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He Doesn’t Hate you; He despises You

My mother was in her late teens when she came to our village as a young bride. She has an incredible memory and recalls events with great details. Over the years, that has given me the opportunity to develop intimate portraits of all the giants and dwarfs who made our village life truly idyllic—where small and simple was beautiful.

I was fortunate to be born in the village; it has rooted me in my authentic culture, where my kinsmen ran their affairs in their own terms, reconciled their conflicts, and dispensed justice with compassion and dignity. I was, however, equally unfortunate to be cut-off, at such an early age, from this Utopian-like communal life of interdependence. My biggest consolation is that I live cherishing the example of a noble woman, who has remained true to her roots and fiercely fought to bequeath its ancestral virtues on her children.

Whatever spiritual, social and cultural longing and hunger I had felt as a young man was lovingly nourished by the guidance of this virtuous woman, whom my children in the footsteps of their father, uncles and aunties, endearingly refer to as Adey. As I get older, I am increasingly becoming aware of the enormous role Adey has played in my growth as a man and in the way I view the world.

Adey loves to talk in parables and it is in these stories and the context in which she invokes them that her innate intelligence, wisdom and sagacity shine through. As a preface to my article, I like to start with one of Adey’s stories.

His honor says: She is guilty

After the death of her husband, a young widow and her only son fell on hard times. Although the community, through their cooperative enterprise, ploughed her farms and harvested her crops, it was an existence devoid of any comfort. Her immediate neighbor was blessed with much livestock and foodstuffs and the occasional generosity she experienced from them had proportionally blunted her envy.  Nonetheless, she could neither suppress the inescapable awareness that life was unfair nor understand why much should be taken away from those who had little in the first place. Her constant musings on inequality, unfairness and the unceasing fight to make ends meet further exacerbated her craving for a luxury, but only a bit; she would hate to be the subject of other peoples’ envy or for the gate of heaven to be as narrow as the eye of a needle. (As I listen to the story, I often wonder why many people think the Gospel of human dignity, love and mutual respect is anti-prosperity.)

In those days, having a chicken for a meal was considered a luxury most of the people could not afford. Her young son, who had prematurely and through no fault of his, found out that he had to grow up and fill the void left by his father, was immediately crippled by his inability to be a provider. Inevitably, despondency overwhelmed him. One day, as he leaned in utter dejection on the neighbor’s fence, he saw one of their chickens laying eggs. Without any forethought, he whisked the eggs off the ground and scuttled towards home. With childlike excitement he handed his loot to his mother, who was only elated by the prospect of a decent meal, and didn’t bother to suspect any mischief or ask where or how he got them. Ill-gotten or not, they spared no effort to enjoy their relatively sumptuous feast.

The boy was proud of his achievement and had to do more of it. The wolf in his belly had to be fed and nothing is as addictive as crime. The first step in the life of crime is the hardest; repeatedly crossed it becomes the new normal. Leaning on the neighbor’s fence became a habit of the boy and whenever the chickens hatch, it was a date with luxury. Stealing eggs was no longer thrilling for the boy and had to find a way of making his mother even happier—he brought the chicken home. He had to push the envelope for the thrill of a crime is commensurate with the value of the object and the grandiosity of the scheme.

The neighbor had become aware of the dwindling supply of their eggs and was wondering what was wrong with her chickens. As she counted them, she discovered two of them were missing. She thought she would ask the widow if she has seen her chickens and went to her house. As she approached her residence, she could smell the aroma of a well simmered chicken stew. Immediately, she knew what had happened and as the custom dictated, she called for another neighbor to serve as a witness before summoning her alleged robber to court. The judge, Dagna, of the village was aboy Rusom. He was an honorable and wise man (his son, an EPLF veteran, is my god-father).

Per tradition, the plaintiff and defendant were allowed to speak. The defendant’s argument solely rested on ignorance—“I didn’t know where my son got the chickens and eggs.” The Judge summoned the boy to court and after a brief cross-examination found out what has truly transpired. In his verdict, Aboy Russom declared the boy innocent: first, he was a minor, who was wrongfully and through no fault of his own, robbed of parental guidance and, second, that his mother’s willful neglect was the main impetus for his crime. The mother was asked to make arrangements with her neighbor on how to pay back the value of what was stolen.

A wolf and a sheep.

When people in authority fail to do their part, crime thrives; it is their negligence that enables people to first commit small crimes that eventually morph into serious transgressions. Promoting moral righteousness is the best deterrence, but when crimes happen the most effective way is to nip them in their bud. Repeat offenders are the worst and most dangerous criminals.

People are born with the potential to be good and bad; a wolf and a sheep dwells in their belly and what the societal system chooses to feed them determines what kind of people they would become—a wolf or a sheep will rule over them. When authority is entrusted on unqualified people, Islam warns, is a sign of doomsday. The quality of leadership in any society is a good indication of its health.

It is the Revolution stupid— not the National Liberation

Unlike the ELF, which started as a national liberation front and slowly and gradually negotiated a not so “revolutionary” garb, the EPLF was, from the onset, a truly revolutionary one and the young, radical and idealist Isaias Afwerki was at its front and center. To the EPLF, the liberation of Eritrea was an essential and a just goal, and yet, a means to grandeur experiment of overhauling the society. The EPLF spoke in terms of progress because in its omnipotence it knew what the final destination was—Eden on Eritrea. Towards this, people were generally divided into two categories: the progressives and the reactionaries: gesgesti  adHarHarti.

Leftist revolutions hate history, traditions, religions and family values. They consider them reactionary forces that must be eradicated. All mass movements that lean left from center suffer from the original sin—they are vultures of individual rights and freedom. The farther left the movement, the more dangerous it becomes; the more it chants equality the less freedom it provides.

Religiofication is an essential component of leftist revolutions—people serve the cause, ideas and organizations and not vice-versa. Man was made for the Sabbath and not the Sabbath for man.

The loyalty of EPLF fighters was primarily to the front and not to their comrades for the latter requires individualism. The EPLF demands from its followers: “if any man come to it and hate not his father and mother and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be an EPLF tegadalay.” In the words of an EPLF popular 70’s song that encapsulates the spirit de corps: ‘eddl aleni gnbar aleni ab hzbawi gnbar zeselefeni. How fortunate I am to be a member of the EPLF.

Unlike most religions the EPLF lacked the Golden Rule to temper its excesses and extremities. For the leftist organizations such as the EPLF the Bronze Rule is that anything will do if it is either perceived to promote the goal of the organization or does not hamper its growth. All competing forces must be squashed and the end-result is always totalitarianism—they have to control everything. It is important to them that all traditional virtues are profaned; so much so that asking the where-about and well being of a missing loved-one is regarded as treason of the highest kind.

The singular commitment to the cause made the EPLF the best guerrilla organization the world has ever seen. Organizationally the EPLF was as impressive as the Nazis’ blitzkrieg, but also equally abhorrent. It was the embodiment of the beauty and the beast and our goal should be to save the beauty and slay the beast.

Understanding why the EPLF Tegadelti did not have any qualms to liquidate their own comrades, former classmates, and childhood friends is to understand what will be the best approach to effect change in Higdefite Eritrea. It was the system that fed the wolf in their bellies and it is the system that is our enemy. The overwhelming majority of the people serving the regime are decent Eritreans that we need to win over into our side; they are our natural allies in the struggle for change. The repeat offenders are the most dangerous elements and their determination to hang on to power must not be underestimated. He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.

Isaias does not hate you; he despises you

Isaias was just the first among equals; whatever has happened in the EPLF was the responsibility of the collective leadership. It cannot be denied that he was a brilliant man who won the respect and fear of his comrades through sheer dedication, commitment, steadfastness, ruthlessness and chicanery. As the principal leader of the organization, he deserves the lion’s share of the credit as well as the blame.

Isaias loved Eritrea; he dedicated his life to its struggle, but over the years, he came to love more his idea of Eritrea more than Eritrea itself. This love has totally blinded him and made him immune to alternative visions of Eritrea. The idea of Hadas Ertra was a collective vision, but Isaias had played a major role in its midwifery. This strong attachment has induced a fanatic zeal on him; always vigilant against those “bad” elements who might derail its progress.

When Isaias, the chairman of the secret party, made it possible for the EPLF to take some draconian measures against dissidents, there was none in the leadership who uttered words of condemnation. In fact, most of the information I have access to indicates that they had cheered for the decision, or even worse, they rationalized it on the proverbial megogo owner, who let the rat go so as not to break the mogogo.

The culture of rationalization and the fetish with timeliness (gzi’u aykonen/twgaH imo) are the twin maladies that have severely curtailed us from taking action and stifled our intellectual creativity. Getting rid of these two or tempering them with some level-headedness is a big part of bringing in positive changes.

Isaias evolved into what he is because there was no meaningful voice to check and balance him. In his mind the greatness of the EPLF was his; and as a true believer he could not give up on the aims of the revolution even when the prevailing conditions in post-independent Eritrea were not conducive.  His comrades who evolved with time were seen as apostates who betrayed the cause, and genuinely he saw them as defeatists, fifth-column and collaborators with foreign enemies. What is even more, they were, through their acquiescence, the enablers who put him on his road to perdition. They knew full-well what the punishment for transgression was, but they were not brave enough to pull the trigger and relieve him of the burden of the revolution. He despises them, but even more, he despises the Eritrean people who have not, in any meaningful way, stood up to him to defend their honor and dignity.

Young Isaias was a bully but his playground was limited to Geza-kenisha; now he has the whole country under his control. By now we should know what to do with a bully—stand up to him, and the house of cards he has built will come crumbling down.

To contact the author: weriz@yahoo.com

About Semere T Habtemariam

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  • Amanuel9

    Selam Serray,

    One note from your last comment to Saay draws me to see your concern Which I will agree too. And that is:
    “There is some validity to Amanuel’s letting ghedlti rest in the pages of history but the problem is, it is former tegadelti waiting in line to be the next designers of our future.” This is a valid concern. If this was your concern from the get go, it wasn’t clear because your explanation was strictly focused how to undermine the entire historical process of ghedli (that includes the good and the bad).

    But to your point, to answer your concern, let us make the young generation be ready to assume responsibilities, hold the torch, and reassure of generational transfer of power. So wouldn’t it better to engage in such noble idea than to talk about the bygone history specifically at this time. Can this be one of our “common denominator task” side by side in our struggle currently waged to dismantle the institutions of oppression? My generation has to relinquish power to our young generations as the nation building strictly belong to them. It just does not help us to focus on what should be done if we stuck on history.
    Amanuel Hidrat

  • Ermias

    In defense of Serray:

    Whether by design or not, ghedli is the cause of all Eritrea’s problems. Was it necessary? I don’t know. But it certainly produced Jebha, Shaebia, IA, Yemane Monkey, Yemane G., PFDJ – none of which are good. Eritrea would have been much better off without any of them; they turned out to be a worse alternative of where we may have ended up. I can’t imagine a worse scenario than this and IA is at the center of most of it but he has formidable tools, equally guilty if not more. Please stop demonizing people who are exposing ghedli of all its ugliness. It is not an attack on individual tegadelti. They are the initial victims of it.

    If anyone (maybe God) offered me to rewind the clock and bring back all the Eritreans that gave their precious lives during and after ghedli and left me with a future that is uncertain, I would take it with no hesitation.
    Nobody is questioning how bitter ghedli was but I for one have not seen a comprehensive and honest account of how decisions were made. All I see is nostalgia. Well I have heard “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.” Hence, Serray’s argument about 80/20 is spot on. He makes much more sense to me than Aman and SGJ, for example, with respect a true account of ghedli. ‘You weren’t there so shut up.’ That is what he is being told and that is why I lose hope sometimes because if any tegadalay neber seizes power after IA, well, we are in for round II, or may I call it neo-PFDJ.

    Warsay have done a lot and given their lives but nobody gives a rat’s a** about that generation. If any tegadalay tells me he is better than the generation after independence, then he is a liar. During ghedli, your enemy was clearly definded, now your own brothers and sisters are causing all your miseries, rape at the top of the list. Disgusting! It is all about tegadelti tegadelti tegadelti. Any of you praising tegadelti, please go to Asmara and ask what the people feel about them. Ghedli produced tegadelti. They weren’t born brutes, ghedli taught them that is the way to be in order to achieve an obedient and completely apathetic society.

    • Peace!


      What you and your teachers have failed to explain is the mere cause of Ghedli. Be honest and help us understand you; why do you think thousands of young Eritreans sacrificed their lives?

  • cheers

    Since the death of the Chihuahua Weyane’s expiration date has been accelerated.

  • Amanuel9

    Selam Hayat,

    My engagement here is not to “unsmart” Serray, YG, or yourself for that matter, but only to remove the fogs that blinds the path of our journey created by….., you could fill the blank if you want. Nothing else my friend. If you believe, like YG, that there was no a cause for Eritreans to start a ghedli, and that ghedli had not a set of mission, but adventurism of the mindless Eritreans…..then continue in the battle by remote control and your PC. Ghedli succeed its mission by the selfless and committed Eritreans fighting in real battles face to face to the enemy of the time. Ghedli respond to the call of its time, to the cry of its people and defended them accordingly. That is History and if you are an Eritrean it is your history. But if Serray said as follows:

    “I agree with you that history must be based on objective research of facts. What I am saying is, that search for objectivity is way difficult for someone who is also a faithful follower of the subject than the one who observed it without being part of it.” Which means, that there is no objective reality to write history, because of the reasons he mentioned. Isn’t it what I was saying all along, and that we have to create a favorable condition, assuming the first order of business to remove the despot ? My friends you are not realistic as it matters to you history than the current predicament of our people. You would like to enjoy history at the cost of the dying Eritrean people.

    Amanuel Hidrat

  • Rodab

    Mengstu’s theory (relevant to the ongoing discussion):

  • zeyreseo

    Serray , you make my day. I joined 8th round
    National service against my uncle’s (simple peasant) strong opposition to do so
    and another uncle and aunt (both former tegadelti) encouraging me to go join
    and fight the enemy. Three of them are from my mother’s side. My peasant uncle
    hint me all the horrors of “Shaebia” and the two Tegadelti recount the heroic deed and invincibility. I
    believed the latter, joined the army and stayed there for four years. What I witness?
    My civilian uncle, a simple peasant, tells the truth and only the truth. I
    witnessed for myself for what a terrible, shameful, monster org. shaebia was.

    I started to believe in Eritrea’s renaissance when only I read
    YG and Serray. Sal , I don’t wish you experience yourself the horror to cool
    down your romance. But it is way beyond the imagination.

    That is why we need to find the root , structural cause of
    this monstrosity still continuing. YG is trying and you are discouraging , as
    if it is only IA the culprit. It is much more than him. Something terrible has
    gone wrong.

    • Amde

      Interesting take. I think your comment says it all to be honest. I wish you’d elaborate. Did your peasant uncle say what happened? Examples of the horrors?

      • zeyreseo

        First thing , he was rounded up, and beaten for reluctance he has shown.
        This is at a time when his mother has just died, and he was
        expecting his second born. His eldest brother and younger sister had joined the front already and he was the only one left at home. He pleaded to take care of his father and his own young family, but no one was to listen or care. He managed to escape after a while (7 months) but his village pal was shot dead for trying. In between he witnessed all forms of abuse. Punished for trying to connect with his family, witnessed a companion who shot himself accidentally denied medication as it was considered deliberate, humiliation for showing his village upbringing and witnessed execution of POWs and of course the endless roundups of peasants to be conscripted. BTW, he lost his second child for no one was there to care of his wife during delivery. My own experience with Shaebia is worse. What amazes me most is that my tegadalai uncle, destitute and poor , still supports IA. I once asked him why was all this sacrifice? His answer was short and funny, “for the flag”. IA is a formidable enemy who molded tens of thousands of such die-hards.

  • Rodab

    So I see we are in the midst of a lovely Ghedli debate, debate #xx. And I am not worn out, not yet. Infact it should rage on untill we get to a set of basic consenses – although by scanning the comments below it seemed a tall order. YG wouldn’t do it but it could’ve been beneficial if he were to drop by once in a while. Unless his long-writing style inconveniences him on public forums like this. Well, let’s be honest: just like an 18 wheeler truck needs a sizable room of maneuvering, YG needs a bigger space to make his case and nothing wrong with that, just personal style.

    Anyway, I realize part of the problem with the Ghedli debate is the lack of sufficient documentation or reference. But for anyone willing to work hard, we still have signifcant sources we can depend on to unravel what we need to unravel. I can list four major sources: (1) ‘men yerd’e ziQebere: menke ynger zinebere’ kem zibehal those involved, with all the shortcomings of addition and deletion, are still rich sources. Of course now the main disadvantage with this group is becoming the gradual fade-away of memory as time goes on; (2) for cross-referencing, one can look at internal and external news outlets at the time such as dimtsi Hafash, VoA, BBC, Germany radio etc. I am assuming news items/comments from those years have been properly archived. (3) The so called friends of Sewra [foreign journalists and volunteers/friends]. In some ways, this group has more strength due to not only were they educated and intimately familiar with Ghedli Ertra, but they have documented most of their experience there through articles and books; and the 4th and my favorite one is: ART. Youtube is full of Ghedli era songs,poems and dramas of all tribes and languages. If I were to write a book about Sewra, I would certainly spend a large amount of time studying these artistic works.
    By the way, am I wrong to state that the vast majority Eritreans refer to PIA regime as PFDJ and only very, very, very few refer it as Shaebia? What is the differene anyway?

  • Saleh Johar

    Serray, your stubbornness is amazing. You consider all those who went through the experience and struggle of Gedli era are idiots. You think you know better! You think you can describe the nature of Gedli better than those who went through that hell! You are wrong my friend. The tens of people who went through Gedli and the tens of thousands who paid the ultimate price were not violent mercenaries running after money. They were not idiots and many paid with their lives to reform the movements, to rectify mistakes, and challenge wrongdoers. They did it known the price too well and they were willing pay. Not hindsight philosophizing, but in real time, in real time facing eminent danger. And you have the nerve to belittle their sacrifices! Their integrity and dedication. You have the nerve to consider them toys with no conscience, and no intellect!

    Do you recognize you are insulting gallant people, brave people and selfless people, when you claim the suffering and the prices they paid was to install the PFDJ brutes? You are stuck in a position that you do not want to revise. Let me give you an example: Imagine a family of six children that the parents did everything humanly possible to raise properly. One or two of the children sway from the path and become hoodlums, thieves, murderers, and what have you. Are you going to insult the entire family and hold it responsible for? Please don’t give me Freudian explanations, check your own experience, your neighbors and relatives and I am sure you know good people who had one bad apple in the family.

    You keep harping on the same chord: throwing the responsibilities of our country’s predicament to the Gedli to which tens of thousands belonged. I urge you to tell us your share of responsibility in relation to that predicament. Of course you can’t, you have a Hijab on your face and any debate would not be fair (for your debaters). The nick “Serray” doesn’t give us any context. I do not know your life experience, maybe your upbringing doesn’t warrant a struggle against the Ethiopian occupation. but for many of us, that was the only choice.

    Taking out someone’s eyes is a crime. But if someone is grabbing you by the throat, you will react reflexively without thinking whether you are going to take out the eyes of your aggressor. That is how it was for many young people of the time. As for the initiators of the glorious Gedli (yes, glorious), it was something that had to be done. You will not understand it unless you believe in something called dignity and choice,… and personal traits such as gallantry, integrity, selflessness and many more.

    The fact that the PFDJ brutes hoodwinked GEDLI and usurped power is indeed a sad and disappointing result, but doesn’t change anything. And you cannot blame a mother’s womb for carrying one deformed child among many healthy children.

    What annoys me is the fact that neither you nor those who belong to your school of thought are honest enough to say anything about, or scrutinize, the aggressor’s deeds (successive occupiers) but you are quick to jump with your claws at the victims for deciding to end their suffering.

    Dear Serray, don’t ever think you are morally superior to those who gave what they had for the struggle. You are not superior, by any measure. Some would even go as far as calling you, not only a coward, but a helplessly arrogant person. I will end this with a nostalgic Gedli tradition:

    Long live the memories of the glorious GEDLI
    Shame to everyone who beats on the victim.

    • Serray


      That is one side of the story, here is the other. When I say you speak of ghedli in a vacuum, this is what I mean: I never went to medda, never joined ghedli and according to you, because I didn’t, I have no right to speak about it. This would have been fine had the choice to join or not join resulted in no noticeable change in my life. But as it happens, the choice you and all tegadelti made not only change my life but ended up turning it upside down. As a matter of fact, since you guys didn’t create a new space to fight, every single fighting you did; be it the horrendous and unbelievably brutal battles fight against each other (which incidentally pushed the founder out) or against the ethiopian army, were done in the space we live. The impact of ghedli to millions of eritrea is as perverse as it is to tegadelti.

      Saleh, when it is convenient for you, you tell me I am an equal stakeholder, when I speak out about medda and the role it might have played in creating shaebia regime, you do two acrobatic twisted and relegate me to a silent observer. You first strip me of my stake in ghedlti by pretending that the choice I made not to go medda has shielded me from the fires you guys helped set. And once you strip me, you squeeze a regime almost totally made of tegadelti into a handful unruly bunch (and no one is the wiser because now we have only insider votes, “we say it is, therefore it is”). But my understanding of ghedli will always remain that you are the matches and we are the wood. I think it is hugely unfair to tell the ashes that they know nothing about burning because they can’t start a fire.

      As revealed in this post, there is a disconnect between the outrage you feel about the object of your devotion and the clear outcome of its accomplishment. I am really finding it irritating the attempt to disassociate first, shaebia from ghedli and then isaias from shaebia by squeezing all these crimes to a handful people (this as bad as ali salims inflating shaebia to fill half of the nation). This is a very weak copout from someone who comes swinging like you do yelling ghedli is good! ghedli is good! You guys sound like the old marxists who claim that marxism is good (but somehow its application fails in every single country that practiced it…stalin or mao’s fault). If you feel this much about it, own it in its totality. Ghedli has touched every eritrean life the last fifty years; it is hard to swallow when you guys try to squeeze into one person its grand finale. Next door are the same people who went through more or less the same experience but when they won they manage to keep a country twenty times our size chugging along. Since you guys believe WE don’t know what we are talking about, try to come up with a better explanation than it is a few bad apple why ours failed miserably and completely.

      I am sorry I don’t share your super heroic vision of ghedli; maybe when our country, our people are better off because of it, I might revaluate it. My respect for the rank and file is intact even as I am dismayed many still struggle that ghedli can not be the basis of a free society. There is some validity to Amanuel’s letting ghedlti rest in the pages of history but the problem is, it is former tegadelti waiting in line to be the next designers of our future.

      Saleh, when you read me, try to remember that I am not judging the past, I am trying to understand the present. As I stare at isaias and the regime of tegadelti, my mind refuses to accept that the struggle they spent half a life time has nothing to do with it.

      • Peace!

        Very interesting debate from two smart guys. But it is totally not fair to use a pen name and take advantage of the other side. If you are interested on having a useful debate, you must either come out and face these guys or embrace the silent majority.

        • Rodab

          There is a legitimate reason for using pen names and as long as one is debating with civility and doesn’t violate the written and unwritten rules, this shouldn’t be an issue.

          • Peace!

            Nah Nah Nah…that was not the point I was trying to make. Serray’s response would have been completely different had SGJ used a pen name: you can prove it yourself just erase SGJ and his Ghedli experience and you would end up with full of fragments. simple as that.

      • Tesfu

        Saleh Johar,
        Speaking of tegadelti: They can be put in different classes/categories,
        {a} those who went to meda volunteer/ willful to liberate Eritrea, having full knowledge what they were getting in, to give their life for better future to others
        {b} monkey see monkey does or friend is leaving I need to follow
        {c}Fear of arrest, due to doing/helping the cause
        {d}Called by kifli-hzbi, or feda-in
        {e}Coerced/forced someone’ hand
        Having said that how many of them are at top of the helm, who really care of well being of Eritreans and Eritrea? Most of them who volunteered first are dead, one way or another. The future of the country is doom and I hope I am wrong, though with my one leg cut off.

  • Blitz

    Since Eritrea started its diplomatic offensive blitzing state capitals in Africa, Middle East, Europe and Russia, Weyane and its dogs have been in near panic mode.
    I think they peed in their pants. Tedros Adhanom’s pants looked a little wet the other day on TV. I think he had an accident upon hearing that the toothless sanctions are about to be lifted and that Eritrea had successfully blitzed yet another state capital diplomatically.


    What we also have to understand is that the EPLF leadership was highly successful in putting the goals of its organization and the Eritrean struggle to success. Though this fact is absent in post independent Eritrea doesn’t mean it has to be ruled out and despised as if done nothing.
    It was highly successful in shielding and guiding the struggle successfully to its final GOAL without been obstructing by super power world forces and illegitimate Ethiopian regimes ( killing two birds with a single stone) which otherwise have had been compromised like the revolutionary struggles of other peoples in our world. The Eritrean revolutionary struggle is unique and highly successful in this regard which defied unjust imposition of powerful
    capitalist or communist forces. And certainly credit goes to the political leadership of EPLF 1970-1990. ( Ofcourse with due respect also to the military wing…) But t is not to deny some human rights violation claimed by some tegadalties and Gebars which is common to occur in a war zone as collateral damage or to save the bigger issue at the expence of some sacrifice….)

  • Nitricc

    “two weeks after the fall: Interested Eritreans in the diaspora travel to Eritrea for a national conference, get to see where things are at and discuss ways of assisting the transitional period”
    Very childish take but since you called it fantacy I can not be hard on you.
    In fact if any change to accrue, which I will share my idea of change but the last it will happen is permitting the Diaspora to enter to Eritrea. Hell no!
    There is a greatest war before anything settles in to normality. I am welling to send Eritrea to hell before I share my beloved Eritrea with YG. Eritrea has a choice to make. The first order of business for any Eritrean is to respect the Gedli; you don’t have to like it but you will respect it. This is Just Nitricc speaking plainly and turthfully. The good thing is time is not on the side of Gedli haters. They will die in agony.

    • haile

      Hello Nitricc

      You said “…I will share my idea of change but the last it will happen is permitting the Diaspora to enter to Eritrea. Hell no!”

      Let me challenge you to really wrap your head around the first half of this video, and think what your idea amounts to (i.e. refusing people entry to their country of origin). You would be surprised to see how IA destroyed the once hopeful nation… I hope wouldn’t be forever…


      • Papillonn

        Dear Haile,

        Many thanks for the link. The question still lingers: What exactly went wrong? One of course doesn’t have to scratch his or her head to find an answer. Isaias the sadist gets rattled when the Sun breaks out through the clouds; when people radiate with happiness. That is precisely what happened. A messenger of darkness that he is, he made sure the Eritrean people roast in the arid desert; drawn in the high seas and lose they sense of sanity and humanity where their generosity and kindness is rewarded with unimaginable cruelty. But of course, Yahweh will extend His hands out to the Eritrean people and lead them to the green pastures and Eritrea once again will shine up on the hill as a beacon of hope for all to see. That is not far. That is a fact.


        • haile

          Selamat Papillonn

          “What exactly went wrong?” is indeed something every Eritrean worth their salt should ponder to figure out. I have may take, and don’t believe it is better than anybody else’s but I tend to somewhat strongly be drawn to it. I think that when IA failed to rectify his standing by using the opportunity that was presented to him to peacefully gain state power, he gave in to his human excesses to get us to the current situation where even if you were to throw 100% support at him he will never be able to recover the lost opportunity, lives and dreams.

          The meaning of the above in the process of Eritrea’s actualization as a fully formed nation state has been devastating. Those who purportedly claim to support the regime know that they are FAKING it and they have no feeling towards Eritrea or its Godforsaken future. And those opposing the regime are inundated by a massive unfolding catastrophe in the unraveling of Eritrea sometimes risk walking a tightrope balancing act of a deal with the devil. In the land of the masses, the process of forging Eritrean national identity had either been completely aborted or is in a state of a grinding halt at best. The Eritrean people have long lost their ways, double speak, thuggery and bloody mindedness rule the day. Today, we have Eritreans who consider the death of hundreds of their fellow people inconsequential, the price that was paid to secure their nation worthless, unable to visualize a nation outside of their personal benefit and advantages, willing to forget the existence of a place called Eritrea that they own rightfully while they think alien governments are doing them great disservice by not allowing them to enter and settle in their countries at will.

          The vast so called “Silent Majority” (or dead conscience as SGJ would call them) have proven beyond doubt that they don’t deserve to have a nation state, since they can’t see beyond the individual state. I have many evidences of instances that I have come to personally witness which has left me in SERIOUS doubt as to the existence of national consciousness in Eritrea (that is not the same as a sense of grievance against a perceived oppressor). Today, nobody knows what tomorrow holds, our nation is withering in the wind aimlessly. Eritrea would sure quietly disappear out of the map unless an immediate mass uprisings can be mounted to overrun the the country’s security and administrative installations and bring down the existing regime. In Eritrea people see each other as “LeKbaT” or untrustworthy. This is the answer I got from several people in Eritrea when I asked why the people don’t raise up. The simply quip “ms men konka emo, kulu LeKbaT endyu”. That is sad indeed. Even more sad for those who had to fight us for 30 year, I bet you they’re saying what a waste that might have been for them to fight against people who were after independence that they had no intention of maintaining.

          So, your pondering that what went wrong? It is just that the forging of a nation state was aborted and a failed nation has emerged in its ashes.


          • saay7

            Selamat Haile (The Great):

            Whenever I say Eritrea has one problem and his name is Isaias Afwerki, people immediately counter that Eritrea’s problem are much more deep-rooted and they go far beyond the Brute. My answer is: if Isaias Afwerki is gone, We The People have will have the space to discuss and solve all the other “deep-rooted” problems so long as we stick to one covenant we have made: Ertra n Ertrawian. Ertra n Ertrawian is a two-parter and it means (a) there should not be an interference from non-Eritreans to affect the outcome: meaning foreign nations should butt out; (b) there should not be any attempt by Eritrean to secede from the union.

            The biggest fear of the Silent Majority is that we will completely screw up the Covenant. That the minute Isaias Afwerki leaves, there will be a cleavage along every social fault line. That looming large at the center of the two-part covenant is Ethiopia: it will massively interfere by both empowering the “self-autonomy up to secession” movements and the installation of a puppet regime. A puppet regime that is entirely dependent on Ethiopia for its survival (the way Djibouti depends on France or the way Lebanon depended on Syria) This will in turn create a reaction: a search for a foreign power that balances the influence of Ethiopia, which will then give us a formula for a divided and constantly at war two halves. Think Ukraine. In short, the biggest fear of the Silent Majority is, as you explained when you coined the term, fear that post-Isaias Afwerki Eritrea will descend into chaos, anarchy and civil war.

            The Isaiasists don’t just suspect this: they KNOW this. They are dead certain about it. They believe that there can’t be democracy in Eritrea because there is no democracy in any part of Africa. They believe that democracy requires economic development; and economic development requires a developmental state; and the developmental state requires the strong hands of an authoritarian. To them, his cruelty is not a sign of sadism but a sign of a loving father figure determined to instill discipline in his unruly children. The things that Isaias Afwerki says about how the Front will rule for the next four decades; or that those who seek political pluralism can search for it in other planets may disgust us, but they re-assure them. They look at 91-97 Eritrea and 98-present Eritrea and say that we can return to the 91-97 Eritrea if the event that triggered the change (war with Ethiopia) is legally concluded. They actually believe (despite all facts to the contrary: despite the fact that even the Eritrean ministers are conscripted ministers; that there are no volunteers anywhere in the PFDJ) that the Front will exist largely as it is after Isaias Afwerki is gone. Sure they will grieve for his loss (the way the TPLF grieved for a year after Meles Zenawi was gone) but the Front will remain intact and true to its principles of self-reliance.

            Now look at the three sides closely.

            The Silent Majority want a level of assurance that a post-Isaias Eritrea will not descend into civil war and total chaos. Total chaos: not just the 3,000 Eritreans crossing the border, but men, women and children gathering their meager belongings and going on an exodus in the hundreds of thousands as happened to Somalis when crossing to Ethiopia. What has the strategy of the opposition shown them to assure them that will never happen? I mean the only time the opposition makes headlines is when they fight each other or when a separatist group issues a military communique of how it will continue fighting until its right to autonomy up to and including secession is guaranteed. Fail.

            The Isaiasists want assurance that the system Isaias Afwerki constructed to fit Isaias Afwerki will remain largely intact after Isaias Afwerki is gone. They expect a system that has no succession plan, a system that relies on feuding generals maintaining order, a system that relies on conscripted soldiers, a system that relies on predatory economics, a system that relies on secrecy is suddenly going to institutionalize itself. The Isaiasist doesnt quite believe that so he reassures himself that (a) Isaias will live for 40 more years and (b) Isaias has already thought of this and there is a plan somewhere in some drawer that will activate itself.

            Which leaves us, the opposition. The opposition has programs and platforms for what a post-Isaias Afwerki will look like. But it has no strategy at all for how to bring about a post Isaias Afwerki Eritrea. The “by all means necessary” group haven’t found any of the means to be necessary. The “peaceful means” group– the civil society, the pressure groups– have convinced the world that Isaias Afwerki is a brute, but the world appears to be content to share the planet with brutes. The “democratic coup” group cannot tell us what it is up to: we will only hear about their success or failure after the fact.

            In all this, there is one constant, Haile The Great. More than ever, Eritrea will need people like you: somebody who not only has the clarity of mind but, unlike some people who blow hot air from their speculative world, somebody who is connected with Eritrea and knows what is happening in Eritrea RIGHT NOW. You must resist the temptation to be frustrated–I sense in your last few postings a tendency to find fault with the people. There is nothing wrong with the Eritrean people, nothing; their “LeKbaT” ratio is no higher or lower than the typical percentage in war-ravaged and or survivalist communities. The probability of Eritrea being a failed state (measured by objective standards) is no worse than your average African country. Dust off, and bring back Haile The Great:) People like Nitricc deserve a tutor.


          • Amde

            I don’t see how Eritrea can sit on strategic real estate and expect nobody to butt in. That is a bit unrealistic in my opinion. Your analogy of Ukraine is a good one. Plus, nobody would want an ungoverned space while its inhabitants sort their internal differences. Not in the age of al-qaeda or al-shabab sitting across Yemen. Better to assume that outsiders will have an interest in the outcome and plan accordingly.

            My money is on PFDJ or some incarnation of it continuing as the ruling power for years to come through implicit international acquiescence as long as they offer stability (or at least guarantee there would be no ungoverned spaces), which is about the only thing the international community wants and cares about. Nobody else has offered a plausible alternative.


          • haile

            Merhaba Saay,

            ኣንታ እዚ ሃይለ ምስ ህዝቢ ከጣፋኣና ደልዩ ዶ’ልካ 🙂

            I agree in many ways, and be assured that there won’t be any let up in this side. As you stated, it is hard to guarantee a stable transition given the current situation. Many countries with a relatively better starting point than ours, still struggle to ensure peaceful and smooth transition. ሰብ ከም ቤቱ’ምበር ኣይከውንን ከም ጎረቤቱ ይበሃል and our house seems lacking in many ways that we need to settle to what is doable and achievable within our means.

            In all this, my concern is that our problems have been neglected for far too long, by virtue of an irresponsible regime that thinks anything hidden from the view is rendered as something that doesn’t exist (consider the many POWs, Refugees, and other abandoned individuals that the regime just dumps and forgets about), a “Silent Majority” that I keep following closely and often gives very contradicting signals as far as its national obligations are concerned, and opposition movements that are reflective of the general ailment in our social fabric, i.e. loss of trust and hence self multiplication as a form of resolving divisions…

            Imagine if there were three broad ways of charging ahead: the HGDEF way, the armed rebellion way and the non-violent way. This would have concentrated resources, focused approaches and made it easy to channel efforts. You would have three radio, three newspaper, three websites and three TV channels to choose from. Instead, we have 35+ (some say 50) different ways of movements, and at this critical juncture, such can only mean that we will be overtaken by events when the time comes.

            So, I admit that I may have sounded frustrated but most importantly, my message was that what we feared might happen to Eritrea might have already happened, PFDJ has in fact run its course and has politically imploded. An irreversible damage may be taking root in the foundations of the pillars of our country. A return to principled and truthful engagement in national matters is a must and only way forward from here on. There are many complicated problems inside Eritrea and the diaspora needs clearer antennas to capture the essence of the current reality inside.

            I agree with the points you posited above as to the eventuality of system crash sooner than later, but what is the way forward?


          • saay7

            Haile (The Great):

            Before we talk about the way forward, wouldn’t you say there is better clarity now from the alignments as a result of people being forced to take a position? Our mad king keeps clarifying things in his war against the Eritrean dream: even his “those who think there is any other political entity than the Front can look for it in another world” is a clarifying moment to add to the others he said in front of many witnesses when he was in his evening (drunk) state of mind. Just one example: ሃብታም አርትራ’ምበር: ሃብታም እርትራዊ ኽርኢ ኣይደልይን ኢየ:: The Eritrean youth (warsay) are in open conflict with the Tegadelti (yika’alo) at the instigation of Isaias: I heard of a youth who told a Tegadalai: ኣንታ ንስኹም ጀብጀብ ኽትቋነኑን: ሳጓ ከተውጹን: ኢሳይያስ ቢሮ ሒዙ ይጽሕፍ ንየሩ::

            I had a different apprehension from yours. You see, I believe the PFDJ is not going to implode because it has already imploded. It imploded in September 2001. That was when the last group of people who had any standing to challenge Isaias Afwerki were made to disappear and endure a slow death. Just like the 1994 creation of PFDJ was for the freezing and demotion of EPLF’s institutions and personalities; the 2001 Isaiasism was for the freezing and demotion of PFDJ leadership. All we have now is Isaias and Isaiasim: the State is the Man. My apprehension is that there are enough Warsays eager to staff the state machinery–many already have–a group of young people completely ignorant of history and seeking nothing more than what everybody else wants: the ability to make a living and support a family within a given environment. An Eritrean who has immigrated to the US, notwithstanding all his credentials, may find himself, forced by his new environment to work as a taxi driver or parking lot attendant. Similarly, these youths, forced by the environment Isaias has created will find that serving the State, no questioned asked, is the new normal and they will serve without question.

            Do not underestimate what an environment can do: in the video you shared, there is a picture of a young wedi Gerahtu waxing poetic about the importance of having an independent body to check the excesses of the executive. That was in 1994. Now, in 2014, 20 years, he is part of the excesses of the executive: he has been recalled to Eritrea and since he has learned that part of surviving requires keeping your mouth shut when the executive transgresses his authority, he will keep his mouth shut (actually, in his case, speak in soft tones.)

            The way forward…. a decade ago, the Eritrean opposition was talking about “minimum programs.” What they were talking about then really was mostly about what is the common denominator we all have–let’s identify it and then agree to work together on it. Unfortunately, what their “minimum program” had little to do with how to bring about change, but post-change Eritrea should look like. Now, if we ask ourselves: what is it that we in the opposition agree on–what is the lowest common denominator–I believe it is one and one thing only: Isaias Afwerki must be removed from power. That is what all of us–whether it is the sur-neqel change or the democratic coup change–agree on. That is what we should focus on.


          • Amanuel9

            Selam Saay,

            Let me interject one question otherwise very interesting exchange of views with Haile you are doing. I am of the opinion that the only common denominator is the removal of Issayas from power. However how do we convince to our social groups who have reservation to this idea? Their believe is unless we resolve the issue of how it should look “haddas Eritrea” they will not be interested that much about the removal of Issayas. With the mentality of PFDJ, these groups are always suspecious that if this issayas goes there is always another Issayas. Try to include into your equation how you fit them such groups.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Dawit

            The part of the society that subscribe to the “Sur-betek” change want more than the removal of Issayas. They want to dismantle PFDJ before knocking it down. With the demise of PFDJ, all “ghedli values and attitudes” will likely disappear from the face of Eritrea. That’s when , like YG said , we all go back to “nubur”.

          • Amde


            Isn’t it the reality that in a single party state, the party is the governing entity? How can one talk about dismantling the party without also talking about dismantling the government? An absence of a governing institution is an invitation for pure anarchy, especially in an environment where serious questions of politics are unresolved.

            When the Derg fell, both EPLF and EPRDF had good experiences of governing – maintaining law and order, collecting taxes, living with the peasant communities, providing relief aid when it was necessary and so on. Since it was a one party state, almost every bureaucrat and technocrat (not just explicit political workers) were members of the WPE (Workers Party of Ethiopia). Imagine how much more difficult things would have been if EPLF and EPRDF had signalled from the beginning that they were going to eliminate all that worked with the WPE. Conversely, a generation after coming to power through the gun, almost all new members will be of a different sort – more practiced in bureaucratic tactics than the battlefield, more concerned about jobs and careers than the discomfort of the bush, more worried about feeding the family than of sacrificing themselves for a comrade.

            It seems to me the wise thing is to offer a believable olive branch to most PFDJ members if change happens – you want them to keep the machinery of government going while things sort themselves out. Especially since the opposition does not have any governing apparatus that can move in.

            As to the disappearance of the ghedli values and attitudes, that will most likely take time – as they say progress happens one funeral at a time. Especially if the tegadelti feel they sacrificed so much only to be blamed for all the ills the nation faces. That kind of bitterness does not change overnight.


          • saay7

            Selamat Dawit, Emma and Amde:

            ah, so. The problem with the “sur-betek” (uprooting) strategy is that the root goes deep. Let’s say that someone says “let’s uproot the PFDJ!” Somebody will say, “fine, after we uproot that, can we also uproot the ELF?” Then somebody will say, “Great, when we are done uprooting all remnants of PFDJ, EPLF and ELF, can we also uproot all traces that gave rise to this silly notion that Eritrea should be an independent country? Let’s go back all the way to the 1940s” Once you start digging, it is infinite regress.

            Dawit, have you ever talked to old Eritreans who participated in the Tripoli was (1935) on behalf of the fascists? They are embarrassed about it, fighting somebody else’s war. It is some strange thing that happened at a strange past. Now, that is what YG and his disciples want to do with Ghedli. It is not going to happen–it is a purely Internet phenomenon–that no three-dimensional Eritrean would dare utter in front of a gathering of Eritreans who have sacrificed sons, daughters, brothers, uncles for the cause. But in thrives in cyberspace because Fenterter and the Internet are made for each other. The Ethiopians are celebrating the Battle of Adwa and they don’t pause for one minute to beat themselves up for the fact that they chopped the limbs of Eritreans who were conscripted into Italy’s war. Every country has something in its history it is ashamed of; ours are the only ones who demand perfection.

            Emma, what the “social groups” you are talking about is called “maximal demand” in politics. People are free to ask for the moon, but then there is negotiation and coming down to earth. All you have to do is remind them of gravity. Up until now, there really hasn’t been honest NEGOTIATIATIONS in Eritrean politics: there has been a lot of accommodation of hurt feelings but no real negotiation and that’s because nobody who is doing the negotiating has really been elected by the social groups s/he claims to represent nor does s/he have real stakes because we all have alternative universes we call home.

            Amde, of course Ethiopia will want to influence what happens in post-independent Eritrea. That’s a given. All I am asking is that the ones on our side need not all be Ethiophiles who accept as a given that Ethiopia has the right to dictate terms. To put this in a language you will understand (I am assuming you are Ethiopian): in Ethiopia’s feud with Egypt, would you want your Ethiopian representative to be somebody who looks out for Ethiopia’s interest or somebody who is totally accommodating of Egypt? Well, in Eritrean opposition, not only do we have people who are all too-willing to accomodate Ethiopia’s demands (whatever they may be) but believe that when it does so, it (Ethiopia) is simply a bigger version of Eritrea. They are easy to identify: they are more comfortable with their “Habesha” (organic, great, historic) than their Eritrean (manufactured, imported, fake) identity.


          • Amde


            “They are easy to identify: they are more comfortable with their
            “Habesha” (organic, great, historic) than their Eritrean (which they
            call: manufactured, imported, fake) identity. I wouldn’t mind these
            guys running the Ministry of Tourism but I don’t want them anywhere when
            we are negotiating serious business.”

            So now you are talking about disenfranchisement? Do you have an estimate as to how large this particular constituency is that you have identified by the epithet of “ethiophiles”? Is it a drunken group of six individuals? Or 5%…10%…20%….30% of Eritrea? How large should the Ministry of Tourism be?

            Actually, what I said was this – “I don’t see how Eritrea can sit on
            strategic real estate and expect nobody to butt in. ” I did not
            mention Ethiopia at all. There will be a lot of interested parties not
            just Ethiopia – start from Israel and Egypt, through Sudan and the Gulf
            States. Yemen and Djibouti. USA and France. Unfortunately you are a
            reflexive Ethiophobe and disenfranchisement was what came to your mind.
            This response of yours just re-enforces what I suspect the Awate group
            truly is –
            closet Shaebiya who are only mad that Issayas did not execute “the
            of Eritrean regional hegemony correctly.

            When you consider Eritrea lost its way when it unleashed a war with Ethiopia, one would assume this rather important fact would be part of the calculation going forward. Remember, Eritrea did not just lose the war, it ended up on a path where even you yourself are asking about the existential status of Eritrea at this point. Geography is destiny – when your neighbor is at least 15 times your size, you must have a modus vivendi to deal with the gap. And through the magic of compound interest, this gap will accelerate.

            If the post-Issayas settlement is not blessed by the neighbors you can kiss it goodby. Remember that for the Ethiopians, Issayas is a known and manageable entity. He keeps “order”. Why would they risk complete anarchy and collapse north of the Mereb for something unknown? The alternative is a loss of central order, and the Ethiopians will manage the way they are “managing” what is happening in Somalia right now. Basically a mixture of hosting refugees, military presence in Somalia and dealing with amenable Somali regional bosses who are traveling to Ethiopia bypassing the Mogadishu government. Right now, there is nothing else on the table. In my humble opinion.


          • saay7

            Selamat amde:

            * Nope, not talking disenfranchisement at all. Just me, a citizen, expressing my desire as to whom I would like negotiating with Ethiopia on the Eritrean side of the roundtable. And, please, it is not going to be Yemen, or Djibouti, or Sudan: it is going to be Ethiopia. It may be Ethiopia representing Ethiopia; Ethiopia representing Israel and the US, Ethiopia representing IGAD, but it is going to be Ethiopia. All the stories of “Ethiopia has moved on” blah, blah, blah are just stories. If you want to measure that, just count how many times my friend Eyob gets excited at the whiff of any Eritrea-Ethiopia reconciliation:)) Just count how many arrangements, re-arrangements, re-re-re arrangements Ethiopia has had with the opposition since 1999.

            * Your claim that the Awate Team is a “closet Shaebia” is just something we will have to add to the long list of nonsense: that we are CIA, Jihadists, Islamist, Weyane. I give you credit for originality though: I hadn’t heard that version of paranoia before.

            * I agree with you: a post-Isaias Eritrea has to be “blessed” by Ethiopia, which is only another way of saying that Ethiopia can be a spoiler if it wants to be. If you consider that a bragging right, go to town with it brother. And what’s this business about “they”: aren’t you Ethiopian? I once gave you credit for coming up with a clever explanation for the claim that Ethiopia is 3,000 years old and I assumed you were…but if you are Eritrean and you went to that extent of explaining Ethiopia’s mythology, I guess I have to revise my assumption that the Ethiophile Eritrean constituency is not as small and increase it by 100% from “beTat yemiqoTeru” to “behulet Tat(och) yemiqoTeru.”


          • haile

            hey saay

            haha…Eyob is gonna get you for this one. I ain’t an amharic expert…but “behulet Tatoch yemiqoTeru” sounds to mirror one of your Tinglish. The question is “how do you count with two fingers?” Do you actually allocate a finger for each unitary quantity that you increment with? I guess you wanted to tinglish “can be counted with fingers in two hands as opposed the customary expression – can be counted with [the fingers] in one hand” ….behulet tatoch one can only indicate victory sign (so long as they don’t forget and hold it the wrong way around!) 🙂

          • saay7

            Hey Hailat:

            It wasn’t Tinglish; I was just doing my own rendition of Haile Selasse/Derg’s dismissal of the Eritrean “bandits” who were always described as “b’and ij yemiqoteru” petro-dollar crazed fanatics and I am thinking if the nearly 100,000 strong bandits were “and ij”, well then, the Ethiophiles exhausting our patience must be “and Tat”:) No?


          • Amde


            I am American playing armchair strategist….

            Just curious though.. why “..it is going to be Ethiopia..”

            I would like to get to know the other impudent Ethiophile who has the temerity to have you raise a second Tat…. never mind I think I know

            PS. I never claimed Ethiopia was 3000 years old. I really don’t care if you give me credit for a “clever” formulation. I just asked that you entertain the possibility that it was older than 100, and younger than 3000, the point being that however old it is, the Ethiopian state is not a product of the 1880s European conquest of Africa. In your eyes, harping on the 3000 year thing is a rhetorical device for making serious issues appear silly, mythological and hence not worth discussing.

            I made that point in the context of Eritrea and Somalia finding themselves in essentially the same boat – believing the rhetorical device to be the truth, and making suicidal strategic miscalculation based on believing Ethiopia to be an artificial 120 year old Amhara construction ripe for disintegration at the first hint of trouble. It didn’t happen in the 1970s. It did not happen in the 1990s. In both instances, those who calculated wrong ended up not just losing the war, but putting their respective nations in an existential crisis. In my opinion, that particular belief is responsible for more deaths in
            the recent history of the Horn of Africa than any other single idea.


          • saay7

            Hey Amde:

            Let’s not be coy:

            1. It is going to be Ethiopia because Ethiopia has done very, very, very well selling itself as the Christian Island representing the interests of the West (including Israel) for a very, very, very long time. It has had crusaders, hustlers, diarists, chroniclers, historians, selling that fine story and if hell breaks loose in Eritrea, Tel Aviv, Washington DC, London, Paris are all going to be calling Addis. I am a grown up and I can handle it. Don’t flatter yourself: this is not just Ethiopian diplomacy; it is Western fear of the Mussulman.

            2. You are dancing around the question: are you Ethiopian or not? Please note, that this forum is open to all (we take special pride in that); your answer has no impact on your ability to express yourself here freely. I just was curious as to why you referred to Ethiopia as “they.”

            3. The Somalia issue: please refer to my answer in #1 above. In the Ogaden War, the Soviet Union supported the “Koran Marxist” Siad Barre and the US supported Ethiopia. The Soviet Union switched allegiance to Ethiopia and the rest is history: Mengistu was able to defeat Somalia thanks to the on-ground involvement of the entire Soviet satellite including Cuban field marshals leading the war. This we know courtesy of de-classified East German documents so please don’t argue that Somalia lost the war because it underestimated Ethiopia. It lost the war because the ENTIRE Soviet machinery through its weight behind Ethiopia.

            Please do NOT interpret this as me underestimating the fierceness of the Ethiopian warrior (Ethiopians ARE fierce warriors which is why the Eritrean Ghedli is miraculous); it is simply to state that Ethiopians are very good at hiding the support their war machinery has gotten throughout its history.

            all the best,



          • Amde

            Hi Saay,

            I will answer your number 2 first. I will put your anxious heart at rest and admit that actually I am an Addis born and raised Ethiopian, although I am somewhat flattered that you felt you had to ask. I know the forum is open, but I would rather not have the audience assume I am speaking for Ethiopia or etc….because I am not. I would like to think that my points are fair, and my arguments solid, and I be judged on those merits alone. The reason why I say “they” is because I am trying to look at this thing in as much dispassionate point of view as possible. Plus, I see a lot of American pundits refer to “America” in the third person when talking about foreign policy – so there 🙂

            You can call me old school – I am not a fan of EPRDF, and hence find it hard to identify with them and much of their policies (another reason for the “they”). Part of the reason for the current Ethio-Eritrea standoff is the TPLFs desire to maintain a Tigrinya dominated state of Eritrea as an insurance policy for that dark dreaded day when Shoa will raise its head again, and Article 39 is dusted off. I see it as infantile – but infantility has consequences, and present Eritrea is one of them.

            I take no pleasure in seeing Eritrea in this situation, and I firmly believe we are fundamentally one people that have now been structurally placed on opposite sides of an artificial and in my view unnecessary permanent enmity. As you guys just posted, Egypt expects Eritrea to be its tool – very predictable. That is precisely why there cannot be a guaranteed and durable peace without a meaningful security arrangement. Like you, I don’t buy the whole “..the new generation does not think of Eritrea at all….” story. If they don’t, they should. My position is that durable peace will happen when there is confederation in everything but name 🙂

            As to #1 and #3, they are actually the same thing. Ask yourself this question. Whatever the dominant ideology of the time, outside powers believed they were better off supporting the state of Ethiopia than the opposite side. If you were the Soviet Union, why would you jump ship from the decades worth of military and ideological investment in Somalia into an unknown and chaotic Ethiopia? It would have been sitting pretty on the Somali peninsula, controlling the gulf of Aden, and jutting proudly into the Indian Ocean. Slam dunk in my opinion. It obviously did not do so for religious reasons, nor do I think Mengistu had such a silvery tongue. No, it was evident to them that the Ethiopian state was strong and resilient, and a worthy geopolitical investment. It had the weight of institutional history on its side, and that is not something you can buy. I am sometimes mystified that a smart man like you would write (honestly – embarrassingly) about “Ethiopia has done very, very, very well selling itself as the Christian Island”. The assumption is that Ethiopians are master hood-winkers and the Western powers that be are stupid yokels of the day. I would not bet on it, although I would grant you the fear of the mussulman is a strong selling point. Can you blame them? (just kidding)

            You really don’t have to flatter me by saying Ethiopians are brave fighters. I am too old for that. I think most people, in the right circumstance would fight bravely and astonish even themselves. Even the tegadelti .. 🙂 Except, like Kenny Rogers said – they gotta know when to fold and walk away.


          • haile

            Selamat Saay, Papillonn, Aman, Ethiopia, Amde and the rest of all random visitors,

            Saay, that is hilarious.. “fenterter and internet” that reminds me when they say wediqu/qa in paltalks. I guess fenterter zeygebro yeblun 🙂 Your point about Warsay is true to an extent but let’s be realistic as to the nature of amenability to modernizing route as compared the dhur IA and his dhurat cult fellowers.

            Amde, you forget some critical component that is needed to justify your “more of PFDJ” theory. PFDJ need to have the inner ABILITY to continue not just the will of outsiders or deluded followers. The realty in the ground doesn’t indicate that PFDJ has this capacity. The real distraction wrought on the nation by the PFDJ needs to be accessed by peeking beneath the glamorous images churned out by PFDJ websites. PFDJ is spent, that is for sure and nobody would bet their wager on a dead horse.

            Papillonn, true that following Eritrea’s independence:

            Close to a million Eritreans were dispersed as migrants, tens of thousands perished in avoidable wars, tens of thousands died horrifying deaths trying to escape Eritrea, tens of thousands are hounded and caged in animal like situation, Eritreans descended into abject poverty, they have become the most isolated people on the globe, you would only google the name Eritrea when your kids have gone to bed for the horrific images it would return…

            Only the likes of Semere Tesfay put the blame squarely on a failed “Opposition” and the rest of the world is very clear otherwise. My perspective is however, can be explained by the analogy of the house of horrors. A plethora of horrors that resulted from the ill fated ways of life that its inhabitants adopted. It would be pointless to question the viability, validity or responsibility of purchasing the house in the first place, because that has NOTHING to do with the problem at hand. In Eritrea’s case, in fact the only thing that Eritreans did in their history (unlike the Airline business) and perfectly worked was indeed Ghedli. It delivered an Eritrea without ifs or buts, free and fresh like a mountaintop breeze. IA was taken into lewd and criminal ways, sadly many cheered and followed him despite the obvious calamities. The rest is history.

            Aman, our “social groups” need to be guaranteed a place and a voice in our nation building process. Of course, this needs to be constitutionally provided for. For now, they need to put their narrow agenda and join in the national drive to bring a sweeping popular uprising in Eritrea to overwhelm the failed PFDJ regime.

            Ethiopia, it appears that it is the non-TPLF Ethiopians who seem to have more issues against the Eritrean independence (at least by reading their party manifesto) than the other way round.


          • Amde


            “PFDJ need to have the inner ABILITY to continue not just the will of
            outsiders or deluded followers. The realty in the ground doesn’t
            indicate that PFDJ has this capacity. The real distraction wrought on
            the nation by the PFDJ needs to be accessed by peeking beneath the
            glamorous images churned out by PFDJ websites. PFDJ is spent, that is
            for sure and nobody would bet their wager on a dead horse.”

            There is something called loss-aversion. Yes, people may be sick of PFDJ, and it may be spent. But without a credible alternative, what are people going to do? Keep in mind, when Derg fell, people knew who exactly was going to take over – EPLF in Eritrea, and EPRDF in Ethiopia. These were battle tested groups and proven administrative ability. People made their peace with the new boss if you will.

            Now, in light of an absence of such an alternative in today’s Eritrea, if “PFDJ is spent” just means that people don’t believe its propaganda any more, then they will continue to tolerate it as long as it is the Eritrean state providing minimum services, salaries and order. zenegese ngusna kind of thing. If however, “PFDJ is spent” means PFDJ is no longer able to administer the country, that is a truly frightening situation in the absence of an alternative.


          • ethiopia

            am talking about PEOPLES attitude towards unity has changed, their attention r concentrated how to get rid of wayane/tigrai from their back , i don’t know any party have issues against eritrean independence now days except those who live in eritrea which party u talking about?
            regards to tplf if u read them between lines u will know they want to control every thing directly or indirectly in that part of africa , why they agree in every thing except not to negotiate as equal party with eritrea.

          • ethiopia

            it is great analysis if u use the word wayane instead of ethiopia. people need to understand when we talk about ethio-eritrea the psychology of majority ethiopians has changed and ethiopians r trying to get rid of wayane/tigrai let alone to want eritrea back.

          • Papillonn

            Dear Haile,

            A number of school of thoughts if you will are popping up not only to answer the question (what went wrong) but certain personalities are taking a bold step to probe the validity of the Eritrean struggle for independence as well. The probe doesn’t end there, it tends to “debunk” the Eritrean identity which is warped around the struggle for independence. The kernel of the surfacing intellectual forte is based on the idea that, the present malady of the Eritrean reality is not the making of a one man per se rather, the malady is centered on the entire or fundamental concept of Gedli itself. Sure enough, the people who seem to sympathize with YG the very personality who is pushing the envelope with no mercy and with at times surgical precision are looking at the question with a hindsight at their own disposal, as such, it is rather difficult to judge if their new found “revelation” is based on objective assessment of the history of modern Eritrea or if it is a resentment emanated from the sad reality of present day Eritrea. On the other hand, if we look into the defence points or rebuttal points of the Gedli romantics (read: recent take on it by SGJ), their underpinnings is based on moral imperatives bereft of objective assessment of the question at hand. That is, their main argument is based on the tremendous sacrifice that had been paid to realize an independent Eritrea. To be more precise, if unimaginable sacrifice is paid, it must be a noble cause.

            If hypothetical question is to float around, would Eritrea have been in a better shape and position if Jebha had driven out ShaEbia from Eritrea and the former marched to Asmara in 1991 instead? Perhaps. Simply because, at least, Jebha from the outset and in its formative years as well cultivated the spirit of democracy and the very core of individual rights as well. If we are to take the assumed reversal of fortune as a talking point, the validity of YG’s school of thought falls apart simply because, YG’s “revelation” descended upon him when Eritrea was pronounced “code blue”. That is, YG floated with the flow when the Eritrean fronts were relatively peaceful (read: 1991-97). Moreover, if G-15 had won the political schism back in 2001, would YG still have entertained the question of identity and his proponents jumped on the wagon and cheered him on? Probably not. Again, simply because, the demand of the G-15 and their political platform would have negated the space for any kind of radical inquiry. As I see it, the question (what went wrong) has the potential of carrying a schizophrenic baggage with it, instead, it will be more productive if we channel our efforts on how to end the Isaias regime. To be more precise, I am of the opinion that, if Isaias is rooted out, Eritrea will be discharged home from the ICU.


    • Amde

      … and there is the voice of the ceausescu dead-enders….

  • Amanul9

    My last comment for serray this morning was up for reading. But I don’t see it now. I try to edit one word, and I don’t know whether that has to do with it.

    Amanuel Hidrat

    [Apparently so, Amanuel. Nothing on this end.]

  • haile

    hey Dawit,

    Note the “FORMALLY assume responsibility”. Also, collection of arms would begin right away but obviously would continue for weeks if not some months to complete.

    Again, assuming that IA would be taken out by night, the counter is set at mid-night 🙂

    • Dawit

      If Issayas is taken out by one of his disgrantled security personnel or if he dies of natural causes, the regime will crumble like a house of cards. He is the glue that has held his yes-men together, and PFDJ intact. I hope it would not happen but the worst is yet to come. Eritreans will never come to agree on anything. BTW: what’s Russia doing in Ukraine can be repeated in Eritrea (Ethiopia’s interventions to save what it can call its Habesha cousins in Eritrea may be a logical expectation :-).

  • Senkim

    I enjoyed reading your article especially the part related to your mom. I however beg to differ on some aspects of your substance. For instance, you wrote:
    «His comrades who evolved with time were seen as apostates who betrayed the cause, and genuinely he saw them as defeatists, fifth-column and collaborators with foreign enemies.”

    I believe that, as insane as the petit dictator may sound at times, he is not that stupid, not always at least. He precisely knows that it’s not his comrades supposed defeatism that caused the country such misery but his ego, empty bravado and, worst of all, his arrogance in underestimating the TPLF ( remember temeharo yom nerom sgA Shire discourse?). But as you rightly pointed out, he despised the Eritrean people that he took for granted to fool them all the time with his defeatists’ masquerades.

    • Man up

      TPLF is despised not just by PIA but by the entire Eritrean population.
      Don’t kid yourself.
      It is not as if PIA gets overthrown tomorrow and then all of a sudden the Eritrean population becomes BFF with Tigray or TPLF. it ain’t like that. In some ways, PIA is less biased toward Tigray than the rest of the Eritrean population.

  • Man up

    It’s free to fantasize. Fantasies are free. It don’t cost nothing.
    But to overthrow PIA, it will cost something. Something tells me you are not personally ready to pay the price.
    That makes you either a cheer leader or a fantasy football player.
    I take it you prefer to fantasize instead? You know, just because you play fantasy football, it don’t make you an NFL star. To become an NFL star, you have to do the hard work: years of training and discipline…etc
    But you strike me as the “arm chair” quarterback type. With the remote control (keyboard in your case) in your hand. You also qualify as a cheerleader. Standing on the sidelines saying, “go team” while fantasizing on the sidelines.

    • haile

      “Something tells me you are not personally ready to pay the price.” What else is “something” telling you?

      • Man up

        That you are a cheerleader and I oughta hand you “pom poms.”

  • saay7

    Hi Sem:

    Epic story-telling. The prose is as smooth as silk, and it flows like the Nile:)

    Of course, there are many areas here I disagree with–the biggest one being whether Isaias the Dictator was born or made–but those we can discuss some other time. For now, I am just blown away by your prose and I can’t wait for your next book. When is it being published?


  • haile

    Selamat Awatistas,

    Here is a fantasy timeline of events after the fall of IA for the weekend 🙂

    Few hours after the confirmed fall of the IA regime: mass celebrations throughout Eritrean towns and villages, refugee camps and detention centers across the border.

    12 hours after the fall: all political prisoners, and others held without due process would be freed.

    24 hours after the fall: all small arms that the dictator distributed among the civilians would begin to be collected.

    36 hrs after the fall: a transitional administration would formally assume responsibility to restore law and order and basic services and provisions.

    48 hrs after the fall: Eritrea officially declares state of emergency to resettle refugees, deliver humanitarian assistance throughout the country, Eritrean sea ports and airports are re-opened for all citizens and visitors to transit without encumbrance. Only subject to general applicable intl. requirements.

    72 hrs after the fall: all remnants of the regime of IA are cleaned out and apprehended pending court appearance.

    one week after the fall: basic water, electricity, health and transport facilities are restored, international financial and aid and development organizations and UN agencies are invited to make field assessment of the level of urgent response needed on the ground.

    two weeks after the fall: Interested Eritreans in the diaspora travel to Eritrea for a national conference, get to see where things are at and discuss ways of assisting the transitional period.

    one month after the fall: all properties, assets and financial holdings of PFDJ including banks, insurance and all other identifiable possessions are confiscated, the Central Bank of Eritrea becomes the sole financial center of state transactions. All national service is suspended till further notice. University of Asmara re-opens, all foreign armed groups are asked to vacate Eritrea, UN monitoring groups and other UN mandated personnel are invited and accorded full cooperation to discharge their duties.

    six months

    Eritrea has fully rejoined the world community, basic freedoms restored, peaceful resolution of the the Ethio-Eritrea conflict initiated. As confidence building measure both Ethiopia and Eritrea restore international flights and engage in other economic activities that are beneficial to both people’s

    One year after the fall:

    A new constitution ratified, a date set for national elections, the transitional government puts forth an economic martial plan that would be geared to get all the national service demobs and other citizens in neighboring countries, inside the country and the diaspora to kick start the nation building process that has been on hold for the last two decades.

    5 years after the fall

    Eritreans go to the polls for the second time to elect their government.


    NB* please remember the dictator has recently said that we need to go to the moon or other planet to be able to do any of the above. So, according to him, come 2020 (six years from now) you won’t be at the 5 year level in the timeline, he thinks you would still be drinking tea and discussing the latest IA interview on ERiTV telling you that “forget the moon, you can go to the Sun too”…:-)

    • Amanuel9


      Except the “crowding of time” that means, to close between the events, you stated everything that we should go through. Yebel zereba Abeyti.

      Amanuel H.

    • Dawit


      You have oversimplified the Eritrean sociopolitical factors by ignoring complications, and complexities that increasingly continue to worsen.

      It’s highly unlikely for events to occur in the order you have laid out. Simply put, you have put the horses before the carts. For example, you have posited a simplified yet improbable scenario : Take a look :

      24 hours after the fall: all small arms that the dictator distributed among the civilians would begin to be collected.
      36 hrs after the fall: a transitional administration would formally
      assume responsibility to restore law and order and basic services and

      Which comes first: keeping order or collecting small arms?

    • ethiopia

      i wonder why they call u the great.

    • Yodita

      Dear Haile the Great,

      Thanks for this fantasy for the weekend. Truth is we no longer dream for better times. We seem anchored in doom and failure (just as IA would want it). We are bent to look for the hair on the egg shell to belittle and demolish, a la IA. Alas the glass is half empty and we are unable to connect.


    In reference to the so called
    opposition struggle of the last
    two decades fro Addis under woyane.
    Another confused thing is to think as if they have struggled for democracy from Addis
    under the the woyane chair while their struggle was anti democracy and against Eritrea
    but for the supremacy of ethnic and sub-region faction against the others or against the
    whole or may be a personal feud with IA at the expence of us all and the country.
    They basically followed the same doctrines and steps as IA did against the people and
    the land of Eritrea collaborating with their woyane masters and serving their and their
    foreign masters agendas.
    So let alone to resist and fight IA what they chose is to beat him ahead in the destruction
    of Eritrea and us all. Their only concern is IA beats them ahead in the same game to beat
    us all down to the ground.
    This took all the time and resources that should have been applied to save our people
    and and the success of our struggle for democracy and rule of law if it was not hijacked
    by extremists and narrow factional forces.
    So blaming only IA is only one side of the coin of the whole problem. Both sides played
    the same game with different wavelength against the people and land of Eritrea. Only
    one was a step or two ahead of the other.

  • Amanul9

    Dear Serray,

    OH man! You said ” until I read YG……..and the rest is history.” You see my friend, I was thinking that you are better than that. …a citizen who makes his own dig to find the facts and makes his own sound judgement from his own finding. You know what it takes to do that. Am I right Serray? I see you from your words, you trust on eloquence of writing peppered with metaphors.That is what YG is, irrespective his lack of checking facts. Let me give you an example a story that is few years back when he asked me to prove how ghedli contributed in forging the “Eritrean identity.” As you know he is good at metaphors and the “tell-tale” story to back up his argument. At one point he brought as a story “talks of jokes we used” in the 1977, that is between ELF and EPLF fighters…..if you remember, it was about a EPLF-Doctor in the town of Keren who refuse to sleep on a bed because his colleagues are sleeping on the floor. That was ELFites jokes in attempt to show how EPLF fighters understand the value of “equality”. YG brought this “joke talks” as a fact to substantiate his debate argument at that time. YG doesn’t check facts. I am not worried about his political belief, but I am worried about his ability in scrutinizing facts.. In facts in my last rebuttal (in the last of the four parts articles) I cleared the fog where I support him and where I disagree with him. I don’t undermine his ability in writings but also I don’t histate to tackle his flaws. Like what saay characterize you as “smart” I do recognize that, provided if you go beyond – understanding the flaws of YG.

    Amanuel Hidrat.

    • Serray

      Selamat Amanuel,

      Point out the facts I got wrong on my response to you instead of picking one line tangentially related to the topic at hand . There two types of people who irritate me when they criticize YG, those who say they didn’t finish his article because they are long (somehow making their laziness and inability to read more than a couple of pages a strength) and those who made his amazing writing skills a liability. This is Karl Rovian at its worst, “attack your enemies strength”.

      In case you need a refresher, your position was talking about ghedli is a waste of time because all the facts are not in (and it is history anyway with no application to our present). Mine is ghedli mentality is the guiding principle of shaebia leaders. Temekro medda is what is driving our nation to oblivion so analyzing ghedli, understanding it beyond what you guys make it out to be, is more important than falling for yours or the romantics bedtime story version of it. Also, waiting for tegadelti to tell the whole story of ghedli is like waiting for the subject of interest to tell the whole truth. Yg is a better witness of jebha than you will ever be. Just like a pfdj is the worst person to tell the story of life in eritrea, a tegadalai’s recount of medda is a version of the story sanitized beyond recognition. Plus, ghedli was notorious for taking care those who question it…and by simple elimination, the survivors are those who accepted its excesses as normal.

      When I talk to tegadelti about ghedli, I discount 80 percent of the story; when I talk to gebar who watched you guys in medda, I discount 20. An eye witness is always more reliable than the subject of interest.

      • Amanul9

        Selam Serray,

        Weygud!! Here you go, without any hesitation Serray says “Yg is a better witness of jebha than you will ever be”. This shows how you hate Ghedli and its mission. b/c the ghedli hater is more believable than tegadalay. In any case since you failed to frame your argument, let me frame it for you for purposes of readers like Ermias who like yourself is mesmerized with the eloquence of YG without questioning the truth of it. YG who argued against ghedli by alluding that one shouldn’t search for new identity while he/she has an Identity” (talking Eritrean identity vs Ethiopian identity), is the most reliable and trustworthy to narrate the history of Eritrean revolution according Serray (read his comment above). So the question that frames his line of argument is, who knows better in and out the history of Eritrean revolution? Ghedli haters who never part of it or Tegadelti? Now go ahead on debate those who desire to talk about history rather than rescuing our people. We will watch you.

        Second, you brushed with the same paint to all tegadelti as an untrustworthy and unreliable to be consulted. That is bad from you. You will make me to argue saay that you are not smart even in politics because he gave you the “smart” accolade. Just kidding. But I have great concern about your take on tegadelti.

        Third, you have a concern on those who couldn’t read the lengthy articles of YG but who have the audacity to criticize him. I will assure you that I read his articles not only to finish them but to scrutinize them eagerly with great attention. But I have also the same concern as to the inability to read of our society in general.

        But as my closing argument, I will say this: History is not written by haters of history. History is written by historians who enjoys it, has a lense from that discipline of study, and have an authority on it.. Not by amateur alike historians (you know what I mean). How do historians write history? Historians do extensive research by collecting data from primary sources ( in our case tegadelti in reference our revolution). And by way of framing his/her thesis make meticulous methodology to sort out his/her collected data in the “framed thesis.” Don’t tell me YG is doing such authentic research without going to field work where the primary data is collected. So don’t brag that much about YG. He is an excellent writer but not authentic. He try to philosophized issues but not on factuality. He is a good rhetorician but not pragmatic. Add all this and come to your own conclusion…that is your home work my dear friend.

      • Amanul9

        Dear Serray,

        Weygud Antum sebat!!! here is Serray without any qualms and hestation told us as follows”

        “Yg is a better witness of jebha than you will ever be. Just like a pfdj is the worst person to tell the story of life in eritrea,”

        You see Serray, that is what I hate a debate on ghedli matters. Most of the time (other than those articles I wrote when I was challenged by YG) I am reserved to engage in this tegadaly vs non-tegadaly argument. In any case, since you don’t frame your argument, I will try to frame it for the purpose of readers like Ermias who are mesmerized by YG’s “eloquence and metaphors” but without questioning the validity of his argument and any source references. Notwithstanding, here is the framing question for those who have the desire to debate on history rather the the predicament of our people: Who is reliable and trustworthy to consult regarding the history of Eritrean revolution? Should they be the haters of ghedli or tegadelti who knew the in and out, good and ugly? We will watch you your debate.

        Now just few points and some concern on Serray’s remark on the issue of reliability. I am baffled when Serray brushed with the same paint to all tegadelti as an untrustworthy.. Bad from you; and “not smart” politician as Saay projected you on awate forum. There is no such blanket judgement. When you do you devaluate your currency. Am I right Serray? Hisebelu de’a.

        On the issue of individuals who don’t read the lengthy articles of YG but have the audacity to crticize him: Let me tell unequivocally and without ambiguity, that not only I finish reading everyone of them but scrutinize them with a magnified eye to count his flaws. As to your general concern, I concur to your observation of the inability of the public to reading materials. Not Amanuel to reassure you.

        But last not least, if you consider YG as historian, historian doesn’t hate history as YG does. Historian enjoy history and do it with authority. Historian do extensive research to collect data from primary sources (in our case regarding our revolution tegadelti are the primary source) rigorously. They often dispatch themselves to field of study which is a pre-requisite of their discipline. I am sure YG didn’t, let alone to be in the position to do it with the kind of educational training he has. So Serray do not brag too much about YG. YG is an excellent writer but not factual. YG try to philosophize issues but not realistic. YG is rhetorician but not pragmatic. Add all these and come yourself to conclusion. A big homework to you. With that I close my case.

        Amanuel Hidrat..

        • Nitricc


          “Yg is a better witness of jebha than you will ever be. Just like a pfdj is the worst person to tell the story of life in eritrea,”
          Aman I hope you get the point why I stick with PFDJ and PIA. The alternative is not scary but down right stupid.
          Aman how and why do you wake up now? I have been saying all along YG is fake and his stories are
          A second hand and
          B his wrtings are galvanized from different philosophers. I will show that time permitting.
          Now you have Serray, he change his heart about Gedli after he read YG’s articles. That stetment alone should tell you who serray as a person is.
          I will ask serray one question and it will be very interesting how he answers it. My guess is he will ignore it.
          Serray is nothing but a coward opportunistic. It sucks for him we are here the YPFDJ to hunt people like him.

          • Dawit

            You said “I will ask serray one question and it will be very interesting how he answers it. My guess is he will ignore it.

            What was your question again? I may have missed it .;-)

        • Serray

          Selamat Amanuel and Sal,

          Aman, I agree with you that history must be based on objective research of facts. What I am saying is, that search for objectivity is way difficult for someone who is also a faithful follower of the subject than the one who observed it without being part of it.

          Sal, learning from you, sometimes I have fun asking tegadelti and people like you “with a passing knowledge of ghedli” for an executive summary of ghedli. Beyond the bedtime story version of it, it is hilarious how incomplete their summary is. For example, most don’t mention ghedli was started in Cairo, Egypt. Most think awate started ghedli. Many Shaebia tegadelti present jebha as nothing more than archaic, corrupt, and cutthroat (haradit) organization dominated by one clan/religion with no grasp of the diverse nature or history of eritrean society. Many Jebha tegadelti present jebha as a relatively open, democratic movement that was dealt a bad hand by a sister organization in bed with woyanes. Jebha tegadelti see the ghedli that finished the struggle they started as a fanatical, collectivized organization led by a double crossing pricks.

          What is tragically funny is, for both tegadelti and those “with a passing knowledge of ghedli”, both fronts exist in total vacuum. My favorite version of american history is Howard Zinn’s version; a version of history that looks at both the governed and the governing. I respect both of you too much to ask you for an executive summary of ghedli…and then have fun tearing it apart…and so the reason for this post.

          Now be honest, where does your knowledge of Nazis come from (I can see the dogs with rabies going bananas saying I compared ghedli with Nazis)? Have ever read a book written by a Nazi? If yes, would you take it as complete? How about a history of the Nazis written by a German Jew holocaust survivor? How about one written by a Russian, a Polish, a British, a French? My point is, a history told by the main actor or by one smitten with him leaves a lot out. How much of the history of america can you capture by just looking at the three branches and the military barracks? How about the history of eritrea from 1991 – 2014, is the most reliable version of it can only be written by pfdj’s and those who romanticize it?

          This is one time where the lip service tegadelti pay has some validity; that the history of ghedli is the history of the eritrean people. There are those in the middle of fire and those who watched those in the middle of fire like a hawk because the fire was burning their villages, towns, farms and backyards. There is a story my aunt tells about the time shaebia controlled keren in 1997 and withdrew in 1978. The difference in the story is telling; it is like asking two people how a computer works. One tells you that a computer has a cpu, power, graphic card, memory, screen etc…and another one, “you turn it on, pick a program, open a file and work on it. Both are true but one is more useful for someone who wants to know how to work a computer and the other how to built it. It seems for you guys, ghedlti history is about this ganta, that battalion, this commander and that merahi ganta…sprinkled with village and town names as if they are just a background. The impact on people is either ignored as a worthless collateral or given a completely manufactured response like “…nihna mis atona, it hzbi gidefoba…”. For me and my aunt, it is completely different…”the next day they went door to door looking for this and that person”, “they told us to do this”, “they asked us for this”, “they took over that” and so on and so forth. This, for you guys it seems is not history; you only consider ghedli in a vacuum by omitting 80 percent of the facts…thus making it necessary to discount that much from your version.

          Narcissism is the problem. When I say history of ghedli, I mean history of both the fronts and their impact on the universe they operate. Ask any tegadalai (ghedli romantic) and they make it all about them. Ask the men with grudges about the opposition, they will give you a laundry list of what THEY are doing. Even you, Awate Team, people who spent a hundred times more quality time than them, barely register and if the woyanes changed their mind about watching us die slowly and took out the regime for them, I tell you, their history of the opposition will ignore you, asmarino, assenna, elsa chyrum, selam kidane and the countless who fought the regime and actually put a little dent.

          As the pfdjs limp to their death, this romanticize version of yours will be our undoing.

          • saay7

            Selam Serray:

            Thani? We are going to go with this tango again? There is no such thing as an “objective historian”; one can only hope to find a historian who buries down his/her subjectivity. Yes, the ELF/EPLF/PFDJ tegadalai would find it hard to bury his/her subjectivity and write about ELF/EPLF/PFDJ and guess what: they know this and they are very reluctant to write history. Relatively a tiny number have written a version of history. A Derg soldier/a Haile Selasse soldier would also find it very difficult to be objective.

            Now, this is what I am telling you: YG makes for a terrible historian and, by extension, a terrible analyst because for all intent and purposes, he approaches Eritrean history from an Ethiophile/Haile Selassian perspective. And because his entire writing is predicated on one premise–it was a mistake for Eritreans to raise arms against Haile Selasse (the rest of what he writes, all the details, all the omissions are designed to support this premise)–he ends up being even less objective than a Haile Selasse or a Derg administrator who (read Dawit Woldgiorgis’s Red Tears), to be taken seriously, must at least concede mistakes his regime made and will at least make some effort to know the biography of those who are considered the movers and shakers of Eritrea’s revolution. YG is stubbornly silent about the former and clueless about the latter and, since he is an intelligent person, this must be intentional. It is intentional because he is uninterested in anything that doesn’t fit the Unified Field Theory he is after: it was a mistake for Eritreans to want an Eritrean identity.

            The references to the length of YG’ pieces and the strength of the language is valid. Length is often equated with seriousness and strength of the language can have a mesmerizing effect. When critics note that, it is a compliment to you, his fans: we are saying it can only be these two (the length, and the beauty of the language) that has conned such intelligent and discerning readers.


          • Hayat Adem

            Serray is so surgically on it. Emma, Serray cannot be unsmarted. Some side points…

            Sal, to begin with, we are not Yg’s cheerleaders. I found him the same way I found you. When I read him first, what he was saying was too good settle with. The temptation was to find something to the contrary of well-established facts that disqualify him. I was particularly looking for any microscopic amount of dishonesty. But he remained married to facts, his unambiguous tone and gospeler authority. He is merciless, so the only chance you have is coming cleaner and bigger. There is no one who tried harder to underprice Yg than you, Sal, but he deserves every attention as he is stirring up enough curiosity in the long-frozen political consciousness of Eritreans. That should be counted as a blessing in the new Eritrea.
            Sal, your “give me a summary and let me flog it to death” insistence is looking like an excuse for fallowing rather than a justified request. You have two options: either find him in those so many long articles he has written and posted publicly or settle with the two-word phrase Yg himself gave you. A lot of brainwashing has happened around this matter. A tower of myth is built in the sky. This little confrontation is about a bigger essence of either continuing that myth or questioning it. Those who have fresh eye are coming into the picture. There are a lot of things people don’t understand. But they exist. They happen. Things are happening. The enlightenment button is on.

          • saay7

            Hey Hayat:

            I believe cheerleader is the right description that fits some people and when it comes to YG, I would line you up in front row. A few examples just from this month:

            * You accused the awate team of writing an article just to distract attention from YG’s article;
            * When Rodab criticized YG’s tendency to over-promise and under-deliver (I will discuss this in part 3 of my 7-part series), you said you are aware of that but by pointing out you just don’t want to interrupt the stream of his beautiful mind (or something equivalent that a teenager music fan or an Isaiasit would say)

            Asking YG to provide an executive summary can’t possibly be an “excuse for fallowing”: how is it a trap to ask people to succinctly describe what is it they believe? Especially when those of us who made an effort to understand him got one message: that the Eritrean revolutionaries were clueless Arabist/Islamist who were searching a new identity because they had hate towards Ethiopian identity. And from this, we took half-a-step and said, “that is exactly what Mahber Andet said about the 1940s movements for Eritrean liberation; that is exactly what the Ethiopianists said about the Fronts in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.” To which the fans scream not fair–even when you quote his own words back to them. As for the fans, it is exactly the effect that a cult leader has: they cannot describe the specifics of what the message is, they can only describe the effect it had on them. Even Serray could only describe the effect YG’s wrtings had on him; before that, he, Serray (an intelligent person) could not really verbalize it.

            When I asked YG what his belief statement was, his answer was “People First”: it is as inane as “Ethiopia First.” It means nothing and it means everything and therefore it is useless. He might as well have said “soylent green.”

            Look, people, it is a free country: people can choose whoever they want to follow or whoever they want to be impressed by. And because it is a free country, people also have the right to criticize them and their hero. At least he is alive: it is a much better courtesy we extend him than the one he extends, which is almost always an attack on dead people.


          • ethiopia

            i think, yg believes eritrea’s secession from ethiopia is not in eritrea’s (Habesha) interest . he is now on reverse psychology to reverse the secession. it might be a good idea.

      • Dawit

        Just to add to your comment. Those who went through ghedli are almost always seek glory simply because a) either they have gone through “ghedli” b) have been part of it in some way or another and as a result maintain ghedli’s cultural identity… thus they can be described as biased.

    • saay7

      Hey Emma:

      You must learn to discount the Tifozo mindset of YG’s cheerleaders. I mean, here are people who have been challenged to give an executive summary of YG’s teachings (none of them have): his writings are a Roschbach ink blot where the fans see beauty and where most of us who have a passing knowledge of Eritrean ghedli see horrific deformations, exaggerations and straight out fibs.

      How severe is their affliction? No fewer than 3 people (intelligent awatistas, no less) accused the Awate Team of authoring the Haile Selasse & His Cannabis article because we wanted to distract attention away from YG’s latest masterpiece. A masterpiece we were not aware of its existence until they told us of about it:) You see, Emma, as a former Tegadalai, you can’t win: apparently a person who was far removed from the Ghedli and has no training as a historian and has strong bias towards Ethiopia is a more reliable source on narrating Ghedli than a former Tegadalai:)) Taking that to its logical conclusion, I would say Eyob is even more reliable.


      • AOsman

        SAAY, As I was reading your comment about not being able to get a summary, I was going to suggest you try Eyob. Since you bought him to your comment, he might assist.

  • Shikorina

    I just have one question for you guys: I know you guys talk a lot of sh*t about Issaias and talk tough and all that. Okay tough guys. Please tell me what is that you have done on a personal level to make sure that that happens. Typing stuff on the internet doesn’t count by the way. Tell me one or two concrete things you have done.
    Not what others have done but what you personally have done.
    If you can’t come up with something tangible and concrete that you have done, then it just means you are waiting for someone else to do it for you. And it may take a lot longer boys! Ok, let’s hear it tough guys.

  • AOsman

    Nitricc, Well forumers have to throw more bones, maybe you will let go. Those who left during the independence struggle, what stops them being involved at this phase of struggle for justice? Oh, I forgot Eritrea has better justice than Sweden as our capo declared. Seriously with passion that you show, have you ever visited Eritrea? Eritrea needs your talent 🙂 -Haile’s bloody nose is evidence -, here is a closer and bigger bone, now that you have acquired good experience serving USA, while in your primes chip in give back to Eritrea. Cyber worrier is not enough, Eritrea is struggling at this moment, look at the mirror before you complain about others.

    About History, the “who needs History” has become your mantra, wasn’t you that was studying the battle of Agordat??? To great detail…what a wasteful History lesson must it been.

    One thing I agree with you, there is no point whining, action is what is required and we are going in circles analysing something that needs to be dealt with.


  • Nitricc

    Wediere, it is a “bone” 🙂
    when are you going to get it what i am saying? okay me try.
    It is not that anything wrong Serray used Ethiopian passport but the intention of it, the purpose of it and the objective that sends behind the his action. In Serray’s generation, people in his age at the time; they were going to the front where the guns were blazing; where people fought neck to neck. Yet, cowards like Serray, headed to the offices of the Ethiopians to obtain a passport so they can flee the country. I still have no problem if they shout their pie hole and worry about their slavery life but they have the nerve to criticize; defame and degrade the same people who refused to go to the office of the Ethiopians but headed to Sahil to fight and to right what was done wrong.
    I have a massage to all Eritreans who chose to flee the country at her darkest hours; the hours where villages where wounded; they crippled with the most amazing determination; incredible fortitude; unflinching willpower they accomplished the unthinkable; the impossible; the unimaginable. DONE!!!!!!!!!!!
    burned to ashes; when people were slaughtered like a goat in their own home. When everything was doom and gloom; you decided to leave the country and you decided the people who answer the call of duty to take care the problem. Guess what? they were busy lying to their asylum officer to the brim; when they were up and having sleepless nights to better their selves ; the people they left behind took good care of business. They died for it and got the job done! now; who the hell are they to say anything? they abandoned the country and the people on her darkest hours? They made the decision for the direction of their worthless life; be freaking happy. let me borrow my good friend Araya’s phrase ; just “Attend your freaking cholesterol count and watch your diabetes” ( Araya, that is mean : -) ) be nice will you?
    Anyway; all I am saying is since they left the country to better themselves, in a manner tacking their tails between their legs; now, all I am saying is Shut it. You don’t have a moral ground nor credibility to talk about the braves who got the job.
    So, Wediere, it is not that he used the passport but what it meant back then. The braves went head on where the guns were blazing and the cowards like Serray flee to the safety to fatten themselves; accordingly I am telling to shut up.

  • Reeyeto

    Even if Issayas has his wrongs the bigest wrongs were done by his opposition
    the people and organization leaders which went into desperate act of destroying
    none but themselves, Eritrea and history. The most deadly mistake is the second
    act more than the first mistake.
    All the characters displayed in the aftermath of 1998-2000 by the people and most
    organizations is completely unEritrean and alien to our Ghedli history and in a direct
    opposition to it.
    “It is like someone goes out to drink ACID because you censured him for drinking Alchol”.
    Or like a kid that he goes to be a drag addict because his parents punished him for drinking
    Alchol .

  • The secular socialist republic

    Anti-communism is so 1985…
    I think western conservatives are glad they made dominated peoples (politically, socially and economically) think and analyze like them.
    National liberation movements – especially those sought revolution – need to be criticized
    but ideological bias does not help.
    And the over-exagerated remark on the greatness of village communities and their political and judiciary systems is the demonstration of another disease: traditionalism as an ideology.
    People that think like you become advocates of capitalism and ethnic domination.

  • Haqi-b-Haqi

    The overwhelming majority of the people serving the regime are decent Eritreans that we need to win over into our side; they are our natural allies in the struggle for change

  • Horizon

    If I may add my two cents worth to this discussion.

    The sixties were the years of awakening of the Ethiopian youth, and the seventies the age of Marxism-Leninism, the age of greater conflict of ideologies and that of revolutions in Africa in general, and Ethiopia in particular. While most of the young had ideological fervor, some had personal political interests. The first were the genuine revolutionaries – the idealists, the doves; the second were the rogue with a revolutionary garb – the foxes, the opportunists, who went to exploit the situation; and DIA belonged to the second group. His politico-ideological rhetoric was only to serve his political dreams and not the interest of the people whom he said he was going to save.

    The ordinary fighter was tricked into believing that he/she were fighting for the freedom and prosperity of the Eritrean people, while those who created and lead Gedli new very well their
    mission was completely different. It was to serve foreign and personal interests by sacrificing the Eritrean people. This is the reason why Eritrean revolution began on bogus and manufactured reasons: Ethiopian colonization, absence of freedom and dismantling of the federal arrangement (in which many Eritreans participated themselves). Thus started the Eritrean Odyssey about fifty years ago that is yet to end. Whoever became aware of this unholy plot against the Eritrean people while in medda, whether in the leadership or an ordinary fighter, they were
    liquidated ruthlessly and effectively. That is why some people erroneously call DIA a survivor.

    There was not an iota of intelligence, but brute force that could characterize DIA. What we see from him as the ruler of Eritrea is not a person who once was famous for his brainpower, but had
    always been bully, manipulative, with a tendency for crimes, treachery etc, – a bipolar psychopathic personality that was ready to bring hell on those around him. Look how he handled his foreign policy after independence. Can anyone say that those are traits of an intelligent politician?

    At sixty-eight years of age and with poor health, is DIA still the manipulator or the manipulated? At old age, HSI was used by those who were around him, the courtiers. He was unable to rule, while the country was run by a group of people with similar interests, who had no interest in the people. The question is, is DIA going through the same phase, and is tomorrow’s Eritrea going to be the same of what we have today? Why do we say that what DIA tells us in his interviews are always his personal opinions? When the time comes, is it going to be, the emperor is dead, long live the emperor.

    Many liberation fronts existed in Africa; and none were as ruthless to their own members as Shabia was, except of course, the Khmer Rouge. Today, the same policy is used in ruling the country. His feeling towards Eritreans is therefore both that of hate and despise, for not fulfilling his megalomaniac delusions, for not making him emperor of the horn of Africa. Eritrea is too small for his appetite. Remember the wars he started in all directions
    soon after independence. He felt that he was invincible; he felt that he was standing on Mount Kilimanjaro, and looking down on Africa. Those were the signs of a person who was ready to rule the whole region, and may be the whole of Africa. Those were the signs of a psychopathic personality and not that of a brilliant person.

    • Yeman

      Well said Brother.I couldn’t agree more.

  • Papillonn

    Dear Semere,

    What does brilliant mean? A person who calculates with refined details on how to target people’s weaknesses is not brilliance. It is a sickness. It is evil. It is the hue of darkness. And that is Isaias. The closest we can get to his dark mind is by tracing back his upbringing, adolescent years and of course his formative years as well. If anything, what seems to stand out the most as you ask people who have known him since his younger years is that, Isaias is a selfish person with no conscience what so ever with an intense penchant for gratification out of people’s miseries. What puzzles me the most is however, why exceedingly generous people have the bad lack of having a person like Isaias for a “leader”? Why? It could as well be a question of providence and we wait patiently till we find the answer in the sands of time.


    • ZULA

      Dear Papillonn,

      It was not by accident that Eritreans (exceedingly generous people) got leader like Isaias. He is where he is because he got accepted by a sizable number of tegadelti and citizens as someone who they trusted to lead them and represent them. Even though this was not reciprocated by Isaias.

      A single individual can’t lead the masses for better or worse unless he get a willing foot soldiers and collaborates to work with. So cutting the head won’t solve the Eritrean problem as that will leave deep roots under the soil to grow back again. Take Egyptian revolution as an example by cutting Mubarak out of the leadership the revolution didn’t successes as the root revived and the same people are back on power again.

  • Ermias

    Serray – one question to you. Did you always know Shaebia have been the way they are now or all of what you now know is after a hindsight analysis?

    It would be a great service if you could write an article about ghedli’s myths and truths, particularly about Shaebia based on what you know now even if you were never there because you understand it better than tegadelti themselves even the higher ups.

    I am writing on top of the thread lest I dilute what seems like a great conversation coming with Sal, Aman, etc

    My two cents – I think ghedli’s biggest weapon was brainwashing people and they were superbly good at it. Most of my relatives in meda were jebha tegadelti. But to my great surprise, they speak about shaebia with great admiration based on what they used to hear while they were in medda so young at that time.

    By brainwashing, they had us believe they had world class underground medical facilities, high tech factories and pharmaceuticals, you name it. Where is it all now? They seemed invincible and on top of the world. As soon as they stepped in to Asmara, their true nature started coming out. It might seem hindsight to most people but I have never liked nor admired Shaebia from day one. Neighborhood kids played shaebia vs dergi but I said ‘I am neutral.’ I was young but in the back of my head, I always thought something doesn’t up here. Right from the get-go, corruption, cruelty, destroying our long and cherished culture and religion. Of all things, they tried to ban NIGDET, MER’A and TEZKAR. I was there for only a couple years after independence still in high school but I can list a million things that raised my eye brows. Arresting shop owners, persecuting pente (intensified later), closing the university for a while after dismissing 33 professors, beating people randomly with shibaka, running over pedestrians recklessly with their stolen Land Cruisers, corruption of all sorts, punishing any slight form of resistance or disagreement, gebar vs tegadalay two different systems…all of this was there all along. They have always been like this – that is why I said for some of us “they are who we always thought they were.”

    • Araya

      Ermias, wow, I was under assumption that you are late teenager.
      Well at least; your cognitive stage is.

      • Ermias

        Araya, S Michael, dawit, Nitricc – one person with multiple personalities. Thank you for the complement though. I prefer to be young.

        • Nitricc

          I know you are dumb but i never thought you are funny. lol you forgot? i am Saba too.
          what is wrong with you?

    • Amanul9

      Hey Ermias,

      I wouldn’t attempt to say about ghedli right now. b/c (a) it is Desservice to the current struggle (b) even if I attempt, as an ex-tegadalay of ELF, it will be assumed by the readers as a bias. So let me leave Serray and YG (who were not in the history making) run the show of disgracing the entire struggle with half baked truth, as if there were no any positive in the liberation struggle. Unlike these armchair writers, there were many bright Eritreans who were engaging in “a struggle within the struggle” and gave their precious lives. Ask to these ghedli basher’s to show us a stamina and commitment to form any formidable organization to remove the regime they despise and hate( which I do). If they are really on the business to emancipate our people who are on the verge of life and death, they shouldn’t focus on history now. History is not priority now. Even all their attempts is not based on researches but on bela-below like legenday historian tellers of the stone age. So let me stop my reflexive reaction here for it is not worthy to respond to baseless ghedli bashers. Tell them they will learn the history of Ghedli when it is written by historians based on empirical researches and not on bela-below. What did our traditional adage says about such armchair judges “qu’inat they we’ale Yehater”. And they are. They couldn’t talk about what should be done, as they haven’t anything to offer to the current solution.

      Amanuel Hidrat

      • Hayat Adem

        While you could be justified to encourage Serray and Yg to focus on the future and solutions as opposed to past wrongs, you are not when you accuse them of not being a good part of what they despise. Serray and Yg could not be clearer about their position on ghedli. no love is lost. so, you can’t accuse them of being “arm-chair judges” or of “quinat zeyAle hiTur” or of being “ghdli bashers”. they don’t like ghedli, any of it (the process and the end) and what they express what they have inside. do they have strong appeal and explanation for all that? it is a matter of everyone’s opinion. as to me, i bet they do. i’m completely swayed to their claims and rationalization. the only difference i may have vapors onto a level of emphasis: i tend to accept ghedli’s results as an accomplished fact and i don’t see it at all as a cursed reality that needs to be totally undone first in order to make a better situation out of it.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Merhaba Hayat,

          Let me quote your statement which stands as reality of truth in my opinion. Yous Said “I tend to accept ghedli’s results as an accomplished fact and i don’t see it at all as a cursed reality that needs to be totally undone first in order to make a better situation out of it.” That is why I want you to tell them this: don’t make unwarranted mistakes in this unforgiving world, and as such make your priority to save your people from the current predicament rather talking about history which they can’t backed it with written documents and references. History is not yet compiled by historian, atleast for them to argue on the compiled history to segregate the good and the bad. So far what they are talking is news from the streets that goes on as the second, third hand, words of mouth….etc which they don’t know even the source of it.

          They are not historians nor do they were part of the history making. They are not historians, because they didn’t conduct research through a review of literatures pertaining the subject they are talking. It has it’s own parameters and rules of conducting it, in finding the truth. Do my friends follow that? absolutely no. They were not part of the history making (part of the process in all its shape and forms) so to tell the public as an eye witness of the ups and down of the revolutionary process. Even if you don’t support Ghedli at all cost (spare Serray here) you don’t come with a story as if you were the insider and come to tell your side of the story. As the name signifies it, ghedli is simply “Hardship” and is not a picnic. Not all have the courage and stamina to go through it with a set of goals thriving to achieve them. So if they don’t come across my comment, tell them whether they like or not, it is their history, take it, shape it, and engage within the reality. And yes move on with what time and space dictate us to evolve..

          Amanuel Hidrat

      • Ermias

        Selamat Aman,

        I agree that there are and there were good tegadelti. In fact, most of them are good and caring human beings, you are an example. However, a large number are now in the midst of committing untold attrocities in our people. If you are implying anyone who wasn’t there shouldn’t criticize ghedli, then you are preaching the same thing that PFDJ has being doing. Every single Eritrean has paid to the cause directly or indirectly. I think I earned that right by virtue of the loss of my very own brother and all the heroes that died for all of us. Eritrea is not for the survivors of ghedli only. Why did you go to ghedli Aman? I believe to bring justice to your people and the same should be true for all tegadelti. But they are treating us as if they went to ghedli to control us and put us under their foot stool and bleed us to death. That is what’s happening right now. We should not justify everything in the name of ghedli. I think we should completely expose ghedli and all the good and the bad and the ugly, all the crimes should be exposed. Then and only then will we be honest with each other. I really do appreciate YG and Serray for shining the light on the true nature of ghedli. It is not ghedli bashing. There is nothing to envy about ghedli. Who would go to ghedli now knowing what we all know? There was an inherent flaw and since it wasn’t cured right there and then it carried over and got multiplied like cancer. We now have an opportunity to call it the way it is. Aman, your good cause and what you fought for was hijacked in 1970 by none other than IA.

        The best thing to do is to have the whole country and people start fresh and leave all the ghedli superiority behind. Who fought more than the mother who lost three or four of her sons and daughters; the children of tegadelti who never knew their dads and/or moms? How has any tegadalay paid more than the mother who gave four of her children? Why does she have now to lose her younger kids to the meditranean sea? Has she not paid enough? How is any tegadalay or halafi better than her? This talk of ‘you were watching on the sidelines’ is nonsense. If you tell me we should all chip in to repatriate tegadelti, then I am game but if anyone tells me to shut up because I wasn’t there, then I will accuse you of ‘fighting for yourself and not for your country and people.’
        If there was any compassion in ghedli towards our people and if they fought for us, why hasn’t it come out in 23 years? Why aren’t they standing up for the very people whom they fought for? Or did they fight for IA? Well, I have to be honest, I am not sure anymore.

        • Amanul9

          Selam Ermias,

          You have said, “Every single Eritrean has paid to the cause directly or indirectly. I think I earned that right by virtue of the loss of my very own brother and all the heroes that died for all of us. Eritrea is not for the survivors of ghedli only.” Hallelujah! Ermias spot on, on this remark. Tell them at least to respect “your own brother and all heroes that died for all of us.”

          But here is my advice: Ghedli is a bygone now. What we have now is a “state machine” of oppression that kills and still killing our people. We are not fighting against ghedli but against a system. Whether they are product of ghedli or not, they have a state. The struggle should be to dismantle the state machine by all means and as soon as possible to emancipate our people. How is it difficult to see it as it is, and to act accordingly? Whether we like it or not there is a government in Eritrea, a totalitarian government. Let us fight against it. Talking about ghedli now doesn’t mitigate the hardship our people are going through. I hope you see it my line of argument. I am not protecting the wrongs of ghedli, I am just saying let us do our homework to dismantle the system.

          Amanuel Hidrat

          • haile

            Selamat Amaan, Ermias, Hayat, Serray
            The dichotomy of Ghedli-Tegadelti and non-Ghedli/ non-tegadelti is only artificially made visibile in today’s Eritrea. Besides, trying to identify tegadelti as a distinctive group of people or section of Eritrea can’t suceed due to the fact that the so called tegadelti crossectionally cut right across all the Eritrean social groupings. The fact that many people in power are of tegadelti background, doesn’t lead to believe that all tegadelti are in power. In terms of enablers, cheerleaders and collaborators of the current system in the diaspora (one of the main criminal entity – PFDJ operatives not just blind followers) they most likely out number in non-tegadelti background’s favore 5:1. Let us be objective, if we are at all to embark on accusing a group. At the very least, let’s have the decency to well define the group. The recent Lampadusa victims included many children of martyred Tegadelti, there is an under age boy in prison in Indonosia who is the same, many were victmes in Sinai, many are in jail, many abandoned with no social welfare. Let’s get down to the bare facts before hurling accusations on someone who may turn out to be entirely innocent. Regards

          • Semere Andom

            Here we go again, like our Kuda, we make an infinite circle to what Haile calls dichotomy. To my mind there is confusion here. Our revolution commenced for just cause, our tegadelti believed in the just cause and died for it, to this day I have never met any tegadalai who regrets wasting his youth for this just cause. We get in trouble when we either canonize it or demonize it. But one thing is for sure the Ghedli was the biggest fraud in our history as we have discovered now. It was the crucible where all the criminals of our day were cultivated, nurtured and crystalized to its purest form, unbeknownst to those heavily invested. The tegadelti invested their lives, their limbs in the Ghedli, the Bernie Madoffs among them defrauded, betrayed them and exploited their innocence. We are not saying the tegadelti benefited from what is going on. No one did, even their children whose lives was supposed to be better than their parents are the victims of Ghedli. Ghedli’s back has been broken, thanks to several founding fathers, who told it all. It is too late for many, but it is beneficial to our posterity as people and nation. Ghedli is now quadriplegic and one day it will wither away. Alfatha.
            Serray nailed the subject with clarity. Yes DIA and his some 200 cronies are our problem, but only removing him will not solve our problems, his son, who is waiting in the wings and who has point blank told some colonels that if they betrayed his father he would kill them mercilessly, will even be more brutal than DIA just to make his point and prove his manhood. Removing DIA and hoping our problems will dissipate is akin to surgically removing a metastasised cancer and expecting be healed. We did not early detect our disease.
            If we appreciate the roots of the problems was the Ghedli we can solve it better and detect the self-serving and untruthful endeavours of groups like Medrehk are trying to do.

            Semere Andom

          • Ermias

            Aman, I sympathize with your sense of urgency to rid of this regime first before we get side tracked by ghedli analysis. Now or later, my sole desire is to close the gap between gebar and tegadelti to assure we have a healthy, accountable, and equitable society. We can have a VA office and provide as much of what tegadelti missed at their tender age. Exonerating them from all ill doing to innocent people should never be tolerated.

      • Nitricc

        Wow, Aman! is that you? Well if this is you then i guess there is hope. you got that right armchair.
        Respect man for telling the truth.

      • Serray

        Selamat Ermias,

        Fair question. My first misgiving about ghedli started with the civil war. I just couldn’t understand why they have to be at each others throat. I never understood jebha’s insistence that they own medda. They set the stage that ultimately consumed them.

        Then there is shaebia, schooled with the same monopolistic mindset but more ruthless and more efficient. Unlike jebha, they believed in pre-crime. In shaebia world, in asmera or medda, the idea of guilt or innocence is nonexistent. If you are suspected, you are guilty. Talking to murukat shaebia tegadelti, I come to understand that the concept of justice or individual freedom is unknown in their world. While this made it impossible for me to join them, I didn’t question the motive of the leaders, meaning, I thought they are doing what they are doing because that is how they see winning the brutal war against dergi. It was shortly after 1991 that I understood I was wrong. Throughout the years, I didn’t have the right words to describe what was wrong with ghedli, that is, until I read YG….the rest is history.


        You guys need to stop this stupidity that the only way you know fire is to burn yourself. There are many burned people around to know exactly what went on in medda. Just because you closed your eyes while hitting a person, it doesn’t mean your victim doesn’t know it is you.

        You are a very good example why we should continue to analyze ghedli and not just accept the a blanket claim that only heroism came out of it or it is not time to look at it closely. You think ghedli is over because, for you, 1991 represents the end of it. You pride yourself for being a cool headed observer (and you are) but in this discussion about ghedli, you completely miss the point every single time. Shaebia and Jebha has two grand objectives during ghedli: to kick the ethiopians out and to remake the eritrean society in whatever image they see fit. If you don’t believe me read jebha’s and shaebia’s programs. For shaebia, that happens to be a perverted form socialism where the state owns all productive resources and, through it, control the society. They didn’t wait long to implement their program. In 1994, they changed their name to pfdj, transferred their loot to it and then they took the first important step to remake our society in their image; they came up sawa – sort of training ground for rank and file tegadelti. Now, everything was in place to remake society but they needed two more things: shelve the stupid constitution they wrote to please the west and the NGOs and find a way to bring back the medda experience. Isaias is dumb and brutal so he figured if he ignited a war against a country it took thirty years, woyanes and many other movements to defeat, then he can put the nation on perpetual war footing. In 1998, the trip back to ghedli started and it is going on to this day. Every day, eritrea looks more and more like medda.

        Amanuel, ghedli, or as you put it hardship is still with us. The reason we go back to the medda years is not just because the genesis of eritrea’s misery originated in medda, but because it is the guiding principle of the leaders of shaebia government. Anyone who wants us to put ghedli on a pedestal has the burden of proof to show us that ghedli has nothing to do with shaebia, the winning arm of ghedlti.

        Some things are either good or bad; any aspect of ghedli applied in a free country is bad and until eritrea is free from tegadeltis’ misguided idea of freedom, we should ALWAYS point out that we don’t want their ghedli concocted society. So, my friend, the discussion about ghedli is as much about our past as it is about our future.

        • Ermias- 2

          If you would please respond to Serray. A lot of us agree with him and we have the utmost respect of your writing and your analysis on a lot of topics but gedli.

        • Ermias- 2


          If you would Please respond to Serray. A lot of us agree with his statement.

          ” the discussion about ghedli is as much about our past as it is about our future.”

  • lsan

    Dear Awatista:

    The article has its own split personality just like the gangster DIA, it tried
    to paint his crimes as crimes of passion. I will not be surprised if
    Semere’s next article will be absolving DIA from his crimes because of insanity,
    it will go something like this: he loved Eritrea and he dedicated his youth for
    its wellbeing, the stress of that journey induced this depression therefore, DIA
    of Tselot, a sister village of Weki-Duba, where I had good childhood
    friends is innocent. Since my friend Semere started the journey by calling
    ”Nhan Elamanan” the best document ever and recommended it to be studied by generation
    of Eritreans. Then he evolved to canonizing the late Naizghi Kiflu, another
    despicable personalities that several founding fathers like TT and Alena called
    the butcher of Sahel, then he garnered some courage and told us to relegate the
    crimes committed by the fraudulent struggle waged on our behalf by EPLF to
    history and the courts. But all this did not please the ghetto kid who
    goes by the nick HNO3 who litters this forum with his filth, he quotes Socrates
    in the same manner DIA quotes Jesus while none of them a role model for them

  • Serray

    Good read.

    Let me rewrite the second paragraph Haile quoted from semere’s article by changing Isaias to tegadelti in order to make sense of it.

    “Tegadelti loved Eritrea; they dedicated their lives to its struggle, but over the years, they came to love more their idea of Eritrea more than Eritrea itself. This love has totally blinded them and made them immune to alternative visions of Eritrea. The idea of Hadas Ertra was a collective vision, but tegadelti had played a major role in its midwifery. This strong attachment has induced a fanatic zeal on them; always vigilant against those “bad” elements who might derail its progress.”

    While throwing the kitchen sink at Isaias has the convenience of fixing our problem on the cheap (you get rid of him, you fix our problem – it is worth trying though), it might not be that easy. Our tegadelti are notorious for ignoring the rights of the individuals, both jebha and shaebia. Ghedli was more collectivized than the radical elements in the former soviet union, china, albania and north korea envision a collectivized society ought to be.

    Isaias didn’t create ghedli; ghedli created isaias. Shaebia is a movement that came into existence not because its objectives were different from jebha but because jebha was a monopolistic front that has no qualm mowing down those who split from it. As semere correctly pointed out, jebha lacked from the get go the revolutionary zeal to carry the monopoly it was seeking. In many ways, shaebia is a perversely corrected jebha. The kind of monopoly jebha was seeking can only be imposed by a marxist movement devoted to complete collectivism; Jebha was not as devoted and up to the task.

    We the people have no experience dealing with the kind of people ghedlti turned tegadelti into. We the people are not the mother (in semere’s story) that cooks the stolen egg without question; the movements themselves were the mothers. When they stole eggs, far from discouraging them, they reward them; the more eggs they stole, the more powerful they became in the ghedli family. As semere did up there, Sal said many times that we the people are somehow responsible for how isaias turned out.

    In medda or asmera, we the people have no ability to control tegadelti without becoming them. When shaebia’s ambassador to israel told the refugees that if you want them out, to come fight them, he was not kidding and he was not just talking about isaias. Talk to any shaebai with few crumbs in his mouth and you come out feeling eritreans are nothing but an ornament hanging to decorate the land of eritrea.

    As a tactical matter, piling on isaias might make sense but we need to be careful; ghedli produced many in his image with his conviction and his vision of eritrea as giant host to be sucked dry. A change premised on getting rid of just isaias can easily be replaced by another tegadalia whose value system is exactly like isaias. If any tegadalai tell you that shaebia is not pfdj, remember that he or she is mentally preparing you for round two. After all, if pfdj is not shaebia, then what is it and where does it drive its authority?

  • Alex Deana

    “In those days, having a chicken for a meal was considered a luxury most of the people could not afford. “…….So this days Semere? your not so smart way of trying to be a smart propagandist is despicable to say the least Semere..I think you were sitting in one of those fried chicken shops in the west when you thought of today’s Eritrea as a land where chicken is no longer concidered a lauxury meal….

    you even shamlesly vented, “Isais Loved Eritrea”…If only loved is defined by how much he hated others including Eritreans…The trouble with many Eritreans including Isias is they confuse their hatred towards others for the LOVE of Eritrea….If love has to be determined by deeds and virtue, one wonders what Eritrea and it’s architects offered their lovers….other than misery rapped by empty promises..

  • Halibay

    I have never read an article who analyzed Isaias, the Eritrean people and EPLF, so well. Great article and well written document.

  • Nitricc

    Reading the coward Eritrean’s articles; led me to conclude what Socrates put it eloquently.

    “From the deepest desires often comes the deadliest hate. ~Socrates

    Read YG, who is no body; a teacher in Assab then went on to Sudan and the rest is history. No meaningful life to speak of and life gone, bye, bye and now waiting to be bitch slopped by fat black STNA in the nursing home.
    Read Serray; who is no body when the brave Eritreans were answering the call of duty. He grabbed the Ethiopian passport; he placed his tails between his legs and chose to be a burden of the west. Nothing to show for, now, he become so desperate about the lost life; he is comparing the great EPLF to whores!
    And here; not to be out done, Semere; who waste his time studying toothless history; he can not take it to see people PIA who has written the freaking history than reading one comes with nothing but garbage.
    I got to believe this people are miserable in their daily lives because they know the end is nearing and they are having flash back about the worthless life they had and not only the regret is eating them inside out but they must bring down people like PIA just to ease their pain. Take it or leave it. The man you love to hate and despise; has done things you will never do in your dreams. The man you love to burry alive; is braver and brightens than you are. He has done and he has lived a life worthy living.
    Let me ask you this; what have you done in your life? Good luck with fat STNA cheek in your designated nursing home.
    I understand your hate comes from the desire to live a life of worthy living; because you know it, you had a worthless and meaningless life. I understand.
    Here is the deal, you will respect the guy for what he has accomplished, because he did something you are unable to do and then. Only then you can hold him accountable and say your peace.

    • Semere Andom

      Dear Awatista:

      The article has its own split personality just like the gangster DIA, it tried
      to paint his crimes as crimes of passion. I will not be surprised if
      Semere’s next article will be absolving DIA from his crimes because of insanity,
      it will go something like this: he loved Eritrea and he dedicated his youth for
      its wellbeing, the stress of that journey induced this depression therefore, DIA
      of Tselot, a sister village of Weki-Duba, where I had good childhood
      friends is innocent. Since my friend Semere started the journey by calling
      ”Nhan Elamanan” the best document ever and recommended it to be studied by generation
      of Eritreans. Then he evolved to canonizing the late Naizghi Kiflu, another
      despicable personalities that several founding fathers like TT and Alena called
      the butcher of Sahel, then he garnered some courage and told us to relegate the
      crimes committed by the fraudulent struggle waged on our behalf by EPLF to
      history and the courts.

      But all these did not please the ghetto kid who
      goes by the nick HNO3 who litters this forum with his filth. He quotes Socrates in the same manner DIA quotes Jesus and non are their role models

    • Elenta

      So Mr. Nitric (Acido nitrico),

      Here is my admiration to President Issayas Afewerki Abraha

      Credit to President Issayas Afewrki,the prohet- the one and
      the only one that God prevailed to the Eritrean people )for safe and prosperous
      life the Eritrean people are enjoying. Because of him we are managed to realize
      our independent Eritrea. Because of him we are safe from woyane and Tegaru’s aggression.Because
      of him we are not labelled as beggars as our former colonizers. Because of him
      we are showing the rest of Africa how to be self-reliance. All those who claim Eritrean
      opposition are non-other than teggaru and Jihadist .President Issayas is a
      noble man with a good reputation and
      record in humanity towards his people. Under his leadership the Eritrean people
      enjoyed personal freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of religion.
      Due to his education policies almost 100% of high school student get a chance
      to go to college (no high school dropout as we see in US). After their
      graduation everyone worked in whatever position he chooses in ministry of defense.

      In 2008 due to the reckless economic policies of America,
      the people of this world faced a great economic meltdown as a result the cost
      of living has been raised, unemployment increased and global warming increased. Even if most of the
      African countries was affected by this crisis, our intelligent president managed
      to keep inflation low, keep unemployment very low,managed to keep living
      standard high and most of all he lead our great nation to a double digit
      economical growth. He is also able to send 25% of the Eritrean population(out
      of 3.5millon Eritrean population almost 1millon leave abroad) for higher
      education and as an investment for the country to Europe,Canada,America and
      Africa. Due to his wise investment Eritrea is getting a 2% capital gain from
      all over the world.

      Even if PIA enjoys 99.98% of the popular support a number of
      his country man complains about the well-being of Eritrea and Eritreans. His majesty
      believes that no one except him has a right to speak about Eritrea or on behave
      of Eritreans.

      Since his best friend
      during the war of independence, Mr meles Zenawi, ruled Ethiopia until the end
      of his life PIA also believe and expects
      to lead Eritrea until the end of his life and has a great confidence in Mr.
      Abraham to lead this great nation after him.

      I am no body but Eritrean!

  • haile

    Selam Amde,

    I think you’re underestimating how top-down organizations are molded and run. The top has much to do with deciding and the down has much of the implementing/following. If we we use many other dictatorial regimes as example, does it serve an indictment against their collective leadership? How many Eritreans were liquidated in meda? Do you indict them too? How does the trio security-politics-decision making interplay with each other to form the environment? Was Mengistu staffed with leadership who were dumb, stupid…? Some were Doctors as Dr Ashagre YgleTu. Again, take the current situation and look at people like Prof. Gideon Abay, Prof. Tesfay Aradom…. And on the opposite of this that are those who opted for silence (despite their accomplished backgrounds) while Eritrea is disappearing from the map all together. So, IA is the MAIN POISON influence and many people within the EPLF have paid with their lives to put a stop to it, but the net status was a failed nation that is hailed as “the best in Africa” by the rabid dogs (as serray call them) and a gathering momentum of forces by those voices of justice and redress, to start afresh. Your assumption breaks down when you made it appear NOBODY in the EPLF knew this and tried to stop it. They didn’t win doesn’t mean that they didn’t exist. History is their witness, they did.


    • Amde

      Hi Haile,

      Paradoxically, I will agree with what you said by stating that you misread what I said. I started by saying that I disagree with the statement “He from the very outset wanted to destroy Eritrea and annihilate the Eritrean society.” I find this kind of statement preposterous.

      Literally, what this statement says is that Issayas – WILLFULLY – discontinued his college education and turned his back on the comforts of urban living (keep in mind his family members were well entrenched in the Ethiopian bureaucracy at various levels) at the tender age of 20(?), in order to get into the bush and suffer the consequences just so he can “… destroy Eritrea and annihilate the Eritrean society…”

      I think it is more likely that he had intense personal reasons why he made the initial decisions to go into the bush. He most probably had very legitimate thoughts an feelings about the freedom of the Eritrean nation. More than likely, they were naive ones that assume a military ejection of Ethiopian forces would solve all problems, and he was young enough and brave enough to do its part.

      Once there, he learned he was good (even brilliant) at playing the internal organizational politics. He found what he was good at and that he had a (As Dawit states below) “…love of the profession (politics)….”. He may have still have had his dedication to the original cause, but it is also quite possible that he would have been disenchanted with the idea of liberation having seen the inside seamy side of the organization in the bush and the other men in it with him. It just so happened that this particular organization was one that was primarily military, so that secrecy, plotting and making arbitrary decisions on the life, death, freedom and reputation of others is easily justified (and often justifiable). And once he passes some threshold on what he personally finds an acceptable level of cruelty he is willing to inflict on others, there is no machination he won’t do, no person he won’t get killed, no community he won’t destroy as long as he can continue to play the game he loves. (This, by the way is something that always fascinates me about dictators – what was the first death they committed, after which they felt that was an acceptable method to use to an open ended number of people)

      To me, this is the most likely story – that of a potentially troubled young man finding an environment where his latent pathologies (and talents) can best thrive and develop.

      I do not disagree that – ONCE HE GOT TO A POSITION OF INFLUENCE – his true nature as a dictatorial cruel adult asserted/manifested/developed, and that formed/characterized/defined the dominant culture of the organization leading to the status of the nation now. Those that were smart enough to see through him, were unfortunately not as gifted as he is in the internal organizational politics, and they as you said paid the price for it.

      I think of this kind of formulation as the opposite of cult of the hero – if there is such a thing as a cult of the villain. The case of Mengistu in Ethiopia is a good one. It is fashionable to say that all the evils that were done in Ethiopia during the Derg years were all due to Mengistu. It is an easy thing to say because it absolves everyone else from their share of the guilt.

      Whatever baggage Mengistu had against the aristocrats, he articulated it well when the soldiers started to rebel. They voted to have him represent them to present their grievances. He becomes a member of the Derg. He finds that he knows how to play the game of politics within the Derg, and pretty soon he figures out that the old system was essentially dead and the Derg was the only game in town. Was it fate? I think he was just much better at the game of organizational politics (much like Issayas) and could see possibilities sooner and further than his peers. To that then add the fact that he was a professional soldier in Harar, and as a soldier he sees political problems as essentially military so he has no qualms about using military means against political opponents. Those that felt the country was in dire straits (urban assasinations, rural insurgencies, foreign invasion) felt that a strong leader was needed to do what he needed to do with a free hand – so they lent him their support. I don’t believe Issayas’s case is much different

      I didn’t mean to ramble, but basically what I wanted to say was that when we ascribe superhuman powers and motivations to dictators, we forget they are humans. They are most assuredly humans – just brilliant at what they specifically do. (please don’t judge me – I am not giving any moral judgements here) They just happened to have some latent personality traits, talents and ambitions, all waiting for the perfect time/environment.

      This is a very good talk by the way – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs1Re2-NAD4#t=669


      • Amanuel9

        Hi Amde,
        Good try on digging his behavioral personalty. But you failed to relate his behavioral personalty to his (probable) intention in his mind, from the time he left Addis to this time, or further if he continues to hold the grip of power.

        • Amde

          Hi Amanuel,

          Well, the phrase “Rebel without a cause” comes to mind. In other words, he had a rebellious personality with deep seated grudges, and was looking for a cause that would be the “legitimate” outlet he needed to express and develop it. And voila, in his youth, ghedli was a socially accepted – even celebrated – cause looking for rebels like himself. It was thus a perfect match.

          I don’t think he thought he would end up being top of the heap – but he had the ambition and ruthlessness to go as high as he could. Everything beyond that is purely tactical – as long as he just kept working on beating the closest competitors to the next level up, he would always outplay and outsmart them. Before too long he got up there.

          He probably does despise Eritrea now, simply because being its president and sole dictator for life has proved to be a career dead end for him. Eritrea is suffering today because he desires to continue playing the game of hegemony on a regional level. To me, that was the whole point of Sawa – sufficient muscle to expand his playing space from Eritrea to the region. (Now it is a grand social engineering lab, and fake make work to keep “the peasants” poor and occupied.)

          As long as he feels the majority of Eritreans still accept him (even if it is because they fear the alternatives) he has free hand to continue playing the game he loves. And he will never stop because he can’t stop. And unfortunately, even if he did want to stop, now there is a whole two generations of EPLF/PFDJ who have grown up and been promoted in his image. They have too much vested in the status-quo to allow him to stop.

          What I fear is that a bloodletting – and a bad one – is inevitable. The more absolute a dictatorship is, it seems the bloodier the change. The fall of Communism in Europe is a good example. Czechoslovak communists gave up easy – it was even called the velvet revolution. Romania though was not just a communist state, it was a dictatorship of Ceausescu and his clan. So there it was terribly bloody – they actually had to quickly execute Ceausescu and his wife and show their corpses on TV to tell his followers that there was no point in the continuing fight.


  • dawit

    WAW, another trash article. Hatred of and Eritrea and Iasias driving people crazy!

  • tessema

    left wing radicals are just as good or bad as right wing radicals. In conduct, they both attribute everything to only one thing be it on a blame or praise side. Since they do that being blinded by only once own reality, they fail to see the whole picture. Left wing radicals end up in putting dectators upon themselves. We have seen that all over the world, from lenin to todays Isayas. Lenin talked about democratic centralism, but russia got neither democracy nor socialism. It ended up in being rulled by mafia like KGB rull of Vladmier Putin. And eritrea? well , we know that. The right wing radicals , in the name of the love for mother land , they either end up in joining Hitler or put a king up on themselves.In the bible, samuel advised the Israelites not to asegn Saul as their king as he was to tax them more and more. They refused. The result was the 2000 years of history of wondering all over the world. Here is a solution. Love all. Wish to get the whole bread and not just a slice. Be a part of something. Intigrate. The reasult of disintigration is evapouration. Eritreans must not complain about Isayas. They have got what they wished and praid for.

  • haile zeru

    you sound to me another confused Eritrean intellectual. Issayas used revolutionary slogans to achieve his goal. he used and said everything revolutionary to achieve anything that is selfish, counter-revolutionary. He was never a revolutionary. EPLF like all fronts was carrying all sorts of tendencies at the end this greedy, monster has evolved out of it.
    Bullying and bullies are the mild aspect of things in this case.

  • Dawit

    Right on! Your comment makes sense. One thing though, Semere may have confused Issayas’ organizational and leadership skill , and love of the profession (politics) with love of Eritrea.

  • mahmud saleh

    (moderator I am reposting it because I
    don’t see the previous one, I hope it’s not a duplicate)

    Semere: First I have to let you know
    that I follow your writings, and I find it to be rewarding. However, every now
    and then I see some misconceptions or even stereotypical depictions of EPLF
    TEGADALAY sparsely thrown throughout some of your works. I don’t know if you
    were in the EPLF, but I know you are one of our sensitive and knowledgeable
    writers when it comes to culture and religion issues and I appreciate that. To
    come to my point, it is really important that we see things within their
    historical window; Eritrean revolution was greatly affected by the leftist
    ideologies of the last century; a fact I don’t believe you overlook. Also, we
    are talking about a leadership composed of people in their twenties assuming
    politburo positions and deciding life and death issues, add to it the
    intoxicating effect you get when you immerse yourself to the leftist ideology!!
    Plus those organizations (ghedli) where geared primarily towards military
    tasks; they were military in nature, so sometimes we have also to emphasize
    that while talking the lack of individual freedom, free speech…etc. This is not
    to defend criminals but to give the poor tegadalay his/her due; given the
    situation he/she made the best out of it, actively engaging within themselves
    and with their surroundings (other organizations, the derg, the people… the
    Sudan… etc…and innovating means of survival material or social wise; and,of
    course, would tell anybody why they were fighting, for the goals of the front.
    Otherwise, they would not join it. But then the goals of the front was what?
    The liberation of their country. In fact one of the questions you were expected
    to answer was “Why are you struggling?” That’s after the question:” Who is our
    enemy and who is our friend?”

    “The loyalty of EPLF fighters was
    primarily to the front and not to their comrades for the latter requires
    individualism. The EPLF demands from its followers: “if any man come to it and
    hate not his father and mother and wife and children, and brethren and sisters,
    yea, and his own life also, he cannot be an EPLF tegadalay.” In the words
    of an EPLF popular 70’s song that encapsulates the spirit de corps: ‘eddl aleni gnbar aleni ab
    hzbawi gnbar zeselefeni. How fortunate I am to be a member of the EPLF.”

    For instance, the above paragraph taken
    from your article shows how sometimes even smart people like the great Semere
    tend to oversimplify things. Tagadalay lived in the society; EPLF was not
    isolated from family and social events, even the front lines and what lied
    behind them. Some kebessa bxot (friends)- not you Semere, I know you are
    blessed with knowing both religions and cultures better than me- but some
    friends from kebessa were homesick for obvious reasons and would write songs
    that hinted the nearing of homecoming for Tegadalay, as if home was only the
    Kebessas. There were songs and dramas that illustrated tagadalay in BereKha, ኣብ በረኻ ከለና…ኣብ በረኻ
    ኣሎ…Well, folks often forget that the place
    they called berekha was in fact home to the majority of our people (may be
    75%?), be it in the highlands or lowlands. During those years I would remind my
    comrades that they were among their people in Sahel, Senhit, Barka, Samhar and
    Dankal. In the mid-80s, I had a heated debate with a friend when I suggested the song “…ዓድኻ እቶ” was wrong because we were in our home, among
    our people. It was not only Asmara or the kebessa we should call home. This is
    just to give a background to my point. The paragraph and similar depiction does
    not give a service to an English only reader, someone not familiar with the history
    and culture of the Ghedli. EPLF should not be judged by what PFDJ represents
    today. EPLF was a refuge to many families, tried to unite families, the
    fighters themselves were creating their own Ghedli-era families (bound by that
    era restraints, and not a typical peace time family structure, nonetheless,
    families) and in general the bonds between tegadelti during that period was
    stronger than a typical kinship bonds and still endures. (I am ignoring the
    Issayas stuff, just tired of it and it’s not effective either. Eritreans got
    used to it for decades now, starting from Haileselassie..to derg…along the
    way.. Jebha era….to wayane…to opposition. I wish if there was something new,
    unfortunately, there is nothing new about Issaya, and people have already made
    up their minds about him. Actually, the more you get obsessed about this man
    the more he shields the ideology, policies, deeds and the party he stands for).

    You chose a
    wrong song, because, I am familiar with that song and it was intended to convey
    that: 1/ choosing the EPLF to ELF was edl
    or lack, choosing the political line the EPLF advanced was better than that
    of the ELF(not necessarily right, but according to the song). 2/ the song was
    conveying the message that it was honorable or “a lucky decision” for enabling
    the singer to be able to have the courage to fight for the freedom of her/his
    people. It has nothing to do with the idea that the EPLF was against family
    affiliations. But one thing is true: the person of that era shunned family and
    individualistic needs. I enjoyed reading it, as always beautifully written. SORRY
    FOR THE LENGTH of the comment.

  • Nati

    I enjoyed reading your article and the proverbial expression. Great piece as always.

  • Ermias

    Until the last paragraph, I thought the author was the other Semere (Tesfai) and I kept thinking, what has changed in his mind. Then I went to the top of the page and I had to reprocess the whole thing.

    I have nothing more to add to what Aman, Rodab, and Haile said.

    • AOsman

      Ermias and others,

      Semere in the past stated he considers “Nihnan
      Ilamanan” a great document based on the vision it provided at the inception and from this
      perspective EPLF can only be regarded as revolutionary at the outset, what it turned out to become at a later stage is a failure to do right on many occasions and the blame lies at many levels as the article presents.

      For those who consider “Nihnan Ilamanan” as a divisive document, the analysis of DIA and EPLF from the outset is the opposite, DIA is not that brilliant, but a cunning individual that would put his organization at
      stake (playing brinkmanship) to get compromises and compliance. The “mi-enty
      mogogo tihlef anchiwa” was practiced by ELF and EPLF leadership and he eventually
      got what he wanted….you call that mischief, not brilliant.

      For me, the perception of the man is greater than the man himself. Perpetuating this is making people believe he is an invisible man. Imagine how the fear of his omnipotence, went beyond the borders of Eritrea,
      reaching the West. He has been elevated to a TAGUT and he became one, now he needs to be placed to
      his rightly position.

      The Eritrean problem has been over-analysed from its roots to its branches, we have YG going deep to identity level, others tracing it to ELF, EPLF, DIA, ………… and the people of Eritrea. Now can these brilliant minds chip in and start discussing more about ways to dismantle the oppressive regime, how to bring about change and deal with future challenges/solutions. Basically shift your gears, forget mancia indietro!



      • Ermias

        Hi AOsman, I agree with you but for a picture perfect and most accurate analysis of Shaebia, please read Serray’s posts. His analysis of Shaebia is 100% flawless, it buffles me every single time.

        • AOsman

          Ermias, I think to get a full picture of DIA, Shabia, for that matter Eritrea you need to read them all, excluding the exagerated analysis where a criminal of day has to be made a criminal at birth. On Serray’s description, I don’t know which one you are referring to, post it for refresher. I remember when YG was presenting his deromatisinzing gedly articles, Serray used to debate with SAAY at awate forum and he had similar views minus the identity problem – Are you referring to the salesman’s analogy ? (nitric’s archive brings the fake passport story 🙂 …. man he clings to it like a dog on a bone….maybe he does not realise at the time ppl used Ethiopian passport ). Regards AOsman

  • Yemany

    “The EPLF was from the onset,a truly revolutionary one and the young,radical and idealist Isaias Afewerki was at its front and center.”
    I disagree completely and to the contrary EPLF from the outset was created and designed in a way not to accommodate freedom of speech,check and balances and accountability thus serving ONLY and ONLY its creator and Isaias Afewerki.These evil goals of the organization paved a way for the relationship between the creator and its members to be developed into a master slave relationship.So EPLF from the outset can ONLY fit the bill of a highly disciplined shifta groupings with its powerful shifta leader but certainly not a political party.It has to be remembered that the leader is the only person who make all the decisions including liquidation of perceived opponents and many had been purged and assassinated without the knowledge of the so called central leadership.The so called G-15 and many others before them were used as tools to pave the way for making him what he is today and when they wore out,they were disposed like diapers regardless of their servitude and loyalty.Had it not be a shifta groupings from the outset,how is that possible for ONE MAN to make the entire leadership disappear in just a heartbeat?

  • Rodab

    Selamat Semere,
    Good article.

    To put the origins of our current problems in perspective, who would the troubled boy represent in your introductory story? Who would be the negligent mom? Who would be the innocent neighbor, and whould be the judge that cleared the boy and held the mom accountable?

    To me it goes like this:
    Obviously Isaias would be the trouble maker boy. Just like the boy in the story, when Isaias did wrong, he didn’t (still doesnt??) recognize it as a wrongdoing. Just like the boy started with stealing egg and then scaled it up to taking away the chicken, Isaias started with small things perhaps making fun of his immediate friends untill he was gradually put in a position to mocking the greater Eritrea!

    The veteran tegadelti that recieved / mentored / trained him in meda represent the negligent mom. Despite been there long before, had more experience and knew better than him,they didn’t reign on him and his misdeeds at the early stages. So, as the jugde in the story rightly held the mom accountable, these veteran tegadelti will take the bulk of the blame to today’s problems.

    The neigbor represents the peaceful Eritrean people (noun: it, its) who was just minding its own business without interference on others. Although not at fault in the crime, it has some faults in being aware of the situation too late, just as our neighbor was too late to find out what was being stolen.

    Finally, the judge represents our (the human) logic and consciousness which is capable of judging what’s right and what’s wrong.

  • haile

    Seamat Semere,

    Great writing as ever, but the devil is in the detail as they say. Your statement that:

    “Isaias was just the first among equals; whatever has happened in the EPLF was the responsibility of the collective leadership. It cannot be denied that he was a brilliant man who won the respect and fear of his comrades through sheer dedication, commitment, steadfastness, ruthlessness and chicanery. As the principal leader of the organization, he deserves the lion’s share of the credit as well as the blame.

    Isaias loved Eritrea; he dedicated his life to its struggle, but over the years, he came to love more his idea of Eritrea more than Eritrea itself. This love has totally blinded him and made him immune to alternative visions of Eritrea. The idea of Hadas Ertra was a collective vision, but Isaias had played a major role in its midwifery. This strong attachment has induced a fanatic zeal on him; always vigilant against those “bad” elements who might derail its progress.”

    May have struck the cords with many Eritreans many years (over a decade ago). The above is a travesty of justice to say the least, given what we know now. IA neither is brilliant nor loved Eritrea. None of that at all. He hated Eritrea, to the point that any stranger would cry their eyes out to just hear the miseries and killings of Eritreans at the hands of this devil. He is dumb and stupid because even the Somalia Islamic Courts have outsmarted him and damped him for dead under tonnes of condemnation and sanctions while they are smoothly navigating away. It is preposterous that you even chose such accolade for a petty criminal worth to be thrown into mai bela.

    IA the not so brilliant nor ever been in love with Eritrea is a thieve, a liar, a sadist, unpatriotic sellout. The only thing he has to say for 366 Eritreans who perished at sea was that “they were thieves, no ifs no buts”. So, I don’t think your point would have any weight in the eyes of the angry young people who would be dragging his body on the street when he meets his fate.


  • Eyob Medhane

    When Isayas and many in his opposition work very hard to dismantle the identity and heritage of Eritreans and habesha by extension…the bright young things like this Ethiopian-Eritrean man question “why?” and express their confusion through such talent…


  • sidiabdu

    By now we should know what to do with a bully—stand up to him, and the house of cards he has built will come crumbling down. Right on. On the dot!
    Courage, Sacrifice and dedication is required to light the candle of democracy and inclusiveness.

  • Tewodros Tekeste

    Hi Semere,

    As usual a very well written article but very inaccurate in all respects.

    Isaias Afwerki never loved Eritrea and Eritreans. He from the very outset wanted to destroy Eritrea and annihilate the Eritrean society. He is doing everything by design and he is almost succeeding. The likes of you. Unless you are his collaborator, therefore deliberately justifying his brutal actions which can be summarised as an act of Genocide (of the Eritrean people). The facts that make me think you are a collaborator is evidenced by the following inaccurate statements which are at the very list pure fabrications or …….

    “EPLF was, from the onset, a truly revolutionary one and the young, radical and idealist Isaias Afwerki was at its front and centre”

    “It cannot be denied that he (Isaias Afwerki) was a brilliant man who won the respect and fear of his comrades through sheer dedication, commitment, steadfastness, ruthlessness and chicanery. As the principal leader of the organization, he deserves the lion’s share of the credit as well as the blame.”

    “Isaias loved Eritrea; he dedicated his life to its struggle.”

    Do you really believe that these statements are true or you think the rest of us are idiots?

    We know who this brutal killer is now and we do not need anyone to tell us otherwise. Please stop….stop….stop….

    • Amde

      “Isaias Afwerki never loved Eritrea and Eritreans. He from the very
      outset wanted to destroy Eritrea and annihilate the Eritrean society. He
      is doing everything by design and he is almost succeeding.”

      I seriously do not understand these kinds of comments. Honestly, what it is implying is that even though “…FROM THE OUTSET…” he joined the struggle as a young man to destroy and annihilate Eritrean society, no one else within ELF or EPLF was smart enough to see through his evil design (which he had FROM THE OUTSET mind you) and somehow thwart him. That formulation is not an indictment of Issayas – It is an indictment of the judgement and intelligence of everyone that worked closely with him. Irrespective of ideology, does it make sense that a successful organization such as EPLF was stuffed to the gills with idiots at the leadership level for years?

      Issayas is not a God or a monster or a mythological creature – he is a human being who was young and naive at some point, and changed into today’s cruelly cynical old man running down the clock on his earthly existence.

      Does it not make more sense to think of him as a young kid who joined the movement for whatever reason, then found within himself a particular set of talents to flourish in the kind of social/organizational culture he had joined? And then – come independence – he finds those talents are not necessarily what minimum governing required. Unfortunately with catastrophic consequences.

      His incipient dictatorial tendencies needed an environment to develop. EPLF’s radical ideology and organizational culture provided him with that environment. Voila there is a match made in hell.

      What I get from this insightful piece is the interesting point that if there was NO Issayas, EPLF would have created AN Issayas.

      Well done Semere.


  • ኣግኣዚ ተወልደ

    Interesting way of explaining human character. I really enjoyed reading it.thank you.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Hi Semere,

    Though I agree on the narration how Issayas evolve to the stage where he is, I totally disagree with the title you gave to your piece. Issayas does not only despise his colleagues but he hates them. He does not only hates them he liquidated them. This is true before and after independence. Issayas does not only despise the Eritrean people he hates them to the teeth. He does not only hate the Eritrean people, but he also snatched them from their sweet home and threw them to the pits (not normal jail) where no one know their whereabouts. Issayas does not despise the “nation Eritrea” he hates it. He doesn’t only hate Eritrea he destroyed its cultural tradition and tear down the co-existence of our social groups. He isolated the nation from the rest of the world and ruled the nation as pariah state. If this is not a hate then what it is?

    Amanuel Hidrat

  • Guest

    “In those days, having a chicken for a meal was considered a luxury most of the people could not afford. ”