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Eritrea: The Challenges Of Today And The Prospects Of Tomorrow

(This is the source of the speeches which I delivered in Melbourne on the 29th of December 2012 and in Perth on January 21, 2013. I will present a comprehensive report about my busy schedule in Australia, hopefully soon. I have now returned home after my hosts in Australia fattened me like a cow to the extent that I will eat one-meal a day for a few weeks. My tour was sponsored by EAJP- Eritrean Australians For Justice And Peace.)

I am indebted to the Eritrean Australian community for their continuous support, and I thank you on behalf of myself and my colleagues at awate.com.

reception1I thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak in front of you, in front of a patriotic gathering that represents a microcosm of Eritrea. I thank the administrators and members of EAJP (Eritrean-Australians For Justice And Peace) for making this event happen, and for providing me with an opportunity to visit Australia, which I always wanted to visit but never managed to do so for many reasons. Thank you for providing me with an opportunity to connect with my childhood friends, family, relatives and many patriots I came to know over the years.

Since September of this year, Eritrean patriots have been facing serious provocations; certain forces wanted to see if after all, Eritrean patriots have anything they hold dear. The test was an alarm that shook the patriots and they showed what kind of mettle they were made of. The September incident was deliberately triggered as a challenge, the onslaught on the person of our hero Hamid Idris Awate has only hardened our resolve and once more it alerted us to the fact that what is at stake is bigger than any of us could have imagined. The onslaught has changed the way we see things, and the Eritrean resistance has changed for good: it is now defined as pre and post-September 2012: the timid pre-September opposition and the post-September resistance. And that means, we have to change the way we conduct our resistance.

With that as a background, my speech will be on the theme chosen by EAJP, “Eritrea of Today; Eritrea of Tomorrow” but I will stretch it a little back and add a focused review of the past that brought us to where we are. I will begin with the Eritrea of Yesterday, the foundational Eritrea, the one handed down to us by our founding fathers, the one for which we all bled and suffered, the one that we hold dearly in our hearts. I will begin with the Eritrea of yesterday, (its history) because without that, there wouldn’t be an Eritrea to worry about. Also, since our country suffers Today, and we wish to have a better Tomorrow for our people, it is relevant that we talk about our history.

dec29aIf you see and recognize a seed of a plant, you would know what kind of tree it will become and the fruit it will bear. Cicero, the great Roman master rhetorician, said, “To remain ignorant of things that happened before you were born is to remain a child.” We refuse to remain children.  We refuse to watch silently while a few are sullying our history. We refuse to let them strip us of who we are. We refuse to be indifferent to the wicked, to the cursed,… and “cursed” is not only my word for the Christian bible has defined them as such in Deuteronomy 27:17, “Cursed be he who removes his neighbor’s landmark.” And that is the reason why we are not fixated by history for its own sake, but for what results from tampering with and forging history.

In 1963, Penn Station, a landmark of New York City was demolished to make room for office buildings and what we now know as Madison Square Garden. The demolishing of the original building of Penn Station caused a public uproar that still continues. New Yorkers considered it a landmark building that should be preserved, but the commercial interests won. At the time, The New York Times editorial lamented over the destruction of Penn Station: We will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.” In ten-years, objection to such irresponsible treatment of landmarks resulted in the Grand Central Station being protected by a statute, the Landmarks Preservation Act.

We have one major statue of Awate in our memories, a statue of a lone brave man raising a gun to face Haile Sellassie’s mighty army that is imprinted in our minds. Now, the habitual aggressors are after the memory of Awate that we hold dearly. Even that is not spared–what then remains of our roots, our history, our pride and our inspiration? It is our right and obligation to safeguard our memory, even if we have to go to passing an act that would prevent the few symbols that are left for us. Unjust persons do not like history, but they love rewriting it. The Eritrean government is a good example and it is good in erasing our history and in rewriting it. I believe that all our current ills are caused by the reckless Eritrean regime; its disregard for our history as a nation is beyond comprehension. That is why I like to emphasize on what history means to me. And in the words of George Santayana “a country without a memory is a country of madmen.”

perth1Eritrea was not a racial state, it was not of one section of its people; it was a country where diverse people reside. Eritrea was formed on an idea: freedom, equality, and dignity of its residents. That idea of Eritrea was erected on several pillars; the entire Eritrean people agreed on the type and form of those pillars. That agreement was our social contract, free Eritreans elected their representatives who signed that covenant, and political forces of the time blessed it. Thus, we laid what we call foundational pillars of the nation, Thewabit Wetenya in Arabic, or Hagerawi Amde-meseret in Tigrnya. And in the words of George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

The traditional Eritrean abodes, the tukul and hdmo, stand on pillars that carry the weight of the roof and support the walls. If any of the pillars is broken, the tukul as well as the hdmo will crumble. The Eritrean regime of the PFDJ clique is relentlessly shaking the pillars of Eritrea, and if the pillars are broken or damaged any further, Eritrea will crumble. And that is why we need to protect the pillars that hold Eritrea together. And the shaking and damaging of the pillars that is going on today under the command of the Eritrean regime, and other chauvinistic and bigoted revisionists, those who use effigies as frontmen, are the eminent danger. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the Eritrea of tomorrow requires fighting the vandals who are defacing and stopping them from damaging our country. If those pillars were properly maintained, preserved and protected, we wouldn’t have the suffering of today. And there you have it: the connection of the yesterday, the today and the tomorrow of Eritrea depending on the wellbeing of the pillars.

We all carry identities, layers upon layers of them, and we are not ashamed of our identities, they are our pride. Our identities are not slurs akin to four-letter words. Our identities are us; without them we are nothing.

canberra1Eritrea doesn’t belong to anyone alone, it belongs to all those who carry its citizenship, those who believe it is their country and are connected to it, Eritreanism is based on a belonging, on a citizenship which is not bestowed based on the whims of a clique that hijacked the fate of our patient and enduring people. Eritrea belongs to all its tribes, clans and sub-clans, the enda, the beit fulan and bet fulan. It belongs to all religions, it belongs to all regions. We are Hamasen, we are Barka, we are Sahil, we are Denkelis, we are Akeleguzai and the rest. We are Mulsims, we are Christians and anything between. We are Beni Amer, we are Serawetot, we are Hamasenetot, we are Senhitays, we are Kunamas, Baryas, we’re Almeda, Asfeda, Mensa’e, Jeberti, and everything else. We are Kebessa and Metahit. We areAfer, we are Barya and Baza. We speak Saho, we speak Bilen we speak Bdawyet, we speak Tigrayet, we speak Tigrniya and yes, we speak Arabic. That is our diversity that we adore and pledge to protect and maintain; we refuse to be diluted into a uni-cultural nation through proclamations issued by Isaias or someone like him. These multi-layered identities are our diversity–it has always been with us and it will remain so. But those who see Eritrea as their private property are obsessed with remolding it according to their whims, and they are the cause of our present suffering and anxiety. That is the challenge that we are facing today; and they require fierce and resolute resistance, not wishy-washy attitudes and approaches.

But all of that is not meant to decrease Eritrea into its constituent parts, fragment and disintegrate it, it is not meant to be understood as identifying the Eritrean peoples in the plural. Nay, there is one nation called Eritrea and it is the home of the Eritrean people (in the singular) and not Eritrean peoples, or Hzbtat Ertra or Sh’oub Eritrea, (in the plural), it is Hzbi Ertra and Sha’ab Eritrea.

The challenges of today forces us to pose a question: How would Awate face today’s PFDJ had he been alive and able bodied? How would he assess our present disunity and compartmentalization? Would he be content with what has happened to his people?

victoria1It is to find inspired answers for such questions that we need to protect our icons so that we can be emboldened and be better citizens, brave and responsible citizens. Awate is not with us, but we have to be careful not to betray his ideals and not disappoint him down as if he was alive, still carrying his rusty rifle. In every situation, it would help to ask: what would Awate do if he faced that situation. And we will find the right answer. We wouldn’t indulge in greed, selfishness, cowardice; instead we would be inspired to be brave, to think along national lines, think about the entire Eritrea and consider one of his erstwhile pronouncements: Eritrea will not find a solution unless all its children strive to find one together.

Today we see youth movements, basically Internet social media movements, that are wailing endlessly for every calamity that our country and people face. Yet, most of the youth, either because of ignorance or because they carry some social prejudice, are the first to belittle their history and the veterans of the struggle era. I will not say much here but only repeat what my friend Saleh Younis wrote on this aspect:

I am not romanticizing just Ghedli: I am romanticizing the Ghedli generation (in much the same way that [American journalist] Tom Brokaw wrote about America’s “greatest generation”–the World War II generation.) I am 100% convinced that if what is happening in Sinai to Eritreans–inhumane, cruel, degrading, offensive–happened while the Ghedli generation was in their 20s, they wouldn’t have been writing petitions and saying, “Wey Gud! Eh! Anta Amlak!” The Ghedli generation existed before the New Age values: they were an assertive, kick-ass generation and somebody would have paid. What came after them, and what came before them, didn’t measure up to them.

Often times we are disappointed by the actions of the revisionists among us, they are a bunch of sadists who get pleasure when Eritreans hurt. These are people who believe they have a divine mandate to rule the rest of us or at least decide on our behalf. Yet, they talk about unity, though their envisioned unity is as seamless as the unity of a slave and his owner. They preach justice, but it is always tilted. They forget that people struggle and pay with their lives to better their lots. If citizens suffer from a national regime just like they do from a foreign occupier, then they have to fight back with the same zeal. Oppressor may change but oppression remains the same, and it has to be fiercely confronted and fought, it is all the same and any oppression should face the same resistance. Changing the statuesque requires sacrifices, and after all, life under oppression is not worth living, and sacrifice for the betterment of the people becomes more glorious,.

Anyone has a name and our country has one, it is Eritrea that has marine and land boundaries. Though it has been aggressively assaulted, it also has a flag, an emblem, a constitution, regions, tribes, religions and many other attributes.

As I said earlier, the assault on Awate was not the beginning. There is a saying in English, “give them an inch, they take a mile.” We watched silently as the regime scrapped our flag and imposed another on our country. We watched silently as it parceled Eritrea among its beneficiaries, each region being lorded by a corrupt general. We watched silently as the regime instituted a uni-cultural state. We watched silently as it imposed agrarian values at the expense of pastoral life style. We watched silently as it disowned our refugees who have been languishing in the refugee camps in Sudan for decades. We watched silently as it snatched the citizens’ properties, land of the refugees and distributed it among its functionaries and beneficiaries. Eritreans watched silently as Isaias promoted himself to a Pharaoh. We watched silently as he molded Eritrea in his image. As you know, the assault on the flag started in 1977, and today we see the result. Even those who were supposed to resist the rule and symbolism of the Eritrean regime were shy to show the true Eritrean flag–they threw it away for Isaias’ avatar. How come Isaias’ flag has now overwhelmed some forces that declare their opposition to his regime? Have you seen that ugly flag carried by any opposition prior to 2000? Nope. It pains me to see the Eritrean opposition carrying different flags as if Eritrea doesn’t have one. Only a few organizations carry the real Eritrean flag (shyly) as if it is the flag of a pirate force. Did you notice the meetings of some of the so-called opposition who are so eager to be accepted by the PFDJ, or to attract what falls from its tree, that they make sure to carry the flag of their oppressor? Do people want to fight Isaias using his personal avatar? What happened? What is left to lose?

The regime has no mandate except the mandate of the gun. I believe, drastic measures deserve drastic response. For instance, though it might seem an over-stretch, one can argue that the Eritrean parliament of the fifties is still the legitimate one; it has never been replaced legally. Why not when the regime proclaims a whimsical law and Eritreans are supposed to abide by it? Again, Eritrean have a constitution, they never revoked the 1952 constitution, it was the federal arrangement that they revoked. I say this only to show you how our state of affairs has been changed, and how absurd it has become. I am reminding my listeners of an Arabic saying, “Dawini blleti hia ‘da’oo” The medicine for a snake bite is made of snake venom. If the regime is absurd, and it forces its resistance to be absurd, then it is absurdity throughout.

Our present is bad.

We need resolve. Only those with resolve can win a struggle; if we sell part of our principles, our struggle will never produce complete results. I am afraid some are struggling for a partial results; before 2000, we had clarity, but after that, confusion ensued in the resistance camp. And all the problems that we see, the problems that are crippling us can be described as a tug of war between those who struggle for a complete liberation of Eritrea and between those who struggle for the reformation of the regime. Until we sort out this dilemma, we will be busy going around an empty circle. But how serious is this dilemma?

victoria2I believe some of us have begun to realize how grave the situation is when Ethiopian officials finally came out to take charge of our resistance, the driver’s seat. The events of the last three years indicate that Ethiopia prefers reformation of the regime regardless of what the resistance want. It seems Ethiopia finds it easier for its national interest to have a reformed PFDJ, its erstwhile, not a different system than what it knew throughout its history with what is now Eritrea. In pursuit of this strategy, Ethiopian officials have been empowering nobodies and weakening the established resistance that has constituency who have been Ethiopia’s honest allies during the last decade or so. To circumvent the constituency problem, Ethiopia has been working very hard to create a force for its selected would-be group of leaders, the one on which it wants to build its stakes and use it as a bargaining chip when finally the inevitable happens in Eritrea.

This was seen in many ways: undermining the National Conference [ENCDC], empowering a known group within the opposition, polishing a few individuals with the intention of giving the new formations a manufactured semblance of diversity. As if that is not enough, as a key speaker at the Debre Zeit congress that the Ethiopian officials organized, they invited as keynote speaker a man who recognizes neither the Eritrean struggle nor its nationhood, a man who thinks all our struggle was an empty circle, a man who thinks our freedom fighters were a bunch of foolish killers, and they were mainly forcefully recruited “Habesha, who were duped into an Islamist and Arabist cause.” This man was not  only the keynote speaker, they gave him the forum for a day and half to spew his hate and prejudice. This is the kind of opposition that some Ethiopian officials want to replace the real resistance with.

There are many incidents that can only reinforce the suspicions of Ethiopian officials’ ill-thought strategy that are not yet brought to the open. But now, they are obviously sabotaging the real struggle with one that is so timid it can’t move an inch without their blessing, and the incident of last September is part of it. This is sad considering the fact that many in the resistance simply treate their alliance with the Ethiopian authorities pragmatically, though old wounds were not yet healed, no closure for the interference of the TPLF in the eighties that is greatly responsible for what we are suffering from now.

The Eritrea of today is a country that is being emptied of its people, especially its youth. In the Eritrea of today all the elements of our pride as a nation are being erased. We have begun to doubt our resolute character, dedication and courage. These were our traits as a people and that is how the world knew us until recently, and that gave us pride and confidence. Now we are known as the most oppressed people whose country is unlivable, poor, insecure citizens of a country with shameful infrastructure… be it in education, healthcare, shelter and road network… and basic human rights. Eritrean institutions are a den of corruption; the security forces are worse than the enemy of decades ago; and we have many sadistic persons who enjoy the suffering of their people. Eritrea has the largest army, but it is so weak due to the corrupt administration of the PFDJ that made it an uncaring, unprincipled force that cannot protect its people. We have an army led by corrupt generals who are all too happy to sacrifice tens of thousands of people on trivial wars, but can’t move a finger when the entire population, including the enlisted members of the armed forces, are enslaved. All this has happened because we betrayed our founding principles. We cowered, we loved ourselves, we feared sacrifice, in all its forms, life, family and property. This is in stark contrast with what we as a people really are; we are a people who fought “against all odds” and sustained the struggle despite the big powers standing behind our enemies, despite being outnumbered and outgunned, we prevailed because we were resolute. Our future can only be bright if we summon the latent quality of an Eritrean that is buried under our feet.

George Orwell said, “He who controls the present, controls the past.” The PFDJ owns our present and therefore owned our past. If we do not snatch our present from it, we will not own our past, and if we do not own our past, we cannot own our future. 

The problem we are facing is our history is fading because many people are stuck in the day to day life (the present), “Maybe if people started to listen, history would stop repeating itself.” There is lack of listening, an acute listening defect and that is why we keep repeating history. If people would listen, we wouldn’t be harping on the same issues endlessly and maybe we would have summoned peace to our present and made sure our future would be bright. But educating and reeducating the doubters and the ignorant is our fate which we have to embrace, however painful it is.

I mentioned earlier that Eritrea belongs to all. By ‘all’ I mean the diverse stakeholders of Eritrea. Those diverse entities are not talking to each other; each entity has created a small circle and is engaged in an endless group wailing or group bravado, depending on one’s situation. We have the regimes’ supporters talking to each other and not willing to listen to anyone but to the marching orders of the regime. The opposition that believes in diversity has carried that belief to its extreme end and has become counter-productive, a recipe for war-lordism, an example of which we saw in the person of “general Qernelios.”  It is the Ethiopian officials who inflate his ego, they have a pet-name for him, they call him “general Qernelios.” A spoiled man, a warlord in the making. He thinks all our Kunama compatriots are his property and he is the only one entitled to speak on their behalf. That is where we have arrived.

Now, major sections of our nation are sick, both the Muslim and Christian component of our society. The Muslims are marred by tribal mistrust and rivalry, the Christians are marred by regional mistrust and rivalry. Both Christians and Muslims fear each other, and the mistrust is at its highest. Looking at it from a national perspective, one would be tempted to ask: how on earth are we going to bring about the end of the totalitarian regime? But don’t despair, it was done before and it will be done today. We have no other choice but to work together for the betterment of our country, we have to always remember we are destined to live together, to realize our common dreams of a prosperous, stable country where the citizen is respected, and where the government  serves the people, not the other way around. We dream of an Eritrea whose young are not enslaved and perpetually forced to think of fleeing outside it boundaries. A country where the people will live a normal life, in peace.

If we are going to remain in our secluded groupings (and I have suggestions for this later on), then it is imperative that we strengthen our institution: what good is a grouping that cannot change anything on the ground? Let’s be formidable, organize with national zeal and fervor… and be effective, but we must not forget to have clarity. Whatever change we seek should be able to accommodate all Eritreans, fairly. We must not be a replica of the PFDJ, where we remain in our comfort zones, divided, yet we claim to be working to bring change for the Eritrean citizen. The change we seek should be embraced by all Eritreans–and we have to identify our enemies properly. Anyone who trashes our history, tampers with it, tries to deny us the pride we take in our martyrs, in the collective suffering of our people and their suffering, is our enemy. We do respect our martyrs, and we are jealous of our country, we will not allow the forces that seek to divide us succeed. Of course they want us to be weak so that we can be easy prey to their evil designs, to reinstate the system of rule that we fought for decades to eradicate. Eritrea has pillars and its people will renovate those pillars. The Eritrea that we as a people paid for dearly is not going to be the playground of the foolish among us… or anyone else: those who never showed judgment or courtesy to our people; those who waited in hiding to maul Eritrea thinking the nation’s resolve is dead.

On this occasion I would like to remind all Eritrean stakeholders that the Muslim grievance is well articulated from the national perspective. It has been articulated in many forms but particularly through the Eritrean Covenant issued by Mejlis Ibrahim Mukhtar, which I believe has achieved an overwhelming support, a consensus. The Christian grievances is not articulated at all. And it will be unfair to consider Isaias’ harangue of Nehnan Elamanan as Christian grievance. It will also be an insult to Christians to characterize their real grievances and fears based on the writings of some revisionist writers who deny the existence of Eritrea and have nostalgic memories of unity with Ethiopia under Abyssinian leadership, a Habesha lordship. It would be unfair to consider those chauvinist bigoted voices as representing the views of Eritrean Christian patriots. Those are fringe ideas; and Muslims also have individuals with similar fringe ideas.

Patriotic Christians love their country just like anyone else. They have sacrificed for their country just like anyone else. They agonize for the situation of Eritrea just like anyone else. And they are bearing the brunt of the refugees situation at this time. Any Eritrean who cares for his country and the unity of its people should recognize these facts. By now, we have all paid equal sacrifices and all patriotic Eritreans, regardless of their layers of identities, have a common goal, a common aspiration and a common fate that begins with uprooting the oppressive totalitarian regime in Eritrea.

Here I would like to make a few recommendations:

1. Our 2013 resolution should include:  Get to know 4 Eritreans this year who are not from your tribe, ethnicity, region, or religion but are in the Eritrean resistance movement.  Preferably in person, and if you can’t, have conversations with them through social media, by phone, by skype, Paltalk, by whatever. I am talking about one-on-one personal conversations where you LEARN what their grievances are. Call It Campaign 4.  Then ask each one you talked to, to reach out to 4 more and so on and so on.

2. Related to that, make an effort to reach out to 4 Eritreans who have completely accepted their adopted identity (hyphenated citizenship) and forgot all about Eritrea.  You know them: they can tell you everything about their adopted homes—football teams, and the names of princes and princess and entertainers, American pop culture—but are entirely clueless about what is happening in Eritrea.  Then ask each one to reach out to 4 more.   I am coming back next year to Australia and I will like to see what you have done on this!

3. Force the resistance organizations to have a united symbol that will reinforce a common goal, a common destiny.

4. Show your support (with your time and your money) to the resistance forces so they don’t become dependent on others and prone to blackmail. Their weakness is our weakness.

5. Force Eritrean resistance forces to develop a criteria to determine who is an organization and who is not. The recent crisis has shown us how irrelevant three-person groups can cause havoc. Political leadership is for organized political forces, not for part-timers who have no constituency but act on their personal whims.

6. Push hard to realize the unification of the forces of resistance, particulary their armed wings.  Do not encourage their tendency to split, force them to explain why they are separate entities.

7. Those of you who can, should work to impose a new reality on the situation of Eastern Sudan. A region which is a historical backyard of Eritreans should not be controlled by Isaias.

8. Convince and encourage the “Youth” to be more assertive and stop wailing after any calamity or bad news from home or about home. Convince them to take action to rectify things so that they can be taken seriously. There are things that can be done beyond petitions and demonstrations, the previous generation of fighters didn’t spend their time begging for sympathy, they imposed their will, they influenced events.

Finally, we have to get out of our primordial prejudices and face those who are trying to undo what we paid for dearly. We have to stay steadfast with the promise of our martyrs, yes, Hdri Sewuatna, resalet alsuhada’a, and defeat the forces that are created only to be defeated: the oppressors.

negarit@awate.com

NB: Speech and images of final event held on Feb2, 2013 will follow.

Youtube links of the events, courtesy of awna1.com:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvkuhanpecA&feature=player_embedded (reception, melbourne airport)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YIOi2LAeW4 (part1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YePhjVvi_kY (part2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GplBE58_bWM (joint EJAP ICV event)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RZvBoLYD94&feature=player_embedded (Eritrean Community Radio Interview)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKLs9PVVePc&feature=player_embedded (ENCDC-Austrlaia)

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

Born and raised in Keren, Eritrea, now a US citizen residing in California, Mr. Saleh “Gadi” Johar is founder and publisher of awate.com. Author of Miriam was Here, Of Kings and Bandits, and Simply Echoes. Saleh is acclaimed for his wealth of experience and knowledge in the history and politics of the Horn of Africa. A prominent public speaker and a researcher specializing on the Horn of Africa, he has given many distinguished lectures and participated in numerous seminars and conferences around the world. Activism Awate.com was founded by Saleh “Gadi” Johar and is administered by the Awate Team and a group of volunteers who serve as the website’s advisory committee. The mission of awate.com is to provide Eritreans and friends of Eritrea with information that is hidden by the Eritrean regime and its surrogates; to provide a platform for information dissemination and opinion sharing; to inspire Eritreans, to embolden them into taking action, and finally, to lay the groundwork for reconciliation whose pillars are the truth. Miriam Was Here This book that was launched on August 16, 2013, is based on true stories; in writing it, Saleh has interviewed dozens of victims and eye-witnesses of Human trafficking, Eritrea, human rights, forced labor.and researched hundreds of pages of materials. The novel describes the ordeal of a nation, its youth, women and parents. It focuses on violation of human rights of the citizens and a country whose youth have become victims of slave labor, human trafficking, hostage taking, and human organ harvesting--all a result of bad governance. The main character of the story is Miriam, a young Eritrean woman; her father Zerom Bahta Hadgembes, a veteran of the struggle who resides in America and her childhood friend Senay who wanted to marry her but ended up being conscripted. Kings and Bandits Saleh “Gadi” Johar tells a powerful story that is never told: that many "child warriors" to whom we are asked to offer sympathies befitting helpless victims and hostages are actually premature adults who have made a conscious decision to stand up against brutality and oppression, and actually deserve our admiration. And that many of those whom we instinctively feel sympathetic towards, like the Ethiopian king Emperor Haile Sellassie, were actually world-class tyrants whose transgressions would normally be cases in the World Court. Simply Echoes A collection of romantic, political observations and travel poems; a reflection of the euphoric years that followed Eritrean Independence in 1991.

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  • Debarwatay

    Saleh,
    Please, don’t act so coward to answer my plain clear questions in my last comment. TPLF is so open hearted and mind to evaluate whatever you may have to say. If that is your concerns to keep quiet. But don’t repeat the mistakes done by your oppresssor PFDJ – making wrong and incomplete judgement of a reality. You can not boil down the whole path of TPLF regarding to Eritrea into a role of a single man (Kernalios) at a single event (Bishuftu) interpreted according to your only politcal view. I thought you were more intelligent and informed than this. Anyway, it is always never late to make corrections. Please, I urge you to correct your twisted view on Kernalios and TPLF; especailly after your Australia visit. Did you eat any of the Kangaroo meat? 🙂

    My only advice to you.

    • Henock

      I think you personally hate Salih. I support Salih in kernelios issue. kernelios has no basis in attacking awate. kernelios ddoesnt represent every kunama. kernelios is nothing but kerni-less, gonab kernu.

  • Debarwatay

    Saleh, Few questions I have for you:
    1. Why are so adamant about Kernalious (Commander of the Alliance Armed Wing? He,
    unlike you, is struggling among his people and not far away from the comforts of
    the west world. He deserves and has earned respect from Ertireans. Not from you.
    Don’t you know that he is as iconic (living) to Kunama people as Awate is to you?

    2. From where did you buy your changing heart towards TPLF; the only force capable of
    toppling the PFDJ at this moment if it chose to attack? You may say the Eritean
    people is also capable. But I have a news for you: Eritreans are as polarized on
    this issue as ever; and it will remain so for a forseeable future.

    3. Why you kept silent on the ‘defection’ of Ali Abdu as the defector himself? Is it
    nepotism or politics as usual? Do you belief that Mr. Abdu is responsible for what
    is going on in Eritrea to any extent?

    Thank you.

  • Sele Haqi

    Dear Saleh

    Welcome back as always a wonderful article.At times i felt you are reading my mind.thank you for such thoughtful article.

  • Awate Team

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    4. Use appropriate, family-friendly language. Foul language is not allowed.
    5. It is ok to criticize a political ideology but it is not ok to attack a collective identity (race, ethnicity, tribe, region, religion, etc). Doing so will result in immediate suspension/ban.

  • belay

    Some people say and write,in the good old days,I had a Muslim friend and every thing was working fine,……..etc.
    But,fine for who?yes, it was fine for Christians in the expense of Muslims..Muslims were extremely oppressed, never had a say in any thing,in their own country. That is why people like Karki believe Muslims are Alians,some pretend we are not devided.So, some if not the majority Christians want those old days to come,and they pretend every thing is fine,we are not devided,it is only some extremists. we are united kind of propaganda is not going to work,it is only a ticking bomb.Things will get worst than they are now unless every Christian in Eritrea and Ethiopia appologies and accept the fair demands of the Muslims.If it was not for the religion,we are same people,at least we are all black Africans.So why are we blinded by fear?which only dwells in our head (Christians).
    I hope we will see Muslims leaders in both countrys,to wipe all the mistrust we had for generations.That will win us the hearts and minds of our Muslim brothers.
    Look America,has Black president and still is America.
    Lets give peace, a peace.
    SELAM.

    • sara

      belay,
      it is true if what you wrote is only about ethiobia.

  • Asli

    We should take care with some of the commentators,I believe they have mission to serve HGDF or Ethiopian unionist.Currently Eritrea is looking for constitution, democracy.No matter whether woldu or Atta in position. We need change based on rule of Law.Unless biased governance won’t bring lasting peace.

    • Ethiopian

      No Ethiopian is talking about unification matter but we need cool neighber.

  • Tesfa

    Can the Eritrean opposition or government tell us where they have been for the last two decayed rather than repeating year after year the same refuse of waging war and winning the war.
    I am sick and tired of repeated glory that killed millions of people for nothing. Rethink your position. You were killing and still killing your own brothers and sisters. No more no less. The freedom you fought for is no freedom. It is slavery. Go enjoy it.

  • M.Ali

    SALEH GADI,
    WELCOME BACK . You are a very responsible communicator.When you came to Canada a few years ago, i was there and enjoyed the lovely evening in which you delivered an excellent speech. kemaKha yibzhu…may we have / see a lot like you!!

  • Neguse

    Awate like their brother HIGDEF Ex minister of disinformation they will not talk about him double standard. Ali Abdu was crime partner of the devil.

    • Kokhob Selam

      why it is important to talk about Ali Abdu? weren’t Mesfen Hagos and others with DIA serving all the way till their turn came?

      Amanuel Eyasu is singing the same song as if Ali Abdu is especial. at the beginning he was calling him to work with him and of-course Ali didn’t replay to his call. but now he is asking Ali to come for justice. this is the other side of DIA, “if you don’t serve me you are my enemy” and those who left recently the line of PFDJ were practically working for what the belief when they day comes and see things are not correct they are living unlike like that coward Amanuel Eyasu who want to divide people for his advantage. now if some one is hero here let him face the dictator instead of talking to much about those who left the group in Asmara.

      talking nonsense always has be come the nature of those coward guys here and there. Ali Abdu has gone out and there were a lot who has gone out and there are still people to come out till the Mafia group remain alone. one day the group will go out. one should be clear we are not going to replace PFJD by another worst and narrow political line. we are not going to pay single soul to bring back dirty groups in Eritrea. we are watching them.

      • Yodita

        Mr. Kokhob Selam

        Why are you calling Amanuel Eyassu a coward? He was really a young kid when he joined the struggle and grew up serving his people and then was COURAGEOUS enough to reject the system and fight it fiercely the way he does. Are you comfortable insulting people who are working day and night to fight an oppressive system? Just say you do not agree on how he did this or that. To insult him reveals what a small person you are! If you find Amanuel Eyassu a coward, I wonder what you think about Ali Abdou? I have been reading you for some time and am sad to note that you seem to be so intent to please that you are like a shadow, at least in my view. Come out, be yourself, rebel, make mistakes, let who you really are stand on its own two feet. It will be beautiful and genuine, perhaps not perfect. Amanuel and you are in the wave length, you both hate the evil system at home. You should not rush to insult.

      • Kokhob Selam

        dear Yodita,

        actually we have crossed Posting Guidelinese and I will try only to say to you one thing. I was one of the people who use to appreciate his work thinking he has changed his old way . and i have sent messages when i notice he is going back to his old tendencies (I know him by the way and you may not know him more than me). and for god sake just because he is talking to much don’t underestimate my role in struggle and for your information there are a lot of people watching carefully those who are poising the sociality. we consider them cowards as they are not fighting face to face the enemy. only they look against pfdj because they didn’t find any position.

        i love the mafia group (PFDJ) for one thing. they have rejected everybody.and we will clean the reactionaries now and now.

      • Yodita

        Dear Khokob,

        Amanuel Eyasu is not ‘watta’. He fights for the voiceless but does not worship on anybod’s altar. I respect and cherish his freedom of spirit; he does not bend backwards or forward for anybody but the voiceless and trodden. This free spirit makes him soar high! From reading you in the fora, I can understand that you both may be incompatible. I am sure you know what I am trying to say. To insult some inorder to please some is what we are sick and tired about and dying to change in our society. I wager a buck that he has never done you personally anything wrong.

      • Kokhob Selam

        Yodita,

        nothing personal, i don’t even have personal problem with the man call DIA the man who was created to be a leader by people like Amanuel. i don’t even had with Haileslase personal problem and even that Mengstu to that mater. I am very much aware of all those past crises and problems and no single dictator comes with out the ground that brings him up. and I know why the child is shouting now and before when i was in trouble with the mafia group. it all about principle. in opposition there are two sides clearly seen the one who was and is and will remain anti peace if he get chance and the one who was and who is and will remain against all odds. nothing personal. when Amanuel was supporting of DIA i was not against him personally but against his aim. today he was exposed he kill all the hopes of people by trying to divide the old with young the highland with lowland and even the highland with the highland. if you want evidence read all what he writes and what he said in the past. and you will find out why i am fighting against the root not the man.

        yodita, we are not going to repeat the old story. PFDJ is killing it’s own people and will be killed one day nothing in hurry as replacing with such old styled and useless people has no meaning. we want a real democratic Eritrea and it is difficult to cheat with such acrobats of Amanuel and the likes.

  • T.k

    ANNE ZAMNO HAGER NAY KULU HAYMANOT KE”A NAY WLKI. Please let us respect this principles and move together to remove this monster evil Isaias and his dogs once for all and build a nation that is equal for all its citizens regardless their religion, ethnicity and region. We are all proud Eritreans.If I may I would like to see that the Author of this article to promote inclusiveness not the opposite. We are one people with different beliefs.
    Thank you

  • Kokhob Selam

    أخ صالح قاضي
    سابقا قبل أعوام كتبت هذه الأبيات..الآن سعيد بوجود أمثالكم ومن يفكر بفكر سليم..
    و أن الحق سيظهر بوجود أمثالكم و أن السلام آت لا محالة

    .أي وطن استوحي منه كلماتي باتت جافا….
    هل لي شيئا من ذلك الانتماء والاحتواء الكبير
    وطن اشتكت من الطغاة حكموها بدون رأفا…
    زرعوا الفساد وأشعلوا الظلام الغير منير
    لا يعلموا أن الحياة ليس بجسد يتنفس بالخلافا..
    ولا بتحسس الأشياء وقتل إحساس الضمير
    حي أمامنا فاقد الروح بلغة الحياة مجهول الوصافا..
    فقط يهتك الأرواح ويعالجهم بزرع ورم صغير
    كم عابر راحل فقدناه قال الحق وسكن في منفا
    قدره في منبع الداخل بمقام عقل حكيم ومنزلة أمير
    نطق وهز عرش الحكم الجائر وعلى الخوف تلهفا
    ومنطقه جعل روح الطاغي يدبر وعلى حتفه يدير
    يتوقع زهقه سيتخلص من شره وهكذا أصبح منصفا
    ألا يعلم أن الشهيد في سبات مؤقت وفكره للأبطال يعير
    منهجه أجيال ستتبعه وعلمه سيغرس فينا بلهجة معرفا
    أنتم ستمضون نكرة ويوما ما ستذوقون الطعم المرير

  • haile

    The commemoration of Fenkil anniversary has now ended. No ERiTV coverage (other than a couple of minuets News clips), No speech by IA, minister of defence didn’t lay wreath on the site of the Three Tanks. A very wired situation, PFDJ only made brief statement before the event saying “do not worry or be apprehensive about the events of Jan. 21”. That is fenkil 2013.

    • sara

      haile,
      hello…. the president will be on tv tonight.
      skip the valentine evening outing and stay at home and watch eri tv

  • Noor

    ”If you don’t understand my Silence. You will not understan. d my words ”

  • sesen

    Saleh,
    For the last 40 yrs…you have been anti-Issaise- infact your whole carrer is based on Issaise this Issaise that….he has been in ledearship in for the last 40 years …he is a president and you are just refugee trying to make ends meet! When are you going to accept his destny and your destiny and live by it…I ahve known u for the last 20 yrs and still all you talk is about PIA…anes endei FEQERI ALEKA MES ISSAISE MESLENI…NATAKES NAB OBSESSION DEYIBU!!

    • Zegeremo

      I hope your hatred does not cause everyone around you grief.

    • Abudi

      Hawey hawey! seseney! kindey kifli ika timahar??

  • zaki

    Well come back Salih the great. As usual a great article with deep thought. I wholeheartedly agree with your recommendations regarding exerting an effort to know each other better. As with regard to our icons I totally agree with sister Yodita. It is a matter of priority. We need to focus on issues that will bring this regime and its symbols down. It is only when we have free Eritrea that people are able to learn about their history.

    Two other points you raised which deserve our attention are; Issue of flag and 1997 constitution. These two represents PFDJ edifices.It’s ironic, isn’t it ?the very people who oppose PFDJ carrying its symbols. I believe this is largely due to ignorance and as such it should be debated and highlighted during resistance meetings. Admittedly PFDJ’s 1997 is better than no constitution but in free Eritrea we should aspire for a constitution that is written by the free will of Eritreans not left overs of PFDJ junta.

  • Tom

    Dear Salah,

    I grow up in Asmara, My best friend then and now is Muslim. We are not from the same ethnic background and religion was not a factor for our friendship, we are just neighbours and best friends. In my early age I only notice we have different religions during Edi when i go to his house to drink Bibita and Abaeke, and he comes to my house for swa ( i know some of you may judge him as swa is Haram in your religion) or soft drink during kudus Yohannes and Lidet. His father calls me Wedi Hawey all the time and he use to buy us movie pass for two of us. My mom and his mom are friends. that is how i perceived Eritrean social norm (pillars of our society) until i left my county 15 years ago. however thing are changed here where i am now. people are grouped by religion, region and ethnicity. i will give you an example some of our Muslim brothers refuse to participate to Eritrean community meeting because alcohol is served on meeting. Some of our Pente friends also refuse to participate, reason dancing (guaila). I adopt Pentecostal religion and i don’t drink alcohol and dance, but i still participate on community meetings. how are we going reconcile our difference and maintain our social norms (our Pillars).
    Thanks

  • EYOB

    WELL DONE.

  • saad musa

    “…between those who struggle for a complete liberation of Erirea and between those who struggle for the reformation of the rgime”

    Your above description of what’s crippling the rersistance force at the present time (if not all the time) deserves attention. It’s common knowledge that our struggle is to defeat oppression and attain liberation of our people. Thus, our struggle is for democracy, and that will take the dismantling of this incorrigible regime before it destroys our National Unity. Any talk about democracy while struggling to reform or keep any of the regime’s legasy is nothing other than a cover for ethnocracy. This issue should take it’s due attention in the resistance media.

  • Mashi

    Gadi, why can not you get this kind of reception in your back yard.WE know the majority of Eritrean refugees in Australia are from lowlands.Are you the voice of few.

    • Henock

      So the low lands are few and you want to abuse them AGAIN after the fall of issayas? NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. I PROMISE YOU!

  • Tedros Girmay

    Hello,

    From the images on the article and from the introduction of your speech “microcosm” of Eritrea, it sounds as if members from all communities were represented but the fact is that it was a small gathering by moslems who have nothing better to do but dream of leading Eritrea, my friend there is no prospect for that, Eritrea will not accept a moslem leader, no way not today not tomorrow, your community simply doesn’t have the required intelligence to lead, in my last comment I have raised a good example that is Jebha, you guys are just utter faillers, because of your twisted religion and beliefs you are genetically inferior (marring your sister)so stop your bullshit please.

    ==
    FROM MODERATOR:
    Tedros, you are getting the benefit of doubt because the posting guidelines were not available when our server was down. Pay attention to item 5 below:

    Posting Guidelines

    General: The purpose of the comments section is to provide feedback to the author and to facilitate discussion on issues raised by the author of the article. Try to stay on topic. All comments are moderated. If there is a delay in posting your comment, it is either on cue to be moderated and/or it is in violation of one of the posting guidelines and has been sent to the trash bin.

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    • Zegeremo

      What a pig!!! Peter’s father said “when you fight with a pig you both get dirty- but the pig likes it.” Our problem is you both are pigs, and guess what??? you both like to get dirty.

      • haile

        Thank you kokobey, bless you brother!

    • sara

      again, you permitted this bigot, to spew his venom on this forum
      is this intentional or just an oversight.

      salih, anonymous comments on the net are getting out of control and spoiling the civil and serious discussion about Eritrea.

      tedros could be the new foreign minister of ethiobia, i read his speech/talk he gave london in one paper, and he has same same flavor as what the tedros girmay have said.

      [from moderator: thanks for bringing it to our attention. The bouncer was half-asleep and Tedros and his filthy language made it through our bouncer.]

      • haile

        Sara,

        I does bother me too. My friend, the moderator, doesn’t even let slip a minor dot in my sentences if they happen to cross his guidelines, come to others they are granted a field day with all sorts of abuses. But saying that, I found a crafty way of knocking down those who bother me here, without waking up the moderator, who seems to be equipped with sensors to detect even the slightest movements on my part.

        [from moderator: thanks for bringing it to our attention. The bouncer was half-asleep and Tedros and his filthy language made it through our bouncer.]

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Haile,

        it seems you have got your place in the mind of people even though some time you have different ideas. you say things what you feel are right and people discuss with you. you should not compare with Tedros Girmay. most of the time you and me have different ideas, but i am happy to see you here because i learn a lot.

    • saad musa

      No wonder Ato Girmay Tedros have no clue of the whole issue- it’s not a muslim or christian leader; it is an issue of Rule of Law sanctioned by the whole people, for Justice, Equality, and Representation of our diversity. You seem to be a prisoner of of the era of Tedross, Yohanis the fourth, and now afwerqi. One thing for sure, you have nothing to do with Christianity,the teachings of Jesus, peace be upon him, of peace and love of neighbour, and every thing with bigotry. If you are aware of that, it is a calamity, and if you are not the calamity is even bigger. May God restore your sanity. What else can be said.

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Tedros,
      what makes this gathering only a Muslim gathering? I don’t even understand how you think such way when all contents of the article leads toward peace and understanding. and how do you call it Jebhas gathering? what makes me really crazy is even how do you call Jebha was/is the party of Muslims? aren’t you denying the sacrifice of all those hero Christians in that front? by the way do you know all parties and fronts were Jebha including EPLF?

      don’t you think calling any religion(even bud ism) leave alone Islam-one of the two big religions “twisted religion” is a crime?

      from you comment i can simply see your are not healthy my friend. you better take an inventory of you body and mind.

    • Salah Ejail

      Ayte Tedros Girmay,the hate Mongering little Hailesilasse boot licker ! I know you want to drag the main objective of this forum to Muslim -Christian argument .we will not be alarmed or even alerted .when I see Christians standing for their Muslim partners to defend them ,it is simply Real Eritreanism which shows the virtue of our altruistic behaviour .

    • haile

      Atse Tedros Gemechu,

      The problem you have emanates from your narrow perception of Eritrea and perhaps you never been there in your living memory. It is hard for someone like you to understand the facts on the ground in Eritrea. In simple terms the “Eritrean Moslems” as you happen to call them, actually own Eritrea, forget just lead it. They actually made it and have their footmarks in every inch of its embattled history. They lead its military, they lead its civilian institution, they lead and shaped its birth. I told you, they actually OWN it. You need to advise your narrow leaders of 3000years crusader ideologists that this is the reality they need to accept. From the massive coastlines, the fertile lowlands to the mineral rich zones, including its art, language and tradition they are the owners and will continue to be. You can only find your comfort in Axum or some place like that.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Thank you Mr.Saleh. here is my 2 minutes poem for you.

    …………….ኣይፋል…………..

    ኣይፋል ንተንበርካኽነት: ኣይባህልናን ነውሪ:
    ኤርትራዊ ሃገራውነት: ዋጋ ኣለዎ ክብሪ::

    ኣይፍል ንምልካውነት : ቀታሊ ኸታሪ:
    ኤርትራዊ መስዋእትነት: ሕድሪ እዩ ሕድሪ::

    ኣይፋል ንወገንነት: ከፋፋሊ ሰባባሪ:
    ኤርትራዊ ዛንታታት : ሓቛፊ ጠማሪ::

    እምቢ ኢልና ኣለና : ንኹሉ ዓማጺ:
    እምቢ ኢልና ኣለና: ንኽሉ ፍላጺ:
    ብውሑዳት ነይውሰን: ህዝቢ እዩ መራጺ:
    ህዝቢ እዩ ሰራሒ ህዝቢ እዩ ሃናጺ::

    ዓንዲ መትካል ኮይኑ ታሪኽና ይቕጽል:
    መጻአኢት ኤርትራ ንኹሉ ትውክል:
    ቅዋማ ዘርጊሓ ባንዲራ ተንበልብል:
    ብኩለን ብሄራት ኮሪዓ ትምእከል::

    Kokhob Selam

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Saleh,

    it takes long and deep understanding to see what you have done and what you are after. I found out that as usual you have done good job that history will record. some may think that is useless as that is not inside the country. but what you have done will have a big influence in side the country. people still think the old way..holding gun and fight. fighting is killing people as the coward politician will not fight but let the people who don’t know for what they are fighting pay their life. to let awaken is the greatest type of war. let people know the truth stand for their right and let the useless Mafia group be lonely as we are witnessing. And if we need the bloody war we are going to do it right to the head of the Mafia group.

  • rodab

    This Press TV guy named Ashanti, Ashafi or whatever his name is, he is a joke. He is worse than EriTV. On his interview with Ambassador Wedi Gerahtu, he asked useless questions and one of the questions, he just made it up completely. He said that “Obama’s troops are on the Ethiopian borders attacking your country”. What the heck!? That is a the biggest lie I’ve heard in a while! Even the Abassador said ” Well,I don’t know about the Obama troops”. Ashanti you are something!

    • sara

      rodab,
      why are you surprised,every body knows ethiobia has never been alone in its war with who ever it has a dispute whether local or foreighn. the british,americans,israel,russians,and again this days the americans have assisted ethiobia. haven’t you heard the DRONE base in ethiobia doing its killing Innocent civilians in somal and yemen.. didn’t you hear in the war against eritrea, the USA Africa command has provided ethiobia with armaments,logistical and satellite intelligence support.

      • Ethiopian

        So that so what?

  • Neguse

    The True sons of awate are the true patriots who sacrificed their life.Martyrs Debrom Tuluk,Abdulkadir Romodan Omer ezaz and the rest

  • kibrengest

    What you said about Eritrea’s predicament is true.
    “All this has happened because we betrayed our founding principles. We cowered, we loved ourselves, we feared sacrifice, in all its forms, life, family and property”

    Why not start the needed sacrifice by encouraging your brother face the fear of sacrificing his family for saving the country.He sure would have enabled a quick demise of the regime, if he dares to say what he know.

    you accused the supporters of the government and the opposition for not talking and listening to one another’s views, and yet you are happy when your opposition not only ignores but also punishes an individual for airing his and his party’s views.

    What a hypocrite!?

  • eden

    Well saleh is now becoming Tamagne Beyene of Eritrean moslims…have you done any fund rasining to strengthen Awate.org?

    • weddi muhammed

      Eden..
      i just reply to ur non-sense comment by saying the tigrinya proverb..
      “husur waga nebsu yehsireka.”….
      and by the way, i want to tell you that Gadi’s words above represent what is inside of most eritrean muslims. Gadi is only a brave one who said it out.
      So keep that in mind.

      • Kokhob Selam

        Eden,

        you better learn and face the truth. this man is serous and brave. as for me if people like Saleh are not around I could have been more narrow minded than you do. Just accept the reality and face it as some of us have done.

      • sara

        weddi muhammed,
        you are right she said some thing really nonsense,but what you mentioned on the second paragraph was unnecessary to say the least, because it is not true.

  • belay

    Dear haile,
    I thought it was your gvt, who refused to let Eritrean Muslim refuges to come back to their own country from the Sudan.I dont like the way Kaki put it but that is the realty in Eritrea,so kaki must be one of your DIABLOS country men(Eritrean).
    As Mr Gadi we can not acuse him for what he may do in the future.we must judge him by what he is doing now,which i believe he is burning like a candle for every body.The man does not look like Arab,(i mean physically) he is smart,he can make money differently and he has family to live behind,so it does not give sense to call him future Islamist because he is muslim.What is the christian Isyas doing to every body?.If you have Islamist gvt after Isayas what are going to lose any way? if you do not the chances are you may get another Isyas.

    • haile

      Dear belay,

      What can I say! It is like they say, never say never till it is over. I am surprised that your country has people left, who would hold half decent conversation with an Eritrean, yours being an example. I know division runs deep in your neck of the woods, so much so that you have to declare it on your personal ID. In any case, where is your evidence that it was specifically moslem refugees that were barred by the policy you choose to prostitute here? None. Right? You just have it in your blood to be that way, and only see things divisively. Eritrean Moslems are not only the very fabric of every section of its make up, but represent a towering giants in the history of its making and survival. To be Eritrean precludes the posibility of sharing your type of views. You can chew on that for now (You asked for a bone, didn’t you?).

  • Tsegaye Mebrahtu

    Current status understandable, but I tried to follow up the writer about past history. It is too shalow to consider it as a foundation unless we change meaning of history not as we want.

  • Yodita

    Dear Mr. Saleh Ghadi,

    You stated “These multi-layered identities are our diversity–it has always been with us and it will remain so. But those who see Eritrea as their private property are obsessed with remolding it according to their whims, and they are the cause of our present suffering and anxiety. That is the challenge that we are facing today; and they require fierce and resolute resistance, not wishy-washy attitudes and approaches.”

    The above truly defines our predicament as a very cunning clever individual along with some spineless unprincipled yes men has made of our country a private property moulded according to his own personal whims!!! The majority of Eritreans know or intuit this tragic reality but in the absence of (1) Plan A – how to remove this imposter from the seat of absolute power, and (2) Plan B – how to replace, albeit temporarily, the oppressive system by a group of people who would ensure a smooth transition towards democratic practices, in my view, addressing issues like recognition of icons becomes sort of luxury at this point in time.

    In a free democratic Eritrea where freedom of expression is a norm and not a crime, members of the society would be encouraged to debate (pro and con) their icons through all means of researched presentation, books, plays, movies, etc., to inform and educate citizens of the roles played by some of the great personalities, thus positively impacting the scarce recorded historical data that exists (thanks also to the negative role Hgdef plays in obscuring historical phenomenon), and thus giving our heroes the place in the heart of the people they truly deserve.

    Eritrea is full of unsung heroes who gave their youthful lives in order for their people to live in freedom and justice. DIA being who he is, hardly any mention is made of those Jeganu who sacrificed their youthful lives for a better tomorrow of their people. This does not mean however, that when we will have the right environment and we will bask in rule of law and in freedom of expression, floods of revelations will be made that will make us stand up proud and erect, celebrating true selflessness and altruistic heroic acts in our literature and arts and compensate for the present time when we are shamed by the inhuman acts of our own compatriots. Needless to say, Hamid Idris Awate will also occupy his rightful place as an icon and symbol of rebellion and freedom fighter.

    All this by way of saying, we have urgent matters (Plans A and B above) to resolve, where people of your calibre, Mr. Saleh Gadi, must play important roles in uniting and harnessing energies with the minimum platform in order to achieve Plan A. Our differences, although natural, will have to wait. We will indulge freely and at leisure in some very important but not so pressing issues (like our icons and interaction and equal opportunity between ethnic groups) when, Inshallah, we all go back home and are no longer under a YOKE.

  • Osman

    Was this an islamic congress? we are very strong in australia !!

    • saad musa

      Sayyed Osman,
      obviousley it was not an islamic congress. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with islamic or christian congresses in support of our oppressed people. Remember, WE are muslims, christians, and lots in between when it comes to Eritrea.

  • mickielle

    Saleh,

    those 5 recommendations you listed need to be translated into tigrinya and arabic and sent to smer room

  • Meley

    Merhab ya Saleh:

    Welcome back! You received a very warm welcome from the Eritrean community Down Under. I think this trip to Australia was really good for you. You came back more patriotic and prouder of the liberation struggle. You came back a “Super Patriot.” Socializing with your old ELF comrades and reminiscing about the old times can do that for you. I get the sense that your faith in the Eritrean character trait has been renewed.

    Regarding the comment you made about getting to know other Eritreans outside of one’s ethnic group, isn’t that what Sawa does? At Sawa, Eritreans from different tribes and regions of the country get to know each other and build friendships at a young age. No matter what you think of Sawa, it does erase ignorance and prejudice.

    Good to see that your faith in Eritrea and your compatriots has been renewed. May be you should take more trips like that. Do a European tour next. You will discover that Euro-Eritreans are even more patriotic and committed than Eritrean-Americans, although Eritrean-Americans are no slouches either. From the looks of it, it appears that Eritrean-Australians are second to none when it comes to their love of country.

    Did I hear you conclude one of your meetings by saying “Al Nassir le Jamahirya” (Awet n Hafash in Arabic). Boy, Australia really was a damn good trip for you. It knocked some sense into you. Taking a prolonged time off from Weyane sympathizers does the soul some good don’t it?

    How about you let Saleh Younis take a trip somewhere next and you man the fort for a little while? He doesn’t have your gravitas so he won’t receive the red carpet treatment you did but it could do him some good as well. He could re-discover his Eritrean roots and may be start acting more Eritrean.

    Just a thought.

    P.S. You really did receive a VIP welcome Down Under.

  • Tergum zeiheb neger heferu.

  • GM

    Dear Salih,

    We were/we are, as usual expecting a strong article in defense of your brother,the brilliant DEFECTOR MINISTER ALI ABDU and IAs best SERVANT, but what we get is only a lovely picnic story in Australia and a determined mood to attack Kernelios and also a strong will to educate/reeducate all of us poor Eritreans with empty propaganda about Awate the Shifta.

    Kernelios deserves respect at least for the reason that he is not ‘operated by Arab/Egypt interests like Awate the Shifta the Kunama murderer.

    Frankly we are tired take lectures/preaches from Arab/Egypt Servants and Sympathizers -The Awate staff.

    • Haben

      GM
      We are also tired from people who are trying to establish Abay Tigray led by Issayas Afwereki and his clique like GM.

  • Omer

    Hi Saleh G.
    wondeful and fruitful trip and buitful pics from the trip.Dear Mr Gadi you forgot to mention what you seen in your trip going to the future about Forto…lol. , I never knew you can travel to the future..lol your photos are all labled from Jan-12013 to Dec-12013…..lol

  • Haregot

    “Aytibkey endiyu zebkiyeni” tibl Weyni Haftey! You nailed it! If something is done sooner, the pillars will crumble into pieces!!!!!

  • Amanuel

    Hi Sales Gadi
    To be honest Karki was not worth your reply. Please do not go down to this level.

    Regarding the September incident about Awate I feel there is lack of knowledge about his history. I have read a piece, i think was on Arkobkobay. It was only about the short period of leading the struggle. You are defending the Awate legacy strongly but defending is not enough. We need written life history based on research and facts. I believe you are better equipped to deliver it.

    • Amanuel

      Sorry Saleh damn outcorrection.

  • Eritrea is not an Arab or a muslim country. What is your intension Awate group really you are against Awate the founder of Eritrean struggle and unity.

    • Haregot

      Who said that Higdefawi?

  • This is well discussed issue but where in Australia I think it is better to do it in Eritrea.

  • STEFANOS TEMOLSO

    Dear Saleh, wit due respect, if you are saying we must have the right to remember the truth and Eritrea is not for the few alone, I advise anyone from whatever ethnic group or religion he is to let the minorities like the Kunama, Nara, Afar have their own interpretation of History. I respect not only Hamed Idris Awate but evry Eritrean who has struggled for the emancipation of the land and the people. But no one can tell me which one to resoect more, Abudlkader Kebire or Awate, Ibrahim Sultan or Raesi Tessema. This is not the issue at hand. The issue is, we must unite against the dictator. We will not fight amongst ourselves because of Eritrea’s many cions.

    • Saleh Gadi

      Dear Stefanos, I don’t think anyone is denying the right of anyone to have their own interpretation of history. But as a nation, we need to have common denominator, we cannot afford to have this leaky, jelly-like notion of not having a national narration. See, one person doesn’t equal an entire social group unless he is a warlords or a tyrants. Now, who said people cannot have their own interpretation of history?

      • STEFANOS TEMOLSO

        If you mean I so I totally agree with you, what I actually mean is we should not give too much weight for side issues but concentrate against the barbaric regime. If we want to respect our history and our Icons, the only way is just to unite and destroy the enemy as one man, from inside and outside! Anyhow I thank you for your arduous effort in the national struggle.

  • Asli

    Kaki I believe you are Ethiopian trying to show we have problem in religion, kindly let the forum. Thanks most Eritrean are ken enough to understand your mission.

  • Haben

    Dear Saleh,
    HIGDEF will soon be nebre-nebre. The time is over to eliminate HIGDEF. Peace and Justice will flourish in Eritrea.

  • Haqi

    What’s up with title? Prespect or prospect of tomorrow. Nice article gadi

  • Papillon

    Dear Saleh Gadi,

    You’re an invaluable asset to our endearing Eritrea. I envy your energy and sense of commitment to the ideals you believe in. I won’t be surprised to see you in a leadership in a free and democratic Eritrea. Welcome back hawey.

    • rodab

      Not to discourage anyone or anything but free and democratic Eritrea in the next 20-30 years is a tall order.
      I am assuming that’s your vision since you wish to see Ghadi in a leadership role and I assume that has to happen before he hits 90 yrs old lol…no hard feeling Ghadi! Just a combo of humor and reality!

  • Neguse

    Salih you are not happy with higdef flag displayed by some of the opposition here i see you delivering a speech and higdef flag behind you

    • Saleh Gadi

      Haha, I can only air my views, I cannot force on people my view of decorating a room, that part is bad taste:-)

  • yohannes

    it doesnt make sence,going to australia,to ethiopia,and some where but not eritrean soil, you look like you gave up your hope after your master MELESE died, you starting to critisize weyane for not doing nothing against eritrea,its good to go some places to meet eritrean if you have vacation time money,But your travel i think could be bear fruit if you go to sudan then cross eritrean border then travel to,HAWASHAIT , MOGORAIB,HASHHASH,LOCAIB,etc, and meet the local eritrean people,hadendwa,tigre, and have (seminar) meeting with them, and have JEBENET with them,,,,,,

    • Saleh Gadi

      Excellent idea Yohannes, could you be kind enough to tell me where I can get a visa to visit a country held hostage by the PFDJ brigands? Your other points (points?) are educational. thank you.

      • yohannes

        Salih, you dont need visa or any thing to travel to hawashait, hashenkit,and meet the locals to have AKEBA with them ,just wear jelebiya & auma you can get camel from locals ,then some people can tell you which part of the border is free from border guards(check points) i know its very very hard, even to travel 1/2 KM in that area is challenging i been through that,if you guys are more interested about eritrean people the heart of movement should be in those people living in barka sahil hamasien etc , even now i tell you and i believe people(eritrean) living in australia usa europe, after you done with your meeting(seminar)that is it ,they go to their daily lives ,they can do nothing,you know what the opposition groups(leaders)lacking is sacrifice, we just talk too much and we always wanted somebody to get in to fire, just you need guts sacrifice , you dont need any visa or permission to travel to kerkebet etc,,

  • haile

    Sal.G

    Welcome back!

    It seems well organized and warmly attended to activity. I have just started watching the videos, an English subtitle in some of them would be great.

    Thank you and welcome though.

  • Efrem

    Sir:

    What is the meaning of EJAP? You didn’t specify in your first mention about what EJAP means.

    Efi

    • Saleh Gadi

      Appologies, it is EAJP (Eritrean Australians For Peace And Justice)

      • karki

        Aslamay adi yeblu awdi yeblu! So for which country are you lamenting for. By the way, all the delegates looks like seb jelebya who have pigmentation on their forheads. Most probably they seemed from Pakistan medressas.

        • Saleh Gadi

          Yes, little bigot, I had people like you in mind when I wrote this, “…..And the shaking and damaging of the pillars that is going on today under the command of the Eritrean regime, and other chauvinistic and bigoted revisionists, those who use effigies as frontmen, are the eminent danger.” You must be one of those effigies.

      • haile

        Kaki;

        I think your government, TPLF, has just dismissed millions of Ethiopian Moslems as terrorists. Sure enough they are playing with fire, but that is yours and your TPLF’s problem. Don’t try to inject your dirty politics here on Eritrean forums, you have ethiomedia or aiga or ethioreview to pass along that kind of crap.

      • Abe

        Hawna Saleh
        The last time i read the proverb it mentioned on the above article was 1976 from the law book called ADkeme Meliga when i was helping reading the old men in the village.All the proverb was written in the back pages of that book.WE were saddned the way it was written,how to divide and rule gets and implemented by Aboy JAnHOY.you post this s. comment as a moderator for what purpuse. sorry my english it is not as good as yours and others” kab bahaLiu s DEgamue” refrain from ????

      • sara

        what a mischievous person is this karki, as haile said he should be someone from the south of the border,and the worst thing is
        the moderator has allowed this dirt to come up here on the screen.this should have gone right to the trash box…
        i am angry with the gate keeper!