you put yourself in the role
      of a victim while trying to impose your view on others. Neither Isaias nor
      people like you can no longer fool me and I hope also not the Eritrean people. Nobody
      can claim that S/he is not influence by his upbringing, culture, religion,
      education or what have you; that is natural. What is natural is when people get
      stuck in old narrations of victimhood. Thanks to the Almighty I try to deal
      with the aforementioned aspects consciously. I am not a victim of them.

      “Indeed, culture is dynamic, and it evolves. But
      it doesn’t evolve into a dull uniform culture. A uni-culture can only be
      imposed through conquest, repression and sheer fascism. But it can evolve to
      form a uni-cultural nation through democratic governance, education and influence,
      or through extensive social re-engineering. Which one would a person be
      practicing when he claims the right to define the culture of others?”

      Here you go again Saleh, you continue to talk to yourself. Where did I
      write that culture evolves to a dull uniform thing? Nowhere! Culture is dynamic
      and it changes across time and space; agents inform the culture (structure) and
      otherwise. I don’t about whom you are talking when you choose the victim-role
      of “you are defining my culture”. When I say Eritrea is not an Arab nation that
      should speak Arab above the language of the 8 language of Eritrea, I am not
      talking about your culture or your narration; I am talking about Eritrea that
      belongs to both of us. I refuse to swallow what I don’t believe for sake of
      fancy appeasement or fancy reconciliation.

      “Historically, I
      believe there was no difference between the people of Tigray and that of
      Highland Eritrea in many aspects except the feudal warfare among wor-lords. And
      you say, “Historically the Eritrea and Eritreans – also when they were
      part of the Axumite, Tigrayan/Ethiopian empires-have been resisting the
      Arabization of the area…”

      What you forget is that a chunk of Eritrea has
      nothing to do with the Axumite kingdom; super imposing that history of choice
      on others is a wrong avenue.”

      It is more than historically by the way. And indeed the feudal warlords
      defended the area against Arabization during the course of history. Eritreans
      did the same during the ELF/EPLF armed struggle. I have already responded to
      the other points.

      “Historically,Arabphobia was introduce into
      Abyssinia with the likes of Alvarez and the Portuguese. Until then, even the
      seals of Abyssinian kings carried Arabic inscription. Trade and commerce, cross
      immigration was all too common. True, the extremism of the Portuguese and the Turks,
      to expand their respective empires, has played a role in instilling
      Islamophobia (which is currently being manifested in Arabphobi) Remember that
      the Jesuits wanted to re-baptize the Abyssinian Orthodox, whom they thought
      were not “Christian enough.” There, many of us know the origin of
      Arabphobia. We also know the many who would not think of the Arab culture and
      ancestry outside the religious mold. That extreme paranoia has led some to
      trample on history, human rights, and cultural rights to satiate their thirst
      for phobic instincts, sometimes trampling on the rights of Eritrean citizens.”

      You are right the Christian empire that was in the area welcomed Islam
      before it reached Mecca when followers of the prophet Mohammed fled persecution
      in Arabia. They even defended them with their life when the persecutors
      demanded extradition. Correct me if I am wrong, the prophet even told his
      followers never to wage Jihad against Ethiopia and Ethiopians (including the
      area now called Eritrea). I don’t to tell you about the devastating war waged
      by Mohammed Giragn and why the son of Vasco da Gamma was sent to Ethiopia to
      help them defend against religious war… So the Arabophobia was created earlier
      than the arrival of the Portugese. And as you know there is no separation of
      politics and religion in Arab countries. Both conflate.

      “You see Habtom,
      this ethnocentric narration of “Axumite Kingdom” ancestry, as if the
      Axumite Kingdom was a race and not a political entity, is at the core of all
      hegemonic and chauvinist attitude that is preventing a civilized discourse. And
      your obvious statement, “…the old ELF with the
      late Osman Saleh Sabbe as the epitomization of “Eritrea is Arab”
      mentality” encapsulates everything that is wrong with the
      type of thinking I described above. It is out of the ethnocentric cultivation
      in Hafash Wddbat that many people cannot let go of that indoctrination, which
      has manifested itself in the PFDJ that is damaging Eritreans.

      If you delve outside the deformed narration, you
      would know that Sabbe created the EPLF, secured all its resources and made it
      stand up. To do this, he had the political acumen, to craft his diplomatic
      campaigns, that the crude PFDJ doesn’t understand a fraction of. Of course,
      seen from the perspective of a narrow ethnocentric group, Sabbe is even worse
      than Isaias, for his crime of being an assertive man, and the best diplomat
      Eritrea ever produced.

      I rest assured knowing that no imposition of identity,
      or historical narration, or racial ancestry can be accepted by the people
      concerned. Those who keep on imposing their values will only contribute to the
      fragmentation of the struggle… and maybe the nation. And I don’t think anyone
      is in a rush to see any change in Eritrea fearing those kind of
      heavy-handedness, and on your face arrogance, that might be repeated in the
      post Isaias era. So, where we do we go with this dead end, one sided,
      prescription?”

      Oh, I was
      shocked; I thought you wrote that “Eritrea is created by Saleh Sabbe”. Please
      give us a break! EPLF is created by Saleh Sabbe? In which text book did you
      find this? The current crisis doesn’t justify any denial of history. It were
      the fighters of the EPLF who succeed to mould a united front with vision that
      led to the independence of Eritrea. And these people, these fighters who came
      out of that old ELF and new recruits of EPLF, unlike the three leaders of the
      old ELF who were running a war of liberation by remote control from Kassala and
      Cairo, fought and died inside Eritrea; not for an Arab nation, but for an
      African nation with Muslism and Christians and atheists in it. Sabbe was an opportunist who abandoned the old
      leadership when he saw their system was not working. Then he wanted to continue
      to his reign with the popular fronts which was impossible. The Axumite Empire
      is passé but something with a reach history for Africa and the world. It is
      mentioned here because of circumstances.

      “I rest
      assured knowing that no imposition of identity, or historical narration, or
      racial ancestry can be accepted by the people concerned. Those who keep on
      imposing their values will only contribute to the fragmentation of the
      struggle… and maybe the nation. And I don’t think anyone is in a rush to see
      any change in Eritrea fearing those kind of heavy-handedness, and on your face
      arrogance, that might be repeated in the post Isaias era. So, where we do we go
      with this dead end, one sided, prescription?”

      I don’t want to talk on behalf of a group of
      people I don’t represent. But since you seem to talk here and in many of your
      writings as the representative of a select group of Eritreans “people concerned”,
      let me tell you that especially the kebessa Eritrea rather perish instead of
      accepting an Arab Eritrean country.

      The Arabization project under the old ELF
      (including Sabbe) has failed miserably and another attempt what we have been
      witnessing under our own eyes will collapse. The kebessa Eritreans have more
      right to call themselves Ethiopians than the “concerned people” you mention to
      call themselves Arabs. Ethiopians see Eritreans as part and parcel of
      themselves; the Arabs not. I hope your are not blind to the barbarity to which
      African migrants, including Muslims, are subjected in Arab countries. Tell them
      you are Arab and then they will laugh at your face will ask you: with which slave
      boat were you transported to Arabia?

      “The fragmentation of the struggle” is caused
      by those who stick to sub-national feelings, ethnocentric myopic view, and
      religion-driven compartmentalization of the Eritrean society. Your writings and
      the Ali-Salim series, amongst others have contributed to what you yourself call
      “the fragmentation of the struggle”. I am afraid the same ELF-old-style failure
      is being repeated before our own eyes. Now I know why many Eritreans prefer to
      either stick with PFDJ or remain silent.

      Any attempt to Arabize Eritrea will end up in
      miserable failure. A large segment of the Eritrean people won’t accept this.
      They will rather fight it together with PFDJ than fight against PFDJ.

      Again thank you for the engagement. Apology for
      any errors; always ready to learn and change.

      • Saleh Johar

        Dear Habtom,
        Your last comment proves yet again that you do not want to accommodate the views of your compatriots if they are different than what you believe. You feel that your narration is the only legitimate one.

        I will not engage you anymore for a few reasons: 1) the divergence is so wide that I do not feel we can advance any further, I believe understanding the basics of issues is a must if we are to move forward, and, 2) I really do not wish to argue but to debate–you didn’t present any original thought of your own that I can debate you on, but kept repeating convictions that many consider the core of our problems, and unless you are willing to entertain the views of others, there is no point. Incidantally, please ask yourself how you fit in the EFND project with such views! If you are going to be worked up every time you or what you perceive as your side is criticized, then you can only argue, not debate over issues of substance, and 3) If I want to read what I wrote, I will read my article again. Your way of debating is arguing by quoting entire articles…try using a link to refer to your reference and people wish to read it, then are not dumb, they can follow the link and read it. Cutting and pasting entire articles is not quoting, it is copying, and 4) I apologize I cannot format your comments for you. If you wish to make parts of your fonts, bold, italic, or underline them, I suggest you spend a few minutes (less than an hour) to learn basic html codes. I am sure this link will help you.
        http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_formatting.asp
        You are welcome.

        Until we meet in a better circumstances, so long

        • Habtom Yohannes

          Merhaba Saleh,

          Thank you again. Some people react as if they are bitten by a snake when they start to lose the debate. Then they start to talk about argumentation, tone and so on. Never mind. Besides accommodation means to some the total acceptance of their opinion by the other side while everything that comes from the other direction is depitcted as imposition. One good thing from this debate is that you have made a U-Turn and start to see EFND not more as a “project of Crusaders”. That is a plus point. I hope you will correct the other misinformation in your article. Good luck.

    • Truth

      SGJ,
      It is better to change the topic and continue dealing with issues related to the common enemy of Eritrea and Eritreans.
      Please,with all due respect,it is better to be cautious and considerate to take into consideration the sensitivity of the issue you and Habtom are debating.
      The issue is NOT about wether Eritea and Eritreans are Aarabs or NOT but to fight against the current oppressive regime so that all Eritreans will live in harmony and peace.
      I regret to tell you that your exaggerated focus on the Arabinization of Eritrea and Eritreans and labelling the Higlanders and Christians as this and that on behalf of “your concerned people” is but unconstructive.
      Rather than trying to heal the wound,you keep injuring the partially healed wound.
      I know your concerned “people” will support you and your struggle but the majority of Eritreans will NOT support your divisive and dangerous Religion based Political Struggle.
      This is NOT specualtion or assumption but based on the records for the last 13 yrs or so.
      You claim that you stand for Reconciliation but you are doing the exact Opposite of your claim.
      Most people are confused about what you are doing.
      It is better to focus o “Solutions ” rather than exaggerating and focusing on problems.But by what you are doing,you are merely aggravating the already existing problems–adding fuel to the fire,as they say!!
      Very sad,indeed…
      This is my opinion.but based on my observation as well.

    • tafla

      “I know many tribes who narrate their
      history and assert that they descend from Arab ancestors: Beni Amer, Saho
      tribes, Afar tribes, a big chunk of Semhar and a few Jeberti. Now who has the
      right to impose a new narration to replace a narration they carried generation
      after generation?”


      So challenging a myth with facts is considered ethnocentric?

      Why is it okay for you to insult and demean
      an entire segment of the Eritrean society with comments such as these?

      “You see Habtom, there is a powerful group that espouses ethnocentric views. I am not accusing them for doing it consciously, but their upbringing and cultural background has shaped their views and they think everyone should think like them and accept their narration and classification. And this group has always been the curse of Eritrea, throughout its history.”

      Are we talking about Andnet again?

      Someone that espouses the idea of Arabic as
      a human right and fights for the unity of Muslims against the “chauvinists”
      should not have a hard time to understand that Eritrean highlanders (the
      christians among them) chose unity with their kin in Tigray (which historically
      are the same people). I can NEVER DEFEND the atrocities committed by Christian Eritrean members of the ANDNET party or Christian Eritrean COMANDIS on Muslim Eritreans.

      Having said that, If the question in those days had been Unity with Sudan or Ethiopia? I’m sure the Bevin-Sforza plan would have been implemented. The main reason for “Al-rabita Islamiya” to reject division was not more Nationalism, but concern for the muslim highlanders. This is all history and the 30 years armed struggle brought us all segments together for a united Independent Eritrea. We may need to study the history of Ghedi (scientifically, not he said, they said bela-below) to learn and not repeat the same misstakes. What you are doing is not the road to reconciliation though, it’s the road to vengeance and sowing the seeds of hatred for future generations to harvest.

      Who are you SaleH Gadi* Johar? are you a lowlander?

      why don’t you let people from the lowlands do their own talking? Why do you think that Eritrean lowlanders and highlanders need an intermediator? they can handle their dialogue by themselves!

      If you are constantly looking back at the Portuguese, then don’t
      forget to mention Gragn’s, the Turks’ and the Arabs’ involvement also. If you
      are going to talk about Yohannes IV’s witch hunt of Muslims , then give us the
      context of the Egyptian invasions and Dervish Sudan’s expansionism.

      Above all, you should make it clear if you think it is the fault of Eritrean christians living today what happened in the 19th century.

      If you insist on painting the the Muslim Tigrinya (Jeberti) as constantly being
      victimized, then tell us also, the role of Jeberti during the Italian and British
      colonialism in Eritrea, no one else prospered as much! How did that happen? Could it
      be that, they played the role of intermediary to get favors? The same intermediary
      role, you are trying to take yourself?

      Some historians expain it this way…” The Moslem trader throve during the first year of the Occupation, the impoverished Christian Abyssinian could only obtain loans or credit by favour of the ARABS (Yemeni) and JEBERTI. Progressively they became more indebted to their Moslem creditors, losing property to them as mortgages were foreclosed. It was for this reason that the Moslem traders were feared, envied and hated.”

      And

      “The Sudanese (who came with the Brits, were viewed
      with contempt), as they were inclined to arrogance, regarding the Christian
      Abyssinians as a conquered race from whom they were entitled to respect as
      conquerors. Whenever the Sudanese and Abyssinians came in contact, there were
      incidents, ranging from minor brawls to serious riots”

      Since you have a political agenda (who doesn’t ?), I don’t expect you to be
      factual and balanced. It’s all about establishing a political narrative to
      appeal to the emotions rather than intellect of unsuspecting readers.

      * A Gadi, also known as qaadi, qaadee, qazi, kazi, quazi, kadi or kadı, is a judge ruling in accordance with Islamic religious law. Mr “Gadi” Put on your “Gabi” and act as an elder who loves all his children (Muslim and Christians) and lead us to brotherly/sisterly love.

  • Hameed

    Dear Habtom,

    I don’t care whether you are a Jewish or other sect, but what I care about is you have to respect my choice if you have the wish to live in one country in peace. I would like to remind you, don’t transgress your border of freedom to the freedoms of others.

    Tigrina language is one of the old dialects of the Arabic language, and any word you borrow from Arabic suits Tigrina that is why the ELF and EPLF introduced many Arabic political words in the Tigrina language without any difficult. When I wrote some words that relates Tigrina to Arabic, I chose words that are related with the body and daily use. For example (prayer = selot = salah), (Creator = fetari = fatir), (star = kokhab = kawkab), (work = sirah = sarah), (cloud = gime = gamah) (field = meda = medan).

    Mr. Habtom, cool down and think like a responsible man of a nation, not like a layman as Isaias and his clique.

    At the end, I would like to remind you I am Hameed Al-Arabi whether you like it or not. Do you have objection to that?

    • Fenomeno

      Dear Habtom and Hameed,

      Interesting discussing you have going on here, however I believe there is lack of understanding each other rather than disagreeing.

      First of all, what makes one an Arab or not? Language, physical appearance, religion? I believe that the DNA evidences are not really relevant to the discussion. Probably based on these we can trace back our origin to just a few “races”. However the current political and cultural situations is not reflected by these DNA classes. For example the Arab league is real and the news can easily refer to Arab countries without confusing the audience.

      Nevertheless I believe that the language link that Hameed is providing is also quite weak. You are providing examples from Tigrinya words that are similar to Arab words. However, why directly assume that Tigrinya/Tigre copied these words from Arabic? I believe there is quite some consensus that all these languages came from the same mother language. Therefore I believe it is not fair to say that Arab could be considered the more pure language. To improve the discussion it would be got to know whether you believe that as well?

      Next to that, it should be understood that the Arabic language in many parts played in an important role in modern Eritrea history (pre and post Italian colony). In many places it might have been the only written language that they used. More importantly it is language of the holy scripture. Therefore telling an Eritrean that he is not Arab could be interpreted as ”you are not a real Muslim”. Off course this is not true, even the Quran makes many specific references to non-Arabs, and that their non Arabness can not hinder them to be Muslim. Hameed would you believe that during the time of the migrations of the first Muslims to Abyssina, the people living in current Eritrea were Arabs?

      Do not understand me wrong. I believe the Arabic language has suffered tremendously under the current regime (and with that its proponents) and that it has an important role in Eritrean society, specifically for Eritrean Muslims. Still I do not see any reason to consider myself or fellow Eritreans as Arabs.

    • dawit

      Dear Hameed;
      You can call yourself what ever name pleases you and nobody will have objection on what you call yourself, but you don’t have control what other’s my refer to you. You may call yourself “Hameed Al-Arabi” may be in Uganda and people will accept it and refer to you as Al-Arabi,, but I am definitely sure people in Saudi Arabia will refer to you as Hameed Al-Habashi to distinguish you from the true Hameed Al- Arabi who is a native Saudi or Yemeni. A true Arab will wipe out you pseudo identity without thinking, even if you speak the Arabic language perfectly. Am I wrong on this one, Hameed? Oh don’t worry to answer it.

    • Crocus

      “Tigrina language is one of the old dialects of the Arabic language, …”

      Are you real? Stubbornness must have a limit. It is as if you checked your rationale at the door. You cannot just wing it. At least you should cite academic authorities that claim that “Tigrina language is one of the old dialects of the Arabic language”. Even when you do not say it explicitly, you are also insinuating that Ge’ez, Tigre, Amharic, Argoba, Gurage, Gafat, Adere are “old dialects of the Arabic language”. I like to think you have heard of these other languages.

      You come across as a person of faith, of the religious kind. Faith does not yield to rationale.

    • Truth

      Dude,
      Ge’ez is older than Arabic.and by default,Tigrigna is older than Arabic.
      Shut it off,ya kezab wahid.
      Eritrea is Eritrea,NOT Arabia and Eritreans are Eritreans/Africans.
      You have every right to go to S.Arabia,Yemen,Libya,Syria,Cairo,Jordan,Iraq,etc–claim your Arabism.

      But do NOT forget that you will be labelled as “Kafir or Slave” if you go there.

      • Hameed Al-Arabi

        Selam Truth;

        I guess I came across the hole you hide inside, that is why you are crying loudly. “Cry my Beloved Country” by the injures caused to you by the leftovers of Ras Alula soldiers.

        The following is a dose may help erase the rust from your mind:

        (severance of the curb/fetter = qeidi betekh = betek qeid), (endow you intellect = Libi yahabka = yahabak lub), (tasty time = tiom zemen = tiom zemen), (black = salim = zalam), (green = khederai = Akhdar), (white = sada = sada), (brown = bunawi = buni), (blue = semawi = semawi), (yellow = bichah = beji)

        Hameed Al-Arabi

        • Kim Hanna

          Selam Mr. Hameed Al-Arabia,
          .
          I was visiting for Thanksgiving Holiday and minding my own business when this gem hit me. I will always remember it. I could not wait to get back home to read some of this revelations.
          .
          Mr. Hameed Al-Arabia, thank you for your definitive statement you made about Tigrinia being a dialect of Arabic language. I did not know that. Do you know though, I had my suspicion of that all my life? Coming from a pure Amhara stock, even as a kid, I hear two Tigr… talking and I pick out the similarities with the neighborhood kiosk owner, who was an Arab. All that struggle in the deep throat was a dead give away. Now, thanks to you, I know for sure that all Tigrinia speakers are Arabs. Holly Moses, what do we do now?
          .
          Thanks Hameed Al-Arabia.
          .
          K.H

          • dawit

            Pure Amara Stock,
            How about Arabic language is a dialect of Tigrigna also Amarigna, Guragigna, Haderigna etc.? So can we conclude Amaras are Arabs by extension of the logic you supported? Since Amharic word for a house is “bet” and Arbic word also “bet” but Tigrigna use “Geza”, then Amaras are Arabs and Tigrigna are not Arabs! What a logic!
            Have a nice Thanksgiving
            P.S. Do not eat Turkey or Ham for your Thanksgiving diner. Those are unclean for a Pure Amara Stock!
            Cheers

  • Hameed

    Dear Habtom,

    You said Osman Saleh Sabbe empitomized “Eritrea is Arab” mentality. Can I ask a question teacher (boss)? What about the Eritrean Muslim League and Ibrahim Sultan?

    • Habtom Yohannes

      Dear Hameed, you are a very good student! Rare students who can give a good answer embedded in their question. I will consider this when rating your final exam. So you see here the different approaches. May I rest my case now. Thank you all for the good discussion. I have learned a lot because of good and honest students like Hameed. See you all!

  • Hameed

    Dear Habtom,

    You are asking question to play the role of a boss in it. Please teacher tell me how much I scored in my test?

  • Hameed

    Dear Habtom;

    In the first place, I didn’t answer to your questions, because I know in advance from experience that you will deny everything I write. After you stressed for my response, I wrote just to test my expectation of you.

    Yes, from the forties of last century we said we are Arabs and our language is Arabic, but we didn’t deny your choice. I think you understand it well that you are the part who are denying our choice, and here lies the problem. If you wish to continue in an endless denial and endeavoring to impose your whims, then as you said there will not be a quick solution for Eritrea, if there is any solution at all.

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear Hameed,

      I don’t see any fruitful conclusion from your points. No matter how we did it, we are now Eritreans; We are not Arabs. Geographically, we are located along the Arab zone. For this, even today Eritrean is an observant member of the Arab Lague. Beyond that, it is just a matter of Academic discourse.

      Hawka
      tes

      • Hameed

        Dear Tefabirhan WR;

        The one who has chosen Eritrea to be an observant member of the Arab League is Isaias and not the Arabs, and as you know Isaias and his clique are not mandated by the Eritrean people to decide about Eritrea. Since, we are Geographically located along the Arab zone, and have many common traits with the Arabs, there is no way except to join and be a full member of the Arab League.

        As far as there are hard-beaten entities with Islam-phobia and Arab-phobia, there will not be a near solution to the Eritrean dilemma. These entities don’t accept Muslims as shareholders in Eritrea and you have a vivid example the EFND doctors. If their doctors are to such an extent of hate of Islam and Muslims, I don’t wonder about the extremism of the laymen and the half-baked minds.

        Anyhow, your withdrawal from your previous stance tells me one thing: confirmation of history. I hope not to be mistaken that I am frustrated by your withdrawal, though your quick fallback poses many questions, of course as usual. Thank you.

        • Tesfabirhan WR

          Dear Hameed,

          Did I call myself as an Arab? What I am saying is there are lots of resemblance. We also have many common things with Ethiopia. My family for example migrated from central Ethiopia (The Bilen). But these facts will not change my status. I am an Eritrean. And to be a member of the Arabic league is not a matter of Identity, it is a political choice. I would better prefer to be a member of IGAD or an AU because of political choices. For economic choice, I would be happy to join the Arab Lague and I see no harm for joining them.

          Dear Hameed, I am not discussing here whether one is Arab or not, I am a proud Eritrean. I am happy also to share many common things with Arab people. I have many great respect for Arabs. I love them. If I want to be a member, it is a matter of my choice not because I am have similarities in language, religion, culture, bla bla. If it was like that I could have joined Ethiopia.

          I took the scientific dimension and I appreciated your take. I thought that you are geniounly discussing the historical ties of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Djibouti, Syria, etc. I appreciate that. Beyond, I didn’t express my political view on this regard. My political stance is very clear: I am an Eritrean. I am not Arab, Asian, Jew, Aryan or like that. I am pure Eritrean. Can you take away my identity now.

          If I join Arabic league it will be my choice and I see no harm to join as far as I am an Eritrean. I will not join as an Arab, but as an Eritrean. I thank the Arab countries for helping us in making our country. But now, I will sell it.

          Hope you got my political gest.

          Huka
          tes

          • dawit

            Dear tes,
            What proof do you have that the Bilen migrated from central Ethiopia except ‘bela below’ oral stories? Can that be reversed, that people from Bilen in Eritrea, migrated to central Ethiopia. If one look the climate, soil fertility, conditions and topography of the two regions, I would argue that people migrate from more hostile region prone to recurrent drought the Sahlean zone to a better climatic zones due to population pressure etc. I doubt people migrate from a better climate to harsher climate, unless they are driven out by act of war, like being deported by those group with power. Therefore I believe Bilen people migrated south to central highlands of Ethiopia and not the reverse.
            Huka,
            dawit

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear dawit,

            There is a proof that the recent Blin people who are living in today’s Eritrea immigrated from Ethiopia. It is not in fact a long history. But your point can be viewed from the very history of these people. Who are these Blin people?

            For your information first: the people are called Blin and the language they speak is called Bilen. Just a tip for you.

            To come back to your point, in 2011, I was discussing about these subject with an Eritrean journalist, Zekarias Gerima. In addition to his journalism work, he is a historian. He gave me lots of proofs that first Blin people were original settlers of the highland of Eritrea. They have lots of footprints to proof about this theory. These people had strong ties with Ancient Egyotian civilization. And because of reasons that I can’t remember now, they left their land and emmigrated to central Ethiopia. There after constant assimilation and adoption of the local language, they sustain strongly and were able to form a strong civilization and kingdom.

            Second tip: Blin people belong to Kushitic group and Ancient Egyptians were also of Kushitic people. This makes the said point above strong.

            After they had a very golden time in central Ethiopia, their kingdom was defeated and forced to return to their original place, the highlands of Eritrea. Even they were able to settle well in the highlands because of constant Abyssinnian king attack. Hence, they finally got a safe place in their today’s land. But, many families of Blin people are still living in the highlands starting from Adikuala, then Dubarwa, Himbirti, vicinity of Asmara, and Adi-Tekelezan.

            Another point also, before they migrated to today’s Ethiopia, Bilen was not their language. Probably, it could be Tigrigna or Ge’ez. They adopted Bilen only after they settled in Ethiopia.

            This is what I heard. For better information, you can visit a facebook page to learn more about Blin people and Bilen language. I am just sharing what I heard and I didn’t read so much upto this date.

            I recommend you to visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/167019546689718/

            and http://www.debari.org for more information.

            hawka
            tes

          • Abinet

            Tes
            Don’t make it unnecessary complicated. If I understood you correctly , the Blin people did not originate in Ethiopia. They were in eritrea before they come to ethiopia. According to your theory , they went back to eritrea after their kingdom was defeated.
            How is your theory different from that of dawit’s ?

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Abinet,

            I don’t care who is who as far he choses who to be. I just shared what I heard and it is not my theory. If the rule of law allows, let even the demons be citizens of Eritrea. Today, there is a demon in Eritrea, you better know that but there is no rule of law that allowed him to stay there. Demons can reside in our body if we allow them and if we don’t they can not. In fact, PFDJ and PFDJ supporters are allowing a demon to live inside their life by allowing him to ruling them. Can you read what I am saying? I think you are getting old that is why you are always messed up with my sentences.

            Therefore, my stance is very clear. Unless it is for academic exercise, I don’t give a damn shit on race and origin. All I care is about humanity.

            We human beings, regardless of our race, color, origin, nationality, what so ever it is, we need humanity. I love Ethiopians as much as I love Eritreans. I love the Americans as much I love the Chinese. Yet, I am who I am. I was born as a human being and now I have chosen to be like that. If I have chosen, I could have changed even into animal, a blood sucker. This later choice is what Issaias Afewerki, the dictator has chosen. He has changed into a vampire and he is drinking blood of innocent human being.

            This is my politics. To fight for human dignity. And I fight for the respect of the environment because this is where I live. Unless I respect the environement, unless I treat human being as a dignity, I can not say that I am human being. I don’t want to live by killing the gift of nature.

            Dear Abinet, I see you as human being not as an Ethiopian. And I respect you and I embrasse you when you tell me who you are. Beyond, I will not ask you who you are or I will not go to check who you are. And if you want to be an Eritrean, you are welcome. Just don’t force me to be an Ethiopian or like what Hameed is doing, enforcing me to be an Arab. I have chosen to be an Eritrean and I am an Eritrean. If I do research to know further who I am, it is only I want to know myself deeply. Else, it is nothing and meaningless.

            This is my philosophy and this is my way and this for what I am fighting for. My fighting philosophy is very simple, respecting Hman being and the environment in which we live.

            Dear Abinet, had I didn’t know how to love myself, I couldn’t have loved my people. Had I didn’t love my people, I couldn’t have loved human being. The same as I love myself, I love you too. This is my way. I don’t care who you are and yet I am categorising you in the human being line. I will not do this to blood suckers of course.

            If you know more on who is who and share it to me, I will be happy to know just because I love knowledge.

            I love you Abinet.

            wendimih
            tes

          • Abinet

            Tes nefse
            Wondmye Enem ewedhalehu.

          • dawit

            Dear tes;
            Thank you for your tip in the history, the distinction between Blin and Bilen. I dont think it matters that much, as long as we understand each other, (Tometo or Tomato).
            On the history of the Blin people, I have heard that they came from Isreal acompaning Menelik the son of King Solomon. The legend has it that King Solomon of Israel had a son from the Queen of Sheba,after she visited the King which gave to a son at River Mai Bela, in Asmara . When herson Menelik was 21 years his mother sent him to Isreal to meet his father King Solomon. Solmon was pleased with his first born son and wanted to pass his kingdom to Menelik , but the elders of Israel didn’t like the idea and requested Solomon to send him back to his mother. Solomon regreatbly accepted the idea, but he asked his people that if he is forced to send away his first born son, then all the people of israel had to send their first born sons to acompany his son. to his mother land Saba.From the twelve tribes of Israel 1000 first born sons were choosen to acompany Menelik and those Israelites became the ancestors of the Bilen! Based on this legend the kingdom of Sheba (Saba) must have been located in todays’ Eritrea! .
            Huka
            dawit

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            dear dawit,

            Thank you. As I said, I don’t have much information. And I think unless it is for academic exercise, talking who is who does not any difference on the reality of Eritrean people. I wish more research to be done in this area. Let anthropologists, socilogists and historians deal with this. For us, it is just a matter of knowldge.

            I am done with this. Thank you for adding some dimension to my basket.

            ++ Just to share some of my feelings and beliefs on who is who

            Thinking Eritrea as a country and thinking Eritrea as origin is different for me. I can be a French citizen or American while my origin is Eritrean. Or the vise versa. Nationality is a matter of choice while origin is not. My and hence my nationality is not defined on my origin.

            You see dawit, I laugh always when I see Eritrean Americans debating on the nationality matter while they have American nationaility. I laugh when I see people having other nationalities condemn the rights of others to have the same chance. Personally, I will welcome from all over the world if they want Eritrean citizenship. The world has accepted us and we have to accept or we need to host those who want us. And if the same person wants to start his family tree as an Eritrean, let him/her do that. It is a choice. And this is what I am fighting for.

            The PFDJ government is now issuing ID cards. ID card under the PFDJ regime has been corrupted its meaning. Before issuing ID cards, there must be a law. I appreciate the 1952 Eritrean Constitution for its clarity on this issue. PFDJ junta should stop dividing the people. Before issuing any ID cards, he must get rid of the Eritrean issue and the people will chose his own National Identity. If they are issuing PFDJ supporters ID card, well and good. Let them do. No objection for that. Else, they are dividing the people and this be worst in the Eritrean history. And be remembered as a black history, even worse than that of the British administration. Hailessilassie never did this and Derg too. I wonder when Hailessilassie and Derg were forcing us to have their ID card and to be united with Ethiopia while PFDJ is dividing us and rejecting Eritreans to be Eritreans.

            If we had a government, the government could have offered the national ID card and PFDJ his membership ID card. It could be fine. I agree with you when you fight for the government. The thing is, you are fighting for the non’existent government. I could not have cared about the existence of PFDJ if Eritrea was having its own government. I could have supported you 100% in the way you are defending had we had the so called Eritrean Government. Now, we don’t have. I am fighting to have a government, and you are trying to fight for the continution of non-existent government.

            Frankly, I read many of your comments and I can conclude that you don’t support PFDJ rule but the Eritrean government. And the government does not exist. Wake-up and join us to form a strong government and we will defend our government together. Now, let’s get rid of the PFDJ junta. He is a rotten system.

            Dear dawit, lets have a country that is ruled by law.

            With all Love
            Hawka
            tes

          • dawit

            Dear TES
            I appreciate your kind response on the origin of Blin in Eritrea. However you changed the subject and you drag PFDJ into the discussion. As you may followed my writing or my thesis is is “all Eritrean Nationalities are natives to the land that we call today Eritrea”. The stories who came from where or when are simply fictions that some one created without any historical proof. Just because we have few words in common with other, it is not necessarily we came from them or vise versa. We simply do not have a solid written history to dwell on those oral histories whose origins are not well known.
            On the Eritrean ID it was issued before PFDJ came into existence. It was issued by EPLF prior to referendum to make sure Eritreans cast their vote on the question of forming an independent nation Eritrea. The referendum revealed 99.99% supported it and Eritrea formed its new government. EFDJ is a creation of the new government that include the former EPLF fighters and the rest of the population who wanted to join the political party. The party also issue its members ID as members of EFDJ in addition to the national ID for all Eritreans.
            Now you claim there is no Eritrean government. I beg to differ on that, there is definitely an Eritrean government representing the country in all international organizations, including UN and AU etc. We have embassies in several countries. You may deny its existence but I do. If there is no Eritrean government, why are you preaching her to change something that does not exist? Personally I support the young Eritrean government lead by PFDJ. In the last few years they have done a miracle sustained a government, maintaining peace in the country and initiating development projects in Education, Agriculture, Health and National Defense, under external pressures that are trying to destroy Eritrea as an Independent nation.
            I wish you open your eyes and mind to see where Eritrea was and what it has achieved in two decades, a country that was subjected to colonial oppressions for centuries, a nation that was divided by religions and tribal divisions. I may differ in few of the government internal policies, but overall I am happy with the way things are progressing in the country..
            Huka
            dawit

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear dawit,

            I agree that there is the so called a “government”. But, is there is rule of law that the government is abided with? I am not denying that there is a government structure and offices assigned to run daily activities; But, let’s think the responsibility? The rule of law? Responsibility? And power? Can we say that we have a government?

            I can agree if you say PFDJ is acting like a government. And if your answer is “YES” Then I will ask you again, “by what standrads and rules”? I will patiently wait for you response.

            And the reason I induldged into this subject matter is because I am here not discuss about the origin of Eritreans. Eritreans are Eritreans. I wish we had a responsible government.

            Huka
            tes

          • dawit

            Dear TES;
            Yes PFDJ is the government and by African Standard “We are # 1”. There is no active killing or genocide going in other places Ethiopia Gambela, Ogaden, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan, Mali, Chad, Congo, Egypt, Libya etc. Those who want to work and defend the country are staying at home and perform their duties in a peaceful country. And those who do not want they leave the country crossing the “Shoot to kill” borders. Certainly it is not yet with the standard of France, Britain, Switzerland, USA or Canada that took centuries to reach there. Given time Eritrea will be there in a very short period that the rest reached. What Eritrea need today is not change of a government but strengthening the government we have. There is a law and order in the country, otherwise there would have been anarchy like you see in Somalia today. Eritrea is a country that is standing on its two feet and walking slowly, as baby its strides may not be large, but given time it will run faster, especially if all those in opposition camps stop whining and help their country and people for progress, instead of throwing obstacles on the road by collaborating with enemies of Eritrea’s independence. Can you imagine tes, if people like you and me stop arguing in the internet and instead we spend our time looking for ideas that help Eritrea by accepting we have today instead of dreaming what we might have tomorrow?.
            Huka
            dawit

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear dawit,

            Ok good, I will not be suprised if you repeat what DIA said. Let’s move to the otehr part.

            I can assure you from my experience till 2012, I didn’t heard mass civilian killing done by PFDJ. But, there were mass arrest and mass exodus. I can assure you that there is not civil war but there is some rare clashes between millitaries and armed opposition groups. I have missed my collegeaue for that while he was working with a mining company in Zara anw on his way back home Habero. I can assure you that there is mass dissatisfaction and economic breakdown in every single family. I can assure you that families are left empty while their children were left.

            I can assure you that people defended and even struggled the hardships for longtime. But when they could not resist slavery, thanks to your testimony, they risked their life even by breaking “the shot to kill policy”. (You know, I love you actually as you are courageous enough to speak for the truth that you know.). We don’t have ethnicity or tribal problems actually inside Eritrea (I am not sure outside) and thanks no single Civil Eritrean is standing against other civil Eritrean and hence no conditions like Somalia, Ogaden, bla bla. But, I can sense on the possibility by observing the “divide and rule policy” of PFDJ.

            But, you said, “Certainly it is not yet with the standard of France, Britain, Switzerland, USA or Canada that took centuries to reach there.” You are right. But, is there any conducive nevironment to live as we can? Eritreans were better during the Italian regime upto the early days of 1960s. And later, from 1991-1198, we were somehow growing faster. Then what we are doing for the last 16 years? It is 16 years, almost a one generation time?

            Don’t blame for the No War-No Peace propaganda. You know how South Korea managed its economic growth while it is in the same situation like that of North Korea. Despite the many challenges still facing ahead, Ethiopia is doing the same as South Korea did and imagine this if it continues for 60 years, the same like South and North Korea situation. India and China are in in No war No peace situtaion and the same India and Pakistan. Israle is worse, always at war, but didn”t stop there. It has transformed from a non-existent country into a leading developed country (don’t tell me all Jews have big companies in whole of the world, we Eritreans are equally potential) you have any news about Eritrean investors in South Sudan, Uganda, Angola etc? Don’t make any excuses to cover-up. Eritrean investors could have financed any war when ever it is necessary to protect their country, the sale as the Israeli people are doing. PFDJ can not be the only responsible force for the No Ware-No Peace situation. In reality, PFDJ was supposed to be part of the society on national issues not over the society.

            You wrote, “There is a law and order in the country, otherwise there would have been anarchy like you see in Somalia today.” Yes I agree with you. But what is the law and order that exist in Eritrea? Is it rule of law?

            There is a law and the law is military law. There is an order and the order is a dictatorial and military order. Military law supported by dictatorial order makes the country free of anarchy and the country is at peace. But there are two types of Peace: (1) Positive peace and (2) negative peace. In Eritrea we have anegative peace. Negative peace exists always because of exessive dictatorship and order. It is just like putting someone in a single celled prison and allow him to speak whatever he wants while there is no one to listen.

            You put, “Eritrea is a country that is standing on its two feet and walking slowly, as baby its strides may not be large..;” I wish she is. But you forgot, there is no child who reached 18 years. Eritrea is 23 years old, a supposed grown country. Forget, akayda Gobye ‘don’t be a puppet, use your common sense).

            Therfore, dear dawit, come and open your mind. We love you and we don’t want you to live in darkness.

            huka
            tes

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            dear dawit,

            I want to comment separately on your last section. Your call on people to stop arguing instead to use our time for looking ideas.

            Let me share with you what I put in my diary, about ideas. http://tesredie.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/wild-coctus-fruit-በለስ-as-a-potential-econmy/

            We have thousands of ideas and equally thousands of blocks to implement it. Ideas are the engine of enrepreneurship and enterpreneurs need a free environement to implement their ideas. Have you ever thought that why rich people escape the country?

            I appreciate your good wishes and that is why I am happy to chat with you. But, good wishes for what and how? Is it by sayinf, zinegese nugusna? You are better than that dawit; Wake-up

            Huka
            tes

  • Hameed

    Dear Dawit;

    Is this from you waw; “you seem excited in your answers, think logical.” Take care you will explode!

    Arrogance speaks, walks, considers itself the center of the world, waw. You claim to be logic while you live the whole of your life fugitive begging, “Mariam tehabkum” in front of the doors of nations. Tell me, do you get people who think logically roaming the world seeking to be protected and granted alms by strangers. I think the Tigrina adage, “Tenbilaliea nebsa kei khedenet ni gogol tekheden”, is applicable to you and your likes. I think you should be the last person to speak about logic. Do you have in your dictionary the word shame?

    This is a homework for you: (deaf = semam = samam), (poor = meskin = meskin), (lice = qumal = qumal)

    • dawit

      Dear Hameed,
      You have taken “Eritrea is an Arab Nation” as a religion and your proof is few words that belong to Eritrean and Arabic languages and came to conclusion. I am saying Eritreans are Eritreans. There is no proof in religion. You just have to accept it as fact in faith. But, You can not force your religion of Arabism on Eritrean people, no matter how many words the languages have in common. Languages adopt various words and expressions overtime from other languages. In recent times we have adopted, telephone, Banana, tomato timatim, Makina, hotel, Bisclita, posta busta, internet, email etc. do not make us Italians or Americans.
      The fact that we are poor today, does not change our Pride in our history. I can proof to you logically and scientifically that we are the origin of all nations. Our Arab cousins not few years ago were driving “Arabia” in Eritrea. When the rest of the world lived in caves, our ancestors were domesticating plants and animals and were building temples to worship God!
      As to the other extra ideas you threw (Bakshish) I prefer not to respond.
      Be proud of your heritage and no need to embellish it with borrowed cultures.

      • Hameed

        Dear Dawit;

        If the case is a few words your argument will be accepted, but when it becomes the whole dictionary you possess in your mind, then it is not simply of borrowing Makina or email. You see, Mr. Dawit, you can deny that you are not Dawit, and no one will stop you from doing that, but to endeavor to impose your ethnocentric knowledge on others is not accepted. You are an Arab who immigrated from Yemen to Tigrai. Around 1880 your grandfather shifted to Eritrea as a soldier with Ras Alula. After the defeat of Atse Yohannes by Immam Al-Mahdi from the Sudan, your grandfather and his colleagues remained in Eritrea. These leftovers soldiers settled in Eritrea and take the names of villages they dwell at. Do you know the reason why they don’t have a common tribe or ethnic name like all the peoples of the region, such as Aromo, Gurage, Afar, Amhara, Tegaru, etc. The reason is very simple: The soldiers of Atse Yohannes are recruited from different parts of Ethiopia; therefore, when they remained in Eritrea they don’t have a common tribal or an ethnic connection among them except the language of the ruling king.

        These leftovers remained known by the names of the villages they dwell at for about hundred years. The time Shabia decided to divide Eritrea into ethnics, they didn’t find an ethnic name for these leftovers; therefore, decided to choose for them the name of the Tegaru language as an ethnic name. It is really a laughable act. These leftovers to cover their big crack, attempted to impose their newly coined ethnic name on the Jebberta, but our Jebberta heroes refused to stain themselves with this comedy. The Tegaru are laughing at Eritreans by this shameful deed of the leftovers.

        All over Eritrea is divided into tribes, except this leftovers who are from different Ethiopian ethnic groups. If these leftovers divulge their real identities the entire Ethiopian nationalities will be represented in Eritrea, instead of ten we will have about fifty ethnic groups. This is main reason that makes them always live in identity-crisis, distrust and fear from all Eritreans.

        Mr. Dawit, I am proud of my tribe, language and my origin, the Arab World. I don’t hide behind a newly coined distorted ethnic name.

        • dawit

          Dear Hameed Al-Habashi sorry I meant to say Hameed-Al-Arabi (my mistake) I don’t know what you are smoking or chewing, what ever it is has given you a unique imaginative power of writing fiction and at same time you are capable of reading what is not written. I don’t care if your ancestors migrated from Yemen or Mars to the present day Eritrea, but my ancestors did not migrate from any where, but they are natives to the land. I can trace at least to four immediate my great-grad parents, who belonged to Tigre ( Mensa), Tigrigna (Hamasen), Bilen and Kunama! nationalities, and I extended that to thousands of years I am sure I have blood relatives from every nationalities in Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia. Therefore your fictional story guessing about my ancestors is invalid. Even if you were right, So What? In Eritrean culture we have a system of accepting and naturalizing newcomers to our societies and they are Eritreans, whether they came as soldiers or refugees forced to leave their and settled in Eritrea, they are Eritreans, with equal rights and privileges of the others in that village. And for Eritreans who left and settled somewhere and if their grand children decide to return to Eritrea, they will be accepted without questions. Think about those recently deported from Ethiopia, they are as good as any Eritrean who remained in their country. And those Eritreans who are crossing the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic ocean, their grand children will be accepted to Eritrea without any question. So you see Hameed Al-Habashi (sorry I did it again, I mean to write Al-Arabi) your borrowed historical fiction does not apply to the great majority of Eritreans, who are secured and comfortable with their origin in Eritrea. So Mr. Hameed Al-Arabi, don’t try to change my heritage, I am very comfortable as Dawit or Dawd – Al- Habashi.
          Yours Dawd Al-Habashi

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Dear Dawit Hubush;

            What I have written is just that your Hubush grandfather was a soldier of Ras Alula. All the Horn of Africa peoples have their tribes which they are proud of, except the Eritrean highlands unique leftovers who take their name after their village. This, Mr. denier, is not a fiction, but a reality known by all Eritreans. For example, those from Asmara they say, “I am from Arbate Asmaraye”, and this applied to all the villages: I am “Gashi-nashimai, Adi Niaminai, Dimbezanai, Tsazigai, etc.” There is no tribe or ethnic name; the reason as I mentioned in my last comment is: they are a cocktail of the Ethiopian nationalities.

            All the real Eritrean tribes who live in the border area are not ashamed of their tribe name; for example, the Afares they call themselves Eritrean Afares and Ethiopian Afares, the Bin Amir also known as Eritrean Bin Amir and Eastern Sudan Ibn Amir, the Habab also known as Eritrean Habab and Sudan Habab, the Eritrean Kunamas also known as Eritrean Kunamas and Ethiopian Kunamas, etc. But this unique leftovers even the border doesn’t connect them, because they are as I said, a cocktail of the Ethiopian nationalities.

            As all Eritreans know well, the name of Eritrea was coined before hundred and twenty years by the Italians. If we look at the Eritrean tribes closely, we find them; they reserved their old names. Before the Italians, they were Bin Amir (Pure Arabic name), today they are Bin Amir and tomorrow will remain too be Bin Amir. The Habab (Pure Arabic Name) were also the same and will remain in the future Habab, etc. Now, let us come to the unique cocktail and ask them what was your name before the Italians? Of course, no answer; what is your name today? We are proud today of the ethnic name Isaias coined for us, and proud about the country name the Italians left for us. Whenever you discuss with them about their backgrounds, they tell you we are just Eritreans and proud of our Eritreanism. We are also Eritreans and proud of our Eritreanism, but we have also a history centuries long, which we are proud of. They have a sever allergy from history, that is why they work hard to erase history and make people like them without history. bye habush. Hameed Al-Arabi

          • dawit

            Dear Hameed Al-Habeshi;
            Your desperate effort to Arabize Eritreans is amazing. As I indicated to you we were Eritreans before the Italian came and we are Eritreans after the colonizers left. Since you like to associate words or phrases with history of people, you claimed your ancestors came from Yemen to Eritrea near Meareb Dam. This is what you wrote as one of your historical proof

            4-” They depend in their living in farming, because their ancestors were living beside the “Meareb Dam” in Yemen leading a farming life. When the “Meareb Dam” collapsed, they immigrated to areas which is applicable for farming. It seems they quickly passed the desert areas of Denkalia and the Red Sea to settle around the “Meareb River” – the same as our immigrating youth are doing nowadays with the deserts of Libya and Sinai to reach their destination. They named the river they got “Meareb”, to remind them their origin “Meareb Dam”. May be at that time, they were dreaming sometime they will return back to their origion.”

            Let see how the above fiction the test of logic. Scientists have studied the center of origin and diversifcation of crops and have identify seven centers in which they listed Ethiopia including Eritrea as one of the centers and your ‘ancestoral’ country Yemen is not include, which means they were not farmers before the Eritrean arrived in Yemen.
            ” Ethiopia -Includes Abyssinia, Eritrea, and part of Somaliland. 38 species listed; rich in wheat and barley. Grains and Legumes: Abyssinian hard wheat, poulard wheat, emmer, Polish wheat, barley, grain sorghum, pearl millet, African millet, cowpea, flax, teff
            Miscellaneous: sesame, castor bean, garden cress, coffee, okra, myrrh, indigo.”
            Let think another natural disaster that make people migrate to a differt region than just a destruction of a single dam. Drougt is one of those calamities that force population to migrate, even today. Let assume there was a severe drought that happened several thousands years ago, one of which recorded in the Bible is the drought that took place during the time Joseph lived in Egypt, when the River Nile dried because of drought in Abyssinian Highlands. So people or Eritreans that lived arround river Mereb migrated to Yemen with their crops and animals and setteled near a river and they named the river after the river in theeir land ‘Mereb’ and build a dam to start irrigation farming, because their experience with drougt they wanted to mitigate its effect by building dams and started irrigation farming.. Lived there for several years and the tragedy occured earth quake or some thing else heavy flood, destroyed their ‘Mareb Dam” and some of the farmers returned to Eritrea when after the destruction of the “Meareb Dam”. That may be when your ancestor came back to Eritrea and settled near Mereb river again. So you see your gradfather told you part of your history, he forgot to tell you that your ancestors initial migration from Eritrea.
            Since you like to associate words with history,how about this one. I am sure you have heard or read the story of Queen of Sheba (Saba) which is recorded also in the bible and oral history in the region. Can we associate the word Saba with River AnSaba. Since modern historians have difficulty locating exactly where the ancient Kingdom of Saba is located, can we coclude it was located in Modern day Eritrea. Can we immagine that An-Saba is shorten word for Adi Saba, therfore the ancient kingdom of Saba was located arround the River An-Saba. After all we have a legend that claim the Queen of Saba, gave her birth to her first son Menelik near ” Mai Bela “,the river that runs through Asmara.
            If your story of “Mearb Dam” and ‘Mereb River’ can servive the logic of history of population movement, I belive Ansaba, Ad-Saba is a plausible story. Cheers!My friend Hameed Al-Habashi (Al-Arabi or Al- Yemeni)

          • Abinet

            FYI
            One of the best gene banks in the world is in Ethiopia.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Dear Dawit habushi;

            I understand well why you are rushing to science. Believe me, you do that desperate toil
            hoping to discover something which may cover the identity-crisis crack which you suffer from. Unfortunately, the way you handle to solve your identity-crisis
            will just lead you to a dead-end and more (hafit حافيط).

            You said; “we were Eritreans before the Italian came and we are Eritreans after the
            colonizers left.” As I said in my past comments, you hold with all your teeth
            and claws to the names of land. I asked you what was your name before the
            Italians coined the name Eritrea in about the year 1890? You don’t have an
            answer; but if I asked the same question a Jebberti compatriot, he will answer
            me proudly, my name was Jebberti, today Jebberti, and in the future will remain
            Jebberti; this goes on with all the Eritreans except with the leftovers
            (cocktail of the Ethiopian nationalities) who label themselves with the names
            of villages. They always glue or cement themselves to the names of land,
            because in some phase of history they have lost their roots. The real Eritreans
            have no problem with these leftovers to name themselves with villages they live
            at, but they should be decent, democrats and respect the choice of the real
            Eritreans.

            I noticed in your comments, you reverse ideas so as to get a way out (meshlokhi) to hide
            yourself. I said in my previous comments, the Tigrina language speakers
            immigrated to east Africa after the fall of the “Meabreb Dam” in Yemen, and
            settled and given the river they first found in East Africa to “Meareb River”
            as a good omen, and reminder of their origin that they left behind them. The “River
            Ansaba” may also be named after Queen Saba of Yemen, but you know, Mr.
            leftover, what is the difference between you and those who live around “River
            Ansaba”? Those who live on the banks of River Ansaba do not deny their immigration from the Arabian Peninsula, but you do. Good Bye habushi

            Hameed
            Al-Arabi

          • dawit

            Dear Hameed Al-Habushi.
            Don’t be annoyed when I referred to Al-Habushi, I just wanted to distinguish you from my good Hameed from Yemen that I gave the adjective Al-Arabi, who is from the Arabian Peninsula and you from Horn of Africa.
            About the name ‘Eritrea’ you claimed was coined by Italians, that shows your shallow knowledge of history. The name was first adopted by the Greeks, long before Roman Empire was built. The name Eritrea is an ancient name of the recent English name for Red Sea. Therefore before the Italian showed up in our shore, we were Eritreans, and the Italian simply adopted our ancient name ‘Eritrea’, to their new colony. Therefore Brother Hameed we were Eritreans, the people that lived along the Eritrean Sea, long before the Italian showed up and we are still Eritreans after they left and we will remain Eritreans till the end of this world.
            About the Queen of Saba, Yemen can claim it by naming a town or a newspaper Saba, but there is logic that a women Queen had emerged in such a conservative and backward culture in Yemen or the Arabian Peninsula. Therefore the Queen of Saba was the Queen of Adi Saba in Eritrea and her name was Sofia which means ‘wisdom’, and she ruled the Horn of Africa from her capital the ancient city of Keren!
            Cheers!

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Dear Dawit Al-Habushi;

            I know, Habushi, the Red Sea from Bab Al-Mandeb to Suez Canal to Sinai Peninsula in Egypt is called “Red Sea”, and on the two banks, the east and west coasts, there are eight countries; this means the Red Sea belongs to all these countries. All these countries are Arab countries. The question is how Eritrea alone became a unique none Arab country, of course, according to the mentalities of the leftovers?

            The Greeks named the Red Sea “Erythra Thalassa, and Latin “Sinus Arabicus”, which means the Gulf of Arab. I understand the history you own is that of the colonizers history, and colonizers write history according to their interests. I know they taught you about the Greek name of the Red Sea that matches their interests, and discarded the Latin name. I ask you a question Mr. Jack of all trades; if you were KINGS and QUEENS and the center of civilization of the world at that distant time, why do you allow the Greeks come and distribute to you names? This proves your void arrogance and deadly ignorance. The Greeks came and named the Sea, and Italians came in 1890 and gave the name of the sea with some improvements of the two words to the piece of land which is called today Eritrea. Again I ask you the same question which I asked you in my previous comments: What was your name before this Italian name? As usual, you don’t have an answer to this question. If I asked the same question to a compatriot from Mensaa, he will answer, I was Mensaai before the Italians and I am a Mensaai after the Italians and Mensaai today. The same answer I will get from all Eritreans, except the leftovers of Ras Alula soldiers. I am sure if you get a village named Clay (Chiqa), you will name yourself “Chiqa” and tell people arrogantly I am Chiqa yesterday, and I am Chiqa today, and I am Chiqa tomorrow. You are ” Cheqa fi Chiqa” Habushi. Bye Habushi.
            Hameed Al-Arabi

          • dawit

            Hameed Al-Habashi
            You may have to hold live electric wire if your anger continued before you convice Eritreans as Arabs! I told you the name of Eritrea before the Italians was Eritrea. In Amharic people like we say ‘Eyebedhot Tankelafalech’.
            May be you are ignorant of the Bible,the oldest book recording history from Adam and Eve time. In my Bible there is no Arabian Sea or Red Sea, it is recorded as ‘Bahre Eritria’ or Eritrean Sea. All your effort to convince Eritreans as Arabs is to change the Eritrean Sea into “Arab Sea” and you find it difficult to sell it.. With Adulis port,we Eritreans were trading with Greeks, Roman and Persians,,when your ansestors Arabs were living in caves and worshiping stones. Thanks to Eritrean traders that revealed the idea of worshiping one God to Arabian Peninsula.
            Chaw Hameed Al-Abed

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Dear Dawit;

            All the three late religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam descended from Heaven in nowadays known as the Arab World. All the messengers of God Noah, Abraham, Solomon, Jacob, ect. are also lived in today Arab World. I didn’t hear a messenger from God to the newly baptized Tigrina ethnic group. Bye Habushi.

            Hameed Al-Arabi

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Habtom,

    Cool down, I think you need to redefine your methodology. What I see here is not reconcilatory but an outrage of your deep feelings. We need to extniguish your anger.

    Hawka
    tes

    • Habtom Yohannes

      Tesfabirhan WR,

      Please don’t confuse my direct and none-appeasing approach with anger. I hate anger and I am not driven by anger; otherwise I would have written “Islamists/Jihadists branding others Crusaders”. So please go and extinguish the “rage” of others. Appeasement is the deadliest reconciliation what man can wish for his… Appeasement doesn’t take others seriously. What do you mean with “you need to redefine your methodology”? Please define this for me. Don’t worry I won’t be part of this “retaliation of losers” saga. So in case I don’t reply or engage, it is not because I don’t take you or others serious but it is because of other pressing issues and tasks. Thank you.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Habtom,

    It is good that you sourced exactly from what I got the conclusion. I was safe in this regard and what I put is very clear and you put it as it is.

    Dear Habtom, personally, I don’t care whether I am an Arab or a Jew or an Aryan or a neger. I am who I am. I am an Eritrean now. This is what it matters for me.

    Your points are very weak scientifically. I repeat, your points are very weak scientifically. I will not trace to religious institutions to identify my identity. My religion is not my identity but my way of life.

    Dear Habtom, I think it will be very safe if we don’t go back to political identity. As Hameed put it in response to dawit, whether the Arabs migrated from Eritrea/Ethiopia or the vise versa, there will be some intersection points. We are all brothers this way or that way. Forget the religion. religion came very late. Christianity, 2000 years ago and Islam 1400 years ago. But as people, we have a long historical and archeological proofs to identify who is who.

    You put some of archeaological findings from Nubia. Still your tracing is very short. One fact will remain still true at the center of our discussion and that is human history is not yet well researched. The more we make research, the more deeper layer of understanding will come.

    The most disappointing discussion here is, we are not able to talk from the wholistic approach. For example, I belong to the Bilen group. And we trace our family back to Agow people. And when we talk about agow people, who are they? Do we have language similarities like that of what Hameed is talking about? We have Kunama people. Does the Kunama language be traced back as that of Hameed’s language link. The same goes with Hidareb, Afar, Nara and Saho.

    Dear Hameed, I agree to the extent that your scientifical proofs can be fine but it is doesn’t describe the whole Eritrean population. You can not act as if you find something new and make a list here. As far as Tigrigna, Tigre and Arab languages belong to the Semetic group, we will have more similarities than their differences.

    Dear Habtom, you have missed the basic essence of who is who and is showing his regret. As you put it, “It is not because we refuse to be “want to be Arabs” like you but it is because we were naïve in joining the struggle. ” I think this statement need to be questioned and I am afraid but what Saleh Gadi Johar clearly put in his concern is valid from this sentence. You might be suffering from FEAR of Arabism. And this is the FEAR of PFDJ. The truth is, “we cannot craft our politics based on FEAR.”

    Hawka
    tes

  • Saleh Johar

    Selam Habtom,
    Putting (smile) in parenthesis doesn’t hide your core belief (please smile)
    But if that is how you prefer to frame it, I will follow you. If you categorize Eritrean culture into “Jihadist” culture and “Crusader” culture, then please define it for me that way. If you believe there is one-Eritrean culture, also please define it for me as such. If you believe we have only an Eritrean culture, please define that. If you know how to define Eritrean culture before there was Eritrean, also define it for me. I have given you so many choices and you can pick any of them Just I want to understand how you define “Eritrean” culture. Is it one, meaning Hade Lbi Hade Hzbi, and in that case what is our culture. If you believe we diverse diverse cultures, then please define the diverse communities and cultural traits. I don’t think I can be more clear than this and I eagerly await your definition.

    Thank you

  • SAEED TSDUWA

    I am just expressing my views here and I am not here to sell. I have never been a supporter of Shabia, not in even in its golden years, but I did support its decision to recognize the Rashaida as an ethnic group. When I said the real true Arabs, I was refereeing to their race and ethnicity as pure Arabs. But having said, the Rashaids do not and can not represent the Arabic language and culture, for a simple reason because its already represented by the Eritreans Muslims. Arabic is not a forging language and Eritrea has families and tribes who trace their origins to Arab descendants and some even trace their root back to the Prophet Mohamed.

    • Hameed

      Dear Tsduwa,

      Mr. Tsduwa, don’t forget what you have said in your last comment; in case you have forgotten it I quote for you from your last comment to remember, ” in fact the only Arabs in the real sense, not the “want to be Arab””. You can explain “only Arabs”, “want to be Arab”.

      I would like to remind you that Shabia didn’t recognize Rashaidah to embrace Arabization, but did that to disintegrate the Eritrean Muslims. Rashaidah is not an ethnic group in Eritrea, but it is only a tribe among the Eritrean tribes. If you visit our neighboring country the Sudan, you will find Rashaidah is considered as a tribe, and the same as in the Arab Gulf States. As far as the intention of Shabia recognition to Rashaida was hostile, I think, their recognition doesn’t deserve warm applause. Moreover, who authorize Shabia to recognize or not an Eritrean? As they say, “bereft of anything doesn’t grant”.

  • Habtom Yohannes

    Selam Hameed,

    Thank you for your reply. I won’t tell you “cool down” since I don’t know what your temperature is.

    A. With all respect, you failed to respond to my question; which was:
    {{Selam Hameed, I won’t dwell on the insults but I have the following questions. Please enlighten me if you will.

    1. You wrote: “in the past – for decades – our only problem was cultural difference (Christian Axumite Culture and Islamic Arabic Culture),” When you say “OUR” whom are you referring? The Blen, The Saho, The Hidareb, The Kunama, the Nara, The Rashaida, The Jeberti, The Tigre, The Afar?

    2. Aside from Rashaida whose culture have evolved and adjusted to the area where they live now, can you tell me in what way the culture of the aforementioned ethnic groups of Eritrea resembles to that of the Arabs? I know some of them share a common religion -while many people forget that there are many Arab christians.”

    Thank you.}}

    B. The only issue you addressed is your allegation of Rashaida as a creation of EPLF/PFDJ…You can’t substantiate this. Don’t forget that the ELF olde and new perceive the Rashaida also as a distinct nationality.

    C. Still have the stamina to enlighten me instead of going back to history. History important but answer my question using the history as you understand it.

    D. Indeed which Arab culture are you referring to? Islam is our religion as is Christianity; but Arab culture? What is the next step? To tell us that we are Arabs?

    Thanks

    • Hameed

      Selam Habtom;

      I believe the questions you ask about, and interested to get an answer from me are not new questions in the Eritrean political arena. Thousands of times I came across such questions, and I know where you are heading before you exhibit what you have in your disposal. This fact you have proved it by your comment above “History of Arabization”. All matured works stopped to function in Eritrea since decades because of the fear of Arabization. Don’t wonder my brother to realize this is happening by the very entity that walks the whole of its life holding on the top of its body “Arabizaion”. I am not going to lecture you about historical puzzles that you may give it a big cross and pay no heed to it. Just, I will speak about facts that covers the whole of your body which you can’t deny. The very head you accumulate inside it the forged history is an Arabic word; for example: (head = ri’essi = ra’as), (eye = aini = ain), (teeth = asnan = asnan), (hair = shogri = shar), (tongue = melhas = malhas), (kidney = kulit = kila), (heart = libi = lub), the list is too long; beside, I refrain to mention you sex organs.

      I am very sorry, Mr. Habtom Yohannes, to inform you that Arabization covers your entire life whether on what you eat or dwell; (house = beit = beit), (food = ekli = akil), (color = hibri = hibir), (book = meshaf = meshaf), (pen = qalam = qalam). To cut it short for you, Mr. Habtom, whether you deny it or not, you are a pure Arab.

      • Hameed

        Dear Habtom;

        Excuse me, Mr. Habtom, I forgot to mention your name which your parents have chosen for you is an Arabic word. Nothing is left in you that is not Arabitized. (endowment = habtom = hibat). You are already Arabatized, you don’t need others to come and Arabatize you. Please, Mr. Habtom, leave the old perceptions and let us move forward. Denying your identity and living in identity-crisis is hurting our nation.

        • Habtom Yohannes

          Selam Hameed, Thank you your message which is not a reply but just beating around the bush to avoid the subject.

          The Netherlands as other nations and people have incorporated various languages from Germany, French and English; but all these doens’t make them Germans, French or English. Your name is Hameed, meaning Prais or Love of God; you are an Eritrean. You are not an Arab, are you? You have an Eritrean culture and within that the culture of your nationality; but I don’t think you are an Arab.

          I have met many Jew people who lay claim on my name in it’s Hebreew variation HaFtom… so it is from which perspective you look at it. I am more than happy to be called هبة الله. But that doesn’t make me or Eritrea an Arab nation or an Arab culture. So please dare to respond to:

          Habtom Yohannes Hameed • a day ago

          Selam Hameed,

          Thank you for your reply. I won’t tell you “cool down” since I don’t know what your temperature is.

          A. With all respect, you failed to respond to my question; which was:
          {{Selam Hameed, I won’t dwell on the insults but I have the following questions. Please enlighten me if you will.

          1. You wrote: “in the past – for decades – our only problem was cultural difference (Christian Axumite Culture and Islamic Arabic Culture),” When you say “OUR” whom are you referring? The Blen, The Saho, The Hidareb, The Kunama, the Nara, The Rashaida, The Jeberti, The Tigre, The Afar?

          2. Aside from Rashaida whose culture have evolved and adjusted to the area where they live now, can you tell me in what way the culture of the aforementioned ethnic groups of Eritrea resembles to that of the Arabs? I know some of them share a common religion -while many people forget that there are many Arab christians.”

          Thank you.}}

          B. The only issue you addressed is your allegation of Rashaida as a creation of EPLF/PFDJ…You can’t substantiate this. Don’t forget that the ELF olde and new perceive the Rashaida also as a distinct nationality.

          C. Still have the stamina to enlighten me instead of going back to history. History important but answer my question using the history as you understand it.

          D. Indeed which Arab culture are you referring to? Islam is our religion as is Christianity; but Arab culture? What is the next step? To tell us that we are Arabs?

          Thanks

          • Saleh Johar

            Selam Habtom,
            1. Could you define present “Eritrean culture”?
            2. Could you also define the same culture before Eritrea was created?
            3. If there was a culture/cultures before Eritrea, how did the new Eritrea accommodate or portray that culture?

            Thank you

          • Asfaha

            Dear Salah 🙂

            Just be happy we are in one column now, opposition. Can we just see the positive side, please! I am still waiting for my citizenship, by the way.

            >From: “Isaac, Tseggai ”

            >Reply-To: meskrem@egroups.com

            >To: “‘meskrem@egroups.com'”

            >CC: “‘dehai@…'”

            >Subject: [meskrem] Re: The fifth columnists of the Ethio-Eritrean conflict

            >part-2

            >Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 11:51:25 -0500

            >

            >Ibrahim,

            >You could have helped your audience to understand what you are trying to

            >convey had you written your piece to educate and inform. You used

            >obscurantism language, and diverted my attention to understand the message

            >you were trying to communicate. By the way, by now it is already understood

            >that the “opposition”, in so far as they matter much of any
            thing, have

            >told

            >the world that they are TRAITORS indeed. They have done what no other

            >opposition group in the history of the world had done – They sided with an

            >enemy who is trying to rape their country. That is a SHAME OF SHAMES and

            >should not be forgiven by any Eritrean worth calling themselves true

            >Eritrean. Accepted laws of citizenship, and nationalism explain their

            >siding

            >with the genocidal Tigray as treasonous.

            >Tseggai Isaac

            >
            How about the one below:
            http://fp.asmarino.com/Comments/October2001/TseggaiIsaac_10_15.asp

            THE
            SAGA OF A GENERAL,

            AND THE ANTICS OF A “LOST SOUL”

            Tseggai Isaac, Ph.D. October
            15, 2001

            Recently we have been introduced to an Eritrean military hero with
            his picture prominently displayed on asmarino.com’s front page. I am
            referring to General Mesfin Hagos. Even though as a military man, the
            General was one of the top Eritrean leaders, in recent days, he has
            behaved in manners that are uncharacteristic of a soldier and a warrior.
            His words betray the wailing of a wasted soldier with a little value
            to the future of the country for which he sacrificed most of his adult
            life. From a military point of view, these are critical days for Eritrea.
            Especially in the last three years, since TPLF’s invasion of Eritrea,
            the Country needed the collective courage and wisdom of ALL of its guardians.
            Those of us who used to be proud of him as a professional soldier are
            now finding ourselves confounded by General Mesfin’s campaigns against
            his former comrades.

            Ideally, professional soldiers are sensitive to their professional motivation.
            They do not forget their duty to their country, their leadership, and
            to their troop’s general welfare. In other words, they have a professional
            duty to be selfless leaders strictly committed to military excellence.
            In order to fulfill the demands of their profession, military men consider
            it beneath their status to be involved in party or sectional politics.
            Sectional politics involving groups, ideologies or non-military professional
            organizations have tendency to degrade political discourse to hostile
            camps. When military leaders embroil themselves on such activities,
            they end up downgrading the honor of their profession

            To the disappointment of those of us who celebrated his past courage
            and military valor as a fighter, General Mesfin Hagos abandoned his
            soldierly duty. His duty was to complete the battle initiated by TPLF;
            stand guard until Eritrean borders are demarcated, and complete the
            mission of reconstruction, which he and his comrades started before
            the war. General Hagos retreated under the pretext of medical treatment.
            He is now advocating insurgency and civil war among Eritreans.

            When the war with Ethiopia started, the propaganda message that accompanied
            TPLF’s aggression was a call for the destruction of the Eritrean Government.
            Specifically, they vowed never to conclude peace with Eritrea unless
            the Government is overthrown. The raw TPLF propaganda was laced with
            personal insult directed at President Issayas Afeworki and those Eritreans
            who “blindly support his dictatorship.” At that time, it seemed no one
            took TPLF’s propaganda seriously. Indeed it should not, nor ever, be
            taken seriously. It was our understanding that the enemy of your country
            starts by expressing hatred of your leaders, and that TPLF’s propaganda
            was to be expected from an enemy known for his treachery and penchant
            for spontaneous acts of wickedness. What was never anticipated among
            the Eritrean masses at home and abroad was that men such as Mesfin Hagos,
            Haile Mekorios, and Haile Woldensie would be converts of TPLF’s cheap
            propaganda. Most telling in this disappointing saga is that a military
            man of the caliber of Mesfin Hagos would lower himself, betray the integrity
            of his military calling to his country, and repeat the very propaganda
            theme that Eritrea’s enemies were preaching. Are we to say that the
            General is a student of TPLF? If we do, doesn’t that debase the military
            honor of all Eritrean soldiers? Is General Mesfin not aware of the magnitude
            of his betrayal not only to his country, but also to the uniform of
            the State of Eritrea? These and many more questions are in the minds
            of those of us listening to every statement that he is feeding the Internet
            and the airwaves.

            General Mesfin’s behavior today is indicative of a soldier who has been
            beguiled by hidden hands. The first indication of the hidden agenda
            is the reason he gave for his departure from Eritrea. He stated that
            he traveled to the West for medical treatment, but the ferocity of his
            repeated messages indicates political motive with vindictive tone. The
            intensity of his campaign against the Eritrean Government is too broad
            to be dismissed as impromptu addendum to a medical trip. Secondly, his
            statement to return home so he can fight his cause from Eritrea give
            me the indication that his trip to the USA must have been to find an
            elevated platform to declare his dissention. It also serves a convenient
            place to persuade those of us in the West to withdraw our support for
            the Eritrean Government and rally behind him as our alternative hero.
            The vast media outlets in the West must have entered in his calculation
            as well as the prospects of garnering support, both financial and political,
            from those dedicated Eritreans who helped sustain the Eritrean economy
            since independence and before. It seems to me that he and his handlers
            behind the scene are hoping that he will succeed in fooling and mobilize
            us to betray the Eritrean Government and refuse to contribute financial
            and political support at this critical juncture of Eritrean survival.
            Thirdly, his declaration of returning home to challenge the Government
            face to face, and then to seem to be heeding to clandestine pleas from
            Eritrea urging him not to return, instead to work to discredit the Eritrean
            Government from abroad, indicates the existence of the hidden hands
            behind the scene. This plea urging him not to return to Asmara also
            seems to be an attempt to protect his credibility and safeguard his
            hero status. His handlers are using the plea to tell us that he was
            willing to return, but was begged by his followers at home (?) to wage
            his silent war from the United States and Europe.

            In all of these indications, General Mesfin Hagos communicates a picture
            of a man who submitted his name and prestige to serve as a Trojan horse
            for incompetent “Eritrean intellectuals and professionals.” This group
            has been laboring to discredit President Issayas Afeworki, for personal
            vendetta and for misguided political ambitions. General Mesifn Hagos,
            a military man with solid fighting experiences behind him, and with
            a grudge to settle against the President fits the bill very well. Particularly,
            a General who has grown restive under the burden of unfulfilled professional
            and economic expectation can be easily bewitched by the promises of
            prominence in a future political arrangements of Eritrea. It is to the
            advantage of his handlers and to the demise of his stellar profession
            that the General also suffers from a balanced sense of rational calculations.
            He should have known that the comrades he left behind in Asmara and
            at the trenches of Eritrea, against whom he is raving and ranting now,
            have done more to the freedom of Eritrea than his handlers. Who are
            these handlers behind the scene?

            Exactly a year ago in October of 2000, a group of Eritreans calling
            themselves “Eritrean Intellectuals” gathered in Berlin, Germany. Their
            intent was to draft a “confidential” letter to be addressed to President
            Issayas Afeworki. Their detractors have refused to identify the group
            as “Eritrean Intellectuals” preferring to call them as The G-15. The
            group’s number has now dwindled to G-13. The G stands for Germany, the
            country that hosted the gathering of 17 signatures of the letter. The
            leading figure in the group is Dr. Bereket Habte Selassie.

            Dr. Bereket is a product of the Haile Selassie educational establishment
            who received his training with the assistance of the late Emperor. When
            Bereket completed his education, he was recruited to Haile Selassie’s
            civil service as a mid-level bureaucrat. Haile Selassie’s investment
            in Bereket’s education was poorly compensated when Bereket proved untrustworthy
            to the regime. He joined the Derg as a midlevel bureaucrat in the short-lived
            administration of General Aman Andom. General Aman, a quintessential
            son of the Eritrean soil was a man of his word; he was born of Eritrean
            parentage, but lived as an Ethiopian and sacrificed his life for his
            belief- his Ethiopianness until he was killed fighting Mengistu Haile
            Mariams thugs. His junior helper, Bereket Habte Selassie escaped the
            fate of General Aman Andom. How is it that many of General Aman’s staff
            were murdered with the General, but Bereket who now claims to have been
            a personal friend of Aman Andom escaped the fate of the General? We
            don’t know; we can only speculate from inference. According to Bereket’s
            own testimonial, he suggests that Aman Andom was killed when Bereket
            was in Asmara on a mission for the Derg. When he heard that Aman has
            been killed, he contacted EPLF cadres in Asmara who escorted him to
            safety in EPLF controlled area. Bereket states in his book that he was
            “warmly received as a ‘lost’ brother come home.”

            What is interesting in Dr. Bereket’s saga is that he is a man who has
            broken bread with the regime of Haile Selassie. Yet, he has proven his
            untrustworthiness to that regime. Subsequently, Bereket joined the Derg.
            His contribution to that murderous regime is inconclusive, even though
            his fidelity to his “friend” Aman Andoms, from my point of view, also
            seems questionable. Until recently, he was one of the groupies of the
            EPLF, a closed circle of Eritrean and non-Eritrean scholars at American
            universities who attracted the superficial attention of the Front. He
            has participated as a leading member of the Constitutional Commission.
            The ambitious Bereket was effectively frozen after the Commission has
            ended its task and in an apparent anger of the superficial respect that
            Front has shown him, he decided to orchestrate unrest and division among
            Eritreans. His betrayal and untrustworthiness is now directed at those
            whom he said have rescued him and sheltered him as a “lost brother come
            home.”

            General Mesfin Hagos is Bereket Habte Selassie’s Trojan Horse. In the
            General’s saga, we are witnessing Dr. Bereket, a self-declared “lost
            soul”, making a final attempt to find his way into the hearts and minds
            of those who never took him seriously nor considered him to be a man
            substantial credibility or trustworthiness. Bereket has chosen a good
            general, a military man who seems to be persistently irrational, and
            pitifully defective in professional judgement. General Mesfin, as a
            professional soldier was a hero. As a politician, he is already proving
            right to his detractors, and critics, like me that he lacks wisdom and
            judgement, and his lack of wisdom and critical judgement has served
            to undermine his stellar military career.

            In the annals of military history, there are certain principles that
            military heroes refuse to violate. They do not degrade their military
            rank by becoming politicians, and much less tools of incompetent politicians.
            A true soldier and a military leader would have to have known better
            than to prostitute his rank by teaming up with men of little principle
            or trustworthiness.

            Tseggai Isaac,contributed
            and has sole responsibility for the content on this page. Comments about
            this article you can contact the writer by e-mail: Tseggai
            Isaac

          • Hameed

            Dear Habtom;
            Already in my last comment I stated for you that you will deny the truth. I have included in my comment the names of your body parts and other names, but as usual you ignored that and tried to relate your name with the Hebrew language. Can you please relate your body parts with the Hebrew language then I will say you are a Jewish. Mr. Habtom, whether you wish it with your whole heart to be an Italian or a German, don’t forget you will remain an Arab who immigrated to Eritrea after the fall of “Meareb Dam”; precisely, you are a Yemeni.

          • Hameed

            Dear Habtom;

            Primarily, I have given you a living fact about the Tigrinia language, which is an old Arabic dialect; secondly, if I visit Yemen one day I will bring you a video that relates directly the Eritrean highlanders with the Yemenis. And now let me come out of the bush and answer your questions which you insisted upon:

            I- When I say “OURS” I mean all Eritreans, and this I think can be understood from the content of the sentences of my comment.

            II- My answer to your second question which says, “can you tell me in what way the culture of the aforementioned ethnic groups of Eritrea resembles to that of the Arabs?”. Yes, I can and with pleasure. These ethnic groups resemble the Arabs in many ways:

            1- In the style of their dressing for both men and women, and the colors of the cloth specially for men is generally white.

            2- The way men are armed: sword, shield, knife and staff.

            3- They resemble them also in the food they eat: porridge (ekalat = akil) and patty; they eat all these with milk.

            4- They bake in “tandur”. There is an adage in Tigre which says; “Min kissar dib tandur filam dib ede”; which roughly means: a piece of bread in the hand is worth than a whole bread inside an oven.

            5- They play using swords when they dance.

            6- They are nomads who herd camels, cows, sheep and goats.

            7- They live in tents.

            8- They mostly live in the semi-desert areas.

            9- They are divided into tribes.

            10- The head of the tribe are called Nazir, Omdah, and Sheikh.

            11- They like and compose poetry; the same as their compatriots in the Arabian Peninsula.

            12- Non-intermixing of men and women even before Islam.

            13- They circumcise males while they are still children even before Islam.

            14- Married men and women are named by their first child; Abu Amnah / Um Amnah or Abu Ali / Um Ali, etc. If you don’t call them by their elder child they will be angry with you, because they consider it that you are not respecting them.

            15- The method they use to make butter from the milk is the same.

            I think this is suffice for a person who looks for reality.

            Now let me come to the Eritrean Christian Highlanders, and list some of the cultures that connects them to the Arabs:

            1- Their traditional dress is typical to that of the Syrians.

            2- They eat “Enjera” with milk and butter the same as the Yemenis and Syrians; besides, porridge.

            3- They live in “Hidmo” which is built by stones for the walls, and wood, clay, and sand for the roof, the same as the Yemenis.

            4- They depend in their living in farming, because their ancestors were living beside the “Meareb Dam” in Yemen leading a farming life. When the “Meareb Dam” collapsed, they immigrated to areas which is applicable for farming. It seems they quickly passed the desert areas of Denkalia and the Red Sea to settle around the “Meareb River” – the same as our immigrating youth are doing nowadays with the deserts of Libya and Sinai to reach their destination. They named the river they got “Meareb”, to remind them their origin “Meareb Dam”. May be at that time, they were dreaming sometime they will return back to their origion.

            5- The geography and climate of Yemen and Syria is almost the same to that of the Eritrean highland. They immigrated from cool climate; therefore, searched and settled in a similar place.

            6- The “Geez” scriptures in Yemen is waiting for Mr. Habtom to visit and witness what his ancestors left there.

            After all this and many more, you want me, Mr. Habtom Yohannes, to live in identity crisis. I think it is enough; we should make a full stop for this farce. We have suffered a lot from your identity crisis.

            Note: All what I mentioned doesn’t include the Islamic religious culture

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Hameed,

            Your points are strong proves and point by point. I think further proofs can also be iterated.

            But both of you are deviating not because of the truth but a matter of preference. If you read Habtoms’s lines, he wants to trace back his origin to that of the Jews people (that is how he tried to trace his name origin). Biblically speaking, what Habtom is saying can be just accepted as it is. The good thing is, both, Islam and Christian followers, trace back their origin to that of the Biblical genesis. Hence, the final converging point will be the same for the entire people who read Quran or the Bible.

            Hameed, your points make a scietific justifications, from social point of view, antropologic point of view, historical, political and historical point of view. Scientifically speaking, your points make more strong points to be researched further.

            But, let’s not forget also the native African people who are still retaining their identity. Kunama and Nara can be well taken in this regard. For Bilen, still it is controversial. I don’t have any idea about Afar people though Saho can be categorized alsmost under the Tigrigna society in many points and on the other hand with that of Afar.

            Tigre and Tgrigna share many aspects, language, religion, culture, tradition and more. Sayig this, we are talking about 80% of the Eritrean population and thereby Hameed’s points deserve great weight.

            Dear Habtom; Eritrea as a country exists for the last 120 years. But, the people, who are living in today’s Eritrea with the exception of Rashaida have thousands of history. In this regard, we need to be clear about Eritrean Identity (the PFDJ claim) and the people’s identity. As a citizen, I may describe myself as an Eritrean, but as a man, by identity is extended much older than Eritrea by itself.

            Hawkum
            tes

          • Hameed

            Dear Tesfabirhan WR;

            Thank you brother Birhan (evidence = birhan = burhan) for your positive comment. As you said the case of our differences require further researches, in order to be enlightened. They say, an ignorant person sometimes performs upon himself what an enemy doesn’t perform upon his enemy. I hope all of us to be free of phobias. I think it is awful to live the whole of our life detainees of phobias. Brother Birhan, you deserve to be given as a gift (dates = temri = tamur). Thank you again for your matured comment.

          • dawit

            Dear Hameed;
            Why do we have to think all Eritreans ancestors must have migrated from somewhere else. Can you reverse the logic that the Yemeni and Syrians migrated from Eritrea? Scientists believe that the origin of man to be in our region and if that is true this idea of Eritrean to have migrated from some other places only help to enhance divisions instead of unity. I believe all Eritreans originated in Eritrea and all other nations immigrated from Eritrea and I have a proof to that argument, even today Eritreans are crossing deserts, oceans to settle somewhere same way that the ancestors of others nations did thousands or millions years ago .
            Cheers!

          • Hameed

            Dear Dawit;

            Even if you reverse the logic, those who immigrated from your side will belong to you. You can’t say I don’t know them. For example, you immigrated to Europe, America or Australia, this immigration will not make you say I don’t belong those who remained in Eritrea, and those who remained in Eritrea can’t deny you. What will be your reply if someone from the Americans requested from you to deny that you are an Eritrean? Eritrean Christian highlanders are denying their connection with the Arab world though history, language, culture and geographical location confirms it. If Eritrean highlanders confine denial of Arabism in themselves will be accepted, but to impose their denial on the Eritrean Muslims is not accepted totally. This is the problem of Eritrea; it is a cultural problem. If all of us accepted the two cultures: the Christian Axumite Culture and Islamic Arabic Culture, then and then only our problem will be solved and live in peace without distrust and fear. It should be clear to all Eritreans that Eritrean highlanders don’t accept to cancel Tigrina language and Eritrean Muslims don’t accept to cancel Arabic language.

            Brother Dawit, how do you want me to contradict what I see in front of me: (count = hiseb = haseb), (hear = simaa = asmaa), (proficient = memhir = mahir), (become skilled = temahar = tamahar), (paper = wereqat = waraqat), (gown = gulbab = jilbab), (trousers = sire = sirwal). After all this and many more, you request from me to cover my eyes and put cotton in my ears. The logic you depend upon to deny Arabism is shameful; say we don’t prefer it as our brother Tefabirhan put it, and confine your preference of choice to yourselves and endeavor to impose it on others by force without their will, full stop. Thank you.

          • dawit

            Waw Brother Hameed you seem excited in your answers, think logical. You brought few similar words from Arabic and connect them to similar words from Tigrigna or Tigre and you conclude these Eritreans originated from Arabian Peninsula and they have to accept their Arabian origins. What I said is that if you reverse your logic the conclusion would have been that the people of the Arabian Peninsula must have originated from Eritrea from their Tigrigna and Tigre ancestors in Eritrea. If we think all the people who live in Eritrea originated in Eritrea, then we don’t have to worry whose ancestor came from or when. Based in your logic pointing to the origin of people by picking few similar words, you can also conclude that Eritreans originated from Italy or British, because there are words adopted from those languages an have become Tigrigna and Tigre words.

            I am not saying you close your eyes or put cotton on your ears, all I am saying is open your mind and think logically. If you think that way, then we don’t have to deny that Arabic or Hebrew languages was derived from the Eritrean languages Tigre, Tigrigna, Bilen, Saho, Kunama etc.I am sure if you look deep in those languages you will find similar words in many cultures around the world, instead of the current belief that Eritrean languages and cultures to have evolved elsewhere and being adopted in Eritrea. What proof you have the similar words you listed were first originated in Arabia and then adopted in Eritrea and not the other way?
            In conclusion we have to accept all the cultures and languages whether they belong to a minority or majority as Eritreans and move forward. They all belong to us as Eritreans.

      • Crocus

        Dear Hameed:

        I am afraid that you are taking a very narrow and myopic view to support your belief that all these words you listed came from Arabic. It is absolutely not true, much as you may be infatuated with Arabs and Arabism. The fact is Arabic is a sub-division of one of the 6 divisions of the Afrisian Super Family of languages. To simplify, Arabic is a sub-division of the Semitic group of languages, and Semitic is one of the 6 divisions of the Afrisian Super family, the others being, Cushitic, (ancient) Egyptian, Berber, Omotic, and Chadic. The super family itself is African. All its branches thrive in Africa, and only Semitic expanded out of Africa proper. Within the Semitic umbrella, there are 18 languages, 12 of which are found only in Ethiopia/Eritrea.

        Needless to say, the super family is a “family,” which means that it has a lineage and history, and a discernible affinity between members of the family. There is no academic institution in the world that says a great grandchild started the lineage. But that is what your thesis tries to have us believe.

        For you to assert the process of Arabization through the words you cherry picked without any mention of the larger family is week and unsupported by the scholarship. I could take every word you relied upon for your argument and tie it to language systems older and more ancient than Arabic, which is known only from the last 2000 years. But that would require pages.

        Perhaps you can brush up on linguistics and do yourself a favor before you step out to make such grandiose and extravagant claims and misinform people. You have every right to your opinion, but not to the facts.

        • Crocus

          One more thing, to add another dimension for an informed discussion, it is a good habit to load on population genetics when you study historical linguistics. It is a second track, and a powerful tool of verification. At the risk of making it all too complex, Y-Chromosome DNA Haplogroups refuted the long-held belief among Arabs that they are a blood type. It turned out that that there is no such thing as “pure Arab”. Saudi Arabia alone harbors no less than nine haplotypes. Y-Chromosome DNA E1b1b, which is believed to have originated on the Ethiopian highlands some 23,000 years ago, is being studied together with the Afrisian Super Family, as the genetic group overlaps the language family.

          Haplotype E1b1b and J account for approximately 85% of Ethiopians and Eritreans. (About 55-60% of Amharas, Oromos, and Tigrigna speakers belong to E1b1b, as do the >80% of Somalis.) The Semitic languages correlate with haplotype J. (About 20% of Ethiopians belong in haplotype J, which is about 30,000 years old and believed to have originated somewhere near what is now Turkey.)

          Population genetics is an interesting and much welcome scientific discipline. For one, it shattered racist dogmas, causing a great consternation among them. Who would have ever thought that the architect of Aryan supremacy, Adolf Hitler, would cluster with Ethiopids? It was announced some 4 years ago that Hitler did not belong to the dominant European haplotypes R and I, but to haplotype E1b1b. He was not the only one. The mad painter Caravaggio, Napoleon Bonaparte, St. Augustine, the Wright Brothers, President Johnson among many other are known to be haplotype E. As 25-35 of the Greeks and the people of the Balkans are haplotype E, Alexander the Great too is argued to be in that group, although there is no test done of him. He is far removed in time to positively identify.

          Check out the link below to see how a Greek adapted a Hitler movie to make fun of his Aryan heritage claims after DNA test of his cousin confirmed his true lineage. About 10% of Germans and Austrians, and more of the Italians cluster in haplotype E.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZVeAAUaD0M

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Crocus,

            I like your argument and your input to the debate. The interplay of genome and history in your argument is fascinating or captivating to expose the “bela-below” argument. Good job and please stay with us to enrich the debate. Very interesting.

          • Hameed

            Dear Amanuel Hidrat;

            I think it is better to draw the expression “bela-below’ from your comment and put in your pocket. I hope you will not force me to respond with expressions that will make you cry and jump like a child.

          • Crocus

            Dear Aman:

            Science is where it is. I always wish our people engaged on emerging studies like many others around the world do. That way we would not bicker amongst ourselves as much. It always frustrates me to see parochial Habeshas arguing over petty matters when science is marching fast and telling us so much about ourselves. Our people have some of the oldest and deepest lineages of humanity. 15% of us are haplotype A (Adam), 140,000 years old. It is a proud heritage to be sure, and the internet is abuzz with this research.

            Because Habeshas speak Semitic languages some writers used to argue, rather erroneously, that Habeshas migrated from Arabia, or outside of the land. This is a fallacy that has now been conclusively refuted by population genetics. It was wrong on two grounds. First the Semitic language group originated in Africa. It did not come from out of Africa. Second, language and ethnicity are not the same thing. Even when they speak Semitic languages, Habeshas are fundamentally Cushitic people. They evolved from the Central Cushitic startum (Agew, Qimant, and Quara, among others). Genes are stable, language can shift. (Habesha kids in America will grow up speaking English. But that does not make them Anglo-Saxons.)

            Obviously, shady groups continue to make it a mission to distort the picture and tell us we came from the Middle East (or we are mixed) and what have you. (They could not stomach the thought they descended from Africans.) Fortunately, all that has been refuted. The Felasha Jews are now the oldest Jewish group. 20% of the Ashkenazie are E1b1b. The science is clear. Interestingly, the long-debated history of Ancient Greece (the Pelasgians, the founders) is getting clearer, as well. Some 20-25% of them are E1b1b. A shared heritage with our people, something that has always been apparent from Greek mythology and literature, is almost certain, even as the details have to be sorted out. If only we could join the dialogue.

            (See also another comment i just posted above in response to Hameed.)

            The following source from Wikepedia, although a bit dense, is a good resource on E1b1b (M-215).

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_E-M215_%28Y-DNA%29

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_haplogroups_of_notable_people#Albert_Einstein

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Crocus,
            Anyone who argue against science is a looser. Anything probed by science is always true. It is only science that could go in to the mystery of the world and bring light to the truth and reality. So brother you have the truth on your side. A wonderful argument. Thank you for the link also.

            Amanuel H.

          • Hameed

            Selam Crocus;

            I kindly request a permission from you to borrow a sentence from your
            introduction of the comment. I am afraid, Mr. Crocus, that you are taking a
            very narrow-minded and sectarian view to support your belief from what you got
            from the printed items. Look Mr. Crocus, I am not speaking about things that is
            23,000 or one million years old that relates you how you developed from a
            monkey to semi-human being; I am arguing about a history not more than two or
            thousand years old; more specifically I am speaking about your existing state
            of affairs now; (peace/hello = selam = salam), (one = hade = ahad), (two = kiltie
            = kilta), (three = seleste = salasa), (four = arbaete = arbah), (five =
            hamushte = khamsa), (six = shudishte = sitah), (seven = shewate = sabah),
            (eight = shomente = samaniyah), (nine = teshate = tesah), (ten = aserte = asharah),
            (twenty = esrah = eshrin), (thirty = selasa = salasun), (hundred = mieti =
            meah). Consider yourself that you come across what is written above for your
            first time; doesn’t this deserve to consider as a new exploration of science?

            I would like to inform you that you thought you are refuting my argument,
            but unfortunately you confirmed for me that you are from the same family of the
            Arabs. Let me quote from your comment just to remind you; “The fact is
            Arabic is a sub-division of one of the 6 divisions of the African Super Family
            of languages.” Isn’t this mean that you are part and parcel of the Arabs?

            Again also you proved your sameness with the Arabs in the following:
            “Within the semantic umbrella, there are 18 languages, 12 of which are
            found only in Ethiopia / Eritrea.” Here also you have highlighted that you
            are under the same semantic umbrella.

            In the new scientific exploration you have applauded for, you have also
            affirmed your sameness with the Arabs. Let me quote the following to refresh
            your memory; “Haplotype E1b1b and J account for … Amharas, Oromos, and
            Tigrina speakers belong to E1b1b, as do the Somalis … Saudi Arabia alone
            harbors E1b1b.”

            Mr. Corcus, you are already Arabized; you don’t need others to come and
            Arabize you. Playing the role of boss and arrogance is hurting our nation.
            Denial of reality led and will continue to lead our people to catastrophe.

          • Crocus

            Hameed:

            You must try to learn and understand first before you dig in your feet. What are you really saying when you repeat yourself by claiming “you are already Arabized”. Do you tell Arabs they are Ethiopianized, or is it just a one way thing for you.

            The point is, before you claim to know what came from what, you must first climb to the root of the tree. The people who speak Semitic languages are a linguistic family. But Arab is a late comer. Many of the words you listed are in ancient Egyptian, and attested over 5,000 years ago. If you knew the real history, it will blow you. The Afrisian Super Family itself is now well accepted to be a kin of the Indo-Eurpean Super family, and two others. (There are 20 Super Families in the world.) Afrisian, Indo European, Ural-Alteic, and Elamo-Dravidian (the 4) are now categorized and researched together. Look for the Nostratic (Our Family) hypothesis, if you caret to know more. This relationship can be demonstrated by way of the type of example that you cherry-picked to tell us we are Arabaized. So, “aneqe” (Amh.) is cognate with “haneqe” (Tig.), and “hang” (Eng.). Once you get to English or German, or Latin, or Greek you have amassed an entire list of cognates. There are 100s of other examples.

            Also the direction of the expansion of the Semitic group is from Africa, where all 6 subdivisions still exist. Only one expanded into Arabia. Unless you are arguing that the direction is from the other side, which no linguist accepts, you cannot claim we are Arabized. (I get the impression that you consider yourself Arab or Arabized. But we disagree.)

            This is why we like science. It is not urban legend.

            Also, do us a favor and tell us what lineages Arabs are? The original Arabs were dark Africans, more like Omani, which by the way are the closest to the Habesha family. The Benu Hasim (the Prophet Mohammed’s clan) were all dark people. Abu Jaffer used to call the Prophet Mohammed Tar Face. (Ask me for citation if you need the source.) But that is before Caucasians from upper Syria, Sassanid Persians from the east trampled Arabia. 800 years of Ottoman Turks, and all those Turkish harems left desert Arabs looking like what they do now. Arabs are late comers. There is a reason why Africa (Ethiopia/Eritrea) hogs >66% of the Semitic languages. These languages had developed in isolation for thousands of years before Arabs came into the picture.

          • Hameed

            Dear Corcus;

            Science also will come at the end of the day and tell you that we are from Adam and Eve; it means one family and not six families which you are happy of it. If you distance your origin too much we may get you to be from other parts of the world and not Eritrea. The majority of the Eritrean highlanders immigrated from Tigrai; they came as soldiers with Ras Alula before hundred years plus and remained in Eritrea after the defeat of Atse Yohannes by the Mahdiya from Sudan. These new comers didn’t embrace Eritreanism that is the reason we always recognize their inclination to Ethiopia. This proves it your indication to Ethiopia in mostly all your comments, aside from the call of Andinet Party “Ethiopia wei mot”. If you go back and read your friend Habtom Yohannes comment you will find what I indicate to says it frankly, “we were naive to join the Eritrean struggle”. I hope the real Eritrean highlanders to join their brothers in the lowland of Eritrea, and get rid of the Ethiopianism mentalities. Eritrea to get free of the present quagmire should depend on its real sons and daughters.

          • Amde

            Dear Crocus,

            You managed to hit so many of my favorite topics in one post, I can’t thank you enough. It was a real pleasure and very well done. It is important for all of us to realize the correct long-term historical context within which we see ourselves and our current situations.

            If anyone has not seen it the original movie the Hitler parody is taken from is superb. It is called “Downfall”, and it is in German, but even with subtitles it was great. I have seen a lot of the Hitler parodies but how I managed to miss this one, I don’t know.

            Thank you again,
            Amde

          • Crocus

            Dear Amde:

            Glad you got something out of it. I too have seen one or two other repurposed versions of the Hitler movie. (I was not aware of what the original movie was called. Thanks for the info.) This one was done by a Greek man. The one or two others I have seen were by Habeshas: one theme was about Ethiopian football, and another about cuisine, kitfo and doro wot etc… It is possible they were combined in one. It has been a while since I watched them.

            Many thanks for your complement. We learn from each other and grow 🙂

  • SAEED TSDUWA

    “The politics of ethnic was first introduced in the politics of Eritrea by Shabia. They have chosen Rashaida” They did not choose the Rashaida to represent the Arabic language and culture, that’s a very misleading.They did recongaized them as an ethnic group. Now, we all agree they Arabs, in fact the only Arabs in the real sense, not the “want to be Arab”

  • Hameed

    The highway road that leads to reconciliation is clear as a daylight even to those who live in the countryside. The Eritrean eilment has seven decades plus which makes it very clear even to the dullest person in Eritrea let alone with personalities with high caliber. Truly, it pains deeply when Dr. holders play the role of (Asha temesilka dirarom wedialom).

    I blame brother Salih Gadi for calling them “crusaders”, because they don’t equal even a small fraction of those crusaders we have learned in history. The Crusaders in history were ruling the world in their time, thus to compare with these entities that lost their compass, I consider it as injustice from bro. Salih Gadi. You could call them “retarded crusaders” for Isaias is more smarter than them; he has played it well and harvested its fruits. I think labeling them with the historical crusaders doesn’t match them.

    If EFNDi is searching for reconciliation the first step to do is to specify the problems that hinder reconciliation; secondly, they have to show cleary their stance from them. To assist them spot our main problems: in the past – for decades – our only problem was cultural difference (Christian Axumite Culture and Islamic Arabic Culture), but now HGDEF added two more problems: the land and participation in the ruling of Eritrea. These are our main problems that block our reconciliation.

    The second step EFNDi has to take is to meet with the Eritrean National Council who has gone a long way in the process of reconciliation; other than this is considered overstepping others and rush to hold power through artfulness already exhausted by Isaias and supporters.

    • Habtom Yohannes

      Selam Hameed, I won’t dwell on the insults but I have the following questions. Please enlighten me if you will.
      1. You wrote: “in the past – for decades – our only problem was cultural difference (Christian Axumite Culture and Islamic Arabic Culture),” When you say “OUR” whom are you referring? The Blen, The Saho, The Hidareb, The Kunama, the Nara, The Rashaida, The Jeberti, The Tigre, The Afar?

      2. Aside from Rashaida whose culture have evolved and adjusted to the area where they live now, can you tell me in what way the culture of the aforementioned ethnic groups of Eritrea resembles to that of the Arabs? I know some of them share a common religion -while many people forget that there are many Arab christians.

      Thank you.

    • Saeed Siraag

      Dear Hameed,
      It’s way too soon to be talking about reconciliation to begin with. We have more pressing issues than power sharing or land distribution. Issues such massive refugee exodus, human rights, unlimited military service and the plight of our refugees in Sinai and elsewhere. These are the real issues in Eritrea today, that we need face and deal with NOT the imaginary grievances.

    • Haile WM

      dear Hameed,

      I don’t understand your stand on many things but let me first ask you what are you perception of religion and that of an arab identity. you would agree with me that not all arabs are muslims and not all the muslims are arabs.

      if you agree on that please explain how you vertically divide “Christian Axumite Culture and Islamic Arabic Culture”

      in our region ? let me rephrase my question by a simple example, how would you categorize the jeberti in the two macro divisions?

  • Hameed

    The highway road that leads to reconciliation is clear as a daylight even to those who live in the countryside. The Eritrean eilment has seven decades plus which makes it very clear even to the dullest person in the Eritrea let alone with personalities with high caliber. Truly, it pains deeply when Dr. holders play the role of (Asha temesilka dirarom wedialom).

    I blame brother Salih Gadi for calling them “crusaders”, because they don’t equal a fraction of those we learned in history. The Crusaders in history where ruling the world in their time, and to compare with entities that lost its compass, I consider it as injustice from bro. Salih Gadi. You could call them “retarded crusaders” – Isaias is more smarter than this; he has played it and harvested its fruits. I think labeling them with the historical crusaders doesn’t match them.
    If EFNDi is searching for reconciliation the first step is to specify the problems that hinder reconciliation; secondly, to show cleary their stance from them. To assist them spot our main problems, in the past for decades our only problem was cultural difference (Christian Axumite Culture and Islamic Arabic Culture), but now HGDEF added two more problems: the land and participation in ruling. These are the main problems that block reconciliation.
    The second step EFNDi to is to meet with the Eritrean National Council who has gone a long way in the process of reconciliation; other than this is considered overstepping others and rush to hold power through artfulness already exhausted by Isaias and supporters.

    • AMAN

      I agree they better be called ‘ CRUSADER WANNABES”
      It is an appropriate name for them.

  • Saeed Siraag

    With
    all due respect to you ustaz Salih Joher, I’m
    disappointed and disgusted by your article. Your comments are
    divisive and harmful and should not be coming from someone who claims
    to stand for reconciliation. I think there is more to the story and
    naming names and using words like crusaders will not bring
    reconciliation.

  • Abraham Hanibal

    Dear Saleh “Gadi” Johar;
    I appretiate, like many Eritreans, all the effort you are putting, together with your team, to be a voice for the voiceless Eritrean People suffering under the Isayas-PFDJ tyranny. I also express my support for your engagement towards fostering reconciliation and unison among Eritreans in their struggle against dictatorship. I’ve, however, to raise a question as to whether it was right procedure of you to bring disagreements with EFND out to the public before taking the matter directly with those concerned. I say this, because I don’t see any evidence from your article as to whether you’ve discussed the issue with EFND prior to publicising your hard-worded criticism.
    I believe it is impportant that we try to resolve our disagreements through dialogue, and by listening to each other’s views. In that way, we can land at common understanding that would propell us forwards in our struggle against tyranny.
    Regards!

    • Saleh Johar

      Selam Abraham,
      Thank you for your note. Many people like you tell me that. But I am a writer (on top of being an activist) therefore, what applies to inter-entity (mainly political and civil associations) doesn’t apply to a writer who should have no political restrictions. If I do that, I might as well stop writing because commenting on national issues certainly carried repercussions–some like it and others do not. It wouldn’t be constructive, or fair, to limit the ability of a writer to criticize entities and individuals publicly. Take your own example, you are writing tome publicly when you can reach me through the phone. But since I write publicly, you have the right to take me to task publicly, and I like it because that sharpens my thoughts, corrects me when I am wrong, and encourages me to continue on the same pate when I an right. That doesn’t mean I do not talk to people, I do it more than enough, several hours a day for the last 15 years. Based on that I decide whether to raise an issue publicly or otherwise. But what I would like my readers to know is that I do this to give voice to the voiceless, whoever they are, and put pressure on the entities and individuals, by challenging them publicly. Not whatever is written is accepted by the public–if it is not convincing, it will not be acted upon. But if it is,a lot of good comes from it.

      Finally, once someone presents himself in the public domain, on national matters, he or she should have a thick skin. Those who feel they shouldn’t be touched do not fare well in this respect. They just feel enraged and become defensive. I advice is that people should dive in pools only when they know hoe deep it is. If they jump and hit the ground, they have only themselves to blame. And such work is not a seasonal task. Believe me, a lot of good comes from such exercises. It sharpens the serious, and humbles those who feel the struggle is a textbook thing.

      Thank you again

  • Daniel A.

    SGJ what I got from this article is you missed big time the opportunity in your last statement with good intention of bringing the ELL AND EFND together. After dishing out your wrath, calling names and blackmailing individuals suggesting a good connection I suppose does not help. Having different views is ok but burning all the bridges isn’t wise. DIA had very good chance to lead the country in to successful democratic and inclusive country. He missed it big time and turned it in to mayhem primarily because of his hateful behaviour instead of tolerance to different views and personalities.

    My piece of advice in this case would be own your distractional article statements and ask apology to the individuals. Errors are humans excuses make people to duel in their mistakes. Show us your bravery by living upto what you claim to be reconciliation and human rights.

    With respect Thank you!

    Dan.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear haquda,

    Thank you for calling me son though I care less about age differences. Ypu might have been a committee member but you have written areport about it. If what you wrote was wrong, ok I will be ignorant. Just like what PFDJ is trying to fabricate our history.

    Stick to the logic. If my logic is wrong, tell me that you are wrong in this and that. If not, don’t bombard me about how old you are. If you are old enough like that get retired. Probably you might be mixing our history just like what you did by referring my work to accuse brother Amanuel Hidrat.

    Thank you for reminding me that I have to stick to my study. Unfortunately this is what PFDJ used to advice us while they were enslaving us. Sorry but I don’t buy such kind of advices. I would love you and I will give you great respect if you call me in your meetings, debates and times of sorrow and joy. In this way I can enlarge my knowledge and hence I can be useful to the people.

    I may be doing mistakes, as a father, consider it as if I am a child who is starting to walk. Can you punish or order your child to crowl because he doesn’t know how to walk? Can you keep your child to shut-up while he started to speak words like “papa”, “mama”? I am afraid to say to you but this what PFDJ did to us.

    The little knowledge I have is (though I am here to learn) is not because I learned it but I let myself to engage in learning. Be assured, my knowledge 11 months before I joined this blog and now is completely different. And this because of Awate University. I believe people like you are present here and I am here to learn from you.

    To conclude, advice to you, do not remind me about my age but teach me the truth. Here I am to learn. Learning is a continuous process. And lastly, it is not about how much knowledge you have but how much you know your knowledge. Wisdom is not about knowledge but about knowing.

    Enjoy this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijyFRDOjkoQ

    Little knowledge can save the world though.

    + Do you know how Tigre society in Eritrea treat their children. I don’t know the other societies but Tigre people put great value what chidren say and always are welcomed to participate in social meetings and what they is given more weight. And more than that, the children are learning by being in the meetings. Give respect to young people like me not because we know but we have a right to know.

    Defire keykewin, kulu mis mulue kibret yu.

  • farnelo

    I always feel Saleh Gadi writes with a heavy dose of bitterness – this is my SUBJECTIVE observation. Some times, it is true that it does not matter what you say but how you say it. This article hardly pass as a positive contribution to the Eritrean opposition challenges. If the objective is to shock and disgust readers (at least me) and generate some traffic, it is spot on.

    To my understanding, in current Eritrea there is no SELECTIVE Eritrean Muslim or Eritrean Christian misery. The cancer we have back home is impacting almost every single Eritrean family regardless. What about listing the thousands injustices and addressing them one by one as Eritrean man made misfortunes? What is the use of drawing a line between Muslim and Christian problems? I don’t get it. There is no Muslim or Christian justice.

    Farnelo

    • Saleh Johar

      Farnelo,
      Thank you for your concern. Now add some diligence to your concern and you will answer your own questions.

      If your judgement is subjective as you admit, then it is on you to be objective.

      I never addresses Christians or Muslims, I addressed a few people and that is hardly a reason for you to give it a space wider than what is stated. If for example, I branded you with anything, am I branding everyone who shares your faith, creed or region by extension? Of course not. Even in your subjective approach you wouldn’t think that way–unfortunately you did 🙂

      My friend, my article addresses a few people and it has nothing to do with the millions of others. How specific can I get?

      As for the national unity, I hate that sloganeering. I believe mostly it is repeated as a jungle without understanding its requirements. That is what I tried to explain-whether you agree or not. In fact, talking about problems that are hindering “national unity” is the best thing that would help the unity. How do you reconcile issues you do not even know they exist, let alone understand? One has to be told of the wounds and only then can one reconcile.

      Thank you

      • farnelo

        Selam Saleh,
        My beef is with the way the article is presented/communicated. An article with a heading “Crusaders” Branding Others, “Islamists” and then going nuclear on some specific individuals and judging their life time efforts as such and such, really? What value does such character assassination brings to the unity table? How will this contribute to knowing/understanding and healing the wounds?

        I learn from Awatawian and you a lot on a daily basis. Thank you for that. It is great that there is such a platform like Awate with brilliant Eritrean minds “DISCUSSING” Eritrea’s pains. All the ills of the opposition has to come out and be scrutinized. Only then could the opposition grow organically to do something meaningful. I have no issue with this part. And this article comes to me as anti- reconciliation.

        Btw – my subjective judgement that you write with a heavy dose of bitterness developed over time. It could be my judgment’s synthesizer fault.

        Farnelo

        • Saleh Johar

          Thank you again Farnello,
          Maybe the Crusader part was a little harsh, even if I put it within quotation marke in the heading, and that has a meaning. But let me ask you a question: have you objected when people were liberally branding any Muslim they don’t agree with as Islamist and Jihadist, sometimes in large fonts at the cesspool websites? Would it be rude of me if I say to you, “if you did oppose the Juhadist and Islamist branding, I apologize for hurting your feeling, but those who just went about their business and now come to admonish me about the choice of the term, I tell them you have lost your fairness and I do not care about your feeling”? See, when the layman says those words, or is indifferent, or even ecourages it, that is nothing to worry about. But when it comes from those who should know, it is painful and the only way to drive the message home is to use the same medicine: do you know that snake bite is cured with snake venom? Okay, that is the message. However, I do not understand that sometimes, those on the receiving and those not on the receiving side do not perceive matter equally. True, I have zero tolerance for bigots, wherever they come from.

          Thank you again

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Saleh Johar,

            This is very interesting. It is good that you agreed the Crusader part was a little harsh and indeed it is as per my understanding. What you put next has triggered my mind to ask you for clarification.You wrote, , “…though it is put it within quotation marke in the title. That has a reason, I presume.” Could you elaborate it more kindly.

            hawka
            tes

          • farnelo

            Selam Saleh,
            Thank you for your follow up replies. If I ” … objected people were liberally branding any Muslim they don’t agree with as Islamist” ? I did not.

            Why? I usually don’t engage such people and sites. I remember one of the opposition sites listing Awate as religious/Islamist and never ever visited back that site again. It is not because I care about religion or region. My vote of confidence goes to what is logical and what makes sense in my limited capacity based on the information I could put my hands on. I neither have the will and time to engage those certified bigots who goes on and defaming and calling any one who doe not agree with as Islamist, Woyane, CIA ..so on and etc.

            The thing is … you SG as a smart and tireless dedicated fighter for justices; I hold you to a higher standard and have higher expectation. Example – if this article was written by Ismail Omar Ali (sorry Isamil), I would not give a donkey sh**. That is all.

  • Abu Ahmad

    Thank you, bro. Saleh for shedding light upon this issue. I attended more than a few conferences and I
    feel the same as you did and I was compelled to express my feelings regarding
    this issue. I felt as thou I did not
    belong there due to the fact that what they were discussing had nothing to do
    with the Eritrean issue. It had a lot to
    do with the highlander Christian, Tigringa group of our people. I attended the conference because, it was open
    for the public and it was all about “Nekebaber”, ”Neredadaa” , “Nesemama” and ”Nismer” which imply to the Christian
    Tigringa highlanders. I also felt when
    they speak about the Eritrean issue in general, they deal with it as if they
    are the leaders, the only intellectuals, and the sole owners of Eritrea and the
    rest are nothing but brainless followers, illiterate and non nationalists.

    I read that they have invited more
    than ten individuals to the conference to no avail. Invite means that you are calling someone out
    of respect to participate on your program.
    If it is a party, you want whomever you are inviting to shares the joy
    with you. And if it is a feast, you want
    him to come and eat only; he has nothing to do with the planning. A partner can’t be invited. A partner should participate on all the program
    of the preparation and agenda otherwise, the invitation should be
    rejected. My first impressions about
    those two conferences were was bad, I started asking myself, hey why did I come
    to a conference that has nothing to do with me?
    I started to understand why my friends refused to attend. I also started to ask myself, what is the
    difference between what the regime is doing and this group? I kept saying, if this is how the intellectuals
    think, then how about the illiterate? I felt
    as that the future of Eritrea is dark and scary if this is the way we are
    preparing the recipe. It was obvious that the EFND has nothing to do
    with the National Dialogue as they have claimed, it was more about specific
    ethnic and religious group. If it was
    National Dialogue, the setup would have been different, the agenda would have
    been different and the guest speakers would have been different. It
    seems to me that they are concocting something which will produce more
    division, detestation and distraction which will prolong the suffering of our
    people.

    I also think that they do not understand
    the Eritrean people’s problem because; most of them were on the oppressor’s
    side for a long time which will make them incapable of understanding what our
    people are struggling for. I think, they have to be open and use a name that
    fits their goals rather than using a fuzzy name which has nothing to do with their
    agenda.

    Thanks,
    Abu Ahmad

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear Abu Ahmed,

      First the initiators call to our Muslim brothers before the first conference. The aim of the first conference was to discuss and find out a way how all the stakeholders come to a round table or to arrange/prepare for a wider/broader conference. They were called for planning as oppose for feasting (just to correct your perception). Second I guarantee you, if you take the initiative with your colleagues (those who saw exclusive to EFND’s approach, which is not), these group will jump your ship as long as the sailors of the ship is to bridge our differences. I want to see such initiative by the other side. An initiative to call both sides to come to a round table or big conference. So far the attempt is not there. I have no doubt this article doesn’t help us to bring us together, rather it widened the perceptional gap of the two end.

      regards,
      Amanuel Hidrat

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear haquda,

    AT will not ban you if you are speaking the truth. Your allegations are not healthy and based on false reasoning. You are full of hatred to your own people. Look dawit, a hard PFDJ propagandista, he has a means for his propaganda. He reasons and stands for his support to the dictatorial system firmly. His sentences are healhy and free of hatred, they are of political choice and protects for his choice, as he openly calls it, “zibereke tsehayna, zinegese nigusna” This is very simple and straight forward.

    Unlike dawit, yours is just stupid and a garbage. And stupid people can not stay long here at awate simply because a garbage has to go to its proper place, damped!

    hawka
    tes

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    One more, YG is an Eritrean by birth. We can not take this right from him. His political choice is what we can judge and we can just give our opinions or conclusions. I do not know about YG’s background but brother Amanuel H. said that it is not a mistake and can not label him as you put it unless you are a PFDJ worshiper.