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Language and Religion In Eritrean Politics (Archive)

(The following was presented at a panel discussion under the theme “Eritrea’s Path towards Democracy: Dialogue on Constitutional Issues”. The event was held at the Universities at Shady Grove, Rockville, Maryland, on June 25, 2011; the organizers of the event assigned the topic to the presenter. It’s being republished to shed light on the topic as it’s relevant to the ongoing debate. Still, after so many years of debating the issue of language and religion, there seems to be sever lack of knowledge on the topic because it has been overly politicized and scholarly input to alleviate the situation are lacking. Apart from minor changes, in this version, I have included a poster that shows Surat AlFatiha, the first Surra of the Kura’an, and Abune Zebezemayat the Christian Ft’hat. Both are written in a hypnotic Arabic calligraphy. The poster in itself does not prove anything, but the intention here is to provoke people to question their perception and understand that language in itself is religion-neutral. Like many other languages of humanity, Arabic is the language of Muslims, Christians, Jews, as well as of adherents of other Middle Eastern faiths.)

I didn’t choose the topic; and though it seems like a dispassionate intellectual topic, I believe it is specific: language and religion as it relates to Eritrea. It is even more specific than that—for religion, read Islam and for language, read Arabic. Both remain in trial indefinitely, and the latter is treated like a suspect that needs to prove and reprove, and reprove once more that it is Eritrean. I intend to do that, for the umpteenth time not forgetting that Arabic has been in the land long before the name Eritrea entered our memory.

I will tell you a story that I probably told a dozen times because this subject keeps re-emerging in old garb and its presenters think it is original: the same tired objections, the same cynical suspicion of Islam and Arabic, and by extension, that of half the Eritrean population. I have no other way but to tell the same story over and over again. I will only stop that when the arguments change; otherwise, it will always be there.

A drunken violinist, a Wata, had an excellent day in Asmara and was returning to his village in the outskirts. On his way, he arrived at a roaring river, which he could not cross. Since the main job description of a Wata is showering everyone with songs of praise, he pleaded to the river to slow down and enable him to cross to the opposite bank. He sang: Oh dear mighty river, my honorable river, please be gracious, slow down for a while and allow me to cross! The river didn’t yield. Another stranded man noticed the Wata singing to the river and told him: “the portion that you praised moves on and a new portion follows it; you have to focus on one portion and run alongside it, singing, until it stops for you to cross!”

Like the violinist, some are doomed to repeat the same argument to new portions of the flood, newcomers to the debate. It is exhausting, but no one is giving up.

And since the topic is old and politicized, I am aware that some portions of my presentation is recycled material; I cannot help but do just that.

Arabic and Muslims in “Abyssinia”

The countries known as Ethiopia and Eritrea today, are close neighbors to the Arab world. In fact Eritreans have been closer than most people would like to admit. For Muslims, they know that their Kur’aan itself is called mesHaf, a word borrowed from Geez[1], metsHaf.

There is a wealth of material that explains the relations of Axumites with Arabia, well before the prophet Mohammed, and it was natural for that to continue after the advent of Islam. Twenty out of the 132[2] Muslim refugees who fled Mecca to Abyssinia were Abyssinians or of Abyssinian ancestry. Among them was the Abyssinian Baraka Um Aymen[3], the prophet’s mother (by breast feeding, “wet nurse.”) The refugees lived in Abyssinia for 16 years, and 14 of them died and were buried there. So, don’t be surprised if an Eritrean says that someone from those Arabs who lived in Abyssinia for 16 years is their ancestor.

The Abyssinian-Arab relations means a lot to Muslims: the maternal grandmothers of both Omer Bin Alkhatab, the second Khelifa and Omer Bin AlAas, the conqueror of Egypt, were Abyssinians. Again, Khelifa Omer was killed by an Abyssinian in Medina and so was Hamza, the prophet’s uncle who was killed by Jahash, an Abyssinian slave. Abyssinians are not strangers in the history of Arabia, even before Islam—Abraha and the “People Of The Elephant” (asHab alfil), is a story that is told in a surra of the Kur’an, and Muslims memorize by heart. Bilal the Abyssinian and Luqman AlHakim[4] (Luqman the wise) are just two of the tens of prominent Abyssinians in Islamic history. To this day, the inner security of the Ka’aba is entrusted to people most of whom are descendants of the erstwhile Abyssinians, who until recently were eunuchs (I am not sure if they are so now.) In short, Islamic history is full of Abyssinian personalities of high stature—in the military, trade, craftsmanship, literature; Abyssinians are generally associated with beauty, piety, singing, dancing, bravery, etc. And Yemen has its long relation with Abyssinia; the migrations and cross migrations are well chronicled.

The crescent-shaped area extending from the Zeila (an old port around today’s border between Djibouti and Somaliland), all the way to Southern Shoa, had flourished under Muslim Sultanates—seven of them are well known—and it is believed that the word Jeberti comes from one of those Sultanates of that area. Many people from those Sultanates joined Imam Ahmed Ibrahim AlQazi (commonly known as Ahmed Gragn, teh left-handed) in his conquest against the highland kings of Abyssinia.

Today, we find most of the suspicion of Muslims and rejection of Arabic by Abyssinian Christians based on what I mentioned above—specially the conquests of Ahmed Gragn which remains alive in the psyche of many Christians though it happened six-hundred years ago. Why?

Isn’t the anti-Christian onslaught by Gragn more than matched by the anti-Muslim excesses of kings of the era, and later by Prince Wube, King Tedros, and King Yohannes? And if Christian Abyssinians don’t feel the need to apologize for the deeds of those kings, why should Muslims be made to feel of dual loyalty or suspect for the excesses of Gragn? And if Christian Abyssinians could move around and settle anywhere in the Eritrean and Ethiopian highlands why is the word “settler” only reserved for Muslims?

In the 19th century, the population of the Eritrean highlands was less than 300,000, most of whom were settlers who came with the waves of the invading Abyssinian armies from the South. Many villages and regions in present Eritrea are descendants of Amhara and Oromo armies sent to the Eritrean highlands to protect the trade and caravan routes from Massawa to the hinterland or to fight one war or another, or to invade and plunder. Many villages were established by followers of the many generals who raided the highlands and who remained and established themselves in present day Eritrea. Alula, Yohannes’ general, is said to have enforced many legislations to enable his soldiers and those before him, to acquire land rights. The Seraye region is settled by many warrior families from Tigray and their retainers and followers. There are villages whose ancestral origin is Dembia, Gondar and Tigrai[5]. But, amazingly, demeaning “settler from Tigray,” is reserved only for Muslims.

Speaking of language and religion: Are the Jeberti in Eritrea originally from Tigray? Some are. Others have been there since time immemorial. And yes, some even came with Ahmed Gragn or were converted by him 600 years ago. There are Jeberti from every conceivable race in the region, including Arabia and beyond. That is why they try to tell people that Jeberti is not a race, but an amalgam of people with countless racial background: anyone from any place who is a Muslim and embraces the local culture is easily assimilated. It is not a race; it is a nation—again, that is why they object to being baptized Tigrigna by a government Fiat issued on the whims of Isaias and his ideologues.

But here is the biggest problem that Eritrea faces. The Beni Amer, and the Hedareb, have no problem in recognizing their cross-border relations with their kinsmen in Sudan. The Danakil tribal confederation doesn’t have a problem recognizing their kinship, the Afars in Djibouti and Ethiopia. The Bet Asghede tribes of Sahel do not have a problem recognizing their kinship with their brethren across the border in Sudan or their ancestry in Abyssinia proper. It is only in the Eritrean Highlands that people seem to have a problem recognizing their relations to Tigray and Amhara. Not the Jeberti, not the Saho speaking tribes, not the Erob and not many people who live on the border regions of the area. But as you move further from the border, you have a never-ending attempt to differentiate one’s self and to severe the racial, linguistic, and religious ties with Abyssinia, specially with Tigray!

And there is another problem caused by a twisted logic: the elite of the highlands want to decide the race, ethnic name, division, and retroactively molding of Eritreans as per their whims. No one objects when Eritrean Highland Christians claim ancestry from personalities who lived a thousand years ago, to biblical times; yet never does a Muslim mention an Arab ancestry without a noticing a belittling chuckle from those same Eritreans. But let’s see: the Assawerta claim ancestry from Asawr; the TroAa from Suleiman Al-Arabi; a small section of the Jeberti claim affinity with the Arab Mekhzumis, Moroccans, and still others from Osman Bin Afan; the Beni Amer from several Arab ancestors; the Ad Mualim and Ad Shek claim Hashimi (prophets tribe) ancestry. The name Hedarb is a corruption of the word Hadarem[6] from Hadramot in Yemen. The Artega section of the Beni Amer claim ancestry from Mohammed Jemalladdin (and beyond him), an Arab who first settled in Saukin[7], and there are many more such ancestries.

Arabic Pre-dates Eritrea

“The Arabic language has not been a language of religion only, but it is also a language of life in this world, and many documents that go back to centuries, and which was kept in the Archives of the court in Massawa and Keren, attest to this fact since it was written in Arabic[8].”

There is ample proof to indicate that Arabic was a ligua-franca in Massawa. Documents of inheritance, endowments (Awqaf), marriage, commercial dealings, etc, were all conducted in Arabic in Massawa in the 18th and 19th centuries[9]. There are old Arabic engravings in gravestones in Dahlak Kebir, etc. It was common in Muslim towns to see inscriptions or embossed writings on top of the doors and gates of the affluent: adkhuluha bslamin amneen[10], or, ya dakhil albab sely Alanebi[11], etc.

There is also a misconception that Arabic is the choice of the Muslim elite. That is not correct, it is the choice of all Eritrean Muslims not just Muslim elites.[12]

  1. Whatever education Eritrean Muslims were getting in pre-modern Eritrea (namely khelwa (Madrassah), or Kur’anic studies) was in Arabic. Muslim literacy in pre-colonial Eritrea was essentially Arabic literacy. The Khelwa tradition continues to this day. Basically, every Muslim child in Eritrea, prior to going to regular school, attends kura’anic school[13]. Modern education started less than a century ago; Eritreans have been around in that land quite a few centuries before that. That should establish the fact that Arabic, (since no one is objecting to Tigrinya) has been an indigenous Eritrean language forever. The founding fathers of modern Eritrea agreed and designated Arabic and Tigrinya as official languages of the country. That treaty is sacrosanct—any violation of that agreement bears grave consequences.
  2. The Shariaa courts (family laws), and all documentation were (and are) performed in Arabic. Since time immemorial, Muslims conduct their rituals, death, marriage, inheritance, business transactions, etc. on Arabic. Therefore, Arabic is not limited to religious affairs as some wrongly assume.
  3. Even in religious affairs, in Eritrea where Muslims belong to every linguistic group in the country, there is no practical way of duplicating communications and Friday sermons in all the nine languages. Muslims adopted Arabic as a solution to their multi-lingual reality, not because they hate their languages, but because every Muslim has a basic knowledge of Arabic from a young age; it is therefore practical tool for their unity.

Arabic was part of life of Eritrea and Ethiopia for centuries and not just for Muslims. Unless crowned by the patriarch of Alexandria, who speaks Arabic, no Ethiopian king was considered legitimate. This is supported by the fact that the seal of many Abyssinian emperor carried Arabic inscriptions: melk mululk AlHabasha (King of Kings of Abyssinia). Ras Alula has an iconic picture wearing An Arab garb. Much of the Ethiopian religious literature was translated from Arabic. The kings’ envoys to the region and their trading emissaries were Abyssinian Muslims fluent in Arabic.

When the Italians came to Eritrea, they brought with them Arabic translators and spoke with the locals in that language. When a Portuguese delegation passed through Massawa in 1520, the Captain General met the chief of Hergigo and “had conversation which they held by interpreters, the Captain speaking Arabic well…”[14]. The priest of the embassy who accidentally became its registrar, refers to the local populations he met on the shores of the Red Sea as Moors. This is indicative of the fact that he didn’t see any difference between them and the Arabs (Moors) who ruled his country, the Iberian Peninsula. As recently as when I was growing up, we referred to the people from the countryside of Western Eritrea as Arab.

It is not true to say that Arabic is advanced by Muslim elites. But it is very true to say that Arabic is denied by EPLF/PFDJ elite. And the EPLF/PFDJ elite don’t even have to be from the highlanders or Christians to deny the historic role of Arabic in Eritrea.

In 1996, in a debate over the constitution provisions, Mussa Naib, a PFDJ functionary whose very last name is an Arabic title (similar to Viceroy, or Deputy) stated to me that Arabic is a British invention in Eritrea; but we know the British came to Eritrea in 1941. Mussa was a member of the constitution commission of Eritrea that was touring the world to promote the idea of adopting mother languages (never mind the PFDJ had already decided that.) Someone asked a question: “In what language did your ancestors, the Naib’s of Massawa, correspond and in what language did they gain their primary education?” Of course, Mussa brushed the questions off. But the answer was, Arabic, and that was centuries before the British set foot in Eritrea, But poor Mussa was only pushing the official PFDJ line.

For instance, let’s take the name Rashaida. In its social reengineering exercise, the PFDJ divided Eritreans into nine linguistic groups. It baptized every group by the name of the language it speaks except the Rashaida who kept their racial reference, Rashaida. This is not only inconsistency it is done just to avoid referring to them as Arabs. Of course, the PFDJ wouldn’t call them Arabs when it is engaged in a futile attempt to eradicate Arabic from Eritrea.

Prejudiced Energizers

The prejudice against Arabic has its roots; Europeans missionaries and zealots have played a destructive role in the region, specially the Portuguese[15] and Jesuits. The damage can be traced to ignorant priests like Alvarez.

Many Ethiophiles after Alvarez continued the damage, and one of them wrote that the, “Tigre speakers are very largely illiterate, and those who have pretensions to literacy find Arabic a more useful means of communication.” And “The decision of the Eritreans government, in 1952, declaring Tigrnya and Arabic official languages of Eritrea is significant and augurs ill for the future of Tigre.”[16]

A respected Ethiopian scholar writes, “[the ELM] was soon eclipsed by the Muslim dominated ELF.”[17] Though it is an established fact that both the ELM and the ELF were started by Muslims with national agendas and programs, but the anti Muslim die was already caste a long time ago.

Such are the “scholarly” inputs that the PFDJ feeds from and adds to its bigotry, exclusionary and dangerous policies that have relegated Muslims to the inferior citizenship status. It has happened in the fifties[18], and it is happening now[19].

Polarized Society

When the British proposed the idea of dividing Eritrea between Sudan and Haile Sellassie’s Ethiopia, it was primarily the Muslims who fought that proposal and caused its failure. The Muslim dream for a united, peaceful Eritrea, and their commitment to it, is just there for anyone to see, provided there is honesty.

Recently, I have noticed a growing frustration among Muslims, especially those who were born or raised in the refugee camps of Sudan. Just a few weeks ago I met one of them and he was cursing Ibrahim Sultan and his colleagues who aborted the British proposal of partitioning Eritrea. The refugee told me, “what is the difference, myself and my family have been living in Sudan as refugees since 40 years, at least we would have been Sudanese and we wouldn’t have been kicked off our land.” However one tries, it is difficult to put yourself in his shoes and I felt like crying in despair. I didn’t even manage to utter enough words to console him, I felt helpless. “They betrayed us”, he said. I don’t know who he meant by THEY, but I felt as guilty as they, whoever they are.

The main culprit for the continuation and exasperation of the polarization is the PFDJ designs which was unfortunately not corrected by the constitution commission[20] when it had a chance. In its attempt to eradicate Arabic, the PFDJ has always avoided designating official languages. The result is what we see today in Eritrea: it is a unilingual, hegemonic state and “the domination of the Eritrean state by the Tigrigna ethnic is not subject of question. This is the fact and only those suffering from self-delusion can deny it.”[21]. If you do not know Tigrigna, you have no chance of getting a public employment or advancement in position regardless of the set of skills and certificates that you hold. And this fact can be illustrated by a story of another frustrated Eritrean I met in Dubai in the nineties.

A lawyer by training, he eagerly raced back to Eritrea to live there for good; no one could patronize him for not joining the struggle because of his young age. He applied for a job and was asked to take an exam for a public job; he did. One Sunday morning, he wanted to check if he passed the exam before traveling to Western Eritrea to be with his relatives for an occasion. He went to where they put the list of those who passed the exam and looked at the list on the wall. But he couldn’t read the names, it was written in Tigrigna. He stood there for a while until he saw a child of about twelve passing by. He asked him if he could read the list for him. The child went through the list and told him, yes, this is your name. He was supposed to be happy; but he was not. “That was the day I discovered I was illiterate by PFDJ standards though I carried a university degree.” He said to me with bitterness. He left Eritrea for good—even if he stayed, what awaited him was a job as an elementary school teacher like many graduates from the Middle East who can only get a teacher’s job, teaching Arabic to elementary school students simply because they do not know Tigrigna and could not be absorbed in the public employment positions. That is why after twenty years of independence, the diversity in the PFDJ employee list is warped. Worse, some people do not like Muslims complaining about that. What should they do? Keep quiet and die in agony?

The UNESCO Doctrine

I am not sure how UNESCO describes its goals and missions, but in the Eritrean context, in relation to the mother-tongue policy, I am taking the liberty to define it as follows: a doctrine that fiercely promotes the equality of languages. It promotes mother tongues as both a governing policy and as a means of education. Unwavering believers defend the doctrine as any fanatic would defend his faith.

One of the mistrust of the constitution commission by most Muslims is because they believed it will endorse the PFDJ policies. Those who should have known didn’t object, those who didn’t know the reality of Eritrea, those who never ventured outside their villages to know the rest of Eritrea, considered the issue an intellectual exercise and trampled over the rights of others[22]. As planned, the adaptation of the mother-tongue policy neither benefited the non-Tigrigna speakers, nor the Muslims who have always opted for Arabic. And the entire country is still going through a damaging journey.

After twenty years of misrule in Eritrea, we all know the language issue is not theoretical any more. The UNESCO doctrine is just another useless acrobatics.

Idris Aba-Arre

The language topic cannot be discussed without mentioning the brave Idris Aba-Arre who warned about the risks of the irresponsible and mischievous language policy. In 2001, the regime threw him in jail for his views and he disappeared in the dungeons of Isaias. Aba-Arre challenged the elite that should have known better, that exclusion of Arabic is detrimental to the cohesion of Eritreans and vital to social justice. They didn’t heed his advice. Just as he predicted, almost twenty years of mischievous application of the mother-tongue policy produced two generation of illiterate adults (about 8% high school attendance only.) The policy also effectively barred those whose educational background is Arabic from employment in the public sector.

And look around you, Muslims are excluded (or exclude themselves) because of this polarizing factor. Decade ago, just like now, individuals tried to silence people from discussing their grievances, as usual, Muslims never abandoned their call for dialogue, tirelessly they tried to explain their issues which were discouraged because the issues were considered polarizing—those who oppose Arabic with passion fail to notice that their patronizing posture is the only polarizing factor.

What Is In Arabic?

Many fail to remember that Eritreans launched an armed struggle to reinstate the official languages, flag and other symbols of Eritrean sovereignty that Ethiopia violated—the violation of Arabic was one of the main reasons. No one has the right to make a choice on behalf of anyone—paternalist posture is anti-democratic and every bleeding-heart democrat should be aware of this fact. In a free country, citizens are equal and they have equal choices.

The elite of our society has always been in the middle of all political and social unrest and today’s unelected rulers of Eritrea perpetuate the prejudices and paternal attitudes of the past. What emboldens the rulers to continue to punish the people with impunity? Why are Eritrean citizens so weakened that they cannot resist tyranny? Eritreans are so confused to strengthen mutual trust among themselves and be able to wage an effective combined national struggle to rid themselves of their present predicament.

The intensity of the regime’s obsession with systematically excluding Arabic from Eritrea is in direct contrast to the intensity with which Eritreans are determined to defend their choice. That choice should be viewed as a national, cross denominational and patriotic choice for the wellbeing of Eritrea and for keeping a genuine unity of its people.

No. I am not an Arab. But Arabic is part of the social bond that the founding fathers of Eritrea made a covenant on; and to reject or marginalize it is akin to forfeiting a bonding contract.

Thank you

(Saleh “Gadi” Johar, founder and publisher of awate.com, author of ‘Simply Echoes’,  ‘Of Kings And Bandits’, and ‘Miriam Was Here.’ You can also read his 2010 article on the language issue at: http://awate.com/like-an-aged-wine/)  

[1] Mohammed AlTayeb Al Yousifi, Ethiopia wel Eruba Wel Islam, first edition (AlMaktaba AlMecciah, 1996), the authors mentions many words borrrowd from Abyssinian language.

[2] ibid

[3] Dr. Lapiso Dileba, Ye etipiawinet tarikawi mesertoch’ena masaryawoch, 1999.

[4] There are also a few sources that contradict that and claim he was Persian. Mohammed AlTayeb Al Yousifi believs he was Abyssinian.

[5] Alberto Polera, translated from Italian to Tigrigna by Abba Issak Gebreyesus, Deqebat Hzbtat Ertra. This book gives a through description of the origin of the present Eritrean people; though very informative, it overwhelmingly based on folktales and traditions.

[6] Andrew Paul, History Of The Beja Tribes Of Sudan, 1953

[7] ibid

[8] Mohammed Saeed Naud, the founder of the Eritrean Liberation Movement (Haraka or Mahber Shewaate) http://www.nawedbooks.com/nawed/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=293accessed June 16, 2011.

[9] Jonathan Miran, Red Sea Citizens: Cosmopolitan Society and Cultural Change in Massawa.

[10] ‘Enter this house in peace and trust’

[11] ‘Oh ye who enter this house, pray for the prophet’

[12] Check Chefena Hailemariam, Doctoral thesis, Language and Education in Eritrea: A case study of Language diversity policy and Practice. The book concludes from the surveys conducted in several Eritrean communities and schools that the overwhelming majority of Muslim parents (Tigre, Saho, Barya/Nara, Blin speakers) said that they prefer Arabic as the language of instruction for their children at primary schools. Similarly, the vast majority of students from those communities attending the schools covered by the survey also opted for Arabic.

[13] Kur’anic schooling usually continues a few years more, side by side with secular education, until the child completes the whole course of the Kur’an).

[14] Father Alvarez, Expedition Of Portuguese Embassy Into Abyssinia -1520 (English translation).

[15] When Alvarez was asked by the people of Debarwa to pray to God to rid the region from the locusts, he prayed that “..within three hours [the Locust] should begin to set out on their way, and go to the sea, or to the country of the Moors [Muslims], or to mountains of no profit to Christians….”

[16] Edward Ullendorff, The Ethiopians: introduction to country and people.

[17] Bahru Zewde, A History of Modern Ethiopia, 1855-1974

[18] Interview with Adem Melekin, a veteran of the Eritrean struggle since the fifties

[19] Refer to Ahmad Raji’s “The Lost Rainbow” series of studies (Part1-4):
August 9, 2009 The Lost Rainbow (I)
August 15, 2009 The Lost Rainbow (II)
August 24, 2009 The Lost Rainbow (III)
October 1, 2009 The Lost Rainbow (IV)

[20] In his book Wounded Nation, Red Sea Press, 2011, Dr. Bereket Habte Sellase acknowledged the shortcomings with regards to the official language issue and he explains in detail the causes and risks of polarization and presents workable solution to overcome the political impasse in Eritrea.

[21] Ibid

[22] On April 14, 1997, the late Tekie Fesahatsion, member of the constitution commission wrote: “One cannot give a constitutional imprimatur to one or two of the local languages, without downgrading the other eight or seven. We are a multilingual society. The moment we designate, constitutionally, some, and not all, of our languages, we will surely be straying from the equality provision–the cornerstone-of our constitution. This we cannot do, must not do.”

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

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If there is anything Eritreans and Ethiopians (and beyond) agree upon, it is the fact …

  • Eyob Medhane

    Guys,

    Here is a picture worth a million…

    • Abi

      Eyobe
      Really a beautiful picture! You are the best photographer!

  • Eyob Medhane

    BREAKING NEWS,

    All Eritreans,

    Congratulations!!!!!!!

    You won the first Gold Medal in Marathon at World Championship.

    Ethiopia second…

    • Abraham Hanibal

      Hi Eyob M.

      Thank you very much. I just saw Ghirmay Gebreslassie win Eritrea’s first ever gold medal in Marathon. History made again!!

    • Ted

      Hi, Eyob, Eritrea Gold and….How is that even possible;)
      Thank you for the good news.

      • Abi

        Ted
        You are right. It is not possible. It was put alphabetically. That is the only logical explanation.
        This young man has a future. Congratulations!!!!

        • Eyob Medhane

          Abi,

          Now it’s time to start a rumor that the guy is Ethiopian and Haile Gebreselassie’s half brother…. 🙂

          • Abi

            Eyobe
            It is not a rumor. It is a fact. he is benatum babatum etyopyawi.

    • አዲስ

      Hi Eyob,

      Congrats to All Eritreans! That was an impressive run from the young kid.

      Thanks,
      Addis

    • Pass the salt

      Thanks Eyob,
      Congrats to you too, 2nd place is just as good…
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQxuYQXHod0

      • አዲስ

        Hi PST,

        NO. For Ethiopians,when it comes to running, 2nd place means nothing more than last place. 🙂 The curse of being extremely good at something.

        Thanks,
        Addis

        • Abi

          Addise
          When ethiopian lose like this onel (second place ), it only shows they are human.

          • Ted

            Hi, Abi, your welcome. There is more modesty we can teach you if you don’t insist we are one.

          • Abi

            Ted
            No, I don’t insist we are one. There is ethiopia in the south and there is ethiopia in the north. You see we are two in ONE.

          • Ted

            Abi, no one say it is easy to learn humility. How does it work for the country never colonized only the north part did, Two in ONE was our idea you blew 1961.

          • Abi

            Ted
            Is there 2nd chance?

          • Ted

            Abi, always. This time, what ever the urge, be patient till she come to you. Will you dUmb TPLF:) is it a lot to ask, sorry for being blunt. she is blushing.

          • Abi

            How about if we keep the TP and burn the LF?

          • አዲስ

            Hi Abi,

            Indeed we are human. I just remember the mood every time we lost to Kenyans, it was always grim. That’s why I said when it comes to running, Ethiopians always want to come 1st.

            Thanks,
            Addis

  • Kokhob Selam

    ኣቦ
    እኔ “ሰላማዊ ፈረስ ” ልሞክር ?
    ሴቶች እንደጥላ ናቸው ስትከተላቸው ይርቃሉ – ስትርቃቸው ይከተላሉ ማለት ይሆን ?

  • አዲስ

    Hi Abi,

    I saw a book from AAU press I think, titled “Amharic dictionary for Physics terms” , if you get your hands on it probably will give you the translations you are asking for. For example acceleration i think is translated to ጡዘት. The terms may be a bit strange for those of us who were taught with English as a medium of language but surprisingly the kids are used to them. But if you ask me I think as a medium of language local languages are fine up to grade 7 as it used to be but all English from there on. Keep in mind that giving English as a subject with a much improved method from 1st grade is necessary. This of course shouldn’t keep us from using Amharic as an official language.

    Thanks,
    Addis

    • Abi

      Addise
      We have used English as a medium of instruction for ages starting 7th grade. It is not working. It should be from grade 0.
      How do you translate infinity ? ” wede yetyelele sigesegis.”

      • አዲስ

        Hi Abi,

        I think what failed us is not because it started at 7th grade because whatever you learn between grade 1-6 isn’t doesn’t really need that much English. They are very basic stuffs. Once you get to grade 7 concepts become a bit complicated and borrowed terms become visible. That’s why I suggested that system wasn’t the problem. What I believe the problem was the curriculum of teaching English language as a subject is really broken in the country (public school system). If we can do that properly from grade 1 all the way up, kids won’t have a problem.

        Infinity is just “yeteyelele”. It’s a pretty good translation I think.

        Thanks,
        Addis

      • Fanti Ghana

        Hello Abi

        That is not really the language’s weakness, but ours.

        Let me demonstrate:
        Mind you the word እልም in Amharic; as in ‘እልም አለ’ as in ጠፋ (መብራት፣ ሰው፤ እንስሳ፤ እቃ)፤

        Now also consider the Tigrigna word ዕልምልም which, unmistakably is related to ‘እልም አለ’ but with out the subject. In the Amharic version it is limited by the subject ‘something or someone inherent in the ‘አለ.’

        In other words, in the Amharic version, the meaning is restricted to mean ‘someone’ or ‘something’ disappeared. Of course, it also means ‘the light went out suddenly’ but it won’t help us in our quest for infinity.

        However, in the Tigrigna version there is no subject. It simply means unknown destination or place. A perfect candidate for infinity. Although the word ‘ዕልምልም’ does have a negative connotation to it, in the absence of a better word in any of our other languages, it is a very good candidate.

        I just came up with this on the spot. Can you imagine what a carefully selected group of Ethiopian scholars could come up with if they put their minds to it?

        It is way too early to give up brother.

  • Saleh Johar

    Abi, behayl s’chanat tetokosech! Stop that Abi !

    • Abi

      Ato Saleh
      Honest to God I was expecting you to say ” eziyam bet esat ale.” You came with a better one . Nothing like lived experience.
      When I asked you to post the current article I was expecting this kind of participation.
      Thank you .

      • Saleh Johar

        I know, Abi. It was not a bad idea. Did you enjoy it? Forget enjoyment did you learn that our speed in undoing prejudice is one inch in five years? Slower than a turtle?

        • Abi

          Ato Saleh
          I really enjoyed it.
          What is five years in a country that is 3000 years young?

          • Saleh Johar

            Yes Abi, 3000 years in that same speed, yes?
            Just converted 3000 inches into miles, it’s 0.0473485 miles. Quite depressing 🙂

          • Abi

            No SGJ,
            I respectfully disagree. Most of the time we were marching backward.
            That makes us 6000 years old.
            Yileylot!

          • Saleh Johar

            Still Abi, your hedo-mels March of 3000 years, clocks less than one mile. Now, don’t tell me you were also marching to the sky and to the crust of the earth 🙂

          • Abi

            Ato Saleh
            I was marching to the sky while you were marching to the crust. The result is we are both on earth. The power of gravity …

  • Fanti Ghana

    Hello aron

    Officially Anbesa is the correct one. Ambesa is incorrect. It is hard to tell witch one was said when people say one or the other mostly, but Anbesa is the correct one in both Amharic and Tigrigna.

    • Amde

      Fanti, Aron

      The way I remember it is via the Ge’ez formulation for “Lions and Tigers”, i.e. “anabist we(a)nabirt”.
      Semitic conjugation is your friend.

  • Music Novice

    Greetings Nitricc,

    What part of what I wrote drove you to insanity? At this rate you will end up committing suicide.

    Now, calm down, sit down, relax and answer the following question:

    What concrete, tangible, measurable, positive result did the Eritrean Ghedli achieve?

  • Fnote Selam

    Nitricc,

    By the same logic, ELF and EPLF were all about business, because how can two org that claim to fight to liberate their people can fight (scratch that) go WAR against each other…..

    Nice of you to hold opp groups to higher standards though.

    FS.

    • Nitricc

      Hi FS; don’t you think you are comparing apples and oranges? Regarding ELF and EPLF, there was real differences and involving armed people with guns and that fight can be equated as the survival of the fetus. meaning one has has to win while one has to loose. But when the fight is in Geneva and who gets the top dollars at the expense of the refugee; then the story will tell you everything you need to know. point? it is all fake and sham. how hard is to work together for helping the refugee? think about it? we are talking about humanity!

      • Fnote Selam

        Hi Nitricc,

        It just means disagreements and fights are part of the process. Only regret is that we dont seem to learn how resolve conflicts or at least move on without making fights personal. We will get there, too bad it is taking us so much time……

        Your contribution is appreciated.

        FS>

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear adarob,
    sure and this is a promise, I will do it soon. in fact I want to put it under this article.

  • Dayphi

    merhaba aron. good question. it is called IQLAB. Google it for detail info. In short, when an N saadis is followed by B, the N changes sound to M. Thus, rather than saying anbessa (lion), menbedbedi (fan), menber(chair), hinbasha (bread), anbebe (read), anbeTTa (locust), senbet (sabbath), senbidu (frightened), sanbu (lung), we turn the N to have M sound. Ambessa, membedbedi, member, himbasha, ambibu, ambeTTa, sembet, sembidu, sambu ….wezeterefe. God created semites like us with that tongue twist from N to M. We can’t help it.

    • saay7

      Wonderful, wonderful, Dayphi:

      I hope Nitricc (Mitrric) is paying attention; he has a Dedebit antennae that needs tuning.

      Now that you told us about Semites converting sounds, I think every nationality has one. I can think of two: the Brits can’t say “drawing”, they convert it to “drawring.” And in some parts of Eritrea Meryem is Berjem and Khadijah is Kherjah. Now we are getting to the fun part of languages.

      Saay

      • Nitricc

        Hey SAAY, you know i am bad at codes but what are you trying to say when say; (Mitrric). just say it what you wanted to say. what does it mean?

        • saay7

          Nitricc: no code other than you over-analyze things, just like u did with Mitricc. The examples Dayphi gave you should suffice: when a Sads Fidel “n” is followed by a “b” (like anbesa), all Tigrinya-speakers (Dedebit, Shma Negus Laelay, wherever) change the “n” sound to an “m” sound. Ask Mahmouday what people called “Anberber”, which is very far from Dedebit. Also, please Nitricc, if I brought you a Tigrayan from Adwa and an Eritrean from Zalanbessa (aka Zalambessa), you would not be able to tell which is an “Eritrean” and which one is a “Tigray” accent. Don’t follow the ignoramus PFDJ website: they teach you nothing but aggressive ignorance. Stay here at your home.

          PS: here’s the ultimate. gnbar (as in hzbawi gnbar) is uttered as gmbar

    • Nitricc

      Dayphi no need to use a gun to kill an ant. Anbesa is amharic as well as Tigriyan while Ambesa is Eritrean. do your homework.

      • Kim Hanna

        Selam Nitricc,
        .
        You are willingly putting yourself in a box. We are telling you that “AMBESA” is wrong ANBESA is correct in both languages. Eritreans will disown you if you insist.
        .
        We say sometimes, as you know, Addisaba, that is wrong. Addis Abeba is right. I am trying to save your citizenship here, work with me.
        .
        K.H

        • Nitricc

          hahahah Kim that is cool, if Eritreans disown me, i still Have Gojjam to consider. lol now, Kim, tell me exactly what the Amhara speakers use to call out for a loin, is it Anbesa or is it Ambesa? i warn you that i have listned so many AMHARIC song that call out the lion. i just wanted to be clear with you. now tell me, is it Anbesa or Ambesa in Amharic. kim, say it!

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Nitricc,
            .
            A lot of careless Amharas say Ambesa, usually they never went to school, any school. The ones who speak proper Amharic, the Kings language, say Anbesa.
            I said it the way I said it so that you will never forget it, in case you have to come back to Godjam.
            .
            K.H

  • aklilu zere

    Good day/evening/night Awatistas. I really miss you all.

    I have to confess!

    I have become an avid reader after ceasing my mediocre writing and I am enjoying it. Yes I admit my guilt ridden conscience. Yes I admit I became a sponger (to borrow Dostoevsky’s term) but I console (cheat/lie) myself by claiming that avid reading is tantamount to writing which of course is not!

    This “old” article have generated so much responses it must have broken the Guinness book of records for Awate.com. Good for all of us. Bad for Nsu and PFDJ.

    To give my humble and mediocre assessment to the quality and relevance of the responses I shall quote Pluto.

    “wise men/women speak (write/respond) because they have something to say/write, Fools because to say/write something.”

    Regards,

    • saay7

      MerHaba Aklilu:

      You are sorely missed. One of the fringe benefits of moderating Awate is you get to read comments others won’t because they wouldn’t think of reading old articles to see what new comments pop up. In your classic “What Italian Colonialism Did To My Kebessa People”, there was this comment just this week:

      http://awate.com/what-italian-colonialism-did-to-my-people-of-eritrean-kebessa/#comment-2205471065

      “Oh wow, I so enjoyed reading this! I laughed, understood, felt sad, proud, and admired while reading! Whoever you are, you sure can write!!”

      So while your humility is appreciated nobody (except you) would describe your writing as mediocre.

      saay

      • Fanti Ghana

        Hello Saay, Aklilu,
        Saay, I concur.
        Dr. Aklilu, in a way, it makes sense why your own writing may look mediocre to you, because it is something you already mastered.

    • Nitricc

      Hi Aklilu how are you? you said
      “This “old” article have generated so much responses it must have broken the Guinness book of records forAwate.com. Good for all of us. Bad for Nsu and PFDJ.”

      I disagree with every molecule of my body that you are a mediocre writer but i understand it, we never say ” we are good”. Even though i disagree more the saying of yours ” good for us. bad for Nsu and PFDJ. how good is it when people are arguing Amharic should be a national language of Eritrea? Sir, i say bad for you and good for PFDJ. if you get my drift that is.

    • Saleh Johar

      Wo Aklilu,
      Forget everything, old or new comments for now. I really miss you. Hope you are doing fine in the health department. That is what matters. But we miss you so much. Stay good my dear.

    • Kokhob Selam

      Hi aklilu ,

      ኣሹምባይ ዶ ምሁር ኣዝዩ ዝበሰለ –
      ኣሹምባይ ዶ ከማኻ ንፍቅሪ ተላዕለ –
      ኣሹምባይ ዶ ጸሓፊ ገባቲ ዘጸለለ –
      . . . . . .እቲ ዘይምሁር እኳ ምንባብ ዘይከኣለ –
      . . . . . .ትኽስ ነይፍቀዶ ኣርክብ እንዳተባህለ –
      . . . . . .ድምጽኻ ኣይትሕባእ ኣክልሉ ውሓለ ::

      ተስፋ ኣይቆረጽኩን ድምጽኻ ክሰምዕ :-
      እቲ ሓያል ቃላትካ ተነቢቡ ዘድምዕ –
      ‘ቲ ሓልዮት ብርዕኻ ኣእምሮ ዘልምዕ –
      ሃየ በል ተበገስ ቃል ኪዳንካ ኣጽንዕ ::

    • Hayat Adem

      Good to see-hear-read you. You can feel our warmth and hugs.
      Hayat

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Awate paticipants 968 comments under this article so far. what interesting topic!

    if you love this poem up vote so you will read more under this article if I get more than 3 up I will come animated poem within today. this is short poem ..I know most of you including SGL love to read short once.

    ውሽጣዊ ልውጢ እዩ -ንደገ ዝጸሉ –
    ደጋዊ ግደ እዩ – ተወሳኺ ሓይሉ ::
    ….እንቛቖሖ ኳ ብውሽጢ እዩ ዝስበር –
    ….ህይወት ንኽህሉ ኣብ ዓለም ክትነብር ::

    ‘ምበር :-
    ብደገ ዝተሃርመ ዝተሰብረ ሽፋኑ :-
    ይመውት እዩ ህይወት ኣጉሉ በርዒኑ ::

    ስለ’ዚ —
    ኣብ ውሽጢ ኮይንካ እዩ ድቅኻ ዝፍጠር :-
    ግዜን ቦታን ሓልዩ ኣካልካ ዝተርር ::
    ግዳ
    ምቁት ደገ ክንክን ምስ ሓልዮት :-
    ዓቢ ግደ ኣለዎ ንምቅጻል ዕብየት::

    hurry up to vote this poem and enjoy reading another one within today.

    • Dayphi

      جمعة مباركة يا نجم السلام.
      I enjoy your poems. They are more understandable than some others. One suggestion though: explain meaning of some not much used words on footnotes. On the above poem, i didnt get three words. a) ber3inu, b) dqqkha, unless it is deqqikha, as your offspring, and c) muqqut degge-knkkin. If you kindly explain or give their translation in english or arabic.
      Thanks ya Najmas-Samaa

      • Kokhob Selam

        Thank you …here it is,

        1.ber3inu,በርዒኑ means اجهاض
        2.dqqkha ድቅኻ from the word ድቂ means نطفة أو المضغة أو العلقة the first living cell or the start of life.
        3.ሙቁት دفء example the chicken keeps the heat to the level needed on the egg for 21 days .

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear awate participants thank you for up voting and giving your view. please keep giving your suggestion. as promised here it is. enjoy and up vote to see more poems.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7TjodFR1Cs&feature=youtu.be

          • tes

            Dear Kokhob Selam,

            You are really a jewel here at Awate Room. We are always graceful by your poems. Keep on!

            tes

        • Dayphi

          interesting, kokhob kullina..and thank you for the translation

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Dayphi,
            another good massage to me. thanks.

    • Kokhob Selam

      Thank you Hayata and Dayphi. special additional song within the poem for you. the 1963 wonderful song. change will come on the seemingly animated poem ready. expecting one more vote.

      • Kokhob Selam

        thank you Hailat..now it is on the way…. see on the top.I am separating and copying from my original soft copy book of my poems. don’t forget to say your say ….. read and watch more poems soon.

      • Hayat Adem

        No Kokhobay,
        Your poems are really good and very fashioned. I’m telling you this because I myself believe that I have a good taste for poems when I read one. English poems are so culture loaded and very hard to connect but still I am very attracted. I’ve some challenges in Amharic, too, but still love to read Amharic poems.
        Let me show you how good you are:
        Change gestation must start from within, (this is a know truth)
        Then the idea of using egg-hatching-life to convey that message is so powerful and penetrative.
        Then the idea of reversing breaking from outside means killing life or a potential life is so telling.
        Then, there is this richness and authenticity, well measured in using very heart-ear friendly economical words. I mean you have every thing for it: great ideas, powerful language and the compiling speed. You are so great.
        hayat

        • Kokhob Selam

          Thank you Hayata. the next poem is only 1.43 minutes length. tell me about the idea and content, the quality etc. that is important for me as it is part of the book.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      ከኸባይ

      ወሰደ ከምዚ ዝኣመሰለ ግጥሚ ንናይ ቃልሲ ወኒ ዘርዊ እኳ ተራእዪ አይፈልጥን :
      ሀየደአ ኣይተጋደፈና ኢኻ ሐደራኻ

      ሐዉኻ
      ኣማኑኤል ሕድራት

      • Kokhob Selam

        ኣብሽር ዝሓወይ :
        ብርግጽ ሓደ ካብ ግቡኣተይ ኮይኑ እዩ ክቅጽል :: ገና ወረ ገና ብተንቀሳቃስን ድምጽን ተሰንዩ ክቀርበልካ እዩ :: and now see bellow and enjoy it after 2 to 5 minutes.

    • S.Tesfa

      Dear Kokhob Selam,
      Great poem and powerful message.

      Regards,

      • Kokhob Selam

        dear s.Tesfay see also bellow.

  • Kokhob Selam

    dear Aman,

    I think you should adjust the line properly when you write your comments. let me show your 2nd paragraph as sample. your 8 lines can be shorten to 4 lines.

    “This is nothing but judgement unto thy-selves. And the continuous growth of our party in quality of its ideals and in numbers of its members, supporters & followers and the shrinking of the other two antagonist parties ( PFDJ and its Opposition) to almost zero level as a result tells the whole story.Our Nation and its United Eritrean Republic- A Nation of all its peoples comes victorious and above party ideals and partisan principles.”

    I think it looks better. I will also expect your advice and correction. tks.

  • Pass the salt

    Hi Aman
    So what are
    the answers to
    Hayat’s questions?
    You can skip the third one.
    Thanks much for your answers.

    • AMAN

      Dear PST….
      I have only 10 seconds left on my time in the computer,
      I will come up with my answers to you…… Sorry for the
      delay UNTILL THE MORNING.

    • AMAN

      But till then the short answers are
      1. AMAN values and likes the Arts and promotes them
      2. AMAN believes this platform of discussion belongs
      only to the Hades and its inhabitants.
      Note
      Hades in Greek mythology is the underworld where the dead souls
      live and interact with each other in their own ways and languages.
      SO……( coming back ……soon )
      Also I am AMAN……..not Aman. You misspelled my name.

      • Pass the salt

        PTS copies.
        PTS welcomes you to the Hades’ world.
        PTS would also like to introduce you to Jimmy.
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Apa0nG1OfUc

        • saay7

          PTS:

          Our Awate resident Seinfeld experts are the Candians–Ghezae, iSem, Berhe Y–but I remember The Jimmy. Thanks for the memories! Presidential candidate Bob Dole also used to refer to himself in the third person…

          Saay

          • Pass the salt

            Dear SAAY,
            I can take Seinfeld quiz against any Awatista and win.
            You know SAAY, I have a tremendous respect for the Ethiopians, I love the Ethiopian ppl. The problem is their leaders are smarter than ours, they are more sharper, and more cunning. Our leaders are stupid. Ethiopia is taking our jobs, Sudan is eating our meals, Djibouti is pocketing our port revenues. Everybody is ripping us off. The world is laughing at us. When was the last time Eritrea had victory?
            Let’s make our country great again.
            Go Trump!!

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Pass the salt,

            I love it. so we all know our leaders are stupid! our leaders! they are the reflection of you and me Lol. “ኣብ ዓዲ ዕውራት ሓደ ዓይኑ ይነግስ ” Jimmy should know he is Jimmy by communicating his own self. do you agree brother?

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Mr. Saay,

            I can’t stop thinking about this, so here I am. Instead of creating the divisive looking Lowland/Highland schools, will the following work?

            Nation wide:
            1. Arabic, English, Local Language, and Tigrigna mandatory through grade 8

            2. Arabic – English, Tigrigna mandatory through high school

            3. Make Arabic, English, or Tigrigna based Colleges/Universities available for those who want to concentrate.

            4. These specialized colleges should make the two remaining languages mandatory classes during freshman and sophomore years.

            5. Make several Arabic AND Tigrigna courses prerequisite to any social/political majors.

            6. Make Arabic and Tigrigna (language) degrees available through all universities (for historians, librarians, linguists…).

            7. State offices will make Friday and Sunday available weekends to choose from. Everyone works Saturday until noon (we can modify this).

            Benefit:
            It preserves local languages
            It avoids potential religion mistrusts
            It gives every one an equal opportunity for any employment
            The nation gets a larger pool of intellectual resources

            Unless there is a major blunder in this, it can be refined farther for details.

            By law, the ministry of education should involve community and religious leaders for major changes or adjustments to the school system.

            (I will read your (if) reply tomorrow)

          • AOsman

            Dear Fanti,

            I like your solution focused approach, that’s what we should do after exhausting our debate. Many combinations, as long as you introduce English at an early stage and you allow the kids to be proficient in the two languages (Arabic and Tigrigna), I am all for it. The first will ensure that they compete at global level and the latter will keep them connected with their fellow Eritreans.

            I will digress now, once I read your comment I wanted to see the Ethiopian experience and I had assumed you did not go through the same problem with Ahmaric being the defacto language. The following document is worth reading it full, so many nuggets of lessons, any Ethio-awatista may enlighten us as well. If you impatient, just check the recommendations pages 162-163.

            http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ756221.pdf

            Regards
            AOsman

          • Dear AOsman,
            Thank you a lot for the link. It is indeed informative. The few points I have come to realize as I skimmed through the article is that there seems to be a problem in the level of educational
            achievement of students, English proficiency is not satisfactory and there seems to be no clear-cut grade at which children should start to learn English as a subject, and I am not sure how children learn the working language, Amharic. I have heard that young men and women from some ethnic groups find it difficult to fill an application form in Amharic for a job or other reasons at a federal level. I appreciate a lot yours or Eyob’s input on this, if you/he has the time.

            Regards.

          • Abi

            Horizon
            One course most AAU students suffer from is a second year English course . Sophomore Enhlish ( Flen 201). It is called “suffer more ” English. only students coming from private schools suffer less.
            Horizon, listen to me. English, English, English!
            It is time to be part of the world.

          • Eyob Medhane

            Abi,

            No no no no…are you kidding me? Chinese and Japanese didn’t join the “world”, by speaking English…

            Ante? Ere beseme ab bel.. 🙁

          • saay7

            Hey Eyob:

            China and Japan are, by evolution or coercion, linguistically/ethnically homogenous:

            China Ethnicity: Han Chinese (92%)
            China Native Language: Mandarin (70%)

            Japan Ethnicity: Ethnic Japanese (99%)
            Japan Native Languages: Japanese (99%)

            But details, details… Meanwhile, in India, which is far from homogenous…:)

            saay

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,

            Amharic # Understood and used by 80% of Ethiopians out of nine regions out of 9 regions and two city states, Amharic is a regional language. Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, cities (city states and largest cities in the country) Amhara. Benishangul. Gambela, Debub, it is a state working language. In Afar it has an equal status with the Afar language. Hence. It covers, 80% of the population.. So, sir, what is your point?

          • saay7

            Eyob:

            Well, you showed me 🙂 No, I didn’t know that Amharic is spoken and understood by 80% of Ethiopians. IF that is the case, and I have every reason to doubt you given our history (smile) then, so it is. I AM surprised by Abi–I thought he was a die-hard Amara and would say, like the NRA, you can pry amarigna from my cold dead hands. I thought he would say something wacky like “let’s adopt Indonesian* because statistically Indonesians are the happiest people on earth.”

            Saay

            * Indonesians copied Fanti’s idea: the language is an amalgam of their local languages. I think.

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,

            Ha..you love splitting hair, don’t you? I didn’t say “spoken”. I said “understood and used”, which means it is an official working languages. Which means they are communication tools for the people in these states.. Now..get your map out and see how much these four states (Amhara, South, Benishangul, Gambela,) and the city states (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa) cover with the number of their population, it would be about 80% of the country. You can add Afar, too because Afar recently decided to make Amharic the state’s equally working language with Afar… That is what I meant, by Amharic is UNDERSTOOD and USED by 80% of the population…

          • saay7

            Hey Eyob:

            So they UNDERSTAND it by don’t SPEAK it or WRITE it well enough to get a job? 🙂 As in: fill out a job application in Amharic?

            saay

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,

            From my observation, those, who struggle with for example filling out application are those, who largely come from states, that stamped out Amharic completely from their region. (Mostly Oromia and Ethiopian Somali) Not those, who made Amharic a working language. Tigray, because of its language proximity with Amharic and similar alphabet, don’t have that problem… I understand now even Oromia and Somali regions plan a certain kind of arrangement to improve that gap… Somali state is now offering Amharic in schools as a subject..and Oromia is also slowly doing that….(surprisingly, in that effort, they are behind of Ethio-Somali region..)

            Horizon,

            The above is for you, too.. 🙂

          • Abi

            Eyobe
            Help me translate this 9th grade physics concept into Amharic.
            ” The greater the pressure the lesser the volume.”
            My translation:
            “Bota siyans chinqet yibezal.”
            I just made it up to show you how frustrating it is.
            If we use English as a medium of instruction starting grade 0,if we use it in our day to day life,well, what can I say?

          • Saleh Johar

            Abi as minister of education will legislate qnie for all sorts of communication. If you don’t learn qnie, you are sent to the shooting gallery 🙂

          • Nitricc

            Hi Abi, your take is wrong. first of all it is a gas low when P is up V is down. but to use it in human nature; Bota sianse; chinqet yansal. Bota sibeza; chinqet yibezal. just logic of human life.
            because the more space you try to cover the more stress you to endure. accordingly, the lesser space you stretch to, the lesser is the stress.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Saay,
            You cannot use India. They were colonized by Britain for too long to not use English.

          • saay7

            Hi Fanti:

            Clearly, Abi loves poor people (except Arabs) and you hate poor people:) You want only the Ethiopians with means, or those who are connected with the right churches, to send their children to private schools and missionary schools where the medium of instruction is English. Then, with their superior education, they will get scholarships, access, employment, opportunities, power.

            saay

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Saay,

            English school of course. But that is what needs to be addressed. Why are we not developing our languages so that the professional the country needs serves his/her nation with his/her own language.

            I understand the need and preference for the English language as things stand now. When you have as simple as a blender to a complicated MRI machine instructions written in English, of course, you MUST send your child to English school.

            Except for the international Standards of electronics and measurements, Russia and China don’t use English to describe their own tools. Not even imported goods. The makers of those goods tailor it for them according to their demand.

            So, we are not in the demanding position technologically or financially yet, but we must start the ground work before it is too late.

            Practical Example:
            You remember my Umgurgur/Umsaqata refugee camp story: three of my colleagues where ex-ELF Tegadelti who joined us with their medical notes intact. These were very serious guys. One of them had notes that could be equal to a couple of decent sized medical text books written by hand, and every single word was in Tigrinya.

            Very few hard to pronounce Latin medical terms were written in Tigrinya as is, but every concept and explanation was professionally translated and incredibly accurate. You won’t believe my pride and excitement reading those notes.

            We are not giving our languages a chance to get the strength it needs and then we blame it for remaining weak. It is our fault not the languages weakness is all I am trying to say.

            Where on our buttock do we give an injection so that we don’t damage or inject the medicine into an artery or vein? “ላዕለዋይ ፀጋማይ ወይ ክዓ የማናይ ኩርናዕ” (upper left or upper right corner).
            ወድሓንካ

          • saay7

            Hey Fanti:

            A few years ago, in one of his year-end interviews, Isaias Afwerki did an assessment of Eritrea’s education system and he was brutal. He gave it an F-. Now, I really thought, after that, there would be an announcement that there would be a curriculum change and they would abandon the “mother-tongue” experiment and go for EMI (English as Medium of Instruction.) Instead, they decided to borrow lots of money and do more of the same.

            The march to EMI has been steady…don’t listen to Eyob and his arengwade bcha qey sloganeering (I am sure his kids go to an EMI school and he teaches them Amharic at home, if he is lucky.)

            Check this report about EMI from, ok, an institution that may be has a vested interested in EMI, the British Council which, once again, is where all people with means go to:

            http://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/britishcouncil.uk2/files/e484_emi_-_cover_option_3_final_web.pdf

            saay

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Eyoba,
            Sometimes, reading you is like winning a lottery. enkwan tefeTerk!

          • Dear Abi,
            I see that you are insisting on English. May be you have read that piece (I do not remember the author), which says that after another 100 yrs, the globalized world would be speaking half a dozen languages. Among these are English for Europe and Africa, Spanish for the Americas, Chinese for East and SE Asia, Arabic for the Middle East and Russian for the Slavic countries. Can’t you wait at least until then? Have pity on Amharic and the other languages of Ethiopia.

          • Abi

            Horizon
            I prefer the people than their languages. They can learn and use their languages anytime. I want them to compete globally. Think like a judge with no emotion attached. It becomes easy. I made my mind years ago. I can’t wait another 100 years . I’m as old as eritrea itself.
            I didn’t read the article you mentioned. If it is good and you don’t know the author, it is logical and safe to assume it written by Hayat . You never go wrong with her.

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam abi,
            .
            The signs of SEMENTEGNEW SHEE. selam the Eritrean young lady wants to keep the beautiful Amharic going, abi the Gonderew Amhara wants to dump it.
            .
            K.H

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello KH,
            The only sensible explanation is that Abi is trying to get at me for all the chamas he does not have. Nothing else makes sense.

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Fanti,
            .
            I have accepted the fact that our buddy abi has gone libertarian on us. It is tough to argue against them, you know. From now on I don’t know where he will go. I hope he does not boycott the SEMNA WORK treat just on general principle.
            .
            K.H

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Kim,
            We may have failed our language from developing as it should, but let’s never underestimate its potential power. There are many words and phrases Amharic can borrow from our own other languages that express an idea much better or at least differently.

            The English language was not created as it is now. Not even close. However, its power and resilience came from its adaptive nature. It is as if the English language had no owner. It just kept accumulating words and concepts of expression as it expanded and voila!

            We have neglected our own languages for far to long. That is what needs to be tackled first. You won’t believe how many grammatical errors I catch from ETV reporters every time I watch.

            Abi,
            We will continue to learn English because we want to, but we must develop our language because we have to.

            ይችም እንጀራ ሁና ሚጥሚጣ በዛባት፤ (a slogan inside a taxi in Addis).
            Now, can you translate this into English and get even remotely close meaning?

          • AOsman

            Dear Horizon,

            What I took from the paper

            – around 1974 Derge had embraced the mother tongue policy and encouraged the use of ethnic languages. (same period as the incident within ELF that was discussed in this forum)
            – A committee was set up to study the issue, but their work was aborted later on. (political reasons it is stated)
            – TPLF had the same policy as EPLF on languages for instruction and it went through a process of implementing it immediately in 1991. It is accused that it did not involve the stakeholders (it reminded me of the 97 Eri-Constitution, predetermined outcome that goes through a process for legitimacy, but no real consultation)
            – The Ethiopian version is even more complicated – it gets interesting on the implementation side with 80 or so ethnic groups, mixed in many places. In one place a hibrid language WOGAGODA was formed from four languages (Welaita, Gamo, Goffa, and
            Dawro). Creative but weird solution, it defeats the whole concept.

            – Lack of proper materials and training had a negative bearing on the policy. No tangible benefit could be obtained (while the paper also underscores the positive side)

            – Enrollment in some communities was reduced, as parents were voting with their feet (Similar to experience in Eritrea).

            – Amharic being the defacto language, those instructed with their languages were disadvantaged (the importance of aligning the language of instruction with employability)

            – The use of Latin text for the non-Amharic languages was mentioned .EPLF did consider that on Tigrigna at one point, source awate.com in an article about the arrest of Idris Aba Arre. I think Zekre Lebona shocked of the revelation had written about it in Asmarino.

            – I see Abi case for English is picking the momentum – I am 99.8% convinced, while local languages can be taught as subjects only. Nowadays 0.2% is formidable :), lets wait for its swinging effect.

            Regards
            AOsman

          • saay7

            His Fantiness:

            Did I miss the part where you address language as a medium of instruction and not as a subject, particularly in primary education? The world of our children, their children, and their grandchildren is going to be using English as a medium. (south Africa is betting on Mandarin in addition to English.)

            That “can we have Friday’s off” is really a fringe view. The Quran itself says that after Friday prayers “anteshru” (disperse), including to your job. Those in Saudi Arabia can enlighten us but they are abandoning their Thursday Friday off policy because they were missing interaction with rest of the world 4 days a week (Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday.) Of course it was the unions that made 2 days off the norm: we can change it. I propose 1 day a week off for people under 50) and 3 (for people over 50.)

            Saay

          • Ted

            Hi Saay, Eritrea and Ethiopia are doing fine when it comes to school curriculum in theory. if we have the resource: (elementary grades with whatever is good in the region and English to the End.) Language is the direct translation of culture or Vise versa and introduction/domination of new language has the power to eventually alter how people behave in that society in favour of the new language. English is in big demand in Japan and Korea these days that youngsters believe they need to change the way of life so as to understand English language better. They find it difficult because they can’t have it both . In japan women like the Western(American) type of affection and expression of love but physiologist argue it doesn’t translate well in social fabric of japanese men where affection is more reflected in deeds and loyalty. Diaspora habesha fathers may have something to say about this. English as working language of the world that all need to learn it well. We need to look English as utilitarian advantage while keeping our language and by extension our culture intact. Just as we need to learn Arabic so we know what Sudanese and Yemenis are talking behind our back:)
            Fanti must be wearing his pink sandals today which always give him the whiplash you referred:)
            Hi fanti, i support your idea universities need to have linguistic departments for interested students but for now let’s keep it in the good idea file. Thanks to janhoy(i think) the curriculum we have is good enough if we can get it right( resources).

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Gen,
            This is a sign how easy this language dilemma really is. Even with only small suggestion You, Saay, and I are already in agreement almost without even discussing it. I think it is workable either way.

            Make all the relevant languages available for at least one generation, observe which way the wind blows, and adjust accordingly.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Saay,

            1) “…as a medium of instruction and not as a subject…”
            Local language is used as a medium through 8th, so those whose mother tongue is Arabic are covered.

            2) Friday off/ “anteshru”
            Even better! I like your suggestion.

            3) lingua franca?
            Amen to that too.

            Could it be that easy?? Talk about “much ado about nothing.”

          • saay7

            His Fantiness:

            Admit it, you really have not read SGJ’s article nor followed the discussions, have you? Can’t blame you because of the volume. A short story first (you know it, for the benefit of others):

            A street vendor is selling a trap. A potential customer comes to ask him what kind of rodents is the trap use for?

            Can it trap a rat?
            It can trap a rat.
            Can it trap a squirrel?
            It can trap a squirrel too.
            Can it trap a gopher?
            It can trap a gopher too.

            At this point, the customer is sure that the vendor is not trustworthy and asks:

            Can it trap an elphant?
            It can trap an elephant too.

            FaH Ila!* ፋሕ ኢላ!
            It can trap Fah Ila too.. ፋሕ ኢላ እውን ትሕዝ እያ!

            So, I said, “FaH ila!” when you said, “local language is used as a medium through 8th….”

            That’s the whole point of the article: when you force people to use local (mother tongue) languages and the parents know that because the local language is not developed enough for it to deliver superior education, they rebel, and want their kids taught in a language that is developed enough to deliver the three Rs. And to them, that’s Arabic.

            You need remedial article-reading classes:)

            saay

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Saay,

            No, No, No! kimble ila’mber ayfesesetin.

            “…when you force people to use local languages…” This cannot possibly be. There should be no forcing of any sort. Any region (zoba), district, or town WILL HAVE THE RIGHT to choose what language the medium of instruction will be for them. The local language is included because it is a national heritage, and it should be preserved.

            So, what can happen is that either they will choose their local language as medium of education but still take Arabic as a class or the other way around. This way no one feels “forced to choose” one over the other. Also the three languages: Arabic, English, and Tigrigna are getting strength as the kids grow.

            By the time everyone reaches college all are fluent in all three languages. So, all Eritreans will have three languages to choose from for mass communication. When Religion demands it, Arabic or Tigrigna or when globalization/science demands it English. After that let nature take its course. Languages die out and get replaced by another, but it has to be a process. Any sudden move is problematic.

            PS:
            iza atsebiKa teredeatini ala. wushTa wushaTean iti ziwehab zelo melsitatin re’etotatin ab gimit aytiye iye zizareb zelekhu. ane Arkikha waza keymesleka!

  • haileTG

    Dear Awatista,

    The Guardian Newspaper is holding a “How much do you know about Eritrea?” quiz. Check #3 and test your knowledge:-)

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/20/inside-eritrea-focus-quiz

    Regards

    • saay7

      Anta rgum Hailat:

      Of course, in keeping with the dogma of ABA (Anything But Arabic), the official languages should be Tigrinya and Dahlik

      saay

      • Fnote Selam

        Saay,

        Molti paesi africani hanno adottato il loro linguaggio colonizzatori come ufficiale, perché non io in Eritrea?

        Cordiali saluti.

        Italiano.

        • saay7

          Fnote:

          Non parlo italiano. Ho dovuto usare google anche per scrivere questo . Come un buon Asmarino dei miei generazioni , gli insulti italiani sono tutto quello che so . Mi dispiace!

          Arivederci,

          saay

    • Nitricc

      Hey, Haile, i wonder if Hayat will get one correct answer. Oh well, i know she will answer for the national language of Eritrea to be Amharic. the Eritrean Muslim woman from lowland of Eritrea. For sure, she awate.com’s project. you got to giver though, she is “Anbesa” lol

      • Mizaan1

        Nitricc, I think that’s the correct spelling. Why don’t you ask the lion of nakfa, your idol Mahmoud Saleh instead of the fox of Dedebit?

    • Mizaan1

      …and the answer is three kings.

  • haileTG

    hey PTS,

    The question would then be “Who would pen the 1000th comment and what will it be about?” Let’s hope it won’t go to the Piccadilly club:-)

    • Hayat Adem

      HTG,
      I wonder if the moderator can decide to close this thread once the 1000th comment is in. I also wonder if the last comment can be reserved for the best Awatista under this thread to put his/her concluding remarks on the subject and entire discussion. I suggest a list to pick from: HTG, Mahmuday, Emma, KS, Fanti…moderators are excluded. My pick is Mahmuday. Or, the best awatista for this thread can be picked (suggestion mine) using the highest number of comments supplied and and the number of up-votes earned under this thread. The number of comments will reflect devotion and the up-votes will indicate quality. Is this a suggestion of tasking a complicated maintenance?
      Hayat

      • haileTG

        Hi Hayat,

        We were beaten by time:)

        The following is the 1000th comment by my calculation:

        S.Tesfa Kokhob Selam • 4 hours ago

        Dear Kokhob Selam,

        Great poem and powerful message.

        Regards,

        • Reply•Share

        • Hayat Adem

          Well, no regret then. What better message could I have posted?
          Hayat

  • Amde

    Thank you Aron.

  • Hayat Adem

    To Awatistas, Any
    1) Why are AMAN’s postings are all shaped in a particular way, like indented to the left uniformly but indented to the right in a descending slope?
    2) He always initiates a comment standing by itself and never interact with others. Why?
    3) I used to read him but who reads him now? Can someone report a summary to us as to what he is interested in?
    Hayat

    • saay7

      Selam Hayat:

      I hope I don’t get in trouble for divulging a sacred secret within the Awate Moderator Society but there are two awatistas who are exempt from awate posting guidelines. One is the greatest philosopher LT. And the other is the Alternative Historian/Orator Aman. Both have their own Picadilly Square and they are writing for themselves. Now please, everybody, don’t ask to join this exclusive club which doesn’t exist.

      saay

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear all,
    While we are debating each other long on the language, a long List of 17306 documented refugee deaths through Fortress Europe is released. The long list of names of the victims is heavily punctuated by names of country of origin. laid in front of the EU parliament. The frequency of mention goes for Somalia 90 times, Eritrea 37 times and Ethiopia 17 times. Besides, there are victims identified only as sub-Saharan. Also, to be noted it the number of victims that perished in each incident is repeatedly in the tens for Eritreans and Somalis compared to the from Ethiopia mostly in single number for each incident.
    We should thank the organization, Unitided Against Racism, for compiling our victims, at least for doing this. Some of them are identified by name.
    http://www.unitedagainstracism.org/pdfs/listofdeaths.pdf

    • T..T.

      Thanks Hayat for the link.

      I checked and noticed that Eritreans are reported as Eritreans, Sudanese, Somalis, Ethiopians, unknown, Africans, etc. For your perusal, the below are examples of Lampedusa tragedies that we know, which are reported as unknown, Africa, and unknown respectively:

      12/09/06 250 N.N. unknown missing, boat at the mercy of the waves sent SOS signal near Lampedusa

      19/08/06 50 N.N. (4 women; 10 children) Africa drowned, 12 found, 38 missing, boat collided with Navy ship near Lampedusa

      20/08/06 28 N.N. (26 men; 5 women; 1 child) unknown drowned, 6 found, 22 missing; dinghy capsized near the coasts of Lampedusa

  • Michael Tesfamariam

    Selam belay
    Well, she was talking a fact, whether her wishes are bad or good, nothing will change on the ground. Can’t you see the possible impact that this draught will bring about on Eritrea, where 85% of the population are heavily dependent on traditional agricultural system?

  • haileTG

    Hello Awatista,

    This thread has truly got out of steam and direction after close to 900 comments. It is probably way too hard to join the discussion by late rivals now. Maalesh may be next time 🙂 Meanwhile Sultan Isaias Afeworki has gone for his regular medical check up in Qatar (not to the referral hospital in Mendefera:) He appears sickly and was accorded warm welcome by his counterpart, the Minister of Environment in Qatar. The discussion focused on issues related to enhancing bilateral relations between the two brotherly regimes. It is to be recalled that such relationship had been the subject of enhancements for the last 25 years, and still needs more. The septuagenarian Eritrean dictator is the subject of UN investigations on charges of Crimes Against Humanity for possible referral to ICC.

    Regards

    • Semere Andom

      hi HTG:
      Let me give you some Arabic lesons:-)
      when things approach to 1000, you do not saty Maaelesh, you say “maashaa Allah” 🙂
      I hope this does not trigger other things

      • haileTG

        Thanks Sem, Maashaa Allah. (are you sure buddy, it sounds long winded..haha)

      • saay7

        Hi iSem:

        “Maashaa Allah” is obviously a language of the Arabs (terrorists/jihadists), so if you are a person who is proud of his identity and doesn’t have an inferiority complex, you say “yohanna.” Or you say “congradulations” (not congratulations) Habesha-style, which shows you are advanced.

        Onward and foreward. Enashenfalen.

        saay

        • haileTG

          Hi saay

          Yohanna derived from the Greek Iōannes, which came from the Hebrew Yehanan, considered a short form of Yehohanan, which in its original form appears as yehōhānān (Yahweh is gracious). Do habesha say Yohanna or it is somthing popularized by PFDJ and its multitudes of borrowed terms (inferiority complex…haha)?

          • saay7

            Hailat the great:

            It’s not stealing; it’s paying tribute. I think the EPLF/PFDJs sole legacy might be their massive enrichment of the Tigrinya language. I watch Ethiopian officials (including Tigrayan) speak in Amharic and Tigrinya and they can’t do it without sneaking in a word or a phrase or an entire sentence in English. A PFDJ spokesperson can speak for hours in Tigrinya without borrowing a word in English. Now that’s some thing.

            Please send all your hate mail and dangolatat to Cousin iSem.

            Saay

          • Semere Andom

            Sal:
            I agree but the poopr people in both cases do not have a clue about what the speakers are saying.

            how many people would make sens of the following

            ወዲ ሽጉጥ አብታ ካባና ፍንትት ኢላ ዝነበረት ታብ ተውጢሑ

            ማሕፍዳኡ አውጺኡ ክኽትብ ጀመረ
            ብ10 ላህጃ ድማ መደረ

            ኩላትና ብኣንክሮ ገናሕናዮ

            ንጓል ቕሺ ተላኪናያ እምባሕ እንዳበልት
            ፈገግ በለት
            ብሓርፋፍ ግምት ካብና አስታት 2 እመት ርሒቓ ነበረት
            ክምዚ እልና ድማ ወጠናላ፡

            ሕመርት ዘረባኺ ርዒምና
            አልፋን ኦመጋን ኢኺ ኢልና ዘምርና
            ጎብልል ጓል እረ

          • saay7

            Selamat Cousin iSem:

            What’s the problem: who wouldn’t understand that? 🙂

            Years later, you still haven’t matched the classic line said to me by a Tigre-speaker who was learning Tigrinya.

            Context: His chest was pounding, it felt like it would crack; and he had a headache and he could feel the veins on his forehead pulsing. Here’s how he said that in Tigrayit Tigrinya:

            ናሕረይ ተሰጢሩ; ስር ብሶተይ ትህንድግ ኣላ!

            Now match that! For extra enjoyment, set it to Osman Abdulrehim’s “lbey mdrebeda” and sing it.

            saay

          • Semere Andom

            Hi Sal:
            You are kidding, who would match that , maybe Gadi, but I hope your fried did not learn Tigriniya:-)

          • haileTG

            haha..that is cool, very cool:-)

          • Dayphi

            merHaba Semere Akhuy.
            I barely can understand 50% of sha3biartinia. I love to see as many Awatistas translate that paragraph into English or Arabic.
            cheers.

          • Fnote Selam

            Haile,

            BTW, Yohanna is the name of one of three women who used to support Jesus financially. It seems EPLF/PFDJ, IA particularly, utilized many Tigrigna words that previously were known to most people in the context of the bible.

            FS.

          • tes

            Dear haile TG,

            this is great linguistic anecdote.

            Well, according to origin of the word [reference (haile TG, 2015)],

            Yahweh = Gracious
            Gracious = having the qualities of great cpnfort, beauty and freedom.

            When we say, Yohana nHzbi Ertra, then we mean, be great comfort, great beauty and great FREEDOM to the people of Eritrea.

            The paradox is: PFDJ is doing the opposite.

            Analysis of the day.

            tes

        • tes

          Dear saay7,

          Maashaa Allah! Let it be counted if it so as they […you marked it] say.

          tes

          ++Abi is punched heavily now by Fanti Ghana. Lost Abi.

          tes

          • Abi

            Tes
            I love you too.

      • Haile WM

        Semere

        my grandmother used to say “mashalah” everytime she saw me whenever i went for vacation from Asmara and she was not from Saudi 🙂 as a kid I always thought it had something to do with the mashela crop she had in her grat (my mother and granmother used tigre for secret conversation:-) )

      • Dayphi

        عدَّاكَ العَيبْ يا أسمر يا ود عماد.
        I like the way you spelled ماشاء الله. As for Haile WM, and the Mashela Crop, you gave me the best laughter of my day. May He exceedingly bless your grandma.

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Haylat
      You said on the onset of this thread that article would register a number of comments that would place it among the topics with highest comments registered. That’s my friend ትንቢተ-ሃይላት.
      Just, if SAAY could hear you.
      BTW: Gadi’s ዋጠኛ is the culprit, I guess. He keeps singing and praising for every passing point of water in the continuously flowing river. It seems every bar of the song is passing with the passing water. He should have noticed what another wategna from another world and thousands years before him said:
      ” No man ever steps in the same river twice.”
      Heraclitus of Ephesus.

    • Michael Tesfamariam

      Selam Haile
      Qatar has now become the breeding ground of most brutal dictators and terrorist leaders of the world from Taliban, Hamas, Jihad, Issais, and many.

    • Fnote Selam

      Haile,

      Too many comments, yes. But I found this debate on language and religion in Eritrea one the best ones here and I thoroughly enjoyed it (for the most part).

      BTW, some ppl say IA in Qatar to quietly beg food….famine is hovering all over Eritrea.

      Best,

      FS.

      • haileTG

        Hey FS,

        aha, that is an interesting mission. Let’s hope farmers in Qatar had surplus this year. Most importantly, the donated grain sacks will be marked in Arabaic and English:-)

        • saay7

          Hailat:

          Here’s one country that won’t need help: Ethiopia. Was reading about Ethiopia telling the UN “nah, we got this covered.” It is actually extremely impressive. I know I told Addis that I have reached my quota of praising Eleni Gebremedhin, the lady who set up Ethiopia’s commodities exchange, but one more time: she has to be African of The Year if not the decade. Eight African countries are seeking her help to set up their commodities exchange. Just imagine how many African lives will be saved. Phew.

          http://www.howwemadeitinafrica.com/eleni-gabre-madhins-next-big-idea-to-build-commodity-exchanges-across-africa/26772/

          Saay

          • Mahmud Saleh

            SAAY7
            Who will secure her visa/credentials to Asmara? You might as well need to twit ambassador Estifanos. I think we also need to give the late PMMZ his dues. Heck, even General SebHat Ephraim lamented PMMZ left Ethiopia too soon. Nitrickay, I’m not making it up. Watch the General’s speech in Stockholm. Thanks SAAY.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Mahmuday,

            ” Heck, even General SebHat Ephraim lamented PMMZ left Ethiopia too soon.” Any link to that effect.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear Aman
            I’m pressed with time, but I will fish it out when I get home. As you know the man is a renowned speaker, and it seems he went for hours in that occasion. It has many parts; it was done in Stockholm, and I remember alerting awatistas about it when it first came out in YouTube. Interestingly, he said that Ethio-Eritrean relationship will be mended once the Ethiopians knock through the door, meaning tackle the border situation according to the ruling; he said time will solve the direction of Cooperation between the countries whether it will remain a normal one or more than that. ..
            He was emphasizing on time. As an example he brought how Bush and Gorbachev failed to appreciate the boiling need of the citizens of East Germany and West Germany that when they concluded nuclear talks the wall of Berlin came down by the citizens unexpectedly. In that part, where he was talking about Ethio-Eritrean future relationship, he said “no body knows what the future holds. ..”, I’m recalling some of the ideas that I thought were revolutionary. And, yes, he said that in a passing remark. I also heard him saying in a different part that the war with Ethiopia has ended, and the war to put hour household has begun. It is very difficult for me to analyze it because I will have to recheck the parts of his speech. So wait for me unless someone chops it for us. I’m away from some hours.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear Emma

            Here is the link, you can find the remark about PMMZ at about 51:00

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crn1e-GiPAw

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Thank you Mahmuday,

            Unfortunately, I didn’t see any change of mind in their policy. All his talking is refutable one by one, it the same talk from heir political manual. Don’t listen/read to the craps written in the websites who want to enter through our windows. Just listen to those who walk in and out through our doors like Sofia Tesfamariam. That is it.

            Regards

          • saay7

            Hala Mahmuday:

            I once saw a documentary (CNBC?) of how PMMZ plucked Eleni from the margins of either a UN or a World Bank meeting. Told her that he had read her paper (PhD dissertation?) and invited her to come home. The rest is history. Here’s an amazing PBS Documentary on just that: Watch it Mahmuday, it will make your day.

            http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/the-market-maker/full-episode/?p=5293

            saay

            * Thanks to the man who wants to remains anonymous for sharing this link.

          • haileTG

            Dear Mahmuday and saay,

            It is true that what the lady did is impressive. One of my school time friend (still going on for decades) is an Eritrean leading a team of senior engineers in the satellite mobile. communication industry in a major European country. When PFDJ Eritrea has no use for countless such an amazingly talented Eritreans, it is bitter pill to swallow the degree of loss opportunity we suffer. As far as Eritrea is concerned, poverty and ignorance is a willfully PFDJ sanctioned perpetual reality, not natural. I am firm about that. Yifterelom gorebietna ember hasad hgdef’si ezi n’REyo zelona eyu.

      • Sara

        Dear note seam
        ………famine in eritrea, is that your wish? Am sorry to see a person from my neighborhood had that bad wish to my country.
        The good thing is no famine but drought in some places and it is not going to lead to that bad omen.
        This

  • Music Novice

    Greetings guest,

    Addiction develops due to
    rewarding feelings
    such as:

    The excitement
    of being there and of placing
    bets;

    The tension
    build-up prior to betting and its
    release after the outcome;

    The thrill of
    winning which creates a desire
    to repeat the thrill;

    The social
    involvement – being with others doing
    the same thing.

    Addicted gamblers
    gradually place bigger
    and bigger bets to get the same “buzz” and to try to recoup losses.

    • Abi

      Hi Music
      What a coincidence! Hayat has said the same thing a long time ago.

      • Hayat Adem

        Yes Abi,
        I remember saying the same thing a couple of years ago. But Music Novice put it in a more beautiful way.

  • Mizaan1

    For reflection:

    I read some comments about Alulla. I can sum it all up quite easily.

    Our forefathers used to say, “Fithi kab Alulla, tsidki kab Lalibella.”

    Ato Weldeab Weldemariam named his son Alulla for his bravery and just leadership.!

    There you have it.

    • Amanuel

      Hi Mizaan1

      I am no sure to whom you are referring when you say our forefathers. Were they South or North of the Mereb river. Because Alulla was may be a hero to Ethiopian, specially to Tigrayans but when it comes to Eritrea, specially to Hamasiem, he is a coward who went back on his word.
      As per the name a lot of Eritreans are called Alulla and this is the first time for me to hear that Ato Weldeab named his son Alulla, but there is a first time for every thing.

      Have a nice day.

  • Amde

    Selam,

    Question for former ELFers.

    Is this story true? http://meskerem.net/heroic_short_story_of_goitom.htm

    Did an ELF combatant lead EPRP operations in Ethiopia?

    • AOsman

      Dear Amde,

      That is some story, I would like to learn more about this hero. Thanks for sharing it.

      Regards
      AOsman

  • Mr_X

    This article is excellent, I mean it. But one thing I have found is, that many children of the diaspora, in arab countries or in the west, allmost only speak arabic, and cant or have limitied skills of their mother tongue. For me personally, arabic is in the most important language yes, but there is no harm in learning the second mother tongue like tigre, tigrinya etc… This is a reality………

  • Amde

    Selam Belay,

    I think it is the other way round. His name is Alula. His war horse is named Nega. Hence Alula Aba Nega. Similar to Kassa Abba Bezbiz for Yohannes IV, and Kassa Abba TaTeq for Tewodros II.

    I remember old soldiers referring to themselves as “zerraf – ye Teqil ashker!!” (servant of Teqil), in reference to Haile Sellasie’s horse name “Teqil”. I don’t know if he would have been Teferi Abba Teqqil or HaileSellasie Abba Teqil.

    Interesting how cavalry culture and names that include “Abba” as a prefix are popularly considered as primarily Oromo in origin, and yet we see them both adopted in the uppermost strata of Ethiopian society.

    Speaking of war horses… horses are very skittish and moody creatures scared of anything that is slightly out of the ordinary. There is a reason why our our cultures prize the calmer and steadier mules and donkeys in such huge numbers when trying to navigate the highlands and ravines of our land. But, horses were prized for war. And it would take a tremendous amount of training for a horse not to bolt in the middle of rifles or cannons going off, or somebody charging you with a spear. Somebody must have been doing this in large numbers, and yet today at least I personally know of no region that is especially renowned for training and/or selling war horses.

    Amde

    • Abi

      Amde
      You want a joke?
      What is the horse name of Atse Amanuel? Selamawi kokob.

  • አዲስ

    Abi,

    I think the airport at Mekele is called Alula Aba Nega Airport.

    Thanks,
    Addis

    • Abi

      Addis
      Thank you.
      This is how we celebrate our heroes.
      Ethiopia is blessed with heroes. Eritrea has only one hero. His Excellency Isaias Afewerki.

      • Abraham Hanibal

        Hi Abi;

        Isayas is not a hero, he is a villain; our heroes/ines have either died fighting for our cause, or in the hands of this evil man, or languishing in dangeons of the same villain, or exiled.

  • Abi

    Dear Maekebay
    Very interesting indeed. Let’s see if Ato Amanuel ha something to say about it.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Maekebay,

    yes, there were a lot of important files and archives saved and taken to Rasay. in fact when Abdula Edriss said “ዝሰዓበ ይስዓበኒ” he had in his hand a lot of properties with him (I am an eye witness). but I am also an eye witness we burned a lot of things and we even destroy medical equipment and medicines not to let the enemy use it. one of the reasons we accept the participation of the Seminar that took the life of Melake Tekle and Debesay was that Abdula and his group had a lot of front’s properties including our history. We were all looking he continuation of the front except those were were in contact with EPLF.