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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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  • S Michael

    Hello All,
    What is this ” Ajejew and Chawchaw” about?Eritreans fought a bloody war to be free and Independent and they achieved it.The YG’s et al,Amde included,falacious logic and old school of thought is but nonesense desperate propaganda sponsored by the loosers but the loosers–call it Weyane or Amhara.
    I thnk our job should be to achieve what has not been achieved as of yet—Constitutitonal Governance, a United,Strong ,Democratic and Prosperous Eritrea.Why are we getting trapped into their nonesense?Is it just to debate for the sake of debating and to attract some customers or what?

  • Haile Zeru

    I know everybody moved away from this thread but it is worth saying even if one person reads it.
    The eritrean resistance against the italians was from tribes, clans, and even single strong men that were refusing to abide by the italian laws. Especially those that were affecting the land. one of these groups that could have posed a strong reaction was from the tigrinya speakers. unfortunately the tigrinya speakers were fighting and whenever they cannot make it they were retreating to tigray and ask help from their brothers to the south. Guess what? the mesfin that was supposed to help them was sending an envoy to the italians to negotiate how much money they could give him if he delivers their enemy such and such (name of the Eritrean rebel). Depending on how much danger the eritrean rebel was posing the italians were negotiating to pay the amount and get the hostage (the rebel).
    This way the resistance of the Tigrinya speakers abated faster. While the Saho had different strategy. I guess they didn’t feel the kinship with Tigray mesafinti and whenever they were pushed militarely they were retreating to the mountains. I am imagining that was the reason the Saho resistance against italians lasted much longer.
    YG Romantacising of Habesha identity is for those who do not know history and doomed ot repeat its grave errors.
    If they learned history, the Eritrean opposition against PFDJ should have a plan B, other than Ethiopia based resistance.

    • S Michael

      Bingo Haile Zeru’.Another SAAY?

  • Amanuel9

    Dear Semere,
    A little unfamiliar to have such questions from you. But, the first question regarding why the Eritrean people didn’t rise and revolt against the Italians for 60 years is simple. They weren’t conscious about their oppression (unconscious to everything eg. about their rights, about statehood, about how they will be governed..etc). They rise when education start to take root into our population. You saw it lately in the 40s during the British rule (which Hayat doesn’t want to ask about that period, may be out of inconvenience). Your second question I will leave to the spokesperson of the regime – Nitric acid as he doesn’t know except EPLF then and now PFDJ (1970- up to for ever – his theme of argument). He doesn’t have any clue about the event before 1970.

    Sem, you now want me to fight with Nitric acid which I Already built a big wall that bounce back his echo back to him. I use to have and still have a protection from his fumes and splashes. Watch out him now. But really I have the real Nitric acid that eats his political dirty (just kidding).

    Amanuel Hidrat

  • Haile Zeru

    Hayat,
    One last note about Eritrean resistance against Italy. From my discussion with Abba Isak GebreIyesus and other elders I learned that the low demographics in pre-italian Eirtrea was due to successive invasions by Tigrayan and Amhara mesafinti. Each eritrean tribe was fighting alone and everytime an invasion comes it was getting decimated. Ask the Bilen, the Hamasien the Kunama etc….
    A badly armed army needs at least huge numbers of men to succeed. Eritrea lacked both ingredients against italy. add to that the absence of a central government whether a mesfin or Baito system.
    Some questions about Eritrea make sense when one reads life in Eritrea before colonization. And then one needs to read (think) in linear time. YG uses facts that we know today to refute actions taken 50 years ago. He does not care if the person taking the action then was aware of those facts that we know today.

  • ghezaehagos

    Selam Aman,
    Yes, it is time to bring me and others from the cold….I don’t know if I can pull anyone out the deep, deep 1951-1971 countless days.
    Besides, I am scratching myself how to announce that I am off of YG’s ‘babur’ that suddenly took off to the 50s federation era al a Speed (here the movie ) and didn’t want to slow down than 50km/hr, trampling over the UN, the elites of Eritrea and 390 (V) A. I have been silently noting to the conductor my ‘fermatta’ was way back there.
    Hence are the basics: Eritrea deserved independence as early as 1950s. We didn’t get it. Ethiopia abrogated UN-mandated federation unilaterally. The cause for the thirty year war for independence was just. Eritrea is now facing unprecedented political, humanitarian, economic crisis because of bad, inept and cruel dictatorial rule of Isaias Afewerki. Crudely in one word-phrase, our main problem is tyranny and in another word, its solution is rule of law. shigrna m’lki iyu. meftiHu dma leelina-higi iyu.
    Rg’xete-h’gi ble’elna higi yiteka’e.
    All the best,
    Ghezae Hagos

    • Nitricc

      Gezae I like your kahuna
      Good for you.
      Say more and do what you do best; write.
      Get back to your blog @ the kind citizen and do what you do best; write from the heart.
      At that Respect!
      Nitricc.

      • ghezaehagos

        Thanks Nitticc brother. Respect to you too.
        Sal, I know and I feel guilty. I hope I will step up.
        Ghezae

    • saay7

      Selamat Ghezae:

      Well. Welcome back, friend. My guess is that YG’s train will eventually stop in Axum and call for the establishment of Habeshastan. More people will jump out. Glad you got off when you did.

      Also, please note Nitricc’s call (he makes sense once in a blue moon): your Kind Citizen column awaits.

      saay

    • S Michael

      Hello Attorney Ghezae,
      Congra for achieving the 2% “illegal thing”.but the trillion dollar worth Potash Industry is booming up though.So need of the 2% from Canada.Huh–they are jealous now that we will take over their business.
      Did you hear about the Swedish Parlama restoring the 2% thing?
      Good luck Mr.Attorney.

  • Haile Zeru

    At the end of this discussion I like everybody especially Hayat to search information on Hayat’s statement and question below.

    “Eritrea had much bigger political and legal standing to claim its statehood from Italy or British than from Ethiopia. Why were there not Liberation Fronts against Italy?”
    This statement/question shows why YG has an audience. Basically the Eritrean history is not yet written therefore it is deemed non-existent.

    • smichael

      But it is a closed chapter though–Does this has something to do with Aboy Sibhat’s and bereket’s new propaganda?

  • Tesfu

    To Semere,
    when Kahsu { Bahta’s brother} was making a deal with Italians to kill his brother, his close friends informed Bahta the coup and Bahta gunned down his brother. ( kahsu hawei intemetka aitdeks ,keleka aitdk, deks]. He wanted to be the Governor of the region

  • Nitricc

    I am getting irritated by this woman. If I need to know what the job-less has to say; I know where to go; why is she allowed to bring down this forum by what the good for nothing job-less has to write? It is nothing but garbage in garbage out.
    I blame SAAY for this.
    Hey, SAAY when I responded to Semere I wasn’t mad. I was just playing. Why would I get angered about toothless Semere?
    Right Semere? 🙂

    • Semere Andom

      Oh Nitricc, we will not commit suicide, we have to get the unappreciative ghetto kids like you, who hate and insult the Eritrean people by dancing over the graves of the Ghedli martyrs. We will be alive, kicking and vibrantly young when your master’s head is blown away. We will be around to shepherd the new nation that will be built over the rubble and debris of PFDJ/EPLF/DIA/YPFDJ.
      It will be gratifying to live, if for nothing else just to prevent the serial failures members of your YPFDJ cohorts from infecting the new generation of young Eritreans with their malice. We will be there to make your whoring pilgrimage to Eritrea a thing of the past. I know you want to shine and prosper at the expense of the destitute young Eritreans, you remember those who drowned in search of ipads? Your worst nightmare is fast approaching at 60 min/hr
      Semere

      • Nitricc

        60 min/hr?
        I hope you understand now when I call you toothless. lol
        60 min/hr lol toothless.

      • Woldai

        Semere
        I read your saga of martyrs , but the martyrs had done their jobs & freed Eritrea! The martyrs want every Eritrean to speak his mind….! Martyrs would like to see a peaceful Eritrea! The martyrs don’t want you to use their names for your cheap propagada!

  • ghezaehagos

    Selam Awatistas,
    First of all, ‘muwuQ selamta kab Qorari Winnipeg (that is understatement in the-40 wind-chill.) Second, I think that is all.
    All the best,
    Ghezae Hagos

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Merhaba Ghezae,

      Welcome back from the freeing zone. We look forward your in put to pull us in to the real world. You know what I mean.

      Amanuel Hidrat

  • Hayat Adem

    4.5. YG’s thesis is this: The current authoritarian system we have in Eritrea is the inevitable outcome of the decision to wage armed struggle against Ethiopia…[my addition]…and the way it was justified, and the way it was led, and the way it was nurtured and implanted, mystified in the mindset of our people, and the way elitists were cheering it in the name of an Eritrean spirit, etc. and the way it was transitioned and transferred to our current governance system]
    I totally agree.

  • AMAN EL AMAN

    My opinion on YG’s thesis 4.4 as presented by Hayat Adem below and those
    who are not sure whether it is true or false or right or wrong.
    First of all what sent highlanders to fight is not confusion of identity as some wish
    to misplace the fact but it is the sence of fighting for justice which is stolen in a
    broad day light unjustly. The correctness and justness of this descion can also
    be seen and confirmed by the birth and fast growth of forces in Ethiopia itself
    which support the idea and willing to fight for the cause. Examples are tplf, eprp
    meison,edu and half of the Dergu faction has confirmed their support on the
    just nature of the cause of the Eritrean struggle. So why blame those highlander
    Eritreans who joint it for it ?
    Even Ethiopian Woyane has supported it and fought against the dergue as any
    force would do has done in Ethiopia.
    The ball was and is in the Ethiopian court for 50 plus years which is unable to
    overcome its deformed politics and dysfunctional regimes as usuall.
    Any freedom and justice loving citizen would join a struggle for justice against
    injustice.
    Finally note to Olana:
    Kedamai woyane was inspired by the political movement and struggle of the
    Eritrean ANDINET party for freedom and liberty of Ethiopia and they rose up
    to join and part of the the movement before they forcefully subdued by HSI and
    the British.

    • Hayat Adem

      Correction to your 1st line: YG’s thesis was not presented by me (Hayat). It was Sal who presented them and I was only quoting them from Sal.

  • Amanul9

    Hayatom,

    You see you want to impose to our specific nature of our politics on how long we should go for peaceful struggle and armed struggle. The Indian issues and other countries as how they struggled their oppression might or might work for them and they make their own choices based on their society and the nature of their oppressor. We Eritreans based on the nature of the oppression upon us and our readiness to fight, made our choice how to fight against our oppressors. So don’t fool yourself that one’s country realities is universal to the rest of us in the world. Even if you wish to be that of (india, south Africa) at the end of the day we will dictated by the reality of your people. If the Eritrean people said the 10 years of peaceful struggle is enough, and let us launch armed struggle, that is their consciousness at that time and they did it. And how they did it? they did it based on the circumstances that surround them, and the geopolitics of that era (soviet/chaina/Cuba on the one hand and the west on the other). We are proud we played our politics, as it should be, on those hostile geopolitical confrontation in our region.

    Second, any movement be it peaceful or violent it start by few conscious individuals, slowly growing to groups, to then a full blown mass movement (in which you termed it collective effort). The Eritrean revolution took that natural political process (workers movement, students movement in the 50s until they hunt them to kill them and jail them, to the extent finally abrogated the legal authority that allows them to administer themselves). Do we had a different opinion at that time in regard to the abrogation of the federal arrangement? yes. But those who objected it decided to fight to the end for their rights and in the process convinced the entire population to pay the ultimate price and fought with courage and patriotism (clearly played in the confrontation against all odds) and we justified for the world that when people fights for their rights even at a higher cost still could win the war and get their inevitable freedom. These are recorded in the history book for those who believe on it and even for those who couldn’t swallow it. Ghedli is not the place of “Eden” where peace and tranquility is there. Ghedli is where horrible thing could happen for the ultimate freedom and peace. In the process there could happen all types of devilish act like the one we talk about ours. But in it there were and are the best of our best who were/are trying to rectify the excessive nature of the ghedli (I am the witness for them) some paid the ultimate price and some still continue to change it. Ghedli brought “independence” but not “liberty and freedom of individuals” the ideal of democracy and good governance. As a matter of fact the ghedli haters couldn’t understand that our current struggle is for the later (democracy and good governance) as the former is a bygone and a concluded case even by the international community.

    So Hayatom, take this reality on the ground as is, and think on what should be done as we go forward. In fact the Ethiopian Government and the Ethiopian people (leave those groups who want to use it as a political card to use against the current government of Ethiopia) have accepted the reality. In fact (by the majority of Ethiopians) they saw and found it, if normalization between the two states started and focus on economic development, it is the best political solution (that is an Independent Eritrea) for peace and tranquility for both brotherly people (which I strongly believe it). So Hayatom talk about the future as the past is gone for ever. You could change the past by looking positively and doing the right thing. I guarantee you Normalization and good neighborliness will come with the demise of our regime. The future of the two nations is bright and they will be the hoop of economic development in our region.

    Now just make your “summary argument” as a closing argument, if you can on behalf of yourself, Serray, YG…and the rest YG believers, because at one point it should end……and the time is right now. I f you are not satisfied to close it, then, we will see it that you were not sincere about the debate but to divert us from the current struggle to save our people and the nation we strive to build it. Please help us in our endeavor.

    Amanuel Hidrat

    • Hayat Adem

      Emma, get this one; if it was me, my time of struggle for a better world starts now, not yesterday. There is a nearly 100% convergence at that with Sal and you. I never believe the past is as important as the future. True,our NOW is from the past but it has to be about the FUTURE and not the past. While this point doesn’t make me different from you, I’ve a strong feeling great thinkers like YG can be truly instrumental in our future and that we should count them in our blessings and not continuously demonize them. The way Sal is trying to demonize Yg is based on his thoughts about the past. Remember his outrageous claims, endorsed by you, regarding Nawud Vs Benjamin and using any unfamiliarity with Nawud as a ground for attacking Yg? I am trying to show him the gaps in his claims so that he makes peace with himself about the presence of Yg in today’s Eritrea. In fact, my next move would be mobilizing Sal and Yg for the same grand purpose. So Emma, take it easy.

  • Hayat Adem

    Yes Emma,
    Glad that we could brought laughter to you. Well, the entire credit goes to Sal but it doesn’t mean I had a zero role at least in terms of cause-effect:)
    But really, it is not as easy as what you and Sal are trying to make it sound. True, we always fight when we are ready. What made us not-ready against the Italians and ready against the Ethiopians? People don’t have the same answer: Sal included this point in his summary of thoughts from Yg to imply Yg thinks the Fronts motive is not organic and from local but pushed from far away forces that hate Ethiopia (Habesha) and accepted by suburbanite ill-educated elitist Eritreans against their own people. According to Sal’s REVISED response, it was after 70s and it was because of Ona. That is a very considered answer from Sal and I think I know why. He thinks that is safe because there weren’t fateful events like Ona during the Italian occupation. By that, he thinks there wasn’t as much worse assault on Eritrean dignity as the latter. Every time he is pushed, he keeps on pushing his events and actors.
    Sal, you can run as fast and as far as you can, but you can’t hide from your own words and “facts”. Does that mean, the Liberation Struggle was not going to be justified in the absence of Ona? Would he support ONLY the peaceful way if Hailessilassie didn’t bring the Ona event? By that logic, is he less interested in the 10 years of armed struggle that precede Ona? Is he downplaying the importnce of decions and actions taken by the Awate and his friends because they were talking guns and bullets way before Ona? And these I’m trying are his selection of events and actors he brought as Yg’s.
    And bonus question: Have we or have we not seen Ona-like events under the rule of EPLF/PFDJ? If yes, what does it mean to Sal understanding of before Ona/ after Ona binary interpretation of fateful and decisive events?

    • saay7

      Hey Hayatom:

      You may always be in a state of suspense as to what YG said, but you don’t have to be with me. The Ona reference was NOT to indicate that that was the trigger of our decision to START the struggle. It was to make the point that if we were to follow your strict requirements of cost-benefit analysis, by 1970, at Ona, we had such a massacre of civilians (mostly women and children), and it happened on Eid Day then that SHOULD have been the time to throw in the towel and say that’s it we give up. It was an absurd example to illusrate the absurdity of the use of metrics to weigh demand for justice.

      saay

  • Hayat Adem

    4.4. “YG’s thesis is this: Those who initiated the movement for independence were enlisted in a proxy fight by Ethiopia’s traditional enemies: Arabs and Islamists; those who followed them were Ethiopia-hating highlanders with confused identity.”
    I am not saying I agree on the above assertion. I have no enough facts at hand to completely dismiss it either. But let’s say you can help me make my mind. You can still save your tongue to your own but I need to read your mind and throw the burden of proof onto you. Ethiopia had traditional enemies in the Arab world. True. Would these enemies naturally try hard to use Eritrean Fronts to advance their own interests which include hurting Ethiopia? No brainier. Were these countries supplying support to our Fronts in terms of money, armament, diplomacy, propaganda, mobility etc.? No doubt. Now, the only last line defense you would have to prove the above claim in the negative is if only you can answer NO with an assured sense to the following question: But would Eritrean Fronts’ Leaderships allow themselves to be used by Ethiopia’s traditional enemies? The devil lies here. After witnessing PFDJ leadership’s utter contempt and disregard to Eritrea and Eritreans, you can’t flag Yes or No with certainty. Back to you, Sal.

    • saay7

      Hayatom:

      I have evaluated your statement at a microscopic level and verified it as married to facts and having gospeler authority. Still, I am not saying I agree or disagree with your re-assertion of my assertion of YG.

      Hayat, in the real world, in real debates, the person who is making an assertion PROVES it. The person who is denying it is under no obligation to prove a negative:) But, if you insisting on having fun:

      The traditional enemies of Ethiopia, the Arabs, are a clever bunch. In the 1970s, they (Yemen, Libya) provided material support to the Derg knowing full well that they would mostly end up in the hands of Eritreans after the Derg army would lose battles and surrender its guns and ammo. What a devious way to arm the Eritreans!

      Oh, yes, I remember. “Nehnan Elamanan” criticized the ELF leadership for not having a close enough relationship with Arabs! Yes, I remember the document (from 1971) distinctly calling for the Arabization and Islamization of Eritrea and for not being sufficiently Islamist. This had an electrifying effect on Eritreans who have always wanted to Arabize and Islamize Eritera. Aid came pouring in to Eritrea from the Arab world on DC-9s: Arab commando units came to Eritrea to train us on how to battle the Israel-trained Commandis. Yes, I also remember the EPLF insisting the Osman Saleh Sabbe stay on in leadership position because he was a crucial link to the Arab world. The petro-dollar had to flow! I remember EPLF insisting that the language used in military training be switched from Tigrinya to Arabic so that Ethiopia’s traditional enemies could be pleased. Al Azhar built a mosque in Sahel; Cairo and Naqfa signed a sister-cities agreement. Then Egypt and Eritrea signed a mutual defense pact.

      Let’s also not forget the OTHER enemies of Ethiopia: journalists and historians like Dan Connell, Roy Pateman, Basil Davidson (all closet Arabs), the left-leaning parliamentarians in Europe (Arabs) and the biggest Ethiopian enemy of course was Norway (definitely a closet Arab nation.)

      saay

      saay

      • Hayat Adem

        It happened again. You moved the calendar and the characters: from 1962 to 1971, ELF to EPLF, even more to the publishing date of Ninan Elamanan, from Awate to Isaias, didn’t you? You keep on shifting your guard and your ground. You haven’t mention other Arab countries who better represent traditional enemty (Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan…so did we prove or disprove Yg’s points now? Hint: the purpose of you crying for Yg’s executive summary, and in a sense of i-can-do-it-for-you you went out of your way to do the summaries to show us how you could tear him apart and disprove them for us. I have a sense now you are not doing that except running away under the shields of sarcasm.

        • saay7

          Hayatom:

          Whatever you say, Hayatom. At this point, you are really debating with yourself about a subject you may or you may not agree with even after you studied it at microscopic level. Wouldn’t it make more sense for you to (a) first determine whether you agree or disagree with YG’s thesis (assuming you understood it) and then (b) you can have your proxy debate. No?

          saay

          • Hayat Adem

            Oh Sal,
            You told many times in the past that I was a great debater, one of Awatistas’ smart. Lately, you are demoting me to a much lower status: that I know NOT a thing from Eritrea’s history (or was it the world); that one has to merely assume if I understand Yg thesis. Why are you doing that to me?

          • saay7

            Haha Hayat:

            Of course you are a great debater. Look at how well you are doing when you have no material to work with 🙂 and u have handicapped yourself more by so many qualifiers (“I am not saying that’s what he is saying but if that’s what he is saying..”
            saay

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Hayatom,

          You sound now aggravated just from your tone. Let me give you an advice if it could have a room in your thoughts. YG can’t make summary “as in ball point” for everyone to understand his argument. But YG is proud of you as a “defense counsel” you played on his argument. I am sure he will not hesitate to pick you to make a closing argument by charting a “face saving argument.” I could have jotted for you but I might not be trustworthy to him as I was arguing against his argument. So Hayatom give us a favor and save us from this nonsense debating on history for almost 6 to 7 years that doesn’t contribute anything to our people inside Eritrea.

          Amanuel Hidrat

      • S Michael

        What a Perfect Text Book of Intelligent Mind and History/Geo-politics,cousin!
        Stay healthy man,we need you badly in the NEW ERITREA-to come soon.Hope Ali Abdu stays healthy as well.

  • saay7

    Hey iTgadela Semere:

    Why didn’t Hayat ask her questions a year ago? Why didn’t YG writing his manifestos in 1997? Why didn’t you write this post a week ago? Bob Dylan has the answer: “the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.” Of course this begs the question: why didn’t Bob Dylan write the song a year earlier.

    The special edition of Hlmi Derho that you and Hayat are pressing is called, according to on of my favorite authors (Annie Dillard), the “scandal of peculiarity.” For example, if, according to our religious teachings, God is infinite, why did He send prophets and saviors at a particular time in history to a specific place (Middle East, roughly 2000 years ago)?

    Remember, the kernel of the belief system of your average Ghedli Defamer is this: there is something weird and unnatural about Eritrea. So even the fact that the people rose up at a specific time in their history–not before, not after– (remember in the same series of questions of Hayat is not just “what took us so long” but also “why did we rush: did we really give the peaceful struggle enough time?”) is evidence of Eritreas strangeness. You could line up African states alphabetically and show that almost all of them went through the process of national awakening and they won’t be convinced.

    But thanks for playing:)

    saay

    • Semere Andom

      Tegadalai Sal:
      The gist of my post was to address that Eritrean did revolt against the Italian and provided ta conjecture that the Eritrean identity was developing, I did not think you made it beyond the first paragraph. We can ask Haile to Tingnlish it 🙂

      What is going on?, it is the second time in this young iTegadelet 2014 that you are not getting what I am saying?
      Semere

      • Hayat Adem

        emmm!

      • saay7

        itGadela Semere:

        (I have a vision of Emma standing with a bullhorn yelling “Das Ferisu! Gegezakhum khidu Hawi Agwagdu” but no, we are like Eritrean smokers outside an Eritrean wedding: lingering on, huddled in discussions…then they go to Denny’s where the “we’re always open because we never take time to clean the kitchen or the carpets” welcomes them with open arms. This is now the Denny’s discussion.)

        You know the story of the man who posted a job opening for a lawyer: it had a strange demand: applicant must not have arms. When he was asked why, he said, I don’t want to pay my money to hear “on the one hand, on the other hand opinions” that lawyers are famous for. That was your posting: it had so much on the one hand, on the other hand I got confused:) This is because you were interpreting Hayat’s interpretation of my interpretation of YG. All of this “Fien wzanek ya goHa” is to avoid that dang summary. Oh, no, we can’t have that.

        saay

        • Hayat Adem

          If you haven’t exploded in laughter when you read Sal’s comment in the 2nd paragraph, check in case you have a dumb side to humor:)

    • Hayat Adem

      Oh Sal, Some times I love you, some times I hate you. But I hate because I love you. That was extracted from lyrics of a song.
      *As there is the Awakening, there is also the De-awakening of nations and individuals. I refuse to believe the claim that any armed struggle comes as a result of the culmination of enough awakening. It might be helpful to watch for armed struggles that resulted because of a reverse conditoned. That is what Yg addressed in his article 2years ago, “The Incuriousity that Killed the Nation”. Incuriosity have never been the byproduct of a situation from an awakened generation.

      • saay7

        Hi Hayat:

        I have read “The Incuriousity that Killed the Nation” at a microscopic level and I find it married to facts and with gospeler authority. Still, I can’t say that I agree or disagree with it.

        saay

  • AMAN EL AMAN

    Hadn’t Eritrean revolution started and awakened Tigrians.
    Tigrayans would have been oppressed for additional 100
    years by the Amharas in addition to the 300 years under
    them. Their language, identity and culture was almost wiped
    out hadn’t the EPLF arrived on time to save and salvage them.

    • Olana

      You should not forget about Kedamai Weyane who rebeled a long time ago before your fathers started the proxy war sponsored by Egypy.

  • Amde

    Hi Dude,

    Thank you for the gracious words – you are too kind.

    It is probably neither the time nor the place for this discussion, but I thought I’d say a few things. My thoughts about Article 39 is that it is one of those things where context is everything.

    I was born in the late 60s, so I am by no means the old guard. One of my earliest memories is seeing HaileSellasie pass by our mender just before his overthrow, and mine was the generation that grew up just old enough to witness the mayhem of the 60 executed, the nech shibir and qey shibir, stepping over corpses with revolutionary placards on them on the way to elementary school, then the hulum neger to the Tor ginbar, then the qey kokeb zemecha, then the Isepa and PDRE, attempted coup, spectacular government military defeats, then TPLF riding in, then 98% referendum, then ethnic demarcation where if you say you prefer to identify yourself as Ethiopian, you are defaulted into a self-hating Amara.

    I think for most Ethiopians in my age group (now reaching 40s to 50s), we were way too young for the HSI student movement, and too old with the baggage of too many unsavory things witnessed. I would say our life’s lesson is that cynicism is extremely warranted, and a very valuable survival tool.

    I myself was born and raised in Addis, and I am one of those typical mongrel Ethiopians if you will – parents from different “ethnic groups” and with a couple more groups coming into the picture if you look back a generation behind. From my personal history and context, I will say that ethnicity was not THE major problem faced by me, or my parents at least in the years that I was growing up. I am an Ethiopian who is very proud and very confident of our history and our destiny, but according to the constitutional order in place, I have no legal existence, nor do I have any right I can exercise under Article 39. So for ME and the millions like me, it is a completely meaningless Article. Even if I were to declare my ethnicity preference as being that of either one of my parents, it is still meaningless because the people of Addis Ababa are neither Nations, Nationalities nor Peoples, and thus Article 39 does not apply to them

    Now, I know the intent the article was designed for was to implement a constitutional mechanism to address the grievances of an oppressed/marginalized/victimized group. The current rulers defined such groups to be strictly in ethnic terms. They assumed/decided the country’s primary problem was ethnic, and hence the structure of the federation and the constitution with the ultimate opt-out clause were designed as an correction – in my opinion an overcorrection.

    Keep in mind the constitution itself only refers to Nations/Nationalities and Peoples. As such, the political system EPRDF has established is not a democracy, but it is certainly true to its constitution. It is basically a federation of ethnic dictatorships. Politics is not something citizens participate in – politics is a privilege reserved for the EPRDF party members who play it according to internal party rules that are opaque, arbitrary and cliquish. To play, these privileged just have to ensure their respective “ethnic” party has complete and utter domination of all legislative, executive and judicial branches of government from qebele to killil.

    Now, I don’t fault the TPLF or EPRDF because other than the one original idea have brought into Ethiopian politics (namely the concept of ethnic Nations), they are surprisingly and perfectly within the traditions of Ethiopian politics and governance. They are not ‘democratic’. The regional party bosses of today have as much (or even more) dictatorial power over the people than the Rases and Kings of old (at least they feared the wrath of god). Tigray still competes with Shewa (and Eritrea is still a casualty) etc…. And – the actual over-centralization of power is even more pronounced than during the century of Shewan dominance.

    From MY perspective, the primary problem in Ethiopia was NOT ethnic, but basically over-centralization of power. The land question was significantly addressed during the Derg’s land reform – so at least that huge issue had been resolved by the time EPRDF came to power. So to my mind, they mis-diagnosed the problem, then over-corrected on the solution. Conveniently, it just so happened that it (Ethnic organization with Article 39) proved to be a fantastic device for consolidating and holding on to power.

    Even knowing that it is constitutionally meaningless for me, I grudgingly accept the positive intent behind it. Just because from MY perspective it is meaningless, it does not mean that for many other it is not. So, I learn to live with it, wary of the risks it carries and the false promise of an easy solution to truly deeper problems. And believe me – in a situation like this – cynicism is your friend.

    amde

  • Hayat Adem

    4.3. “YG’s thesis is this: There was no political, legal standing to Eritrea’s claim to statehood.”
    There were, indeed, good political and legal standings for Eritrea to claim its statehood. One can also equally argue that there were justified political and legal standings for Eritrea to remain part of Ethiopia. Eritrea had much bigger political and legal standing to claim its statehood from Italy or British than from Ethiopia. Why were there not Liberation Fronts against Italy? If staying with Ethiopia was in the best interest of the majority of Eritreans, it could be rationalized that it wouldn’t be wise to rush to invoke those you mentioned as political and legal rights for separation or one would use those standings in an inverted way to stay within the union. But at the end of the day, separation or unity (both are choice rights as opposed to natural) must be weighed in terms of gain for the people. People First!. Well, of course, you are guy who is so much sentimental about cheering an Eritrea spirit even if it means encouraging a mad leader to win a senseless war.

    • General Wuchu

      Dear Hayat,
      I thought this was settled. The Eritrean people held a referendum and chose to form an independent nation by a vote of 99.8%. Are you not aware of that? Do you live under a rock? I just want to know where you have been for the last 21 years.
      Please don’t beat around the bushes. Are you suggesting there should be a second referendum? If you are not suggesting there should be a second referendum, what exactly are you suggesting?

      • Hayat Adem

        General,*
        You were not following events here. Sal put up summary points he thought represents Yg’s core belief. And I’m addressing those points. Yes, the referendum and its outcome are fine with me.
        —–
        * Why did you pick this nick name? I’ve a story: GW was commanding the central Front (Zalanbessa-Alitena) area-June 1998. On the other side, there was a Colonel whose name I don’t remember. The Ethiopians were pushed from Zalanbessa towards the escarpments of Adigrat. But that Colonel was just happy enough he didn’t surrender Adigrat. And he reported his status to higher authorities “daw abileyo alekhu ezi mehayim general”. Wichu’s edu is rumered not to be beyond 5th grade. The Weyanai Colonel was 6th grade.

        • General Wuchu

          Dear Hayat,
          You said “The referendum and its results are fine with me.” That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement of the referendum. Generally, when someone says “it is fine with me” in response to something, it means they don’t approve of it but they accept it. Is that what I am reading?
          Also, I am going to put you on the spot this time:
          1. Are you an Eritrean?
          2. Did you vote in the referendum?
          3. If so which way did you vote?
          No more soft ball questions for you, Hayat. No more beating around the bushes by you either. Please answer those three questions directly and forthrightly.

          • Hayat Adem

            I’m surprised you are asking. Why? I didn’t think endorsing the referendum was a screening filter. I thought you could boycott the referendum, vote yes, or vote no and still be a citizen. If am not asking yours, why do you think you should ask mine?

      • Hayat Adem

        Oh, my apologies on the earlier footnote joke. I just heard now the General passed away.

    • saay7

      Selam Hayatom (tongue still firmly in cheek:)

      Oh, the choices Eritrean had! Political and legal standing to claim statehood, to join Ethiopia. To reconstruct the old Beja Kingdom. So many good choices. Claiming statehood was just one of many choices that all Italy’s former colonies–Libya, Somalia, Eritrea–had but they stubbornly opted for it. Silly rabbits.

      Why were the Liberation Fronts not fighting Italy? I know! It is a strange thing. If you look at Africa, all the liberation movements had to wait until the 1960s and 1970s when they should have fought back decades earlier. Some sociologists and political scientists mention things like political consciousness and critical mass, but, if you ask me, those are just apologies. My personal feeling is that they did a cost-benefit analysis and said, nah, we will wait them out.

      The Fronts should also have done a cost-benefit analysis before they started the rebellion. They should have had a business plan, a contingency plan, and an exit strategy. 1970 should have done it: that was Ona. At that time, they should have said, enough, nothing is worth this much pain. People First, Honor Last. But, at the very latest, they should have given up in 1979 after Ethiopia with just a tiny little help from Soviet Bloc Good Will Ambassadors, re-claimed all the land that the bandits had occupied illegally between 1961 and 1979. All the people that were exiled unnecessarily simply because the bandits were not familiar with People First. Hulum neger wede People Genbar.

      The rebels should have laid down their arms and marched to the re-captured towns, waving Arengwadye Bicha Key, and thrown themselves at the mercy of a very forgiving motherland. Then, Mengistu, moved to tears, would have ordered an immediate end to his stablization campaign (wrongly termed Key Sheber, Red Terror) and he would have re-directed the Soviet Bloc to win the hearts and minds of Eritreans with a re-building campaign.

      This would have inspired the TPLF to do likewise because they had already started a rebellion that would go for 17 years. Imagine: Hawzen could have been avoided! Clearly, the TPLF were also unfamiliar with People First.

      It is important that we evaluate costs and benefits. This is why it is misguided to oppose Isaias Afwerki. Our friend Nitricc is on point again. Just wait for the man to rule indefinitely. Hope costs nothing. And if we do not provoke him, if we submit nicely, then maybe his successor, Abraham Isaias Afwerki, will be gentler with us too. People First!

      saay

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Hey Saay,

        I have never laughed on political matters (as I am a serious nature), this time uncharacteristic of me, I was laughing on and off to the end. Good job Saay, these people are not serious. I can’t believe Hayat ( a smart and bright) to ask why we do not fight the Italians. We fight when we are ready, at our own choice, when we are conscious about our oppression. How about that! Does she really mean if we don’t fight the Italians we shouldn’t fight HS and Dergue. What kind of logic she want to draw from any kind of answer to her question? Saay, Who knows your reverse narration might work now. The more you debate them the more they move to a slippery slope of fallacious argument.

        Amanuel Hidrat

        • Semere Andom

          Selamat Emma:
          Kubur Gedim Tegadalai Sal,
          At face value, Hayat’s question may seem laughable, but it is not. It is reasonable and sane to wonder why would people tolerate 60 years of servitude under the Italians, and you could even go further and ask why not during the dreaded Turkish rule? Why did’t they rebel as they did against the Ethiopians? You and Sal are both correct in saying that things happen when they happen, implying that the confluence of many latent forces decide the timing, but both of you made her point by not pointing out that there were indeed opposition/revolt to the Italians and maybe to the Turkish too.

          But the point missed here is: People (Eritreans) did stand up to Italians, as all oppressed humans do, rebelling against injustice is second nature, but I am sure she knows that . But as to a full blown revolution like in 1961, we cannot expect that as Eritrean identity was forming during the Italian period, so the rebellion was not collectively for Eritrea, but individually or in a group the inhabitants of that land we call Eritrea today did rebel. Or you can argue that Eritreans did not acquire the national footwear outfit , the “shida” during the Italians rule :-).
          Bahta Hago’s brother, Sengal Hagos warned, “Bahta hawey embza aytashu TsaEda temen entenkisu, delalika ayrkebn eyu fewsu”, when he witnessed his brother’s dalliances with the Italians. But back then they called them “shefata” and the buds of Eritrea identity were in gestation, the eruption coincided with the Ethiopians, also hastened by the annexation and even then the revolution did not climax until the Dergi took over

          Hayat was animated by her intense and penetrating rebuttals to Sal and did nor realize that she already blessed us with the answer to her own inquiry: Nothing is original. Society is afflicted by crowed mentality.

          People tend to do what others are doing. Even in research you see everybody is doing Nano tech research these day, two decade ago, almost everyone was doing fuel cells (hydrogen to replace the crude oil and the transmission engine).

          So during the Italians, liberation movements were not sexy 🙂

          You both forgot that Hiwet Adam is romantic at heart and de-romantic in the mind when replying to her rhetorical question about an Eritrean revolution during the Italian injustice. Implicitly, both of you pulled the unionist card on her:-). A de-romantic who crossed the chasm would have shamelessly asserted, they( Eritreans) loved the whites and hated their own identity and therefore the revolution happened when Eritreans decided that no “donkey” shall come home to mate 🙂

          And if my name was Nitricc or a member of the druggy YPFDJ (and Emma you are familiar with Nitricc as your formulate your chemicals how corrosive it can be even to a seasoned chemist), I would have asked a really, really laughable question, “why did Eritreans wait until 1970 to start a revolution”:-)

          Semere

      • Rodab

        Hey Sal, that is quite a response, not sure my friend Hayat will like it though 🙂
        At least she should give you credit for allowing access to your thinking and your debates on a personal level, something nobody gets a portion of from the man she so fiercely shields. Yeah, I kinda vaguely remember how it went and how he addressed all and every commenters’ questions when he visited town few months ago….

      • Dawit

        In defense of Hayat (Tongue firmly planted in cheek)

        Algerians fought against a European colonizer (France) and forced it to sign a cease fire which led to a FULL INDEPENDENCE. Ethiopians fought Italians (another European colonizer) and forced them to sign the treaty of Wuchale which, unfortunately, led to a PARTIAL INDEPENDENCE. This leads one to conclude that Eritreans should have fought Italians not Africans (their brethren). Had the treaty of Wuchale given Ethiopia the 900 miles plus red sea coast, Eritreans would not have waged war against Ethiopia. SWOT analysis and feasibility study would have led them to believe that fighting for a piece of land without sea outlet is economically not viable.

        • Amde

          Dawit,

          “Had the treaty of Wuchale given Ethiopia the 900 miles plus red sea coast, Eritreans would not have waged war against Ethiopia.” I agree with many many thumbs up!!

          I think this coast has been like a cruel joke on Eritrea – for a megalomaniac like Issayas, this coast line gives him the mirage that he can now play on the regional/world stage. And that starts by using it to control Ethiopia, the hinterland. There is a method to his “madness”, but the coastline has been the seductive illusion that keeps calling him to make a garrison out of the small nation of Eritrea.

          amde

          • saay7

            Dawit and Amde:

            Since (a) the Treaty of Wuchale was negotiated between Ethiopia and Italy (b) in the Treaty of Wuchael, Menelik completely forefeited Ethiopia’s claims on Ethiopia categorically and unambiguously, something he can’t blame on Amharic/Italian translators (“The land referred to as Eritrea is not peopled by Abyssinians, they are Adals, Bejas, and Tigres. Abysinnia will defend her territories but it will not fight for foreign lands of which Eritrea is to my knowledge.” ) and (c) it was actually Ethiopia that waged the act of war against Eritrea by abrogating a treaty, then, a more accurate description would be:

            “Had a triumphant Menlik negotiated a better deal with the Italians to give Ethiopia access to the Sea, had he been less categorical about Ethiopia’s lack of any claim on Eritrean, then, when the Italians left, Ethiopia would not have gone on a relentless and futile 50 year war footing to keep Eritrea Ethiopian.”

            There, fixed that for ya.

            saay

          • Amde

            Oh Saay,

            Oh no – you got me!! I am busted as the personification of the caricature in your mind. I mean, come on – why don’t I just write “generic Ethiopian” in every post and that will free you from having to read. Right Saay?

            Thank you for the unsolicited fixins….I actually agree with most of what you wrote in your second paragraph. In retrospect, whatever his reasons at the time, Menelik’s decisions were incomplete, and we still have to get a stable resolution over it. There, that will save you from a potential restless night. You’re welcome.

            However, it has nothing to do with what I wrote. I thought you were a bit more incisive than that.

            So to make it easy for you, let’s stop playing history and let’s play “alternate history” if you will.

            Knowing Issayas as you undoubtedly do much better than I, do you think he would have even thought of tangling with Ethiopia in 1998 as a remotely feasible project if he did not feel he had a working stranglehold almost in place? Put yourself in his shoes.

            (Oh, and by the way, lest we forget – this was a project of the WHOLE EPLF LEADERSHIP who only fell out with him over the Execution of this project once it got screwed the hell up. You can definitely spread the blame for this one – you can’t pin it on your classic whipping boy Issayas the be-all and end-all for all of Eritrea’s misfortunes.)

            And related to that, why would he pick a fight with Djibouti?

            Of course this presumes you agree that (as pretty much the whole world has conceded),
            a) The Badme war was launched by Eritrea as a war of choice, and
            b) The main driver of Eritrea’s situation today is the disastrous outcome of the Badme war

            This is my Gollum theory. And just for you Saay, I have enclosed this nice picture of Issayas (sorry Gollum) falling into the all-consuming lava while focused on the One Ring To Bind Them All – in his case, regional hegemony through stranglehold over Ethiopia.

            Of course the corollary is that, having experienced invasion and occupation via the coast (at least twice), with the bulk of the invading army being conscripted natives of the coastal colony, it makes absolute sense for any Ethiopian government to heed the lesson of history and do what it thinks it needs to do to secure itself. This is a perennial interest. There is nothing invisible, unreasonable, insidious or illogical about it. Sure, it can be terribly executed, but denying this need is there won’t make it go away.

            That is why I say that, irrespective of a border, the logic of geography is such that ANY Eritrean government will be sorely tempted to leverage the coast to control the hinterland, and ANY Ethiopian government will want to leverage the hinterland to control the coast. Even after demonizing Haile Sellasie, and defeating the Derg, and lionizing ghedli, EPRDF today finds itself in exactly the same boat.

            “Please also note that you are admitting that Ethiopia’s sole interest was and is access to the sea.” I am? Where did you get that? Read the foregoing carefully. Ethiopia has learned that it can prosper by minimizing any meaningful interaction with Eritrea – thank you very much. One can say Eritrea has in effect played Issayas’ “almost” ultimate fantasy – denied Ethiopia any access to the Eritrean coast. (I say “almost” because he can’t get the other countries of the Horn to play along – thus he attacks Djibouti, he buddies up to an al-qaeda franchise in Somalia, he sticks his finger in the eye of the Sudan – both North and South).

            So Saay, let me ask you a tough question – since you are an analytical person – based on the evidence so far, how do YOU think Issayas’s strategy worked out?

            Now if you ask ME personally, I see nothing to gloat or be happy about. No schadenfreude in me. I am actually terribly saddened that brothers are locked into a systemic arrangement primed for perennial conflict. I feel Eritrea’s current ongoing depopulation will have very serious – and currently unforeseen – repercussions 10, 20, 30 years down the road on Eritrea and Ethiopia as well. If you notice the pattern of my posts, I don’t delve into the legitimacy of the ghedli, re-litigate history etc. I am focused on the future and offer my perspectives in what I think would be best for both Eritreans and Ethiopians.

            Now, as far as the “emotional manipulations that our poor and sentimenal
            Ethiophiles fall for every single time”… well, I guess you piling on
            insults will sure make them see sense …. Oh boy, you’re winning them
            over, one put down at a time.

            You might want them to perennially feel guilty about being hoodwunk (yes I made up that word) by “Ethiopia”. But I think they are smart enough to individually judge for themselves, the interests of a state, the policies of a specific government and their bonds with a community.

            And – if they had a good deal, or a raw deal.

            amde

          • Dawit

            Dear Saay,

            Thanks for your attempt to fixr what appears to you is broken .

            Ethiopia rendered the bilateral agreement null and void when Italy invaded the rest of Ethiopia. In 1889 the treaty of Wuchale was signed. However, starting 1935 Italy started its expansion deep into Ethiopia despite the treaty. In 1936 ,under the the dictator Benito Mussolini, the kingdom of Italy created an empire following the conquest of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalis land again despite the Wuchale treaty.

            “The land referred to as Eritrea is not peopled by Abyssinians, they are Adals, Bejas, and Tigres. Abysinnia will defend her territories but it will not fight for foreign lands of which Eritrea is to my knowledge.”

            The above statement of Emperor Minelik does not include the Afar region including Asab.

          • Jo

            Dawit & Amde,

            Following your logic, why didn’t the Ethiopians claim Somalia, Sudan, Kenya or Djibouti? Ethiopia shares longer stretches of borders with some of those nations. The people across those borders share religious similarities and common traditions like those on the border of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Do you think the relationship of the people on the Ogaden side is any less than the relationship of the people on the highlands in the north? Why do you think then Ethiopians respect those borders and try to pretend as if the people of those nations have no commonalities and they are distinct societies but always try to make it as if Eritreans are related to Ethiopians? Don’t you think they are seduced by the proximity of the Red Sea (particularly to the regions of the ruling classes of Ethiopia) and they are creating an illusion of brotherhood to satisfy their insatiable appetite of hegemony? Do you think if Ethiopia had a sea outlet, Ethiopians would have longed for the brotherhood of Eritreans with the same tenacity they are showing now? So, don’t you think It was not Eritreans but Ethiopians that waged and are waging a war to claim what is not theirs?

            As for the why didn’t Eritreans waged a war against the Italians but the Ethiopians, notwithstanding that there were rebels here and there, for a certain society to rise and wage a war of resistance against a certain system, i think, that societies’ threshold of tolerance has to be broken. Was it broken during the Italian rule or not is open for debate, or may be it was and the Italians were better than the Ethiopians in squashing the rebellion and it didn’t succeed until after the Ethiopians took over. Or, may be, when “Janhoi” broke the ribbon, that was the last straw, that did it; gave birth to the events that followed for generation despite the efforts of Ethiopia’s different governments but recurrent policies to quell it.

            Once the desire of people to be free and independent is triggered, no telling on how or when is triggered, it is unstoppable. As it is the most powerful force in the world that renders the argument of alliances (traditional enemies or not) mute. Those alliances may stretch or compress the time it takes but the end result is inevitable; Freedom At Last.

            Jo

            P.S. Saleh has explained it eloquently in his last few postings, and it is beyond me why people are not getting it.

          • Amde

            Mr. Jo,

            Talk of something going way above your head.

            You didn’t read what I wrote did you? Did you even try?

            amde

      • Jo

        Hey Saleh,

        It seems to me Hayat likes to play “Hilmi derho” ( catch 22) of sorts, but if you know any other name for it I would be glad to be enlightened. After reading your reply to her and the others about gedli, I could only wonder how beautiful it would have been to watch you and others debate in an open air venue like the Mall in University of Asmara, Meda Ertra, or Mercato in Asmara bella in person? Your reply was simple, yet elegant. If any one wants to get hung up on it, it is going to be as if chewing on rubber.

        Again, my hut is off for you!! and the injection of “alweledem” was brilliant. :)!!

        Jo

    • Haile Zeru

      Hayat, you said:
      “Eritrea had much bigger political and legal standing to claim its statehood from Italy or British than from Ethiopia.”
      One of the longest resistance in the present Eritrea was conducted by a SAHO leader and his small army. The resistance against the italians went on for 20 plus years. He died of natural death in the bushes. Or at least the italians that were following his movements wrote he died in the bushes, he was never captured. At the moment I do not remember the title of the book that details the story. It was written by the late Abba ISAK, in Tigrigna. He (Abba Isak) collected the details from the Diaries of the Italian Governor of Eritrea at that time. Abba Isak is from Halai (please read the H, like in Hagos). He knew very well the resistance of Bahta Hagos. But when he found the detailes of the Diaries he uncoverd a totally different story. Infact the Italian Governor was amazed at the bravery and capabilities of the SAHO leader. Since you are asking questions it is also good to look for the answers. One of the questions you should ask is Why the Islands fo NAQRA are famous in Eritrean stories. There is a lot to tell about that. TheEritrean history is not written because of successive regimes that happen to de-humanize and vilify eritreans, that is including PFDJ.
      Your statement in the form of a question could have been more interesting than as an statement of fact. I am trying to answer it as if it is a question.
      I like to add that the Eritrean clans, tribes were fighting against Italians with swords, spears and knives while Italians had a fire power. The technological difference was the main factorfor their loss against the italians. You can add to that the lack of centralized system of governance and the demogaphics. All of the above statements need a book to analyze.

  • dude

    Peculiar, the once revolutionaries of HSI’s campuses now becoming the old guard…

    What has brought the question of ethnic rights to the forefront in Ethiopia is the desire for a co-equitable nation, a tacit admission by itself that there is a nation to be shared. Perhaps emanating from the diverse nature of the participation against European colonialism, call it Ethiopia’s very own ghedli. It would be naive to assume that Eritrea would not be at danger of disintegration should (for a lack of a better term) the Tegaru of Eritrea find themselves marginalized or should the minority groups experience an extended stay of normalization. Wouldn’t this question have spilled into Eritrea had the political space not been totally occupied with that of independence? I have evolved to supporting Article 39 because it makes logical sense to me, we are lucky to have it. Africans should not be dying to preserve European borders. Some like to present it a political ploy by TPLF (because TPLF is bereft of the righteous ideals of Shabia to do the right thing?), be that as it may, where they take that position how can they expect anyone to buy into the monologues about the virtues of Eritrea’s ghedli and the validity of the cause with such double standards? To paraphrase Robert Greene, why not make partners of perceived adversaries?

    Amde, my hats off to you, you have articulated all my idealistic thoughts in ways I could never have, you could be our very own YG. Serray, you are straight gangster.

    Why is it that every potentially articulate Ethiopian seems so cynical, we are not expecting you to change the global economic system or anything, we just want a few rockstars, jeez, is that so much to ask?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps84n8edbEs

    • dine

      he himself is responsible for what happened to the victims by holding them hostage and use them to make politics. there is a lot of evidence to prove it, like the one bbc documentary .

  • AMAN EL AMAN

    On the inappropriate use of categoriztion terms
    as romantics and de-rpmantics in an inappropriate time or period.
    part I
    First of all the ones categorized as de-romantics is misplaced and
    actually are the ones who are true romantics of Ghedli. The have
    only become and fell into that category because of and under the threat
    of woyane aggression and not truly from considerations for the people
    and history of the nation of Eritrea. To put the terms in their appropriate
    use woyane thereat against freedom and development of the the nation
    should be reversed and neutralized first to the appropriate status quo.
    But to do that under the threat of aggresion renders it useless analysis
    and categorization of the existing situation and future solutions because
    aggresion and threat can reverse loyality and priorities.
    part II
    Second

  • saay7

    Thanks Emma.

    All my “efforts are on the past then on the present and the future”? Hsebelu de’a. Our last debate was on democratic coup, and I don’t think we were debating Mengistu Neway:))

    saay

  • Kim Hanna

    Abinet,
    What a sharp shooter!!!!
    The answer for political or economic integration is a resounding no! NO! for the next 30-50 years.
    After you lose the shirt on your back after a bitter divorce, how can anyone with their right mind want to remarry as if nothing happened. Come on. For now let us both celebrate the same day as our independence day.
    I will vote for just be good neighbors.
    KH

    • Abinet

      I choose 1998 as our Independence year .30-50 years? Are you kidding me? Give it 10 more years Eritrea would fade away from our memory . The new generation , under age 35 , doesn’t even care about Eritrea . However, I still vote for economic cooperation based on mutual benefit .

  • Dawit

    Pic is worth a thousand Nakfa

    • Hawleke

      That is such a bad drawing. Tigray people have no artistic talent. Is that why they keep lifting Eritrean art in its all forms?

      • OnLooker

        The art (if it is to be called an art) has no esthetic value, but sends strong message thereby adding fuel to an ongoing debate between the two extremes-the Romantics (people who want to take us back to the 70s and 80s) and the De-romantics (people who want to bring us to the 21st C modern world).

  • Araya

    Well, I used to participate in Assena.com and I cleaned the
    house there. I smoked every Ethiopian lover hypocrite with a sliver bullet one
    after the other; including Amanual Eyasu; and my job was done there. I came to
    awate.com almost a year ago and I have a job to do here. Call me the true
    detective. You will be served nothing but the truth.

    Serray > Semere Andom
    • 6 hours ago

    Selamat. Semere,

    “……Even though the
    romantics think we are degrading the legacy of ghedli, in reality, by
    magnifying the excesses, by looking above and beyond the official version of
    what the rank and file have to endure, if we succeed, we are helping the future
    generation, a generation born and raised without the imported burden from
    ghedli, to appreciate the complete and true nature of what it took to bring
    this nation of ours into existence. By shading light to the atrocities our
    brothers and sister, the rank and file tegadelti, has to suffer on both ends
    (their leaders and ethiopian army), we give the next generation the true
    picture far more pervasive that the one sanctioned by shaebia rulers and the
    romantics….”

    Serray

    And the same person Serray here what he had said …

    “Tomorrow, all Shaebias, the real ones – those with balls,
    those who bear arms and fought the Dergi to the teeth, will die as it is human
    nature to live and die. We will be left
    with their legacy, the nation symbolizing their dearest and most enduring
    achievement. The next generation will
    build upon their sacrifices a better nation – if and only if the leaders of
    Shaebia and the nation let them. The
    president has made it clear that he wants to stay in power for the next three
    or four decades, that he wants to be a president-for-life. If that happens, Eritrea will become the
    things you people dread the most, another miserable African State – more or
    less what it is now. A nation whose
    young look outside the country for opportunity – the way it is exactly right
    now”

    Serray.

    P.S I held the date and other information he posted in case
    he denies it. I am challenging you serray. Did you see how fake you are.

    And here is a gift from Araya to hypocrites and flip flap
    Serray and all Gedli haters. Hirir bela ember Gedli Kinebir Eyu.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EinBkqno9P0

    • haile

      Great comedy…..ashhh

      Just a related information, the song writer mentioned by the announcer, Andit Okbay that provided the lyrics for the song (around 5min) has recently joined justice seeking Eritreans. He will be playing for March 8, 2014 Womens day in Leeds UK as part of smret ertrawyan ndhnet hager UK. Here is Andit before realizing how comical the the YPFDJ are…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ba4Riri3tk

    • Serray

      Saleh G.,

      You see, I always made a distinction between rank and file fighters and the leaders/enforcers. The little fart dug up a timely post of mine. (Note to semere andom, we have to come up with better name for these farts. Hitler youth is way faltering. The original were german kids in germany, this one doesn’t even go to eritrea for a vacation. I hope when iasaias’s liver finally explodes, it does so when these farts are visiting sawa. I can picture them wetting their pants).

      Araya,

      You got the quote, now make your point.

  • Nitricc

    Semere, you are one gutless indecisive good for nothing individual. You can not even call spade for what it is, spade. Do it once in your life. What a pathetic creature. You can’t have it both sides. And Please spare us from trying to impress us with your half backed wanna be philosopher takes. We have enough of those kinds starting from your job-less friend. Enough of galvanized and flashy vocabularies and tell us what exactly you are trying to say. Your coward philosopher; Serray told us with no shame; he doesn’t have to try fire to know a fire. Now, Semere, tell us what you are trying to say. By bad I meant to say philosopher Semere. Say it; Toothless.

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear Sal, I am now coming in parts…
    A little perspective here: You will agree with me a struggle of this nature (Eritrean armed struggle) must have had a grand end political purpose- I would phrase that purpose as making life better in Eritrea. Otherwise, there is no point to talk of. That purpose has to be visualized and locked with a laser-beam precision. Down the road, it follows, everything and anything you do must not endanger that vision, or else you would be contradicting yourself. Now…
    4.2. YG’s thesis is this*: It was a mistake for Eritreans to wage an armed struggle against Ethiopia; they should have joined their fellow Ethiopians to fight injustice…(that was one summary point from you)
    One way to address this point is through a cost-benefit analysis.
    -May be, it was a mistake because what it brought is not in line with the grand purpose; and the grand purpose might have been better pursued through non-armed ways (less costly, less irregularities) or by way of fighting injustices jointly with the Ethiopians (still less costly, less irregular).
    -May be, it could have been right, had it been done in a different way (non-elf, non-eplf, non pfdj way) which, in such cases, would have been possible to see a different result (also highly likely to be less costly, less irregular but resulting in a better outcome).
    -BUT I don’t want to restart in the 1960s. I want to start here and now, and recalculate my options.
    ————–
    *This is of course your understanding of Yg’s belief, and not necessarily Yg’s belief.

    • saay7

      Selamat Hayat:

      I am doing that thing cartoon characters do rubbing their eyes with their knuckles because they can’t quite believe their eyes.

      Ok, here we go. Sigh.

      4.2 Now, I really have to ask: Do you actually READ what he writes? What’s with all the mystification. Of course it is YG’s belief because he said it. He said it implicitly and explicitly (couldn’t Eritreans have fought for what they wanted while remaining part of Ethiopia?)

      Now to your bullets:

      – The non-armed way was tried. For 10 years. That is what that guy YG doesn’t appear to know*, Nawud’s organization, Eritrean Liberation Movement (Mahber Showate/Haraka) did for 10 long years. In the end, even the ELM admitted that peaceful resistance had run its course and it was time for armed struggle.

      — The it-should-have-been-done-differently is something EVERYBODY agrees with. Not just now, but then, in real time: there were many reform movements in Eritrea making the point that it should be done differently.

      Nobody really wants to discuss the 60s. We keep getting dragged into it because we are constantly told that we can’t understand 2014 unless we understand the 60s, remember?

      saay

      * I am not overstating this or picking on YG. To me, not knowing Nawud and presenting yourself as an expert on Eritrean history is the same as not knowing Benjamin Franklin and writing American history.

      • ethiopia

        saay
        would u mind telling me ur thought about identity ? i think the argument is all about identity between u and tigrai.

        • saay7

          Sure Ethiopia:

          Identity (n): something that people inherited and brag endlessly bout although their membership in the collective is often involuntary and they had no contribution to the alleged greatness of the collective is minimal or non-existent. Examples of empty boasts: I am proud of my name. I am proud of my nationality. I am proud of my region. I am proud of my religion. I am proud of my country.

          From the saay dictionary. Copyright pending.

          saay

          • ethiopia

            thanks, that is exactly what i think.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Hey Saay,

        “not knowing Nawud and presenting yourself as an expert on Eritrean history is the same as not knowing Benjamin Franklin and writing American history.” This is a good “bumper sticker quote” for those who seem to know history but in reality do not. You are indefatigable debater, though your all efforts are on the past than on the present and the future. That always gives me cringe (pain) to my stomach, just to share my feeling.

        Amanuel Hidrat

      • Hayat Adem

        I have read every single of them. I was trying to be cautious because he sometimes used stronger intonation than yours (he never saw it as an innocent mistake). He at times implied that it was a designed defect.

      • Hayat Adem

        Dear Sal, I was enjoying your exchange with Amde. You got Emma’s vote, mine goes to Amde. I am finding a new love from another land. Sal, i don’t want you to retire from history before we conclude your executive summary points. Stay put brother.
        Now some questions from your comments above:
        1) Don’t you think you need to lay down a more widely recognized and accepted proof than mentioning one person/organization (Nawud/ELM) to support your claim that non-armed way was tried enough and didn’t work?
        2) And what is the acceptable time cut to claim you gave enough effort for non-violent ways of redressing injustices? You said 10 years. Why 10 years? What intensity and quantity of efforts need to be advanced in those 10 yrs before you call it enough is enough? What is your justification to say ample chance was given to the non-violent way just because one prominent personality and his (one) party tried it and failed? Why do you say 10 yrs while in fact it was in 1952 Eritrea was federated, and ELM started its militant activities in 1958 (only 6 years) until it was put out of action 3/4 yrs later?
        3) How do you weigh the costs and benefits when you compare your 10 yrs time of nonviolent struggle against the 30yrs of armed struggle?
        4) Why are you counting the Federation time as a transitioning time towards full independence? Otherwise, your claim that there was non-armed ways tried for 10 years prior the start of the armed struggle has no time period on which to land. I view the federation time was not set as a temporary stay in anticipation to transition it towards independence. If so, we can not say there was 10 year time peaceful attempt prior the the start of the armed struggle. Reminder: the burial tomb for the Federation reads 1952-1962 and the armed struggle was MAINLY in reaction to Hailessilassie continuous encroachment on the federal arrangement that calumniated with abolishing it altogether.

        • saay7

          Selamat Hayat: (Emma go for a stroll; these questions are so un-serious I think I will have to answer them with tongue firmly in cheek):

          1 and 2: Yes, one person, all by himself, was organizing Eritreans in cells of 7 (thus, Mahber Showate.) Nobody was interested in what he was doing all by his lonesome self and that’s why there were no student demonstrations, or strikes or civil disobedience of any kind in Eritrea. All the people he attempted to organize immediately went to Ethiopian authorities to tell him and they were immediately rewarded for their loyalty to the motherland by the police chief, Tedla Oqbit. While they were enjoying their Jelate, the police chief showed them film reels of other uncivilized countries where police chiefs run electrodes in the testes of dissident and torture them but Emama Ethiopia is so civilized she loves her friends and foes and they lived happily ever after. Nawud himself later on said what a waste those 10 years were and he turned himself in to authorities who rewarded him with governorship of the State of Wollo.

          3. The costs and benefits of the 10 years of non-violent struggle were significantly better than the wasteful 30 years of armed struggle. In those 10 years, the 1950s, were Eritrea’s golden years. The struggle was 30 years because Eritreans are slow (gobye) and the Ethiopian authorities had continuously offered them attractive opportunities such as a referendum and they constantly expressed their sorrow at the loss of North Ethiopian lives and properties. Ethopians asked their Soviet Bloc allies to mediate the conflict, and the Soviet Bloc came with a Marshall Plan to create jobs for Eritreans. Some skeptics scoffed at the type of jobs the Soviet Bloc created–grave diggers, auto salvage business–but this was another case of Eritreans turning down the olive branch. “What olive branch?” they scoffed, “we prefer the olive branch that adorns our flag.” Stubborn people,

          4. I don’t know why I am doing that. The Eritreans heard a rumor (completely unverified!) that the Ethiopians were using the Federation period to consolidate their annexation and, hotheaded as they are (probably the Sicilian influence), they just jumped the gun and started shooting aimlessly.

          saay

          • Hayat Adem

            Sal,
            No amount of penning acrobatics can make these questions “un-serious”. Remember: these are all points of your own selection to show gaps in Yg’s thinking. And my questions are all pointers to the REVERSE gaps you are exhibiting. On the other hand, I have no choice but respect your choice of placing your tongue anywhere you like it to be as long as it remains attached to your body:)
            Look how you look like so un-serious in your answers of 1&2. In my world, we can only believe enough chance was given for a peaceful way only when there was a collective effort and mobilization that characterizes the entire nation in that endeavor as was witnessed in the armed struggle. Something like the independence struggle that happened in India, or in South Africa or the black rights movement that happened in the US. Did you see a peaceful effort of anything to that level in Eritrea?

  • saay7

    Selamat iTegadalai Semere:

    First of all, anta Semere, ምስይጣን ዘይትሓድጎ (thanks Haile The Great: I am already using demonize in Tinglish;) Recall that “Ghedli Romantic” is a phrase invented and/or popularized by YG. We accepted it “ironically” because those of us “Ghedli Realists” are very realistic about Ghedli. We don’t romanticize it the way the PFDJ/YPFDJ does; but we don’t blacken it the way the…um…the other side does.

    Now, let’s take your Michele Bachman analogy. You are trying to make the point that you cannot define a country, a belief-system by its extremists. But here’s why your analogy does not hold. Michelle Bachman is a fringe of American politics. What if she ran for president on the platform that made her famous and then she ran away with the election and she was elected president in a landslide, would we then be able to say that her message resonates with the American people? That’s what we have here: YG is the undisputed proponent of the “Tegagiyom agagiyomna” school of thought which is, if you are really looking at it objectively, “the Andnet party was right and everybody else was wrong” school of thought. Since that is a long label, “neo andnet” would be a fine substitute.

    The Neo-Andnet part of YG’s argument is not a side-show, it is not an after-thought: it is at the core of all his arguments. You can’t surgically remove it and have anything of substance left: all you have then is a Ghedli-critic and…well, join the crowd. Everybody, including Tegadelti, are Ghedli-critics. That’s to say, they, we are Ghedli-realists: we see it as something terrible but necessary to fight back something that was terrible but unnecessary (Ethiopia’s forceful occupation of Eritrea.)

    saay

    saay

  • Serray

    Selamat. Semere,

    Nice summary. If I were to add one thing, it is this; there is a call for moderation built-in in the de-romantics view; a call for the nation to breath. Even though the romantics think we are degrading the legacy of ghedli, in reality, by magnifying the excesses, by looking above and beyond the official version of what the rank and file have to endure, if we succeed, we are helping the future generation, a generation born and raised without the imported burden from ghedli, to appreciate the complete and true nature of what it took to bring this nation of ours into existence. By shading light to the atrocities our brothers and sister, the rank and file tegadelti, has to suffer on both ends (their leaders and ethiopian army), we give the next generation the true picture far more pervasive that the one sanctioned by shaebia rulers and the romantics.

    Another fallacy shaebia rulers tell about ghedli is the fifty six thousand figure. True to their nature of looking at us as nothing more than collateral damage, they never even make an attempt to quantify the civilian death toll. The parasitical organization that goes to great extent to know how much money each diaspora makes, they repeat the fifty six thousand figure every year when they get together for a candle light vigil.

    The romantics believe that the sacrifices paid for it makes Eritrea precious but they omit the death of literally millions of eritreans that ghedli consumed. By shading light to the true cost of ghedli on both the rank and file and the population at large, we are actually making the point for them but since they are in love with the propaganda, they take giving them the true picture as blasphemous. Lucky for us, the young have began to see the real cost because shaebia were nice enough to recreate medda in asmera.

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear Sal,
    (Warning: by design this piece is full of wallowing –as Saleh-WLC would say- (haTewKetew) and might be boring for many of you.)
    4.1. On the originality
    Philosophically speaking, no idea has ever been new. All ideas can be traced back endlessly or until you hit “mejemrta qal nebere”. This quote is not new or my origination. I heard it today from Saleh-WLC (With Lenin Cap- even caps have a fading history of originality). And we don’t know how he was provoked to remember it today but we can trace the phrase down to the very Book. And of course, from there beyond you don’t have any streamlining of history, no coordinates of time and space for any linear traceability. There was one ‘crazy’ student I know who happened to intercept a passing football and asked the guy he kicked it where he received it from …and futilely tried to trace it back to the original kicker. Functionally speaking, every idea assumes some level of newness and originality at every transaction. No idea remains exactly the same as it passes from owner to owner. It adds up new applicability, some depth, some level of adaptability, some level of situationalization, some level of localization…etc. So the argument of originality is absurd 1) because it has never been there and 2) because it has always been there, and 3) Yg has never claimed any recognition for originality. In fact his thoughts are centered at nagging us to abandon our search of new originality in favor of our old identities. A person who argues against new identities can never claim originality for the reason that his core principles are anchored in older originality.
    Longer Summary: there could be origination of thoughts and no one would be able to frame it in a specific time and space but there IS or there is NO originality; and regardless of that Yg has never claimed so.
    Shorter Summary: you are right his thoughts may not be original.

  • Hayat Adem

    This will help me watch for my “de-romantic” excesses. Thanks.

    • Horizon

      Gedli is the wrong
      medicine given to the wrong patient (rather to a healthy person); and what we
      see today in Eritrea is its side effects. It is unfortunate that some Eritrean
      elites do not want to cure the patient with some other medicine, and they insist
      that the fault does not lie with the medicine or the doctor, but with the
      patient.

  • Amde

    Well put. Thank you.
    amde

  • Hayat Adem

    Merhaba Araya Shikor,

    Is there anything like 3-D illusion thing? 1) When did I tell you I missed Kiros Alemyao? 2) Since when has missing the late great Artist Kiros become a sin? 3) When are you to graduate from this “gotcha” game and focus on the discussion points?
    Haftikha Hayat

    • Ermias

      Hayat, just to help you get your attention in the right places:

      Araya = S Michael = Hagos = Nitrcc.

      You don’t have to believe me, but if for nothing else, I am good for one thing: recognizing patterns and trends and making logical conclusions. Just go back and read a few posts by each nickname. It won’t take you long before you draw your conclusion.

      • Hayat Adem

        Noted.

  • saay7

    Hey Emma:

    I already made the point that the issue of dominance vs fear of domination is real in Eritrea. I also made the point that this is not unique to Eritrea– and this is the stuff that drives me crazy about Eritrean politicians because they always present problems as uniquely Eritrean when they are common place, run-of-the-mill problems. And this is why I am not a politician: lock me with a bunch of politicians and my hand would slowly reach for the razor and a vein on my wrist. So, no, this is not false modesty: it is part of the “a man’s gotta know his limitations” rules I try to be guided by.

    Furthermore, the multiple of urgent workshops, seminars, sessions, conferences, congresses that are held to presumably bridge this gap between the various social groups are fuitle and unnecessary. They are futile because they are all held in the Diaspora where you don’t exactly have an Eritrean microcosm. They are unnecessary because that is not what is needed now. What is needed now is a social movement to remove Isaias Afwerki. Now, part of the reason that I would make for a terrible politician is because I do not buy all the conventional wisdom about how to build an effective social movement to remove Isaias Afwerki. I do NOT consider transparency, diversity, participation to be the most important factors. I believe leadership, clarity/simplicity of the goal, team-building, trust, competence to be the most important factors.

    We have gone through 14 (14!) years of this futility. At some point, you have come to the conclusion that the flaw is not a bug, but a feature. The system (the opposition coalition) as currently organized is designed to fail. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, you can do to salvage it. Its illness is terminal. You can have it camatose for years, or you can disconnect the oxygen tubes and let it die a merciful death and start again.

    saay

  • Hayat Adem

    Emma,
    You completely misunderstood. No body is questioning that. Yes, Eritrea is independent and sovereign. Now make this reality your starting point and move on. No body is interested for unity or federation right now. It is voted in the referendum and legalized. Eritrea’s political clock as independent state starts 1991-1993. Ethiopians are settled with that reality. That doesn’t mean no two independent countries can ponder some level of integration and synergy to maximize their advantages. You are thinking in the mode of pre-1993 (and we plenty of our folks who are stuck there), as if Eritrea is yet not free and independent to decide its fate as independent nation. My simplified example is, once you are an independent and free person, that means you are also free and independent to pursuit any kind of relationships with anyone you think is to your best interest.

    • Araya

      Hayat; every time you open your mouth, you sound ridicules. It
      is high time you forget this nonsense and look after your “7 years old sister”
      just brotherly advice. No one needs to work with your weyane. Eritrea is free
      and will stay that way. If it is not enough that you are devious to the core,
      now you are trying to shove your filthy weyane in to us. No thanks. I know you
      miss Kiros Alemayo. wow

  • Semere Andom

    When we debate Ghedli, it is important that we delineate with clarity the not so fine line of the Cause, the Courage, the Process and the outcome, lest we get confused by the PFDJ style insult from most romantics against the so called de-romantics. The de-romantics have their radical elements like any school of thought. But to take those radicals, those who questions the very reason the Ghedli was waged to begin with and lump them with those who question, the process that was riddled with crimes against innocent Eritreans, the disastrous outcome it has ushered, and the breeding ground of punks that it was, the pain that was endured to incubate and propel hooligans, cowards and opportunists to the helm of power, is akin to saying the USA is anti-Islam because of the diatribes of Michele Bachmann. Or to say USA is a dictatorship because it attacked Iraq to defend itself in the wake of a terrorist attack without UN mandate.
    Another Great Awatisa, Serray once told Haile that the de-romantics are trying to prevent the romantics from making Ghedli a religion. I disagree with Serray, I am for freedom of religion and I will support them to build their worship place and I can even donate some Ghedli artifacts. The romantics are a hodge-podge of PFDJ supporters and democracy and justice seekers, with their spiritual leaders among the stellar justice seekers and my fear is that after the collapse of PFDJ they can have new allegiance and go after the de-romantics in the pretext of purifying the sacred name of the Ghedli. But I find solace in the fact that some of the spiritual leaders are logical and high caliber and their thought flow were facts flow, they change their minds when the facts change. We have seen the embryonic shift from Ghedli romantics to Ghedli-realist. And “wogeg ms bele” we may be surprisedJ

    The causes that sparked our Ghedli was just and it was not started to change our Habesha identity to some alien identity as some radicals in the de-romantics have shamelessly said.
    The heroic sacrifices launched by our people is mind boggling and those of us who did not participate have deep respect to that angle of the process, because they are our brothers and sisters and we know their stories, for many they were their fathers and because we question the process and we abhor their suffering in the name of Ghedli does not make the de-romantics arm-chair historians, know nothing and hell bent to defame it, how can any person do that to his own family, unless of course you are one of those incubated in the crucible of Ghedli. Most de-romantics I know have been steeped in the history of their nation and are intimate with the sacrifices in in the personal level.
    But the process was disastrous, fraught with fraud and crimes against the Eritrean person, even at times compromising the very cause. It was shameful even to fathom. These differences is not hard to distinguish. And the romantics know it in their bone, many of them are privy to it, but they just want to be in the good side of most Eritreans, who due to the heavy price they have invested in Ghedli sadly bury their heads in the sand and worship the Ghedli. And just because overwhelming majority of Eritreans are romantics, it does not mean they are have the truth. Neither the majority (romantics) nor the minority (de-romantic) have a default dominion over truth. It is the exploration of the process and what it has produced under the microscope and up for appraisal and not the fundamental justness of the causes.

  • AMAN EL AMAN

    On the issue that whether Federal arrangement is dissolved or abbrogated
    by the Eritrean parliamentarians or by HSI order under duress ?
    In this discussion I am inclined to believe that the federation is abbrogated
    and the parliament dissolved by force under the order of HSI. Some of
    the reasons my conclusion are :
    1- This hasty decision came right after the 1960 coup against the king and
    raised the level of panic that HSI was always fearful of administering two
    systems in the country……….so he took the opportunity to quash the Federal
    government and centralize/ consolidate power in his hands against the advise
    of UN, US and UK as guarrantors.
    2- The second reason is the post abbrogation power sharing and assignment
    of officials to official posts of authority in which clearly the prime minister under
    the king (HSI) should have gone to the Eritrean TEDLA BAIRU and the kingship
    remains in HSI hands. This post federal allocation of administrative posts clearly
    talks that it was a forced abbrogation against the eritrean parliamentarians….
    (will continue…)

    • Haile Zeru

      The accounts that I have are that the Ethiopian representative of the King tried several times to force a dissolution vote by the Eritrean parliament and he failed. At the end he dclared the Eritrean parliament dissolved himself and federation terminated. Mind you, it was not the Eritrean prime minister to declare that. It was the King’s Representative.To add more to it the last sentence was something like (…and nothing can be done about it). Nothing can be done about the abrogation of the federation and dissolution of the Eritrean parliament.
      YG, Hayat and others are going against these facts. They are using Tekeste Negash as if he is an independent observer. But you do not need to be a historian to see that Tekeste Negash accounts are more of propaganda than historical accounts. Just read the paragraph written by Tekeste Negash that YG quoted in his last article in Awate.
      The other thing for which I dispise YG is that he tries to make Gedli’s events antecedent to this event. No matter how bad Gedli was/is it cannot be the reason of the Eritrean struggle. Gedli is the effect of HS and his reperesentative actions.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Hi Saay,

    Forget to take yourself as apolitical (you always state that you are not politician). Who is more politician than you who has a good grip on history and philosophy, be it ideological or non-ideological, based on concepts and precepts to dictate his argument. Isn’t it what you are doing? Come on Sal, even if you claim that you are not politician, it doesn’t exempt you from being politician both in appearance and essence. By the way in reality you are enjoying it.

    But, let me evolve our debate to the next stage by starting from the basic of our socio-politics. I think from your last rebuttal comment, we agreed on the basic-make up of our society, that is, as multi-cultural and multi-faith society. Good to start with. Though you try to minimize the mentality of “domination” by the majority and the “fear” of the minorities as “:tendency”, at least you agree on its existence. Myself I believe the specter of group domination is not a recessive political trait. It is a dominant political trait playing at the center of our politics. So whether you see it as “tendency” or I see it as “active on play” we have to deal with it. Am I right Sal?

    The issue of “dominance” and Issue of “fear” can’t be dealt with a platitudinal approach or bromidic sermons to relegate them to the future. Because Dominance and fear are the source of our social mistrust. I want you to dispel your reserved and potential ideas as how we should tackle and mitigate the mistrusts that clogged the Eritrean politics in the diaspora. Instead of arguing with this nonsense of ghedli haters who aren’t forward looking guys, let us talk about the real sociopolitical problems and how Eritrea of tomorrow will be an equitable Eritrea that hold its parts in balance to assure our coexistence. So far they are really successful in dragging and diverting us from the real issue of our time.

    If you and like you retreat from engaging politics – working for a political venture towards searching and finding an equitable Eritrea then who does? To comment to any political product is easy but to produce a political product towards the resolution of Eritrean politics is difficult and cumbersome. History summons and challenges for intellectuals of your caliber seriously and authentically.

    The current regime either by its own weight or by the resistance force in tandem with the geopolitical actors of our region will sooner or later be removed. But the alien political culture and the disintegrated Eritrean politics will stay there waiting for us (especially the young generation) to sort them out. If ideas pertinent to its solution doesn’t float here and there and public didn’t start to debate on them now, then when? I don’t like this platitudinal approach to our political problems. Talk about an equitable Eritrea and how we will design its institutional structure that gives assurance to us, and yes just that. Go for it, and surely that is a worthy political venture – a venture for all political heavy weights, that history is calling upon them. What do you think Sal? Don’t say the usual retort “I am not a politician” as an escaping tactic from the challenge.

    Regards,
    Amanuel Hidrat

    • Dawit

      Aman,

      In the strict sense of the word, Sal is not a politician. He is not seeking any political position in a government or political party in which personal political opinions directly influence policy and decision making. So, what is he, if he is not a politician?
      a) A watchdog.
      b) A political activist
      c) A bystander ( he is one of the vocal minority)
      d) Journalist
      e) An Ideologue
      f) non-of the above

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Merhaba Dawit,

        In my book, as far as one is an astute political debater he is a politician. Because he is influencing the public at large than to one who does to his group of his association (such as party or government officials as you specified it). If Sal challenges the GoE policies and to the political organizations in the opposition camp in regard their political platforms, and if by virtue of his choice didn’t have a party, it doesn’t preclude him from being politician. Sal is a politician by all account in the way he is equipped, in the way he delivers them, and in the power of influence he is endowed.. The man has full flavor to politics and you can’t dilute the taste he has on it. You can’t define politics only by being a member of one party with the possibility to run for an office. Politics is the art of influence and compromise. Don’t you see him when he is playing the hard ball virtually in every issue.

        Amanuel Hidrat

        • Dawit

          Selam Aman,

          Now, you sound like saying “ፈቲኺ ጸሊእኺ ኣነየ ኣዴኺ”. Sal has already said he is not a politician. So, should we believe you or him?

          He is a very very skillful debater. I have followed him debating many of you.and I noticed that, unlike many of his debtors, he knows what he says and says what he knows. If ideas were profitable political goods, Sal would make a killing. Many of those who debate him leave a great deal of holes in their argument. It’s these holes that Sal skillfully capitalize on in order to form rebuttal and push through counter arguments. What he does is take the other side’s argument and show that it does not make sense by constructing a logical counter argument. It is this part which is an enjoyable aspect of the debate by the way.

          Though both Sal and his opponents play the ball very well, they sometimes regress and attack the player(s) to snatch the ball and score political goals. One way of winning a debate, if one is not a skillful debtor, is to back up ones claims with facts. Use references. Sal seems well read, and well-versed about Eritrean recent history, and politics. If any one wants to avoid walking all over the map and avoid political land mines, one has to do his/her home-work before coming to debate: at a minimum one has to read and understand what Sal has read. For example, read and understand YG real good and refer Eritean history, and political organizations’ programs and charters to have a good understanding the opponent.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hey Dawit,

            For now, I couldn’t read the statement in the enclosed quote, which is possibly tigrigna. I will come later to it, this evening if it needs a response. But your whole description as to his ability to debate, his veracity of knowledge, his power of conveying and selling his product, and his patience (though he described himself otherwise) is impeccable. That is why precisely I call him as an astute politician. One thing you should agree with me is, debating is about winning by convincing the spectators and listeners. Not about the truth strictly. It is about going into the myth of listeners to convert them and make them believe your belief. It is not about truth seeking. A good debater knows how to protect his flaws, a skill which no ordinary people could possess it. Look how YG embedded his argument. It isn’t on factual, it isn’t realistic, it isn’t pragmatic, but people loves him on his eloquence and already some took him as a truth teller. You could only test him in real live debate where listeners could challenge him in a real world face to face where you could read his facial reaction when challenged. I could guarantee you he will go empty hand. In that regard Saay would run with a victory lap.

            That being said, Saay like any human beings has his own flaws on reading the reality of our politics and his prescription to it. Because, he is not in the table with the actors to read the contesting sides of our politics that could play right in front of him. You know that, reading from inside of the table and reading from outside of the table (second hand) is different thing and surely will make you to come with different perspectives. Right Dawitom? It is this and other things that I was pushing Saay to be proactive than reactive to the Eritrean political fallout. I know Saay is capable to debate outside the real table and I sincerely believe he could bring impact also from inside of the table. Sal as skillful as he is, he also knows how to escape from the kitchen of our politics.

            Regards.
            Amanuel Hidrat

    • Beyan Negash

      I’d rather dwell on the future dreams of Eritrea than the political history of the past, and Amanuel I find your relentless attempt to shift the conversation to that end very inspiring. Thomas Jefferson said it succinctly: “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” For all its worth, consider the following conversation John Adams & Thomas
      Jefferson, almost 200 years ago, had, which has an eerie resemblance to what Eritrea is going through today.

      “Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both. We are destined to be a barrier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism. Old Europe will have to lean on our shoulders, and to hobble along by our side, under the monkish trammels of priests and kings, as she can. What a Colossus shall we be when the Southern continent comes up to our mark! What a stand will it secure as a ralliance for the reason & freedom of the globe! I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. So good night. I will dream on, always fancying that Mrs Adams and yourself are by my side marking the progress and the obliquities of ages and countries.” -Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, Monticello, 1 August 1816

      Adams replied, “May we be ‘a barrier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism’! ‘What a colossus shall we be’! But will it not be of brass, iron and clay? Your taste is judicious in liking better the dreams of the future than the history of the past. Upon this principle I prophesy that you and I shall soon meet and be better friends than ever.”

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Merhaba Beyan,

        Thank you for sharing words of wisdom of Thomas Jefferson “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” Those who live on talking of the past will live for ever in the past, because they don’t have anything to offer for the present and the future. That is how they are. The future minds always start from the reality and tries to work on and grab what the future holds in its store. The future is dictated by the realist and dreamers of the future.

        So Beyan good to see you back, don’t stop dropping some wisdom that deter the inertia of the past.

        Amanuel Hidrat

  • haile

    Hello Awatistas,

    Since Ghedli is fighting back from various threads, let’s open a new front front here. I think that Ghedli per se is best thing after slice of bread that has happened to Eritreans. It path threaded in the process was indeed atrocious and exacted huge cost of all sorts. On the plus side, Ghedli was a unifying cause for the “masses” (not so the elites). It helped for different segments of our society mingle with each other. It gave us a national sense of purpose, a national radio to tune into, a national art in music, paintings, theater & drama. It gave us a national footwear outfit (shida), a national holidays, collective experiences, collective endeavors and collective success stories.

    What Ghedli missed was a checks and balances mechanism, accountability, oversight…and the way it constituted these deformities as post-independence traits of the attempted and failed nation building process, it gave birth to brutal dictatorship. During Ghedli itself, it is hard to completely oppose these harmful traits because the movement needed to defend itself from internal sabotage and covert external forays. The problem was the continuation of such a system long after Ghedli has expired its remit.

    Those who bank on the brutality argument to defame Ghedli need to clarify whether they truly believe the “whole” of Ghedli was devoid of humanity or that they are referring to the instrumentation of brutal acts within the security sphere of Ghedli. I think it is the latter. Ghedli didn’t engage in mass killings of civilians, mass rape, looting of villages and burning them down… I can cite several rebel movements in many parts of Africa that would be held to those charges. On the contrary, Ghedli was disciplined, cultured and people driven enterprise of social movement. Yet we failed in the “checks and balances” aspect that proved disastrous and created the current quagmire.

    IA and few of his stooges took the maximum advantage of that and are running amok totally unrestrained. Today, its cult worshipers consider asking the reason why many youth and children are perishing to be “politics”. He shielded himself with low IQ ignorant individuals who would need to be overridden and pushed aside if remedial action is to be taken. Blaming Ghedli is premature, because we still need to study Ghedli scientifically and in great detail. And, this would most be the job of the next generation. The job for the current generation is to save the main achievement of it which is independent Eritrea and rid her of the cancer that is eating her away.

    Regards

    • Hayat Adem

      Haile (the Great),
      I have the navigator’s principle when it comes to Eritrea and regarding how much of its past should shape its future. As you all know the navigator starts from where you are to where you want to go. If you deviated a bit or big time, the navigator is not interested in nagging you “why did you do that?” or sorts. It says: “recalculating” and starts showing the way (not from the past) exactly from where you are. You can deviate for 100th or nth time, and all the help you get without any reference to your past mistakes is based on “recalculation”. Good or bad, ghedli and its results are matters of an accomplished fact. Glorifying and Romanticizing ghedli with all its lies and excesses would never help bring a peaceful and business-minded Eritrea. A measured amount of De-romanticizing without much dwelling might help in not repeating some of the big mistakes. But the real work is on leading Eritrea to a bright future which nobody seems to focus. Even removing IA or/and his regime is just a small step towards the huge endeavor to follow on removing poverty and backwardness from the face of Eritrea. All the list you gave as a positive contribution of the ghedli are not an end by themselves. You don’t be a country just have a different flag. You happen to have a different flag because you are a country. You don’t launch an armed struggle because you want to construct your own identity. You may do so IF you are denied the freedom to preserve your identity. But the historical justification for the armed struggle keeps on changing its central mark from that of fighting injustices to the scary stretch of “we don’t stop to run away from Ethiopia”. That kind of mind-set of physical drifting among prominent thinkers such as the duo friends makes it scary for many of us. It is simple- clear off the historical camouflages. Forget history for now and focus on two factors: 1) make the right environment in Eritrea for peace and economic cooperation in the region in general, with Ethiopia in particular. 2) Respect the voice and votes of Eritreans (each and everyone) with matters of Eritrean political independence or any form of integration with Ethiopia.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Hayat,

        Are you kidding? You want votes from us to determine the “Eritrean political independence” when indeed, Eritrea is already a sovereign state? I have never heard such ridiculous suggestion. It is just a contempt to the Eritrean people to the extent of exploiting our internal differences. To your surprise on the issue of protecting Eritrean sovereignty we stood firm together. In fact that is the only one that united us. So don’t sweat on that, it is a concluded issue. Regarding mutual economic relations, you don’t need votes, it is a matter of policy – the Eritrean and Ethiopian people has to workout for mutual benefits. To create normal relations, if not all of us, some of us are working hard because it is the right thing to do.

        Amanuel Hidrat

      • Abinet

        Hayat
        With all due respect, if there is any kind of vote for any kind of political integration, it should be Ethiopians only . Economic integration , any time . No vote needed . Hayat,we are talking about a country. Not a sports bar where one comes and goes as he pleases .

        • Hayat Adem

          Dear Abinet,
          With all due respect, political integration or otherwise, there is no way one country alone unilaterally votes on the fate that involves another independent country, and that decision be counted as bilateral.

          • Abinet

            Hayat
            Under what category would you put the decision in 1993 ?

      • haile

        Selamat Hayat,

        I totally agree that the main task of defeating tyranny is always squeezed out in the face of runaway topics. But again that is what debate forums are good for, debate till you drop dead 🙂 In that spirit, let me refer to one point that you made above “…But the historical justification for the armed struggle keeps on changing its central mark from that of fighting injustices to the scary stretch of “we don’t stop to run away from Ethiopia.” Couldn’t that fit perfectly how the “historical justifications” are continually changed by the de-romantics from that of the widely held “fighting injustice” to what they allege it to be of “running away from habesha/identity” by moving the posts far back to 1940s? What is true however, is the fact that Ethio-Eritrea relationship would be normalized and its form and scope determined by “facts on the ground” than a runaway argument would make it out to be.

        SAAY

        On unrelated topic, I have a word for you to add to the AT Tinglish database: demonizing is MsyTan (listen to today’s ERiTV editorial: Mntsaln msyTan’n fenxigna ab godena MEbale n’wnchef alona 🙂

        Cheers

        • Saleh Johar

          Haile,

          What is this talk about romantics and de-romantics as if you are dealing with two different blocks. There are many such individuals and grouping them together as if there is a massive group is not correct. Some promote the name to appear a Aremrem group. But just today Semere Andom wrote a clarification which makes him far away from the Qeshi Qushet and revisionist. Crticizing Gedli or criticizing nay lomi Amet keremti doesn’t give a membership card to a non-existent mirage group called de-romatics. Every individual has some sort of criticism, I do. Does that make me a member of the, as Sal said, the “be Hulet Tat” Qeshi Qushet congregation? As I understand it, we have people who believe in Eritrean independence and recognize the price and investment paid for it and are fighting the brutes with what they have. And there are those who empower and embolden the PFDJ brutes. And there are inheritors of Neo-Andenet led by Qeshi Qushet. Not everyone who criticizes Gedli is a member of the despicable congregation. Haile, of all people, you shouldn’t fall for the promotional bait which the man laid to appear bigger. Romantics, de-romantics? I wouldn’t consciously consider Serray or Semere, for example, members of that congregation though sometimes their arguments overlap unconsciously and gives the wrong impression–I think.

          See Haile, some are falling into the trap and imagining two blocks of equal weight, and we know the weight of remorcios 🙂

          • haile

            Hey Saleh,

            Now that the “Silent Majority” are out, the “de-romanics” are out,and Qeshi Qushet is in… can we say that “poletica Eritrea nay sine-amrat (ስነ-ኣምራት ) hashewye ayxawern eyu? 🙂

          • Saleh Johar

            Exactly. At this moment what we need is focus. People can wallow all they want, but distraction should be discouraged if not shunned. Words are important. ab mejemerta qal nebere 🙂

  • saay7

    Dawit:

    Ones view towards Ghedli is not a binary choice; it’s a continuum. There is a difference between Serray (“I do not question the cause of Ghedli”) and YG who definitely questions the very cause/necessity of Ghedli.

    Somewhere between YGs view and YPDJs view is a continuum. And I would describe myself as a Ghedli-realist. Well all sorts of organized groups exhibit the traits I mentioned, including soldiers, gangs, policemen, firefighters and even churches and mosques. The only place you won’t find them in nihilists, cynics and opportunists.

    saay

  • saay7

    Selamat Emma:

    I guess your question is evolving. Yes, in Eritrea, as in every other multi-cultural and multi-faith country, there is a group that will want to use its dominant number to dominate and ignore the pluralities and minority groups. Yes, there is also a tendency for those who fear domination to propose what they consider safeguards but are, at the macro level, unworkable and destabilizing. Unlike you, I consider both threats equally dangerous.

    This is the stuff of politicianss (which I am not.) It is for those who have more patience than I to study and negotiate. The problem we have is that in the Diaspora, it is virtually impossible to construct a microcosm of Eritrea, which is what you will have to have if you are going to put everything on the table and negotiate in good faith. And I don’t even think that is a priority now because that is all a discussion of what a post-Isaias Afwerki Eritrea should look like, something that our people, if they are able to convene, quite capable of resolving on their own.

    The strategy that is needed now is how to bring about a post-Isaias Afwerki Eritrea. And, in that goal, ability to bring about results depends on inspiring leadership and a simple goal: the people want to fire their self-appointed president. Diversity will then be a necessity for organization and mobilization and not, as it is now, a quota–an end into itself.

    saay

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear Guest
    *many of which appears to be written in haste
    -correct. they were written in haste and seemed lacking flow and coherence
    *…making her look like an impulsive woman.
    -may be so. i would like to think of myself as not impulsive woman
    * I don’t agree with many of Hayat’s assertions, and generalizations.
    -Would mind specifying some or all of them?

  • Aman El Aman

    HSI in his adventurous act only let down the 10 years brilliant work and effort of the UNIONIST party of Eritreans of making a unique country called Ethiopia out of ancient Abyssinia and modern Eritrean systems paying a heavy sacrifice for a common homeland which HSI let it and them down this brilliant political struggle, sacrifice and modern future (VISIONARY) looking offer. The brilliant politicians of the UNIONIST Eritrea party who are let down by the acts of HSI and his absolutist rule has paid heavy personal and party leadership sacrifice to make it happen that is form one homeland for all the peoples to coexist within.
    So there is no need by Woyane or Neftegna to duplicate our father’s work and give us our own rights piece by piece as if it belongs to them and use our own wealth and property to secure their stay in public authority.

  • Saleh Johar

    Aman, you are beating a dead horse. Ethiophiles would never talk about the senile killer Haile Selassie. They are fond of ill-talking about his victims, foolishly absolving any wrongdoing by him to cause the long war. I would give weight to their argument only when they learn to talk about his massacres. You know, they are still afraid he might rise from his grave and kill them. Did you see how some of them went crazy about a picture of him watering his favorite plant? Even some dormant ganga smokers were irritated.

  • Aman El Aman

    Talking about GHEDLI ?
    GHEDLI as the only option left for Eritreans came only to restore, secure and bring back
    the legitimate rights recklessly stolen by an Absolutist and illegitimate king/oligarchic rule
    on behalf of his own provincial or sub-region and not as the US understands or likes to
    understand as because the Eritreans were trigger happy or bravado rebels who wish to
    show off their bravado rebellion.
    The only cause for the start of civil war and eventual gradual destruction of Ethiopia is
    HSI and his absolutist rule. As such the blame should be put in the right context than trying
    to fabricate facts out of delusional thinking and denial and wish to put the blame on just
    peoples who fought for the restoration of their stolen rights and hijacked efforts and dreams
    by some powerful forces.
    We love GHEDLI not only because a lot of sacrifice is paid (which is nothing wrong by itself )
    but because it is the way and only way to have our inalienable rights back.
    And all those who want us to accept it was wrong are only servants of the past failed regimes
    or handicapped in their thinking and understanding of facts. (Ref : Right contextualization).

  • saay7

    Selamat Emma:

    It was not my intention to brush aside your questions. Let’s stop using euphemisms like “social groups” and talk candidly. There may be overlaps here but the Eritrean opposition umbrella has secular/nationalists; Islamist; and ethnic-rights groups promoters. So let’s reverse engineer this:

    1. Fact: The ethnic-rights groups were founded in 1999. Fact: this happens to be the year the Eritrean opposition convened in Addis Abeba. Fact: There has never been an ethnic-rights movement in Eritrea between 1941 and 1999 (except for Hanjema’s tiny movement.) Fact: the ethnic rights advocates are heavily-promoted by Ethiopian government officials. Fact: the Ethiopian government believes in ethnic-federation style of government. Fact: the Ethiopian constitution, in theory, allows for an ethnic region to seceded from the Union. Fact: the ethnic-rights advocates have included this “autonomy up to and including secession” in their programs.

    Is “autonomy up to and including secession” workable in small Eritrea? Then, is it dismissive to demand that they take out that clause from their program? And if they can’t, is it “exlusionary” to remove them from the Alliance?

    2. Fact: The Islamist groups have been around since the 1980s. They were part of global/regional Islamic wave that hit us. Fact: There has not been an Islamic movement that has succeeded in any part of the world that has people of mixed faith. Fact: The approach that the Eritrean alliance has taken is that the Islamists can have their Sharia-based laws in civil matters. Since this is something that exists now even in PFDJ’s Eritrea and is hardly controversial, the fear is that it is a Torjan horse to have full-fledged Sharia law in cantons of majority-Muslim population Eritrea. Fact: the Islamists have never shown a single evidence that this is what Muslim Eritreans want. Fact: even in the 1980s-1990s when Global Islamist was at peak fever, the Eritrean Islamists received virtually no support from Eritrean Muslims.

    So what is the point of having them in the Alliance? Is the goal to mainstream them? And what does a mainstream Islamist program look like? Is it to influence future programs…

    What I see is this: we are going from one extreme to another extreme. We are going from the extreme of the Fronts (there can only be one organization) to the extreme we have now (there can be 50 different organizations.) The way I see it the solution is to hit the reset button: organizations must meet minimum requirements to join a national coalition. These include evidence of support from the constituency they claim to represent.

    saay

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Merhaba Saay,

      My questions demand straight answers. unfortunately you failed to answer them. I didn’t ask about the history of their establishment nor did I ask about their platforms. My questions are born from your statement which says “there hasn’t been an honest negotiation.” in fact I started by reiterating your statement and took it further to validate your statement by saying “there will be no honest negotiation as far there is a dominant force who want to be the dispenser of rights”. So I asked you why couldn’t have an honest negotiations? and I gave you an example of the recurrent withdrawing behavior of EPDP and the history of our EPLF and ELF political behaviors.

      In any case “Social group” is not euphemism abu-Saleh (let us avoid fighting on terminology). Social groups are groups of a population (be it religious, regional, or ideological) who have collective opinions and interests and fight for their collective interests. Let me said it straight forward that In our Eritrea there are hegemony and chauvinism. Big ! big time! Are you telling me there is no tension between highland and lowland? Are you telling me there is no deep mistrust between our Muslim and Christians? Are you telling me there is regional mistrusts? Are you telling me there is no mistrust among our ethnics? If you believe there is no, then the only thing I could advice you is to make a field trip to have a close study to our sociopolitical problems.

      Sal, whatever justification you give to the nature of our politics, and however they constitute their group making, they have grievances and their grievances must be addressed. I sensed that you have itching and perception that any organization resided in Ethiopia is maneuvered by the Ethiopian government. As far as you have that perception you will not have a sound judgement (no matter how eloquent you are). Remember YG is eloquent but he is not realistic, not factual, and not pragmatic.

      But..but.. let me say it what I have said it several times in my articles. In our Eritrea social discrimination is real (thanks to Ahmed Raji’s statistical data). In our Eritrea ethnic grievances is real. In our Eritrea the fear of “tyranny of majority” is real (remember we will rule you and you will be ruled). In our Eritrea chauvinism and hegemony is real (you know the common word Abey key-betsehu). I am really fed up (we Eritreans) on being dismissive on all that ails our political discourse. If inequitable Eritrea can live at peace, we shall see.

      regards,
      Amanuel Hidrat

    • Amde

      Saay,

      “Is “autonomy up to and including secession” workable in small Eritrea?
      Then, is it dismissive to demand that they take out that clause from
      their program? And if they can’t, is it “exlusionary” to remove them
      from the Alliance?”

      Saay, …. wait…. wait…. are you….saying…. “Eritrea is a smaller Ethiopia?” Are you looking for Kinijit membership? Come on… what is good for the goose is good for the gander. One could (and one still does) ask the same question about Ethiopia. Sounds to me your “small Eritrea” thing is completely arbitrary.

      It is plain as day that demographically speaking, Eritrea is much more structurally pre-set for Tigrinya hegemony than Ethiopia ever was for any one group. Seems to me any way forward should be honest about it and take that into account. The point of a political system in a diverse community should be on how to accommodate the diversity in a sustainable manner. I am not sure an arbitrary and a-priori exclusion is going to cut it.

      You stated “The ethnic-rights groups were founded in 1999″… Well first of all so what? Secondly, you are doing a little hocus pocus here – conflating social groups with political or civic organizations. If these social groups did not have legitimate concerns, these “organizations” would not have had staying power. The TPLF and OLF are creatures of the 70s, but they got staying power and believable narrative by harking to grievances accummulated over decades of Showan political hegemony.

      I get your point about jumping from extreme to extreme, but my feeling is that (if we follow your thought process) the inflation in the number of political organization is most likely attributable to one section of the Eritrean political universe you have outlined – namely the “secular nationalist camp” to which you belong. I don’t think the number of ethnic and “Islamist” parties have increased that much. So start your culling process there.

      Plus, you will have to make room for the whole continuum of ghedli sceptics to neo-andenet groups as well :-). You know I am right – you can try and treat them as lepers, but the fact is this group is substantial and growing, and have very rational reasons for thinking so. Just because there may not be an explicit organization in their name right now, does not mean it won’t exist in the every near future.

      Anyhow, in the long term, no fret. Even if the pieces do vote to secede, they will just be joining mama Ethiopia in small digestible pieces. I actually would not spend time here if I did not believe that it is an inevitable process that will be good for Eritreans and Ethiopians.

      amde

      • OnLooker

        Well Said Amde,
        In Psalm, David says, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone”. Many can in the mean time disregard what Awate team has deresively called the “Neo-andinets”, but tomorrow these so called outcasts/delusionial people may be come a force to be rekoned with. Hailesselasie, and Derge at one time in history considered ELF/EPLFs as “Tikit Wonbedewoch”. What was then “tikit wonbedewoch” , however, turned later into “Tilik Hail” with determination.

      • saay7

        Selamat amde:

        Just a couple of days ago, somebody wrote: “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.” As I get older, I seem to be forgetting names but I think the author was some guy whose initials were amde.

        So you are opposed to Article 39 for Ethiopia but you are ok with Eritrea’s break-up and its parts joining Ethiopia “in small digestible pieces” so Emama Ethiopia doesn’t get heart-burn by chewing more than it can swallow? My point is that that is good neither for Ethiopia nor for Eritrea. And here’s why:

        1. First of all, I really do not believe Ethiopia’s Article 39 is there because Harbegna Weyane has a secret plan to secede from the Union if/when things don’t work out and they are no longer in power. I believe Article 39 was put in place so the political elite from the historically marginalized Ethiopian societies can go to their people and say that they go a concession: they will try this thing called Ethiopia and, if it doesn’t work out, they can always secede. In theory of course; in practice, there is no central government that would readily accept the loss of a chunk of its identity/investment without fighting it tooth and nail.

        2. The “self-determination up to and including secession” actually violates citizens’ equal protection right. It gives citizens of border provinces (kilil if you will) extra advantage over those who live in the center. What does “self-determination up to and including secession” mean to a resident of Shoa or to the resident of Hamasien? You will be an island surrounded by the state you seceded from?

        3. Historical precedents: It is one thing for the USSR to break up because the reason it was put together, to create a Soviet Socialist republic was gone. Its one thing for countries made up of parts with distinct histories and social groups and identities to break up (Czechoslavakia.) How is this comparable to Eritrea? The country was put together (as a political entity) at one single time (1890) with a stroke of a pen and then its borders were delienated in a series of treaties between Italians, Brits and Ethiopian rulers.

        Now, to the issue of our 35 political parties. First of all, your comparison with TPLF and OLF is not valid because those organizations were self-sustaining: they relied on grassroots support for their existence. That’s not the case for our opposition groups. Secondly, many of these political parties were created when Harbegna Weyanai was talking about regime change and it was like af arkbu: a lot of these organizations were set up to participate in the electoral process. (Similar to what happens in African states when a dictatorship is gone and the process opens up.) They have absolutely nothing to contribute to the process of removing Isaias Afwerki from power; they are biding their time to get a seat on the table. Third, my exclusion is not me calling that they disband–freedom of assembly must not have exceptions. I am saying exclusion from a coalition designed to bring about regime change because they have nothing to contribute.

        Finally, I welcome the Neo Andnet actually organizing into a party. Because, then, at long last I would get the “executive summary” I have been begging for. They would be forced to commit to writing their political program.

        saay

        • Amde

          Hi Saay,

          Let me start with your last paragraph. and work my way back.

          I am actually mystified by your attitude about the “neo-andenet” and your demand for an “executive summary”. You yourself state that there is a continuum in the present generation’s thought about what transpired in Eritrea’s past 50 years. Those two terms – i.e. “continuum” and “executive summary” are – to my mind at least – mutually exclusive. One cannot “executive summarize” a continuum. Ghedli means a lot of things to many people, and there has been a huge generational shift now from the teghadelti who would have a thousand and one reasons why they joined, how they joined and what they did; and a new generation that has to live with the results of the Ghedli and question it in terms of their day to day experiences.

          It just sounds to me you consider their value to simply be a counter-point to the arguments you want to make. The executive summary is a device for you to show the superiority of your arguments and the futility of theirs. And that’s it. Somewhere in there, you forgot (conveniently or inadvertently) they are living breathing people (and citizens) who have legitimate civic needs as individuals and as a community. Their crime? They found that the reality of Ghedli does not match the promise. For most, It does not matter if it was due to Issayas fouling it up, or if the seeds of destruction were in there from the get go. What they know is that it is not working for them, and they are rendering their personal verdict by questioning dogma, walking and dying.

          Which brings me to the point of change, and your choice of change agents. You stated that “….my exclusion is not me calling that they disband–freedom of assembly
          must not have exceptions. I am saying exclusion from a coalition
          designed to bring about regime change because they have nothing to
          contribute in this regard….” Well, what can I say here other than to incantate the magical acronyms: “ELF” and “EPLF”. EPLF brought the “regime change”. ELF was excluded from the change process. Now EPLF is sitting in Asmara, and ELF is out in the cold. If anything, this should be lesson 101 of Eritrean politics ( I would say it is human nature really). So, when you deem some worthy and some not so worthy about even participating in the change process, it is obvious to those on the outside that they better struggle now or they better start loving the cold because that is where they are destined.

          And your list of the excluded is already pretty long: nobody from the “neo-andenet”, no ghedli de-romanticizer, no ghedli sceptic, no ethnic party, no party established since 1999, no party that wants the “right of seccession” insurance rider, no Islamist, (and I am assuming if there was a Tewahdo or Catholic party, those would be out as well), I will take a leap of faith here and assume since you abhor lefty politics – no communists either. If you show any interest of hobnobbing with “Harbegna Weyanai” – ooh you are definitely out, out and out. Have I missed anything? So, what are left are ghedli romanticizing pre-1999 secular nationalist organizations. Basically…. wait for it..(1) ELF and her daughters, and (2) EPLF. Sounds like “Forward – to the 70s!”. I am as much a sci-fi time travel fan, but sometimes maybe a different script is called for.

          So, if 1) you agree that the change makers are likely to control the post-change situation; and 2) your list of acceptable change agents are basically anachronistic retreads who are very poor (at best) reflectors of current Eritrean constituencies, what is the alternative?
          Diversity is real – for some, their collective communal experience is such that they feel the need for an insurance rider, To describe them as Weyane agents is like – what is the phrase I am looking for – describing the Eritrean teghadelti as Arab qTreNoch ;-). After all, each gets political, financial, military and logistical support from the “strategic foe” Look where that ended up.

          I think your exclusionary policy is derived from two fundamental assumption;
          1) that 80% of Eritrea’s current problems are encapsulated in the person of one Issayas Afewerqi, and 2) nothing good will ever ever come out of Ethiopia (and Ethiopians), thereby requiring eternal vigilance and distance. (I sometimes almost feel that the biggest (primary) beef you have with Issayas is that he has made Eritrea very vulnerable to Ethiopia, and the fact that Issayas has made life for current Eritreans hellish is an important but in the grand scheme of things, a secondary consideration.)

          With these assumptions, the solution you recommend is essentially a surgical strike, which would be best done with minimal participants, with the spoils then going to the trusted secular nationalists who can command the loyalty of the secular nationalist army that has been created in the image of EPLF. This is an understandable strategy, but it does nothing for the day after. A change of the executive means a better bureaucracy – perhaps – but with many constituencies excluded internally and a continuing of confrontational posture with Ethiopia, that is also a “Forward – to the 90s!” strategy.

          Now as far as the Article 39 kerfuffle – I am actually against it, as I think that it colors the dynamics of the relationship of the social groups within a country to one of unspoken mutual blackmail. It provides an easy path for demagogues, and pulls politicians too easily onto the path of divorce. It would be one thing if the divorcees could physically separate, but they can’t. So we get an Ethiopia vs Eritrea, a Pakistan vs India, a Russia vs Ukraine, basically permanently belligerent neighbors.

          Having said that, you know Scotland is about to vote to secede from the UK, and the Czechs and Slovaks are separate. I have somewhat made my peace with it in that the international trend is for economic integration and cultural and political devolution. So in the grand scheme of things, it will be meaningless assuming that individual legal rights and dignities are uniformly respected, and these units have worked out mutually agreeable security arrangements so they can keep the peace within them. In my mind, this is exactly what will happen between Ethiopia and Eritrea – so it matters not that much if the units involved are the whole countries, or sub-units within each country. (Believe me when I say this is not a popular opinion in Ethiopia – most are too embittered with the whole Eritrea thing and they consider current situation is perfectly fine. So in that sense I am really expressing a very small minority opinion)

          To be honest, I could not pass the opportunity to take a little dig at you on it. After all, during the ghedli, EPLF systematically excluded pan-Ethiopian groups, and embraced Ethiopian pro Article-39 groups. It was a tactical weapon of the Eritrean secular nationalists to weaken Ethiopia, and now this same Article is a deadly dagger pointed at the heart of Eritrean existence. Life is funny like that.

          amde

          • saay7

            Selamat amde:

            Whoa! Well played, sir. I enjoyed reading your piece, almost as much as the one (Horizon) who sarcastically replied to my put down of the Battle of Adwa with his own put down: “we will try harder next time.” :)))))))) Eyob* is fading into the background as my favorite Ethiopian, he is too busy with his chop suey.

            Meanwhile or as Eri-TV says izi kemzi ilu khelo…

            1. The Continuum: Think of it as a line. On one edge are the PFDJ. On the opposite extreme is YG and all who think his words are gospel. All along the line are a bunch of dots from the almost always agree with the PFDJ to the almost always agree with YG. Now, assume you are writing position statements (nobody likes executive summary so I have to find substitute phrase) for all the points across the continuum. It has a preamble (a whole bunch of statements which begin with “WHEREAS…”) and a resolution (a statement which begins with “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED…”) From the PFDJ side all the way to the moderate middle, we all begin with the same preamble. It is in every political program from the Islamist to the radical communist: it tells of how Eritreans were victims of occupiers begins with Turks and ending with Ethiopians. We say that from rote. Then we get to the Ghedli part and that’s where we and the PFDJ part ways then we REALLY part ways on the “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED” part: they want continuous rule for PFDJ using the Sahel model; we want them to retire to their Sahel camps (although the people of Sahel would protest.)

            Then you go to the YG camp and at first it is thrilling. The first thing they did is demolish a part of the preamble edifice. Then high with the thrill, they went on to demolish more. It turns out the only good qualities we have is that we are Habesha: everything else is terrible and we have not a single redeeming quality. Our 50 year long journey of self-emancipation was just a bad acid trip and we need a detox center. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED… that’s what is missing, amde. When I ask for executive summary, I am asking for clarification to our “road to abeline” (a classic B-school paper) and then I would like the resolution as to what it is they want. This is not a trap, it is not a trick, I just want clarity as to what it is they want and all I have gotten is bumper stickers.

            2. Before I get to our coalition, let’s talk about Harbegna Weyanay. Some people think I say that phrase with irony or sarcasm: I don’t. What they did in Ethiopia is far more significant than the Battle of Adwa or any of the mythologies that your average neftegna wants to tell after he has had a few Heineckens. I love Ethiopians, and one of the two incidents that led to my divorce with PFDJ dealt was how PFDJ decided to deal with innocent Ethiopians in 2000. I was fiercely opposed to what they did; somebody else justified it on national security grounds. A radio station interviewed me and the national-security justifier. And now the radio station EMPLOYS the national-security justifier as its correspondent.

            But this is all, in one of my favorite expressions (from a Tigrayan drama): mnm aybli.

            You need to remember that my answers were directed at Emma who, in case you don’t know, was asking me specific questions about the CURRENT opposition coalition. In case you don’t know, Emma was (or is) part of the leadership of the Bayto (assembly) trying to fix our opposition mess. In case you don’t know, Emma is a former Tegadalai who, apparently, have a life-long burden to fix all that’s wrong with Eritrea: first they have to have to bleed for her independence, then they have to devote every energy, every time, every penny they have to rid her of the dictatorship presiding over her. This is because all the trust-fund kids, who have a special sense of entitlement that SOMEBODY ELSE should work for their liberation because, you know, they really enjoy their life as it is and don’t want to give up anything, refuse to step up.

            So my message, which I gave at relentless prodding by my friend Emma was: the existing coalition is unfixable. It is a system designed to inherit the collapse of the Isaias Afwerki regime, not actually bring about its demise. Come on: not one but TWO Islamist organizations? Islamism is a political ideology that believes that the Koran should be the foundation of legislation. There is only one Koran but we have TWO Islamist organizations. We have multiple of ELF/EPLF legacy organizations. We have TWO ethnic-based organizations that we all have to pretend are not formed by Harbegna Weyanay because it would be impolite to say it. These are not, cannot, will not bring about the fall of Isaias Afwerki. I don’t know if you have read him but there is a crazy-smart awate columnist who goes by the name of Mohammed Ahmed: he gave up their strategy in one of his articles. These people are not interested in, and will spend zero energy in, overthrowing the Isaias Afwerki regime. They just want to be consulted, and they want a seat when the regime is gone. What I am saying is, fine, stay intact, stay dormant, wait for it, but don’t pretend that you are actually going to devote an ounce of energy overthrowing the regime. We know it, you know it, so let’s stop pretending.

            I particularly like you back to the future to the 1970s reference, your suggestion that, by process of elimination, all I am looking for is ELF/EPLF II. Not true, really. The ones I am hoping will overthrow our existing structure are young, have nothing to do with ELF/EPLF. But. But. But. The thing I like about the ELF/EPLF legacy groups is that they instinctively understand Eritrea: that it can’t work unless all its stakeholders participate and feel they they have a skin in the game. And all the young groups, all the Warsays, all the Ghedli de-romantics are woefully, scarily, ignorant about that.

            Phew. I said a lot. Gotta go.

            saay

            * Eyob, after his visit to Addis in Jan-February, had decided that life is too short to be mired in history. I think it is a good resolution; I think I will join him.:)))

          • Horizon

            I could not remember my sarcastic response to you. Could it be a mistake due to the momentum brought about by the large flow of comments in both directions?

            Nevertheless, I would like to take this opportunity to say that awate.com is a wonderful site, a miracle maker. It is great to read your opinion supporting Ethiopia’s rights on the Nile, and at the same time pointing out the unreasonable Egyptian stand as the sole owner of the waters of the Nile. I had said some time ago that indirectly at least, Eritrea is a stakeholder on the Ethiopian dam. Between Ethios and Eris there is only a man-made wall, which can be brought down easily with time. This is the natural evolution of things between the two people, and it is my opinion that there is no power that can prevent it from happening in the future.

  • haile

    Selamat Amde,

    This one picks up from your last reply, which regards the capability of PFDJ to sustain its existence. It is clear that the established opposition groups that we have are not only unlikely to form a viable alternative, but there is visible public reservation to lending them support or using them as a vehicle for change. In fairness, most are based in the Sudan or Ethiopia, very unlikely to contribute to the real struggle of exposing the regime’s atrocity to the world (by virtue of location and access) and they are also weak susceptible to covert sabotage by virtue of the third world modes operand.

    The opposition in the diaspora, further afield into the western world, is more potent but still needs to learn the basics of working together or coordinating and organizing at the very least.

    This leaves us with the PFDJ’s capacity to sustain itself to examine. One of the biggest challenge for diaspora opposition is their inability to relate to the day to day going-on in Eritrea. Recently, there has been looming crisis in the health sector and many people are travelling to the Sudan (a marked increase from the typical), many needless deaths are occurring various administrative areas because the health centers there can’t provide ambulance (I am talking of major cities as Mendefera, Keren Deqemhare…), many farming communities (especially from the highlands and northern red sea region) are uprooted, the regime doesn’t have adequate crowd control capacity (other than to fire shots) in the event of mass disturbances, the regime is incapable of adjusting exchange rate and hence would not have any new business or investment. It has piled up chronic problems in all sectors and doesn’t really have any capacity to increase salary, many problems can be listed here but suffice to say that the regime’s international diplomatic isolation is also a huge nail on its coffin.

    It is very likely that UN aid NGO that the regime had already talked to would assist in the bigger areas of food and seed distribution, but there is always the likelihood that the regime could find itself in a situation that would rapidly spiral out of control. The top leadership along with army commanders most likely disappear from the seen. To me this may appear dangerous, but it is far from it. People and members of the armed forces are capable of ensuring law and order. The defense forces would have a vital role to play but there are also civilians who would be able to contribute significantly. The exiled opposition still has to follow the requirements for party formation and registration (see my fantasy timeline on event scheduling).

    Linking the change in Eritrea to the fate of self declared “opposition groups” is not valid. Change would occur as the result of the need for it to occur. The Ethiopian people didn’t have a plan when they deposed HMHS, the Eritrean people only had a forged plan when they declared independence (IA had no intention of implementing). Most of the Arab Spring Revolutions didn’t start with a road map of governance, hence it would be wrong to conclude that Eritreans MUST have a plan or else they should quietly disappear from the face of the earth under IA and his cult.

    Regards

    • Amde

      Selam Haile,

      That is a very good insight into the nitty gritty of the situation on the ground. What you are detailing is the slow erosion in the capacity of the state to deliver on its responsibilities to its citizens. The ferenji call it bread and butter issues. (btw.. check this out…http://necsi.edu/research/social/foodcrises.html)

      Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that Eritreans will “disappear from the face of the earth”. I am just saying the transition will be rough – and if it is not quickly resolved, terrible. I would cite the two examples you raised in your last paragraph. When Haile Sellasie was overthrown, as you said there was no obvious successor. After a few months of relative peaceful change, all hell broke loose. Contrast that with the EPLF take over – as faulty as the implementation of the post-liberation program was, there was a relatively smooth transition. I don’t live there so I will have to take your word for how the people will handle a sudden power vacuum, but without a lot of goodwill from outside actors, those could go iffy.

      I actually think your fantasy time-line idea is the genesis of something truly worthwhile. Right now it is a little unrealistic, but it does have one great advantage. It offers an opportunity for people to envision the change process in some detail. I would suggest you keep working on it – perhaps before you know it, it can become at least the basis of a plausible transition plan.

      amde

  • Hayat Adem

    To Sal, with all due respect, my late and incoherent response to your earlier comment:

    *cheerleaders
    -I am familiar with what cheer leading and cheerleaders are. In fact, we have plenty of them in relation to IA. They are fewer than in the time IA launched the senseless 1998 war during which there many more cheerleaders “go Isaias, go Yika’alo” shouting and cheering louder than the entire world. The following quote from 1998 letter written in support of the IA is a perfect example of what cheer-leading looks like:
    “If full-scale war is declared, you know journalists will be working overtime using words such as “stunning”, “rout”, “lightning-speed” to describe our efforts. You won’t see it coming; but after it’s come and gone, we will still be standing
    and saying “Aybelnan Do” (We Told You So) and don’t say “Told me what”?
    Can you hear your voice in this, Sal? And unfortunately that was a war where many tens of thousands from both countries perished as a consequence.
    – Seriously Sal, you have to give the man some credit. Have you ever known many people who stood out with a power
    of idea he believes is the truth? If Awate is glorified for showing a resolve and firing a bullet, Yg should be seen as a thought-tower of our time. He is saying the truth to its highest power from a different Mount Adal without the language
    of bullets. Yg has no institution. He doesn’t have ___.com. You don’t see readily friends of him jumping in his defense. No pressure or incentive to do the cheering for him. He has no parties from the opposition he strongly or mildly affiliates with nor grass root movements he is keen to mobilize. Nor any sort of activism he is known to have crafted for a mission. All he has done is sharing his thoughts about Eritrea and the circumstances that shape it. I may have few issues with him (eg- the federation’s fate), but I don’t think I am under any obligation to go on fault-mining mission on him.

    * You accused the awate team of writing an article just to distract attention from YG’s article.
    – Well, it is not mathematically impossible to think that way and I don’t believe I said it seriously. Nonetheless, that was a bit out of line on my part. Someone kind of half-humorously questioned the particular motive of bringing that article at awate at the time, and I kind of hinted to extend his take a bit and jokingly suggested that he was not alone to feel that way. That was an unreasonable stretch even as is.

    * 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 butby pointing out you just don’t want to interrupt the stream of his beautiful
    mind (not an exact quote: it was something similar, the equivalent that a teenager music fan or an Isaiasit would say)
    -Promising for a series of parts and not honoring is not a cool thing. Yg has to improve on that. But it is just that- no more, no less.His promises are about articles (just articles, brother!). But every time he comes with a piece, he never failed to thrill me. Should I remain satisfied with what I’m getting from him or complain about the parts he didn’t deliver? Well, I’m not paying him to write and I am extremely happy with the net benefit I’m enjoying from what he gave me so far as is. A common decency dictates me to be grateful. So, I’ll not criticize him for those little things for the same reason I would not be criticizing awate for the 2week delay it faced with 7.0. But if others are irritated about that, I understand. Sal, we all have a teenager sentiment on certain things and I would be fine with that. However, I wonder if any Isaiasist have any convincing reason to cheer up for Isaias in the same way. What makes it weird is though the ones that tend to criticize him for his long articles and undelivered follow-ups are the people who don’t enjoy his writings. It should have been an automatic good riddance matter for them.
    -Let me take one paragraph to tell you what kind of failed promise shrinks me to an atomic size. There are serious promises that need to be delivered or else the implication is that there is no character left in whoever promised them. Ghedli promised a new Eritrea that is better than the old one. The promise had taken dearest advance payments promising to deliver. People gave their youth, their lives, and their abilities for that promise. Houses gave their kids, their resources and their will. Eritrea gave 30+20 yrs and everything it has for that promise. The living tegadelti recieved worded and non-worded HiDRis from the fallen. Some of the martyrs may have died clearing landmines for or saving the life of a tegadalai who is alive now. That is a real burden no one wants to carry. But if you happen to carry that promise, you should spend all your life trying to fulfill or else you have no character left to speak or live for. If you participate in
    this ghedli and you know some names of martyred tegadelti, you should either come out or say it was wrong when seen from here and now and abandon the promise as flawed or honor it in full. It is the same if you have encouraged in
    one way or another any of your close relatives or cousins or friends to go to medda. It wouldn’t be worth the guilt to keep on worshiping the promise without the commitment to fulfil it. Yg’s leverage to speak freely and with clarity
    emanates from this truth. Many of us take comfort from becoming on the fence-sitters. We want to glorify ghedli but we don’t get pained enough by the failure. This was not a failure that wasted innocent votes but blood, flesh and bones. If you want to speak about the dearness of these payments, then you should speak in 100% of your volume loud protectively against the force that is trying to create a different reality.

    *Asking YG to provide an executive summary of his beliefs can’t possibly be an “excuse for fallowing”: how is it a trap to ask people to succinctly describe what is it they believe?
    -I don’t think Yg or we the “cheerleaders’ are worried of any trap here. It is not unfair on your side to ask Yg to present his core belief statement and you did and you got it. Unsatisfied with what you got from him? You can ask for more. And it is not that I can’t summarize what I understood of Yg’s write-ups in a paragraph or two. I just don’t see the need for it. First, I may lack the ability to present his ideas in a nearly perfect way as he wants them to be expressed. Understanding someone and explaining him are not the same. It is possible I might misstate his core belief. That won’t be fair for him or for you. One risk: you pick what I give you and reflect on that, and Yg comes later and says, “That was not exactly what I meant” Risk two: I give you a summary. You get seized with it. Yg says nothing about your takes. Then you are left holding the rope and not sure of the presence of the horse supposed to be tied to it.
    – Allow me to skip “Mahber Andet…1940s 1960s, 1970s and 1980s…. Neo-Andnetism.”

    *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. Like a hallucinogen. 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.
    – Those are pretty strong words and excessive elbowing.

    * “People First”…”Ethiopia First.”
    -Wow, at least you are using your writing ability in the meanest way possible to scare people by association.

    *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.
    -This kind of argument really sucks. The only people who owe anything to the dead are the living tegadeltis who pledged to finish the line and deliver the torch and the organization that put them in harm’s way. The living tegadelti have a signed contract with the dead and they are the ones who are making a living by betraying them or forsaken their comrades for any cowardly reasons. Yg doesn’t owe them anything. He never attacked the dead except the ones who caused them death. But, always we get the sense the leaders who gave them the order to be on the line of death have saved
    their own lives shielded by the dead tegadelti. And now they want to use the dead again to shield themselves from any criticism.

    • Nitricc

      Listen Lady; you have lost every credibility when you declared
      “With out the weyane help, Eritrean independence will never materialized”
      There is nothing more insulting; degrading and right down cheap than your remark.
      You are no body and nothing but a professional YG’s butler. The other good for nothing creature.
      why don’t you stick to andnet.com. it fits you.

      • Guest

        I think it’s clear most Eritreans want economic union first with Ethiopia and others . Without embracing some if not all andenet ideas, you won’t be going no where.

      • Henok7

        Nitric, though I don’t like the fact that you defend IA to death, I should admit, that you are consistent to your belief. Now to the Hayat case: she seems to be a follower of YG not because YGs argument and his log is valid or convincing but only for the reason that is more pro ethio-eritrea
        unity. I truly , however, believe that is her right to do so and advocate as such. The thing which bothers me about her is the fact that she pretends to be Eritrean though it is very clear that she (could also be He) is Ethiopian of Tigray origin. Check all her comments and you will discover who she jumps to defend the Tigray not necessarily and not necessarily. Ethiopia.

        You need a fringe of Evidence? Well no one in Eritrea say NiSkaMA instead of
        NiskaMO even those at the border (she wrote Niskama Eritrawi aykonkan) in one of her comments.

        Being staunch fan of late Kiros Alemayeho…(who bashed ghedli too during derg era in Asmara) is also another point in case. So you may please ignore her till she comes clean to her true color.

        Look, I see others like Serray,Ermias et al who defend YG and I am sure they are rea Eritreans. How do i know ? Coz you smell Eritreansim in their writings unlike some other TPLF cadres.
        I don’t also understand why the intelligent Eritreans like Sal, Ema and others try to engage her/him on Eris issues.

        So my advice to you is ignore her/him or provoke her to the limit and you will see she/he
        will come here with Tealishna Embey…thing. bzw, i have a great deal respect of other true Ethiopians like Eyob and Horizon etc here in Awate room.

        Moreover, I believe Eritrean issues shall preferably be dealt by Eritreans only.

        • Nitricc

          Henok7
          The lady is completely lost it. That is what happens though. Anytime you are trying to be someone other than your self, here it comes all the confusion and she sounds dumb every time tried to be Eritrea and the worthless YG. Any Eritrean; even the staunchest anti PFDJ, at one point and moment finds her/him self defending Eritrea. This woman, it is obvious she is deep somewhere in Tigray but she wants to be more Eritrean than the Eritreans themselves. Go ahead and check her posting and you won’t find anything close in supporting Eritrea. Everything is Eritrea’s fault. In my part I am not going to waste my time with woman but I feel bad for my friend SAAY sucked in to corresponding with this YG personal butler. My advice to SAAY is time spent better debating with T-Kifle, known and proud TPLF cadre. At least he knows who is talking to. So, Henok, I know what you mean. she is lost

          • Hayat Adem

            Hi Nitricc,
            I never said and could never say everything was Eritrea’s fault (Eritrea+people). But i have a long list for IA and PFDJ and YPFDJ. Could you give me one or two recent mistakes of PFDJ/IA? If you do that, I dump my entire list and pick the ones you give me. If you can’t come up with at least one, that make you look bad.
            Hayat

    • saay7

      Selamat Hayat:

      When it comes to debating YG and his disciples, I am often torn between two thoughts: (1) ignore them because their belief system is based on profound ignorance of Eritrean history; (2) challenge them because their belief system is based on profound ignorance of Eritrean history. I end up somewhere in between, half-ignoring and half-challenging which I guess is satisfying neither to me not to those who take his ideas seriously. So how about some points, in reverse order:

      1. What do you mean when you say “he never attacked the dead except the ones who caused them death?” Remember, his “Ghedli Generation” is an expansive list that goes all the way back to the 1940s and his attacks of them as hateful people who were motivated not by the desire to be free but free from Ethiopia stretches to every Eritrean leader who was opposed to the Andnet Party of the 1940s; it stretches to the leadership of Mahber Showater of the 1950s; it stretches to all the leadership of the ELF and EPLF of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s. In one of your defenses, you said, that you kept waiting for him to make a factual error and he didn’t…which is hilarious: how can people who do not know the facts catch others when they are making factual errors?

      2. Equating “People First” with “Ethiopia First” is not a “meanest way to scare people by association.” I am saying both are bumper stickers. You would expect something more from someone you keep telling us is an original thinker. What does it mean? Is it utilitarianism: like it is ok to kill 100 to save 10,000? Is it pacifist: life is sacred and there is no circumstance that justifies killing? Now only do I not think you know, I don’t think he knows: he just said it because he felt cornered.

      3. Executive Summary: The summary is crucial. It is simple really; if you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it.

      4. Originality of Thought: I will summarize it for you and then you tell me how original it is. YG’s thesis is this: It was a mistake for Eritreans to wage an armed struggle against Ethiopia; they should have join their fellow Ethiopians to fight injustice. There was no political, legal standing to Eritrea’s claim to statehood. Those who initiated the movement for independence were enlisted in a proxy fight by Ethiopia’s traditional enemies: Arabs and Islamists; those who followed them were Ethiopia-hating highlanders with confused identity. The current authoritarian system we have in Eritrea is the inevitable outcome of the decision to wage armed struggle against Ethiopia.

      Did I leave out anything? Every single chain in that link is false. Worse: it is unoriginal: it is what every Ethiopian from One Ethiopia gang has said for decades. And, yes, I know you hate hearing it: it is also what the leaders of Mahber Andnet said in the 1940s.

      5. The “In Part 3 of my 7-part series” Interruptus: If I say I have a three-part argument to prove a point, and I deliver one and I forget to deliver the other two, and my readers are as convinced by just part 1 as they would be by parts 2 and 3, this tells me that it is not the substance people are after, but the style. The reason he can’t deliver is not because some new subject interested him or he got too busy, no: it is because whatever material he thought existed, doesn’t exist. Remember, he already has his conclusions, and he is looking for the supporting document and when he can’t find it, he moves on.

      6. But You Said… I see you are still mining my writings from the 1990s and I thought dehai.org was closed:) What, have you saved them in your computer? Notice who I am cheering: it is the Eritrean spirit. I have also noticed that when I go after YG, his disciples feel it is necessary to dig stuff from the 1990s.

      saay

      • Guest

        Selamat Sal,

        If you believe Executive summary “is crucial” and “simple”, why do you ask YG an executive summary while you can come up with one? Is it because you neither understand nor explain YG’s detailed examination, and discussion of ghedli that you keep asking YG to give you an executive summary?

        Characterizing many as “disciples” of YG with shallow knowledge of Eritrean history is outright condescending. You have made similar statements in the past such as calling Eritreans “the young and disillusioned”. Eritrean history is not as complex as you think it is. Because the focus is only on historical events of the late19th C (and 20th C)Eritrean history. We are not debating European history.

        Apology if I am being nosy here;-)

        ps: I don’t agree with many of Hayat’s assertions, and generalizations…many of which appears to be written in haste , making her look like an impulsive woman.

      • Guest

        Moderator, I found my answer. Pls, disregard my earlier comment.

      • Desta

        Sal , what is that history that we (YG’s fan and yours too?!) don’t know. Do you consider and give a credit to historians like Tekeste Negash?? His version of the Federation history feels very reliable to me, may be for you is Alemseghed’s -Aynifelale?? The unionist is a party to be admired and one that stood against white supremacy and colonialism!! Tell me another history book to read and compare

        • saay7

          Desta:

          That’s the “Eripedia” we are working on: to give our readers an essential list of authors so we can save the people from the white-washed version of history peddled by PFDJ and the soot-covered version sold by YG. It’s coming: it’s part 3 of our 7-part series of Awate 7.0:)) for a list of authors you might begin with the prophet, Trevaskis (Eritrea: A Colony In Transition) the man who said if Ethiopia attempts to swallow up Eritrea, it will be resisted fiercely. His advice was ignored and we had a 30 year war which we are now being told was entirely our fault. For 1950s Eritrea, there is Nawud and his chronicle of Mahber Showate (unfortunately it is in Arabic.) For Ghedli-era books, it really is a hodge-podge: video documentaries, books, audio interviews (by Aida Kidane).

          I have a great deal of admiration for Tekeste Negash: he stood up against the Ghedli wave when Ghedli was at the zenith of its popularity, unlike some Johnny come latelys who decided to reach out for their knives when it stumbled and fell. Of course I don’t agree with his assessment and you guessed it Alemsegheds version is better argued and better documented.

          The Andnet started out as Mahber Fiqre Hager and that proto party included not just Andnet but the future leaders of every major political party including the Muslim League. So yes Mahber FiqreHager was anti-colonial and its condition to the advancing Brits was that it will not resist them so long as they recognize Eritreans right to self determination. The Muslim League and Mahber Andnet had completely different views of what advanced the interests of Eritreans–both perfectly defensible positions–until Mahber Andnet decided that it had a better chance of winning the argument if it added a little Ethiopian leverage, mainly terror (assassination, cattle rustling) to the formula.

          saay

      • Hayat Adem

        Selamat Sal,
        * You are fighting well even if you are spending half of what you can.
        * The I-know-the-history-well claim is not sinking well. Serray said so powerfully but the simplest logic is: whatever you know needs to be reflected in your arguments and your wealth of knowledge should put you on advantage to convince us see your side. That way your claim of larger knowledge is a burden. And it is too elitist. An Eritrean peasant wouldn’t be expected to know history as much as yours.and yet he can be closer to the truth on describing the situation and even on providing the solutions.
        6) Nothing is lost Sal. But I’m sad you are still upholding the tone instead of regretting. Only now you are shy of saying you were doing it for IA and trying to give it a patriotic gate way. That you were supporting the war in such a manner and rationalize that you were only cheering “the Eritrean spirit” not IA or his regime shows some of us are still at it. Who said the Eritrean spirit was/is about launching and winning wars? The Eritrean spirit is not and should not be about drumming up a war and hostility. It should be about cooperation and peace. Your comment on 6 tells me that you would have been okay had Eritrea won the war, crushed the back of the Weyane, humiliated Ethiopia, dictated its terms on Ethiopia and moved on and you are only mad at IA because he lost it. That explains your cry targeting the ceo and all will. Well, I’ve two issues on this: Eritrea’s prevalence of force might be possible for a short time, but it would be difficult to sustain such imposition for long even with a huge capable standby army as Ethiopia is too big to accept such a status or be continuously squeezed by Eritrea, that means it would hurt Eritrea permanently. 2nd, Eritrea can benefit on a much more sustained and secured way by harmonizing its interests with Ethiopia than rather than antagonizing. A teenager fan cheering silly things is much more harmless than an adult prescribing hostility for ever and drumming up a war song from a comfort. A paradox strikes in, in a mastery of acrobatic twisting, when that person who used his unique penning capacity to mobilize for the war that resulted in many dead and maimed comes around and preaches “respect the dead”.
        5) Message to Yg: First, Thanks for the generational eye-opener and establishment-shaking masterpiece articles you have written so far and I’m so grateful…. 99th, Please, improve on managing and delivering your series of articles as promised.
        3) I understand Yg and I can explain what I understand, although it is not true understanding and explaining are always exactly the same like you said. I’ll come back on your executive sumaries later.
        4) later
        1)”… but how can people who do not know the facts catch others when they are making factual errors?” Sal, that is a punch below the belt. you don’t pass any chance on making your punch as hurting as possible, right? you put all his “sins” in 4, I’ll try to address those later.

        • OnLooker

          Monkey see monkey do, Hayat is learning from YG, the opinion-maker , shaker and mover of ideas. She said, ” I’ll try to address those later”. Unlike YG, I hope you will follow up on you promise.

          • Hayat Adem

            Insha Allah!

        • Peace!

          According to Factcheck.org, “Pen name Vs Real” debate is not fair.

          • Hayat Adem

            How so?

        • ethiopia

          Hayat
          i believe identity is a close affinity and similar psychology but same people have different opinion about that. can u elaborate ur thought what do u mean by identity in perspective of ethio-eritrea?

        • saay7

          Ah, Hayat:

          1. I didn’t say I know history well. I said you and YG and all his fans don’t know history at all. There is a big difference between the two. It brings me no pleasure to say it, I write-erase-write it, but it has been demonstrated dozens of times and there is no avoiding it.

          Now then:

          6. You are missing the context (as usual) on my 1999 writing you quoted. This was during the time Ethiopia was saying “we will teach Eritreans a lesson they will never forget” and “the Eritrean army must be reduced.” etc. I don’t intend to debate that because it is futile; you don’t have the context; you are out of your element.

          I will skip 5, but good luck to you. YG’s writing is and will continue to be broken promises of supporting documents that won’t come because of how he writes: first write the conclusion, then look for the supporting documents.
          3. The reason you and YG or anybody else who supports him does not want to write an executive summary is because you know you can’t defend it if it is written crisply. If it is written the way it is, with metaphors, analogies and parables, one can always claim to be understood.
          1. You (and most YG fans) do the “I am so hurt!” routine so well. I would be sympathetic if I didn’t know you were supporting a guy (because you looked for factual errors and you couldn’t find it, remember?) who called our heroes ethnic cleansing monsters, cluless gun-toting fools, and who called us Arabists and Islamists whose purpose is to instigate an inter-Habesha conflict across the Mereb. I am sure all these are “facts” that you evaluated for accuracy and concluded, “yep, they sound factual to me!”

          saay

          • Hayat Adem

            Sal Hawey Hidi’e de’a Bel,
            “I said you and YG and all his fans don’t know history at all”
            That is nice. So I know nothing of our history at all? Do you really believe in that or you got impulsed to say things more than necessary when you are pushed a little?
            6. The context was IA triggered the war. Ethiopia was saying a lot of such things. Eritrea was saying similar stuff. And you were writing those words and you still, after a decade plus and so much destruction, seem to believe you were cheering the Eritrean spirit!? I leave it there.
            3) Executive Summary- it is now getting funny. Now a days even some academic institutions let you skip this part. I can’t say why Yg is not giving you in one or two paragraphs. I already told you why I didn’t or couldn’t. But again you seemed to have a very good idea what his summary could look like from the condensation you gave me in number four. So, we will go by or around those unless otherwise Yg bats in and addresses your point.
            1) Everything supplied doesn’t mean automatically consumed. I was trying to speak of the excessive supply-side.

          • saay7

            Selamat Hayat:

            Well. If somebody tells me Bevin-Sporza was a deal supported by Muslim Eritreans; if somebody refers to the leader of Mahber Showate as “some Tegadalai”; if somebody refers to the founders of the ELF as Islamists/Arabists; if somebody argues that there is was no legal, political rationale for Eritreans to seek independence from Ethiopia; if somebody argues there was no popular support for Ghedli; if somebody re-defines the goal of Ghedli as Harnet (freedom) when it was actually Natsnet (independence); if somebody dismisses the atrocities against innocent Eritreans as par-for-the-course…and you say these are facts you evaluated and accepted, then I HAVE to conclude that your knowledge of Eritrean history is non-existent. Remember, here are your words:

            “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.”

            You looked for factual errors, at the microscopic level and you could find nothing but gospeler authority. Thus, the only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that you don’t know what you are looking for.

            6. The context was an exchange I was having with Ethiopian spokespersons (official and unofficial.) Taking something from my exchanges in 1998-2000 is similar to somebody taking Sal-Hayat exchanges and quoting back to you. This is what I meant by: you are out of your element. I do not want to re-litigate the issue because it is not as you are describing it: from February 1999- May 2000, Eritrea had accepted every single proposal from OAU–Modalities, Framework Agreement, the works. Ethiopia was not arguing with Eritrea then; it was arguing with the OAU and the UN that the proposals they keep sending are “rewarding aggression” because Eritrea did not unilaterally withdraw from territories that Ethiopia didn’t even want to disclose what they are. It was arguing that it should get its way because if it doesn’t, it will get it militarily because it is bigger and mightier. The fact that it did gets its way militarily, the fact that it is bigger and mightier was not then, and is not now, a basis for accepting its proposals. That is really a bully mindset, which I opposed then, and I oppose now.

            3. If you don’t like executive summary, replace it by anything: digest, abstract, summary. Eulogy would work: There was a motivational guru who used to say that one way to determine what you stand for is to imagine somebody reading your eulogy. (Don’t get all offended now: I wish a long and healthy life for YG: I am just trying to get you a substitute for executive summary.) Whatever it is: I just need a summary because anytime I attempt to summarize it, I run the risk of not capturing the whole. Whenever I have tried that, Serray (The Brain) has come with his swinging back to challenge me for a quote, which of course I can’t do because of the way YG writes. It is essential for debates that we have simple statements, and not parables and allegories.

            all the best

            saay

    • Haile Zeru

      Hayat
      You said
      ” I may have few issues with him (eg- the federation’s fate), but I don’t think I am under any obligation to go on fault-mining mission on him.”

      ….because, you think that is an insignificant thing, Hayat. I think that is the crooks of the matter. And because it is history we have the facts. If YG distorts those facts then the rest is just filling in the blanks. If YG is not truthfull on the obvious ( the abrogation of federation), what makes you think he is truthfull on the not so obvious Gedli facts? You are not under any obligation to do any thing on him, but you are under obligation to find the historical facts about something erroneous (or a lie) that is said by someone you think is a “thought-tower of our time”. I mean you are underobligation to yourself to find the truth.

      • Hayat Adem

        Haile,
        The event was very significant and Yg has acknowledged that too. The analysis given for it is different from individual to another. I did not think Yg was lying about it. But, he has a different view than mine and thinks the federation was not (inherently) meant be as it was without a natural habitat. That is where my slight differing opinion comes on the issue.

        • Haile Zeru

          Hayat
          First the facts: Was the federation abrogate by HS?
          if your answer is NO like YG and quote one Ethiopian writer that thinks Eritreans do not deserve democracy (the writer says, it is proposterous for Eritreans to enjoy democracy as we know it in the west), then you have a serious problem. If you are an educated eritrean and you champion such an individual it is an added problem. In such a major issue quoting one source is dishonesty. especially when that source is the other half of the equation.
          The abrogation of the federation carries the voiding of all the rights that were garrantied under the federation. The result is the hell that was unleashed for the last 30 + years. If you cannot see this what am I going to say to convince you otherwise? YG knows very well his position is really stupid on this. That is why he goes thru such a winding analysis (fiction) to cloud it. And in some cases I think he succeded.

  • Amde

    ‘I once asked him why was all this sacrifice? His answer was short and funny, “for the flag”.’

    So now you know literally what YG means when he says “People First”

    Thank you.

  • Saleh Johar

    Serray (Papillon, you are allowed to peek 🙂

    My friend, don’t cheat in a debate:-)

    I believe anyone has the right to scrutinize our past and recent past history be it a veteran or not; don’t make me appear as if I am against scrutinizing. For God’s sake, even foreigners with whom fought fierce battles are scrutinizing it, why not an Eritrean?

    My points are here:

    1) Don’t insult us as if we were gun-tooting crazy people without a cause. When you attempt to characterize us that way, don’t cry foul when that is reciprocated.

    2) We despise the amateurish characterization of the Gedli experience, particularly the arrogance that some of you show. You repeatedly try to tell us you know about what we experienced better than us…, hindsight, thirty years later, based on third, fourth and maybe fifth hand trivial information you acquired from amateurish, wicked and indecent individuals.

    3) I believe the spirit of your debates is not honest, you do not want to learn from those who saw the good, the bad and the ugly that you cannot imagine! Instead, you have formed your opinion and you are promoting it fiercely while considering the story of the first-hand players (and victims, yes, victims of Gedli) as irrelevant, as simply romantics (I wish it was romance Papillon, it was hell). You stated that you would not consider a testimony of a veteran as qualified as someone who had no clue. But yet, you have written pages and pages based on the strategy of promoting a viewpoint strictly belonging to those who were bent on remaining subjects of Ethiopian rulers; the Neo-Andenet.

    Don’t ever think you can put Gedli veterans on the defensive , they have have worse experiences and they know this assault will wither away. Remember they are just so traumatized by witnessing what happened to their toil, which is now usurped by brutes. That is what they are focusing on, to rid Eritreans of that nightmare called PFDj, and I believe you are focusing on that.

    Now for a serious question: at this moment, many Eritreans are so enraged by the excesses of the PFDJ regime and are fighting it with whatever they have. Other dead-conscience of dead (Please Haile, to remain “The Great” in my books, never use silent majority, halewlew 🙂 are simply watching or aiding and abetting the PFDJ criminals. We do not know and we have no guarantee of what this current struggle is going to produce. Yet, we do it because we believe it is the right thing to do. That is what you are doing. That is what other people are doing.

    Imagine Eritrea went into chaos after the dictator is uprooted (Sur-neqel, in case you forgot 🙂 Imagine also some smart kid comes to such a forum sometimes in the future and tells you: Serray, your struggle of 2000s brought us chaos, we should have stayed out, we should have accepted our fate under the PFDJ brutes, you are responsible– and he says it in a way bereft of any respect, in a belittling and insulting way! Please answer me honestly: how would you feel? Would you apologize to him for fighting a brute (like we are expected to apologize for suffering)? Would you sheepishly say ‘I was at loss, I wish I recognized Isaias as the god of Eritrea’? You will certainly be appalled by such an incident. That is exactly how we feel with your approach.

    As for the bad aspects of the Gedli experience itself, the one that your friend thinks he discovered in 2013, there are many people (first hand witnesses) chronicling it, all over the place, telling the good and the ugly aspects of the Gedli experience. I don’t think Gedli veterans shy away from owning the mistakes of Gedli, (except the PFDJ brutes and a few others). If debated and discussed within context and with no vile language and Ethiophile intentions and motives, I encourage it. Importantly, Gedli generation do not appreciate a lecture about their experience from someone who doesn’t have a clue about it, but is just out there to discredit it. Humility! Humility is what I am asking for.

    Gedli generation embarked on a path of seeking freedom, not to construct the structure of the current brutes in Eritrea. It was a brave, noble, and honest undertaking. It was a confrontation against a system that was as unjust as the PFDJ is to Eritreans, maybe more. And just like you are enraged now, the Gedli were enraged and headed to the mountains to die of live free. That is something any Eritrean worth his salt should be proud of and the Gedli generation are proud of–the funny thing is some “bokhirom zneberu sebat” want the gedli generation to apologize for. Defining Gedli by Isaias and his minions is cruel, unjust, unfair and evil.

    So, the most important question is: what makes your fight against PFDJ injustice, right, and the fight of Gedli generation against Ethiopian rulers’ injustice, wrong? There is your answer.

    Dear Serray, please raise question, scrutinize Gedli, listen to first hand testimonies, be critical but always objective. By God we need that. But don’t talk down to the Gedli generation from the top. In this, you must earn the top position by your objectivity, your thorough research and fair approach. Not by throwing mean comments to those who paid the most. (Papillon, this also for you.)

    Many Eritreans will fight to the last against those who are (presumably) disappointed by the mentally deformed children running Eritrea and want to reverse the statehood of Eritrea. Talk about fainthearted lots! Human beings must have something they fight for, and I believe Eritreans will not debate those who want to reverse the statehood of Eritrea, they will fight them. And that is my kind of fight.

    Dear Serray, I admire your debating skill and in fact this is an opportunity to welcome you back after a long hiatus. Please do not insult the veterans whose fate has dictated that first spend years fighting Ethiopian aggressors and now instead of resting, they have to continue fighting a local aggressors.

    • Rahwa

      Dear Serry. don’t give the old man a heart attack. Hate of Ethiopia is his fuel. He is going to tell you Ethiopian rules were so bad so we have no choice. But he will never admit he was influence and thought by the arch enemy of Ethiopia Egypt. So he has to defense his gedli. I don’t believe the habeesh people has a culture of accepting a mistake. They never said we were wrong or I was wrong or it was wrong. The 60 generation on both side of the mereb are crazy. If it makes you feel any better our former derg people are trying to justify their 17 year bloody adventure. They are writing books to justify their revolution PS Mr Saleh I am not compare you to the derg people but I am trying to show the pattern of thinking of that generation.

    • Serray

      Selamat Saleh,

      You and Sal have this habit of of turning what is a discussion about the role of ghedli in creating isaias regime into an emotional and somehow misleading argument about us dancing on the graves of our own brothers and sisters. When I criticize the regime, you will never misunderstand it to be the criticism of the rank-and-file EDF members; not even for a fraction of second. As a matter of fact, you KNOW it is a criticism on their behalf. But when I say that isaias is the result of ghedli culture, you go on looking for strings to pull at people’s heart. No rank and file shaped the way ghedli is run. Just like eritrea today, the fronts were top-down organizations. Meaning, none of the decisions to fight the civil war, going after fallul and menka’E, pushing jebha out of medda or silencing tegadelti who questioned the excesses with brute force were the work of the rank-and-file. Criticism of ghedli culture is ALWAYS criticism of the leadership and its enforcers. While it might help you score some points with some people, criticism of imposed ghedli culture, the culture that made isaias king of shaebia for every year it was in existence, the culture of unaccountability, the culture of disrespect for the family as exhibited by sawa all this are inherited but not for you; for you ghedli didn’t produce shaebia, only independence.

      When I say the genesis of eritrea’s misery is to be found in ghedlti, you know exactly what I mean but instead of taking it for what it really is, you say “how dare you you implicate the people who went to medda to pay with their lives to free people”. Response like that are not only misleading, but they eliminate a contributing factor for no good reason It is bad enough we get this type of bs from the pfdjs, getting it from you guys is jarring and you do it EVERY TIME ghedli is held accountable as the breeding ground for the likes of isaias when in fact it is.

      You asked me, “Imagine Eritrea went into chaos after the dictator is uprooted (Sur-neqel, in case you forgot 🙂 Imagine also some smart kid comes to such a forum sometimes in the future and tells you: Serray, your struggle of 2000s brought us chaos, we should have stayed out, we should have accepted our fate under the PFDJ brutes, you are responsible– and he says it in a way bereft of any respect, in a belittling and insulting way! Please answer me honestly: how would you feel? Would you apologize to him for fighting a brute (like we are expected to apologize for suffering)?”

      Yes, I will apologize to him for fighting the regime so ineffectively, so weakly, that we allowed it the time and space to get this far. Just like I don’t question the cause of ghedli, I will tell the kid it is not wrong that we fought the regime (and the chaos is not the result of that decision), but that we fought it so clumsily that we enabled it to deconstruct our nation and tear at the fabric that hold us together. And unlike you, I will go even farther, that, the chaos is not just the way we fought in 2000s but also the way ghedli was fought before that.

      As long as I don’t believe shaebia landed from the moon one sunny day in May 1991 like you seem to do, ghedli will always factor when the mess caused by shaebia rulers is discussed. Not because as you guys make it because we want to condemn terra tegadelti but because the culture of endless sacrifices shaebia brought, it brought from medda and the chaos the kid is watching with horror 20 years from now was a continuation of the horror of the past 25 years and that itself was the continuation of the 30 years before it.

      Saleh, you and Sal, while different in the way you envision the role of pfdj in the future eritrea, you have exactly the same knee jerk response when ghedli was mentioned as responsible for ghedli (shaebia). As inquisitive as you are, you never asked me why, why I hold ghedli responsible for shaebia’s behavior the last 23 years. Ask me why, please.

      About learning from tegadelti, awate is 50 percent tegedalai (50 percent with passing knowledge of ghedli) why do you think I visit your website and read every article you publish, it is to learn. It is funny, every tegadalia, every ghedli romantic, when faced with 1991 follows 1990, resorts to the same tiring “you don’t know” crap. You claim you know what happens when you were in diapers; you named you website a person you never met but you tell me I don’t know the history that consumed literally half of the people I know throughout my life. Sadly, it is not just you, most ex-tegadelti and wannabe tegadelti resort to that when challenged about ghedli’s role in shaping shaebia rulers…the pfdjs do it, too.

      • Saleh Johar

        You are getting there Serray, but still some rough edges to work on. This time I will try to make it shorter if I can.

        Don’t you think your logic, if followed through to its natural conclusion would produce a horrible outcome, maybe racist? Let me explain. If you blame every attempt to break free from the shackles of occupation and oppression as producing agents of the horrible PFDJ brutes, then it follows: since the Gedli that produced the brutes was itself produced by the Eritrean society, therefore, the Eritrean society must be a deformed and deficient society devoid of any civility, order, compassion or honesty–some of the traits that describe the PFDJ. It is perfectly okay to reach to that conclusion, social critics do that all the time. Racists do that all the time. What follows this logic is worse: acceptance that blacks are inferior and must be subjugated. Women are subhuman and must be relegated to insignificance. Africans believe in brute force and that is how they should be ruled (this one courtesy of PFDJ) … it is a dangerous road Serray. You cannot stop at Gedli, you should also include the society that incubated Gedli. I believe, Gedli was the product of its times, of the prevailing sociopolitical realities. It was a product of a society that gave it what it can. The society and individuals who were part of it should own its positive and negative aspects. Also, you cannot blame an organization as if it is driven by leaders alone (there is your lack of knowledge, something you hate when it is pointed you) because an army of volunteers, rebel youngsters, cannot be run as corporation. It was not as disciplines as you make it seem (maybe the EPLF was) but chaotic, mutinous and at many times, unruly. The problems and transgressions were mostly carried out by the rank and file with determination, many confrontations were created by tall. It is not (at least in the ELF) that we were driven like cattle wherever the leaders ordered us to go. I can tell you tens of stories of insubordination that cost the fighting army dearly. So, you cannot delineate leadership vs rank and file that easily in the context of you argument. We were all in it. But that is a topic I am working on and pray it sees the light. Believe me, everyone of us has tones of misgivings, about the entire experience, that would relegate your criticism to a miniscule container in comparison. And certainly the perspectives might differ. You go as far as the 40s, I might go as far as the 19th century. You might blame the Gedli, I might see the cause in the feudal structure of Abyssinia, etc. I believe such undertaking is better left to a serious scholarship. My closing argument: Gedli was noble, it just produced a deformed clique and what produced this deformed clique is not as clear as you think it is, there are many theories advanced by different perspectives and from different segments of Eritrea. Let’s hope for a working academic institution and the necessary tools to embark on this topic and others in a more serious manner, not just hunches and intuitions followed by jabs. This is my final word on the topic. Serray, thank you for coming this far. Type your reply…

        • Serray

          Selamat Saleh and Sal,

          Saleh, I look forward to your next project. You are right, one of the difference between jebha and shaebia was the space jebha allowed the rank and file to air different opinions but what they share in common was the repercussion when they fell out of favor. Shaebia, specially after jebha, made not just airing but even thinking different a crime. That explains why over a hundred thousand tegadelti watch hopeless as their lives work is squandered by their leaders.

          Many things are offensive about the way shaebia rules eritrea; the greed, corruption, slavery, unbelievable incompetence, whorish diplomacy (they are peddling us to egypt now) and on and on. On top of my list is the disrespect they show to eritrean lives. Besides disappearing people, torturing people to death, refusing to tell families the death of loved ones for years after the war they ignited ended or even acknowledging the existence of POW in Djibouti, Yemen or God only knows where. A continuation of ghedli era breaking news, “we killed 500 enemy soldiers” and no word about our dead. Makes sense in medda but when imported to asmara, like many things shaebia brought from medda, is horrendous. Good luck finding this disrespect for the dead in our habesha culture.

          The reason I beg you to ask me why I hold ghedli responsible is because there are SPECIFIC things shaebia does that you can pin point to medda. The above is one example, here are more,

          Sawa (I seriously doubt that we will have slave camps if our fathers vote no during referendum)
          Obsession with ethiopia (understandable in medda but jarring in “free” eritrea)
          Monopolizing political space (what was their motto in medda, that medda eritrea can not accommodate more than on front)
          Monopolizing all economic power (the twin brother of the above) state capitalism at its worst
          Underground prisons, revolutionary justice, disrespect for the rule of law (some justification in medda but imported it to a free nation and you have hell on earth called eritrea
          Unaccountability (in medda, the fronts were not accountable to the eritrean people, only to their respective organizations. Shaebia brought it to asmera without making even the tiniest modification. The reason the dummy acts like an outside consultant. When he says nothing works, he is addressing (chastising) them not the people; that is why there is no apologies)
          Demonizing divergent voices and views (was bad in medda, it is worse in asmera)

          These are some of the things you can trace back directly to ghedli. There are many other maladies whose origins are medda. Sal, it is true that some of these are due to the movements communist leanings but that doesn’t change anything. It just means ghedli was dominated by marxism and it is this malaise that is being replicated in asmera. The woyanes were big fans of an extreme version of marxism in medda, albania, and yet they imported little of it to addis abeba. What makes shaebia rulers cruel beyond words is, for nothing more than insatiable greed for power, they imported a toxic existence needed to defeat a huge country on people who selflessly and courageously supported them.

          Finally, when you guys distort the criticism of ghedli by putting words into our mouths or coining phrases like “neo-andnet”, the unintended consequence is this unfocused and muddled way of fighting the regime. The most potent point yg makes is, the journey has become its own end. History has to sort out why but make no mistake, eritrea today resembles medda because shaebia rulers have brought ghedli era style of leadership to asmera. I can understand the bad taste it leaves associating ghedli with present day eritrea, but remember ghedli was never our choice, it was a brutal undertaking needed because a stupid old man decided, with no little help from our fathers, to abrogate a historic agreement. War is hell, ghedli was hell…in medda or asmera. You might say why approach it from ghedli perspective instead of simply saying pfdj is a brutal regime? Because the regime is trying to weave this ghedli imported existence into the core of our existence. If we don’t show our distaste of digging graves to silence the living, then digging graves will be part of any stupid government that follows.

          Is it me or the discussion on this thread is the best ever…Go hayat, Haile the Great, AT, amde and the rest. I am particularly enjoying the exchanges between Haile/hayat and Sal/Amde. Buried in these discussions are the blueprints of our future…AT, make sure to save them (in the cloud).

      • saay7

        Selamat Serray:

        If, by “Ghedli”, you mean the “Ghedli leadership”, why don’t you just say that? There is an entire website dedicated the the excesses of (SOME) of the Ghedli leadership: it is called EHREA: Eritrean Human Rights Electronic Archive (http://www.ehrea.org.) I don’t know a single of us “Ghedli romantics” who has complained about the website and many of us refer to it–sometimes with corrections, sometimes for insight.

        Your “ghedli culture” is a sloppy phrase, though not as sloppy as YG’s “ghedli generation.” YG’s phrase attacks people who died decades before Ghedli was conceived–it goes all the way back to the 1940s. It goes after people whose crime was to to have the vision that there was more to life than to being the subject of a medieval king and to use law and politics to advance their vision.

        The ghedli was, for most of its existence, a guerrilla movement waging an asymmetrical war against a formidable army. It was also, for much of its existence, a communist-oriented. Add the two together and you get a “ghedli culture.” This not only includes the obsession with secrecy, top-down hierarchy, and prioritizing the mission over everything that all guerrila/military organizations are known for; the distorted form of justice that all communist organizations are known for; but it also includes a whole lot of admirable traits that doesn’t make your definition because, well, it just ain’t convenient. These include heroism, volunteerism, generosity.

        Your arguments are their shakiest when you look at the current tyranny and say, well, they all are Ghedli veterans so it must be the Ghedli culture that formed them. This is shockingly illogical for a guy as smart as you. You remind me of the people who make the argument that because 90% of cocaine users started out with the gateway drug of marijuana, then marijuana is to blame for cocaine addiction. A clever man once countered, well, since 100% of cocaine users once drank their mother’s milk, mother’s milk should be banned. If you want to show a cause and effect from Ghedli to Isaias, you must show that all Tegadeli, all Ghedli leaders are as vile as him. You can’t. Not even close.

        saay

        • Dawit

          I love the debates. I am learning from both sides : the romantics (the ghedli way or no way), and the de-romantics (some of whom advocate the removal of gang style culture developed in ghedli and bring sanity to Eritreans :-). Gosh: I miss Nubur.

          Let me throw a monkey wrench into the Sal’s argument:

          Those attributes Sal is fond of mentioning when ever debating someone about ghedli are also found in criminal gangs. For example, once an individual becomes a member of a criminal gang, the member has to commit criminal acts such as murder, and theft in order to prove loyalty, ” heroism, volunteerism, dedication, stick-to-itness ” to his boss or the group.

  • Amanuel9

    Hey Saay,

    This time, it is uncharacteristic of you, to brush aside questions that drives our society into a mutual mistrust. If you are discounting PFDJ and Semere Tesfay’s arrogance (you know what he said) including the silent believers, you are dead wrong. Yes there hasn’t been honest negotiation so far. And there will be no honest negotiation as far as you have a dominant force who want only to be the dispenser of rights (small, big, whatever). I don’t think you miss this reality in the picture of Eritrean political landscape. Remember “abey keybtshu” a dismissive arrogant attitudes that floats everywhere. So what do you think why the opposition camp couldn’t have an honest negotiation? I hope you wouldn’t bounce the question back to me. It isn’t I don’t know the purpose of negotiations, but it is not reality in the characteristics of Eritrean politics. What do you think EPDP are always pulling from any negotiations? What do you think ELF and then EPLF had the policy, that the Eritrean politics can not handle more than one organization? Did you ever experience when mistrusts play in real round table political discussions? I do many times. I think we have to be real and serious in our discussions. That is what I could say.

    Amanuel Hidrat