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Eritrea’s Socio-politically Disjointed Generational Succession

Human societies owe their perpetuity to the dynamic process of generational succession in which societal legacy is handed down from one generation to the next often seamlessly and imperceptibly. The legacy that gets transmitted down the generations by this ‘passing-the-baton’ type process encompasses the universal societal attributes of culture, tradition, history, values and beliefs, social attitudes, political thinking, and others. Each generation is, in its time, a custodian of society and plays a dual role of ensuring its continuity and sustaining its dynamism.

As its first role, an existing generation inherits the legacy of previous generations and, in due course, hands it down to a successor generation. Its second role comprises developing ideas and undertaking activities required for survival and progress and which may end up changing, modifying, adding to or discarding from the varied attributes of society. Indeed, the sociopolitical makeup of a society at any given moment in its history results from an amalgamation of its inherited legacy with the new ideas, attitudes and tendencies contributed by its current generation. It is such contributions of each generation that make the progression of society a dynamic process. They together with changes caused by extra-societal factors (i.e., external forces and forces of nature) combine to bring about an advancement, regression or even disruption of society.

Eritrean society is presently undergoing such disruption in consequence of government’s systematic persecution and enslavement of the country’s youth and the exodus of young people it has engendered. Pessimists and the wicked see these conditions as leading to irrevocable population dispersal that is destined to culminate in the obsolescence of the nation-state and the extinction of Eritrean identity. Contrastingly, rational minds view the present sociopolitical crisis as a dire, but passing phenomenon which will induce political, social and spiritual renewal of  Eritrean society thereby transforming it into a humbled, stable, wiser and kinder society at peace with itself and the world.

Unique Experience of Eritrea’s Young Generation

The political environment and social conditions that the government engineered in the country has had the effect of virtually disassociating the young and old generations of Eritrean society. Its strategy has been to keep the youth away from towns/cities and dispersed in small encampments throughout the country’s rural areas under the watchful presence of the military. In so doing, the regime effectively wrests from parents (and the broader society) control of their children and the critical role of providing guidance in their children’s transition to adulthood. As a result, the natural process by which society imparts its values, beliefs and standards to its youth is supplanted by the regime’s manipulative agenda of infusing the young minds in its control with the notions of subservience, mistrust, suspicion and parochialism.

This article will highlight just those aspects of Eritrea’s ‘youth crisis’ that enlighten on the present circumstances of the young generation and hint at the role they are likely to play in shaping the country’s future. In what follows, “young generation” is to be understood as comprising citizens who were born and/or came of age after the country’s independence, hence as being coincident with the nation’s under-40 age group.

A. Life under Tyranny: For Eritrea’s young generation, life is filled with fear and uncertainty about the present and the future. High school students are forced to participate in government-mandated summer work programs which consume valuable time they would better spend with their families or in pursuit of other interests. Upon finishing their junior year, they are virtually removed from society and banished to Sawa Military Camp ostensibly to complete their final year, but actually to be press-ganged into a uniquely harsh military training program. Completion of training finally ushers them into an indefinite period of servitude in the form of forcible conscription in the army.

Deployment to military outposts and assignment to forced-labor project sites bring young conscripts face to face with the regime’s brutality. Repression and abuse they experience there provide them with a basis both for building solidarity among themselves and for galvanizing their resentment against the regime. Their consignment to a world of cruelty and treachery persuades them to base friendship, trust and loyalty on life experiences shared in the “trenches of war”;  not on commonality of such inherently sectarian attributes as ethnicity, region and religion.

Overcoming fear, some break free from the shackles of tyranny by fleeing the country and using illegal-migration schemes to reach Europe and the Middle East. Those who cannot afford the financial and social costs of illegal migration remain in the country with some deciding to, at least for now, lay low and submit to the regime’s diktat. Others defy the system by engaging in random desertions/ abscondements which provoke frantic police searches, raids, roundups and arrests followed by such cruel punishments as indefinite detention, torture and even execution.

B. Horrors of gang-organized migration: The savagery of ‘refugee predators’ (i.e., traffickers, smugglers, kidnappers), the dangers of migration routes and the harshness of forces of nature that accompany the typical trek are beyond levels that most human beings can endure. The ‘lucky’ ones among the refugees manage to pull through the torments of their tragic odyssey but are not spared the agony of helplessly watching many of their friends and loved ones perish. The resulting humiliation, pain, and suffering take a heavy toll on survivors’ confidence and physical being while leaving them scarred with emotional and psychological trauma.

Sadly, refugees’ troubles persist even after they reach countries of asylum where settling in and starting a new life is neither immediate nor easy. Most encounter a reality far removed from their expectations: They grapple with crippling language barriers, culture shock, and feelings of uncertainty, inadequacy and helplessness that come with being at the mercy of strangers.

Social Bonding and Unifying Political Perspective

Forced to swim through life full of adversities and tragedies, Eritrea’s young generation everywhere are able to survive only through sheer individual courage and unshakeable group solidarity. The totality of this tremendous human experience has played a dominant role in shaping that generation’s social character and political thinking.

A. Social bonding: The greatest asset of Eritrea’s youth is the strong bond of common identity and solidarity that they forge among themselves during their initial experience under brutal tyranny at home and their subsequent harrowing odyssey in search of human freedom. It is this social bonding that has sustained the young generation through nearly two decades of unrelenting misery inflicted successively by a series of evil forces, domestic and foreign.

Social bonding affords them a means with which to defend against manipulations and intrigues of inimical forces. Indeed, it is this very asset that blunted the well-funded campaign which internal and external enemies of the Eritrean people have been waging for years to sow division among exiled youth on the basis of ethnicity, region, religion, etc. The same enemies lately tried to create a public perception of a fragmented refugee population by seizing upon altercations that the latter were reported to have been involved in at social events in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Israel, etc. But, authorities and professionals in those countries have characterized the run-ins as spontaneous, alcohol-fueled brawls attributable to the refugees’ deep-seated traumatic experience and their frustration with their present situations in host countries. Never mind the incendiary sectarianism that enemy forces and their hired Eritrean agents have been propagating through social media channels and Paltalk rooms in the guise of “feuding Eritrean youth factions”!

B. New Political Alignment: Eritrean refugees have endured painful ordeals and their situation in host countries remains precarious. Yet, diaspora communities have largely failed to reach out to them and support efforts at rehabilitating their trauma and helping them start a new life. In particular, political groups have exerted little effort to draw young exiles into the opposition fold or to popularize their values and worldview among the successor generation.

On their part, young refugees have shown little enthusiasm to inherit the legacy of an old generation they very much resent for having ‘helped to bring’ a political system that revels in persecuting and enslaving its youth. Having had their physical and mental endurance tested by agonizing ordeals, the young generation believe they have what it takes to articulate a clear vision of their future and that of their country. In a broader context, therefore, Eritrea’s present crisis is essentially a contention between an old generation reluctant to relinquish center stage in the country’s socio-political life and a young generation eager to try out new ideas and strategies of taking the country to a better future.

Nothing exemplifies the political disconnect between the two generations better than the controversy over visits to Eritrea by young refugees. Once they settle into life in their host countries and save enough money, some refugees travel back home to see friends and loved ones they missed, visit a homeland they were forced to flee and reclaim emotionally the normal adolescence they never had. This mission is so important to them that they are willing to suppress their hatred of the regime, sign government’s “regret form” and pay diaspora tax in order to accomplish it. Sadly, the profound sense of identity and social affinity that drive this mission are completely lost to most of the old guard who simplistically accuses the refugees of “capitulating” to the regime!

What many fail to understand is that, on account of that mission, young exiles are tuned in to the country’s realities and to its people in ways that the isolationist and/or conformist older exiles cannot claim about themselves. Armed with a strong sense of identity, a spirit of solidarity and wholehearted embrace of their diversity, these young exiles – along with their compatriots at home – will soon consolidate themselves into a formidable political force which will play its legitimate societal role of charting the country’s political future under a common destiny and in the best interest of their people.

About Yohannes Zerai

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  • Ismail AA

    Selam Yohannes,

    Expressing personal regret to have missed benefiting from discussing this well-written contribution to our understanding of perhaps a single most important issue of our current national agenda, let me add my voice to those who welcomed you back to this forum after a while. For the sake of not repeating what others might have written, I would like to jot a few things because I did not have time to read through the extensive postings under your thread.

    As I pointed out, the issue of the young generation is so crucial that it requires close attention that demands such sharp minds as yours and many in this forum. Eritrea as young nation that has not been so fortunate during the decades of existence has been wounded so deeply at the juncture when its people felt they had paid exorbitant price to attain independent nationhood. The regime has dealt damaging blow to the nation by disrupting the social process of sustaining itself through generational succession, as you have excellently explained.

    The core value of this article rests in that fact that it successfully sorts out the birth cohort (as sociologists put it) from the politico-ideological constructs and came out with elucidation of the problem we, as a society, are confronting. It has become plausible that the regime has used its power perpetuation oriented ideological constructs to destroy the normal societal norms of one generation replacing another. The ugly relic that will go in to the pages of history shall be the infamous Sawa, the generation ruining military conscription and distortion of education. We have read the same in Derg’s dispersal of the youth in the name of illiteracy campaign and Chinese cultural revolution, which the despot and his clique seemed to have emulated.

    The most difficult and challenging task confronting the nation is how to save what could be saved concerning the post national independence era youth, which requires serious national effort to deal with situation and eliminate the cause, or at least create safety net for the youth, and enable them to repair their breached spirits and organize themselves to shoulder responsibility of taking over their nation.

    The justice seeking camp has so far failed to put its acts together and move towards searching that crucial safety net. This is perhaps an only way of how to rally the youth as generational social group by reorienting them to leave the reclusive identity enclaves in to which they have been falling, and help them forge their own movement outside the country, and connect with their counterparts inside the country. The visits to the homeland that you have mentioned could be ways and means to transferring organize collective ideas to the youth there.

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Likewise, Ismailo. You were certainly missed the last few days; but it was intuitively obvious to many of us that you were tied up somewhere doing things good and great!

      Thank you for your usual thoughtful remarks about the article and its contents. Yeah, it ought to be clear to all of us that assisting Eritrea’s recent refugees establish themselves in their host countries is not only a moral and patriotic duty of all diaspora Eritreans, but it is also a sure way of speeding up the process of change that will see us take our country back from the Forces of Doom!

      Take care.

  • Yohannes Zerai

    Dear abdulworld,

    Thank you for acting on my request and for providing the information I asked for. In making the request, I meant to get something from you that would give me and other forumers a flare of the ideas you have on setting up effective community centers. You did a good job in that regard and I hope the three steps you proposed in your response will provoke further discussion and encourage others to build on them by contributing relevant and helpful ideas, approaches, evaluations, observations, etc.

    This of course assumes the existence of a general agreement among forumers on the need for community centers as tools and centers for organizing community activities aimed at promoting self-betterment/improvement and advancing the cause of democratic change in the homeland. Coincidentally, in his latest comment on the current thread, Saay also has independently highlighted the importance of community centers for essentially the same purposes!

    I therefore urge like-minded formures to keep this need in mind and share with forum participants ideas and suggestions they may come up with in due course. Proceeding along this line may lead us to a consensus on a work plan (or strategy) for building effective community centers which, in turn, will empower us to hopefully begin implementing the strategy.

    Thank you.

  • FishMilk

    Hi All. LOL. Funny. Most of the Ethiopians, unionists and TPLF supporters here are now acting like CNN and Hilary Clinton supporters who were astonished and in disarray after the announcement that Trump had defeated Clinton. It’s just fun to sit back and watch them squirm.

    • Selam FishMilk,

      What do you expect us to do? We are sitting back and waiting for the real thing to happen. We have heard the talk, and we are waiting for the walk.

      Some of you are already beating the kebero and celebrating, and have declared “we have prevailed again, we always win”. Just imagine what would happen if it is true. Caesar will walk in harnet godana wearing his crown on his head and the sceptre power in his hand, women ululating, supporters shouting “long live the lion, he is us and we are him, we are the winners and we always prevail with caesar as our leader”.

      On the contrary, we are never in a hurry.

      • FishMilk

        Hi Horizon. PM Abiy’s announcements should be taken at good faith for it would be political suicide if he were to recant his position. Withdrawal from Badme allows Eritreans to concentrate on the home front. We now will be united in our attempts to push PIA/PFDJ for much needed major reform and accountability. I am optimistic and hope for both Ethiopia and Eritrea that the best is yet to come. We have to learn to leave bygones be bygones and move forward in a positive manner for our future generations deserve such.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Brother Abi,

    Thank you !!! Now, this is the time we all are happy..Isn’t so?


  • Abrehet Yosief

    Selam Yohannes Zerai,
    Thank you for a thought provoking article. I am one those whom you refer as “pessimist” but I believe not “pessimist and wicked”. Indeed, I am heartened by your analysis. If a few dedicated youth both in exile and home unite and lead the way, everyone will follow. I am not unduly concerned by the sporadic ugly brawls between young exiles. I am more worried with the deterioration of the social fabric inside our country. As well, the longer the “young exiles” stay outside the country, the likely hood of losing legitimacy to participate in the politics of the country increases. The same logic of “Where were you when we were suffering, hence, how dare you try to tell me what to do?” takes over. For the everyone’s sake, I hope change starts sooner than later.

    • blink

      Dear Abrhet
      Lol I kind of saying go continue with your pessimism because what can Eritreans inside miss from the diaspora cry babies? Now I am extremely optimistic about Eritreans away from PFDJ. You know the number one law to be introduced must be to ban any one with double citizenship to not participate in any Eritreans political life lol . I can see your head swing at my suggestion. Deal with it then . Let’s the political process start after 5 years and at that time most diaspora are in families or settled life which means less ear to pessimists and more ears to optimistic views.

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Dear Abrehet,

      I must first apologize for the rather tardy response to your interesting comment.

      Sorry for the poor sentence construction that seemed to combine the words “pessimist” and “wicked” as a single descriptor of a person. What was actually intended was their use as alternative adjectives to describe a subject. So, something like “To a pessimist or to the wicked, these conditions may seem to lead to irrevocable …….” would have been a much better construct.

      I appreciate your concern about the deterioration of the country’s social fabric and the possible alienation of “young exiles” from Eritrea’s domestic political process. However, with regard to the latter, we know that (i) many of these exiles do maintain direct contact with the country through their periodic travels there (as I pointed out in my article). Incidentally, I was listening a couple of days ago to an interview that Radio Erena held with an Eritrean refugee activist in Israel. I was fascinated to hear the interviewee assert that there are many fellow refugees in Israel who would want to return to Eritrea as a group! (ii) Young exiles have totally rejected the regime and the political process – a system that they certainly want to see removed. Consequently, as long as they maintain contacts and solidarity with compatriots at home and within the broader diaspora, they would not face any prospects for alienation.

      Finally, regarding the subject of youth dedication and unity you touched upon in your comment, I invite you to read my rejoinders to Saay’s and Beyan’s comments on the current thread.

      Thank you.

  • abdulworld

    Hello All,
    Is it possible to move comments with regards to Border acceptance or acknowledgement noise to the other post?
    I believe it is important to acknowledge Yohannes Zerai effort to bring an important topic “Civil Eritrea Generation” taking the baton and moving forward with it.
    The best way to acknowledge his effort and importance of topic is for All comments should forward that discussion.
    I personally believe that topic and discussion is 100x more relevant than some border “talk.”

  • abdulworld

    Hello Yohannes-

    Starting with old adage: “Your culture can be your medicine or disease.”

    Again I believe your article is important in telling us about the elephant in the room. I believe it is the most important article of the year because I believe this is realization is the only way forward for Eritrea and its future.

    The hard reality is that Baton will not be passed to future generation.

    Culture gives your value and your value determines your behavior or action.

    My observation is modern Eritrea culture has two rivers.

    First river is Gedli culture and it is product of 30 years of struggle. It is culture that emphasis struggle, loyalty, bravery, obedience, survival. This culture doesn’t emphasis meritocracy or concept like effectiveness or critical thinking.

    The second river is the feudal past. Its culture emphasis is communal where the elders are all knowing and powerful until last breathe. And a lot other beautiful things respect for elders, etc..

    The Italian influence is culturally minimal except for mimicking of some Italian elements.
    Both cultures feudal and Gedli do have positive elements but they also have negative elements.

    In case of Eritrea- instead of building a civil society the Gedhli culture turned the country into Medea. That is reason why indefinite national service is normalized. Absence of any real civil Institution is normalized. Complete obedience is normalized.

    The toxic part is that leadership has no idea of how to run a civil society and feudal culture elements coming and says the elder knows everything and should have power.

    So, baton will never be passed. For baton to be properly passed you need civil society.

    The same dynamic happens in Diaspora community. Successful ethnic groups in America have viable community centers where gather and share information and do business networking, help each grow and be successful in foreign country etc..

    In the Eritrea diaspora those centers don’t exist. And the Eritrean born or educated in the diaspora generally doesn’t participate in the construction and organizing of those centers although they are most capable of doing that… You have Gedli+feudal toxic culture mix coming in where you folks who don’t understand the dynamic of foreign land in leadership role unable to leverage effectively.

    So, the dynamic are same. Gedhli generation in Eritrea with lack of civil society running the country down whereas in diaspora you have folks who lack knowledge of diaspora country in leadership roles- the outcome is same.

    In both cases, no one is taking about merit or any from Metric- are we improving, what have built, etc..

    Community Center should be space for Eritrean share knowledge and support each other. Do business networking. Where successful members can exchange and share knowledge. The center are also best mechanism to help those Eritrean refugee who have been traumatized or seating waiting for decade in some hostile country to make it to America.

    In Eritrea you need a civil society to pass the baton and in America or other countries you need community center to pass the baton.

    Here is the bitter pill and hard reality- No Baton will be Passed. In matter of fact, the Baton has been sitting on ground for two decades. Unfortunately the symbolic noise and hand gestures gave the Eritrean people a notion that someone has Baton to pass.

    Civil Eritrea Generation is present and future will have to pick up the baton and start participating in race with rest of world.

    New generation has been watching the old generation and young people learn by example and some examples so far have been dysfunctional.

    You have to build walls to protect your movement from toxic elements of Feudal and Gedhli cultures.

    Knowing your cultural medicine and cultural diseases is important. Keeping the cultural diseases as far away as possible from movement is actual main challenge.

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Dear abdulworld,

      I thank you for your comment. You sure seem to have an interesting perspective with which to view Eritrea’s current reality. Your argument that community centers are indispensable for ensuring learning, support, shared growth, unity, etc. is well taken. I do not expect you to answer my question fully and satisfactorily off the top of your head and on short order. But could you please venture briefly and in general terms into what it would take to begin setting up such effective community centers in the diaspora population?

      Thank you.

  • Beyan

    Selmat Awatawyan,

    How about the breaking news related to the border be discussed under the news that Gedab jus put out.


    • Kokhob Selam

      Yes Sir,

      Sure, now they are preparing I guess..Must be I think..


  • Haile S.

    Selam Yohannes,

    Through your well placed layers of well contructed bricks of paragraphs, you paid the best tribute to the Eritrean post-independence youth who paid another decisive sacrifice to maintain the integrity of the nation. Whatever reservation we may have on how the country’s business was conducted, these youth have been the pillar upon which the country stood and the regime clinged to. As you well put it, these young, their umblical cord, however they stretched and extended it to wherever they went, never severed the connexion to their motherland. The rays of peace we see brightening today came thanks to the sacrifice of these youth who gave all, their life, their living and their future. Your article is a well deserving tribute to them. That is the way I read it. It was time to talk about them, about the future. Thank you so much for thinking about them!

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Dear Haile S.,

      I sincerely thank you for your eloquent tribute to our young generation on whom we all should place our hopes for saving our country from the dangers that are presently shadowing it; I personally have no doubt they will!

      In your comment, you thanked me for paying tribute to them and I appreciate your kindness in having done so. But in truth, mine does not come half as close to doing the job. Your profound statements have exquisitely described the essence of what they ACTUALLY mean to the country and what they ought to mean to all of us. I thus find your input worthy of praise.

  • Alex

    Hi Saay and awatista,
    If what we are reading about Ethiopia total acceptance of the border ruling is true then that will be a good news to all the people of the two countries. Saay it looks I might keep my $100 USD since your prediction about the border been demarcated before May 2019 may happen after all based on the announcement by Ethiopia today.

    • saay7


      An FB friend posted a screenshot of the announcement which was made following the EPRDF Exec Committee meeting. It is in Amharic so until people more fluent in the language provide the translation, this is what it says:

      Preamble about Eritreans and Ethopians historical bond. Then:

      “The Ethiopian Government, accepting fully the Algiers Agreement and the decision of the Commission, will work towards its implementation decisively and without hesitation.”

      There is no 2 point plan, no 5 point plan, no mentioning of Algiers Agreement without mention the Commission, no pre-conditions, just straight talk.

      I have mocked this man when he first surfaced because he gives that New Age Zealot vibe. I thought he would over-promise and under-deliver. But what we witnessed is a case of man (or a movement, since there is a movement behind him) of underpromise and overdeliver. Never mind the silly bet: this is amazing and what makes one hopeful is that he has delivered on freeing prisoners (including one on death sentence), met with political opponents, called for exiled media to come home, lifted the state of emergency…


      • Amde

        Selam Saay,

        Hahaha… I actually checked in to see the Eritrean vibe after this news popped up. And here you are, juxtapositioning “amazing” and “Abiy”

        So now you know how we feel. Almost every day has been surpassed expectations, much self pinching, a lot of slack-jawed gaping.. “..he said.. WHAT…?? ..he did WHAT??..”

        Whether one agrees with him or not, he is moving very fast to put as much distance as possible between him and the past.

        Sen Inhofe is visiting and we don’t know what he has brought with him. Inhofe is a very religious Christian conservative, (as I suspect Dr. Abiy is) and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a prayer meeting or two to liven up the grand strategy wheeling and dealing.

        This was just supposed to have been an EPRDF executive meeting evaluating the progress if various initiatives, but it seems to me very consequential decisions have been made. Can’t wait till we hear the details sneak out.


        • blink

          Dear Amde
          So does that mean you will be in line to the PM decisions if he withdrew Ethiopian soldiers from Eritreans land . I mean the Tigrians are going to be nuts just as your cousin Hayat.

      • Eyob Medhane


        To privatize major government business institutions, to sell minority share of strategic once (including Ethiopian airlines) to Ethiopian and foreign share holders, dropping the charges of almost all foreign based oppositions….. These are too much to do in 60 days. He has taken away tons of opposition points from his opponents. Now, he is about to take away Isayas’ excuse for enslaving Eritreans… የሚገርም ነው….

    • Abraham H.

      Hi Alex, very positive news indeed from Ethiopia. Better late than never, but I’m not that optimist when it comes to the regime in Eritrea. As long as Eritrea is under the absolute control of DIA, whose hands are full of innocent Eritrean blood, and who doesn’t have the best interests of the Eritrean people, he is going to go to the extreme to keep the status quo. Peace is the enemy of Isayas Afwerqi. However, it will be interesting to see how his nsu nhna constituency are going to confront the new developments.

      • @george

        Dear Abraham,
        PIA worshipper here. I can help answer your question about us, nus bla bla. We good. We got this. We’re happy. If the stories true Eritrea has prevailed once again. That’s how we got the freedom anyway to begin with. By sticking together focusing on the goal, we always win. But, I worry about tplf, game is about to be over. The Ethiopians are smelling blood. What Young is converting the local b i r r to US dollar like there’s no tomorrow. That shows you who’s panicking. Stay tuned for the ride of your life buddy.

        • Abraham H.

          Dear George, DIA cannot survive under peace, and normalcy, because those situations lead to accountability, transparency and taking responsibility for the actions he has taken and would take. I really hope the Ethiopians are serious about bringing this silly issue of Badme to en end; I can almost say you are up for a rude awakening, provided that you are one of those confused souls by DIA’s manipulations and ‘qemish adey hankiluni’.

  • Selam All,

    How do you interpret the following.

    “በመሆኑም በጥቅም ብቻ ሳይሆን በደም ለተሳሰሩት የሁለቱ ሀገር ሕዝቦች የጋራ ጥቅም ሲባል የኢትዮጵያ መንግስት የአልጀርሱን ስምምነት እና የድንበር ኮሚሽኑን ውሳኔ ሙሉ ለሙሉ ተቀብሎ ተግባራዊ ለማድረግ የወሰነና ለተግባራዊነቱ ያለማመንታት በቁርጠኝነት የሚሰራ መሆኑን ለመግለፅ ይፈልጋል፡፡

    የኤርትራ መንግስትም ተመሳሳይ አቋም በመውሰድ ያለምንም ቅድመ-ሁኔታ የሰላም ጥሪያችንን ተቀብሎ በሁለቱም ወንድማማች ህዝቦች መካከል ከዚህ በፊት የነበረውን አብሮነትና ሰላም ወደነበረበት ለመመለስና በቀጣይም ዘላቂነቱን ለመጠበቅ ለተግባራዊነቱ ያለማመንታት በቁርጠኝነት እንዲሰራ እንጠይቃለን፡፡”

    • halafi mengedi


      Most people seem to interpret it to mean that eth will withdraw from badme…. Do you have a different take?


      • Selam halafi mengedi,

        Points 3 and 5 of the 5 point peace plan of ethiopia say the following:
        3. Ethiopia Accepts, in Principle, the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission Decision
        5. Start Dialogue Immediately with the view to implementing the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission’s decision in a manner consistent with the Promotion or Sustainable Peace and Brotherly Ties between the Two Peoples

        I see that it does not say “in principle” this time, nevertheless, why does it say “ያለምንም ቅድመ-ሁኔታ” and “ዘላቂነቱን ለመጠበቅ ለተግባራዊነቱ ያለማመንታት በቁርጠኝነት እንዲሰራ እንጠይቃለን” from the eritrean side? What does this mean. It is as if ethiopia is putting conditions, and indirectly saying the same thing as before. If ethiopia wants to vacate and demarcate, she does it, and it is as simple as that, in my opinion.

        • blink

          Dear Horizon
          The word in principle is removed and it says totally accept it. What is left if you accept it then , the process has to be removing Ethiopian soldiers from Eritrean land them from PFDJ they have to dump every opponent of Ethiopian government from its land and open for more cooperation with Abyi . I mean what else is there to think ? Nothing the main obstacle is the occupation of Ethiopian forces in Eritrea’s land and if that is removed then case closed and it means Issaias doesn’t need the extra army at his hand and he doesn’t need to keep Eritreans in the national service for unlimited time. Then we Eritreans has to ask him to go away from our face by giving us space to a constitutional government.

        • halafi mengedi


          You have a point. However, they may be trying to avoid sensationalizing (if that is possible at all) the story and announce it in the most mundane way.

          Will see….


        • Mez

          Dear Horizon,

          The Ethiopian politicians may be trying to initiate a political crisis inside Eritrea, as soon as, and as fast as possible; remember: the boundary issue is the foundation of Eritrean internal policy in many ways.

          I think this is, very close to, the new policy on Eritrea by previous PM.


    • Mez

      Dear Horizon:

      With this, the PIA administration will be thrown into an internal and foreign policy crisis of an unforeseen dimension since Eritrean independence.


      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Mez,

        If the border excuse is removed now (which is good news), he will create a new trap of excuse to stay in power and suppress his subjects – the Eritrean people. Dictators can not live in peace time. Let us wait and see how he respond to the good gesture of the Ethiopian Government.

        • FishMilk

          Hi Amanuel Hidrat. With the border out of the way, Eritreans inside of Eritrea will demand higher levels of accountability. PIA’s excuses to delay key issues such as Due Process, Constitution, accountability of those long lost in prisons etc.; will no longer be patiently tolerated. As Blink has said, in regards to the home front, the game will be on.

          • blink

            Dear FM
            The guy is not included though . We will not included a weyane sympathizers while weyane got kicked from 4 kilo . Why would the Eritreans inside Eritrea include a weyane sympathizers? Remember once a Meles admirer there is no coming back in to Eritreans eyes . Don’t forget that sir.

          • Mez

            Dear Blink:
            Please wink & think, this time.


          • blink

            Dear Mez
            What happened to your super car that let’s you drive 250km/h in autobahn road ? Lol relax I am just winking at him .

          • Mez

            Dear Blink,

        • Mez

          Dear Amanuel H:

          Over time the basis of the Eritrean social foundation had altered irreversably. So had in the horn of Africa.

          It will be very hard for PIA to continue things the way he do and politically survive; especially the macro economic policy and the whole free labour thing.

          PIA’s only survival lifeline will be, if the Ethiopian political reform get aborted. But that is less likely now–since the reform got started from within (as that was the case in China after Mao).

          The reform process in Ethiopia on track, civil disobedience movement will engulf Eritrea in the next four to five yars, or even earlier.

          So your worry of PIA survival may be much less likely.

      • @george

        Dear mez

        Nope. Just about every prediction from the tplf land doesn’t materialize. You’ve been predicting Doomsday since day one but Eritrea is marching strong and confident. What your Ethiopia, like a a bankrupt Merchant shuffling the books. Once again Eritrea has prevailed. All Eritrean know tplf is a natural backstabber. As for the foreign policy again worried not sweetheart we want to listen to No One. Not America not your loser tplf. We run out show, we not a puppet state like a tplf. Are foreign policy is independent. As our great leader. Wedi afom said 1970s…. economic dependence lead to political Independence. Like I told you before we way ahead of you we got this baby we got this.

    • Kokhob Selam

      Very good Horizon,

      Nice if that will be materialized, why not..? I don’t think that will happen in near future that will take time..


    • Admassie

      Selam Horizon,
      First, It is a good news. Though bitter – because Ethiopia was forced in to the war and lost so many lives (I lost a cousin and another wounded), the case, after the EEBC decision, was a burden of guilt on Ethiopia’s side.

      My understanding to the news is that Ethiopia is ready to withdraw from Badime with out any precondition. The second paragragh, I think, is a call for engagement as the pretext of the war on Eritrean side, “the border”, is now being removed.

      Otherwise, no need to issue a different peace initiative if the context is not different from the “five point peace plan” Ethiopia was holding on.

      Now the ball is on PIA’s foot to answer to Ethiopia’s call and its own citizens’ yearn for change!

      Admassie A.

  • blink

    Dear selam
    I heard it in the ETV .Things are moving fast in fact very fast . The process will go straight to removing Ethiopian soldiers from Badme and other places . the discussion will start sooner than expected after that. What reason is there to oppose Abyi ? I mean he is transferring telecommunication company of Ethiopia to private and many other things are moving from state to private .

    • FishMilk

      Yes indeed Blink…Selam for Both People. I can now again call Ethiopians my sisters and brothers!

      • blink

        Dear Fishmilk
        I don’t not know about that brother and sisters.

        • FishMilk

          Hi Blink. LOL. Maybe I am going I bit too fast…..Buy I am so excited and happy.. And, I do wish for good relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea to be quickly be established. Congradulations Blink!

          • blink

            Dear FM
            I also wish peace but not as the old Eritrean story who was held in prison because he travels for peace . Remember that . We need peace not to be brothers but to coexist in our own home with out pocking someone eye.

            Congratulations to the died Heroes and our fight with PFDJ starts to the high gear . The game is on .

  • saay7

    Selamat Yohannes:

    Thanks for another thoughtful article that provokes questioning and is a welcome re-focus on our priorities that many of us (me included) have been avoiding primarily because we do not have a ready-made answers, and if we do, we do not have the skills necessary to persuade, and if we have that, we don’t have the discipline to follow through and organize.

    Since we are praising days gone by, when we speak of past generations ability to convey its values (history, culture, belief, customs, the works) to a new generation, I think it is fair to say we are talking about how one tribe, ethnic group, one religion passes it not and certainly not how one Eritrean group passes it to another. The group has a strong self-interest in doing that because the customary code and the collective rights and duties demanded it. If, for example, I belong to Tribe A and a member of my tribe murdered a member of Tribe B, I am liable for what the member of my tribe did and Tribe B may demand my head in a platter. (I exaggerate but same concept: there penal code made no distinction so long as penalty was extracted from my tribe.)

    Since we moved into the relatively modern concept of nation-state, or even conceiving it in the 70s and 80s, it is hard to argue that we have a common narrative we agree upon. The PFDJ has a narrative, it is a tribal one, except the tribe now is Eritrea and its members are Nationalists: Once upon a time, a Big Tribe (the UN, the US) in collaboration with a tiny tribe (Weyane) did us wrong and continues to do us wrong and until such time that this wrong is rectified, the Tribal Chief (Isaias Afwerki) has ordered that it is a matter of honor for us to put aside all our differences and restore our honor. In this PFDJ culture, honor killing is allowed: whoever brings shame and dishonor to your tribe must be made to disappear, exiled or killed.

    What we don’t have is a counter-narrative. We don’t even have a name for the “we”, awkwardly referred to as “deleyti ftHi.” Well, we do have a counter-narrative, and a very good one–we want a country that is ruled by law, is democratic, and at peace with itself and its neighbors–but we quibble on the details. We don’t sell this view, this belief because we have not created a vision of a state that a people can readily accept because we ourselves don’t appear to believe that such a state can exist. We are loathe to organizing (I think it reminds us of collectivism we associate with the Fronts) and to being disciplined enough to submit to the will of the consensus (I want my freedom, man!). In short, we lack leaders who believe in the vision and who can make us believe. In short, we know what we have to do, but we all appear to be waiting for some tipping point.


    • Yohannes Zerai

      Dear Saay

      I thank you for your usual short, but substance-heavy comment. It turned out that I was nibbling on a ‘slice of pizza’ and, true to your characteristic comprehensiveness, you brought a whole order of a ‘family-size pizza’ to the table! In a way, that made the situation appear to be lending itself to a tree-vs-forest dichotomy.

      At any rate, I happen to be in agreement with most of the points you raised in your comment. The dawn of independent existence, had afforded Eritrea a golden opportunity to use the success of the struggle won by the joint effort of all of its ethnic groups as a basis for forging what you termed a “common narrative” that all social groups would claim as their own. Sadly, the regime squandered this opportunity in favor of advancing its policy of arrogant exclusivity and entrenching itself by spreading its repugnant “tribal narrative”. This is one of the major crimes that the regime has committed on the country and its people. Be that as it may, we have to be forward-looking and believe that, despite the years of valuable time wasted, we can still build a national identity and a common narrative to bind us together. We have to believe this is doable so long as we all agree on (i) formulating a counter narrative (as you have suggested) and (ii) getting rid of the existing system to ensure a favorable environment for the implementation of (i) as the twin goals of our struggle for change. I remain hopeful that the “tipping point” for action in this regard will be provided before long by events at home.

      As for the group behavior of our mostly young people in Israel, I have this to say: the lack of civility, respect for the law and political sophistication in their group actions is certainly worrying, but not something to despair over given the horrible experience they had had to endure and the terrible circumstances under which they live in Israel. What should ironically be gratifying to all of us is the fact that they are fighting among themselves based on their political differences, not based on their ethnic, religious and regional affiliations.

      Thank you.

      • saay7

        Selamat Yohannes:

        I feel like I am drifting from your thesis and if I do, feel free to lasso me back. On our youth population, I certainly didn’t mean to use the aberration of what happened in Israel on Independence Day as representative: I had just watched it and it was fresh on my mind. EPDP’s Veronica was interviewed by Erena after her visit and I remember her saying Eritreans in Israel are a microcosm of Eritrea and a lot of what they do is focused on helping Eritreans resettle in Europe and sending money to their families in Eritrea, despite all the hardships they face. I guess I was trying to say that like all of us Eritreans they, too, lack leadership and are, therefore, a bit lost.

        My view is that before we can work on liberating Eritreans in Eritrea, we have to liberate Eritreans in the Diaspora. As has been stated often, Eritreans in the Diaspora either have no community center or one run by the PFDJ. I find it hard to take when people complain about the lack of organization and “boldness” in Eritrea from Eritreans held hostage by a brutal regime which has no qualms about imprisoning the underage, the infirm and the elderly. The focus should be first and foremost in organizing those of us who have found second homes because that will show we can get organized and that will in turn inspire our people back home.

        On the transition between Ghedli generation to young gen, I know of one org–Eritrean National Salvation Front (ENSF)–that attempted that but I don’t know enough about it to comment on whether that was a success, a failure or none of the above. Again, there is no template for it because even in Eritrea those in charge are grey hairs who refuse to yield.


        • Yohannes Zerai

          Dear Saay,

          Thank you for the follow-up.

          No, the “suspected drifting” you speak of in your rejoinder is more apparent than real; so, I really don’t have to do anything! Besides, I am sure we all agree that widening the scope of a discussion can only be beneficial so long as the discussion remains anchored to the issue at hand. And that, I believe, is what is happening here. In fact, it is the reverse of this tendency that has become the Achilles heel of our diaspora community – the inability of most of us to loosen our grip on our personal views or hardened positions and venture, mentally, a little out to consider other views and relevant factors with the benefit of expanding and enriching our understanding of things.

          I am glad you too had a chance to listen to the interesting Radio-Erena interview with the EPDP representative where the latter narrated the great work the persecuted and harassed Eritrean refugees in Israel are doing to help their folks back home and particularly those ‘en-route to life in exile’. The woman (i.e., the representative) herself is nothing short of pure joy to listen to! I am deeply impressed with her confidence, optimism and the patriotic streak in her. Topping it all is the great gusto with which she seems to perform her activist role.

          Finally, let me point out that I was strongly pulled to your statement about “community centers” not least because of its importance but, in addition, due to the fact that a similar idea was expressed by abdulworld in his comment on the current thread. I have had a couple of exchanges with him on the subject. I would therefore appreciate it if you could review those brief exchanges and (when you find the time) share with us your intellectual take on what can be done to address this critically important need.

          Thank you.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Yohannes,

    Good to see you back. Thank you for gracing us with this timely article about our young generation and their predicaments. Indeed you are right to reminded us about the continuous disruption of “passing-the-buton” from generation to generation, that becomes the setback in everything we intend to do, about the socioeconomic and sociopolitical development of our nation.


    • Yohannes Zerai

      Selam Amanuel,

      Thanks a lot for the comment. Reading your remarks (which are as nice and gentle as usual), I can see it has not occurred to you that you may have something – in fact, a lot – to do with this article. So, since it is getting a little late here, why don’t I give you a little time to try to figure it out on your own. In the even that you do not succeed, I will reveal my secrets tomorrow!!

      Have a good one, bro!

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Merhaba Yohannes,

        Generally, from all your articles you penned them down and posted them in this website, not only I got lessons from them, but also for the unknown reasons, I found them to be my voices in a more articulated form.

        But, if you want me to say something, I would say, if you would have been incorporated the inability of our young generation to find their voices in the Eritrean politics and be organized to take the stock of our nation. Generally in politics the old generation can only pass the torch when young geration becomes a formidable organized force, and, then the old generation will have no option but to pass-the-buton.”

        In 2012 our young generation who were organized as EYSC had a conference at Washington DC. I went and participated as an observer. I thought finally our young generation have found their voices and I wrote an article pertinent to their conference and the glimmer hope I had from the outcome of the conference. Below is the link of my article I wrote at that time.


        • Yohannes Zerai

          Dear Amanuel,

          As promised, I am back to reveal the secret I had decided to temporarily withhold from you 🙂

          But, let me first thank you for your latest comment and add the following: I agree with your argument that the old generation can pass the torch only if the young generation is politically organized. That is certainly true under ideal or normal conditions; but in the face of the “disruption” I spoke of in my article, the old generation in the diaspora would be expected to shoulder, in the interest of the nation, the added responsibility of assisting the young generation to organize themselves. But, thank you for providing the link to your earlier article on the subject. I promise to read it the first instance I get a chance.

          Now, back to the line of my first sentence. You may not be aware of this, but my current article is an outgrowth of an idea that you had presented in the form of a question in the article titled “Perceptions & Values: Transforming the Eritrean Minds” you posted in February. The concluding paragraph of that apiece, went as follows:

          “In conclusion, I will leave my readers with these two provoking questions (a) Can we administer our differences to govern ourselves equitably? So far, no signs of competence to justify that (b) Do we celebrate our diversity as a force of our common identity? No signs of admirable cooperation among themselves.”

          The second question above not only planted in my mind the seeds for the ideas that went into the article, but also provoked the rationale and arguments needed to expound the ideas and establish their validity. As such, you have contributed significantly, albeit indirectly, to the development of the article under discussion; and I find it important and appropriate that the contribution is recognized and gratefully acknowledge here. Again, thank you for it!

  • Beyan

    Selam Yohannes,

    By surveying the lot of our youth through sociohistorical trajectory you eloquently capture the genesis of the endless disruptions that each generation of Eritrea faced. I agree with blink that this is a must read for Eritreans of all ages, because it realistically sets the scene for to think through issues that concerns us all. Such a lens, one hopes, will compel all involved to pause and see the dire predicaments, thusly, locate the ailments, the corollaries to which could conceivably lead to that permanent cure we are all aspiring to find as the good doctor succinctly put it: “..if there is any hope in solving the magnitude of the complexity, you [Yohannes, indeed] are contributing part of the solution forcefully and with clarity”.

    Part of that complexity is duly noted in Kokhob Selam’s first stanza, the part of which is in Jebena:“— ሰላሕታ ሞት :—እታ ሃገር ሰማእታት:-/ተታሓዛ ዓጽረ-ሞት:-/ካብ ፍጥረ-ምስ በለት: -/ኣርኪብዋ ከልበትበት :- /ብዘይቅዋም ተበገሰት :-/’ሞ ድማ ነይሰረረት ::” Luckily, Eritreans are not at the phase of
    ዓጽረ-ሞት. Our breathing patterns may have changed violently, but we are not at that Cheyen-Stokes, where our breathing has not deepened and sped up; nor has it gotten any shallower. Nor has the “death-rattle” rattled us yet. We are concerned, very concerned; perhaps fearing of the unknown; fear of what the tyrant has unleashed in the last 27 years would mean for generations to come. We refuse to die.

    We fight all notions of fear, in some cases from cradle to the grave. If any lesson can be gleaned from perpetual fear is to look back in history where we may find anecdotal example in how the awesome power of fear could become the source of original solution. Consider Hobbes, whose fear induced birth precipitated by a looming war between Spain and England, on the one hand, and growing up under constant fear of civil wars of 1600s in the English world, had pushed him to retreat to that world of thought and philosophy. What’s there to do but to philosophically dwell on fear induced philosophical treaty, which was what Leviathan – his most important work is all about. Hobbes later quipped about his perspective on fear: “fear and I were born twins together.” In a state of exile for eleven years while in France, as a loyal supporter of the Royalist, whose king at the time was Charles I. Two years after the latter was beheaded the Hobbesian work was published, namely, Leviathan.

    So, all hope can’t be lost on our youth. We may end up being lucky to have Eritreans with Hobbesian proclivities, borne out of fear, who may be the ones to get us out of the seemingly monumental, social, political, psychological challenges that lay in wait. Yohannes, many thanks for getting us to think through the prism of the youth, the most important component in the formula of fighting for social justice. Let me be prejudicial and cherry pick – from your earnestly penned piece – one that suits my so ever swinging mood: “…rational minds view the present sociopolitical crisis as a dire, but passing phenomenon which will induce political, social and spiritual renewal of Eritrean society thereby transforming it into a humbled, stable, wiser and kinder society at peace with itself and the world.” I like to lean on this optimistic view of our youth that can hopefully unleash that awesome brain power from within from which original ideas will emanate to help us find our path back to peace, harmony, and serenity that has been lacking in Eritrea for as long as most of us can remember.

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Dear Beyan,

      I am greatly appreciative of the kind words you expressed about the modest personal effort that my article represented. Despite the credit that you and others kindly assigned to me for the product, the fact remains that most of the substance of the article and the motivation to put it on paper were acquired in the course of my participation in this forum. So if there is any credit due in this regard, it should belong to all forumers.

      Turning to the ideas you presented in your comment, I thank you for providing a historical account in support of the notion that courage and creativity can indeed be born out of fear. The story of the “Hobbesian” experience you related in your comment match that of most young Eritrean refugees. Perhaps biased by the unacceptable social behavior exhibited by some recent arrivals (i.e., new, yet-to-be-settled refugees), we may not see the positive qualities they possess. But, fact is that the young exiles are a daring bunch of people who have developed strengths, values and perspectives earned from having overcome fear in the course of an exceptionally dangerous, miserable and painful existence.

      Their sense of challenging fear obviously develops while they are still in the country. They are fully cognizant of what they are up against when they engage in acts of defiance in its various forms. They know the consequences of deserting their army units and absconding from its prescribed duties, of fleeing the country across borders guarded by “shoot-to-kill” soldiers. Yet they unflinchingly decide to do it regardless of potential consequences.

      Likewise, they repeatedly hear detailed stories about the experience and fate of those who fled the country before them, including accounts of the dangers of the migration routes and of the unscrupulous and barbaric gang members that preside over travel on those routes. But that does not deter them from taking the “trip” themselves! Finally, they come out at the other end of the tragic process as survivors who endured untold pain and suffering while teetering on the edges of death for months and most of them for years. They literally stare death in the face countless number of times and their survival at the end is nothing more than a fluke. So, after undergoing such a hellish experience, would there be anything left to fear? It would therefore be left to the imagination of each of us what these young exiles are capable of doing when they are convinced of the need to act!

      Thank you.

  • abdulworld

    Hello Yohannes,
    I have one criticism of your article.
    That is the word Youth. I think the way the EPLF, etc. other organization
    are using it basically anyone that is not part of elders.

    It is language used to prevent the “Passing of Baton”

    By classifying someone 39 as “Youth” that is guarantee he or she will not be leader.

    There is something Orwellian about this…

    For example, here is age of some Prime Ministers:
    Sebastian Kurz, 31 Austria
    Emmanuel Macron, 39 France
    Jacinda Ardern, 37 New Zealand
    Abiy Ahmed, 41 Ethiopia
    If you even get rid Issias Afeworki and political culture is still present- all they above people would not be considered for President of Eritrea since they would be called “Youth”?

    I believe we should try to stick to UN view on “Youth”

    “The UN, for statistical consistency across regions, defines ‘youth’, as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions by Member States. All UN statistics on youth are based on this definition, as illustrated by the annual yearbooks of statistics published by the United Nations system on demography, education, employment and health.”

    All the Eritrean born after Independence or around Independence can be called

    “Civil Eritrea” Generation or New Generation or something else.

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Hello abdulworld,

      Thank you for your comment and I am sorry if my inadvertent poor choice of words had led to misunderstandings on meanings and intentions. The principal focus of the entire article is the sector of our population whose members were not old enough to have participated in the war for liberation. As in every other similar case, such a classification is, by its very nature, bound to be arbitrary. But in an attempt to avoid ambiguities and for the purpose of expounding my ideas in the article, I explicitly defined “young generation” to essentially comprise the under-40 age group of our society.

      I then proceeded, perhaps inappropriately, to use the terms “youth” and “young generation” interchangeably. If that indeed is the case, I offer my apology. But, I want to assure you that the use of the word “youth” in the article carries none of the meanings and sentiments you alluded to in your comment.

      Thank you

  • abdulworld

    Hello Yohannes,
    I have to give you credit- you have just pointed out the elephant in the room. You have pointed or focused the discussion on topic that is relevant-future of Eritrea from the perspective of the Eritrean that will live it. This is should be manifesto for Eritrean of Future.

    In the words of Peter Tosh “Forward ever backward never”

    I have asked myself why do Eritrea’s problems or challenge seem so surreal or have out-of-world quality. From the perspective of most of part of world- the current situation in Eritrea doesn’t resemble anything but situations from 60s/70s and maybe 80s.
    I know people might say North Korea but North Korea got Superpower knocking on its door and NK has its structure for nearly 70 years.

    The reality is Eritrea wound or predicament is self-induced. The leadership and its opposition are stuck and frozen in time in the same way the Art Deco Italian architecture that populates the Asmara. Unlike the beautiful Italian Eritrea’s leadership and its opposition is stuck battlefield mentality that defined it. That is why indefinite national service has been normalized. That is why non-political community centers are non-exist in diaspora. If culture determines your value and your value determines your behavior… what is culture that has produced this situation.

    My hypothesis is that modern Eritrean culture has two defining rivers- Medea culture of 30 years and Eritrea’s feudal past. As much as Italian presence was in terms of culture it is minimal- I think we mimic certain things Italian but didn’t incorporate or borrow anything of cultural significance. Our relation to Italian culture is more of papagallo which Italian for parrot.

    So, why doesn’t “passing-the-baton” outlook attitude exist in Eritrea society or its diaspora community?

    1. Battlefield culture is never about passing the torch or baton. There is democratic process or switching of leadership. Leadership replacement due to bad performance is unheard of. Medea culture is not about meritocracy. It is about survival, loyalty and maintain struggle.
    This is why some Eritrean in diaspora fully knowing Eritrean government policies are horrendous and causing destruction can’t even be critical of policy if not government.

    That is why also in diaspora you see the same set of characters “playing leadership” roles but no asks about their qualification. The most of educated and skilled and knowledgeable component of Eritrean community are never brought into leadership roles. There is never any discussion about what works and what doesn’t work? What have we achieved as a community?

    In America, every successful ethnic community has a viable community center where knowledge and experience and business networks are developed to uplift all members of community. The Eritrean born or raised in diaspora hardly experience that sort of environment. It is also in the community centers that elders pass the baton.
    So, the baton is not passed in diaspora either.

    It also the community center that best for helping refugee in collective and organized way to make them feel welcome and help them most of their talent and skills in new country.

    But the second river of Eritrean culture also kicks in here… its feudal past- the elders who are wise but generally don’t real understand mechanics of new country but the feudal past says the elder always knows best and decision and power is regulated to them.

    This disease of lack of practical knowledge and effectiveness is also duplicated in Eritrea where you have battlefield generation with no genuine skills for civil society are making all decisions. Instead of 5 year plans or 10 year vision, it is close your eyes.

    You can also look at Opposition what has it achieved? What its policies were effective and what ones were not? How do it overcome the challenges? Is it passing the baton? Most likely not.

    Based on these two cultural rivers: Feudal Past(think Mugabe) and Medea culture the hard reality is that Baton will not passed.

    Accept the reality that you are present and future.

    You can never win race running backward.

  • blink

    Dear Yohannes
    Eritreans in the diaspora are simply hard working people looking to break the chain , I have seen them and I am part of the flow . The opposition failed us because they are too busy looking at weyane pensioner generals guidance , they failed us because they are regionalists and ethic based , they failed us because we also failed to see their pain from 1980th up to now. Trust me most of them did not greet us when we were zooming in the streets of the west, while they were going on holiday with their kids we were slapped with many insults too (mainly the PFDJ guys do insulted us ) . I have seen it all .Now we are no more new to the west and most of us don’t need the opposition help , we did it thanks to technology and also the tightly held brotherly attitudes.

    The opposition said nothing about rashaida , they said nothing about our suffering. Infact most of them made a name by our suffering. At this time no one trust the opposition leadership even a slight chance they have already lost it . In the minds of the youth the opposition leadership doesn’t exist . You can find very few youngsters who are willing to listen to the 80th politics and most of them are aloof who run their mouth Wilde to insult of revolutionary war.

    Guess how many people visit Eritrea every year? Hundreds of thousands of them and this created a confusion that who is opposing what . Eritrea will not die as expected by some and it will not prosper under the dictator as expected and seen it but it will not lose hope to fringe views too. I highly recommend your articles , I mean all of them to be read by all the old above 60 because these guys do need to know that we are not at their xebel. Thanks for spending your time on this .

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Selam blink,

      Thank you for your comment.

      There can be no denying that the young are the hope of the future and must be allowed, in their time, to play their legitimate generational role. Those who try to stand in the way of this imperative will have no better fate than being pushed aside by the forces of progress.

      So, Eritrea’s young generation have to go ahead and do what they have got to do but without failing to take pride in their history and to pay respect and gratitude to those whose blood, sweat and tears went into making that proud history possible.

      Thank you

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Yohannes Zerai,

    Thank you very much.

    It was a nice time, for me to read the above article as usual. What an article man,nicely organized to the end!!!

    Regarding the young and its aim toward future Nation called Eritrea, you have contributed your part here very clearly. “Unique Experience of Eritrea’s Young Generation” now, this could be a book in itself really Yohannes Zerai,

    That was my aim, when I wrote my poem in Jebena page yesterday..

    ካብ ‘ታ “ሞታ እቲ ሙግታታ “:-
    ሞት ኣርክብዋ ኣብ’ዚ ከውታ:-
    ኮታ ኮታ !
    ኣይተርፍን እዩ ሞት- ሰላሓታ:-
    ኮታ ኮታ!!
    ከመይ ከትሰርር ብዘይ እቶም መንእሰያታ:-
    ንሶም እንድዮም ፍርያታ :-
    ** ዓቢ ሓይሎም – መቐረብታ::


    • Yohannes Zerai

      Dear Kokhob Selam,

      Glad to connect after a lengthy hiatus! Hope all is well.

      I thank you for your positive remarks about the article. As for your brief but high-powered rejoinder, well ……. what can I say except “Indeed, ከመይ ከትሰርር ብዘይ እቶም መንእሰያታ!” What a simple, but powerful statement that blends an affirmation of our nation’s present state and the prospect for its inevitable salvation.

      The forum is truly fortunate to have in you a person gifted with a unique ability to put complex ideas, feelings, emotions into beautifully crafted expressive words! I thank you for that.

    • Hope

      Holly Molly Kokhobay:
      Your TBI never did and never will,stop u from expressing your TO THE PONIT points and poems!

      What a Takented Veteran Rebel.


      Save all those jewel and golden” Tirghum hazel “poems and compile them into a book and ,as I promised u before,I will buy the first 100 of them,guaranteed!

      • Kokhob Selam

        Okay Sir,

        As you know me..I never take thing easy..and now you have some words here things will not go as you have imagined..

        TBI:-“Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a nondegenerative, noncongenital insult to the brain from an external mechanical force, possibly leading to permanent or temporary impairment of cognitive, physical, and psychosocial functions, with an associated diminished or altered state of consciousness.”

        Molly: “-Someone who buys or takes Molly now is probably ingesting dangerous synthetic drugs that have not been tested and are produced in widely varying strengths. ”

        Takented:- having talent or special ability; gifted.

        ” Tirghum hazel “ meaning full words

        Thank you hope you pass the exam..


  • Paulos

    Selam Yohannes Zerai,

    Many thanks for the well written article. Certainly, the question is rather desperate—What needs to be done? That is where we all got stuck and that is where we are. But if there is any hope in solving the magnitude of the complexity, you are contributing part of the solution forcefully and with clarity as you have laid it out in this and other outstanding series of articles as well. Again, thank you.

    If I could go on, I will run the risk of repeating what you just said and I wish I could comment on the possible solutions but I have none. Hope others chip in so that the thousand steps can start with a single step.

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Selam Paulos,

      I thank you for your comment and greatly appreciate the words of encouragement you offered. I agree with you that finding “the” solution to our nation’s problem(s) appears not to be an easy task to accomplish. For we know that “a” solution which is easy to figure out is, more than likely, not to be good enough to remove the problems we want to see solved!

      Let me share a couple of ideas that your comment kindled in me:

      1. I believe there is a dynamic (or a set of dynamics) involving the lives, actions, activities and going-ons of our young generation everywhere – inside Eritrea, at refugee camps in neighboring countries, in the far-flung offshore exiled communities – which have been continuously (though perhaps slowly) turning the wheels of change.

      Obviously, the intricacies of these dynamics do not lend themselves to easy analysis; neither have we been exerting the level of investigative effort needed to understand them and to assess the direction of the change they seem to be driving. But, they certainly are out there and they have been at work for so long that they may soon effect a major change that transforms the status quo, hence bring the solution to the nation’s current problems.

      2. If we are to make a transition from ‘beliefs’ to ’facts’, we would come to understand that “the road to finding a solution” must be cleared open if the agents of change are to perform effectively and bring the solution we seek. But we also know that the “road” is presently blocked (or at least cluttered) by activists, politicians, ideas and strategies that have been in operation for 40+ years, and who continue to insist on monopolizing the “road” and the “playing field” it leads to! You know, a forest cannot not flourish unless it is cleared of deadwood every now and then.

      Thank you

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Selam Paulos,

      I thank you for your comment and greatly appreciate the words of encouragement you offered. I agree with you that finding “the” solution to our nation’s problem(s) appears not to be an easy task to accomplish. For we know that “a” solution which is easy to figure out is, more than likely, not to be good enough to remove the problems we want to see solved!

      Let me share a couple of ideas that your comment kindled in me:

      1. I believe that there is a dynamic (or a set of dynamics) involving the lives, actions, activities and going-ons of our young generation everywhere – inside Eritrea, at refugee camps in neighboring countries, in the far-flung offshore exiled communities – which have been continuously (though perhaps slowly) turning the wheels of change.

      Obviously, the intricacies of these dynamics do not lend themselves to easy analysis; neither have we been exerting the level of investigative effort needed to understand them and to assess the direction of the change they seem to be driving. But, they certainly are out there and they have been in progress for so long that they may soon effect a major change that transforms the status quo, hence bring the solution to the nation’s current problems.

      2. If we are to make a transition from ‘beliefs’ to ’facts’, we would come to understand that “the road to finding a solution” must be cleared open if the agents of change are to perform effectively and bring the solution we seek. But we also know that the “road” is presently blocked (or at least cluttered) by activists, politicians, ideas and strategies that have been in operation for 40+ years, and who continue to insist on monopolizing the “road” and the “playing field” it leads to! You know, a forest cannot flourish unless it is cleared of deadwood every now and then.

      Thank you