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From Mutual Coexistence to Mutual Suspicion

From Mutual Coexistence to Mutual Suspicion: Perceptions, Realities and Confusions of the Eritrean Societies under EPLF/PFDJ Governance

There is no question that the Eritrean independence was the result of the disproportionately heavy price and ultimate sacrifices paid by its citizens. So much blood and tears had been shed and so many lives had been sacrificed in the quest for freedom, liberty, justice and democracy. On May 24, 2016, Eritrea will celebrate its Silver Jubilee of independence from Ethiopia. It has been 25 years since Eritrea has achieved its de facto independence under an EPLF leadership. The year 1991 was the end of the 30 years of war against foreign oppression but sadly the beginning of a long and excruciating domestic one. Thus, in power since independence, Isaias Afwerk, the self-declared President of Eritrea will also celebrate his own Silver Jubilee to mark twenty-five years on the throne (be it as the Secretary-General of the Provisional Government of Eritrea or as Eritrea’s President, he is the only leader Eritreans have known since independence). This piece however focuses on the socio-political and cultural transformation ensued in Eritrean societies under EPLF/PFDJ governance. In an effort to create an obedient society, the ruling party has reinforced transformation attempts with absolute determination to subordinate every aspect of human life to the upper echelon of the regime. A transformation aimed at a complete alteration of social life characterized by prohibition of all fundamental rights filled with political climate of fear, mutual distrust, strain and confusion among the population. The regime has practically tarnished the historical and political identity of the country, while making its subjects economically poorer, socially disintegrated, culturally disoriented and politically subdued.

How has EPLF/PFDJ Military Culture Impacted Eritrean Socio-cultural Life?

As much as it has been a history of sacrifice, determination, triumph and rise of nationalism, the history of EPLF has mostly been about glorification of their military strength and values and their fanatical commitment to their uncompromising political culture infested with excessive level of intolerance, cruelty and rigid attitudes. Under the command and control militaristic mentality, the notion of negotiations, politeness and respect have begun to be viewed as signs of weakness and replaced with arrogance, militaristic patriotism and muscular diplomacy. Although Eritreans were blinded by the joy of independence and captivated by EPLF’s military disciplines, they probably had sensed that the freedom fighters had their own rebellious subcultures alien to the Eritrean society. A sub-culture that Anthony Giddens describes as deviant subculture where the behavior, belief, norms and actions of a group within a society departs from traditional view of the majority people in a society.[1] Nevertheless, the fighters had entered the cohesive and harmonious society, bringing with them many toxic political and military cultures. The public however had great respect, trust and admiration for the EPLF fighters that they begun to imitate their behaviors. In short, EPLF had created a zone of anomie into the society where “normal social structures collapse and social functions and roles break down to the point where culturally-conditioned behaviors and customs are completely overturned.”[2]

In the name of cultural and social change, the forced imposition and extension of EPLF’s military values into the civilian sphere have undermined the practical foundation of the existing culture and way of thinking. Subsequently, it didn’t take the civilian population long to change the way they talked (ንዓበይቲ ካብ አንቱም ናብ አንታ emergence of disrespectful attitudes towards elders), the way they dressed, the way they treated others (ካብ ማሓሮ ናብ አጸጋዓዯ from merciful conflict resolution approaches to merciless killing) how they viewed and valued life and morality (ሬሳ አቐሚጥካ ምስዕሳዕ devaluation of abstention from festivities during mourning), how they valued education (ዘይተማህረ ኣየድሕን ዘይተወቅረ ኣየጥሕን ዝብል ልዙብ ኤርትራዊ ኣዘራርባ ብ ካብ ባዓል ባጀላ ባዓል ባዴላ ይሓይሽ ተተኪኡ the rise of anti-intellectual sentiments), how they viewed law (ካብ እቲ ልዙብን ርጡብን ናይ ዓደቦ ሕጊ፣ ናብ ግበር አይትግበር ወታሃደራዊ ሕጊ the traditional customary laws that determined the rights, roles and responsibilities of the members of societies were replaced with uncompromising military rules), how they viewed justice and fairness (ዘረባ ክልተ ከይሰማዕካ አይትፋረድ ዝነበረ ባህሊ ናብ ዘረባ ሐደ ሰሚዕካ ምኩምሳዕ፣ምውንጃልን፣ምፍራድ፣ምጽላምን ተቐይሩ criminalizing and passing judgments without hearing both sides of a story has become a common practice)etc.

The Lampedusa tragedy where a great portion of the Eritrean population were mourning the death of the 360 of their citizens in the Mediterranean Sea, while PFDJ supporters were dancing at concerts organized by the ruling regime is a typical example of how the ethical and moral standard of the society and value for life has been degraded under EPLF/PFDJ governance. Of course, the government’s failure to establish a comprehensive demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration programs for the EPLF fighters had laid a fertile ground for the Ghedli’s culture to flourish. Had the freedom fighters [ተጋደልቲ](Teghadelti) been placed in encampment facilities or in a “socially quarantined” locations where they could have been provided with counseling, orientation and re-socialization programs, it would have allowed them succeed in their transition from military to civilian life. It would probably have allowed them to successfully reintegrate into the society and practice socio-culturally and morally acceptable basic social rules. But a pre-discharge and post-discharge cultural orientation, psychosocial support and moral re-socialization hadn’t happened. Eritrea’s failure to do so has resulted in literal sociocide.

Most military demobilization and reintegration research indicates ”soldiers leaving the military to return to civilian life are relatively easily absorbed.”[3] It still puzzles my mind as to why and how 110,000[4] EPLF soldiers can infect and poison a great portion of the country. As opposed to them [Teghadelti] re-learning the mainstream’s cultures and values, the mainstream had converted into EPLF cult. Of course, people may have some untested theories, but the truth of the matter is that no research has been done as to which ethnic group or region has disproportionately been impacted or entirely lost its respected cultures to EPLF. It is, however, unfortunate to see that some people are now treating the EPLF culture as Eritrean culture; while others knowingly or unknowingly are promoting the very irresponsible and unaccountable political culture that the justice-seekers are fighting against. It took more than 40 years and intensive campaigns of these primitive Eritrean cultures must be dismantled (እዚ ዱሑር ባህሊ ክጠፍእ ኣለዎ) for EPLF/PFDJ elites to bring the Eritrean society down to its knees. Now, individuals who are products of EPLF are making blatant claims that the Eritrean cultures are homogeneously bad enough to warrant its deconstruction in order to reconstruct it afresh. The past few years have witnessed the emergence of another deviant subgroup that rejects the purpose of Ghedli, Tegadelti and the Eritrean cultures collectively. There has been a growing public discussions where a group of people have thoughtlessly been acting as better-equipped and knowledgeable than the Eritrean society to a point of proposing the deconstruction of the society “እዚ ህዝቢ እዚ ፈንጢሕካ ክዕረ ኣለዎ.” It is EPLF’s old wine in a new bottle. Apparently, the EPLF’s disdainful political culture led these group of people believe that they have the know-how to deconstruct and reconstruct a society.

It is worth noting that the Eritrean population is not a monolithic. The country has nine conventional ethnic groups each with different culture, language, level of hospitality and political freedom; and one unconventional “ethnic group” relatively new to Eritrean society. Figuratively speaking, the tenth ethnic group being the “EPLF ethnic group” that has recently been portrayed as a representative of the Eritrean society. With that being said, regardless of their cultural and linguistic differences, the nine ethnic groups have coexisted in harmony, respect and understanding for generations. Be that as it may, with the creation of Ghedli and arrival of Teghadelti in 1991, there is no question that the Eritrean cultures and way of thinking have been influenced tremendously. The EPLF elites had looked down upon Eritrean traditions and treated it as backward cultures that needed to be changed. Of course, Awet NiHafash()(ዓወት ንሓፋሽ)(victory to the masses) was EPLF’s slogan largely used for public mobilization, but Gebar Dembar(ገባር ደምባር)(the confused/blind civilian(s)) was equally descriptive phrase commonly used by EPLF fighters to denote their contempt for the civilian population and their way of life. It goes without saying that Eritrean cultures are not perfect but they are open for organic and compatible changes as no culture is permanent. The question is which part of the cultures did EPLF want to change? Why? What did EPLF want to change the cultures toward? What were the alternatives? Where is the origin of the “better” cultures? How were they better? Better by whose measurement? How did EPLF go about changing the “bad cultures?”

The bottom-line is that the changes were not arisen from public participations or dialogues. The Eritrean public never had a chance to participate, discuss or choose how they want to live their lives. EPLF had imposed the supposedly “better” culture on the Eritrean public. Hence, they have attempted to replace the “backward” cultures with militaristic, aggressive, rootless and superficial cultures that are largely alien to the mainstream societies. To some extent, they have achieved it. At least they have created a tremendous confusions, social disorder and chaos. For instance, in the name of socio-economic, political and gender equality, EPLF has introduced a superficial emancipation of women where external appearances and militaristic behaviors (ሓጺር ስረ፣ሓጺር ጮግሪ፣ሓጺር ስጉምቲ ምውሳድ ከም ማዓርነት ተቆጺሩ) were viewed as signs of gender equality. The replacement of feminine identity with artificially constructed roles and images of women had led to tragic societal crisis that made reintegration of the ex-combatant women into civilian life an extraordinarily difficult process.[5] The perception of gender equality was nothing more than physical and behavioral resemblance of women to aggressive military men, which had generated tremendous role-confusions.

It is true that the struggle for independence had given women warriors a relative liberty, equality, sexual freedom and the opportunity to break free from traditional barriers but only to put them into  “militarized island” isolated from the very population they were trying to enlighten, emancipate and liberate. Therefore, the physical, social, cultural and spatial isolation of the EPLF members from the mainstream societies had created obstinate relationships between the radically transformed female warriors and traditionally conservative societies. The incompatibility of EPLF’s superficial values with the mainstream had eventually led to divorces, family breakups, frustrations and confusions.

Furthermore, the Eritrean societies and regions rich with traditional customary laws, Bayo Adis and traditional conflict resolution techniques to resolve minor and major individual and community problems were transformed into a rather collectively obedient society who can accept the unacceptable and abnormal EPLF’s practices. Transformed from the notion of individual responsibility and accountability to collective punishment (ካብ ውልቀ ሰባት ኣላሊኻ ብወንጀል ምሕታት ብጥሙር ጉጅለ ናብ ወንጀል ምኽታት). Consequently, in their effort to promote and implement their collective punishment strategy, EPLF/PFDJ had introduced collective labels where one person’s mistake can easily paint an entire group of categories leading to collective insecurity (እዚኦም መታሕት፣እዚኦም ኣከለጉዛይ፣እንዳ  ዓብደላ፣ ሓሚሻይ መስርዕ፣መንካዕ፣ የሚን) etc.

Sadly, the new generation has also inherited this poisonous political culture and begun repeating the same dysfunctional and destructive cycle (ተጋደልቲ  ሕዝባዊ  ግንባር ሸፋቱ እዮም፣ እንዳ መስፊን ሓጎስ ተደናገጽቲ ህግደፍ እዮም፣ ደቂ ሓማሴን ደገፍቲ ህግደፍ እዮም EPLF fighters were outlaws; Mesfin Hagos’s group (EPDP) are PFDJ sympathizers; the people of Hamassien are PFDJ supporters, etc). Subsequently, for alleged crimes committed by Mesfin Hagos, the entire EPDP members are implicated; never mind the fundamental legal premise of innocent until proven guilty, because in EPLF’s/PFDJ’s political culture, the targets are often treated as guilty until proven innocent. Then they will be either killed or ostracized from communities before they can even get a chance to prove their innocence). In the same manner, the people of Hamasien have been incriminated for crimes committed by Isaias and/or Wuchu; the 110,000 EPLF soldiers have been put under the category of Shefatu for the crimes the EPLF leaders have potentially committed etc. With regards to Mesfin Hagos, former PFDJ Defense Minister who had defected the regime more than a decade ago has been receiving tremendous hostility and personal attacks from the opposition camps for his previous affiliation with Isaias Afwerki. Like that of PFDJ’s practice, many of the opposition camps have also proven him “guilty” before he had a chance to the court of law. The growing mode of intolerance, character assassination, arbitrary judgment and antagonistic attitudes are EPLF/PFDJ political trademarks, which have been adopted by many of the opposition camps. This however says a lot about the status of the opposition camps than his alleged criminal involvement in the pre and post-independence era. If the anti-PFDJ camps are not able to accommodate and protect a former senior official who sought asylum in the opposition camp, may be they are not prepared to handle the complex, delicate and volatile situation that will be awaiting in post-PFDJ transitional period.

On the other hand, the collective branding of Teghadelti as bandits (ሸፋቱ) and effort to delegitimize the cause of the struggle for independence as worthless cause (ቃልሲ ሸፋቱ) is not new. It actually came straight from Derg’s playbook-bandits “ዎንበዴዎች” with ultimate goal to sell Eritrea to Arabs “ኤርትራን ለ ኣረብ ኣገር ለመሸጥ.” If the Ghedli bashing tactic is driven by the desire to revisit the Unionist Movement mantra of “ኢትዮጵያ ወይ ሞት”(Ethiopia or death) or reiteration of the Derg version of it “አብዮታዊት እናት ኣገራችን ወይ ሞት” (Revolutionary Motherland or Death), no need to camouflage. Otherwise, no political solution can ever be achieved out of vilification of those who died or the veterans who suffered for Eritrea’s cause in all wars.

It’s understandable that the 25 years of oppression and cruelty under former EPLF leaders (now PFDJ leaders) have produced seeds of discontent and resentment against Teghadelti that led people doubt the purposes of Ghedli and the motives of the EPLF leaders in question. This is largely because the former revolutionary leaders lack of compassion for humanity and absolute disregards for constitutional and legal jurisprudence has tainted the legacy of Ghedli and Teghadelti. Moreover, the leaders of the revolution have also created social stratification system that provided disproportionate political and economic privileges to the fighters, which subsequently led to us vs them group categorization. While many of the fighters were able to amass socio-economic and political powers, the civilian population (including the national service personnel aka Warsay) have remained at the bottom of the strata. Therefore, the unequal distribution of economic and occupational opportunities, exclusion of the civilian populations from political and legal powers coupled with the betrayal of trust and decades of public grievances has led to a resultant emergence of vilification, disdain and hatred towards Teghadelti. Although the aforementioned illegitimate and unacceptable practices have undermined PFDJ’s political and moral legitimacy to govern, hate speeches against all Teghadelti and labelling the entire struggle as Shiftinet (banditry) and the sacrifice of the 65,000 as Shefatu’s death is nothing more than injudicious. Regardless whether one believes in the cause of their death or not, giving yourself up for your national aspirations in and of itself is very respectful. That said, care must be taken that respect should not be misconstrued as glorifying the fallen soldiers.

Be that as it may, this is not to imply that Eritrean martyrs have been respected under PFDJ rule. It doesn’t take a tax-free car (ነጻ ቐረጽ መኪና) or ownership of a house built with free labour (ብነጻ ጉልበት ኣገልግሎት ዚተሰርሔ ህንጻ) to respect the martyrs. All it takes is to show some compassion and material support to their orphaned children, parents and spouses. Hitherto, they have received neither compassion nor material support from PFDJ. In response to a question from the public that martyrs’ families have been neglected, Isaias once said, “ሰንበት ሰንበት ዲና በጊዕ ክንሓርደሎም” (we cannot slaughter a sheep for them every Sunday). As if a sheep is too much for the families whose children had given their lives in the struggle for liberation and national defence. Therefore, PFDJ had proven itself to care neither about the living nor the dead. Thus, PFDJ’s ultimate disregards for the wellbeing of martyrs’ families and the cause they have fallen for has significantly degraded Eritrea’s patriotism and identity, which was largely based on sacrifices.

Deconstructing Eritrea: the Erosion of National Patriotism, Historical and Political Identity?

While those who died for independence have been forgotten, the population has been deprived of all the fundamental rights their children have fallen for, and many of those who had sacrificed 30 years of their lives are rotting in prison without due process of law. Thus, in the eye of the new generation, the notion of “ሓርበኛ ኣይነብርን እዩ ታሪኹ እዩ ዝውረስ” (a hero doesn’t live forever but his name lives in history) has become an empty slogan and the genuine willingness to die for Eritrea “ኩለንትናይ ንሃገረይ” (I shall dedicate my life and possessions to my country) has been replaced with a two-percenter patriotism (a diaspora community who pay a two-per cent income tax to the Eritrean government and receive all the fundamental rights and privileges that are not available to the local population). To that end, migration has become a new Eritrean national symbol and identity that everyone wants to be part of. An identity built between a strong desire to flee Eritrea and a dream of return to Eritrea as free and respected citizens.[6] This is mainly because the two-percenters are highly celebrated right-bearers, while the national service personnel and civilian population at home are subject citizens who live at the mercy of the state. The two-percenters can freely travel within and without the country and “enjoy themselves in ways that most Eritreans [within Eritrea] could not.”[7] Unlike Eritreans in Eritrea, they can acquire land, buy houses and “they [are] not required to complete national service and [are] free of many of the restrictive policies that applied to Eritreans in Eritrea.”[8] Hence, everyone wanted to own this respected new identity. Consequently, many of the young Eritrean refugees join either the YPFDJ and/or PFDJ communities, largely not because they support the regime but because they wanted to own this respected, celebrated and “patriotic” new Eritrean identity. Therefore, the legacy of sacrifice and populist national identity that was born out of the struggle for independence didn’t even make it to the second generation.

PFDJ is known for its vengeful, unethical and morally bankrupt practices. For instance, in 2003, when Aster Yohannes (the wife of imprisoned veteran fighter and former Minister of Defence, Petros Solomon) returned from America to join her children, if Eritrea were then led by Nuguse, the legendary Eritrean outlaw, she would probably have had a better chance of seeing her children. However, her children were deprived of their God-given right to hug their mother or have access to her luggage for that matter. The children have been orphaned and the mother has been in prison ever since. This was/is part of PFDJ’s non-judicial and collective punishment practices where wives get imprisoned for their husbands’ political dissidence; children get imprisoned for their fathers’/mothers’ politically-oriented exile and parents get imprisoned and/or fined for their children’s military desertion. A valid argument can be made that PFDJ is different from EPLF but the collective punishment is the continuation of EPLF’s pre-independence deviant practices where peasants’ livestock among many others things were confiscated for failing to surrender their children to EPLF. Although most of the founding leaders of EPLF are in prison or died in prison, there is no evidence to suggest that PFDJ has departed from EPLF’s core values and modus operandi. No sensible, lawful, ethical and responsible government does this to its citizens. The Naizghi Kiflu saga where the body was refused a dignified burial in Eritrea just because he didn’t impress Isaias before his death is also a case in point. Hence, Shefatu would be quite a compliment to PFDJ leaders. However, we know for a fact that the Eritrean martyrs have paid their lives for Eritrea’s independence and in defence of Eritrea. Unfortunately, the population has been overpowered and disintegrated by a small group of former EPLF elites who want nothing more than power. Consequently, the powerlessness of the living citizens has costed the entire population their dignity, freedom and liberty. So, from a justice-seeker perspective, demonizing the dead makes the pro-democracy groups look far weaker and hopeless. But it is also an insult to injury to those who had lost their loved ones. This is not only about honouring the dead but also respecting the living family members who have lost their loved ones and nevertheless have been neglected by the ruling regime.

In Eritrea, the last two decades have been the years of oppression, poverty, humiliation, torture, mass displacement, abuse and gross human rights violations with impunity.  Decades of hopelessness and confusions have indeed bruised Eritrean identity, pride, and vision. As they say ‘success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.’ Eritreanism has been transformed from an era of I am proud to be Eritrean (እንቓዕ ኤርትራዊ ኮንኩ) to I am ashamed to be Eritrean (ብ ኤርትራዊነተይ ሓፊረ). Now, as we say in Tigirgna, “ዝወደቐት ገረብ ምሳር ይበዝሓ”(a fallen tree will be hit by many axes) in times of Eritrea’s vulnerabilities, some people are knowingly/unknowingly trying to induce an element of guilt and self-doubt into the Eritrean psyche by spreading confusions around. In this section, I will focus on the following common phrases that have been recycled in the social media:  Eritrean struggle for independence was a banditry; the freedom fighters were bandits; Eritrean people are arrogant; Eritrean people claim to be unique and superior   ገድሊ ኤርትራ ሺፍትነት እዩ ነይሩ፣ተጋደልቲ ሸፋቱ እዮም ነይሮም ፣ ኤርትራውያን ትምክሕተኞታት እዮም፣ ኤርትራውያን ትዕቢተኛታት እዮም፣ኤርትራውያን ፍሉያት ሕዝቢ ኢና ባሃልቲ እዮም፣ኤርትራውያን መን ከማና ባሃልቲ እዮም. Those phrases have been repeated so much that some Eritreans begun to question their historical, political and cultural identity as people.

There is no question that every revolution has its strengths and weaknesses. Although the causes, the processes and actors of every revolution are different, they all have one thing in common: no revolution has ever started out of the desire to die or kill. The same applies to the cause of the Eritrean struggle (which was mainly because of Ethiopia’s oppression and injustice), the process (Ghedli), the actors (Tegadelti and the public), which are interlinked historical phenomenon each with their own successes and failures. Throughout the process of Ghedli, the leaders of Ghedli had made tremendous political blunders and alleged crimes (from the senseless civil war between ELF and EPLF to the slaying of Menkae, Yemin and what have you. It is an exhaustive job left for historians to document). But we don’t get to cherry-pick as to which part of Eritrea’s history to keep or dump. The good, the bad and the ugly are all part of its history.

To make a long story short, the pre-independence political blunder, carelessness, greed for power, murder and narrow-mindedness of the ELF/EPLF elites had resulted in displacements, loss of lives, resentment, loss of trust and ultimately derailed the struggle for independence. But in no way does or should the crimes and/or mistakes of ELF/EPLF leaders put the legitimacy of the struggle into question. People can debate the process of Ghedli and the alleged crimes of the actors but discounting the cause and the price the people paid for it is simply calling for hostility and violence. This is because the struggle has directly or indirectly affected every family in Eritrea. In a virtual world, it may seem easy to get way with dehumanization and defamation of the sacrifice of their family members but in real world, it is gravely serious matter that creates political polarization, civil strife and incites tension and violence. Hate speeches, incitement to tension, mortification and violence is the last thing Eritreans need. The people are eager to enjoy peace, normalcy, security, reconciliation, harmony, justice and democracy. The people’s hearts have been wounded by the continuous presence of injustice and cruelty that they might not celebrate the Silver Jubilee of independence as colourful as they should have but it still remains to be one of the most important days of Eritrean history. The historical significance of the day will always remain as such regardless of the nature of the regimes/governments that come to power.

This takes me to the second section: Eritrean people are arrogant and they claim to be unique and superior ኤርትራውያን ትምክሕተኞታት እዮም፣ ኤርትራውያን ፍሉያት ሕዝቢ ኢና ባሃልቲ እዮም. Where does this perception come from? Does this have anything to do with EPLF culture? The question is, are Eritreans arrogant people? Do Eritreans believe so? Is it an outside perception or internal reality of the Eritrean societies? If there is any Eritrean region or ethnicity that believes in the legitimacy of this label, it begs the question, which part of Eritrea?

Although EPLF has greatly impacted the Eritrean society, there is no evidence to suggest that the nine ethnic groups have equally been influenced by the Ghedeli’s culture. Hence any holistic perception about the entire society is more likely to be generalistic and unrepresentative. For instance, contrary to highlanders exclusion of children from political and social discussions with adults (ምስ ዓበይቲ ኣይቲዛረብ) and prohibition of children from sharing meals with adults (ምስ ዓበይቲ ኣይቲቀረብ), in Eastern and Western lowlands, mainly in the Afar and Tigre ethnic groups, children are encouraged to share meals with adults and often are allowed to participate in a grown-up political discussions. It is a valuable cultural practice worth keeping and sharing. Equally important, communal cooperation and hospitality are one of the traditional coping mechanisms centered upon passionate human interest and values, which are vital physical and material guarantee of survival to overcome manmade and natural challenges. As one reporter recently put it, “[d]espite their colonial past & the [oppressive] political climate, Eritreans remain a most hospitable and resilient people.”[9] Traditional Eritrean societies are known for their peaceful reception and accommodation of incoming guests, and respectful towards their neighbors and interethnic/intra-ethnic kins. Those of us who were fortunate enough to have lived in South Eastern and Western Eritrea have seen how the Afar of Eritrea respect and love their kin Afar in Djibouti. It is very uncommon to see an Eritrean Afar to look down on Djiboutian Afar and vice versa (ኤርትራውያን ዓፍር ትዕቢተኛታት እዮም  ዝብል ጂቡታዊ ስሚዔ ኣይፈሊጥን). The respect is mutual. Intermarriage and cross border business is very common with no stigma attached. The same situation applies to the Badawi/Beja (Beni Amir and Hidareb) ethnic groups in Western Eritrea and Eastern Sudan.

So, the lingering question is: where is the origin of these negative perceptions? If a group of people/ethnicity from other country is labeling Eritreans with such blanket assumptions, it is worth asking which country? Regardless of the origin of the assumption, putting an entire society under one category is an absolute absurdity. This goes two ways. I, for one, tend to believe that the labeling and negative perceptions are not self-imposed nor did they come from Sudan or Djibouti. It is highly likely that they are originated from Ethiopia, mainly the Tigrai(Ethiopian Tigrigna) and Amhara ethnic group each for different reasons. Let’s start with the perception that Eritreans claim to be unique and superior to other peoples (ኤርትራውያን ትምክሕተኞታትን ፍሉያት ሕዝቢ ኢና ባሃልቲን  እዮም). As much as I would like to believe it is a wrong perception originated from Ethiopia, the perception of superiority comes neither from Amhara or Oromo (or any other Ethiopian ethnic group for that matter) but from Ethiopia’s Tigray region. This is because, unlike the other transnational ethnic groups in the sub region, the Tigrigna ethnic groups were highly influenced by the colonial practices. The cultural, ethnic and linguistic similarities among transnational Tigrigna ethnic groups still exist where the colonial artificial boundaries had divided communities and homogeneous ethnic groups across the borders. However, the colonial legacy of division, exploitation, manipulation, ethnic favoritism, construction and deconstruction of ethnic identities may have created a sense of arrogance and superiority in one side and grievances and resentment in the other. The elements of superiority/inferiority complex are there. The 1998-2002 Eritrea-Ethiopia border conflicts that claimed 100,000 lives is a reminder of the turbulent historical relationship between the Tigrigna ethnic groups in both sides of the border. I believe that the border conflict had more to do with the two leaders than it did with the border itself. Both Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia belong to the same ethnic group-Tigrigna.

That being said, ethnic groups have grown apart. They have constructed their own history and identity. The existence of transnational ethnic similarities can certainly be used for peacemaking, cooperation and hospitality among populations but the preconceived judgments in both sides could make the possibility of reconciliation, normalization and coexistence extremely difficult. That takes me to the second category of Eritreans alleged claim of uniqueness (ኤርትራውያን ፍሉያት ሕዝቢ ኢና ባሃልቲ እዮም). Here, it should be noted that it is the history, political and socio-cultural livelihoods that makes one people different from others. However, many peoples in the world have a self-constructed political and historical identity to either boost the pride of their people, attempt to achieve unrealistic dreams of going back to the pre-colonial era or cover-up their obnoxious history etc. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) of India (nationalist movement equivalent to the Qinijit of Ethiopia) is a case in point. In their political map, Bangladesh and Pakistan don’t exist. They still believe that they belong to India and they will reunite to form ‘Akhand Bharat (undivided India).[10] Pakistan’s and Bangladesh’s claims of separate national and political identity are often met with dismissive and reductive attitude.

Eritrea’s neighbor to the South (Ethiopia)(mainly Amhara ethnic group) is another typical example infested with we are one and the same syndrome (ኣንድ ህዝብ ነን). Before we get into the reductionist attitude, let’s briefly touch on Ethiopian history. All history books written by Ethiopian scholars/politicians claim that Ethiopia was never colonized.  The idea of our country Ethiopia was never colonized by foreign colonizers (ኢትዮጵያ ሃገራችን በባዕድ ገዢዎች ያልተገዛች ኣገር ናት) is a common song every Ethiopian likes to sing. It is an Ethiopian version of ‘we are unique people’ [Fluyat Hzbi Ena] (ፍሉያት ህዝቢ ኢና). But the fact of the matter is that Ethiopia was colonized from 1935-1941 where Emperor Hailesilassie was exiled in the UK for five years. And with the help of British, they were able to oust the Italian colonization from Ethiopia. Call it occupation or colonization, the purpose of colonial invasion and the effect on the subjects were the same-exploitation of resource, taking away control from indigenous population and depriving people of their freedom. The fascist didn’t get enough time to exploit resources, settle in their own population, construct architectural and cultural imprint but had inflicted tremendous abuse, aggravated killings on a great scale[11] and took away control from Nuguse Negest of Ethiopia (Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie, King of Kings of Ethiopia). Secondly, how many times have we heard the myth of 300 years  (ኢትዮጵያ የ ሶስት ሺ ኣመት ታሪክ ያላት ኣገር ናት).  This is another version of Fluyat Hzbi Ena. How old is Ethiopia by the way? If we take the Oromo Kingdom of Jimma which was conquered by Abyssinia (Gonder, Tigray and Gojam) and incorporated in 1933 into Abyssinian, ‘as a state within its present geographical boundaries’[12] Ethiopia is not older than 83. Last but not least, how often do you hear the notion that Eritrea is/was part of Ethiopia and should not have or should not be seceded ambiguity? (ኤርትራ የ  ኢትዮጵያ ኣካል ናት ኣትገነጠልም). Not to mention the historical and political contradiction between the claim to have never been colonized vs the claim of Eritrea to have been part of Ethiopia (በባዕድ አልተገዛንም and ኤርትራ የ  ኢትዮጵያ ኣካል ናት), when was Eritrea part of Ethiopia? From the 15th to 18th century, Eritrea was ruled and colonized by the Ottoman Turks; from the 18th to the 19th century it was colonized by the Egyptians; from the 19th to the 20th century it was colonized by the Italians; then British and Ethiopia had both colonized it for nearly 40 years between them. After 30 years of armed struggle and bloodshed, Eritreans managed to decolonize their country from Ethiopia (the last colonizer of the 20th century).

Thus, Eritrea was never part of Ethiopia. However, the Ethiopian consecutive leaders have led the Ethiopian public to believe that the forced marriage was indeed a legitimate one. Grieved by the bitter divorce, any claim of Eritrean separate political and historical identity has often been met with unpleasant reactions. So, how can a political history of a nation be based on such contradictory history? It may not be uncommon for countries to inflate their history to heighten their national patriotism and state pride; however, it is fairly unfair when the negative labeling and dismissive attitudes come from a country that uses a fabricated myth “as an instrument of exploitation and as justification for the actions and domination of the ruling class over the conquered nations and nationalities.”[13]

That being said, if Eritreans begin to express a sense of Eritrean exceptionalism, it should not be viewed as arrogance. The notion of we are unique people (ንሕና ፍሉያት ህዝቢ ኢና) is a logical reaction to Ethiopians common phrase we are one and the same people (ኣንድ ህዝብ ነን). The peoples might have some common cultural, linguistic and historical values (like with any other neighbors such as Sudan and Djibouti) that they should cherish, but Eritreans have never been one and the same (ኣንድ ህዝብ) with Ethiopia. However, dismissive attitudes and denial of the existence of separate socio-political and historical identities can burn the bridge leading to mutual suspicions, tensions, violence and insecurity. Both peoples have to celebrate their similarities and respect their differences for the sake of a neighborly co-existence. Here, it should be noted that Eritrean people love and respect their Ethiopian neighbors. The 30 years war was not against the Ethiopian people. It was against the political leaders. The Eritrean people have defeated the Mengistu Hailemariam leadership but not the Ethiopian people. It was just a divorce of unholy reunion that took blood and sweat to keep the serial killers and oppressors away.

Anyhow, the fact that Eritrea was colonized for more than 500 years and, the fact that Eritreans fought for 30 years alone makes the people historically unique (ፉሉይ ህዝቢ). It should also be noted that the idea of we are unique people (ንሕና ፍሉያት ህዝቢ ኢና) slogan doesn’t necessary reflect a positive attributions. The current Eritrean crisis will be part of Eritrean tomorrow’s history, which is uniquely Eritrean tragedy. How Eritreans have replaced the cold-blooded foreign killers with home grown ones will also be part of Eritrea’s political and historical identity. How Eritreans come out of this tragedy however will determine how unique they are going to be. Therefore, in their effort to boost the deteriorating morale, mobilize the public, regain their pride, identity and integrity, Eritreans might need to use the slogan today more than ever. It should not be taken personally; no one should take offence for it and it shouldn’t be misinterpreted it as arrogance. After all, no country in the planet has ever claimed to be the same with its neighbors nor has any country ever campaigned on our people is weak and rundown mantra (እዚ ሩሙስ ህዝቢ ኢሉ ዚጭርሕ ህዝብን ሃገርን የለን).


The struggle for freedom, liberty, justice and democracy lives on. However, unlike the struggle against foreign colonizers where their defeat marked their exit out of the country, PFDJ supporters will remain to be Eritreans whether they live in Eritrea or not. Thus, they should be treated as citizens who have been in a wrong side of history, but not as enemies or criminals. Be it through punitive or restorative justice, those who committed crime(s) will face a compatible justice, but collective branding of all supporters of PFDJ as criminals and collective punishment of individuals for their previous affiliations with Isaias’s regime is PFDJ’s political culture that should be left behind as part of our history. This is because indiscriminate criminalization, ochlocratic practices and collective labeling strategy have been PFDJ’s ultimate tool to silence as well as to create division, chaos, mistrust and suspicion among the population. Therefore, the political route to reconciliation, restoration, depolarization, reconstruction and reparation of the psycho-socially traumatized, socio-economically broken, politically and morally wounded society requires an ultimate breakaway from the political cultures that have created these problems in the first place.


[1]Giddens, A. (2006).  Sociology(5th ed). Polity Press, Cambridge UK. PP.1013-1014
[2]Agamben, G.(2005). State of Exception. The university of Chicago Press,P.65.
[3]Dumas, L.J (2005). “Economic Conversion, Demobilization and Reintegration.” UNESCO  Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), School of Social Sciences, University of Texas.
[4]Global “Eritrea-Military Personnel.” 
[5]Bernal, V. (2006).  “From Warriors to Wives: Contradictions of Liberation and Development in Eritrea.” Northeast African Studies, Volume 8, No. 3, pp. 29-30.Michigan State University Press.
[6]Riggan, J. (2013).  “Imagining Emigration: Debating National Duty in Eritrean Classrooms.” Africa Today, Volume 60, No. 2. Indiana University Press
[9]Bizet, D. (April 21,2016). “Everyday Eritrea: Resilience in the face of repression.
[10]Yadav, S.( January 4, 2016).   “RSS and the idea of Akhand Bharat.”
[11]Laszlo, S. (2015). Fascist Italian Brutality in Ethiopia, 1935-1937: An Eyewitness Account. The Red Sea Press, Inc.
[12]Bulcha, M.(1988). Flight and Integration: Causes of Mass Exodus from Ethiopia and Problems of Integration in the Sudan. Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, Uppsala.

  • Beyene A.

    Just wow. Thank you for sharing this deep and meaningful article with us.This is by far the best article I have read in Eritrean socio-political situation to-date. I will explain why. Personally, it allowed me to see myself and how I viewed others(I will explain that too). I don’t expect everyone to understand and appreciate this article for two main reasons.1 you don’t appreciate what you don’t understand.2 you don’t appreciate something against what you have been led to believe. I have read many short articles with five or six paragraph of problem and the seventh and eighth paragraph as part of the solution proposals..Quick fix. As simple as that.Our problems are deep and require deeper knowledge and study. Worst of all, Eritreans pretend to be every professions in the book. It has become a normal practice to see accountants try to teach psychology, biologist act as political scientist, mathematicians as historians etc..Stop it!when are we going to allow professionals to serve in their areas of expertise? Too sad.

    So here is my take on this particular article. I believe the author has hit the core of the fundamental problems in Eritrean society and in away he changed my perspective in so many ways.Two years ago, a person under the nickname of “the fall of PFDJ” said very insulting things in pal. he said Deki Hamassein Kitefu alewom nihna deqi akeleguzay dima kuwun kingebro alena..” My first impression was, instead of seeing what he is, a loser who happened to be from akeleguzay, I said oh, deki Akeleguzay hate us. Because of this loser I collectively blamed people of akeleguzay. Now I know why. How many deki metahit/muslims have been collectively labeled Jhad/hamishay mesrea’? Wherever we see a Muslim opposition member, we use to think he or she is from Jihad? don’t you get the collective labeling here? Dont you get it how we suspect all muslim to be Jihadist? You don’t call a christian highlander a jihadist. Whenever you meet a person from EPDP, what comes to your mind? Mesfin! And we see all EPDP members as Mesfin and suspect all EPDP members as PFDJ sympathizers. Cant you see the collective labeling problem here? Whenever you meet Ethiopians, haven’t you ever heard them saying “and Hizb nen”..This is one of the main problem that gets me into trouble with my Ethiopian friends. Every time I try to introduce myself to people that I am from Eritrea, they jump in to saying that “we are the same any way…”..That makes me suspect their intention and I always fear that this people can invade us one day. Dont you see the fruit of suspicion here? The list is endless. One person commented as Habae quslu habae fewsu…” If you don’t see this as our Qusli, you have no idea what and how many quslis we have. How do people want to treat the wound, if they dont know where it is? I have to agree with tes here, the person must be a sociologist or extraordinary observer. Thank you. Beyene A.

  • B. Malk

    Hello Ismail, Thank you for your kind words.

  • Abi

    Hope Nebsi
    Family members of the tegenTay wenbedewoch were in business, universities and in key government posts both in derg and the King times . They were mass mobilizing family members of the tegenTay wenbedewoch in addis and other cities . They stabbed us while we trusted them. It hurts! I always feel the knife on my back. I hate to be cheated . And the families of these wenbedewoch were busy doing their guayla in Ethiopian cities while the victors and their families inhumanity and illegally kicked out the defenseless Ethiopians from Godana Harinet.
    Those illegally evicted were denied recognition while Meles and Atse Isayas were in their honeymoon.
    Selam Asmara Tsbuqti said it all . She said that the Ethiopians were begging for water in Asmara. You have collectively denied this embarrassing act.
    While my people were in plastic shelters all over Addis , you were saying ” Eritrea yeglachin, Ethiopia yegarachin!”
    You have no shame!
    Now, as usual, we are taking care of the people who inhumanly evicted us.
    Ethiopia Hadursitu!!!!!!!!!

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Truth (good nickname btw)

    There is no truth without the subject we are talking. Pragmatism without science is a work of “try and error”. We had lived on it for years. And our failures was purely based on that political philosophy. Pragmatism as a philosophical movement came to existence to oppose “realist” and “idealist”. Actually, in my view Mahmuday is “realist” than “pragmatist” in the way he sees how change comes to our nation. There is no rational investigation of knowledge that brings change without science, and Mahmud understand that clearly and squarely, if not you. The only difference we have is on how we evaluate the past, specifically our ghedli. Truth, if you want to be relevant to your nickname then you better live on the doctrine of science and its methodology.

    Amanuel Hidrat

  • tes

    Dear Awatistas,

    What happened to Girma Asmerom? I think his health situation is really in bad condition. he must stop lying if he wants to heal himself now.


  • B. Malk

    Hope thank you for your constructive advice. I didn’t not write it for appreciation and endorsement; I just thought I should share my two cents. I will attempt to work on part II.

  • tes

    Hi Abi,

    At least now you are talking. I hope you will stop insulting. Remember when you insult someone, it says more about you than the victim. I hope we will move on and have meaningful exchanges.

    Ok about Mahmud Saleh

    I confess that it because of the presence of people like Mahmud Saleh that the Opposition Camp losing its direction. The reason is very simple – they are mixing “history and justice”, “Humbleness and pride”, “silence with voices” etc.

    Today, Eritreans are a cross-roads.

    To choose:

    Justice or history

    Humbleness or pride

    Voice or silence


    On Sport – hmm. I wish PSG to will the game. Ibramovich will say good buy . according to his words, “he came as a king and is living as Legend”.

    • Abi

      Hi Tes
      This is too philosophical to understand for a layman like me.
      I rather stay on the sport side. Yes, Ibra is a legend. He is a champion .
      Btw, who did I insult?

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Hi tes,

      The amicable person Mahmuday always mixes the past history and the current challenges. And when our past history is challenged in the way its politics was exercised, and of course as it should be, it is at such instances that our Mahmuday gives precedence to defend the undefendable part of our politics. Our Ghedli history can not be judged by its outcome (bringing the independence) but also by the way it conducted its politics. There is no defendable except the tenacity of our people to the cause of the struggle and the outcome of it. But the way we conducted our demostic politics within ourselves is completely deplorable. until we realised this fact we couldn ‘t challenge the current problem.

      • tes

        Dear Amanuel Hidrat,

        The problem with Mahmud Saleh is that he uses Material Dialectics, Marxist-Leninist experimental methodology while he builds his argumentation. For this he goes back to his old books where he bases everything. Well, Dialectical Materialism is very deceptive until you see the arrogance coined within each line. When one tries to challenge it confrontation develops. The reason for this confrontation is very simple: the one who uses it beliefs that his arguments are based on historical proofs. And when someone rejects the historical part, it ends in opposite direction.

        Knowing where Mahmud Saleh comes from, it is hard to divorce him from Dialectical Materialism. Anyway, since the opposition camp are on the same confrontation whatever happens with Mahmud Saleh is part of the whole picture.

        Lets not therefore expect Mahmud Saleh to be free from this syndrome, at least, until a formidable line of thinking develops.


        • Abi

          Hi Tes
          You are on fire today! Very philosophical indeed. Is there an article you can lend me on “Dialectical Materialism ” for dummies?
          You left me out of the discussions.
          Can you also give us some examples as to how M S use Dialectical Materialism in his debates?
          I feel like I’m lost. You are my GPS, Tes Wedey.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam tes,

          There is no wrong with the concept of scientific “dialectical materialism”, The problem is always with the “subject matter” those who tries to practice it. The science of materialism, its connectedness , and its continuity is real in the lives of human being. You sound that you are against “dialectical materialism” the process of progress and the dynamics of its continuity. Am I right?

          Amanuel Hidrat

          • tes

            Dear Amanuel Hidrat,

            I am not against DS rather I am analyzing it deep inside by figuring where a confrontation emerges. Here is what I wrote:

            “…Dialectical Materialism is very deceptive until you see the arrogance coined within each line. When one tries to challenge it confrontation develops.”.

            When one goes to a building block and develops his arguments, the uncertainty of being wrong is assumed to be almost zero and hence rigidity develops. It is within this framework that I am trying to tackle.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hi tes,

            Again “dialectical materialism” as a philosophy is not deceptive, there is no arrogance in it except the truth. And the truth is, it teaches us the inherent conflict of opposites in life and matter and are resolved by “unity in diversity” – unity in the current truth (as truth is relative) and diversity in search “new reality and truth” in the “negation of negation” dialectical process within the given “time and space.” Be in line with that if you are in that discipline of knowledge or argue against it as “deceptive and arrogant” if you are in the opposite discipline of knowledge. You can’t put your foot on both argument.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • tes

            Dear Amanuel Hidrat,

            My knowledge is very limited and debating further will be non-helpful at this moment though I could willingly extend our debate (between Senior of Seniors and Junior and Juniors Cadres). But yes, we can also refer many papers to scientific arguments and may be dismantle “negation of negation” philosophy developed by Mao.

            On my stand, I could only say “why not?” I can oppose those whom I don’t see fit and agree with those I assume fine. And if it happens, I may come with my own philosophy/approach. what do you think? So far I don’t belong to any school of thought and none has attracted me so far. I’m on my own way.

            Dear Amanuel Hidrat, I think we need to see through the spectrum of hardline political arguments so that the old mentality(highly toxicated with Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Ideology) and the new mentality which is just brainwashed but de-programmable mindset. if you think this to be fine, I may come out with an article to provoke more thoughts.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            selam Tesfat,

            You are doing well in a give and take of reciprocal learning. What we are doing is proding our view within the accepted rule of engagement and the scientific foundations of finding the truth, that includes dialectical materialism, the evolution of knowledge, and or their dailectical and historical relations.

            Even if you try to have your own philosophy, it will still be governed by the law of nature, and matter as the source of knowledge and thought in this dynamic world we live in. With this I close my case on this matter. Good exchanging of opinions.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Abi

            Hi Tes
            I’m lost in the maze of dialectical materialism.
            So you think the law of the negation of negation was developed by Mao ? Well , I was expecting you to say it was developed by Mahmud Saleh from Sahil.
            I wonder what G. Hegel would say if he reads this ? He would say ” say whaaaaattttt!!!!????
            Take it easy, Chomsky.
            Forget PSG. Find a GPS. You are lost.
            GPS : ” Make a legal U-Turn”
            Tes: ” Eway”, again?

          • tes

            Hi Abi,

            Though Hegel formulated it, it is Mao who developed it to an ideological level by opposing Stalin’s way of interpreting Marx works. Hegel did almost nothing except coining the term “negation”. Philosophy of Negation of the Negation was later developed by leading adherents and interpreters of Marxism.


          • Abi

            Hi Tes
            Tell me more. I Like your Abi-yotawi niqate-hlina .

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Selam talaqu Emma

        What’s up buddy? You are famous for complaining that commenters misconstrue your statements, and you demand to be quoted, Right Emma? It is a modest request that you accord the same diligence to poor Mahmuday, please.

        1. You wrote:
        “The amicable brother Mahmuday, always mixes our past history and the current challenges. And when our past history is challenged in the way it conducted its politics, and of course as it should be, it is at such instances that our Mahmuday gives precedence to defend the un-defendable part of our politics” Please back up your broad-brushing statements. Please don’t take me to that spiraling road again. Please. If you have a thing to say SPECIFY it. I isolated parts that I criticized. For instance, I didn’t talk about the article’s parts which deal with Ethio-Eritrean issues; I didn’t talk about political history of Eritrea as you imply here. I replied specifically to the cultural aspect of it in a detailed manner. Now go ahead and tell me which part you are objecting to.

        2. You invoked in one of your replies to Bahlbi the famous “Habae Quslu Habae fewsu” Tigrigna adage which suggests that we Eritreans are hiding or covering our festering wounds, hence, denying ourselves from getting the right treatment. To make that point, you said, “He also dismisses our social attitudes either towards each other or to other nationals as nonexistent, but he attributed them as perceptional-attitudes by Tigray people towards us. The author denied the attitudes of Eritreans to each other and the attitudes we have towards our neighbors. Without recognizing those facts, we will have no reconciliation within ourselves nor could we have amicable cooperations with our neighbors. As the saying goes ሐባእ ቁስሉ ሐባእ ፈውሱ and we do not need that.”
        Your problem? While magnifying Eritrean Tigrigna speakers’ attitude towards Tigray Tigrigna speakers, you hid the attitude that is thrown in the opposite direction; apparently, you wanted to hide Tigreans attitude towards Eritreans. While Bahlbi put the blame on Tigreans, you put the blame on Eritreans. This makes you a very biased commenter. The fact is: what we see between the two Tigrignas is not that difficult to overcome. Neighboring communities (with an identifier of nationality, nationhood, religion, region or race) display some level of prejudice towards the “others”, be it in Eritrea or in the USA. It becomes problematic when the elite use those ID markers as tools to widen the fault lines rather than focusing on communalities/similarities. This is my argument from the beginning when I was debating with my Tigray friends. We can move forward by amplifying what’s good that connects those communities and by identifying what makes them different and lessening bad effects through the use of sober discussion and good conflict resolution mechanism. Assaulting Eritrean history using biased pens is not the solution. Peace comes through mutual strength not through the efforts of downplaying or eliminating the position of the other party.
        I know you have been too generous to our Ethiopian friends, we will have to wait to see the reciprocating gesture. Meanwhile, good luck if you will find followers by downplaying Eritrean history, or exaggerating its negative component; and by exaggerating Eritrean social fault lines. Eritrean society has social fault lines that are not wider than any other society under similar circumstances. I believe, we are better positioned to move forward.
        Speaking of dialectical materialism, thanks for elaborating the fact. As a social theory, it could be criticized, and disproved. Marx and Engels based their essays on social and scientific progresses and discoveries that go al the way to plato. Taking out its communist interpretation, most of the the principles are still true in areas of social sciences and nature, from the lab chemistry to the rules and processes that govern society. The famous procedures of scientific Experiment are modelled using those principles. But, it is tes.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Merhaba Mahmuday,

          Like you said, if we continue we will definitely go the “spiraling road ” and I will resist not to do it. So far we know our positions, and our differeces are healthy in its nature. That is my take so far. But speaking of specificty, even if I attempt it won ‘t help us. Better to live with our diffetences as far as we know it ptecisely, and I believe we do. We know the coexistence of our difference in real world, and they will be the inherent conflict of opposites to discover new reality as we go forward. our argument on our diffetence is therefore, no more no less to it.
          I hope you agree with.

          Amanuel Hidrat

  • Abi

    Hi Tes
    Sorry I forgot another game. PSG vs Marsielle.Big one!

    • tes

      Hi Abi,

      PSG won! Champion of France!!! Vainqeuer 2016

      Abramovich said, “Mission accomplished”.


  • Berhe Y

    Dear Abay,

    Thank you for your reply. I can say that I am in agreement with you in almost everything. Two things that I would like to clarify and or may be qualify.

    1) I said “no body believes Ethiopia the enemy”, I should qualify and I mean is, anyone who oppose the regime of Isayas Afeworki believes Ethiopia is the enemy of Eritrea anymore. If you think that includes those die hard PFDJ supporters, let alone for Ethiopia, they even deny any sympathy for their own Eritrean brothers and sisters perishing in the deserts and the Mediterranean, the likes of Hope and Nitricc, I stand corrected.

    2) You also said “An Ethiopian in trouble at the mercy of a diaspora Eritrean!”. I don’t know where you live but it’s not as bad as you think it is. In the city where I live, Toronto I think there may be equal number of Eritreans and Ethiopians give or take In the thousands (at least each of them can claim 10,000). I have never heard any fighting, any hate or any of that sort in over 20 years that I lived. I don’t know how much Ethiopians frequent Eritrean establishment, to be honest I don’t think that many Ethiopians but Eritreans are all over. Be it their restaurants, their concerts, their festivals, their churches. I don’t know if it’s a business thing or what, be I happen to be in some of the concerts (Ethiopian singers) and you see the places is full of people dancing Amharic and what have you..then the singer takes a break and they play Tigrina song and the same people starts dancing in circles…at least 50% or more my guess, which I think they are Eritreans. And I have never failed to hear when the singers say “ye Addis liji, ye gonder lij and they always says ye Asmera lij” and the house exploses in roars..which indicate to me there are a lot of Eritreans in the concert.

    I also know many, and many Eritreans visit Ethiopia / Addis some even on regular basis. What I actually see a big difference and almost divorce is between Eritreans and Ethiopian of Tigray origin. At least in Toronto, I have never come across that many of them, except few that are family friends. To me I think they stay away from any crowd be it Eritrean or Ethiopian for the most part. To me that I think is a little bit worrying in the long term, not that with Eritrea but within Ethiopia.

    If I made a wrong analysis and come to wrong conclusion, I stand corrected.

    Have a good night.


  • AMAN

    Shalom Again
    Awates ,
    And I am sorry Awates I am leaving you for
    a 3-days Wogah Tibel Leyti celebrations of
    the 25th victory day of Eritrea to celebrate
    it with families and friends.
    Sorry I can not be around those days !
    I will come to help after the celebrations
    ended .
    Thank you and Have a Good Week All !
    See you after the holidays !!!
    Yours AMAN
    San Francisco, CA

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear AMAN,
      see you back. and give sometime observe those who dance but more time to AMAN. the great people watch their own self and observe. Know who really is AMAN then you may feel ashamed or proud. if proud please don’t talk about the mass if a shamed regret and correct your mixed stands. in any case come and tell us what you know about AMAN.

  • tes

    Dear Bahlibi B.Malk,

    What an epic and well researched topic you have! May be you are a sociologist or an anthropologist who is keen in search of the cultural dynamism inflicted during and after the revolution era. If you are studying this subject area please go with it. You have an excellent angle and good approach.

    Of course former freedom fighters will find it hard to see the cultural influence (negative) associated with their movement. The reason is very simple: all freedom fighters believe that they have transformed Eritrean society. My argument is simply “NO”. Rather they have damaged it. When I say this it is strictly from Sociological/Anthropological point of view.

    Another: Ethiopians, specially those hardline elite Amhara minded, will oppose your narration. I won’t be surprised seeing Abi Eyob Medhanie and Kim Hanna coming with their dismissive approach. They have done it before and they will continue to do it.

    When Amanuel Hidrat and Kokhob Selam reacted, I can imagine their perspective. it is not because they failed to know the truth but they want to keep a respectful existence with Ethiopia. Specially Kokhob Selam has shown this attitude repeatedly. It is not for bad intention. Just understand their good intention and reconciliatory approach.

    In general, I thank you so much. I am the primary victim of all the cultures imposed by tegadelti. I remember criticizing on why education failed in Eritrea. We used to say, before independence, students were standing and welcome their teacher using formal greetings. Right after independence, students were told to sit and say nothing. The teacher will come in and start his class. This has impacted the values of Teacher-Student relationship.

    Well done.

    Keep on writing and enlighten us.


    • Abi

      Hi Professor Tesfatselim
      Why do you imagine the prospective of Kokobe and Ato Amanuel Hidrat. There is nothing left to imagine. They both dismissed the author’s blaming game. Besides, Vet Mahmud demolished it beyond recognition. Only you called the article “epic”. The author got some serious whacking from many commenters as well. He is licking his wounds as we speak.
      Why don’t you summarize the epic part for those commenters who don’t get it . Of course, when you’re sober.

      • tes

        Hi Abi,

        Of course Mahmud Saleh will not be happy with Bahlbi’s narration and I am not naive to expect a positive input when it comes to EPLF critics.


    • B. Malk

      Tes, thank you for your input. Be it from the Ghedli guardians, PFDJ or the “And Nen” group, negative comments are to be expected.Nay aboka nibret endeziferih do naeka welideka belet sebeyti niweda.:) Gidiyebilkan tefalitna ena. Anyhow, as you said, most of us are victims of the tragedy. But we will not remain victims; we will strive to claim our liberty and identity.

      • Abi

        Kemey yetekeberu B. Malk
        “And Nen” group motewalna
        Yemimechiwo kehone leqso yidresu.

  • B. Malk

    Mr Amanuel aka “Mr rational writer” , I appreciate your dismissive attitude. If you can tell, the subject matter requires a comprehensive study. Eritrea is a diverse country and you cannot see it through a single prism. I tried to focus on one or two aspects that are commonly prevalent in some part of Eritrea. If you disagree on the points I have raised, feel free to share them with us. Otherwise, I did not ‘assign the cause of our problems to external forces,’ because every region has slightly different socio-economic issues, different way of life, different demands etc. “Attitude of Eritreans to each other?” Which part of Eritrea and what attitude are you talking about? Be specific. If you are talking about one ethnic group against others or within the same ethnic groups, it is another topic worth exploring. I didn’t not cover it in this piece. But I intend to do it in the near future. And if you can use your “rational” thinking to teach us, I would also appreciate it. Just remember, even the kunama, the most homogeneous ethnic group, may have intra-ethnic issues among Karaua, Shua, Semma and Gumma clans. Whatever you do or say, just don’t put the “Eritrea” in one basket.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selsm B.Malk,

      First, I have no disrespect to an attempt you made to discover our sociopolitical political problems. It in itself is commendable. Any writing is always subject to scrutiny and critics and hence your article. That is our readers do and as writers we should expect that.

      When I saw your article posted with that title (a) I was expecting an explanation as to why we went from mutual existence to mutual suspicion and (b) your proposal on how to reverse it back to mutual existence. Albiet none of the two is addressed. I I saw the divorce of the title with the core message you conveyed in your article.

      Your article talks about the symptoms of our daily political diet as people of one nation, without diagnosing the cause of the symptoms. We say this or that and showing your rejection to it, is not solution in itself. Going to the core problem and trying to find a solution for it was the expectation from the title, an enduring title worth to tackle it.

      Atleast now you provoked me to extend my critics not only what was said in the article, but from the stand point of the title what should be the argument to hear from you.

      Amanuel Hidrat

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear B.Malk,
      I wasn’t able to read again and again this article as I use to do – I am a bit busy. no one can deny there are lessons to be discussed here. Poems and some entertaining jokes which can give lessons can be created from this article. But I also wish the article points problems within and the solution at conclusion.

      Here you brought the ordinary talks of different era as important feelings and I am most of them are dead already. And at the same time those statements may call the hate of those old eras. the most difficult moment I face on this article is the case you brought here about Ethiopia. again it pulls someone to some one to hate and disagreements that we all are working to replace it by love and new agreements. This nation called Ethiopia will remain our 2nd nation forever and eve I don’t think we will not join facing all artificial and natural problems. We both people know boarders will not separate us. the fist thing we should both care is about history. not every Eritrea has the same version of it but we all must agree that Ethiopian history is connected to ours. My one is even a bit different I totally agree Ethiopia had long history ( not 83 years) but even thousands additional to it’s long history of man kind. No one should be angry of my feeling it is mine and no one can change it but let us all agree at least we were the same people and we will remain the same.

      some said Ethiopia was not colonized at all and said it was. you and me will have the same stand but for different reasons. your reason is that Italians were there for 5 years which I don’t describe it as colonized but my reason is this – since Eritrea was part of Ethiopian history and since Ethiopians and Eritreans were fighting united against outsiders we can say part of Ethiopia which Eritrea was colonized. Now since Eritrea is already a nation at this era Ethiopians can say we were not colonized. I don’t think someone can say Ethiopia was not colonized and still tell us Eritrea was part of Ethiopia. I don’t know if I am write in this logic but it is not a big deal and I can have it for me without arguing with others.

      now what is the solution you brought for all those problems you mention, I am lost I will have try to read it again or expect you to reply here if you get time.

  • Berhe Y

    Dear Abay,

    I think it’s important that we talk about the past so it will help us change the course of the future. You may disagree with the author with some of what you said, and pointing out your disagreement would probably a good idea, but don’t touch Ethiopia, and don’t mention Ethiopia in your “Eritrean problem” is not necessary the best approach.

    You mentioned you wanted to go back to history of Eritrea during the Italian times. I think that’s fine and you have every right to bring that up. How about you take it a little bit further….

    How about the Wichale – agreement where the Ethiopian kings have signed / gave away Eritrea to the Italians.

    How about what happened to RaeSi Woldemichael in 1989 by Alula / Yohannes

    How about When Eritreans fought along side Ethiopians in the Battle of Gura against Egyptians

    How about Bahri Negus Yishaq fought against Emperior Gelawdewois in the battle of weyena Dega against Ahmed Grangne where he was killed.

    The point is, history can be interpreted in different way. But you pointing out, Eritrean soldiers who volunteered join the Italians and fought with them “As in any solider was suppose to do” really have much choice, and you make it sound like they did it because they were against their fellow Africans. What about those Eritreans who joined Ethiopia and were bleeding Italy, don’t their history count as well.

    I agree with you that Eritrea is a sovereign and there is no force on earth can change that today. The only people who can undo that, are US Eritreans only. And for US Eritreans, we should just focus on our problems and the only thing we should expect from our neighbors, specially Ethiopia is a good neighborly relation ship based on International norms. Nothing less and nothing less, if a special relations ship needs to be established because of our close ties and if it’s to the benefit of both country and people then it’s all welcome.

    From Eritrean point of view, residing in Eritrea for the past 150 years of so we have not been able to live in peace so we can set our destiny in our own. What’s even worst is, the time we have to do so, our home grown dictator turned out to be worst than anyone before. But this does not justify that we are cursed to live in such tragedy for eternity. We are grateful to Ethiopians who are looking and helping our people in this hard times and I hope this gesture will be recognized (it is already – no body believes Ethiopia as enemy anymore) and return the favor.

    Abi, who is to forgive who…hanging people in the streets, bombing women and children with cluster bombs, cutting hands and legs of the PoW etc.

    Your problem, I don’t think it has anything to do, Eritrea being separated but I suspect that he was heart broken by a beautiful Eritrean that he can’t get over it:).


    • Dear Berhe Y.,

      History helps us not to repeat past mistakes and we have to appreciate the present reality on the ground so that we can plan for the future. The problem is when history is used, especially in the case of Ethiopians and Eritreans, to cement their minds in the past, so that they do not dream and plan for a peaceful future of cooperation and prosperity. When the past becomes everything in their lives, and Ethiopians and Eritreans are completely blind to the world around them and the geo-politics of the region that is changing so dramatically, they are condemned to end up victims. The region is in turmoil and Eritreans and Ethiopians are drifting with the tide not knowing where the actors are taking them. The two people of the horn are becoming irrelevant in their own region, and they are being played around like pawns. Unfortunately, blocking the way of Ethio-Eritrean rapprochement, which could have created a significant counterbalancing force in the horn to powers who want to straddle the two shores of the Red Sea, was what the author had in mind. 25 years later and even under this painful reality, some peole are still stuck in the past. We should move forward before it is too late.

      • B. Malk

        You have made excellent points. The two countries should live in the present. In order to go forward, we have to accept the realities on the ground as well as acknowledge the present and past problems. Mutual coexistence would be miserably hard when one part doesn’t acknowledge the existence of the other. There are a great portion of the Ethiopian public who still believe Eritrea and/or Assab belongs to Ethiopia. How is dialogue towards healing, normalization and mutual understanding possible when this issues are persistent. Remember, the wounds are still fresh, and for the peoples to start the healing process, acknowledging the fact is the first step forward.

        • Dear B. Malk,
          What Ethiopians and Eritreans cannot afford is to believe that they are eternal enemies. They are condemned by geography and by history to live side by side, as long as they cannot live together. Better it is in peace. The two people might not say any more “and nen”, nevertheless we should avoid by all means possible saying “Telat nen”.
          There are examples of countries that separated, and what they did was to respect each country’s needs, and they divorced in such a way that made them good friends for ever. It was not so in the case of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ethiopians who still oppose Eritrean independence are making a big mistake; and those Ethiopians who say they are comfortable with the landlocked status of Ethiopia are telling big lies. Similarly, Eritreans who say that Eritrean independence has no meaning without land-locking Ethiopia are also making a big mistake. They are simply postponing the problem to future generations. International laws and colonial borders were used as an excuse to land-lock Ethiopia that had a sea outlet. These laws are used as a last resort to avoid wars, and not because they are just laws, and these laws are not going to make Ethiopians and Eritreans good friends.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Dear awatistas,

    The title of the article ” From mutual coexistence to mutual suspucion ” by the author is a phenomenal title that goes to the heart of the problem of the opposition camp in particular and the entire Eritrean population in general. The author did fail to give the real diagnostic tools and the diagnosis to the core problem as dipicted on the title of his article.

    Unfortunately, the author not only tried to assign the cause of our problem to external sociopolitical forces. He also dismisses our social attitudes either towards each other or to other nationals as nonexistent, but are perceptional-attitudes by Tigray people towards us. The author denied our attitudes

  • Abi

    Selam Abay
    What I learned in the past several years is that we are TOTALLY different people.
    They were Askaris, we forgave them.
    They were bandas, we forgave them.
    We trusted them while some of them were urban mass mobilization agents ( zemenawi banda , yeEnat Tut nekash)
    We said we are one people, while they were dying for the Arabs ( modern Askaris)
    Fast forward, they inhumanly and illegally kicked out the defenseless Ethiopians the moment they controlled their capital while their urban Banda children were dancing in Ethiopian cities.
    Now, who is stupid here? Definitely Ethiopians except Meles Zenawi and his party. He knew it is practically impossible to live with Eritreans. What a genius! He showed them the door and told them to close it behind them while the stupid Abi was crying Eritrea atgeneTelim! How stupid!
    Abay, you have to give them credit they outsmarted us on several occasions until Meles the genius single handedly out smarted them while they were doing their guayla.
    Unique people indeed!
    We are also uniquely stupid trying to keep them. They should have gone 55 years ago.

  • Ismail A. Ahmad

    Ahlen brother Mahmud,
    I appreciate your feedback, and fully understand your reasons. I was just curious because whenever I read your commentaries I felt I detected great potential or resourcefulness at your disposal. I thought (called it greedily) along with readers we could benefit from your contribution and views (whatever they may be) in a formal way through full articles. In regard to the mine, which you seemed to demand, I have been one of the persons who tried to contribute postings to our from early on when it was launched. But nowadays I am really hampered by health conditions which I think our Saleh Johar is also aware of. If you are curious about looking at what I used to write, you might pershaps refer to archives, or perhaps Sal might guide you to locate some of them.
    Thanks again,
    Ismail A. Ahmad.

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Ahlan Ismail

      Thank you and Rabana yeshfeek/ may the Almighty give you strength. I believe I read all your postings, in one of your postings you wrote:
      ” To this writer, the gist of the current dispute about the NCDC is the syndrome called the fear of the other; this has been polluting our political climate for generations. But the best place to clear the pollutants is forums of dialogue.” I agree with this type of thinking and understanding. At the end, people will have to come off their high horses and get ready for dialogue. .
      Thank you.

      • Nitricc

        Mahmuday; what up my great man! I do agree with having sincere dialogue to narrow our differences with the people who believe in the core values of Eritrea and Eritreansim.
        I can narrow it for you to very simple criteria that qualify Eritrea and believing in Eritrreaisim that will lead us in to successful and meaning full dialogue. What is the point for me to sit with a people who telling me, they mourn about the independence day of Eritrea? What the point for me to sit and dialogue with the people who side with enemy of the state to bring about change in my own internal affairs?
        So; here are the simple test on Eritrea and Eritreanism. If you pass the test, then, I will sit with you to carry on a meaningful dialogue; regardless how ridiculous your believes are!
        Not in particular orders but here is what I require and accept from any Eritrean.
        1) You must accept, respect and acknowledge GEDLI” with its all shortcomings.
        2) You must accept and respect Eritrean Independence by acknowledging and celebrating Eritrean independence DAY.
        3) You must acknowledge and respect every soul that fought and martyred in the name of Eritrea. And you must honor Eritrean martyrs’ day!
        4) You must accept and respect the flag of Eritrea.
        5) You must believe and accept Eritrean internal political problems must be solved by Eritreans.
        Now; how difficult and unfair is to ask this minimal requirement for real dialogue?
        **** Those are my minimal requirement but this what the silent majority thinks too.
        I sometimes read people questioning if it is a real Eritrean web site and I observe the response of awate-team. the truth is has failed to meet the least requirement of Eritreanism. failed to acknowledge the Eritrean flag! failed to honor Eritrean martyrs failed to honor and accept Eritrean Independence Day.
        Now what is the shock if the salient majority questioned’s Eritreanism?
        Last year at the same time; awate-team congratulated and wished all well for the Ethiopian toothless and fake election while ignoring the Eritrean people on their independence day. You get my drift…..
        Why I am bringing this? Well, it is high time for to honor the above three points they miserably failed.
        The only reason PFDJ thriving and the toothless opposition at loss is because PFDJ is
        Considered the only political entity that cares about the nation! Show you care about the nation and watch the reaction of the silent majority.

        • tes

          Selam Nitricc,

          Eritrea and Eritreanism???, hmm sell this propaganda/ideology to PFDJ, an junta that destroyed Eritreanism and destroying Eritrea.


          Which flag? The imposed one – PFDJ flag, flag of the killers


          the true Eritrean flag? – where the people carried it all the 30 years struggle days – the Blue with Olive branches?


          • Nitricc

            Tes, I know talking to you is a complete waste of time but you have no problem accepting the independence that was brought by the “killers” but you have problem with flag they designed for the nation? What a logic? i know it is too much for you but you take one; take all or leave out on, leave out all. You can’t chew on both sides of your creeks; our wanna be philosopher! I have bad news for you; this is our flag and it will be for ever and ever. What are you going to do about it? Demonstrate in Geneva? go ahead scream to those white old people and see what comes out of it.

          • Kokhob Selam


            football team also chose the shirt and it’s colors but that doesn’t mean the team should force others to wear the same shirt. the killers has chosen their flag, that flag will become history when the killers go burned. there will be national flag one day – and you will be requested to participate in preparing it.. I know you will come from where you are saying I have a nation..ኣንታ ነግናግ!

          • Nitricc

            Kpkhob shame on you the flag to compare it with a football shirt colors. may be your hate to PFDJ clouded your judgment. let me educate you and your toothless friend Tes, the history of Eritrean flag. even the Blue with Olive branches no one knows where it came from.
            watch and learn….

          • Kokhob Selam

            I couldn’t watch all. But I know what you want to show me. Nitricc, football, there is sport in it, love and business in it etc. I am not fun of it much and I know some governments use it to divide. But what is in that flag? football players kick the ball and PFDJ politicians kick human beings. in football there is a team to play for in PFDJ sometime you kick your own team member if you think you will register more goals than the boss- etc. worst of all in football there rules but in PFDJ? Lol.

          • tes


            Let me simplify it for you:

            EPLF was a liberator until it was alive, 1994. Then PFDJ came in by killing EPLF, hence PFDJ is a killer. can’t you see this difference.

            EPLF brought the flag of the people but PFDJ changed/imposed his own flag, a flag that we never approved it.


    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Ismail,
      I wish you fast recovery – may the almighty give you more strength to live longer . Amen. I have been reading your articles. I wish you write more here. I also 2nd you on the idea to see new articles from my friend Mahmuday, I have seen how fast he is progressing and I believe he will son shine with new ideas here – I am expecting lot from this gentle man recently.

  • Solomon Haile

    Dear Hope,

    Your endorsement is in direct contradiction of your impassioned statement against an Eritrean diaspora community that stated the push for Arabuc as an official language.
    Is this a collective PFDJ evolution as a consequence of Asab le hager Areboch?
    It is all about the Benjamins or Dinars I suppose?
    Only on New Years day of this year you were singing another tune. And it wasn’t “izeyakum inemin nachew kemey alejhum”
    You are resembling Nitric whom you trained by the way. The difference us that Nitric knows he belongs to TomTom mKut.
    As Mr. Mahmood SaliH illustrated in one of his responses: The TomTommkutt are a few Asmarinos+ who are all about counting their dead presidents totting PFDJ’s mafioso modus opperandi while oppenly speaking against it with its permission, are not representative of Eritrea or the Eritrean revolution.
    I will have to bring my tsebel mai deArit recommendation in an article, now that I have accumulated the necessary zaEgials…
    OFanti Fanti says, by the dawn early light…
    Ahmmm July 4th article in honor of the great Don Corleone.
    God Bless America

  • Mehari the ferrari

    Dearest Awatistas ,
    Our co-existence was disrupted and suspicion flourished due to the “colonizers” Ethiopians ,here are some of the Ethiopian atrocites…

    ” ኢሳያስ ከምቲ ኢትዮጵያ ትጭቁነና ዝነበረት እንተጨቍኑና ንሕና ኤርትራውያን ሓንቲ ለይቲ እውን ከየሕደርና ክንጉሕፎ ኢና።”

    ታሪኽ ዘይርድኦም ብዙሓት ኢትዮጵያውያን “ህዝቢ ኤርትራ እንታይ እዩ ብኢዱ ሒዝዎ ነዚ ገፋዒ ኢሳያስ ዘይዋግኦ”/እንዴት ይሄ ለሰላሳ ዓመት የተዋጋ ህዝብ ኣንድ ዲክታተር መቀልበስ ይቸግረዋል” ክብሉ ክትሰምዕ ንኸምዚ ከማይ ዝኣመሰለ ለባም ሰብ, ቃንዛ ኤርትራዊ ዘይርድኦም ኢትዮጵያውያን ምዃኖም የቃልዕ !!!

    ኢሳያስ ይጨቁን እምበር ከምቲ ኢትዮጵያውያን ዝገፍዑና ኣይገፍግዓናን ኣብታ ደረጃ እቲኣ ምስ ዝበጽሕ ግና ምዓልቱ ክትሓጽር እያ።

    ካብቲ ግፍዕታት ኢትዮጵያውያን ክዝርዝር

    *ከምቲ ናይ ጨቆንትን ገፋዕትን ህዝብን መንግስትን ኢትዮጵያ,ንህዝቢ ብነጻ እናምሃረን እናኽበረን ከማሓዳድር እንተጀሚሩ ፣

    *ከምቲ ምስ ኢትዮጵያ ከለና ካብ እንዳ ኬካትን ክሳዕ ናይ ነዊሕ መጕዓዓዝያ ሃብቲ፣ ኮታ በዚሓ ብሕታዊ ሃብቲ/private riches ክንውንን እንተኣፍቂዱልና !!!
    * ጣፍ ካብ ጎጃምን ሽራሮን ወልቃይትን፣,ሽኮር ካብ ወንጂ፣,ቡን ካብ ከፋ ብዝሓሰረ ዋጋ subsidize ጌሩ እናምጽኤ.. ዋላ እቲ ድኻ ኤርትራዊ ደቁን ኣዝማዱን ጥራይ ዘይኮነስ, ኣጋይሽ እውን ከስተኣናግድ እንተጀሚሩ !!!
    * ከምቲ ጃንሆይ ዝበሉና “የምንወደው እና የሚወደን ህዝባችን” ኢሎም ኣብ ማእከል ኢትዮጵያ ገንዘብ እናለቅሑ ካብ ኣምሓሩን ተጋሩን ንላዕሊ ከቢርና ከም ንነብር ዝገበሩ እንተጌሩ !!!
    * ከምቲ ወያነን ኢህወደግን ውግእ ከፊትናሎምን ጨፍጪፍናዮምን ከለና, ከም ደቂ ሃገሮም ፣ወረ ካብ ደቂ ሃገሮም ንላዕሊ ዩኒቨርሲቲ Sponsor እናገበሩ ከምህሩናን ካብ ወጻኢ ክንኣቱ እውን 2% ዘይከፈልኩም, ትማሊ ክትወግኡና ገንዘብ ዘዋጻእኩም.. ከይበሉ.. ንእከይ መንፈስና ብሕያውነት ዝፈድዩና ዘለዉ ፣ናቶም ሕማቕ ምሳሌ ተኸቲሉ ኢሳያስ እውን ከምኡ ሕያውነት እንተርእዩና !!!
    * ሰበ ስልጣን ኢሳያስ ናብ ራሻይዳ ምስ ሸጡና,ነዞም ንጓልናን ወድናን በደዊን ምስ ዓመጹና, እሞ ግብጺ ምስ ኣተና deport ክንግበር ፣መንግስትና መንግስቲ ኤርትራ ዘይኣመነልና፣ ወያነን ኢህወደግን ግን ናትና ህዝቢ እዮም ኢሉ ኣብ ኢትዮጵያ ተቐቢሎም ካብ ኣፍ ሞት ዘድሕኑና ፣ናይዚኦም ጨቆንቲ መንግስታት ምሳሌ ተኸቲሉ እንድሕሪ ክጭቍነና ጀሚሩ….etc
    ነዚ ናይ ዓመታት ግፍዒ ኢትዮጵያውያን ኣሰር ተኸቲሉ እንድሕር ጨቍኑና ፣ንሕና ኤርትራውያን ክብረትን ሕስረትን ኣረጋጊጽና ንፈልጥ ህዝቢ ኢና፣ሓንቲ ለይቲ እውን ኣይነሕድሮን ኢና። እዚ ወያነን ምሉእ ዓለምን ንጭቆናን ሕስረትን ከምቲ ንሕና ንትርጉሞ እንተዘይተርጕምዎ ንሕና ኤርትራውያን ፍሉያት ህዝቢ ምንዃና ዘይርድኦ ትግራዋይን ኣምሓራይን ጥራይ እዩ።

    ኤርትራውያን ጭርሖታት

    __ ኣዕሚቝካ ምሕሳብን ዘዋጽኣካ ውሳኔ ምውሳንን ናይ ተንኮለኛታት ኣምሓሩን ተጋሩን ስለ ዝኾኑ ፣ንዓና ኤርትራውያን ሕልፍ ክብሉ እኳ ኣይትንክፉናን እዮም

    _ጸረ ሽምዓ ዝኾነ መንግስቲ ኢትዮጵያ ብጭንጓዕ ሩባ ዓባይ ተጠቒሙ ሓይሊ ኤለትሪክ ፈጢሩ ንህዝቡ ዘብርህ፣ ብተንኮሉ ንናይ ኤርትራ ኩራዝን ሽምዓን ንምስትንዓቕ ምዃኑ ተረዲእና ብቓልስና ከነዕንዎ ኢና !!!

    __ ክብረትን ሓልዮትን ናይ ወያነን ጨቆንቲ ህዝቢ ኢትዮጵያን መሳርያ ስለ ዝኾኑ ብቓልስና ነውግዞም !!!

    ውሽጡ ሕሩር ድምበዛናይ ሓወቦኹም

    ምሕረቱ ሃብተ ጳውሎስ

    • AMAN

      If I may ask,
      But all the time I see your post
      you used to look like a happy person
      and everything going well along for U
      now suddenly became a Wushtu Hirur ?
      What went wrong ? ? ?

  • AMAN

    Greetings ,
    Dear Awates
    If they are true to their words and to their people !
    And their calls and demands of saving their country !
    If they are true they are against IA and his PFDJ !
    they are for the EPLF & its ideals of Democracy,
    Justice & Equality……………

    I on behalf of the silenced and oppressed Eritrean people
    at home, abroad and under woyane occupied Ethiopia…….
    make the CALL…………….that
    1. Mesfin Hagos & his EDP party ,
    2. Bitweded Abraha and his EPP party
    3. Adhanom G/M & Abdella Adem and their EPM movements
    avoid old squabbles and make a new rapproachement and
    initiative to unite their parties and their followers into one united
    organization and inheritor of the EPLF to answer the call of the
    people, Eritrean Armed forces and all the people and save the
    country and the people from political decay and deterioration
    and the country from collapse like what happens to Ethiopia all
    the time.
    All Answer the call ! It is well overdue time !

  • Kim Hanna

    Selam Awatistas,
    I read an article, recently here at Awate, that was advancing the argument that basically said ….Europe was donating 200 million Euros aid money to Eritrea with a sinister motive of exploiting future to be discovered oil and minerals. Here, I want to stop by and thank a commentator Ghetab for creating the phrase of “people of planet illogic”. Nothing else can be said.
    This particular article crisscrossed a wide range of mambo jumbo on disconnected topics. I was tempted to respond to his specific statements head on, by calling a spade a spade.
    I feel I have done enough of that at Awate and each time I attempted to do that I don’t feel good about it afterwards. That is because I only succeed in offending the normal Eritrean Awatista without touching these types of unhinged and out of touch individuals from the planet illogic.
    Mr. K.H

  • KING-LION M21 M21 Roi-Lion

    A ? to the author of the article :
    Why are recent immigrants fom Tigray in Eritrea are more priviliged than ancient settlers from Gondar Gojam Wello or Shoa
    in Eritrea ?
    Another ?
    How come that almost ALL ESCAPEES from Eritrea from well to do families as far as moneyis concerned.
    Those poor Eritreans who are unable to pay their trip , have got no rich families abroad are doomed to ROTTEN in Eritrea
    and many are called PFDJ supporters .
    Whom are you kidding ?
    The problem in Eritrea has never been a matter of AMHARA but of Tigray.

    • Mehari the ferrari

      Dimbezan are originally from gonder settled long time ago..Karneshimites settled in the 19th century from Tigray mostly Awraja Agame..I believe but not sure ,the Agews (Blens) settled mostly from Gojam ,so as the ruling class are from karneshim you think Tigrawot are ruling us ? All of us Eritreans are extension of Ethiopian (specially Tigray ,gonder,gojam) with the exception of Jeberti and Rashaida..originally from Saudi Arabia ,but we are in the same boat now!

  • B. Malk

    By Idi, I meant Te’o

  • B. Malk

    Thank you all for the words of encouragement. Thank you awate for this amazing platform. Thank also goes to our Ethiopian friends who have dedicated their valuable time to comment on the piece. If I were trying to test a hypothesis on Amhara’s perception of Eritrea, your comments would be very helpful to reach a conclusion. Just so you know, I have nothing against Ethiopians and/or Amharas; I was trying to make a point about historical perceptions vs realities and your comments just proved my analysis. I have clearly underlined that the Eritrean people respect their Ethiopian neighbors but for the sake of a peaceful and mutual coexistence between the two peoples, we have to go beyond the wrong perception of “And Hizb Nen” imposed by the consecutive Ethiopian leaders. Secondly, I cannot help but notice how much our Ethiopian neighbors dislike the idea of Ethiopia being colonized but they like to claim that Eritrea was part of Ethiopia. That is the whole reason why I mentioned Eritrea’s centuries of colonial history. Eritrea was colonized. With regards to me not mentioning the existence of Ethio-Eritrean intermarriage practice, I was not meaning to discredit or deny it. Of course, if you go as far as Idi(old Eritrean port) and Entatae Island(እንታታዕ), you will find Ethiopian women(mainly Wolo) married to Eritrean men and they are proud Ethio-Eritrean citizens. And it is a beautiful thing. But I was referring to interethnic relationships, which is another story. Some of you also tried to downplay the EPLF military culture by saying that it was like any other military cultures. Most soldiers in the world live within their society; they can socialize, interact and live within their community etc. If you can tell me that EPLF soldiers were allowed to visit their parents, children, and spouses in their villages, I will stand corrected. But the truth of the matter is that EPLF soldiers lived within Eritrea but outside the communities they were trying to liberate. Aside their frequent visits for military recruitment (gifa), order food (migbi kieazizu)(not voluntary) and to seek public support to carry their wounded soldiers etc, they were not allowed to do the aforementioned social roles. Last but not least, Mahmud said that I haven’t mentioned ELF enough. Of course I may have emphasized more on the 40+ years of EPLF/PFDJ(Pre and post-independence era) but I have mentioned enough “ghedeli” to which ELF was part.

  • KING-LION M21 M21 Roi-Lion

    SO the ? is :
    Is your fight against PFDJ phony ?

  • KING-LION M21 M21 Roi-Lion

    AWATE.COM and PFDJ ‘ fight ‘ one another
    Is it a phony ‘ fight ‘ ?

  • Ismail A. Ahmad

    Selam brother Mahmud,
    Here is a question for you. If you have so much time to sort out and draft such a long commentary, why not use that time to write a full article in response. I am just wondering; respectfully of course.
    Ismail A. Ahmad.

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Ahlan Ismail
      Thanks. I’m as busy as any father of 4 young boys could be. That’s why I read serious articles, and write those long commentaries. I’m not a writer, and the standard of this website scares me to death. In addition, what you see is not availability of time but the lack of it, because in writing comments I’m not bound by standards, and what I say is something I could access from recent memory. Thanks to internet, it is not that difficult to backup what I say if reference is included. But to make it in an article format I will need to do extra job of researching and editing. Call it laziness or being busy. I think it is the latter. I await for yours, though.

  • Gebre

    Dear Bahlib,

    You wrote a wonderful manuscript that fits well to the old story of the ELF/EPLF style. The write up is an excellent story telling without much of the dynamic political analysis. That is why it fits well to the old EPLF/ELF gadgets. Very attractive analysis is the portray of the following paragraph:

    “As much as I would like to believe it is a wrong perception originated
    from Ethiopia, the perception of superiority comes neither from Amhara
    or Oromo (or any other Ethiopian ethnic group for that matter) but from
    Ethiopia’s Tigray region. This is because, unlike the other
    transnational ethnic groups in the sub region, the Tigrigna ethnic
    groups were highly influenced by the colonial practices. The cultural,
    ethnic and linguistic similarities among transnational Tigrigna ethnic
    groups still exist where the colonial artificial boundaries had divided
    communities and homogeneous ethnic groups across the borders. However,
    the colonial legacy of division, exploitation, manipulation, ethnic
    favoritism, construction and deconstruction of ethnic identities may
    have created a sense of arrogance and superiority in one side and
    grievances and resentment in the other. The elements of
    superiority/inferiority complex are there. The 1998-2002
    Eritrea-Ethiopia border conflicts that claimed 100,000 lives is a
    reminder of the turbulent historical relationship between the Tigrigna
    ethnic groups in both sides of the border. I believe that the border
    conflict had more to do with the two leaders than it did with the border
    itself. Both Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and the late Prime Minister
    Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia belong to the same ethnic group-Tigrigna.”

    It is indeed very interesting analysis at the level of the old EPLF/ELF thinking. I am so sorry to see how this type of thinking shaping the political landscape of today’s Eritrea. Aggregate this types of thinking kills the whole country into destitute-a country without law and with full of migrants ac cross the world.

    Just to put things differently as a highlight to you, there is no inferiority and superiority complex between the two brotherly and sisterly people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. The people of Tigray consider all the Eritrean people as own brothers and sisters-even after the war. They help and support them in Tigray and other parts of Ethiopia even let Eritrean to learn in Universities. In similar manner, the people of Eritrea considers the people of Tigray as their own brothers and sisters (see the survey of anthropologist Alemesged Abay survey paper).

    My last advise, avoid the regression to zero thinking that kills thinking dynamics in a changing world. I hope the Eritrean youth may not follow such dead thinking but some one need to teach the dynamic thinking for the Eritrean youth or the Eritrean youth may have the chance to learn dynamic thinking in the refuge camps.


  • AMAN

    Dear Awates

    Greetings to All

    I found most part of this writing a smear campaign and an attempt to framing Eritrean history of the Armed
    struggle for attack by internal enemies and/or outsiders. This is nothing different than the usual past Ethiopian
    governments tactic of labeling, framing and putting words in the mouth of political opponents in an attempt to
    isolate or attack. It doesn’t reflect the realities of the time it is referring to other than coming to reflect the degree
    of hate that aching heart is into. It is the usual tactic of externalizing internal discomfort and inconvenience or
    insecurity from inability to catch up with the fast advancing changes and realities.
    One of the very embarrassing and self defeating ideas and ways or methods of thinking still lingers in Ethiopian
    society and which many in Ethiopia especially those blind supporters and followers of the past Ethiopian regimes
    inherited as a malicious and an afflicted individual and social value, character or behavior and by which he/she
    and the country’s politics can be identified easily is that the corrupt value of mischaracterizing facts, escapism
    and self delusion. Many in Ethiopia have emulated this destructive or abnormal psychology from the words an
    mouths of HSI and have carried it with them for decades until it finally ditched them into the depths now they find
    themselves in.
    Some of this denials and delusions they were into are :
    ( Deliberately uttered and propagated as facts by the propaganda machinery were )
    1. Eritreans are Arabs and are fighting for Arab cause not for the freedom of their country and Ethiopia.
    2. Eritreans say they are superior to Ethiopians……….
    3. And so on
    All for only one and the same purpose –
    To rule the Ethiopian people with a dictatorial system and to consolidate the seat of the king or chairman
    by externalizing the issue outwards and by keeping the people illiterate or someone made to look outwardly
    and not focus on what is going on inside the regime and/or the country.
    And I have seen that the TPLF/EPRDF also attempted to do the same but thanks to the new age of information
    and information technology it quickly crumbled down actually even worked against itself.
    So the only solution is to change your own self and way of thinking than attempting to live only by lying and / or
    distorting facts.

  • josef

    Mr. Malk,
    I think we are missing the element in argument. What we have is mixture is worst element of “maoist” and worst element of traditional culture mixed up in Gedhli generation. What you see in Eritrea is not a modern society. I know Eritrean get excited when they see Italian architecture… we are “modern”. There is nothing modern about Eritrea. Eritrea is a stone and the technology, political governance advances, intellectual progress made in Europe is water. Water doesn’t get into stone. it might cover it.
    By all measurement, we function like a feudal society no different than Bhutan and less like Cambodia. Remember the Gedhli generation up into late 1980’s had Albania as role model of perfect society. Can you imagine Albania as model society? It is most backward country in Europe…. most feudal and revenge oriented society..
    Its greatest modern output is
    That is what is in store for Eritrea.
    Remember Eritrea had no real civil society with solid function university or educated class since 1960s.
    I would assume about 85% of Gedli generation are functionally illiterate. What scares an eritrean more than bomb a book!
    Do you ever wonder why Eritrean function with mindset? elf vs eplf, oppos. vs pdjf, other black/white thinking.. master/slave
    It is indication of worst element of traditional culture brothers…
    Most of Eritrean discussion are binary that indicates to illiteracy or lack of education.
    Why is there discussion about Ethiopia… for God sake you have being independent for 25 years… can you imagine if you had told people like Father Sultan and Woldeab that Eritrean will leaving their country as refugee to go Ethiopia? What would they say…
    I ask any brave Gedhli generation folks to go an take out Wedi Dejamatch Abraha. Do what the Palestinian have been doing for 30+ years.. someone take out the disease… once you do that a reality check will come to country..
    To all Gedhli generation take out the garbage you created… No amount of writing or pseudo-intellectual scribbling to indicate profoundness… is going to change the picture..
    I am beginning to notice a lot gibberish or big words to give the air of sophistication or great insight..
    Chomsky has good view of those sort of folks..

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Hi Bahlbi

    Thank you for this interesting article. The following are few observations I want to make as I read your article.

    1. You said the 30 years war was waged “…in the quest for freedom, liberty, justice and democracy.” Then, you go on to tell us that your “… focuses on the socio-political and cultural transformation…under EPLF/PFDJ governance. ”

    Comment: EPLF came to being 20 years before independence, 1970 to be exact. Therefore, what you allege of A transformation aimed at a complete alteration of social life characterized by prohibition of all fundamental rights filled with political climate of fear, mutual distrust… “must have 20 years before independence. That means EPLF COULD NOT be part of the struggle “in the quest for freedom, liberty, justice and democracy.”

    2. You spent too much of your time, and readers time on regurgitating EPLF’s military culture.

    Comment: EPLF’s time was defined by the pressure its enemy applied on it. It waged a war of life and death; it finalized a cause that was thought to be of zero chance to ever get materialized. Military activities consumed huge part of its resource and attention. That doesn’t mean it didn’t contribute in other areas under emergency war situation, education, social services…For any genuine writer/researcher, the documents are available, you would not need to reference foreign authors.

    3. The way you put the role of women was purely sexist. You write “-EPLF has introduced a superficial emancipation of women where external appearances and militaristic behaviors (ሓጺር ስረ፣ሓጺር ጮግሪ፣ሓጺር ስጉምቲ ምውሳድ ከም ማዓርነት ተቆጺሩ) were viewed as signs of gender equality.”

    Comment: No, my friend. Wearing shorts was out of necessity, it wasn’t a choice.

    * “The replacement of feminine identity with artificially constructed roles and images of women… and behavioral resemblance of women to aggressive military men, which had generated tremendous role-confusions.”

    Comment: Incorrect. Military society has its own subculture, medical communities have their own, farmers….American female soldiers would project similar qualities…have you been stopped by a police female officer? You continue to tell us how that culture resulted in divorces, and having them to have trouble in reintegrating to society. Well, is there a surprise there unique to Eritrean tegadelti? You made your analysis based on sociological studies, yet you missed that sociologists would tell you someone who stayed in trenches would probably face similar problems. Eritrea as a whole was war-torn and traumatized, for some it was decades of separation, most of them left their families in their formative years.

    4. You also mixed myths and facts- the fact that intellectualism was not celebrated is not far from the truth. However, that attitude was in the higher hierarchy, and mostly for political reasons. Because educated people, if tolerated, would be better positioned to oppose the leadership. But you would find the same organization running schools all over Eritrea and as far as refugee camps of Eritreans in the Sudan, including technical “colleges”. It had a massive department dedicated to education where vigorous research and curriculum development/testing was conducted; a department that evolved with the evolution of the organization itself.”tmhrti nkulu” or “education for everyone” was its slogan. Generally, with the introduction of institutions (commissions) in the mid eighties, the organization had long moved from its early days of chogar danga. Therefore, giving it a sweeping condemnation that it was anti-education lacks merit. EPLF evolved and you could talk about stages of development.

    5. What’s striking is that you have completely omitted ELF from this EPLF/PFDJ (GHEDLI) bashing business. In reality, ELF also fought for the liberation of Eritrea for 20 years (exact number of years that EPLF existed as an organization). ELF introduced many schemes of social transformation through its “department of social affairs (hebretesebawi), from land redistribution to the idea of national service, to the rights of women…education…trying to eradicate bad practices such as FGM…under age and forced marriages…and so on. Now, my friend, go ahead condemn EPLF, but at least tell us through ELF some (even few) of the positive cultural contribution that the Eritrean revolution had made to Eritrean society. I’m fine with it. It’s amazing how determined you have been to deny the Eritrea revolution any positive cultural contribution. The hate of EPLF should not push you to an extreme.

    6. gebar dembar??? You write, “… Gebar Dembar(ገባር ደምባር)(the confused/blind civilian(s)) was equally descriptive phrase commonly used by EPLF fighters to denote their contempt for the civilian population and their way of life”

    Comment: I spent two decades within EPLF/PFDJ. I heard this saying few times, and it was within the context of urbanites’ jokes. Azmarino call rural dwellers as uncivilized, or gebar, fara…the same attitude was displayed by some and if was said within a serious context they were admonished for it. Therefore, would I consider every highlander that said “gabar Sahel” as having CONTEMPT for the lowlanders who were fighting in trenches along their side? Well, that’s how most highland tegadelti call lowland civilians, gabar sahel. I wish there were sensitivity workshops, but that’s the time and space we struggled in, and humans perspectives are bound by the time and space in which they live. I experienced many disparaging comments from the Urbanites, even if you challenge them intellectually, they would not believe you are civilized enough. To them, if you didn’t act Asmarino, you were not civilized enough (doesn’t matter if you are from the highland or the lowland). They were few. They didn’t represent ghedli. I assure you that you will not find credible source that will ascertain that EPLF tegadelti had a contempt for their people. On the contrary, you will find plenty of resources that will show you that ghedli and the population were hand in glove or as we say it in Tigrigna “mayn xeban”, that’s if you want to be a fair and impartial researcher.

    7. You write about a deviant culture: EPLF had not suddenly erupted from somewhere. There was no “Big Bang” that created a monstrous culture from nothing in trillionth of a second. No, EPLF/GHEDLI, lived and fought among its people. 75% of Eritrea had been under its administration long before independence. Therefore, to say that EPLF’s spatial separation from “the mainstream society” is incorrect. Which mainstream are you talking about? The rural Kebessa, Sahel, SenHit, SemHar, Sahel, North Dankalia, Gashbaka societies are not mainstream? I suspect this incorrect understanding of Eritrea and its society/societies is the cause of your wrong analysis and assumptions. This paternalistic attitude reminds of Harbegna wayanay which claimed to be closer to Eritreans than the EPLF, because the EPLF “bogged it self in the trenches of Sahel”). So, Eritreans were not oblivious of ghedli “culture, neither the EPLF tegadelti were alien to Eritrean culture. But war has effects and certainly it left scars on them and they should have gotten assistance to transition themselves to civilian life. This is where I agree with you.

    8.ghedli was monstrous. It consumed lives and properties’. Many crimes were committed under its banner. We would wish it did not happen, or it happened gentler. But it did take its course. When we look back at it, we have to be careful in our statements and “facts” lest not burry its positive contribution in Eritrean society. There are many positive cultural contributions. And yes, our bayto adi laws is full of junkies. Therefore, it needs careful research and practice to marry the good elements of the traditional laws, where the cheQas, deglels, and Nazrats had the supreme say, where women and the poor had little political inputs, with modern state concepts. It’s disingenuous to claim that our traditional laws and practices didn’t have elements that shouldn’t have been eradicated. That’s what ghedli tried to do. Of course, the leftist ideology of that time made that effort rougher than it should be. In reality, there are parts of our traditional laws that we should restore and preserve, and there are parts that need to be eradicated.

  • አልአዛር ግርማ ኃይለማርያም


    Wsup access to sea? How u livin?

  • Aklilu Hailu

    Dear Bahlbi, Thank you for the laugh 🙂

    “…But the fact of the matter is that Ethiopia was colonized from 1935-1941 where Emperor Hailesilassie was exiled in the UK for five years. And with the help of British, they were able to oust the Italian colonization from Ethiopia.”

    By your logic, France was colonized by Germany (1940-45). I understand your concept of colonization has been completely twisted by Shabiya whom you used to worship before but come on, you can’t be that confused to understand difference between colonization and invasion. In any case, it was amusing reading your piece trying to distance your romantic ghedli ideas with its monstrous reality. Goodluck trying to split a hair strand that is one and the same.


  • AMAN

    Dear Awates
    Greetings ,
    I do not trust those who be hard on Eritreans and Eritrea.
    They are the most unpatriotic bunches among a patriotic
    people in a patriotic country. I always feel that they /their
    love and loyalty is for the ruling regimes than the people
    and the country in order to benefit their personal needs
    by being in the payroll of the regime. They have always
    to sing for the regimes who always use Eritrea as a scape
    goat for failure in their administrations.
    So we Ethiopians see the ones who hate Eritrea and are
    always against everything Eritrean just as corrupt and
    unpatriotic citizens who live only for the benefits the regimes
    throw at them for their use as disposables. Contrary to them
    We the true & patriotic Ethiopians are so proud of Eritrea and
    Eritreans for the pioneering and leading role they played in
    bringing Ethiopia to its right self from the destructive nihilist
    path it was going under the successive regimes of HSI, WPE
    & WOYNAE in a nation building process based on faulty ideas
    and unjust politics and practices.
    These three regimes and their followers have badly failed Ethiopia
    and its people while the patriotic Eritrea and Eritreans were paying
    heavy sacrifices and rising to the challenges the country was going
    through in pulling Ethiopia and its people from the muddy & swampy
    waters it had been sinking into for over 50 years.
    Thanks to the leadership role Eritrea and the Eritrean people under its two
    political organizations of ELF & EPLF played while all the rest of Ethiopia
    was still sleeping in illiteracy, ignorance or indifference to Liberate the whole
    Ethiopia and Ethiopian people from the oppression and lack of peace and
    justice by bringing the Ethiopian revolution in 1974 and completely defeating
    the oppressive WPE regime in 1991 in a 30 years struggle of sacrifice and victory.

  • T..T.

    Hi all,

    Many of Isayas’s classmates, who witnessed students taking the Eritrean case to the streets, confirm that never a day Isayas joined the students of Leul Mekonnen High School students who poured onto the streets of Asmara with the other student protesters. Yes, many Eritrean revolutionists consider Isayas, from the very start, as a counter-revolutionary infiltrator who came with an agenda, the agenda that focused on destroying the Eritrean revolution and the agenda under which the Eritrean revolution lost its touch with the Eritrean people.

    The author, Bahlibi said, “Every revolution has its strengths and weaknesses.” Let’s see if any strength:

    Revolutions in the world helped people to build revolutionary characters of fighting evils and unfairness.

    If a change forces people to sit in perpetual hardship by denying them to rise from their loss and pains, it is not a revolution. It must be a counterrevolution.

    If a change promotes oppression and cruelty on the whole people, it is not a revolution. It must be neo-colonization that is cursed with the tragedy of silence of the Eritrean Diasporas over the tyrant’s repulsive policies.

    If a change imposes silence to the conceit and arrogance of the new colonizer, it is not a revolution. It must be slavery.

    To the members of PFDJ and YPFDJ, the cruelty of the system and the pains of the victims are “not a big deal.”

    To the victims of the tyrant, the cruelty and crimes committed are excessive and so big deal that the victims and their families join hands to confront the evil condemning and blaming the tyrant including those around him and those associated with him as well as all those members of PFDJ, YPFDJ, and even the whole of Hamasien unless they disassociate themselves clearly.

  • Yoty Topy

    Hi Bahlibi,
    Thank you for this brilliant and riveting article. I enjoyed reading it a lot .You really hit the nail on the head with your incisive take on the affliction forced upon our society by this ‘deviant subculture’ that metamorphosised in exile. You know, as someone who was born in a remote rural village , I remember that we were expected( the kids) to kiss every elders’ feet every time we encounter their presence. It is funny that this custom was , either rare or our village elders really cheated us , for I never heard someone mentioned about this before:) Anyway, it is from that unblemished reverence to elders to calling them ‘ኣንተ/ኣንቺ?’is we are at now.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Yoty,
      Indeed Bahlbi assured me we are fine. If we lose our memories of our cultural values, we are doomed. Going to the respect of elders, here is a similar description from chapter 8 of my book “of kings and Bandits:

      “Jemal had learned early that whenever he met old people, he should kiss their knees. “You will live as long as the old people,” his parents repeatedly reminded him. The old man would ask Jemal, “Whose son are you?” Then he blesses him: “May your knees stay rigid.”

      That blessing motivated the children to kiss more knees. Jemal sometimes kissed the knees of people he didn’t know if they appeared old. The kneecaps, the ‘eyes of the knee’ are much valued: tradition recognizes the humiliating condition of not being able to walk; losing the ability to support yourself on your feet and losing the capacity to move freely. The idea scared the people more than any plague would.

      • Yoty Topy

        Hi Saleh Johar,

        Thanks for sharing the paragraph with us. It is noted as Jamal kissing elders’ knees on the paragraph and I do remember kissing elders’ feet. Was this the custom in the areas that you are familiarize with ? I am sure it varried from place to pace.

        You might be asking what is the difference anyway ?:) And I say , I am just angling for maximum blessings returns for kissing the dusty barefeet 🙂

      • B. Malk

        Hi Saleh, I have read your books and they are a great addition to Eritrean literature. I would recommend to anyone. You are a gifted storyteller, indeed.

  • Solomon Haile

    Dear Abay,

    You had me on One Love One ‘Aert…
    Do you suppose PIA by Via smokes ‘erbs to export Tosh’s marketingmechanized delight?
    No water can turn of dis fire
    Kaya kayo
    Naty Dred Rides!

  • Abi

    Ej enesalehu Talaqu Abay!!!
    Abay, Abay
    Yager adbar, yager sisay!!
    You are as magnanimous as the river Abay.
    Please come often.

    • Solomon Haile

      Dear Abi,
      weHaTio tebelkwas tekHomsiO!
      B Wecho gelbitkas swa tsiray kemamuQoka driEto wecho tegolbibka zHla tre sga CheliTeley! HmbrrrHmbrrr. ZaEgol shAHshaH bale sanTa na Jacket Chogar Danga Kunama…
      Wrtu rguti yblu ORamanawian.
      Btsegam tsefiEka Gam Man Gam tseGam man ZOmbie yelelit wef tlalesf Etiopia twdem new tikdem?
      Inie nja tezebareQegn
      DA AO Ao Da AO

  • Admas

    Hi all,
    If there is anything this elemantery writer proves, it is the fact that Eritreans can not sustain their idenitity without having to define themselves in relation to Ethiopians…Italian occupation of Ethiopia for a mare 4 or 5 years may be called coloniztion or what not, but it was at least a resisted “colonization” unlike Eriteans who slpet with their colonizer for over 50 years without lifting a finger…even in relation to other colonies such as Zimababwe or Kenyans tanzania uganda who all had colonial names but got rid off it after indipendence Eritreans are the only colony who take pride in their abused past and lost so much just to preserve their master’s legacy “Eritrea”…the irony is Ethiopia was colonized as well as NOT- colonized depending on which argument Eritreans need it for…when they need it to prove their separate history, Ethiopia was not colonized hence has no common history with Eritrea…when they need it to feel equal with Ethiopians they want to bring down Ethiopia to their level by calling it colonized…Typical….the good news is they have yet to gain anything from form their lifelong hatred for Ethiopia….their lose will always outweigh their gain..If they don’t know it by now they will never know it!..

  • Hope

    Selamat Bahlibi Y Malik!
    Hope you are not the Bahlibi Malik that I know but if so,proud of him !
    Well analysed topic.
    We all along have known the Modus Operandi of the EPRP/PFDJ Leadership.
    The challenge is as to why we have failed despite we have known these crimes and tactics.
    Talk about solutions!

    • Solomon Haile

      Dear Hope,

      How can you “hope you he is not”
      And then “be proud of him.”

      Either this is the quintisebtial “Hope” or it is a case of dawit’s rhetorical grammar syndrome.
      It could also be Nay wlQawi srHit slti.
      Please do not correct on the pretext of grammar/typo.

      I have declares war on living by HOPE in my mental arena. Technocrasism RULES and all will be marked by the Devil’s number 666.

  • Peace!

    Dear Bahlibi,

    ተዓወት ተዓወት እንታይ ገዲፍካ thank you!! It really sheds a light that dealing with the legacy of PFDJ will be hard and extremely complicated than anything our people are facing. obviously your well written article is indeed a good starter, and should also serve as a wake up call to opposition groups and justice seekers that the struggle to restore the good culture and values of Eritreanism has not even started.


    • B. Malk

      Peace, thank you. Yes, indeed. Enough gual mengedi and time to focus on the tragedy at hand,

  • Abi

    Hi author
    25 years after the still born independence, or dead on arrival independence, you are still talking about Amhara, Oromo, Ethiopia…
    It only shows your arrogance and extremely self inflated ego which His Excellency Atse Isayas Afeworqi the Anointed King of The Great Kingdom of Eritrea, is trying extremely hard to deflate.
    I have said before and I don’t mind repeating it here that the majority of qebesa highlanders are arrogant, suffering from self inflicted hate to others, extremely greedy to own two countries, ( Ethiopia yegarachin, Eritrea yeglachin BS)
    One more thing
    Your independence struggle was a madness that has NOTHING to do to the benefit of Eritreans. NOTHING AT ALL! Do you hear me? I said NOTHING!!
    Happy Independence Day to Ethiopia!!!!!!!
    BTW, I’m Amhara.

    • Peace!

      Dear Bahlibi,

      ተዓወት ተዓወት እንታይ ገዲፍካ thank you!! It really sheds a light that dealing with the legacy of PFDJ will be hard and extremely complicated than anything our people are facing. obviously your well written article is indeed a good starter, and should also serve as a wake up call to opposition groups and justice seekers that the struggle to restore the good culture and values of Eritreanism has not even started.


    • haqi

      [Begin your comments with salution]
      no you are not. otherwise, you would use your full name. tefalitna alena. ghn silemntay nay ertra website tiketatel aleka?!

    • Eyob Medhane


      Did you read his (the writer’s) utter arrogance and disdain to Ethiopian people (of course he sliced and diced them between ethnic groups, as his type have been trained to do for fifty years)…He said “…the Amhara people are “infested” with ‘Aend hizb nen’ syndrome”, as if that is a bad thing, while his type of are “infested” with a self hate and self loathing syndrome, that is hating his own three thousand years of history of Axum that he could have been proud of. Yes. Mengistu was ABSOLUTELY right. The bandits have sold Eritrea to the Arabs. (Check, who is in command in Assab now) But this time, Ethiopia and Ethiopians care less for what they are doing to it… The sad thing is it is his type that is helping to facilitate the ultimate extinction of highland Eritrea that is caused the combination of self hate, arrogance and cowardice….

      • Hope

        Selam Eyob:
        None of your business to talk about as to who is in command at Aseb Port.
        I wish the G C C ” commanded” our Red Sea since 1991.
        Too late to cry crocodile tears and Aseb will no longer be the source of Drinking Water for our Gallant Camels!
        Aseb is now the Pearl of the Red Sea in all aspects besides being the source of a $Trillion from Potash Mining with more than 300 years of Mine Life.
        It will be the Singapore of Red Sea.
        Yes,indeed,it will be the Free Trade Zone for the more than 45% of the World’s Shipping Lanes!

        • Solomon Haile

          Dear Hope,

          Consistent with your wish you don’t think Arabic as an Eritrean Official language… I said I will be saying Happy New Year until. June 14th but I have reverted back to an older calander so it is a paradigm shift?

          Pink Floyd: “share it ware it but don’t take a piece of my pie.”
          I challenge you to a duel. You Sir are a theif!
          We shall joust utilizing donkey backs on Godena Harinet on April 1st. 2017. The King shall be invited to deliver hus Charlie Brown speach: dna na na na dna na na dna na na:: dna dnannnnanna dna! Enashenifalen dna nannanna:: Period!

      • Abi

        Anten mesay jegna lene yeseTegnin
        Mewdeden wededkut yante yaregegnin” . I love muluqen melese.
        Self hate of the zombies is understatement. It is self distraction with no match .
        The self hating book burning zombies are telling us unity is the worst thing on the face of earth.
        Self distraction in the name of self determination. Ha ha ha…
        Bere hoy, bere hoy
        Sarun ayehna gedelun satay.

      • Dear Eyob and Abi,

        Unfortunately, he is still in square one. There is nothing one can do about it. The disease is called “hate for Ethiopia”, a chronic debilitating disease that may kill the patient one day, unless such people come to understand that the disease and its treatment is the same, Ethiopia.

        Kebessa Eritrean arrogance is measured on whether they sit at the table at meals with their children or not. Putting the Kebessa Eritreans and Afars and other minority ethnic groups equally under scrutiny for arrogance (the last are at the receiving end of Kebessa arrogance and chauvinism), is simply protecting the culprit. Is it Afars who called an Ethiopian ethnic group “adgi Amhara? Just see how far such people go.

        He calls the EPLF that was ruled by elite Eritreans, the tenth ethnic group, as if he did not know that they had annulled ethnicities and cultures by forcing upon the fighters the pan-eritrean identity of hadi hizbi and hadi libi, that transcend everything in Eritrea and was meant to create a one monolithic society that puts the Eritrean people in servitude chained to serve the EPLF/PFDJ ethno-chauvinistic ruling class with DIA the emperor. Looking at the final result, one can only say that the fighters were sacrificed for the wrong cause, and for the grandiosity of one man and one elite group of men and women. Fortunately, the Eritrean society seems to gradually understand the truth. This culture of Gedli was brought from the fields to the cities, and implemented as it is.

        May be no revolution may ever have started out of the desire to die or kill, but it can be started by opportunists who want to have their own fiefdom where they could be the uncontested rulers of the land. That is why EPLF leaders, killed, intimidated, disappeared and waged wars on contesting forces, because their cause was unholy in the first place. Their actions in the fields during Gedli and in cities and towns after independence speak for themselves. Why would EPLF kill if they believed that Eritreans were in the field to sacrifice themselves equally and to fight oppression, if power was not the main issue?

        As if being colonized is a common trait among Africans and they should fight on the side of the colonizer and die for him so that they remain colonized, the author accuses Ethiopians for uniqueness, because they say they have never been colonized. May be this is the reason they labeled Ethiopia as a colonizer. He calls the five years occupation, colonization, and he tells us that the occupiers had inflicted tremendous abuse and aggravated killings on a great scale, just to show that we are on equal grounds. Nevertheless, he has forgotten that the Italians could do this to Ethiopia and Ethiopians with help of Eritrean Askaris, who were proud to die for the whiteman.

        Look at “Ethiopia is not older than 83”. Highland Eritreans can say the most unbelievable thing in order to deny their Habesha and Abyssinian identity and abandon their 3000 yrs history. They deny their Christian culture, their Geez script which take them to the early centuries of the Christian era. Nevertheless, deny them these and they will say we are more Christian, Habesha and Abyssinian than anybody else, and our history is recorded in Geez and the Axumite kingdom is part of our history. This is what I call complete confusion.

        Eritrea belonged to the Ottoman Turkeys, the Egyptians and Italians but never to Ethiopia. When did Eritrea really belong to Eritreans? Was it the last 25 yrs when the land is emptying of its people and its owners live far from the land they say they fought for? Indeed some Eritreans are really exceptional, for only exceptional people deny their history and identity, call slavery freedom, continuous sacrifice a great ideal in life, etc. Fortunately, Ethiopians do not deny their history and their identity. Thanks, the Almighty.

        • Abi

          Selam Horizon
          I beg to differ !
          Actually, I’m
          Happy when Eritreans deny the proud Abesha Identity. I hate to share this proud identity with sleepwalking, self hating and confused zombies.
          Look how the author developed his case. He mentioned the intermarriage between the Eritrean Afar with the Djibouti Afar, he mentioned the intermarriage between the Sudanese and West Eritrea. That is it. There was no intermarriage between Ethiopians and Eritreans. End of story. What is funny is the deafening silence of the sleepwalking people . No one dare to remind him Eritreans share the 3000 years history.
          Luckily, I stopped reading the garbage halfway.
          I also believe in the uniqueness of Eritreans. It is only Eritreans who willingly work day and night for self distraction. They don’t mind dying for the Italian colonizer as Askaris or the Arabs in the name of self determination.
          Ethiopia Tiqdem!!

          • Solomon Haile

            Selam Abi,
            You failed to mention they also killed Shefatu and died for mama Ethiopia… It seems you are also as much of a hypocrite when reading and writing as well as killing though it remains to be seeing on the hour of your death where like everyone else REPENTANCE saves…
            Just saying…

          • Nitricc

            “I also believe in the uniqueness of Eritreans. It is only Eritreans who willingly work day and night for self distraction. They don’t mind dying for the Italian colonizer as Askaris or the Arabs in the name of self determination.
            Ethiopia Tiqdem!!

            I also believe in the uniqueness of Eritreans; despite their 4-5 million population, They kicked the 90 million Ethiopians and left them land-locked. talk about the uniqueness and the meaning of self determination. next time i hope you refrain from insulting the whole population.

          • Abi

            Hi militia wetader Nitricc
            ( you are demoted)
            In case you forgot derg cut its right hand with its left. No one under the sun kick us out .
            In the border war your gallant fighters were running for their lives with their tails between their legs. Meles saved the day! Your leaders were packing to flee with the land cruisers gassed up to the brim. Eritrean government could not survive from that whacking. Hey, one more reminder? We are still in your sovereign territory called badma meret. Why don’t you kick us out? Wanna try?
            Do you know what badma means? You guessed it! It means EMPTY! Why are we there? You guessed right again! Because we can!
            Ethiopia Hadursitu!!!
            Take it is , General.

          • Solomon Haile

            Dear General Explisive,
            Kabomboomboom convoluted eh! Have a Molson with your Montreal Expos.

        • Eyob Medhane


          Not only Afars…the murder, the slaughter and the robbing of their lands of the Kunama by the Kebessa, the writer maay not call that “arrogance” and “racisim” but, it purely is…The main reason of discraminattion of the Kunama by the Kebessa is their skin color….

    • AMAN

      [from the moderator: AMAN, you have been told many times to stop blaming the moderators for anything you fancy. If you do not like the service this forum provides, please move on. Otherwise focus on your debates and leave the moderators alone. Your abuses are annoying.]

      Hello Abi
      Note :
      My post above was addressed to
      Abi & other Ethiopians at Awate site.
      but it didn’t appear on the title I put it >
      (Awate moderators know better why it
      didn’t appear in its right place though !)

    • Hope

      Guad Abi,The WPE/ESEPPA Remnant Standing Member!
      Again Saiterut Abiet Dailikut Wediet.
      Ayaghebahim ayyimelketihimim .
      As far as defendingamma Estopia,go and fight the TPLF Gang,who has messed up your Namma Estopia,unless you are an Under-Cover TPLF Agent here.

      • Abi

        Hope Nebsi
        This is Guad Abiyot from ESEPA central committee
        I ORDER the tplf gang to kick your sorry thing. Kind of Abiyotawi ermija.
        Keep counting the zeros in a trillion.
        Take it easy.
        Yours Truly, Ras Abi.

    • tes

      Selam Likemenber Abi,

      Enat Ager endemin alech? Dana neh hoY!

      Guad Eyob mindinew yemilew? YeAreboch chigir altefetsemew ende?


      • Abi

        Selamat Tes
        Enat Ager is busy celebrating the 25 wedding anniversary of her daughter.
        Guale selel beli,selel beli
        Guale selel beli …
        ( my favorite Eritrean wedding song) . May be you don’t know it since you are busy boletiking. Take a break from politics, Tes wedey.

        Alnegerkushim woy kehulu asqedme
        Arab wushima enji bal ayhonim biye.

  • Solomon Haile


    What ego the gnome has! And that makes the title laughable. I guess no Keg of tea for the reading ding ding dong.

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