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Grassroots view: The Discourse of Martyrdom and Sovereignty (P2)

In Part I tried to show two separate narratives or discourses around martyrdom, sovereignty, and nationalism as represented by the dominant Party-State versus the grassroots or popular views. I also argued the Party-State’s intense propaganda that the population have been subjected to on its own, cannot explain why the majority of the communities, at least in the Highlands, have to continue to affirm their allegiance to the ‘martyrs’ legacy’. I concluded by pointing to the importance of looking into the common people’s understanding of the notions related to martyrdom and nationalism.

In their daily contact and conflict the villagers in Highland Eritrea would be engaged in a dispute over possession or use of land or any other dispute of ownership rights. As is the practice, one may invoke to the highest earthly authority to make a forceful appeal to the sense of fairness of a hearer. In ‘the name of the law’ or ‘in the name of the state’ would be the commonest language used in situation where the complainant is soliciting something desired ዝባን መንግስቲ፡ (in the name of the state) was then replaced with ዝባን ገድሊ (in the name of revolution/struggle) in the areas that fell under the jurisdiction of the struggle era organizations.

When exactly ዝባን ስዉኣት! ‘in the name of the martyr’ was introduced and how people adopted it may not be known, but certainly this was not introduced by decree.  It is most likely that the awareness that the heroes don’t die ordinary death but are martyred emerged and gained popularity in that era of armed struggle. And it occurred to the people those who to fall while fighting the enemy have to be acknowledged for the highest self-sacrifices they had to pay.

The utterance of the word (martyr) ስዉእ in ዝባን ስዉእ (in the name of the martyr) is communicated with such power and emotion to bringing about a desired outcome, in many cases actual response favourable to the complainant.  The response, beyond its communicative function is expected to produce action i.e., that of persuading or prohibiting.

Change in socio-political order are accompanied with new kind of social use of language. In post 1991 period we note that the elements of language used in pre-1991 being carried over to the post-1991 and being reproduced in the areas previously under occupation.

Two villages

Let me now present to you tape-recorded episodes of litigation in real-life that served as evidences in my research. The first one was recorded from a scene in the village of Adi-Nfas and it concerns a dispute over a plot of land for the construction of a house. The litigants in the dispute were standing before a communal court judges and this is how the legal arguments went on:

The complainant, in making a reference to a relative position of the land in question and addressing the presiding judge said: ‘ናብ ገረብ ስዉኣት ገጹ’ (towards martyr’s plant/trees).  The defendant then interjects ስዉኣት ኣይተላዕሎም! ስዉኣት ኣይተላዕሎም! Literally translated don’t mention the martyrs name; but connotatively meaning “don’t take their name in vain” or “don’t desecrate their name”. (Hailemariam, 2007).  Over the years, there seems to have developed a cult of the martyrs, which is why the slightest disrespect to the martyrs is received with horror and zero tolerance.

In the neighbouring village Emba-Derho a legal dispute of similar context was audio-recorded.  Although the language is typically of legal and social nature and as formal as in the above example, there appeared a lady who spoke in a rather emotionally charged tone. Embittered by the injustice she experienced, the her statement, the lady complained to the judges, “I will go around Karneshim with a frame of my martyred daughter in my hand so people may show sympathy for me”. She said that while shedding her tears in anger and frustration.

Looking at the features of the above legal language of communication, in spite of the formality of the setting, the lady’s talk was of a mixed nature i.e. partly formal and partly spontaneous. On the other hand, if we take a close look at the aggrieved lady’s declaration that she is a mother of martyred daughter, has another cultural implication. The sense of pride she feels by associating herself with a martyr. And trust, which is based on shared values of the society is to be taken for granted. But, in no way can one say the lady was pretending. (my filed note).

Another feature of significance relates to irrationalities of the party-state’s top-down process of nation-building projects.  She prefered to call her wereda/ district customarily known as “Karneshim” instead of “ንኡስ ዞባ ሰረጀቓ” as in the Zoba/Sub-Zoba model which was introduced in 1996.

It is quite interesting to observe the difference between what the elite-led change in the traditional administrative divisions purported to achieve and the actual practice ten years after its introduction (at the time of this study). The claimed rationale for arbitrary redrawing of the regional boundaries was to abolish narrow regional and sectarian sentiments. As can be discerned from the above, the lady’s choice of the original name of her district suggests preference to her traditional local identity over changed (imposed) local identity.

The implication of the above isolated but nontrivial event is telling. No matter how limited in scope, the implication of these ‘snapshots’ have much more significant meaning at broader societal level.  This is well supported by the study conducted in the same village by a non-Eritrean scholar.

David O’Kane describes how the Village of Emba Derho, responded to the Party-state efforts at promoting a new national identity at a crucial point in Eritrea’s recent history (O’kane, 2012). He found out how the village of Emba Derho had resisted an elite led nation-building project that got it into a confrontation with the state.  The village wanted to retain its independent rights to its own land.  Traditionally, land in the Highlands is considered not only as an economic asset but also a cultural and identity making resources. The state’s tampering with traditional land tenure system was tantamount to an assault on the very socio-cultural identity of the village. The author observed, residents’ assertion to retain their land right, in accordance with the traditional land ownership system, is closely linked with their own local, subnational identities. However, the village’s allegiance to the nation was demonstrated by the respects it accords to its martyrs. He referrers to this as “selective response to the state’s nation-building projects”. I find the following quotation highly relevant in as much as it captures the connection between popular view of martyrdom and nationalism in a nutshell.

“Hade hezbi, hade lebi, ‘one people, one heart’: I had seen this slogan prominently displayed at the Festival Eritrea, and I saw it again etched into the concrete floor of a house in the village of Emba-Derho. In Eritrea in 2000, outside those arenas specifically controlled by the government, it was rare to see such voluntary, popular use of the slogans and iconography of the nation-state. Only once in Emba-Derho did I see a household where the photograph of President Issaias Afeworki was prominently displayed. What is commonly and prominently displayed in the vast majority of households in Emba-Derho are the martyrs’ certificates, reminders of those who lost their lives in the liberation struggle” (O’ Kane, 318: 2012)

The transnational field

  1. June 14, 2016. It was an event to commomerate and celebrate Eritrean martyrs in general. In was an event that brought together Eritrean’s in the justice seeking camp, a BBC journalist and two (professional musicians (non-Eritreans). Alongside the usual sombre ritual, there was a discussion around the topic, ‘Honouring Our Martyrs’.  The following were some highlights of the discussion:

1.1 Should there be a specific day for martyrs Remembrance Day? And how was the date 20th of June selected?  What are the implication of erecting a statue for Pushkin while Asmara bears no icon of the heroes of the armed struggle? Unsung heroes were mention, such as Kebire who is considered to be the first martyr, or Alem Mesfin the first female martyr; to date they have not received the respect they deserve.

1.2. The selected day is the same day in which Isaias Afwerki announced that there will not be a ‘multiplicity of organizations’. Was this ominous of what was to come?  But, the need for the selection of one particular day that symbolically binds the Eritrean society was not be debated.

1.3. And finally, the most recurrent question is whether the legacy of the martyrs has been betrayed.

The festive season (25th year celebration). Self-sacrifices has been at the centre of Eritrean nationalism for which the martyrs were celebrated. Now, between the Eritrean villages mentioned in the examples above and the world lies the party-state’s structures of control and ideological apparatus.  In that week long festivity, the ‘diaspora nationalists’ were not only celebrating but also celebrated in recognition of their sacrifices to ‘protect the sovereignty of the land’. On May 24, 2016 they stood out and shined by their outfits and glowing faces which reflected the nutritional benefits of living in the West. At Meda Bahti Meskerem, waving the flags of their countries of adoption and that of Eritrea, they paraded victoriously.  In a stark contrast, a gloomy looking man can be heard boldly saying in reply to the BBC reporter’s question, “No life……  I am no life …. [because] ‘too much hungry”.

That was one depiction of the many paradoxes that the Eritrean transnational political field presents.  I don’t see any point in indulging in the details other than referring it to readers to figure out what they would make of the two realities that the journalist’s reported.


The willingness to shed one’s blood for the realization of the imagined homeland has been the foundation of Eritrean patriotism. Many non-Eritrean writers agree that the Eritrean story of armed struggle is unparalleled by African standards for its unique resilience. The level of tenacity that the Eritrean society had shown was beyond what one can imagine, and the human suffering so enormous that no society would be willing to bear. The Party-State appropriated all nation-building projects including national symbols to serve its own narrow partisan interests. On the other hand, to unfairly treat national symbols on the grounds that the Party-State has a monopoly of, hence, justice seekers should distance themselves from, will sounds a little unreasonable.

On the other hand, a growing frustration among the populace at the appalling outcome of the heavy sacrifices that Eritreans has to pay is understandable.   This is the particularly the case if we engage in outcome rather than process oriented analysis of martyrdom.

In the forgoing we have seen how the three stands i.e. martyrdom, sovereignty and nationalism that tie up the individual to the nation have been manipulated by the state.  By their very nature they can be easily available for both political elite or counter-elites to rally people behind. So, in this two-part article, it is the grassroots’ view that have been argued for or foregrounded. And I wish to suggest that these views and the values placed on the above mentioned three strands to be upheld and cherished. Also, all those who have a stake in the future of the country need to be involved in matters of nation-building, including the utilization of all social, cultural, political, and symbolic resources in as much as they are meaningful to the society at large.


Hailemariam, C. 2007.Discourse and Social Change: language in the traditional /communal courts in Eritrea.  Proceedings of the First National Workshop of the Eritrea Chapter. Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa – OSSREA. Pp 31-42.

O’Kan, David. 2012. Limits to State-Led Nation-Building? An Eritrean Village Responds Selectively to the Plans of the Eritrean Government. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism: Vol. 12, No. 2. Pp 309-325

Riggan, Jennifer.  Imagining Emigration: Debating National Duty in Eritrean Classrooms. Africa Today, Volume 60, Number 2, Winter 2013, pp. 84-106.

About Chefena Hailemariam

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  • Desata Tella


    ሓቂ ብርእሳ እተቐበርካያስ ብእግራ ትቕልቀል!

    1. ሓቀኛ መበገሲ ጠንቂ ኩናት ባድመ ንህዝቢ ኤርትራ ንምታይ ተኸዊሉ?

    2. ጠንቂ መበገሲ ዶብ ኩናት ኤርትራን ኢትዮጵያን ናይ ባሓቂ ዶብ ባድመ ድዩስ ፤ ወይስ ቅድሚ 1998 ካሊእ ዝተጠጀአ ናይ ህግደፍ መርዚ እዩ ነዚ ኩናት ባድመ ከምዝባራዕ ጌርዎ?

    ብጭብጥታት ተሰንዩ ክቐርበልኩም እዩ

    ንሙሉእ ትሕዝትኡ ኣብ ቀጻሊ የራኽበና!

    • Hope

      Selam Desata Tella:
      With all due respct,Sir/Madam,for the sake of honesty and fairness,can you argue also that the 1998 Ethio-Eritrea War was conspired and initiated by the TPLF considering all the facts and the preceding events and incidents?
      -It was PIA,who tried his best to de-escalate issues until May 1998!
      -PMMZ(RIP),declared and confirmed publically saying that he finally succeeded in provoking PIA to go to war ,which was backed up by facts on the ground and tons of the circumstantial evidence !
      So,please do not insult the Intelligence.
      Our grievance with/against PIA is for :
      -Not informing us about the above facts and incidents ahead of time(The Adi Murug,the Baduma and other border related incidents and the plight of ERITREANS in the border and the torturee of the ERITREANS (Border area Residents) by the TPLF Militias,the Abay Tigray Republic Map incorporating big chunks of pur Sovereign Lands,etc….)

      -Unilatrerally deciding things ,which were potentially against the National Security Interest of Eritrea.
      -Trustimg Tigreayans over the ERITREANS

  • said

    Selamat Solomon

    “If a person do willingly flatten his intellect by a concept, true or false, that is his right to please himself in mentally masticate it, but not necessarily impose it on others.
    Alfredo Lama.”
    When we try to understand and attempting to analyse what is happening in Eritrea , it is important to appreciate and understand past horrific problems , civil ,regional, ethnicity ,social and political manipulation processes that led us to where we are today. Understanding the subtle and delicate tectonic plates of our short a living history that led Eritrea towards cruel. Dictatorship a fascism state of post communism is very essential. Some time human action is deemed to have been moulded and shaped by the dead weight of understanding our own history or forces beyond our grasp and control.
    The point here is how a mere individual DIA has moulded and shaped and continues unabated to shape society. A person known for same time with psychopathic personalities.

    DIA is taken Eritreans on a journey of endless misery and suffering and of war without end, where no offer of compromise was ever enough, and where all forms of moderation were seen as weak and betrayal. DIA grasped total power and mercilessly imposed his fascism views and deadly deeds on Eritrea . In order to get power, DIA concludes that population need to be controlled by all means
    Salamat Solomon
    available, get killed and liquidating his comrade, his way to the top of pyramid it has been due to his cruelty and the butchery. AS they say good guys have tended to finish last.

    Psychopathy is a personality disorder identified by characteristics such as a Lack of kindness, compassion, empathy , remorse, mega egocentricity, superficial personal ,manipulative charm, manipulatives, indifferent, irresponsibility and impulsivity. DIA extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc.” – definition of a psychopath from Dictionary.com

    Today Eritreans seem to feel that their hard won war is being rubbed in their faces. And they are not wrong. It is simply one of those intractable sad situations where their dream ,hope and aspiration being stolen from under their feet ,where nothing will feel right. For the loss the Eritreans. is really the loss of generations, a sad story by itself. For the young they are now a people without a future , a traumatized people, devastated by decades of war and migration, whose dream of independence d and freedom , was hijacked by the DIA and his henchmen

  • Solomon

    Selamat T.T.,

    Only patient people like Saay, (and a younger cat who goes bye Sala mHretu btSuE), AH you etc… have patience to read KierKegaard –heck even his name is as hard to spell and say as GebretSadiQ or AbdulraHman….
    (Mann! KierKegaard, Saay was right..Despite—>

    While, I will not take yours or MH’s corner on your irreconcilable differences etc… etc… Until I do some more digging, I will ask you this question or + on a principles/philosophical level. =>>>> this krgrd dude’s statement TT quoted being simple enough… TT went ahead and encrypted. Now, I can’t even right the question or equation I want a straight answers for…)

    1. My appologies TT and all. I will bring my pencil and paper.
    Be back…Oh TT.An Amharic saying/msla in the mean time: “unqulal Qes be Qes Ugru yhedal”
    Okay let me do Colombo… But but Sir. Mengistu did not die..
    Oh yea.. Pencil and paper…

    • Solomon


      It is times like this that I would apply “”SuQ ilka msmAEE” and lean heavy on GoneSJ! Ywredeka yaEke skhaKhiA..
      And hope disqus yada yada yada…where is byemen and Hayat Adem…but I am a grown man and I wouldn’t even say that to a child! Unless we are in a fox hole or difaE OR I am listening to Estifanos “zemach” in Conney Island or Far Rockaway beach with (All I need in this life is me and my girl friend! PAC) –> “ktHalfi riAiki, leka gual Umdurman tegadalit ikHi… Wait for it! The Remix!) Is me and my girl friend!
      The pencil and paper I have.
      My question:
      (Based on: The Khumer Ruge(so??) of Cambodia and the killing fields as well as my best or closest interpretation of Kiergaard’s quoted above.)
      My question:
      1. What does going after individuals mean to you?
      2. If you don’t mind with a straight answere I expect , would you please base your answere on Kiergaard’s journals? Thank you. That will certainly free some dumu dumu or Proono time for me. Got Milk!

      I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Chefena Hailemariam for his articles and look forward to read him more in the future.


    • saay7

      Selamat Selie:

      I have not been following the debate between MS and TT and how we got to Kierkegaad…But since he was mentioned, and since you said you find him inaccessible:

      1. In the time it takes you to go from the East Bay to the Peninsula, you can get him without flipping a book. There is a wonderful free podcast called “philosophize this!” And I believe they have an interpretation of The Kierkegaad, the only non-atheist existentialist;

      2. He had a lot to say about everything, but related to a common dysfunctional debates that ocassionally surfaces here (our Southern cousins call it “Ayn Awta”) we have here where people refuse to give their compatriots the benefit of doubt because they don’t agree on every punctuation that crosses they mind, he says:

      “Most people are subjective toward themselves and objective toward all others, frightfully objective sometimes–but the task is precisely to be objective toward oneself and subjective toward all others.” [Works of Love]

      Peace out!

      PS: Mahmuday, where was I? To quote Johnny Cash “I’ve been everywhere: some writing, some interviewing. One will appear in a big name magazine, unless the editor kills it:)

      • Mahmud Saleh
        • saay7

          Don’t despair Mahmuday:

          Sometimes, it’s hard to know if people are deleyti fitHi or deleyti fitiH 🙂

          But, since you’ve been everywhere, man, I have no doubt that you will be able to find the thread and address it without frustration.


      • haileTG

        Hello saay (busy body 🙂

        On your objective vs. subjective, shouldn’t it be the other way around?? (sorry to be objective here, but…) I think MS is asking TT to be objective, i.e point him exactly to what sentence that MS wrote is TT disagreeing with. MS feels that TT is being subjective, i.e. charging MS based on his personal feelings and opinions rather than on account of an objective case – a statement made by MS. For “Works of Love” to work well, we need people to be objective to one another —- the moon is round “objective” vs. the moon is pretty “subjective”. The added bonus of objective disposition is that it calms emotions, it focuses on the topic and it is considerably fair than a subjective disposition. If TT said the xyz statement of MS lacks credibility because abc (objective, because we then have a case at hand to dispassionately evaluate), than MS’ views are PFDJ like (subjective – because that is based on TT’s perception of what PFDJ is like that may not be shared by everyone). I think we’re too subjective to others and too objective to ourselves (e.g. some one saying EPLF killed my brother therefore it must be evil is being very objective one’s own experience “killed my brother” and very subjective about the other “i.e. EPLF is evil” because it lacks balanced judgement).

        Objectively looking at your statement above, may be you meant it that we need to make allowances to others tendency of subjectivity and be more admitting of our own subjectivity when we swear we are being totally objective??


        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Dear Hailat,

          On the issue of objective vs subjective judgement:

          On the flipside of your assessment, there are also people who outrightly reject objective arguments and simply tag it as subjective take, b/c it doesn’t fit to their own narration. Actually, we hear them from the well read Eritrean individuals. Eritreans are not receptives in nature. They always jump to disqualify objective arguments by going tangential to the issue at hand. So the issue of “objectivity” in Eritrean politics does not have a place in their engagement.


          • haileTG

            Hey Aman….exactly!

            Person A dismisses Person B’s objective argument as “subjective” because “it didn’t fit their narration”. I.e. A is being subjective about B’s objective argument, that is exactly the point here too. Most people are predisposed to be subjective towards others but are objective towards themselves…hang on…where is saay 🙂

        • Mahmud Saleh

          Ahlan HaileTG
          Many thanks, We all need to do better. For one, I understand that I’m not free from that human frailty. It’s a choice we should make if we want to make the forum enjoyable and fruitful.

        • saay7

          Selamat Hailat:

          A I said, I didn’t follow the MS/TT debate; I was making a general observation that when debates break down and veer to ad hominem is it because we are very subjective about ourselves (that is, we allow ourselves latitude to rationalize our behavior: I was provoked, I was misunderstood, I was too patient, WiliE Ille ) and very objective about the person we are corresponding with (that is, we do not give them any latitude: we just take what they said.) Maybe better than Kieerkgad, Stephen Covey is a better source: he devoted an entire chapter to it In 7 Habits, where he says, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

          Speaking of which, Osman Abdulrahim’s song “Ayfalken grhnetey” is a text-case example of self-subjectivity. And Korchach sings (in Intay Ghere): “suq tebelko feraH: ente tezarebku goraH.” And, of course, you remember in the 98-00 Eritrea-Ethiopia war, it is amazing how each side accused the other of the exact same infraction: I was the too-trusting, innocent party and they took advantage of my trust and innocence…


          • haileTG

            Hey Saay,

            Yes, trying to understand the situation of the other party is definitely great, especially if it is done objectively:) For example, PFDJ misappropriates that theory when it uses it in self serving. Those who call for justice are understood to be koreyti, i.e. by-passing the validity of their demand altogether. Objective vs. Subjective [ ውድዓዊ ዶ’ስ ባዕላዊ] as you have applied it seems to originate from our traditional mediating approach : “ብነብስኻ እንዶ ርኣዮ” It appeals to the conciliatory rational so that to calm an emotionally charged friend from being too judgmental.

            PS: እዞም ከይሓረቕካ ከሎኻ ኣይትሕረቕ እናበሉ ዘሕርቑ መሕረቓት ከምዘለዉ ድማ ዘይምርሳዕ 🙂

          • saay7

            Selamat Haile TG:

            On your postscript: they are excercising a powerful tool well-recognized by psychologists and salespersons:the power of suggestion:) The reaction to the power of negative suggestion (you are a traitor, you are treasonous, you are koreyti) are many. One of them, as perfected by some, is “kab’u aytHlefu”: since you are going to accuse me falsely anyway, I may as well be reckless. I think a lot of what Mahmuday writes about is a critique of this approach and, in doing so, he is accused of being an accuser.


      • Solomon

        Selamat Saay,

        Thanks for the podcast linkup. Oddly eniugh, the current episode is Albert Camus (Or should have I used the pun: Strangely enough from the Stranger..)
        This episode 87 is talking about:
        From Albert Camus’ really only one Philosophical question to ask since your life us monotonous, If you are one of the lucky one’s of not accepting it and you have “been every where man”:-), then you are luck to have “your very own EXISTENTIAL crisis.
        Awsomestuf …I will checkout Kierkegaad on Episide 77. Thanks again.


  • Mahmud Saleh

    Hey T..T
    I’m not with you (T.T and the ideas you represent). How about that.

    • Solomon

      (Too Late)

      (Selamat MaHmooday) Yeah yeah good fight Chump!

      Too late! How about a rematch you hammer head. T.T. is a CHANGE SEEKER. Ah Ah put on TT’s glove right now punk!

  • said

    Selamat Chefena,

    Thank you, for very well thought article.
    Greetings to all.

    How did we get here?
    Ever problems have its roots and it have many dimensions.
    In regard IA ,Everything started with idea and ideology of supremacy of Nehanan Almanan, IA doctrine appealing to small segment group of the same cultural cohesion and homogenous people . Nehanan Almanan, was to addressed and readdress victimhood of his ethnicity people, by in large who form great part of Eritrea as a distinct, homogeneous and large dominant group .
    The strongman who could deliver his hidden agenda and save them from being victimhood and disfranchised . For IA, secretly started with trusted smaller group , more prone, easily manipulated punch of people and in time his mission will be preferable to manipulate the entire masses of Eritrea . and fulfill his final vision to be head of state.
    From day one DAI posing as the ultimate Savior entrusted with a divine mission to deliver the beleaguered Eritrean mission.
    The student of Mao, IA hardline Communists has gradually taken control of all aspects of Eritrean aspect of politics and society at large.

    It is well known facts that IA in promoting, dwelling on his victimhood and of his ethnic group and self-inflicted wounds. appealing to his group to be allied with him, believing they’ve been disenfranchised from Eritrean power politics. The others ethic group are responsible for all the evils of Eritrea. with totally different cultural and langue ,faith from yours will cling with to what they know. stick and stay with their own folk. against the hated or despised others. In process to make Eritrean society so fragmented. That brought upon Eritrea ruin upon ruin, mess upon mess, war after war, destruction upon destruction, succeeded in destroying Eritrea from within.

    End result DIA never brought dignity nor freedom to his claim of his disfranchised and disadvantaged groups by proposing to fight injustice through class struggle, An ideological notion par excellence and in order to take root of communism in Eritrea and install himself as its founder .

    DIA has a strong sense of mission and he build a cult of personality, many has also grown to admire him and groomed and grow up around DIA and they submitted to him.

    All these credo things will be used as an excuse to install the perfect dictator state. Still—if in the end, it all plays out as planned, he is a clever manipulative to feed hatred instead of ending it. No appeal to people’s higher natures.

    Threatening ethnic entity and identity politics
    The IA mantra is addressed from the above to his cadre of ethic group that created the meanest, narrowest, most exclusionist group within EPLF, succeeded to scare his gullible ethnic group to be inline . It was very effective, at very least among those predisposed hard-core chauvinist untrustworthy enabler . they worked their hearts out for his vision and for their most loathed master. They validated and comforted his zealotry doctrine vision
    They were his secret weapons. Nothing but complete victory would do against Eritrean brethren. The proverbial canary in the coal mine.
    This tiny group sold their souls at expenses of Eritrea and for a shot illusion at power. Only to find out they were Betrayed and deceived.
    Today they feel disenfranchised. everything they believed was a lie. where DAI lies were treated as sacred truths. What’s stupefying and idiotic is that so many of EPLF leadership can’t see that the emperor is naked.
    DIA with zero Political AND DIPLOMATIC acumen experience. megalomaniacal, aggressive, Egotistical, and testosterone-fuelled personality .Eritrean lives don’t matter to him, they become fully disposable.
    DIA lifeless ,soulless, merciless and murderous personality ,nothing is sacred anymore to him.
    This brutality is born of an DIA ideology of Communism and Fascism and it’s been fully implemented and that should be abhorrent to all peace loving Eritrean and is Roots of our problem. For a savvy Eritreans long experienced with the chicanery and machinations nothing is new.
    Even many ordinary Eritrean ,they had figured this out a while ago of this ideology of distraction . And Eritrea have paid tremendously in precious lives and economic downturn and massive repercussion.
    DIA always attacking everyone he perceives as an enemy even remotely, as usual violating human rights is norm, and pursuing a politics of exclusion his specialty . And get rid of any kind of opposition he is a master of. He Despises any who is not on his page and wide purging campaign against his comrade as outsiders and internal enemies. He set one portion of the population against another he is artful of .
    DIA monstrous Communism system that was forced upon the nation was a disaster. And finally succeeded in bringing Eritrea to its knees.

    DIA Fascist ideology and commonest ideologues are conditioned to feel they are right in celebrating and encouraging such heinous acts against Eritreans and their humanity, and in doing so he will be rewarded. It is this very warped misconception that has gnawed through the very core of compassion and mercy which is emphasised on Christianity blessed are peacekeeper and Islamic teaching of justices to mention few .
    the vast majority whose lives are peaceful and would not ever dare to harm their brethren Eritrean, the vast majority upholds humanity, compassion .mercy and values

    The barbaric Dictator Isaias Afourkey monsters have destroyed our nation.
    The “failure of the EPLF collative establishment” to see what had become too obvious to ignore, and this created an opportunity for something radically new, “something outside the EPLF establishment a unite of DIA Cadre responsible and answerable only to him ”

    Eritrean did not see what lurks beneath the surface. Eritrean should not have allowed the great suffering to have taken place and let it to go for long time. Eritrean heroic should have stopped it in its track on time.

    Now we are covered in shame and ignominy, seeing in our own wide eyes and in the eyes of the entire world, since our passivity gave us nothing. This should not happen again. Our youth and adults must defend themselves against the tyrant enemy of Eritrea .
    We all have the capacity for good and make change come. as for evil is same . The line between the executioner and the victim is razor-thin.
    Eritrea executioner and sadists DIA, if he asked his crony to attend for a private meeting, wow to you, his Sadism was often a prelude to death and murder.

    How easy it is to surrender our better selves in the name of nationalism and patriotic and survival of the nation .And let injustices continue.

    The deep abyss it has sunk itself in these narratives aren’t reality. They’re made up—by which I mean they are crafted and arranged to give us a compressed memory of reality Gedly time . Some of these narratives are skeptical—I would say honestly—about what took place during the war and the road to independence . Others over romanticize it. It’s up to the public to sort out which narratives deserve to be validated and which ones don’t. Regime hypocrisy, and exploitation is known fact.

    what is very important is the stories and reports were often about our innocent people who vanished and would otherwise have been forgotten. With time .We have become so used to death of Eritrean lives that it can no longer worry, feel and scare us.

    Understand the meaning of this meaninglessness that is called life, the meaning of nation hideous crime , meaninglessly, ugly days have being falling in Eritrea ,the injustice against the poor Eritrean lives.
    The hellish existence and inhuman prison of Eritrea no one can stand and comprehend . The home of Eritrean opponent lives dwell in it , a life of that have no meaning of existence ,devoid of dignity and rights in the face of immanent death. They all wonders when death will take them away and may feel better than living . A nightmare for sure and then sooner or later they will they will face death in prison anyway.

    The destitute and the poor who died for no reason .DIA is known in liquidating his perceived opponent merely as lesson to the rest of the nation. DIA Never cared and he doesn’t seem to console anybody in any tragedy the nation faced.
    And he take-no-prisoners, he simply vanish them .Those who refusing to fall in line pay heavy price.

    DIA Merciless and violent, will exterminate any one who stand his way and all they will die with out justices render on them and never in dignity and peaceful death . for those who followed him blindly . They fulfilled thier mission. May history attest for them. In service of DIA ruthlessness . evil, tyrant; indifference, erratic and unreliable that controls fully the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary – by all means .

    All in all, what we have been witnessing for the last 25 years is a bloody adaptation of the course and direction of Eritrea short human history, and lead to so many lost and mangled lives.

    The DIA crime at the very least they expose things that have hitherto remained hidden. The beastly face of cannibalistic character of murderous DIA and head of the government of Eritrea.

    The sociopath dictator Master of demagoguery , manipulative, narcissistic personality disorder ,incapable of empathy for others. possessing no inner soul and life. A compulsive mean-spirited persona.
    Those who give their life for Eritrea are spinning in their head in their graves.

    One wonders ,how and when did Eritrean get such murderous violence in services of DIA personal interest , when in our short history did we ever before raise so many hundreds of murderer and killers, in the services of DIA. Their lust for violence and the loss of empathy. They are the viscous dogs and hyenas of the worst sort ,lead by the head of PFDJ wickedness.
    Eritrea is staring into the abyss but under the leadership of a vindictive president it is difficult to see what can prevent disaster.
    DIA vision of Eritrea that brought this dark era. And continues to pander to same notion of vision. The roots of its narrative, in a nutshell, might is still powerful, if unspoken. Other ethnic group have to stay subdued and dominated. as in the heyday of 60th Eritrea as Ethiopia ’s colonial possessions. They are being excluded from their right to any future at all.
    A change in Eritrean politics, polices and new leadership is required to change these required outcomes in order to rule Eritrea exclusively by ANY one dominant group. DIA Motto only he can restore their political power and hegemony for his dominant group .
    They scarified their lives and hearts out for their man and his vision.
    Most of the EPLF leadership went along with his convention. And who worked consciously or unconsciously alongside, they saw the dictator as a demi-god.
    The downside is that when things start to backfire and it backfire badly on them, eve the close ally of DAI, they too fell out on dragnet and being purged.
    None of this can be ignored. one would say it is history past is not dead, and it’s not even the past. We are still leaving with subsequences of sequence its origins.

    As most for Eritrean concerned for their country and when empathy is used to appeal to the better angels of our nature with our people of all kinds, and reach out to the entire country to living in harmony and peace. for cohesion and co-operation, a long way to build an inclusive, promising future for all Eritrean citizens.
    Eritrean children and the young generation deserve and dream to live in a peace, prosperity ,freedom and life with full access to proper healthcare and education as well as opportunities to develop into creative human beings and much more.
    however, it is a transition, a lapse of time where totally none representative elements, renegades, of the examples of the ASMARA authority and its henchmen can pose as speakers and the none elected, none chosen representatives of the Eritrean people

    In Conclusion, a Sincere Advice to DAI and PFDJ. You might have totally different interior motives in making Eritrea weak .but Eritrea will remain forever . however, DIA and cohorts , for a people, the Eritrean who offered tens of thousands of martyrs since over a half century in gaining their legitimate independent nation ,the struggle continue for rights for Freedom; Justice and the inalienable right for democracy ; Please DAI, keep your hands-off Eritrean people; in playing as a leader and founder, savor and Wiseman most naively trying to speak for the Eritrean people struggle ; falsely pretending to deliver on their grievances and their rights. It is too noble and too large a Cause to trample on in advancing narrow self-serving agendas that, in the end, serve no higher purpose, but rather deeply compromise the rights of the Eritrean people.

  • Saleh Johar

    Hello PTS
    You can believe me or not but “bzAba ezi neger zfelTo neger yebeleyn.” Maat zeweredo saleh 🙂

  • Bahri Negasi

    Hi Awatistas ,
    Enjoy or lament the following ዕሸላዊትን ተሔንኽን poem

    “ኮይኑዋ ድዩ __ማማ ሙዳዳ
    ብፈተውታ ትጅምር ከም ቡዳ
    ሎምስ ተኣልሻ መቓብር ወሪዳ” !!!

    መከረኛዋ ኣይጥ___ ሞትዋን ስትሻ
    ሂዳ ታሸታለች___ የድመት ኣፍንጫ
    ዝበልዎ__ ክኸውን ዩ ግዲ መጫረሻ
    ኣምላኽ ኣርእዩኒ ____ሻዕብያ ፈርሻ !!!

    ኣነ ክቑዝመላ እየ ክበኽየላ ንሻዕብያ
    ብጃንሆይ ተላኢኻ ንግብጺ ክትቆጽያ
    ሕጂ ድኣ እንታይ ረኺብዋ ተጠውያ
    ቆፎ ኣዕራብ ከም ጀብሃዊት ናይ ሶርያ
    እቲ ቕዱስ ዕላማ___ ዓባይ ኢትዮጵያ
    ራሕሪሓቶ ናብ ቃጣርን ስዑድን ኣዘዝያ!!!

    ሻዕብያ ሆየ ዘይፈልጣ መሲልዋ
    ቃታ ዘይስሕብ ኣጻብዕታ ብዘይ ስዋ
    ሰላሕታ ወራር ድሙ ድሙ ጎዲልዋ
    ክትፍርጥጥ ሱዳን ቃልሲ ተቖጽይዋ
    ዘይበልዎ ዝገብር ወያነ ኣድሒንዋ
    ብኢዳ ወጢጡ ካብ ከሰላ መሊስዋ !!!

    ሙዳዳ ሻዕብያ_____ክንደየናይ ከይትቕኒ
    ከይትፈርስ ክሕልዋ፣ናይ ሓማሴን ያ ኢሎምኒ
    ኣምላኽ ይሓምሳ ሎምስ ከዘብ ዩ ተረዲኡኒ
    እቶም ናይ ሓሶት ነጻነት ፈሪሞም ዝ ሃቡኒ
    ወያነ ንገርዎም__ ኣፈርኩቡ ከቃብሩኒ
    ኣብ ሓማሴን ይኹን ተምቤን ሬስኣ ከይጨኒ
    ካይሮ ንቕበራ _______ደፊንና ብእምኒ !!!

    ተባዕ ድምበዛናይ ካብ ሳንዲያጎ

    • Solomon

      Selamat BaHri Negasi,

      Thank you for the the two choices and I ain’t talking about the dialects either…

      You lost me at ShaEwiya ferisha if not earlier…

      As for the choices, to addition add to your dichotomy mode of thought, a course in combinatorics would suit you best to in order for you to be generous with providing we, yours truly, more choices.

      I chose
      C)This is WAR! And Welcome!


  • T..T.

    Hello all,

    I think, I still was on no-access till this very minute of trial. Thanks to Saleh Gadi for letting me in following my email to him.

    Here’s my input for today: All martyrdom is about living in the hearts of those who are left to live behind. But for Isayas and his party members, both of which are defended and supported by Mahmud Saleh of Meskerem, Keleta Kidane and Alem Goitom, our martyrs are forgotten dead people while their martyrdom is only mentioned and used to empty the pockets of innocent Eritreans.

    The Eritrean justice seekers equated Isayas = PFDJ = YPFDJ = Mahmud Saleh = Keleta Kidane = Alem Goitom because Isayas and his associates have killed the memory of immortality of our fallen heroes and heroines by disrespecting the revolution, which they – our fallen heroes and heroines – bravely fought and died for. For the Eritrean people, respecting our fallen is through continuing the celebration of the revolution and ensuring that the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and heroines was not in vain. It is not only about money, and their martyrdom should not be used for charity purposes because money only will not uphold their dreams for the nation and the people after they were gone. Our youth know well that our fallen heroes and heroines are on their side and that our fallen will never let our youth alone in their fight for their rights and freedom.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hello T. T.,

      I just aw your private message and when I visited the forum, I could see your comment. I have nothing to do with your access, the general moderation process has nothing to do with it. As we have explained many time, problems with access to disqus has to be taken with disqus. If anyone from awate.com blocks your account, it is done openly and the account holder will be told of the decision here. At any rate, I am glad you managed to access, but I assure you I do not desrve any thanks because I had nothing to do with it.

      Please also not that, as we have mentioned a few times, we are doing major technical tasks behind the scene and as such, minor hiccups should be expected until we are finished with the task.

      Thank you

      • T..T.

        Dear Saleh,

        I was able to access about two hours ago, after more than a month. Speaking of the fact, I was able to access following my email to you. If that is not a fact, then I must be speaking of the inference. And by inference my thanks go to you.

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Selam dear T.T.
      Thanks. The practice of going after individuals whose eye color you don’t like; or whose opinion nauseates you simply because they state their opinion without looking for cheering crowds, is below the standard of this forum. I can live with your equation. And it is a budge of honor to be criticized by folks like you. At least I Know I am within my lane. Anyway, what’s needed is debating ideas. Speaking of ideas, tell me which of my sentences you don’t agree with. Refer to my replies to Chefena( I know there is one part you don’t agree with), but I see you today talking about “our revolution” and “celebrating” it. Well, people change.So welcome my friend.
      You repeat what I said, you own my ideas, and then put me on trial. Isn’t that weird? Refer to my replies to Chefena, HTG, KH, and Solomon. OK, now, pick an idea that you find objectionable. I’m happy to engage you on ideas. Otherwise, readers know where you stand on Eritrean Revolution and Eritrean nationhood. Bashing PFDJ alone doesn’t make you a person with better ideas. Your past comments show me that I could not myself fitting into the “camp” and ideas you belong to. Never. Fortunately, Idon’t have to try to squeeze myself in. And why would I try? So let us get that out of our way. But we can still exchange ideas with decency and without name-calling. So, I ask you where you differ with me on this topic?

      • T..T.

        Dear Mahmud,

        Please read: the direct translation of the Sudanese saying: he who is having an insect bite, dances on his own. And, the closest English implying translation could be “In the bathroom, he who is forced to wait in line does the pee pee dance while holding his hands between the legs.”

        • Solomon

          Selamat T.T.,

          “Mamma said knock him out!”
          Here have a sip of this water. Don’t swallow.. spit into the bucket.
          Watch out for the cross over from his left jab, to his right upper cut. And whatever you whisper in his ear, don’t bite him, KEEP DOING DA ENCRYPTED mslatt!!!THINGGGGGG! ding ding ding

          What round is this… Oh Seven inning stretch!
          +I sure hope TT heard me about the cross over, I have seen MaHmood sparing with the Greatest MoHamed Ali in the Congo..yeah yeah yeah Zair Jaime(Mr. Fox) and that cross over! Iverson What!who??? Ai Phili yo!)

          I gotta go Tee Tee!

          sTTAA sTtttttsE!

          • Solomon

            Selamat T.T.,

            HarQus/yrQeth. I have to consult with iSEM.
            Beetle juice, Beetle just iSEM!

            Insect doesn’t rhyme with dance, hence the idiom and your choice of the closest English translation..Aaahhhhh!

            I believe we spoke eye level…I will write a sentence later….Hint..nahh later.
            But now, I will share my favorite Sudanese saying/msla.

            Sudanawyan habtam seb – Halafi mengedi krioU keleWuu kemzi ilom ytSliu.
            Lord may you see that you double this man’s wealth And for us we are confident you will deliver our spoons worth.
            BlmAElega! And TT, if I may take a jab at Insect/Dance SPITT..I.e. Closest English translation.. How about the all time Greatest bale dancer in the boxing ring! The Greatest MuHamed Ali’s “I float like a butter fly and sting like a bee!”
            Nhbi sessunu G’s…Kokhob tsbaH!

          • T..T.

            Selamat Solomon,

            Because of irreconcilable stands, I cannot engage Mahmud Saleh even in a part full, part empty glass type of discussion. Like you suggested, when there is no common ground there is nothing good that helps views to come closer and, therefore, the choice is only to “”SuQ ilka msmaE.” And, like other justice seekers, I find myself having no any emotional connection to reconcile my view with any pro-the-tyrant because I am waiting for the African Union to take action on the COIE findings.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Solomon,

    The current regime of Eritrea is exploiting the Eritrean patriotism, the Eritreans reverence to the noble sacrifices of our heroes, the Eritreans unflinching stand to our nationhood,
    just simply for its own adventurism, for organizational satisfaction, to quench the megalomenia power thirsty despot. Chefena is warning us for not overplaying patriotism, nationalism, and martyrdom for every national issue that hasn’t any relevance to invoke them. Look how for every demand for justice and changes they tie them with the border issue to avoid from addressing them. This demagagory despotic regime could not and should not our teachers for those patriotic nationalist who had been at the center of the fight to

    • Solomon

      Selamat Aya Amanuel Hidrat,

      Your reprimand or redirect as well us my subconscious bothering me kept me wrestless and I reread Dr. Chefena Hailemariam’s article AND you are right I have been unfair to his presentation though still skeptical of some of his concluding remarks. His call for nation building for example… What is greater than working on the foundation of the nation’s structure, I.e the governing law and constitution and justice is a question he needs to ask himself sincerely and withdraw his subtle admonishment of those who were banished and bombadticaly declared persona non grata in the lesset pillars he is alluding by the exploits of the junta? That the junta us beyond reform is very clear to me now, however the reeducation and restoration of the in Eritrean culture in a significant numbers of the younger generations I believe is reparable. I will continue working on my Justice Seekers preference over change seekers as I conduct my personal sacred war. The young Dr. perhaps just fell short despite his very astute and academic observation of the supporting data. I do apologize to Dr. Hailemariam for pig backing on him to make a point.


      • haileTG

        Merhaba tSAtSE,

        Regards your last words, Justice and Law, I assume you mean it Rights and Law. These are very important distinctions that our people tend to gloss over. The right to free speech vs. the laws of the press, the right to work vs. economic laws, the right to elect leaders vs. the laws of party formations…. are the key distinctions we ought to be aware of. Rights are inherently Just, whereas Laws that infringe on Rights are inherently unjust! The relationship is akin to a glass and a pure water that it is holding. The glass is the law, it can be in good condition or leaky, but the pure water which is like the right will always find existence inside the glass or outside of it. We have bad laws or too many broken glasses, hence the ICC (i.e. the water finding its way outside the glass). Does this make sense or this is a classic case of my Sunday Cappuccino having too much caffeine 🙂

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Dear Hailat,

          I love when you make distinctions between the concepts at hand and the way you frame them to make their distinction vivid. I wish the forumers debate on the issue you have framed.

          Hailat, your eyes are focused, your mind is deliberative, your approach is accomodative, your sense of truth is rationale, your humanity is full of love, your mission is clear, your views are formidable, and your vision is unity. Will you be consistent and keep your fidelity to them?

          Amanuel Hidrat

          • haileTG

            Dear brother Aman,

            I take your regular encouragement with great appreciation. I also find your steadfast and consistently held beliefs say more about you as a person of integrity more than anything else. I, on the younger camp – a decade or so, hold the likes of you, SGJ, Saay, Mahmuday among many others as models too. So the feeling is mutual and thank you again.

            As you are aware, laws are faulty if they infringe on rights of its subjects for no valid reason. That is why we need a constitutional base to formulate them and once they are formulated, they would be passed by parliamentary voting/processes. In the Eritrean case, the laws are neither based on constitution nor passed through parliament. Hence, no checks and balances are made to ensure that they’re not faulty. For example, close to your heart are the laws currently in place that govern equality among social groups. Who makes/made those laws? The rights of citizens to equality is inalienable, yet the current laws that administer social, economic and political opportunities may not serve this right adequately. The radical change seeker considers the very system that produced the laws is incapable of doing better by design and default. While the reformist minded considers that the system per se is capable of designing better laws and can handle its application but due to lack of political will at the leadership level, hence the reformist holds the leadership responsible and the system to be that of work in progress.

            Basically, the people need to understand that bad laws will cost them and their generations to come a far heavier price. The current crisis of mass flight of the youth, economic lock down and national political stagnation is directly the result of oppressive laws that were made unaccountably and without recourse to democratic mechanisms. The resulting social upheaval of the Eritrean society is thus painfully obvious. So, I agree with you that debating this matter in the forum and elsewhere would go a long way in elevating the discussions to be had.


        • Solomon

          Dear HTG,

          Yes. Rights and Law! Pure as water. Thank you.

          I was exercising my right to free speech and tripped on not making the important distinction. And the clear and transparent glass, contained my error so that it does not misdirect the greater society. I will commit it to memory and practice. Thank you.

          I have also made a mental note of: “what is it the change seekers need to do?” When you defined Valor within the context of martyrdom in your discussion with MaHmood SaliH.

          On another and personal note, maybe I should start a campaign for the next President of these United States of America to nominate you HTG for a seat on US Supreme Court. I do have a case that you can win a majority of the current court’s opinions first, and your future appointment after that win would be a certainty. Think Justice Thurgood Marshal. (The case you would read in the court would be along the lines: The United States Vs. Ant. “I have a dream!”)

          It is the winning American way baby! Aquire and retain the best minds from the globe right here! … …..


  • Peace!

    Selam Chefena,

    Thank you, very well articulated although ብዙሕ ምርቓቕ ዘድልዮ ኣይመስለንን: remove the dictatorship and fix problems through democratic process. Our demand is justice and freedom to run our own country by ourselves, not just to change what DIA imposed on us and the country, and even that can only be accomplished when people acquired the power they need to do so otherwise It sounds መርዓዊ ከይሓዛስ ዓርኪ ሓዛ. I am afraid such narrative or discourse pushing people to lose focus and polarizing further. Please one step at a time and let’s not get ahead of our selves.

    The other main thing is that people need to keep in mind that the mandate of Ghedli was to liberate Eritrea from fascist DerG, and many thanks to our brave Tegadelti for the tremendous sacrifice and liberation of the country. As Salih Johar put it eloquently: ” Ghedli ended in 1991 and the people own the legacy.” Boom! Period! Move on!

    Now, the tourch is in the hands of the current generation, and thankfully heroes like Betwedid and Wedi Ali have already started the struggle for freedom and justice, and they are paying a heavy price as we debate, as we revise our history, as we questioning the motive of our fallen heros… In other words are we going to follow them or continue to stretching the narrative with less relevant branches? I mean Do WE REALLY KNOW WHAT WE WANT FIRST, Change independence date, martyers date, freedom, justice, constitutional government, free political prisoners, election,….????


    • Yohannes Zerai


      Thank you, Peace.

      ” … and they have paid and are paying a heavy price as we debate, as we revise our history, as we question[ing] the motive of our fallen heros…” Indeed!

  • haileTG

    Selamat Chefena and Awatista,

    Thanks for this two part series on an interesting topic that oft, and seamlessly, is entangled with our daily politics. I have a long held perspective that all things are re-defined anew all the time. The concept of martyrdom, hence the value that it elicit, has been constantly changing. This doesn’t alter the actual facts that happened nor their true significance, rather the perception and appeal associated with its conceptualization in the minds and hearts of ordinary citizens. Martyrdom’s meaning and appeal in pre-91, post-91, post-2001, post-mass exodus….. surely isn’t and can’t remain the same. In reality, it is those with strong sentiments that wish it not to be so, unfortunately the fact of the matter is that generational shift can’t really be avoided. During the struggle, I would imagine that such a notion meant so significant even to warrant life and death decisions. Soon after independence, it meant a reason for dedication, hardwork, unity, peace and fraternity among the populace. After, 2001 it meant fear, submission, acceptance of the degradation of one’s dignity and bitter divisions. And finally, after the onset of the great exodus, it has become a reason to fightback and reclaim what is rightfully yours (OK this is still catching on, some are still on the shifta stage 🙂

    We tend to be the sort of people not comfortable with the notion of change but very enduring when change itself unavoidably imposes its ways on us. That robs us initiative and render us unwitty respondents.


    • Mahmud Saleh

      Dear Haylat
      You have brought an important dimension to the topic. I do agree with you the point you are making. As I understand it, you seem to point out to the fact that generational shift brings generational changes of attitudes, aspirations, outlooks, etc.. If we discuss it within Eritrean context, the priorities of ghedli generation could not be the same as the priorities of today’s generation, and so on. What ghedli’s generation upheld as worthy of sacrificing oneself may not exist today. By nature, the idea of martyrdom is mission sensitive. Usually we invoke martyrdom for a death that occurs in the line of duty, for the common good. If the mission of today’s generation is the establishment of a democratic Eritrea, which is completely different from the mission that ghedli generation faced, we will still have to appreciate those who are acting as trail blazers in attaining that end ( the ones who perished in prisons for speaking up against injustice, the ones languishing in prisons, and the ones who are ready to pay the ultimate price). The mission may change but the essence of selflessness and the readiness one shows to step up in order to help his/her people…should be honored. If yesterday was independence, today is for justice and democracy, for upholding human values…

      • haileTG

        Hey Mahmuday,

        I think we’re in the same page here. Valorizing ( i,e, give or ascribe value to something – Martyrdom in this case) is a social dispensation reflective of society’s approval of a given cause’s worthiness. Since the cause for independence is deemed worthy by the society at large, it followed that the death and sacrifice given by others to that cause was valorized in the form we saw/see throughout contemporary Eritrean history. In the same token, if the cause for a just and democratic government from the people, by the people, for the people captures the imagination of the people, then those who stood up and continue to stand up for it (including with sacrificing their lives) will be valorized too. I guess the setting in which the struggle for justice is taking place is far too different form the one waged for independence. Ultimately, it all comes down to galvanizing the people with the essence of the cause of justice and democracy. Once that aspiration to be free and live in a just society desirously captivates their hearts and minds, i.e. free of fear, shame and guilt, then those who lead the way (which there will be many as there also were) will surely be valorized and the trans-generational link (that you explained superbly) will also be evident for all to see. So, we come back full circle in asking what it is that the change seekers should be doing to effect such reality on the ground? A $64 million question… 🙂

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear Hailat,

      We should be very careful for those who invoke patriotism, nationalism, and the noble sacrifice of our heroes either for their own interest or organizational interests. Every house hold of Eritrean families have had given one or more “the ultimate sacrifice” for the birth of the nation. These regime has squandered the noble sacrifice of our own to their own interests. We are sick and tired by these hypocrites when they want to more patriots than the real patriots of the Eritrean people. “Patriotism” and “people’s interest” are not disconnected political virtues. What is patriotism without upholding the interest of our people? Patriotism without upholding the Eritrean people’s interest will be a faded virtue that serve to the interest of the few. That is precisely the reality of our nation. Patriots do not enslave their own people nor do they flinch from fighting for the public good. These must be told as clear crystal.

      Amanuel Hidrat

      • Abi

        Selam Ato Amanuel
        How do you reconcile the birth of a nation with the extinction of the people?
        I’m a believer that your ultimate sacrifice was for a wrong cause. It was a collective madness and it remains as such. It is sad 25 years after the birth of the nation, you still think your struggle had interest in the wellbeing of Eritreans. When are you going to admit you screwed up?

        • Joe

          Hello Ābi. I think you are the only one here screwed yourself up by pretending to be an expert on Eritrea and Eritrean issues that has nothing to do with you. allow me to come in your world just for one question. what types of measures have to be taken by Ethiopian federal government to restore a peaceful solution and reconciliation between Tigray and Gondar over disputed lands? has ethnic federalism in Ethiopia strengthens the unity of the country so far ?

          • Abi

            Hi Joe
            I never said I’m an expert on Eritrean issues. Hasot atzareb Joe Hawey. Now, how do you know Eritrean issue has nothing to do with me?
            One thing I know for sure is Eritreans screwed themselves like there is no tomorrow. I call it self extinction , you call it self determination. Can we call it self extermination?

            How many times do I have to say there should be no political parties based on ethnicity or religion? All political parties based on ethnicity and religion should be banned.
            Ethnic federalism? Don’t get me started.
            Joe, my world is your world. Welcome.

  • Solomon


    A Farwell To Arms by Earnest Hemingway -1929 Or A Flag for Sun Rise by Robert Stone -1981 should I shop for and read, while I await the gnomes to release my response to Mr. Chefena Hailemariam. It is the new order of doing on self and the greater public service in the Post COI/ICC Eritrea.


  • Nitricc

    Hi Chefena:
    I think this is the main reason the government having heavy handed on every nation’s affairs. The greater the price the nation had to pay for the independence; the tighter the government will get to preserve from
    every imaginable danger. And this is the very reason you have to completely different views among Eritreans. There are Eritreans who never experienced the pain and the agony what most Eritreans fighters went through to bring the independence of Eritrea; and they are the most vocal at pointing their fingers at the shortcomings of the government. The more they bark, the more they push away the once who experience the real deal and the more the government to tighten its grips in the nation’s affairs. they feel they are responsible for the independence of the country.

    If so, you said and I am just wondering here; if we agree

    “The level of tenacity that the Eritrean society had shown was beyond what one can imagine, and the human suffering so enormous that no society would be willing to bear.”

    Then what is the purpose and justification for all the suffering that was paid if Eritrea is to become the same failed African nations? By all account the writer is indicating that what Eritreans paid, didn’t get the kind of Eritrea they imagined. Again, I don’t know what type of Eritrea is in your imagination is, but if you imagined an Eritrea like any other African country;
    then why bother fighting all those years? Why bother shading all that blood? Why bother all the distractions? You could have stayed with Ethiopia and keep begging with rest of Africa.

    For me I imagined Eritrea worth every life that was paid, every blood that was shade, a self-respecting Eritrea. Worthy flying the Eritrean flag and of course, trying to build a self-respecting nation in Africa has a price to pay. For any self-respecting human being; it is there for all to see what Eritrea is trying to do. However; it does mean the government is perfect; but what the government try to do is to build a self-respecting nation. And that is the only worthy reward for anyone who fought and die to free this nation. The prices have been paid in full and its value must be harvested. Some of you, the once who are confused by the west may not like it and decent but that is your opinion and you are entitled to it.
    again my point is if the imagination was an Eritrea the likes of typical Africa; why fight all those years?
    if Eritrea wanted to build a truly free and truly independent nation; how is the government supposed accomplish the task? in Africa at that?

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Selam Dr/professor Chefena, and what’s up Awatistas.
    Just visiting you to check the forum. The last word I had was that Nitrickay had made a test

    You wrote, “The Party-State appropriated all nation-building projects including national symbols to serve its own narrow partisan interests. On the other hand, to unfairly treat national symbols on the grounds that the Party-State has a monopoly of, hence, justice seekers should distance themselves from, will sounds a little unreasonable”

    Not only it’s “a little unreasonable” but it’s out rightly dubious. Why would one berate the best sons and daughters of Eritrea who paid the ultimate price for mess that has happened because of our weakness (the living ones, you, me, everyone worth of calling himself/herself an Eritrean)? They sacrifice brought us to a certain conclusion, to a nation called Eritrea. They did not die in vain. They did their part. It’s we, the living, who should scratch our heads. We should ask ourselves if we did our part. If believe we did, we then need to ask ourselves if we did it right. Because the result suggests that either we did not do our part or we did it incorrectly.
    I read comments under your first part of this topic stating that the cause they died for was false. OK, they are saying Eritrean revolution was based on false cause. We have become accustomed to pronouncements such as this ones. As a poignant a claim as it may be, what’s more poignant is the fact that they are acquiesced, apparently for opportunist calculations (sort of, the enemy of my enemy is my friend).
    Recently, I touched on this topic and how I see it is as follows:
    There are well organized groups that nurtures on Eritrea’s current predicament. To them, this is the opportune time to assault values Eritreans cherish, including the respect Eritreans have for their fallen heroes. They even go as far as claiming that what’s been a formidable fortress is the fact that Eritreans strongly attached to their fallen heroes. These groups tend to strategize in obliterating this strong bond. Once you discredit ghedli, Eritrea has no pillars. I have argued that our struggle’s legacy should not be left for PFDJ to tap in. I actually argued that those values, including the bondage Eritreans have towards their martyrs, could be used to catalyze change. I believe, t’s the mutual sacrifices and years of facing odds as a people that has shaped our Eritrean-ness.
    Thanks again. The following link may give you additional insight into my take on this particular issue. But the bottom line is that nations respect their fallen heroes, and Eritreans are not different. Nations and peoples who became doubtful of themselves and who neglected their accumulated wealth of values disintegrated. The values that revolve around nationalism, patriotism, altruism, respect of fallen heroes…unity…self-assertiveness…are not antithesis of change. Actually, they are values to celebrate. They could serve as an engine of movements, and a foundation for commonalities, and getting-togetherness. They could narrow down mutual interests and help clarify common purposes.

    • Solomon

      Selamat MaHmood SaliH,

      Ehhh, sory but this sounds like:
      “MeInti megogo tHlef ‘ta anchiwa.” The joy is in the pursuit or the struggle I suppose. Once attained..well…

      Like the Legendary Late B B King sang: “The thrill is gone.”

      One of your colleagues suggestrd to me once: “SuQ ilka msmaE, ybelitSe.” Something to that effect. And the weirdest thing about this suggestion is that I was told it shortly after sharing a meal.with Keleta Kidane, thr gentleman you are dialoguing with. somewhere in Brixton– unless my brain is mushed at this moment and have my wires crossed with the Grambline University Dr. In Lousiana, where I believe Supper Bowl Champion QB Dough Williams of the Washington, Red Skins is coaching?

      The great experiment has fo sho turned a new chapter if not a book. How fitting it is that my last homage to the Gallant EDF and the EPLF organization, before my ” complete divorce”, as suggested by a brilliant young scientist yes, would be to bow out to you Veteran.

      In this divorce…well let see how it manifests itself. EnshAlah.

      I can’t wait to see, the Azteck Nat Burhe – TE for the NY Giants will score A TD for NY Giants Third Superbowl Ring under the best quite QB Eli Manning.

      Yom Barika!

      AmEritrean GitSAtSE

      • Saleh Johar

        Hi Solomon,

        This is just to tell you that lately I am really enjoying your posts ery much, you have reclaimed the Tsatse I know from DC over a decade ago.
        Thank you

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Selam Selle

        Divorce/FeteH zneberen zelon eyu. Anyway, I will be glad to discuss any point you find in my comment objectionable provided that you decrypt your message. Here is the thing. In order to get rid of injustice, and in order to bring about change, you need people who are willing to step forward to missions that may cost them their lives. The people who paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to kick out occupational force; the people who have been paying the ultimate price in defending their country; those who stood against injustice and paid the ultimate price; those who are paying the ultimate price to bring REAL change that put Eritreans in a better place are ALL people who died/die for a good cause, they are all fallen heroes.

        You see, change comes with a price tag. I honor those who come forward to sacrifice their precious life for the common good. Is there anything wrong with that? Why would you associate sacrifice and altruism with PFDJ? Why would one associate patriotism with PFDJ only? Isn’t fighting for a just society a patriotic act? Isn’t dying for a just cause, for a just and democratic society a martyrdom? Isn’t the act of fighting for justice the continuation of an ideal that many had fallen for? Why…Why…Why, Solomon?

        I never associate martyrdom with EPLF/EDF. Never. Folks who accused me of making such statements or insinuations could not provide proof. So with all due respect, please don’t associate the idea with Mahmud, EPLF or Keleta Kidane. I urge you to discuss the idea. Even the dismantlement project needs people who dismantle, and dismantling demand life, my friend. My argument is that there is nothing wrong with people honoring their fallen ones; those values such as the respect for fallen heroes, selflessness, patriotism…are qualities we should celebrate. All those who are fighting for the betterment of their people and their countries are people we should respect. We should certainly respect their sacrifices. Only the most motivated and the most patriotic will bring needed change. That’s a fact. The rest is just jostling.

        • Solomon

          Selamat MaHmooday,

          “Only the most motivated and the most patriotic will bring needed change. That’s a fact.” True. Though, I wouldn’t dismiss or undermine the jostling with, (is it?), an adjective, “just.”

          Disqus’ gnomes are holding a rather lengthy response adhering to their play book and rules. With the exception of that brief period of your temporary separation from your comrades, I have no reason debelieve and deduct a fraction from your hundred percent motivation in being a servant and s soldier for your people. As is the case with many of us. I have pointed out a couple of your jostling and accept as your utility of your skilled means towards your just cause.

          I will not post the continuation of my part 1 response just yet, but instead I will quote from the Holy Bible and stay motivated by our savior Jesus my ultimate motivation as He is the one with his blood set continues to set me free from all.the chains that conspires to hold me in bondage.

          The following reading is not only directed to you, but it does give support to your statements above:

          Isaiah’s Commission 6:3 – 6:10

          3. And they were calling to one another:
          “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty:
          the whole earth is full of his glory.”
          4. At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
          5. Woe to me! I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
          6. Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongues from the altar. 7. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips: your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8. Then, I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whome shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9. He said, “Go and tell this people: Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.” 10. Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Isaiah’s Commission 6:3-6:10

          Brukh Sembet ygberelna. Amin.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear Solomon

            I do have respect for you and for anyone with good hear regardless of whether they agree with my takes 100%. Although you remained the encrypted typical tSatSe, I thank you. I asked you yo decrypt your message, but… I hope it will happen next time. To cheer you up here is the beautiful Abeba Haile followed by the legend Alamin AbdulaTif. Just filling in for the great SAAY. I guess he is doing his thing somewhere:)
            Note: it’s not “Uma” as written, but “Yema”.

    • Kim Hanna

      Selam Mahmud Saleh,
      Your righteous statements of sacrifice in the context of Eritrean nationhood white washes a lot of brutal and horrendous injustice. It over reaches. Just to highlight one aspect of it I present the following.
      There are a core liberation fighters your description fits perfectly, including you and the current administrators. They sacrificed a lot including family members who paid the ultimate price for what they BELIEVED in.
      Fair enough.
      There were others, a significant number, “Martyred” “Draftees” who perished without fully understanding their untenable predicament. I am sure they were not volunteers.
      I am talking about all those farmers and sheepherders, generally young folks who were rounded up and sent to die at all the battle fields.
      When I see today the leaders who forced these folks at gun point to march and perish, invoke their victim’s deaths as their own MEDAL OF HONOR to display and demand respect, what should be the proper response to such an epic chutzpah and injustice.
      I think this is where I turn religious and prey for proper accounting in the name of the almighty and truth.
      Mr. K.H

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Selam KH

        I understand your point. I would also remind to appreciate the fact this matter is context-relevant. What Ethiopian consider “martyrs” may be what I consider “dead enemy soldiers”; what you think as draftees who “perished without fully understanding their untenable predicament” may not be sen that way in Eritrean-mainstream context. I for one surely know, despite how they joined the front they died knowing why they were fighting. They were the ones who lead companies, batalions…and completed the liberation of the country. Let me give you another angle of a slightly different perspective. You know the draft was equal if not worse in Durg Ethiopia. Close to 300,000 Ethiopian soldiers, most of them draftee farmers, perished in the war. This figure is supported by Webetu Tsegaye, tthe commander of Ethiopian Army in Eritrea during the end of the war, Feseha Desta, durg VP, and Feqre Wegderes, the then prime minister. I’m sure Ethiopian believe those brave soldiers perished for a cause: to maintain the unity of Ethiopia. I beg to differ, but what counts in Ethiopian context is how the majority of Ethiopians want to remember those young soldiers. I had a chance to live with both sides of the draftees. Both sides might have been forced or coerced to join the sides on which they fought, but once they joined the battling fronts, they fought bravely. Each of them died knowing they were upholding a noble cause. The Ethiopian soldiers died knwoing they were dying to maintain ONE Ethiopia; and the Eritrean “draftees” also fought like no tomorrow and died knowing they would die to liberate their land and people. I do respect your take because you are looking at it from an Ethiopian perspective; I ask you to understand how I see things. I abhore politicians in both countries who want to gain from the emotions attached to this subject. I don’t have to agree with them, but I have a respect for the Ethiopian brave men who died for a cause they believed in. It’s the living ones who should be put on trial not the dead ones. My contention is that those values are not unique to Eritrea. The reason why there are political maps is because each country has a history that binds the citizens that live within that boundry. At the core of each country’s history is the respect people have for the fallen heroes who contributed in shaping up history of that country. Therefore, I’m saying these are values that all of us should appreciate. Appreciating these values actually serve as a cohesive fabric, and speeds up clarity of purpose. I hope I have clarified up things.

        • Kim Hanna

          Selam Mahmud Saleh,
          I have contracted the AMAN syndrome and was not expecting a response. I appreciate your statements and the military point of view you advanced. I am not a military man.
          You are right there are many committed warriors on both sides for what they believed to be the right cause. I accept it and leave it as is. We are so different in that, it will be point less to discuss it.
          Sticking to martyrdom, the vast majority of the rank and file, at least on the Derg side, were there due to coercion or just plain attempt to make a living. These poor “recruits and volunteers” from Gambella to Sidama , Borena to Wello who barely know what Ethiopia was, much less Eritrea, I would not call them Martyrs when they perish. I call them victims of war. My sorrow for their early demise and the suffering of their families does not diminish nonetheless.
          If I was a Derg officer and call these poor souls Martyrs for one Ethiopia, I would consider that as an additional offense in using their death as a political tool to gain sympathy.
          Let them rest in peace.
          You may insist that in your case it is different. If that is the case, I will leave that too as is.
          Mr. K.H