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Eritrean Refugees In Sudan: 50 Years And Counting

This year, 2017, the first wave of Eritrean refugees who fled en-masse to the Sudan, have been living in refugee camps for fifty years, and they’re still counting. Since 1967, the numbers of the first wave of refugees, including the second and third generation refugees born in the camps, has surged to the hundreds of thousands, all condemned to stay indefinitely outside Eritrea. In 1967, the refugees were driven out of their homes by Haile Selassie’s forces who launched a scorched earth campaign in the countryside to quell the Eritrean revolution. Worse, a quarter of a century after the land was liberated, the present rulers of Eritrea, liberators-turned-oppressors, still ignore the refugees’ right to return to their ancestral lands, and neglect their plight; 25 years after Eritrea was liberated, the refugees are still languishing in desolate camps. On the fiftieth anniversary of the man-made human catastrophe, I present to you chapter 7 of my book, “Miriam Was Here”, as a reminder of the most shameful page in the history of Eritrea, and the record of the Eritrean regime.
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The Forgotten First Wave Refugees (Chapter 7)

As if meditating, they mostly sat facing East, maybe contemplating the distance, and wondering if the trails that brought them to the desolate camp can take them back to their ancestral villages. They know most of their homes were gone, razed to the ground decades earlier, but they dreamed of living in their own old pits instead of being a guest in someone else’s pit.

A frail old man who dons a dagger stuck on his belt is one of the few remaining references on life back home before the long exodus; he spends most of his day at the teashop. Whenever someone asks him a question, he tries to remember names of people and places. Sometimes he mixes them up or mentions them randomly, forgetting the names and the actual location of villages and places them tens of miles away. He excuses his lapses, “It is all the same: they are all burned out ruins.” Then he explains the reason for his forgetfulness, “It was long time ago, and I am getting old, so many seasons have passed.”

Indeed, seasons have passed; they were made to pass and no one wanted the passage of the seasons to stop. Everyone wanted the memories of names, dates and features, to be blown away with the dust. Even the colors should fade, like the colors of the charity shirts that the children wore. Yet, the children felt very happy knowing a shirt whose color they cannot tell covered their backs. They kicked soiled balls made of bundled rags and thought that was the pinnacle of entertainment. They never minded the fact that they didn’t have anything to replenish their energy with once they returned to the shack their parents called home for decades.

This is the camp of the dispossessed Eritreans, and the grandchildren of the first generation of refugees. Ethiopian troops had chased them away from their homes almost fifty years ago; raids by American supplied F-5 plans made the job easier. Now the Eritrean government owns their homes, their farms and their pastureland. The liberators of Eritrea confiscated the properties of the refugees with no amends; they didn’t even give them a receipt for it.

Twenty years had passed since Eritrea became independent, but the refugees stayed there, as if the liberation of their country was for no reason.

Sometimes it felt like time stopped in the camps. Actually, it might not have stopped, only no one could tell if it moved forward, backward or sideways. The sun has never betrayed the camp; it visited regularly, stayed until it burned everything, and left. The moon didn’t betray the camp; it always came on time and reflected its shy reflection. Only the stars betrayed the camps, they stopped visiting; very few people claimed to have had a fleeting glimpse of the morning star, and dim twinkling of others.

Grandpa insisted the stars were there and blamed the dust, “It is blocking the view, we can’t even see the stars, the only consolation for living in this dark refugee camp?” He missed the stars, “They are there only dust is blocking them.”

Not even the stars themselves would make that excuse in their own defense. But who is holding a court to try heavenly creatures. Here, even mortals are not tried. Anyone makes their own laws; many have made laws for themselves. That is why in the middle of the night, an armed person walks to the camp, snatches one or two fearful refugees and disappears in the dark.

Human smugglers and human organ traffickers had made a law for themselves, a law that allows them to scavenge a live body for parts to sell to the highest bidder. It is an alternative economy that depends on victims who are exported out of Eritrea, through the Sudan, on to Sinai where their remains are buried or eaten by wild animals. It is the trade whose goods are human beings, it is a trade that had originated in Eritrea; perfected in Sudan; executed in Sinai; and sustained by the wealthy countries.

The old man finished his tea; someone ordered a new cup for him. He thanked the man for his generosity and grinned, exposing his empty gums.

Someone from the crowd teased him, “Grandpa, would you remember the way back to Ad Ibrhim?”

The Village of Ad Ibrhim had been wiped out by the Ethiopians army over four-decades earlier, and most of the survivors of the massacre, including Grandpa, had been living in the refugee camp in Sudan since then. Hardly a day passed without him mentioning his village.

“Eheee, of course. But I am not sure if there would be any markers left.” He was silent for a moment. Then he added, “The graves might be gone. They say the rivers and wells dried up, but the mountains are still there. I am sure they will be there.”

“There are no graves or mountains Grandpa, they are gone. Instead there are cranes and huge equipment that tell you how close you are to Ad Ibrhim; I mean what used to be.”

The old man was confused, “What cranes and equipment? They replaced the mountains with cranes?”

“Grandpa, it seems no one has been informing you. They are digging for gold, probably right where your cottage was! You were sleeping over gold and you didn’t know it.”

“You don’t tell me! Gold!”

Someone seconded the information, “He is right, Grandpa, they say at noon the land glitters and if you have a pick, you just cut the gold rocks and carry as much as you can. Pack animals would even be better”

The old man became serious and scratched his head, “Is that why the planes chased us away? Now I know.”

Many of the customers, most of them second-generation refugees, laughed. One of them stared at the old man, shock evident in his eyes, “Maybe you are right grandpa. That could be the reason they chased the people out, what else could it be? You are absolutely right grandpa.”

In the camps where authorities feed the refugees all kinds of deceitful hopes, explanations, and promises that never proved their worth, eyewitness reports could be treated as wild speculation and conspiracy theories could be treated as unquestionable facts. Truth has been lost in the confusion, gossip rules, and if anyone took it for what it is worth, they soon became disappointed. The camp has known nothing but heartbreaks and elusive hopes.

The old man had an idea, “Why doesn’t the government stop the Ethiopians from taking the gold? It is not right. They should give it to us. It is our land!”

“Grandpa, it is not the Ethiopians taking it, the Eritrean government is mining the gold.”

“Yah, yah, yah! Then they must be rich!”

“As rich as the Saudis, Grandpa. Maybe richer. Maybe as rich as the Saudis and Kuwaitis combined.”

“Then at least they should rebuild our burned houses for us. They have gold!”

“No, Grandpa, the government says you lost a shack in Eritrea and now you have a shack in this camp. You lost nothing and you gained nothing. You are even; they don’t owe you anything. Not even an old mat like the one we are sitting on.”

“Ehheee, it is our land! My grandson Ukud is there, maybe he can claim ownership of some gold. ”

“Grandpa, pray Ukud comes out alive, forget gold.”

“Aiwaaaa! Now you are right. I am worried about Ukud. We haven’t heard from him for a year. Poor boy, he lost sleep insisting on visiting his ancestral village. Ad Ibrhim, Ad Ibrhim, he nagged us.”

“He must have known of the gold Grandpa, why would he go to Eritrea when people his age are escaping from it!”

“He wanted to be a doctor, you know. But he wouldn’t go to university before he visits his ancestral land… it is fate.”

Ukud had left Sudan to visit Ad Ibrhim but the army snatched him the moment he set his feet at the bus station in Tessenei, a two-hour drive from the refugee camps. They made him a soldier.

Grandpa lamented, “Now you say there is gold in Ad Ibrhim and we can’t smell it! All the waiting, for years was for nothing? The independence?”

“No one told you to expect anything; it is your own imagination Grandpa.”

The refugees had seen enough indifference from their own, the liberators whose betrayals rendered them skeptical and paranoid.

A limping man came to the teashop and immediately changed the subject, “Did you hear the scandal?” His facial expression reflected his feeling of shame, “Last night Rashaida gangs stalked two people and kidnapped them.”

The men looked surprised. One asked, “Who are the victims?”

The limping man explained, “I don’t know, they say they were from Asmara, their fate brought them here a few weeks ago.”

The teashop owner interjected, “If anything good comes from this place we would have seen it,” He reached for his moist tobacco can and rolled a large portion and inserted it between his gum and lower lips. “Why travel all the way from Asmara to this Godforsaken place!”

The limping man picked his stick and tried to explain by drawing lines on the dirt, he drew a circle, “The government keeps them in hard labor, here.” His eyes popped out, for emphasis, “Without pay.” He put a dot inside the circle, and then drew a line from the dot breaking the circles and going out. “They decide to escape the abuse.” He then drew another circle and connected it to the line. “And they end up here.” He moved his index finger in an imaginary circle around the camp, “All the same, another prison.”

A young man didn’t agree with the explanation, “You act like a general drawing attack lines; don’t forget many come here on their way to join their relatives abroad.”

The limping man was angry, “You sheep! Why did you escape the country, then? Do you have relatives overseas and you wanted to join them? Why can’t they fly out of Eritrea? Don’t you know they have an airport in Asmara?” Then he looked at the young man, “Didn’t you come escaping in tattered uniform a year ago? You came to join your relatives here in this desolate camp, not abroad.”

They silenced the young man for a while; he looked down to the ground and ignored the talk that turned against him.

The teashop owner sympathized with the escapees, “They work like slaves, no pay and they treat them like slaves. What can the poor children do but flee to wherever their feet can take them!”

Grandpa didn’t like the way the conversation was going, “By God, forget your unnecessary talk.” He looked at the man who brought the news, “What has become of the gangs, kidnapping innocent people!”

The limping man blurted, “Grandpa, the question is, what has become of us. A few criminals kidnap people from amongst us and we do nothing! Don’t blame anyone, what could they do when we are also doing nothing? Let’s blame ourselves.”

Another man shook his head in sadness, “What are we to do? Everyone is watching and observing the situation like a weather-beaten cow. We just observe everything silently.”

A man who sat quietly until then, asked, “How about the opposition, can’t they do anything? Anything at all?”

The limping man looked helpless, “Poor Eritrea. The opposition is at the mercy of others,” he shook his head and his face portrayed his sadness, “Ehhhhh, opposition had its brave men in the past, now they are different, in name only, they just wail like us helpless refugees.”

Grandpa seemed to agree, “True, the old days are gone. In our time, men were real, they were feared. Now only God can help us. Everyone feared Adem. He was brave… like a lion.”

“Who is Adem Grandpa?”

“Adem? Who is Adem? Didn’t he die? He must be hiding somewhere. When did he die?”

“Is he dead or alive Grandpa?”

“Yasalaaaaam! If you see Adem you wouldn’t ask him these questions. He had fifty camels.” He raised the fingers of both hands and couldn’t find fifty fingers. Instead, he waved his hands five times, “Fifty. Then he sold five, maybe six.” He then looked around the place, “Was Adem not here a while ago?”

The patrons of the teashop realized Grandpa had slipped into his senile moment; they ignored him until he snapped out of it.

The young man who sat quietly after they silenced him put his cup on the ground, “What old days are you talking about? What happened in the old days? All I heard is defeat after defeat, since long before I was born in this dirty world.” He sipped from his cup and recited a verse from the Quraan, “Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”

A veteran of the armed struggle was inflamed, “We didn’t fail or get defeated! You animal. We struggled and sacrificed our youth when we had the energy. How about you, young man? Don’t forget you escaped to save your skin, now you are just sitting fattening yourself like a bull, feeding on leftovers in Kassala and Gedaref!”

The young man felt insulted, “Why are you picking on me? I had no choice.” He looked for support from the people his age who were there listening. “Many people my age born in this helpless camp are doing the same,” he became louder. “There are many like me fattening themselves like elephants all over the world. I might be a weak bull with no horns, but that is what being an Eritrean of my generation made me. I am resigning to my fate.”

The limping man was after him, “What about the quotes from Quraan you always rain on us? What happened to your sermon about changing one’s self? Why don’t you change yourself?”

Another young man recited a verse, “Iza raaytum munkren…”

The limping man interrupted him and burst, “Ohhh, that’s what your generation is good at. Using verses from Quraan as an easy way out. You feel absolved once you shoot a verse or two.” He shook his head, “We have arrived at a bad time where any argument is won by whoever can memorize more verses or quotes from the traditions. Sermon, upon sermons, upon sermon. Stop deafening people by quoting verses on every occasion.”

Grandpa had snapped back. “Did they get silver?”

“What silver Grandpa?”

“In Ad Ibrhim. Didn’t you say they found gold?” A wild laughter ensued.

The veteran teased him, “Grandpa, you are the only one who prefers silver to gold.”

“I always wanted a silver handle for my dagger.”

“And how would you use a dagger,”

“Eheee, do all those who have guns use them? It feels good to have an elegant silver dagger.” He murmured something inaudible then commented, “Gold is expensive. I cannot buy gold. Adem had a dagger with a silver handle. He had a beautiful dagger. Does he know about the gold in Ad Ibrhim? Where did he go anyway?”

Grandpa slipped back to his senile state quicker than they expected. Longing for his country and his village, which has now become a distant memory, made him miserable.  He didn’t think he would see his country again before he dies.

“Miriam Was Here” is available in English as well as in a Tigrinya. Order it here: .

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  • jordan

    Hi all.

    I just wanted to comment that my view on the eritrean people has really changed. We usually talk gladly about the unity of the eritrean people no matter, tribe or religion but real life really isn’t like that. Nowadays people say that Tigrinya people are originally from Ethiopia and that Tigrinya somehow is a very poor language. They don’t want to speak it (Which I accept) But they seem disgusted by it aswell. They have the thought in the mind that the christians in Eritrea oppress the muslims, and somehow believe that we’re in the minority meanwhile they’re 80% of the population.

    :/ Isn’t this typical? Well, atleast for Africa.

  • Dear All,

    People say that there is no crime without a criminal, a victim without a victimizer and a sin without a sinner. Moreover, they say that pressing the same key over and over again makes the same sound and sends the same message.

    Jews, the toutsis, black south africans, etc tried hard to avoid not to let the painful chapter of their past history remain open forever, but archived it so that it is not forgotten, and yet it does not disrupt normal life and normal relations, today and in the future.

    letting go of the past requires acknowledging the objective historical truth as depicted by unbiased third party historians, and then try to create trust, heal the wounds, opt for a shared future and thus bring a lasting peace. Personally, i can accept that atrocities were committed during the war, but i find it difficult to accept everything said, because certain things simply seem to be in the domain of propaganda. Nobody ever mentions if there was a role played by eritrean members of the ethiopian armed forces at the start of the insurgency. Unfortunately, the whole truth is yet to be told, which of course might not change an iota as much as the crimes are concerned, and yet should be told. Therefore, we are still far from the points of convergence, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.

    how much does the new eritrean generation differentiate between the king and his people or the derg and ethiopians (especially amharas), when on top of the pfdj propaganda, diaspora eritreans do not seem to have a much different opinion concerning ethiopia in general? can the new generation appease with the ethiopian people, when they continue ad infinitum to hear and read an ethiopian king and an ethiopian government, have committed horrendous crimes against the eritrean people? Can they put it, let us say, in their subconscious mind, when they are told everyday not to forget. The chances are very slim. Of course, I am not saying that eritreans should forget completely what has happened for such a position is unfair, but to retrieve it only whenever it is absolutely necessary, and not to explain everything that goes or went wrong in eritrea.

    should the holocaust be seen in relation to the german people or in relation to the reviving neonazism and the far-right ethno-fascism that is budding all over the world? is there a group in ethiopia today that has the wish to return to the pre-1991 situation, annule the eritrean independence and repeat the killings and destruction, so that we should keep the flame of animosity burning, to avoid repeating the painful history? I do not think so. PFDJ has every reason to keep the flame burning, but not the opposition.

    Has the eritrean regime tried to heal the wounds of a wounded nation, mitigate their fears, made them masters of their fate, given them hope for a bright future, or is it doing the same thing the enemy did, and may be even worse? Eritreans fought with all their power to stand against the king and the derg, and they brought their independence. On the contrary, they do not want to bother their present day nemesis dia/pfdj with more than verbal condemnations. Condemning continuously the present day perpetrators and dwelling on old injustices for a solution, will not correct today’s horrors.

    there should be a date when things should be left to history, if there’s going to be a reconciliation and a peaceful coexistence between the two people. Many countries did exactly that. if the aim is to keep an open wound for ever until the very end, ethiopians and eritreans are on the right course. Unfortunately, this distorted ego will lead them to destruction and not to a better future their people deserve.
    (it is my opinion that this discussion better end at least for the time being, because already too much has been said).

  • Graviton

    Peace new Samayawi asmara,

    It wasn’t the traffic, just got bored of registering your kins at the border(some call ’em “useless eaters”) . Funny how you say “as we all know”, is that straight out of ghedli hand book?

    • Blue Asmara

      Salam Graviton and no problem at all. I had assumed that you were at your normal watering hole at ‘Chechnya’ and chewing khat. By the way, any progress on the US$ 948 million humanitarian assistance that Ethiopia has recently appealed for?

  • MS

    Hello everyone
    1. The past 24 hours have witnessed the worst spin Awatistas have witnessed EVER.It all started with an act of an Eritrean writer who shed light to the plight of Eritreans, mostly the victims of the 1967-70 exodus, who were driven out of their country because of a planned and well choreographed campaign of scorched earth policy, occupational forces acting on the orders of Emperror Haile Selassie.
    2. one person demands that Eritreans should produce a story that is to his liking. Somebody, somehow, needs to cook a WoT he can enjoy, otherwise, all is rubbish, he demands.
    3. After many patient attempts by many awatistas, literally, walking him through “He, Hu” (or ha, hu) of Eritrean experience, the gentleman sticks to his gun. The author/moderator calls a jury, practically, putting himself and his work on trial.
    4. Amde sticks to the rules, and gives a fair verdict. Paulos follows amde but wanted to give some face-saving gestures to the stubborn abi. He threw a couple of bones to the hungry dude. Yet, the bones were not fleshy enough for abi. He hang his hope on the verdict that would surely come from her highness. And there it was. Her highness, gual Adem did the usual dervish dance Raqs a’darawish; ye dervishoch meznagna gzie….. Her highness dissention begins with caution. And then goes for the all familiar: are Eritreans better today? Just think: The victims are forgotten, the blame is shifted and now Eritreans own decisions are on the trial. She goes on to rationalize, “Gee, there was that Derg, too, who killed more Ethiopians than Eritreans (do re mi fa so la ti do- Notation staff intended). And then she asks politely “Would not it be beautiful if some Eritreans who benefited from Ethiopian governments step forward and identify themselves; sharing their good memories would be even more beautiful.” And the spin and the dervish dance ends when things readjusted to the liking of her highness and abi. Now the victims of those barbaric campaigns are put in the backburner, and it’s time negotiate mitigating factors. “Yes…but…” type of arguments.
    For the victims of those atrocities, what Haile Selassie did or did not do in 1969 expo does not matter. What matters is the fact that Haile Selassie was parading Italian era industries in Asmara while he was ravaging Eritreans elsewhere.
    Also, your highness, what Derg did during his Red Terror campaign is totally different from what both, HS and did in Eritrea. In Ethiopia, it was a political hunt, while in Eritrea, particularly in the case of the Emperor, it was a genocidal campaign. The act of hunting down political activists is quite different from the act of isolating a vast swath of land and summarily massacring its inhabitants. An unborn child could not be a political activist; pregnant women, old people, children could hardly be “bandits”, but they were not spared. The massacres were planned ahead, it was calculated. Village would be encircled in the dawn, people would be brought to a collecting base, usually a mosque/church; and then would be massacred en masse. The houses would be burned to ashes, water supplies (wells and streams) would be poisoned; the invading armies would take whatever they could and the rest of the livestock would be slaughtered and left for the hyenas to feast on. Now, her highness wants us to equate this with red terror. Haile Selassie was a religious zealot. He targeted people based on religion. Derg did both Red Terror style in cities like Asmara. However, in rural areas and small cities like OmHajer and Akordat, he continued HS strategy of scorched earth. Soldiers would often turn to villages and city neighborhoods to revenge defeats they had encountered in their incursions.
    Please, no more spin offs. Thank you.

    • Hayat Adem

      Selam Mahmuday,
      Speaking of spin of, look at what you wrote above. You took too much risk for no good reason. Awatistas can read what I wrote in position as jury and see your dishonesty.
      Hayat

      • Blue Asmara

        Salam Hayat Adem. Why do you always solicit others to support your cause? Are you unable to stand on your own two feet?

      • blink

        Dear Hayat

        I have been reaing this website for so long , in fact long enough to know all forumers in this forum , I speak for myself and from my experience that you are dealing with honest man (MS),he has been consistent and realistic while you ran all over with little honesty , come on the net is open for every one to see.

      • Nitricc

        Hey Hayat; I know you are too stupid to know this buy SJ selected all Ethiopians to be his jury. I.e. you were elected because you are a known TPLF thug, no more no less.

        • Thomas

          Hi Nitricc,

          I advice you find someone with low IQ or someone of your caliber to talk to. Obviously, Hayat is too intelligent to deal with your kinds. Your ignorance is reflected from your street language usage. You are very emotional and at times very offensive, immature at all levels. Go and take care of yourself, deal with your ignorance with the sense of urgency.

        • Saleh Johar

          Nitricc.
          It’s always good to speak for yourself–did I ask you to speak on my behalf? No. Are some sort of a god to know what I am thinking? No. This is an unwarranted aggression. Stop it.

        • Abraham H.

          Selam Nitricc, I wonder how you know where someone is from without the people concerned tell you specifically so? From the people you are claiming as Ethiopians, I could only tell Abi is Ethiopian, because he told us. I never heard Paulos say he is Ethiopian, and Hayat has said she is Eritrean.

    • Abi

      Hi Vet
      You were not called for jury duty because you have already claimed to be the victim.
      Now you came through the judge’s door to give your unbiased verdict.
      Earlier you were the bailiff that tried to restore order.
      A plaintiff, A bailiff, A jury, A judge. Four in One. God must be happy by his creation.
      የእብድ ገላጋይ ድንጋይ ያቀብላል
      Case dismissed

    • Thomas

      Hi MS,

      “PFDJ
      has its own room, and people are writing, archiving, and talking about it.”, yes you damn right people are documenting the crimes of PFDJ. You on the other hand like to talk about what happened over 60 years old. This while the entire Eritrean youth in droves are leaving the so called librated nation as we speak. You are not making sense at all!

      • MS

        Selam Thomas

        And Normal Persons

        1. don’t resort to killing history, or re-inventing the wheel of history; or entertaining disinformation based on the twisting or the mutilation of history. This was your way of supporting abi, do it in an honorable way. Say it loud.
        2. Normal persons/people don’t try to bury what happened 60 years in order to solve todays problem. Normal people stay consistent, for the core elements that shaped the history of yesterday could well be in play in shaping up today’s events.
        3. You seem to allude that you worry more than what others (including myself) are worrying about the “hundreds of thousands/3.5 million young”. That’s fine, Thomas. Thank you for your elevated concern.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Mahmuday,

      The following statement of yours capsulize your message without going at length: ” Even the act of PFDJ on our people don’t bear any mitigating effects on the actions of past Ethiopian barbaric campaign.” Yes, No other crimes committed to our people currently will erase the crimes committed in the past.

      Regards

  • Paulos

    Selam Berhe,

    Perhaps Tekeste Negash’s contribution to the ongoing Eritrean political discourse is his Ph.D thesis when he defended or argued the impact of Colonial Italy on the rise of the Eritrean identity where it was short of turning into nationalism due to according to Negash lack of training in modern or Western education. That said however, what is remarkable about his work is that he introduces the student of history to the historiography of the settlers who hailed mainly from the southern part of Italy who were promised to settle on a fertile land as they felt marginalized and left behind in comparison to the northerners who were more “culturally refined and phenotypically close to northern Europeans.” Thus, the colonial experience in Eritrea did not arrive with a commonly accepted philosophical credo or dogma as in “turning the savages into civilized men” with a touch of social-Darwinism rather, it was a political solution for the southerners as the issue became problematic due to the above cited disparity between the North and South.

    The Italian settlers found a safe haven if you will where they not only felt perfectly at home but they felt entitled to the treatment of the other colonial powers in the other parts of Africa where the sharp distinction was between the “locals and the masters.” Again the desire to treat Eritrea as their own traces its roots to their experience back in Italy, as such the drive and ambition to turn particularly Asmara to a piccola-Roma was self evident. Michela Wrong puts the numbers of Italian settlers in hundreds of thousands till they left Eritrea enmass when the Dergue came to power in 1974 but still large number were left behind for they didn’t know any other home. Incidentally, last year, a couple of Italians run a documentary on the genesis of the first settlers where they interviewed the remaining Italian families in Eritrea who are 15 or so families at most but for some reason it was pulled from from the net after a week or so.

  • Abi

    Hi Berhe
    From January 1964 till August 1968 there were 37 new industries established in Eritrea with a total initial capital of over 38,200,000 dollars.
    Hawey, read the Great Zekre Libona at Asmarino. He has the list of all the industries by name and capital.
    Just google Asmara Expo 1969.
    Enjoy!
    You welcome.

    Why I’m telling you this? It is because there is always another side of a story. I’m sure ELF and EPLF don’t tell you this. History should be told whole without any reductions or additions.

    • Berhe Y

      Dear Abi,

      Thank you for your replay and I was able to find the article you are referring to. Yes it’s worth while to ponder and to read the positive side of the federation. Is Zekre Libone Eritrean? I am guessing he is, and if he is, wouldn’t that qualify “Eritreans writing the positive side of the union?”:)… I don’t want to dwell too much, but what the article that started all referring was 50 years from the Eritrean in the low lands bombed and left everything and went to Sudan…so the timing is around 1963.. two years after the start of the armed struggle..

      I don’t think Zekre Libona is correct in stating, ELF and EPLF hide the good side of the story to achieve their objective. There may be some truth to it, but I doubt it has much impact if there is any….I said many times, if the Ethiopian adminstration handled the dispute in regular manner, I don’t think the people would have any reason to rebel. ELF / EPLF can say all the want and the people to believe what they were told. This may be the reason, majority of the reason majority of Eritreans in the highlands didn’t join the rebellion until Derg come to power and start doing the same thing the HS was doing the law lands..

      Sure Asmara and environs were and may be enjoying the development but we can’t say that was the case in the lowlands. You keep referring the Eritrean struggle for independence was the work of Cairo but to the contrary, 2500 Eritreans of the ML gathered in Keren opposing the interference of the Ethiopian government, demonstrated, wrote letter to the King, the United States in the 50s…

      The problem in the whole saga was:
      1) the intention of the Ethiopian government and the Eritrean Unionist Party
      2) The resolution of the dispute using force
      3) Haile Slassie known practice of resolving any resitance using force and air bombs. He did that way before in Harer and later in Tigray (Weyan) movement and he wanted to the same in Eritrea.

      Back to your thinking,…have you heard any good information or history that was ever told by Ethiopians with regards to the Italian Occupation….I mean…we heard about the bombing, the killing of the Ethiopian priests….and what have you….can you tell me if there is ONE Ethiopian who said any thing about the good deeds of the fascist Italy…

      Well acording to wikipedia…the facist Italy here is what it invested on Ethiopia.

      According to official statistics of the Italian government, in October 1939 the Italian Ethiopians were 35.441, of whom 30.232 male (85,3%) and 5209 female (14,7%), most of them living in urban areas.[6]

      Only 3,200 Italian farmers moved to colonize farm areas, mainly because of the danger of Ethiopian guerrilla (still controlling nearly 1/4 of Ethiopia highlands as of 1940).

      Ethiopia (divided in the administrative provinces of Scioa, Galla-Sidamo, Harar and Amara) was part of the Italian Empire from 1936 to 1941. The Italians constructed huge and expensive infrastructure projects, that drained the Italian economy but reduced in those years the unemployment in the Kingdom of Italy. They did 18,794 km (11,678 mi) of new roads asphaltated: in 1940 Addis Ababa was connected by state-of-the-art roads to Asmara and Mogadishu called Via dell’Impero.

      Furthermore, 900 km (559 mi) of railways were reconstructed or initiated/planned (like the railway between Addis Abeba and Assab), dams and hydroelectric plants were built, and many public and private companies were established in the underdeveloped country. The most important were: “Compagnie per il cotone d’Etiopia” (Cotton industry); “Compagnia etiopica del latte e derivati” (Milk industry); “Cementerie d’Etiopia” (Cement industry); “Compagnia etiopica mineraria” (Minerals industry); “Impresse electriche d’Etiopia” (Electricity industry); “Compagnia etiopica degli esplosivi” (Armament industry); “Industria per la birra dell’AOI” (Beer industry); “Trasporti automobilistici (Citao)” (Mechanic & Transport industry).

      Berhe

      • Abi

        Hi Berhe Wedey
        Please focus focus focus focus
        I’m trying to focus on the matter that originated the debate.
        It all started when Abraham Hannibal alleged that the King removed the Eritrean industries. I argued the King facilitated the establishment of 37 industries in just 5 years. That is all.
        I’m glad that you are talking your time to learn than take everything you were told as an absolute truth. Now you can share this new found knowledge to friends and family.
        You welcome.

        • Berhe Y

          Hi Abi,

          You are welcome. And I hope you get to learn something from all these as well.

          Berhe

          • Abi

            Hi Berhe
            Actually I’m busy catching up.
            Thanks

  • Saleh Johar

    Hi Berhe Y,

    I am very sorry we had to go though this hiccup. We hope some people would search their souls and consider becoming an asset and not a liability for this forum.

  • Blue Asmara

    Salam All. For those of you who assert that Ethiopians and Eritreans are One and the Same, you might ask yourselves why pre-1991 refugee camps in Sudan were sharply divided along Ethiopian-Eritrean lines as they simply did not wish to live together. Even at the so called mixed-camps, they lived in a segregated manner.

  • Abi

    Fantastic
    I consider your punch as a kiss.
    ያንተ ጥህሎና የግመሉ እረኛ ሳምቡሳ እንደ ክርስቶስ መምጫ እርቆብኛል

  • Saleh Johar

    Dear all,

    First, I would like to thank the jury for the swift verdict. I also thank the rest of you for your comments.

    Abi: I hate debating in a circular way, I am already feeling uncomfortable doing it with you. I have no problem addressing and answering all your questions as much as I can. But please remember I have a condition: stop your nagging, one liner insults and aggressive engagement. I like jokes, and I have laughed at a few of your jokes, even played along with you. But there are issues, and there are other issues. Issues one can burden with jokes and sarcasm, and other issues that should not be burdened with senseless and insensitive jokes. Particularly when they are wanton statements that you purposely throw to annoy and anger people. So, I wish you learn how to differentiate between the two. That requires patience and magnanimity, and I hope you have it.

    Now let me expand on the issue a little more.

    1. This website was established as a voice of the voiceless Eritreans, to combat the gag imposed on us as a people.

    2. This forum is a result of the Awate Team’s good will and noble initiative to attract all our neighbors so that we start the road to normalcy—if one is fair, it shouldn’t be counted against us.

    3. The main accusation and criticism against this website by the PFDJ and pseudo PFDJ, is this: you are biased, why don’t you write bout the positive aspects of the PFDJ?

    4. The second accusation is of sectarian nature and I will not go beyond that.

    5. Our response is the following:

    a) The PFDJ owns all the media in Eritrea and we are not here to magnify its version of anything, but the version that is purposely neglected—the version that we believe concerning Eritreans. And is has no shortage of mediums.

    b) Similarly, Haile Sellasie’s version was told for decades by Janhoi’s gangs like the Pankhursts, the Ullendorffs, and tens of other Ethiopian and non-Ethiopian writers, including a few Eritreans.

    c) The Derg’s version was also told by so many left-leaning individuals ad nauseam.

    d) The only missing story was that of our people as we perceive it. And that is the reason why this website was established—I wish everyone would consider that first.

    e) Personally, I function exactly the way this website functions—being true to the cause of our people—which includes peaceful coexistence with the rest of the world, particularly with our immediate neighbors—Ethiopia, Djibouti, Yemen, Saudi-Arabia, and Sudan—and of course beyond..

    f) If anyone has a different viewpoint, we never stopped them from airing their views, even when they abuse and insult us—and all of you can testify to that, I hope.

    g) Based on the above, myself and this website has a firm and clear stand on the role of the emperor, the Derg, and the PFDJ.

    h) Either myself or this website has never (read never) accused Ethiopians or any other nationals for that matter, in blanket attack.

    i) If someone feels there are other versions of what I say, it is upon them to state it, I do not do the job of others—and don’t ask me to do it as if it is my duty to do so. It’s not.

    j) Literature comes in so many ways and genres… you can criticize the style until the cows, I mean camels, come home. But on the content, it requires more than temper tantrums and vilification.

    k) I only write about issues that I am sure about and can defend. I know nothing good from the rulers (all the three that I know) except what I express here and elsewhere. I am not obliged to write anything that I do not know about them—it’s not my duty.

    l) If someone knows so much about Gonder, for example, they can do that. But others should not challenge them to write equally about Harrer. It is not either you give all side equal coverage or you do not write at all. Writers chose what they want to write about. Black Americans who write about Slavery should not be asked to be fair and write about the good side of the enslavers. Nothing forces them to write about the enslavers if they decide not to write…(please don’t read too much into this and grow another branch on the tree)

    m) Any questions, clarifications, challenges, are welcome as long as they are respectful and free of insults.

    Thank you all

    • Abi

      Selam Ato Saleh
      Beautifully said.
      No explanation or clarification necessary.
      We can survive with our differences.
      Thanks

    • Ismail AA

      Selam all, ( been absent for some weeks)
      Eloquently said; I hope the message has been received and with goodwill in the interest of useful communication and use of this wonderful (unique among Eritrean digital media) web site. I think Abi, too, seems to have gotten the message. It is fine to live with differences in friendly and cordial environment.
      Ismail

    • blink

      Dear Mr.Saleh
      You are doing every thing possible but you know people normally are not fair in nature . Abi has been deaf for so long and you can not be dragged down to his level. Lets forget this man once for all. I do not see his importance from the Eritreans interest point of view.

  • Hayat Adem

    Hi SemA,
    Good to see you becoming active in the forum again.
    On a net balance, I don’t see any good side of the Derg or the King. Not at all. i think both were bad as far as my rating goes, one more crueler than the other.. But if there are other Eritreans who do see some sunny side in those leaderships, i will not see it as the strangest thing that ever happened in the world. We even have people who see good things in PFDJ.

    • Paulos

      Selam Hayat,

      Perhaps this is the first time I disagree with you when you give the King a thumbs down from dawn to dusk. If my reading of history is correct, the King assumed power in 1932 and exited the political scene in 1974. That is 42 years in power and I say it is unfair to assess the time-span without due credit for there are where the King shined fair and square. For instance the King made considerable effort to modernize Ethiopia where he clearly understood the significance of education particularly higher learning institutions. He fought the nobelty class as they resisted to maintain the status quo including slavery. The King also added clauses that relaxed the legal codes when the constitution was rewritten in 1955 from the 1932 old and outdated version. Moreover, his diplomatic acumen was exemplary where he excelled in his clarion grasp of ballance of power between the West and East power play. And the Dergue as well shares a credit for eradicating illiteracy and it’s strong sense of nationalism albeit for the wrong reason. I am of the opinion that assessment ought to be fair and objective.

      • Hayat Adem

        Thanks Paulos,
        If i see myself disagreeing with a man like you, i would doubt myself more until i check and recheck my facts. yes, assessments should be fair and objective. i’ve a lot of black spots of history in my brain. no matter how hard i work and try to catch up, there is really plenty to be covered. so, you have an advantage over me already. you could also be true on your take of the derg and the king., and that is why i used the phrase ‘on the net balance” for question.
        let’s first do away with the derg.. it is not to say derg didn’t do a single good thing but i think we can easily agree it was the monster of the time on the larger part. the king has ruled for longer time.. and think of another country for comparison, i think he modernized the education and bureaucracy sectors a bit. and his diplomatic visibility was superb. but i understand he could have transformed ethiopia in those so many years. he was not even as good as minilik. those who were part of the center would say different than those on the periphery in those days. i think derg was a total disaster, if you ask my frank opinion.

        • Paulos

          Oh sweet sweet Hayat,

          You’re the jewel where the rest of us pale in comparison. That is actually a smart point when you said the periphery and the center see from different vantage points where the adage–history depends on the person who writes it comes into play. That said, the bright side of the King and Dergue started to surface not because all of a sudden all of us got curious right after we got up from bed but simply because the horror of the Isaias regime made us to be nostalgic of the ancien’ regimes till we said with aghast, “What have we done” in a bitter after-taste and thought.

      • iSem

        Hi Paulous:
        This is my first debate with you, not withstanding that someone think we are the same person:-)
        There is this anguished fear of being perceived as some one who is so black and white, that he or she ignores the good things. This comment of your reminds of what the PFDJ supporters are telling us (am not in a second implying you are a supporter, far from it: it is just reminding me), we are building roads, schools, and even they want to take credit of killing mosquitoes. Here is an analogy: a father is good provider to some of his goods, he has a fav (an elite) child whom he dresses with colorful clothes, but he rapes and abuses and tortures the rest of his kids and he beats his wife, should this man go to prison or she would say that he did good to this one child and let give him credit and let him free.
        Besides if HS was in government, is it not the duty of a government to build the country (modernize in this case) like the father’s duty is to feed and nature his kids and take care of his wife and not beat her.
        The question is at what cost? The only thing we should be careful about when we talk about Dergi and HS is that their heinous crimes in no way speaks of the people of Ethiopia, and Abi is only right when he some times, in a rare moment of honesty and lucidity says that many Eritreans lump the all Ethiopians with the crimes of rulers
        HS and Dergi belong to the pantheons of humanity’s garbage

        • Paulos

          Selam iSem,

          Good point. Here are the readings between the lines if you will I disagree with you including about the man who abuses the women in his life and the apologist take of the PFDJites as well. The man you cited is an ordinary person where the comparison falls short for on the other hand the man we are putting on the stand was no ordinary person–he was a King and an actor in the annals of history as well. You can not draw a comparison between the women in the man’s life and the people under the reign of the King. As such, the indices differ not only in validity and in accuracy as well if I can use a lingo as in statistics. More over, the argument made by the supporters of Isaias loses its meaning for Isaias is still in power and we will be obliged to cite Isaias’ positive contribution if any when he is long gone and when we have the advantage of hindsight at our own disposal.

  • Abraham H.

    Selam Semere A., I’ve a question regarding those Eritreans who are said to have supported union with Ethiopia, mostly Christian Kebesa. How much is it true to say they chose so with their own free will and persuasion; could we also say many of them were forced or manipulated by the agents of the emperor like the Mahber Andnet party and even the Eritrean Orthodox Church? There are many events during the Federation period that shows us the emperor was engaged in doing away with the federation, the last of which was the forced dissolution of the Eritrean Parliament and the annexation of Eritrea.

    • iSem

      Hi Ab H:

      You are absolutely, there was coercion from the unionist with HS and his cronies, but the highlanders were sympathetic as the Eritrean identity was still forming . even IA as his friends at that time like the late Michahel Gabir and Ammar an Wolde Dawit and Seyoum would later write, he was skeptical about joining the “Muslim” ELF and only he did so because he trusted his friends. The ppl mentioned here would late wrote a letter alerting to the ELF leadership about IA’s leaning toward Andnet when they heard he joined the armed stuggle

      Having said that, it took until 1975 when Dergi upped the ante in repression and killing did the highlanders joined the gheldi in numbers that overwhelmed the ghedli and tipped the power toward the eventual demis of the both regimes. The point I was making to the denier of the atrocities of the Ethiopian regimes was that Christian highlanders felt at home and wanted to make it work, we can glean that from the way they voted, the way they named their named their kids etc.

      The dissolution sparked the armed struggle, the Hitlersques atrocities drove the masses. My friend Berhe Y can tell you that when he lived in Asmara when Shalega Woldegrgis was sent to Asmara and his handling of the people, leaving them alone , giving them opportunities dwindled those joining the armed struggle so much so that IA mentioned that to shalegga when they met

  • Abi

    Hi ISem
    The Toronto Raptors are looking for a lead cheerleader. Apply in person. No appointment necessary. Aparently you are extremely talented in cheerleading. Don’t forget your miniskirt. The miniskirt you used to wear in Sudan. You are a very messed up person who needs professional help. I don’t know what they did to you in Sudan. You are desperately hopeless.
    Leave the 3000 thousand year history alone. You are the least qualified zombie to talk about it.

  • Blue Asmara

    Dear Moderator: I recently made a comment which was posted and has now been withdrawn and indicates “Detected as Spam” “Thanks, we will work on getting this corrected”. Was there a particular problem with my comment? Thanks.

  • Brhan

    Recently Canada has sponsored Eritrean refugees from the Sudan refugee camps, among them were the second generation. Also a group of Eritrean Canadians did the same. Also some Eritreans from the US, UK and Canada have visited the camp and provided help.

    These are some of the positive steps that has been taken to help our refugee Eritrean brothers and sisters. We should continue our help to those who are helping.

  • Saleh Johar

    Selam Amde, Paulos, and Hayat
    (l am not including other Awatistas for many reasons, but anyone is welcome to comment. And when we reach a deadlock, I wish we could establish such a system to end the story, sort of group self-moderation instead of leaving issues hanging unresolved.)
    I would like to kindly ask you a Favor; a verdict by a jury of Awatistas is urgently needed. But first let me explain a few things:
    The chapter of the book that has irritated an individual in this forum really made me think. Why is he that negative and defensive? Why does he always aggressively attacks anything related to the Eritrean history? Have I wronged him? Does anyone Ethiopian think the chapter is unfair to them? Does any Eritrean think it is unfair to Ethiopians?
    I tried to answer the above questions, but unfortunately, I am where I began, couldn’t find any answer—that is why I seek a verdict from the jury named above.
    Kindly bear in mind the topic is specifically the chapter that in question, the topic of these comments.
    But first, let me explain the following points as an introduction. favor that I want from you, let me clear a few points:
    1. The book ‘Miriam was Here’ is composed of 28 chapters.
    2. Chapter 7 is in fact a background to a character (a young victim of the PFDJ, Ukud) who had dreams to become a doctor but ended up conscripted. By way of describing his background, the story had to cover the place where he grew up, the refugee camps (that is the context)
    3. The refugees were driven 50 years ago, by the Kings troops- this is the only time Ethiopia is mentioned in the chapter, in one short sentence.
    4. As you can see, the chapter details life in Sudanese camps—their broken dreams and some anecdotal information.
    5. The book (correction Amanuel) is not a fiction, but a novel based on real experiences, real stories of victims. It’s a product of hours and hours of videotaped testimonies, direct, indirect, and telephone interviews with the victims, and supporting research, etc.
    6. The book is not about anything else but the story of the victims of human trafficking with the goal of creating awareness about the plight of victims of PFDJ who end up being hostages and victims of organ harvesting in Sinai.
    7. The rest of the 27 chapters sover stories of, disappointed veterans (Zerom who is forced to leave the country he helped liberate); the wronged second generation (Miriam, his daughter who become a victim in Sinai and what she went through); and her coming of age and what she went through under the PFDJ regime; victims of war and bloodshed (young Senay, a forced conscript who loses his business); Generals and smugglers (the collaboration of Eritrean and Sudanese officials in the plight of refugees); Laine, a combatant who was unjustly executed; the anxiety and suffering (mainly human side) of the armies of both sides during the border war; The cruelty of some senior officers who whimsically execute conscripted youth; sample stories of assimilation into the host countries as experienced by immigrants; the role of the Diaspora and some NGOs…, etc.
    This is the book in question and I might be wrong, but how is it anti-Ethiopian as someone is desperately trying to paint it? Mind you, I will never apologize for my position concerning the King or the Derg, they were both despicable regimes, akin to the PFDJ, they are all monsters. But here the topic is the characterization of the book (and of course, mainly the chapter in question).
    Dear jury, please read the chapter, and the details that I have given above and tell me if that is about Ethiopia at all. This is important to me because I have to be careful not to let this forum turn into a vilification and defamation forum. As you can imagine, it is very disheartening to me that this forum that I and my colleagues worked very hard to establish, would be used to vilify me without any justification. If I am wrong, and the guy whose feelings seems to be hurt is right, I would like to know. If he is not right, then I have to find his purpose and maybe connect some threads. Then I will see where that will take us.
    I will not question your fairness.

    Thank you

    • Paulos

      Selam Saleh Johar,

      It is my civic duty to serve as a jury. Have you seen “12 Angry Men”, a brilliant movie by Sidney Lumet? Not the remake. Henry Fonda not only stole the show but he also turned the table around for he saw the cases presented from a different angle sans emotions. Given the complexity and sensitivity of the plot, at times it is challenging to sail against the flow. That said, I suspect why you elected for the jury not only to be odd numbers but why a lady and two men as well. That I say is smart on your part. I already see a shrewd politician in you.

      Here is the deal: I suspect Abi read the chapter much less the book. I stand corrected if he had done so. Moreover, as much as the rest of us are characters on the screen, it is really difficult if not impossible to know if the person behind the screen is say Mengistu Hailemariam or Isaias Afwerki for that matter where it is equally difficult to figure out what kind of baggage they carry as they stop by Awate. As such, we live in a world of guessing including the motive behind defensive posturing or a sense of intolerance on certain issues. In my opinion, Abi’s reaction is not emanated solely or specifically from your book but maybe and maybe from a pattern he observed over the years here in these forum. To be more precise, I think his reservation if I can put it mildly is not about your take per se but about the general take of Eritrean elites and intellectuals. My verdict? I say, Abi may have a point but he read too much into your take where he seems to be a prisoner of his own “prejudiced” past. And I say to you, keep on writing for posterity has everything to gain.

    • Amde

      Selam Ato Saleh,

      I remember when you announced this book coming out. You announced it as a book you will release ahead of another one that you were getting ready to release because the tragic news of refugees and human trafficking was hot at the time.

      I have not read the book, but since you described what it was about I felt that I had a good understanding of where you might be going with it. The chapter you wrote is well written prose, evocative of the human misery of the people you were describing. I personally did not find it offensive. These people were driven out of their home due to counter insurgency campaign by the Ethiopian armed forces in the 60s. That may not explain 100% of the refugees – but it likely explains the majority of them.

      I believe the issue is that Abi thinks you may be selectively writing things that will perpetuate misunderstandings and possible conflict for future generations. I am going to say I don’t want to speak for Abi (and do just that thank you very much), but I gather in HIS experience, Eritreans were not the victims much of this literature makes them to be. To be perfectly frank, that was my experience too.

      But I am talking about my experience in Addis, and I gather Abi is too – with him of course living with his Eritrean family by marriage giving him a perspective I could never have. You – on the other hand – are talking about experiences at a different place and time. I suspect Abi and I are closer in age, and you are probably closer to being a generation ahead of us. You were in war – I wasn’t. You probably buried friends – I didn’t. You have a perspective I completely have no background for, so I choose to mostly listen and learn, and be critical when it seems things don’t make sense.

      I personally think your portrait of HaileSellasie is a bit too one dimensional. I have joked with you about it before if you remember – but I take it as something you developed based off some experiences I could not possibly understand. So out of respect for your experiences, I don’t challenge you on them.

      I generally have a deep suspicion and dislike for any narrative that makes one side a devil and the other an angel. It is easy to blame HaileSellasie because he was emperor, but is it not fair to conclude that – at the beginning at least – the scorched earth policy was also enthusiastically endorsed by sections of the highland christian community? How many of the civilians were made refugees because of the various guerilla movements? I have similar sentiments with the Derg and Red Terror – it is too easy and neat to say Red Terror = 100% Derg. Derg is a convenient demon because it did do many terrible things, but the saga of the White Terror/Red Terror era is a bit too complex than that.

      I hope at some point we will start seeing literature that shows us as a people or assemblage of peoples who had to cope with a world rudely shoving its face into us. Colonialism. Ill-designed federation. A world much readier to arm governments with the tools of repression than the tools of consensus building.

      But this posted chapter, I personally have no problem with, and would recommend it for anyone who wants to get a glimpse of the unfortunate misery of these unfortunate people.

      Amde

    • Hayat Adem

      Honorable SGJ,
      Thank you very much. I came late to this call. I liked more the honor given to me to sit with these two great men than the actual task I’m picked for. What the heck – a judge has to be decisive, not necessarily to be right. It is like a sword for, cutting, separating and settling issues and disputes. It is the opposite of, reconciling, uniting and settling issues, the very antithesis to Awate.com’s motto. SGJ must have been so so so annoyed to have asked us to resolve this through jury deliberation.
      I’ve read the book, I’ve read the article and I’ve read the comments.
      The entire book or/and this chapter are reasonably written for a specific purpose, the purpose being how many innocent lives are being victims of policies of cruelty and indifference. The theme is clearly drawn between the wronged and the wronging. While the wronged remains the same, the wronging are different actors and the author’s siding and sympathy is clearly with the wronged and he deals with the forces of cruelty (the King, Derg and PFDJ) mercilessly. So, SGJ, you are clean on this (the book, the article, and the comments). And I’ll not be not shy at all to thank you for what you did and encourage you to continue writing stories of such lives.
      I’ve something for sweet Abi, too: while not defending every piece of cruelty by Ethiopian rulers on Eritreans, he has a point on the bigger picture. On the whole and on a grand scale, without accounting for specific practices, the question he might be asking and addressing might be these: Were Eritreans (compared to Ethiopians) favored or marginalized by the past Ethiopian rulers? On the whole and on a grand scale, Are Eritreans better of with Eritrean rulers after separation when compared to how things were before separation? Abi’s irritation comes from this issue. Let me try to wear Abi’s voice for a moment: for example, if indeed Eritreans (mostly kebessa) were favored in the past and and what they have after separation is worse, why can’t some Eritrean writers also reflect on that bright side? Derg was a killer, more killings of the “red terror” took place probably in the streets of Addis, Gondar, Dessie than Asmara? It is an evil force that spared no one and Eritreans should not understand as if it was a cruelty of separate policy targeting Eritrea. If so, why are Eritrean elites using it to build a national narrative and give it to their generation as if Ethiopia was a factory of evils to run away from?
      Back to myself. This is a story from India: Six men in darkness were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant’s body. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe. A wise man explains to them: All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned. Eritrean history contains different chapters including Zerom’s and Maryam’s. And those many who were doing very well and having a good life in Ethiopia before the separation. The issue lies in the fact that there is a disconnect in marrying the different perspectives. This was acutely reflected by Amde a couple of weeks ago. Perspectives have a blinding effect on some parts and a brightening on others, of the same whole. How do we come enlightened enough to appreciate the other stories we haven’t experienced? Actually, I consider both SGJ and Abi as enlightened.
      Hayat

      • Abi

        Selam Queen Hayat
        You read me well. Thanks.
        You also read the book that narrates the suffering of Eritreans during HS and derg times . Since it is a history book I expect to be fair and balanced and in no way one sided.
        Question for you
        Is there a chapter or a section of the book that describes ELF was negotiating with residents of the liberated areas to give up their children? The parents were forced to let go one of their sons to keep the rest otherwise they lose all.
        Did you also find in the same historical book that EPLF was rounding up people from the liberated areas?
        According to an observer in this forum these two activities by the liberators contributed in the mass exodus of Eritreans to Sudan refugee camps.
        We all know and repeatedly reminded the atrocities committed by the King and derg.
        Since it is a history book and expected to be all rounded, did you encounter those activities ( roundings by EPLF and politely snatching by ELF) included in the book?
        Thanks

        • Abraham H.

          Selam Abi, conscripting people was one of the ugly realities faced by the Eritrean liberation organizations as they faced the arduous task of fighting against a much much bigger enemy, both in terms of manpower and weapons. As such, it would not be surprising such things happened during the long armed struggle, and I wouldn’t see any Eritrean author having problem writing about them.

          • Abi

            Selam Abraham
            Fair point.
            Did you find this forced conscription in the book. I’m not interested in the justification at all. My question is whether it is mentioned anywhere in the book as one of the reasons for immigration?
            Thanks

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Abi, Abraham here, I’m writing in general terms not specifically the book written by Saleh. But even Saleh is saying his book is not devoted to the causes of migration of Eritreans during the struggle. He had a chapter where he describes the story of one individual, and in connection with that he mentions those who migrated during the late 60’s. As the author is saying, the bulk of the book is about the current plight of the Eritrean people under the PFDJ regime. In short, the book is not an exhaustive discussion of the causes of migration of Eritreans.

          • iSem

            Abi
            Let me try again:
            when Dergi was forcibly crashed in 1991 the number of Eri refugee in Sudan was estimated to be 500,000, the BULK of this numbers came from the law lands whose villages was burned down, that was the first mass exodus and but as thewar intesified and the ghedli got traction wiht the ppl, the number of refugees swelled and some of the factors are:
            The Ethiopian determination to cleanse Eritrea by brute force to have that stupid sea access that would later drawn on and the fish became beneficiayr instead of the people
            The 100,000 ELF fighters who were pushed to the Sudan
            The trickle down of refuges from liberated areas to escape conscription
            Those who left the cities to go to Sudan because the Ethpian rule was so unbearable

            Now you can choose to be split hair and get obssessed why the conscription factor is not included, maybe it is included, and you admitted that you never read the book and I doubt that u read other books. This is for completion sake but the contribution to the refugee was negligible because those who escaped were young and EPLF was registering victory after victory many, many went back before 1991 to fight, but the bulk of the earlier refugees who are depicted in this chapter hail from the atrocities of the king, from the burned villages.
            If you want to split hair, you have the freedom the freedom given to you by those who went to the universities of the King that is, kndi zekolesku edey tenekesu yblu Tigre, you need to be thankful because those you are defending as championes of education let you down because the, those whose suffering u are denying liberated you

          • sara

            Selam Abraha
            Didn’t we read Ethiopians were also conscripting by forse. Those farmers,young old sent to a war they heard from distance.

          • Abi

            Hi sariti
            Anybody try to deny that?

          • Abraham H.

            Selam sara, sure, thousands of poor conscripted Ethiopian men perished in alien lands in order to give Ethiopia a sea outlet which it never had. The Eritrean landscape is dotted with their remains, sad.

          • Kaddis

            Hi Sara – there is a book in Amharic called ‘Piassa gar tebikign ‘ or similar meaning lets meet in piassa – claiming conscription was practised during the badme war around Tigray / Mekele ..just as info – war sucks

        • Hayat Adem

          Sweet Abi,
          Now, let me let in to my feeling: you are a bit unfair with SGJ. take him in totality: he is a man who stands for a nobler and bigger purpose for the greater number of people regardless of geography and history. if this man was to become a leader of eritrea ta the helm, ethiopians would and should be as happy as eritreans. this man has a tested character and integrity. i wish he was not reading this as it would have been a stronger testimony when said behind him.
          on the issue at hand and the questions you raised, here is the deal: write those stories yourself and i promise they will be treated on merit. SGJ wrote this and he has not put any factual or contextual errors. what you are seeing and saying are stories that are not carried here. you can’t blame some one for not including all possible stories. by the way the treatment of the book was not strictly in a reporting style. although the content and the theme is real history, the style is fictitious. that means, the author has the license to be selective with settings and actors and events.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Hayat

            “You (Abi) are a bit unfair with SGJ. take him in totality: he is a man who stands for a nobler and bigger purpose for the greater number of people regardless of geography and history. if this man was to become a leader of eritrea ta the helm, ethiopians would and should be as happy as eritreans. this man has a tested character and integrity.”

            That’s deep!!!

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam Abi,

          For history, you do not balance events for the sake of balancing. History must told as is whether it was negative or positive. Historians must account what ever facts they found. But when they wrote, it does not mean there will be no challenges to it. History is told and complimented or challenged by other historians. History is refined from time to time by fellow historians. So there is nothing to complain for Saleh, b/c he narrated what had befallen to the Eritrean people in a day light in front his eyes. Do not expect a refined history that encompass every thing on one book. What you have to argues, if there is wrong account within his account and not on what hasn’t accounted it. In this case if you believe there is a history untold it is up to you and others who are on the side of to write a history about the left out. Saleh can only write what is available to him and what he got at his hand. So far what he wrote is factual what happened to our people.

          Regards
          Amanuel Hidrat

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Amanual
            Never been this impressed by comments before. You did mention great points. Thanks.
            Your comment takes us back to my original comment.
            Again, why don’t we read other narratives depicting the other side of the story? Don’t ask me to write anything. As I said before I want an Eritrean intellectual like yourself to come up with the other side of the story.
            I understand even the Bible inspired by God was not written by one person in one day. I expect much less from Gadi. However, I believe he should include some of the major reasons for the immigration as he was an eye witness.
            Why don’t you gather your courage and tell us your experience in Ethiopia? It will be a great start for rapprochement.

          • Thomas

            Hi Abi,

            Evolutionists believe that humans evolved from monkeys. Can this change be reversible? Can humans now turn into monkeys? This is to say in their physical appearance, IQ and their ways of coping with nature. It is like a chemical change, it is completely different product/situation to discuss about. What is gone is gone forever!! I invite you to listen to 2-Pak album. “It is just the way it is; somethings will never change, o’ya” as the case is with Eritrea:)

          • Abi

            Hi Tomi
            Because I love music I don’t listen rap.

          • Thomas

            HI Abi,

            No worries, as long as you get the gist of the message:)

          • Abi

            Tomi
            I’m trying to play it safe:)

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Abi,

            First without the good will of both sides of governments there will be no real rapprochement. Second, if it can help you as microcosm to the situation of Eritreans in Ethiopia during Haileselassie era, I can give you my own history. To do that, I will ask you one question. What is the name of the government institution, few blocks from the ministry of education, that help to find employment in government offices?I just can’t remember the name.

            Regards
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Amanual
            That department should be የመንግስት ሰራተኞች አስተዳደር
            Not far from it there was የጡረታ ሚኒስቴር
            A little further at Kazanchis ሰራተኛና ማህበራዊ ጉዳይ ሚንስቴር

            Don’t you think governments would be a little more careful if the people are are not showing animosity towards each other?
            I think we let them manipulate the situation.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hi Abi,

            Let me give you the exact direction. When you drive from biyassa towards 6 kilos, few blocks before you reach ministry of Education to the left side of the road. It is office of employment for government sectors.

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Amanual
            You mean from Piazza to arat killo just before the circle on the left side?
            It is definitely CPA
            Commission of Public Administration
            የመንግሥት ሰራተኞች አስተዳደር

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hi Abi,

            Yes I mean arat kilo. Okay I think you got the name. I will get back to you from home.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Abi

            Please allow me to interject. First let’s balance the emperor’s legacy first.

            When emperor Hailesselassie set foot in Eritrea (for the first time), he was greeted with anxious Muslims-majority, and assured cheerful crowd (dancing, singing…) of Kebessa majority – lined up as far as the eye can see. During his last hours at the helm (twenty two years later), there were a quarter of a million Muslim Eritrean refugees in Sudan, tense of thousands of Eritrean Muslims internally displaced, killed, and maimed.

            AND NONE OF THEM DUE TO CONSCRIPTION, BECAUSE CONSCRIPTION DIDN’T START UNTIL 1978 – THE YEAR DERG STARTED ኣፈሳ.

            Now how do you want put the ELF/EPLF conscription “as a major reasons for the immigration” of Eritreans to balance your history?

            Semere Tesfai

          • Abi

            ወንድም ታላቅ
            The book is not published in 1967. There are many historical facts ( hopefully) included in the book. It should be one of the reasons for mass exodus as explained by Semere Andom with ample supporting evidence if required by the judge and the jury.

            Tell me about the conscription where you forced a parent to give one son out of three. What about if a parent had 6 children? You snatched away 2 of them?

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Abi

            My point is – prior to 1978, conscription had zero impact on the migration of Eritreans. But, between 1961 and 1978 (prior to conscription) there were probably close to a million Eritreans migrated, killed, or internally displaced.

            Did ELF/EPLF conscription made things worst? Yes it did. So did hunger, fear, drought, hopelessness, air raid…. To be honest, comparing with all other factors, conscription was the least contributor of migration. And mind you, it is not just ELF and EPLF, Derg was also pressuring (beside killing them) young Eritreans to carry arms to fight ELF/EPLF.

            I can’t say much about the conscription because I was not there to the end – as you may know I was in ELF and ELF was pushed 1981. Meaning there were ten years (1981-1991) that I don’t know much about. But as you can imagine (in Eritrea or Ethiopia), there is no right way of recruiting youngsters when they and their parents, are not volunteering themselves to serve.

            Me and you might disagree, but serving one’s country is a duty of every citizen. Being a citizen of a nation and using its resources is not free. Every citizen has an obligation to serve. The mighty US has done it, Ethiopia has done it, why not Eritrea!!

            Semere Tesfai

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Semere,
            My situation is similar to yours. Forced conscription didn’t happen when I was in the ELF, but I have heard about it from a few people. One response that I got is that when the Derg started to forcefully recruit, the liberation organization followed suit before they take all the youth. I have a relative who was forcefully conscripted in teh Derg ranks and he told me horror stories–for some other time.

            I also learned of the stand off between the people and the EPLF in Barka when they started to take girls for conscription (one of the main campaigning item of the Islamists).

            But as you said, the bulk of refugees are between 1967-1973 and then from 1975-1978. Later on it was a trickle down. It got higher after the PFDJ started forced conscription in the nineties, but it worsened after the border war–by this time Ethiopia and Djibouti joined Sudan in becoming the destination of Eritrean refugees. Incidentally, my abused book focuses on the last batch with only background narration for the other batches.

        • Abraham H.

          Selam Abinet, I just wanted to ask you what do the current history books in Ethiopia teach the school children and students about the past regimes of Ethiopia? How are the regimes of HS and Derg depicted today in the Ethiopian education system? Besides, instead of using every opportunity you get to rant at Eritreans in this Eritrean website, why don’t you just mind your own business and care about the myriad problems you’ve in your country Ethiopia?

          • Abi

            Hi Abraham
            I’m helping you learn your history. Stay tuned. You will learn a thing or two in the process. At least you learn to ask some basic questions instead of just taking in everything that comes your way.
            For example you learned His Excellency Hailesilassie I encouraged and facilitated the establishment of 35 industries in 5 years that led to The Great Expo . Keep learning it is not illegal yet.
            You welcome.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Abinet, you didn’t answer my question about the Ethiopian schools today; regarding the so called 35 industries, we’ve discussed this before and you know my position on it.

          • Abi

            Hi Abraham
            Honestly I don’t know what is the history class curriculum in different grade levels.
            Personally I took history classes at grade 9and 10.
            Grade 9 is all about the Ethiopian history like Zemene Mesafint, Oromo migration Axum Kingdom, Zaguwe Sirwemengist… Its been a while. Don’t blame me if I forgot something. Besides I was not a bright student.
            Grade 10 was all about European History.
            At AAU Hist 101 is a mandatory class. (You learn from Axum Kingdom to Hailesilassie.
            It was free from politics back then. I doubt if it is the case nowadays. If I guess they teach the kids politics than history.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Abi, you see abi, you don’t even bother to know how the history is being thought in your own Emama Ethiopia before coming here to throw your insults on Eritrean writers just because they told the history the way they lived it. You are even on the record defending the wrong doings of all regimes, including the current one by saying dabo first, rights second. You’re such a hypocritical soul and you do not have the moral ground to defend whatever you are defending here.

          • Abi

            Hi Abraham
            I think you are missing the point here. I see you jumping for crumbs here and there.
            There are many autonomous regions with different curriculums . When I was a student there was one curriculum including Eritrea till 91
            ምነው ፈጠንክ?
            ትንሽ ተረጋጋ

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Abi, I found your constant effort to find faults among Eritrean writers here, while not exerting the slightest effort to find out how things are done in your own country, quite annoying.

          • Abi

            Hi Abraham
            I’m fixing Eritrean problems here at this website before your eventual comeback. Consider this as your rehab. You need a high dose of debriefing . As you see I care for you.
            ገንዘብካ

          • Abraham H.

            Hi Abi, as I told you before, please worry about your 21st century Emama Ethiopia instead of keeping whining here about the long bygone regimes that have been relegated to history. No self respecting Eritrean would be moved by your foolish and spiteful remarks that you keep throwing at this website.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Abi,
            Let me add something here.
            At the time of the EXPO, Eritrean economy was almost monopolized by Italians. I do not remember the exhibitors in detail, but I can mention a few that were Italian owned.
            Fennili (liquor)
            Mellotti (beer)
            Coca-Cola (beverage)
            Guerra (Marble)
            Casciani (?) (tiles)
            ??? (Truck and bus bodies)
            ??? (coffee cups)
            Emma (Sweaters and weaving)
            Baratollo (weaving)

            and many others whose names I cannot remember.

            Locally, there was exhibits of huts and Hdomo residential houses from several regions. Handcraft stands, carpet by the blind, and other artifacts. In short, it was modest. Oh, I forgot, beauty pageant competition.

            Now, after ebing exposed to the outside world, that expos was, well, good for ego. But it is not that great. The focus was on music, drinking, eating, king copra shows, for example. That is what most people, including me, remember. I don’t know of any 35 industries that were established by Hale Sellasie. Would you care to explain more?

          • Paulos

            Selam SGJ,

            Off the top of my head, I add:

            Cipollini
            Darmar
            Bini
            Orsi
            Guerra
            Vignelloti
            Fellini

          • Blue Asmara

            Salam Paulos and thanks for the add-in. Can you believe that I seen the son of Falletta (now in his 70s) in a bar in Addis Ababa not so long ago? Strange mix Asmara has had, I even can recall the few Indians and Jewish people doing business there as well as Jessie Dobbins, an American from Kansas City, that has lived in Eritrea since WWII and ran the Casa de Vetro (House of Glass) gift shop in front of the Cathedral (now the Dolce Vita shirt shop).

          • Paulos

            Selam Blue Asmara,

            Glad you met Wedi Falletta in Addis as early as recently and I would expect him to be older than 70. That said however, the other day you told us that the “T” in T-TPLF stands for thugs and these bunch of thugs let you in to their country and I am sure you had a good time. And I am curious if you were at ease to call them names as in thugs when you were there.

          • Blue Asmara

            Salam Paulos and thanks for your humorous comment. Yes that is what I said and T-TPLF is a common term used in Ethiopia these days. Of course I would not say that openly while in Addis Ababa for they would likely throw me in prison along with the thousands of Ethiopians who under Ethiopia’s State of Emergency are seen as a ‘threat’ and in need of ‘rehabilitation’.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Blue Asmara,

            It is natural to quarantine retarded individuals who are considered to be dangerous to their societies. Eritrea is in state of undeclared state of emergency for twenty-five years and counting against very submissive people to the extent their army personnel throw their weapons and flee the country in droves to neighboring countries. (Asha Sebeiti Zeharir Tsebha Gadifa Nai Enda Emata Tsebhi Tikhokis).

          • Blue Asmara

            Salam Hammed Al-Arabi and thanks for your interesting comments. Wish it were that simple to have bad dictators and Governments truly quarantined but it is simply not realistic in the modern world as there is always some nation ready to disregard conditions of quarantine as levied on a State. Isolation is however realistic and has already been achieved but not simply not achieved intended result.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Blue Asmara,

            You seem to mix issues. There are dictators and governments who rule their countries to some extent with an accepted laws. Moreover, the majority of people leads stable life except opposition leaders. In Eritrea the entire nation wears black, all are wretched and destitute. Even if the sun rises from its west the criminals in Eritrea will never change their attitude. (Etetsgbani qicha abmoqlo’ah khala efalta).

          • Blue Asmara

            Salam Hameed Al-Arabi and thanks for your comments. I have no problem in calling the PIA/PFDJ an extremely bad and evil dictatorship but this does not mean that that it is realistic to quarantine any nation State for there will always be countries lurking in the background that are willing to completely disregard any quarantine. Just look at how bad the isolationist strategy of the Ethiopia, U.S. and the U.N. Security Council has fared to in regards to Eritrea. A broader strategic approach is clearly required unless you are content in simply waiting for PIA to kick the bucket.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Blue Asmara,

            Only naive persons will think the criminal will kick the bucket by himself. The fire that will turn Eritrean mafia to ashes is raging; but blinds and retards don’t congnize it. Definitely, Middle Ages mindsets isolate themselves before any entity imposes it upon them.

          • Blue Asmara

            Salaam Hameed Al-Arabi and thanks for your comments. I guess the Einstein family must now be cleaning the barrels of their rifles and getting ready to launch and offensive on PIA and the PFDJ.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Blue Asmara,

            History tells us that many powerful governments disappeared as if they were not ruled with their mighty power. Through time they were replaced by new governments and systems. I don’t think a militia group will be a unique example in history. (Betri Haqi Tikitin Ember Aitisiberin).

          • Thomas

            Hi Hameed Al-Arabi,

            I am sorry I know that I have repeatedly posted this adage in this website to define people like Blue Asmara. As the risk of repeating myself, Blue Asmara is strong supporter of the mafia regime as ” If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, …” I know you are very smart and it never took you time to call this guy/lady by its true name. He is enjoying the Ethiopia, U.S.A, UN, AU, IGAD, demarcation cards a lot here:)

          • Paulos

            Selam Blue Asmara,

            No wonder you look too familiar for I must have “seen” you in Kalahari chilling with a snake.

          • Blue Asmara

            Salam Paulos. I believe that it is more likely that you have seen at Taco Bell late in the night collecting my Burrito Supreme at the drive-up window. Man what are you doing in the USA while Mama Ethiopia is calling her son to come back home.

          • Abi

            Hi Blue
            The question should be What The Hell Are You Doing In Ethiopia?

          • Blue Asmara

            Salam Abi. That would be a legitimate question if I were in Ethiopia but I am not. And, when I do go there, it is only for meetings or when I am in transit and have a layover. I live in Africa but not in Ethiopia or Eritrea.

          • Hayat Adem

            Hi Paulos,
            Please reflect: I wouldn’t say all but I couldn’t find a theory that explain how some PFDJ members really take integrity and character. Of all Ethiopian political parties, TPLF was the kindest for PFDJ. And yet they think it was not kind enough they hate them for that. Of all the many countries, they run back to Ethiopia and enjoy vacations and family reunion and what have you. And yet they think Ethiopia is not a country to be loved. Blue goes to Ethiopia and comes back and calls them thugs. A couple of years back there was one pfdj awatista by the name Tamirat (?) who starts and ends his comments with badmouthing everything of Ethiopia. that guy has his mom and dad in Addis. He visits them every summer. And one day, he took his Addis family to a resort somewhere near Addis. He complained because he was asked to pay in dollars as a foreigner. What amazed me was his anger because he saw an Ethiopian Somali who was charged in Birr. He told us how hos Dad cursed the authorities:” foE..eziomsi, kabana Somali qeribomom, gele de’a tetifa’ayom eziomsi…Jeez! this people think Somali are closer to them than us! i hope some curse destroys them!” Imagine, that somali is Ethiopian and the law allows him to be treated like Ethiopian. Tamirat would have been okay if at least he was only complaining about being asked to pay in dollars… but comparing himself with an Ethiopian for a national’s privilege in a country where he never passed a day without belittling is really mind boggling and out of this world. And Blue comes here to defend PFDJ and over-demonize TPLF and calls them with this additional “T” that I’ve never heard of before. But he is okay to go back in and out. Probably, he runs some business in there. And more likely, if he goes to Ethiopia he doesn’t come to Eritrea. Chances are, if he is missing Badime so much, it would be easier for him to reach from the Ethiopian side than from the Eritrean side. Is there anything that explains this kind of behavior? Is it normal? This is a pointer to a lot bigger truth. EPLF/PFDJ got all the support they asked for, even more than what they asked for from the Eritrean people. There were no ifs, there were no questions asked. Everything: logistics, money, recruits…everything. Untold unconditional support! Look how they are reciprocating: misery, pain, suffocation…

          • Blue Asmara

            Salam Hayat Adem and thanks for the comments. I certainly do not call Ethiopians thugs for only the T-TPLF fit this label. My trips to Ethiopia are certainly not for vacation, personal reasons or for private business. But yes, you are correct that the T-TPLF are marvelous people, who dress up like clowns and come to my birthday party every year. The T-TPLF never lie, cheat, steal, swear or drink for they are almost angelic. I just cannot figure out why all those Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Afar, Gambella, Konzo and SNNPR folk just can’t appreciate the T-TPLF for who they really are. Maybe it is because they are amongst two-thirds of Ethiopia’s population who are not real Habeshas.

          • Paulos

            Selam Hayatina,

            Isaias has been bitter since 1998 and if I was his shrink I sure would have been privy to his troubles but again one doesn’t have to be a resident-expert to see a pattern that goes back at least to a generation. Isaias couldn’t get over the bitter hung up where he got defeated by people he had thought where they still had to catch up with etiquette of modernity as in say using a fork to eat pasta.

            And there are the others. These others who are a cult order of some sort lived the high life and the high end particularly in Addis when the King and Dergue were in power. They were the makers and shakers as in who is who when the rest were way down below. This sense of entitlement fostered a life of its own till it turned in to a deep seated anathema. For the psychological anomaly to come to surface something had to happen, that is Isaias had to be defeated in Bad’me. That is where Isaias and the others crossed paths and made a pact to destroy those who were marginalized-turned-miracle-makers with Isaias to lead the war by other means as in proxy and the others to march with their mighty pen here in Diaspora where the Biedemariams and Tesfamariams come to mind. Blue Asmara is not an exemption.

          • Blue Asmara

            Salam Paulos and thanks for your comments. Problem with your analysis is that I have never once said that I support the PIA regime for I do not. You and Hayet Adem have the same knee-jerk reaction wherein if one says anything against Ethiopia or the TPLF, you then quickly fly-the-coop and start accusing others of being PIA apologists; sorry but that is just a little bit shallow. Thing is if you love Ethiopia so much, like you obviously do, then why do you not go there to live and work and to support your TPLF relatives.

          • Hayat Adem

            Selam,
            “For the psychological anomaly to come to surface something had to happen, that is Isaias had to be defeated in Bad’me”
            And for the anomaly to sink beneath the ground into hibernation, Weyane has to be defeated in Badime. the best cure would have been meeting Weyane’s force with force and dislodge them. The next best would be weakening Ethiopia through proxies and see her losing grip. The next next best would be regaining Badime though demarcation and save some of the grace. if all these are not going to happen or until one of these happen, “march with their mighty pen here in Diaspora where the Biedemariams and Tesfamariams ” and Bluemariams. It makes a perfect sense.
            —–
            PS: This awkward and confusing to be a standard behavior. It shows how bizarre it can get as time passes and frustrations set in more amount and intensity. And result wise, this seems getting them nowhere. Wouldn’t charming Woyane possibly be their shortest and surest way to end their pain, if at all?

          • Amde

            Selam Hayat,

            “Wouldn’t charming Woyane possibly be their shortest and surest way to end their pain, if at all?”

            Sounds like a fantastic opening sentence to a political/romance bestseller.

            Title: “The Valentine’s Day Protocol and the Badme Boondoggle”

            Chapter 1

            “Wouldn’t charming Woyane possibly be their shortest and surest way to end their pain, if at all?”

            On a warm breezy evening in Mombasa, Kenya she wistfully fingered the amulet she has been carrying against her heart for all of these so many years as she strolled down the warm sands of the Indian ocean beach.

            She repeated it to herself again, “Wouldn’t charming Woyane possibly be their shortest and surest way to end their pain, if at all?”

            .
            .
            .
            EPILOGUE

            The old man looked into the mirror again.

            “Strange…” he thought. “This mirror…..”

            Something was different about it. Maybe it is the lighting.

            He peered closer.

            “This mirror…is it…is it getting …. OLD…!?!”

            He peered again, to see if there were any physical deformities in the smooth full sheen of its surface. No pitting, no peeling, nothing warped, no deposits of detritus and dirt. Just the cold unvarnished reflection he had winessed for years.

            Outside, the door to that old Massawa hotel swung and was held open long enough for Marlon Brando’d voice to waft out.

            “I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.”

            Ze End

            Amde

          • Abi

            Amdachin
            Beautiful.
            “I should have been at Menelik Palace” murmured the old guy emptying his glass . ወይ ነዶ!

          • Abi

            Hi The Queen
            The person you are referring is Araya. Tamirat is an Ethiopian. He used to write his name as Tamirat Tamirat.
            He has business partners in Addis.
            The incident you correctly mentioned happened at Sodore.
            When you are in doubt, You know who to call.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Hayata,

            Not that it is any important, but the “T” Blue Asmara is fond of was coined by an Ethiopian, a regular commentator against EPRDF by the name of Al-Mariam, a PhD, and extreme hater of anything Tigray. He started adding a “T” in front of TPLF for no other reason than to appear cool in front of his admirers. He is a supreme example of a wasted intellect. He wrote a whole article opposing the building of GERD, and he may even have suggested for Egypt to bomb the dam soon before more “Ethiopian people’s money is wasted.” Blue Asmara is way to sophisticated to have chosen to emulate Al-Mariam, but politics is a strange disease: what can one do?

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Paulos, good observation; my understanding is that most of the diehard PFDJ supporters in the diaspora (not implying Blue Asmara as one of them), are actually those who resided in Addis before the last war and they had lived their entire lives in Ethiopia. They are well connected with Ethiopia, but on the other hand they try to be more patriotic than Eritreans/ those Eritreans who know no other country than Eritrea, by supporting whatever the PFDJ does, at any cost to the Eritrean people.There is a clear aspect of double standards and dishonesty among such PFDJ diehards. Their real beef with the Weyane is because many of them were forcibly deported from Ethiopia during the last war. The Tigrinya adage በላዕቲ ክልተ ጻሕሊ perfectly fits them.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Abu Salah,

      I think I support your argument by saying that the atrocities committed by the Ethiopian army was “an eye witness memory” by you, and that Saleh as part of the history making struggle, can write history of his own memory that happened to the Eritrean people. I did not say the book is a fiction.

      Regards
      Amanuel Hidrat

  • Amde

    Selam Awatistas,

    And now for something completely different.

    This article, titled : “The Spy Revolt Against Trump Begins” (http://observer.com/2017/02/donald-trump-administration-mike-flynn-russian-embassy/) was posted on Observer.com today.

    The article alleges that the Intelligence Community has started keeping information away from Trump because;

    1. They believe there is a Russian agent among Trump’s senior people:

    “..a senior Pentagon intelligence official, …stated that ‘since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,. meaning the White House Situation Room, …”

    And.

    2. Trump is too lazy to bother with reading/listening and understanding the Presidential Daily Briefings (PDB)

    “..The president has frequently blown off the PDB altogether, tasking Flynn with condensing it into a one-page summary with no more than nine bullet-points. Some in the IC are relieved by this, but there are pervasive concerns that the president simply isn’t paying attention to intelligence.

    The author of the piece used to work for the NSA.

    And the strangest part:

    Observer.com is owned by Jared Kushner (Trump’s son-in-law), who has stepped away from being publisher since the inauguration.

    This story might be one worth keeping an eye on.

    Amde

  • Amde

    Selam Awatistas,

    Have been following the discussions, and to be honest, I have yet to hear useful information (more heat than light as the saying goes) as to things like how many there are, and what explicit policies have been deployed to keep them out, etc.. Best I can figure out is that in 1993 some were resettled but then the program stopped for whatever reason/excuse. Sounds like the Badme border process that Abraham H. posted (to paraphrase) “.. they started the process and even agreed on some land swaps but then it ended ’cause Eritrea wanted all resolved at once…”

    If there were tea leaves to be read, it sounds like the technocrats draft a policy, present it, get approved, they start work, then the political side thinks there are other (more important) goals, and snuffs out the process. Not saying there are tea leaves mind you.

    Is there even any consensus WHY they are still in Sudan? (Understand the post Badme years are completely different.)

    One of the most intriguing posts were by Abrehet where she says :”In short, refugees return to their place of origin if they believe what they will find when they return is better than what they have in their current location. The Eritreans in Sudan lost their refugee status in 1993 when UNHCR declared that the conditions that led to their fleeing no longer existed. In my opinion, they must have chosen to stay in Sudan, without any ‘legal recognition’, be it as a refugee or a citizen, because they assess the situation back home to be worse, specially with regard to their rights. ”

    So what is their legal status? Are they technically illegal migrants? Or is their refugee designation something that only UNHCR removed but they are still viewed as such by the Sudanese government? If there is no UNHCR funding, how do they live?

    I can see why it would be in the opposition’s interest to have a pool of non-PFDJ controlled population. It is not quite obvious to me why it is in PFDJ’s interest that they stay out. Are their numbers so many that there is “risk” of demographic (primarily Muslim) or political (primarily sympathetic to opposition) imbalance?

    Amde

    • sara

      Ato Amde
      Until others come to answers your query, let me tell you my 1 cent… Apart from those who stay there because of their political affiliations many are there because Sudan specially eastern Sudan is eritrean and if not for politics and the current governments bad policies most eritreans wouldn’t feel refugees as those kept in camps on Ethiopia.
      Eritreans work,study, own business, property,travel any where in Sudan and beyond.
      Get nationality with out any difficulty. Kesella,port Sudan,gedarif, sinar has a sizable
      Eritrean population,and many hold political offices, I can even name those highly influential eritreans there…when I visit kessla I don’t feel I am in a foreign land, we only say it is our second home because the existing political reality though it should have been one country.

      • Amde

        Selam Sara,

        That is good insight.

        But then it implies that the refugees really choose to stay in Sudan, and more importantly – for whatever reason – they choose to stay in the refugee camps.

        I understand why they would want to stay in Sudan and not return (because of PFDJ etc..). But I don’t understand why they are still in refugee camps.

        If they can “…work,study, own business, property,travel any where in Sudan and beyond. Get nationality with out any difficulty….”, it implies that they don’t have to stay in the refugee camps, and so 50 years later they really should be integrated within Sudanese society.

        Interesting you see Eastern Sudan and Eritrea as one country.

        Amde

        • Paulos

          Selam Amde,

          Sara is giving us as you have aptly put it an insight not through reports and what have you but she saw it in here own eyes where the settled Eritreans feel perfectly at home as they seem to have been assimilated with in the society. One actually can’t help it but wonder if we as in here in this forum are ignoring the elephant in the room so to speak where the suggestion forwarded by the British right after World War II in hindsight seems to carry some weight where again Eastern Sudan feels home.

          • Amde

            Oh Paulos,

            There were so many things I wanted to say on this topic, but I have learned there is an orthodoxy here. haha..

            You are absolutely right. Sara’s input speaks volumes.

            And yes, I do believe that the original British proposal would have saved incalculable lives in the end. It may still happen by the way. Look how cavalierly she says Eritrea will join the Umma, rather than joining la-la-land. I don’t think there is much consensus on that score among Eritreans.

            The post WW2 effort to keep Eritrea together, i.e. not partitioned – is a fervently lauded success here. Not something to be critiqued, even in light of what has transpired since. And to be used as an example on bridging differences and creating accommodations.

            It’s fine with me if it brings peace, and in any case, whatever happened in the past is past.

            But i am genuinely curious why there are still 1960s era Eritreans in refugee camps. It just seems to me to be needless political black eye on the part of PFDJ, so I have to assume there is some other calculation at work if they did stop them from coming back. But 50 years is a loooong time and you did the right thing questioning whether or not their progeny shouldn’t be Sudanese by now.

            If integration into Eastern Sudan society is that easy, the number of 60s refugees in camps should be low. At this point, it would make more sense to work at integrating them into Sudanese society than have them languishing in refugee camps. That seems like a worthy goal to me. I don’t think that takes anything away from any future claims they may have against a post-Isayyas regime.

            Amde

          • Abi

            Hi Paul, Amdachin and sariti habibti from EriSudan
            What is the fate of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia if the two governments make peace and the UNHCR stopped recognizing them as refugees? I’m asking this assuming IA never accepted their existence in the first place.

          • Amde

            Selam Abi,

            I don’t think “the two governments make peace” necessarily means “UNHCR stopped recognizing them as refugees”.

            They are refugees from Eritrea’s internal situation, which the UNHCR has recognized as such. The relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea is irrelevant I think. That’s my assumption anyway.

            Amde

          • Abi

            Amdachin
            እዚህ ላይ ወራጅ አለ
            If the two sides make peace and IA doesn’t need the for the indefinite military service, what is going to be their excuse not to go back? UNHCR is looking for any excuse to close the camps. My assumption

          • Amde

            Selam Abi,

            If the people were refugees because of war between the two, then once that situation changes there is no legitimate reason.

            I guess it depends what they said on their application. If it is indeed indefinite military service they blamed for their refugee status, then yes I can see that. But if it was some other kind of oppression then it doesn’t matter what the situation between the two would be. What is the story of Afar refugees? Or Kunama refugees? There is the general indefinite service issue. But they were also complaining about being pushed off their lands.

            iSem’s description of what happened with many of the lowlander refugees is quite instructive. Technically, the primary reason they were refugees (Ethio-Eritrean war) no longer exists, so UNHCR can no longer consider them refugees on that score. They are forced to leave home now for a second altogether different reason – internal discrimination by the new government. I don’t see how these people cannot be considered refugees in UNHCR’s eyes.

            I doubt they will want to stay in refugee camps in Ethiopia once the indefinite service is resolved. That’s assuming Isayyas won’t see them as traitors or some such. Some of the ones that were lucky enough to have a life (business / education / family) outside of the camps may decide to stay. Personally I say all power to them.

            Amde

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Amde,

            One should not confuse the Eritreans who fled Eritrea back in the 70s with the ones who fled after Eritrea separated from Ethiopia. The latter ones are legally required to stay in Shegeraab camp and be registered as refugees. My earlier comment was with those who were expected to return to Eritrea after the war between Eritrean and Ethiopia ended. That war and the fact that some of them former fighters against Ethiopia was why they were recognized as refugees. After 1993, their refugees status was revoked. As one commenter shared, a number of them returned to Eritrea. Some individually and some as a group with the assistance of UNHCR. After the first few returnees, the rumor is that Eritrea requested the settlement assistance to be handed over to it directly instead of the returnees. There is another explanation also that the former ELF wanted recognition to enter as a group and have their own political life. Of course, Eritrean government objected. They are now living in Sudan, some having already obtained Sudanese Ids or some kind of paper, and some staying under the radar. Some of the refugees also had the majority of their relatives already resettled in a third country and would rather join them than return to Eritrea.

            What Sara said is also true, there are three ethnic groups (tribes) that are divided by the border line between Eritrea and Sudan. So in fact, they are one people and some are closely related. The same as what we have between Eritrea and Ethiopia. This is true for most of Africa. You may recall the problems in the great lakes, in the border between Burundi, Rwanda and Congo. You can also look at the Somali refugees in Kenya to find a parallel example. Unfortunately, since familial ties are strong one traces back ones ancestor quite carefully to explain who they are, it is not easy to settle in a country in Africa and integrate.

            If you look at the problems in Cote d’Ivoire in recent years, you can see a good example. Due to the economic opportunities in Cote d’Ivoire, peoples from all its neighboring countries had settled and worked for generations. However, when the short-lived civil war started, the settlers were targeted and had to pack and leave at least for the time being. A lot of countries in Africa are very welcoming to refugees and let one stay there without much fuss. However, integration is often a problem.

            Of course, one could wish that better solutions could have been found by the Administration, but then why not wish the Europeans never meddled in Africa in the first place.

          • Amde

            Selam Abrehet,

            What about the ones that were part of the original 60s refugees, then went back and came back out? Did they become a new class of refugees or not?

            Fanti has a great write up on his observations during that period.

            Thank you so much for the input.

            Amde

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Amde,
            It is difficult to answer with certainty. Some could have blended back to their old place of residence/community. The young would definitely have been drafted in Eritrea and will be the same as the new refugees. The character in the chapter cited above is one of those. A sad outcome of all this is the children of the older refugee group, who had settled in Sudan and managed to integrate have now become targets of Sudanese authorities when they round up new comers. The youngsters have also started to resent the limbo they find themselves in and some have even crossed the Sahara and become victims of traffickers.

          • Paulos

            Selam Amde and Abi,

            For an Eritrean who was born after 91 and brought up in Eritrea, Amharic is not only an alien language, the very image and perception of Ethiopia is light years away say from the previous generation (thanks to PFDJ’s indoctrination). That said, one wonders if the same person crosses the border and stays in the refugee camp say for decades (heaven forbid), and would we say he or she is assimilated if in fact one gets assimilated into his own family. Hope you got my drift.

          • Abi

            Hi Paul
            I don’t want to pretend I understood the last part of your comment.
            Regarding the perception of Ethiopia in the eyes of Eritreans I don’t stop by blaming only PFDJ. I go beyond that. I blame many influential individuals.

          • Paulos

            Selam Abi and Amde,

            Let me be clear on something I think is fundamental. Eritreans and Ethiopians are the same people. Which ever one toss it or turn it, there is no way around it. That said however, Eritrea is an independent sovereign nation. The people chose independence and that is the prerogative of the people to choose their own destiny. Here the key word is choosing where the merits as a means to that end loses its meaning including historical justification. That said, what I meant in my previous comment is that, one doesn’t get assimilated into his own family for it doesn’t make any sense at all for one is already a family member in the first place.

          • Abi

            Paul,Paul,Paul
            You are pushing it. How good is your helmet? It better be a military grade. Your vest ?
            “የረጠበው ላይ ሸናችበት”
            Soon you will be stoned !

          • Paulos

            Abi,

            Funny! I am still laughing. Charlie Chaplin came out second in a Charlie Chaplin look alike contest. Reality more often takes the back seat in a world of illusion.

          • Abi

            Hi Paul
            “Reality more often takes the back seat in a world of illusion”.( ቅዱስ ጳውሎስ በመንፈስ ተመርቶ እንደፃፈው)
            With your permission I like to make it as a bumper sticker.

          • Amde

            Selam Paulos,

            “Eritreans and Ethiopians are the same people. ” This is my stated position too and part of the reason why I am here.

            For now, there is just a lot of bad blood that we have to understand and let time take care of. But whatever historic, geographic, sociological forces created this family are still around, so that situation will not change.

            Now Sara might have a different opinion than yours, because she says Eritreans and Sudanese are the same people.

            Amde

          • Blue Asmara

            Salam Paulos and thanks for the interesting comment wherein you assert that that Ethiopians and Eritrean are one ‘One and the Same’. Fact is that less that 35% of Ethiopia’s population really fits ‘Habesha’ billing whereas at least 85% of Eritrea’s does. If you infer that Eritreans have so much in common with Ethiopia’s Oromo, Sidama, Somalia, Gama, etc.; you must mean that all are ‘One in the Same’ under the heading both being Africans. With this logic, you can now start to convince African Americans that they are “One and the Same’ as Ethiopians. Even in refugee days of old (pre-1991) in Sudan, refugee camps were clearly divided along ‘Ethiopia’ and ‘Eritrean’ lines as chose not to live together.

          • Amde

            Selam Paulos,

            Your last comment was not too clear to me, but let me say this. If my experiences on humanity are anything to go by, the ideas of “family” and “assimilation” tend to be very subjective things.

            I don’t know if this is a chicken vs egg problem. But if you feel you are part of a family, you will find many thing that prove to you that you are indeed part of a family. But if you don’t, then there will be a million justifications you can pull to convince yourself otherwise.

            It is something I have wondered about actually – especially since we are so beholden to identity politics, and yet what we spend our energy and time on to earn our daily bread has very little to do with the identity politics that consumes so much of our mental energy. Someone used the term “ethnic entrepreneurs” to describe the generation of Ethiopian politicians that engaged in the ethnic game. It wasn’t meant as a pejorative – he was describing himself as one.

            I personally support giving Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia as much freedom as can reasonably be given to mix, interact and live with locals. Firstly it is a humane thing to do. Secondly, it is good in the long term for people to develop relationships. Whether they stay or go back.

            The Amharic thing is I think maybe temporary (?). The new generation is probably going to grow up with dueling EriTV and TigrayTV. It is funny you hear people say EriTV is hugely popular in Meqele while the opposite is true in Asmara. That is likely to be culturally more determinant. We will see how that goes.

            Amde

          • Blue Asmara

            Salam Paulos and thanks for your comment. And, what were the official languages of Eritrea before Ethiopia’s occupation and forced use of Amharic?

          • Graviton

            Peace new?
            There was no Eritrea before 1993, i mean as an independent country(assuming you consider it as one right now, some even say its just a location on a map,no pun intended). Seems like you have a problem with the concept of “Ethiopia” and “Amharic”.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Graviton,

            Why don’t you check the world map in 1945 in the UN archive and see for your self.

            What ever relationship that existed between Eritrean and Ethiopia in 1952, you have to see that the countries were separated from 1988 until 1952. That’s over 60 years…and so many things has happened in between.

            As far as I know, there was no Amhara or Amharic in Eritrea until 1952, even before the Italians. Tigrina and yes, but Amharic no.

            Berhe

          • Graviton

            Peace new Berhe?

            i guess the “location on a map” stint is lost on u buddy.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Blue,

            Eritrea joined Ethiopia federation in 1952. As per the constitution, Tigrinya and Arabic were the official languages.

            Berhe

          • Blue Asmara

            Salam Berhe Y and thanks for your answer which is indeed correct. I was trying to point out to Paulos that during the period before Ethiopia’s occupation, even at that time and not only after 1991, Amharic was somehow and alien language.

          • sara

            Dear Mr Abi,
            those so called refugees in ethiopia except few most are heading to sudan and beyond and others are waiting for settlement in the west through family relationships.there are very few who feel comfortable to stay there unlike those who are are living in sudan.
            having a refugee camp in ethiopia is apolitical.

          • Abi

            sariti habibti
            I agree with you 100%. History shows us Ethiopia is a miserable place for Eritreans. They are treated better in The Sudan refugee camps where they feel home.
            I got a lame joke for you in exchange for Coffea arabica.
            It is a conversation between a buyer and seller at the sheep/goat market.
            ገዥ : “ይህ በግ ስንት ነው”?
            ነጋዴ : ” አምስት መቶ ብር”
            ገዥ: ” ይህማ የጠገበ አህያ ያስገዛ የለም እንዴ”?
            ነጋዴ: ” የሚጥምዎን እርስዎ ያውቃሉ ጌታው”

          • sara

            ato Abi,
            ethiopia is not miserable to few eritrean- ethiophilis,and thanks to awate they are even here to support your continues diatribe about eritrea.
            as for the joke, tried google translation–none, do me favour ask help (sure you know who) translate it to arabic or tigrinya.

          • Abi

            sariti sariti
            sariti tsebuqti
            sariti habibti
            I’m disappointed! If you don’t learn Amharic in 3 months I will sadly decline all your coffee invitations.
            I don’t know about arabic. I know there is no joke in Tigrigna. It is impossible to translate a joke into Tigrigna. You are very serious people. I know jokes and love are in short supply in Eritrea. That is why some smart Eritrean Tsebuqti are looking for Ethiopians.
            Just kidding. Take it easy habibti.

          • Dear Paulos and Amde,

            “Eritreans and ethiopians are the same people”, is said especially by those south of the mereb, but not really espoused anymore by those to the north.

            There seems to be two main Eritreas, the one that believes that its other half is in sudan, and the other half which regrets that their ancestor ever said the same thing about those to the south. As you mentioned, Sara had said a lot indeed, when she mentioned “Sudan specially eastern Sudan is eritrean” . May be that is in the hearts and minds of the lowlanders, that they see eastern sudan as an extension of their homeland and the sudanese society as an extension of their own society. It might not be with the same political extension for all as for Sara.

            If indeed the pfdj is mainly made up of highlanders and it has acted as a push factor as much as lowlanders are concerned, it has done a big disservice for the unity of eritrea. If brute force is the main uniting power in their opinion, they should have known that it will not be there forever.

            The other scenario is if lowlanders were free to return any time and yet they chose to remain, i would have thought that what Sara said isn’t only her opinion, but also a planned strategy by pfdj to create an eritrean minority that lives in eastern sudan, with all its political ramifications in the future. But this does not seem to be, and their stay in refugee camps is rather the result of pfdj arrogance and not due to any other reason.

          • sara

            Dear Horizon,
            “eritreans and sudanesse are same people” was said since long time and is said even now, while that…ethiopia and eritrea are same — is long gone for good becouse it was based on lies for ulterior political benefit of a minority in eritrea and ethiopia not the larger populace.
            ato, horizon don’t read to much into what i wrote this has nothing to do about highland/lowland matters, it is a fact that most of us eritrens agree upon, and who ever is interested to understand about eritrea and eritreans (no ethiphilis) should be honest to see this truth.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam sara, what do you think about the Eritrean Tigrinyas and the Tigray Tigrinyas; is there any difference at all between the two in terms of religion, traditions, language, culture, customs, common history (excepting the Italian colonial era), etc?

          • sara

            selam abraham
            though you have already stated what is commonly perceived at this forum by many, i guess i know where you are trying to push the discussion into.any way to answer briefly you question
            i think there are some similarities and more differences on the points you mentioned…

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Sara, no hidden message here, I’m just saying the fact. I don’t see any meaningful difference in those aspects I mentioned regarding the two Tigrinyas. We could even take the relation further by mentioning the blood relationship. If you want two simple and conspicuous examples: the late Meles’ mother was Eritrean, and I have heard the father of Isayas is Tigrayan. And as we speak, people in the border areas are continuing to inter-marry, just the way they did for centuries.

        • sara

          Dear Ato Amde
          those places you call refugee camps in sudan are now large towns with all social services
          in-fact you could say they are transit place before you move to other larger towns and cities in sudan and beyond.

    • iSem

      Hi Amde:
      technically every refuge in Sudan did not have refugee status: you walk in to border town, you start working, support your family and in some cities like Kassala, Port Sudan and Khartoum the ghedli had schools and you can send your kids there, as you cannot send them to Sudanese school, if you are a Muslim you can have some Sudanese friend vouch for your that you are Sudanese and you can send them to Sudanese schools, this are very few. Many became members of the different Eri factions and struggled against the occupation in different capacity. Ghedil can go in and out to Sudan as they please and benefited from the refugees tremendously
      There were refugee camps like shegerab, wedsherifey ectc and people lived there creating their community and some times the UN agencies provided some services there, albeit corrupted services, mostly run by the corrupt Sudanese officials. Eritrean refugees were cash cows for the Sudanese.
      In the tail end of 1989, the UN started to officially document the refugees by issuing them alien cards, so every one is documented, but it was corrupted and it took so long
      After May 1991, some people just went back and settled in their villages and started living and some were repatriated through the UN, but the bulk of them , at least from the low lands returned back and PFDJ wanted money to take them back like they did with diseased Austrian sheep that SA declined. So for sure some stayed for their own volition but many were returned and the new government did refuse to take them, there many elder negotiations , but their land was taken and arrested for fake jihad connections and one by one returned, it was not safe for them, so the point was the government did not want them
      There is the cause for the mass refugee directly related the king, that mere mention of it makes Abi fasciculate profusely and later exodus directly related from ghedli, people fled from liberated area because EPLF took their kids to war, it took newly weds, underage kids, ELF negotiated with villages : you have 3 kids, give us one and they never touched brides in their honey moon, so the causes are complex, but those who are still stranded are overwhelmingly from 1967 and they are everywhere and no where, nor Sudanese nor Eritrean and for sure many are integrated but most were longing to back

      • Amde

        Thank you iSem,

        That explains quite a lot actually.

        It sounds like many returned post 91 but Shaebiya practiced what we call in Amharic እንዳያማህ ጥራው ፡ እንዳይበላ ግፋው (Invite him so he won’t badmouth you; push him so he won’t actually eat)

        So these two round refugees are back in camps in Sudan? Why couldn’t they integrate and at least live semi-normal lives? It doesn’t sound like there are too many integration problems. It sucks having to be pushed away from home, but is a refugee camp better than living in normal communities?

        Amde

        • iSem

          Hi Amde:
          It is hard to integrate in the Sudan believe it or not. You live in Sudan but you do not take ASL( Arabic as Second Language), no programs, ect. For example in Kassala there is a shanti hood called Hlet Qestib and its residents are 100 percent the refuges from lowlands and they have their own Tigrayt singers, their own market, their own every thing, they rarely mingle, women who lived there for 20 years when I was there could not even speak Arabic to enable them to communicate in the market, their kids are little better because they plal with the kids, they go to madrassa etc. But if you go to the refugee camps like Shegrab, it is an Eri village in the middle of Sudane, they trade, marry, among each other and no contact with Sudan, they recreated Eri there and they live as if they are in Eri, even the kids live as if they were in Eri.
          In the cities and towns some have integrated, the kids I mean, but it is from outside, if you go to their homes, then different story especially for the women, and mind you some of men are have become successful business men outside, but that is minority
          The nature of the host country and the close proximity with ghedi and the faint hope that one day they will return all conspired to make them live stranded and remember someone profits from their suffering.
          But I have to say some people like Amar Woldesus, a veteran fighter and a class mate if IA have done a lot to help these refuges and also the Eri charity in London that was profiled here too
          Everything is relative and the lives of these able bodied refugees is little better than hundreds war disabled vets are languishing is Sudan 25 yrs after t Nitricc’s and Gheteb’s independence.

      • Abi

        Hi ISem
        Do you have any evidence that Eritreans run away from EPLF liberated areas?
        ELF forced Eritreans to give away their sons? ( one out of three).
        Is there any book you recommend that narrates these ungodly activities? There should be some material written about these things since Eritrea is blessed with historians.

        • iSem

          Hi Abi:
          First correction/clarification: I did not say ELF forced, I said, ELF negotiated with parents instead of rouding every kid and taken them they understood the plight so they balaanced, unlike EPLF, theat was what Imeant

          • Abi

            Hi Sem
            I got it.
            It is like a rapist is politely asking you to choose between your wife, mother or daughter instead of rapping them all. That is ELF. Very angelic!
            EPLF don’t ask. Just do it. Very evil.
            Somebody should write a book about it.
            You can do it.

          • iSem

            Abi
            I will let those educaated by the king write the book, after all they can write and speak Amharic and it will be easier for your to read.

          • Abi

            Hi Sem
            Great point.
            An Ethiopian educated, member of ELF, who speaks Amharic, who lived in Bahir Dar and Addis….
            I’m looking at Kibur Amanual Hidrat. I know he is upto the challenge.
            There is a HUGE problem here that automatically disqualifies him. I want Eritreans to read it. I want them to know what I know. I suggest you write the Tigrigna version.

    • Fanti Ghana

      Hello Amde,

      As of 1991, it was widely believed that there were approximately 750,000 Eritrean refugees all over the world.
      The UNHCR, The Sudan, and Eritrea agree that around 500,000 of those were in the Sudan.

      Since 1991, thousands of Eritreans, euphoric with the much anticipated and just acquired independence started to head back home.

      By 1993, rumors about voluntary repatriation started to spread.

      Sudanese Government warned the UNHCR about how seriously exaggerated the “voluntary repatriation rumor” was and to not be swayed by it and stop financing the refugee camps.

      In the mean time a war of words between Eritrean officials and the Sudanese government regarding how to organize and expedite the repatriation project ensue.

      The UNHCR gets caught in the middle because both Sudan and Eritrea kept reporting to it and thus asking it to consider their report in its budgeting scheme. While the Sudanese government kept insisting that only a small fraction of refugees have returned and the great majority were still in the Sudan, The Eritrean government kept claiming (mostly true according to my study), that how overwhelmed it was by the sheer number of returnees, and issues of how and where to place them and so on.

      1994, Sudan accused Eritrea of refusal to sign a tripartite agreement on the issue of repatriation, but it claimed that it has struck a deal with UNHCR on how to handle the repatriation program.

      While the Sudan and UNHCR were discussing when/how/what to do, many Eritreans were settling down all over the place in Eritrea such as Alebu, a town Mogot mentioned somewhere in this thread, which did not exist until returnees made it a vibrant city out of nowhere.

      These successes of some of these voluntary returnees are important to gauge the Eritrean government’s state of mind at the time. In fact, one has to assume that perhaps, these types of successes may have encouraged it to insist on voluntary repatriation instead of what the Sudan and UNHCR were proposing to it at the time.

      The Sudanese however, were claiming how distressed they were by the number of potential returnees who were demanding a security guaranty from it and the UNHCR before they were shipped back to Eritrea, perhaps by those exELFites, ELFites, perceived ELFites, neutrals (non-EPLF-ELF affiliates) and those uncertain about their fate once returned which all combined would make the great majority of the then refugees.

      Sudan demanded a well organized repatriation program. It got UNHCR’s cooperation but not Eritrea’s.
      Eritrea demanded a voluntary repatriation only, citing several reasons. It received UNHCR’s cooperation but not Sudan’s.

      Toward the end of 1995, Eritrea gets entangled with Yemen about a border issue.

      The repatriation war of words gets heated farther and Eritrea accused Sudan of abusing refugees while Sudan accuses Eritrea of “squandering its meager resource on war adventure” instead of taking care of the long awaited repatriation program.

      Early 1996 to end of 1997, the number of volunteer returnees began to dwindle while at the same time the number of repeat refugees (repatriated then changed their mind) began to pick up pace.
      1996 and 1997 virtually passed with Sudan complaining about the damage it was sustaining from refugee influx while Eritrea kept claiming that it has settled some 200,000 refugees thus far and it is seriously overwhelmed.

      I am sure you can guess how the Ethio-Eritrean 1998-2000 war may have exasperated that refugee crisis.

      So far everything I have said is in print. However, the hard part is how to interpret the data!

      Voluntary repatriation could have done two things for Eritrean government:

      1) It freed it from having to organize their return.
      2) Those possibly considered “undesirables” by it were self-filtering by demanding security guarantee from UNHCR and Sudan and also by “hesitating to come back” which understandably, cuts its work for it.

      Was the Eritrean government using the “voluntary” scheme to filter out those it perceived as its “enemies” or was it indeed too overwhelmed as it claimed and it had to sacrifice most of them? For that everyone needs to make their own soul searching, and here is mine:

      True or not the fact that EPLF’s inception had some “religious” connotation, ELF was removed from Eritrea by it, and of course its subsequent behaviors such as refusing entry to corps to Eritrea, leads me to seriously consider the possibility of it purposely blocking the repatriation program. In the other hand here was an organization just coming out of a 30 years of war, with a brand new nation with almost zero infrastructure, being overwhelmed by tens of thousands of refugees among other crisis, is it just possible that regardless how much it may have wanted to repatriate all the refugees it may have been seriously overwhelmed, and possibly it was looking for a “dignified” exit from it?

      The combination of these two thoughts is making my forming of “soul searching” very, very difficult.

      • Amde

        Wow Fanti,

        That is excellent.

        I humbly ask the Awate.com editors to make this post into a standalone article.

        At the very least, it deserves to be post an an independent comment, not as a response. I hope you consider that.

        Amde

        • Fanti Ghana

          Selam Amdachin,

          Absolutely no way on the AT making it a stand alone! Unless of course they give me a 48 hours notice to rewrite it. I am warning you AT! Wae!

      • Fanti Ghana

        Hello AT,

        I wrote that right into the reply box and I didn’t save a copy. Please don’t make me write all that from memory. If you email me a copy, I promise to finish it in 24 hours! That is win-win, wouldn’t you say?

  • said

    Greeting,
    I found myself thinking about not doing enough to help our people and feeling guilt and Each of us occupies some space of respite from the whirlwind, each of us has something to contribute. I ask forgiveness. Religious searching always seems driven by a consciousness of sin and alienation. Which forgiveness is higher, I was obliged to ask: God’s forgiveness and mercy? What humanity urgently needs, as we contemplate our long record of disobedience, is a model of true forgiveness by a God who does not calculate, who gives in abundance (bighayri hisâb). myself, growing up when memories of the war were still all around me fresh. often heard of the martyred of our young fighters. Certainly for my own spiritual journey. a solace of pacifists and ineffectual dreamer. I had no willingness to engage in a virile way with the real issues of a poverty and injustice. Politically produced societies and intellectual systems characterised by a massive exclusivism. The radical division of Eritrean. Could not tolerate internal diversity. The Political system was not more open to diversity, and also to religious faith, politics of those days calls for obedience, sincerity, insistence for political conformity. And as months and years went by, I could not help but recognise ‘the falsie of hidden agenda and game.’ of politics.
    Eritrea was a fertile ground for invasion, occupation, colonization, oppression and fragmentation, the interpretation of these events and the assessment of their consequences has become the monopoly of the Eritrean thinking classes and in the finality produced on man at top of the pyramid IA.
    There is no doubt that Eritrean have undergone waves of ferocious attacks for the past century which aimed at dividing them, occupying their land and controlling their resources. But it is undeniable that the Eritrean failed to do one essential thing — which is to build active institutions which are able to mobilize, regulate and organize the social, economic and political forces in our societies. And above all Unity ―Call for democracy is not only about elections. It is about education, coexistence, and building independent institutions like an independent judiciary and free media. Real citizenship is not only caring about oneself and one’s family and relatives, it is about building a nation and caring about its future. Individual salvation is a dominant phenomenon in Eritrea and seeking to secure the future of one’s children and grandchildren at the expense of the future of the nation, whereas building the future of the nation should be the only insurance policy for everyone. Believing in the purpose of common good of our crisis and to realize and force our suffering people out of its present competitive politicks, difference and scarcity-based consciousness into the deeper understanding we all in same boat and that nation belong to all and our essence of humanity is one, and that as a harmonious, cooperative and interdependent whole, we can create Eritrea of abundance and well-being, instead constantly experiencing war, scarcity, and strife. What must change are not only our notion, but our notions about ourselves as well.

    From my child hood summer visit vacation, second home here Adeqeh, Eritrea, i look up to not to far immense mountain range of the Emba Soira (highest mountain in Eritrea. Rising 3,018 metres one side of the Great Rift Valley which cuts through Eritrea and joins the Red Sea) and my soul and spirits are lifted. Since my childhood, these mountains have bestowed on me a sense of belonging and sense of security and permanence, and today as diaspora, sadly absent from my life, but in these troubling times, they afford me something else: an intimation of aspiration and hope.
    In 1960th, like every where and across Eritrea, a group of young men crossed these very Emba Soira , impenetrable, colossal, beautiful and majestic mountain , in an extraordinary journey that was to liberate Eritrea from Ethiopian colonial rule. Their exploits became a turning point in the emancipation and dreaming for all Eritreans.
    Revered founding fathers in the 50th were strong believers , in particularly , freedom was the watchword: freedom of the press and freedom to assemble, freedom to elect our own representatives to Eritrean National parliament was instituted and instated , with many foreign national Eritrea blossomed ,Asmara and Massowa they where an hap for business freedom to trade with any nation and freedom to receive education, health and respecting the holly places of church and Masjid of worship and In spite of these achievements of the 50th , A quarter century ,after independence, a tyrannical regime of violence visited Eritrea once more in the name of EPLF revolutionary agenda and communist values and some of those elite returned, the same old boys schooled in reactionary Ethiopia and deep-down representing the value of Haile Selassie’s feudal and oligarchical believes of superiority and tailor made to rule for their self interests only and that brought the dictatorship of IA and in process sabotaging Eritrean dream . but also systematically erased advances in social and civil rights — indeed, united nation — for which generations of Eritreans had fought since prior of independence era.
    Though heroic, hungry, thirsty and exhausted, Eritrean liberated the land and beat Ethiopian forces. After the 1991 liberation and PFDJ takeover, just as in the dark days of Haile Selassie’s and Derg , those opponents of the Asmara regime who stayed in the country and those of youth , and tens of thousand countless others, became exiles were comforted by the example of how, at the dawn of its sovereign history, our country had been liberated by an epic struggle against fear and subjugation. Not since the iniquity of Mussolini and Haile Selassie’s have we witnessed such a resurgence of hatred against the Other. Eritrea that led resistance and peaceful fight against Italian fascism and arm struggle against Ethiopia — is now governed by one man who would turn back the clock, and use repression rather than persuasion to obliterate so many gains and glories we took for granted to be materialize. Having seen how Eritrea and how easily a promise democracy can be replaced by the most terrifying of tyrannies.
    Inspired by that distant feat, 50th and 60th of last -century Eritreans also found the strength, patience, craftiness and unity to vanquish their oppressor, the IA dictatorship will meet the same fate . They will do so by revolting, demonstrating and in occupying every space possible, invading every corner and organization of the country, unshackling their fetters one by one. It took 30 painful years, and many dead and thousands of refuges, but in the hope of tomorrow Eritrea will one today we will enjoy a thriving democracy that is constantly seeking to expand the rights of all people — men, women, old, young, ethnicity, religions students, farmers, peasant, pensioners, workers, artists. And finally one never lose hope, and Each of us occupies some space of respite from the whirlwind, each of us has something to contribute.

  • Paulos

    Selamat Awatistas,

    Here is a time well spent article about the coming of Donald Trump predicted almost twenty years ago by a liberal philosopher. I couldn’t make the link but the article is absolutely worth reading. It is on Vox.com a website where I get my explained-news digest on a daily basis. Enjoy!

  • Mogot Berhane

    Hii, all,
    I was a refugee, a few years at home, and I am now. Felt like intervening after browsing down a little bit and saw no one cared to make mention of one historical incident. In 1995, a mass of Eritreans who had been in eastern Sudan’s refugee camps loaded on UNHCR trucks, on their own will were made to be rehabilitated in various places in western Eritrea of which my family was one. Tebeldya, Alebu, mensura, teKreriet, keru are some of the places I remember people had chosen to be resettled at.

    I pushed this little info in case most informed people here were busy not paying attention to that period in history. Otherwise, I am very aware, for I was, am as a kid and adult one, of the challenges a great segment of our people went and is going through!!!

    Peace is God!!!

    • GitSAtSE

      Selamat Megot,

      You have to remember this is Chapter 15 of work of fiction by an author who has clearly stated that he has utter hate of the governing clique in Eritrea. This work of fiction is motivated to induce hatred as well as give the impression that the Muslims are not wanted and they should rise and pick arms to rid of this imagined injustice. Mind you, I too am aware of the struggles of the people and the great injustices they have been on a receiving end from the PFDJ lead government. I myself have and am experiencing the brutes injustice on a personal level and am quite sure others are as well.

      The 1995 repatriation you mention as well as restlement programs to the West including Australia of the Sudanese refugees is not going to be considered by the author in this work of fiction. Nor is the success of these Muslim and Christian refugees in the West, in attaining higher education and wealth and returning in their ancestral country, maybe not back to the very village, will also not be considered in a work of fiction by the author. That the ELL was formed as a political alternative and to quelch the hatred and participate in the reconstruction and reaping the benefits from the new Eritrea reality is also not going to be considered in a work of fiction by the author.

      That Eritrea lowlanders of both Muslim and Christians inside Eritrea and diaspora are building a nation and slowly but surely are gaining political power, the author of this Chapter 15 will not with honesty and without the bias of his hate be addressed in his future works of literature.

      This work of fiction is indeed by a very gifted and capable creator to anger Eritrea Muslims to pick arms by constantly reminding them of the creators hate obsessed Supper magnifide injustice on the Eritrea Muslim. It is a purpose driven creative works by talented folks just as much as the very creative Agazian works by its creators which coincidentally has a mutual consequential result which is angering and inducing the Eritrean Muslims to rise up violently.
      Miriam may have been here, but Miriam is now lecturing Psychology 101 at MnIT. Forget about Chapter 15 and seriously start considering Chapter 11.
      I believe awatista Abi can consult the creators of My Jewish Mother on Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

      tSAtSE

    • jordan

      Hi Berhane
      Thanks for telling us, we wouldn’t known if it wasn’t for you. Always good with positive news.

  • Abrehet Yosief

    Selam Jordan,
    No hell on earth indeed. Your parents’ friends and the other returnees would start to feel the temperature rise if they got rid of their European passport. Even with their diaspora passport, it was interesting to see them scramble to the airport when the notices were up on the walls calling for those who reside inside Eritrea “as 2% payers” to report to the military training camp.

  • Abraham H.

    Selamat, justice now, to Idris Mohamed Ali and all prisoners of conscience.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MODQ__Mjhs

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Dear Awatistas,

    I found this interview is relevant to this article. Estifanos has highlighted the complacency of the highlanders to the plight of the lowlanders in the 60s when the Haileselassie governments were killing people and burning villages. Generally his interview was factual presentation. Please listen, you will find a lot to learn.

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

    regards

  • Abi

    Selam Ato Saleh
    Why did you delete my comments? It only shows your cowardice and unable to handle any kind of challenge.
    You could have announced to the public and delete all of them instead of going through the back door and selectively deleting my comments while leaving yours.

  • MS

    Selam All
    Thanks Ustaz Saleh
    Your sympathy and connection to the plight of the 1967 mass exodus is palpable in many of your writings. This is one of them. Eritreans fought a bloody war to end the displacement of citizens, yet things seem to be unabated. While we can blame the exodus of the sixties, seventies, and eighties to Ethiopian rulers, we can’t really blame the continuous trekking of Eritrean out of their beloved land to anyone else after the last occupying soldier crossed the Mereb River in 1991. It’s all the result of the policies of a bad government of our own making. It’s very sad to see a proud people who had given every beat of their heart to see a nation where they can finally settle and assemble started treating them in manners not different from those practiced by Ethiopian regimes, may be worse in some aspects. I don’t expect the current regime will have a flying hoot to the misery of Eritrean refugees when it could not ensure the dignity and safety of the people it is governing.
    The episode of 1967 is unique. And here is why (folks like abi may benefit from this).
    – It was a policy; it was wide spread, intense, inhumane. I’m a survivor of two massacres and it really hurts me when I see folks trivializing it. I wish if Awate could repost the list of villages that were razed to ground during those few years (1967-70). If I’m not mistaken you compiled and posted once. The point being, during those few years, under the auspices of state of emergency, we saw unimaginable human ugliness, some of it so graphic even for people who went through wars. Basically, the whole Eritrean Lowland was designated an open season for razing villages, and massacring innocent people. A Sudanese elite who lives in Khartoum see things happening in Darfur, and interpret news coming out from that region in the biases and prejudices his political environment has fed him. An Ethiopian Elite living in Addis Ababa or Mahal Agher perceive things that had happened in Eritrea, Ogaden…through the prisms his Emperor had provided him with. Breaking the established biases and prejudices need more effort.
    – In 1967, 75,000-100,000 crossed the border to the Sudan. Considering the sparse population in Lowlands, this is huge. That’s what rattles me whenever I hear State of Emergencies.
    **********************
    Idris Mohammed Ali sand for Eritrea; he sand highlighting plights of our refugees; he sand denouncing internal fighting and disunity. Idris Mohammed Ali was a veteran of the EPLF, one of its first Music Bands in the mid seventies, later switched to Sabe faction, following the split of Osman Sabe from EPLF (early 1976). Prior to independence, he lived in Sudan and produced memorable songs, illustrating Ethiopian atrocities (such as his song “Ona”), calling for unity, and featuring the plights of refugees. Right after independence, he returned to his country. PFDJ used him for its campaigns. Today, Idris is one of the disappeared Eritreans. The following is a song he produced in early eighties, after the last war between ELF and EPLF.
    **************************
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiEUdeDOUV0

    In this song, Idris expresses his frustration with the political organizations’ of that time; their focus on liquidating each other rather than they focused on liberating the people and the land; he also highlights the plight of refugees, and what entails of loss of honor and dignity….
    እግል ርሕየ ‘ግል ኣና ብዙሕ ሐሌኮ (2) Could not blame myself, I have sung you so much ( talked about you- Eritrea)
    ወ እግል እሎም ኢሒሜ፡ መዕየን እርኤ ህሌኮ(2) Surely, I can’t blame them for I see [only] madness [in their behaviors/actions]
    ኢሰምዐወ ለህግያዬ (2) They did not [want to] hear my word/advice
    ኢሰምዐዋ ለህግያዬ ወ እግል ጥሙም ሓኬኮ They did not [want to] hear my word/advice; I spoke to deaf ears
    ለእግል ጥሙም ሓኬኮ Surely, I spoke to deaf [ears]
    ከፎ ልብቀል ለሰዐር ወድላም ከፎ ትትካሬ How could the grass sprout, and how could the rain fall
    ኣልባብ እኩይ እት እንቱ ወ እደይ እት ሕድ እት ዋሬ When hearts remain dark, wanting to pick fights/taunting each other for a fight
    ክልኦት ለሐው ትፈናተው ውለ ክልኤ ግዋሬ Two brothers separated, and two neighbors disconnected [because of the dark hearts and shared air of hostility]
    እሊ በአስ ኢኮኒ ወላትበአሳ ልትዓሬ Alas, this is not a normal quarrel for quarreled ones (eventually) make peace
    ‘ግል ንዐቅብል ቱ እት እንብል ዕሽሪን ሰነት ወዴና Longing for a return, we have spent twenty years [as refuges and exiles]
    ኣብያት ንዱቅ ሐደግና ከ ኣብያት ጠርና ትካሬና We left built houses to end up renting the houses of others
    ዕንኩም እኪት ምን ተአቤ ሕና እኩይ ሀሌና If your eye could discern awfulness, we are indeed suffering
    ኢመስከብና ሰከብና ወ ኢስሜትና ትሰሜና We settled in someone’s land; our name [honor] has been sullied [we’re called refugees, landless]
    እግል ሕሜኩም ሸዐብና ገበይ ሰኔት ኢተአምሮ I blame you my people, you don’t know the right way
    እንቱም ኣሕድ ምን ጠብጦ ምን እዴኩም ኢፈግሮ If you unite, they won’t get out of your control (the feuding political organizations)
    ግመው ዲባ ወ ኣስኑ ፍትሑ ዲባ ወ እሰሮ Please, talk about it (Eritrea), for it’s the place where you live to the fullest
    ኢትግንሕዋ ምን ረዪም ድብላ ከብዳ ትፈረሮ Don’t gawk at it from afar; go, participate [in its liberation]
    *************
    Final remark: For people who gave everything to their revolution, 25 years are too long to be kept in refugee camps just few kilometer on the other side of the border. Any government would have been forced out of power for a fraction of the aggressions IA government has committed on the Eritrean person; and for a fraction of the failures it has showed us time and again. And today, refugee camps of our people have populated Northern and Eastern Ethiopia. It’s disheartening.

    • Abi

      Hi Vet
      The question is not how or why I benefit from this. The important question should be how do your 4 boys and my 2 boys benefit out of this VENOMOUS book covered with honey?
      We are where we are and ready to keep it going on the same destructive road.
      Let us stop for a second from being emotional and think as to how to cultivate friendship between our boys. How is it possible if their bedtime stories is taken from a chapter of a book that is intended to keep The animosity between the two sides fresh.
      What do you think I’m missing? Honestly, I’m puzzled.

      • Paulos

        Selam Abi,

        Suffering did not start with Eritreans and certainly it did not end with Eritreans either for it takes the central stage in our (read: humanity) sense of existence. To make any sense of our tremendous pain and suffering, we turn in to leeways for we remain helpless to answer life’s fundamental questions as in where did we come from and where do we go after death.

        The thinkers (read: the central tenet of Existentialism) tell us that these questions create existential angst in us where we wrestle with them as we try to find a way out or a solace in sprituality, politics including in destructive addictions as well. In literature as well existential novelists such as Dostiyoviski, Albert Camus, Thomas Mann and of course Sartre reflected upon the otherwise absurdity of existence as in pain and suffering. The said writers however seemed to have understood the absurdity of life in a bird’s eye view if you will where in a sharp contrast Elie Weisel the writer lived through it when he witnessed the brutal death of his parents in concentration camp when he was a kid. In his much celebrated novel, “Night” he wanted to put God on the stand as in trial where the judge is God Himself and the jury is humanity. What is remarkable however is that, he saw love and compassion in God including in pain for the whole purpose is for humanity to gain character and to be compassionate toward each other. In short, the answer is not hate or vengeance but love and compassion. Saleh Johar a writer in his own right belongs to Neo-Realists where the central theme of their prose is reflecting upon an era. For instance, most of the novels which were written after World War II reflected the social and political aspect of the war. In cinema as well we see the same pattern. For instance, Vittorio DeSicca’s movie, “Bicycle Theif” reflects Italy’s defeat in World War II through a brilliant cinematic genre. One could go on listing Oliver Stone’s movie who is a prototype of Neo-Realism. By the same token, Johar’s attempt is not to blame a certain ethnic group per se, rather the attempt is to hold a certain system accountable. Moreover, as we take a note of history, those who don’t remember the past would not be condemned to repeat it.

      • MS

        Selam abi
        The problem I see in your political comments are that they are dry and linear. The majority of people are react to different stimuli differently. If graphed, pattern of their opinion would have looked something like a brainwave, it would have shown some degree of fluctuations. And that’s just natural. For instance one could vehemently against EPRDF political program, but at the same time give them some credit for economic records, then compared to the Derg, one could say their human record is better, yet s/he may find their brutal response to groups and regions that pose threat to their power abhorrent, and so on. Having said that:
        1. My kids’ best friends are Ethiopian kids. That’s because the parents are adults and we know what to read to them. Just leave the bedtime story to our girl. She knows what books to alternate for each night.
        2. Your attempt to find a moral equivalence was just abi-ish, depressing. Eritreans who “enjoyed” the Ethiopian opportunities and bounties, as you seem to suggest, have done so by moving to Ethiopia voluntarily and peacefully, they earned it. And in the process they contributed to the greatness of Ethiopia, if I may say so. Legally, they were Ethiopians, and they would have been thought of as living in their country. The tragedy of the exodus that occurred in the late sixties to early seventies was caused by a brutal king who wanted to cleanse the land from any breathing creature and pasture that could support the fledgling liberation movement. When addressing human condition, humans sympathize with their brethren wherever they are. It’s just natural. You should take away the hypothetical line that if Eritreans did not start the insurgency Haile Selasie would not react that way. That’s because even if Eritreans rebelled the king did not have to raze a vast region to ashes, and slaughter innocent people. He was supposed to protect the innocent people, it was his job to differentiate between civilians and insurgents.
        3. When Eritreans write and speak of Ethiopia REGIMES brutality, look at it from your experience (an Ethiopian experience)
        a. When Derg came to power he hunted down thousands of officials of the Emperor he had deposed; he killed the Emperor in an unceremonious way; he summarily executed prominent officials; he launched his Red Terror Campaign that consumed millions of innocent Ethiopians. EPRDF launched an investigation on that era and many victims were allowed to tell their stories, Mengustu was sentenced in absentia. Many of his enablers also got sentenced. But the main point is that the victims were able to tell their stories. What’s wrong with Eritreans telling their stories?
        4. There is no problem with the relation of the two people. We are living in peace in Diaspora, we actually feel more closer to each other, we respect each other’s political space. The majority of Ethiopians understand the difference between a people and regimes. I gave you one long Hateta in the past to elaborate this, I hope you remember it.
        5. To conclude: peace demands that you become open and honest about yourself; that you listen to the other side; that you encourage the other side to tell you its feeling towards you. That’s 75% of peace-making. Cover-ups and sugarcoating last as long as the sugar part of a gum lasts.

        • Abi

          Hi Vet
          Thanks for your hateta.
          1. I expect adults to be careful when choosing bedtime stories. They should be even more careful when they write children books.
          2. Agreed. Talking about Their success should not be a taboo.
          3. EPRDF was buying cheap propaganda , playing an angel. They become killers soon after their hoax.
          The difference between derg and EPRDF when it comes to killing is
          ደርግ እንደ ቅማል “ጧ” አድርጎ፣ ኢህአዴግ እንደ ቁንጫ “እሽት” አድርጎ መሆኑ ነው
          Sorry Vet I don’t believe you missed that. You are learning playing politics fast. Don’t buy the አዞ እንባ just like I did back then. Both are killers.
          One is still killing.
          4 I remember the hateta.
          5. I expect the other side to be open and courageous enough to say at least the glass was half empty for Eritreans. It was depicted as empty glass . It is an absolute lie .
          Sick of reading Eritreans as victims only.

          I believe the book in question is a continuation of the propaganda campaign effectively used during the revolution.
          I will not be surprised if IA makes it a mandatory reading starting elementary school. It will keep the young and old at a constant animosity towards Ethiopia .
          Thanks

          • MS

            Selam abi
            OK, so let’s shrink the points to the ones you still have problem with.
            #1. The book is not meant to be for children reading. SGJ may have forgotten to write ” parental discretion is advised” but any adult knows that it is not for children simply because the language and the contents are not children-friendly. Have you read it anyway? Be truthful in your answer. It is a novel based on true stories, and it targets adult readers. I know you have not read the whole book, or even this chapter, because you would not ask me this question, “[H]ow do your 4 boys and my 2 boys benefit out of this VENOMOUS book covered with honey? “, or you have forgotten what you should read to a 2-year and a 4-year old boys/girls. However, you seem to whitewash the atrocities of Ethiopian REGIMES in Eritrea. You are asking us to swallow a pill that could cause us an amnesia of history. I brought the comparison between HS, Derg and EPRDF because you are familiar with them. I understand you don’t have a problem with Ethiopians prosecuting Derg officials for the atrocities they committed under the banner of Red Terror on Ethiopians. I also understand you don’t have a problem with Ethiopian victims telling their stories the way they experienced them, not the way an ex-derg cadre/sympathizer would want them told. If you would take this farther, I don’t think you will have a problem with the Tigrian people tell and historicize how Emperor Haile Selasie colluded with foreign powers in order to massacre masses that revolted against his reign in the 1930s; how King Minilik annihilated villages and native traditional administrations of the Oromia people in order to create modern Ethiopian map; you would not have a problem when Tigreans tell how the Derg regime annihilated a market full of innocent people in Hawzien…and so on. If so, you should not have a problem with Eritreans telling their stories. Every now and then you read articles featuring certain locality. The last one was a story told by our own Tzigereda about incursions of killing done by the Derg in Gejeret. The terror of Afagn in Asmara, zaban QoHawta, wekiduba…Omhajer, Aqordat, Keren…are some of the places that became targets of Derg. Yesterday we mainly focused on the lowlands. The point is: there is hardly a place in Eritrea where you would hear the part of Ethiopian rulers, or as you would put it, “the good half-part of the glass”. The archives are available, minute by minute operational plan and communications between field commanders and central commands. And there is a small department that compiles those atrocities. And they should be. You can’t say to the victims of Srebrenica massacre , “well, Serbia was providing you with this and that.” You can tell the victims of Halabja of Iraqi Kurds who were wiped by Sadam’s poisonous gas, “Well, was also building schools and hospitals for you,” and so on. You have five options:
            a/ close your eyes and ears, and hope no body bothers you about it. You don’t care if it happened or not. Then that’s fine. Just don’t poke our wounds. We also don’t want to be bothered.
            b/ You care about the issue: and you deny it did not happen; bring counter argument that it did not happen
            c/ You care about the issue: from what you know about the regimes elsewhere, you infer it might have happened; whether you sympathize with the victims or not is your choice. But at least let the victims narrate their stories.
            d/ Read all the above in their negative form.
            2. You bet it will be part of our history. Educators and curriculum designers know what content to include in what level and in what form. Books and audio visuals are available for the general public. If peace would mean we have to cleans our collective experience, then let it wait for future societies that may be able to communicate in that logic. What you forget is the fact that those experiences are part of who we are; they are part of the factors that shaped our identity. If HS was wise enough to separate the innocent from the few rebels, if he was good enough to invest in the communities rather than wiping them off the map, probably the trajectory of history would have taken a different path. Think deeper.
            3. I’m not saying EPRDF is an angel. It was a comparative attempt to have you get the gist. EPRDF will also be judged by history, so will be EPLF, ELF, and PFDJ.
            Have a good Sunday.

          • Hayat Adem

            Hi Mahmuday,
            This is because I want to read you always. Do you mind going concise? For example, the above hateta could have been sqeezed 3times shorter and you would have said everything you said here. Besides, most it is a repeat your previous feed. And I know capability is not issue, consiserateness, may be. While Abi can learn from you on providing broader contexts, you should learn brevity from him.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Hayata,

            Amazing, most of the time, I want Mahmuday to go concise, especially when I am at work, but the only time I wanted/approved him to go play by play (mind you, he is talking to Abi), you oppose!

            Don’t call your lawyer just yet though; we will work it out.

            With love.

          • Paulos

            Happy Sunday Muhamuday,

            Your talking points are valid and of course persuasive. I say, it behooves the rest of us to see the events from Abi’s point of view as well. If I could borrow your line as in if there is a moral equivalence or to put it differently, do Eritreans particularly the educated class own a high moral ground to accuse the King of atrocities when they equally remained indifferent to the goodwill and support he extended to them at the “expence” of other Ethiopians. Drs. Habteselassie and Haregot to mention but a few come to mind where they were treated and served on a silver platter till they turned their back on their “father figure”–The King!

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Mahmuday,

            While I agree on the bases of your argument. Your hatata has never been a spoon feed for your average readers or simplistic approach to convince your protagonists. Usually, long hatatas are sources of confusions and contradictions. I am giving this advice, not that I am disagreeing in this particular comment, but I am giving from the contrarian point of view of those who look for disconnections, contradictions, ambivalences, and lack cohesiveness of the message. Being precise and to the point are always productive from the receivers end. Remember comments are not articles.

            Regards
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • MS

            Selam Emma and Hayat, Paulos, et al
            Your constructive points are noted and thank you. The reason I go at length with some debaters/discussants is that I don’t opt for a knocking one-liner punch, but for a point where both sides can meet. Believe me I don’t either have the time. This is not merely a comment.There are instances where you will need to develop your argument, I have the general Ethiopian reader in mind when I go that long. Emma, I don’t see any contradictions in my feeds. But it is a point that I take positively.
            Paulos: there are many writers including, Dr. Breket, himself, and many others who include the good part of their experiences and the opportunities they got during that period. But that’s not a substitute for the stories of the victims of Ona, Biskidera, WekiDuba, Ad Ekud, Ad Ibrahem….people narrate the same historic period from their own perspective. History is not a chemical reaction where the inclusion of one element could neutralize the properties/effects of another. I’m not indicating that those who have fond memories of that period should keep quiet.
            In general, human beings are capable of compartmentalizing historic circumstances. I think most Eritreans know the difference between the regimes and the Ethiopian people.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Mahmuday,

            I really appreciate everything you have said on this topic and the way you are trying to get Abi to see events from a different perspective. With all fairness to Abi, I am very sure he understands most of what you, Memhir, and others have been saying for a long time. What I think is happening is that from Abi’s perspective, it is not “history” that is being told but a particular “story” out of that history with no variation whatsoever.

            Usually, when “history” is told there are good and bad, ups and downs, guilt and innocence, love and hate etc…, however, a chapter in the broader history could be specific about a certain event. So, what Abi is trying to say/ask (god help me if I am wrong) is that how can that one chapter/topic be the whole and the only story as told time and time again?

            Assuming I am close enough, then, this is our task:

            a) Is that the whole story/history, if so you, me, and everybody else may continue as we are until Abi gets it.

            b) No, this is not the whole story, but this is the portion that never gets told, and it is our obligation to tell it, then, Abi will have to find someone else to tell him the other half of the story.

            c) The other part of the story is already told and here is the source, suggestion, and etc.

            d) And, of course, there is the “who the heck does he think he is” version, but we are too civilized to go there.

            I think.

          • Abi

            Hi Vet
            Jazz Legend Al Jarreau died at 76. I know you like jazz . Happy to find one common thing we both like.
            Will be back soon.

          • Abi

            Hi Vet
            History should be written by historians not by political activists. A political activist who has a deep hatred to the King should never be trusted when he writes about the King or his regime. Obviously he is extremely biased. Whatever he writes is considered a propaganda manual.
            It is a great material at SAWA cadre school. ( ንቃ !ተደራጅ !ታጠቅ ! አማራ/ወያኔ/ ኢትዮጵያውያን መጡብህ)

            About the children books
            I read many comments from many Eritreans in the last several years. What is common among them is they are reading from the same book.
            Two examples
            Hope ( where is he?) used to brag about his 10 years old cousin’s the deep knowledge of the atrocities of Ona .
            A commentor by the nick “Memhir” told me about the bedtime songs his parents sang for him. You know the details of the song.
            I don’t want to imagine what the majority of these children think.
            My point? Let someone who possesses an ounce of honesty and integrity write the WHOLE history. Not partial propaganda.

          • MS

            Selam Abi

            Awatistas are requesting that I should be concise. I’m sad to her about the passing of Al Jarreau. I have some of his collections and the CD that he produced with George Benson. RIP.
            Coming to you, I understand your point. No body said SGJ novel is a conclusive historic account. Actually, the book talks more about the current Eritrean regime more than it said about your King. So, read it with open heart. People sing, paint, write poems, novels about their experiences. Those are cultural products shading light to a specific period of their life. Don’t be defensive. Now, the challenge is for you to tell us that those events did not take place or that they are misrepresented. Eneho feres eneho gogol.
            .

          • Abi

            Hi Vet
            First I didn’t read the book except those chapters posted at this website.
            ሲያዩት ያላማረ ሲበሉት ያቅራል
            I hope we are not going in circles like the Tigrigna dance.

            Do I believe those atrocities were committed? My answer is Yes , regardless of the situation. Was ELF partially or fully responsible? I want you to tell me honestly. Did I know about them before? No. Are they misrepresented? I don’t know.
            I have seen and heard atrocities in the center of Addis. I told you before my aunt paid 5birr for the bullet that killed her husband.
            In case you missed my point I’m arguing find me an Eritrean who is willing to write the whole history.
            I read only one-sided stories and sick of them.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Abi,

            I was reserved to respond to your comment for sometimes for obvious reasons. Let me try just this time only, hoping to bring you and SGJ to some kind of understanding with Richard Hofstadter’s (progressive historians) remarks. Richard has to say this: “Memory is the thread of personal identity (and) history of public identity.The business of history always involves a subtle transaction with civic identity.” Now SGJ has civic obligation about his civic identity to write pertinent to his personal identity vis-a-vis the Ethiopian regimes towards the Eritrean people and the cause of our struggle. History is not only written by historians. It is also written by the actors of history makers. Second, even historians do not produce the same accounts. As a result you might agree with some and disagree with others. It is your right to agree or disagree with SGJ’s accounts until you get from someone that satisfy your expectation. Just know, that history will be told also by history makers. Saleh wrote his own personal memory, an eye witness memory. If you do not agree, you don’t have too. But Eritreans will write their own history as their personal identity and public identity.

            regards
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Amanual
            Thanks for the advice. I was expecting you to say a thing or two on this matter.
            As a person who is advocating for rapprochement between the two people, how do you value the advantages or disadvantages of the book? How does this book positively contribute in the future relationship and trust building for the next generation ?
            Thanks.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Mahmuday,

      I love this interpreted part of the song: “Don’t gawk at it from afar; go, participate” in the liberation of your people. This message still implies to the current reality of our people. We become complainers without contributing to mitigate the plight of our people. Our people are dying, disintegrating, systematically disappearing or languishing in the prison of PFDJ, became hunted by organ harvesting predators. In short, lost all hopes when their liberators become their oppressors. We lost all our virtue to sacrifice for the common good of our people. Instead we are turned in to comics and sarcastic talks. I don’t know what is left in us now.

      regards

  • Paulos

    Selam Saleh Johar,

    Sure enough 50 years is such a long time where to the very least two generations passed on when memory fades away with in the drift of time. My question to you is, don’t you think that the next generation is Sudanese in every sense of the word.

    • Brhan

      Hello Paulos,
      Do you also mean that the next generation in Holland is Dutch. Paulos you pointed a finger but three other fingers are pointing to you.
      Tell me who returned back from the Eritrean Diaspora to Eritrea after the independence…it is the opposite , where today every Eritrean wants to leave the country

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Paulos

      Sure if it is their choice. But nobody tells them that as a proclamation. As long as they feel they have been driven out unjustly, as long as the dream of returning home is alive, that is what matters. And then, you remember Eritreans who lived in Addis or in Ethiopians who lived in Eritrea for generations ? What happened when the war broke? Their life in a country can be outlawed in a second as long as rule of law is not established where they live. Your question depends on two factors: 1. Their choices and beliefs, and 2) the nature of the country they live in. Paulos, we are in a neighborhood that counts family lines generation away based on mythology to determine who is authentic native and who is not 🙂 this will not be a problem once the rights of a citizen becomes established on the laws and culture. I think.

      • Robel Cali

        Hi Saleh

        I’m glad you see that early family lines are based on mythology. Now if only you can see that the religion you love dearly is based on mythology. Both mythologies shape identities and both are built on a foundation of sand. None of them are factual. Eritrea will be better off without all mythologies.

  • Abrehet Yosief

    Selam Saleh,
    I had to take several breaks while reading the book. The apt description of the way of life and places creates so much nostalgia. At the same time, the horrors it describes made me question my own humanity and my ability to continue with my life after hearing the screams and cries in real time. The wailing of a mother during a memorial service of her son who died in the torture cells of Sinai will never leave me. Thanks for writing it, at least this will not be forgotten.

    • Saleh Johar

      Selam Abrehet,

      Thank you for appreciating what you read. But there is one person here who would want us to forget all of that simply because narrating our plight as a people hurts his soft feelings.

      Imagine an ultra right American racist telling black Americans to never mention their legacy, the sufferings of their ancestors who were enslaved! This gentleman here would rather have us forget everything that happened to us as a people, forget our history, not even mention it in our literature. Just forget all the suffering that befell us under Abyssinian kings, and all the suffering under those who are our own. In fact that kind of attitude makes the agonies worse.

      Take care

      • Abrehet Yosief

        Selam Johar,

        Ziwege’e enterese’E zitweg’e neyrisa’E:: There is no forgetting. The difference is do we make sure we remember them the way they were, show their humanity and do it with dignity or do we make a caricature of them (s’wuaAt, jeganu, Tsela’eti) etc. Both your books have given a human face to all of them. I am one who would opt for forgetting if it would bring two enemies together and start a dialogue to bring lasting peace. But to be asked simply to forget is insulting and futile. Even Spain, a country that had signed a pact of forgetting in the mid 70s in order to be able to abolish the Franco regime and move on to a democracy, had to pass a law (Law of Historical Memory) almost 35 years later, in 2007, to clearly acknowledge the crimes committed and condemn those who committed them. May God give you health and long life so you can author more and guide others.

        • Abi

          Selam Abrehet
          ” I’m one who would opt for forgetting if it would bring two enemies together and start a dialogue to bring lasting peace “.
          Beautifully said. Unfortunately you are out of luck. As long as this kinds of books are written and translated into many languages and passed to the next generation, things won’t change.
          Sometimes it is helpful if an Eritrean writer comes up with something positive .
          This is my ONLY major disappointment with SGJ. He is keeping the minds of Eritreans young and old in a short leash.
          He could have chosen the other ( positive) way.

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Dear Abi,
            You are assuming that the only one telling this story is SGJ. I assure you each family has such personal stories. The atrocities eventually took place everywhere in Eritrea and the fear they created was quite widespread. For us, forgetting this is tantamount to betraying those we lost. I believe if books are written, being reassured that the memories will not be forgotten, we would gradually let go of the personal pain and be ready to move forward.

          • Abi

            Hi Abrehet
            Fair enough.
            How are you going to forget and move forward if the past generation is itemizing atrocities and passing to the new through books and bedtime stories?
            Help me here.

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Hi Abi,
            You cannot. It cannot be forgotten. It should not be forgotten. By assuring that the memories of the loved ones will not be forgotten, you can move forward to forgiving. By showing that you can forge a better future together, you can move forward. If you trample on the memories and show disregard to the pain people feel, no one will trust you, or whoever else emerges as most powerful, will not do it again. You may think it is all in the past, but for those who carry the wounds it is not. The sound of bullets, the roaring of airplanes, the language spoken by those who tore through our homes, the constant running and hiding we went through is still fresh in our minds and still brings physical pain. Having been lucky enough to travel throughout Ethiopia, I know that is not what all Ethiopia is about. I know that they suffered too. I also know that Eritreans are capable of inflicting the same pain. I beg of you to show sensitivity and perhaps accept somethings may not be relevant to you but are important to others.

          • Saleh Johar

            Abi,
            You are very callous, insensitive narcicist. You think anyone gives a damn to your delicate feeling? Then, you want to equate your unjust, inhuman and brutal feeling with the pain of hundreds of thousands? You want us to write our history from the perspective of our tormentors? Go tell the Ethiopian victims of Haile sellasie and the brute derg, not to mention their history.

            Abi, if you are related to the atrocities inflicted on Eritreans, by blood relations with the perpetrators, live with it. Only acknowledging it will tee you. Not the victims who want nothing but closure. Even after closure, it will be on the history classes, I assure you that. Eritreans will not be the first ones in the history of humans to delete ther history. Then, do you want the story of refugees to be told without context? Do you think they are there because they won the lottery? My friend, forget your provocative one liners and read some history books and come tell us if you find a history without context. As for reconciliation, it is done the right way, by acknowledging the crimes and coming to terms with it. As far as Aider is concerned, you know it’s a cheap shot. You tell it. Go ahead and tell it. But don’t tell me to be your ghost writer. If it is your story, tell it if you wish. I will tell my story. The story of my people who have been victims of your warlords on both sides of the river. We have not even touched the surface my friend… there are stories apart from the pillaging history that you grew up learning you need to unlearn that my friend. And for a change, learn from you compatriots here who engage intelligently and make heir points with respect. Your one liners makes you see like you are a troll. You are too much if you haven’t realized it by now. B

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Saleh
            Cool down a bit. You are showing uncontrollable urge to lecture absolutely nothing. This is a debate not a Sunday service where I say Amen for everything you said. What is the need for all these colorful words . You can be God for many people here or anywhere else. You are ONLY Gadi for me.
            I’m not someone who jumps every time you utter a word.
            All you are doing is profiting from past and current miseries which you created or exasperated . You are also preparing the future captive audience who are ready to consume whatever fiction you write . This jumping up and down is just to cover your less than decent motives.
            It is time to stop considering yourself as God.
            As I told you before burn the damn book.

          • Saleh Johar

            Abi,
            I am right about you… Just a troll. A cheap troll at that. Learn to debate, with decency, instead of soundbites, and word games. And for your own good, stop acting like a tej bet agafari–no depth, no content, gwanga, in Tigrinya. You would rather have me be limited to one liners like you? Now go celebrate for matching Gadi with God. A five year ol can do better than that. How would you twist Saleh? I am curious to know how a child’s brain can twist that. Ane ‘gedid msakhi zekhudid… all that for a mention of “Ethiopian troops drove out the refugees”? Okay, apologies… it’s Nigerian troops who drove them out.

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Saleh
            Relax. You are specializing in belittling and name calling.
            Ok, I’m a five years young who is refusing to believe in you. You are a 70 years old acting like a teenager at best and a woman on menopause at worst.
            You are acting like someone trying to hide a crime. I agree it is a waste of time debating with you.
            ሽማግሌ ዋሽቶ ያስታርቃል እንጅ ዋሽቶ አያጣላም::

          • Abraham H.

            Ato Abi, I just want to tell you that we Eritreans are forgiving by nature and that we don’t want the advice or condesencing attitude of evil people like you. If you want to underastand our magnanimity just refer to history and remember how we treated your pows with humanity during our long armed struggle. And when the time of your Derg was up, when your soldiers were totally defeated leaving the Eritrean land in their hundreds of thousands, our people gave them food and water and showed them the way to safety, depsite the fact that the same army had bled them for decades.

  • Sam

    Confused Eritrean Here,

    What are these people waiting for? Why would the government have to repatriate them and what, exactly, are they expecting the government to do? Return to Eritrea and work to rebuild your community. You don’t need the government for this. I don’t understand this reliance on the government, as if Eritreans weren’t living for thousands of years without the PFDJ, so why is it suddenly impossible to return until the PFDJ carries them back?

    • Abrehet Yosief

      Hi Sam,
      The return of refugees is a complex problem. Our sister Sadia Hassanen, wrote her doctoral thesis on the subject and published a book “The Dilemmas of Migration among Eritrean Refugees in Eastern Sudan.” It is worth reading if you are interested in the topic. In short, refugees return to their place of origin if they believe what they will find when they return is better than what they have in their current location. The Eritreans in Sudan lost their refugee status in 1993 when UNHCR declared that the conditions that led to their fleeing no longer existed. In my opinion, they must have chosen to stay in Sudan, without any “legal recognition”, be it as a refugee or a citizen, because they assess the situation back home to be worse, specially with regard to their rights. Alas, the new flow of refugee in the past 10 years confirms their assessment.

    • Abraham H.

      Hi Sam, do you REALLY believe people could return to Eritrea today to lead a normal tranquil life under the suffocating Isayas rule? Today’s Eritrea let alone to welcome its refugees, even those who are living there cannot stand it.

    • Brhan

      Hi Samino
      Sam how come they will return back while the ones who are inside desperately looking for to leave the country

    • Graviton

      Peace new?

      There was no Eritrea before 1993. Get your facts straight.

  • Abi

    Hi All
    I always hear about the Eritrean immigrants in The Sudan and the cause of their migration. Of course, it is always the King’s regime faults. Fair enough.
    Is there an Eritrean Awatista who has a drop of ሀሞት left in his ከረጢት who is willing to write the extraordinary success stories Eritreans “immigrants “achieved in Ethiopia? Government, military, business, education… pick one.

    I like to Ato Amanual Hidrat to take the challenge and grace us with a short article.
    It is going to be a great tool for rapprochement and trust building. I see a relentless effort in demonizing the Ethiopian regimes .
    Anyone?

    • iSem

      Hi Abi:
      Until Emma gets back to you, let me tell you success-stories under the King: the late MIT, Dr. Bereket, Dr. Asefaw, Amanuel Hidrat and the list goes on.
      Also, th King burned entire villages, murdered people in mass, he maybe your king, but for many he was their murder.
      There is no need to demonize the Ethiopian regimes, they are demons, you cannot demonize a demon and so are their apologist, Hitler was a killer but there are many who say that he did a lot of good things for Germany, PFDJ are killers but they also build roads and there are many who found success under PFDJ, Tes is one exampl, he did his elementary, high school and undergrad under PFDJ, so what is your point exactly
      Ethiopai has nothing to show for before 1991, except blood, slavery and depotism and red terror and hunger, Eritreas know that and Ethiopians know that

      • Abi

        Hi Sem
        ” ሰው ጥራ ቢሉት እራሱ መጣ”
        Sorry Sem. I take it is a misunderstanding in your part. I’m looking for someone with courage , someone who has balls between his legs which you don’t have any. You confused it with your tail.
        Any coward can write like the garbage you wrote. I’m looking for someone who possesses an ounce of honesty to come up with an article.
        Not you Sem. Not you. Please!

        • iSem

          Hi Abi:
          Please translate , I do not speak Amharic, and the reason is I considered it cowardice to learn it, and with with balls refused to be imposed upon them the language of killers of that time.
          What I wrote is truth and your know it and your uncles and fathers and older brothers know it, even Alula knows it, if not like father like son.
          Honesty?, look who is talking

          • Abi

            Hi Sem
            Have I ever mentioned your son’s name?
            Better remove it with apologies.

        • Saleh Johar

          Selam Abi,

          Indeed I agree with you here. I cannot cite an article right away, but I can refer you to “Ye Ertra Gudai” a chronicle that would fit perfectly with your perspective–I haven’t seen an Eritrean complaining of any of the distorted versions of our history, all in praise of the Janhoi’s.

          But if you want to know the Eritrean products of Haile Sellasie (sorry, I don’t blame Ethiopians but the feudal system), list them all and no one will dispute it. However, don’t forget to include Isaias Afwerki in that list–a bona-fide brutal Ethiopian feudal product.

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Saleh
            You are writing your version of the story. In your view the glass was always empty. I’m looking for someone to write that the glass was at least half full.
            There were more Eritreans in Ethiopia than in Sudan in the last 50 years. As you know, I hope you do, Eritreans were successful in almost every aspect. Why do not we read about this success stories?
            Is it a taboo? Or it is against the propaganda perfected by the elites that your people were colonized?

          • Saleh Johar

            Selam Abi,
            Forget about colonization. Eritreans were brutalized by successive rulers. Acknowledge that and everything else we can discuss in good faith. But being an Abyssinian version of a “Holocust Denier” doesn’t help us move. Of course there were Eritreans in Ethiopia and they excelled due to their hard work and resilience. Don’t count that against them. Contrary to their, there were brutall soldiers and ruthless unjust rulers delegated by the same feudal system lording over Eritrea and causing untold miseries that have yet to find closure. Nothing can resolve that in your mind except a clear conscience and that no one can provide you but yourself.

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Saleh
            Why do you expect me to acknowledge while millions of Eritreans denying their own success?
            I hope to see an Eritrean who breathes with his own lungs rather than echoing one another.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Abi,
            I don’t see a dozen let alone millions. Here on this forum, you are the only one who pesters me for writing history. Sorry, I don’t do it on your behalf echoing your prejudice. But forgetting comes with closure, and we never had closure but additional pain. Just acknowledge that if you could but I understand you wouldn’t. You would that have all of us be your clone.

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Saleh
            We won’t have closure so long is you are keeping the flames alive in the name of history.
            If you remember our debate couple of years ago, I was arguing writing any kind of material regarding the Ayder school bombing by Eritrean Air Force. I was debating T Kifle while you supporting him.
            I’m still the same Abi with the same conviction.

          • blink

            Dear Mr.Saleh
            we all have been asking this fool the same and plea to him again and again , This guy does not care , Unless you have extra time i do not see the importance of asking Abi the stone headed man to be truthful and respectful . I have been reading this website forum for so long and i can mention all the smart and foolish once ,but Abi existence in this forum always amuse me.

          • Brhan

            Hello Abi,
            There are civilian Ethiopians in Eritrea too. Have you asked your self about that?

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Abi,

            What ever success Eritreans has in Ethiopia, all of it was either taken away, made to be taken away or forced to be taken away.

            Except the very few, there is nothing left to speak of let alone to write.

            What do you expect people to write: Eritreans went to Ethiopia after fully supporting the federation and trusted the king. They served him well in all their capacity and in his administration. Some Eritreans through their hard work and resources fullness did very well for themselves as the same time they created many opportunities for the people of Ethiopia. Some of the wealthy Eritreans, people like Haregot Ayay, Tesfahans Berhe, Haji Hasen they build high rise building in Addis Abeba that they haven’t build anything of similar size in the city they were born in Asmara.

            Some ERITREANs who served In the Ethiopian Army, like general Aman Andom who restored Ethiopia pride by defeating the Somali army. And in his capacity General Andom, who acted as leader of those who overthrow the king and wanted to lead the country in peaceful transition. But he was betrayed and killed by theDerg for 1) refusing to kill the king, his family and his government 2) willing to negotiate peaceful end of the war in Eritrea 3) for wanting to keep the Ethiopian armed force like Air Force in tact and the size of the military government. The current government demolished his home to build a road and forced to pay money to the owner which according to her was not how much it was worth.

            This is what you want…,

            I know someone who was member of the Roha band, one of the founders who owned a video / music store called Ghion by ghion hotel. He grew up in Eritrea and when he finished highscholl he joined the police and left to Ethiopia, and eventually become a musician, saxophonist.

            He was very reach because he was producing and making music for many musicians. Once he left Eritrea he never went back because Addiss Ethiopia was his home.

            He was deported or escaped to Kenya and his family deported and all their property don’t know what happened. I know him but that is how the “successful and good story of Eritreans in Ethiopia” has ended my friend.

            There is no good story left to tell.

            I know there thousands of Eritreans in Ethiopia today and some even in University, and I hope one day they write a good story that you wanted to hear.

            But I
            Am sorry for those who did well, unless they died before it happened the movie ended badly.

            Berhe

        • GitSAtSE

          Selamat Abi,

          “You confused it with your tail.
          Any coward can write like the garbage you wrote. I’m looking for someone who possesses an ounce of honesty to come up with an article. ”

          Perhaps the Ying iPaulos to the Yang iSEM might grab the tiger by the tail.
          tSAtSE

    • Brhan

      Endet Neh Abi,
      There are also Ethiopian immigrants in the Sudan. Can you tell us the cause

    • Lamek

      Mr. Abi. I can’t write an article. But I can tell you one thing. There are 1.5 million or so Bejas in the Western Eritrea who came from Sudan. The ultimate goal is to over take the highlanders by number. Highlanders out, out, out. They are perishing in droves. The Eritrean politics is way more complicated than meets the eye. I am not going there. I want to keep chiming in here every now and then, if I cross the line, I am out. Maybe I have already but there is a lot that bothers me. At the end of the day, I don’t trust anyone, no one! Sounds cynical but there are grand agendas everywhere.

      • sara

        Mr. Lamek
        you are no lowlander or highlander by your own choice, that makes you one of those going south of the border to their la la lander . Eritrea the nation state has bejas hadarbs and more and the future eritrea border goes as far as SINAR in the present day sudan.
        dont bother to write an article,i already stated to you the GRAND AGENDA for every one from LA LA Lander to see.

      • Abi

        Hi Lamek
        What is this? A prelude for a suspense novel?
        There is so much that is bothering you. There is a grand agendas everywhere. Eritrean politics is way more complicated. Highlanders are perishing in droves…You don’t trust anyone.
        My question is who do you want to defend your interests if you keep beating around the bush or keep us in suspense?
        Why don’t you bring it up and defend your cause? However, don’t expect support from another Highlander unless Ethiopia is involved. It won’t happen.
        Only a proud Ethiopian by the name Eyob Medhane, a person with courage and integrity, defended Highlanders.

      • Adarob

        Dear Lema,
        Correction😀
        My be you are confused and you wanted to say 1.5 tigaru who crossed the border to help and andenet during the 50s.

      • Paulos

        Lamek,

        The word you were looking for is not cynical, I say it is something more morass on your part. And I agree with your choice to stay out where you don’t seem to have anything positive to contribute.

  • Robel Cali

    Hi everyone

    The topic of refugees living in the Sudan is complex but the main issue is money. Eritrea lacks the resources to bring these people back. It’s not just bringing them back, they must provide them with a means of livelihood and a place to live, something that it struggles with those who never left.

    I think the blame falls on the internationally community more so than the government. They should have been resettled years ago.

    • iSem

      Hi Robel:
      The topic of Eritrean refugee in Sudan is neither complex and the money excuse is a big lie. Please do not repeat it.
      Twen-five years ago when Ethiopian rule, the reason we had refugee in the first place left Eritrea the refugees were ready to go back and some did go back but the rest and specific group, the lowlanders Mulism were denied to return, some who returned left their country in disgust.
      Remember all the refugees who are languishing in Sudan have land and villages in Eritrea, they could go back and settle on their villages and farm their land and herd their live stock.
      International community never refused support, the Eri government was never willing

      • Robel Cali

        Hi iSem

        When you say lowlander Muslim were denied to return, does that imply highlander Muslims were let in? Or are you trying to paint a narrative that the so-called lowlands of Eritrea is synonymous with being a Muslim?

        Over the year or so of me reading the comment section on Awate, I get the impression from some that the lowlands of Eritrea should exclusively be for Muslims, while the highlands should be for both Christians and Muslims — you know, doing the old saying of “what’s mines is mines and what’s yours is negotiable”.

        I think some of the ideas on here that you guys seem to think is normal is racist, backward and if practiced in real life, would cause civil war to break out in Eritrea.

        I don’t think the government denied Eritreans of the Islamic faith from entering the country. I think a new government with an impoverished people, war ravaged society and destroyed infrastructure had other pressing issues than to bankrupt the country to bring in more people than it can sustain.

        I think you’re implying because they mostly happen to be Muslims that the government wants them out. It’s plausible. But who is to say the reason why the focus on the refugees in the Sudan isn’t because they are mostly Muslim? Because why aren’t Eritrean refugees in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and beyond who are mostly Christians never talked about to this extent? Do their lives not matter? Or is the government neglecting them because it hates Christians too?

        Let’s say they go back to their villages. What will they do? They have no money, they have no land to farm, they have no skill because I doubt they were provided an adequate education. So they then become a burden on the state. Eritrea does not have the economy to sustain this burden. So money is the main issue, everything else is second.

        When I said international community resettling them, I meant settling them in the West in the same way Syrians and Iraqis are resettling in Christian Europe.

        • iSem

          Hi Robel:
          Anyone intimate with the Eritrean story would not split hair highland Muslim or lowland Muslim because it is obvious, anyone lowlander, high lander, or mainlander or Red Sea can be any religion. Most Eritreans know the bulk and first exodus came in 1968 after the Ethiopian feudal burned villages and massacred people including pregnant women (ever one knows that excepts the offspring sof Alula, the deniers of massacre) in the lowlands, I presume there were some Christians there too, but predominantly Ad Ibrahim and Ad Ukuda are Muslims, like 99.999999999% in 1968 at least and the people who were denied were those ones. Fact is fact so let us not split hair for nothing, and the reason PFDJ refused the return of these people is obvious, it was never confident about its history, it feared them and that is fine, but there was an opportunity for national reconciliation and instead of the speech that banned “hashewiye” 😉

          You know. since its creation as Christian group for Christians EPLF, has never really reformed itself, it only became an alliance of Semhar and Sahel and Highlands and it still remains so. Yes, it denied them and the reasons you mention of education and funds and also false, repeated again and again, I told you many of these people come from fertile places like Ad Ibrahim, they just wanted to go home and toil their land, and herd their camels and cows, sleep under a tree or “agnet”, they did not care. A few were able to return but they left in disgust when their fertile land was confiscated by EPLF to enrich and fund the retirements of its generals and many were suspected of Jihad out of the blue, just because their Muslims and lived in Sudan. There is reason some of us said that Eritrea is not liberated. The international community could not restel people when there is no war in their country back then

          • Robel Cali

            HI

            I’m not arguing where the war was mainly fought in. My argument is your lack of proof to say that they were denied entry because of their faith when in reality, the government didn’t have the capacity to bring them or Christian Eritrean refugees from neighboring African countries. You want it to be a religious issue and I’m telling you that’s plausible but the main and first issue is money. Eritrea did not and does not have the money to take care of them.

            Sure, in the late 80s and 90s, there was an Islamist agenda going on. Mostly Eritrean Christians were being slaughtered by radical jihadis in their own country. So of course the government would be hesitant to bring in more people from an environment that was toxic to the fabric of Eritrean society. So it’s not lack of confidence, it was more about common sense. But again, this was a secondary issue. The first and main issue was the Eritrean government did not have the resources to bring them to Eritrea and take care of them.

          • Adarob

            Hi Robel!
            Do you mean if the Eritrean government have no money then the sudanese government must take care of them?

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