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Eritrea – Prisoner of Conscience Day

We have “Armed Struggle Launch Day” (September 1), “Martyr’s Day” (June 20) and “Independence Day” (May 24.) It stands to reason that we should have “Prisoner of Conscience Day” because those who didn’t die for the revolution, and who didn’t live to see Eritrea’s independence, have been imprisoned by it. Actually, in unique Eritrea, someone can celebrate all of these days simultaneously: some Eritreans were transported from prisons in the Eritrean field to prisons in liberated Eritrea ON Independence Day. And since the Eritrean revolution has been arresting Eritreans as early as it started, it stands to reason that the date should be close to September 1….like September 18, the day the Group of 15 (G-15) were arrested in 2001.

Two papers came out in 2001 from two distinct groups of People’s Front for Democracy & Justice (PFDJ), the sole legal political party, movement Presidential Sandbox in Eritrea.  Both were addressed to members of the PFDJ. One was authored by President Isaias Afwerki & Co (we called them the “G-1”)  in January 2001, using the Orwellian title of “Discussion Paper,” inviting fear and loathing and promising peace, stability and strengthening of the PFDJ.  The other was authored by a dissident group of politicians, reformers collectively known as “G-15” in May 27: it was an “Open Letter to All Members of PFDJ”, inviting responsibility and participation; and offering contrition, transparency and rule of law.

While the two papers were circulating, there was something remarkable happening in Eritrea–an independent press. Meqaleh, Keste Debena, Tsigenay, Admas, Setit…doing something that had never been done in the history of the People’s Front: a media that was only subject to publishers/reporters self-censorship and not to party-censorship. This could only have happened because of who was then the Minister of Information: Beraki Gebreselassie. It couldn’t have happened under his predecessor, the ideologue Alamin Mohammed Said, nor his immediate successors: the ideologue Zemehret Yohannes and the national security enforcer Naizghi Kiflu.

It has been 14 years since the two papers were written: Enough time has passed to see which vision won and what has been the outcome. Let’s begin with the conclusions of the two papers:

The Discussion Paper (The G-1)

In this destructive campaign, it is expected that the Woyane would be vanguard.  It is a campaign that it has embarked on, and an effort it has accelerated, since the day after the conflict and for the last two and half years.  We can skip over the role of the traitors who collaborated with Woyane by saying it is no different from Woyane.  As for those who, in the midst of trying and challenging times, were jockeying and hustling about to exploit the situation by selling national and people’s interest for self-interest, we have seen many of these opportunists in our long struggle.  What demands attention, although very few in number, is the [presence of] cadres and leaders of the Front who, for various reasons (panic, hopelessness, absconding responsibility, to create political opportunities by complaining about lack of position and authority) participated in the campaign.

We have gained a great deal of wealth and experience from the period of Invasion and Defiance. Because, despite the campaign against us, our policies, with few exceptions, were correct; because we had created an environment where our people can enjoy peace and human dignity; because our people had faith in the Front and the government; because we were able to groom The Inheritor [Warsai]; because we were able to benefit from our organization and mobilization experience, we were able to meet the challenge head on. Although with time and positive developments the environment is cooling off, we haven’t totally eliminated the Woyane threat. To deal our enemies total defeat, to restore peace and sovereignty to our country and to bring about tranquility and peace of mind to our people, to purify the political environment and to conduct a proper assessment of our situation, and to correct our shortcomings, we need to strengthen the People’s Front.

 The Open Letter To All Members of PFDJ (G-15)

Just as we bear ultimate collective responsibility for our performance as leaders, we are obliged to bear equal responsibility for correcting our failures. Since our failure to lead properly has injured the people, we are prepared and determined to make amends and compensate our people by working tirelessly to build, in concert with other PFDJ members and the general Eritrean public, an accountable and responsible government in Eritrea….

If we do not take corrective action immediately but instead continue as we have been, then it is not hard to imagine from the experiences of the past ten years the devastating consequences that await us. We need act in concert to resolve our differences, to avoid our security being compromised and our internal unity is weakened, thereby exposing us to becoming victims of external forces. This is a serious national affair. Determined, courageous, capable and nationalist Eritreans must play their role. Let them utilize their capacity to contribute their share to their country. Let us take practical lessons from the Woyane invasion. We should never risk compromising our hard won independence and making our fertile land barren. Time is passing, and our external enemies have not folded their hands waiting for us.

We shall continue our struggle to establish the rule of law. We shall continue to struggle to implement the sacred ideals and principles of the front and our national constitution. We shall continue to struggle using every legal and democratic means available. We have no ambition other than making these sacred ideals a reality. We take this opportunity to call on all PFDJ members and the Eritrean people in general to express their opinion through legal and democratic means and to give their support to the goals and principles they consider just.

Fear & Loathing Won But…

The G-15 phenomenon did not affect all Eritreans equally.  Firstly, because the letter was addressed to “PFDJ members” and the Eritrean people appeared as an afterthought, some of the people did not feel sufficiently engaged.  This was, of course, due to the very nature of the Open Letter itself: it was necessary only because attempts to follow organizational protocol to conduct organizational discussions were stifled by President Isaias Afwerki who intimidated the members of the Central Council (the legislative arm of the PFDJ) into not signing a petition for a meeting.  In any event, the G-15 had followed up their “Open Letter To All Members of the PFDJ” with “An Open Letter to the Eritrean People” on August 3, 2001 where they introduced a detailed reform agenda.  Secondly, it was because of what the G-15 conceded in their open letter: “our failure to lead properly has injured the people.”   Some Eritreans who had been very injured by their leadership saw them as complicit in prior crimes and didn’t want to speak up for them.  It is unfortunate because they didn’t bother to read (or they didn’t believe) the second half of the sentence: “we are prepared and determined to make amends and compensate our people.”

But some of us heard them.  In June 2001, almost 2,200 Eritrean signed a petition calling for a dialogue between the G-15 and G-1. The petition called on all sides to exercise restraint and for Eritrea’s religious leaders and elders to mediate and for the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) to be neutral.

But the G-1 was unmoved. The president said he had never heard of “freezing.” Bokhri ezney.  He was shocked to learn about Mahmoud Sherifo’s (then the vice president) claim that Isaias is not interested in political pluralism.  Shocked, I tell ya.  And those who didn’t do their job, of course they should be asked to account for it, he said. (But not, you know, in a meeting of the National Assembly or Central Council which can’t happen now.  Or ever.)  Yemane Gebreab, the political director of the ruling party and a presidential “advisor” said, Crisis? What crisis?  We have always had these kinds of debates and we have our “own culture” of fixing them.

Then the culture was enforced.  The G-15 who called for reform; the newspaper reporters who conducted interviews with them; the publishers of the newspapers; the elders who tried to mediate; the EDF members who called for neutrality; the PFDJ members who called for rule of law… were all arrested or exiled.

Governments often present their citizens clear choices: you can have liberty or you can have security, but you can’t have both. Burkino Faso just did that. What Isaias Afwerki’s clique promised in the “Discussion Paper” was that it will take some steps that the people may find unseemly but, in exchange, it would strengthen the PFDJ, which will enable it to “restore peace and sovereignty” to Eritrea and to “correct our shortcomings.”    Let’s see what it has brought us in the last 14 years:

1. Far from being strengthened, the PFDJ has been weakened.  It hasn’t had a congress since 1994 (21 years).  It hasn’t had an election; its 75-member Central Committee (if it exists at all: almost half are dead/exiled/frozen) hasn’t met since 2000; the 150-member National Assembly it controls (if it exists at all) hasn’t met since 2002;
2. It has restored neither peace nor sovereignty to Eritrea.  Faced with a challenge that every diplomat is trained for–a political problem with an antagonistic neighboring country–it hasn’t had a single creative idea and it thinks that if it only says the same thing (Final & Binding) only louder, then “something” will change.  And the only thing that has changed is that the measures it took to supposedly demonstrate Eritrea’s strength–a large standing army in state of alert–has resulted in massive and dangerous exodus of Eritrea’s youth;
3. It has destroyed Eritrea’s economy, chased off the entrepreneurial class;
4. It has raised an entire generation of Eritreans who are completely and totally unfamiliar with what rule of law looks like and only know of military drills, torture, imprisonment and cruelty.
5. It has changed the country into a police state where most of us Eritreans have at least one immediate family member who has been abused, made to disappear, arrested or extra-judicially killed.

Was this at all predicted by members of the G-15?  Every single one of them who gave an interview indeed predicted it:

Mahmoud Sherifo, tSigenai, April 6, 2001:  “The responsibility we were given by the National Assembly [to draft law on party formation] was snatched…because the President has no desire to see the formation of political parties…”

Mesfin Hagos: Tsigenai, May 21, 2001: “It is not acceptable to itemize unacceptable reasons for delaying giving power to the people.”

Berhane Gebrezgheir: Meqaleh: June 10, 2001: “The Eritrean people have the right and the capability to know the truth and to propose solutions.”

Petros Solomon: Tsigenai: June 11, 2001: “When confronted with criticism, it is not useful to think only in terms of digging up trenches and launching counter-offensives….criticism should be accepted with an open heart and an environment of tolerance….institutionalism is the best approach to decision-making.”

Oqbe Abraha, Keste Debena, June 11, 2001: “I have the right to defend myself, relying on truth and the law, in an independent court of law so I won’t be condemned for wrongs I did not commit.”

Ambasssador Haile Menkerios, (interview with Alazar Keleti and Amanuel Zerzghi), June 14, 2001: “One may oppose an opinion; but it is not constructive to accuse someone of sub-nationalism and being anti-national for refusing to march in lockstep.”

Haile Derue, June 20, 2001: “Obviously, one in power can do anything including muting dissent.  But he still can’t kill the ideas.  So, in the end, it is a futile exercise…. The president should not try to settle this dispute forcefully and should not try to solve this extra-legally or try to smash it using some pretext.”

Saleh Kekia, Admas, June 27, 2001:“We believed in and fought for the principles of People’s Front.  People’s Front is neither too distant to us, nor too close to others.  It is our front. What we are saying is we have problems in the implementation, so let’s correct them.   We are saying let’s execute the goals we believe in.  To say this is not the right time is to deny reality.”

So where are we now? Eritreans point of reference for governments is to compare them with previous governments: Italians vs Turks; Brits vs Italians; Haile Selasse vs Brits; Mengistu Hailemariam vs Haile Selasse.   And now, Isaias Afwerki vs Mengistu Hailemariam.   And now, what was once impossible to conceive is conventional wisdom: that in many respects–family visitation rights of the arrested; torture; environment of fear; corruption–the Isaias Afwerki regime is worse than Mengistu Hailemariam’s Derg.

And to be arrested resisting that is a badge of honor. And that’s why we should have Prisoners of Conscience Day.  On this occasion, I would like to wish all my compatriots–and, indeed, all humanity–who are are in dungeons, underground prisons, and solitary confinement relief from their pain and suffering and a Friday prayer that their relief comes very soon and that their torturers face justice with due process.

About Salyounis

Saleh Younis (SAAY) has been writing about Eritrea since 1994 when he published "Eritrean Exponent", a quarterly print journal. His writing has been published in several media outlets including Dehai, Eritrean Studies Review, Visafric, Asmarino and, of course, Awate where his column has appeared since the launch of the website in 2000. Focusing on political, economic, educational policies, he approaches his writing from the perspective of the individual citizens' civil liberties and how collectivist governments and overbearing organizations trample all over it in pursuit of their interests. SAAY is the president and CEO of a college with a focus in sound arts and video games and his writing often veers to music critique. He has an MBA from Golden Gate University and a BA from St Mary's College.

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  • Abraham Hanibal

    Selam Awatistas,

    I’ve come to conclude that Isayas never had as a plan to have an independent Eritrea. His numerous erratic behaviour during the struggle, his proposition of a confederation with Ethiopia right after Eritrea was liberated; his adventurous and unproportional military response to Woyane provocation in May 1998; his dismantling of the front’s and the country’s legislative bodies; his abolishment of the ratified Eritrean Constitution; his brutal disappearance of the G15 and other thousands of Eritrean patriots; his enslavement of the Eritrean people resulting in mass of exodus of the people, and exposing the country to foreign invasion, etc are some of the clear examples that he had evil wills against the Eritrean people.

    I think Isayas had a crazy grandiose ambition of becoming the “great leader” of the “great Ethiopia” ( Eritrea included), and his personal infighting with Meles arises from this very fact, that the latter was not willing to relinquish power to Mr. Isayas.

    I remember just prior to their arrest Haile Durue had said that there were some secrets they knew; but were not willing to disclose them for fear of endangering the country’s safety and national security. And I’ve always wondered what those secrets might be; could what I mentioned above be one of those undisclosed secrets?

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Ab:
      remember his confederation comment b barely before the martyrs were announced after independence? Also do you remember his interview in London weeks after independence when he was asked if he would consider becoming the president of Eritrea and Ethiopia as one country.he did not answer it.
      I have believed this notion for a long time and that is why the G-15 and every opposition should have factored that into their actions.
      But I hope some one from G-15 have written something somehwere

    • saay7

      Selamat Abraham:

      If you want to add to your list of exhibits, there is that Meles Zenaw (MZ)i-Paul Henze (PBH) “conversation” of 1990 which goes like this:

      PBH: And separatism – how do you see this issue in comparison with the attitude of Eritreans?

      MZ: The EPLF has the problem that the population hates the Derg so much that it has all become separatist. The population wants independence to be declared as soon as the EPLF takes Asmara. Isaias understands some of the difficulties of this because he has thought a lot about it in the past year. But he has terrible pressures from his people. It is a difficult issue for him.

      PBH: Are the Eritrean highland Christians as strongly in favor of an immediate declaration of independence as Muslims?

      MZ: There are different opinions on this, but we think that the whole population wants independence. They may not understand what it means. These people were once strongly in favor of unity with Ethiopia. The Shoan Amharas destroyed that feeling. The highlanders are getting more impatient than the leadership of the EPLF. Isaias sees problems in independence and does not want to rush and create difficulties for himself, but he doesn’t have full control over this issue.

      PBH: What would be your preferences?

      MZ: We look at this from the viewpoints of the interests of Tigray first, and then Ethiopia as a whole. We would like to see Eritrea continuing to have a relationship with Ethiopia. We know that Tigray needs access to the sea, and the only way is through Eritrea. Whether Eritrea is part of Ethiopia or independent, we need this access and, therefore, must have close ties. There are many Tigrayans in Eritrea. They are concerned. They don’t want to be treated as foreigners there. There has always been close connections between Tigray and Eritrea for the highland people are all the same. They have the same history. We are worried about Eritrea because we are not sure that differences among different groups can be kept under control. Everything could be destroyed there if people begin fighting each other. When the EPLF takes over Asmara, they will have a difficult job, because they have to keep the people together. Some of the Muslims will favor separatism but there is no strength in unity among them on this issue. The ELF has no active strength in Eritrea now, but it still exists in Sudan and there are many Muslims who sympathize with it.

      But then there are, oh, more than a dozen documented cases of Isaias Afwerki (beginning with his meetings with Americans at Kagnew station, Nehnan Elamanan, press releases, interviews, meetings with East Germans) refusing to negotiate on Eritreans right to self-determination.

      Here’s a simpler explanation that, in my view, makes more sense. Due to a combination of three factors– (1) his force of personality (Alpha Male), (2) his Maoist teaching (monopolize all information) and (3) his management style, i.e. willingness to get deep into the weeds/details of all aspects of operations (micro management), he became the undisputed leader with disproportionate power with the acquiescence of his colleagues, including the G-15. Examples of each:

      1. Alpha Male. Read Aklilu Zere’s “Birth of Despotism”:

      I was the youngest and the newest in the organization. So imagine what I felt to be in the company of these leaders… Mesfin Hagos, Petros Solomon, Drue (chairman) Alamin Mohamed Said (secretary), Beraki, Sherifo, Sibhat, Stifanos Bruno, Ibrahim Afa etc…etc… and of course Isaias…

      The meeting took three days in complete secrecy. Out of all that was discussed there, there was one question I will never forget. If my memory served me right it was raised by Afa. The question was about the situation (kunetat) of the imprisoned Menkat.

      Isaias, as I have observed him on many occasions, had a habit (by design of course) of sitting three feet away from everyone, thus disturbing (breaking) the perfect circle of the attendees. The closest persons sitting besides him were Sibhat to his left and Sherifo to his right.

      Isaias brusquely answered the question by saying- in his exact word- ” they are done”…(tewediu iu) and in a threatening gesture said the question should not be raised by anyone, anymore.

      I reflexively looked at the faces. It was dark and I was sitting between [Ibrahim] Afa and Mesfin Hagos and what I saw froze me in time: abject trepidation.

      There and then I knew that I couldn’t stay in that organization any more.

      2. Maoist Principle of Information Monopoly

      Suppose you and I are equal partners in a company that has 10,000 employees. We, for census reasons, decide to collect information on our employees: race, ethnicity, religious background, family history, birthplace, ancestral home, level of education. You and I have a “gentlemen’s agreement” that this information would be kept in secret and it would never be used for any decision-making. Then I cheat. I use that information not only to plot but, when necessary, to accuse you of favoring people of one birthplace and ancestral home over another. You are entirely clueless: you didn’t even see it coming. You didn’t even know the birthplace and ancestral home of the people you associated with because you had a gentle men’s agreement. Too bad.

      Oh, you also had a gentlemen’s agreement that it is all about the collective and individualism should be completely subdued. That’s why you agreed that there would be no rank in the company: everybody is just a “team member.” There would be no visible difference in possessions–that’s why you had to agree to remain unmarried though you were in love. That’s why you had to turn in the to the company a watch your father gave you, although it has great sentimental value. But he cheats: when he falls in love, marriage will be allowed. He has to wear a watch (as a commander, you know, and also to run meetings: how can you run meetings without a watch.) If he is the # 2 in the company, then the # 2 in the company will be responsible for all things operational (like a Chief Operating Officer.) When he becomes the # 1 (Chief Executive Officer), as he was in 1987, then guess what: there is no longer a reason for the company to have a #2. There is restructuring. dagme sr’reE. mtErray.

      3. Management Style

      Now, why would you agree with all this? You are not stupid. You are smart. You went to college, for God’s sake. Because you are a delegate: you delegate things. Oh, also because you company has another rule: if the job doesn’t directly involve you, it is not your concern: and if you ask questions about things that don’t concern you, you are a liability: why do you want to know? Are you a spy? Meanwhile, I have a vast interest in everything, I have information advantage on any given subject: I have thought about it longer, I have come prepared. So, you have to say–because you are unselfish and smart–he’s got it! Trust his judgement.

      Not only that, you acknowledge me as one-of-a-kind. The “Lenin of Africa” is what some of the people who eventually became G-15 used to call him. You combine that with his super-frugal taste in all things, with a pre-literate society’s fondness for myth-making (Isaias Afwerki, tekhelakalai Tanki…. Wedi Afom Brri, nsu anbessa, Asakru nebri..) and a tyrant is born.

      Just a theory.

      saay

      • Abraham Hanibal

        Selamat Saay,

        Thank you for your rich addition to my message. It is always delightful and insightful to read your inputs. As to Isayas’ “refusal to negotiate on Eritrea’s right of self-determination”, can we take it as ዝብኢስ ክሳብ ዝደልዎ ይሕንክስ?

        Thanks

  • Abraham Hanibal

    To Ethiopians,

    Congratulations on your newly opened Sub-Saharan Africa’s first light rail service!

    ከማኹም የማስልና!

    http://mgafrica.com/article/2015-09-20-sub-saharan-africas-first-light-rail-system-starts-operationsyou-guessed-it-in-ethiopia

  • Amanuel

    Hi dawit
    I have been away and didn’t see your comment until now. I think it is very simplistic. If you remember just before the fall of Derg there was similar proposal from pro. Mesfun and it was rumoured at that time that even Mengstu Hailemariam laughed off by saying ” did he think this is a one family affair”

    • dawit

      Hi Amanuel,
      Sometimes a simple solution is preferred than complicated solution that lead a nation to civil wars, like we see all around us, Iraq. Yemen, Libya and Syria. Do you better suggestion or solution to the present Eritrean quagmire?

      • dawit

        Correction: Do you have a better suggestion or solution

      • Amanuel

        Hi dawit
        Don’t get me wrong. When I said simplistic it doesn’t necessarily simple, what I meant was a solution doesn’t appreciate the depth and complexity of the problem. I don’t have a ready made solution, if I say i have, I will be lying. Even i don’t have a complete picture of the problem. I have been living in the west for the last decade and most of my information is a second hand. However, I can suggest that our solution should include accountability based on the rule of law at some level for the crimes commuted and mostly reconciliation to healing the wounds.

        • dawit

          So every September 18, we cry over a spilt milk and no need to search for solution. September 18th. came about due to power struggle between two competing groups of PFDJ, everyone acting in his/her interest. One group won and the other lost. If the fate of these two competing groups for power had reversed, we would have cried accountability and justice, but in a reverse order. What ever solution for the Eritrean crisis has to come from Eritreans living inside or outside the country, not from UN, Ethiopia, US, EU or ICC, because they also act based on their interests and they will use Eritreans as tools to reach their hidden agendas. Removing will not be in the interest of Eritreans, except prolonging their sufferings, through deadly civil wars.

          • Music Novice

            Greetings dawit,

            The G-15 had a ‘Momentary Lapse of Reason’.

          • Amanuel

            Hi dawit
            I don’t know in which planet you are living. The heroes arrested on 18 Sep 2001 have families and friends and calling their arrest as small as a spilt milk is inhuman. I will never cry over their arrest, in fact, i am very proud of them that they paid with their lives for what they believed in. If they have succeed with their demand, I am sure Eritrea will be in a better position now. I can tell you that they didn’t have bad intention against IA. I am reliably informed that as some point they had the opportunity to arrest him but they choose not to, because they thought it would be considered as coup and set a bad precedent for future generation. The reason why the external organisation are interfering is, the PFDJ gang you are defending wouldn’t abide by the the rules of this land.

          • Semere Andom

            HI Amanuel:
            By now you should have known that for some it is all about interest and economics. For some there is no higher calling, there is nothing human being do outside of their own interest. Economics informs their decision and the alliance of the dawits.
            The interest of the G-15 was renewing their alliane but they chose to redeem themselves
            Not all coups are bad, good example is Sudan, general Suwar Al-Dhab conducted a coup on dictator Numeiri and handed power to the people in two years. The G-15 had that option and they did not use it.
            They may not have bad intention for IA, but if they believe d heis is insane and would go to the extreme to have his way as he did before, they should have done it. I think Petros Solomon told the Indian Ocean that there will not be peace as long as this Isaias guy is there. It has been long so do not quote me verbatim, but he was then demoted to fisheries.

          • Amanuel

            Hi SA
            I agree for some it is about interest and point scoring. However dawit’s medieval behaviour need to be confronted.
            As per the coup, you are right that not all coups are necessarily bad. What matters is the change they bring. The Sudan one is a prime example. It is not clear the dilemma with G-15. They were confronting a very ruthless leader and had examples how confrontation were dealt with in their organisation but still chose to play fair game.

  • sabri

    Dear Saay,

    We can only say G15 had only two choices (to regret or to be arrested) after they raised the issue of democracy in the 2000 National Assembly. But before they raised their issue, they had many other choices. Will come back later on this. Let me explain first this:

    Long before G15 construct their letter there have been hot discussion in the National Assembly on the issue of democracy, constitution, PFDJ’s congress, demobilization and many other issues. At that meeting Issayas was completely dominated by many members of the parliament who push for democratization process. Probably, the issue is initiated by limited group but it was supported by majority. G15 became G15 after those who signed the letter at the later stage. Initially they were more than 15. Issays knowing his weaker position at that meeting he accepted all their demands: demands like to create a committee who draft the law of multi party system chaired by Sherifo, another committee is created at that meeting that find out how the 1998 war is handled- chaired by Mesfin Hagos. Also, an Election Day was decided at that meeting. Issayas accepted all of the demands that raised. But his acceptance was only to gain time and to prepare himself how to crush those people who raised the issues. Immediately after the meeting IA started his own movement to crush the issue and the people that raised all of those demands. He did this in front of the people later known as G15. They knew it that the president is preparing for something else. Nevertheless, they continue to write him letters to call for another meeting. When all their calling is ignored, as the last sortie they decided to release their letter to the public. Until that moment the people had no clue there was big differences among the leadership of PFDJ. It was a great surprise for the vast majority of Eritreans when the letter released in 2001.

    The two choices G15 had that you mentioned above is ONLY after they released their letter. They had many other alternatives before they raised their demands in the National Assembly. Considering the nature of Issayas and considering the ground reality of the country at that moment they could have made another strategy that diminish the power of the president and make successful their democratic proposal in the long run. Unfortunately, it seems they were very embarrassed by the 1998 war and its consequences and probably they were very emotional too. Also, it seems there were in a hurry. They could present and implement their democratic program in a smarter way. Of course it is always to be wise after a while especially after 14 years are elapsed. Honestly , this was my opinion since 2001. It is really sad they still languish in prison and it is really sad many other thousands prisoners are added.

    Best regards,
    Sabri

    • saay7

      Hi Sabri:

      I think the best way to try to see where we have convergence and divergence is by constructing a timeline. The venue for the confrontation was really the Central Council and not the National Assembly because, remember, this was a “family feud” until the Open Letter went public.

      January 28-29, 2000: 8th Session of the Central Council. The Central Council complains about the irregularity of the meetings. and, therefore, the President’s no-counsel decision making process. The president says that the environment didn’t allow for it, and therefore not only do I not owe you an explanation for why they weren’t held in the past, I won’t owe you an explanation if I don’t feel it is conducive to have a meeting and don’t hold it.

      August 31 – September 2, 2000: (i.e. after the Third Offensive, after Cessation of Hostilities, but before Algiers Agreement): Decisions: to “establish deadlines for holding the front congress and national elections, measures which are necessary preparation for such to be taken, and important issues requiring preparatory study to be studied. Since military and diplomatic efforts had to be strengthened, the Council also decided to form a military committee to do an appraisal of our record in these areas and to advise the president in the future.”

      I have it on good authority that the Run-DMC Duo (Yemane Gebreab and Yemane Gebremeskel) argued that this was not the right time to talk about holding elections and Isaias Afwerki chastised them: of course it is the right time, this is a promise we made our our martyrs.

      The Central Council feels victorious: it got everything it asked for. September to December 2000 were the reformers were ascendant. In September, the G-13 (Eritrean scholars and professionals, almost all with EPLF background) meet in Berlin in September. They visit Asmara and meet with the president* where they had planned to discuss their manifesto but end up listening to a letter Isaias Afwerki had typed (You finished? Allow me to retort…). The Algiers Agreement is signed.

      I think here it dawns on the Isaias Afwerk team that they are being played–the Central Council is lining up its allies: G-13, private press, and all those who were “jockeying and hustling about to exploit the situation” (which, in Tigrinya, is classic Isaias leaving no doubt that he wrote the “Discussion Paper”)– so they come up with the DIscussion Paper and do what they did to MenkaE and Yemeen (their activities are described “destructive campaign of lies and opportunism”): they have lengthy brainwashing sessions that exclude the suspected ring leaders of the Central Council. These sessions are, supposedly, seminars before the agreed-upon PFDJ congress.

      For the Isaias Afwerki clique, where the G-15 committed an “unforgivable sin” is when they they questioned things because “Fundamental principles whose rightness has been confirmed in our experience are being discussed as if they are debatable issues.” and the point of no return was when they published the Open Letter To The Eritrean People.

      So far so good, two sides trying to line up supporters using the system they know: the Isaias clique using its tool of intimidation and secrecy; the G-15 betting on Isaias Afwerki yielding to public pressure. Why not? I mean, hadnt he agreed to meet with the G-13? He didn’t just do his usual “they are empty barrels? who are they?” He actually agreed to meet with them. But only to lecture them:

      https://web.archive.org/web/20020806094551/http://awate.com/COLUMNISTS/ALNAHDA/dawitinterview.htm

      saay

      In January 2001, the president, by way of the Central Office of the PFDJ, conducted a disturbing open smear campaign accusing high officials of regionalism and treason. Seminars were conducted that suggested there was a fifth column inside the country, that equated honest criticism with aiding the Woyane’s agenda, and that threatened action would be taken against the targeted high officials. This was done to silence free expression and muzzle criticism, and to avoid proper evaluation. This disturbed and created serious concern among the people and members of the front.

      Although the illegal and negative handling of the issue by the President and the Central Office of the PFDJ was provocative, we decided to avoid confrontation as there was as yet no guarantee for a peaceful end to the war with Ethiopia, and took the initiative to resolve the problem through legal means and dialogue. We started to consult with other members of the Central Council to ask for meetings of the Central and National Councils whose regular time was past due.

      Upon hearing of our initiative, the central office of the PFDJ had circulated a letter (Annex 1), on August 7th 2001, threatening members of the National Council not to sign on a petition calling for a meeting of the National Council. We thought this action improper and were forced to counter with our own letter to all members of the National Council the following day explaining the situation (Annex 2). On 12-03-2001, the President rejected our request (Annex 3).

      Copies of our letter of 20 February 2001, asking the President to convene meetings of the Central Council of the PFDJ and the National Council, which reached him on 13 March 2001 (Annex 4), his negative reply (Annex 5), our second letter again asking for meetings explaining the reasons for our call (Annex 6A) & (Annex 6B), and the President’s second negative response (Annex 7) are all enclosed with this letter. Legal requests received illegal responses, and our attempts to resolve problems through meetings and democratic dialogue, not only fell on deaf ears, but attempts were also made to mis-present it in an illegal and undemocratic way.

      Thus, our efforts to amend and correct the mistaken path of the PFDJ and the government, our attempt to ensure a democratic transition to a constitutional order, our resolve to obtain these results through democratic and legal means at the leadership level has failed to bear fruit. Having no other means at our disposal, and rejecting resort to illegal means, we bring this open letter to you. We believe every member has the right to know about the crisis and our views on how to solve it. We believe every member has the right and the duty to know about the democratic solutions available, and we perform our duty in bringing this crisis to your attention in this open letter.

      • sabri

        Hi Saay,

        Yes, I see your point. But the focus of our discussion is whether they had another alternatives other than accept or die. As I tried to show in my post above my conviction is they could have other alternatives. Even if we include all other meetings held that you mentioned.

        Sabri

        PS: by the way their differences didn’t begun after 1991. It has been there for many years during ghedli era. According to Dan Connel who followed the Eritrran struggle closely the main difference is between having centralized democracy (Issayas group) and liberal type of democracy (the G 15 group).

        • saay7

          Hi Sabri (and Sem & PTS)

          I think we agree that what Sem & PTS are criticizing the G-15 for is different form yours. They argue that they shouldn’t have stuck to “legal (constitutional) and democratic”, whereas you are arguing that even within “legal and democratic” paths, there were other options available to them. And I think what you are saying is that instead of confronting Isaias Afwerki, they should have waited and taking steps that would “diminish the power of the president and make successful their democratic proposal in the long run.” That is, they could have gradually tipped the balance of power from the Chairman (Isaias) in favor of the Central Council (the legislative arm of the PFDJ) if only they were not emotional and in a hurry.

          Let’s assume that they had followed your recommendation. In the 10th session of the Central Council (8/31 – 9/2/200), let’s say they say nothing and make no demands. Or at least they simplify their demand to something more palatable: let’s have a congress of PFDJ. They don’t form a military committee to appraise the just-ended war, they don’t mention national elections.

          What do you think would have happened then? Do you think the president would have moved ahead with organizing the 2nd congress of the PFDJ? EVEN IF he agreed to have it, wouldn’t he have made sure (that is his expertise) that “new blood” would replace the “old blood”? Remember, it wasn’t just the long-standing differences that existed within the senior leadership of the PFDJ. There was also a lot of anger from both sides: The group that came to be known as G-15 was angry that it was excluded from the decision-making process during a very trying time for Eritrea (1998-2000, not to mention the years just before the precipitation of the war); and the President’s group (G-1) was mad that the G-15, had created a parallel power structure that informally imposed itself in the decision-making process either by directly contacting the military leaders OR by loudly second-guessing the decisions that were made. (This is an unforgivable sin in organizations with “democratic centralism”)

          My guess is that the team would have been disbursed before the 2nd congress: ambassadorship to China, Russia; Governor of Asab; or anything that would have absorbed them into a cabinet position where they are bound by protocol to shut the hell up. And this would have been a very temporary measure until they were frozen or, subsequently, arrested for corruption.

          So, there was only one path with two outcomes: victory or defeat. Victory could only have come about if the rank-and-file of the PFDJ and the people at large adopted their cause. For many reasons, that didn’t happen. And, if you are going to be defeated, you might as well at least be defeated after you blow the whistle on the tyrannical nature of the tyrant.

          Incidentally, Ambassador Andeberhan Woldegiorgis makes the points you made in his book Eritrea At Crossroads. As a central council member, he was invited but declined to sign the petition. He is in exile, having to explain himself. They are in prison, silent but lionized. I am NOT criticizing the ambassador because, if I were in his place, I probably would have calculated the odds and done the same thing.

          saay

          • Semere Andom

            Sal and Sabri:
            Partying(concluding) remarks about the G-15:
            The ball was in IA’s court, he could have won by taking the high road, facing courageously whatever came with the appraisals that DeruE was alluding to in his timely and timeless speech, “tetalaQina” but our people won.
            IA in keeping with his MO oped to take the nation with him to the gutter. He won in the short term, winning as in still alive, still president, still wining and dining, still sleeping with girls of his choice,still doing his hobby of raping the entire nation. But in the log run he lost, his name for ever will be associated with the COI report, he lived like a dog and will die like one, just like every dictator before him
            The G-15 lost in the short term, their families suffering, themselves humiliated and betrayed both by their long time friend, for some IA was a childhood friend and let down by the people for whose behalf they signed that letter, But in the long run , they will be lionized, their name forever indelibly linked with seeking justice, they suffering and blood cleansing their crimes before and their status erected besides Puskin (Remember that Russian is part of our history) 🙂

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Semere A., saay and sabri,

            I do not think and believe that the G-15 were fighting for democratic Eritrea or were democratically inclined in any way whatsoever. Everyone in the G-15 and Isaias are of the same mindset i.e. that of being a cross between the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and Chairman Mao.

            For decades, they had eliminated opponents together, turned a blind eye when injustices were being committed, covered each others back successfully. Their system worked flawlessly. The key principles in a Mafia family are absolute obedience to the Big Boss, subordination of individual interests to the interests of the family and the Code of Silence (Omerta).

            There was/were no fundamental conflicts between the G-15 and Isaias. There issues revolved around egos. In a closed Mafia family, people get promoted or demoted; sometimes conflicts may flare up

          • sabri

            Dear Saay,

            It seems you are seeing things only from the perspective of PFDJ central council. When we discuss this issue I’m trying to view within the context of the already existed democratic move and within the context of the reality directly in the aftermath of the war. Seeing things from this perspective, G15 would gain a lot had they created a fertile ground before they launch their proposal in one shoot. Instead of fixing things in a hurry they should have planted their issue both in their organization and importantly in the mass.

            Haile Derue is known by his sharp mind and fine ability to mobilize and organize. For sure other members of G15 have their own speciality. Had they gathered all these resources to create a broad base both in the front and in the larger population, the result could have been successful in my mind.

            Sabri

            PS: I didn’t know Andeburhan have similar view like me on this issue.

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Selam Sabri,

            I think the conflict and internal friction between the “old guard” EPLF leaders on one side, and the Isayasist camp “new blood” was simmering for a long period, even before the independence, before it exploded in the open.
            According to Ahmed Al-queisi, a former EPLF politburo member, the political atmosphere within the EPLF cadres and rank and file was weakened beginning from the end of the eighties. This period coincieds with the time Isayas took over as the Chairman of the EPLF. Al-queisi speaks of too much focus on the military side and many able and politically mature cadres were lost during the lengthy liberation struggle. To the contrary, the military wing was strengthened as the the result of increasing military victories, and its leaders became increasingly influential in the power structure of the organization.
            We can safely say that by the time the G15 decided to take their case to the general public, their influence in the front was neutralised by the Isayas camp. It seems also that Isayas and his group had enlisted the support of most , if not all, of the military leaders. This situation leaves the G15 with one option, and that is to go through the barely functioning legislative bodies of the front and the country. That was a very risky path, but they had also placed a hope of a helping hand from the rank and file of the front and the general public, which as we painfully witnessed didn’t materialize.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Abraham,

            Who are “the Issayaist ‘new blood'”?…….and who are “the old guard”? I hope you will not have in mind, the wedi Kassa, Wedi Efriem, Monkey, Filipos, wedi Samuel, Tekle Manjus, Al-Amin..etc as the “new blood” who are now guarding Issayas. If these are the issayasist by your logic, then those who are thrown in to a jail were Issayasist by the mere fact who were in the same position and circumstances in the past. Let me tell you this: drop this wrong “Issayasist theory,” there is no such thing. PFDJ is party – a solid party with formidable institutions (full of evil intentions and acts) controlling the life of our people. The Eritrean people are fighting against the PFDJ and its system led by Issayas. [Ah….Ah…Ah – Saay Ab-A-AlekaLa, HimaQ zer’E zeriEkalna (bad political seed) – Minumizing the “system” to Issayasist]. Defining the system as Issayassist will not make us formidable to fight the actual system. The moment you underestimate your enemy, the beginning of the momentum towards our destruction, as a result of our wrong assessment. Therefore never underestimate your enemy, by minumizing the “system” to * “Issayasist”. Remember Derg was underestimating our strength and our number by saying “Be-Tat YemiQeteru”. Let us not commit the same mistake.

            * Issayasist was difined as Issayas and his few cliques by Saay who coined the word.

            Senay Mishet
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Hi amanuel H.,
            Strictly speaking, there is no clear distinction between “the old guard” and “the new blood”,; it a relative classification. But there is no doubt the majority of those who were in G15 are the founding fathers of the front. On the other side, those in the office of Isayas, like the two Yemanes and many others were relatively newcomers who owed their rapid ascend to power to their special relationship with Isayas. This is not to deny there were many seasoned EPLF veterans in the Isayas group, but these were the victims of the manipulations of Isayas and his office.
            As to what type of system the PFDJ is, I think we’ve discussed this many times, and it seems that we’ve agreed to disagree on this. But I’ve a simple question to you: if you believe the PFDJ is a well-organized system, would you tell us who is second, third, etc in the command line? For example, who is responsible for running state affairs when Isayas is abroad or on sick leave? What would happen, for example, tomorrow if Isayas is taken out of the equation,; how is the power vacuum to be filled? How are decisions passed in this system? How could an organization pass any decisions without conducting a single meeting in fifeteen years time? Could you point to any official who challenges Isayas in any issues?

            Selam me-alti.

          • saay7

            Selamat Sabri:

            I was trying to explain that the G-15 themselves, for a very long time, saw things from the perspective of PFDJ Central Council. This is evident in their Open Letter itself: that most of their intense discussions were held WITHIN the CC; and their discussions in the National Assembly were mute (there was more likelihood of word of dissent leaking out and “giving morale to the enemy.”) In fact, they saw it as seasoned PFDJ Central Council members vs young, upstart PFDJ Central Office members.

            You mention how there was long standing feud between those who were for liberalizing and centralizing. That may be so, but there was also a long standing dispute WITHIN the G-15 itself: Isaias had, with years of practice, made sure that they don’t trust each other. Even the fact that they were able to organize and trust each other was a milestone achievement, never mind extending it to a bigger circle.

            In his book, Andeberhan says that while he agreed of the necessity for change, he did not sign the petition for change (which he concedes was allowed under the bylaws of the PFDJ). Why? Because “given Isaias’s character and hold on the security apparatus, I considered the petition highly unlikely to produce the convening of the CC to address the outstanding issues and stressed the imperative for a swift move to neutralise his power base and deter his predictable suppressive reaction.” He doesn’t elaborate how they were supposed to do that.

            saay

          • sabri

            Selamat Saay,

            I don’t know if you see it but I wrote, in reply to PTS and Semere, there were differences among G15 members.

            G15 are the founding members of EPLF and PFDJ. At the time of their demand they were still a member of CC in their organization. So, it is not a surprise that they see things from that perspective.

            Dear Saay, back to the point that initiated our discussion, do you still believe they had no more options other than the two options you mentioned?

            PS: now you raise my interest to read Andebirhan’s book. Thanks Saay.

          • saay7

            Hi Sabri:

            On the differences within G-15, they were to the extent that some of them were not even on speaking terms. They had known each other for decades and I am sure there were grievances accumulated, which were expertly stroked by the G-1. The problem was that the G-15 had allowed the president, over decades, to have unrivaled power and by the time they were ready to conduct their insurgency, they were merely asking him to choose them (the old guard of the Central Council) over the new (the Central Office of the PFDJ.) He chose the Central Office–because the Central Office knew its place. They should have gone over the CC and CO and appealed directly to the people, but that culture was alien to them.

            In fact, if you read Saleh Kekiya’s piece (I believe it was his interview with Al Hayat), he was again calling for empowering CC and predicting with certainty that the situation would not deteriorate.

            I highly recommend Andeberhan’s book. It is a substantive book, well researched. Of course, it is written from the point of view of an EPLF veteran…but every book has a bias.

            saay

          • sabri

            Hi Saay

            I agree there were big differences among G15. That was very advantageous to G1.

            Yes, they should apply directly to the people. But it requires plan and strategy before they do that. That is why I said they had many other options. I hope it is clear for you now that their option was not only accept or die.

            After reading your previous post I downloaded Andebirhan’s book from Amazon. Thanks again for recommendation. As always it is enriching to discuss with you. Don’t forget I already booked you to write on my paper in a democratic Eritrea. Lol

          • Semere Andom

            Hi Sabri:
            Your point are valids, but you are ignoring the enemy(IA) in this case. These measures can wrok in countries like SA, even the Apartheid regime saved Mandella from the death penality because they figured they will need him in the future and they were tieinghis ties and and shoe laces when he was diagnosed with cacer before his release. They did not want him to die in prison These measures can even work in the Sudan where the tribal power balance will scare the government to think twice. Such measures will work in MZ’s Ethiopia as he would think twice before sentencing to death or disappearing founding members like Siye. The TPDM to be 20,00 strong is an enduring testament of the resistance that he woul have faced
            IN PFDJ’s Eritrea these will not work, it is actually silly it even become sillier of any of the seasoned G-15 thought so. Haile DeruE was daring IA in many occasions: he called Mussie a martyr when he knew IA refused to acknowledge Mussie and others wheo were murdered during the armed struggle as Eritrea’s martyrs, he also openly aired his feeling in the German speech.
            You must know your enemy and that is what they failed, they knew, he would act irrationally but I am sure they did not anticipate they will die off in prison like that, but they had all the info, precedents and profiles of their psychopath to know better. His actions during the war endagered Eritrea, he was irrational man, but they wanted to talk to him with rationality and using the channels of democracy that did not exist and that he would not follow.
            You are basically saying they should have cajoled IA by not provoking him and you are technically putting the onus on the G-15 for his lunatic action that has catalyzed the demise of Eritrea. They should have entertained his lunacy at the expense of the nation. I think it was long over due and it was the right time, they did not after peace was signed and peace keeping was in place.
            Given their clos association with him, they should have done what they did, boldly take him on publicly, but not before making sure they had a backup plan if he acted irrationally, a backup plan for the nation. And that plan should have included military option. Remember IA did not only arrest the G-15, he went into arresting binge and the plan was to scare the nation to submit to his rule, to nip in the bud any possible dissent. After IA has finished his arresting binge, The backup plan would kick in automatically, arresting IA and his handful people in a coup, declare a 2 year transition period while we draft the election laws and refine the press laws, amend and implement the ratified document. Then bring the charges that IA was scared to face in the to the newly created court system.
            Allowing themselves to be arrested, and allowing iA to arrest everyone, who was not part of g-15 and the journalists and elders would have justified the coup. Eritrea would be way better off

          • sabri

            Hi Semere A

            I think you misunderstood me. I didn’t suggest G15 should implement their plan under the helm of IA. To the contrary I suggested they should have put in consideration the nature of IA. Since this discussion is about whether G15 had other options, I wrote they had many other options. We didn’t go through all those other options but coup, that you emphasized, is one option. To begin with to talk with IA about democratic reform is wrong. Because it is obvious what is expecting.

            Sabri

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Sabri:
      Sorry for the interjection. But I get to say this.
      Although many facts are included in your comment. Your comments like the G-15 ‘s understandings of the things which would be triggered by their action ignores history.
      First: The G-15 had no power, but they thought they did, they thought they did have power over the people, they thought they can weaken the power of the president, though they believed it is in him to act irrationally as can be gleaned from their interviews, I doubt they appreciated that he may disappear them for 14 years to die off one by one.
      In PFDJ your power is not determined by your title, you can be full general , yet your secretary or even your errand boy can have more power than you. this was fact during the armed struggle and it is fact now. They knew it, but they forgot that lesson. Asmelash Abraha and Ali Abdu had more power than all the G-15 combined
      One thing they did very right was that they promised to face their past demons and they were not afraid of democratization even if it meant it will implicate them in past crimes, that is the one thing they said consistently, even the exiled ones like Adhanom and Mesfin articulated that unequivocally .
      Yes, there were planned election, yes there was ratified cont. that needed to be implemented and yes there were the independent press at that time, appreciating those things was not the problem, the problem was that they delusionally believed IA will comply with those laws. IA and they knew it, but forgot that he never follows any rules. To make matters worse he consolidated his power by pulling the rug from their feet and they fell flat face and before they lifted themselves from their fall they wrote the letter. It is akin to beating someone to the floor but he still hurls insult at the assaulter and his assaulter gets madder and keeps beating him.
      Mention every conflict that IA was involved and the pattern is the same, he would first agree with everything then by pass the very laws he helped enact. They had ample historical reference as precedents.
      Sal asked me if I wanted them to have commandos in place and the answer is that is no brainer. The acting of the ratified document, the election laws that Sherifo was chairing , the nascent free press were there, but all were fake, all were designed to further consolidate his power. IA came up with the new blood initiative , a laughable notion because he was the oldest blood in service, he was jaded, but he removed the so called old blood and he brought in shady personalities like Yemane and Kassa. He remained put.That was the clue
      The G-15 paid the ultimate price and we must recognize that. Period, but when we criticize them we also must remember they account on the support that did not exist, they toyed with history they did not learn or appreciate.
      In the Jerkey- herky 2001, to quell the division IA had many option, he could have arrested them and then released them, he could have explained that. and Eritea would have been better.PM did the same
      The fate of G-15 is not about them, their disappearance to die off as rats in IA fox holes, under the watchful Eritreans eyes who guard them day in and day out , is a metaphor for the dying nation called Eritrea. No analysis. And G-15 did not were not he catalyst for that
      The fate of G-15 is not about them, their disappearance to die off as rats in IA fox holes, under the watchful Eritreans eyes who guard them day in and day out , is a metaphor for the dying nation called Eritrea. No analysis. And G-15 did not were not he catalyst for that

      • sabri

        Dear Semere and peace the salt, ail come back to you later on.

    • Pass the salt

      Dear Sabri,
      You raised great points. One thing I didn’t know (or may be forgot) is there was a discussion/ decision to investigate the war conduct. That in itself says volumes as to how weak Isaias was, because having made almost all of the disasterious decisions by himself, there is noway he would voluntarily agree with the investigation (putting himself under investigation). As you pointed it out his agreement must had been a “place holder” until he devised a way to extinguish it.

      As for the G-15, two among the many holes in their plan are 1) they had no plan B. They put all their plan on Isaias heeding their call to reform. 2) they failed to attract top military leaders (philipos, china, sibhat, wuchu, tewil…) to their side. Moreover, at the time of signing the open letter, most if not all were kicked out of their offices, meaning, they were cut loose from any command of any institution. And that didn’t help.

      • sabri

        Dear pass the salt,

        True, at the time of their peak movement G15 didn’t hold meaningful governmental/military position however, the differences that surfaced openly in 200/2001 has always been there locked under the secret of the organization. Anyway, even if they could have had power their movement was doomed to fail right from the beginning. First of all G15 was not homogeneous group. There were a kind of personal and political differecies among them.

        I had the opportunity to interview Mesfin Hagos in 2001 when he was touring in Europe. He was acting as if he was still in power. To many of my questions he didn’t want to answer referring to national security. He had a good opportunity to gather people under his wing but he said repeatedly he will come back home soon. I remember many was disappointed by his approach. Later on we learned Mesfin and Adhanom chose their own ways. The third member of G15 Haike Menkoriois neutralized in his UN job. His ex. wife Hibret completely silenced until this day. Thus, the saga of G15 flashed and died quickly both at home and in diaspora. The rest is history.

  • V.F.

    Selam AT. Why don’t you guys openly kick me rather than deleting my comments.

    Nobody has to be ultranationalist to prove their care and love for the Eritrean people. Quite contrarily, we need to be less nationalistic and see the world from the regional integration and cooperation point of view. Isolating Eritrea only will lead to its demise.

    Wedehankun

  • Semere Andom

    Hi dawit:
    I think DIA wll go with this proposal. When Gaddaffi was cornered before his humiliating death he proposed the same idea, I am not sure this is original idea. An endeavor does not have to be original to wildly succeed. We see that in business and in every aspect of life. Take for example Starbucks, it did not event coffee, people were drinking and brewing coffee for centuries but it made incremental innovation and left all the coffee shops that sold coffee for scores of years to the dust. You proposal’s originality or lack of is least of its problems.
    You want to equally spread the sin to both parties, you invoked Paul, conveniently avoiding the distinction between the sins. Juda sinned, and so did Lucifer. No TaeSa paper can save both.
    The proposal adds spices and condiments so much so that the stink is swaddled, but when it is digested and is absolved, it is lethal
    Weeding out is not beheading every PFDJ, it is the beheading of their vision for the country, their vulgar narrative , and dismantling of their crime networks
    But if by signing that regret letter that cousin Sem will author for G-1 raid the dead they put to death, heal the physical wound they inflicted like that of the leper Jesus cured then I can go with your proposal

    • dawit

      Cousin SEM,
      I didn’t claim this is an original idea. I am simply trying to suggest a way out of our predicament situation as an Eritrean. On the contrary you have not suggested any solution except sharpening your knife to slaughter the man. Peace can be achieved only through compromise, repentance and forgiveness, not by extremism and revenge. Remember the ‘Lord’s Prayer’

  • saay7

    Selamat Dawit:

    Brandish a sword? I will do no such thing: I hate swords. Haven’t u been following my discussions with Mahmoud: I want them banned even at Tigrayit dances. I am studying your proposal: I do like the unconditional release of political prisoners.

    Constitutional Monarchy: do you envision one where the monarchy has executive powers (like Jordan) or one with ceremonial powers (UK.). If it is the former, we will be in the same mess; if it is the latter Kbur president won’t accept it.

    Also, cousin, Eritrea wouldn’t be the first country to have a non-hereditary monarchy. A couple of Asian countries do already. It’s monarchy, without the excitement of paparazzi. How very boring 🙂

    I do appreciate the originality of your proposal. It is not same-o same-o.

    Saay

    • dawit

      Selamat Saay,
      Thank you Cousin for sparing my head, may be the discussion when I took my Sabbatical leave from AT. I am a Constitution Monarchy with the exception of National Defense where Bahere Negasi(t) take control the army. Otherwise in all matters just ceremonial function, receiving foreign dignitaries, attending graduation ceremonies etc. I think Isaias is smart and he could compromise on that to leave a legacy of history behind, a viable country long after he departed.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Thank you derbew,
    sure you will read more.

  • T..T.

    Hi all,

    Regarding the arrest of G-15, there are many unanswered questions.

    Whose decision was to arrest the G-15? What time the decision was made and where? Was the person who made the decision wholly sober? And if s/he was not sober, who is to question him/her?

    Eritreans have many reasons to raise questions about that person’s fitness to so decide. If the G-15 were not tried and convicted, then who sentenced them to serve the indefinite prison time?

    We know the G-15 were Isayas’s comrades. If the G-15 were really really Isayas’s friends, then it means Isayas purged his friends in order to exercise dictatorial control over the government. Then, does that mean Isayas was not a dictator before the purge?

    We also know that ever since day one back in Asmara, people say that Isayas is full tank after 8 pm and due to that his friends call him the “swaying comrade” after 8 pm. Also, Isayas’s close friends are everyday witnesses that he sways the country after 8 pm as he wills in that many innocents are thrown into prisons and many criminals are let go from prisons.

    Wise people say that most of the time abuses among close friends are directly related to alcohol. The question that follows is: What about in the case of G-15?

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Awetawyan, as promised here it is. thank for putting your view in advance. please, if you find it disturbing close it and stop reading and hearing completely.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYl7_8Z75Nk

    • Kokhob Selam

      Thank you very much Amede. for watching and reading it.

      • Amde

        Selam Kokhob

        I don’t read Arabic, but your meaning and heart came trough. Well done and touching. Perhaps one day I will be able to learn Arabic enough to read it as you intended.

        Amde

        • Kokhob Selam

          thank you very much.

      • Hayat Adem

        Selam Kkhob Selam,
        The message and the production are great as far as I can tell. You are unique in doing this and please keep them coming. I really appreciate your contributions and acknowledge your talent. I hope you don’t mind if I throw few minor comments below:
        1) The music too powerful, and too loud, competing with the graphics and the verses for attention.
        2) It seems you wanted it to complement the above article about Sept 18 but the messages are about the refugee death, trauma and chaos.
        3) On a sober message like this, I would have preferred a stable screen of the poem lines than making them dancing and waving to the screen.

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Hayat,
          thank you. I have noted your comments. yes the music is strong for those who knew about music. in fact I have chosen it purposely. it seems I am suppose to chose lower energy than this one. I want to complement this article and yes it is about refuges but part you will also about prisoners, it is to make bigger and wider massage with simple preparation. your 3rd massage is very important too. but Hayata, I am using simple machine and bad connection to all this. My kids one of them sound engineer and the other good editor along with my doughtier have called me to hand over all the jobs and they are planing to work united to accomplish it in the way I start it but professionally. thank you Hayata. please fallow all the jobs done and give your comments always.

          our Saay7 is not able to see, I wish I get some corrections and advice too, Saay are you there?

      • Abi

        Selam
        Kokhob Selam
        You can not choose a better fitting language than Arabic to show the suffering of eritreans in the hands of The Kind Arabs .
        Brilliant!

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Abi,
          I can do it in all languages I know. but I have planed to use Arabic for last week poem. no other reason. thank you for reading it or feeling it.

  • Tzigereda

    Dear Awatistas,

    Please sort out if I can win your support for the following proposal.
    Yes, it is the week on which we all reflect on why things have not yet changed, why thousands of Eritreans are still in prison, why we’re still there where we are. Riisna nednelu, mis nebsina niteHasasebulu week. Year after year we are repeating the same demands for justice, the same critics, with a touch of sadness and legacy of bitterness befalling us.
    We have read innumerable road maps, spent lot of time on analysis and predictions. We became the “event watchers” whereas the normal way would have been that such issues are left to journalsist and analysts. Instead, everyone ( be it political orgs, civil societies, activists…) is claiming the same seat, same level, using the same pen to portray similar analysis and predictions.
    We have partially outsourced our tasks to the UN, COI…( not undermining the positive side of it) in the hope of speeding up our vision of a just system. But we know very well that all this is only an additional help und can never substitute the fact that WE, Eritreans, have the mandate for our people and our nation.
    Is cowardice really the reason why we are still there where we are? I doubt. If this is to refer to those at home then that would be undermining the vision of those kept in prison and underestimating the efforts of those resisting a brutal restrictive regime. But the diaspora oppos have not yet managed to be part of and build/display a sustainable change for a just system. No substantial imput regarding a strong recognizable leadership of. Is that really impossible?
    Instead of solely predicting how chaotic post IA -Eritrea may evolve, I believe we should work to prevent such scenario that could prove true if we don’t stem the tide effectively.
    This summer I attended a Festival of a dembe Fithi org. Representatives of the different orgs presented the same speech: ” We’re ready and aspire a united front” . I heard nearly the same wording last summer at the same place. Nothing had changed a year later. Meetings ad nauseum!
    Aren’t we tired of the stagnation? ” Gaman on the same spot? Stop, that is enough! Change the change seeking front. Let us take practical measures for our ideas. Now! This month, this year! Let them all representatives of political org, civil societies, activists, media sit at one table.
    Who is going to inivite? Allow me to qoute Saay’s comment one year ago:

    “Selamat Ladies:
    I don’t want to see a pattern where there may be none, but I sense a thirst for reconciliation from different quarters that is very encouraging. I see the clue to who should lead such a noble campaign is found in the grand history of our capital city Asmara. More on that in a bit:
    To me, reconciliation is all inclusive and even the skepticism towards reconciliation and insistence on meeting some prerequisites (the cyclical “can we reconcile before we reconcile?”) should be seen as part of the Grand Reconciliation. All that is needed is goodwill. Not even that, all that’s required is a “what do I have to lose by trying it?” approach.
    To me, the most important part is who should lead the project. Some of us, via our long paper trail or reputation, may have either self-disqualified. The process would get torpedoed even before it starts as side issues and demands to disown everything you ever believed ever would become prerequisites. Who should lead it are people who were not part of the long campaigns of defamation, people with the patience of Job, people who were not part of our longest-running drama of “men behaving badly.” I believe women have a civilizing influence on men (generally speaking) and that’s why women should lead our grand reconciliation project. Isn’t that how Asmara became Asmara?
    saay”

    This encourages me to suggest that Eritrean women organizations ( of Dembe FitHI) be the inviters since they have never been part of the squabbles of the last years. Is that a deal? What do you think?
    I am very optimistic that we shall be able to build a unifying and unified leadership that can unify us in rallying around a unified cause, which in turn will be the needed boost for those at home & the diaspora. This could mark the ownerhsip of our struggle for justice and enable us to become respected and reliable partners for regional and international negotiations.
    …ZeywegHalom zibelenaKe men iyu…

  • sabri

    Dear Awaetawyan,

    I have been always thinking wheater the movement of G15 contribute to the democratic movement in Eritrea or not. According to my understanding their movement created big fear among the Issayas group and they took drastic measure that really delayed or buried to any dissent movement. As you all know at that moment 1/3 of our population was refugee within their country because of the war, soldiers were not demobilized. Direct after the war alpa in all Eritrea was in a bad condition. Under this circumstances to demand other democratic reform gave a good opportunity to the regime to discard any such dissent move. And people were not actually ready for it. It could have been better G15 chose another alternatives. Mesfin Hagos, one of the signatories of G15 letter, in an interview with VOA he reiterated at that time we didnt know that the country would be in this worst condition today. We could have chosen another alternatives.

    Sabri

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear sabri,
      I really don’t know if Mesfin was not aware. but I feel he choose that way – with them as he don’t want to see change but only reform. G15 in general has taken wrong way as far as I know. the action taken was risky as they have been waiting for IA’s action. if they were really interested to change they could have arrested him or take any action that will paralyze PIA. my mind still don’t really accept that G15 were for change as they have in their hand all the facilities to gain power at that very moment. if me, an ordinary citizen knew PFDJ can’t be reformed then how comes they don’t know. what killed most of reformers is they are not willing to change from the root.

    • Tedi

      Hi sabri,

      When i have tried to analysis the situation of the G15 at their dramatic movement to change the regime or its isiology at that time; they hadn’t had any credible strategic objectives how to change the regime. Not only this but also even they didn’t have any organized allies from the army groups and from the population. Overall their idea and strategy was not matured enough and didn’t have a solid foundation to overthrow the Isaias’s Team. The choice of a “time” might take as a factor at that time but If there was an organized force at that moment in time it was the best option to take the action to overthrow the regime because the focus of the defense forces at that time was on the front line rather than to the entire situation, therefore in my opinion that time was the best choice to make an operation and could easily won it if they were well organized in the required manner. To sum up my idea they missed their opportunity to win due to the lack of prearrangement and organization but I don’t think that the problem was about the choices of the “Time” for operation.

    • saay7

      Selamat Sabri:

      I always thought of Mesfin Hagos as very much like Ike Eisenhower: decisive general but cautious politician. He gave one and only one interview to the private press–it’s in the Documents section of awate–and he criticizes BOTH the Isaias government and the G-15 for some of their statements.

      As for the position they took, what needs to be remembered is that at the time (2001) it was a given that there would be elections. It was such a given that (a) Herui T Bairou was going that the opposition should participate and (b) when Yemane Gebreab signaled that it was cancelled, Girma Asmerom, then ambassador to the U.S., told a Asmarino radio in an interview that Yemane was wrong and the election will happen.

      As for whether the G-15 were too haughty, I think once they made the call for a meeting and they were rejected rudely, (“hijiwn tgage alekha” letter to Sheriffo) they only had two options: to sign a Regret Letter and be emasculated or to move full speed ahead and hope the people rise up. They chose the latter.

      saay

    • Semere Andom

      Sabri:
      No, no the actions of G-15 did not delay democracy in Eritrea. How can it,?You cannot delay something by initiating it. If they did not write that letter, they will still be minsters and we will still have tyranny in Eritrea, the difference, PFDJ would be stronger. You are blaming G-15’s stimulus for DIA’s response. He had many ways to respond to it
      I criticize the G-15 not for daring DIA but for their myopia, for adamantly ignoring lessons from history to put themselves, their families and the people through the wrath of DIA, given their full and intimate knowledge of DIA’s MO.
      Even during a battle if a fighter did not properly protect himself he would be punished as coward because he will be accuse of committing suicide to avoid the suffering. Contrary to what they taught their former rank and file they shot at DAI standing (Tetew elom) and he snipped at them from the top of the hill where he has ascended by standing on their giant shoulders

      • saay7

        Hey Cousin iSem:

        Entitlement, much?

        What was their myopia and what should they have different if they were committed to “legal, democratic” means to bring about change? Remember, even the most liberal country—even Canada–has draconian laws for government officials who attempt to bring about change extra-legally.

        When it comes to Ghedli, and post Ghedli leaders whenever the next gen complains that they didn’t do enough or didn’t do it the right way I aways imagine a relay race. The anchor–the last team member–was given the baton but he complains that he didn’t have a firm grip on it and the guy who handed it to him didn’t have the right momentum. Whaaaa.

        saay

        • Semere Andom

          Hi Sal:
          What entitlement?
          Do you think they envisioned they will be thrown in ELa-Era and forgotten? And if they did would they follow the same course of action? Would they put all their eggs on one basket: relying on uprising of the people?
          Given their knowledge of how IA deals with such conflicts, given their I intimate understanding of his unfettered power he wielded
          I was expecting you to tackle Sabri’s assertion that the G-15 actually hindered democracy in Eritrea by their actions. You heard that line from the late Dr. Tekie F as well ( I know, you have forgotten that, but cousin iSem remembers. I am working on the assignment :-))

          • saay7

            Cousin iSem:

            Wow, you never forget anything.

            By sheer coincidence, I was reading one of Dr Tekies last pieces as a rebuttal to Haile TGs theory of “there is no peace constituency” in the Diaspora. Since you are such a smarty pants can you guess what the article is, what is it that the late Dr Tekie said before the G1 descended on him like a ton of bricks?

            Now, I know that you believe that the G-15, knowing the nature of Isaias should have done more (like maybe have a commando on standby? Like have colonels and brigades go to Ala? Like organize a coup?) but you forget that in 2000-01, we had a ratified constitution, and we had electoral law and law on political organizations drafted, and an election scheduled. We had an assembly and a free press. Given all that, given that they were bound by the constitution, given that until new penal and civil laws were codified the existing ones were in effect AND given that their primary complaint against the president was that he was governing extra-constitutionally and illegally, what paths were available to them legally?

            saay

          • Semere Andom

            Hi Sal:
            Dr, Tekie:
            He was a member of the diapora constitutional team and he cited to the ratified document article 20 that speaks to freedom of speech and he expressed, his deepest disappointment on the future of multi-party stems and stifling of free speech. Not verbatim so do not nit pick.

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Hello Saleh,

            There were also plans to arrange the second congress of the PFDJ, that would decide the fate of the organization, and pave a way for a constitutional government. All those plans were not in Isayas’ taste.

          • saay7

            Hala Abraham:

            Yes, indeed. It is referenced in the interview with Haile DeruE:

            Although one can’t say that those who now are at the Central Office have never fired a gun, for them to accuse those who have successfully led many battles during the liberation war of “defeatism” is wrong and indication that they have ulterior motives which, at the very least, is to cover up blunders; or at its worst, to defame people before the PFDJ Congress.

            The larger point is that in their “Open Letter…”, the G-15 attribute the cause of the crisis as follows:

            “The problem is that the President is conducting himself in an illegal and unconstitutional manner, is refusing to consult, and the legislative and executive bodies have not performed their oversight functions properly.”

            They can’t deepen the crisis by doing things that are illegal and unconstitutional. They had no choice but to pursue the path they did OR to sign Ny TaEsa Wereqet (Regret Letter) and then (a) become former shells of themselves (b) postpone their arrest to a latter date or (c) be exiled. They chose to be arrested. In fact, Geberal Oqbe Abraha clearly saw it coming and said so in an interview with Keste Debena.

            saay

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Salam Saleh
    A fitting article, thank you. We should draw inspiration and strength from these brave men and women. We also should draw lessons from the failure of their attempts.

  • Abraham Hanibal

    Selam Saleh Younis,

    Thank you for your commemorative article on that disgraceful day of 18, Septemnmber 2001. This day goes in Eritrean history as one of the darkest; it is a day when justice, and truth were burried and cruelty and injustice took over. It is a day when the Eritrean tyrant removed his sheepskin, and revealed his true evil character to the unsuspecting humble Eritrean people.This is the day when Eritrea started a steady journey to its deathbed. And fourteen years on, Eritreans have yet to wage a meanigful resistance to the ongoing injustices.

    May justice prevail to all prisoners of conscience!

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Awatawyan,

    be ready all for my Arabic poem and till then , here is the most recycled poem of 18 September of 2 years back. enjoy it again.
    …….ሃገር ኣብ ማእሰርቲ—–

    መን ኮን እዩ እቲ እሱር :
    ኢልኩም እንተትሓቱ ብዝርዝር :-
    ሽም መን ምስ ተረፈ ኣብ ‘ዛ ሃገር :-
    …. እቲ ዋርድያ ክሕሉ ዝነብር:-
    …. እቲ እሱር ዘሎ ኣብ’ቲ ሓጹር:-
    …. እቲ ሓላፊኦም ደቂሱ ዘይሓድር:
    …. እቲ ቀጥቃጣይ ሕልንኡ ቅቡር:-
    …. እቲ መጋቢኦም ዘይጽሩይ ጸፋር:-
    ኩሎም እሱራት እዮም፥….. ክሳራ ናይ ሃገር::

    በዚ ዶ ሓሊፉ?
    እቲ ሰራሕተኛ ኣእማን ዝፈናቕል: –
    እቲ ሓረስታይ ደፋእ ድንኩል: –
    እቲ ጎብዝ ኣብ ድፋዕ ዝድስክል:-
    እቲ ጋዜጠኛ በል ዝበልዎ ዝብል:-
    እታ ወላዲት ዝሰኣነት ጽላል:-
    ኩልና እሱራት ናብራና ሰንፈላል::

    ዝገርም እዩ !!
    ህግደፍ ሲ እስርቲ ዘይኮነት ;-
    ብገዛእ ስረሓ ብዓለም ተነጽገት :-
    ነቶም ኣምለኽታ ዘይማሓረት :-
    ኛው ኛው እናበለት ደቃ ዝበለዐት ::

    ግን ኣብ’ዛ ሃገር እንታይ ኣሎ ዘይተኣስረ:-
    ወገኑ ዘይሰኣነ ዘየማረረ ዘይቶኾምተረ::

    መሬታ ሲ ኣበይ ኣሎ ዝሰሰነ:-
    ቀውዒ ኣይፍልጥ ክረምቲ ዝባኸነ::

    ‘ዛ ሃገር ብኩላ እያ እስርቲ:-
    ጋዝ ኣይተውጽእ ማዕድን ኮነ ዘይቲ:-
    ወርቂ እንከለዋ ድኽይቲ:-
    ህንጻ የብላ ርሻናት ኣባይቲ::

    ኮታ …
    ላዕላይ ቅርጻ የለ ታሕታይ ቅርጻ :- :——-infra structure
    ስራሕ ኣይት ስሕብ ሃብታም ኣይመጻ :-
    ኣይምውቲ ኣይህልውቲ ህግደፍ ዓመጻ :-
    ብስደት ብጥምየት የለን ዝበለጻ :-

    ብሓቂ !
    ህዝባ እሱር – ሓረስታይ ምስ ምሁር:-
    ንብረታ እሱር- ወርቃ ምስ ብሩር :-
    ክብረታ እሱር- ባህልታታ – ቅቡር :-
    ሃይማኖት እሱር ቀቢላ ምስ ብሄር:-
    የርህዎ ባዕሉ እቲ – ረቢ እግዚሄር:-
    ሓይሊ ይሃበና ምልክነት ከነባርር::

    ንሱ?
    ንሱስ መን ነጻ ገርይርዎ:-
    ዝነብር ሸይጣን ተቆጻጺርዎ:-
    ገብረ ሸይጣን ቀደም ሓሊፍዎ:-
    እሱር እንድኣሉ መዓስ ጥዒምዎ::

    ደግፍቱ ኸ ?
    ወሽላኻት ዘመን ዝፈንፈኖም: –
    ክብረት ኣልቦ ዝሰበሩ ዕድሎም:-
    ጽሉኣት ……ንሱ ‘ውን ዘይፍትዎም:-
    ዘሕዝኑኻ እሱራት እዚኦም እዮም::

    ኮኾብ ሰላም

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Awate friends,

    Dear tes,

    calling India to cancel the invitation is good idea but just in case if India don’t accept our call we should not worry. remember, leave India which is another nation, even people from our home with first hand experience (who live in reality) some even with enough education were supporting PFDJ so it is just a mater of time and Indians will know what PFDJ is.

    Dear Saay7, the Arabic poem for for this article is ready. it will be uploaded and hope you will enjoy it. I have taken care of saxophone this time so SGL will not have problem enjoying it. it will be sensitive poem with sensitive photo’s so be prepared . bellow I have just taken small part to prepare you reading (vaccination)….

    زهقت الثورة دماء أرواح بريئة.
    احقاد..يصنعون احفادا بعهد مغشوش

    be ready all and for now here is the most recycled poem of 18 September of 2 years back. enjoy it again.

    ·
    …….ሃገር ኣብ ማእሰርቲ—–

    መን ኮን እዩ እቲ እሱር :
    ኢልኩም እንተትሓቱ ብዝርዝር :
    ሽም መን ምስ ተረፈ ኣብ ‘ዛ ሃገር :-
    …. እቲ ዋርድያ ክሕሉ ዝነብር:-
    …. እቲ እሱር ዘሎ ኣብ’ቲ ሓጹር:-
    …. እቲ ሓላፊኦም ደቂሱ ዘይሓድር:
    …. እቲ ቀጥቃጣይ ሕልንኡ ቅቡር:-
    …. እቲ መጋቢኦም ዘይጽሩይ ጸፋር:
    ኩሎም እሱራት እዮም፥
    ……………………….. ክሳራ ናይ ሃገር::

    በዚ ዶ ሓሊፉ?
    እቲ ሰራሕተኛ ኣእማን ዝፈናቕል: –
    እቲ ሓረስታይ ደፋእ ድንኩል: –
    እቲ ጎብዝ ኣብ ድፋዕ ዝድስክል:-
    እቲ ጋዜጠኛ በል ዝበልዎ ዝብል:-
    እታ ወላዲት ዝሰኣነት ጽላል:-
    ኩልና እሱራት ናብራና ሰንፈላል::

    ዝገርም እዩ !!
    ህግደፍ ሲ እስርቲ ዘይኮነት ;-
    ብገዛእ ስረሓ ብዓለም ተነጽገት :-
    ነቶም ኣምለኽታ ዘይማሓረት :-
    ኛው ኛው እናበለት ደቃ ዝበለዐት ::

    ግን ኣብ’ዛ ሃገር እንታይ ኣሎ ዘይተኣስረ:-
    ወገኑ ዘይሰኣነ ዘየማረረ ዘይቶኾምተረ::

    መሬታ ሲ ኣበይ ኣሎ ዝሰሰነ:-
    ቀውዒ ኣይፍልጥ ክረምቲ ዝባኸነ::

    ‘ዛ ሃገር ብኩላ እያ እስርቲ:-
    ጋዝ ኣይተውጽእ ማዕድን ኮነ ዘይቲ:-
    ወርቂ እንከለዋ ድኽይቲ:-
    ህንጻ የብላ ርሻናት ኣባይቲ::

    ኮታ

    ላዕላይ ቅርጻ የለ ታሕታይ ቅርጻ :-
    ስራሕ ኣይት ስሕብ ሃብታም ኣይመጻ :——-infra structure
    ኣይምውቲ ኣይህልውቲ ህግደፍ ዓመጻ :-
    ብስደት ብጥምየት የለን ዝበለጻ :-

    ብሓቂ !
    ህዝባ እሱር – ሓረስታይ ምስ ምሁር:-
    ንብረታ እሱር- ወርቃ ምስ ብሩር :-
    ክብረታ እሱር- ባህልታታ – ቅቡር :-
    ሃይማኖት እሱር ቀቢላ ምስ ብሄር:-
    የርህዎ ባዕሉ እቲ – ረቢ እግዚሄር:-
    ሓይሊ ይሃበና ምልክነት ከነባርር::

    ንሱ?
    ንሱስ መን ነጻ ገርይርዎ:-
    ዝነብር ሸይጣን ተቆጻጺርዎ:-
    ገብረ ሸይጣን ቀደም ሓሊፍዎ:-
    እሱር እንድኣሉ መዓስ ጥዒምዎ::

    ደግፍቱ ኸ ?
    ወሽላኻት ዘመን ዝፈንፈኖም: –
    ክብረት ኣልቦ ዝሰበሩ ዕድሎም:
    ጽሉኣት ……ንሱ ‘ውን ዘይፍትዎም:
    ዘሕዝኑኻ እሱራት እዚኦም እዮም::

    ኮኾብ ሰላም

  • tes

    Dear Saleh Younis

    Just Thank you.

    tes

    ++ I am surprised about India, the mother of Mahtma Ghandi, the land of great democracy (of its own), to invite the brutal dictator, Isaias Afewerki in the India-Africa Summit. This invitation is against humanity and against the principles of India, the mother of Mahtma Ghandi. Lets all call India to consider her invitation to this brutal dictator in here land.

    Here is the official invitation news posted at shabait: http://www.shabait.com/news/local-news/20487-president-receives-message-from-indian-prime-minister

    Eritreans lets wake-up and call India to cancel her invitation.

    • saay7

      Hi Professor Tes:

      Greetings from the School of Chauvinism and Belligerence.

      Todate, Isaias Afwerki has boycotted every event that would also be attended by Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn. That includes COMESA, inaugural celebration of Omar Al Bashir’s election, and the AU Heads of States meeting. All boycotted by Isaias Afwerki. Now, for this India-Africa Summit an invitation was also extended, of course, to PMHD. Why do you think the PFDJ media and its satellites have been making a big deal that an AFRICAN head of state (Isaias Afwerki) is invited to an INDIA-AFRICA SUMMIT?

      Because they want to get the political mileage from it that he is not isolated. But I would be very surprised if he actually shows up. There is that egocentricism-regressed issue where he is unable to differentiate between his feelings and what’s good for the country.

      saay

      • tes

        Dear saay7,

        Greetings too from the School of X-Newtonian.

        When I was writing this call I was deeply contemplating on what we can do as people to remind the world on what is happening to our people. Then you came with your brilliant article, to remind us, to let us contemplate on what happened to our heroes.

        Before, as usual I serfed shabait and read the news that I am now calling Eritreans to join and call India to stick to her principles. It is really one of the greatest shame India will have if she let this invitation happen.

        Yes as usual DIA may boycott this meetings. but I am concerned with his later decision. I am particularly here focused on India. India should never have even entertained such idea to invite this brutal dictator. It is shame for her and shame for her people. India, despite here social segregation and caste system, she is an exemplar for Peace and Harmony. Why then she is involving herself in this dirty call.

        India should have respected the COIE report, a report that is accusing DIA and his organization for their anti-humanity crimes.

        Lets remind India to cancel this invitation. It is not what DIA may do but for her own respect.

        tes

    • Nitricc

      Hi Tes, i know it is about Sep-18 which my greatest and strongest disagreement with government of Eritrea. i gave it the greatest though the reason why will make sense to hold the G-15 in prison and i couldn’t come-up with a single reason why. so, straight up holding the G-15 is simply the government stupidity and cruelty is on display. on the same token, your stupidity is the same for proposing to call India to cancel PIA’s invitation. you said you went to school, i am wondering what kind of school you attended if not, you could have seen the difference between the two. what is wrong with you?

      • tes

        Dear Nitricc,

        Yes there is a wrong with me. And my wrongness is just very simple: “to have an eye that reads your repeated and stupid lines on this great website. Else, I am alright. Don’t worry about me.

        tes

        • Nitricc

          Hi Tes, or is tes, what ever it is, differentiate between the country and the leader. The difference between me and you is that i am consistence with my stupidity and i own to it, you on the hand a whisy washy good for nothing. leave the country alone.

          • tes

            Dear Nitricc,

            I kindly request you to leave the people alone. You have sided with the killers. You are equally guilty individual on your own. Our people in general and our heroes in particular are tortured barbarically for the last 14 years (not counting what happened before) and awate.com started to be the voice of the voiceless for the same years, 14 years. Equally you stayed around to silence the voice. You are more than the killers. You wished to kill ideas but as Haile Drue said, “ideas can not be killed. ”

            To quaote for you from the article, ” “Obviously one in power can do anything including muting dissent. But he still can’t kill the ideas. So, in the end, it is a futile exercise…. The president should not try to settle this dispute forcefully and should not try to solve this extra-legally or try to smash it using some pretext.” – Haile Drue.

            If you have power ideas, lets see. On my behalf, I will repeatedly show you your ignorance and your anti-humanistic behavior. You may try to silence ideas but you will never never be successful.

            tes

          • Nitricc

            Hi Tes, you are mixing things up. you never look for a solution of your internal issue from external entity. fine, we have problem internally but why do we look the solution from India, china Russia or anybody else? the Weyane tried to block the invitation of PIA to india, why do you think it is? and you are doing the same thing. why? Are you working with weyane?

          • Ted

            Hi Niticc, tes mentioning Mahatma Gandhi, the white worshiping, black hating racist person just to make a absurd point is baffling.

            tes: do a little digging what Ghandi said and done when he was in South Africa under british rule. He considered Blacks as “kaffir” – a direct equivalent of our N-word, expressed contempt for the native population, claiming they were no better than the “untouchables” of Indian society.

          • Nitricc

            Hey Ted interesting Tes, dabbed India as democratic nation while as you brightnely brought up the situations of ““untouchables” for Tes, those are not humans. you know once he told us that Tes was part of the Elites and the chosen one in Eritrea, so, how can we expect Tes to understand about the “untouchables” in India? come-on Ted.

          • tes

            Dear Nitricc,

            If you knew your dumpness, you could not have responded as such. When I was calling India to respect her principles, I didn’t forget Indian people. You can re-read what I wrote. Here are some that cancel your dump comments.

            1. “the land of great democracy (of its own)…” – -my first call

            2. India, despite here social segregation and caste system – in response to saay7

            I am much more aware about Indian segregation than you. My professors are all Indians and I shared their history and democratic system. Don’t be dump always or at least think others are dump like you.

            tes

          • tes

            Dear Ted,

            If I am proud in my reading life, it is what I read about Ghandi’s Biography book from beginning to end, twice. I got that book from Keren public library and I was in love with it. At that time I also started to read “the Republica” by Plato but stopped after reading about 200 pages. Reading Ghandi’s Biography helped me to look into humanity and respect of religion, culture and identity, no matter how divided it is. Pluto’s book “Republica” immersed me on exchange of thoughts without FEAR. And this was in the early 2007.

            I didn’t read what you are saying but I can imagine you are most probably wrong. After I read what you wrote, I scanned some materials and I found the opposite of what you are saying. Ghandi, during his early period of professional exercise, at 24 years old, a lawyer who graduated from UK and started his career in South Africa, was a great activist for Indian community to be treated as equal citizens with those of native Africans. For entire please read this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi

            But this is not the matter. Ghandi for India is everything. He is a great father who is counted as saint. And all what Ghandi did to India is to build PEACE through non-violence. Unlike this, DIA is known for his anti-peace and anti-humanity character. More than that one of the well known dictator who is continuing to arm rebel groups in the entire parts of horn of Africa and that extends upto Yemen and Congo. Not only that he was also involved in Chad.

            These acts are against the principles of India.

            Ok, historicaaly I could have even considered if you stated Indian soldiers were also engaged to kill Eritrean-Italian soldiers during WWII in the battle of KEREN. But what you are saying is even much worse, to accuse India and Africa as a continent to Boycott the Summit. Well, we will see.

            but your destored fact is baseless and just as usual to protect PFDJ. A wolf can not be a sheep even if she wears the sheep’s coat.

            tes

    • said

      Hi TES “Democracy Now”: Acclaimed Indian Author Arundhati Roy Faces Arrest for Questioning
      India .

      . http://www.democracynow.org/2010/10/27/acclaimed_indian_author_arundhati_roy_faces

  • sabri

    Dear Saay,

    As always I enjoy your article. Your idea to have prisoner of conscience day is interesting and good. It is a nice way to remember all prisoners of conscience. One thing I don’t understand is you equate this day with other national days. Normally national day like Independence Day is meant to be celebrated every year regardless who is in power. Your idea, prisoner of conscience day, does it mean to be celebrated until justice is reign in Eritrea or you are suggesting to be celebrated always?

    Regards,
    Sabri

    • saay7

      Selamat Sabri:

      Thank you sir. To answer this question, and all future questions, whatever I write, whatever I say, has to do ONLY with the present and up to Day 2 after we have a constitutional government. Not even a perfectly functional constitutional government, but average African constitutional government. After that, I am a “Gebar”, totally and completely done with polemics and politics, and I leave those decisions to the politicos. And I will have moved* to Nefasit and opened a book/music store. From my balcony, I can see the train and the bicycle races of young and happy Eritreans, and buses carrying passengers (civilians!) By the way, the book/music/cigar store doesn’t sell any book/music/cigars: it will used as a man cave, a hangout for my friends. All awatistas are welcome.

      saay

      *unless–Belligerence Alert!– we have a bher/bheresewoch type of government run from Addis that tells me where to live and not live.

      • sabri

        Hi Saay

        Good to hear that you will leave everything behind and planing to live in Nefasit Recently I wrote in another thread I wish to see you not as a politician in the future Eritrea. However,I would like to see your writings from Nefasit. Hope you don’t stop to write.

        Bisealam ab adiina yerakibena.

        Sabri

        • saay7

          Hi Sabri:

          I hope to write too. I will get back to college, take English lit and teach at Asmara U. Then cycle to work , like the day laborers that used to cycle home when I was a kid.

          Polemics will be done in Tigrinya/Arabic languages that I am mercifully disqualified to use for long treatise but enjoy reading immensely when the TM Negassis and Feday Neguses show up. It will be like asmarino. com circa 2000-01.

          saay

  • Fnote Selam

    Saay,

    Agree with the concept, but we should look for a better (more empowering) name…’prisoners of…’ gives a feeling subjugation.

    FS.

    • Fnote Selam

      Hi again Saay,

      ‘Freedom of Expression Day’ came to my mind…

      Best,

      FS>

  • Tzigereda

    Thank you Saleh Younis!!!

    • sara

      hi -Tzigereda
      by any chance , do you know where selam is or hear from her. if you do, tell her she is missed by most of awate’ans including uncle saleh .
      be around, dear