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Eritrea 2020: The Peace Dividend is War

What follows is a synopsis of what transpired in, and to, Eritrea and Eritreans in 2020. Retrospectives are selective, reflecting the author’s bias so, forewarned, it will not include lines like “The Habela-Cheatat road construction has begun. When finished, it will reduce the Asmara-Akordet distance by 20 kilometers.” There are people who do a good job with that.  I tend to focus on the abnormality of Eritrea.  For example, last year General Sebhat Ephrem returned from his assassination-attempt-recovery in Dubai, and friends can visit him and discuss anything except the assassination attempt.  This year, Eritrea’s chief of security for the Horn of Africa, the conduit for the Eritrea-based Ethiopian opposition, the Eritrean liaison for Somalia’s Shabab who was on every Somalia Eritrean Monitoring Group (SEMG) Report, Brigadier General Te’ame Goitom Kinfu (also known as Wedi Meqelle, aka Meqelle, Mekele) yeah that guy, joined the list of the Disappeared in Eritrea and he is presumed under arrest.  When we began the year, there still was neither pretense of even bothering with a constitution (draft, ratified, or being drafted), nor free press, nor election calendar, and tens of thousands of Eritreans were in prisons, jails, hold-him-for-me’s, underground and overground, in containers, in the desert and the temperate, where people need a permit to travel within their own region (never mind country), where compulsory education defines the sole place for the compulsion: military base in Sawa, where education to military is a revolving door; a country without ATM, where you are restricted to USD 300 a month. Of withdrawal. Of your own damn money. A place with 1% internet penetration….   These abnormalities are normal to Eritreans.  And the abnormality follows Eritreans outside Eritrea. 

Quarter I:

1. The Case of the Football Players

Meet Hannibal, Hermon, Simon and Mewael.


Remember the Eritrean footballers who asked for asylum? Not the year in Botswana or the year in Malawi or Kenya (where Eritrean prez Isaias Afwerki told Aljazeera their defection was all news to him and he doesn’t care either way) but the year in Uganda. While the teammates and coaches were celebrating their win, the 4 players were plotting their escape. A football team defecting normally happens during Olympics; but there is nothing normal in Eritrea where the predatory government abuses you, and you fear its tentacles will reach you in the land you seek asylum, so you reach out to UNHCR via social media, as reported by The Guardian. This was in January 2020; so was the death of two Eritrean asylum-seekers in Tripoli: two were shot dead. So was that of another, a 16-year-old, who died of unknown illness. As was the acquittal in Italy of the smuggled accused of being smugglers. As was the case of Eritrean asylum seekers protesting in……Ljubljana, Slovenia! Also in January 2020, the Ethiopia government re-defined the requirement for Eritrean asylum cases to exclude certain categories. Nobody asked why of the 140,000 refugees in Afar and Tigray, 70,129 had arrived in 2019: a full year and half after the Peace and Friendship Agreement.

2. African-Arab Council Formed: Or, if you are not into the whole brevity thing, its full name is “Council of Arab and African States Bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden” and it was formed in Riyadh in January 6, 2020. The Council includes Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Jordan and Yemen. If you are saying some of these members are barely countries (Somalia, Yemen) and others barely talk to each other (Eritrea and Djibouti; Yemen and Saudi Arabia), what’s your point? Look at the spectacular failure of IGAD.  Later on,  King Salman hosted King Isaias to a buffet fit for kings.

3. Visa Ban: Eritrea was inducted into Trump’s famous ShitHole Countries which also include Krygyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. Reuters reached out to our Foreign Minister Osman Saleh who said: “We find this move unacceptable. We will, however, not expel the U.S. ambassador.”

The US has no ambassador to Eritrea.

In Germany, the biggest problems settled Eritreans face (Eritrean immigrants are the largest from Africa) is in family reunification visas. The German embassy in Eritrea does not have consular services, which means Eritreans have to try the ones in Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan, without much success because the papers from the churches testifying to the marriage are dismissed as forgeries.  Those who somehow raised the money to flee to the West?  They were being hosed.

4. Center of Gravity for Eternal Peace & Bliss: In January, the heads of governments of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia met in Asmara to have discussions “on a wide range of issues”, and the discussions were “candid and extensive.” This is the second meeting the three are having to follow up on the Tripatriate Agreement of 2018 whose single focus so far is: security. The previous month, Eritrea’s president had traveled to Ethiopia for the 4th time since the peace treaty of 2018, where he performed a personnel shuffle with Abiy: Ethiopia’s Barely Accredited Ambassador to Eritrea (Redwan Hussein) would become State Minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia (and the subsequent face of the Stupid War.) Abiy Ahmed, who traveled with his then Defense Minister Lemma Megersa (thoughts and prayers) announced that “our dear and welcoming city of Asmara will make our stay delightful.” Our. Because Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia are forming their own dysfunctional mini-IGAD, towards a dysfunction confederation or federation.

5. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights: Meanwhile, speaking of “our” Asmara, Special Rapporteur Daniela Kravetz reported the Eritrean government’s “engagement” with the international community has not curtailed its appetite for arrests and disappearance which continue unabated. Included in the list of prisoners who have been made to disappear without a day in court were the cases of Paulos Eyasus, Isaac Mogos and Negede Teklemariam, in prison for 25 years. (they would make news in October, when they were released from prison with no explanation.)

6. Fiery February: February is a historic month for Eritrea (Liberation of Massawa in 1990) and Tigray (formation of TPLF in 1975) and when the two are not getting along, which is most of the time they have been in existence, they exchange some very cordial words. As he has since the 2005 Ethiopian elections, Isaias lamented what TPLF had done to Ethiopia and predicted its demise. Meanwhile, marking its 45th anniversary, the TPLF fielded its heavy-hitters like Seyoum Mesfin (who asked a reasonable, but slightly hyperbolic, question: “How can Isaias Afwerki find solutions to Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa after failing in Eritrea and making half of its people refugees?”) and Tsegai Berhe (“if Eritrean government interferes in Ethiopia, we will chop off its hands!” ) Yeah, they made grandiose predictions from Axum, a historic place in their own Tigray, the birthplace of Ethiopia, a place they have no control over mere months later.  February was the beginning of muscle-flexing season in Eritrea, Tigray, and Addis Abeba.  The world would be subjected to their marching soldiers for months.

And to paraphrase Samuel Jackson in “Death To 2020”: and this is still ________ February!

7. “Dual Track Approach”: That is what the European Union called its decision to give the Eritrean Government 22 million dollars for road construction (even if it is using modern slavery labor) because we just can’t make engagement conditional on change in Eritrea! We will just throw money at it because maybe, somehow, it will result in fewer than the 5,000 – 30,000 Eritrean asylum-seekers to Europe every year. Another Euro 95 million was pledged as Phase 2 because, why not.

8, Cardinal Who: It was still February and Ethiopian Catholic Church’s Cardinal Berhaneyesus, who happens to be head of the Church as well as Chancellor to the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, arriving in Asmara, Eritrea, was denied exit from the airport. On orders from above, explained the airport administration. The Cardinal was there on an invite from Eritrea’s Catholic Church to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the construction of Kidane Mehret Cathedral. But he was stuck at Asmara Airport for hours, multiple his travel time from Addis Abeba. Eritreans shrugged because they had experienced worse. That Ethiopia shrugged it off was an indication that it had higher priorities than safeguarding the rights of minorities. Of course, such hostility is not sanctioned by the Eritrea Ethiopia Peace & Friendship Agreement. It can only be understood if you use the Agreement’s shorter name: Eritrea Ethiopia Mutual Defense Pact. Beqa::

9. You Down With DPW? Dubai’s DP World, fresh from being fired by Djibouti, picked up a contract to renovate the Eritrean ports, at the request of Eritrean port authorities. Asked for comment, Eritrea’s Minister of Information told Bloomerg… nothing. Because it was all news to him.

10. “Game Changer” is how the Colluli Potash Project in Southeastern Eritrea was described. The company is licensed to unearth 472,000 tonnes of sulphate of potash per year for over 200 years. Sulphate of potash is a glorified name for fertilizer and pest control. Game changer because it is expected to contribute 3% to GDP, 10,000 jobs and 50% of the nation’s export by 2030. Unless Isaias Nevsunizes it, for part of the 200 years he will preside over Eritrea. (nevsunize (v): the act of wasting 100’s of millions of cash from Nevsun sales of minerals.)

11. Corrupt and Unfair: Three Eritreans who sued Canada’s Nevsun received favorable ruling that they can bring a case against Nevsun for having controlling share of Eritrea’s Mining at Bisha and are, therefore, responsible for “conditions that were inhuman” where “work was carried out under the constant threat of physical punishment, torture and imprisonment.” Nevsun lost its case to have the case heard in Eritrea because, according to the British Columbian court, the Eritrean courts are “corrupt and unfair.”

12. Pestilence 1.0. As part of their East Africa tour, The Locusts 2.0.2.0 made grass fall in February invading 400 hectares of land in Northern Red Sea, which used to be called Semhar back when earlier versions of locusts toured the area. The invasion was foiled with national fervor, (no need to comment on the contribution of Italy or FAO: with our nails!) redirecting the invading horde to Southern Red Sea and Debub. As far as pestilences go, it was no easy challenge, but at least it wasn’t a pandemic or war: that would be crazy.

13. Patient 0: Eritrea’s Patient 0 for COVID19 was a 39-year old expatriate who lives in Norway and had gone home for a visit, after the total ban was imposed except for “extremely urgent and unavoidable purposes.” His case, reported in March, would re-define the job of Eritrea’s Minister of Information to being a Minister of Health, providing daily tallies of infections (all of whom are, always, people who come from outside and may or may not have been quarantined.)

14. Vestiges of the Old: On his drive from home to work, the convoy of Sudan’s Prime Minister Hamdok was met with explosions and gunfire. Nobody was seriously harmed, and the Prime Minister had his Cabinet of Ministers Meeting. Regional leaders expressed their horror at what happened and their total solidarity with the Sudanese government. Eritrea, characteristically, went overboard: “The GOE reiterates its full solidarity with the Government of Sudan in its vigorous undertakings to overhaul vestiges of the old regime…..” Name me one other head of state who regularly comments on the domestic politics of a foreign country. I will wait.

QUARTER II

15. Covid All The Time: The beginning of April is when the daily reports of COVID-19 News Ticker started. Confirmed cases, recoveries, deaths (lately.) The occasion was an opportunity to do it all: raise funds AND lock down the country completely. UNICEF and WHO are never mentioned despite the funding they provide. They can’t be heard from because they keep contradicting the “With Our Nails” self-reliance mythology.

The Eritrean lockdown is one of, if not the most, restrictive.

The harshest hit society appears to be the Afar population: between the lockdown, the lack of “Bahri” rain (December to March), the flood from the regular rain (June-September), and the government’s decision to prioritize military alliance with UAE, based in Assab, has meant that the people were experiencing famine— never reported by State media.

16. Tantamount To Slavery: Eritrea Focus and Amsterdam-based Human Rights for Eritrea sued the European Union for funding conscripted labor in Eritrea, while the UN (that EU is a big part of) has called the conscripted labor “tantamount to slavery.” The EU sang and danced and played its favorite sports: Head-In-The-Sand.

17. Hitsats No More: Ethiopia’s Tigray Regional State hosted four UNHCR refugee camps for Eritreans: Shimelba, Hitsats, Mai Aini and Adi Harush. The Ethiopian Government announced that it was shutting down Hitsats and moving the 25,000 Eritrean refugees to one of the other three camps, which were already at capacity, per UNHCR.  Fun Fact: Hitsats was necessary because the other camps were at capacity. Well, the government didn’t announce the closure: it just did it and UNHCR caught up with the change 3 months later.

In the first 3 months of 2020, 9,463 Eritreans sought asylum in Ethiopia. This, if you are counting, is 21 months after the signing of War Is Your Peace Dividend Agreement. COVID19 closed all borders, otherwise that is one lagging indicator that defines Eritrea: the exile rate, with nothing to excuse it anymore.

18. Alibaba’s Open Sesame Is Closed: The Eritrean Government which takes pride in its policy of self-reliance rejected the goody two shoeism PPE  donation of Ali Baba founder Jack Ma.   Fine print: “Self-reliance” does not reject help from WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO, FAO, UNAIDS and UNFPA.

19. One More Wound To The Wounded: The politicos at European Union, who have yet to turn down a bad idea with sufficient funding, allocated €357 million to “voluntarily repatriate” asylum seekers. Including to a country (Eritrea) where every returnee who had left “illegally” has to sign a Remorse Letter which reads, “I regret having committed an offence by not completing the national service and am ready to accept appropriate punishment in due course.” Since, technically, leaving while on “national service” is post-abandonment whose punishment may include death penalty, why,  anything less than that is appropriate: violence, torture, humiliation. It’s never clear whenever EU funds such projects whether it doesn’t know the Reality in Eritrea or it just doesn’t care. Or, what the Eritrean refugees are leaving (Libya) is even worse than the nightmare that awaits them at home.

20. Rape, Extrajudicial Executions, Homes Set Alight: “Ethiopian security forces committed horrendous human rights violations including burning homes to the ground, extrajudicial executions, rape, arbitrary arrests and detentions, sometimes of entire families” is the introduction to grizzly report by Amnesty International issued in May.  As happens often with wars, the antagonists say “our side is disciplined! It never does that!” But every war shows that our side, whatever your side is does do that.  If you doubt it, read the Eritrea Ethiopia Claims Commission (EECC) decisions.

21. Bitu Bitutu (Isaias Afwerki) Visits Batu Dugda: It has been so last quarter since we talking about the Abiy Isaias Fireside Chats, and it was time for Isaias to fly to Ethiopia to discuss, with said Abiy “COVID19 pandemic and desert locust infestation.” And that’s all. They discussed nothing else. Then it was time for President Isaias to visit the Batu Dugda irrigation project in Oromia and do his usual ooooh aaaaah.

22. Daniela Kravetz Is Still Reporting: Daniela who? Exactly. When Sheila Keetharuth was the Special Rapporteur, the supporters had a collective mental breakdown but when Daniela Kravetz replaced her, they just decided to ignore her on the assumption that it all felt like some UN Pleonasm: traditional but unnecessary. So when she was reminding people that Isaias still has a disappeared girl (Ciham Ali) in prison and he should release her, the PFDJ only called her “the mouthpiece of Eritrea’s archenemies.” She, as well the High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the UN there has been no tangible improvements in Eritrea since the Peace & Encirclement Agreement of 2018. The UN shrugged.

23. Gedim Warya: Nearly 600 Somalians, who were in military training in Eritrea for 10 months, returned back to Mogadishu, and a new batch were sent to be inspected by Somalia President Formajio. Somali Affairs speculated on whether the armed elite were going to safeguard Somalia, or the politics of incumbency (a leader using any means to stay in power) since the country is scheduled for its election in 2021.

24. Cancel Culture Eritrean Edition: A certain Indro Montanelli was a leader of an Eritrean battalion for fascist Italy and later, until his death at the age of 92, a renowned foreign war correspondent, deserving of a statue. Somewhere along the way, he disclosed he had bought(!) his Eritrean wife when she was 12. Italian progressives got all offended by this terrible thing this long-dead man had done 80 years ago and demanded the removal of his statue. There is, of course, zero information about his Eritrean wife.

25. The Fire Next Sea: If you want to understand the fire next door, now entering its sixth year of destruction, this map describes most of the depressing reality.

If you are tempted to say: “It all started with the Arab Spring and that’s why you expat Eritreans with your know-nothing ideas should just shut the hell up!” consider this great passage from one of my favorite authors:

Saleh’s regime is subsumed by tribalism. Saleh belongs to the Hashid tribe, the smaller of the two main tribal confederations in western Yemen; the other is the Bakil. Of the two, the Hashids are better organized, and have saved the President during a number of confrontations in the past, especially with Marxist South Yemen. Officially, the country holds elections and has ministries. Unofficially, local elections are often a means of institutionalizing a sheikh’s rule, so that a ministry can be partly a tribal fiefdom. Whereas rulers in the Persian Gulf states have used profits from oil to build roads and institutions in order to strengthen the grip of central government, from which modernization can ensue, this has not happened to quite the same degree in Yemen, partly because Saleh has had to use his petroleum profits—which account for two thirds of all government revenues—to bribe tribal leaders into quiescence, though these bribes will often go by the name of development assistance.

Saleh, no relation, is short for Ali Abdullah Saleh, the lieutenant colonel, the Unifier of North and South Yemen. He succumbed to what is respectfully called in the West “constituency serving”, but is called “tribalism” in Africa and the Arab World. The man I called one of my favorite authors used the word “tribal” 26 times in the article. I counted. But you can see how his brand of constituency serving can be exclusionary and suffocating specially on minority rights (which is everybody else), including you.

As Stefon would put it: This .War. Has. Everything: a separatist group, extreme social polarization, with each looking down on the other with the bottom rung occupied by the black Al Akhdam; religious sects that never learned co-existence; shifting alliances (Saleh shifted alliances with the Houthi, then a break up, and was shot dead); extreme poverty and illiteracy; Muslim Brotherhood; Alqaida In The Peninsula; ISIS, Iran, Saudi Arabia all sitting atop an extremely strategic land.  And Eritrea has a supporting cast role. When Saudi Arabia created the Alliance it had announced it would bomb the place to orderliness within 3 weeks, and that was in 2015, and they too were bragging about their Situation Room.

Back to the Yeoman of Yemen, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki: Independent Republic of Eritrea’s maiden voyage to Fight Every Neighbor was The Three Day Battle with Yemen over the “disputed territories”  of Hanish,  back when Eritrea was a cute 4-year-old country. A quick jump to arbitration (she was cute and smart) led to a lengthy process which yielded the unappealable ruling in 1999: the islands were awarded custody, with Yemen getting the bigger one. So, for years, we argued that our ready acceptance of an unfavorable ruling contrasted sharply with Ethiopia’s waffling on Badme. Then the Saudis came with their alliance in 2015, which we joined, and so we started complaining how the Hanish ruling was not just unfair, but it is a poison pill designed to perpetuate enmity.

So, we got Hanish Islands back because, look at the map, and also the nephew of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Tareq Saleh (no relation), better known as Tareq Afash (and Awet n’Afash to you too), is fighting for the universal ideology of “I shall avenge my uncle.” So now, Isaias, an equal opportunity oppressor, is preventing Yemenis from fishing in their own waters, just as he did with the Afar, Eritrean counterparts. Fishing boats confiscated regularly. Five years later, everybody wants a way out, but nothing sustainable is on the table. Leaving war, the war of choice, is now a war of necessity. Always everywhere.

26. The Banality of The Abnormal: One of Eritrea’s passions that even PFDJ couldn’t destroy is cycling. When was the last time you heard of a cyclist defecting? In Eritrea, they do. Actually, it is not defection: it is worse. It is hopelessness. It is leaving your country at the age of 14 to be far, far away from the predatory government, separated from your family, missing the social norms of Eritreans on the side road, cheering you on and giving you water and mango as you raced. That’s the story of Haben Gebrehiwet, as profiled in Cycling Plus in June of 2020.

27. Potash Unlimited: Danakili Limited (ASX:DNK) (LSE:DNK) (OTCMKTS:SBMSF) is half of Colluli Mining Share Company (CMSC), the other half being Eritrean National Mining Corporation (ENAMCO.) Looks a lot like the NEVSUN arrangement: including the nature of the updates you will get: it will never be from ENAMCO but Danakali or their future partners Eurochem Trading GmbH. They are telling you they conducted their sustainability study and found that they are working on production of an open pit mining, open pit because the minerals happen to be in the world’s shallowest potash deposit (16 meters) and only 75 kilometers from the Red Sea. This potash is potassium sulphate, not the lame sulphate said the Press Release. Ordinarily, this is fantastic news that has the means to transform our people’s quality of life. But Isaias Afwerki is in charge and you know he is incapable of resisting the pull into darkness, whatever shape the silhouette

28. Three Turkish Adventurers Enter Eritrea:  After a stop in Djibouti, the weather changed, and COVID19 lockdown was in full effect, so the three self-described adventurers were intercepted by the Eritrean Navy in Massawa, who then directed them to a more hospitable location, Buri (aka the Penisola di Buri prison), 29 nautical miles away. There are many reasons for a country to be suspicious of self-described adventurers, but the Eritrean regime completely loses its ability to communicate during crisis, even as it knows it has, to be normal, communicate during crisis. This is to say, the regime occasionally gives the world a glimpse at how sadistic it is. Let’s just not over expect what the world does with the profile.

They were released 56 days later.

29. Isaias Afwerki In Sudan: President Isaias Afwerki visited Sudan to consult with Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, as to which candidates are acceptable to both leaders when it comes to Governor of border state of Kassala. In the Beni Amer, Hadendawa, Beja, Rashaida push-and-pull and ethnic conflict, President Isaias Afwerki has a list that are fit and unfit to govern the region. All this was called “bilateral affairs” and glossed over and the bleeding in East Sudan continued.

30. 24, 10, 13: Those were the yay, nay and abstain votes on the Human Right Council’s decision to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the “situation” of human rights in Eritrea for another year.

As usual, the abstentions are more interesting than the yes and no, particularly when looking at the Africa bloc.

31. AfCTFA Afoot Except In Eritrea: 54 out of 55 African nations signed to join the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and 31 of them submitted instruments for its ratification. Eritrea explained that, on principle, it doesn’t like “Abstract Platitudes” like AfCFTA and prefers strengthening local regional organizations. Oh, you mean like IGAD, which it has boycotted for years? Or the Eritrea-Ethiopia Peace & Friendship (which has yielded nothing) and the Eritrea Ethiopia Somalia Tripartite Agreement which will yield even less. And the African Arab Council which exists on paper. But at least they responded: usually they prefer the mute communication strategy.

32. Our Jealous and Possessive Eritrea: The New York Times featured Eritrean artist Ficre Ghebreyesus. The world was posthumously introduced to his art by his wife and what a piece of art! Ficre was not just a painter but he also practiced culinary art, as a cook at Caffe Adulis. The works of art, 700 paintings, were all inspired by a search for space, one that accommodates Eritreans and American identity. And his cooking was hybrid, Eritrean, Ethiopian and Imaginary Places that serves, for example, Shrimp Barka. Well worth your reading, especially if you suffer from separation and heightened awareness of our people’s suffering.  Here’s one of my favorite: The Sardine Fisherman’s Funeral.

Quarter III

33. Selsoye Selso: Ethiopian Prime Minister woke up one mid-July and said, “you know what I haven’t done in a while? Visit Wedi Afey!” And off he went where he had, um, discussions on bilateral issues followed by “they were once at war now they are the best of friends” reporting. At this point, the visits had achieved the “I wonder what he is wearing?” stage of familiarity breeding contempt. Misdirected, to be sure, but: you have visited us half a dozen times and nothing changes for us! I will give you something to talk about besides what I am wearing, vowed Abiy, and (with his wifey) inspected the graduating Sawa soldiers. The only person less qualified than Ambassador Sofia Tesfamariam, Abraham Isaias Afwerki, was also there. Isaias briefed his Ethiopian counterpart on his visit to Egypt a couple of days earlier.  War does not make itself happen.

34. Too Abnormal Even For Abnormal Eritrea:   Eritrea Takes COVID19 Seriously! Stay home, don’t move for any reason, and if you have to convert the whole country into a Segreto (the masculine for “secret” in Italian), which stands for an unlicensed restaurant or bar. That means no taxis, no buses: it is horse-carriage if you are lucky. But there are exceptions. National salvation and national development. So, COVID or KEBID, Sawa—a COVID19 Super Spreader camp is right on schedule: both Warsay-Yikealo Secondary School (the last year of high school) boarding and the military training. Yes, yes, Sawa has its own burial place, with unmarked graves, and no, we are not going to call a martyr a victim of COVID19! Our youth die mysteriously in private, and our elders die of heart attacks in public. We didn’t earn our African Sparta title in jest.  This begs the question, who will they take this year to 12th grade in Sawa, since there was no 11th grade in 2020?

35. The Limping Miner: Danakali staggered to the third quarter, more loss-laden than ever, more desperate to raise cash, with its penny stocks flatlining. Obviously, this required a swashbuckling Aussie to will his way through with pure concentrated swagger. This Coluli is a “game changer”, get in now while you can; we will figure out the pesky enforced labor issue later, much later, after we mine ourselves some sulphate! The miner also contracted with RA International, a remote site service provider to construct the camp, manage the facilities and come up with very creative ways to pretend that the preferred local vendor, the State owned Red Sea Trading Corporation won’t actually be using modern slave labor.

36. More Hot Air: Well, this is a form of “zura n hagerka” (tour your country): where do you think is the highest potential in Eritrea for wind energy? That would be the coastal area, specifically the Southern Red Sea. And some parts of the Eritrean highlands. If and when Eritrea rids itself of Isaias Afwerki (with a little help from God), the next government will have to exploit that to rid Eritrea from over-reliance on diesel fuel turbines.

37. Now You Do What They Told You: The Eritrean Ministry of Information is pissed! “Two years after the signing of the Peace Agreement, Ethiopian troops continue to be present in our sovereign territories. Trade and economic ties of both countries have not resumed to the desired extent or scale.” Speed it up, bruh, speed it up. The news (from Bloomberg) ends the story with “A spokeswoman for Abiy didn’t immediately respond to text message seeking comment.” The choreographers were practicing.

38. Diversity Israeli Style: The Israeli Government named Ishmael Khaldi, a Bedouin, as its ambassador to Eritrea. This is still quarter 3 and Isaias meets ambassadors “bjimla” so, technically, he is not fully accredited. The ambassador had a George Floyd moment (before George Floyd) when Israeli security forces placed a knee on his neck to subdue him. Good times.

39. The Hit on Hitsats: The Catholic News is not generally noted for its hyperbole so it was slightly jarring when it showed a picture of Eritreans apparently moving, with the caption “Eritrean refugees abandoned by Ethiopia.” Ouch. When the Ethiopian Government had no Plan A never mind Plan B when it shut down the UNHCR camp for Eritrean refugees at Hitsats. And in the vacuum, the predators targeted the vulnerable: women and unaccompanied minors.

40. In Secretly, Out Secretly: 31 Evangelical Christians Released From Prison: There was no public court, adjudication, sentencing, verdict, so nobody, including most government officials, knew why they were arrested and what their sentencing was. And so, when they were released, some a decade later, nobody except Europeans and Americans celebrated. There are an estimated 300 Christians from the non-approved denominations, INCLUDING CHILDREN, at Mai Serwa prison. In secretly, out secretly.

41. Out Secretly, In Secretly: 30 Eritreans attending a wedding of a Christian denomination which is illegal in Eritrea (that would be Abiy Ahmed Ali’s denomination, if you are taking notes) were arrested. At the wedding. They are spending the wedding day, the honey moon period, and the social visits that follow at Mai Serwa Prison. In Eritrea, three denominations of Christianity (Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran) and one Muslim (Sunni) are the only legal, government-recognized religions. Everybody else is an outlaw subject to immediate arrest.  Out secretly, in secretly.

42. Abdul Fattah al Burhan in Asmara: Sudan’s President of Transitional Foreign Council pays Eritrea a visit and, unlike with Abiy Ahmed, there is no hand-holding, or strolling or giggling. Al Burhan brought his security team and Aawsat reported the purpose of the visit was to discuss border security. Al Burhan supposedly told Isaias that he was shuffling people to the Kassala Region, and Isaias will just have to learn to love the new officials, none of whom are Isaias’s favorites. Security. Or, as Borkena.com reported, “the two leaders have reportedly reached an agreement to reach an agreement.”

43. The Russians Are Coming To Africa including Eritrea. So reports German newspaper “Bild” relying on a secret document prepared by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The other African countries are all Democratic Shrines including Central African Republic, Egypt, Madgascar, Mozambique and Sudan. The military bases it plans to build in these countries are going to be manned by a contractors (mercenary military) such as the Wagner Group.

44.  30 Days Has September And Every Month But The 13th, which has 5 or 6 days depending on whether or not it is a leap year. This makes September 11 (12th in leap year), Ethiopia’s New Year’s Day according to the Justininan(ish) Ethiopian calendar. It is the year 2013 in Ethiopia. This is interesting not just in a touristy way but because Eritrea uses the same calendar in the Eritrean Orthodox Church rituals. This year, the Acting Patriarch (because the real patriarch is in jail), actually referred to it as Kudus Yohannes (St John Memorial)

Over at Ethiopia, where the government had been re-populating the prisons it had emptied with journalists and political activists, and had shut down the Internet on four different occasions, and extra-judicial killing and ethnic tensions were on the rise, the war drum beats were getting louder as Tigray defied the Federal Government and held regional elections. Prime Minister Abiy took the occasion to pen a few words that would appear surreal in December: “In 2013, I call on all Ethiopians to care for the most vulnerable sections of our societies.

45. Alpha Exploration: While Nevsun mines for gold and bronze and copper in Bisha (western Eritrea), and Danakali is in first stages for potash in southeastern Eritrea, here comes British Columbia’s Alpha Exploration in the early stages of unearthing gold and copper from the entire Arbian-Nubian shield, and they have to start somewhere in Eritrea. Where? Anywhere because the entire of Eritrea (except for Southern Red Sea and Gash area in the west) is sitting atop the Nubian shield! So they chose… Kerkasha, near Barentu.

Quarter IV

46. The Prime Minister Is Still The Prime Minister: The quarter started out badly enough with the TPLF constantly asking, “It is October 10: do you know who your Prime Minister is?” A very bored Ethiopia said, “Same one we have had since 2018!” and then the TPLF went deep into the weeds of how there is a constitutional crisis because there was no Federal Election”, etc. If you are making a list of TPLF’s miscalculation, add this to the list: they actually thought Ethiopians would fight for an Ethnic Federalism constitution they despise.

47. Eritrea’s New MP: For Eritreans, for the last 20 years, the message has been: “if you want to pursue some dreams, pursue them elsewhere.” And in exile, our story is so tragic (organ harvesting, enslavement, hunger, lack of shelter, and a never ending trauma), that when we find that rare news, of dreams successfully pursued, we pause. One such story was that of Ibrahim Omer, not just the first Eritrean, but the first African MP in New Zealand.

While we are on the subject, God bless all those who chose to remain in Eritrea and are helping build the nation, despite, not because of, PFDJ.

48. RSF Sues President Isaias In Swedish Court: Long after Google was invented, President Isaias Afwerki had once said, on videotape, in an interview with Swedish journalist Donald Bolstrom, that Eritrea-Swedish journalist Dawit Isaac would never be brought before a court of law because “we know what to do with people like him.” Dawit Isaac has been in prison since September 2001, and a signatory to the complaint filed with the Swedish court was Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi who said, “Justice in Eritrea will not progress as long as these persons [Isaias and 7 others] are able to act with complete impunity and no attempt is made to convict them by the countries that can.” One of the countries that can’t is the one ranked 178/180 in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index: Eritrea.

49. Modern Slaves vs Nevsun: The three Eritrean refugees who had sued Nevsun for overseeing modern slavery in Bisha, Eritrea, settled out of court. This was considered “precedent setting” in the mining industry and keep that in mind Alpha and Danakali!  I know it is a fun for Eritreans to beat up on the opposition, but this did not happen by accident and many thanks to the Eritrean Opposition (awate.com, Elsa Chyrum, others) who made this happen:

50. New Quarter New Visit: Somalia president Mohammed Abullahi Formajo arrived in Asmara, Eritrea for a 2 day visit to discuss “bilateral issues”, less commonly known as “how is the training of my soldiers coming along?”visit.

A week later, President Isaias Afwerki visited Ethiopia, in “Operation ሕርር ደኣ በላ ወያኔ!” (In Your Face, TPLF), whose entire purpose was to taunt and troll Weyane, the former rulers of Ethiopia, for three days. Stops were made to The Greatest Hits Of Weyane including GERD & GIBE2 dams as well as METEC construction company. The visit was also “Yeah, It’s Like That Now”, to Egypt, his former allies in thinking GERD was dangerous and wasteful White Elephant back in the day. For good measure, the spy chiefs of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia also met in Addis Abeba.

51. New Quarter New Counter Taunt: Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister during the Meles administration, Seyoum Mesfin, called PM Abiy Ahmed “the former Ethiopian Minister” who is allowing Isaias Afwerki to rape Ethiopia, and is guilty of “treason” on scale much larger than the alleged embezzlement of billions by General Kinfe Dagnew. Since the term of the Prime Minister and both Houses (Peoples and Federation) has expired, it is time to prepare for a transitional government, he offered.

52. Before and After: Before. PM Abiy Ahmed appears to be in charge of a country coming at the seams: Non-stop harassing TPLF is running Tigray, feeling legitimized by an election. Strife is everywhere in Ethiopia, with Oromo Protests, and kidnapped university students, and an ethnic blow up here, an ethnic blow up there. After: PM Abiy Ahmed forces are in Mekele Tigray; TPLF largely silenced, election day announced in Ethiopia, with most of the opposition arrested, disbanded, caved. In between and after: massive displacement (Ethiopia already has more Internally Displaced Persons than Syria), looting, shelling towns, hospitals, mosque; shelling (Asmara!) and massive human rights violations against civilians. And Eritrea was all over it.

If you can only find glory in war, you won’t recognize it in peace. If you are having war, you failed.  The end. 

53. After The After: Sudan jumped in and it turns out pride is unilingual: you don’t have to understand the language to hear the Nationalism that wraps a country. So we reappointed this Sudanese general that Isaias hates, and that is who is returning every sacred Sudanese land. And to direct the war, this much-higher-ranking-than-necessary general will set up base in Gedaref. To its credit, Ethiopia gave dignified silence to the harsh language from Sudan and also to its merit it has not once pretended there is disputed land between Ethiopia and Sudan, but then, to its demerit, pivoted to Egypt to say, “we know what you did.” Then Egypt called the Ethiopian ambassador to explain himself, but the press release was all about Egypt detailing its complaint. Sovereignty, internal intervention, and other weaponized words may have been used.

54. The peace dividend was war. We started the year with 0 countries fighting in the neighborhood and we have jumped to 3. With another, Egypt, oh so begging to join the party. Somalia and Kenya were heading there but then, at the IGAD meeting, it suddenly dawned them: that there is an alternative. Specially in an election year.

55. Video of the Year: A video of a crocodile being moved from land to lake, Lake Adi Halo Dam aka Diga Logo. Crocodile in a sack is moved to the shores, and then the sack is removed. Now, which one is more wondrous to you:

A. That there are Eritrean crocodile tamers/handlers who can move one in a sack?
B. That the job of a crocodile is to balance a lake by killing sick fish and dominant fish.

Our tortoise is a crocodile. And he will balance you to extinction.

56. Abnormalism On Steroids: Life under totalitarianism had two indulgences: you could throw as big a party as you can afford at weddings; and you could mount the biggest tent for commemorating death of a loved one. But now, “due to COVID19”, gatherings are forbidden. No travel except for groceries, no use of private cards, no use of bus, mini bus or taxis, no public gathering of more than 10 people (and that’s only for funerals, weddings), no bars, no restaurants, no cafes, no nightclubs,  not even horse carriages anymore. There is an 8:00 pm lockdown of grocery stores and pharmacies, and all court sessions are indefinitely postponed.  And, most of the time, no electricity.  A subpar medical care awaits. The Eritrean people are under house arrest.

The question is no longer “what will Isaias do?” but “what will the Eritrean people do?”  Eritreans are definitely fighting in the war in Ethiopia, and are now in a situation where the media is insulting them by lying to them and filling the air space with news about vaccination of goats and chicken.

So the question is “what will the Eritrean people do?”

About Saleh Younis

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  • Kaddis

    Selam Saay –

    Such a resourceful writing, thank you. The AfCFTA cracked me hard… I didn’t know Eritrean government made any reference to it; I thought they ignored it like every other continental/ regional initiative and that’s about it. I am sure there is a ‘pro whatever the gov do’ kinda person will support their stand while the rest of the 54 is at least trying.
    In any case – like you said – nothing does matter when you are in a war yet to expand.
    Cheers from sunny Addis…

    • saay7

      Hey Kaddis:

      Careful, don’t give people ideas for “It’s Always Sunny In Addis Abeba.” A show full of characters with no redeeming qualities is already a hit with “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.”

      The shorthand stock photo for AfCFTA is always convoys of trucks ready to deliver goods across borders. Except in our part of the world where convoys of trucks deliver State-approved murder delivery mechanism of 20-somethings shoot their fellow 20-something citizens.

      It’s always 2020 in Africa.

      saay

      • Kaddis

        Selam Saay –

        Maybe its that crappy feeling trying to justify (sunny) Addis has still what it takes to live, hope and feel safe. While its no more the case and slowly but surely all those that have invested all their lives here are working silently their firm plan to ditch this country all together.

        • saay7

          Hey Kaddis:

          Good luck buddy. A man who came to power bemoaning politics of retribution going back to the HSI era, is gleefully indulging himself some retribution. Today I read that one of Abiy’s fellow-traveler parties is calling for an independent investigation to determine if Eritreans are fighting in Ethiopia. The country has jumped the shark.

          saay

  • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

    ይሓርቕ
    ከመይ ዘይሓርቕ?
    ብውሽጠይ ይነብዕ
    ምስረኣኹ ህዝበይ ክጠፍእ
    —–ኣብ ዘይናቱ
    ———-ብዘይናቱ ኲናት
    —————ክሃልቕ
    ———————-ክሓቅቕ

    እምበርዶ እዝንና ይሰርሕ
    እምበርዶ ሓንጎልና ይሰርሕ
    ስለምንታይ
    ስለምንታይ ኣብዘይናትና
    ብዘይምልከተና ባርዕ ንሓርር

    ነዚ ድዩ ኔሩ ቃልስና
    ‘ንታይ ‘ዩ ግዲ ኔሩ ድሌትና
    ርግእ ‘ስከ ንበል
    ንሕሰብ
    ቃልስና ‘ንታይ ‘ዩ ኔሩ ግዲ
    ኢልና ንሕሰብ

    ተሓጺብካ ጭቃ ዶ ኣይኮነን
    ንበዓል ገመቹ ንበዓል መኮነን
    ————–ምስኹም ኢና ክንብሎም
    ——————-ንበዓል ደብረጽየን ክንድህኮም
    ————————ነዚ ድዩ ኔሩ ቃልስና
    —————————-ንታይ ኮን ምበሉ
    ——————————–‘ተዝሰምዑ ስዉኣትና

  • said

    Greetings,
    According to major news .The founding TPLF member Sebhat Nega including his wife Tseadu Rich are arrested , including 9 Head of the TPLF clique. Colonel Kinfe Tadesse , Colonel Yemane Kahisay, Asgede Gebrekiristos, and Alganesh Meles has died falling down from high cliff , who was wife of Maj-Gen Hayelom Araya.
    As reported Ethiopian army it has killed four senior members of the Tigray region’s ruling party targeted in a military offensive,
    Those killed included the former head of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) finance bureau, Daniel Assefa and a pro-TPLF commentator Sekoture Getachew. They arrested nine members of the TPLF on Thursday, though none are thought to be senior officials, The whereabouts of TPLF leader, Debretsion Gebremichael, and many other key party and military officials remains unknown. Video shows As Sebhat Nega being arrested and transported to Addis . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U3FopKzqlA

  • Saleh Johar

    It’s not unusual that the end result of all wars are killings, destruction and captivity. Yesterday the Ethiopian government media had formally confirmed that their federal security forces have captured leading members of the TPLF, including one of the founding fathers and former Chairman of the group, Mr. Sebhat Negga.
    I can see the Ethio-Eri social media is full of pictures of the captured leaders. However, the main concern for all “Justice-Seekers” and pro-Democracy activists should be how the captured leaders and their followers are treated. This should include affording them adequate medical treatment and fair trial from beginning to end. Anything less should push us to condemn the “winners” in power.
    Justice is for All.

    • Germay Berhane

      Selam Saleh
      Who cares about your stand whether you condemn or not. Ethiopia has running democratic and judicial system. The course of justice will take accordingly.
      It is shame to say a group of bandits to call them political prisoners while they have killed more than one third of national army and thousands innocent people in Tigray and Ethiopia.
      Will America consider the killers of police officer last week in Capitol Hill as political prisoner? Think and compare about one and thousands.

    • Abi

      Selam Ato Saleh
      I believe you totally missed that the massage was intended to address justice seekers and pro-democracy activists.
      You are neither a justice seeker nor a democratic activist.

    • Germay Berhane

      Selam Saleh
      How do you see the justice done to the captured TPLF leaders?
      Now their life in prison looks better than in their retreat resort. (cave).

  • Peace!

    Hi All,

    Sebhat Nega was captured in a tiny cave around Tekeze yesterday. I am sure it was by far the most humiliating day for him and for the dead TPLF. From a founder to a cave man in just 15 days is dramatic to say the least.

    If he was not ready to martyr himself, why not stay home and wait while enjoying drinks and cigarettes. He didn’t ask for food when he was captured rather he needed to smoke badly. He and the rest TPLF cliques are responsible for the deaths of thousands young Tigrayans, Federal troops, and displaced Ethiopians. What an end, he beats Trump:)

    Peace!

    • Saleh Johar

      Peace,
      He was captured but not in a cave. That was a photoshop parody doe by someone on Facebook. I wish you stick to facts. You can do better. Please resist the urge to cheapen the developments. Let’s take it seriously regardless of our views because credibility should matter.

      • Peace!

        Hi Saleh,

        Where he was captured is immaterial given the fact that he was indeed captured hiding and that’s the underlying fact I stated in my comment.

        He was a criminal and must face justice. I hope his capture boosts the confidence of young Tigrayans who are trying to rebuild Tigray with limited security and resources. This is not cheapening the development at all.

        Peace!

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Peace,

          So what?

          If he is captured, thousands of brave men and women are facing those criminals and they will won. He will not be captured because, so he is around bold men and women. And he will prefer to go from this dirty world.What he is 85 so how much is remaining from his life to stay. I don’t think he is captured it is the same drama of other to demoralize the fighters, Altot of lies was manufactured from this ugly Dr. Abiy office.

          See. whenever something is gone wrong from government side they prepare it a story like this..

          KS,,

          • Peace!

            Hi KS,

            I was just sharing the good news. Everything that’s a beginning has an ending. Here is my weekend treat —Eshim!

            https://youtu.be/uUr5U8mR80Q

            Peace!

          • Kokhob Selam

            Yes Peace,

            He is captured confirmed. I use to open DW (digital weyane) everyday and yes today it is I open just now..

            See the link bellow as Saleh told you he is not captured in the cave..

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ol77fPZWoUA&ab_channel=DigitalWeyane

            KS,,

          • Hashela

            Selam Peace

            አንታ ሰላም፣ ቀዳም መዓልቲ ዘይተስምዓና የብልካን!!!

            እወ፣ ደም ኤርትራውያን አፍሲሱ፣ ደቂሱ ዝሐድር የለን!

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f1f3dd56778b0fde78f79bc79ee05b4109a0e280e3ea40b559f6dc1292a61308.jpg

          • Peace!

            Hi Hashela,

            “ኢድ ሸናሒት ጸናሒት” My father, after he was deported, said ኢዚኦምሲ ኢዶም ኣይስኣኑ ክብል ኣጸቢቑ ይዝከረኒ. I wish እቶም ብጏሂ ዝሞቱ ዝተሰጉ ኢርትራዊን ንዚ ርእዮሞ:(

            Peace!

          • Hashela

            Peace

            I sincerely hope that your beloved Dad is witnessing the utterly undignified end of TPLF leaders.

          • Peace!

            Hi Hashela,

            Yes, he is watching. Not that it will bring back everything he and his friends and families lost, but at least, to me, it is good to see the TPLF gangs experiencing the level of cruelty and humiliation they inflicted upon innocent Eritreans.

            Peace!

          • Woldegabriel Tesfamariam

            Selam peace,
            True, indeed

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Hashela,

            “ስብሓትካ ሓቢእኻ ስብሓት እንዳማትካ!”

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xotgIsf2HEo&ab_channel=TigrayMedia

            KS,

        • Saleh Johar

          Peace,
          You emphasized the “cave” angle and that was why I commented–it was the focus of your comment. Indeed, all criminals should face justice and in such instances, I resist the urge to pretend I am the judge who has studied the case, impartially. To me he is a political prisoners and the government must present its accusations to a competent court. I am afraid if you had the power, not many people you hate will go through a court but straight to the gallows. Let’s focus on Eritrea.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            ሰላም ሳልሕ,

            ከምታ ንዓይ ዝገበረኒ ገይርካ:: “ብንመርትዖ ዘምጽኦ ቃላቱ” ምስሓዝካዮ: ናይ አቦይ ስብሃት ዝተተሓዘሉ ቦታ ክሳዕ ክንዲዚ አገዳሳ ኣይኮነን ኢሉ ከዝልቅ ከሎ አይገርመካን? አገዳሲ እንተዘይ ኮይኑ “ካብ መስራቲ ናብ ናይበዓቲ ሰብ” ዝብል እንታይ አምጸኦ?

          • Peace!

            Hi Emm,

            ንስኻኽ ንቲ ቦታ እንታይ ምበልካዮ ናትካ ዘይምገበርካ ካብ ኣይታንቲ ናይ ሳልሕ ትኸውን have you watched the official news at all? I know it is too much for you, but at least you would have avoided the terrible unforced error you made. I simply avoided delving into minor issue and that doesn’t mean I accept or agree with his judgment. In fact it appears the official video is authentic, and confirms my assertion—yes, from a founder to a cave man!

            Please take a pain killer and watch the official video and let’s know what do you think of the place.

            Peace!

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Peace,

            ከምዘይ ጸሪ ዝራብዕ ዋላ ዕርፊ እንተ አጽናዕኩልካ የማን ጸጋም እንዳበልካ ምስናይ ምሽኒድሑ ብጣዕሚ አሸጊርካኒ:: ጥዕና ዘለዎ ክትዕ ምዓስኮን ኢኻ ትመሃሮ? ንሳልሕ ቃዲ ከምቲ ንዓይ ዝገጠመኒ ገጢምካ ስለዝበልክዎስ ከመይ ኢሉ’ዩ ብዱዕ ብናይ ጎዳና ቋንቋ ከዛርበካ ክኢሉ? ንዓይስ ይትረፍ ነዚ ክንደይ ዓበይቲ ሰባት ዘለውዎ ፎርም ቁሩብ ክብረት ክትህቦ እኳ አይትፍትን:: ብድሕሪ ናይ ብርዒ ሽም ኮይንካ በስድነት ምውሳእ እኮ ፍቁድ ኣይኮነን አብዚ:: ኣብዛ ተዛርብ ዘላ ኣርእስቲ አነን ሳልሕን ሓደ ኣረእያ እዩ ዘለና:: ከምዚ ናይ ጎዳና ቋንቋ ገይርካ ዝመለሽካለይ ከምዘይትምልሰሉ እፈልጥየ::

            አነ ክብለካ ዝደሊ ሕጂ: ቆልዓ ምስ ቆልዓ ይጻወት: ዓብይ ምስ ዓብይ ይጻወት: እሞ መጻውትኻ ፍልጥ ዝሓወይ::

          • Peace!

            Hi Emma,

            ንዓባ ግደፍ!! ኣየናይ እዩ ናይ ስድነት ትብሎ ዘለኻ ኣርእየኒ ሕጂ ይቕሬታ ክሓትት ሽግር ናይ ቋንቋ ትግርኛ እንተሃልዩካ ኻኣ የጋግየካ ኣሎ ጥራይ እየ ክብል ዝኽእል::

            እቲ ጸገም እኮ ንህውሓት ክትከላኽል ሕልናኻ ዓድኻ ህዝብኻ ብፍላይ ድማ ብጾትካ ኣሕሊፍካ ዝሀብካ ሰብ ኢኻ ስለዚ እዩ ካኣ ከምዚ ዓይነት መልሲታት ዘጋጥመካ ዘሎ ይስቆረካ እንተኾይኑ ንሰብ ከከም ኣቀራርቡኡ እየ ዝኸዶ እዛ ናይ ሕጂ ካኣ ባዕልኻ ኢኻ ኣብዘይ ቫልቮላኻ ኣቲኻ::

            Peace!

          • Mez

            Hi Saleh J,

            You must be kidding when you say: “To me he is a political prisnor… ”

            Thanks

          • Peace!

            Hi MZ,

            I guess the lives of Ethiopians do not count when it comes to seeking justice against TPLF, and as for Eritrean victims, it is always DIA’s fault even when TPLF admits.

            Weyane didn’t deny the countless horrific crimes it committed it was just unsuccessful to blur its image into EPRDF. Yes we did, but not just us.

            Aboy Sibhat is a founder of TPLF that is responsible for unlawful imprisonments, tortures,
            displacements, and killings of thousands of Ethiopians. The victims have already accused him long time ago and they have been waiting for this day.

            Peace!

          • Saleh Johar

            Mez,
            If I echoed your view, you wouldn’t consider it kidding. Unfortunately I am not you and I do not make comments I do not believe in. For your information, I wouldn’t accept that to out cruel “leaders” because I fear its long-term ramifications. No, passing gratification is not my thing.

          • Mez

            Good day Saleh J,

            No one needs to “echo” any ones view.

            My quest is leaning more to intellectual curiosity and integrity on the subject at hand. Be brave please.

            Thanks

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Mez,

            If he is not a “prisoner” and as such a prisoner paraded by the government for public show to shame him, then Mr Mez, what should it be?

          • Mez

            Hi Amanuel,

            he is a political prisoner, and much more.

            Of course every thing have to go thru an impartial court of law.

            Thanks

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Mez,

            You have said: “……and much more.” So far the public know that his accusers (Abiy’s political government) did not establish his case and brought him to a court of justice. Are you privy to his case that makes you to say “and much more?” Can you share it with us pls?

            Regards

          • Mez

            Good day Amanuel H,

            Sorry for my belated answer.
            1) there are a lot of things such as war, and humanitarian crimes in to this mix; let us all hope that the impartially of the legal process may prevail this time around.

            2) regarding PMAAA, his political capital is diminishing day by day. If it continue this way he may not politically survive even until the May election.

            Thanks

      • Kibreab

        Selam Saleh,

        In your response to Peace, you said:

        “He was captured but not in a cave. That was a photoshop parody doe by someone on Facebook. I wish you stick to facts.”

        I have not seen the FB parody image, but according to the interview Br Gen Tesfaye Ayalew, an official with the Ethiopian defense forces, gave to ESAT, not only was Sebhat Nega found in a ዋሻ (cave), but in a very hard to reach cave, where you had to descend a difficult ስርጥ (cliff?) to reach the cave.

        Is the official not telling the truth?

        He said, let alone for a person Sebhat’s age, the place is even difficult for a baboon to get in and out. Someone had to carry Sebhat Nega into the cave, and when captured, the defense forces had to carry him out to bring him to justice. Had the military not had an intelligence, the area is inaccessible and would not usually be a place where they would expect people to live in.

        Here is the link to the interview. It is a short video, but the particular question starts at around 3:10.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyJmbwePTYY

        With regards,

        • Peace!

          Hi Kibreab,

          Thank you. I didn’t even post any picture. He automatically assumed a picture on Facebook something I was not even aware. I watched the official news before I posted my comment: the place was indeed a cave. መስፈዶ ክህበካ ዓይነይ ክተንቁረኒ በለት መምህረይ:)

          Peace!

          • Abi

            Hello Peace + Kibreab
            From Vultures to Bats in two months. Now that is an extremely expedited evolutionary process.

          • Peace!

            Hi Abish,

            It’s been a tough weekend:) I am relaxing … https://youtu.be/97App_lZ18E?t=541

            Peace!

          • Abi

            Hello Peace
            Aboy Sibhat Nega deleted my comment.

          • Kibreab

            Hi Peace,
            There are multiple reports/denials flying around on how Sebhat Nega was captured, including that he was captured by Eritrean forces and handed over to the Ethiopians. I thought Saleh probably has information to dispute the government’s version as he did.

            Anyways, as you said, what is important is TPLF is no more and it’s criminal leaders, with full display of their cowardice, are being picked up one by one to face their own music.

            Regards,

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Kibreab,

            He was captured on Nov 28 in his home, when Mekelle was fallen under the control of Abiy and Issayas. What you have seen is a photoshop parody used for parading him in order to humiliate the people of Tigray.

          • Kibreab

            Selam Amanuel,
            Thank you for the information. Do you have any reliable source you can share with us that he was captured on Nov 28? I am also curious to know if you think there are other top TPLF officials who are already captured, but whose arrests have not yet been announced?

            I find it interesting that few weeks ago, some government supporters were saying that top TPLF officials are either killed or already under arrest, with some TPLF supporters denying the claim. Now, it seems both sides have switched positions and are claiming the opposite on Sebhat Nega’s arrest.

            BTW, by photoshop, I assumed you meant to say the videos and images of the arrest were staged and not “real”? Is that correct? To my understanding, ‘photoshop’ implies digital manipulation of an authentic image with an image editing software like Adobe Photoshop (hence the name) to either enhance or even distort the original image completely.

            With regards,

      • Germay Berhane

        Selam Saleh and Amanuel

        You are right he was captured in his retreat resort.

    • Abay

      Dear Peace
      Most cruel dictators seem to be cowards. They themselves do not want to died but they want others to die for them. Like Iraqi’s Sadam Hussein, like Libya’s Gadhafi the old man had no courage to to take position and fight and like them he opted to hide himself in a cave. What a humiliating ending. We are expecting more similar news.
      Regards
      Abay

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear all,

    How, from this matured mind can someone think of going to Eritrean without armed struggle?

    Yes it is true we men are not created to war, This struggle has now come to an end. The struggle is and has always been an artificial one. It does not come from within, but from without. It does not come from our human nature. Human nature is not made for struggle. Human nature is made for love, pleasure, joy and beauty. Human nature is full of compassion, kindness and wisdom. Human nature tends to harmonize, not fight. Human nature longs to be free, not being locked up. The struggle for humanity to be humane, is an inhumane struggle. And this struggle is now finished. Why? Because we got help. we got help of God. At the beginning we will be forced to use the bloody war, Once the enemy is removed we will have to make peace for all and all the time. So now I am for war at the beginning and for peace for years to come. The devil in Eritrea is ordinary one that is against nature and all created by God. So,the only solution is to remove him by force.

    So mixed struggle is my way of solving problems. The end will be the best..trust me.,

    KS,,

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Saay,

    I love your style in article writhing..Thank you, for this nice article of the year events..You are still very smart as usual.

    KS,,

  • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

    Selamat Saay,
    This is amazingly better than some of the best documentary films, without any audio or video!

  • Simon Kaleab

    Selam Saay,

    A very informative as well as entertaining article on the consistent march to the cliff edge, of Eritrea as a nation.

    • saay7

      Hey Simon:

      Thanks! No country has paid so much to be independent, and put up with so much indignity to be unfree.

      Saay

      • Simon Kaleab

        Selam Saay,

        It seems to me, it is highly likely that if one liberates with a gun, one is determined to rule with a gun. Old habits die hard. Therefore, the fate of ordinary folks is to be trapped between Hell and High water.

        • saay7

          Selamat Simon:

          “All warfare is based on deception. When capable, pretend incapacity. When active, feign inactivity. When close at hand, make it appear you are far away, when far away, that you are near. Offer the enemy bait to lure him; feign disorder and strike him. While he concentrates, prepare against him; whenever he is strong, avoid him. Anger his general and confuse him. Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance. Keep him under strain and wear him down. When he is united, divide him. Attack where he is unprepared; sally forth when he does not expect you.” ~ Sun Tzu, 500 BC

          I agree with your conclusion but for different reasons. It’s not the act of carrying the gun, but all the bad habits that come with it (Deception, lying, entrapment, etc) that become a way of life, hard for the former guerlla fighter, now governor, to shake off. Not just guerrilla fighters but almost all military leaders.

          saay

  • Bilal Ottoman

    It’s clearly untrue because you Saay not a computer however you may share certain similarities none the less. 😍

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Saay,

    Thank you for the summary on the events and happenings in the year 2020, in our country in particular, and in the Horn of Africa in general. You are good in reflecting summary of events.

    But, you make me to scratch my head when you still believe “Democratic Coup” could happen in Eritrea. It won’t happen in Eritrea. Simple reasons for it are as follows:

    (a) we don’t have educated professional military officers, even a single one who could understand the concept of it let alone to lead us for a Democratic change.

    (b) The EDF, especially in the upper echelon of the army are fully entrenched in the party. They are the beneficiaries of the party’s resources and wealths.

    (c) The army and the party have already understood that the majority Eritrean people are simple “followers” and any “military adventure” do united them both supporters and opposers.

    • saay7

      Hey Emma:

      I know it is a hefty article with 6,600 words, but there is no democratic coup in the retrospective anywhere:)

      And, technically, in Eritrea if that were to happen, it would be a democratic counter coup, since Isaias did the coup in 2001 when he unilaterally suspended the constitution and went down that dark alley to place the country where it is today.

      saay

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Saay,

        Yes there is no “Democratic Coup” in this piece. But I was trying to respond to your “Democratic coup for ever” in our private communication few days ago. I didn’t respond to it as that time. So I said why not I drag the issue here in this forum. It may be irrelevant with the piece, but take it as my view on the subject.

        Regards

      • iSem

        Hi Sal and Emma:
        I am rusty on this notion of democratic coup. It is misnomer or oxymoron. If it is a coup then it is not democratic? Or does that mean a coup without blood shed? The Sudanese used to be experts on that until the last spring.
        Sal, I read or skimmed through this dense article shortly after it was posted and I felt that it did not sound like your style, your wiring style, your prose not the formatting. If you give me a piece of writing I can tell if i was yours or Gadi or Emma. But not with this one. This habit comes from the game I used to play with my best friend when we used to go to the small bookstores and we would read a passage to each other from random book and figure out if the writing was by native English speaker/writer or highly educated foreigner and if the loser (lowest score) would pay for a fancy cup of tea in the hotel and fancy cup of tea meant made with bagged tea not loose leaves and the tea bag was Lipton. Now I seldom and grudgingly drink bagged tea, I buy lose leaves and steep it like back home. Please do not be like your snotty Asmarino friend who told someone, “ab gezakum ember ab gezana kemuu aykonen” 🙂
        And if you are wondering, 80% of the time you write like Jane Austin but this sounded like different and, not like your favourite writer, the one who said: “It was in the books while it was still in the sky.” (Updike)

        James Fenimore Cooper

        • saay7

          Hey iSem:

          I don’t know what to say about the change you detected in my writing style: I am not conscious of it:) While the comparison with Jane Austen is very flattering, I thought shabait writers should get that comparison: I don’t normally do what Austen and Shabait do: write long, compound sentences.

          I am going to decline your (and Emma’s) invitation to join the discussion on Democratic Coup because it has nothing to do with the subject of the Eritrea 2020 retrospective. If you or him (or somebody else) writes an article about it, I promise to jump in and give my views.

          The only thing I try to consciously do about the 2020 retrospective was to focus it on Eritrea, with minimal mention of Ethiopia. I don’t know about you but Ethiopia is a very complicated country that is populated by complicated people: today I heard an Ethiopian military officer saying that Eritrean soldiers in Ethiopia were there without the Ethiopian soldiers knowledge, and to the extent that Ethiopia’s sovereignty was violated it was only because TPLF had killed those (Northern command) who were going to protect Ethiopian sovereignty. I don’t have whatever it is that people have to process this kind of low-rent logic that Ethiopia, at the highest levels of its government, peddles daily. It is strange combination of compulsive lying and bragging.

          saay

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Saay,
            And Eritrea says “እቲ ኣፈይ ብኽድኑ: ነቲ ኢደይ ይኮላለሱሉ። “

          • saay7

            Hey Abrehet

            Good to hear from you!

            Can you elaborate on the saying and its relevance to the subject at ኢድ? 🙂

            saay

  • Germay Berhane

    Selamat

    Typical misinformation. Collection of garbage news.

    • Saleh Johar

      Girmay,
      Your comment , your edict rather, doesn’t prove what you claim. You say a word and that is the truth! Show us why it’s what you claim it is. Otherwise, you add nothing to the dialogue dismissive, disparaging statements are worthless because they try to sound like a voice of god.

  • NewDawn

    Selam saleh, how about starting a 2nd armed struggle? There are no other avenues than hoping for a miracle of a coup that will change the tide.

    • saay7

      Hey NewDawn:

      My reading is that a country that went to 30 years of war, followed by 30 years of State violence, is not going to go to armed struggle. Besides, it is not necessary. There are other, far less costly options.

      saay

      • Selam

        Dear saay7,

        Can you please point me to articles or blogs that show avenues on how to avoid another armed struggle but still achieve basic human rights for Eritreans?

        Thanks

        • saay7

          Selamat Selam:

          No links are allowed on weekdays at Awate, so how about quotes?

          “Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts – and those engaging a threshold of 3.5% of the population have never failed to bring about change.”

          Google that and it will tell you about the scientific basis for the bold claim above.

          saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay,

            As much as we like to struggle nonviolently, violent regimes can not be removed by nonviolent. Sometimes we should be blunt to tell the truth. Nonviolent protesting could bring change when you have a “regime” or “system” that allows peaceful protesting. Could someone argue that it is possible to bring change in NK, China, Eritrea….etc where a a nonviolent protest rebuffed by tanks, bullets, and mass extrajudicial liquidations? Or simply, is it possible to make nonviolent protest in Eritrea? Is it realistic to preach about nonviolent protest in Eritrea?

            Regards

          • Peace!

            Hi Emma,

            Qerro & Fano kicked TPLF all the way to Mekele despite violent response by the Democratic 😂 TPLF. Come on!!

            Peace!

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam peace,

            You saw the demonstration by the residents of Akria in Asmara and the response by the violent regime. Yourself, as a proponent of nonviolent protester outside of our country, I was expecting you to go there and take a lead and energize the Akria movement, but to avail.

            Second, the Qerros and the Fanos, who are now the militia of their respective region (kilil), are killing innocent people by axes and knifes. Qerro and Fano haven’t brought any change so far, except they are engaging in an ethnic cleansing. You wish. But unfortunately, Ethiopia is in a crises of epic proportion, and no one of a sound mind, will think it’s leaders will keep “its parts” intact and in equilibrium. The imbecile false prophet exposed the country to foreign invaders and ethnic strives to extent their generals have started to complain. Read the ground attentively without emotions and wishes practically.

            I am responding to you hoping you will not resort to insulting blackmailing.

          • Peace!

            Hi Emma,

            I think the discussion is not about sanitizing Qerros or Fanos rather the means they chose to force change against the most powerful organization in the horn Africa. The whole world witnessed the power of popular uprising to force change against total monopoly of economy and politics by TPLF. That’s is just a fact. What entails is totally different and debatable.

            Peace!

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Peace,

            Unorganized spontaneous movements like Qerros and Fanos could not bring Democratic change. They can only bring chaos and instabilities. Furthermore, on the ground, they brought ethnic profiling and ethnic cleansing. These movements are not like the popular movements (revolutions) – the “Orange” and “Rose” revolutions of Ukraine and Georgia respectively. They are not different than “mob movements” with no objectives and sense of collective nationalism.

            Regards

          • Peace!

            Hi Emma,

            You can’t ignore the root cause of the problem and make a compelling case for its solution at the same time. That’s just makes no sense. We all know TPLF was the mother of ethnic politics that caused countless lives.

            What is the point of complaining when You supported the same ethnic politics thats hunting the country since it was introduced. During the TPLF Era the army, economy, security, and legislative were entirely dominated by Tigrayans. You didn’t complain for a minute and call for diversity rather you were praising Meles day in day out. And in the end it became ንሕዋሓት መቕበሪኣ ኮይኑ:: TPLF deserves credit for admitting its fatal mistakes and for offering a sincere apology for Tigray people. Such divisive ethnic politics didn’t help the People and TPLF itself.

            Finally as Eritreans, we should see things from Eritrean interest point of view, and the sad fact is TPLF was against Eritrean people, not against PFDJ. It destroyed the opposition
            camp, instigated divisions, and undermined Eritrean identity and history. All its evilness backfired immensely and left its supporters in a sudden shock to the extent they even sound foreigners to Eritrean issue.

            Peace!

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Peace,

            Your argument was “Qerro & Fano” have brought change in Ethiopia. My argument was they didn’t. Rather they are perpetuating ethnic profiling and ethnic cleansing in their respective regions. Now your argument must disprove my allegation against them. Why do you make tangential argument that has nothing to do with your claim that says the two spontaneous movement has brought a change to the Ethiopian people at large. If you can not disprove my allegation, then it is pointless to jump from one issue to the another issue before we made a conclusions the one we started.

          • Peace!

            Hi Emma,

            You are the one who is changing the subject. The initial exchange was about the “means” to force change with much less cost comparing to armed struggle. I gave you an example the recent popular uprising led by Qerro and Fano that worked very well to pave ways for change. What entails in the aftermath is debatable. Creating an atmosphere for change and bringing change are two different things. It is not a secret that the movement has been hijacked and even betrayed. Dr. Abiy and the prosperity party are leading the country, not Querro or Fano; in fact the leaders of Qerro are either in jail or assassinated.

            EPLF, after relentless armed struggle, brought a self determination for Eritreans, and in turn, Eritreans voted for independence. Look at Ertirea today and who do you think is responsible? The means, whether armed struggle or popular uprising, doesn’t grantee a meaningful or desired change rather it creates an opportunity.

            Peace!

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Peace,

            It is very simple for our readers to identify as to who made a diversionary argument. We can leave it for our readers.

          • Peace!

            Hi Emma,

            “ተረቲዕና ከይብሉ ይግባ ይብሉ” ደሓን ጸገም የለን:: ኣብ ጹቡቕ ሙድ እየ ዘለኹ ኣብ ወርሒ ዘይመልእ ግዜ ኣቦይ ስብሓት ነጋ ጸሊም ሳዳም ሑሴን ኮይኖም ተቐልቂሎም ኣለው:)

            Peace!

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Peace,

            ወይ አንቱም ሰባት! ነየናይ ክትዕና ኢኻ ረቲዕካ? ነብሰ-ሙገሳ ብምግባር መርትዖ አይርከብን እዩ:: ኣብ ሓደ አስቢቱ ዘይካታዕ ሰብከ ከመይ ገይሩ’ዩ ክረትዕ? እቲ ፍርዲ ነንበትና ንግደፎ ስለዝበልኩኸ ረቲዕካ የስምዕድዩ? ካልኣይ ከአ ንወዲ 86 ዓመት: ናብ ሞቱ ዝቀረበ አቦ: እሞኸአ ኣብ ጡረታ ዕድሚኡ ኸሎ ዝተታሕዘ ሰብ ክሳዕ ክንዲዚ ዘስክር ዓወት ኣይኮነን:: እቲ ውግእ ብደቁን ደቂደቁን’ዩ ዝካየድ ዘሎ:: እዚ ውግእ’ዚ ናይ “ሓድሽ ወለዶ” ንመሰል ህዝቦም ምክልኻል ዝግበር ውግእ ከምዝኾነውን ዝተረደኣካ አይመስለንን:: አቦይ ስብሃት ከምዘይከማኻ አብንእስነቶም ምስ ስርዓት አምሓራ ተዋዲቆም ዝተዓወቱ እዮም:: ንዝአረገ አንበሳ ሕጅናዮ እንተበሉ ናይ ደርጊ ትርፍራፍ ምስ ዓወት ዝቁጸር ኣይኮነን::

          • Peace!

            Hi Emma,

            ከምኡ ኢልናኮ እንታይ ዘህድም ነይሩዎ ጋቢኡ ተጎልቢቡ ኣብገዝኡ ኮፍ ዘይምበለ ወይ ድማ እቲ ገበን ዝገበሮ ሃጽ በል ዘብል ከይከውን:: ግን ሸምጊሉ ንኽብቅዕ ኩናት ኣየድልይን ኢሉ ንዞም ዕሸላት ዘይምድሓኑ ዓቢ ጌጋ ፈጺሙ:: እቶም ደቂደቁ ከም በዓል ኣታኽልቲ ንህዝቦም ከረጋግኡን ዝዓነወ ከዐርዩን ላዕልን ታሕትን ይብሉ ኣለው:: ውግእ ዝደለየ ኻኣ እነሆ ሜዳ እንሆ ፈረስ::

            Peace!

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Berhe,

            (1) you have said: “If you understand what “nonviolent action” means, it no different than “violent action”. No Berhe. “nonviolent” is not the same with “violent”. They are antonyms to each other. You misunderstood their meaning.

            (2) Yes it is “extremely hard” to fight for an extremely violent regime by peaceful protest. It is because of that a “violent regime” can not be removed by nonviolent.

            (3) “ኣይፋል ንምባል ሓይለ-ፍቓድ ይሃልኻ::” this is a full sentence that conveys a clear message independently. I don’t need to quote the whole paragraph. So deal with it.

            (4) The Eritreans inside our country understood their enemy. The Eritreans in diaspora do not.

            Regards

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Emma,
            I don’t have to convince you to change your mind. I think you are purposely trying to “shut down” the idea, as you have done a million times in the past. ab zey semaAka debri aytemahlel as we say.

            (3) “ኣይፋል ንምባል ሓይለ-ፍቓድ ይሃልኻ::” this is a full sentence that conveys a clear message independently. I don’t need to quote the whole paragraph. So deal with it.

            I added the rest of the sentence to give it the context. The English version is not a full sentence but written as “Be willing to say No: Forming a “united front” does not mean you embrace causes, individuals, institutions committed to take Eritrea to civil war or to medieval times.” That’s why I shared the rest, I believe there is some “minor” mistake in the translation as you “chose to read it”.

            Having said that, what’s wrong to say “Be willing to say No”. This is empowering statement that everyone teaches….

            Anyway there is no point to continue… I can assure you, a year from now, there will not be any “violent action” that will be taken.

            The last hope was TPLF missile. And that’s a dead dream.

            Berhe

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Berhe,

            Can you explain as to why you said your last sentence? Be bold and explain it. Second ንስኻዲኻ ጸማም አነ?

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Emma,

            In your previous email, you said to me:

            That is a fact, and don’t mislead to those who want to fight by all means to the violent regime we have.

            which I didn’t not went into detail in responding. Because:

            1) I never tried to mislead anyone.
            2) I never tried to stop anyone to fight the regime by all means.
            3) It is not worth arguing about because it serves no purpose and want to focus on the nonviolant action and tried to elaborated more.

            But it is hopeless and you are dead set in your believe that the regime can be removed by violating/ means.

            So my response was, only TPLF supported groups can instigate or use arms to try to remove the regime. And based on what happened to TPLF, I believe the last action that we we in that regard is what the TPLF managed to launch couple of months ago.

            In other words, seeing an armed struggle for regime change is just “ab semay zelo debena”, that’s what I mean.

            Berhe

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Emma,

            is it possible to make nonviolent protest in Eritrea?

            I think we have had this discussion in the past, and yes it’s defiantly possible. BTW, the assumption is (in nonviolent action), the dictatorial regime gives “zero” flexibility and provide “zero” cooperation including allowing peaceful protest is expected from dictators. In other words, there is no pre-condition that needs to be be met. Any condition can be and should be created by the people or the people create the conditions.

            The key point here is, when 3.5% of the population have engaged in nonviolent action, they NEVER fail to bring change. ( I didn’t know this number before).

            In case of Eritrea, if we take the Akria school protest as an example, the number were around 500. This small number of young students were able to protest from Akria all the way to government office. It was spontaneous, it was not probably well planned and it was not coordinated.

            If we take the 3.5 threshold as example above, the number would be around 140,000 (for a population of 4 million) and 70,000 for a population of 2 million.

            To get to the minimum 70,000, we would have the entire grade 12 students (around 25K), around 25K those in military service, and around 25K from the public.

            Is it realistic to preach about nonviolent protest in Eritrea?

            Yes, this is very possible and very realistic in Eritrea. Saay in his attempt I think he created a plan in the article he wrote titled “In Eritrea, The Leader Is Always Wrong” and translated to Tigirigna ኣብ ኤርትራ፡ እቲ መራሕ-ሃገር ወትሩ ቄናን’ዩ and I think it’s translated to Arabic.

            The next step is, how to spread this knowledge to the youth, to the public and to the government employees so they start to believe it.

            Here is one section “how to fight the enemy”, from the article.

            Berhe

            4. ንጸላኢ ብኸመይ ንቃለሶ

            4.1 ጸላእትኻ ፍለጥ። ጸላእትኻ ኢሳይያስ (እቲ ሰብ)፡ ኢሳይያሳውነት (እቲ ሓሳብ)፣ ኢሳይያሳውያን (ንሕና ንሱ፡ ንሱ ንሕና) እዮም። እዞም ጸላእቲ ክሳብ ዝሃለዉ፡ ኤርትራን (መሬታን ህዝባን) ንቡር ህይወትን ክህልዉ ኣይኰኑን። ንቡር ህይወት ክብል ከለኹ ወለዶታት ኤርትራ ከይተኸላበቱ፡ ከይተመዝመዙ፡ ብምሾትን ብውሕስነትን ኣብ ኤርትራ ክነብሩ ክኽእሉ እንከለዉ እዩ። ኣብዚ ግዜ እዚ፡ ኣብ ኤርትራ ብምሾትን ብውሕስነትን ትነብር ዘላ ስድራ፡ ስድራ ኢሳይያስ ኣፍወርቂ ጥራይ እያ።

            4.2 ዕላማኻ ኣለሊ። ዕላማኻ ንኢሳይያስ ንኢሳይያሳውነትን ኣርድእትን ኣምለኽትን ኢሳይያስ ምስዓር እዩ። ዕላማኻ ምስኣቶም ምትዕራቕ ኣይኰነን። ዕላማኻ ምስኣቶም ተጎራቢትካ ምንባር ኣይኰነን። ዕላማኻ ፍጹም ምስዓሮም እዩ።

            4.3 ሜላኻን ስትራተጂኻን ኣለሊ። ፖለቲካ ናይ ጋንታ ዕዮ እምበር፡ በይንኻ ዝዕየ ኣይኰነን። ምስ ካልኦት ተቓለስቲ ፍትሒ ተጸንበር። ንበይንኻ እናዓየኻ ውጽኢት ዘይተረኽበ ኢልካ ክትጣራዕ ኣይትኽልን ኢኻ።

            4.4 ንህዝብና ፍለጦ፣ ልቢ በል። ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ዝብል ሓረግ ክትሰምዕ እንከለኻ፡ እቶም ኣብ ወጻኢ ሃገራት ኰይኖም ስእሊ ኢሳይያስ ኣፍወርቂ ዘለዎ ማልያ ለቢሶም ባንዴራ ኣብ ኣራእሶም ጠምጢሞም ኣብ ዝባኖም ተጎልቢቦም ዝስለፉ ከይመስሉኻ። ህዝቢ ኤርትራ እቶም ኣብ መዓስከራት ስደተኛታት ዝኽርትቱ ዘለው እልቢ ዘይብሎም ሰባት፣ እቶም ኣብ ቤት ማእሰርቲ ተቐፊዶም ዘለዉ ኤርትራውያንን ስድራቤቶምን፣ እቶም ሓምለ-መምሊ እናሸቀጡ ናብራ ከካውኑ ሕሰሞም ዝጸግቡ ዘለዉ ወለዲ ሰማእታት፣ ስድራ ናይቶም ኣበይ ኣለዉ ዘይብሃሉ ብስርዓት ኢሳይያስ ዝተሸርቡ ዜጋታት፣ እቶም ዓሳ ገፊፎም ከይናበሩ ዝተኸልከሉ ደቂ ብሄረ ዓፈር፣ እቶም ካብ መሬቶም ተበርቊቘም ዝተመዛበሉ ተወለድቲ ብሄረ ዅናማ፣ ኵሉ’ቲ ኣብ ትሕቲ ቐጻሊ ራዕድን ሽበራን ዝነብር ሓፋሽ ህዝብናን እዩ – ህዝቢ ኤርትራ።

            4.5 ኣይፋል ንምባል ሓይለ-ፍቓድ ይሃልኻ። ሓባራዊ ግንባር ምምስራት ማለት፡ ነቶም ንኤርትራ ኣብ ኲናት ሕድሕድ ከእትዉ ወይ ድማ ናብ ማእከላይ ዘመን ክመልሱ ዝደልዩ ውልቀሰባትን ትካላትን ማሕበራትን ምሕቋፍ ማለት ኣይኰነን።

            4.6 ንውድባዊ ዲሲፕሊን ምእዙዝ ኵን። እዚ ማለት ኣባል ሓደ ንፍትሒ ዝቃለስ ውድብ እንተድኣ ኴንካ ዋላ’ውን ንዘይትሰማምዓሉ ውሳነታት ውድብ ምእዙዝ ምዃን ማለት እዩ። እዚ ክትገብር ግን እቲ ውድብ ብቻርተሩ ዝቕየድ ምስ ዝኸውን ጥራይ እዩ።

            4.7 ትካላውነት ተቐበል። እዚ እንኮላይ ነተን ብኢሳይያስን ኢሳይያሳውያንን ተጨውየን ዘለዋ ሃገራውያን ትካላት ምክልኻልን ጸጥታን፡ ኣብያተ-ፍርዲን ማዕከናት ዜናን የጠቓልል።

            4.8. ንህግደፍ ከም ውድብ ኣይትጽልኣዮ ወይ ኣይትቀፈፎ። ብዝከኣለካ ሰርስሮን ውረሶን።

            4.9 ብግዲ ኣብ ሓይልታት ምክልኻል ኤርትራ ይዅን ኣብ ሲቪላዊ ኣገልግሎት ትዓዪ እንተሊኻ ከተተግብሮ ዝወሃበካ መደብ ንሃገርዶ ወይስ ንኢሳይያስ እዩ ዘገልግል ኢልካ ኵሉ ሳዕ ሕተተ። ንኢሳይያስ ዘገልግል እንተዀይኑ ዓንቅፎ።

            4.10. ኢሳይያስ ነዊሕ ናይ ዕንደራን ዂናትን ታሪኽ እዩ ዘለዎ። ኲናት ሓንሽ፡ ኲናት ባድመ፡ ኲናት ኮንጎ፡ ውግእ ሕድሕድ ሱዳን፡ ኲናት ሕድሕድ ሶማልያ፡ ውግእ ዶብ ጅቡቲ፡ ኲናት ሕድሕድ የመን ወዘተ። ስለዚ፡ ዝዀነ ንምክልኻል ሃገር ጉልባብ ገይሩ ንሓድሽ ኲናት ዝጽውዕ ዲስኩራት ብጥርጣረ ተዓዘቦ።

            4.11. ንኢሳይያስ ከም ዘርጊ ምስ ዝቘጽራኦ ሃገራትን ውድባትን ኪዳናትን ምሕዝነታትን መስርት።

            4.12. ካብ ታሪኽካ ተመሃር። ቅድሚ ኢሳይያስ ህይወት ነይሩ እዩ። ኢሳይያስ ድሕሪ ምስዓሩ ድማ ህይወት ክህሉ እዩ።

            4.13. ክትመርሕን ሃገር ከተማሕድርን ሕልሚ ክህልወካ ኣይትፍራሕ። ከም ኤርትራዊ ዜጋ ከምዚ ዝበለ ነገራት ክትሓልምን ክትከውንን መሰልካ እዩ። እዚ ምዃን ካብ ኢሳይያሳውያን ባርኾትን ቅብኣን ትደልየሉ ኣይኰነን።

            4.14. ኣንጻር ሓደ ነገር ክትከውን ንበይኑ እኹል ኣይኰነን። ንሓደ ነገር ክትቀውም ኣለካ። ፍትሓዊት፡ ናጻ፡ ብነብሳ እትምሓደር፡ ምስ ነብሳን ጐረባብታን ብሰላም እትነብር ኤርትራ ናይ ምምስራት ራእይ ኵሉ ወትሩ ምንጪ ድሪኺትካ ግበሮ።

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Berhe,

            Ditto to my reply for Peace.But If it is possible, what happened to our people then? My answer to your dilemma and the people like yourself is very simple: you failed to know the nature of your enemy. The Eritrean people know very well what kind of regime they have, that it is brute and violent, and can crash them in no time, with weapons of war indiscriminately. There is no more the Akria, Gejiret, Edaga Hamus kind of movements, or call it any name as wish for that matter. That is fact, and don’t mislead to those who want to fight by all means to the violent regime we have.

            Regards

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Emma,

            I disagree. I think the first thing we all need to agree on is, who our enemy is (4.1). So long as we agree on this point, then there is no “yours” or “mine”, it’s ours I believe.

            That is fact, and don’t mislead to those who want to fight by all means to the violent regime we have.

            4.1. Identify your enemy: It is Isaias (the man), Isaiasism (the ideology), Isaiasists/NNNN (the cult). As long as the enemy exists, Eritrea (land + people) and normality won’t. Normality is generations of Eritreans living in Eritrea. Right now only the family of Isaias Afwerki (his mother, himself, his children and his grandchildren) feel safe enough to live in Eritrea.

            If you understand what “nonviolent action” means, it no different than “violent action”. They both advocate “going to war” and they are the same from this sense. The difference is, the first uses “other means” while the later uses “arms”.

            The reason the “non violent action” do not use ‘arms’ is not because they “feel sorry for the regime” but because they “know and understand”, it’s extremely hard to fight the regime using a method that is in it’s favor. In Eritrea’s case for example, the regime has the arms, has the army, has the experience, and has the know hows when it comes to military confrontation. Anyone who thinks they odd is in his / her favor fighting a regime that “perfected it” is just not practical.

            As to the item, you highlighted, you are not qouting the whole paragraph. (4.5) “ኣይፋል ንምባል ሓይለ-ፍቓድ ይሃልኻ::”

            It says

            Be willing to say No: Forming a “united front” does not mean you embrace causes, individuals, institutions committed to take Eritrea to civil war or to medieval times.

          • saay7

            Hey Berhe!

            Thanks! I think you are one of the 3 people who read the article, which was translated to Tigrinya by Samuel Tseggai and then converted to video by our buddy Tesfaldet (asmarino.)

            Without diving into the merits of peaceful and by any means necessary debate, I should confess that I see all physical conflicts, specially war, on par with slavery: a great wrong that needs its few righteous leaders to argue why it’s wrong. This is why I take Warrior Abiy as a personal disappointment although I probably don’t have a right as an indirect stakeholder.

            Sometimes, I think we live in a part of the world where humans have the least worth. It’s been, what, 70 days since the launch of the Stupid War, and no Tigrayan, no other Ethiopian, no Eritrean is asking how many have died. When the cost of war is hidden, the politicians will always wage war.

            saay

          • Ismail AA

            Selam Berhe,
            Happy New Year and Christmas, and sorry for this late comment.
            What you have suggested in this entry point by point relates, more or less, with awareness at personal or individual level. As we all know from writings and theories dealing with non-violent change, the damn devil lies in how to give organizational operative framework to the practical implementation that helps converge individual to collective persuasions that can produce do-able task programs and stirring leaderships. If what you have listed cannot transform to operative strategies and tactics, they would remain as persuasion in the minds of individuals.
            Here comes some theories, Gen Sharp among them, that served
            references to transform contents of what you provided to organized movements, in which some wealthy individuals like George Soros had invested their money for training activists.
            And we saw the results in the so called color revolutions like in Ukraine and Georgia, and even some attempt in Iran (Green revolution !). Even the disastrous Arab Spring cases, would be spoken as non-violent categories of change.
            Hence, in our case, too, which is not a novel idea (EPDP), what you have provided lack the potency to be transform from attitudinal persuasion to practical organizational task programs with leadership.

          • Selam

            Hello Saay7,

            Thank you for the response. That was a very interesting article. It inspires hope that change can be brought about in a way which minimizes violence.

            Thank you

          • saay7

            Selamat Selam:

            “Nets are for catching fish; after one gets the fish, one forgets the net. Traps are for catching rabbits; after one gets the rabbit, one forgets the trap. Words are for getting meaning; after one gets the meaning, one forgets the words. Where can I find people who have forgotten words, and have a word with them?” – Xun Zi

            Well, what if it took you $1,000 worth of labor and material to get the net and you got one fish: should you forget what the net cost you? War tries to do that: remember what you got due to me, but then forget what it cost you. If we were to define war more accurately, i.e., organized savagery, then would we do it as regularly as our region (East Africa) appears to? If, for example, Ethiopians were told: you will go through a process that includes massive death, dismemberment, displacement, rape, torture, destruction, but in the end, there is a good chance (we are not promising anything) that we will get “your enemies” (that we collectively gave them and ourselves a pardon in 2018), would they do it? Conversely, would the Tegaru (whose shouted slogans about Tigray becoming the burial sites of its enemies, and talked about “identity”) have chosen war if they had a realistic appraisal of success and the cost for defeat and victory? That question is never asked: only euphemisms are used: just war, self-determination, autonomy, glory of history, etc.

            So, as an Eritrean stakeholder, if my opinion is every asked (and warriors never ask), my answer would be No To War. The cost is too high, the victory uncertain, and the victory if achieved fragile and subject to reversal.

            saay

          • Selam

            Selam Saay,

            That was a very profound message, I had to read it multiple times! It is inspiring to see someone in your position still advocate for peaceful means. If I found myself to be in your position, I don’t know if I would be doing the same.

            I find myself agreeing with you 100%, I could not stand to see what is happening in Tigray, and what has happened in Eritrea in the past, happen again. For the folks advocating for an armed struggle, at least attempt a peaceful once first!

            Cheers

          • saay7

            Selamat Selam:

            The loneliest group in the Horn of Africa is the Peace Lobby, even after the Nobel Committee gave us a prize to incentivize us to be peaceful. Wars will continue to be the norm as long as the children of the war mongers never go to war, and as long as nobody is ever held accountable for the disaster that ensues. Do you think Abiy and his supporters are spending 1 minute thinking if they bear any responsibility for the total destruction (now including massive famine) of Tigray? No, it’s always junta this junta that with zero effort focused on the ordinary man, woman and child. And if one generation (like mine) has lived through 3 of these things it can’t possibly say “well I didn’t know that’s what was going to happen!”

            saay

          • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

            Hi Saay,
            These guys’ resume is about WAR, from start to present and all they can think of is about war.
            I remember when I met my sister after so many years and all her discussion was about a war of every Werar she had participated. When the subject changes, she turns to a Bambula but somehow she bring the subject to “quinat Adi something” mis “brigade wedi meniKa tblo”
            Now, when they [our beloved dictators] have this ultimate power: 1. They know that they are not qualified for the supreme job 2. Since they have inflated ego, they won’t admit and they don’t want hire qualified individuals for any higher level jobs or advisors 3. They probably have extreme PTSD
            Add all of theses and more, the end result will be catastrophic. I would say their enablers are probably worse than the dictators.

          • Selam

            Hello Saay,

            Regarding the statement that wars will continue as long as the children of the war mongers never go to war. Didn’t most of the PFDJ leaders and TPLF leaders come from war themselves? You would think that they would know the cost of war more than someone like myself, born and raised in the diaspora. If anything, you would think they would be more opposed to war than I am!

            The current conflict in Tigray is the first of the major conflicts that I have lived through as an adult. Perhaps someone in my position could claim ignorance thinking it would not get to this point, but people who have lived through it multiple times cannot!

            While I have your attention (hopefully I still do!) I am quite ignorant about Eritrean history/politics and would like to learn more. Do you have a list of books that you could recommend for someone who would like to learn more? I have already purchased Against All Odds and Talking with Political Prisoner (which was exceptionally hard to find). I would like to have a varied and informed opinion, so I would like to read books that are as unbiased as possible, whether it is favorable or unfavorable to the regime. I am also interested in reading books that are not directly related to Eritrea, but important context. It seems that a lot of people in the “pro” camp love the book Death Aid, so I think I will read that one as well, but I would also like to read things that challenge it! Unfortunately I don’t read Tigrinya, and my command of the language overall is shameful, so I fear there will be a number of writings that will be inaccessible to me!

            Thank you!
            Selam

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hello Selam,

            As an Eritrean born and raised in the diaspora, you are interested to read books about Eritrea and Eritrean history. It is commendable to have interest about your country of origin. There are many books written pertinent to Eritrean history. But until Saay comes with his recommendation, for a starter I would like to recommend for you a book authored by Dr Gaim Kibreab. The book titled as: Eritrea: A Dream Deferred, a book well resourced about the Eritrean revolution.

            Regards

          • Selam

            Hello Ammanuel,

            Thanks for the recommendation! I will certainly add it to the reading list, I have a lot to learn. The extract of the book shows that it is exactly the type of information that I am looking to learn.

            It seems like it will fit in well with the books I have already ordered. Against All Odds –> Talking with Political Prisoners –>Eritrea: A Dream Deferred. Seems like a good chronological order.

            Best Regards,
            Selam

          • saay7

            Selamat Selam:

            Yes sir: you have my attention!

            On wars, they become part of history and all people (not just Eritreans and Ethiopians) are notorious for forgetting the lessons of history. But we are the most forgetful. Americans for example are now very reluctant to go to far-away places to fight wars because they remember lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan (I would argue that was one of the reasons Trump became President: he was the only one who very boldly said no more wars). But not us. We learned no lessons from the last stupid war (98-00) because, as many have noted, nobody paid any prices for that disaster.

            On books… this will have be crowdsourced by all of us. What I can say for now is 1) almost all books written about Eritrea by Eritreans are unidimensional and cartoonish: all Eritreans are good and all foreigners are bad. (Against All Odds, Even The Stones Are Burning fit the mold) and 2) a friend is creating a website to list and help readers acquire all Eritrean books (Eritrean authors) written in Tigrinya Arabic and English. I promise to update you when the website is up and running. If you want to go to the foundation I would recommend “Eritrea: A Colony In Transition”, by Trevaskis and “Eritrea and Ethiopia: The Federal Experience.” If you want to be reminded how we never learn from history, read “Surrender or Starve” by Robert Kaplan. I am also partial to “Anatomy of African Tragedy”, by Kidane Mengesteab and Okbazghi Yohannes if you want to learn how we got to where we are now.

            One more: The Long Struggle of Eritrea for independence and constructive peace.

            One more: Red Sea Citizens by Jonathan Miran.

            saay

          • Selam

            Selam Saay,

            Fantastic, thank you for the recommendations. I look forward to reading the ones I will be able to get my hands on.

            Maybe a recommendation for your friend who is creating the book list? It would be helpful to include information or suggestions on where the books can be acquired!

            Many Thanks!
            Selam

    • Peace!

      Hi NewDawn & Selam

      Are u not impressed with Qerro’s and Fano’s non violent struggle that kicked powerful TPLF all the way to Mekele and liberated the rest of the country? Yes, ንህዝባዊ ማዕበል ዝዳረግ ሓይሊ የለን. And time has changed that it takes few clicks to organize the mass if one has the right message, the right purpose, and the right direction. Jawar Mohammed played a crucial role while seating in his home office, Minnesota.

      Peace!