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Eritrean Names: An Anguished Search For The “Bleeding-Age”

The subject of Eritreans is a vast subject straddling ethnic groups and religions, and title of this article could be somewhat misleading. This piece will largely deal with the ethnic group and religion that I intimately know: Tigrinya and Christian names.

When I was growing up, my version of ancestoy .com was reciting the lineage of my paternal and maternal genealogy. And I suspect that was also the norm for most Eritreans. When later in life I reflected with nostalgia on those childhood days, I discovered that as I went further in time, the names were strikingly different from the more recent ones. The men’s names were Unqay, Maekebay, Warsay, Zerom, Seqqaur and AtSmat.The Women’s names included Asmeret, Akberet, Gimja, Zimam, Ghidey, TiEbe and Jerome.

It is very hard to decode the meaning of every name in the examples, but from time immemorial Eritreans infused their predicaments, hopes, dreams, and aspirations in the names of their children as you can glean from: Unqay (gem), Maekebay (conserver), Warsay (my inheritor), Zerom (their seed) and Jerome (their seed, female), Tiebe (may she live) and Ghidey (my share).

Even after the dawn of Christianity, the names summoned aspirations and hopes and dreams and what gripped the society at a particular epoch, often conflated with Christian inspired spirituality like: Qudusan, Leteselasse, Letebrahn, Tesfaselasse, Ghebremichael and Andemariam and Kifleyesus. These names replaced the Unqays and Zimams, these were in turn deposed by more exotic Hebrew names; harvested from the Bible as Eritrean Christians deepened their knowledge about the Bible, its actors and players, its leaders, murderers and rapists, eunuchs, castrates and slaves. The Hebrew names mushroomed, the Major Prophets and princes like Abraham, Beniam, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, Henok, Mussie and Dawit first became hits with the urbanite, the “sophisticated” population who worked under the white colonizers and were privileged to learn the Bible.

When the rest caught up, the elites moved on to the most obscure names in the Bible, to the “cutting-age”. Yoel, Henos, Benhur, Lamech, Essey, Yosaab and the occasional Methuselah crept. The society that believed in “shim ymerih tuuwaf yebrih” abandoned the old tradition and started naming its children, its “warsays”, after Biblical personalities, after rapist, womanizers, murders, after the adulterers and the raped and the followers of idols. They named their inheritors Abisalom, Solomon, Dawit, Tamar and Dina and Abigale and Jezebel. But before these obscure names exploded, the advent of Ghedli and the Eritrean aspiration for independence intervened, yet again the naming formula changed in search of that “bleeding-age” name. The revolutionary names became hits, albeit briefly. Names like Emmame (amendments), Awet (victory), Erdi (trench), Fedayeen (guerrilla fighter) aggressively competed with the traditional and the Hebrew names. The traditional names became victims of ridicule and signs of unsophistication. Many of the tegadelti jokes and put-downs against each other hankered on names.

The Maekebays, the Unqays and AtSmats of Eritrea have long been dead; and once the Tesfamariams, Qudusans and Leteselasses and Andemichaels are long dead, one will not be able to recognize whether a person named “Henos Lamech Henok Benhur Abel” is Eritrean or Israeli. Eritreans do not typically use last names, but the tsunami of societal changes, the disintegration of the family will not be friendly to the “antiquated” yet potent tradition of tracing once ancestry.

The Eritrean family that has been broken by the PFDJ and is on the periphery of demise, was once a sacred and vibrant institution that remained unscathed even during the ages of invasion. Memorable events of the family included huddling around the dinner table; enjoying the meal after grudgingly chewing the dry bread (barrkot) broken by the father, the mother spreading the steaming stew on the “injera”, the children salivating, silently cursing the dry bread as the smell of the spices tickled their nostrils, teased their taste buds and wetted their mouths. And it was during these sessions that family history, indelible history, old history, vivid history, verbal history, the history of history was told and retold, searing it forever in the young minds, minds that were nonchalant about going to Sawa next month, minds that did not grieve the death of their siblings as they crossed the border, minds that looked forward to the next day, minds that fondly remembered yesterday and basked in the gift of today.

Culture and identity are dynamic, they change, they are also instantaneous; you are what you are right now, you and your children may acquire different culture and identities to identify with. Christianity has immensely influenced a large part of the Eritrean culture and insomuch as it underpins their faith, it will be imbedded in both their culture and identity. But the society that obsessively talks about its culture, “ezi aybahlinan eyu, and nay abotatna wegiE aykonen” failed miserably when naming its inheritors, its “warsays”, who are supposed to keep that baton, retain that pristine culture, and guard that chastity of the uncompromised identity. A tall order!

Names are paramount to an identity. Take for example English names before the Biblical names popped up and exploded. Herb, Marjorie, and Duncan were common Herbs of this world like the Seqquars and Unquays of Eritrea are long dead, but since the society uses last names, they can be identified. Ancestory-com can map their lineage with the click of the mouse. Eritrea has no government, no opposition and now no ancestry .com. The unit that was a jack of all trades and a master of all, the family is on the brink of facing the fate of Unquay and Zimmam, Seqquar and Gimja.

In Biblical times people were also given names that invoked predicaments, hopes, and dreams, aspirations and prophesies and fears. The names from Adam to Noah for example, as some Christian scholars deem were codes for the coming of Jesus Christ. Many Eritreans find the names Henos and Lamech “exotic” and “sexy”, “mai zeyteame”, but they may find some of the following information about the meaning of names from Adam to Noah shocking.

Adam: man
Seth: replaced/appointed/Tekie
Henos: mortal/mewatti
Kenan: sorrow/hazen

Mahalal-el: blessed God
Yared: come down/Worede
Henoch:  teaching
Methuselah: death shall bring
lamech: desperate/lament/msqurquar
Noah: comfort/rest.

Now imagine certain son of a tegadalai named Erdi begets a son; in reverence to Ghedli, in memory of his father, he names him Fedayeen. Fedayeen begets a son and in search of that “bleeding-age” calls his son Henos. Henos begets a son and names him Kenan. Kenan flips his Bible and falls in love with lamech’s boastful poetry and names his son after him. Translation of “Kenan Henos Erdi Fedayeen lamech”: “Hazen Mewatti Erdi Fedayeen yesqorqureni.”

Many Christian scholars believe that the meaning of names from Adam to Noah is a code for this: “Man is appointed mortal sorrow; but the blessed God shall come down to teach and his death and suffering shall bring the despairing rest and comfort.”

The names, Leah and Rahel are common when an Eritrean family is blessed with twin girls. The devout and the traditional Christians alike will rhapsodize over the story of the twins who married the same man. They will narrate with excruciating detail: how Jacob, once a mama’s boy, went from rags to riches of blessing with a modest but shrewd lentil stew investment, how he wrestled a nameless angel and got injured in the fight and won, how he knew about the formulation of a miracle aphrodisiac so his sheep could multiply and be fruitful, yet was willing to be enslaved for 21 years to marry the love of his life—Jacob’s version of protracted struggle. Their faces glow with pride, telling you how they have liberated their daughters from the yoke of tyranny that the names Silas and Mihret and Hagossa have imposed. What they do not know is that Leah means exhausted/weary and that Rachel means, a female sheep. The society that brags about the importance of its culture and that once almost made “shim ymerih tuuwaf ybrih” a bedtime story, has totally relinquished it by obsessing with strange names and sometimes even with unflattering meaning, all in search of that “bleeding-age” name.

Names such as Belaynesh, Alganesh, Semaynesh, Ethiopia and Shewa and Arefayneh were popular during the early days of Ethiopian occupation, but soon lost their luster when Ghedli got traction. Unceremoniously many “Ethiopias” changed their names to either Eritrea or Simret. As the balance of power tilted in favor of Ghedli, so did the names.

I am uncertain what the Tigrayit names sounded before the advent of Islam, but I can surmise that names like Hazot (Ghidey), Affiet (health/forgiveness) and Bekitta (healthy) and Adorot and Nafie were common. But the modern names, like their Christian counterparts are anguished with the search of that “bleeding-age”. Menal, Amal and Delal were hits at one point.

I used to know a teashop owner named Hiwar-Sheik in the Sudan. I wondered what his name meant: If it’s a conversation with the Shiek or the lad of a Shiek, as “Hiwar” can also means the baby of a camel in Arabic.

The Jeberties used to knit their religion and their language in their names: Mohammed Hagos, Mohammed Berhan, SittiNur and Negash, used to be stables. The Dehabs, Lemlems, Almazs have long been replaced by some exotic Arabic names like Salwa and Nahla. And when the Mohammed Hagoses, Negashes, Lemlems and Dehabs and Hazots and Adorots are dead, it would be impossible to tell whether a person named “Nadir Taj Aymen” is an Eritrean or a Saudi.

If the past is any guide; Eritrean names will once again move on, clamoring for the hottest and the coolest. And so I predict that the names Soliyan, Salina and Eliana will be replaced by “top-notch” names that will look like, Fithiel, Asmarael, Ghedliel, Bahriel, Sinaiel, Shimelibael, Sawael, Quwamel, Elianet, Yohannael, and even Bishael and Tsigennael.

About Semere Andom

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  • GIGfriend22

    What about Meles and Anuwar

  • Kokhob Selam

    ዝኸበርኩምን ዝኸበርክንን :-

    ኣብ’ዛ ኣዝያ ፍትውቲ መርበብ ብዙሕ ብዙሕ ምህሮን ተሞክሮን እዩ ሓሊፉ :: እዚ ኣርእስቲ ‘ ውን ከም ወትሩ ሓያልን ቀሊል ዘይብሃል ኣገዳሲ ርኢቶታት ኣራኣእያታትን :- ኣተሓሳስባ ዘስፍሕ ትንታኔታትን ፈሲሱ እዩ :: ነቲ ተገዲሱ ፍልጠት ከኻዕብት ዝመጽእ እሞ ኸኣ -ነብስ ወከፍ ቁጠባዊ ርኢቶ ናብ ካልእ መወከሲ መጻሕፍቲ ዝመርሕ ብምንባሩ ኣብ ዘይተሓስበ ምህሮ ቁጠባ ኢና ቀኒና:: ብዘይ ኣፈላላይ ንኹሉ ተሳታፋይ ምስጋናይ ይብጻሕኩም ክብል ይፍቀደላይ ::ኣይት ሰኣኑ ኣሕዋት!

    … ናይ ሕቶታት ሕቶ …….

    “ሓውካ ኣበይ ኣሎ ” ሓውካ እቲ ኽቡር :-
    ኢሉ ምስ ሓተተ እቲ ቀሺ ምሁር :-
    መልሱ ‘ውን ምስ ኮነ – ይቅተል ይእሰር :-
    ሕቶታት ቀጸለ ንመሬት ንፍጡር :-

    ……. ሓብትኺ ኣበይ ኣላ እታ ጀግና ኣስቴር :-
    ……… ኣበይ ኣለዋ ኩለን ዝጠፈ ኣ ብሚስጥር :-
    ……….ሰብካ ኣጥፊእካ ዶ ደቂስካ ይሕደር :-
    ……….ዝብል መልእኽትታት ኣብ ቅድሚና ግትር ::

    ኣበይ ኣሎ መንእሰይ ኣብ ኣሎ ህጻን :-
    ኣብ ባሕሪ ተዋሒጡ ዳግም ኣይተመልሰን:-
    ሰብካ ዶ ይጠፍእ ተለዓል ኣይፍላካን :-
    ዝብል መልእኽቲ ድቃስ ኣይሃበናን:: –

    ኣበይ ከደ ቀሺ ኣበይ ከደ ቅዱስ:
    ኣበይ ኣበለ ጋዜጠኛ ሕቶ ዝመላልስ:-
    ኣበይ ኣበለ ድራሲ ኣእምሮ ዘህድስ :-
    ከቢድ ሕቶታት ጸብጺብካ ዘይጭረስ:-
    ዓቅልና ዓጽቢቡልና ክንምርምር ክንህንድስ::

    ሓዲሽ ሕቶ መጸ “ኣበይ ከደ ናቅፋ ” :-

    ቁጥባ ‘ዛ ሃገር ዘይርከቦ ተስፋ:-
    ባጤራ ‘ውን ዶ ከደት ኮይንዎ ሰኒፋ :-
    ብለይባ መሪሕነት ተቆሪጹ ክንፋ ::

    ኣበይ ኣሎ ሰብ ኣበይ ኣሎ ገንዘብ :-
    ኢሉ ንዝሓትት ኣርቂቁ ዝዕዘብ :-
    ኣብ ስርዓተ ሕጊ እዩ ቲ መልሲ ዝርከብ :-
    መፍትሒ ድ ኣ ንርከብ ወገነይ ንጣበብ ::

    ናይ ሕቶታት ሕቶ ኣበይ ኣሎ መንግሲቲ :-
    ኣበይ ኣሎዎ ሰባት ሓገግቲ ፈጸምቲ ::

    ናይ ሕቶታት ሕቶ-
    ናይ ሕቶታት ሕቶ ኣበይ ኣሎ ቅዋም :-
    እቲ ኣውራ መገጊ ንምዕባለ ሰላም :-
    ብናይ ሓባር ድምጺ ዝሰፍር ኣብ ቀለም :-
    መሰል ሰብ ዝሕሉ ንሕጊ ዘቀድም ::

  • saay7

    Hey Cousin Sem:

    Sorry for this very belated response to your fresco article.

    Now, then. One of the things we Eritreans are good at is to make problems that occur to us as uniquely Eritrean and, to some extent, this article falls in that category. In comparison to similar name analysis YG did where we (SURPRISE!) finds Ghedli and the Ghedli generation to blame, yours is a generic Wey Zemen! Entay’mo kngebr.

    In “Freakonomics” there is a chapter that deals with socio-economic impact of names: certain names are associated with a specific race (Sholanda) and some with high economic status (Lucienne, Beatrice) or low (Misty, Destiny). And, this is the fun part, what was supposed to be high class for one generation, is the name of strippers in a next generation. The authors try to predict if the names parents give their children predict their behavior (There is a parent who actually called her daughter Temptress)….

    Before I tell you about my decision process when I was naming my children, we need to observe one universal rule: New parents are probably the most annoying (I was one; so I can say it): they think their children are the most unique in the world and, therefore, should have the most unique name. And they must not be named after a person whom they don’t like. And, when they go to school, kids shouldn’t make fun of them. And…

    Shortly before my children were born, I floated these ideas to my family. I floated them because even I knew they were insane suggestions. Hariret, Himeret Kelboy, Dleb, Ferej, Hashew Bele. Then my horrified family told me “just stop, please”, and I did.

    When I was born, I was named Mohammed-Saleh. I still have uncles and older cousins who call me that, of course using the abbreviated Hamme-Saleh. I once asked the elders why they gave me that name, and one of them said it was the decision of the other; otherwise, “I had always thought that name belonged is not ours” because it belongs, um, to a different tribe. Well, ok. So it was shortened to Saleh, then Sal, now saay. At some point, it will just be S.

    I won’t tell you what my kids are named because they will say “Dad!” Wait, you already know.

    The point is: names are auto-correcting. In one of those ancestry of names that I have (which traces me to Saidna Ali, be quiet SGJ:) the names on the series just repeat themselves every 4 generation. When I was a kid, like everyone of my age group, I was made to memorize the names…none of the names mattered until you got to Saidna Ali. I showed it to SGJ who was so jealous of my Quraish pedigree he mocked that fine hand-written documentary. Now you know why I am very sympathetic to the Shia and specially to…

    Go Houthis!

    saay

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Sal
      Welcome back from the annual Oct fasting.
      Well, you and I discussed this subject, we discussed those who are naming their daughters Benzir and Jubiter. Freakonomics is interesting superfreakomomics is even more insane
      I also agree about the cynical nature of names. But ours specially the Tigriniya, Tigrayit and Jeberti names were deeply meaningful and the difference now seems that we generally tend to think backward names. Ghedli names did not last long, even the people like IA and Petros Solomon named their kids good old names like Tigriniya names.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Semere (don’t show the first paragraph to Saay)

      Saay got his ancestry document a long time ago. There were people who peddled tailor made ancestry lists for a price, like soothsayers, they whisper names, convince the customer, and then write it down on a page. Funnily, in such exercises, all Christian ancestry conveniently leads to a warrior from Judea, and all Muslim names leads to an important person in Quresh.

      Those who are not as lucky will have to do the usual boasting: shewAate weledo, etc. And that in a nation that never recorded or issued birth and death certificates.But why not? If Haile Sellasie can imagine an ancestry line that goes back 3000 years, why can’t an Eritrean villager claim 1000 years on uninterrupted Eritreaness, even before Eritrea was created?

      How many people do you know who admit their ancestors migrated to present Eritrea from somewhere else? Very few, I guess. And this is so prevalent in specific parts of Eritrea. Where I grew, the Blin never deny their ancestry, the Betjuk never do, neither the Habab, and its branches, or the Mensa’e.

      See! That worsened has now become fuel for arrogance and segregation, and it is called ethnic politics that the PFDJ perfected.

      • saay7

        Hey Cousin iSem:

        Don’t pay attention to what SGJ. It’s all clearly driven by jealousy that Nusraf didn’t sing any songs of praise to his great-great…great-great…great great grandfather, like he did to mine.

        Here’s Nusrat with 1 of the the gazillion songs dedicated to Saidna Ali.

        http://youtu.be/vWY8ZoHB80U

        saay

        • Saleh Johar

          Saay and Semere,
          Saay, what a song to start the morning with.

          Semere, now we know Saay’s last name is actually Khewaja. In respect, we have address him Saay Khewaja ji ! Ji, like sir.

          • Semere Andom

            Hi Saleh and Sal
            When he changed Sal to saay, I thought he was practicing his trade, MBA rebranding;-)
            But now he has the following names so far;
            Castro Younis
            Sheik Saleh Al-Asmarani

            Now sheik Saleh of “Biet khewaja” Gheza Band Tilian;-)

      • Shum

        Selam Saleh,

        How right you are. I’ve run into a few Quraishi in my short lifetime. But I would check Saay’s ancestry document again. It probably uses a type font that wasn’t around back then :-). You can bust him like they did Dan Rather. I imagined Saay sitting on a couch interviewed by Henry Louis Gates, Jr and dropping a large single warm tear as he reveals to him his Quraishi ancestors. I wonder how many people would show up if someone announced a worldwide Quraishi family reunion.

      • GIGfriend22

        What about Meles and Anuwar,,,

  • G. Gebru

    Dear Semere and all.
    Dear brother I am writing this not to comment on your article but share what I know, if it can be helpful, with you and the forum participants about giving names among the Tewahdo Emnet followers. New born babies can have either one or two names, the one name that is given during baptism which suffixes or prefixes the name of God’s angels or saints, such as for female like Wodasse Mariam, Letemariam and for males like Habtemariam, Gebrezgiabher etc. I think such names are mandatory during baptism because during death the prayer that is performed for the deceased is done in his Christian name. This prayer for the deceased is also practiced in Islam and is known as the Salat alkaib. It was started when our Habesha King Negash passed away, Prophet Mohammed (pbh) who saw his passing, performed a prayer in his name.
    The second name which we can call a family name or calling name is also most of the time governed or connected to the parents condition or situation at the time of the birth of the child. For instance a family that lost a new born or a todlerl the child the child who is born immediately after the death can be given the name Tekie to indicate that God has compensated them with another child.
    There are also names that indicate the name of places, such as rivers, mountains and cities. For example some Christians name their children YORDANOS. The name is the name of a river I think in Jordan, but what makes it important to the faithful Christian is because it is the river that Jesus who we accept as our Savior was himself baptized by John the Baptist there. So it is done in respect to their affinity to their faith and their glory to Jesus. Likewise our Moslem brothers also follow the same trend in giving names. For example two names Arafat for male and Medina for female are both names of place. Arafat is one of the chains of hills around Mecca Almukerema and Medina is the city of Medina Al Munewar. Here I ask our brothers Saleh Johar or Saleh Yonus or Mahmoudai to enlighten us with the historical and religious background and value of these to sacred places.
    So I think the problems that you mentioned in your article are the outcome of weakness in faith. You know a society is like the human body. The human body once it loses its immune system capability is easily attacked by various external virus that attack and weaken various body parts such as the kidneys, liver, heart etc. that fails them to perform well and unbalances blood pressure and destabilize sugar balance which leads to diabetes and dialysis from which the body that carries them lives a miserable life.
    So is with society, once it is weakened in faith loses spiritual strength and easily becomes a pray to external pressures that targets and weakens its social structure, that is its history, its religious, cultural, traditional, linguistic and ancestral values that throws the society into confusion and disarray.
    God bless us all,
    G. Gebru

    • Kokhob Selam

      Thank you G Gebru it was interesting. you are wonderful. give us more information if you have more on subject. I also noted two names as one but one part Arabic and the other Amharic or Tigrinya like Mohammedbrhan or Mohammedhagos etc, what information do you have on this one. Eritrean Jebertis use the same most of the time.

      • G. Gebru

        Dear Kokhob,
        Thank you for your praise. Regarding the name giving of our Jeberti compatriots I think and believe that it is better if it is told or written by the owners of the subject matter.
        Regarding the two names you mentioned, Mohammedbrhan or Mohmmedhagos instead of Mohammednur or Mohammedsaid for me it is a clear indication of their dedication to their language and heritage which should be a pride to all of us.
        As for giving more information about the subject matter if I can I will not hesitate to do it , but at the same time since this forum is endowed with many well educated and dedicated people starting from the Awate team that all we have to thank, I hope some one with a better understanding of the subject matter will appear soon.
        Thanks Kokhob,
        G. Gebru

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear G.Gebru,

          another interesting statement from you “clear indication of their dedication to their language and heritage which should be a pride to all of us.” Yep, ክብረት ይሃብካ! okay now we will wait if someone will come to educate us more.

  • Nitricc

    Greetings to the Awate webmaster. I have a question that is bothering me but I never got the chance to express it. Whenever I open Awate.com and start reading the comments; there is a green page suddenly takes over what ever I am reading and I am forced to do it all over again. On my IPhone is the worst. Then I start using Andriod and it was better. Now, it has gotten worst on both phones. If that is not bad enough, now I see the freaking thing on my car.
    My question to the webmaster is, what the hake is that? It is very annoying. Can it be fixed?
    Regards;
    Nitricc.

  • ghezaehagos

    Selam Sem, the one and only as well as beloved Awatistas,
    What a great read, dearest Semere.
    Indeed you delivered on your promise to some of us to write about Eritrean names, more importantly to yourself.
    I am also fascinated by the evolution and meaning of Eritrean names. I had a bold title to my musings, “Biblical names may be Christian names; but Christian names are not biblical” I once told a friend in Montreal, ” if one is truly a Christian, one should abandon names after the bible figures; but stick to local traditions.” If you think about it, the whole meaning of Christianity is to universalize redemption in Christ to every one in the world, irrespective of cultures, then in a way it is a regression to go back to old testament names who are purely Jewish. It is fine to have Jewish names; but Christian names are or should be first and foremost local traditional names. As in Ghezae and Semere:)
    What do we name them after? the biblicals? their meaning? or the behaviour of the character?
    Paulos means small in Latin. His storied resume beats his name. Solomon didn’t finish his last days in glory as was his start unless polygamous, idolatry life is one. Methinks, Solomon should not be as common as Samuels or Daniels or Dawits. Sawl has beautiful meaning; ‘prayed for’; but the name of the paranoid first king of Israel is relegated. His behaviour in this case.
    How about new ones such as Hyab-iel. NayAb. Nay-iel. Quite fashionable in today’s toddlers.
    Here is a guy, Tedros who called his daughter Hyab-iel. Very redundant; solipsistic, unabashedly narcissist, you would say if the father knew the meaning behind his own name. Theos/Doron = Thedore= Gift of God. So Hyabiel Tedros is Hyabiel Hyab ezgi.
    You, dear Sem, gave us a good glimpse into the future of our names. Since we don’t have last names, then there is no way we can preserve the uniqueness of our traditional names. Who knew? Indeed, that is very fresh input.
    Thanks,
    Hawka,
    Ghezae

  • Kokhob Selam

    ክቡራንን ክቡራትን እንዳ ዓዋተ

    It was exactly 9 years and 11 months and 6 or 7 days back.. in fact it was in Dec,9 205 (awate team- correct me if wrong) NEGARIT better known as ናግራም of awate wrote an article under “A secret Letter:Isaias to Bush”. the name converted was amazing there. I use to read after printing such type of wonderful articles. that mind reading article at that very moment took me back to 70’s when we use to have jocks about the King of Ethiopian then. the king of Ethiopia HS couldn’t say correctly the name James Brown and just replace it by Amharic name Jembere Brue. in my childhood days we use to dance singing Jember brue -ጀምበሬ ብሩ ::

    back to that Article, in that article..our generous president’s letter the name George Bush was changed to ” gergis Chekhona ግዮርጊስ ጭቆና “very great name converting style.. again Berchqo is there from Tigray. she must be lucky women. do you know her? she is not from Ethiopia according to our president. she is not from Djibouti, Kenya or Begmider Lol. Her sister is Amlest – female Meles. and that Birchicqo ended up in a top position to get the name Condaleesa Rice. and her sister Amleset became Suzan Rice. Ah names! all to be CIA agent. Just to be against Eritrea. read it and enjoy it by going back 10 years. sorry I don’t have the link. but for final and binding solution I am asking kindly, awate team to find the link and provide us. that is interesting read.

    • Berhe Y
      • Kokhob Selam

        Thank you bro.

        I love it. I am going to give you a gift . since we are talking about names look how I find the name PFDJ.. Just imagine I am PFDJ for now and read the poem bellow. Lol, gift is gift and you should read it please. how to add true words and paint the anti peace as hero….

        .. . .መን ክንብላ መን? . . .

        ንሳ እዛ ምጭውቲ :-
        ነዊሕ ዛንታ ኣ ዕግስቲ :-
        ክቡር ዋጋ ኣ ምዕርግቲ :-
        ውድቀት ዘይኣመላ ዕውቲ ::

        .. ..መን ክንብላ መን ክንብላ –
        .. ..ጸኒዓ ትምክት ሓቂ ዝመትከላ ::

        ንሳ ወ ቀጻሊ ቃልሲ ዘካየደት :-
        መንነታ ክብረታ ልዕላውነታ ዘዕቀበት :-
        መእንቲ ዚ ብሉጻት ዝ ሃበት :-
        መን ክንብላ መን ብስው ኣት ዝዓንበበት ::

        ኣትሒቶም ክጥምትዋ ጸላእታ :-
        ድኻ ኢሎም ከናሽው ሃብታ :-
        ክኒዲ ኹሉ ሰብ ኣዊ ዓቕምታታ:-
        ክንዲ ኹሉ ኣንዊሓ ምጥማታ:-
        ክንዲ ኹሉ ቅዲ ሜላታታ:-
        ኤርትራ ዘይንብላ ዘይብላ መሰታ ::

        ነዊሕ ሸቶታቶም ደቂ ሰብ :-
        ደድሕሪ ወያኔ ዘይብሉ ዘብዘብ :-
        ነብሰ ሙርከሳ ዓቢ ጥበብ :-
        ህግደፍ ዘይንብላ ሓፋሻ ትእክብ ::

        ኩሉ ጸጽብቁ ኣስማት ተኣኪቡ :-
        እንተዝምረጽ ክወሃባ ተጠሊቡ :-
        ክብረት ሓድነት ጽንዓት ተደራሪቡ :-
        ህግደፍ ዝብል እዩ ብድብድቡ::

        ዓወት ንሓፍሽ ዓወት ንህግደፍ:-
        ራህዋ ይኹን ሃገር መሰረት ይነጸፍ :-
        ውድቀት ንወያኔ ምስ ጎይተቱ :
        ውድቀት ንሃጸይነት ምስ ኩሎም ስዓብቱ ::

  • tes

    Dear Hope,

    Haha, I was under PFDJ teachings just for 50 days and almost 12 years of their brutal administration. Having this rich experience, I expose PFDJ. I don’t protect them. It is an advantage for me to know their system and I am sharing with my fellow Eritreans what their crimes looks like. Unlike me, you know nothing and you protect everything.

    tes

  • Nitricc

    hi Berhe you said
    “…I am convienced that it’s unlikely that my children will ever go and settle in Eritrea…”
    I am also convience that the Future is Africa!!!!

    • Berhe Y

      Nitricc,

      I hope so, and the sooner Eritrea gets out of the isolation and allows it’s people to be free to do what ever they set out, the better.

      I was referring for example, if I had to name my son, Ghebregziabher…and he has to go to school everyday and trying to spell his name or explain what it means. If it’s a last name I think it may be fine but as first name, I am not so sure it is really worth it.

      Berhe

      • Nitricc

        Hi Berhe; I understand the importance of naming your children the fitting one. If not, they will be traumatized during their school years. There is a joke about Habesha names.
        There was a kid calling people’s names in a place where an echo is produced and it is heard the same thing what the kid was shouting.
        The kid will shout out Yemaneeee!!!!!!
        And the Echo will shout back by saying Yemeneee!!!!!!
        The Kid will scream Selammmmm
        And the echo will yell back the same thing Selammmm.
        The kid will holler by saying Abiiiiiiii
        And the echo will holler back by saying Abiiiiiiiii.
        Then finally the kid shouts out by saying Ghebregziabherrrrrrrrr
        And the echo shouts back by saying Whooooooooooo?
        So, I know what you mean. I think the Gebre xxxxx days are gone.
        so, yes please don’t name your child Ghebregziabher;eve n the echo cannot s ay it back.

  • Semere Andom

    Thanks Berhe:
    I was sure you and Sal will not read this article you heard about it for a decade or so, specially you, I can see you rolling your eyes, we even lost your son talking about names, remember and someone thought we were talking bout politics;-)

    I think you we can make the ghebrehiwots and Teklehaimanots and Letebrhans and SittiNurs exotic again, the same thing you did in Greece about working “minewale” and showing off your hands;-)

  • Abi

    Hi Tes
    Put this on your pride wall. You are the best!
    I hope president Tesfabirhan will take every eritrean back to their country. They don’t deserve to live in the graveyard. Leave the graveyard for us. The question is how quick can you do it?

    Fara!

  • tes

    Dear Hope,

    You are also combination of PFDJ. That is why you are Confused always.

    tes

  • WEDI JOMO

    This article reminds me of Saleh Ghadi’s call for our cell phone list to be diverse. If the writer had it, he would have collected information and made this piece about Eritrea, not only about one part of Eritrea.

  • Abi

    Hey Hope
    Emirates is a beautiful name for your daughter. Singapore for your son.
    Take it easy.
    Guad Abiyot
    ESEPA central committee.
    Enashenfalen!

  • Nitricc

    HI Kokhob, I can’t be that gready. Let’s the give the ladies to come up with their fev top Male names.

  • Abrehet Yosief

    Hi Semere,
    A very sad situation indeed. We should make an effort to introduce last names that link us to the land of origin. Otherwise, it will be impossible to trace our roots back. We also had a tradition repeating a name on the third generation, so that those who passed would continue to be remembered. It also gave a chance for people to identify the origin of a certain person if a particular name appears in the genealogy. In addition to the loss of cultural connection to our roots, I really worry the prospect of marriage between closely related couples due to their inability to trace back their ancestor.

  • Haile Zeru

    Hi all,

    Though in a different theme than Semere’s take here, the great Memhir Mussa Aron had written a book about eritrean names.

    Semere did a good job, and finding and consulting that book would augument his already extensive knowledge.

    As for me I went to see in that book the meaning of my grand grand father’s name. which no one knew what it means. And I found it.

    • sara

      Dear Mr Zeru
      Thanks for bringing to the forum the respected eritrean mufekr wo kateb staz Musaa Aron,
      please give us the link where we could read that book.

      • Haile zeru

        Hi Sara,

        Unfortunately I do not have a link.
        I saw the hardcopy when I was living in Asmera 13 years ago.

        • Hope

          Dear Haile and sara:
          I thought the Red Sea Press still has it and u may contact Ato Kassahun Chekol or Asmera!
          I used to have one and will share few pages if I find it ,provided that Copy Right allows to do so!

  • Nitricc

    My top five Eritrean female names
    Kisanet
    Liwam
    Wahazit
    Arsema
    Danayt

    Top Five Ethiopian female names.
    Biqat
    Bezawit
    YeAbsira
    Atsede
    Eferata

  • Abi

    Addisye
    Million thanks.
    Hard to differentiate from the original. Took me back years. I think it was released in 1977 EC. I was very young, very mischievous, always in trouble.
    Thanks again.

    • አዲስ

      Abi,

      Quality stuff indeed.

      Thanks,
      Addis

  • Yohannes

    Hello Awate,

    Yesterday I put a little normal comment in here. It showed ‘pending for approval’ for the first time, and now I don’t see it here. May I kindly ask what happened.

    Regards

  • Amde

    Selam Semere,

    From the Ethipian side, there is a Dr. Komunist somewhere (I think in Europe). I went to AAU for a while with a girl named Omega. I knew a geography teacher who named his children Christopher and Copernicus.

    You may have heard the joke about the man named Ashenafi, who was enthusiastic about the abyot. He named his children Abyot inspired names like Abyot Ashenafi, Tiglachin Ashenafi, Kadrew Ashenafi etc…. A few years later, he sours on the revolution, and grows apprehensive of saddling his children with propaganda phrases for names. He goes to court to have their name changed. On finding the cost of individual name changes for all his children rather cost prohibitive, he decides to change his. So now, his children are called Abyot Kesere, Tiglachin Kesere, Kadrew Kesere…etc…

    I like that our culture is Ok with making social commentary out of names. In general, those who name children are themselves not much older since people marry young and have children when young. The young in general think the older generation and the existing order are old and have little of value worth keeping. They want to change the world in what they think are easy and quick ways. So no surprise, once we are collectively on the route of devaluing our existing culture, those that are young and at the leading edge are quick to adopt social markers that would identify them as different. For me, I’d take Elleni over Helen any day (even knowing Elleni is the same name but at least it has history we accepted a long time ago). But that is how I am now… If I had a child when I was really young, my inclination would likely have been towards Helen.

    So, the sequence of names (types) can be a marker actually of the speed of social change. Methinks you have laid out a mathematically treatable index for this speed. Whether such speed is healthy or not for a society is still open for debate and in any case, it is immaterial – it is happening and it is sink or swim.

    Amde

  • Fnote Selam

    Dear All,

    Thanks Semere for that wonderful article. I thought you had very interesting take on names of Eritrean highlanders, not scientific, but still valuable. I also observed that, while a lot of forumers decided to discuss Semere’s article within its limited scope, there are some (mostly Ethiopians, I think) who are stretching the topic and taking this as an opportunity to psychoanalyzes Eritreans in yet another way (and as usually in a very lopsided way.) Here is a not so crazy idea to our Ethiopian friends, would you mind enlightening us (or direct us or summarize for us if there is already work done on the topic) on how naming names has evolved in Ethiopia over the years and what drives those changes etc..? I think that would be very interesting and a good learning opportunity for many of us….

    Thank you,

    FS.

  • dawit

    Dear All,

    SEM’s beautiful article is now hijacked by YG envoy to AT to twist it to bashing Eritrean history or its colonial heritage. Names identify someone from the other individuals, nothing more or less. If someone is called Kevin or Fiyori, it will identify that person as good as Semere, Asmeret, Yoseph or Dawit. Beyond that to jump into colonial damage etc is nonsense.Throughout the world some old names repeat themselves and other new ones replace old ones. Horizon claims that Ethiopian retain their names more than Eritreans. Nonsense, how many Oromos and Tigraians abandon their traditional names and adopted name of their colonizer’s names and language. In their case the colonizer were Amhara and the Eritrean colonizers came from far places, like Turky, Italy, Britain, Ethiopia. So if they adopt names from other cultures that does not reflect nothing except a name is given an individual to be identified from others. Horizon also wrote “I do not know if the name “abiotawit”, was also the vogue, during the Derg days. Those children are now grownups; and I do not know how they feel under the weight of such an unbecoming name”. One may deny the contribution of Derg to Ethiopian revolution because of its bloody nature, but history can not escape the “abiyot” and “Abyiotawit” era as the foundation what followed, the “woyanit” revolution.. There is no need for them to change their names to “woyanit”. Their names are as good as any other name to identify them from others.

  • Adarob

    Marhab semere,
    True  “Hiwar” is the baby of a camel like “Mefrud”, young camel, “Hater” old comel and “Na’at” a female camel. Thus Hiwar Sheik means as to follow the footstep of Sheik like a baby camel do. The name is mostly used within the Ad Shiek family in Barka and Sahel.
    Habibek Adarob

    .

  • Yohannes

    Dear Semere,

    Thanks for your article. There was also another good read on this theme by Yosief Ghebrehiwet. Here it is:
    http://eritrea.asmarino.com/articles/1826-i-the-self-colonizing-mission-names-and-naming-in-eritrea

  • Negash

    Dear Semir. This is deep deep stuff. You can extrapolate this and add it to YG’s equation – the Asmara elites search of alien identity. The fabric of our society is getting ruptured from all angles. People need to be proud of their heritage no matter where it takes them, Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria or wherever.

  • Dear all,

    Semere Andom has written an interesting article on the changing trend of names given to Habesha Christian
    Eritreans. Sometime ago, YG had also written a similar article lamenting that Habesha names are being replaced with Abrahamic biblical names. While Ethiopians have managed to keep their Habesha names at least upto now, on the contrary, in Eritrea it seems that biblical names are the norm rather than the exception.
    Names usually point to different situations that have influenced why a certain name is given. The problem is when names are given for the sake of political beliefs that are usually temporary and changing. I have in mind names
    like “abiot”. I do not know if the name “abiotawit”, was also the vogue, during the Derg days. Those children are now grownups; and I do not know how they feel under the weight of such an unbecoming name.
    Where I live, children usually acquire the name of their grandparents, manly from the husband’s side. Sometimes the wife’s parents do not accept this; and that is the time when war is declared. Usually the poor child ends up with two names, one from each side, and he/she is forced to put up with two names for the rest of his/her
    life. There are cases where one ends up even with two family names.
    I think that Habesha names have a big problem; because we do not have family names, and we have changing surnames (if we can call the father’s name a surname) and identical names are not uncommon. Sometimes Habeshas are forced to use the name of their grandfather. Therefore, should we at last decide to use family names in our region? We know the advantages, but what are the difficulties?

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear Horizon,

      You have said “Ethiopians have managed to keep their Habesha names.” I don’t think so. There are a lot if not more than the Eritreans with Abrahamic biblical names within the Habesha Christians. May be you are right with the Eritrean Ghedli related names as oppose to the Ethiopian ghedli movements.

      • Dear Amanuel Hidrat,

        It is true that Ethiopians use biblical names as well, but it is not as common as typical Habesha names. It is not easy to say that aspirations of fathers and their children always coincide. In addition, it is the son or the daughter who is going to be identified with the name for the rest of his/her life, and naming a child is really very important, and parents should always take under consideration how their children are going to feel with the name their children are given.
        Here are few common Ethiopian names. Abebe, Abeba, Abebech, Abera, Adane, Adanech, Assefa, Birhanu, Beharu, Belay, Berhe, etc. These are just few examples of common everyday Habesha names one hears in Ethiopia. Therefore, although biblical names are also used in Ethiopia, they are never as common as Habesha names.
        Regards.

        • Eyob Medhane

          Horizon, Aman,

          (Moderator :- Please allow me to Copy and paste, just one time, because I want to illustrate a point.)

          The wonderful YG had an article entitled ‘The Self Colonizing Mission: Names for Collective Identity’.

          He provided a great sample of how different Eritrean naming tradition have become, especially recently, compared to Ethiopia. Here is a quote out it..

          “…..Names of Ethiopian National football team : Sisay Bancha, Jemal Tassew, Samson Assefa, Degu Debebe, Moges Tadesse, Abebaw Butako, Aynalem Hailu, Birhanu Bogale, Biadgelegn Elias, Siyoum Tesfaye, Asrat Megersa Gobena, Saladin Bargecho, Minyahil Teshome, Tesfaye Alebachew, Dawit Estifanos, Shimelis Bekele, Behailu Assefa, Addis Hintsa, Saladin Said, Getaneh Kebede, Adane Girma, Aschalew Girma, Walid Atta

          Names of Eritrean National Football team (the disappeared one): Jemal Abdu, Abel Aferworki, Isaias Andberhian, Nevi Ghebremeskel, Henok Goitom, Yonatan Goitum, Abraham Tedros, Hermon Tekleab, Samuel Tesfagabr, Surafel Tesfamichael, Yohannes Tilahun, Filmon Tseqay, Asrafil Tesfai, Ermias Wolday, Ambessager Yosief, Yosief Zeratsion.

          The commentator aptly observed that while in the Ethiopian case, the overwhelming majority of players have retained their traditional names, exactly the opposite holds true in the Eritrean case. This is how the numbers go: Out of the 22 Ethiopian players, 19 have Christian names. Out of those 19, only 2 are Hebraic (or Biblical) names, and none of the two are of the deeply excavated ones. As for the Eritrean team, out of the 17 players, 15 are with Christian names. Out of those 15, 14 have Hebraic names! Only one – Ambessager – is authentically habesha. In terms of percentage, the Hebraic names consist 11.8% and 93.3% for the Ethiopian and Eritrean Christian names in the teams respectively. But that is not all that there is to the story: one has to look at each and every name to see the depth of the malady as reflected in the Eritrean society……..”

          • dawit

            HI Eyob,

            It is true in all fields including naming Eritreans are the trend setters in the Horn Africa, and the rest follow or catch-up . Even if you take nationalism, Eritreans were the first to adopt the Ethiopian Nationalism, followed by the Amara nationalities, and when they accepted their Ethiopian nationalism from being Gojame, Gondere or Menze they excluded other nationalities from adopting the ‘Ethiopian’ nationalism.
            There was a story about an Ethiopian ladies known as ‘Moja’ who went to US in 1960s, and she was asked by a journalist about the Ethiopian population. Her answer was 500. The journalist was surprised by that law number and wanted to correct her ignorance about the population figure. He told that he has read the population of Ethiopia to be some 20 millions! The lady insisted that the journalist was wrong. The ‘True Ethiopian population was only 500! The 20 million he was quoting was adding all the non Ethiopians, the Galas, Gurages, Wolammos and the Tigres!

            In the case of Tigrai (Woyane), they did not adopt Ethiopian Nationalism till 1998 i.e. during the Bademe War, even though they were reminded by Isaias, long before it when they were dreaming of Abai Tigrai. The Oromo and the Somalis and many of the Southern nationalities still are struggling to recognize and accept their Ethiopian nationalism!
            How did you or YG arrived with your Eritreans and Ethiopian naming statistics. How did you differentiate ‘Christian name’ and ‘Hebraic or Biblical names? Is Getachew, or Negash a Christian name to you. Go to Wollo and you will find all kinds of names that belong to Christian and Muslims equally.

          • Eyob Medhane

            Dawit,

            All I say to you is inviting you this song. Enjoy… 🙂

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aGsDmtdxhCQ

          • Abi

            Eyobe
            You took me back to 1982 EC when Tsehaye released the original and a much better version of this song.
            In that album ( cassette) there was a famous abyotawi zefen about enat ager.
            So , Tsehaye was summoned at Guad Mengistu office and told to go to zemecha and sing for abyotawi serawit. His reply was ” tebale ende?”
            The song you forced me to listen remind the old joke.
            BTW, why do you listen to remakes ?

          • Eyob Medhane

            Abiye,

            That was the only version I found on you tube to respond to Dawit’s Jibrish…

            1982..E.C interesting times..I was 12th grade.. But I have a different memory of this song. Few years later, fresh out of AAU, I had a stunt at Mastaweqya Mynister, and there was a guy (boss) who also was fresh for Addis from the bushes…and hated that song. Every time it played on radio, he used to complain, because he thought that it was meant to mock “weyane” (as we used to call them, then)… 🙂

          • Abi

            Eyobe
            That person must be dawit.

          • Eyob Medhane

            Abishu,

            Before you go to bed, I have to make you listen to this.

            Speaking of remakes, this remake (As the youngens these days call it remix, should really take you back…And it has a good message to your kids, too… If they speak Amharic.. 🙂

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DqIl_doURz0

          • Abi

            Eyobe
            Thank you . That is beautifully done.

          • Ararat Iyob

            Hello Awatistas and Saleh,

            Meles took the name Legesse, of a student leader in 1970s to 1972 or 1973. There was a incident in the Municipality of Addis Ababa, and he was blamed and put to jail. He was Tigraian. The person who is said to have personally adjuicated his death sentence was none other than Atnafu Abate, Mengistu’s second hand man who is said to have known Legesse. TPLF since began a tradition of taking on names of those who “fell” on the fight against the fedual, then military leaders. I was there when this incident happend and I lived in the area also. Just a little historical addendum.

          • dawit

            Dear Abi,
            How do you expected me to work at Ministry of Lies? How do you believe, ‘dawit ye-aradaw lij’ to come from the bushes of Aduwa or Mekele? I think Eyobe’s boss must have been Yosef Gebrehiewot and that is why here AT he keeps reciting his writing day and night. Eyobe and his boss YG were baptized with distorted Derg history of lies about Ethiopia and Eritrea bent to burn the two countries into ashes. Still Inashenifalen!! Key bahir dinberachin!!
            Not long a go SAAY complained about Eyobe’s lack of progress here at AT university even though he was one of the few Ethiopians who has been around for many years! Hard for him to get rid of the lies he was fed at Ministry of Lies, that why he is unable to show any progress. The only truth for him is Yosef Gebrehiewot teaching of degrading the Eritrean Ghedli and its history and achievements. They both shed their crocodile tears about ‘Eritrean Kebessa’.

          • Abi

            Hi dawit
            Minew bitiqebel kef kef sadergih
            Wede tach awrje salankebalilih
            dawit yeArada lij yeArat kilo chole
            Endet lihon chale ye Isayas lole?

            Eyobe is the bright star of Awate University. Honors roll !

          • dawit

            Abi,

            Not according to Dean Saay. I just repeated what Dean Saay said about your ‘bright star’ student. How is it possible to be in Honors roll, when you did not even made the Dean’s List for years? Do you think there is some kind of grade inflation or affirmative actions at AT? Who knows, Chancellor Gashe Saleh may have some kind of Affirmative action program to push students from certain geographical areas to enter the Honors roll even if they did not made it to the Dean’s List!.

          • Abi

            Hi dawit
            There is no affirmative action at Awate University. This is different from Asmara University where the chancellor, His Excellency, never showed up. Our chancellor here is always engaging with staff and students. Actually, he is a little taugh on those on deans list because of high expectations. He doesn’t expect much from the lousy and noisy ones like you and me.
            Dean Saay? He is AWOL. He is writing an article in response to Amanuel Hidrat’s last article.
            He is not the dean. He is a part time Wardya.

          • Ted

            Hi, dawit, in a few years we will be No # 1 again for people with two first names:-). Be easy with our southern cry babies, they suck at catching up with everything we do but it is not for lack of trying in their part. Just ask them their student roster these days to find Robel Andeargachew and Heran Agonafer. Back in the days our Askari names served its purpose identifying our own kind if you know what i mean.

            One thing is for sure, the name Semere is ruined for Eritreans;-)

          • dawit

            Hi Ted, Even their dead hero changed his name from Legese a typical Amharic name to Meles to catch up with a typical Eritrean name!

          • Saleh Johar

            Dawit,
            Legese and legeset, and Lggsu are Tigrinya names. Meles, temelso, and Amleset are also Tigrinya names. Your Amice background is playing tricks on you 🙂

          • dawit

            Saleh, Thanks for the information, but all my friends with name ‘Legese’ were from amhara and all my friends with Meles were Eritreans. By the way why did your friend changed his name from Legese to Meles?

          • Saleh Johar

            Dawit,
            Meles was never my friend and I don’t think if you interview a head of state he becomes your friend. Nsu is well placed to answer your question because they were friends and allies, and equals, for years. Ask Nsu. Throughout the nineties you were clapping and it took your deportation from Ethiopia to remember your Eritrea roots? I bet my life you were silent all those years and not you are not silent, but you want to sell Assen for one dollar so that you can comfortably plant one leg in each country. What Dawit, didn’t the Ethiopians give you back the wefcho bet? Adi, amalaj yallllleh!
            Calm down Dawit. I am fasting 😉

          • dawit

            Oh Saleh, Every time I mention Meles here at AT, you jump out of your seat, that is why I imagined him to be your friend. But if you say he was not your friend, then who am I to insist that he was your friend. (Kebalebet yaweqe Buda new yibalal). About my wofcho bet, well they never took it. How can they take away what I don’t have. What I didn’t have I still have it. As to knowing my Eritrean root, perhaps I knew it before you knew it. I bet you knew about Eritrea after you were hooked to Eritrean independence after Awate in 1961 at elementary or middle school. I don’t want to go into the detail, but you believe or not I new my Eritrean root since I was a baby may be two years old.
            As to the reason why Legese changed his name, I thought you had slipped that question to him during your grand interview trying to revive his popularity among the Eritrean people. Anyhow I took your advice and asked NSU if he knows Legese or Meles and he does not remember such names. He does not remember at all if he had a friend called Legese or Meles, and if he had he must have forgotten about him long time ago. Then I checked when ISU last mentioned PMZ and I realized he had never mentioned the name Meles since 1998 i.e last century. Now if you don’t know the reason, why Legese changed his name, perhaps that information is also buried with Meles at Kidist Sellasie Church in Addis. Poor Meles he died singing ‘Down, Down Isaias’. and he is six feet below ground after betraying his trusted friend and most of all betraying the Eritrean people, who fed and protected him when he was hunted like a wild animal by his country Ethiopia!
            About my dream to live in Eritrea and Ethiopia, well I still hope I could live in both countries after the evil government in Ethiopia disappeared and peace established between the two countries. Assab for $1.00? Yes I still would like to lease Assab for one dollar for the sake of peace. between the two nations. I think you have problem of understanding of the difference between two words ‘Lease’ and ‘Sale’, just like the majority of my people south of the border, who think Assab belongs to them because of the new-math theory discovered by the genius the late PMZ. They think there is a rule that allowed for land locked country with 90 million population, could buy Assab by exchanging it with Bademe!
            Well Saleh, I apologize for disturbing your fasting, but I have to respond to clarify certain points because some of misrepresentation you wrote about me in your last response to my enquiry.

          • Saleh Johar

            Dawit,
            Jump because you mentioned Meles? First, be honest, please, you asked me specifically, your friend Meles, you wrote. You might not know it, but is called courtesy, and since you asked I replied. Now you call that jumping, as if you didn’t ask me directly. Honest and courtesy, important words , Dawit, and good qualities in a person. Now, in the future, do you want me to reply when you ask me or ignore you? You have to make up your mind.

          • dawit

            Saleh,
            I asked you a simple question “Why Legese changed his name to Meles” Now the simple answer for that was I don’t know it. But then you run the whole nine yards just because I referred him as ‘your friend’. Then you have to bring the wofchobet, bunabet , questioning my Eritrean root, and Asab or my stand on Eritrean politics etc. If that is not jumping from your seat, what do you call it? I don’t mind if you answer my question, but if you have to run the whole nine yards, every time I asked a simple question, then I don’t need your answer. Can you stick to my question? I tried to answer to the whole enchilada points you raised, nothing more. You can trace back to the beginning of this exchange and you may learn something.

          • Saleh Johar

            Dawit,
            I learned a lot. You knew you were Eritrean when you were just an egg in the womb unlike me who learned about Eritrea when I was five or six. It shows Dawit. The world is dark from inside the womb and I am trying to open the eyes of those who are still living in the dark. They refuse to get out of the womb, since 1991. What to do…. by the way, I didn’t know about the bunabet 🙂

      • dawit

        Dear Amanuel Hidrat,
        You may be right, there are many Ethiopians with Abrahamic biblical names. Growing up in Ethiopia, there was a time when grown up young adults changing their names from the traditional like Teshome to Abraham, Asfaw to Solomon and Ashenafi to Daniel etc. I also noticed there are many Gurage names identical to Eritrean names, both moslems and Christian names. Berhane, Gebre Michael, Siraj etc. There was also one exceptional name “Saba”. I never came across “Saba” from Ethiopian common or traditional name. All the Sabas were from Eritrea! At least I new about half a dozen Sabas and none from Ethiopia! Even the name Solomon was more popular among older Eritreans generation. Similarly or the “Ethiopias” names I knew were from Eritrea, except one. I read recently an American girl named Eritrea.The name Menelik I knew one Ethiopian the singer and one Eritrean friend. If names have predictive values of origin and history, I wonder how Ethiopians were able to hijack the Queen Saba legend to make it an exclusive Ethiopian tradition recently?

    • abrham

      Dear Horizon
      I know a lady by the name Abyotawit in Tigray but she is known by her another name Mamit in her neighborhood. She is totaly uncomfortable but her documents are all with this “revolutionawit” thing. You could acquire a name you want but I think its hard to change when its attached with for a long time. The “koboro junkies” were celebreting their independece from Ethiopia around godana harnet in Asmara, an Eritrean journalist interviewed one of these ladies the reason for their enjoyment. She told the obvious reason & braged too much. Finaly, “mom your name please?” requested the journalist “Oh, my name is Ethiopia”she replied and move on to the guayla/chifera.

      • sara

        Dear awate’ans
        you see where you have taken us, even some one from tegray is telling us those who celebrate eritrean independence in asmara are ”koboro junkies”
        thanks to our politicians at this forum.

        • abrham

          Dear Sara,

          I know you have some type of phobia with the state named Tigray which I cant’t help but time may heal your ..

          • sara

            Dear abrham
            first- try to be civil and correct your assertion that koboro xxxxx is not right on people who have suffered atrocities for 4 decades from successive governments of ethiobia. second i do not have phobia from the people of tgray,but share their
            plight and suffering from the regimes who come from time to time in ethiobia.
            btw, i only know tgray is a region in ethipbia- not a state, those who may be concerned (if that turns phobic) about tgray to be a state are ethiobians not eritreans.
            Good day to you!

          • Abi

            Hi Sara
            Eritreans never suffered under Mama Ethiopia. They were better than anybody else. That is why they are flocking back to Mama Ethiopia to do business and vacation. They feel safe, they feel at home. Because it is.

            I think “Tigry State” is a slip of a finger. Zekone koynu, why do Ethiopians worry if Tigry becomes a state?

          • sara

            Dear ato abi,
            Eritrea and other’s suffered or not under ethiopia, that is history am not to duel on it here, but as for the unusual phenemeno. ?.. going to ethiobia, it is interesting knowing all what happened and happening even this days because of ethiopibia, but there are similar experiences in history in many countries and it is found it is the work of their x occupiers .as for the tegray thing, well it is all for you to worry or not it has nothing to do with us eritreans.
            Tena yestelin, dehna know

          • Abi

            Hi sara
            There is a major difference between eritreans and other countries. Eritreans are flocking back to their X-colony. This time as equals.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Abi,

            Is it also the case, for Eritreans flocking back for the latest Roha Band re-union andEfrem Tamru. I know few of them (Roha band members) were Eritreans and including one my cousin:).

            Berhe

          • Abi

            Hi Berhe
            What? Roha band? I know most of them. I met Selam not to long ago at an Eritrean funeral. He was also at AAU. I believe Geography dept. All of them were eritreans except the late addition Yared. The best saxophone player. I knew him since Yared music school. 1977 EC. The pianist had a pharmacy at Arat kilo . Across Science Faculty. I used to go there because of the beautiful girls at the pharmacy. Good times!
            I told you I know more high achieving eritreans than you can expect. I lived with them.

          • Eyob Medhane

            Abiye,

            Dawit Yifru (keybord) was not Eritran. Along Tekle Tesfazghi, indeed most of them were, except Dawit and couple of other late additions, who mostly came on board after he died.

          • Abi

            Thanks Eyobe
            Of course Tekle was a great Ethiopian. Proud of him .
            You remember Cordial cafe next to Dawit ‘s pharmacy ? The best macchiato in town back then. When I see his car ( white Datsun) parked outside his pharmacy , I sit in that cafe for hours. I scored “F ” in that pharmacy. All I got was heartburn from the macchiato.
            Loser Abi!

          • Eyob Medhane

            Abi..

            Ha..Selam Sium had a music shop around Legehar mekina tera..I used to go to the mini juice bar a lot next to his music shop. Y’know Eri TV had a documentary some years ago on the life of Tekle Tesfazghi, and on that documentary they declared Roha Band an “Eritrean Band”. As if, there was a country called “Eritrea” back then and exported its musicians to neighboring countries… 🙂 I am very happy they got together after all these years and it seems they did not lose their touch a bit…Ephrem’ reunion album is really amazing

          • Abi

            Eyobe
            Min nekabign? Eri Tv ?
            Bemote siqelid new belegn. How do you watch that thing?
            Legehar juice bar? That is my hood.
            I thought the only eritrean before eritrea was dawit. Now, curtesy of Eri Tv , the whole Roha band was eritrean before 1993.
            Gudi sedi ale Oromo!

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Abi,

            I was in Addis around the time Tekle died. One of the saxophone player was Eritrean named Fekadu. He owned a video store near Ghion Hotel called “Ghion Vidio” or something, we went to the store to visit with my cousin.

            I don’t know if he made it to the union but if he did I am happy for him. I remember that he was living in America and he was working (owned) at Gas station or something.

            Abi, minew ende? Every time a great Eritrean name is mentioned you claim, Ethiopian…Zeray Deres Ethiopian, Tekle Tesfazghi Eritrean, Lorenso Taezaz (you didn’t say that I am sure you will) etc…but then again,….if someone says something related to Eritrea independence heros… ELF propoganda, or gura bicha..:)

            Berhe

          • Eyob Medhane

            Berhe,

            Let alone Zerai Deres, Lorenzo Taezaz and Tekle Tesfazghi, we are claiming YOU. We are claiming all the good ones. Zerai Deres did what he did, because he saw Ethiopian flag desecrated. Lorenzo Taezaz is instrumental in diplomatic effort during Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia. Tekle Tesfazghi, never voted for independence and he was a legal citizen of Ethiopia, when he died (God rest his soul), you, you are just a good guy. 🙂 So we just take everything good for ourselves… 🙂

          • Abi

            Eyobe
            Can you find Berhe an Eritrean independence hero. I couldn’t find one. I am thinking of Meles. I think he pushed for full independence while the other guy was contemplating federation, unity, wezeterfe.

            Berhe
            I think I found one for you in my backyard pending approval.

          • Eyob Medhane

            Abishu,

            Speaking of Tekle, I have a song I know you’ll enjoy. The ONLY Tigraway, who got a popular song with Roha Band was Berhane Haile, singing about Eritrean Blin and other Eritreans..

            I bakih wondime tegabezilign. Yehen satsema endatitegna.. 🙂

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b–_O2VKSvw

            P.S Gash Saleh, this is also for you,

            Shew beli bliney
            Ati gual kereney… 🙂

          • Berhe Y

            Hey Eyob,

            I was going to say how about Tsehaye Yohannes, but I forgot he is ERITREAN wedi may temenay (Ayreson Eye).

            I am sure there was a video of him singing this song from Nyla hotel, I didn’t think it was with Roha band, and I use to see in Asmara at the time.

            While on the subject, who was the best cyclist Addis Abeba ever produced, during the DERG time I mean. Gemal Rogera was good from Harer, but there was one guy, I forgot his name but his brothers/sisters are from Asmara (blata Ghebru). No wonder he was good:), he must have learned the basics in Asmara.

            Berhe

          • Eyob Medhane

            Berhe,

            Ha ha… Tsehaye Yohannes Eritreanness has been revoked a long long time ago… 🙂 In fact now he is a full blooded Gojame for we all know. Watch this…

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9FT07AMlc0E

            Berhane I think he lived in Eritrea for a significant amount of time. He is a good singer who, didn’t take off, as much as he should have.

            The only cyclist I remember was Gremew Denboba. Other cyclists are I think almost all of them are Eritrean born. Honestly, I am now trying to find a way to claim Daniel Teklehaimanot, as an Ethiopian, too. I am sure, if I dig deep, I will find something, which makes him ours… 🙂

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Eyob,

            Back in the 90s after Eritrea’s independence, things were good in Toronto (I think still are) between Eritreans/ Ethiopians. I have a friend who is Ethiopian told me, serG malet Tigre sinor new (a wedding is having Tigre / Eritreans presence) and I asked her, why is that…she said…yemichefir sew ayTaTam (you don’t have to worry about who is going to dance)…I really didn’t know that is the case, as I never attended Ethiopian wedding without something to do with Eritreans.

            Anyway to her point, when there is a concert, I think Eritreans are the first to find out and the first line up. I go to Ethiopian restaurants and you see them dancing in Amharic, Gurage or what have you, and you wonder they must be Ethiopians. Then they change the music to Tigrina and the same people start kuda….the switch seamless…they do the same thing if it was Sudan

            Is it because they are in love with Ethiopia or they just like good music and they like to dance…I am sure there are a lot of Ethiopians who sing and dance Sudanese songs…growing up, Sudanese songs were part of the “hibret TirEt”, and I remember when Werdi had the concert in Addis, how the people were going crazy.

            Based on my observations, specially in weddings, Amharic become popular after the war when many Eritreans of Ethiopian origin deported to Asmara. Before that, I don’t remember any wedding that played Amharic song when I was growing up (I didn’t go to a lot of wedding, but those that I remember).

            So back to the story,..in the 90s Mahmood Ahmed come to Toronto. And the story goes that, may Ethiopians were not happy with him, and reason being that he went to Asmara and hold a concert to celebrate Eritrean independence….I don’t think it was true but for what ever reason, a lot of Ethiopians were upset with him…this Mo Anbesa, Zenegede Yihuda…..my friend who use to work with one Ethiopian, how they were preparing to boycott the concert. And they are going further, by placing an Ethiopian flag in the entrance and they were threatening people, to dare step over the flag and go inside. So the rumor kept on going and lots of Eritreans that I know, including me, “how dare they can stop us from going if we wanted to”, so we decided to go. When we showed up, there is no flag, there was no demonstration, but the place was packed, probably by majority Eritreans. We had a good time, and the next time I talked to my friend, I asked here…what happen to the Amharu and all they hoopla…she told me, actually I think the promoters were desprate, as they didn’t sell lots of tickets…and they were hoping to get Eritreans to come to the concert. I guess their trick worked.

            And few months later, Tsehaye Yohannes was doing concert in Toronto. And naturally, as we all believed growing in Asmara, he is Eritrean and he was good singer and we went to see him. am sure there were many Eritreans as well.

            Men, it was a bit embaracing..after few songs..he started to sing mama Ethiopia, wrapped him self in the Ethiopian flag…and he was rolling over in the floor, crying, mamaye, mamaye. I had no problem for what was going on, but it looked to me, in your face and excessive…I don’t remember if we stayed or not but since that time…I didn’t really care much about his songs..and I think he lost his groove….does he even sing Tigrina anymore, I really haven’t heard anything good song from him for a long time…

            Berhe

          • Eyob Medhane

            Ha ha..Berhe,

            It’s a good story.. 🙂

            If I may correct you a little bit that Mahamoud was boycotted by some emotional crazies in early 90s, not because he went to Asmara, but he held a concert only few months after EPRDF took over Addis Ababa in Mekelle with an Eritrean singer named Bereket. That is what happened. You know the politics of the diaspora back then. It was nutty. In Ethiopian community, honestly, other than the EXTREEMLY few, who are obsessed with this zero sum game diaspora politics (they are all, but disappeared nowadays) anything Habesha is kingly. Amharic, Tigrigna, Afan Oromo, Guragigna, Afar, what have you… There is an urge to show of a sense of pride and a competition to show people and your friends that you are not ethnocentric and love Ethiopia. That is the reason why you see see Ethiopians dancing in every Habesha sounding beat. In Ethiopia anything of Abrham Afeworki or Jemal Romedan (Gezana) make people crazy. People play those songs in a loop. I wish you go there and see it.

            Tsehaye, I think your being unfair to him. He is a son of a soldier. Born in a military camp singing for and about Ethiopia for all his life. Other than his blood line, there is NOTHING absolutely NOTHING that connects him to Eritrea. It is not about where your grand parents born, it is about where you feel you belong. Tsehaye is a pure Ethiopian. A very humble, patriot and talented man that every Ethiopian should be proud of. I really mean it. At that stage you went to, even though he didn’t meet your expectation, he didn’t fake it and didn’t act what he ain’t. He s Ethiopian and sang for Ethiopia, no matter who the audience was. That actually should earn him enormous respect. Yes. He still sings Tigrigna. Many Tigrigna experts say that his Tigrigna is not that good, so he sticks with what he is good at, which is Amharic.

            The young generation by the way are very much beyond this Eritrea/Ethiopia thing and when it comes to music and art, they are more Habesha centric…They are comfortable to belong to both, sing both. They create youtube channels like “Sh** Habesha parents say” collection of skits that mock Habesha parents from both side of the Mereb. Or “Habesha Poetics” that is collection of newly issued songs of both sides of Habesha people and many others. This is what is driving PFDJites crazy. Wedi Tekabo’s song that was sang in Amharic has more Eritrean fans than Ethiopian fans…I guess the older generation should get on that program or get relegated to the “has been” bin.. 🙂

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Eyob,

            You are right it’s not fair to criticize him based on that incident that happened many years ago. The point I was trying to make was, he didn’t know his audience, I think people were there and paid money to see a concert. If it was on an occasion, like awet adwa, or Independence Day I can understand, anyway not that important.

            But seriously though, I have not heard anything from him since. No face book, you tube any song that become popular.

            Too bad, I actually liked his Tigrina accent and his Tigrina songs. I don’t think one need to be proficient to sing. Look at Celine Dion, have you heard her speak English.

            Hope he will sing Tigrina again, he will become instant hit again.

            Berhe

          • አዲስ

            Hi Berhe,

            I think he knew his audience. His audience was the diaspora and it’s fairly common for a singer to sing about his country for such audience. It actually feels like a Must 🙂 People pour their heart out..hagere hagere…I have never been to a concert in the diaspora where the artist didn’t sing about Ethiopia.

            Now this is only true unless the concert you were talking about was exclusively for Eritreans. I don’t believe that was the case. I guess you are disappointed because you expected him to be an Eritrean but that wasn’t the case. It’s not his fault 🙂 Leave his identity to him and try to enjoy his music or not. As for me I don’t really care that much for his music except for few songs.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Addis,

            I mentioned him as a joke going back and forth with Eyob and Abi, I wasn’t being serious.

            Again it was long time ago and I don’t even remember the whole event too well. I don’t think the concert was for Eritreans exclusively, never heard such things.

            I have been to a few concerts, not lately (may be Mahmood about a year ago), aster aweke, Efrem Tamru, and few others. His was a bit different, at least that’s what I felt, and I am not deciding his identity.

            Berhe

          • Abi

            Hi Berhe
            you brought two artists . One was loved and the other was boycotted.
            Tsehaye got into trouble because he sang about Mama Ethiopia. He was loved by the people. I was at Addis Ababa Stadium where Tamrat Layne was the Honorary Guest when we sang the old National Anthem. We chanted ” leba, leba, leba…” until he left the stadium. It was a time where Eprdf was more concerned for eritreans and eritrea than ethiopians and ethiopia. It was the time where eritreans said ,” eritrea yegilachin, ethiopia yegarachin “.
            Mohamed Ahmad was boycotted by the public. people stopped going to his restaurant next to St Paul Hospital. He gave an interview just after he came back from Asmara telling us that those Ethiopians in Eritrea are doing fine or something like that while over 100 thousand inhumanly deported ethiopians are on the streets of Addis. Talk about opportunist.
            On my part , I never listen to his music.
            Tsegaye is “jigna”. I love him, I respect him.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Abi and all,

            I realize my comments were insensitive, based on the reaction that I got. It’s not my intention and I am sorry if I offended you.

            Berhe

          • Abi

            Hi Behe
            you will never offend me . You are such a nice person. sorry, I will take it back. You offend me because you are not an ethiopian.

          • Eyob Medhane

            Berhe,

            I don’t think you offended anyone at all. Believe me. In fact we probably will be mad at you for being too nice and polite, way much more than we used to. You’re the best…. 🙂

          • አዲስ

            Hi Abi,

            Is life even possible without Mahmoud’s music ? How dare you ? 🙂 You are missing out a lot my friend.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Abi

            Addise
            Life is possible , it is even better without opportunists.
            I listen to Aster Awoke , Tilahun and Tewodros Tadesse regularly.

            ” gize kemestawot endemin yileyal?
            Enkuwan yesew fitun jerbawun yasayal.”
            Lehulum mesenbet wanaw neger Tena
            Kifu degun leyen gize agegnenina.
            (Tewodros Tadesse)
            My all time favorite singer. I can live without Mahmoud Ahmad.

          • አዲስ

            Abi,

            Haha of course but come’on don’t stay mad at him.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Eyob,
            Again! I stop listening if a saxophone brays. Sorry, it felt like ten donkeys were braying. After the liveration of Eritrea, I you are invited Hashela to experience such songs in authentic ambience.

          • Abi

            Thanks Eyobe
            I like to start my morning in a good mood.
            Bilen music and dance is the best in eritrea. The people are beautiful. They look like Wolloyes. Their root is ethiopian anyway.

            I will be playing saxophone when the Wardya becomes an ethiopian again.

            Regarding Daniel, don’t worry. He will ride his bike to Mekele soon. Rahwa sistu will give him citizenship and a new bike decorated with Ethiopian flag right there.
            He will wave Ethiopian flag at the next race.
            Get ready to take picture of the century.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Abi,

            I think I know. Isayas Afeworki, not that he cared for Eritrea/Ethiopia people, but he thought why be a Negus, when I can be Neguse Negest, just like my great, great, great uncle Yohannes.

            Berhe

            P.s. To be honest his lineage with Yohannes, I have not been able to confirm.

          • Abi

            Ej enesalehu, Ato Berhe
            Atse Yohannes your great, great uncle? You don’t have to prove anything. You are an Ethiopian.
            Who is next? Not you ,Ted. I said next. Don’t cut the line. Teregaga!

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Abi,

            Amesegnalogu, but sorry to disappoint you. I meant Isayas Afeworki’s. There is this website, that has all the Ethiopian kings, going back all the way to Menlik and it has Isayas Afeworki there as well, as descendant of Mirach.
            http://www.royalark.net/Ethiopia/tigray5.htm
            I used my sources to see if this is true but so far nothing if what is written is right or wrong. That’s what I mean.

            You see, I really do not get Isayas Afeworki and what his motivation is? It’s a big mystery to me, how can this guy detest the Eritrean people so much. When I think about it, and I mean thinking about it really hard, there isn’t a thing this guy did to better the lives of Eritreans. Period.

            Berhe

          • Abi

            Berhe
            Hode tekefabih anjeten alew qir
            Wendme neh silih kewenzu bashager.

          • Ted

            Hi Abi, Meles our hero,አገብ(not fair):-( i know you have potent poisonous to hurt us but not this one;-). That is below the belt. Do i need to remind you, It is my people who gave you all the “where were you moments” of your life in Ethiopia. What happened before independence is our shared memory, don’t fight it now we are gone.

          • Rahwa T

            Hi Ted,

            When are you going to stop this boring song of “we liberate you…..”. Don’t you have a grain of shame? I know you what they call “yedil aTbiaya arbegna” with no field experiences. But can you mention names of two shaebia fighters who were martyred in Ethiopian soil fighting against the Derg? This is what I want to know and I will give the respect they deserve. Unfortunately, other than the usual brag, I have never heard details of where and when and how many shaebia soldiers participated in battles that was held in Ethiopia. What I read is about 120 soldiers had arrived three days after the fall of Addis under the control of EPRDF. The reason your soldiers came to Addis was to claim that helped in ousting the Derg from Arat Kilo.

          • Ted

            Hi, RT, it was about civilian Eritrean who left nostalgic memory on Ethiopians when I say “where were you moment”
            “yedil aTbiaya arbegna” let is go sister. I don’t want to blow your short fuse by stating the obvious.

          • Abi

            Hi Berhe
            Min Gud new yemsemaw?
            The great Tekle Tesfazghi Eritrean? What? Endihma atawardegnim! Gedlo yemayfokrew yiqir yibelih
            MirT mirTun leEmye.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Abi,

            Can you tell me one song he sang while he was in Addis? Other than mix/remix all of the creative years were in Asmara.

            Berhe

          • Rahwa T

            Dear Berhe,

            You are one of the few non-emotional guys I enjoyed reading their comments here at Awate. But I can’t see why you are joining the others when you mix “citizenship and lineage” in the same box. I think, being “wedi/gual Asmera” or ancestral roots should not be confused with citizenship. Otherwise, Barack Obama would be a Kenyan, and Isayas Afworki would also be Ethiopian.

            Having said this, I have great respect for the contributions of personalities from the highland Eritrea. But isn’t it pathetic when you hear them talking as if they were not Ethiopians.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Rahwa T.

            Thank you and the feeling is mutual. I couldn’t get Abi for a long time, how he seems oblivious to Eritrean cause for independence. Every time he is presented with evidence, even that evidence comes from the East German declassified files, or American state department documents, or Ethiopian authors like Bealu Ghirma, or Colonel Dawit Woldegergish, that both successive Ethiopian governments, Haile Selassie and Derg pushed Eritreans to the limit, thus chose the independence route as the only choice. His argument is deny or one line answer, ELF propaganda.

            His justification is, a lot well to do Eritreans in Addis Abeba, and the current misery Eritreans find them selves, but he totally forgets the bombing, the killing Eritreans in the law lands first and through out Eritrea next.

            So I was just going along (I understand his logic now), and doing the reverse thing on him:).

            Berhe

      • Abi

        Hi abrham
        That lady has the most beautiful name on the face of earth. I know an Oromo lady by the name Eritrea.

        Horizon
        If you visit the southern part of Ethiopia, you will find the majority of the names to be from the bible. You will be surprised to find a lot of Mathios, Markos, Yohannes, ………They are collectively known as missionary/ wengelawi simoch.
        If you go to addis , you will be confused whether you are in a city or in an astrology department of a certain university or NASA. You will find more of star names than human names.

        • Dear Abi,

          It is true that these are missionary names. There were many Swedish and Norwegian missionaries in the Oromo regions (mainly Wollega) during the 50s and 60s, and I think that
          this is the reason most protestants are Oromos. (You can correct me, if I am wrong). Moreover, most Oromos do not identify themselves as Habeshas, and although some have Habesha names, most would rather identify themselves with Oromo or biblical names.

          The astronomy and astrology names are really funny. May be it is modernism at work here than anything else.

        • abrham

          Dear abi,
          W
          My boss told me so after calling abraha. He always reminds you know” boy this all hebrew staffs are not ours may be but if u are from debub ..well.. “. He isfrom Hawassa college anyway.

        • Saleh Johar

          Abi
          I have come across names like Chereqa, kokob, tsehay, mebraq, shams, shamsu. Can you inform us of names based on stars/astrology? Couldn’t think of many.

          • Abi

            Ato Saleh
            You couldn’t think of many of these names because you didn’t know they are ” modern ” names for the “civilized ” youth.
            My niece is ” Novela”. I’m not sure of the spelling . They told me it is some kind of moon.
            All those names you mentioned are very “huwala qer “.
            These days most grandparents don’t know how to call their grandchildren.
            ” Entnaye ” is the way to go.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Selam abrham
        This is too cheap a shot even by wayanay standard. So, you are saying Eritreans are”koboro junkies”? Since Eritreans fought for, and later voted for independence almost 100%, there is 100% probability that any Eritrean person is celebrating independence in one way or another. Your logic that a lady named Ethiopia should not have celebrated the independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia is nonsense. As the article tried to show you, and as your own wayane amplifies it, names are affected by the feel of the era, social, political, migration, assimilation processes, fashion, etc. Nothing big about the changing preferences of names. There are always popular named in any society at different stages. Americans publish the popular names and trends of the year and celebrate them. Most Asians tend to shift yo wedtern names when they settle to the west. Therefore, buddy, as aperson vloser to Eritrean psyche and history it makes it disturbing to mischaracterize the lady, and by ectension all Eritreans. Shame on you.Ithought i had a wayanay friend but it seems i wad wrong. By the way, perhaps, it is Wayane which has resorted to the extreme by adopting exotic nom-de-guerre. Go check out your files before pondering about Eritrean names.

        • abrham

          Haha Mahmuday cool down,
          You shouldn’t act like any sensitive person. I did it not because I oppose the struggle for independence but to show you how people forgot their name with some type of emphasis while they r intoxicated by the independece. Nothing more or less but ofcourse she might represent members of nihna nisu. Spare me from the accusations you thrown onTPLF which is holier than your EPLF though I am not going to defend any party like you do always.I know& exprienced much worse thiings including the 1985 incident in which you & your likes tried to defend your ex-party. But the irony is while we the young and the old who seek for peacefull ‘neighborhood’ co existance as u want to be called by are few, many ultra nationalist from both sides are moshrooming. Yekruro yebl!!

          • Mahmud Saleh

            selam abrham
            “ሓጺሩኒ እንተበልኩስ ተደቢሩ ይስዕስዕ” ኮይኑ ነገሩ ኣቶ ኣብርሃም።

          • abrham

            ሰላም ማሕሙድ
            ገነር ሞ ንግደፎ ናይ በሓቂ ግን እዘን ከበሮ ሒዘን ለውጢ መጸ ዝለሃያ ‘ሲ ቅጭ የምጸኣለይ፡፡ ሓንቲ ኣብዚ ዓድናሲ ደርግ ተደምሲሱ ወያነ በትረ ስልጣን እንትጭበጡ ከም ኣመላ ከበሮኣ ሒዛ መሰስ ናብ ኣደባባይ፡፡ ታይ ደኣ ተረኸበ እንተበላኣስ “ተገልቢጥና ኢናዋ ተገልበጣታ” ኢላ መኸረተን ነብሳ ይምሓራ፡፡ ናብ ስም ተኮር ጉዳይ ከሓልፍ በዛዕባ ማማ ኢትዬጵያ ተሰፋዬ ገ/ኣብ ብኤሪቲቪ ናብ ትግርኛ ተተርጊመን ካብዝተፈነዋሉ መፀሓፍቲ እየ ረኺበያ፡፡ ናብ እንዳወያነ ክሰግር ከለኹ ከዓ ተጋዳሊት ብርሽዋ ውን ትብለኒ፡፡ ኣብ መፋርቕ 80ታት ኣብ ታባታት ኤርትራ ዝተሰወአት ጅግና፡፡ ጅግንነታ ዝተዓዘቡ ገለ ተጋደልቲ ህዝባዊዊ ግንባር”ወርቂ ትግራይ ዘይትብልዋ ታይዝኾን ብሪ ሽዋ እዩ” ከምዝበመይዝንቶ፡፡ መተዓረቒ እንተኾነ ኢለ እየ ባሻ፡፡

    • Abraham Hanibal

      Hi Horizon,

      When it comes to the changing trends of naming among Eritreans in relation to Ethiopians, we’ve to consider the effect of centuries long of foreign colonization; starting from the Turks, Egyptians, Italians, the British, as well as the effect from the various occupying forces from our southern neighbor. As in any society naming trends change with the various inputs from the outside world, or developments inside the society. Although the Eritrean family cohesion is under serious attack from the current regime as Semere Andom put it in his article; Eritreans still value their ancestry; they still care to know about their family lines that goes back many generations in time. And, I think this is the most important than the natural variations in naming.

      The following song may give you some impression of how Eritreans value their origins. Enjoy.-)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na6EkcFCAQ8

      • Dear Abraham Hanibal,

        Thank you a lot for the link. It is a beautiful song, and the lyric must also be beautiful. Music
        is an international language that brings people together.
        Eritreans have a proud history. What I would like to stress is that the great history and culture of both people that go back centuries and even millennia should not be lost, because of modernism, politics and the ups and downs of our recent relationship. There is a lot of common history and culture, more than we would like to accept, that both people should save.
        Remember what Abi said; Ethiopians are also acquiring exotic names. This shows the wrong
        direction our people are going in the name of modernization.

    • Negash

      Horizon, I can prove to anyone that every problem in Eritrea emanates from an identity confusion or crisis, whichever word is more suitable.

      • Dear Negash,

        The big problem is when politics decides identity, and not history, language, culture, tradition, blood ties, cuisine etc. Of course, this is more true for highland Eritrea and may not be true for lowland Eritrea. Unless Eritrea comes to terms and is at peace with its past, present and future, the region is going to live in a state of instability for the coming decades.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Horizon,
          Wasn’t the struggle of TPLF for “self determination up to secession” – in fact was the question of identity politics. Isn’t Ethnic Federalism in itself was intend to resolve the identity politics of multi-ethnic Ethiopian society. How good is good for Ethiopia and bad for other society? I think in recent days you are losing your rationality.

          Regards,
          Amanurel Hidrat

          • Dear Amanuel Hidrat,

            Almost all LF of the 60s and 70s were influenced by the communist political philosophy of the so called self-determination up to secession. The aim was territorial claims and to redraw boarders without putting into consideration the difficulties that might arise. Few were fighting to bring democracy, equality and the rule of law in Ethiopia, even though at the start all faced a common problem and more or less to the same degree. Some revised their decision and others insisted on their goals, and we see the results today.
            Ethnic identity in Ethiopia has been made the building blocks on which the bigger and inclusive Ethiopian identity is constructed. Now, all Ethiopians know and accept the building blocks with which Ethiopia is formed, and these blocks are supporting the edifice called Ethiopia.
            We cannot deny that politics (EPLF) played a major role in influencing Eritrean identity and in augmenting the antithesis of the two communities. Unfortunately, usually people do not have a say and cannot decide which way they want to go, and the criteria on which a common identity is formed are ignored and misinterpreted.
            Regards.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Horizon,
            Didn’t you say “The big problem is when politics decides identity”? Of course politics decide the identity was my point. Furthermore, I was trying to remind you that, even the current Ethiopian Ethnic federation is decided by the current Ethiopian politics that each ethnic identity has to have its own autonomy. I guarantee you that there is nothing that can not be decided by politics – anything pertinent to national identity and national governance. I felt you lost your normal political grip the way you respond to Mr. Negash.

            regards
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Dear Amanuel Hidrat,

            There are democratic governments that allow the individual to understand and develop his/her identity freely. On the contrary, there are others, usually dictatorial governments, who invent and manufacture identity by rewriting history and denying the obvious, and enforce it upon the people, even on those who have a completely different background. That is where the difference lies.

            Regards.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Horizon,

            Just I want you be reminded that identity like anything do evolve and develop to create new identity either by splitting or uniting depending on circumstances that brings new paradigm. The factors are not only the nature of governments but also include societal internal dynamics and external influences. So it is not easy as you think about it. Changes and evolution can not be seen only from the Ethio-Eritrean political optics. There are always general rules that govern the evolution of the world we live in.

            regards,
            Amanuel Hidrat

        • Abraham Hanibal

          Dear Horizon, and Negash,

          What do you guys think the main hindrance for a peaceful co-existence between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and the Horn region in general? Is it the so called “identity crisis” that Eritreans suffer from and the fact that Eritrea is an independent country; or is it the absence of good governnace and good political will between the two governments? If there was a representative government in Eritrea that respects the rights of its people and a truly participatory and real democracy in Ethiopia that respects its diverse peoples as well as abiding by its obligations to the Algiers peace deal; do you think we would be in the appalling circumstances of today?
          In my view the first problem lies within Eritrea; authoritarianism must end, and a popular government should be formed; then the Ethiopian government should also respect its peace signature bringing the meaningless border dispute to an end. Both governments should stop interfering in each others internal affairs, and a gradual normalization of relations should take place. No one is served by the status quo; on the contrary the two countries and the region are losing golden opportunities for regional development and progress. Imagine a situation where Sudan and South Sudan fully develop their petroleum industries, Ethiopia fully developing its natural resources, power and tourism resources, Eritrea developing its ports, mineral resources and tourism, likwise Djibouti doing the same. The region would be lifted to the level of most prosperous nations both in Africa and the developing world in no time. What we all are missing is the good political will from good political leaders in all countries of the region; leaders who manage to think for their peoples’ progress and regional prosperity than narrow destructive political agendas of domination and hegemony.

          • Dear Abraham Hanibal,

            Ethio-Eritrean politics is the most stagnant form of politics, going nowhere. It is even worse than the cold war politics. The US and the Soviet Union had direct and indirect talks, not Ethiopia and Eritrea after fifteen years, and not expected for a long time. We all know and
            the governments know what should be done, and they do not want to act on them, and
            they have turned Ethio-Eritrean politics into a knock-out politics. Common history, language, culture, etc have not helped either. One is therefore forced to say that it is a difficult situation if not hopeless, with no solution in sight, at least for the time being.

        • Mahmud Saleh

          Selam Gashe
          Without venturing outside the scope of the article, I think the most fashionable names in Eritrea are the following.
          Ertitrea
          Harnet
          Natsnet
          Assab
          Dalool
          Adal
          Denden
          Nakfa
          Homib
          Rodab
          Fenkel
          Haben
          faal
          Mahta
          Rodab
          TsinAat
          Soyra
          Hariena
          add some more.
          These names my friend, tell you Eritreans have long departed. We are comfortable under our identity. Those names will show the distance Eritreans traveled never again to be under any grip, be it as bulky and archaic as Ethiopia is or as small as wealthy and sophisticated as some other predators are. We will talk about some of the lofty ideas such as cooperation and what have you once you regain reality that Eritrea is free and independent. Eritreans work should be on improving their domestic situation and not wasting on frivolous attacks on their identity. A people that is as solid as a steel could whether the challenges that Eritreans have faced. Our solid identity has proven that Eritreans could absorb pressures and the shocks a century lobbied at us. And you keep wondering why we have not raised the white flag! That’s why you repeat the same whining. The answer is the solid identity, an identity that proved that bulki-ness is not all it takes for nations to withstand shocks. There is power and beauty in small. All that takes is a stronger than your comprehension feeling of belonging to the family you call a state. I hope you get a conclusion to your unwarranted pondering.

          • Rahwa T

            Hi Mahmud,

            Interesting list of names. I guess these are names from the highlands of Eritrea. Can I also tell us a bit more if the Tigre and other ethnic groups have created new names or is it the same Arabic names. In my opinion, it is only the Tigrigna people who wishes to distance themselves from their immediate neighbors. Not the Kunama, and Not the Afars. I am sure the western lowlanders will never think of changing names. Am I right?

          • Fnote Selam

            Dear Rahwa,

            Short answer, you are wrong, on many levels. And you know it.

            FS.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            selam Rahwa

            Whether you do it purposely in order to throw sardonic lines, or it is out of ignorance, your comments lack basic decency and respect.

            1. Please check out your veteran TPLF code names. List their original names (given by church/parents, and the names they adopted later after joining wayane, as code names. That will tell you that choosing trendy names is the right of every body and it’s inevitable. Names change. Nothing new about that, and nothing to worry about. Cultural purism and protectionism is a sign of xenophobia. I think most Eritreans and Ethiopians are over with that. They are as liberal as any society can be (I will link a list of popular Ethiopian names. Your grandparents would probably agree with few of them, and hardly with some).

            2. The names I listed are not “from the highland of Eritrea.” They are unpretentious Eritrean names linked with the blood and sweat of generations, they are neither Muslim nor Christian; neither from highland nor lowland, they are Eritrean names. For instance, I know of a girl named beilul, because her father was martyred in Beilul, there is also the song of Fihira about Hariena, because that girl’s father was killed in a place called Hariena (It’s to the southeast of the Peak Baalu Girma mentions in his “Oromay” where waves of poor Ethiopians perished in order to capture it, hence secure the capture of Nakfa- I forgot the elevation of that height, military maps are communicated in numbers (elevation). In fact most of the names are found in lowland Eritrea, and that’s because most of the atrocious battles were waged there.

            3. This takes me to see if it is the Eritreans who are shifting names. Let’s see the skeletons in your closet. Most young Ethiopian names are making a shift towards more trendy names. BTW, today’s trendy names will be tomorrows obsolete ones. As I explained it for the third time under this article, shifting or morphing of names are normal. But for the sake of debunking your attitude and that of Horizon who tried to veer this beautiful article from its benign yet entertaining critiquing of social drifts to psychoanalyzing Eritrean identity, let me take few shots here and there.

            a/ Habesha names are mostly of religious, good luck wish, celebrating traits and historic figures…etc. Some are single others are composite. For instance:

            Kebede, zeleqe, gemechu…Hailie…are single names

            The composites:

            Hailie+something= Halieselasie, Hailiemariam…etc.

            Habtie+something: Habtemariam, Habtegiorgis…etc

            Welde+something= Weldegiorgis, weldeselassie…etc.

            You can get many composite names.

            All the above are pretentious names. Why? Because there is no Haileselasie (or the power of the trinity). There is only human being. Fallible. You know Hailiesellasie was deposed and buried under the office floor of a dictator. His pretentious name did not save him. We know many Gebremariams, Hailemariams (composite of a divine power or relationship) who raped and killed innocent people. On the Muslim side the same: Many dictators and terrorists carry angel sounding names.

            By contrast, the names I mentioned are unpretentious. They are symbols of unity and the tale-tell of steadfastness, Muslims and Christians; highlanders and lowlanders share them.

            The following will give you a hint of how Ethiopian names have drifted from the old composite and pretentious names*.

            http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/penpals/stats.php3?Pays=ETH
            * you see that some European names are adopted as they are.

          • Abi

            Hi Vet Mahmud
            The statistics you provided/ linked doesn’t show the current trend. If you see the age group, the majority is in 27-99. If take another sample of 1000 boys and girls under age 10, the result will definitely be different. That is where we will find the names of stars , moons, pets, rocks….

            If you see the language part 99.5% is for English. Arabic is a distant second.

            PS
            In your list of fashionable eritrean names you missed ” nadew “. I was hoping that to be your son’s name. ( just kidding)

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Hello friend
            Age= we don’t have further breakdowns, but the bracket 27-99 is misleading. If we could get farther information, I’m sure the lower end will constitute 99.9%
            Language=The same. What you see is probably the fluency of the students in either of these languages, and not their mother tongue, or a second language such as Arabic. That’s why Amharic is missing.
            The program usually caters for students fluent in English. Another point is: The a fluent and urbanites lead in name changes. Because they are exposed to cultural exchanges, schooling, commercials, movies, radio, telephone, Television. ..that shows my contention that name shifts are a sign of
            Openness.
            On Nadew: no none of my sons carry that name. But one carries the name of my best Budd who was killed in subsequent battles in Rora MansaE.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Dear Negash,

        I don’t know how you define identity as a concept, but Eritreans do not have identity crises. Because we have a brutal dictator who tried day and night to disintegrate Eritreans, doesn’t mean in any shape or forum lose the center of gravity of our identity. “Eritrea nation” is our center of gravity for our common identity, no matter where we are. That is our glue. So don’t worry about our identity. The Eritrean people will regain their pride and their place in the international community sooner or later. We are resilient and persistent people to our belief; and I am sure you will agree on those virtue, that history already has vindicated as inherent values of Eritrean people.

        Regards,
        Amanuel Hidrat

  • Abraham Hanibal

    Selam Semere,

    Thank you for sharing with us this entertining treat, but also with some seriousness as to the dire situation Eritrean families are facing today. Your article has made me contemplate on the use of some female names in Eritrea that have to do with nature, like: Tsehay, Freweini, Weini, Tsigereda, Birtukan, Ghenet, Lula, Tsige, Almaz, Lemlem, etc. In which time epoch do such names fall according to your analysis; are they relatively new or do they belong to those pre-Christianity names?

  • dawit

    Hi Cousin SEM,
    It is me again your favorite cousin. I noticed that when you list popular Eritrean names, you forgot one important name, the name that you recite daily her at AT, perhaps even during your dreams at night. You forgot to name ‘Isaias”, the name of an important prophet in the Biblical stories. I think that must be a mistake, otherwise how do you forget or exclude the name ‘Isaias’ from Eritreans names!. I think you need to write a TAisAa paper next time you visit Eritrean Consulate in Toronto, Canada.
    Regards,
    dawit

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Semere, what about having small poem under your article,

    … ኣስማት …..

    እቲ ኣስማት ደቂ ዓዲ :-
    ብኽብሪ ዝወሃብ ንጓል ወዲ :-
    ንሕዙን ኣጸናኒዑ ኣባዲ :-
    ንትስፍው ሓባሪ መገዲ :-
    ንሕጉስ በሳሪ – ዝሩእ ዓውዲ ::

    ….እዩ ነጸብራቕ ክውንነት :-
    ….ወይ ውን መጻእ ትምኒት:-
    ….ወይ ውን ሕሉፍ ስምብራት :-
    ….ነጸብራቕ ውሽጣዊ ስምዒታት ::

    ውድብ ውን እኮ ሽም ይምረጸሉ :
    መግለጺ ሽቶኻ ነቲ ትቃለስሉ :-
    ነቲ መትከላትካ እተንጸባርቐሉ :-
    ሰዓብን ተቃዋምን እተተንብሃሉ ::

    ግን !
    ሓደ ሓደ ግዜ ሽም ‘ውን እዩ ከዳዕ :-
    ብመታለሊ ኣምሰሉ ትሪኦ ክስናዕ :::
    ….ዲሞክራስን ፍትሕን ክብሉ እንዶ ርኣዩለይ :-
    ….ጥዑም ሽም ሂቦም ክገፉ መሰለይ ::

  • Solomon Haile

    Selamat SA and Awatistas,

    So some us broke away from the naming conventions all together. For those of us who wanted to compromise on letting wife-eeee get her first choice, we decided to insert a middle name. So my 2nd born son’s middle name, for example, is Miles (after Miles Davis). The old folks asked: “intayy iyyu lkhhe Miles ilkkkka?” To which I replied Kilometers rhKett Adi iyu Tenqu. Though his middle name us Miles, he chose the Saxophone as his musical instrument in band. His older brother had “The Great” had already picked up the trumpet earlier. The youngest with Issacc as his middle name has the Hebrew name Matthew as a first name which translates to: Gift from God as are all children. So is any one out there given a first and middle name to their children? Why should they be as confused as the zero generation in exile where their father name became their middle name and grandpa’s first name became the last? In addition to the changing Eritrean naming traditions and the causes, I suppose. TsaTse

  • Sarah Ogbay

    Dear Semere,
    It is amazing how a society expresses itself and leaves a good mark of time and lived experiences; then lets you know what its feelings and aspirations are!

  • Mesfin

    Semere! Keep it up. I love reading your article. If there is anyone who loves what higidef is doing, we will hear their kids named tsinat, hidri, ghedli, ….Isayas, wutjcu, ….

  • Tzigereda

    Dear Sem,

    Superb article! Love it!

    I know a father of five who named his kids Ertra, Kibret, Haben…and we were kiddding him if he is going to name the last one ” iya”.
    Last week I met a 13 years old new comer Wesen, missing his brother XinAt, who lives in Israel ( wesen ilu do wesen iludo wesenye..).
    But can you imagine writing a love letter”.. Dearest Letenchiel or Dear Bahgu..”?

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Semere,

    Kiros Asfeha’s song “ከፍቅራ እየ ገና ” is wonderful one, he put names with the meaning of each. Look, this wise guy he knows people love their names.

    ምድራፉ ኣስማት ምዝርዛሩ :-
    ንነብስ ወከፈን ምግላጹ ‘ቲ ፍቅሩ :-
    ሸምካ ይፍቶ ምዃኑ ፈሊጥዎ ነይሩ :-
    ቲ ዝበለጸ ቃል ሽምካ እዩ ሚስጥሩ ::

    http://www.eritreanmovie.com/kiros-asfaha-kefkra-ye-gena-official-video-video_76f8aa360.html

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Salam Semere
    Excellent article. Zwetsa yeblan. I really, really, really enjoyed reading it. And by this you have raised the bar of our expectations regarding your articles. No kidding, you are pumped up with excitatory neurotransmitters, buddy. Thanks. Very entertaining.

  • Semere T Habtemariam

    Mokhsi,

    Excellent piece. Enjoyed it thoroughly; very edutaining!

    Early on before I tied the knot, I made up my mind to give my children Eritrean names for I was perturbed by the corrosive hebraization and Arabaization of Eritrean names. I’ve succeeded in 3 out of 4. My eldest was born on qudas Mikael, who happens to be the patron saint of the family and my late father was named after him. My mother insisted he be named Michael in honor of my father and the family tradition and since he was her first grand-son (from the her boys), I had to concede and let her have her way.

    I think Mella, Dlet and Blen are as cool as they come.

    Now Mohksi, I want you to heed Khokob Selam’s suggestion and add my name to each of my kids names and you will see the tradition of “sm yemerH Tewaf yebrh” is not completely dead and I have a hunch it will come back with a vengeance.

    One thing I don’t like about the so-called Abrahamic religions is the subtle, and quite often abrasive way, in which they colonize the non-dessert cultures and deprive people of their unique cultural heritage. I, certainly, don’t like any of the names of the 4 patriarchs of Eritrea: too Greek. No pun intended here, they literally are Greek.

    Few years ago, we had the honor of hosting aboy Habtemariam and Keleta Kidane for a meeting in Dallas, and my friend Derie introduced himself to aboy Habtemariam who knew immediately, just based on the name, that he was Mensa’e. I hate to see this beautiful culture to be so-yesterday.

    Mokhsi, one of the ancient names you mentioned happens to be my great-great grand-father and in the footsteps of my father and uncles, we swear in his name, as is the tradition in Eritrea and Tigray.

    Growing up in the Sudan, I used to swear in his name and one of my friends, who now lives in Holland, would immediately quib, “wmalom al kubar”.

    Keep it up, Mokhsi. You were the best “qursi bun” with my Saturday coffee.
    In appreciation!
    hawka
    Semere Tesfamicael Habtemariam

  • Ali

    To: All
    The article is a good one because its intention is to show how people are identified by their names, how the names are changed with time and reflect the time etc. But the writer has lost one important description for his article all the names he mentioned are Tigringa names not Eritrean Names. If you want you can include the names of the our southern cousin. However, If you want to say an Eritrean name you must include all the name changes in Tigre, Afar, Bilne etc. But I would like to ask the writer to change the article name i.e instead of saying Eritrean names it better to say Tigringa names if it is written by mistake otherwise you have a problem of the highlanders which assume the Tigiringa speakers represent Eritrea which creates false image.

    • Saleh Johar

      Dear Ali,
      What if he doesn’t know the other names? Is he supposed to stop writing about what he knows? If you want to add to the knowledge base, then tell us about what you know. Compliment the article, make it fuller. But Semere went far enough to describe what he is familiar with–and he did mention enough names from other groups and sects. The onus is on you–compliment it.

      • Ali

        Dear Salih:
        I think you did not understand me. I asked him to correct it instead of saying Eritrean names into Tigringa names because it is not inclusive. or he can say Eritrean Tigringa names other wise he must include all if it is to assume the names of Eritreans. please try to understand me you are going beyond my comment. I am not opposing for his writing rather I am trying to correct him.

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Ali,
      I am waiting to read your article about names. it is who did the job with what he has, who should be appreciated.

      • Ali

        Dear Kokhob:
        I think you did not understand me. I asked him to correct it instead of saying Eritrean names into Tigringa names because it is not inclusive. or he can say Eritrean Tigringa names other wise he must include all if it is to assume the names of Eritreans. please try to understand me you are going beyond my comment. I am not opposing for his writing rather I am trying to correct him.

        • tes

          Dear Ali,

          Here is what Semere Andom wrote, “This piece will largely deal with the ethnic group and religion that I intimately know: Tigrinya and Christian names.” I think you skipped the first paragraph of this noble article.

          tes

    • Solomon Haile

      Selamat Ali, re read the first paragraph. It has to do with sets and subsets and your correction desire is need not by a not as convoluted as this paragraph commutative property. I and perhaps many others fell into our most focused preoccupation in this forum. But this Saturday treat is indeed a “tricky” AND “treaty” music worthy of Saturday on this Hollow’s eve. Re-read it, you will see.TsaTse

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Nitricc,
    what about when he depart (dead) and don’t get small space to rest in Eritrea?

    • Mesfin

      U r hammering him now. Nitricci won’t like it. Nitricc! u should start with your name and tell us its origin.

    • Nitricc

      Hey Kokob haha
      I guess we will call it Kifle-Zgi. Lol you are bad.

  • Saleh Johar

    Ahlan Semere,
    Thank you for the brilliant piece. It’s a nice week end treat.

    The topic made me thing about my own experience with name. When I had my first daughter, the only thing occupying my mind was peace. I hope that someday we will live in peace after the long, violent years. We named her Lwam (Serenity) Soon, Eritrea was independent and immediately I went to Eritrea. I didn’t like what I saw, we were moving on a slippery road. The first few months proved to me the struggle for liberation was yet unfinished. Then we had our second child. I named him Adal knowing we were going into a new phase of struggle.

    I am sure many parents go into serious contemplation when they are faced with the task of naming their new born children, and the mood they are in dictates the type of names.Mine reflects the exact mood I was in. I wish I was wrong with but time has proven I was not.

    One thing that makes me feel guilty to this day is the fact that my father died apprehensive that I was not carrying his name because I lived under a fake name “Gadi” thanks to the passport I was stuck with. thanks to the late honorable hero Am Yassin Aqedda who secured the passport with the Gadi for me. But my father found solace in the fact that Gadi is an honorable name to carry–and like him, I was proud be associated with the Gadi clan of Zula, a clan of honorable people, whose name I still carry, and I feel I belong to Zula as much as I belong to Keren. However, it was painful for my father to explain why Saleh Abubaker Adulrahim Johar was called Saleh Osman Gadi! I was able to reclaim my name when I was naturalized; unfortunately, by then my father was dead.

    Dear Semere, such article invoke deep reflection–we go through all the names we knew in our lives and they have amazing stories behind them. Thank you.

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Saleh:
      I like the genesis of your children’s names. And I like to take this opportunity to tell some awatista(you know who you are) who call you Abu Adal:
      Guys and gals the heiress to the Johar throne, the throne of path finders, the throne that gave birth to awate.com, the throne that once was on the verge of suffering is Lwam
      so Abu Lwam it is

      • Saleh Johar

        Semere,

        See! Each comment provokes another comment. Let me explain.

        I grew in a culture where the father is named after his first child. Therefore, if someone wants to play that protocol, it’s Abu Lwam.

        When I lived in the Gulf countries, people who want to be formal will ask me, “negul abu min?” [as whose father father shall we address you?]

        To which I reply, Abu-Lwam.

        Then the normal intros start: “Masha Allah, how old is Lwam [in the masculine]?

        I correct them, “Lwam is my daughter.”

        “Aha! Don’t you have a son?”

        “I do, his name is Adal.”

        “Okay Abu Adal, you see……”

        That is when I stopped them: “if you want to address me formally/traditionally, then it is Abu Lwam, if not it is simply Saleh.”

        Usually arguments ensued but I insisted. Some would not feel comfortable calling me after my daughter when I have a son and would be surprised at my decision. Very few would switch to Abu Lwam, but most will go even more formal: Ustaz Saleh!

        Poor women, they are even denied their natural first born status. But what I remember in Eritrea is there were many, Ab-Fatna, Ab-Zahra, Ab-Saadya, etc. I believe all of us should respect the rights of our daughters, even if it is a nominal protocol of addressing each other. If not, stick to the first name. If that is not comfortable, then do the Ustaz-so-and-so 🙂

        • Semere T Habtemariam

          Ya Abu Lwam,
          I think I told you this few weeks ago. A Saudi friend, who I haven’t spoken to in over a year, called from Saudi Arabia, and kept on saying “kef halek ya abu Mikae-el.. meta tezurna ya abu Mikae-el. I was impressed that he remembered my son’s name and completely forgot the cultural aspect to it. Thanks for reminding me.
          Now, have you heard about the two elderly couple from Eritrea who were trying to switch terminals. The man went faster, thinking if he got there on time, he might urge them to wait for his wife, and as he galumphed through the crowd, the wife lost sight of him. She got lost and when Airport personnel tried to help her and asked for the husband’s name, she simply could not dare say his name. She kept on saying abo…
          I thought this was just a Lowland culture and was pleasantly surprised that it is pretty common in some parts of the Highland.
          TC & TTYL
          Semere

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Semere,

    Nice one. during the national freedom era, I notice names of 2 category. one that expresses victory. those who born on that era were given like Nesrin, awet, etc. the other category was naming names to show that there is more to go like Fars,Sabrin, etc. those days where I stayed i witnessed two friends arguing on the subject. one named Fars and the other awet. while Fars still means hero and shows that heroism is needed more but awet was showing that the job is over – that was the meaning at least the parents gave.

    have you ever experienced or heard a name like – ኣምባ ገነን – ውልቀ መላኺ – ስርዓተ ቢስ – etc from supporters pf PFDJ who got young born? I didn’t and that shows supporters really don’t love those words deep inside..Lol.

    Hey, Semere what about your nice name. Semere and Andom are really best names , and when combined they have a wonderful meaning. tell us how you get them – of course not by your choice. Thank you I enjoyed your article.

  • Mehari

    Hi Awatistas,
    Hi Semere
    Thanks for this eye opening advice,but i wish the advice had come earlier before some of our people (Christians) gave identity-less and valueless and meaningless names to their beloved (if they really have love for their children,they should not have given them such Micky-Mouse like names) children, i dare to say,you could have saved a lot of children from ridicule and loss of identity.But what can you do with such kind of silly and irresponsible parents who are not willing to use their brain and to consider for tomorrow.As you put it eloquently,i think those parents who give such names to their children are not aware of the harms imposing on to their children and their identity. in the Western world the people can trace their names hundreds years back but in our case which is different,once lost is irretrievable.And that is the exact reason why it is considered as a gross contributor of identity loss in particular for those living abroad.unfortunately those parents who give name from the bible they must be considered idiots and superficial.i think it is time now to start adopting the Western style of name naming.

  • dawit

    Dear Cousin Semere,

    I honestly enjoyed reading your article explaining how Eritreans name reflected the period of their history in which they embedded their aspiration and hopes in naming their offspring.. Some of the names for the last two or three generations also included “Ethiopia”, “Hibret” “Federation” “Eritrea” “Natsnet”, ‘Smret”, “Selam”.

    But cousin, I do not know the reason why you spoiled your article by introducing some indecent languages. What dot the following
    statements in the article add or clarify to the reader.

    1.“These names replaced the Unqays and Zimams, these were in turn deposed by more exotic Hebrew names; harvested from the Bible as Eritrean Christians deepened their knowledge about the Bible, its actors and players, its leaders, murderers and rapists, eunuchs, castrates and slaves”.

    2.“The society that believed in “shim ymerih tuuwaf yebrih” abandoned the old tradition and started naming its children, its
    “warsays”, after Biblical personalities, after rapist, womanizers, murders, after the adulterers and the raped and the followers of idols”.

    Think about it.

    Yours truly dawit.