Home / Articles / ‘Eritrean Unity’: As Power Over Life
Human rights lawyer vs. trained healer

‘Eritrean Unity’: As Power Over Life

The Unconscious Eritreans

We are the worst of the worst; ask any fellow. The global biopolitics has put us in the worst of 1%. Imagine any human parameter of normative value, at a global scale, and line individual values in a curve, and you observe Eritreans falling under the lowest 1% of this normal curve of this imagined parameter.  Statistical theories have long established a higher probability of normality for a population of more than 30 individuals to acquire characters that hold the average and the median. So, ideally, as a collective, we should have been all over this curve: the few unfortunate of us being on the tail, the majority being on the belly, and the few fortunate of us being on the best end. Yet, all of us are persistently in the tail. And this phenomenon has endured for decades now–without us being conscious of it. Then the questions will be: how come this enduring misery can’t create consciousness of the masses? How deep is our rock bottom? When will we start to say “enough! we had it all!”? Are we that much cowards to stand against authority? Is there anything called a cowardly mass to begin with?

I think there isn’t. And we feel we are conscious. We have said and are saying enough, but for an incomplete reason. It’s just that the motivation for our defiance isn’t comprehensive. Our motivation, while it emanates from true desperations, it keep feeding the discourses of power that we should be challenging. PFDJ has an absolute right of death-this is an obvious fact and most conspicuous. As such, opposition is geared towards challenging this coercive power. We think of the government’s power as reductionist, as such we strive to maximize individual, ethnic or religious power. As the right to death is located in institutions, we work to dismantle them. We hate and point to the fact that our people are living in a panopticon style prison where they always feel of being watched and act accordingly. This primitive PFDJ surveillance system is a bummer, and we are all aware of that. But, all these do not amount to consciousness. We still are pushing one side of the wall. Simultaneous with our struggle against PFDJ’s coercive power, we need to challenge its power over our lives.

What is Power over Life?

Foucault, in his brilliant work on “The History of Sexuality”, has outlined the paradigm shift on how power is exercised by the sovereign since the Victorian era.  He argues, what was once socially banal or normal and morally right is now relegated back to the private sphere; in this specific work sexuality. And this is made possible through the discourses of enhancing life. For instance, the power of enforcing a diet regimen is done in the sake of enhancing peoples’ health. This, however, discursively and instantly produces the oppressed in the form of undesired obese. According to him, the classical liberal theories of power, which are useful in understanding judicial power (or right to death), are no longer robust in explaining this new form of power over life. When opposition against the new form of repression over the once banal falls within the frameworks of classical power theories, it becomes more of a supporter than a challenger. Our talks of or resistance toward such repressions bring unintended discourses around the issue in forms of concentric circles, that- in a way- protect and leave the subject matter intact, and, thus, strengthen the oppressing power structure.

Now, for argument’s sake, let’s see the issue of unity in the Eritrean identity discourse through the lenses of power over life. The contemporary discourses on Eritrean identity recognize unity as tantamount to uniformity hade libi, hade hizbi! There were once times when Eritreans were proud of their micro- identities. People were proud of being Muslims, Christians, Tigrignas, Tigres, Bejas or whatnots. And they were very much open about it. It was normal to tease people for their specific identities; and the teased would take it more as a sign of endearment than antagonism. I would argue; we still feel proud of our micro-identities. However, the context of understanding these identities has been changed once and for all (or what was once banal is regressed to be taboo), as such, we see the need to do it in private. The ceiling, below which one is allowed to enjoy his/her micro-identity, has been gradually lowered through time. Consequently, the only identity allowed to surface is the one that banners hade libi. How is that possible and what are the power elements in it? Why is it even important to this discussion?

Our colonial masters, especially His Highness- Emperor Hailessilassie’s regime, saw our comfort in our diversity. And they were astute enough to see the potency in it. Once they got their assumptions right, dividing us along these lines of micro identities came as a solution to their fear. They pursued that solution, and had us divided beyond recognition. When we started the armed resistance, except for the few avant-garde, the majority had this distortion as a backdrop. Then came the crooked (ELF/EPLF Politburo) that used the dialectics in our beauty to satisfy their power hungry egos, which then is culminated, through time, to a synthesis in the form of hade libi. Hade Libi discourse embodies power over life. It plays into this historical awareness of ours, and poses as an ultimate means to our existence. It enables our irrational act of self reservation. It requires us to self- scrutinize and self-form ourselves, and in a process makes us docile. It creates norms around it and even selects words for us when we communicate within its frame. Surveillance is enforced through these norms, not only that the norms act as a disciplining power per se, but also as behavior molders where one’s next step becomes predictable. Resistance against this discourse is, therefore, nearly impossible. When we reconnect with our micro-identity in as a form of resistance, almost instantly, we are dispatched as jihadists, agames, traitors, unionists or CIAs. Therefore, resistance- especially through reconnecting with one’s micro identity-feeds and strengthens the PFDJ power discourse, instead of weakening it. The stereotypes, perceptions and prejudices associated with these name callings share one cognitive domain-that of enmity.  This is an evidence to the postulate that hade libi as a concept can only be comprehended when we visualize Eritrea in a constant and never-ending war. Hade libi, in its pure form as a concept of defense, places the ills as exclusively external. By the time we think we have a clear definition of what it meant to be united, all we have is a hyper vigilance to a non-existing external threat and the negations of these perceived bad. Thus, hade libi is a cherished concept that cannot be independently and reasonably defined. Its definition is not-being-something-else, like not being agame, or jihad or traitor.

By claiming authorship of the contemporary Eritrean identity, PFDJ is at the center of the hade libi discourse. As PFDJ is personified by PIA, an allegiance to hade libi is thus an allegiance to PIA [nihna-nisu, nisu-nihna]. Since it is nearly impossible to attack a concept not defined in principle, the author remain safe by turning any attack back to the originator. Critiquing the concept carries-within it- the stereotypes of the negated, thus puts the criticizer on the disadvantage. As the silencing power of the hade libi discourse persists, it develops into dogma. That is what hade libi is now in Eritrea. Even those of us who loathe the concept cannot shake it off completely; we will remain agnostic. (Haven’t you read comments of people calling others unionists at awate.com? That is us being tipsy under the influence of hade libi.) As reasonable debate to come into senses becomes impossible; crusade surfaces as an only option. Arguably, none of us would want to go there.

Does PIA have the sophistication and the mental faculty to coin this concept with its elements of power? The Answer is NO! He is as smart as a goldfish. Had he been smarter, as power over life widely functions in liberal democracies, his regime would have been democratic while setting norms of life. But, certainly, he takes an advantage off this inevitable historical occurrence. He does capitalize on it. And those masses who internalize the concept wouldn’t dare to challenge as the concept itself requires self reservation. This is how the regime gets sustenance for its illegitimate rule. It is not because people are cowards, or not because we didn’t commit ourselves enough in challenging the regime’s coercive power; it is just that we do not have a strategy to effectively counter its power over life.

Then how do we form an effective resistance against an oppressor which functions through a norm that is set to discredit resistance? Here are my two cents:

Resistance through Subversion

Now that we know hade libi has an established morale appeal, mobilizing against it would mean immoral, thus is futile. It’s a definite way to treason-treason, at least, in the mind of the masses. However, we can undermine its morale appeal by discrediting the assumptions over which its discourse rests for its comprehension. This method of resistance, when effective, is called resistance through subversion. The assumptions could be one of those: ‘we have to remain united because,…

  1. Our enemies are always at bay working and waiting for our disunity.
  2. We can’t be trusted with our micro-identities.’

The first assumption places all ills on external danger. Means: it readily assumes a perfect internal cohesion worth of envy by others, or whatever internal ills we have are trifling, thus can be relegated. This external threat (though now is more of imagined than real) has its origin in our historical memory. The fallacy however lays in the amount of significance bestowed to this rather insignificant historical occurrence to the point of dictating our national narrative. In our vast historical existence, a decade long conspiracy holds significant weight solely for its relevance as a boogie man. Back in the days, when our colonial masters had us divided along ethnic and religious lines, they were the ones who had a complete reign on our lives. They appointed our political and religious officials, and did other favors for them. Now, we are a country. We do not have foreign masters who would bribe parliamentarians for votes casted against independence. We are independent already. There is no reason for us to live in a state of guarding the federation. Resistance through subversions, therefore, can come in the form of pointing this illogical reasoning. We shall make fun of this line of reasoning and point to the imbecility of believing in it. We have to find a way to entertain the concept of hade libi only when it is forward looking and means to be inclusive; not when it is understood as a necessity to avoid Ethiopianism. We have to entertain unity though. It shouldn’t be forced on us. It shall remain as concept of choice. Otherwise, we will fall into similar form of oppression that, this time around, will have our future and inclusiveness as its context.

The second assumption categorically views Eritreans as incompetent collectives who cannot be trusted with adult stuff. It takes us for babies who would immediately resort to competition with what our parents have given us (the analogy is that of kids saying “my toy is bigger and more expensive than yours” at a play ground). Once I rightly claim what is mine through my parents; this assumption argues; I will instantly belittle what is others for I am a kid, and that is what kids do. Our immatureness, constructed as real and greatly problematized, subject to two obvious ‘elixirs for our own sake’, or so we’re told. One of owning a collective toy (Eritrea in hade libi) and another of having and tolerating an enforcer who does things at his/her volition to guarantee collective ownership of this toy even when it meant of forcing us to abandon our micro-identities. Refraining from being dictated by our egos and accepting the fact that micro-identity is irrelevant to be projected as an accomplishment can thus be waged as resistance through subversion. This shall not be done in a sense of following the conduit channeled by hade libi as a power over life. It has to come as depicting our adultness to discredit the bases, on which this specific assumption rests.

We are the Same Already

The problem is not being Hade Libi. It is the perception that precedes hade libi that begs for a closer look. Once we perceive the risk of our fissiparousness as real, we tend to wish for superglue- in this case hade libi. And this superglue comes with a deceitful enforcer who waives our individual rights for a false sense of unity and security. One of the reasons for our active perception of divisiveness is our failure to see our differences as mostly superficial and socially constructed. We often fail to see ourselves as humans first, and, instead, put more emphasis on aspects that differentiate us from each other; even when we know that these differences do not change the fact that we are inherently the same. We don’t need to change the way we dress, or eat, or talk, or pee; or the God that we worship. We just need to accept those differences as sources of beauty that add color and flavor to the otherwise mundane and uneventful life of ours. Wouldn’t it be boring to have a country that would look like a boarding school exclusively for boys, or girls? Believe me, it would. And who says a country like that would be more secure and united? Go no farther … look Somalia. So the entire argument that we will be safe and secure if we remain uniform is bogus and serves one and one interest: that of PFDJ’s. But, we cannot opt for dis-uniform, no matter how-after the facts- this, as a solution, sounds obvious and alluring. Yet, we can stop believing the single story that makes uniformity appealing and productive.

To discredit the assumptions that dictate the need for sameness with our neighbor, we shall practice our neighbors’ life style by choice. If you are a Muslim, go to church. If you are Tigrigna, wear sarongs. If you are Christian, slaughter a lamb or two during Eid al-Fitr. Resist any ruse (when stated or implied) that discursively constructs us as deserving oppressed in the form of brittles and spoiled babies. And, that is what an effective resistance against PFDJ- which appoints itself as a guardian of unity- looks like. Let’s deprive them of power over our lives.

About Ambassador Teklemichael

Check Also

Negarit 46: ሃቦብላ ኸምሲን Khumasin Dust storm رياح خماسين

Negarit 46: ሃቦብላ ኸምሲን Khumasin Dust storm رياح خماسين Only knowledgeable citizens can solve national …

  • habbsha

    Salamat Seray and Sal,
    Please help me, i am confused with the Ghedli discussion those days.
    My humble understanding or believe of Ghedli is that the national movement of eritrea(Al Haraka Alwataniya Al Eritrea)that started against haileselasie and andenet and proceeded to the armed struggle and to the oppsition today.
    But my understanding of your Ghedli is that you are encluding the movement of nehnam elamanan during the 70th with the aim of ethnic supremacy that craeted a huge damage and still do.Excluding this group from Ghedli will help you come to an end with your sleeples discussion.
    May be i am naive for my final nail in the coffin, please forgive me if i am wrong,

    • Tamrat Tamrat


      So what you tell us is what ever the ghedil used to take Power is allright but now since they are in Power stop playing ethnic policy and go With one Eritrea or Death. Then why you bother help isayas then you get Your answer.

  • Kaddis


    “Instead of exploiting the morsel of democracy they were given, they tried to get the whole cake at once, forgetful of the fact that they had to do with people who could easily resort to violence”

    Why do you expect EPRDF will act the same in 2010 when the violence ( plus wedemetachihubet Enmenlsachiwalen fukera) happened in 2005 with the participation of the opposition?

    I am not in disagreement with you on the facts: only your naïve expectation of politics. If you messed up your chance and contribute to the violence – don’t expect the same plate will be served next time. My take is – the oppositions are in a position to clean the political mess they have created – I don’t need to cry foul on behalf of them. I don’t want to gamble with their hidden – violent and street revolution coated – politics. They are not doing it for me my friend. Yilefegn.

  • Zaul

    Elabbas Benmamoun (2007) argues that “issues of language and identity usually arise when more than one language competes for space, be it cultural, political, educational, or economic.” However, this statement presupposes the existence, somewhere in the world, of a place, a space, a country where there exists only one pure language, without any varieties, any dialects, etc. One could easily think of Orwell’s Oceania as such a place. But in the real world such a place simply does not and cannot exist. Yet, what we can still draw from this quotation is that the adoption of any language as official or standard can only presuppose the exclusion of others, in addition to giving the chosen ones political legitimacy and prestige, while excluding, alienating and marginalizing others. The very choice of a language, any language, as official and/or standard can only be at the detriment of others.

    • Zaul

      Even Tigrinya will perish. It will not be able to withstand or compete with the onslaught from the Arab media (music, film, television) Wahabbi influence , Arab Tourism and Attitudes towards Africans.

  • haile


    With Sweden’s decision this week not to deport Eritrean asylum seekers, except for Israel, Eritreans are now recognized as “Persons in genuine need of protection” in the whole of the Western world. What a feat to achieve in 22 short years!

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      Dear Haile!

      You remind me isayas’ popular interview With the swidish journalist. That interview is a proof for that isayas contempt for the Whole humankinds. According to him even swidish are suffering by the undemocratic rules in sweeden. But now eritreans imigrates ‘even’ to sweeden escaping to the only one true democratic all over the world. In my opinion only that interview could put this man in jail for life.

      • Tamrat Tamrat

        Sorry i mean ‘escaping from the only true Democracy..’

    • Zola

      What an observation! Sad.

  • To Mohammed Ahmed

    Dear Mohammed I think I owe you an explanation about my comment on your article,
    ” I said if those languishing in preason with endless and tortured mercilesley could hear you they would inhail the breath of hope.” and I stoped there, instead I should continue to say that, for example, at Derg time prisoners were allowed for visitation from family members. and they brought them food news and hope.Today speaking of innocent preasoners they are neglected without trial.disconnected from the society and the whole world in general.They dont know what is going on around them.they don’t know how fast or slow the regim is collapsing.they don’t know the growing movement of E.D.F. They don’t know Eritreans in diaspora are trying their best to bring an end to thise cruil time. They don’t know some intelectuals trying to decieve the young generation about Gedli time, unless some one whispers them. All they can know is what the Guards and Interegators tell them. We all can see how cruel the regim is to intentionaly isolate them until their death one after onother
    So what I maent wasif they were able to hear from outside of their cell about big or small development would give them hope. Hope is halfway to freedom. and hope can give them strength to count the remaining days of their sufferings,and hope can give them strength until yhe day of light.
    your article reminds us the current reality and motivates us to focus on priority. Absolutly I have no reason at all to make any kind of pointagainst your article. Dear MOhammed forgive me if I couse you hardfeeling misunderstanding.
    WeAllahu almuwafiq.

  • Saleh Gadi

    Selam Eyob,

    I think bringing the name of Wro. Tsion Andom to support your argument was unnecessary because it is unrespectful to the lady. See how you force people like us to raise her name in vain? The Andom family are Ethiopians since a long time. Bringing the lady as if she is not an Ethiopian, but more of an Eritrean, as an exhibit for your argument shows a medieval streak in your argument. Weizero Tsion is the sister of the renowned war hero General Aman Andom who was amongst the first Ethiopian martyrs killed by the brutal Derg regime. If I were you, I will not present Weizero Tsion as a non-Ethiopian to support my flimsy argument.

    • haile

      Thank you for educating us about the relevant facts SG!

    • Eyob Medhane


      I brought up Weizero Tsion, because there is a very large number of Eritreans, who insist with their insincere “blood is thicker than water” logic that “every Eritrean that has a drop of blood should be and is loyal to Eritreanism and Eritrea. I just used Weizero Tsion as an exhibit that there are many of us, who don’t fell a thing and never have felt a tinge about Eritrea and whatever it is for . The point that I was trying to make is not for you, Saleh. It’s for a different subset of people, who want to dictate who should be what based on where their grand parents were born. A tedious writer on another Eritrean website is a master propagator of such kind of idiocy. So, that is who and the likes I wanted to send a messege, Abu Saleh… 🙂

    • Tamrat Tamrat


      What is New for People like you to raise names in vain for People like her? Who is medival here a person who supports a derg member or Eyob? Since when you are entitled which ethiopians are martyrs or not?

  • Saay & Serray,

    Is there an end to this debate where each side took firm stand on their position? Worse than that there is no way even of knowing how the public is absorbing to measure(such as polling) the value of our debate. In such scenario the moderator must find a way of ending the debate. With the exception of the few, the rest are not debating. They are throwing barrage of incendiary languages in attempt to make emotional bleeding. So my plea to the moderator is, it is your call to end when things are went beyond it deserves.


    • T..T.

      As long as it is peaceful discussion there is no concussion.

    • Serray


      I don’t know about Sal, but the reason I keep my comments inside the sub-thread it originates is to keep the new comments on top fresh. About cutting it short, unfortunately for you, Sal is the boss of the moderator.

    • haile


      Tolerance is the key. Why would the moderator assume someone else’ responsibility of ending a debate that they’re involved in? If the people you are irritated with have crossed the Posting Guidelines, then that is to be expected. Otherwise, imposing your view on how far people take a debate is just intolerance. I think, for example, that the topic being discussed (especially referendum) is a dead issue. And I am content in with my holding of such a view. But I may be wrong? I may not have grasped fully what they are building up to? I even my not be fully comprehending what the essence of their arguments are! I can respond in agreement or disagreement or just humor, but would be down right arrogant and “been there, done it all” type attitude to call for moderator to stop these people bouncing off their ideas. It is good to talk, handef elka aytbeges! astewElka Tebeges.

  • T..T.

    Correct your information, rather you should read the referendum results: 94% TORNOUT, 99% voted ‘YES’ for independence.

    The result can be described as final and binding. No one can reverse it. Yet, the 1% can tell their stories and convince themselves that they are even ready to wear tattoos that say “HAPPY TO HAVE VOTED ‘NO’ TO INDEPENDENCE.’

  • Tazabi

    Since 1991, Ethiopians have learned to leave without Eritrea. This trend accelerated after 1998 border war when thousands of Ethiopians and Eritreans were expelled from Eritrea and Ethiopia. The generation that came of age does not remember Eritrea as part of Ethiopia. This Ethiopian generation has less interest in Ethiopia and it is hard to imagine they will be interested in Eritrea or union with Eritrea. The best outcome is peace between these two nations. It does not seem that there is much apetite left in Ethiopia to entangle in Eritrean affairs. Ethiopia itself is in a serious crisis of many sorts. There is not going to be much political capital to spend on Eritrea.

    If Ethiopia implodes – there is a possibility for that to happen then or bets are off.

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      Ethiopians have not learnt how to live With out eritreans. Since 1991 all most all measure political or economical even military of ethiopian internal or international is affected more than any individual federal state of Ethiopia.

      Let me put it this way: IF eritreans and ethiopians were not so interwoven then by now their success or failure could have been measure by what they are doing or not. But as you see my friend ethiopias economy directly Connected With the absence of Eritrea and eritreans. In short if Eritrea were not defined like it is now by both shabia and woyane the Growth of the ethiopian economy could have been double the number registerd now. Not forgetting ethiopians military expenditure is rising only due to shabia and woyanes confrontation. Ethiopia was using 1milion dollar every day during the 1998 war against shabia. Then do the mathematics how Ethiopia investing on the military since then upto the Proxy war in Somalia and heavey Investment in military incase shabia wadge war in its last desparate war.

      The same is true for eritreans too but i focussed because the commentor has said ethiopians have learnt to live With out ethiopia.

      • Tazabi

        Eritrea is a neighboring country and events in Eritrea will affect Ethiopia. That is a far cry from saying Eritrea takes center stage in Ethiopian affairs. Pre 1991 that was the case. The border war was a watershed event. The trend started and encouraged by Eritrean nationalists of withdrawing from Ethiopian life, and breaking of social relationships with Ethiopians accelerated. Ethiopian politics is now focused on democracy and good governance. The fight between opposition groups and Ethiopian government is on such issues as cost of living, opening of the political space, corruption, ethnic federalism etc. Eritrea does not figure in this argument. These days even in the diaspora, I am amazed how little contact there is between these communities.

        The new generation is apolitical and is not concerned about Eritrean issues at all. The time when Eritrea occupied center stage of Ethiopian politics is gone. Even the most ardent unionists on the Ethiopian side are gradually coming to terms with Eritrean secession.

        A united Ethiopia and Eritrea had great potential and could have changed not only Ethiopia and Eritrea but the whole of Africa. This argument was made for 30 years and it did not carry the day. Here we are.

        • Tamrat Tamrat

          The interwoven ethnical, religious, historical relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia and its effects on Ethiopia:

          1) The very regime Ethiopia is having is born and emulated by shabia which is the ruling party of Eritrea.

          2) the godfather of tigray People Meles started his political carrier by defending the secession of Eritrea.

          3) 1991 tplf took Power in Ethiopia With the help of shabia.

          4) The secession of Eritrea created a storm of hate to the regime of Ethiopians.

          5) From 1991-1993 the unionsist in Ethiopia boycotted the tread relation shabia wished to have With Ethiopia.

          6) Dissarming the OLF is carried out by shabia and woyanes militias before Ethiopians army restructured.

          7) The peculiar referndum ‘slavery’ or ‘freedom’ was prepared by both tplf and woyane and it was carried out both in Eritrea and Ethiopia. In Ethiopia the woynae militias must hold guns agaisnt ethiopians in case there would be oppositions. Same year some ethiopians killed just because they wanted to demonstrate their oppositon for Butros butros gali the then egyptian un secritary. They dont know how happy he was in this historical Eggyptina day. (now Ethiopia is upset because isayas is upporting Egypt on the nile use)

          8) Afar in Ethiopia were isolated and their freedom fighters hunted and killed by both shabians and woyanes before and around the referndum year.

          9) the very People who are encouraged by tplf ot support secesssion hunted by tplf and deported from their country to their country.

          10) 1998 exploded war between shabia and woyane which affected millions on both sides.

          11) Shabia support all sorts of opposition Groups and tplf vis versa.

          12) Ethiopians and eritreans live in Peace in Ethiopia, and abroad too except the extreamests.


          Which of the rest of ethiopian states has such effect on Ethiopia in general.

          The tigrinya People in Eritrea feels at home in ethiopia than the afar already in Ethiopia.

          This is not a far cry out for unity. This is the fact.

          • Tazabi

            I do not disagree with most of your points. But that is the past. I am saying at this time there is little interest in Ethiopia for unity with Eritrea. Like I said before, as a neighboring nation, events in Eritrea will affect Ethiopia and vice versa. That does not translate into action for union. The generation that came of age in Ethiopia knows little about Eritrea and grew up without Eritrea. The future is shaped by this coming generation and union with Eritrea is not on their mind.

  • Hayat Adem

    Can bridging the trust-gap between Eritrea and Ethiopia really happen? Yes, if both sides were willing and committed to work towards that goal. No, if one or both of them, as in this case, especially at the gov-to-gov level, are obstructing any effort in that direction. Remember one dude in this forum bragging about a ‘puzzle’ as to why Tigrians always try hard to remain close while Eritreans prefer to distance themselves from the former. That was undressed sheer foolishness at its deepest. What is to brag about by ‘we hate them but they still love us’ especially if you are the one on the hating side? And what threw me off was that there weren’t as many decisive responses to that while there are plenty of them on other less insane attitudes. May be we are all suffering from a collective insanity as Eritreans, myself included. Not that I’m a frequent reader of Einstein, but I have heard that he had once said “weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.” And poor character is not just about policy error only. That too, but what is even more scary here is the possibility of it becoming a destiny. What we may need is a shift of attitudes where and when there would be a real chance to go even beyond fixing the current problems.

  • Araya

    Gezae, are you saying you did not say:

    “YG loves Eritrea but he is frustrated because he wants to go home”

    Clarification please. I just want to know if you are denaying it.
    Thank you.

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    Both unionist Groups from Eritrea and Ethiopia must see in terms of the common People. When i think of unity from the situation at hand is to ease the tenstion between tplf and eplf (woyane and shabia) ie both must be forced to work for reaching the mass.

    Focus on the common thing we have than Our differences. Both islam, orthdox and other common religion we have must be encouraged to cooperate instead of being vicims of politicans specially from the governments sides. (at times they do despeate Things, like recuriting bishops and prists).

    Culutal Things like Music (here the eritreans must be appriciated because when ever we have ethiopian Music arrangments they are always With us). And the tigirans specially in tigray must be appriciated in following the eri drama or Music.

    Both tigrinya and tigrians must know the crutial position they have now and must use this to positive outcome which is inclusive all the other ethnic Groups.

    The afar both in North and South shouldnt be the Tools for both oppresive rgeimes instead work for making bridge that was destroyed by eplf and tplf.

    Synging how many eritreans or ethiopians we killed brings nothing good for the generation at hand. Instead it just brings blind haterade.

    We can have two states or many more. The Whole idea must be a system which allow us to lead a better life than before, than now.

    No Ethiopian shall be called a refugee in Eritrea and No eritrean shall be called refugee in Ethiopia. Imagine an afar who run away to South in afar state calling himself refugee.

    The somalians who came to gigiga never felt that they are refugees. How come an eritrean can be a refugee in Ethiopia!

    • haile

      Good point Tamrat!

    • Horizon

      How come an eritrean can be a refugee in Ethiopia!

      Dear Tamrat Tamrat,

      In the referendum carried out in 1993, Eritreans were given three options to choose from: independence, regional autonomy within Ethiopia or federation with Ethiopia. 99.8% of Eritreans voted for Independence. Legally, they voted and discarded their Ethiopian citizenship. Therefore, if an Eritrean enters Ethiopia illegally, technically, he/she is a refugee and should be seen as such.
      The truth on the ground is of course different. I find it difficult to believe that Ethiopians would ever see Eritreans within Ethiopia as foreigners, although many Eritreans would rather choose to see themselves as foreigners. To some ultra nationalist Eritreans, Ethiopians are the “untouchables”, even today when the dire situation of the Eritrean people demands a change of view, and blind antagonism is hurting Eritrea a lot. Therefore, the ball is on the Eritrean side, and it is up to Eritrea to decide and make the right move.
      Unfortunately, DIA’s recent outrageous support of Egypt on the defunct historical rights over the Nile disregarding completely Ethiopia’s legal and natural rights on her own rivers, are things that drive a wedge between the two peoples and Shuts hermetically the doors of rapproachment.

      • Horizon,

        Just correction the choices were “Yes” or “No” to independence. There were no such autonomy or federation in the choices.

        • Zegeremo


          Your true colors are coming out amazingly!
          But FYI gheli was for independence from day one.


          • zeeremo,

            If you read Horizon’s comment…I was just correcting about the choices in the referendom. Nothing else. I was in ghedli for that and only that purpose. What is the color you find in my comment?

        • Horizon

          Dear Amanuel Hidrat and Dawit,

          That was what I read and may be what I wished happened. I cannot insist on it, because I was not in Ethiopia then. If the choices were simply “Yes” or “No” to independence, the chances of having a different result, especially soon after the end of a protracted war, were very slim. I have also heard of “freedom” or “slavery”, put forward as two possible choices, which I did not take in to consideration, because it looked very crude.
          Dawit’s position shows that the outcome was predetermined, which is very much true, and in addition, he doubts that all Eritreans voted in the referendum. Nevertheless, even if the final result wouldn’t have been different, one would have expected a lower percentage of “yes” votes, because I am sure that there were Eritreans, especially those who lived in Ethiopia and had flourishing businesses and many others as well, who were aware that they have a lot to lose and would have voted differently.
          The ruling party in Ethiopia had 99.6% of the votes in the last elections. It seems that for any result to be relevant in an African situation, it must be more than 90% nearing 100%.

          • Kaddis


            “The ruling party in Ethiopia had 99.6% of the votes in the last elections. It seems that for any result to be relevant in an African situation, it must be more than 90% nearing 100%”

            Just to advise you on your generalization – did you know Kinijit ( an opposition coalition) in 2000 won 99% of the Addis Ababa council seat; plus the mayor ship. Out of the 168 (+-) seats available they got 167. The one seat the ruling party got is because Kinijit didn’t contested for that seat due to shortage or withdrawal of their nominee. They could have won 100%. So don’t generalize to look knowledgeable about the issue.

            Elections are like a beauty contest – you know there are more beautiful girls even in your circle – but they are not on that stage.

          • Horizon


            2005 was the first time almost a free, fair and democratic elections were carried out in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, when the late Ethiopian dictator realized that his experimentation was becoming a big blunder and he was losing power, he made the people of Addis pay with the lives of 200 of their unarmed and innocent souls, and Ethiopia was filled with prisons.
            The Kinigit guys were equally cleaver. Instead of exploiting the morsel of democracy they were given, they tried to get the whole cake at once, forgetful of the fact that they had to do with people who could easily resort to violence, whenever their power was in danger. When push came to shove, it was very easy for the regime to remove its democratic mantle and show its true nature by gunning down indiscriminately in broad daylight men, women and children.
            Therefore, please do not compare 2005 with 2010 or Addis with the whole country. In the first case, as I said, the flickering lights of democratic elections were put out by a blood bath, while in the second case, all we saw was the usual undemocratic elections carried out by a dictatorial regime in which it won 99.6% of the votes. Today, in the Ethiopian parliament, out of the more than 500 MPs, there is only one opposition MP. Surely, this is a case for the Guinness book of world records.
            In the beauty contest of yours, it seems that either the girls in the opposition got suddenly ugly or those who voted against the regime girls in 2005 suddenly got infatuated with them in 2010 for an unknown reason, and the results changed so drastically. The mockery of this beauty contest is that the ones who lost in the first contest won overwhelming in the second by killing, incarcerating and intimidating those who dared to participate or vote for the opposition.

          • Tazabi

            The officially tally was – only 1800 (one thousand Eritreans) voted against secession. This happened in our life time and the result was published proudly in the news papers. The overwhelming majority of Eritreans in Ethiopia voted for secession.

      • You said Eritreans “were given three options”: Independence, regional autonomy, or independence. I don’t know where you got that information, but your information is inaccurate. Eritreans were rather provided two options: yes to independence and sovereignty or no to independence and sovereignty.

        Only 1,102,410 Eritreans placed their ballots in the ballot boxes. of those who cast their votes, 99.83% voted in favor of independence while 0.17% of them against. This does not take in to account those who abstained from voting. According to nationmaster, at the time of referendum Eritrean population was roughly 3,142,000. Put differently, about 2,039,590 Eritreans did not vote. Even though many claimed that the referendum was free and fair, it nonetheless was a sham.

        Even if you take children under 18 years old in to account, those who did not vote were great in number. About 50% of Eritreans were under 18 years old at the time.

        • wediere


          You taking yourself too serious with your calculation…it looked desperate and crude, but you realised you had to substract your rough 50% discount but could not swallow the potential outcome. It looks one of those one starts to write and put a case with passion, then his argument deflated to nothing of use once he is about to wrap it with a concluding remark 🙂

          Do the math for your last statement
          Even if you take children under 18 years old in to account, those who did not vote were great in number. About 50% of Eritreans were under 18 years old at the time.

          I am one of those who abstained 🙂


      • Eyob Medhane


        “…No eritrean shall be called refugee in Ethiopia…”

        Here it comes!…ENTITLEMENT. I don’t understand, how in the world one says after overwhelmingly voted to become an independent country with I might add a lot of fanfare and tremendously antagonizing show off of ‘in your face’ attitude towards Ethiopians, still thinks they are entitle to obtain a citizenship of a country that resoundingly reject not to be part of?!


        I was a teenager, but I remember the riding very high of the euphoria of ‘defeating’ and ‘humiliating’ of the Ethiopian people. The ‘what you gonna do about it?! you scared little losers’ look, whenever an Ethiopian raises a point that it might not be a good idea to be separated. Especially, if you happen to have Eritrean blood and objected to the referendum, you would be the most ostracized, alienated and at times threatened Eritrean ever! Yet, after all these there are those who claim entitlement of everything and anything Ethiopian, if it looks good. You are right. Most African voting especially in the 90’s are rubber stamps with 96, 7, 8, 9 % of the vote. But not this one. REALLY, not this one. They voted exactly like that. The regular everyday people intimidated those, who they suspect wouldn’t go to the voting booth and might hesitate to divorce themselves from Ethiopia. It was really ‘hade libi’ then. There were few, though. VERY FEW. I will be ending by mentioning one of them. Look at this lady, a proud Ethiopian of Eritrean ancestary. Her family was decimated. Her older brother was murdered in a humiliating barbaric and very publicly violent way. Yet, she stayed with Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Unfortunately, their number was really miniscule. These days, you’d find them in thousands, because it’s fashionable, but people like her did it, when it was not. Eneho Emama Tsion Andom. http://www.diretube.com/etv-holiday/interview-with-designer-emama-tsion-video_abe251d69.html

        • I think you need eye glass prescription buddy. You misquoted Horizon. It is Tamrat square who said that..not Horizon..

          • Eyob Medhane

            🙂 You are right Dawit,

            I apologize Horizon..

        • haile


          You could be forgiven for riding your big white elephant again, given that some have decided to spend their days in a cemetery of dead issues. But you need to be aware that NO Eritrean wants or dreams to migrate to Ethiopia! It is just a transiting station. Unfortunately, TPLF has long decided to sell/issue their refugee sponsorship quota to many Tigrayans (who are flooding the west under false Eritrean identity) that it has inadvertently created the so called “Eritrean Refugees in northern Ethiopia” otherwise, many would have vacated your honey and milk EPRDF engineered Ethiopia of 99.9% growth rate per year, for you to enjoy and have a great life with it.

          Just a curious question, had the Tigrayans were to vote on Tigray independence in 1991, after so much blood and destruction in a war against their Amhara former rulers, how would you think the results would have gone?

          Please don’t insult Eritrean pride here on account of some lost causes. Despite our challenges, WE ARE A PROUD PEOPLE!

          • Tesfamariam


          • Kim hanna


            Are you positive that Mengistu is Amhara?
            I am glad the Tigrayan leaders, such wise people, did not vote to go their own way.


    • Dear Tamarat,

      Unfortunately the ultra-nationalist do not understand how modern politics work. They don’t understand how the interconnected global communities interact and mutually work to challenge the problem of humanity. They always talks about the closed community and self-relaiance – the old political rhetorics of the socialist worldview. The sad part about them is that even the old soviet and its blocks as well as the chinse government who where the proponent of that worldview are away from it. Ultra-nationalist are resistant to any change that time and space has created and are always in collision with the world.

      • Dear AMA/Ema
        Watch out ! You might risk being called “Neo-Andinet”. I recommend that you tread cautiously when discussing matters of nationalism, and ultra-nationalism. In short, don’t be too liberal. Stay conservative…”timali Ghedli, Higiwin Ghedli”…

  • Amiche

    The Andnet of the 1940’s are pioneers in Africa who stood against colonialism and white supremacy. Even the so called pro-independent leader Ibrahim Sultan was a “UNIONIST”. It is the British who were challenged by Mahber Andnet like nowhere else in their colonial adventure, established the pro-independent party to counter balance them. We Eritreans, as Africans, need to be proud of these heroic forefathers. Please read “Eritrea and Ethiopa: The Federal Experience” by Prof.Tekeste Negash.

    • Zegeremo


  • Araya

    At one time, best friend of YG, Gezaei Hagos said, “ YG loves Eritrea but he is frustrated because he wants to go home”
    Well, I may share Eritrea with everyone who opposes everything about Eritrea but Gedli. What moral stature do you have to knock down Gedli, while you left cowardly to the west when the real people was slagging it out? So, I say to YG, get comfortable where ever you are.
    In my opinion, Eritrea is either or. Either to the likes of YG, Serray and the rest of the cowards or to the true Eritreas who did the gedli and those who respected what the gedli actors accomplished.
    Just speaking crystal clear. I will make it my purpose in life to accomplish that. It is not even fair!
    You sit the west fatting you rear-end and you have the nerve to degrade the gedli and the actors of the gedli.

    • Ghezae Hagos


      Not that it matters, can you provide the quote you attributed to me?

      • zegeremo

        Dear Ghezae Hagos,

        Of course it wouldn’t matter given you are a former hardcore PFDJ supporter. But what amazes me is people like you have a nerve to try to teach Eritrean politics to those who have been opposing PFDJ long before you regained your blurred conscience.


        • Ghezae Hagos

          Dear Zegeremo,

          All I hope for you and your likes is ‘regain your blurred conscience.’


    • Danny

      ATP Araya,

      Your kind of archaic thought of righteousness while absolutely wrong is what destroyed a once promising Eritrea to the ground and is
      driving it’s youth to the deserts of Sinai and to the camps of Shimelba. As long as there are people of your type around who are the exact mirror of DIA in power, there will never be an Eritrea worth living in.

  • haile


    I don’t know where all this “we are habesha” hoopla is headed to. It may well be a TPLF ploy that is at work here. We know TPLF is surrounded by simmering tensions that it has been provoking in a bid to fasten its grip of Ethiopia. This being the obvious reality, it can use it to play one more “Janus faced” trickery on the gullible such as YG. Although, Eritrea in reality is an unlikely venue the TPLF to get solace when the sh!t hit the fan, it might have flattered the gullible and laughably called “neo-andinets” to think of themselves as an invaluable piece in its foolhardy jigsaw puzzle. The ball game would have played out as, had these gullible were to see the day light to their bartering in broken records, the finale in a masterpiece’s crescendo where the Janus faced partner would legally get sleep with rights enforced against his estranged ex.

    • zegeremo

      Dear Haie

      Weyane and its stooges have been active behind doors.


  • Danny

    The problem in the whole debate that the Salehs and all Ghedli romantisizers is that they consider only those Eritreans killed by Ethiopia victims. In their lopsided debate, they have no qualms with the many thousands of Eritrean victims the Ghedli has consumed under so many flimsy pretext. Who speaks for the voiceless dead who were taken from their homes under a gunpoint and had no interest to serve the corrupt Eritrean fronts and perished in the frontlines? Who speaks for the many thousands of gallant Eritreans who innocently joined the fronts but were killed because they refused to join the corruption? The bad news is that the very victimization of citizens by the Ghedli romantisizers still continues unabated. YG, Tesfay Temnewo and
    many other honest citizens have begun to shed light
    on the victims that the Salehs want us to ignore completely. As far as they are concerned, there are only one set of victims in the whole Eritrean politics; the rest are lumped as heroic martyrs.

  • YG , as well as GY have drawn a great deal of attention. Considering the amount of attention they have gotten, one can surmise that they have won the first round of the debate. They have become successful in pushing through many taboo subjects and getting new perspectives.

    Sooner or later , we will see many YGs and GYs revisiting the past history and figuring out what went wrong during the what have now become an infamous “ghedli”. Given the attention YG & GY have drawn among many “young and disillusioned”, qhite a few of have a deep mistrust of the future and consequently unable to give up the past.

    • zegeremo

      Dear Dawit

      I think you’re missing the point: the point is not about YG and his day-dream; it is about Weyane and its stooges.


      • Dear Z,

        This is news to me. Unlike your assertion, YG, GY, Tesfay Temenewo and many others are wildly albeit “wrongly” regarded as weyane stooges, paid agents, and so and so forth.

        The fact is that there are many individuals among us who do not want “ghedli” to be criticized. These individuals want many Eritreans to regard “ghedli”, and other questionable personalities such as Hamid I Awatet highly lest Eritreans would be labeled as “neo-andinet”, “young , restless and confused”, “habesha” you name it.

        • zegeremo

          Dear Dawit,

          I don’t know if Tesfay Temenewo has denounced ghedli; nevertheless, YG and GY are definitely among neo-andinet group.


          • Dear Zegeremo,

            Did they (YG and GY) tell you they were neo-andinet? Or, are you assuming, like Salih yonus, that they are neo-andinet?

  • TiETiE( Shiro bubble)

    No unity –
    for more respect more freedom, more opportunity unity is dangerous only benefits the few. Let the clans their own. Let everything divided like Dahlak Islands. Sometimes unity is beneficial but after everyone rights secured. Do not be fooled for slavery.
    No unity – go anywhere and find your water anywhere but do not go by group or unity. the central people sucked everyone by the name of unity.

  • haile

    Selamat SG,

    I know brother, but hey who can stop them from dreaming:) This is one of the times I have to borrow a term from PFDJ camp that “If the neo-andinet were unable to achieve their dreams in yesteryear,let them consider it down right impossible from here on.” Their designs are inherently faulty and is incapable of being linked to contemporary Eritrea. One really have to go beyond theories to get their head around this simple fact. Rhus BeAl Fasika by the way, MleliK Sewa is on me 🙂

    I have to dedicate the following song for our neo-andinetistas, although it may be out of sync with the festive mood.


    • “I do not have he desire to separate Eritreans from Tigrayans and Eritrea from Tigray. I have been struggling from deep down so that the two peoples and regions would not split. And it is certain that when I speak about Eritrean and Tigray, I am also speaking about the whole of Ethiopia.” ATo Wolde-ab Wolde-mariam.

      Taken from Nay Ertra Semunawi Gazzeta , July 3,, 1947.

      Here you have a person revered by many Eritreans as the father of Eritrea making a comment that could make him the subject of derogatory words such as ” a neo-andinet”. What would you call Ato Wolde-ab now? The father of the Neo-andinetites?

      • haile


        I see where you’re coming from, but you need give more detail of the context that he was being quoted. Besides, we need to exercise a degree of humility when referring to such giants of philosophical minds as Abona Weldeab Weldemariam. It really is not in good taste for me and you to try to entertain holding a dialog or scrutinizing towering monuments of history such as him.

        • Haile,

          Don’t worry about the context. It’s crystal clear. If you read Eritrean history (dig out info.) you will find out that Aboka WoldeAb was a unionist before he was an advocate of independence. He is said to have created “Mahber Fiqri Hager” which later transformed into a “unionist party”.

          • haile


            Yes “Aboy” “Memhrey” “MeraHiyey” “Harbegnay” …. hope that would do for now! I hope you are talking about the whole of the man, who survived 7 assassination attempts by andinet, and not just trying to p!ss up a giant wall

        • yegermal

          Nothing and no one is sacred when it comes to scrutiny !

  • Salyounis

    Selamat Awatistas:

    Whenever we discuss issues, I often notice exacerbation (and sometimes I show it too) with the fact that we are just covering old grounds, repeating arguments we had made years ago, listening to the same counter-arguments we had learned, ad infinitum. Frustrated with this, many simply decide to drop out and say “call me when you have figured it all out: I have a life to live.” (Quitters!) But there is nothing uniquely Eritrean about this, it is in the nature of all discussions. There is even a name for it: it is called the Burkean Parlor. It is named after Kenneth Burke, who said this in “The Philosophy of Literary Form”:

    “Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so no one present is qualified to retrace all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you.…However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows later, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.”

    The Awate Team are writers first, editors/publishers second. And what we write about, and who we decide to take on, when, and how is never personal but based on our assessment on its impact on the resistance to the Eritrean regime. Whether we were taking on the “Opposition to the Opposition” (OTTO), or the Ethiopian regime and its ever-shifting positions, or the assorted spoilers and mini-empire builders and foreign NGO agenda-enforcers, our target are those who try to weaken resistance to the Eritrean regime or to strip it of its Eritrean identity or demoralize us into total paralysis. And right now we consider the Ghedli Defamers not only as a huge obstacle to opposing the Eritrean regime effectively, but also a dangerous entity in post-Isaias Eritrea.

    Others may disagree and do disagree. What we have tried to created here at awate.com is a discourse community. All discourse communities have their norms and the ones we insist on here are civility, as outlined in our posting guidelines. We are particularly pleased that in this heated discussion we are having almost everyone joins our parlor with the proper salutation, and the heat generated has been almost entirely civil. There are the usual disrupters from the PFDJ Discourse Community who (it is not entirely their fault) have not learned the proper ways to debate. We often warn and attempt to show them a better way, and if they won’t learn, we show them the door.

    Please do not be frustrated that you find yourself discussing the same issues you had discussed years ago and don’t feel down that this means no progress is being made in our debates. It simply means new patrons are joining the Awate Parlor, or new Schools of Thought are emerging and they must be engaged–even if it feels like deja vu. If the “me’enti Hadnetna” and “lest our Ethiopian enemies be pleased” was never a good argument for Ghedli to limit freedom of expression, then it certainly stands to reason that “me’enti Hadnetna” “lest our PFDJ enemies be pleased” is not a good argument to limit the scope of the debate. We just need to observe the rules of debate and, when we err (as we all do), all of us have to be taken to task for it.

    Thanks for enriching the debate and Happy Easter.


    • Serray

      Selam Sal and Happy Easter to the observers.

      Let me take a sit at the parlor and continue our conversation from yesterday.

      I have a question, what is the goal when one points out that Abdella idris or Sabe groups are over-represented by the beni amers and semhars if not guilt tripping? One of the things that drives black people crazy is the way the media hammers the black part when a heinous crime is committed by a black person and the way whiteness is ignored when similar crime is committed by a white person. From you to ali salim to ahmed rajj to the authors of the eritrean covenant, when eritrea is split into two along religion or region lines, it is to blame one and make the other victim.

      Talking about ali salim, I like the harmless way you describe him, a provocateur, nothing more. He opened a floodgate tying the brutal regime to highlanders and the highlanders to nothing more than land grabbers and neo-nazis. The antidote part, two things bother you about yg; one more than the other but you use the one that least bothers you, ghedli, to hammer on him. I am of the opinion that deep down, yg’s take of the muslim-arab-lowland origin of ghedli is that boils your blood. The exact opposite of ali salim’s take of pfdj.

      Now to the meat of your argument. I like samuel johnson’s “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”. When one citizen accuses another of betraying or not loving the country the way he does, it is always to cover something. In eritrea, isaias and his cheerleaders are the most patriotic but their brand of love is based on brutalizing the people while worshiping the shell that contains them. Anyone who says “iziom christian, iziom aslam” has already qualified his love for only half of the people. Because he has qualified it, when that person accuses others of not loving the country the way he does, or for not worshipping his heroes, he is in shaky ground..

      Eritrea is both a symbol and a reality. For me, yg’s take of its reality is what impresses me. The romantics are fixated with his take of its symbols. The reason you guys rarely quote him is because the sentence or the paragraph above or below puts back the context. Now, Sal, you have written more than two articles about him; you have written literally hundreds of pages if you add up the comments. At the rate at which you mention neo-andnet and all the other names you give him, I can say he is not that far away from your mind at any given “politics” time. The problem is you are surrounded by people who caricature him and they have lowered for you the bar needed to prove he is the new andnet. As Gezae pointed out, the old andnet has slogan “ethiopia wey mot”, since you keep telling us that the neo-andnet are exactly like the old-andnet, you have to bring, from his writing, that he believes in “ethiopia wey mot”.

      Ground rules:

      Things that do not prove he is neo-andnet: mentioning that muslims started the armed struggle (because they did); arabs had an agenda helping them (because they might); awate served in colonial army/police(because he did); we habeshas share a lot with our kins in ethiopia (because we do); things were better under HS (because they were for a big chunk of the population than under shaebia); ghedli was not about freedom of the people (it was about freeing the nation from ethiopian rule, the proof is more tegadelti entered asmera than those who perished and they are sitting and watching this while telling us they brought independence). Because your accusation is crystal clear, your proof need to be the same; no implying, no putting words into his mouth, no out of context quotes and no self-serving patriotic crap be it about the intentions of ghedli or the symbols you and the regime agree to honor. You have to prove with direct quotes that yg believes on ethiopia or death because the old ones did.

      I know I am setting the bar high but we are trying to stop you guys from acting like the regime’s attack dogs. By the way, the reason the regime supporters agree with you in this one single case is because you are doing what they always do; accuse someone of treason without a shred of evidence. Let me deny you right away one of your “proofs”; if yg is guilty of treason for asking help from ethiopia, so are ALL members of all opposition groups. Honesty dictates that you accuse them all of treason. The way you use neo-andnet on yg is euphemism for traitor; since you are not one of the regime lackeys or former tegadalai (it is amazing how the latter throw the word around), you have to prove your case using his words and not your unsubstantiated opinions and conclusions…sort of innocent until proven guilty. You are your father’s son, in a free eritrea you would have held a higher office than your brother. Because of that it is criminal to let you go unchalleged when you throw around these serious charges against fellow eritreans in the opposition. Prove it or drop it.

      • Salyounis

        Selamat Serray:

        Thanks for stopping by the parlor. Now, this looks like a debate and I will try to answer your points, paragraph by paragraph, and if I leave out some points you raised, we will get it on the next round:

        1. To paraphrase what you said in para 1: according to you, the identification of a party’s demographic constituency has no other purpose than to guilt-trip the entire demographic constituency. Now, for those who don’t follow Serray’s writing let me say: Serray is one of the more intelligent writers and debators we have. Before you think I am flattering you; wait: I said that to express my disappointment in you because you are too smart to commit an 8th-grade level logical fallacy. So for you to make it, it must be deliberate. How elementary is the logical fallacy you are committing? Compare (a) and (b) below:

        (a) Almost all alzheimer patients are old
        (b) Almost all old people have Alzheimer’s

        (a) All Jihadists are Muslims
        (b) All Muslims are Jihadists

        (a) Everyone who suffers from sickle-cell anemia has sub-Saharan African ancestry
        (b) Every person who has a sub-Saharan African ancestry has sickle-cell anemia.

        (a) Almost every PFDJ supporter in the Diaspora is a Christian highlander
        (b) Almost every Christian highlander is a PFDJ supporter

        I can understand when your average Cheguar Danga confuses (a) with (b) but when somebody as smart as you does it, there can be no reason other than to stifle debate, or to choose to be offended, to mark some areas of discussion as permanently taboo. What Ahmed Raji wrote is probably (to my mind) the most significant, the most fact-based article written anywhere in Eritrean websites (opposition or government)about Eritrean governmental statistics: the “who-is-who” which is published by any normal government in the world, by the way. And it was written in supremely measured tones and it revealed shocking data that we could use to bludgon the PFDJ’s “Hade hzbi Hade lbi” lie. Yet you take offense to it. It appears that you are a closet Ghedli romantic: some information is just too sensitive and can only be handled by the Secret Party which will use the information to create perfectly ethnically balanced organizations?

        Why is it even necessary, you may ask. Unless we want to treat politics as a hobby, politics at its most serious is about power, people, demography, numbers. If you don’t have that (which is why Isaias Afwerki has kept census data a national secret for 21 years) you do not have an effective way of practicing politics. You will not have the right strategy, the right messaging: you got nothing. It is like saying armies do not need to do any surveillance or any intelligence. It is perfectly right for you to say that the information be handled with sensitivity and sober language–but that is not what you are saying when you are criticizing Ahmed Raji and Mejlis Ibrahim Mukhtar’s very measured language!

        2. You are mistaken. But since it is something you state as an opinion without giving facts, nothing to rebut there, other than to say, “you are wrong.”

        3. The issue is not about patriotism. The issue is a vision for the country and, more importantly, your assessment of the people who live in the country. I will discuss this further in the concluding paragraph.

        4. Serray, when you say Eritrea is a symbol and a reality, and the romantics “fixated” on its symbols and “yg’s take of its reality is what impresses me”, I don’t know how to make heads or tails out of that. If I ask you to give me a 1/2 page summary of what yg has said in his 100 page articles, can you? Can you give me an abstract? Can any yg fan do it? I am serious. This is my abstract of Yosief’s articles, see if I’ve got it:

        “A group of people who knew nothing about freedom or democracy, a clueless group of people heavily influenced by Arabists, hired an ethnic-cleansing mass murderer by the name of Hamid Idris Awate to start a proxy-war on behalf of Arabs. In short order the Ghedli was taken over by Isaias Afwerki who went on to forcefully conscript Eritreans by the tens of thousands, conscripts who had no understanding of what they were fighting for. The Ghedli was deeply unpopular with every Eritrean except the urban elite and those in the Diaspora and the purpose of Ghedli was not worth the sacrifice. Now, we know that the logical journey for us is to embrace our Habesha identity and forsake the alien Ghedli and Arab cultures, but because this is a circular journey–back to the starting point–the Ghedli Romantics keeps stretching the band to avoid the circle.”

        Now, Serray, those of us who are not impressed at all by this narrative are saying “YG: you are wrong on almost every count.” When you say, “why don’t you quote him?” you, again, know for a fact that (a) some of us do; (b) he is not a big fan of condensed writing: we would have to copy/paste the entire article; (c) whatever we quote, you, as a committed fan, will give some exonerating context for it (try this one: “But the teghadelti themselves had no clue as to what they were fighting for”;(d) some deductions are inferred and cannot be quoted. For example, you and I are looking at a menu which has only four things on the menu: a hamburger, a salad, a chicken sandwich, and pasta. You are very hungry and you will eat something. Yet, you sit there and take turns to intensely criticize the chicken sandwich, the pasta, the salad, and I say, “so, you will have the hamburger” you can say “I didn’t say that!” and you will be factually correct. But based on your intense criticism of everything on the menu except the hamburger, and the fact that you are hungry and you will eat, I am also correct in assuming that’s what you will have.

        Why is YG accused of being Neo-Andnet? You are fond of American politics and you always give it as an example. So try this one for size: For many African Americans, the reason that the republican party is unappealing is because a lot of its language sounds like the language of racists. Similarly, for many who were victims of Andnet Party and Haile Selasse (you know, the other “big chunk of the population” of Eritrea), when one says that the leaders of the Muslim League were “clueless”, Hamid Idris Awate is a bandit and a mass murderer, or the ELF founders were Arab agents and Islamists, all they hear is echoes of what Haile Selasse and Mengistu and Isaias Afwerki (partly) said WORD for WORD. Particularly resonant when he has NOT A WORD TO SAY ABOUT THE CRIMES OF THE ETHIOPIAN OCCUPIERS. (like the Republican who has nothing to say about racists.) So, to them, it is more of the same. You can set your bar as high as you want, but the connection is subconscious, you cannot control it. Just like the Republicans (at least the smart ones) wouldn’t sit around blaming black people for not getting them but, instead, focus on their messaging, it is YG who needs to ask himself how he can fine-tune his messaging. For me, I don’t have to go any further than this to connect a link between Neo-andnet and Paleo-Andnet: both thought that Eritrea had no legal, historical basis to be an independent country. Are you saying he didn’t say that or are you saying so what if he said that? Ghezae danced around this subject, let’s see if you give a direct answer:)

        You are fond of creating equilibrium between Ali Salim and YG. Clearly, many Eritreans took offense at Ali Salim’s “land grabber” accusations (most of them doing the a/b fallacy I mentioned above.) The difference is that Ali Salim gave numerous explanations, apologies, clarifications when all YG does with every article is to double down and get radicalized. Incidentally, I don’t think yg has a choice on the matter anymore: he has become a movement and the movement demands ever-increasing doses of it.

        More straw men: Another pin you set up and knock down: you claim that we accused him of lacking patriotism or treason. Apply that high bar you set up to yourself now: when? Quotes please. I happen to think he is a patriot: he loves the Eritrean people in the same way the PFDJ does: he considers them pity cases. And there is a reason for, explained below.

        Finally, I leave you with this quote: Swedish author Henning Mankell famously said, “we know everything about how Africans die, but we know little about how Africans live.” Well, we know everything about how we Eritreans fight each other and die, but we know very little about how to defeat the PFDJ and create a peaceful democratic country. For me, everything that yg writes not only makes defeating PFDJ harder–because he makes coalition building difficult–but, even more ominously, creating a peaceful democratic country that much harder. Simply because he sees the center of Eritrea south of the border.

        This takes us to the differences in visioning Eritrea. To yg (and Yebio, and all their fans who say “I agree with everything you said!”) Eritrea was a mistake: it is an accidental country. Eritrea is a child that was born when the Ghedli raped the people. This is why, to them, Eritrea can be loved, it can be tended to, can be cared for, it can be pitied, but we must never take pride about how she was born. And they will remind us about it every day if they have to. And those of us who think this is wrong, uninspiring, offensive, will, God willing, him them task for it every day.


        PS: Serray, you know better, we have discussed this: just like I won’t blame you for the fact that the Ethiopian ultra-nationalists and every Eritrean bigot agree with you in your high praise for yg, don’t blame me for the fact that the Isaiasist agree with me in my criticism of yg. But nice try:)

        • haile


          I don’t want to interject in this interesting discussion you two are having, but your mention of Yebio has confused me you’ve meant Girmay Yebio. In that case I am certain that the man is Ethiopian. No Kidding, unless you know something I don’t!

          • haile

            correct “if you’ve meant Girmay…”

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Haile:

            Please, interject away:) Yes I did mean Girmay Yebio (GY.)

            And, I will get off the Haile train: unless somebody tells me they are not Eritrean, I go with the assumption that everybody who writes passionately and at length about Eritrea is Eritrean. Who else would volunteer for that aggravation? 🙂


          • haile

            Selamat Saay,

            I hope at least you would give me the benefit of the doubt, considering that I do not make such specific and factual statement about a person from what you might have gathered in the way I engage here. Unfortunately, when I venture into such territory, I do realize that it tends to interfere unnecessarily in the lives of innocent family members. I do realize MR Yeibio does write and is involved in many things as an Eritrean. However, I felt like sharing that and wouldn’t mind if we even forget it (for the unnecessary grief it involves to others). But the guy, Girmay Kazanchis (as he is known) is an Ethiopian.

        • Dear Serray & SAAY,

          I thought Saay has made a final and a concluding remark by putting where both sides stand…and whatever lessons are drawn from the lengthy debate it will be a recycled argument if we continue like that. With the exception of some attractive expressions, we have consumed the “red meat” of it which ever side (guzzi) we chose.

          If we don’t understand what we are doing so far, sal put it aptly as follows: “Well, we know everything about how we Eritreans fight each other and die, but we know very little about how to defeat the PFDJ and create a peaceful democratic country.” Really this was and is the reality of Eritrean politics and as I see it, it is all “juvenile politics” as I already characterized it few years ago in one of my articles.

        • Serray

          Selamat Sal,

          You didn’t answer my question about the purpose of the lowland good highland bad analysis of ali salim, ahmed rajj or the authors of eritrean covenant. I didn’t question the validity of the idle statistics they provided, I questioned the purpose. Let me put it this way, is the purpose to shame the supporters and the beneficiaries (guilt trip the cheerleaders) or, since these authors are only respected in the opposition and considered traitors by the regime supporters and beneficiaries, it is to guilt trip the highlanders in the opposition? These authors and their fans want to prove one thing and one thing only; that the regime is ethnic by looking at a few thousand of its beneficiaries and ignoring the millions of its victims. The question again, to what end? By the way, I am not the only one saying their incomplete and self-serving data (and claims) are wrong in concluding the regime is ethnic; the best eritrean minds rejected their conclusion when they met at Ghion hotel at the invitation of Meles a couple of years ago.

          Sal, there is nothing more to the muslim/christian, highland/lowland, divide than guilt tripping. Your a) and b) are impressive but I am asking for the advantage of the divided view. What is weird is, you have a complete grasp of the pitfalls when applied on the other side. The regime supporters are fond of bringing what they think are development, you are good at putting it into perspective. But in this one case that does nothing but divide the opposition you agree with them….the regime is doing good things but only that benefit of the tigrignas. In every other case, you see the regime as destructive and denier of benefits.

          When it comes to yg and your charge of treason, nothing less than direct quotes will do. You build your traitor case by putting words into his mouth; time to use nothing but his words. If you find that difficult, it is the nature of the house of cards your charges are built on.

          About writing half a page summary, that is my point, you have caricatured the man to a few lines and now you have become allergic to even try to substantiate your pfdj style charges of treason. If somebody asked me to summarize your views in half a page, I can write a distorted one like you did about yg (emphasizing and distorting your religion, your arabic as an official language, your back and forth with the ethiopians, your stand on badme, your silence on your brother defection etc, etc, etc..) or I can write one as your fan (which I am). Both takes will be incomplete and barely scratch the surface. You are a very complex man and no half page summary will ever, ever, ever, do you justice. The same is true of yg. In a way, you and him complement each other. What you miss he captures and vice versa.

          You asked me to bring you a direct quote accusing him of treason or lacking patriotism…here it is…”neo-andnet”. You practically coined this term be honest and own its meaning and its essence.

          Here is quote that applies to you with a slight modification.

          “Well, we know everything about how we Eritreans fight each other and die, but we know very little about how to defeat the PFDJ and create a peaceful democratic country. For me, [when Sal charges fellow opposition members of treason] not only makes defeating PFDJ harder–because he makes coalition building difficult–but, even more ominously, creating a peaceful democratic country that much harder. Simply because he sees the center of Eritrea [the blood spilled to make it a nation].”

          Your PS, about isaiasist agreeing with you, here is the difference: Those who agree with you have their boots on the nation’s neck. Most of the ethiopians who agree with yg wouldn’t touch eritrea with a 10 foot pole. In other words, those who agree with you are living and breathing evil and those who agree with yg are a dying breed. The reason you have to take some blame is, they didn’t converge to your view, you did. This treason attack of yours is exactly like the regime attackers. Evil loves you only when you do evil things, you can’t let your guard down because your nemesis has his fans, too.

          Finally, many reasonable people right here at awate defended yg’s take on ghedli. From the first article when you compared us to the kids urinating on the graves of fallen algerians, you have used no new information to update your views. One thing you never did to this day is ask us why we think cutting ghedli to size is the right thing to do. You are always busy coining new insulting names and new terms. Sort of why you rarely, if ever, quote yg. Trust me on this, once the shock value of de-romanticizing ghedli passed, many people have come to accept yg’s criticism (outside the cocoon of the old men with grudges and some awate fans) as valid- even as they are dismayed by his identity politics and his thinly veiled bias against you guys.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray:

            1. Interesting how you chastise me for caricaturing yg’s viewpoint but then you say that the analysis of Ali Salim, Ahmed Raji and Eritrean Covenant is “lowland good highland bad.” That is a distortion and you know it: it doesn’t describe what they wrote; it only describes your attitude towards what they wrote. Then you ask me why I didn’t answer your question about why publishing Rajji’s statistics was relevant, when I already have. It is one thing to say the conclusions drawn from the data are wrong, in which case, you have to show precisely what conclusions were presented by Ahmed Raji’s Lost Rainbow and Mejlis Ibrhaim Mukhar’s “Towards Sustainable Justice” and then contradict them. It is still another thing to say the data was wrong, in which case, you can critique it, or that the tone of the authors was inflammatory, in which case you would have valid points. It still another to say the data is incomplete, in which case you can present the missing data. But to completely question the data is denialism at its worst. Denialism, as author Michael Specter describes it, is when one “turns away from reality in favor of a more comfortable lie.” In this case, the lie is that the PFDJ reflects the diversity of Eritrea. It is in the interest of PFDJ to present this fiction and to go to extraordinary lengths to sell it; it is surreal to hear support for this fiction from a person who was just telling us that he is so enamored with yg because of his ability to describe “reality” while the “Ghedli romantics” were obsessing over symbols.

            2. You question the necessity of the data. Is your problem with some data or all data? Is it with who presented the data: if yg had presented Ahmed Raji’s report to criticize Ghedli, would it have been taboo-busting and brilliant? Can we analyze data or only some data? Is the fact that the Eritrean government almost entirely staffed by “Ghedli romanticizing” veterans with virtually no “civilian” presence or young people relevant in determining the behavior of the government? If I say the PFDJ government, at senior levels, is staffed almost 100% with former Ghedli combatants (and it is), am I saying that all Ghedli combatants are benefiting from the system (they are not)? Or am I describing a closed society, a Mafia-like structure which relies on the loyalty of kith and kin? Is the education level of the Eritrean government employees relevant in explaining the behavior of the government? Is the percentage of women in government relevant and does it tell us anything about the attitude of government towards women’s rights?

            3. Serray, you are asking me to stop accusing yg of treason by putting words in his mouth. What words did I put in his mouth? When did I accuse him of treason? It appears to me that you are putting words in my mouth, defining them, and then asking me to stop using those words (and their definitions). Very curious. I consider one of the most offensive things that PFDJ does is to accuse anyone it disagrees with of treason and I would never do that. If you can show I did that, bring it. If all you got is “Neo-Andnet”, you don’t have much and here’s why: Since the 1960s, there have been dozens of political organizations and programs in Eritrea. Not one of them advocated the position of Andnet Party: that it is a mistake for Eritrea to seek independence from Ethiopia and that whatever arguments it was using to make that claim are spurious. One “brave”* individual did and he was, by his fans, congratulated for his bravery. And since that position–that Eritreans made a mistake when they sought to become an independent state–was a NEW (neo) restatement of a principle advocated by an OLD party (Andnet), then it is perfectly descriptive and appropriate that it be applied to him and people who think like him. The fact that the PFDJ applies that label to me only tells me that the PFDJ is lazy, it doesn’t tell me that there is never an application for the label.

            If those who read YG and claim to understand him cannot summarize what he says in a 1/2 page abstract, then either they haven’t understood him, or he is not a good communicator. Either way, they forfeit the right to criticize those who can.

            4. The guilt-by-association that you are trying to do–that if repulsive people agree with what you are saying, then there must be something very wrong with what you are saying–is selectively applied by you. Now, it turns out, that this is particularly bad if those “who agree with you have their boots on the nation’s neck”. Ok. By that definition, is it bad that you agree with those who have the boots on the nation’s neck when it comes to Ahmed Raji, Mejlis Ibrahim Mukhtar? Will you change your mind just because you don’t even want to accidentally agree with them.

            5. About Ghedli, it is like anything else: (a) there are people who think its flawless (mostly YPFDJ types who have zero information about Ghedli); (b) there are people who think it was flawed, but its advantages outweigh its disadvantages (that is almost every veteran and everybody who supported the Revolution); (c) there are people who think it was so thoroughly flawed and that it was not worth the risk. The problem that I have with yg and his fans who belong in the “c” category, is that they lump groups (a) (b) into one category called “Ghedli Romantic” and that if you criticize their flawed thinking process and their demonstrable lack of knowledge on what they are supposedly analyzing, they claim you are saying that Ghedli was flawless. More and more, group C is trying to claim into its camp people who have decided to share what they know about how truly flawed Ghedli was (the Tesfay Temenwos and the other veterans who are speaking out, and their massive audience) despite the fact that these Eritreans have NOT said, as the Neo-Andnet have, that Eritrea had no reason, no justification to start a revolution against Ethiopia in 1961. This is why you have gotten the wrong impression that it’s “only old men with grudges” (hmmm, this is bad, bad, bad, Serray: it sounds like something PFDJ would say) who haven’t bought into the entire Neo-Andnet agenda. When Tesfay Temenwo says, “it was a mistake for Eritreans to start a revolution against Ethiopia”, then you can brag about your “more and more” people enlisting in the Neo Andnet camp.

            6. Finally, Serray, about the “thinly veiled” attack from Neo-Andnet group against us, come on dude, that is not a bug in the system, it is a feature! After all, what exactly is a Neo-Andnet going to think of a website named after the “genocidal criminal” (yg’s label) Hamid Idris Awate? A website that celebrates a revolution against the injustice of Haile Selasse and Derg when, according to yg, “to be a visionary at that time would require that one totally rejects the revolution itself, but not many in that conformist society were willing to take that road.” We are conformists and he is a visionary who bravely stood against the revolution when the revolution achieved its aim:)** The whole problem with your approach, Serray, is that you think this is a personal quarrel between two individuals (and your sympathies are clearly with one guy who gets picked on unfairly–which is why the funniest thing you did was to present yourself as an impartial judge:)))) when, in fact, it is a clash of visions. A vision of a future Eritrea saddled with the shame of a 30-year futile waste of a revolutions (oops, I mean “so-called revolution”) and a proud one that knows it owes its very existence to the revolution, warts and all. Its not personal and, just like the Revolution, it is more motivated by the justness of its cause (ah, the benefits of a cocoon!) than how many people line up to cheer it or boo it.


            * tongue firmly in cheek.
            ** In contrast to Tesfatsion Medhane, who said his piece about the Revolution when it mattered and price was paid for taking unpopular positions: during the Revolution.

      • wediere


        I admit that I loose interest reading the long winded articles of YG but his message is crystal clear that Eritrea should have stayed with Ethiopia (Eritrean should have sought change from within), then he goes at length to explain the multi-decked identity that supposedly its associated problems renders Eritrea a non functioning state, not mentioning that Ethiopia is more diverse and complicated that our own.

        For me the criticism of Gedli is not the big problem (age being the main factor in such attitude), however, he needs to chip on that for a considerable length of time to make a little dent.

        The problem is if one is attentive to the dosage he gives, call it enlightened to his view, the lesson to take home is that sacrificing to remove the dictator, even if successful will be questioned if it is worth the sacrifice (by YG2), leading to resignation and inaction etc….imagine perpetuating the state of hopelessness….. YG’s offer to change comes in:
        1. Enticing Ethiopia to do the job – the caveat – what is on offer, I don’t think a friendly neighbour will do.
        2. Wait for DIA to die of fegato…well when it came to Arab spring he made a point that with leaders in their 80’s it “was not worth the sacrifice”

        When it come to charting the future in Eritrea or within Ethiopia, the fears and hopes of the 40’s and 50’s are not exactly the same, the deal is not bad at all , it is the Ethiopians that fear the karma of Eritrea.

        So let YG roar, a brilliant mind, compassionate of the dire need of his people should work hard to bring about change, rather than delving on hairsplitting activities that renders us hopeless and inactive.


        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear wediere.”…even if successful will be questioned if it is worth the sacrifice (by YG2),…” that is it. we will always see this type of personalities. for me your short explanation will end the argument. Eritrean national identity will never be compromised even if there will be a group on power worst than PFDJ (what worst? from which palanet of our universe will it come any way).

          we all have to show the world Ertirea is Eritrea and we will remove PFDJ while Eritrea is Eritrea, a peaceful nation cooperative with her all neighbours and above all our Habesha brothers of Ethiopia.

        • Serray

          Selam Sal,

          On 1 and 2, I kept asking what is the purpose, meaning, how does making the regime ethnic (by looking at its employees) help the cause. The conclusion this authors were driving at was to make pfdj ethnic. I never accuse them of lying, I just questioned the switch of tactics. You kept telling me it is good data. Okay, in a free eritrea, breaking down the population participation in government will be useful. But these authors have one thing in common, for reasons only they understand, they want to turn the regime ethnic and basically give it have of the population as fans by guilt tripping them. If you go to a village of ten thousand starving children and find ten full stomach kids and you write a research paper about the ten – who they are, who their families are – you can scream what you wrote about them and their families is 100 percent true but I will still say it is useless. 99.9 of eritreans are victims, write about those. When it comes to eritrea, the least important information provided thus far came from those authors because the regime will not use it and the opposition has nothing to do with it.

          On 3) I am asking you to own your words because neo-andnet = traitor. You said, “Very curious. I consider one of the most offensive things that PFDJ does is to accuse anyone it disagrees with of treason and I would never do that”. 1)You accuse yg of inviting the ethiopians (foreign government at war with the eritrean regime. 2) andnet (new or old) means Yg wants ethiopia to colonize eritrea . If you combine these two and compare it to the definition of treason in any dictionary, you will see what I mean.

          On 4) you chose andnet for a reason. If your disagreement with yg was simply on the role of ghedli, I will not tie you to the regime but andnet is a term you coined even though you are still reluctant to produce a single sentence where he said he wants union with ethiopian. Second, your choice of andnet is to attack the person the same way the regime cheerleaders do. The ethiopians have moved on; the woyanes will not take eritrea if you offered them on silver platter. Meaning, there is no HS waiting on the other side, therefore, your one legged andnet insult is to brand the man as an enemy of eritrea who can’t wait to sell it to ethiopia. I find it irritating when people accuse you of being an islamist. If I ask these people to produce evidence from your huge number of articles, they will dance around your religion, arabic, awate and it always ends up me accusing them of acting like the regime when it was prostituting the nation to the americans.

          On 5) when and if you ask me why I want to see ghedli cut to size I will respond to it. For now let me say a ghedli romantic is anyone who throws insults when ghedli is criticized; anyone who coins terms instead of demolish the points when ghedli and its purpose is questioned (you). Even though you think there is a difference between 1 and 2, in reality, when ghedli is questioned the two merge and become indistinguishable…that is why both like to throw andnet around despite the fact that there is no chance in hell for that.

          On 6) No, it was not a clash of visions because he never said what you guys say is his vision – andnet. When it comes to visions, you are identical, both of you want to bring normalcy to eritrea. Your difference is about the past and the role it is playing in dehumanizing the eritrean people. You sort of sugarcoat some of it and he bares, confronts and challenges everything. Actually, your difference is on the audience you are targeting. When you wrote the first rebuttal, you said your aim was to educate the young and confused (I guess that is why there is an element of condescending when you write on this subject ); along the way, you gave up and settled for God knows what audience. Yg’s target is everyone; his interest is to expose the regime. Yours is to bring him down before he gets traction. Because of that, your eyes left the ball (regime) and since time has shown you that your attempt has failed and yg resonates with the young and yet non are rushing to sell eritrea, instead of reevaluating your condescending view of the young as urinating bunch, you doubled down on andnet.

          Sal, when I blame you for having the regime supporters as fans, I mean it. Since the men with grudges don’t need your help to brand him neo-andnet; since the young are more evolved that what you gave them credit; by a simple process of elimination, your name calling appeals to a group founded on the principle of name calling. To be fair to you, you were destined to fail on this endeavor. Since the young run away from those who used ghedli to enslave them, your argument in favor of ghedli to was weak to begin with. Instead of choosing another tactic to appeal to them (or make peace with yg on ghedli and challenge him on the other stuff) you decided to insult him and his fans (the young) and coin words not only the young can not relate to, but their worst enemies fell in love with. Every article you write has a higher purpose; tell me the higher purpose of going after yg when you charge him of treason.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray:

            Reading you, I am reminded of a dialog between Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Lewis Carroll’s classic “Through The Looking Glass”

            ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
            ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
            ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

            1. Definitions: You have defined “Ghedli Romantic” and “Neo-Andnet” and “treason” to mean exactly what you want them to mean–neither more nor less–and you are aggrieved that I don’t agree with you.

            To repeat it (for the 7th time, counting the times I explained it to Ghezae): the Neo-Andnet and Andnet have one common belief they share–that they share only with each other and no other political entity–that it was a mistake for Eritrea to seek separation from Ethiopia and that it had no historical or legal justification for doing so. In The Circular Journey in Search of Eritrea: A “World Distance” that Never Was, YG lists a number of reasons that the “Ghedli Generation” (apparently, the phrase is not age specific: it means exactly what he wants it to mean, neither more nor less:-) gave for separating from Ethiopia and then methodically knocks them all down–colonialism (“Eritrea’s case too was not a colonial question”), managing diversity, preserving identity, religious/language/democratic/federal grievance, economic progress, peace and security. In each case, he says that there is no evidence that Eritrea separating from Ethiopia can manage them better and in some cases there is evidence that the problems become even bigger when they are concentrated on a smaller country.

            YGs position is intellectually defensible–but guess who else made the exact same arguments? The Andnet Party which proclaimed “Ethiopia or death”; YG is saying that the near-death experience Eritrea is having can be traced to its decision to separate from Ethiopia. You forget yg’s radicalization process (probably because you are taking the same journey with him) but I don’t know anybody who called him Neo Andnet for telling us how awful Ghedli was: he earned the label fair and square when he said that Eritrea had no basis for demanding independence from Ethiopia. And, in rejecting the label, he said “First, even if I wanted to, given the reality on the ground, it would be a quixotic venture to attempt that; and I don’t think I am that stupid to attempt it. Second, Eritreans should stop flattering themselves that the Ethiopians still want them.” That is: it is too hard to do it, and Ethiopia doesn’t want us. But there is nothing there that says that, in principle, he would be opposed to it. It’s like asking a divorced woman who traces all her difficulties to her decision to divorce her husband if she would like to re-marry her ex and she says: “I am not going to re-marry him because that is just a lot of work and, in any event, I am not sure he is still interested in me.” It is very different from, “hell, no, why would I want to do that?” which is what over 99% of Eritreans said in 1993.

            2. Data: If every single senior position in the Eritrean government was held by Isaias’s immediate family members, would you want to know or would you say, “well, this is really not fair because it is just going to guilt-trip Isaias’s immediate family”? If you found out that every senior military officer was from Isaias’s home town, would you want to know, or would you say, “well, this is really not fair because it is going to guilt-trip Isaias’s home town”? I honestly do not think that you have read Ahmed Raji’s “Loss of Rainbow” series when you accuse him that his intent was to show that the Eritrean regime is “ethnic.” For a guy who insists on quoting people, you seem to extend that right only to yg. You are being exceptionally unfair to Ahmed Raji.

            3. Youth: One of the great advantages of not being a politician is that you don’t have to pander. The youth are like any other demographic group and they have their share of smart and dumb, informed and ill-informed, lazy and hard-working. Originally, my aim was a specific youth group who, thanks to PFDJ’s history revision, have very, very little knowledge of Eritrean history. (I mean shockingly little.) YG appeals to a youth group who want an explanation for why they were so abused (you are not the only ones, the Ghedli monster has been doing it for years”): a fine therapy session, which is useful. But when it comes to inspiring, empowering, emboldening them to do anything about their abuse, it is all a call to inaction. I am judging by what I read; clearly, those of you who follow him at Paltalk, EYSC conference, and Debrezeit can inform us if has said anything that has inspired people to take action and, if so, what that action is. Meanwhile, the real opponents–PFDJ–pound one message: whatever the challenge is, we did it in Sahel, we can do it again. So when you say he is “winning” you forget that I am not the real opponent–Paltalk, and the other gathering places where youth congregate is not my thing–it is the PFDJ and YPFDJ and his message of “it is too hard” and navel-gazing does not produce anything but a large group of wailers.

            4. Visioning Eritrea: Serray, my vision of Eritrea is a nation that, like its fellow African sister states, struggled for its independence, made mistakes along the way, is learning and its stakeholders are negotiating formulas for peaceful co-existence. It doesn’t see itself as an aberration which was formed despite having no reason to exist as an independent state; it doesn’t see those who took the risk to raise a gun against a tyrant as “clueless” criminals, it doesn’t see a people against whom a revolution was imposed by clueless criminals against their will. In short, it is not a self-hating state, which has to apologize for 30 years of its young life or be ashamed for its circumstances that led to her birth.

            Finally, Serray, Your entreaties against “name-calling” are mere calls for unilateral disarmament, and I have never been good at that. Everything I have written about the Neo Andnet group has been in response to something outrageous, offensive, flat-out wrong fabrication they wrote. I am replying to a group who are not shy about using an arsenal of adjectives against people, mostly dead, simply because they disagree with their worldview. So the higher purpose is to correct their distortion and to defend the dead who can’t write articles in self-defense.


          • Serray

            Selam Sal,

            Finally, a quote from yg that proves he doesn’t believe in “ethiopia wey mot”.

            Question, “Do you want eritrea to reunite with ethiopia”

            Yg, “First, even if I wanted to, given the reality on the ground, it would be…[exceedingly idealistic, unrealistic and impractical] venture to attempt that; and I don’t think I am that stupid to attempt it”.

            Humpty Dumpty, “That means, yes”

            Second, all who call him neo-andnet do flatter themselves that ethiopians want eritrea back. His second sentence, “…Eritreans should stop flattering themselves that the Ethiopians still want them” is correct.

            2) first, if I am distorting Ahmed Raji’s conclusion, I apologize. Your website doesn’t have a search and I can’t find the piece. It was a sober analysis and I remember the timing of it (when people were pushing to make the regime ethnic) bothering me more than anything else since there is nothing anyone can do about it as long as isaias is in power; I don’t recall a single incendiary or unfair statement.

            About the data, except half of eritrea are not isaias’s family or the whole highland is not isaias’s town. Highlanders and christians (just like lowlanders and muslims) are not some minority, they are half of the nation. If you want to conclude that a few thousand beneficiaries of the system are exactly the same as a couple of million, then go ahead, pull another Humpty Dumpty…”when I say ten thousand, I mean two and half million”.

            3) You are right about yg being more of a psychiatrist coach…the best role for you would have been to complement what he does but you don’t pander to the youth. Sort of you saying to them “Whether they like it or not, the value system shaebia used to abuse you, ghedli, is still the best thing. If you don’t like it, go to hell”. The youth are inactive because of all of us in the opposition, not just yg.

            4) In case you haven’t noticed, your vision is mostly backward looking. Eritrea is a nation, there is no going back. You don’t have to defend its nationhood with eyob or anyone. That was over in 1991. It is extremely redundant to justify it to anyone after what was paid for it. This need of yours and the pfdjs to defend it is totally redundant. There is no mahber andnet, the ethiopians are not interested, Badme was totally the handiwork of isaias, you can spend ALL your energy fighting the regime now, it is the ONLY one destroying and threatening it..

            Even in a free eritrea, there will be people who wouldn’t see the people or the nation the way you do. You have to shelve some under freedom of speech and move on. The longer isaias lasts, the more you are going to be forcibly and unilaterally disarmed. Honestly, when you are not name calling, you have this cross appeal that few writers have. The longer you stay defending a murky history of ghedli and explaining why something that was over in 1991 started in 1961, the more you will be disarmed. You wrote about people dropping out, it will be a huge loss to the opposition if either one of you dropped out because the wave of public opinion turned against you in cottage industry your created to destroy and distort each other.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray:

            1. I think what you mean is “finally, a quote from yg that I like.” I noticed that you ignored several quotes that show that he, like the Andnet party, believed/believes that Eritrea should have remained part of Ethiopia. A guy commits plagiarism, he is given proof that he did, he says, “no I didn’t, I would never do that.” You focus on his denial and not on the proof presented against him.

            2. You are, again, misconstruing the data or its intent. Just because that the only conclusion that you have reached is that “all of A is part of B is the same as saying that all of B is part of A” doesn’t mean that that was the conclusion Ahmed Raji wanted you to reach. (I apologize that our website does not only not have a search engine, it has lost forever some crucial data including Ahmed Raji’s masterpiece. So asking you to quote something that has disappeared is not fair.)

            3. There is no such thing as “the youth” with a uniform view of life. In case you forget, the YPFDJ is also “the youth.” The youth that were very attentive to yg for Act 1 (“the Ghedli was terrible”) are still in Act 1–three years later!–and haven’t moved on because yg refuses to move on. Like Hollywood with a hit movie, he has made an entire franchise out of the Ghedli was terrible play. And, like a horror movie, he feels that the sequel has to top the original and his language has been increasingly polarizing and incendiary.

            4. Actually, my vision is very forward-looking: it basically says Eritrea’s struggle was for independence from Ethiopia and freedom. The independence part is done, now let’s move on to the freedom/liberty part. It is yg and all his cheerleaders who want to litigate the part that is done: the struggle for independence from Ethopia and, in the process, inviting all the Ethiopian supra-nationalists to the party by singing sweet songs of One Ethiopia. Presumably, their argument is that unless we learn the lessons of the struggle for independence, we will repeat them in the struggle for freedom. Good point, and lesson learned: thank you and we appreciate it. But it has been beaten to death. There is a dead horse, and yg is holding the stick:)

            5. About the “dropping out” it is real, Serray. Very real. (Woleyesus Ammar wrote elegantly about this when his own organization ELF-RC was fracturing.) At every stage, there have been Eritreans who have said, “screw this, I have other identities besides being Eritrean that aren’t this much of a headache.” There are tens of thousands of Eritreans in Sudan who have been adopted by Sudanese tribes. There are Semhar Red Sea folks who were one of the early pioneers of the struggle who have been dispersed in the Middle East and adopted Middle Eastern identities. There are kebesa Eritreans who have adopted Ethiopian identities and will never come back. There are Afar Eritreans who are more attracted to Afar Nation than Eritrea. You can go down the list. What I am telling you YG’s grand talk of Habesha identity; his claim that Eritreans had no legitimate reason to fight Haile Selasse; his claim that the initiators of Eritrea’s armed struggle were criminals, Arabists, Islamists; does contribute to more Eritreans dropping out from the struggle against PFDJ because they sense that what awaits post-PFDJ Eritrea is a return of the pre-struggle sentiments.

            Serray, I always imagine an Eritrean political prisoner in Ela Eiro somehow manages to get a visitor and asks “what are Eritreans talking about these days?” It embarasses me that, under that scenario, that all the prisoner would hear, “well, they are litigating the armed struggle. They are narrating how awful it was. They are discussing what Andnet’s agenda was. They are discussing whether Hamid Idris Awate was merely a criminal or an ethnic cleanser.” I enter into this polemic discussions reluctantly and only when provoked into it. If you could spend half the energy you spent here defending their articles towards telling them that if they could focus some of their talent into forward looking articles that contribute to removing PFDJ, we would all be better off.


          • Serray

            Selamat Sal,

            When it comes to ghedli your feeling of infallibility is mind blowing. You never ask why people agree with yg’s take of ghedli; you always assume the worst. Your vision of eritrea is like that of house of cards, challenge it on any level and it will collapse.

            I went to school in ethiopia and found out that ethiopians are nothing like the tor serawit we know. Actually, they are nothing like the people you argued during badme or the woyanes. Just like we are nothing like jebha or shaebia or awate or the other symbols. We eritreans are nothing like ghedli. Ghedli was the necessary evil we were forced to create to fight ethiopian rulers.

            My point is, our lives shouldn’t be defined by the sword we used to get where we are. We don’t have to worship the sword or let our lives be defined by it. As a matter of fact, our growth as nation depends on discarding the sword and all it represents. Ghedli shouldn’t be emulated; it is a toxic existence that we should all be grateful it is over (at least when the sick psycho is dead).

            The reason I brought ethiopia is to show how unrepresentative their history books are. Their history books are written by their rules or for their rules. It is amazing how their books ignore the amazing diversity, culture, tradition ethiopia houses in favor of monolithic kings and monolithic tradition and religion. We are not ghedli, if ghedli passes as our history and tradition, it is at the expense of everything we are. Ghedli is nothing more than our armed force and if it becomes our culture, we are all screwed. What is lacking in your back and forth with yg is the appreciation of the idea that ghedli is a necessary evil.

            Shaebia are determined to pass ghedli as our most cherished history and tradition. If ethiopia won the war, eritrea would have been nothing more that a reclaimed land. Eritrea is heading in the wrong direction because its rulers refuse to let go an era necessitated by colonial rulers. By the way, regarding the Ela Eiro prisoner, remember you are the other half of that argument; telling the guy the values of the system that ended up putting him there is good and pure.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray:

            You never ask why people agree with yg’s take of ghedli; you always assume the worst.

            yg’s take of ghedli is that it was terrible and it should never have happened. yg’s take is: There was no reason at all for Eritreans to start a revolution against Ethiopia in 1961. This is not peripheral to his take: this is his take. Now, before we assume the best or the worst, why don’t we ask those who agree with yg’s take of ghedli, if they agree with this particular take. Let’s take a representative sample of YG supporters–Serray, Ghezae, anti-ghedli, Dawit, Hayat Adam, Papillon (if she is still around) and any Eritrean who wants to volunteer–and ask you directly: do you believe that Ghedli should never have happened and Eritreans had no historical, legal, legitimate reason to raise their gun against Haile Selasse and later on Mengistu? A simple yes or no will do. If you can’t give a yes or no, you not only do not know yg’s take, you don’t know what your own take is.

            The analogy of Ghedli with sword is interesting–but it only tells half the story. If the Ghedli was a sword, Mengistu’s Abyot and the Haile Selasse Empires were not holding plowshares, an obvious but simple fact that is always missing from every demonization of Ghedli.

            You mind is easily blown: when did I say ghedli is “infallible”? What I try to do is put ghedli in the context of other revolutions and the context of Marxist organizations. Ghedli is the sum total of the experiences of ELF and EPLF. The ugly side of ghedli may be new to you, but it was known to everybody–as it happened. The EPLF called the ELF “Amma Haradit”; and the ELF talked about EPLF’s authortiarian nature, and the cruelty of its Halewa Sewra. There were escapees, and people who surrendered to Ethiopia who spilled the beans. None of this is new to anybody but those who are too young to know it, or were too detached from the revolution. The difference is that there are people who say that we will discuss it within a larger Truth-Reconciliation session in a democratic and just Eritrea and there are those who say let’s talk about it now, now, now. The latter have accused those who want the right forum to discuss it as being criminals and indicted them as co-conspirators and they have been talking about how ugly Ghedli was non-stop and they have made it into their sole mission.

            The value sytem of Ghedli was supposed to end when Ghedli ended. Isaias Afwerki–with a great, great help from the people (not the Tegadelti who demonstrated against him in 1993, but the people who averted their eyes when he mowed them down) created a power monopoly to enable him to extended it. He, and the people who empowered him, are to blame.

            I will give you an example: I fast in Ramadan. It’s a practice for specific purpose and specific time. If someone in my household develops an eating disorder, and you blame me or Ramadan for that, you are just trying to help the person evade responsibility for his screw-up. In this particular case, it is Isaias Afwerki, and all the people the empowered him–and that, statically speaking, includes you and me and YG and every Eritrean over 40 who was not part of the opposition–who are to blame for the mess Eritrea is in. In fact, the only people that should be excluded are those who were warning very loudly about a terrible dictator he will be (you know, the same ones that are now being–once again–being criticized using the “Ghedli” brush by those who empowered Isaias Afwerki.) The whole “Ghedli is terrible” is just a way for people to avoid responsibility for their role in creating the monstrosity we have in Eritrea. It is a lot like the criminals who blame their terrible childhood for how they turned out. And that’s the bitter truth.


          • wediere


            I did not realise it was that bad when the website crashed, I assume the articles were submitted to your web email which was wiped aswell. Anyway, if Serray wants to read, “The lost rainbow” link to the 4 series follows:

            Part i

            Part ii

            Part iii

            Part iv


          • Salyounis

            Thanks Wediere!

            And by the way, aren’t you one of the “youth”? What are you doing by criticizing YG? You might lose your “youth” identity and be instantly relegated to the Old Men With Grudges club if you don’t toe the line:)) The Humpty-Dumpties have also given their own definition for youth: if you are 50 years old and you agree with YG, you are youth; if you are 25 years old and you disagree with YG, then you are old:))

            As far our server crash, it was pretty bad. We just haven’t found a way to write (without laughing out loud) the “mlkawi srAt Hgdef b ny cyber meTkaEti geru…” explanation yet. We just say, “damn, that was stupid of us.” We suck at selling self pity. 🙂


        • Serray

          Thank you wediere,

          I was thinking the same thing about an email copy…since that might have been maintained outside the website. I am curious, if you can find an archieve with live links, does it mean there is another dimension that can allow awate to rebuilt the database?

          • Saleh Gadi

            Wediere, Serray and others.

            It is not that bad…. but it is very bad:-) Since the data is public property, we will share our limitation with our readers.

            But note that we have all the data but we also have a problem. If there is anyone with the skills willing to help, this is what we need:

            1. Setup Joomla version 1.0 (http://joomlacode.org/gf/download/frsrelease/6828/22538/Joomla_1.0.15-Stable-Full_Package.zip) and populate with the data that we will provide.
            2. Upgrade the new site to Joomla 1.5
            3. Migrate to wordpress 3.5
            4. And then export posts to xml format so that it can be imported to current awate website.

            Any help!

            NB: Serray: 1) Go to < http://archive.org/web/web.php> 2) enter the URL of website that you want to check…. and viola! Take it from there. Nothing disappears for good.

          • Serray

            Selam Sal,

            I didn’t say you said ghedli is infallible, I said your feeling about it is, meaning, ghedli is exactly one you think of it and everybody who disagrees with you about it is dead wrong.

            When I said ask us about ghedli I meant ask us in order to learn why. But since you have reduced yg to two sentences, you just want to fit us in the tiny boxes you have next to them, yes or no. There are many people today who oppose armed struggle against shaebia rulers; they do so for many reasons. I know you are smitten with idea of eritrea like a first time home buyer but others look at the monstrosity our country has become and question the blood spilled to bring it into existence.

            Your last paragraph is not true. Isaias is not Hitler, unlike him isaias was not elected to office and brainwashed the people using some sort of nazi propaganda machine. Isaias came with all the power he needs to subjugate eritrea in 1991. If you forget, in 1991, isaias and tegadelti came with about half a million arms of different kinds. When and where isaias decided to take the nation, the only people who could have stopped him were tegadelti. As you pointed out on the paragraphs above it, the excesses of ghedli was known to tegadelti and the un-detached people like you. And yet, you chose to blame the people who had no power to stop him and his blood soaked crew. You told me and others not to generalize about people in a negative way. But you have no problem doing it when it is done to whitewash ghedli and its contribution to creating the monsters destroying our country.

            To see how wrong you are, let’s take ethiopia, the woyanes entered addis abeba and controlled the country – a population of fifty or so million (let me add the people were not that happy with them either). Not only that, but in 1991, the OLF and other armed groups were also alive and kicking. The woyanes, no more than shaebia in number, managed to bend their country to their wishes using arms when and if they have to. In 2005 when the ethiopians challenged them, they showed them what they are capable. But here you are, having given all evil and all power to one man, blame the eritrean people; a fraction of what the woyanes have to deal with, for spoiling him.

            Sal, the people didn’t create these monsters, medda did. The blood and gore needed to survive ghedli is what made these people who they are.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Awatistas:

            [I am enjoying my discussions with Serray. Honestly, we don’t close debates anywhere else, so, I am not extending myself a privilege that doesn’t exist for others. We are also trying to be good on the thread chron so that we don’t dominate the discussion: those of you who are bored by this, feel free to ignore it.]

            Merhaba Serray:

            Really, you got the wrong impression on my view of Ghedli: I don’t feel my way is the only way to view it. I think I described Eritreans views of Ghedli as a continuum ranging from two extremes: on one end are those who have built a shrine to it and thought it was perfect and epitomizes everything that is good; on the other end are those who consider it concentrated evil with no redeeming qualities. I belong somewhere in the middle. I find the position of the first group (ghedli worshippers) intellectually honest, even if I disagree with it, while the ghedli-defamers are really a set of contradictions. More on that in due time but for now consider this: no belief system can survive if it has a skewed moral code. The “Ghedli defamer” believes that “ghedli” is the worst thing to happen to Eritreans. Then, the following must, by definition, follow:

            a. A person who was a spy for Ethiopia is on a higher moral plane than a Tegadalai, because the spy was trying to defeat this pure evil;
            b. A person who surrendered to Ethiopia is on a higher moral plane than a Tegadalai, because the wedo-geba was trying to defeat the pure evil of Ghedli;
            c. A person who never supported the Ghedli is on a higher moral plane than somebody who did: after all, Ghedli is pure evil;
            d. A person who deserted Ghedli is on a higher moral plane than somebody who saw it through–at least the deserter washed his hands of evil sooner than later;
            d. An Eritrean civilian (militia sernay, commandis, nech lebash, etc) who enlisted with Ethiopia to fight Ghedli (pure evil) is on a higher moral plane than the Tegadalai.

            Of course, these are difficult things to say, which is why you haven’t answered the question: Were Eritreans justified in raising arms against Haile Selasse in 1961?


          • wediere


            I was a “youth” when I first peeked into awate, now I lost my you-sefulness, well blame your friend Semere for his knock out article that deliminated the age to max 25 and as Eritrean I have taken it to heart as final and binding, what remains is grudges and you know the rest since you experienced for long :).


            I remember practicing HTML in ’99, when I was procrastinating from the subject that I was studying in my undergrads….can offer some of my time, but may require a bit of training. I have an idea of using a number of youth..”real youth” who may help out and at the same time learn …give a bit of time to work out how to do and will let you know.

            The good news, SG has confirmed he has all the material, a lesson to learn is not to use an internal web-email if you want to secure your material, as in not to put all your eggs in one basket.

            Take care all

            Take Care

          • Serray

            Selamat Sal,

            I am enjoying the discussion as well but I also hope we come to some kind of understanding that name calling is destructive.

            Back to the issue…Here you again putting words in the mouths of the people you have political disagreement. I don’t think those who criticize ghedli for what you call its “excesses” put those who fought against it on a higher moral ground. As a matter of fact, very little is said about them. You know you are in murky position if you start to draw conclusions like these. Remember, the other side, by working backwards from today’s eritrea, could draw similar conclusions.

            In 1961, eritreans didn’t raise arms, a handful did. As a matter of fact, the majority of eritreans accepted HS as their ruler but to answer your question, were those who did justified? Some questions, when addressed to a party far removed from the reality of the times, are meaningless. I wish I can ask awate the same question while pointing at the people who are living in refugee camps in sudan since he fired the first shot, those who perished fighting the ethiopians and the millions who perished because their homes became battle grounds.

            I know you think you are in a higher moral ground – because eritrea is a nation and you are surrounded by people who reinforce your belief that the price is just right – when you ask these completely useless questions. The morally correct answer is, if eritrea lived up to their vision, yes. But if eritrea continues to worship sacrifices; if eritrea remains at war with itself and the world; if eritrean youth have to choose between slavery and death, then because these men were humble and not self-righteous, I think they will at least qualify their answer to take account of the suffering.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray:

            Quick note, hope you don’t mind:

            1. Even Amnesty International (!) understands something the Ghedli-defamers (is that “name calling?”*) do not: there is a difference between independence and freedom.http://awate.com/twenty-years-of-independence-but-still-no-freedom/ The Ghedli was to get independence, end of story. Independence from Ethiopia, so Eritreans can chart their own future. When you and others talk about how much was sacrificed for Eritrea and whether it was worth it, you forget that the Ghedli had offered Ethiopia a deal: let’s have a referendum so that Eritreans can decide if they want to be part of Ethiopia or be independent. A revolution that has concerns on whether it has the support of the people doesn’t make that offer.

            2. We have to stop taking this “putting words in the mouth” thingie to its extreme. If I ask your name, you will say, “Serray.” You won’t say, “it’s Serray, not Saleh, not Haile, not Ghezae, not…” ad infinitum but it is still reasonable for me to conclude that you are not Saleh, Haile or Ghezae. Similarly, when YG began all the Ghedli-bashing with “Eritrean Independence: Was the sacrifice worth it?” I had said that the way the question is phrased and the answers provided, one is left with the impression that yg’s conclusion is NO. And, eventually, after a lot of Qulehleh, that’s where he ended up. Inference, deductive reasoning are useful tools, although, in the case of YG, if you wait long enough, he will blurt it out. (the movement is one way, no pause, no re-assessment: marching as to war.)

            3. I am not trying to make myself morally superior. Far from it: certainly, a person who fought and bled for Eritrea is morally superior to me. A person who is donating money to the children of Eritrea’s martyrs is definitely morally superior to someone who is even reluctant to call them martyrs. I was trying to see if you agree that there is moral hierarchy, or if it is all “situational ethics.” Apparently, you are a believer of “situational ethics”: it depends. If, then.

            4. No reason to make the question a hypothetical and wonder what Awate or Woldeab Woldemariam would say. They are long dead, let’s ask the living. The fact that you can’t answer a straight-forward question like: “Were Eritreans justified in raising arms against Emperor Haile Selasse in 1961?” is an answer in itself.

            5. Two things about “I don’t think those who criticize ghedli for what you call its “excesses” put those who fought against it on a higher moral ground. As a matter of fact, very little is said about them.” (a) Exactly and that’s a problem: their “situational ethics” is conveniently silent about the atrocities of Ethiopians; (b) when they DO talk about them, when their heart bleeds, it is only to discuss how evil Ghedli was to, for example, militia Sernay of Qohain.


            * Is calling patriots “clueless”, “genocidal criminal” name calling?

          • Serray

            Selam Sal,

            The question is not whether freedom and independence are the same, it is whether ghedli’s goal was independence and not freedom. If tegadelti went around telling people that their goal was not to free them but just to kick the ethiopians out, I think the eritrean people would have a second thought about the sacrifices they were asked to pay just to replace amharic speaking brutes with tigrogna speaking super brutes.

            Your independence vs freedom dichotomy has Orwellian feel to it. In Animal Farm, when the napoleon was caught sleeping in bed violating one of the seven commandments, he added to the original commandment, “No animal shall sleep in a bed”, the words “with sheets”. I bet you added your “with sheets” when ghedli became difficult to defend without qualifying its objectives retroactively.

            But I like your “situational ethics”, now let’s apply it to you. Why do you make a distinction between freedom and independence? Would you have made it if shaebia implemented a constitution right away and allow freedom to reign. All your dichotomies exist because reality contradicted your beliefs, you came up with situation were your original beliefs survives by changing the premise of the subject of devotion. In a revolution with two parties whose names include “harnet”, you came up with phased goals so as to not pass judgement about their failure to deliver a promise that literally took millions of lives.

            You wrote, “The Ghedli was to get independence, end of story. Independence from Ethiopia, so Eritreans can chart their own future”. Not about freeing people, just kicking the amharu out. Since that end is achieved, whatever means applied is justified. You shaved off freedom from gheli, reset its end to something you can justify and that’s it…everything is neatly explained. When I said if eritrea lived up to the vision of those who fired the first shot, I was giving ghedli the benefit of doubt (and time). When you split freedom from independence; when you do the same to isaias’s personality, you were following text book definition situational ethics. To have eritrea as a nation, even if that nation turned out to be the most repressive, the price paid for is justified, no matter what. If tomorrow isaias is caught hiding Iran’s nuclear material and the israelis decided to bomb us out of existence, your theory remains intact. Just before eritrea took its last breath, it was independent…thanks to ghedli.

            I am glad you dropped that people spoiled isaias, this one is as bad.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray:

            Serray, I think you and I agree on two fundamental and related points:

            1. Somebody/something is responsible for the mess Eritrea is in and somebody/something must be held accountable for it.
            2. It is wrong to assign blame on the wrong somebody/something.

            If you agree on the above, then I think we can focus our debate more narrowly. I believe this is where we stand now. I need your consent since your “don’t put words in people’s mouth” sensor is hyperactive:)

            3. Serray: Ghedli is responsible for the mess Eritrea is in and it is wrong to blame Isaias only, or the Eritrean people, or the people who are telling the truth about the fact that Ghedli is to blame for Eritrea’s mess.

            4. Saay: Isaias Afwerki is to blame for the mess Eritrea is in right now and a lot of the Eritrean people cheered (and a lot more than you and I care to admit still do) Isaias Afwerki, then the segment of Eritrea that supported/supports him is to blame.

            If I have summarized your views correctly–and if you think that is the gist of our debate–please let me know. Then we have a focused debated that the rest of Awatistas can join in.


          • Serray

            Selamat Sal,

            You have summarized my position correctly with one caveat; not just ghedli, the value system of ghedli that demands endless sacrifice from gebar and terra tegadelti in medda and everyone in asmera. Since every organization has leaders and enforcers, when I say ghedli, I meant those…just like when we say pfdj, we meant its leader and its enforcers and not the conscripts in EDF, the armed milia or, the hundredth of thousand who joined the party because their position at work demands it.

            My responsibility is to show the cause and effect of ghedli to that of the regime. Yours is to show the lack of it on the one hand, and to show a segment among the ruled contributing to its own subjugation by isaias, on the other. Fair enough?

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray:

            Two things. Since we are trying to establish cause and effect, two things to consider before we engage:

            1. Definition of Ghedli. “Ghedli”, in the common understanding of Eritreans, stands for the armed struggle against Ethiopia which started on September 1, 1961 and ended on May 24, 1991. So, if you are defining “Ghedli” by its “leaders and enforcers” you have to show us how every leader and enforcer of the ELF and EPLF (by name, title) was responsible for our current mess.

            2. Definition of “value system.” This will just help us avoid misunderstanding each other so the more detailed you can be describing something as vague as a “value system”, the clearer our debate.


          • Serray

            Selamat Sal,

            Very easy. I don’t believe in dichotomies; for me sheabia = higdef. Meaning, the leaders of sheabia are also the leaders of higdef. The value system of higdef is exactly the same as that of shaebia. In 1991, the rulers of the surviving ghedli became the rulers of eritrea and then recreated medda across the whole eritrea. Everything that is happening today in eritrea happened in medda: forced conscription, no justice, no respect for personal property (instead of the front higdef owns the wealth of the nation), no freedom of speech, extra-judicial killings, disappearing people etc, etc, etc, are all value systems inherited from ghedli era.

            Sal, I think you forgot the basis of my views. Eritrea is defective because the rulers of shaebia want the whole eritrea to be an extension of a system perfected in medda. Everything that is wrong in eritrea is imported and can be traced to medda. The rulers of shaebia (after allowing for musical chairs) are engaged in recreating medda in all aspects down to the same enemy. When they ignited the war with ethiopia in 1998, it was to put the finishing touches to completely turn eritrea to medda where rights, choices, and any sort of freedom does not exist. You might ask, where is my proof. Well, my proof is eritrea today.

            I am sorry I didn’t get bogged down looking-up the “names and titles” of elf and eplf leaders. For a minute there you forgot the whole point of yg’s de-romanticizing ghedli. In that series, yg tried to prove that to see what’s wrong with eritrea today, look no further than ghedli – and that is the part I fully agree with. Your part in this debate is to disprove that. That the evil that has befallen our nation has nothing to do with shaebia or ghedli and that it has do with only one man. Buried in your logic is, there was transparency, accountability and freedom of all sorts during ghedli in medda.

            Step out of the argument mindset for minute….are you serious saying that isaias and isaias alone created the eritrea of today without any blueprint and help from enforcer who share his values? That gedhli (as a blueprint) and tegadelti (as enforcers) have nothing to do with todays eritrea? Sal, the worst thing about your view is not that you avoid to name the cause of our nation’s problem, it is that you want to turn a segment of our population into culprits in order not name the real cause. Ghedli started because our fathers had divided vision of the future. No segment of our population will accept responsibility for this regime just because you are afraid to say who the real culprits are and where they come from. That is problem number one, problem number two is, since the whole point of naming a cause is to fix it, your making a segment of the population responsible fixes nothing because, that segment happened to be as much, if not more so, of a victim on the one hand, and there is nothing to be taken away from this segment to fix what’s wrong with the regime. The de-romanticizing view tackles the problem in two ways: by correctly identifying the source and by making sure that the next government drop the demand for endless sacrifices from citizen that haven’t tasted even a drop of freedom in their existence. Every segment of the eritrean society has paid enough to earn all the freedom a transparent, accountable and democratic government can offer. And no segment of our society should be held accountable for this regime born in medda, raised in medda and now lives in medda after converting the whole of eritrea into medda.

          • Salyounis


            You are jumping the gun. We are still in the “creating the glossary” stage of our debate.

            So, for you , Ghedli = shaebia = hgdef. So, when you say “Ghedli” you mean the “leaders and enforcers” of shaebia/EPLF and the “value system” that the “leaders and enforcers” of shaebia/EPLF promoted, right? Ghedli, using your definition, has nothing to do with ELF (1961-1981), right?

            (a) your definition of Ghedli (1971-1991) is at odds with the facts: Ghedli = ELF + EPLF (1961-191); (b) your definition of Ghedli is at odds with that of the person who began the Ghedli-defamation campaign who defines Ghedli in the most elastic means to apply it to any movement, organization, person who stood against Ethiopian hegemony (1940s – 1991); (c) your definition of Ghedli perfectly aligns with that of the EPLF/PFDJ whose history books define Ghedli as an EPLF construct with the ELF era (two decades) noted as a minor footnote.

            Either your feud is with Ghedli (1961-1991), or it is with Shaebia (1971-1991). I don’t care which one you pick, I am ready to defend my argument, but we must call things by their rightful names. One thing you are not allowed to do is to redefine the meaning of words Humpty Dumpty style (“for me…”) and say Ghedli = Shaebia. It simply is not.


          • Serray

            Selam Sal,

            You summarized my views as follows,

            “Serray: Ghedli is responsible for the mess Eritrea is in and it is wrong to blame Isaias only, or the Eritrean people, or the people who are telling the truth about the fact that Ghedli is to blame for Eritrea’s mess.”

            The problem of including or excluding jebha is its irrelevance to the present day eritrea. Technically, jebha shares a lot of attributes with shaebai in terms of lack of respect for eritrean life. You had a piece based on Gebremedhin Zegergis book last year. Writing about spies, Gebremedhin recounts about how 20-25 eritreans were recruited to spy on jebha and how “[a]fter they admitted committing the crimes [of spying], the Tripartite Unity leadership imposed on them a death penalty”. But when a syrian/israeli spy was discovered, “Jebha delivered him to the Syrian government in case Syria and Israel exchanged prisoners..”. Jebha’s degraded view of eritrean life can be seen in its relentless pursuit of the splinter groups and the civil war that ultimately doomed it.

            If jebha prevailed in the civil war, I think eritrea will be more or less in the same position. A front as determined to wipe out any splinter group as jebha will not have tolerated any opposition in independent eritrea. Once it owned medda eritrea all by itself, it would have opted to own eritrea the same way. Let us not forget, whether it approached the splinter group first, jebha was the one which declares war on each of them after they refused to fold down. In case you are tempted to ask me for proof, it is Gebremedhin’s piece.

            Sal, I believe that, had it not being for ethiopia and our fathers short-sightedness (I don’t even rationalize ghedli on ethiopia’s atrocity, I do on the very act of claiming eritrea) – ghedli wouldn’t have exists. But once a decision is made to challenge a country proudly warrior like militarily, you can’t fight it nice. The difference between our views boils down to these: For you, ghedli, which went through thirty years of continuos war not only against giant ethiopia but also a civil war that completely wiped out the original front, came out more else clean except for the head. For me, looking at what happened to shaebia in asmera and jebha in medda, I can’t help but hold ghedli, a bloody struggle if there is one, responsible for skewing the the value system of the leaders to ultimately degrade human life and liberty to such a low level to make the atrocities in present day eritrea possible.

            Implicit in my view is the surviving ghedli, shaebia, is responsible for the misery of the present day eritrea…since a long dead movement can not be held responsible for the mess in eritrea. But if you insist that I include a corps when I talk about the ghedl mindset, here you have it.

            Now, I am curious, how does adding or subtracting jebha to my definition of ghedli change your take that, “….Isaias Afwerki is to blame for the mess Eritrea is in right now and a lot of the Eritrean people cheered (and a lot more than you and I care to admit still do) Isaias Afwerki, then the segment of Eritrea that supported/supports him is to blame”?

          • Salyounis

            Ahlen Serray:

            Always a pleasure. I can’t answer your question: “Now, I am curious, how does adding or subtracting jebha to my definition of ghedli change your take that, ‘….Isaias Afwerki is to blame for the mess Eritrea is in right now and a lot of the Eritrean people cheered…'” without revealing my cards, which would make me a terrible poker player:) Suffice to say that it goes to the very heart of my argument that the process of how Tegadalay Isaias became President-for-life Isaias has a LOT to do with his understanding of the demographic and psychographic identity of Eritreans. The evil genius of Isaias Afwerki is that when he was 25 years old (25!!), he had already figured out…. hey, I am showing my cards.

            If “Ghedli” was the name of an Eritrean ethnic group, the sort of blanket accusation that is made against it would be intolerable to you. Most of the Ghedli-defamers have less than a superficial understanding of the ELF, so when they say “Ghedli”, what they really mean is “Ghedli Shaebia” and a lot of the things that horrify them of “Ghedli-Shaebia” horrified many decent “leaders and enforcers” of the ELF*. So, when you say that had the ELF prevailed that Eritrea would be no different than it is now, it is pure conjecture which is completely unsupported by facts–a lazy way to say, “I don’t want to take the trouble of studying the difference between ELF and EPLF.” In fact, it is entirely contrary to what the evidence shows: the difference between how ELF and EPLF administered liberated lands in the 1970s. If you want to know how much of what you call “Ghedli value system” is “Ghedli value system” or “Shaebia value system”, compare the two experiments of the 1970s. So, yes, if you insist that the “leaders and enforcers” of Ghedli (= ELF (1961-1981) + PLF/EPLF (1971-1991)) are to blame, you really will have to carry the burden of showing that the entire leadership, the entire enforcing mechanism of ELF and EPLF is responsible for giving us PFDJ.

            What I will show is that the “leaders and enforcers” of the ELF and EPLF came and went, the victimizer became the victim, but, throughout, there was one group of people who cheered Isaias Afwerki from the day he declared his “Nehnan Elamanan” all the way to present day.


            * you sometimes hear this coming out from people like Emma here when debating Higdefites. The reason it is not more frequent is that most Jebha/ELF veterans consider that chapter (Ghedli) closed and they don’t want to revisit old wounds. It is not that they can’t make a case that the Ghedli-defamers don’t know what the hell they are talking about; they just don’t see that as productive in the struggle against the more imminent threat of Isaias Afwerki.

          • Serray

            Selamat Sal,

            I choose Gebreslasie as my source to avoid what wrote about my understanding of jebha. For you, the way jebha administered the liberated areas is proof that, had it won, it would have been different. For me, the way it went after everyone who decided to split from it is proof that, had it won, it would have gone after anyone who opposes it. I don’t understand when you wrote, ”pure conjecture which is completely unsupported by fact…”. Aren’t you doing the same when you ignored the civil wars jebha initiated to wipe out its competition and focus on how it administered the liberated lans without even bringing any proof. Sal, I didn’t bring you a hear-say, I brought you a specific example of what horrified me about jebha from an article posted at awate and based on a book of a jebha tegadalai. If you want me to bring more, I can do that.

            You and I can have honest difference on whether jebha would have been as bad as shaebia. It is like one looking at child’s nose and saying he looks like father and another looking at his eyes and saying he looks like his mother. By and large, that would be a pointless argument to have, given jebha was mowed down before it can achieve it mission.

            If you are still waiting for me to name the leaders and enforcers, I am not going to do that. The same way I wouldn’t do it if you asked me to name the people who caused the demise of Merrill Lynch or Bear Sterns once I showed you that the risk parameters the leaders put in place were not sufficient to inform them about third party risk.

            I saw a cop out in the last paragraph of yours,

            “What I will show is that the “leaders and enforcers” of the ELF and EPLF came and went, the victimizer became the victim, but, throughout, there was one group of people who cheered Isaias Afwerki from the day he declared his “Nehnan Elamanan” all the way to present day”.

            I am sure you heard about a “revolution eating its own children”. You can’t pin it on individuals; it is the nature of some revolutions. The fact that some survived and some didn’t doesn’t change the fact that at any given time during the history of the revolution there were leaders and enforcers. The revolving door doesn’t exonerate the revolution. You have written about soviet union being evil but the Bolshevik party was never constant; from Trotsky to Bukharin (and the endless purged), the leaders and enforcers of the party changed but the soviet revolution kept marching until it imploded.

            Time to make your case, Sal.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray:

            First a salute, a standing ovation for this:

            “The same way I wouldn’t do it if you asked me to name the people who caused the demise of Merrill Lynch or Bear Sterns once I showed you that the risk parameters the leaders put in place were not sufficient to inform them about third party risk.”

            I am not being sarcastic, that is pretty good:) That may even pass Haile’s strict test for metaphors/similes that work. Well played, sir.

            Based on the Merrill Lynch analogy, the Ghedli “leaders and enforcers” does not include the whistle-blowers: it is limited to the “leaders and enforcers” who had the last word. I presume that just as you wouldn’t blame the Merrill Lynch executives who quit in protest or who were fired, you wouldn’t blame the “leaders and enforcers” of the revolution who blew the whistle on what future Eritrea under Isaias Afwerki would look like, or who were summarily fired (kicked out of the company field) for blowing the whistle:)

            Can I assume that your position on the definition of Ghedli is it is all the “leaders and enforcers” who prevailed and that the value system they promoted is “forced conscription, no justice, no respect for personal property (instead of the front higdef owns the wealth of the nation), no freedom of speech, extra-judicial killings, disappearing people etc, etc, etc.”?

            My last paragraph was not cop-out: it is to say that the reason Isaias Afwerki has been able to stay on top for 42 years is that a large, large segment of Eritrea is enamored with the idea of a “benevolent dictator.” So, he never hid from the people that he was a dictator (he flaunted it, actually, and he was rewarded for showing dictatorial tendencies): he just worked extra hard to show his dictatorship is of the benevolent kind (drives a Toyota, wears sandals, lives in his parent’s house, dresses modestly, etc, etc, etc.)

            Time to make our cases. You first:)


          • Serray

            Selamat Sal,

            Who are the high level shaebia tegadelti who warned us about isaias during ghedli?

            Going back to our respective position, you are saying the disease swiping our nation can not be born out of the somehow judicious, democratic, completely voluntary, respectful of personal property and generally pure and healthy environment of ghedli. I am saying, the source of our problem is the brutal reality under which the front operated spilling over to the nation. If every tegadalai resigned in May 1991 and isaias and a “segment of our society” took control, I will blame what went in our country the last 22 years on Isaias and that segment of our society. But power never transferred from tegadelti to just isaias and a segment of our society. Almost every position of power in civilian or military is controlled by tegadelti. I am looking forward to see how you could turn powerless segment of our society into an accomplice of government fully controlled by tegadelti.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray:

            Now we are talking. Given the forum we are using, I think the debate format we want is the Socratic model: you ask questions, I answer; I ask questions, you answer. Your answers lead to more questions and my questions lead to more answers. But I think we should have an opening statements first. Here’s mine:

            “The Eritrean Ghedli, like all movements, went through phases. In Phase I (1961-1971), it was a case of the people going to the basics. (Think of it as the TV show “Lost”) It did not change people: it polished them and sharpened their features. If you were brave, your bravery was shown; if you had stamina, it was proven; if you were selfish, your selfishness was exposed; if you were altruistic, your altruism was witnessed. If you were a sadistic, power-hungry, psychopath coming in, you remained a sadistic, power-hungry, psychopath with wide latitude.

            “In the 1970s, the Ghedli (both ELF and EPLF) discovered communism. During this stage, Eritrean nationalism was made subservient to international socialism. The Ghedli adapted Marxist-Leninist guerrilla front personality, with secret labor parties (at both ELF and EPLF) assigning themselves a vanguard role. That is: a new pointy pyramid was created: people at the base, rank-and-file combatant just above them, elected leaders (elected in congress: central committee, executive committe) above them, and the secret labor party above all. Many nationalist Eritreans who said that they enlisted only to remove Ethiopian occupation and not to socially re-engineer Eritrea in the image of the Soviet Union or China or Vietnam or North Korea, left the field. But since this coincided with the fall of Haile Selasse and the rise of the bloody Mengistu, even more Eritreans joined the field who more than replaced what the fronts were losing.

            “Despite the ideological and organizational similarities between the ELF and the EPLF, the two had vastly different personalities. The ELF was relatively less secretive, more open, more trusting of its combatants (who actually went on R&R visits, vacations to their villages, etc), more democratic, and more just (trials by courts were the rule not the exception). In the areas it administered, its administration of civilians was kinder, gentler and less confiscatory than in the areas the EPLF administered. (The ELF left even tanks equipment it captured in the same areas it administered which would prove disastrous when the Ethiopians waged counter-offensive and re-took them.) Given its relatively more open administrative style, and given the demography of its founders, it was entirely incapable of managing change or accommodating the demands of its new recruits. It went through one kind of crisis after another from the mid-1970s until its demise in 1981-82. The EPLF was more secretive, less open, less trusting of its combatants. It never had courts that observed the rules of evidence. In the areas it administered, its overriding concern was establishing supremacy over civilians–first thing the EPLF did when it liberated a land was to move every capital of any worth to Sahel(for a critique of its Sahel-centric view of life, refer to Meles Zenawi’s Qalsi hzbi Ertra Kabey Nabey) Given its very close and secretive structure, no dissent of any kind was tolerated and so a “crisis” could never paralyze the organization the way it paralyzed the ELF. But this intolerance for any kind of dissent, while keeping the organization intact, also meant empowering a “secret party.”

            The 1980s were the EPLF era. On the surface, the organization was led by a “central committee” and “executive committee.” But, despite the fact that Isaias Afwerki did not achieve the Secretary General position of the EPLF until its second congress in 1987, it was known to everybody–including journalists who came to the field for interviews–that he was the CEO of the organization. The emergence of Isaias Afwerki as the indispensable leader is due to a combination of three things: (a) he was extremely smart and had a reputation for being a strategic thinker and his colleagues were quite willing to defer decisions to him. Being gifted at strategic thinking was no small thing: this was not a case of whether a company doubled its profits or increased its market share: it was about whether it survived or perished; (b) he was brutal and sadistic and, in any secretive, militaristic organization (militia, mafia, etc) it is the person who is willing to be the cruelest that survives any power struggle; (c) he knew the demographic and psychographic make up of Eritreans more than anybody else in the entire field (Jebha or Shaebia.) He knew their hopes, their dreams, but most of all, he knew their prejudices and fears. (Read Nehnan Elamanan.) He cultivated an image as a hard-working book-worm who was too serious, too committed to Eritrea to indulge in frivolities like drinking, socializing, gambling, or even women. While the organization officially discouraged building a cult of personality around anyone, he made an exception for himself because he was able to make himself an Eritrean avatar: Eritrea= EPLF; EPLF = Isaias. It wasn’t the Tegadelti who were singing songs of praise to Wedi Afom tekelakalai Tanki, but the people.

            “Present-day Eritrea is not the inevitable result of Ghedli. It is not even the inevitable result of Shaebia. Present Eritrea is the result of a series of choices made by Isaias Afwerki and the Eritrean people during the struggle and after independence.”


          • Serray

            Selamat Sal,

            Nice introduction. I am honestly looking forward to read about the series of choices our people made that turned our nation into a basket case.

            There are three players in our nation: the jailers, the prisoners/slaves and the rest of the people. You can say that there are no criminals in our country in the normal sense of the word; almost all of our prisoners are people who choose to live or suspected of living outside what some shaebia tegedelti think they should.

            The problem with romanticizing anything is that you fail to see the pervasive nature of it. The sawa and prison systems are there for a reason: to make sure that the youth is kept in check and the military is fully supplied with free labor. Outside the regime and the military, the rest of the society – the prisoners/slaves and their families – are victims. Isaias is the front of that system. The people didn’t, not even once, chose him to be their leader; his comrades did over and over again knowing full well who he is and what he is capable. To say ghedli doesn’t but some segment of the people share the blame in making isaias and the regime is unfair.

            As weird as it is to exonerate the training fields, the reframing of the problem in terms of people and one man avoids a solution. First, no segment of our society will take responsibility for the monster, second, you can’t force any segment of our society to act one way or the other because you to send them on a guilt-trip. If a solution is sought along the lines of “isaias and a segment of society” are to blame, when isaias is gone, the system that kept him in place will remain intact. Since that system, born and raised in medda where choice, freedom, justice, are not priority, the next regime in line will ignore them as well. Our constitution, if implemented while glorifying not the freedom, but the sacrifices of the individual, it will be used to impose legitimacy to a government centric society rather than people centric one.

            To de-romanticize ghedli is to say enough to the tactics that won us the war but not the peace. As long as the ghedli generation control both the government and the opposition, the temptation to have obedient population that doesn’t question sacrifices is there. The border conflict and “the world hates us” mentality can be exploited to turn the nation inward with or without a constitution.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray:

            I was waiting for your opening statement:)

            You will also have a problem with your favorite phrase, “Ghedli romantic” because, when you say, “To de-romanticize ghedli is to say enough to the tactics that won us the war but not the peace”, I don’t know anyone of those whom you call “Ghedli romantic” who disagrees with that. Its like saying “to de-romanticize driving is to say enough to the gear you use when driving uphill and realizing you must shift gears when you drive on a long flat road.” That is not de-romanticizing driving, that’s just Driving 101:)

            “Ghedli romantic” is a lazy label that is applied, apparently, to anyone who doesn’t say, “the Ghedli did not have a single redeeming quality to it.” We just won’t have a fruitful discussion if you keep misrepresenting the views of those you disagree with.

            You know what my burden of proof is. For me to know what your burden of proof is, you have to give me your opening statement–not a negation of what I say, but a statement that, as much as possible, gives us a cause-and-effect relationship between Ghedli and Eritrea 2013.


  • Tamrat Tamrat

    Happy Easter to all!!

    During Ethiopian holidays eve i have a tendency to be disconnected for a while and go home unless i am physically already there. One of the things i like to do is to watch Ethiopian telvision. There is always some programes Connected with the holiday at hand. But not today. Today is a only a non stop reclams decorated with ‘happy easter’. Even the holidays program was on reclam for tomorrow. Then this idea came to my mind. What does eri-tv do now, today? thought I. To my surprise the bishop was making speech about Easter. I thought my tigrigna was improved but he proved me other wise. And the speech was followed by Music selection from and to diffent People. And the first Music was a traditional tigringa Music. The kebero, masinko, the color full dressing, the singer with his afro and a huge forked comb stuck in his hair, and the eskista of the both Girls and boys brings me home closer than i anticipated. The nostalgia is unbarable. But the satisfaction is unmeasurable.

    Happy Easter to all!!

  • Anedinet and YG
    For the vast majority of Eritreans are extremely angry about the Ethiopian Imperialist war on the thousands of needless innocent civilian deaths and the devastation brought upon our country still present. Eritreans are sickened by the massacre of sacred human life that took place in all over Eritrea by savage Ethiopian army. Eritrean are outraged by what has happened to their people by the Ethiopian Imperialist force ,The Ethiopian army invaded and descended into inconceivable brutality and unimaginable crimes against unarmed civilian .
    If YG could tell us killing Eritrean civilians is morally wrong or he could insist to Eritreans that his beloved Ethiopian is a country that respects, Peaceful Covenant and human rights and the choose of the Eritrean people.
    Ethiopian Imperialist force committed heinous crimes against humanity, YG is prejudiced against Eritrea, consumed by anger and hate, and nothing could be further from the truth.
    YG is entitled to promote his point of view, if only could tells equally the crime committed by Ethiopian regimes during Ghedli time. YG is only interested to promote his narrow vision and his backward ugly perspective, he is not a fair and just, he is looking a half loaf of bread or half truth , It is an essential component of ensuring that a largely uninformed follower are always on board with his sinister vision. But since when is losing winning? Eritreans are not that naive or too idiotic to accept that wining was losing.
    The small king and his core supporters of elite habesha government never provided the basic services to the vast Ethiopians. Politically, the ETHO-habesha government attempts to integrate various tribal, regions, linguistic, religious and ethnic differences into a single habesha nation as subservient and subhuman people.
    Naturally, this requires a massive force and amount of repression of dissident groups and is usually accompanied by certain favoritism towards in the case of Eritrea , the Anedinet group and their sell out leadership’s and political and religious allegiances to mother Ethiopia .
    Ethiopian Imperialist Held together the country by brute forces and terrorizing, a combination, put down any internal dissent with state most cruel violence imaginable.
    For century Ethiopian Imperialist governments understand that they must maintain the franchise on political violence or risk losing power and control, Eritrean Anedinet party was part of this fascist regime in power in Addis against their people.
    Anedinet by chose and decidedly pro-Ethiopia and a backward reactionary right-wing political orthodoxy group. Politically they were incorrect in their depiction and hate of Eritrean Muslims as well of Eritrea free political choose, were well known facts. Their political and moral total blind spots must always somehow in dealing with their compatriot fellow Eritrean Muslims was raciest and extreme hate.
    Anedinet subservient and cheerleaders who hardly took a day off from smearing everything that is about Eritrea and Eritrean Muslim, their violent words was translate into violent action. The bigoted would turn political hate speech into acts of violence.
    They were not interested in understanding political historical juncture, the high moment and window of great opportunity and the magnitude that lay ahead for Eritrea to be independent nation.
    We would have avoided all the calamity that have descended upon us by Ethiopian Imperialist force that have committed heinous crimes.
    Anedinet subservient were zealot and their hate for their compatriot fellow Eritrean Muslim or their Islamic faith blinded them ,not even trying learning the very basic , theology, its local history, spirituality or common values that are meant to espouse goodness in human righteousness and uprightness citizens in the collective and individual.
    Ethiopia is imperial nation. It does not have the best intentions of the Eritrean people at heart. Indeed, when it comes to policy, it could care less about the Eritrean people, just like it cared less about the Tigrinya people during famine time in 80th. If it cared, would have been much more conditioned on respecting the civil and human rights of the Tigrinya people let alone Eritrean people.
    It is totally impracticable to logic and reasons rationally and argues with those who are essentially irrational or intentionally misleading punch and zealot . Many have tirelessly tried to reason with objectivity with facts to no avail. They are not swayed by facts.
    The deliberate misinformation, utter blunt lies and direct and subtle race and intellectual racism that define today much of the Neo-Andinet punches of group.

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      Does Your Logic apply to the imperialist Eritrea too? Or when you Call the different ethnic Groups under the name of Eritrea all the devils disappear?

    • As far as I know , no Eritrean has said that he or she is “pro-andinet”, “neo-andinet”, wezete , wezete. You and “kemaka zi’ameselu” are creating phantom enemies against whom you are fighting on a daily basis now.

      If there was one person who says he or she is a “neo-andinet”, she would bring counter arguments to refute your accusations/or claims. You and your likes are fighting an enemy where there is none.

  • Asmara2

    I think I have a better name for those who seem to be struggling or unwilling to detach their umbilical cord from mama Ethiopia. They come in different types and forms, and they may pretend to be this and that, always throw in “Eritrea, democracy, dictatorship, staff like that to cover up their true color, but they all fit perfectly to the category of “ANATSU NAY WOYANIE” ANW, in short. Awate team would you please add this word to your dictionary (along with your “PFDJities, issayasists, Zombies, komaros..etc), so that it would not feel like an insult every time we use it to describe those who best fit.

    Now, from all the discussions on this thread, what is so fascinating is to watch Seray, Gezae, A. Hidrat, and the likes, to refer the neo-andinet (ANW) in third person, as if these people are out there somewhere – but not here in this forum, participating in the ongoing discussion. I mean, the Sirays and Hidrats are IT! I mean there are no other neo-andnets, these are actually the ones. Like I said, they come in different forms and types – awate.com’s own are actually the main ones. On top of their nostalgic feelings towards Ethiopia – these are exceptionally Woyanie subordinates.

    And it is also facinating to he how all of you here – throw unnecessary and out of the context punches on PFDJ, in passing, now and then. It is so laughable. And it kind of makes PFDJ shine bright. It is hilarious. Actually, all the supporting logics you all present to defend your arguments, if taken out and applied to the Eritrean government, I think everyone will fall in love with PFDJ – and see clearly the reason behind your opposing stance against PFDJ has to do only with personal staff, grudge vendetta, isolation etc. May be I will go ball through your comment, and pick up and collect these facts, logics and expressions you guys put out there in support of your stand when arguing among yourself. I am sure it is going to be fascinating. You would be surprised to see, even the likes of Serray and Gezaes, unconsciously present some logic – only to apply them to their twisted personal staff – but still if you apply those logics to the correct target – you would get a perfect thing.

    I am just saying

    [From moderator: And this may be the last time you are “just saying” it. So consider this a victory of sorts that you got to say “ANATSU NAY WOYANIE” but that gutter language from “Bamboola Isaias” is not welcome here.]

  • Saleh Gadi

    Eyob, since you have decided to reply to the “beat down”, I have decided to clean up – reorganize what I wrote yesterday to make it easier for you to reply

    Hi Eyob (and anyone who wants to join in)

    “I would never dare to reduce Eritrean muslims to anything at all. That absolutely is not in my character.”

    Here are some tips:

    1) No bigot admits he is one unless he is in the extreme like Hitler, Atzie Yohannes and some others (I am sure you know quite a few). As they say in basic writing classes: show don’t tell!

    2) In a forum like ours, we have no way of knowing what the characters of the writers are, we have only to judge from what they write.

    Now for some pointers for you since 1) you are young and might lack firsthand knowledge on a lot of things you talk about and 2) Being an Ethiopian you are at a disadvantage discussing Eritrean issues because, a) you cannot feel like an Eritrean and, b) there is a conflict of interest involved when you talk of Eritrean issues, a and 3) Your position regarding the Eritrean issue is compromised. So, avoid scooping Lahmet-lahmetu.

    Now here is what I would like to share with you hoping you will use it for further sresearch and study.

    A. “My beef is the leaders of ELF and those, who I believe try to impose Arabic on Abyssinians.”

    It shows you know nothing about the leaders of the ELF and Arabic. I am a Habesha to the bone and no one imposed Arabic on me. Proof: my great grandfather’s marriage covenant, his will and other things were written in Arabic, way before the ELF came into existence. Proof: since the history of Abyssinia began, my ancestors used Arabic as their medium of education and culture. Proof: Arabic was the language of communication in the courts of the bigoted Ethiopian emperors. Exhibit one: Yohannes’s seal had a geez and Arabic inscription. Exhibit two: Ras Alula donned Arab garb in ceremonies. (By the way, my ancestors were the envoys and commercial agents and diplomats of the bigoted emperors like Tedros and Yohannes.) Want to go further?.

    The ELF-EPLF stuff is tired. That is history. But since you brought it up, the ELF stopped the translation (of textbooks from Arabic to Tigre) because institutions have guidelines, policies and strategies, my friend. I am sure you work in a place that has that. Those who translated the books into Tigre did it on their own: they wanted to impose their decision on the poeple. And guess what, none were Tigrayt-speakers and all were Tigrinya-speakers. Ask yourself why.

    When the ELF insisted on teaching in Arabic and Tigrinya, it is not called imposing, it is called implementing/safeguarding a principle agreed upon in a congress. I will leave it to you to decide if violation of principles is accepted in any institution, unless it is run by a mafia. Actually, come to think of it, even the Mafia is a stickler for rules when it comes to how it runs its affairs.

    The ELF implemented all the programs of the congress in all rigions, who told you the ELF had a different policy for different regions? Ask, read and learn my friend before you make silly comments.

    B. “Why has the language of Tigre, which resembles Geez much more than it does Arabic is switched from being written from Geez Alphabet to Arabic? It’s root is Geez.”

    Now, we do not want to go scholarly here, you need to study the relations of Geez and Arabic. But note that Muslims call their holy book Mes-haf, a word borrowed from Geez. I can go on until the bigots begin grade one of multi-culturalism studies and graduate from college sixteen years from now.

    If you have a bone of contention with Dr. Mohammed, you can write him. But I don’t remember he said he represents Eritreans. But can’t someone say for example, if I had the power I would teach Ethiopians to speak Sawahili? I don’t think you will object (maybe when you discover Sawahili is a child of Arabic and its coastal speakers are Arabs:-) Calling Dr. MK’s view as a master-plan is conspiracy theory gone haywire. Stay away from that, Eyob, for your own good.

    C. Gulf States

    Your theory about the Gulf states is also another wild theory. Then, what is the unique religion of Habesha? I am sure you will squash me away, wouldn’t you?

    I have read and debated so many Abyssinian supremacists to miss the subtleties Eyob. Bundling ELF and AlShabab together is a tired propaganda but you will never mention its opposite and equally wild theories. Try it, it will free you.

    Just like history teaches us about the Copts and how they suffered under the Arabs, it also teaches us many other things. I wish you would scrutinize closer injustices. How about visiting Wollo and asking the history of Yohannes? (I could give you my ancestral history but then my views will compromised, just like your views on the issues at hand are.)

    I also have very high regards of you Eyob nebs. But I will not accept your wishes to subjugate me through your Habesha supremacy in my own country when you are an Oromo of Eritrean ancestry (I believe you said that, unless you meant you live in that Kilil). Now, please, I beg you, don’t provoke people into throwing stones at a glass house. After all, the imagined Habesha supremacist kingdom will surely not extend to Shashemene. No civilized person can contemplate reinstating the policies of Yohannes, in 2013, to run wild on the poor citizens who are habesha with small h.

    D. Ibrahim Sultan

    Really, you need to learn a lot about Ibrahim Sultan, the first ever emancipator in our region. I am sure you vote for the Democratic Party. I also guess you advocate the rights of blacks. Just use the same arguments in our case. Enlightenment starts when intellectuals see their culture critically and begin to critique it as if they are not part of it. When it comes to that, bringing forth emancipators, our region is the darkest with a few exceptions. Don’t make it worse.

    Finaly, I have a gift if you accept it. It is a suggested title for a thesis: “Why do some Abyssinian elite have a perpetual hegemonic mentality long after the era of colonization?”

    • Eyob Medhane


      Weyew weyw…I am still bleeding with your beat down…

      No I was just born in the Oromo Kilil, and I have a somewhat intermediate knowledge of the language, which is a bit related to Swahili by the way 🙂 I am not previlaged to have Oromo ancestary…

      I will get back to you after a little research. I don’t let it go that easily 🙂 Because, it is my passion.

      I however believe that ‘the Habesha hagemony’ you are talking about is a figment of your imagination. Rather what is real fear we have is arabic and its cultural hagemony that we are threatend to be imposed on…I ll be back with more in a bit 🙂

    • Zmeroro

      What about if the story of Habesha origin is true? Their origin is Habeshat in Yemen and migrated to the current Habesha land and the reasons why Geez, Tigre, Tigrigna, Amharic and other Semitic languages are related and even some words are the same. The Arabs were migrating in their thousands to this land until the recent past before they became rich because of oil. I assume there is strong relationship between the tribes and languages; though the divide in religions and the the fear of influence exists.

    • haile

      Selamat SG,

      You may or may not agree with my view here, but here goes. There is subtle misconception with many Ethiopians when they conceptualize ‘Eritrean Moslems’. It may be true that numerically there may be more highland Eritreans (of Moslem and Christian) who are active in the belly of the Eritrean politics. This however doesn’t render them some disadvantaged group in the commonly understood sense of the word. In fact, Moslem Eritreans have played the most decisive role in pretty much every single strategic and long term direction of the making of Eritrea. From political heavy weights (both sides of the current and past isles), top brass military leaders, social, economic, art, literature and many other aspects of the nation, its formation as well as transformation their foot marks is everywhere. It is much like saying that it is impossible to have an Eritrea to speak of where the Eritrean moslem has not invested heavily in blood and material. I think Eyob ab hanti agudo/beAti teaxiyu eyu zragah zelo 🙂

      • Saleh Gadi

        Hi Haile,

        And you consider it subtle? I think it is on your face: look at me and listen, I am totally ignoarant about you and your Eritrea but I will wallow in my ignorance, in my bliss. I would rather go with the traditional chuavinistic legacy than think like a twenty-first century pregressive person (I do that only when I switch to my Western citizenship).

        As I see it Haile, whatever differences we have among ourselves as Eritreans pales when we put it side by side with the other defeaning decibles. These people have ruled out the possibility that we can always spring back. The fact that we are now crippled as a nation because of the foolish policies of the PFDJ doesn’t mean we have washed our hands from our country. It is rather our fear or igniting uncontrollable fires in the region. Nmen kTEmo? They wrongly think this is the time to hit us hard, even the dormant serpents wake up in times like this based on their wrongly concluded theories. And the alliances are strangely the same, throughout the ages. They forget that whoever wishes ill for Eritrea is wishing ill for the entire region. Eritrea doesn’t die alone, it take everyone down with it. I don’t think there is any sane, patriotic Eritreas who wishes that kind of destruction; I don’t know any wise Eritreans who doesn’t know what is at stake. That is what many are humbly trying to prevent. Eritrean kebessa is not Guzi sga that you can cut, carry home and cook. Eritrean Kebessa is part and parcel of Eritrea. For Gods sake it is a place where our capital city is located. Just like no one can have a piece of flesh without wasting blood (The Merchant of Venice) no one can cut any piece of Eritrea.

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    Hi Saleh Gedi!

    The ghdils and their romantizers like you created Eritrea in the exact image of Ethiopia. And the era Eritrea finds itself now is called derg’s era.

    • Saleh Gadi

      Tamrat Tamrat.
      When you are done with your snide remarks, please tell me. Then, if you have substance to discuss I will rejoin you. But for your information, I never sided with a tyrant. Never, for generations of my bloodline. Thanks

      • You may not have sided with the tyrants but you are exhibiting many of the tyrants’ characterstic, Mr. Gadi.

        I wonder what you would have done to the so called “Neo-Andinets” had you been the president of Eritrea. Can you (readers) imagine what both Mr. Gadi and Mr. Yonus would have done to Eritreans had they been given the chance to hold a high level office in Eritrea? Eritrea would have found itself in a bigg mess. I for one would have been a state less individual:-) The duo would have deported many Eritreans who have views that are against theirs. For example, calling Hamid Idris Awate names, or denigrating the living and deceased tegadelties would have land you in Jail. The good thing is that they are very adept at making a lot of harsh-sounding threats but they don’t carry them out. They will remain to be toothless tigers.

      • Tamrat Tamrat

        I found ghedil is more realstic to blem to what Eritrea is suffering With now than the kings that had left us more than 40 years ago. Incase you forgott Eritreas are led by teghadelit at least for the last 23 years now.

        • Saleh Gadi

          Tamrat Tamrat

          The king was a monster and Gedli taught the people how to fight back against his regime. The Derg was a quick learner, it deposed the king. Soon Derg became as cruel as the king was. Again, Gedli taught the people how to fight back against Derg. PFDJ came to power. It proved to be a continuation of the king and Derg. Once more, the unconventional Gedli taught the people how to fight. And yes, Gedli is continuing to fight the tyranny of PFDJ. As you can see the issue, as far as Eritreans are concerned, is the struggle for justice. Gedli delivered. It removed tyrants of the past. You will do yourself a great deal of favor if you recognize PFDJ as a continuation of the systems of the king and Derg instead of a continuation of Gedli. Just because your child turn out to be a misfit doesn’t incriminate you once he is an adult. PFDJ is not under the control of Gedli, it betrayed Gedli and established its tyranny. See it as third cycle of tyranny in Eritrea, in modern history.

          No one can change what happened years ago but we can prevent it from happening again. If it does, the people will struggle again. A struggle is not an excursion ticket limited by time. It is open until the hindrance to justice is removed. Check your bible for spiritual inspiration of Gedli, or your history book for socio-political struggle of humanity. You do not reverse eradicated systems, you struggle to remove the inheritors of the removed systems with all their residual damages.

          • Tamrat Tamrat


            This cyber thing is making us out of touch of realit+y. But that doesnt stop us from calling a spade for spade. Eplf changed its name because accoding to the gedli (by the way splitting afar in to two are ignored by the almighty absoluth truth finder of gedli)the Liberation was done and the tegadelti took over the Power. If you try to convince me that all what has happened in the last 22 years is only the responsiblity of isayas then you are just insulting millions of Peoples. And further more Isayas is one of the mest decorated teghadelti like Ali Abdu and many more.

            But finally i am happy that you heard me at last what i have told you time and again. What is done is done and to learn from it is the wiset Choice even for People who live far away from the horror of everyday life in the horn of africa. Since i started cyber discusson there are many changes i have witnessed but you seam to stuck With 1960s.

            I can give you a simple example how unity and freedom of movements work for the majority. The afars were never distructed either by italy, uk, Hailesilassie, derg, even by woyane and sahbia upto 1998. You, Our leaders understanding of nation and nationalities is totaly diffenet than what the People themselves experiencing it in thier dayly life. Do you think now any afar People cross the border to their land? they would be shot dade either by eritrean or ethiopian soldiers. I know Your explanaiton that afar People must Accept the international Law agreed by the colonoialists border demarcation. Your nightmares are cololnialists and you are struggling to make Your goal by their rules and morals.

            That is only one example. See the rest of the Picture. Even the worst era of derg People used to go South and North to make a better life. We used to be just like the rest of the world. Some make it North while other in south. You and Our leaders broke the God given Natural freedom of movement (by the way bigger than freedom of Speech in Our region), People are called refugees in their own land.

            If it were not for the brain childe of eplf ie tplf, Our government couldnt label any eritreans refugees when they run away from pfdj (gedil officials), off course pfdj members must go to jaile if they cross that border they made.

            Let us see it only from eritreans civilans life experience for the last 52 or so years. Non endless civil war,imprisonment, suspicion and suppression from all governments, deportations, ‘undeportations’ settelement, resettlements, this is Your country, no this is not Your country, mass exodes, non ending military services imposed by the governments or oppositions, take part in referndum, no dont take part in referendum, dont speak this language, no you have to speak this one, i am Your teghadelit i gave You Eritrea so i would be Your leader till Death separate us (Ours had separetd from us as he promised us).

            My point is let us see Our problems from near hold, from home. Maybe we are carried away by the civilization and hundred years of experience of Our hosting countries and we dont want to settel for less than the absolut truth whcih realy doesnt exist. But that deosnt mean eplf is not pfdj or pfdj is correct. No, the majority of eritreans have shown thier dissatisfaction of pfdj beyound doubt. But the minority gedli leaders and their Close ones hold the guns tight.

  • Saleh Gadi

    My Dear Eyob, don’t trip. If you walk on unfamiliar trails you risk falling. “Had ELF had firm control in the highlands..” The ELF my friend had full control of the Highlands with the exception of a few localities… and it may surprise you to know, the ELF was not this monolithic “Arab” organization. By the late eighties the overwhelming majority of the ELF combatants were from Kebessa, Tigrinya speakers.

    Then there is something you should know: revolutions are always initiatives by a few, if they are in tune with the peoples aspiration they succeed. If they are not they fail. I don’t know any revolution that was carried out with the full mandate of the people–meaning from every citizen in a country. It never happened and it will not happen that way. Visionary people, bold people take the initiative.

    “Full mandate from the Tigre people…” is something I didn’t expect from you. By the way, are you sure you understand the difference between Tigre (as in Tigray, Ethiopia) and Tigre as a class identification of the Tigre who were the main fuel of the Eritrean revolution? Their emancipation movement led by Ibrahim Sultan Ali (Ethiopians didn’t understand neither emancipation not revolution then) is what finally led to the struggle to emancipate the Eritrean people from the feudalist Ethiopia–which again was initiated by Awate. By the way, there is no people called Tigre, I do not want to bore you by mentioning, (using your definition) the “Bher-bhereseboch” of Eritreans who speak the Tigrayet language (not Tigre, which is a class identification, as in SERFS).

    Please don’t join the bandwagon who discuss the language issue in a cartoonish way. Unless you understand the psyche of the people, and the identity related pitfalls, the hegemonic nature of past Ethiopian rulers, and nation-building exercise that awaits Eritreans, and the history of Muslim Eritreans (There are some OF US by the way in case you forgot) should be considered. And no one accepts paternalistic gestures. For God’s sake, you think Eritreans, or Eritrean Muslims are so foolish they think in the terms you described them? Oh Eyob, you hold us in very low esteem. I am disappointed because you reduce us to people who have no other worry in life but to convert you people! Oh boy!

    One disappointment: conspiring to make Ethiopia speak Arabic is not a project of Eritrean Muslims–in fact I don’t know of anyone who has that project unless he lives in the Amanuel asylum. Reducing Eritrean Muslims to that demeaning political project is just an insult and it shows how you and your like hold Eritrean Muslims (and there are a few of them in case you forgot) in a very low esteem. By God Eyob, do you think Eritrean Muslims are cartoonish characters to that extent? Ebakwon ahunem yasbubet.

    You wild assertion that ELF founders wanted Ethiopia (not only Eritrea) to be converted to Arabs is funny. The funnies thing I read today:-)

    • Eyob Medhane

      Oh ok now Sal couldn’t handle me by himself, he brought out someone he knows I get a bit shy to go toe toe with, as much… 🙂


      I would never dare to reduce Eritrean muslims to anything at all. That absolutely id not in my character. My beef is the leaders of ELF and those, who I believe try to impose Arabic on Abysinians. My point is very clear, and no. I don’t confuse Tigre with Tigrigna. Why has the language of Tigre, which resembles Geez much more than it does Arabic is switched from being written from Geez Alphabet to Arabic? It’s root is Geez. Why? By Sal’s own admission, ELF stopped a translation of text books from being translated to Tigrayt (is that the correct way of saying it?) in areas that it controlled? If that is not imposing, then what is?

      When I said ‘had ELF had FIRM control in the highlands..’ the key term is FIRM. It obviously did not have as much firm control over the highland society as it had in the lowlands or it uniformally would have implemented its program, which stopped translating text books to Arabic on all of the areas it controlled. I am not saying that ELF never had a presence in the highlands.

      I never said ELF wanted Ethiopia to arabic speaking country. I specifically mentioned a prominent writer here in awate (Dr. Mohammed) who once (recently) said, “..if he were a minister of education in Ethiopia, he would make arabic mandatory in schools..” That sentiment I believe is part and parcel of a plan to make not only Ethiopia, but the entire horn of Africa arabized. (One of the the many problems of Somalia is that a good segment of Somalians resisting being arabized, while some segments insisting of arabizing it). You are right I may not know as much, but I know that there is a struggle to prevail over Abyssinia’s unique language, religion and culture largely an effort coming from Arab gulf states, by extension through organizations like ELF, and the old days, Al Shabab (please don’t get me on this, I am not equating and resembling Alshabab with ELF) and many other organizations. One model of going about it is through language. History teches us about what happened to Egyptian coptics (I am mentioning them for the third time 🙂 ) And the northern Sudanese, particularly the Nubian people. They have abandoned their unique tradition and culture in favor of Arabic language and culture. We learned from them and we do not want to become like them. I told you that I have a very high regard for you, Saleh, so I wouldn’t mind your scorn. But, my belief is my belief…


      I don’t know, who really was ELF or not. I am a bit young to know the movers and shakers of that time. But, I also know that there is some ideological inheritance, which ELF got from the forties of Rabita folks. The fact that I don’t know who is who in ELF does not diminish my point and makes me the butt of your jokes.. 🙂

      • yegermal

        The perils of scanty knowledge of history at play….YG’s bad habit of rewriting history is indeed contagious!

        • Salyounis

          Ya Yegermal,

          On all matters Eritrean, Eyob is a graduate of the one-room school run by Mualimu YG. Otherwise, Eyob is a swell Ethiopian guy who revels in his lack of knowledge with good cheer.

          Eyob, do u really think “I was too young for ELF” is a good excuse for botching things up. What, I was around when the Muslim League was around? 😉 they have these wonderful inventions called books you know.
          Crack one open.


          • yegermal

            “…they have these wonderful inventions called books you know.”

            Lol,you don’t even need to make a trip to barnes & noble to buy them nowadays. A cute lil nook will have all books ever written about Eritrea at your fingertips. But who needs books when one has YG’s colorful cliff notes?

  • Serray

    Selamat Gezae and Sal,

    I can see that you two are winding down…but who won?

    Let me start by quoting the worst argument made by Sal: “For now, just like it is impossible to find Muslims in any PFDJ, or YPFDJ festivities (which is why PFDJ has been reduced to having actors wearing MetaHit clothes), it is next to impossible to find Muslims or ELFers in general in the Neo-Andnet club.” Allow me to demolish it using your own logic, Sal. Just because you don’t know any muslim who goes to these festivals, it doesn’t mean no muslim does. Same with your ELF claim.

    About the use of neo-andnet; the above quote of yours is made possible by ali salim. People like yg and ali salim have a way of making things mainstream. As much as ali made it possible for you to say that the pfdjs are christians/highlanders, he has also made some christians able to say some unpleasant things about muslims; you see them right here. Don’t be surprise if one day, when you completely lose the term to the pfdjs, you see eritreans wearing t-shirts reading “I am a neo-andnet and proud of it”… (the best argument made by Gezae). When that happens, please remember you made that possible; you who refuse to tie ghedli to isaias but has no problem tying andnet to yg.

    I am a big fan of awate but even I don’t buy your pristine view of ghedli and the pfdj style attacks of neo-andnet. It is like obamacare; the republicans thought they found a dismissive word but even the president calls his healthcare law obamacare now. To both you and Gadi, the longer isaias lasts and the more the regime supporters adapted the term, it will end up defining those who use it as the regime lackeys rather the other way round. The reason the regime supporters like it is because their old name for the opposition, woyanes, is getting old and this one is as dishonest and as bogus as their old standby. Listen to Gezae, he is the one making a lot of sense in this discussion. Yours boils down to, “we hate them and we will call them whatever we want” sprinkled with patriotism.

    When we say stop using it, we are not asking you for a favor, we are admonishing you for being short-sighted and being used by the regime cheerleaders. But if you insist, at least bring quotes every time you make these outlandish pfdj style attacks.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Serray:

      More to come but here is a quickie:

      1. I don’t have a “pristine view of ghedli” and I honestly don’t know many Eritreans who do. Maybe we should have a hyperbole scale to measure the hyperbole level in us calling the YGs “Neo Andnet” and them calling us “Ghedli Romantics.” To romanticize something is to describe something in unrealistic or idealized way. The Ghedli, it should be recalled, is the sum total of ELF and EPLF. The ELFer has been trashing the EPLF for decades (i.e. part of the Ghedli) and the EPLF has been trashing ELF for decades (ie trashing the Ghedli.)

      2. Neo-Andnet means the New Andnet. In political science, neo (neo-conservative, neo-liberal, neo-nazi etc) believes the core of the philosophy of the old (paleo) and makes modifications to adjust to the times by using new information. The new information in this case is that Eritrea and Ethiopia are two independent countries. The core of the agenda–that it is in the best interest of the Eritrean people if they remained a satellite of the Ethiopian empire–is the same. There is really no reason to be coy about this: the simple test to this is to find Paleo-Andnet Eritreans and Ethiopians (they exist) and ask them what they think of what the Neo Andnet write. That is, if they can stop long enough to interrupt their Yorgasm:)*

      3. Just because a term is abused doesn’t mean that the term is invalid. Jihadist, terrorist, traitor, treasonous, regionalist, etc are words overused by the PFDJ. It does not mean that Jihadists, terrorists, traitors, and treasonous people don’t exist. The “mekinijaw Ghedli” actually came straight from PFDJ in reference to “Mekinijaw Weyane” in its attack of the G-15. Labels get stolen, adopted, re-applied, Big deal. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they wear “I am Neo Andnet and proud of it”–in fact, I would say, “what took you so long?”

      So, the question to ask is what you have asked: when you call these people neo-andnet can you show me evidence? I will give you the same answer I gave Eyob on a different thread: I will, but given that I am often dealing with people who have deliberately closed their eyes when it comes to YG, I don’t want to do it if people will just shrug when presented with the evidence. I have already written two lengthy articles on this subject, and I don’t want to write a third if all I will do is repeat myself.

      4. The overrepresentation of the Tigrinya speakers in the PFDJ support group is so self-evident that I don’t know what you hope to achieve by denying it. I don’t know why you always think this is guilt-by-association. The ELF (Abdella Idris group) was over-represented by Tigre-speakers from the Beni Amer tribe; the EPLF (Sabbe group) was over-represented by people from Semhar; and the EPLF (Isaias group) has always been over-represented by Tigrinya-speakers and Tigre-speakers from Semhar and Sahel. This is common knowledge and something so easily verifiable, I don’t know why your shrivel everytime the information is presented or why you think you are being blamed for it or why you think launching your own guilt-by-association (shock! you agree with Ali Salim) is supposed to have any effect on me. It is a simple description.

      5. The other thing that you do is that you consider Ali Salim and YG to be the anti-dotes to each other. I just don’t see the two in the same vein. Ali Salim, a writer using a pen-name, who writes off-and-on (mostly off), in a diary format (often reversing himself, contradicting himself, apologizing for it) is a provocateur. YG is a Mwalimu, one of those teachers who teaches in a one-room school where he launches “outlandish PFDJ-style attacks” against mostly dead people.

      To be continued (I hope)


      “Yorgasm”: orgasm created by reading Yosief. Stolen from whoever coined “Gorbasm”: the orgasm the leftist Americans experienced when Gorbachev came to power in Russia:)

    • yegermal

      The bulk of fanatic pfdjitis is indeed made up of christian highlanders, as was the Mahber Andenet in yesteryear. We can debate the reason for such phenomenon but I don’t see how we can dispute this established fact.

  • Tzigereda

    Sure, time has changed, I just wonder to hear those old songs in a new Remix, a bad one, based on hate and defamation.

  • Dear SAAY,

    The shattered glass metaphor is the best that describe the reality of Eritrea today and the best metaphor that eclipse the argument of the opposite side.I hope the young have made notice of it. But I have a question to you: Do you mean “neoAndnet” is “a paleo-diet” only used to satisfy the political urge for “Ghedli-romanitizers” but nothing for real implications to what they are saying. By that I mean “neo-andnet” doesn’t fit to describe them. Do you not what, at this point we need a round table to communicate intellectually without interruption from the hate mongers from both side by the way, to chart the future of Eritrea or call it “framing a future.” The harsh reality: Eritrea is falling of the cliff if we don’t do something urgently.

    • Moderator,

      please coreect do you not know as “do you know what”


      • Salyounis

        Selamat Aman:

        Actually, and you know this better than me since social science is your field, after every upheaval, there are always a people who want to go back to an earlier era, much earlier, “innocent” era that they have idealized in their head because they have removed all the blemishes from it. That’s our neo-Andnet group: they have removed all the blemishes from the Ethiopian occupation. If you want to get a Neo-Andnet all mad and impatient, talk to him about what Ethiopians did at Ona or Weki Dba. If you want him to say, “oh, Mwalimu, tell me more”, tell him about the criminality of Hamid Idris Awate.

        So, whaddaya know! The Neo-Andnet are actually Ethio-romanticizers because in their telling of Eritrean history, Ethiopia did nothing wrong, and Eritreans did everything wrong. Your serve.


        • Selam SAAY,

          The right terminology that fit to them is “ghedli defamers” as we have seen them that all their efforts was/is to disqualify ghedli without any basis and reference of history and the factors that propelled the birth of the armed struggle. It doesn’t matter who start it. It will start with the one who heeds the call of the time…and awate stood for the call of history. The “ghedli defamers” haven’t any clue how social revolution start. I am not against criticism for the faults ghedli incurred in the long journey, but to try to disqualify the cause of it is mind boggling. Sal one suggestion though the issue we are talking can’t be resolved by internet debate…I keep saying…because things are not moving as we stand. It is all a recycled arguments.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Aman:

            Ghedli defamers is descriptive, but it doesn’t capture entirely what they do for two reasons:

            1. To call them “Ghedli defamers” would imply that they are criticizing a specific time period of Eritrea. The “Ghedli” is something that refers to a specific era: 1961-1991, the period of the armed struggle. But, as you know, the Defamers’ defamation is not limited just to that period– it extends to the decades before that. Near as I can tell, since their main critique is that Eritrea had no business being a country, it extends to the entire period that Eritrea existed as a polity.

            2. To call them “Ghedli defamers” would suggest that their problem is the revolution and its leaders. But, these guys also have a problem with the Tegadelti, and everybody who supported the Revolution. Before Ghezae and Serray (whose defense appears to be: “hey, leave our friends alone!”) jump in, here’s one specific quote “The teghadelti themselves had no clue as to what they were fighting for.” (from yg’s “The Circular Journey…..”Hadnetna” from Sahel to the Sinai.”) I think this is the article where he jumped the shark and became an American TV televangelist personality. Just like the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons blamed every disaster in America on God’s wrath about gays in America, YG was blaming the Sinai disaster on….Sahel and ghedli.)

            They are Defamers alright but their defamation is not limited to Ghedli.


          • Merhaba Saay,

            I fully understand your take, and I do know that you are well armed to disqualify their arguments. Nothing new to me about you. But remember at the same time we are also giving them unnecessary platform for so long to do their dirty….that worries me a lot. But at the end, as you put it in your last thread at the top, you also know how to conclude when something is stretched beyond it deserves. Thanks.

  • Semere Tesfai

    For some of us (older generation) it would have been a lot easier to argue our case in Tigrigna. We just struggle to write in English to communicate with a wider audience outside the Mereb river banks: young Eritreans born outside Eritrea, our non-Tigrigna speaking Eritrean brothers, our non-Tigrean Ethiopian brothers, our Horn brothers and beyond.

    • haile

      Ato Semere;

      “TsmblaliE’si backside’A keykedenet meriet kedenet!” Most Eritrean’s have no clue of what is said in this comments forum, and instead of getting your message to them by finding innovative ways, you want to talk to others, including those who openly say that they don’t want to talk to you, instead! zegerm eko’yu, kan do ezi dege zelo hizbi qenan koynu terifu…belu dehan sesrahkum gberu, yerdaEkum!

      • Semere Tesfai


        ኣባሃህላኻ ተረዲእኒ፡ ዝመስል እዩ’ውን። ግን ንኹሉ ነገር ብዓይኒ “ጽምብላሊዕ” እንተዘይረአናዮ ይሓይሽ። ሓደ ካብቲ ንዓይ፡ ንዓኻን፡ ንኻልኦትን (ትግሪኛ ተዛረብቲ) ዘጉሂ ነገር እንተዳኣ ሃልዩ፡ ኤርትራውያን የሕዋትና ብቛንቛ ዓረብ ዝጽሕፍዎን ዝካትዕዎን ዘይምፍላጥና እዩ። ኣባሃህላይ ካኣ ብኡ ማእዝን እንተራኣናዮ ይሓይሽ።

        • haile


          ሓቅኻ እሎኻ፡ ካብ ኩሉ ክገርመካ፣ እዚ’ን ወዲ ኸምዝን ዝኣመሰሉ ጸገማት መረዳድኢ ቋንቛ ድማ’ዩ፡ ንመንፈስን ሕልናን ኤርትራውያን ኣብ ደገ ኣዛዊኑ፣ ከም ላምፓቺና ኣብ ናይ ንፋስ ሰለሎ ሸሚሙ ዝርከብ። …ንዓ በጃኻ ገለ ግበር’ዚ ሓወይ፣ መብዝሕትኤን እዘን ፓላንቺና ስግረ-ዶብ አናዘዘዋ ርእሰን ኣዚረን፡ ንዓና’ውን ለኪመናና በስ,,,፡)

  • Tzigereda

    Dear Ghezae,

    As I was in Mieda my grandmother came to vsit me and she said “kemzom wedo-geba keytikoni, zi-ateqkiya sire keytifethiya, keytezirfina”, the last words of my grandmother. Guess, what name she would have given to YG`s and his likes!

    • Elenta

      May be Comandis.

    • Xigereda,

      Time does not stand still. Time has changed.

  • Zaul

    “the language debate in Eritrea over equality of languages and bilingual official language policy is more about power relations than about language per se. It relates to politics of identity that derive from the construction of two identity formations as understood by political elites”

    Redie Berektab

    should I take a course in arabic for beginners or arabic for the conquered?


    Elites, that’s you SS, nobody ever asked what the people want!

    • Salyounis


      The quotation from Redie Berketab is one of those things that appears to be insightful but is, in reality, just stating the obvious. If you want to verify that for yourself, just do a minor adjustment to it and it will prove a point opposite of what you are trying to prove:

      “the language debate in Eritrea over equality of languages and bilingual official language policy the decision to name Tigrina and Arabic as “working languages” and not “official languages” while Tigrinya slowly becomes the sole official language is more about power relations than about language per se. It relates to politics of identity that derive from the construction of two identity formations as understood by political elites”

      Expanding the circle even more since the language issue and the power associated with it is not uniquely Eritrean but a universal issue, here is a quote from the great African American writer, James Baldwin, who understood the American campaign to stamp out black English was a political action. This is from his 1979 classic “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”

      It goes without saying, then, that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power. It is the most vivid and crucial key to identify: It reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity. There have been, and are, times, and places, when to speak a certain language could be dangerous, even fatal.

      One more bad news for you: the right to “self-determination” includes the right to select a language, and it is a right freely exercised by a people. If, for example, the Saho want to say, “you know,as much I love my language, I prefer that my children be taught in Arabic and when I want to petition my government, I would like to speak to it in Arabic”, that is called self-determination. You saying, “hey, don’t I have a say in it too?” is exactly the same as Ethiopians wondering why they didn’t vote in the Eritrean referendum. That is, as long as people are not infringing on your right to choose a language, you don’t have a say in what a people decide what language they shall elevate and which one they will downgrade when it comes to official communication.

      Finally, when you say “nobody ever asked what the people want!” you are revealing your ignorance of the discussions Eritreans held through their elected representatives (the elite!) and the decisions they reached in the 1940s. If violation of Arabic/Tigrinya as official languages was one of the causes to start the Eritrean revolution, what makes you think people will settle for less in post-revolution Eritrea? What you really mean is “nobody, to my knowledge, and my knowledge about these things appears to be limited, ever asked what the people want.”

      There, fixed that for you.


      • Eyob Medhane

        Ok Sal, My turn 🙂

        Here is what I don’t understand. You opine that Eritreans have never had a representation to say what they want, but as soon as what language you want Eritreans to speak is challenged, you say that “..when you say “nobody ever asked what the people want!” you are revealing your ignorance of the discussions Eritreans held through their elected representatives (the elite!) and the decisions they reached in the 1940s….” I believe, it is a very good chunk of those elected representative, who also wanted unification with Ethiopia. So, what that chunk of representatives want also could be taken to account, or it’s only those, who want Arabic language to reign in the country? After just reading all the discussions without saying anything, I just wanted to chime on this one, because I remember one of your writers here Dr. Mohammed once here suggested that Ethiopians also should learn Arabic, and if he were a minister of education, he would make arabic mandatory for the Ethiopian students. That would tell me (us) that there is a concerted effort of arabization of abesha through language. A lasson was learned from Egyptian copts, who lost their language, alphabet, identity and to near extinction their religion. This is not arabic-phobic, this is about protecting once belief, identity, language and livelihood, Sal…

        • Salyounis

          Selamat Eyob:

          Welcome buddy. Correction: Eritreans had the opportunity to tell the world what they want twice in their history: in the 1940s to the UN; in 1993 to the world.

          Ok, if you have been reading me, I think I have been clear in saying that I do not believe the claim that pro-Andnet Eritreans were “tricked” by Haile Selasse into demanding that they be unified with Ethiopia. These were the leaders of their communities–smart, farsighted, and strong personalities. So, I am telling you that the weakest argument that the Eritrean Revolution had was the argument the pro-Andnet Eritreans were “tricked, bought, intimidated” by Haile Selasse. What is TRUE is that Haile Selasse (who, according to the UN Charter, should have had zero say about what Eritreans want) was trying to shut off the voice of the pro-independence movement and he was not beyond paying assassins to kill them and to defame them as people trying to implement the agenda of outsiders.

          The second half of the argument–that Haile Selasse’s annexation of Eritrea was illegal–is very valid. It is so valid that every left-wing Ethiopian political organization (including the derg) conceded it And, after Eritreans got tired of begging the UN and the OAU* (actually, its movers and shakers) for a decade, after exhausting peaceful means to change the mind of Ethiopians, they raised arms.

          Going back to the language issue, yes, the Andnet Party emphatically argued for Tigrinya (or Tigrinya and Tigre: sound familiar?) to be the official languages. And the Muslim League emphatically argued for Tigrinya and Arabic: and that was what was agreed to. Agreements actually mean something, don’t they? I know Ethiopia has a tradition of negating treaties–started by Menelik, continued by Meles–but that is one “Habesha” culture we don’t want in Eritrea. (JK: if you vein is popping, they have this medicine that you “apply directly to the head”:))))

          The fear of Arabic is always expressed by two groups of people: those who see Eritrea as Habesha Land with a lowland appendage and those who see Ethiopia as Habesha Land with a Southern, southeastern appendage. From this perspective, Geez languages (Tigre, Tigrinya, Amharic) are the core and everything else is a supplement. (This is why there is always the “why not Tigre” demand even when the Tigre are saying, “thanks but no thanks.”)

          Ethiopia has achieved the Amharic-as-official language the same way that Great Britain achieved English-as-official-language throughout its empire: by subjugation. In Eritrea, the “Tigrinya is a working-language, not-really-official, but-don’t-ask-us-for-the-difference wink wink”, was achieved through a lot of fine sounding rhetoric by the EPLF/PFDJ and ONLY EPLF/PFDJ in the entire Eritrean political landscape. But this is the politics of domination: “I have the power and if you don’t like it, go do something about it.” It is not the language of reason in state-building.

          If you want to use reason and facts, consider this: 30 years after EPLF/PFDJ’s “reeducation” on this subject–reducing the status of Arabic language as nothing more than, like the camel, an emblem–the demand for Arabic is just as stubborn and unyielding. Two examples shall suffice: in 1996, the constitutional commission of Eritrea said that it was the most-demanded item from Eritreans that it addressed throughout the world. Second, it is so enduring that it is now in the political programme of every Eritrean political organization–including those who had spent most of their political lives arguing against Arabic in Eritrea (the EPLF/PFDJ reformists known as G-15.)


          * If you look at the history of OAU and its founding, it goes back to the Pan African Congress of 1945 which was organized by (drum roll) a group calling itself the “International African Friends of Abyssinia.” Now, what kind of hearing were Eritreans going to get from a regional body which considered Ethiopia the center of is solar system?

          • Kim hanna


            Abet, abet! I have never seen such verbal choreography. It starts with the Tennessee waltz and ends with the Harlem break dancing. It was all to answer a simple straight question. (Eyob’s question) I am sure this will not be posted but I wanted to vent too.


        • semere Andom

          The official language issue is no brainer in the same token that the Eritrean question for self-determination was a no brainer, but it has been complicated EPLF/PFDJ. Everything in the PFDJ land is a working of some sort. Democracy and elections are is in the working process, if you buy a house they do not issue you a“libretto”, they give you a working ownership paper. Everything is temporary, subconsciously communicating their temporal nature. To PFDJ lanaguage is not something that is intricately woven to one’s identity; it is just a tool like a screw driver to use when working on your bike.
          Making Arabic an official language OFFICIALLY is not the prerogative of any governmen for half of the population it is their sacred language, spoken by their prophet, in other words, it is part and parcel of their Eritrean identity.
          Making Arabic official language will is not synonomous with forcing everyone to speak Arabic at home. It means every Eritrean will receive services from his local, city or central government in either Tigrinya or Arabic.

    • Since 1993, the government of Eritrea has spent much effort and millions of dollars to teach Eritreans Arabic language. Arabic language has not only been included in the curriculum, but has also been made mandatory for every Eritrean to learn it. Despite all the efforts and the money spent to educate Arabic language, Eritreans in many part of Eritrea cannot still master the language. Many of them can’t speak it let alone understand it. I remember that some few Arabic speaking Eritreans had once been turned away from many government offices because government employees did not understand Arabic language. Arabic language, just like English language can be taught in schools but will remain to be a language spoken or understood by only few people.

      • Eyob Medhane

        Sal, wait a second.

        when was the Tigre people said “thanks but no thanks” Did you assemble them and conduct a referundum on which language they should use? If anything, you forced them to use arebic alphabet in order to render their language to be only spoken one and eventually make it disapear in favor of arabic. And the effort of imposing arabic on the rest of abysinian language

        • Eyob Medhane

          Is the same thing…To have tigrigna and Amharic disapear in favor of Arabic. First the imposition. Then rendering it to a spoken language. then making itisapear. As i said before and you ignored it like what happened to egptian copts. We know the trick, and we will resist it with every vigor we can mustet and believe me that is a lot of vigor. You targetef Tigre because without them there is no way arabic will attain a prominant staus in Eritrea…

          • Salyounis

            Selam again Eyob:

            You wrote:

            “We know the trick, and we will resist it with every vigor we can.”

            That’s a lot of “we”: who is this “we” kimosabe? You are a proud Ethiopian who still hasn’t learned the meaning of “self-determination.” The first half in “self-determination” means that you can have an observer status but not a participant. You really don’t have a say in it. I know all the Neo-Andnet guys would like your help on issues like this, but you can’t. That’s what happens when a nation becomes a state: it has to negotiate with compatriots and not with those it shares customs, tradition, history and religion with.

            In any event, it’s a lost battle. There was no bigger foe of Arabic than Isaias (a significant part of his Nehnan Elamanan manifesto was him railing about the Arab identity of the ELF) but even he had to face reality and give a role to Arabic in Eritrea in a way that would be unthinkable in Ethiopia.


        • Salyounis


          Ah, but you have already told me, repeatedly, that what people said or wrote way back is of no interest to you. Unless there is a youtube link for it, or it is quoted by YG, it doesn’t exist. So what would be the point of me working hard to dig up the information if you, as you have done many times, will just dismiss it as something from the dinosaur era?

          But, if I can give you anecdotal information (since you hate historical reports): (a) the founder of the Muslim League, Ibrahim Sultan, was a Tigre and most of the constituency of Muslim League was Tigre and he pushed hard to make Arabic an official language; (b) In the 1970s, some of the ELF cadres who eventually found a home in the EPLF (like Zemehret Yohannes) were in ELF’s Department of Education and they were pushing hard to translate school text books used in the liberated lands from Arabic/Tigrinya to Tigre and they were stopped cold by the leadership of the ELF–many, many of whom were Tigre speakers–and the parents of the children they were trying to “help”; (c) Idris Aba Arre (a Tigre speaker), who was in the PFDJ’s Ministry of Labor, wrote a devastating critique of the so-called mother-tongue education and its devastating impact on the literacy rates of Eritrea’s non-Tigrinya speaking Eritreans. He, a handicapped man, has been arrested and is in Ella Ero since 2001. I could send you a link to what he published, but as an aggressively monolingual Abesha, you don’t enjoy Arabic literacy… Maybe Google translate can help:))))


          • Eyob Medhane


            You know what I love about you? You always make my point for me. 🙂 You knowing fully well that I and many other believe that the leaders os ELF, despite their heritage they favor Arabs and arebic. We firmly believe that they recieved their mission to decimate Habesha culture in favor of Arabizing everyone stepp by step at their meeting in Cairo. Hence, they forced everyone, in

          • Salyounis


            I was going to say little knowledge is dangerous, but you dont even have that so you are just funny:)

            So, Ibrahim Sultan was ELF? Good to know. Idris Aba Arre was also ELF? Why not?

            You are funny. You should end all your postings with “don’t forget to tip the waitress!” like any good stand up comic;)


          • Eyob Medhane

            continued… In the lands they “liberated” for txt books not to be translated in Tigre, but Arabic. There is no written history that they have recieved a full mandate from the tigre people to do that Had ELF had firm control in the highlands, they would have done the same to Tigrigna…

  • haile


    There has been very interesting discussions happening here recently, Et. and Er’s opposition. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was ground breaking for me, but would have been viewed as such, had there have been a way to present these discussion in one of Er languages…possibly Tigrinya. It is such a miss that those who are likely to be influenced and be in a position to influence things by it, do happen to have linguistic barriers from accessing such debates. The last article in Tigriyna here was updated a year and 11 days ago. What is the role of language in defining the new levels of dynamics in a struggle?

    • Saleh Gadi

      Indeed Haile,
      We started the Tigrinya and Arabic section after some friends promised to volunteer their time to help maintain the sections. As usual, they started and soon they got tired. Of course, we cannot run all three sections with the limited resources that we have. But sometimes we think we have been too demanding. We want the Tigrinya and Arabic sections to be at par with the quality of the English page. And that requires serious work. People put a lot of pressure on us (directly or indirectly) “slementay btgrinya zey-tsehfu, ezi kturgom alewo.” Then someone else comes, “ya habbeza lew yetmm tergemet almaqalat bil Arabi.” Very few volunteer to translate what is already there in English, for example. If every beneficiary of this website would give three hours of his time every year, translate one article in one year, we will have a duplicate Tigrinya and Arabic sections. But unfortunately, La Hayata limen tenadi, the one you are calling does not breath:-) Any takers? Haile, can you be an example?

      But I agree with you about the language barrier, that is why we keep repeating the same arguments over and over again. When those with language barriers graduate from the language schools, they will come and argue (and sound) as if they discovered the issue, as if they have come with an original idea. If you see what the Neo-Andennet argue about, you will understand what I mean and what disappoints me. They recycle arguments from decades ago, they even borrow anti-Eritrean arguments from the forties. And that is why they earned the label Neo-Andennet with flying colors dullness.

      • haile

        Selamat SG,

        …volunteer…what?…me?… I was just saying… that’s all 🙂

        On a serious note though, most of the neo-andinet activists have written some illustrious resume about their past in Eritrea as a “journalist” (and sometimes a cross breed of “Rambo II/Journalist/Bruce lee” So much so, they reduced the agenda of the opposition into something similar to that of the Journalists trade union. Some even went to the point of receiving medals (their “Easter maker” pieces of silver – yuhuda askqorious) and almost adopted the word journalist as their middle name! Yet they have done jack all to inform their masses by doing what a true journalist ought to do, be a public source of information. And it is against this back drop that I see me being asked to do the writing/translating, much like as the Amhara would say “Gobeth si’taTa, ymelemelal gobaTa” roughly translated would read as, when there are no young and fit, the only choice you’re left with is to conscript the frail.” These neo-andinet, neo-journalists and neo-politicians only love the gold and glitter of the name and are no where to be found when it comes to rolling up one’s sleeves and getting your hands dirty. My evidence is incontrovertible and comes in a time-capsule of lost opportunity. They will be damned to try to defend themselves. The awate team, did talk the talk and walked the walk, my hats off to both of you Sirs!

    • L.T

      But this site is Eritreans window and give a thanks to those that they give you a chance to put in your comment.Such freedom of speach you have no in aigaforum(geza tegaru)or on ethiomedia(Abraha Belia site)
      there is one thing that you must have to know Eritrea case are ours not deadly sure not of you.leave Eritrea alone and give your energy into Tigria problem.

  • Saleh Gadi

    Tamrat Tamrat,
    Debate requires honesty, three-card monte should not be used in a serious debate.

    This is how you quoted me “‘I will not tolerate anyone…’”

    Ohhhh, look at Saleh Johar, he says he cannot tolerate anyone! That is the perception you wanted to portray of me. Right?

    When you amputate someone’s legs, he is deformed. That is what yiou did with my quote. But if you were honest, no one charges you per-word when you post at awate forum. You could have posted the full quote which is here:

    I will not tolerate anyone who asks me to be nice to people who repeat everything that appeared in the propaganda manuals of the father of Andnnet himself: Haile Sellasie.”

    See! The bold text looks enticing, I understand your infatuation with it.

    For me to debate with you, prove you will not to use cheap Shitarra!

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      “I will not tolerate anyone who asks me to be nice to people who repeat everything that appeared in the propaganda manuals of the father of Andnnet himself: Haile Sellasie.”

      I thought the dots represnet all what you said. I repeat the full quotation. You MUST tolerate the unioinsts too. And i repeat the gehdil romantizers like you must Accept pfdj is the result of the gehdil story. My debate is always straight forward. And i dont use ill mauthing.

      • Saleh Gadi

        Tamrat Tamrat,
        Sorry, I do not have a halo over my head. I do not tolerate Neo-Andennet. The PFDJ being the result of Gedli is just like a pious man, generous and honest, fathering a thief, a crook and a criminal. Unless you want to punish the parents of all the misfits of the world. In that case, where do I find the father of Haile Sellasie and Mengistu, and all the Tor-Serawit who massacred my people? Please help me. One more thing, we are not the Gedli romanticizers, we are the children of Gedli who love their country very, very, very, very much.

        • Tamrat Tamrat

          Hi Saleh

          There is nothing unsaid in the last 22 years about the gehdeil. We can not undo what ever has done. Let’s not repeat the same mistake.

          have a Nice day.

  • Salyounis

    [Sorry for disrupting the chron of this thread. The forum only goes five deep.]

    Selamat Ghezae and all:

    You wrote:

    “The first time, if my memory serves me well, the concept of ‘de-romanticizing the Ghedli’ ever used was not by YG. It was Dr. Okbazghi Yohannes who wrote few articles at awate.com in 2000/2001(?).”

    Sorry I couldn’t dig up the article, but I have something better than that. It is something I read in the 1980s (at a community college:) it is something I had recently dug up to rebut the Ghedli defamers claims that Ethiopia could not have colonized Eritrea but then I think I got either distracted or bored by the whole discussion:)

    It is a piece that Dr. Okbazghi Yohannes wrote for The Journal of Modern African Studies in 1987. Entitled “The Eritrean Question: A Colonial Case?”, the 25-page academic journal answers questions that the Ghedli Defamers thought they had discovered in the 21st century:

    1. Does a country have to be a monopoly-seeking capitalist state to be considered a colonial power? The answer given by the Ghedli Defamers, that Ethiopia could not have colonized Eritrea because it was too poor to do so (had not reached the minimum requirement for colonialism, ie, capitalism), is not just wrong, but it is also a crude version of a more sophisticated answer given by the North American student union of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP.) They had cited “Comrade Lenin” to make their case and the sharp Dr. Okbazghi demonstres with a direct quote from Lenin how their assertion is back-a$$ backwards. Lenin had said: Colonial policy and imperialism existed before this latest stage of capitalism, and even before capitalism. Rome, founded on slavery, pursued a colonial policy and practiced imperialism.”

    2. What is the culpability of the UN in Eritrea’s subjugation by Ethiopia. Answer: (a) it violated its own charter in defining “self-determination” which is extended only to the people affected (thus “self” determination) and not those who want to profit from the decision made by others. In other words, based on the UN Charter, Ethiopia should have had no say in the 1940s and we all know how much say it did. [The meaning of self-determination is something many Ethiopians still haven’t learned: they still complain why they didn’t get to vote on Eritrean referendum in 1993.] (b) When Haile Selasse annexed Eritrea violating an agreement the UN drafted (not guaranteed but drafted), an annexation that even Mengistu’s Foreign Ministry would later on admit to be illegal, the UN did nothing. (Lesson to our EEBC monomaniacs: the UN will always do nothing if it can get away with doing nothing, which is almost all of the time. Ask the people of Rwanda.)

    3. What was the relationship between Ethiopia’s annexation of Ogaden and Ethiopia’s annexation of Eritrea? Quite a lot. Quoting Basil Davidson: “No one has ever seriously questioned that the vast majority of all the inhabitants of the Ogaden are and always have been Somalian – always, at least, since recorded history began, and that is a long time ago now. Yet the world has still stood by and supported or applauded the imperial Ethiopian rulers for taking the Ogaden, holding it as part of their imperial territory, administering it as a colony, and maintaining that hold and administration in the face of every Somalian demand for restitution. Now I am one of those Englishmen who thought and think it very just and right that England should give up her colonies. Yet the English, as a matter of historical fact, held India, for example, for almost twice as long as the Ethiopians have held the Ogaden. If the English should leave India, for example, what can justify the Ethiopians in not leaving the Ogaden? Once again, the same arguments can be applied with force to the case of Eritrea. A colony is no more justified as a natural right because it is a new one than because it is an old one.” Even Ethiopia’s intellectuals cannot deny that Ethiopia’s annexed Ogaden, though they may refer to it by its euphemism “unification.”

    4. What is colonialism, anyway? Is it just a case of one rich country occupying another for raw materials? No. It has unique features: Basil Davidson again: “the introduction of Amharic authority at all decisive points; with the suppression in education and public life of Tigrinya and other local languages in favour of the Amharic language; with the exclusion of any specific Eritrean identity, right to decision, or control over local development; and increasingly, with the use of military force to suppress all signs or claims of Eritrean independence. They applied to Eritrea… exactly the same colonialist policies and practices which they had long applied to the Somalis of the Ogaden.”

    5. Why did the Eritrean nationalists seek help from Arab countries? Because they were turned down by the United Nations which, despite Matienzo’s demand that it be seized with the issue of Haile Selasse’s abrogation of the Federal arrangment, totally ignored the violation of a contract it drafted. Because they were turned down by the OAU (Ibrahim Sultan visited them in Cairo) whose heads of states considered Ethiopia “as a semi-divine state and its rulers as demi-gods”; the OAU also considered self-determination only meant kicking Europeans from Africa and not kicking one African demigod from ruling other Africans. By then, Haile Selasse had become (kicking and screaming, after a decade of African worship that was unrequited) the undisputed leader of Pan-Africanism taking up every African, anti-colonial cause, volunteering in the committee to investigate the death of Patrice Lumumba, sending Ethiopian soldiers to Congo, etc.

    In any event, the Arab support for Eritrea’s revolution is exaggerated. With the arrival of Mengistu and his aggressive pitch to present new Ethiopia as a socialist country, Eritreans lost “Libya, South Yemen, and certain segments of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (P.L.O.)”. So Ethiopia had the support of these Arab countries from for most of the Ghedli era (1974-1991). And any attempt to describe Eritrean Ghedli as “arab-supported”, stripped of the ideological loyalties of the time, is wrong. Ethiopia DID play the Arab card successfully to the OAU with Mengistu who had, as recently as 1975 called the ELF and EPLF “progressive organization” now had his media referring to them (ELF in particular) as Arab lackeys. This same rabid hostility the Ghedli defamers show to anything Arab is just more of the same.

    Now, just before the usual suspects dismiss Dr. Okbazghi Yohannes as an “guerrilla groupie” (or a Ghedli romantic), it should be noted that he was critical of the EPLF for its intellectually dishonest position in defense of the USSR’s imperialism–which was one more thing that the-then principled TPLF got right, and he gives them credit for it. And all this: in 1987.

    It is a good read, and I recommend it to everyone, particularly to those who were too young to know that all the new debates and all the new issues their false prophets discovered for them are not new at all and had been discussed much more intelligently decades ago.


    Source: Okbazghi Yohannes. The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 25, No. 4 (Dec., 1987), pp. 643-668

  • Saleh Gadi

    Can’t you say Eritrea is in a bad state and its economy is in shambles without mentioning Ethiopia or comparing Eritrea with it? Why is it that you compare Eritrea only with Ethiopia and not with any other country? In case you forgot, there are almost 200 countries in the world, and there are many-many countries doing better than Eritrea. Can you just switch off this tired comparison with Ethiopia as if the axis of Eritrea is planted in Ethiopia? But indeed, don’t forget we are in this predicament because of past Ethiopian aggression and blunders. Don’t forget that at all. So, please cut that meaningless obsessed comparison.

  • Saleh Gadi

    I really do not understand the attempt to treat the rascals with kid-gloves. Why? The hypocrites are proud of their stand and they know it is a Neo Andnnet stand. I am not sure who coined “Gedli Romanticizers,” or “Neo-Andennet,” but I am sure I used Neo-Andnnet many times (and I will keep using it) because it describes them perfectly.

    Honestly, I can’t understand why we are being asked to sugarcoat the term when they are wearing it proudly! Suffice to say that they are using Haile Sellassie’s playbook in its entirety: Islamophobia, Arabphobia, non-Kebessa phobia, Eritrea should have stayed with Ethiopia, the struggle was a crime, our martyrs died in vain…etc. They are trumpeting everything considered evil in the general patriotic Eritrean psyche. Of course there are pockets here and there, but I do not understand why they tolerate such blatant attack on everything Eritreans hold dear. I will not tolerate anyone who asks me to be nice to people who repeat everything that appeared in the propaganda manuals of the father of Andnnet himself: Haile Sellasie. Stop it, it stinks. If some of you are too young to remember that, you better sit in a corner and learn how the overwhelming numbers of Eritrean victims of the era feel. Isaias is a product of that quagmire and there are some of us who knew that long before it became trendy to oppose Isaias’ monstrosity. Many cried loud and warned of what is happening now long before they got any attention. It is amazing that they were blamed when they warned, and are being blamed now when finally many people understood their message. Yet, they have to live being treated like a towel that everyone cleans his hands on.

    The Neo-Andnnet have their views and beliefs and the rest of us have ours. Unfortunately, debates doesn’t necessarily produce results and dialogues doesn’t necessarily produce consensus. People should take notice when they reach a dead-end. Debating exercises should not be pursued indefinitely, for their own sake, if the chances of getting results is null or insignificant. That is when activists should draw a line: enemy and ally. And when the enemy regroups and expands an alliance, the patriots should consider doing the same, reach out to all patriotic forces and expand their alliance.

    To me, the line is already drawn. Those of you who want to debate the Ethiophiles and Neo-Andnnet, go ahead, it will be like trying to convince lackey’s of Haile Sellassie that Eritreans have already taken a choice, and invested heavily to realize their choice. If there was a chance they would accept that kind of reasoning, we wouldn’t be where we are now: on a camp opposite to the camp of those who glee at our miseries and gloat over our misfortunes. Go ahead dialogue with them, but don’t invite us to your round-tables or square ones. For me and many people like me, the lines have been drawn for sometime now.

    Eritreans are resilient and principled people. The confrontation we have with Isaias is just like the one we had with the Ethiopian rulers. According to Eritrean patriotic manual (and any other worthy human manual), injustice requires struggle. Only the weak, the opportunistic, the unprincipled and the subservient think that the price of justice and freedom should be calculated in terms of cents and dollars as if it was a corner grocery shop transaction. Freedom is invaluable and the fact that Isaias and his clique betrayed the Eritreans people doesn’t change the value of freedom. So, I do not see the Neo-Andnnet different from Isaias.

    I do not mind debating with Ethiopians provided they respect the choice of Eritreans and they have no ambitions to re-impose the old hegemonic rule on our country. There is no reason why we cannot develop a honorable, respectful, fair and strong relation with Ethiopia (all of it and not part of it as the Neo-Anndenet wishes.) The same applies to Yemen, Djibouti, and Sudan and the entire region… and the world. But the Neo-Andennet do not want that, true to their bloodthirsty nature, they wish to inflict a great damage on the region. They want to mar the region in a fire that would engulf everything.

    Finally, if it is a two-pronged assault on everything we hold dear, on everything that makes us what we are, it is a fight even if the enemy is a two-pronged giant, an enemy that can be characterize by the split tongue, the forked tongue of a mendelay snake.

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      ‘I will not tolerate anyone…’ But you have to tolrate. By now i think you have learnt ever body who opposes isayas doesnt neccessarly mean he or she is absolute thruth because there is no such a thing. As the unionists tolerate you, you also MUST tolerate them. Other wise the difference between you and isayas is the size of amunitions at hand.

      What ever you say pfdj is the pure son of the gehdil worshipers. If the 22 years do not teach you then God knows how long and how many lives would make you.

      • 22 years is nothing when you are not a direct victim…Saleh and his likes can afford to wait in comfort zone for the dreamed Eritrea in order to safeguard their wounded ego….Ultra-nationalism from behind compute screen is not as bad as Warsai Yikalo and desert trekking..

  • abe

    Who really got freedom/independence/actually liberated in real terms… in 1991?

    A- Eritrea from Ethiopia
    B- Ethiopia from Eritrea.
    C- A & B
    D- None of the above

    Who is better off now and forever?

    • Yemane

      Certainly,the answer is B.No wonder then,Ethiopia is doing a lot better now than then spending billions of its meager resources in a stupid and pointless war that could have been spent otherwise.For us,I think its a mistake as well as a curse to have walked away from the union that seemed to benefit most of our people.We paid a heavy price in terms of thousands and thousands of precious lives and the destruction of incalculable amounts of properties ONLY to create a nation that can’t stand on its feet.
      I am not saying that the previous oppressive regimes didn’t have to be fought but they should have fought to change the system and build a democratic one.The end of the 50 years madness justified the means and neither actual freedom nor a nation with a viable economy was achieved.
      Indeed a curse,
      Ezi Wedhankum,

  • Ghezae Hagos

    Selam Sal,

    “I don’t think the people I have in mind would feel insulted by the term “Neo Andnet.” But I do need your help with a new name for them. And, I do implore you to use whatever influence you have with them to temper their language with a special view to the fact that Eritrea already has way too many people who have dropped out (since 1982 to be precise) because it doesn’t see itself as having any stake in the country.”

    Thank you for engaging me in this. I and am sure many others would volunteer in the quest and in fact ask ‘them’ how they would like to be referred as. One thing is for sure in my opinion: ‘Neo-Andinet’, by every measure, is wrong.

    If you can show us there are people who are clearly for ‘unity with Ethiopia’, I don’t mind using it in its restrictive sense. But the way it was employed left and right against people who could track the ills of our present day society further than 1991, it was depressing to say the least. It is just a lazy but dangerous label.

    The greatest weakness of the theory of Ghedli de-romantics (defamers is harsher term too but is a kiddie toy compared to ‘andinet’) is the lack of utility of their diagnosis in engaging today’s PFDJ in the ground. To utilize my prior analogy, yes there were unbearable mistakes and crimes of the Ghedli, but what can be done now? You have a wife and nine kids and you can’t deny you slept with your wife..at least nine times.

    For some of us that that is where YG and others compensated. We know what they lacked; but they were exemplary in empowering us to push for sanctions against the PFDJ regime and taking to task the mining companies like Nevsun who are giving infusion to a dying and killing regime.

    There was one thing I forgot before. The motives of the 1940s Andinet and that of the Ghedli de-romantics is starkly different. As you said, the 1940s were hugely motivated by their paranoia of being engulfed by Arab-Moslem domination. A great pain and anger of the Ghedli de-romantics emanates from the utterly cruel, unimaginably totalitarian rule of PFDJ crimes.

    YG has spent a great deal of the last decade exposing and dissecting PFDJ’s blunder after blunder. Most of these articles were in awate itself. So was the unheralded Zekere Lebona. It is unearthing deeper into the field of PFDJ’s rule that pushed these activists to Ghedli times. The Arab-Moslem connection, I suspect, was, aberrant, unnecessary and wrong addition to their overall narrative.

    Once I guessed YG and others may appeal mostly to Kebesa-Christian audience because we have sadly failed to come up with confident and organic meaning of being an Eritrean apart from the world of PFDJ. Let me go once further: I also guess YG’s views do find more listening ears from EPLF/PFDJ background. Those with ELF background might bail out, washing their hands of post-independence dystopic world.

    But let me conclude: I sincerely hold that neo-Andinet is not fair term to Ghedli de-romantics. No question it can be infinitely damaging to our discourse in the opposition camp. PFDJers, like Meskerem.net are having field day with the term to anyone who is remotely associated with Ethiopia, no matter what; like the great Simerr patalk room. So, let us agree to suspend use of that term, unless absolutely fitting.

    If any please remember me for this last, last note: Trust me here, dear Sal,when your compatriots who worked and toiled with you against PFDJ are just a sentence or paragraph away from being called ‘neo-andinets’, you unwittingly confirm the fear that nothing binds us together after all, except our ‘ephemeral alliances’ against PFDJ. You are demolishing the very house you want us to build. But that is not the case; should never be. No, I strongly believe, the opposition do have holier cause and it goes beyond the fight against PFDJ in claiming a nation of equals, and kind citizens.


    In the related topic I have a question for awatistas, (may be FB is better venue for this) who first used the term ‘de-romanticising the Ghedli’? The hint is alluded.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Ghezae:

      Your sympathies are shockingly lopsided. Here you have extremely disrespectful people who called Eritrean patriots mass murderers and impugned their motives… Let me give you an example, just one.

      Taha Mohammed Nur was one of the founders of ELF in Cairo. He started out with ELF, then joined EPLF, then when the EPLF split into the Sabbe-Isaias camp, he stayed with Sabbe. After independence, he moved back to Eritrea where he was mostly a private citizen– although he served in both Commissions. Then a couple of years ago, like many Eritreans, he was arrested and he died in prison.

      When the Ghedli defamers are talking about the Arabists/Islamists/tribalist founders of ELF, they are talking about him. They are talking about Idris Mohammed Adem who was in the Eritrean parliament of the federation era. They lob their ignorant defamation with such disdain, and they are immune to facts and corrections. We expect this kind of recklessness from the Isaiasist, but why is it tolerable from our side? Why is it necessary to destroy people’s reputation so ones grand theory can stay intact?

      They have described Eritreas martyrs as dupes; they have described volunteers as conscripts and their cause as futile. Is there an assault any more injurious than to be told that a family member who volunteered for a cause was, “not really: he was forced against his will and he died for nothing.” The Eritrea they have created in their mind is a Frankestein creation. The Eritreans they have created are pitiful creatures: not history makers, neither brave nor in anyway admirable but people to be pitied. They have done gross violence against people and their memories.

      Yet, yet, all your sympathies are for them because oh poor babies they were sniff sniff called Neo Andnet. Give me a break. I don’t know what you are not getting about this: the Paleo Andnet wanted Ethiopia and worked hard to get it. The Neo Andnet want Ethiopia too: they have told you as much repeatedly by telling you that it was a tragic mistake to separate from Ethiopia. The only difference is that they don’t have the work ethic and the self-discipline of the Paleo Andnet party. They don’t have the character of the Paleo Andnet party because those people being men of honor would never have relentlessly spoken ill of the dead. Those Paleo Andnet, because they were driven by genuine love and care for their people, would never have insulted the memories of their brothers and sisters.

      The only reason not to call the Neo Andnet people Neo Andnet is because they are not even worthy of that name. Simply they are shock troopers. And you don’t do yourself a favor when you say that your capacity to fight the PFDJ was emboldened by them.

      So when you talk about the need for those opposed to the PFDJ restraining themselves from using labels, I honestly believe that many who claim to have read them don’t read them critically as they are too hypnotized and swooning. Read them critically and you will notice that when they are not insulting dead people, mocking their sacrifices, they are attacking any and everyone in the opposition. In any event, the Eritrea they want to create is so deformed, so vapid, so devoid of any heroes (except themselves for “telling the truth”), a ward full of victims with no history to latch on to for salvation, in short, a strange place with no doers but only wailers, that place is a quarantine area, not a home. And people do not save quarantine areas.


      • Ghezae Hagos

        Selam Sal,

        Those who loved Eritrea most, its heroes and martyrs can’t be and will not be blemished. They deserve nothing less than our absolute homage and admiration. Period.

        The reason most of us are in this ‘struggle’ is because we can’t bring ourselves to accept, given its histroy, this beautiful nation of us would be a private toy of an uber sadistic bully called Isayas Afewerki who is mangling its hands, legs to exact maximum pain. We refuse to submit our nation to him.

        That I think is the single most important motive for all of us, you, YG and other actvists and that is where I mostly want to dwell. That is why no matter, unless supported by facts, paleo or neo andinet is wrong and misguided term.

        I am certainly a sucker for anything opposition because I loath Issayas Afewerki beyond words, beyond feelings. So, knowing the motives of people like YG is squarely falls on the love of thier people and the victimization of Eritrea in the hands of Issayas, knowing our activism and ‘wasting our time’ for more than a decade is also the same, i.e., motivated by what is going inside Eritrea, the rest for me, reading or misreading history, is remotely secondary.

        Not that we didn’t learn a thing or two from people like YG, like the roots of today’s evil stretches back uninterrupted to pre-1991. I will give you an example.

        The sad ending of the late Naizghi Kiflu is one of the most bizzare stories I have ever heard. I can’t still comprehend what the tyrant wanted to teach us.I was talking to one Eritrean who is knowledgeable of the 70s Eritrea. I was expecting him to join me to bewildered state. He said he would not be shocked; they (EPLF) were doing something akin to that even in the Ghedli times. He recounted of an incident when EPLF combatants killed a ‘gebar’ on a flimsy rumor (could be true) that he was spy of Ethiopia and ordered the villagers not to bury him for a couple of days to teach a lesson to others. Of course, it may be rare case though it was commonplace they were kidnapping many suspects and disappearing them in Sahel helewa-sewra. Similar to YG’s stories.

        There are always people who would question the mainstream narrative, even in times of peace. You know that more than me. The marxists, the ultra-lefties in US and Europe have quite different version of history of the West. In our case, when things are falling apart, our opposition is in shambles, it is natural to question what happened in the past to warrant this unbelievably dystopic phenomena. Again, castigating them as neo-or paleo andinet simply confirms our ties may indeed be loose; which is exactly some of them are saying.

        The late Meles Zenawi was quoted in one of PFDJ’s megazines, ‘Hiwyet’ saying the following about his detractors, mostly Amharic intellegenisia of Addis. “It is an honor for us to see these people criticise ‘Gunbot Haya’using the right ‘Gunbot haya’ brought to them.” Along those lines..

        You may also say the same to our Ghedli de-romantics who criticise the Ghedli by the very right Ghedli brought about: The Great Eritrean Citizenship.

        Ghezae Hagos

        • Salyounis

          Selamat Ghezae:

          So, knowing the motives of people like YG is squarely falls on the love of thier people and the victimization of Eritrea in the hands of Issayas…

          Yeah, the Ghedli Defamers “love of their people” really extends only to a specific people, a specific subset of Eritrea, which occupies a specific geography of Eritrea. I choose my words carefully because I read them critically. Their thesis is: Eritrean Habesha have rejected their Habeshaness in favor of two strange imports: Arab identity and Ghedli identity. And the salvation of “their people” comes by rejecting the new strange identities (Arabic and Ghedli) imposed against their will, and returning back to their roots: the Habesha identity.

          This is the entire thesis of the Ghedli-defamers. The rest is details, supporting arguments to support the thesis above. Most of the supporting arguments they produce are factually inaccurate and defamatory, but that never bothered them if it got in the way of the Great Unifying Theory.

          The irony is that they practice the greatest defect of Ghedli. The greatest defect of Ghedli was that, in pursuit of the larger goal (Eritrean independence) it trampled over the civil liberties and rights of individuals. The greatest defect of the Ghedli-defamers is that in pursuit of a larger goal (Destruction of Ghedli), they are willing to trample over the rights of individuals–so long as the image of the Ghedli is destroyed, the destruction of the reputation of its members is simply collateral damage. Its martyrs are suckers; its inspiring doers are Arab agents and fascists.

          Those who have been inspired by the Ghedli defamers to hate the Isaias regime don’t just stop there. They hate the organizations that shaped him (ELF/EPLF/PFDJ), they hate those who inspired the movements. At some point, they threatened to continue on their infinite regress of defamation and next on their list were Abdulkader Kebire, Ibrahim Sultan, Woldeab Woldemariam: it is only their laziness that got in the way of the defamation campaign. They may pity Eritreans but they do not love them. Two kids, one wearing an “I love Eritrea” t-shirt and another wearing “I am a proud Habesha”–guess which one they would approve of and which one they would scorn?

          I recognize that every generation has its Teachers. I am simply saying these are terrible teachers and, judging by their students, it is clear that a great deal of re-education awaits us.


          • Ghezae Hagos

            “I recognize that every generation has its Teachers. I am simply saying these are terrible teachers and, judging by their students, it is clear that a great deal of re-education awaits us.”

            Re-education, debates, persuasion is the way to go, dear Sal. Labels, especially polazing once, like pale-or neo-Andinet is not. Especially at Awate.com. That is all.

            My guess: our opposition should have been wise enough to smartly swerve past the ethnic/religious ‘potholes’ in the past five years or so. No question this fuelled, instead of quelling, mutual suspicion, adding fodder to polarization. But, in my knowledge of these people, they are proud Eritreans, as one can get.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Ghezae:

            What you are calling a label is a shorthand description: it’s only test is that it is accurate or inaccurate. “ghedli romantics” is a label, is it not? They use that label often, do they not? Its a powerful label because it describes precisely a group of people (not as many as the Defamers claim, but a large group nonetheless.) when you are saying you prefer “ghedli deromantics” over “ghedli defamers” you are expressing your preference for one label over another (one that is flattering to them of course.) Labels are useful things. When they claim that Awate.com is an Islamist, jihadist, Arabist etc, the objection should not be “don’t label me!”( the way Anerican teenagers say “don’t judge me!”) the objection is that the label is not accurate. I believe my label for them is accurate and I have given you several examples in support of my claim. All you have given me is a character reference as in “I know these guys; they are good people.”

            You, better than most, being a man of letters, should know that writers get judged by what they write and not what they say in informal settings. Because if I were to introduce oral testimonies (what you men of law call hearsay:) we would have to bring what they said not just to you but to others as well (i am an amateur journalist remember?) and it’s not as flattering as you are representing based on your personal experience.

            So lets stick to what people wrote and when we can to the totality of what they write. And using that standard, these guys have a long paper trail and I don’t think you can win that debate.


          • Ghezae Hagos

            Hi Sal,

            I believed I pretty much did what I can to argue that ‘paleo’ or ‘neo’ Andinet is ‘not accurate label’ to your terms for the original Andinet and Ghedli deromatics/ or ‘defamers’ have more differences than similarties, especially in the core idenitfying message: Advocating and working for union with Ethiopia.

            As far as I am concerned any other term associated with Ghedli is a fair game.

            I have previously posed a question on who FIRST coined the phrase ‘de-romanticising the Ghedli.’ People are answering you did in fb page. I will reveal what I had from memory and I will need your confirmation, if my memory is not lapsed..

          • Salyounis

            Hi Ghezae:

            The most compelling argument you have made against the use of the term “Neo Andnet” is that is has been appropriated by the Isaiasists and its meaning has been bastardized and it is now used towards all opposed to Isaiasism. The rest of your arguments–that we shouldn’t use labels; that there is little similarity between the paleo- and neo-andnet — is not persuasive.

            I don’t know who coined “neo andnet” and I don’t know who coined “de-romanticizing Ghedli.” One of the least attractive traits of writers is their “I was the first to say that” chest-beating so I try to avoid that occupational hazard as much as I can:) I do know it was yg who invented the term “Ghedli romantics”–a precise and descriptive term–although he has applied it with increasing generosity to anybody who has anything nice to say about any feature of the Ghedli. “Ghedli romantic” is an evolution of a term that One Ethiopia Fan Patrick Gilkes popularized when criticizing the work of Eritrea fan writers like Roy Pateman and Dan Connell: “guerrilla groupie.” After that, any writer who had anything remotely positive to say about Eritreans was called “guerrilla groupie” by the One Ethiopia gang.

            In the new world order of the literate opposition, if you have nothing but negative things to say about the Eritrean Revolution, you are a fearless truth-teller, a taboo-buster. On the other hand, if you have anything nice to say about the Eritrean Revolution, you used to be a “guerrilla groupie” (according to the One Ethiopia gang) and now you are a “Ghedli romantic” (according to those whom we shouldn’t call Neo-Andnet because it would just be wrong.) And, if you criticize the Ghedli-defamers, you are violating their freedom of expression, you are engaged in coverup, and you are using labels.

            It is a pretty good gig, if you can get it:)


          • Ghezae Hagos

            Selam Sal,

            I had to double-check again and if you get time (?), help me out with Awate search engines.

            The first time, if my memory serves me well, the concept of ‘de-romanticizing the Ghedli’ ever used was not by YG. It was Dr. Okbazghi Yohannes who wrote few articles at awate.com in 2000/2001(?).

            I vividly remember discussing with my friend back then about the phrase. Of course, the good Dr. didn’t have in mind the phrase would catch this much fire. Neither did he mean the way it was ‘popularized.’

    • haile

      Your comment that “YG has spent a great deal of the last decade exposing and dissecting PFDJ’s blunder after blunder…” is so pathetic and insulting to the intelligence of every Eritrean in the diaspora that shunned the “opposition” despite going through major trials and tribulations in the same time period. Yg spent the last decade, desecrating what is dear and treasured in ALL of Eritreans not just “most of Kebessa people” as you refer it. The fact that YG finds himself as nothing more than a toothless yapping elderly man is because he drew his knife to stab the the Eritrean heart, needlessly, opportunistically, mistakenly!

      “…we have sadly failed to come up with confident and organic meaning of being an Eritrean…” I hope you mean by “we” refers to you and YG? Rest assured, we know what being Eritrean means, in fact, we don’t know anything else apart being Eritrean. netom tub woyane tobibom tate zbelu…yharbtom!

      “… (defamers is harsher term too but is a kiddie toy compared to ‘andinet’)..” Let me close by giving a shorter and sweeter name for these lost souls. Those are people who run to woyane, stomping over fresh Eritrean blood that was innocently shed so that you and me can say that we are ERITREAN. Forget them, the likes of YG have gone over to the other side in whole body and soul. SheTawnti would be an easier term for them.

    • yegermal


      I like the way you present your points and how you keep “plasticity” in your assertions in order to win over your “opponents”. This trait is quite rare in Eritreans! Keep it up!

      I agree with most of what you wrote above, except “YG has spent a great deal of the last decade exposing and dissecting PFDJ’s blunder after blunder.” I think YG can be credited for summarizing what so many before him had said about DIA and his brain child EPLF —> PFDJ. But it is a disservice to his enlightened predecessors (many from ELF)to give him undue credit for “exposing and dissecting PFDJ”. YG’s pieces are fluffed up with unnecessary and lengthy metaphors for a reason — to cover up for redundant and expired information.

      • Yegermal,

        Very true….Yg hasn’t brought any new element to the exposition of Ghedli’s failer, but he has the ability to synthesize information to utilize for his own purpose and of course peppering with some metaphors to persuade the public. Good observation on your side.

    • Ghezae,

      If my memory serves me well, It was SAAY. He wrote an article titled “de-romantacizing Ghedli: Serving a toxic brew for the young” on June 24, 2009. I don’t think there is anyone who said before him. May be Sal will help us on this.

  • Semere Tesfai


    Don’t be naive. Those who are anti-Ghedli under different brand-names and colors are not Eritreans. Without a doubt they are Unionists and they are Ethiopians. They don’t have any allegiance to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Eritrea. They don’t have any allegiance for its fallen heroes and heroins. They don’t have any allegiance to Eritrean Ghedli and what Ghedli stood for. According to them, all the atrocities that happen to us is our fault.

    And the logic is very simple. Being born from Eritrean parents doesn’t necessarily make one an Eritrean. Service of one’s immediate family members during/after Ghedli doesn’t make one an Eritrean. And by the same token, being first/second/third.. generation Eritrean doesn’t make one less of an Eritrean. You are Eritrean only when you are Eritrean in deed.

    Let me make it very clear: you can’t be a true Christian and against the bible all at the same time. You can’t be against Ghedli, and be an Eritrean all at the same time. Either you are for the Id card of – pre-1991 (Ethiopia) or post 1991 (Eritrea). If you are for pre-1991, you are a UNIONIST; man-up and make your case.
    Happy Birthday Eritrea.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Semere:

      I guess May Day is my declaration of No Train day. I am not boarding your train either:)

      One’s Eritrean identity is never behavior-based with one exception: when one actively and personally renounces it. Eritrean national identity is not a reward or a punishment; it doesn’t get bestowed for good behavior; it doesn’t taken away for bad behavior.

      The people I am talking about are Eritreans. They are just wrong-headed and indescribably insensitive. It galls me when people come here to defend them and their little feelings when they have the capacity to defend themselves in their lengthy manifestos where they spend most of their time insulting everyone and mostly those who can’t defend themselves: dead people whose death, they insist, was in pursuit of a futile cause.


      • Wed Kohkhob

        “where they spend most of their time insulting everyone and mostly those who can’t defend themselves:..” what a painfull statement man….. in truth they are suppose to spend every minute of their life to complete the job=in owninig democratic Ertirea. the good news is that here we are the fathers,sons, mothers,and doughters of those dead for our national freedom and we sure will defend as usual and make the dream of hero be reality.

    • yegermal

      So a Jehovah witness who is precluded from supporting any armed struggle including “Ghedli” is not Eritrean? Or any Eritrean, say YG, that disagrees with the route (ghedli)we took to free ourselves from Haile Sellassie’s brutality only to end up under Isaias Afewerki, a psychopathic sadistic dictator? Only from the mouth of Eritreans does one hear this kind of insane imbecility! DIA’s 40 years social engineer has really done a number on some of you!

      Sadly, people like do not realize that the same litmus test could have been used on you when you were acquiring American citizenship. What if for example you were told “you do not qualify to become American because you do not support American foreign policy towards Eritrea?” We should at the minimum learn(from our American experience) that in any given country citizens come in all shapes and forms.

      “You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy” Dyu negeru?

      • Very well said, Yegermal. I was pondering the same thing. Semere Tesfay made a number of “false statements of fact”.

        Here are the hasty generalizations he has made:

        1. “Those who are anti-Ghedli under different brand-names and colors are not Eritreans”–How did he come to that conclusion? Tested they DNA?

        2.”Without a doubt they [anti-ghedli elements] are Unionists and they are Ethiopians.” He used this statement for assertion.

        His reasons why they ARE NOT Eritreans are because, according to him, they all do not have allegiance to “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Eritrea”, “for its fallen heroes and heroins”, and last but not least “to Eritrean Ghedli and what Ghedli stood for.” Those are the requirements for an individual to keep his or her Eritrean citizenship according to Semere Tesfai. Your requirements , sadly, are followed by PFdJ.

        His laughable statement however is when he says ” You are Eritrean only when you are Eritrean in deed.” Here, he sounds like saying that you need to do good things here on earth to get into heaven.

        Your analogy:”you can’t be a true Christian and against the bible all at the same time.” is confusing to say the least. How do you know one is a true christian. Also, there are so many brands of Christianity in the world. One can be against some books of the bible (or some claims of the bible) and still believe in the Most-high. Needless to say, there are many Christians who only believe that the whole bible is not the word of God.

  • Dear All,

    If you let me to be a forensic politician for a moment, I would say this: Since independent thinkers in Eritrea are rare commodity, we should welcome them and embrace them no matter how different view they might hold.Tolerance is measured by how we deal with those views different than ours and as far as the intentions are pure to the well being of our people. As Armstrong William has once had said “we are gifts to each other” so we are surely compliment to each other. We don’t have to own one outlook. Once we understand that we have different mindset on issues of important to our nation, there are always different prescriptions debatable for purposes of public comprehension to make an educated decisions. Anything we debate them are in the loop and framework of such collective understanding. Nothing else.

    In the current debate we are arguing on the personality (in this case YG). We are not debating against his ideas substantially, though Sal has attempted with some facts. We can disprove him without disparaging him with knowledge attributable (ideologically, historically, and if possible socio-politically) to the issue. As unity is not always good similarly independence is not always good. What we have to weigh is what does independence or unity (in our case) could contribute to the well being of the population. The reality in Eritrea made the issue of “independence and unity” as a subject of debate. At the end, the desire of our people will determine it as they did during the armed struggle. So we shouldn’t be infuriated by those who hold opposite views. What we need is “assembly of inspiration and reason” to win an argument…an argument that promote naturalistic worldview, forged in reason and refined by science to raise public awareness. That is all. The rest will take its course but dictated by reality that time and space has created.

    • Salyounis


      You only embrace retarded children unconditionally. You can “embrace” someone by pointing out to him that his views are wrong. It is not a personal attack on someone when you point out that his thinking is seriously flawed.

      Eritrea is like a shattered glass which was once a a beautiful stained glass. While everybody was standing in horror looking at it, yg came in and using his knack for synthesis, put it together. What he has put together is a monstrosity: it is missing pieces, parts that don’t belong together are glued together, some have been force-fit, etc. But because most have never seen anything but the shattered glass and the pieced-together monstrosity, because they have never seen the original piece, they are just mesmerized that he was able to put it together. They are inattentive to the detail because, hey, at least he put it together.

      But peer in closer, it is all a sham and can’t withstand any scrutiny. This is why yg never answers a single criticism to his assertions and wild history: he just goes on to describe in great detail, the ugliness of the monstrosity he has created.


      • haile

        OMG saay,

        Despite my possessive relationship with analogies, “the shattered glass” analogy is in a class of its own. I have rarely come across an analogical counterpart that fit so precisely to the ‘real’ down to the finest detail.

        By the way my earlier entry of “manufactured conclusions” was meant to show the dangers of verbal political discourses. In other words, having to “explain” your politics does necessarily and sufficiently preclude your ability to survive in politics for long. And, oh yea it is a converse relationship alright 🙂

        • Salyounis

          Hey Haile:

          Thanks:) To paraphrase you from a different thread, “it is now in the public domain.. it is yours…retweet, and fire at will.”


      • Merhaba Sal,

        I am not defending his view, but I am defending his right to air his view as Eritrean even to suggest views against my view. That is his “cardinal rights” as it is to the rest of us. It shouldn’t anger you or me for that matter if the reality is on our side. Ghedli had a mission and it has accomplished it. What history will say the good and bad of Ghedli, we will leave it for historians. I did argue against his view long before anyone, though I did agree with him on two issues and those are “sanctions and the need of external pressure to expedite the explosion of the oppressed Eritrean people inside.” Forto-2013 would have been successful if there would have been a pressure from the periphery….”at this point my core believe is the regime has to go by any means.” I am aware that a handsome number of people is against my view and I respect them. One thing though I don’t expect from you to say “you only embrace retarded children unconditionally.” You see Sal I embrace any Eritrean adult or children for that matter, and I don’t consider anyone who who differs his view from mine as a “child.”

        • Salyounis

          Selamat Aman:

          Anyone can defend the views of the Ghedli Defamers* every day and twice on Tuesdays. They do it here every chance they get. But everyone can also criticize them. The problem is that people mistake criticism of someone with denying the person his right to express himself. At least the Ghedli defamers are around to defend themselves unlike most of their targets who are long gone.

          If a kids throws a rock and breaks your window, and you embrace him, you are not helping him.


          * temporary name until Ghezae finds me a replacement for “Neo Andnet”

          • yegermal

            “At least the Ghedli defamers are around to defend themselves unlike most of their targets who are long gone. ”

            I don’t think YG’s targets are the “long gone”. For those, he has nothing but empathy because in his opinion, they are victims and died in vain. His real targets are the living-dead, DIA and his apologists, and those of us that romanticize Ghedli and “Eritreaness” to a point of cultism. The more we get lost in these endless discussions about the past, the more his assertions are vindicated and the clearer it becomes that he is indeed the Eritrean “Illuminato”.

          • Dear Sal,

            You have said “At least the Ghedli defamers are around to defend themselves unlike most of their targets who are long gone.” Of course we are defending for those who are long gone by defending the cause of ghedli and its mission,for which they gave their ultimate sacrifice. Defending their cause is defending them.Second mistake and belief are two different things and are handled differently. Mistakes can be corrected by criticism but belief can be changed by winning a debate with tangible facts and testimonies. Yg is holding different belief than the rest of us. so we have to win the argument with the available tools in our possession. That’s all.

        • haile

          Aman, Aman, Aman….

          “…I did agree with him on two issues and those are “sanctions and the need of external pressure to expedite the explosion of the oppressed Eritrean people inside.”

          Needless to remind you that those “two things” are one and the same in essence, have you not heard of “external intervention” is the one single common factor in wars that are needlessly extended. Examples, Somalia, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq…

          Now imagine that Yg’s Ethiopia crosses into Eritrean hinterland (As in Asmara/Massawa), having rolled its tanks through, according to YG, undefended/unable to defend Eritrea. Now think of the enormous cost that it would exact it for every single day of parking its tanks in Asmara’s streets. Make no mistake, the end of PFDJ will have an ugly surprise to Eritreans. However, for those contemplating such a stupid possibility of external involvement, it simply wouldn’t happen. Every time Ethiopia moves in, the factions will be pulling together and after that it will be much like the comments section here. So think about uniting Eritreans around organic Eritrean dream, rather than going after one thing (albeit seeing a double:)

          • Weygud!weygud! making united front for external enemy is ok…as TPLF/EPLF have done against Derg and ELF. But making united front against PFDJ (internal enemy) is a sin. I have never heard such hypocrisy…hmmmm. Is that transgression of divine law….unwritten law.

    • haile


      eza zblekum ember zerEyekum aytgberu! attitude zeytgedfa? May be you want to lead us by example on how to “Tolerate.”

      One TPLF,

      What saay said is very true. In fact, I admired TPLF’s clarity and candidness vis-avis the Eritrean case in the time of the armed struggle. I hardly missed radio programs in those days, and it was true that they made unwavering stand in words and deeds towards Eritrea’s independence. The TPLF/EPLF problem was how those organizations were shuttered beyond recognition, in a means that was beyond us to stop. What has been adapted to the later reality of global geo-politics has given way to a TPLF that doesn’t have any thing to do with its roots, and the same with EPLF. Refer to saay’s “shuttered glass” analogy 🙂

  • Ghezae Hagos

    Selam Sal,

    “The neo-andnet are resigned to not being able to be unified with Ethiopia (because it is too hard, because Ethiopia wouldn’t want us) but if they could snap their fingers and make it happen, they would. So, what they have settled for is to glorify Ethiopia and its Habeshaness and to argue for an oversized role for Addis Abeba on Eritrean matters. ”

    I believe you are not able to make a compelling case why you are characterising the people who question the Ghedli as Neo-Andnets. You yourself has said they ‘resigned to not being able to be unified with Ethiopia.’ So what gives then?

    Let us start with defintions or descriptions that we can have some degree of minimium agreement.

    A. ‘Mahber Andent’ or Unionist party:- Founded in 1946, it advocated for unconditional unio with Ethiopia. The party fought aggressively for materialization of its demands using every trick in the book. It is known that the party recieved material and financial succor from Hailesellasie’s Ethiopia.

    The main identifying message is ‘Hibret m’s Ethiopia.’

    B. All the idenitfying marks mentioned above, like the politcal environment, including the cajoling and undue influence of Ethiopia to lure the group is missing today. In fact oddly, you yourself said the power to the South, the EPRDF unlike Haileselassie, has principled and unwavering stand on Eritrean independence. So, why use that term Andinet in any manner now?

    The people you accuse as ‘neo-Andinets’ can’t be defined or described in any of their identifying message since, as you yourself admited for all practical or theoretical reasons ‘union with Ethiopia/ hibret M’s Ethiopia’ is not in their message. With out that core message, why we should characterize them as ‘neo-Andinets’ is beyond my comprehension. Andinet whether neo-or old immediately conjures up rejection of Eritrean citizenship and opting for Ethiopian one. As long as you can’t summon evidences the citizens in question are for that, I think it is unfair and unbecoming of you to call them neo-Andinets.

    You are very much aware of the dangers of labelling people. Bringing very painful part of our history and trying to stick it to people who have different views of history than yours is not nice. We have traumatized society and we, especially long-time activists are expected to be careful with words we desribe our own compatriots.

    After all, we have history of saying no-but-thank-you to being called Ethiopians. In addition to the older generations, we have another generation of Eritreans, born after independence who knows nothing about Ethiopia. Why are wary of ‘hibret with Ethiopia’ being a threat at this point in our history?

    In fostering healthy and lively discourse, as Amanuel Hidrat implied, calling others ‘neo-Andinet’ inflames each other and gives little room for healthy debate. That is for sure because as I said you yourself had ‘stripped’ the term of its key substantive component; that of ‘union with Ethiopia’. Thus continuing to use can only mean to me to inflame and label people.

    I implore you and others to retire that term and engage and describe your compatriots in neutral terms.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Ghezae:

      I implore you and others to retire that term and engage and describe your compatriots in neutral terms.

      Ok. Help me out with a term then because “Xere-Ghedli” had a completely different meaning. I am actually doing them the honor of taking their ideas very seriously. This country that we call Eritrea was based on negotiated values: that was what made it worth fighting for for the entire population. But I get ahead of myself. Let us compare and contrast the Andnet Party and the No Name Party.

      Part of my agreement with Ambassador was on the infantalization of Eritreans: we are always presented as people easily duped. “The poor Andnet people were bribed, they were exploited, etc.” which makes no sense when talking about intelligent community leaders, the elite of their society. Let’s stop narrating story from that of the victim and talk about it from the standpoint of the participants IRRESPECTIVE of whether their views prevailed or didn’t:

      The Andnet Party believed that its constituency was part and parcel of Ethiopia. It genuinely believed this and worked for it. It was genuinely proud of Ethiopian history, its Habeshaness, and claimed it as its own. It genuinely believed that Eritreans had no historical, legal basis for demanding separation from Ethiopia. It genuinely believed that the movement to separate Eritrea from Ethiopia was engineered by Ethiopia’s historical enemies: Italians and Arabs.

      The No Name group are proud of their Habesha identity–but have nothing but contempt for their Eritrean identity, which they consider some historical aberration. They genuinely believe that Eritreans had no historical, legal basis for demanding separation from Ethiopia. They genuinely believe that the movement to separate Eritrea from Ethiopia was engineered by Ethiopia’s historical enemies: Italians and Arabs. In one delicious piece of story-telling, the No Name group told us that Hamid Idris Awate served the fascists and was recruited to lead the struggle by Eritreans who thought they were Arabs. In a moment that would have made Jerry Falwell proud, they told us Eritreans are being victimized by Bedouin Arabs because they turned their back against their Habesha identity. They have told us that there isn’t a single redeeming quality to the Ghedli. They have told us that change can only come to Eritrea if we Eritreans more aggressively ask Ethiopia for more help.

      I don’t think the people I have in mind would feel insulted by the term “Neo Andnet.” But I do need your help with a new name for them. And, I do implore you to use whatever influence you have with them to temper their language with a special view to the fact that Eritrea already has way too many people who have dropped out (since 1982 to be precise) because it doesn’t see itself as having any stake in the country.


  • haile

    Is distancing from Ethiopia taking the centre stage of Eritrean cyber chatter box?

    “we are not shy from “entertaining unity” with our Ethiopian Habesha brothers. We just want it done differently this time: integrated with the Region. ” Semere Tesfay

    “Before Ghedli, the Eritrean had only one thing in common: being a slave of the Italian master. After Ghedli, the Eritrean had one more thing in common: victors over Ethiopian occupation.” Saay

    “…union with Ethiopia is unimaginable, unachievable and even undesirable; it is the ‘mereb-belesa-muna’ water that passed in the 1940s under the bridge of history.” Ghezae Hagos

    “There are many ways to check the suspected individuals (in their eyes by the way) in a pragmatic approach in a lively debate rather than in an internet politics.” Amanuel Hidrat

    • haile

      …And let me add my piece:

      “Ethiopia lived upto its promise to accept and abide by the Referendum result that saay reminded us, because it calculated it was weak and TPLF needed support to subjugate the 97% of Ethiopians. However, it ranaged on EEBC because it calculated it can play big and dirty, getting drunk on uncle sam’s tap. Eritreans snatched their independece from a mendatious and opportunist advesary, you gentlmen are right to sign up to that.”

      And Aman when talks of “suspecting/suspect…” I was thinking “seraqi mobaE si BaElu ylefalef…”

      • Salyounis


        That is your train, and I am not on board, so don’t blow its whistle on my behalf:)

        My position has nothing to do with the TPLFs alleged mendacity or opportunism. My position, unlike that of, say, Isaias Afwerki, who was not ruling out “co-federation” with Ethiopia on the eve of Eritrea’s referendum, has nothing to do with what kind of government there is in Ethiopia. The TPLF, love it or hate it, had a principled, unwavering, never-changing attitude towards Eritrean independence. When all the other Ethiopian opposition groups, and our “Arab allies” were all over the place (supportive, agnostic, or hostile), the TPLF not only never changed its tune about Eritrean independence but its cadres wrote some of the most compelling arguments as to why Eritrea was never a part of Ethiopia and why Ethiopia, despite all the mythology, is, as a political entity with defined borders, no older than Eritrea. In fact, it should be mandatory reading for all the leaders of Eritrea’s Neo-Andnet movement:)


        • Zaul

          SAAY, You seem like a gentle person, but don’t assume everybody else is ignorant. Tu parle arabe, tigrex2, anglais, francais. Peut-etre aussi des autres langues. Je participe presque jamais dans des discours pareill sur l’internet, mais j’ai lu tes articles pendant long temps.

          Je pense que Sartre avait raison quand il disait que l’existence precede l’essence et il avait tellement raison que “l’enfer c’est les autres”

          J’ai plein de respect pour ton talent comme écrivain. Mais parfois (avec un clin d’oeil ;-)) ca me parait que tu prends tous les gens pour des imbecilles.

          J’ai du chagrin pour tous mes compatriotes qui souffrent. Mais dans le cas de Sinai, vous avez essayé chacher le fait que c’étais uniquement les chrétiennes qui étaient violées.

          • Salyounis


            Mon crayon est dans le maison.

            Hatti mere Satti.


          • Zaul

            Heray bel inka natey,

            I didn’t mean to hurt anyones nationalist feelings. If a train loaded with “justice and development” is coming, you can ask people to either get on board or off, but you don’t ask people to lay down on the tracks.

            I have to check with our great leader “Negus Negestat Anternet YG”
            He’s the one you’re looking for.

        • Dear Saay,

          Thank you for not boarding at Haile’s train. Your message:

          “The TPLF, love it or hate it, had a principled, unwavering, never-changing attitude towards Eritrean independence. When all the other Ethiopian opposition groups, and our “Arab allies” were all over the place (supportive, agnostic, or hostile), the TPLF not only never changed its tune about Eritrean independence but its cadres wrote some of the most compelling arguments as to why Eritrea was never a part of Ethiopia and why Ethiopia, despite all the mythology, is, as a political entity with defined borders, no older than Eritrea.”

          It is simply fact and Haile knows it before anyone else, but arrogance and hate faded it away that part of the memory. I really want to hear from him on the quoted Saay’s assertion.

        • dude

          TPLF: Jas!

  • Semere Tesfai

    “This external threat (Ethiopian threat) though now is more of imagined than real…”

    Really? And when was the last time Eritrean mothers cried because of Ethiopian aggression on sovereign Eritrean land? Barely a year ago.

    When was the last time Ethiopian forces were conducting “military exercise” few feet from the Eritrean border? Barely a month ago.

    And how many armed Ethiopian soldiers are at the Ethio-Eritrean border pointing their gun at Eritrea? Thousands and thousands. And you want us to believe our threat is just an imaginary threat. Please tell that to the grieving Eritrean mothers.

    “We have to find a way to entertain the concept of hade libi only when it is forward looking and means to be inclusive (Habesha); not when it is understood as a necessity to avoid Ethiopianism. We have to entertain unity. It shouldn’t be forced on us. It shall remain as concept of choice”

    I wonder if your “concept of choice” applies to the people of Ogaden as well.

    Anyway, we are not shy from “entertaining unity” with our Ethiopian Habesha brothers. We just want it done differently this time: integrated with the Region. Because, you know what kind price we paid last time when we tried the “unity concept” alone. And please don’t tell me Ethiopian governments are different today.

    • Wedi Zere

      Do you really believe that the so called “external threat” from the Ethiopians is real?If so then who is stopping them from doing so?You know that the Ethiopians posses a gigantic military might that can wipe out the armies of the whole region in no time.You also know what they did in march and may of last year when they crossed the border with little or no resistance at all from our side.That move though,wasn’t intended to invade Eritrea or our people but a hunt for terrorists that the regime you are supporting is harboring.Sure enough,they did what they had to do and returned to their base with hundreds of our POW’s.It had been reported that they treated our POW’s well and 72 of them were voluntarily repatriated.Remember,its not the kinds of guns,aircraft and tanks that made this huge difference on the ground but the unwillingness of our defense force to fight back what you call “an enemy”Among the many crimes that the shifta leader and his gangs have committed,emasculating our people in general and the youth in particular is the most heinous crime ever committed against our motherland.
      By the way,are you the one who was advocating for the most notorious criminal by the name Naizghi Kiflu?
      Ezi Wedhanka,

  • Salyounis

    Selamat Ambassador:

    This is a good addition to the discussion about what is ailing us and our search for the fix…

    1. Haile Selasse and Eritreans: In your piece, you say that we Eritreans place all danger to external sources resulting in the image of “Eritreans as incompetent collectives who cannot be trusted with adult stuff. ” I agree with your assessment. To Eritreans, Haile Selasse was a polarizing figure. In the 1940s, 50s, 60s, the overwhelming majority of Eritrean Christian highlanders of Eritrea saw in Haile Selasse a dignified man, a custodian of their culture, their faith, and their customs and an African fighter against colonialism. Those who carried a banner to express this view organized themselves in Mahber Fiqri Hager, better known by its objective: unification with Ethiopia (Andnet, Hebret.) They were not duped, they were not “Duhurat”:when they chose unity with Ethiopia, they were making a rational decision as to what was in their best interest. To the overwhelming majority of Eritrean Muslims (not just Muslim lowlanders, but Muslims period), Haile Selasse was a man who treated the Ethiopian Muslims as second class citizens and, it stands to reason, he would treat Eritrean Muslims no better. They would have to give up their language in favor of Amharic, they would have to live in a country where the official religion was Tewahdo Christianity, and the most they could hope for in the state infrastructure was tokenism. They formed the Muslim League (Rabita Al Islamiya.) They were not duped by Arabs or Islamists: they were expressing legitimate fears of subjugation when they rejected union with Ethiopia. Like every political party in the world, Eritrea’s two political blocs (Rabita and Andnet) demonized each other, of course. That was in the 1940s. Neither got what it wanted, although Andnet came close: federation. Then it worked hard to get what it really wanted: annexation. And those who lost the fight would begin the migration: to sudan, Egypt, Sweden.

    Fast forward to 1960. To their credit, when they decided to resist, the Eritrean Muslims did not form the Islamic Liberation Front and they did not wave Jihad banners calling for an Islamic Eritrean Caliphate. They called themselves the ELF and their banner was the Eritrean flag. They had a holistic view of Eritrea and they articulated nationalistic aspirations. To their credit, Eritrean Christians turned their back against Haile Selasse and flocked to the liberation fronts in overwhelming numbers. And, in time, the consensus Eritrean view of Haile Selasse was that he was no different than the other subjugators with colonial/imperial intensions: a man interested in land, sea, resources, but not people.

    So now, when people say that those in the 1940s who made the decision to join with Ethiopia were right; that Haile Selasse was a great man; that the struggle for Eritrea’s independence was wrong, that it was launched by Arabists and Islamists, that the whole Ghedli was wrong, that we would have been better off had we stayed with Ethiopia, is calling them “neo-Andnet” being intolerant or descriptive?

    2. National Identity: You say that “hade libi is a cherished concept that cannot be independently and reasonably defined. Its definition is not-being-something-else, like not being agame, or jihad or traitor.” I disagree. “Hade libi” as originally conceived was a means of strengthening national identity. (A continuation of all the slogans from the revolutionary time.) Yes, the “Hade libi Hade hzbi” slogan of the PFDJ is a means of demanding submission and consent. But, the premise of Ghedli (and later on Sawa) was that if you take diverse group of people and make sure that they have shared experiences, then you can create/strengthen a national identity. The idea was: when you are trying to create a state, there will always be an atavistic pull from within (tribal, clan, religion) and outside (supranationalism), but if you make the bond within by intensifying their shared experiences (and directly assaulting the other pulling factors–tribal identity, suprnational identity), you can create a nationalist identity. Eritreans already had a passive shared experience (victims of Italian colonialism); now they will have an assertive shared experience (resisters against Ethiopian occupation.) Before Ghedli, the Eritrean had only one thing in common: being a slave of the Italian master. After Ghedli, the Eritrean had one more thing in common: victors over Ethiopian occupation.

    Did this work? It did. 20 years ago, April 1993, we had our referendum vote. It was held after a two-year cooling off period of Eritrea’s independence in 1991. If you go back to that day, and read all the press clippings of the jubilation (as I have been), about how Eritreans in free, fair election (every observer said so) overwhelmingly answered yes to the question: “Do you approve Eritrea to become an independent, sovereign state.” Here’s what I always found interesting about the ballot results: there was no difference in results whether one was a combatant or civilian, a refugee in Ethiopia or Saudi Arabia, US; there was no difference at all in the “Yes” “No” answers.

    The problem is that, since then (the only time Eritreans voted on anything of national significance in a free and fair way: after that we went back to being incapable of making decisions, apparently), the “shared experiences” we have as a nation-state are overwhelmingly bad: war, bad governance, exile, humiliation (at the hands of Arabs, no less!). And our bonds are being tested: first, it was by the Islamists (description, not insult) in the 1990s who said, “what have we seen from Eritrea but continued exile and the continued subjugation of the Muslim?” Now it is by the Neo-Andnet (description, not insult) who are saying, “what have we seen from Eritrea but continued exile and continued subjugation of the Christian.” Oh, yes, the Neo-Andnet are sometimes subtle and sometimes in-your-face about it: but they make it real clear that who they are grieving for is the Christian highlander who had to give up his “habesha” identity in exchange for nothing.

    3. Superficial Courtesy: Assuming you meant it literally, I am not sure that Eritreans attending each other’s milestone days is a solution. For one thing, our people back home still do that. It is a fine tradition–but it has limited utility. A Christian Eritrean will be full of goodwill to a Muslim Eritrean, but will be persuaded by the government that, say, Forto 2013 was “mnqsqas ny aslam iyu.” And vice-versa. There are, and there will always be, overlapping and divergent interests among people, regardless how the people are organized: by economic interest (agrarian vs pastoralist; urban vs rural; merchant vs customer) by religion, or region, or ethnicity or tribe. This is not unique to Eritrea and we should stop pretending that it is a unique problem we face. What we don’t have is the mechanism to speak about it candidly and to seek workable solutions for it. There are proposals: from the regional Federalists, ethnic Federalists, Strong State advocates; etc. What we don’t do is that while we are good at discussing them in generic ways, we are not so great at discussing them as it pertains to their application to Eritrea. So, our unconsciousness is by design because we are afraid of what will happen when we gain consciousness.


    • haile


      great description…the only problem is that you are not writing this in Tigrinya so that many would have had the opportunity to reflect and learn. Tigriyna aytkEln dika?? 🙂

      • Salyounis

        Selamat Haile:

        ewaE: yiKi’el ember. But, I don’t like to write Tigrinya using Latin alphabets. It reminds me of Vietnamese restaurant menu:) Plus, as a Ghedli-romantic, I feel guilty when Tigrinya is not accompanied by its forever-twin Arabic. Wel’grd yefham.


        • haile

          Merhaba saay

          well…z@’s gr8 z@ u nO ur tigriyna… I know the Latin bit, hey it can get worse 🙂 learning arabic is something I kept putting off for a while.. I have just to sit and get through at least the alphabets…here is one I listen to at my level 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0xYy3D6zYgY

    • Ghezae Hagos

      Selam Sal,

      “So now, when people say that those in the 1940s who made the decision to join with Ethiopia were right; that Haile Selasse was a great man; that the struggle for Eritrea’s independence was wrong, that it was launched by Arabists and Islamists, that the whole Ghedli was wrong, that we would have been better off had we stayed with Ethiopia, is calling them “neo-Andnet” being intolerant or descriptive?”

      I would call it rather wrong describition. The people ‘grieving their loss of habesha identitiy’ can’t and shouldn’t be lumped together in one basket.

      But let just say for arguement’s sake the ‘extreme’ cases. Take for example: we have in our midst citizens who look back to our histroy and agree with what you said about their assessment. That we should have stayed with Ethiopia or that Ghedli was wrong etc.

      Now th multi-million question is this: Do we ever ask them what shall be DONE NOW, instead of infering because their stance is similar to that ‘Mahber Andenet of the 1940s’, that is exactly what they wanted now too, that is union with Ethiopia.

      I think this is self-fulfilling prophesy in your part or very simplified, reductionist projection. I have yet to find an Eritrean or group of Eritreans who is or are openly calling for union with Ethiopia. If unionists of the 1940s were openly advocating and agitating for union with Ethiopia, can you tell me, dear Sal, groups of Eritreans who are exactly doing that so that we can call them neo-Andinets?

      My take is this: A crude analogy (even bad one) is it is like a man (a habesha:)man at that) who stuck in 50 years loveless marriage, with 9 kids whom he loved more than his life. Due to bad hand life dealt him with, due to the suffering he endured, getting nothing out of it for his own person, he grumbles daily. “I should not have married her. I should have married my high school sweetheart…” He contemplates divorce, but knows that would never, never pan out.

      So goes for those whom you characterize as ‘Neo-Andinets,’ even the extreme ones. They know union with Ethiopia is unimaginable, unachievable and even undesirable; it is the ‘mereb-belesa-muna’ water that passed in the 1940s under the bridge of history. But they reimagine, they deromaticize, they rewrite their 50-70 years, simply because the life of the citizens of the nation was hell after afer hell.

      • Salyounis

        Selamat Ghezae:

        Well, I think you are forgetting the qualifier “Neo.” As with neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism, and Neo from The Matrix, neo-andnet is slightly different from its predecessor. The neo-andnet are resigned to not being able to be unified with Ethiopia (because it is too hard, because Ethiopia wouldn’t want us) but if they could snap their fingers and make it happen, they would. So, what they have settled for is to glorify Ethiopia and its Habeshaness and to argue for an oversized role for Addis Abeba on Eritrean matters.

        This is not a nostalgia for them, but a proposal to solve Eritrea’s problems. Rid Eritrea of all the Ghedli package–assertiveness, can-do attitude, a self-image as equal to all the nations of the neighborhood but belonging to no one, and a negotiated collective identity expressed in two official languages of Tigrinya and Arabic (To the neo-Andnet, Arabic is like The Cross to a vampire:) and what you are left with is their ideal Eritrea: an independent country, yes, but one that strongly identifies with its Habeshaness and has a “special relationship” (like US and England) with Ethiopia. What the neo-Andnet want to do is to reverse engineer Ghedli: just like Ghedli assaulted other identities (tribal, clan, and most importantly, supra-national/Habesha), they want to assault Ghedli by appealing to people’s tribal, clanish and Habisha pride.

        It might have worked, but it is an unworkable strategy because any political strategy that writes off 50% of the target population–and they do that in their dismissive tone, in their unilateral abrogation of sacred covenants, in their demonization of heroes–is doomed to fail. (As a friend reminded me: even Isaias Afwerki wised up and stopped trashing Hamid Idris Awate years ago but the High Priests of Neo Andnet routinely call Hamid Idris Awate a mass murderer.) For now, just like it is impossible to find Muslims in any PFDJ, or YPFDJ festivities (which is why PFDJ has been reduced to having actors wearing MetaHit clothes), it is next to impossible to find Muslims or ELFers in general in the Neo-Andnet club.

        By the way, just like they chastise people for “identity by subtraction”–that Eritrea is artificial thing created by rejecting Ethiopianism–I am chastising them for defining their identity as a rejection of Ghedli. Don’t tell us what you are against; go one step further and tell us what you are for and it turns out that it is Neo-Andnet.


        PS: This, of course, is directed at the spokespersons of the movement. I can only judge a movement by what its leaders say repeatedly. As to those who follow them, well, it is too much to expect them to disassociate themselves from what the leaders say because one of the biggest challenges is to get them to articulate what is it they agree with. They will tell you to read yg, to understand him, but if you ask them, “well, since he has made such a great impression on you, can you summarize for me what is it he has said that has had an impact on you?” all you hear is crickets.

        • Zaul

          A secular democracy with Tigrinya and Tigre as official languages would be fine. Otherwise what do we have in common? those who want to speak and spread arabic can join Sudan and the rest of us Ethiopia. We can have a happy divorce.

          • Salyounis

            Thanks Zaul.

            And there is your Exhibit A, Ghezae.

            The defense rests.

        • Zaul

          Having defeated a common enemy can not build a nation, If that’s the case then TPLF and EPLF are as good an example of a common Ghedli experience. I will not deny my heritage just to be arabized if that’s your case. This is my view, others may disagree. Just natural since we are not sheep.

      • Dear Ghezae,

        You said it all. But even the well read and articulated Sal (Saay) is bought to reductionism theorists (oversimplified argument)and circumstantial evidence. Reductionism in politics is a possible source of danger which must be avoided at anytime. There are many ways to check the suspected individuals (in their eyes by the way) in a pragmatic approach in a lively debate rather than in an internet politics. To suspect is human instinct but to disparage without solid evidence is unbecoming. Yes at time some of us are pushed to say in the kind of our encounters – as Aboy Mewael use to say “talk with everyone with the language he/she understand”… so goes the “diatribe politics.” Now in the politics of awatistas “neo-Amndnet” is a broad wash for variety spectrum of politics.

    • Kim Hanna

      Mr. SAAy,

      Your logical short and sweet statement left me wishing for more of what is the most likely future of the country.
      I think there is a parallel universe that we can look at to read the crystal ball.

      Mengistu changed the Ethiopian economy, customs, traditions and people’s relationships in a short and dramatic fashion. He achieved that thru brute force,violence and intimidation with incoherent barking. When he was deposed what is left was forever changed and traumatized people. The new leaders kept the result of most of his doings, added few of theirs and moved the country to where it is today. That is life.
      Eritrea, after Isayas is a forever changed country. None of the over 30s will recognize it. The past dominant traditions, customs and culture that has kept our part of the world backward is changed. The new leaders will have less of a problem leading the people into,on balance, a united and vigorous nation in the direction of the promised land.

      The only caveat is that Mr.SAAY and Mr. YG (ego set aside) have to go to Hawaii for few weeks and produce a single paper as how to get there.(I might be convinced to pay for the accommodations for the two only)

      If anyone thinks this mumbo jumbo does not belong here, I can only say that I am an artist and ask for forgiveness.

      • Salyounis

        Since you are an artist:

        Weizero Hanna*
        iti t’hbana habana:

        For me to go, YG has to write the second line of the poem and then write a paper on the significance of this song and who it was directed to and why.


        *not really “hanna” in the original song. Well, not even a song, more of a sing-along. Artistic license used.

        • Kim hanna

          Mr. Salyounis,

          In the interest of partial disclosure I am not a Weizero. I appreciate the response. The artist and now the optimist in me is hopeful that you will have useful, productive and a great time in Hawaii.


  • Ambassador,

    One of the most troubling aspects of years of DIA ruling and political developments in Eritrea, dived and rule, has been growing domestic polarization based on an interplay of ideology, regional, religion and ethnicity. But this by itself is not the most worrying immediate cases; our societies will face many challenges of how to heal themselves in the aftermath of years 22 DIA of cruel oppression of abuse, human right volition, humiliation and dehumanization. There no bitterness and antagonism between Eritrean people and has not been reached that need to be healed. As Eritrean we hope to live in full harmony, If needed be it, we will have a post-conflict reconciliation and quest for social justice, not just to achieve equal individual rights for all, but to heal past grievances and wounds, and therefore to be able to push our society forward to a condition of well-being, economical development, stability, peace and dignity for all citizens and turn the dark page for better bright future .

  • T..T.

    This weekend, recognizing the right of get together for older-timers of events, the ELF/EPLF and other veterans ILAL/Dardasha focused on a Tigrigna language idiom that got into frequent usage during the days and following the Asmara offensive of February 1975. The idiom, according to the Asmerinos version, says “Meriet Mis Wagh’he Ki-Hikye E’yoo.” And per an ex-TPLF cadre, the idiom says “Meriet Mis Wagh’he KiTsiwie E’yoo.” This Tigrigna idiom can be translated into English language as “After the dust settles, each has to tell his/her side of the story.”

    However, the escapees (WitsA-MaAt) may have their side of the stories before the dust settles. Their side stories can be classified as an eye witness report. Indeed, the escapees of Isayas’s hellish-world are considered his worst eye witnesses that are telling their shocking stories to the world. Because of their stories, the escapees are making more impression and delivering the true picture of Isayasism to the media. The escapees have reason to hate those behind/infront/around Isayas.

    Much the same as the Ethiopian mass killings and extermination campaigns drove the name ERITREA to every Eritrean home, the Isayas’s inhumanity and inhumane acts made every Eritrean lose interest in living and lost self-confidence, love for the nation, happiness and desire for achievements. Although every Eritrean had his/her pretexts in adopting a supporting stance towards the Eritrean revolution, there were some truth that influenced feelings of regrets.

    In Asmara, the discussants at the table recalled that it was the ELF’s Asmara offensive of February 1975 that made all the Asmerinos to adopt pro-Eritrean revolution tendencies and that permanently altered their stance against Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people. Some pro-Ethiopia Eritreans, following the Derg’s de-glorification of Haile Selassie they totally stopped their support for incorporated Eritrea into Ethiopia. These people changed their stance because they could no more enjoy their granted “Stand Your Ground” law after the Ethiopian government lost ground. So, they were out there to voluntarily band together with the pro-Eritrean revolutionists.

    When the gallant fighters of the EPLA entered Asmara, they were welcomed and considered liberators. Even though many of Isayas’s escapees took refuge in Asmara during the wars with the Derg, the EPLA secured good support of the Asmerinos. However, Isayas’s repressions, unjustified imprisonments, and outrageous violations of human rights created problems that negatively impacted even some of the known individual Asmerinos that stood for Isayas.

    Eritreans as sons and daughters of the Eritrean Revolutions, they have yet to enjoy their “Meriet Mis Wagh’he Ki-Hikye E’yoo.” Isayas denied those partners of the stories to come home for a family/friends reunion. Wherever the old-timers of events are, the stories over the phone as fragmented stories are not making any big laughs and strong handshakes over common stories. That’s why the Eritreans are still looking forward to seeing the days of Meriet Mis Wagh’he get togethers in order to tell their side of the stories. The forefather had their time for their Meriet Mis Wagh’het stories.

    The table of the veterans agreed that GhezAt Turki was remembered by the forefathers as a colonization that outraged our people for its strict rules of “My way or the highway.” According to those days stories, GhezAt Turki was much better than GhezAt Isayas because Isayas’s rule and order are so scary that they blindly require one to “Do it, even if you don’t want to do it, you must do” (the only option is to cross the border on foot with a threat of a rain of bullets while attempting to cross the border). And those who returned home to invest were made to invest on corrupted agents of Isayas until they got cleaned of their monies. Most of these people, as victims of the embassies’ bad advices, they refer to Isayas as Capo AnG’gfa (the cleaners of wealth until one is totally broke and has to borrow money for a way back ticket).

    The Eritrean people retained good memories of Italian industrial boom that Eritrea experienced during their colonial days. Those days Massawa used to be called the Jewel of the Red Sea. However, the next colonizer (the British) not only ended the boom but also brought terror and disorder that weakened the unity of the Eritrean people. Additionally, the British colonization brought economic hardship by introducing new taxes on businesses and farmers. Although the British were known for their systematic exploitation of our people’s sentiments for their purpose of divide and rule, they allowed formation of political parties. For those days and afterwards, our people have their side of stories and as a result some are pro-Italian days, some are pro-Haile Selassie days, some are pro-Eritrean revolutionary days, and still some are now developing anti-post-independence days.



    I believe many of the opposition ,specially the socalled Hizbe Tigrinya,like me ,suffer from this syndrome.It is Civil war 1970s – 81 …again.
    Although they had no problem..punishing Falul ,Abdela..and others nai baAs party..etc…when it comes to ShaIbiya …they seem to have soft heart and that continues till present.
    It is our so called brothers & sisters that are suffocating our people.It is our brothers & SISTERS GUARDING THE UNDERGROUND PRISONS ,RAPING OUR GIRLS ,Shooting to those that are trying to cross from slavery to COLLECTING THE 50.000 NAQFAS FROM AN ERITREAN WIDOW.
    Stop calling the bandits ..Tegadelti…It is not only Isaias or Sibhat…It is not only the system.It was banditry since around the early 70s, since the inception of Shaibiya specially.
    The below the toungue ,if Isaias is removed maybe a Mohammed ,Omer,..or a certain Abdelqadir..or even God forbid one ex menkaE…(wink..wink..).
    Our problem here is to a guy that has a knife stuck in his stomach..,to lecture him about the begginning of knife´s history is not going to cure it.
    WE KEEP ON MISSING THE POINT.ISAIAS IS A REAL MAN WHO DOES NOT HESITATE TO CLING TO WEYANE ;KINIJIT & DEMHIT..to destroy his “people” & brothers……,add to that.. the couple of million Eritreans willing to support Isaias some directly & some by attitude..subconsciously..
    So ,unless we start honest wuyiyit like Woyane did before preparing Tigrawot & then Ethiopians before we come up with a clear & efficient at large..we are doomed.

    ብጸርፍን ፣ናይ ሓሶት ሕብረትን ዝፈረሰ መንግስቲ የለን እምበር ባባ ኢሳያስ ድኣ ካብ ዝመውት ጸኒሑ ኣሎኮ፣ነጽንሖ ዘለና ህዝብና እናተቐዝፈ ቀልዓለም ስለዝገበርና እዩ።ክብ ላንጋ ላንጋ ከምዚ ኸማና ዓይኒ ዘውጽኤ ንኢሳያስ ብሃይማኖት መሲልዎ ይኹን ብኣውራጃ ዝድግፎ ይበልጽ።ምኽንያቱ there is no guess work with him.
    We are like ex-Jebhas…ie while Mudada was hunting them calling them ….moslems..religionalists..and ¨killing¨their corpse this idiots said..my Kalashin upside down..I will not kill my brothers..and the result is look what your brothers have brought. Brothers my…foot !!!

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    Mr. Ambassador, what do you think of the separation of afar into two New Groups? These People as any perfereal Group op people have never been taken seriosly by the Central government of by italy, British, Mengistu, (Haile Silassie is not in this Group, he even contrary to Your believs accepted the King of Afar (Sultan Ali Mirah)thus kept the unity of afar People though the king contributed not so much as to developing the afar like the rest of the leadrs). Eplf and tplf disrgarde afar People by silencing on the referendom carried out by both tplf and eplf jointly. 1993 for afar People was a New Chapter in the making. The Virtual line was drawn between them. 1998 the Virtual line marked With bombs, missaels, thanks, fighters and 120,000 fresh blood by joint action of tplf and eplf the very People who silenced afar People. Now the majority of afar People stcuk With tplf and the minority With eplf. The minority of eri-afar want to join their big Family in South and vis versa. Both eplf and tplf seas afar as economical and military Strategic Territory and not interest With the poeple at all. Tplf has confirmed eplf that the division of afar People is alright as long as tplf has Access for free or cheap port Access. That is how Central government Works. ‘hade libi hade hzbi ‘.


  • WediAgame

    What do all dictators in the world have in common? Well, the answer is remarkably easy. They are all smart and know how to control their people by feeding them lies which turn to truth on repetition. They also create an ugly atmosphere of mass distrust, fear and suspicion among the population. By doing so they stay and stay and stay and stay ….. in power.
    But today let’s only concentrate and discuss about two well-known dictators: the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and the PFDJ of Eritrea. The CPSU created and perfected the belief that completely lured the Soviet people into absolute and blind obedience and allegiance in shaping their ideas and lives. The belief that it poured down the throat of its people was, ‘Partiya, etta Narod – Narod, etta Partiya’ (Eng: The Party is the People – The People is the Party). This was the precursor of the Eritrean belief, ‘ Hade Libi = The PFDJ is the Eritrean people – The Eritrean People is the PFDJ’).
    This Soviet dogma, repeatedly told became the Bible truth and dissent and opposition were practically eliminated. During the Soviet times, people who showed any dissent and discontent with the system were immediately labeled as sick and anti-Soviet. They were then labeled with psychiatric diagnoses as Creeping Schizophrenia. This gave justification for the authorities to incarcerate dissenting mathematicians, philosophers, writers, physicists, etc. in psychiatric prisons rendering them voiceless and forgotten.
    The Eritrean version of Hade Libi is simply the other side of the Soviet coin dogma. People are discouraged to develop their own thoughts and shape their private lives and contribute to the healthy progress of the nation. The mantra of Hade Libi, glossily painted with the ice cream patriotic songs of Helen Meles and Ruth Abrha, has become the A and Z reason and requirement to defend the country from foreign aggression, a hollow perception. Myself, to defend my country from any foreign aggression, I need not have any Hade Libi with my brother or my neighbor. We all will march to the front unconditionally. All different parties in the most democratic countries have different beliefs on different domestic issues. But when the issue concerns a National security, they put their differences on the back burner and form a united temporary authority that is capable in dealing with any outside threat.
    In Eritrea, people are labeled, as the ambassador rightly put it, Agame, Jidahist, etc when they try to differ and say their minds on domestic issues and are thrown into prisons without any judicial process, or if lucky they manage to leave their beloved ones with other predicaments waiting for them outside their beloved country.
    Finally the bogus belief of CPSU couldn’t hold any more. The true nature of that dogma came to the surface only to explode and show the disintegration of the Soviet Union before the eyes of the whole world, in a mind boggling Bolshoy Theatre scenario.
    The paradox is, if the party and the peoples (there were many peoples in the Union which are today their own people) were the same, why then the Soviet Union disintegrated?
    Where is this Hade Libi going to take Eritrea? Is this Libi’s journey definitely ‘circular’?
    From a brother from the south who Never Ever revels in the misery of his brothers and sisters in the north!