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Human rights lawyer vs. trained healer

Eritrea: The Unfinished Revolution

Eritrea is a small country in the Horn of Africa. No state census has been released since 2003, but its population is estimated to be around six million. Eritrea’s a coastal state that borders Ethiopia to its south, Sudan to its west, Djibouti to it south-east, and the Red Sea to its north. Because of the country’s strategic geo-political location – nestled in between a turbulent Middle East and a defiant Somalia – it has become sought-after real estate in America’s global surveillance project. But I digress. The point of this article is not to analyze Eritrea’s place in the ‘War on Terror’, Arab Spring, Somali intervention etc. Nor does this article examine Eritrea in any other regional context. Instead, I focus almost entirely on the internal politics and power relations that have plagued Eritrea since emerging from a 30-year armed struggle in 1991. This article has two goals. First, I want to analyze the recent coup attempt that unfolded at the Ministry of Information on January 21st, 2013, and the diaspora’s response through a digitized international social movement.  Second, I want to discuss the January 21st movement as a reaction to – and an extension of – Eritrea’s unfinished national liberation struggle. In entering the topic, my story doesn’t begin with the events of January 21st, but rather travels back in time to the fist days of Eritrean ‘independence’.

I visited Eritrea for the first time at the age of nine. As a young Eritrean born and raised in the diaspora, my visit helped to inform the far-removed homeland my parents always spoke of, but that I never knew myself. I arrived in August of 1993. Just two years after a bloody and protracted liberation war came to an end, or so we thought. And three months after the United Nations and Organization of African Unity recognized Eritrea as Africa’s newest state. The ironically named People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (formerly the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front) was in power, and the new Eritrean state was being hailed by the West as a beacon of what President Clinton referred to as the ‘African Renaissance’. Alongside Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, Eritrea was said to be spearheading a new crop of accountable, transparent, and socially responsible government. The interests of former liberation fighters, peasants, women, the urban poor, and other marginalized groups would now govern the state, and not the other way around. Under a framework of democratic socialism, women, youth, ethnic and religious minorities would all be entrusted with leading ‘post-independence’ reconstruction in the bourgeoning nation. As an early gesture of such radical democracy, the PFDJ announced that a minimum of one-third of parliamentary seats would be reserved for women. The gesture was meant to recognize women’s active and sacrificial role in the revolution, during which they comprised one-third of all tegadelti (guerilla fighters). As a reward, the rights of women were to be enshrined in the power structures of the new state.

If Eritrea’s history came to a close alongside the armed struggle, then the guerilla-turned-President Isaias Afwerki would have been remembered as a tireless liberator. His legacy would have been one of feverish work ethic, courage, discipline, and boundless optimism. But Eritrea’s history wouldn’t end there. Like Isaias, history is also stubborn.

I arrived in Eritrea with romantic expectations. Part of me expected to walk the streets of Asmara and see families reunited by peace, parades for heroes returning from the front, and children lined up outside schools excited to begin an education uninterrupted by war. What I saw instead surprised me. It shook me from the idealism of what I hoped Eritrea to be, and woke me to the besieged reality of what it was. Driving around the country’s highlands I saw rusted tanks abandoned along the roadside, beautiful mosques split in two by bomb blasts, and mothers in the streets still grieving the loss of their children. Thousands of nameless martyrs swallowed up by the sea, rivers, deserts and hillsides became one with the landscape. Their bodies still scattered across the nation’s many battlefields. In the absence of a proper burial, friends and families created urban tombstones by carving their names into the sides of buildings. The half empty houses along my grandparents’ street were a chilling reminder that not everyone returned home from meda (the front). Those who survived had done so at a cost. They lived with the psychological tolls of war. From the scars of war engraved on the national body and consciousness, as well as the possibilities that were opened up for the future, I quickly realized that the Eritrean liberation struggle was a sacrificial and visionary process.

As jarring as some of these images were for a young child, I came to understand them as the inevitable costs of protracted anti-colonialism. These images were the scars that accompany a new nation forcing itself into existence, but also the seedlings of a new optimism.  

National Liberation and Its Discontents

2013 is an important year to reflect on the legacy of the Eritrean revolution. In entering the twentieth anniversary of Eritrean statehood, we should take time to critically reflect on the first two decades of ‘independence’. If Human Rights Watch describes Eritrea as “a country under siege – from its own government”, then I hope to explain some of the ways this ‘siege’ is taking place.

Since the optimism of the early 1990s, the people of Eritrea have largely lost faith in the state. The PFDJ has used the last two decades to advance a counter-revolution premised on media repression, the criminalization of dissent, and by building a military industrial complex heavily reliant on forced (particularly youth) labor. Parliament has been all but disbanded and the 1997 Constitution remains un-ratified. Unlike the PFDJ’s early 90s lip service to women’s empowerment through state participation, women have been shut out from key posts. Including the omnipotent inner circles of the President’s Office.

In September 2001, while the world’s eyes were still fastened to New York City and the events 9/11, the PFDJ carried out a large-scale crackdown on its political opponents. Deep Party purges through arrests, torture and even executions ensured that President Afwerki was left with a consensus of support. September 19th, 2001 marks an important historical moment in Afwerki’s genesis. On this day he jailed (and later had executed) Vice-President Mahmoud Sherifo, banned all private media, and advanced his imprisonment of an estimated 10,000 political prisoners. In an ironic reproduction of colonial violence experienced under the Italians, Afwerki reopened Alla and Nakhura Island. In the early twentieth century, Italian colonists used Alla and Nakhura Island as prisons to house Eritrean nationalists in particular, and anti-colonial resisters more broadly.

In a sense, state violence in Eritrea is very much architectural in nature. Like in the case of Alla and Nakhura Island, it’s built right into the walls of prisons and underground torture centers used by the Italians, then the British, then the Ethiopians, and now Eritreans themselves. State violence in Eritrea is layered to reflect those forgotten colonists who mentored the revolutionaries-turned-statesmen in their current campaign of imprisonment and torture. Indefinite and mandatory conscription ensures that the military has a steady supply of young bodies to police the people. The final grades of all high schools nation-wide are relocated to Sawa, the country’s largest military training camp. Sawa is notorious for its ‘shoot to kill’ policy for escapees seeking to cross the border into Ethiopia or Sudan. Those who make it out tell stories of routine rape, violence against women, torture, murder, and public humiliation rituals used to beat compliance into dissenting minds. For the country’s young people, whose labor is predetermined by the Warsay-Yikealo campaign, Sawa represents the final destination in a school-to-prison pipeline. For many, but for women in particular, dropping out of secondary school before Grade 12 poses better prospects, and allows them to delay forced national service.

For those lucky enough to avoid Sawa, or at least survive it, national service continues in other forms. Human Rights Watch recently released a report detailing Canadian mining companies who use forced labor made available through Warsay-Yikealo.

Although the Eritrean state operates behind a cloak of mystery and paranoia, the most recent statistics reveal that it spends as little as 1.4% of GDP on education. Whereas 20.9% of GDP is spent on military buildup. The former number is good for a bottom-rung score when compared with other African states. (Which explains why the University of Asmara was closed in 2006 – leaving the country without a single active university). The latter number is good for Eritrea’s top spot worldwide in military spending proportional to GDP. We should be asking ourselves, what does a little country that hasn’t been to war in over a decade need with one of Africa’s largest militaries, if not to deploy it against its own people?

The Eritrean military is relied upon to guard the country’s borders. Not only from external threats seeking to transgress state borders, but also to police Eritreans seeking to escape them. The PFDJ’s ‘shoot to kill’ policy doesn’t just apply to Sawa, but the country at large. Those brave children, families, and military deserters who test the policy are routinely hunted down in the northern border region. In spite of the grave dangers facing escapees, 2011 witnessed 222,460 people escape into lives as refugees. Some registered by the UNHCR, but many more who live life under and beyond the reach of UN documentation. Some lucky enough to make it out with their families, but many aren’t. Eritrea remains one of the top refugee producing countries in the world. For refugee producing countries per capita, it ranks number one in the world.   

So why does it seem like Eritrea’s internal crisis is under-reported by international media? Because it is. This is the case for two reasons. First and foremost international media tends to show a disinterest in African stories that aren’t told through tag lines of war, famine, disease, ethnic cleansing, or claims of ‘tribalism’. In the Western imagination in particular, Africa must remain a place of perpetual backwardness. It must exist not just outside of history and civilization but also against it. The continent’s problems are believed to unfold beyond the reach of the ‘aid’ and ‘development’ handed down by the West. To put it candidly, the information gap on Africa is primarily the result of a general disregard for African life. Even within an already marginalized continent, international media is especially unfamiliar and disinterested in Eritrea. Caught in between the occasional interest points of Ethiopian famine and Somali Islamists, Eritrea isn’t quite as sexy a story as its neighbors.

This brings me to the second reason for Eritrea’s underrepresentation in international media. Given the banning of all domestic media in 2001, the world beyond Eritrea’s borders is left with no local news sources; or at least no sources that aren’t monopolized by the state. In their 2012 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders ranked Eritrea last in journalistic freedom. A title Eritrea’s maintained for six straight years. The combination of domestic and international media neglect has worsened the global information gap on Eritrea. Forcing many Eritreans to visit or phone home for updates on the political situation.

January 21st: The Unfinished Revolution

fter January 21st, 2013, what media coverage lacked was a historical analysis of the coup. We can only understand the events of January 21st in light of the incompleteness of national liberation, and the resulting state violence experienced by Eritrean people in the ‘post-independence’ period.

More than anything else, January 21st was a response by segments of the military to the PFDJ’s false promises of democratic socialism, free speech, open media, de-militarization of the border, women’s participation in governance, and youth empowerment through education. Rather than recognize this, mainstream media opted for overly-simplistic explanations of the coup as just another ‘military takeover in Africa’, ‘a stand-off between the President and his critics’, and so forth. What these narratives ignore is that the international social movement that January 21st ignited has very little to do with President Afwerki the individual, or even his party. (Although these things are inevitable focuses of the movement). Instead, the January 21st movement is about completing the national liberation struggle that began with the first shots fired in 1961, and can only end with a truly decolonized Eritrea. It’s about restoring an Eritrean national consciousness and direction premised on self-determination, justice, education and popular participation. The movement’s driven by a holistic vision of what it wants to create for itself and for Eritrea. To understand the courage and political vision that characterizes the movement, one only needs to take to Twitter, Facebook, PalTalk or the many other digital outlets where diaspora activists lay out their demands.  January 21st, and the hope that its restored to Eritreans around the world, is yet another reminder that even a people exhausted by thirty years of war will find the energy to push forward.

Like many other post-national liberation nations, Eritrea remains unsettled. Its visions of African socialism from decades ago have been hijacked by state bureaucrats and elites. But Eritrea still remains haunted by the expectations of what it was meant to become. This haunting will continue to take shape through more coups, rebellions, and acts of everyday resistance by Eritreans – both at home and abroad. Even though the front-turned-state has turned its back on the promises of national liberation, the Eritrean people, steadfast in their commitment to full and unrelenting liberation, will see it through. They are not simply fighting to overthrow the post-‘independent’ government, they are fighting to complete a revolution started long ago.
___________________

Aman Sium is an Eritrean activist and doctoral student at the University of Toronto. His writings focus on Indigenous communities and social movements in the Horn of Africa. His most recent publication is From Starving Child to Rebel-Pirate: The West’s New Imagery of a ‘Failed’ Somalia (Borderlands E-Journal, 2013).

About Aman Sium

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  • Elenta

    Public Seminar by Sofia Tesfamariam and Ghidowon.

    Topic of discussion:Human Rights as a Political Ploy to Destabilize Nations: The Case of Eritrea.

    Objective:To train dummy’s what to say to the police at the door as your family are beaten and raped inside by GOE/PFDJ.

    I wish there is a way to post this announcement on Dehai and Alenalki .org

    Thank you z keberka Haile

    • Major

      Hey I born in Eritrea and I grow in Eritrea we are 11brother and sisters and I have 18 my fathers and my mam brothers and sisters and their kids all of us a bout 170 this is big family we have no sleep in the street please when lie you have to lie normally

  • Aman is one of Eritrean representing how opinion and journalism article should be: relevant, authentic, free, truthful, mind probing curiosity, never insulting, never vulgar and expressed in a talented language understood by all. May he remain an example for budding opinion and article, writers both women and men.
    It’s like putting a thermometer in a patient, getting a 40 centigrade -degree temperature and blaming the thermometer. The thermometer’s not to blame; it’s just telling you what’s going on Eritrea.
    It is very touching and goes to the core of our hearts. it is like an X—ray laying bare the heinous penchant for destruction in some human souls.
    Aman clearly compassion and empathetic to the plight of Eritrean men ,women and children, those living in dire situation, mere necessity, a hand out in refugee camps, those thousand horribly and inhumanly incarcerated, those majority who are suffering silently , that it seemed unfair to burden him further. A 9 year old eyewitness accounts and years later recounted , after all he had absorbed. Understood that Eritrea is going through in last two decade and recent event of Fortto give hope for change.
    PFDG supporters and their political tools Mercy isn’t in thier Eritrea s vocabulary. As a Rogue states that operate that way.
    The war of the liberation has offered important lessons for peace and prosperity that was never delivered. Philosophers have warned that we must learn the lessons of the past if we are going to apply them to the present and change the future.

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    If eplf and tplf started including all the respective ethnics Group around them and started to the betterment of their Peoples then after 22 years Eritrea and Ethiopia could have resembled Candada and USA at least in their economical system. Off course Eritrea following Candas style. But this tagadali romantization spoiled for them. I am tigre i can win anybody!

    If we compare the two giants tplf has become successful compared to eplf in every aspects. What brought this change between the two? The tagadali or their romantizers in Ethiopia were minority and Ethiopians chalenged tplf from day 1 paying the non stop of sacrifice of ethiopians while eri ghedli romantizer declared that they achived what they wanted and the remaining work is to guard what is achived. No more no less. And the end result makes the following differences:

    1) eplf recurited millions soldiers and military experience is almost part of life

    1) tplf has profesionalized military. One becomes a soldier to earn a living.

    2) eplf makes Eritrea isolated in regional, Continental and world wide while tplf makes Ethiopia open for globalization to some extent. (here shows how ethiopia’s experiences as independent country has played a great roll. No ethiopians leader prefers to work With alshabab than kenyans, or dejibouti or any serious leader.
    3) Ethiopians have participated in different activities in all sorts of life while eritreans are more occupied in eritrean political life and its consquences.

    The 50th years of african unioun cellebration (the right Place of ethiopia which was tarnished by eplf), the success of ethiopian athlets, the success of ethiopian air liens, the success of ethiopian football both national and Clubs, attracting investors, the number of ethiopians returnees to invest in thier own country, the sucess of ethiopians mucisians (now it is common to listen ethiopian Music in sudan, Somalia, dejibouti and off course Eritrea too.), the Development of independent media (compared to the sacrifice made we are way back), And most of all what ever the consquence might be tplf government criticized openly. And without exageration Eritrea has done the exact opposite.

    I wrote this deliberatly for the purpose of provoking. If we the ‘donkies’ have done it, how come eritreans couldnt do it. Comme on!

    Haile says ‘anyhting is possible’ (he never says every thing is possible, strange) so if Eritrea Accepts reality still it is possible to be successful. The cornor stone is to cooprate With Ethiopia. If tplf makes it With Ethiopia how come eplf couldnt. Use the afar killil as a bridge instead of a mine Field!!

    One afar is a solution for all of us!

  • Lemlem

    haile:

    I disagree with everything you said. You and I don’t see the world the same way. There is no point in even discussing anything with you.

    Furthermore, your characterization of the Government of Eritrea is absolutely and unequivocally 100% wrong!

    • haile

      IA has told you long ago as to what you’re set up to do:

      “Hidma nqdmit”

      Good luck:)

  • Salyounis

    Selamat Aman:

    Welcome to awate and we look forward to your contributions.

    I wonder if your readers know that your paper is available for free. That might give them the extra push to read it: http://www.borderlands.net.au/vol11no3_2012/sium_somalia.pdf. Can you share with us what kind of support or push-back you have received on the paper?

    Lastly, you said there hasn’t been a census done on Eritrea since 2003. I am not aware that a census was done in 2003 (I have let my Hadas Ertra subscription to expire 🙂 Could you share a source for where we can find the second copy of the census? The first copy is in the drawer of the president’s office, next to the constitution and the recommendations of the land reform commission.

    saay

  • Tzigereda

    Selamat Haile and Sal,
    The “silent majority ” is outdated. When we agree this word defines a large majority of people in a country who do not express their opinions publicly, it doesnt reflect our current phenomena, because the eritreans are exercising it (partially excessively) everywhere you go, FB, pal talks, demonstrations, akebatat, action groups..in wedding parties, funeral ceremonies, Timket..bars…criticizing the eritrean regime. I agree when you say all this has not yet turned out to form a broad, genuine and strong political organization as needed but this has to do more with the incompetence of the existing political organizations and less with those who want to get involved. The majority is telling..YIAKLENA! And this should be recognized.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Tzige:

      I think by “silent majority”, Haile is referring to that segment of the population that is too horrified by the PFDJ and too disgusted by the organized opposition. You know, the non-FB, non-Paltalk, non-demonstrating, non-akheba-attending majority in the Eritrean Diaspora. He is convinced that if the opposition was to steal the Badme issue from PFDJ, then the silent majority would shift its allegiance more assertively to the opposition.

      While I agree with Haile that the unengaged Eritrean is a majority (a super majority actually), I disagree with his conclusions that this amorphous group is a one-issue group; it is actually a coalition of people who have many reasons for disengaging from Eritrean politics.

      saay

    • haile

      Selam Tzigereda and saay

      Tzigereda

      I do see the practical value of what you’re saying. And it is true that more and more people are speaking up using the anonymity afforded by the cyber environment. And I salute your recognition of it as an important starting point.

      Saay

      weyley…semaE eski…ane meaz wey abey eye neger badime kab higdef srequwa zebelku? I thought we are both holding up the truce on paraphrasing each other! I call on the silent, loud, majority, minority, I don’t care party of diaspora to shoulder their responsibility and call “a a spade a spade” and acknowledge saay has unilaterally occupying my arguments and forcing no-debate-no-silence situation on me.

      n’mwukhanu eta badime tbehal do’mber ala eya? I only said the opposition should calibrate its messages in accordance of the mainstream opinion and sensitivities of the diaspora public. 🙂

      cheers

      • Salyounis

        Selamat Haile:

        n’mwukhanu eta badime tbehal do’mber ala eya?

        After we changed her name from Badumma to Badme; sent her to an adoption center and neglected her for decades; changed our mind and fought over her; used her as an excuse to torture and deny basic human rights to our people; and then called her barren and worthless and cursed, she was deeply offended. She disappeared and now lives with John Galt and Prometheus. The three mostly sit and around and discuss the ingratitude of men*.

        saay

        *and women.

  • Lemlem

    Dear SAAY:

    This is the mistake that the opposition folks make: they try to see everything through the prism of Western paradigm. This myopic view doesn’t work when it comes to the Eritrean political landscape.

    Of course, there is no such thing as the “undecided voter” in American politics. They usually lean one way or another. It becomes crystal clear that they are leaners if you ask them follow-up questions.

    The way those undecideds break out come election day is they end up voting for the incumbent. People don’t like to change horses in the middle of a war.

    And make no mistake about it. The war declared on Eritrea by Weyane and its rich sponsors is still continuing to this day. It has just taken on different forms. Psychological warfare, sanctions meant to cripple the Eritrean economy, trying to empy Eritrea of its youth through various tactics, disinformation meant to demoralize the Eritrean public…etc.

    In the middle of such war declared on Eritrea, how can the silent majority of Eritreans be expected to side with the opposition? Especially when the opposition has shown that it can’t be trusted with protecting Eritrea’s sovereignty?

    Until Eritrea is no longer on a war footing and the border is demarcated its entirety, it doesn’t matter what the opposition does, the silent majority will continue to support the Government of Eritrea. They have invested too much in the Government of Eritrea in blood and treasure. People don’t like to part with their investment easily.

    • Lemlem

      So it follows that if the opposition folks are interested in opening up the political landscape in Eritrea (1) They have to show that they can be trusted with protecting Eritrea’s sovereignty and stop sleeping with the enemy. (2) They have to denounce Weyane’s continued intransigence on the border demarcation matter and declare their solidarity with the Government of Eritrea at least on demarcation and Weyane’s illegal occupation of sovereign Eritrean territory. These two things are at the minimum.

      • Selamawit

        Dear Lemlem
        Is training Ethiopians who oppose their government on Eritrean soil also considered “sleeping with the enemy”? How is it different when it comes to the opposition meeting on Ethiopian soil to discuss Eritrean matters to save our people from what your government is doing? Sometimes I wonder where your logic is coming from?

    • Zegeremo

      “Tsemam h’ade d’erfu” what you have been doing is basically torturing the moderator. BTW when is the last time you checked your IQ score? Ugh

      Regards

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Lemelem:

      You made the following points in your preceding two posts:

      1. The opposition view the world from the prism of Western paradigm
      2. In America, undecideds break out in favor of incumbent (especially when the nation is at war)
      3. Eritreans are too invested in the government of Eritrea to break with it
      4. For the opposition to be taken seriously, it must stop “sleeping with the enemy” and “denounce Weyane’s continued intransigence.”

      Well, in the words of Samuel L. Jackson, “allow me to retort….the path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men…” oops, got carried away.

      1. The opposition view the world from the prism of our host countries because we spent a long time studying them. Unlike the PFDJ view of the world which is shaped by its founders short political indoctrination (train-the-trainer sessions) in China. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the colossal screwups that the PFDJ engineers on a daily basis which have resulted in Eritrea being a gigantic mess are the result of home-grown policies; they are failed attempts at Maoism. I realize that to state “failed” and “Maoism” is to be redundant, but the PFDJ still hasn’t gotten the message that Maoism has failed everywhere its been tried.
      2. And because we spend time studying our host countries, we try not to say things we cannot support such as your claim that undecideds break out in favor of the incumbent party. Please provide a link to support your claim. (The study actually points out to the exact opposite conclusion.)
      3. Eritreans are invested in Eritrea; PFDJites are invested in the “government of Eritrea.” There is nothing organic or homegrown about the PFDJ’s attempt to equate itself with Eritrea: every tin-pot dictator who has ever walked the earth has done the “I am the State; the State is me” routine. Some have bought into it and are heavily invested. That’s fine: but just be honest with the fact that your investment has a built-in expiration date.
      4. The claim you made giving advice to the opposition is usually made after an election when one party trounces the other. If you don’t take polls, surveys, if you don’t have elections, popular mandates, if your president has to travel to a meeting of his constituency secretly, that statement is simply empty chest pounding, which is the official song of the PFDJ.

      Sovereignty doesn’t just mean exercising authority over a piece of land; it means exercising authority over a piece of land SO THAT YOU CAN HAVE LAWS and RULES. Whatever the shortcomings of the opposition with respect to Eritrea’s sovereignty, the PFDJ’s is worse: it has no plan but wait for a miracle. Its claim that it cannot exercise sovereignty (land plus law) over the 99.999999999% of Eritrean land that it has authority over because it doesn’t have authority over the 0.000000001% is not credible to anyone whose mind is not specially wired to accommodate cult-like manipulation.

      You are out of gas, and not just the type sold in containers; you got nothing to give Eritrea. You are locked into a position which relies on (a) Eritrea overpowering Ethiopia; (b) Ethiopia changing its mind. It is not more sophisticated than that of a false prophet standing in a corner predicting plague shall befall the enemy… All that has changed in the last 12 years is that your condemnations have gotten stronger: from “Weyane must get out of Eritrea!” to “Weyane must get the hell out of Eritrea!!” and, what will it be next year? “Weyane must get the &*#% hell out of Eritrea!!!”? This is not a strategy; it is awyat. Thanks but no thanks: call us when you have a strategy; we will leave the alternating awyat and dankera to you.

      In contrast, the opposition has massive opportunity in this regard. An ace in the hole. If an Eritrean opposition leader with the right credentials were to hold a joint press conference with the Ethiopian prime minister (symbolism is important: equal footing, national flags) where the two announce that after serious and sober discussions they have had a breakthrough in Eritrea-Ethiopia peace and that demarcation is going to be applied in accordance with the EEBC ruling*, then Haile’s slice of the “silent majority” would shift to us. Well, they would do it silently and we wouldn’t know for a while, but in time we will:) The other slice of the silent majority don’t even care about this issue: all they need is results: smuggle in food and medicine, conduct a successful rescue mission from Eritrean prisons, stop the regime’s capacity to print useless currency, burn the effigy of anything that symbolizes PFDJ oppression…anything that brings relief in their daily lives.

      saay

      * In the press conference, one question will be repeatedly asked: why can’t this “breakthrough” happen now. Eritrean rep (I can think of 3 that can pull this off 🙂 says that the PFDJ can’t be trusted with sovereignty because it doesn’t appear to understand possession of land without laws is not sovereignty. Ethiopia says PFDJ can’t be trusted with Eritrean sovereignty because it appears to think sovereignty requires constant war.
      Yes, I said EEBC ruling–including the repeated clarifications provided by the EEBC judges. Details available upon request.

      • Lemlem

        Dear SAAY:

        All I was trying to do is give you free advice that you can actually use to propel the opposition into being taken seriously because right now it is not. You know it is not! It is seen as a bit of a joke.

        Before you can be taken seriously, you have to be seen as a nationalist force by the vast majority of Eritreans. If you do those two things I mentioned earlier on the border issue, in addition to denouncing the illegal and unjust sanctions imposed on Eritrea and working to overturn them would help you being seen as a nationalist force that has Eritrea’s best interest at heart.

        That is where you should start. If you do those three things, people might give you a second look. You might have a shot. You might be able to get them to listen to what you have say on other matters.

        It’s my view that unless you can establish your bonafides on those three issues I mentioned and bring yourself closer to where the vast majority of Eritreans are, they will continue to shut you out on everything else.

        • Lemlem

          Dear SAAY:

          But if you want a direct response to the points you raised:

          1.It doesn’t matter how much time you spend studying something. If you are studying the wrong thing, it won’t help you at all.

          2.Undecideds do generally break out in favor of the incumbent, especially when the nation is at war. It is why John Kerry lost to Bush, inspite of Bush being a “colossal failure” as you would put it. People don’t like to change Commander In Chiefs in the middle of war. It’s also partly why Romney lost to Obama.

          3. Right now, PFDJ or GoE is the guarantor of Eritrea’s sovereignty. Simply put, without PFDJ there is no Eritrea. That will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.

          4. Nope. I am afraid I didn’t take polls, surveys or examined mandates. I have no empirical evidence. But I don’t need to. I trust my instincts.

          5. Continuing to raise the border issue is not “Awyat.” As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Notice today that the United States Embassy in Asmara felt compelled to reiterate its commitment to the Algiers Agreement.

          Enjoyed the exchange, SAAY. You know I am right.

          • haile

            Selamat Lemlem:

            “Right now, PFDJ or GoE is the guarantor of Eritrea’s sovereignty. Simply put, without PFDJ there is no Eritrea. That will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.”

            I think the main thrust of my “talk” with asmara and Araya was to challenge the above premise you make. I would agree with you that such tendency to believe the regime to be a “guarantor” of Eritrea’s sovereignty has indeed a significant hold in the diaspora. I hope you agree that in Eritrea, however, it would simply be thought of crazy or laughable to tell them that a regime that has shut them off, cordoned them away from any relevance in the country, and many other things that are not prudent to write in public forums is actually a “guarantor” of anything other than certain death.

            It is said that “Powerless people can get scared of freedom.” Think of an abused wife syndrome who put up with despicable treatment to maintain a family with a father for her kids. Why can you not bring yourself to say Lemlem is the guarantor of Eritrea’s sovereignty? Why can’t you bring yourself to say that the Eritrean people are the guarantors of Eritrea’s sovereignty? can’t you bring yourself to say that the Eritrean rule of law is the guarantor of Eritrea’s sovereignty? Of all parties you chose YOUR ABUSER for the honor!

            Dear Lemlem, do you think that is by accident? You know full well it wasn’t the regime that was wounded, maimed and killed in those borders. You know full well that in Eritrea today it is only those close up to the regime who can escape the relentless attack of the regime on your people because of the border. Lemlem, it was not accident, it was deliberately set up to trap you in powerlessness and believe that the despotic regime is your only Savior. Lemlem, you are blackmailed by a criminal regime, stop trusting it with the rest of your life. Open your eyes to the situation on the ground and not on the stage of mekete meetings.

            Lemlem, I would totally understand if you are paid member of the regime, short of that however, you really have to humble yourself and make a U-turn to denounce an extremely inhuman regime that would give a rats behind about “sovereignty” that you, me and majority of Eritreans care so much about.

            Lemlem, the regime is unleashing crimes [state violence] against your people and ruining your country to a point it would be hard to pick it up again. What is your stand on the killing of Eritrea by the regime?

            Regards

      • Saleh,

        Yebel, finally you find the political mantra of nowdays and that is: “the PFDJ can’t be trusted with sovereignty because it doesn’t appear to understand possession of land without laws is not sovereignty. Ethiopia says PFDJ can’t be trusted with Eritrean sovereignty because it appears to think sovereignty requires constant war.”

        This is the reality Haile was missing that the regime is not trustworthy to deal on the Eritrean sovereignty in the eyes of Eritrean people and the international community. Haile must rethink his stand that knowing the regime’s culpability, the only authority to deal with the Eritrean sovereignty is an elected authority by the Eritrean people. In short the Eritrean people know how to delegate the responsibility. How about that Haile?

        • haile

          Selamat Aman,

          Knowing where you want to be is one thing, knowing how to get there is also a “different” another thing. Now, show me the map? (The wrong map of the last decade and half that took you to “weak opposition” won’t do).

          • Hailat,

            There is no map yet. But it is up to you and your likes the so called intellectuals have to draw the map. So far to no avail. The problem with the Eritrean intellectuals is they don’t collaborate their energy to do what they ought to do. I hope you will also include the map in the vision you promised to share with public.

  • Aman Sium

    Dear PFDJ cheerleaders and internet trolls,

    I try make a point to not address PFDJ loyalists so I’ll try be brief. I have no interest in responding to your childish and unintellligent attempts to bait the rest of us into debate. You are not who this article is for. Nor were you invited to converse around it since you’ve proven yourselves to be incapable of real conversation. This article is a humble attempt to contribute to the wealth of discussion that proud justice-seeking Eritreans are having around the world. You, on the other hard, are political fossils who can’t see the PFDJ ship going down from ontop of it.

    Do me a favor and keep your hate to yourself.

    Aman

  • Kim Hanna

    Mr. Aman Sium,

    I think you are the qualified person, who probably have read the volumes of historical materials and is in a position to provide facts and your opinion to the following assessment and question. It is my belief that Mr. Sium, by virtue of being born in the west, does not carry a lot of the baggage the rest of us do. For example: religious paranoia or hung ups.

    President IA is being demonized by a good number of diverse opposition groups and individuals. They point out from lack of freedom of the press to severely intrusive national programs he has instituted over the last 2 decades or so as the reason for all the ills the country faces. He rules with an iron fist. The Eritrean diaspora intellectuals advocate for rule of law and implementation of the constitution.

    President IA has a large following. He is the father of the nation. He is the a symbol of the unity of the country, whose absence cannot be contemplated. Most Eritreans in their life time only know him as their leader.

    Mr. Sium, in mid 40s, experts of U.N and other leading nations of the time did not believe Eritrea can be an independent country. Among others they pointed to the small number of diverse group of people who have more connection and kinship to their neighbors than to each other. There is also the religious divide just under the surface.

    (The question) Therefore, for this nation to STAND, a strong man with an iron fist and an efficient security system is a necessary requirement. If it is not President IA, someone like him, maybe a little more diplomatic, is a MUST.

    Why is the above conjecture wrong?

    KH

    • Aman Sium

      Kim Hanna,

      Thanks for the question! In many ways I agree with you. My only issue is that there’s a lot in between most strong leaders and PIA’s, whose ‘iron fist’ comes in the form of no private media or freedom of speech, university education, and 10,000 political prisoners etc. For me, the issue isn’t as much the government or President’s strength, but how we understand strength. Real strength should be measured by one’s ability to win over the people through popular participation, freedom of speech, democratic debate, and social-welfare. And many African leaders of the recent and distance past have been able to achieve parts if not all of these things (i.e. Julius Nyerere, Samora Machel, Thomas Sankara, Oliver Tambo etc.). I also think that one of the PFDJ’s earliest mistakes was its attempt to centralize governance through the Proclamation for the Establishment of Regional Administrations (1996). PERA led the way in destroying baito and other local decision making bodies, and ran all real legislative and executive power through the President’s Office. I prefer a decentralized rather than centralized form of governments, since the Eritrean people are united under a strong enough nationalism to make it work. While also appeasing their need for local power.

      Did that make sense? For the record I think your question is a good one and curious what you think about it.

      Aman

      • Kim Hanna

        Mr. Sium,

        Thanks for your response. “…strong enough nationalism to make it work,” I will hang my hope on it. From my very limited view point, what I see is President IA will lead till his passing. What follows is likely to be a strong Military officer, after a few starts and stops. Did I mention, that in addition to my limited view, I have a blurred vision.

        Thanks,

        KH

  • Awet N’ Hafash!

    It should be:

    “Liar Liar! Your pants are on fire!”

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    In one Language course a wierd guy answered ‘war’ when the teacher asked what is Your hoby.

    One eri-america soldier hung Eritrean flags together With us flags in iraq.

    A 29 year old eri-america has said when he remembered what he shared his experience when he was as Young as 9 years old ‘I arrived in Eritrea with romantic expectations. Part of me expected to walk the streets of Asmara and see families reunited by peace, parades for heroes returning from the front, and children lined up outside schools excited…’

    What the above Three and all ghedil romantizer have i common?

    P u r e I N F A T U A T I N!! For People like them there is no Cure other thant to drill the facts by patient scholars like the great YG and leave them alone With the time they need to come to reality. Some think 22 years are too long to wait, but the facts on the ground shows 22 is almost half way through.

    • WelWel

      Akh tuff keybelku khalf aydeln…

  • Selamat Aman
    I hope you elaborate the dire need to finish the revolution (Sawra)
    There was short lived grime of hope in early 90th, but the realty and for those who knows the history of DIA .He cannot bring about or able to implement progressive revolutionary process at all, in the sense and realty that there was no transfer of power to the people away from it, only in name .DIA regionally selected obedient PFDG junta forces that totally control every aspects of Eritrean life and subjugate Eritrean society never stopped from day One.. No hope of restructuring of the Eritrean state; no introduction to democratic assembly institutions will ever happen and no real process of structures created to represent the will and interests of the Eritrean people and in the future Eritrea hopefully a new progressive social bloc of masses will rise like sunshine, independent trade unions, teachers, students, workers, farmers, labor’s organizations etc.; and real social transformation with clear direction to guide and accountable to people . Revolutionary change that requires the building of bottom up, popular structures to sustain mass struggle into one oppositional highly organized social bloc and the successful united Eritrean oppositional forces to organize a sustainable structures and to safeguard, build and consolidate the developing new created fact in ground revolutionary situation.
    In order to get rid of DIA and his cruel regime into trash of history .And must have a total control of the State. And must control organ of the state, the intelligence or security apparatus ect , which is handpicked old bodies and staffed with DIA holdovers.
    That context and narrative guide line manifesto agreed upon suggests that revolutionary change will takes place as a result of building well planed structures from the bottom up is necessary and that will include dissatisfied Eritrean army .
    A revolutionary(Sawra) process is a process by which structures of power are created and sustained by all inclusive of every walk of life a broad mass of people that allow them to participate and transform every aspect of our society that is badly needed — from the controlling PFDG structure and role of the Junta State and transform the organization of the economy to inter-personal relations — all with clear view in eliminating and cleansing all forms of directorship ,subjugation, oppression and an end of an era of the dictatorship and the and immediately the creation of a democratic system that respected democratic rights.
    PFDG military junta that it will oppose any change and it will oppose fundamental transformation of the Eritrean political, economy and society, the ostensible goal of the of future Eritrean “revolution.” Significantly, this means that the power of the PFDG military junta is going to have to be broken if there is to be any hope and prospect of the hopeful and surly coming of mass revolutionary change in Eritrea.
    The problem with Eritrea that the DIA had totally curtailed, shut and severely undermined the ability of alternative civil block to be established. A revolutionary (Sawra) process popular forces to develop and acquire the required fundamental political experience and build a institutional foundations that would when the time come they have what it take and positioned them to better push for well thought off, a progressive democratic change and totally to curtail the power of the military junta .A process that requires both struggle and engagement of the people. Not understanding this basic principle of a revolutionary (Sawra) process will result in failed democratic revolution in its early infancy. Or will have the same old PFDG military junta retrograde forces with a new clothes that oppressed and dominated Eritrean society for than two decade under cruel DAI to continue that oppression and total domination, but this time in the name of “Sawra.”

  • haile

    Awatistas,

    “The powerless in society can be frightened of freedom.”

    “Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion”.

    “Freedom will be the result of praxis, informed action, when a balance between theory and practice is achieved.”

    From the first chapter of Pedagogia do Oprimido/Pedagogy of the Oppressed [Paulo Freire, 1970]

    (The book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed is a revolutionary text, Arizona’s former Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, objected to its use in Schools).

    • haile

      So the question is: does the “silent majority” theory really exist?

      Well, according to a counter claim made by pro government groups in Canada (citing internal embassy documents), “there are at least approximately 30,000 Eritreans living in Canada; however only 2,000 Eritrean-Canadians are known to pay their 2% tax.”
      (Paragraph 3,CECCO – Press Release May 29, 2013: http://www.dehai.org/archives/dehai_news_archive/2013/jan/att-1164/Press_Release_May_29_2013.pdf )

      That makes just about 7% of the diaspora in Canada! So does the other 93% support the opposition groups? Nope! And does the regime’s claim that the diaspora are behind what it calls its “all round development (debilitation) endeavors” hold water? Nope.

      Watch the space saay, the silent majority exists, come say hello:-)

      • Salyounis

        Hello enda silent majority, alekhum doh?

        Meanwhile *

        Haile,I don’t really question the existence of the silent majority. They might even be a supermajority. I DO question the implicit claim that by adjusting our message we can win them all or even most. My reading is that they are like the “undecided voter” in the US, who is undecided on the eve of the election. In the x% break for the incumbent, y% for the challenger, and only Nate Silver knows the values of x and y.

        Similarly, in our silent majority:

        W% are the mysterious ones. You won’t know what they believe regardless what government is in power. They are the ones who will be our landlords renting us our apartments when we eventually go back to Eritrea
        X% are inclined towards the incumbent. (Don’t be surprised if some of them are disappointed that the regime is too soft)
        Y% are inclined towards the opposition (Don’t be surprised if a percentage of them think the opposition is too soft and “tog tog keblu alewom. Bzereba zmetsie lewti yelbon)
        Z% are the ones who want the opposition to be more “nationalistic” which, in Eritrean parlance, means denouncing foreigners (Ethiopians, the US, UN). The more shrill the denunciation the more nationalist you are.

        Now, what our friend Haile does is to say z = w+x+y+z.

        Saay

        * izi Kemzie ilu khelo, do u really think there are 30,000 Eritreans in Canada? In the late 90s, I was part of the numbers manufacturing company (to sway US lawmakers, who only take a constituency seriously if it has inflated numbers.) I would say the 30,000 is slightly exaggerated 🙂

        • haile

          saay

          alokhum do dikha zbelka?….hmmm. Didn’t we choose to be silent, so that you wouldn’t find us out? Don’t be surprised if the response is….silence:-)

          I agree with the last note of dubious numbers, although better than to have no clue:)

          X is puzzling me much. Are those types of opposition that IA refer to whenever he says “eti hizbi sgumti knwesd hatituna, mengisti gin b’aqli hizwo net guday” 🙂

          I don’t doubt the merits of what you said. But the silent majority lover in me can’t help to note that if x < y + Z it follows that your argument is also not spared from the "silent majority" syndrom too:)

          cheers

          • Ghezae Hagos

            Hello Sal, and Haile,

            ” do u really think there are 30,000 Eritreans in Canada?”

            The shortest answer would be: “AyteFeQednan!…men’ emo m’sFeqedena?!”

            Here is the longer one. I was also surprised to read this figure mentioned by CECCO, pro-regime groups in Canada who just called the Canadian media ‘racist and xenophobic.’ They tried to change the laws of Canada to suit them for the 2% tax collection.

            I had a couple of discussions on the 30,000 figure with some Eritrean-Canadians who might be in the know. I was slightly convinced the figure is not totally unsubstantiated given, we Eritreans still consider the kids of the first generations, ‘Zom Qolu’et w’n dey Eritrwayan deykonun..!’

            One important factor that lends some sort of veracity to the figure is the number of refugees arriving to Canada through different refugee streams, especially the private sponsorship program (PSR). This stream was hugely utilized, to certain degree abused, in the past 10 years. Thousands of Eritreans (along with their families) have arrived from the Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and other countries. Currently the Canadian government has put a cap on the numbers which significantly reduced the number; but I know for sure thousands of applications are still in process and more are arriving regularly. The good thing in the last batches is that, as undeclared source country, at least Eritrea refugees from Sudan arriving with little difficulty, some without even immigration interview.

            Anyways, to come to the point: yes the number 30,000 may not be as exaggerated as it sounds. I agree we need more accurate figure.

            But then, back to the shortest answer: the little ‘Qinie’,a DOUBLE ENTENDRE germane to topic.”AyteFeQednan!…men’ emo m’sFeqedena?!”

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Ghezae and Haile:

            I yield to your expertise on the headcount for Canada. But…

            ”AyteFeQednan!…men’ emo m’sFeqedena?!”

            Nice word play…but..Fqadkom ente koynu🙂 Isn’t this one of the few issues that we can answer “biSifrina!”? I mean, honestly, I am first in line to blame PFDJ for everything (I like to be comprehensive), but what is to stop the Diaspora Eritrean activists from doing a census* of Eritreans in North America? Or Europe for that matter. I think it would be a liberating act to say I COUNT. I am not even talking about sophisticated census (gender, age, political inclination, etc) but a simple headcount. Is it more complicated than every activist in each state (sorry, province), locality simply counting heads?

            Before the hgdefites shake their heads at the incompetence of the opposition, trust me, there is a lot of vagueness within PFDJ regarding the question of: “how many Eritreans live in ______.” It is probably the drive to self-inflate**

            saay

            * In his article, Aman Sium (welcome to awate, Aman) says “No state census has been released since 2003…” I missed that census. Aman, or anyone reading this, can you elaborate more?

            ** ok, we can’t match this kind of self-inflation, yet: Ethiopian arbegnoch in the Washington, DC area were saying that, in a close race, they could tip the election to Obama so he better listen to what they have to say. I forget what it is they had to say. But I am sure it was charming 🙂

          • haile

            Selam Ghezae

            “AyteFeQednan!…men’ emo m’sFeqedena?!”

            If in Eritrea, one would say “Fqad’si Feqidomuna…men elom emo knegruna!”

            Here in the West “Feqidomuna, negiromuna…ab ginbarna tray zeyseamuna…aynsemEn ena!”

            There is country census data that records cultural ancestry, in Canada and most other countries, which for example recorded about 13,000 persons in Canada (Citizens and Permanent residents) that declared Eritrea as cultural identity in 2009. Surely, that may not be complete, hence there are more data sources as UNHCR Canada and other government and NGO who collect and make available population info. on ethnic groups. Between all the sources one can arrive at a fair estimate.

            The number of 2% payers must be easy to determine as the Embassy would have the list and no research needed there, just a matter of accuracy!

          • Ghezae Hagos

            Selam Haile,

            First of all, apropos to start with this: your responses to ‘Asmara’ in the earlier post were so disarming, devastatingly factual that rarely have I seen something like that. I am not sure if you are on fb, but you may find that your response did reverberate and tagged over there. Unsolicited advice: keep your independence as you are; we have enough on this side, and give us more insight into the life of Eritreans under PFDJ rule.

            On the ‘AytefeQednan’, I am not sure if you commented on the double-meaning of the word. Where is KS. Apart from the census meaning, it also means ‘to be regarded, to be taken care, or to be accounted for’ Another synonymous could be ‘Amet migbar’ ‘mgdas’ or better ‘Fa’era Migbar’.

            Higdf/mengsti Eritrea nhzbi Eretra ayfeqedw’on can mean they did not count in literal sense or they did not care about Eritrean people. Both cases, valid.

          • haile

            Selam Ghezae & Saay

            No, I still haven’t caught up with fb yet! If you notice, I am still a youtube guy, that’s why I come across many paltalk discussions that I sometimes share with Eyob:) But hey, it is good that it made it to fb and who knows, it might even be in the presiden’s office in Asmara as we speak!

            I must admit that I wasn’t looking at the double meaning, now I seee:) ewe haqkha! is to replace all previous proclamations:)

            Saay, the silent majority are so scared of the opposition that they consider them Tigrigna speaking CIA (wonder who told them). Are trying to freak them out by sending an opposition to stick around every one of their functions and counting their heads (or feet if they so wish to inflate the data)? 🙂

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Haile:

            Saay, the silent majority are so scared of the opposition that they consider them Tigrigna speaking CIA (wonder who told them). Are trying to freak them out by sending an opposition to stick around every one of their functions and counting their heads (or feet if they so wish to inflate the data)

            Nice! Oh, ye, Silent Majority, fear not: We are not going to stand around with our clipboards and lab coats and pulling at our goatees and saying “hmmm, interesting!” (although that would be fun.)

            saay

          • Ghezae Hagos

            Selam Haile,

            Since you are posted at ‘erdi’ awate with ‘tof’ to youtube, let me bring to your attention what transpired at Face book. Samuel Sam has posted your entry.

            ” Some guy on Awate’s comment section wrote the following. He was answering someone who thinks the opposition are bad people and therefore he sympathizes with the government.

            “[…] You are not obliged to analyze matters through the lens of your judgement as regards the integrity and character of the groups [the opposition] you have issues with.

            The Ethiopia Eritrea border issue is legally settled and all there is to it is for Ethiopia to leave occupied territories for resumption of normal relationship. The Eritrean regime will not survive very long after that as it is rejected beyond redemption by Eritreans and the world.

            If you are an Eritrean farmer commenting from the fields around Hazemo, I need to remind you that there is a proclamation prohibiting you from selling your produce in the market.

            If you are an Eritrean business entrepreneur commenting from the side cafes of Asmara, I need to remind you that there is a proclamation prohibiting you from possessing foreign currency, obtaining business license or importing and exporting goods.

            If you are an Eritrean academic commenting from one of the Technical collages, you need to be aware that the government has removed your ability to work in collaboration with other Universities around the world independently.

            If you are an Eritrean high school student commenting from your school library in Asmara, I need to remind you that you shouldn’t think of your university courses because you will be told what to study for a qualification that has no international recognition.

            If you are an Eritrean Fisher man commenting from the coastal regions of Eritrea, I need to remind you that there is a proclamation that requires you to hand over your catch to the government and not attempt to sell it in the market.

            If you are a driver in Eritrea, you need to be reminded that you can only purchase fuel from contraband vendors.

            If you are a patient in Eritrea and commenting from a hospital, be aware that your family may be required to purchase contraband fuel for the hospital generator to perform your urgently needed operations.

            If you are a family person in Eritrea, be aware that you have safe place to store a government issued gun in your home, else the kids may shoot each other thinking it is safe to do.

            If you are a medical doctor in Eritrea, make sure you know that you have wardia (night patrol) duty armed with Kalashnikov. So organize your research times.

            If you are national service discharge in Eritrea, make sure to report to your local zoba mimhdar, to pick up a gun and do duties of guarding banks and other government offices.

            If you are a young Eritrean thinking of traveling abroad, there is a proclamation prohibiting you from doing so. Try your luck…you know where.
            Ration food, intermittent electricity, little or no water supply, no right to seek employment or be self employed….
            Refugee camps, human trafficking, high seas tragedy…. you name it.

            Asmara, you think the regime will be fixed and things will be better. I beg to differ.
            Regard, sam

            Selam Kidane, Biniam Negash, Sennai ፈ. and 15 others like this..

            Hanni Ibrahim Thank you so much for this Samuel Sam.

            July 19 at 4:08am via mobile · Like..

            Biniam Negash Comprehensive take on things is what one is reminded of when reading this! Brilliant!

            July 19 at 7:57am via mobile · Edited · Like..

            Michael O. Yosief Brilliant comment…you have put everything in one package, simple and easy to understand the problem that every Eritrean is facing. Good job!!!

            July 19 at 8:03am via mobile · Like..

            Ghezae Hagos The commentator’s name is Haile. He is ubiquitous at Awate forum. His reply rendered above is a very unique take on life in Eritrea as we speak. The brilliance of Haile is letting the facts talk for themselves through the lens of different Eritreans under PFDJ rule. Yes, it was brilliant and devastating.

            July 19 at 9:22am · Like · 4..

            Medhanie Kidane If this Guy is running for office, I’m voting for him…..lol

            July 19 at 2:19pm via mobile · Like · 1..

            Nakfa Sahil Nakfa Excellent it gets well to understand how bad are things in Eritrea. thank you for bringing this guys

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Ghezae and Haile:

            And a star is born. We are going to publish* Haile’s masterpiece in the front page because we are fielding too many emails/calls from people asking us where they can find it. Part of what makes it great is that it is a tragic rendition of Jeff Foxworthy’s “if…., you might be a redneck.” series and it answers Amanuel Biedemariam’s entry which was a dozen reasons why “you might not be an Eritrean” edition.

            Haile, it is time to get yourself a facebook profile. You can be anonymous even in FB; just pick an appropriate nick. Here are my suggestions for your profile:

            occupation: awate.com’s Minister of Reality
            Country: The Republic of Realistan
            Slogan: Get Real, Reality Bites
            Favorite Book: Reality Check.
            Philosophy of Life: “Sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here.” http://youtu.be/qxOwHutnXNA

            saay

            *unlike the gentlemanly Saleh Johar, I don’t ask, I tell: your article will be published as a “If You Are An Eritrean…” article. You can now stand outside awate and say “Down! Down! Dictator!” 🙂

          • haile

            Selamat Ghezae and SAAY

            Thanks for posting the fb comments Ghezae. A while back, I set out to open fb account and the many questions they asked made me suspect that they are part of PFDJ Red Sea Corporation 🙂 I am motivated to give it a second try, this time I will call me “Berhe” the guy who claims that I am Semere H or Admas Haile. Why? For the heck of it, just to confuse me more 🙂

            Saay, ti guday b’aqli kihzo entetsenahku ekwa, teqawemti gin ke’Ezemzmu tsenihom eyom. N’mntay n’Ana tray yweqs, nhna ke eritrawyan akonan dina? and many other legitimate complaints were being levied at me. In the interest of fairness (and salvaging my credibility), I had to get in an event that every one bore witness. It was never my intention to completely trash down my opponents… it just so happened that they were weaker than I thought…

            wy wy..ab edey moytomuni…wey ane tekalit… 🙂

        • Haile,

          Does the 30,000 include unionists/Neo-andinets?

  • Kaddis

    Dear Aman,

    I found your position on Eth response to Somalia’s violence very strange; even the Kenyans who were un-decisive about entering Somalia did so when they smell the bomb in Nairobi and their tourism threatened. Should we wait until we see smoke in Merkato?
    I also found your cliché complaint about international media not interested on Eritrea stuff. What more do you want than Eritrea being reported in relation to Israel, Sinai, footballers/runners defection, Somalia, forto, Eri Ambassador to Canada evicted, the least free nation, etc….on all major media outlets and wires. If there is a serious media survey made of African nations on the int’l media, Eritrea may come from 1 to 10. I guess, people living in the US confuse FOX news for Int’l media.

  • sara

    salih
    just checking why my comments are not showing~

    • sara

      salih,
      ok this time it is here, showing… thanks!

  • L.T

    Where have you been so long and sudden you put out this article like bang and bingo?Your knowledge needed reborn inseated Eritrea.

  • The secular socialist revolution

    Dear Aman,

    let me first congratulate you on your article. It is certainly the best article i’ve read so far on this website.
    I agree with you on the fact that Eritrea has an unfinished revolution and that Eritrea needs (or maybe deserves) a new horizon.
    Interestingly, when I read your text I saw traces of a thought influenced by three intellectual figures I really admire: F.Fanon, E.Said and A.Gramsci. But maybe I’m wrong.
    Anyways, keep up the good work.

    • AI Gime

      The Secular Socialist Revolution/Republic… where have you been all this while? Good to realise you are around and to see you commentating once again.

    • Aman Sium

      Greetings Brother,

      I’m a fan of Fanon, and further learning from Cabral and Freire. Haven’t read nearly enough Said and none of Gramsci. But hope to soon. Perhaps you will post in the near future?
      In peace and siblinghood,
      Aman

  • T. Kifle

    Yeah!
    It’s great guys. We are destined to be studied and analysed by people who never set foot in the horn as ” …focus on Indigenous communities and social movements in the Horn of Africa”. How far does he know about those indigenous communities of the horn to speak about them?

    What is more interesting about this writer is his “anti-imperialism” stance whatever that means only to narrate through the mirror of “imperialistic” reporting. He feels why Eritreas predicament is under reported is because of its relative independence from the clutches international actors unlike its neighbours which have been the poster children since as long as recorded history would attest.

    He is also opposed to the occupation of the “Oromo land” by Ethiopia oblivion to the fact that there is no such thing called Ethiopia to speak about without the Oromos. He labours to connect logically exclusive subjects such as historical accounts of state formation and the current political chaos of the region taking Eritrea as flash point. He also tangentially touched the Somalian case to portray Ethiopia as entry point of foreign intervention while failing to understand why it did the way it did and even then only under the request of the provisional government. That said, Somalia today is better off without Al Shaba where the state of normalcy is strengthening by each passing day. Opposing the intervention of Ethiopia(and including other states for that matter) is a subtle alignment of the writer with the dictator in Asmara who is the sole loser in the show.

  • Horizon

    Dear Mr. Aman Sium,

    I should say that I am disappointed with the fact that even though you were born and educated in the West, and expected of having an open mind and a broader perception of things, for the sake of peace and peaceful coexistence of peoples of the horn, you seem to have been indoctrinated with the age old prejudiced belief that Ethiopia is the enemy.
    You should have known that as poor and third world nations, we are all comprador and collaborators and nobody is entirely free in this intertwined world whatever one may say; Ethiopians with the Imperialists and you with Arabs. Simply Ethiopians chose a better master, the same master that refused to accept you.
    What you call Ethiopian colonialism was nothing else but Ethiopian and Eritrean peaceful coexistence, until it was spoiled by Gedli, and unfortunate things happened. It might have helped as a propaganda tool during the Gedli, and dwelling on it even today when many do not believe it anymore, I think, will not help in the least in solving the dire situation in Eritrea.
    When you are accusing Ethiopia for selling Eritrea to Italian Imperialists, it shows that you have accepted what you have heard and read at its face value, simply because it serves your purpose. I doubt that Eritreans resented Italian occupation then or later. When Ethiopians were fighting for their freedom at the battle of Adwa, there were thousands of Eritrean Askaris fighting another African nation on the side of Italians and dying for an Italian cause. If Ethiopians defeated Italians then, it did not mean that that feudal army could push deep into Eritrea to free it, when Eritreans themselves were supporting the Italian colonialist.
    In Ethiopian history, we had Oromo kings, queens, generals and rulers. Oromos are part and parcel of the Ethiopian history past, present and future. Of course, there are some Oromos who resent to the very idea of Ethiopia and peaceful coexistence, as you resented and brought the Eritrean people to this predicament. You cannot use the Oromo people anymore. They are tasting the fruits of peace, relative freedom (e.g. using their language and culture) and some economic development, and they are peacefully struggling for more.
    Ethiopian incursion in to Somalia was to keep at bay Muslim extremists and Al Qaida, which posed danger to peace in the region and the sovereignty of Ethiopia. It was right that Ethiopia chose to be on the anti-terrorism bandwagon, unlike Eritrea that chose to be with the spoilers, Al Shabab, with all the consequences for the country. It is the same extremists Egypt is planning to use against Ethiopia in its quarrel over the Nile. You see, it is an Egyptian custom to use somebody else’s blood for their national interest.
    You should have know that it is DIA who is the number one proud Eritrean nationalist, and he hates justice, something natural. Others are simply latecomers and they do not add an iota to the great Eritrean chauvinism, because it has ended up being a cliché.
    Therefore, the world does not need old and recycled ideas from young intellectuals. It does not want them to travel on the same itinerary many have already traveled before them. New minds should mean new ideas. That is what the world is expecting.

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    Your observation and expectation is extra ordinary for a nine year old childe of diaspora Family born and raisd in USA. And as a typical eritrean you must have some punching line against ethiopia ‘the occasional interest points of Ethiopian famine and Somali Islamists, Eritrea isn’t quite as sexy a story as its neighbors’.

    So after i read Your article this what i get out of it. But first i have to tell you about one french jouralist who was frustrated by the poverity imposed on africa and the Whole bullshit Connected With it. He took a small projector in africa and showed People how even a lay man from the Rich country use the poverity of africa to a Nice living Income just by selling horrible Picture for the western media. He went on from Place to Place shouting on People ‘People, People at least use Your own poverity for Your own advantage’

    So mr Aman, you start using the misery of Eritrea and east africa to make Your living bread. Way to og, the frustrated french guy would be happy to find a smart almost eritrean to use his own poverity to his own advantage. Any white activist could have done that but at least it is better an african get the benefit.

    I hope you grduating paper will be how ethiopian ‘famine’ disappear from the mass media since eplf hit between the eyes in 1998-2000.

    • Aman Sium

      Tamrat Tamrat,

      Congratulations, you’ve completely missed the point of the article! What does this mean: “start using the misery of Eritrea and east africa to make Your living bread”? Do you think I’m making money off this article? Because if you do you’re sadly misinformed.

      Something tells me you and I will never agree on these issues. Good luck in your cowardice and promotion of lies.

      Sincerely,
      Aman

      • Tamrat Tamrat

        If you start it at nine, it is difficult to win you.

      • Lola

        This article smells similac. And then this ….

  • rodab

    Dear Aman,
    First of all welcome to the forum.
    Sedondly, If I were a professor grading your article, you would have gotten a solid D. At the outset you stated that the article is going to focus on the January 21 event, yet your analysis was about mainly about the 90’s Eritrea, the events of 2001 and related stories. It was only toward the end you ‘touched’ the January 21 incident. Even then, any details as to connect it to the “incompleteness of national liberation” has gone missing. Sure, I am not saying that the statement in itself is incorrect, but a little detail could help connecting the dots.

    • Aman Sium

      Thank you Rodab,
      I appreciate the honest critique. I should say that this isn’t a thesis. I wrote the article as a basic introduction to some of the major developments and problems facing ‘post-independence’ Eritrea. I also intended to focus on those domestic developments that are less the result of regional pressures, and more by pro-active government repression. All this to say that these things lay the ground work for why and how January 21st came about. This is exactly the point: the article is more about detailing why we need to complete Eritrea’s national liberation than the Forto movement itself.
      Aman

      • haile

        Selamat Rodab and Aman

        It is also right that Aman S brought the issue of Sep.18/2001 because that was when the work of completing the liberation ousted by the regime to plunge Eritrea into the dark ages:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT7teHwOq1I

        Regards

  • Thanks Aman
    “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”
    Frantz Fanon, the Wretched of the Earth.
    Politics aside; judgment of “Right” and “Wrong” completely suspended, one thing, only one thing strike out as the indelible truth, the deadly DIA political leader, or otherwise ruling over a country with such wanton destruction, not counting the tenths of thousands refuges and those killed, would remain forever answerable to history. No political or patriotic claims hold with such UNPRECEDETED destruction. Our hearts bleed as you wrote your excellent article.

    • Aman Sium

      Dear Said, Fanon is one of the more critical thinkers to ever write on Africa. Your quote is encouraging and truthful. Wise words truly taken to heart. Thank you hawey.

      Aman

  • haile

    Selamat Aman,

    It is very humbling that being born and raised in the diaspora, you still maintain the unyielding interest and bond to your land of ancestors. Such is the a powerful reminder to all Eritreans that despite our current problems, we are in deed a very blessed people. Such is the reason that why every Eritrean should be confident and feel great to be Eritrean! We shall overcome!

    Now to the couple of points that I would like to make, not on the specifics of the points you make but on my thoughts on where the direction of momentum should be. The regime has got to go, that without a doubt. However, one must be aware that we do have an opposition that have been indulging in such a folly that it miserably failed to make a dent on the regime’s grip on power. Over the last decade and half, we sat back to witness in disbelief an opposition that chases the shadows (ghedli), an opposition that has to decide if the nation is under “ethnic fascism” or “dictatorship”, that totally dismissed popular sentiment to sovereignty, that indulged in low level politicking of ethnicity and religion…

    If an effective challenge is to take hold in the diaspora, the diaspora’s silent majority must be engaged. In so doing one must avoid relying on information source (even if true in many parts) from quarters that have failed to convince the silent majority.

    For example you talk of “shoot to Kill” and a quarter of a million people escaping [until?] 2011. How many people can be cited to back up that claim. Can we claim, say 10000 people out of the quarter of a million have been shot at or sustained wounds? Remember, we all have families, friends and associates in Eritrea. If people are being shot at in great numbers, we would hear it first hand and not learn about it in the media and are left without a clue as to who or where this shooting is happening. The same with the so popular claim that people’s family members are hunted down in Eritrea because their relatives did not pay 2% in the diaspora!

    What we need to engage the silent majority is “real” and beyond a “shred of a doubt” information. Such things as video recordings from Eritrea that speaks for itself what it means to be in Eritrea today. As I gather you worked in areas storytelling projects in your doctoral studies, I am sure you understand the role of video projects in human right education.

    It is a well established fact that the vocal/organized opposition had run into major collusion course with the silent majority in recent past and lacks credibility to act as a conduit of information to Eritreans in the diaspora from Eritreans at home. However, the situation is also urgent and can’t wait to rehabilitate those groups. The sooner the silent majority of the Eritrean diaspora is made to see the reality on the ground and be motivated to act, the sooner we can start to believe that we may have a fighting chance of being relevant to change that is going to happen anyway.

    Regards

    • Aman Sium

      Thank you Haile. I find your commentary very insightful, but maybe most importantly, very practical. I also hear your point that “What we need to engage the silent majority is “real” and beyond a “shred of a doubt” information. Such things as video recordings from Eritrea that speaks for itself what it means to be in Eritrea today.” Many of us were hoping early on that the events of January 21st would be captured on video or better qualified pictures. Although this didn’t happen (due to limitations within the country), it doesn’t mean it still wont.
      You’ve raised some important questions that should be written on and organized around.
      in peace,
      Aman

  • Ghezae Hagos

    Selam dear Aman,

    First of all, as a fellow Eritrean, I would like to thank you for gracing our screens with such well-articulated, well-researched and scholarly work.

    In spite of the flurry of articles and discussion on ‘what is ailing Eritrea?’ in the Eritrean cyber community, the voice of intellectuals and academics has been sadly rarely heard. Most of the Eritrean intellectuals abroad have opted to be silent. PFDJ by far boasts a lion’s share of the outspoken ones.

    We are heartened to see more and more intellectuals are lending their voices to Eritrean human rights cause. Without putting our predicament in objective historical context, without analysing our case with academic tools, it will all be a fool’s errand. Otherwise, we will run the risk of claiming pyrrhic victories, unlearn lessons and vicious cycles of violence and tyranny.

    Hence, we welcome you brother Aman Sium. We hope to see more of you and your likes.

    Hawka,
    Ghezae Hagos, Winnipeg.

    ghezae_hagos@yahoo.com

    • Aman Sium

      Dear Ghezae Hagos,
      I thank you for the kind words of encouragement. I have to say, as a young diasporic Eritrean with limited contact to home, I’ve learned and walked in the foot steps of people like yourself. Those critical thinking Eritreans who support justice-seeking intellectualism. And you’re right about the kind of academic ‘groupie love’ the PFDJ has been able to muster, but I see it slipping as their crimes are becoming harder to hide. Lets keep the conversation going!
      in peace,
      Aman

  • MrBig

    Dear Aman, a well written article but there is a great contradiction I see in you. You claim to be anti-imperialist but refuse to mention how the imperial system affects Eritrea and the current state she is in? Eritrea is not in a vacuum and is currently in a state of war (as proven by economic sanctions imposed unjustly and the admitted attacks Ethiopia inflicted on Eritrean positions a few years ago). Ethiopia would love to invade Eritrea today but can’t due totally to the Eritrean military. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. You seem to be severely disconnected from the reality of today’s Eritrea. This article you wrote is heavy on assumptions and extremely thin on real factual evidence. Maybe you are only making a political feel good point for you and your btsot. If you are a true anti-imperialist, you would not be using your knowledge and skill to further perpetuate red-hearing issues concocted by western (imperialist) media outlets and so called human-rights organization who have yet to turn up a shred of evidence of those so called abuses/violations in Eritrea. The fact is Eritrea today is not the same Eritrea of 20 years ago, it is not the same Eritrea of 10 years ago and it is not even the same Eritrea of 3 years ago! Eritrea is at a constant state of motion and lives by the philosophy of continuous change. It may not be as fast as you or I or many people would like but it is much faster than the imperialist system says it is. Freedom of speech also exists in Eritrea, people can say what they like, I know since I have been there less than one year ago and had great conversations with many people. I suggest you pay a visit since its clear you have not gone back for some time. But there is a difference between freedom of speech and trying to foment conflict within society. A difference that Eritrea had to learn the hard way. As an anti-imperialist you should also be very well aware of how the imperial system can co-opt movements and independently owned media outlets for its own political purposes. Even in the west, we are very un-informed of things that we should be informed about. Eritrea’s press is not perfect and suffers from inefficiencies of any state run organization. I am sure that in the future, Eritrea will develop different ways to provide people with information in a more independent and un-curruptable way. Until then, lets not play dumb and pretend that true independent press exists anywhere in the world today. Eritrea is by many standards a truly independent nation due to the sacrifice of Eritreans. If the people did not have the will or strength to continue, the current government would have been toppled years ago (hence why your mention of forto “coup” is laughable). So long as there are Eritreans who are willing to continue to fight for a better future, we Eritreans are duty bound to support them. We all know Eritrea is not heaven on earth today and we all know it is due in large to the constant state of war Eritrea is under. Both military and economic war. It is doing what it can to fight and survive with the values that helped Eritreans achieve independence. When all else fails, our values are what will save us. Problems exist, but we are doing fairly well compared to the rest in our continent and those before us. For you as a so-called anti-imperialist – lover of justice to ignore the facts that are primarily hurting Eritrea and essentially ask for Eritrea to put her arms down and accept defeat is totally un-acceptable and contradictory to the values you claim to up-hold.

    • Aman Sium

      Dear “MrBig”,
      First off, I find it hard to accept calls for intellectual honesty and truthfulness from people who hide their identities behind self-indulgent monikers like “MrBig”. If this is truly a place of conversation then I shouldn’t have to second guess who I’m speaking with.

      That being said, I respect and agree with much of your analysis. I will only briefly explain why. First, I’ve already explained my position on the Ethiopian state and its historical role as a lap-dog for Western intervention and regional control (i.e. Somali invasion). I side with you there. But we can’t attribute all of Eritrea’s domestic problems to “regional context” as you put it. That’s far to simplistic to be true. (I almost wish it was that easy). Eritrea is also an active contributor to shaping regional context. And Isaias’ approach to this has been aggression, arrogance and undermining peace, both at home and abroad. Did Meles have a gun to Isaias’ head when the G15 were jailed? When the only academic university was closed? When Canadian mining companies were invited to exploit unpaid labour (WY) to loot national resources at bottom dollar? Or to spend almost a continental minimum on education in order to build prisons in place of schools? I’ll leave those questions for you to explore.

      As for your your claim that I’m “severely disconnected from the reality of today’s Eritrea”, well, that’s a favourite amongst PFDJ groupies that have little else to argue with. So its not like I haven’t heard that before. My response is always the same. One can’t simply go back home to understand it. You also need a sense of honesty, critical thinking, and the courage to confront injustice to make sense of what’s happening there. Even within my own family it’s often the case that those who go back the most are the ones with the most misguided understandings of the country’s political and economic situation. Maybe because they don’t understand it, or maybe because they don’t want to. Which category do you belong to?

      Sincerely,
      Aman Sium – STILL a justice-seeking, anti-imperialist nationalist

    • goytom

      Mr Big, you said ‘problem exist’, can you please expand on the problems that you see in eritrea today.

      • mrbig

        To Aman S.:
        I appreciate your dislike of the moniker I chose to use; I never really put much thought into it and I assure you it wasn’t meant to be humorous or self-indulgent. Having said that, I will enjoy the slight anonymity of the internet at this time. I suggest you focus on the message when screening for sincerity as opposed to identifying the messenger.

        First, I want to say I agree with you when you say “we can’t attribute all of Eritrea’s domestic problems to regional context”. I just want to elaborate this point with my perspective: Eritrea is a relatively new and poor Country with a limited pool of skilled human resources. Administrative problems will arise due to lack of skills, lack of oversite, lack of motivation, lack of resources and backwardness that still exists in society. The difference is I don’t attribute every problem to malicious PFDJ politics but rather a harsh reality that all Eritreans (inside and abroad) must work to improve despite the odds stacked against them. Its simple to analyze from abroad but hard to actually do the work required. Assumptions from abroad seldom turn out to be truths.

        I also agree with you when you said “Eritrea is also an active contributor to shaping regional context.”
        Eritrea has contributed to peace in the region and was even responsible for brokering the peace deal that is still holding today in Eastern Sudan. It would have been able to help in Somalia as well but imperialist quarters decided to make it into a scapegoat and punish it via economic sanctions. Is this something you support too?

        I also agree with you when you say that Meles did not have a gun to the head of PIA when the G15 was jailed. This is true, but I dont know what Meles has anything to do with the G15 being jailed. What happened is between the G15 and the PFDJ majority who decided to jail them. I agree that holding secret court tribunals is not the most transparent process but I also know that people in Eritrea do not see this as a significant topic at all. I also personally know several former soldiers who fought during the 98 border war who claim the government’s side of the story is true.

        I also agree with you when you said “One can’t simply go back home to understand it”. I also think people who go there are often unaware of what is going on and are unable to apply context to the situation. Some see it in a simplistic black and white manner. Who can blame them, not many have the time or patience to understand it and will rely on second hand information from other family or friends. However, I want to take it a step further and say you cannot simply go back home to understand it, you must immerse yourself deep enough into the economic and political culture of that Country to understand it. Otherwise, you really have no argument to make since it is too far removed from reality.
        So where do I belong in the narrow spectrum of personalities you described? I would say nowhere, I am a realist, a pragmatist, a supporter of freedom fighters and I despise any inadvertent or advertent support of imperialist agenda. Ignorance is no excuse.

        On the closure of UofA – It is not closed and there are more degree level graduates in Eritrea than there were 10 years ago. There is still work to be done but lets not paint an inaccurate picture of doom and gloom.

        I too consider myself as a justice-seeking anti-imperialist but I cannot bring myself to where you are without exercising some form of cognitive dissonance and ignoring major causes of our nations problems. By all logic, people like you and I ought to be comrades!

        To goytom:

        Too many too mention. Eritrean people are working to fix them while we debate them.

  • You said you ” visited Eritrea for the first time at the age of nine. ” Later, you stated that while you were “driving around the country’s highlands” you saw rusted tanks abandoned tanks, beautiful mosques…

    How were you able to drive at the age of nine? Or, did you mean some one was driving you around? I may have misunderstood you.

    • Aman Sium

      Clarification needed on my part, Dawit. I travelled with my mother and relatives who live in Asmara. They drove me around. Apologies for not stating that more clearly.
      Best,
      Aman

      • Thanks for clarifying. Great article. Informative. I hope you would come back with yet another article.

  • Lemlem

    Aman,

    Tell us something we don’t know. Your article is completely devoid of insights. It’s all regurgitated stuff.

    You seem to be arguing that the international media is not interested in covering Eritrea because Eritrea doesn’t suffer from the stereotypical problems that afflict Africa, i.e, famine, disease, ethnic wars, tribal conflicts…etc

    You are right about that. It is true that Eritrea is too complex a story for the biased international media that sees Africa through a prism of dependency and servitude. That is why they love Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia under Weyane is the poster child for African servitude and subordination to the West.

    The West and international media are perplexed by Eritrea’s sense of independence and determination to succeed on its own through its own blood, sweat and toil. They have never seen a proud African country that tries to control its own destiny.

    The thinking in Western capitals is, “How dare Eritrea tries to be different! How dare she!”

    They want Eritrea to line up with all the dysfunctional African countries and stretch its hands out and beg for food.

    Fat chance!

    • Kim Hanna

      Dear Lemlem, Never Mind.

      Dear Mr. Aman Sium,

      Please forgive Lemlem for she does not know what she says.

      However, I do have questions for Mr. Aman. I want to think about it before I spit out. The fact that you were raised outside Eritrea and educated to the level you are might be able to respond to the questions in an objective manner.

      KH

      • rodab

        So what was your question Kim? Did you forget it in the middle of it?

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dearest Lemlem,

      Please read it again.
      He wrote “The point of this article is not to analyze Eritrea’s place in the ‘War on Terror’, Arab spring, Somali intervention etc. Nor does this article examine Eritrea in any other regional context. “ and continue what he experienced as young guy and ends by reminding the coups ahead.
      This energetic young man didn’t forget to mention how much the group in Eritrea has failed and even said “…Even though the front-turned-state has turned its back on the promises of national liberation, the Eritrean people, steadfast in their commitment…”
      The beginning of madness is when someone starts to think people are talking about him and are interested about him more than their life. The “leadership” in Eritrea use to tell us that we are unique and the world is jealous of us just to cheat and cover the internal mess. But today the “leadership” believed that is true. The worst problem is when you start to believe the drama you created. And the worst of the worst is when some innocent people think that is true and take the drama as truth.

      Why others have to care more than their affairs and think of Eritrea? Today most of the nations are working hard to let their citizen leave prosperous and in peace. But then if a nation like Eritrea affects their development they will complain and ask to behave. That is what Eritrea is experiencing.

      Yet, the problem is internal more than external and we need to correct it ourselves.

    • Aman Sium

      Dear Lem Lem,

      You make more assumptions than you do sense. I too am anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, and want to see Africa stand firmly on its own two feet. I too resent Ethiopia’s historical role in the region as a comprador and collaborator with imperialist regimes (i.e. Ethiopia’s two invasions of Somalia, selling of Eritrea in 1889, and occupation of Oromo land). Unfortunately, the PFDJ is only the same in speech, and not in action. In fact, the PFDJ’s style of media repression and state violence is taken right from the handbook of the Derg and the Italian brutalizers before them. But alas, it is I who should apologize to you. I’m sorry that you’re trapped in the reactionary culture of hate that you are; and that you equate loving your country with hating another. What a sorry and simple-minded existence to lead. For our peoples sake, but more for your own sake, I hope you one day break from this culture to see justice as more of a building process, than one of tearing things down.

      Conversely, I’d be more than happy to buy you a one-way ticket to Sawa so you could experience Eritrea’s “independence” first hand?

      Sincerely,

      Aman Sium – A proud Eritrean nationalist and lover of justice

      • Haqi

        Well said aman, lemlem is trapped In a bubble of lies fabricated by dear leader baba isaias. She is a selfish person who lives in the west with all he rights protected yet she invites brutal dictator for the people she claimes to care.

    • zegeremo

      Read before you comment, please 🙂