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Eritrea: The Federal Arrangement Farce

Often, I am accused of factoring out Ethiopia’s violence in my account of how the Eritrean revolution (ghedli) came to be. There are three types of “violence” the accusers have in mind:

a)  that Haile Selassie unilaterally abrogated the federal arrangement, a systematic violence that targeted both the autonomy and democratic system of Eritrea entailed in that arrangement;

b)  that the Ethiopian occupation was a colonial one, a pervasive violence with all or most of the colonial characteristics that colonizers in Africa displayed towards their colonial subjects;

c) and that the Ethiopian army committed numerous atrocities through the duration of the ghedli era – mass killings, imprisonments, burning of villages, destruction of property, etc – that drove many to join the revolution.

The second is blatantly false, for the stark dichotomy between the colonizer and the colonized that defined the rest of colonial Africa was entirely absent in Eritrea, and I have argued so before. The first and third did indeed take place, but don’t provide the necessary rationale for the revolution of independence. If there are any causes for the Eritrean revolution, justified or not, we have to seek them outside those parameters set by the violence factor as invoked by Eritrean nationalists.

I have always regarded (a) and (c) untenable arguments in the most obvious way that I have felt they didn’t require article-length responses until I saw a brilliant commentator by the penname of “Serray” using these very arguments to point out the failures of my omissions [1]. It is not that I didn’t address these issues before, but it was done either tangentially in some of my articles or in comments as responses to queries by readers in my blog. And when it comes to the first one, a greater part of my article, (II) The Circular Journey in Search of Asmara, [2] can also be construed as a supplemental argument to that. Now though, after Serray’s and others’ similar comments, I feel that it would require responding to (a) and (c) in article format to address the points marshaled in regard to the violence factor by those who feel that ghedli was a necessity borne out of these kinds of violence; and, hopefully, my stand on this matter will be made clear at the end.

In this posting, I will deal with (a) only: on the unilateral annulment of the federal arrangement by Haile Selassie as a cause for the Eritrean revolution. The following argument doesn’t try to strictly follow the strictures entailed in Serray’s analysis; I would rather adopt a general approach that responds to relevant hypothetical questions in regard to the subject matter to reach a larger audience. In the end, I will address his question in a more direct fashion.

[What has made me post this article (and its sequel) in are Slah Younis’ goodwill gesture, Serray’s reprimand and Beyan Negash’s prodding. With that spirit, let me say to everyone: Happy Holidays!]

You cannot give what you don’t have

The sheer farce of the federal arrangement is to be seen in the discordant nature of the arrangement itself: the UN handed Eritrea a democratic system (complete with a constitution, parliamentary procedure, free elections, free press, independent judiciary, autonomous governing body, etc), but ironically made an absolute monarch a warden of that constitution. Now I am not concerned about the fate the constitution, for it had been designed to be dead on arrival. What I am wondering is how the monarch was, per impossible, supposed to find a place for a democratic constitution in his imperial domain – the question is addressed to all those who share this fallacious premise that the task was indeed doable. It is like asking a guy with a small garage designed for a tiny car to find a parking place for a huge truck in that same garage. If these disproportionate demands were to be forced upon the garage owner and the Emperor, both the garage and imperial structures would have to be dismantled to accommodate the truck and the constitution respectively. If there is such thing as working in total bad faith, it would be the UN coming up with this farcical arrangement in the first place.

The farcical element in this deal can be teased out by asking this question: How was it possible for Imperial Ethiopia to let Eritrea have a federal system (and the democratic system that necessarily went with it) while it had none for itself? How was it possible for it to give what it didn’t possess? How was it possible for an absolute monarchy to accommodate an island of democratic enclave within its imperial domain? Anybody that entertained such an idea to begin with was either immensely naive or criminally irresponsible. While the former describes the state of mind of many Eritrean elite who have made that annulment their battle cry for half a century (especially the nationalist historians), the latter description fits well the UN. Even as the UN architects knew that the federal arrangement under such a condition was unsustainable, they failed to come up with any other formula because they were anxious to get rid of the Eritrean problem from their hands as soon as possible.

Most of the Eritrean nationalists, having already uncritically accepted the above mentioned untenable assumption – namely, that the UN mission was doable – have even tried to make a connection between the annulment of the federal arrangement and the “colonial nature” of the Haile Selassie reign over Eritrea. This comes from a completely wrong understanding of the nature of colonialism.

A colonial system is characterized by a striking duality between the colonizer and the colonized, with the former getting all the privileges and the latter all the deprivations. Under such a system, democratic deprivation can be categorized as a quintessentially paradigmatic colonial tool because of its systematic nature that touches everything in the life of the subject. For instance, while colonial powers like England and France were practicing full-blown democracy in their own countries, thus maximally privileging the subject in the metropolis, they were denying those very rights in their overseas colonies, thus maximally depriving the colonial subject. A clear cut example would be the case of Apartheid South Africa, where both the colonized and the colonizer shared the same space: while the minority whites were practicing full blown democracy within their own insulated community, they were denying the majority blacks such a democratic privilege. Given this, the reason why democratic deprivation (as it occurred with the annulment of the federal arrangement) doesn’t count as a colonial tool in Ethiopia’s case was simply because the monarchy was not denying Eritreans democratic rights that it was reserving for Ethiopians only. There was a more pragmatic reason for this that the Eritrean elite failed to see because it didn’t fit with the ghedli narrative they wanted to weave: the monarchy annulled the federal arrangement mainly because, if left unchallenged, it would eventually lead to its own demise, as others parts of Ethiopia would no doubt have sooner or later demanded for the same rights. This puts the colonial question that most Eritreans are enamored with on its head: while colonial nations like England and France didn’t want democracy to spread from the metropolis to the colonies, the Ethiopian monarch didn’t want democracy to spread from Eritrea (supposedly the colony) to Ethiopia (supposedly the metropolis) – you can see the absurdity of the nationalists’ claim when their ascribed colonial terms are discordantly superimposed on this diametrically opposite order to the colonial one.

Recognizing the federal arrangement problem for what it actually was – that it was a national one (Ethiopian) rather than one confined to Eritrea only – would have been the first step in finding a solution. Of course, typical of the Eritrean elite’s mentality, they didn’t even want to share their problem with the rest of Ethiopia; that would, unwittingly, equalize them with the rest of Ethiopia, and the “uniqueness” of Eritreans would be lost – the first traces of the colonial mentality to emerge to the surface.

The colonial mind at work

If the Eritrean elite were capable of looking at this problem as a national one (as encompassing the whole of Ethiopia), then the nature of the problem would have readily offered a way out of the debacle: the only way Eritrea could have attained democracy was by having a democratic Ethiopia. Similarly, the only way Eritrea could have had a federal arrangement is by having it implemented throughout Ethiopia. By the same token, it would be absurd to attempt the converse: to hold on to one’s enclave of autonomy and democracy in a domain ruled by absolute monarchy. The irony is that it takes a colonial mind to attempt such a quixotic act: for to think that the Ethiopians were incapable of democratizing themselves (as the “founding fathers” did) was to confine that democratic attribute to Eritreans only, the same way the colonial powers did in regard to themselves vis-à-vis their subjects in the colonies.

That colonial mentally of the “founding fathers” is unwittingly, but nevertheless succinctly, captured by Saleh Younis [3]:

 “…  The other half (Ibrhaim Sultan/Adulkadir Kebire at the UN and Woldeab Woldemariam in his writings) argued that  Ethiopia was more feudal, more primitive, less industrialized, less developed, and less democratic than Eritrea and it would slow down Eritrea’s progress.”

Notice, again, how deep the colonial nature of the above statement is, that being the genesis of what turned out to be the master argument of the Eritrean revolution.. The main argument provided by colonial powers why they were not allowing democracy in their overseas colonies was that Africans were incapable of handling democracy, that they were like children that needed constant guidance and supervision – or to put it in Saleh’s term, that they were “primitive” (a thoroughly colonial term of the first order). And the irony is that this happens to be the very same argument that these “founding fathers” marshaled to argue for independence from a supposedly colonial nation. The audacity is that they did it, among other places, on the UN podium! That tells us how much they had internalized the colonial assumptions of Italian occupation that they were not even aware of the contradictions their stand carried as a people demanding liberation in a language steeped with colonial vocabulary.

The Muslim League in particular was notorious in deploying the master argument. Even though it mainly used a different argument within its constituency or among the Arabs and Pakistani (namely, the Islamic identity of the nation) to argue for independence, it never failed to invoke the master argument whenever it wanted to convince those it considered outsiders, be it the West, the UN or Kebessa Eritreans. If one takes a cursory look at the Muslim League’s literature in that era, it is rather astounding to see how this argument was used ad nausea. Reference to Ethiopia as “backward”, “feudal”, “medieval”, “uneducated”, “uncivilized”, “ignorant”, “primitive”, “archaic”, “inferior”, etc was frequent not only in its newsletter, but also in its correspondence with UN authorities. Joseph XXX, despite his very sympathetic reading of the Muslim League, doesn’t fail to detect this phenomenon: [4]

“… Taking their [the Muslim League’s] rhetoric a step further before the commission representative again couched their goals as a movement to build a ‘modern’ Eritrean nation against rather return to the archaic system in Abyssinian tradition ‘it is certain that the Amharics are primitive. Their administration – which is based on ignoble dictatorship – is that of a very remote past, and can be compared to the Middle Ages.’ …”

Despite Italy’s grim educational legacy, the Muslim League kept on hammering that imagined superiority, “it is known and admitted by all reasonable men, that it is not right to place a Nation which enjoys a standard of education and equality under an inferior nation” [5] And when the argument was mixed with Islamism, as it often did, the Muslim League put it this way [6]:

“Now the Eritrean People has achieved a certain intellectual evolution by its contact with the civilized nations, and for that it has today a level of education superior to that of the Ethiopian people. To this should be added the equity and equality amongst the Moslems did not exist in Ethiopia where the traces of Middle Ages still exist today”

The Kebessa separatists were soon to buy into the master argument; but unlike the Muslim elite’s case, it was also used for internal consumption to convince one another, and remained to be a signature of the Kebessa-led liberation movement through the duration of ghedli. Once internalized, they were to remain captive to the sense of betterment they got from their colonial heritage long after the Muslim elite were to walk away from it to fully embrace the Islamic/Arab cause. Thus, the genesis of the bifurcation of the Eritrean cause that characterized mieda Eritrea is to be found in the Muslim League’s literature of the ’40s and ’50s, Janus-faced as it was to appeal to two audiences with little shared concern except that imagined superiority. 

From the above, it is clear what the modernist blinkers that prevented Eritreans from looking at the problem as a national one encompassing the whole of Ethiopia had been: a reaction to modernity brought about by colonialism that turned defensively religious, on one hand, and facilely “modern”, on the other hand. Had the Eritrean dissenters turned their issue into a national one, there is no doubt that they would have done what the Emperor feared most: they would have been able to spread the “Eritrean problem” to the whole nation. That is, the call for decentralization and democratization would have appealed to the rest of Ethiopia too; probably even more so than in Eritrea itself, where the oppression was mostly imagined (take, for instance, Southern Ethiopia and the land issue as a point of comparison). And they would have done that without the prohibitive cost it demanded of them to be where they are now, since the sacrifice would have been shared by the rest of Ethiopia.

The Eritrean elite who opted for separation didn’t take the “national route” because they were looking at the federal arrangement not for its liberating and reciprocal aspects but as a means that would keep them distanced from Ethiopia, even as they were not happy with the distance they eked out of such an arrangement; for them, Ethiopia was still too close for comfort. With the demise of the arrangement, they found a perfect pretext to get as far away as possible from that entity they believed to be too habesha (too Christian for the Muslim elite, and too backward for the Kebessa elite) to be associated with.

One needs to look at how the federal arrangement was looked at by the UN and by the two main adversary groups – the Union Party and the Muslim League – to grasp the extent of the lethal misconception of what it stood for by all parties involved.

The nondemocratic appeal of the federal arrangement

When the United Nations proposed federation with Ethiopia, it was not because any one of those movements that mushroomed in that era (Union Party, Muslim League, Pro-Italia, Liberal Progressive Party, etc) had proposed it; they didn’t even have a full grasp of the liberal and reciprocal possibilities that such an arrangement held to entertain it as a truly viable option. The UN came with the federal arrangement as a compromise solution to the demands of two large blocs: while the overwhelming majority of the Kebessa elite (the Union Party) wanted to have an unconditional union with Ethiopia, the overwhelming majority of the Muslim elite (the Muslim League) wanted total independence from Ethiopia. Both parties saw the problem as that of proximity: while the Unionists wanted to come as close to Ethiopia as possible, union being the most ideal outcome, the Muslim elite wanted to be as far away from Ethiopia as possible, separation being the best outcome. The UN saw this mentality for what it was, and offered a solution that took this “proximity problem” to its heart, while still meeting Ethiopia’s demand for access to the sea.

By coming up with the federal arrangement, the UN was meant to strike the middle. But the UN solution was no solution at all; it was a perverse Solomonic judgment: two children had to be sliced to create a new child called “federation” that no one wanted – not the UN, not Ethiopia, not the Unionists, not the Muslim League. How so?

The UN’s callous solution

When the UN came with its “solution”, none of the architects could have honestly believed that it would hold for long. The idea that somehow a federal system where Eritrea would have a vibrant democracy with an autonomous governing body would be left to work within an absolute monarchy would be a cruel joke played upon those with vested interest on this arrangement (if there were any), given that it was structured in such a way that it would be impossible to implement it on the ground. If the monarch cannot implement it without destroying his monarchy in the process, why on earth would anyone propose it in the first place?

To reiterate and elaborate on the crucial point: if Eritrea were to continue as a federal region of Ethiopia, complete with its democratic and autonomy privileges, then there is no doubt at all other regions of Ethiopia would sooner or later have demanded the same treatment. And in those regions that border Eritrea such as Tigray, Wollo and Begemider, the clamor for autonomy would have been the loudest.  Other places such as Gojjam, a region that had a semi-autonomous existence with its own king in the not-so-distant past, would have followed soon. The whole of South, with a lot of unattended and festering grievances, would have joined this clamor as soon as it was heard from the vocal North.

And this spread of discontent wouldn’t have taken the shape of regional loyalty only: one could easily imagine whatever gain garnered among the civic society in Asmara would also be demanded in Addis Ababa. For instance, Ethiopia couldn’t have allowed labor union in Eritrea without allowing the same thing in Ethiopia, for the latter would have no doubt demanded for the same rights. The same would have happened with the free press: if it had been allowed to continue for some time in the federated area, there would be no way such freedom could have been curtailed to Eritrea only. And more so with the language issue: if Eritrea were to retain Tigrigna and Arabic, not only would others demand the same rights regarding their indigenous languages (Tigreans, Oromos, Somali, etc), who is to prevent the Muslim elite in Ethiopia demanding Arabic as their national language (based on the same tenuous arguments that Eritrean Muslims do – think, for instance, about Harari Muslims)? The language predicament that the monarch faced could probably be better grasped by focusing on a language that has no respect for borders, the Tigrigna language: how would it be possible for the monarch to confine the Tigrigna language as an official one to Eritrea only while denying it to a much larger Tigrigna-speaking people just beyond the Mereb River? It wouldn’t have been long before the Tigreans demanded the same linguistic privilege.

It is easy to figure out from that above observations that keeping Eritrea autonomous and democratic would have opened a Pandora’s Box that would have eventually unraveled the monarchy. Given that, Haile Selassie’s move was not only understandable, but also inevitable. This is the conclusion that anyone with a modicum of political knowledge could have easily reached at the very moment the UN proposed it. Sure enough, the architects of this “compromise” were much more sophisticated than that, but they were looking for any reason to get rid of the “Eritrean problem” from the hands of the UN – one of the many colonial problems that the UN was juggling with at that time.

Given the above, for anyone to accuse Haile Selassie of unilaterally abrogating the federal system would be intellectual dishonesty; for, to assert that, one has to assume that there was a way the Emperor could have left the federal system in Eritrea intact and still prevailed as absolute monarch in the rest of Ethiopia. If so, what should have been the focus of scrutiny is not why Haile Selassie annulled the arrangement but why the UN in the first place came up with such an undoable compromise.

So the bottom line is this: the UN offered Eritrea the federal arrangement not because of the intrinsic values such an arrangement carried (how could that be if it was not doable), but because it would allow it to dispose Eritrea as quickly as it could; that is to say, faced with two irreconcilable demands, it used this supposedly intermediate solution as a tool of disposal.

How about the two adversaries – the Union Party and the Independence Block? What was their take on the federal arrangement? Did they see it for the intrinsic liberating and reciprocal values it carried?

The Unionists’ understanding of the federal arrangement

With the federal arrangement, although both adversary groups didn’t achieve what they aimed for, neither stopped from trying to reach its ideal distance. That is to say, neither the Unionists nor the Muslim League followers cherished the federal arrangement for its liberating aspects; instead, both saw it in terms of distance that had to be either overcome or maintained.

When the Unionists saw the federal arrangement in positive light, they took it as an intermediary step that would eventually culminate in union with Ethiopia; that is, as a welcome step in the right direction, in the sense that it saved them from the dreaded other option of total separation from Ethiopia, but nevertheless a step that had to be eventually overcome. And when they began to see it negatively (that is when it was already in place and seemed irrevocable), it was as an obstacle that was preventing them from coming closer to Ethiopia – and that is where the nuances of the annulment of the federal arrangement gets lost among the Eritrean elite.

If the Unionists had the vested interest in dismantling the federal arrangement, it doesn’t make sense to attribute all the blame to Haile Selassie only. But don’t tell that to the Eritrean elite, who want to discount, at best, or totally leave out, at worst, the role played by Eritreans (and the Eritrean parliament) in dissolving the arrangement. The Unionists, who made the largest party and the one in power at that time, were forcefully behind the drive for unification.  What is more, it is the Unionists that were more zealous than the Ethiopian government in bringing the federal arrangement to a quick end, sometimes at a pace that even the Ethiopian authorities were uncomfortable with (diplomatically, the Ethiopian authorities were astute enough not to aggravate the British or the UN on this matter until opportune time was found). Where the latter advised caution, the Eritreans were running ahead at full speed in this dismantling race. But that doesn’t mean that Haile Selassie wouldn’t have eventually abrogated the federal system; he necessarily would. But the claim that he unilaterally annulled the federal arrangement is bogus; he did it with full collaboration of the party that was in power then, and by extension, with overwhelming majority of Kebessa (and a minority of lowlanders) supporting the move. After all, even though by then it was a fait accompli, the formal vote for union in the Eritrean parliament was unanimous. [7]

With union, the Unionists reached their ideal distance; that is, no distance at all. Even though the honeymoon between Ethiopia and Kebessa was not to last long, at its time union was a goal that the Kebessa elite cherished most, with the distance between them and Ethiopia reaching its disappearing point.

The Muslim League’s understanding of the federal arrangement

The Muslim elite’s defense of the federal arrangement was not because of any democratic scruples; as in the case of their Christian counterparts, they saw the arrangement only in terms of distance. When they saw it in positive light, it was as the lesser evil of the two options: federalism or union/partition. If it was up to them, it was complete separation from Ethiopia as one entity that they wanted. So the only reason why they wanted to keep the federal arrangement was because they believed it to be the only buffer zone that would maintain the minimal safe distance from Ethiopia under the then prevailing circumstances. With that buffer zone in place, they meant to safeguard Islamic identity; the Muslim League’s self-appointed national assignment being how to hold Eritrea together through the grid of Islamic identity, with Islamic institutions and the Arabic language buttressing that grid. Union with Ethiopia or partition of the nation into two would go against the very structure of that grid, the former by eliminating it and the latter by breaking it. And when the buffer zone was gone, they wanted to put the biggest distance possible and hence their preference for the war of separatism.

The failure in understanding the true nature of the federal arrangement was even worse among the Muslim elite who, in their allergy to anything habesha, also failed to see the gains that would come as being part of a larger entity. In the federal arrangement, all they saw was that by maintaining it they would be able to cut their losses; they couldn’t see any dividend coming out from being part of that larger entity. Even the merchants (a profession that was dominated by Muslims, and especially the Jeberti, as a result of the Italian legacy) who profited the most out of this arrangement never saw this advantage for what it actually was (except for a few Massawa merchants, perhaps due to a somewhat cosmopolitan past). When later the Kebessa students joined their Muslim counterparts in the separatist movement, they carried this fallacious assumption – that it is only the case that Ethiopia needs Eritrea – through the duration of ghedli. The idea that Eritrea too needs Ethiopia was unbearable to them, that being the root of the self-reliance mantra that ghedli was to embrace. If so, one needs to look at a compromise of a different sort in the nature of the federal arrangement that the Eritrean elite failed to understand – its reciprocal aspect.

When a people enter a federal arrangement, they retain some of their autonomy while sacrificing the rest for a greater return in other aspects that are no less necessary: the larger the federal system, the more the resources, the bigger the market, the greater the prosperity, the better the security, etc. – whose deprivations in all cases mark the Eritrean state now. And the poorer and more insecure a nation gets, the less likelihood for democracy to take hold in the land – another apt description of the Eritrean state now. Even the very idea of federalism itself has a greater chance of success in a larger nation, where viable federal entities could be constructed. That the federal question that is now haunting Eritrea (as demanded by minorities) can only be made workable within a larger entity was lost on many of those same minorities that were vocal in their demand for independence. The Unionists never made this mistake in its totality as the separatists did; they felt that they needed Ethiopia as much as it needed them, although never fully grasping the reciprocal possibilities it entailed to the extent they should have. [8]

If one looked at the federal system as an obstacle to reach the farthest distance possible (as the Independence Bloc did), then we have a readily available answer why the separatists never wanted to make the Eritrean federal problem a national one: it would bring them closer to Ethiopia. For the Muslim League, whose idea of keeping the farthest distance from Ethiopia simultaneously meant reaching the closest distance to the Arab world, the idea of a federal system that encompasses all of Ethiopia would be tantamount to committing suicide. As for the hapless Kebessa elite who later joined this mission of covering the longest distance without having any clue as to which point they were coming closer to as they kept running away from their roots, they eventually had to invent that proximate point ex nihilo: ghedli itself! Having no clue where they have been heading to, they conflated the ghedli journey with the “Eritrea” that they wanted to reach. That is to say, neither the Muslim nor the Christian separatists saw the federal arrangement for the intrinsic liberal and reciprocal values it carried. The bottom line is that, when everything is put into consideration, the Eritrean elite separatists decided to aim for less at a prohibitive cost, while it could have been the other way round: they could have aimed for more with less sacrifice.

We have seen the farcical nature of the federal arrangement as reflected in each of the players involved in this farce: for the UN it was a means of disposal; for the Emperor, it was a means for eventual unification; for the Unionists too, it was a step stone towards unification; and for the Muslim League followers, it was a buffer zone to be maintained. None of them saw it for its intrinsic liberating value that it could have had for the individual; and, further, the reciprocal nature of the arrangement was totally lost on the separatists.

Lessons unlearned from the federal arrangement farce

The fact that Eritreans failed big time to grasp the farcical nature of the federal arrangement has further given birth to three farces down the road:

(a) The self-reliance farce

As pointed above, the nature of the federal arrangement problem provided a readily available solution. What the Emperor feared most was that the Eritrean problem could spread to the rest of Ethiopia; if he had believed there was a way of confining democracy and autonomy that the federal arrangement entailed to Eritrea only, he would probably have gone for it. This realization would have saved Eritrea from the torturous route it has taken, paying a prohibitive price along the way, to be in the unenviable position it finds itself now. If the Eritrean elite had fully grasped the nature of the problem, even the armed struggle (if it came to that) would have been expedited in a way that would have drastically cut the Eritrean losses – in body count, in demographic loss, in resources spent, in the time it took, in the progress curtailed, etc – and kept all the dividends that come from such a reciprocal federal arrangement.

If so, let’s entertain the seemingly impossible: if the struggle had taken a nationalist bent that included all Ethiopia, what form would it have taken? At no time it would have been picked up by at least three critical bodies to make it succeed in the shortest time possible. First, given the proximity and festering grievances, Tigray would have joined the revolution at the earliest time possible. In fact, if we are to talk in terms of neglect, Tigray was more neglected than Eritrea. Besides, the memory of the first Woyanie movement was still fresh among the Tigrean elite. Wollo, with its recalcitrant famine problem and the Raya-Yeju grievances, was next in line. You could easily imagine how the conflagration would go to other parts of Ethiopia – Begemider, Gojjam, the South, etc. Second, the student body in Ethiopia, in general, and in Addis Ababa, in particular, would have quickly connected to the cause. This is especially true of Addis Ababa students, who were already politicized and had a more cosmopolitan outlook than the provincial Asmarinos. And, third, the army would have been denied the main motive for fighting the Eritrean insurgents: cessation. Sabotage and defection, or even uprising, would have been the hallmarks that would have defined the army. Under this scenario, the Haile Selassie regime would have collapsed at no time. If so, the Eritrean elite by “owning” their revolution, or rather by refusing to share it, they gave the Emperor the best gift they could possibly give to extend his reign.

[I am not mentioning the above scenario because it is my preference. I am only bringing it up to show what could have been better for Eritrea even under the worst scenario if it had taken the national option. As for me, continuity, even under the slowest kind of reforms, outperforms the interruptions brought about by armed revolutions in our region. I honestly believe that, had it not been for ghedli, Eritrea would have continued to make progress it had already registered under Haile Selassie reign – that is, even after annexation. I would rather bet on the course of that evolutionary process rather than on the revolutionary road of the clueless ghedli generation.]

The ironic part is that the Eritrean elite came in the end to understand that unless the revolution goes trans-national, there was no way they could win the war. As Zekre Lebona reminds us in one of his latest articles, the war that defeated the Menghistu regime was not an intra-national alliance between Kebessa and Metahit, but a trans-national alliance between EPLF and EPRDF. [9] Pushed to its logical end, here is the discordant picture that we get: a people that have natural affinity to one another fought together (as they did throughout the centuries) to bring forth the reality of a colonial map that lacks the internal logic that such an alliance carried. That is to say, even though the Eritrean elite got it right when they sought the alliance, they failed to grasp its underlying logic in its totality. They missed the main point: if the war of independence would have been impossible without that trans-national alliance, then the nation-state itself would also be rendered untenable without the enduring presence of that alliance. With the lesson of the federal arrangement lost on them, they acted as if it was only Ethiopia that needed them. The border war happens to be the consequence of that lethal misunderstanding.

The ghedli generation is rather famous for inanely believing that it is Ethiopia that needed Eritrea, and not that both needed each other. The overemphasis on wedebatna, out of all other national “treasures”, to show the coherence of the demand for independence comes from having totally failed to grasp the reciprocal nature of the federal arrangement. All that the Eritreans could see from the logic of wedebatna was that Ethiopia would remain dependent on them. When this belief becomes a state of mind, one can easily detect its colonial nature. Despite the obviousness of it all, the colonial powers preached that the colonies depended on them. There is one critical difference though: while the colonial powers used force to enforce that “dependence”, Eritrea is unraveling in the very process of doing so. This is, indeed, the appropriate end when a colonial mentality follows the opposite direction to the colonial power order.

(b) The constitution farce

You would think that if Eritreans had learned the lessons of the farce of federal arrangement, they wouldn’t have repeated the same mistakes in regard to the current shelved-off constitution. Notice how the new Eritrean constitution starts with a similar farce. First, a brand new constitution is offered to the Eritrean masses, the same way the UN did, by muhuran Eritreans without any input from the public (unless you consider the monologs they conducted as dialogs). In this case, it was even worse because the drafters were doing the bidding of Shaebia, which demanded a non-implementable constitution tailor-made to make it look good in the eyes of the West. And, second, true to the old script of the ’50s, the President was made the warden of that constitution. The sad part of that farce is not that Isaias shelved it off (for it was meant to be shelved off), but that one of the main drafters, Dr Bereket Habteselasise, came to disingenuously say “aminayo” – the very same way the UN “trusted” the Emperor to protect the constitution. And the farce goes on when the opposition keep asking the tyrant to implement a constitution that was never meant to be implemented, when the issue happens to be the very survival of the nation, thereby humanizing a totalitarian system by their discordant demand – the same way the elite kept reminding Eritreans of the unilateral annulment of the federal arrangement as the cause for their revolution as if there was a way to implement it, thereby rendering the national option impossible to entertain for the average Eritrean. In both instances, it is clear to see that rallying around the constitution couldn’t be done without hiding or sidelining a deeper problem. So in realty, what are getting shelved off are not the constitutions (for, given the inevitability, that is the least interesting aspect of them), but the deeper possibilities hidden by such shelving off.

The Eritrean nationalists never tire from telling us that, given the dismantling of the federal arrangement, Eritreans were justified in conducting a 30 year war of independence. Well, let’s take them at their words, and see where it ought to take them in regard to their actions based on that belief. Now, if they are to be consistent with their belief, one would expect that they would react to the “unilateral annulment” of the Eritrean constitution by Isaias Afwerki the same way they did to a similar act by Haile Selassie. Now, given that Shaebia has failed to implement the constitution, first, do we now call Shaebia’s rule as that of colonialism, and, second, do we again conduct a war of cessation (think of those entities that believe self-determination up to cessation is the only way out of their predicament) or, better yet, a war of unification based on that? In support to the latter move, one could argue that since the war of cessation hasn’t brought all the intrinsic values that the federal arrangement carried, maybe the war of unification will do. Now, if you think the latter is absurd, so is the former. This alone would demonstrate how farcical the argument that wants to justify the revolution as being due to annexation is. I know how the nationalists would respond to this family resemblance: that in the case the Isaias regime, the solution is changing the regime. Well and good, but why wasn’t that solution applicable in the case of Ethiopia? There would be no answer to this except for someone to mutely point his/her finger at the colonial map – as the nationalists often do when all their arguments come to a dead end.

(c) The compromise farce

Striking the middle is not necessarily a compromise. If a woman wants to divorce her husband because of irreconcilable difference, a judge cannot come up with a workable compromise that strikes the middle in between her “irreconcilable difference” and her husband’s “reconcilable difference”. For instance, he cannot say, “Well, since the one wants to dissolve the marriage and the other wants to keep it, let’s settle for half-a-marriage.” That is how the UN came with the federal arrangement; a compromise that not only no one wanted, but as non-implementable as half-a-marriage.  After hearing the two parts of Eritrea, one wanting nothing to do with Ethiopia and the other believing that it was part of Ethiopia, it came with a compromise of half-an-Ethiopia that neither of them wanted.

The British came to know Eritreans within that short period of their rule more than Eritreans ever came to know about themselves. That is why the initial British solution was the only one that made sense (even as they had ulterior motive for proposing it): split Eritrea into two, one part going to Sudan and the other part going to Ethiopia. If that was done, we would have been spared from 50 years of insanity. The Muslim elite would have been happy joining their kin in Sudan; at least, until they began to feel the full weight of the Arab identity imposed on them from the North. The Kebessa elite would have remained put in their cities, if for nothing else but for lack of meshefeti; their protest would have been confined to students’ shebero in the streets of Asmara. This way the masses would have been spared from the madness created by the colonial aspirations of the Muslim and Christian elite alike. I know that such a split is not to be entertained now, for so much water has passed under the bridge since then to make things much more complicated than it was then; that is, now there is no other place to start but the default position – Eritrea as is. Yet, the failure of this lesson is to be seen in other similar aspects of the national problem, the most recalcitrant of which is that of “hadnetna”.

Hadnetna, as conceived by both the opposition and supporters of the regime, has always taken the image of that impossible compromise. It is obvious that no one feels “united” under the hade hizbi, hade libi mantra of Shaebia. So was it with the federal arrangement; neither of the two population groups felt united under it. Eritreans are fond of saying that ever since Eritrea was born, they have lived in peace and harmony, and that it is only enemies that divide them. In fact, things tend to be just the other way round. They confuse the kind of “unity” they attained under supervision – first under the Italians, then under the Ethiopians and now under Shaebia – for real unity. It is like attributing good behavior to children observed only under the supervision of their teacher. This is so because in those rare instances when there was no such supervision, the evidence belies the claim the Eritreans make: neither during the ghedli era nor now in diaspora (two cases where they were/are totally independent to display their unity without “alien” supervision) have Eritreans shown the slightest inclination to get united. Instead of asking themselves what this recalcitrant problem is, they keep hiding it under the rug of a non-existent “hadnetna”.

Moreover, what the belief in the non-existent hadnetna does is make the believers assign hefty tasks such as regime change and stability of the nation to such an internal variable only. They don’t realize that change, be it forceful or peaceful, cannot be entertained without the good will of Ethiopia. And much more so with the stability of the nation: again, after change, there is no way that the economic, security and political stability of the nation could be attained without a critical role played by Ethiopia. What this tells us is that even as an independent nation, Eritrea will not escape the reciprocal bondage that it existence demands. For those who keep harping on hadnetna, this is totally lost on them.

Confusing temporal order with conceptual order 

Let me now go back to Serray’s comment that inspired this article. In this entire article I have been responding only to one of the three accusations leveled against me when it comes to Ethiopian violence: the unilateral annulment of the federal arrangement by Haile Selassie. Here is how Serray puts it [10]:

“… In fact, Haile Selassie’s unilateral annexation is the REAL cause of the armed struggle and the real reason why those who started the struggle went seeking Arab help to launch the fight …”

And then he goes on to reprimand me for having not ceded this point and for having, instead, futilely trying to locate the cause in the “colonial mentality” of the ghedli generation, Christians and Muslims alike. He is saying that, when it comes to the Muslim elite, it is not the colonial Islamic/Arab cause that I attribute to them that caused the struggle, but that it was the annexation that drove them to seek help in Islamic/Arabic world. In short, he is accusing me of putting the cart before the horse. But he is also making a bigger point: that given this temporal order, the Islamic/Arab cause that I have been harping about never existed then, and doesn’t exist now.

Although Serray is right to point the annexation as a triggering point for the struggle, there are two logical flaws in his argument: first, he fails to see which aspect of federal arrangement was appealing to those who started the revolution and hence whose deprivation became their rallying cry; and, second, he confuses the temporal order of one (the revolution) following the other (annexation) for a conceptual order. Let me explain:

For the temporal order to work as a causal order, Serray has to argue as if the Muslim elite who rose up in arms did cherish the federal arrangement for the right reasons: for its liberal (democracy and autonomy) and reciprocal values. If that was the case, they would have attained it at a lesser cost and ended up with a better deal if they had not jealously confined the problem to Eritrea only. But if it is the distance they wanted to traverse from the habesha world that became their main motive, then the Islamic/Arab cause becomes as tangible as it could possibly get. If so, it follows that if there was a way of gaining that distance by losing their democratic rights, their autonomy and the reciprocal gains (all three entailed in the federal arrangement), they would have naturally gone for it – and, in fact, that is exactly what they have ended up doing, although so far without success in attaining their ideal distance.                                                                              

If so, the temporal order of Ethiopia’s annulment of the federal arrangement followed up with the Muslim elite seeking help in the Arab world shouldn’t be confused for a conceptual order. The triggering point should not be confused for the cause; even as in this case the triggering point happened to overlap with the cause in its structure, it doesn’t mean the cause was not there before the triggering point. That deep urge to traverse the longest distance from the habesha world, something that could be only attained in its totality by joining the Arab world, was there long before the Federal Arrangement itself: that was what the Muslim League had been all about. And if we look at the Egyptian role, we have to look at the pre-annexation era, before 1962, to see how pan-Arabism deeply influenced the Eritrean Muslim elite who were flocking to Cairo in the federation era. So contra to what Serray claims, the cause was there long before the annexation. In fact, Egypt began to be disengaged from the Eritrean cause after annexation, after which the Arab cause as it pertains to Eritrea was to be taken up by Syria and Iraq (and to a lesser extent, by Libya).

Serray makes the same mistake when it comes to the issue of Kebessa students: he confuses the Afagn terror in Asmara followed up by Asmara students fleeing to mieda in large numbers for a conceptual order. While this rationale fails to explain how a similar phenomenon took place in towns and cities across Eritrea that had experienced no Afagn terror, the conceptual one does. The conceptual explanation does that by locating the cause to the colonial mentality of the ghedli generation. I will try to address this issue in my installment on the violence of the Ethiopian army.

So far, I have only argued that the annulment of the federal arrangement, as articulated by Eritrean nationalists, couldn’t be the cause of the revolution. But Serray’s point goes beyond that: that the colonial mentality that I attribute to the Muslim elite as a cause for the revolution is purely in my imagination. In this article, I have refrained of saying much about that colonial mentality. Since already this article has run too long by’s standards, I will deal with that concern in another article.


We have seen above how the Eritrean nationalists have made annexation their revolutionary battle cry as if they have grasped what it was that they have lost with the annulment of the federal arrangement. Eritreans seem to be fond of attributing to themselves whatever that is grafted on them from outside so far as those grafters are considered superior, be it the colonial heritage from Italy, a brand new constitution from the UN or democratic institutions enabled and supervised by the British. That is, the “civilization” that the Muslim League was unabashedly attributing to Eritrea was only knee-deep, never to be witnessed again in mieda or liberated Eritrea. Let me leave the reader with an extensive quote from Tekeste Negash to underscore the farce of such an understanding [11]

“The democratic institutions, which the Ethiopian government was accused of dismantling were not institutions created by Eritreans themselves but were superimposed on the Eritrean society by the UN agencies. The freedom of political opinion which indeed prevailed in Eritrea, once again, came into existence and was made possible by the presence of the BMA [British Military Administration]. Without the decision of the BMA to engage the Eritreans in the future of their country, and without the presence and supervision of the BMA, there would not have been an open society during the 1947-52 period. To the extent that the structures of a civil society as we experience them in Western hemisphere are the culmination of processes which began several centuries ago, it would be preposterous to expect the ex-Italian colony to indulge in such exercise. It would be distortion of dangerous magnitude to argue that the Eritreans had in fact more advanced political institutions, as many of the propounders of Eritrean nationalism have done.”


[1] On the comment section of Younis, Saleh; Yohaness Tukabo and the King’s Men; Nov 24, 2013, The comment was posted on Nov 27, 2013.

[2] Ghebrehiwet, Yosief; (II) The Circular Journey in Search of Asmara, Oct 23, 2012;

[3] Younis, Saleh; De-Romanticizing Ghedli: Serving A Toxic Brew To The Young And The Disillusioned; June 24, 2009,

[4] Venosa, Joseph L.; Paths toward the Nation: Islamic Identity, the Eritrean Muslim League and Nationalist Mobilization, 1941-61; 211 Dissertation, Ohio University; p.143. The quote within the quote atributed to the Muslim League had its reference: Four Power Commission, Appendix 169 “Summary of Views of Representatives Hearing at Agordat (Agordat District),” 2.

[5] Four Power Commission, Appendix 165, “To: the Hon. International Commission of Investigation,” 3. (as quoted by Venosa, Joseph L., p. 145).

[6] Ibid. (as quoted by Venosa, Joseph L., p.145).

[7] Negash, Tekeste; Eritrea and Ethiopia: The Federal Experience; 1997.

[8] Ghebrehiwet, Yosief; (II) The Circular Journey in Search of Asmara.

[9] Lebona, Zekre; Cutting It Both Ways across the Mereb River; Dec 03, 2013;

[10] On the comment section of Younis, Saleh; Yohaness Tukabo and the King’s Men.

[11] Negash, Tekeste; Eritrea and Ethiopia: The Federal Experience; p.144.

About Yosief Ghebrehiwet

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  • Semere Andom

    Sal, here is the tefsir 🙂
    Dear Awatista:
    I have a good friend in the land of the free. He once saved me from drinking a toxic brew by distracting me with a “Spark” I was thankful. He is the friend of all of us as he slaves to protect us from the elaborate schemes of the likes of Eyob Medhanyes, who still have nightmares at the thought of their destiny of been mere spectators from accross the mereb river.
    This good friend knows I struggked ( and still struggle) to teach myself Arabic, not because I understood that it was important lanauge for Eritrea, but my boyhood friends read the Quran with it and my love affair with Arabic commenced in earnes from the first word.
    But lately my good friend has tried in vain to spike that toxic brew,but thanks to my boyhood incursions the dagger he swang was a swedish massage to my chest as the brief interview which precedes the song by a ghedli-romantic was not really a dagger. It was therapeutic becasue it was spoken in the language those boyhood friends idiolized.
    The dagger was refreshing comapred to his ( my good friends’s) favorite singer, who is unsure on where the strength of the Eritrea people comes from 🙂
    A de-romantic is not devoid of romance as I showed with my romantic side with the dagger from the good friend in the land of the free and home of the brave 🙂

  • Godefay

    Selam Haile,

    Even though I am a great admirer of your articles and responses, for more than one reason I disagree with your analysis with the current ills of the new Eritrean State—especially your attempt to tie down the current problems to one man (President Isaias Afeworki). No doubt that as a leader of the country, he is responsible for a lot of misdeeds and miscalculated forays that ended up costing Eritreans massively. Yes, the tone at the top was and is dysfunctional, to say the least. But I don’t hold Isaias for all evils or iniquities in the land. Isaias is the product of the revolution that created the Eritrean Independence movement; not the engineer of the revolution. The point is that the foundation that created the independence movement and its subsequent indelible psychological impact on the Eritrean citizens is at the core of the problem and the removal of a single dictator won’t bring a lasting peace, prosperity and tranquility in the Eritrean landscape. PIA is a symptom not the cause of the problem. Yes Haile, the problem is Ghedli and the whole Eritrean Independence movement!! Mind you, I am not against Eritrean Independence. I am with you and I am glad you guys are free and living in your nirvana. The secession of Eritrea was a blessing in disguise for Ethiopia.

    So, why am I blaming the independence movement? Because the forefathers started it with sole ambition of creating a unique Eritrean identity—an identity that has no similarity with its past, race, and continent. An identity that identities itself with Arabism and unafricanism—and a mishmash of Arabic civilization (??) and an adulation for the western way of life. Abedelkadir Kebere and Ibrahim Sultan, the forefathers of independence, were individuals who felt inadequate or unimportant in their community for some way and compensated for this with a vision to create a unique identity—an identity that venerates foreign ethos and philosophy. Hence create a new Eritrean culture and identity–a culture devoid of its past, heritage, and way of life the local constituents and their citizens. Mind you the national identities for the duo were not territorial origins, patrilineal or matrilineal ancestral origins, language or race it was sheer hatred of the others (the Amharas for Woldeab) and feeling of economic superiority and admiration foreign cultural identity for Kebere and Sultan. It was an attempt to curve an Arabic speaking Eritrea in the midst of Christian hinterland—Ethiopia, even though no Eritrean has Arabic ancestral background. Tegadelti Eritreans, for the past fifty years have been told, by all the ghedlis, they are unique, nifty, agile, skilled, and SUPERIOR and have developed a superiority complex disorder. AS you know, individuals with a superiority complex often exhibit a sense of empty grandiosity. They typically maintain a feeling that they are better or more important than other people, and often fail to take the opinions or desires of others seriously (doesn’t this remind you Saay?). Hence they cannot learn or work with others because of this disability.

    The point is that Eritrea’s problems couldn’t be solved by removing the dictator only. Previous instance of regime decapitation (in Egypt for example) did not bring peace in the region so why do we think that Isaias is the only problem. The point is that only political change won’t bring peace in the country. Together with political change, cultural change should also be explored, hence we have to listen to YG and many more like him. AS much as independence didn’t bring prosperity, the removal of Isaias won’t be a single panacea that heals Eritreans current ills.

    Godefay (Ethiopian)

    • saay

      Oh boy:

      I don’t know whether to cry or laugh at this.

      The signature piece of all Ghedli defamers is not that they are wrong (anybody can be wrong) but that they are proudly, disastrously, with impeccable certitude, in your face, going full retard, no coming back, no recovery, paint yourself in a corner, wrong.

      Without delving too much into godefays profoundly ignorant note, anybody with passing knowledge ( not expert knowledge, but passing knowledge) of the biography of Ibrahim Sultan and Abdulkader Kebire would know that these two were very successful people in their fields.

      Part of the reason that we want to have an Eripedia in Awate 7.0 is that a lot of the information we assume everybody knows and is common knowledge is alien to the fiercely ignoramus class. I was talking to another YG-confused youth (because YG himself, an Addis product, is mostly ignorant about the Eritrean revolution as is his main source, Tekeste Negash, another Addis product) and I was telling her that sometimes I wish like playing NWAs “hello” (and I would if there was a clean version) when I get lectures from people who, had it not been for us, would probably be ruled by Haile Selasses grandson now and she was genuinely confused; she said “please explain. Did we have anything to do with training, arming, sheltering Weyane”?

      You can either scream at this, or you can patiently teach. Or, my favorite, you can scream and teach.

      Swing and miss Godefay. You are not even close. Crack some books. Really.


      • Naizgi K.

        “…had it not been for us, would probably be ruled by Haile Selasses grandson now and she was genuinely confused; she said “please explain. Did we have anything to do with training, arming, sheltering Weyane”?”

        “awekshi awekshi siluat metsehaf atebech”!!!…did you forget that Haileselassie and his system were destroyed by a popular revolution long before Woyane and your ‘training’ of them could have anything to do with it? Did it ever occur to you that you yourself could still be languishing under Ethiopian rule had the Derg was not defeated by the TPLF and the allied forces in Ethiopia in 1991?

        Yes, EPLF provided some (largely inconsequential) rudimentary training to a few of the TPLF fighters at early stage but it was only after the idea for the armed struggle and the TPLF as an organization were created by the Tigrayan students independently of the Eritrean LF’s…and as everybody knows EPLF was the larger beneficiary of the on-and-off collaboration that existed during the armed struggle…so your statement I quoted above is preposterous (as always) to put it mildly…


      • belai

        Dear Saay, The Addis Abeba products leadership gave the Independence to you,which you are very protective now.Are you saying they do not know their histroy? They are far too many you know.(Addis products).

      • Shum

        It’s discouraging to see not only the amount of ignorance but the extent of it when it comes to these individuals. These were not typical men. They strived and sacrificed much in their lives. And they did so their countrymen could have their own country. It’s as simple as that. I don’t expect Ethiopians to revere them as we do. But don’t stuff up. This Arab identity nonsense is so alien to what any actual Eritrean feels or relates to. All these points Godefay and YG make are just statements. They have brought no evidence to back up this assertion. The Eritrean revolution and movement for independence was to make Eritrea a country governed by Eritreans. That’s it. Godefay, you didn’t support our independence movement because you didn’t support our independence. That you call it a blessing in disguise says it all. But the blessing you are overlooking is the removal of Mengistu that was thanks to Eritreans and Tigrayans with their Ghedli. Be grateful.

        Your point about Isiais is right. He is part but not all of the problem. We have an authoritarian culture that is typical of traditionalist societies. But that is not a unique issue to Eritrea. Nor should this be unfamiliar to you.

        • saay

          selamat Shum:

          It goes beyond ignorance; it is, to quote an old song, “it is even worse than it appears.” It is the inversion of moral hierarchy without having the courage to come out and say it. Consider the following syllogisms:

          1. IF the Ghedli was terrible from conception to execution to follow-through, if it had not a single redeeming quality to it, nor was justification for it, then all of the following must also be true:

          a. The person who fought against the Ghedli or betrayed it (every wedo geba, every Jasus, every spy) must be a heroic figure;
          b. The person who never participated in the Ghedli at any level at all must be innocent and blameless;
          c. The person who was conscripted into the Ghedli is not entirely blameless (s/he could have escaped or run away or surrendered to Ethiopia) but not as blameworthy as those who volunteered;
          d. The person who voluntarily joined the Ghedli is to blame;
          e. The persons who started the Ghedli are the worst creatures Eritrea produced.

          That’s the Ghedli-defamers moral hierarchy. Now, the Ghedli-defamers themselves are an eclectic group, a mishmash from those who are merely disappointed at Eritrea (and, since they have an entitlement mentality, somebody else is responsible for the mess, and somebody else must fix the mess) to those who are out-and-out Eritrea-deniers and, confronted with this moral hierarchy, some have created moral pretzels. That is, there is a name for it, and here’s:

          2. Intellectual Dishonesty

          a. those who died in Ghedli are “heroic and we salute them.” But if they managed to stay alive and are now living in destitution in Asmara, they are cowards and to be blamed because they participated in the creation and sustenance of the regime. If you died on May 24, 1991, you are heroic and to be saluted; if you are alive, even if you are holding the most menial job and barely feeding your family and relying on your Diaspora family for sustenance, you are a terrible part of the gruesome regime. (This, incidentally, is the same argument Isaiasists use: venerate the dead, malign the living the minute they do something that crosses their line.)

          b. Those who were not in Ghedli at all and did not lift a finger to help the disabled Tegadelti who protested against the regime in 1993, or the G-15 in 2001, are blameless because, oh, well, what could we have done. They have all the guns, don’t you know. This absolves their detachment and their refusal to be involved in the affairs of their country so they can step in and out and pick up wherever they left off. If YOU are in your 50s and 60s now, and you had NOTHING to say when the DISABLED veterans were mowed down, and the WORLD MEDIA covered it (you can’t say you didn’t know) don’t YOU have some explaining to do? I know I feel ashamed. Our tyrant was not born: our indifference and silence progressively emboldened him and progressively discouraged those with an independent streak (whose independence streak, curiously, was not killed by that awful ghedli.) This 10-minute video clip might help those who want to catch up:

          If you were too young then, you are not absolved: ask those in their 50s and 60s, what did you do to help your brothers and sisters when they were being mowed down? You may be surprised when you learn who stood up for them and who was absent without leave. You might be even more surprised when you learn that those who said nothing then are blaming those who did.

          c. The infinite regress of asking who is to blame for Eritrea’s current mess must always stop either in 1961, or in the 1940s. At most, it might go to 1890, for those who think that Italy is to blame (inferiority, superiority, whateverority complex). But beyond that, there must not be any serious evaluation as to whether our own culture or subculture has contributed to venerating and sustaining authoritarians because that would be to “insult Habesha” and to “hate Ethiopia.”

          It is the most anti-intellectual exercise; it is simply deflection and feel-good nostalgia for a “Habesha” culture. Of course, using their arguments, I could make a case that the “Habesha culture” is to blame for Eritrea’s mess (why not? 100% of those in power are Habesha.)

          More conundrums. How do we deal with the fact that without Ghedli, we would not have an independent Eritrea. Here are more options from them, each one worse than the other:

          1. Eritrea is older than Ghedli; it is there with or without Ghedli. (dependent, independent, what’s the difference?)
          2. Eritrea is a manufactured, fake identity. No Ghedli, and we would have reverted back to our old identities. The Habesha would be with his Habesha kin; the Aslamay would have gone to Sudan. If that is too inconvenient or unworkable, then Habesha (Big H) would have accommodated habesha (small h) just like it has been done in Ethiopia peacefully and bloodlessly for centuries. Riiiight.

          This is really why I asked YG to give me his belief statement, but he refuses to. I really wanted to know where he fit in all the mishmash above but, like all good politicians (“People First!”), he wants to be all things to all Ghedli-defamers, so he is standing his ground at being ambiguous.


          • Shum

            None of your points will be addressed with thoughtful feedback or facts from any of the debaters I have seen so far. YG’s perspective comes from a lopsided, one-sided point of view based on his visit back home. And he’s been fitting any observation, real or imagined, into it whilst ignoring very important arguments against. I suspect he won’t summarize it for us because he knows the vast majority of Eritreans will reject it.

            His hope (I suspect) is that he has gotten many young Eritreans to go along for the ride so that when he unveils his Andinet mantra, they’ll bite on that too. Or who knows, maybe he’ll want us to sign a treaty that recognizes Ethiopia as our protectorate in Amharic while the Tigrinya version states we can use them to represent us in foreign affairs if we so wish. All kidding aside, I can’t help but wonder if his ” People First” response means whatever it takes for his idea of peace. Just wish I knew what that was. Intai’mo kibleka.

  • SenKim

    No one in his right mind would deny that ghedli caused untold misery on tegadelti and hafash alike. The root cause of main Eritrea’s post-independence predicaments are also to be found in the secrecy, intrigue, lack of accountability and excessive concentration of power forged during the ghedli era. However, for all it’s weakness and faults, ghedli also fulfilled our people’s aspiration, at least in part. The price paid for is dear, the sacrifices immense. While questioning it’s legacy and consequences are wise things to do, revising the premises of a done-deal is futile at best.

  • Teclay

    Selam Yosief( The Champion)
    In ur next article as u said about the mas killing by the Ethiopian rulers,would you include pls if u can at least the approximate civilian causalities from 1961,,,,,1991 and the victims of red terror in Ethiopia,only if u have an approximate figure
    with regards

  • Ermias

    Hi Serray,

    I agree with your break down of ghedli (shaebia in particular) entirely. Nobody does better in that regard than you. I will add one or two more things and I am done with this article and the comments, if anybody cares.

    Ghedli produced the bad, the good, and the ugly. The bad is IA and his entourage. The good is the independence and the ugly is our state of affairs at the present. The ‘bad’ was perhaps a necessary evil to bring the ‘good’ about. But the ‘good’ should never have been followed by the ‘ugly’, tegadelti allowed it. They realized it in 2000 in the form of drue, sherrifo, petros solomon, etc. but it was a bit late.

    To fix the ugly, the bad needs to be completely weeded out. The one main thing I am afraid YG has an impeccable argument on is Ethiopia’s role. At the very least, they are easily capable of holding our journey to where we want to be hostage if they act as adversaries. If they are indifferent, we can manage when all said and done. As an ally, it can go either way depending on how much influence they demand.

  • haile

    Selamat T.Kifle,

    Yes indeed, it would be great to have this over an Addis coffee or Asmara cappuccino, let’s hope the AT have something up their sleeves to make debating cosy for 2014.

    Anyway, let me start with the “hate” section of your reply. We really have no way out other than see things for what they are. Over the last two decades the relationship between Tigrayans and Eritreans picked until 1998 and nose dived afterwards and again seems to be somewhat recovering. On the other hand, the relationship between Amhara and Eritreans seems to have started from very low in the early 90’s to moderate now. This is my opinion when looking at people to people level.

    Let me take you to a small hall in the southern suburbs of London, England. In an area know as Stockwell, there existed a Tigrayan community center. Many Eritreans played a key role in enabling its establishment. Following MZ’s attendance of the IA, Herman Cohen, MZ and others, meeting in London in May 1991, the next morning MZ made his way to that community center to address Tigrayan residents of the area. Many Eritreans were in attendance too. The persistent questions that were raised by the Tigrayans at the time was to do with “put downs” and other untoward attitudes that they perceived as coming from Eritreans and if this was the case at leadership level. MZ’s response was that such was part of some backward social attitudes that both fronts work to deal with from time to time. And, assured them that at leadership level, such issues had no place.

    That place continued to function as a community center, where there was a canteen run by the Tigrayan community members, many Eritreans were regulars, not only as consumers but also in helping to organize many activities that were run from there and outside, such as demonstrations… A popular Tigrayan singer visited there, named Kiros (forgot his last name) and sings well some of Fihira’s songs too (even if Kiros had no TPLF background). Money was never the problem, many Tigrayans considered Eritrean events as theirs and so did many Eritreans. Cultural and social stigmatization always raring their ugly head from time to time. Tigrayan events don’t take place without inviting the whole of the Eritrean community and Eritrean invitations and posters were always in the billboards of the Tigrayan community center.

    This process was developing into closer relationships into many other aspects of life as business, marriages… It was greatly undermined following the 1998 border war. The incident had set the clock back and scuttled all progress made.

    The relationship with non-Tigrayan Ethiopians (mostly amhara and Oromo) was simple people to people, as the memory of the ghedli era faded, the people got at ease about each other and individual relationships thrived. Restaurants and churches were fertile grounds that helped to break the social briers.

    As you can see in the forgoing, it is not a simple case of manifesto or charter that decrees people’s attitude towards each other. Rather it is the opportunities, events, developments, mutual benefits, and farsighted leaders that can influence the outcome of the type of relationships. In terms of farsighted leaders, we have none, and our current state was complicated by stupid decisions on both sides (I am mindful of current steps taken in connection to the influx of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia vs the people to people program – I wish it success).

    When this form of social attitude is exploited for political rhetoric, “Eritrean hate towards Ethiopia” is a catch phrase but hallow and devoid of the substance as regards the complex intersection of history, social attitude, precipitating factors…that determine the nature of these things. YG, doesn’t actually factor people in their ordinary conditions into his arguments, and when he says “colonial mentality” forced Eritrean “nationalists” to set off ghedli, it is an empty aggregate of words that bare no relationship to REAL life on the everyday man’s street. Can he give us how that [mis]conception of his transpire in real life to so much as result in a civil war? Hence, my pointing out of his DETACHMENT.

    Again, it would be foolish for any rational man (let alone Eritrean) to underestimate the fighting capability and fortitude of the TPLF men and women tegadelti. Theirs was a different terrain, they can’t depend on trenches because of the distances they had to cover, and were usually exceptionally quick to maneuver a large moving battalions in an ongoing battles over large swaths of territory. The had high stamina. For example, the Dergue’s 102nd air born division was completely annihilated by TPLF infantry in a battle outside of Dessie, Wollo – I think during operation Tedros. The dergue’s 102nd air born was put into the battle after they completed their mission of liquidating many Eritrea based generals of Ethiopia’s 2nd revolutionary command, following a failed coup attempt in early 1988. The TPLF at the time had declined to their call to join them, by stating that “ye Telatien Telat wedajeie belen anamnm” but “ye hizb wedaj new yeNa wedaj”. They had a position against Eritrea’s independence though.

    So, when you said Eritrean tegadelti were surprised, assume that must have been at an earlier stage of the armed struggle.

    My final point is that the fact of the matter is TPLF didn’t lead a small battle to get to where it gotten to, and such experience doesn’t come as a cake walk. It was tough, it was hard and they had ways of controlling and ensuring that the movement was defended from internal and external subversion. The end justify the means in TPLF’s case. Their movement was not subverted by criminals from the inside, hence TPLF was able to deliver a lot of its promises, especially to its constituency and others. Hence, no one would ask or talk about the other side of the equation. In Eritrea’s case, things would have probably progressed like that but IA descended into criminality, in full, body and soul. He played the Eritrean people like no other. And now that we are either dying at seas, held as refugees or brutalized by an army that takes orders from his crime syndicate generals, people are questioning why.

    The whole of ghedli experience is tedious, complicated and many pluses and minuses. But the architect of Eritrea’s down fall was and is its falul leadership, more than anything else.


    • T.Kifle

      Dear haile,

      You explained it beautifully, by way of example, the possibilities on riving back the people to people relationship of the divide. All along the years they demonstrated an immense tolerance, endurance and wisdom with forgiving hearts attributed to their history of coexistence extended over millennia amid extreme adversity both natural and man-made. I have no a shred of doubt on their capability to come to terms with the tormented past give or take few inconsequential fanatics from both sides.
      The problem many, Eritreans and Ethiopians alike, pose here, I think, is the oversized importance attached to the nature and role of Ghedlhi. Ghedli wouldn’t be a first choice in the path to independence. It is only a second and the worst alternative Eritreans at the time had on the shelf. Irrespective of the disagreements on the alleged backers, they decided to fight and delivered the results. You thank them, praise them, demobilize them, take care of them etc… etc, but shouldn’t allow them define the Eritrean nation-state to emerge from their edict. Read SAAY’s answer to Eyob in another thread. “…read my lips. After mad king Isaias, is gone, whoever inherits power in Eritrea will be from the Ghedli generation because NOBODY is going to trust the identity-confused people you admire…” Sometimes I fail to catch him whether he was serious or acting ይበተኹ:: Trust is institutional. The Ghedli generation cannot last forever. Trusting individuals is what we got us here to begin with. This is the concern we raise here because its ramifications affect us all. We don’t want to go through the horrible experience of war and destruction we lived to tell it.

      The Ethiopian side explains its Ghedli as a “necessary evil” though still there are many romantics that invoke this flawed card whenever they feel like scoring a point. I can tell it is not easy to win them as they think their world is crushed before their eyes when they are made to suddenly change roles in the ensuing years. We have many problems in governance; some inherited form the old feudal system and others from Ghedli itself. I am only claiming that we are a little bit better.


  • T.Kifle

    Selamat SAAY,

    Let us see if your claims stand the test of reality as it unfolds

    1. MLLT was not a secret party but a leading core known to everybody where anyone could become a member including farmers in the liberated areas. The only bar put in place for membership selection was the stringent moral ethos and the level of consciousness one needs to posses to become a n exemplary leader.

    2. All new functions and roles were being inducted as outcomes of regular congress being held every 2 years. I am not discussing the merit of the outcomes; nevertheless, it was a perfect display of harmony between leaders and the led. Of course, over the years it had faced so many rises and falls but not for the luck participatory leadership.

    3. How can you talk of liquidating EPRP, EDU ete? They were supposed to be stronger than TPLF where ELF and EPLF extended them the helping hand; a clear answer of a truth that external challenges are just challenges: cannot make or break anyone. EDU and EPRP even your ELF incessantly and cunningly tried to liquidate TPLF and their evil collusion had consumed them one by one. So the fittest survived! No regrets about it.

    4. Flat out lie. EPRDF puts Ethiopian history in perspective. Our past is of war and suffering attributed to the chauvinist patriotism instilled by successive kings. Menilik is commended: as a final unifier of THE COUNTRY, as a victor of the battle of ADOWA and as introducer of a nuance of modernity albeit insignificant. EPRDF still holds (I am expressing my observation) that the imprisonment project of Ethiopian nations and nationalities started mainly during his era and reached its height of stupidity in HS’s time. His actions while he executed his expansion project to south and south east employed a brutal method of a kind and are condemnable. He dispossessed the property of the indigenous people and distributed them to his warlords. The inhabitants reduced to just slaves. No one can expmt this dark history. EPRDF is encouraging people come to terms because living in the past is as bad as repeating the mistakes his mistakes. EPRDF doesn’t celebrate him as a father figure of the country. But I don’t think you will miss the very edict of responsible leadership where calling in the past would bring only another round of suffering. EPRDF is a ruling party and has to act accordingly.

    5. SAAY here you sound the Menilik worshipper when you talk about flag. During the struggle Dergue used the flag as a rallying icon as if dying for it was the only virtue thereof. TPLF brought another line of articulation: Flag is a symbol of a sovereign free people inhabited a particular geographic area. It cannot be an excuse for eliminating dissent and wage war against innocent people. So the people are the symbol a nation. There is no point in wrapping the “piece of cloth” while massacring people in their thousands. In the armed struggle the flag was not needed and when it becomes a government it’s natural to hold its natural place with the new meaning attached to its symbolism.

    6. Again here it’s a lie. In your reply to Hayat you told us you were convinced of the 3000 years of independent existence. Now you bounced back for no apparent reason. Ethiopia attained the current geographic boundary in the 19th century. But it involved an empire of 3000 years old. This may not include all of Ethiopia but there is no contradiction in it. It’s part of the country. And we celebrate the good part and learn from the lapses.

    7. The facts speak for themselves. Learn if you can. What is best for humanity is universal. peculiarities are not important here. In fact TPLF knew what was best for Eritrea. It also knew, it’s the Eritreans who should have the last say on the matter.

    8. I don’t think TPLF regrets it. It simply shouldn’t. ELF got ahead of itself and tried to act as a representative government of Eritrea, involved itself in claiming large swath of lands which is beyond the acceptable mandate of an armed outfit. When TPLF opposed its move, it tried to contain it through various machinations. But it was propped against wrong parties like EPRP and EDU (bunch of feudal lords and their sympathizers). TPLF’s actions were just. ELF had to go and only because of its persuasions. It was a right move of self-defence.

    9. So what is your beef? It also made it part of the constitution. Any Ethiopian state could invoke this right should they see it deem.
    I told you elsewhere that you don’t know your Ethiopia or TPLF. Give it some time, visit the country, collect some literature and meet people. It may help you soften the strongly built protective shell called “Ghedli”. Eritrea is bigger than Ghedli.


    • saay

      Selamat T. Kifle:

      I could defend every point I made by giving supporting evidence, but it is one of those too much work for too little payoff. You know why?

      I hope Hayat won’t be disappointed but part of my objective in writing the post was to determine where you stand on the party-hackery scale. I mean, I know you are a hard-core TPLF supporter (not a single criticism of a single policy your party took since Lekatit 1975), but I wanted to know how deep your infliction is.* I think it is at code red: I am talking at the Dr. Ghidewon-EPLF level. The two giveaways are your “that is a flat out lie” (you could have said “you are mistaken” or “you are wrong” but felt like going for the jugular) and your “EPRDF still holds (I am expressing my observation)…” If you were an independent person, free from restrictions of being a party hack, you wouldn’t need the “I am expressing my observation” qualifier because everybody at this forum is expressing an observation. Party hacks do that habitually because they don’t want to get in trouble with their party.

      Now, I will simplify for you what TPLF’s diagnosis of Eritrea’s issues were. It has nothing to do with ideology, Marxism/Leninism, Russia, East Germany, ethnic federation or any other high-falutin term. I was always genuinely puzzled how TPLF, a party originating from a homogenous state (95% Tewahdo Christian, 95% Tigrinya speakers), dare give lectures to Eritreans (at least 9 language groups, 50-50 religious split) on how to manage their diversity. I mean, it can’t be THAT arrogant and full of itself, can it? And the answer was given by Meles Zenawi to Paul Henze in 1990. It was published at asmarino when my friend Tes Meharenna had taken a leave of absence from his website (khoblilu) and allowed it to be the playground of Ethiophiles. Can you guess what it is?


      * You might be called for neqefeta-nefsi neqefeta/gemgam session for describing how TPLF dealt with its opponents as “survival of the fittest”. How Darwinian of you.

      • Hayat Adem

        Selam Sal, I am so thankful for the care and brotherly love you displayed for me all through. Small comment below:
        Tigray* is not a country and tplf is not a nation state party. If you remind yourself of tplf as ONLY part of an ethiopian politics (i.e., of more diverse social and political fabrics than eritrea), then you might be a bit generous to consider if there is any lesson to learn and a reason to listen to them. Even if they were of narrower social base, it wouldn’t mean they can not have anything to offer as advice or opinion.
        *the other day, you were presenting tigray as one party state where there are no parties contesting election and sharing power with tplf, and for that implying it is not any different from eritrea. well, i can’t argue how democratically and openly offices are competed for in tigray, but again it is only a regional state within ethiopia and you can’t make a system to system comparison with eritrea.

        • saay

          Selamat Hayat:

          Just to put it in the proper context, it was in response to YG where he accused AT and me of talking about De.M.H.T. because we “have always believed that if [our] colonizing mission is ever to have a chance to be enacted in Eritrea, the wedge between the habeshas across the Mereb River, in general, and between the Tigrignas, in particular, must be kept alive.”

          Impartial as you are, if you were contributing to the extent you could, you would have told him “Ageb!” for this deliberately inflammatory and demagogic statement. None of his fans here, who know that our mission ( and 12 year record) is the exact opposite of what YG accused us of, stood up for us and told him “Ageb!”, which was disappointing to me.

          I said that “De.M.H.T may very well have a legitimate grievance and legitimate case to wage an armed struggle.After all, as I have pointed out many times, Tigray has a larger population than Eritrea, but 22 years after the overthrow of the Derg, the TPLF controls 100% of the government in Tigray and sends 100% of the representatives to the Federal parliament. That is 22 years of one-party statehood with no political space for any opponent.”

          The TPLF/EPRDF model is to create an ethnic federation of one-party monopoly states. And this is the one that is shown to us as a success and one we should model Eritrea after. When one says, “no, thank you” to Isaiasism, it doesn’t preclude one from saying “no, thank you” to Weyane’s vision, does it?

          Interestingly, Kaddis, another EPRDF supporter wrote to say, “hey, did you know that in the 2005 election Kinjit won in Addis?” Note that he is talking about the one exception, the one fluke that happened 8 years ago and which was “corrected” (over-corrected, actually) in the 2010 election.

          All my best wishes, Hayatom.


      • T.Kifle

        Selamat Sal,

        I agree we delved to much into this issue and we better make a truce. But for at least in the this article, let me say few concluding remarks.

        If you wish to limit TPLF’s experience to the “homogeneous” Tigray it’s your choice. But suffice to say its ideals have saved Ethiopia (much to the chagrin of IA and his clones)from eminent disintegration through the not-so-far-trodden path called self-determination. 9 is a number much less than 109. it really works no matter what the numbers are. Allow them share the power at the centre, administer themselves the way they see it fit. that’s it.

        You always accuse me for not saying a word on TPLF’s weak spots. I have a plethora of issues with my TPLF on governance which don’t necessarily fit for discussion on here. Your “party hack” doesn’t apply on me. I am not a party member any more as far as since 1996. If I offend any one in my ዓርሰ-ነቐፌታ is in due 😀 .


  • ABEL

    There goes your ignorance of the origins of your SAVAGE ETHIOPIA that came into existence about 10(ten) years after Eritrea that was formed by the Italians officially in 1890.

    Following the death of Emperor John IV in the hands of the DARAWISH of the Sudan, Minelik II became emperor of ABYSSINIA that consisted of Tigre, Gojjam, Begemidr, and Menz in the NE of Shoa.
    The French and the British for their own reasons armed him fully and gave him military advisors as well. So he started his conquest of the surrounding quasi independent neighboring areas, namely Wollo, Shoa whose capital of FINFINNE he renamed Addis Abeba, Kaffa, Illubabor, Wolllega, Gemu Gofa, Sidamo, Harerge, Arusi, and Bale. Mind you Minelik II butchered 1/3( a third ) of the people that he conquered.

    At the end of his wars of conquest, he named his newly formed Abyssinian empire Ethiopia on the suggestion of an Italian by the name of FRANCISCO CRISPI.

    Before the hijacking of the name by MINELIK II , Ethiopia was recorded in the BIBLE to connote AFRICA SOUTH OF THE SAHARA, and it is a GREEK word of ETIOPIS that meant LAND OF PEOPLE WITH BURNT FACES.

    When he fought the Italians at the battle of ADWA in 1896, his army was formed only of Abyssinians that were led under him by Nigus Tekle Haimanot of Gojjam, Ras Alula and Ras Gugsa of Tigre, and Ras Mekonnen(the father of Emperor Haile Sellassie)of Shoa.

    So please learn facts before making baseless emotional statements as that will do nothing but confirm the fictitious modality of Abyssinian and Ethiopian history with its fiction of the Queen of Sheba and Minelik I regarding of which JOHNSON and MONROE in their HISTORY OF ETHIOPIA say PEOPLE WITH PARVENUE ANCESTORY HANKER AT PARVENUE ANCESTORS.

    Please read 1- THE INVENTION OF ETHIOPIA by HOLCOMBE ( an American Historian) and IBSA
    2- The Sign and The Seal by Graham Hancock

    Your savage Emperor Minelik II who eventually died of SYPHILIS, killed ONE THIRD of the people whom he conquered and whose land he incorporated into his Abyssinian empire. Still worse, he reduced them to serfs/GEBBARS on their own land to serve his NEFTEGNAS/gun owners or rather his soldiers and his SHOA nobility.

    What more would make one a savage??!!!!!!


    • Naizgi N.


      I think you need a refresher course in Ethiopian history. Almost every substantive statement in your post is factually incorrect (not that I’m surprised but I’m just saying). You claim that all the territories in the south Ethiopia were brought in by King Minilik for the first time. That is false. For example King Amde Seyon of the 13th century was ruling a large part of the same territory in the south all the way to Hadiya and Harar in the ease ( It is not true that Ethiopians called themselves Abyssinia before Minilik adopted the name Ethiopia. In fact inscriptions on King Ezana’s stele in the 4th century identify him as the king of Ethiopia. More recently King Zera Yakob of the 14th century was exchanging letters with European powers where he calls his country Ethiopia. If you have somebody who understands Geez, here is one of his letters.

      You claim that Minilik’s army at the time of Adwa war consisted of the army of “Nigus Tekle Haimanot of Gojjam, Ras Alula and Ras Gugsa of Tigre, and Ras Mekonnen(the father of Emperor Haile Sellassie)of Shoa”. This is absolute lie. Whatever happened to the formidable Fiteorari Habtegiogis and his amry and Balcha Aba Nefso and his army of the Oromos and the Oromo cavalry that played a critical role in decimating the invading army including perhaps your askari grandfather? You know what the Oromo cavalry were shouting while mowing down the necks of the Italians soldiers? ‘Sabal guma…Sabal guma’ which in Amharic means ‘eched…eched’!!!. And for heavens sake please stop confusing propaganda with real history.


      • Naizgi N.

        Another evidence of early reference to Ethiopia is found in hymns of the founder of Ethiopian Church music St. Yared who lived in the sixth century. You can read the details at

        The point is that it always the outsiders who were calling our country abbysinea but Ethiopians were calling it Ethiopia all the way back to at least the 4th century A.D.



        • Eyob Medhane


          Why bother? Really…Hate filled resentment of Ethiopia, which sustains ‘Eritrean Nationalism’ needs such kinds of stories to tell to survive. with out it, it will be nothing. What you are trying to do rocking an already sinking boat. Just leave it as it is. Let it keep sinking….

  • Awalom Bahta Hagos

    >>>>>> “Despite Italy’s grim educational legacy, the Muslim League kept on hammering that imagined superiority, “it is known and admitted by all reasonable men, that it is not right to place a Nation which enjoys a standard of education and equality under an inferior nation” [5] And when the argument was mixed with Islamism, as it often did, the Muslim League put it this way [6]:

    “Now the Eritrean People has achieved a certain intellectual evolution by its contact with the civilized nations, and for that it has today a level of education superior to that of the Ethiopian people. To this should be added the equity and equality amongst the Moslems did not exist in Ethiopia where the traces of Middle Ages still exist today”

    The Kebessa separatists were soon to buy into the master argument; but unlike the Muslim elite’s case, it was also used for internal consumption to convince one another, and remained to be a signature of the Kebessa-led liberation movement through the duration of ghedli. Once internalized, they were to remain captive to the sense of betterment they got from their colonial heritage long after the Muslim elite were to walk away from it to fully embrace the Islamic/Arab cause. Thus, the genesis of the bifurcation of the Eritrean cause that characterized mieda Eritrea is to be found in the Muslim League’s literature of the ’40s and ’50s, Janus-faced as it was to appeal to two audiences with little shared concern except that imagined superiority. ” <<<<<<<<

    Right on, YG. From its inception ghedli was anti Ethiopia & anti Habesha movement cooked up in Egypt and delivered to Eritreans thru Idris Awate. Kebessa Eritreans didn't buy it until they were forced to embrace the proverbial leper (ELF) in the face of brutal cold brought to them by dictator Mengistu Hailemariam. Otherwise the ghedli mantra wouldn't have made a dent in Kebessa for they have no reason or justification to distance themselves from their cousins south of mereb.

    Regardless, what is done is done.Eritrea is a country now. But lessons have to be learned so Eritreans (Kebessa) can clearly see the truth behind the ghedli facade. Hate-everything-Ethiopian diet they were and continue to be fed by ELF/EPLF does not have any valuable nutrients. It is pure junk.

  • asmara

    What does Hate got to do with it?

    Since when does “I don’t want to be married to you” or “I don’t want to be associated with you beyond neighborliness” equate to “I hate you”?

    All, Eritreans asked was their independence and all Eritrea is asking now is respect of sovereignty and respect of boundaries. How is that translated in to hate?

    All Eritreans said was they don’t and won’t see Ethiopia any differently than they see Sudan, Djibouti or any of the nations across the Red Sea. How is that translated in to hate?

    Eritreans have all the right to be proud of their history, independence struggle, their steady fastness and what not, like any other nation of the world. Ethiopia takes pride in many things, like Adwa war, a nation never colonialized, special people in Africa because of that, its own calendar, different time counting (Which might not make any sense to any non-Ethiopian, but it still is none of any body’s business. Ethiopians can take pride on anything they consider an accomplishment) and all that Jazz, doesn’t it?

    So how the hell is Eritrean pride any different? And how on earth is it the concern of Ethiopia more than it is that of Sudan?

    So, where is this “Eritreans Hate Ethiopia” drum being beaten here? Hatred, if there is any, is actually the one Ethiopians have towards Eritrea. Let’s face it: all the suffering during the 30 years struggle for independence, all the deportation and humiliation of Eritreans during the border war, and the violation of our sovereignty, with the wicked intent of dismantling Eritrean nation hood and testing the unity of its people, can easily be interpreted into hate

    And finally, what else does Eritrea have to do, on top of the 30 years’ war, and superb referendum, so that the Ethiopians and all the RESIDUE UNIONISTS (Or Woyanie sidekicks , if you would prefer that) to grasp the simple fact that Eritrea is Eritrea and Ethiopia is like any other neighbor of Eritrea? , I mean, seriously

    So, people, get real.

  • Fallul II

    I have learned form your “people first” principle in all your articles than the “land first” camp in the last 30 years. You are a great cyber warrior and teacher. The best essayist so far that every Eritrean needs to read in Eritrean politics.

    • zegeremo

      Dear Fallul,

      Do you know worrying gives you wrinkles? The debate is not about who first landed on the moon; it is about the land feeds the people!


  • Etesfu

    This is what I get out of this lively debate

    One group believes ghedli belongs to the people it is their story of struggle to liberate them selves from the oppressors, a justified cause for peace and justice. With all its short coming it still is a worthy cause and should not be condemned. The real problem for not delivering the desired peace and justice are the leadership of the struggle and by removing this group we can build a society that is in peace with itself and its neighborhood.

    The second group believes ghedli is a system created by the leadership and which is the cause of the misery that befall on the people. It is only by exposing this system and getting rid of it that people can be freed and peace will be returned to the land.

    It seems to me both groups are targeting the leadership, They just have different definition for what ghedli is.

  • Haile Zeru

    The following is an excerpt from the memoirs of Mika’el Hasama Rakka, an Eritrean who lived during those turbulent years and after. The translation is by Bairu Tafla.
    Yosief Ghebrehiwet cannot spread lies and look a brilliant analyst. You cannot re-invent history.
    History is already done it cannot be retrofitted. And from the last paragraph I read in your article Tekeste Negash is a leftover of the old Ethiopian imperial school that was thrown away in the dust bin of history.

    “When the Imperial Representative realized, after attempting to convince all members of the assembly, that the federation could not be abrogated he undertook an illegal action. He ordered the calling of anomalous meeting of the Assembly, and the members were summoned .Many muslim members of the Assembly did not attend, as they knew of the secret. Regardless of the immunities of the assembly members were driven into the parliament like goats by the policemen who were sent to fetch them to Asmera from Barka, Sahel and Semhar. Bitweded Asfah Weldemika’el arrived at the Eritrean Assembly at 11:20 a.m. on 12 November 1962 and declared that the federation was abolished from that very day onward, that Eritrea became a regular province of Ethiopia and that there was nothing which could be done to change the matter”
    Now, if this is not a unilateral abrogation What is it?

  • Semere Andom

    i-falkan sahbey:
    Dear Awatista:
    I have a good friend in the land of the free. This good friend has friend who also lives in a neighboring free land. This good friend once spilled a toxic brew so his friend and others would not drink it. This good friend also stops the “Patient Savor” in his tracks so that the young would not drink from it, tempted by the elaborate schemes of the “Patient Savor”, who lurks among them.
    The friend of this good friend struggled to teach himself Arabic, not because he understood that it was important lanauge for Eritrea, but his boyhood friends read the Quran with it and his love affair with Arabic commenced from the first word.
    The good friend did not spill the toxic brew, it turns out. He hid the brew and spiked it with PFDJ brew, a more lethal version, but thanks to the boyhood incursions of the friend of this good friend, the dagger he swang was a swedish massage to his friend’s chest as the brief interview which precedes the song by a ghedli-romantic was not really a dagger for the friend of this good friend. It was therapeutic becasue it was spoken in the language those boyhood friends idiolized.
    The friend of the good friend has an admissions though: this dagger was a fresh air from the singer who cannot make his mind about the strenght of the Eritrean people. 🙂

    • saay



      Terjema we’nebi:)


      • semere andom

        Hi saay
        sorry I was vague
        here is the public key
        patiet savor is our friend Eyob M
        saay is the good friend who lives in the land of the free and hia friend called Semere Andom. Now use your private key

  • Hayat Adem

    Hi all- I am doing well and catching up on most of the recent discussions. My observations on this:
    1) I hail yg for coming here and firing up the awate society to debate on such important issues
    2) I hail sal on remaining seized of.
    3) To readers: please enjoy the feast as much as you can. consider both sides are laying a variety of buffet items for you to pick your preferences. you don’t have to be loyal to only one line. go ahead and pick whatever you like from each side. and please be reminded that, nobody is running for public office here, and you are not required to make yourselves busy on digging archived write-ups that belonged to either sal or yg just for the sake of making them contradict their current positions. To every article posted here, lets give it a piece-meal treatment. i really want to benefit from every height of ideas coming my way. and there is no point for me upon checking the consistency of the author making it my priority unless the author himself makes it a selling or boasting point and with that, some level of dishonesty is detected.
    3) and these matters do really matter unlike to some commenters trying to label this sort of discussion as irrelevant. they are critically important issues of today and tomorrow, and not some extraneous, inconsequential bygone of the past. if you follow sal, you would conclude eritrea’s problem is purely political and normally fixable. if you follow yg’s line, you would end up concluding that eritrea’s problem comes mega-rooted and it would require some fundamental overhauling and some political undoing to merely reset it on a normal track.
    4) I encourage sal and yg to acknowledge and honor the fact that one core purpose of their debate is to win each other and not to merely influence readers to their lines of thoughts. To this end, whenever one of them makes a new sense, i would have liked the other one to take it at face value and integrate it to his main thinking lines and challenge and improve on the rest. Knowledge never grows on polarity (running opposites) or parallelism (running disconnect). Whenever some convincing sense is made, the other side should not be afraid to cheer it openly, for the alternative will be a determined fight for scoring or rejecting. Neither conditions satisfy earnest intellectuality.
    5) To sal: whenever some buttons are pushed on you amidst the debate, please remain calm and focused on the main issues, and refrain from the temptation of pushing back your own buttons harder in the hope of hitting your opponents harder. That urge is forcing you to apply some spinning. I detest such tendencies however mild (very mild in your case). For example, you used meles’ line- when it comes to the eritreans, the stick works as good as the carrot or sorts- out of context. you definitely misquoted xamora to fit your argument. and what bothers me is that I can’t suspect you of lacking the capacity to understand, but no one wants to see spotty cynicism in a smart man like you coming out of the internal urge to win arguments- who wins is less important for us than which idea grows more sensible. we shouldn’t be pushed to decide to align “with me or with him”. you and yg should let us (readers) the option of going hybrid on both of you.
    5) the many differences between sal and yg are of the analytical methodology they apply as much as they are of contexts (inductive for sal, deductive for yg). the two are not arguing and contesting as much on factual events but on the values they attach to them.
    6) i believe: yg has explained well the totality of ghedli’s actions and the culture it consequently sustained. The mess we are in also lends solid support to yg’s claims. I also see yg may have more work on explaining whether that was by design of intentions from the get-go or dynamic circumstances brought it to prevail over other situations.

    • T.Kifle

      Dear Hayat,

      I am extremely glad you are doing well. on top of cherished us with wonderful comment accentuating your trademark style of writing. Hope you recuperate fast.

      Best wishes to you from Addis Ababa

    • saay

      Selamat Hayat:

      Great to hear that you are feeling better and I admire your stamina. If I was recovering from an illness, as you are, I would NOT be reading saay and yg (no offense to the two 🙂


      1. In case you didn’t read the June 2000 article that Eyob brought here, it references Meles Zenawi’s earlier “with Eritreans, you have to use the stick” statement. The context was: if the 1998-2000 Eritrea-Ethiopia war was senseless, what happened in Tessenei (the trigger for the article) was triple senseless: it was launched just to prove a point to a bureaucrat: Yemane Gebremeskel. And my question was, well, maybe Meles Zenawi really does believe the “with Eritreans, you have to use the stick” philosophy. Zamora Yonus is a man who took the reverse journey of YG: from a trans-nationalist (a Tigrayan who identified himself more with Eritrea than Ethiopia) to a nationalist (Ethiopian), according to Alemeseghed book “Identity Jilted.” I mentioned him, in my reply to T.Kifle that when he made his comments about “Eritreans love building trenches” he wasn’t referencing all 5 million of us Eritreans but those responsible for Eritrea’s military strategy. Similarly, I was asking T.Kifle, please extend me the same courtesy: when I say “Ethiopia”, I mean its rulers. Neither Eritrea nor Ethiopia can use the term to be interchangeably used between people and government because we have never had governments who rule with our consent.

      I can laugh off any put down heartily (average intelligence, below average math-teacher looks, long-winded, superficial, gasbag: I have heard them all); but the one that injures is the attempt to present me as a hater of Ethiopia or Habesha. And, with regret, YG is very guilty of lobbing that bomb casually and often at me, my friend Saleh and this very website.

      2. When new information or new perspective comes to light, I like to think I can acknowledge it and it impacts my thinking. One simple example here: Amde made an argument I had never heard before: why is how long has Ethiopia been Ethiopia determined by the date its final borders were fixed as opposed to the date its first borders were fixed? He compared Ethiopia’s expansion south and southeast, with America’s expansion to the West. Not only did I think that was brilliant, it actually changed the way I view things and now if somebody says Ethiopia is 3,000 year old country, he won’t hear an argument from me.

      3. I see a lot of goodwill from awatistas for me and yg to reconcile our views, to create some agreement on principles for the sake of something grand. I, of course, value unity and reconciliation. But step 1 in reconciliation is Truth. And I still do not know yg’s belief statement. I asked him directly and perhaps believing it was some kind of debating trap, one of our most verbose and articulate writers gave me a two word answer: “people first.” I really am looking for his belief statement which will determine our future engagement. If YG thinks it is some debate trap, it really isn’t and to assure him it is not: I would volunteer to present my belief statement with emphasis on how this belief statement will propel my future action and what my ideal Eritrea is.

      It was wonderful to hear from you!


      • Naizgi K.


        You said:

        “Amde made an argument I had never heard before: why is how long has Ethiopia been Ethiopia determined by the date its final borders were fixed as opposed to the date its first borders were fixed?”

        While I applaud Amde for using this argument here, the argument it hardly original…for example I recall Senait (my other nick!) stating the following in response to another Eritrean claiming that Ethiopia’s history is no more than 100 years in the Ethiopia Review Forum in 2010.

        “The fact that Abyssinia has since expanded to the south and included some more territories does not justify your claim either. You will hardly find a country in the world whose territories did not change over the last 200 years.” You can see it:

        For example Egypt, China, India, etc. took their current shape only in the last 150 years after some subtraction and addition from/to their territories. But we do not count their history starting from the date they took their current shape. So the claim that Ethiopia has only 100 years of history is silly and I’m glad that you now accept this obvious fact.


    • Nitricc

      “Important issue”
      What are you smoking? This thread and its author are the most useless and waste of time in the history of awate-forum.
      Trust me on that one. So for you to come in here in tell us how important this garbage is insulting our intelligence.
      And your god, YG did not came over because his is courageous, he came over because some one called him out. Just you know.

    • SA

      Hi Hayat Adem,
      It is so nice to hear that you are doing well, and I found your observations about the ongoing debate to be astute. As much as I disagree with YG’s attempt to reject the validity of our cause and to dismiss the idea of Eritrea, there is no doubt that he has been quite effective in changing our discourse. In fact, I can not think of any writer at this time that I know of who has been as transformational as YG is, not withstanding his misguided revisionist interpretation. I generally agree with you when you wrote that “the mess we are in also lends solid support to YG’s claims.” I would only modify it as follows: “The mess we are in SEEMS to lend solid support to YG’s claims.” When your life has been traumatized by the behavior of your “liberators” and your existence and the existence of your country fellows has been turned into a hard life, it is a hard pill you would rather not swallow when you are told that Ghedli has been mostly a force for good.

  • Teclay

    Selam SAAY
    your argument is worth reading,but imagine about the famous MERETA INBER SEBA AYEDLYENAN IYU
    1,How can the king,who is so smart,said that in front of the same Eritreans
    2,If so why was Ethiopian propaganda consistent through out the Ghedli time until the end which 1991 TIKIT WENBEDEWOCH or TIKIT YEAREB KITREGNOCH.but not the hall Eritrean ppl
    i can not mach this, could you help me pls
    Amanuel Hidrate you need to upgrade yourself to the level of YG and SAAY
    Haile pls let the equals debate we can learn from them

    with all respect for all of you

    • saay

      Selamat Teclay:

      One man who is alive (Mohammed Berhan Belata) says that the governor of Seraye (Fitewrari Layne Raesi Kidane Mariam) attended the meeting convened by Haile Selasse in Asmara where he gave the “we only want the land not the people” warning, and that the governor then called for urgent meeting to meet with ELF representatives in Kebessa (Abdulkerim Ahmed, Mohammed Berhan Belata and Imaro) to warn them of the king’s dangerous plan. Two are dead (the governor and Abdulkerim) and two are alive (Mohammed Berhan Belata and Imaro). Our revolutionaries are terrible at writing memoirs (I know only of three: Alamin Mohammed Said, Osman Saleh Sabbe and Nawud’s books, and Ibrahim Mohammed Ali, all in Arabic) so I guess other than Mohammed Berhan Belata’s testimony we will have to wait for 3rd and 4th hand testimonies.

      Why would Haile Selasse say that in the presence of Eritreans like Fitewrari Layne? Because to Haile Selasse, they are not Eritreans: they are Ethiopians. And fierce Ethiopians at that: Ethiopians by choice. The Ethiopians by choice in Eritrea did extraordinarily Ethiopian things that even Ethiopians south of Mereb didn’t: like drape the Ethiopian flag at every social occasion. Eritrean, then, was code for Muslims. Within a year of Haile Selasse’s presence in Asmara, the “we don’t need its people” was put to practice in Mogoraib, Zamla, Ad Ibrahim, Gerset Gurgur, Ad Bera, Asir, Fori and Ad Habab, etc. And he did it so savagely that the Eritreans who had chosen to be Ethiopian reverted back to being Eritrean.

      Instead of asking why would the smart Haile Selasse do that (where your view of him as “smart” is fixed), ask yourself would a smart person do that? The most important thing to know about the king is that he believed he was chosen by God to rule Ethiopia. Such kind of belief is immune to public opinion. Are there other examples where he was tone-deaf? Are there other indicators which showed that he was a static man slow to embrace change? Well, there is his quote concerning modernity: “We need European progress only because we are surrounded by it. That is at once a benefit and a misfortune.”


      • Teclay

        Selam SAAY
        Thanks for ur answer,You have answered the first part, i have seen M.B.Bs interview ,but as you say let us wait ,may be Fitewrari Laine was not the only Eritrean in the meeting.About the adjective smart maybe i will take it back
        ///the 2nd part ,,Ethiopian propaganda was consistent through out Ghedli time little bandits (tikit wonbedewoxch) or petro dollar Arab agents(yeareb kitregnoch) even after the fall of Massawa till 1991 ,the propaganda was not against the ppl so how can i reconcile the two, that is the Ethiopian propaganda and the infamous Kings speech

        Sorry for distracting u from your main debater YG
        With all respect

        • saay


          Desperate rulers say and do desperate things. Please refer to what Mengistu said about the entire State of Tigray (not just Weyane) when he lost Tigray to Weyane in 1990.

          As I wrote before, to the king, his people were the Andnet supporters (not all Eritreans and certainly not the ones supported by the “petro-dollar crazed Arabs”) and to him Eritrea was relevant only because it had ports. And this is only because his earlier efforts to get a port in Somalia were frustrated by the Brits.


          • Teclay

            Pls SAAAY i asked u a direct question i need a direct answer,we are talking about ERitrean ppl not about Tigray.By the way i am one of ur readers, i rod most of ur articles for 12 years,i appreciate them .but come on come with a direct answer

          • saay

            Selamat Teclay:

            You are asking me why would a ruler say one thing publicly and another thing privately? Are you serious?

            Haile Selasse’s public position was that the revolutionaries were few (beTat yemiqoteru) and his private position was that these few beTat yemiqoteru could not have survived had they not been getting support from the larger population. And he acted on this belief and massacred people, burned villages. I would understand your confusion if he didn’t massacre innocent people, burn their villages, confiscate their property but he did, and you know it (or you should, and if you don’t know, a link follows): so what is your confusion?



    • zegeremo

      Dear Teclay,

      Habal C’e Metemetea’ T’kuahal! How do you define a “SMART” person? I mean are you referring to a man who was famous for feeding his dogs on silver plates while up to 80000 people dying of severe famine?


  • haile

    Selamat Serray,

    You guys may correct me if I am wrong but I don’t put say, you and Ermias in the same category of YG. If I am correct Serray and Ermias believe that Ghedli was a bad event in the experience of Eritrean peoples history and the current crisis emanates from its culture of repression and violence. On YG’s case the argument is that there is something wrong with the concept of Eritrea to begin with, i.e. it is a concept born out of a misguided “colonial mentality”, ghedli was the brain child of such mentality, and lost its meaning and became the goal in itself. And, he argues, the so called Eritrea is nonviable, its unity fake, hence its future can only be guaranteed by subordination into Ethiopia.

    This is why YG’s greatest support comes from Ethiopians here. He argues their century old, beaten and tired argument for subjugation. If you want to tally how many Ethiopians are roughly here supporting him, scroll down while counting the number of commenters who use one of the following code words:

    “Eritrean identity is hating Ethiopia”, “Eritreans can’t survive without hating Ethiopia”, “this is Ethiopia hating” “do’t hate Ethiopia”, “you can’t do without hating Ethiopia”, “if you want to develop, don’t hate Ethiopia”, “IA will be there forever because you hate Ethiopia”….

    Of course we know such conceptualization of “hating Ethiopia” is alien in the everyday dialog of Eritreans. Yes the regime targets “Tigray” and during the ghedli “amhara” was used as the face of Etiopian occupation. “Etiopia hating” is coined by the other side to advance their arguments born out the desire to hegemony that has long died. Many Eritreans are to be found intricately associated with Ethiopians in all sorts of activities in life and “Ethiopia hating” argument is an empty rhetoric advanced by hardliner Ethiopians themselves only in the virtual world. Check the diaspora business, church and other relationships. Check the pre-1998 association of Tigrayan and Eritrean communities… it is the case of the “Eritrea haters” crying wolve!

    Back to your argument, I concur with you that there was sever violations of rights in ghedli. Mostly within the halewa sewra circles. Listen to tegadalay Said Salih on:

    and continue at your own pace. The problem is however, you are looking at this darker sides in isolation. You are prepared to take YG’s faulty analysis that completely factors out the views of other players, such as ex-tegadelty and those who have personal experience. YG is not only lacking in personal experience, lacks in sustained contact with the homeland, ignores the views of people like Tirhas in favor of the views of Ethiopians and Ethiopian leaders, he also discounts the people who were part of ghedli with opposite views but only admits into examination selective processes that was part of ghedli. He claims he is “People First” but in reality people are the first to be factored out of his arguments.

    Tegadalit Tirhas, wounded, took part in some of the harshest battles, yet how many times did you hear her using words as love, care, sharing… in her recollection of her ghedli experience? Isn’t that odd that there is hardly anyone to associate the situation in today’s Eritrea with those words? Did you hear her saying that she was aspiring free Eritrea would be like Singapore? How many Eritreans do you know to aspire to that today? You see Serray, YG painted a grim picture of ghedli to fit in his intended conclusion. Personal stories have no place or value in his arguments, just processes (even selective at that). And has the audacity to say “People First”.

    For hardliner Ethiopians, their standing ovations of his faulty and lopsided claims is understandable. Undermining Eritreanism is impossible without undermining ghedli, they are prepared to stoop to any such unworthy analysis, that fails to maintain intellectual integrity by dispassionate assessment of all sides of the nature of ghedli from every angle.

    YG may be a comrade to us in opposing the regime, yet he fails to oppose the regime for the sake of saving Eritrea, rather for undoing its resilient and embattled existence. How did TPLF dealt with internal threats? why isn’t the TPLF of meda not TPLF of menelik palace? Again, why did people had high hopes of Eritrea during ghedli and not now? your attempt to circumvent the real reason, i.e. leadership crisis in Eritrea but extend and expand into wider areas without “fair” accommodation of all pertinent factors is the weakness at the heart of yours and Yg’s failure (again I don’t see you in the same group).

    Finally, I believe ghedli’s full field of influence tells a diametrically opposite story to the one told by defamers out of selective reading of few of its component parts.


    • T.Kifle

      Dear haile,

      First I apologize for interjecting here uninvited.
      I wish we sit round a table and discuss all the pertinent points you raised. Let me try to address them case by case.

      1. “hating Ethiopia”
      It’s no secret that Eritrean Ghedli embarked on a substantial strand of hate towards Ethiopia to the extent that it eclipsed its cause. In the short-term it helped the tegadelti become more hardened in their fighting the enemy and for the leadership less cumbersome in indoctrinating the rounded-up conscripts evolve to a stature of hardcore fighters in no time the moment they imbibed the mantra. Why shaebia peruse that kind of indoctrination must be seen along side with what the Eritrean state has become after independence. Shaebia was least bothered to make a distinction between the ruling class and the toiling mass in Ethiopia. In fact it continued nurturing the seeds of discord sowed by colonial Italy that goes like Eritreans were “ special” and the fight against Ethiopia was not only to shrug off the “colonial yoke” but also a declaration of distinctive cultural and societal refinements of the “ defiled “ value as a result of the experience of the Ethiopian administration. When the gallant fighters of TPLF deployed to save their behind at the fronts Sahel and Naqfa in those hours of need, they couldn’t believe their eyes that Ethiopians could display that level of bravery to a stark contrast of what they had been taught. Even then they couldn’t hide their contempt and condescending look on the very people who extended unconditional help in the hours of need in their day to day mingling during the stint. That mindset of the shaebia leadership defined its post-independence engagement with Ethiopia irrespective EPRDF’s extremely accommodative stance. So, haile, Eritreans have the burden of making sure that Eritreans are no better or worse than any one that the myth “we can do whatever we want” should be confined exclusively within Eritrean boundary. I give my unsolicited advice that you should take it seriously as it’s a menace togetherness and good neighborliness.

      2. The Ethiopian Half
      There are those who are still craving and waiting an opportune moment to annex Asseb and then Eritrea proper. I believe they will not succeed because their fight is not only with Eritreans but with the vast majority of, us, Ethiopians too. Their archaic stance on this particular matter will render them to the edge of irrelevance. As far as this fight is concerned, you are not alone.

      3. You said, “How did TPLF dealt with internal threats? Why isn’t the TPLF of meda not TPLF of menelik palace?” I don’t personally believe TPLF was suddenly changed overnight the moment it wielded the state power. TPLF has been always evolving ever since. It has developed an ability to reflect, articulate then strategize on what ailed Ethiopia and the way forward not in menelik palace but under the cave of Hagere-Selam. It became agile to changing circumstances and learned fast in running state machinery, forged relationships with the world community. TPLF had no holy cows to preserve. Everything that comes through to pass was taken as a mere means for the strategic goals geared towards building a peaceful and prosperous Ethiopia. TPLF had different take in EPLF’s Eritrea. This seems unpalatable for many Eritreans but TPLFites were sure that EPLF would be a burden for Eritrea. So what went wrong in the land of Eritrea? Can you be bold enough to humble yourselves as any poor African state or continue the Legacy of IA’s mantra “we are the best”? “ኣንታ ኣነስ ካብታ ዓደይ ውጽእ ምስምባለይ ቃሓር ይሕዘኒ” said IA the endemic animal of Eritrea in his recent meeting with Eritreans in Kenya.

      • saay

        Haile(the great)

        Now that T.kflu who demands brutal honesty about Eritrean Ghedli has given you the whitewashed history of TPLF, here’s a skeptical look:

        1. The TPLF, just like the ELF/EPLF, had a secretive vanguard party. Ours were called Labor Party and Revolutionary Party. Theirs was called Marxist Leninist league of Tigray (MLLT);
        2. Just like the job of our secret parties was to steer the party from behind the curtain bypassing all accountability and democratic norms, so was theirs. Just like ours undermined the duly elected bodies, so did theirs. MLLT was the instrument used to purge TPLF of its founders.
        3. Just like our fronts has no hesitation in liquidating their political enemies, neither did the TPLF. It’s museum of horrors includes TLF, EDU and EPRP.
        4. In Dedebit, TPLF believed Menelik was a villain. Once in his palace, he was a good guy.
        5. In Dedebit, TPLF believed there was nothing holy about the Ethiopian flag; it was just a “piece of cloth.” Once in Addis, it wrapped itself tightly around the flag.
        6. In Dedebit, TPLF believed that Ethiopia was no older than Eritrea. Once in Addis, it accepted the 3,000 year history.
        7. The TPLF always believed that it knew what was best for Eritreans, even more than Eritreans themselves. That’s, a party originating from a homogenous state always lectured how people coming from diverse society should manage their diversity.
        8.It is associated with one of Eritreas most tragic histories, the Eritrean civil war, for which it has still to confess its role.
        9. All these “evolutions” of the TPLF were winked at by us because unlike any other Ethiopian political organization or any other country for that matter, it accepted, unflinchingly and consistently, our argument that we deserve to be an independent state. This is why one of my favorite songs is Wedi Tkuls homage to HarbegNa Weyanai.

        See how easy we are?


    • Serray

      Selamat Haile,

      It is true that some ethiopians like yg’s take of ghedli. But don’t forget ALL pfdjs, including the rapists, murderers, human traffickers like your romantic take of ghedli. Ghedli, as you guys present it, is used to enslave the young. Ghedli is used to subjugate the people and take the nation to dark ages. When the regime feels threatened, it uses ghedli to silence the people. Ghedli is the source of authority of the regime.

      Every time you show me your wound, I point out at the whip and you shush me…”the ethiopians are listening”, “the ethiopians are listening”. Eritrea is ruled by tegadelti, I think every ethiopian knows that shaebia is in charge and shaebia is the winning ghedli and shaebia is destroying the country. Even if they did not, I think it is wrong of us to pretend ghedli is not where the people perpetuating the horror are from. After all, most of shaebia’s effort go to creating medda in the whole of eritrea. It is pointless to stop talking about the real source of eritrea’s misery because the ethiopians are listening when they can see for themselves. The role of ghedli (in its totalty), to present day eritrea is a subject we can not ignore because it makes people uncomfortable; imagine what it is doing to those who live under it…Lempedusa is a direct response to the leaders of shaebia need to recreate medda. We should talk of every aspect of ghedl because it is the model and inspiration of those who are trying to recreate it in “free” eritrea.

      As I said to Sal before, if the danger of seeing ghedli in its totality pleases ethiopians, then be it. The higher purpose of exposing it is to stop the culture of endless sacrifices that the ruling tegadelti brought from medda. It is to stop tegadelti from fixing a permanent sucking tentacle on every eritrean’s neck like they have now. In your “ethiopiawian keysemuna” posture lies a danger that erects a permanent excuse not to understand the real cause behind our nation’s misery.

      You mentioned how tirhas’s recollection of ghedli doesn’t much ours, exactly, she has split the universe into two temporal components: before and after May 1991. One organization split by nothing more than time. On the one hand are tegadelti committing horrific crimes, on the other are tegadelti watching silently and suffering while happily reminiscent the killing fields these people graduated from as a place of love and caring (her words, not mine)…the gaging mechanism working at its best.

  • Ermias

    Newly Evangelized, Eyob Gebreab, Adi Sihel, Mussie – sounds like same individual.

    • Prove it !

      Taken from a simple, ridiculous yet funny commercial:

      The wife in the TV commercial says to her husband “You disgust me”
      Dressed in a funny way, the Husband , while chewing food, replies to her “Prove it !”

    • Newly Evangelized

      if you were to see Asian people for the first time… I think u would think they look alike and sound alike. But are they … the same individual… just because they look alike and sound alike? They may be, but I’d rather question first ur eyes or ears to c it its fit.

      The moderator can help you–far fetched. They should have helped you with a “crime” you committed when u used Sophia T (god forbit I would defend her) to show your mysogny, “she gets arround” — because it was eerily similar to her “crime” that led to a law suit.

      Dont trust yourself 🙂

  • Newly Evangelized

    Dear newly evangelized and certified democract Haile:

    Seriously, u still suck you thumb? Would you like me to “buzz off” from showing interest in everything and anything Eritean, or just “buzz off” from pointing at your pretensious highness? It the later… doable; if the first… suck my thumb.

    • haile

      “NOT FOR SALE, BUZZ OFF” is the word of the town 🙂

      • Newly Evangelized

        N I did.not.miss.the.signpost. I read it for what it says: hate Ethiopia, fear Ethiopi, suspect Ethiopia. For long u accept any and all sacrifice to quench ur fear… and now you want to pretend. SMH.

  • Eyob Gebreab

    Kudos to YG for coming to the enemy’s den and expressing his opinion. He is fearless champion of Kebessa Eritreans’ cause.

    • Ermias

      I don’t agree or disagree with everything YG says but it’s a privilege for anyone to write an article or comment here. YG was gracefully allowed to post an article.

  • Adi Sihel

    Dear Yosief Ghebrehiwet,

    Thank you for putting the people first. In all your articles, you have always defended the people first. I am proud of you that you are one of the first and few to do so in everything you write on Eritrea. You have defended the Eritrean women, Eritrean young Warsay conscripts, the poor Eritrean peasants, the Eritrean minority such as the Kunamas, the persecuted religious groups and the young Eritreans who are being sold to slavery.
    Your incisive and reasonable mind has freed many young Eritreans from the lies and clutches of Ghedli. Because of your open and brave writing style, many lies, hypocrites, historical cheats and impostors had been exposed.

  • Mussie

    As usuall YG’s article is controversial because unlike the main stream eritrean poleticking he ventures out in to areas where most Eritreans avoided for so long.I am suprised to see some of the heavy weights in this forum are attempting to shut him out instead of debating.To my understanding ,YG is not calling for putting back Eritrea in to Ethiopia’s fold; which requires another Ghedli by itself , the thing he hates the most.But he is arguing there is fundamental structural problem in the foundation of the state and mitigating that flaw is at the core of salvation.
    For sure he did question whether the current state of eritrea worth the over 50 years of sacrifice and the Jury is still out on that front.I happened to believe Identity has played a major part more than most us want to believe in all this saga.As we know most of the ppl in the Horn share identities across borders : Afar/Afar,Saho/Saho,Kunama/Kunama,Somal/somal,Beja/Beja…Tigrigna/ far as I remember
    I didnt knew an Ethnic name called Tigrigna.. is this something known before Ghedli or the “fruits” of Ghedli ? could u some of you guys enlighten us on this one ?

    • Mussie

      Moderator, I would like to remind you the new Mussie should use different user Name to avoid confusion. because I have used here for long time.


      [from moderator: ok, new Mussie, you know the drill: you are now muss!e]

      • ha ha Moderator,

        I thought that technique or artistic work was an intellectual property patented by Awate 😉

        • Rather read “patented by me”

    • Mussie , you posed a good question? Since I don’t know answer, I will ask another related question.

      Is it language that differentiates one ethnic group from another. If language is a yardstick to identify ethnicity, all English speakers will then be categorized under one ethnic group. Like you, I would like to learn from some of the smart commentators about this.

  • Confused

    YG, another Mahber Andenet residue “Knitit Blower”. Leave Eritrea issue for real Eritreans.

    • If only character assassination would change the reality on the ground..The reality on the ground is Eritrea is trapped in it’s own “independence”, with no way forward..

    • → Real Eritreans are those who are treated with contempt because they have brought ghedli’s flaws to light for every one to see so that grave mistakes would not be repeated.

      → Real Eritreans are those who are derisively called by some Eritreans as “the young and disillusioned, and identity-confused”.

      → Real Eritreans are those who reject the culture of ghedli.

      As real Eritreans, the young and the disillusioned will inherit Eritrea. The ” Ghedli generation”‘s illusion of heroism is becoming an endless curse, and its search for real and imagined enemy has come to be a liability to the new generation of Eritreas.

  • Selam Yosief,

    Let me tell you in a nutshell: The Federation was a done deal by our people, the armed struggle was a done deal by our people, and the independence is a done deal by our people. Swallow it, and let us go forward to make a done deal issue with Ethiopia and that is “peaceful coexistence and mutual economic development.” Stop your circular journey of your personal dream.Even the Ethiopians have already came to terms that they could live as two peaceful nations side by side with mutual economic development. All what you are doing is provoking nostalgia on the other side of the river believing they will go to recoil the “history that was made” and live on perpetual enmity. The Ethiopians understood very well the “course of our history” and came to terms they will not indulge to “a discourse of war” rather their focus is on “economic development at this time.It is the best choice for them and are doing well without Eritrea. Common rest your case my friend.

    • read as “come on rest your case my friend”

      • zegeremo

        Well said Emma,

        The problem is his ego is holding him back.See Ema when ego drives politics there can’t be any consensus. Now, it is crystal clear that our problems are EGO, EGO, and EGO. How about debating on how to separate ego from rhetoric in politics?


        • Zegerom,

          Yes indeed. I have touched the politico-psychology of our practitioners in my last article hoping someone will venture on the subject. We are not solution seekers. Debate doesn’t bring solution, it is all academic exercise talking on abstracts and possibilities to any given hypothesis to test the plausibilities of a premises.our people are dying and we are checking the plausibility of our history. We have a problem on our attitudes toward the crises of our nation.

        • Nitricc

          Zigeremo, I don’t know if it is ego or stupidity but what are they debating for?
          Aman put it in a few words everything you need to know about this thread.
          The objective of YG and his Tigryan cults is to infiltrate and to bring it to equal footing with
          That is the only assumption that makes sense. If not what the hell is YG, serray, and the rest of the Tigryan cults doing in

    • Hameed

      Well said, Mr Hidrat. YG despises the free will of the Eritrean people; and a person who doesn’t respect the will of his own people will never be of benefit to Ethiopians or other peoples. YG is a traitor and after we get rid of the regime we will request from the USA to hand him to the people of Eritre. A domecratically elected government of Eritrea could do that. YG thinks this is impossible, but the people of Eritre has made difficult cause in the past made it possible, and the present problem can make it also possible.

    • Dave

      I dont understand what you are trying to prove. Your claim: ” The federation was a done deal by our people, the armed struggle was done deal by our people, and independence was done deal by our people.” And YG claims the same. No contradiction at all .In his article ” the federation farce ” he stated that the Eritreans are responsible for the federation ; Haileslase can not take full blame for that. He has never questioned who conducted the armed struggle ;but how it was conducted and why we needed one. He also never contested the participation of Eritreans for independence; he questioned if it was worth all the sacrifices.

      You also claimed: ” the Ethiopians has come to terms that they can live as two peaceful states” .So is YG’s claims . In this article he clearly stated that there no way back now. I really doubt if you ever have read any of his articles. Your arguments are fallacious for they use distorted premises.

      • Dave,

        If he questioned why we need ghedli to begin with, and if he has a view that the struggle should have been to free Ethiopia, then YG is telling us that he is against ghedli and against independence. So where is the similarity of my statement and his argument? After all YG in order to disprove ghedli he has to have the full picture in detail the history of Eritrea from 1890 up to the date of independence. I unequivocally could tell you he is learning now and he hadn’t the depth in it. Second my argument is not why he took that position, but why such argument is needed while our people are dying? History whether it is bad or good, even if you want to recoil it, you couldn’t change it once it happened. If it is for the purpose of learning there will be enough time and space for it when our people is disentangled from the tyranny. Believe me YG has to give time for himself to learn the history of Eritrea.

  • Haile Zeru

    After I read this article and especially the last paragraph by Tekeste Negash
    I lost whetever rispect I had for Yosief Ghebrehiwet.
    YG is a person who has lost his Compass. There must be something wrong with him.

  • Teclay

    Yosief the champion
    You are the champion, you beat every one,now it is time to organize African wide conferences to solve African problems which is directly or indirectly associated with the artificial borders.

    • Mohamed Edris

      Teclay , Yosief is sectarian. He said he can only speak about KEBESA Eritrea in one of his long articles. If he can’t speak about Eritrea how can he will speak about Africa. Even his passion to Ethipia is limited to neighbours south of the border – Tigreans. He doesn’t have any clue about the rest of Ethiopian’s aspirations, the Oromos, Guraghes, Amharas, Afars, Somalis, Wolayeta. So Teclino my advise to YG is that he implements the English porverb ” Charity begins at home”

      • Dave

        You claimed :
        [1] “YG is sectarian, he speaks for Kebessa, not Eritrea ”
        [2]” if YG can not speak about Eritrea then he can’t speak about Africa.

        Those two claims contradict each other.

        If It takes a good Eritreato be a good African , it also takes a good Kebessan to be good Eritrean. If we push this argument into its logical conclusion: it takes a good Kebbesan to be a good African. This logic holds true should we put a good Metahit in the place of a good Kebbesan.

        Selamka Yibizah

  • haile

    Selamat Awatistas

    Please listen to the following interesting interview by Smerrr TV with Tegadalit Tirhas Teklay. A very relevant to the current discussion in this thread:

    BTW: Great work Smerrr TV, keep up the good job!!!


    • saay

      Haile (the great):

      Well, before you get to the interview, there is the grand Hussein Mohammed Ali who sings his classic Ghedli-Romantic Tigrayt song “Eritrea SemaEkuwo fala” (sample lyrics from memory: “my brother has joined the field for my sake and is carrying a Klashin; and my mom ululates because her happiness is heartfelt”) which starts at at the 7:27 mark.

      the bonus, the dagger in the heart of the ghedli-defamers, is his brief interview which precedes the song. Because it is in Arabic 🙂


      • haile

        Gehdlawi Saay 🙂

        I hope you’ve had the time to listen to Tirhas too. More so, I hope Serray and YG, have the courage to look her eyes and listen to her story. A story of commitment, hope, betrayal and frustration. How she cherished the achievements of gehdli, how she started with a new day and new hope to better herself, take extension course at certificate level, her pride in the opportunity free Eritrea had promised, her horrors at the muteness of the people when the tegadelti were killed and disposed of, how she felt about the disabilities she sustained… Thiese are real stories, the story of the tegadali that was as much a victim as anyone else.

        Gedab news recently reported about the plight of a martyer’s under aged son who is cought up in Indonesian prison with his mother, many stories that YG doesn’t want to acknowledge, because his mind set is us against them, hopelessly playing into the hands of the regime that has played us for so long.

        If gehdli is to blame for misdeeds that happened to individuals then, so is Eritrea to blame for misdeeds that happened and continue to happen to individuals now. But we know that is fallacy because you can’t blame the architecture of a house for behaviors of its residents.

        YG has relied on biased literature review, detached and circumstantial methodology, rhetorical disposition for main analysis and self serving conclusions that can no way be considered anything near original contribution to our knowledge nor to those who are most affected by it.

        I hope to hear Serray’s take on his reaction to the story of our Sister, mother, daughter tegadalit Tirhas.


        • Ermias

          Hi Haile. Sorry for the interruption. I think it’s safe to say that yourself, Serray, saay, YG, etc. have one thing in common – that is that PFDJ and IA need to be completely weeded out. Then the people of Eritrea can naturally decide how to go forward, hopefully ethio will allow that to happen. I don’t think we must agree on anything else.

        • Newly Evangelized


          How soon you forget YG was the first to talk about the suffering of Eritreans, the conscripted, the imprisoned, the boat refugees. His portfolio on Asmarino speaks for itself… Now many, like you, that never played a role in publizing the trauma of Eritreans have jumped on the bandwagon like a newly evangelized–welcome.

          And how soon you forget your early role in shaming people like YG who dared to talk about the many traumatized only because you felt these stories were a blemish on your Eritrea. If only we would dig up your comments in Asmarino , you jumping in to silence people who dared talk about the tegadaly trauma u are all over now — again welcome.

          • haile


            Don’t dig, let me help you by saving your time:

            You appear to misread the signpost we have placed in Eritrea’s front yard, it reads: “Democracy and rule of law needed!”

            You seem to read it wrong as saying “For Sale”

            Let me quote the guy I hate to see “Eritrea is not for sale, buzz off.”

            There, a fresh implicating piece for you, happy now?

        • saay

          Hey Hailat:

          Ghedlawi Saay? anta Haile, you know better than most “Geysha ala ghedli.” ገይሻ ኣላ ገድሊ! In the Department of Cluelessness, wedi Tkabo’s message was not understood because they don’t know that to Eritreans Ghedli meant only one thing: justice.

          Anyway, I will let you battle Serray on his “we” and “you guys”. Serray, whom I admire a lot (but I’ve already mentioned that, huh), doesn’t appear to be aware that his “we” includes a lot of people who hate Eritrea and Ghedli A-Z and do not share his viewpoint of respecting those who were disabled, mutilated and killed for a just cause. His “we” includes many who feel we should have just waited for Haile Selasse and Mengistu to evolve and listen to their better angels. Maybe he will get around to explaining if the starving Tegadalay, the EPLF veteran, or the exiled and homeless ELF veteran, trying to eke out a living after decades of sacrifice is one of “we” or “you guys.” But that’s your specialty Hailat: put Serray on cross examination. A lot of his “we” remind me of the woman who, when having a child and going through the pain of child birth, insults her husband: THIS IS WHAT YOU DID TO ME!


          Anyway THE 2013 phenomenon was not “Wedi Ali” (of Forto fame) or even Wedi Tkabo (AS MUCH AS I LOVE THOSE TWO GUYS) but Wedi Vacaro. All the political organizations with their sophisticated 20 point platforms could not draw a fraction of the crowd this guy does. (What? Hell yeah I will be in Oakland for New Year’s Eve to listen to Wedi Tkabo and with the consent of “Hawi zchenwu Okaland’s EYC” get his autograph:) !) Back to Wedi Vacarro: I am GENUINELY surprised. Yeah, that will probably be an article if I can clear my mind and write it. This guy says what you and I say: the Eritrean Cancer has been, and still is, Isaias Afwerki. And he should know: because he was his confidant and his Hagos Kisha before Hagos Kisha came around.

          The craving of Eritreans has ALWAYS been for unity. Hadnet. And those who do not understand the message of Wedi tkabo’s “nehna n’Hadnetna sheT me’Antana” or Wedi Vacarro’s singular message (Hadnetna) will never understand what Ibrahaim Sultan, Weldeab Weldemariam, Hamed Idris Awate, Abdulkader Kebire all understood: there is Hadnetna, or there is nothing. It is as simple as that.

          Here’s Wedi Vacaro explaining it in plain language. Please pay attention to his description of what happened in Milan in 1973 (when Isaias sabotaged Eritreans movement for unity), and his apology for his role in sabotaging Eritrean unity (in the first 10 minutes of the video, which starts with (sorry Ghedli defamers) a moment of silence for those who fell for Eritrea:)

          Wedi Vacarro

          Wedi tkabo


          • rodab

            Hey Sal,
            Just for fun. On that link you sent, Wedi vacaro said something I consider to be controversial, at least seen from the Wetern world perspective.
            He said and I quote, “ንሕና ክሳብ 7 ወለዶ ክንቆጽር ክንክእል ኣለና። ከምቶም ሕጂ ዝገዝኡና ዓዶም ዓውዶም ዘይፍሉጥ፤ ከምኦም ክንከውን የብልናን።” What say you? Is this acceptable?

          • saay

            Selamat Rodab:

            Forget the west; that Deqebatism is not a statement I would agree with.

            My view is that Wedi Vacaro has that rare achievement of senior citizenship where you are licensed to say anything. 🙂


    • Serray

      Selamat Haile,

      I watched Trhas’s story, it is a story of most brave women tegadelti…hers been slightly better in the sense that she fared better than most female tegadelti. What I do feel? Shame mostly. Shame that we allowed our women to go through this horrific experience and when it is done, as trhas puts, “kedamot zteguafa deki anstio eyen”.

      Where you and I differ is, you guys pretend those who dump them (zgohafuwen) came from Mars and we think they came from medda, the womb of ghedli. Every misery, every hardship she and her comrades suffer was caused by her other comrades. Every hardship the eritrean people suffer in the last 22 years was caused by her comrades. You guys draw blank when faced with the question why. We don’t. Ghedli was the training ground for both trhas and isaias.

      Remember, we don’t deny the sacrifices of tegadelti in medda, the same way we don’t deny that medda also gave birth to brutes and vultures. You guys pretend isaias was born in June 1991; we know for sure he was everything he is in asmera when he was in medda. You guys pretend virgin asmera gave birth to him and his enforcers, we know they were born and raised in medda.

      The problem with religion is it is exempt from tests by its followers. We are fighting to stop you, the blanked out romantics, from making ghedli a religion in free eritrea. We don’t want a nation that believes in only sacrifices and betrayal, medda and asmera.

      • rodab

        Hi Serray,
        It is only recently that I started following your postings and I should say that you are an articluate commentators and one of the few top-tier debaters in Awate forum. Complement!
        Now let me comment a little here, following by a question, and I am done with this topic (at least in this blog 🙂
        I think everyone recognizes that Ghedli produced two opposite Eritrean characters such as good people and bad apples, selflessness and selfishness, bravity and beteryal, common sense and insanity, etc….There is no question that the vast majority tegadelties are on the good side of the isle. The problem is since they are not involved on the decision making process, they have very little impact on changing the course. On the other hand, very few bad people are decision-makers and in a position to impact the path of the nation in a big way. That really sucks but it is what we have. With that said, allow me to ask this: in the final analysis, attributing Eritrea’s independence to Ghedli, which way would you go: would you see Ghedli as a positive investment (albeit with all of its shortcomings), or would you say that overall Ghedli was/is a bad deal and not worth of it?

  • Horizon

    PFDGs and the opposition are both blind to one important fact. They fail to understand that they cannot hate Ethiopia without hating Eritrea, and they cannot hurt Ethiopia without hurting Eritrea, (for hurting Ethiopia comes only through sacrificing the people of Eritrea). As long as both continue to quench their thirst (hatred towards Ethiopia) from the same source, there is not going to be light at the end of the dark tunnel Eritrean are living in today.
    Gedli was not about love for Eritreans, their freedom, equality and prosperity; it was all about hate towards Ethiopians. Annulment of the federal arrangement or otherwise, Gedli would have happened one way or the other. Nevertheless, its final results should have been enough to convince any gullible Eritrean that the fathers of Gedli did not have and do not have even today the people of Eritrea in the remotest compartment of their minds.

  • Abinet

    Did you just say that Ethiopia should sleep with one eye open? You ara wrong ,my brother.ethiopia should never sleep at all .not even for a moment.we were caught off guarded once before. We should never trust them. It doesn’t matter who ever comes after IA . The hateful and ill wishing attitude cultivated by the old generation and inculcated in the minds of the new generation is still a danger for us.
    I also agree with you the king as politically smart as he was ,will never use that kind of language . It is just a propaganda used by the ENEMY.actually it is the Eritrean leaders that say land first and land last . The people ? What people? They are in refuge camps ,in the desert, in the sea (RIP),in underground prisons……When the people are all gone the liberators of Eritrea will deliver the land to the Arabs as per their agreement long time a ago .the Arabs don’t need the people ,just the land . No sleep for us buddy.

  • Yoseph’s presentation reflects his ignorance of Eritrean and Ethiopian history.

    Like all other African countries, Eritrea was formed by the Italians by bringing three areas that were inhabited by people of different races, and cultures, namely Eastern Eritrea with its Samhar and Dankalia with their several Afar tribes, Lowland Asawertas, Tssaawras, etc; Western Eritrea that was inhabited by Bilens, Mensa’e, Maria, Bani Amer, etc with their different racess, and cultures, and the HIGHLANDS Adkeme-Melegga, Meronis, Asawertas, Mini-Fres. etc. with their various languages, confessions, ethnicities( not NATIONALITIES!!!).

    Like other African countries, the Italians gave them education that would only enable them to understand their ( Italians’)instructions.

    Still Eritreans through various exposures in their neighboring countries, their service with the Italians, in Libya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, and their experience of oppression under the Italians, became aware of the need to struggle for their independence from early on while under the Italians, and so formed the MAHBER FIKRI HAGER in 1938 four years before the Italians by the British.

    With the Arrival of the BRITISH MILITARY ADMINISTRATION in 1941 their access to education went very far beyond their access under the Italians, and that widened their horizon further, thus making them continue their activism under the umbrella of MAHBER FIKRI HAGER.

    Unfortunately, Ethiopia intensified its efforts to convince the Security Council and the General Assembly to hand over Eritrea to it as an allegedly OLD PART OF ITS TERRITORY. Also it assigned Colonel Nega Haile Sellassie as its Consul General in Eritrea. The Colonel with the help of the Orthodox Church succeeded in convincing a sizeable number of the Christian Highlanders and some Muslim tribal chieftains in the Lowlands, thus dividing Eritreans mainly on religious and class basis.

    Then during the meeting at Beit Giorgis, the Christian leaders expressed their desire to join Ethiopia, and when Digiat Hassan expressed his disagreement, the Christians declared to him that ASLAMAY ADDI YEBIBILLLY, SEMAY ANDI YEBILLU.

    This cast the dye of SECTARIANISM, and Muslims Leaders from all over Eritrea gathered in KEREN and formed the Rabita Party.

    A few months later, Digiat Sebhatu of Seraye came from Ethiopia after a 6 ( six ) year imprisonment, and convinced Ras Tesemma Asberom that the Ethiopians were not trustworthy. Thus with other like-minded Christians, they formed ERITRA NI ERITRAWIYAN/ ERITREA FOR THE ERITREANS/THE PROGRESSIVE PARTY that established positive communication and cooperation with the Rabita Party/Muslim League.

    After all the political activities of the ERITREAS about 70% of whom eventually agreed to opt for independence as they expressed it to the 3(three ) OBSERVATORY COMMITTEES of the UN that visited Eritrea in a staggered manner until 1950.

    Unfortunately, the UN rewarded their struggle and activism with the SHAM RESOLUTION that stipulated THAT ERITREA BE FEDERATED WITH ETHIOPIA UNDER THE ETHIOPIAN CROWN.


    • abel

      Pure Ignorance and desperation.
      The savage Ethiopia was there long before the inception of Pakistan and your White MASTERS made it to the mountains of Europe.

  • Eyob Medhane


    (Sorry I have to come here, because our thread is full)

    I did not swing, so I did not miss.

    By quoting the Sal of 2000, I am demonstrating the mind set of you and many other Eritrean elites no matter which side of the isle they are. Hostility and contempt. You believe that your recommendation of ‘let’s build the Berlin wall and detach ourselves from the sopapra stars of the south our border ‘ would still work had it been tried. What does that tell me and any other Ethiopian? It certainly would indicate what is to come after Isayas. It of course will be you or your peers, who are in the opposition that is expected to take over, no? As soon as that happens, you’d implement of your disengagment and detachment experiment, right? That of course will breed another conflict and friction. So what is the difference between your mind set and the Isayasists? Remember? Sometime ago you lashed at me, because you believed I would be happy, if Hailemariam Desalegn and Isayas Afeworki would kiss and make up. To an Ethiopian the core mindset of Isayas and many Eritrean elites are the same. The difference is many of the elites peers talk a bit nicely most of the time, better educated and may be more subtle than Isayas. But when it comes to detaching and disengaging themselves, building a mighty army out of their tiny population and belittling their southern neighbors there isn’t much difference and you proved that to me by saying, that your theory of detachment and building huge army plan has not been tried, yet and you may try it, should you get a chance. So what is the difference to Ethiopia. Same old Same old, Sal.

    Your Witness,

    I hope you read what I wrote in response to Gash Saleh. I don’t care that the man was a Governor of Akale Guzay or Hamasien or Tenben. I don’t believe him, because he has an axe to grind. Let alone him, I don’t believe Bereket Habteselassie, who was more close to the emperor than the guy in your youtube clip. I just don’t. They have ulterior motives. They have a behind to cover, they just are not credible, when it comes to telling anything, ANYTHING AT ALL about Ethiopia. That’s all…

    Your map.

    This must be 100th time that you showed me this map. Try another one with prettier colors.. 🙂

    • saay

      Selamat Eyob:

      Ummm, you know those vertical blue lines on the left? It goes 5 deep, but you can always respond to the original post. Guess we have to do a tutorial (centuries of Habesha medieval-ism takes time to wash away:) He. Hu Hi Ha…

      Thanks for posting my piece from June 2000. That, by the way, was after the “cessation of hostilities.” That’s when PM Meles Zenawi ways saying Eritrean’s only understand the stick (Eritreans, not the PFDJ, but Eritreans) and Assab, if Ethiopia doesn’use it, is a watering hole for camels. What a riot that was. Ha ha ha, stop you are killing me. Do I even need to tell you what happened in Tessenei. Do you even know where Tessenei is? Probably not: very few “H/habesha” live there. So why should it concern you; I might as well be talking about the moon.

      The point I was making was (and this requires you reading history, your least favorite subject): we, Eritreans, allowed the TPLF to partner with us and kill our fellow Eritreans in 1981. (In TPLF’s “qalsi hzbi ertra: kabey nabey” the TPLF denies it had any role in the Eritrean civil war. Maybe, the “brave” T.Kifle, who always finds the courage to criticize the ELF, EPLF and every Ethiopian political party, will find the nerve to tell us if his organization, the TPLF, was lying its ass off when it denied it participated in the Eritrean civil war, but I am not holding my breath). We, Eritreans, then signed a mutual defense pact ( a mutual defense pact!) with the TPLF where we agreed that we will hunt down TPLF’s enemies in Eritrea, and TPLF will hunt down EPLF’s enemies in Ethiopia. And after all that, we had Tessenei. And that’s why I was telling my people: enough: no more soap operas. Got it now? I doubt it; I am pretty sure all this is ancient stuff.

      Eyobai: read my lips. After mad king Isaias, is gone, whoever inherits power in Eritrea will be from the Ghedli generation because NOBODY is going to trust the identity-confused people you admire.

      Now, back to the video I showed you. You have gotten yourself confused because you are, surprise, surprise, out of your element.(I can’t use the Big Lebowski video because it makes you mad but you are sooooo clueless about Eritrean history.) I wish you would humble yourself and admit: damn, I don’t know anything, I am full of hot air, but you won’t. In fact, right this very second, you are composing your rebuttal, aren’t you? Ah, to be 30-something and blissfully moronic.

      The person talking is a Tegadalay who enlisted in 1963. Following Haile Selasse’s edict that he doesn’t care about the Eritrean people but its land, one of the attendants of the meeting, Fitewrari Layne Raesi Kidane Mariam, a former unionist, and governor of Seraye, (a “habesha”, in your parlance) reaches out to the revolutionaries, and this is how M.Berhan Belata narrates it:

      (Warning: given your diabetes, you might want to have a brown bag handy because everyone he is talking about it here, including himself, is a Habesha. Like I keep trying to tell you over and over again, you don’t get to define who is Habesha):

      Fitewrari Layne Raesi Kidane Mariam calls Sheikh Suleiman and says I want to meet those in charge. And we met them. I was one of those who met them. I am narrating history. And he told us what was said at the meeting. Haile Selasse has taken a dangerous decision on the people of Eritrea. Whatever power you have, disperse it into two: Seraye and Hamassien. Immediately. Their strategy is not something they can implement now; it will be hard for them. If you can’t cover both areas, go to one. Abdulkerim Ahmed, military commissioner of Third Division [Hamassien, Seraye, Akele Gusay]; Imaro, [military commander] of the fourth division, (he is still alive; Albdulkerim Ahmed has passed on); myself, Mohammed Berhan Blatta …we met. The political commissioner of the 4th division [Red Sea Zone], Romadan, wasn’t there. We considered the advice of Fitewrari Layne and said, “what do we do?” We accepted his advice.

      At the time, the military capability of the 4th division had been weakened. We merged the military forces of the third and fourth. I took six platoons and headed to Hazemo. …Three from the Third and three from the Fourth Zone. Then we had a big battle in Dandeir and frustrated Haile Selasse’s strategy… The importance of Fitewrari Layne: it’s not only because of the advice he gave, but because he was a long-time administrator of Seraye but also son of Raesi Kidane Mariam [from] Areza,… regardless of his position as a unionist but once the Revolution arrived, he advised the people to co-operate with us…and that’s why we could go north, south and take refuge at Seyoum Degiat Berhe’s residence… Seraye had 380,000 [residents] and Akele Guzay had 270,000…we, the 400, wouldn’t have lasted but the people had accepted the revolution….

      History is a bitch, ain’t it?

      The Eritrean “Habesha” are the owners of the Eritreans revolution. Its their pride and glory. The biggest in their history. Whatever North Star you think you are following, abort now, or anticipate a life of disappointments.

      Now that map of Abyssinia before and after? It is my screen saver. I manage a large sales force and I use it as inspiration: for gaining territories. Of course, I advise my sales force not to use slave labor…


      • Eyob Medhane


        I don’t think you get what I am telling you. I DO NOT CARE about what that dude was saying. I don’t believe him. He is not credible, as he was talking about his enemies. For all I know, he is making it up, as he goes along. Not just for an hour, he can encounter his made up recollections for decades, his ‘he said she said’ has no ground. Sorry. It is just what it is.

        Now. Did I read you saying “…read my lips. After mad king Isaias, is gone, whoever inherits power in Eritrea will be from the Ghedli generation because NOBODY is going to trust the identity-confused people you admire…” Are you telling me that other than the fifty and sixty somethings there is no way that anyone that was born in the 70s 80s and even 90s that is good enough to lead Eritrea? Are you kidding me with this? If you are not, there seems to be you have a bigger problem than what many people think ‘the problem’ in Eritrea. So other than the ‘retired’ or ‘almost to be retired’, the rest of Eritreans are “identity confused”, huh? But they are good to carry gun and fight your wars and to be your subordinates. Is that it? Do you even know the disparity in numbers between the old geezers, which you want to lead Eritrea forever and the ones you think “identity confused”? It’s huge, Sal. It’s HUGE. I understand that they are leaving the country in thousands, but it seems they still out number you. Unless you found a pill that would let each one of you “The Ghedlis” (It sounds like a band name) 500 years, you don’t have that much to hang around. But your audacity to proclaim that the country is only for us fifty and sixty somethings to lead, the rest is just a subject is unbelievable!


        Isn’t that a place, where you have your concentration camps called Sawa, where you keep the “identity confused” people, who will never be allowed near to lead their own country? Isn’t that a place they are running from in all direction to get the heck away from? That’s one of the things I know about Tesenei.

        Your usual word debris,

        Your 2000 article has nothing to do what Meles Zenawi said about Assab being a watering hole for the camels, which coincidentally kind of is currently. It was just the run on the mill most Eritrean mentality. ‘We’ll build a wall around ourselves and hide in there singing our ‘meida songs’ self relying. Awet n’hafash!’ That was it. None of that “Oh Meles Zenawi was said this and I was rebutting him with that’ brouhaha. In fact, I would simply accept and leave it alone, had you said “..I was young, then…”

      • T.Kifle

        Selamat SAAY,

        1. About the King
        The distance what people think and do is shorter than what they say and do. HS’s actions were mere reductions of his thought .in fact; any expansionist persuasion is about territory not about people. It doesn’t matter whether the actual words “we need the land not the people” came out of the mouth of the king or not. The actions speak for themselves. You must have heard what Mengistu blurted after his blowing defeat in Afabet and it wasn’t in hiding but before the then assembly (Shengo) and probably televised live. He said something like “What is Afabet? Is it a zone? A wereda? Or a big town? Or a place where gold is being fished out?”. He had the same chequered look about Tigray: He said: Tigray is a region where its best cottage industry is brewing “tela”, by this he meant he lost nothing by being kicked out of the whole of Tigray. I didn’t hear him saying the same about Massawa. Deep down, they were not even interested in Tigray had it not been the bridge to Massawa. Otherwise how would one justify all the wars and its side products befallen us over decades? Anything peaceful would have been better for all of us than the devastating wars we came of age if they were keen to listen the heartbeats of the people and bent to accommodate the grievance of the rebels.

        2. About Eritrean civil war
        As far as I know, TPLF didn’t deny its role in defeating ELF. It’s part of its history. It rather justified its actions. The spell lied on ELF’s adamant position on claiming territories and conspiring against TPLF siding with EPRP and EDU. TPLF’s actions at the time were just survival expediency. By the way were you, SAAY, also there 😀 , just for curiosity ?

        3. Your allegation of “Eritrean’s only understand the stick”. I don’t believe Meles would say in the context you tried to tell us. It’s the interpretation of your mind. When you make big claims like “we defeated the Ethioipians”, I take it as saying the regime that enforced the war even it still is exaggerated. I am aware of the confusion many of you succumbed also to mean including the people. Meles’s take was IA and the government he lead understand the stick. I believe that you would agree. This has nothing to do with the Eritrean people. If there is anyone who stood with them in his entire lifetime was Meles Zenawi. That would make you less grateful.

        • saay

          Selamat T. Kifle:

          1. Agreed. We are discussing whether Haile Selasse said the WORDS attributed to him only because YG used that as an example of the Eritrean “nationalists” incoherence. If there is mass murder and some witness comes forth and says, “I heard the criminal making the threat and within days he was stocking up on weaponry”, you will always have a little old lady saying, “I just don’t believe it. He was so quiet and mostly kept to himself.” That’s what I think of the deniers club here.

          The more relevant question is: were the actions taken by Haile Selasse consistent with a man who believes “we need the land not the people”? Did his campaigns include indiscriminate attack against civilians and their properties? Yes, they did. Repeatedly. If the Eritrean identity was fake and superficial, and if the highlanders were hardcore Ethiopians, what was their motivation to turn their back on their king and give refuge to the (mostly Moslem then) ELF and save it from extinction? Why didn’t they help their king in eliminating “Arabists” and “wenbede”, etc?

          Incidentally, last year, around this time, Sudan Tribune published an article by Sadiq Al Mahdi (that’s the former Prime Minister of Sudan and a staple in Sudanese politics, Eyob) where he analyzed Eritrea-Ethiopia relations and references Haile Selasse’s “we need the land and not the people.” I don’t think Sadiq Al Mahdi can be accused of being an EPLF groupie, but who knows what the imaginative will say.

          2. At one point, you told me I couldn’t have read “Qalsi hzbi Ertra: Kabey Nabey” and I guess now I have to say the same to you; you must have been absent on a few Cadre School Days 🙂 In the book, the TPLF CATEGORICALLY denies that it had ANYTHING to do with the Eritrean civil war. Since I can’t cite page number, let’s make a wager: whoever loses buys the other a copy of John Young or Aregawi Berhe’s books on TPLF.

          3. Agreed: when Zamora Yonus was mocking Eritreans war tactics by saying “Eritreans love digging trenches”, or Meles Zenawi said “With Eritreans, you have to use the stick”, they were not referencing the entire people anymore than when I say Ethiopia I am referencing the people. So why are you quick to accuse me of “hate”? At the risk of sending the scavengers on a search of my articles, I have never directed my wrath at a people but a political entity and its leadership. Note also that the article that Eyob brought from 2000 was talking about an incident in Tessenei where punishment was inflicted on the Eritrean people to send a message to its government. The article begins with “WARNING: The following may provoke Ethiopia to re-occupy Tessenei” because your government re-occupied Tessenei and trashed it just because president’s chief of staff, Yemane Gebremeskel, in a radio interview, said that Eritrea had regained control of Tessenei. There was ZERO military value in re-occupying Tessenei other than to send a personal message to Yemane Gebremeskel. We were dealing with that kind of infantile behavior from your side at the time.


    • tazabi

      In small town USA a while back an Eritrean school drop out was being interviewed by a local news paper. He explained his lack of education by saying Ethiopians did not allow Eritreans to be educated beyond the eighth grade. A few years later an enraged Eritrean killed two Eritrean women by hacking them to pieces by an axe. The local paper reported the news an Ethiopian killed two innocent Eritreans. There is no depth Eritrean nationalism did not descend to defame Ethiopia and Ethiopians. The allegation against Haile Sellassie is also the same. This same allegation of wanting the land not the people was used against Mengistu and in due time it will be used against Melese Zenawi.

      Eritrean nationalism does not have an iota of good will towards Ethiopia. Only naive, ignorant and uninformed people think otherwise. Hope to see my comments pass the censors

  • sami

    In my opinion I see here, in the heated debate about Ghedli, only heavy English writers. The question of Eritrean independence, be it colonial issue or not, is settled once forever through heavy sacrifice of the people. The interpretations of Gehdli, in the absence of those who initiated it, are open and can be interpreted differently by many depending on the goal they want achieve. If there was no any country called Ethiopia during the Italian colonization of Eritrea, how can someone claim Eritrea was part of Ethiopia? Does the Ethiopia map in 1890 when Italians occupy Eritrea resemble to the Ethiopian map after Eritrean annexed with Ethiopia?
    Too much effort on romanticizing Ghedli and colonization issue! This will not help to solve the problem our people are facing in their daily life. What we need, particularly youth organizations, is guidance and strategy. I wish SAAY, YG and others will come up on current issues that concern most of us.

  • haile

    Hello Eyoba, I liked what you said to SGJ so much that I will re-post here:

    “Gash Saleh,
    I don’t count or discount the ‘tegadeltis’, as I don’t have any sort of emotional or historical attachment to them. That is your department not mine. I just don’t take them at their word, when they talk about my country or any event that has anything to do with Ethiopia, because their opinion any opinion they may have about Ethiopia or its leaders would be my prime suspects of biased, slanted filled with ulterior motive. Remember. They are talking about their enemy. I don’t expect them or demand from them to tell the truth or to say anything balanced about their sworn enemy. I simply don’t believe them and I don’t value their testimony either. That’s all..”

    GREAT!! That is candid and I have no trouble with your sincerity when you said that. Now, we as Eritreans also feel exactly the same when something comes from an Ethiopia (which is biased) side. You know how much this had undermined many opposition movements in Eritrea. You read many articles here to that effect, so you don’t doubt what I am saying is emotional or something.

    The question is: how do we start to bridge this distance for long term peace and development for both peoples? Since we both seem to have an identical problem, do you think we can exchange notes on possible solution? 🙂

    Peace and happy new year to you (Eri new year:)

    • haile

      mind you YG’s position is widely viewed as pro Ethiopia among Eritreans.

      • Eyob Medhane


        “Peace and happy new year to you (Eri new year:)”

        Oh Come on! Now you’re claiming Gregorian Calendar, as your own? Didn’t know, you’ve conquered that one, too. 🙂

        Happy New Year to you, too.

        Please read what I posted to Sal.

        In order to bridge the gap, the MENTALITY has to be changed. You can’t bridge the gap, while you think, “..Those people in the south of my border are freaks, who belong in unending daytime drama, so we need to detach and disengage ourselves and while we are at it let’s buy our poor selves the most expensive weapon we can find and build huge army..” The day such mentality is changed, the healing begins…

        • asmara


          Simple – all Ethiopia has to do is get the hell out of Eritrean land and never ever covet for what is not its own – ever again!

          See, it is simple, realy

        • haile

          hey Eyob,

          So far so good 🙂 now on to my next question (although you should have had addressed it above). Just suppose that we would convince ourselves to do all we can to meet your demand, what would be the change that needs to be made from your side? Remember, your answer could either double the height of the fence or lower it to zero 🙂


          PS: When Meles and IA went to the west for shopping spree, Meles brought rail ways, dams, housing complexes… and IA only got a copy of the Gregorian Calendar to mark off the dates for afessa, mass mobilization for digging and stone picking and the months of the year for electricity and water outages… This is why we ended up owning the G.C. 🙂

  • MTYohannes

    Dear Yosief G/H:

    Thank you for this and your other articles. Indeed, your wisdom enlightened us; your realism educated us; your thoughtfulness awakened us; and your prudence motivated us. I never miss your articles. I read them. I wonder when you will publish them as a book. All are excellent articles even from the academic point of view. I found them SMARTER and educational. I posted a poem honoring you on the site down below as directed by the moderator:

    “Please post poems at our Jebena/Merhaba page which can be found here:”


    This guy’s argument is laughable. Why should Eritreans be engaged in the ‘mission impossible’ task of attempting to democratise the feudal political system in Ethiopia? What moral and historical obligations did the Eritreans have to be involved in such adventure? After all none of the Ethiopian rulers had attempted (either diplomatically or by force) to oppose the Eritrean occupation by the Italians. They just defended thier country when the Italians crossed the Merebe river. After the Italian colonial rule and the very brief British adminstration, Eritrea was in a very different phase compared to Ethiopia. I am just saying different not better or worse. And you can’t mix two things having different phases as you can’t mix oil and water. Forceful attempt of homogenising them can never be sucessful!!! They will eventually be segregated back to thier original state. And that was exactly what happened between Eritrea and Ethiopia. EMERGENCE OF ERITREA AS A NATION HAS A VERY STRONG POLITICAL AND SOCIAL GROUND. Actually Eritrea has a much stronger case to be emerged/exist as a country than most other African countries !!!!!

  • Haile Zeru

    The following are YG’s quotes of his “mentor” Tekeste Negash
    “The democratic institutions, which the Ethiopian government was accused of dismantling were not institutions created by Eritreans themselves but were superimposed on the Eritrean society by the UN agencies.”

    1)Did the UN imposed them at gun point? Like the Ethiopians did impose their feudal system?
    2)If the Eritrean people accepted this institutions what legal/moral/ethical right Ethiopia has to dismantle them? Other than greed and colonization.

    “The freedom of political opinion which indeed prevailed in Eritrea, once again, came into existence and was made possible by the presence of the BMA [British Military Administration]. Without the decision of the BMA to engage the Eritreans in the future of their country, and without the presence and supervision of the BMA, there would not have been an open society during the 1947-52 period.”

    And why is that a problem. The BMA had to do that, because Eritrea was under their administration. Before that Eritrea was a colony and the institutions were the institutions of the colonizer.

    “To the extent that the structures of a civil society as we experience them in Western hemisphere are the culmination of processes which began several centuries ago,..”

    ..So,what does that mean? Ethiopia was dismantling the institutions because Eritrea had to wait centuries? What a sick mind.

    “it would be preposterous to expect the ex-Italian colony to indulge in such exercise.”
    Wow!!! What is wrong in indulging in democracy? What is preposterous here? That the Eritrean people had some form of democracy? Is this guy talking to himself or writing a book for others to read?

    “It would be distortion of dangerous magnitude to argue that the Eritreans had in fact more advanced political institutions, as many of the propounders of Eritrean nationalism have done.”

    Tekeste Negash is saying (at the beginning of the paragraph); Eritrean had indeed some democratic institutions, and then he is saying they did not belong to them. All this to justify
    Ethiopia’s disastrous undertaking that took 30 years of misery. By the way the war was as bitter to Ethiopians as it was for us, Eritreans. And later the loss became even bitter to them.
    The only problem the consequence of the blunders taken by the king and his cohorts are paid by the ordinary people.
    Anybody can see from this paragraphs that we are actually discussing Tekste Negash through
    Yosief Ghebrehiwet.

  • Ermias

    We have heard from all the men on this article already. Where are the females – Papillon, Yodita, Rahwa, Selam, etc.? I hope Hayat is doing well and comes back soon.

    • Nitricc

      Lol, you know how to kiss up. Go to freaking church, what do you know about politics.
      And you better leave my Rahwa alone. She is taken. I have already bought her Hijab.

      • Ermias


        Did you say Rahwa? In your dreams. Who would want an ignorant hard headed FOB like you? You can have Sophia. She will teach you well because she has been around. But she will sit on you until you can’t hear the phone ring becasue her behind is so big. You have no contribution here, you just take up space and waste our time. I have told you before to go to You belong there with you retarded PFDJ cheerleaders. I bet you would make a cute cheerleader. They will be all over you. You will not have to suffer from ADHD any longer because here you are nobody. Everything is above your head but you try to compensate your frustrations but attacking some people. I feel bad for you. You might consider going back to school because by your writing, I I have a feeling you are a high school drop out.

        • Nitricc

          Have some respect for all woman. You mentioned you have a kid, what do you think if some one talked about your kid? Oh, never mine, you belong to church, that makes hypocrit and loser. I was way before you in and I will be way after you.
          You see Ermias, I bet you your woman is African American with big behind, if not why would you bring that in here?
          It is okay I am just glad you have a woman. It could be worst, you could have been like some married to web-sites and forums. You know like your ideal.
          Know, go back to your fat STNA black cheek and apologize.
          Loser, grow some balls. And have respect for all woman including Rahwa, my baby 🙂

          • Ermias

            I know you don’t like tegaru. Did you know that Rahwa is tigraweyti? I have no issue with tegaru or Ethiopians in general but I know you do.

          • Nitricc

            Ermias you are too slow man.
            Rahwa said, if Eritreans don’t listen to the coward YG, all Eritrean women will wear Hijab.
            Are you following the events?
            So I am being sarcastic to marry the fat azz Rahwa with hijab. You too slow man.
            Go back to your freaking church.
            How is your ideal, YG doing anyways?
            You are so pothethic, it is sad,
            Rahwa in my dreams huh?
            You don’t know.

          • Ermias

            Nitricc, for once you were ahead of me. I tip my hat to you. But let me tell you one thing. You would be lucky to have a girl from Tigray. They are so down to earth and treat Eritrean guys, specially deki Asmara like kings. They are very pretty too, the accent will make you drool. Eri girls, too stiff, sorry to say. Here you go, tip of the day for you.

  • Dave

    YG’s opponents love to tell us : “All YG does is telling us the past”. Don’t they know the past is always with us. There is no real time, everything we see is in the past. We see things when thier reflected light get into our eyes . It takes light SOME time to get to us, and so we are looking at things the way they were SOME time ago. Our image in the mirror is not the real us , at the real time , it was us billions-and- billions -fraction -of -a -second ago, but yet we make adjustments to our look (present and future) depending on that past look. The past dictates everything!

    • We are not looking at some quasar at a distance. We are rather relying on memory and documents to determine the past “fixametat” with which Light has nothing to do.

  • Nitricc

    “The turning point for me was the year 2000, when I went to visit Eritrea (the one and only time I did that) just after the war. I was alarmed by what I saw and heard when I was there for about three months on how the war had been conducted. The first hints of what was going on in the trenches, especially pertaining to women, were eye-opening. The stiff resistance with which I was met when I was trying to figure out the extent and nature of the Aids epidemic also gave me a hint of the inner workings of Shaebia.”
    Well, he told you!
    It is refreshing to know this attention seeking individual, YG, for him to come down on Gedli and Tegadelti, the evidence, the sliver bullet was information collected from Tea-shops and Enda-suwa in Asmara! How do you even deal with this kind of person and mentality.
    He spend three months in Asmara, not Eritrea, Asmara and it was enough to discredit, dismiss and attack one of the greatest Gedli, ever!

    • Nitricc

      Prematurely posted, sorry about that.
      The Gedli of 30 years, YG figured it out in three months from a tea-shop in Asmara.
      How would you deal with this kind coward?
      One more thing everyone should observe is, pay attention how YG’s writing style has changed on awate forum from his articles in
      In awate forum, his writing is normal, not galvanized nor refined, just normal.
      Compare it for your self. I will show you with facts, you will see.

      • Sami

        Let the other people debate about the issue. this is not for you. Zerageto:)

        • Nitricc

          What issue are you talking about? There is no issue, so, here you have it. There is no issue when you are responding to YG, just Kolel

      • Dave

        Come on! You remind me the famous Drue’s” TeTelaqina” that was taken out of context . YG told us that it took him 13 years of thought-evolution to get where he is know. What you mentioned is the early periods of evolution. It means 13 years back he used to think more or less like you:) Nitricc, You need to do a lot of catch up!

        Selamka Yibizah

        • Nitricc

          Dave, you see, he is still deceiving you. He told you 13 years, but when was the exact year he started to attack Gedli?
          If it was this year started to attack Gedli, then, that would be 13 years, but when was this guy started attacking?
          Another lie.

  • haile

    ሰላማት ህዝበ ዓዋተ

    ኣብዚ እዋን ሓደ ርኡይ ባህርይ ኮይኑ ዝርኤ ዘሎ ነገር፡ ተጻራሪ ወይ’ውን ዘይእዋናዊ ዛዕባታት ናብ ክትዕ ኣብዝወርድሉ ግዝየ፡ ብመንጽሩ ድማ ነዚ ዝቕልቀል ሓሳብ ከም መርኣያ ኩነት ፍትሓዊ ቃልሲ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ንመሰልን፡ ግዝኣተ-ሕግን ገይርካ ምርኣይ እዩ። ቃልሲ ናይ ተቃለስቲ እዩ፡ ክትዕ ድማ ናይ ተኻታዕቲ። እቲ ናይቲ መተካእታ ወይ መግለጺ እውን ኣይኮነን። ብጉጉይ መርትዖ ዝብገሱ ውልቃዊ ሓሳባትን ትዕዝብትታትን ውልቀ-ሰባት፡ ኣብ ባይታ ዝፍይድዎ ነገር ካብ ምድንጋራትን፡ ግዝያዊ ተመስጦ ዝሓልፍ ኣይኮነን። ኣብ ጸብጻብ ኣቲና ምስ እንዛረብ፡ ንቃልሲ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ንፍትሕን፡ ሰላምን፡ ዲሞክራስን፡ ክንህር ወይ ክድንጉይ ዝገብሩ ረቋሕያን ኣብ ውሽጢ ዝንቡዕ ይኹን ቅኑዕ ትንታነን፡ ትዕዝብትን ውልቀ-ሰብ ዝተቐየደ ኣይኮነን። ትሕዝቶታት መርበብ ሓበሬታን፡ ማዕከናት መራኸቢ ብዝውዝዓሉ ናይ ሸፈነ ትሕዝቶን፡ ስፍሓትን ውን ጥራይ ኣይኮነን። እንታይ ድኣ፡ እቲ አቃለስ ኣለኹ ዝብል ኣካል ብዝወስዶ ግብራዊ ስጉምትታትን፡ ብመልክዕ ግብረ-መልሲ ዝገጥሞ ተጻብኦን ዝእለ ሚዛን ሓይልታት ረጽሚ ኣብ ባይታ እዩ።

    ባዕሉ ሃንዳሲን፡ ቀላስን ኮይኑ ዝቐርብ ተሃንዳዲ ባእታ ድማ ራኢኡ ንሓፋሽ ኣማእኪሉ ናብ ዓውደ ግጥም ብምእታው መሪሕ ታራ ክዓትር ክሳብ ዘይተረኽበ፡ ግብራዊ ትርጉም ዘለዎ ኣይኮነን። ነዚ ኣማሊኦም፡ ኣብዚ እዋን ቅድሚ ሕጂ ትራእዩ ካብ ዝፈልጥ ኩነታት ንላዕሊ ንሓፋሽ ዝውድቡን፡ ናይ ቃልሲ ኣበርክትኡ ክብ ከብሉን ዝረኣዩ ዘለዉ ሓይልታት ፍትሒ ድማ ካብቲ ገድላዊ ውርሻናን፡ በቶም ዓበይቲን ጀጋኑን ኣቦታት፡ ውሕጅ ደም ጃሕ ጃሕ አናበሉ ዘጽደቅዎ ሰነዳት ሉኣላዊ ህላወናን፡ ንወለዶታት ዝሰጋር ግዙፍ ውርሻ ክብርን መንነትናን ከይተፈናተቱ ጥራይ ዘይኮነ፡ ንዕኡ ሰረት ገይሮም ስለ ዝኾነ፡ ፍትሓዊ ቃልሲ ተዓዋታይ ምዃኑ እብ ትሕቲ ዝኾነ ይኹን ኩነት ስኽፍ እይበልኩም።


    • haile
      • ዕትብቲ ኮኾብ ሰላም

        What a poem man!!!
        How can we forget our hero Eritreans? They are me and you. Were they paying their life while writing in front of computer? No, No, they just pay for our freedom. We were together, each one of them was chosen by God to leave this world for the same of our national freedom. We promise them we will keep our words in building democratic Eritrea. And now we are here. What those reactionaries are thinking about us. Did they thing we are not around? Hey, let them now we are here and this is the reason we are not hurry of steps in solving our national problems, so not to repeat the mistake of unionists we may have forgiven the first once as they were not aware but for those who commit the same mistake after paying so much hardship, there is no excuse . We are watching everyone who is against our national freedom while fighting the dictator. No compromise.

      • Nitricc

        Haile I can not thank you enough for bring this amazing Vidio to my attention. I have no words to express it. I am not a person easily moved but Vidio like this and my mom’s poems, especially the one she wrote during the battle of Teseney, they get to me. i am going to ask my mom if I can share that particularly poem with the awate community.
        How do you attack this people?
        I don’t want to think what the likes of YG and Serray doing when the real Eritreans going through what the poem in the Vidio going at it?
        This time I am going to bite my tang. Huh!
        Those heros are better than any one. It pains me to see reduculed by the likes of cowards like YG and serray and the rest of jobless losers.
        Listen to this Vidio and ask your loser self has to accomplish on your pathetic life.
        Do you want know the meaning of life? Check it out this poem provided by Haile.
        Thanks a million Haile.

      • saay


        I bet you can’t top this. “HarbeNa aynebrn yu Tarikhu yu Zwres”. It is a celebration of EPLF more than Eritrea but it is still great story-telling from the perspective of EPLF veteran (a few hits and dings against Te.Ha.E.) This is why first in line on the list of people betrayed by Isaias Afwerki is the EPLF veteran.


      • Sabri

        The link you provided is a pictorial and clear message for ghedli defamers. Those carefully edited pictures in the link together with the poem sends powerful message to ghedli defamers. The point they miss is tegadelti sacrificed their life for Eritrea voluntarily.

        The arguments of ghedli defamers reminds me the interview Teklai Aden gave to derg.

  • Hameed

    Hi crocus

    May be you can cheat by pretending to be a liberal a person who doesn’t know you, but luckily I know how your likes sick mentality functions. You are a fanatic sectarian who changed Eritrea to hell for its peace loving people. I hope our brothers in Ethiopia, specially our Muslim brothers, to know the nature of these unstable minds with severe identity crisis. YG and his ilks hate Islam and Muslims, and definitely if they get chance in Ethiopia they will change Ethiopia to hell the same as Eritrea, and their near history proves that.

  • Haile Zeru

    Some more of YG idiocy

    “But the claim that he unilaterally annulled the federal arrangement is bogus; he did it with full collaboration of the party that was in power then, and by extension, with overwhelming majority of Kebessa (and a minority of lowlanders) supporting the move. After all, even though by then it was a fait accompli, the formal vote for union in the Eritrean parliament was unanimous. [7]”

    “..with overwhelming majority of Kebessa (and a minority of lowlanders) supporting the move.”
    If this was true, Why then the following:
    “even though by then it was a fait accompli, the formal vote for union in the Eritrean parliament was unanimous. [7]”
    Obviously if the first is true then no need for the vote to be “fait accompli”. You are trying to say three different things in one paragraph.
    1) The overwhelming majority of Eritrean parliamentarians voted for the abrogation of the federal act. Needless to say therefore there was a minority that voted against.

    2) Then, one sentence after you are saying the vote was “unanimous”

    3) In between the two above sentences you are saying it was a “fait accompli”, that is it was a simple formality it was a forgone conclusion.

    How could this be? I am not going to go to the detail of these. I think any one that can think can see the contradiction.

    The only reference YG refers to is Negash, Tekeste an Ethiopian. This is the crux of the matter. The main point of your argument is hinged here. What makes Tekeste Negash the final authority on it? Quoting an Ethiopian is OK but it should be taken as one side of the story. Not the whole story.

  • saay

    Selamat Yosief:

    Posting 3:

    In Posting 1 and
    Posting 2
    my objective was to try to lay the groundwork as to why Eritreans decided to wage armed struggle on September 1, 1961. My aim was to show that this progressive radicalization was triggered by UN’s indifference; the US need for reliable ally during the emerging cold war; the brutal and heavy-handed reaction of successive Ethiopian governments and, lastly, the prevailing revolutionary fervor of the era. To wit:
    (a) they felt their case should have been treated no differently from that of Somalia and Libya, but it was: and Ethiopia was given a say;
    (b) they felt that the UN representative, Dr. Matienzo, who was mandated to provide “widest possible measure of self-government” for Eritreans while paying due respect to “the Constitution, institutions, traditions and the international status and identity of the Empire of Ethiopia” ended up deferring to Ethiopia;
    (c) they felt that the UN was giving a deaf ear to their claim that its own resolution 390-v was being violated;
    (d) their decade-long campaign of civil disobedience was met with brute force by the Ethiopian government.

    Each of the revolutionaries (from the 1960s, 50s and 40s) had persuasive arguments for why Eritrea was (or should be) an independent political entity. The ones in the 1960s had it easier: all they had to show was that by annexing Eritrea, Ethiopia had done something illegal—a fact that even Mengistu’s government eventually conceded to.

    In this posting and the ones which follow, I was going to talk about colonialism and its various definitions; Bevin-Sforza and why it wasn’t the “Christian highlanders to Ethiopia, Muslims to Sudan” proposal you and others make it out to be (it couldn’t be because Haile Selasse’s sole obsession were ports); that the awfulness and cruelty associated with the Ghedli has nothing to do with what transpired in the 1940s and 1950s but everything to do with the very nature of the Marxist-Leninist ideology espoused by all national liberation movements; that your preference for evolution over disruptive revolution when people were being abused during the Haile Selasse and Derg regimes is irreconcilable for your preference for revolution over evolution when it comes to the abuse of Isaias Afwerki…

    But in consideration of your other writing commitments and time constraints, in consideration of the fact that the summaries to your articles rarely summarize (including on this article we are commenting on), I would rather ask a question. It is a question I have asked many of your admirers at this forum, none of whom was able to answer. The question is: if I were to put together an executive summary of YG’s writings, what would it be? By that I mean, what is your belief statement? Your “because of…I believe… and therefore….”, with a special focus on the therefore.


    • Yosief Ghebrehiwet

      The nationalists’ dream: Meritwa inji hizbwa anfelgm
      Selam Saleh,
      If you haven’t figured it out from the hundreds of pages in articles I have written in these 13 years by now, why do you think you would be able to know the nature of my belief in regard to Eritrea by the “fill in the blanks” assignment you have given me? Anyways, I will make you happy by doing that; I will even be briefer than what you are anticipating. But before I do that, let me take you through the steps that lead to that brief response.
      We can attribute to Haile Selassie anything, but not stupidity. Only an immensely foolish leader would say, “meryetwa inji hizbwa anfelgm”, and the Emperor was not that foolish. Yet, the Eritrean nationalists have been attributing this saying to him without examining the logical incoherence of their belief. And you, Saleh, intelligent as you are, you tend to subscribe to this implausible belief. But what I find to be ironic is that you nationalists ignore the glaring fact that it is the Eritrean Revolution that has fulfilled this “dream” on the ground.
      All you need to look at is the present day Eritrea to see how that dream has been fulfilled to its minutest details on the ground by the liberators. Never have we seen the case of liberators ending up hating and abhorring the masses they “liberated” as it is in present day Eritrea: they imprison them, torture them, rape them, starve them, enslave them, deprive them of everything, force them to carry arms indefinitely, drive them out of the nation in their hundreds of thousands, and even sell them in the Arab slave market. While here you have a clear cut case of “we want the land, and not its people” that ghedli championed enacted on the ground in real time, you and the nationalists try to fantastically seek it in the mind of a dead Emperor – it is astounding the level of detachment from reality that unbridled nationalism causes! No wonder that the Shaebia foot soldiers in diaspora has been rallying around “Land First!” despite the fact that such a policy has been nothing but horror to the masses.
      And you, Saleh, happen to be an ardent follower of that “Land First” mantra – that is, as it has been clearly displayed in your actions. When sanctions against the regime were entertained by the US in 2007 for the first time, you vociferously opposed it. Your overriding concern was that the army would be weakened if sanctions were imposed on Eritrea. So was it when the UN imposed sanctions in 2009, when you went “accepting” it but rejecting the arms embargo. Again, your overriding concern was the weakening of the army (you made it explicit when you said you do not believe in unilateral disarmament). But it would be a cruel joke if by that, you are expecting the army to protect the people; and you know that more than anybody else. If so, your only concern must have been for the Eritrean Army to stay strong enough to defend the land. Without maximal mobilization and arming the army to the teeth, you know that such a quixotic attempt could never be entertained let alone enacted. But given that it is this maximal mobilization (as in national service) that is at the root of the mass exodus (that is, of emptying the land of its people), your preference perfectly fits to that of the “Land First” crowd.
      Now let’s come back to your “fill in the blanks” assignment you have given me as to the nature my belief. It is rather simple to figure out; all that you have to do is put your belief on its head: “People First!” And when I say that, I mean wherever it may lead. I have not the slightest fetish that attaches me to the land; if there is any attachment to the land, it would be entirely on pragmatic ground.
      And please do not confine your response on my behalf. If I have time I will respond; if not, others will. After all, this dialog is not between you and me only.

      • Hameed

        Quote from YG writings:

        (It is rather simple to figure out; all that you have to do is put your belief on its head: “People First!” And when I say that, I mean wherever it may lead. I have not the slightest fetish that attaches me to the land; if there is any attachment to the land, it would be entirely on pragmatic ground.)

        Really, you are a liar. You say “people first” at the time you ignore the right of 99.8% of Eritreans who voted for their independence. The time you respect the will of the Eritrean people, then and then only, you can claim that you are totally on the side of the people.

        Having a corrupted government doesn’t mean that you have to sell out your country and people. There are many countries in the world either in the past and our contemporary world who had/have corrupted and cruel governments, and Ethiopia is one of the them who had lived for centuries under such governments, but Ethiopians didn’t say they annex their country to Kenya or Somalia.

        As you are such an ardent sectarian and a traitor who disregard the will of his people, the present Ethiopia will not accept you. The reason is very simple: A person who betrays his own people, it is very simple and easy for him to betray other peoples. Our Ethiopian brothers in general and in our Ethiopian Moslem brothers in particular will not accept such a deceiver; for they know very well such a person will plague their nation with the disease that the Eritrean people suffers from.

      • saay

        Selamat Yosief:

        You have raised 3 points: (1) the Eritrean “nationalist” claim that Haile Selasse said that he is only interested in the Eritrean land and not the people is incoherent because it assumes the king was foolish; that (2) I am opposed to the arms embargo, and that (3) your message is “people first.”

        Point 1: Did Haile Selasse really say that all he is interested in is the Eritrean land and not the people? A person who was in a position to know says so, and I will give you a video link to his testimony below so you (well, not really you, but the rest of the readers) can judge for yourself (themselves.) Here are the building blocks:

        A. Hamed Idris Awate (yeah, that same genocidal maniac, according to you) sends letters to all the leaders of the Andnet/Hebret party that while he and his people have started the revolution, it won’t come to fruition unless Christian highlanders join it.

        B. It is 1966 and the Gash-Barka based ELF is making a push in the Eritrean highlands. It creates a Command Zone (Zone 3). Its political commissar tells Eritreans recruited in the service of Haile Selasse (militia, Commandos) to not fire back against their own brothers. Those who listen are co-opted; those who don’t listen are engaged. Some Big Names (like the former shifta Asheber) are killed.

        C. Haile Selasse (being smart) recognizes the danger and pays a visit to Asmara. He (being smart) concludes that the ELF could not have advanced to the highlands and lasted a day had it not been getting protection and intelligence from the ordinary Eritrean (an accurate conclusion.) He says this is an affront to the king of kings as it will embolden the rebels left over from Weyane I that he firebombed on a Saturday years earlier. (Like you said, he is smart: he is right again.) He meets with his military and civilian leaders and makes the “Ertra, meryetwa inji hzbwa ayesfelgenm.” A person who attended the meeting tells one of the leaders of the co-opted Eritrean leaders of the Ethiopian military forces who passes the message on to the political commissar of ELF, Zone 3. Within days 12,000 Ethiopian soldiers were brought to Asmara to implement the kings new decree.

        The political commissar was Mohammed Berhan Blatta. This is his testimony. You can begin listening at the :26 minute mark.

        And, no, I do NOT see a conflict at all between Isaias Afwerki and Haile Selasse. I see continuity. Prioritize the land and the sea, subjugate the people. This is why I have said that Isaias’s heroes and role models are autocratic Habesha kings.

        Point 2: Arms Embargo

        Arms embargoes outlast regime changes. When the PFDJ regime collapses, whoever takes over will inherit the embargo. It will not be lifted without Ethiopia’s approval. Ethiopia (and this is my non-romantic view) will demand huge concessions from the new government for it to agree that the embargo be lifted. Sovereignty is not an empty word. If the Eritrean people, in their wisdom, say we want to be Costa Rica and we don’t even want to have an army, I will submit to the will of the people. But it is a hard pill to swallow when the dictates will come from Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and assorted “conflicted resolution” NGOS lobbying the UN. Can you mention a single country where the arms embargo was lifted after regime change?

        Point 3: People First

        Well, that’s an ambiguous slogan,you can do better! “People First?” Which people and ahead of what? Of course, I have read your hundreds of pages of writings and I have made the conclusion that you are a Neo-Andnet guy. I have given my reasons for it. Most of your admirers here say that that is not an accurate conclusion and when I ask them what a summary of your beliefs is they can’t say. I was hoping to hear it from the horse’s mouth. But maybe the horse needs some time to evolve.


        • Kim Hanna


          One question and a statement please, if the people of Eritrea are not that important to him, why would he go on a binge of that “affirmative action” recruitment of them for that very limited University and education abroad opportunity?

          Some of the participants on this forum, if truth to be told, are beneficiary of that “enslavement” as you call it.

          There my two cents, I will shut up and read. Sometimes though, it is so hard to be quiet.


          • SA

            Hi Kim Hanna,

            You wrote: “If the people of Eritrea are not that important to him, why would he go on a binge of that ‘affirmative action’ recruitment of them for that very limited University and education abroad opportunity?”

            What is this about, if you do not mind? Are you talking about YG in the above quote?


          • saay

            Selamat KH:

            I am not sure I understand your question. In fact, I am pretty sure I don’t understand it. Could you rephrase, please.


          • rodab

            I think KH is saying King HS’s goodwill should be recognized in providing education oportunities to some Eritreans. If my understanding of her message is correct, then I would disagree with her view. If you annex a country and confisicate all of its properties and revenues, extending some work and education opputunities to handfull persons doesn’t amount to anything much. It’s like intruders come and takeover your house with everthing in it, then they buy you lunch from the money they found on your table. Would you thank such intruders for the lunch? I don’t think so!

        • Eyob Medhane



          Other than a partisan or a ‘tegadelti’ sympathizer’ who has an axe to grind, do you have a credible source that can provide the context and the full picture, when MoA Anbessa ZeMnegede Yihuda Girmawi Qedamawi Atse Haileselassie, Seyume Egziabher Neguse Negest Ze Ethiopia (Sorry I had to tickle you a bit 🙂 ) Said that? As YG said the man was not stupid, who would make such foolish comment let alone, when Eritreans were present, but to even his closest confidents. In order to prove that this happened, you have to provide way more than a youtube propaganda interview clip.

          You also said that “..Ethiopia will demand huge concessions…”, noticing especially the behavior and mind set of you and so many other Eritrean elites, you better believe that Ethiopia demands huge concessions, no matter who is going to be in charge in Eritrea after Isayas. By mind set, I mean the hostile and contemptuous mind set you seem to have to Ethiopia, its history, large chunk of its population and to appear different and supirior many of your elite go as far as recommending bizzare policy directions to the ‘Kibur Presedent. Here is one of my favorates. It’s a classic one.It is written by some guy, whose name is hummmmm…I don’t know, if I am pronouncing it correctly, but I think it’s Saleh Yunis or something like that and I quote him.. “…We are the neighbors of Ethiopia, historically the home of expansionist empire builders. The lesson for us is to have a robust, well-trained professional army and a detached and disengaged foreign policy that is entirely apathetic to the soap opera in the South…”

          So to quote Sarah Palin How that “…detached and disengaged foreign policy that is entirely apathetic to the soap opera in the South…” wokin’ out for ya?

          The point is. Ethiopia always has to sleep with one of its eyes open, when such elites are the ones, who will be taking over after Isayas, and Hence, in order to extinguish its hostility and destructive ambition towards her it’s reasonable to demand ‘huge concessions’ and use such concession as a buffer zone to protect herself.

          People First.

          You asked, which people? And I’d say, what difference does it make? People. All people. Particularly those people who are sold and their organs are harvested. Those people, who get to be round up and placed in concentration camps. Those people who should have settled and start a family, but instead laying bricks for some Shabia general for peanuts and when they get tired of that ran across the border. Those people should be first rather than the land, which at times get barren….

          Anyway, I’ll stop here now…

          • Eyob Medhane


            Here is the title of the article and the date that was written which contains your ‘studies’ recommendation to ‘disengaged and detached’ foreign policy from the ‘Soap opra’ of your southern ’empire builder neighbors’ ..

            Tesenei: An Exhibit of Ethiopian Treachery
            Saleh AA Younis
            June 21, 2000


          • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

            Azmatch Eyob, you discount all the “tegadelti’ sympathizers” and you discount the entire Eritrean population less the few Neo-Andenet. If you insist on dismissing them as credible sources, you will end up with the Ethiphiles and the Moa Ambessa crowd. Every Eritrean is a tegadelti sympathizer and on the main issues, they tend to have a consensus. Bad luck.

          • saay

            Selamat Eyob:

            Well, I don’t think you can get a more authoritative person than the person whose job title at the time was to keep a pulse on the people. It is a second hand testimony: the governor of Seraye, who attended the meeting, told him that “keywAle keyHadere hagerawi sle znebere” as he put it. The Haile Selasse quote was ancillary to his story: his larger point is that as early as 1966 (that’s only 5 years after the start of the armed struggle), the Revolution had the support of the highlanders; otherwise, 400 poorly armed men (that is command zone three and four combined) would not have survived a day in a hostile environment. (This incidentally destroys yet another YG myth: that the Revolution didn’t have popular support, but who is keeping count of YG’s myths?)

            About that quote from that dude named “Saleh Yunis or something” i.e (“…We are the neighbors of Ethiopia, historically the home of expansionist empire builders. The lesson for us is to have a robust, well-trained professional army and a detached and disengaged foreign policy that is entirely apathetic to the soap opera in the South…”) and your Palinish question (pretty good impression, btw) how’s that “wokin’ out for ya?” Well, I will let you know when it’s been tried: what we have now is a barely-trained compulsory-service army (the exact opposite of a professional army) and foreign policy that is ENTIRELY obsessed by Ethiopian policy (exactly the opposite of being apathetic.)

            Ah, Eyobai, swing and miss again. Never play baseball:)

            I don’t disagree with you about what will Ethiopia will demand which is why it is important to have some people who have some semblance of pride when our mad king is gone, just like your demented king had to meet his maker.

            And just in case you have forgotten the expansive empire, here’s a map of Ethiopia (Abyssinia) in 1885 right around the Scramble for Africa era:


            After that, your hero, Tikur Sew (Menelik) said this at the Wuchale Treaty when he gave up Mereb Melash to the Italians: “The land referred to as Eritrea is not peopled by Abyssinians, they are Adals, Bejas, and Tigres. Abysinnia will defend her territories but it will not fight for foreign lands of which Eritrea is to my knowledge” and went on his conquest of modern day Ethiopia, all financed, of course, by slave trade. Remind me again, what is the title he has: “Africa’s Slave Entrepreneur”?


          • Eyob Medhane

            Gash Saleh,

            I don’t count or discount the ‘tegadeltis’, as I don’t have any sort of emotional or historical attachment to them. That is your department not mine. I just don’t take them at their word, when they talk about my country or any event that has anything to do with Ethiopia, because their opinion any opinion they may have about Ethiopia or its leaders would be my prime suspects of biased, slanted filled with ulterior motive. Remember. They are talking about their enemy. I don’t expect them or demand from them to tell the truth or to say anything balanced about their sworn enemy. I simply don’t believe them and I don’t value their testimony either. That’s all..

        • SA

          Hi Saay,

          You wrote: “But maybe the horse needs some time to evolve.” I did not expect that from you. I understand you might have been frustrated by YG’s non-answer reply to your question, but I am afraid that resorting to sarcastic comments might poison the debate.


  • MTYohannes

    [From moderator: please post poems at our Jebena/Merhaba page which can be found here:

  • Mebrahtu

    To me the latest posting by YG (thirteen years of evolving thoughts) is the most revealing. First it was Isayas and PFDJ, then the Ghedli and now the federal arrangement. What next?

    I am hoping he will go a few decades back and reach a certain cul-de-sac (Italian occupation of a territory called Eritrea). I am also hoping then he would look at things the way he should have done it first place – establish a logical starting point and analyse things forward to the present and the future by identifying key historical events and decisions. That is the proper way to do history.

    It is not about evolving thoughts but about a person looking for every justification to deny the existence of ERITREAN IDENTITY? Eritreans have answered this issue long time ago before and during federation, during the Ghedli and most of all when they voted 99.8% yes for independence. In the mean time, there is that little distraction of Isayas Afewerki and PFDJ they have to sort out.

    I must also say that this a very opportune time for revisionists as all transition periods are.

    As I mentioned in my posting yesterday, my only worry is about entertaining YG and others who I see as obstacle in the ongoing struggle for justice in Eritrea. There is nothing to be gained and there is probably a lesson to be learned from the fate of that has become a playground of YG and Zekre Lebona.

  • ዕትብቲ ኮኾብ ሰላም

    So, now why going back to Federation Era? What new do we read from this all? the truth again force everyone who try to play and cover mistakes of unionists to accept the reality. Be honest and examine deep in yourself. what was the intention of unionists? If the intention was good, and let the mass participate accepting it we couldn’t face all those problems. Again the way out is to accept this mistake committed and go ahead with what is on the ground. Today Eritrea is a nation. Those who reject Federation won the war and the children of unionists joined the struggle.
    Burning the issue more than this will not help our people. The killers who joined Ethiopia have paid high price and that is enough. Their nonsense narrow tendency has gone far even to create differences between our people during national struggle. Still the confused PFDJ group is the continuation of that bad tendency but lost nowhere to stand. PIA was the child of Andenet category who managed to create big differences between ethnic groups. but he couldn’t manage to accomplish his original aim and he has been divorced from his boss. Thanks God.
    Our people are no more going to that old days and Eritrea sure will be democratic nation. Ethiopia and Eritrea will be better united than ever by keeping each once national freedom.

  • Serray

    Thanks Yosief,

    You are right, I am a little lite on this one. It is because at the time the fate of eritrea was debated, people were more honest, more direct than they are now. Our fathers made no secret of their wishes: it is ethiopia or death. So did the other side, they didn’t want to do anything with ethiopia and they happened to be people who don’t share the king’s history, culture or religion. I think the compromise, federation, would have worked had it not been viewed as threat to the king’s medieval and dying way of ruling.

    Talking strictly about a cause and, given what went on during the period leading to the referendum (and the clear positions each group held), there is no way the independence block would have taken the abrogation of the federation laying down. For people who are dead set against it, annexation became a pervasive cause, it even spread and captured the imagination of even deki mahber andnet. Without annexation, I seriously doubt that ghedli would have come into existence.

    The other part of the cause for independence is also facilitated by the actions of the ethiopian rulers after the annexation: their refusal to give space to the people who opposed the union and their brutal, genocidal, response to the rebellion. If you ask me, what defeated the ethiopians is their refusal to assign any responsibility to their actions. At the end of the day, THEY are the cause that brought ghedli into existence and THEY are the reason ghedli prevailed. Ghedli played the ethiopians like finely tuned violin. If they want recruits, they attack them knowing the response of the ethiopian soldiers will drive people into their arms. The masterpiece was when they attacked asmera in 1974. The response of the ethiopians was so predictably brutal that within a year most youngsters left to join ghedli.

    These two causes, the annexation and the brutal response by ethiopian rulers, explains ghedli. Your argument that the nature of absolute monarchy doomed the referendum from the get go would have self-corrected itself when HS was replaced by a socialist dergi who believed, at least on paper, the right of self-determination. But dergi turned out to be more reckless than the king in the way they viewed people as territories. It is simply impossible to ignore the ethiopian rulers’ as the major cause of ghedli. Once they made up their mind they are not letting go of the ports, they adopted a strategy of wiping out the opposition by all means necessary. But what worked against them is the degree to which they factored out the people on whose land they were fighting, the rage of the children whose homes they turned into battlefields…and they paid dearly for that mistake.

    Finally, this discussion of whether there was a legitimate cause to start the armed struggle would have been more relevant if those who started the struggle also ended it. It would have made a lot sense to ask them what they have done with the ideals they started the armed struggle. But ghedli went a complete metamorphosis in medda; not just when shaebia prevailed but way before that. The original objective of creating a more advanced country than what it would have been under ethiopia gave way to anything, absolutely anything, but ethiopia. The struggle for independence wiped out all traces of freedom. Like you, working backwards I find the nature ghedli, rather than the validity of the cause, the most important explanation as to why we are where we are.

    • Dear Serray,

      In your comment above, you are claiming that the “annexation” and “brutal response by Ethiopia” to be the causes for starting the armed struggle or “ghedli”. While annexation of Eritrea by the Emperor may have been the cause for starting the armed struggle (ghedli), I don’t see how the crimes imputed to Dergue and Emperor Hailesselasse can also be the causes for starting “ghedli”. The crimes can be the unfortunate outcome of the war that (caused) led many Eritrears to run away from their villages and cities. Some joined “ghedli” thereby further fueling the armed struggle while others migrated to the Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt and other places. Additionally, there were untold crimes perpetrated by Ghedli against innocent Eritreans. As a result, many so called “wodo gebas” fostered the Ethiopian army while others fled to the Sudan then to the west. Thus, you may have confused the cause with the effects.

      • Serray

        Selam Dawit,

        I was just splitting the cause into two to capture the distinction between those who were against the union to begin with and those who came of all age after it was annexed (deki andnet, both the students and those who joined ghedli because life became unbearable). Remember, when the latter joined ghedli, they changed ghedli. After they prevail, you can no more say that the cause of the resulting ghedli was exactly the same as the cause of the original tegadelti. Shaebia defeats the notion that ghedli was fought for the original cause; it morphed from a struggle for something (freer eritrea) to struggle against something…the founders “a better, freer nation” replaced a nation by all means…the land, not the people. In a way, that is why I differ from Yg’s linking the original cause to the last surviving ghedli which embodies none of the characteristics, tactics or even goals. The transformed ghedli that ruled eritrea from day one is the ghedli that doesn’t believe the “better nation”, just in a nation. I am making a distinction between the causes of different groups who come to own ghedli at different stages of its horrific history.

        • Selam Serray,

          Who are the latter who changed ghedli? Do you have a frame time to say the former and the latter for your description? Just to see the stretch of your argument for the sake of argument.

    • Sabri

      Selamat Serray,

      It is believed widely that the arrangement of federation is a compromise solution. To whom?? As far as I know the so called compromise solution of federation was not presented to Eritreans for discussion before UN decided. True UN sent fact finding group to hear the opinion of Eritreans before they came to the decision of federal arrangement. What I’m wondering is weather UN had an obligation to present their federation proposal to the people before they decide? I’m asking this question because I sense it has relevance to the ongoing discussion.

      For the sake of clarity, let’s assume UN had an obligation to consult people on the idea of federal arrangement before they decide. The first question that likely arises in many people’s mind is why the two antagonist group of that time accepted the federal arrangement? The decision was clearly against their desire.

      The second question is, If we believe as you asserted, ghedli was started because of the abrogation of federation, why was then ghedli not started by the independent block when UN decided to impose federation against the will of the Eritrean people?


      • Since the parliaments were the representative of the people, they voted for it unanimously as a solution to their differences.

        • Alem

          The Eritrean people never voted for Federation, be it through parliament or refrendum. Get your facts straight. No need to lie to advance your distorted propaganda. Let alone debate YG, you are not fit hold a candle to him.

          • Just to give you a hint, the only man who oppose the federal arrangement was only “Ras Tesema”, the rest they have signed and voted for it. You better check your facts….before you ask others to check their facts.

        • Sabri

          As far as I know the parliament is the result of UNs decision on federal arrangement. Do you think the parliament had a right to reverse the already decided arrangement by UN ( read superpowers)? I doubt.

          • Sabri,

            you could bring any hypothetical argument, but the truth of the matter is that the two divides found it that the federal arrangement was a good compromise to retain Eritrea intact. And hence they voted on it. If they wouldn’t believe on that they had a choice to split the nation between Sudan and Ethiopia as the British suggested to them. So why don’t we stick on the fact that happened and the action taken by our people at that time. I have never seen a damn argument something that has found its conclusion by the people who want to determine their fate. Dictators are everywhere and b/c Issayas’s ruling at his whim doesn’t mean our cause wrong. Serray put it as clear as crystal that “the problem is not with cause but with the nature of ghedli.” The problem of the current is the nature of the regime we have and not with the direction of the people they chose to have.

          • Please insert “against the issue” after “something” to read something against the issue that has found its conclusion by the people who want determine their fate.

    • Yosief Ghebrehiwet

      Disambiguating the “cause”
      Selam Serray,
      Me and you would be talking past each other if we don’t have a working definition of what we mean by “cause”, since I believe the “cause” that we are referring to is ensnared in a double ambiguity.
      Here is how the first ambiguity goes: Let me start by agreeing with you that the Ethiopian army’s brutality was indeed a cause for many people to join the Fronts. But so was it for many Tigreans who were equally brutalized by Derghi’s army. If so, could we say that the Eritrean Fronts and TPLF shared the same cause? If your answer is yes, then this cause would never explain to us why the former went the federalist way and the latter the separatist way. If your answer is no, as mine also happens to be, it is because we have a different kind of cause in mind: we would be looking for a cause that made the Eritrean elite opt for separation. So the first thing we need to disambiguate the “cause” of our reference is to make a clear distinction between cause as in trigger versus cause as in goal.
      The second ambiguity shows up when we believe that there has been a univocal “cause” (that is, as in the goal). I will say that there were two strands of ghedli – Jebha and Shaebia – with little overlap in between their causes – be it in their initial or altered forms. True enough, both started with a “better Eritrea” in mind, but the problem is the kind of better worlds they had in mind had no convergence; it was rather the case of two parallel nations within the same space in the making . Jebha was primarily concerned about Muslim identity, as it was made crystal clear in its early history. That doesn’t mean that Jebha never changed: it did; the Jebha of 70s was not the Jebha of 60s. But in the end Jebha died precisely because it couldn’t update itself soon enough to catch up with the emerging realty. That is to say, Jebha died in search of its earlier identity.
      So is it with the Kebessa elite: their better world was an extrapolation of the false sense of betterment they inherited from their colonial past. Starting from this nebulous cause, you cannot venture far without abandoning it along the way. That is, unless somewhere along their ghedli journey they were to find a replacement, they would turn out to be rebels without a cause. And they did: the journey itself. Their cause became ghedli itself: a classical case where the means ended up subverting the cause.
      So I agree with you that the cause of ghedli didn’t end up with what it started. Where I am differing with you are the starting points

      • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

        Hello Yosief,

        This is just an attempt to correct your facts:

        You stated,”Let me start by agreeing with you that the Ethiopian army’s brutality was indeed a cause for many people to join the Fronts. But so was it for many Tigreans who were equally brutalized by Derghi’s army. If so, could we say that the Eritrean Fronts and TPLF shared the same cause? If your answer is yes, then this cause would never explain to us why the former went the federalist way and the latter the separatist way.”

        It was not possible for Eritreans to wait for a decade and half until other Ethiopians awaken, they blazed the trail. Isaias tries to erase all that happened between 1961 (and before) and presents the Eritrean struggle as if it started with his split in 1971. You seem to agree with him on that because you reason, the Eritrean struggle (which started in 1961 in its armed form) and present it as if it started at the same time with the TPLF. You conveniently shaved off a decade and half from the life of the Eritrean struggle. You also omit the fact that the Eritrean struggle was the main inspiration (with overt and covert support) that made the Tigray (and other Ethiopian struggles) possible. You will not have a fair assessment without correcting those facts. I have a suggestion: revising history is not a good proposal; looking at the Eritrean people as two sections is a violation of their choice for which they paid dearly.

        I leave you with this videoclip (forward to the 19:57 mark) and learn something from his holiness:

        • Ermias

          I apologize for sticking my head into the elite territory. But I coudln’t help myself and saw the video and I learned something from it. The man is Holy indeed.

          SGJ – you have no idea what kind of names the PFDJ operatives have for him. To name a few – menafikan, tehadso, pente, anti the virgin mary, paid by weyane and cia, oh you name it. He happens to be my patriarch and I can safely say he is the most knowledgeable person I have ever seen.

          I will just add two things:

          He says Orthodox do not believe in immaculate conception, which is to say that Mary was human (she was not conceived immaculately herself) and she had what is called ‘original sin’ which everybody has excpet Jesus himself. Immaculate conception was declared by the catholic church 300 years ago. Now, PFDJ calls him that he trashes Mary.

          The second one (more incredible) – he says the pictures we see of the Trinity arr man-made or something to that effect. For one thing, nobody has ever seen God, for another thing Jesus never grew to the old age (as seen in the pictures), and the menfes kddus of course is as the name describes. For this he has been called pente, not that it is a bad thing but it shows the campaign against this holyman.

          Wedi Gherahtu said in a meeting (I attended that) “this guy is under our watch, leave him up to us but take care of his followers – meaning take over their churches.”

          Sorry again for diving too much into such things but hey this is the nature of the beast we are fighting and any exposure is good.

          • Saleh “Gadi” Johar


            Very educational points indeed.

            I loved this man the moment i saw one of his lectures about two or three years ago. Such is the true character of a religious leader. He is an example of how our religious leaders should be. God bless him with longevity.

          • Ermias

            Dear moderator, please allow me to make the following correction in the form of a quotation from Wikipedia. I just went there to check my facts (particulary where I said ‘300 years ago’, incorrectly) before PFDJ operatives here jump all over the place.

            “Although the belief that Mary was conceived immaculate was widely held since at least Late Antiquity, the doctrine was not dogmatically defined until December 8, 1854, by Pope Pius IX in his papal bull Ineffabilis Deus. It is not formal doctrine in other Christian denominations.[4]”

          • Selam Ermias ,

            If ” nobody has ever seen God “, then Jesus is not God.


            Jesus also says that “any one who has seen me has seen the father” and likewise He maintains that “the father and I are one”, suggesting that man has seen God in flesh.

            The above statments are not consistent with the conventional belief of God the father, God the h.s., and God the son. I also apologize for being nosy;-)

      • Serray

        Selamat Yosief,

        I am glad you decided to clear the “cause” but it is not that easy. First and foremost, I speak of cause as a goal. When I say annexation was the cause for the independence block to start armed struggle, I know I have been a little redundant because the goal of the independence block has always been independence. In this sense, I am speaking of a cause as more of a trigger for armed struggle simply because the independence block had a goal that predates annexation; a goal they grudgingly gave up when the federation was in place. But once the king abrogated the federation, the cause (as both a goal and a trigger) came back to life. If the federation continued, none of us can say anything about the armed struggle but the goal portion of the cause will be sitting there idly.

        As to deki kebessa it is slightly different. First let me take this statement of yours, “So is it with the Kebessa elite: their better world was an extrapolation of the false sense of betterment they inherited from their colonial past”. If I were to take headcount of all deki kebessa who joined ghedli, I will find the overwhelming majority did so to escape repression. I don’t think they were inflicted with a generation skipping disease of “false sense of betterment they inherited from their colonial past”. If their fathers didn’t have that bug, how is it possible that the children, who came of age after Italy, bleed to maintain a colonial past they never knew? This statement of yours completely factors out the role of the ethiopian rulers. Just because they didn’t have the same goal as the TPLF, it doesn’t mean the goal they pursued was a colonial mentality driven. Medda eritrea didn’t accommodate anyone whose goal is not independence. When deki kebessa went medda, there weren’t any movements they can belong to by checking a box. Whether you went to medda when both jebha and shaebia were alive, or when just shaebia was left, the goal of the organizations became your goal.

        If you factor the role of HS or dergi out, it is easy to caste people in any mold you want; you have to factor them in to make sense. For the independence block, the ethiopians vindicated their long held beliefs, for kebessa, it forced them to pick independence as a cause. You can say for kebessa, the goal and the trigger happened to be packaged together…their response to repression was to pick the independence mantra.

        My point is, the actions of the ethiopian rulers is the major ingredient that brought ghedli into existence rather than the nostalgia for a colonial past. Ignoring ethiopia’s role as a cause of armed struggle leaves a huge hole that will make it difficult to understand eritrea in any shape or form. Omitting the annexation and the brutal repression that followed as causes (and triggers) and replacing them with something like kebessa joined ghedli due to a “false sense of betterment they inherited from their colonial past” is a huge omission. I know I am standing on a shaky ground when I say that the federation would have worked even if, specially if, it spread to the rest of ethiopia but I think I am much closer to the truth than if I ignore the role of the king and dergi in driving people to medda.

        Finally, ignoring the role of these rulers leaves ghedli in limbo. The terror that defined ghedli is the direct result of what awaits those who changed their mind. But that is a topic I would like to pick up after the second part.

  • haile

    Selamat Awatistas

    I know the debate branching out every time a side issue kicks in, in the interest of maintaining the general course, I will add in my piece here that would hopefully also address some of the different threads that addressed me.

    Now that YG has told us some of the processes that lead to his current set of perspectives on the Eritrean case, and taking note of Amanuel Hidrat’s caution from “diversionary ploys”of which I share a good deal of agreement, lets talk roles and responsibilities vis-a-vis YG’s untimely and unnecessary detour into the distant past.

    No doubt that regardless of the issues raised by YG regarding Ghedli, Eritreans have given it all they had to nurture it and ultimately bring it to fruition. It needs no proof to declare that the vast majority of Eritreans take a fond, warm and deep pride in ghedli itself and its success to make our dreams a reality. What we stumbled into, i.e. dictatorial, unaccountable, backward leadership at the helm may or may not be our collective fault, but it is something we wish to rectify by ejecting IA and his band of yes men and finding our way back to our original dream a prosperous and democratic nation, at peace with itself and the world.

    Our desire is one that is progressive, rooted in the will of our people and in harmony with the interests and well being of our neighbors. YG’s role in diverting the discussion to matters pertaining to times and issues that are still to be documented and properly analyzed, has inadvertently created the impression among the great majority of Eritreans who were silently bleeding under merciless dictatorship, to fall to the trap that the opposition camp was in cahoots with our old adversaries to undo our hard won dignity in the form of independence (struggle for justice and rule of law still rages). In such sense, the role of YG had been devastating in rendering the opposition movement ineffective to engage the silent majority for so long. It is only now that the country is speeding down the hill that the people are mobilizing in numbers.

    We all are aware that the silent majority had been ducking in believing that the legitimate questions of justice and rule of law would somewhat resolve itself and the opposition was in fact an existential threat to the nation itself. The facts couldn’t have been more to the opposite however. Had YG had taken the right course of developing his arguments by examining our problems by going forward than backward, even the term neoandinet wouldn’t have been coined. The greatest injustice was however, people had mistaken YG’s voluminous writings as something representative of the size of his constituency in the ranks of the opposition. This have inadvertently lead for Eritreans to be polarized instead of rallying against a patently obvious violations of their basic human rights by a maniac dictator. Therefore, YG is responsible for perversion of the cause and the course of the opposition by negatively influencing its image in the eyes of the suffering masses of Eritrea. Such, state of stand off persisted until the recent dramatic down turn of the conditions in Eritrea. Sadly, YG had got away and did the damage anyway.

    YG’s current focus that is aimed at the notion of Hadnet is also, I suspect, being orchestrated to hit at the post-lampedusa era of the new opposition, one with higher sense of urgency and wider participation. Because, today most Eritreans, whichever isle of the political divide they stand, are aware of the fact that the regime can’t hold much longer on its own terms. It is indeed the most insecure period of our history where we are not only concerned of realizing the dreams of social justice and equality and rule of law for all Eritreans, but also don’t want to endanger our hard won independence and national cohesion (where everyone feels they are part).

    It is a good idea for Eritreans to sing hadnet flilyatna bzeyegeds, as a winning formula. Because that hadnet is about belonging rather than the terms of how we belong. That should be left to the full participation of all stakeholders. YG is not doing any favor, again, by attempting fan the sense of insecurity among our people at this critical juncture. Whether he is up to a “ploy” or not, the reality remains that his ideas, if left to be misunderstood as part of the mainstream opposition idea, it would a second round of divisions and mistrust (although the chances may be slim at this time).

    Hence, it necessary that the opposition be seen to openly discourage and distance from such views in order to safeguard the current momentum that is building among Eritreans for democratic change in Eritrea.


    • Hailat,

      Our polarization is deepened and our destiny is vague as we stand now. We are only shouting each other. No vision no exit strategy like a wrecked ship on the sea floating without marine pilot. And we are now talking about our history of the 40s & 50s, that is whether the federation was fake federation or not. Amazing how damn we are and how indifference we are to the situation of our our people. Does that what makes us unique from the rest of African countries? shame….shame….people are dying. We were shocked by Lampadusa’s event and all together is now forgotten.

      • Meron


        Exacly you are right. You are no where though Haile (my friend) is trying to decorate the non-existent or the vertual existent part.

        And especially, after hosted this article i am convinced more that even has not plan and strategy.


    • Ermias G.

      Dear Haile,
      I have been following a lot of your comments some of them are praise worthy most especially the ones during lampadusa tragedy. After reading your comments above either you are not following YG or you are being dishonest. Of course YG is unearthing the root cause of our problem as Eritreans. He is also presenting a lot of nobel ideas that shortens the grip of the PFDJ regime one of them is rallying everybody from inside and out to demand demobilization. In case you are interested, check out his presentation.

      Now, if you really want to speedup the demise of PFDJ. Stop attacking YG.

      • Ermias,

        Demanding “demobilization” shortens the grip of PFDJ? Is demanding a strategy or vision? Do you know how many demand of various in nature was submitted to the regime? The recent one is the “22” intellectuals demanding the same for demobilization. Do you think the despot has ears to listen? If you are waiting to get solution by demanding (whatever its nature is) to Issayas there is something wrong with us.

    • Serray

      Selamat Haile,

      What makes YG different than most of us is he goes deeper and deeper to locate the source. He is the anticlimax to your “lets put ghedli on a pedestal until we figure out the nature of the brutes it has produced”. I once asked a very smart guy here at awate what makes eritrea precious, he said, “the sacrifices paid for it”. Imagine that! Eritrea is an entity that drives its value by what is paid for it. We are all up in arms when yg questions the cause but we have no problem accepting the price extracted to makes eritrea’s a nation…a blank check for whatsoever.

      I can understand not looking at shaebia ruled eritrea to find a valid reason for the struggle. But just because eritrea turned out to be a modern slave owning, human trafficking, death trap doesn’t mean one is not allowed to dig deeper to find the cause of its dysfunction. Every aspect of eritrea needs to be exposed and examined thoroughly; from the validity of its original cause to the deformed way ghedli was fought in medda and resuscitated in asmera. Let us not touch the cause; let us not touch ghedli; let us not touch badme; can not be accepted when you give value to eritrea by looking at what was paid for it…if you honor those who paid the ultimate price, then the entity they died for must be scrutinized to see if there is a disconnect. After all, we are all having this discussion not in freer eritrea than when the armed struggle started, but in eritrea that very closely resembles hell on earth. Nothing about eritrea must be left unexamined. Nothing. We should never stop questioning this “give me, give me” nation until it becomes something other a giant tentacle that sucks the life out of its best and brightest children.

      • Dave


        Selamka Yibizah

      • T.Kifle

        Selamat Serray,

        I think you made a point. Here in Ethiopia, we have so many absurdities keep coming every day. There are groups who worship HS, Minilik and even Mengistu and everything they claim they brought in during their respective reigns. There are also others who agonize themselves as if the pain caused to their forefathers by those kings and juntas is still alive and are penchant of accusing the their grand grand … children for what had happened as long as a century and so ago. The fact is people’s take in any political persuasion cannot be put into a single mould. A society striving to make such a mould is doomed to fail.


    • Dave

      Your arguments fall into fallacies:

      Appeal to Popular Believe(Group Thinking) Fallacy;

      You used the premise:” it needs no prove to declare that a majority of Eritreans take a fond ,warm and deep in Gedli…” , to reach to a conclusion that “IA and his band of yes man” are responsible for our ills. That is a classical Popular Believe Fallacy . Because so many people believed in a cause, doesnt make that cause right. Group thinking (one line of thinking) is killing the nation. I don’t see any problem if YG challenges that line of thinking, and introduce another line of thinking.

      Poisononig The Well Fallacy;

      You told us that YG said “A” some years back and he said ” Z” this time around , and so he should not be trusted. That line of argument is fallacious.The fact that he got it wrong last time , doesn’t mean he will always get it wrong.Please stop trying to poison our mind so that it won’t get hold of YG’s ideas.

      Ad Homenem Fallacy;

      Haile, it seems you chose to attack the messenger YG rather than his message. I havent yet seen any serious counter- argument in your part .

      Selamka Yibizah

      • Sabri

        Selamat Serray and Dave,

        On the way to reply Haile, I found my message to Haile was beautifully constructed in your posts. Thank you.


    • haile

      Selamat Serray Dave and all

      Let’s be realistic here, at least for the sake of our sanity. YG’s collection of thoughts are nothing more than a mere theoretical conjunctures born out of selective and detached reading of the pertinent factors. YG lacked the necessary access access to the multitude versions of accounts that can be told by the vast body of persons who are pulled to be his subjects in his study, i.e. all that participated in, worked with, supported, opposed to; the ghedli itself. Such limitations were essentially inherent with the fact that:

      – He didn’t have had full physical access to meet those concerned

      – He has started from a biased (lacked impartiality) stances as evidently clarified by him that this was the result of his deepening opposition to the regime.

      His methodology is based on personal interpretation of selective issues to constructively arrive at conclusion that he’s already formed. The notion that “our problems emanate from ghedli, pre-annaxiation, pre-colonial…” can’t be thought of more than trivial observations short of an open minded, checks and balances moderated, internally validated through for consistency and possible biases are eliminated through formal processes. There are many variables that give rise to deterministic decisions, in which case his political bias would be considered an impediment to the integrity of the process itself. Hence, his theoretical and rhetorical conceptualizations are a mere haphazard pronouncements of an individual views that can only be detrimental to the ongoing struggle to remove dictatorship.

      Analogy in order 🙂 Imagine that a person collapses right in front of you. Would you be justified to try to organize immediate assistance for them or dig in and try to find out what might have caused their sudden collapse, i.e. their lack of exercise, smoking habits, drinking, work related stress…? Even if you were to go for the latter, you wouldn’t be able to ascertain those from the position you were at in that given instance.

      We know that “most of the regime is made up of tegadelti” but that is no way like suggesting “most tegadelti are in the regime”. And this has been your slip of logic all along. What you guys are trying to do is not to deconstruct the reality that we’re in right now but re-construct an intuitively (rather than justifiably) held views from selective reading and biased contraction or expansion of the significance of events to fit in your conclusions held prior to actual identification.

      In the part of cost benefit analysis, this activity has undermined the activities of Eritrean opposition movements by rendering them to be viewed by the masses as a worse alternative who aspire to throw the baby with the bath towel. The damage has been incalculable, both in the manner it ramified lost opportunities and caused the masses to recoil into silence rather than confront the brutal violation of their rights at the hand of an unaccountable dictator. In a more sinister assessment, the continued suffering of our people and lives lost in the process may indirectly linked to the weakness of the opposition and the factors, like YG’s views, that precipitated that weakness.


  • zegeremo


    I mean what do you do when you have 22-years-old darling has been kidnapped from her birth bed by a merciless thug called PFDJ, and she pleading for help desperately? Sadly enough, YG’s help is no t to rescue her at any cost, but instead he is shouting at her (with big nai kebele microfon) can you hear me??!! Well first of all, you should not be wondering alone in the middle of broad daylight; where are your parents? (She is like ^_^… what parents?? I have four million kids), I mean were you conceived legitimately? (she is like what????) well, anyways, of course I am more than willing to help you, but I have to tell you this since your four million kids are not capable enough to raise you properly, I know this good thug his name is EPRDF trust me he is good and will treat you better that your clueless four million kids. Do you want me to call him? PFDJ goes with big smile I told you you better suck it up I know that dud we used to be friends for a long time, he ain’t give you none ; he just want your good staff.

    • Ze’Aman

      hahaha… As simple as that, huh?
      And you think you will free your darling 22 years old girl by just commenting on Articles?
      I don’t understand why YG fail to come blazing on the Salehs and Haile; but his article is directed at solving the whole mindset of the fight to save the Eritrean people with a long term sustainable peace all around the neighborhood and I appreciate him for that.
      Do you think the misery of the Eritrean people will be relieved ones the border demarcation goes well with Ethiopia?

      • Zegeremo

        ” his article is directed at solving the whole mindset of the fight to save the Eritrean people with a long term sustainable peace”

        Hahah…the question is how?


        • Ze’Aman

          Dear Zegeremo:
          As you can see the argument of Haile and SAAY against YG centers around how the Eritrean struggle for independence was born to the extent of citing the brutes of Derg as if that wasn’t happened in the other areas of Ethiopia by then.
          AS to me that is a regrettably sad history that we all share. The question that YG is trying to address pertains to the future of the Eritrean people, not the past, out of the full understanding of the economic problem that the people is languishing in and its possible remedies. This same understanding is also shared by those who espouse the idea of integration all around the horn of Africa.

          The customs most of the Eritrean people isn’t different from their Ethiopian counter parts even though it is an undeniable fact that it also crosses the other border. For instance, most of the Teff and coffee that was in the Eritrean market had always come from central Ethiopian market as most of the salt in the Ethiopian market had always come from Eritrea, on top the thousands of Eritreans who were engaged in business activities of a diverse sort in Ethiopia. This is I think the fact that most of you nationalists ignore and resulted in the current misery of Eritreans at home, and rather focus on the artificial border demarcation as if that will bring an immediate cure for every problem back home. Doubt it!
          Having said that and recognizing the strengths and weakness of Eritrea as a nation, YG is trying to clear the dust shrouding the Eritrean political entities as per my understanding. Most of you Eritreans feel some grudge towards Ethiopia as ‘their former colonial master’. YG is trying to give direction to the political struggle of Eritreans to topple PIA; which you can compare it with the political move of Xiang Xiamen of China. Thinking out of the box?
          As per my understanding YG is trying to mend the broken relationship between the two nations for the sake of the people. But it always is the right of citizens to decide on the future of their people and country.

  • Teclay

    Selam Yosief
    Ok it is a natural evolution ,now try to sell your idea to the hall Africa,try to demolish this stupid artificial borders ex the Hutu and tusie problem is not different.for your big idea Eritrea is to small

    • Ze’Aman

      Real politic:
      What is your vision for Eritrea and it’s people post PIA? Don’t just tell me that you will conduct elections every 4 years but I want a detailed account of how will you change the life of every working Erifamily for the better?