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Eritrea-Ethiopia On June 20, 2018: Martyrs’ Day Observances

That the wisdom of PM Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia being evident by now is to state the obvious. His rapid response to the Asmara regime when it pronounced it was sending a team to negotiate peace between the two neighboring countries is obvious that the man is as genuine as they come. What is also obvious is the generational gap in substance and leadership style, which couldn’t be any starker than that of Ethiopia when compared to our “self-anointed ruler” for the last three decades. To get an adequate picture of the two speeches, textual and contextual analysis must be invoked. In a country like Ethiopia where patriotism and nationalism have had deep roots in the psyche of the population for generations, no wise leader would attempt to just erase that powerful force with a strike of one speech. He has to maintain some measure of nationalism catchphrase to put the people at ease, keep them in their elements. Otherwise, he runs the risk of losing the overwhelming public support that he enjoys without which he cannot transition or lead his people to the greener pastures. Thusly, he is gently introducing notions of Pan Africanism.

Those who mindfully listen to PM Abiy Ahmed, variants of Pan Africanism concepts are subtly inculcated seemingly fleetingly in his speeches. For example, in the first speech PM Abiy gave when accepting the Algiers Agreement without any condition and extended the olive branch to the regime in Eritrea, he called it by its rightful name, the Pan Africanism (PA). In subsequent speeches, however, concepts of PA come in a form of economic cooperation with neighboring countries like Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya, etc. Or as in the response he gave to a question that was asked by his colleague during the parliamentary session in which the issue of border peace with Eritrea was discussed; his concepts of PA are getting more pronounced by the day. Now, he is openly saying these borders are nothing than artificially demarcated by colonizers.

How different is PM Abiy’s leadership style than his predecessors?

The proof is right there in the putting. Whereas the previous two PMs gave a lip service to the Algiers Agreement by simply stating they agreed to it in principle, but talks must resume to flesh-out details, PM Abiy’s approach was hammering the border issue not only through rhetoric but by following it with deeds. The corollary to such dogged insistence is what we are already seeing on the ground in real terms showing results. One will be wise to remember, TPLF, under the late Meles Zenawi’s leadership, sold Ethiopians the war of 1998 using nationalism and patriotism as the motif, most Ethiopians were on board instantly. At that point, most Ethiopians lined up with the TPLF led government. So, the half-hearted lip-service from the late PM Meles Zenawi and former PM Hailemariam stems from that mindset that informed their political arrogance equivalent to their foes in Eritrea.  Both – Ethiopia & Eritrea – operated under the rubric of nationalism run amok. For example, the uprooting of the peoples of the two countries becoming casualties of jingoism colored with arrogance on steroids is a case in point. Such being the unfortunate and sad recent experiences between the two countries, seemingly in whispers now, PM Abiy is introducing the concepts of pan-Africanism and thereby slowing down the hyper-nationalism and hyper-jingoism rhetoric.

PM Abiy’s Ethiopia knows he has one potent-potion that he can use to taper-down these nationalistic and patriotic rhetorical devices that served the previous PMs of Ethiopia and that continues to serve the regime in Eritrea. Of the few nations in the continent that can carry that message of Africanism effectively and with credibility is Ethiopia; its history positions it to lead the rest of the Horn of Africa and hopefully beyond via the vehicle of Pan Africanism.

So, now, in his recent speech to the Parliament and subsequent speeches, PM Abiy is adding notions of the border not only as arbitraries but that they were the outcome of colonizers (ቀኝ ገዢዎች) – The artificial nature of the borders in Africa he has called it by its rightful name. These kinds of elaborated schemes and articulating it convincingly as he invoked the people by their identities giving them their humanity. Highlighting when necessary such that of Oromos who live on both sides of borders in Ethiopia and Kenya. How these nationals vote on both sides of the border because these people, for all intents and purposes, are one and the same. Little by little PM Abiy is playing the educator-in-chief as he elucidates to the public the damage the Scramble for Africa that Europeans have wrought. And that we are foolishly continuing to fight and kill each other for the arbitrary demarcation that the colonialists designed. He is essentially saying these are nothing more than fools’ errands hatched for us by alien entities and to keep killing each other when we can use the simple economic arithmetic of addition instead of division. Using the former we will all prosper and following the latter, we will be poorer. Effectively, this is just a variation of ‘united we stand, divided we fall’ theory akin to what Pan Africanism (PA) is all about. Lacking such an understanding has paid a handsome dividend for the West and lack of appropriating the concepts of Pan Africanism continues to wreak havoc all over Africa and beyond.

Brief Textual and Contextual Analysis from the Home Turf

Now, consider the 20th June speech from home turf. Any man who appreciates presidents like Trump, which is how the speech began, is a man who has not only the propensity for a dictatorship but is a bona fide tyrant to the core. The kicker is he has the temerity to denigrate the previous administrations of the US, which is his typical style of pointing fingers of blame to the outside world without apportioning any responsibilities to himself as a de facto leader. Likewise, he does the same with Ethiopia’s two previous two administrations to elevate PM Abiy.

This kind of rhetorical strategy is geared to two kinds of audiences inside Eritrea and the diaspora supporters of the regime. On the former, he is appeasing the ultra-nationalists who would continue to buy his rhetoric that will give face-saving mechanism where they can fool themselves into believing all the misery of the last 18 years were not of the regime’s own making. As such, it was worth the undue and the irresponsible damage the man and his cohorts have caused on the country and its people. Rather, it was the outside world that always tries to pummel Eritrea, but, by golly, against all odds, Eritreans always prevail. The same sentiment serves a similar purpose on those who are in the diaspora who have been blindly supporting the regime; yet another face-saving mechanism so they may continue to believe in the wisdom of the man, and the hooray reaches feverish pitch as we have been made to witness. Ironically, some in diaspora are already breaking ranks from the opposition and joining the chorus, ready to bow to the very defective structure that brought the untold and endless miseries to Eritreans and continues to do so as we speak.

In the context of this article taking an opportunity to delineate and unambiguously what must be stated is this: There needs to be a clear distinction when it comes to nationalism and patriotism. Those who spared their lives between 1961 to1991 irrespective of what the circumstances were in which they paid the ultimate price for the nation-state yet to be born; those who felt duty-bound to defend their nascent nation between 1998 to 2000 were martyrs all the same. They were patriotic to the core and should be remembered as such. The worrisome part is those who take refuge and invoke patriotism when they should resort to reason. Some wrap themselves under the flag others under the territorial integrity hymn to spew their hate of a people who otherwise are brethren with whom they have had a long history of blood ties. To be sure, there is a time when one should wave a flag; scream “my country right or wrong”; defend the homeland from foreign invasion to the death. Eighteen years later, for the regime in Eritrea to come out and spew a gut level hate toward a Front with whom he made a Faustian bargain and brilliantly forced one of the most powerful armies of its time is something worthy of finding a reconciling tone. A leader who came to power by default and a man who had shown no interest in the welfare of his people cannot be expected to show any hint of magnanimity, so the two-bordering population may go back to the way they lived their lives. To pin one’s hope on a leadership-by-bulldozing is not only destructive but irresponsible to the core. The kind of a homemade tyrant we have is evilly capable of using jingoism to a hilt because it does the trick, He is a scoundrel and a good snake oil salesman to the core. A scoundrel will use Tigrayan people as his boogie men to stay in power if he has to. The false narrative of patriotism that spews from the PFDJ-land is nothing but a refuge for these handful rogues. There is nothing these thugs can say that will make one believe they are patriots like the thousands upon thousands who genuinely loved their country, have been and continue to be because they cared and continue to care about Eritrea and its people. Just as the same can be said about the way that the young Eritrean men and women were when they went to the battlefield to protect the sovereignty of the nascent nation.

Cautionary Note to PM Abiy

Unlike Abebe Bekila’s marathon in Japan or subsequent marathons that Ethiopians have won, this political marathon PM Abiy is taking has real-life implications. The magnificent and impromptu demonstration in support of PM Abiy that we observed a few days ago, though historic and fantastic, it, however, needs to be soberly analyzed and assessed. What if PM Abiy was harmed! Imagine the chaos that would’ve ensued. This is not to minimize the death of the innocents, but harm to PM Abiy would’ve unraveled the country, if not destabilizing it entirely. All of the incessant and non-stop actions without giving the public a chance to process it, the pace of changes taking place can be, not only dizzying but disorienting. This is not to say PM Abiy should go at a snail pace – like you know who – but just give people a chance to theorize.

Some heartfelt suggestions I read are worth not only noting, but also worth heeding to because the speed at which PM Abiy is traveling can get into a collision course, the outcome of which can end up hurting the country and its people: why jump when sprinting can do; why run when walking can do. PM Abiy, the educator-in-chief needs to give people time to process the changes that are taking place. Give the experts a chance to assess, analyze, and synthesize what’s taking place, which will help to inform their positions.

These are not ordinary times. Seemingly abruptly a political-monkey-wrench was dropped on our region that nobody saw coming. To say that we were caught by a surprise would be a mother of all understatements. What Ethiopia’s new PM, Dr. Abiy Ahmed has been doing for Ethiopians is awe inspiring. A brief overview of what has transpired since June 5th, 2018 should suffice for context. Addis Standard reported that Ethiopia has accepted the border agreement with Eritrea earlier this month. According to Addis Standard, “[a]fter a day-long meeting by the 36 Executive Committee members of the ruling EPRDF a statement released by the politburo said Ethiopia will fully accept December 12, 2000, Algiers Agreement, a peace agreement between the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia, which established a special boundary commission.” This news is now too old of a news, considering what has transpired since then as far as Ethiopia is concerned. Needless to say, a response from Eritrean regime was eagerly anticipated. Eritrea’s willingness to send a six-member-team to Addis to negotiate the peace agreement was announced two weeks after Ethiopia’s willingness to honor the agreement. This is certainly a step in the right direction. But, the nature of politics in Eritrea being what it is, cautious optimism is all that one can utter at this point. Any further analysis will be nothing more than conjectures, assumptions, and presumptions, which will only prove to be an exercise in futility.

Beyene Semere of SBS Radio interview of Dr. Mussie Tesafgiorgis on the border issue that was broadcast this morning was a wonderful treat to listen to. These are the educated lot whose voices have been rendered silent for far too long because of the boisterous few. And the void that the educated sector of our society left behind is creating a space for those loud-mouthed – ignorant – people to dominate the conversation. Please listen to the interview–this kind of conversation must happen if we are going to begin to see Eritrea of the future. Eritrea that is at peace with itself, with its own citizens, with its neighbors – Eritrea part of the global community.

NB:

Here are two comments from the Awate Forum, they succinctly captured what many are feeling about the looming danger the PM Abiy may unwittingly be subjecting himself, and in turn the country and the people he cares about:

“He is the leader of a section of this world, not the leader of “The City of God” if I could borrow St. Augustine. One of my favorite dictum of “Realism” goes: “Man owns immortality for his salvation here-after, the nation doesn’t own immortality for its salvation is here or never.” May God bless and protect the young PM!” (Paulos, 6/23/18)

“I would love to see a little slow down in the process of change not because I am being conservative due to my old age but wanted to share my two cents observation from Kurt Lewins book which eloquently elaborates the advantage of gradual change. If PMAA is to take a method of gradual change it will allow him to focus on some aspects of change in times where he feels the need to give time to let go of old habits.” (Kbrom, 6/24/18)

About Beyan Negash

Activist, a writer and I am a doctoral candidate (ABD) in Language, Literacy, and Culture at New Mexico State University (NMSU). I hold a bachelor of arts in English and a master of arts in TESOL from NMSU as well as a bachelor of arts in Anthropology from UCLA. My research interests are on colonial discourse and post-colonial theories and their hegemonic impact on patriarchy, cultural identity, literacy development, language acquisition as well as curriculum & citizenship. The geopolitics of the Horn of Africa interests me greatly. My writings tend to focus on Eritrea and Ethiopia. I have been writing opinion pieces at awate.com since its inception (1 September 2001).

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  • Nitricc

    Hi Gebremedhin; You asked me if I know ” Do you know what Mengistu symbolize to the Ertrean’s and Tigrean’s at large” No sir. can you share?

  • Saleh Johar

    Hi @george,
    Thank you. Pls remember bigotry got us where we are. Since centuries ago. And it leads to butchery, I assure you.

    My solution to freeing the 200,000 conscripts is simple : weed out the PFDJ. And if the endless articles I wrote is not enough for you, and you are questioning my record on that, I cannot help but say: my God forgive you for being unfair to me.

  • Abraham H.

    Selam Awatistas, I would like to share this great and timely message from our brother Oqbay Gebremedhin with you. I hope as many Eritreans as posssible listen to his wise message.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1J2APc1FNI

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Abraham H,

      Thank you fort the above link,,I heard every single word of this our elder brother Oqbay Gebremedhin,,What a say man!! I wish all will hear it,,,

      KS,,

  • Nitricc

    Hi All, after i watched epic showdown in Bahir-Dar; i keep asking myself, how is this possible within short 90 days? If TPLF is dead, sure this was the final funeral. Most of I love to see my beloved flag flying high with people of Ethiopia.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DhAc21fX0AA7f-T.jpg:large

    • saay7

      Dear all…

      … and there it is, like clockwork 😂

      saay

      • Nitricc

        Hey SAAY; hahaha; why do you think they are waving Eritrean flag? I think they are doing this to stick it to weyane. Can you imagine what goes through hard liners of TPLF to see this in the heartland of Amara. whatever is their reason, i am loving it.

        • saay7

          Nitriccay:

          Of course you are. I said you would, didn’t i? It changes the subject, the ultimate “look over there” that your gang is fond of. I suppose they are also waving the Mengistu Hailemariam pictures for the same reason: to upset TPLF and if in the process we get upset oh well that’s life.

          saay

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Saay7
            I think All the pic have different messages for different purpose, u have to read it what is written on the pic.
            I think the organizers r the gov(eprdf) itself and it looks like all the youtube and the news comes out of ethiopia prepared by the government(including pretending oppositions) itself too.
            By the way Saay, have u seen the youtube video that show when 3A lecturing the artists? If yes what do u think?

          • saay7

            Hi Teodros:

            The pic I saw of Mengistu was along with Berhanu Negga and all the heroes of the Amhara-speakers and the writing on the banner says “…something ያስታውቃል እኛን መውደዳችሁ.” They are celebrating Mengistu Hailemariam, the black Stalin of Africa, because he did it all out of love for them, don’t you know.

            No I didn’t see Abiys address to the artists; I think Amde told us something about it.

            Saay

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Saay7
            They r trying to disrespect the g7 guys by showing the mengistu pic together with them,that is the message and it is not out of love.
            Do u know Berhanu’s sister killed by mengistu and he was eprp.
            Who else don’t speak amharic in ethiopia? Unless very very rural.

          • saay7

            Teodros:

            You may have to see the image before you start explaining what they meant or didn’t mean. All these guys were at parity: Mengistu Hailemariam, Berhanu Nega, etc.

            And by “Amharic-speakers” I mean Amhara ethnic group.

            saay

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Saay7
            Where can i see it? but i think u right, since ” medemer” is the motto, “all this guys were at parity” make sense.

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,
            I know that you don’t have a problem with Amharic what so ever to misinterpret this particular banner. What it said was..

            በሉ ተሰብሰቡ ይያያዝ እጃችሁ
            ያለበለዚያማ በምን ያስታውቃል እኛን መውደዳችሁ

            ነው የሚለው።

            It’s taken from Teddy Afro song “Yesteseryal” Besically, it’s demanding different political factions and ideologies to be united for the sake of the country and the people. I am not thrilled that Mengistu is included in that, but I don’t think it’s fair to misinterpret this particular messege. Other than that, unless it’s not with violence, I think people should express themselves in whatever way they like and use pictures of who ever they want. We live in America, and we see people expressing themselves in all sort of ways. Why are we hard on people who have been stifeled for so long, when they just start learning how to express themselves?

          • saay7

            Hey Eyob:

            We are looking at the same picture, I think. And I said “something something…” because the entire words are not published. But the sentiment is the same because what exactly were the lyrics from Teddy’s Yastesrayal?

            ባስራሰባት መርፈይ፣ በጠቀሙው ቁምጣ
            ለለለዉጥ ያጎፈረኡው፣ ዙፋን ላይ ሲዎጣ
            ዐንዳምናው ባለቀን፣ ያምናዉን ከቀጣ
            አዲስ ነጉሥ አንጂ፣ ለዉጥ መቼ መጣ

            It’s forgiveness for everyone, including Mengistu Hailemariam. Everyone except you know who.

            Out here in the US of A, I dislike it when there are hundreds of thousands of protestors and people try to define them by a picture or two. That’s not what I am doing; I think I was responding to Nitricc who was giddy that the Eritrean flag was seen and, of course, everything else was secondary to him.

            But that pre-Weyane green-yellow-red flag…when I see runners using it, I am ok with it, but every time I see it with Tor Serawit (and I saw a truck of men in military fatigues) I reflexively look up to the sky to see the MIGs aren’t flying.

            saay

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,

            The military fatigue that you saw is a BahirDar police. (Weirdly, their uniform is so similar with former TorSerawit. I heard that once Meles Zenawi quipped to Addisu Legesse about the BahirDar police uniform saying to him “Tegenetelachu ende? 🙂 )

            Anyway, I think the mass hysteria about Mengistu picture and kokeb alba flag..is just that:- hysteria…

            Now I got news to everyone. I hear thar AAA will visit Asmara late next week…Discuss…. 🙂

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Eyob,
            He should meet his new friend in the most appropriate place in Asmara. All Eritreans know where that is.

          • Eyob Medhane

            Gash Saleh,

            Oh come on tell me. Please..pretty please…

          • Elenta

            Selam,
            AAA seems comfortable with the uncomfortable. He might drive/fly to Assab instead of Asmara.

          • saay7

            Eyobai:

            It’s not hysteria. I saw little innocent kids holding a picture of Mengistu Hailemariam too. This means either your history books suck or nobody reads them.

            This is why ethnicism sucks: people are conditioned to think their ethnic group is incapable of producing monsters and if it is, well, let’s just find something nice about him.

            AAA in Asmara….by discuss you mean IA’s ego is going to allow somebody besides him appear on EriTV and not just still images but actually talking? We shall see.

            saay

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,

            I actually heard that all the shirgud…the Mehamud Ahmed hand holding Yemane Monkey’s perfect Amharic, the hawassa shirt signing, the gift of coffee and Lemma Guya’s painting of Mereb…all of it have not been seen on Eri TV. What the hell…yehen hulu yelefanew lezih nw ende…Very disappointing.. 🙁

          • saay7

            Eyob:

            …Meanwhile, in the real world:

            1. For 16 years, IA had conditioned his flock to believe that there will be any talking of any kind with Ethiopia Weyane until they “get the hell out of our sacred land.”

            2. Thus, Eri-TV did not show our delegates speak, but when the uniformed ruling class was…told what they said, specially all that happy talk about “we are one people” they were not pleased.

            3. Therefore, don’t expect Abiy speech, if there is going to be one, to be televised live. I don’t think you understand the ego of IA: it is so big,it is incapable of accommodating anyone who can outshine him. The good thing is that this means he has to release prisoners because he doesn’t want the world to think it was the Abi touch which was responsible.

            saay

          • Nitricc

            Greetings SAAY; you said ” 1. For 16 years, IA had conditioned his flock to believe that there will be any talking of any kind with Ethiopia Weyane until they “get the hell out of our sacred land.”
            I agree 100% with you that something is fishy. But let me ask you this.. you are in PIA’s position. You have 250K standing army, you have been demanding for the last 17 years for TPLF to vacate your land. you have endless national military service that is driving your youth in doves, you have this sanction over your head and you are feeling completely no way out. Then, I am speaking hypothetically, that EAU and the Saudi came to you and offer you a complete financial packed that demobilizes your entire standing army with a nice financial compensation. The border will be demarcated. The Ethiopians will use the Eritrean ports that will generate millions. The sanction will be lifted and many other benefits and all they ask on your part is to drop ” TPLF must vacate Eritrean land, namely Badime before we can have dialogue and normalizations; would you do it? or will you stick to your original stand?

          • saay7

            Nitricc: your question tells me that you don’t understand my position or that of the opposition in general. The question is NOT why did IA adopt the current position; the question is why didn’t he 2, 5, 10, 15 years ago? And the answer is: it’s a one man show, there is no parliament, no institutions including a functioning ruling party, no legal opposition, no press to ask those kinds of questions, and certainly no assertive flock, so we do everything late and after considerable cost to the country.

            And PS: it’s bittersweet for you now to admit that the indefinite National Service contributed to the exodus. It was always CIA and Ethiopians masquerading as Eritreans, remember? 😡

            saay

          • FishMilk

            Hi saay7. Could you please tell me when Ethiopia during the time of MZ or HD had UNCONDITONALLY accepted the EEBC decision?

          • saay7

            Selamat FishMilk:

            They never did. They gave conditions and qualifiers. Still, we should have talked.
            Even if they had categorically rejected it without qualifications, still, we should have talked.
            I will go even further back.
            The OAU, after conducting an investigation, decided that Eritrean should redeploy its troops to pre-conflict (May 1998) positions.
            When Eritrea equivacated (asking for clarifications, etc), Ethiopia said, “until you withdraw, we will not talk.”
            Guess what? Ethiopia made a mistake: it should have talked. Talking would have averted the escalation of the conflict, but the harliners at TPLF decided that it was politically expedient (consolidation of power) to do so.
            The hardliners of PFDJ (IA after he arrested the G-15) also decided that they will not talk.
            I know what you are thinking: the OAU decision was not “final and binding” whereas the EEBC was. It doesn’t matter: talking is always talking than not talking. Especially, especially, if you could have gotten the land without war (Ethiopia); or you could have gotten the exact same thing you are going to get in land swaps without dragging the country and its people through extreme hardship, betting that every year TPLF would fall (Eritrea.)

            saay

          • FishMilk

            Hi saay7. You got it! And that is the very clear difference between NOW with PM Abiy’s unconditional acceptance of the border and THEN with MZ and HD who refused to give unconditional acceptance. You can argue the basis of assumptions, but the facts remain, as does intercepted Wikileaks cables which clearly indicate that Ethiopia wished to include land swaps and Red Sea access within ‘implementation’ discussions.

          • saay7

            FishMilk:

            Clearly you didn’t read past line 1 of my answer.

            Since land swaps and Asab are exactly what will end up happening now, a dozen years of Eritrea’s young life were wasted. For nothing.

            Saay

          • FishMilk

            Hi saay7. The EEBC final decision, like any final court decision, must first be fully and unconditionally accepted by both opposing parties. Ethiopia during the tenure of MZ and HD clearly abrogated the EEBC final decision by refusing to provide their unconditional acceptance. Ethiopia and not Eritrea, therefore clearly bears the burden of responsibility of any young lives wasted subsequent to the EEBC final decision being announced. Following full compliance with the EEBC final decision, which includes unconditional acceptance by both parties, Ethiopia and Eritrea are of course free to engage in whatever discussions they mutually desire to pursue.

          • saay7

            FishMilk:

            What you are missing is that, unlike a court in a criminal or civil proceeding, the EEBC (actually a commission) has no power to compel the litigants to obey its ruling. So, in the end, it leaves it to their political influence. So it’s “final” and “binding” ruling was to use Nitricc favorite expression “toothless” as Eritrea found out in its 2,789 complaints.

            And so, the reason I keep saying the Eritrean gov wasted 12 years of Eritrea’s young life, is because it knew this. It wanted the issue, not its solution.

            saay

          • FishMilk

            Hi saay7. It is simply wrong to assert that because the EEBC was not mandated to enforce its final and binding decision, that Ethiopia should be able to exonerate its obligation to adhere to international law and to uphold Rule of Law, for otherwise, Rule of the Jungle prevails. Again, Ethiopia has clearly been responsible for Eritrean youth wasting their lives as it had refused to unconditionally accept the final and binding decision of the EEBC and instead had desperately attempted to create an “alternative mechanism” to amend, revisit and reverse the final and binding decision.

          • saay7

            Selamat FishMilk:

            We already agreed that the Ethiopian government was wrong when it refused to unconditionally abide by the ruling of EEBC.

            The question the government and its supporters didn’t ask is a series of “if, then” questions. The job of a government is to solve a problem, not to complain about it. The problem the Ethiopian government presented Eritrea is “I refuse to abide by the ruling without condition.” The Eritrean government could have chosen:

            (a) To say, “that is unfortunate. But the EEBC ruling does allow the two countries to dialogue about this. So, although we hate the appearance of being forced to dialogue, since thats what we were going to do anyway, we will ignore the TPLF position as necessitated by local politics (of a government which has to swallow the hard pill that it has lost in a court of law what it gained in war”) and dialogue anyway;

            (b) To say, “We will agree to demarcate 90% of the common border and, with our partners who helped us negotiate the Algiers Agreement, the EEBC and EECC institutions, deal with the 10% when the situation is more favorable to us. This way, the border issue won’t hold our nation hostage.”

            (c) To say, “We will insist on demanding the Ethiopia government accept without condition the EEBC ruling. Since the border is virtually demarcated, we will wait as long as it takes for an Ethiopian government to emerge and then change virtuality to reality. ”

            The Eritrean government chose Option C. Not because it was the only choice, but its choice. And now that there is a new government in Ethiopia based entirely on Ethiopia’s internal dynamics, the Gov of Eritrea is choosing Option A. The same one it could have had 11 years ago.

            saay

          • FishMilk

            Hi saay7. I am glad that we agree on the fact that the Ethiopian Government under the austerity of the TPLF was wrong when it refused to unconditionally abide by the EEBC final and binding decision. As for your other comments, which are not fact based but rather presumptive in nature, Eritrea nor any other country for that matter, should be compelled to enter into discussions or actions which have a predetermined negative outcome. As the Algiers agreement and subsequent EEBC final and binding decision was internationally brokered under the auspice of the UN, it should have been the UN and other major actors, notably the U.S., to enforce Ethiopian compliance and not Eritrea.

          • saay7

            FishMilk:

            And IF “the UN and other notable actors, specially the US” were unwilling or unable to do that, THEN what?

            saay

          • FishMilk

            Hi saay7. Then Law of the Jungle prevails and people with any sense of moral value need to join forces and voice their strong condemnation. Certainly, more efforts should and could have been made towards this end; we simply fell short.

          • FishMilk

            Hi saay7. In an IRIN interview with Meles held on October 29, 2003; he said that ‘Had Badme legally been part of Eritrea I would have accepted it without any hesitation. But I know the place inside out, and so I know the established practice of the parties because I have been around that place for many years. And there is no way in hell that the decision on Badme which says it is part of Eritrea can be anything other than illegal and unjust’. To recall that Ethiopia initially rejected the EEBC final and binding decision only to later coyly say that it agreed ‘in principle’ to the decision. To also recall that Seyoum Mefin is on record as saying that ‘implementation discussions’ need to include land swapping and Red Sea access, and you still feel that Eritrea should have either have entered into discussion with Ethiopia or to unilaterally respect its obligation on other parts of the border awarded to Ethiopia? Common man….that is what one calls political suicide.

          • Blink

            Dear FM
            Meles at one time categorically rejected the border ruling. These who think about negotiations are not honest and they never was .

          • FishMilk

            Hi Blink. You are 100% correct. Oppositionists now wish to disingenuously shed crocodile tears for Eritrea’s youth deployed for years on the border who have long suffered because of such misrepresentation of the facts and history. It appears to be a preemptive move by oppositionists to avoid admitting that they have been simply wrong to have sided with the TPLF camp for years in hopes to remove the PIA/PFDJ regime at all costs, even if it meant destroying Eritrea as a sovereign nation state.

          • Saleh Johar

            Saay,
            Give them some time. With Isaias in the loop, Zerai-Zerai might be mcone common, very soon.

          • Desbele

            Hi Eyob,
            I dont think it is okay for people to glorify criminals in the name of self expression. Why do you think is important to remove the confederacy statues? Is a black man supposed to be okay for a slave master to be glorified at his backyard?
            BTW, are the victims consulted in pardoning criminals that inflicted so much pain in their life ?
            As Eritrean , I am disgusted to see Ethiopians demonstrating with Mengistu picture, oh… and much worse to see them with pic of Isayas – የእስር ማዘዣ የሚጠብቅ ወንጀለኛ ነው

          • Paulos

            Selam Desbele,

            Kassa Kebede the criminal and right hand man of Mengistu is going back to Ethiopia and you can see all the nostalgia for the killer Dergue displayed in the Amhara region.

            Certainly by now it is clear that the young PM is set out to remove TPLF [He has so far removed TPLFites from key posts including the Security chief and General Seare’s subordinates are all pro-Abeyi as well.] He is the peace-maker during the day and a conspirator by night so much so that, to manipulate the schism between Azieb Mesfin and TPLF power base, Abiye offered Azieb a prestigious position and to his dismay she declined the offer. This is clearly a message to him the fact that, he doesn’t know the Weyanes and he is wrong if he thinks he does.

            Practically, all Tigreans including the higher echelons are going back to Tigrai fully realizing that, the country is heading towards to an ugly showdown the country has ever seen. Tigreans are left with one option and that is to regroup in Tigrai and protect their people. It is just a matter of time that EPRDF dissolves and the center turns into the ugly unknown. It is only then history will judge if Abiye was the peace-maker or otherwise.

          • Desbele

            Hi Paul,
            It indeed is scary. I am concerned with the role of Eritreans with all this euphoria. How do you feel as Eritrean highlander when the message all over is :
            ሰላም ፤ ዕርቅ፤ ፍቅር ….ከታች
            ትግሬን እናጠፋለን
            Paul , is’nt it disgusting for ኤርትራዊው
            ትግሬ ሲሰደብ ኣይ እኔን ኣይደለም ያኛውን ትግሬ ነው ብሎ ሲያስብ
            All this with 100k+ Eritrean refugees in Tigrai. እምበር ዶ ምስ የእምሮና ኣለና?!

          • Paulos

            Desbele,

            Just imagine, all the Dergists coming to the fore are anti Eritrean independence. And the Oromos are for Oromo independence. That is a deadly cook! If there is anything good Abiye has done for Tigreans since he came to power—it is making peace with Eritrea. It will help them economically prosper while the rest of Ethiopia immerses in instability and chaos. This is not a scenario but exactly where the country is heading.

          • @george

            Desbele
            Yr woyane is infinitely worse than d e r g. At least derg was an enemy from day one. The Tplf un grateful backstabber pretended to be a friend of Eritrea, only to come back to attack us. Declared war, wasted 120000 people. Ironically even the current president of Ethiopia, when he talks about the war he always mentions the property loss first before he mentioned that human lost. Take your time we watch a YouTube video of every Ethiopian so-called Elite all first mention the property loss that human life. For Eritrean, it is a human life first mentioned. Just so you don’t forget it’s stated goal to destroy Eritrea and subjugate Eritrea so they can take Misawa or assab. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes figure that one out. Anyhow just pray that peace will remain forever between the two countries and they can stay in their Lane we can stay in our Lane. That’s all we want it. And stop bragging about the hundred thousand everything in t i g r a y. You don’t know nothing about that unless you Faking It those camps are set up by tplf everybody knows. It’s a big racket going on there you already know that that’s how they feed them self they benefit from it immensely. They’re not doing it because they care for you they’re doing it because of big business a racket. Even those who disagree with that current Eritrean government will tell you as a big scam going on the population of tplf will come grab some oil flour from United Nation pretending to be a Eritrean. Not to mention, they would marry in the hopes coming tocthe WEST. Is An Open Secret.

    • Now inc.

      Nitricc,
      You know what these demonstrators love? The old Ethiopian flag. Do you know what the old flag represents? It represents the old Ethiopia with its old anthem, old leaders and the 14 states (Kifle-hagers including Eritrea). By the way, this old flag is what PFDJ-partnering Amhara opposition groups in Eritrea use, this is the same flag the Amharas bring to PFDJ organized anti UN sanction demos.
      IA/PFDJ would go to any length to get back at the Woyanes, unfortunately you supporters are pretty much like robots and have no ability to think independently.

      • Nitricc

        Hi Now; i think you are stuck with old system. They tried full scale war, we survived, they tried economical suffocation, we survived, they tried psychological warfare, we survived, they tried no war no peace, we survived it too, this time around the mentality of the Ethiopians is; if can beat them join them. besides, take a look at the following pic.
        https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DhEG0sOUwAA8ltR?format=jpg&name=medium

  • Beyan

    Selam Awatawyan/ Awatawyanoch

    Trying to keep pace with the comments that come at such rapid pace is next to impossible for me to do. Therefore, I am resorting to this wrap-up thoughts to thank all those whose deep analysis of our region enriched and helped inform my understanding of where we were, where we are, and where we might be headed. Say what you will, the era of that “cultural bomb” which Ngugi wa Thoing’o succinctly captured might be coming to an end, at least in the Horn of Africa. Cultural bomb, according to Ngugi emanates from that desire “… to annihilate a people’s belief in their names, in their languages, in their environment, in their heritage of struggle, in their unity, in their capacities and ultimately in themselves” (Ngugi, “Decolonising the Mind”).

    The month of June 2018 will be remembered as the month in which, at long last, the Horn of Africa seems to have figured it all out that its destiny will be measured not by the artificially drawn borders that the colonialists designed to divide and conquer the continent, but by living in peace with one’s neighbors irrespective of where those lines in the sand are drawn.

    The Horn of Africa’s destiny will no longer be measured how intensely one fellow human being hates another; rather, by love. Love has gained currency thanks to PM Abiy of Ethiopia, it is so contagious that it found its ways to the perfidious lips of Yemane, in the land of what Higdef considered enemy number up until the end of May 2018. Who would’ve thought Yemane would utter those words of love in the language of what it considered its enemy, Amharic and in the hinterland of the land of Amhara and Oromia. Fascinating times indeed!

    This is not the time for those of us who stood in the name of justice in opposition to injustice to wallow in analysis; this is a time for the supporters of Higdef to deal with their leaders where it is they want to lead the country towards, to the cliff of the abyss or to the city upon a hill.

    We’ve seen it all: If the opposition goes to Addis and does the fighting for justice from Ethiopia, it was treasonous, but when Higdef does it is the ultimate blessing.We in the opposition have no power, they have the leverage, at least they thought they did. All that one can say now is use that leverage see if the era of love can spread to Eritrea. See if you can push the envelope of love and extend it to those who have been in the dungeons and continue to suffer unjustly and whose “crimes” only Nsu and his cohorts know the reason.

    The Kenyan scholar, the author of “Decolonised Mind” deeply understands of how some so called intellectual Eritreans have “outsourced” (to borrow Sal Y.’s term) their brain to Higdef’s brainless so-called leaders. I will gladly outsource my brain to Ngugi for today:

    “Unfortunately some African intellectuals have fallen victims — a few incurably so — to that scheme and they are unable to see the divide-and-rule colonial origins of explaining any differences of intellectual outlook or any political clashes in terms of the ethnic origins of the actors. No man or woman can choose their biological nationality. The conflicts between peoples cannot be explained in terms of that which is fixed (the invariables). Otherwise the problems between any two peoples would always be the same at all times and places; and further, there would never be any solution to social conflicts except through a change in that which is permanently fixed, for example through genetic or biological transformation of the actors.

    “…I shall look at the African realities as they are affected by the great struggle between the two mutually opposed forces in Africa today: an imperialist tradition on one hand, and a resistance tradition on the other. The imperialist tradition in Africa is today maintained by the international bourgeoisie using the multinational and of course the flag-waving native ruling classes. The economic and political dependence of this African neo-colonial bourgeoisie is reflected in its culture of apemanship and parrotry enforced on a restive population through police boots, barbed wire, a gowned clergy and judiciary; their ideas are spread by a corpus of state intellectuals, the academic and journalistic laureates of the neo-colonial establishment. The resistance tradition is being carried out by the working people (the peasantry and the proletariat) aided by patriotic students, intellectuals (academic and non-academic), soldiers and other progressive elements of the petty middle class. This resistance is reflected in their patriotic defence of the peasant/worker roots of national cultures, their defence of the democratic struggle in all the nationalities inhabiting the same territory. Any blow against imperialism, no matter the ethnic and regional origins of the blow, is a victory for all anti-imperialistic elements in all the nationalities. The sum total of all these blows no matter what their weight, size, scale, location in time and space makes the national heritage.

    “For these patriotic defenders of the fighting cultures of African people, imperialism is not a slogan. It is real; it is palpable in content and form and in its methods and effects. Imperialism is the rule of consolidated finance capital and since 1884 this monopolistic parasitic capital has affected and continues to affect the lives even of the peasants in the remotest corners of our countries. If you are in doubt, just count how many African countries have now been mortgaged to IMF — the new International Ministry of Finance as Julius Nyerere once called it. Who pays for the mortgage? Every single producer of real wealth (use-value) in the country so mortgaged, which means every single worker and peasant. Imperialism is total: it has economic, political, military, cultural and psychological consequences for the people of the world today. It could even lead to holocaust.

    “The freedom for western finance capital and for the vast transnational monopolies under its umbrella to continue stealing from the countries and people of Latin America, Africa, Asia and Polynesia is today protected by conventional and nuclear weapons. Imperialism, led by the USA, presents the struggling peoples of the earth and all those calling for peace, democracy .and socialism with the ultimatum: accept theft or death.

    “The oppressed and the exploited of the earth maintain their defiance: liberty from theft. But the biggest weapon wielded and actually daily unleashed by imperialism against that collective defiance is the cultural bomb. The effect of a cultural bomb is to annihilate a people’s belief in their names, in their languages, in their environment, in their heritage of struggle, in their unity, in their capacities and ultimately in themselves. It makes them see their past as one wasteland of non-achievement and it makes them want to distance themselves from that wasteland. It makes them want to identify with that which is furthest removed from themselves; for instance, with other peoples’ languages rather than their own. It makes them identify with that which is decadent and reactionary, all those forces which would stop their own springs of life. It even plants serious doubts about the moral rightness of struggle. Possibilities of triumph or victory are seen as remote, ridiculous dreams. The intended results are despair, despondency and a collective death-wish. Amidst this wasteland which it has created, imperialism presents itself as the cure and demands that the dependant sing hymns of praise with the constant refrain: ‘Theft is holy’. Indeed, this refrain sums up the new creed of the neo-colonial bourgeoisie in many ‘independent’ African states.

    “The classes fighting against imperialism even in its neo-colonial stage and form, have to confront this threat with the higher and more creative culture of resolute struggle. These classes have to wield even more firmly the weapons of the struggle contained in their cultures. They have to speak the united language of struggle contained in each of their languages. They must discover their various tongues to sing the song: ‘A people united can never be defeated’.

    “The theme of this book is simple. It is taken from a poem by the Guyanese poet Martin Carter in which he sees ordinary men and women hungering and living in rooms without lights; all those men and women in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Zaire, Ivory Coast, El Salvador, Chile, Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia, Grenada, Fanon’s ‘Wretched of the Earth’, who have declared loud and clear that they do not sleep to dream, ‘but dream to change the world’.

    “I hope that some of the issues in this book will find echoes in your hearts.” (Ngugi)

    Source: http://www.swaraj.org/ngugi.htm

    Two songs that speak to the era we find ourselves in are perfectly suited for a Sunday morning. Read the lyrics as you listen to Wedi Tikabo’s “Fiqri Teasiru”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98jjMx0Y3pk

    • @george

      Dear bayen

      Is water wet? Is elephant heavy? Is Pacific Ocean big? Himmm…. aren’t you late for this stuff you wrote above. The Eritrean people, that’s the government and the people are well aware of all the stuff you wrote. You don’t need to travel back in time to tell us you just discovered what we’ve been knowing for a while. that’s why the government implemented the self-sufficiency plan. You’re too late. If you pay attention you would have known by now that everything you wrote is nothing new for us. Remember if you days ago you posted that question me if Eritrean government has a professional Army. That’s how much you don’t know about Eritrea. I suggest you take time to read about Eritrea instead of bashing day and night which is getting old. You have the audacity to call names those who support their government. At least they’re supporting the government instead of cheering for the enemy of Eritrea, the American Empire and the backwards Ethiopia.

      • Beyan

        Dear george,

        Well said! Anything I add to what you just penned might just make it worse. So, I will heed your suggestion and will perhaps write another piece just to make you feel good about my anachronistic entries.

        Good Sunday!
        BN

      • Abi

        Hi @george
        Couple of days ago your leaders went to visit an industrial park at the most backward place in the backward country.
        They generously shared their expertise and vast experience in running a complex industrial park.
        We are grateful for the help you provided to pull us out of backwardness.
        Thank you for the help

        • Saleh Johar

          Abi, they did pull you out! Didn’t they. But their dead weight pulled both countries to the swamps of bigotry and hypocrisy and mayhem.

        • @george

          Dear abi (not to be confused with the japnese prime minister)

          Like an alcoholic if I don’t say anything bad about Ethiopia I get the shakes. You know how you bragging about your overrated Industrial Park.
          First, the industrial park is owned, built and run by chinese
          Second, hate to break it to you, but you building yesterday’s technology.
          Third, tomorrow we can build the same thing right at the assab port, and make your Industrial Park irrelevant. But when we do it, will be owning it. If fact PIA has asked SAAY, to do fesability study as part of his national service.

          Stay tuned, and save your money because the lobster coming out of the sea you have to be on the house. The drink, melotte Berhe,the brilliant will cover it….

          • Berhe Y

            Dear @george,

            Feasblity study, seriesly??? You know how many times we have heard this word in the past 27 years.

            Wedi shawel had SNL type scetch mocking shaebia feasblity study, I think it was around 1995, while the president was in the audience. Nothing has changed, they are still wedini / shiTara. They think they can outsmart everyone.

            The entire Harvard business school case study you can find it online but it means nothing. In shaebia world, they think because they can steal someone feasibility study and proposal, they think they can replicate the idea and do it better, cheaper.

            They don’t know that the business people, one thing they know for sure is, how to run their business, because they have:
            1) passion
            2) experience

            Now, you actually think because Assab is close to the sea that you can compete with the industrial park Ethiopia is building. You don’t think they have done feasibility study with the competition in the neighbourhood, who are close to the sea, like Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan?

            And the Chinese also do not know that? Everything is put into the consideration, who ever the investors have figured out that they have competitive advantage such as:
            1) very cheap labor
            2) very cheap electricity

            Do you think we have the population that can work 3 shifts and live in Assab in that weather? The air condition costs will bankrupt you. Not to mention where are you going to find the people? And where it will get power ?

            Why don’t you find something else like you have competitive advantage, such as building resorts?

            Berhe

        • Hope

          Selamat Guregnaw Abi:
          Those Industrial Parks could have been built efficiently by NONE but the hard-working and genius Eritrean Business Community,18 yrs ago if the TPLF didn’t mess up with Eritreans.
          Do you know as to who is building almost the ENTIRE S Sudan Infrastructure, close to a $ billion worth business?
          This is NOT Hope gurra but a fact and u can Google it.