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EFND Response to Saleh Gadi Johar’s Article titled, “Crusaders” Branding Others, “Islamists”

Dear Saleh:

Focusing on your critic of EFND and its documents rather than on the unhelpful personality issues, we would like to let you know that we see your article in a positive light. We agree with you that, despite our efforts, EFND is not yet as diverse as we would like it to be. However, we would like to assure you, your readers, and all Eritreans that we will continue to devote as much energy as possible to make EFND reflective of the Eritrean society as much as possible. We would also like to take your offer to help in this regard and to link us up with groups, such as the Eritrean Lowland League (ELL). As you may know, we invited them to our conference but they were not able to participate. Hopefully, they will do so in the future. We also have a request to make and that is for you to publish our reports and communiques, just like the other Eritrean sister websites do. You have declined to publish them in the past but, hopefully, you agree with us that Awate readers should read our reports directly instead of reading interpretations of them. Besides, exposure to diversity of ideas and views is as important as diversity of people in properly informing our people.

On the broader issue of goals and objectives of EFND, we would like to inform Awate’s readers that our sole objective is to create a platform for all Eritrean opposition groups, civil society organizations, as well as individuals to discuss the frightening predicament that our people and our country face. We owe it to our people who are (a) drowning in the Mediterranean Sea with no one hearing their shouts for help; (b) dying in the Libyan desert; (c) being tortured in the Sinai; (d) rotting in prisons denied even the basic right of trial in a court of law; and (e) enduring denigration in refugee camps in various countries and hundreds of thousands of them languishing in camps in Sudan for several decades. We have no doubt that you will agree with us that all these victims are Eritreans of various ethnic, religious, and regional identities. We strongly believe that it is our shared responsibility to do what we can to free the Eritrean society from such abuses. Regimes come and go and the current regime in Asmara will no doubt go sooner or later. It is high time that Eritreans of all identities deliberate about the political arrangements for the day after the regime is no longer there. We cannot envision the establishment of a governance system that accommodates the fundamental interests, values, and aspirations of all of

our diverse identities without inclusive dialogue among our diverse communities. Our key objective at EFND is to create a platform where such dialogue takes place. Our reports and communiques are merely talking points intended to initiate dialogue and nothing more.

Finally, we would like to remind Awate’s readership, as well as all Eritreans, that when colonial powers tried to dismember Eritrea our forefathers from all corners of Eritrea stood tall and left us behind a country with its territorial integrity and national identity intact. Our martyrs also sacrificed themselves to restore it to us. We owe it to our courageous and wise forefathers and heroic martyrs to work in unison to preserve and develop our precious inheritance. No doubt, bad governance has put a strain on our unity but let us have a longer term perspective and remember that the Eritrean people will reclaim their country and put in place a governance system that manages their diversity properly. Let us also not forget that despite the burden of an utterly incompetent and cruel regime, which has betrayed all the causes of our struggle, our unity still remains stronger than those in most of our neighbors. Let us work hand in hand to strengthen it.

We thank you very much for your input and your offer to help us become more inclusive. We look forward for more constructive discussion in the future.

Yours respectfully,
EFND Coordinating Committee
November 16, 2014

Editor’s note: for information on what is published and rejected, please check item # 9 and #10 of our posting guidelines here.

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  • haileTG

    Truth… please no offence but don’t sweat it out. Take this to the bank… IA is down for dead. Cut all that #””#@-$ too late for anyone to come to help him clean the dung he’s washed all over with. He is waiting issuance of arrest warrant and that is that take it or leave it.

  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatista,

    Yesterday, the issue of “one man rule” was tangentially touched upon in passing during some exchanges in the forum. Is IA the only one responsible? Could he possibly rune the whole government alone? And many other such issues actually seem to cause a sense of self-contradiction initially. In reality however, “Regime theories” is an established area of multidisciplinary research. The literature available on the subject includes works of leading experts in the field as Barbara Geddes (whose work is considered to be the first to collaboratively develop scientific data about authoritarian regimes) and many others. It is indeed true that individuals do end up becoming the sole decision makers. There are multitudes of models and comparative analysis that integrate research from different areas to track the life span behavior, source of power and critical nodes of a dictatorship (personal).

    If you don’t mind to quickly zoom through parts of a doctoral dissertation on the topic you can Read Here If you can’t have the time, just familiarize yourself with key terms (such as diversion, winning coalition, selectorate, established dictatorship…) and skim through the pictorial representations.

    If you however only wish to get a general overview of the “context” vs the “individual”, then watch the following brief introduction by a Professor Moghadaam from Georgetown University. (If you just want to get straight to the main point forward to 4:56 time.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    I will expose your ignorance (educate you), and I will orient your mind to the common goal (Agitate you) and finally I will make to stand against injustice (Orgnanize you). You are now in the right page. Stay here.

    Educate, Agitate and Organize. Dr. Abdumkar!

  • This is an eye opening account of the political situation in post-Nazi
    Germany, which vividly shows that it is not an easy matter to clean the
    political landscape in countries under dictatorship, after the demise of the
    dictatorial regime. The tentacles of the entrenched political system that has succeeded in enslaving and dehumanizing the Eritrean society is not only in Eritrea, but reaches far beyond the country into the four corners of the world.

    I managed to read only the first two pages, unfortunately. Time allowing
    I will try to read the whole article. Even then, I have learnt a lot. Those who have the resolve to read the whole report will surely gain much more. I think that it is relevant to the issue under discussion.

  • Truth

    Breaking News:
    እንተኾነ መንግስቲ ኤርትራ ነዚ ኩነታት ናብ ንቡር ንምምላስ ቀጻሊ ጻዕረታት ክግበር ድሕሪ ምጽናሑን ፣ ኣብ ናይ ቆሕ ሰም ከሎ ካልኢት ሰለም ከይበለ ፣ ኣብ ግብሪ ንምውዓል ኣብ ዝካያዶ ሓያል ጻዕሪ ፣ ኣብዚ ሕጂ እዋን ተጻፊፉ ብምህላዉ፣ ግቡእ ናይ 18 ሃገራዊ ኣገልግሎት ናብቲ ንቡር ከምዝነበሮ ክምልስ ምዃኑ ፣ ኣብ ሕቡራት መንግስትታ ኣሜርካ ኣብ ኤምባሲ ሃገር ኤርትራ ፈጻሚ ህዝባዊ ጉዳያት ኣቶ ብርሃነ ገ/ህይወት ካብ ዝተፈላለየ ኩርናዓት ሕቡራት መንግስታት ኣሜርካ ንዘተጋብኡ ኤርትራውያን ኣብ ዝከይዶ ሰሚናር ገሊጹ

    • Rodab

      Thanks for the news Truth, but…
      ሓቂ እንተሃልይዎ ኣብ ጸልማትን ብሕብእሕብእን ዘይኮነስ ብወግዒ ኣብ መራኸቢ ብዙሃን ክግለጽ ኣለዎ። ቀንዲ ከኣ ንሰብ ጓይላ ዘይኮነስ ነቲ ኣብ ውሽጢ ዝስሕና ዘሎ ህዝቢ ክሕበር ኣለዎ።

      • haileTG

        Alora Rodab,

        So, just imagine what this means:

        – Every single employee under agelglo will be demobilized and be free to seek employment anywhere. This would include travel restrictions (even menqesaqesi and giffa) would be lifted.

        – Every civil servant will be paid according to normal pay scale.

        – The whole no peace no war pretext was false

        – every one in the army and in the barracks under agelglot past 18 month is free to go….

        The regime can’t do it, not at this stage, and WILL NOT announce it in ERiTV or Shabait. That tells you that it is upto its usual mischief. Constitution, pilot housing, a home ownership to all tegadelti, 80% electricity all over the country, Ali Abdu arrived in Asmara and was seen walking the streets….ጥዕና ዘይብሉ ስርዓት’ዩ እዚ:-)

        • Rodab

          Selam Hailat.
          Yep. It is not practical at this point. Too late. But I think the exodus of people is putting huge pressure on the regime. It is becoming a PR nightmare more than anythinng else, as far as the regime’s thinking is concerned.
          Anyway we will see if the article survives the day:-) Thats one way of confirming authencity in PFDJ land.

          • Sarah Ogbay

            Dear Rodab,
            Do you think the regime cares about the exodus? Do you think the regime cares whether Eritreans die or live, or scream or shout? Think again. There is a push that is coming from somewhere- a push that intends to empty the country.

          • Rodab

            Hi Dr. Sarah,
            I agree, the regime doesn’t care about the flight of the youth. If it did, it would’ve addressed it properly. On the few occassions he was asked on the subject, PIA responded with contempt, sarcasm, as well as rude and militaristic tone. Sadly, that is the reflection of the policy and cruel treatment on the ground.
            The fact that the exodus has generated big news media’s interest is what’s haunting the regime, is what I was saying up there, if re-phrased.
            Good day!

    • Abraham Hanibal

      The Eritrean People demand nothing less than the removal of the dictatorial, corrupt PFDJ regime, and the transfer of power to the rightful owner-the Eritrean People. The PFDJ thugs may come with several hollow and misguiding promises, but they should remember that their time is out. Every REAL Eritrean ( not those who had sided by the side of the oppressors), is demanding the end of Isayas-PFDJ dictatorship. Nothing less is acceptable by the people.

      Enough is enough, get out Isayas-PFDJ. Implement our ratified constitution, release all political prisoners and prisoners of coinscience, and journalists. The Eritrean People would not rest until the day comes that the perpetrators of all the crimes against humanity in our country are brought to justice. There is nothing that can save Isayas-PFDJ now. The People have risen up, and the time of accountability is fast approaching.

  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatistas,

    Interesting debate continues on transition, institution and post IA Eritrea on the threads below. While I am following that thread, lets take a quick look at what transpired in Siad Barre’s fall in Somalia:

    The government became increasingly totalitarian, and resistance movements, supported by Ethiopia’s communist Derg administration, sprang up across the country. This eventually led in 1991 to the outbreak of the civil war, the toppling of Barre’s regime and the disbandment of the Somali National Army (SNA). Among the militia groups that led the rebellion were the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), United Somali Congress (USC), Somali National Movement (SNM) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), together with the non-violent political oppositions of the Somali Democratic Movement (SDM), the Somali Democratic Alliance (SDA) and the Somali Manifesto Group (SMG).
    Many of the opposition groups subsequently began competing for influence in the power vacuum that followed the ouster of Barre’s regime. In the south, armed factions led by USC commanders General Mohamed Farah Aidid and Ali Mahdi Mohamed, in particular, clashed as each sought to exert authority over the capital.

    Following the fall of the Somali dictator, Somali land broke away, and central state control collapsed in Mogadishu. By 2006 an Islamic movement emerged and by 2012 a further national disintegration agenda arisen (Jubaland) following Kenya’s intervention. Over two decades later, normalcy in central state restoration is taking place, but the “national” fragmentation of Somalia may take long time to resolve it self.

    The above historical lesson is very relevant in the urgency for the Eritrean opposition groups to hammer out agreements to tighten loose screws before the big bang.


    Dear Kobkkob Selam,
    Thank you for your input and I will take back the”reform part. After reading Emanuel Hidrat’s response and now yours. I came to the full realization how bad and beyond repair is the situation back home . I guess it was a wishful thinking on my part and I stillI sincerely hope if we can mitigate risk associated with the inevitable changes and avoid the further complications
    Best regards,

    • Kokhob Selam

      Thank you Saeed. Thank you for understanding. as you said we will have to be careful in handling the change. I am sure most people only see the negative side of opposition, but there is a big positive side here and that is – the real opposition is very careful so not to create mess since ever. it is actually not that difficult even before to create chaos against PFDJ. it had never been difficult to go for revenge. but what our honest elders teach us is that change is not just change if it will not replace the bad leadership with nice one. that was true advice as you can see in some countries who try to remove dictators. dictators are the result and only removing a man or the group is like cutting a leaf from the tree. it is the root that matters much. the root that creates dictator is in the mind of people and people have to wake up not to allow dictator grow. that is what is going on still. and if you see all posts you will notice that people are working hard to know and recognize where in their mind is fertilizing the poisonous tree located.fear, opportunism, narrow tendency, etc all play the role of such results and we need to work hard, we need each other more than ever today as the nation is in danger. tks.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Haw HTG;
    Sorry, I missed your comment. It’s more pragmatic, and practical and it has elements of the way I explained things, the key element being the recognition that the continuity of state function should be appreciated. Somalia’s case is different than Iraq, Tunisia and Egypt also give us good material to learn from. I brought the case of Iraq to show what a zealous newcomer could do to a state. Today, most American, and certainly world political analysts agree the dismantling of Iraq’s defense and police forces was fatal. They could outlawed Baath party and brought criminals to justice; they could renewed the defense forces by taking out elements which were loyal to Sadam, giving them new mission and restructuring them to reflect the new mission or reality, etc. Anyway, I brought that to highlight the risk one exacts when these areas are not handled carefully. I totally agree with what you said regarding rehabilitation of the institutions. I also want to remind you that I read your comments and I find you clear on the separation of state and PFDJ institutions. As you said, and I have said similar things without reading your comment on this topic (thread), all institutions which exist for the sole purpose of supporting PFDJ will cease to exist with the end of PFDJ’s rule.

    • haileTG

      Hey Mahmuday,

      I know why you missed my comment earlier. Actually, immediately after I posted it, the website went down. And it was down, I think for several hours before coming back online. However, because my posting and the site’s going down coincided within seconds (or a minute at best), disquse held up my comment as “Pending”. By then I lost all institutional control and was debating if it was worth writing it up again. Thankfully, with help of outside forces, the comment has been restored (but most likely during the small ungodly hours):-) What happened in between was that many comments that I was hopping to respond to had been advanced to the next level, and hence, I will try to make a general observation here that would touch on yours and that of other’s take.

      Be it to maintain, reform or dismantle institutions in post-IA era, in my view each argument is putting the cart before the horse. There is only one horse (that is missing in action) and several carts without a horse. And, the debate seems veering on utilizing carts and ignoring the need for the horse.

      Institutions have internal chain of commands, yet and as whole, however they are controlled by external chain of command. The key here is the fact that those in the external chain of command need legitimacy to exercise control and oversight. The internal chain of command is simply at implementation level of the services rendered through such an institution.

      Now, one’s the IA regime is out, who will have the legitimacy to call the shots? Is there discernible and cohesive successor and succession plan internally? Or externally? Legitimacy is the lone horse in my analogy above and the various “to do” preferences are the carts.

      The root cause of the problem is loss of legitimacy, and not the unpredictable case scenarios that could come into play be it in relation to institutions, defense, law and order and other deeper matters of sovereignty and territorial integrity. According to Dr Daniel Rezene, who was privy to classified information, by 1998 there were upto 8952 people in the Eritrean jails held outside of the court jurisdictions. Think how many there are now, and what the implication would be the day the truth is known. You’ve seen how the story of dejen gripped the minds of our people, multiply that by tens of thousands. The dead, those simply discarded after leading the nation’s independence, the huge death toll of the youngsters in the seas and deserts… The PFDJ itself has more than half of its leadership purged or left, the EDF is the seen of much worse rivalry a exemplified via the FORTO incident and the killings and massacre that followed. Now, the existing legitimacy is driven by brute force, how will the initial power re-alignment be played out in the wake of IA’s fall from power? Are his sympathizers be in a position to force their will, will a new group emerge (and how would it do so), or will the system auto-play and land a smooth transition?

      We really need to be aware of the grave reality we’re in. Let’s not be lulled by the facade of normalcy in a nation undergoing severe crisis situation. The downfall of the regime and the lack of a legitimate replacement is auguring for a dangerous times ahead. The UN (through the sanctions regime) had already partially lifted the arms embargo on Eritrea for peace keeping and other UN mandated intervention forces to be able to import arms to Eritrea (hence be exempt from regulations when their supplies need to reach them there). The world understands the nature of the Eritrean regime and the risk it represents after its downfall, and seems to be preparing accordingly. Do we really understand what is coming to hit us soon? IA’s regime has just been insulting UN for thieving $$$s from inducing Eritrean refugee crisis, it has been insulting the UN for ignorant financial prudence in assigning both a COI and a Rapporteur, it has been telling the UN for being a political tool; and all these at a time the nation is deeply mired in crisis. That shows you that there is no way out for the regime and it has abandoned all pretenses.

      IA will fall, but there exist no legitimate group internally or externally that is capable of maintaining full control. And without that, any talk of how institutions should fare might be a little ahead of the process.

      My initial call for institutional culture in the opposition is that I am tired of its Somalianized existence. All activities will be served better to have institutional face than that of a personal face. Right now, all groups are tied to individuals and personalities. Even the current EFND debate was much about personalities than institutional aspects that comport with the required solution to our problem. The call for institutional culture within the opposition would help answer many questions, including those of accountability raised by dawit yesterday. That argument has nothing to do in substance to service rendering institutions in Eritrea (which is a big question in itself).

      Dear Mahmuday, my entry here was supposed to give a general view point and not directed at you or any one person, so if it sounded like that, all faults are mine.


      • Mahmud Saleh

        salamat HTG, Aman Hidrat, tes
        I have to tell you by far this has been the most rewarding discussion I have had. We seem to come to similar understanding regarding the terms we use. Some of us may use terms like “dismantle…weed out…eradicate…” and some may choose terms like restructuring, reforming, rehabilitating…”, but what’s important is what we exactly mean by those terms. We all seem to mean by those terms about the same. We tend to agree that PFDJ ideology (if there is any), laws and rules it introduced in order to syphon our national resources, in order to control our people, repress dissent and the right of free expression, laws it introduce to neutralize the judicial system, to confiscate the land, to monopolize power, to plunge us in a state of fear and paranoia and place our beloved country in danger by earning it condemnation by international community, laws and decrees it introduced to elongate national service (making it akin to forced labor) must be weeded out. PFDJ-introduced corrupt culture of doing business which is oriented towards catering to the whims of one man must be dismantled, all criminal rif-rafs have to face justice. State institutions should be reformed/restructured to reflect the policies of the new government. HaileTG, I appreciate your logic of first getting the horse before we bicker what cart we should use. I did not ignore that fact. In fact, all my comments were given with that point in consideration. When I first commented, I specified to nitric, tes and Aman H, all my comments should be understood with the premise that:
        a/ the rule of PFDJ has ended (my choice has been “b” from my reply to nitric)
        b/ the influence of PFDJ has ended (this means we are in a new situation where the remnants of PFDJ in the institutions are neutralized either through apprehensions or by the sheer fact that things have changed and they have no choice but to follow the policies of the new government). So, I am ruling any PFDJ influence. Both saay, Aman H and others, including you and I have said a lot of good stuff as to what the transitional period ideally should look like. I appreciate tes detailed input in his latest comment, I also appreciate brother Aman H. concise elaboration.
        Thank you brothers.
        Sorry, we are drinking Tigre coffee and my wife is giving me, you know what I mean.

        • haileTG

          Mahmuday, ቤት በረካ፡ ቤት ሺሻይ፡ ይግበረልኩም፡ ኢልና’ለና ሻሂ እናመረቕና:-)

          I second you on the quality of debate that has been going on in this thread, many great ideas presented in a calm and respectful way…way to go awatista:-)

          As you said we tend to use many terminologies and sometimes we may be intending to say the same thing. The way I am looking at this is that with the removal of the dictator, we will be faced with two layered problem: keeping the state intact and keeping the nation intact.

          I) Keeping the state intact involves the issue at hand, i.e. how to salvage institutions. A state is rendered failed when its institutions breakdown. Some of us are saying build on what there is, some of us are saying re-organize what there is and yet others are saying fundamentally change the. Regardless of which route we take, there are overarching realities that would determine the course of action to be taken. The issue of legitimacy in this case relates to issues of whose purpose they serve, equitable access and sharing of resources and the value systems that they are built upon. Institutions under a one man dictatorship (that doesn’t actually mean literally one individual ruling it, rather decision making is differed to one person by group of “winning coalition” that work by competing against each other rather than cooperating with one another) are usually hallowed out and inherently unstable. There are undercurrents from the second layer problem that also amplify such instability and limit its functional reach.

          ii) Keeping the nation intact is another layer that involves matters that are really not essentially related to the state or its institutions but cut through restive and historical centers of divergence. The recent debate and heightened emotions on the EFND articles reflect one aspect that. Other regional, religious and ethnic issues also come under this layer. A fall out on this layer can impede progress on the first layer and fall out in the first layer can exacerbate problems in this second layer. But they are distinctive layers and shouldn’t be seen as one. The issue of legitimacy in this layer goes to the heart of the subject itself and I would readily admit that, other than an abiding desire to see a good resolution, I lack the necessary practical and conceptual know how to propose anything. We hope that the work done by the last generation in the armed struggle and the one before that in the political struggle, would guide us to recognize that our unity is a shared inheritance and something we all need to be committed to in the realization of our common dreams.

          Therefore, this is why I proposed the opposition to move into institutional dealing (at least in some basic framework that they can agree on) in order to have a test run of the problems ahead.


  • Hameed

    Chocolated tongues will not make a case truthful, but actions do. It is a general fact that even tyrants claim they are serving the truth.

  • Hameed

    Those who don’t prepare for the future doesn’t change the present.

  • Abe z Minewale

    One simple question deserve your answer? Pls. For give me for my grammar thanks to “iPhone getting help though ”
    Who are they the so called Awate team, since they are “fear less” they need to tell me who they are
    Saay was absent from the meeting last time as a result of it his vote was revoked. woooo what a democracy
    It is a power full organization. Where was I ? Day dreaming might be the answer

    • Abraham Hanibal

      I really also don’t know who the Awate Team are. But I can make a guess from the information available at the web-site. If you see on the web-page there are six main headings: Perspective, Negarit, AlNahda, Tebeges, Pointblank, and U-turn. And if you delve into each of these headings, the contributions there are only by one person.
      Perspective: Semere T. Habtemariam
      Negarit: Saleh G. Johar
      AlNahda: Saleh Younis
      Tebeges: Amanuel Hidrat
      Ponitblank: Ismail Omer Ali
      U-Turn: Ali Salim
      From this observation I would guess that the Awate Team should comprise of these contributors? May be Awate Team themselves could tell us, so that we avoid guessing and know who we are adressing to when we write our comments?

  • Abraham Hanibal

    There is only one way the suffering Eritrean people can win against the Isayas tyranny. Eritreans need to form a united front against dictatorship. The main agenda of the opposition should be the removal of the corrupt and oppressive Isayas regime. We’ve to suspend all minor and silly disagreements between us in order to focus on the main and emergency issue of saving our People and youth from disintegration. Above all, we’ve to uphold the promise that our martyres passed on us to form a democratic, and just society in our country.

    1) All forces of change in the diaspora should convene an international conference that would discuss how to better organise the Eritrean People to stand up against tyranny.

    2) Forces of change in the diaspora should coordinate with those inside the country and try to organise members of the Eritrean defense forces to help in an eventual popular uprising.

    3) We’ve to alienate the PFDJ regime by boycotting its diplomatic, political, social, and economic activities.

    4) We’ve to work hard to expose all the human rights abuses of the regime, and bring them to the UN Human Rights Council.

    • haileTG

      Selamat Abraham,

      I think the points you’ve outlined above are generally accepted and called for by many too. What seems to be slowing the process is however, the nature of the difficulty we face. We know the regime is source of the oppression and only itself and select few stand to benefit from such oppression. They benefit by controlling power, resource and means of production (including labor). But who are the agents of such oppression? Who actually carry out the physical act of oppression? Here lies the problem. The people are co-opted to be agents of their own oppression. Do the prison guards holding innocent PFDJ victims behind bars directly benefit from the act? Do many people who toil to propagate PFDJ propaganda in public forums directly benefit from the result of their acts? Do every individual collaborating in mekhete and regime festivals directly benefit from the results of its acts? Clearly not. So, how do they end up being co-opted to act as agents of their own oppression which is basically set up to benefit their oppressor and not them?

      Well, there are four pillars to it, i.e. misinformation, inducing fear, traits of intransigence and phantom sense of threat. Each pillar encompasses many aspects to it, for example the misinformation pillar includes a whole host of issues as 03 rumor mill, complex preference falsification, media utilization…. likewise the fear induction pillar is complex and includes everything from immediate threat to perceived long consequences of not cooperating or forced silence. The simplest is the susceptible traits that we have that include things like declaring knowledge when one doesn’t have it, refusing to abandon discredited way of doing things simply to appear tough or “committed”, abandoning principle for expediency, friendships and fitting in and the likes. The phantom sense of threat is typically linked to Ethiopia and that is probably the easiest and cheapest way to play the mind of Eritreans with because they have a long and bitter history of armed struggle with Ethiopia. No wonder that the PFDJ quickly brands any opposition to its slavery agenda as Ethiopian.

      Hence, the key challenge is how do one win the war against an oppressor that tampers with the victims mind to render some to be blind to their condition and serve as agents of their own demise. This is perhaps why the regime is so weakened to even organize a 1000 signature petition at this time while it is hammered from every angle, so weakened to even organize the marches it use to brag about, so weakened and isolated that even a recent news about the Nevsun lawsuit report quotes it as : ” Co-counsel for the plaintiffs Dimitri Lascaris said: “In my view, the mere act of doing business with a government that is as reprehensible as Eritrea’s is morally repugnant.”, the opposition have swollen so big to the point that Asmara based opposition are calling VOA and BBC to denounce the regime, yet it seems to take longer than needed to uproot the regime. I am not discounting the internal leadership crisis of the opposition either. But, had the four pillars holding the people in bondage were to come off and people were to rise up, the facts on the ground would have changed and the opposition leadership’s internal stand off would have theirs and theirs only loss.

      So, the $1 million question is how do you inspire people not to be agents of their own oppressor’s oppressing agenda.


      • Abraham Hanibal

        Hi Haile TG,

        I see that you’ve come with important aspects of the challengs facing Eritreans in their struggle for a change to the better. I believe there are also other dimensions to the shortcommings of Eritreans in facing the Isayas-PFDJ dictatorship: in my view the young Eritrean generation which is fleeing the regime, and a good portion of the Eritrean people in general is lacking the political maturity and far-sightedness. They’ve to disconnect the false relationship that they are preached to believe, namely Isayas is the PFDJ, and the PFDJ is the people. They’ve to be able to see beyond these false assumptions and put themselves in the forefront, they’ve to believe that the Eritrean people have every right and strength to build an inclusive and capable government.

        The opposition groups have so far failed to come up with a unified vision and strategy to save the Eritrean people from the ultimate doom. They’ve not been able to present to the Eritrean people a clear alternative to the current regime. They’ve to come out of that old grudge and rivalry between the diffent splinter groups of the ELF on one side, and the EPLF on the other side. Each and everyone of us should believe on the basic democratic principle that the Eritrean people is the only one with the right to name and shame its leaders. In addition to this we need to break out of our crippling narrow ideas of regionalism, ethnicity or religious affiliations, and work for a national grand agenda. Our own history tells us that it was because we worked in unison, irrespective of region, ethnicity or religion that we won against the Dergue-which once had sub-saharan Africa’s largest and best equiped army. At this time of emergency every member in the opposition should have as a goal of how to remove the tyranny, save the youth from disappearance and create a groundwork for the democratization of Eritrea. We’ve to increase our organizational capabilities: we need many Derue’s and Sherifo’s to educate, and increase the political awareness of the people.
        Victory to the Eritrean People!

        • Mahmud Saleh

          Abraham and Haile TG;
          Keep going please, great discussion.

        • haileTG

          Selamat Abraham, Beyan, Mahmuday and all…

          Abraham: what you said here is very valid and I have hardly anything to take away from (except add one more angle to it that I hope would strengthen those points you’ve already identified). You said:

          “At this time of emergency every member in the opposition should have as a goal of how to remove the tyranny, save the youth from disappearance and create a groundwork for the democratization of Eritrea.”

          Now, I was to be granted one wish in that I was to be told to chose ONE single attribute of the Ghedli era struggle (it could be focus, dedication, unity…) and that would be recreated in the current struggle, what would you think I chose? Remember, it is only ONE attribute that I can choose and nothing more:) Well, I would choose the “Selflessness” the struggling masses to their cause! You see, the struggling mass’ selflessness in service of the cause at that time was, in my view, the all powerful driving engine of the movement it self. In hindsight, many question the wisdom of the blank cheque disposition that was adopted, but hey, it did a miracle, didn’t it? In the current times, we have clear goals as the one you have captured in your remark I quoted above, but when it comes to “single-minded” and “selfless” commitment to that goal, we’ve failed miserably. We tie in many sub-national, ultra-national, partisan, individual… interests as a saddle on horse’s back to it. Such is perhaps where our greatest weakness occurs. We all agree on which horse to ride but differ on what type of saddle to use and in whose waist size to should be made to fit. Since, selfless means unconditional, its realization can only happen when the “partisan, individual and other conditionals” are removed.

          Beyan: your interjection is most welcome, and you have given me an opportunity to introduce something that I planned to present in my later writings, here it follows.

          As you would hopefully agree, one of the most dangerous attribute of the nation (from the perspective of the desired change) is its de-institutionalizing the state’s control mechanisms. I explained such to be out of necessity for the dictatorship. Because, institution building is a fundamental threat to a personalistic dictatorship. Basically, one is the anti-thesis of the other. Now, here comes a surprising reality, one would expect the struggle for change to mirror the opposite trend (i.e institutionalization). Well, to our surprise, actually the opposition camp shares similar traits of de-institutionalization much like the regime itself, albeit for different reasons. Let me give some practical examples before I lose your interest due to an excessive theorizing:) there is no coherent media institution that relay the message of the cause to the masses, there is no financial institution (except A-Z paypal accounts) that could reflect the combined net worth of the opposition, there are no institutions of cultural and community outreach, no institutions conflict resolution, no institutions of external relationships, no institutions of legal discourses, no institutions of humanitarian and relief projects….none what so ever!! The institutions are the outward face and internal vital components of the cohesive systems they run. Even though both of the regime and its opposition move away from institutionalizing, the key difference is that for the former (regime) it serves its interests and for the latter (opposition) undermines its immediate objectives and broader and long term goals. Incidentally, the whole accusation that the “opposition failed to provide a clear alternative”, really boils down to the fact that it is rendered non-viable due to its failure to project the true image of its combined strength via strong institutional assets. Institutionalizing by its very nature is a homogenizing process in vital components (not necessary in individual view points and tendencies). Hence, the biggest risk factor of post-regime Eritrea is loss of state control due to the regime’s inherent tendency to undermine institutions and the strategic challenge for opposition leadership is to steer the struggle in the right direction in that respect. Their inability to work together may be only (naively) looked from point of view of its short term implications, but in view of the complex and multi-layered challenges (loss of “state control” and “loss of nation defining cohesion”) that await us in the wake of the fall of the dictator, it has far deeper strategic implications.


          • Bayan Nagash

            merHaba Abraham, Haile TG, Mahmud, and All,

            I must say how the substance of your message does not get compromised by the lightning speed with which you respond, which I find amazingly rare talent – not even a typo, I envy you man!

            I see how you effectively incorporated Dr. Natasha Ezrow’s (TedxTalk) link that you availed in this thread on the ABC’s of dictatorship – too bad the good doctor does not use Isayas as an example as he was a perfect fit with the parts of dictators who undermine and weaken institutions to which you speak of in the piece you just availed. Indeed, the monumental challenge post-Isayas Eritrea will be reconstructing and building institutions. The hallmark of American and Western type of democracy has been in their dogged and relentless attempt to build institutions of myriad types. For example, civic minded children are nurtured to acquire the needed trait in the schools as I see it firsthand with my
            children in how their unassuming approach to life when they question anything
            and every action I take is peppered with curiosity and question like this are
            not uncommon: “daddy why did you this? How come you didn’t do it this way or
            that way?” Such questioning mind comes from educational institution, an
            institution that is solely there to offer personal agency for a kid to appropriate
            and utilize such to his/her developing mind.

            Of course, juxtaposed to citizenship gained in school environment the child also makes visible transitioning from the conversational language that is learned at home to academic language that is systematically inculcated throughout the intervening twelve years in which parents are mandated to take their children to school.

            Such socially constructed institutions provide a lifelong citizenship endeavors
            that a child would otherwise be hard pressed to acquire. While parents may
            teach a child their family values, traditions, religious beliefs, what have
            you, the educational institutions serve as an antidote that give children the
            required agency to question those values – this I find quite inspiring. I
            marvel when my eight year old quickly retorts to challenge our unquestioned
            assumptions, assumptions for one reason or another my wife and I have taken as a given. When something like that happens is when I know the educational
            institution is doing its job – I love it! But, of course, that’s neither here
            nor there for the purposes of the subject at hand other than to support your
            contention about building institutions of myriad sorts, that will be the only
            way a nation could make meaningful transition.

            Such transition, however, cannot be made anymore by the kinds of selflessness of individual tegadelti who had shown us during the pre-independence era – that was a force and a dynamic that should be held at an idealism of stratosphere proportions that is uniquely applicable for that unique epoch. What must happen now is what Dr. Okbazghi had suggested in the Diaspora’s civic organizations front. He states,

            “We envision the recreation of four regional civic associations, namely, Eritreans for Democracy and Human Rights in North America; Eritreans for Democracy and Human rights in Europe; Eritreans for Democracy and Human Rights in Africa and the Middle East; and Eritreans for Democracy and Human Rights in Australia. These regional associations may com together under a worldwide federation as International Society of Eritreans for Democracy and Human Rights for purposes of amplifying their collective voices, enhancing their international visibility and coordinating their activity; this is only a desirable objective but not a necessary condition. It is worthy to note that the overarching mission of these organizations is to promote and defend democratic and human rights in Eritrea by creating pressure points to which any [opposition] political entity must respond if it seeks to gain legitimacy and support from the Eritrean people for its program.”

            These kinds of challenges from civic groups are what will help bring robust opposition groups accountable to their constituents, who must show discipline, rigor, ingenuity, and creativity to bring about the much needed political change in Eritrea and the civic organizations will follow them every step of the way to keep them on their toes so as they may function efficiently, reliably, and accountably. Allow me to let Dr. Okbazghi do the talking as he captures the essence and the spirit in which I am beginning to participate in social and political activism:

            “One of the few things that we learn from history is that crisis situations almost always bring with them a season of paranoia in which a large number of individuals and groups surrender all trust in each other; mistakes, dissent, and differences are taken for treason. The use of sweeping pejorative labels brings forth raw and rancorous emotions during this melancholy time that obstructs constructive dialogue. Interpersonal or political animosities and mistaking hesitation for rejection raise a wall of separation between those who
            differ in political sentiments, thereby transforming past resentments and
            present frustrations into mutual recriminations. Thus, crisis situations can
            make or break genuine political movements.”

            What you and Abraham are bringing forth is a way to avert the potential chaos that may ensue during transitional phase. Whether one calls it transitional phase or crisis situation, it is a situation that must, by necessity, be handled very carefully as the good doctor stipulates it in the following:

            “During crisis situations, external markers of identity such as kinship,
            ethnicity, race, religion and region in particular become convenient fallback
            strategies for those who seek to advance their personal interests and ambitions
            under the guise of advancing the cause and interests of some groups they
            purport to speak for or represent. Their personal self-serving convictions,
            self-serving political considerations and their dwelling on the surface of
            things, as well as the degradation of their morals, the outright repudiation of collaborative endeavors and the constant vilification of their opponents unavoidably result in formidable contradictions and tangles that require unprecedented efforts to fight.”


          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Bayan,

            First of all I would like to thank for the way(forward discussion going on here between Haile TG, Abrahal H and you.

            What I would like to ask you some questiosn. You pointed out the envision put by Dr. Okbazghi on the recreation of civic societies networks. My questions:

            1. Is there any survey done so far on how many civic organizations exist in the sociol atmosphere of diaspora based Eritreans?

            2. Is there any research done on the impacts generated from the presence and death of such organizations?

            3. There are a number of civic organisations that are working hard in the sector of Human rights. We can take one typical example which is very active in the socio-dynamics of human rights movement such as Human Rights Concern Eritrea founded and lead by Elsa Chyrum. Is there any envision outlined in strengthening such movements?

            4. According to EFND’s conference memorandum of understanding, what is the status of such civic societies? Is there any plan to bring such organisations in a round table discussions so that a collaborated working environment can also be searched out?


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hi Tes,
            We have the list of the civic organisations at hand. But that doesn’t mean those which are not in the list will not be added to the equation. The question is, are we going to agree on the structural formula envisioned by EFND? Which means forming the umbrella of the four regional civic movement. Once we agreed on the structure, the how question is easy and answerable question.

            Your second question on the continuity of the existing civic organization after the demise of the regime will be depend on the plan of each civic organization. There are three scenario before them (a) to continue as civic organization/advocacy on certain issues that matters them (b) They can transform in to political organizations (c) They can dissolve their organization being their mission to “dislodge the regime only” from governing Eritrea is attained.

            Your third question is pertinent to the various civic organizations be it political advocacy, or human right advocacy and especially how to strengthen or cooperate in order to be effective. Again if we agree on the structure as envisioned by EFND, we will identify all civic organization and categorize them by the nature of their advocacy. Then we will structure them to be effective in their advocacy while both category coordinating their common mission. Even as we speak there are co-operations between certain human right advocacy organizations and political civil right advocacy organizations. For instances, EGS and “Human right concern by ELSA” cooperate in many areas of activities.

            Your fourth question is whether EFND could help them these diverse civic organizations to work in collaborated way. This is part of the mission of EFND, and ” the memorandum of understanding” is the document of understanding of those organizations from the first conference of its kind.

            Last but not least, this view is my personal view not EFND’s view. I am not flashing out from what will come from the EFND intended internal work project.
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Bayan Nagash

            Amanuel, thanks for providing the overview on how you see matters from personal angle. Tes, I hope that satisfies your questions. Your boundless curiosity will definitely be one of the rare assets that will serve you well in any endeavors that you will put your hands on. Unlike that of Nitricc, some of whose questions belong to the hall of shame, questions that are not meant to be taken seriously. He has his bright moments, but this is definitely not one of them. The time for Isays’s Kingdom has been dashed – he probably would’ve done it when he was at the height of his ‘angel-hood’; highest pedestal that any breathing human could’ve been placed, soon after independence – i.e., before he turned into the monster that he has become.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Amanuel H., and Bayan Nagash

            Thank you for your reply. I am happy that you clarified some of the questions very well but not all. May be they are not clear. Anyhow, I will try to make them more clear:

            First of all I would like to express my view of understanding on EFND. What I have in my mind about EFND is that it is plat-form that is intended to bring different forces together solely for a round-table discussion and hence by to enhance who is who and what works what and then after it might be easy each actor to create a working environment for the common goal by utilizing the limited resources available.

            I see these different socio-political actors in the Eritrean atmosphere in a triangular form.

            1. Who are they? – This is what you have replied to me by saying, “We have the list of the civic organisations at hand. But that doesn’t mean those which are not in the list will not be added to the equation” which is very good.

            2. What is each society’s objective, mission, goals and visions as well as their strategies, programs and projects. This qeustion might be hard but this what I am also asking about. Knowing this can help who is who.

            3. Their Economic Infrastracture: What I mean here is,

            a. Their human resources B. Material resources (finance and capital) C. Means of Outreach or communication d. Working climate e. Their physical infrastracture

            Having this as a general survey guide lines, we can introduce clustering system (at least theoretically) and thereby envision their future perspective.

            Again I am talking on this aspect because those who initiate this program are well capable in doing it (incuding you of course). In fact this is where exacly lies the role of the Eritrean Intellectuals.

            My stay in Europe has helped me to understand how new organisations can easily be coceived and be born with names that can be listed as one. Once registered, every licenced organisation, especially civic organization has some amount of budget allocated by the hosting state (I have no idea whether this is uniform across each state or continent). Some say, about 20,000 euros can be allocated as an annual budget. This is encouraging many new civic societies just to emerge. I have a first hand experience with this and I may share it if needed how we managed it in such away that we didn’t end up as separate but united with another exisiting organization. Actually, we did a strong debate and very hot to make a final decision that shaped in that way.

            Therefore, my first question is not about how to form an umbrella organization but on the existing one. I am afraid to say but today civic socieites are business centers for some opportunists. We need to take lessons. And at the same time, since such civic socities are already in existence, trying to forge them is fighting against their business activities. Wisdom is needed to handle them.

            Your response to my second question is not relevant. What I am asking is their impact. Of course impact can be future or past. But, here, I am talking on their past or exisiting impacts. For example, Abba Mussie Zeray runs an organization which is very active in helping refugees while crossing the mediteranean sea. And there are other organizations that offer help to Eritrean refugees living in Sudan and very recently a help directed to our people who were in need of help in Yemen. Assena Foundation, Arbi Harnet, etc can also be grouped under civic societies. Others are also exist in Australia, Middle East and so on. The list is enormous to hande but scientifically it is not that much difficult to make research.

            You have discussed on their future life. I think EFND mission is not upto that much. You put, “Again if we agree on the structure as envisioned by EFND, we will identify all civic organization and categorize them by the nature of their advocacy.” This view of yours can be the weakest one. If EFND is going to form a structure so that each group can fit into it, I am afraid again more complications may arrise. EFND has no political power and can not offer any structure to the existing one. It can encourage all the organizations to come and discuss on who is who and then if there is over-lapping of objectives, missions, golas and visions and their means to attain that (strategy, programs and projects), a comparative advantage analysis can be done so that efficiency can be maximized. Let’s not forget what is the motivating factor to the birth of such big civic societies.

            My points here might not be true and if anyone feels that I did a mistake feel free to correct me. Most of what I said here are purely observation based not research based and can be subjected to errors or mistakes.

            I would kindly again ask both of you for more clarification.

            Hawkum tes

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Tes,

            Sorry you always mix issues. Better for you to ask for more clarifications. In any case if you read our proposals there are recommendations in it, from forming regional civic associations, such as “Eritreans for Democracy and Human Rights in North America; Eritreans for Democracy and Human rights in Europe; Eritreans for Democracy and Human Rights in Africa and the Middle East; and Eritreans for Democracy and Human Rights in Australia” to how how the democratic transitions should be framed, if all the stakeholders found it acceptable by the way. Those two scenarios are structural proposals. I will advice you to go and re-read it. EFND as a facilitators can suggest or recommend “ideas and structural functions” that could be workable to them. But again suggestion is suggestion and recommendation is recommendation. It is not take it or leave it. If other ideas come from anywhere to bring them to work together EFND will heed it until they start to function together. In other words, EFND find its way to to facilitate the idea they agreed upon. Remember the mission to make them work together for the current struggle as well as to chart for future accommodative democratic transitions. That is all. Second you ask questions that doesn’t take in to account the facilitating stage we are in (we are at early stage). So Tes move with the stage, for we can’t answer ahead for the next stage, b/c we don’t know how will it evolve and what shape the evolvement will take. At this juncture just understand the over all mission of EFND. As to the details time will tell us depending how the stakeholders respond to the time pressing realities of our nation.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Amanuel H.,

            Thank you once more. And as you suggest, I will keep reading and an eye on the developments.

            But allow me one more question:

            I agree on the definition of suggestions and recommendations. But I want to know more in how you passed the suggestions or recommendations. I think, research is the base for putting such points. I am asking if there is any research done so far to pass such suggestions and recommendations? I mean, is there any preliminary survey that can be a fertile ground for forming such regional civic societies?

            For the questions that are not on time, ok, let them stay as they are and hopefully for the future they will be anszered.

            I am asking for details actually believing that there is complete transparency in your working system.


            + Regarding the reading brother Amanuel H., I read it. Rest assured for that (trust people dear Amanuel for their reading ability. Insisting one to read might sound something different). I do read always line by line, just to emphasis it.

          • Nitricc

            Beyan, after PIA runs its course, we need a benevolent dictator to lead for four years who can ride the ship and set the democratic journey. I know many people will disagree with me, but dictatorship is not bad for Africa. For instance, I don’t mind if PIA has to rule many more years to come, but when you throw people in prison as you wish and there no rule of law, that where I have a problem. Therefore, if things to be done the right way, then we are done with dictatorship; YET.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Well articulated. It shows you are more interested in keeping the nation running than to keep PFDJ thriving. But we can do it without a benevolent dictator if we do it the right way. Nitrickay, no more dictator after all this. But your fear is justified and it needs to be addressed by those who plan to succeed PIA regime. Your fear could be addressed through utilizing multiple approaches.
            * campaign for a change driven by domestic forces. In that case, the state apparatus will continue functioning, and services will continue being delivered. Only the political essence of the state will change. All service-delivering state departments are instruments of enforcing the policy of the government at a given time. Since their nature is that of delivering services and not competing for political power, they could be attuned to a new reality. If the government’s political nature changes, they will still keep doing their functions albeit they will now be subordinates to the new government. All criminal elements within those apparatuses could face justice, but the ministries, departments and agencies could be restructured to suit the new direction the nation chooses to take. What happened in Iraq is an example that we should note. Americans were doped by elements who were anti-assertive Arab nationalism (pro-Israel folks like Paul Wolfewitz),they dismantled Iraq’s formidable defense forces and its bureaucratic apparatuses in search of a clientele state. That de-baathification drive cost Iraq hundreds of thousands of casualties, it has shaken the basis of its unity, and its future is not yet known. You’ve seen America-trained and armed Iraqi army abandoning its state-of-the-art weapons to a ragtag fanatic group taunting AK-47 and poisonous zeal. The point: don’t mess with state functions unless you are absolutely sure you have better prepared ones which could assume the resumption of services the hour you take power. Even EPRDF and EPLF did not dismantle Durg- built state functions. They absorbed them; they re-structured them; and they made their business roles, ethics and effectiveness were compatible with the new policies of the new governments
            *2 on the political front; you have four scenarios
            a. the volcano scenario where someone someday will control the state.either in a democratic or undemocratic coup. What follows is out of our control.
            b. The soft landing: Where those officers get enough time and space to refine their steps, probably backed by a political consortium which could compromise domestic and diaspora forces (could go along saay’s proposal), pay close attention to this, I will come back to it.
            c.Sudden state implosion: Where the nation could go through a brief period of confusion:the risk is that the nation will be engulfed with uncertainty as to what the eventuality could be.A short period of clashes may ensue due to the fact that there hasn’t been a space for discussion in order to avoid such expected events (due to repressive policies of PFDJ).
            d. A change that results from the impact of an armed political force which aims at dismantling state apparatus: that’s clearly done by forces residing outside the country and their supporters. God knows what the consequences could be, but I don’t trust revolutionaries any more.
            So, what should we do to avoid the chance that we settle for a benevolent dictator? Keep encouraging political forces to dialogue until such time we have a coalesced political force which could capture (attract) the remaining forces of chaotic ideas and proposals resulting in creating a relative consensus. That would mean there is consensus on what to do the day after PFDJ, and it would mean state function would continue functioning, which takes us to choice number “b”.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Mahmuday,

            I have read a very critical point in your statment. You said, “Even EPRDF and EPLF did not dismantle Durg- built state functions. They absorbed them; they re-structured them; and they made their business roles, ethics and effectiveness were compatible with the new policies of the new governments.”

            Well, well, well! Mahmuday. This is what we are fighting for. If EPLF and EPRDF contuined to run under the Derg-built state funtions, it is only because all are working under the same ideology. Because of this, we are back to full dictatorship.

            Dear Mahmuday, just think about this. I am disappointed to read this from you. Totally disappointed. We can not teach people who are living in FEAR in this way. Come and show us your wisdom. I appreciate your fighting spirit but I equally reject your EPLF ideology.

            Had EPLF and EPRDF were courageous enough to dismantle the Derg-built instititions, we could not have suffered now. All the system that is working now is the left-out of of Derg and with increasing worsening situation.

            What you brought about Iraq is good point but your conception is not as I expected. Eritrea needs a government and the government will need all functional structures to make the country run. Now, we don’t have a government, we have a regime, a dictatorial system., the same as in Iraq, Libya and Ethiopia under Derg and even now.

            Hailessilasse was much wiser in this regard. He established a working government and his government was destroyed by Derg. In Eritrea, we established a government (not to its full scale but need to be acknowledged) in the 1952-1962. Then the Eritrean government was destroyed by Hailessilassie. EPLF and the PFDJ inherited a destroyed government system and they destroyed it further.

            Dear Mahmuday, your wisdom is much greater than I can describe but when I read such lines in between I feel dissappointed at you.

            On my view, I have replied to Abraham H., and I would like to spare sometime to read my view on the transition period. Dismantlement is not about buildings, it is the software. We need to install a new software by formating the existing legacies of Derg and PFDJ.

            On EPLF, I have a different take as I believe that EPLF ended its history in 1994.


          • Tesfabirhan WR

            On the destruction;

            Eritrean government was destroyed by Ethiopian government (A government that was established by Hailessilasse).

            Ethiopian government was destroyed by Derg. EPRDF inherited a destroyed government and continued to run the already destroyed government. Thanks to PMMZ, after 20 years struggle, he almost succeeded in re-establsihing some parts of functional working government system.

            Eritrea was almost nearlly destroyed by Derg. EPLF inherited a destroyed country. EPLF succeeded in establishing a transitional government. This transitional government was totally destroyed by PFDJ. Today, we have a country of these three phases, a government destroyed by Hailessilassie, a country destroyed by Derg and a transitional government destroyed by PFDJ.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Salam tes;
            I am not sure what makes you disappointed. This is my personal view (don’t worry, I haven’t yet thought of forming an organization, just kidding). You would agree with me that disappointments are part and parcels of discussions; I will write my comment with the caveat that:
            1. I assume you mean “policies” when you say software. And we know policies are reflective of the political platform/program that the new rulers are going to present. With change of PFDJ, it’s obvious the soft ware is changed.
            2. I also assume that government and state are two different concepts. Government is temporal while state is constant. In addition, I assume that state apparatus and functions are defined by the government in place. Furthermore, we agree that government size could shrink or expand depending on the programs/ goals of the executive branch by following constitutional guidelines (in this case, the interim covenant). In some countries the executive branch structure is more rigid or static and in others it is more malleable where it’s easy to form, dissolve or merge departments and/or agencies. Follow me, I am not talking about ideological foundation and its institutions, I am talking about service rendering professional departments which are crucial for the continuity of functions of the state. It would be a reckless pretense of me to agree with the tune of dismantling state apparatus not directly related to the life of PFDJ without making sure I have better prepared institutions which could assume the resumption of services the hour the new government assumes power. That’s what I said in my initial comment. I am more interested in seeing the country transition with its statehood intact than dismantling the organs of state simply because I fear that whatever PFDJ had erected could be potential for the resurrection of PFDJ-like government. I gave you the example of Iraq to make that point. This is from my belief that:
            a/ the majority of Eritreans don’t belong to PFDJ, they are victims
            b/ it will be Eritreans inside who will decide what type of government and how to erect it;unless we are going to impose our own whims upon them. Let’s first work for the realization of that moment. Diasporas will be guests to the pleasure of Eritreans inside. My thoughts revolve around the fact that Eritreans inside the country who are bearing the brunt of the situation are the ones who should decide the fate of all political forces, including PFDJ. We can’t frankly taunt ideas of dismantling PFDJ without first figuring out how to dismantle ideas that’s threatening diaspora opposition existence and credibility. We need to be honest with ourselves. Dismantling needs dismantle-rs.
            c/ diaspora struggle is to give tools and inertia to forces inside the country. If we act humbly, without trying to impose our understandings of what a government should look like, if we strive to establish a unified front, it will give them hope and momentum. In that case Diaspora forces could join hands with the main domestic force ( choice b in my reply to nitrickay).
            You seem to be fixated with ideology. And I know you will tell me PFDJ could be described by studying North Korea. As we know there is no “pure” ideology. Parties of the country you reside in follow a less stringent form of capitalism, where the state has strong role and wider domain of functions. Scandinavian countries may not be communists but they are more socialist than USA, etc. In the communist countries, you see those variances. In some they may follow mixed economy, like what PFDJ charter called for, others may be liberating their economies while holding tight into political power. North Korea is different, in that, its socialist path was founded on an ideological concrete of Confucian tradition mixed with elements of socialist programs. Of course, part of the Confucian tradition is conformity to authority. Weather North Korea accurately defines PFDJ or not is another topic (you’ve contributed to shed light on this through your articles, thanks).
            I think, what is needed in Eritrea is the commence of a process. Once the process begins, forces which act as political center of gravity will decide the fate through their sheer weight. The majority will rally around them. To me, it seems possible dismantling PFDJ policies, politics and culture along with those assets and institutions that nurture the reason of existence of the regime without harming the state. But we should be careful not to advocate for the dismantling of state apparatus. I could comment on your statement regarding Derg/EPLF, but I don’t think it will add any value. Again the main point is: if you are going for dismantling the old state institutions, make sure you have better prepared organs of state before you even fathom dismantling them. I have to repeat: I am not talking about PFDJ or its instrumental institutions, but about government service-rendering departments.
            I would ask you to :
            1. describe what dismantling means to you
            2. tell me how you do it
            3. enlighten me how you run the government in that interim period of dismantling previous institutions of state. I know, you surely know how arduous it’s building state functionary apparatus.
            Your uncle.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Mahmuday,

            Your assumptions (1&2)are right and I agree on the way you defined them. I agree also on what you outlined about the parts that we are talking to dismantle.

            Regarding the state, we are fighting to have a strong state and the opposite is unbearable. I agree also your definition of government. In democratic states, government is temporary and its term ends when the majority who holds the power steps down. What will stay constant is the state apparatus as you said. But for this, do we have a constitution? I think, constitution is above any government but not above the people.The people sets a constitution and the constitution guides the government.

            A state has four major duties: To give justice (rule of law), to protect(security), to provide well-being (education, health and food security) and sustain for the future. These are the major pillars and all are binded on agreed consensus of its own people. All ministries and administration systems exists to provide these pillars.

            Then, I would like to ask you if PFDJ is able to establish such institutions?

            As citizens, do we have justice?
            As citizens, ae we secured? As citizens, do we have education that serves us, health provision that we demand, food that we need?
            As citizens, are we sustaining to continue for the future?

            If your answers are right, I will just say, ok, as you say. But the truth is what we see. Therefore, which state-function apparatus are we going to maintain?

            Let’s not be misguided by the names dear Mahmuday. I am not talking about minsitry of education, defence, justice, bla bla. I am talking about the essence, the meaning, the service they render.

            Second, dismantlement is not a one day process. It is a continues process. And it is not physical but the software that we agreed upon. Not only the software that is injected into the mindset of every citizen but also on the state functional apparatus. We need a country that gives justice, security, well-being and sastainability and the people should have full power to do it not the government.

            You preferred to skip the main points that I was disappointed at and I will wait until you give it due attention. I may point out our political perspective may differ from that perspective. The rest is just an academic exhaustion.


          • Mahmud Saleh

            salam tes;

            * I am assuming we both understand we are talking about a new era, an era of new political reality. I also presume both of us understand there is some sort of interim constitution, a legislative body (it could be provisional council (bayto) or any name) with a limited term whose legal existence transforms the country to a constitutional democracy. What do you do in that period? Do you dismantle the institutions of state and start from a clean slate? Is it possible? Remember, I am talking about a transition that takes place mainly facilitated by domestic forces. If it’s a rebellion brought change, then the country is under the mercy of the new “liberators.” That’s not my choice, because there is no guarantee that another PFDJ and PIA are not going to reign over the nation? So, I am specifically talking about a change that’s facilitated by domestic forces. It should be left for that political dynamism. If they want to dismantle, let it be; if they want to reform (same like you saying changing soft ware), that fine.

            * I think the question of whether the current government is rendering service or not could be answered in million ways by million persons. It all depends on what you mean by services and your expectation of how good/effective those services should be. But the fact that there are functioning organs could not be denied. I believe we should not settle for this type of governance, we could do much better; PFDJ has cost the nation dearly. It needs to go. I have elaborated on what I mean by the continuity of government functions, which is my concern, and why I feel so in my answers to you and nitricc. As I understand it, you are concerned that a PFDJ-like political current may take hold if we don’t dismantle PFDJ institutions. I am concerned too.If it is a PFDJ-lke situation then it’s not change. I am talking about a situation where:

            a/ the rule of PFDJ ends

            b/ the influence of PFDJ is neutralized

            I see PFDJ as PIA’s personal instrumentation of injustice. PFDJ has no reason of existence after the rule of PIA. It has no structural or ideological life-support outside the person of Issayas.
            The main factor that binds both of us is the fact that we understand PFDJ or PFDJ-like political rule must end. The rest, which is a question of how to proceed, should be addressed by appropriately mandated representatives of Eritreans inside the country and in Diaspora. As a citizen, I have presented my vision in several comments. I don’t believe we are that far apart.
            Now little bro. I would like to read your answers to these questions which I hoped you would answer in my previous reply;.

            1. describe what dismantling means to you
            2. tell me how you do it
            3. enlighten me how you run the government in that interim period of dismantling previous institutions of state. I know, you surely know how arduous it’s building state functionary apparatus

            Thanks tes.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Mahmuday,

            I think we agreed on the definition of dismantlement. haileTG elaborated them in detail and you agreed on the way he explained. Brother Amanuel Hidrat also explained what dismantlement is and you agreed up on. Hence, I am not going to go further on explaning on the already explained issue just for the sake of redundancy.

            Concerning what will sustain what, once a new software is installed many PFDJ set institutions will stop functioning. For example, I don’t know how true it is but I heard that in the early days of independence, DIA went for an opening ceremony of a prison center in Adi-Kuala. The center was opened to serve as a rehabilitation center of the criminals leftouts of Derg Era. Instead of wishing for an immediate closing of the prison center, he daresay for the need of such centers more and more as the crimes will continue.

            This is the mentality that we are talking about. Because of PFDJ at these time there are thousands of criminals living inside or abroad. We have two choices, to expand the prison centers (as DIA did) or handle issues in a new way that justifies “Rule of Law.”

            We have schools like Sawa whose sole purpose is to brainwash youths and enslave them for the rest of their life.

            We have defense force which is ready always for war and each member within the defense force is trained to be a killer not a peace builder.

            We have economic institutions which are solely dependent on slave labour.

            We have NUEYS with a sole purpose of cultivating youths and students to be a true adherents of slavery.

            We have NUEW whose sole purpose is to bring women as “koboro junkies”

            We have police institution serving as a warehouse for Eritreans.

            We have a court houses whose sole purpose is to facilitate “family divorce”.

            We have higher educational system whose sole purpose is to train citizens to be active slaves not thinkers. The list goes on…

            Concerning how to deal with the transition, I think this is what we are trying to discuss now. I have discribed my take before and I will repeat them now:

            1. Build a technocratic force

            2. Outline a working strategic paper.

            3. Build the financial capacity of the technocratic forces. This can be done in a nulber of ways such as taking a loan from African Union Development bank, or Arab Countries, or EU, or UNDP, or WTO, or US, or Asian Development banks. This will help the financial back-ups that the opposition camp is suffering from. This will help in a complete freedom of running the country for a definite period of time. And the world is fien in helping the transition period.

            4. Giving a virtual power to the freezed National Assembly that exist in Eritrea. Here no outside National Assembly should be imposed like what the National Assembly Ethiopia based or anywhere else is trying to prepare.

            5. With the help of International community, a financial traceability task force should be formed so that all financial footprints will be detected and kept under the custody of international financial monetary system. This will help to take-back all the financial properties of the people back to transaperncy and no single individual will be benefited once PFDJ is gone.

            Once the dictator is gobne;

            1. Freezing all financial activities of PFDJ and assign an Auditing task force to trace all the financial footprints of PFDJ and institutions working within.

            2. Enforcing the police force in such away that it can build peace and security.

            3. Freeing all political prisnoers without any pre-condition.

            4. Immediate financial support of the people who are in the military payrole list and postpone any further military reqruitment.

            5. No single month should pass without salary payment to those who are working under civil services.

            6. Restoring the power supposed to be installed to Legistlative body.

            7. Restoring the trade activities: Domestic and international

            The list will goes on.

            ****Note: One major point I need to emphasis here is the financial independence of the transition technocratic force.

            I wish a technocratic force will be establshed as soon as possible to deal with this aspect.

            Dear Mahmuday, I take seriously what you say in between your lines and don’t consider it as a personal attack. If my tones sound like that, please take them humbly. I know I have to learn to say my lines humbly. Till then, I will keep questioning when ever I feel discofortable.



          • Tesfabirhan WR

            I hope that EFND will be more inclusive and be able to help in the formation of such technocratic force.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Mahmuday,

            Allow me to interject few words or sentences to respond to the way how you frame your argument. The problem is not the men and women in the army or in the police. It is the institutional functions of the army and the police. We know the function of the army in the current Eritrea. It is not only defending the nation but also policing the public as a watch dog institution. They can sent citizens to jails with no due process. In fact they are interfering to the duty of police because of the current institutional relationships. Or check the relationship of the presidency office with rest institutional ministries.

            So dismantle means to change the functions of all the institutions to build a system with a democratic structural and institutional function, whereby the hierarchy of powers and responsibilities are delineated properly. I don’t think you could miss this argument. Dismantle means restructuring the institutions and avoiding the current institutional structure. Come on Mahmuday this should not be your concern as a well read citizen. It is not the name of the institutions ( the ministries) at question. But it is how the institutions function with its institutional structures as well as the structural relationships of the institutions which are at question and subject to dismantlement. For God sake you don’t dismantle people, but to the structural function of the institutions, in order to serve for the public good and the nation.
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Brother Aman H

            I wrote a lengthy answer to clarify my view, but alas, it has been gone to the black hole.

            I was trying basically to alert you to the fact that my understanding of what should be taken in the interim period is not that different from yours. I have repeated several statements and words today that would mean your version of dismantling. Some of them are:

            – modernizing, refining, overhauling, restructuring, attuning them to the new reality, etc.

            – My concern has grown because I read wild statements of ” dismantling” without showing any progress on how to fill the power vacuum that could be created during that period. That’s why I support efforts being made by entities such as EFND.

            – Let’s be honest. We need to know our size and reach; we need to be frank about the magnitude of impact we could make. There are two organized forces today. One is EDF and the other is comprised of armed factions. If change comes from within facilitated by internal forces supported by EDF, then my propositions are the way to go. If change comes as a result of forces which originate from outside the country, then they will come with their own agendas, deja vu of 1991. Winners all could do whatever they want, including the dismantlement of institutions in a way that’s so radical and deeper than the one I envision. I believe that’s going to be more costly. For instance, you may have forces which argue for the dismantlement of our defense forces; forces which argue redefining our defense strategy and capability in a way that’s not reflective of the dynamic of our region. There may come forces which redefine everything making the nation incapable of leading an independent existence; they are many. Some talk of regional federation others of ethnic; some even advocate for rendering the country defenseless. I know your position, so you are not one of my targets. But we need to be clear as to what dismantlement means.
            – tes speaks of changing soft ware; well, what’s the difference than what I am raising? He will still have to define what a dismantlement means to him.

            – dis·man·tle



            take (a machine or structure) to pieces.

            “the engines were dismantled and the bits piled into a heap”

            synonyms:take apart, pull apart, pull to pieces, disassemble, break up, break down,strip (down); knock down, pull down, demolish


            So, here we are talking about the dismantlement of the symbiotic relations that has existed between the institutions and PFDJ. Simply put: Strip those institutions clear of PFDJ influences, discard inherited missions, policies and procedures which made them become tools of repression and tune them up to reflect the new reality. All institutions, including the army, could be rehabilitated while the state continues functioning. Once that personalized nature of the institutions is disrupted, the rest will depend on how smart the new rulers could be. The idea is to make these institutions lean and professional. To me; that’s a dismantlement of PFDJ culture of doing business.

          • Nitricc

            Mahmuday thanks for understanding my point and gage my concerns. It is amazing how one statement can be understood differently. For one Beyan thinks that was the dumbest thing I ever say and on the other token how you understood my exact reason for what I have said. It scars me when people like Beyan go south and have no understanding their fabric of society and their countries compartimalized issues. I have never set a foot in Eritrea and I am the least to experience anything about Eritrea but I can easily understand the issues at hand and the changes that can derail the country in to the end.
            I like your plan B idea but when there is change it is seldom that the change initiators they come out to be leaders, rather it is the storm of the change that creates leaders. So, right now, we can even point our fingers to any possible leader or the kind of change to expect. It is not hard to understand there are people who are wronged by the current system, there are part of society with gravence to be addressed, I.e. We need to solve it justly. I know Beyan and Amanual H thinks that our every ills will be fixed after PIA and all our issues will go away and solved by spreading a holy water from the charch but the truth is that is not the case.
            We need strong leader that can restor ORDER! And call for national reconcialtion. That leader must have a Complite control for limited time. The truth is you can not jump from an absolute dictatorship to the center of democracy. You can but that system isn’t called democracy but Anarchy and I don’t think we need that. We need a bridge.

          • dawit

            PIA is the benevolent dictator of Eritrea, who have gone thick and thin of Eritrean revolution as student activist, political commissioner under ELF to Commander in Chief of EPLF and now president of Eritrea. Ignoring all his mistake and fabricated murders attributed to him by opposition forces, he has kept the country out of civil wars in the country. Yes there are many imprisoned for political reasons, but he has not ordered a summary execution as many dictators do in many countries. PIA’s dictatorship is driven mostly by outside forces and others collaborating inside the country. Without those forces that threatened Eritrean independence his dictatorship period would have been short. PIA is the “Bridge” to Eritrea’s’ independence, peace and democracy ,

          • Nitricc

            dawit you can’t throw 23 years old’s young people in to prison no one to hear from them and you can not tell me anything good about it. Like I have said, I don’t mind if PIA has to stay in power but you can’t hold people in prison for no reason. I agree we need strong person who can lead us to the promis land but you can’t doing it by impriosing peopl with out due process. It is fine, you can put me in prison but you better let me have a day in court.
            It doesn’t even make sense. Why can’t PIA let those people free? I don’t get it.

          • dawit

            Nitricc, I don’t believe Eritrean government every 23 years old young person in prison, for minor breaking of the law. I believe there are types of prisoners, major political prisoners like the G-15 group who might have threatened to change the government may or may not have been plotting with foreign entities. PIA and PFDJ believe those threatened the security and survival of the nation and believed be removed from society indefinitely. Like you I don’t know why the government keep them in prison, at least they should have reformed them and convince them through education and release them. As to the young offenders, like those who refused to participate on the national service, the government continues to educate them in prison and after serving their time they are let free and many who ultimately run away from the country are these group who were able to survived ‘shoot to kill’ order of the government, to run faster than the bullets to cross the border to Sudan and Ethiopia. There are several misinformation campaigns about Eritrea’s real prison conditions purposely disseminated , including roasting prisoners in metal containers at 120 degrees in deserts, to paint the worst nation ever existed in the universe. Personally I don’t know PIA in person but based in interviews that he gave since his days in battle field as Tegadali as vice secretary of EPLF, and these days as president I would say he is an honest dictator, with deep conviction on the welfare of his country and its people. Like any human he is prone to make mistakes, but that should not disqualify him as a legitimate leader of his nation, specially when there are millions Eritrean citizens who believe in him and follow his leadership on their daily struggle inside and outside the country.

          • Nitricc

            Dawit i will respon to your take. For now can explain the detention of Dejen for those all years. What were his crimes?
            I will wait for your answer then i will respond accordingly. If there is one case like Dejen what is out there we don’t know?

          • dawit

            Nitricc, Frankly speaking I don’t know his crime. He himself didn’t know why he was imprisoned. Like you, I listen to his interviews and it doesn’t make sense to me why the government that has invested multi million dollars to train a pilot, and then pull him out of his duty in the middle of war, without any reason! From his interview he talked how two of his pilot friends died in
            the tragic war, and he claim based on his pilot training he disagreed on the conduct of the air battle by his commanders.

            Now I have read some comments that he may have put in prison to cover some high ranking officer, I don’t know. Over all that is one sided story and there is no account of his imprisonment from the Eritrean government. I also don’t believe any interview by Assena as a genuine reliable interviews, they are bend to destroy Eritrea and its leadership by any means. They broadcast 24/7/365 any bad news about Eritrea and if there is no bad news they create the bad news like the fake death of PIA. In my dictionary if you are a liar once, then you are always a liar. Eritrea is in a middle of a war and there several psychological war propagandas disseminated by the enemies of Eritrean independence. As of now I don’t have any reliable source to
            tell you what his crime was. I am also surprised how the Eritrean prison system kept it prisoners healthy and fit, including medical services to its prisoners contrary to the bombardment how the prisons are overcrowded and filthy and unhygienic conditions. I am surprised how he managed to escape, climb mountains, cross deserts and heavily guarded border with shoot to kill orders!

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hey Nitrikay,
            Is that the way how you provoke people? Where did you read me to say Issayas is the only problem and hence after Issayas everything will be resolved? Not Amanuel. In fact I always collide with our brothers and sisters here in awatistas or outside who said that. Check my debate with Saay that put us at different end of the debate. I always say the problem is not a single man but it is “the system” built by Issayas and his PFDJ party. It is un-nitric to not understand my positions so far. Do you know what, may be you don’t understand between a “dictator” and a “system” though they are inter-related. I hope you will not repeat it again, otherwise you are doing it purposely.


          • Nitricc

            Aman I know your stand. But if I don’t believe that PIA is a major problem why would I propose one dictator to the other? I will expand on that. But for now, I know where you stand on that issue.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            I completely understand your concern. That’s why dismantling of everything PFDJ has erected is wrong and reckless. Let me give you an example:
            1. Police: tell them exactly what the expectation is; reform it if needed, take out individuals who are marred with corruption or crimes, depending on the new laws, keep them rehabilitated. I don’t think they will fight for restoring PFDJ. Instead, they will continue keeping law and order. You could modernize it step by step. Anyone who tells you dismantling it is saying that driven by blind hatred and vengeance. I hate PFDJ, nitricc, because this is not what many of my buddies gove their lives for. But that should not hinder me from understand the fact that building institutions is not that simple. The best choice is to improve what you have got, refine/overhaul in a way they reflect the new political atmosphere, and build on top of them. We are talking about technical stuff which the country has acquired in its 23 years.
            2. Army with all its branches. Its allegiance will be to the new government. You could rehabilitate it, those individuals who are believed to have committed crimes could face justice. But as an institution, it is an Eritrean institution. If it’s believed its organization and internal rules and regulations reflected PFDJ, change those policies and rules; make it an army that defends new Eritrea.
            3. Other departments: most of them are professional and technical divisions of the government. All you need is throw away PFDJ craps and they will be fine.
            *People who monitor Eritrea know that most Eritreans, and yes, most PFDJ members are victims. They will be happy to help give the new dawning a boost.
            ** Today Eritreans want a state of normalcy more than fancy words. The beginning of the state of normalcy is not to break something that you are not sure you know how to repair it.
            ***Let’s be honest: We are far away from suggesting to Eritreans inside the country what type of government they should accept. We are not even able to form a functional united front of our own.So, the task is on Eritreans inside the country, what we should do is helping them accomplish the task of changing PFDJ. When we do it in a way they accept it, it will be effective and we will be welcome to participate in nation building.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Mahmuday,

            I think today is not your day. Dismantlement is not throwing people or shutting offices. We are not talking about closing all offices and re-construct new ones. You are missing the theme of “dismantlement.” I know you can explain it better unless you want your mind to be conquered by FEAR. Today, 100% of Eritrean population and Eritrean property is under full control of PFDJ.

            You better know the subject of “Human Resource Development” is the means for effective dismantlement. And this human resource development can be oriented in such away that the current PFDJ system can be dismantled completely and thereby direct the resources we have into the visions that we had before.

            Dear Mahmuday, your fear is very loud today and for this you share feelings of the people like Nitriccay and dawit. Are you becoming discouraged by the socio-political atmosphere? Com’on Mahmuday, we need you in the dismantlement process.


          • SAEED T.

            the word “Dismantlement” always have negative connotations.

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Mr. Mahmoud Saleh;
            I applaud your comment, you’re really making great points here! The Eritrean opposition should see itself as a complementary, and not as a substitution to what already exists of any institutions inside the country. The main perpetrators of the crimes must be held accountable and face justice, but we need to keep the institutions and develop them in the way of accountability and transparency.

          • SAEED T.

            I totally agree, the Eritrean opposition should see itself as one of institutions and it should
            preserve and reform the existing institutions, not to dismantle them

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saeed,

            Reform doesn’t bring fundamental change. The current system is a rotten system in its institution as well as in its structure. If you are for a fundamental change you can’t be for reform at the same time. To dismantle means to restructure the institutions in its institutional and structural relationships. Eritrea needs absolutely restructuring its “institutional structure” and “institutional relationships” and hence the dismantlement of the current structural and institutional relationships.

            Let me help you a little bit to understand me. Please visualize the current “institutional structure and institutional relationships” of the current government. Also visualize the flow chart how the decision making goes from up-down and vise versa and check if there are loops in it to by pass the normal flow of decision making and decision receiving. You will find an abnormal in the structures (the bypassing loops in it). Now ask yourself what you will do with this structure to correct it. If you come to a decision say for example to remove the “abnormal loops,” what are you doing in a political term here? You are dismantling the abnormal loops from the main structural flow charts of decision making and institutional relationships.

            Suppose you want to “reform” the system in the above structural and institutional relationships as I put forward, what will you do other than than dismantling (removing from the structure) the “bypassing structural loops” which brought the abnormal “institutional relationships”? Think about it, it is about the structure and not about the people. It is about the system how should it function and not about the people who run the system. People go and come but the system will stay there. Eritrea has a system that serve for tyranny and dictatorships and we ought to dismantle it and not to reform it. Reform is incremental little by little. And little by little in abnormal system is not worth enough for a society that has deepened its mistrust. It needs a complete overhaul of the system. Hopefully I made my point.


            Amanuel Hidrat

          • SAEED TSSUWA

            Dear Amanuel Hidrat,
            All makes perfect sense, I completely understand your point of view. you’re absolutely correct, it should be“about the structure and not about the people” that powerful line helped me see the other side of the coin. Indeed, the only way we can move forward is to shift our focus from the people to the structure and its functionality. Dismantle seems like the only option, but unfortunately it does carry a negative connotations for some of us. HopefullyI made my point? You did a fabulous job
            Best regards,

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Hi Amanuel Hidrat,
            I think we need to clarify which institutions we are talking about. From my point of view, I may take the PFDJ (with all the economic, social, and financial enterprises it runs), the defense forces, the police force, the security apparatus, educational institutions, health institutions, etc. When it comes to the PFDJ, I believe that it has to be dismantled as a political, and economic entity. Whatever it owns of institutions and enterprises should be handed over to the government, hence the people. Once one succedes in doing this, one comes a quite long way in democratizing the country. As regards the securuty apparatus, it need also to be dismantled. as it has basically been serving the interests of the dictator, and a new Security organ be formed that would protect the interests of the democratic government and the people.
            When it comes to the defense and police forces, I’m of the opinion that those individuals who’ve blood on their hands have to be taken out and face the justice. As Mr Mahmoud has put it, I see the great majority of the members of the army and police as victims of the one-man rule. They’ve just been forced to stay in their positions to feed their families. I see it, therefore, very important to keep these entities in Place for the sake of the safety of the society and the nation, by introducing changes to the command line, and making them accountable to the government or the people.
            Regarding the educational, and health institutions, I donn’t see there is a need of much changes, except allowing the University re-open and remove any political or military interference in the systems. I would, for example, do away with the practice of sending the young to Sawa to finish their high school education, and limit the national service to the time frame that would be allocated to it. That is keep this systems, take out whatever is wrong, introduce new work-guidelines, and build on them. I think, in this way we can move faster towards a better future for Eritrea. Above all, I believe that it should be a gift to be able to lead such a People as the Eritrean people which is highly disciplined, law abiding. and hard-working.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Abraham,

            If I understand you well, you are saying that the government should own everything. If then, what is the difference between PFDJ system and the one that you are stating? I think we are mixing things unconuously.

            The government is not something that owns but that manages a system to run. Government should have rules and regulations. Institutions, private enterprises, cooperations and companies should have a chance to own properties and government is needed to govern these entities so that the people will benefit accordingly.

            PFDJ’s intention is actually in this line, the front being the owner of all the basic institutions and the government just to deal with rule of law. It is on this line that PFDJ unshamefully claim he has lent millions of dollars to the government.

            Let’s be smart to understand the working principe of PFDJ. Only then we can discuss on the government.


          • Abraham Hanibal

            Hi Tesfabirhan WR;
            I think there is some misunderstanding here, I’m talking about the immediate aftermath after the removal of Isayas-PFDJ. In that situation, the best and easiest option the new government has is to temporarily acquire ownership of the economic and financial institutions of the PFDJ. But the long run objective would be, of course, to privatise these enterprises. I agree with you the government’s involvement in the economic life should be minimal, that of regulatory. I think a future democratic government of Eritrea would follow a mixed style of economy, where the private sector and market play the greater role. The government would make it easy for national and internatiional private companies to thrive and contribute in the nation-building.

          • SAEED TSSUWA

            Mr. A, Hanibal,,
            I couldn’t agree more with your analysis, extreme situations require extreme measures. After the removal of the currentregime, the new government has to step in immediately to fill the power vacuum and take extreme measures and that may include temporarily acquiring ownership of the economic and financialinstitutions of the PFDJ as u have suggested

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba Abraham,

            Once we agreed on changes of institutional structures, not the names of the institutions, but the relationships of the institutions and their responsibilities with a clearly delineated power and responsibilities distribution, to replace the “abnormal state function” in Eritrea it is okay with me. The rest we will be guided by the rule of law based on “Interim constitution” like that of South Africa in 1993, specifically during the transitional period (to be decided duration period of time) until we come with the “final Eritrean constitution” that we all agree upon on. So in short once we agreed on the need of total overhaul of the system, the rest is technicality which is not that much of concern.


          • Abraham Hanibal

            Hi Amanuel Hidrat;
            That is basically what we’re saying, re-structure the system in the way of transparency and accountability, remove the infected parts, bring those main culpritrs to justice and build on the institutions to serve a democratic system. This debate here indictaes that it is decisive that the oppositions camp work out a transitional charter and guiding principles that would consider the fate of the PFDJ, its institutions and enterprises, and the fate of government institutions and structure. We even need to consider how we are going to deal with those who’ve blood in their hands, do we have to form a special court to see their case? Are we going to have the death penalty, if yes how? By hunging, firing squad or other means? How would we proceed in forming the Eritrean constitution? Would we take the already ratified but shelved Constitutions as a starting point and modify it, or do we start to write a constitution from scratch? It is my view that we keep that constitution as a starting document, and modify it to fit a fully democratic system. We cannot just struggle or wait until the time comes that the dictator leaves without having a plan for a smooth transition of power. But sadly, the fact is that the opposition is lagging very much behind, because the first step is to agree upon a common agenda for removing the dictatorship and this has yet to be reached.
            We’ve to map out all the details of the transitional period, the People need to see our version of how and where we plan to take Eritrea. This could contribute to draw a greater support and rallying from the People towards the cause of a democratic and just rule. Unless we clarify these important aspects now, we risk a chaotic situation the day dictatorship is gone.

          • Sarah Ogbay

            Mahmud hawey,

            I don’t understand why people are afraid to dismantle PFDJ and its institutions. Some have vested
            interest and want just to change people in power believing that all will be rosy if they replace a few people. I believe that it is not the persons/people; it is the system the power has created that is the problem. One man cannot do this unimaginable damage to a nation that has the army, Police etc. It is an insult to all Eritreans to be defeated by one man. It is the system that the power has created that has given the army and police and the people within them to do whatever they want with the Eritreans and Eritrea. DIA/PIA is not the only culprit. We have to accept the fact that there are people around him who believe in what he believes; people who do what they think he would want to do with the Eritrean people. Some of them have left the country when the going got tough (maybe even cried ‘victim’ as well) and some still believe in the same principles of their mentor and role model. To us PIA is DIA, to them he is the God-given ‘saviour’ and the only man who can make or break Eritrea. When he wants to destroy eritreanism, they know what to do and break every bone of it! They believe they are doing the right thing as they perceive us as ungrateful scums and slaves.

            So coming back to the ‘dismantling’ issue, ‘dismantling’ PFDJ should not be confused with ‘destroying’ the army, the police etc. PFDJ came to official existence after these institutions if you want to call them that. So they are not what PFDJ erected they are what PFDJ infected with anti-Eritrean virus.

            So we have to destroy and dismantle PFDJ and get our army or police etc.disinfected and immunised.

            If we go for reforming whatever there is in Eritrea, then we risk leaving some living roots that can grow into the same rotten mentality, ideology, institution. That is why we should opt for change the kind of ‘sur-nequel’. We cannot afford to subject the people to the possibility of another dictatorship. We have to break the backbone of PFDJ, its advocates and its way of thinking. It is a very complicated situation and a daunting task. We have to look at it very carefully.

            And why is it that when we talk about change we distance ourselves from the people living in Eritrea and talk about what ‘they’ want. We are part of them. Any change that comes to eritrean effects every eritrean wherever we are. Actually it seems that there are more eritreans outside than inside Eritrea at the moment.

            Suppose DIA dies tomorrow, it would be naïve to think the system will change.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Sis Sarah,
            I salute you when you say the following: “It is the system that the power has created that has given the army and police and the people within them to do whatever they want with the Eritreans and Eritrea. DIA/PIA is not the only culprit.” For this simple truth you have stated above, it took us years and will still continue to convince them that issayas is not the only culprit but the system and the enforcers of the system. Sister, well argued and good job.


          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear Sara Haftey

            First I want to reassure you that I am equally heart by PFDJ. I wish it had been gone, dismantled long time ago. And I do wish it never existed. This is just to clear any ambiguity as to where I stand regarding PFDJ’s significance. It’s a monster which is taking the nation down; it is an expression of one man’s whims.

            You’ve made important points.

            1. The first part of your comment is important and it was my humble attempts to clear some confusions. My attempts have been to clarify the air, to break down semantics and see what exactly we mean when we use different terms. Dear Sara, I observe that most of our confusion arise from the fact that:

            – there often occurs confusion pertaining to the staging or order of events (one may be talking about the pre-change issues, another joins and mixes those ideas with events which could be expected during the “big bang”, the short period where the new political entity is trying to control fast moving events, and trying to ensure law and order; yet another person may pick up issues that should be discussed in ensuing stages and mix them with issues which could be expected to occur during that transitional period. In short, we need to have an imaginary plan-line and agree which issues should fall where in that continuum so that we don’t west time.

            – We view things from a differing vintage points, that’s to say experience has been a factor. We have young people who have been hurt; and it’s natural that sometimes they could get a bit radical. So, there occurs disagreement of their radical views which is the product of PFDJ brutal rule. There may exist others who want to see the same eventualities with a less radical approaches. So when some say restructuring state institutions, they appear to be calling for restructuring PFDJ rule. If we push ourselves a bit more with respect, I think we can weed out some of the confusion.

            – There are also historical factors; generations affiliated with long gone historic organizations tend to be still suspicious of each others.
            – add to it religious and regional…grievances

            ** therefore, I want you to understand my efforts was to really understand what each of us mean when we say different terms supposedly for one eventuality, the disposition of PFDJ rule and its cruel and corrupt system.

            2. Dear Sara, you said, “So coming back to the ‘dismantling’ issue, ‘dismantling’ PFDJ should not be confused with ‘destroying’ the army, the police etc. PFDJ came to official existence after these institutions if you want to call them that. So they are not what PFDJ erected they are what PFDJ infected with anti-Eritrean virus”
            That’s the cream of the talk. I agree with you.
            3. I am not talking about reforming Eritrean government or PFDJ, I am talking about state institutions. I also said that whatever I say is with the following parameters:
            a/ the rule of PFDJ has ended (that means, it’s basically dismantled)
            b/ the influence of PFDJ has ceased to exist, its direct or indirect influence of the new reality. Essentially, we are talking about what follows immediately after neutralizing PFDJ. Again here, PFDJ and its ruling cliques are no more functioning (dismantled). So, I think we are on the same page.
            4. I frequent the delineation between the Diaspora and Eritreans living in the country to emphasize my position that Eritreans inside are the ones who should own any political change. As we speak, there is hardly any Diaspora entity which could speak of having a mandate from Eritreans, or which has the clout to be the center of gravity of all the factions and activities abroad. This doe not mean there won’t be a vanguard front which could unite Eritreans. It is also consistent with my philosophical view point that:
            a/ it’s better when the change is originated and facilitated by domestic forces,
            b/ facilitated by domestic forces and joins hands with diaspora
            c/ anyway, any change effecting entity, be it from within or without will eventually has to buy legitimacy from Eritreans (let’s be honest, the primary subjects are those residing in the country). Otherwise, I don’t mean to minimize Diaspora role.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Mahmuday,

            Sometimes it is good to see back on what status is one standing. Things can be confused these days for obvious reasons. But, when two contradicting statments are coming from the same source, and still the same source denies for this constardiction, it is just a joke.

            You wrote,

            1. Even EPRDF and EPLF did not dismantle Durg- built state functions. They absorbed them; they re-structured them; and they made their business roles, ethics and effectiveness were compatible with the new policies of the new governments (a response to Nitric)

            2. That’s why dismantling of everything PFDJ has erected is wrong and reckless. (a reponse to Nitricc)

            3. To me, it seems possible dismantling PFDJ policies, politics and culture along with those assets and institutions that nurture the reason of existence of the regime without harming the state. But we should be careful not to advocate for the dismantling of state apparatus. (a response to me)

            4. wish it had been gone, dismantled long time ago. And I do wish it never existed. This is just to clear any ambiguity as to where I stand regarding PFDJ’s significance.(a response to Dr. Sarah)

            Can’t we read confusion here dear Mahmuday?


          • Mahmud Saleh

            show me where the confusion is? Just show me. I have advocated all along for the dismantling of PFDJ rule, its corrupted and repressive laws and rules; but restructure, reform, and rehabilitate state institutions. For instance, the ministries are erected under the rule of PFDJ. The departments are erected under the rule of PFDJ. Some may go others may merge still all may need restructuring and reforming to be in conformity with the startegies and policies of the new era government. Others also added along this line. In short: All that’s good belong to the nation; and all that’s bad should weeded out. Details are in my comments.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            haw Mahmud,

            Your inconsitence is on your wish and on what you want to be kept alive. N° 1, 2, and 3 are categorized under the same category and the 4th coming with your wish to dismantle them. Here is the the confusion. You want to keep some functional state apparatus and at the same time you wish them all to be disamntled.

            My argument for the state apparatus is as follows.

            First of all,li it is good if we do not talk on the universal naming of ministeries. Let’s not waste as if PFDJ rule invented these ministries. I will not go to that standard ministerial structures. In fact, he down graded the political values of what a minsitry is.

            Let me shade their inconsistencies

            1. If PFDJ inherited the Derg-built state functions, then because they are good for his services. One is Ministry of Information, the main center for its propaganda outlate. A carbon copy of communisty era.

            2. If PFDJ rule inherited the ministry of Justice, then it is not to serve the people but to block any justice. Ministry of Justice today in Eritrea is Minsitry of Family Divorce Cases. No more no less. The same did Derg. Family dissintigration. It made family dissintigration easy. For communisty countries, family has no value. The state controls everything and hence men and women are just machines (materialistic) to be multiplied. Derg did the same and so as PFDJ.

            3. If PFDJ rule inherited the Ministry of Agriculture, then it is not ministry that serves for the people but that keeps the land intact under the state. A ministry that snatches the properties of the people and give order for collective farm (ጥሙር ማሕረስ). Derg did the same and so is PFDJ doing. For your information, I studied and worked in the agricultural sector and I have lots of things to say about this.

            4. If PFDJ inherited the Ministry of Education, then it not the ministry that educates the people but a systel that teaches yound people how to be slaves.

            Do you know that Law education and political science departments were closed for some years. Since the birth of the new colleges these two departments were banned from conducting classes. Only after 2010 or after they were re-opened.

            Do you know that every individual should go to Sawa for his final high school studies so that he will be trained to be a soldier and a slave.

            5. If PFDJ inherited the ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is not a ministry that serves the foreign mission of Eritrea but a ministry that divides Eritreans who live in the diaspora and facilitate the hidden business of PFDJ as well as a collection center of forced tax (2%).

            6. If PFDJ inherited the Ministry of Finance, it is not the ministry that has power on the state monetary system and works for the good of the people but a ministry that collects tax and circulates the domestic currency, the nominal salary. It has nothing to do with true value of the monetary system.

            7. If PFDJ inherited the Ministry of Health, it is not the ministry that serves the people but a ministry that just exist to give First-Aid. Thanks to Late Saleh Meki, he did his best to transform it into an institution but was kicked-off before he finished his mission.

            Then you are saying that some functions should be maintained. Should we keep these ministries? Dear Mahmuday, albiet we had other corresponding names. I said these because these ministries now have a very bad reputation in the Eritrean Youths. And I don’t think there will be trust on them even after a new system is built up on them.


          • Mahmud Saleh

            Salam tes;
            Please my comments without prejudgement as to what my wishes or intentions could be. I don’t want to go further. You are mixing things. In all my comments I tried to specify the period I was talking about, and the issues I raised. Your list above shows me we are not talking on the same level. If you separate the political nature of those institutions from the standard desired it will be clear. Those ministries suffer from PFDJ policies; take that a away. Because we are now talking about a period inwhich:
            a/ PFDJ is gone
            b/ it has no influence in directing things. It’s a new era
            The second componenet is that of efficiency. It’s that of standard. Are they efficient enough? I know they could be better. That’s why I used words such as” restructure”, “reform”, rehabilitate” “revise”…verhaul”…that means there will be physical reshafling and restructuring, and reviewing of the laws which they operate on…that means rehabilitating the entire government institutions so that they get reoriented towards the needs of the new era, so that they become compliant with the policies of the new government…I repeated those words many times. You did not come with your own definition of dismantling. What you have read is what I thin should be done.
            Regarding the description you gave in connection to the ministries; a lot can be said. But suffice to say that for ministries to be efficient thwey should be institutionalized. That needs vibrant economy which could support their growth, a country in peace with its neighbors and the world to benefit from trade and commerce; it needs human resource, introduction of technologies…etc. I know they are not up to standard, and they are marred by PFDJ intrusions. Once the PFDJ factor is out they can slowly gain their footing. What I know is that there are dedicated and qualified people who are trying to do their best. Give them the professional freedom and descretion and they will do just fine.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Mahmud,

            Honestly, I agreed. Lets move on.


          • haileTG

            Quick intervention here Mahmuday’

            Regarding the role of the diaspora, it may well be limited in the day to day decisions of the “state” aspect of the layered problem that I mentioned earlier. On the “nation” related problem is however, very hard to distinguish. For example: an Islamic movement may work in tandem with its counterparts abroad, an ethnic Afar, Kunama, Saho… movement may work in tandem and directly be influenced by their counterparts from the diaspora.

            How do you see that?


          • Mahmud Saleh

            ሕጂ ጥፋእና ሃይላት:
            As a community supported civic organizations or as political/ armed ethno-religious organizations?
            I feel terrified of armed ethno-religious based organizations. It’s a recipe for destruction. One of my concerns is this scenario. If they have knocked the door through the power of gun, then we are in trouble. That’s why encouraging domestic driven change comes as the best choice. That’s a general anxiety.
            Now, if these are emergent peaceful organizations requesting funds from their constituencies in the diaspora, I see no harm. I don’t envision political parties formed along ethnic lines; but all these would be the task of the forming government to regulate them until settled in the constitution.

          • haileTG

            ካብ ሳዕሳዕና፡ ንቆጻጸ ማሕሙዳይ፡ ንኺድ ጥራይ 🙂

            Ethno-religious political/armed movements tend to be susceptible to much higher level of diaspora/external influence.

            The ethnic movements draw most of their financial, logistical and ideological backing from their own diaspora compatriots and also are primary target for proxy by third party outsiders. A power vacum in the immediate aftermath of the fall of government is a time where every interest group (both internal and foreign) actors would move at a high gear to ensure their own interests are maximally/optimally represented in the new set up. The ethnic based movements would naturally be doing so because that is a make or break opportunity for them to get as much as they could get out. Also, because of their small size and a desire to have higher visibility, they readily lend themselves to being amenable to enter into proxy deals with third party forces who would wish to have a say on the outcome of the political process.

            Religious based movements (we are really talking militant Islam in this case) would however, has a much complex and intertwined relationship with the diaspora as well as larger international movements at a much bigger scale. It is also naturally transnational phenomenon and happens to be something that is seamlessly joined to its external counterparts at virtually “all and every” level. Unlike the ethnic movements, which are primarily connected to their own diaspora and at worst would receive limited financial and logistical support in exchange to making policy and decision that also advances external interests, the religious movements could sometimes be part and parcel of an external entity.

            The secular and egalitarian justice seeking forces based in the diaspora may be considered to fall under your prescription of having supportive role to the citizens inside the country. I was only trying to alert you to the fact that such assertion however, may not cover the whole spectrum of the forces arrayed against the current dictatorship in the country.

            I also see this matter as being one more reason that makes the need for opposition groups to formulate a unified platform that is ready to spearhead the final push to oust the unelected regime out of power, much more urgent and crucial than a simple act of good will.


          • Mahmud Saleh

            Ahlan HTG
            ኣይ ነታ ዝፈርሓ እንዲኻ በጣዕጣዕ ኣቢልካ ገሊጽካያ። በል ሕጂስ ከይገደደ ክድቅስ። Yes, HTG, you painted a visual image of possible nightmarish scenarios. We should push for that united platform, make sure whatever we say or do doesn’t create unwanted situations. Good night. I will try to sleep!

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Mahmuday,
            You are holding the fort properly. You didn’t leave much to be said on the issue of dismantling the PFDJ (I prefer weed out” but the result is the same: most of us to not want anything that reminds Eritreans of the wicked regime.

            You brought an important point, that of disbanding the Iraqi army and police. If that is disbanded, then we would be encouraging war lords to emerge. My preferred method would be to sever any affiliation of the security forces to persons and PFDJ. Until such a time that proper courts system and a transitional system is established, a all senior officers and commanders should stay put in their places except those deemed risk to a smooth transition. In the meantime, there is a system that solves this: two step up promotion. I am fine with anyone below major level, colonels and up should be removed immediately. Ministries should be left to department heads for the interim period. The rest of the PFDJ, its stolen property, immediately goes under a commission that transfers it to the state. That way we secure the nation and guarantee smooth transition. Isaias and his narrow clique? Immediately put under detention pending court proceedings.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Ahlan Ustaz;

            I think we are all on the same page; yours
            appears to be one of a policy matter or a technical matter which could be done
            by a legally formed committee, but as a concept, whatever name we give it, we mean a change period in which:

            a/ PFDJ has ended as a functioning organ

            b/ its influence is neutralized

            That means we are talking about a new political
            setting . My concern was on the continuity of state institutions and it seems we are saying about the same thing in different “languages.”

          • Sarah Ogbay

            Hi Mahmud hawey,

            Thanks a lot for the prompt and detailed response. I really do appreciate it.
            While I agree with most of the wise point you made, I would like to make some comments on two issues that I find hard to accept.

            1. The fear of the possibility of disorder, I think, is sometimes blown out of proportion. Yes, our people are angry; our young are hurting and if given the chance they may retaliate with violence. Our people are not the same people we knew when you and me we young (well at least when I was young as I don’t know how old you are). But we can handle it. If we organise ourselves and train the young around us and give them the responsibility of preventing another tragedy from unfolding, they will do it. But we need to open up and be optimistic and appreciative and be ‘can do’ kind of people.

            1. When we say change should come from within, I feel we are putting the bulk of the responsibility of change on the poor people who are finding it difficult to make through their day to day life. They struggle for survival.If we are talking about the ‘top brass’, oh, they can hear us and know what we want them to do, but because of their loyalty to their mentor or fear of what they did that might come back to bite them, they have given us deaf ears. If we are referring to the foot soldiers (on national service), they are hostages not soldiers because they are unarmed. They carry arms without ammunitions. They are forbidden to think or ask. All this is by design. Whose design? DIA’s and the ‘top brass’. So although the ideal change should come from within, I doubt it will, unless we do the bulk of the job from outside. Talk to someone in Eritrea on the phone, they say, ‘hadiu zeytgebruna, dengukhumna!’ So what should be and what is/the reality are different.

            Thus, are we up to the job or can we do it? Of course we can! All we need to do is to support each other on what each of us is doing so that we can learn to work together. Because we have left our wounds open and left our cracks unsealed, we see vultures and predators roaming around us these days. We have attracted more worries.

            We need to watch out.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Salam Dear Sara;

            I take your advice with utmost care. I understand your concern. The reason you are speaking from diaspora is a testimony on how unfortunate our country has become. Just imagine the brain drain for the last two decades. I understand your points, and I hope you understand what I say is not a plan of action. The question of whether the change should come from inside or outside is based on personal conviction, it’s an opinion. As a citizen that’s what I wish; it may not be realistic, but I am just airing my opinion based on my personal appraisal of the pros and cons. For some one who is in a leadership or in an executive position, the assessment may be different. Then, the talk would be on plans of actions based on better evaluations of possible variables and possible outcomes. Their guidelines would be different. So, I want you to take my comments as those of an average citizen. I am all ears up for learning and improving my appreciation of the seriousness of the situation. I find you agreeable with me on issues related to helping out young people who are coming to the diaspora, and get them to get involved in their affairs, I hope part of what we are doing will contribute to that end. I also find you leading on issues of unity and finding the least common ground we can rally upon. I also agree on the security situation. But I believe in the will of people. ሓንቲ መዓልቲ ኣላ/There will be a day of reckoning. When I put possible options in front of me, dear Sara, the Diaspora could do either of the following broadly defined roles. When we do them, as you eloquently said it,the right way we can shorten the day of reckoning.
            a/ Be a catalyst of the dynamics in side the country by filling in the role of press and the muzzled right of self-expression, continue exposing the plight of our people, provide tools of resistance in side the country (it could be technological, financial,or education/news of current events, etc)
            b/ rally around organizations or foundations which have demonstrated the potential or capability of orchestrating efforts which could lead to a unified camp
            All these could contribute to empowering and emboldening our people.
            Why I call for domestic driven change? ( This is not a direct answer to you, just to give you the motive of advocating for that line):- The other alternative is supporting an armed rebellion which I don’t choose simply because:
            a/ I don’t support such an action due to the fact that I don’t trust revolutionaries (No guarantee that another Issayas won’t come on the seen after all the blood and destruction).
            b/ possible bloodshed and destruction which could not be controlled and which could endanger the existence of the nation
            c/ and simply, I would not call for such a destructive project where I am not ready to participate in. Simply, I can not call for or support such proposals when I am living far a way from their heat. I hate wars, and I hope we don’t go through them again. Again, this is a personal wish; I don’t know what those in power and with guns will do.
            That’s why I call for finding ways of communicating with forces in side the country. That’s the safest way of ensuring a people-owned change/transition.


          • Sarah Ogbay

            Hi Mahmud hawey,
            Thank for an eloquent response.
            Yes as you rightly said it, change should be the will of the people. However, as the physical location of eritrean people both in quality and quantity has become fluid, our responsibility tends to become greater and greater by the day. In short we in the diaspora have to smell of democracy first and the have to chant ‘DEMOCRACY! DEMOCRACY!’ in unison and stomp the ground so hard that Eritrea feels the vibration and joins us.
            Have a good Monday,

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Hi Bayan Nagash, Haile TG, and All,

            Of course, you’re most welcome, Bayan, to join the discussion and contribute with your expertise and views. It was, by the way, in that spirit, I initiated this debate thread. I see most of the time people are discussing side issues that have nothing or little to do with the challenges Eritreans are facing today. I hope to see Eritreans talking together and discussing their situation, not only here at Awate forum, but also in the opposition camps, so that they could agree on a common front against dictatorship. As you’ve clearly pointed it out, there is basically no difference in the overall programes of the bulk of the opposition parties. This fact means that it should be possible and easy to forge a unified force against the dictatorship if there is a genuine political will, with the main goal of removing Isayas-PFDJ and replacing it with a democratic government.

            Mr. Haile, at this point in time, it might not be that easy to form the necessary institutions of future Eritrean government. Let alone this huge task, we still have to form a clear opposition alliance with clear plans of how to face tyranny. Though instutionalised governance should be the vision and dream of every Eritrean, I’m afraid at this point in time, we simply don’t have the time nor the expertise to form such institutions. Our priority goal should be removal of Isayas-PFDJ. Once we remove the beast, we can form a transitional government from within the opposition block, Eritreans with expertise, and former members of the PFDJ who didn’t have a direct hand in forming and executing the policies of the dictatorship, and who endorse the principles of rule of law, justice and human rights.

            I beleive the issue of institutions is part and parcel of building democratic rule in our country. And I see it as a long process that takes many decades to take hold. What the opposition can do is to lay out the framework, and prepare the groundwork for such institutions to develop. However, for the purpose of strengthening the opposition, and bringing the people together, the opposition needs, among other issues, sound organs of finance, communications, and foreign relations.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Abraham H.,

            Though I appreciate your take on the most pressing issues, I think, Institutional thinking should be conceived now. We can engineer a parallel work programs, one being the main objective of removing dictatorship, equally, we need to form institutions which will serve now and after. We can not sit and debate after the removal of PFDJ while those who are dcitated for the last 23 years are waiting an effective institution.

            EPLF succeed in forming a smooth transition (1991-1993) not because all came after May 24, 1991 but it took a long time process to build such institutions that helped a complete mobilization of human and material resources.

            PFDJ has a very complex and non-transparent institutional system. In the dismantlement process, there is a probablity of working environment collapse. The system they built is of dictatrial nature as well as trust-based working procedure. We can not inherit this automatically. We need policies, strategies and programs. For this to be implemented, we need institutions. Institutions are nothing but the center hub of human resources which are able to run defined objectives or are able to create objectives.

            The trick here: many PFDJ owned companies are registered as private companies, private companies owned by the front. This kind of registration will bring a lot of complexities. For example, if they are nationalized, then, what is different from what socialists governments do to private institutions? If left as their registration tells, then, how can this be?

            Of course, PFDJ looted people’s property to form such institutions and the people owns them and by default they are government properties. But technically are not.

            Such complexities can only be made smooth by preconceived institutions and we need to be ready while not forgetting the main burden. In this regard, the most urgent issue can be establishment of exiled governing system.

            I thought Medrekites intention was meant to fulfill this gap but now they are changing themselves into one political force. EFND’s mission is quite different from this as its sole objective is to bring all forces in a round table discussion and thereby to draw a common strategy. Before and I think still it exists, an umbrella organization was formed based in Ethiopia but for many reasons it is not owrking as planned.

            Therefore, We need to form institutions that help for the establishment of a working governing system. If not, chaos will be the fate awaiting us.


          • Abraham Hanibal

            Hi Mr.Tesfabirhan WR,

            As you can see from my comment, I’m not negating the importance of democratic institutions in building and maintaing a healthy democracy. What I’m saying is the opposition has had ample time, in fact decades, to form such institutions. But to the dismay of all Eritreans seeking a democratic change, they’ve gravely failed in doing so. We’ve even not been able to bring together all forces of change to the task of common goal of removing the tyranny. We have rather to direct all resources and expertise we have to the formatiion of a grand coalition between all opposition parties, civic organizations, human rights activists, experts and academicians, and religious leaders in order to organize and lead the people in the struggle against dictatorship.

            Once we succeed to form this grand coalition, we would form committees that would be mandated with different aspects of persuing the struggle. A commmittee on finance, for example, would have the responsiblity of raising, allocating and administering funds. A commitee for organization would be tasked with leading and arranging public meetings, education, and raising of awareness and participation among the people. A committee on information would have the responsiblity of publicizing decicions and reaching out to the people, likewise a commitee on foreign relations would have the responsiblity of estabilishing contacts and getting the support of governments, NGOs, and regional and international organizations. By the same thinking we would form comittees that work for the protection of the rights of Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers, and bring their sufferings to the attention of the concerned international bodies.

            As regards the assets in the hands of the PFDJ, I believe these assets belong to the people, and should be returned to the hands of the government, hence the people, the day the PFDJ is gone. They are, in the first place, accumulated by popular contributions, coercions, and deceptions, and criminal acts of the PFDJ. And they are being built and developed by the slavery of Eritrea’s sons and daughters. But the future democratic government may have as a long-run objective of privatising these assets so that they would contribute to a market-controlled and governmet regulated economy.

          • dawit

            The wish list of all opposition groups of removing dictatorship from Eritrea sound good. But the probleme is how to overcome the egos of every opposition leader not to be the next dictator.
            First at a minimum the opposition to agree defining themselves ‘Who they are and what are their goals, a document that is similar to “Nhanan Elamanan” before they demand the unconditional ‘selflessness’ from the masses. Second they need to organize the masses without dividing them as ‘Crusaders’ or ‘Isalamists’, wodi-kola, wodi-dega, Metahit, Kebesa, Afar Kunama, Bilen, Tigre, Tigrigna. Third they have to demonstrate they are truly independent body that is financed by their own recourses or fund they collected from the masses and not funded by some obscure funding agency, organizing meeting in some Five Star Hotels outside the country.
            Short of those I mentioned , the Eritrean people are not ready to lose the bird on their hand ‘Independence’ in exchange to the two birds ‘democracy’ and ‘progress’ floating in the wild, just because they face temporal problems. Having problems is not necessarily wrong as long as one is ready and try to solve them, and that is what PFDJ is doing .

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Hi Dawit;

            I agree with some parts of your ideas that the opposition groups need to come with a clear agenda regarding their objectives and missions. Second, their leaders need to remember that there can only be one leader at a time, and they should be willing to accept the basic principle of democracy that the people have the sole right on deciding who their leaders would be. The struggle should not focus on who would hold what position, but on how to remove dictatorship and create a conducive atmosphere for popular participation.

            As to the point you made regarding the organisation, the opposition camp has a lot to do unifying, leading, and educating the people to stand against the main enemy-Isayas-PFDJ. They need to convey to the people which economic, social, political, and diplomatic alternatives that exit in contrast to the one-man ruled PFDJ-system that has led the people into the brink of disaster. And in doing so, they’ve to avoid any sub-national sentiments, but instead persue the spirit of unity across religions, ethnic groups, and other divisions.

            Your last sentence reads: “Having problems is not necessarily wrong as long as one is ready and try to solve them, and that is what PFDJ is doing .” Tthis is something that is out of reality and reasoning. How can a sound minded person expect an entity that is in the first place responsible for all the problems to try and fix them? PFDJ is not solving problems, it is responsible for the problems, and it should be avoided for any cost and give way to forces of democratic change.

      • Bayan Nagash

        Selam Abraham, Halie TG, and All,

        It is with great interest and intent I am following the conversation you two are having as I hope my chiming in won’t be the conversation killer, rather my aim is to the contrary to enhance and enrich the discourse, thus please take my interjection in that spirit.

        Abraham your frame what needs to be done from the opposition standpoint succinctly in four point plan. Haile TG, you add four tools of the oppressor, namely, “misinformation, inducing fear, traits of intransigence and phantom sense of threat” that the PFDJ regime has successfully used for over two decades that it has been in power. Point by point each of the four points are lucidly articulated. And the final blow comes from you, Haile TG, seemingly readily when you state that “the regime is so weakened to even organize a 1000 signature petition at this time while it is hammered from every angle, so weakened to even organize the marches it use to brag about…”

        Of course, the focused question at this point I wouldv’e loved it to shift to the opposition in that why are we not seizing the moment and begin to attack full throttle, since we all seem to agree how weakened the regime is, by extension its supporters are not only dwindling but are playing hide and seek with each other. Given each of your four point plan, Abraham, and the synthesis of the four tools that seem to have reached a cul-de-sac for the regime and its supporters that you, Haile TG point out…

        The almost in passing mention you stipulate this: “I am not discounting the internal leadership crisis of the opposition either.” This is the point that I want to latch onto and offer my assessment based on the round-table (well not literally) that 8 opposition groups were discussing recently as sponsored by EFND, the link to which you will find below.

        Most of these opposition groups with the exception of the Federalist political organization, they all seem to have identical political platforms and any discernible differences seem to be more of semantics than anything else. This I thought to myself, this must be part of what HTG was referring to when he says he does not discount the opposition leadership’s weaknesses. It is to that weakness also where Abraham’s first of the four point plan will face its formidable obstacle.

        The fact that these opposition leaders with similar platforms could not see eye
        to eye to work together and direct their energy toward the major obstacle that
        has been staring us down from the home-front; instead of going it separately we
        must see that by going it together it will then be easy to follow the other
        three points that Abraham raises.

        Beyan/Bayan – all the same

  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatista,

    Recently, we have been inundated with reactionary rhetoric of region and religion from some in the opposition camp. The question is however, why do the Eritrean opposition as a whole failed to develop along progressive and liberal values. For example, we can understand the inherent political stagnation in the PFDJ camp. Within the regime/PFDJ circle problems socio-political problems are externalized and self examination is not tolerated. The system is paranoid paternalist that has no room responsible discourse. Hence, following the transitioning of the dictatorship in Eritrea from party dictatorship into a personalistic one in 2001, internal alliances are forged purely on economic and political benefits of the “loyal” rather than any guiding ideology.

    The opposition camp didn’t have those limiting incentives to contend with. It is rather freer and at liberty to organize along guiding principles. Regardless, however, it has not progressed politically in any comparably significant way than their counterparts in PFDJ. Such is strictly in comparing progress registered than the actual qualitative and substantive aspect of the changes observed.

    The one man dictatorship of IA’s key objective is to stay in power. Hence he can’t develop institutions because they would form a risk factor against his personalistic hegemony. Hence, he has to undermine institutions and play around the dolling out and retraction of political and economic benefits in a manner that would serve its core objective. Again, too much political power means higher threat and so is too little of an incentive because it would create a pool of disenfranchised. Hence, by buying more locality through economic benefits, he would open opportunity to take back some of the political power (jailing, freezing, unexplained deaths…) and re-assign them. Atnd, at the time of reassigning political power, he can take back on economic benefits for a while, to use them for later buying options. In extreme cases, such as the current civil disobedience, he can share part of the economic loot with the “residents” (citizens) to reduce popular dissatisfaction (Teseney has 24 hours electricity…). The whole of such cat and mouse games of a personalistic dictator, however, kills off institutions and because Eritrea has started from a low base anyway, loss of state control through viable institutions exacerbates further problems, eventually setting the stage for a violent removal of the dictator.

    Once the dictator is removed, Eritrea stands very little chance of transitioning to democratic system, for it lacks the basic institutional vehicles to deliver it through. Hence, the country would have to struggle to re-constitute its “stateness” by managing to control monopoly of coercive powers. That has to be negotiated (and is often through the barrels of the gun). Hence, the current resurgence of backwardly and reactionary sentiments of regionalism and religion, adds another layer to the challenge ahead, i.e. post IA Eritrea not only has to struggle to regain “state” controls but also the “nation” itself. Places like Libya and Yemen, had to now fight to regain both the “state” and “nation” in their post dictatorship transitioning into democratic system. Whereas, Tunisia has been a good example of both the “state” and “Nation” remaining intact. This is mainly because it had a party dictatorship that eased the road to transition. In Eritrea’s case, there is no functional party, with institutional bureaucracy, and the state controls had already been lost while the dictator is still in power (mass migration and diplomatic collapse).

    In conclusion, the sections of the opposition who are advocating for reactionary ideologies of religion and region, are making a strategic error in their judgement of the current situation. They have no means to achieve any one of them except add another layer of challenge to the already impossible situation the country would face post IA. The regime has made fatal blunders that it is a matter of when than if before going down. For sure, we know that there will not be state structures following its demise to exert full control over the territories, and your approaches are now adding fuel to the fire by challenging the “nation” (by playing into segmentation).

    As I said in the introduction, it is worrisome that people who freed themselves from PFDJ type shackles of stagnation, have failed to make any political progress towards progressive liberal values that would take our nation to better times.


    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear haile TG,

      I second to your analysis. You said it wonderfully as usual.


  • haileTG


    harass: I didn’t mean it to “me”, I said to “people”. I am the least bothered with being receiving of that (not that you did to start with). I take it on strides and know to give as good as it comes.

    Having said the above, whenever I note the regime supporters, you seem to have NOTHING to give or to inspire. It is either questioning the integrity, identity, motives… of others. That is all. Can you at least state ideas and argue for them and try to win others to your side (reduce the numbers abandoning your side)? That is why I asked what your politics is. Here is a platform for you, to engage, convince and inspire and you are instead choosing to go after people for what it is worth. If you support the regime, give it the advantages of your level best to help its argument. That is all. I am talking hard work for your side than negative campaigns. (OK enough for unsolicited advice).

    Supporting regime: my support was noting more than the natural follow on of Ghedli. Although, I had many opportunities that I could have joined it formally, never did that. Just like any patriotic Eritrean, I extended support from my own resources and pocket and never got a dime (nor did I ask or expect) in return. If you believe my position on the border dispute means that I supported the regime, oh well, that says more about you. But, in terms of my normal ghedli inspired support, yes I withdrawn it. I can no longer live with clear conscience while witnessing the extreme hardship of my people, the wanton killings, the wanton jailing, the belligerent external policy, my people dehumanized and reduced to beggars of alms from well wishing strangers, the economic blockade, the enslavement, the decimation of the young…it just got too much, unnecessary, unbearable, and no way to have a nation to call home under that calamity. My disillusionment with the objectives and goals of ghedli, the cruelty of the regime and final implosion has lead me to focus strictly on the side of politically opposing it and calling for its removal. If you keep changing your principles to fit the dictators desires, then you have NO principle to start with. That makes you a sycophant who is prepared to go along with anything. But, if you have principle, there would come a time you would need to part ways with actions that don’t reflect your principles. I believed that Eritrean youth should be given the opportunity that only required the regime to leave them alone from forced subjugation, the regime acted in ways that violated my core principles of seeing a nation that respects its citizens and we parted ways. You lack principle and hence you are going along with anything, call it foreign armed groups, civilian arming, indefinite NS, confronting the world community, refusing to implement constitution, arresting without due process, you name it. You’re game, easy going, a player, no conscience, no vision, no sense sympathy or alliance with the suffering masses. And here you are trying to get higher more ground for selling your principles short (if there was ever any). How ironic. I am the guy supposed to be proud of standing for my principles not you for standing for partisan considerations.

    haqudea..ezi’a wedhanka

    • haquda

      Hailuwa, you stated that “You lack principle and hence you are going along with anything, call it foreign armed groups, civilian arming, indefinite NS, confronting the world community, refusing to implement constitution, arresting without due process, you name it. You’re game, easy going, a player, no conscience, no vision, no sense of sympathy or alliance with the suffering masses. And here you are trying to get higher moral ground for selling your principles short (if there was ever any). How ironic. I am the guy supposed to be proud of standing for my principles not you, a chameleon, standing for personal and partisan considerations.”
      Haile, I challenge you that to show your reader that you have wrote or spoke against the crimes that you are accusing the GOE in your real name of yours before the 2013 tragedy of Lampedusa Italy became a pastime for you in 2014. In fact to these days you refuse to revile your self and write an article form instead of writing pages after pages 24/7 in this forum because of your opportunist nature of yours that you want enjoy your summer vacation in your Asmara villa in the back of some gullible people. Many people in this forum asked you to write an article and you promise an empty promise. I know you will not do that because to write an article here you have to use your “real name” according the Website gaud lines.
      Haile, my challenge to you is lets show the reads who has principles and stand by reviling his real name and what has wrote and spoke before using his real name . Yes, Haile talk is cheep why did you need to hid in America unless it is for opportunistic obvious reason. Yes, again my challenge to you is if you come out of the closet and revile your full name and which city you live, I will tell you which websites to find or I will provide you the links that I wrote an open letter to the president of Eritrea Isaias Afwerki about what I thought his short comings whether it was about Somalia Islamic court leadership (shak Ahmed and co) present in Asmara , the Eritrean youth exodus ( I wrote the CIA was dancing in the Eritrean living room through ER-TV), and about the corruptions of some Government officials eight years a go. Yes, I also wrote a personal letter to my adapted country president Barak Obama five years a go when his UN ambassador at the time Susan Rice was cooking documents that shows 2000 Eritrean soldiers in Somalia to impose the unjust sanction against the Eritrean people. President Barack Obama response letter to me said nothing about Eritrean involve in Somalia. He said his concern about the Eritrean government is about freedom of religion as it is a violation of Human right. My follow up response to him was religious extremism is the same whether it is” Christian” extremism in Waco Taxes USA, Asmara Eritrea,” Islam “extremism ” in Kabul Afghanistan, or Jews extremism in Jerusalem Palestine. Yes, I warned him about his wrong policy to ward secular government around the middle east and Africa five years a go and now look what we are witnessing around middle east and Africa. Sure I also wrote to President Obama few weeks a go to remind him what I wrote to him and remind him again what his national security adviser the same Suzan rice is cooking to overthrow the very secular Eritrean Government and “IF” that happen I wrote to him I guaranty you that the ISIS is not only will take over Eritrea but Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan,Uganda, all North Africa and the rest of Africa will be on fire. He has not replied to me yet, But I believe he got my point. Now Haile lets see who has principles and stand for it by reviling his real name, lets do it. It is a challenge not a fret. The only reason I am using screen name here is I am banned and blocked from posting using my full name. But if you revile your self I promise you I will like you my Name and my articles for you. Take the challenge and show what you preach is what you mean.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        salam Haqudaa;
        Thanks for the service, would you say a word why you would be banned to use your real name here? I am sure Awatistas can rise to the occasion to do a “democratic coup” on the editor and the publisher.

        • haquda

          Selam Mahmud, ” I am sure Awatistas can rise to the occasion to do a “democratic coup” on the editor and the publisher”
          I think you were here when the Awate Team banned me for good by announcing here. Ask your self if you don’t mind why AT banned and Block me through Diskus .
          Mussie Gebreab

          • Haqu

            I was asking you a valid Question, When you stated at that time to your readers Ali Salim was not a penname but real name. because as awate pasting gaudiness you don’t allow to post articles with penname. I raised a legitimate question to you, when you told the readers Ali Salim real name is Mahmud Hussein.

          • You are wrong. Our posting guifelines are there for all to see. Here is what is says:

            21. What if I want to safeguard my privacy?

            Look at our tagline: inform, inspire, embolden, reconcile. The movement towards emboldening Eritreans will not make much progress if people choose to hide behind pen names. But if you must (and you might have good reasons or no reason at all), we will allow you to use pen names, we will protect your privacy but has to know your contact information. We won’t disclose your identity, but we have to know it.

            Ali Salim disclosed his identity on his own, if we betrayed our policies and told you, we wouldn’t have gone through all the abuse of which you were part.

            If you are after the truth. check here:

          • And you are violating our guidelines by using multiple nicks.Please stick to one

          • haileTG

            haqu (betre Mussie..haha)

            So you really want to know haile? Didn’t you identify me as Dr Haile Mezgebe of Orotta about a year ago? But, don’t you know “Operational tactics” is a prerogative and not up for negotiations with the enemy or its disposable tools? When EPLF was defending in Sahel, I heard that it dug into the mountains (Mahmuday can explain it better as I wasn’t there). Such tactic, I was told neutralized the effectiveness of the Dergue’s aerial dominance of the war theater. I bet the dergue would have wished them to come out in the open.

            There are many layers of reasons for people to chose what level of privacy to engage with in an open and public forums. I will only focus with one aspect, your type of disruptive missions (to clear the way for the brutalization of the Eritrean people). I interrupted your engagement with Aman, as you were trying to tarnish his good name with wild and crazy accusation. You were saying how you knew him for 40 years and how and where he engages politically and questioning his integrity. Previously, (several months ago) you were going into his private life telling who he is related to and where he lives and all that nonsense. You were going as far as going over to dehai message board to right other nonsense about SGJ, going back many decades and talking lots of unsubstantiated stuff about torture and the likes.

            You are not capable of opposing PFDJ, because you serve its devilish agenda. The agenda of sowing suspicion and division among the Eritrean people, the agenda of destroying the our national pillars (trusting each other)…

            Personally, I would gain a lot by reverting my operational tactics to the one you suggest. But that would be a lot of personal profits and would lose most of my capability in what I plan to contribute to the struggle. The fact that hgdef is blinded and doesn’t know where or from whom it is gonna receive the next blow is also the added combined benefit of those who utilize such means. Each person is unique and represents unique situation (we had fruitful collaboration with the AT recently [one that is classified] thanks to my ability to do so).

            The opposition is not short of people at the moment but leadership. there are ex-generals, Ministers, artists, singers, organizations, media,… who go by their names. It serves their purpose well too. There are those who utilize anonymity in public forums and serves them well too.

            How did I identify you as Mussie earlier today despite you going by a new nick? Thanks for confirming it now, but that wasn’t hard from the get go. So, if there are things you do to oppose the regime, you wouldn’t have been wasting your time launching a senseless attack against justice seekers here. But, hey, that is the only weapon in your arsenal (spreading falsehood) and thanks to my current operational tactic, you have been reduced to a lame duck in that respect. But then again, it would all depend on my priorities what I do in the future and not your convenience requirements.

            BTW the famous extension “TG” was conferred here way before Lampedusa, and this would go to show how far you would go to make unfounded statements with a straight face. In the end, you have no principle, no truth, no moral ground to ask for a fair fight, and my current positioning is serving me very well. If you really don’t like it, oh well you really have to give up your unprincipled ways and side with the people.


          • Mahmud Saleh

            Thanks Mussie.
            As I promised, I will be the first to defend you provided that you abide by the site’s posting guidelines, which means sticking to your real name, since the cause of the exchanges of both of us was your claim that the site would not allow you to use your real name. I am relatively new, I don’t remember you having bad time here, sorry. Furthermore, I offer a brotherly advice to you and HTG to please desist the unpleasant personal exchanges.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Leave him Haile alone now. I will challenge you to Prove your claim, that you wrote the above mentioned articles in your comment, using your real name. I don’t see any problem to comment with your real name if your were writing articles, unless you want to play the dirty laundry behind nick name. So show us the courage to come with your claim please.

        • haquda

          Amanuel, You have nothing to challenge me this is Mussie Gebreab does that name ring a bell to you. I was arguing with you and Saleh Younis when the Awate TM baned me from here.
          If you want to see my open letters to president Isaias Afewerki . you can look the websites archive 2007 or and if want to know about the personal letter to President Barack Obama you can inquire the white house under the freedom of information.
          Mussie Gebreab

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear haquda,

            You are nothing but a trash again. It is very shame for PFDJ supporters to hide behind and spill their venomic hatred words to the public.

            Dear haquda, it is good for you if you live upto your names. But here what it matters is your lines. Each line you put here tells/exposes who you are. Division, hate, pride, lie, hide, nastiness etc. are some of the basic characters that any one can read once people like you are commenting here. The reason you do is according to your mother regime and it is hard to keep sane from that.

            Dear haquda,

            Calm down and use logic to fight if you love your people. If not, you go on. We have all the means to throw any nasty ideas away from the Eritrean political atmosphere.

            If you have a reason to support your regime it will be only a sign of inhumanity and we are here fighting against it.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            If you can’t link it, you can’t prove your claim. I don’t think you could write more than what your are doing here (innuendos,insults, and lies). You don’t look to have the basic political argument, let alone to write political essays. Link your claim, I don’t have to go to search the whole year of 2007.

      • Haile WM

        oh now we have a new pfdj champion who lives in the US but his “Hadelibu” stays in Eritrea. I don’t understand what is the main point in your claim, starting from exchanging emails with Obama to writing open letters to Issu wedi berad, (strangely you have not met the fate of those who tried before you and i suppose they were closer to him than you). but let’s accept at face value all of your claims, there is one thing i don’t understand about your challenge though, if one is to launch a challenge mustn’t he say “i do ‘such thing’ and challenge you to do ‘such other thing’ ” ?
        your way of challenge is that of an opportunist and coward least to say, but that is my opinion. your motives are sordid and nobody here is quite interested on your identity rather your ideas if you have one. Same goes for Haile THE GREAT(and indeed his ideas are great and his ideals even greater), we are interested in his ideas and ideals not his identity.
        remember zeyHaqudea alias Hakikadika, great minds discuss ideas small minds discuss people.

        • haquda

          Haile, I knew all along you were a coward who hide behind fake name and pretending to stand for something. you are even not worth my time.
          Mussie Gebreab

          • Haile WM

            Musie Gebreab who ? the leba tekebali leba ? I hope not 😀
            again in your hurry to identify people you made another mistake. I am Haile Weldemariam.
            Your time means nothing to me and I suppose, the same goes to Haile TG, and many more in this forum.

  • haileTG

    Burkina Faso: Transitional President Inaugurated

    U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke issued a statement congratulating Kafando on being sworn in. “We encourage Mr. Kafando to build on the momentum of the past two weeks and to select individuals to serve in the transitional government who are firmly committed to a democratic, civilian government,” he said.
    “We urge Burkina Faso’s armed forces to continue their primary mission to safeguard the territorial integrity of Burkina Faso and the security of its citizens,” Rathke added.


    – Burkina Faso hosts French special forces and serves as an important ally of both France and the United States in the fight against Islamic militants in West Africa.

    – On Tuesday, Kafando vowed [..] “We must always respect the Constitution, with humility, because the power that I hold is that of the people,” he said.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Good news, it is one step forward. We wish them a success to their endeavor to built a democratic civilian government.

  • haileTG


    I think you got the wrong Hiluwa, none of what you say makes sense to me. But, what is your politics? Just fly by night to harass people or got any point?

  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatistas,

    One of the main phony argument by higdefites to counter the need for change in Eritrea is to argue that “…well look at Libya, Iraq…” post regime change and that is what would be awaiting us”. Now to your surprise, they are both right and the one’s to blame for it too. Why doesn’t their counter example include Egypt, for example? By their very acts, they serve as sycophants and that has helped in creating a “personalist” dictator. Personalist dictator’s end is almost always violent and because in order to become a personalist dictator, he has to weaken institutions, the military and his own party to the point of paralysis, once he falls, the nation would unavoidably tumbledown into the deep end of civil war and intractable violence. Every IA regime supporter will bare the blood of all the innocent people that would be lost in the wake of his violent removal. The following video is a smooth explanation of dictatorships, means of their survival and likely end games. It is 18 mins, but due the fact that every single part of it being important to our case, I have decided not to chop it and live you choose the area you wish to focus on.

    Dr Natasha Ezrow is a Senior Lecturer in Government at the University of Essex. She has recently completed a new book Failed States and Institutional Decay, and she published two books in 2011 on dictatorships. Dictators and Dictatorships is an introductory textbook and The Politics of Dictatorship is a research monograph on the duration of authoritarian regime types.

    • Tsige Asfaha

      That was an enlightening detour.
      Thank you, Haile TG.

  • dawit

    D ear all,

    As pfdj supportet I dont have a bone in the fights btween “Crusadrers” & “Islamists” . I support their ideals of fighting for drmocracy! Freedom Sprach etc. In PRINCIPLES but I like it more what pfdj dose in practice.
    I wonder what kind of free speech censorship we will have when you grsab state power!. Right now pfdj is , much inclusive and diverse than the alternatives of “CRUSADORS OR ISLAMISTS or a combination of the two

    • Abraham Hanibal

      Mr Dawit;
      What is that you like PFDJ does in principle? Banning all independent press and arresting all their journalists, not letting people speak their minds, views and freedoms of expression and organization. What kind of unity are you bragging about? A people divided right in the middle due to the wrong policies of the PFDJ? Some people like you who support and fund the repressive Isayas regime that is causing the exodus of Eritreans, and the other group expressing their opposition to tyranny and siding with forces of change? Is this your unity? You’re really out of touch with the reality and truth.

    • Semere Andom

      I am dear all, so can chime in without you accusing me unfairly as your government PFDJ does to innocent Eritreans.
      Translating your coded cipher comment yields the following human readable text:
      You support PFDJ for disappearing Eritreans for the sake of our hallucinating IA’s perception of the reality of security threat. No matter if the disappeared are former fighters, no mater they are innocent women like Aster Yohannes and the cream of Eritrea’s skilled talent like Dejen. Everyone including the former fighters, like Mesfin Hagos, Ge,. Oqbe Abrha. Petros Solomon, everyone, even Mahmud Saleh all are liars except the liberator of both Eritrea and Ethiopia IA.
      Everyone is telling truth when he is in support of PFDJ, once he leaves like Ali Abdu, or Amb Andebrhan they turn to liars.
      This is how silly and idiotic you are sounding by every comment. Irreverent dawit is the enemy of Eritrea just like PFDJ is, destabilizing the heated debate that goes on her.
      Let us not worry about what the powerless will do once they grab power, while the powerful who is at the helm is wrecking all the havoc that.

    • Haile WM

      does inclusiveness in PFDJ mean jailing torturing and killing from all segments of eritrean society ? diverse and inclusive indeed

  • Saeed Siraag

    Thank you EFND for your thoughtful and balanced response. You have wisely chosen to stay focused on your goals and refused to be dragged into a futile discussion. I think that says a lot about EFND. Indeed, we have to see this “Nuclear article” in a positive light, thanks to it we came to know about EFND and its mission. In my opinion, EFND or any similar group for that matter, should focus on its mission and should not devote its time and energy on diversity. We have to keep in mind, diversify is just mean to an end, not an end in itself.

    • haileTG

      Selam Saeed,

      “We also have a request to make and that is for you to publish our
      reports and communiques, just like the other Eritrean sister websites
      do. You have declined to publish them in the past but, hopefully, you
      agree with us that Awate readers should read our reports directly
      instead of reading interpretations of them.”

      Isn’t new revelation at all, may be an honest oversight on behalf of EFND. It also has nothing to do with freedom of speech, you can get away with murder in this place if you observe the posting guide alone. Awate does only publish orginal and unique articles. That is part of the posting guidlines. So, if EFND issue a communiques, this website is not the best/likely place to promot them in. May be they could write a unique article to awate readers and publish. This is my understaning as I am not part of the AT. I wait for confirmation/rejection of my reasoning by the team themselves.


      • Abraham Hanibal

        Hi Haile;
        As I see your comment here, you are replying to Mr. Saeed Siraag who is not at all talking about posting guidelines at May be you’wd rather had directed your comment to EFND?

        • haileTG

          Hi Aman and Abraham,

          It is nothing serious, what I am saying here. If a communique appears in assenna then awate has a rule that it can’t appear here. Remember when Semere Tesfai’s article appeared here and tesfanews? He had to verify to AT that he didn’t post in both places. So, Abraham, I was addressing Saeed’s view that it was limitting freedom of speech, nothing to do with EFND. And, Aman, a unique article means one that is adapted for submission here where it wouldn’t be considered to have already appeared some where else. I would say as changing certain contents and title and the rest to meet the posting criteria.


          • Abraham Hanibal

            Hi Haile;

            Something must have gone wrong with my discussion page; what made me reply to you was that I didn’t see the part of Saeed Siraag’s comment which goes: “Finally, I was shocked to read this new revelation and the fact, that has previously declined to publish EFND’s reports- whatever happened to freedom of speech?Whatever happened to diversity and inclusiveness?”. I don’t know why, but this part was not included in the comment the time I read it. So my apology.))

          • Saeed Siraag

            So if I understand it correctly, it has to be published here first and then anywhere else. Is this a new defination of being original and originality

          • haileTG

            Saeed, the owners of the website wish not to post duplicate material that has been posted somewhere else. I don’t know why EFND’s was not published for sure, but only pointing to a possible reason. The TA can only say for sure. I only made the point because I noted you making allegations of freedom of speech. I wasn’t talking of Ph.d. or scholarly meaning of original. Just no duplication, that is all. I recently petitioned a motion to change the wording of an article, can you petition with a different motion that would allow you to have a better experience of your visits here? Just throwing loaded accusation is not cool.

          • Thank you HaileTG, your responses is a testimony that you spend enough time to understand anything you read. The posting guidelines has been there for years and we are asked questions that are there. Unfortunately sometimes people jump into conclusions without bothering to check what needs to be checked.

            On the rejection of “statements::

            Longtime readers of awate might remember we used to entertain the statements and news of the political and civic organization when their numbers was manageable. Then all of a sudden the political organizations multiplied and reached close to fifty. The civic organizations started with a couple and now are probably more than the organized political entities. We also discovered that two-and-three person groups give themselves exaggerated names only to disappear a few months later–after creating much confusion and disorientation in the justice seekers camp. Also, every new entity establishes some Internet presence that is central to its mission. We studied the issues and decided to stay away from the statements (which are propaganda pieces for the most part); we just decided awate should not be part of any of that, and we became choosy in what we report based on our editorial judgment, be it as a news piece or as an editorial.

            One of the problems we faced is that we stick to our policy of duplication because we wish all media outlets to have a character of their own and not be all dull similar websites publishing the same bAawet tezazimu kind of statement. Add to that the poor resources that we have, we didn’t see why a statements should be edited by ten editors, published by ten websites, stored by ten websites and at the end contributes to making websites dull, uniform and boring. We do editing to keep a certain standard look for what we publish and we spend a lot of time on that. We preferred to save our meager resources, and time, to give a better content from by readers can judge us. We take what we do seriously and we aspire to better our content and delivery by the day.

            Finally, since we took this policy, we are saved the complaints of, “you published for kusto and kusto, but you rejected ours!” Even if kusto’s content was published and the other content was just badly written, badly formatted and requires a lot of time to clean.

            We hope we are not disappointing anyone but we refuse to make look like a college bulletin-board where one can display, anything. We are just saying, if you want to publish at awate, you are welcome, but you need to abide by the editorial policies and posting guidelines. But there is nothing wrong with many statements and communiques, in fact we wish some of the writers would write for awate since they have better writing skills than we ever can hope for. But the duplicate publishing is just squandering of our collective meager resources.

            We hope this explains it.

          • haileTG

            Thanks AT,

            Do you know that according to efficiency test of economic activities, prostitution is said to be the most efficient economic transaction? If it wasn’t for its “immoral” and “unethical” aspect, from the economic efficiency point of view, a transaction has to input the least possible investment and output the highest possible return. As such, the oldest profession, i.e. prostitution, is a transaction that generates the highest return for the least (physical) investment…Lol 🙂

            Unfortunately, prostitution has an uglier social and ethical side that often society regulates to discourage the practice.

            The act of levying accusations and tarnishing others standing without duly investing on the necessary diligence of double checking one’s facts and applicable rules, is a way of trying to get high moral ground with the least amount of input needed to earn it, I would say a form practicing prostitution to make quick gains on the go. When such happens from the hgdef side, I don’t mind it as much (they really couldn’t care less), but from justice seeking writers and commentators, it just defy basic logic. Why would I go as far as making injurious and libelous attacks against (institutions – as this site) that I need to use later to attain my goals of justice for our oppressed people?

            This isn’t about SGJ or EFND or whoever, but about tarnishing the actual website that we all use for our varied purposes. And, I believe that unless we can come out to defend the institutions that serve us, then we will be responsible to losing them. I have no issue with saeed’s political view points, but as a citizen and beneficiary of this utility, I am duty bound to challenge him in aspects of his argument that is aimed at the “institution” side, and not “personality” side. This is a sort of “Power to the people” thing you know 🙂

          • Saeed Siraag

            Thanks brother Haile for taking the time to explain the rules and the guidelines of posting here to me. Making and throwing accusation is never cool, but you do agree with me- there’s a
            big difference between making accusation and inquiring

      • Amanuel Hidrat


        What do you mean when you say “May be they could write a unique article to awate readers and publish”? What are the uniqueness of awate’s articles? Do you mean EFND’s communiques were not worthy posting on awate website? Just I need your verification and justification of your statement. I will not argue on that but just to understand your take.


        • AOsman


          I think the answer is in the editor’s note.

          Editor’s note: for information on what is published and rejected, please check item # 9 and #10 of our posting guidelines here.

          So a way around it is to publish something on multiple websites…asmarino, assenna….and if awate is needed, your option is through link in the forum or by writing an article about the topic and that way introduce it to the readers here.


    • Abraham Hanibal

      I agree with you Mr. Saeed Siraag. Though one has to exert all efforts to include all walks of Eritrean life in their ways of struggle, this purpose should not stay in the way for the main goal of the strugglle which is to save the Eritrrean People from the claws of Isayas-PFDJ.

      • Saeed Siraag

        You got it, well said brother Ibraham. We do acknowledge the diversity of our country and embrace it and that’s makes our Eritrea Eritrea. Having said that, our main focus is to. “to save the Eritrrean People from the claws of Isayas-PFDJ” as you nicely put it and it is not the time for a fellow up pictures with traditional cloths

    • Dear Saeed,
      We wish you read our posting guidelines or asked before you made your conclusion, or implying sinister reasons. Don’t be shocked, we do reject tens of material for many reasons (check the reply under Haile’s comment that we just posted). We understand freedom of speech and that is what you were practicing when you put your comment. But please understand that every medium has its policies and guidelines–anything that is not in line with that is rejected. Please also understand that editors do not reliquish their rights to decide what they publish and what they don’t.

      Thank you

      • Saeed Siraag

        Thanks for clearing that up Awate team and please accept my sincere apologies. I realize that it was wrong of me to jump to conclusions, but in my defence, I am new to this awesome website and I am not fully familiar with its posting guidelines.
        Thanks again

    • Saleh Johar

      Dear Saeed,

      You wrote the following:

      “[the group] should primarily focus on its mission and should not devote its time and energy on diversity.” and,

      “diversify is just a mean to an end, not an end in itself.”

      I think you overlooked the fact that the mission is centered around reconciliation of the Eritrean diversity. If diversity is just a means as you indicated, then what needs to be reconciled?

      If the end is to reconcile what ails our diversity, then what is the end in your mind? What is final goal that needs to be achieved?

      • Saeed Siraag

        Dear ustaz Salih Joher, When you put it that way…makes perfect sense. I guess that would be defeating the purpose. Thanks for correcting me

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Dear Awatistas,

    I found it to be important to link the”Memorandum of Understanding” that came out from the conference and facilitated by EFND here at Reading this memorandum in conjunction to this article is very helpful to have a good grasp about the mission of EFND. This report of memorandum of understanding is a summary of recommendations to EFND from the the participants of the conference. Enjoy reading.

    Amanuel Hidrat

    • AOsman


      I was searching for it on google, thanks for the link.


  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Habtom,

    I came to know you through your FB page and I consider you as a responsible, dedicated and reasonable person. In this perspective I am responding. Apology if I am not respecting your degnity.

    just to put some points: You have a right to write what ever you feel and equally your readers have an equal right to weigh your work. This is a mutual respect. We can not ignore anyone’s work. We give due attention for whom ever it is because we feel the responsibility the same as you do.

    Dear brother Habtom, you know what you write hence I personally can not remind you bla blas. But when you write, I have my analysis. From this perspective,after reading your article, I can say that you were not ready for serious critics. “gerhi-libi” zikone akeba enakayedna endina kona Habtega hawey.

    Frankly to tell you, all meetings are done just thinking on the positive dimension. We forget the negative dimention. When we organize such meetings, we are self-deceived as we are not confornted with analysists. Thanks to brother Saleh Johar and very few like him, he is always fullfilling the missing dimension. Criticiers like Saleh help us to make the friction and through friction energy is generated. It is upto us to take the energy available at hand, (-ve) energy or (+ve) energy.

    Dear brother Habtom, you took the (-ve) energy. It is ok and I think brother Saleh is not naîve in this. Just as your readers, we are valuing your work. We are not saying that you should have kept quite. You did a right thing and you helped us to be aware also even much more than we can imagine. Though I saw your “shetah-tah”, I still took the (+ve) energy from your work. I say this because here you are courageous enough even to apologize if you did something wrong.

    Personally, I don’t see any reason to apologise. I said this because you helped us also what feelings are within the political atmosphere, the same as Saleh did on his article.

    Brother Habtom, Saleh’s work has now generated a a 3D dimenstion in our political debate, lets keep that. Let’s build a positive energy by damping the negative energy. In this way only we can grow.

    Zefkirekan zekbirekan Nieshto hawka (defar, hakey eye mish)


  • Mahmud Saleh

    salam Habtom, tes, KS , and ALL:
    Thank you Habtom for the apology; I accept it. I also acknowledge that your correction was much faster through messenger, I just could not see it appearing here to tell friends you had reached out to tell me the confusion, and it was already midnight for me. Tesfabirhan, thanks little bro; The last sentence of my reply to Habtom’s “wrongly addressed reply” was unnecessary but as I told Habtom, I was confused with the whole answer, compared to his other writings. Anyway, the whole episode has been a lesson for all of us..

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear Mahmuday,

      I know your wisdom and your very good heart. I am just whispering, ‘M..a..h..m…u…d..a…y, I……. am…. learning a….l…..oooot ……………….f…..r………………om……………….YOU! ” wah, Point. I can’t even able to whisper.


    • Abraham Hanibal

      Dear Mahmud Saleh & Habtom Yohannes;
      Good to see that you’ve both accepted that you made a mistake, and nice to see that you’ve reconciled your misunderstandings.))

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Habtom,

    Aytihazeley enber “shetah-tah” elka eka. Just cool down and stay positive. I can honestly take your response to Saleh Johar as very emotional and irrational.

    Mahmud is friendly calling you to tune your pen again and calm down. He didn’t break hope on you. Just, cool down and be constructive.

    Saleh’s article is by far has reached its 3D (three dimentional) state of analysis: The article, being the first, your response and likes being the 2nd dimension and EFND’s and like Bayan’s the 3rd dimension. The first two dimensions are of normal dimensions, the Newtonian, but now we came up with the 3rd dimention, in mathematics, the Z-axes. The good thing here is, the 3rd dimension is of POSITIVE. Let’s keep this to grow.

    Eritrean Soio-politics in its 3D. I wish I could be able to write an article on this.


  • Kokhob Selam

    Yes Sir, it seems our long struggle is getting the a way to reconciliation. continue to be around. thank you.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Awate participants I noted we lack the art of debating and discussing don’t you think we need articles on this subject ? who can help us on this? Eritrea needs more than before professional intellectuals who can teach on how to resolve social conflicts and the art of listening and saying ideas .

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear friends Mahmud and Hatom, I am convinced you are both wonderful guys, but hey while we are opening one door of understanding I am afraid we might be closing the one that was open just because of misunderstanding. I don’t see any different intention in both that will be enough for you to be on one line. so relax and teach us as usual.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Salam Habtom
    Sir, you have got a wrong person; that’s all I can say. As far as criticizing Saleh’s article, my comments are there for everyone. If I’m not mistaken, I was among the first who literally challenged the author. I don’t live in Europe, I have never contacted you. I don’t think I will ever bother to reach you out again. I thought I was communicating with a reasonable person.
    Take care.

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear Mahmuday,

      I don’t know what to say, but, but, be calm and re-approach in the way we know you. You criticized Habtom, well and good. The same you did to Saleh. But, what you wrote last is not yours. I am sure about it. Come and challenge as usual.

      EFND might have gone mad after reading Saleh’s article, the same brother Bayan felt it. Soon they realized that Saleh’s article should be taken seriously despite its negative side. I don’t feel the same between you and Habtom but both of you should also be aise enough to come together what ever feelings you are feeling right now.

      It is very wised that Habtom asked an apology as he thought that you are the one that he knows you. I understad why you feel like this. It is because the value you both give to brother Saleh and the same to see a reconcilation among all groups.

      Dear Mahmud, be the one that we know you.

      wedikan hawkan

  • haquda

    The EFND group stated ” our unity still remains stronger than those in most of our neighbors. Let us work hand in hand to strengthen it.”

    very comic indeed, if your unity is better than your neighbors why are you asking Weyane Ethiopia how to organized on ethnic base like the Eritrean Afar, the Eritrean Kunama, the Eritrean saho, Highlanders”Habesh”, asking the Djibouti how to form the Eritrean denkalia Afar and asking the Sudan how to form the Eritrean Beja/Hidareb, the Eritrean Benabir Tigry, and the Eritrean Arab Rashaida. Please be honest and tell the reader what was you aked from those weaker than you in unity neighbors country leaders in Addis Ababa, Awassa, nazirhet , Mekelle, many city of Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

    It is amazing your fantasy ” our unity still remains stronger than those in most of our neighbors” Is a jock of the day. An “opposition Organizations/groups more in number than the actual Eritrean population. that means each one is forming and belonging to more than dozens just like my good friend Ato Amanuel Hidrat forms and belongs.

    • Kokhob Selam

      no more comment just to say “ሽም ይመርሕ ጥዋፍ የብርህ” and changing your name is my request to you if you don’t mind.

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear haquda,

      Be rational as per your claim. Your approach is not healthy.


    • haileTG

      Hi Haqudea,

      When one says ” our unity still remains stronger than those in most of our neighbors.” It could be for various reasons, for example, the small population and compact landmass of Eritrea lends itself to a less challenge than bigger countries. Take Ethiopia for instance, by comparing the vastness of their component parts and the huge landmasses and each having deep history of its own social formations, it is natural to assess that Ethiopia faces much bigger challenge (in fact many fold) than Eritrea or any other even moderately bigger countries as both the Somalia and both Sudans. So if Ethiopia succeeded in solidifying unity, that makes the success even bigger.

      The problem is that the PFDJ supporters have been stagnant in political development for a decade and half now. And your stagnation is rendering you to be odds with vertually anything and any one even at a considerable loss of opportunity for you to grow yourself. IF IA regime falls tomorrow, you will feel that someone had just stripped you naked in public and have no where to hide. Develop your own political garment, don’t be an empty shell for others to use you as a voice amplifier.


  • haileTG

    Thank you EFND and also SJG,

    What is unique in this presentation is that we’ve come to see dialog, responsibility and maturity. Which are all to be welcomed without reservation by us the regular public. It is indeed a dialog, for it has taken the direction towards resolving the differences, it is responsible in the way SGJ stood by his views and addressed questions to fair extent and the manner in which the EFND took the responsible route to respond timely and no doubt both sides remained mature throughout the whole saga.

    The process of change is set in motion in Eritrea and there is no way of reversing it. Hence, it is encouraging to see such civil and self moderated engagement among various stake holders.

    I hope hgdefites also take note about the political development and progress being registered in the pro-justice camp and compare that to their situation that they are not allowed to engage in any meaningful political activity except read about about war in S. Sudan or election in Somalia in their regime supplied sources as dehai, madote, tesfa…


  • The first right step towards a right direction to our common perspective can be encouraging . We tried but we couldn’t find them can hardly be substantiated nor is full truth if we all mean really to reciprocate our common end. Issues of our common interests are crying for an urgent and decent approach and defered for years to find a hearing ear and a caring heart. I hope we heed that over due call and answer the burning and genuine call from our elite.

  • derebew

    “our unity still remains stronger than those in most of our neighbors”


    Well, yes there are squabbles in most of the countries neighbouring Eritrea but the simmering division with in the Eritrean society is deeper and may be more virulent. There is divide on ethnic and religious lines in Eritrea, which is alarming if not handled carefully.
    Time will tell wether your unity is better than your neighbours and I wish you good luck
    In my opinion this statement was redundant may even be irrelevant to the issues raised by Saleh Johar, I think this silly line was inserted to boost a bruised ego and to get a browning point.

    • Abinet

      I’m also confused.
      “… Frightening predicament that our people and our country face…”
      “No doubt, bad governance has put a strain on our unity. …our unity still remains stronger than those in most of our neighbors”
      Are they talking about Somalia ? I hope Ato Amanuel will explain this to me.

      • Abraham Hanibal

        Mind your own business!

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Abinet, we are working for peace, that is not an easy journey be part of peace lovers. think big!!

      • SenaiErtrawi

        Selam Abinet,
        I don’t know if I can say the state of Eritrean unity is better than that of Ethiopian but come on – even your sports federation in north America is split up in two.

        And I tell you this, every time I meet an Ethiopian of Amara origin, I find my self arguing with them in support of the EPRDF and try to convince them claiming Ethiopians are doing much better than Eritreans. Looks like they are pretty dug in their ethnic bias and reject the TPLF dominated government no matter how much it is doing better than the Eritrean government.

        • Abinet

          Selam SenaiErtrawi
          I agree with you 100%. Don’t ask me the reason but most diaspora ethiopians I meet are the most backward creatures on the face of the earth . They are so embaracing that you don’t want to talk with them. I have met some of those who support the Egyptian stand against the dam just because they HATE EFRDF . I am being honest some wish Egypt bomb the dam. They still live in the 16th century.
          The soccer federation ? Let’s not go there.
          ” abesha abro meblat enji abro mesrat ayawqim”
          BTW, the ethiopians back home are way ahead of the diaspora almost in every aspect of life.

    • Rodab

      Derie and Abu,
      We had plenty of fun discussing Eri-Ethio. And plenty more to come. But this one is internal matter. What do you say yakistie Ethio lijoch?

      • Abinet

        Tiliq yiqrta yidereglin .huletegna aydegmenim

      • Kim Hanna

        Selam Eng. Rodab,
        May I call on you when the reverse transgressions happen in the near future? A little traffic whistle might help.
        Whenever, these types of drive by… happens when we were minding our own business, just to earn a little extra street credence is sometimes hard to NOT say” STOP it”. It is magnified for me specially when done by people you expect to know better. Unfortunately, it appears it comes naturally and is not noticeable by my agotoche lijotch.
        Overall though, you are right, we should not interfere when important internal matters are discussed.

        • Rodab

          Hello Kim Hanna,
          Your note is acceptable in principle. Practically, it is blurrier as there are no articles in Awate authored on Ethiopia exclusively. But I get your point. I know you are a balanced commenter and that adds weight.

          P.S. Eritrea is your Auntie. The two are big and little sisters. So there is no ‘Agot’. May be we will make Sudan our common Agot or something:-)

        • Tesfabirhan WR

          Dear Kim Hanna,

          I assure you it will not. Just stay positive.


  • Kokhob Selam

    both won, the brave Saleh let them say it openly and they say it openly. the way to reconciliation is not difficult says the result as you can see. understanding is possible all it takes is openness and being transparent. let all other parties and intellectuals know that it is possible, it is possible.

    thank you EFND, Keep it up .my take from the above “We owe it to our courageous and wise forefathers and heroic martyrs to work in unison to preserve and develop our precious inheritance. “

    • haileTG

      KS bro,

      Almaz Aregay is one of my favorite singer for justice (especially with her latest single written by the raising young poet for justice Merhawi W/Michael). ነዞም ሃገራዊ ዘተ ትኸውን ደርፊ ግን ኣይመረጽካን ኮኾብ ዓርከይ፡ ከይተሐስወኒ። እዛ ኹላ ምስ እዝግሔራ ሪኮንስሌሽን ትሓትት ዘላ ሸራፍን ጎራፍን ተር ኣቢሎም፡ ስእሊ’ስ ካበይ ረኸብዎ ወደይ! ብዝኾነ፡ ኮኾባይ፡ ናይ ለሚን ካብ በልካ፡ ኣነ ክሕግዘካ። አዚ’ኣ ከመይ ትብላ?


      • Kokhob Selam

        she is very talented. every single word from her makes sense. I think we are all gifted but it is who use his God given gift for good of people, still there are very good artists who don’t know where to use it like those in PFDJ camp.

  • Abraham Hanibal

    Dear All;
    I fully endorse this invitation for dialogue between Eritreans, irrespective of their regional, ethnic or religeous affiliation for the common goal of removing tyranny from our country.
    Thank you EFND Coordinating Commitee!

  • Habtom Yohannes

    A very civilized response by EFND. However the question remains whether EFND is helping Saleh Gadi Johar and the debate.

    As a ‘friend’, I thought it is appropriate to respond to Saleh Gadi frankly instead of adding an appeasing article. I take him seriously and that is why I chose to write my own article. I have sent the same article to, not under pen names or whatever; no under my own name accompanied with a Selamta private message. I hope they will publish and otherise the reader can find it on the following lin and my facebook page:

    I hope to see all of us -at least those who are genuinely interested- in a round-table where we can discusse issues openly.

    • Dear Habtom,
      As your link indicates, you have already published your comment elsewhere. Unfortunately, as per our policy, we do not publish duplicates. We apologize, for that.

    • Rodab

      Dear Habtom,
      I wouldn’t have published your article either. Too much personal attack. When people complain about not being included, can you put yourself in their shoes and try to understand them instead of making things worse? I am a Christian Highlander who is very sensitive to what the other members of our society complain about.

      • SA

        Well said Rodab. It is unfortunate that Habtom Y. is responding with fire to fire. In his article, he accuses Saleh Gadi’s of writing his article in haste and bitterness, but his article is no less bitter. Its tone is actually worse than Saleh Gadi’s article. One has to ask him what he is trying to accomplish with his highly bitter and polemical article. I am glad there are cooler heads at EFND, and I appreciate their mature and reconciliatory response.

        • Habtom Yohannes

          Rodab and SA, Thank you. 1. Rodab your approach, with all respect is harmful for the “people” you say to feel their pain! All well-meant but your approach sustains victimization unintentionally. You are talking about people as if there homgenous people or group in Eritrea. Does Alamin Mohammed Said represent all the Tigre people from Semhar or is he one leader of PFDJ; did Mustapha Nuruhussein represented all the Jeberti? We must be very specific when we talk about “pain”, “people” and so on. We should be very carefull not to silence the patient with placebo. 2. You are talking about “NOT BEING INCLUDED”. Individuals and sometimes a group of people have the right to complain but it doesn’t mean that their complain is justified. 3. SA: a simple calculation work would tell you how long it took me to write and publish my article. Ask yourself when the Crusaders article was published. It is good to see such a reaction from “a cool headed person”. Thank you.

          • Rodab

            Selam Habtom,
            May I recommend that you write another article (even a short one will do) and send it in? A more positive one, so we can all discuss it and hopefully we will get at a better understanding. I have read you many times before. Your latest article doesn’t measure up to your typical constractive articles.

          • Kokhob Selam

            I 2nd you. I am sure that will smooth the road.

      • Tesfabirhan WR

        Dear Rodab,

        Let’s not exclude. Let’s make it inclusive. In this way only we can move forward. If Habtom came with positive move, it is good. I know you Rodab well and no need to say like what I said but just under this section I felt it to say.

        The same also to kubur hawn ayayin @mahmud_saleh:disqus


    • Mahmud Saleh

      Dear Habtom;

      You said “I hope to see all of us -at least those who are genuinely interested- in a round-table where we can discusse issues openly.”

      The above quote would have been a well-meaning and grand idea if you had stuck to it penning your article and poem. I read your poem on FB and it’s repulsive, not consistent with the Habtom I had in mind. And now, this linked-up article repeats the same tone. I would really urge you to calm down and present yourself with one voice. Are we going to take away the voice advising us for reconciliation or the one stoking fire? In the past couple of days three parties have shown characters, each consistent with what readers would expect.
      1. Saleh Gadi: spoke what he thought should be spoken in one voice, consistent with the character we are familiar with ( he calls himself a kamikaze). We may disagree with him; and truly, some of us disagreed with him. Unlike you, Beyan and others argued the topic with maturity and clarity, sticking to substance. Although some of his readership may disagree with him, it was all civil. Anyway, he presented himself in one voice.
      2. Amanuel Hidrat, true to his character, swallowed his pride and waited patiently, that was a lesson we should learn.
      3. We have been bracing for EFND reply, and to my expectation, and I believe to the expectation of many harmony seekers, EFND came up with a reply that measures up to their stature (as an intellectual group).
      Habtom, rise up to the occasion and be part of the group, echo the groups call for united action. It would be a service to your readers if you told us what the group did, how it conducted itself,and if you proposed ways of making the group more representing. I accept the group’s explanation, and frankly, long before its conference, I had considered its efforts worth paying attention to. So, please align your energy along the conculiatory tone of the group; please, be constructive.
      ምስ ሰላምታ

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Awatistas and Dear EFND,

    This is a wise move and as EFND’s memorandum of understanding outlines is a ready means to bring all sociopolitical Eritrean societies together in a round table dicussion.

    I am happy to see such positive reply.

    Positive engagement with extreme tolerance is what we are looking these days.

    I have a new motto these days, Educate, Agitate and Organize! (Dr.Ambedkar, and I hope such motto combined with Enlighten, Embolden and reconcile will help us to move to a higher form of social organization now and post PFDJ Eritrea.

    hawkuln zefkirekumn


  • Mahmud Saleh

    Dear Awatistas;
    I am so happy that EFND guys have come up with this conciliatory and mature response. The question of why they appeared to be sectorian is now thrown out. They are acknowledging their shortcomings, and at the same time, they are inviting us all. I hope Saleh will respond in kind by taking positive steps in meeting them midway for the common good. A sigh, finally.