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Constructive Ambiguity And Eritrea’s Bad Choices

One of the most memorable revelations of Dejen Ande Hishel, the Eritrean Air Force pilot who escaped after 15 years of arrest without charges, was his realization (four years into his arrest) that, in Eritrea, to ask the government, “what are the charges against me?” is to commit a crime because your question is slandering the government as an entity that detains people without charges. But to a supporter of the regime, this is nonsense: obviously there is a law: everybody in jail in Eritrea broke the law and is, obviously, a criminal.  Obviously. But if that is the case, it suggests there is a Penal Code in Eritrea. Of course! Ok, what is it? Even the most ardent supporter of the regime is not sure. Having a definitive answer would help us understand if the regime is an outlaw regime; or if it is enforcing draconian rules that it never bothered to update. There is a name for such confusion when it is done deliberately: “constructive ambiguity.”

Henry Kissinger invented constructive ambiguity in the art of diplomacy. The phrase refers to the use of vague, unclear language so that each party to a dispute can think that the agreement that is being drafted favors its position. Constructive ambiguity gives rise to a “peace process” that is light on peace and heavy on process. Of course, even the phrase “constructive ambiguity” is, itself, a constructive ambiguity: it should really be called destructive evasion.

The Eritrean regime uses destructive evasion in its relationship with the citizenry. The government’s policies are whatever strikes the fancy of Isaias Afwerki at a given time. Of course, “constructive ambiguity” is not total chaos: there are parameters. For example, Isaias Afwerki won’t wake up one Monday morning and pardon prisoners. But in terms of how harshly he chooses to punish his enemies (or even to define his enemies), the rule is constructive ambiguity. This ambiguity is most obvious with Eritrea’s penal code.

Eritrea’s Penal Code

When the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) stormed into the capital cities of their respective countries in 1991, the triumphant new regimes inherited two Penal Codes—one dating to 1957, which was authored by the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God, Emperor of Ethiopia (Haile Selasse) and the other, a revision, dating to 1982, which was authored by the Provisional Military Administration Council (Mengistu Hailemariam.) By 2005, EPRDF had nullified the two penal codes and drafted its own: The Criminal Code of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

This is not a trick question: what is the law, particularly the penal code, in Eritrea? I direct this question to all of the supporters of the Eritrean regime, particularly those who are quick to say that so-and-so is in jail because so-and-so broke the law. What law? What is the penal code that Eritrea is using, 21 years after its international recognition as a sovereign State? Once we know that, we can deduce whether the Isaias Afwerki regime is breaking the law or enforcing draconian laws.

Everything I have read on the subject (corrections are most welcome) says that the Eritrean government is still using Haile Selasse’s Penal Code of 1957, with specified and unspecified revisions and amendments. The irony is multi-faceted:

  • When Haile Selasse drafted the penal code in 1957, it was a vast improvement over the one it replaced. So Haile Selasse drafted a law to modernize his country;
  • The Eritrean people waged a revolution because, among other things, Ethiopia was undemocratic and unjust.

The Eritrean regime doesn’t say that it is using Haile Selasse’s Penal Code of 1957 (at least not to the Eritrean people; it tells it to international legal bodies); it says it has revised them. The specified revisions are the series of proclamations the State issued: beginning with its first proclamation defining marriage (No 1/1991) to the Land Tenure Reform Proclamation (No 58/1994) to the Press Proclamation (No 90/1996) and, of course, the Constitution itself (ratified in May 23, 1997.)

The first “constructive ambiguity” is: are these proclamations themselves still valid or, have they, since the all-purpose “no-peace-no-war” banner was raised, been invalidated? Nobody knows: not even Mr. Yemane Gebreab, who is supposed to be a Very Powerful Man: just last year, he was telling us that the Constitution, with few exceptions (those dealing with national elections) is in full effect. Yemane must have forgotten the clauses that forbid the State from denying life or liberty to Eritreans without due process. Now we are told a new one Constitution will be drafted which will be ratified and implemented right after hell freezes over.

Is the Press Proclamation of 1996 still in effect? Maybe yes, maybe not. The Proclamation allows the State to suspend the press when there is “danger threatening public order, security and general peace caused by war, armed rebellion or public disorder.” Is that the situation in Eritrea now? Maybe yes, maybe not. It is all ambiguous. Some of the proclamations (like the one that deals with NGOs, for example) were themselves revised to criminalize even more people.

The second “constructive ambiguity” deals with the parts of Haile Selasse’s Penal Code that were never amended by any proclamation. This assumes that they are still the law of the land in Eritrea. Let’s deal with an authoritarian State’s favorite tool of control: accusing citizens of treason. Let’s see how Haile Selasse’s Penal Code defines treason:

“Whosoever enjoying Ethiopian nationality, either by birth or by naturalization, or being officially entrusted with the protection of Ethiopian national interests:

  • takes up arms or engages in hostile acts against Ethiopia; or
  • has dealings with or keeps up a secret correspondence with a power at war with Ethiopia, or with a person or persons doing so on behalf of such power, for the purpose of ensuring or promoting the enemy’s success in any manner whatsoever; or
  • delivers to the enemy, whether directly or indirectly, an. object, armament, plan document or resources of any kind used for the national defense, or aids the enemy by rendering services or delivering supplies to him, is punishable with rigorous imprisonment from five years to life, or, in cases of exceptional gravity, with death.”(i)

So, when the Eritrean regime tells the legal world that its penal code is that of Ethiopia’s 1957 Penal Code with “revisions”, it might very well mean that all it has done is to replace the word “Ethiopia” and “Ethiopian” with “Eritrea” and “Eritrean.”

And since everybody we call a political prisoner is, according to the Isaias Afwerki regime and its official and unofficial spokespersons, a traitor who has committed high treason, then it is not surprising that they would claim (as they have) that it is only the regime’s kindness that is sparing the “criminals” the death penalty. Often, they act like they should be thanked for their magnanimity.

If all the revisions are replacing “Ethiopia/Ethiopian” with “Eritrea/Eritrean”, then, by definition, that also means that one more replacement was done to make the revision complete: replace “Emperor” with “President.” This is not a trivial matter because, according to the Penal Code, “Whosoever insults, abuses, defames or slanders the Emperor or the Imperial Crown Prince is punishable with rigorous imprisonment not exceeding five years, or in less serious cases with a fine not less than five hundred dollars.“

So, if you, socializing with friends, say something like “anta izi Tsulul sebaay neza Addi ketF’aa iyu” (This crazy man is going take the country to oblivion), you have slandered our Emperor, which is punishable by a 5 year prison term–which partly explains why people are terrified to even call him by name, referring instead to “nsu” and “iti [expletive deleted]sebaay.” If you write an opinion in the awate forum saying (as you will in reply to this column) something offensive about our Emperor, you most likely are guilty of high treason because, as everybody knows,, “delivers to the enemy, whether directly or indirectly, an object [an article] that aids the enemy.” You are a criminal who deserves a life sentence or death.

Law & Morality

When the Press Proclamation was issued in 1996, we were debating why the State was reserving for itself the monopoly of TV and Radio and “only” allowing freedom of print journalism and completely silent on electronic/Internet journalism.  How quaint it seems now. We were debating that, while we like the Proclamation’s clear language that “Freedom of press is guaranteed” and “censorship, suspension or banning of newspapers and other press product” is prohibited, we didn’t like the language allowing the government to censor media “under special circumstances” which was too broad. Thus, when Ruth Simon, a reporter for AFP was arrested, we could cite the Press Proclamation to argue (as we did) that the government had no right to do so (“a journalist’s security may not been encroached upon”) because equating the journalist report about our Emperor’s saber-rattling with Sudan with an act worthy of detention cannot be said to have met the test of reasonableness.

Now, without a law to base our arguments on, all we are left with are Morality and International Norms. Both of which are, politically speaking, very problematic and easy to demolish.

Morality, the appeal to what is right, is a compelling argument to use—so long as the person making it has unassailable moral authority. Faced with a strong and compelling moral argument, the only counter argument the losing side has is to undermine the moral authority of the person(s) making the moral argument. This is exactly what the Isaias Afwerki regime is trying to do to the Eritrean Catholic Bishops (did they meet with their Ethiopian counterparts? Hmmmmm?) and pilot Dejen Ande Hishel (did the Ethiopians help him escape? Hmmmm?) That’s about it: it will never address their moral arguments: it will only attack their moral authority. This is the specialty of Sophia Tesfamariam: never address the argument a person is making, just try to present them (anyone who rises to a threat-level that she finds unacceptable) as morally compromised or, most likely, guilty of High Treason.

Using international norms and conventions is a mixed bag. In a world that has monarchs, tyrants, authoritarians, totalitarians, and electoral cheats; in a world that has a club to accommodate them (African Union, United Nations, Islamic Conference, Arab League, COMESA, etc.), our complaint that our Brute looks exactly like theirs is often given a shrug. Well, we say, in fact he is worse than even YOU! We cite international norms, declaration of human rights while we live in a world that accommodates and rewards those who flaunt it. (Remember, Libya under the presidency of Muammar Qadaffi was a member of the UN’s Human Rights commission. It might even have chaired it.)

Besides, those to whom the International Norm argument is being made, and those who are making the argument have different priorities and different irreducible minimums. For the former, it is a State with secure borders; for the latter, it is justice.

This goes to the heart of why the Isaias Afwerki regime chooses to be ambivalent about what law governs Eritrea: because it knows that both morality and international norms are of limited impact. Of course, when law is non-existent, and morality is unpersuasive, all that people are left with are the same options they have had since the beginning of time: flight or fight. And Eritreans, like all people living in war-stricken zones, have made the same choice: more people are fleeing than they are fighting because their life and liberty is worth more than the State’s existence.

Don’t get me wrong: moral arguments are quite persuasive. Sure, they will be enough to separate the regime from the people, but it is not enough to get them to embrace an alternative. Sure, the international community will condemn and censor, but the international community’s priority is not justice, but stability. This is why I keep saying that the least bloodthirsty, the quickest way to bring about change is one that comes from within the ruling party, the PFDJ, (a democratic coup) preferably using law—the 1997 Constitution—as a basis for change. Unless that happens, Eritrea risks being either a country ruled by Isaias Dynasty (like Cuba, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iraq) or a country ravaged by civil war (like Libya, Syria, Iraq.) Neither choice is appealing, and those who are morally accepting of one choice make the other choice inevitable.

(1) The Penal Code Of Ethiopia 1957


About Saleh Younis

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  • A very good analysis, lovely enough,
    Those who support the regime you named, they always insist ” had they not wronged against the law-( the maffia law) they wouldn’t have been in prison”. Until the law finally fetch them from their secured dwells, though late, when everybody is alredady in custody, when they fail to hear any voice except their own in a lonely cell .
    Had we all asked together, why did he/she is in prison? why not prove it in the court? what is his/case? we would have reached the answers long time ago! Of course, the law is as you brilliantly said and deducted with lessons.
    thank you, Saleh

  • AMEN

    The reason I often blame some supporters of the opposition is
    Because they carry their old baggage to our present situation.
    These few people who were staunc supporters of the opposition
    despite its many wrongs-methods,strategies and policies seem to
    be still suffering and unable to cleanse themselves from their past.
    that is……………………..

  • Nitricc

    I study anything and everything about Eritrea. Because that is what concerns me. And there are times I read things that are not honest and completely out of the realm of reality. Lately we have been bombarded with idea of civil war in Eritrea. Personally civil war in Eritrea only exists in the mind of the desperate, delusional and dishonest. When some Eritreans repeat the same word, civil war, it emanates form their frustration against the government of Eritrea. In their mind, they are getting back at the government of Eritrea. That is all left to say and predict. They have tried everything and nothing to show for.
    When the Ethiopians say civil war might not who and what Eritreans are? When people say Eritreans are civilized; honest, caring and forgiving. Well, any Ethiopian; I invite you to watch the following video and judge for your self what Eritreans are. The most amazing character is that Eritreans do not know what revenge is! And civil war everything about revenge!

    • Kokhob Selam

      the problem is after all that you have seen PFDJ is the replacement. we make two countries to be under PFDJ, Lol what is the difference. now shall we allow PFDJ to die , killing this great history or replace it while keeping our national struggle alive by creating democratic Eritrea. yes it is now one of the two. you don’t have to be proud of all this as far as you are under corrupted group and if you do there is again a possibility of everything infront of you say it civil war or going back to Ethiopia or anything that you are terrorized of. for sure you will agree with me to destroy those 40 nonsense men and women on power than simply watching the entire nation in trouble. wake up,and don’t live in the past.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Hey Nitricc,

      No Eritrean know “anything and everything about Eritrea”. This is a sign of arrogance. I have no doubt that you have learned something you don’t know about Eritrea from our debate. You have admitted in many instances that you have learned something from the on going debate. just recerntly you learned from the interview of Dejen the young courageous pilot. So stop from declaring that you know everything that is going in Eritrea.

      • Nitricc

        Aman I said “study” how do you drive “know” from “Study”?
        You see, you are just assuming and that not a good thing.
        I know what I know but comparing what I don’t know; it fair to say I don’t know jake.
        So,am I going to stop studying; no. Do I know it all no.
        So, your point mis-placed.
        The Idea behind my posting is how the eritrean people did not hold grudge to the enemy who shoot them in a street. When the time came the people did not revenge, that is civility and that what I wanted to show. And for those who pray for civil war, well I say watch it again.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          So Nitricc,

          If that is what you want to mean then, you have to say “I am studying anything and everything about Eritrea.”

          • Nitricc

            Aman sorry for the confusion in my part but that what I meant. For me to say “I know” is the most difficult word to say naturally. Because the word “I know” is the greatest barrier and obstacles to knowledge and information. So, it is true that I am an avid student of Eritrea but for me to tell you I know is simply ridicules and preposterous.
            Anyway; my bad, for the confusion and misunderstanding I have caused. What really I mean to say is that I am studying anything and everything about Eritrea. I know very little and I will keep studying to know more.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            okay Nitricc,

            ” admitting your mistake” is the good part of you. My eyes always watching you as a father to a son. Stay humble.

            Amanuel Hidrat

        • Semere Andom

          “Personally civil war in Eritrea only exists in the mind of the desperate, delusional and dishonest”

          Nitricc, in a healthy world you would be the last one to say this. There is embedded ignorance and implicit insult in this statement of yours. Do get me wrong, it is not because you insulted the “toothless opposition, but your insulted other societies that went through a civil war before. These people are as smart as Eritreans as loving as Eritreans and as patriotic as us. But protracted tyranny, division and inhumanity rendered them to be victims of hate and the scourges of civil war. We share the same stimuli and therefore there would be likely the same response. We went through civil war before, Muslims and Christians slaughtered each other in Asmara. And in 19981 EPLF and ELF killed each other. There are always cool heads and sober citizens among us, but these people do not always prevail.

          Debating and thinking about the possibility of civil war is healthy, why would any Eritrean wish civil war between Eritreans. But recognizing our vulnerability, admitting our weakness, identifying the bottle necks is a healthy way to pave the smooth transition for our posterity.

          It is commendable that you ooze with a passion to Study everything and anything about your country add to that intellectually integrity and you have a recipe for greatness. You know many of us rail about how ghedli was the reason for our present dictatorship, but let me distil it even more succinctly and cogently: it was the lack of studying things deeply with integrity that has been one of our Achilles’s heels in our protracted armed struggle and hence our present sad predicament

          • Nitricc

            Semere, so; I am undermining and insulting other societies, huh is that right Semere?
            It is very funny you found my take as insulting yet when your “ Hayatina” come out and said “without the help of TPLF the Eritrean struggle for independence would have never been materialized” I did not hear you say a word from you why is that, semere? Did you see how hypocrite you are? The funny part is this ridicules and preposterous idea of civil war in Eritrea wasn’t even an idea of Eritrean individual, it become from a paid image cleaner of criminal TPLF, Hayat or is it “Hayatina” semere? It is very disappointing to me to see diving to it people like Ali and SAAY. They know better!!!
            Now you have the nerve to tell me I am insulting other societies; no I am not, The greatest insult to the Eritrean people is when people like you thinks discussing civil war in Eritrea is a healthy one. When the Ethiopian Army became helpless and power less and completely surrendered to the Eritrean people; they did not revenge against the same army who overrun their children with tanks alive; they did not revenge the same army who burned their villages, kill their families and rap their women for years; instead, the Eritrean people provided the army with food and water and no one touched the army and that is, my friend, the absolute measurement of civility, humanity and strength. At that the absolute definition of forgiveness was displayed. Do we, Eritreans we have problems? Yes we do and we will prevail as always. Semere Instead of wasting your time about this ridicules and preposterous idea of civil war in Eritrea; why don’t you discuss about our
            real problems? Problems those are glaring to your face and the challenges those are real and effecting real people in the ground?
            Semere; stop try to be politically correct and to appease your “hayatina” and T-K. shame on you.


          • Semere Andom


            Thanks for the belated reply and here is my reply.

            To your nitricc mind what are the glaring problems of our nation, just mention one and who/what is the root cause of it so I can discuss it?

            I do not have any bone to pick with T.K he has his country, I have mine, although, I may not have one soon, thanks to you guys. I debate with him when the opportunity presents itself

            Hayat is an Eritrean because she says so and stop calling her Ethiopian, do not take away her identity, it is a trait and a hallmark of a dictator to do so.

            Hayatina? Why do you have an issue with it, I can call you Nitriccina if you are jealous. If she has said Eritrea would not be liberated without the help of TPLF, I disagree with that, but I do not deny the contributions/collaborations of TPLF in our armed struggle, it is all documented. Eritreans and Ethiopians had the common enemy and they were collaborating to defeat that enemy. This is cold hard truth Nitriccina: after the common enemy was defeated Eritreans ended up worse off and Ethiopians are better off, so if you are mad that “My T.K” sometimes pounds and beats his chest with exuberance pride at what his TPLF has accomplished from its humble beginnings, do not be consumed with anger, he has something to show for it, to wit his people are not facing existential threat like ours. His TPLF has transformed itself from a rebel group to a government that has a shot at changing the lives of the people for better and a good chance at establishing a real democracy and eliminating poverty in the next few decades. Like us Ethiopia is not free from the risk of civil war, but they are in a better position, in far better position than us. You are the truth guy admit it, I am calling it as it is. In no way is our current crisis the fault of our people, they are as hard working as the Ethiopians and as visionaries as them as gallants as them, but in PFDJ and its cruel, blind supporters they were dealt the worst card and no matter how savvy they are at playing they are losing and soon they may fold. Beside “my T.K” never insulted the Eritrean peoples, but the insult both in your deafening silence when heinous crime are committed by your government and when you wounded the Lampedesua victims are indelible in the memories of their loved ones. Now tell me who is the enemy of Eritrean people you and your ilk or the “woyanay T.K”, whose comments are always in support of the Eritrean cause. And to help you to answer the questions I asked in the opening of this comment as I have no confidence you will answer with the compromised integrity of yours, the glaring challenged and problems that Eritrean faces now are the PFDJ and its supporters, both of these entities have sworn in the altar if the Lucifer to make our people extinct and our land barren. And As Saleh G Johar aptly prescribe after diagnosing the aliment for 2o years, both of these entities must be weeded out.

    • Asmerom

      Let alone to know anything and everything about Eritrea you don’t even know our recent history of our civil war in the seventies and eighties why don’t you just try to learn our history from those who know it most instead of selling yourself to a cheap and ignorant dictator

      • Nitricc

        Asmerom I did not say I know everything thing. Please read my post to Aman.
        Regarding the civil war in the 70 and 80s probably I know more than you do. My loved once were there and they made sure I will never forget for the rest of my life. That is why I laugh when people mention civil war and Eritrea on the same sentence. When I posted the video; I just want to show the Ethiopians and some gullible Eritreans who think there might be a civil war in Eritrea. I just wanted to show the civility and the code of honor of the people of Eritrea.

    • Yman M Omar

      Nitric, It is not how much you study but how much you can actually retain 🙂 You have not retained anything over the years in here.

      • T. AMEN

        It is only because he has retained to much
        that he is imparting too much. How come
        one who didn’t retain much could impart
        so much ?……..?……………?
        Can anyone who doesn’t have any give ?
        May be were absent or so !

  • Serray

    Selamat Haile,

    The guy on Madote concluded his piece as follows,

    “In addition, why would someone put their wife, parents, children in harms way over a 2% income tax when it’s such a low amount of their income? The US has income taxes in the 25% to 35% range..while you are crying about 2% that you only have to pay if you want something from Eritrea. In the US, you have to pay regardless”.

    A regime mouthpiece is telling those who who obey Canadian law in Canada that if they don’t pay 2%, the regime will harm their wives, parents and children. I hope the folks in Canada take notice of this open threat.

    Every time these monkeys compare a regime of murderers and human traffickers to the US it is hilarious. This one forgets the taxi drivers and dish washers already pay taxes to their host country and that the US, one of the last countries that taxes worldwide income, exempts the first hundred thousand dollars of earned income from taxation AND that it gives credit for taxes paid to host countries. Even using this monkey’s logic, no one pays any US tax if a US citizen works as a taxi driver or dishwasher outside US. Only a greedy, corrupt and human trafficking regime demands payments from poor immigrants who are struggling to make ends meet after running from it.

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Serray and Also Haile:
      PFDJ did it again defying Canada and the Justice Seekers did it again almost a year to the date by collaborating with the investigation that culminated to an article in one of Canada’s news papers, the National Post, CBC radio broadcast and on Sunday with TV report on the CBC’s the National. The report was damming as a courageous young Eritrean woman, Woghata Tesfamariam was willing to come on camera and expose the regime. Foreign affairs is investigating. The mafia tactics of the regime has been exposed to the bone
      The comparison with the USA tax is out of it and this people do not seem to get it, the USA does its business democratically, if the citizens do not like it they have a myriad of recourses to change and challenge that. The ignorant arrogance to compare the land of elected senators, a systems that endured for over 200 years that becomes better every time with that of a common thief and a bandit is just unhinged to say the least. Calling the supporters monkey is a compliment, calling them any animal name is a compliment.
      The good thing about this last investigation was that Ahmed Iman (Imam), who was told to close the consulate in California by the USA has replaced the last disgraced Consul General as the head of consular affairs has admitted on record that he gives information/directs on how Eritreans must pay the cash money in Asmara and after the confirmation is received they only issue the clearance. He is also on record advising about the “Meket” payment, both issues were called by Canada illegal and directed Eritrea to stop

      • haileTG

        Hey Serray and Sem,

        Good point Serray and thanks for the update Sem. Serray, it is spot on that you zoomed in your focus to the blatant threat in the last sentence of the said article. However, please also note that the article itself, taken as a whole, constitutes a coercion by threat of loss of citizenship as a consequence of not paying. Renunciation of citizenship is a hugely private matter that people undertake for various personal reasons. It is a blatant threat that a regime, through its mouthpieces, would threaten withdrawal of native birth right, citizenship, because a person has an issue with its policy. Those engaged in the matter must download the article as evidence before the “ignorant” hgdefites remove it.

        Sem, there is no comparison to US, you are very right. In fact, these supporters have no capacity to process this issue and it makes you sick to note that Eritrea is in the hands of ignoramus dirty dealers. The collection of money or funds is a business activity here in the west and hence required to be conducted with the appropriate jurisdictional diligence to carry out such activity. Payment of 2% doesn’t give you any service only the right to commence a process to receive service. If you sell property, you would still need to pay 9% of the value of your property as transfer fee and 12% if court service is involved. If you need business license you have a list of bills you need to settle. If you want to designate attorney, there is a fee. So, 2% has nothing to do with any service one wish to get. Again, as Serray pointed out the US has an exemption threshold and is law abiding nation.

        The important thing in this article, also echoed in another regime mouthpiece:


        is the fact that they are openly threatening to withhold citizenship and hence are coercing the diaspora to pay this money.


    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear Seray,

      The concluding sentence done by madote as you quoted is what it makes the 2% of useless for PFDJ money grabbers. Their argument is not based on duty or rights of citizens but just because it is insignificant even to do so. Money is money, once one is given as his own and I his own pocket even a single penny is worth and no one wants to take it off unless where it goes off is much worthier than being at the pocket.

      Concerning the second argument, US citizens pay 25-35% ranges, oh if US citizens go out from the country they have all protections and what they pay is because they are highly paid being outside. We all know how much the US government takes care of its citizens. They have full guarantee for any case it happens.



  • Araya

    since when is challenging a forum participant to be counted as a bigotry? you can protect your great all you want but don’t hid your self as I am making derogatory remarks because I am not. Haile have hidden agenda and I was about to expose him and here you are protect your great. I understand.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Saay,

    Your article is always hot and agitates the central hemisphere of political debate.

    Living under the regime has exposed me to different rules which are always contradicting themselves that I called it, “Rule of the Jungle.” Eritreans are facing at least 6 rules of the jungle.

    1. The civil code – you have well described it.
    2. Hgi Enda-Ba – which is used when entra-family matters arise, such as death or related
    3. Sheria law – which is practiced similar to civil-code for the Moslem followers related to intra-family problem
    4. Military law – always unknown in its case handling but very prominent.
    5. The halewa-sewra law
    6. The individual (halafi) law and may be one or two laws can be added depending on the level of their out reach.

    Despite your critical analysis, I didn’t follow such laws (like Sheria for example) are applied and why? Hope you will enlighten us for such diversified complex and out of no where laws.

    Some awatistas wrote on land laws and some proclamations as laws applied by the JUNTA. But these are not laws but proclamations that are aimed to empower his totalitarian system and nationalizing all properties.


    • saay7

      Selamat Tes:

      For the last 5 years, I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to make my writing more succinct. This particular article was triggered by two statements: one was from Dejen Ande Hishel and his conclusion that to accuse the government of being lawless is a crime; the other is from Ali Salim who argued that one must base his/her opposition to the Eritrean regime on the law and that one can’t be an effective opposition unless one is willing to abide by the law of the nation. (I am sooo paraphrasing; Ali Salim please correct me if I am mistaken.) I found both statements quite intriguing and asked: what is the law, and specifically the Penal Code in Eritrea?

      My research shows that Ethiopia’s 1957 Penal Code is the law in Eritrea for a “transitional period.” And since the former transitional government of Eritrea became the provisional government of Eritrea whose provisional nature was supposed to end in 1997 and didn’t, then we can assume that that (1957 penal code) is the law in Eritrea–if it hasn’t been supplanted by a proclamation.

      As for the courts that are supposed to establish guilt/innocence, you are absolutely right. Except that, of course, in Eritrea, they have overlapping responsibilities and there is a push-pull depending on case loads. For example, the government has sent mixed signals on sheria law: when their progressive side kicks in, they want people (specially women) who are not happy with the ruling of sheria court to appeal to a civil court; when they are overwhelmed with cases, they send a signal that sheria court’s decisions are not subject to appeal. Same thing with community courts.

      And, of course, when the entire nation is militarized, then it is military law that supercedes. This is one of many reasons why we should call for the suspension of the “National Service” or at least its normalization (i.e. to apply for 18 months only; uniformly to ALL Eritreans in the age group, but most definitely to the YPFDJs–hope you are listening Nitricc. The National Service proclamation does NOT exempt the Diaspora and Eritrea’s definition of nationalism does NOT exempt Eritreans born in the Diaspora.)

      Here’s an excellent primer on all the courts in Eritrea written by two Eritrean lawyers:


      • Tesfabirhan WR

        Dear Saay,

        I thank you so much for the document shared and the approach you followed to write such article. I appreciate and I see the effort you did to come with such depths to enrich the ongoing political landscape to be supported with legal aspect.

        Professor Asmerom Legesse, in one of a seminar who conducted in Hamelmalo College told us that he and his colleagues are the master designers of today’s community based courts. According to his words, he did an extensive research in documenting Hgi Endaba and to introduce it in the Eritrean legal system. They could not succeeded but they put an influence on this kind of law to continue if the people want to practice it. But if the case can not be disclosed or not agreed with the Civil Code comes to rule out the case. hence a mixed and confused approach. And the people are always in doubt which one to follow.

        And second. the Sheria law, yes you are right. PFDJ has sent a mixed feelimgs. Specially women are highly supported by NUEW office to over react the Sheria law decisions as they believe that it will hurt women in general. Hence a confrontation exists and leads to non-functionality of the sheria law. Mixed cases and always people stay in doubt to follow what.

        Cases related to theft, rapes or sexual abuses and many are handled directly by the Civil penal codes (provisional) and hence people stay in confusion which to follow where.

        In general, PFDJ has a confused system of handling public cases. If we see hadas Ertra, before there was cases reported in different court houses but now no such places exist just community court houses. Of course the word ‘community’ stands for communist system, and the people who run such houses are all veterans who enforce people to settle the case or close it. They are not able to handle the case and hence they call for Shimagletat and allow such people to cover-up.

        By the way, I am coming soon with my article titled by “PFDJ and international conventions”

      • dereje

        You missed the point. The struggle for the liberation of Eritrea itself started and continued to its end with out questioning what laws would an indipendent Eritrea will have to follow. This was the same in Ethiopia. TPLF, EPRP, MEISON, UDU..etc did think of such thing as being rulled by the law. Cadres dont like to abide by the law. Leninists think that the elite is the law. In so doing both countries ended up in bringing new kings. New kings who speak english and Russian. Well some chinese too was an ingradience.

        A kings law brings only an other king. Habesha mentality is never egaliterian. It does not believe in equality. And that of Arabic is never better either. Stop believing in kings and the cycle of war will stop. Maybe it is time to try the hellenic way. Otherwise without some sort of change in culture, assuming the ilussion that every single problem that followed the indipendence of eritrea will disapear only if the isayas rigim would vanish, or if some part of the law is changed will bring another king. That area is an area of kings. Feudalism is not just an econimic concept. It lives in our everyday life. It is about how we percieve andSVvalue our neighbours. The saving of Eritrea from being an other somalia requires a deep understanding of what happened durring its struggle for indipendence. So far only its heroic part is being told. There must some rest that is being left out in the story telling of the revolutionaries.

  • haileTG

    Hello Awatista,

    One of the trashiest hgdef website madote com put up an article today challenging those in Canada opposing 2% tax to renounce their Eritrean citizenship.

    The article makes out that the payment of 2% and hence requiring service from the regime is proof enough to say that those who do had lied in their asylum application. Notwithstanding that HGDEF supporters and rank and file is populated by “ignorant bastards”, nothing more than that article [linked] goes to show the “whorish” mindset of the regime. Following the cue set by the article, the dogs of hgdef were writing comments as the lowliness of Eritrean life in the diaspora ( mentioning taxi drivers and dish washers). This is why I say hgdef is supported by “ignorant bastards” who will see us into civil war to correct the course of Eritrea’s self distraction under the weight of its “ignorant bastard hgdef supporters” and their “whore” leadership.

    To answer their stupid question of loss of citizenship is however, the reason Eritreans are abandoning the country is because they are blockaded from working, subjected to forced labor, denied access to justice and made to live everyday under the threat of conflict, arrest and no future. These are legitimate reasons to flee the country because such situation is imposed for political reasons, to keep an ugly pig with a lipstick in office for life. So, there you have it Mr trashy Madote, it was a proactive decision that is seeing Eritreans to abandon the country in mass.

    Now, the question is why dont the “ignorant bastards” who support the regime go back and live their flip flop, duplicitous, selfish and ignorant lives over there? In fact starting with you and your trashy webpage?

    ….hegdef mendef

    • Araya

      [Moderator: your comments are mostly deleted because they always have derogatory and bigoted pronouncements. You can consider it anything you want, but we have been generous and have not deleted your account hoping you will someday clean your act. One more crude message and you will be blocked for good. If you will respect the posting guidelines and refrain from bigotry and derogatory remarks, we welcome you]

  • AMEN

    This shows that
    the opponents, despite their condemnation to the acts and leadership of IA ;
    they themselves were following the same method as his for the same end.
    That means
    They didn’t have an agenda of their own that differs from IAs PFDJ and all
    their goal seems to take away IAs chair only with no regard of the future of
    the people or the country what ever befalls to it……….just blame it on IA/PFDJ
    and tell the people to blame IA…………AND but to behave now to be ruled .
    In essence IA was working to succed their own GOALS at the expence of his
    party and followers; and ironically the opponents were working for the successes
    of PFDJ and IAs policies and actions though they were wrongly thingking as if
    working for their people and country.
    so, honestly! who is to be blamed here ?

  • Ambassador

    Moderator: I stand corrected. I am so frustrated that words elude me to relay my feelings.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Amabassador,

    I agree on the premises of your argument. But the mentality of the majority Eritreans work the opposite and that is they love to die for the land rather for the people of Eritrea. They believe they are there for the “land” and not the land for them “the people”. To change such kind of mentality must demand generational change. Actually the land vs people political dichotomy has been on debate for sometime. The regime supporters on the former (land) the justice seekers on the later (people). So Ambassador they have their own simultaneous world, even they try to rationalize to an irrational world.

    • Serray

      Here is a fully implemented part of the constitution, “All land and all natural resources below and above the surface of the territory of Eritrea belongs to the State”.

      When you die for the land, you are actually dying for the regime.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Hi Serray,

        That is why I am totally against the 1997 constitutional document. Serray except the bill of rights all the document must be revamped its content and its structure. The worst provisions than the land in the constitution is there is no demarcation between the state and the government. In fact there is no difference between the “state” and “government”. In order to blare the difference between the two they hybridized it. In order not to exercise the people to govern themselves, they centralized every aspect of life of the Eritrean people. In order to monopolize the resources of the nation they nationalized it. So my brother the document you try to promote can serve to any authoritarian regime… will not end with Issayas if we embrace it.

  • Nitricc

    “… and I say xxxx that-what is Eritrea to me if it denies me life and liberty? What does my wretched soul has to benefit from Eritrea once I’m dead and forgotten?”
    wow, if i had to use that word the F word, people will come out from the wood work for my head. I guess we can not be surprised with what the opposition could do and say.
    I bet you this person lives in the west and he thinks he is free. Take it easy; you are one incident away from everything so, slaves, take it easy.

    • Nitricc, instead of flagging the comment or alerting us, you chose to repeat the violation. You are equally guilty. Please help us instead of exasperating the situation.

      • Nitricc

        You are right, my bad. sometimes i don’t know why but i do stupid things. I knew it was a wrong thing to do and i did it anyways. why do it then? stupid! anyway i won’t do that again.

  • Nitricc

    Reading it all including the comments; it makes you think people are venting their own personal problems and nothing to do what so ever with the nation at hand. I know life in the west might have gotten you, and to some of you I know time is the issue. You are getting old and older. I do understand you want go back home. Some of you want to go home so you can marry a girl half of your age. Some of you want to see your parents before they pass away. What ever your reason is, I get you, and I know you want this government to die of at any cost, including the none-existence civil war. I am so sorry to disappoint you. I guess you have to die where ever you are.
    You are carless and greedy to wish a civil war and unrest so you can have it your way. But there are people who paid dearly for this country and they deeply care. I can understand since you have done nothing for this country anything goes who cares? But do you ever think the same to the people who gave it all. If anyone should have the test for revenge and grudge; it should have been Dejen. His entire family fought and they gave everything to this country. Guess what he said, he said he will start a civil war. may be I am wrong. Why don’t you listen to what he said before you make a fool out of your self.
    Let me tell you what the future holds.
    PIA will stay as long as it takes for him to have it his way.
    He will hand pick the next generation of leaders.
    He will rewrite the constitution they way he sees it fit, yes, not you, him. Deal with it.
    What ever he does you don’t exist in his mind and he does not do it because of you.
    He does it for them ……….. watch the video.
    So I suggest work it out what ever personal problems you have, please don’t blame it on Eritrea.
    The sad part is everything about gedli is dying. My gift to YG’s foot solder Serray.

    • Thomas

      There is a saying in Tigrigna “ab enda e’wurat si hade a’inu yinegis”. So is Sofia T. and you her son. You talk about what we sacrificed to liberate our country when you were never around. Get this, reading and looking at the map of Eritrean cannot provide you with the information we experienced/practical

      • Nitricc

        when is the next drinking even you are organazing. i am due for a drink. I have not have a drink since the new year party. Thomas stick to organazing events and hosting bunch of good for nothing drunks.
        now, why are you mentioning Sophia in here? have some respect for people. she is not here and if you are a man, write to her dirctly. she will have you for breakfast.

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dearest Nitricc, things may not end the way Gadafi or other dictators face it. and most probably the people might be ready to take things smoothly for two reasons 01. the real change makers and leaders were working slowly for long time and the mass is well aware by now and the spy is dead or controlled. 02. almost all difficult conflicts are almost solved, and there will not be much remaining to see unity among people which will be difficult for your boss to divide and use them. and soon PFDJ is preparing to make a kind of change that can cheat people but that will only expose the death of the group and the mass will move.

      the above type of art can’t attract the mother who lost her children but might be a kind of entertainment for some children like Sofia. it is something like becoming addicted alcohol just to cheat the mind of uncivilized once. this was there during Mengstu and Haileslsase too. I will not remind you the music and art of Gadafi Gadafy’s days.

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear Nitricc,

      This is a special offer for you and your likes.


      The bad boy of the Horn of Africa: How Eritrea’s strongman uses Kenya as a terror finance hub


    • Thomas

      Hi Nitricc – Let me make it easy for you. Let’s talk about why your woman had to talk with another man while you were sitting beside her? Moreover, she could not even pick up the phone next time guy called because you were sitting right in front of her. I guess she still is talking to the same guy when you are not around. Poor Nitricc, we know you have problems understanding the current crises on our people and country imposed upon them by mafia regime, but we thought you had to be an expert on managing your personal life and your marital affairs. Obviously, the woman is cheating on you because of your hagereseb back ground and all.

      On the subject of hosting drunk people, I will have to go to asmara to host events for your drunk master and his “yes” men. You know they celebrate every time someone is jailed, drowned on the Mediterranean sea, getting killed while running away from the mafia work on the deserts………………….

  • Ambassador

    [Moderator: Ambassador. Surely you know using filthy words are no allowed in this forum yet you chose to violate the norm. This is a warning.]

    How come a party, which is an extension of a very oppressive revolutionary movement that nurtures Isaias into a monster, delivers a just system? In fact moral arguments are the only weapon we have at our disposal. Morals become less appealing when we think of them within a frame that encompasses a system of oppression. When we use the “law-the 1997 Constitution-as a basis for change”, we are using moral arguments for the Constitution is nothing but a set of codified moral arguments. That consequently renders the phrase “democratic coup” an oxymoron. If the thesis of your very eloquent piece is to mean that a complete overhauling change will take time (which we do not have) and will be bloody (given our temper for the issue), so that we shall gradually reach there once the mad man is removed; well what assurances do we have that things won’t return back to the status-quo given the context we are expecting the change to effect within. Chances are that we will end up worse.

    I would rather see change come as a synthesis of a dialectical struggle between generations. Liberty is now redefined to mean individual rights; and nation-states are now understood as contracts between people either as a collective or individuals. People now remain loyal to a nation-state as long as they see their individual and collective interests are respected and served. The idea that we as people go counter intuitive to such argument is unbecoming. The generation that leads the Eritrean political life demands us to be alien to our aspired interest, and rather requires us to derive senses of ourselves from the nation that they pompously purported to create. They say sovereignty is more important than our ‘bickering over less important issue’ (kidmi kulu hager tihalu sang Bereket), and I say xxxx that-what is Eritrea to me if it denies me life and liberty? What does my wretched soul has to benefit from Eritrea once I’m dead and forgotten? Here is the ambivalence though. Readers see this as me being coward and use words to avoid my responsibility as a citizen. Inbreeds will even go erratic to tell me how worthless I am. But, I had never defined myself by my engagement to sustain a nation that never respects me as an independent individual. Give me a nation that respects me as such first and I will die protecting it. That is the moral argument I buy into, and that is what I would like this generation to embrace and defeat shabia at an epistemic level before we drive them to their eventual demise.

  • Thomas

    Now, it makes sense to see people disclosing the facts that civil war is shaping. The only way to stop this war from happening if we act proactively. That is to get rid of DIA and his ground soldiers. Let’s begin the show down today before it is too late.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Thank you very much Saleh. Just to add a panorama to the article, Ambassador Andebrhan confirms in his book what all of us knew or suspected. But before that, just a personal note of how the folks that say this is a result of the practice of ghedli era are not necessarily wrong;
    – The first and last time one would hear about rules in his/her years of the revolution would be when that person was in the
    boot camp; breaching most of the 20 or so rules were punishable by death.
    – Commanders would have limited authorities in exacting punishments, for instance, a squad leader might have had an authority to rule for a week punishment only, a platoon commander might go up to two weeks limit, a company commander up to three..etc; all punishments were arbitrary, depending on the whim of the commander, two individuals could get different punishment varying in severity for the same infraction. There was no written code to use for your defense, there wasn’t a defense mechanism.
    – The court was neqefietan nebse neqefietan (criticism and self-criticism), usually the punishment would be announced right there and then. If you were smart you would get up and tell your unit what wrong you did before someone else raised that point; in many cases, unless serious, you would be fine. Major crimes and most cases of disloyalty or incidents perceived as political would go straight
    to halawa sawra.
    -There was also a myth about Issayas in Meida. Usually, when there was a big problem engulfing departments or of such a magnitude, tegadelti would call for the presence of Issayas; usually Issayas would arrive after having studied all the complexity and the characters implicated through his parallel chain of command structure “reporters/spies”. He would sit between two persons, one would chair
    the meeting and the other would take minutes…would write whatever the unsuspecting tegadelti said; Issayas would not utter a word, the meeting would wrap up, Issayas would go back, after two or three months, you would have individuals sent to halawa sawra…reshuffled (tekhlit), frozen… sometimes the entire department or unit would disappear, it would get dispersed. No references to articles of code of conduct (non existed)…or penal code.

    *** Tegadalai population was mostly very young, we did not have a culture of rule of law in our families, society and the state, save the
    zban higi which was practiced by our people which meant zban mengsti…which in turn meant zban ngus, not an expression of the culture of rule of law but the culture of total obedience to authority, still haunting us today. That was in berekha, we had expected that to be changed once we became a state, our people had expected that to change, but Issayas and his small circle opted to hang in there…
    in the ambiguity (whether it is a constructive one or a destructive evasion). The reason as you stated and others explained it is: if there is a culture that nurtures the rule of law, Issayas won’t have the leeway to outmaneuver his peers. If it’s ambiguous, he is always the one that dictate the finality of events, there is no reference to recourse to. In this regard, I read only the chapters of Ambassador Andebrhan’s book pertaining to this specific issue and I have confirmed what I suspected. Issayas never considered his close comrades as
    equals. He kept all of them at bay, compartmentalized the functions so that no one knew what the other was doing, he developed a parallel mechanism of “messengers and reporters” who would be more powerful than the elected central committee and Polit bureau members. In the book, the reader finds how, in cases, he was not hearing what he wanted to hear, he would simply freeze, reshuffle, reassign big guys like Durie, Ali Said Abdalla, Sherifo… with a one written sentence, usually left on their desk. For those who want to confirm what you heard or suspected of Issayas, in addition to our own SY expertise in Issayas and Issayasism, it is a good read to see constructive ambiguity in play.

    • Semere Andom

      Selamant Mahhmood Saleh:
      I appreciate this comment as we learn from it a lot about ghedli and that honesty from a tegadalai is moving, corroborates what the other veterans are saying too. For those of us who did not participate in the armed struggle, hence the moniker “itegadalai”, but own the passion to study it, you guys (the honest ones) are gem. Your sentence, “IA freezes leaders with a written note on their desk…” is telling and reminds me what Petros Solomon said about the money that he knew nothing about how it came but they used it. The problems had their roots in “medda “and no one should blame the youngsters for their innately trusting nature, but IA did not do this alone, he did it by willing collaborators of the intellectuals, the people in jail now and including Anderbrhan. It bears repeating that after independence we missed a number of opportunities for bloodless transition from the lawlessness of ghedli to a rule of law of a civilized society and to those who blame the military and communism for our predicament, our peers, the Ethiopians are doing it, oh, I forgot they are our peers they are ours students , the ideals that the ghedli generation and founding fathers predicated their journey on were to right the wrongs to institute the rule of law, justice. Some of us seem to have stuck to the humble but timely and potent beginning when venerating the ghedli, again the intellectuals, and the other leaders who knew better failed Eritrea. But as Saay said in this piece moral outrage is not a solution. The question is do we have what it takes to transition peacefully and tackling and understanding what went wrong is an important part to having what it takes, it is the diagnosis, but the prognosis is gloomy to me.
      We may not have civil war in the narrowly defined sense, but tumultuous time are ahead, while it is sad to envision our country with EPLF ward-lords, rampant robbery and gang turf wars for land and houses, everyone needing a gun to protect his family and property, bracing for it may be prudent. Eritreans are bracing for it, but in a fashion that mostly likely will compromise the very sovereignty of the country, they are leaving the country at rate of 4000/month and everyone is helping their families leave, hoping for a free rid for someone to liberate them and then reap the benefits after preserving themselves and their families. During the toughest era of the live of my generation, it took a town, a village to raise and protect us the children, in the wake of EPLF’s disintegration, it may take a village, a town and a city to abuse, rob and murder children

      • Nitricc

        Mohmud, my man; don’t be misled by the numbers. Somalian refugees are register as Eritrean. Ethiopian refugees are register as Eritrean. Tigryan are resettling with big numbers as Eritreans from Ethiopia refugee comps. Ask your friend, TK. Oh, he can not tell the truth, forget it. Sudanese are registering as Eritrea refugee. So, your task should have been why are the Eritreans get asylum as easy as that?
        Regarding PIA doing what you said has done; well, he got the job done. May be that was necessary for that time and moment. I am just guessing.
        and don’t you worry about the rest. we got it.

        • idris

          This man/woman nitricc,
          a *good’ cyber fighter. writes as a hell on every one and every issue. S/he must be in asylum camp with an internet access. Please get lost from this website.

    • T. Kifle

      Dear Mahmud,

      It seems that Eritrean nationalists are catching on.

      • Nitricc

        You mean “Catching on” on the “creative confusion” or the dream of yours “civil war”
        Well if you mean civil war, then, be careful what you wish for. Last time you dreamed and wished that PIA to die, the angel of death took PMMZ with no mercy. Now, you people are dreaming and wishing civil war in Eritrea and let see what the angel of death and blood shade does. We will see less than a year.

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear Mahmud Saleh,

      Here you come now. Just thank you. very clear cleansing of your old mantra.

      Now your student

  • Kaddis

    Denden, Hayat
    Mynamar or Burma also made significant shift in policy with the military intact , according to the western media, although minimalistic. The Opposition, for example, can only run for 40 seats in parliament. But – its a start..

  • Since the sixties, when we lost our innocence and started to live in ambiguity, we have been condemned to own it, and even inherit it to our posterity. Confusion and ambiguity became part of our
    nature, and we toiled a lot to sustain and develop these characteristics.

    We screwed the lives of our young, and they have every right to accuse us for destroying their future. The young are asking us, who are we, and we do not have a convincing answer for this fundamental question.

    Selfish and confused as we are, living in social and political ambiguity, we have condemned our young to live in limbo, unable to cherish their past, and unable to be part of the new self we
    are forcing upon them.

    For those who can understand Amharic, please see this short video.

    • Kokhob Selam

      ይገርማል እሷ የመረጥችውን ማንነት መንጠቅ በህግ የማይጠየቅባት መሬት መኖራችን – በጣም የሚገርመውም ሰው ከሁሎም በላይ ሰው መሆኑን ረስቶ ስቃይን መምረጡ ::
      ኮኾብ ሰላም

      • ለመሆኑ ማነው ማንነታችንን የሚወስነው? ራሳችን ወይስ ሌላው ሰው? የተወለድንበት ቦታ የመኖርን መብት መስጠትና መንሳት መሳርያ ይዘው ስልጣን ላይ የወጡ ግለሰቦች የመወሰን መብቱን ማን ሰጣቸው?

        እርግጥ የአንድ አገር ብሔር ለመሆን ፍላጎት የለኝም ካለ አንድ ሰው፣ መብቱ ፍላጎቱ ስለሆነ፣ የዝያ ሀገር ነዋሪነት መብቱን ሊያጣ ይቺላል። ይሁንና እኔ ኢትዮጵያዊት ነኝ እስካለች ድረስና፣ ኢትዮጵያ ዉስጥ እስከተወለደች ድረስ፣ እንዲሁም ከለውጡ በፊት ኢትዮጵያዊት እስከሆነች ድረስ፣ መብቱዋ መከበር ነበረበት።

        የጥላቻ ፖለቲካ ሁለቱንም ህዝብ ምኑን ያህል እንደጎዳ ከዚች ወጣት መረዳት ይቻላል።

        • dine

          those who didn’t vote (referendum) are still ethiopians.

        • Kokhob Selam

          እንግዲህ ያለፈውን መመለስ ኣይቻልም : የሚቻለው ከስህተት መማር ብቻ ነው :: ጥያቄው ኣሁን ተምረናል ወይ ነው ::
          ኮኾብ ሰላም

    • Papillon

      Dear Horizon,

      I would be surprised if this bright and well spoken young girl is not yet slapped with “Neo-Andnet.” If anything, in fact whether we like it or not she is the face of the future.

  • haileTG

    Selamat ሕግ ኣርቃቂ (Law maker) saay 🙂

    Very educating piece, thank you.

    I have to admit that I have only so far read the article and some of the comments by awatistas. I haven’t yet read your responses given so far that might have already addressed what I would write here.

    – Does the regime follow the 1957 penal code from HS era or has no rule of law? May be it is more likely the latter. What the regime ended up doing may, inadvertently, be explained, retrospectively, by coded proclamations in the said Ethiopian penal document, however ኣጽናሓለይ እናበለ ሰብ ከም ደርሆ ዝቕፍድ government can’t be considered of applying any rule. It would be a monumental insult to the Royal Law Makers of Ethiopia’s monarchs to consider a lawless psycho like IA was applying their document.

    Your article was useful to me in a sense that I have been looking (rather investigating) if the regime of IA built ANYTHING at all in the 23 years of subjugation and humiliation of the ERITREAN MAN. None whatsoever, and this article also crosses out the justice department in my audit list.

    – The presumption of the existence of a RULE (as evidenced by a law and hence referred rule of law) presupposes predictable behavior on the part of those applying it. In Eritrea’s case there is no predictable set of outcome in response to any set of involvement with the powers to be in the regime. What the regime does in the course of its routine act of violence, may as well intersect at an isolated case with what the penal code of any country may permit, yet wouldn’t be valid to define its holistic nature based on that.

    – The “existence” of PFDJ in real sense is debatable. The diaspora opposition DOES exist. To bigger or lesser extent, it is exerting huge external political pressure on the regime, it is affecting its discourses and it does interact with the public. The problem is that it hasn’t found the magic to unity and the ability to see eye to eye with their fellow Eritrean, hug and work together. They are still suspicious and contemptuous of each other. The day they mature and do away with such childish ways, our problems will be over. Again, the regime exists and does what it does in its own way. Hence, the so called quickest and least blood letting “insiders” are the only invisible, least credit worthy, untrustworthy, shoddy history, dipped in cowardice and what have you section of the Eritrean political landscape. If you were to say (as we previously agreed) that a group of political, security and military members of the current system taking over and ushering change, well and good. But, it would go a long way to reassure that you don’t mean PFDJ. For many of us hgdef is an object of utter and extreme rejection. A great many Eritreans would be shocked and dismayed when the horrors of hgdef is exposed. Its dismantlement would be the lifting off of a dark evil cloud from the skys of our beloved nation. Else, PFDJ’s existence post-IA is a dangerous recipe for the start of a intractable conflict. I sincerely hope that whoever takesover power has the wisdom to bury this organization under its own horror stories and allow for a fresh start.

    On a practical note, an organization that has practically been run by the whims of the internal security office, can’t be trusted to guarantee the safety of many nationals. It stood by holding the dungeon lamps while their erstwhile comrades were brutalized and killed. This doesn’t point to individual people, whom are likely to takeover (the poorer IA is getting, the less their benefits and hence they are more likely to remember “demanding for justice” may not be a bad idea after all).

    -Finally, I feel that your assessment of the reaction or possible stand of the external players has left out considerations of important geo-politics, that might change your calculation a whole lot.


  • Serray

    Selamat Sal,

    Your article did an excellent job of showing how ambiguous the regime is when it comes to any aspect of the law that doesn’t benefit it, however, you didn’t put the regime in context. When you put the regime in context, that is, when you consider the fact that the regime is a culmination of thirty years struggle, accepting outdated ethiopian penal code as the law of the land says a lot not about the regime or isaias as such but the bloody journey it took to get here. Back in 1996 when a law student challenged isaias about the dangers of forming a special court (where there is no appeal and no defense lawyers) and the monkey made fun of him, the sheep heading to slaughterhouses applauded

    Sal, it is true that the history of many revolutions is a history of destruction but what makes the history of shaebia and ghedli stand out is the thoroughness of the destruction on the one hand and the complete lack of interest of replacing or repairing the destruction on the other. Take the case of our refugees in the sudan. Nothing clarifies better the role ghedli played in uprooting them from their homes and yet when ghedli ended, not even a pretension of interest is shown to return them back to their homes (some will make the redundant argument that the ethiopians uprooted them; I am sticking to the fact that when an entity whose responsibility it is to bring them back refused to so, then this entity is the real cause of their uprooting as well as their stranding).

    What shaebia leaders do is not by accident. Isaias didn’t just forget to replace the outdated ethiopian penal code; it is in his DNA to rule without moral and legal clarity. Him and his comrades came to age in the jungle and they brought the jungle back with them in 1991. Imagine, only five years into their rule, in 1996, they managed to form kangaroo court, a slavery system, a for-profit government that owns all our land and all our natural resources.

    Despite some delusional people’s belief that shaebia is a chauvinistic ethic entity, the regime is still a regime of tegadelti by tegadelti and as they age and dwindle, when the end comes, it will be more or less like kaddaffi or mengistu unless forto II happens and happens soon. If you look at arab spring, the nations that survived without great chaos are the ones that have some form of the rule of law. It is not by accident that Libya descend into chaos; when kaddaffi was defeated, there is nothing holding back a vacuum from forming. What isaias and shaebia are doing will lead to the same outcome. You can not make a transition from shaebia ruled eritrea – a slavery system with absolutely no legal basis or humanity – to an eritrea that respects life without first wiping out all traces of shaebia rule. You can’t reform slavery, you can’t reform government for profit that runs a prison for profit, you can’t reform a system that lacks any trace of accountability, transparency or the rule of law.

    Moral ambiguity cripples a nation just as it does an individual. The best definition of justice is that it makes the injured person whole again. In this definition of justice there is no ambiguity; justice is about the victim. To wish a reformed evil because you believe wiping out evil will lead to a civil war undermines the ideals of justice. The thing is, eritreans, as people, we have to start from scratch; not the self-serving way shaebia say we did in 1991, but we truly need to start from scratch, this time making morality central to the equation. Shaebia is a child of a society that made morality and legality expedient…all is allowed in ghedli as long as it led to curving out a nation of our own. Well, we have a nation now and the moral ambiguity came to bite us. What was allowed in medda, followed us in asmera.

    There is little chance that shaebia’s end will not lead to civil war or chaos; rather than fear the inevitable and accept half evil as a compromise, this time we should be prepared to accept nothing less than freedom and justice. With the constitution gone for good, there is nothing left but for the people to demand that “isaias has to go, pfdj has to go”.

    • Yodita

      Kbur Serray,

      It is most difficult not to be ‘dazzled’ by such a ‘beyond brilliant’ analysis, particularly for its simplicity and originality. I am terrified of any kind of chaos and violence when change occurs. But whereas SAAY’s analysis makes me wonder whether intellectuals and the voiceless masses are linked in any way, since the ambiguity of the meandering creates me a disconnect.

      Your analysis is straight through and seems to come out of your deep thinking of the situation and is totally owned by you and not based on references to other thinkers and what have you.

      I will keep a copy of your comments for its clarity and originality. Thank you sir.

    • saay7

      Selamat Serray the Supreme:

      Pressed for time…

      We have debated a different version of this same argument before. I think your (and all “YGists” for that matter) line of reasoning is to look at a conclusion and to see it as an inevitable outcome of actions that preceded it; you think that I (and other “romantics”) blink in the face of assessing obvious causes to an effect.

      More of the same debate to be continued…time permitting.


    • saay7

      Selamat Serray:

      I think where you and I disagree is on two points: (a) you equate Isaias with Shaebia; (b) you see Eritrea 2014 and conclude (and want us to conclude) that it is the inevitable and only possible outcome of Nakfa 1977. I believe you are wrong on both counts and it leads you to very questionable conclusions. Many of your arguments (and those of YG) confuse precedence with causality: If A preceded B, A must have caused B.

      One of these conclusions is your conviction that Isaias Afwerki started the Badme War to avoid implementation of the 1997 constitution. The Badme War happened before the implementation due-date of the constitution; therefore, the Badme War must have been trigger to avoid implementation of the constitution. To you, this is so clear-cut, you have been unkind on those of us who see it differently.

      But to buy your argument, one must also concluded that if all the incidents that happened between the ratification of the constitution (May 1997) and the spark of the war (May 1998) had gone differently, the war would have happened anyway. That is: if the border delimitation discussions Eritrea and Ethiopia were having had gone differently (in favor of the Isaias position); if the currency discussions had gone differently (if Ethiopia had agreed to a 1Birr = 1 Nakfa terms), the war would still have happened. This does not sound credible to me.

      That Isaias Afwerki is very different from Shaebia has been made clear over and over. There was, there is, there will always be Shaebia members/leaders who were/are opposed to the dictatorial tendencies of Isaias Afwerki, who challenged him, and who paid for it. If Isaias Afwerki = Shaebia, there would never have been dissent within the EPLF/PFDJ. Our friend Amanuel Hidrat has been chewing on the EPLF/PFDJ “value system” as if it is some alien product imported from Venus when it is nothing more than a typical left-of-center, collectivist/egalitarian view of the world. Its ideologues were dynamic people who had clear vision on how to build a developmental state. They simply lost because the skill set that Isaias had (secrecy, communication, self-centeredness, being a good tactician) were not checked and they got outmaneuvered to the point that lost all power*.

      There was not a straight line between Nakfa 1977 and Asmara 2014. The latter was not the inevitable product of the former. Between Nakfa 1977 and Asmara 2014 we had the Macroeconomic Policy, the Press Proclamation, the Land Commission, the 1997 Constitution, and many other fine laws and policies. It is a simple case of the Bad Guy winning.


      * According to Andeberhan Weldegiorgis, a commission that was set up to look into the activities of the arrested private journalists concluded that they had done nothing to violate the Press Proclamation; that they should be freed and that the private press should reinstated. Do you know who was in the committee? Mahmud Ali Jabra, Mohammed Ali Imaro, Naizghi Kiflu, Tesfai Gebreselassie, Andeberhan Weldegiorgis and Yemane Gebreab. Their recommendations were ignored and now Yemane Gebreba’s job includes supporting the decision to continue to arrest the journalist. Now, in your mind, there is no difference between Isaias (who shelved the committee’s decision) and the committee (who recommended the release of the prisoners.)

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Abu Saleh (Saay),

        Welcome back from your travel countries.

        To your surprise, I wasn’t chewing on the EPLF/PFDJ “value system”, In fact I was vomiting EPLF/PFDJ “value system” you were trying to force on us as PFDJ-2. If you haven’t notice, I am faithful to who I am and will not try to conform to the demands of others to give a second chance to the anti-social, anti-justice, anti-human, and anti-youth PFDJ organization. As always I speak openly and perpetually about yearning justice and equitable life in everything. That is my value system as an individual. Besides Since you brought “value system” as a political argument in our debate, I was trying to use your own word preference in order our debate to have consistency on the “political value” we are dealing. Otherwise it is not a new term for me.

        In the mean time, to those who agree with my value system, I can dispense a kind of advice what Shimon Peres, one of the founding generation of Israel, had one time said: “There are no hopeless situation only hopeless people.” Even if the struggle of justice looks insurmountable, there is always hope, if we keep the hope alive, since we have learned that there are no hopeless situation. Justice will prevail but not under PFDJ political culture.

        Amanuel Hidrat

        • saay7

          Ah, Emma:

          I count 8, that is eight, “I” statements in your response. Not EVERYTHING is a referendum on “What does Amanuel Hidrat believe”? In fact, this is one of the many problems with the Eritrean opposition, everything is about them and what they believe. In politics, there is no reward for longevity or consistency, just on ability to deliver results.

          Since you gave me advice, here is one from me: try to see things from the standpoint of “what brings relief to the Eritrean people quickly?” Instead of “what needs to happen and is this thing that needs to happen something I approve of?”

          All the best,


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhab Abu Saleh (Saay),

            Aren’t you doing the same thing, doing what you believe – promoting the organization PFDJ and its value system. You can’t escape from that my friend. You are politicking as every one does and what is good in your eyes. If it is a falling……it is “awadqa Feres.” However one stand on what his value system is. If demand of Justice is not for quick relief to the people then what is it? Removing Issayas and replacing by someone of his value system is not justice. We had enough of them and they took us down.

          • saay7

            Ahlen Emma:

            At the risk of repeating myself, I, as a libertarian, find the value system of PFDJ and every Eritrean political organization too collectivist for my taste, so, no I am not promoting it. I am saying that, practically speaking, it is the one that is most likely to bring about change. Change is most likely to come from within; within means organized group; organized group means PFDJ. If the organized group is students, then it is students. If the organized group are priests, then it is priests. It is that simple.

            The difference between us is that you are trying to convert theory into practice (thought into action) and I am trying to convert practice into theory (action into thought.) When you are challenged how will you make your theory work, you get all offended and tell me what you really believe and quote me great philosophers. But mostly, you do “wey gud, zgerem iyu!” When you are trying to challenge me how to make practice into theory (how will the PFDJ-II become democrats?), at least I try to give my reasons why I think PFDJ without Isaias are potential democrats, while admitting that it is a risk and they may never be democrats. You don’t even consider the risk in your formula: including the risk that Eritreans will wait a century for it to work, just as they have waited for 20 years with not a single step forward.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Saay,

            I have never offended by your argument, but at time you make me surprise, and hence the expressions “Wey gud, zegerem iyu”. You know them that they are expressions of surprises or signs of disagreement. What I love from your argument is that you can frame or re-frame an argument. Check for instance in the above comment of yours: “thought into action Vs Action into thought” or “theory into action Vs practice into theory.” This will take us to the well known argumentation of Idealism Vs materialism, which will not be helpful in our case at this time. Time permits, I will do it and enjoy it. Because I have noticed and sensed a difference in our ideological walk.

            But I will ask you, how does removing Issayas, which is “practice” in your framing, will convert into “theory”- theory of justice? I am just curious. Mine is straight forward – you lay down your theory you apply it line by line.

            Senay Mishet

            Amanuel Hidrat

  • ኣግኣዚ ተወልደ

    Mr salh younis quote”Don’t get me wrong: moral arguments are quite persuasive. Sure, they will be enough to separate the regime from the people, but it is not enough to get them to embrace an alternative. Sure, the international community will condemn and censor, but the international community’s priority is not justice, but stability. This is why I keep saying that the least bloodthirsty, the quickest way to bring about change is one that comes from within the ruling party, the PFDJ, (a democratic coup) preferably using law—the 1997 Constitution—as a basis for change. Unless that happens, Eritrea risks being either a country ruled by Isaias Dynasty (like Cuba, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iraq) or a country ravaged by civil war (like Libya, Syria, Iraq.) Neither choice is appealing, and those who are morally accepting of one choice make the other choice inevitable.” Now.Mr Salh, I think your view of the civil war to come or the inevitability of the cause is;- knowingly or unknowingly is as ambiguous, as the regimes Panel Code. I am certain you know this, as far as reality and history of this world is concern: as well as, if you take history as a guide, most civil wars have moral grounds. it is the oppressed, parties that have the moral ground, over the oppressor and his minions. It was a moral ground, that took America in the 1800’s to bloody civil war which costed 600,000. lives to free the slaves of the southern states. it was the moral ground that took the allied forces of the WWII to challenge Adolf Hitler. so. it is equally apparent, the Eritrean. cause is full of moral grounds to go for decisive war, rather than crippling ourselves with fear of the outcome.

    • haileTG

      Selam ኣግኣዚ ተወልደ (new awatista?)

      Nice to see you here and don’t forget to visit Jebena too, I hear you are talented in that area as well 😉

    • tafla

      ኣግኣዚ ተወልደ,

      Lately I’m starting to see a campaign trying o sanitize civil war, as if it is something with a known outcome. You do know there is a possibilty that the civil war might end with a defeat for the opposition? At the end of the day though, no matter who wins or loses the civil war, the Eritrean people will lose everything again and anybody with an interest in not seeing his family members killing each other would understand that. So ኣግኣዚ ተወልደ, (is there a SPECIAL reason why you chose this name BTW), Civil war will cost Eritrea its future, dialogue and debate is the only way forward.


  • Papillon

    Selam Saleh Younis,

    Good analysis. I am just curious though: would you say, constructive ambiguity is the same as “double talk” or “double speak?” Thank you.

    • saay7

      Selamat Papillon:

      Good question; let me think this through. In double-talk, there is an intent to deceive, to cheat, to get away with it. I think with constructive ambiguity, the intent is to stall, to wait people out, to overemphasize things people agree on while pretending contentious issues are minor and resolvable. s.

      doublespeak requires people who can, according to George Orwell, doublethink: to hold two contradictory opinions simultaneously, then to discard them, then to resurrect them. I have copied this quote before but it’s such a classic and so descriptive of the Isaiasists, it’s worth repeating (from Orwells 1984):

      “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself – that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”


      • Papillon

        Selam Saleh,

        Thank you.

  • birahnyiqun ab Adi.

    Your analysis is breathtaking for its clarity without ambiguity. However, I think you have been too generous in clarifying the problem with the availability of a penal code and the lack thereof in ways that they could not have been able to articulate. This is indeed an eye opener and a well placed public service in order to clarify issues relating to the penal code. The recently freed pilot contributed a good opportunity for the subject to be broached as you did so well in presenting the facts. The idea of the rule of law is totally foreign to those who are still in the Nakfa mode of reasoning and do not seem to realize that the war for liberation was over more than 20 years ago. I am alwayse reminded of the story of Rip Van Winkle coming to visit Washington when Breznev was on official visit at the White House. As a result the flag of the Soviet Union wasflying at the top of the White House. Poor Rip could not understand what was going on. And so the question he paused to the Marine Guard at the Gate was : “What is going on here? Where is Joseph McCarthy?
    I hope the little humor makes up with the frustration of trying to understand the regime in Asmara. After such a lengthy experience of fighting the enemy and having succeeded at that, how is it possible that one man can control the fate of so many heroes who were ready to give their life so they could liberate the country from Haileselassie’s autocracy and the Dergue’s bestiality? That is the most difficult question to answer.

  • ALI-S

    Selam SY,

    Here I think you bring either a totally new dimension to our current debate or one that was overlooked. I must say totally brilliant. I have read Hayat’s reaction and hers too makes sense.

    I think your point is that no one can say Eritrea does not have a legal system or (to stretch it beyond what you said and put words into your mouth) rule of law. The problem is that it can mean one thing today and a totally different thing tomorrow. The only thing constant is the person applying the ambiguous law. I think we may pick a key observation that might help us define what we can do to counter the power of “constructive ambiguity” that you described:

    We can conclude that there is no law (even if there are coded laws and proclamations) since its status and exact meaning today is totally a function of personal subjectivity by the President. Since what he means is what he wanted the legal code to mean and the latter has no separate objective existence outside his whims, he could have done just as well by pretending it does not exist or picking any page from from a children’s book instead. The insistence to appear “legal” even if it is fake is interesting in that it might be a recognition of two things:

    (a) the power of the legal code and the difficulty in today’s world to do things that cannot be explained by some legal code that pre-exists that violation.

    (b) a recognition of a “blessing in disguise” whereby the President owns every legal code and proclamation uncontested and hence the unhindered freedom to redefine a t will.

    The above was a rephrasing of what I thought you said or the article implied. You also mentioned where in the past people held government accountable to the press proclamation and later it made no sense to hold a government accountable to something that can mean a hundred things. Absolutely true.

    This is just for discussion (not criticism):

    I would think that no prosecutor (government) on the planet would resist the temptation to have the liberty to define and redefine laws to fit his (includes “her” for convenience) conclusions on cases. Rationally speaking, the prosecutor has no interest in inviting contenders that would limit his capacity to interpret laws. It is the responsibility of the pool of potential defendants to make sure that coded laws mean what they are supposed to mean. Hence SY it would be more interesting if you had added how we in the opposition and the people at large might have played a role in promoting the ambiguity.

    Out of all codes and proclamations of the state of Eritrea, the only that received any attention has been the 1997 constitution. Not even the national service proclamation that at the grassroots level had a much more immediate impacts received even a fraction of the 1997C. Realistically, the reason for this biased attention was the fact that 1997C was at the core of the G15 case and later there was active promotion by heavyweights such as Dr. Berekhet and some in the organized opposition.

    That was good but not good enough because unlike the constitution, the NS proclamation and those of the press, land etc… would have turned attention to immediate concerns. The core cause and a weapon that cannot be defeated for the opposition is to hold government accountable to its own laws. Remember Saul Alinsky’s 12 rules, I think this was number 4. But I got busted misquoting it and am not saying more.

    Good job

    • saay7

      Abu Ulwa:

      You really have to get Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” which should really have been entitled “Rules for Underdogs.” In fact, it should be mandatory reading for every opposition leader who never ever misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Complimentary copy of the book should be sent to YG and his disciples who have non-stop omg moments in assessing our revolution which followed standard operating procedure of a successful revolution (including the American revolution) in demonizing the Enemy.

      Rule 4 is not exactly how you described it; I will include a screenshot here from the book but it is essentially an argument that ethics is situational and why an activist who prides himself/herself on his consistency has no business being an activist.


      • saay7

        PS: the screen shot from “Rules for Raducals”, rule 4:

  • Semere Andom

    Welcome back Sal:
    I agree with you on the “least bloodthirsty way to bring about change in our country”. But this way that most Eritreans, if not all want is getting elusive and less likely by the day for the following reasons.

    1. The top echelons are so impotent, they may be cruel and savage, but cowards and opportusties and no change will come from them. They are busy kicking out people from their homes to domicile in them themselves, they have no power and they are under the mercy of IA’s special army.

    2. The Wedi Ali types: thye have been busted after he succumbed to PFDJ’s guilty switch of “zban siwuAt”, it will take long to repeat it, this gives the regime the time to complete it purges. These group have not learned from the past. Take the 1991 Tegadalati peaceful disobedience. IA was very vulnerable but they fell into his traps and then they were hunted own and slaughtered like pigs. Even a Tegadalai who told his comrades,” I will not join you, but I am with you, “awet nhafash” was imprisoned for 6 months. Wedi Ali forgot that, the G-15, who squandered an opportunity for purging IA peacefully forgot that and much more.

    3. Civil disobedience: this is less likely as the youth leave the country and those who remain are stuck outside the cities. The mothers have the power to bring the government down if they go to the streets, but this is impossible as many of them feel more sorry for IA for his lack of rest as he works hard for the

    Most likely scenario is bloodshed and the vicious cycle of violence will continue into the foreseeable future (encheyti tenkf”. Eritrea could have done much better if PFDJ run it with good intention and common sense, even without constitution or elections or free press. The generation that demanded justice and fought against “shiftnet” is presiding as the “shefta” and lawless.

    There is just no enough outrage, enough anger from the victims. When I talk to the warsay girls who were the victims of rape they tell me that, “wotehaderant endiyom” We were all elated by Dejen’s tone that was devoid of anger and outrage, but I think some dose of anger is needed. But as usual, what is “halala” for PFDJ is “haram” for the rest of us

    • saay7

      IHarbegna Sem:

      Thanks buddy.

      I really can’t argue with any of your points. The “democratic coup” is the least bad of all options.

      Regarding victims of sexual violence, the quietude is not unique to us. The survivors of the Khmer Rouge, now in their 70s and 80s are barely speaking now 40 years after the fact. Oh, we are going to carry with us a lot of people with a lot of wounds. Add civil war to it, there will be no healers, just victims.


  • Kokhob Selam

    ነዚ ዝዓይነቱ መግለጺታት ድዩ “ንሱ” ” ደድሕሪ ንፋስ ሙግያይ ኣይክኣልን እዩ ” ዝበሎ ? ምዃን ሓቁ እዩ ከምዚ ዝመሰለ ኣብ ሓቂ ዝተሞርኮሰ ትንታኔ እሞ ኸኣ ኣብ ጉዳይ ሕግን ፍትሕን ዘተኮረ ኣብ ታሪኽን ህልውን ዝለሓገ ዓንቀጻት ምንባብ :- ንገበነኛ ኣዝዩ ከቢድ እዩ

    ይበል ሳልሕ ሓወይ ይብል !!! but then why he don’t say it clearly I am following with out renewing the old Haileslase rule and system? no he is not ether following it. the world is not really ok and needs changes but changes from certain level. for Ethiopians the job was to start from what the end was but for us it starts form zero if not under zero (negative). no I am not worried any more about PFDJ at least I am less worried of the criminal group than the new government that God willing will come soon. where will be the starting point? some may wonder (including me) how intelligent was Meles and his cliques to manage the difficult moment (1991) but we will need more intelligent who will some time manage to solve things by using Henry Kissinger’s style – ambiguity- the art of diplomacy to all those segments of our society.

  • Hayat Adem

    Thanks Sal, The obvious point here is you can be read what so ever- the mighty power of presentation.

    On the issue you discussed…hmmmm.. is it not too futile to explain IA/PFDJ through inductive reasoning? [They did this and that and this, therefore…. ] By now it should have been a foregone conclusion that IA/PFDJ are bad-evil-killers and criminals and that is already proven beyond doubts and doubters. You are no longer required to bring evidence to prove the fact that they are criminals. That would make them look like as if we are dealing ‘normal’ violators of the law. What law do you feel necessary to call that they violated it when you already know all political prisoners have never been charged. Well, half of your conclusion was great: if left, we are heading to civil war. The other half half (democratic coup- the panacea) passes off a pretentious prescription. The criminals confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; can we afford to be hypocrite to think of reforming them with minor
    Hayat with love

    • Denden

      Selam Hayat,

      Given the options Sal listed: civil war, Isaias Dynasty, and a “democratic coupe”; what do you think is the exit strategy then? What other practical option does Eritrea has at it’s disposal? Right, it is not the best option but is there any other realistic one?

      May be some parallels could/might be drawn with Turkey, Brazil, Spain (Franco regime), south Korea …etc. These countries and others navigated from dictatorship to more democratic and liberal form of politics. It might look like comparing potato with tomato but still some remote parallels could be drawn. I think, the “democratic coupe” is one of our realistic hopes.


    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Hayat,

      I don’t see any relevance of the modern art of diplomacy the “constructive ambiguity” with Issayas’s criminality on the Eritrean people. Issayas is killing at whim to satisfy his capricious desire, without criminal laws and due process. Why is sal rationalizing to their evil act is beyond my grasp. There is no even draconian laws of the Athenians, written in blood like that of Draco in 621 BC that allows death for all kind of crimes. Abu Saleh these days is trying to sanitize Issayas’s organization (PFDJ), a journey to his ambiguity world while there is no ambiguity in Issayas’s world.

      Amanuel Hidrat

  • Denden

    ” … the least bloodthirsty, the quickest way to bring about change is one that comes from within the ruling party, the PFDJ, (a democratic coup) preferably using law—the 1997 Constitution—as a basis for change”.
    Amen to that, Saleh!