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Eritrea’s Socio-Politics of Slash and Burn

Back in 1990, The New York Times had an opinion piece titled, “The Politics of Slash and Burn”. The gist of the article speaks to the beginning of down spiraling political discourse in the US where Republican candidates were encouraged to use words like ”Sick.” ”Traitors.” ”Bizarre.” ”Self-serving.” ”Shallow.” ”Corrupt.” ”Pathetic.” ”Shame” when describing their opponents. The architect was no other than Newt Gingrich who was the Republican’s Grand Old Party (GOP) chairman at the time. The tenet of his message was to “step up [the] invective.”

The opinion piece traces the politics of slash and burn to the 1988 presidential campaign that “Mr. Gingrich’s injunction represents the worst of American political discourse, which reached a low during the dispiriting Presidential campaign [where] negative argument displaced reasoned discussion about how a nation might best be governed. The sound bite reigned. Attack commercials flourished…Negative discourse serves democracy poorly. The temptation to avoid serious debate is already great. It increases as the stakes soar and slander becomes a rewarding easy option…There must be limits to the negative politics that voters will bear; the bald appeal to invective will certainly probe those limits.NY Times.

Thirty years later, the culmination of this sort of political discourse was on display for the world to see in the mockery that the US political discourse has descended as the first debate between Trump and Biden on the 29th of September 2020 was an attestation. With this background in mind enter Eritrea’s socio-political discourse.

The social media is abuzz with Eritrean individuals colonizing its space dominating the narrative of slash and burn. Attempting to keep track of the deluge will be an exercise in futility as it would be more than a fulltime job to thoroughly address it. There appears to be no rhyme or reason to the many messages that one can hear when these hosts offer their daily dosage of venom. Majority of their time is spent belittling other Eritreans who are in their camp fighting the regime in Eritrea. Somewhere down the line, in the process of our attempt to fight against the menace in the homeland, our objective of fighting appears to have been lost and we are fighting one another instead. Who is doing this is not as important as why we are doing it to ourselves.

Akin to the GOP’s approach, one thing that continues to remain constant in Eritrea’s political discourse is the legacy of EPLF-turned-PFDJ approach to the propaganda machination that churns and hurls its insults incessantly when it sees individuals challenging its authority. Today, hurling epithets with those whose ideas we disagree with has become the norm. The self-appointed social media hosts abound, there are some that stand out because they use words that one can’t even say in private let alone in public. It has descended so low it is not nauseating but crushing to the spirit and soul of Eritrea’s heritage. Ironically, these self-appointed hosts speak glowingly about Eritrean tradition, cultural heritage, history as the common refrain can be summed up by the Tirginya term ክብርታትና that they are fond of using as though what they are spewing daily isn’t an antithesis to the very values they claim to hold gloriously.

Back in July of 2007 two part articles I had written speaks to “[t]he slash and burn, the political savagery, the character assassinations of individuals who stray out of the political norm, that norm as dictated by the EPLF in the past and PFDJ of today, continues undiminished. Mengisteab Yisaq and …Petros Yohannes were just that: the political black sheep of that era as much as G-15 members and thousands of others are of today’s Eritrea.”

Enter Jstudio’s Yellow Journalism 

The culmination of such innuendos, red herring and ad hominem attacks has monumentally increased in intensity. The sociopolitical discourse in Eritrean context today appears to follow what was framed by the EPLF/PFDJ for those in opposition and supporters alike. The most notorious one in this that illustrates the use of yellow journalism is Jstudio. The narration is compelling as it tries to make it appear that it uses rigor when all it does is use hearsay to attack not the actions of individuals it is targeting but family members, relatives, next of kin are a fair game for the relentless and evidence-less dispatch. Never do they cite their source. They simply say they have documents. The problem with this kind of yellow journalism is that the more one watches it the more monetarily these entities are rewarded for it and the more outrageous their show-and-tell becomes. One can find out how much money these types of shows are drawing by going to this link.

The vitriol in this particular case is beyond compare. Much as the American political discourse has reached its feverish pitch today with the man in the White House leading the pack where there is no limit to his unhinges. Similarly,  Jstudio’s show goes on a monologue binge consistently and insistently, it uses colorful language to defame individuals with such callousness that it is hard to believe the show has followers. But such is the level of deterioration Eritrean social media has reached.

Enter Weini Suleiman’s Interview Style

Hope, however, is not lost when one comes across Eritrean professional journalists who elevate the discourse because of their ability to draw the best out of the people they interview. One such individual is worth mentioning for illustration. When Saleh “Gadi” Johar was awarded Eritrea’s PEN* this year, he was interviewed by Weini Suleiman. What a marvelous interview! I have watched this young woman previously interviewing others. One that stands out is an interview she did with an artist, Fitsum Beraki**, about three years ago. In fact, memory has served me right, I unearthed some of the comments I made about this magnetic journalist. “Weini is proving to be, in my estimate, our Eritrean Terry Gross, whom I try to listen to on NPR’s Fresh Air whenever time permits it. Weini is a gripping interviewer.

She has this knack for letting people open up to her…this was one of those rare moments when I found myself watching a lifetime tribute being paid to the legend Smokey Robinson by the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize***, the highest honor any artist can be bestowed upon. I didn’t realize how much of my music consumption was informed by Smokey’s music of the eighties when my Eritrean American identity was being formed in the U.S. and he was part of that evolution. I knew almost every song of Smokey Robinson, which was sung by various artists during last night’s gala. I was awestruck by the amount of energy, time, and effort that was put in place to appreciate the work of art of one individual in a nation. Our soul has been robbed in Eritrea because there is no yearly artistic endeavor, we can make a journey towards that is worth its salt.

The binge watching was meant to continue unabated, which brought me to this young Eritrean woman who appears to hail from Germany. I tried to watch the first clip where Weini Suleiman interviews this Eritrean artist. The interview with Maebel (I didn’t finish) and went on to a second one (no guest, she simply challenges her viewers about their patriarchal assumptions that forces them to insult whenever Eritrean females are in any public forums). I would’ve had a ton of things to share with the host on this, but it was one month too late – the show aired about a month ago.

“As a viewer I can see the host was trying her level best to get him to open up, one can see Fitsum is resisting it through his demeanor, the way he was being fidgety, the way he was sitting, the way his fingers were making nervous movements, all riveted me. As it turned out Fitsum Beraki** knew a lot of the Eritreans who perished in the Lampedusa tragedy. He slowly opens up, but you can see the pain on his face, in his demeanor, and in his voice. He talks about how art is suffering among Diaspora Eritreans where there is no concerted effort being made to organize the artists into some tent where they can share their artwork.”

One crucial area that requires concerted effort is to have a space where artists can collaborate and become part and parcel of that whole movement in the opposition. We all know the crucial role music played in the struggle for independence. The deprivation of art in Eritrean context has a negative impact on our spirit and soul – And music is part of what sustains it. And we are getting very little of it.

*Weini Suleiman interview with Saleh G. Johar 
**Weini Suleiman interview with Fitsum Beraki
***Link to Smokey Robinson’s Tribute

Related Reading:
1- Tribute to A Fallen Hero that No One Wishes to Remember
2- EFLNA/ENASA(Mengisteab Yisaq, Petros Yohannes) & EPLF

About Beyan Negash

Activist, a writer and I am a doctoral candidate (ABD) in Language, Literacy, and Culture at New Mexico State University (NMSU). I hold a bachelor of arts in English and a master of arts in TESOL from NMSU as well as a bachelor of arts in Anthropology from UCLA. My research interests are on colonial discourse and post-colonial theories and their hegemonic impact on patriarchy, cultural identity, literacy development, language acquisition as well as curriculum & citizenship. The geopolitics of the Horn of Africa interests me greatly. My writings tend to focus on Eritrea and Ethiopia. I have been writing opinion pieces at awate.com since its inception (1 September 2001).

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መሰል ንኽትሓትት ነጢፍካ ግቡእ ንምትግባር…

(እዚ ጽሑፍ ዕላማኡ ንኣስተንትኖ’ዩ’ሞ መዓዲ፡ ገሳጺ፡ ምናልባት’ውን ከም ገለ ክብል መሃሪ እንተ መሲሉ ሰኣን ኣኻእሎ …

  • bmi1

    Eritrea had the second highest prevalence of slavery in the world as of 2018 (following North Korea). Global Slavery Index.
    139,281 — Documented Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers in Ethiopia as of December 31, 2019. Of that number, 70,129 were new arrivals, and 15.4% were unaccompanied children. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
    6,000 — Average monthly refugee flow from Eritrea to Ethiopia, 2019. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
    3,092 — Unaccompanied Eritrean children arriving in Italy in 2015. United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea.
    1,000 — Unaccompanied Eritrean children smuggled from Catania, Sicily by criminal organizations (whether consensually for onward migration to northern Europe, or for unknown and more dangerous fates) between 2013 and July 2016. The Guardian, quoting a local Eritrean cultural mediator.

  • AbaKeysi

    Dear writer,
    Your article is clearly religiously biased. I am sorry to notice that.
    One would never dare to compare a young intelligent and extremely energetic man to a politically dormant fancy-looking-wana-be young self aggrandizing woman.

  • Dongolo

    Selam all. Very ‘Limited’ political prisoner release now under discussion. ‘Bail’ stipulations not yet ironed out. Fingers crossed.

  • Dongolo

    Selam Beyan Negash. With all due respect, in the case of the Eritrean opposition which has and continues in large part to support/receive support from the TPLF and to also ridiculously supports groups such as RSADO (created/organized by TPLF) and Eritrean Islamic Jihad and derivatives (a splinter of ELF) which was even fighting Eritrean Defense forces back in 1994-1997, what do you expect other than Slash & Burn fomented anger? There simply exists no all-embracing consolidated alternative to the regime in Eritrea, meaning that change from outside simply will not transpire during the lifespan of PIA and that hope only exists for meaningful reform from within.

    • Haile S.

      Selam Dongolo,

      You are confusing ዶንጎሎ ላዕላይ and ዶንጎሎ ታሕታት. The subject you are talking about and the one Beyan talked are at different levels.

      • Dongolo

        Selam Haile S. Yes, different levels, but in the end, one in the same. Here, Slash & Burn seems to run parallel with the TPLF stratagem in terms of relentless attack on PMAA, religious – lowlander vs Highlander divide and pursuit of ridiculous conspiracy theories.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Selam Beyan
    Thanks for such much needed critiques. The social media has created challenges to the traditional journalistic media where established ethical standards would constrain its behaviors. Nowadays, pseudo journalism proliferated the internet, feeding on the bonanza are virtual societies addicted to “breaking news” and vitriolic diatribes.

    Though not to your level, two days ago, I put a similar observation on my Facebook. True, the Internet has democratized the dissemination of ideas. However, it also harmed the quality of information transmitted, particularly among naive minds.
    Thanks again.

    • Beyan

      merHaba Mahmud,

      How wonderful to see the old timers – ferocious debaters like you – are sticking around. True to any form, any advents in any society bring with them some unintended consequences. The information is no different. The social media is wreaking havoc on so many levels to the society at large as well as the political environment the world over. Eritreans are no exception. For the undue time it was consuming me, I deactivated my FB and any other social media outlets over two years ago now. How about sharing it in this space since it’s relevant to the subject matter at hand.

      Again, it is really wonderful to see you in this space, my friend.

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Dr. Beyan,

        Yes, all is bright sky those days..I want to see Amanuel too..Hopefully he will come too …Yes no single man with those principles will remain and we will see all joining us..Like that Queen Hayat and all will come and we will have all connection of our old participants soon..

        I always remember you and our email conversations..Thank you for remembering our old days. This awate, site is always like that..No one finds
        way out once you start participating…It is nice to be in this play ground and make things clear till one convinced of political lines…

        KS,,

        • Beyan

          Dearest KS,
          Forums like this one have their ebbs and flows as to when people come and go as they please. Who could forget the many fantastic thinkers who have used this revolving virtual door to stimulate their brain with other fellow f’orumers’ from all walks of life. If I start listing names, it will be pages and pages of it. Suffice it to say that it never fails to enrich. The ebbing of now days is only a hiccup that will go away once we all drink some cold water, collect our heels and begin to focus on issues that matter, not personalities. Focusing on personalities got the country in the state that it’s in. Focusing on ideas will enrich us all.

          Thank you KS for reminding us of the conversations we’ve had in the years past. Glad to see you are doing well, my friend.

      • Ismail AA

        Selam Dr. Beyan, (thank you Mahmoud for informing us that ABD title has been replaced),
        I join you and Haile, and I am certain many also do, for having debater like Mahmoud. This forum deserves to have them. Let us hope other worthy contributors will follow. Diversity of views makes the forum healthy and rich, and dilute raw and rough posts by some who come here to promote specific purposes on behalf of regimes.

    • Haile S.

      Selamat Mahmoud,

      I agree with Beyan. Please bring it here so that we the facebookless can read it. I tried to google it to no avail. Is every Egyptian and Libanese named Mahmoud Saleh? I didn’t see one Eritrean on this FB. I even tried your recent hidout without success. What did you say in your article to not be posted this time? It is always a pleasure reading you.

      • Abi

        መምህር
        መስከረም ሲጠባ አደይ ሲፈነዳ
        ከአበቦቹ መሃል ፈካች ፅጌረዳ
        ደማቅ ፈገግታዋን ፀዳሏን ተላብሳ
        ከሆዴ ሰፈረች ሆና እንዳትረሳ::
        (ቴዎድሮስ ታደሰ )
        ሰውየው ዘፈን ይወዳል:: በመስከረም ዘፈን ላባብለው ብዬ ነው::

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Dear Beyan and Haile S, et al

        Here is the piece I mentioned and has been brought to you by specials requests from two special awatistas, Beyan and Haile S. BTW, Hailat, probably you misspelled my name on the FB search engine…:); try it as spelled here. The saying here was initially posted for Tigre exercise, then some people wanted to know why I chose it. That’s why I proceeded to expanding it. Of course I did not set out to write detailed piece the way Beyan did and, frankly, I would not be able to treat it the way Dr. Beyan did (congratulation brother for your achievement. Now, you are officially a PhD holder). So my piece was confined in scope and coverage.

        “ለለኣምረካ ሰኒ ቀብረካ” ዝብል ምስላ ትግረ፡ ቀጥታዊ ትርጉሙ ከምቲ ብዙሓት ወሃብቲ ርኢቶ ዝበልኩሞ፡ ” ዝፈልጠካስ ብጽቡቕ (ብስርዓት) ይቀብረካ” ማለት እዩ።
        እቲ መልእኽቲ ድማ፡ ዝፈልጠካ ሰብ (ዓርኪ፡ መቕርብ) ኣብ ሕማቕካን ጽቡቕካን ተራ ኣለዎ ከም ማለት ክኸውን ይኽእል። ወይ ድማ ኣብ ዝተወሰነ እዋን እትወስዶ ስጉምቲ፡ ወላ ጌጋ እንተመሰሎ ክሓተካን ከረደኣካን እምበር ዘሊሉ ኣብ ባዕላዊ መደምደምታታት ኣይከይድን፡ ጸለሎ ኣይቀብኣካን ከም ማለት እውን ክኸውን ይኽእል። ” ምናልባት ብጌጋ ደኣ ተረዲኤዮ ከይከውን፡ እዚስ ባህሩ ኣይኮነን፡ እስኪ ክዛረቦ ወይ ክሓቶ” እዩ ዝብል ዝፈልጠካ ሰብ እምበር ናብ ጸርፍን ዘለፋን ምክፋእን ኣይኣቱን።
        ማሕበራዊ ሜድያታት ብዘይፋለጡ ሰባት ዝቖመ ንኣሽቱ ማሕበረ ሰባት ወይ ጉጅለታት ኣለዉዎ። ብስም ኣዕሩኽ (friends) ድማ ይተኣሳሰሩ። ዝበዝሑ ሰባት ካብዚ ጉጅለታት ወጻኢ ክሓስቡ የጸግሞም እዩ። እቲ ” ዜና” ይኹን ትንታነኡን እውን ካብቲ ኣብዚ ጉጅለታት share ተባሂሉ ዝኮማሳዕ ኣይወጽእን። ሕሉፍ ሓሊፉ፡ ንገሊኦም ምንጪ ሓበረታኦም ኮይኑ እዩ ዘገልግል።
        እዚ ዓይነት ምዝርጋሕ ወረን ምቅብባልን ድማ ናብ ቲፎዞነት የምርሕ። መሰረት ናይቲ ዝረአ ናህርታት ጭብጥታት ዘበጋገሶ ዘይኮነስ ንወገንካ ጸባ ክተሰቲ ዝግበር እዩ። ምንጩ ዘይተረጋገጸ ወይ ድማ ተቆንጪሉ ወይ ድማ ተተምዪኑ( doctored ኮይኑ) ዝቐረበ ወረ ከም ርጉጽ ተወሲዱ ሰባት ናብ መደምደምታ ይዓልቡ። ድሮ ድማ ናይ ቲፎዞነት ግንባራት ወይ ጋንታታት ምስ ካፖታተን መስሪቶም ስለዝጸንሑ ናብ ጸርፍታት ይጓየዩ።
        ኣብ ትምሳሌኣዊት ዓለም (virtual world) ንዝፈልጥዎ ሰብ፡ ብዛዕብኡ እኹል መጽናዕቲ ከይገበሩ ጸለሎ ክቐብእዎ ይረኣዩ። ንገዛእ ርእሶም ብድሕሪ መጋራጃ ቅጽል ኣስማት ተሓቢኦም ከም ዝጠመዩ ኣዛብእ ንሰባት ብደዎም ይመናጨቱሎም።
        “ለለኣምረካ ሰኒ ቀብረካ” ዝብል ምስላ ኣብ ከምዚ ኩነታት ዝመጸካ እዩ።

        • Haile S.

          Selamat Mahmud,

          Sorry for misspelling your name. Now I understand. With that spelling, the list was overwhelming 🙂

          In your short note you just defined what ክብርታት exactly means. ለለኣምረካ ሰኒ ቀብረካ, beautiful!

          Thanks a bunch. Merci mille fois (ፏ)

          • Abi

            መምህር
            ሰውየው ዘፈን ይወዳል አላልኩህም:: አንድ ዋጣ ተጫዋች ቢገኝ ከዚች ንቅንቅ አይልም ነበር::

        • Beyan

          Selam Mahmud,

          Thanks for availing the note in question. It gets to the heart of the matter. To the cause and effect. Unfortunately, there is this tendency of reaching a hasty conclusion. Assumptions, particularly erroneous assumptions, invariably lead to a wrong conclusion. This is our growing pains as we evolve toward developing our arguments in a logical and evidence based manner as opposed to relying on conjectures which leads us to a fallacy; relying on emotions instead of reasoning; taking an aberration as a rule instead of treating it as an exception, etc.

          Too, worth mentioning the way in which you developed the Tigrayit saying of “ለለኣምረካ ሰኒ ቀብረካ”. You gave a clear context, you gave real life examples, you reached to a conclusion. This kind of logically developing one’s ideas to its logical end is in short supply. But then again, the leveling of the plane field that social media is playing a role in has its own countervailing effect. People lacking the capacity to reason resort to insults, innuendos, red herring. In some cases, it is out of frustration, but in other cases it is deliberately done to sow a discord so that confusion reigns supreme. In the midst of it all, the subject matter becomes the casualty resulting in the maiming of the potential discourse, ostensibly ending in the virtual archival dustbin, in to the oblivion.

        • Consolation

          Selam Mahmud Saleh,

          I did not hear the message that dropped you from grace in some quarters and elevated you to sainthood in others. There was talk that you had made a u-turn by those who heard it. They were in a depressed state and so may have heard more than was there. But there was no doubt over here that you had jumped into the sinking ship. Since this supposed u-turn came at a time when Mesfin Hagos was making the pathetic pronouncements that Isaias is the worse enemy of Eritrea than the TPLF and that he had entered into a contract with the thugs to invade Eritrea, and since you posted your audio message at meskerem-net when the web-site was daily issuing bizzare pro-TPLF statements, wasn’t it natural to conclude that you had had been infected by that particular bug of insanity? It is for you, of course, to reveal if you have joined the Mesfin Hagos project and if so explain why and tell us what it is all about.

  • Haile S.

    Selam Beyan,

    Your penetrating observation is a knock at our conscience, a wake up call from the weird laugher and clapper at the slush and burn we got used to since the early 90 pronounced by none other than the man at the helm and now echoed by many of those mushrooming and claiming to oppose him. Cry my ክብርታት & ወግዕታት:

    “… these self-appointed hosts speak glowingly about Eritrean tradition, cultural heritage, history as the common refrain can be summed up by the Tirginya term ክብርታትና that they are fond of using as though what they are spewing daily isn’t an antithesis to the very values they claim to hold gloriously…, says it all.

    Caparisoning oneself in traditional garment is not going to build ክብርታት & ወግዕታት and repeating them ad-libitum while the talented tongue underneath is ploughing them upside down. If using every instruments possible, an injustice for injustice and an eye for an eye, and at the wrong target at that, are the way for obtaining justice and to “re-establish” ክብርታት & ወግዕታት, then we will be doomed.

    Fortunately, we are not, as you said. Suffice to hop and zap, there are juicy pomegranates out there. Find them, open them and enjoy the juicy drop of dew with every bite on the seed. Weini Suleiman is one. Alas! she is becoming as uncommon as this fruit.
    Thank you Beyan, and you are also one!

    Unfortunately, we have to pay in one way or another, to watch not only our pleasure, but also our torment. The adage of double edged sword comes here. You probably was referring to this in your unfinished sentence that ends with ‘this link’.

    • Beyan

      Merhaba Haile,

      Your prolific input is always spot on. Many thanks for taking the time to address the two central tenets of my piece. Weini Suleiman and the dilemma of “ክብርታት & ወግዕታት”. The former is indeed a rare gem. As for the latter, it is hard to fathom how one can try to uphold two opposites as ethical principles is beyond me. Speaking of ክብርታት & ወግዕታት but in one’s actions one does the very thing that kills the spirit and the letter of such ክብርታት:: But such is the world in which we now live in. We see it daily in the White House, it can only go down hill from there. Hey, but it is what it is. We will eventually find our way.

  • Ismail AA

    Selam Beyan,

    Thank you for gracing us with something worthy of attention. Nowadays, this is increasingly lacking and we are more and more getting overwhelmed in the space of this forum by the very problem your excellent contribution addresses in its generality as it involves Eritrea’s current affairs’ landscape in the era of rampant social media information outlets. Trying to filter the worthy from the unworthy has become nightmarish. Have you noticed how the word “thug” has been over abused – an instance the condition in the USA people like Newt Gingrich had introduced in to publicity defamation lexicon?

    In my humble view, such developments appear on horizons of societal systems as symptoms of decadence. When social or political systems reach consummate apex and exhaust the reasons and factors that brought them to that level, the process of antithesis sets in. The sense of purpose and dream for forward looking ideals give way to stagnation and confusion. We can learn such processes from the history of the glory of empires, and in the post modern era from nation-states.

    Thus, what you have generously shared with us about the conditions of the USA since the past decades is, in my view, reflection of decline, if not decadence, of what the world had looked as a model of democracy whose core values rooted in justice and fairness under guarantees of personal liberties and freedom. The first time I became aware about existence of USA and what it was projected to had been then was during the presidency of JF Kennedy and his Peace Corps volunteer program. Since then the USA democracy and way of life was dream worth dreaming for many.

    But time went by, I grew and reached the time that showed me after all, the USA is also an empire whose glory does have its own age, and like powers that preceded it, it does not actually has immunity against decadence which we are witnessing. The most telling symptom is when public offices like presidency cannot be won and occupied without abundant money. Every federal office or state office is there for grabs by whoever can raise more so called election funds. George W. Bush did it, Obama (thanks for the social media) did it and Mr. Trump also did – and might do it again, too. Unfortunately, it is real symptom of decline, and that also reflect on peoples and societies that have been celebrating America as role model.

    Our own, with the social and cultural advancement levels we have, and other peoples that are in similar conditions, cannot be imagined to be other that what the social media projects and this article (Beyan) is out to warn us.
    Thank you brother Beyan.

    • Beyan

      Selam Haw Ismail,

      I feel so honored when I see your name under the comment section. I have come to make it a habit to anticipate the elevation of my article as your take as always original. This one is no exception. Thank you for that.

      The down spiraling of our dialogue into a shouting match has become increasingly unbearable. Individuals are staying away from sharing their ideas because, invariably, the attack dogs are lurking beneath the virtual surface ready to come out and derail the subject matter. I know this because I receive private communications telling me whey they would rather share their ideas with me in a space where they wouldn’t have to go on a merry go round with certain individuals. I used to enjoy the forum more than the articles because any article is as good as the kind of dialogue it generates. But, we can’t let the attack dogs wreak havoc here. I spoke with SGJ about this very subject las evening. He is not only aware but is trying to find a solution for it. We have had some give and take. But the man is juggling so many things, among other things, his weekly Negarit, which has been a staple for us to consume, is out now. Looking forward to watching it shortly. I know if he puts his mind to something he delivers. Don’t lose hope brother Ismail. Help is in the way.

      • Ismail AA

        Dear Beyan,

        Thank you. Actually, the issue is about the decency and civility that accompanies what one writes in this forum; it is not about who writes what. The irritating part of the game is when a few individuals stay in an ambush to shift debates on substantial matter people grace this space with by raining the forum with side issues that have no relation or meaning at all with what the writes post. By the way, we all share the plight the moderator endures to strike balance, and has been doing his level best to educate and guide those individuals. But taming persons who come here for a purpose, like some regime loyalist and some Ethiopian brothers with outdated grudges, has become a nightmare of sort to the moderator. Even some germane tactics he has used are not really working

  • Brhan

    Merhaba Dr. Beyan,

    Thank you for the article. It has helped me to bring issues that I parked for a while. Spare with me to list them this way:

    1. The Eritrean Slush and Burn aspect is what in Arabic is called سلاح ذوحدين i.e. two ways, it is not only from the regmie side but some oppostion groups/ activist also use it to attack the regime or its reps. The best example is the IA Tigrayan background noise. The opposition might started it as a reaction. But in the regime side it is systematic, severe and widely used.

    2. I did not see in your artice suggestion or solutions. Such as using local defamation laws to make person who slush and burn against another person, accountable. Also the use of petitions and reporting to social media

    3. Last but not least what is been done to stop slush and burn in the US? Particularly, to ban social media to be its platform? FB is now facing a lot of issues about its role and I think changes are inevitable and may limit or eradicate the aspect.

    Thanks

    • Beyan

      Selam Brhan,

      Glad the article triggered several points that you have had it “parked for a while”. The first one is a good example how we borrow the regime’s framing of the conversation as we use it on each other. I thought it would be redundant to include it in this article since I had spoken about it in the interview I did with Gherense of Tempo Afric. The idea of shipping individuals across the border to Tigray when we disagree with them and keep them in Eritrea when we agree on the ideas that they advance is a classic case of slash and burn. As if being from Tigray is inherently bad.

      Number two is a good suggestion, however, for our purposes in diaspora it will have no teeth to bite because of lack of mechanism of enforcement. In the future of Eritrea, however, there would have to be a robust legal ground that one can use to seek a recourse on being defamed.

      Number three is work in progress that we can, one hopes, learn a thing or two that we can adopt in our daily interactions. There used to be some netiquette that one should adhere to during the inception of the Internet. Netiquette referring to the notion of having self control in the way we conduct ourselves when communicating in the cyberspace.

  • Abrehet Yosief

    Selam Beyan Negash,
    Thank you for highlighting Ms. Weini Sulieman. She is a great interviewer, and as you said a lot of her interviews give you hope and affirmation that our people are not quietly disappearing into oblivion. If you have time watch “Weini Sulieman presents #20; Mulugeta Tekle”. Mulugeta is a painter, when your ears get tired of all the nonsense, you can find some respite in his paintings.

    • Beyan

      Selam Abrehet,
      Many thanks for the suggestion you made on Ms. Weini’s one other interview that I can check out. I will certainly do that. Indeed, the power of art to have the kind of positive effect you stipulated above is on the mark. Another artist on whose art I had written at awate is that of Adonai. The latter would be another one on her list to interview.