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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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  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear haquda,

    I do not understand how you read my message and accuse haw Amanuel on unfounded sayings. How can you refer my work, which is here at awate.com indeed and bring as a testimony against Amanuel.

    I read this very late, very very late and I am shocked to link my work for your unfounded allegation. Amanauel Hidrat has never iterated a single word for what you are shamefully saying. Haw amanuel has a clear stand on the Eritrean matters and equally he promotes peace.

    How Amanuel Hidrat is put in my long article is very clear. In fact, i wrote my article because he called me to challenge YG’s work based on point to point. And the words that provoked me were very straight and to the point. Haw Amanuel H. asked me to challenge YG specifically based on the specific work regarding to Dejen. Amanuel’s concern was may be what I was saying could be because of YG’s previous work, a perceived image about YG.

    I wrote, “his piece of writings put me in high tension with my Awatista best teacher and mentor Haw Amanuel Hidrat. Brother Amanuel understood as if I was addressing the message to him directly and he brought his aged political stand as a defense mechanism. I was really shocked to read his defensive mantra. What irritated him is unknown to me though I was not.”

    And this heightened conversation with brother Amanuel was on the works of YG. I aggressively criticized YG and Amanuel was calling me to be rational and open minded. He was afraid on my approach as he might have taught that I was doing it for political exhaustion.

    Dear haquda, read and re-read my work, just the introductory part and go read Amanuel’s work on how he challenged YG’s work. The debates we did are documented here and re-read them.

    Haw Amanuel is honest and reconcilatory gallant fighter. He lives in awate all time. read Saleh’s testimony on how much Amanuel is a true Awatista. Are you saying Amanuel is seasonal? Gosh, please, be humane.

    haw Amanuel lived here since the inception of awate. Read his works. google his works and you will read his works from awate and indeed he was a contributor to other pages too like asmarino.com. Check this google results and judge him. https://www.google.fr/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=dGVmVNHAL8jD8geQloDICw&gws_rd=ssl#q=Amanuel+Hidrat&start=0

    Me, even I was debating with brother AManuel without knowing his previous work, even not aware how old he was. When I found him he spent more than my age in the fight against occupation and injustice, I was ashamed even to talk like that. But thanks to Amanuel for his great heart and welcoming mind to treat me like his friend and same as his age and still kept debating with me.

    haw hakuda, let’s be lead by conscience not by blackmailing and defaming on unfounded facts.

    What you said agains brother Amanuel is completely wrong and I ask you to reconsider your points.

    hawka
    tes

    • haquda

      Tes, Sure I may posted the wrong article but you to testify on behalf Amanuel is uncalled, Because you simply don’t know Amanuel you haven’t been to politic or here not to long. I know Amanuel in politics the last 40 years and in writing (pamphlets and Webs) the last 25 years. Amanuel is one of those NEW ANDENT who refused to vote in the 1993 international supervised Eritrean referendum. So tes please stop testifying about something you have real knowledge.(Qola ygoy ember ayqdmn ketkewn)

      • Tesfabirhan WR

        Dear haquda,

        First thank you that you might have referred a wrong article and sure you did to be more frank.

        For “who is who” I think your allegation is again not valid. I don’t know brother Amanuel as you are claiming to know him. But what I read from your sentence is a PFDJ accusation of those who rejected their jungle rule.

        Brother Amanuel is one the conscious freedom fighter and he know every single event he does. Let me leave the case to Amanuel on the allegation that you are again bringing. But I have one fact at hand, the hardliners of ELF rejected any EPLF/PFDJ system of administration. 1993 Eritrean referendum, ELF members and as an organization had different experiences. ELF as an organization did not oppose referendum and expressed its good wishes for its members to vote. But as an organization did not involve as it was marginalized from the political process of independent Eritrea. Those hardliners had different reasons to participate for the referendum. But I can be sure for myself that not a single ELF member favored for “union”, “Andinet”

        The choices given at hand by EPLF was one: “to vote”. In the voting, the options were two, to chose complete independence from Ethiopia, “YES” to independence or “NO” to independence. If one votes for “NO” then it means s/he prefered “UNION”, “Andnet” qith Ethiopia, simple. According to statistics, only 1,822 out of 1,102,401 voted NO to independence.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eritrean_independence_referendum,_1993

        In the other hand, people did not vote for different reasons. In fact not 100% of the then Eritrean population voted for referendum. There was official rejection of voting for example like the “Jehovah witnesses” and this does not make them unionists.

        As per your claim, brother Amanuel could have decided to vote and preferred either. If his decision was as your accusation then the reasons were not as per your claim.

        YG voted YES for freedom in 1993 but because PFDJ failed in all aspects he is revising his decision and is an advocate for UNION now. This is YG’s political choice now though a distorted one and illusionary with a lost hope and ways to emancipation from PFDJ system.

        Therefore, your claim is based on unfounded reasoning and again I reject it.

        Hawka
        tes

  • dawit

    Selam All;
    Saleh ‘Gadi’ Johar wrote in his article “It is an established fact that Muslims are absent in most Eritrean Diaspora meetings in the West”. To that Shum added his piece and lamented to the above statement “And when they are, they are clustered in their own group. That worries me. I have to tell you, I have friends from many parts of the world, Muslims from different countries, except Eritrea. As an Eritrean, that really bothers me” SJ reasoned that “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?”

    Amanuel Hidrat who is a member of EFND a friend of Saleh Johor who was spared from the broad brush of being ‘Crusader” intervened and defended EFND Members in their effort to reach Eritrean Moslems to include in their meetings. “All of them have done their share to the effort of making EFND to reflect the diversity of our society. He reflected his agony by writing “The sad part of Eritrean politics is: Any gathering is scrutinized and always seen with “conspiracy and suspicion” regardless its content and its goal to the common good of our people”.
    This was an Interesting dialogue among Eritreans of different religious or regional background. So I decide to join the discussion. I took my queue from JH article which stated “Courage is needed to raise issues that are mostly swept under the table”. So I brought one of the historical facts that may have been swept under the rug, I wanted to know by asking a question to Mr Amanuel, based on information that I heard from a friend recently thinking Mr Amanuel would know the history of ELF. When ELF was organized itself in Cairo Egypt all the members were Eritrean Moslems. They wanted Christians to be included in the organization. At that time Mr. Woldeab Woldemariam who is regarded by most Eritreans as the father of Eritreans for independence, was also residing in Cairo, Egypt. The ELF organizers reached out to Mr. Woldeba to join them as a founding member of ELF, and I was told he refused. I asked to verify the information to Mr. Amanuel if he has heard of this story before and if it was true? Then I asked my question how are we going to overcome such fear and suspicions from our society? Is history repeating itself?

    Well Mr. Amanuel replied he does not know about it and never heard of it. So I am asking the same question to anyone here at AT who could confirm or reject the historical allegation that may have been swept under the rug. I really want to know why there was not a single Eritrean member of Christian background as a founding member of ELF. Was it because of luck of effort by the organizers to reach out or was it due to “conspiracy and suspicion” of the other group, preventing us from collaboration?

    dawit

    • Rodab

      Selam dawit,
      “It is an established fact that Muslims are absent in most Eritrean Diaspora meetings in the West”
      As with everything else Eritrean, there is no hard data on this but the claim is most likely a fact. If you look at any of the G-groups – and God knows how many of them we’ve had – the majority of the members are Christians. But why are Muslim Eritreans not as much involved? As I see it the main reason is the fact that most Eritrean elites and intellectuals in the West are Christians, which translates into dominating the media, which in turn translates into setting the agenda. That’s why you see most civic and political initiatives run by Christians. It is what it is and nobody takes credit nor fault for it. What is more important is for influential figures as well as organizers to make utmost effort for a diversified national participation. But really, others can only do so much. At the end of the day it comes to one’s personal choices. For those who are interested, nothing can stop them from participating, and nothing can attract the disinterested.

      • Shum

        Hello Rodab,

        Is it really that simple? My knee jerk reaction would be to say “get involved if you care”. But I think it’s easy to get discouraged if you don’t feel your participation can make a difference. I don’t know your religious upbringing, but I would like Muslims of different backgrounds (ethnicity, clan, region) to speak on it on this forum. I suspect there may be a diverse set of answers.

  • Bayan Nagash

    Hopefully the following will be my wrap-up-thoughts on the subject. haquda, please see my response to JH Ahmed which addresses the why part of the question he raised.
    Paradigm Shift: Towards New Political & Civic Model

    Find your own words. Organize your own associates.
    Propose your own solutions to the grievances you abhor.
    Help write the next set of chapters on citizen activism.
    If you are not ready to act, make room for those who are.

    Stephen Frantzich

    The caption above is the spirit in which I am penning today’s note. The credit attributed to my name
    at the end of EFND’s paper is too generously lavishing to which I feel undeserving. Now that the internal working memorandum has been made public, I am going to confine myself in this segment only on the “Introduction” part of the paper. I am compelled to take this initial initiative, however, in hopes of others will take any segment of their fancy and begin this very important discourse that must be started, and in essence, since I cannot “help write the next set of chapters on citizen activism,” but I am more than ready “to make room for those who are” as the caption above so lucidly captures, today’s purpose.

    The dawning of new civic and political turn is turning corners in Diaspora, and those of us who
    oppose the current menace in Eritrea should be smiling from ear to ear. Consider on the historic gathering that took place this past weekend led by concerned citizens of Eritrea who invited civic and political organizations to have a conversation, to find common ground from which to operate, strategically, and to eventually pivot and change the deplorable political dynamic that paralyzed the entire nation and its people for decades now. At the outset the organizers make it unequivocally clear of their intentions and their stated objective:

    “…we are simply an ad hoc group of concerned Eritreans calling upon all Eritrean
    civil society groups, political organizations, and individuals to come together
    to dialogue on how to reverse the fragmentation of our society. Our clarion call is rooted in the enduring belief that such a dialogue will eventually enable us to chart a broad-based platform
    which would allow all groups, despite their programmatic differences, to work together in bringing about a government that represents all segments of the Eritrean population and respects all the rights bestowed on them by their citizenship. There is no alternative to constructive dialogue, we believe, to
    reverse further fragmentation of the Eritrean society, and to reignite the process of nation-building and avert the risks of state failure. (p.2)

    To my knowledge, Eritrean for Facilitating National Dialogue (EFND) is one of its kind because
    it is formed for the sole purpose of hosting this grand event after which it is going to take itself to task in that arduous process of not only leading and paneling the discussions, but also producing report that will hopefully – robustly – lead us all to a decisive plan of action, a road map that can help
    expedite the much needed change. The initiative, a call to action that EFND has undertaken took “fourteen months” to prepare,” but a call to action demands that EFND makes its intentions clear as the following statement aptly describes the process:

    “…the propositions and/or statement of principles and plan of actions that we are hereby presenting are not meant for adoption by the conferees but rather for stimulation of discussion and
    deliberation in ways that lead to the generation of even better propositions, the articulation of a strategic vision, the enunciation of progressive principles and the crafting of a practical course of actions to help us advance the cause of Eritrea’s rebirth. We have tried our level best to craft the
    ideas, suggestions, and plan of actions in such ways as to spark constructive imagination and reflective discussions. Honesty requires of us to profess that we have no magic bullet for how to solve the horrendous political, economic, and social conditions under which the Eritrean people are languishing, nor do we claim to possess peculiar capacities to present what has not been presented
    before. What we believe is that, by coming together and banging our heads against each other in an atmosphere of comity, brotherhood/sisterhood and shared concerns, we will be able to produce a consensus on a few fundamentals of the struggle whereby the paramount importance of unity is realized, so that the twenty years of nightmare will at last be overcome.” (p. 1)

    Akin to the “general disillusionment with science following its extensive use in World War II to
    exterminate masses of people, many intellectuals began to question scientific claims to objectivity and even reject the Modern worldview created after the Scientific Revolution” (Hoefferle, pp. 209-210);

    We are witnessing at last intellectual Eritreans rising to the occasion to claim what was rightly
    theirs from a menace that has been bent out of shape to exterminate Eritreans from all walks of life for the last twenty years. If there is the most underutilized human capital in Eritrea’s situation, it is its educated lot, save those who chose to serve the dictator instead of the people. Consequently,
    the role of the educated lot pre and post-independence has been fraught not only with suspicion, but one that was tantamount to collectively rendering them ineffective either through relentless badmouthing, that is at best and expunging them, at worst. Finally the sleeping giant is rising from the ashes of innuendo, red herring, and sheer intimidation to the new frontier of challenging the status quo as that has now become clear is not tenable. What the “linguistic turn, postmodernism, and new cultural history” (Hoefferle, p. 209) has done for the West is now beginning to dawn in Diaspora Eritreans’ case, for that I personally salute EFND for leading the way to what this will
    be remembered as the pivot, the pivot that has been long in wait is not appropriately being appropriated by those who have the propensity and the dispensation to show us the light at the end of the sociopolitical tunnel in Eritrea.

    A new political theory must be conceived, one that shuns the pre-independence political thought that
    treated the individual as a subservient to Eritrea’s cause for liberation, and one should add that, the pre-independence Eritrean has done all was asked of him/her to do by not only sacrificing the primacy of his/her adult life fighting for independence of Eritrea, but delivered it by paying the ultimate
    price with stellar, distinction, and exemplary record for historians to wallow in for decades to come. The pre-independent Eritrean was submissive to the whims and the leisure of the few who made all the determinations, the paths, the directions to the “city on the hill,” if you will. After the city on the
    hill was realized, that submission to the whims of those who led it should never have continued post-independence Eritrea; what must have taken place is what those in EFND are doing now. For that we should support and give the all deserved accolade because the road to self-representation, to individual liberty, to live in peace is never handed willingly – history has plethora of examples – where these lofty ideals are demanded and claimed through civic and political engagement. Claiming what’s ours was accomplished at the barrel of the gun in 1991. It is time now for a “discourse” that will help us chart the path and that is precisely what these volunteers at EFND are doing: Facilitating dialogue and forging discourse to arrive at that place where Eritreans can begin to work together to achieve their goals.

    Much as Foucault’s (1926-1984) knowledge was informed by Nietzsche’s (1844-1900) and de
    Saussure’s (1857-1913) theories, he not only appropriated and expounded their ideas and made it his own, but also gave us something that these educated EFNDites are hard at work in trying to accomplish through discourse. According Foucault,

    “…various cultural groups, such as political, economic, or social groups, create and add
    to discourses to shape knowledge about a particular subject. Discourses then create epistemes, mental structures which organize knowledge and prioritize new information as important/unimportant, true/false, or scientific/unscientific. These epistemes then shape the identity of individuals and create the mental world in which individuals live. Individuals, therefore, were products of discourses in their lives, rather than historical agents with their own free will.” (Emphasis in the original, p. 213)

    What is of interest to us Eritreans here is no what Foucault was interested in, which was developing
    his own theoretical approach to explain away history because he saw history as “archaeology of knowledge”; the interest and the stated purpose for invoking Foucault’s notion of “discourse” as the production of knowledge has to do with the present and with the here and now that we must use discourse to chart new sociopolitical frontier in post-independent Eritrea. We want to use that knowledge that gets produced as a result of discourses to chart a new path.

    The beauty to discourse is that there will always be someone who is bound to challenge just
    when one thought he/she had a handle of it as the case and point is that the notions and theories of Foucault were challenged by Barthes & Derrida. I am invoking the latter because I want to invoke my favorite Awatawit, namely, Pappillon, where, at last conversation we had Derrida was one of the center of our discussion. Here we go gentle lady. Derrida (1930- 2004) who was a “student
    and a friend” of Foucault, but went on to challenge him on this by stipulating that “there is nothing outside of the text,” which according to Hoefferle “summarizes this belief that while reality exists, human beings do not have the ability to reconstruct it, except by using texts, which are themselves created by human beings, not by the reality itself. He argued that to truly understand
    reality, intellectuals must get outside of the trap of society’s limitations on knowledge, question everything, create new words and language structures to explain new ideas, and deconstruct all texts” (p. 215). This is what Awatawi Abmassador would call postmodernism, and indeed, he would be right as Derrida was postmodernist – heart and soul.

    The hope here is that our educated lot will not sleep behind the wheel on us and that they must take
    charge and lead the way while at the same time they should take heed from these Western intellectuals that discourse cannot be contained, it is fluid, it is malleable, and it is dynamic. Therefore, while they lead the way they must be cognizant of this fact: That there will come a time when other Eritreans who will challenge their thoughts, but that is not necessarily a bad thing – it is, in fact, a good thing as it is a sign of hopefulness when ideas are challenged through discourses because it would lead us to a better place than where we started.

    Of course, I cannot end this piece without mentioning another favorite Awatawi of mine, Haile TG
    who ferociously has been telling us anybody and any entity that comes to the side of the opposition and severs ties from the menace at home, we should be receptive and contain our criticisms for another day a la Sal’s famous twgHmmo series of years back in which, when Eritrea was in the midst of the 1998 – 2000 war with Ethiopia, he would not utter a word against the Eritrean government as
    he conceived it then the enemy without was far more dangerous than the enemy from within – as it were, my country right or wrong was his approach then. Granted, I had my disagreements and misgivings on that with him; and said it openly so then, but here we are in a different period of our struggle to rid of what has turned out to be the Frankenstein that we all collectively contributed
    toward its monstrosity, therefore, we must collectively fight to rid of it and there just isn’t any two way about it.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Haquda,

    For sure “Haqi Neyblka”. You let yourself naked for your readers. Why? You couldn’t able to quote me, rather you chose what people say about me whether they are factual or erroneous. One who accuse or criticized must quote what he/she accusing about the subject matter. What I knew from your baseless accusation is you are a disseminator of “beleka-Beleka”. You are not a reader even, and not someone who tries to understand issues that matters to the Eritrean people. Let me go through the links:

    First, on Ismail Omer’s article – I have two comment, none of them has or even to hint about union with Ethiopia. It was about the operation of forto.

    Second -on Tesfabrhan’s (Tes’s) article – there is Nothing about Ethiopia, it was a debate about “Dejen’s ambivalence” in relation YG’s diagnosis. BTW, I wrote full article my evaluation on YG’s diagnostic errors. How was that my friend?

    Third, on my article “The demarcation watch” you brought the comment of “Daniel” not my comment ( I think, I asked you to quote me not what others say about me. Thus shows you don’t know my words first hand). Besides learn to read the writing of writers to have the full picture of what the writers are saying rather on the comment of the commentators.

    Fourth, On the last sentence you put the following words as mine: “Yosief Ghebrehiwet was a bright student at the Saint George Secondary School.He was one of the …” – is not my words it is your fabrication. Haquda, Haqi Neyblka. If you have really the courage and trust on what you are saying, come to the open and take off the veils from your face…….and then I am glad to talk with some one who is real person, and who want to say with courage on what he has in his mind.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Dear Awatistas,
    I felt it is fair for the awatistas to see and read the other side of the argument. Tewolde Estifanos a member of the EFND group has responded to the allegation of Saleh G. Johar’s in his recent article “Crusaders branding others Islamist.” Enjoy reading the link below, and more to come.

    http://www.asmarino.com/articles/4055-unfiltered-notes-saleh-is-way-off-base-about-efnd

    Amanuel Hidrat

  • Bayan Nagash

    MerHaba JH Ahmed,

    The how and the why are interconnected. Here is what I mean

    by that. When I gave the process by which I was invited, the why is left up to
    me as prerogative that allowed me room and sense of personal agency to decide whether to be a partner for common good or not? I did do my due diligence. In fact, I spoke with seasoned individuals about the subject and they gave me their honest perspectives some pro and some con, the details of which are not necessary, the final ‘product’ to borrow your consumerism analogy was mine to ‘buy’ and I bought the product because it was one that spoke not only to my heart but also to my intellect – i.e., finding reconciling points with the long view of finding a way to rid of the menace at home – and there is nothing more that would make the imbecilic lot in Asmara than united front and I have zero regrets or misgivings about the group or my decision to join.

    I will refrain from the misgivings I have when metaphors of
    struggle are likened to the use of consumer products, but that will have to be
    left for another day.

    JH Ahmed, you said that “People of Saleh Younis caliber and
    others that [you] know for years have been politely … declining to join the
    likes of EFND and Medrekh”; this assertion can readily be dismissed as full of
    conjecture as I presume you have not personally asked SY nor the nameless
    others that you mention. For all you know they may have myriad other reasons as to why they don’t participate. Is it conceivable that these people have time
    constraints that do not allow them to participate as they may be engaging in
    other area of the fighting endeavors? EFND spoke to me on so many levels. I
    have been writing on and off on Eritrean virtual world for over two decades
    now. With the exception of the early nineties I kept my hands off on
    activities, but activism through the written word has its limits. I have been
    ready to transform these ideas to activism toward social and political justice.

    Just so you know JH Ahmed, I have also, around the same time
    that I have been involved with EFND, have been involved heavily for the first 8
    months of this year to galvanize Eritrean Muslims toward national dialogue – it
    is work in progress – by reaching out to individual Eritrean Muslims and
    organizations like Eritrean Muslims Council (EMC) to bring us to collectively
    and on equal footing to come to the national scene. In case you have not read
    my piece related to this notion of moving from the written word to action
    oriented move, here it is: http://awate.com/eritrea-the-suppression-of-god/

    You also state that “Just as you would not invest in a company
    based on a sale pitch by fast talker, in real life, pending verification,
    prudence calls for initial healthy dosage of skepticism.” Another conjecture
    that I hope the above note neutralizes it.

    And then you went on full throttle with the US politics
    using the Republican political strategy as to why they fail to attract
    minorities:

    “Let me draw an example from US politics. As individuals,
    there is nothing inherently wrong with the majority of republicans, who are
    overwhelming privileged white male. Every now and then, in the name of
    diversity, they awkwardly wage a recruitment campaign to attract minorities,
    women, people of color, etc. They miserably fail in every turn because they do
    not get it that their platform and the kind of bigots in their ranks are very
    hostile to the very people they are trying to attract.”

    Yet the Republicans in the November mid-term elections overwhelmingly
    took up political seats from the governors’ races to Senate seats. So, a wise
    Eritrean Muslim who follows American politics closely as you seem to be,
    gathering from the examples you provide, you would think would draw an important lesson: That finding a way to work with Eritrean highlanders is the most prudent, thus if Muslim Eritreans are going to get anywhere in the Eritrean political landscape they must begin to engage in the process, the alternative is a sure way to irrelevancy. The first twenty three years give us glaring examples of what happens when half of the population does not participate the other half will simply have no choice but take over. Allow me to draw your attention to Ferguson, Missouri case where the African American population in that city is over 60 percent, yet only 5 percent of the population voted in the city elections, guess what happens the White folks rule the city with an iron fist gouging out money by giving something like 21% traffic violation tickets to African Americans for one reason or another. This, by the way, came to light with the death of unarmed young African American in the hands of cop and the aftermath unrest that ensued.

    Of course, JH Ahmed you could not help yourself but delve
    into personal attacks as you try to make erroneous connections, unfounded
    allegations like what you tried to say about Tewelde Stephanos who this very
    morning gave you evidence to the contrary. An honorable person would either
    furnish more evidence to which TS is openly challenging you on it or apology
    should be in short order – and it remains to be seen how you will handle this.
    Another person in the hit list you furnished is Dr. Tseggai Isaac for having
    used one word some twenty years ago; therefore, this person must be anti-Muslim Eritreans. I know Dr. Tseggai Isaac from Dehai days. I have never met him in person, but through EFND I saw an individual with great integrity who is at pains to correct what has gone awry with Eritrea. One anecdotal example is
    enough for you to decide not to work with Eritreans like Dr. TI, which says
    more about you than Dr. TI who is doing his due diligence to correct the past
    grave mistakes committed in the hands of the menace at home. This is precisely why I am advocating that the politics of yesteryear – the pre-independence of slash and burn – must be disposed of for good. It is for that reason I adamantly opposed the article in question that is bringing us to talk about issues related to the future of Eritrea and in how to work together irrespective of our personal differences on myriad topics.

    And then you went on to Teklai Abraha with impunity as “wado
    geba,” which reminded me of how Isayas used that tool of defamation and denigration toward Haile Deru’E who at some point having defected, etc. This is the kinds of political ploy that Shaebia and Jebha had perfected during the gedli years, but should’ve been done away with after independence. But old habits as you know die hard and you are falling to an approach that does not foster brotherhood. Again, I do not know TA at a personal level. I did not even know he was tegadali, which now gives me even more respect for someone who was willing to sacrifice his life for a country. I wonder JH Ahmed if you ever were tegadali or not. I never was, but I am now actively trying to participate in political and social activism with an eye toward justice to the country that came with the selfless contributions of individuals like TA irrespective of how the circumstances ended. Similarly, someone else somewhere offered different version of Dr. Afeworki, which I will leave out for now so as to address the Mejlis Ibrahim Mukhtar (The Covenant) document that you mentioned.

    The eight months attempt to bring Eritrean Muslim on board to the national political scene that I spoke about above, in fact, the mission of which was based on The Covenant. So, I am open, very open to that idea. I should mention here that when I inquired about the individuals who wrote The
    Covenant in an effort to see if they could lead the way forward to participate
    in equal footing with our brethren from kebessa, I was told by someone who was deeply involved in it assured me that they were in talks to see to it that they revive it. To me what EFND has tried to do is similar what The Covenant as document outlines. If these Eritrean Muslim intellectuals come out and lead the way, I am certain the equal footing that rightly worries you could easily be ameliorated.

    The problem is time is of the essence. The Covenant was published some five
    years ago now, and nobody has taken the torch to take it toward making it
    actionable document. Meanwhile, one percent or not, individual Eritrean Muslims like me cannot be beholden until others come onboard. If there are Eritrean Muslims who want to bring The Covenant to actionable plan, I will be the first one to give all the support they deserve.

    If you come this far to read my ramblings, I thank you kindly. My fingers are now sore. I am hungry, a sure sign to halt this thread right now.

    Sincerely,
    Beyan

  • Bayan Nagash

    Ahlan JH Ahmed,

    The how and the why are interconnected. Here is what I mean by that. When I gave the process by which I was invited, the why is left up to me as prerogative that allowed room and sense of personal agency to decide whether to be a partner for common good or not? I did do my due diligence. In fact, I spoke with seasoned individuals about the subject and they gave me their honest perspectives some pro and some con, the details of which are not necessary, the final ‘product’ to borrow your consumerism analogy was mine to ‘buy’ and I bought the product because it was one that spoke not only to my heart but also to my intellect – i.e., finding reconciling points with the long view of finding a way to rid of the menace at home – and there is nothing more that would make the imbecilic lot in Asmara than united front and I have zero regrets or misgivings about the group or my decision to join. I will refrain from the misgivings I have when metaphors of struggle are likened to the use of consumer products, but that will have to be left for another day.

    JH Ahmed, you said that “People of Saleh Younis caliber and
    others that [you] know for years have been politely (and [you] assume in
    politically correct manner) declining to join the likes of EFND and Medrekh”
    can be dismissed as full of conjecture as I presume you have not personally
    asked SY nor the nameless others that you mention. For all you know they may have myriad other reasons as to why they don’t join. Is it conceivable that
    these people have time constraints that do not allow them to participate as
    they may be engaging in other area of the fighting endeavors? EFND spoke to me on so many levels. I have been writing on and off on Eritrean virtual world for over two decades now. With the exception of the early nineties I kept my hands off on activities, but activism through the written word has its limits. I have been ready to transform these ideas to activism toward social and political justice.

    Just so you know JH Ahmed, I have also, around the same time
    that I have been involved with EFND, have been involved heavily for the first 8
    months of this year to galvanize Eritrean Muslims toward national dialogue – it
    is work in progress – by reaching out to individual Eritrean Muslims and
    organizations like Eritrean Muslims Council (EMC) to bring us to collectively
    and on equal footing to come to the national scene. In case you have not read
    my piece related to this notion of moving from the written word to action
    oriented move: http://awate.com/eritrea-the-suppression-of-god/

    You also state that “Just as you would not invest in a company
    based on a sale pitch by fast talker, in real life, pending verification,
    prudence calls for initial healthy dosage of skepticism.” Another conjecture
    that I hope the above note neutralizes it.

    And then you went on full throttle with the US politics
    using the Republican political strategy as to why they fail to attract
    minorities:

    “Let me draw an example from US politics. As individuals,
    there is nothing inherently wrong with the majority of republicans, who are
    overwhelming privileged white male. Every now and then, in the name of
    diversity, they awkwardly wage a recruitment campaign to attract minorities,
    women, people of color, etc. They miserably fail in every turn because they do
    not get it that their platform and the kind of bigots in their ranks are very
    hostile to the very people they are trying to attract.”

    Yet the Republicans in the November mid-term elections overwhelmingly
    took up political seats from the governors’ races to Senate seats. So, a wise
    Eritrean Muslim who follows American politics, following the examples you
    provide, you would think would draw an important lesson: That a finding a way to work with Eritrean highlanders is the most prudent, thus if Muslim Eritreans
    are going to get anywhere in the Eritrean political landscape they must begin
    to engage in the process, the alternative is a sure way to irrelevancy. The
    first twenty three years give us glaring examples of what happens when half of
    the population does not participate the other half will simply have no choice
    but take over. Allow me to draw your attention to Ferguson, Michigan case where the African American population in that city is over 60 percent, yet only 5 percent of the population voted in the city elections, guess what happens the
    White folks rule the city with an iron fist gouging out money by giving
    something like 21% traffic violation tickets to African Americans for one
    reason or another.

    Of course, JH Ahmed you could not help yourself but delve
    into personal attacks as you try to make erroneous connections, unfounded
    allegations like what you tried to say about Tewelde Stephanos who this very
    morning gave you evidence to the contrary. An honorable person would either
    furnish more evidence to which TS is openly challenging you on it or apology
    would be the least one would do – and it remains to be how you will handle
    this. Another person in the hit list you furnished is Dr. Tseggai Isaac for
    having used one word some twenty years ago; therefore, this person must be anti-Muslim Eritreans. I know Dr. Tseggai Isaac from Dehai days. I have never met him in person, but through EFND I saw an individual with great integrity who is at pains to correct what has gone awry with Eritrea. One anecdotal example is enough for you to decide not to work with Eritreans. This is precisely why I am advocating that the politics of yesteryear – the pre-independence of slash and burn – we must do away with. It is for that reason I adamantly opposed the article in question that is bringing us to talk about issues related to the future of Eritrea and in how to work together irrespective of our personal differences on myriad topics. And then you went on to Teklai Abraha with impunity as “wado geba,” which reminded me of how Isayas used that tool of defamation and denigration toward Haile Deru’E who at some point having defected, etc. This is the kinds of political ploy that Shaebia and Jebha had perfected during the gedli years, but should’ve been done away with after
    independence. But old habits die hard. Again, I do not know TA at a personal
    level. I did not even know he was tegadali, which now gives me even more
    respect for someone who was willing to sacrifice his life for a country. I
    wonder JH Ahmed if you ever were tegadali or not. I never was, but I am now
    actively trying to participate in political and social activism with an eye
    toward justice and the country came with the selfless contributions individuals
    like TA no matter how the circumstances ended. Similarly, someone else somewhere offered different version of Dr. Afeworki, which I will leave out for now so as to address the Mejlis Ibrahim Mukhtar (The Covenant) document that you mentioned.

    The eight months attempt to bring Eritrean Muslim on board to
    the national political scene that I spoke about above, in fact, the mission of
    which was based on The Covenant. So, I am open, very open to that idea. I
    should mention here that when I inquired about the individuals who wrote The
    Covenant in effort to see if they could lead the war forward to participate in
    equal footing with our brethren from kebessa, I was told by someone who was
    deeply involved in it assured me that they were in talks to see to it that they
    revive it. To me what EFND has tried to do is similar what The Covenant as
    document outlines. If these Eritrean Muslim intellectuals come out and lead the way, I am certain the equal footing that rightly worries you could easily be ameliorated.

    The problem is time is of the essence. The Covenant was published some five
    years ago now, and nobody has taken the torch to take it toward making it
    actionable document. Meanwhile, one percent or not, individuals Eritrean
    Muslims cannot be beholden until others come onboard. If there are Eritrean
    Muslims who want to bring The Covenant to actionable plan, I will be the first
    one to give all the support they deserve.

    If you came this far, bless you and thank you for reading. atsabEtay rebribu. This is all I can handle for now.

    Sincerely,
    Beyan

  • ibrahimabubaker00@hotmail.com

    Here I
    quote from a letter claimed addressed to SJG on different occasion,

    “Awate.comdoes not seem to be leading as a consensus
    builder by emphasizing the need for

    reconciliation. Indeed, some readers are concluding that Ali and Awate.com are

    trying to grab “Islamist” political power by sawing the seeds of

    division, hate and mistrust among Moslems and Christians. I hope this is not

    Awate’s motive. But if it is, philosophical and ideological problems for which

    we all still have no common answers.” Your friend Michael.

    http://eritrea.asmarino.com/articles/467-eritrea-free-but-responsible-media

    Since Ali took his U-turn, well done within the above quoted..

    RECONCILLIATION

    is the dream and yearning of the Eritrean masses without question, as well as
    every

    sober intellectual (I have my qualms on the Eritrean progressive, reactionary

    conventional tags). For, both labels have to be earned, with deeds enhancing

    cries. Otherwise, it goes without saying.

    In this article I felt ‘Reconciliation’ as in accounts. To balance the
    rage, it came

    up with the ELL as a counter balance for EFND; balance reconciled. For an
    innocent

    reader it served the purpose.

    Here I am not judging EFND for it needs further research, and I tend to understand
    the

    way Mr Bayan responded. I am earnestly waiting for Mr. Amanuel Hidrat’s take on
    the whole issue. What I knew is what they formally publicized on the
    other hand I am not contesting Awate’s ‘inform’ drive either

    Mr. SG, as your reader I am disappointed for the following:

    1) The tone was not
    re-conciliatory, but rather looks as there is much to say. Thus either say
    it all, substantiated, or keep it under the rug (within the context of inform,
    embolden and inspire)

    2) You claim you were tainted Islamist which stabs at the back of
    your strength. In return you labeled EFND,with exclusion of some, as crusaders.
    Yet, as a convenient set-off you brought in ELL as a counterpart (likely
    jihadist bigots!!) , that is a perfect daylight stub on the back, on their
    credibility (this is my take) by tainting them with what

    they never claimed or perform (An ELL grass root comment , Mr.
    Mahmoud’s here succinctly elucidated) plus the link
    (http://awate.com/an-initiative-to-rally-the-eritrean-lowland-societies/)

    3) In your earlier
    article, “Politics of Nouns And Topography ” you said on ELL
    founders the following:-

    “I mention the names above to underscore the strong ties I have with
    each and every one of them, but more importantly, to state without any
    equivocation that they are all my allies in the struggle against the
    unjust PFDJ regime. Naturally, I neither appreciate nor approve the
    way some people have gone beyond criticizing their agenda and meeting, to
    question their credentials; it is wrong to doubt their patriotism.
    Yet, I believe they are wrong on this one. The core issues and
    grievances they have raised have been the reason of my activism for almost
    two decades. I just object to the way they decided to go about it (emphasis
    mine).”

    As stated above, the grievances these (bigots!!) raised have been the
    reason for your activism for almost two decades, you boldly confessed, but
    you just object to the way they decided to go about it, and then you blame
    EFND for labeling you islamist!!! if so they did.

    Here also kindly substantiate ELL bigotry, which certainly is not seen in
    their literature including what you publicized or elsewhere, or leave
    it under the rug with the EFND’s.

    I do not object at all to your bold encounter, we need it from any
    watchdog or balanced activist, but the way you are going about it is
    eating up the tenets you cherish and most of all, “Reconcile”
    that we direly need to avert the loosing failed state.

    Thanks

    Ibrahim

    • Bayan Nagash

      Thank you Ibrahim for sending the link to which I was not privy to, the disadvantage and the price one pays for being part-time consumer of Eritrean sociopolitical landscape. And thank you for your well rounded and pointed critique on the subject at hand. I think yours captures the spirit of most Eritreans (Muslims, Christians and Atheists alike) that live and let live would have to be the only way Eritrea can march forward. You captured the salient points out what I couldn’t do in what must amount now to virtual pages upon virtual pages that at the end has left me drained to the core. Thank you brother!

      Sincerely,
      Beyan

  • Guest

    way Mr Bayan responded. I am earnestly waiting for Mr. Amanuel Hidrat’s take on the whole issue. What I knew is what they formally publicized on the other hand I am not contesting your inform inspire drive either

    Here I quote from a letter claimed addressed to SJG on different occasion,

    “Awate.com does not seem to be leading as a consensus builder by emphasizing the need for reconciliation. Indeed, some readers are concluding that Ali and Awate.com are trying to grab “Islamist” political power by sawing the seeds of division, hate and mistrust among Moslems and Christians. I hope this is not Awate’s motive. But if it is, philosophical and ideological problems for which we all still have no common answers.” Your friend Michael.
    http://eritrea.asmarino.com/articles/467-eritrea-free-but-responsible-media

    Since Ali took his U-turn, well done within the above quoted..

    RECONCILLIATION

    is the dream and yearning of the Eritrean masses without question, as well as
    every sober intellectual (I have my qualms on the Eritrean progressive, reactionary
    conventional tags). For, both labels have to be earned, with deeds enhancing cries. Otherwise, it goes without saying.

    In this article I felt ‘Reconciliation’ as in accounts. To balance the rage, it came up with the ELL as a counter balance for EFND; balance reconciled. For an innocent reader it served the purpose.

    Here I am not judging EFND for it needs further research, and I tend to understand the way Mr Bayan responded. I am earnestly waiting for Mr. Amanuel Hidrat’s take on the whole issue. What I knew is what they formally publicized on the
    other hand I am not contesting Awate’s ‘inform’ drive either

    Mr. SG, as a reader I am disappointed for the following:

    1) The tone was not re-conciliatory, but rather looks as there is much to say. Thus either say
    it all, substantiated, or keep it under the rug (within the context of inform,embolden and inspire)

    2) You claim you were tainted Islamist which stabs at the back of your strength. In return you labeled EFND,with exclusion of some, as crusaders. Yet, as a convenient set-off you brought in ELL as a counterpart (likely jihadist bigots!!) , that is a perfect daylight stub on the back, on their credibility (this is my take) by tainting them with what they never claimed or perform (An ELL grass root comment , Mr. Mahmoud’s here succinctly elucidated) plus the link
    (http://awate.com/an-initiative-to-rally-the-eritrean-lowland-societies/)

    3) In your earlier article, “Politics of Nouns And Topography ” you said on ELL founders the following:-

    “I mention the names above to underscore the strong ties I have with each and every one of them, but more importantly, to state without any equivocation that they are all my allies in the struggle against the unjust PFDJ regime. Naturally, I neither appreciate nor approve the way some people have gone beyond criticizing their agenda and meeting, to
    question their credentials; it is wrong to doubt their patriotism. Yet, I believe they are wrong on this one. The core issues and grievances they have raised have been the reason of my activism for almost two decades. I just object to the way they decided to go about it (emphasis mine).”

    As stated above, the grievances these (bigots!!) raised have been the reason for your activism for almost two decades, you boldly confessed, but you just object to the way they decided to go about it, and then you blame EFND for labeling you islamist!!! if so they did.

    Here also kindly substantiate ELL bigotry, which certainly is not seen in their literature including what you publicized or elsewhere, or leave it under the rug with the EFND’s.

    I do not object at all to bold encounter, we need it from any watchdog or balanced activist, but the way you are going about it is eating up the tenets you cherish and most of all, “Reconcile” that we direly need to avert the loosing failed state.

    Thanks

    Ibrahim

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Haquda,
    Could you please any of my writings or debates that somehow indicate “Unionist” or “new andnet” tendency? Bring or link them all the debate I did with Saay if you are a credible person with what you are saying. Allegations are not true until they are proven with tangible facts.

  • Bayan Nagash

    weyguud haquda and now we have to address how the Eritrean networking works. The man reached out to me and I in turn reached out to my Muslim friends whose backgrounds run the gamut from Saho, Jeberti, Metahit, Kebessa, and the like. The ten or so individuals I approached one of whom happens to be from metaHt. He attended the teleconference but did not resume it.

    More importantly, other members of EFND who reached out to a dozen or so Muslim Eritreans were have eclectic background . In other words, I know for a fact that some of the individuals they reached out to have similar components in their background to the ones I tried to reach out. So, the outreach effort was genuine and multifaceted. I can only speak in how I was reached out and why I joined. The why part I will address when I respond to JH Ahmed. Please stay tuned for that.

    Beyan

    • haquda

      Beyan, It is not how and with whom Beyan as individual networking or contact that I have a problem but EFND as Organization/Group communicated is I am questioning. I hope you will address the Why question as well too as you promised.

  • Semere Andom

    Hi Semharawit:
    Thanks for the video. Now after what has happened to Eritrea, there were a lot of prophetic questions. Including DIA prophetically said that if you have problems with land come to my office, now people go to his office they have problems with their car. Not withstanding his condescending remarks that is.
    The questions, are you going to continue holding public q and a session,” tiqtsla dika” and Dr. Araya’s prediction that the UofA will not continue the way it is going.

  • Shum

    Hello Saleh Johar,

    I can’t comment on your calling out of these individuals from EFND. To be honest, when it comes to opposition personalities, I’d much prefer if we had articles that said we had some disagreements; we spoke about it and worked it out and here are our objectives. But that’s neither here nor there. My interest is on another point of your article that got me thinking about something I hope we can talk about more: Muslim participation in diaspora opposition and communities. Now, I sort of cringe saying it because I know Eritrean Muslims are not a monolithic population. They are quite diverse in background and point of view.

    But I have to say, growing up, at least in my community, there weren’t many Muslims involved in my community and from what i could see, many others that I’ve visited. And as you say, “It is an established fact that Muslims are absent in most Eritrean Diaspora meetings in the West”. And when they are, they are clustered in their own group. That worries me. You don’t represent all Muslims, but I’d like you to comment on why you think this is so.

    I have to tell you, I have friends from many parts of the world, Muslims from different countries, except Eritrea. As an Eritrean, that really bothers me.

  • said

    The assembly of Politic is about perception and identification with whom you agree with the political policy, manifesto and agenda or disagree against.It is about reading between the lines, it is about make believe, deceit and lies, the political affiliation, orientation of the group and makeup of its leaders, their Bio history can tell us many thing. History of individual past and present. Politic is about keep privilege to certain group of the sameness and acknowledged, understood among themselves and at times agreed with their hidden agenda only known to core group of founders and not necessary declared openly .trust us we are one of you, what is left out real issues may not concern them nor it their first priority and what is not written is more telling than what is declared for public consumption appealing to core regional and co-religious group.

    Truthfulness and total transparency is a rare commodity in Eritrean politics. When one bring up the correct political correctness, they’re often talking about how much they distaste and hate it what they read. Unlike, say, common good ,democracy “diversity” or “inclusion,” the term is perhaps most frequently used by those who object to what it stands for, who feel that calls to change the way they write and speak harm their political group or their particular
    ethnicity in some way. It rocks their world and they don’t know where to turn .when they do not agree with political diversity” or “inclusion, they eventually brake away and form splinter group of their exclusive club. The written is on wall.

    We are not in public court to prove or disprove allegation. Politic it is about what being manifested can be interpreted to certain degree. The process of writing of the political policy and agenda deals with self-narrow interest not broader national issue at large, Policy writing start months ahead each subject carefully selected, often is drafted by a political scholar, often inside the inner group, then edited by its leaders, and vetted by the top an elected inner authorities. What they issue contents is wide open for interpretation and open criticism. It is unto them defend their policy.

    What you want to do in Politic is get out ahead of the problem and address the real national issue
    that caver broader issue of all region and Eritrean people at large, and not have someone say, ‘Look at this narrow damaging agenda and I found that you were not trying to address real national major issue, neglected and relegated .

    it a fair game not to be trusted when opposition group deal with narrow political agenda, Eritrean
    have seen this movie before and they are not will mot repeat and they have being keep out in the dark .

  • Rodab

    Nice tip Semharawit. Thanks.
    Indeed, they asked fundamental questions. Also Isaias’ relatively better answers back then is noticeable (compared to today’s dry, arrogant, crude answes). He said 20 years from now Asmara’s water and electricity supply…. Yeah 20 years have gone by and we know what the situation is.
    Btw, did you spot Aster yohannes on the second clip?

  • Mahmoud

    In an article entitled “Crusaders” Branding others
    “Islamists”, Saleh Gadi described “Eritreans
    For Facilitating National Dialogue” (EFND) as a sectarian group and
    advised them to meet with their like minded group the “Eritrean
    Lowlanders’ League” (ELL). In essence he called the Eritrean Lowlanders’
    League a divisive sectarian group. As a
    grass root member of the ELL, I strongly disagree with this characterization of
    our movement.

    The
    Eritrean Lowlanders’ League is a diverse civil society organization that was
    established recently to mobilize all lowland citizens in a legitimate effort to
    consolidate their human and other resources in order to reclaim their denied
    civil rights, human rights and political rights. The organization wishes to put
    forth a platform where all the people of the lowland can freely communicate
    with each other, raise their social grievances for discussion and plan a path
    for the restoration of their lawful rights.

    In its
    founding document, the ELL clearly stated its objectives to unite all lowlanders
    for the purpose of achieving justice, equality and peace for the lowlanders as
    well as all Eritreans. The organization is not intolerant toward other regions
    or groups as suggested. It is a civil society organization that intends to
    defend the rights of the lowlanders to reclaim their stolen land, forgotten
    refugees, targeted social and cultural identity and denied political rights.
    The organization supports development, commerce and freedom of mobility between
    all regions, but it is against settlements in our ancestral lands, social
    engineering and demographical changes in
    the name development.

    It is worth
    noting that those who claim to be for justice and stand in the way of justice
    are nothing but hypocrites and they will be held accountable. I further note that mere accusations without valid
    evidence to support them will not stand unchallenged. The ELL is not a little
    marginal organization that can be distracted by opponents who claim to be
    experts in all fields. In fact, the ELL is more than capable of defending itself should it so choose.

    • Hope

      Dear Mahmoud,
      Thanks for your clarification of your stand and that of your “Group,Sir!.
      Here is my opinion and I stand corrected when needed.
      As an ORIGINAL Lowlander in all aspects—by birth, by Religion(son of both Christians and Muslims),by Language, by Culture, etc–I would have sided with you and SUPPORT you more than I do now as I am the victim of all kinds of this and that….—
      BUT, despite that I am the victim of this and that, I rather chose to be “NEUTRAL” and focus on the solutions rather than the problems–that I have known since their inception.
      Considering the current situation that we are in, without an exception, all of us–Christians and Muslims; Highlanders and Lowlanders, have been affected horribly equally by all standard and criteria by a single common enemy.
      Therefore,it is absurd and unfair to, deliberately and selectively cry as if only the Lowlanders and Muslims are being targeted, when in fact, statistically and realistically, the Highlanders and the Christians are equally, or even more affected than their “Counter Partners”, considering the latest events….short of the “Land-Grabbing” saga/approach and the Refugee issue
      I am more concerned about the rhetoric of your “Group” than the Rhetoric of the wrongly baptized “group” as “Crusaders” .
      While I sympathize with your “group” whole-heartedly, since I am one of the ORIGINAL victims that your “group” “represents”(not really),I disagree with your approach because it aggravates the divisive Ethno-Religious and Region based Eri-Politics, for the simple fact that your audience(more sensitive and “less tolerant”–sorry- a fact based on facts and experience) might take your campaign at face value and create further confusion and misunderstanding among Eritreans.
      I am saying this confidently, since the TPLF Gang has been using this Ethno-religious and Region based divisive politics and your Group’s declaration showed at the same time when the bloody enemy of Eritrea and Eritreans enforced this deadly approach;and hence,your approach is coming at the wrong time and wrong space, with all due respect, Sir!
      On the same token, if what the Author is telling us is true, then the “Crusaders” might be an underground agents of the same enemies of Eritrea and Eritreans–be it the PFDJ or the TPLF Gang.
      Those who reacted to your group’s declaration have a legitimate right to be concerned coz it is more than concerning., compared to the “Crusaders'” approach.
      But that does NOT forfeit your concern but your wrong-timed approach coz the time now is to up-root the common enemy in a UNITED way, NOT in a divided way.
      As to the newly baptized ” Crusaders”, as Semharawit put it clearly, I am not convinced that this group’s approach is based on Religion and Politics(may be Region based?), unless I am missing something that the Author has at hand.
      I would rather blame them as ” Chauvinists” if at all they are but would NOT name-call them of any type as I have no idea about them, let alone about their agenda and motivation so as to judge them as such.I would be hypocritical as well if I judge your “Group” as this and that–for the same reason, as I have no clue about their real agenda and motivation–other than being ‘Optimistic” about the group for expressing their concern about the plight of our people in question. On the same token, I am still optimistic about the ” Crusaders” as well as their concern is about the plight of the same Eri people to free them form the shackles of the same common Enemy you are fighting against.
      As a matter of fact, the real Crusaders in its spiritual sense(the Pentecostals and Evangelicals) are suffering in the PFDJ Containers and Under-ground prisons .
      In Conclusion:
      -Let us work hard for one goal in a united and inclusive way by putting aside our old grudges, minor differences, Gossip, character assassinations, defamation, behind the back talks, assumptions, speculations, prejudice, etc—-
      -Let us be more constructive and more tolerant
      Beyan Negash:
      Thank you for your bold clarification and for challenging the Article. But you are expected to answer few more questions as to why your Group is/was NOT inclusive-if at all it was not inclusive… as to why it did not invite those who should have been invited—if at all they were not invited.
      Saleh Johar:
      Until you prove your case with facts–other than the Meskerem,Net style of Gossip,I second to Vet Mahmoud Saleh’s Opinion.
      I read in detail the other Article about Medrekh–where you went an extra mile and challenged few of the group members face-to-face and you did what you did as you did NOT get the answers you expected. I hope you did the same thing with the “Crusaders” as well.
      But you are expected by your readers to list your facts and justifications as much as the way you did their names and their ‘personalities”, which could be misunderstood or even considered as a “Character Assassination”, BTW.
      As to the Reconciliation that both of you are trying to preach us about :
      -It takes two to tango
      -We are NOT in the “Old Testament” Era where/when the norm/law is an Eye for an Eye but in the 21st Century and ” New Testament” Era where/when the Common sense and reason is the Norm.
      -We have to practice/practice what we preach if we have to win the hearts of the majority.
      -Can you/we come up then with a better and inclusive approach?
      -What are the real problems and obstacles for Reconciliation/Rapprochement and to come up with a “Better” and Unifying guiding principles?
      Cousin SAAY along with Big Bro,Vet Mahmoud Saleh,I will expect you to shed light on this issue as this is a Priority of priorities.
      Mr. Amanuel Hidrat:
      With all due respect,Sir,why are you so silent when you seem to know the FACTS?
      Can you and Beyan Negash enlighten us more so as to avoid further confusion and polarization,please?

      • Bayan Nagash

        Dear Hope,

        If you have specific questions that you would like to ask I can give you an answer to the best of my knowledge. My understanding is that EFND had reached out close to 12 individual Eritrean Muslims to join the ad hoc committee prior to reaching out to me – each and everyone of those who were invited declined. I am not sure what else EFND was supposed to do. By the way, I was not aware of this information when I decided to be a part of the ad hoc committee, albeit a small part.

        If I may speak on behalf of Amanuel, he did say in one of his comments today or yesterday that he was not going to engage on the topic until EFND issues an official response, perhaps waiting to hear it from the horse’s mouth, as it were, would be a wise way to go about it.

        I put myself on the limelight because of the incessant mis-characterizations the article is laced with my conscience wouldn’t allow it to idly let it slip by. Therefore, I took it upon myself to respond based on the positive experience I have had with each and member in the group.

        Beyan

    • Bayan Nagash

      Dear Mahmoud,

      The idea that a civic or political organizations being created to advance their respective group interest is something that must be lauded and encouraged so long it does not infringe on the bigger aims of a nation. In other words, if deQi Metaht wish to create an organization that protects their interest I will be there to support it. If the Afars create an organization that upholds the integrity of their culture, tradition, and territorial integrity, I will be there to support them as well. When it becomes problematic is when they refuse to see that working and allying with others as a compulsory endeavor without which their interests will go nowhere. I have no problem groups forming under whatever banner they deem fit their needs, but aligning and forming coalition with other groups who have similar interests will go a long way in advancing their cause. It is with this basic idea in mind that I penned an article supporting ELL when it formed and it is with the same principle I also supported Medrekh on the same article to illustrate my point. Here is the link to the piece for those who wish to read from the archives of Awate:

      http://awate.com/eritreas-political-culture-its-outdated-tools-of-analysis/

  • Kokhob Selam

    No dawitom No. PFDJ don’t represent even his own men. opposition at least represent what ever you label it. This is the difference. the struggle is to let opposition join and represent all. the stage seems at highest level as we have started to agree that there is always a common ground between all those narrow tendencies starting to the minimum that we agree we are human beings and we need to be treated as human beings. And then goes up to citizenship freedom which PFDJ rejected. so don’t ever try to exploit the weakness opposition. in fact who should be challenging PFJD, except the one who believes he should be free of rules , cruel group. so why even always blame opposition when you should be part of it (of course if you are man of dignity) .

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Haw JH Ahmed,

    I will not comment on the allegation of SGJ individually. EFND will respond to his allegation collectively. But in the mean time I will try to correct you two thing. First I wish if your criticism was made constructively. Second I wouldn’t call “shopping” for asking our partners to join the goodwill of the organizers in order to resolve our differences.

    But coming to the issue of representation, first the organizers tried forcefully to outreach our Muslim brothers and our sisters (gender) before the first organized meeting. I believe they have the lists of the attempted efforts. Even after the first meeting the outreach was continued by all EFND members. I just want to correct you the misrepresenting to the “efforts of EFND members” that Amanuel wasn’t the only member who was trying. All of them have done their share to the effort of making EFND to reflect the diversity of our society. The sad part of Eritrean politics is: Any gathering is scrutinized and always seen with “conspiracy and suspicion” regardless its content and its goal to the common good of our people. I will stop here until we come with the official response of EFND to the allegation.

    regards,
    Hawka, Amanuel Hidrat

    • Bayan Nagash

      Thanks Amanuel for this clarification. I should also add that, something I didn’t know until this morning that EFND did reach out to about 12 individual Muslim Eritreans to join them, apparently, none of whom joined for one reason or another. This even speaks volumes to the steadfast outreach efforts that EFND had undertaken.

      JH Ahmed, this is the kind of notes that cannot be left unanswered, thus I will definitely respond in due course. There is a whole lot of stuff to unpack from your note to which I want to take this opportunity to thank you for laying out it out as you conceive of it.

      I have to agree with you here that SGJ has said his piece and I gave mine in turn, and what you have written goes far and deep to the heart of the polarized sociopolitical environment out of which there is no easy way out, but together I firmly believe we can find reconciling points.

      Sincerely,
      Beyan

    • dawit

      Dear Amanuel
      You wrote “The sad part of Eritrean politics is: Any gathering is scrutinized and
      always seen with “conspiracy and suspicion” regardless its content
      and its goal to the common good of our people”.
      Yes I agree with your comment. I heard few days ago from a good Eritrean friend that surprised me a lot. When ELF was organized itself in Cairo Egypt most of the members were Eritrean Moslems. They wanted Christians to be included in the organization. At that time Mr.
      Woldemariam who is regarded by most Eritreans the father of Eritreans for independence was also residing in Cairo, Egypt. The ELF organizers invited Mr. Woldeba to join them, and I was told he refused. As a result ELF started as a Moslem lead Eritrean Liberation Front. Ethiopia exploited this to divide Eritreans by labeling ELF as a Arab instigated Muslims organization to recruit
      Christian Highlanders to fight ELF. The rest is history. Mr. Amanuel have you heard this story, was it true? How are we going to overcome such fear and suspicions from our society?. Is history repeating itself?
      Regards
      dawit

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam dawit,
        I haven’t heard about it. I can not verify your info. Your second question is important to me and I have been trying to deal with it. My take on how to handle it, is already in the public domain or go and visit my archive “tebeges” in this website. In short to overcome such fears and suspicion, and to avoid framing our political issue by religion, is to address the grievances of our social groups and give them equitable sharing in the political and economic life of the nation. Anything outside this approach Eritrea will continue in a perpetual turmoil.

        regards,
        Amanuel Hidrat

        • Semere Andom

          Hi Emma and dawit: “The sad part of Eritrean politics is: Any gathering is scrutinized and
          always seen with “conspiracy and suspicion” regardless its content

          I agree with that statement too. After the G-15 were arrested to face their indefinite, illegal and cruel treatment every meeting that was organized in the diaspora was called regional by PFDJ’s rumour mill. And of course it was a lie perfected over the years by the regime and entrenched a paranoia on the people. I have no information about the group that is the subject of this article, but one thing I know is that this excessive paranoia to accuse every gathering by Eritreans as having sub-national goals was spread-headed and refined by none than PFDJ. But there is an exception to rule: and that is when PFDJ does it. PFDJ plays the regional, ethnic and religious card every time it needs it. Case in point. When EPLF pushed the Ethiopians from Keren, the EPLF created havoc in the city in all aspects of life, corruption, ,arrest and murdered were common and EPLF did not have good reputation among Kerenites. After their second congress they targeted the ethnic group Blen and Kernites in general in the Sudan by giving them jobs in ERA and providing them with food Aid like sugar. They organized secret meeting only for the ethnic group in question, Wedi Garza (I think Soviet Union educated), Giorgis Ghirmay and Alamin M. Said were the designers and implementers of this project. The reason I am bringing this fact up is to say that this kind paranoia has its underpinning in PFDJ’s witchcraft politics. It is always “kosher” when they do it, but “haram” when others do it.

          I believe that the article as it stand did not provide any proof that the group had crusaders agenda except their religion and names and where they hail from, but I have not heard of this group before Emma alerted us about the long article in Assenna, which I have not read. I hope the debate /allegation that SGJ has put in motion lubricates a civilized debate when as Emma says they respond officially as a group. I have to reconcile, (not pun intended) what my friend Saleh is saying and the attendance of my friends Beyan and Emma with group. I am aware that Saleh took the effort to not include Emma as a Crusader

          We have the Kunama movement, the Afar movement, the ELL and now the so called “Cursaders”, a small country, small population, an entrenched dictatorship, a myth called “hadnetna” and the dictator is laughing at us, nay he is smirking and we are confusing it with a smile and by this division we are aiding him by becoming a catalyst for our nation’s irreversible demise. Although the source of all these crisis was fermented in PFDJ “sarma” and crystalized in PFDJ’s crucible, we are all collectively responsible. We had and have a choice, but we chose the wrong path. And here is when the only time dawit is RIGHT: we are also willing contributors to our current problems or as dawit likes to spin and word smith it, PFDJ is not sole source of problem

  • said

    It seems the responsibility of the opposition party is to extended participation openly to everyone. Eritreans s’ political life since the independence of two decade ago cannot be minimized for diverting the collective Eritrean intellectual energies and national resources from engaging in probing self-introspection under neutral circumstances, to the
    wasteful expediencies of the marshalling of such resources and energies to combatting PFDJ Designs and hegemony.

    Had some small self-serving segment of our society acted genuinely and constructively in dealing with their Eritrean brethren in equal footing in the transmission and inculcation of the enlightened values of freedom and independent Eritrea and upholding human rights and Democratic values – in lieu of pursuing exploitative and divisive Ethiopian colonialist
    strategies dealing with their Eritrean people as second class citizens colonies and Ethiopian succeeded in creating elite collaborators and sell-out including the creation of the hated commandos endemically most wasteful project – the
    Eritreans , the adoption and imitation by the vanquished of the ethos of the victorious liberators but sadly they turn to be
    in mimicking the conqueror of by gone era -They would have been influenced and their constructive energies redirected under more neutral conditions to engaging in serious bids of Self-Introspection and the re-examination of the wide body of accretions of a huge heritage.
    Unfortunately,and in this vein, following from the above, with the some Eritrean mind made less trustful of the some
    opposition political intentions, thus becoming less prone to instead devote the energies for the inquisitive
    thinking, the Eritrea as new state and civilizations lost a valuable historic opportunity of constructive dialogue between its citizens and the enlightening of the Eritrean mind by providing the space for self-introspection under neutral circumstances had the Asmara regime and its intellectual inside and outside based diaspora in force acted more democratically benevolently and constructively in lieu of the pursuit of avaricious exploitative and heartless designs.

    One would have expected a Secular Eritrea to be restored to a full-fledged model representative Democracy with all the transparent institutions befitting a properly functioning Civil Society. What possibly heightened those ambitions
    and high expectations of the founding of a truly Modern Civil Society in reasonably natural-resources rich Eritrea,
    were most Eritrean expected the propaganda and declared objectives of independence as to bringing Eritrea to the International fold of flourishing Democracies of the world. In matter of truth, and with Eritrea being
    predominately followers of one faith or region. The regime assumed and in total control of the critical positions in the new Eritrean governance system had at hand all the key CARDS to Shape the new Eritrea as a model for a true representative democracy living by the full rules of a perfectly functioning inclusive secular civil society and fully respecting adherent of faith .
    Instead,the Eritrea leadership drew the lines of the sharing of power by splitting eritreans along Sectarian & Ethnic Divides forgoing a unique golden historic opportunity to edifying a powerful prosperous nation along equitable secular
    lines.
    i.e.the Rule of Law equitably applicable on all the State’s constituencies without favoritism as to religion, sect, ethnicity or race.
    Eritrea to some degree is now a Divided country along divided Tribal Affiliations lines instilled with time deep individual and community psychological and socio-political consciousness along these division – remained,

    Eritrea’s emulation and apparent adoption of the divisive of only one Tribal System of State Governance will prove a great hindrance to Eritrea’s realization of the country’s aspirations to early revival into a united powerful nation of a democratic secular state.
    It is so shameful after the scarifying of hundreds of thousands of heroic lives of heroic people, we see the same today innocent lives vanish in anguish and the destruction of much of Eritrean economy and all its basic’s infrastructure to waist,the small segment of yesterday collaborators with Ethiopian invaders/conspirators and their welcoming proxies of ill-advised leaders of the Eritrea are succeeding in putting Eritrea on the wrong foot. The early fruits of a failed
    state realized. !

  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatista,

    Information coming from PFDJ meetings that are taking place in different countries shows that the regime representatives are announcing to the audience that Eritrean opposition members will be denied a citizen ID that is prepared to be issued by the regime. Notwithstanding that the regime can’t keep up issuing new ID every time it wants to shed people opposing it, it also has no guarantee that it would keep its citizenship once its dead weight is buried.

    In any case, a member of the regime embassy in Sweden, Sirak Bahlibi, has been in record to announce that message in a meeting held recently in Sweden. Mr Bahlibi’s comments are apparently in the hands of justice seekers.

    The question is not that if the regime will see the day it can rule like that but how can one help the hypnotized meeting goers that such hgdef idea is pure newri? Something that will shame them for the rest of their lives. How could they contemplate listening as mindless entities talks that involve withdrawal of citizenship from a son of tegadalay/martyr because the latter oppose the cruel dictator?

    Is this the last stroke to wake up the “supporter” or they are hopeless case???

    Regards

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear haile TG,

      The culture of militarism at its peak during the PFDJ era.

      http://vimeo.com/111600332

      Hawka
      tes

    • Semere Andom

      HTG:
      This is a problem, not, it is a mistake. I will write about why I love it, because it is for the good of nations, if not please help me hate it but it is not totally the fault of PFDJ, regional, international, TPLF, FBI , the MI5 and the Eritrean opposition including AT and Horizon, who suggested the trade of Asab for Badme have conspired to push PFDJ to this decision. It is unfortunate, but the nation must stand and the “moaning” of the opposition at this juncture of our history and comparing to our young nation to the USA, and Europe who went through centuries of sacrifices is untenable. Revoking the citizenship of the opposition is made as a national security control. “Znegese negusna, zbereQe tsehayna, ziharema maina, eritrewi eye wola enteteselbe zeginetna”

  • Crocus

    Dear Aman:

    I hope you realized the folly of your ways. There was no need to hide under the skirt of Ethiopia, create a false illusion, and proclaim that “unlike Ethiopia, the political culture of Eritrea is based and rooted on republicanism and Liberal democracy and freedom of the people under a common binding constitution and flag;”

    Blah, blah, blah! Did you realize how hollow that sounds? You did not want to face the prospect that Eritrea has deep divisions. Moreover, none of the chain of comments even bothered to come back and support your view even remotely.

    You see, issues of religion and regionalism are real fault lines in Eritrean body politik, much as you pretended to imitate the ostrich and bury your head in the sand. The fact is, the more people face the issues and hammer them out the better the outcome for Eritrea. Unlike you, most of the commenters attempted to face it headlong. Personally, I lack basis to engage in the conversation from knowledge. But, I could not fail to notice how people like you use Ethiopia as the boogeyman to unite you. It never fails. It comes from a familiar playbook. You must be aware that you missed by a wide mile!

  • Ande

    This is a thoughtfull article. But using an antiquated concept of “crusaders’ has been unjustiably used to prove a point is quite a stretch. The “crusade” vs “Islamist” analogy is not only unreal but also a far out cry.

  • semharawit

    First, I would like to thank you Kubur Haw Beyan Negash for stating it elegantly and graciously. We, Eritreans, need more positive thinkers and visionary individuals like you.

    On the other hand, it breaks my heart when I hear and/or read such allegations. Personal attacks, baseless allegations, blackmailing and calling EFND “Crusaders” is a petty acquisition. As Beyan states, such acquisitions must have well-documented proof. Otherwise character assassination is a waste of time that attempts to discredited individuals. How can someone say “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.” yet alleged others and call them names. I don’t expect such allegations from a very well-educated and articulated author, Mr. Saleh Johar. I hope we all try to build an effective communication and a bridge of positive criticism.

    We, Eritreans, must leverage a communication path called ‘positive criticism’. We must find our own freedom and forge our own pathways towards the declaration of freedom, liberty, justice, and democracy we are all preaching about. We should and must put forth collective and collaborative strategic efforts to defeat totalitarian Afeweki’s power and create a united path together for a common purpose rather than wasting time and energy attacking each other. Our people have been living under 21st century “modern slavery”, and the nation has been in a state of horror for over two
    decades “a peril nation”. I hope our scholars use their time and intellect to be good role models to the young
    generation and leave a remarkable legacy for generations to come rather than wasting
    their time attacking each other.

    • Saleh Johar

      Dear Semharawit,
      I admire your jumping in, that is what good friends are for 🙂 I hope this is not your orphan comment, please stay around.

      I explained why I wrote what I wrote, you can believe it or reject it. As for character assassination, I am afraid you are dealing with a victim and veteran of being mercilessly attacked, so please don’t go there. I wish I had friends like you who would come to the rescue 🙂

      One thing I would like you to note here: reconciliation comes in many types: 1) you bow down and submit, like what PFDJ is requesting, and 2) reconciliation that you submit to as an equal stakeholder. I don’t know of your choice, but mine is #2.

      Finally, I hope that “Islamist” brand (when used derogatorily) pains you as much as the “Crusader” brand pains you. I am asking because you didn’t express that. I wish you did.

      Take care and my regards to all around you, including your friend 🙂

      • Semharawit

        Dear Mr. Johar,
        Usually I don’t like the Eritrean tasteless bickering politics, but I am one of your readers. Quite frankly I like your article analysis, but the “Crusaders” Branding Others, “Islamists” went too far. You are one of the Eritrean intellects, and my expectation from you is high that reflects the Eritrean cultural values which
        is to respect one another. It would be nice if you would stick on ‘positive criticism’ about the EFND memorandum rather than on personal attacks. I do believe you and I have our differences. However, as Eritrean brother and sister, we must come together on our common objectives because Eritrea is belongs to all of us.

        To me, religion is built on faith and intellectual virtue. Therefore, I don’t favor one over the other. I value and respect both religions equally. As Eritreans who stands for justice and be the voice of the voiceless, we should focus on the urgent matters. As I mentioned on my previous post our nation is in peril
        and it is our moral and national obligation to come together and save our people and our nation collectively. So, I am hoping that your will be a good role model in this difficult time.

        Best regards,
        Semharawit

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear AB,

    It will be helpful dear AB, it is not of hope or good wishes but I am reading the trend. Rest assured though EFND should keep their blood cool. If their blood temperature increases because of this article then all their memorandum will be useless. Let them be strong and face such open and public critics.

    They have to pass the litmus paper. I think they are all wise enough to accept such critics if not they should keep away from the Eritrean politics. I am saying this because Eritrea is looking now for more tolerant politicians. Those who can face strong critics, be it personal or group and still able to sit together and discuss on the national issues.

    Like what brother Bayan did if the EFND participants felt somehow hurted by this criticism let them respond using a reconcilatory tone.

    One big mistake might be if they started to respond to this article into another web-site. Let them write an article and challenge him. I think Awate Team will accept if a formal article is sent in response to his here at awate. But, if they did on another web-page, personally I may conclude that they were not ready for such open critics. And still, I expect them to write with a reconcilatory tone.

    haw AB, lets be courageous enough to face what ever it is. Lets not escape and start a new organisation. If we do so it will be hard to imagine an Eritrea free of dictators.

    Dear AB, Saleh Gadi as a writer and a well respected and critical writer has to be analysed from all dimensions. Haw Saleh is calling for a wide reconciliation by exposing what is really on the ground according to his observation. I will repeat again, “If his critics is unfounded, well and good, EFND is in a good position; and if the critics is true, then they have to fight in order to over-come it” And for both possibilities, the working memorandum should be their guiding principle.

    hawka
    tes

    *I heard an inteview done between assenna (Amanuel) and some of the organizers today. It is very good, let them reach the wide public audience.

  • Saleh Johar

    AB, thank you for recognizing I am hot-blooded, not cold-blooded. If hot blood stops circulating in my head I would be dead, at least brain-dead. I am sure you don’t wish that for me 🙂

    Yes, in instances like this the blood in my nerves do gush… some call it passion. But then, refute, challenge, or keep your peace, is my advice to some. My blood pressure is irrelevant, it is a fruitless side tracking. I am sure you agree 🙂

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Awatistas,

    I think this article is a testing paper on how much matured is the Eritrean politics from many angles. if we are matured enough, we will handle this issue wiser (I believe also we can). SGJ did what he feels is good for him and what he raised is not a secret agenda. If it exists, well and good, we need to fight against it. If it does not exist, then, we need to show to the writer. If we succeed on then yes the conference will be as its name.

    Let’s use this opportunity as a reconcilatory approach. I thank SGJ for his courageous outrage. He is brave enough to explode what is within the Eritrean politics. PFDJ is blocking all political developments because of FEAR. he excluded feelings and emotions. What ever it is, let’s even reconcile with SGJ. What I read from this article is we are almost coming our short-comings.

    I am very optimistic for the rapid political changes now.

    Dear EFND members, this is your testing ground. come and show us your reconcilatory memorandum. This conference will be very successful as it got a sharp critic from a well calibre writer.

    Personally, I condemned Medrekites because of their secretive approach but I can confess that Medrekites learned a great lesson from the sharp critics they got from the same writer and are becoming more transparent. I condemned ELL because of their double standards (As regionalists and as as Human Rights defenders of people who are living in certain region). I do not have any further information since SGJ’s critics for ELL and I can say nothing more. But, this paper has called them again to sit and reconcile.

    Let’s not be guided by “pride” Let’s reconcile. If SGJ attacked individuals and even to their working memorandum (on some specific issues like the refugees in Sudan in which ELL is more concerned about on its human rights activisim), then lets accept his attack and reconciliation call. let’s be brave enough to be matured.

    Hope again and again the reconcilatory process will be much faster as the EFND imagined.

    I love you all my beloved Eritreans!

    Hawkum
    tes

  • Trust

    There is one truth that I am sure of; ONE OF THE PARTICIPANTS IS A NOTORIOUS ISLAMOPHOBE.The good thing is that we cannot be deceived or intimidated. A new version of Nihnan Elamanan is a prematurely dead idea.If there is one thing that would beak my heart it would be those (PhD/doctors )holders having this trend .

  • Saleh Johar

    Dear AB,
    The respect is mutual, and yes, I read everything because this is important to me, not an on-and-off-thing like many others.

    Just a clarification: Beyan Negash is the only Muslim person in the list of names. Since the name Beyan Negash is a religion/neutral name, I thought this might shed some light.

    • SA

      Dear Saleh Gadi,
      Thanks for your response and clarification. I think you have addressed me by mistake as AB instead of SA.

      SA

  • Bayan Nagash

    SA,

    Amen! A thousand Amen to that. I, too, hold SGJ in good stead, but this piece in question just about undid that stead in my eyes as I am certain to many more gathering from the responses that the article is generating.

    In the 21st Century to see the adopting of the EPLF & ELF of the late seventies in which the two organizations clamored one another and clobbered each others’ leaders like there was not tomorrow seems to be reverberating and rearing its ugly head in the opposition’s political discourse today. It is one thing when the likes of Sofia Tesfamariam and Gidewon Abbay in their despair do it, but for us to resort to such political suicide nothing good could come out of it. SA, I just want to say thanks for the sobering and succinct note.

    Beyan Negash/Bayan Nagash

    • Saleh Johar

      Beyan,
      One more view for you.

      The ELF-EPLF story is ended in 1991 if you have missed that. The legacy is owned by the Eritrean people, its good and its bad.

      • Bayan Nagash

        Saleh,
        23 years later that divide seems to reverberate in the way we frame sociopolitical discourse, the piece you penned is a perfect example of that. Saleh, as Semharawit who clearly puts you in that good stead as someone who has embodied the Eritrean political landscape all his life, I think it is unfortunate you chose to put a negative spin to an otherwise hopeful conference that I was hopeful will pivot in the way we frame it moving forward.
        Hope is not all lost though when I see young Eritrean generation like Tes grappling to come up with a new way forward. I am looking forward to learning a new perspective as I hope this will have some semblance of influence in your thinking as well. We all can learn from others. I certainly learned a great deal from the way you narrate Eritrean stories, but we must be open to learn from others as well. The way in which you think learning from what was done in other African countries in the reconciliation front is still disheartening. Do you recall in how Isayas as a new leader berated African leaders as good for nothing leaders and the Diaspora Eritreans were hailing the man for letting them have it. Look at Mandela’s country had done for its people through reconciliation – there is a lot that can be gleaned from these countries. Let us not be dismissive of other nations’ path, which could as well be one more way that could help us find the future path of Eritrea – future of harmonious coexistence, and existence that when we are long gone people could say, look at what our forefathers like SGJ did for their descendants. That was always one of my hope your name would be associated with, this piece in question notwithstanding, I believe you have a great deal of gravitas that can help shape the political discourse toward positive end.
        And I must thank the young man, Tes for putting me in the right frame of mind; one who put me on my tracks to reframe my mindset and address on the possibilities that lie ahead.
        Sincerely,
        Beyan/Bayan

  • tafla

    What an article!!!

    Mr SGJ is in a league of his own when it comes to Eritrean opposition politics, because he knows exactly what kind of governmental structure he wants to see in Eritrea.

    He’s not interested in a political party or individual leaders, he’s more about ideas than anything else. If you read carefully, he’s serving a delicious “Awaze” with hints of character assassination, a dash of high-mindedness for convenience (excludes A. Hidrat) and a spoonfull far-fetched moral equivalence between these participants objectives and other outspoken Islamists.

    Oops, did I say Islamist, I guess that makes me a crusader now :). To my knowledge, there is no Crusader movement among the Highlanders, they are pre-occupied by regionalism for the moment…But this is a deliberate attack on a secularist movement that happens to be made up almost exclusively by Christians. It is not the fact that they are Christians that is bothering him, he would have done the same if they were all Muslim secularists, the keyword is secularism!

    So please, don’t insult Ustaz Saleh Johar by implying that he’s angry for not being invited (he couldn’t be bothered) and disregard his seemingly thin skin and hurt feelings, he’s a battle-scarred former fighter for God’s sake, nothing gets to him :). His thing is IDEOLOGY.

    • tafla

      To summarize it all.
      ክትበልዓ ዝደለኻ ኣባ ጉምባሕ’ሲ ዛግራ ትብላ።

      • Saleh Johar

        ወይ ድማ፡ “ዋላ ትንፈር፡ ጠል ‘ያ”

        • tafla

          Does it have a goatee? :-)…A joke…

          • Saleh Johar

            Haha, naughty Tafla, you will get me in trouble. My flying goat comes with sideburns and woolly face 🙂

          • tafla

            Hahaha, what a wonderful response. Love it! Thumbs up!

          • Kokhob Selam

            ዝገርም እዩ
            ጤል ውን ነፊራ ዶ ካብ ታባ ናብ ታባ :-
            ካን ተንሳፊፋ ስሕበት ከይዓጀባ::

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear tafla,

      Your short comment here has something that I can not simply scroll down again and again. “His thing is IDEOLOGY” is more than anything a big point to me. But, I take it from PFDJ ideological point of view.

      haw tafla, I heard that it is hard to indoctrinate using any other kind of ideology to a Muslim follower. USSR experienced this while it tried to advance its ideology to countries inhabited my Islam followers. China has also the same experience with its Muslim people.

      EPLF came with an ideology since its birth (thanks to Mao). The ideology has too reach every Eritrean. Unfortunately, 50%+ (the Muslims) can not accept any kind of ideology. the reason is obvious, Eritreans were not that much naïve to be indoctrinated by Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Ideology. USSR and the eastern European countries proved one thing though, their population being in majority an Orthodox Church, they found it easy to indoctrinate and hence to expand easily. EPLF was ignorant enough not to know the social make up of the Eritrean society. In this regard, the Orthodox church became a victim. And, the Muslims and the Catholic church left marginalized. The Muslims were baptized as “Jihadists” and the Catholics as “Progressive.” As a result, ELF became a target of this ideologically motivated move and those individuals within the EPLF ranks baptized as “Menkae”

      Sadly, The Muslims failed to understand this ideologically derived attack and hence started to organize themselves with no means to fight back. And those “progressives”, “the Menkae,” took it as a regional issue and are still fighting with no means. The Orthodox church, the same as that of USSR and many Eastern European countries, became the fertile ground to be slaved and hence we call them as “advantaged, the Kebessa people.”

      Dear tafla, this is the political legacy of PFDJ, an ideologically drived division. Worst about this system is that it didn’t stop in dividing the people but in killing also. Plus, a slave cannot remain a slave for an indefinite time. Finally, the Muslims, because of ideology, became the first target group, the progressivists were few enough to be dissolved and the slaves started very late to escape for freedom. Who is left then?

      And, today, still this ideology is every where. Is SGJ’s intention from this dimension?

      Hawka
      tes

      • tafla

        Dear Tes,

        Can you explain to me what your comment has to do with what I wrote, SGJ is a highly focused and articulate individual. I don’t see him as a representative of all Eritrean Muslims.

        I have a hard time understanding what your focus is. Are you a sociologist, an activist or member of a political movement? B/C just being angry at the PFDJ, “the advantaged” or talking about a Utopian democracy without a road map or a realistic evaluation of who is in charge of the opposition agenda, you will only be a “useful” idiot and taken for a ride (Sorry for the harsh term). I agree with you in many things you say about the PFDJ, but I rather see a tuning up and going back to the PFDJ charter and safeguard the territorial, social, geopolitical (no foreign intervention) and economic (No full-scale privatization) integrity of the nation first.

        I don’t care about DIA/PIA or corrupt officers that abuse the innocent Eritrean people’s love of country. Democracy is not a quick fix, it’s a culture that needs to grow over time and dynamic self-correcting Institutions to sustain it, to function properly.

        The first step towards democratization should be to safeguard against the violation of the rights of the individual by the group (be it family, ethnic group, religious group or government) any other interpretation strikes me as power-mongering.

        All the best

        Hawka tafla

  • Fenomeno

    I myself do not know any of the listed names. However, I would like to state that anyone needs to be cautious when labelling someone a crusader, jihadist or Islamist.

    BTW the word Islamist might raise some negative thoughs nowadays, but for me they are not any different than e.g Christen democrats, i.e non-secular. Maybe the groups labelling others as Islamists just mean non-secular orientated individuals?

    To be honest it seems that the state of mind reflected in this article is not one of reconciling. The author of the article even alleged me of being a crusader/showimg crusader behaviour, one time here in the comments section (not knowing that I am a Muslim myself). Therefore the problem seems to have two aspects. First of all many so called all inclusive organisation (including PFDJ) are not able to attract Muslim Eritreans. This might be because of their crusader tendencies, but also due to narrow mindess that could turn every comment on Islam/a Muslim into a crusader manifesto.

  • Admas

    “Mathematics of Afar: If you are an Eri/Ethio Afar, would you join Eritrea and beacome the second dominant ethnic group in the country with significant regional and international clout or join up the Ethiopian side and remain less than 1% minority group? In reality, it is better to leave it as it is and they can serve as a bridge between both peoples and help to undermine detrimental sentiments as yours”

    Sorry I had to bring this hilarious comment to forefront cos I like the way Haile sees things from comfort side of his own corner. So much for his desperation to distance his identity from Ethiopia, he would propose the craziest idea under the sun in order to win an argument..But interestingly his proposal of Ethiopian Afars ever considering to join their minority keens in Eritrea brings up in mind the most overlooked reason to why Eritrea itself may not be sustainable let alone Erritea taking another bite it can not chew..It is not only because they have failed to prove the capabilty to govern the already small population of 5 million, but also because the political system that does not give ethnic group in Eritrea any autonomy can not be attractive to Ethiopian Afars who are already enjoying a relatively better autonomy than their keens in Eritrea…There is just no logical reason to why Ethiopian Afars would want to loose whatever little or big they have so-far achieved under Ethiopian constitution to go backward to the new “Amhara” of Eritrea to beforce fed a non existant “unique Eritrean identity”? (I don’t feel confortable using the unfair depiction of the term Amhara, but since it is the chosen term by Eritreans to discrib past regims ethiopia i thought it makes sense)….So Haile. it seems Isais Afewrqe is far smarter than you people in Eritrean opposition because he at least realizes that Ethiopia’s federal system is a threat to Eritrea’s existence as it would encourage ethnic group in Eritrea to demand the same right as their ethnic keens in Ethiopia hence he tries to undermine ethic federalism in Ethiopia not because he cares about Ethiopia’s unity but because he is rightly terrified it’s implication on his Tigrigna dream….so Haile, If I was you I would worry about coming up with a better arrengment for the already failing Eritrea rather than dreaming to take on more burdon from somwhereelse..

    ……Oh. about the 99.9% magic number, you are absolutely right we all remember back in 1993 the Scottish style debate taking place in Eritrea, Eritreans discussing the pro-and cons of “Natsnet” and voting in their “best” interest to the best of their knowledge…even better the indipendence has proved so successfull that you are showing off the fruits to Ethiopian loosers like me….I guise all the stereotypes about people in that part of the corner being just hot-headed with no sense of humor is so wrong, cos I’m so amused here..

    • haileTG

      Sorry sir, I graded your reply:

      Grade : F

      To Improve:

      You need to be an Afar or write a two page essay on the merits of the amharic adage ከባለ ቤቱ ያወቀ ቡዳ ነው። Don’t double insult the Afar Ethiopians by acting you represent them and claiming they have self rule. If you can’t get that from PFDJ, your doomed. Every other opposition Eritreans is far too patriotic to entertain your mamo qilu dream:-) PFDJ were the best hope for you, we now have them under control. Did you now the Eritrean Afar movement sent letter of support to the meeting discussed above? Funny, they voted 99.65% to confirm their Eritreanness, they still are part of the Eri opposition and the PFDJ is also accused of supporting the Ethio Afar armed groups? let me tell you, you need only argue with PFDJ supporters, Eri opposition is a complex terrain for ya ma Afari bro:-)

      • Admas

        Oh dear Haile, It seem is you have swapped your down to earth wise man image to a streetwise bad-boy image…I like your last phrase, “ya ma Afari Bro”…what a cool veteran you are…

        Hailiye, I thought you are PMMZ’s(RIP) friend, how dare you betray him after his death by undermining his “gift” to nations and nationalities of Ethiopia that also includes the Ethiopian Afars who are at least, I repeat, at least enjoying a “RELATIVE” autonomy compared to the Eritrean Afars that are experiencing systematic ethnic cleansing…

      • Tesfabirhan WR

        Dear haile TG,

        I am sorry to say but I see you these days being affected by any coming wind. Please cool down, cool down.

        I have to points for you;

        You raised the role of intellectuals(whether PhD or not including you and ???). And objectively criticized those who are serving the monster. Thank you haile TG. but my concern here is in relation to subject under discussion. SGJ mentioned specific PhD holders and just criticized their role. I think he didn’t include all Eritreans with PhD especially those who are in the opposition camp. let’s consider it as concerned individuals (yes of course with all due respect for what they have).

        Second, people like Admas are tempting you so much and the more you want to give them subjective analysis the more they are going to their foreplay. Let’s abstain from these external agents. They want to divide our energy and dilute it. The more we discuss on our domestic issues the more barking will come. but, let it be.

        You are one of best analyst on our domestic issues and I want you to maintain that. be energetic as before and show as the means to analyse.

        Thank you brother again, defire entkeoyne aytihazeley.

        hawka
        tes

      • Abinet

        Professor haile
        This is by far your weakest argument . you think the Afars are better off by staying with eritrea because they are majority , Does your theory apply also for Tigray ? Definitely they become majority if they join eritrea. Just a thought 🙂

        • haileTG

          Abi

          Please answer if an Afar would prefer to have more powers by numbers or less control by shedding its spanse, weakening its relative strength and amplifying its core problem even more?

          One Afar commenter once told us all they need is peace, I know exactly what he meant. Three of you non Afars are forced to jugle the hot potato I passed you and creating more blunders. Please have respect to the Afar people, money isn’t everything. Again, the issue isn’t about Tigray, why do you pick on Tigrayans in particular?

          • Abinet

            I picked Tigray to show number and power are NOT always directly proportional .
            That is all .

  • Bayan Nagash

    The Politics of Reconciliation, It Certainly is not

    Saleh Gadi Johar’s (JGJ’s) latest article “Crusaders” branding others “Islamists” posted sometime today appears to fit a mold of a notable pattern; notable pattern because it is coming from notable person whose dedication to anything Eritrean is hard to parallel, which makes it rather difficult to confront as seen from conscientious standpoint; but there has to come a time when one begins to challenge ideas irrespective of the sources when those ideas seem to contain insinuations of red herring, innuendos and flat out unsubstantiated allegations, allegations to which there seems to be zilch evidence in this piece. The politics of yesteryear that EPLF perfected to a hilt is now seeming to gain grounds in the opposition forces. This idea of trust me I have the smoking gun all you have to do is rely on my past performance, I am afraid, will not do anymore. If we Eritreans are going to part with the pre-independence (anachronistic) political landscape that left us crippled to no end, then we must start it here and now.. Well, there are times when trust me has no currency and for the sakes of preserving one’s integrity one must unleash the evidence before hurling insults and allegations that seem to have no merits. if one were to read the previous pieces that SGJ has generously availed as a link for Awate readers, namely, the “Politics of Nouns and Topography”; If one were to go even further one could see the anachronistically impish politics of slash and burn that seems to be infesting Eritrean political field.

    What makes the present article unbecoming of a person who claims to operate under the banner of embolden, inform, and reconcile is that his project of defaming individuals is turning into PROJECT Of DEFAMING without substantive evidence that he cares not to share. Unless and until, SGJ produces the smoking gun that Mahmoud has succinctly challenged him on, which is really worth quoting here:

    “you are alleging these guys are “crusaders” because they brand innocent Muslim citizens “Jihadists.” Since this is a
    huge allegation, you are kindly asked to elaborate on it. I think such allegations are serious; and need to be substantiated with evidence ( audio/video/written) (11/10/2014 Mahmud Saleh).

    SGJ’s response was to settle for a quick enumeration of menus of, among which is this:

    “a) you wanted a written statement, my article is written and it is up to the reader to accept or reject it” (Saleh Johar).

    Now the simplest thing would have been for SGJ to produce his evidence instead of playing this arbitrational judge who lists names in one group and on a second thought decides to exclude some others from the same menu. This is not a caliber of a person who cherishes freedom of speech and who claims to have worked all his life for reconciliation. In the man’s own words,

    “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.”

    A person who thrives for reconciliation cannot be attacking the very group who come in a reconciling tone. Where is the reconciling tone when any reconciling tone coming from a group is demeaned as

    ““Crusaders” within the “Eritrean[s] 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.”

    Does this really sound like a person who wishes to find reconciling point among peoples? As though the above insult and alleged allegation to which his readers have not seen any evidence so as to side with his assertions, was
    not enough, SGJ comes up with the following that can only be characterized as facetious at best; here SGJ’s unsolicited advice among many that he kindly proffers herein follows:

    “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.”

    Back in April in the Topography piece Saleh, among other unflattering things said this about the group:

    “As it is, I feel my friends [i.e. ELL] are selling the legacy and experience of the steadfast people of the Lowland very cheaply. A cause of a people that owns a history, of being the vanguards of the struggle
    and its abode, should not be packaged piecemeal, and discounted to a regional demand. All of Eritrea is Lowlands in spirit by the virtue of its role in pioneering and nurturing the struggle that led to Eritrea’s independence in 1991.”

    With all due respect brother SGJ, please reconcile these two assertion for your readers as what is being insinuated by the above that you either believe ELLs are not worthy of a political organization that deserves to talk with yet another unworthy organization that EFND you consider to be, to which you will play the role of a broker. I am sincerely and honestly baffled and do not know if you are offering a handshake or a slap to both here.

    Beyan Negash

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear Beyan Negash,

      Thank you for coming and put your reflection on this topic. I think the issue raised by Saleh will be fruitful. Personally, I take this sharp critics of SGJ will be a gate opener to higher form of Eritrean politics and for this I can see from your very positive and analytic response. SGJ worked perfectly on his mission I think, “Enlighten, Embolden and reconcile.” His article is already bringing such critical analysis even by referring back to previous work. In this way, we go higher and higher.

      I call you to enlighten as more as a participant and major contributor of the event and hopefully soon Amanuel will join you.

      EFND came with a working momerandum and here is “challenge n° 1” As your document says if you show us your conciliatory capacity upto its higher standard, then, yes, you will be the champions. Your Litmus test paper is now open at awate.com. Hope you will come up more stronger.

      Dear Beyan in your concluding remark you wrote, “With all due respect brother SGJ, please reconcile these two assertion for your readers as what is being insinuated by the above that you either believe ELLs are not worthy of a political organization that deserves to talk with yet another unworthy organization that EFND you consider to be, to which you will play the role of a broker.”

      I have two points here;

      “Your great respect” and “your call for reconciliation” as one that makes your analysis with a much due respect (thank you again for that) and

      “The role of a broker.” Which I think you expressed your sincere bafflement. Dear Beyan, why NOT? So far, Eritreans tried to hire foreign political brokers (Ethiopian case is one). I didn’t heard any expert on this regard so far within our own citizens. We have to establish this kind of business, political brokers, who bring two different forces together in one table. If SGJ is ready for that (according to your statements) lets encourage him. and I believe he can imagining his thirsty to immediate PFDJ dismantlement. Lets build brokering enterprises. This is what is missing in our political environment.

      I can appreciate EFND if they able to bring different forces together(SGJ’s major concern) and if they fail again then their kind of brokering business will collapse.

      Medrek started as a political broker actually and that is their objective. But, when I see Medrek being as invited guests I ask myself if they are a political group. I am saying this because Medrek were also part of the meetings. Are then called as political forces or as reconciliatory forces.

      hawka

      tes

    • AOsman

      Beyan,

      On your last comment, the two statements quoted are not contradictory. To begin with both EFND and ELL are small entities, but that does not negate one from having relatively more constituent than the other (ELL in this case). The perceptions of themselves is important, while ELL believes it speaks for 50%, EFND (I assume) believes it speaks for us ALL….the humbleness advice here comes quite handy so that EFND does not act as a representative of Eritrean people and start discounting others as groups based region or religion.

      Regards
      AOsman

      • Bayan Nagash

        Selam AOsman

        You’re absolutely right the statements in themselves may not
        be “contradictory.” What’s contradictory, however, is for the self-appointed mediator
        to say the following about individual members of EFND. Let me let SGJ’s own words speak for themeselves:

        “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.”

        And then he adds the following caveat:

        “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, does it make sense for SGJ to volunteer for a
        mediation role after such condemnations of the very individuals who may
        well be the ones he would try to reconcile with ELL? Forgive me AOsman would it
        make sense for an arsonist who ignites a fire to be the very person who could
        contain or put-out the very fire he started out to begin with? His statement
        above come close to that. SGJ seriously compromised his principles about
        reconciling people if he had any. The audacity SGJ shows and the arrogance with
        which he delivers his poisonous stings neither gives him any “moral authority”
        that he readily questions others for not having, while never an ounce of anything that he does
        with this article is geared to his own moral compass. Please read partial piece that SGJ penned,
        which seems to me has a streak of every conceivable reconciliatory tone to it
        than the above individual Eritreans who are equally fighting to rid of the
        menace at home:

        The following excerpt is from SGJ’s April 17th,
        2014 article.

        The People Behind The Seminar
        On March 29, 2014, a group of Eritreans who hail from the
        “Lowlands” gathered in London and launched a movement they called ELL. Seven
        founders signed the document; I know them all: Taha Yacob and Saleh Moh’d Omer
        were my classmates and Mahmoud Aderob was a schoolmate, who lived in my
        neighborhood, during high-school. Both Aderob and I joined the ELF and today
        both of us have ended up in the USA. Ustaz Mahmoud Ibrahim, who used to write
        regularly for awate.com, and Hamid Omer Izaz are people I consider friends. I
        have known Mohammed IsHaq for the last five or six years through a paltalk room
        he runs out of Sweden. I have known Ismael Adem since 2000 when I permanently
        settled in the USA. I am sure many readers know him: he is the young man whom
        Isaias mocked and scolded in the 1993 Washington, DC public meeting simply
        because he asked about the status of the Arabic language in Eritrea. I met
        Gemal twice–once in Germany and again in Awasa. I also know most of the
        attendees, for example, both Ms. Aisha Gaas and Dr. Mohammed Kher are good
        friends.

        I mention the names above to underscore the strong ties I
        have with each and every one of them, but more importantly, to state without
        any equivocation that they are all my allies in the struggle against the unjust
        PFDJ regime. Naturally, I neither appreciate nor approve the way some people
        have gone beyond criticizing their agenda and meeting, to question their
        credentials; it is wrong to doubt their patriotism. Yet, I believe they are
        wrong on this one. The core issues and grievances they have raised have been
        the reason of my activism for almost two decades. I just object to the way they
        decided to go about it.

        The above introduction is my way of appealing to everyone to
        understand the spirit in which I write this article: to disagree with my
        friends without being disagreeable. Our differing positions should not be
        allowed to interfere in our personal relations; that is how I addressed the
        Medrek group in the last edition of Negarit. Incidentally, I consider both
        movements equally wrong on their approach and not on their issues. I will start
        with Medrekh. But first, let me share with you a few funny lines I have read
        lately.”

        Now, the clear distinction between the two approaches might
        have to do with SGJ’s personal friendships that he has had over the years with
        the ELL leaders, but he shows not an iota of mercy toward EFND. He similarly
        made personal attacks on individual Medrekh leadership when they were forming
        that an organization to fight the menace at home – a simple revisit to the
        archives will show a pattern that SGJ is comfortable attacking persons vis-à-vis
        any new political entities that might forge forth. I don’t know if feels that he must be
        consulted before any Eritrean organization is formed or what?

        He certainly is doing an excellent job playing inadvertent accessory role to the likes of Sophia
        Tesfamariam, who, I am certain, is beaming from ear to ear – actually, make that
        she is in cloud nine dancing on this Veterans’ Day Holiday out there somewhere in
        the U.S. of A. Thanks for adopting the PFDJ’s slash and burn political discourse.

        Sincerely,
        Beyan

        P.S. Tesfabirhan, please bear with me as I truly look forward to responding to some very important and salient points you raised below.

        • Saleh Johar

          Ahlan Beyan,
          I wish you didn’t go that far, but I will pass this. One advice though, there is something called links and you could link to the article instead of cutting and pasting entire articles, I am sure you know the ethics of quoting.

          One more thing: you reconcile with everyone, people you don’t like, people you do not respect and people you have differences with. If non of the above applies, the issue of reconciliation became moot. In may case, I volunteered, just volunteered, to bring the two sides together because they need to reconcile. By the way, I am talking about the movers and shakers in the two groups, not those who are on the fringes of the issue.

        • Tesfabirhan WR

          Dear Beyan,

          I will wait you patiently but before I am calling you to calm down. I called you to show us your reconcilatory quality I am afraid though when I read your second lengthy and kind of protective response. Let’s handle the issue genuinely. Show us your quality here. Please don’t go further and express what you feel.

          I will repeat again, show us your working paper memorandum. I am very hopeful dear Beyan this paper will be a cornet stone in changing our political difference. Even it will be a good lesson to PFDJ mistakes.

          I will share with you again my theory and think please on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHRREIDcxgo&feature=youtube_gdata

          Hawka
          tes

          • Kokhob Selam

            you, I am sure you are going to solve a lot of problems. Beyan is always with good intention and sure he will come with new job. I am sure this ” should also pass “with your great effort. for me awate.com is unique and participants will work to reconciliation by saying it loudly. this culture should be expanded to all.

            Here we need to see also our big teacher Amanuel. Hopefully he will come with his wonderful style to explain to us about this meeting. SGL has done his part. that is how to reconcile and say it loudly which is very necessary for us today. thank you tes, you are brilliant.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Kokobay,

            I am feeling more than ever very optimistic when I read this article. Since I started to participate here at awate and with you beloved awatistas, I felt today is the final kick to PFDJ and the complexities within the opposition groups. SGJ brought all the discourses in one and opened a new “era” or dimension of analysis. It is quite sure that many works were done and are in the making but this article has brought them all together, the regionalism sentiment, the religious sentiment and personal sentiments within the opposition camp and as always a big blow to PFDJ.

            The good thing is EFND has now come up with a working memorandum that they believe will be a guiding principle to all walks of life. SGJ is perfectly enforcing their objective. He is calling them to reconcile with the other groups (those who were not present in the conference) and he openly pin-pointed the main short-comings of why they didn’t join. It is his personal concern and he has a right to express it as far as the receivers are wise enough to have such an open critics.

            Dear Kokhobay, Gitmi ba kem gele! You know how much I love your poems and wishing to read your poems collections book.

            Zekhbireka hawka
            tes

          • Kokhob Selam

            Sure brother. sure I am having one seminar those days. but sure I am going to do that, I don’t still know if I can put under articles and Jebena is not there.

            awate.com can I put one poem at least one in every article till ver.8 emerges ?

          • Bayan Nagash

            Thank you ezom aHwatay: Kburat Tes & KS

            Clarification is in order here. I did not attend the conference. In fact, due to time constraints I wasn’t even able to attend the last three or four teleconferences. But, I wholeheartedly supported EFND and I continue to support what it was able to accomplish. Each member of the ad hoc committee was asked to contribute seed money toward logistical expenses and I gladly dug into my pocketbook and contributed to that end. I point this out to show that my support to what EFND was attempting to accomplish was unequivocal. The shortage of the wherewithal from the meager resources that EFND had, yet being able to accomplish such a feat is to be commended. I urge Awatawyan to listen to the talk Dr. Okbazghi and Dr. Afeworki gave to Assenna. They touch upon myriad issues related to monetary shortages and other relevant issues they deem important. I urge all to listen so they may judge for themselves. Here is the link to the talk:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WcYYyStpoU&feature=player_embedded

          • Rodab

            Thanks Bayan. You are helping us understand the issue better.

          • Bayan Nagash

            My pleasure Roadab. I will do my utmost best to sincerely and in transparent manner explain any lingering and conceivable issue that Awatawyan may have. Nothing is more irking than skirting – actually, the perception of it is enough to dampen an – issue. Therefore, I am glad some of what I say is helping in the clarification.

            Roadab, if you listened to the above talk, Dr. Afeworki respectfully defers a specific topic to be addressed by Dr. Okbazghi, because he did a marvel at the internal working memo that is worthy of our attention. The names that Dr. Okbazghi kindly gives credit at the end of that paper where my name is credited, I don’t know about others, but I feel I do not deserve any credit for the following reasons:

            What Dr. Okbazghi did was send the ad hoc committee a survey of sorts (with some, I forget off hand, but about five or six questions) asking us to respond in writing. Ostensibly, what Dr. Okbazghi did was produce a document that incorporated many of our ideas from those of us who gave our responses along with most of his original ideas, thus creating an internal working memo. I appreciate Dr. Okbazghi’s gentle soul, but the document, as far as I am concerned, I whole heartedly concur with Dr. Afeworki when he said in the above that that document was a brain child of Dr. Okbazghi. Of course, I have to make sure that this does not get misconstrued as an attempt on my part to distance myself from the document – FAR FROM IT. I feel honored that my name was associated to it, but the credit should all go to Dr. Okbazghi.

            It just now dawned on me; In around about ways I may have addressed some of what Tes had asked me in his earlier e-mail. Tes, the Three Forces of Politics I am unable to read even after blowing it to some 250 %. I wonder if you would be as kind to send it to my e-mail (bnegashb@gmail.com). I really want to read what appears to be an interesting Eritrean political flow chart, which may as well be the missing link that we direly need.

            Beyan

          • Semharawit

            Thank you very much for your detailed explanation, Beyan!
            And please keep getting the truth out and inform others.
            Best regards,
            Semharawit

          • Bayan Nagash

            Thank you Tes. I would want nothing more than we start looking forward instead of staying stuck in the outdated pre-independence political modus operandi. Therefore, I will watch, listen, and read what you have availed, and will respond accordingly.
            Sincerely,
            Beyan/Bayan

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Bayan,

            Thank you so much. Keep on clarifying things and surely we will move foreword. Show us your wisdom. I read your response on how you joined to the conference and indeed as Kokhobay said it was of your good intention and it is indeed.

            Face SGJ in a more reconcilatory way as you are doing, you can disagree on this issue but your friendship should be as it is. Let’s remember Sheik Ibrahim Sultan, let’s remember Abona woldeab Woldemariam. Even during the hard courses of our revolutionary struggle, they continued to fight for unity. Be like that Bayan hawey. Your attendance at that conference was so great to give us a first hand testimony.

            I read brother Amanuel’s open call here at awate (calling to Mohamed Saleh for example). That is very good and I thank Amanuel for being inclusive and thank you for trusting Amanuel’s stand. This way we will build our future.

            Let’s remember there that building trust is hard to achieve. Here ate Awate for example, we build trustship among ourselves. Trustship does not mean complete agreement but knowing ones view and respecting that is a path to trust and creating confdence. Awate forum is playing a great role and your confidence over Amanuel is one sign. Hopefully more positive will come from this article.

            Dear Bayan, as one of the participants, show us your reconcilatory memorandum. Just to make it again and again. I am young but staying here at awate is making me to forget my age as I am much safe to be with you Awatistas always.

            Thank you again for your humbleness and wisdom and cheers!
            Hawka
            tes

    • JH Ahmed

      Let forget what SJ said for a moment. Do you mind explaining why you happen tothe meeting?

      • JH Ahmed

        Let forget what SJ said for a moment. Do you mind explaining why you happen to be the only Muslim in the meeting?

        • Bayan Nagash

          Ok, I am glad you asked JH Ahmed. “Let [us] forget what SJ said for a moment” and I will respond to you precisely as it happened. I have received a call from Amanuel Hidrat one morning, it must have been early spring this year to inform me about what they are attempting to do as an ad hoc committee. He graciously asked if I would consider to be a part of this ad hoc committee, and he straight forwardly let it be known that EFND was looking for Muslim Eritrean individuals to join it because Eritrea cannot be represented just by Highlanders. Knowing Amanuel’s stand on sociopolitical diversity from his incessant writings at Awate, I knew he would never join in an organization that would have any “crusaders” tendencies, that was unequivocally clear to me. And I saw no inklings of such tendencies from any individual EFND members. Amanuel, specifically asked me for Saleh Younis’s phone number on the same morning that he reached out to me to join them, I gave him the contact number, what came of it I do not know.
          Apparently, they were identifying individuals that they felt could be part of their group. Amanuel sent me the communiques that the group had written to Eritrean websites: I read. I contemplated. I joined. I even reached out to some 10 Eritrean Muslims I personally knew who could be an asset to EFND. Three listened to some of the tele-conferences, and one stayed on the two decided to drop for one reason or another. This is not peculiar to these Eritrean Muslims only; there were Eritrean Christians who did the same – after attending several teleconferences they decided to drop.
          I hope this answers your question JH Ahmed.
          Sincerely,
          Beyan Negash/Bayan Nagash

  • AB

    Dear Saleh

    Thank you for your genuine outrage of writing. It would have been helpful to drop your information and advice in polite, rather than trying to ignite things for the already burned circumstances of Eritrean politics.

  • Rodab

    I am sympathetic to H.E. SaleH’s concerns. As the saying “zereba kilte semiEka fred” goes, I would love to hear response of the accused for a complete picture. But I will say this: bringing such concerns to public attention is beneficial to all of us as people and country. Secrecy and complacency both at government and public levels haven’t done us any good in the past 20+ years. Lately, paltalk rooms have been dominated by discussions on regionalism. If we are to go by the moods in these rooms, it is clear that the problem is deeper than we would like to acknowledge. This problem has been simmering below the surface for some time and only got worse as time passes. And there is no doubt regime policies and actions are the prime contributors to this. Of course to a much lesser extent there is the traditional division of the three notorious provinces. The latter is manageable and poses no threat for it’s always been there and will always – it is part of our identity.
    But at least it is a positive development that now people are discussing regionalism openly. To narrow gaps and lessen differences, we need to push for such frank discussion specially on topics that have been traditionally (and governmentally) taboo to talk about – regionalism and religionism.

    • haileTG

      hey Rodab,

      IMO it may be wise to separate and grasp the “regionalism” tendency and the Islam/Christianity based divisions.

      Regionalism is an archaic, indigenous, low level clashes that is neither connected nor fed by outsiders. Inherently internal and to the most part harmless. It only shows level of ignorance, backwardness and in some case immaturity/infantile mindset of its proponents. It is more connected with Suwa, Ngdet, ba’ale mariam, korosho and the likes:-)

      Religion (Islam/Christianity): is one of our nation’s, naturally, a major fault line. You can consider them as part of a separate tectonic plates that straddles our nation and many other regions of our immediate and further neighboring regions. Because both are not part of the same tectonic plate, but one belonging to each of an adjacent plates, ant tremor can reverberate throughout large swaths of the plate region and impacting us unavoidably. We can also be the source and serve as epicenter but regardless, it is a problem that seamlessly influenced/ing transnationally and across national boundaries. Sadly, neither PFDJ nor the opposition nor the groups themselves are well equipped to deal with it. True, we’re well wishers and have a lot of good desire, but that is about it.

      So, I am cautioning my good friend Rodab not to underestimate such a major national fault-line and equate it in terms or relevance on par the traditional regionalism problem originating from village mentality of our vertically challenged compatriots.

      • Rodab

        Hello Hailat,
        The core of my message was not to downplay or compare and contrast the two, but to recognize the two as sources of division, regardless of the degree of severity each generates. And yes absolutely agree if mishandled, religion conflict is worst by far and can stretch outside the boundaries. The question is how is it better handled, would open discussion help or hurt? My answer is stated on the first post. With that being said, you did good job in explaining the difference of the two. I also noticed that you appear to take the regional tension lighter than I. Hopefully it is you who is right but having listened to some of the discussions on paltalk, I am now more ‘alerted’ about it than I was, say a couple if weeks ago.

      • Saleh Johar

        Well said Ustaz Haile TG.

    • Hope

      Engineer Rodab,
      I agree with you but the discussion should FOCUS on how to resolve the problems and cure the belatedly acknowledged(as it was diagnosed yrs ago)cancer…..
      Saleh Johar is NOT talking about new developments but warning about the deadly consequences of the already existing epidemic/rampant disease.—the earlier the better.
      We rather should try to avoid talking about it in depth as it might injure the partially-healed wounds—unless there are people who ar NOT aware of the disease.
      Ali Salim’s message was to relay the deadly consequences of ” Regionalism,”Religionism”; and segregation and discremination based on such old-styled attitudes and perceptions.unless they are resolved soon.
      The enemy–TPLF specifically, has been applying those kinds of politics to divide us and as such,we should NOT be victims of the same enemy.
      As to why Saleh Johar–openly declared as such,I am kind of scared to death as it sounds like he has “evidence” to subtantiate his rebuttal.
      But as Vet Mahmoud lamented,I think we have to dig more into it so as to avoid further misunderstanding.
      If Saleh Johar dared to that extent,I think he should expose the facts and evidence that made him to openly “accuse” the group—-
      We should avoid assumptions,speculations,old grudges and gossip.
      He did the same thing to the Medrekh Group, and if we keep doing the same thing over and over,well,not only we will be considered as ‘Insane” people but will never achieve the “Reconciliation ” that we are claiming to work hard for.
      It is just absurd to say the least the way we are approching things,unless the enemy is doing its underground job in the name of the “Intellectuals”
      may the Lord enlightne us!
      Mes’haki tsela’etina keynikhewin!

      • Saleh Johar

        Dear Hope,
        Thank you for your concern. But let me be blunt: anyone, I repeat anyone, who was silent when people splashed such insults with bold, colored fonts, on websites that are known, has forfeited their right to be taken seriously. Let the “Equaling The Level Ground” or such a slogan, work the other way now. The enemy will use this is a weak argument though I understand your concern. And please, don’t just throw crippled statements, “he did the same with Medrekh,” state what is your objection, clearly so that I can reply to you. The bad news is : as long as there are people who like to play political gymnastics, this is what you will get from me. And if I don’t do that on behalf of the silent, whoever they are, I would rather stop writing.Type your reply…

        • Hope

          Ustaz Saleh,
          I thought you understood me where I was coming from.
          Remember that I am your younger brother,not just your cousin,when it comes to such things—-and I have “adored” you since you have stood for us,yes,for US, all the silent and the VICTIMs–without going into the details.
          When I said he did the same thing to the Medrekh,I mean it positively that you “exposed” the group ” badly.
          Make NO MISTAKE,that I would NOT ever gossip about you and talk behind your back as a genuine brother would NOT do that.—
          God bless you.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hope, sorry if I misunderstood you, sometimes sentences are not clear and can be misread.
            My apologies again

      • Rodab

        Dr Hope,
        You got many good points, however, I think problems are popping up because since we as society are not used to open public duscussions, any thing said the we perceive as negative creates fire works. I say we better start talking about issues otherwise we will make our kids inherit what we inherited – secretiveness and keeping things to our selves. You are right that care must be taken in addressing sensitive issues though, such as not going too far or too deep.

  • henok abraham

    Ok sholla, let me try to interpret what you want to say….mmmmmmmm………..so you are ok with ” nhawi b hawi debso”. if you say yes, well lets see if that (urgent remedy) would bring any solution or get away the problem. for me it is a serious issue. I mean I don’t expect that to come from Ustaz Salih. I usually follow his articles, they are unique with full of responsibility and inspiring, but this one is so strange for me.

    hope you got my point

    • Saleh Johar

      Henok,
      If you have been following my writings as you stated, please understand that I do not react to one incident. If that was the case, you would have seen me do this on weekly basis. But this is not a reaction to one fire, it is a response to so many fires– and I cannot say more than give you my word that it is not unwarranted. It is not meant to be an instant remedy, but an attempt to open the door for debating this further. You would help the debate if you leave the technicalities and address the issues I raised.

      Thank you

  • Well done , I congratulated the ELL then because they expressed their sincere feelings about their grievances of the area and wanted a real dialog with the other isle. This was absent because the teacher’s valued themselves more than they are or felt quick fix can do for them. I hope they can see the paralleel of the two sets, where our Eritrean problems lie. Be down on earth, and check the reality, if the phds or masters have any real correlation of our understanding and thereby solving our common issues.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Ustaz Saleh;
    Have you gotten your cigarettes and tea? I have a problem with this edition, a big one at that.
    a/ you are alleging these guys are ” crusaders” because they brand innocent Muslim citizens ” Jihadists.” Since this is a huge allegation, you are kindly asked to elaborate on it. I think such allegations are serious; and need to be substantiated with evidence ( audio/video/written).
    b/ You said they were shopping for Muslims but failed to attract any. Why? Is the agenda they raised was against Muslims, or a good agenda is handled by bad individuals “crusaders” and hence failed to attract Muslims?
    c/ How could brother Amanuel Hidrat missed this?
    d/ Today’s negarit has raised more questions than the ones it was able to answer. Please tell us why:
    (i) their reconciliation proposal is different than the one you envision
    (ii) substantiate the allegation that they are against half of our population, otherwise, it will look like a personal attack/vendetta.
    (iii) Where you or Awate invited? I ca’t understand why you would not want to answer this.
    *** I know no one of these guys, but I like when there comes an effort to break the ice.
    Thanks.

    • Saleh Johar

      Mahmuday,
      I understand your views, but I choose to abstain for a the time being. I will be willing to answer your questions when I get something stronger than cigarettes.

      • Kokhob Selam

        ጉዳይ ሽጋራ ድ ኣ ቀደም ኣብ ጀበና ተዛሪብናሉስ ኬን እልናያ ዶ ኣይኮናን ? everybody who loves awate should stop smoking.

    • Saleh Johar

      Mahmuday, a second thought…
      a) you wanted a written statement, my article is written and it is up to the reader to accept or reject it.
      b) I asked them to find out why they failed… I wish they can tell us. I am alleging they cannot attract Muslims when they brand them. If that is unfounded, let’s hear from them.
      c) Amanuel Hidrat tried his best and is excluded as I indicated.
      d) (i) I propose and work for an inclusive reconciliation when no one should come with a per-conceived notion of supremacy, and where everybody is equal. They think they have a mandate to dictate and rule and they are shallow (can be proved) and this is my oppinion about them, and I am willing to be challenged.
      (d) (ii) I don’t understand what personal vendetta is, but I will pass that. You shouldn’t think a topic concerning national issues is personal. I don’t think you believe Rosa Parks was not reacting to personal humiliation and in the way reflecting what others were going through. We feel and assess positions based on personal experience lived or observed. That is what it is.
      (d) (iii) the invitation is immaterial to the topic, please address the issues at heart because invited or not invited, my views are the same and it is an insult to me to even think that way.
      **** what you see as an ice breaker, to me can be building an iceberg on the road. The problem is not that Muslims are not fighting or Christians are not fighting. They both are and I am sure you know that. My concern is the impediment that is preventing the coalescing of the two to fight alongside each other. In politics, you cannot say “get involved” and think you have done your homework. The PFDJ said that, “no one prevented you from entering your country.” But then, kid aytebelo kem zkheyed gberro is a fine and perfected tool.

      Wedahanka

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Ustaz Saleh;
        Thank you for the reply. This answer and your article encourage me to do more research of my own. Frankly, I have a goodwill not a good grip on these organizations, conferences, foundations, centers,etc. I am sure this is due to my ignorance on the subject. Anyway, it’s a controversial one and let’s see how they react to it; actually, that’s what you are doing. If they come up with their own explanation it will help the debate be more interesting.
        Thanks again.

    • SenaiErtrawi

      Mahmud,
      We need more people like you to save our unity. I think Saleh is really pissed off and we need to try our best to understand him.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Salam senaiEritrawi;
        I personally have no doubt on our unity; we just need to be open and honest to each other. My position regarding similar initiatives is as follows:
        a/ Any individual or group, regardless of their composition, can come up with an initiative.
        b/ As long as it is open and transparent, no need of shopping for getting the “other side” to get involved. It is up to the “other side” to accept it and get involved, request for procedural and /or content amendments/changes, or just decline.
        c/ We need to judge initiatives by their content and actions not by the individuals organizing them. If need those individuals with checkered presence need to be isolated separately.
        d/ We have to educate ourselves about the factions and groups sprawling over Eritrean political landscape. At this moment, I choose to do just that and refrain from directly involved in this thread.
        Regards.

        • haquda

          Mahmud, You sound very nave I am sorry to say that but Saleh knows exactly what those grouping are up to. It is written in black and white all over them that hint you the new union with Ethiopia of Eritrean high landers (andenet). Just watch it is the begging and the writings is all over the Eritrean wall if any Eritrean is willing to see it. It is organized and managed by the current Ethiopian rulers mark my words!!!

  • Marqosai

    Dear Saleh,
    Just curious (pardon my having not followed the EFND progress): Is the label “Islamist” implied or directly stated (uttered) at you? I believe it is a grave mistake if it has been..

  • SenaiErtrawi

    Sholla,
    Are you one of the new Ethiopian participators in Awate?

  • Mohammed Ahmed

    Well said AbuSalah, precise and to the point. I went through the exact same thoughts the minute I skimmed through their document. Your article precisely captured and reflected my thought process at that moment – and I don’t believe I am alone with such feeling.

    As if the flagrant omission of the plight of over a million Eritrean refugees which should have been front and centre of their document wasn’t bad enough, they had to lace it with such venomous verbiage as “it is our turn to eat”.

    In other words, according to their covert message, the inherent rights of those who struggle day and night to go back to their ancestral lands, villages, towns and livelihoods from which they were ethnically cleansed – is more or less considered to be an attempt by them to replicate the 50-year old legacy of the Shefatu. Talk about adding insult to
    injury. How dishonest could one get?

    The idea that many among us try to play the role of the “honest crook” is an old trick. No, the end doesn’t justify the means – and anything short of complete honesty and transparency is an absolute waste of time, effort and the already scarce resources.

    At this stage of our struggle – one would have thought that we were way beyond condescending attitudes which ignore or question peoples’ discerning abilities – but I guess, as the adage goes, old habits die hard.

  • Fnote Selam

    Dear Khelilo,

    The question SenaiEritrawi asked was irrelevant, but the way he answered is a typical, unhelpful way that is far too common in our national discourse, and thus kind of contradicts the spirit of his article….

    Tnx,

    FS

  • Saleh Johar

    Ya Shwegi! Let me tell you a story about the famose singer Umkalthoum. I heard a story (it could have been a joke) that when once she visited Paris, the Egyptians there gave her a car as a gift. She asked, “fiha benzin?”

    Don’t you think you have enough people who can help translate it 🙂

    I would have done it but it will take me days to type it–I am very slow in typing Arabic and getting worse by the day. It would be helpful if you took that task.

    take care

  • Kokhob Selam

    I think it is just normal and natural to have such things. the only way out is accepting it. again learning from the past and studying the reality helps a lot, we have to come with solutions. see, first of all we all should know and just be open that everyone loves his religion and his tribe, his village etc. the problems should be when some one don’t love it. I don’t believe some one is good for me unless he is good to his father. then it is teaching that respect is to be found by respecting others.
    so destroying the idea of “we are the best and others should accept ours or be under us” helps a lot. in fact it when others enjoy there freedom that I makes me enjoy my freedom I think. Let’s say it face to face and create trust among us. additional to that working to make a legal government reinforces peace and tranquility so lets remove PFDJ and let us our own national government that represents all.

    I am among people who fought against a front which was leaded by late Osman Saleh Sabe and in this equation I beg to get pardon from all our people including my own self. ELF leadership had done a big historical mistake on this I believe.

  • henok abraham

    What is so funny in this article is the writer has already plunged himself in what he calls branding others according to their names. How come??? Salih if you are really trying to compromise or uncover (just to make it politically correct) their gatherings you were not supposed to call them crusaders……. so darely. By now you should already know what impressions are you leaving here or how we shall perceive your political views for that matter. I am not going to despise them unless I see a response from them. (I use the word despise because if what you are saying is true, then they commit a big mistake which we Eritreans donot want to see it)

    • Saleh Johar

      Selam Henok,
      Let them reply if the branding is wrong or unfair and then I can answer. Remember Newton’s Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

      I can’t say much to you fearing it will resemble “Tahagwamay kellos Tahaz lbbi…” keykonena. 🙂

      • henok abraham

        Salih I don’t have any intention to speak on behalf of them, or “lbbi kihze gele” for whatever reason, and i am not going to feel shy to respond or writing of what I would feel about them for what they really have done. I said it though. But the language you used in your article is crude, it has its own message. it implies something unhealthy here. you could have used another words, you had plenty of them. Anyways I didn’t expect such helpless reply from you. And that is why I immediately commented under, when i read it all.

        thank you.

        • Saleh Johar

          Thank you, but each of us has his own voice and we cannot imitate the voice of others if we need to express genuine opinion. The voice has to own it, and I do. I don’t understand what was crude. I just though we have heard enough of “Islamists” and it is about time we heard of “Crusaders.”

          Thank you for the feedback though.

  • haileTG

    Selamat Sal,

    What an unfortunate situation! I never saw this coming. When brother Mahmuday posted it here before the meeting (and assuming Mahmuday hails from the lowlands and is a Moslem) I went away believing it was all cool. I forgot Mahmuday is an ex-tegadalay and those catagorizations weren’t really applicable to him. Anta teg. Mahmud, agagyKani:-)

    The Islam/Christian issue of equitable representation and contribution to national unity would be one of our biggest challenges, among many. In this respect, we are ill equipped, we lack virtually all basic tools apart from abundant good-will and desire to make it work. Otherwise, it is a restive issue that would require big national figure heads to address. We have no such people left, all are discredited and persistently failed their role right to this second.

    I personally never extend any recognition of wisdom from Ph.d. They had been the most reactionary and opportunistic section of our society. In fact, they shouldn’t confer such position unto themselves assuming they know any better. Eritrea is awash with wise people under repressive rule. Let them help us to call for popular uprisings inside Eritrea and let the work of establishing truth and reconciliation comitees and other national unity initiatives to the wise men and women in Eritrea.

    BTW, I remember when the ENDC election results were also complained about for electing (I think 70%) Moslem compatriots. We really have to accept, this thing is bigger than its handlers.

    Regards

    • dawit

      Dear Haile TG,
      It is funny HGT and Isaias’s thought about University graduates with Ph.Ds seem to coincide. Once I heard a rumor from a friend someone told him a quotation attributed to PIA saying “እዚኦም በዓል ጸሊም ቆባኡት ኣይ እመኑን” . Of course this implied that PIA as anti educated Eritreans. Today HTG is saying that those Ph.ds are the most reactionaries and opportunistic member of our of our societies.. “I personally never extend any recognition of wisdom from Ph.d. They had been the most reactionary and opportunistic section of our society”.

      Hailat, let me tell you just for fun what a friend told me about entrepreneurship and education in society.
      A bunch of student enter high school. The smartest person in the group drops out and starts his/her business. Those who can’t take such risk graduate and go to college. The next smartest of the group drops out of college and start his/her business from his garage or basement and become a success. Those who don’t take the risk of starting their own business graduate from college and look for a job. Companies interview and would take the better qualified start at entry level of the company and climb up the company ladder to manage the business that were started by the High school and college dropouts. Those who could not get employed after college, they go to graduate schools and get their Ph.Ds and hired as professors by universities to teach those not so smart students..

      Haile do you think this concept that the smartest politician could be what society label the as dropout too?. How was Isias and Meles excelled in their leadership qualities than many who had much more education Ph.Ds and MBAs.
      Just thinking and wondering..
      Regards
      dawit

      • Rodab

        Haha dawit,
        Nicely said.
        On your last para, leadership quality is natural. Isaias or Melles didn’t ended up becoming leaders because they were more hard working than the thousands tegadelty. How did Mengustu, a junior officer outdid his superioirs to become a president? Just few weeks, a Burkina chief of staff, a General declared he took over the helm. The next morning, a Coloniel stood up and said nope I am the leader, and he is now. Would you say leadership is more of natural gift and less of hard work? I would.

        • dawit

          Dear Rodab,
          I agree completely with that, but often educated people miss that point and think they are better qualified to lead because of the years they spend in schools. From my own life experience my mother who had 1st grade education is much wiser in many areas of judgments, than her children who graduated from universities. she has a natural gift in sorting and solving difficult situation in the family affairs. Perhaps education may help in many technical fields, but not much where interpersonal relationships like leadership where you need your need to influence your followers by your action and dedication to the common cause and entrepreneurship where you need a customer to trust you to do a repeat business among many other competing with you..
          However, I think the Colonels and Sergeants that end up in leadership is like winning a lottery and become reach over night. Once they come to power how they govern depend on their natural gift, either they get drunk with the power and eliminate any one that did not followed them. I think Isaias and Meles cases may be different to convince their followers to a common cause.
          Regards,
          dawit.

        • haileTG

          hold it Rodab:-)

          People like IA and MZ can’t be equated to Mengistu or Burkinabe Generals. The latter only had to work a couple of days to declare presidency, while the former had gone for decades waiting on the wings and maintaining their hold despite major military, political and natural upheavals, they had to control events for decades on end…that is really isn’t the feat for the faint hearted. Look at the opposition now, virtually everything is going for them and still can’t even bring to see each other in one room, and IA and MZ had virtually everything going against them and managed to maintain it somewhat till their day of crowning:-)

        • Semere Andom

          Hi HTG, Rodab and dawit:

          This is interesting subject, but I think both HTG and Robab misunderstood dawit, he was saying that Haile is in agreement in his contempt for educated people with IA, how come?
          Haile’s comment about the Phd’s is fine in his capacity as a private citizen, but IA, the president of this failed country is basically anti education, anti enlightenment. He is for slavery, darkness and ignorance. I can go on and on about the education systems that EPLF/PFDJ loves: they love trade training. People who can fix their cars, count their money, fix their electrician to keep their lights on and carpenters to carve their cabinets. That is why they closed higher learning inst. like the Uof A and opt for Main Nefhi type training. But the subject is for an other day. If you take Bill gates, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs and Mike Dell, all are college drop out not that they were stupid, but they had an idea and rushed to cash before someone else gets the wind of it. But this is not the recipe of success that we must teach future Eritreans kids, a nation needs higher learning inst. and thinkers besides this enteprereunial mined people. Those nameless thinkers who labor passionately and an assumingly to change the lives of many in many areas are the unsung heroes that we do not celebrate them and never hear of them in the glamor coverage nowadays. Also the Julian Assanges, the Ed Swodens, and the Dan Elsebergs,(Pentagon Papers), their courage and the sacrifices of this people helps us check the overreach of government even in a democracy. Society needs all of these , not just PFDJ’s idea of development focused on road building and trade oriented education

          About raw intelligence and success, I like the following quote by a former USA president, Calvin Coolidge :
          “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

          • haileTG

            Hey sem, here is a quick clarification (I also agree on your separation of private views and policy)

            Clarification: The Majority of Eritrean intellectuals have left their people to fend for themselves. Not other countries intellectuals, not just opposition intellectuals, it is the huge swell of Ph.d. who are literally plugging their ears and worse still some supporting the regime. Some like to hold tegaadelti responsible, I feel that the intellectuals (in diaspora and visit Eritrea) have worse records than the poor tegadalay. Mine is an earned castigation, that we saw what 22 intellectuals did after Lampedusa and where they disappeared after that, the diaspora intellectual who has even failed to help create functional communities to their children in diaspora….please understand this as legit flak on that section, that has no shame to point fingers at the poor tegadalay who gave the little he had to bring the nation.

          • Semere Andom

            Hi HTG:
            I am in agreement with you and you also know my take on them 😉
            I was trying to differentiate what dawit wanted to lump together , yours and IA’s on the educated

          • Bayan Nagash

            kbur Haw HTG,

            I agree with much of what you say about the 22 intellectuals who disappeared into the thin oblivion. One caveat that is worth your consideration. That is to say, don’t you think we should begin to also welcome our mhuran akkal when they begin to stick their nose out in challenging the menace at home? I mean at what point do we say Hangofay ezom aHwatna enQaAnnay ab lbbkhum temeleskumulna. Let us therefore begin to march forward together. Otherwise, on the one hand, we want the opposition ksissn wa kbezzHn, but, on the other hand we mercilessly ostracize them.

            I am not suggesting here that yours is that of a strong rebuke, but even a mild rebuke to anyone who is ready to oppose the menace at home we are showing complicity that will end up prolonging the shelf life that should’ve expired years ago . The present article of SGJ and the previous ones that he mercilessly criticizes any new opposition group is not doing his cause or anybody else’s cause any good. I am only using SGJ’s article as an example because it is rearing its ugly head once again on the opposition – the same mantra of a toothless opposition this-that-or-the-other will get us nowhere. I wish SGJ’s sharp pen was directed elsewhere where it deservedly awaits and there are a whole lot of PFDJ’s Amen Corner that we can try to dissuade, intimidate, make them feel trash instead of trashing thrashing our own is all what I am attempting to say here.

          • Saleh Johar

            Selam Beyan,
            Thank you for your input.

            The ugly head was always there but if you following the Eritrean case on-and-off, you might have missed it. I suggested the ELL because they can elaborate what is wrong with the attitudes of EFND far better than I would. They do not put gloves as I understand.

            Importantly, please note that everyone chooses a role in this struggle. I have chosen to be a writer on topical issues– and have adopted the Kamikaze role of telling about events that others might shy away from. In that case, if the topical events are nauseating, then I have to explain my views why they are nauseating. If there are mischief, I have to explain my views why I think they are mischievous. If there pleasant events, I also explain my view about them. And if I believe I can help someone who missed the right turn on the road, I offer my help if I think I know the right direction. If not, the other best thing I can do is to keep silent so that I do not annoy friends and colleagues. That, I am sure you know, will not happen as long as I live. Yes, being the bearer of good and bad news is not fun, but that is my choice and preffered role in the struggle: speak for those who can’t, inform those who miss on happenings, warn those who need to be warned, and shake up those who are in slumber, and destroy glass castles–that’s my favorite 🙂

            Thank you for the advice, but you know that a writer chooses where to direct his pen. I chose not to waste my ink on feel-good stuff and to this day I thought it was directed to where it should. But you are implying that is not the case when you wrote, “I wish SGJ’s sharp pen was directed elsewhere.” Elsewhere? C’mon Beyan, isn’t my main problem due to the fact that my pen is directed where it should and everywhere? But it seems I disappointed you for not directing my pen where it should, I am sorry. I will seriously look into that and try to reorient the direction of my pen. Since I am sure by the main target you mean the PFDJ and its capo, it seems I haven’t performed well as per your assessment, and I am disappointed at myself for failing on that area. Your advice on how to perform better on that area is highly appreciated.

          • SenaiErtrawi

            Saleh,
            I really appreciate all the work you have done for the cause and I really enjoy reading your articles. Now, I am GENUINELY worried about your health – I know for sure Eritrean politics is going to depress and drive all of us crazy. I know several folks who were too immersed in the opposition politics and their mental health was . . .

            I am saying this because, if I were in your position, I would be so tired and going crazy by now.

            So, take it easy brother. You need to take care of yourself and your family before anything else.

          • haileTG

            Merhaba Dear Bayan,

            Thanks for the fair criticism brother. Upon going back and staring at what I just wrote with a sobered eyes (ጎነጻዊ መዓልቲ’ዩ ነይሩኒ ሽዑ፡ ምስ ሓደ ሓደ ናይ ህግደፍ ሰባት:-) I felt that a contentious statement like that shouldn’t have been made hastily like I did. I kind of said to me “ኣንታ ሃይለ እንታይ ወረደካ ባዕልኻ ነገር ትጽውዕ” 🙂 The point needed to be sharply focused to the right audience, but ended up generalizing inadvertently.

            Hence before I scribble down few lines of explanation, I don’t want to proceed disrespectfully, so let me fully and sincerely apologize to those inadvertently been slighted by the way I triggered this whole issue.

            Let me say now that, like many, I feel incredibly hard done by the fact that the natural leaders of our society as intellectuals, spiritual leaders, ranking members of the army and others have abandoned the their people for their “group” or sometimes “individual” interests. When I see you Bayan, standing up to correct brother SGJ (if that is the right word), you can’t imagine the sense of pride that I feel in the blessings of our country with such genuinely patriotic people regardless of the days trials and tribulations. On the other hand, it saddens us all to see that our problems are needlessly extended due to silence and indifference of many. The Eritrean intelligentsia class (especially in the diaspora) can’t escape its natural and rational role of shepherding the interests of hafash. And in as far as that “class” of our society in concerned, anything it does from here on is welcome, but we can’t seriously contemplate of re-writing the shameful history (which is too late for many victims who could have been saved:-( Dear Bayan, mine is meant to be targeted at the class as a whole than individuals in it (much like the logic Amanuel Hidrat uses when he says weed out PFDJ:-).

            Recently I was listening to Medrek’s news from Eritrea. In one section, the news reported that Senior and Middle ranking EDF were recently holding intensive but tense meeting. The tension was reported to involve their complaints about unequal allocation of sick leave, vacation benefits and promotion as well as pay scale issues. In the very same instant, hundreds Eritrean youth were also reported escaping from the 28th round Sawa into the Sudan, many starting the dangerous desert trek and sea crossing, many crossing Ethiopia, the nation withering away more, dying more, blown to pieces more. Still EDF commanders sit and haggle over vacation benefit!! How sick, how repulsive, how inhuman!!! So, I would be more than welcoming (as I did Wed Ali) when they ACTUALLY do the right thing, but can’t give them the wrong impression that there is any white washing of history of the concerned class’ role in society would be offered for inducement. The same goes to our religious leaders class of our society and the same to the different other class that failed the call of the day to stand and be counted as natural leaders of the nation (not government).

            So, dear Bayan, I agree on the welcoming tone needed to individuals when they take the right steps, but if we re-establish a new relationship based on hard truth and abject reality of the nation lacking their leadership, we may be in whole lot better situation to lay down strong foundation for the future. If I was to be ever granted a wish, I wish that the culture of humbling oneself and apologizing for past errors become rooted in the mind our young. Let the truth set us free:-)

            With much respect, brother Bayan

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Haw Haile-TG,

            I always envy your debate skills. However, I would like to correct you one minor thing. “weed out” is not my vocabulary, it never was. It is SGJ’s vocabulary. The correct vocabulary I always use is “dismantle the institutions of PFDJ”. Weed out is not correct political terminology.

          • haileTG

            Thanks respected brother, I stand corrected.

          • SenaiErtrawi

            Selam Haile,
            From the way you write, I am sure you have enough education yourself and I don’t know how you are capable of outsourcing the responsibility to the PhD holders. Please allow me to ask what you do for the cause? From the way I see, you have not even freed yourself from fear of PFDJ while living in the west – you are not even using/signing your real name. The intellectuals you are blaming, at least they dare to come out and try to do what they think is right.

            So, how about you do your part first and then may be you can blame others . . .

            “I feel incredibly hard done by the fact that the natural leaders of our society as intellectuals, spiritual leaders, ranking members of the army and others have abandoned the their people for their “group” or sometimes “individual” interests. “

          • haileTG

            Selam senaiErtrawi,

            I think you’re getting to the slippery slop of driving the issue into intractability. There are specific things that I do (which would be stupid to tell you here) but even firmly exposing the regime doggedly here is one small aspect. You would then escalate, I suppose, to comparing it with so and so and judging it as good or bad. In the process, you’re essentially trivializing the essence of the very reason for having the discussion. Would you please not second guess people or their motives? The point was about “the class of intelligentsia” – you and me included to different extent.

            1 – Have Eritrean intellectuals dared to come out and do what is right?

            – What are you talking about? When and how? When was the last time hundreds or thousands called a conference and made a called for rule of law? Do you visit YPFDJ meetings, did you read Jihan A Kahsay about the stand of a Med school student Simon T/sfamariam on the desert deaths? The intellectual as a class is more than the individual and why are you then trying to trivialize it by ad hoc blind stab questions? The intellectual class has ready made and natural influence in society, and on whose account are you trying to absolve it? (note my reference “it” as opposed to “them”) Yes, few opposition intellectuals are brave souls, but I am talking the width and breadth of the 1.7 million diaspora but you want to narrow it to one or two people. What did the 22 intellectuals do in response to being told they are the hand of CIA? Went home? What is the role of Gidewon, Tesfay Aradom, et.al… what is the role of other narrow reactionaries who wrote an article in Assenna saying that opposition should be organized along church affliations and traditional associations? Senai, if you wish to debase the concept into one brave here, one not so brave there and the rest, that is to be regretted, as you lack to grasp the central truth in all this. Which is that our opposition had been suffering the support of the intellectual class, whom MOST are either silent or even worse paying lip service to the dying regime.

            2 – If you have taken personal offense because yourself, your relatives or friends have been included, please see my explanation to Bayan and put the debate into its proper context. If you are saying there has been a history of concerted action by the intelligentsia in the fight for justice, well educate me. Even the Berline manifesto, addis meeting, everything else in between was sparse and here and there. Eritreans were failed by the intellectual CLASS. Either agree or disagree based on pertinent facts, but I have already offered apology for unintended offence and there is no point for you to seek an intractable argumentation to convince us black is white.

            Respectfully

          • haquda

            Haile, I am just curios, How log has been since you declared yourself as a member of opposition?

          • haileTG

            Good question (the problem is that it is unlikely an answer would be an answer for you unless it matches the answer you already hold in your head)

            – Around 1996 I was advocating (where I was) for an independent HR institution for Eritrea. This was not with any serious political disagreement, but I was looking at a model being done in Ethiopia at the time (by prof. Mesfin???).

            – During the border war (forget the controversy of starting it, I had no hindsight then), I fully supported Eritrea and its right to have its boundary demarcated

            – After 2001 – 2004/5 very confusing times

            – 2005 – 2012 My stand was that if the opposition groups gave clear message about the border conflict and work for its resolution, Eritrean regime would run out of excuses. Well the opposition minded thought of it as dishonestly supporting the regime and the supporters considered it a joke and there would be no way Eritreans would raise up.

            – 2012 – current I believe that:

            a) The regime neither has the will or capacity to change

            b) Immediate removal by any means would save us higher cost later on

            c) Perhaps the border resolution wouldn’t have encouraged the people in any way, this is by hindsight from the recent devastation that failed to trigger popular reaction (if that didn’t, the border is minuscule by comparison)

            As far as declaring a membership of an organized group, I have never disclosed such fact in public.

            I am answering your questions in straight forward fashion because I abhor shifty questions or shifty answers. Check my interactions here and you would see I consistently stay away from the “person” but deal with “issues”. Sadly, shifty characterization of an individual is the modus operand of many our compatriots. I ask straight questions and give straight answers, eventually I am convinced that all the shiftiness will die out and the straightness would prevail or all of Eritrea will relocate to Shimelba and environs 😉

          • dawit

            Dear SEM,

            Cool down on your, perhaps you need your eyeglasses you are reading what is not written in this three way discussion. We are talking about leadership qualities, because those Eritrean (Intellectuals Ph.ds ) came up with a paper that concerns all Eritreans. As concerned Eritrean citizen Saleh saw flows and inconsistencies that did not reflect the Eritrea communities and rightly pointed the exclusion of such an important segment of our society. We all saw the people who prepared the document and their academic titles, and we wondered how come they missed such omissions. Haile picked and commented on their titles and their level of participation in our struggle to build a fair and inclusive nation based on his own observation. I picked the point and I related to something that I heard about Isaias commenting something on what alleged he told someone. I wrote some story about education and entrepreneurship and raised if that also applied in political leadership. Rodab and Haile responded and in the final analysis we all agreed the ‘Leadership is a natural gift more than education that you cram from books. Your quote from Calvin Coolidge seems to coincide with our conclusion.

            Now brother SEM you want to drag, Isaias, PFDJ and Eritrean education system etc.into the mix of the discussion which is fine but that is a debate. and not a discussion. I like your quote the last line from Calvin Coolidge “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” .That seems to describe PIA partially.
            Peace and tum leyti
            dawit

          • Semere Andom

            Good morning dawit:

            I agree I read too much when you said Haile agrees with IA about the educated.

            About the story your friend told you I also agree and I have one strory to tell you. But that success is only on the entrepreneurial success, society needs men and woman of higher learning. If you take Buffet he became the richest man in the word by betting on the inventions of other people, even the Dells and Gates although they got rich by inventing software, but on the most part they built on the fundamental creations/discovery of other people. When I was new to Canada my friend and I talked to a young lady who complemented us for going to school while we were new and fresh, “nfuAt”, she said to which my friend replied “entay knefiE elkna, eddan enddan koyna, etom smart timhirti ayedliyomn eyu” 🙂

      • haileTG

        dawit arkey,

        Most of the people I have great respect for and turn to for an idea when I find myself in a fix never had a fraction of the educational opportunity extended to me. But I humble myself before them for they have often given me bone deep wisdom of an advice whenever I am down. IA has behavioral problems not intelligence. I often blame his supporters not him for the backward solutions I find him entangled with. If you judge him purely in mental capacity, መብዝህትና ተጣሒንና ክንዲ ቁንጣሩ Uኣይንመጽእን ኢና። But because of his behavioral disturbance, he lacks the advantage of best advice because most people start to tremble and some faint in his presence;-) he needed to calm down, let go and be less aggressive and more compromising. The concept you mentioned is true. Most accomplished individuals are drop outs and struggling at school. To be successful in a big way, you need to start early in life, and if you spend too long studying then it is unlikely you would be some one with powerful idea that would propel you t make history. You would be an average intelligence Joe really.

        Regards

      • Tesfabirhan WR

        Dear dawitom,

        Your friend is good enough to tell you such thing about entrepreneurship. I really liked it. But let’s see it also in the other way round.

        You have two important points: And for each a question

        1. Companies interview and would take the better qualified start at entry level of the company and climb up the company ladder to manage the business that were started by the High school and college dropouts.

        – Why those courageous high school drop-outs hire managers?

        – Can’t those smart drop-outs continue with the absence of these highly educated managers?

        – Why those company owners finally look for someone who can manage thier firm once they start the business?

        Imagine now at a country level, it will be the same projection I think

        For sure the revolutionary fighters are all courageous entrepreneurs. They started the business of social services called “Independence”. They got this independence. But then, did they hire intellectuals to hire those who were able to manage better than they can?

        dear dawitom, there is no doubt that those entrepreneurs are the owners of their service company. And to go further, those revolutionary fighters are had established a successful company called “EPLF” and even they established another companies like “ELF” but those who were working in the other companies failed for the reasons that can be researched further.

        Think EPLF as smart college drop-outs and fit your jok into that.

        2. “Those who could not get employed after college, they go to graduate schools and get their Ph.Ds and hired as professors by universities to teach those not so smart students”

        One point to make it clear, even universities hire PhD candidates. Those who apply for PhD are also looking for a job. And it is a job but of academic nature.

        Anyhow, to be at the level of your friend’s thinking,

        Suppose those universities could not find PhD candidates, do you think that a single university will exist?
        -Is your friend’s joke is not aware of these universities?

        I agree completely that entrepreneurs are always those who get ideas and are able to make it real. But, it is not necessarily mean that they have all the knowledge.

        We have to think as a whole, not just within the black-box.

        hawka
        tes

        • dawit

          Dear Brother tes, Thank you for the response.
          Let me restrict my answer why the dropout entrepreneurs hire managers? Over time the business grows and you need help to manage it, personnel managers, financial manageress, marketing, advertising etc. Take for example Bill Gate who droped fro 2nd. year Harvard to start Microsoft which is now a global company. How can he manage a multi billion company without hiring help? Let me no venture into the Tegadali as an enterpriser whose goal is make profit. I think Tegadali is Tegadali, one who is ready to sacrifice his/her life on behalf of others and not to gain profit from his/her action..
          dawit

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Dawitom,

            There is no bigger profit than having an independence. To keep your profit (social profit) you need to enlarge your service the same way Bill Gate did to his company.

            I think you better know about Social Businesses more than I can tell.

            Tedadali is a social entrepreneur. He started his service company from scratch, just the same like Bill Gate, the Facebook entrepreneurs and many more. The profit from independence is huge, both monetary wise and non-monetary. Let’s accept this simple fact and explore beyond.

            If tegadalai was smart enough like that of Bill Gate, he could have hired people who could work for him and reach the goals and visions of the company. In Eritrea, tegadalai failed in this regard and so does his company is in the verge of failing unless a remedy is taken.

            hawka
            tes

      • SenaiErtrawi

        Dawit,

        We all feel bad when we think about not getting enough education. Some of us were lazy and others didn’t get a chance. We tell the kind of stories that attack formal education and educated people to silence the self blame that comes from within, or when we want to attack other people who happen to be educated.

        If you really believe the uselessness of education, then why would you send your kids to school? Why not let them spend all their time in the garage ? 🙂

        By the way, since when is entrepreneurship a measure of intellectualism? You are right, those who pursue higher learning are usually different from the entrepreneur type. But then what? Who said their intent of getting a PhD was to start the likes of google and facebook? Do you know what it took to build the platform google and facebook use? How many PhDs it required to build the communication infrastructure and communication theories? I hope you don’t think Larry Page and Sergey Brin became programmers all of a sudden without anyone teaching them in a University.

        Do you know how many educated people Isaias needed to use to succeed in the struggle for independence? May be not because he never acknowledges their contributions. If you really think about it, the greatest fighters are those educated fighters who committed class suicide and had to survive and keep struggling to give their lives in the environment the likes of Isaias created. There are many parrots like you who repeat what Isaias says about them, but fortunately, there are many of us who were with them in Sahil and are telling their stories.

        Just for you to understand that they didn’t just sprang out of a garage 🙂

        “Page was born in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. His father, Carl Page, earned a Ph.D. in computer science in 1965—when the field was being established—and is considered a “pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence”. He was a computer science professor at Michigan State University and Page’s mother, Gloria was an instructor in Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University. Page’s mother is Jewish, but he was raised without religion.”

        “Brin was born in Moscow in the Soviet Union to Russian Jewish parents, Michael Brin and Eugenia Brin, both graduates of Moscow State University. His father is a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland, and his mother a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center”

    • SenaiErtrawi

      Haile,
      I am sorry brother but I disagree with you said about PhDs – “reactionary”, come on man! You sound like Napoleon from Animal Farm.

      You know why educated people are easy targets for the rough cadres? Because of the inferiority complex of the uneducated majority. It is easy for a rough cadre to make a “Cheguar Danga” hate an educated person. But then what happens when the cadres use the “Cheguar Dangas” to silence the PhDs? The Eritrea we see today happens. We need to get rid of the mentality you displayed – “zeytewQre neyeT’hin, zeytemhare neyedhin”. We need to stop silencing our intellectuals. If you have a better idea, bring it on but stop labeling them reactionary.

      Don’t sell your integrity for the “The Great” rank given to you by the AT duo 🙂 You don’t have to agree with them all the time.

      • haileTG

        SenaiErtrawi brother,

        Trust me, I am painfully aware of what you say and I hear you loud and clear brother. But I am not talking about the few intellectuals with courage who are in the opposition. The number of Eritrean intellectuals in the diaspora is countless, but buzuatn timzuhatn…most are regime supporters and not willing to risk a hoot to rescue their people. In my circle, I can count more than 10 highly positioned Eri doctoral and post doctorals who are regular koboro junkies. With respect.

  • Saleh Johar

    ክብረት ይሃበለይ ሓው አብራሃም…

  • haileTG

    What about the coastal areas?

    • Admas

      Haile, don’t worry the Afars in Eritrea don’t have as much hatred as you have for your ethnic keens in Ethiopia for their ethnic keens in Ethiopia…As for Rashaidas, they are new invaders from the Northern tip of the Red sea and they can go back to where they belong..they are real Arabs who are benefiting themselves and other Badawins in Egypt by selling your brothers and Sisters…

      • haileTG

        Admas, the mathematics and history side of the argument would fail you badly.

        Mathematics of Afar: If you are an Eri/Ethio Afar, would you join Eritrea and beacome the second dominant ethnic group in the country with significant regional and international clout or join up the Ethiopian side and remain less than 1% minority group? In reality, it is better to leave it as it is and they can serve as a bridge between both peoples and help to undermine detrimental sentiments as yours.

        History of Rashaida: are you suggesting uprooting them and turning their territory into new unconquered frontiers of the 21st century? What is your principle as far as uprooting peoples and settler colonizing? It may be a Pandora’s box for you to toy with it.

        • derebew

          I am not sure the Ethiopian Afars would like to be associated with Eritrea leave alone join their keen in Eritrea and become Eritreans so they could be a majority? Being a majority doesn’t guaranty anyone anything. I will not be surprised if the Moslems are not the majority in Eritrea?
          I know many Afar Ethiopians, in the diaspora and in Ethiopia and they are pretty happy with the federal system and their nationhood with in Ethiopia that they feel more Ethiopian than any other that they will be the first once to reject this notion/idea.
          Sorry but your conjecture is unfounded and in statics they would have called it Beta error.
          Mind you this is not by any means an endorsement of Adams article which also is impertinent. It is up to the Eritrean people to trudge through the maze of complicated ethnic, religious and political conflagration in Eritrea and this old idea of the highlanders joining Ethiopia and low landers joining Sudan is as daed as the British colony is except in the minds of few people.

          • haileTG

            Derebew: I have no idea about Ethiopian Afars too and there has never been an Eritrean who advocated Afar issue in that way as far as I know. All I know for certain is that Afar Eritreans have voted 99.65% Yes in favor of separating from Ethiopia in a referendum that is internationally monitored and ascertained as free and fair. So, that is certain and iron clad from Eri side. The rest was meant to show Admas the inconsitency.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Saleh,

    Every time I read your article, I increase my awareness. You have a penetration power, a sword, to say, a spade is a spade! Thank you.

    When haw Amanuel Hidrat made us aware on time, I actually appreciated, based on the momerandum. I was thinking that the gathering was of diversified nature. but, soon one strategic paper “strategy Adi” that was posted at assenna.com made me to think again. Since then, I was saying, what was wrong with such gathering. Even I was expecting haw Amanuel H. To right a summary article but no.

    Now, I got the mystery. The strategic paper, “Strategy Adi” that some of the participants presented could be influential. On the other side but parallel to this, I tried to listen what is going on at “paltalk” and I found similar echoes. Oh, gosh,Can’t we be free of such political decline?

    Your Negarit article is brave enough as always to enlighten us.

    Thank you again

    hawka
    tes

    • Guest

      How can you conclude with the response from the other side.

    • henok abraham

      How could you possible conclude in that way without seeing a response from the other side

      • Tesfabirhan WR

        Dear Henok,

        Did I conclude anything? I am simply saying that I am aware about something. I didn’t denounce or made any conclusion. I believe that every Eritrean has a right to organize in what ever form it is. But, to be enlightened on what happened is different and this is what I am speaking about.

        Hawka
        tes

  • SenaiErtrawi

    Saleh,
    Where you invited for the meeting?

    • Saleh Johar

      Selam,
      I would rather let the organizers answer that, ask them.

      • Fnote Selam

        Dear Saleh,

        Dodging this question is kind of opposite to what you are advocating in the article.

        Tnx,

        FS.

      • SenaiErtrawi

        Saleh,
        Looks like they didn’t invite you.

        Anyways, it is about personalities – as usual. I am hoping there will be a day when we will be able to have robots to do our civic affairs 🙂

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam SenaiEritrawi,

          The Eritrean politics is about personalities and has never been about national issue in most of their engagement with each other. Even the existing political organizations are called most of the time by their leaders. There is no “political maturity” within us except blackmailing to each other. Look how this article sucks our energy negatively. Very sad! Very sad!