Inform, Inspire, Embolden. Reconcile!

De-Politicising A Program is Politics: A Case of Radio Blina

Introduction: Between May 7 and 8, 2016, Eritrean Blen Diaspora will gather in Lausanne, Switzerland for a two-day conference organized by Radio Blina. That is probably a milestone on preserving their endangered language and culture that is exposed to constant exodus and political segregation. The event was initially proposed by Radio Blina listeners to extend their helping hand to the dedicated individuals who worked tirelessly in the radio station—to strength it financially—but it seems much more will be discussed to shape and empower it.

The conference will be held in the morning, and in the evening there will be cultural concert—the conference will wrap-up the next day. “No PFDJ and No opposition” are involved in the organizing of the conference, but Blin language lovers initiated the gathering of Blen people from all over the world, except Eritrea.

So far, the radio and its supporters seem busy creating a politics neutral zone. It’s surprising and very concerning to hear such objectives from a people who are subjected to constant migration due to war, political chaos, social and family disintegration, instability created by oppressors. And ironically, the radio was established by refugees, prime political victims!

It is hard to imagine separate zones for culture and politics, society and politics, prosperity and politics, social harmony and politics. They are all intermingled, hard to ignore one while working on the other. In this context, after a deep contemplation, the author decided to write this article as a thought provoking initiative.

The objective of this article is therefore to share a concern of an individual who belongs to the Blen, a people who were exposed to exodus and political chaos for the last 400 years. It is primarily meant to provoke discussion ahead of the conference.  On this occasion the author wishes success for the radio station and expects objective outcomes to be outlined to strengthen the radio in terms of manpower, finance and expansion of coverage.

  1. Radio Blina: A Glimpse

In November 2014 “Radio Blina” recorded its first youtube broadcast from North America; the initiative was started by three admirable volunteers who reside in the USA: Noredin Natabay, Oqbaselasie Mesghna and Sami Gergis.

According to informal information I have, Radio Blina is dedicated in preserving the language and culture of Blen people and so far, it broadcasts “strictly non-political” program, mainly targeting Diaspora Blen community. According to information I gathered from its youtube channel (Radio Blina), stream length varies from one hour to one hour and forty minutes. Since its birth, it has consistently stayed online streaming its program every Saturday. In order to highlight its achievements, I have conducted a basic research of the last six-months (see table below) and found that it had 3896 visitors and a stream length of 1 hour and 8 minutes on an average.

Date Listeners Length Remark
23/04/2016 2220 01:06:31 Recent broadcast. Visitors expected to increase till the next broadcast.
16/04/2016 3282 01:06:10
09/04/2016 4321 01:18:54
02/04/2016 4424 01:04:03
26/03/2016 4128 01:02:30
19/03/2016 4193 01:08:06
12/03/2016 4128 01:09:06
05/03/2016 3995 01:00:06
27/02/2016 3709 01:12:51
20/02/2016 4434 01:04:01
13/02/2016 3617 01:11:31
06/02/2016 4267 01:21:01
30/01/2016 4527 01:00:31
23/01/2016 4659 01:03:59
16/01/2016 4696 01:11:31 Maximum visitors registered
09/01/2016 3620 01:03:01
02/01/2016 4600 01:19:58
26/12/2015 3116 01:08:11
19/12/2015 4090 01:10:06
12/12/2015 4299 01:08:06
05/12/2015 3307 01:00:59
28/11/2015 2983 01:10:23
21/11/2015 3369 01:02:36
14/11/2015 3329 01:06:37
07/11/2015 3596 01:02:31
31/10/2015 4385 01:37:01 Longest recorded stream
Total Streaming 26 (6 months)
Average Listners 3896
Average Stream Length 01:08:52

Source: Radio Blina youtube Channel (visited on 26/04/2016)[i]
Note: Number of visitors is subjected to change as the record is available to visitors all time.

We can learn from the above information that Radio Blina is popular among Diaspora Blen Communities. Comparing the total population of Blen (about 115,000, as per the 2010 report), 3896 visitors (3.4%) might seem insignificant. However, this number represents people living across the globe–Australia to the USA, New Zealand to Canada and Norway. This implies dispersed Bilen communities are connected via the radio. In addition, it has an accessible archive with primary teaching resources for perpetuity, providing unadulterated Blin dialect.

  1. Blin as an Endangered Language and its Historical Anecdotes

When people are uprooted from their natural habitat, their values, identities, languages, cultures, pride and dignity face tremendous challenges for survival; they often face difficulties and sometimes they succumb to pressures and become extinct; only in rare instances do the people overcome such problems. The Blen, their language and collective identity are in dire situation and the dispersed people passionately struggling to safeguard their identity, for different reasons.

In the world of globalization, languages and cultures are becoming extinct.  And though the Blin language is not among the endangered languages, circumstances and migration are putting great pressure on maintaining its dialectical purity and vocabulary preservation.

Due to the continuous onslaught by Ethiopian feudal warlords, followed by the Eritrean ruling regime, the PFDJ, the people are leaving homes in unprecedented numbers—in an exodus unmatched in history except in the 16th century.

Blen people have very controversial history; a widely accepted narration states that in the 16th century the Blen people immigrated to Eritrea from Agow-Lasta of central Ethiopia where they have kinships still living there[ii]. Other oral tradition says, “Blen people were original settlers of the highland of today’s Eritrea. Through time they migrated to today’s central Ethiopia and were able to establish great kingdoms. After a time, they lost their central power and immigrated to their original land”.

These above anecdotes give us an overview of delicate insight into “migration” which forces people to be exposed to different cultures and religious practices. Today, it is not a surprise to find members of one-family adhering to different religions and speaking different languages.

  1. The Exodus of The Blen People

The last 50 years were not easy for the Bilen society, they were challenging. Due to the thirty-years of war with Ethiopia that is now followed by the ruthless PFDJ administration, the Blen faced massive exodus which resulted in breaking up of family links in scattered settlements.  Depending on the nature of push factor and its challenges, the waves of migration can be divided into two:

  1. First Waves of migration and Challenges – 1960s to 1980s

When Ethiopia started burning villages and massacring their inhabitants, the Blen people were its first victims—such as the villages of Ona and Besigidira that were burned and their people massacred. Due to these horrific tragedies, families started to flee their homes and the villages were abandoned. Refugee camps were established in in the Sudan which became their new settlements. A few lucky families were resettled in, Australia, Sweden, Norway and Canada.

Those who continued to live in the refugee camps experienced difficulties in preserving their culture and language because of the daily challenges of life. As a result, families were forced to send their children to schools whose medium of instruction was Arabic. However, families stayed together and that gave them a limited advantage of using their language at home.

The other group of emigrants who went far away from home and settled in a completely new environment faced unique challenges: new language and culture. Because of daily work and limited contact with their children, not only their culture but also their native language was at risk.

  1. Second Waves of Migration and Challenges – 2000 to present

While Bilen people were living under historical trauma of mass migration and social pressure, since the year 2000 they have been experiencing a type of migration due to lack of freedom and forced conscription. The new situation is more worrisome because unlike in the past, were entire families and villages were fleeing, today it’s the youth who are fleeing as individuals. Horrified by indefinite military service and exposure to systematic torture and crimes, the young people are escaping to unknown destinations. And unlike in the past, the do not stop at the refugee camps but continue their journey through the Sahara Desert, crossing the Mediterranean Sea and then scattering all over Europe—a journey of three to four years including the asylum processing time. The difficult journey causes them severe anxiety and trauma. The majority being young and single, they are exposed to all forms of identity erosion. Because of their horrible experience under the PFDJ administration, their politics is terrifying, and is often a taboo subject—they have been exposed to constant brainwashing that forces them to shun politics. The impact of such tendencies is easily observable in their social interactions and the initiatives they take for their social gathering.

Blen People and their Role in Eritrean Politics

Based on their centuries old history, the downfalls and retreats they faced have affected their capability to protect themselves. Their exodus from central highlands of Ethiopia was due to their losing power and weakness to protect themselves. Even when they settled in their present territory, their capability to defend themselves remained weaker. For example, in his booklet Michael Gabir[iii]  puts it as follows:

“ብሊን ሓደ ጥሙር ኣመሓዳድራ ኣይነበሮምን፤ ብሓድነት ንጸላእቶም ብዘይምምካቶም ከኣ ብዙሕ ይጉድኡ ነይሮም። ኣብ ውሽጢ’ዚ ኣብ ላዕሊ እተጠቕሰ ግዜ እቲ ከባቢ ብግብጻውያንን ገዛእቲ ትግራይን ይጭነቕ ነበረ። ብ1863 ዓም 12 ዓድታት በጎስ ብወረርቲ ሓይልታት ነዲደን። ብ 1865 ዓ.ም. ዓበይቲ ዓዲ ተኣኪቦም ዕቑባ መንግስቲ እንግሊዝ ክሓቱ ወሲኖም።”

With the arrival of the Italian colonizers, the resistance of the Blen people was not strong. Their adoption of Catholicism could be a possible reason of conformity and inability to safeguard the status quo. With the beginning of the British administration and their ‘divide and rule policy’, the Blen were exposed to kinship confrontation. They claimed their family tree (Terke, Tawke and 12 Neged) as a main source of social division among themselves.

Such developments led to the weakening of the social cohesion of the Blen and their ability to protect their common interests in unison. The impact of such disintegrations was prevalent throughout the armed struggle and continues now under the PFDJ rule.

During the struggle era (1961- 1991), the majority of Blen fighters were members of ELF and they gained a reputation as being loyal members. When ELF was defeated and left the field, Blen fighters were the first victims of political assassination and forced exile. Known ex-members of the ELF became vulnerable. Consequently, the Blen elite fled away, far from home.

Resettlements and Opportunities

Because of deep connection with their traditions, once displaced from their original land, life for the refugees becomes challenging. It usually starts with cultural shock, nostalgia, alienation, depression, and anxiety. Communication problems often causes deep stress. To counter such difficulties, they resort to finding immediate solutions by building quick social connections to expand their networks.

Before the independence of Eritrea, most of the time families had limited opportunity to be connected; that weakened their cultural ties but they kept striving to keep their language intact. Limited to occasional community gathering which had a positive impact in keeping them connected, their area-specific situation kept them confined and unable to exercise their culture.

However, the new wave of migrants started to resettle and enjoy new opportunities. Most of them being millennials, they were quick to adopt modern communication systems to stay closer to each other and they use social media extensively–Facebook, youtube, paltalk, viber, whatsup, imo, etc. There are also websites catering to the Blen people and their history: such as daberi.org and bilenbogos.weebly.com.

Despite their wide use of social media, they seem avoid delving into politics; almost all focus on language and culture. There could be acceptable reasons that keeps them spending their energy these issues. Experiencing centuries old political trauma and instability indeed these people have been vulnerable to social catastrophe, cultural erosion and endangering the survival of their spoken language[iv].

Needless to say, the main source of these dangers is absence of political accommodation and the presence of a repressive system of governance in their ancestral country. The best solution to reclaim their dignity could have been strengthening their political involvement while at the same time working on preserving their language and culture. Nevertheless, so far, all initiative seems to be discouraging political participation. For example, since its birth, Radio Blina is working under a program theme “Politics free zone”. Such position is the worst kind of politics because it ignores the political situation and the social crisis of its victimized target group.

De-Politicised Programs: An Impact of Political Trauma

Looking at the social demography of the Blen people, we find that it encompasses hibernating clan conflicts due to the instability of the past, and failures in building a common political platforms and the difficulties of the current political landscape.  In addition, due to the PFDJ’s political system and the constant brainwashing it applies on the people, politics is often treated as foreign issue, a taboo subject the people are afraid to discuss. The impact of such fear has extended to every social media.

the indirect political agenda of the PFDJ is to create a society free of politics. Eritrean community centres established under direct PFDJ supervision have one mandatory criteria: “members who join such communities must drop their own politics.” At any rate, depoliticized programs are by themselves politics. And it is hard to separate politics from daily life and it becomes harder when the target group are themselves victims of politics. Any program claiming to be free of politics is an excuse that is far from reality—unless its politics is to depoliticize the people.

Conclusion

Eritreans, including the Blen people, are victims of colonization, Ethiopian aggression, and worse, the PFDJ rule. The basic social structure of the Blen is deteriorating, probably nearing a state of endangered society and their culture and language is facing catastrophe. In light of that, the Blen are taking important initiatives to preserve their identity and Radio Blina is born to ameliorate such a situation. However, though the idea and dedication is commendable, keeping the radio program free of politics is not a good idea.

During the coming weekend, the Radio Blina conference will be underway in Lausanne, Switzerland, it’s a milestone for the future politics of the Blen people. The author hopes the conference will reconsider the mission and objectives of Radio Blina so that its program reflect the real situation of the Blen people. If not, a program that is contrary to the reality is valueless and non-representative. Importantly, the worst politics is shying away from politics. For this reason, the author wishes that the objective outcome of the conference will be targeting the salvaging the dignity and values of the Bilen people.

[i] Radio Blina Youtube channel

[ii] M. Gabir, መበቆልን ሕብረተሰባዊ ርኽክብንስ ህዝቢ ብሌን, 1992

[iii] Idib

[iv] Wikipedia, “Endangered Language

Pinterest
  • tes

    Dear josef,

    Forget now about the fallacies and let me concentrate on your question. You wrote:

    what is this politics you talk about? What has it achieved in 20+ years?

    Well my answer is: for people like you, it is normal to assume that nothing has been achieved. For those who closed their eyes when there crime is happening, those who shut their ears for not to hear loud cries and mournings, and those who keep silent when justice is broken, nothing is worth to tell them on any thing.

    But let me tell you this:

    The justice seeking camp is now stronger than ever before.

    tes

  • Iyay

    [Begin comments with salutation addressing the person you are addressing]]

    Thank you for the comments on the Radio Blina First Conference held in Lausanne/ Switzerland. I am not political scientist or media policy maker. But , with my little knowledge, all our life is connected social and natural issues and they have their specific discipline of schools. Each organization either it is a public or private has its own policies, mission and vision. Radio Blin is a voluntary organization of media with its objectives , vision and mission and it has its audiences. It is not the cyber space or the Awatities politicians who decide on the Radio Blin.The Blin as all nationalities know the the inhumane situation in Eritrea and they don’t need your political education. The Awate website has its policy similarly Radio Blina has the right to have its media policy. It has its strategic planning for its language and cultural development. I myslef has participated at the conference and the conference was successful in all its contents and participation. The Blin nationality is united and will do everything to survive and doesn’t need your support. Support yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! instead of attacking those who wrok to survive. Every one wants the creator of this tiny Eritrea known by its deep poverty in walks of life.

    • tes

      Selam lyay,

      SGJ says, “those who claim No Boletika here” are owners of Enda tehanit – Grain Milling machine. I have a case at hand to prove this statement. This is all I can say for you.

      tes

  • Haile WM

    Hello Hope,
    what I meant with political immaturity is the kind of behaviour you are describing in your post. Do you believe PFDJ will not affect you if you stay away from politics ? do you believe our youth fleeing in droves is politics? Do you believe Nihna Nsu people are politically mature people ? in my opinion we eritreans do not posses the basics of political awareness nor maturity. the opposition so-far has failed to bring about the needed change because fundamentally is engaged in immature behaviour of emotional arguments and futile divide along insignificant differences.
    PFDJ of-course knows and enforces this by sending his agents to further confuse a politically immature nation. From my observation, in many forums and gatherings few people are able to hijack the discussion in futile arguments and hashewiye, the people follow this disturbance quite easily. This is immaturity in my opinion, Mind you this is not peculiar to the blin People, its a common trait for the eritreans.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Hope,

    If you know PFDJ is creating a hovac against your own social group, why are you supporting them?One who can not defend his own social group can not defend others.One who support PFDJ that suffocate his own social group is the enemy of his roots. What a sad story to hear and watch. Just in case you are not aware as to how the logic of intetest is; You will not secure your personal interest without securing the intetest of your own social group.Social groups live in peaceful coexistence if they have equitable life sharing (in politics, economy, and in multi-cultural heritage). Once you understand these basic elements of coexistence

    • Hope

      Selam Ustaz Aman:
      Please do NOT misquote Hope,as Hope never ,and will never support PFDJ!
      I support any thing about Eritrea and I support by default,the GoE when it needs a Support!
      I am against any entity including PFDJ ,that does things against Eritrea.

  • tes

    Dear Readers,

    Here is a poem in Blin language, a poem that reminds people to study. Hope, where are you? Come and translate please this poem for readers.

    ማሃርሳ

    ማሃርሳ መሃርሲጋኽ ነፍዓላ

    መጥሓንኽር ክኸርስገን ተኣነላ

    መሀርሲጋኽ ኣዳም ደኣኖ ደኣነላ

    መሀርሲጋኽ ኣዳም ፈራኽሊኽ ነፍዐላ

    መሀርሲጋኽ ኣዳም ቃሉንሲክ ቃለላ

    መሀርሲጋኽ ኣዳም ኒለበካ ዋሰላ

    ፈረኽሊክ ፈረን ኣድምዲ አክሊተላ

    ኣለይለያ መሀርሳ መዓብ ላሪ ኮደላ

    መም ዑቕባሚካኤ ድራር*

    February 22, 2010

    tes

    *መም ዑቕባሚካኤ ድራር* Teacher Okubamichael Dirar is one fof the well know Blin language teacher who spent his whole life time teaching Blen people. His students are now with highest educational achievement, political scientists, economists, health professionals, priests etc. He died in a car accident three or four years ago (RIP). He left behind many materials, most of them poems. I hope they will be published in a book form sooner as he is also blessed with his well educated family.

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear tes,
      can you just translate the meaning .. and I try to put the poem.

      for now in 1970 I was very young and I heard one song in Mendefra — the students were singing and I still remember the song about education.the two stanza are here

      መንእሰይ ተመሃር ግዜ ከይሓለፈ:-
      ትምህርትኻ ግበር ሓይሊ ከይሰነፈ::

      ስልጣነ ቅንዕ በሊ ናብቶም ደለይትኺ :-
      ኣብ ግብሪ ከነዉዕሎ ሓቀኛ ጥቅምኺ ::

      • tes

        Dear Kokhob Selam,

        I have the assignment of translation to Hope, the hallucinating PFDJite.

        tes

    • Nitricc

      Hi Tes, it is a good thing you write about languages and not politics. Because writing and scramming about politics brought you nothing but every time you say something politically; it did a good thing to PFDJ comp. in short for you to be anti PFDJ it is a liability to the so-called opposition. So I am really glad you write about something different than your boring politics.
      To be honest; I don’t understand what all the commotion is about this Beln language; to my understanding, language never dies but evolves. Listen the clip I shared with Fanti; that is Amharic but look how the new generation evolves it. So, this Blen thing is I doubt it is about culture and language. Seep inside; it is all about politics and the toothless opposition changing tactics. What is the real indentation behind this toothless radio program? Is it forming BPLF. Lol you people are funny.

      • tes

        Selam Nitricc,

        What you are failing to understand is “why you are not understanding for not understanding everything”?

        You see, you didn’t understand-

        – When people died/are dying in the sea?
        -When young people were jumping from a speeding truck
        -When people went to Geneva and support COiE report
        -And now when people talk on some societal issues and social problems.

        A robot once programmed to act accordingly, how can he understands other nonprogrammed area?

        tes

  • tes

    Cher frère,

    Oh la la, j’ai compris maintant pourquoi tu a choisi “the secular socialist republic”. Bien Venu toujours à Rennes alors mon cher ami et frère.

    Est-ce que tu a enseigné a l’université Rennes 1 ou 2?

    Parfait!

    Well, as I said before I have limited information about Bréton. But your= have brought one important idea: “creating of Network aimed at reviving the culture and language”. A kind of institutional thinking – hope conference participants will come out with more concrete plans.

    tes

    • The secular socialist republic

      Cher Tes,

      J’ai enseigné à Rennes II !

      As I was looking through the UNESCO archives two months ago, I found that the Derg had requested financial aid for “A study of Kunama language and culture” in the mid-1980s.
      I found myself very puzzled by this discovery and I am currently starting a paper on it (which I hope will be ready by early June). My first guess was that the Derg tried to “win” the hearts and minds of Eritrean Kunamas by reviving their language and culture which had been marginalized by their neighbors and rulers. it was also interesting to find that this “study” appeared some years after the EPLF started its Kunama program (Demtsi hafash, publications, music and theatre). I believed this
      example of “revival of a culture” concurred with the idea that everything is politics.

      Best regards,

      The SSR.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam SSR,

        That is good discovery brother. Are you going to share your research paper with awatistas? Or are you going to post it in the front page of awate? I can ‘t waite to read it.

        Since politics is about administrating grievances, then any legitimate ground of grievances are treated politically to resolve it. Or any social demand is framed as sociopolitical issue, and therefore equires political administration.

        Regards
        Amanuel Hidrat

      • tes

        Dear SSR,

        Indeed everything is politics, or at least everything is affected by politics. It is really a concerning issue when one tries to create a boundary between politics and culture.

        tes

  • AMAN

    Sorry Awates for the following message.
    Greetings first.

    Aha
    What now I understand about Awatista politics is
    They are striving to create an artificial human beings
    and fit them with artificial intelligence remotely controlled
    by an operator.
    And tell those new creatures to sit here or there , to stand,
    to walk, to sleep……….. whatever required or commanded
    to do.
    Isn’t it too late to do that.
    I do not accept this and I do not want to participate in such
    a crime against human beings and their god given freedoms.
    My approach is always different and quite opposite to this :
    AND that is
    you inform, you inspire and you embolden humans
    to get a positive result from their participation in a
    political process !
    Out side this forget it . It is only a crime against innocent
    human beings.
    I do not want to participate in such a crime project.

    • Saleh Johar

      Dear Aman,
      Now you think Awate is “striving to crate artificial human beings”!!
      If it was not you I would have requested an explanation. It seems only Fanti can understand and decipher your comments, I will wait for an explanation from him 🙂

      Amman, if you think this forum is a crime den, why don’t you keep away and stay safe from it? Is there any one who knows how to exclaim, “Wet guuuud”.

      • AMAN

        Dear SJ
        Greetings…
        But the thing is
        You battle intelligence with intelligence; idea
        with idea . You just don’t go away and
        leave the field for the opponent !
        After all , it is our own affair that belongs to us
        when you mention my history & homeland here !
        Who chose who to represent my own voice here !
        People are just trying to pull and take seats through
        injustice and criminal ways by feeding our people
        false infos. So must be checked and scrutinized by
        those of us defending freedom of the people !
        If somebody thinks has done good so far, prove it to us.
        Until you do so ( show us ) we are not supposed to swallow
        promised words. Politics doesn’t work that way. So we keep
        our scrutiny….to own our destiny ! And not end up being loosers !

  • Haile WM

    Hello Tes

    beautifully written essay. many interesting things. as for the no “poletika” issue, well it shows the political immaturity of the eritrean society, as it still believes politics is separated from all the rest and the perception that politics is a dirty game. This perception is fully supported by PFDJ in order to keep the people not engaged in solving the national issues of democracy and justice.

    Thank you also for providing additional links to your essay. I find those materials invaluable. Browsing the material found in daberi.org. one aspect captured my attention. The correspondence between the Blin chiefs, asking protection, and the French consul in massawa and Napoleon III was made in Amharic language. specifically, the letters from the chiefs are written in amharic, This is bizarre don’t you think ?

    • tes

      Dear Haile WM,

      I thank for your compliments. Saying this let me come across your line.

      You wrote, “…as for the no “poletika” issue, well it shows the political immaturity of the Erritrean society, as it still believes politics is separated from all the rest and the perception that politics is a dirty game. ”

      I disagree with you respectfully when say that it is political immaturity. Rather I have an understanding that it is either as a result of political trauma or the insane political approach of PFDJ mercenaries.

      On maturity, I think we have historical evidence to prove at least on how we got ride of foreign occupiers.

      tes

      • Haile WM

        Hi tes,

        the problem here is not PFDJ, rather it’s the average mentality of eritreans. The “no Boletica” issue is a fact generated in the mind of the politically immature. Simply put, the perception (or rather the belief) is: if I don’t Engage in politics, then i am safe. But, that in the world of PFDJ, is far from truth. We have ample evidence where citizens who never engaged in politics are languishing in the prisons of PFDJ rule.

        You have said it eloquently, “No Boletica” is politics in itself, but only a politically mature individual can understand it. If one thinks that abiding by “no Boletika” is keeping himself from politics thus is safe he is being immature, not aware he is already in a political game. The corollary is simple and straight.

        On the foreign occupiers: it’s simple to get against of what you perceive a foreign abuser or occupier.

        The psychology to unite the mass against a common enemy is a primordial sentiment and has being exploited in human history since prehistory. The real test is what happens when the abuser is someone you think is yours ? I think we are being tested as a nation and so-far we have failed miserably.
        We still think, we are the silent majority, and wait patiently until we die in silence because that is “safe” from “Boletika”.

  • ekit

    [begin comments with salutation]

    It is really a good begining if it has sincere intension. I know a lot of organizers aim for a productive outcome, but I know some are so greedy for money, like those who worked in the Ministry of information back home. the day I heard the voice of one of the so called dimtisi hafash journalist i realized this conference is mainly intented for personal finaicial gains. So please take care from the glutun greedy individuals.

  • Abraham H.

    Dear Aman,
    You dropped this one on wrong forum, may be:)

  • Selam

    Hi Tes,

    As you stated, the programs objective is to preserve and maintain cultural identity, but another objective is to entertain its audience.

    All power to Radio Blina for their ingenuity, creativity and utilising their talents. Their ability to reach a firm and fixed audience in such a short period of time is a testament to their creativity.

    Continued success is inevitably, and this is purely due to their vision. Furthermore the methodology used to create the radio program is a model for new and emerging or existing community organisations!

  • Fanti Ghana

    Dearest Professor tes,

    Very good work my friend. This is very important subject for the whole region too. When languages disappear, they take away several irreplaceable knowledge, metaphors, euphemisms, traditions, and speech flavors unique to a particular language along with them. With the modern technology that is available today, several methods can be devised to preserve the core of most languages.

    Radio/TV stations, database storage systems, microfiche for old publications, and of course, like the daberi.org website you linked which includes a Blin tutorial page, are some examples that can be used to save some languages from extinction in the long run.

    an enkelekun Blin!

    • Nitricc

      Hey your Fitness; speaking languages; here is an Amharic Narrative that was spoken in Arada talk that took me a while to translate. I would like you to listen to it and see how you do. even the ras Abi will have a great difficult untangling this one.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUjBuR8rC00

    • tes

      Dear Fanti Ghana,

      Whenever I read your nick name, I misread it as if it is Mahatama Ghandi. It is wrong but not out of reality.

      Brother and dear Fanti Ghana, I failed to continue exchanging with you on your article. Excusez moi mais I was busy writing on my article. I might come back and continue or write an article as a form of “letter exchange”. If I am going to write, the title of the article will be:

      “Resilience and Exchange of Ideas with a Noble Laureate – Fanti Ghana”

      Will I do it? Let me see your advice:

      “Never promise to write an article on a particular subject [Emphasis mine]”.

      Therefore…

      Coming back to your point:

      Dear Fanti Ghana, I have the same understanding as yours that the subject raised is important to the whole region. There is really a bunch of ignored social issues that can be dissected deeply and discuss for a concise consciousness. I feel very sorry (though deterministic to fight against) when folks hide under a banner of NO POLITICS zone and produce a very toxic apathy on basic needs of survival.

      When culture and language of a society gets in danger, the reason behind is nothing but a political motive or something that happens rarely (nature). We have many historical evidences to proof this. The secular socialist republic came with important examples. When such bad intentioned politics exist, the only solution is to fight it politically. This is the best sustainable solution.

      On this occasion, I would like to call societies who feel that their identity is in danger, they need to be organized and fight back for their values and dignity at all costs.

      tes

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Fanti ታላቁ ኣሰላሳይ ( greatest thinker)

      ለጭውውት ያህል! እንግዲህ ጭውውቱ ደንባችን ኣይደል? በዛም ቁም ነገር ብጤ ጣል !

      “እንስሶች ሁሉ የሚበሉት ኣንድ ሣር ነው : – ምነው ፋንድያቸው ተለወጠ “ ያለው ኣለቃ ዘነብ የሚባል ታሪክ የዘነጋው ፀሐፊ ነው :: እንድያውም የኣፄ ቴድሮስ ፀሐፊ:: ሰውየው በኣራት ንኡስ ክፍሎች ሲተርክ በርግጥም የምር ነበር – ነገሮችን ያጠናጠነ :: እንግዲህ ልብ በል በዛ ዘመን በማህበራዊ ፖሎቲካዊ ሳንሳዊ ጽሑፎችን ማቅረብ ማለት ምን ያህል የኣስተሳሰብ ስፋት መኖሩን ያሳያል:: የግዛት ኣንድነት – የመልካም ኣስተዳደር ግብ ና የቴክኖሎጂ ሽግግር በሚገባ ለመጻፍ መቻሉን ስታይ ዛሬ ቢኖር ምነኘ በጠቀመ ብለህ ማሰብ ኣይቀርም ::

      ሚስጥሩ እንዲህ ነው :- ሰውየው በመጀመርያ ደረጃ ቦታ ያስቀመጠው የግዛት ኣንድነትን ነው : እዚህ ላይ የጎሳ የብሄርሰብ ጉዳይዮችን ግዝየውና ዕድገቱ በሚፈቅደው ደርጃ ጥሩ ጥናት ኣካሄደ: ይህን በድል ለመወጣትም የመልካም ኣሰተዳደር ግብን መምታት ነበረበት :: ከዛም ነው እንግዲህ ብቴክኖሎጂው ዘርፍ ማጠንጠን የጀመረው :: ለምን ቢባል የህዝብ ኣንድነትና የተከበረ ባህል ለስልጣኔ ተብሎ እንዳይፈርስ ::

      ኢትዮጵያም ትሁን እህቷ ኤርትራ በብሄርና ብሄረሰቦቻቸው ብዛትና ቁንጅና ሞክራራት የኖርባቸዋል :: ይህ ሊሆን የሚችለው ሊቀ ሊቃውንቱ የመምራትና የማስተማር ሰፊ ዕድል ሲሰጣቸው ነው :: የመጭው ትውልድ ዕጣ ፈንታ ምን ይመስል ይሆን ብለን መጠይቅ ይኖርብናል:- ጠይቀንም መመልሰ ይኖርብናል :: ታላቅነት ሳይነካ – ኩራት ሳይፈራረስ – ታሪክ ሳይደመሰስ- ማንነት ሳይጣስ ስልጣኔን መሻት ይበጀናል ;: ከፊታችን ኣፍጥጦ የሚጠብቀን ግሎቫይዜሽን ቛንቛንና ባህልን በመብላት የሚሰጠን ስልጣኔ ኣይጣፍጥም :- ኣንሻውም : ኣይመቸንም :: ኣይመስልህም ?

      እናማ ወገን! ይህን የመሰለ ከባድ ስራ እያለን ከማይረቡ ወሮበላዎች ስንፋጠጥ ግዜ ይባክን? ኣይገርምም ? ምነው ! ጉዳዩ ለሁላችንም ኣየመለከት ይሆን ? ዓለምን የማንበብ ችሎታችን የተለያየ ይሆን ? ገዢዎቻችን ምንነው ይህን ማየት ተሳናቸው ?

      “እንስሶች ሁሉ የሚበሉት ኣንድ ሣር ነው : – ምነው ፋንድያቸው ተለወጠ “ ብየ ልቅጭ::

      • tes

        Dear Kokhob Selam,

        Recently I am observing that you are deep into philosophy and communicating often within your inner self. So much deep contemplations. Almost all are of highest level with ritualistic rhythms.

        Keep on but remember also your ordinary followers.

        tes

        • Kokhob Selam

          Thank you tes, I noted your point.

          • tes

            Wondime Kokhob Selam,

            Amaricha bzum alawkim, tinishu bicha. Negeru gin yantew melktoch dena arge eyeteketatelkugn new.

            Ere, sitinager, wondumochu zekr

            Ameseginalehu

            Abi???

            tes

          • Kokhob Selam

            ኣቡየ :-
            የት ነህ? ኣንተ የለለህበት ባህር የብስ ነው :: “እንዳሞራ (እንደ ኣሞራ)፡ ክንፍ ኣውጥቸ ልብረራ ” you and saay7 – we miss you both.

  • Sel

    [Begin comments with salutation to avoid its deletion]

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Selam ShaHan foole
    You have had a heck of a week, I hope the guns have fallen silent. I grew up among the proud people of Blen until I was about 8 or 9 years old, after that I lost contacts; later in life, I met some of my childhood folks and also made some new friends. In 1970, when Bisekdira was massacred I was a few kilometers away from it; my father was among the people who rushed to the village for burials, and continued to mourn good friends (Christians and Muslims) until his passing. What makes that episode so seared in my memory is that I had known some of the Christian villagers who refused to move away from their Muslim compatriots who were rounded up to be massacred, despite repetitive orders from the Torserawit and Commandos, practically facing an array of machine guns ready to consume the villagers who were herded to the mosque of that village. They refused to move out of way and they were mowed there with their Muslim brothers. Similar stories and additional life experience in the field where Eritreans of all ages and social stripes guarding the flanks of each other and falling side by side makes us remember that this nation has a lot that binds it than disintegrates it.
    Coming to radio Blina and the article: I thought tes did a great job. He articulated his ideas really well and in a very un-tes-ly way. Honestly, although from time to time he showed us his analytical mind, his problem was with scope. Now, he put that to rest. dawit and abi, and yes, Gen.Nit need to find other demeaning and domineering descriptions. The young man is sober and full of intellectual curiousity and a means to express that.
    Now, “what do people mean when they say No boletika zone?” I think some times we miss the reality that we live in, it could be for a political convenience or the result of an outpouring desire to see everyone laser-focused on PFDJ, as some would want to put it as “Eritreans consume politics and defecate politics”, or something to that effect. Yes, yes, I know that, But let’s acknowledge the fact that, in most cases, the “no boletika” warning is directed inward rather than being directed outwardly to defend against PFDJ spoilers. Many good causes have been doomed because of politics of internal fighting rather than by confrontational politics of united opposition against PFDJ. Good projects, communities, and civic gatherings with narrowly defined missions have been dismantled before they gather the momentum they need to launch themselves to greater services. I believe that’s what most fear, and not the confrontations that may oocur between opposition and PFDJ. I hope radio Blina will get the recognition it deserves by the conference. I also hope the conference will discuss the subject of this article and other related issues.

    • tes

      Dear Mahmud Saleh,

      Hmm, scope???

      Well, I don’t want to go on a trivial issue but I think you are missing the gap we have – generation. Remember you belong to Generation X and I Generation Y. I know you have mastered without a problem to join the later generation.

      Is then a problem of scope or miscommunication of two different generations?

      You recalled Abi, dawit and Nitricc – hmm, well were you then OK with their ….

      Can I use my ‘tes-ly way’? No, let me use it for an appropriate target, PFDJ.

      These are very trivial issues but when I contemplate a little more I have to see them more deeply. For now, let me skip them.

      tes

  • tes

    Dear The secular socialist republic,

    Let me update you on the language of Breton (French endangered language). I have lived in Bretagne, a French region where Breton was used to be spoken. I don’t have much detailed history but I came to know about its current status a bit.

    A boy friend of my colleague is a professor of Breton language. he told that there are very few schools offering their education in Breton. Even I joined them a music festival held in the capital city of their region, Rennes. Today there are very few villages were this language is predominantly spoken. Not only this there are some initiatives to preserve the language again.

    In fact Breton huge resources. Lots of literature and books available for references.

    Unlike Breton, Blin is surviving but with almost no reference books for teaching. Unless the Blen people take meaningful projects there is a possibility of losing it in a near future.

    tes

    • Hope

      Tes:
      Correction:
      Blin Language,despite its ups and downs,does have enough Ref and Literature compared to other ” Minority” Languages-as back as more than four centuaries (400 yearsago.
      Refer to Daberi .Org

  • A.Osman

    Dear Tes,

    Thank you for the timely and informative article, hopefully the forum discussion will cover usefull ideas thst be the participants to conference can think about in advance to their meeting.

    I have seen a similar problem with the Jeberty community centre in London. They had a writing that states ” abzi poleticawi netfetat kilkul iyu” or something similar. I think the main reason was to attract all their members regardless of affiliation and to make them feel comfortable to visit the place if they are visitors to the country. Such stance that is meant to be inclusive did not bring the community together, actually it empowers PFDJ to meddle in their internal affairs and it can lead to full control by installing affiliates in the board of management. Such well intentioned policy tend to backfire and create the split that they try to avoid in the first place.

    As a radio station, the challenge is probably much easier to deal with. You don’t need to worry about an audience weary of PFDJ, the main driver to depolitize it, as hinted by Hope, is likely to do with individuals from the founding members who have to consider their safety or that of their family. In such circumstance, those individuals need resign and support the station from behind the scene, unless they are irreplaceable.

    Wishing all the sucess to radio Bilin
    AOsman

    • tes

      Dear A.Osman,

      Thank you for writing what is behind my article. I can not write in a more concrete and full of supporting cases as you did. As you stated the problem relies on an idea of accommodating all parties – pro and against PFDJ. You know what those who are against PFDJ are very accommodating while the the pro never. Pro-PFDJites try to control and exercise their ‘Nsu-Nihna” given power of dictatorship. Observing the developments, those against start to react. By then everything is late and the damage can’t be repaired. In fact the mission of Pro PFDJite is to liquidate any initiative that strengthens community free of PFDJ doctrine.

      In this regard – Radio Blina is not perfect castle which willl be able to protect herself from such dangerous infiltration unless they clear their objectives. The minimum objective is either to work for justice or ignore injustices.

      I thank you again

      tes

  • Peace!

    Dear tes,

    Two Thumbs Up!

    Peace!

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Hope,

    Thank you for noting my point. here if you notice I have said also -ከመይ ንህልውናን ቀጻልነትን ባህልታት – ብሄራርትና ምስ ዝመጽእ ዘሎ ቅልጡፍን ዘይመሕርን ቴንኮሎጂ ነጠዓዕሞ ዝብል ሕቶ ክለዓል ግድን እዩ :: ግዳ ኸኣ ንኸምዚ ዝ ኣመሰለ ከቢድ ሕቶ ንኽምለስ ዘድልይ ምቹእን ጥጡሕን ባይታ ንምርካብ ህዝባውን ብሓላፍነት ዝሕተትን ስርዓትዓት ምፍጣር የድሊ:: – someone don’t need much knowledge to see the massage withing this simple statement. for sure it is indicating that such type of meeting will open the way to common ground and when you narrow differences for higher purpose you are involved already in politics. and gain when I put the phrase -ምቹእን ጥጡሕን ባይታ ንምርካብ ህዝባውን ብሓላፍነት ዝሕተትን ስርዓትዓት ምፍጣር የድሊ – I am informing that the ground has to be created which is not still visible. do you agree with this statements? if yes I have more to ask .

    • Hope

      Well,Ustaz Kokheb Selam:
      Let me spit up my gut feeling about you:
      Without a single piece of bias and prejudice you are an Original Genius Brainer- talented with untold of/about experience!
      I told you before that your work on Tigrigna Literature is but brilliant and untapped resource of Tigrigna Literature.
      In future Democratic Eritrea,I guarantee you that you ,at least,will be a nominee for an Honorary PhD in Literature.
      You better save your work.

      • Kokhob Selam

        Thank you Hope,
        you have answered my question that sill I was going to ask “In future Democratic Eritrea,” That is the point “In future Democratic Eritrea,” Yes ended every one of us will be important to play his positive role for advancement of our society. I love this one “In future Democratic Eritrea,” how shall we land to that future Eritrea is something we can search and find the way but let us once again agree that we need to work for ” future Democratic Eritrea,” I love it.

  • T..T.

    Hi tes and all,

    A declaration of Non-political is sometimes intended by the Isayasists to protect the regime from condemnation. Be it a radio station or an organization that represents a grouping or a community should condemn any political party that suppresses the interest of its members. For example: all non-political organization, although they are not supposed to be involved in politics, they vote on basis of how one political party accommodates or protects the interest of their members.

    Non-political, therefore, is merely not to be aligned with any political party. But this doesn’t free any political party from being condemned in the event the radio station’s interest is threatened or its members are victimized by any political party, be it the tyrant party or any opposition party. The question asked is: what is the use if the radio station does not voice its members concerns? That stance makes the radio station a free radio station as an organization.

    Unless the radio station, as an organization, does do what it has to do defending its members’ interest, its continuation will be endangered. For effective functioning, the radio station should have departments that are exclusively focused on their assignments. For example, the department of awareness should focus on raising the awareness of its members and listeners (and that, of course, is politics), the finance department should ensure collection of funds in time (and because money is considered anti-Isayas’s power, it is also politics), social affairs department that focuses on all social matters – and of course this too is politics and everything nowadays is about politics because the Isayas’s politics is hovering overhead all neutral radio station or associations to either take over or destroy them because their neutrality is a threat to the tyrant.

  • iSem

    Hi Tes:
    Nice piece. And I agree with your statement about everything is politics, a lot of the things we do as humans is not divorced from the art of politics. But in Eritrea politics is something reserved for the PFDJ, do not inject yourself into politics is an advice that PFDJites give you because they do not want people engaged in politics as engaged people are the crucible, the catalyst of change. That is the secret of making politics haram for us and halal for them.
    Politics is many arts, the art of persuasion the art of combining different fields of study, it is an applied social science to me. I heard a priest, a PFDJ leader politics say that “politics” comes from Greek and they both said poly means many and tics means lies. That is how they mislead people from not being engaged in politics.
    I never listened to the Blin Radio before, but to divorce itself from the Eritrean politics from the plight of the Blen people is malpractice. They do not have to take sides with this one group or the other, but they cannot in a vacuum talk about the Blin language and its renaissance without the causes of politics.
    Nevertheless, what they are doing is noble and a good start, but at one point they have to find their voice. Any group of human being is a collection of interests and for a group of group to claim, it is not political is either a lie, they are hiding their true feeling or they are out of this planet. There is a reason unions, or groups and think tanks endorse one candidate in the USA election for example

    • tes

      Dear iSem,

      Excellent angle! I have a general understanding that Radio Blina is trying to hide the true feeling of their target group by creating politically free zone.

      tes

  • Abi

    Hi Hopinet
    Yes, Ras Abi is here watching your sorry behind being kicked from every direction imaginable.
    What’s up? Why do you need me? I will be available for help once I finish counting the number of zeros in a trillion. Where do you manufacture these zeros?
    Bisha mine $100,000,000,000,000.00
    Potash $ 100,000,000,000.00
    Gas and oil $ 100,000,000,000,000,000.00
    Port fee $0.00
    Population 0
    National security 100%

    Take it easy

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam tes,

    All in all good reading. But I have questions to the preparatory committee to the upcoming event for the Bilen cultural rivival. Usually the “politics of war” create the dispersal and dislocation of society. Once society lose their concentration inhabiting areas definitely it has a consequence to their collective identity cultures. Minorities groups will be the first victims to the Politics of war and jts negative impact to their cultural heritage. I do not have any doubt the cultural heritages of our minorities is negatively impacted with this perpetual wars for generation.

    Now my question is, how could our Bilen social group could defend and revive their cultursl heritage without politico-cultural fight along with other of our minorities social groups? Don ‘t they think, that they need a comprehensive struggle of politico -cultural and politico-economy side by side, as there is no cultural rivival without political and economy franchisement in the over all Eritrean political system?

    Indeed, I am always puzzled when Eritreans try to seperate the inseperable relationship of (a)culture and politics (b) politics and economy. Without recognizing these rekationship we will never make meaningful struggle and meaningful change.

    Regards
    Ananuel Hidrat

    • Hope

      Selam Tes and Ato Amnauel Hidrat:
      Both of you have acLegitimate Arguement that Justice should be sought by all means possible and in that regard,the Blin Social Group should have been at the Fore Front to fight for Equal Justice by all means possible but lots of factors have hindered that approach without going into details .

      Eventhough I am not associated with Radio Blina I have enough background on the Agenda and Goal of the Program.
      -It is only a year old (plus few months)program but achieved enough
      -The issue of addressing the past and present socio-Economic and political impacts of the System on the ERITREAN Society in general and on the Blin Social Group in particular was considered and discussed per the second hand info I got and the cons are more than pros of politicizing the Program at least in this phase.
      -Over the time,It might make a Legal U-Turn and might go to a Full Blown Politics ,as needed.
      -Remember that there is a reason as to why people use nicks to express their grievance here and the Radio Blina people also might have a reason not to go into a Full Blown Politics against the Regime and some Blin Intellectuals and Professions and other concerned Patriotic Deki Blin have experienced that unpleasant experience of retalitiation by the Regime!

      -FYI,there was a so called Blin Democratic Movement(Hode Mirqua Blinakh) sponsored by Mekele but no body liked it due to the very nature of the Blin Social Group,without going into details.

      -But the Blin Social Group is quietly and anonymously well represented in the Opposition Groups as it is politically incorrect to create your own faction and protest against another ERITREAN Social Group ,like some Groups attempted.

      -There are also more than enough Pal Talks on that regard .
      Bottom line,the over all unhealthy and polarizing ERITREAN Political Culture has been a big obstacle to achieve things,hence,it is only fair for the Program to stay Neutral so as to welcome all Deki Blin and their supporters irrespective of their socio-cultural ,Religious and Political background!
      FYI ,note that the Program is also “No Religion Zone”!,if that helps.
      Vet Mahmud said it well and I hope you trust his advice more than that of ” A confused Soul(Courtesy of the other Amanuel”.

      • tes

        Selam Hope,

        Well if you know the agenda and goals of Radio Blina, can you enlighten us? So far what I know is their working environment (No Boletica here). I am therefore eager to read your insights.

        On the political party, Blin Democratic Party, I don’t understand why they have created it? Is it to take power and govern Eritrea or just ocer Blin people? I think there is a confusion with these kinds of party.

        Blen people need strong civic societies and human rights activities that fight for the rights of their own people. On political party, I don’t think it will be productive unless their mission is create an ethnic based regional administration – which is almost impossible to achieve.

        tes

    • tes

      Dear Amanuel Hidrat,

      Here is an important question that you are addressing:

      “Now my question is, how could our Bilen social group could defend and revive their cultural heritage without politico-cultural fight along with the other of our minority social groups?”

      This is my exact question. I hope they will come out with a concrete answer from this conference.

      tes

      • Kokhob Selam

        Deat tes,
        True. but as the first step let us encourage to see them starting to talk united for one important task. For sure they will find their self facing this question. I think it is also good to ask if there was such type of experience in our history. I noted similar experience in Jebrti, In fact the cause was more difficult than this one as Jeberti was even not known as one ethnic group by PFDJ or even by ELF and EPLF. Yet they have continuously and peacefully struggled and sure they will continue till their needs fulfilled. Normally I think it is the ethnic group who should show his ethnicity and no one can decide about their choice of been called as one Ethnic group.

        from the experience of early 1990’s Jeberti try to reorganize them selves free form Politics. I was closely watching when the so called educated intellectuals ( we use to call them ኳትሮ ደቺ ፊልዮ ዲካነ ) try to remove the elders and capture the organization. that experience was so bad it was a secrete movement of PFDJ and yes at last those who called them selves educated were working to destroy the organization. PFDJ thought the job is over at the end of 1990’s the organization is gone so they also throw their spy workers. today those useless guys are in other countries like Kanada and US. So we will notice if the meeting of Bilen is really for good of their Ethnic group or the plan of PFDJ to paralyze the people of Bilen. When someone start to say free of politics it is better to see him practically if it is to attract people to work for opposition or PFDJ but their will never be chance of being free of politics.

        • tes

          Dear Kokhob Selam,

          You have raised very important point here and A.Osman is also coming with the same reference: The case of Jeberti. The main problem is the perception of remaining on a safe wagon by being free from politics. Sadly, building a frontier of politics is politics. Mostly such motives are meant to attract all citizens, both pro and against PFDJ. Unfortunately such divided but hibernating feelings ends either with malfunctioning or disintegration.

          Dear Kokhob Selam, I have a similar experience here in France. In the city where I studied, I got many good Eritreans. They were eager to see Eritreans coming together. For this, they initiated an idea of establishing community center. Their lust for preserving their culture and teach a maternal language to children was so high. Having this noble idea, some elder people came with an idea of consulting others. They found a well written Guidelines and established it. One of article says: “this community center is free of politics”. It was ok until I found the full document. What I found was really shocking.

          For Radio Blina, I believe that those who established are for good mission. But good mission fails without strong foundation. I am therefore for helping them to build this strong foundation as May 7 and 8 are going to be a good and fertile ground to shape the future of the radio.

          tes

  • tes

    Selam Hope,

    It is good that now you are communicating.

    Ah, the “No Boletica Zone” issue. You see Hope, I had in mind Keren Union High School Re-Union Association. In fact, that is also another disappointing association that I have to address on this occasion.

    Just suppose:

    We have such a grand and important association have a free political zone

    We have a Radio that works on a free political zone

    We have community centers that are free of politics.

    And as we know all are coming from the same geographical zone. Then isn’t it sane to ask “why these people are shying away from politics?”

    It is is very concerning issue. I don’t understand why we are creating a politically free zone? is it the political trauma as I have hinted above?

    On the conference, I hope to read more on their works. Daberi is a great archaive center. I visit it occasionally since 2013 and I have learnt a lot from it.

    tes

  • PTS

    Hi Awatistas,
    Greetings from the neat Asmara…
    There is no feeling like being home after so long. Miss you all.

    • Hope

      Selam PTS:
      Make sure to tour Eritrea if you have time and come up with an unbiased Comprehensive Report!
      Enjoy.
      Never enjoyed any other city but Asmera even when the Piccola Roma was in her worst nightmare in 2006-2009!
      I also witnessed the “ugliest” side of our Warsays at Aseb/Tio, Tsorona and Baduma areas

    • Abraham H.

      Selam PTS,
      Hope you are enjoying your time in Asmara. Please pass our greetings to all Asmarinos. I recommend you to hire a car and take a tour towards Massawa through the route of Semienawi Bahri. That area should really be breathtakingly lush this time of year, particularly after a very generous Bahri rainy season. When you reach at Filfil, please take a short stop and look about ten km towards north where the infamous prison of Eraero is located. And convey our thoughts and compassion to our compatriots who are languishing in those horrible prisons; in a country they gave everything they had to liberate from foreign oppressors.
      Again wish you a happy vacation time:))

  • T..T.

    Hi all,

    According to Hope, there is only one reality, the reality of the tyrant. And under the rule of the tyrant, there is no an independent Eritrean ratio station because it should clearly be either for the tyrant or against the tyrant. However, under the rule of the Eritrean opposition, a radio station can be independent in a sense that it is not affiliated to any political party serving only the interest or for what the radio station stands.

    Therefore, the ratio station can be free from political indoctrination but its supporters can be members of any political party. This constitutes that all political views live side by side but if one of the political parties, say: the tyrant’s party, tries to impose its terms on the radio station then all its PFDJite members may resign from the PFDJ in protest.

    If the radio station does not carry the two Eritrean flags side by side, some courageous members may call for a clear stand, either the tyrant or the opposition. The courageous members may also stand up and speak pointing out the misrepresentation noticed targeting the dishonesty out in the public eyes as their priority in the proposed changes.

    • tes

      Dear T..T.,

      I agree with you that the radio should be free of political indoctrination. Equally, it is important to stay away from the influence of any any political party/organization, be it directly or indirectly. However bringing reality about the situation that engulfs the people is a must to look into and bring into public attention. For example: migration and its cause, existing social dilemma, deteriorating dignity and values caused by ill-designed political system, etc.

      For example, I have great admiration for Radio Erina. I admire because of their professionalism and conveying their message for wide public listeners. Radio Erina has never kept aside injustice in all of its programs. Those journalists who work for the program never failed to address Eritrean suffering, absence of rule of law, absence of freedom of press etc while broadcasting their programs in a very entertaining way. For a surprise, Radio Erina is one of the most heard radio inside Eritrea. It has secured its place by being an independent and voice of the voiceless Eritreans news outlet. Yet they do not have any particular political indoctrination imposed by any political group.

      We have also radio like SBS – multi objective programs, mainly literature, art, history and current Eritrean suffering. VOA is also playing a great role by bringing two political perspectives and connecting people across two different countries.

      Such noble objectives do not ignore injustice while conveying their core message.

      On those who have great lust for conquering such noble initiatives, of course they can cause a damage but they should not be feared rather absorbed for good.

      tes

      tes

      • T..T.

        Dear tes,

        I share your view. I also believe that our people eat politics, inhale politics, and exhale politics because politics is part of the Eritrean people’s every second, minute, hour and day life. The Eritrean people inside Eritrea are there because of their political stands (total silence) and those Diasporas who are denied to visit Eritrea because of their political stands. That’s why we are not politics free and accordingly the radio station cannot be free from the sticky politics that we are part of.

  • Tafla

    Tes,

    It’s a great initiative, we need more non-political non-profit organizations. Language and culture are huge topics and the Blin people are the few remanants left that holds even me a non-Blin connected to my past. I wish you all success.

    Best regards
    Tafla

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Selam tes
    Nicely written, I enjoyed it. I think having any forum or a radio program specifically dedicated to language and culture is essential. I “listen” to radio Blina (“listen”, because I have lost whatever I learnt during my early childhood of Blini language, but listening to the radio, its calm mood, interaction of participants, and the efforts it makes to connect the community, the music…makes me feel at home). I think it’s good to leave the current station as it is, and if there are folks interested in politics, they can start another one fully dedicated to political issues. I believe the political dimension can be addressed within the rest Eritreans’ framework and if needed as I said another forum could be dedicated to it. I don’t know what the motivation is when the radio says “no politics.” Does that mean they, as individuals, want to be truly neutral, or they mean the political aspect is addressed or could be addressed within the rest political programs advanced by multitudes of media, civil and political platforms? There are certain programs that cater specifically to languages and cultures, few of them in my mother’s tongue, Tigrayet, and they are part of the movement even though they don’t realize it, because they all strength the community and gives it vitality and warmth; we can’t all be politicians and as people and society we need forums dedicated to music, sports, literature…. etc. I wish.
    Another point: I wish you spelt out areas you feel Blini participants of the conference should focus on that particularly concern the Blini people, because what you have said touches every sector of our people; or policy area of the government that you would want criticized because it hurts specifically the Blini society.
    Generally, an excellent article, and well written. We all become strong when each of us gets strong; and we all feel comfortable when each of us feels comfortable.
    Regards.

    • tes

      Dear Mahmud Saleh,

      Thank you for your compliments and well composed view. Let me pull out your line that penetrates the content of the article:

      You wrote: “Does that mean they, as individuals, want to be truly neutral, or they mean the political aspect is addressed or could be addressed within the rest political programs advanced by multitudes of media, civil and political platforms?”

      Dear Mahmud, being politically neutral and free (no politics) are two different things. When one is politically neutral, it means that it is open to all existing political parties while not being influenced by any force. Those who work as journalists can bring issues that matters the people while not dragged by someone’s politics.

      On the other hand, being politically free while touching the culture and language of a society is first and foremost impossible and second shying away from reality.

      Suppose: one youth wants to write a novel about tragedies of his life journey starting from his national service (aka slavery) days, challenges faced crossing the border, all the shots he heard, life in Shegerab camp, etc etc in relation to the main cause behind it (PFDJ administration). In his novel, he wanted to express his bitterness about the system and his wish to see that system vanish. Though the piece could be of a novel, rich of literature, yet it holds a political message.

      Can then Radio Blina ignore such novels simply because it has a political message? Or broadcast it as it also part of the social suffering?

      This is my central question while writing this article.

      Here my objective is not to associate Radio Blina as a political media but a program that entertains reality while enriching the mission it has: language and culture.

      Today it is hard to ignore Eritrean suffering unless you shut your ears and close the eyes. It is hard unless one wants to escape from reality and hallucinate on a wishy-washy dream.

      In my point of view: culture and language live when they have a power to express the reality. If not, they become historical heritages, just like that of Latin and Geez. Sooner or later, the fate is known.

      On individual motives:

      There is no conspiracy here: these individuals are victims of PFDJ regime. What they wanted is to create politically free zone so that every Blenay can be a a participant – whoever is, PFDJ or anti PFDJ, regardless of political affiliation. This is noble idea. This is called political neutrality. Bu my argument is why they designed a program free of politics.

      Are they ignoring the injustice, or they don’t want to voice for the voiceless people?

      Language is a means of communication. Through languages, we communicate and our communication holds water when it touches the reality.

      Dear Mahmud, today, Eritreans have millions of novels to be written on the tragedies they face. if they get appropriate voice, they will not hesitate to write it and diffuse to the majority. This is what I expect Radio Blina to entertain. If not, contents of the radio will be more of romanticizing old life and leave the people with their nostalgic memories.

      This is my argument.

      tes

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Selam tes
        My point was to say: If the operators of the radio identified the mission as purely “cultural” and identified target audience, they should be commended on that. Instead of trying to change, or influence a change in the direction of that internet radio, let interested individuals start another radio which is fully dedicated to politics. Projects like internet radios are started by a group of individuals with specific interest. May be these are folks interested in language and arts, may be that’s their background. Therefore, I think they should be commended, and left alone. Their initiative doesn’t necessarily put hurdles on the way of other interested individuals forming a radio program that fits the mission they set for and the audience they target. For instance, I can tell you I’m a politically motivated person (not a politician), but I like sites and programs catering to culture and literature, music, sports…as well. Also, just to make it clear, there was no doubts or conspiracy intended when I asked what the motive of the individuals was. I was thinking of the idea that those individuals may be more active than me and you, politically, but they may do it in other ways; may be they are involved in media, civic and/or in some of the many political organizations; may be the radio is just part of what they do. That’s what I was trying to present. In addition, I can only criticize a certain program if that program is geared towards supporting the regime, or hindering my efforts in raising the political issues I want to raise in my own platform. If individuals want to dedicate their free time on interests that many want to participate in, such as culture and arts, that should be commended. As the number of visits shows, radio Blina has audience, and that’s what counts. Radio Blina doesn’t hinder any one from forming another politically active station. That’s the point. A culture/society needs multiple services to keep it vibrant, one of them is radio program that fulfills its cultural and artistic crave. So, I hope the participants will recognize this fact.

        • tes

          Dear Mahmud Saleh,

          I agree with you wholeheartedly. My point is mainly targeting one: had Radio Blina stayed politically neautral program, well that is very noble but what I know so far is that they are working under a banner of NO POLITICS here. My argument relies on this. Why NO POLITICS?

          Isn’t saying NO POLITICS a politics by itself?

          Dear Mahmuday, I am on the mission of Radio Blina but not on their working approach. Radio Blina is not only broadcasting on culture, literature and language enrichment but also has other interesting contenst – such as health advice, general psychological and social advices etc. They invite intellectuals to teach people.

          It is within this perspective that I am asking “why the real situation of Blen people is ignored?” When you come across culture of course daily life situation can not be ignored.

          tes

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Ahlan tes
            I do agree with your angle of view that de-politicizing a program is indeed a political statement. However, that would be fitting for programs that were political in nature and then decide to de-politicize their positipn. For instance, if our awate.com were to go langa-langa…haha…we would worry for de-politicizing its position. But it’s my understanding that radio BLina was formed by citezens who are interested in keeping the cultural torch alive, and that’s commendable.
            Anyway the rest is in my previous posts, and we seem to agree on the main theme. Good luck for the conference, and await your follow up articles.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam tes,

            To answer your question: Unless the Bilen social group raise their concern and their grievances continously to be addressed, the dominant social group will always ignore it. That is fact. That is why they need to be reminded to keep their grievances as politico -cultural issues.

            Regards
            Amanuel Hidrat

  • Kokhob Selam

    ክቡር ተስፋን ብርሃንን ሓወይ

    ግርም ንባብን ሓበሬታን : እዚ ብሄረስበ ዝሓለፎ ዝተሓላለኸ ታሪኽ ጽንኩር ምንባሩ እየ ተማሂረ :: ግዳ ኸኣ ካብ ውልቃዊ ተሞክረይ ኣብ ግዜ ሃገራዊ ገድልን :- ድሕሪኡ ውን ኣብ ዘመነ ህግደፍን ደቂ ብሌን ኣብ ባህሎም ዘለዎም ተገዳስነት ጥቡቕ ኮይኑ እየ ዝዕዘብ ነይረ :: እቲ ኣዝዩ ተስፋ ዝህበኒ ዝነበረ ድማ ሃይማኖት ብዝምልከት ዘለዎም ናይ ሕድ ሕድ ናጽነት እዩ :: ኣብ ዚ ክፋል ሕብረተስብና ኣብ ሓንቲ ስድራ ናይ ሃይማኖት ምርጫ ዳርጋ ተጽዕኖ ዘለዎ ኣይመስልን :ስለዚ እዩ መስለኒ እቲ ኣስማት ‘ውን ወላድን ውሉድን ዓረባውን (ኣብ ህዝብታትና ዓረባዊ ኣስማት ንሰዓብቲ እስልምና ጥራይ ተገይሩ እዩ ዝረአ ) ትግርኛውን ኣስማት እትዕዘብ :: እዚ ብሄር ምስቲ ኩሉ ዝጎኖንፋ ቀሊል ዘይበሃል ዘመተ ባህሉ ምሕላውን ኣኽቢሩ ምሓዙን ኣዝዩ ብሉጽ ገይርዎ ኣሎ :: ያታታት እዚ ሕብረተስብ ከይተጨላለፉ ክነብሩ ኣዝዩ ኣገዳሲ እዩ : – እቲ ምንታይ ሲ ብመሰረቱ ሃገርነት ኤርትራ ኣብ ህልውና እዞም ኣዝዩም ምዕሩጋት ክብርታት ሕብረተሰብና ዝተመስረተ ስለዝኾነ:: ኩሉ ወዲ ሃገር ብሰንኪ ዓውሎማ ኣብ ቅድሚና ተገቲሩ ዘሎ ናይ ምጥፋእ ሓደጋ ባህልታት ንምብዳህ ካብ ሕጂ ጉዳየይ ኢሉ ክዕጠቀሉ ይግባእ ::

    ምስንካልን ምብራሳን ከምብሌን ዝኣመሰሉ ብሄራት – ብቀጥታ ምብርዓኣን ሃገርነት ስለ ዝፈጥርን ጉዳይ ህልውናና ብዋጋ ምዕባለ ሓዳስ ዓለም ክኸውን ስለዘይብሉ – ቅድሚ ኩሉ ሰሪዕና ኣብ ኩሉ ሱግሚ ከይተዳህለልና ከነስተብህል ታሪኻዊ ሓላፍነትና እዩ

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