Inform, Inspire, Embolden. Reconcile!

Is There a Silver Lining for Eritrea?

After living 25 plus years under a dictatorship, hope is one thing many Eritreans will find difficult to hang on to. The question in the title is therefore something that is already in the minds of many Eritreans.  Some have given up a long time ago and will answer categorically no. Others continue to hope and will answer in the affirmative. And there are always those who do not know what to think or may not care one way or the other.  The question must be confronted however because conditions in Eritrea remain as bleak as ever and keep getting worse.

A philosopher once mused:  “Life is a seesaw; one day up, the next day down, and the next day up again”.  Eritrea has seen no “ups” for a long time.  We just seem to be going down, down, and down again with no letup. Every time we start thinking we have reached a rock bottom, the dictatorship manages to prove us wrong.  Human rights abuses keep piling up every day and our youth keep fleeing the country at an alarmingly unprecedented numbers -depriving our country of its most vital resource.  Meanwhile, the regime, despite its glaring internal weaknesses, rules undisturbed while the opposition remains as disorganized and as weak as it has been for years. Can things get any worse?

I had hoped Eritrea would be spared the vicious cycles of endless corruption and instability that has plagued many a developing country in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. But if current trends hold, Eritrea is precariously leaning towards such a fate. If we don’t get our acts together expeditiously and if we remain as fragmented as we are today while we continue to make the same mistakes over and over again doggedly and egotistically clinging to old racial and religious prejudices, we will soon join those countries.

Never in my wildest nightmares did I ever imagine that we would be saddled with decades of domestic dictatorship right after independence. Nor did I ever think it possible that Eritreans would allow a dictatorship to rule them for so long!  A quarter of a century of domestic terror is – by any definition – quite a lengthy time.   A baby born at independence is a full adult today and may even be married with children. Time waits for no man…the clock ticks mercilessly and in less than five years – lo and behold – the years under dictatorship will have overtaken the years spent struggling for independence! What is even more worrisome is that the statuesque may continue long after the dictatorship has been dismantled which brings us to the topic.  Is there reason to hope things will improve in Eritrea?  Is there a silver lining for Eritrea?

How we answer the question will depend on our disposition because hope or the lack thereof is at its core a state of mind.  Optimists will always find something to hope for even in the gloomiest of circumstances while pessimists will remain despondent even in the best of circumstances.  In the case of Eritrea, pessimists will find plenty to justify their outlook including the ones I mentioned above and many more. They will therefore quickly conclude that there is no silver lining for Eritrea and will instead dream of bizarre solutions such as reuniting with Ethiopia or negotiating with the dictatorship on its terms.

On the other hand, optimists will note some positive developments such as the rapidly growing international awareness and condemnation of the dictatorship in Eritrea mainly due to the exodus of thousands of youth that are risking their lives to flee the country. Eritrea under Isaias’s regime has become a pariah country deservedly earning a nickname of “North Korea of Africa”. The optimist can also point to the explosive growth of dissenters inside and outside Eritrea.  It is clear now that the majority of Eritreans (both in Eritrea and in the Diaspora) abhor the regime.  The widespread corruption and brutality of the regime has produced disillusionment and disgust even in those who previously identified with it politically and culturally.  Only blind diehards whose interests are deeply intertwined with those of the regime continue to support it.

Another aspect that an optimist may see as an encouraging factor that can accelerate change is the dictator’s declining physical and mental condition.  Isaias who once seemed ageless is showing signs of age and disorientation. His wildly erratic and confused speeches and other behavioral anomalies may be signs of irreversible personality disorder.  His followers (and Eritreans in general) can see this for what it is which may eventually embolden them to revolt.  With him gone, democracy will not suddenly appear but the optimist can envision possibilities in such a situation.

Thus, optimists differ from pessimists in their range of vision.  While pessimists tend to see only the present or the recent past, optimists will include the future in their vision in addition to the present and the past. This difference of perception is not necessarily due to the optimist denying or discounting reality while his counterpart is not.  No.  In some instances, the optimist’s and the pessimist’s assessments of reality will be the same.  Note: for the purpose of this article, we are assuming that both are realists.  So they differ only in their interpretation of what they envision and in what they believe about the future.

Pessimists tend to look only at the present/past situation to predict the future.  They lack imagination and are unable to visualize a better future where such a situation can be reversed. This inevitably results in decline of morale and inaction and anything that leads to inaction regardless of how realistically based should be condemned.  The reason is simple.  Inaction turns a bad situation into a catastrophe and nothing sustains a dictator more than a people that is afraid or unwilling to act.

In contrast, the optimist learns from history and observation that perseverance and hope open doors (possibilities) where none seemed to exist.  As we alluded to earlier, the history of our armed struggle attests to this fact as does the history of the world in general.   But optimism is a powerful force only when it is based on facts or on correct assessment of reality and when it spurs us to action.  If our optimism is the result of ignoring or discounting real problems, it will cause more harm than good.  The wise optimist is one who is fully aware of all the obstacles he or she faces but nonetheless believes that there is always a way out, a way around, or a way over every difficulty.  Such an attitude in turn generates resourcefulness and ingenuity that in most cases overcomes difficulties that hitherto seemed insurmountable.  As Winston Churchill once put it:  a “pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Who is right, the optimist or the pessimist?  In a court of law, the pessimist will probably have a better chance of winning.  The judge could ask the Eritrean optimist: If the opposition hasn’t produced any tangible result in 25 plus years, what makes you think it will do so in the future?  The optimist will have no response that will convince the court.  This is not because the judge fails to realize things can change positively in the future but because he is required by law to use only current facts and recent past to render judgment.  If the same judge was to render verdict about the armed struggle for independence in its early years, he would likewise have ruled that Eritrea’s ragtag militia had no chance at all against the mammoth Ethiopian army.  But as we know from our experience, the feat was accomplished in 1991. Thus, present or past conditions are not always accurate predictors of the future.

The same holds true in our individual lives.  If we always look at our past or present weaknesses to judge our future potential, we will give up too quickly if things do not go our way at any particular stage in our life.  Take the case of a person who has been applying for jobs for a long time at many companies seeking employment and fails to procure a single positive result. If the job seeker only looks at what happened to him recently, he will conclude no company wants him and will lose all hope about the future and his attitude will be self-fulfilling.  But anyone who has gone through the ordeal of job hunting will tell you (and experts in the field concur) that such initial setbacks mean little and should not discourage us and that if we persevere, we will eventually land a job.

Just as the job seeker should continue to launch those resumes until he finds a job, so must nations struggle until they achieve freedom from tyranny.  Nations are nothing but a collection of individuals and are as strong or as weak as the individuals that comprise them.  

Alamin Abdelatif once sang:

Abay Abashaul lomi kderfela
Cherisa bkula keiferest kola

Today, it is not just Abashaul, all of Eritrea has been decimated – (ferisa bkula). But Eritrea is not dead – only badly damaged – and where there is life, there is always hope.  Sure, as itemized above, there are enough reasons to make us lose hope.   Our youth are fleeing the country in unprecedented numbers while our country disintegrates economically, socially, and politically, and in every other way.  The opposition has made no significant progress and our people are too fragmented to pay heed to the central struggle for freedom.   Furthermore, Eritreans continue to mistrust one another and to this day did not produce leaders that can inspire, motivate, and galvanize the masses.

All these are serious deficiencies no doubt. But to lose hope and to give in has always been easy.  Despair never achieves anything except to make a bad situation worse.  So let us “keep hope alive” while striving to make it happen. Let us revive our country by giving it what it desperately needs by uniting our forces against tyranny and against all forms of divisive and hate-filled propaganda.  Let us coalesce around good and decent leaders and InshAllah, Eritrea will rise again.

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  • Berhe Y

    Dear Horizon,

    Sorry in the delay responding.

    When i was commenting, I was responding in haste to Abi question why. Correct me if I am wrong but for as long as I remember, the majority of people in the opposition camp, I mean 99.9% never refer to the ERITREAN Defence Forces as PFDJ army/ enemy army etc. I read few news release from some opposition spokes person saying “we killed this many enemy army”, but it is really an exception, may be in the last 15 years, less than 10 as such reference.

    What this tells me, and I know a lot of family members who were part of the Sawa recruit and their thinking towards the army and the PFDJ ruling class. Off course there is abuse, there is torture, there is killing etc as reported by the COI, but I think it points to those in power than the army in general.

    I am not stating all of them are innocent, and I wasn’t commenting what will happen to them past the regime, but I hope justice will be served for the sake of the thousands victims.

    Based on information that I have, the cite pfdj group are less than 5000, those are the insiders who will die defending the regime. And this I think is a blessing for post pfdj Eritrea. The problem is we haven’t done good job identifying and documenting who these people are. At least we should start with the deck of cards, AT started but I think it got up to 10 or something.

    I don’t agree that if there is no solution that means the problem doesn’t exist. I think not all problems can have a solution, but that’s taking the argument too far. In our case I think we know what tre prinl is (a dictatorial government) and what a solutions should be (a government elected by the people).

    Berhe

  • Paulos

    Selamat Kalihari,

    I really doubt that you have been to Ethiopia or should I say recently simply because your reading is way off the mark. I think it was Saay who put it aptly when he said the Eritrean government for the last decade or so has been saying that TPLF is done in when Ethiopia is undergoing a massive facelift as in laying miles long railroads, freeways, manufacturing industries, higher learning institutions and booming construction in every major city of the country. More importantly, the regime is building political institutions which have withstood the recent social upheavals. One can hate TPLF till kingdom comes but the truth of the matter is it is doing something right. Sure enough corruption is rampant but again that is one of the pitfalls of capitalism particularly in a country like Ethiopia when it is trying to kill to birds with a single stone. Isaias Afwerki is bitter simply because he was defeated in Badime. He certainly can not get over that and sadly his vision if he had any at all has shifted from reconstructing or lifting Eritrea up to destroying TPLF. What is remarkable however is that in fact what is funny is that when you’re outsourcing Dehai and kiddy websites to Awate where the audience is left with a chuckle for the rest of the day.

    P.S. Your otherwise too courteous salutation seems to be out of sync with time zones when you say “Good afternoon” where at least in my part of the world is the dawn of a new day.

    • Kalihari Snake

      Greetings Paulos. A quick question and hopes for a clear non-gray Yes or No answer. Do you advocate for Eritrea’s union with Ethiopia?

      The reason that I am asking is that you seem to aspire to the reading and logic of YG.

      I was last in Ethiopia two weeks ago and what I have said is very much on the mark. Without doubt, the propaganda arms of both the EPLF and the TPLF have their extremes with both countries having tightly controlled media.

      I will not dispute that Ethiopia has undergone incredible economic growth and a construction boom over the past decade while Eritrea on the other hand looks frozen in time. The level of construction in Addis Ababa for example is incredible and the dust never seems settle. But at what at what cost and to whose benefit? Only time will tell if the State of Emergency in Ethiopia, which will likely be extended, will truly be able to sooth matters down. However, I fear not as the TPLF seems adamant on using force, instead of real and meaningful dialogue and negotiation, to resolve major issues of content.

      • Simon Kaleab

        Selam Kalihari,

        The people in both Ethiopia and Eritrea need some form firm hand to rule them. Do you seriously believe full blown Western democracy can be transplanted to these countries?

        On a different note, Isaias loves Asmara so much that he wants it to remain frozen in time just as he left it when he went to Ghedli in the 1960s.

        • Kalihari Snake

          Hi Simon Kaleab: No…full blown Western democracy will not work. However, after almost 26 years, one would have hoped that the EPLF and TPLF autocratic regimes would have morphed into a broader-based and more inclusive form of government with a major hint of democracy, such as ensuring that minority interests never prevail over the majority.

          • Abi

            Hi Snake
            Can you talk more about dabo and less about democracy?
            I’m kind of hungry.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Hi Abi. No problem. I can even slide an order of Teshomech kifo from Haya Hulet along with a cold Walia.

          • Abi

            Hi Snake
            You are killing me! I will bring Qocho. Can you bring it Meloti? Let’s enjoy it now before the Ethiopian explosion.

          • Dear Abi,

            This so – called ‘ethiopian implosion’ is like those religious sects (you must have a lot of them over there), who according to their prophecy the end of the world will come on a certain date, and on that day, they come together hug eachother and cry all day and night, until they see God’s sun shining again the next morning. Then they would say, oh dear, we made a mistake in our calculation. Next time we will have it right.

          • Abi

            Hi Horizon
            They made that calculation wrong in 1991. Believe I met enough zombies to scare the heck out of me. They never learn.

          • Thomas

            Hi Abi,

            You will never make sense to any eritrean if you are going try to undermine or insult Eritrea. Trust me, I understand you are being provoked to call us zombies and whatever insult you want to call us. It is not going to get through us because talk is just cheap. My friend Abi, I would never call Ethiopians Zombies because they bitterly fought and bleed for Ethiopia. If you could sympathize with us for what is happening to us by the people we trusted, you will make sense. However, attacking us for fighting those who came to take our land and invade our country is cruel. Just know we Eritreans are very happy that our land is free from the boots of ethiopian soldiers, but don’t confuse that we have home grown enemies we are working to get rid….. You can call us zombies for being silent while we are crushed by our current rulers. Just know our current tragedy will go away in no time. Mark my words on this!!

          • Fanti Ghana

            Selamat Kalihari Snake,

            “…one would have hoped that the EPLF and TPLF autocratic regimes would have morphed into broader-based and more inclusive forms of government with a major hint of democracy…”

            Undoubtedly, you and I are so brainwashed we are unable to see our regional politics in any other way except through PFDJ-TPLF lenses. We are a good match, so ዕጠቕ.

            What I see in Ethiopian politics today is precisely the “morphing” of an “autocratic regime” into a “more inclusive” form of government. Yes, it waited too long and it had to be forced to do so, but it is taking place and I have no doubt it will succeed. That is what my washed-out brain is telling me. PMHD sealed my fate a few days ago when he stated something to the effect of “EPRDF is inviting those legally operating opposition parties (at least 23 last count) for a discussion regarding how to work together on the areas they agree on and deal with the rest through discussion among one another and the public.”

            Now, let’s examine what your washed-out brain is telling you about the exact same event that took place in Ethiopian politics recently. “TPLF is dead,” “Ethiopia is imploding,” “Ethiopia’s dismemberment is eminent,” “Ethnic war is in the horizon…” I am sure you got a picture.

            Although based on the same event, why is what I see obviously in contrast with what you see? Since both of us can’t be right, let’s examine the remaining three possibilities:

            1. If we are both wrong then there won’t be democracy and there won’t be implosion, we both lose. We will talk after the next election.

            2. If you are right and I am wrong then you will have to explain the following; since it is a well known fact that PFDJ claims that the reason there is no peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea is TPLF, and TPLF is no more, why isn’t the peace process underway?

            [ 2a. If you need time to prove that TPLF is gone and peace with Ethiopia will take place soon, you are welcome to any amount of time you want as long as I have your consent to use that much time to prove to you there are no 48/50 ratio of generals in the EDF. ]

            3. If I am right and you are wrong the meeting between opposition and EPRDF will take place, we will have a chance to learn what direction we are heading, what those 23 opposition parties’ potential policies are, and eventually we will have a chance to vote. As far as the 48/50 generals is concerned, although seriously inaccurate ratio (G7 cooked and the snake mistook it for a rat), it is predominantly Tigrean nonetheless, so I will give you that since I am winning anyway.

            Now, shoot!

            PS:
            Please do not start with I am not PFDJ. If you do I will believe you, so no need. What matters is that your thinking is matching that of PFDJ’s like a silk glove. At least I am aware of my sickness, and it is time for you to do the same.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Fanti Ghana. You are wrongly leading this discussion as contrary to what you have stated, I have never said that the TPLF is dead, that Ethiopia is imploding, that Ethiopia dismemberment is eminent, or that Ethnic war is on the horizon. What I have said is that the implosion of Ethiopia is a real possibility at this time. In regards to the TPLF it is hardly dead as it still controls military command (48 or Ethiopia’s 50 Generals are from Tigray) and all key ministerial, and security & intelligence posts, are occupied by Tigrayans.

            You mention that tat PMHD sealed your fate a few days ago when he stated something to the effect of “EPRDF is inviting those legally operating opposition parties (at least 23 last count) for a discussion regarding how to work together on the areas they agree on and deal with the rest through discussion among one another and the public.” That is really a parody as the TPLF has sole determination of who is a “legally” operating opposition party and most real heads of opposition parties are still imprisoned.

            I will believe that positive change is really taking place in Ethiopia when I see a significantly improvement in military command parity in terms of more ethnic diversity and representation.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Kalihari,

            Fair enough, I mostly read under time pressure, so it is possible that I miss read you because I saw lots of “Ethiopia” and “implosion” in many of your recent takes. Let’s then concentrate on your last sentence which is related to the “48 generals out of 50 are Tigreans” claim.

            The following data may not be 100%, but it is close enough.
            Region 1997 —- 2011
            Amhara: 25,111 —- 30,343
            Oromiya: 21,357 —- 25,205
            SNNP: 9,800 —- 22,842
            Tigray: 39,896 —- 18,580
            Afar: 0,963 —- 0,449
            Somali: 2,361 —- 1,289
            Gambella: 0,002 —- 0,020
            Harari: 0,030 —- 0,013
            Benshangul: 0,480 —- 1,259

            Then in September of 2012 the following promotions took place (it was on national TV):

            Major Generals
            1. Hasan Ibrahim
            2. Mehari Zewede
            3. Mesele Belete

            Brigadier Generals
            1. Abel Ayele
            2. Aberha Aregay
            3. Abrha Tesfay
            4. Achalu Sheleme
            5. Asefa Biru
            6. Askale Berhane
            7. Asrat Donoyero
            8. Ataklti Berhe
            9. Degfi Bidi
            10. Deriba Mekonen
            11. Desta Abchi
            12. Dubale Abdi
            13. Fesha Kidanemariam
            14. Fesiha Beyene
            15. Gebremedhin Fekadu
            16. Gebrkidan Gebremariam
            17. Gebru Gebremichale
            18. Guesh Tsegeie
            19. Halefom Ejegu
            20. Kedir Ararsa
            21. Kumera Negari
            22. Kumsa Shanko
            23. Másho Hagos
            24. Meshesha Gebremichale
            25. Mulu Germay
            26. Shuma Abdeta
            27. Tarekegn Kasahun
            28. Tegabu Yilma
            29. Woldgebriel Babi
            30. Yayne Seyoum
            31. Yemane Mulu
            32. Yemer Mekonen
            33. Yibrah Zerihun
            34. Zewedu Belay

            Can you see at least three non-Tigreans in this list?

            While keeping in mind how this government came to power, does the combination of these two lists indicate a decreasing number of Tigreans or increasing?

            Of course, these things don’t happen over night, so can you at least keep an open mind until that “significant improvement” you hope for?

          • Kalihari Snake

            Hi Fanti Ghana: You need to look at Generals (and even sometimes Colonels) that are in divisional command positions and not those with token appointments/promotions. Over 93% of all ‘key’ military positions in the Ethiopian National Defense Forces are occupied by ethnic Tigrayans, far in excess of their 6% representation among the Ethiopian population. Also to mention that you can go into any high meeting with any Regional President (i.e. Beneshengul-Gumuz) and there will always be always be a Tigray ‘minder’ who is actually a security whip attending. If Ethiopia were really serious about bringing about more inclusive and fair governance, they would call for early general elections instead of waiting until 2020 as everyone knows that the 2015 general elections were a farce.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Kalihari,

            Don’t you think that the contribution of Tigrayans in the struggle against the evil Derg was also disproportionately higher compared to the size of their population?

          • Kalihari Snake

            Hi Simon Kaleab: Yes I do. But, we are now almost 26 years down the line and there is no reason for the TPLF to still have almost total control of military, intelligence and security apparatuses and to economically rape non-Tigray regions of Ethiopia.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Kalihari,

            Having lived in Ethiopia for many years and with all of the major ethnic groups, I testify that the Tigrayans are hated mainly because of their ethnicity. They were disliked even before they came power.

            The Oromos are perpetual underachievers and moaners, who will never be satisfied with anything. They are invaders from the South, not originally from the areas they occupy now. Their contribution towards the struggle against the evil Derg, in comparison to their much trumpeted population size, is null, zilch, nada.

            The Amharas, over the years, have proved to be inept, all talk and brag.

            Having said the above, both the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia require a firm hand, to prevent them from self-harming, but with a benevolent touch.

          • Amde

            Selam Simon,

            jeez… is there anybody you like?

            Amde

          • Abi

            Amdachin
            He likes nobody at all.
            A typical Kebesa. A unique one. Definitely advocate of Agazian Nation.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Abi,

            Stop and think. You should be grateful for being freed from two inhuman regimes.

          • Abi

            Hi Simon
            I am always grateful. Thanks.
            Free at Last!! Just like MLK said it.
            When are you going to free yourself? 3017? 4017?

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Abi,

            Leave our freedom to us, you can do nothing about it. Your track record shows that you are only talk and hypocrisy.

            But still, the fact remains, you have been freed twice.

          • Abi

            Hi Simon
            Short term memory lose? We have always been free unlike some colonized African countries who brag Day and Night about colonial legacy.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Abi,

            Lack of freedom does not occur under Colonialism alone.

            In feudal Ethiopia, the Monarchy and the Aristocracy were free to practice serfdom and slavery .

            In Tej Bet Socialist Derg time, Menghistu and his loyal bodyguards [from the Harar 3rd Division] were free to kill and rob.

            Were you free during those times?

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Abi (GMT+3) Ethiopia has not been colonized? Ethiopia has over the past 20 years been a subject to continual Indian, Chinese and Saudi Arabian colonialization (among others). You should read articles by Bwegise bra Mwesigire where he asserts that land grabbing in Africa is the new form of Colonialism and that land grabbing is “the silent recolonization of Africa happening on a mass scale. … Land is the source of life and death, but it might not always be with us.”

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Amde,

            Is that your best comment?

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Fanti Ghana
            Where are you going with this list? You hit the wall already. As far as I’m concerned there should be only 3 Tigreans in the list you proudly provided. It is embarrassing to say the least. I don’t see any progress through this list. Try again.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Abisha,

            All I needed was at least three non-Tigreans.

            When Kalihari repeatedly claims either that there are 50 generals and 48 of them are TPLF, or 96% of the generals are TPLF, depending whichever way he means it, All I had to do was either find 3 Non-TPLF generals or bring the most current list and calculate the percentage.

            It was an integrity test. I still had a 2013, 2015, and 2016 list which I was going to list depending which way the conversation goes, but it looks like I don’t need it.

            There is no doubt about the unfair proportion of Tigreans in the army, which EPRDF explains every now and then why that is, but the point was whether there is any progress being made or not.
            Every time there is a promotion of high military officials, it takes place in public and it is always televised.

            As far you are concerned I won’t even argue if there are 0 Tigreans in the entire military let alone 3 generals. What really matters is that for a government that took power by force, is it heading the right direction or not.

          • Abi

            Hi Fantish
            I got it. Of course there should be at least one Tigrean General in the country. Otherwise who is going to command the Navy?
            Now back to our friend Mr Snake. Whether there is progress or not in TPLF led Ethiopia, he has to find something to belittle it. There is an Amharic saying that describe him perfectly.
            ” ቢያምርም ጠላሁት አለች ኩርፋዲት!”

      • Paulos

        Selam Kalihari,

        To answer your question I personally do not aspire (to use your own words) to see Eritrea re-united with Ethiopia. Absolutely not!

        • Kalihari Snake

          Greetings Paulos. Thanks for the clear answer!

  • Abraham H.

    Selam Awatistas, I’ve a questiion for which i’m sure almost all Eritreans would like to find the answer. Let’s say DIA dies tomorrow, what do you think would happen in Eritrea? Would the internal situation of the country be the same as today? Would there be any smooth transfer of power to someone else? Would the policies of the regime stay as they are today? Would the regime keep on the same path of sealing the country from the outside world? What about the status of the border issue; would the regime look for other practical measures, instead of hard-neckedly insisting on ‘final and binding’, and no talk whatsoever? I’m personally strongly convinced though there is a well organized sytem of security in the country, all this is in place to protect the dictator; once the dictator is gone, there is no one there to protect. It is like DIA is the architect and the ‘glue’ that is holding and enforcing the repressive regime, and the regime is at his disposal and pesrsonal service.
    PS. this question may seem hypothetical, but folks, this is not a far-fetched scenario, we are talking about someone in his 70’s, and death can happen to anyone anytime.

    • Amde

      Selam Abraham H,

      My thoughts are that though Isaias is the architect, manager and ultimate beneficiary of the system, there is a system nonetheless. This system rewards a number of powerful persons and groups with power and money. This system has not only survived but figured out a way to thrive in the face of international isolation and domestic popular hostility. That is a formidable skill set.

      Would the generals or PFDJ companies want to give up their preferential position within the country’s economy just because Isaias croaks? What does Isaias bring to the table in the actual running/managing of PFDJ companies – foreign and domestic? He provides political cover – and that is it.

      And just how much change has there been in the seniormost ranks of the country’s party and military ranks? I don’t think there has been much change for years now. A typical dictator worth his salt usually keeps revolving and rotating people just to make sure nobody gets comfortable and start plotting things. Not so in Eritrea. So there is a team that has worked together for years. And there is a younger team behind them overseeing the nuts and bolts.

      Probably the likely analogy might be what happened when Brezhnev died. Other octogenarians in the Politburo got to taste the top job until they passed on a year or so later. Fundamentally, I see no reason why the people currently at the top want anything to change. So, they will make Isaias into a mythological figure, and try out a few public faces until they find one that works.

      A country that has no internal insurrection, with a formidable repressive control mechanism, in a politically convenient military standoff with neighbors, with the state having access to revenue not through taxing the economic activity of its citizens but selling commodities mined at slave labor wages or mercenarying its people. North Korea has managed to transition not once but twice from absolute dictator to absolute dictator and shows no sign of stopping. The record of transition from a dictatorship to a “normal” condition is rather paltry in Africa. This is Eritrea’s likely post-Isaias fate. At least in the immediate five years.

      The current group has a few cards that appear to work for it, and luckily for them these are cards that don’t have evident expiry dates. Domestically, accusation of consorting with Ethiopia is still potent enough that it tamps down popular support for insurrection. The Iran vs Arab world war and other regional issues allow the regime to find sides to play around with. The mining sector can continue to provide cash to the regime from a few physically well controllable locations with relatively small labor force. Not perfect – but good enough if regime survival is the goal.

      With a few mollifying adjustments to the public, I would say it is likely the PFDJ system can and most likely will survive the death of Isaias. Will it be a PFDJ that will prove more amenable to reform and engagement? I guess we will have to see – but it will have some formidable elements who have something to lose and nothing to gain. What will the party gain by potentially losing its monopolistic position? What will the generals gain by a peace with Ethiopia that will significantly cut into their reasons for access to rank/budget/access?

      Here endeth the prognostication. Would be neat to see how wrong it will prove to be.

      Amde

      • Fanti Ghana

        Hello Sir Amde,

        I admire your talent of capturing the essence of a political situation so well. I have been thinking for a while along your line of “What will the generals gain by a peace with Ethiopia…,” but I was hoping that won’t be the case. To rule out an infighting in the event of his sudden death, Isaias may even have lined up the top ranks into their proper positions already. As long as Eritreans remain divided, PFDJ is safe for the foreseeable future.

        • Amde

          Selam Dottore Fanti Ghana,

          Isaias going for medical treatment in Israel or wherever has been a staple of the region’s political news for decades now. That must be very well factored by now, if not formally by him, then informally by the people around him. The recent stability of the innermost circle speaks volumes.

          Amde

      • Simon Kaleab

        Selam Amde,

        You did not consider the rivalry and absence of an undisputed figure among the generals. Do you know who is who and what their power base is? How is someone going to enforce their will without a reliable instrument of coercion at their disposal? Furthermore, you ignored the ethnic, regional and religious dimension in the country.

        You have made too many unrealistic assumptions.

        • Amde

          Selam Simon,

          That may be so. But perhaps you are discounting the power of “good enough”.

          Which one of the following is most correct about Isaias?

          Isaias is the ultimate unquestioned dictator, able to enforce his will on everyone and everywhere?
          Isaias is the balancing card at the top of the Eritrean system, the figure most able to maintain balance among the different factions ad power centers?

          The former points to an autocracy. The latter implies a system. I would say your very question suggests you believe there is a system, with an architecture that requires a balancing mechanism/personality.

          I tend to agree with that.

          The question then is, are the components of the said system willing to risk what they already have to have it all? That is what I mean with the power of good enough.

          The system has currently been able to ‘successfully’ manage the “ethnic, regional and religious dimensions”. The risks you have pointed out are of rivalry within the system’s components. But what the relative stability at the top suggests to me at least is that the rivalry may have been found to be an addressable issue. Besides, Isaias’ mortality has been a very well anticipated factor for years – compare that to Melles’ sudden departure.

          Would love to hear your input as to why you think a post Isaias Eritrea automatically means chaos.

          Amde

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Amde,

            I am not in the business of speculation. I am only saying that one needs more information about the configuration of forces.

          • Amde

            Selam Simon,

            I got no problem with that. But nothing spells idle speculation more than an internet forum with anonymous nicks.

            But in all seriousness, have you heard of emergent phenomena? Apparently, the wisdom of crowds is a real thing. So you can throw your bit in and see if it makes sense to the rest of the crowd. The days of keeping quiet so as to not air dirty laundry are long gone.

            So having said that, perhaps you may choose to elaborate on what my assessment is missing?

            Amde

      • Dear Amde,

        In case of a sudden demise of the despot or his sudden disability, radical change from within the pfdj should not be expected, because it is equivalent to condemning the policy of their strongman and that of their own, which they supported and to which they were a part.

        I believe that without the ethiopian factor, they cannot have a free ride in the eritrean political landscape, and most probably, the new government’s policy towards ethiopia will remain the same. Otherwise, there will be questions like, why so much sacrifice before they did the obvious?

        Look at what happened in egypt. A military dictatorship that was deposed, only to be replaced by another military dictatorship, is a classic picture of dictatorial regimes in africa. Power could not be left to get out of the grip of the military, which has a vast political power and equally vast economic interest. With a civilian government, the loss to the military elites of egypt would have been tremendous on all aspects. Similarly, higher echelons of the pfdj have a similar viewpoint and interests, that power should remain in their hands. Moreover, they would not dare weaken themselves by turning against each other, and thus fall into the hands of a progressive eritrean government, which will demand justice to be done, for all the crimes the eritrean people has suffered.

        If dia lives long, then he will be another mugabe or an old man suffering from dementia, surrounded by courtiers who will carry out the daily businesses as usual.

        In the long run all the able-bodied citizens would have left the country and then nobody would care who is in power. Unfortunately, this is the way eritreans have chosen to resist the regime, at least up to now, by getting as far away as possible.

        The third scenario is that a group of patriotic young military officers carry out a sudden and a quick coup d’etat, incarcerate all the old guard and declare a new government. This I think is the only way to save eritrea. Constitution, democratic procedures and changing the regime through the ballot box, etc, are simply out of the question.

        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam Horizon,

          How young are the “patriotic young military officers”?

          You need to have a deeper knowledge of Eritrean society and the PFDJ power structure to make a proper assessment.

          • Dear Simon Kaleab,

            supposing that i say, from a major downwards, those who are under the age of 45. in addition, those who have not come through gedli, so that they would not see power as their natural right, because they believe that they brought eritrean independence.
            would that do, or are you saying that the military is under the full control of the pfdj that there is no chance that anybody would ever dare stand against it. or, the military and the pfdj regime are the same, and pfdj will rule for a hundred years without any problem? moreover, do you want to say that the eritrean society supports fully the regime in asmara with no complaints at all? you should have explained a little more so that we could understand.

          • Abi

            Hi Horizon
            I’m disappointed!
            Gedli is Eritrea, Eritrea is Gedli. You have not been following class lately.
            I met an eighteen years old zombie recently who just arrived from Addis .
            He started his journey from Asmara through mekele to Addis. He left the refugee camp because a Tigry family sponsored him. After about 6 months in mekele he moved to Addis to process his papers which took some time. He learned some Amharic in the process.
            Long history short, his contempt to the people of Tigry is out of this world. He call them Agames. There is life size picture of IA in the hallway of their living room . The love of his family including himself to PIA is scary. They swear by his name.
            You don’t know Eritreans at all. He is protected by layers of sympathizing zombies.

          • Dear Abi,
            it is indeed scary if the problem is generational. i thought that it was the gedli mindset that is at fault. if the young generation is no different, then, it is a big disappointment, and i accept that i have a lot to learn.
            thanks.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Horizon,

            The Ghedli sacrifice liberated you from the inept and barbaric Derg. Are you still unhappy?

          • Abi

            Hi Simon
            Waiting to see whose sacrifice will be liberating you?

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Abi,

            I am talking about a fact what has already happened. Are you still unhappy?

          • Abi

            Hi Simon
            I’m extremely happy.
            Thanks

          • Abi

            Hi Horizon
            No No No
            You got a lot to unlearn. I’m giving free online tutorials. Register online, take classes at your convenience.
            I went to a house party some time ago when this zombie arrived at Mekele. ( I’ve told this story before). The first thing you notice in the house is the picture of IA. Imagine this guy went through hell to avoid IA. Guess what? The first thing he did was participate in the PFDJ organized dance party.
            It is sickening to say the least. The family proudly tell you they never miss paying the 2%.
            Don’t get me started on their hate towards Woyane.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Abi,

            This sounds like a made up story. Last time, you admitted being a staunch royalist. Royalist are known for worshipping kings and queens as if they are divine.

            In Eritrean traditional societies leaders are chosen by consensus; and these leaders have no absolute authority. Are you trying to project your royalist behaviour on Eritreans?

          • Abi

            Hi Simon
            A royalist? Hahahaha
            I think you believed me when I told you The King was my great grandfather. And all the bombastic names I mentioned are all fake names. I never expected you to take it as a truth. You asked me if I’m a royalist and I played along. That is it.
            Didn’t I tell you about my father who never had a decent meal or bed until he joined Hailesilassie I university ? There you go! That is my connection to the royal family.

          • sara

            Hi Mr Abi
            Not good not right comment, and hope our wise elders of awate to have their say.

          • Abi

            Hi sara
            Which part you did not like? You can find hundreds of thousands of his kind all over the world.

          • MS

            Hey General abi
            You wrote “You don’t know Eritreans at all”
            The Vet is getting really…really…really agitated. You are in a website and welcomed in a community that makes its common factor the opposition to IA, a community that selected an Ethiopian Awatista of the year, and yet, you generalize us in the views of one person? I know the moderator is on strike for not getting paid, so it’s advised that we police our behavior.

          • Abi

            Hi Vet
            You are the last person I want to agitate.
            Well, if I generalize may be I learned a bad habit from some veterans.
            Is it not puzzle of the century why Eritreans leave their country through unbelievable situations and yet support their government? Didn’t we ask ourselves why? Why? Why ?….a million times?
            I’m not talking about one zombie here. I’m talking about hundreds of thousands of them.
            Vet, I talk to many Eritreans from doctors to parking lot attendants. The one common thing I found is there unwavering support to IA. I’ve talked to a former Tegadalay who made it to deputy minister before he was frozen. He still thinks IA is innocent. It is the “others” who are responsible for whatever is happening in Eritrea.
            The most unbelievable thing I saw was when I went to visit a family just after the Mediterranean boat incident where over 300 Eritreans lost their lives.
            There were two framed pictures on the wall. One was the photo of the deceased. I let you guess the other photo on the wall. Hint: it is not a picture of an angel .

            Vet, when I said ” you don’t know Eritreans “, I was not speaking of Awatistas. I know you very well.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Abi,

            Down here in Canada, we really do not understand why Americans vote someone like Trump or the republican party, why Americans need to bear arms, why Americans do not want Universal health care for everyone, why Americans believe anything that comes out of Fox news. You can ask any Canadian, and people really scratch their head in disbelieve.

            To me, I think the number of Eritreans you are describing are probably less that 1%, I don’t know anyone here in Canada who support Isayas and sympathize with the victims of lampadusa or if they are, they are just playing a game.

            I know one family friend who supports Isayas Afeworki but and EPLF but that’s how far he can go. He despises TPLF but not the Tigray people or the Ethiopian people.

            I don’t know may be where you are, like Washington DC, those Eritreans are affected by the similar propaganda that affects Americans.

            Other than that, I think you are exaggerating too much. Please remember celebrating Eritrean independence is not necessary mean supporting PFDJ.

            One more thing, the PFDJ/ EPLF know how to organize parties and I think the thousands people that you see dancing in the party organized by the PFDJ are not supporters of the regime. I can tell you in Toronto, where the number of Eritreans can be counted in 10,000, there are less than 300 active PFDJ carrying card members (and those were members) before the political crisis started in 2001. There are some yPFDJ but, they almost do not exist.

            Please do not be surprised by the lack of progress in toppling the dictatorial regime of IA. Dictators know how to protect their system and there are many others who went through the same thing that Eritreans find themselves.

            You ask why? it’s simple, Eritreans do not want to bear arms and kill another Eritrean. Almost all Eritreans (those opposed to the regime) the one thing they agree is that, they do NOT see the Eritrean army as an Enemy army, but made up of people who are forced to be in the army. They know the army are trapped just like they were.

            Berhe

          • MS

            Selam abi
            BerheY gave some of the reasons as to why things appear the way you seem to see them. I may add, and this requires that you tell the truth. May be abi you are from DemHit or the G7 guys, because they tend to stick with IA admirers. If the chance of you picking IA admirers from your “random” sample is that great, it just says you are sticking with a group that has the same viewpoint. Joke aside, you are mixing Eritreans’ love of their country with the love of PFDJ………..JUST THINKING, may be!!?? I tell you, you let our daughter tell you which is which. Just listen to her.

          • Abi

            Vet
            I’ve been listening to your daughter for quarter of a century.
            In my household her words are final.

            Berhe Hawey
            You said out of roughly 10,000 Eritreans there are about 300 card carrying PFDJ members. Extremely encouraging numbers for an opposition parties. However, how many of these 10,000 strong Eritreans are openly card carrying members of the ever increasing opposition parties?

            I don’t know how you see things but it always baffles me why a single person goes to PFDJ organized parties. The reason of the party is not important here. It can be Independence Day party. You go there on your own free will. Abstaining is one way of opposing PFDJ unless you want the government to show your guayla on EriTv and show the captive audience how much support it has among the diaspora. The least you could do is show your solidarity to your people back home by staying away from this dankiras and not to be used as a propaganda material.
            Berhe Hawey, I did not ask why Eritreans don’t pick up arms? No Sir! I don’t ask that kind of question. That is so last century.
            One thing I suspect is Eritreans don’t show their disappointment for an outsider like me.

      • Legacy

        Hi Amde,
        Your observation on a precedence for a transfer of dictatorialship from one generation to another. You mentioned NK which I think is interesting. Because , it appears , at least to me,that everyone is waiting it out for IA but what follows might not be necessarily any better.

        So, my Q for you is: Does the NK experience makes it an outlier because of the bloodline lineage ? I was thinking the Kazakhstan experience might also be another one to draw parallel.

        This makes me wonder why Abesha strongmen are not big on grooming family member for an heir apparent. None- even during the Kings era. Any thought?

        • Amde

          Selam YotyTopy/Legacy

          (I dont know why you needed to change your nick.. I really liked YotyTopy)

          You threw in a good question. Let me start with the last comment about Abesha strongmen. I think in general, their reigns were not stable long enough for them to pass to their bloodline. Melles died too young. Mengistu pretty much lost his in his prime (mid-early 50s I think) and his kids were barely out of high school. HaileSellasie had a not so good relationship with his Crown Prince. AsfaWossen was till the end the formal Crown Prince, but in HaileSellasie’s waning years, it was his eldest daughter TenagneWerq who was running the kitchen cabinet. Empress Zewditu and Lij Eyasu – Menelik’s direct bloodline – were ultimately outplayed by Ras Teferi. Menelik was rumored to have been dead for years before the official funeral, with Empress Tayitu running the show. And before that, you had Emperors TekleGiorgis, Yohannes and Tewodros, each of whom won the throne through arms and lost it the same way.

          It really points to PM Hailemariam’s succession, and (if we are to believe Berhe’s note about Isaias grooming his son) Isaias’ plans as relatively unique political events in recent Abesha history. A monarchic succession ( which I would classify a father to son transition to be). And a (quasi)peaceful transfer of power – PM Hailemariam did not get to his chair while his predecessor was still alive so that line has yet to be crossed. Quite interesting to think that BOTH would be noteworthy because of their rarity.

          It does seem to point to some cultural or institutional weaknesses. Or strengths. After all, a repeated inability of a series of strong men to successfully pass the torch implies loyalty is historically just to the man and not the office per se or his progeny. One way of thinking about it is to say we suck at building enduring institutions. Another way is to say there is perhaps an unspoken acceptance of/submission to ONLY merit in the acquisition and exercise of power. I am not saying statesmanship or popularity or morality mind you.

          If you consider the rather common phenomenon of political families/dynasties even in democracies, it appears that NK is not unique. It is just a weird system. Consider South Korea, where the current President is a daughter of an ex-President. Or the Philipines of Corazon and Benigno Aquino. Or the Bush or Kennedy clans. There is a reason there are political families and it must be because they have figured out the really useful tools and levers for a particular political system.

          What do you think?

          Amde

          • Legacy

            Hi Amde,

            That makes two of us on the nick 🙂

            It is even staggering when you recap the past century and half record of the country. Pretty much spot on your analysis as always. It is really one of the most patriarchal society that I know. The father-son power relationship dynamics at the family level might shed some insight in to these patterns. Emperor Menilk could have prepared his son way before his demise but I am sure like most families , he probably didn’t have a close relationship.

      • Berhe Y

        Dear Amde,

        I think you make logical sense. I had fact but I thought Eritrea next tradition will that of Syria / NK. I am convinced that IA will pass on to his son, which he has been introduced to the public and he is within the army.

        And recently I have learned from a defected security intelligence from his pal talk, he indicated there are a core group within the regime who are organized based on their villages. He called them, he also used to belong to them, deki Karnishm and kebabi Asmara. He said these are the people in all aspect of the military base and like you said, they will defende the regime (if true) to the end.

        Berhe

  • Amde

    Selam Kalihari,

    “….and he told me that I would need to speak to PIA. I didn’t take the matter any further. …”

    Why not?!?

    You were soooo clooose. I feel you could redo your report as one of those jokes that build you up but ends with a surprise twist… You left me hangin’ dude.

    Amde

    • Kalihari Snake

      Good afternoon Amde: I am not a big investor, at least not in the likes of large mining companies, and it somehow did not feel right in approaching PIA over a small scale investment.

      • Amde

        Selam Kalihari,

        But you shortchange yourself. The system logically determined your investment is worthy of Presidential purview but you cruelly denied Wedi-Afom a chance at demonstrating his investment assessment savvy.

        Plus, you yourself said you travel to both Ethiopia and Eritrea on a regular basis, and you sound like you could be the perfect go-between should Kim Jong Un decide he is not interested.

        Give it a try. Maybe you are the impasse buster you are waiting for.

        Amde

        • Saleh Johar

          Hi Abi,
          They say, some entities are better kept as enemies than friends…, or something like that.

          • Amde

            Selam Saleh,

            Isaias is like the Merchant of Venice. It is not settlement of accounts he wants, but the pound of flesh which he assumes will either kill or grievously injure the other party. There is absolutely no fear of reconciliation. Yes – it is a strange sentence to string together but it is true.

            Besides, Ethiopia’s ruling system is in turmoil, and the new PM probably has never fired an AK47 in his life, so Isaias’ gargantuan ego presumes the Ethiopians should come crawling back to his guerilla greatness.

            The whole investment vetting at the palace thing is an amusing anecdote worthy of a comedy centered around a banana republic. Just imagine reading Kalahari’s observation with some comedic soundtrack running in the background. It is only Kalahari’s sense of decorum and perspective that stopped this movie short, but otherwise there would be a scene of Isaias asking for his quid.

            Amde

          • Paulos

            Hey Amde,

            Your command of the English language is absolutely brilliant!

          • saay7

            Amde the Pillar:

            I believe you mean Shylock, the money lender, and not the merchant in The Merchant of Venice. Here’s WHY Isaias would see the comparison with Shylock as flattering:

            * a merchant signs a contract (final and binding) with Shylock: if I don’t pay you the money I owe you in 2 months, you can extract a pound of flesh. He made the bet because he was sure he would win I mean he was sure he would be able to repay. When he couldn’t pay and Shylock just wants to enforce the contract, the merchant renegs

            * not only renegs but enlists the elite of the town of Venice (the UN) to support the violation of the contract;

            * some of the conditions they come up with are “sure you can extract a pound of flesh but you can’t shed blood in the process” (Five Point Plan to Amend Algiers Agreement Without Amending it;

            * the town is hostile to Shylock simply because he is a Jew (just like they hate Eritrea for charting an independent political path)

            * in the end, they force him to convert to Christianity (engagement)

            * Shylock is famous for his line “if you prick me, do I not bleed?” And Isaias….nah, I got nothing 😂

            saay

          • Amde

            Selam Saay,

            And of course you are right. It was Shylock I meant. Who knew Shakespeare sipped tea at Zalambessa?

            You gave me reason to review the Merchant of Venice. Your summary of Isaias is spot on.

            Now then, perhaps you can flesh out (geddit?) this exposition by relating how the obstinate desire for the pound of flesh ended for Shylock. Shylock loses his land, his daughter, his identity. He gets to keep his treasure only on the condition he plays nice with the neighborhood.

            Badme or Bust.. coming to a theatrical stage near you.

            Amde

          • saay7

            Hey Amde,

            I could I would, even would do next comparison with the next Shakespeare guy, King Lear. However, though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak 🙂

            Saay

          • Abi

            Selam AmdeBirhan/ የመብራት ምሰሶ/ Light Post.
            You can tell how close Mr Snake is to PIA. One has to wonder why he frequently goes to Addis. May be PIA advised him to invest in Ethiopia.

          • GitSAtSE

            Selamat Abi,

            You are a lot like Sandra Bullock’s character in Miss Congeniality2… “Armed and Fabulous”.
            Why not enter a beauty contest for Quintessential Ethiopian of the Millenium?
            tSAtSE

          • Dear Abi,

            One of the reasons dia and the pfdj are adamantly opposed to any ethio – Eritrean rapprochement and cooperation is that if allowed to invest, eritreans would rather choose to invest in ethiopia, where there is the big market. In addition, tariffs and transportation expenses added to the cost of production, eritrean producers would find it difficult to compete in the ethiopian market with local producers. Therefore, they would be forced to move to where they can make a profit. It is said that capital has no country. The result, a globalized world, loved by big investors and hated by the working class, especially in the west.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Horizon: I believe that you are living a much TPLF scripted life. Much ado with Ethiopia’s current State of Emergency lies within its investment policy and corruption thereto, wherein people from Tigray have taken advantage of their political and military connections to grab land in other regions and not in Tigray region. While big foreign land grabbing incidents (i.e. Indian investors) garner most of the headlines, discontent in Oromia, SNNPR, Amhara and Benishengul-Gumuz regions has been brewing for long as locals have been seeing people from Tigray swoop up tracks of land ranging from 300-to-4,000 hectares and then do absolutely nothing with the land. Instead, they have been taking the investment license under which land has been grabbed and using it as collateral to secure loans from the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia to use for purchase of Addis Ababa real estate or to use for PLC ventures. If clear and secured avenues, with normally afforded guarantees were available in Eritrea, I would immediately invest there.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Kalihari Snake,

            I am Tigrean. I would like to swoop a piece of land, preferably near Gonder next to Abi’s house. Can you share a little secret about how I should go about it? I have several high-positioned relatives; if that will help. Thanks.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Fanti Ghana. LOL. Not sure that Gondar is the best place these days to use your Tigray connections. I am told that most Tigray people that were in Gondar have left or have been forced to leave. Also to mention that I know many people from Tigray that have not benefitted from being Tigray.

          • Dear Kalihari Snake.

            The recent crisis and the resultant state of emergency were temporary drawbacks. The ethiopian government is forced to correct the grievances of citizens, if it wants to move forward, or even continue to exist. Despite this, fdi is continuing to come into the country.
            As much as corruption is concerned, it does not affect only members of the tplf, but others too. Otherwise, they would not have dared to be corrupt, at least under today’s circumstances. The mistake that eritreans make is that when they speak of ethiopia, their point of reference is always tplf/woyane, as if they are the only movers and shakers of everything that happens in ethiopia, and the remaining 95m are impotent. That is a big mistake. It is the same mistake they make with dia; that the situation in eritrea is the result of a one-man show, forgetful of the pfdj system he has created, without which he could do nothing.
            Tplf alone can not be corrupt, unless all the others are also corrupt. A short time ago more than 900 people in amhara state were removed from their posts for corruption. Yes, ethiopia has to renovate her house, inside-out, nevertheless, she has not yet lost the trust of investors.
            It is good you plan to invest in eritrea and create a viable business. I was talking in general terms about capital (business) that should give birth to profit to be viable. Without profit capital is dead.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Horizon. Foreign investment to Ethiopia has stalled since the State of Emergency was implemented as investors have now taking a cautious ‘Wait and see” attitude. Have you not read IMF recent warnings on Ethiopia account deficit? You say that ‘The mistake that eritreans make is that when they speak of ethiopia, their point of reference is always tplf/woyane, as if they are the only movers and shakers of everything that happens in ethiopia, and the remaining 95m are impotent. That is a big mistake.’ Well, Eritrea might well be a one man show but Ethiopia is indeed the TPLF show with all its key ministries, security & intelligence apparatuses and 48 of its 50 generals coming from Tigray. You say that the TPLF alone cannot corrupt, maybe, but they certainly have created an environment ripe for doing so.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Abi: There are many people that still have financial interests and family connections in both countries and frequently travel back and forth. All those that I know of doing so, make use of a non-Ethiopian or non-Eritrean passport. In the case of U.S. citizens, they can request two passports to facilitate travel for unique situations such as that currently existing between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Amde,

            Eritrea should not be held hostage by the PFDJ, but still Ethiopia should accept the decision of the boundary commission.

        • Kalihari Snake

          Good morning Amde: What I know from past experience is that securing something through privileged connections with top Government officials certainly has its downside when a major change in political landscape occurs. We know of so many Eritreans that were locked in the days following the EPLF’s entry into Asmara as a result of their close connection with the Derge. I remember the Agip station manager in Asmara at the time who was an Eritrean and was parading around the town in his mint green Toyota Corolla lift back with Agip stickers on the side. Problem was that too many people knew that he was bar hopping with Tesfai Gebrekidan and other senior Derg members and he was quickly locked up.

          • Amde

            Selam Kalihari,

            That is certainly possible. But I am curious why you thought “a major change in the political landscape” was on the horizon. The Derg vs EPLF is not an identical analogy – there are no known insurgencies in Eritrea that would be marching into Asmara anytime soon.

            Amde

          • Kalihari Snake

            Hi Amde. I am not sure that a major shift in the political landscape is on the horizon. But if it does come, I do not want to be left supine.

          • Amde

            Selam Kalihari,

            I upvoted you for the word Supine.

            Amde

          • Abi

            Amdachin
            Now I know who has been upvoting Gheteb.

          • Amde

            Abiti,

            You are really funny. I have in fact upvoted Gheteb a number of times for some things he wrote which I thought were interesting. His preferred mode of relating to Ethiopians is unrelenting contempt and hatred. How can you blame him – we are mere simpletons sullying his magnificent intellect.

            Somebody should find him የሽገር ስኳር። Actually, the movie “Romancing ‘Gheteb” would be interesting.

            Amde

          • Abi

            Amdachin
            “Romancing Gheteb ” as in “Romancing the Stone”? Ah, Michael Douglas, Divito and all the great people in that movie! Thanks for taking me back years…

          • Amde

            Selam Abi,

            You know, after I posted that I thought about it and honestly I said to myself I don’t know who Gheteb the internet character is. Let’s set aside the matter of not being able to in my mind square the circle of how someone so erudite (which must only come about through massive reading) could also be so dogmatic. But I wonder what his story was. What losses did he suffer in the long long war? If he went to Khartoum U, which I believe he did, did he do so willingly or was he a refugee – a direct casualty of war. Is his hatred of Ethiopians an ideological position or out of personal pain?

            Yes, I was thinking of the movie Romancing the Stone but for all intents and purposes maybe Romancing ‘Gheteb is a worthwhile adventure. It would potentially make a much better movie haha. For many that come here ይቺ ቤት የልብ ቁስለኞች አውድማ ናት። Fairly or unfairly እኛ ኢትዮጵያውያን ከቁስለኞቹ ሳንሆን ከአቁሳዮቹ ነው የተመደብነው። Perhaps Gheteb is unromancizable by Ethiopians but it would be nice to think we could bring a chuckle out of him – even if for a millisecond. Personally, I find his manifest hatred of Amde the internet character really hillareous. I mean I was probably in diapers when whatever happened to him occurred. I am in no position to affect an iota of his current life, Eritrea or EPRDF. I would like to think there would be a time when he would recognize it as well and maybe buy me a virtual beer.

            ምን ይላሉ ጌታው?

            Romancing ጌተብ.. coming this year?

            Amde

          • Abi

            Amdachin
            You can not possibly put Romance and Gheteb in one sentence. If you must it should be a Gheto Romance or a Ghost Romance. It can not be a ጎረቤት ፍቅር:: He has to keep his race as pure as possible.
            Amde, “case study 1” was funnier than Amde internet character.
            His hate towards Ethiopia and Ethiopians must be personal. I think he was kicked between his skinny legs by one Ethiopian beauty.
            I can’t wait to read his response loaded with words Daniel Webster never heard of. I have already upvoted him. 👍🏿

  • Ismail AA

    Dear Kalihari Snake,
    Thank you. What you said about the capacities of the ports you mentioned could be true since they serve markets of the size Ethiopia’s plus other nations’ populations constitute. Incidentally, I missed Port Sudan from the list, which could be suitable (and less crowded) in relation to the location of Eritrea.
    Your experience with searching information in the pyramidal set up of power is a perfect manifestion of how things word in a despotic system. Every decision should reach the ears of the superman at the helm, and decisions flow not from the law but from his whims or mood at the moment.
    The investment and a center to manage it were early victims of control and command system of the regime. National and foreign investors had tried to go to Eritrea, and those Eritreans who were patriotic and wanted to help their country were too hasty to bring their resources and money without first making survey of the risks and policies and inclinations of the regime. Many of them incurred huge losses, and eventually left the country. One can mention dozens of them. I think brothers like our saay7 could a lot to tell about this.
    Regards

    • Kalihari Snake

      Good afternoon Ismail AA. I did not mention Pt. Sudan as the last that I knew, the Military Joint Task Force based in Djibouti, which provides naval escorts for humanitarian vessels passing through high risk Somali waters and while entering ports of call to include Berbera, Bosaso, Mogadishu and Kismayo;, did not go that far north and the furthest south which they have reluctantly gone is the Tanga Port in Tanzania. I do know that over the past year, Ethiopia has made good use of Pt. Sudan and Sudanese transport capacity to handle large tonnages of seasonal fertilizer requirements for parts of Tigray, Beneshengul-Gumuz , Gambella and Amhara regions.

  • Kalihari Snake

    Good morning all: One possible idea to break the current impasse between Ethiopia and Eritrea would be for the AU or IGAD to facilitate appointment of a mutually agreed to nation (i.e. Albania, Cuba) to serve as a mediator.

    • Simon Kaleab

      Selam Kalihari,

      You forgot North Korea and Syria as potential mediators.

      • Kalihari Snake

        Good afternoon Simon Kaleab: LOL…..maybe…

    • Abraham H.

      Selam Kalihari, your idea might have plausible if we had a regime in Eritrea that believes in and works for the well-being of its people. Unfortunately, we are dealing with a regime that does everything possible to make life miserable for its own people. Besides, Isayas and his regime consider the status quo of no war no peace as a perfect gift for enslaving the people and running away from accountability and transparency.

  • Kalihari Snake

    Good morning all: One possible means for opening up Eritrea more to the outside world would be to make a concerted effort, through social media platforms and other, to pressure the Eritrean Government to develop a clear policy in regards to small-to-medium scale foreign investment. At present, there is no investment center in Eritrea and there is no online Eritrean investment website.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Kalihari Snake,
      Past experience with the EPLF as Front and government has abundantly demonstrated neither mediation nor “concerted effort” through media or any means could persuade its leadership to change course. The despot is handicapped by his nature: stubbornness and intransigence.
      Regards

      • Kalihari Snake

        Good morning Ismail AA: I know that has been the understanding up until now and with good reason. However, on the optimist side, I do not believe efforts should stop. A major obstacle up until now has been the PIA’s adamancy not to isolate Eritrean specific issues (i.e. implementation of a judicial system) from the EEBC/Badme matter. Has there been any genuine efforts to date, not initiated by a P5 country, the UN apparatus or regional coordination bodies based in Addis Ababa to normalize relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea? None that I am aware of. PIA is a paranoid individual with severe distrust of the United Nations systems and connected strategic interests of the West. Efforts need to be made to break the ice. For example, why hasn’t the U.N. made use of the Port of Assab for transit humanitarian cargo destined for other African countries such as Somalia?

        • Ismail AA

          Selam Kalihari,
          Good will minded people would not disagree with your attitude as an optimist. Efforts to change or improve a bad situation, and resolution of problems, shoudl not stop. But governments, their behaviour and way of doing things are informed by their outlooks and policies they design to implement them. Authoritarian governments do have their priorities. In our own case, satisfaction of the despot’s ego is at the core of those priorities.
          Thus, governments deal with their counterparts on the basis of accepted and working norms that may not comfort dictators. Doing business with them becomes cumbersome and unproductive.
          Thus, why should the UN or any party choose the hard way of persuading the regime and the despot to use Assab as a good will gesture when there are easily available alternatives?
          Regards

        • Abraham H.

          Selam Kalihari Snake, there were many efforts to bring the two sides to round table talks by various countries such as Qatar and Norway; even there was a televised invitation from the Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn expressing his readiness even to travel to Asmara for direct talks with Isayas. All efforts have been frustrated by the stubbornness and unwillingness of Isayas. Isayas would not budge unless he is really pressed like what happened during the Ethio-Eritrea border war when at first he was rejecting to withdraw from Badme; but then he was made to retreat not only from all the disputed areas, but also leave a 25 km security zone inside Eritrea all along the entire border.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Abraham H: Neither Qatar or Norway would be considered neutral enough to play a mediating role. Norway’s earlier attempts at facilitating peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia were largely done so during a time when Norway was lead nation for the Security Council’s work on conflict; therefore tainting its future relationship. The Norwegian Embassy closed shop in Asmara in June 30, 2013 after it development activities were suspended in 2011, Qatar has regional vested interests to include Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. I remember the 2009 Wikileaked U.S. cable alleging Qatar of using Eritrea as a financial conduit for Al Shabaab. In regards to Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn readiness to travel to Asmara, this was simply a token gesture, as PIA is indeed correct in his position that there is nothing preventing Ethiopia from withdrawing from the Badme triangle.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Kalihari, “PIA is indeed correct in his position that there is nothing preventing Ethiopia from withdrawing from the Badme triangle”. I think the whole issue as Ethiopia views it has not to do with widrawing from just Badme; the Ethiopian govt is looking for a situation where there is comprensive peace agreement and normalization of relations, as it has nothing to lose from such normalization unlike the Isayas regime. Also the practicalities of demarcation-setting up of the border pillars, dealing with relocation of populations, etc needs active engagement from both sides. In addition to this, it is not only the Badme triangle that needs to be demarcated but the whole border area as well.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Abraham H: I understand what you are saying and also know that Ethiopia has taken a position of demanding negotiations on a comprehensive peace agreement and normalization of relations. However, this is clearly ‘politics of conditionality’ and strikingly contradicts the covenants of the EEBC process. For example, it is totally inappropriate for Ethiopia to encapsulate the issue of negotiated port use (et al tariffs and currency use) within the context of the EEBC ruling; many to include myself simply see it as playing games. You mention needed practicalities of demarcation-setting up the border pillars, relocation of populations, etc. However, I simply do not see this as a matter requiring active engagement from both sides for instead, I too see this matter with the same eyes of PIA and believe that Ethiopia’s ability to withdraw from the triangle is a very straight forward matter. In regards to other contested areas outside of the Badme triangle, there are already largely in physical possession of their rightful owner and must therefore be seen in a different context.

  • GitSAtSE

    Selamatatat all,

    “A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me, ” KAHILIL GIBRAN

    whats there not to be optimistic about? A circle, take Kuda for example, is preferable that a straight line march. Surely Fella’s Zombie is not lost on all of you distinguished ladies and gentlemen. MODeration as is in the middle path is suggested, lest Tolstoy’s declaration of WAR and PEACE shall be the order.
    An amendment to TsanTzu! haha you crack me up.
    tSAtSE

    • Ismail AA

      Tena YisTlN Gash Solomon,

      Wecome back from your leave without pay. Thanks for reminding me of Khalid Gibran. Moderation and optimism are desired qualities of human relations. But “Kuda” in relation to thought and mental exercise could end me in vicious circle (returning back to the starting point withoug end) though the shoulder shaking part of it could give me transient break.
      Here is more of Gibran’s wisdom:
      “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
      ― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
      regards

      • GitSAtSE

        MerHaba Aleikum or as you would say Hayak Alah IsmailAA,

        I was searching fast for the “Pillars” part from the first sentence of “Tell us about Love” or was it “Tell us about Love and Marriage” from Gibran’s The Prophet. Pillars because under your Mokhsi of Point Blank new years “creamy” 🙂 treat, there was extensive discussion on the meaning of Ande/Amde. I think there was a consensus and all settled for Amde/Ande to mean Pillar. Indeed Sir. your choice is rather fitting of the Amde/Pillar that you are, if for no other reason but rising above it all despite your very arduous Eritrean life you have experienced.
        Just for the sake of taking a contrarian point of the argument, I will state that I am of the opinion the words/names Ande and Amde mean back or support in the English language. AndeHiQo means backbone and not pillar-bone. Some one in the discussions below, did say the context matters when they brought the word Unud. Was it Abrehet (gual Ankere for example does not mean daughter of a solidly Anchored ship or does it–:)–I know how you enjoy semuna wurq..) But many may miss why you chose that part of Khalil Gibran’s wisdom. And I will take heed good sir in you Peanut Butter Cream of the Crop Point Blank focused statement of :
        : For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow”

        As for the Circle good Sir, think of the circle of life as for now until I bring forth the concept of infinity on both the number line and a circle as well as Pie as a mathematical proof.
        We are starting early in 2017… bebiHade seb WeHade lamentations pushes the matter of urgency.
        I believe the 15th may very well be the cutoff to say:
        Happy New Year
        tSAtSE (the SELF PB)

        • Ismail AA

          Selam tSAtSE,
          Amazing. Gash Solomon at his best when he decides to tilt towards direct talk at the cost of his favorite “semna werq” style. Yes, “bebiHade seb weHade” nusu deHan neru Hasab weHade. Thank you for your response.
          Regards

  • tes

    Dear Kokhob Selam,

    Your love shower is always full of Ecstacy,
    Your presence is full of energy,
    A drop of your line is just a wisdom
    The wisdom you have is equally shared with full kindness

    You are principled,
    A fearless justice advocator,
    Embracing,
    sharing,
    Learning without getting tired.

    Your meditation,
    Contemplation,
    transcendence,
    Knowing
    As a master
    All are perfectly crafted.

    With love

    Happy to see you again Kokhob Selam

    tes

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear tes,
      thanks !

  • MS

    Selam Awatista
    Firstly:Thanks goes to Ustaz Ismael (point blank) for the article. I liked and found it to be interesting. I’m hopeful, may be because I’m optimist. መሬት ሓንቲኣ ክትወልድ እያ. እንሻኣላ ጀና ዕፉይ ዎ ጽሩይ ትወልድ ትገቢእ; And my optimism is based on the youth who are in their country. However, we will need young leaders who could turn the raw bile (courage), or Hamot into a substance for a purpose. I think what Saleh G called for is in the same line. Optimism suggests purpose, and the rage that Sakeh Johar has called for was a rage directed towards bringing a positive change. Anyway, that’s another topic. But thanks for emphasizing optimism. According to my reasoning, the relationship between a purpose, how ready one is to materialzie it leads to determinging how optimist a person is. The readiness inturn is determined by how intimate or important that purpose is to the person or the people. Now, here, leaders are needed to align the factors needed, and that’s what’s missing. I think looking for an alternative political system has become so crucial inside the country that Eritreans are no more hiding their protest against PFDJ regime. Anyway, I leave that to the folks who enjoy “contemplating”.
    Meanwhile, I’m elated to see Kokob Selam gracing us with his appearances. Brother KS, make sure you get a permission from your doctor before fully engaging the forum. I promise not to make long Hatetas and headaches. That’s a promise of the new year.
    *******************************
    Here are some videos you might have missed. I found them to be very interesting.
    1. The first one is an interview Saleh Younis made with Tempoafric: Saleh basically goes through connected topics that he has been writing on, COIE, sanctions, the narure of PFDJ… in a flawless Tigrigna…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8LiDlVrDKs
    2. These two videos feature Lingo, his life story and works*…..an interesting discussion
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArCR8gyO9yA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIbMANuDfvg
    ******************
    I have a word that a follow up interview with Lingo may be up on Monday.
    Anyway, enjoy.

    • Paulos

      Selamat MS,

      A few years ago there was similar debate along the same lines whether the influx of the youth into the rest of the world is a protest or utter hopelessness. Again the reading of the still unabated circumstances depends to some extent on what one would like to see. But the truth of the matter herein lies not on the heartbeat of the youth but on the murmur instead. The youth is leaving the country in droves simply because they are disillusioned about the past and uncertain of the future. They seem to be in Valhalla as in Nordic mythology where they fight a fight knowing that the end result is defeat. To be more precise, they keep sailing on the merciless high seas when they fully know that the previous shanty boat didn’t make it to the shore. That doesn’t seem to be a protest against a regime rather a protest against life itself. The clear and present danger calls for courage to call it as it is rather than reading what it is not. Sure enough I am not any different for I fall short of offering a solution instead I talk about the dire situation. If I have to offer however, the people particularly the youth need an inspiring figure who can convince them that the past was worthwhile and the future is worth living.

      • MS

        Selam paulos
        The gist of your reply could be summarized by the following quote: “The youth is leaving the country in droves simply because they are disillusioned about the past and uncertain of the future…the people particularly the youth need an inspiring figure who can convince them that the past was worthwhile and the future is worth living” I think you are validating my take in your own way. So, yes I agree in its general sense, Paulosaay. The difference between my take and yours appears to be more on the deliverance. One of us is clinging onto the optimistic end of the continuum, while the other is holding onto the pessimistic end. It does not matter how one wants to dramatize it, the hope is from the youth who have no country other than Eritrea (youth who are inside the country (50-60% of the population and growing fast-taking census of countries in similar socioeconomic bracket into account). Although anyone could claim to be the agent of change, at least in my book, the agents of change are the people inside the country. Diaspora role could only be seen as a complementing one, that’s if played safely. This is the first point.
        Having established the ground, now we can talk about how one could channel the energy that is carrying the youth across the Sahara and the raging high seas into a more purposeful project of nation building which includes determining their future political destiny (aka change). For that to happen we need a hopeful and motivated young leaders…we need the daredevils of yesterday albeit for a different circumstance. Young people get inspired and follow young leaders. That’s what our experience tells us and that’s what we read across the globe.
        But we should never forget that we are speaking of rationalizing human beings. When you go to the mall, you have limited resource (money), but you would wish you would buy a lot of stuff you see along your way. How do you determine to purchase some items over others? You have reasoned out that they carry more value to you compared to other items with the same price. One has to be motivated enough and convinced to the extent that his/her commitment to bringing political change, which could cost him/her their lives, gives more value to the purpose of life than daring to cross the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea. Leaders play a great role in making this more clearer and sensible for people to take the right action. When those leaders are young, then the inspiration of young people towards actionable plan becomes easier.

    • saay7

      Hey MaHmuday:

      I actually heard the Lingo interviews and when I recommend them to viewers/listeners they ask “why should I invest so much time?” And the best answer I have come up with so far is “Lingo is a great story-teller with an enviable recall. And he plays aqebaqab with the Tigrinya language.” I would like to hear your take because it would help in spreading the word

      And about my interview, thanks and um, I hope it had been an audio interview–let’s leave it at that 😂

      saay

      • Millennium

        Hi Saay:

        “You wish it had been an audio interview…..” one does not get many opportunities to correct Saay…:)

        • saay7

          Millennium:

          Well it’s karma. I used to send Eyob Medhane (a weyane Awatista who did not renew his membership because he didn’t get his totebag) videos of the Ethiospokesperson, Getachew Reda, and how he has terribly body language that makes him look like he is lying even when telling the truth. Eyob used to argue with me and lecture me why I wasn’t being fair. Well this video of mine has terrible body language: nose scratches, bad lighting, random eye movements and many other distractions.

          So yeah I think it is the curse of Getachew Reda. Somebody should just upload the audio version to kill the video. I am sure Abi has some proverb or poem about that. AFTER the Greenbay Cowboys game of course. Go Greenbay.

          Saay

          • Paulos

            Selamat Saay,

            That’s pretty funny. You probably needed a haircut here and there, other than that it wasn’t a beauty contest so to speak. The take away is your command of the Tigrinya language is impressive. One wonders if you think in Tigrinya or in English.

          • Amde

            Selam Paulos,

            Haha…

            Did you just diss Saay with faint praise? “It wasn’t a beauty contest” was gold.

            Amde

          • Abi

            Amdachin
            Kind of “killing me softly “.

          • Paulos

            Hey Amde,

            Ma bad. Hope Prof. Saay is not going to eject me from Awate U for dissing him or flank me in the final exam. Ouch!

          • saay7

            Haha Amde the Pillar:

            Abi will remember his name (because he is weird that way) because I don’t, but there was a dude who saw my video and said that I looked like an Amharic teacher 😂 Now that’s better than damnation by faint praise. It’s damnation by Vague Memory.

            Hey Amde this Paulos dude is on fast track to join the Awatista hall of fame. Agree? I refuse to use your favorite “what say you” because Bill OReilley ruined that phrase forever.

            saay

          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            Whoever said you look like an Amharic teacher has no idea what an Amharic Teacher or any teacher for that matter looks like in Ethiopia.
            I got a joke for you showing the status of teachers in our society.
            A lady ( ግደይ) met her old friend ( አየለች) after several years of separation. After the usual greetings they started talking about life and family. This is how the conversation goes
            ግደይ : ” ልጅሽ ደህና ነች”?
            አየለች: ” ደህና ነች:: አገባች እኮ!
            ግደይ : እንኳን ደስ አለሽ! ምን አገባች እባክሽ?
            አየለች : እስተማሪ አገባች
            ግደይ : ውይ በሞትኩት! ወዳው ነው ጠልፏት?

          • saay7

            Hey Abi:

            I have a feminist friend who thinks all habesha men are sexist pigs so I am not going to laugh at a funny joke with a “Telfwat” punchline or I will hear an earful later. I do not find such uproariously funny jokes hilarious.

            saay

          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            There are jokes to laugh and forget and there are some to laugh and learn. This one will stay with you . It makes you think . This one shows the value we attach to teaching and the teaching profession at large.

          • saay7

            Hey abi:

            Do you think how a culture values teachers directly translated to its development and progress? Support your argument with data.

            Isn’t it true that in Eritrean and Ethiopian cultures the word for teacher (memher) when used as a title is a designation of respect?

            Respect for teachers (or priests) doesn’t translate into higher pay. Why?

            This is an open book quiz:)

            saay

          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            You sound exactly like my “Comparative Education” Professor back at AAU. I said to my self,”ዶክተር አበበ ግደይ በየት ዞረው መጡ”?
            One of the best Professors at AAU. Yes, he is an Eritrean. Looks like I’m always surrounded by them.
            I remember one of the the class assignments was to review ” Education in Post Colonial Africa”. Of course I reviewed your country.

            Back to Dr Abebe Gidey (Saay) class
            One of the heated discussions in the class was based on a publication by UNESCO/ILO entitled “The Status of Teachers”. In this publication you will find how teachers value themselves in a society, and how. Society values its teachers. A very interesting similarity between teachers across the globe, according to the findings of UNESCO/ILO, is the status of teachers in the society is low. It is also interesting to find out that the attitude of teachers towards their profession is equally low. There is a common saying among teachers when they describe their profession; ” I am ONLY a teacher “. You don’t find a lawyer or a doctor say “I am ONLY a lawyer or ONLY a doctor “.
            Reading Dr Abraham Hussein in “The Ethiopian Journal of Education ” will bring the situation close to home.
            Saay, I wish we discussed this loooonnnng time ago.
            Let me tell you another lame joke and forget the open book quiz. I’ve passed Dr Abebe’s class in flying colors.

            An English teacher was teaching at 3rd grade. He wrote the word ” girl” and pronounced it as “ጀርል”. When a fellow teacher try to correct him he said ,”ለመቶ ብር ደሞዝ መች ጀርል አነሰው!”

          • saay7

            Abi:

            We will have to psychoanalyze you now. You told two jokes and each of them there is a character named “Gdey “, one male one female. Gdey also means “my turn” in Tigrinya. Analyze that.

            The solution about the worldwide teachers dilemma is to make sure that doctors and engineers are paid as little as them:)

            saay

          • Abi

            Saay
            The lady Gidey was inserted to show the similarities of both cultures. You can replace it with Abrehet.
            Dr Abebe Giday is a real person. One of a kind!

          • saay7

            Hey abi:

            You caught me in silly season 🙂 Would love to read the UNESCO report on how societies value teachers and how teachers value themselves. In the US, the expression “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” is another example of the elite’s contempt for teachers. And that hasn’t hurt the development of the country so maybe there is no direct correlation between a society’s view of a teacher and the country’s development?

            On the other hand, I read somewhere that in China, a family gets just as excited when the daughter marries a teacher as they do when she marries a doctor. (Hong Kong has the highest paid teachers in the world).

            Does anyone know how teachers are viewed in the rest of the Horn of Africa and East Africa in general?

            saay

          • Amde

            Selam Saay,

            Oh yeah… Paulos indeed is. He had me at Matrix and sealed the deal at Inception.

            Funny enough none of my Amharic teachers were Amaras. None. And for the most part, they were the radicals. One guy taught us The Internationale during Amharic class much to the consternation of the few ferenjis on staff . Another came to class with a pistol strapped to his waist – that one was during the beginning of the Red Terror and someone did shoot him and put him in hospital. My favorite was one who taught us Amharic as linguistics. He himself was rather mild mannered, but our roudiness would get to him and he would curse with a stream of magnificent filth. What was funny was that this was not yelled out, but utterred very quietly to himself facing the blackboard. Only the front seating do gooders got to catch any of it but by the end of the first semester they were just as foul mouthed. So my image of an Amharic teacher is of a pistol toting, chat chewing, mother swearing, afro growing radical.

            Amde

          • saay7

            Greetings Amde:

            Oh wow, never mind the teacher: this is some fine prose Amde. Are you, or have ever threatened to be, a writer? I would certainly read pages and pages of prose like this. Think about it if u are in ur 40s.

            Inception should have come with a Plot Companion, so that those of us who were lost in the Is/it/live/or/is/it/memorex scenes (half the movie) could refer to it. Also some people should never be in sci/fi but sinking ships and I mean you, Leonardo.

            Speaking of sci-fi, the sequel to the greatest ever, Blade Runner, is coming out this year. And, no: class is not debating if it is the greatest. Some things are self evident truths.

            saay

          • Amde

            Selam Saay

            (Dont you ever sleep..?..lol)

            Thank you for the compliment. You are too kind. Writing is hard work… besides who wants to look inside and stir things up? Remember you are talking to a dude who gets indignant with someone who dares ask “ውስጥህ ሰላም ነው?”

            I had/have a dream of writing Amharic SciFi and historical novels. Would love to get a Mahmuday and his Ethiopian army equivalent for example, strip them of the ideology, and write about two otherwise remarkably similar young men thrown into the killing business. One of the seminal battles during the Gragn campaigns was fought not too far from Addis, and everytime I pass the plains at the foot of Mt Ziquala, I wonder what it must have been like with muskets and cannon and spears and gorades and horses and tabots and allah-u-akbars. Maybe someday …

            I won’t argue with you on Blade Runner but every time I have tried to watch it I fall asleep. Some core deficiency in my original programming no doubt. I have to watch it again…er.. get it re-installed… before version 2.0 comes out.

            Amde

          • saay7

            Selamat Amde:

            And who said writing has to be fiction? You wouldn’t have to do a lot of soul-searching if you write non-fiction. And that need not be a torturous experience: I heard an interview of Michael Lewis (author of 2000), Moneyball and The Big Short(both made into movies) and he says the hardest work is research and the writing just flows for him.

            Eritrea-Ethiopia sci fi? I can’t wait to never ever see it 😂

            If you remember Blade Runner was a mid 1980s movie, you will be more patient and accommodating of its flaws.

            Wish for you inner peace 🙂

            saay

          • Abi

            Saay
            Oh Boy!
            21-3 ?

          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            Go Steelers

          • GitSAtSE

            Selamat Saay7,

            You do know the GiAnts beat the best team Cowboys twice this season. The Giants have also beaten the Patriots with Brady and the bunch twice in Supper Bowl. Grumpy Abi “ahead of the game” haha, thats laughable.
            We shall balance the sheets soon. Does Lingo mean Tall? As in a tall order?
            tSAtSE

      • MS

        Ahlan Saleh
        Let me start with your interview: It was great.
        Substance wise, the interview revolved around familiar topics; it was obvious that you were comfortable with it, perhaps, since you have been writing volumes on those topics. The performance was equally great. The tone was friendly (something I have noticed in all of your interviews), the body language matched the relaxed tone. All in all, you were in a familiar territory and you delivered it nicely. Oh, yeah, your clean-shaven face and all that stuff makes you look like men’sey. The language was smooth, a lot of Shaebia vocabulary…ha…ha… (payback time, brother, once you mocked my Tigrigna as something shabia-ish). One line that I liked from your interview is when you said that the tortoise move that IA adduce to explain how levelheaded, deliberating and calculating he is (or his regime is) was actually faster than the pace in which PFDJ learns how the world works, if it does anyway.
        Now to Lingo: the man is fascinating. He is not only an author, he is also an educator and a good performer. I’m terrible at watching long videos or listening to interviews. I prefer reading. That’s I guess why I miss many good stuff in the internet. But I can report that I finished yours and Lingo’s videos. And it has to do with the performance and entertaining quality that both of you muster.
        I think many people will find Lingo’s interviews interesting because of their information and entertaining values. Lingo is a gifted artist. Gifted artists (or trained once) capture a fleeting moment that has the potential of sparking imagination. If you choose to listen to his interviews, you will find out how little occurrences such as the appearance of qrqre (honey bird-not sure if that is its English name), or a casual sentence that one drops in a conversation inspired his works. In most cases, artists are inspired by occurrences that seem trivial to the commoners. His language, his knowledge of the Tigrigna culture, and his cross references of other cultures and languages (for instance, in the case of Wed Amir/Tigre references…) makes him among the few gifted Eritrean artist. Of course he has volumes of literary contributions, including poems, novels, dramas, etc.
        For those who are equipped with a auto-reflexive tendency, please don’t miss it. You will not regret spending a couple of hours watching him. I know for some, it’s an automatic “no” for obvious reasons. While I can’t speak for him on his current views on our politics, I can certainly say that he was among the first tegadelti who criticized IA and his performance in the early years. In 1993, on the day tegdadelti rioted, he openly criticized IA and the top EPLF officials who were running the government. If my memory serves me well, I think he said that the behavior was not new, that tegadelti had tolerated it in the field because they did not want to cause the demise of the liberation struggler…it was a strong speech. Well, he had to pay with years of incarceration for that.
        Anyway, there will always be some who don’t enjoy arts. They are forgiven, but if they are doing it because of the automatic reflex, then they will need to seek the help of Maryam Der’Anto.
        BTW, I once asked him why he used rarely used words and difficult Tigrigna expressions, I asked him if he did it purposely. That’s because I found his book “Edud Zemete” very difficult. He smiled and told me that he wanted to narrate the story in a region that he was familiar with, and in socio-cultural setting he had grown in (Xen’Adegle), therefore, he said, “The language was not rare or unfamiliar to the region but because your reference is EPLF’s political Tigrigna, you are right, it could have been difficult for you.” He then added,” You see, by reading the book you have already expanded your Tigrigna vocabulary.”

    • tes

      Selam MS,

      Ah, Lingo, his arrogance is there to read on his belittling words if public grievances. I will not be surprised if you pull him out here as you are always fun of him, probably on the same mindset.

      tes

      • Abi

        Hi Tes Hawey
        It is Sunday. Less politics more drinks!!
        Did you watch the game? I’m talking about PSG. How about that Draxler? What a great goal!! What an amazing start to his new team. Paris must be the happiest place right now.
        Anyway, I wanted to congratulate you.

      • GitSAtSE

        Selamat tes,

        Is Lingo the same Lingo one of the MCs that accompanied EPLF cultural troops or is the word Lingo pertaining language skills judging from MS’ description of the above interviews? Lingo meaning Tall or Lingo as in get ma drift Lingo.
        Oh yea, for some reason I have these two songs in my head now: “Afom meArr iyu lbom beliH lama, awalid hagerey bnbAtey temehara.” I know some young cats out of Europe are doing the cover, I can’t think of the bands name now but the original version… wait I might get that one wrong too.
        The other song is rather from sewra days and can’t be credited to any one artist, but some one may possibly know who the first was to sing it, perhaps in Hailitat first before it got popular and made it to kiflitat. The song is “Ab SeiDici may may mstebahle…EilaberEid may may ms tebahle…. Cha belo neAA weshh…”

        now I know you don’t like anything of the at Era be it the ShaEbians or the Derg, but it is Sunday and you should listen to Abi bal ‘Ager.
        tSAtSE

        • saay7

          Hey tSatse:

          I will let MaHmuday answer your second question, because he will accompany it with zura n’hagerka additional info but for now:

          – yep, we are talking about Lingo the EPLF MC. I understand, even if I don’t agree with, most of Tes bombing raids but his take on Lingo surprised me

          – the “young cats from Europe” are Lula Band and they were young two decades ago* There is a version a week of the original afom ma’ar iyu by Tseggai Beraki, but arguably (it’s an Awate Select video and u can find it in YouTube) Lula Bands is the best.

          saay

          * I can say this because the lead singer of the defunct band, Yonathan, actually has a sense of humor.

  • Amde

    Selam Ex ጻጸ

    Saay as Boddhisatva is actually quite perceptive within the context of this website. He desperately wishes to turn conversations here from the Ethio-Eritrio yesteryear politics kind to something more intellectual and global. Watch the conversations he jumps into and the level of content he provides and invites. Now, i have a sneaky suspicion that is a tad of a step away from the Aspire Embolden Reconcile motto of this site as an Eritrean opposition meeting house, but what the Awate Board says about it we don’t know.

    I thought Saay7 was the more evolved self of the original Saay, and thus rebut your points, but since I cannot recall a Saay2, Saay3, Saay4…. we have to assume Saay7 is a quantum leap of Saay. Hence, a draw.

    Wolverines!!!!

    Amde

  • Paulos

    Selam Amde,

    Am just curious–what does “Amde” mean. In Tigrinya we have “Ande” as in for instance Ande-mariam and Ande-mikael. One could also argue that Ande in Anderson was borrowed from Tigrinya and one can also make the same argument about the Andes mountains as well (maybe a bunch of Andes from Eritrea say from Adi NiAmin Anseba were the first settlers in the mountains.) It is very possible in the curious world–genesis of names that is.

    • Abrehet Yosief

      Selam Paulos,

      Amde is in Geez, with the same meaning as Ande in Tigrigna. Unless of course Mr. Amde contradicts me.

      • Paulos

        Selam Abrehet,

        Thank you for the lesson haftey. It makes sense and I am sure Amde agrees unless he rented it for Awate purposes.

    • Amde

      Selam Paulos and Abrehet,

      Indeed Abrehet is right. Amde and Ande are the same and they are from the Ge’ez.

      I think Ander-son is derived from Anthropos meaning Man. Anderson means Son of Man. One of my favorite movies .. The Matrix ..has the main character named Anderson (Son of Man), who then morphs into Neo who ushers in a new age of liberation. Obvious Christian theology, but that movie is full of symbolism to satisfy a whole encyclopedia full of religions. I think ex-ጻጸ can extemporize in this haha.

      Amde

      • Abi

        Amdachin
        So far we know the source of Amde and Ande. Still you haven’t told us the meaning.

        • Paulos

          Selam Abinet,

          I think it means a pillar.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Paulos, do you mean pillar as in ዓንዲ ገዛ? I’ve some times heard people use the word ande as a derogatory word, as in ዕኑድ though i don’t know why.

          • Paulos

            Selam Abraham,

            Yea that’s what I meant. Sure Ande is used as a generic name for a guy but it can also mean or be used as a term of endearment as in naive or innocent person.

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Abraham,
            Herein lies the dichotomy of the word. Ande – pillar – holds the roof up, and is a good thing. Ande – pillar – doesn’t go anywhere except stand there. Or I guess when a non-pillar acts like a pillar it is not a good thing.

          • saay7

            Welcome Abrehet:

            All in the context: Same thing with “gundi”, right? It’s a tree trunk (good) and it’s someone who is as silent and camatose as one (bad).

            I think.

            saay

          • Amde

            Selam Abrehet, Abi

            Aha..

            How about AmdeBrahan? That is the full name.. I am just too lazy to write the whole thing. Haha..

            So, a pillar of light. Useless for holding the roof up. Useless for just standing around and blocking others.

            What say you?

            Amde

          • Abi

            Amdachin ,
            የቤቴ ምሰሶ የአድባሬ ዋርካ
            ብርሃንህ ይድመቅ አዋተ ላይ ይፍካ

          • Amde

            Selam Abiti

            አንተ ጎርጓሪ ቡዳ herein is the backstory

            ሰው አይደለሁም ወይ የጨለማ ቋት፣
            የቂም እና ቁስል የብሶት ፍትፍት፣
            ውስጡ የጎበጠ በስውር ጭነት?

            ታዲያማ

            አጋሰስ መሆኔ ሲገባኝ እንድ ቀን፣
            ይሻል ብዬ ያዝኩት ውስጥ አርበኝነትን፣
            አምደብርሀንነትን፣
            ENlightenmenት ሳይሆን INlightenmenትነትን፣
            አበራለሁ ሳይሆን እበራለሁነትን።

            Amde

          • Abi

            Amdachin
            የውስጥህ እሳት ነው ውጭህን ያፈፈካው
            እያረርክ መሆኑን ማነው የተረዳው?
            ያንተ መቃጠል ነው የሌላው ብርሀን
            ያንተ ትከሻ ነው የሌሎች እርከን
            መብራትህ እንዲፈካ አምድህ እንዲፀና እንፀልያለን::

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Amde/Ande, to make matters a bit more complex, what do you say about these names: ዓንደማርያም፥ ዓንደመስቀል? I think here, the pillar is serving its true purpose.

          • Amde

            Selam Abraham H.

            Ah.. a family member and I had a conversation recently about this particular form of Abesha names that are supposedly to demonstrate faith. We quickly came up to a subversive / blasphemous form and rather nervously backed off.

            Basically, what does a name such as AmdeMariam (Amd-e-Mariam) mean? It literally comes out to “Pillar-of-Mary”, assuming the non theological commonly used phrase such as “Kokeb-e-Tsibah” means “Star-of-Dawn”. But is the name supposed to mean “Mary is my pillar” or “I am Mary’s pillar.”? It can work both ways of course, but the former is what a devout Tewahdo person would say represents their relationship to the divine person they feel a relationship to. TesfaMariam must of course mean “Mary is my Hope” and not “I am the Hope of Mary”.

            I like the poetic ambiguity myself. And some are just amazingly beautiful and pithy meditations in and of themselves. One can say the name FiqreYesus (ፍቅረ-እየሱስ Love-of-Jesus) perhaps captures in its essence the sum total of the Christian faith: “Jesus is my Love” (we are saved through faith in Jesus and this faith includes love of Jesus), and “I am the Love of Jesus” (Christian explanation of the crucifixion as the ultimate act of love).

            But some forms do not stand up so well, at least through the lens of commonly accepted Tewahdo norms, which has more of an old testament “Thou shalt obey” vibe than the more current “personal friendship” vibe.

            Amde

          • Abi

            Hi Abrehet
            Wow!!! I can’t agree more.
            How did I miss this gem ? OMG!!!

          • Abi

            Hi Paulos
            Thanks.
            አምዴ is derived from አምድ which means as you put it ምሰሶ
            I call him Amdachin for a reason.

      • Paulos

        Selam Amde,

        Thank you I was just curious. Matrix is on of my fav movies as well particularly the scene when the software-person also known as Agent Smith calls Neo “Mr. Anderson” with the cool deep and raspy voice. There is another scene which is my favorite as well where Agent Smith to Morphious, “You humans disgust me” as he was trying to extract info through brute force.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Amde,

        I am glad you know the meaning of your name. Most people don’t, be it religious origin or cultural origin. One has to discover the meaning of his/her name before they delve in to the knowledge of the world.

        regards

        • saay7

          Hey Emma:

          Sounds like an Amanuel Amendment to Sun-Tzu and his Art of War;)

          Do you really give that much significance, particularly where we come from and it was not unusual to have 12 children. By the time parents had their 6th child they were all out of ideas and picked anything:)

          The was a whole thing about this by Yosief Gebrehiwet (he wouldn’t like that your name is so Old Testamenty and has nothing to do with Habesha culture.) There was an entire section on names and their significance (and lack thereof). Then the Bard said “what’s in a name.”

          I knew some Amanuels when I was much younger than who didn’t believe God is With Us because there is no God. My family called me Mohammed-Saleh, then Hammed-Saleh then just Saleh. Sometimes all names tell us is that those who did the naming were completely out of their mind when they did, or they gave it no more than 5 seconds thought. You can try to heal the world without ever coming to terms with your name or what it means. I say this as an educator who had to deal with many students whose insane parents gave them insane names 🙂

          saay

          • Paulos

            Selamat Saay,

            Yea that actually has become the soundbite if you will of Matrix—the sound of inevitability. As much as I admire the special effects and the plot of the movie laced with religious connotations as in Zion the name of the ship and Trinity the name one of the true-believers, it has left the audience with a throwback into Aristotolian world where what we see around us is a reflection of the Form or we are prisoners of our senses as in Buddhist parlance. What is real Morphious asks as he holds in his palm the blue and red pill.

            Back to the names. If I remember correctly YG’s argument made sense when he argued as the traditional names are becoming obsolete when people are opting “outlandish” names where it has become almost a national contest whose child has cool sounding name so to speak. To be more precise, if a name and identity are in the same jar, replacing the name with an “alien or exotic” name is a national departure from who we are where it is precisely YG’s school of thought from the get go.

          • saay7

            Hey paulos:

            yg did more than that: he was wondering why our great grandfathers gave up Habesha names for Arab and Old Testament names, revealing himself to be a static, reactionary guy, I fear 🙁 in his lament for example, Amanuel and Isaias are too Old Testament and Hidrat and Afwerki are fine habesha names. Well it’s called like. Our president in the US has daughters called Sasha and Malika and that’s how the world spins.

            Way back when we had an art and entertainment section at awate.com we hyper analyzed The Matrix and all it’s theological symbolisms. (We didn’t discuss that the writers stole the script and why they chose a man who can’t act to play the lead role, so you can give us your piece on that.)

            Here’s an irreverent but very well done synopsis on The Matrix and all it’s references to Christian theology. Even Amanuel will like it and he doesn’t like anything except hardcore and disciplined emphasis on a country shaped like a broom:)

            https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=G0BdbUuPax4

            saay

          • Paulos

            Selam Saay,

            I am getting fuzzy on YG’s take on the whole nine yards or was it only one yard as in every article revolved around identity. Will have to get back and read them again (I can hear you! Yea I have a life.) Talk of the town has it that YG has evolved or devolved (take a pick) into Tesfatsion as in Agazian.

            It is the fun part of subjective takes including movie plots where the truth or facts are superpositions as in the quantum world where it can be here and there simultaneously. When Hollywood is running of original ideas and resorting into futuristic scripts, I say the last movies that had me going after Matrix are “Inception” and “Interstellar.”

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba Saay,

            Aya Adi’U, I do not think that the inquisitive mind in knowing the meaning of names is out of the scope of “Know yourself and your enemy”. Rather contrary to all pen names in this wonderful website, “Know yourself” demands the integrity of the person “in his thoughts and body as identified by his given name.” I hate pen names. Therefore, there is no any amendment to my belief to the concept “Know yourself and your enemy.”

            But, I do agree to the difficulties of some who could not come with meaning of their names specially for those who grew in rural areas and have many siblings where their parents run out of names of their likings and give any name. What I always found mind boggling, when you ask them what is the meaning of your name, they tell you back “it is a name” as if names do not have meaning. I always ask to my workmates, associates, and friends. Some do and some don’t. That my favorite question to any new acquaintances.

            regards

          • semura

            Hey saay

            what happened with Yosief Ghebrehiwet, he was probably the best intellectual eritrea had….why is he not writing ? And is there anyway to get him to write again ?

  • Amde

    Selam baEbaEmu3 ex ጻጸ

    Allow me to retort, as Saay would say.

    This magnificent missive of yours is R.E.J.E.C.T.E.D. on two grounds.

    1) You itemized all your entries under the S to the a to the a to the y to the E to the l but then screeched short of an entry for (f). I know what happened… you used up all your f’s.for Fukuyama…. what the ffffuuudddgggeeee….

    2) SeLF.. ሰልፍ… is the worst non Saayish word you can come up with for a man who politely wrote a paper telling Shaebiya to dismantle itself. The man tries to enlighten and liberate one Abesha mind at a time. Damn.. even I feel affronted. Please, find a vowel more a propos.

    As you were….

    Amde

    • Abi

      Amdachin
      It seems like you understood ፃፄ. Do you suggest I read it?
      I think ፃፄ
      I think he lives in “Cut and Shoot “, Texas.
      I never understood him.

      • Amde

        Selam Abi,

        Haha,

        It is almost impossible to understand.. but very much worth your while. It is a wild ride for sure. I have to look at my both creamy AND crunchy peanut butter anew when I get home because that went completely over my head.

        He has a song and rhythm in his head. Each posting of his is like a hip hop exposition from a mathematical mind. If I am not mistaken, he is one of those Math majors (possibly PhD) who works in Finance. I know only one other person like that and he likes to express himself by painting. That’s good because he finds me boring after five minutes lol..

        I read a poem once.. its refrain was..

        አብረን እንበድ!!

        Genius እና እብደት ጎረቤቶች ናቸው። It is a wild ride worth enjoying.

        Amde

        • Abi

          Amdachin
          I’ll give it a try after the game. Atlanta is dismantling Seattle. Where is Vet these days?
          If you have time please listen to The All Time Genius Tsegaye Gebremedhin “አብረን ዝም እንበል”

          • saay7

            Grumpy Abi:

            I was just thinking that: its absolute massacre. But Seattle is a pretty good clutch team so maybe they will dig out.

            MaHmuday, Atlanta? Really?

            Saay

          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            Dig out? Very unlikely.
            I’m ahead of the game here.
            I like to see Cowboys V Patriots for the final.

    • saay7

      Amde The Pillar:

      “Yeah, Well, you know, that’s just like your opinion, man” 🙂

      I am not a Pan-African but I am definitely Pan-Horn-African, and my people in the Horn can easily persuade me to be a Pan-East-African. And when I hear the songs of Habib Kote, Ismail Lo, I can be pan East-West African. And when I hear Oliver mtukudzi, I am Southeast African. And when I hear songs by Khaled, and Abdulhalim Hafez, I can warm up to North Africa. And and and.

      Back when we were serious commies, we all had book clubs (I know u did Amde. Abi was just coming not to read but to check out the girls.) And this is really what I enjoy most about awate: creating a virtual book club updated for the 21st century (when nobody reads books, but gets bits and pieces of papers and pop culture)

      Respect the past, get excited about the future but embrace the present, the here and now, with all its wounds and promises. That’s what I believe. And I am so happy that this website awate.com is part of that transformative movement.

      Sorry I was accidentally too solemn. And Abi was right about Atlanta Seattle. Now he will jinx us and give us the most boring Super Bowl ever: Patriots Cowboys 😔

      saay

      It’s Saturday so here’s Senegals Ismael Lo:

      (dedicated to our buddy Kokhob Selam. Get well and stop writing!)

      https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=LarvMRJNdEQ

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Dear Saay,

        You say : “I am definitely Pan-Horn-African, and my people in the Horn can easily persuade me to be a Pan-East-African.” Spot on and am click or fall into place.

        regards

      • Abi

        Hi Saay
        In the absence of Haqi, it is anybody’s right to predict the Super Bawl.

      • Kaddis

        Hi Saay –
        I was fortunate enough to see him live in Addis – amazing !

  • A.Osman

    Lol. …the writing is so familiar that I am still struggling to understand you. Keep your old nick.

    • Abi

      Hi A.Osman
      Long time no talk.
      You are courageous even to attempt. I think one has to be in the same state of mind to understand him.
      Just took this chance to say hello and happy New Year.
      Are you still in Addis? How is your citizenship application going? You changed your name already? If not I have a suggestion. Asmamaw! Instead of AOsman. Asmamaw fits your character perfectly.

      • A.Osman

        Hi Abi,

        Happy to you too and all awatista.

        I am still around, following the conversation.

        Addis that was last March-April when you encouraged me to visit and found it an opportunity to read Ethiopian history. How is the situation down there now, has it calm down?

        Hopefully next visit is to Asmara Embaba and you visit it as well.

        Regards
        AOsman

        • Abi

          Hi A Osman
          I like to visit Asmara. I always wanted to see ምፅዋ. My First Lady can’t stop talking about.
          I like to take the Asmara light train to Masawa. I think the Asmarinos call it cuccineta.

  • sara

    Dear awtistas
    For those who are upset with Obamas
    Performance. Well, at least in his last days has done some good.
    Start with Iran,Cuba and Palestine at UN. Now close to home he is loosening the sanctions against Sudan.
    Other good news is Sudan will be the 2nd next to south-Africa in Africa in gold mining and export of gold.
    Currently Sudan gets 80000 tons a year but this year this will go up to 100000 tons a year.

  • jordan

    I’m really concerned about why my comment was removed without any explanation, as far as I know there wasn’t anything bad about it. I just reflected my thoughts and since when was freedom of speech not allowed here? Makes me a bit sad..

    • Abi

      Kemey Jordan wedey
      Sometimes comments disappear for a while just to appear later on. I have seen my comments appeared hours after a posted them. It will appear soon.
      Ajoka!!

      • sara

        Dear Abi,
        it has been 10 hours since you said his post will reappear, where is it then? abi , Jordan said he is “sad”- Ajoka!! is not a consolation, come up with a better one.

        • Abi

          Hi sara
          What is the rush? Where is the patience? It took 30 long years for your revolutionary journey from Cairo to Asmara. Patience, patience, patience!
          Sarah got her son at a very old age. She was patient enough God did not forget her. He blessed her with her son.
          I hope Gadi will notice Jordan’s patience and release the comment from disqus prison.
          Ajoki!

        • sara

          Dear Awates,
          oh… sorry, i didn’t meant it will be taken that serious for you to go all the way to sift the disqus. any way thanks.

        • Amde

          Selam Sara

          I have to let you know I found this post of yours very funny. Have a great day.

          Amde

          • sara

            selam Mr. Amde
            how can you say it was funny when it got me only in trouble, thanks to Mr. Abi.
            great day to you too. sir!

          • Amde

            Selam Sara,

            Perhaps you outed Abi as a phantom menace ዲስከስ ቆርጣሚ።

            Trouble is always funny. አጆኪ።

            Amde

          • Abi

            Amdachin
            I was trying to tell sara God and Gadi have a mysterious way of doing things.
            Patience is one of them.
            Now. I have to make her coffee.

      • jordan

        Selam Abi

        Dehan, and thanks for telling me.

  • Abi

    Amdachin
    I was so close! I deserve some credit.
    I saw some images or the city of Hell,MI with funny names. I wonder if there is “Hell Funeral Home”? How about Hell church?
    Sorry for your late father. He would have been Saay’s favorite lawyer in Ethiopia.

    • saay7

      Hey Ras Abi and Selamatat Amde:

      You two have been sitting too close with Amanuel and I am afraid we will have to rearrange the classroom seating arrangement 🙂

      Cleaver Greene is an actor playing a lawyer in the Australian legal drama Rake. Thus “my favorite Australian lawyer”. A lawyer who I think has broken at least 5 laws in every episode.

      And stop it with the compliments; my Habesha neck and Habesha chicken legs can barely support my pre-swollen head.

      saay

      • Abi

        Hi Saay
        You got it wrong. I’m enjoying it. There is no Abesha chicken leg. No Sir!
        “አበሻና አንበሳ እግሩ ቀጭን ነው!!!!
        I don’t mind the proposed siting rearrangement. Kind of tired of siting with Ato Amanual and act serious about everything in life. I need some action.
        Complements? Unless it comes from Ato Amanual don’t take it seriously. I might be pulling your chicken legs.

    • Amde

      Selam Abi,

      I am sure there is a “First Church of Christ in Hell” Michigan. People like to get their pictures taken at the town sign when there is a large snow storm… just to say “Hell has frozen over.”

      Apparently, Hell means something bright in German. That may be why the town was named Hell. A lot of German descendants in Michigan. We had a German lady come through once and she ranted as to why the word Hell was reserved for something so terrible… Not so Hellish she was.

      Amde

  • said

    Greetings,
    I am stunned on how naïve many of us praising the EMPTY Legacy of outgoing President Barack Obama To me, Barack Obama is the ENGINEERED “White Wash” made necessary by the controlling Oligarchs of the American WASP after the disastrous and most destructive Policy of George W. Bush. One’s Legacy to be truly great is in the better world a leader leaves behind in the Examples of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s, FDR’s ‘New Deal’ and Lyndon Johnson’s ‘Great Society’ Institutionalizing the kind of profound changes that carry on to benefit future generations. NONE of that can be attributed to President Barack Obama. Rather on the Contrary as Harvard Philosopher Cornel West below is justly highlighting in his article in theguardian. Barack Obama leaves us Worse-off than when he started with an America and the Entire World mired in Total Uncertainties as the Americans bring to Office a new President, Donald Trump, ushering in the very same culprit Political and Economic Programs that brought America and the entire world to the Brinks of Collapse when suddenly Barack Obama appeared as the potential savior. Trumpism is ushering in the New Come Back of a worse brands of ‘Neoliberalism’ and ‘Neo-Conservatism,’ undertaking, without a hiatus, to dismantle whatever meagre goods, i.e. the Obamacare, that Obama is leaving behind. Idiots are those lamenting the departure of Obama as the end of an era as Obama in the first was brought in, successfully fulfilling his mandate, as the Interim ‘White Wash,’ as same culprits who came very close to wrecking the system are back to ensure the finishing of the job. True, hail to the Chief who deep down was in actuality a mere Marionette.

    Harvard Cornel West in theguardian: Pity the sad legacy of Barack Obama

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/barack-obama-legacy-presidency

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Said,

      You have the long awaited Trumpism and his philosphy, if he has a real philosophy at all, that yourself and Cornel West will enjoy the coming four years. Have fun with him before the cycle of power shifted.

      • said

        Selam Simon Kaleab and Amanuel Hidrat,

        Barack-obama-legacy-racism-criminal-justice-system.Professor Taylor below is justly highlighting in his in theguardian. by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is assistant professor in the department of African American studies at Princeton

        Barack-obama-legacy-racism-criminal-justice-system.
        Barack Obama’s refusal to use his position as president to intervene on behalf of African Americans is a stain on his record many activists will never forget.
        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/13/barack-obama-legacy-racism-criminal-justice-system

    • Simon Kaleab

      Selam said,

      It is not surprising to see the left turning on each other after receiving a battering in the election. They are in denial and rather than honest self-examination, they always say it is other peoples’ fault. Typical leftist self-consolation.

      Cornel West is a loony leftist and soul mate of weirdo Bernie Sanders. Cornel West hates Obozo and crooked Hillary not because they are incompetent but because they are not leftist enough. They all started hating Russia, their former idol, because it is not communist anymore.

      Obozo was unfit to be a president. He never had a proper job, and never has done an honest day’s work in his life. He was a pot smoking street corner protester.

      Crooked Hillary and serial molester Bill are Champagne Socialists addicted to other peoples’ free money.

      Welcome to the pragmatic era, onwards and upwards!

      • said

        elam Simon Kaleab

        Obama’s Farwell Speech: Pure Empty Rhetoric

        As I listened to Barack Obama’s farewell speech on the CNN as being delivered at the McCormick Center in downtown Chicago this night, I, for once, realized the rhetoric of empty talk that in essence carries no weight as leaving America and the world mired in the uncertainties with the like of a Donald Trump soon moving to take control in the White House.

        My judgment must have been influenced by a conclusion devoid of cynicism on how precarious and sham, a Reality Show, the whole hoopla of American politics is. It is the Marionette played to the cadence of a few powerful interest groups, as the rest, even the elected President, the legislators and even the Supreme Court Justices are mere pawns in a never ending chess game.

        Although I have long reached this conclusion as reinforced by the mockery of the latest US Primaries and the US Presidential elections; however, so happened, only a few hours before the start of the Obama speech reading through Seymour Hersh account in his book “The Price of Power,” of how the Nixon-Kissinger duo in a matter of days of entering the White House they grabbed all the power through restructuration of National Security Council at the White House to the total exclusion of the State Department and the Defense Department, considered two pivotal institution in the ongoing war in Vietnam.

        However, what’s truly frightening, rather very foretelling of a never changed reality of decision making in Washington, is how simplistic a decision-making process is and how much decisions hang on personal ego to the harm of meaningful dialogue, consensus and the wellbeing of a whole nation. Ironically, all is done under the dazzling lights of democracy as naïve citizenry, labeled in misleading Democracy’s jargons the electorate, are led to believe they are the ones virtually in control.

        Commissioning at the very start of the Nixon Administration , on the very first days, the think-tank of the Rand Corporation, – a foremost think-tank on Defense – to outline, based on very well-informed research, the options before the US to bring to an honorable conclusion the grinding war in Vietnam. Most disturbingly, and as the Rand Corporation put the limited options before Nixon and Kissinger as early as March, 1969, less than two months after Richard Nixon started his first term at the White House, Nixon disregarded the only viable option; i.e. unilateral withdrawal as the war could never be won or decisively ended.

        However, instead – and solely for ego appearances sake, with Kissinger fully knowingly in full control of the game, the Nixon-Kissinger duo opted to continue and expand the war in lieu of bringing the war, that could never be won or decisively ended, into an early end. Instead, a senseless and a pointless war stretched 5 more full years with tens of thousands of American troops losing their lives, and, as the theatre of operations expanded into other neutral neighboring countries, Laos and Cambodia; causing the killings of no less than additional million and a half Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laos.

        Thus, in lieu of bringing the war to an end following the Rand Corporation and Kissinger’s conclusions, beside the near full consent of most of the high military brass, the mere manipulations of the Nixon-Kissinger duo extended a losing war beyond Nixon’s first term in office. Lies and pure fabrications dominated the Nixon Administration’s discourse all along, with simple-minded, ego driven politicians posing as the stores of wisdom throwing tens of thousands of innocent American troops and offering more than an additional million or a million and a half Vietnamese as fodders on the altar of the egos and stupidities of the White House.

        Nixon had no thought-through plan to end the war honorably in Vietnam. He only improvised kind of a plan with the devious inputs of manipulator and opportunist Henry Kissinger. Nixon’s simplistic plan for the war, more of loud thoughts as he strolled the beeches at Key Biscayne, Florida with his Counselor Haldeman, was to invoke President Dwight Eisenhower’s game plan to force the North Koreans to end the Korean War in 1953. It was a combination of wide-reaching bombardments of North Korea’s dams, dikes and bridges destroying the country’s farmland and doing away with the country’s water causing the full destruction of the country’s Rice harvest, being the main staple as ending causing the wide spread of famine in what ensued. Eisenhower also threatened the Use of Nuclear weapons as both Russia and China had no matching nuclear arsenal at the time to retaliate against the Americans once the Americans use tactical nuclear weapons.

        The Eisenhower episode took me back to World War Two when Eisenhower was the supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe ordering the bombardments at the end of the war of German cities that posed no military value causing the senseless killing of more than hundred thousand civilians in one instance in 1945 in the case of the German Cultural City of Dresden.

        Thus, when Afro-American President Obama in his speech tonight, much reminiscent of George W Bush’s famous line “They Hate Us for Our Democracy,” brags about America’s enshrined Jeffersonian Ideals as other countries of the world are only lacking and are envious of the us Americans for our democracy; freedom; and economic prosperity, I just laughed to myself, here we go again.

        Ending with the episode of electing the likes of Donald Trump as President of the most powerful country of the world is sure no cause for celebration; rather, it only adds to the mockery existing all along, except this time around, it only happened in the wide open.

        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam said,

          But in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, after they ‘liberated’ their countries, the Communists murdered even more of their own people.

          After WW2, the Germans escaped lightly, considering all the brutal crimes they committed [with the support of their people] in the West and in the East [Poland, Ukraine and Russia]. At the end of the war, Germany should have been turned into a potato farm.

      • Amde

        Selam Simon,

        What do you have against the left? Is it a position that emerged from the leftist inspired origins of our neck of the woods, or something you developed strictly from the US.

        I am genuinely interested. I don’t know your age or life circumstances. But, if you were a youth in the Emperor’s time, one can argue there were a number of objectively bad situations that would have a young person be attracted to leftist positions… issues such as land ownership, exclusion of some (most) sectors of society from the political decision making process, etc.. Now, if you were young during the heyday of the Derg/Shabiya/Weyane era, then a lot of what was done in the name class struggle and liberation and progressivism would be cause one to viscerally hate leftist politics.

        But I have a hard time understanding Abeshas loving Trump. I can’t place that within our experience.

        Funny (apparently true) story.. A small group of old abesha friends, now very old grandmothers living in the US met recently. One of them, it turns out, confessed to being a Trump voter. The others are admittedly shocked and want to know the reason. The Trump voter then explains herself thus: “I look at all of you all frail old birds, and I fear that you won’t be able to defend yourselves when you are accosted by a non-woman ‘woman’ per the new bathroom rules thanks to Obama. I am not a weakling like you all but you are all hopeless. So that is why I voted for Trump, to save you all.”

        Amde

        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam Amde,

          Both in the West and the less developed countries, the left bring misery and distribute poverty [neither wealth nor freedom].

          In the West, the left patronise the unwashed masses, keep them addicted to Welfare dependency and treat them as mere voting machines.

          In the less developed countries, the left instigate all types of uprisings, over one perceived grievance or another, and use the unwashed masses only as cannon fodder.

          In both cases, ordinary folks are used as a stepping stone for grabbing power by the left.

          • Amde

            Selam Simon,

            I was hoping you could say a little bit about YOUR personal journey to being so anti-left AND pro-Trump. I find Trump to be a proto-fascist who is not above using leftist rhetoric of proletarian powerlessness but to actually perpetuate the system that put the proles in their predicament. In my mind, the two are irreconcilable.

            What say you?

            Amde

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Amade,

            Do you have any concrete evidence of Trump’s fascist tendencies other than the pronouncements of the leftist controlled media?

          • Amde

            Selam Simon,

            Sure.

            Exhibit 1: Muslim registry.

            Is that a fascist idea or not?

            Exhibit 2: Mexican being rapists by default, except for some that he assumes are good people.

            Is that a fascist idea or not?

            Amde

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Amde,

            He only stated his intention to temporarily stop Muslim immigration from countries that are hostile to America. There is no evidence of Trump making a statement advocating Muslim registry. If you have a direct evidence of a statement from Trump to this effect, you may provide one.

            As far as Mexico is concerned, he opposed illegal immigration. Clearly, the Mexicans are not sending their neurosurgeons, software engineers, mathematicians and physicists across the border.
            Why would you oppose a political stand that advocates controlled immigration? Would you advocate uncontrolled immigration to Japan, Saudi Arabia or any other country?

        • Semere Tesfai

          Selam Amde

          “What do you have against the left?”

          I think I can guess, and I believe it has nothing to do with Western politics (right or left). I think it has everything to do (at least for most) with the “all politics are local” cliche.

          For the Eritreans who were fed-up by the Obama-Susan Rice never-ending sanction, isolation and human rights investigation….. and for the Ethiopians who were fed-up by the Obama-Susan Rice never-ending “unconditional” support of the “repressive” Woyane regime – Hillary Clinton presidency was/is considered as another term of the Obama-Susan Rice presidency.

          Therefore, the support for Donald Trump was all about supporting political shake-up in Washington, hoping political change in Washington – to reverse the current Obama-Susan Rice policy towards Addis and Asmara. That’s all.

          Semere Tesfai

          • Abi

            Selam Tegadalay Semere T
            For someone who just arrived from outer space, your comment sounds like Obama is Eritrean/Ethiopian president.
            What we learned from the Palestinian case is that the UNSC is made up of more than one country.
            You sound like a news broadcaster from ErTv. outsourcing the real causes of the sanctions.
            Eway, Ata SebAy!!

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Abi

            “You sound like a news broadcaster from ErTv. outsourcing the real causes of the sanctions.”

            Got to put food on the table. Folks at Radio Wegahta and EBC are not hiring – ኣማች የሌለው ሰው መቸ…..

          • Abi

            ከመይ ወንድም አማች ሠመረ
            “just didn’t want Israel to reach at a point of no return ”
            Explanation please!

            I like your #2. Well played. ( assuming Obama is Kenyan). That kind of comeback is typical Saaytanish.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Abi,

            I assure you, he cannot explain it other than waffling and hand waving.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Abi

            1. አማች: አማች: አማች……… I’m flattered by all the attention, respect and honor. But please, please, please…..ባላገር: ድሃ: የገበሬ ልጅ ነኝ:: ኣታክብድልኝ እባክህ:: ኣልለመደኝም. When you write my name, please don’t use the royal “ሠ”. Instead, use the Wenbedew “ሰ”. Up North it is illegal to use the royal “ሠ” – እባክህ ኣገሬ እንድመለስ –

            As much as I love to dance – when you use the royal “ሠ” in my name, it makes me feel very uncomfortable – uncomfortable like – dancing with an Ethiopian flag wrapped around you. You know that makes you feel don’t you? Of course you do!

            2. – Now, let me be serious
            When the Jewish state takes some territories from the Palestinian sovereign territories (1967 border) the mighty US won’t have any problem looking the other way – but it has to be in moderation. Why in moderation?

            Let’s say the Jewish state gobbled the whole Palestinian land – which there is not much land left. Then you will end up with two possible scenarios:

            A. – A brand new Non-Jewish democratic state that is equally home to Israelis and Arabs – which neither the Israelis nor the West want.

            B. – A brand new apartheid state with two different sets of laws for two communities – one for Jews and another for Arabs – again which neither the West nor a levelheaded Jew want.

            Therefore, the mighty USA has to pressure the Jewish state to accept a “Two State Solution” and warn the hardliners in the Israeli government to stop from gobbling the whole territory with Jerusalem as its capital (a point of no return) – again which there is not much land left. That’s why.

            Semere Tesfai

          • Abi

            Selam Semere T
            ምነው ከሰው ላመሳስልህ ብከጅል ክፍት አለህ?
            ወይ ከደህና ተወለድ ወይ ከደህና ተጠጋ ይላል ያገሬ ሰው::

            You started bad and finished worse just like your revolutionary madness.
            What do you think of Trump moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem? It is exactly opposite to your idea of ” point of no return”.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Abi

            “What do you think of Trump moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem?”

            I don’t know Abi, Trump said many things – very contradictory things at that. Don’t know which one to believe and which one not to. But….

            I hate to guess/predict, but I believe he won’t do it (he won’t let it happen).

            Abi, it was pleasure conversing with you. It is getting late in my neck of the woods, I’ve to head home – hold that thought.

            Semere Tesfai

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Semere T.,

            You said: “When the Jewish state takes some territories from the Palestinian sovereign territories (1967 border)…”

            The territory you refer to is taken by Israel from Jordan in a defensive war in 1967, not from a State called Palestine. Furthermore, it is not mandatory to return territory captured in this manner, according to the rules of war. Jordan has also forfeited its claim to this territory in the early 1980s. At best, this territory can be called disputed, but it is negotiable as part of a comprehensive peace negotiation.

            You need to pay attention to the facts.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Semere T.,

            You said: “The mighty USA could have veto it, as it did a million times – just didn’t want Israel to reach at a point of no return.”

            On the contrary, lame duck president Obozo’s emotional action pushes the issue to a point of no return. One cannot pre-judge a disputed question to impose an external solution. It will not work.

            On the Eritrea/Ethiopia conflict: the conflict started during the tail end of Bill Clinton era. This makes a total of 3 presidents that had a similar policy towards the conflict. What makes you think the incoming president will change the existing policy? If there is no change, does this mean Isaias sitting out for 8 more years [until the end of Trump’s 2nd term]? This is, of course, assuming Isaias will still be alive.

            One of the reasons for the USSR achieving total victory over Germany in WW2 was the flexible thinking of Stalin. Stalin and Hitler, two dictators but with different mindsets. Hitler was stubborn and fanatic while Stalin was foxy and sly. One measure of intelligence is being flexible and being able to adopt to new conditions.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Simon KaleAb

            To me, the objective of any discussion here at Awate, is not just to point to existing problems, but also to find lasting solutions. And I hope you got one. Now tell me:

            1. – You are telling me the Isaias way of handling the Ethio-Eritrean border issue is wrong. Fine – I get it. Now that you’ve pointed to me the wrong way, so what is the right way to solve the Ethio-Eritrean border problem?

            Please explain to me ” the measure of intelligence of being flexible and being able to adopt to new conditions” part of your argument. If you do convincingly, you win. If you can’t, you’re just clueless like the rest of us.

            Semere Tesfai

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Semere T.,

            I give you credit for your unwavering support of Eritrea’s cause. But, unfortunately for you, I am more Nationalist than you. While you support Isaias no matter what, by assuming Isaias and Eritrea are one and same, my support for Isaias is conditional. Eritrea comes first.

            Tell me, why is Isaias wasting the country’s key asset, the youth, so carelessly? Why is the country under the total economic grip of the PFDJ/EPLF? Why is Isaias involving himself with one misadventure after another? If Ethiopia refuses to abide by the border ruling, why does Eritrea and its people being held hostage by irrational thinking for the last 16 years?

            One measure of intelligence is being flexible and being able to adopt to new conditions.

          • saay7

            Semere Semere Semere:

            I am taking your “you’re clueless whiner like the rest of us” as an invitation to join in and maybe give some clues?:)

            I would like to double down on Simon’s “the measure of intelligence is being flexible and being able to adopt to new conditions” by adding this: “and if you are a government, and you fail to do so, you have disqualified yourself from governing a people.”

            The flexibility which is required is in a world-view, a narrative that is designed to externalize self-generated problems and/or to see the role of government as that of chornicler of problems, and not one which finds solutions.

            Your world-view, shared by the government and its supporters is: it is a uni-polar world where the US cracks the whip and the planet complies. And so, it has one call for all problems: the US must “comply” Ethiopia to abide by EEBC; the US must remove threat of veto from removing sanctions. But the world is much, much more nuanced and, apparently, it is one where the Eritrean government is absolutely incapable of navigating in. This world is made up of countries who pursue their self-interest which sometimes runs opposed to the US .

            In your world, African countries (except for Eritrea) are all US wind-up toys. Regional coalitions (IGAD, AU, COMESA, CEMAC, SADC, Arab League) are toothless entities who respond “how high” when the US orders “jump”. It is a world where China and Russia and disinterested countries with no say in Africa. You would have to believe all of the above to justify how and why the 2009 UNSC resolution to impose targeted sanctions against Eritrea was opposed only by Libya. (1/15 countries.) So of course it makes perfect sense that Burkino Faso and Uganda would vote to impose the sanctions.

            But the real world is much more nuanced. China and Russia were opposed to it, with Putin using his characteristically strident language. But they didn’t exercise their veto and allowed it to proceed out of deference to the Arab League. Similarly, when Chinese were asked why they were not supporting sanction the Mugabe government, they said that they were following the lead of SADC (Southern African Development Community (SADC.) Your world fails to recognize that in survey after survey (by Pew) of African countries, there have been two findings: (1) Chinas influence in their country is increasing; (2) Where the perception of US and China is seen as equal, China’s influence in Africa is seen positively and America’s negatively. There is a resentment towards America’s “hard power”, its selective lectures about human rights, and its policy of bringing peace by raining drones and an embrace of China’s “soft power”, its “non-interference”, its constant reminders that it has never colonized Africa (although it knew of Africa before the West did), it supported liberation movements, and it is committed to a world without massive income gaps. It has been proletesyzing this with its Confucius Centers, which has been opening as fast as the US consulates have been shrinking. It is even expanding the scholarships it awards African students.

            Russia voted yes, and China abstained (i.e. yielded to IGAD and AU) on the 2009 sanctions on Eritrea. Why Uganda voted yes is too obvious to explain. Burkino Faso goes back to its bad experience with Isaias and company in 1998-2000. The world is much more nuanced that the black-and-white portrait you paint: the AU’s official position on NATO’s attack on Libya was a loud no, but when the resolution came for a vote, all three African members voted yes: all three were elected governments who were tired of Gaddafi’s antics with one, Nigeria, still harboring resentment for his call on dividing Nigeria along North South Muslim Christian basis.

            As horrific as the miscalculation of the Isaias Afwerki government was in getting the 2009 sanctions passed, it is that–by omission and commission–he got Eritrea sanctioned in 2011. The latter introduced an economic element–demand on due diligence by investors–that made it all but impossible for an investor to invest in Eritrea. Going back to Simon’s measure: what flexibility or creativity was shown in 2010 and 2011 to convince the world (the Security Council members, now including Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa) that they should lift the sanctions? Can you point to a single change, a single diplomatic campaign? What was Eritrea’s presence at AU? At China-Africa summit?

            So now let’s go back to the area you claim we are all clueless about, demarcation of the Eritrea-Ethiopia boundary. Now, first, you do realize that the job of the UN Security Council has evolved to “managing conflicts” and they consider the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict well-managed (in much the same way that they consider the Morocco-Western Sahara conflict well-managed.) If the last 15 years have shown anything, it is that shouting “you are the guarantor!” or “shame on you!” doesn’t work. The Government of Eritrea should have reached out to countries that are considered friendly to it and Ethiopia to conduct proxy-discussions to enforce the ruling. But it is still waiting for “TPLF to fall”, as it has been predicting for the last 12 years.

            Now, let’s see what our cousins south of the Mereb River have been doing in that period. While your and my government was painting them as a threat to regional peace, they volunteered for every “peacekeeping” campaign in Africa. This is because they had read the UN Charter, which instructs the General Assembly to pay “due regard… to the contribution of Members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization.” This same General Assembly that, by a 2/3 majority, should vote in a Security Council member. And they just got in for a two-year term. (2017-18.) This will allow them to see privileged information, to hold the rotating post of chairman of UNSC, to set agendas and sequence of witnesses and testimonies, and, this is crucial as a Harvard study showed, see an increase of 77% in US aid, and an increase of 47% of UN developmental aid” for African countries during their two-year membership at UNSC. A different report states that an African UNSC member gets more favorable deals from the World Bank and IMF as well…

            I think I lost you. Ok, here’s something to hang your hat on: the last time Ethiopia was a member of UNSC was 1989-90 and a year after the end of its term the then gov of Ethiopia was swept out of power. So let’s use this numerology to set the new End Times for the Ethiopian government as 2019. Yay, victory to the masses.

            saay

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam saay7,

            I think nobody can convince Semere T. through reasoning because he has made up his mind.

          • Paulos

            Selam Simon,

            It sure is challenging to psychoanalyse the yes-constituency for there seem to be cleaveges before you get in to the deepest recess of their psych. If I have to guess the hardest layer to break through is their rabbid dislike south of the border and their unwarranted fear of the unknown should Isaias leaves the political scene. Unmaking up of the mind is quite possible say through sessions of cognitive therapy but it would have limitations in the land of yes-constituency.

        • saay7

          Hey Amde:

          I don’t know if it is loving Trump or a reaction to the Obama Years.

          If I were the argumentative type, I would say that Obama was elected for how it made people feel (proud!) for voting for him, as opposed to him being the most qualified candidate to be prez. So Trump is just a continuation of that now, the other side voting for how he makes them feel (Great!)

          saay

          • Amde

            Ah Saay,

            I think a case can be made that every elected politician got to their position by manipulating emotion. It is very often cloaked in the language of reason and logic. Very few are as explicit and shameless as Bill Clinton saying “I feel your pain.” I never thought Obama was particularly good at it… but I think he had a good and decent presidency whatever his shortcomings.

            It is hard to know how things would have been worse if it was someone else.. that is unprovable. But the likelihood of another war this time against Iran would have been high whether it was McCain or Hillary. Would a President Romney have removed the post 2008 Wall Street regulations or not.. my guess is he would have. Would the world be on the cusp of being free from fossil fuel domination if a Republican was in office supported by science denying Republican congress? I don’t think we would be closer, and most likely the US would be in a position of being permanently shut out of the whole Green Energy revolution. The records China and India are reporting now on this front are simply breathtaking.

            I just don’t think there is much substance to the cataclysmic tone about the Obama years.

            I get why a section of native born American electorate would love some of Trump’s message. What I don’t get is the Trump love from people from our neck of the woods. There are many especially evangelical Ethios who would never vote democrat for religious/moral reasons (gays, abortion, etc…) so I can well understand that demographic. But abeshas repeating Trumo slogans is something else, and I was hoping Simon would be a bit more forthcoming about his personal reasons why. Unfortunately, he decided to send me arguments from Trump central instead, so I guess we will never know.

            There were a lot of Republicans at my place of work who despised Trump but by the time voting day rolled around they found they would rather vote to keep Hillary out. Now that all the counting is done, the MAGA caps festoon quite a number of cubicles and work stations. Much of it is reflexive reaction to the Trump hatred from the left.

            Amde

  • Abi

    Hi Tes
    እዩት ቴስን ሰክሮ ሲንገዳገድ
    ያለቦታው ገብቶ ጨዋታ ሲያቆረፍድ
    If you are using someone’s lines , at least put it in a quotation. It is patented. Better yet, come up with a better line.

  • said

    Greeting,
    Humbly Opinionated; Not Self-Righteous
    I am one of those who are down to earth blessed with insatiable craving for knowledge, for knowledge sake; matched with energy that defies age and biology; Grace a Dieu. Admittedly, also true, I am also a product of the time, place and general social environment I am born in Eritrea and i love Eritrea . I am prone to the prejudices and value judgments, the myopic dictates of self-righteousness viewing the Universe through the prism of the limitations of social conditioning and culturally induced attitudes and the projections of self-gratifying stereotypes.
    Yet, with an endowed inquisitive mind and an innate deep sense of fairness, the accumulated stores of knowledge; acquired insight to the working of other cultures, hone my judgment; constraining the impetus tendencies of the ego to rush into premature conclusions. With the smoothed edges the ego is rendered receptive, welcoming the flow of knowledge, all knowledge, as I removed the veil, the barriers, the artificial construct of preconceived attitudes, blocking my vision to discern the path to unraveling the mysteries of objective reality.
    I am humbly opinionated cognizant of one’s very limited and tiny knowledge in the broader context of universal Grand Design of objective reality; yet, I dare to venture an opinion that epitomizes a sincere desire to cross-fertilize knowledge through well-intentioned human interactions and dialogue; an experience that catapults one’s level of maturity in knowing self and the environs into a higher plateau, a higher sphere in the relentless quest for the truth.
    With the attainment of a new higher plateau of maturity, inching closer to the bliss of conscious awareness, I shed a new layer of self-righteousness, on the path to spiritual liberation; the state of encompassing and embracing the Universe as the whole that renders a mortal inseparable whole.
    I shall continueto endure the banalities, the irrelevance of the mundane; for, it is the precondition bordering on suffering paving the path to spiritual liberation, liberation of the soul to anew, as in genesis, revert to the source.

    • Amde

      Selam ato Said,

      I actually thought your poating might have been borrowed from elsewhere, but it appears to be sui generis.

      You said “With the attainment of a new higher plateau of maturity, inching closer to the bliss of conscious awareness, I shed a new layer of self-righteousness, on the path to spiritual liberation; ” Thus sounds like a very Buddhist framing. How do you link that with your Eritrean heritage.

      Amde

      • said

        Selmat Amde
        We have a lot to learn and much to appreciate from a highly evolved culture that prospered over 4,000 years ago along the banks or the river Sindhu (INDIA)— now Indus river — in what is currently Punjab province Pakistan. please tell me from where did I borrowed the statement and put the link,
        if there is wisdom in that then just it matters of being conscious no matter where I find, I do not practice eastern spiritualty, by the way which Buddhist teaching did you think you quoted me, the Tibet or Balinese Buddhist (Indonesian Bali) Hindu-Balinese, a culture that makes no distinction between the secular politics and the supernatural
        Quotation. The Balinese Buddhist – the Hindu religious philosophy, for every positive force there is a counterbalance, a destructive force. The two are inseparable — coexisting in dynamic equilibrium. Western dualism is so unsophisticated compared to it.
        From me it is not just Buddha or Hindu that you referred to below. the teaching the conception of spiritual and cosmic structure and much more, is not my cup of TEA and I remain true to my belief.
        (With the attainment of a new higher plateau of maturity, inching closer to the bliss of conscious awareness, I shed a new layer of self-righteousness, on the path to spiritual liberation;)

  • Abraham H.

    Selam Awatista,
    It is a pity that during the time of information age our people back home are living totally detached and in utter darkness. The reason why the PFDJ regime keeps the country sealed from the outside world in terms of access to better iternet and other communications as well as free movement of the people is in order to keep the people uninformed. Uinformed people could easily be manipulated and they cannot network with each other to challenge the regime. We could ask ourselves how many percentage of the Eritreans back home have access to the internet and follow the diaspora based pro-justice websites? Even if they have access how many of them really grasp the contents of the articles and commentaries that are mostly written in the English language? In the struggle against the PFDJ the most important factor that could facilitate the path to better change is having an enlightened people. The Eritrean pro-justice movement has an uphill task of breaking the siege mentality that has been intilled into the minds of our people by the PFDJ. But for this to happen we need to reach and speak to the people in the languages they understand and through media they could easily access. Once this task is achieved, the people themselves would take matters into their own hands to bring the desired change.
    ህዝቢ ይንቃሕ ይወደብ ይተዓጠቕ still applies

  • Thomas

    Hi Saay,

    I heard your debate/discussion on voa. The interviewer unfortunately was some PFDJ designated/supporter of the dictatorial regime in our country. Tewelde W. gebreal is one of the kind. I hope voa management one day fires this guy for he is destroying the repetition of the tigrigna radio. Over 90% of his invitees are regime supporters. Tewelde thinks he is cheating his audience by inviting most supporters of the regime and those who like to see a moderate reform on the regime. This guy, Tewelde, thinks he is hiddenly supporting the regime while he is beyond doubt expeosed working on his evil agenda. I wonder what he is benefiting from covering the information well known to everyone? It is too late for him to try to put a make-up on the already rotten regime.

  • Ismail AA

    Selam Kalihari Snake,
    With due respect, brother, population increase in our country true or false cannot, in my opinion, console us when the nation is being depleted from its most productive segment of its inhabitants. Those statistics are in the first place estimations done by extrapolation, and not based on actual counts by properly executed census. The regime never allowed population counting, and has been in fact releasing baseless numbers, which donors and UN organs have been compelled to take into account when allocating aid.
    Regards

    • Michael Tesfamariam

      Hi AA, you are absolutely right!!!!, no official population census has ever been conducted in Eritrea since the regime came to rule the country in 1991, and there is no evidence what so ever that suggests that the population in Eritrea is growing or declining. There was one census, which was carried out in Eritrea probably between late 1970s and mid 1980s,,,,and this same data has been used by the regime to make current and future population projections. No body knows the patter, growth and distribution of the population in Eritrea today. Despite all this big political, social and economic events that occurred since 1991, the regime and some unethical foreign researchers have been using this extremely poor data to make big political and economic conclusion and decisions. I know the type of population growth model which is being used in Eritrea to make such irresponsible statistical conclusions, they use a constant population growth model, which is only appropriate in stable, peaceful and prosperous populations, with insignificant net migration effect. it is just irresponsible and politically driven phoney statistics to depend on a constant population model in Eritrea. The country has been going through difficult political , economic and social situations, and this could have already brought about some significant impact on the general demography of country. The degree of economic and political oppression in the country drove hundreds of thousands even millions of people to flee the country, but that model never took this into account. They don’t even know what percentage of the population has left the country since the eruption of the war with Ethiopia back in 1998. But for Issais, it is more easier to trust super-naturalists and traditional healers than cogent and real scientific based evidence.

      • blink

        Dear Michael

        I have no idea which Eritrea are you refering , the year 1970 and 1980s , You must know these years are known to be a genocide time in Eritrea .

        • Michael Tesfamariam

          Hi Blink
          I was referring to same country you are referring to, Eritrean. Whether it was under a genocidal regime or not, it was still Eritrea. And I was talking about the only official population census that was carried out in the Eritrea between late 1970s or mid 1980s- I am not sure about the exact year -may be folks from awate team or others will be able to tell us.

          • Abi

            Hi Michael
            Here is Ras Abi , an expert about everything Eritrean at your disposal. I remember the census in 1975 Ethiopian Calendar . It is 1983 Eritrean calendar. I forgot if there was another in 1985.
            Blink, there was also a world accredited university, a pension system, salary for employees,…………..All these good things happened in the Eritrea on this Planet. It doesn’t seem real. But, it is true. I don’t blame you if you are confused.
            Genzebka!

          • Michael Tesfamariam

            Hi Abi, thank you bro,, I was unable to remember the right year,,but I remember i was reading an article written by one Eritrean academician when I was home. With regard to Blink, i think you made good points,,Eritrean socioeconomic status was much better than today in many ways. How about the mortgage system-that was introduced during the Derg regime, an elementary school teacher was able to buy a house in Mai Temenay more than 30 years ago,, but now in 2017 let lone to buy he/she is not even allowed to live in the land where they were born. Blink doesn’t seem to know the fact that the current mafia regime did everything thy could to destroy what was good and best in the country under our perceived enemies ( the Derg or Haileselasie). I hope she will not bring up cellphone for sake argument,,,,.

          • Abi

            Hi Michael
            Thanks a lot. Blink always displays his bleak assessment towards everything.
            BTW, I’m an Ethiopian. A self appointed defender of Everything Ethiopian. My Title is Ras/Raesi!
            Nice to meet you.
            Ras Abi

          • Thomas

            Hi My friend Abinet,

            I hate to call you Abi because it is a female name in the U.S. I know you are the ras of Rases, so don’t take a chance:)

            Best,Thomas

          • Abi

            Hi Thomas my brother
            Abigail is indeed a female name. Americans are too lazy to call/write the whole name.
            Growing up I was called Abiti.
            Don’t forget Atse Menelik was called “Emye” just like Emye Ethiopia!
            Thanks Tomi

          • Thomas

            Hi Abiti my brother,

            Thank you for the detailed information. If Abigail is Abi, Robert is Rob or Bob, Jayson is Jay, Jonathan is Jon, Nicholas is Nick, Jefferson is Jeff ………….. Yes, indeed Americans are about simplicity. It also starts from driving automatic versus 5 stick shift car, microwave versus oven………..

      • Kalihari Snake

        Good morning Michael Tesfamariam: You are simply wrong as for some time now, nobody save perhaps some within the Eritrean Government, have been using a constant population growth model in the case of Eritrea, Even the website that I provided does not.

    • Kalihari Snake

      Good morning Ismail AA: I agree with you that population numbers in themselves do not serve as any consolation from that brain drain that has been affecting Eritrea for some time now. Rather the point that I was trying to make is that contrary to what some assert, that Eritrea is hollowed out with the remaining consisting of only the elderly, disabled, widows, etc; for its population is in fact rapidly increasing. While it is true that no recent census has been undertaken, which by the way can be politically manipulated, we can in fact get a pretty good estimate on the population by triangulating various sources of data. For example, Eritrea has since 2005 had an active polio vaccination campaign targeting children under the age of 5 years old and WHO uses an interpolate factor of between 17-20% in extrapolating populations from under 5 data. We also look at other indicative medical screening data, UNHCR/IOM data and satellite-based population estimates at a fine spatial resolution. The business of estimating populations through extrapolation has improved leaps and bounds compared to 20 years ago.

  • Kalihari Snake

    Good afternoon Hayet Adem. Though I am having difficulty in following your scattered writing style, it is clear that you have a propensity to make suppositions about almost everything. Have I said that I wish Ethiopia to implode? No, but rather, I had stated that it is at present a real possibility. In terms of who really provoked the 1998-2000 Ethiopian-Eritrean war? I believe that provocations clearly came from both sides. And, while I know that Human Right Watch reported that Eritrea instigated the scaled conflict in Badme, I know for a fact that Ethiopia, more specially the TPLF, escalated matters and sustained the war. I was present in Addis Ababa on May 8th, 1998; when the Eritrean delegation sent by PIA met with Ethiopian counterparts in an attempt to diffuse matters. After coming to an agreement on how we could nip the conflict in the bud, we all went out on a late night drinking session and from the Eritrean delegation side, most struggled to make the following days’ scheduled flight back to Asmara. I remember being with Girma Asmeron and both of us being in disbelief, when we heard news from the Ethiopian Government side, that the Eritrean mission had left one day earlier than planned and had given no notification to its host (Ethiopia). Two days later, instead of having an anticipated lull in action, Ethiopia dramatically increased their military offensive and the rest is history. You are correct in affirming one assertion that I have made, in that I firmly believe that the TPLF while they are in mafia control, will not allow for Ethiopia’s peaceful withdrawal from Eritrean land. I know a lot of people try to dish-off Badme as an insignificant tract of land, but if this were indeed the case, why then has Ethiopia in line with ‘Rule of Law’, not already withdrawn from the triangle? In regards to Ethiopia and Eritrea you say that ‘These two people are brothers by blood, history and geography’. Well times change and it is your brothers that barbarically deported thousands of Eritreans and are now illegally occupying Eritrean land.

    • Abi

      Hi Snake
      I think you conveniently forgot the BARBARIC, ILLEGAL, INHUMAN deportation of Ethiopians from Eritrea just after your independence.
      According to a former ELF leader, only 20% of Eritreans were deported. And most of them are back in Ethiopia. They have claimed their properties that they accumulated while they were under Ethiopian colonization.

      One important thing I unlearned is the mythical brother-brother BS. Time did not change it. No, it was a joke, it never happened. It was one sided. How did I miss this fact?
      If you are talking about the love affair that started in the battlefield between TPLF/EPLF and continued until 1998 , it was an absolute joke . It was a temporary friendship to get rid of ELF and Derg.

      • Kalihari Snake

        Good afternoon Abi: I was in Asmara at the time of liberation and did not observe ANY cases of forced deportation of Ethiopians from Eritrea; only those that were in hoots with the Derg to include both Ethiopians and Eritreans were subject to being jailed or imprisoned. Even, none of more than 100,000 Ethiopian troops which had surrendered, had been forced to return to Ethiopia for they chose to go back on their own volition and were assisted in doing so. Many Ethiopians stayed in Asmara as they have aleady purchased homes there and were use to the lifestyle. I would also refer you to the Humans Rights Watch Report (you can easily find it on line) which was conducted to review/investigate deportations which were alleged to have occurred in both Eritrea and Ethiopia during 1998-2000. The report clearly indicated that while there were Government organized massed deportations of Eritreans committed on the Ethiopian side, that there was not any evidence to support any organized deportation of Ethiopians from Eritrea. When talking with my Ethiopian friends, I sometimes here these same stories of how Ethiopians were brutally deported from Eritrea at the time of liberation. But, it just aint true.

        • Abi

          Hi Snake
          I was is Addis at that time. There were more than 100,000 deportees all over Addis living in plastic shelters. First the new wenbede, EPRDF, sleeping with the other wenbede EPLF denied their existence. Later, filing for divorce from EPLF, EPRDF told us there were roughly 160,000 deportees.
          I agree with you that the Eritreans deportation was orchestrated by EPRDF acting as nationalist. It was done by the government.
          What is scary and makes me scream is if the Ethiopians deportation was not organized by the new government of Eritrea but organized by the residents’ initiative. Just like they did when deporting and abusing the Jehovah witnesses.
          I always blamed it on the new ( still wenbede) government of Eritrea.
          Something to unlearn.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Abi. Thing is, I often hear people referring to those that were living in make-shift housing in-and-around Addis Ababa at the time, as deportees for which they were not. Prior to the EPLF entering Asmara and taking control of Assab and other substantive tracks of Eritrean land, many Ethiopians had left to return to Addis Ababa on their own volition, as they feared retributions from the EPLF. I was in Djibouti one week following Eritrea’s liberation, and I was shocked at the number of Ethiopians, either those formerly in the military or those closely associated with the Derg regime, that had arrived to Djibouti over the past month and were desperately looking for ways to move on to third nation. If I would have had US dollars at the time I could have become rich as Ethiopians in Djibouti at that time were desperate to offload Ethiopian Birr for USD, some were offering rates as high as 20-to-1. I would also like to again mention the Human Rights Watch investigative report covering the period 1998-to-2000, which while mentioning that substantive numbers of Ethiopian had left Eritrea during this period, their investigation could not find any evidence to support Eritrean Government backed organized deportation. If Ethiopians had been brutally deported back in 1991, it would simply not make sense to again assert that they were deported during 1998-2000.

  • Paulos

    Selam Ismail AA,

    I must have skipped your last comment. I just saw it. “Road to Denmark” may be too much to ask given Eritrea’s socioeconomic and political realities. What we need is a normal functioning pillars as in rule-of-law, transparency and accountable state. But the question still remains on how do we get there. Before we chart ways however, we need to face the hard and bitter questions on how did we get here in the first place; what really went wrong along the way to liberation. As I see it, I don’t think we need to look for a Moses-figure to answer the above stated questions, rather we have to remain truthful to ourselves. To be more precise, if a problem can not be solved, in principle it doesn’t exist.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Paulos,

      To begin from your last sentence, the problem does indeed exist. We as people are facing a condition that we need to change if we want to continue to exist as a nation in the polity that our postcolonial history had imposed on us, had accepted and had paid so much to keep. The rationale for the changing the current situation is our aspiration to live and work as normal citizens in a state that at the minimum functions on the basis of the three pillars you have mentioned, and not the too ambitious goal of “getting to Denmark”, as you have stated.

      But, sorting out the crucially fundamental questions you have asked have been eluding us. Figuring out how we got to where we are would oblige us to do objective reading of our recent past – an enterprise that has so far proven more divisive than unifying. We are polarized into total change, some change and no change seekers. But, I agree with you that we should be “truthful to ourselves”. In few words, are we left with options that allow us to waste more time on when we are facing a situation as the one which Abrehet Yosief so eloquently described?
      Regards

      • Paulos

        Selam Ismail AA,

        According to Fukuyama’s reading in Volume II, “Getting to Denmark” took circa 600 years where the single step started as citizens began to be aware about their fundamental rights. I am sure I am preaching to the choir but to recap, when Denmark embraced Protestant credo, the clergy had to campaign to eliminate illiteracy where the fundamental schism with in the Catholic Church was for Latin to be replaced by national or local languages as it was argued by Martin Luther. That is, when the people started to learn how to read and write, they started to question about their constitutional rights. The citizens inquiry that has started 600 years ago is not surprising at all to see it turning into a system of almost a perfect society and an envy of the rest of the world as well.

        Fukuyama envokes a common language as a way to “Getting to Denmark” as well where he cites Tanzania under Nierere when the latter campaigned to make Kswahili solely the language to be used through out the nation in his bid to materialize African-Socialism. More importantly however, strong sense of nationalism again according to Fukuyama is a short cut towards Denmark and as I was reading the book (absolutely brilliant both volumes) Eritrea was at the back of my head simply because Eritreans are one of the most nationalists the wold has ever witnessed. Why is Eritrea an exception to fit into Fukuyama’s prescription then? I really don’t know.

        • saay7

          Selam Paulos:

          Very interesting topic. I think in subsequent writings, even Fukuyama himself said he doesn’t know–and he cautioned experts about pretending to know–the solution of picking Somalia or Moldova and “getting to Denmark.” (Denmark in this case being a generic developed country.)

          However, he gives clues that may be applicable to countries like Eritrea who may have plenty of nationalism but not much more. While he pays some respect to the conventional wisdom that institutionalization is probably important, Fukuyama argues that more important is a local demand for reform.

          There are no institutions in Eritrea, specifically the two most important for “getting to Denmark”: property rights and ” smoothly functioning legal institutions.” There is zero assurance that someone who creates wealth will not have his or her creation confiscated by the government; and there is zero assurance that the victim can rely on the legal institution for restitution.

          As bad as that is, if something in the culture of the people is resistant to demands for reform–as it is in Eritrea–than the Road to Denmark is replaced by the Road to Perdition.

          saay

          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            How about “The Road to Demarcus ” instead of Denmark? I’m looking for some kind of miracle here.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Ahlen Saay,

            Really Eritrea is “on the road to perdition”(for eternal punishment and damnation)? Aren ‘t we fighting to save it before it detour in to that road of hoplessness that leads to eternal pain? Do we need to hit that kind of button for people already overwhelemed by fears of the unknown? Where is the belt of optimism my dear brother?

            regards

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Amanual
            “Perdition” is as scary as it gets.
            While waiting for a Saaytanish response let me tell you a recent joke from your beautiful city Bahir Dar.
            A guy went a ሱቅ in Bahir Dar and asked for a belt . The merchant gave him a women’s belt. The guy got angry and demanded a men’s belt. The merchant replied “ወንዶቹማ ቀበቶውን ታጥቀው ጎንደር ሄደዋል ጌታዬ:: እንግዳ ነህ መሰል?

          • saay7

            Emma and Abi:

            Set aside your theology reference, boys. In the book and movie “Road to Perdition”, Perditiom is actually the name of a town in Michigan. By Lake Michigan.

            The main character, a good person who does very bad things, goes on a final Road to Perdition. It’s a morality tale, as told by guns and assassins and mafia figures. It’s a salvation and it’s price story.

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba saay,

            As all your readers knows you that you are an explicit in the metaphors you use to explain your views, this time your metaphors wasn’t explained and hence your readers will take their own interpretation whether religiously or worldly to understand you. Anyway, thank you for the other verision of your metaphor, though you left to your readers to find out the end of the story. Thank you also for the belt of optimism is still in your waist.

            Regards

          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            Since Ayte Amanual is not into word games, I try my best to represent both of us.
            Saaytanish, go to Hell!!! Like Hell, Michigan. I always suspected where you belong.
            Thanks Google.

          • saay7

            Abi:)

            You should also have checked the weather channel and I can’t go to Hell, MI because…. it is too cold. 31.3 °Fahrenheit cold. And with the wind chill (6 mph gusts), it feels like 31 °F. Why would I leave Cali for that?

            saay

          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            Well, since Amde lived in one of the Michigan cities I mentioned (Hell, Paradise,Hope), I was looking for support from someone who lived in Hell while Hoping Paradise.

          • G. Gebru

            Dear saay7,
            Selamat.
            To quote you, “and on our way many terrible things are happening, some because their motion was set years ago”.
            I think you have poked the realy wound, I say this because we the present generation are carrying with us the divisive part of the struggle of the 1940s and 50s that is keeping us apart on our views on religious matters, regionalism, language, demography so on and so forth.
            So what do you thing of a national dialogue, ofcourse with do you respect to our founding fathers be them Unionists or Independence groups, that represents all section of the Eritrean population to assess them if we can find a common cohesive ground that shapes our struggle against tyrany.
            I think some time in the past there was also a similar idea that calls for dialogue floated from the side of our Lowland compatriots.
            Thanks,
            G.Gebru.

          • saay7

            Selamat G Ghebru:

            Not only do I think dialogue is important, I think it is essential for this reason:

            There are two templates for nation building. One is top-down (emperors kings and dictators keep people in line using the stick); the other is bottom-up (all stakeholders meet dialogue have painstaking negotiations give and take.)

            We have tried the top down version as practiced by PFDJ which, to its credit, has always hinted it is its preferred mode (coded as “African Singapore” model.). We have not applied suffient energy resource and expertise in the bottom-up model, probably because it is much harder and progress is painfully slow which discourages many.

            I can’t prove it but I think most of the elite in the West don’t think we Africans are ready for that which is why they always support the African steongman who may be a terrible human being but keeps his unruly people in line.

            saay

          • G. Gebru

            Dear saay7,
            Selamat.
            I don’t think the west doub our readiness but they are reserved becaus of our incompetence to show our unity and prove to them that we are ready to do business. Unless we do this of course they chose to go with dictators with the hope that, these dictators will come to their sense and learn from their past mistakes and give their people a breathing space. Secondly, they engage dictators on humanitarian grounds to give a helping at lessen the people suffering

          • Millennium

            Hi Saay:

            We all seem to take it for granted that we ,Eritreans,have plenty of nationalism. Is that really the case though? do you think we have that in abundance? what criteria are we using to measure the sense of our nationalistic attitude? the following is what some guy considers should be the criteria to measure nationalistic attitude:

            “Here is a three-fold grid that you might consider in evaluating the answers provided by others:

            In which Nations do citizens hold strong, common beliefs about their National identity, National history, National destiny and the unique value of those elements?

            In which Nations does the central government control all media, to ensure that citizens only hear one perspective? That is, Nationalism is merely the Internal expression of Propaganda.

            In which Nations do citizens travel freely, speak freely, and access both historical and current information about world events?

            Nationalism may be the result of Propaganda. A lie often repeated is believed to be true in the absence of contradictory information.

            Nationalism can be the results of shared experience, where exposure to different values, cultures, beliefs serves to reinforce one’s convictions.”

            If you agree the above criteria is a good way of assessing a people’s nationalistic attitude, do you think we will still measure as nationalistic?

            Regards.
            Millennium

          • saay7

            Hey Millenium:

            I will give my two cents worth, borrowed from other two-cent givers: none of what follows is my original idea but I tend to agree with it, more than what you described above. So, like, I approve this message. And please help me deal with anyone from south of the border (Abi included) who will say “aha! artificial! I told you so.”

            This is from a book, whose title I no longer remember but it had an awesome chapter title called “England: God’s first born.” To describe “nationalism” we must first describe “nation.” And that word, like most words, comes either from Greek or Latin, “ natio” which means “something born.” (Way back, it was a derogatory term, the equivalent of today’s “squatters.”)

            The definition of Nationalism that makes sense to me is this: it is a form of identity that locates itself within a people, “which is seen as the bearer of sovereignty, the central object of loyalty, and the basis of collective solidarity. The ‘people’ is the mass of population whose boundaries and nature are defined in various ways, but which is usually perceived as larger than any concrete community and always as fundamentally homogeneous, and only superficially divided by the lines of status, class, locality and, in some cases, even ethnicity.”

            I think this sense of nationalism would exist in Eritrea with or without Eri-TV. In fact, I think Eri-TV and the other state media have simply added one more definition–affinity for the government and unconditional loyalty to it–which has been detrimental to Eritrean nationalism (the “if that is what you mean by nationalism, then Ertrakhum fetfitkum blUwo radicalism for which we have nobody else to blame but PFDJ.)

            Millenium, I am not saying this is what every Eritrean feels. To be sure, there are movements to place religious solidarity, regional solidarity, ethnic solidarity above nationalism. I just think, still, in 2017, even if it is aspirational, Eritreans want nationalism to supersede all other strands of identity.

            saay

          • Paulos

            Selamat Saay,

            Glad you chip in to contribute your valuable input for the issues at hand ain’t a walk in the park so to speak.

            Correct if I am wrong or if my reading of Fukuyama is wrong because I was under the impression that “property rights” or its inception in political economy gave rise to the creation of a strong state where he argues Great Britain and France are cases in point. Moreover, legalism was one of the foundations of creating a strong state where he again goes on at length in exploring the history of China in a sharp contrast to India which turned out to be a weak state. Again my understanding is that, the success of nations according to him depends not as you have alluded “…a local demand for reform” rather on the nations including Denmark who are able to keep in ballance the rather antagonistic institutions as in rule-of-law, transparency and accountable-state where the former two keep the latter in check. The need to reform was cited as he mentioned the seminal work of his mentor Huntington when he argued that the health of nations depends on their ability to adjust and respond to the prevailing circumstances. And of course he goes on to argue that economic growth particularly the creation of middle-class brings about political demands and the nations who are able to accommodate the demands are able to grow where he cites the uprising in Tunisia was precisely because the state couldn’t adjust to the growing demand of the middle-class or as you have put it failure of local reform.

          • saay7

            Selam Paulos:

            I can’t say you are right or wrong; I can only say I agree or disagree. Because I can agree with you and we could both be wrong. 😀

            I agree with everything u said, with the following caveat:

            1. You mentioned the importance of “legalism”; I would put it as law. And by that he didn’t mean rule of law but the profession of law. He considers that one of the primary reasons for Denmark being Denmark.

            Law is related but not identical to justice. As my favorite Australian lawyer Cleaver Greene once said: “The very reason I get lowlife crooks off is because I care about the law. It’s justice I don’t give a toss about” Its law that creates institutions that are essential to the enduring state: courts, municipalities, police departments, correctional centers and the entire state bureaucracy.

            By “local reform” I don’t necessarily mean the States ability to reform, but the people’s culture (drive, appetite) for change. This is why Fukuyama emphasizes (to development experts) to always put the States history in context.

            Let’s see what the rest of the class has to say about this 🙂

            saay

          • Paulos

            Selam Distinguished Professor Saay,

            I take it as a complement when you are in agreement with what I had to say. My classmates at Awate U are “consumed with envy” for it doesn’t happen very often particularly in your class.

          • Abi

            Hi Paulos
            You know why I really like Saay? You can talk to him in every subject imaginable.
            I want to call him all rounded except he is not short and fat.

          • Paulos

            Selam Abinet,

            He is no question about it. I wonder if you wish he was Ethiopian.

          • Abi

            Hi Paulos
            I swear to God I deleted it after I wrote the same thing you said.

          • saay7

            Abi & Paulos:

            We are going to go all Habesha and add a rule to our guideline: excessive compliment of a moderator is a violation of our posting guidelines 😂
            Paulos, don’t encourage Abi.

            Now, going back to Fukuyama (in your exchange with Ismail), he has addressed his critics many times. He says that he didn’t predict the end of history but the end of History (capital “H”). History as Hegel and Marx understood it: one of epochs. So, he wasn’t saying that the world as we know it will end (no more war, no more famine) but actually saying that humanity (if not the governments that rule over them) has accepted that liberal democracy, whose foundations are liberty and equality, is the final and most desirable stage of governance.

            Was he wrong?

            saay

          • Paulos

            Selam Saay,

            I commented pretty much the same content to Ismail AA about 30 minutes ago.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selamat Saay & Paulos,

            The topic your are debating is very tempestuous to pull me into your discussion with different take and position. But I will let it go for the sake of our own issue at this time.

            Regards

          • Paulos

            Selamat Emma,

            I is always a pleasure to read you and learn great deal from what you have to say. Please join in by all means.

          • Millennium

            HI Saay:

            Does Fukuyama’s theory has an economic component? Does he say what economic dispensation will accompany liberal democracy? If it does have, what sort of economic theory does he favour? I ask this because this quest for liberty and equality have been around for quite some time. These were the very ideals that brought about the French revolution: Liberty, equality and fraternity. They have been the very engine that drove historical events ever since. They are also self evident. What has proven elusive so far is the way society has to be organised economically so that those political conditions can be realised. So far, the way the economy is managed has resulted in the same sort of inequality that existed for all of History. Probably worse. Given the fact that Marx was about resolving the conflict of social forces and given the fact that these forces had material needs as their basis, don’t you think that Fukuyama was talking about issues that are already accepted to be ideal? (at least when compared with the ever elusive issues raised by people like Marx and Hegel)..which is about how to go about realising them; or is there something I am missing?

            Always grateful for your reasoned answers

            Regards,
            Millennium

          • Paulos

            Selamat Millennium,

            If I may interject, there is a sense of uniqueness or ingenuity in Fukuyama’s take as he navigates through the genesis of political order where the interplay of rule-of-law, transparency and accountable-state has pretty much defined or shaped history of nations as opposed to the classic Marxist dogma of violent revolution as in dialectical materialism. For instance Fukuyama persuasively argues that, when a strong State offsets rule-of-law and transparency or when the latter two are weak, we have a nation like China and on the other hand when rule-of-law and transparency are strong and keep the state in check excessively, you get a nation like India. Again the index where he measures the success of naions against is or as he put it “Getting to Denmark” is a nation’s ability to keep in balance the said three institutions.

            You asked if Fukuyama factors in economic forces. He certainly does but the challenge he poses is which has to come into effect first. He seems of the opinion that again as a true student of his mentor Huntington, institutions particularly a Strong state ought to come into effort before enforcing economic development as in the Tiger nations or Meles’ political philosophy as in Developmental State. Reversing the healthy sequence, that is economic development before establishing a strong state, he argues, one would end up having a nation like Nigeria a nation replete not only with corruption but dysfunctional as well.

          • saay7

            Selamat Millenium:

            Paulos appears to be our resident Fukuyama expert, so I will yield to him. But since you asked: I think there are two Fukuyamas: the “End of History” author who empowered the Neoconservative movement and was flattered by it (1992-2003) and the post Iraq Qar Fukuyama who was horrified by how his idea that there is one last sociopolitical ideology necessarily meant US-led hegemony and eternal war (2003 to present)

            Fukuyama 1 espoused orthodox free market systems (because that is an expression of liberty.). The mature Fukuyama goes then to compare two exactly identical systems of free market (Japan and US) and looks at other facts for the different outcomes (usually culture.) He has written about the effects of free market globalism: the decline of of the middle class and with it of course by definition the collapse of liberal democratic states. He argues that both proposals from the Left and Right are unworkable: the Lefts proposal of social democracy (welfare state) is too expensive and unsustainable. And laissez faire capitalism creates so much income gap, conflict and clashes are inevitable. (He says the latter is mainly responsible for South Americas economic stagnation: income inequality–civil war—destruction—start all over again.)

            And so while he sees the limits of both, I don’t think he has proposed an optimal economic plan. I think he would say it all depends on each particular country’s culture and history.

            saay

          • Paulos

            Selam Saay,

            Resident Fukuyama expert? Akhbidkalay Saleh hawey. I think it was in my freshman year that I read “The End Of History And The Last Man” and I must say it was too much to take in for me but I pretended as if I understood it simply because I read it to impress my buddies. My major was in the life sciences but again it was kind of swell to opine out of your comfort zone so to speak. Years later however I found the guy fascinating and I got back to the book and I read it a couple of times over yea you heard me right a couple of times over including his other works as well. I think the guy is amazing in explaining otherwise complex concepts in simplyfied ways including philosophical discourses which I never had any idea including political theories with in a spectrum so to speak till after I left college.

          • Paulos

            Hi Abi,

            Oh really? That is creepy. That means you wish then.

          • Abi

            Hi Paulos
            Creepy ጥራይልካ
            ምርጥ ምርጡን ለእምዬ!

          • Amde

            Selam Paulos,

            Sometimes I wish we could have a Saay Liberation Front. We (the region, the continent, etc…) need him liberated from being intellectually tied up with the rather tendentious and sad historical events of the past mere 50 years in the somewhat out of the way corner of the world that is our neck of the woods.

            Amde

            PS. Saay, ..”My favorite Australian lawyer”..? You have a favorite lawyer from every country?

          • Paulos

            Selam Amde,

            I absolutely agree. The guy is one of a kind but now I am afraid he might have “complementocephaly” as in hydrocephaly when the brain gets swallen due to water accumulation.

          • Amde

            Selam Paulos,

            Haha Funny.

            Well, there is an easy cure.

            Since he, in an unfathomable bit of youthful indiscretion gave me the title of “Awatista of the Year” (such an incomprehensible act is usually met with a worried hush toned discussion around the theme of “Ato saay min nekachew?” in Addis) I decree this January Friday the Thirteenth, a half day of everyone writing something that is irritating about Saay. Let’s see if the mirror that can survive THAT swollen head has been invented yet.

            Let me start:

            He has this irritating habit of finding a way to drop a piece of dialogue from “Pulp Fiction” when people are engaged in the serious business of debating who sent out what fedayeen band on what impossible mission in 1967(or was it 1968). Really, Tarantino?

            So there.

            Amde

        • Ismail AA

          Selam Paulos,

          First, enjoy the reading; it is thought provoking when one’s mind is busied by works of F. Fukuyama’s intellectual level of attainment, the controversies they raised notwithstanding as his ” end of history” discourse had done. The post-1989 Fall of the Wall developments (Neo-liberalism and globalization of capital) seem to have served for a lot of contemplation on universal triumph or otherwise of liberalism. One of the issues raised is that whether appraising the state of affairs in those liberal democracy model countries from inside out warrant the projection of the intended message. Moreover, the emerging multipolar system seem to be on the way to qualify the universalism of western liberalism, at least in its political sense.

          The historical background of what qualified Denmark (some also mention other countries as The Netherlands) enlighten our understanding when read in the context of their time. Cases in the post-colonial Africa that wanted to transform from subsistence agrarian state to industrial threshold socio-economic formations might be relevant instances to compare to our own conditions. But, we would happy if our nationalism as Eritreans would help us to gather our acts together to remove the impediment that is blocking our people’s way to “Getting to Denmark”.
          Thank you for engaging me in these exchange of views.
          Regards

          • Paulos

            Selam Ismail AA,

            “Cookie cutter” or “One fits all” modes operandi seems to have fallen out of favor for nations have their own realities and distinct history as well. Having said that however, the triumph of Liberal-Democracy throughout history is not contestable—in fact Fukuyama was bold enough to equate it with Hegelian Absolute Idealism as the former was under the impression that the clash of ideas as in thesis and antithesis otherwise known as dialectical forces of history as opposed to materialism was to be manifested in Absolute Idealism. In 1989, Fukuyama thought the end of history was within reach for Liberal Democracy came out uncontested as Hegel thought the same thing when he saw Napoleon marching to Jena. But of course history had something in store for Napoleon and Hegel.

  • Abrehet Yosief

    Dear Brother Ismail,
    I can only admire anyone who has any hope left when it comes to Eritrea. Our families have been destroyed. It is common to find whole neighborhoods without any adult male or father figure. Girls get married younger and younger to avoid going to Sawa. The young single mothers will eventually carry their young and cross the border at great peril. I have been following the legal notices in Hadas Eritrea that state:”declare my spouse as a missing person” followed by “seeking divorce due to the continued absence of my spouse”. Such notices come from every city in the country. There is at least one usually three to four each day the notices are published. The severe malnutrition experienced by all ages has seriously affected the population, even if the worst case is when it happens to infants. Villagers have to go to neighboring villages and sometimes to military barracks near the border to get able bodied men to dig graves. Eritrea, the land, will continue. But Eritreans as we know them have left the land. Yes I know a few brave souls who still have their dignity and integrity intact are left. But would they constitute a nation or be a relic amongst the cut throat unscrupulous merchants of death running the show.

    • Paulos

      Selam Abrehet,

      Haddas Eritrea will never run out of stamina, ink and paper to publish or print the melancholic notices as citizens disperse into the unknown. Brain-death is not so much so that the final pronouncement of one’s expiration, rather it is when the brain is unable to differentiate between normal and abnormal. Bizarre as it may seem Eritreans inside Eritrea are insulated when the world is turning into a small village. As much as misery loves company, hopelessness is contagious as well but Eritreans can not afford to be inflicted by it simply because there is no alternative to hope and no matter what the sun will always rise.

      • Abrehet Yosief

        Dear Paulos,
        Afka yis’Ar:: I will continue to hope. Nzeymewt fewsi alewo:: So I hope deliverance will come somehow.

  • said

    Greeting,
    Thank you Br Ismail for your thoughtful and enlightening article as always.
    Eritrean sought independence from the tyranny of Ethiopian colonial rule. Most Eritrean understand that they were “championing independence and freedom ” for a brief moment we celebrated, we can have, and have had, moments in which we can take genuine pride ,a reasons to be cheerful, reasons even happiness and great joy .a nostalgia of course entirely unavoidable, for in that period Eritrea was sunnier places and hope was there to form a democratic ,decent and tolerant society and now the dark clouds have rolled in and surly as life itself gets cloudier ,it become history of horror, pain, bloodstain and brutality and much more . Eritrea is not free of this crime committed. where tyrant and dictator IA increase personal wealth and power at the expense of the people. a tiny, – minority, which is now running our government. Many succumbed to his bullying and fell in line. That alone should create a case of buyer’s remorse. every capable conscientious Eritrean citizen should come together to fight for democracy and justices and force IA and his minions out.
    It is time today. Maybe we should all ask ourselves not only what we’re fighting against, it should clear to all of us but what we’re fighting for. What kind of Eritrea do we actually want or dream of? Maybe it is time we ask and reflect, in fact, we could start by asking: What is Eritrea as country mean for us? Why do and what for our people fought so hard for so long to establish just newly independent country, in the first place? What is Eritrea as a country it mean to us and going forward to the future and What should we do for country ? Eritrean people fought and died for —
    many of us will have good reason and the list is long.
    The simple short answer for me it comes to defending people’s life and their human rights. First and for most Eritrean people fought and died for their human rights and worthy of defending human life and to protect the right to life to the fullest possible extent, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, —-. one important single issues is rights to Life. that make life worth living without fear. A country dedicated to life and Let’s start with life. And that’s just to start down a long list of issue, like to establish democracy, Justice and liberty.
    Post colonialism If early 90th Dissenters are ridiculed and will be attacked. Many regime supporters are not able to see disasters resulted from their blind groupthink and the unwillingness to update blind beliefs when presented with contrary evidence. delusional beliefs can be extremely harmful.
    Mutually Assured Delusion in fact, the more socially harmful and the reality fact avoidance, the more likely it is to be contagious because it becomes ever harder to admit error and face up to impending disaster; each individual’s stake in the (false) beliefs of others being correct increases. In the end, reality catches up with deflationists regime supporters.
    One might think that while the masses can become delusional, surely the highly educated are unlikely to turn away from inconvenient truths?

    Better Mutually Assured Destruction and human decision making is extremely flawed due to our blind biases, feelings, irrational thought processes and beliefs in falsehoods. It’s over-confidence in our decision making ability that causes us the most problems. Hubris, egotism and faulty reasoning,
    There are, however, many occasions when contagious denial and reality-avoidance have terrible results on our nation.

    Regime supports they Eritrea new have nothing to worry about; if it is not, we will all bear the consequences. Eritrean opposition need new leadership. True leadership lies in acknowledging different views and lead certain outcomes, not in listening comfortably only to the like-minded. It requires leadership to guide and focus the disparate forces that seek to resist the regime,

    For those who are pessimistic and lose faith in their country and afflicted by despair, it is normal for fathers never seeing bright future for their children or benefit from the hopeful and dream of civilized post-independence, opportunity of work and access social serves and free education and free health care, and they felt betrayed, they had reasons to be and today we must redouble, restate, and reimagined our effort just to survive.
    I don’t claim that it’s easy. I do not have the answers. I am by nature not a political person and these are the darkest political times I have ever known.

    But at times one feels as Eritrean, some have changed and are now fundamentally incapable of being tolerant, accepting and living peacefully together despite our many differences. grateful. there is still this redeeming matter of incremental progress. It might look small to those with apocalyptic perspectives.
    Far too many Eritreans have already fallen to their deaths. For the rest of us in diaspora and spicily for those in Eritrea it is a matter of time, the only difference now is that the velocity at which they approach the precipice is merely accelerating. an abating killing of untold numbers of innocent lives vanishes and for thousands of Eritrean mourning loved ones. No one ever fully recovers from having a son, husband, or father get killed. It takes a heavy toll on our society, if only the dead could talk. And thousands being jailed for no reason and nation continues making refugees of women and children, is sad one. Many worthy educate youth or old never make it and never even have a chance to make a decent life. yet for the majority of the hard-working Eritrean and talented people who do not make a living wage. and leave the vast majority to struggle for themselves.

    Specially for those EILTE, the sellout “minion elite” who support full throttle oppressive regime. Your narrow cultural and political superiority and foolish ideological blinders and your apologies for the PFDJ regime, while nation being utterly destroyed. And you are not shameful you furthered, defended and rationalized the crime of the regime is self-destruction. you defend regime at the expense of the bottom 99% poor soul Eritrean. You defended and embraced regime crime. you’re apologists for an Evil regime. The imprisonment of tens of thousands of young men of all ethnicities in Eritrea do not move you. while on your watch you see the entire country being destroyed and nations renders you sellout ,the classic useful idiots.
    IA was Mao s student, a communist. Tyrannical and Machiavelli rolled into one. your communist state and IA most ruthless and most powerful dictator and IA like ruthlessness on par with those who defended Moa cultural crime, Mussolini fascist crime, Stalinism major reform crime and the famous Soviet Gulag, do you think it was right and because “it was the right thing to do.” With IA regime Eritrea would have to be totally reengineered and smashed, the ruins reassembled in new combinations– the agony of the Eritrean State – destroy to build, would be achieved.
    IA did not fall to Earth from another planet. He is not from another dimension of space and time. The president and his supporters are Eritrean one in same coin.

    It is a serious error to focus too much on the man IA as opposed to the EPLF system and culture that produced him. The Eritrean people need to take a hard look in the collective mirror. When they do so, the Eritrean people will likely not like what they see. Shattering the mirror is not a real solution, however: It all but ensures that IA and his deplorable are not the end but rather the beginning of a further decline in Eritrea political culture and values. IA is the one in many ways they deserve. Under IA, the economy is in shambles. his basket of millions of Eritrean are falling into poverty. A light has gone out. They see this in their own suffering and hopelessness and the suffering and hopelessness of their neighbors and in their village and cites. The terminal decline of Eritrea is evident, the utter inability our so called elites to manage anything important, widespread poverty and despair do not fit with the illusion. So these realities are blotted from public consciousness. The poor soul Eritrean are rendered invisible. The regime goes from one debacles to another.
    The Suffering endured and the savagery the people of Eritrea endured between 1991 and till today isn’t enough. But no one of you dared speak out. You stood by and did nothing. if any, blame lies with you. Everyone gets nailed except IA and his crony. at very least Eritrean know what happened; they can’t say they didn’t know…Just as we know what Ethiopian had committed the most outrageous crimes against humanity in Eritrea modern history.
    You should be questioning your sanity for your collaboration with and support of the very oppressive regime and systems that laid the groundwork for this doomed nation and being utterly destroyed.
    IA is exactly who he presents himself to be . who have no ethical and moral dimension Eritrean had real political, economic and social grievances. resentments is blooming. There you have it.
    You were silent when your people flee and making refugees made up of women and children in Eritrea. stop acting like a puppet. There more than being defender of national sovereignty, self-determination, the sanctity of life is more preciouses.
    As in philosophy one hope, for every positive force there is a counterbalance, a destructive force. The two are inseparable — coexisting in dynamic equilibrium.
    Successfully resisting IA regime requires first unity and united action toward higher common goal, workable and thoughtful strategy and flexible tactics in order to bring change.

  • sara

    Dear awtistas
    Sheeee fedayh amerikia…
    The ongoing hashtag tonight in the MENA countries is another lie by US .
    Connect WMD and DAAESH.

  • Paulos

    Selamat Emma,

    Awate sure enough has come a long way where it has gone “soft” for lack of a better word about certain issues on its stand. Moreover, the editors are the best minds Eritrea ever produced where Saleh Younis comes to mind. The guy is the most cerebral Eritrean that I know and they rub shoulders with the rest of us where distinction as in them and us loses its meaning. I really hope that Awate graduates from Center for Eritrean Study as in a Think Tank into an actual higher learning center situated in Eritrea.

  • Abi

    Merhaba Paulos
    I’m unlearning Eritrean history with the help of veteran tutors. I found it extremely challenging. It has many variations depending on who wrote it.
    My argument is Joshua led his people to the promised land just like Isayas did 26 years ago. Moses did not. He fell short.
    ሙሤ የተስፋይቱን ምድር መች ረገጠ? እያሱ አይደለምን “ማርና ወተት ….

    • Paulos

      Selam Abinet,

      History they say depends on the person who writes it. They also say history is written by the victorious. But imagine if history was written by the vanquished insread? I sense that you are getting lost within the translation simply because you’re scooping the Eritrean history from the defeated say former Dergue apologists or maybe from other blocks who found themselves on the losing end. Finally I say, as one philosopher brilliantly put it, those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it. If the philosopher was talking to you he would say, it is repeating the futility of history to bring back Eritrea to the Ethiopian fold even though you have said it time and time again that you celebrate Eritrean independence not intused about it but as in good-riddance sort of thing.

      • Abi

        Hi Paulos
        It is not sort of good-riddance the reason I celebrate Ethiopian Independence . It is like good for peace .
        Let’s wait and learn the next chapter of Eritrean history together.
        Bringing Eritrea to Ethiopian fold is one of the things I unlearned in my freshman class at Awate university.

        • Paulos

          Selam Abinet,

          Thinking of signing up for a couple of courses at Awate U. Heard a guy got suspended for two weeks cuz he irked the Chancellor. Am ok with that only will have an issue if they kick me out because of my take on certain core issues.

          • Abi

            Hi Paulos
            I’ve seen some of your comments already. I guarantee you nobody will kick you out if your take is different with some core issues. The chancellor will assign a mentor for you.

            The guy is suspended because he was found in a philosophy class arguing with an angry Professor.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Abi,

            The guy was whistling when the class was reading an epic tragedy. He further insisted on reading Tela bet poetry instead and wouldn’t calm down.

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Saleh
            May be he had one too many drink from that Tela. Been there done that.
            I think he was reciting Emanuel Kant. You know these philosophers drive you crazy if you don’t get them right.

        • Thomas

          Hi Abi,

          I always wonder why almost all Ethiopians have extreme love for the nation? I am sorry I know everyone loves his/her country, but not to the extent Ethiopians love their nation I think:) One example to prove my claim is that you find at least one Ethiopian flag in a household. The flag could be hanging somewhere in their house, painted on the plate the food is served, used as pillow, on the women dresses and in the form of paintings marked in many things. You ask some ethiopians what they feel about their country, most will tell it is peaceful, blessed by God, “Chewa” people and more. Correct me if I am wrong, you seem to have limitless love for your original country? Why is it because you love your people or is it because the nation/land Ethiopia itself??

          • Abi

            Hi Thomas
            Have you ever been to Ethiopia?
            I love the people the most. It is better if you hear it from Eritreans in this forum (except Fanti😜) who lived in Ethiopia or who knows about Ethiopians.
            BTW, I see Eritreans the same way you see Ethiopians. Whatever you listed works for Eritrea as well. Correct me if I’m wrong.

          • Thomas

            Hi Abi:)

            Actually, I decided to ask you because I lived in Ethiopia all in all for one and half years. People there are so emotionally charged special during Ethiopian holidays. Plus, I have asked some ethiopians and who answered me with just “Ethiopia is great” as such the flag is what Ethiopia is. Honestly, I am allergic to any kind of flags even with Eritrean flag. I feel like too much pride is bragging for nothing if you expect to hear this of course:) I think it has to do with my upbring. I was told that people who are abscessed with certain colored cloths, flags and other things are sick people. The term which might describe this in Amharic “Bale Zar”. Punks could also be good example. In U.S., you see those people from country side who tend to love and carry the usa flag and show too much love the nation, my second country USA:)

          • Abi

            Hi Thomas
            Regarding flags I agree with you half way. I have a pillowcase with Ethiopian flag and a doormat with Eritrean flag. ( just kidding)
            I think Americans got introduced to their flag after 9/11.
            One and a half year is enough to notice why Ethiopians love their country. I don’t think Ethiopians brag about being exceptionally superior. However, Ethiopians are exceptionally generous and hospitable. Chewa is understatement to describe Ethiopians. Meles Zenawi in his first press conference said it perfectly. Ethiopians are ” Noble People”.

          • Thomas

            Hi Abi,

            I can see that you are in your usual joker mood:) Even Chewa is understatement to describe you, “Chewa is understatement to describe Ethiopians”. I can say just happy and proud people. Sorry, I might have worded the “exceptional superior country” part:) I love Ethiopians and their country. I see that they have exceptional love for their country and Abi here is a living example:) Abi only needs to know that others love their nations to, may be not as much as Abi though:)

  • KBT

    Selamat kulukhum
    Who wrote this article need really, really to see a doctor, you depressing to much .
    take a vacation brother ,I think you need it

    • Stefanos Temelso

      KBT or whatever your damn name. You have no confidence because you are trying to hide your identity. I f you mean what you write be bold and disclose your name. The man has written his opinion, so try to write yours, otherwise you are the one who must go to a psychiatrist.

      • KBT

        selam stefanos
        come down brother my name is koubrom and your intimidation mean nothing to me
        and what i wrote was my opinion ,I think you too need some rest
        hey stefanos take a breath

        • Stefanos Temelso

          I already told you either to write your own text or reject an article logically, otherwise seeing everything negatively is not a solution. It just shows you have some problem.

  • Brhan

    Hello Ismail,

    I read your article and at the end I found the analogy you drew between Abashawel and Eritrea is a little problematic.
    I do not know Ismail where you grew up but those who have been raised near Abashawel, like me, wished, that it was a bad luck that the Egirgir came and the renovation that started in Aba Shawel did not reach the nearby shanty neighbourhoods. The only credit that the mayor of that time Haregot Abay had, is his plan to provide basic services such a sanitation and water which he did in the most part of Abashawel

    Well at that time there was a relative form of freedom of speech in Asmara, that helped Al Amin came with the song. Imagine now a singer sings against a PF(JD) project( but this is another story).

    Going back to history as you know Abashawel and adjacent neighborhoods, like Geza Birhanu, Hadish Adi, Edaga Arbi are the Sweto of of Italian apartheid. What is very sad is these places are underdeveloped till this day.

    Alamin’s key message in that song his concern if the social relationship aspect of Abashwel will disappear due to the renovation.

    This is my point to say when we do analogy we have to be careful to see them in different angles and otherwise a wrong analogy will pollute our work

    • Ismail

      Selamat Brhan,

      You are right. Alamin himself would agree with you about the “social relationship” but he was also concerned about those who became homeless when it was demolished. Abashawul’s demolition was not just physical but also social and emotional. The same can be said about Eritrea as a whole under the dictatorship. The country is being decimated physically, socially, and emotionally. In that sense, wouldn’t say the analogy fits?

      Ismail (pointblank)

  • blink

    Dear Awate family

    I am always optimistic about Eritrea , even though we find ourselves in a very bad situation , this will pass too.

  • saay7

    Selamat Ismail:

    Welcome back.

    I am in general agreement with the phislosophical framing of your article. I believe it was Henry Ford who said “whether you think or you think you can’t, you are right.”

    The benefits and self-fulfilling prophesy of our state of mind has been researched and documented multiple times, most dramatically in the field of medicine: how fast people heal is (when you control for all things) related to their state of mind: the optimist heals faster and at higher rate.

    That being said, and to second your call that optimism should be based on reality, there is that Tigrinya expression of “that which is planted by the fool [today] can’t be uprooted even by the wise [tomorrow.]” A lot of what contributes to the pessimism of some of our compatriots is that, I think. Recently Dr Bereket Berhane (who has written many educational pieces here at awate) gave a Paltalk seminar on the state of healthcare including the State of the Eritrean Child. Here’s a stat that blew me away:

    1. 50% of Eritrean children are raised by a single parent, the mother
    2. 17% of Eritrean children are raised by neither parent
    3. 50% of Eritrean infants suffer from stunting and waste (due to lack of nutrition, they are too short and too skinny) and this will determine their adulthood
    4. Massive numbers of medical doctors, including veterans, have left the country

    As for our opposition, I think it’s long past due for us to pull a Weki-Dba II.

    saay

    • Ismail

      Thanks Saleh Y. As it has been said on numerous occasions before … by me, you?, and many others, when we say opposition (in the general sense), we have to remind ourselves that we are within its bounds whether we like it or not.

      “Ashatat ztekhelwo labam neyneqlo may be true in a certain sense but in this case, the Ashashat one-upped the lebamat I would say…. At least these “Ashatat” tekilomo – they acted, they planted – however inept they may be. Meanwhile, the question could be posed: Who and where are the lebamat ? Where is the tree they planted?

      I don’t want to be misunderstood. it is ok to criticize opposition organizations or the opposition in general as I have done many times but when no one has been to provide a viable alternative or a dynamic leadership, we can’t talk about lebamat and Ashatat. That is why I tend to think that in the final analysis, the failure belongs to all of us.

      Ismail
      (pointblank)

      • saay7

        Hala Ismail:

        I think when people say “the opposition”, we/they mean “the leadership of the organized opposition.” It’s just shorter.

        Change as you know requires more than intention, it needs the vehicle: it requires organization, and organization requires leadership.

        Alice Walker wrote “we are the ones we have been waiting for” and BHO made it famous by saying “we are the change we have been waiting for.” And while it was awfully nice of them to present themselves as commoners, they were leaders who chose the servant-leader model (as opposed to Trumps savior-leader model.)

        What I was trying to say is that Aashatat do asha things because they are Ashashu and the lebamat, specially the optimistic lebamat who have faith in their people’s capacity tand produce leaders, can’t wait indefinitely for the leaders to reform themselves. We nudge them to change (Weki Dba II) or we replace them.

        saay

        • Ismail

          I can agree with you there Saleh to a certain extent but I am of the opinion that we need to tread carefully with the words we use. It is ok to critique strongly but I feel denigration is unnecessary.

          We don’t want to get into the habit of name calling those who attempt to lead us. Otherwise when a would-be Moses comes in our midst (as Paulos hopes) we may not even give him a chance. We can do so to our heart’s content after we achieve our central goal.

          I totally agree with you when you say we should nudge them or replace. That is actually a civic duty. The thing we have to remember though is that nobody is preventing us from doing so but for one reason or another we have not been able to do so. That is why I continue to believe it is our collective failure.

          This does not of course mean we stop trying. It just means that we should begin by acknowledging the problem fully and our part in it however small.

          Ismail (point blank)

          • Paulos

            Selam Ismail,

            Would you say Isaias was “Moses” in his own right and of his own time who over did his mandate? Or would you say he was a charlatan with a touch of a brilliant salesman of a product known as “N’hnan Elamanan.”

          • Abi

            Selam Paulos
            Awate =Moses
            Isayas = Joshua
            All you need is a charismatic leader like “Paul” who writes encouraging letters to all congratulations ( opposition) to be United and work together to the benefit of brothers and sisters in their respective congregations.
            Just like the letters to The Corinthians, The Romans…
            You got the idea.
            If you find a bold person with a hat …

          • Ismail

            Selamat Paulos,

            Moses? No. I don’t believe so except in the sense that his “Nhnan Elamanan” was touted as a declaration of independence from Abay Jebha (the Pharaohs according to him). Independence came under his command but of what value is it if with the same hand, he ends up enslaving his own people?

            Ismail (pointblank)

          • Paulos

            Selamat Ismail,

            Thank you for the input.

          • saay7

            Ahlen Ismail:

            Moses doesn’t audition for the role of leader: he just leads. He had divine inspiration. We are thinking of earthly leaders.

            Don’t think I said anything denigrating. PFDJ said I will lead the country to peace and prosperity: they failed and we criticize them brutally. The opposition leaders said I will lead to ur salvation (literally: some opposition orgs, two of them, had salvation in their name); they failed and we should critique their failure. How is that “denigrating” Ismail?

            I agree with you on one thing: they are not stopping anyone from replacing them and emerging as new leader. But the new leader, whoever he or she may be, must know that we the people are patient and we will follow an inspiring and capable leader. But our patience is not limitless and we do have the ability to tell who is inspiring and who is capable. In short, they have to earn our trust and not come in with a sense of entitlement.

            saay

          • Ismail

            Selamat Saleh,

            I am thinking of earthly leaders too. The figure of Moses has come to symbolize someone who liberates people even by those who don’t believe in his divine call. I was using it in that sense. But in terms of his actual mandate, you are of course right. In all three Abrahamic religions Moses (pbuh) was an exemplary prophet of Allah who was guided by Him.

            As for the opposition, I don’t know. You don’t consider “Ashatat” denigrating? It seemed harsh and belittling to me (not just simple critiquing) but I could be wrong of course.

            Ismail (pointblank)

          • saay7

            Hala Ismail:

            Berhe Y is laughing at me because he knows my feelings about proverbs and their imperfections. But first:

            Of all the Abrahamic religions, the Quaranic version of Moses is my favorite (surprise) because when God appoints him to the task, Moses has one request: that he be accompanied by his brother Aaron (Harun.) Moses explains that Aaron will help him fortify his strength and, crucially, “ Wa Ashrikuhu fi amri” (see counsel from him.) And God grants his wish. So there is a model for leadership: have trusted deputies because they will increase your resolve and you can bounce ideas off them.

            On the Ashasu/Ashatat, if you fellow the metaphor, it refers to PFDJ (they are the ones planting the seeds.) Moreover, I indicated that I don’t consider PFDJ ashahu (fools) literally, but misguided by ideology.

            saay

          • Ismail

            Selamat Saleh,

            That is also my favorite. In another place in the Quran, we are more clearly informed why Moses wanted his brother with him:

            “And my brother Hârûn (Aaron) he is more eloquent in speech than me so send him with me as a helper to confirm me. Verily! I fear that they will belie me.” (Al-Qasas 28:34)”

            Yes. It seems ability to communicate has always been held in high esteem throughout history and in every age and clime.

            Ismail (pointblank)

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Saay,

            No I never laugh at you, but I am glad that you are using the proverbs readily to make your arguments:).

            As far as our Moses is concerned, I know you know what my feelings are and you have a very good idea who that person would be. I am sure AH will second that.

            Berhe

          • saay7

            Berhe Y;

            Don’t feel that my breast is expanded adequately with assurance. My tongue is often tied up in a knot (listen to today’s VOA Tigrinya interview.) And I don’t consult enough with my brother Aaron because he often gets on my nerves. 😂

            saay

          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            “Don’t feel my breast is expanded adequately with assurance ”
            Is this one of your Saaytanish proverbs?
            What does it mean?

          • saay7

            Grumpy Abi:

            It’s a literal translation of a Quranic verse. Figuratively: Breast expansion is by “heart opening” (by faith, by courage) and thus chest inflating ( by confidence). Just enough though: otherwise we get gureNa.

            saay

            * old Awatistas will remember the HG and saay feud on the heart when he was telling us to dump the mind for the heart. This is entirely unrelated to that 🙂

          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            Thanks. I thought it was a Saaytanish way of saying. It is exactly the opposite. It is rather Gadish.
            Opposite sides attract.

    • Abraham H.

      Selam Saay,
      Add to your list the infamous Sawa camp, where almost the entire Eritrean youth have to pass through; a hell where they are exposed to all sorts of ill-treatments and degradations, brainwashing, as well as brutal treatment that breaks them to be submissive at their tender age. If we were to conduct a free questionnaire as to the wishes of all the Eritrean youth who are currently inside Eritrea, almost all of them would prefer to leave the country and their families in search of freedom and opportunities in their lives.

      • saay7

        Hi Abraham:

        I really wasn’t trying to make a list; just trying to be understanding of our pessimistic compatriots. Because there is something every day 🙁 Today for example Relief web reported:

        …drought conditions caused by El Niño further undermined household food and livelihood security, particularly for women and children, and contributed to a cholera outbreak across three of the county’s six regions. Those dynamics have led to high levels of malnutrition among children under 5, pregnant women and lactating mothers, particularly in the lowland areas….Half of all children in Eritrea are stunted, and as a result, these children are even more vulnerable to malnutrition and disease outbreaks.

        UNICEF estimates that of the 2 million Eritreans who are in need in 2017, 1.2 million are children under 18. None of this will ever make it to EriTV. In fact Eritrean MDs who reported about the cholera outbreak were accusing of harboring ill wishes against their own people.

        Sanity requires optimism and a belief that there will be better days for Eritrea.

        saay

        • Abi

          Hi Saay
          Saay : “ኑሮ እንዴት ነው?”
          Abi : “ከነገ ይሻላል”
          Have you ever heard of an expression “ዘሩን የበላ ገበሬ”?

          • saay7

            Grumpy Abi:

            I will give you the saay answer then the saaytanish answer. So your philosophy is today is better than tomorrow? Reminds me of a scene from Office Space. It involves the main character just before being hypnotized.

            The saay answer: the expression is about a farmer who ate seeds meant for planting and now he has nothing to plant.

            The saaytanish answer: the root word of “gebere” (farmer) is “gibir” (tax). So now the poor farmer not only has nothing to plant but still has to pay the taxman.

            See Abi, u are awesome when u are irreverent wordsmith. I am a huge fan. You are nightmarish when u are mocking Eritreanism: let me explain in a way u can understand (do not open the subject: I had nothing to say when everybody was piling on you: just want to say in case u have that uncontrollable urge): you dissing eritreanism and what we paid to get it would be like me wearing an “I hate Atse Tedros” t-shirt. At Lalibela. On Battle of Adwa Day.

            saay

          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            I liked the Saay answer much better than the saaytanish one. The good thing is St Paul is whispering in my ears “Let It Be”

            Let me switch to Abiyotawi gear for a second tell you what I found incredibly amazing! Derg must have been desperately stupid for those people you mentioned as an example and majority of Eritreans to be united under one front. How did it happen? And, more importantly, why is it not possible for current generation of Eritreans to become united under one umbrella?
            Was Ethiopia the glue that brought Eritreans together? Remove Ethiopia out of the equation and the four people you mentioned don’t even agree whether to “weed out” or “reform” PFDJ.

            I’m listening Paul “Let It Be”.

          • saay7

            Abi:

            Sir Paul of the Beatles, too. Let it be, grumpy

            Saay

          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            “Let It Be” by Sir Paul of the Beatles.
            “ይሁና መቼስ ይሁና” by Ato Tsehaye Yohannes of Roha? I forgot.

        • Abraham H.

          Selam Saay,
          Yes, i see you weren’t even making a list of your own; you were only refering to someone else’s study. I just felt the urge to say something as to what is contributing to the submissivness and passivity we are observing inflicting Eritrea’s youth of today in terms of standing up for their rights. I would say PFDJ har systematically re-engineered our society in such a way that the prospect of internal dissent is very bleak, and Sawa has a sentral role in this systematic degradation process. Even our elders are not spared, they are not allowed to spend their last years in this life in peace. They have to carry ak47’s and guard the abandoned streets of our towns and cities. As to the Eritv and its affiliated websites any news that would put the inflated ego of Isayas is a no go zone, issues that deal with demographic statistics are considered state secret; some statistics may find their way to NGOS like what you’ve quoted but the Eritrean people would never be told in a language they understand and in the govt mass media available to them.

  • G. Gebru

    Dear Ismael O. A.
    Greetings,
    Yes there is a Silver Lining for Eritrea.
    There is one fact that Eritrea as land is the gate way to wonderful civilaztions, is the gate way to Islam to the Habesh land, and is the land that repeled Turkish, Egyptian, Italian and other invassions.
    So, regardless of what the present situation looks like I don’t think it will surrander to TPLF atrocities and collaboration on one hand and colonial boundries and colonial art facts on the other hand.
    Said that I stronglly believe regardless of what our present situation looks like and0 the future holds for us our unity is determental to be recognized and have to do every thing possible to achieve it.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Dear Ismail Omer-Ali,

    Welcome back. Though I am optimistic by nature, you have come right on time with this article, where pessimism overshadowed the current struggle against the despot and his party. My observation on our people is they become elated or disappointed by temporary success or failure respectively (corrected me with justification if I am wrong). Our people loves winners of war than winners of ideas. If the opposition camp did not come with tangible outcomes and become the winners in the fight, we can not turns the mood of our people. The fight demands commitment and persistence to the cause. The opposition lacks it vividely. The PFDJites are in power simply because of that no matter how devilish they are.

    In any case your “mekusi” Ismail AA has reflected your input brilliantly and nothing can I add except the on and off moods of our people as I put it above.

    Again welcome back and keep the flow to insill courage to the pessimists.

    Regards

    • Ismail AA

      Dear Aman and Paulos,

      “The fight demands commitment and persistence”; precisely Aman; That was the point I was trying to drive home when I jotted a few cursory points along the span of our struggle. The mood of our people that you have mentioned can quickly change if the opposition could begin to put its acts together, as Ismail said.
      Besides, I do concur with most of what Paulos wrote. But, in my view the issue is bigger than whether change comes in my life time or not. Many of us who were involved in the struggle during the liberation war never thought we would like to witness the day of liberation or independence.
      Our effort should be how we stop the loss of our youth and help them to regain confidence and hope.
      As to the fate of the despot, we do not really know though individuals who lead the alleged life style of him rarely make it to the age you have mentioned.
      Thank you both.
      Regards

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Dear Ismail AA,

        As if we grew up together and bonded together, our thoughts are in a cognitive fusion. Anazing, I always agree in what you have to say so far. Unsual in my entire political envolvement, because I consider myself as very critic person. Just to know.

        regards

      • Paulos

        Selamat Ismail AA,

        Eritrea is in search of Moses or Martin Luther King of some sort not only to lift up the otherwise deflated moral of the people but on the “Road to Denmark” as well. But obviously the inspiring leader is to be discovered amongst us or he is not born yet. I sure had hoped a couple of times previously where I said this is the One a’la “Metrix” before I found myself in a rude awakening where they turned out to be cut from the same old cloth when they started squabbling about trivial matters. If Moses is to come in our life time, the wand need to do only one thing–unify the otherwise fragmented Opposition into a power to reckon with. It will be then only then the people say we see the light or see the pigeon beyond the horizon of turbulent waves.

        • Ismail AA

          Selam Paulos,

          Dear Paulos, I understand your point in the context of a situation in which we as people are condemned to be anticipators of what leaders do or not do rather than being actors in the making and unmaking of leaders to whom we entrust our destiny. I think Eritrea does not wish to burden Providence to grace it with by divine design a Moses.
          If they mobilize, unite and commit resources, they are capable of producing leaders that incarnate the patriotic spirit and trust in the wholeness of Eritrea of Sheikh Ibrahim Sultan and Woldeab Woldemariam. Then, Francis Fukuyama’s “Getting to Denmark” preposition in which our people would enjoy rule of law under the shadow of a functioning state governed by leaderships subject to accountability would be a reality lived rather than mere wishes aspired.
          Regards

    • Ismail

      Amanuel! You don’t have to tell because I can sense your optimism in your writing. No one who suffers from pessimism would devote so much time and energy writing on a variety of issues and engaging civilly with all. Keep up the good work. Thanks.

      Ismail (pointblank)

  • Paulos

    Selamat Ismailo,

    Many thanks for the rather thought provoking and timely article as we reflect back and embark on a new year. They say, within the cacophony of “isms” the distinction between optimism and pessimism is the brute realism where the two former as you have aptly put it are mere perceptions.

    As I see it what I find more interesting is that the perception seem to have a deep-time concept so to speak. Let me try to elaborate with in the Eritrean context. Suppose you have two Eritreans—75 years old and 20 years old. The 20 years old would be expected to be more optimist simply because he has more time ahead of him to witness change in Eritrea than the 75 years old–as such the reason we seem to slide into hopelessness is not so much so that there will not be any change at all but what lingers with worry at the back of one’s head is if the change is going to happen in one’s life time.

    I tend to disagree with some of the points you raised. But first a bit of a disclosure, I am in my mid 40s and I tend to think that it is highly unlikely for a change to come in my life time. Here are the reasons:

    I. I disagree with your assertion about Isaias’ health. Isaias looks robust and very healthy where his mental acuty is still intact and there is high possibility that he can easily live to his 90s.

    II. Isaias seem to have all the luck on his side where after the Arab Spring and its aftermath superpowers seem to abandon the idea of regime change where dictatorship under strongmen is getting more appeal lest nations fall apart.

    II. The sad disconnect between the people inside Eritrea and diaspora where the former says if change is going to come it is from diaspora and the latter says if change is going to come it is from the people inside Eritrea.

    III. The idea of change coming from Ethiopia as well seem to be a pipe dream at best not because of soon-to-be-disintegrated-Ethiopia as some delusional Isaias’ apologists insinuate but because Ethiopia can not afford to divert its resources as it embarks in a historic and impressive nation building.

    Finally I say, only the dead are absolute pessimists about the future for they are no more. The sun simply always rises in a new day.

    • Ismail

      Selamat Paulos,

      Thanks for the feedback. If Isayas is looking “robust and healthy”, then I need to take a close look at him because perhaps I am imagining what is not there. Or is it possible, my friend, that your pessimism is making you imagine a “robust and healthy” Isayas who may live to his 90s? Just kidding. Your point is well taken and you may be right.

      In any case, this is a subjective call and is unimportant I think. As for the expectations of those in Diaspora vs those inside Eritrea, my opinion is that the actual change can only come from those within Eritrea. The role of those outside the country can only be material support, advise, and possibly remote leadership and guidance. Nothing more. This is not very different from the relationship EPLF had with those in the Diaspora. The latter were only derekti haili until or unless they actually join their brothers and sisters inside the country.

      Ismail (pointblank)

  • Ismail AA

    Hayak Allah Ismail,

    Let me first warmly welcome Ismail back after long absence. His avid readers have missed his high quality contributions.
    Memories of his debates with Dawit Mesfin are still fresh in my mind. Simplicity in language use and lucidity in expression make his writings very transparently accessible to his ideas. This article is does not breach the norm; it is a typical Ismail Omar Ali article par excellence.

    The question posed for our thought and contemplation is not easy under the circumstance Ismail has so brilliantly
    discussed. We, as readers, have been offered choice out of three categories: optimism, pessimism and indifference.

    But after persuasively surveying the three in the context of the Eritrea’s present condition, he concludes that actually
    there is, or ought to be, a bright side of the more than seemingly hopeless situation. He has chosen to be an optimist. People who put themselves in the other two categories must be warned when they read such a conclusion reached by
    someone through an analysis of the author’s stature.

    Being by nature an optimist, I am choosing to line myself up in the category of the optimists. The reason is that Eritreans
    like me, whose life span has been more or less contemporaneous with the Eritrean cause since the beginning in the opening years of the late 50s and 60s, have lived through and seen a lot of dark times similar to present conditions
    of our country.

    Those who sat to consult on formation of the ELM, those thirteen Eritreans who sat 1960 in Cairo to discuss the founding the ELF to launch armed struggle, those who congregated in 1968 at Adobaha to unite the dangerously dispersed fighting forces, the costly internecine confrontations at various stages of the struggle, thee uniformity of hostile views and policies of two superpowers about the right of the Eritrean people to self-determination, and many others had not cause us as people to lose hope and confidence in ourselves however the hardships and gloomy circumstances had been to darken our path to the future we cherished and aspired. The present condition cannot and should not change our mind set to gloom and fatalism.

    This time, too, as long as we remained decided to sustain our destiny as a nation that our post WWII history has bestowed on us, we cannot but keep hoping that the light at the end of the tunnel shall keep burning and illuminate our of our journey to reach the exit of that tunnel to broader light that shall unite us in hope and work to restore the dignity our citizens.

    I agree with Ismail that our salvation rests on our ability to gather our acts together as a nation, and come out of our peculiar and narrow social-cum-political cocoons that usually doom nation-states, and become deadly tools in the hand of powerful states, as some of the current conditions in our neighborhood show us.

    I should conclude these hasty remarks by underscoring that the only factor that could prove the pessimists right is if we, as a society, succumb to the traditionalist and fatalistic ideology of fate: Igziabeher zemxo, igziabeher yewesdo attitude. Such mind set is a crucial gift to the sustenance of the dictatorship. God has nothing to do with the rise or fall of Isayas and his regime. Our politics, and the cultural and demographic milieu it places in, have a lot to do.

    Thank you, Ismail.

    Regards.

    • Ismail

      Thanks Moksi for the welcome and the kind words. I have to say “baelka t heshelu” because I have seen your thoughts and expressive ability and it is awesome.

      Ismail (pointblank)

  • Hayat Adem

    Thanks for the nice piece Ismael,
    Please come more often with your pen. Well you gave is balance sheet. True leaders would go with the optimists and I am here. Judges are evidence people and evidences are of the past so they will go for the pessimists. Verdict will depend on the amount of work done. Nothing replaces hard work. Even if this system breaks from the heavy load of its own crime and complications, the replacement cannot be taken foregranted for the better.
    Cheers Ismael.

    • Ismail

      Thanks Hayat. Yes, without hard work, optimism turns into empty wishful thinking. That is the point I was trying to make when I said “optimism is a powerful force only when it is based on facts or on correct assessment of reality and when it spurs us to action.”

      Ismail (pointblank)

  • Kalihari Snake

    Good afternoon Ismail. Not to advocate schadenfreude, but on the optimist side, it is possible that an implosion of Ethiopia could serve to benefit Eritrea, as it could force a change in political dynamics on the Horn of Africa, with a dramatic shift in the positioning and strategies of the U.N. – P5 and Security Council. You mention “Nor did I ever think it possible that Eritreans would allow a dictatorship to rule them for so long!” There is a bit of a glitch in that statement in that: 1) Life for most in Eritrea was quite OK up until the Ethiopian-Eritrean border war in 1998, and 2) For a sizeable percentage of Eritreans, it is a bit difficult as a result of nationalist sentiment, to exert total admonition of PIA, in so long as Ethiopia remains illegally camped on Eritrean soil. Would things have been different for PIA, Eritrea and Eritreans had the U.S.A. and the U.N. Security Council forced Ethiopia to implement the EEBC decision? I believe that they certainly would have been and it is even possible that had this occurred, PIA would still be regarded as a hero.

    • Hayat Adem

      Hi Snake,
      I like what you are carrying in your head. Really, briliant. And my issue is not if it is sane and fair to wish that on Ethiopians. II
      IT IS OBVIOUS YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT THE MILLIONS OF ETHIOPIANS. BUT even if we are to measure your wishes by the evil selfish standard you are projecting, is it doable and if yes, is it rewarding? Baboons come in varying qualities. Some are self-poison by bad thoughts and some are a bit wise. Which baboon are you, Mr Snake?
      There were two baboons scatching and digging the earth for little seeds from under and eat them filtering through the dirt. It looked very hard work for a little reward. One of the two baboons wished there were some kind of powerful quake that stirs and sends the earth all inside out. The other baboon asked,
      “why do u say that?”
      “Well isn’t it obvious! so that we wouldn’t really labor so much for these seeds and we are ablle to find them easily on the top.”
      “And how are we going to be spared to eat them if an earth quake stirs the earth inside out!”

      • Kalihari Snake

        Good afternoon Hayat Adem: Even though I have a lot of resentment against the TPLF mafia, I certainly do not wish bad fortune on the Ethiopian people. And, we well know that any form of major disruption on the continent’s second most populous country, can have disastrous spillover effects on neighboring countries to include Eritrea. What I am simply asserting, is that an implosion of Ethiopia is a real possibility at the moment and should it occur, it could yield positive benefits to Eritrea (or to the contrary). Oh my how times change, as a little over a year ago, most were questioning the short-term longevity of the PIA regime and not that of the TPLF regime. In the end, I remain totally optimistic on the future of Eritrea!

      • Dear Hayat Adem,

        Simply it shows the level of frustration, hopelessness, and desperation of regime apologists. Ethiopians do not care about the haters, the confused who dream to become black supremacists and alt-rights in their own small way, but the other eritreans: the peace loving – god/allah fearing humble eritreans – those who care for their people and feel their pain and do not see them as sacrificial lambs for their ulterior motives.

        They cannot live without badme, they cannot force ethiopia to get out of badme. The world community does not care in the face of so many more important problems around the world. When a peace-loving and democratic government comes to eritrea, that will be the new age of ethio-eritrean relations. Badme will be solved within a day very easily. With dia, the pfdj and their apologists in power, the door is hermetically closed as much as ethiopia is concerned. Ethiopia will never make dia a hero by evacuating badme. Let them live with their pipe-dream of the day when ethiopia will implode, so that their salvation will come. This day will never be.

        • Kalihari Snake

          Good afternoon Horizon: You say ‘Let them live with their pipe-dream of the day when Ethiopia will implode, so that their salvation will come. This day will never be.’ It is not a pipe-dream for it is instead a possible reality as Ethiopia is now in the middle of a self-declared State of Emergency. I am certainly not a PIA regime apologist and you are simply missing the point. Here, people in extreme frustration, tend to have insular focus on Bad Boy Isaias and how long he might live, how he can be overthrown, regurgitation of Ghedli, etc. But, one must take into consideration, in a scenario in which Ethiopia does implode (quietly or violently), what will be the effect on the PIA regime, Eritrea and her people. And let us be clear, in so long as the TPLF mafia remains in control of Ethiopia, no matter who is at the helm of Eritrea’s Government, there will be no peaceful Ethiopian removal from Eritrean land. You drastically diminish the meaning of Badme in the hearts and souls of most Eritreans.

          • Dear Kalihari Snake,

            Do you really think that a country that declares a state of emergency for different reasons is about to implode? Do you say the same thing for France, Turkey, Tunisia and others who are under a state of emergency? Ethiopia has released about 10K prisoners who were apprehended as the result of the state emergency. Does it look like it is a country that is ready to implode? DIA and the pfdj have not yet release a single prisoner over the last quαrter century. Does that mean that eritrea is immune to implosion? You have to look at the whole picture and not at isolated incidents.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good afternoon Horizon. You know quite well that the context of Ethiopia is far different than France, Turkey or Indonesia. Back on October 20th, NEWSWEEK listed Ethiopia as the fourth most unstable country in the world and a number of other military-political think tanks also have taken the same line. Ethiopia is a country of over 100 million people, full of ethnic divisions and a religious split, that has been autocratically ruled for 25 years by the Tigray that represent only 6% of the population. Don’t kid yourself, it is the setting for the Perfect Storm. Out of Ethiopia’s military command and its 50 Generals, 48 are from Tigray and most from Adwa. However, major dissent has over the past year been fomenting from the rank and file. The release of 10,000 ‘rehabilitated’ prisoners will not quell the underground rebellion and demonstrations that actually have continued in Ethiopia but are not making headline news. Also to mention that you are wrong in regards to no prisoners having been released in Eritrea for I know many. That is not to say that due process is dearly missing or that many continue to languish in unacceptable conditions in prisons in Eritrea.

          • Hayat Adem

            Hi Snake,
            Why did u choose that name? Who wants to be a snake, a kalahari at that?! What use do you see of those venoms? I don’t remeber us planning to export them to the global market. We can export our port services. We should compete with Djibouti kn that front tooth and nail. That is where Eritrea has one of her comparative and competitive advantages. No mining or tourism can raise such a huge revenue for Eritrea as much as the ports would.

            The newsweek content you mentioned didn’t put Ethiopia as the 4th unstable country. It included it among the 10 world most unstable countries. But it didn’t put them in rank order. So one big lie there.

            You said Ethiopia’s context is different. That is how you pretended as if you care about putting context for proper perispective. And yet, you singled out Ethiopia from the ten listed there, which includes China, Russia, Turkey, Saudi, Jordan and Algeria, Nigeria from Africa. Do these all countries also look like to you they will implode the next minute? Or you only believe newsweek’s report if and only if it reports about the armageddon of Ethiopia?

            I will not advise you to be fair, carey and thoughful to other people. I will not advise you to be even fair, carey and thoughtful of your people. But think of yourself and your pfdj, you will only lose by wishing Ethiopia implode. Follow the wise baboon, not the stupid one. Is it too much to ask you to do that?

            You have an alternative path, leave the zero-sum mode. It shouldn’t implode for Eritrea to benefit. It is hallal to think of prospering together. It is not only possible, it is the only commonsense and optimal. It is uncool to hate someone to the level of being blinded of your compounded loss and your end game and only aim is not gain but to smile at the pain of others.

            http://europe.newsweek.com/world-ten-most-unstable-countries-511821?rm=eu

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good afternoon Hayet Adem: As Ronald Reagan would say “There you go again” continuing to make unfounded suppositions. The name is Kalihari and not Kalahari which has a totally different meaning. If you would know Eritrea a bit better you might know that snake venom has long been collected from the Adulis-Gulf of Zula area and exported. I will let you ditty on the positioning that NEWSEEK gave to Ethiopia, for as I have before mentioned, there are a number of military-political think tanks that are towing the same line of thought. I am neither hoping for Ethiopia’s implosion nor do I hate her people though, I do detest the TPLF mafia. Shallow you are to quickly and wrongly label me as PFDJ.

          • Olana

            Dear Snake

            Wishing good for yourself while denying that to others is typical PFDJ. Could you please tell me why you detest TPLF and list what you resentments are? The reason I ask is because you have not mentioned any resentment that lead you to detest TPLF in all your postings I read. If the reasons are “…that has been autocratically ruled for 25 years by the Tigray that represent only 6% of the population. ………… Out of Ethiopia’s military command and its 50 Generals, 48 are from Tigray and most from Adwa.”, don’t bother to reply my question.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good afternoon Olana: Setting aside the 1998-2000 Ethiopia-Eritrea war and the TPLF’s refusal to abide by the EEBC border ruling, many of the problems that I have with the TPLF mirror those that I have with PIA/PFDJ to include lack of freedom of press, human rights violations, economic exploitation by a select group, gender exploitation, military control by a minority group, lack of due process and arbitrary imprisonment, etc. Certainly, Ethiopia/TPLF has been more cleaver in being more of an open book to the outside world (i.e. encouraging foreign investment), but in many ways it commits the same atrocities as does PIA/PFDJ only, it has at least up to now, been adept at getting away with it.

          • Olana

            Dear Snake
            I agree with you there are some problems in freedom of press, human rights violations and lack of due process and arbitrary imprisonment but taking the magnitude of the problems it is much worse in Eritrea than Ethiopia. The problems I mentioned are not present at all in today’s Eritrea. Other issues you raised are debatable and raising them here will be a waste of time as we have no credible sources to support our arguments. BTW when you say TPLF I assume you mean Ethiopian government? But those problems you raised can not make one hateful and categorize the other as a mafia because every government has weaknesses specially in poor countries like Ethiopia with more than 80 tribes.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Olana: I guess It is OK if we disagree as I do not see a big difference, especially taking into account the past year, in the magnitude of problems in Ethiopia and Eritrea. To mention, that if your look at the ranking that different global agencies give for both countries for key indicators such as freedom of press and human rights violations, there really is not much difference between the two. I travel frequently to both countries and most peoples’ impressions are largely based upon observations of Addis Ababa vs Asmara. In this regard, Addis Ababa has grown like crazy over the past couple of decades whilst Asmara seems to be frozen in time. I also have to say that other cities in Ethiopia such as Hawassa and Makale seemed to have grown and to have improved dramatically. However, travel to some of the other cities or regions in Ethiopia these days and one cut the politically thick air and tension with a knife; recent news coming from Gondar can attest. Thing is, the UN Security Council has been quick to slap sanctions on Eritrea for its wrongdoings, while at the same time, it has taken a blind eyes approach in regards to Ethiopia. With U.S. drone bases in Ethiopia, this should come as no surprise.

          • Olana

            Dear Snake
            You are not honest to yourself. Do not bring global agencies here as most of them give the rankings without getting enough information about the situation in the countries and they do it for the interest of their financiers. Do you really believe they get information from a closed country such as Eritrea? But you and I know the truth in the ground. Why Asmara destined to be frozen while some cities in Ethiopia developed? what does it tell us? Yes it is true there were some political unrest in some part of Ethiopia but that is some thing we celebrate if handled wisely because governments are meant to solve problems and issues of good governance faced by the people and that is what is happening in Ethiopia. If the government failed to deliver its promises, it is a norm for the people to voice their grievances. Imagine what would have the response of the government of Eritrea if it was happened in Asmara or some other parts of Eritrea. State of emergency in the context of Ethiopia is nothing but to bring peace and stability by separating the peaceful protesters and detractors like PFDJ and Egypt, so that Government can listen the grievances of the people and act on it. FYI the drone base was closed long time ago. One more thing you have discussed with other formers about the deportation of Ethiopians from Eritrea is not true because I was there and I can give you a lot of evidences how they did it and supported by some TPLF officials. But lets stop living in the past as we can not undo what is done.
            Olana

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good afternoon Olana: Seems they you prefer to selectively sift through information as those same global agencies that you are dismissing have largely served as the basis for UN security council sanctions taken against Eritrea. You say you and I know the truth on the ground. I would then ask how frequently do you travel to both Eritrea and Ethiopia as I normally do every 2-months and have an actual chance to observe realities on the ground. You are simply living on another planet if you really believe that the Government in Ethiopia, is in process and function, truly any different from the PIA/PFDJ dictatorship, for they are much the same though different variants. To recall, that parliamentary elections were held in Ethiopia on 24 May 2015 resulted in an unrealistic victory for the ruling EPRDF, which won 500 of the 547 seats with allies of the EPRDF winning the remaining seats. You say that ‘State of emergency in the context of Ethiopia is nothing but to bring peace and stability by separating the peaceful protesters and detractors like PFDJ and Egypt’. Really? That is straight out of the playbook of the TPLF in shamelessly accusing outside countries while denying responsibility for summary murder, rape and imprisonment that has taken place over the past year. In regards to deportation of Ethiopians from Eritrea being supported by the TPLF, this is gibberish hogwash as the TPLF was not anywhere to be seen in Eritrea for several month’s following Eritrea’s liberation. Were you in Eritrea or were you in Addis Ababa?

          • Olana

            Dear Snake
            You are echoing what the diaspora opposition, human right watch and PFDJ are disseminating information which are baseless and speculative, in nature through their different media outlets. I am writing right from Addis. What makes you believe I live outside Ethiopia? Don’t you know that it is not easy to travel to Eritrea not only from Ethiopia but from other parts of the world? I have Eritrean family and friends who could not enter their own country to visit their parents and relatives for no reason let alone foreigners. To the contrary, we have many Eritreans who live in Eritrea and frequently visiting Ethiopia with limited bureaucracy. Right now I have with me an Eritrean friend
            from the heart of Asmara who came this week to attend his sister’s wedding marrying to an Ethiopian. Are you a diplomat to travel between Addis and Asmara every 2 months? Or a spy under cover? Because there is no other reason you can make those travels.

            As to the 500 out of 547, Ethiopia has learned a lesson and the government is preparing to change it. You see the difference between Ethiopia and Eritrea?

            Just to refresh your mind in case you were overhauled by the PFDJ propaganda, let me mention what everybody who was sober and was in Asmara during that time can testify.

            “Those who want to go to your country please come and register” Says warnings posted all over the electric poles throughout Asmara during the first three months of victory.

            Kebele administrators were informed not to give any relief food (wheat and oil) to Ethiopians and to make things worse people were told not to buy any property of Ethiopians so that they can sell it cheaply or just give it up. I know many Ethiopians who sold their house and other properties very cheap excluding those whose houses were confiscated by the generals. These were the other way of telling people to live Eritrea.

            All these happens to the civilians when EPLF and PLF were in their honeymoon. Everybody know what happened to the family of the military right after the liberation of Asmara. Only those middle class Ethiopians stayed until they were deported after Bademe war, which was much harsh but less in number.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good afternoon Olana: You are full of contradictions.

            On the one hand, you are saying that it is very difficult for one to travel to Eritrea not only from Ethiopia but also other parts of the world but then you state that you have family and friends who live in Eritrea frequently travel to Ethiopia with limited bureaucracy. Do you not see what you are saying? Your family and friends are in the end also being allowed to freely travel from and to Eritrea on return. The reality is that travel for most from and to Eritrea these day is indeed difficult though not impossible.

            You mention that the Ethiopian Government is preparing to change the EPRDF total control of the Government? LOL right….they have been saying this for several years in a similar manner as the PFDJ. Also, the fact that 48 of Ethiopia’s Generals are from Tigray gives a good indication of the regimes eagerness for change.

            You mention that in Asmara within the 3-months following liberation, that there were postings that “Those who want to go to your country please come and register” That was certainly not forced barbaric deportation of Ethiopians, for instead, it was voluntarily supported (ERA, UNHCR and UNWFP) repatriation of Ethiopians who wished to receive assistance in their journey back to Ethiopia. Any form of barbaric deportation would not require a registration process.

            You state that “Kebele administrators were informed not to give any relief food (wheat and oil) to Ethiopians”. Well, if any Ethiopian households were not receiving their food entitlement, it would have been easy for them to complain to the UN World Food Programme who was supplying the food and was the only UN agency to maintain a neutral international presence in Eritrea during the time of liberation.

            You mention that “to make things worse people were told not to buy any property of Ethiopians so that they can sell it cheaply or just give it up.” In the 3-months following the EPLF entry into Asmara, the EPLF was overwhelmed with setting up a provisional government, and did not even have the capacity to handle real estate transactions. For example, in the first few months, the Government’s protocol office was temporarily accommodated at the Ambasoira Hotel.

            In regards to houses being confiscated by Generals, yes this was true for houses for which the Derg or its agents had constructed or forcefully usurped possession/ownership from the original owners.

            You mention that it was only the middle class Ethiopians that stayed and were harshly deported after the Badme war. It makes absolutely no sense, that if the EPLF were in the business of brutally deporting Ethiopians, that they would give any special treatment to Ethiopians of middle class standing.

          • Abi

            Hi Snake
            I see you are trying very hard slithering your way out.
            First of all why did the new government forced the Ethiopians to leave? This happened way before the referendum.
            At that very moment Eritreans in Ethiopia were singing and dancing 24/7 . It was so disgraceful and embarrassing. I never forget and forgive them. It is in the memories of Ethiopians. Those Eritreans whom we called friends, people who worked and worshiped with us laughed at us when we were down . You told us you own both countries. You have got no shame and humanity.
            Selam told us horror stories where the thirsty Ethiopians beg for water in Asmara. A freaking water for Christ sake!
            I can not imagine what you are capable of doing when it comes to barbaric acts. You robbed the defeated and defendless Ethiopians in broad daylight.
            Shame on You.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Abi: The fact is that Ethiopians were never forced to leave from Eritrea; they left on their own volition. PIA and the PDFJ have committed a lot of evils but forced deportation is not one of them. Ethiopia’s mass deportation of Eritreans is well documented and I personally was a witness.

          • Abi

            Hi Snake
            “ብጥለው ገለበጠኝ” አለ ያገሬ ሰው
            በል ተወዉ! ሌላ ጨዋታ አምጣ ይሄኛው ቆረፈደ::

          • Olana

            Dear Snake
            I am not contradicting. You are rather intentionally contradicting issues. Reread it carefully. It is easy to give reasons for all problems we are discussing but it would not be convincing and we are not taking any lesson from it. Let’s leave it here.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Olana: You have indeed contradicted yoursefl. Human Rights Watch has captured well Ethiopia’s barbaric deportation of Eritreans but could not find any evidence to support Eritrean Government deportation of Ethiopians. You can read the report and see for yourself.

          • Hayat Adem

            Dear Snake,
            Well you are pfdj. If you are, no one is. That is for sure. And if you are not kalahari snake, you are kalihari snake. You are a snake and it is by choice.
            If you don’t hate people, hating any party, even the purest ones let alone tplf, is within your right. The only thing that puzzles me is, logically, anyone who hates tplf must also hate pfdj more. I see pfdj more to the crime side of tplf, and i see tplf more to the sane side of pfdj. that is if we have to compare the two.
            The only thing i will be responding to you:
            When you deliberately lie ( eg, deporting ethiopians in 1991…i was there two and i also saw the deported in addis living destitute lives)
            When you hate people (eg, wishing an entire country to ipmlode for the sake of restoring pia’s heroic place)
            Don’t do those two and i would never mind about your preferences to love or hate any political parties.

          • Abi

            Hi Queen Hayat
            Since I can’t up vote your comment more than once, please accept my Thank You note.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good morning Hayet Adem: I am not sure if you have literal deafness or not, but you still assert that I am wishing for the implosion of Ethiopia, for which I have never done. I have only mentioned the implosion of Ethiopia as a real possibility at the present time given the state of volatility. In terms of deportation of Ethiopians from Eritrea in 1991, it simply did not happen. Those several thousands of Ethiopians in-and-around Addis Ababa, most that were internally displaced and were either former military or those closely associated with the Derg that had left places like Asmara and Assab sometime before the EPLF took control as they feared retribution by the EPLF.

          • Hayat Adem

            Snake,
            My assertion that you wished Ethiopia came only from your own note. You said this: “…but on the optimist side, it is possible that an implosion of Ethiopia could serve to benefit Eritrea, as it could force a change in political dynamics on the Horn of Africa”
            You optimistically believe Ethiopia is to implode. The operative word here “optimist”. That makes you the wisher. What is your complaint here?

          • Kalihari Snake

            Good afternoon Hayat Adem: I suggest that you improve your English language skills as you above selectively chose to leave off the beginning of the quoted narrative which totally changes its meaning, notably ‘Not to advocate schadenfreude, but on the optimist side, it is possible that an implosion of Ethiopia could serve to benefit Eritrea’.

    • Ismail

      Selamat Snake,

      I agree with you that implosion within Ethiopia could bring about change but disagree with your statement that “life for most in Eritrea was quite OK up until the Ethiopian-Eritrean border warn in 1998.” I am of the view that Isayas has been an absolute ruler since independence and has been ruling with an iron fist even before – an opinion that I discussed in many of my previous articles (http://awate.com/recognizing-the-games-dictators-play/ and http://awate.com/a-critical-look-at-the-eplfpfdjgoe-saga-a-half-century-10-epic-drama/.

      No dictatorship is ever ok. People always think things are ok when it is happening to “other” people but things have never been ok with Isayas’s rule at any time since he has been in power. That at least is my opinion.

      As for Ethiopia, the change we wish for them should be what we wish for ourselves i.e. freedom and rule of law.

      Thanks
      Ismail (pointblank)

      • Kalihari Snake

        Good afternoon Ismail. I agree with you on all on the points that you have made and the way that they are stated.

    • Kim Hanna

      Selam Kalihari Snake,
      .
      I admire your version of a bold, direct statement of optimistic hope. You didn’t try to camouflage the identical thought process of the likes of Mahmud Saleh who advances similar poisenous sentiments on occasions. You came out and blurted it out. Just for that narrow exhibition of unpretentious character, I respect you.
      .
      Mr. Snake, your expectation, however, is so wrong on so many levels, I would not know where to begin.
      .
      Mr. K.H

    • Abi

      Selam Snake
      I agree with you life was more than OK in Eritrea before the border war.
      “ኤርትራ እስክትለማ፣ኢትዮጵያችን ትድማ.” Ethiopia was under Eritrean colony 91-98.
      You don’t wish implosion on your former colony unless you are a desert Snake. There are thousands of Eritreans all over Ethiopia. Are you planning to evacuate them before the implosion?
      የእባብ ምኞት

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