Inform, Inspire, Embolden. Reconcile!

Looking Forward into the Future of Eritrea

For those of us who live in the U.S., this is the time of the year in which we see American families gather and enjoy their traditional holidays and generally are at their best as they become more charitable toward those who are less fortunate. Of course, for Eritreans such gatherings, invariably, gravitate toward conversations about politics. Let’s admit it for us Eritreans our blood sport is politics, we love it, we revel in it, and we can spend debating it into the wee hours of the night. Allow me then to get right to my favorite subject – the Eritrean political landscape – but bear with me to relate to you using the subject matter I know best: the medical field and let me use cancer to illustrate my point.

In the U.S., from those who die of various cancer illnesses, the leading one is lung cancer. The next one is colon cancer. Here is where the reader needs to pay close attention to: breast cancer versus prostate cancer. The latter has enjoyed a great deal of funding in the past because the lawmakers in the past were almost exclusively comprised of men; naturally, prostate cancer got all the attention. The former, however, has had to use its citizens to raise awareness of this deadly disease. As the awareness was increasing it now has reached to a point of when sport players wear pink emblem one week a year to support the cause; at the same time within the lawmakers, women have been making headways to a point now they comprise 20% of the congress. The two approaches have yielded impressive results so much so that breast cancer gets equal attention both in awareness and in funding today.

Using the above story as a backdrop allows one to delve into Eritrean political landscape, its genesis, and its shortcomings as we move forward into the year 2014 and beyond. Consider Eritrean Ghedli, for an example. The struggle began with ELF and was completed by EPLF. Of course, this is simplistic, but a great deal that took place in between is beyond the scope of the purpose at hand; the purpose here is to start where Eritrea became a nation of state and assess where the Eritrean people went wrong and when they did not make any demand for a constitution soon after independence. While the constitution was being crafted there had to have been transitional one with expiration date where the same expiration date being applicable to those who were in power at the time. What ended up happening, unfortunately, is the EPLF leadership was allowed to lead the only way it knew how: through halengi sawra that served it well to accomplish the independence project not realizing that post-independent Eritrea did not only require stick, but carrot and stick – i.e. rule of law with a constitution in place, thereby, creating a system that would allow Eritrea to function with the civilized world. What ended up happening instead is that one man game which was familiar to us all from the Haileselassie years; where people were divided along regional lines in sports – ganta Hamassein, Seraya, Akeleguzai, etc. Isayas used that blue print to a hilt. When he is in the U.S. he would find his poster boy whom he used to ostracize as he singled him/her out by saying why couldn’t they learn Tigrinya and when he is in the Middle East he would mock those Tigrinya speakers as he insulted them why it is that they couldn’t learn Arabic, thereby deflecting the question that was asked of him to answer. And back when he is in his home-turf, he would use subtle regional differences to strengthen his power base as he let them clamor to be on his favorite list to get to a position of power – no principle, only power of here and now is what mattered and the consequences has been far reaching in its impact on the Eritrean public at large. Now, let us turn to how the three ‘Rs’ and the ‘B’ card used as a way of manipulation and emasculation of Eritrean men who until then believed were the epitome of masculinity. Let’s start with the latter.

The Biher (Ethicity) Card

The mastery and the manipulation games that Isayas plays are so right on the mark that he even instituted who is to be called Bihere Tigrinya and who is bihere saho, what have you? And when the groups do not fit into the mold he has perceived for them, then he simply disallowed them to identify themselves as they deem fit. A perfect example on this is the Jeberti, who wish to identify themselves as bihere Jeberti, but a government that is bent out of shape in wanting to have a poster boy to whip on; and when the time came to utilize it Isayas has been using it for years while the audience laughed at the expense of those whom he mocked. Was it even necessary to begin to delve into such identification processes instead of focusing on individual rights, religious freedom, freedom of the press, what he got us busy with is these things that touch to the core of our identity and our heritage. Every Eritrean has his/her cultural and religious heritage that they are proud of, but of course for an individual who has become an expert of divide and rule this was the card that has worked for him pretty well so far, he would not have wanted it any other way. Now, let’s turn to the three ‘Rs.’

The Regional Card

The Haile Selassie era region based football teams pale in comparison in how Isayas perfected the divide. Delegating political power based on one’s regional disposition – however subtly – was the hallmark of his approach to governance; thusly began to alienate certain groups as it incepted the politics of resentment by those who felt excluded from this testosterone based politics of the machos. Having no recourse to rectify any such unfairness, the resentment and the grievances were left untouched by those who received the wrath of one man’s whims and emasculating them in the process.

The Religion Card

If we thought Haile Selassie was the master of divide and conquer based on religious affiliations in Eritrea, well, Isayas outshone the king in how he instituted and delivered his isolating game. The Jehovah Witness and a sector of Muslim Eritreans were his poster boys. For the former, it all began when they resisted voting for referendum on grounds of their faith. And for the latter it was based on individual Eritrean Muslims who began to grow beard as a sign of their faith, they too, were made to disappear without any due process of law. Of, course, little by little, the net began to widen the Catholics and the Protestants were soon to follow. Religious institutions that were once considered covenants revered by all were being desecrated, humiliated, and hence emasculated.

The Refugee Card

The October 3rd, 2013 in which over 350 young Eritrean men, women, and children who perished in the high seas is just one glaring example in how one man can wreak havoc on a nation. Of course, many other accounts, reports, and now a novel by Saleh Gadi, where all they point to is not only the hollowing out of a nation from its youth, but also that emasculation process working in earnest to leave a country in an impoverished state. The man has accomplished all conceivable and inconceivable evil things any leader could master. The question that remains unanswered is this: now what?

Revisiting the analogy of the cancer story in the U.S. is instructive here. It was not that American lawmakers did not want to address breast cancer, it was the case that when people are given power and those people happen to be from one distinct mind set, one distinct class, one distinct racial or ethnic group, decisions they make will invariably shortchange the other groups, groups that have not had a say in that process. Therefore, when all is said and done, what Eritrea needs is to usher a nation that abides by rule of law, a rule of law in which all of the stakeholders have a say in. It is not a matter of the individual leader’s religious, ethnic, cultural background; rather it is a case in which any Eritrean that is willing to abide by the rule of law and is accountable to the decisions he/she makes; and whose ideas and leadership capabilities are in par with what the people of Eritrea want. What the last 22 years has taught us is that we Eritreans are no different than any African countries. We have the weaknesses that we see in some of these countries. The recent clashes we have been witnessing in South Sudan, Central Africa, and many other regions that are going through turmoil after turmoil ought to be a lesson for us to do right by our people. Communicating with one another, discussing to learn from one another, and ‘dialloguing’ to reach to a higher understanding ought to be the hallmark of Eritrea’s future. If we can’t learn these from our past mistakes, then, we will be bound to repeat them over and over again. So, to pivot to the most important part of this paper as any person in the medical field knows when a patient comes to visit a doctor the history of the patient is one of the first in which the doctor delves into in order to find out the diagnosis of the disease, thereby, giving the appropriate prescription that can help ease the patient’s complaints. In that spirit, since the ailments and the complaints of Eritrea had been diagnosed, let us now turn to the treatment. Herein follow the three step process that need to be addressed:

1. Transitional Constitution with term limits. Under this term the government will be run by Appointed Leaders who are vetted by the stakeholders. These Appointed Leaders ought to not run for any governmental post in a foreseeable future. The role of the Appointed Leaders is to serve as care takers until the multiparty election takes place.

2. The multiparty elected representative body will then draft the permanent constitution which in turn will be presented to the public for a referendum to receive the blessing of the public. At this junction the elected body representative’s job is completed and now this leads us to the third step.

3. An election will be held based on the permanent constitution that the public approved and the government is formed hence to move forward with national projects, the works of the people and what people need as they live their day-to-day lives in peace and with hope and dream for the future of the country and their family. To borrow the famous American phraseology in the Declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness is the best medicine that anyone can bestow on the Eritrean people who have suffered so much and deserve this at last.

salnur13@gmail.com

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  • Noah

    Hello

    To the narrator(moderator) of Awate why are you not posting my comments?

  • Noah

    Hello

    To the narrator of Awate why are you not posting my comments?

  • rezen

    To: Dr. Salah Nur
    Dear Sir,
    I read your article with interest. In particular, I was attracted by the usage of the term “cancer’ to illustrate a point in your “favorite subject – the Eritrean political landscape”. I was excited because the usage of the term “cancer’ is almost my obsession to describe the malaise of the Eritrean society in general. Please be warned, I am neither a medical doctor nor a scholar by a long, long shot. I am just an ordinary ‘Joe’ who joins the Internet Junkyard for many reasons.With that warning let me proceed.

    It has always been my feeling that the Eritrean sociopolitical landscape has always been marred by three most debilitating cancerous diseases: RELIGION, PROVINCIALISM and RACISM. Add to that the question of identity and the atmosphere becomes confusing and ugly. It is also my firm belief that such cancerous disease were the product of the people themselves — NOT induced by rulers, dictators, colonial powers. True, these forces have used the three factors to subjugate the people of Eritrea under their control. Issayas Afewerki is a perfect example. He knows deeply the psyche of the Eritrean people [including the Intellectuals whom he despise] and use this instrument effectively to attain his goal. He is the most focused, determined and secretive person for his own goal – three traits that are absolutely essential to any dictator. His trusted comrades of 30-years never truly knew him. On 18 September 2001, in the middle of the night, they were rounded–up and taken away never to be seen again! Why? Because, they asked for a meeting. To a dictator, it was a challenge. The people of Eritrea kept their silence; and the famous Intellectuals, of course, never raised meaningful objections to such arbitrary rule in International Fora and other media. Instead, they sent ‘love letters’ ! It is a long story. We leave it to history [if true history can be written in Eritrea, free from parochial consideration] which brings me to the next paragraph.

    Dear Dr. Salah Nur. Let me now address another crucial point you raised i.e. knowing one’s history a) “assess where the Eritrean people went wrong”; b) “communication with one another”; c) “learn from our past mistakes”; d) failure to observe the above is “to repeat them over and over again”
    And you summarized it beautifully with a medical practice. It worth quoting it in full:
    “… When a patient comes to visit a doctor the history of the patient is one of the first in which the doctor delves into in order to find out the diagnosis of the disease, thereby, giving the appropriate prescription …” Perfect! but alien to Eritreans – or mortified to look back

    In my opinion, Eritreans have a long, long way to go before they truly assess and accept: their past mistakes and true history; the need for a dialogue; and prism of common good, free from the debilitating cancerous diseases on parochial matters. We have read comments in the Internet chastising commentators for attempting to assess the past: ‘don’t go back to past history; there will be time for it later on, not now; it is not its time now; don’t be obstacle now etc.

    Needless to say, this is a perfect testimony that Eritreans do not wish to face the REALITY of the ugly past; the acrimony on parochial matters; and the various agenda by interest groups. At present, there are over thirty opposition groups; some fifty civic groups; and individual figures – presumably all working for the same goals>>> liberty, independence, democracy, equality, prosperity, human right, justice … and more jargon!. Diaspora Eritreans, in the comfort and safety of the Western and other countries, may very well be occupying their times with endless squabbling and intricacy, fully occupied to their own little prisms. In this atmosphere, coupled with the fact of the interdependent world politics that we have, the destiny of Eritrea may very well be decided by external forces – as Eritrea has always been accustomed to! It is a bizarre nature of Eritreans.

    Finally, Dr. Salah Nur, I wish you and your loved ones the very best of the New Year, and that includes a good luck wish with your idea of “Transitional Constitution” [Covenant? ] – not an easy Task (if at all possible.THE END

    • Zaul

      Shum,

      you tell me how to classify Zauletai, there are Zauletais among Tigrinya-speakers (christian and muslim), Blin-speakers and Tigre-speakers. How do we classify them unless by language?

      Anyways, Happy 2014! Let’s hope it becomes a year of peace, justice and the end of suffering for our people. neameta ab adina.

  • Salah Nur

    Selam Haw Abu Jandal, Amanuel and all who engaged me in this forum,

    Concluding Remarks:

    Without overstressing the topic of ethnicity in general the Jeberti in particular, because so many in the forum have done an impeccable job in addressing the issue, all I can say is thank you. As for Abu Jandal, please re-read the dialogue on this thread for all that can be said has been said. In case, you don’t have the time to read, however, let me just let what Saleh Gadi had to say on this as my rejoinder:

    “if you insist that people are identified as an ethnic group by their language, why do you think the Rashaida are not called Arabs? Their language is not Rashaida as you know! Do you smell the PFDJ bigotry and hypocrisy, or you just conveniently ignore it!” If that is not enough let me add Belai’s astute observation on this: “Did you have to convince the Jeberti or the other Ethnics in Eritrea before you gave a brand new name, never heard before twenty odd years ago(Tigrigna)? Jeberty is not new,is not invented,is as old as the race itself. Ezi Zreba Asha E’u.”

    This may be an obvious realization to many of you who are veterans in this forum in that how incomplete our thoughts are and their incompleteness is revealed easily when individuals come up with ideas that take you to places you never thought possible – thought-wise. In Rumi’s words, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” I am humbled by this initial experience and part of that humbleness that resonates with me is Amanuel’s note that “any constitutional document is a political document before it becomes a legal document that bring peaceful co-existence and equitable power sharing …as a welcoming challenge I hope to use this to challenge many others to offer their “political contract,”a contract they “envision” for Eritrea “about the nature of government we need as we go forward,” which I will address a little later.

    The joy of politics for me personally has always been in its verbal, oral, and sheer out-loud conversation amongst those who wish to engage me in dialogue. My interest in politics goes beyond East African regions. I am world politics junkie and most of which has been through the viusal, listening and talking.

    This was my first time that I have composed my thoughts and thanks to my dearest friend Beyan Negash for enticing me to string my thoughts together, where his study room was turned into my study room into which I would come for some one-on-one conversation before I collect my thoughts to write. This was reminiscent when we incepted the idea of Ertirean Students Relief Organization (ESRO), an article of which was posted by Tekle Woldemikael in this website.

    As political junkie I have been following the Arab Spring intimately. I have read their provisional constitutions. The Libyan one, for example, all of the high sounding words of “multi-party system” (Article 4); the “principles of rule of law taking precedence over tribal or personal loyalties, and the principle of non-discrimination and equal rights of all citizens regardless of religion, ethnicity or social status, and the guarantee of the state upholding women’s rights, granting full participation of women in politics, economy and the social sphere (Article 6)”. I can enumerate the 2007 Nepal’s interim constitution; South Sudan’s (2011) high minded constitution. I can enumerate for readers Egypt’ (2011) Provisional Constitution. Thailand’s (2006) Interim Constitution. Iraq’s (2004) Law of Administration for the Transitional Period. And each of these countries seems to have encountered social snug that is rendering them ineffectively disturbing.

    If I may use an analogy that we are all familiar with: football (in American parlance, soccer). This game cannot be played fairly if there are no rules, rules of engagement, rules of conduct, etc. Here is the rub: When the game is over, ideally, the winner goes home happy and the loser team will go into repurposing and retooling for the next game; but, all and all, the players end it in good sportsmanship terms and national politics should be conducted in similar fashion, but there needs to be rules of law by which all political parties will abide by, a rule of law that the people approve.

    The political contract (the constitution) obviously in and of itself is not enough. Brother Amanue, I hear you loud and clear the genuine concern you seem to have and the sense of urgency in the way you posit your question. The lesson that must and need to be learned from these countries is precisely what you seem to proactively want to tackle before it hits us like a tone of brick, at which point we wouldn’t know how to handle. The South African model combined with some of the above mentioned countries can help us draw the right lessons for Eritrea. From the South Africa we can adapt its Truth and Reconciliation Committee and retrofit it and tailor make it to fit to our cultural heritage, which will go a long ways in healing the thirty to forty years wounds of history. Obviously, from the above mentioned countries we can closely observe and avoid their pitfalls. Therefore, let me turn to that now.

    There is a fundamental cultural and social harmony that must be fostered if these rules of law are going to have any meaningful impact on the people. Thus, I am going to go out on a limb and cut through the chase and bring forth where we must focus our energies. Of course, as I proposed part of the solution in my article, that needs to remain in place, but spontaneously and simultaneously I want us to address the following: We must find a way in which all Eritreans gather together and create communal space, a space in which they can talk openly about their dreams, aspirations, and their vision of Eritrea. For me personally it boils down to this: The intra and inter religious conversation must start in earnest; the intra and inter regional dialogue must ensue with all honesty. We have reached bottom, way bottom in the conversation totem pole, it is time to regain it and the only way that can be had is when we open our hearts to all humanity.

    Happy New Year ya’all!!!
    Salah Nur

    • rodab

      “if you insist that people are identified as an ethnic group by their language, why do you think the Rashaida are not called Arabs? Their language is not Rashaida as you know!”
      The flip-side question would be if people are NOT identified as ethnic groups by their languages, why do all of them, save for Rashaida, have the same name as the name of their respective languages, i.e. Tirigna, Tigre, Kunama, Afar, Hidareb, Bilen, Saho and Nara?

      • Zaul

        If the inconsistency is that Rashaida are not called by their language, it can be corrected. kokhob Selam, the original arabs are those from the arabian penninsula, most north african nations and those in the levant are arabized. The only thing that all tigrinya speakers have in common is the language, even the christians are not one single ethnic group, but a conglomerate of beja, agew, semitic (habesha/agazian) and nilotic. Questioning the Jeberti’s quest for recognition as a “nation/ethnicity” has nothing to do with bigotry or paternalism. For me, it’s just disappoint, why do my brothers want to distance themselves from me, just because they have a different religion? do we even know for sure what the word Jeberti means? All I have heard so far are theories, the most convincing being that, the Jeberti were the first non-Arab Muslims and that is truly an honorable title, but does it make them a separate “nation/ethnicity”?

        • Zaul

          Hidareb should also be called Beja for the sake of consistency.

          • Shum

            How about we let people decide their affiliation? There should be no reason for disappointment here. Who calls themselves Tigrinya? I don’t know anyone that does. I don’t think the 9 biher classification is that meaningful since Eritreans don’t use them as their day to day identities or references with exceptions of course. What biher do you classify Zaultai under?

    • ዕትብቲ ኮኾብ ሰላም

      And if language is the main criteria to make an ethnic group, why all Arabs are not considered as one Ethnic group?
      The solution is to respect the choice of people and go for higher job. We can be 50 ethnic groups and still own a free prosperous country. By now we should work for wellbeing of each individual. Trying to monopolize or own others didn’t help us in the past and will not help us in the future. And that was the obstacle during Federation, during our national struggle and now in this era where PFDJ is holding it as one of the tools to prolong it life.

    • http://awate Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Dr. Salah,

      Thank you for elaborating the line of your thinking. In order to build trust among our social groups we must come with a solution on how they could be participant in the decision making and with what kind of governance can they fully participate. I haven’t seen anyone coming with a modest proposal subject to debate and amendment, but more importantly can encourage citizens to come with possible alternatives. It is such kind of approach that could make us solution oriented citizens. The disgruntled or marginalized social groups could only find things that help them to put trust on the process. Otherwise leaving aside until the fall of the regime or promising them that there will be trickle down justice to our society after the regime is the worst naivety on the side of the aggrieved and the worst mischievous politics on the side who want to take advantages.

      So Dr. Salah knowing the grievances of our minorities, I still want to see you to come with a defined and structured approach – a solution oriented document, where our minorities could participate and exercise their rights without domination. Domination is the evil thought of oppressors and as far as we let it to reign in the Eritrean politics, the division, the mistrust, and the rebellion will continue. God wills I am attempting to come with a solution to provoke any other alternative solutions.

      Happy New Year
      Wish 2014 to be the year of Sober and cool minds.

      Amanuel Hidrat

    • Zaul

      Shum,
      you tell me how to classify Zauletai, there are Zauletais among Tigrinya-speakers (christian and muslim), Blin-speakers and Tigre-speakers. How do we classify them unless by language?
      Anyways, Happy 2014! Let’s hope it becomes a year of peace, justice and the end of suffering for our people. neameta ab adina.

  • Abu jandal

    Biher jeberti? Lol . You are tigrayan . Just like the kebessa only difference is your faith. Are we gonna have different Buhera if a Tigre is muslim , tewhado or catholic? Very confusing.

    • ዕትብቲ ኮኾብ ሰላም

      Dear Abu jandal,

      try to find out why no one care and reply to your post.

  • http://awate Amanuel Hidrat

    Dear Awetistas,

    As we are coming close to the New Year 2014, the poet Redi Kifle (known as Bashay) is alerting us about the move of the reformist,who refrain to come open to the public, but have the audacity to steal the momentum of the spontaneous movement of our people in the Diaspora. Bashay is messaging in his artistic poetry about them. Enjoy the link below.

    Amanuel

    http://togoruba.org/togoruba1964/mainTogorubamap/mainMap/headingMap/2013A/2612RB3-06PT.pdf

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Emma:
      Thanks for sharing. Bashay is not well known poet because of the culture of not crediting that is prevalent in Eritrea. He is the one who wrote, ” Eritrawi zerebay simAni, afra keyTregx mesilka emni”, Yemane Barya sang it, but to my knowledge he never credit him. It is besides the point, but I am also disappointed at Barya for not crediting the lyrics of his last song, ” abela Eta denanito”, who was given to Yemane by Petros Teklu of Toronto. The song was known for its famous line ” zeykewin koynu kltie delina: bmeswatkum koriEna, bmflaykum dma hazina” The masters of stealing, PFDJ displayed this line casually during the June 20 Martyrs day.

      • http://awate Amanuel Hidrat

        Merhab Semere,

        Yes indeed, Bshay gave him (to Yemane Baria) a dozen of poems in 1980 at Khartoum. In fact the song you mentioned was given to him with its lyrics (zema). I am an eye witness to that fact. Like what you said Eritreans don’t give credit where credit is due. Bashay is victim of mischievous singers.

        • ዕትብቲ ኮኾብ ሰላም

          yes,
          Most of the people who pay their time and effort just give it to their people for nothing to receive back. For them giving is receiving. They just enjoy and celebrate within their own self. Because they believe in unconditional love and keep giving to the end. But they appreciate everybody; they see carefully the developments , learn from every incident and give birth to new ideas. I think he is one of the people of such type.
          But time will not be far to start appreciating this type of wonderful people and give them what they deserve –love.

  • Zahra

    The one and only Question of the year:

    In reference to Isayas, are we confused or is the world confused?

    The conflicting nature of the person makes him an IMPOSTOR:

    Internally, he is an enemy of all, and
    Externally, he is a friend of all.

    If he is the enemy of Wed Methaht and the enemy of Wedi Kebessa; why doesn’t he step down?

    Conversely, if he is: A strategic friend of the Arabs; a strategic friend of the Israelis; a strategic friend of the Iranians: a strategic friend of the Indians; a strategic friend of the Pakistanis; a strategic friend of the West (because they are not taking real actions against him, they must somehow be his friends); and a strategic friend of the East. Why doesn’t he become God’s representative on earth because he can bring all the world’s staunch enemies together under one roof?

    Killing the above question by answering it will contribute towards stopping the sufferings of the Eritrean people.

    A hint

  • said

    Isayas Knows What he is doing
    Just One thing that one should express if I could say so an admiration for Isayas for is the Man’s consistency and honesty in secretly and openly expressing what he truly thinks of and his agenda stands for ever since he joined ELF and immediately started to work in his machiavelli politics during the days of Ghadly period by creating so many havoc and mayhem and perfected it since he took total power ,Isayas is well known entity and his past crime is well recorded for those who want to see, his politics of divide and rule or us and them by creating wage in relatively harmonies society and divided , destroyed nation fabric since he become president for life. In that, unlike to so-called pseudo liberal Eritreans, he is not a hypocrite and a wishy-washy that they followed him blindly.
    On the contrary, pseudo liberals Eritreans, i.e. representing the greater majority, if not the greatest majority of the filing the Eritreans website ,air and printed press with deafening howls “Wolf” ever since Isayas assumed Absolute Power since nearly a two decade ago, at times are proving being experts of socialite saloon talks; are ineffective, paying lip-service for appearance sake, letting hot air out, as a matter of habit; i.e. becoming profession liberals that most of the time earns them recognition, status and a source of living assuming the of defendants of the faith, protesting publicly with the dramatic shouts: “Wolf.”
    Taking count of the facts in a proper chronological order, Isayas was always open and clear with his position on the issues pertaining to the Eritrean independence, clearly manifested in (Nehnan Alamanan ) –He sawed as a mission to control the destiny of nation before its birth.
    It all started with Dissertations, that was made as a pamphlet to be read to top trusted and selected tiny EPLF group ,secretly at times entertained spoke of accommodation with the Ethiopian and the forgoing of the armed struggle; i.e. ushering in a new era of the Eritrean –Ethiopian confidence and trust building eschewing all forms of struggle and instead accommodate Ethiopia interest in pretention of the search for a political and a diplomatic solution to the lingering and endemic half-a-century conflict.
    In his machiavelli politics (Nehnan Alamanan) –the so called doctrinaire political philosophy frame worked in his racist Theses, some of his audience have bought into his false unfounded lies he propagated from thin air.
    That’s DIA : “What you See, is What You Get.” The Man, with all truth, never changed his skin. DIA has been clear and honest with his convictions and plans. It is with some Eritreans so-called Liberals who are proving wishy-washy; ineffective and let hot air out as they continue to howl “Wolf.”

  • Zahra

    denden,

    We know some people are angry at God at the time of their misfortunes. Similarly, some people are angry at some other people at the time of their seeking absolute power. In each case, one can reject abiding by their harmonious relationship between him/her and the rejected party. One can create his/her own stories to live around the created own narratives and if that turns out to be universally unacceptable, that person will be known to other people as crazy person.

    The Jebertis know who they are and it is up to them to define themselves. From the way you misspelled words, it appears you were affected physiologically and psychologically – by reflecting intense anger – when you wrote your response to the good Doctor’s call for peaceful co-existence. If you have fear of anything, please say it out. Don’t let your fear lead you to preemptive crimes, like Isayas’s fear led him to empty the country of all conscious youths, forcing them to dive into everyday tragedies (Sinai, Lampedusa, and others).

    If Isayas’s failure is a frustration to you and that leads to your anger. Also, if the political confrontation with the opposition is perceived a failure and that leads to your anger, you will only keep taking your anger out on nice and innocent people. The only way out for you is to reverse the course by yelling at Isayas’s picture for misleading and failing you. At least that will give you the freedom of speech that Isayas denied you.

    • Dr. Salah Nur

      Sister Zahra & Brother Saleh G.
      Between your assertions, questions, and challenges there is ample room for those who want to look within themselves and probe deeper to locate the source of unquestioned hate and opinions that get vomited out with unexamined assumptions. I just cannot get enough of this Physics Man (David Bohm) delving into matters of dialogue as he challenges his readers. So, I will just borrow the power of his argument to supplement in what you two brought forth, ideas that challenge Denden’s unexamined assumptions, assumptions that had been perpetrated by the master back home and Meron the exceptional exhibit A of that perpetration. Here goes The Physica Man at his best:

      “When you have anger, it has a reason, or a cause. You say that you are angry because of this, this, or that. It builds up to rage and hate, at which point it no longer has a particular reason anymore – it just sustains itself. That energy of hate is sort of locked up, and then it’s looking for an occasion to discharge. The same holds with panic. You are usually aware of a reason for your fear, but by the time you get to panic it goes on by itself. However, the sort of energy that goes around at that level may also in a vague way be the kind of energy we are talking about for creativity – namely, energy without a reason.
      “But there is a great deal of violence in the opinions that we are defending. They are not merely opinions, they are not merely assumptions; they are assumptions with which we are identified – which we are therefore defending, because it is as if we are defending ourselves. The natural self-defense impulse, which we got in the jungle, has been transferred from the jungle animals to these opinions. In other words, we say that there are some dangerous opinions out there – just as there might be dangerous tigers. And there are some very precious animals inside us that have to be defended. So an impulse that made sense physically in the jungle has been transferred to our opinions in our modern life. And in a dialogue, we get to be aware of that in a collective way.” (p. 39).

      Again, I am happy that Brother Denden brought forth his assumption to the virtual Awate floor, thereby, allowing us to dig deeper to find solutions before they become cemented in our psyche and come out at an opportune moment to lit the fire leaving us to wonder what in the world just happened as South Sudan and Central Africa are two glaring examples staring us in the face today.

      Sincerely,
      Selah Nur

      • Zahra

        Thanks Dr. Salah for your inputs. Ever since the Lampedusa tragedy most of the pro-Isayas are changing side. We have two sides only nowadays, Isayas (the hammer) or the people (the anvil). To be on the side of hope is to stand for reconciliation. From where I am, I can say I will hold no grudges against Isayas and his groups as and when they leave the Eritrean people alone. But the final word of “NO GRUDGES” comes from those victims of Isayas. It is up to them to forgive or not forgive (have Isayas and his group punished for their crimes).

        The vulturous policy of Isayas is chewing many innocent Eritreans. Some of the preys enjoy being chewed (the sadists), while some others hate to be ground in-between the upper and lower jaws of Isayas. Those who hate to be ground in-between the upper and lower jaws of Isayas, they need to free themselves.

        Yes, free yourself and listen to what has been taken to the center stage nowadays. Isayas is in total contradiction. Isayas says we don’t kneel down to the west but yet wants the Eritrean people to face to the ground and kneel before him. Isayas is requiring obedience without consent from every Eritrean, inside and outside. Inside Eritrea, Isayas has frozen all those who can produce and his Diaspora have voluntarily frozen their thinking system. The free side is calling on Isayas’s Diaspora to thaw or unfreeze themselves and let the message reach Isayas. If the Diaspora thaws, the frozen river inside the country would soon thaw allowing every Eritrean inside Eritrea to paddle her/his own canoe.

      • Elihude

        Dr. sir, you spent too much time in school and learned nothing, in the end. You should have gone to work early, saved some money, and help others by running a business of some kind. By the way, the same goes to this Block guy. He should stick too his physics….

        • crocus

          Is common decency and tolerance of opinion different from yours un-Eritrean? Why the need for boorish behavior? It is not only Isaias who is a model of bad behavior. Individuals must realize that they have an obligation to conduct themselves with civility for the common good.

  • Abou Yara

    Dr. Nur comes up with great Idea. It is about time people start thinking this way. For Eritreans in order to live in peace and harmony need to know of how to understand ,respect one another religiously , ethnically and most of all to make inclusive acceptable system for all Eritreans so that to see the nation that many hoped and sacrificed with their blood. We need many open mind Dr. like you lead our people so that to be effective society member of this changing world .

  • wed garza

    Good article processing Isayas’s red thread the whole way through.
    I think the discussion is a bit higher now the “mekete” pointing its sharp edge against the regime and the alternative molding itself realistically.
    The end justifies the means or the means justfies the end. the mistakes commited by EPLF and the whole organisational philosophy lost its compass thereby the whole process derailed. were they not the “Mogogos” they were more careful than anything else? Then what is the lesson derived? I take care of you.
    With the same token, the newly shadawy EPLF variant is shaping itself to replace the regime. Baptised for second chance, do we need this failed gangs again? Renamed as saviors, or enough is enough from them!!
    I think this theme is very vital as the ship starts to sink deeper and wider.

  • Dr. Salah Nur

    Brother Denden,

    I am always appreciative when individuals are honest enough to offer their rejoinder, however brief the response and however vehemently I disagree the viewpoint being advanced; for at the end of the day, we can always respectfully disagree and cling to our own worldview; after all we enter into this website to dialogue and discuss in hopes of convincing one another and I hope I can make you see my perspective. Therefore, allow me to take you through somewhat lengthy response because the subject matter you raise is worth addressing with all honesty and sincerity.

    Your totally dismissive approach to a group who wants and wishes to be identified as it sees itself deem fit is quite interesting. And, as a person whose training is in the medical field, allow me to use neurophysiological concept to illustrate my point. When someone brings forth anything that has some element of hatred in it our body automatically goes into behavioral modes controlled by neurotransmitters, which in turn prompts some physiological changes in how we respond. Let me make it simple and quote what I have read on the subject and the essence of which David Bohm beautifully captures:

    “We could say hate is a neurophysiological, chemical disturbance of a very powerful kind, which is now endemic in the world. Wherever you look, you see people hating each other. So suppose you stick with this. You may get an insight, a shared insight, that we’re all in the same position – everybody has an assumption, everybody is sticking to his assumption, everybody is disturbed neurochemically. The fundamental level in people is the same; the superficial differences are not so important.
    “It’s possible to see that there’s a kind of “level of contact” in the group. The thought process is an extension of the body, process, and all the body language is showing it, and so on. People are really in rather close contact – hate is an extremely close bond. I remember somebody saying that when people are in really close contact, talking about something which is very important to them, their whole bodies are involved – their hearts, their adrenalin, all the neurochemicals, everything. They are in far close contact with each other than with some parts of their own bodies, such as their toes. So, in some sense there is established in that contact “one body.” And also, if we can all listen to each other’s opinions, and suspend them without judging them, and your opinion is on the same basis as anyone else’s, then we all have “one mind” because we have the same content – the opinions, all the assumptions. At that moment the difference is secondary. Then you have in some sense one body, one mind. It does not overwhelm the individual. There is no conflict in the fact that the individual does not agree. It’s not all that important whether you agree or not. There is no pressure to agree or disagree” (David Bohm, “On Dialogue,”p. 36)

    So, brother Denden, we can choose to spew hate and we can also choose to love, both have similar response mechanisms. Any individual or groups of Eritreans have fundamental rights to choose in how to be identified. At the root of which rests this: if we fail to respect the rights of others, then, by extension, we are equally disrespecting ourselves. And, what I was alluding to in the piece is precisely that: the pervasive nature of the divide and rule is deeply ingrained to a point where we are accepting the disenfranchisement of groups as a norm and Isayas would have it no other way.

    Respectfully,
    SN

  • denden

    Another lost JE’berti mothing garbbage!!!!
    Jeberti don’t have a single itemn thet woiuld make them bher they are simply a product of two religions, simple, case closed.

    • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

      Denden,

      You threw a statement and I can visualize you feeling proud for making a discovery. Who in Eritrea is not a product of two religions? Everyone, almost.

      Now kindly educate me: who decides what a “bher” is? And how do you decide what is bher and what is not? What are the criteria for a bher? Do people have a right to define themselves or not? Do others have a right to impose an appellation on a segment of a population by force, or by decree? What if those who are being defined reject the appellation, what do you do?

      Thank you in advance and good luck answering the questions.

      • Meron

        Selam SGJ,

        Right – Jeberti have a right to call themselves whatever they want and they need to do a convincing for others to share that tag.

        Similarly others have their own right to fail sharing that tag based on the common or mostly shared criterias for ‘biher’.

        Regards,

        • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

          Meron,
          I call myslef Saleh. Do I have to convince you to recognize that and call me Saleh?

          Others have a right to fail to share that tag (Saleh) but when they fail to holler Saleh, I will simply not respond. If they insist on baptizing me with another name, I will do the same. But that is just to reply to your logic. I understand that a nation has to convince each other on common issues. I will try to convince you: Jebertis have been calling themselves that was for millenia. I am sure you identify them as Jeberti. When the PFDJ decided to erase that term from the nation’s collective memory, a few people accepted that flagrant abuse of the right of a segment. Now for the challenge: How do you define a bher? Please check the questions I asked Zaul and try to answer them.

          But please, do not fall for draconian decrees issued by an unelected regime; the people will stay no matter what. Regimes go. This was tried by Yohannes, but the Jeberti never stopped identifying themselves as Jeberti. Why would one want to repeat Yohannes’ policy on citizens in a supposedly independent Eritrea?

          • Meron

            Selam Saleh and Belai,

            Saleh, I dont have any right and obtion to fail sharing the name given to you by your family or if you have renamed your self through the commonly shared and agreed procedure – may be legal procedur.

            You can farther proudly call your self ‘Kerenite’, ‘Jebahite/Jebhawi’, ‘habesha’, ‘awatista’, ‘Eritrean-American’, ‘African-American’, ‘Jeberti’ etc, but if you tell me your ‘biher’ is ‘Kerenite’ because you want to be called ‘kerenite’or because you have a certain culture that differ you from ‘Elaberidite’i tend to you my God given mind to analyse it and also use my right to concure or fail with what you want me call you.

            I firmly believe ethnicity is a social construction. One group can identify itself as a group or similarly can be identified by others. Under this general understanding each regions, societies and countries in the world have also their own understanding of ethnicity.

            No doubt language line and associated practices are the widely shared understanding in identifying a group in the world. As langauge by itself is not statice and is prone to evolution and extinction i dont also believ this is a static foundation of identifying groups. However, Eritrea also follow the same route and identify its ‘bihers’based on their langauge lines and associated practices. As this doesn’t offend any group and enhance the harmonisation of the people toward better social construction, so far it has avoided the minor differences within each ‘behers’and make them entact. Otherwise we could not have seen one Tigre, one Tigringa, Saho, Kunama etic.

            The ‘becasue they want’ and ‘have distinctive culture’arguement need to be more substantiated to yield some how sound proposal. If you let the nation in the ‘because they want’rule, then you will see one vilage disintegrated into 5 or 10 regrouping its ‘Enda’s’ in to ‘Bihers’. If you let the nation ‘they have differnt culture’ order then you will end up accepting the ‘Ghedli culture’, ‘the Warsay culture’, ‘the Asmarinos culture’…etc as ‘Bihers. Ok let’s say this doesn’t matter, but do you guys believe dissecting one society acrross ‘they want’ and have or developed minor ‘distinctive culture’aregument would give peace and harmony to the nation?

            Regards

          • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

            Meron,

            Thank you for repeating to me stuff that I have been writing about for almost two-decades: the layers of identity.

            You claim to understand that “ethnicity is a social construction.” What you failed to recognize is the fact that the PFDJ has been engaged in social engineering. You wrote that “countries in the world have also their own understanding of ethnicity” but what I asked was your (and the PFDJ) understanding. You failed to answer that.

            The issue was about Jeberti, at least that is how it started. Your equating the Jeberti identification to the non-existent Asmarino culture, Warsay culture etc shows you majoritarian obsession and belittling attitude: we can do anything because we can attitude.

            Since you are talking about national cohesion, harmony, etc, I expected you to answer the core issue: does the PFDJ has a mandate to baptize people anew and change their millennial name?

            Now think about this suggestion: what if we called all Tigrinya speakers Jeberti? That makes sense because Jeberti as an identification of people existed for a millennium while the Tigrinya appellation (for a segment of a people as opposed for a language) is less that 20 years old.

            A Question: if you insist that people are identified as an ethnic group by their language, why do you think the Rashaida are not called Arabs? Their language is not Rashaida as you know! Do you smell the PFDJ bigotry and hypocrisy, or you just conveniently ignore it!

            Take home message: the Jeberti have been calling themselves Jeberti for ages; that name will outlast the PFDJ and any other bigot who forces his wishes on them. People should not be like sheep and accept anything someone with a gun orders them to do or believe. You must believe in rights and fairness; don’t fall for the PFDJ’s mishmash ideology collected from the experiences of Pol-pot, Bolsheviks and God-know-what. Learn from the experiences of the Balkans, the old Soviet Union and the rest. Remember that all subdued rights came back after the demise of the totalitarian rules.

          • http://awate Meron

            Selamat Saleh,

            First and for most there is not any group in Eritrea with a millennial name. The current social groups were not in the same shape and name before a millennial. History can tell at least the best possible recorded metamorphosis process they have passed. In that process some have evolved to this lever, some sandwiched and lost their formative shape and others extincted. The process is still underway and no doubt after some decades we will have restructured or influence (by local and global dynamism) or swallowed groups.

            I dont have to call groups or subgroups by their identification or sub-identification names such as Jeberti, Awawerta, Hadenduwa, Bie’tme’alim, Mensa’e, Dembezan… etc. In fact i use it in my often times. Bet when it comes to ‘Bihers’ which are easily and convincingly streamlined along the language and some sort of generic culture lines i remained convinced to call for a Tigrigna speaker Tigrigna, for a Saho speaker Saho, for a Kunama speaker kunama and etc. We know that this mechanism is widely used throughout the world and that PFDJ is by no means an inventor of this mechanism. Seleh can you tell me if ‘Jeberti’ is a Biher in Ethiopia? if yes can you tell me the criteria they used and if not why?

            The bottom point for me is such issues are distinctively an elite issues. That is not also to say all elite entertain such issues. But there are always elites who can’t leave and compute on the harmonization but on dissection. However, as their number is marginal in the society their impact also remain marginal. One can try to make social engineering, another can try to track any process back ward, and another can try to keep the statuesque. The commutative result of these social forces maintain the social construction process. In this case i see you and PFDJ trying to determine the social construction though with a varied capacities.

            Regards,

          • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

            Meron,

            It is funny that you should ask me about the status of Jeberti in Ethiopia; you would be better off asking an Ethiopian Jeberti. I don’t follow what they do. Is the Eritrean regime following the Ethiopian policy? That would be interesting to know.

            As for evolution, I agree with you. But that is natural and not imposed by a regime. The problem is, we didn’t evolve to a new name; the regime is trying hard to impose a new name on us.

            I see heavy handedness in your response. They speak Tigrnya and I call them Tigrinya, you said. I am not Tigrinya, never been, will never be. The same with those I know. To refute your logic, Tigrinya was never used to describe the people, but a language. And since it is a new appellation being imposed by the PFDJ, and since there were people called Jeberti who spoke Tigrinya before the PFDJ Wedini were conceived, why don’t we call all Tigrinya speakers Jeberti? Please think about this. I am also disappointed you didn’t respond to my question, why are the Rashaida not called Arab since they speak Arabic?

            One more note: history plays tricks on us. Ethiopian kings were busy forcing the Jeberti to convert for centuries until Italy colonized Eritrea. later, Haile Sellassie continued mistreating Muslims. Jeberti are not different though fir geographical and other reasons, they are the first victims of the savage Abyssinian King’s policies and oppression. So, do you think in such a history, a people’s name would be recognized when they were attacked for their faith? That being the historical fact, you can surmise the situation of Jeberti in Ethiopia. But you might want to expand your quest for knowledge to learn about the Jeberti of Ethiopia, to the Jeberti of Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Just for curiosity.

            Dividing people into groups entails that there are group-interests that should be upheld. You are an intelligent person, can you tell me if the Jeberti are missing some rights because they are called Tigrinya? Just one example, watch some video on EriTV and let me know your take on that.

            Warning: if you are totally sold on the PFDJ policy and you are debating to win, we better stop it here. But if you are really concerned and want to learn how different segments of your nation think and feel, I would love to inform you what I know. If it is for the sake of knowledge, please do not go total-textbook on me, I do not want to bury you with quotes and case studies. Let’s leave it simple and discuss our reality, Eritrean reality and not some exotic philosophies unrelated to our lives.

            Saleh

          • Wad Samhar

            Hello Saleh,

            You’re really doing a great job !!
            I’ve been following awate.com for some time now and must say that I’ve grown to become an addicted fan (though still part of the silent majority). You and all the guys running this site are simply awesome…. keep it up.

            Now since we are talking about the Jeberti here, there is something I still don’t seem to understand. All the ‘biher’ seem to bitterly complain about the land issue and claim to be, to varying extents, victims of the Tigrinya expansion project (whom in turn are the only ‘biher’ who get to keep their land, in Kebessa). Why don’t we hear similar complaints from the Jeberti ? Also, where does Jeberti land/villages lie ?!

            Regards..

            P.S.- I am yet to see a demograhic map of all the ‘Biher’- actually I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw one (on some PFDJ-affiliated site) showing the Rashaida along the Red Sea coast up in the North.

          • Azeb

            To Saleh and et al,
            I can’t believe how you quickly twist and turn questions into making them look the evil deeds of those backward, kings and dictators of Ethiopia.
            I wish they were so that all your problems would be solved. Unfortunately your problems are caused by yourself and you are z ones to solve them. Eritrea is now in good hands, why are complaining? I don’t get it.

        • Belai

          Dear Meron,
          Did you have to convince the Jeberti or the other Ethnics in Eritrea before you gave a brand new name,never heard before twenty odd years ago?.(Tigrigna)
          Jeberty is not new,is not invented,is as old as the race itself.
          Ezi Zreba Asha E’u.

      • Abou Yara

        I command Dr. Salah for his well mannered reply to denden though the second really offended him. I am sure Dr. Salah knew well how to deal with these kind of species because they grew and nurtured to behave this way. And I am sure the esteemed Dr. knows no matter how one try’s to educate and tried to direct them in to the right track is a hopeless case.

  • http://awate Amanuel Hidrat

    Dr. Saleh,

    Thank you for sharing your view with awatistas about the possible solutions as we go forward. I would like you to go beyond as to what kind of social contract (constitution) hold the co-existence of our social groups as they are the building blocks of the Rainbow nation in general and Eritrean identity in particular.

    I would also like to use this opportunity to say happy holidays to all Eritreans inside/outside Eritrea. I wish you the year 2014 be the year of hope, peace, and magnanimity.

    • Dr. Salah Nur

      Brother Amanuel,
      This is phenomenally important question you raise here. As I attempted in my response to Semere earlier, the social contract (constitution), since I am not a constitution scholar I will defer that to those who are well versed in it. However, what little I know is that it needs to be done with due consideration to the nature of our “rainbow” and mosaic cultural heritage, being all inclusive, especially, it needs to be a document that makes sure the rights of minorities are protected against the majority’s mainstream culture. We will have ample time to address these issues. Over all though, what I would like to reiterate is the errors of our educated lot who produced a constitution without making any sort of a demand from the governmental entity that asked of them to produce it, as we now know, hind sight being 20/20, was a colossal error that Eritreans are paying dearly for.

      Likewise, Amanuel, wish you and others Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

      • http://awate Amanuel Hidrat

        Dr.Saleh,

        Any constitutional document is a political document before it become a legal document that brings peaceful co-existence and equitable power sharing. The document is sociopolitco-document (contract). What kind of political contract do you envision? Here is where every Eritrean should share his/her view about the nature of government we need as we go forward. The constitutional lawyers will dress the political contract with legalese terminology to be called a constitutional law – the supreme law of the nation where every citizen will see it as the common law for all our diversity. So your input is essential in the political process of it.

        regards,
        Amanuel.

  • Semere Andom

    Hi Dr. Nur
    Who will be eligible to serve in the transitional term caretaker government? Should the Ex PFDJ, the like Mesfin Hagos and Adhanom be eligible in your opinion? I always thought that if this step was taken immediately after the referendum, we will be better off now. We should have said to the IA groupies, thanks for liberating Eritrea, now we have a very good mental institution for you to heal from the post-crime stress. We will provide you with life time pension and a monument for depicting your contributions. Let us deal with the rest.

    I am sure you appreciate that the post IA Eritrea will be turbulent, to say the least and the new found freedom will usher in a messy discourse among the different regions and ethnic groups as their hindsight will enable them to avoid the mistakes of the past, so where should we infuse some sort of truth and reconciliation phase? Pitting the Eritrean population against each other was and is IA’s wining hand. So some sort of commission, representing all the regions, religions and the veterans like Tesfay Temewo, who have purged the ELPF from their systems must be established to deal with this. But where in the process do you think this should take place

    Thanks

    Semere

    • Work & Loyalty to Country

      Semere Andom:

      Puhleeze! You are putting the cart before the horse.

      You haven’t even overthrown the Government of Eritrea yet (haven’t even started yet) and you are worried about which former PFDJ officials should be included in a future cabinet?

      Go slow young man. First figure out who is going to do the dying to overthrow the government. Figure out who is going to be your Hamid Idriss Awate? Your Abdalla Nasser? Your Issaias Afewerki? Most of all, your tegadeltis who will live and die in the trenches.

      Then worry about the make-up of a future cabinet.

      • Dr. Salah Nur

        Brother Semere Andom,
        With all due respect, I am not interested in the minutest details of protocols and logistics. Wouldn’t you agree with me that that was the failure of EPLF turned PFDJ in that it had no nation-state plan for Eritrea to function after independence? Can’t we learn something valuable from that? It could be dismissed as putting the cart before the horse because the struggle for independence was so arduous a task that it left no room for anything else let alone a plan for a nation of state of future Eritrea. However, if the idea had a fleeting space in the brains of the EPLF leadership, they could’ve let the Diaspora Eritreans wallow in such thoughts and it had a 110% support from the educated elites in the U.S., who would have been more than happy to accommodate.

        So, speaking in general terms and thinking of what the future of Eritrea ought to look like is something worth entertaining. I do acknowledge that I do not have all the answers, but what the past mistakes point to is that we need to think of the future way far ahead even if the cart gallops ahead of the horse, I would say let us do it.

        SN

        • Work & Loyalty to Country

          SN,

          You will never get there if you put the cart before the horse. Guaranteed!

          In the history of horses and carts, no cart has ever pulled a horse.

          • Dr. Salah Nur

            W&LTC,

            That was just a facetious remark on my part. The only time a cart that can literally march ahead of the horse is downhill where the horse succumbs for whatever reason or uphill for similar occasion; and in both cases the cart by the law of gravity will gallop downward and you know the end of that is going to be a wreck of the PFDJ kind, the sooner the better, of course.

            SN

        • http://awate Meron

          Selam Dr. Salah Nur

          “Wouldn’t you agree with me that that was the failure of EPLF turned PFDJ in that it had no nation-state plan for Eritrea to function after independence?”

          Dotore you got it all wrong in the above statement of yours. EPLF(later PFDJ) have a nations-state plan long back before independence. I think you need to refer the following documents before jumping to such futile conclusion.

          1. ‘Nihnan Elamana’ (We and our objectives)
          2. Plolitical Programme of EPLF – 1987
          3. National Charter of EPLF(PFDJ) 1994

          The rest of your article is simply a day dream.

          Regards,

          You got it wrong about EPLF/PFDJ

          • http://awate Amanuel Hidrat

            Meron, Meron,

            (a)The 1994 is restructuring of EPLF to PFDJ party. It is a party programme to work under constitutional law. The part programe is not a national contract that binds the rainbow nation.

            (b) The 1987 programe is the organizational programe to mobilize the general public at large to win the war of liberation.

            (c)N&E is their objective whatever that objective is with all its consequences. It has nothing to do for a nation as state.

            The doctor is talking how the rainbow nation could be governed. We failed as nation so far we have to work for that.

          • http://awate Meron

            Ema nebsi,

            The good Dr. has also talked about the EPLF/PFDJ’s programme- nothing else.

            Read the quote again and back to me.

            Regards,

          • http://awate Amanuel Hidrat

            Meron,

            The good doctor has said: “While the constitution was being crafted there had to have been transitional one with expiration date where the same expiration date being applicable to those who were in power at the time. What ended up happening, unfortunately, is the EPLF leadership was allowed to lead the only way it knew.”

            Isn’t this fact Meron? In short the doctor is saying, EPLF failed to allow political pluralism. The only way they know is to do everything the Ghedli way – to dominate and control the Eritrean political landscape and rein in a one party governance…actually a one man party to dictate and rule. If you don’t see this, then you are not honesty. Be honesty the country is for the young generation that includes you.

          • http://awate Meron

            Ema nebsi,

            That’s why i suggested him to read the National Charter and the road map it has for the political pluralism.

            If he can reach to the political programme enshrined in the Charter he could have learned about position of the sole and lone political organisation of that day on political pluralism; He could have learned that the Constitutional Commission was constituted upon the spirit of the National Charter; and he could have learned that all the progressive process for the political pluralism (before the 1998-2000 Ethiopia’s invasion) was the outcome of that programme.

            What else do you expect the winning and the lone political organisation of that day to do?

            Regards,

          • http://awate Amanuel Hidrat

            Meron,

            Don’t be dismissive. Read the last paragraph I wrote. Where was the political pluralism you are talking? Leave alone to allow other political parties, Issayas can not even tolerate the dissenting opinion of his colleagues.Look his old colleagues either he killed them or jailed them where no one knows their whereabouts. He is known for sucking generation after generation. The Yemane’s and the Kishas, the Zemhrets..etc..etc are also on line to face the same fate as the others before them as far as he lives. Look your generation leaving the nation in droves. What else you are waiting Meron? Forget about Issayas think about your generation.

          • http://awate Meron

            Selam Ema,

            Merry X-mass and Happy New Year to you and everyone in here.

            I hope Awate.com will commence a voyage toward the dream and aspiration of our Hero Hamed Idris Awate in this coming year.

            I hope it will refrain itself from being a playground of Chauvinistic Ethiopian and Neo-Unionists for which Awate had fought and paid his life in that cause. Awate is our symbol against wrong and deceit intellectualization. His fire in the mountain Adal was a message to all dreamers from the south across Mereb River and their sympathizers in our home land. In the spirit of Awate, Eritrea is not a playground for these subjects and in the spirit of Issaias Eritrea is not for sell period.

            Back to you Ema. Your last narration is rather dismissive. You know well how complex was Ghedli since its inception in 1940th. As there were no smooth rout it is not fair to express Issaias and his journey in a different thread from Ghedli.. Issaias by and large is the product of that complex process of Ghedly, and particularly he is a graduate of the ELF University. But once he believed that university had inherent problems and was capable enough of eradicating him and his likes, he moved away. When he founded his new rout he avoided the major weakest links of ELF and of course he also inherited some of its defects. However, he managed a disciplined and yielding political organization.

            In your last post you were inclined to imitate the Ghedli defamers understanding. Yes, Ghedli was not a smooth voyage and entirely rosy. However, its strength and positive contribution in emerging Eritrea and raising its flag in the international arena was million fold higher that its defects. Your take is on the pure and political side while Ghedli was about multiple goals and ingredients. Power and politics are nothing but instruments to the goal and vision. While the goal was running on its way different subjects were also computing for power and different interests. In the process some fail and others win, the good thing is the major goal was achieved – independence.

            Political pluralism is also one of the goals of post-independent Eritrea. It is one of the goals not everything and it has different routes. In developmental states – Eritrea declared to be a developmental state in 1996 – political pluralism is achieved alongside or through accommodative economic progress. In the EPLF’s spirit (the sole and only capable political power in the ground) political pluralism is achieved through social justice with equitable provisions of basic services to nationals of different walks of life, religion, region, and Ethnicities. These require the government to go beyond the elite’ domain and provide the basic instruments to the marginalized and advantaged alike, then they will grab their political, economic and social rights. Pluralism through practical route.

            Regards,

          • Dr. Salah Nur

            Dear Meron,
            I am just writing to say Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, for I do not have anything to add – Amnauel has done a splendid job giving you some indefensible facts. I have been to both Disneyland and World Disney and I daydream of a day when Eritrea will have an entertainment in which its children can daydream, to awaken their ingenuous creativity; to live life the way it should be lived in pursuit of decency and serenity that all human children deserve.

            I am hopeful that Eritreans of various background; of different ethnic group come to discuss their dream of Eritrea, to some your statement could as well sound a nightmare but I am not one to call it that because I see a positive note each time I see individuals of varying views sharing their ideas. So, let’s all daydream so long it does not turn into a nightmare as EPLF’s turned out to be when it daydreamt in appealing only to its base post-independent Eritrea forgetting that that part had come to a conclusion in 1991; that it had a responsibility to fulfill the dreams of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to see Eritreans live in dignity where their personal sovereignty is protected at any cost.

            Sincerely,
            Selah

        • Semere Andom

          Hi Dr, Nur:
          The “Seleste Slassie” steps that you formulated are indeed high level. I get that. But you took all the trouble to articulate, and aggregate the problems and you rightly said that the divisionary methods of Haile Slassie pale in comaprion to IA’s. So if you have determined this , your trinity of steps without some sort of high level thinking about T & R, to my thinking is futile. These 3 steps have been tried in the Sudan, when the regime set deadline for elections and relinquished power to the elected government. The election was for the minortiy and privileged,while the marginized and the unrepresented the election was as farce as it was during the Numeiri era.
          You stated that the lack of nation wide plan by th EPLF was the reason we are in this failed state mess now. I think, it was the lack of political will to do so. And the intellctuals failed Eritrea for not pressuring IA at the right time and when they did it was too late, his power deeply consolidated and his tentacles widely metastasized to use a cancer analogy.
          With due respect, I am not sure how the infusion of some sort of T & R is considered as microscopic after going throught the trouble of summarizing the issues that are ailing the country now. Speaking of learning from the past, so it goes without saying that we can learn from what the Sudan skipped in their 3 steps that are analogous to yours and regrettly failed, not only failed, it caliminated to ethinc cleansing.

          • Dr. Salah Nur

            I like the premise from which you posit your challenges; however, I think we are mixing apples and oranges a little bit here. Obviously, the Eritrean case has little resemblance to Sudanese case, because ours was a revolution not a military coup d’état. We have had every opportunity to do everything right, but the public was taken to the cleaners by EPFDJ and no one dared challenge them from the get go. The genesis to Al Bashir coming to power emanated from a coup d’état that was master minded by Genereal Ibrahim Al Dahabi who instituted Transitional Military Council (TMC). The TMC, eventually, allowed elections to take hold in which the Al Mahdi party won the election, but in turn was hijacked by the Al Bashir, interrupting the process for an elected government, thusly, eliminating a democratic tradition. A quick snippet by visiting Wikipedia would’ve done the job and here are two paragraphs that explicate it succinctly.

            “Three days after Nimeiri’s downfall, Dhahab authorized the creation of a fifteen-man Transitional Military Council (TMC) to rule Sudan. During its first few weeks in power, the TMC suspended the constitution; dissolved the SSU, the secret police, and the parliament and regional assemblies; dismissed regional governors and their ministers; and released hundreds of political detainees from Kober Prison. Dhahab also promised to negotiate an end to the southern civil war and to relinquish power to a civilian government in twelve months. The general populace welcomed and supported the new regime. Despite the TMC’s energetic beginning, it soon became evident that Dhahab lacked the skills to resolve Sudan’s economic problems, restore peace to the south, and establish national unity.
            “In this troubled atmosphere, Dhahab sanctioned the promised April 1986 general election, which the authorities spread over a twelve-day period and postponed in thirty-seven southern constituencies because of the civil war. The Umma Party, headed by Sadiq al-Mahdi, won ninety-nine seats. The DUP, which was led after the April 1985 uprising by Khatmiyyah leader Muhammad Uthman al Mirghani, gained sixty-four seats. Dr. Hassan al-Turabi’s NIF obtained fifty-one seats. Regional political parties from the south, the Nuba Mountains, and the Red Sea Hills won lesser numbers of seats. The Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) and other radical parties failed to score any significant victories.”

            Where I blame the Eritrean public is that we did not guard nor did we try to challenge the PFDJ vis-à-vis the rule of law because it was our civic duty to do so. It is every individual citizen’s right and responsibility to have had a say not only in the construction of political system but also that the political office was there to be held to serve the public not vice versa; as we have seen our educated elites running to grab any political office they could by kissing up to the boss. That’s in a nutshell where I see us failing the Eritrean people – run for power was the name of the game and it got us where we are today.

            SN

  • Work & Loyalty to Country

    We all know the role Kalashnikov rifles played in the liberation of Eritrea. Often times, that is all tegadeltis had in their arsenal against the well-armed to the teeth (tanks, mechanized brigades, cluster bombs, rocket launchers) of the Ethiopian Army and Air Force.

    Hamid Idriss Awate himself accomplished what he accomplished with only a few rifles (Abu Khamsas) against an Ethiopian Army supplied and backed by the Americans and Israelis.

    Mikhail Kalashnikov, the poor farmer turned general, who designed the Kalashinkov rifle died today at age 94. The NY Times has a wonderful obituary. Consider the below quote from Mr. Kalashnikov.

    Work and loyalty to country, he often suggested, were their own rewards. “I am told sometimes, ‘If you had lived in the West you would have been a multimillionaire long ago,’ ” he said. “There are other values.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/24/world/europe/mikhail-kalashnikov-creator-of-soviet-era-ak-47-weapon-is-dead-at-age-94.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&rref=obituaries&hpw

    • saay

      Work:

      First, stop violating our posting guidelines and posting under multiple user names. Pick one and stick with it.

      Second, is this the kind of person you consider worthy of admiration? From the NY Times article:

      {{ To the end he was loyal to what he called Socialist ideals and the leaders who gave them shape, and seemed untroubled by the hardships endured by his family during the early years of Soviet rule. His family’s land and home had been seized during collectivization, and when he was a child the family was deported into the Siberian wilderness. His father died during their first Siberian winter, and one of his brothers labored for seven years as a prisoner digging the White Sea canal.

      Still, General Kalashnikov spoke of his great respect for Lenin and Stalin alike. “I never knew him personally,” he said of Stalin, “and I regret this.” }}

      Sounds like one messed up guy to me.

      saay

      • http://www.npr.org Daw!t

        Isn’t that what Psychologists call Stockholm syndrome, loving your abuser? General Kalashnikov reveals his yearning for the return of the past regardless of what the past regime had done to him and his family. Likewise, we have many “messed up ” Eritreans who adore Awate, and who feel quite nostalgic talking about ghedli despite their monotonousness.

        • http://www.npr.org Daw!t

          Monotonousness should be read as monstrous crimes. BTW, Stockholm syndrome is also apparent in some of the young refugees who escaped torture and indefinite conscription.

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