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Eritrea’s Independence: Celebrate Or Commiserate?

Overview: There are two parts to this article. First, brief description of two battles heroically fought during the Eritrean armed struggle for national liberation. The purpose of doing so is to commemorate those brave Eritreans who paid the ultimate sacrifice for Eritrea’s full sovereignty. Second, how the hard-gained and long-awaited independence and the dream associated with it turned out to be a disastrous fiasco, especially for the Eritrean youth who are languishing indefinitely in the ‘so-called’ national military service; and as a consequence, risking their lives to escape the hopeless situation at home.

Eritrea has become a new sovereign state in the Horn of Africa ever since the ultimate victory sealed on the 24th of May 1991. This milestone is the result of heavy sacrifices paid by Eritreans from all walks of life over a long period of time. Eritrea’s history for self-determination struggle is full of heroism and self-reliance; recounting that history is certainly beyond the scope of a single article. Every year on the 24th of May, Eritreans celebrate independence day to pay respect to those heroic patriots who paid with their lives for their country’s full sovereignty. The national pride Eritrea’s independence brought about cannot be disputed, as it is overwhelmingly endorsed by a YES vote for independence in the 1993 referendum, both inside Eritrea and by the Diaspora communities. That is the desire of the Eritrean people who had given the opportunity to decide, and by voting yes, Eritreans fulfilled the will of their national martyrs.

In the mist of all this great success, of course, today the majority of Eritreans except PFDJ diehards commiserate with the Eritrean people for the sad situation the country is in. Some commiserate independence day silently and others publicly, by voicing their rejection of the dictatorial regime ruling Eritrea with an iron fist. It has become a common practice by the Eritrean Diaspora (especially in the West and recently in Egypt and Israel) to organise peaceful rallies coinciding with Eritrean independence day. These demonstrations are held to express rage against the PFDJ regime which denied the Eritrean people a normal life.

Tribute to Eritrean Armed Struggle Martyrs

As a mark of respect to our martyrs, I will share with you two of their successful stories; the battle of Mashalet in 1975 and Elabred in 1978. This is not to be selective, but briefly describing two of the many battles can demonstrate the level of bravery and steadfastness displayed by Eritrean freedom fighters. Mashalet is about half way between Keren and Af’abet. The battle had adverse effect on life in Keren. The Derge regime was determined to take back the then Sahel Province, which was almost a liberated zone by 1975-76. The liberation movements were equally determined in denying the Derge regime from reoccupying liberated areas in the Sahel Province.

The ELF & EPLF jointly fought the occupying army, and after a month of fierce fighting, the Ethiopian regime gave up its hope to reinforce its presence in Sahel. The spirit of cooperation and good-willingness on the part of the freedom fighters prevailed over the belligerence of the aggressors. Unfortunately, as Eritreans know, such cooperation between the two main fronts (ELF & EPLF) was a very rare occurrence in the history of Eritrean armed struggle for national liberation. On the contrary, conspiracy to weaken one another was practiced more often than not. The period of the armed struggle would have been shortened had the exemplary cooperation of Mashalet battle was taken as a role model.

Upon arrival in Keren, the defeated and frustrated Ethiopian army attempted to terrorise the population in the town. I vividly remember the army entered Keren around noon, and continuously fired bullets in the air for not less than two hours on the way to its barracks. I can’t recall if there were civilian casualties in the terrifying two-hour ordeal. Once the terror campaign passed, life in that defiant town continued as usual. The army wasted its ammunition in futile attempt to intimidate the general populace of Keren.

In the battle of Elabred in 1978, the EPLF fighters heroically attempted to defend the recapturing of Keren by the advancing a large contingent of Ethiopian soldiers equipped with sophisticated weaponry and heavy arsenal. I have personal memory of the battle, which I would like to share, not because being involved in it in anyway, but accidentally caught up. It was around 3pm Keren local time. The generally accepted news was the Ethiopian army entered Adi Tekelezan and is fast advancing towards Keren along the Asmara-Keren route. A fierce fighting was also raging around Aderde to defend Keren from the Ethiopian army that came through Barka. There was an ominous atmosphere in Keren in fear of how the army will treat the population of Keren. The best thing to do was evacuating the town and flee in a direction, believed to be safe. Amid the gloom and doom, my mother quickly decided to dispatch my cousin and I to her home village, Halibmentel to get two donkeys to help with carrying loads. We walked so fast (sometimes running) to reach Halibmentel covering 12km in about 1 hour. Under normal circumstance, the trip takes 11/2 – 2 hours, depending on the speed of the walker.

Upon arrival, we discovered most of Halibmentel’s residents abandoned the village. Luckily, we met my elder uncle when he was about to leave Halibmentel. We told him why we were there. The news in Halibmentel was even more gloom. My uncle informed us another contingent of Ethiopian soldiers sent from Massawa was about to enter Elabred. EPLF defence line quickly moved from the outskirts of Adi Tekelezan to Elabred. It was too late to go back to Keren, said my uncle. So we joined the villagers in their march to a safe place, which happened to be a long valley extending between a chain of tall mountains[1], about 7-10km north-west of Halibmentel. I wished a mobile phone technology existed back then to reassure my mother I was safe.

At dusk, the battle of Elabred started; it was a fierce fighting that the sound of heavy artilleries can be heard from our shelter. At times, large artillery shells landed near us, not sure whether they were airstrikes or fired from large guns. To give you an idea, Halibmentel is about 13km from Elabred and we were located about 7km north-west of Halimentel. The EPLF emerged victorious from the battle so much so in a matter of hours its fighters completely destroyed the enemy army that entered Elabred. However, it was not without heavy sacrifices. For reasons not known to me, the EPLF sustained numerous injuries in that battle they had to move the injured combatants in broad daylight, risking airstrikes. Indeed, airstrikes hit large vehicles that were transporting the injured EPLF fighters at the centre of Halibmentel. Many of them were killed instantly.

On the second day, the villagers (residents of Halibmentel) were called up to help moving the injured fighters. They set out at sunset for Elabred, moved the injured fighters all night and returned to us in the morning. According to them, they counted 20 tanks which were completely destroyed. They brought the good news Elabred was under EPLF control, and the defence line moved further south towards Adi Tekelezan. The disabled tanks and heavy armours were left there for a long time; anyone travelled between Asmara and Keren in peacetime can draw a conclusion a battle was fought in Elabred. Despite the victory, the EPLF had to withdraw from Elabred because the Ethiopian soldiers already entered Keren from the west gate. The EPLF fighters who were stationed in Elabred hurriedly bypassed Keren to defend the next town, Af’abet. This is a brief description of Elabred battle in 1978.[2] The EPLF controlled Keren for a year and four months. I re-united with my family a week after Keren was re-taken by the Ethiopian army.

The message from the first part of this article is on the day of independence, Eritreans need to reflect back on their proud armed struggle history. Eritreans need to remember the brilliant heroic stories of our martyrs, which we have many of them. We need to put our disagreements aside on this day, as it defines the destiny of our nation. But at the same time, we should continue fighting to free the Eritrean people from the grip of the authoritarian regime which is humiliating our people day in day out, and decide to change the present course of events by acting collectively to reverse the current dire situation.

What Went Wrong Post-Independence?

In the immediate years of liberation and independence, the majority of Eritreans were relishing in the spirit of freedom. They were expecting political freedom and the prospect of development of their country. Unfortunately, that dream faded away quickly; and on the contrary, Eritreans at home and abroad faced with a different reality, characterised by a complete absence of what independence meant to them. It is imperative to ask what went wrong following the independence of Eritrea? The answer to this question is not difficult for an observer familiar with the nature of the regime that assumed absolute power in Eritrea and the weakness of the Eritrean opposition camp. Knowing these two factors, it takes little scrutiny to work out why Eritrea currently is in a terrible mess.

Sequences of dreadful events led to the current ill-situation in Eritrea. Some examples are given in this article, which represent only the tip of the iceberg. The prevailing situation in Eritrea – among other authors – is best narrated by Dr. Bereket Hebte Selassie, in his book entitled, ‘WOUNDED NATION’. Many commentators including editorial editions of the Eritrean opposition political organisations and Eritrean ‘independent’ media outlets wrote analyses on the occasion of Eritrea’s 20th independence to commiserate 20 years of repression. All these commentators branded any ‘development’ claims by the Eritrean regime as mere propaganda. Some examples can be accessed in these links: Noor; Dr Woldeab; Awate Team 1, 2, 3; Ande, Bohashem. There is no need to reinvent the wheel by repeating what has already been written either by these authors or others.

No one in his/her right frame of mind can argue against the fact that today’s Eritrea is far from the spirit of a free nation, which the main responsibility for the failure rests with the Eritrean regime. Opposition groups also share some degree of responsibility for the long-suffering of the Eritrean people. They are always blamed for their ineffectiveness in fighting the Eritrean regime; the fact that the regime has continued abusing the Eritrean people for 22 years unhindered and without any formidable challenge put the opposition in a difficult position to escape the blame. The opposition groups have spent all this long time squabbling about issues less pertain to the dire situation in Eritrea. However, the reference of blame is not only directed at the organised opposition political groups and civic societies, but also at independent individuals (particularly the intellectuals) and more so at the silent majority. In short, except the few who are whole-heartedly committed to fight the tyrannical regime in Eritrea, the majority of us who claim to be pro- peace, justice and democracy have not done enough to stand up to the regime’s malpractices and put an end to the suffering of the Eritrean people at home.

Let me draw a relevant point which I listened on BBC report on the occasion of South Sudan independence on 9 July 2011. A BBC reporter asked a Kenyan army General who played a key mediating role in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement reached between the Sudanese government and Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM). The question was why is it a rebel group that deliver the ultimate victory assumes absolute power and denies others space for any meaningful political participation? The General did not give a direct answer to the question and instead said, at this stage, there are no forces contending for power with the SPLM, hence the ruling party will enjoy a honeymoon for 10 years. After that, the SPLM will seriously be challenged, added the General. Time will tell if the Kenyan General is right or wrong in the case of South Sudan. However, it hasn’t happened in the case of Eritrea for 22 years. Then, isn’t it true to say the Eritrean opposition has not mounted serious challenges (as the Kenyan General is contemplating for South Sudan) to force the Eritrean regime to change its belligerent behaviour and listen to the demands of the people?

To be fair, let us now look at what have been ‘achieved’ during the last 22 years of ‘independence’? According to the Eritrean regime media propaganda and staunch supporters, the answer is a lot. That is not true! According to the opponents of the regime, the answer is none. That is inaccurate assessment either! The truth of the matter is a modest progress has been made in some areas (e.g. infrastructure, agriculture, potable water facilities, health clinics, etc.). It is difficult to utterly deny these achievements. However, the means by which this progress has been made is morally questionable and unacceptable to any decent human being. Development at the expense of human dignity and freedom should be rejected. Could Eritrea has been in a better position politically, economically & socially had all Eritreans given equal opportunity to freely participate in politics and rebuild their war shattered country? Certainly yes!

For me, the important issue is not about whether progress has been recorded or not in many areas of life. My argument against the regime’s failure to take the country in the right course stems from its appalling human rights record- primarily extra-judicial killings, incommunicado imprisonment and youth exploitation. PFDJ crimes against the Eritrean people are numerous; some are committed directly at the hands of its ruthless security apparatus and others indirectly by forcing Eritreans, especially the youth, to take desperate measures. Since PFDJ took power in Eritrea, a sizable number of Eritreans horrifically killed and many others disappeared under mysterious circumstances. These crimes brought so much agony to the victims’ families in particular and to the populace in general. The first wave of terror began well before the liberation of Eritrea when people shot dead in the streets of the Capital city and in other towns and villages accused of being enemy collaborators. That was an early sign of what to come in ‘independent’ Eritrea – extrajudicial killings and violation of the rule of law – which are not supposed to be practiced by the peoples’ ‘liberators’.

The very saddening and troubling issue about Eritrea is the country has been emptied of its youth. The dire situation of Eritrean youth is well captured in a solidarity statement issued by Melbourne Rally Organising Committee:

“Eritrean youth at home are living without hope and future, and a necessary question to be asked is, what kind of citizens are they going to be? Eritrea is going to have a generation of unskilled and untrained youth. Under such conditions, the future is bleak and very frightening to contemplate. In March 2011, nearly 400 Eritreans tragically lost their lives after a boat in which they were travelling capsized in the Mediterranean Sea and almost all of them drowned and perished in a very tragic circumstance. The death of these innocent people – including children and women –demonstrates how desperate Eritreans are at home. They are daring to embark on a high risky mission to reach Italy in search of a better life in Europe. They were compelled to embark on a treacherous high risky journey escaping oppression and gloom future at home. The relentless hardship Eritrean youth are enduring at home is unprecedented. Similar tragic incidents happened in the past and will happen in the future, so long as Eritreans are facing relentless hardship in their home country and escaping Eritrea in droves to neighbouring countries and beyond.”[3]

Finally, I will demonstrate the level of the crimes committed by PFDJ using a tragic story of Aisha. Her story is not unique, but represents one of the typical PFDJ’s inhumane treatment, which its consequence doesn’t spare even children. Her mother passed away after giving birth to baby Aisha in 1988, possibly due to post-maternity complication. This little girl had lived for five years without the badly needed care of a mother. Another tragedy struck Aisha in 1993 when her father was abducted at night from his home for unknown reasons. Now 25 years old, Aisha has lived most of her life without the badly needed caring of both parents. Is that fair for a little girl to go through such agonizing experience in ‘independent’ Eritrea? Not at all! How many Aisha are there in Eritrea? Many, for sure. What does the future hold for the children of disappeared parents? Sawa and its attendant adversities, certainly not a bright future as long as the Eritrean regime continues on its repressive policies.


 

[1] I missed the wonder of Eritrean mountains!
[2] I know for a fact the ELF fiercely fought the enemy at the border when the Derge regime in early 1978 waged a large scale offensive to recapture liberated Eritrean towns. The ELF significantly slowed down the advancement of the Ethiopian troops. This gave sufficient time to both ELF & EPLF to safely evacuate the towns they had controlled. I hope those who participated in those battles can write a detailed account of their experience. Woldab Feshatzion briefly wrote a commentary on the Mereb front battle, which is known to be one of the fiercest battles, praising the bravery of the gallant ELA of ELF and the leadership of martyr Said Saleh. His commentary can be accessed here: https://www.facebook.com/mkomer2?fref=ts

[3] http://www.farajat.net/en/archives/6419. Accessed on 17 May 2013.
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  • ZengaZenga

    Selam,

    I once asked a group of people, “Haven’t you heard that the Eritrean Independence Day holiday has been turned into the Eritrean Slavery Day? And what do you do if they turn your mother into a prostitute?” They were not too please with my talk and I was made to leave their company peacefully:-)

    I think for things to work right, people should never try to have a collective thought before you can have your own individual thoughts to guide their path. When all have their own thoughts individually, those with similar thoughts should unite and try to make their talk, tick, grow legs, and walk:-).

    It is a generally accept fact that for things to work right and bear fruit, the first thing that people have to do is have “Right Notions”. The next thing that is necessary for things to work right is that those who are trying to make things work for the good of one and all should have the “Right Emotions” that are subject to the “Right Notions”. And then, it may be that people have to have the Right Organizations, Right Actions, and Right Motions till they reach their Right Destination without getting lost in the concrete jungle where lawlessness reigns and the likes of Hgdef-Mendef and Weyane-Andaf thrive!

    It can be said that politics is a cold war with words and it is shoot to hit and kill or miss and die! The first thing that a warrior in the battlefield of words or swords needs before he goes to tango is a right cause, a right solution, a right organization, a right and popular power base, and a right leadership that responds to the heartbeat of the nation with a right vision. In conclusion, a Menu with a list of a lot of bad recipe like that of Kidan-Awan or Minia-Kolel will not attract many customers!

    Peace!

  • semere Andom

    Sal:
    zsededkayo debdeba terekiberyo. kem dhri baita, nknegreka afkidelay. eti natna morallawi laelay id sala eti ab tHteqrtsa zewfernayo mal eyu
    ane kab adey tHti edme kelku sle zwetsaqu ezi harFaF trgum tray eyu
    rEse Neqfeta kab zeygeberka, neQefetay eneha: Nmoksey Semere slezentelkayo EneQfekka aleku. Entekone tegadalay Semere, kabe zeterefe dima wedi Habtemariam way Hawi Kusto. Sem elaka? aybahlinan, aynatnan. Haye Neqfeta teqebel Neqfeta ntegadaly mAltawi hibsti eyu 
    bEmnet Natka
    Btsayka kab kujot Toronto

    • Salyounis

      Tegadalai Semere:

      Harfaf gmt kheykhewn ember I think in Amharic the phrase for “breaking news” is “sebari zena”:) (According to E-Sat, everything that happens in Ethiopia is breaking news:)

      My favorite quote of all time–from Ghedli era, attributed to the late Seyoum O/Michael (author of Ha-Hu bel Falulay), once one of our greatest put-down artists (yes, it is an art):

      bHargoSgoSn dergoSgoSn:
      zte’akhakhebe Haili:
      ab hSuS qunetat:
      kshlTemn kglTemn:
      ny gdn yikhewn::

      Seyoum was, among many things, the anti-dote to PFDJ’s Tinglish. He took existing phrases and modified/upgraded them (Alem-lekhe, Afrika-lekhe) instead of the literal translation from English/Arabic that PFDJ is fond of.

      Happy independence day buddy. I am virtually marching with you.

      saay

  • haile

    Semere Andom

    I confirm the receipt of your Independence Day message that you addressed to me. As per procedural etiquette, I am sending out this standard protocol response that has been generated to be mailed to your kind of people.

    NB. Numbering has been reversed to orientate my reply with the way your brain appears to process thought.

    2. Eri independence xuruyat jeganu wefina zemxa’Enayo ember mexreyi afka aykonen! kolteftef aytbelelu.

    1. I can see you are wetting your pants because you now notice Eritreans are firmly lining up to behind their independence.

    Peace

    • semere Andom

      Dear Hailemariam:
      We have choices, if you do not mind being brutalized by a tyrant from your own kind it is your body.
      As to wet pants you have not taken me up to my challenge to meet you in DC for tomorrow. While you celebrate your captivity under a tyrant who has no balls to liberate the territorial integrity of the nation you presume liberated and mourn your abuse we will show our defiance. I am already in NYC heading to DC.

      • haile

        Semere,

        Personally, I differ with your view of trying to have your cake and eaten it at the same time vis-a-vis our independence. Anyways, I am glad you’re doing what you believe in, that is what is called democracy. I hope you grow to respect others’ views and choices too.

        • Serray

          Selam Haile,

          You think eritrea is being raped by the woyanes as we speak; you told meron and abe, ” A man’s home was invaded by an intruder, and the intruder is now in the process of raping the man’s wife in one of the rooms inside the mans dwelling.”

          I think it is being raped by the regime but I can understand you scapegoating the neighbor in order not to accuse your brother of raping your family. But rape is rape so what are you celebrating if the subject of your devotion is in the process of being raped? One of these days we have to a have a serious discussion about the meaning of independence; I think you and Sal have twisted it.

  • haile

    Awatistas

    Regardless of circumstances, the AU should congratulate the Eritrean people upon their independence day. Why is the chairman, PM HD and current chair not writing to IA wishing him good health??? Just an idea 🙂

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      AU must suspend the membership of Eritrea until the mass exodes stopped.

      • Tamrat Tamrat

        By the way tigre and ‘tigrinya’ People had cellebration days between 24-28 may from 1991 to 1996. We the non tigre have no idea which one is which unless they carried they flags. But after 1997 eris flag dissappeared like ER plate numbers from their cars. Who knows the late king meless already anexed Eritrea.

      • haile

        Tamrat,

        Some idea there! I am scratching my head to figure out which African nation would be left in the AU and where it would be located (the AU) after kicking out Ethiopia too, for reasons you state:)

  • YAY

    Dear Dr. Salah I Jim-ih: You could both celebrate and commisearte, alternatively

    I am glad to read that you celebrate Eritrea’s political independence for a reason that is personally meaningful to you. The success of the Eritrean people’s struggle for national political independence was “a drean come true.” But that was just a political independence, and obviously it did not mean independence in every other human or national life. That, Mr. Dr. Salah, indicates to us that there is a need for a continued real work (or struggle) for the successful achievement of all other remaining aspects of relative or comprehensive independence.

    Political independence means Eritrea making decisions as a nation for itself. The most fundamental decison-making step was the 1993 Referendum. The second fundamental decision was that the State of Eritrea be a constitutional democratic State where multiple political parties compete for power to govern our national affairs. The second decision, because of either our mistakes and/or the design of other forces, faced obstacles. The ET-ER border war and its yet to be resolved consequences, made it more difficult to attain. The difficulties have caused miseries on our citizens and our nation. Therefore, we all should be happy and celebrate for what positive things achieved, and feel sympathy for those faced miseries, and—as decision-makers on our own affairs— continue to work to solve our problems. So, it is not either celebrate or commiserate, but you could do both alternatively. Happy independence day!!

  • haile

    Hello all,

    Just a few hours ago Eritrea passed the 22 year milestone of independent existence. Those mourning the occasion, Tsn’At yhabkum…those of us celebrating it HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!

    Here is the countdown for the moment, which surprised me to note that the dumb slogan Nkhid Tray made it up there with other slogans:)

    watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NtgW3Z17_nE#!

    • Saleh Gadi

      Haile,
      Happy Eritrean Land Liberation Day (minus the expanse).

      Thank you for the videoclip, and the breathtaking scene of a dark sky. Like a joker card, the sky could fit anywhere in Eritrea… or the world. Whoever edited this clip should be brought before a court for lack of ingenuity 🙂
      Saleh

      • haile

        Selam SG

        Eritrea land independence? eti bahri ke men wesidwo? In fact, talking of the skies, I would say that is pretty well lit by Asmara’s standard. I don’t know your concept of darkness, but if you wish to experience pitch dark conditions for whatever reason (to grow a nocturnal plant or for medical reasons) Asmara at night is the best place nowadays (outside of the festive couple of days). It is really dark, kind of big dark koborta or something…:)

        I have no clue how to edit or otherwise videos, no comments in that regard. I just watch them:)

        Regards

        • Saleh Gadi

          The land is a wild cart for territory, I don’t swim, but people tell me there is land beneath the sea. My point is not serious, I just expected to see something that shows us the pictures are of Eritrea. That sky could be anywhere.

          • haile

            SG
            Got it now:) in fact you got me doubt my eyes now! But on a serious note, the arbi harnet guys would be able to verify that for us tomorrow:-)

      • Dear SG,

        It seems you are waiting another independence day, another referendum, another recognition of independence from the international community, reversal of letters of congratulations of dignified leaders of countries to the Eritrean people for the last 22 years,another voyage for independence in the place of the ongoing voyage for securing the sovereignty, ensuring social justice and paving sustainable ground of constitutionalism and democracy.

        If your answer is otherwise please do me a favor or lecture me about the standard definitions of liberation and independence.

        • Saleh Gadi

          Of course, Eritrean land was liberated on May 24, 91; but the people have yet to be liberated. It is that simple, no lecture needed.

          Please explain to me your views if you disagree with my statement above.

          Kindly don’t over-stretch my statement, you deformed it. My statement is clear. The above statement in bold clarifies it more. Your “It seems” is your imagination gone wild; not mine. It doesn’t seem anything close to waht you tried to make it.

          And yes, I am waiting for the freedom of Eritreans from tyranny. I don’t believe people should stay shackled to realize your aspiration, as you put it, “for securing the sovereignty, ensuring social justice and paving sustainable ground of constitutionalism and democracy.”

          • I rather have to ask more lecture from you if the land we are qualified to declare that the land can be called liberated without acknowledging the liberation of the liberators – in this case the people.

            My ‘it seems’ is actually born from your confusing or ill-conceived wish of ‘land liberation day’ on the independence celebration day. I don’t think i went that far in guessing what your statement might mean.

            With regard to how long it would take to the people to go through the usual progress of political process i believe what matters most is what the people believe. One think i firmly believe is it would not take 300 years for this people to attain the kind of democracy that is practicing now in the US and Europe.

          • Saleh Gadi

            Dear Meron, I would like to debate with you but you keep stretching the topic. The journey to reach American type of democracy, 300 years, etc. is a new sub-title and if we continue that way, we might be (I might be) lost in the maze that keeps branching out. Simple question: Do you consider Eritreans to be free under the current regime? If your answer is YES, I don’t think I can carry this mini-debate. If your answer is NO, I see no difference between your stand and mine–leaving aside a few minor details, which are not significant.

            On to you….

          • I don’t understand as to why you want confine me on the tune you want to dance. I hope you would not deter me to dance in the tune which is party yours and partly mine.

            I know Eritreans became free from colonialism in 1991. I don understand what ‘free’ you are talking about. If you mean exercising of institutionalization and the rights the constitutions entails i don’t think one administration or one generation can make it happen. It has never done by one administration or one generation in any country before and can’t be completed by the existing gov. in Eritrea.

            The existing system can strive to secure the violated sovereignty of the country which it plays central role in its realization and can endeavor to pave sustainable ground for the better practice of political rights through practical social and economic achievements. Any government to come after can also build on it.

    • semere Andom

      Haile
      Happy replacement of Amharic speaking tyrant by Tigrinya speaking tyrant
      Semere

  • ZengaZenga

    Selam,

    Following is part of an interesting exchange that I thought was worth sharing with those conversing here:

    Selam Dawit,

    You seem to have hit the nail right on the head to seal the coffin with its corpse airtight. Dear compatriot, kudos for producing a very well articulated piece and keep up the good work!

    While I am at it, may ask you whether you have been using your current nick name to write here and there and for how long? I have read posts written by a person who used the same nick name as yours before and the views seem to have turned around full circle for the better!

    Peace!
    =======

    Dawit Meconen said:

    Obahara,

    I am glad you agree with me and I hope the rest of Eritreans will do the same. I started out as Isaias supporter but I became steadily disillusioned ,and more so after I visited Eritrea and witnessed first hand the lies of Isaias Afewerqi and the worsening plight of our people.

    I spoke to many people, including EPLFs, teachers, store keepers, hotel workers peasants etc. and all of them were hopeless, living on meager rationing and constant fear of the Tigrai conspirator, Isaias Afewerqi.

    I travelled around the country in buses; the Bus Stations are always swarmed with people who wait and wait and wait not knowing which bus will take them and what time. There are private buses and Isaias Afewerqi’s buses, like those Anbesa Buses of king haile Selase. The private buses are allowed to take passengers only after Isaias buses are full and depart.

    As soon as you hit aboard the buses, a swarm of beggars flood the bus. They enter the bus from both ends, front and back and they push you as they pass along. One day, I asked why there were so many beggars, as a matter of fact, everywhere in Eritrea. The answer they gave me was shocking. They said, in a nut shell, even those who were not so poor were not ashamed to go around begging, putting on worn out clothes.

    The Somali and Eritrean Monitoring group of the UN charaterized Isaias Government as Mafia. I totally agree but Isaias’s motive is not big money but the systematic destruction of our country and people, and over their ashes to build Abai Tigrai.

    Unfortunately, many Eritreans have not yet grasped the whole enchilanta of Isaias Afewerqi and woyane machinations and theatrical dramas. They still think that woyane and Isaias are adversaries, that the 1998 war was a real war.

    There are many palpable evidences, historical as well as current, that demonstrate vividly that the war was a fake one, fabricated and implemented by both of them. For instance, the right path Isaias Afewerqi should have followed, when woyane allegedly instigated border skirmishes, was to inform the UNSC and the OAU. He did not, not because he was ignorant of the International Law with regard to war between two UN members but because it would not advance his personal cause.

    I am by nature optimistic. I believe that very soon, Eritreans will demolish the castles of lies within which the two tegaru, Isaias and woyane,have kept them at loggerheads for decades. We shall rise!!

    =======

    Obahara:

    Merhaba Dawit Aba Treg,

    Thank you for your forthright, eloquent, and to the point rejoined to my note! Yes, my friend, “We shall rise” and soar again when the thieves, liars, and murderers ruling out country with diabolical impunity are put where they belong once and for all.

    My friend,you have seen the light but many people live in the dark created by DIA and his parasitic PFDJ regime, his Weyane cousins, and the other useless and clueless political organizations and their failed leaders in Eritrean-Ethiopian politics. Eritreans have been turned into worthless slaves and beggars in their homeland by retarded PFDJ regime and its master. The master orders and the slave obeys till he masters his mind, heart, and guts to bring down the master who keeps him down and in bondage. Individually or collectively, one or many have to master their thoughts, desires, and acts to overcome the mental, emotional, spiritual, and material slavery that they have been subjected to against their will or out of ignorance!

    Dawitom, keep up the patriotic assault against DIA’s and Weyane’s lies that fooled many an Eritrean to get into mental,emotional, physical, and spiritual slavery of the worst kind. Lies don’t grow wings and fly and if they do, they kill liars and their followers at the end. Enough talking about dead and dying dogs in the Horn of Africa for for now:-)

    Peace!

  • Salyounis

    Ahlen Ya Dotor:

    A child of an abusive parent asks the court to become independent. He is granted his wish and he is an emancipated minor. 22 years later the child is as abusive as his parent. There are conflicting reports on the parent: some say he is reformed, some say he is still the same old abusive crank, he just has redirected his abuse to new victims.

    It’s the kids 22nd anniversary since he became an emancipated minor. I say we Celebrate AND run an intervention. Commiserate is too passive: it’s the “wey Gud!” strategy.

    “Our struggle is long, our victory is certain.” I hated most Ghedli era slogans, but I really loved and still love that one: descriptive, realistic and inspiring. Our struggle is long because we face a determined opponent: our victory is certain because who can be against liberty.

    saay

    • haile

      Selamat saay

      Rhus qne natsnet to you. (you better sit tight and no getting off this train:)

      Any way, you needed to write the above comment before sewa not after having one too many (very understandable though considering the festive atmosphere:)

      What is up with a minor and a parent analogy? (the ‘minor’ helped liberate the ‘parent’ remember? sit tight, jumping off the wagon!)

      what is up with the ‘minor’ being refered to as a ‘kid’ and ‘child’ 22 years later??? Do you mean a man of 22 (+the age at the time of emancipation…)???

      what is up wit “we have determined opponent”, you are actually the opponent and facing a “determined regime” (which needn’t be mentioned as is the case with every regime that faces existential threat!)

      what is up with “I hate most of Ghedli time slogans”? slogans represent the actions as articulated through their catchy phrasing (qey kokhob zemech ysakal—-the murdur of hundreds of thousands, hulum neger wede Tor gimbar—-needless sacrifice of Ethiopian peasants on a lost cause….awet n hafash, common to EPLF and the one you liked common to TPLF) all represent parts of reality at the time….sewa sewa, sewa…go easy…happy independence!

      • Salyounis

        Selamat Haile:

        Happy Independence Day to you too. I am older than Klte Hirkam and two things I am a stranger to (never tasted, never uttered) are swa and “Awet Nhafash!”* If you want to know the insidious nature of the latter, refer to its tigrayt translation (awte egl rehib sh’ab eletrea— note the qualifier to the ShaAb:)

        About the train, u can’t tell me to stay put if you have no reason to believe I am on it:) But since u insist:

        * age is relative. 22 year old is a child compared to a 113 year old (Ethiopias real age) or 3,000 years old (Ethiopias Facebook age:)

        * a child defeating an oldie is not exception: it is in the nature of things. Watch any nature show, particularly dealing with lions.

        * those of us who refer to the opposition as “we” and not “they” consider those who call the shots in the Eritrean government our “opponents.” They call us enemies, traitors, etc.

        saay

        * most slogans (you forgot yedebub dl semen ydegemal) are mindless indoctrination/control phrases. I once saw a letter from Eritrea, written in Arabic, by Eritreans asking for funds to help them build a mosque, and to make sure that they have gotten approval from the government, they had to get it stamped from their local zoba. Is there anything more surreal than religious people having to have their request bearing a communist slogan?

        • haile

          Hello saay,

          As I am thinking of investing in the latest round of wefri N quTebawi Ebyet. I have already won the bid to purchase meloti bira that has been struggling in obtaining imported supplies. Hence, I will soon be re-launching it as a Sewa Brewery LTD Share Company. The only problem was what to brand my produce of the old serpent’s delight. You hit me an idea, it is going to be ‘Awet N Hafash Sewa” So people can order “can I have a cold awet n hafash please” the answer will of course be “hey dud, did the last 22 years just flew you by?”:)

          I think slogans are great in the right context, as in vision, business, brand…but communists are the indoctrinating and controlling freaks not the slogan per se. There is hardly a company in the west that doesn’t pay thousands to develop a slogan. So, they can be looked at separately. Just like I asked the dottore to look at independence separately from current issues.

          regards

          • Dear Haile,

            ‘Hafash yinkah, yiwedeb tite’atek’ is the best and undying to me.

            What Sal. missed is most of the slogans are timely and when they hit their purpose they rest in peace. So recalling them now one after another and judging them from the current state of mind is simply wrong.

        • Eyob Medhane

          Sal,

          “…..age is relative. 22 year old is a child compared to a 113 year old (Ethiopias real age) or 3,000 years old (Ethiopias Facebook age:)…..”

          Ok, fine. Let’s say our real age 113 (Thank you for the compliment, by the way, we’ve beeen working out, that’s why we look so young :-))

          Ha, It really itches you that the churches, the obliskes, the written scripts, the Nejashi Mosque, the Abadir Mosque (In Harar) the Sheik Hussein Shrine….survived thousands of years and they managed to glare the name ‘Ethiopia’ flying on your face,doesn’t it?

          The real topic is will your nest called Eritrea or I heard recently that Holywood has renamed it Wadiya be around for its 113th birthday. As we say in our very young country “Yezia sew yibelen”.. 🙂

          • Salyounis

            Ato Eyob:

            First don’t feel left out: on May 28 I will send you a Happy Independence card to commemorate the day Ethiopia was liberated by EPRDF which, of course, was mentored by EPLF. I will try not to mention the fact that the Arab League supported EPRDF 🙂

            By all means, take pride in all the churches mosques shrines in Ethiopia. What I am saying is that it is anachronistic to refer to them as Ethiopian since they existed before Ethiopia existed. No double standard: I say the same thing to Eritreans claiming Adulis as their own. When people talk about Tigris and Euphrates they say “located in modern day Iraq” ; Timbuktu is in “modern day Mali”, or the oldest Muslim shrine/Mesjid in Africa are in modern day Eritrea (Massawa.)

            On the other hand, the miracle of Ghedli is all ours:)*

            Saay
            *happy Independence Day, Serray

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,

            This 24seconds clip will tell you about all I have to say to you about being 3000 years old…

            http://www.ethiotube.net/video/17044/Ethiopia-Independent-for-all-of-its-3000-YEARS-OF-HISTORY-PM-Meles-Zenawi

            Happy Independence day (Eritrea)
            Happy Ginbot Haya (Ethiopia)
            Happy Golden Jubilee (African Union, which is being celebrated, where else?! In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia…) 🙂

        • Serray

          Selam Sal,

          I don’t celebrate eritrea’s independence anymore; it is a day I commiserate with the victims. I sort of spend it apologizing to the young generation for subjecting them to our generation’s misguided concept of independence.

          I don’t share yours or Haile’s retrospective restatement of the purpose of the struggle to just kick the ethiopians and make eritrea a nation. I thought I should read the 1977 and 1987 EPLF programs just in case I misunderstood the goals of the struggle. Here is an excerpt from the the 1977 EPLF Nation Democratic Programme…

          Objectives,

          D. Protect the people’s democratic rights-freedom of speech, the press, assembly, worship and peaceful demonstration; develop anti-feudal and anti-imperialist worker, peasant, women, student and youth organizations.

          E. Assure all Eritrean citizens equality before the law without distinction as to nationality, tribe, region, sex, cultural level, occupation, position, wealth, faith, etc.

          Looking at eritrea today, are these objectives achieved even 22 years after becoming a nation?

          Sal, next time you are tempted to reset the objective of the struggle to just territory and kicking the ethiopians out, please tell me what these objectives were doing in the front’s national programme back in 1977. To be continued on the other thread.

      • yegermal

        Pfdjitis insensitivity and cultural disconnectedness in display, again! Why would a supposedly “enlightened” Eritrean utter “comment before sewa not after having one too many” to a fellow Muslim Eritrean? It reminds me of ST’s comment at paltalk “first give me that beer …then I will answer”, something along those lines. The clueless and detached “bealti hadish metereas” pfdjite had no idea that women drinking (alcohol) is a taboo in the Eritrea proper.

    • semere Andom

      Hi Sal:
      My fav is kitdfaEn kitdefEn zeLon zineBrn eYu, ab mewedAt gina laEleay idi natna eyu 🙂

      • semere habtemariam

        Sal,

        Semere Andom just gave one more memorable Tinglish expression. Laelay id natna iyu. One more reason to oppose the regime, they are corrupting the language.

        • semere Andom

          Hi Semere H:
          Sal is guilt of a different kind corruption too. He eliminated the word “bitter” (merir):-)

          • Salyounis

            Sem and Tegadali Semere:

            Love it. I was going to call u guys to wish you happy Independence Day but my phones semeyawi sni is not working.

            Tegadalai Semere: Tinglish this: “As background, let me tell you that our moral upper hand is due to our investment in infrastructure and prioritizing our work.”

            Natkum
            Shigir yelen. Abzkone gze.

          • Semere Habtemariam

            Moksi and Sal,

            Ab mengo mesmer kenbb fetina, but, then, it downed on me: qalsna newiHn merrinen eyu: Awetna nay gdn. Ah, memory lane. Those simple days when we knew who the enemy was and how to fight it.

      • Dear Semere,

        Is that slogan or Song? I wander if one phrase of a lyrics is qualified to be slogan so long it is not used as a slogan before or after it is included in a famous song.

        • semere Andom

          Hi Meron:
          It was a slogan then someone sang it.

          • Dear Semere,

            Thank you for your infomation.

            Tesfay Mehari aka Fihira is the one who sang it.

    • yegermal

      Neither celebration nor commiseration for me, only mourning. I will spend the day mourning the death of compassion, humanity, culture, value, honesty, altruism, humility, courage and valor. The death of Eritreanism!

  • haile

    Meron and Abe;

    Please continue your interesting discussion. I just want to quickly interrupt and give your respective positions analogically.

    A man’s home was invaded by an intruder, and the intruder is now in the process of raping the man’s wife in one of the rooms inside the mans dwelling.

    Meron – as the man

    “let hell freeze over, unless the rape is stopped and the man evicted nothing would take priority in my family life!”

    Abe – as the man

    “it is ok to let the rape continue and do normal family things too”

    • Dear Haile,

      I really like your intervention. I would rather be happy more if you can came up with reconciling idea to the two positions we are siding with.

  • Hayat Adem

    Haile, etal:
    I thought the struggle and the sacrifice against Ethiopian rulers were for freedom and better life. I mean, for what else then! Two decades forward, ask yourself: are we closer to those two things than we were? The answer to this question is what should be our guiding light whether to be happy today or sad. No body was sad in 1991. We have every reason to be sad now. I really don’t give a damn to the sentimentality of independence. And you would realize that I am not becoming unreasonable when you witness the entire ‘voluntary’ mass exodus of citizens from an ‘independent country’ to anywhere else including to the one you fought against to become independent. we have seen countries becoming independent for worse. We’ve also seen nations merging and giving up their separate status for better. I don’t champion independence for the sake of it if the net benefit for citizens is outweighing the cost. I was happy in 1991. I find it hard to be happy today. Well, I can be happy if someone could convince me that though all this, a better future is nearer. If that is possible I will consider this suffering as a cursed transition that must be endured. Otherwise, I cannot be happy just because it is now Isias who is abusing me worse than Mengistu or Hailessilassie.

    • haile

      Hayat,

      The struggle and the sacrifice against Ethiopian rulers were for:

      a- Territorial, political and social independence of Eritrea from the Ethiopian rule.
      b- The formal and legal conclusion of the right to self-determination through a free and fair referendum.

      ‘Freedoms’ and ‘better life’ is something you would either be given or have to struggle an achieve. The latter has become ours. The liberation struggle may be wished to bring those too, but can’t be held responsible for it. You are more responsible about it than the liberation movement can ever be.

      The liberation movement delivered perfectly on the mark, it liberated Eritrea and made it possible for it to be legally recognized by holding down the enemy with its face pressed against the ground.

      How does your me me happy puppy me me mode of struggle compare with such historical landmark in the annals of human organizational feats? “B’e sme ab” beli za’haftey?

  • semere Andom

    Dear Dr.Salah:
    Contrary to what some ambivalent PFDJ opposers, I think the title is actually very mild. You do not want to know what I would chose as a title as I am apprehensive to be called Andnet 2.0 🙂
    What PFDJ is doing now is nothing new, people warned us, we did not listen, we did not learn. We gave standing ovation even when they insulted our intelligence and the intelligence of our martyrs. We actually had very mature opposition, this web site was very careful to call PFDJ a dictator when it was first launched
    The achievement you mention is to give credit when it is not due, just to spread fairness. I believe that PFDJ actually unliberated the people and undeveloped the land. What liberation front does not claim its territorial integrity on the onset of the independence?
    Haile Slassie built schools; all the leaders of the PFDJ were educated in schools built by the so called occupiers. The roads that connected major Eritrea cities were built by the occupiers.
    PFDJ toyed with the rich Eritrean culture, erased identities, created demi gods, promoted prostitution built more bars and prisoners than schools. Closed higher institutions, destroyed intuitions. They eradicated higher learning infavour of vocational training like Mai Nefhi. The destruction of higher education is not by accident, it is not because the Asmara University debacle, it is by design. EPLF from the beginning pooh-poohed areas of study that promot critical and independence thinking. They tell the student unions and revolutionary school students, Eritrean needs one Phd in law or philosophy for every 100 vocationally skilled workers.
    Should the likes of Aisha, who are in the thouthands celeberate, commiserate or mourn this independent Eritrea that many Eritreans are tripping over themselves to celebrate? The minute achievement you mention are as a result of the slave labor by the young, who have and are perishing working under the ruthless Pharaoh in Eritrean. It is farce to mention this labor of slavery in the pages that depicts the Aishas of our country.
    All the actions that are manifesting in Eritrea did not happen by accident, and If we are to save this nation the struggle against this tyrant must be waged carefully and methodically no matter how long it takes us. If this is not done right, if the struggle we wage is not anchored on the free thinking we will not triumphs over the booby traps that the PFDJ has meticulosly set for the ultimate failure of the Eritrea. PFDJ’s reconfiguration of our society is in par with Dr. Mengels experiments. And if they had their way I have not doubt they will isolate the gene that makes you more like Sophia or Dr. Gideon
    Semere

    • yegermal

      My sentiments exactly! Funny imagery too! For a minute there I started imagining professor Frankenstein in the lab drawing blood from his goons, experimental subjects cloned from the mutant gene he created in Sahel.

  • haile

    Hello Brother Kokhob Selam

    Congratulate what success, commiserate failing!

    The good Doctor is ambivalent when it comes to Eritrea’s independence. He ponders “Eritrea’s Independence: Celebrate Or Commiserate?”

    If you find me struggling under the weight of life’s problems, I would think it reasonable for you to pity my ordeals. Yet, I would end up resenting you if you pity the fact that I was born!

    If the good doctor would like to present a discourse or analysis on Eritrea’s post-independence or post Ethio-Eritrea conflict circumstances, that is fair deal. We can all learn from that. However, his lapse in sound reasoning occurred because he tied the issue with Eritrea’s independence. It is not to say that he did not have valid points to make, it is just that wisdom was in short supply on the part of his oversight. None of Eritrea’s problems are linked to the fact that it became independent.In fact, no country had the best form of independence than Eritrea. Independence gave as Eritrea fully under our terms! Many have paid tremendously to make it happen. And his choice of context for his narrative would be libelous and his title down right offensive for any rational mind to give thumps up to (Save Aman).

    Eritrea needs solutions, Eritrea needs visionary leaders, Eritrea needs determined and responsible advocates.

    Eritrea does not need some one who feels pity of her very creation and existence, only an enemy would (regardless of how sugar coated their eviscerate is made to be).

    The realities of the failure of the opposition over the last decade and half is a monumental proof to that.

    Regards

    • haile

      By the way brother KS, This article would sit perfectly well with me with slight alterations to the title (insensitive) and splitting it in to two: i) the first several paragraphs detailing independence and what have been gone through ii) another article about the present. So, it is not that I am disagreeing with much of the content per se but its organization in inviting people to mourn (commiserate) the independence of Eritrea. Most likely an error of judgement than intent.

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    What went wrong? Many tried to isolate what it went wrong is detached from pre- transitt (1991-1993) and post-Eritrea. But eritrean freedom/independency is a process which is affected by what has been done by all the Three phases. Other wise we are reducing the nation to a failed private School run by a ruthless director. In one hand most predominant eritreans be it opposition or goverment’s People isolate eritreans struggel is unique compared to the rest of Ethiopians by all measures. In another hand that robust and dynamic unique struggel has not made Eritrea free for the last 22 years.

    What went wrong then?

    1) The Independence war promised a lot than what was anticipated by both the ‘liberators’ and the liberated ones.

    a) Abollishing ‘Ethiopianism’ and implementing ‘eritreanism’. What ever what eritreanism supposed to achive can be achived through ethiopianism assuming both are intended to serv all ethic Groups equally. But sacrificing afar for the sake of ‘eritreanism’ one needs not to be an afar to understand it. If it were not 22 years long i wouldnt dare to utter so bluntly.

    2) The horrible partnership between eplf and eplf. This relation made a great deal of suspicion of tigre-People (both in ethiopia or Eritrea) among many non tigre-tigrnya ethnic Groups in both countries. Whether we like it or not in Eritrea the tigrinya People and in Ethiopia the tigre People running the countries. The only difference is which international partner they have. (like derg time)

    3) The very problem which creates hell in Eritrea is creating the earge to leave Eritrea in all direction. Who cares to sacrifice himself when he or she can work outside of Eritrea and throw the 2% obligatory tax.

    4) In derg time the dergist were like ghost in at least in the wetern countries. But now regardless of the west condemenation of isayas regime the pfdj People do both their political and economical interprise without shame, openly. We are talking about a government which is boycotted by the west.

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      Sorry, i mean eplf and tplf

  • ZengaZenga

    Selam,

    My note consists of two hastly compiled parts form here and there. The fist one is legal and historical while the second is legal and political and follow thus:

    Par A :

    Eritrea became what it was because of Italian colonization. Eritrea is colonial construct like any other in its class. Thus formed, it was not granted independence but was put under British Military Administration and then joined to Ethiopia in a federation. The federation spirit and letter of the Eritrean-Ethiopian federation was violate as soon as it was let to come into effect. Seeing that the Eritrean-Ethiopian federal union was turned into that of an occupier and occupied, Eritreans challenge the Ethiopians to respect the articles of the federation peacefully to no avail and they were forced to ultimately take up arms to liberate their country from Ethiopian occupation.

    As a result of the state of affairs briefly state above, one of the political wings of the Eritrean Liberation Movement called on Awate to initiate the Eritrean Armed Struggle for Independence from Ethiopian occupation. Awate as a leader of the first Eritrean Liberation Army, ELA, fired the first bullet and announced the call to Eritreans to take up arms and free their country from Ethiopia feudal and backward rule in 1961. As a national figure, Awate is a father of the Eritrean Armed Struggle for Independence. Therefore, trying to raise issues in relation to Awate’s life prior to his initiation of the Eritrean Armed Struggle for Territorial Independence from Ethiopia can’t hold any water at a national level.

    Awates Liberation Army grew and gave birth to the Eritrean People’s Liberation Army, the EPLA, before it was ejected from the Eritrean field by a unified EPLA(Shaebia and TPLF (Weyane) assault. The EPLA liberated territorial Eritrea in 1991 and this was legally sealed in 1993. However,territorial independence from Ethiopia brought with it the loss of both individual and collective freedom to one man and his cult of evil, a plague that is now know by the name of “PFDJ”. This cult calling itself “People’s Front for Democracy and Justice” does the opposite of what its name implies and ought to rightly be called People’s Foe for Dictatorship and Injustice as it has turned the Eritrean people into slaves and beggars in their own country.

    In conclusion, it should go without saying that nobody can stand as tall as Awate when it comes to face the beast on the face to give him a bloody nose on the battlefield and remove him from the Eritrean homeland. By the same token, nobody can stand as tall as Wedi Ali when it comes to face the beast in his own den and challenge him to set his people free. Awate rested after calling an aspiring nation to take up arms to free its homeland from for foreign occupation. Wedi Ali rested after he called a nation to free itself from the worst internal oppression the world has ever seen! Awates leg of the Eritrean revolution ended in victory and may Wedi Ali’s call take root, send shoot, and bear fruit!

    The Bad Part:

    Enda Hgdef are like worms and think with their stomach or body as prostitutes. One should not expect much of a clear mind and or clean heart from people who treat others like others like hated slaves and animals. Worse, Enda Hgdef think like parasites and can only feed on the blood and sweat of others before they die after or before they kill their host. There is no “We” between Eritreans and the Cult of Isu or “Nhna-Nsu”. Since they are Isaias and Isaias is them, they will follow him till he ends up in his ugly grave! Don’t condemn’ the darkness or the devil but light a candle, some may say! And some others may say be careful about how you go about treating people and ideas for the devil once lived in heaven and you may not recognize him if he crosses your path. If you ever try to fight the devil on his own terms, you are bound to lose and lose big time for it may involve losing your soul as well.

    Why do people waste their time talking to beggars who depend on another beggar to get where and what they want? Can one make a good profit by begging a beggar to do business? Can a beggar who begs another beggar to do business and make a profit find many customers who can buy his product? What can the Weyane friendly Eritrean polittical organizations and individuals do other than talk to Hafash Hzbi Eritra from Addis Abeba or Debre Ziet? These yearly Picnics that Eritreans take in the land of the lawless Weyanes have produced nothing but noise and bickering! There are tough question to answers and hurdles to overcome before what is written or spoken can tick, grow legs, and walk:-).

    Coming in the spoken form or in print, clear, clean, and simple ideas are what are important for dealing with the demands of life or existence. Next to good living ideas, what are important are clean, simple, and clear hearts to live and let live in peace. Next to good and living hearts, what are important are clean, strong, and giving hands to help oneself as well as others to make their own stand. Home is where one’s heart is. Home is where one’s homeland is. Home is one’s Father or Motherland. The rest is artificial that one has to earn, rent, buy, or steal. He that steals somebody else’s home is a criminal.

    One’s mind should control one’s heart. One’s heart should control one’s desires. And one’s desires should be to do good for his or her individual as well as collective well being. Those who come by the sword will also go by the sword. Those who come by the word live or die by their word. Lies die and go to hell while truth lives and goes to heaven! If people are dealing with the likes of Hgdef, Weyane, and Kidan, they should not expect anything good to come out of them because their notions, emotions, actions, and motions are governed by the rule of the jungle. Until one and all stand up for the rule of national and international law let to rule, things and people will remain where they were and still are till death do us apart!

  • Zeratzion

    EPLF is à source of deep pride for every erltrean. Not only did it ( against all odds) liberate Eritrea , our tanks crushed the huge Ethiopian army and rolled all the way to Addis to chase Mengistu. Ethiopians should infact thank Eritreans for this huge sacrifice.
    Our choice to let the Weyans rule ethiopia was wrong. Next time we should be very careful or let ethiopians liberate themselves
    Our intrenal probleem sall be solved one way or another.NO DOUBT

  • Dear Ethiopia’s defender Abe.

    The fact is Ethiopia is in the sovereign territory of Eritrea and our youth are there paying opportunity, time and life to keep this independence to be internal. If your account about everyone has left the country was true you might have seen Ethiopia on the shores of our Red-Sea coast – thanks to our heroes your account is false.

    Another important point you touched is about the growth rate of Eritreans to diaspora. You are on that but you are wrong on their intentions. These youth living the country are economic immigrants. They understand the economic pressure created by now war no peace situation in the country… that’s why even when they leave the country through either way and across any country they don’t stand alongside the invader of their country and look forward their destination to economically viable countries. At last they are joining hand in the development of the country through remitting money to their loved once back home and the ongoing national activities abroad.

    It is independence celebration all over the country and the world. A number of those youth are already back home to celebrate the Fiesta and the rest including me are doing their preparation to celebrate it in the countries we live – if there are insignificant number of this coverage they are traitors.

  • Dr. Saleh,

    This is a well thought out and an interesting reflection of our heroic freedom fighters. We will remember them every year on the independent day. As you aptly put it that “the opposition groups have spent all this long time squabbling about issues less pertain to the dire situation in Eritrea.’ The opposition camp are spending in judging the history of individuals on the one hand and exercising some of the policies of the regime in freezing and de-freezing organizations on the other. The dire situation of our people is not in the priority of their agendas.The role of the intellectuals in charting the strategy of the current struggle against the dictator and giving guidance is nonexistent.The young is leaving the country in drove as we fail to manage the politics of the nation. All these grim scenario without formidable leadership couldn’t be challenged. Really the call now is to our elites and erudite to come to table and do something before it is too late.

  • Gebez

    Independence my a$$!! Eritreans, when they were Ethiopians, used to own and sleep in VILLAS. Now, equal number of Eritreans are sleeping in IMMIGRATION CAMPS in Ethiopia. Narrow nationalism and extreme hate to Ethiopia led to a social quagmire in Eritrea.

  • haile

    Selamat Dottore,

    Which country or people in the whole world (apart from the failing Eritrean opposition) would question their independent status owing to national challenges. Our independence is a source of HUGE PRIDE among the majority of the Eritrean poplace. Because they have paid something or someone for it. You would be unlikely to make any inroads in your opposition struggle, if you insist making this hidious link between current challenges and Eritrea’s independence. I don’t know if you’ve missed it due to depth of its subtlity to you or some other reason. Please reflect on this issue carefully. I guarantee you that questioning Eritrea’s independence would firmly place you in the “Enemy” camp in the eyes of the Eritrean people, and your views would be more of a stinging liability to the opposition movement as a whole. B’natsnet ertra aytwaze!!!

    • haile

      …I also forgot to give my famous analogy… your title is like a person who curse his/her birthday because they are having tough time. If I were you I would try to change the title, it really is very insensitive remark made needlessly.

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear brother Haile,

        help me now, what makes you say so? don’t misunderstand me plese , you know I am not that strong in understanding such type of articles.

        but as far as i understand he has divided where we should be proud of and where we have failed to accomplish. he clearly draw the line between what had gone wrong and where we have succeeded. he even brought example when the two front cooperate in fighting the enemy and won. where the mistakes were and the crimes PFDJ after independence. and as we all agree he has put what we all feel about the current independence and what we should do.

        I really didn’t get why you feel that he is underestimating our hardly found long struggle. help me. I know you can. tks.

  • L.T

    What do you want to say Dr?We believe Eritrea is there and the differ of politic on you are after beloved mother land:Every day I open the window of this oppostion net I have no get any answer.
    You let Ethiopians here to write what they think when the true Eritrean try to express his view you stoped like asmarino and asena did.Where is your nationalist feeling in this time people?

  • Dear Dr. Salah I Jimi,

    I read your article from the start to the end attentively and I found it be partial narration of the facts that happened in the last 22 years to our country. As you are aware the voyage of history of every nations has its own turning points. The advent of Italians to Eritrea was a turning point in the geo-political landscape of the Horn of Africa. By the same token the defeat of Italians in second world war, UN decision to federate Eritrea under the auspices of Ethiopia and Ethiopia’s monarchial regime’s decision to violate the federation were also turning points in the followed part of our situation. With no doubt, EPLF’s leadership to the people of Eritrea to independence is the biggest landmark in the history of our country.

    Let me come to my core point, the bulk of accusations you forwarded to the Government of Eritrea in your article by and large are the outcomes of Ethiopia’s invasion to the sovereign territory of Eritrea and its continuous violation to the territorial integrity of the country. The moment you decide not to give any space to the violated territorial integrity of Eritrea your article failed rationality and to capture the full picture of the situation in the country. How in the world you try to look impartial in your narration while wiping out the biggest war between to independent countries in Africa since WW II and the grave human and financial causalities and destruction it left. How in the world you intend to convey independence day message to Eritreans without uttering a word about the massively violated sovereignty of the country. Good Dr. the mother of all challenges we are facing now as a nation and citizens is the ongoing violation of Ethiopia’s and its backs to our territorial integrity. I hope the government will not compromise the continuity of the hardly gained nation to entertain your bogus claims. Our heroes are fallen to achieve the sovereignty, territorial integrity and wellbeing of the people not otherwise.

    • abe

      Dear Moron,
      I am sure you are writing this nonsense from the comfort of your home in North America or Europe.The country is emptied of its able population at the moment not b/c of the threat war from Ethiopia but because of the undemocratic and authoritarian nature of the system.FYI the able use ,children,even senior citizens are flooding to Ethiopia not from Ethiopia.Using Ethiopia as scapegoat is really tried and failed formula for many years.It is time to focus on Eritrea issues,I don’t think Ethiopia has any interest on Eritrea anymore,they seem to be better off.Could Eritrea say the same?

      • Dear Ethiopia’s defender Abe.

        The fact is Ethiopia is in the sovereign territory of Eritrea and our youth are there paying opportunity, time and life to keep this independence to be internal. If your account about everyone has left the country was true you might have seen Ethiopia on the shores of our Red-Sea coast – thanks to our heroes your account is false.

        Another important point you touched is about the growth rate of Eritreans to diaspora. You are on that but you are wrong on their intentions. These youth living the country are economic immigrants. They understand the economic pressure created by now war no peace situation in the country… that’s why even when they leave the country through either way and across any country they don’t stand alongside the invader of their country and look forward their destination to economically viable countries. At last they are joining hand in the development of the country through remitting money to their loved once back home and the ongoing national activities abroad.

        It is independence celebration all over the country and the world. A number of those youth are already back home to celebrate the Fiesta and the rest including me are doing their preparation to celebrate it in the countries we live – if there are insignificant number of this coverage they are traitors.

        • abe

          Dear Moron,
          Having a gut to defend the indefensible is one thing I appreciate on you.By your account,the country is on the verge of failed state because of the standoff on the border with Ethiopia,I mean no Constitution, no democratacy to speakeoff, no election, no freedom of expresion,no economic development because of Ethiopia and you shamelessely said the the exodus too is simply insearch of better life? the system miserably failed to create a conducive environment for a better life to its citizen,thus why people are risking their life to cross the boarder including to Ethiopia and i don’t think the common man see’s Ethiopians as their enemy like you and Higdef cadre’s are preaching dayindayout,or else ethiopia wouldn’t be the choice of destination for tens of thousands,and I am not referring to the thousands of Eritreans who leave peace and harmony inside Ethiopia.
          Meron/Moron, Celebrating independence day is one thing, addressing problems at hand requires real love,vision and commitment to your people/country.May be next year you come out of the comfort of western home (our enemy?) and spend 23rd anniversary by visiting refugee camps,say Israel,Sudan and off course Shimelba. Will surely help you understand the plight of the many.

          • Dear Abe,

            So far you have never touched the territorial integrity and sovereignty question of Eritrea. Instead you chose to put the horse before the cart by prioritizing Constitution, democracy, free press.. bla’s. The world has never seen a country under violation and noncontinuous provocation from invaders to risk its sustainability by putting the cart before the horse, or by compromising its existence for the sake of some elites political demand.

            Again, no make mistake – those Eritreans in different camps are the victims of no war no peace plus continuous territorial violation of Weyane’s and its backs in the security council. This is to say they are economic immigrants, that’s why they use Ethiopea, Sudan, Djibouti or what soever you have as a stepping stone to economically viable western countries. Had they been political immigrants they definitely would have ended in Sudan and Ethiopea carrying Weyane’s K-47. But they are not and next year you will see those people in the camps now moved or in the process of transfer to their destiny – to economically viable countries – and few years latter go back home for a visit.

            With regard to Constitution and democracy i don’t think they belong to you more they do to me. May be I love them more than you do. However, i know it is impossible to jump to that question while some portion of our land is under the control of enemy, around one million of our people are displaced from their farming land, around a quarter of our youth are standing in diffidence of the country, continuous political intrigues are waged against the sustainability of the country from the S.C, Continuous skirmishes are running in the borders.

            Elites priorities are different from the ordinary peoples priorities. Let the 2 or 3% of elites from our populations fight for their political interest with the constitution, democracy and so forth cards. Close to 100% of our people’s priorities both in the center and the periphrases are the basic necessities of life. That’s why no matter how loud the elites drum their cards the people stick aligned with the ongoing policies of social justices. and for your knowledge, once they settle the sovereignty and the socio-economic rights issue they will not wait to request farther achievements in the arena of constitutionalism and political rights. They always love to see the horse before the cart for that is the only empirical truth.

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