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Eritrean Ambassador To Nigeria Arrested In Asmara

On Tuesday April 29, 2014, plain-clothed security officers arrested Mohammed Ali Omaro, Eritrea’s Ambassador to Nigeria, from the streets of Asmara. His whereabouts are still unknown, but security officers searched his house after they arrested him. Omaro is a veteran of Eritrea’s armed struggle and a co-founder of EPLF, now PFDJ, Eritrea’s ruling (and sole legal) party.

Past behavior of the Eritrean government shows that anyone can be arrested arbitrarily without any acknowledgement by the government or notification of their families.

Generally, they stay in jail until the government decides to release them or they simply disappear never to be heard from again.

Omaro is a famous veteran who joined the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) in the early sixties and is considered one of the pioneers of the struggle. In 1965, Omaro became the commander of zone 4, one of the five zonal commands of the time.

Alamain Mohammed Said, now the Secretary of the ruling party, worked in zone 4 as a political commissioner under Omaro, while Isaias Afwerki, the president, was the commissioner for zone five under Welday Kahsay, who later surrendered to the Ethiopian government.

In 1970, Omaro became the field commander of the People’s Liberation Forces (PLF), an Osman Saleh Sabbe led faction that split from the ELF.  Three different factions, all named PLF (PLF1, PLF2, PLF3) consolidated to become the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) which was presided over by Ramadan Mohammed Nur (from the Sabbe-led faction) or Isaias Afwerki (from the Isaias-led faction.)

After 1977, Isaias successfully distanced Omaro from the politburo after which Omaro assumed roles in different capacities: in the information department, the fighting forces, and in organizational affairs (he was in charge of the organizational affairs in Sudan when he coordinated contacts that resulted in the discussions between the EPLF and the Ethiopian Derg under the auspices of the Carter Centre.)

Along with Ahmed Badouri and Ahmed Quesi, Omaro is credited with establishing the “Voice of the Broad Masses” (Dimtsi Hafash/Sout al Jamaheer) radio program in the Eritrean field. He has also worked as a roving emissary of the EPLF in the Arab countries where he, among other things, established the EPLF office in Saudi Arabia.

After Eritrea’s independence in 1991, Isaias has relentlessly worked to banish Omaro from Eritrea by assigning him to ambassadorial positions in Sudan, Cairo, Kenya, and other places until he finally assigned him to Nigeria, a position he held until his arrest on Tuesday.

Omaro’s arrest sent shock waves to the Eritrean Diaspora, considering his historical role and age. He is in his seventies and in poor health.

In Eritrea, the regime doesn’t need evidence to arrest, nor is there due process. People are arrested for being perceived a risk to Isaias’ grip on power, or a potential risk, or simply for falling out of Isaias’ favor, or not loyal enough.

In September 2000, the government arrested prominent ministers, military commanders and ambassadors, collectively known as G-15. (G-15 stands for Group of 15, the number of dissidents who signed an open letter demanding reform.) Nothing is known about their fate to date. According to many human rights reports, there are thousands of Eritreans arrested and have been made to disappear since 1991.

Omaro’s return to Eritrea was at his own initiative, without Isaias’ summon, after a long banishment. Considering the internal struggle among senior party apparatchiks since the Forto incident of January 21st 2013, observers believe that this was a serious threat to Isaias.

Omaro, a well regarded historical figure, resisted Isaias’ political assassination attempt, though he was rolled from one location to another just to keep him out of the country. At a time when there is a break from the grip of Isaias and the old guards and veterans have begun to be assertive in appreciating the history of the Eritrean struggle, his arrest is expected to have serious ramifications.

According to an observer who has access to PFDJ party leaders, “Eritrea is suffering from a political vacuum and Omaro’s appearance in Asmara is easily perceived by Isaias as a threat that has to be chocked to deny him any opportunity to rally people or to discuss national and governance situation with his comrades.”

Reached by phone, the observer stated that “the power struggle among the many factions within the top and middle level army officers and senior members of the regime and the party has been boiling for over a year under the surface.”

He further stated, “However, the conflict is particularly exasperated within two major factions of the party both planning to remove Isaias. One group, represented by a few high ranking officers, old guards, and party bosses, is vying to keep the status-quo in response to the Jan. 21 Forto insurrection, and are aiming at carrying out cosmetic changes on the system, while the other group is a continuation of the Forto incident which aimed for an urgent and meaningful democratic transformation of the state and party apparatus.”

The Forto insurrection was led by middle rank military officers.

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  • Amde

    Hi SA,

    In reading you comments, your phrasing “…we are living in the age of the SELF where the ideas of God and Nation have little appeal to people,…” had me considering a different angle. Over the years, I find myself drifting more to the thought that how
    society organizes itself is fundamentally a function of the economic
    system most of the people get their sustenance from, so I am generally
    disposed to thinking people will react to local conditions than what
    happens a border or an ocean away. Having said that, your statement has me questioning whether what you are
    saying has some validity on a global level, specifically in the age of globalization and
    the internet.

    I really think the Eritrean youth fleeing phenomena is explained in the theory of “Fight or Flight or Freeze” response. The FREEZE option is obviously something they have experienced and have decided to discard. My narrow theory as to why the FLIGHT option is taken as opposed to the FIGHT option is that has to do fundamentally with the thought instlilled in them that if the Eritrean government goes, the terrible Ethiopians will come in. Thus a FIGHT strategy is considered a Lose-Lose proposition for them collectively and individually. Until this is fundamentally addressed within the heart and mind of Eritreans in general, I do not think any rebellion in Eritrea (specifically in the Kebessa) will take hold – perhaps until it is too late.

    Now, you might just be right that with globalization and the internet, the idea of God and Nation are dying concepts in general. Science/Technology makes God more and more irrelevant on a daily basis. And people think their economic salvation lies in finding ways to plug into the globalized capitalist order (I as an immigrant in America am a typical example). In that case, the Nation is an anachronism that the youth intuitively feel is not worth their self-immolation for.


    • SA

      Dear Amde,
      In my opinion, the fear of the “terrible Ethiopians” coming in is more prevalent in the Diaspora, and if you have read my response to Ermias a few posts below, it does not appear that the youth buy into it. I am only going to reproduce here for you one paragraph which shows that the youth may be at the at disposal of the regime to be its slaves but their mindset is largely outside the control of the regime. I shared 3 anecdotes with Ermias, but here is the one you will find surprising and interesting:

      “One young person I know very closely (age: mid twenties) who is in Eritrea was recently reminiscing about a certain person who moved from Ethiopia before Independence and settled in Eritrea. That young person said, “What a huge miscalculation it was to move from Ethiopia to Eritrea!” When you hear such comments and you realize these comments are being uttered inside Eritrea, it is more plausible to deduce that the youth have little attachment to the idea and glory of independent Eritrea.”

      “WHAT A HUGE MISCALCULATION IT WAS TO MOVE FROM ETHIOPIA TO ERITREA” I have called this statement the most surprising and interesting statement of the year.


      • Amde

        Dear SA,

        From your keyboard to God’s ears as they say (wrt the statement of the year)

        Thank you

  • Petros Solomon

    Woyane Tplf was only temporarily put by EPLF and the USA for 10 to 20 years
    to implement the Dergue drawn Ethnic nations and nationalities plan which the
    Dergue itself didn’t have/get enough time to fully implement it as a pre-dondition
    before Ethiopia makes its transformation to true democratic and rule of law
    administaration. So the only choice with the constraint of time was to put woyanes
    or TPLF which do not happen to have their own plan temporarily to state power (but
    of course without Eritrea………there is no way to put Eritrea under woyane rule) and
    dictate them to implement the already drawn plan of Dergue of Ethnic Nations and
    nationalities before it left the country. This is also done to pre-occupy woyane to prevent
    the power vacuum that would be created.
    But once all the new plans are prepared by EPLF and USA for Ethiopia it will be undone
    the same way it was created by EPLF in sahel and dedebit areas AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

  • tes

    Dear Bel,

    How can you undersand what I want to say when you are already pre-occupied with your PFDJ ‘s mantra. You are not with your open mind, but to fullfil the message you are ordered to convey so, to rebuff, conspire, divide and then to blind people. In the contrary, your reward is the opposite. If you meditiate by the words of awate’s forum contributers, definitely you will be enlightened. PFDJ wanted you to live in darkness, to be a slave, a guardian of the revolution they did to extnict the true Eritrean quest for freedom. You don’t have the freedom and the one that lives as slave has no mind to read the mind of others but to kill.

    Therefore, have time to meditiate in order to undertand not only my words or in the awate forum, but to open your eyes and see what is happening to your people. Forget about PFDJ, but me I will not because he is the enemy that I have to fight until he is completely wiped out with all its ideologies and policies.


  • dawit

    Dear GuessT,

    I am not sure if this hypothetical question is directed to any one in particular. But let me interject myself and give my hypothetical opinion. At this time of history of the two people it is like what they say in Amharic ‘jib kehede wusha chohe’. If this question of yours should have been raised in 1991 when the Derg regime collapsed and the vacuumed of power was on the air to grab, and a conference in London Isaias removed Eritrea from claiming the biggest trophy ‘Ethiopia’ for the smaller trophy ‘Eritrea’. Eritreans who had sacrificed the most to liberate Ethiopia had to settle for the second best leaving TPLF as the liberators of Ethiopia. I may say this Isaias’s biggest mistake in his leadership of the Eritrean Independence, not to claim at least of the war spoil, half of everything Ethiopia had, half the treasury half of the airline, half of the Ethiopian Air force and of course half of Addis. The rest half should have gone to TPLF and OLF. That could have been a fair compensation for the destruction Ethiopia inflicted on Eritrean people for decades. Isaias should have sat at Menelik Palace and take over the OAU. Now could he have done it? Yes of course he had the army superiority at that time and the civilian Eritrean population in Addis and the rest of Ethiopia running and controlling the economy in Ethiopia, all those who were deported when TPLF showed their truecolor. There you have for your hypothetical question my hypothetical opinion. I look forward to read for your opinion to my response.

  • Pappillon

    Dearest Yodita,

    Many thanks for those kind words ሓፍተይ ናተይ. The feeling is of course mutual. In fact it is not only mutual, every time when the PFDJ goons moonlight in investigative reports and say that you and I are one and the same person, that is the best complement I could ever hope in I ain’t kidding you. Simply because, not only it gives me a high school feel where all the girls “envy” a popular girl but your strong personality and character is a joy and a pride to all of us. Please keep on and keep on shining ሓፍተይ ናተይ

    • Ermias

      Dear Papi haftey, in my book, you hold a high and esteemed status as does Yodita. You both give me so much hope. Thank you, with much love!

      • Pappillon

        Dear Ermias,

        The same here. Your sharp mind and witty remarks are a great blend in the corridors of great ideas and at times downtime of Awate.


    • SM

      Where is Hayat Adem?I thought most people thought Pappi and Hayat are the same.

  • Ermias

    Dear Yodita and Mahmud Saleh (MS) aka Mister Splendid,

    You two are just too humble but that is the nature of good hearted and successful people.

    Just so we can focus on the issues, please allow me to ask you both some questions:

    1.Is Eritrea’s problem squarely a one-man (IA) problem? Meaning if he is gone, then the recovery begins maybe slowly but is that the beginning of the end of the gloomy days?

    2. I have read Yodita (or maybe it was Papillon) saying that Ghedli was hijacked midstream. When did the hijacking start? Pre- or post-independence? Who are the hijackers?

    3. One of the main things that completely deflates my hope for a future State of Eritrea is that the youth don’t seem to have bought into it. I say this because why aren’t there just like a half a dozen or so who initiate some kind of coup d’état? I can elaborate this question if needed but I guess my question is that are the damages done by this regime reversible so we can continue as a nation state?

    4. What should the role of Ethiopia be in future Eritrea and in our struggle for change? In other words, how much interdependence should we have? Do they need us more or do we need them more or should we just completely forget about each other, is that possible?

    I have many more questions but maybe some of these require article length responses so I will end for now. Please no need to feel obligated to respond.

    • mahmud_saleh

      Ermias, you appear to be an intelligent young Eritrean with genuine concerns; your questions are just very interesting; I hope many other young people will raise these types of questions. I have to give you answers you deserve to the best of my knowledge (the AT and other esteemed figures of this forum are reading your questions, Yodita, of course, is expexted to come with her take). I will be with you as soon as I am done.

      • SA

        Pappillon and Mahmud:

        I agree with what both of you wrote about Ermias. Sharp, witty, smooth, and agile are all appropriate descriptors of his writing. I especially appreciate the fact that his writing is informed and circumscribed by the horrendous suffering of our people. This is not to say others are not deeply affected by the suffering of our people, but with Ermias the suffering of our people finds clear expression and one can see that it is a factor in the positions he takes. One more thing: he is arguably the best writer in this forum who represents those of us who came of age after Independence.


        • Shabo

          Except the flip-flopping—changing stands back and forth….Raed on what he said about Yodita,Pappi,Hayat—

    • Saleh Johar

      You are the kind of person who can reply this with honesty.
      A few days ago I was talking to a young acquaintance and he kept trashing the older generation I thought he would remain thirty for the rest of his life. I asked him why he was angry, “n’Aana kgedfulna alewom nezi s’rAat kngetmo” he said. He Lives in Europe after escaping Eritrea.I was so mad at his disrespectful attitude I had to ask him a simple question: were,’t you close enough to confront the regime before you escaped? What makes you believe you can do a better job from Europe? He was furious and wouldn’t slow down his rage. What do you think of this? Why is the resolve of the youth lacking compared to the struggle era?

      • Ermias

        Dear SGJ,

        That is a great question but first of all, please allow me to take this opportunity to thank you, SAAY, and the entire AT for providing us with a world class forum to express our ideas. The information being laid out here by your team and the readers is beyond any human brain’s consumption potential, there is so much information with very little to throw away. I don’t know what you guys are doing right but you sure are attracting the brightest Eritreans, Yodita and Mister Splendid (Mahmud “Splendid” Saleh) are the latest examples.

        Sal, as astute as you are, I am pretty certain that you have noticed I get radically cynical from time to time. For example, I openly question if Eritrea is viable or not. Do I really doubt it? Heck no! Even Djibouti and Gambia are nations, to name just two with much less size, resources, and population. Or I can give you Vatican City (the size of a golf course), that is a nation. But when I read a story on Gedab News as in the one about the Eritrean refugees in Yemen, I can’t help but wonder ‘do these young Eritreans see absolutely no hope even on the graves of PFDJ that they exert not even a shred of resistance, even from their host countries as refugees?’ Among the many other things, one weakness I have in all areas of my life is that I tend to get very demanding. So when I write those cynical comments it is out of complete frustration that the people I trust in this forum are not giving me the answers I want and that puts me in a mode where I trash everyone I find on my way. I finally calm down and realize that nobody has all the answers. SAAY replied to Yodita today saying that there is so much more to know about Eritrea when she told him he knows everything or something to that effect.

        Anyway, to comeback to your question above, I should probably tell you first that I left Asmara shortly after the declaration of national service. So I don’t quite necessarily relate with your acquaintance. Let me try, however.

        I think the current Eritrean youth (or people upto the age of 30 or so) do not feel the kind of frustration I expressed in my second paragraph above. The sense of ownership of Eritrea doesn’t quite exist with them partly because of globalization. alem kushet koyna ala – I heard it from them. Their attitude is that “if I can’t find what I want* in Eritrea, I will find it elsewhere. I will not fight for it here. Why should I put myself in danger? I will just get out of here and eventually I will find it somewhere else. This place is not for me, it is for Tegadleti. They fought for it, they own it.” Sal, to put it in simple terms, they are selfish. They will not fight for anyone but for themselves like I said a couple of days ago. That is where the disconnect is. The ghedli generation was selfless, the new generation is selfish. I can’t put it in any other way. Have you noticed that when they come here, they seem insensitive about the people they left behind? I am actually surprised that your friend said to you “n’Aana kgedfulna alewom nezi s’rAat kngetmo”. I have yet to see that out of the so many I know. Quite to the contrary, they say “etom teqawemti zbahalu kaa…”

        *that could be political, economic, and social freedom.

        • SA


          Your response to SJ is spot on, and is in line with Andrew Delbanco’s views on the American life as cited by another author. Briefly, Delbanco divides American life into 3 phases. The first phase included the time from the nation’s founding up to the nineteenth century and the meaning of life meant living for God’s glory. The second phase included the time up to the mid-twentieth century and the meaning of life meant living for your nation (nationalism). The third phase includes the time period from the late twentieth century up to the present, and the meaning of life means living for yourself. During this period, “something died…any conception of a common destiny worth tears, sacrifice, and maybe even death.” In other words, increasingly people do not have bigger things than themselves to live for, and as you put it well that includes our young generation too.


          • Ermias

            SA, that was very enlightening. I read your other post about me. The feeling is mutual. You are very infrequently here but your thoughts are very deep. We need you more around here.

            You gave me too much credit though earlier but I am very humbled and I thank you.

            I can’t wait to see SGJ’s take on your analogy between Delbanco’s views as it relates to our youth. I wish Papi would too as she is so well read.

          • Ermias

            Hi SA, please read below a response from Serray to Haile and myself on an identical topic – about the current generation’s like of fighting back (it is a very interesting take). What do you think?

            “On the one hand these kids witness a regime of tegadelti enslaving them using an excuse a war they ignited, arresting, torturing, killing their loved ones and trafficking them; on the other, they are fed history at home and in school about the same people’s sacrifices and heroism and how they got them a country of their own. It is easy to see shaebia regime as the most barbaric regime on earth if you live outside – you have a point of reference – but it gets tricky when you are fed with a mind numbing propaganda about ghedli from both shaebia’s nazi like propaganda machine and your ghedli generation parents. For these kids, living in eritrea is like living in a home with a drunk, brutal and corrupt father and a clueless and unprincipled mother. In such home, a kid wouldn’t necessarily fight to change the dynamics of his family, he just wants out and try to find his or her center outside the insane home called eritrea.
            What the romantics do when they shut down the question, “what is the purpose of independence?”, is help break the fighting spirit of these kids. By glamorizing ghedli (and having a nation) to a ridiculous degree they distort the vision and ambition of the young. Add to that the semi-pfdjs claim that their enslavement: the reason the kids chose to sleep on the streets of yemen or risk having their organs harvested by savages or waste their youth in camps in ethiopia, israel and elsewhere, is necessary to secure the country and you have a picture of youth with absolutely no stake in the “give me, give me” nation of shaebia by shaebia.

            The kids need to hear unambiguously that their enslavement is wrong, period. Any mention by their confused parents and the pfdj side-kick romantics that somehow their enslavement has value to the nation’s security has huge repercussion. The hypocrite tegadelti who enslave them didn’t go to medda to spend their entire life fighting; they went because they thought their fight will end ethiopian rule. None of them went to medda knowing that they will be there for twenty or thirty years. But shaebia, which controls the length of time these kids are enslaved, is telling them that they will remain their property digging ditches and carrying heavy stones back and forth until they decide they don’t need them anymore. Who wants to be a citizen of a nation ruled by these people.

            For fighting to start, an unambiguous consensus has to be formed among the victims. A father, a mother, an uncle, an aunt or an opposition voice rationalizing their plight delays this consensus from forming. Since their plight is real, the kids opt to search for a solution in tight circles. There are kids who inform their parent from sudan for fear and shame. The empty bravado, the empty pride, of their tormentors and their side-kick romantics forces the kids to accept living on the street, drowning, been raped as a price to pay for not been like them.”

          • SA

            Hi Ermi:

            It is often a treat for me to read Serray’s posts and this one you reproduced above under your name is no exception. Having said that, I see one serious drawback in his analysis concerning the condition of our youth. I am going to respond only to his post you reproduced here for me, which is to indicate that I may not have a complete picture of his view on this topic if he has written subsequent posts. Ermi, the main drawback I see in his analysis is his implicit assumption that the Eritrean youth are living in a closed system where external factors have very little impact on the youth. He gives too much power to the propaganda of the regime on the youth’s lack of fighting spirit against the regime. He writes,

            “On the one hand these kids witness a regime of tegadelti enslaving them using an
            excuse a war they ignited, arresting, torturing, killing their loved ones and
            trafficking them; on the other, they are fed history at home and in school
            about the same people’s sacrifices and heroism and how they got them a country
            of their own. It is easy to see shaebia regime as the most barbaric regime on
            earth if you live outside – you have a point of reference – but it gets tricky
            when you are fed with a mind numbing propaganda about ghedli from both
            shaebia’s nazi like propaganda machine and your ghedli generation

            I am not arguing that Shaebia’s propaganda does not have any effect at all on youth’s current mindset at all, but based on my experience there are more plausible explanations for our youth’s mindset. In my last response to you, I noted that based on the Dulbenco’s work the American people are now living in the age of the SELF where the idea of sacrifice for something bigger than yourself is losing its appeal. Devotion to God and Nation are being
            increasingly considered backward ideas, and these ideas are being replaced by all kinds of pursuits to make the SELF happy. It is not an accident that you constantly hear these days ideas such as creating your own happiness, following your passion, and following your dreams.

            Now one may ask, what does this have to do with the condition of our youth? In my opinion, it has a lot to do with it, and you, Ermi, perceptively provided the link between the two by invoking globalization in your earlier post. By globalization, I am mainly thinking of the homogenization of the world through advances in communication technology. I am going to give some anecdotes to bolster my case.

            1. Most of my siblings, along with me, live in the West but I still have few siblings in Eritrea. I often talk to the ones in Eritea on the phone, and it is quickly obvious that they have a westernized mentality even though they are living physically in Eritrea. They impress me with their knowledge of the popular American movies and TV shows, and because of DVDs and too many satellite dishes in Eritrea, I believe my siblings are not the exception but the norm to the Eritrean youth. In addition, they generally DO NOT CARE about Eri-TV programs. In fact, I tried to talk to them a couple of times about an Eritrean movie and show I watched, and you know what their response was? They laughed at me and felt sorry for me that I was watching such crappy movies. They said, “You must have missed home.” So contrary to Serray’s analysis, the youth are being influenced much more powerfully by the Western culture than by any propaganda of the regime. Instead of taking the propaganda seriously, they tend to make fun of it.

            2. One young person I know very closely (age: mid twenties) who is in Eritrea was recently reminiscing about a certain person who moved from Ethiopia before Independence and settled in Eritrea. That young person said, “What a huge miscalculation it was to move from Ethiopia to Eritrea!” When you hear such comments and you realize these comments are being uttered inside Eritrea, it is more plausible to deduce that the youth have little attachment to the idea and glory of independent Eritrea.

            3. Finally, I have observed that the youth who have recently arrived here in the US are different from the rest of us who got here before them. My friends have made the same observation too. Not everyone might be like that, but generally the recent arrivals seem to be more aggressive and more self-centered than the rest of us. They seem to be more assertive in going after and protecting their interests. I am talking here both about the men and the women.

            To conclude, I do not believe the condition of our youth can be explained only by what is going on inside Eritrea. Obviously, the deplorable condition in Eritrea is what is driving them away from Eritrea, but my argument is that the propaganda of the regime has almost no impact on their inability to fight back the regime. Like the West, the predominant view among our youth gives little value to the concept of a Nation, and that is why they do not even care about fighting the regime. For our youth, it is much easier and more sensible to find their happiness elsewhere.


          • Amde

            Hi SA,

            You comment reminded me of an essay I read once. Called “The Fate of Empires” it was written by a British officer named John Glubb, who commanded the Jordanian army for so long he was known as Glubb Pasha (his Jordanian army was so well commanded, it is said that during the 1967 war, the Isralelis said they got the stiffest resistance from them, while the Egyptian and Syrian armies were relatively easily routed). His theory was that empires in general have about 250 years (10 generations) life cycles. The last phase is initiated by what he calls decadence (marked by “(1) too long a period of wealth and power, (2)
            selfishness, (3) love of money, and (4) the loss of a sense of duty.”)

            Please don’t take it as me agreeing the youth are fleeing for selfish reasons – I think it is more likely they are fleeing for survival reasons as stated by Yodita. A generational change is a tough thing to manage, and the 20 odd year cycle puts into adulthood a new generation that has no direct memory of what went before and thus discounts the reasons whenever the ruling order uses it as justification. It is a case of “What have you done for me lately”. For Egyptians, Hosni Mubarak was a hero of the 1973 war, and almost defeated the Israeli army when liberating the Sinai peninsula. But by 2011 he was so detested millions came out in the streets to send him off. Those millions are mostly the youth who don’t appreciate what he did in the 70s and why he did it, and they feel it is irrelevant to their daily lives.


          • Yodita

            Ato Amde,

            When Hosni Mubarak fell from grace, Al Jazzira put a documentary type reportage on what his reign was like, the power abuse carried out by himself, his wife and children and what have you. A person of your calibre from what I read in the forum, one would expect would be some awareness of that! When you attribute to the fact that he was detested by “Those millions are mostly the youth who don’t appreciate what he did in the 70s and why he did it, and they feel it is irrelevant to their daily lives.” you are so off mark I am simply mystified.

            Because of that one heroic act in 1973, he should be left to indulge in all sorts of mal-governance until his death and then pass on the power to his son without any attempt to put him down and hold him accountable for his excess??

            Your rationale puzzles me!

          • Amde

            Dear Yodita,

            I think we are caught in a cycle of mis-communication.

            I am not saying that he should feel entitled of being in power for ever because of what he did. I agree the Egyptian youth had many justifications of why they should attempt to remove him from power and kudos to them for forcing a change.

            What I meant to say was this. When he came to power he was popular for the role he played in the 73 war. That was still fairly fresh in people’s mind and they were OK to see him rule. As justifications for power go, winning a major war gave him serious street cred as they say. People were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt since he had demonstrated his heroism, patriotism and competence, AND they remembered the humiliation they felt after the 67 war and the occupation of the Sinai ever since.

            Now 20+ years later, most Egyptians were too young to remember the 73 war, and as far as they knew, the Mubarak government was responsible for the various miseries in their life. The new generation has no memory of what it was like, and so they don’t agree that should be the reason why they should allow him to use it as the basis for his legitimacy.

            I am just describing a natural process – I am not saying they shouldn’t have rebelled.

            I happened to be in Cairo in 2012, and I remember a cab driver specifically telling me that if it wasn’t for Mubarak’s plan to have his son succeed him, people would have still been OK with him (and he mentioned 73 to me). Now that cab driver was in his 40s, so he was just young enough to have had an emotionally significant and strong memory formed about the events of 73. So I would put his generation as the ones that have a remote positive memory of him. Any of those that came after him only knew of his legend – which as you can imagine would wear pretty thin after the retelling a few thousand times.

            Haile Sellasie was the progressive prince at the time. He had the first constitution drafted. He created Parliament. He had the first printing house established. After the Fascist invasion, Ethiopia’s few educated were decimated and he reconstructed the educated class. For many years, he the Emperor was the Minister of Education. He used to literally visit the boarding high schools he had built and sit down to join the students during meal time, and enquire about their living conditions. A couple decades later, a new generation of students overthrew him – blaming him for all the ills of the country. His many accomplishemnts as the progressive prince were forgotten and his whole dynasty ended with his very burial ground unknown for years.

            A generational change is very tricky, and one of the interesting things at least for me is that every generation has to have its own myth that it can buy into. At 23 years of age, the post Ghedli generation has no memory of the Ethiopian presence, and can only judge the current government of Eritrea on the facts of their life as they themselves see it, not on teh facts of the teghadelti life. What the government uses as the source of legitimacy (in this case liberation from Ethiopia), is as remote for them as what happened in 1922 or 1864.

            I remember on a recent trip I made to Ethiopia, where I ran into a street vendor selling books. One of the books he was selling was the new volume written by Mengistu Hailemariam. Surprised to see it sold so openly on the street, I asked him whether there was demand for it. He tells me “dehna new – andand ye duro sewoch manbeb yemifeligu allu” I realized then a true generational change had occured, with new realities, new memories, new ambitions and new demands. It’s just a fact of life.


          • Yodita

            Dear Amde,

            I appreciate your exhaustive response and have a clearer understanding of a generational disconnect. Thank you.

          • SA

            Hi Amde,
            It is interesting that I was going over my highlighted notes of Francis SchaeFfer’s book “How Should We Then Live” few days ago, and I lingered more on his paragraph concerning the fall of the Roman Empire. There is some overlap between your list and his list of the markers when empires fall. Here is the relevant quote:

            “Edward Gibbon (1737–94) in his ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ said that the following five attributes marked Rome at its end: first, a mounting love of show and luxury (that is, affluence); second, a widening gap between the very rich and the very poor….; third, an obsession with sex; fourth, freakishness in the arts, masquerading as originality, and enthusiasms to be pretending creativity; fifth, an increased desire to live off the state.”

            Now back to the Eritrean youth. I do not think there is any question that the youth are fleeing for survival reasons. What I was trying to address was the mindset of the youth vis-a-vis their inability to fight back against the regime. I was simply giving a worldview context to Ermi’s contention that the youth are more selfish than the Ghedli generation. My point in a nutshell was that the youth live in globalized world due to technology, and if we agree with Dulbenco’s analysis that we are living in the age of the SELF where the ideas of God and Nation have little appeal to people, then the youth will not fight back against the regime because they have a worldview which in general does not value “any conception of a common destiny worth tears, sacrifice, and maybe even death.” You could probably easily poke holes into my argument here by giving a counter example of the Egyptian youth who fought against the Mubarek and Morsi governments. What I would tell you is that there are multiple factors involved and I am focusing on one factor, and in the Eritrean case I find that the worldview of the supremacy of the SELF plays a powerful factor in our youth’s inability to fight back the regime.

            I find your idea of a generation cycle of 20 years and that generational change is tough to manage interesting. I agree that nations need a collective narrative to be stable, and if there is break in the collective narrative, that might lead to polarization and instability. There is no question such a break in collective narrative has been happening in Eritrea, and the youth do not buy into the collective narrative that Shaebia wants to impose on them. Where I might differ with you a little bit is as to the weight of the factors that are giving rise to such a break in collective narrative of the nation.You seem to believe that the condition of the youth can be explained due to the youth’s lack of direct memory of what Shaebia accomplished. That may be a factor, but you also have to remember that the youth have been bombarded their entire lives about Shaebia’s accomplishments. For me, a more powerful factor is not that the youth do not have a direct memory of what Shaebia did but that the youth do not value much the concept of a nation anymore.


        • Yodita

          Hawey Ermias,

          I would like to add a point I feel is relevant on why the youth are focussed on flight
          rather than staying to fight. It is now16 years since the border war raged. Those who are about 30 now, were around 14 then. They were old enough to know what was happening but too young to be conscripted and forced to fight. This border clash was not a skirmish of a few months but lasted TWO years claiming on both sides circa 70,000 souls!! Except IA and his cohorts, I think the whole
          Eritrean society agrees that this was a war to be avoided at all cost. My inflexible take on this is that IA should have left no stone unturned (may be go to Addis personally and see MZ eye to eye instead of refusing to take his phone call just before the start) to AVOID the war, in view of the loss (in terms of lives) the Eritrean people had suffered to achieve independence as recent as 7 years back.

          The reality on the ground is, the reason for which 19,000 lives (a figure admitted) perished has remained the same as the day before the war started. Deep down our youth sense that they may be
          called (at the whim and ineptitude of one single man) to do a similar madness and perish for no reason! We have no institutions for checks and balances. We have no parliament that would debate and reject a single man’s capricious decision to drag his people to a senseless war. They see no forging ahead in education and development, instead to quote YG it is ‘equality by subtraction’ which is the practice of the System. Bring Asmara to the level of a rural village seems to be the scope. The youth who witness all this choose to flee, it is so hopeless!

          The Eritrean people are known to be enduring during trying times, so the idea is to put them
          permanently perched in that mode, systematically subtracting everything to the struggle era level so that everything is under CONTROL! This way our ‘Great Leader’ can rule unperturbed and dab with poetry, some painting and what have you and the globe would be made aware what an unusual human being he is.

          I believe, much is systematically done by the present incompetent and cruel System to breed a
          strong sense of alienation in the hearts and minds of the youth and the people.

          • Ermias

            Yodita abay seb, reading your comments and learning is one thing but then your modesty when you address everyone of us is just very humbling. It just goes to show that we need to appreciate and cherish each other. Can I make a resolution in the middle of the year?

      • Nitricc

        SGJ, you should be arrested for comparing the Gedli generation with the current one.
        Few years back, I gave the details and plans of battle of Massawa 1990, to a person who teaches that staff at west point. After a few weeks I asked the general for his opinion and he simply replied by saying…..
        “I couldn’t decide if it is a fiction or just miracle” “either way, speaking from point of military science, it is next to impossible, however, the one thing that made it possible in my opinion is, there must had an impeccable code of honor.”
        I couldn’t agree more with the conclusion of the professor at West Point.
        So, SGJ, this generation lacks code honor and respect for time. It breaks my heart to see the Eritrean youth sleeping in the streets of Yemen and the deeds they do in Streets of Mekele and refugee comps in Tigray. A person with a code honor will do the honorable things to do. You die to make the wrong right and just. If the government of Eritrea is the source of the misery then get rid of it. Fight. Build your country, you belong there! Where are they going? You leave your country just to sleep in the streets and to be slave somewhere in western countries?
        Where is the honor? Where is reverence? Where is the pride? Where is the principle?
        Where is the Eritreanness that fought the mother of fight?
        So, SGJ, in life there are two major things you must have; code of honor and respect for time and this generation has none of it.

        • haileTG

          Wow…that is the GREATEST speech I’ve ever heard from Nitricc and agreed with emphatically. Hallelujah for that!! 🙂

        • Amanuel

          Hi Nitricc
          I don’t know what to make of the “Few years back I gave the details and plans of battle of Massawa 1990 to a person who teaches that staff at west point”.
          By your admission you are a young person looking forward to his national service in Eritrea. Now you are bushing the whole generation, the generation who defended Eritrea during the war of 1998-2000. The Generation who served his country for the last twenty years. Who are you? Let me tell you this, the difference between you and the generation you slugging off is that they have seen real war and they are trying to avoided it at any cost.

          • tafla


            I respectfully disagree with your assesment of the fleeing generation.

            The ones that are watching while their sisters get raped by traffickers, selling their brothers for crumbs, sleeping on the streets and lack a backbone in general are not the brave Warsay generation. This useless generation is mostly born post 1982. We have to tell it like it is, even if it’s not politically correct. One of the main (of many) driving factors for the mass exodus is Eritrean sheep mentality
            (Kab mesatukha terifka…)

            Nitric is spot on in his description!

          • Amanuel

            Because a few sold their brother and didn’t defend their sisters when they were raped the whole generation born post 1982 is useless. You are wrong, very wrong. You can’t deny them what they have done for their country from the comfort of the west.
            During the struggle many young people were going to the west, some were abandoning the struggle going to sudan, even some giving in to the Ethiopians (Wodogeba) betray their comrades. Because of these few you wouldn’t generalise that the generation born post 1960 or 1950 is useless traitors.Do you?

          • haileTG


            Not so sure about the sheep you’ve put it. PFDJ propaganda is tailored to induce fear. For young people, they’re only told to fear danger. Their parents tell them to hide or run away, not stand firm and face up. So, they are leaving due to hgdef mendef barbarity and people like Tekle ManJus selling them to organ harvesters alright. The problem is that they were inspired to be coward from early on. Mind you majority now are women and children and haven’t been to SAWA. You need to be a minimum of 35 years old to have been taking part in the border war. Most would be in their 40s. The average age of Lampedusa victims was 22 years, most were barely 5 year old during the border war. These are children that were brutalized by hgdef and didn’t have the courage to fight back.

    • mahmud_saleh

      Dear Ermias: I am busy but here is some of the points which you could expound on:
      Q1= I am an observer; I believe IA is definitely a problem, how determinant? I believe other qualified people need to interject. I left the country almost two decades, but since he is the president and we all know how control freak the man is, it is probably good to guess he shoulders most of the ills befalling the country. Post Issayas Eritrea is going to go through short but difficult period but all depends on how organized the change is finalized. Some scenarios that lead to change but could not tell what type of changes ( some may be more preferable than others)
      – peaceful internal reform which satisfies genuine opposition parties figures, Tanzania type, (something like national reconciliation conference in Asmara ( again it may be a dream, but hey, it is better to entertain a good dream than process horror scenarios)
      – EDF initiated
      -mass disobedience and uprising (intefadah)
      -foreign intervention (bad)= think of Afganistan turmoil.
      -civil war, if oppsition organizations get stronger militilary, or mutiny in the army where one part sides with the president and the other breaks ranks (bad-because it can lead to unforceable disaster, cicil war)
      That’s why citizens like you need to stand up and advocate for the best scenario, some actions could be quick but become liability in the long run. Do these have to scare us? No, but we just have to be genuine with what we are talking about and push for the best scenario; be active participant, criticize the opposition to get better,push for a culture of dialogue and accomodation ( you may want to revisit one of my replies to Haile)
      2. I personaly agree it was hijacked. Why because the goal every tegadalay fought for was:
      a/ to liberate land and people of Eritrea
      b/establish a people’s democratic Eritrea ( check out Issayas’s 1990 on participatory democracy and related post independence programs; this was when Asmara was under seige. Why it did not happen, one man can answer that_ Issayas. That’s why I say hijacked (you know where most of the founders of EPLF are; out of the 12 founding politburo, only two, the president and defense minister, and the thir is the secretary of hgdf, three people left,plus most of the many central commitee members are gone 14 years ago! ) The rest is, you know what followed. Up to that point, the organization that had liberated Eritrea had conducted itself by the ideals of the revolution, when the time came to implement the constitution, Badme… then arrests)
      Who hijacked it? my observation is as good as yours.
      3. I can’t answer this one.
      4. Any sound minded person will tell you that Ethiopia is strategic to us. Countries arrange their foreign office resources according to the importance of the countries they have ties with. When wounds start healing, Ethiopia and Eritrea are expected to have normal relations; the relations may develop to favorite partnership depending on the nature of the governments’ on both capitals. This is not merely political; it is an economic issue, rich and stable Ethiopia is to our advantage and vice versa.
      This is my view, based on my current reading of the situation….and am writing it on my break.

      • Ermias

        Wow brother Mahmud. That is very informative. Thank you so much. I hope everyone reads it but just to make sure that this doesn’t get embedded in the voluminous comments on this forum, here is my recommendation below:

        Dear AT, I sincerely recommend the above comment from our very own Mahmud “Splendid” Saleh be placed in the featured comment section.

      • SM

        Am mesmerized!Simple,honest,realistic and to the point.
        Things are getting balanced now.
        Kudos to big nrother.
        Keep it up.
        God bless you.

  • tes

    Dear Bel,

    Even you don’t know what you said. You said before that I am PFDJ and you accused me of my poor english and now pulling for my PhD program. I will better dissect you into pieces in the way you think and I may probably show you how bad hearted and corrupted minded you have, in that way, I can easily get my PhD. I can do that and I tell you I am doing it right now to you. If you continue, I will dissolve you into the world that you have never imagined, therefore, you have two choices; to follow the ideas that are here in awate forum or to follow me. the first will be to your advantage as you will learn more, but the second, I will make you my follower, no more a PFDJ follower.

    I am getting incredible ideas here and I am not interested in your unsettled mind. if you join me, we will be friends, if you chase me, I will be your teacher. Again, I tell you, I will show you who you are exactly. therefore, be rational and focus on the ideas that comes in this forum. Don’t try to assassinate people. I know what you are trained for, but be Humane.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear Tes,

      You don’t have to reply to any garbage talk. Keep your loop with the sound minds in this forum. That is my unsolicited advice.

      • tes

        Dear Amanuel,

        Thank you and I will do that. Though people like Bel are blinded by their pre-occupied PFDJ’s propaganda, I feel sometimes that it is good to provide them some light. Egrimengedna win may digamet fey enabelnalom kinkeyid, gele zihadig kfue mensfes antelo misiom.

        With all thanks Ema!

    • Bel

      I guess things are getting lost in translation here. Because you keep on interpreting things in a funny way, or may be I am failing to grasp what you are trying to say here.
      Now, for the record, I am not blaming HGDF for your English. I am not blaming HGDF at all. I am actually praising them for producing fine guys like you with appetite for education, strong drive and intelligent people sought by seven universities.
      The other stuff for following you, man, are you tripping or something? you are the one who left like a million replies to my one comment. And you are the one who jumping in, in everything engaging every one. So, chill.
      To me, you are HGDF, or a good product of HGDF. It is a complement, ok? common now!

  • GuessT

    Doesn’t Eritreans have more stronger case to claim Addis Ababa or Shewa
    than Ethiopians do have to Asseb or Denkalia ?

  • Nitricc

    Where is my dear Rahwa?
    I miss you baby.
    This is for you babe. I rather talk you

    • Pappillon


      So now you’ve the hots for a girl from “down south” huh? Talk about the cliche as in love is blind! Hope she will turn you against ህግደፍ መንደፍ as they say a woman can change a man.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Bel, I as reader can understand that your are PFDJ supporter. what shall I label you if you are supporter? I hope you will not asking me for proof as DIA the craziest man say it “where is the evidence” when in fact the world is watching.

    I didn’t see any single word in all Amanuel’s articles and comments that indicates he is Weyane ( those whom you call weyane are advanced people today). He had never been against our national struggle – in fact he was a fighter but he is for peaceful democratic Eritrea unlike PFDJ. so you are “in a hurry to weed out ”

    the great writer YG is complicating every thing – it doesn’t mater all the knowledge he have what maters is his stand for truth. there were a lot of educated people with EPLF and are gone. there are some remaining with PFDJ and they will go. Haile Fida was with Derg and he has gone. what remains is the stand and principle.

    Eritrea is a nation but we want it to be democratic as that is the end target of our struggle. continuing under PFDJ is dismissing our people and making it failed state. for Ertirea to remain sovereign state, we need to have government not PFDJ. TKS

    • Bel

      You totally lost me here,
      Perhaps you should go back and re read again the comment your are replying to and the one by your friend amanuel and come back, ok?

  • tes

    Dear Bel,

    Yes I am the product of PFDJ, the one that he was corrupted by. I told you, I am not hiding it, I lived under the PFDJ dictorial administration until August 2012. What then you want to say? And you talked about my English, don’t be a puppet, I said it by myself. By the way, if I am poor in English, that is how I am educated.

    Here, I am trying my best to share what I have, not to show my English skills. But, I am not like you who lived in the western world and is happy to see his own people live under dictarorship.

    • Bel

      Easy now, Tes……
      You keep on missing the point. May be it has to do with my English, which is worst than yours (You managed to write a couple of articles, didn’t you?) , so relax.
      The point here is you should be the last person to bad mouth HGDF (At least not the way you are doing it). Actually, in all practical sense, you are HGDF. Here, if you are to be taken as an example of any failure of HGDF, then HGDF must definitely rule the whole world. Because they did very good.
      The “Spoiled” part is this:
      You were complaining that, because of that stupid HGDF, you were forced to finish your PhD after your 30th birth day!. May be you don’t have a clue, but 80% of the Eritrean people dispersed out in different part of the world, do not go to higher schools and universities, but settle for cheap manual laborer, like kitchen porter or something with minimum wage. Even out of the few who continued their education, not so many get accepted by 7 universities. Do you understand now?
      On the “Protected by their government, and do know now what hardship” part:
      Most of the very young Eritreans who are being lured to abandon their country, do not have any clue of the cruel outside world. Before thy set out from Eritrea, if asked to list hardship in Eritrea, they would say “They give us tsebhi siga, ONLY twice a week, IZIOM (Generic) rigumat” or something like “Merah mesirina, niay bizuh gizie incheti ire iluni”, NOW, imagine in what state of mind these innocent people would be when confronted with the horror in Sinai! Because the span of what they call hardship in Eritrea was so narrow, the horror of outside world is hard to handle
      That is why I said you are one of the spoiled and protected, because you are saying stupid things like “I could not finish my PhD before my 31st birth day. Got it?
      Now here is an advice for you. If you insist you want to be called opposition or if you insist you must join a good for nothing losers, at least try to imitate the relatively reasonable guys (I said relatively). There are a bunch of them here. DON’T try to imitate the out of boundary fools who spend defaming and calling HGDF this HGDF that…. Trust me, they will corrupt you. They are not good for Eritrea, and they will definitely turn you into a good for nothing – just a hater

  • Amanuel Hidrat


    Isn’t it strange to debate on YG for years, who by the way, can’t change the new reality (Eritrea as sovereign nation)? He is having fun of becoming, him the topic of our debate for years. That was his strategy, and surely he has accomplished it. Can at one point say enough is enough, and let us focus on our nation and our people? Every time what we are debating on is, on the words he coined them in every essay he wrote, while the message is one and only one, and that is “Eritrea shouldn’t be a sovereign state.”

    • Bel

      Because you are so in a hurry to weed out* a big segment of the Eritrean people (Hgdf, Supporters, GOE, PIA, zombie, or whatever name you fools assign to the Eritrean people), and because your brain is so congested and clouded with the hate of these segment of people, you missed an important comment from Sal (That guy is cool sometimes by the way, and I never understood why he want to be associated with good for nothing haters, jealousy driven so called opposition), regarding this YG matter, a while back. The message of that comment goes like this:
      “YG has no substance and it would have been easier to ignore him, if not for the fact that lots of naïve or innocent young Eritreans seem to fall victim of his fiction” or some thing to that effect. In the quest to make sense to the hardship (big or small, self inflicted, lured or imposed) they might face in life, they tend to fall for an easy explanation and hence fall victim of the “out of this Earth” – wacko by the name of YG . And his foot soldiers. And their sponsors, the stinky woyanie (Your masters too, for that matter. That sounds circular..)
      *Courtesy of the Lenin Look alike guy. Nah, no connection to the Russian, just a book salesman

  • Nitricc

    Last night I was glancing through the while I was captivated with the NFL draft. (By the way where is Haqi, he nailed it months ago when he predicted that Clowny will go as number one overall draft. Personally, I would have picked Mack, but hey, give Haqi the credit)
    So, I was saying; while I was reading the forum, I came to read Ermias’s article targeting Yodita. Call it whatever you want, because I have no idea what Ermias is trying to say. The only thing Ermias crystal clear was is about his backwardness toward women. I don’t know which freaking planet he lives but someone has to call out this creep and remind him this is 2014 and he is talking to an Eritrean woman. What is even astonishing is; Ermias is throwing tantrum because Yodita defended the Gedli, which she have no knowledge of, ( according to Ermias ) I have no idea if Yodita participated in gedli or not. But what bothered was, Ermias is all giddy and happy says nothing when the misfit, jobless, good for nothing writes day and night trashing about gedli which he has no clue about. YG, never fired a bullet and never participated in Gedli. So, Ermias, the hypocrite, how is you say nothing to the jobless when he trashes Gedli he has no clue about and yet, you are flexing your noodle muscle at Yodita for expressing her say? Why? Because she is a woman?
    I am not defending Yodita, trust me she will have you for breakfast, she don’t need me. I just want to understand your backward self and I want every one to see how hypocrite you are. Check your self !

    • Ermias

      Dear Nitricc, I just have one question for you, after that you will never see me here again because all you guys care about in this forum is the Land of Eritrea and not the People of Eritrea. If I had all the power in the world, I would uproot every single human being from Eritrea and put them in a safe place somewhere and leave the land up for grabs for anyone to take, if that is all it takes to spare my people all the agony they are dealing with.

      Now to the question. You accused me of harassing Yodita because she is a woman. Wow! When I write to anyone here, I see no gender, age, race, or what have you because we are all fake characters here with deceiving nicknames. Without much further ado, the question to you is:



      • Nitricc

        Hahahaha, I don’t lol. You are right she could be with it bigger than mine. Lol
        Anyway I wasn’t defending her. She is yours and she belongs to you on the camp of toothless opposition. I say what I have said because you gave a free pass to YG and you came down on her. Like I said, I did it out of principle if not you deserve for each other and I will gladly see you two eat each other out.
        Again, don’t act like a little you know what when someone criticize you. If you are wrong say, my bad. If you are right, hold your ground and say your peace. I have neither grudges nor bad feeling about you. You just happen to take a bone head move.
        Now, why do you give YG a free pass when trashing gedli with out experiencing it ever? Yet, you questioned yodita. Grow up and answer me.

    • Yodita

      Hi Nitricc,

      Ermias is one of my ‘lamp posts in so please hands off him, at least as regards Yodita!! The other
      evening, I went to his Disqus to find in his posts an indication of what made me state that he was in Ghedli and ended up reading him from A to Z, albeit fast. Apart from his infatuation with Saba (which could be any female’s envy), Ermias is, in my humble opinion, rich in content and resilient. I found neither rigidity nor malice in his voluminous input since the Disqus era.

      Nitricc please re-read your own post and honestly assess how maliciously insulting it is. I think guys like you, in order to please their masters, end up damaging them brutally. On the other hand, in obsequious imitation of the self-appointed illegal leader, most Hgdefawian are noted for your style of communicating, at their peril. Your rants and uncalled for insults make you appear as a mal élevé of the worst kind!

      PS – I was just posting this when I saw Ermias’ post wondering if I am a woman. This is baffling since I do not fathom why I should appear as a man! It is too cumbersome hiding behind a nick but to also hide behind a gender, I fail to see the advantage. Not only am I a woman but a woman who bestows additional regard and respect to woman-kind as I feel they bear a heavier weight of life’s arduous task above and over their naturally assigned role to nurture selflessly.

      • Ermias

        Dear Yodita, when I said, ‘how do you know Yodita is a woman?’, I was trying to exonerate myself that I am not biased against women. My point to Ntircc was that do not assume anything. If for nothing else, I am extremely gifted (sorry for my big ego) at finding minute details and trends and there is no question in my mind that you are a woman. A great and extremely intelligent at that. There is nothing that makes me happier than to see a great woman like youself. When I vote, if I don’t know the candidates, I blindly vote for the women, period. Women are at least 50% of Eritreans and so without empowering and appreciating our women, we go no where. I have been to so many committees and the women do the work and the men talk. I have had women superviors, mentors, tutors, teachers, and I have 8 sisters, believe it or not all with incredible talent and gift. I am nothing compared to them.

        This accusation from Nitricc made me really agitated and I am shaking as I write right now.

        Dear Yodita, please do not hold anything against me. I did not mean to attack you personally in any way. But I can certainly tell you that I have extremely deep resentments against Ghedli. Like everyone, I lost a dear brother and cousins and azmad etc emo adiom tikutserom eyu zbahal. One thing, I should admit is that when it comes to Ghedli, I get extremely agitated and perhaps unreasonable and unfair for the reasons that I stated yesterday.

        As I said time and again here, I just come to this forum to read incredbily intelligent people like yourself, SAAY, haile, Serray, papi, Hayat, the list doesn’t end. My contribution is minimal and I would never pretend like I am at the level of you giants. Put me in the class of the Nitrcc’s, Hopes, small dawit’s and the like and I would recommend you ignore us and debate with Mahmud Saleh, SAAY, Haile, etc. We are here to distract you all.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam Ermias,

          You are too quick to give judgments. Again, as far as the commentators use nicknames, you don’t have to trust their genders. If they couldn’t come with their real names, how could I believe they are coming with their real genders. That is the saddest part in debating with the unknown caricatures. So just engage with the descent real names and nicknames.

          • Ermias

            Dear Emma, thank you for the reminder (although I had a different thing in mind than judging). I have taken note!

        • Mahmud Saleh

          Please don’t elevate me to that club. Just humbled. I am new to this forum, but boy, I’m glad I noticed this brilliant woman called Yodita, right away.

          • Yodita

            Kuburat AHwatey Mahmud Saleh and Ermias,

            I am such an everyday person, I am sometimes totally overwhelmed that my inputs are worthy of attention, let alone praise! SAAY put in one single paragraph what I attempted to say in the most laborious and lengthy way imaginable about the regional nature of the Menka’E phenomenon in our Ghedli. It is just all that bad, that I would have to go to such length and in such a contorted way
            what SAAY was able to say in a few lines: simply, clearly and authoritatively because he speaks the language of a scholar (vis-a-vis mine which is too ordinary and ‘apologetic’). I am not deflating my value, if any, but I hardly deserve what both of you and some other Awatistas give me credit for. I am
            not exaggerating, I cringe with discomfort sensing the over-evaluation!

            BUT please allow me to let off my guard and confess one thing, contradictory as it is: I love you both for the empathy and empowerment you lavish on me. Haftckum

          • Mahmud Saleh

            On behalf of all those who benefit from your inputs, we love you too.

          • Ermias

            Yodita, you are starting to make me forget about Saba, if you know what I mean. With respect!

          • saay7

            Selamat Yodita:

            It’s all good sis. Harbeyna Weyanai T. Kifle, who is well-read, is just testing you:) Your rightous gratitude and veneration of our Ghedli and its role in inspiring the TPLF is known (including to him: because he is well-read.) But just in case he forgot:

            “Gessesew Ayele (Sihule) was one of several Tigrayans who had contacts with [Hamed] Idris Awate. Many politically conscious Tigrayans showed sympathy and admiration for the insurgents in Eritrea, not because they supported the secessionist agenda that was gradually taking shape, but out of their resentment against the governments that left the people of Tigray in misery and despair.”

            Berhe, Aregawi. “The Origins of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.” African Affairs 2004: 569-592

            Have a great weekend!


          • T. Kifle

            Dearest SAAY,

            Come on Sal, you are better than that. I by no means dismiss the side roles we all have played as we marching to our own separate goals. We had been even tactical friends during ghedli, tied military alliances after independence and Ethiopia even deployed its air defence to protect Eritrean air space from eventualities while Eritrea was at loggerheads with Yemen while at the same time helping both countries solve their problems in amicable manner. My friend, I don’t deny all of that as the EPLF tend to delete our contribution during the Red Star campaign and many other occasions. What I disagreed with Yodita is her assertion that Ethiopia wouldn’t have been at where she is today had it not been for Eritrean Ghedli. I expected many reasonable minds would correct here illogical contortion which is condescending and serves no purpose to say the least.

          • saay7

            Harbeyna Weyanai T.Kifle:

            While we are putting things in context, let’s note that you were replying to Yodita who was replying to YG. The two points that Yodita made are perfectly valid: that Eritrea’s Struggle (we are too modest to call it revolution) was a springboard for many Ethiopian liberation fronts that followed AND within the EPLF (she didn’t say it, but also within ELF), there were Eritrean strugglers who were internationalists: they saw their struggle in perfect sync with oppressed people throughout the world.* Again, T.Kifle, please remember the context: she is replying to YG who delights in calling the Eritrean revolutionaries as clueless people who, on some misguided impulse (and at the beck and call of Arabs) decided to go shooting at their fellow Habesha brethren.

            The reason I say you are well-read is because you are. Thus, I need not cite sources to tell you that the reason the TPLF arose is for a number of reasons: (a) decades long humiliation at the hands of Shoan dynasty: in Menelik’s time, in 1910, the yg of the time was writing: “there are hardly any Tigrayan youth left in their birthplace, Tigray. Like a swarm of bees without their queen, they are aimlessly scattered in four corners of the earth.” (b) the fact that Tigray was, for centuries, a battleground state and therefore, there was a “gun culture”: in some periods, there were more guns in Tigray than the rest of Ethiopia combined; (c) clearly and undeniably, it secured and enthusiastic support from EPLF (to balance the ELF’s partnership with TLF) and it was the EPLF which trained the first recruits inside Eritrea who then went back to Dedebit.

            And, because you are well-read, you will also note that the collapse of the Haile Selasse regime was accelerated by Ethiopian soldiers stationed in Eritrea who gave their immediate support to the emerging popular revolution (kidnapped by Mengistu just like Isaias has kidnapped ours.) And you know that the first thing that happened was to find a political solution for Eritrea, the Derg (before the triumph of Mengistu) sent Aman Andom to Eritrea who, in Keren, addressed the citizens in Arabic.

            The second point, which Amde is skeptical about, is the internationalist credentials of some within the EPLF. J. Markakis, who is the authority on this (he is quoted by everyone who writes about Eritrean and Ethopian revolution) has mentioned this, I believe, in one of his many books. Many of the members of E.Na.Sa.E. (EFLNA: Eritreans for Liberation in North America) who were funding the EPLF in the early years after its disassociation from Sabbe (one could even say from extinction), were internationalists–and some joined the field. One of them is now the Under Secretary General of the United Nations.

            So, yes, I do think you did what you always do: rush to the defense of the TPLF even for imagined slights.


            * One of the things that yg harps on is that the ELF studied and was influenced by Algeria. You might volunteer the information: yeah, so was the TPLF because revolutionaries study revolutions before them. I expect the “Ahnd Ethopia” gang to cheer yg when he denigrates our Ghedli; but it always disappoints me when Harbeyna Weyanai does it.

          • T. Kifle

            Dear SAAY,

            I completely agree with your exposition.

          • Hayat Adem

            T. Kifle,

            I, too agree, on what Sal renumerated as EPLF’s help for TPLF, but with a cautionary reminder to everyone that the help was two-way. Otherthan those mentioned by Sal, one other critical help the EPLF extended to Weyane, (a trusted source told me just recently, and I think T. Kifle might confirm) is that while EPRDF forces were pushing deep south on many fronts of Shoa, Wello, Gonder areas, their base Tigray became vulnerable from likely offensive by the 2nd division Derg forces in Eritrea. Reading the opportunity, the Derg tried to attack Tigray from Eritrea and the EPRDF forces were far away to come to defend. There were only some trainees, poorly armed militias and for that reason a rescue force was deployed by EPLF and transported to inside Tigray, and together with militias and trainees, it helped repulse the forces back to Eritrea.

            I don’t want to go on meticulous inventory of what help flow back and forth b/n the two and see who got more help from other. But, I wonder why Sal always makes it his job to mention what Weyane got from Shaebia, and never cared to equally highlight how Weyane helped Shaebia. He speaks of what TPLF did to ELF and fails to say a word if ELF did any wrong unto TPLF. He speaks of what Shebia did for TPLF and stays mute if there was any equally notable /if not more/ help EPLF got from TPLF. Why is that?
            I think the central lesson to take home as far as this issue would be whenever the two sides were helping each other, they fared well and prevailed even under tremendously tough situations. When they didn’t, they had been seriously challenged. And when they antagonized each other, the misery spilled over beyond the Fronts to include the peoples and to the region. That is why Eritrea and Ethiopia should ALWAYS cooperate and reproach if they are to shine and gain.

          • Shabo

            Huh,back stabbesr,biters of the breasts,which fed them until they reached 18yrs old—Eritreans never denied the TPLF help but will also,never,forget what they did to our ELF borthers and sisters,by proxy,Majority of Eritreans.

          • T. Kifle

            Dear Hayat,

            I welcome you back to the forum. The whole saga started when Yodita, in good intention(I said it then and I repeat it now), made a gratuitous statement as I put it in my preceding comment. Sal came to her defence, still in good intention, as she was targeting the common punch-bag YG. Pappillon(Hey, you are a reason for reading the book-Pappillon and you owe me a cup of coffee here in Addis) also joined the “fight” and we made few ping-pongs. Now, Sal took the initiative to act as ሽማግለ and contextualized whole thing and I accepted.

            Let me tell you a little secret. Sebhat Ephrem attended a “graduation” ceremony of our TPLF’s mechanized and commando units at Atsbi, Tigray. TPLF was represented in the man of Siye Abraha, the military commander of EPRDF. In his speech, he thanked Sebhat and EPLF for the generous help they extended all along. Then Sebhat was invited to take the podium to address the tegadelties and in direct reply to what Siye’s thank-you-message, he had to say this: እቲ ስየ ዝበሎኳ ትም ኢልካ’ዩ። መንዩ’ሞ ንመን ከመስግን?. That’s was a message so terse and so profound.

            Legend has it that during the trying moments of the “Red Start Campaign”, EPLF leadership had reached a decision to destroy its entire logistics in its base area to retreat to Sudan for possible regrouping and God knows what after that. Then, they were requested to delay their decision to make the last attempt with the help of TPLF tegadelties. The first company unit of TPLF reached hurriedly took their positions ,defended so well till the entire brigade arrives and changed the entire picture of the battle. Then, tegadelties of both fronts defended in extraordinary resolve over extended period of time. EPLF survived. Ghedli survived. the rest is, as they say, histroy. When you tell this to Sal to remain grateful to a job well done, he quips on the “shrewdness” of TPLF for it knew not helping EPLF means a wilful suicide as it would be the next on the line of the Dergue campaign.

            The information you provided here regarding the battle of Rama-Adwa is very accurate. For the tactical reasons you mentioned Dergue startegized to ease the onslaught in Shewa by invading the ሓራ መሬት of Tigray. Moving tegadelties from Shewa would take more than a week and it was a grim image of realty. All the tegadelties 08( cadres), militias, tegadelties that were in recuperation in our Dejen Hospitals, commando brigade that was under training and EPLFites together repulsed the invasion. The self-less tegadelties that used to take every opportunity to create humor out of every situation named that operation as ወፍሪ ጆንትራ. I guess many participants in this forum might had styled their hair ጆንትራ at least once in their past.


          • Hayat Adem

            You are good. At the risk of irritating my brother Sal, it is a pleasure to read your comments and benefit from your wealth of knowledge and reasoning.

          • T. Kifle


            My take on Eritrean Ghedli more or less falls on about Semere Andom’s view of it.

          • anonymous

            Auguri,Fratello mio,SAAY and God bless you.
            May I ask you wether you are :a “Political Scientist”,Economist,Linguist,Statistician,Public Health PH.D holder,Historian.etc–or all of the above?
            Welida Ade…
            I used to admire Mr.Ali Abdu,specially when I listen to his interview with the VoA and I used to take it “for-granted” as he has all the experience since his early Teenage life since he joind Ghedli at the age of 15 or so,I believe(correct me)–but here I see kind of a Super Ali Abdu.
            Halib Ghemel astekanna–

          • Nitricc

            SAAY what is going my man?
            I see you unloading it. I watch TV Tigray almost all the time and they show TPLF fighters running and shooting. And they say we should accept responsibilities for our martyrs. The truth is they have no clue till this day who died and where. the TPLF copied everything from EPLF with absolute mastery. They forgot to copy one most important thing on their copy cat history. They don’t even know their own fallen heros yet, they try to trash the Great Eritrean Gedli.
            We were even told by some Eritrean wanna be that with out TPLF Eritrean independenc would never have materlized.
            Now she is changing her stand. I hate flip flappers.

          • saay7

            Hey Nitricc:

            “Today is a good day; didn’t have to use my AK.” – Ice Cube


          • Yodita

            Kbur Hawey SAAY,

            Your scholarship and articulation is exemplary. I do not know what important role you will play in ‘free’ Eritrea but you are a treasure for the young generation, a source of pride. You shine with knowledge and energy that is rare. I do not always agree with everything you say, but I have reverence to your calm way of stating things on how they truly are!!

            Thank you and thank you and thank you, Hawey.

        • SideLiner

          How do you know that women are 50%?

      • Nitricc

        Listen lady, I wasn’t defending you. I was acting out of principal. I don’t give a flying hoot if you like what I have to say. I just don’t care. So, please save it. if you want to take a shoot at me don’t beat around the bush come out and say. You are known for your temper and wild accusation. I am not making it up. How many times did you falsely accused the awate-team? I rest my case, in saying I am not surprised your action toward me and your wild accusation. So, please safe it for others. Again, I wasn’t defending you. I was making a point to my good enemy Ermias. I don’t think you get though.

  • Yodita

    Kbur SAAY,

    To quote Shokortetino “you are the one and only”! Tsebay setye zHawey. God bless you!!

    PS: are there things about our country that you do not know about? So far as I know, I believe not.

    • saay7

      Selamat Yodita:

      To rephrase a common expression, the things I don’t know about my country could fill the entire country. I don’t know much; I am substituting for those who do because those who do know are not big fans of writing.


      • Ermias

        SAAY, there are not very many who know as much as you do. Your humility and exemplary civility to those who have even diametrically opposite views to yours is an envy that I have always had of you. There are things that come naturally, like they say in sports, ‘you can’t teach that.’

  • Alem

    It is interesting to see the infatuation with YG.YG is intellectually dishonest. He does not support the quest for eritrean independence and he disqualifies it with the mistakes of ghedili, which is the product of the quest itself. Many people have debated the quest for Eritrean independence from the 60’s till independence so if YG bring this quest again to debate, he would have found fewer followers. Instead he tricks people by deflecting the criticism from the question of independence itself into the failures of ghedli. This is attractive because only few people have debated ghedli, it is the unknown for many nonEPLF/Non ELF Eritreans, specially after PFDJ failures. So people who supoort or do not support Eritrean independence are equally attracted by this criticism of ghedli. However YG criticism is the quest of eritrean independence itself but his evidence is the failures in the struggle to fulfilling it. If ghedli was efficient and post independnce eritrea was democratic, would YG accept eritrean independence? I do not think so because for YG the idea of Eritrean independence by itelf is wrong, nomatter how you get it.

  • Amde

    Dear Yodita,

    I was about to nod and accept that with the use of qualifiers such as “some elite” “true revolutionaries” “elite revolutionaries” I could be persuaded that perhaps there were some who genuinely did believe they were fighting for a regional and even global idealistic cause. Then you drop this bombshell on me… “Some of the elite revolutionaries in leadership position, the most of the fighters and the masses grasped this VISION and were ready to give their and their children’s lives to achieve it. This is the true nature of our Ghedli before it was systematically ‘raped’! ( hate to use this

    Come on! “MOST” of the Fighters AND the masses? Ready to give THEIR and THEIR CHILDREN’s lives? Dear Yodita – this is not rational. Was this just rhetorical flourish or do you sincerely believe this? Did most of the Ghedli dead die for Assella or Afabet? Did mothers send off their sons to die for Assella or Afabet? I don’t know if you have children – would YOU have sent your children to die for Afabet let alone Assella?

    It is rather surprising that even so many years after the “ghedli” it is possible to have such a completely subjective and patently absurd interpretation of events that were experienced by hundreds of thousands. If you have ever heard of
    E-Prime, here is a link Basically E-Prime stands for English Prime, and is a rule that forces you to avoid using any conjugation of the verb “to be”. In other words, avoid using words like “it is”, “It was”… It forces one to appreciate how much of what we say is so subjective. I will be the first to admit that I definitely need to practice more of it. Your posting(s) on the nature of the Ghedli would have been very much helped if you had stuck to “I felt”, “I thought”, “my impression was…”

    I do not believe the Ghedli fighters were mainly proto-Trotskiyite (as your description logically makes them out to be). I would rather stick to the simple and straightforward. Many fought against what they perceived or assumed or were led to believe was something against their local/parochial interest. Many others fought because of social pressure or circumstances beyond their control. Very Very Very few stake their own lives for such a distant abstraction. And I have NEVER heard of anyone staking the lives of their children. That is actually more into the cult territory out of which horror movies are made. And perhaps a cult is perhaps a better metaphor for the kind of indoctrination that was rampant in the Ghedli and still maybe pertains to this day.

    Dear Yodita, as a counterpoint to your subjective interpretation of the Ghedli, please allow me to propose an objective criteria so that I can propose a description of what Ghedli was. There is a saying that states “Amateurs talk tactics, Professionals discuss logistics”. Another one “I am tempted to make a slightly exaggerated statement: that logistics is all of war-making, except shooting the guns, releasing the bombs, and firing the torpedoes.” I hope you can agree with me then that we can trust the the professionals that the fate of a military endeavour lives and dies on logistics logistics logistics, however exalted the vision, and however brave the fighters.

    On that score, what is Ghedli’s meaning? I will present you with two quotes (actually one paraphrasing, one an actual quote).

    Quote 1)

    This I was told by someone who himself heard Gebru Asrat relate a story of what happened during TPLF’s time as a guerilla in the bush. Apparently, the TPLF caught wind that Egypt was supplying arms to the EDU. Incensed, Gebru and party – themselves going to pick up their allotted portion of arms – lectured the Egyptian security officers about the reactionary and backward nature of the EDU, and how a progressive country like Egypt should not be supporting the EDU devils. The Egyptian told him to shut up, stating ” we don’t care who is firing the bullets as long as it is fired against the Ethiopian government”

    Quote 2) This is by one of this very forum”s august participants, who states
    “… Did we snatched armored vehicles, tanks, and light weapons from the enemy in a protracted and fierce battles in the process of liberating our country? Yes we did. But the main source of our war machines and food supplies are the Arab countries and some an indirect supply from western countries. So don’t lecture us as if our ghedli has purely succeed by self-reliance…”

    So, if we are to add up the parts, Ghedli is the utilization of the life and limb of the natives of the region who have political grievances with the Ethiopian government of the day, to shoot ordnance mostly provided by Middle Eastern countries for the purpose of the destruction of the economic, military and social resources of the Ethiopian State. It is a cost free strategy as the ones dying are not middle easterners, and they do it willingly under the delusion of bringing Global Emancipation utilizing the poorest and most wretched corner of the planet as the spring board for this holy world enterprise.

    I will leave it as my logistics theory of Ghedli. Not copyrighted so you are free to use it as you see fit.


    • Mahmud Saleh

      Ato American
      1. There is hardly a family that has not paid a price.
      2. You may choose to ignore it but ghedli was not a choice for Eritreans. You may have your own version of history which we are familiar with. You don’t have to lecture us on what we should or should not have done. We stood up to the challenge by refusing occupation and the brutality of your country rulers and killing machine. You seem to be well educated but are acting like a blind chauvinist. Have you ever lived in Eritrea and experienced what we experienced? Have you tried to find out why Eritreans chose to bear the untold sacrifice? Eritrean Revolution Was mainly nationalist in its immediate object but had leftist orientation and therefore would not be a surprise to see literatures affirming it was part of the overall socialist movement. One of the diplomatic obstacle was the fact that we were fighting socialist Ethiopia. But I can assure you, as you alluded to it, we were fighting for our “local/parochial interest”_ we call it home/country. Try to understand that we still feel it, if you were oromo

      • Amde

        Selam Ato Mahmud,

        I am sorry you did not get what I intended to communicate. I don’t even know where you gathered the things you accused me of. I thought I went out of my way to re-iterate that I thought those who fought in the Ghedli did so for very understandable reasons – mostly for feeling treated unjustly however it manifested itself. These would be very understandable and you will not find me arguing that the the Ghedli should not have been fought. I accept that those who made the choices at the time had reason they felt were legitimate enough and I am not in their shoes so far be it from me to judge what they did when they did. If you thought my use of the term “local/parochial” was meant as a disparagement, then you have to know that it was meant as a counter point (and to me a far more believable and honorable one) than the Global cause Yodita posted here about.

        Yodita wants to tell us that;
        a) MOST(she used the word MOST) ghedli fighters fought NOT for the goal of Eritrean liberation, but for the goal of making Eritrea a staging ground for world revolution,
        b) the first target of this world revolution was going to be “Ethiopia” whose poor people needed it and on whose behalf Eritreans were willing to sacrifice themselves and their children,

        Yodita’s prose is exquisite, and she is re-creating positive emotions about what she thought Ghedli was about. But what she is writing is not believable. What you yourslef said demolishes her argument. You said ” We stood up to the challenge by refusing occupation and the brutality of your country rulers and killing machine.”. You are ascribing survival as the motive for Ghedli. She is ascribing world revolution as the motive for Ghedli. I believe the motive you state. I do not believe hers.

        According to Yodita, Ethiopians didn’t know they were oppressed, Ethiopians needed to be liberated, Ethiopians needed to learn how to fight, Ethiopians needed to learn discipline. Whatever small peace and breathing space Ethiopia has now is due to Eritrean struggles on our behalf. Happily for us, Eritreans went to the bush to sacrifice their children so that they can bring enlightenment to us the ignorant undisciplined masses. I am sitting expecting the logically follow up statement to come: “We are in this mess because we fought and died on your behalf” This is the kind of patronising attitude that most Ethiopians find rather irritating.

        Now you called me “… well educated but are acting like a blind chauvinist…” I wish you had understood what I wrote. Nevertheless I will ask that you entertain the possiility that perhaps due to my education, I am neither acting, nor am I blind, nor am I a chauvinist.


        • Mahmud Saleh

          Dear a Amde:
          I read your reply; perhaps I should have read all your threads before replying ( lesson learned), I will do just that. Thank you for being collected. I have respect for the people of Ethiopia. During ghedli, our literatures, instructions and actions were reflective of the fact that Ethiopian masses were our allies. Some Ethiopians don’t buy this, but since you seem to be someone interested in our history, I’m sure you have some supporting evidence of your own. I honestly thank you even for participating with us. Regarding the “elite” issue, Yodita and you may have it further discussed and we may benefit from it. But it is safe to say Eritrean ghedli was launched because people were clearly suffocated, all peaceful means, including students and workers strikes were met with brute force. Actually there was no ideological tendency during its infancy years. Leftist theories took hold in the early seventies with the emerging of the secret party in the EPLF and with the labor party in the ELF. I will study your threads, and I hope my gut feeling was wrong, in that case i apologize; thank you again.

        • Yodita

          Ato Amde,

          “According to Yodita, Ethiopians didn’t know they were oppressed,
          Ethiopians needed to be liberated, Ethiopians needed to learn how to
          fight, Ethiopians needed to learn discipline. Whatever small peace and
          breathing space Ethiopia has now is due to Eritrean struggles on our
          behalf. Happily for us, Eritreans went to the bush to sacrifice their
          children so that they can bring enlightenment to us the ignorant
          undisciplined masses. I am sitting expecting the logically follow up
          statement to come: “We are in this mess because we fought and died on
          your behalf” This is the kind of patronising attitude that most
          Ethiopians find rather irritating.”

          I did not even address what was going on at that time in Ethiopia which I firmly believe was of equal magnitude as regards the elites’ attempt to struggle against backwardness and oppression. I was most focussed in replying to YG’s stand that the Eritrean Ghedli was a mistake, a loss to the people.

          Please read back the above paragraph of yours and see how you are putting your own fantasy into my post. I normally avoid dealing with apparently nice people but capable of twisting matters into the ugliest terms in order to win an argument.

          I have always said it and I reitreate it here. My respect for the Eritrean, Ethiopian or any other people who are being used and absued by clever elites (capable of saying what was never said?) is EQUAL. I do not differentiate. I tried to point out as far as my ability allowed me that the spirit of the Eritrean struggle had its Ethiopian (or even mongolian) class brethern in mind and was not aimless or myopic as YG make is out to be. It had a regional if not a global flavour to it.

          Reading your about post, I realized you are the most unfair person I have come across in this site and find you more unpleasant than PFDJ goons who can be most insulting.

          A chauvinist is too mild for you who put loads of accusations against me when I never even said a word on Ethiopians or about what was going on there at the parallel time our Ghedli was going on. I have too much respect for the Ethiopian people and have been accused many times for being a Tigrean instead of an Eritrean and I do not believe it matters whether you are any nationality or tribe or colour or religion. What matters is if you are honest, aware and compassionate. Ask yourself if you are these values but please, don’t reply to me as I honestly don’t give a HOOT!! You strike me as one who MUST win an arguement even twisting things beyond their intended meaning.

          Mahmud Saleh: You do know how much I regret to have dragged you into this mess. You most certinalty do not deserve this as you seem so decent and honest. I am sorry!

          The Cosmic law dictates that Fabrication is a cardinal sin.

    • Yodita

      Dear Amde,

      During the early 70s, the concept that all the masses should unite in their struggle to defeat the same enemy (exploitation and subjugation of man by man), and the world would be transformed into a FREE and JUST was
      rampant. The fact that there were was no enmity between the Eritrean and Ethiopian masses (or any other country’s masses) and that once what makes them unequal is removed they would be fraternal and march together WAS taught in all the mass organizations outside, not to mention inside the EPLF held areas in Eritrea.
      Alongside the goal to remove an occupier, awareness to reject any form of fetters and ‘slavery’ were taught that stole the hearts and minds of young and old. This aspect may not be as important and as clear to you as it is to me.

      Your Quote 1:
      Gebru Asrat and his comrades, how on earth did they believe “… a progressive country like Egypt should not be supporting the EDU devils.”? The reality on the ground in Egypt was that Sadat’s government was CLAMPING on religious and secular opposition!! (unless you are writing pre-1970).

      “ …. President Nasser died and was succeeded by Anwar Sadat in 1970. Sadat switched Egypt’s Cold War allegiance from the Soviet Union to the United States, expelling Soviet advisors in 1972. He launched the Infitah economic reform policy, while clamping down on religious and secular opposition.

      Your Quote 2:
      “…Ghedli is the utilization of the life and limb of the natives of the region who have political grievances with the Ethiopian government of the day, to shoot ordnance mostly provided by Middle Eastern countries for the purpose
      of the destruction of the economic, military and social resources of the Ethiopian State.”

      Your “IS” above is so cocksure that although traces of what you state probably took place, it was not the BULK of it. Are you to fight regimes such as the Emperor who burnt entire villages and ferociously bloody Mengistu empty handed and risk being annihilated like the Dhofar movement?

      I found both your Quotes totally not related to the points I try to make through my posts: Ghedli had a powerful appeal and grip on the people because it espoused and championed equal opportunity and dignity for the
      toiling masses in contrast to what YG says (and you seem to agree(?), that it was negative. Period.

  • Abinet

    You got that right!

  • Pappillon

    Dear T. Kifle,

    I read your comment with an ample interest and I must say that it can not be seen in isolation from the general perception and assessment of present Ethiopian leaders have about Ghedli and Eritrea. Perhaps the cardinal difference between EPLF and TPLF was the fact that, when the former set their eyes on an independent Eritrea depicted on a map on par with nations of the world, the latter internalized the very fact that, unless otherwise they cultivated a democratic milieu and constitutional governance in post Dergue Ethiopia, they can not see a light of day given the complexity and social dynamics of the Ethiopian people. To be more precise, for TPLF, it was a matter of existential imperatives to have democracy and its paraphernalia as a selling point if they were to run the country. In a sharp contrast, for EPLF democracy and its bandwagon was never a necessity but a luxury for the obvious reason that the mobilizing ticket was independence nothing more nothing less. The question however remains: is the sad story of present day Eritrea the result of the reckless and tunnel vision perception of the leaders or is it something that has come to the fore after the fact? As I see it and one of the reasons I seem to depart from YG’s talking point is that we can not throw all the blame on Ghedli for Ghedli finds its deserved merits in bringing about an independent Eritrea. Ghedli has accomplished what it set out to deliver but got hijacked midstream as it was to morph to meet the demands of the day. Again, it is an intellectual dishonesty trying to find the anomaly of present day Eritrea in the micro-anatomy of Ghedli.

    It seems to me that the at times corroding relationship between EPLF and TPLF traces its roots in mistrust and ego-conflict as well. The general feel the EPLF leaders fostered about TPLF was that, the reason the latter “whole heartedly” accepted Eritrea’s right for independence was based on practicality not expediency. That is, if TPLF had it their way (read: if they were a majority with in the Ethiopian populace), they would have opposed Eritrea’s quest for independence. But they sure well knew that it was a no no strategy to sail against a popular tide when they find themselves in need of EPLF not only to defeat the Dergue but to stand on their own in their neophyte years as well. Of course, when TPLF marched on to Addis, the dynamics changed. That is, Isaias instead of building a nation, he set out to ruin nations when the TPLF turned their bayonet towards what they thought was a thorn on the flesh–poverty and backwardness. But again, YG’s rationale loses its meaning when he prematurely slaughters Ghedli on the altar for bringing an independent Eritrea when its story is not over yet for Ghedli and Isaias are not one and the same.


    • Saleh Johar

      Papillon, I couldn’t have said it any better. Beautiful.

      • Pappillon


        Thank you for those kind words.

    • Naizgi K

      You said ” TPLF whole heartedly” accepted Eritrea’s right for independence based on practicality”…because they were going to find themselves in “need of help from EPLF”. If TPLF was formulating its policies based on a practicality why was it at loggerheads with EPLF for much smaller differences in policy in the 1980s? If it was not principled position as you are ungratefully claiming, why didn’t TPLF change its position today when it is in much stronger position and certainly doesn’t need help from EPLF? The truth of the matter is, TPLF took a principled stand to unquestionably support Eritrea’s independence after long and arduous internal debate because of which some members have left the organization and a few others were imprisoned.
      Naizgi K.

    • ghezaehagos

      Selam Papillon,

      You are sure enough (to use your words) on a roll here.

      ” YG’s rationale loses its meaning when he prematurely slaughters Ghedli on the altar for bringing an independent Eritrea when its story is not over yet for Ghedli and Isaias are not one and the same.”

      I think, it is about time to claim the ‘pristine nature of’ our cause should always be upheld if we are going to pick up the piece.

      “. Moreover, if an independent Eritrea was the result of the selfless dedication of the people, the story of a wounded Eritrea is an evil intention of a tyrant–Isaias Afwerki. Trying to find a link between the two in clever words is an intellectual elitism (read: dishonesty) at its best.”
      You said in your previous post. Simply eloquent and a thing of beauty.
      There is a proverb that is coming to my errr ‘mouth’ (siq ila nab afey timexee zela)…WERQI ENTETEF’E MIZAN WERQI AYTIFAE’! Even we are losing, let us be magnificent losers. Once we made history, once we were heroes…and let us not mess with the best of our history.
      Again, impressive, dearest Papillon.
      Ghezae Hagos

      • Pappillon

        Dearest Ghezae,

        Mythology sure enough is a human element where we as a conscious species long for and delve into something of a deeper introspection when we go through a protracted darkest era. The Homeric saga sustained the morale of Athenians during the dark ages; the Nords found an inspiration in the citation of the Valhalla; “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down……..” was a lamentation people held on to their past in a bid to preserve in difficult and seemingly hopeless times. I am not by all means saying that Ghedli has an aura of a myth in it but its significance on the Eritrean people is enormous to say the least. Taking away Ghedli from the Eritrean people is tantamount to pulling the ground under their feet. But and of course YG doesn’t seem to comprehend what it really means to every mother in Eritrea who has lost on average two souls to Ghedli so that independence can be materialized. Hope YG’s otherwise gone-wild imagination will come to its senses.


        • Naizgi K

          Do facts mean anything to you?…you said “every mother in Eritrea who has lost on average two souls to Ghedli”…do you know how many souls must have been lost to Ghedli for statement to even remotely be true…it is just incredible how loose people on such forums are when it comes to facts.
          Naizgi K.

    • Naizgi K

      You said ” TPLF whole heartedly” accepted
      Eritrea’s right for independence based on practicality”…because they
      were going to find themselves in “need of help from EPLF”. If TPLF
      was formulating its policies based on a practicality why was it at loggerheads
      with EPLF for much smaller differences in policy in the 1980s? If it was not
      principled position as you are ungratefully claiming, why didn’t TPLF change
      its position today when it is in much stronger position and certainly doesn’t
      need help from EPLF? The truth of the matter is, TPLF took a principled stand
      to unquestionably support Eritrea’s independence after long and arduous
      internal debate because of which some members have left the organization and a few others were imprisoned.

      Naizgi K.

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Pappillon:

      YG’s problems from the beginning were his lack of appreciation/believe on the justness of waging the armed struggle. The Eritrean Armed struggled was no hatched because of our hate of the Habesha identity and a few Muslim shiftas at a whim. It was brewing for a long time as the Eritrean collective identify jelled and culminated into a full-fledged armed surge and struggle. Granted in the way the Ghedli as any assembly of people created new sub-culture, attitudes, believes and even language. This fact cannot be taken against Ghedli. YG also conveniently ignores the atrocities of the Ethiopian colonization just fleece the gullible and make his point on his grand narrative: Dishonesty

      We should not confuse, the Cause, which was very just, the Process that Ghedli followed, which was unnecessary evil, brutal and shameful, and the Result, disappointing and embarrassing.

      Ghedli did not succeed to achieve it mission even if you narrowly defined its goal and mandate was to bring independence. Freeing the land from the occupiers was not the only goal of Ghedli, it was INDEPENDENCE, but the romantics want us to believe that we are spoiled brats for demanding the rule of law from Ghedli. First the fact the so called de-romantics demand full-fledged rule of law is pure dishonesty in par with YG’s assertion about the motives of Ghedli. Ghedli promised independence. Even if Ghedli did not promise freedom, you cannot divorce independence from one of its innate properties: Freedom/liberty. The programs of EPLF and ELF both promise to facilitate liberty. And with all the challenges that PFDJ claims to have faced, it cannot be excused for not sowing the seedling of rule of law, this was built-in the Ghedli. No one in his right mind would except a systems with all the checks and balances in place in mere 23 years, this requires years of refining and entrenchment, but the ABCs of the rule of law was the mandate of Ghedli and is intricately woven into the concept of independence.

      I believe the seeds of our current quandary were sown sometime, somewhere in the field, where Ghedli committed crime in their silos. But information leaked and Eritrean people knew about it, but were ready to move on, remember their heroes, build their lives and forgive the criminals, but the criminals did not even have the courage to be forgiven and I believe that had IA died and someone else was in charge our fate may have been different, basically echoing Sal’s believe the role of a single leader cannot be underestimated.

      For us now to say Ghedli’s achieved it goals, while what Ghedli accomplished was to replace Amhara speaking despot with Tigirinya speaking one reigning over a piece of real state, whose people desert it in thousands, and whose citizens are denied burial is as gross as YG’s arrogant claim of the reasons for Ghedli.

      From the first speech that IA gave and every single action the tegadalti have shown in the last 23 years was to inculcate and expand that smarmy arrogance that they have perfected in the field:


    • T. Kifle

      Dear Pappillon,


      1. Independence as an end

      When we confine our discussion within Eritrean ghedli proper, the major strategic sin committed by the leadership of both fronts had been this very notion that construed independence as an end in and of itself. As far as my observation goes, what has been ailing Eritrea all along is shrouded in this very misguided axiom. Liquidate any one, roundup the youth on year-end including infringing into brides in their honeymoon in utter disregard of long-held cultural etiquette and norms, lack of genuine political debates on subjects of cardinal importance within the leadership and non-existent in the tegadelties, etc had been ghedli’s hallmark. Rural Eritrea had no choice but to bear the scourge of that misguided strategy and the excuse? yeah, “it’s for independence” :a price worth the suffering. Ertrean Ghedli, as you said like ghedli Tigray, had a choice. It could have been accommodating, a little bit open, transparent and people oriented than aiming only at liberating the land while discounting the people inhabiting it.

      2. Eritrean Self-determination,

      Dear Pappi, TPLF’s solution of “Self-determination of Eritrea” was not adopted for tactical expediency as you would have me believe here. I don’t think you have an idea this position was adopted under the members of “Mahber Gesgesti Bher Tigray” in Addis way before the armed struggle was launched and further reaffirmed after every passing congress . Even after Dedebit, when EPLF and ELF were busy allying with EPRP, TLF and other parties of the time, TPLF held it’s ground on the matter. It never ever wavered for its 40 plus years of existence. I must also tell you that this position has been adopted not for altruistic reasons but to save the Ethiopia state from eminent disintegration as a result of unremitting onslaught from within and without. As a reasonable mind as you are, would you think PFDJ would spend a night before crossing the river Mereb had he had the military upper hand?

      The other misreading of political fever is your assertion that because TPLF represents the minority it had no choice but seek a help from EPLF in order to survive and make an impact. This is really as absurd assertion as if one wants to be as popular as it gets, the best thing they should do is antagonizing Eritrea. TPLF would have earned it so much short-term ululation and unfettered support. But it new that that would go against the best interest of the nation. Ethiopia had to come out of the trap of internecine war at any cost. Almost all the political forces in Ethiopia rejected TPLF/EPRDF’s position outright. On the other end, EPLF, ungrateful that is, mocked over “for Ethiopia had no choice but to comply with” and went on constructing policies of independent Eritrea based on the most dangerous narratives I tried to explain in my other thread.

      Finally, I couldn’t careless about YG*. I am not bothered whether he is intellectually “honest” or “dishonest”. But I am of the opinion that most of his ideas would save Eritrea from making another dangerous blunders if he is heeded by the future leaders.

      * Frankly speaking YG’s writing adds little to my understanding of ghedli.


      • Jo

        Selamat T.Kifle,

        Here you go, you are at it, beating the drums of of “TPLF the great”, again. Are you really serious? The eritrean case was determined by the Eritrean people, any other entity, (“Mahber Gesgesti Bher Tigray” or TPLF, notwithstanding their opportunistic objectives) if they consider themselves progressive, had no choice but to tug along. The Eritrean people didn’t need the endorsement of any one, if, any, existed at all. TPLF was and still is an opportunist organization. To deny the fact that, It joined one group or the other for opportunistic reasons, is to deny that it had any relationship with both the Eritrean organizations as it was on the receiving end of the goodwill of both organizations but not the other way around. Please don’t try to rewrite history as you go. Please, if people resigned to the notion to be silent and let you rant, convinced that you are here to preach (particularly in the issue of TPLF), but not to convince or get convinced; as there is also no need to indulge in such futile exercise that is not going to change the facts on the ground, wether you twist it or not, except to quench the thirst of some who suffer from insatiable appetite to prove they are not any less than any one, do not mistake that virtue for lack of facts. No need to prove anything. It is history get over it. As for YG, he is not the first one and he is not going to be the last one.

        Please stay away from the Eritrean case. It is “la cosa nostra”.

        Here are some questions:

        What was the TPLF’s agenda: was it for independent Tigray or to liberate Ethiopia?

        If it was the later, when did it change its agenda?

        Why was the TPLF in sahel during the 6th offensive (shadshai werar)?

        What was the extent of help it got from both ELF & EPLF?

        Luwam zelewo meAlti!!

      • Shum

        Hello T. Kifle,

        You said “Finally, I couldn’t careless about YG*. I am not bothered whether he is intellectually “honest” or “dishonest”. But I am of the opinion that most of his ideas would save Eritrea from making another dangerous blunders if he is heeded by the future leaders”

        Can you elaborate on what ideas he has put forth that you think would save Eritrea from making dangerous blunders?

      • Pappillon

        Dear T. Kifle,

        My reading about the nascent years of TPLF comes from John Young’s “Peasant Revolution in Ethiopia” where the author introduces us to a quasi and generic biography of the founders of the Front where if anything they were a product of an elite linings in their own right. That is, while they set out to stand up to a system that had benefited their immediate progenitors, they however on the back of their head staunchly believed in the unity of Ethiopia-proper. But of course, the intellectual-loggerheads who locked horns to each other were the interpretation of the socio-political reality of Ethiopia under the emperor. The founders of TPLF bought into the dominance of an ethnic group over other ethnic groups mantra and other mushrooming Fronts took on a Marxist overtone as if the reality on the ground was between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie which of course the latter was a flaw to say the least.

        The other contentious issue was the Eritrean question where by then EPLF was almost ten years old with a reputation of a power to reckon with. As such, TPLF had no choice but accept the Eritrean question with no ifs or buts. One other vital reading of TPLF is that it is a Front of pragmatism where one can still auscultate it as they run the country. That is, they clearly understood that power speaks volumes as opposed to an ideology. To be more precise, when they marched on to Addis, if the rest of the Ethiopian people rose up in unison to get Eritrea back, TPLF wouldn’t have dared to swim in the same “Eritrea has the right for independence” pond but would have done what they (TPLF) has always been good at—pragmatism. As the present reality on the ground dictates, TPLF or EPRDF’s “long standing” acknowledgment of Eritrea’s right for independence loses its luster and significance when Isaias is in a mission to reverse it.


  • T. Kifle

    Dear haile,

    Thank you for understanding. Actually the loose usage of terms like Eritreans/PFDJ or IA is by no means to say they are one and the same. No, I never mistaken the Eritrean mass with the qualified entities. That’s why I support their aspiration to be left alone from day one. so when I say Eritreans I was to mean these entities: the political fronts and the elites.

    Yes, I know you would have your say on the issues but if what you write here is to betaken as a measure of your way of thinking, our differences seem minimal in the things that matter most. The same feeling goes to Amanuel Hidrat and Mahmud saleh. rowing against the tide may cause some pain in the short term but is a right path to pursue.

    That’s how we do it in Ethiopia against the venom being spewed day in day out to reignite the old patriotism that borders on the claim of the port of Assab and even annexing the whole of Eritrea. We have earned so many adjectives for that but we remain holding that spirit because we know how bad is the alternative.


    • Abinet

      Ato kifle
      I have to admit I was one of those people crying for assab and Eritrea . Not anymore ! And I consider myself nationalist . In my opinion, we should never use assab again because it comes with a lot of baggage. Annexing Eritrea ? God forbid.
      I hope through time and the new generation takes over, we live in peace as good neighbors.

      • Dear Abinet,

        Saying that Ethiopia should stop aspiring for a sea-outlet is music to the ears of gullible Eritreans, but not to Eritreans who see far into the future. I have a
        big problem with Ethiopians who say that Ethiopia should not demand for Assab, while at the same time they are holding on to a barren piece of land like Badme, have positioned tens of thousands of soldiers at the borders, created a no-peace-no-war situation, as the result of which Eritrea is getting almost destroyed. As much as I can understand, Badme and the no-war-no-peace situation
        are used as bargaining chips for Assab. Bringing Eritrea to her knees and then forcing her to negotiate is unfair, as long as we say that we want to live together in peace, for we will not get peace from a battered and humiliated people. Let us be
        frank and tell Eritreans, we should negotiate before everything is lost.

        Assab is the key for a sustainable Ethio-Eritrean peace. No generation of Ethiopians would accept a permanently landlocked Ethiopia, when the sea is only a day’s walking distance from the border, and Ethiopians can smell the sea, but cannot see it.
        Those who say that the independence of Eritrea has no meaning without Assab, are Eritreans who see Eritrea’s independence only through the prism of choking Ethiopia, which is a very big mistake.

        Therefore, according to my understanding, a thousand years of Ethio-Eritrean peace and
        prosperity would come only if, Ethiopia gets her own sea outlet with a corridor of land, Ethiopia hands over Badme to Eritrea, Ethiopian market becomes fully open for Eritrea’s economy and the independence of Eritrea is guaranteed not
        only in words but also in deeds. Short of this, the present government will simply inherit the problem to future generations.

        (Abinet, I am off to buy a bulletproof vest to protect myself, for I am sure that I have angered many people).

        • Amde

          Dear Horizon,

          I agree with you but for a different reason. While it may sound self serving, the way I see it, an Ethiopian sea outlet is imperative for Eritrean peace. As long as an Eritrean leader perceives it holds the controls over Ethiopian economic livelihood, he will be tempted to use that as a leverage. That would be the Issayas/PFDJ model at work.

          Even if he does not want to use it as leverage, Eritrea’s coastline is such that some foreign power will want to dominate it just for its geography, and then use it to dominate the Ethiopian hinterland. That would be the Italian model at work.

          Unless Eritrea strikes it rich with some unknown petroleum boom or some such, Eritrea’s demographics and economics will make it unable to resist influence. This would mean Ethiopia will want to be involved to counter perceived domination. I believe that was part of the Haile Sellasie calculation in investing in the Unionist cause prior to federation.

          From the land locked Ethiopian point of view the options are two.
          1) To minimize the risk of security and economic problems via Eritrea by minimizing exposure through limiting/eliminating any meaningful contact or interaction, (that would be the current EPRDF no war no peace policy), or
          2) To link the interests of the two countries so closely via a series of trade and security agreements that an Eritrean leader will not be tempted, nor will fall under the influence of other parties without it being a suicidal option. (this is what I call the confederation in everything but name only)

          I do not believe a policy of benign indifference between the two countries (let’s say like Kenya and Ethiopia) is possible or feasible. There is too much at stake in terms of security and peace.

          While I understand standing for the landlockedness of Ethiopia is an EPRDF badge of honor, the logic of the no war no peace situation has neither produced lasting peace, nor has it been without its economic impact. I don’t know what the numbers will be, but my feeling is that a good proportion of economic growth in the northern half of the country is lost due to the no war no peace situation – which wouldn’t be in place if Issayas didn’t believe he could pull off the Bandme adventure because he held the keys to the Assab gateway.

          I feel Issayas wouldn’t have been pissed at Djibouti and invaded it if he did not get frustrated that, were it not for the little upstart, his grand plan to strangle Ethiopia’s economy would have come to fruition. And ditto the Somalia adventure – he was playing encirclement.


          • dine

            amda, don’t u think ethiopia better off working confederation or federation with friendly countries like Djibouti and Somali-land rather than repeating the same mistake over and over again with Eritrea?

        • abinet

          Selam horizon
          Assab is for Eritrea to lose.l know all the benefis ot
          a sea outlet and economic cooperation. However, these things became reality if only there is genuine and long lasting peace and trust among the two nations. With the current administration of Eritrea I don’t think it is possible to make it a reality. IA would rather let the port rust than to negotiate with Ethiopia to use it. Just imagine the benefits his country gets. Where I live cities, counties, and states give tax breaks to companies to attract them. More business, more employments, more opportunities, more peace and prosperity. In short, we use the port they get the business. As easy as that. IA knows this very well . However, opening the port is opening the whole country for businesses to flourish. Do you think he wants that?
          He thought we’d choc to death . We servived.
          “Miqegna lerasu kemiagegn lelaw biata yishalewal”yilal yagere sew.
          My hope is let us wait until the moron leave and negotiate with the new leadership. In themean time let Djibouti and others enjoy the benefits of being a good business partners.

        • Shum

          So, we’re back to talking about sea ports. Nice touch with the Palinesque “Ethiopians can smell the sea” That’s a far-reaching odor. I’ve had farts with a shorter lifespan.

          Horizon, what exactly do you mean by Ethiopia should demand Assab? Does that mean They should demand to get all the land south and east of Assab or an arrangement where they can freely use the port?

  • Abinet

    The feeling is mutual .we don’t need to do anything with you .we need only peace from you .
    For your information , there is a third knife right in your spinal cord ,known as PFDJ. May be you don’t feel it since it is made in Eritrea .

    • haile

      Lol…may be he doesn’t feel it because he/she is that knife itself 🙂

  • ASM

    Why do Tigray people expect or think Eritrea as one Kifle Hager or
    Teklay Gizat just because the previous regimes denied the its right
    as three kifle Hagers or Teklay Gizats. Just like the homeland of the
    Amhara region is made up of and was performing as three separate
    KH or TG in the past administrations Eritrea was also supposed to be
    that way if there was a just administration but was denied and the legitmate
    right of three region peoples was lumped together and given as one.
    So there is no way of Tigrians to think Tigray KH as equal as Eritrea
    which is three KH or TG just because of past injustices.
    The Eritrean Homeland is made up of 3 KH or TG like the Amhara is
    made up of Gondar, wello and Gojjam KHs or TGs.
    But tigrians always attempt to size themselves and equate their 1 KH
    as equal as Eritrea which is 3 KH.