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The Endangered Brown Frog Of Eritrea

“Robbing Paul to pay Peter, is a common saying. Our Dellalas (brokers and careerists) pretend be Paul and Peter in on. The article below was written in Jan 12, 2011; I think it’s till relevant. My apologies to the few (very few) that I respect who made the last pilgrimage to London, including Profs Kjetil Tronvoll and Bereket Habte Selassie. Please note that since December last, we heard of five such pilgrimages disguised as “Eritrean opposition” affairs. I wish the brokers stopped promoting (or insinuating) their do-nothing  luxury events are about the Eritrean predicament when most people know they’re just like a lecture political science professors give to their students. I also wish the deep-pocketed NGOs realize the millions of dollars they paid were vacation expenses, Eritreans owe them nothing for the generosity in funding such events. On the contrary, they owe activists an apology for encouraging and sustaining confusion, and blurring the just and selfless struggle of many Eritreans. Until I deliver the topic in my Negarit video program, please continue reading.


(First published on Jan 12, 2011 @15:48) I swear I never intended to write about any NGO or Ngdet (in the plural) after the one I wrote in April of 2010, but I was not so inspired that I had to do it again. Blame it on a certain scholar, Sga Aboy ille—he made one stupid comment too many, a comment that was hard to ignore, and I decided Mkhri klggselu.

People ask me what my problem with the NGO’s is. They are many. And my problem with those whose profession is knocking at the doors of NGOs is even more. They are the same people who keep defaming anyone they cannot control of “advancing foreign interests” (read Ethiopian) but it never occurs to them that all they do is advance the agendas of foreign NGOs with money. I wouldn’t have a problem if they followed the craze of the time and campaigned for the protection of the endangered Green Frog of Kansas; or global warming, or any other trivial pet-project they choose. The problem starts when they present their milk-cow projects as if  it is the concern of Eritreans.

Nothing of what our delusional friends espouse is in the priority list of the common Eritrean. For example: “is peace with our neighbors” something Eritreans spend a great amount of time obsessing over? I bet they don’t. Why? It is simply because they do not have enmity towards their neighbors and they know their neighbors have no enmity towards them. So, why do our dellalas bother? Do we have problems with Somalis, Djiboutians or the Sudanese? We do not. No Eritrean outside the PFDJ fold has social relations problem with anyone. I believe that most of the activities that are piggybacked on the suffering of Eritreans are scam, save the low profile activism (of rare personalities) like Elsa Chyrum.

In the seventies and early eighties, communism was the craze and one had to raise socialist slogans to get funds and assistance. Socialist countries were milked until their tits secreted blood. The generous Scandinavians were distributing money through their church and socialist institutions—now it seems that function is fully privatized. These days, communist slogans don’t buy you a sandwich; but slogans of Human Rights, Dialogue, Sustainable Development, Capacity Building, Politcal Party building and other high sounding ideals give you a living and job security—that is, if you are willing to offer your slogans as a self-serving investment. It seems Western countries, specially Europeans, have sub contracted their foreign policy to individuals; and those individuals have set up NGO facades and in turn they sub contract their money making projects to other individuals. Now, the foreign policy of wealthy Western countries is totally privatized. And the NGOs run their business like for-profit entities—they have to grow their budgets and expenditures every year so that they can ask for more grants the following year. By the end of the fiscal year, when businesses rush to reconcile their accounts, NGOs and their sub contractors rush to spend what is left of the budget. Most of them lack transparency and there is little when it comes to accountability—a cause for my suspicion that they could have sub contracted some intelligence projects. That is my problem with NGOs. They act like neo-colonizers trying to impose their agendas on poor countries.

My disappointment is that they find willing Eritrean facades to implement those agendas; and nothing good comes from those pretentious entities. I wish the money-givers focused on charitable organizations, those who dirty their hands among the refugees and the destitute of our people. For God’s sake, hundreds of thousands of refugees are languishing in the camps, for decades, and the dellalas want to reconcile Eritreans with the Sudanese and Ethiopians, people who are hosting Eritrean refugees!  Uggghh.

The Poor Patron Saint Of Atlanta

The Amhara say, “Genzeb kalle besemay menged alle.” Again I say there are enough people determined to stop the deception march through the skies. If they can’t, maybe Abajggo would come to their rescue and park huge clouds in that despicable ‘yesemay menged’.

Unlike the patron saints of Brussels, London and Brighton, the poor patron saint of Atlanta must be furious. Not many people heard, let alone talk, about the peace that the Horn of Africa was blessed with from the land of Martin Luther King—remember the man who cried peace, walked peace and was genuine?  That Atlanta, where our Peace In The Horn Peddlers held another Ngdet. The “peace movement” that started in London to reconcile Eritreans, and then changed its mind and decided to reconcile Eritreans with Ethiopians in Brighton, and then deceided to reconcile the entire population of the Horn of Africa in Atlanta. Rejoice Horn people, peace is coming. Rejoice Eritrea, your sons and daughters will deliver you out of the dark clouds.

Bob Marley, the man who thought Haile-Selassie was god, had a song: ‘I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints and then I smoke two more.’ True to that cycle, your sons and daughters  made declarations after the meeting that was followed by a meeting that discussed the venue of the next meeting.

The correction of this drama depends on the success of some genuine citizens who are exerting  pressure in pursuit of a goal to uncover the scam projects; and the really concerned people who are objecting the inclusion of a “classified information clause” in the deliberations. Someone is already “fed up” with such attempts. Of course, anyone who has milked the cow by himself would want to distribute the milk as he wishes. He would even have the right to tell anyone to stop asking so  many silly questions about the origin of the milk and the color of the cow. He might even tell them: just receive your ticket, fly your bottom to anywhere you are told to fly, sit, listen and go back home feeling honored that you are brought to the conferences in the first place.  Is that too much to ask in pursuit of peace for the lovely people of the Horn? He seems to be wondering.

Even the signora from Brussels had another thing going on last year (before the funding season elapses) and I haven’t heard much from it yet. Oh naughty Eritreans! You even betrayed the patron saint of Brussels! Not a word about it!

Back To Ngdet

Our typical scholar found a religious connotation in my article that I mentioned above; he seemed to object to my use of the term Ngdet, simply because it was a Tigrigna word. Never mind such ignorance. The scholar and his likes seem to want to stop me from using Tigrigna words, my own language—and do you know why? I am not saying. But I have used an exact translations of Ngdet in the Arabic version of the article, Hawliya (which the scholar probably believes I am allowed to use). They both mean pilgrimage. But as they say, Tqa Hawi zelo Qola’a aytebki—a child in a smoky room is susceptible to tearing up. Therefore, since they don’t teach enough traditional Tigrgna terms in college, I will offer him this lesson: I used Ngdet to avoid using Mlham Berbere.

Unfortunately, you cannot have ‘Mlham Berbere‘ without a weddings; and you cannot have a wedding without men and women; and I believe Eritreans would appreciate help in unseating the criminal regime that is holding them by the throat—and preventing them from weddings their children. And I will join any group that is willing to get money from any deep pocketed NGO to unseat the PFDJ regime; to save the refugees and to fund a commando operation to free all the forced conscripts from Sawa. Specially the girls who would have been brides and having a family instead of growing old in servitude. Eritreans are not interested in saving the green frog, they need to save their lives. The life of the poor frog is not in their priority. But let’s pray for the wellbeing of frogs anyway; it is another pet-project. Let’s also pray that God keeps the temperature of the world stable and saves the ice cap of Mt. Kilimanjaro so that our friends can meet and celebrate the peace of the Horn under the majestic mountain. But please, keep the refugees and the forcefully conscripted and ransomed youngsters in your mind.

Incidentally, I heard that the brown frog is becoming extinct in Eritrea. This is the one that eats mosquitoes; and if we do not save the brown frog, our people would be overwhelmed by mosquitoes, fall ill with malaria, and there is no Boutros Boutros-Ghali to offer them his jet to the Israeli tropical disease hospital. And they cannot trek there either; I heard the Bedouins have taken over the task of patrolling the Egyptian side of the border with Israel and selling entry tickets to Israel—and the pass tickets are very expensive. To avoid all these problems, I suggest our bleeding-heart “peacnikcs” start a ‘Save The Brown Frog’ movement to save Eritrea. See!

It is wise to focus on the root cause. Any volunteer who can write a funding proposal to the deep pockets of Europe?

Finally, with the hope of arousing the interest of the NGOs and their sub-contractors to the plight of Eritrean would-have-been brides and bridegrooms, I have attempted to compose an Anglicized version of an Eritrean traditional song; lyrics of a farewell song that our folks sing at the confines of a village as they see off the bride going to the bridegroom’s village. Eritreans have lost that luxury since the regime began to forcefully haul their daughters to military camps. Now they are coerced to sing the regime’s tunes, in the regime’s festivals. Of course Eritreans sing voluntarily when they bid hyphenated political tourists farewell—to wherever there is another meeting. Here’s my national obligation to bid farewell to our Dellalas as they go from one Ngdet to another.  it is a remote equivalent of the Eritrean version: affanina ruba ‘sagirna—atenakumye…

We saw them off crossing the river
We saw them off fly to the grey skies
That didn’t (and will not) fall
We saw them off…
At the banks of the River Thames
We saw them off…
At the Gatwick terminal
They waved, we waved
They cried, we shed tears
And we ululated
As we saw them off to Belgium.

Some caught the Shnell Tsug
(Now baptized, The Reisen Express)
It’s an excursion to Brussels
Where they will stroll the fairgrounds
To sell and buy stale products
At the political stalls, and dark kiosks
The money-changers will announce the wares
With shy megaphones
They’ll  make a kill, a seasonal loot.

And the bidders will head South
Or, so they declared
To Wed’lhelew, to Wed-sherife
To Kilo 26, to Aroma, to the rest of the desolate camps
But the flight captain lost his navigation map
The plane headed West instead
It will soon land in the land of the peanuts
To recruit more uncles, and aunts…
A four-man crowd waited at the terminal.

Soon the season will be over
The Kangaroo trip will be declared a success
B’Awet tezazimu!
Then it’s time for migration, like birds
With fake peacock feathers…
Do peacocks migrate, or just gracefully pace?

But birds with fake feathers do migrate
Back to frigid Europa
Where the Reisen Express is planning
For yet another excursion, for the next season
Another season of expected bounties
In the land of political enterprises.

Come Ethiopia, come all
Come Djibouti, come all
Come Sudan, come…which Sudan?
Come Somalia, in many pieces
Eritrean Dellalas have peace for you,
And pieces for their people

Long live destitution
Long live auction markets
Long live the political stock market
Where sufferings fetch the highest price,
Where pretension goes for charity
Where workers curve steel wedges
For the dire markets of 2011.

Long live the Eritrean misery
Long live the deep pockets…
Dollars and silver…
But not a cent for the hunched back
Eritreans, who carry the label on their shoulders
The discounted sales price of their misery.

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

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  • mokie berhe

    Salam Saleh Johar. Are we not omitting the important larger picture? The largest benefactor to international and national NGOs is the United Nations who sub-contracts a substantial potion of its work and when done so thru national NGOs, such process is heralded as nationalization of localization under the U.N. MDGs and SDGs.. Many here remained silent in regards to the U.N.s’ unwillingness to pressure Ethiopia to comply with the final and binding EEBC decision. Moreover, many here either remained silent of even supportive of unjustified U.N. sanctions against Eritrea, while at the same time, Ethiopia (TPLF) continued to illegally occupy Eritrean land.

  • Selamat Ayya Saleh Johar,

    “For God’s sake, hundreds of thousands of refugees are languishing in the camps, for decades, and the dellalas want to reconcile Eritreans with the Sudanese and Ethiopians, people who are hosting Eritrean refugees! Uggghh.”

    I do see your point of where the funding collected by Eritreans should have really been applied towards. It is sad to learn that such efforts by the elite is for the valueless projects and purposes. You implied or outright charged the current London Conference is more of the same trend as 2011facades.
    I am not quite sure if what I have just finished viewing on Snitna.com is a continuation of the London Conference. Three individuals who say they are from group 2 are addressing pal talk audience with the topic title Road Map to Democracy. Though there might be some value to their effort of uniting the diaspora Eritreans, I feel giving priority to educating and organizing Eritreans inside Eritrea would be a much more worth while effort. Anything short of this I could see how it can be viewed as Ngdet.

    You have a very leathal or deadly pen. If only we can get more of it in the present time with details of all the happenstances. Is the only alternative left for us is to fold our arms sit back and wait patiently. Oh yeah, I forget our favorite pass time to have a good Qoyqi and shouting match in the forum – It may be worth something in the end I suppose.

    So you say it is the same all tired trend nearly ten years later. Okay, I get it.

    tSAtSE

  • Ayneta

    Awate;
    My comment has been marked a scam and deleted.

  • Ayneta

    Dear Awate people:
    The deep mistrust among us.
    When it comes to managing change in Eritrea, most of us claim we want change but we don’t have a clear idea who should bring the change. We belittle any initiative that doesn’t conform with our version of change, and we do it from the comfort of our home. We have profoundsense of mistrust hovering over us and we don’t even want to address it. We want to shrug it off as if it will take care of itself. We pretend we are all unified against the regime in Asmara, but when it comes to details,we are as divided as it gets. Sometimes I can’t help but think: what if our wishes come true. Are we ready to manage the change as we should? To me, I am afraid the answer is BIG NO. ELF is wary of EPLF, ELPF/PFDJ is wary of the larger public, Muslim are wary of Christians and vice versa, Lowlanders are suspicious of highlanders and vice versa, Akeleguzay are wary of Hamasien/seraye people…Jeberti are making their own plans without consulting the rest of the society. Our division is profound and extensive along multiple fissures. Such division is reflected in the way we handle initiatives that may come from people who are different from us-whether it is politically or otherwise.

    A case at hand, when Ambassador Menkerios penned an article recently, some of us condemned him as ”snake that bite the hand”, and that he is not to be trusted. In my opinion, all he did was put his thought processes in what is going on, and he did it brilliantly, but for some people, it was not enough. They expected him to be ‘’clean hand’’ before he could air out his views. The guy probably was minding his business all these years (just like most of us) that may explain his hiatus from politics. He may have also committed mistakes that some hold as serious. But now he wants to come public and share his thoughts (just like most of us). Some of us judged him out rightly and relegated his ideas as ‘’breath from the devil’’. Sad!

    We should all remember anyone and everyone has the right to participate in the change process we are spearheading, no matter what their prior past history is, as long as they do it with clear consciousness. Intension is what matters. We need help from as many Eritreans as possible. The more diverse the stakeholders, the more inclusive the change is, thus better outcome ( prosperity, freedom, respect, tolerance, sustainability of change etc). The change should be inclusive, otherwise we risk of committing the same mistake that PFDJ did, may be even worse. Tolerance should be the first step towards imaging the envisioned change in the country.

    • Mokie Berhe

      Hi Ayneta. Thanks for your comments. The opposition inability to come to consensus on possible individual(s) to replace the PIA/PFDJ regime causes considerable mistrust. Most opposition camps are simply not willing to put forth possible names, or leadership platform composition, and instead simply cry for the replacement of the regime and completely refuse to consider scenarios where change/reform occurs from within Eritrea.

  • Millennium

    excuse me, friends, I must catch my jet
    I’m off to join the Development Set;
    My bags are packed, and I’ve had all my shots
    I have traveller’s checks and pills for the trots!

    The Development Set is bright and noble
    Our thoughts are deep and our vision global;
    Although we move with the better classes
    Our thoughts are always with the masses.

    In Sheraton Hotels in scattered nations
    We damn multi-national corporations;
    injustice seems easy to protest
    In such seething hotbeds of social rest.

    We discuss malnutrition over steaks
    And plan hunger talks during coffee breaks.
    Whether Asian floods or African drought,
    We face each issue with open mouth.

    We bring in consultants whose circumlocution
    Raises difficulties for every solution –
    Thus guaranteeing continued good eating
    By showing the need for another meeting.

    The language of the Development Set
    Stretches the English alphabet;
    We use swell words like “epigenetic”
    “Micro”, “macro”, and “logarithmetic”

    It pleasures us to be esoteric –
    It’s so intellectually atmospheric!
    And although establishments may be unmoved,
    Our vocabularies are much improved.

    When the talk gets deep and you’re feeling numb,
    You can keep your shame to a minimum:
    To show that you, too, are intelligent
    Smugly ask, “Is it really development?”

    Or say, “That’s fine in practice, but don’t you see:
    It doesn’t work out in theory!”
    A few may find this incomprehensible,
    But most will admire you as deep and sensible.

    Development set homes are extremely chic,
    Full of carvings, curios, and draped with batik.
    Eye-level photographs subtly assure
    That your host is at home with the great and the poor.

    Enough of these verses – on with the mission!
    Our task is as broad as the human condition!
    Just pray god the biblical promise is true:
    The poor ye shall always have with you.

    -Ross Coggins

  • cool

    hi,
    i wonder , those who advocate their whole life long for the unrealistic cause of arabc be a national language in eritrea , suddenly claim tigrigna is their mother language.

  • Haile S.

    Selam Saleh,

    Two events left me mistrustful on NGOs. One was in the mid 80s during the famine in Ethiopia, when I saw university graduates flocking to becomes drivers of NGO for salaries much higher than government salaries crashing in some way the ideal we had of graduating and serving and enjoying your science. The culprit here understandably is not the colleague who chose to be the driver; I don’t blame you if you say I was jealous BTW. The second was when I read Graham Hancock’s book, the Lords of Poverty (also translate to french as Nababs de la Pauvreté, the one I read) exposing the modus operandi of these organizations, a great book to read.
    Now, in matters of politics and diplomacy, is there a luxury in overpassing them? Admitting that their financial muscle is far reaching, is there anyway of making them useful? Could you Saleh look into ways of making them amenable and willing to concentrate mainly on the objectives of a meeting more than on the individuals they bring on your next Negarit video you promised. Anyone is welcome to chip in too.

    P.S. I agree with you to put NGO money in search first and protection of the very elusive and the only endemic frog from in Eritrea, Rana demarchii that haven’t been seen since its first description by Scortecci in 1929.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Haile,
      I read Hanckok’s book which a friend sent me as a gift. It seems he wanted me to be angrier:-)
      Finding the frog is your job, not mine–“weriduni gual qeshi” as two famous forum members would say. I read about it at about the same time I wrote the article above. Then I was amazed and hoped some NGO’s would fund a breeding project to make that endemic frog to multiply like rabbits. Then I forgot about it–in fact I wanted to write a new article and then remembered I have written so many with similar theme and I was afraid I would be repeating myself.

      I will make a proposal hoping someone would convince the deep pockets to have mercy of Eritrean activists and stop funding the confusion their money is creating.
      Thank you for the input

      • Selamat Ayya Saleh Johar,

        Help me out here by your generosity tp educate me. What is exactly the confusion created due tp the funding by these NGOs? It is all vague and crippted old article which I am not convinced of its relevance. Can you spell it out in layman’s terminology for a dumb person like me. I need “For Dumies NGOs and Eritrean activists from A to Z.” The only source of funding publicly listed regarding the latest conference is a US Congress for Democracy or something similar which I will fish out later. I read it on the Eritrea hub website which I believe belongs to the organizers Eritrea Focus.

        I beg your pardon, but I do not feel informed and feel rather short changed by the promise “Inform Embaolden….” the Awate mantra. Rather a gloomy theory is creeping up in my thoughts. The theory is regarding the outsourcing of the Weyanes “no war no peace” policy. The theory involves the identifying of those who are recipients who are seemingly deploying the outsourced policy while the Weyanes tend to their own business. Before I engage in such theorizing please explicitly draw the picture of the confusion created by the fundings.

        tSAtSE

        • Paulos

          Selam Tsatse Arkey,

          You are not alone. I am still trying to figure out the purpose of resurfacing of an old article.

        • Saleh Johar

          TsaTse,
          You are not alone. Anyone who lived through the journey has to revert to their memories and that would help. Otherwise, if you do not understand it, skip it. Awate informs but doesn’t guarantee 100% grasp. No one can. If a small portion get it, it’s fine. But please stop such fruitless insinuations, the last time we saw it it didn’t end well. Slow down. BTW, everyone has aunts and uncles but some people think they only have them. And that was what my comment was about. If you still do not get it, please try reading the comment again. Could I ask you one favor? Okay, help me avoid this road. Thank you.

    • Hashela

      Selam Haile

      According to the Eritrean Gov. report of 2015*, Rana demarchii is observed in Eritrea since 1993.

      *REVISED NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY AND
      ACTION PLAN FOR ERITREA
      (2014-2020) November 2015

      • Haile S.

        Thank you Hashela,
        This document contains a lot of interesting information. It is alo an example where donors ares are formally acknowledged. Their name is listed on the bottom of the cover page. May be it would have helped if the NGOs in question published meeting proceedings (briefly abstracts first followed weeks after by full reports) quickly and put the list of donors and participants in a transparent manner like it is done in scientific meeting.

        • Hashela

          Haile

          With R. demarchii as an endemic species and the drum as a tool for awareness raising and a small modification (left upper corner), Saleh’s drawing could easily pass as an emblem of the Department of Herpetology within the Center for Biodiversity Research in Mrara, the wettest place in Eritrea.

          • Haile S.

            Hashela,
            Great idea! I agree. Incidentally, did you go to Kyrgyzstan to study the Yak? You sound well versed in wild life.

          • Hashela

            Haile
            Though I was offered fermented Yak and Horse milk in Kyrgyzstan, no I am not a wild life biologist and also not a herpetologist.

          • Hashela

            Haile
            my expertise falls within the intersection of chemistry and physics

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Hashela,

            Then Call it “Physical Chemistry”

          • Hashela

            Selam Amauel

            other call it Isotope Chemistry

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Hashela,

            “Isotope Chemistry” first to my ears as a separate field of study.

          • Hashela

            Selam Amanuel

            not a separate field but a speciality within chemistry/physics.

          • Paulos

            Hashela,

            From Physics point of view, what do you think is the function of Neutrons except that they play sort of an anchor for the atom [as they are heavier in mass] and they decay in radioactive process through the “Weak Force” and turn into Protons and “Leptons” when the quarks turn from up to down quarks.

            I am asking you, the reason that, it is the electrons which play an important role in chemical reactions which is in the realm of Chemistry and which also affects us directly but again wouldn’t you say, splitting the atom or fusing the atom where the Neutron is part of is limited to a sense of curiosity to know how the stars are formed or to know how the universe began using the Hadron Super Collider in Geneva, for instance?

          • Hashela

            Paulos

            It is a common misconception that chemical reactions are driven only by the electron # and electron configuration of the elements and molecules in question. There is a process called isotope fractionation reaction which is driven only by the number of neutrons, i.e. the mass difference of isotopes of the same element or molecule. That process is observed and manifested in many reversible and irreversible chemical reactions and biological processes. The recognition of this reaction opened a new and useful tool to answer not only astronomical questions, but also several practical questions in the field forensic, food science, ecology, environment, past climate, bio-archeology (paleo-diet).

            Allow me to explain by taking several simplified steps. It is a bit technical and not easy to digest for everybody.

            I) Let’s take CO2 (carbon dioxide) and focus only in the carbon
            (for simplicity, assume that the oxygen atoms in the carbon dioxide are consisting of the same isotope, say 16O). Carbon (C) has two stable natural isotopes, namely 12C and 13C and a cosmogenic isotope 14C. So we have three types of CO2 (carbon dioxide): 12CO2 (C with 6 protons and 6 neutrons), 13CO2 (C with 6 protons and 7 neutrons), 14CO2 (C with 6 protons and 8 neutrons). We will focus on the stable carbon isotopes.

            II) As you know, every molecule vibrates and the vibration frequency (f) of a molecule for a given temperature is a function of the mass of the molecule. The vibration frequency (f) of a molecule is inversely correlated to the mass (m): f=(2k/m)^1/2. k is a constant and is independent of the isotopes. So 12CO2
            (molecular mass: 44) has a higher vibration frequency than 13CO2 (molecular mass: 45) because the former is lighter than the latter.

            III) Because very molecule has a vibration frequency (f), it follows that every molecule must have a vibration energy (E): E=f*h*(n+1/2). f is the vibration frequency, h is the Planck constant and n is the state energy level. For absolute zero (Kelvin=0, °C=-273.5) n is 0 (n=0). As a result, the equation
            can be simplified to: E=f*h

            From the above equation, it follows that for a given temperature 12CO2 (the lighter carbon dioxide) has a higher vibration energy than 13CO2, a key observation. In the natural world, a high energy level means less stability; and it means that it requires less energy to break up the less stable molecule.
            Consequently, the dissociation energy that is required to break up 12CO2 is smaller than that is needed to break up 13CO2.

            IV). Now think about photosynthesis: 12CO2 diffuses faster than 13CO2 into the plant (diffusion is mass dependent). Once in the internal space of the plant, the plant preferentially takes up 12CO2 because it requires less energy to break up (dissociate) this molecule relative to 13CO2 (the energy difference
            is tiny). So the products of photosynthesis have high 12C/13C.

            V) Agricultural plants like barely, wheat etc (ስገም፣ ስርናይ) belong to a plant group (“C3-plants”) that photosynthesize in an open system. This means during the photosynthesis CO2 diffuses in and out of the plant, enabling the plant to be very selective. In other words, the CO2 reservoir of the plant is constantly replenished. So the plant can preferentially take up 12CO2 (the
            light carbon dioxide), leading to a characteristically very high ratio of 12C/13C in the plant products.

            Corn, sorghum, legume (ዕፉን፣ ማሸላ፣ ባልዶንጋ፣ ዓተር፡ ዓይኒ ዓተር) belong to a different plant group (“C4-plants”) that evolved over the last 8 million years in response to a major climate change (low atmospheric CO2 concentration (ረቂቅ ድርዕቶ) and, as a result, relatively cold climate). Those plants don’t have an open system and therefore can’t be selective with regard to CO2. As a result, the products of these plant have a distinctively low ratio of 12C/13C.

            So the carbon isotope finger print of the former group (ጉጅለ ስገም) is fundamentally different than that of the latter ((ጉጅለ ዕፉን).

            VI) With a constant offset called trophic enrichment, the 12C/13C finger prints of wheat or corn is recorded in the consumers’ bones and tooth enamel (a mineral called bio-apatite). For example, if one gets a molar of a person it can be established whether that person was preferentially consuming ጎጎ (ስገም) or ብኽዖ (ዕፉን) or ጥጥቖ (ባልዶንጋ) by analyzing the 12C/13C the tooth enamel layers.

            Similarly, the isotope composition of rainfall (water) say in Agordat and Adi Quala is completely different and predictable and it is archived in the consumers’ bone and tooth enamel.

            The practical application of isotopes of H, C, O, and N is broad and diverse. Just to mention few:
            It is used in forensics, food science, for example whine origin and whether sugar was added to the whine (adding sugar in whine is prohibited in Europe), and the origin of prohibited plant extracts, tracking migration paths of marine and terrestrial animals, ecology, environmental changes, climate reconstruction, and archeology (paleo-diet) and so on.

          • Millennium

            Hi Hashela:

            Very interesting and educational

            Millennium

          • Haile S.

            Selam Hashela,
            Superb! Your professorship exudes here! Just one minor comment/question concerning the bio-apatite. In the examples you gave, is there any carbon in the mineral hydroxyapatite or are you referring to the carbone present in the collagen and adamantine matrix proteins present in bone and teeth, respectively? By ‘bio-‘ you might be referring to these proteins.
            Best regards

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear Hashela
            That was superb. I wonder if you also do teachings. I wish we had a specific science day where Paulosay, Fanti Ghana, Emma, HaileS, Tsigereda, you and others who would like to volunteer present some interesting scientific topics. The forum is full of “social scientists” which seem to need no rules, formulas, or proofs, slinging accusations against each other.
            Regards.

          • Paulos

            ኣታ ሙሓሙዳይ ሓወይ በቃ Social Science ናይ እንዳ ቆይቅን ባእስን እዩ ኢልካዮ? ዓገብ!

          • Ismail AA

            Hayak Allah MS,

            That is a good suggestio, with reservation on your last sentence. Some unruly few do not represent the many, do they? Anyway, it would be wonderful if the fine brothers you have mentioned would grace us by simplified posts on their expertise.

          • Paulos

            Selam Kbur Haw Ismail AA,

            If I had to do it all over again, I would definitely major in the Social Sciences or Humanities–preferably in Sociology, Philosophy, History or Cultural Anthropology. Maybe I should use the word more carefully but their subjective nature is fascinating to say the least where in the life or hard Sciences there is a sense of not only dogma but rigidity as well.

            Consider this for example: At the turn of the 20th century, there was so much interest among the Social Scientists in Language and Philosophy which gave rise to Post-Structuralism [Deconstructionism] whose main exponents were first de Saussure and later on in the 60s Jacques Deridda.

            When their scholarship centered on the instability of languages where they declared that words or texts lose inherent meanings, the idea of deconstruction started to take hold in say, Psychoanalysis by Lacan and in politics and power relations in a society by Michel Foucault. The implication was pervasive so much so that it challenged the age old assumptions almost every field in the Social Sciences.

            On the other hand, the dogma of the hard or life Sciences is rooted in Francis Bacon’s experiment based evidences in a highly controlled environment in a bid to minimize compounding factors where human intuitions and emotions are discouraged. And you can imagine how long it took [centuries] to challenge Ptolemy’s “Geo-Centrism” by Copernicus’ “Helio-Centrism” and Newton’s take on the absolute nature of Time and Space to be challenged almost after four centuries by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity where Time and Space are considered not absolute. This is actually the brilliant idea of Thomas Kuhn in his much more celebrated classic book titled “The Structure of Scientific Revolution.”

            To go back to the Social Sciences, when a revolutionary idea as in “Deconstructionism” for instance, challenges every field of study ranging from Literary Criticism to Cultural Studies and Politics, on the other hand, the revolutionary ideas in the hard Sciences impact only limited field of studies.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Dr Paulos,

            Science (life sciences and phsical sciences) are dogma? I don’t get it. The subjects that transformed the life of human beings in all aspects of their lives from generation to generation, and the fast dynamics of its nature can’t be dogma. Long live to all branches of sciences, brother.

            Regards

          • Paulos

            Selam Professor A. Hidrat,

            I think, first we need to establish the broader meaning of dogma lest it takes a negative connotation. Dogma means a set of principles laid down by a certain authority [Dictionary–not mine.]

            In the life Sciences there is a central dogma which was laid down in the early 1950s on-ward right after the discovery of the DNA double helix. The dogma goes–Replication–Transcription and Translation.

            DNA is first replicated inside the nucleus, then it gets Transcribed into mRNA and it comes out of the nucleus and it gets Translated into Amino-Acids or Proteins in the Ribosomes by tRNA. This is the central dogma of Molecular Biology to be specific where other alternative ideas are ignored.

          • Millennium

            Hi Paulos:

            Dogma implies immutability and as such it is the complete opposite of science because science has self correcting mechanisms and changes subject to new findings always drawing closer to the truth. The way you used dogma in the above example as in the central dogma of molecular biology looks like it is being used in place of “theory”, I would think social science will probably have more dogmas of that nature. Natural science does not allow you to create your own subjective set of truths and as such is very rigorous and probably tedious but dogmatic is probably the last word one can use to describe natural science

            Millennium

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Dr Paulos,

            To believe on the current “ scientific theory and hypothetical constructed” until it is disproved otherwise by new “scientific theory and hypothetical constructor” it does not make it dogma. If we believe on the fast dynamics of sciences, and certainly more than any disciplines of knowledges, then the characterization of “dogma” to all branches of sciences is not appropriate characterization to my understanding. That is my take.

            Regards

          • Ismail AA

            Selam Dr. Paulos,

            Thank you for this brief (but at the same broad) informative comments. In a few paragraphs, you have articulated how the two sets of discipline of knowledge are interconnected. One would have been less essential without the other. Edison’s discovery of electric lamp would have made no sense if there would not have been darkness as sociology would have no efficacy if humanity had not made advance to construct stratifications that needed ordering of life.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Paulos,

            You remember in the old days when certain “educated people: aka the G-13” wrote a letter to the president. If you haven’t seen the video of Dr. Araya on ATV, you have to watch, although I have heard this before, he goes to great length explaining the encounter they had with the dictator back in 2001.

            Going back to the your topic, in one of a public seminar the then ambassador to the US, Semere Rusom had a meeting. In the meeting the question was asked, in relation to the G-15.

            “እንታይ እዮም እዞም ናይ ኤርትራ ምሁራት፡ ካብ ፖለቲካ ካልእ ትምህርቲ ዘይመሃሩ”. The Ambassador then, laughed and he went to great length to explain how the whole incident…and in the process he was blaming them.

            My friend iSem said, can you believe that question and the answer the Ambassador with regards to the ” nay politica muhrat”. He said, natural scientist and engineers build bridges and find cure and social scientist, the political scientist, the lawyers, the sociologists, the philosophers, histories, journalists, and others build society.

            So I completely understand what you mean. But if I get iSem going he has his own theory with convincing argument why they “EPFL and PFDJ” not actually believe in it but the perfected it as an art to destroy “humanities” all together. That’s the real reason why the shut down Asmara university and the replaced it with the so called “colleges”.

            Berhe

          • Paulos

            Selam Berhino,

            That is self evident. If he wasn’t a fool and stupid, He wouldn’t serve Isaias.

            If it wasn’t for Socrates and Plato, we wouldn’t understand the idea behind Justice or a Just Cause and the role of Philosopher-Kings in a society. If it wasn’t for John Locke, we wouldn’t understand the idea of Democracy and individual freedom where the American Declaration and Bill of Rights are based on. If it wasn’t for Montosque, we wouldn’t understand the idea of separation of powers with in a government as in Executive, Legislative and Judiciary. If it wasn’t for Hugo Grotius, we wouldn’t have international order which gave rise to the foundation of United Nations.

            The list goes on and it adds to the unbearable pain where Eritrea is in the hands of ignorants and it becomes even more painful when Semere Reason is the Minister of Education.

            I know Professor Araya Debessay in person. A good person through and through of impeccable integrity. I haven’t watched the second part yet. Will watch it on the weekend. Thank you again.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Paulos,

            The tragedy and the crime Semere Rusom and his enablers have committed in 2000 after the publication of the G-15 is monumental. IA had a lot of ways to deal with the letter, but he chose the most brutal way to do it.

            He had absolutely no regard to Eritrean people, the country and the future of the country. He can and should have many disagreement with the letter but what he intentionally put a death sentence for the country.

            It’s by far the worst and painful pain the country has to face, sure we had violence and carpet bombing by the Derg and HS regime but it was contained damage and our psych and our attitude was still in tact. IA chose to kill our ambition and our future.

            The problem with Semere Rusom and his enablers at Dehai (Dr. Ghidewon and four more administrators) were responsible for the leak of the letter. Dr. Araya had a detailed the whole “leak” in an article I forgot who the author was at asmarino.com. In that letter, the letter that was leaked, was only existed in hard copy where all the final attendee have signed it and hand delivered to Ambassador Resom who suppose to send it to the president.

            It got into dehai, by someone scanning that hard copy letter and digitized and send to dehai from “suppose to be an email originated from France”. I know people who analized the email that appeared in dehai, that the email had no such header but instead it’s originated directly from the mail server in dehai. In other words, one or more of the admin of dehai (Ghidewon, EfremTecle I think his name) and three others who were admin. I suspect it’s Ghidewon and may be Efrem, based on the agressive campaign they were conducting (specially Ghidewon) after the leak.

            The only problem I have with Dr. Araya and the rest G-13, that Berlin meeting should have been the start of such meeting and it should never have been the last. They should continue to grew, they should continue to write letter to the President and continue to alert the public. Instead, based on the fall back they received from the public, I think for the most part, they resigned and gave IA free reign to do what ever he wishes and continue his assassination of the country. For this I think they have wasted a huge potential and a lost opportunity, specially listening to Dr. Araya today detailing the meeting they had with Isayas in Asmara.

            Berhe

          • iSem

            HI Berhe and Paul:
            yea, I was thinking about this question this weekend because I saw the Eritrean who asked it:-)
            Do not get me started with that BY;-)

          • Berhe Y

            Hi iSem,

            You see that’s why we need to document everything so we never forget. I know your have much, much better memory than me. I remembered the question but I totally forgot who asked it.

            You can tell me later…I wonder where he stands now (I remember he was a male). We have seen a lot of transformation since those dark days in the “nhna nsu camp”.

            But please get going. I feel like saying “l would love to hear” like Joe Pesci, when Merisa Tomei was testifying in court from the movie “my cousin Vinny”. Google the clip as a bribe for you:).

            Berhe

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Selam Ustaz Ismail AA and Paulosay
            NeQefetay teQebile aleKu…haha…I hope people understand it as some of Mahmuday’s wazatat..they are all sciences and we need more social scientists.

          • Hashela

            Selam Mahmud

            Yes, I do teaching at graduate and undergraduate levels. If desired and time permitting, I can occasionally bring timely and societal relevant topics from the field of my expertise

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Hashela,

            Please do.

          • Paulos

            Hashela,

            Great. Interesting stuff. Thank you for the lesson. Please keep them coming.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Sekam Hashela,

            Thank you very much for the lesson. For some of us, your Isotope-analysis carried us back to our Organic-chemistry-Isotopes classes of few decades back. It is a refreshing lesson. Thank you again.

          • Millennium

            Hi Hashela:

            Unless I am missing something, the examples you provided do not show that “chemical reactions are not driven by electrons number or electron configuration of the elements or molecules.” The way I see it , it is still the electrons of the different isotopes that are making the bonds? Are you saying the different isotopes with their different molecular weight are influencing the way the electrons behave during reactions? Again interesting lesson

            Millennium

          • Hashela

            Selam

            This is a brief response to questions raised by Haile, Millennium, and Nitricc.

            Haile: I was referring to Ca10(PO4)6−x(CO3)x(OH)2−x which you correctly identified as hydroxylapatite. We call it bio-apatite to distinguish it from inorganically formed apatite.

            Millennium: You are right the electrons (in the outer orbit) and the electron configiration play the most dominant role in shaping the type and strength of the molecular bond. However, when we look at two isotope molecules with identical electron # and the electron configiration, like 12CO2 and 13CO2, the difference in their vibrational, rotational, and translational motions and reactivity is due to the difference in the neutron number (a small differece in the mass).

            Nitricc: You asked “what is isotope therapy”? This is a difficult question because it is not precise. We have three different types of isotopes:

            – stable isotopes
            – radiogenic Isotopes
            – cosmogenic isotopes (behave similar like radiogenic Isotopes).

            As we all know, some radiogenic isotopes are used in the diagnosis (for example, x-ray) and therapy (for example, cancer). I guess that is not what you have in mind.

            Stable isotopes are used to better understand metabolism and biochemistry. For example nitrogen isotope (15N, a rare one and therefore artificially enriched) is used in the diagnosis of abnormal nitrogen metabolism and urea cycle. This is diagnosis not a therapy.

          • Nitricc

            call it Isotope Chemistry

            Hi Hashela; then how does Isotope therapy work?

          • Paulos

            Hashela,

            Was trying to locate it using Google map when you said intersection.

          • Hashela

            Paulos

            I knew that you are going to bite …. 🙂

            Chemical reactions that are main determined by the electron configurations of the reactants fall within the realm of chemistry.

            Unstanding exchange reactions that are purely driven by the composition of the nuclei of the reactants require an undestanding of quantum mechanical and quantum statistical processes which fall within the intersection of chemistry and physics.

          • Paulos

            Hashela,

            I guess you didn’t get the joke.

            In reality, it is rather difficult to delineate if there is any distinction at all between bodies of knowledge as they overlap more often than not. And of course it was one of the reasons they were called Natural Philosophers—the learned men as in Descartes, Newton, Leibniz and of course the Bernoulli family before the compartmentalization of knowledge along the lines of Chemistry, Physics and Biology among others started to take hold with in the Scientific Community.

            I am a big fan of Statistical Mechanics particularly the incredibly brilliant whose contribution to Science was mercilessly denied before he took his own life—Ludwig Boltzmann. I am sure you have seen his famous equation for Entropy inscribed in Vienna under his statute. And of course, Hamilton and Lagrange equally stand out in stature when they gave us the idea of “The Least Action” which essentially gave rise to Quantum Mechanics.

          • Hashela

            Paulos

            de Broglie barely passed his PhD exam because his supervisors didn’t get his wave-particle duality (equation). 10 years after his PhD he got the Noble prize.
            You see the world is full of misundestanding