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Medrekh: Another Winter Project

Another new “winter project” is upon us; Medrekh is its name.

To its credit, Medrekh has introduced another obscure term to the Eritrean Diaspora politics: Monocracy. I hold the PFDJ tyranny is not mono; it  is being played in stereo. I have a long held belief that any thought of reforming the regime is as bad as giving it a new lease on life.

A few years ago I learned from Adhanom Gebremariam, a relatively new Tigrinya lexicon which encapsulates my thinking: “sur-neqel”, the complete uprooting of the PFDJ’s unjust system. With that in mind, I believe any attempt to maintain the status quo by only removing Isaias, in any manner it is explained and justified, is futile. Eritrea needs a regime change and not palace coup d’etat.

Since I heard about Medrekh in March of 2013, I remained skeptical choosing to give the initiators the benefit of the doubt; in the end, I cautiously formed my views about their project. At this moment, I believe I have enough information about Medrekh and will partly share it in this edition of Negarit and more in subsequent editions where, among other things, I will address Mesfin Hagos’ status in Medrekh, which completely contradicts the claim some leaders of the project are making.

I hereby apologize to my friends who are within Medrekh; I do not question their decision to jump on the Medrekh wagon with the intention of doing their part in the struggle to unseat the PFDJ tyranny. But I hope they weigh their position carefully.

The following is a letter I sent to Medrekh leaders on the 22nd of January 2014:

Dear friends,

Allow me to congratulate you on launching Medrekh, a platform through which you have declared to fight the Eritrean tyrant.

Two weeks ago, I and my colleague Saleh Younis met Dr. Assefaw over lunch. He was charming. He still maintains a disarming and soft-spoken personality despite the thinly sprayed stinging remarks. As I promised Assefaw, I hereby share with you my personal views, both as a concerned individual and as a stakeholder in the well-being of the struggle against the PFDJ regime.

Discussing national issues requires openness and honesty and I hope you understand my views in the spirit I write them: to help you avoid the pitfalls of the past so that your project doesn’t become one of the numerous winter projects that had confused the opposition camp every year-end, to silently wrap up with no explanation afterwards.

At the outset, I would like to appeal to you to reevaluate your communications record; a weakness that is feeding the rumor mill…something the opposition camp doesn’t need. This is the main reason why I am expressing my views to you privately to avoid another season of demoralizing squabbles. Please help avoid another round of draining and negative public discourse.

Over the years, I have been actively involved in the opposition camp; sitting at the front row, watching the events (and dramas) of the opposition camp unfold, limp, and wither away. I have also been vocal in informing my readers in order to keep the promise that I had made when I first decided to fight the oppressive PFDJ regime; I have restrained myself from writing about your movement from fear of contributing to other confusion.

At this moment, I have a few concerns regarding your activities: (1) you are cannibalizing the existing activist entities instead of grooming your own. This doesn’t expand the opposition base; it hollows it out; (2) you are not contributing towards building a broad-based opposition which is the best way to defeat the PFDJ; (3) your position vis-a-vis the PFDJ is not clear; (4) the claim that you have connections in Eritrea may or may not be factual but the last entities that made such claims didn’t deliver on them; (5) at some point you will have to address the people and unless you prepare them by introducing yourselves, you will not get past the question of “where were you all these years?”

In what follows, allow me to elaborate on the above from the angle of: will your project work and what is the risk of a collateral damage.

  1. Unfortunately, so far you have not shown any respect for those who have been struggling for decades; instead you are belittling their achievements, be it big or small. Your dismissive response has been: “Show us any significant achievement!” The lack of significant achievements can be attributed to many factors and hindrances, part of which I believe some of you are guilty of. A healthy coalition cannot be built with such utter disrespect and denials of the sweat of others. I appeal to you to change that rhetoric in order to avoid further damaging polarization.Throughout the years, I have watched every popping entity working to cannibalize the existing entities, aggressively in an act similar to a corporate take-over. Your wild recruiting drive, always luring people from what they are doing, instead of strengthening them where they are, has created chaos and added to the already lacking trust among Eritreans—repeating the same practice that rendered the opposition ineffective for many years, and for which some of you are blaming it! Please tread outside your comfort zone more often and monitor the scene, you would discover the problems and grievances of others. Please be careful not to put a wedge amongst friends, there is a chance you might do that unintentionally. Luring people from what they are doing to build your own entity at the expense of others is not a wise idea; such practices of open rivalry should be left to post-PFDJ multi-party environment.Your trying to reinvent and control everything with the power of money doesn’t bode well considering the fact that many opposition organizations were beaten to death because of the meager help (in Birr) that they got from Ethiopia. And yes, I am worried about the future. So far you didn’t entertain the idea of adding value to the struggle; you chose to duplicate what many others are doing. Instead of joining hands with Assena, Arkokabay, Delina radio outfits and AlHiwar Television, and others, you chose to duplicate and scatter resources meant to advance our common goal. Unfortunately, what you are doing smells of a creation of a partisan media—another bad omen for the future of free press in Eritrea. Please explain to the public clearly whether you are political contenders or an ally of the anti-PFDJ opposition camp.
  2. I am assuming that you are for a complete structural democratic change in Eritrea; that I believe can only be achieved on the ashes of the PFDJ. So far, your rhetoric is being understood and perceived as a reformist agenda—getting rid of the top leadership only and inheriting the structure which will inevitably mean preserving the status quo. You would agree with me that this sounds like a power struggle; I advise you to refrain from making statements that might be understood or construed (or misconstrued) as romantic songs serenading the PFDJ. One point that pops up in your conversations is your defensive statements stating that “Wedi-Ali was PFDJ.” On the surface it might seem so, but then, I too was considered an Ethiopian citizen under Haile Sellassie when I was not. Don’t forget that Isaias is not only a PFDJ member, he is its founder and chief. It would be an insult to the intelligence of Eritreans to state that Wed-Ali and Isaias belong to the same entity. It would be a disservice to you (and many others) to state that your colleagues, the G-15, and their jailers belong to the same entity. It would be untenable to claim that all the suffering exiled-veterans, many of them your colleagues, belong to the PFDJ just like the tyrant!
  3. Since we are all Eritreans, it is natural for all of us to have connections with Eritreans inside Eritrea. The “we have connections inside Eritrea” tune is not new, it has been repeated over and over again, since the time most of you joined the opposition camp, around the year 2000. My experiences has been disappointing in this sphere, but I hope this time your claim has veracity and carries some weight. My advice: “show; don’t tell.” Shield yourselves from ridicule; it is overused and stale. These connections should not be your main selling points.
  4. As you all know, before employing someone for a job, employers run a credit history on potential employees to see their records and determine their fitness. It is natural that those of us in the opposition camp run such credit history from memory and experience. I beg you to stop vilifying those who have been struggling against the PFDJ regime for too long. ELF and EPLF rivalry ceased to exist in 1991; their legacy belongs to all Eritreans, equally. Reviving an exclusive camp is not a wise thing; liberal democrats are expected to shun such a practice not revive it. Since 1993, we have been living with the PFDJ which is getting uglier by the day. With this in mind, and given the record of some of your senior members who were on the wrong side when the G-15 were jailed (a major reason for many to switch sides, declare anti PFDJ position, and be allied with the opposition camp), you should expect the bitter, “where were you all these years?” challenge. Of course there is no gate keeper who accepts or rejects citizens to the opposition camp. But just like many of your members have the right to join the camp and say what they please, those of us who have been at it for years have the right to pose the unpleasant question to you. It is wise to help the opposition avoid a tit-for-tat discourse by explaining your goals clearly. Please note that those who joined the fray long ago, and have been toiling for years to gather the pieces, to expose the brutal regime…, those who maintained an opposition platform for others to come and join it, do not deserve to be belittled and ridiculed. Those of us who are married to the cause of justice and equality in post-PFDJ Eritrea, and have been struggling with dedication, have the right to protect our achievements.

Finally, please note that for the last two years or so, the opposition camp has been gaining unprecedented steady momentum. Kindly appreciate this momentum that the opposition camp has built with little resources, and refrain from damaging it. It is natural that many will see you as eagle-eyed politicians coming loaded with money to snatch the toil of others; you need a little humility to ameliorate the suspicion and skepticism. Of course, Eritreans have the right to struggle the way they see fit. But as a member of the broad opposition camp against the PFDJ, I appeal to you to please reconsider the way you are pursuing your affairs.

The above has been my attempt to help you see your image as perceived outside your closed circle; I hope you will be convinced to make the necessary adjustments.

I leave you with this old Arabic wisdom: اللهم اعنى على اصدقائى اما اعدائى فأنا كفيل بهم.

Thank you

Saleh “Gadi” Johar
California, January 22, 2014
telephone number given

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

Born and raised in Keren, Eritrea, now a US citizen residing in California, Mr. Saleh “Gadi” Johar is founder and publisher of Author of Miriam was Here, Of Kings and Bandits, and Simply Echoes. Saleh is acclaimed for his wealth of experience and knowledge in the history and politics of the Horn of Africa. A prominent public speaker and a researcher specializing on the Horn of Africa, he has given many distinguished lectures and participated in numerous seminars and conferences around the world. Activism was founded by Saleh “Gadi” Johar and is administered by the Awate Team and a group of volunteers who serve as the website’s advisory committee. The mission of is to provide Eritreans and friends of Eritrea with information that is hidden by the Eritrean regime and its surrogates; to provide a platform for information dissemination and opinion sharing; to inspire Eritreans, to embolden them into taking action, and finally, to lay the groundwork for reconciliation whose pillars are the truth. Miriam Was Here This book that was launched on August 16, 2013, is based on true stories; in writing it, Saleh has interviewed dozens of victims and eye-witnesses of Human trafficking, Eritrea, human rights, forced labor.and researched hundreds of pages of materials. The novel describes the ordeal of a nation, its youth, women and parents. It focuses on violation of human rights of the citizens and a country whose youth have become victims of slave labor, human trafficking, hostage taking, and human organ harvesting--all a result of bad governance. The main character of the story is Miriam, a young Eritrean woman; her father Zerom Bahta Hadgembes, a veteran of the struggle who resides in America and her childhood friend Senay who wanted to marry her but ended up being conscripted. Kings and Bandits Saleh “Gadi” Johar tells a powerful story that is never told: that many "child warriors" to whom we are asked to offer sympathies befitting helpless victims and hostages are actually premature adults who have made a conscious decision to stand up against brutality and oppression, and actually deserve our admiration. And that many of those whom we instinctively feel sympathetic towards, like the Ethiopian king Emperor Haile Sellassie, were actually world-class tyrants whose transgressions would normally be cases in the World Court. Simply Echoes A collection of romantic, political observations and travel poems; a reflection of the euphoric years that followed Eritrean Independence in 1991.

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  • michael tesfamariam

    I hate these three individuals,,, especially Andebrhan for his bizarre and stupid administration when he was appointed as president of UOA during early 1990s. Many professors were forced to leave the country because of his arrogant and ill administration.

  • Kezareb Delye

    Ever since Medrek decided to be in the open, Asmarino and Meskerem
    website seems to declare cease fire. Meskerem website does not re-name Asmarino
    Andenet on their website and both website post Medrek’s London seminar. Is there something I am missing? What is bringing these two website closer?

  • Amanuel9

    Haw AOsman,
    Thank you brother. We are swimming together in the Eritrean politics.

  • Ermias

    They say quality never goes out of style. Abrar Osman’s songs are forever alive. A couple words were hard to hear for me so please correct me on anything I may have missed. This is befitting to Medrekhawian.

    ፍቐሪ ሃገር ክሳብ ዘሎ ንነጻነት ንሓርነት ክንቃለስ ኢና ገናየ ገና
    ንሓቀኛ ለውጢ ገና ገና ብቕኑዕ ጎደና

    ስነ ምጉት ቃልሲ ንዝፈልጥ ህዝቢ (2)
    ለውጢ ንምምዝጋብ ኣብ ዘልዕሎ ናዕቢ
    ዓወት ብቓልሲ እምበር (2) ኣይኮነን ብወዝቢ
    ሃገር ንዘፍቅር ይኹኖ ንልቢ

    መንቀሊ ገዲፉ ጸላኢ ዘርብሕ
    ብወገን ብዓሌት ሓድነት ዝኹርክሕ

    ምግላጽ ዝኣመሉ ትጽቢት ዘይውክል
    እኩብ ድምር ሓሶት ዕላማ ዝሕንኩል

    መማህመኒ ሰውራ በታኒ ምሕዝነት
    ሓደገኛ ስዉር እሾኽ ናይ ምድር ቤት
    መላገብቲ ሕማም ልኡኽ ናይ ጎረቤት
    ዕድል ኣይንሃቦ ኣብ ሃገር ኣብ ስደት
    ንቓልሲ ንበገስ ብጽኑዕ ሓድነት

    ንሕሰብ ንመራመር ቁስልና ንምፍላጥ
    ድሑር ብምዃኑ ስንኩፍና ምጽቃጥ
    ምጽማም ገዲፍና ድኽመት ካብ ምሕንጋጥ
    ንግለጾ ሕማምና ብዘይ ገለ ምሕባጥ

  • Ermias

    A little over a week ago, I wrote this comment below in response to this article:

    “Dear SGJ,

    You should call a spade a spade. It is not your sincere advice that these old farts need, they need to be weeded out. No questions asked. These guys, Adneberhane and Co., have a ton of blood in their hands. They would be doing the exact samething as in the PFDJ leaders at home and abroad (if not worse) if given the opportunity. But they are not because IA handed them their behinds. We should utterly reject this movement called Medrekh dialogue whatever crap. They are not here to brigde any gaps. They are here to destroy the bridges and sabotage the momentum the opposition has gained in the recent past. Yes indeed – “where were you all these years?” (you = they).

    I hold every single hilgh level PFDJ official responsible for the blood of our brothers and sisters pre-and post-independence. Anything short of charging all of these guys for mass murder and destruction of Eritrean lives is a complete failure. I belong to no organization and I will fight these guys until my last day even if it takes bombing them with American drones. You (SGJ) are spot on when you say ‘Weed out the PFDJ Beast’ but you are wishful to think of these guys positively and optimistically even the slightest bit. I am agitated and furious at this article with all due respect.”

    I felt bad because I thought I may have been a little harsh and disrespetful to SGJ. But after reading this article by Amanuel Eyasu (assenna) about the inner workings of Medrekh (even if you only believe 10% of it), I feel like a prophet because I knew little about Medrekh but I always trust my gut feelings and it never fails me. They are a continuation of PFDJ. Once PFDJ is gone, I am sure SAAY will coin a nickname for them – NEO-PFDJ.

    • Thomas


      I never trusted any “Zete” with EFDJ and opposition crab. Where were these so called leaders of Zete, anyways? I strongly believe they came out the dictator’s a**S*** S**. They new the turning point/crossing line for the dictator was the Lampadusa and the senai. Also, the ministers and other military/pilots and very thing exposing the dictator’s crime against humanity. These people just came out to divert the intense of our struggle. I never trusted them and will never anytime in the future. I wonder why SAAY decided to fall for this people. SGJ – please be firm on your stand as millions of us know you are right. We are feed up with current regimes secrecy and we will never welcome or entertain any sort of that. They should have know better!!

  • Saba

    Ok, i will simplify this for you.
    1. If you belong to the “cyber” opposition parties, your achievement is all in your head.
    2. DIA and your “cyber” opposition parties are two bad apples, we need a new and a good one. I know you keep telling me that you are a better bad apple, but i do not see any difference between these two bad apples. The apple comparison is just for you to make it easy to understand, I invite you to look your party objectively.
    3. I am not Higdef. If you believe that anyone who does not belong to your “cyber” opposition party is supporter of PFDJ, you are like Alice in wonderland.

  • Optimistic

    “Medrek” might be a grassroots movement that might engulf the Eritrean Political spectrum. It might bind the divided community and maybe take us all to the promised land. We have been waiting for that movement and it might be it.

  • Saleh Johar

    Michael, whenever I give my opinion, I am judgmental Who gives an opinion without making a judgement? Being judgmental is natural and we should be judgements. Otherwise, how would we discern right from wrong?

  • Saleh Johar

    Selam Berhe, nice to hear from you….

    1.I have been talking to different people and expressing my concerns for a longtime but I didn’t get convincing answers. Yes, I expressed my concerns on every occasion I found.

    2. I didn’t receive any reply from them for my message.

    2. The purpose of my questions and engagement was to know their goals better because I needed to have a correct opinion about their movement. As a writer, I usually do my due diligence–research, ask for information and clarification and finally I arrive at an assessment of the situation. That is because I have to write about issues I consider important to the struggle. In short, I wanted to get their views before I rush to conclusion. Please note I have been following their movement since the spring of 2013.

    3. Based on past experience and the manner in which they communicate, I didn’t expect them to reply. After giving them enough time to acknowledge receipt or offer clarification, I concluded they were not going to respond.

    4. I commend you for your will to verify and I encourage you to challenge my views (rather findings) and shed light on points I might have missed or misjudged.

    Finally, I have given my views and assessment of Medrekh–it is my views based on my findings. My views stand on their own and can either be accepted or rejected (and challenged if need be). I wish you would get Medrekh’s position on my assessment, specifically based on the points I raised.

    Thank you

    • selam

      No no….I strongly advice Medrek not to entertain Salh Gadi’s opinion piece. Berhe can’t you see? He has different agenda. He is not seeking for understanding of Medrek’s mission and objectives but to saw seed of doubt among Eritreans so he could deny Medrek from having a broad base members. Dr. Assefaw and Andebrhan are not novices of Eritrean politics, they know what this guy is up to and that is why they gave him silent treatment.
      Salh- by the way, PIA told you in black and white that you need to go to the moon as Hesbawi Genbare is here to stay until the end of time.
      salhe, as Einstein said doing the same thing and expecting different result is the beginning of insanity….do being cyber warrior didnt produce any results’y for you. so when are you going to lift arms and fight PIA….. Ala Andargachew tsegie of Ginbot 7 of ethiopia… I will foot the aeroplane ticket to Shere. Bireket simon is offering you all you need….abey emo dunken coffee lemideka….klashin abey kleale:-)

      • Ermias

        Sophia, nickname kaa selam meritsiki anti aba hiwket.

        First things first, you maliciously misspelt the Great Gadi’s name. It is Saleh not Salh. It is right in front of your eyes but evil that you are, you did this maliciously.

        So now you are giving ‘good’ advise to ‘traitors’ – Medrekh – and in the same line you worship you Daddy Nsu. Talk about a swinger.

        For your information, we in the opposition, do not want to shed blood in our people so we will never go to Shire. Our fight is for rule of law and accountability, which is completely nonexistent in Eritrea just like polar bears. We will win no matter how long it takes because we are on the right side of our people and Eritreans are finally waking up as you can see the tide against Nsu.
        PFDJ until the end of time? Are you sure he didn’t mean until he dies which is soon, whether his liver finally quits on him or Forto 2.0? Just be ready Sophi. Be ready because you have committed attrocities against our people and you will be extradited to Wia to serve your time. No more Frappuchinos. Shinti Gemel yitsibeyki alo.

        • Selam

          Selam “Ermias”
          We will see who will prevail at the endl! So far PIA and his front have withered any storm that came on their way? Is Eritrea more isolated in 2014 than 2013? It takes time until all the falsehood Salh and his cohorts have been spewing into Eritrean cyber world start dissipating in thin air! and, now people are seeing the truth. Salh is full time engagement Zero sum calculation is only accelerating his aging process:) I was just offering Salh not too much attention to Medrek instead he should exert more of his energy on groups like Islamic Salvation of Eritrea where he has a clout! Medrek like politics is not his forte!! If Slah thinks that Dr. Assefaw and other veteran freedom fighters would budge down for his infantile threat on cyber world, he should think again…..”Ermias have you ever sat down and reflect on how Wedi Afom weathered all the obstacles on his way from the days of hezbawi hayletate till this day? Geles alowo Gele!! He is like gold each time he got tasted with fire, he come even brighter than ever!!
          BTW, Salh I once read what you wrote about your gastronomic experience at Awasa resort – you wrote highly of the Kitfo you ate paid by the late Meles Zenawi? how come they ahven’t invited you for the recent Addis get togather? are you falling out of favor already?

          • Guest

            Gadi is only good selling useless books. As for his political career, he already has smoked it away.
            Just tolerate his till his next useless book

      • Saleh Johar

        You doing them a disservice my dear. How do you reconcile you considering Isaiah’s god while the want him toppled? And please, don’t lie. I never said I ate Tre sga, maybe you have a craving for that. One more thing: try to be inventive, you are not created for humor, you are dry. If you stop your lies you could learn to be humorous…. With a lot of prayers.

        • Selam

          You are right Salh, you haven’t said you ate kitfo/tere sega upfront but i was attributing the five or six kilos that slapped to Kitfo: Read your comment about Hawassa, you painted it like heaven on earth but the place is filled with people ridden with abject poverty and unspeakable misery! Ofcourse you are paining those rosy pictures to please you master at that time “Talaqu Meri” Meles Zenawi: It was good food Salih ha:-)
          Salih Gadi about his impression of the futuristic city of Awassa:-)
          “…..Our hosts went to great length to make our stay as comfortable and as safe as possible. Comfort started from the buses that carried the attendants from Addis Ababa to Hawassa—clean, comfortable ‘class-A’ tourist transportation buses. Attendants lodged at the best hotels that Hawassa could offer, though hosting 600 people without hiccups, like shortage of hot water, is unavoidable given the fact that the entire residents of a hotel would take shower at the same time, six to seven o’clock in the morning. It is an exaggeration to even call it a hiccup. Food was too lavish and too varied that I began to skip meals altogether—I assume many have gained a few more kilos on the belly. Security was so tight around the city, and where we stayed in different hotels, that at times it felt a security detail was keeping his shadow on each of us. No mishap, no mugging, no personal injury not a single security complain at all. Six hundred people in a city for almost two-weeks with no incident is an amazing accomplishment and the security details of Hawassa, both the local and federal police who were brought in for the event, must be congratulated for a well planned efficient job.”
          I will post next week ETHSAT’s special report on life in Hawassa- just miserable……

    • berhe

      Thank you Saleh for taking the time to respond promptly. I am sorry it took long to respond back.

      After I re-read your article again, I think what you wrote is good and if Medrik took their time to respond it can only make them better. The only comment that I would like to make, is that:

      I know you haven’t said that, but in general terms:

      1) I don’t believe Medrik or any other (former PFDJ members) are working for the PFDJ. May be they have their own idea, but I don’t think that they wanted to weaken the opposition and take over power.

      2) I think we should leave for the people to decide what’s good for them. It’s good idea to inform and shed some lights, but I think in the end the people are smart enough to make their own decision.

      3) People (individuals or groups) have their right to form an opinion or organize as they see fit. We should not jump as if their statement or actions means the decision of the Unites States Supreme court like that of “Brown v. Board of Eduction”. It’s just their statement and their opinion, and they don’t have any supreme power to rule over our faith.

      4) Last but not least I think we need to learn from our neighbors and learn the outcome of their revolution. So for example, if we take the two extreme cases, Somalia and Tunisia. In case of Somalia, years of dictators and oppression of Said Barre have left a power vacuum that no body was able to fill. If one looks at the history of Somalia, I could be wrong but in their history they didn’t kill each other to the extent they did in the past 20 years. They converted the country from a relative African state to anarchy where there is NO body to take control. When we see the turn of events in Tunisia, well calculated revolution by the educated class has made some smooth transition to power with the former government, it’s bureaucrats and military institutions in tact. I think we should learn something from the outcome of the events that’s happening in our neighbors and see what the future may hold for us. If you ask me, though no body can grantee what the future holds, our country institutions are weaken (non existent) that there is no one can predict what happens when the Isayas regime falls. No country made a smooth transition of power, where there is no able body is ready to take over. Now Eritrea falls to that category in my opinion and the likely hood of civil war and anarchy is ripe. In this likely events if one needs to make a strategic decision and build on smooth transition with those in power, I think that may be an acceptable situation having full understanding that will lead to democratic institutions.

      5) We know for sure the Isayas regime will be gone by the act of God or Man. We just don’t know when, but it will happen. How can we prepare ourselves for that day?

      With Kindest Regards,

      • Saleh Johar

        Thanks Berhe though you responded when I almost forgot we have a go at this topic 🙂
        At any rate, I also agree with you but the way you presented your ideas seem as if you are rebutting mine. I think I should clear that.

        1. I don’t know who is working for PFDJ and who is not. But in politics, everything is done in stealth and we can see signs and deduce. That some people want to inherit the PFDJ institution is there and I gave example. That requires weakening any opponent to the idea of inheriting the PFDJ. It is a safe deduction.

        2. Your comment sounded as if someone had (or can) expropriate the decision of free individuals. Here you stated “we should leave for the people to decide what is good for them.” That is redundant because people have always been (and are) free to decide on whatever concerns them. I agree with you, and I recognize no one has the power to take that freedom from the people.

        3. I do not understand the “we should not jump….” But as a writer, whenever I see stuff that the public should know about, I jump, in fact I have long promised to jump in informing the people. If you check your number two about people deciding for their own, is not doable unless they are equipped with information. I do my part and then others either add, rebut or demolish the information and opinion others provided (like what i did). But yes, people have the right to form groups, institutions and organizations, but when their activities touch the fate and life of the public, we all have the right to criticism, rebut and question whatever we experience, see and hear. The right to do what you please publicly entails the right of others to question your moves. That right is distributed evenly to both parties.

        4. I agree with most of what you wrote here, but I question the seriousness and integrity of many players on that. “Kab temen z’tedahle, kab lHtsi tedahle” sort of thing 🙂

        5. Your number 5 is what many people that I know in the resistance have been debating since 1991. The fact that we failed to have clarity can be attributed to many factors. And that is an ongoing debate.

        Berhe, please do not disappear like you always do, honestly, we miss your old presence and support a lot.


  • berhe

    Dear Saleh,

    Before commenting on the content of the letter (which is more important), I don’t understand the following statements.

    You wrote:
    “Two weeks ago, I and my colleague Saleh Younis met Dr. Assefaw over lunch.” Did you raise those concerns during your meeting and what was his response?

    You also said:

    “This is the main reason why I am expressing my views to you privately to avoid another season of demoralizing squabbles. ”

    If this letter is meant to be private as you indicated, why then make it public.

    Based on date you indicated, it’s about 2 weeks from you met and also looks like from you send the letter.

    Can you indicate if you got any reply to your letter and or when do you expect to get?

    At this point, I think all I can see is your side of the story, and it’s unfair to comment without knowing what Dr. Assefaw and his group response was to your letter.


  • said

    Some Eritreans have become like a punch-drunk pugilist who can’t wait to hear the final bell, and all but ready to throw-in the towel at the first given chance. Through ignorance and lack of
    foresight, we should not let ourselves fall into the hole by carefully staged newly born opposition group ,in the past only way out we ever saw, was to clamber up over the bodies of our own fallen kinfolk. We are blinded by political difference ,regions , religion, deafened by ELF and EPLF, and disoriented by the lies and deception of the play-makers and the puppets they have installed on our thrones.
    Those who lack foresight, regret in hindsight, but one can also learn from this regrettable hindsight. By now we must surely have learned not to trust the hand that offers a soothing balm to our deep wounds, if it is the same hand which had inflicted those wounds in the first place. The
    crumbling pillars of the Eritrean state have all but collapsed, and the few that remain cannot be kept standing by the application of a few coats of paint.

  • Thomas

    I listened to parts of DIA’s interview on assenna, but as usual he has attacked his supporters.
    After listening to his speech, we would think his supporters to turn their back on him.
    His entire message targets the opposition
    Libyans for Lydians
    Sad, we have to end it that way

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear SGJ,
    The following questions for you from are just curiosity-driven and meant nothing in terms of my affiliation.
    1) Since this letter was addressed to them a couple of weeks ago, have you received or heard any response from them? If yes, would mind sharing the key content of it with us?
    2) If it was originally and exclusively a letter written to them, what triggered you now- two weeks later- to make it public?
    Thanks, Hayat.

    • Araya

      Would you also please tell us which restaurant, what you guys
      ordered and who paid the bill when you went you, sal and Dr Assfaw to lunch?
      Hayat, you might ask that too as well, Weregna. why do you love gossip?

    • Saleh Johar

      Selam Hayat,

      1. No Hayat. I didn’t receive a reply and I didn’t expect one.
      2. Since a longtime I ago, I made a promise to inform my readers. Please check my reply to Berhe.

  • Thomas

    As part of the Eritrean community, you must have your own standing. Why do you wait for the others, opposition parties, to become real oppositions. Silence is not a contribution by any means. Can you expect to feed yourself without working? Please refrain from using blame games. You cannot keep encouraging the silent majority to remain silent and to those who are saying no to dictatorship as fake oppositions. Your agreement is not making sense at all! If your goal is to kill the opposition parties, come out and say it! Why are you afraid of?

    • Saba

      If the spectrum of the way you think is just black&white(DIA or No DIA), then it is really hard to debate. My spectrum is complete. I do know your spectrum.
      Well I have said a couple of times that the “CYBER” opposition parties are to be scraped off, to use the new hot words sur neqel/sur betek, kab surom kibiteku/kiniqelu alewom. Let me give you a big picture first and then I will explain later.
      In terms of political affiliation, I can classify Eritreans into: 1)The “SILENT” majority 2) “proud”PFDJ supporters(proud because they have yPFDJ T-shirts:)) 3) activists(individual or in groups) 4)the few followers of “CYBER” opposition parties and 5) the “missing” REAL
      opposition. I have tried to be active with the “CYBER” opposition parties and I come to the conclusion that they are ineffective and hindering our struggle (their effect to the struggle
      is not zero, it is negative, misguided if you think it is positive)
      So I am advocating for the “missing” REAL opposition, based on not just with EPLF/ELF agendas but all inclusive with the predominance of “ non EPLF” “non ELF” Eritrean ideas.
      So where do you think you belong in my classification? May be number 3 or 4 but not both. Intrinsically an activist can not belong to the “CYBER” opposition parties but someone in the “CYBER” opposition party can claim to be an activist. If you think we have to choose between a diactator and a future dictator(the black&white spectrum), our struggle will be long and costly. 13+ years is enough to make judgement.

      • Ben Yam

        What is the benefit of your catagory of oppositions? Where is your role in any catagory? Can your passivity would be an acceptable excuse or it is a lame excuse? Why you don’t do your own part instead of trying to undermine the noble actions of ” delyti fethi” who oppossed the regime & who started oppossing in early 2000s when PFDJ dominated the diaspora spehere, and when they started with few numbers though many people like you enjoy a family gathering, fear Higdef, go & come to Asmara or stop to opposing until your housing project in Eritrea is finished. Don’t be hypocrite by showing your classification, lame excuse and undermining the oppositions. Even a small contribution should have appreciable.

  • Alellah

    There have been close to 23 projects for 23 years and alas no tangible result because of their core religious fanatics, personal vendettas stands that are not welcomed by the Eritrean People. Imagine these political parties dining and wining in Addis Ababa, Mekele and Awassa for the last 20 or so years trying to whole sale their projects to the Eritrean People, real Defunct Projects. Now a new one is coming and the initiators of the defunct projects want this new ” winter project” face the same fate as theirs. Let’s give these people a chance and let’s see their agendas

  • Eyob Medhane

    Sal, Gash Saleh, Haile, Hayat, Papillon, Amanuel Hidrat,

    How are you all?!… I am back.


    I went back home, and asked the ‘weyanes’ to pay me all that money they owe me for all the work I did for them, as their ‘mid level’ cadre. They refused. Their reason was you blew up my cover and just busted me. You figured it out exactly, who I am and my ‘cadre’ level. Tsk, tsk tsk…. See what you did?

    Gash Saleh,

    What? Now you are telling me that there is an Eritrean political party called Medrek? You realize that ‘Medrek’ is the only Ethiopian party that has the lone seat in Ethiopian Parliament, right? It is also expected to be the major contender in the next year’s election. Now how are we going to identify the Ethiopian Medrek and the Eritrean Medrek, when we discuss them? I think this is a conspiracy to unify the two countries. This must be the work of the ‘neo andinets’, ‘gehdli defamers’, ‘Haileselassie loyalists’, ‘Ethiophiles’, ‘Ethiopian ultra nationalists’…..We must be doing something about these people, or before we know it, members of the Eritrean Medrek will start eating ‘Tre Siga’..


    Apparently, a lot happened, since I went and came back.

    Martha Stewart cooks and eat Doro wot and takes ‘Gursha’ in front of the entire American public..from all people, with you..(or with your separated at birth twin)

    And some crazy funny dude found a new way to break news (Seber Zena) (That thing killed me) I laughed for days non stop…


    I hope you’re doing well and fully recovering. Glad to see you here setting everybody straight. ..

    Alright y’ll great to see al of you…

    • Amanuel Hidrat


      welcome back to our political discussion. Hoping you are coming with new spirit to engage on people to people diplomacy, rather on history that we all have different opinions. Looking for a constructive dialogue is the task in front of us. We shouldn’t be dragged by diversionists . Let us stay focus on the issue that matters to the good relationship of our peoples.

    • saay7

      Seber Zena, Eyobai is back. Welcome back! How is Emama Ethiopia and is she expecting again? I would like a reportage.

      • Eyob Medhane

        Oh, Sal,

        You know Emama Ethiopia. She’s always expecting. She in fact has reached her 92millionth recently. Cute babies. That Emama Ethiopia knows how to deliver them so beautiful. Doesn’t she? How does she do it?…

        I was watching bein sports channel this morning, and there was a hot debate that Genzebe Dibaba broke world in door record back to back for 1500 and 3000 meters in four days difference, and some American and Canadian commentators were absolutely convinced that she was on the ‘juice’. The debate reminded me that I am back in US, where any athlete is a suspect of doping, if they happen to be successful. The absurdity of the argument fell apart, when one of the panelists, former Canadian track star Mark Forman made a claim that she is trained by Omar Jama Aden, a track coach, who has the most successful track athletes, who later on many of them are found to be guilty of doping. He managed for a minute to create the cloud and illusion over Genzebe’s record. Right after the break, the moderator of the panel poured such a cold water on Mark’s claim, by checking the fact and declared that Genzebe has never been trained by Aden and her coach is Negussie Gichamo of Ethiopia, who is the same coach that trained Mohammed Aman and Mekonnen Gebremedhin. You should have seen the embarrassed look of Mark, yet he marched on by saying that “…y’know this coach also should be checked out..” It was hilarious… I guess such sleazy stuff was out of my system for the last five weeks, when I was away and I am delving right into it with the famous Jon Stewart expression holding my five fingers kissing them “…emmmmmmmmm mwa..” and blew the kiss…..

        I will have the reportage to you incrementally. But for now, I managed to caught a glimpse of his excellency Girma Asmerom at Bahir Dar AU ministers and Ambassador’s ‘retreat’. Can you please advise him to lose his blue sweater vest? He kind of looked funny in it. Sweater vest is so….19th century..I was going to approach his excellency and inform him about all of your ‘dangerous’ activities here in awate. But, y’know…our friendship has sort of held me back…. 🙂

    • Hayat Adem

      Hey Eyob,
      Thanks and welcome. Waiting for your lengthy debriefing on everything.

    • Dawit

      As you can see on the picture, Eyobay entertains his distinguished guests from the government. In recognition of his exemplary work and dedication to the party, the high level government officials, led by the prime minister, visit his house.

      === Welcome back Eyobay. I can imagine you may have gained weight eating “Tire Siga” with “Areke/Tej”===

      • Eyob Medhane

        Hey Dawit,

        Thank you so much.
        Oh yeah. There were lots of ‘Tre Siga’. My next mission is to make sure all of you my Eritrean friends start eating ‘qurt’. Especially, Gash Saleh. He’d love it… 🙂

    • Saleh Johar

      Welcome back Lij Eyob,
      I am glad Ennat Ager is doing fine, just worried about the bzhu wetabazehu that your folks seem to have taken literally 🙂

      Good you were rubbing shoulders with Girma Asmeraom, Esquire. I am disappointed you were worried about his 19th century vest, I am worried about his regime’s 19th century mentality.

      How dare you compare an Ethiopian Medrek to an ERITREAN Medrekh–please add an H, we do not appreciate our KH being pronounced as h. Why don’t you omit Hameru-ha from your alphabets is you cannot pronounce it properly. You spoil it when you fail to pronounce HA (not ha) and KHA (not haaaaaa).

      I though Ethiopian will stop eating Tre Sga when meat export picked, you are still at it? Ugziooooo!

      I don’t would like to know what Martha said after that experience in her private sitting…. I wouldn’t blame her if she badmouthed the Gursha… I did it once and I run out to throw-up!

      The Seber Zena professor was indeed funny, like many Ethiopian opposition shows.

      Welcome back Eyob, in your absence, we redecorated the room just for you…Now stop insulting Eriteans in your new life 🙂

      • Eyob Medhane

        Gash Saleh,

        Well, I think Girma’s vest is an indiction of his 19th century mentality. It just caught my eyes, because it stood out a bit behind the times, as probably where his world view is…

        I loved the new high heels and bright lipstick is wearing. Very attractive… 😉

        About ‘Kh’ and ‘h’, I got only the following to say…

        “..እስቲ ‘ኣ’ በል..”


        “..ትግርኛ አትችልም አባቴ ይሙት..”

        “..ይሄ ጉሮሮ የሚፍቅ ቛንቛ….እስቲ አንቺ መቶ በይ..”


        “..እስቲ ‘አንተ’ በይ..”


        “..አንቺም አማርኛ አትችይም: አባቴ ይሙት..”

        (Taken from a conversation from the main characters of the famous book of Bealu Girma, ‘Oromay’) 🙂

        Glad to hear from you…

        • Saleh Johar

          That’s hilarious. BTW, two days ago I retrieved Baalu Girma’ novel to check what he said about the bible…and unknowingly I started to read the book anew… I am on page 72…This time I feel I might find some nuggets in it. Be careful dealing with the lipstick!

  • Ermias

    Great analysis Thomas! I loved it.

  • Araya

    If it is not enough 34+ dead organizations, now this, Medrek? if you have any mind to analyze; then, the lion of Naqfa has told you everything you need to know. incase you missed it, he said; Yesterday EPLF, Today, PFDJ, and tomorrow YPFDJ. Now, which part are you not getting it. He told you to take the hike. hahah

  • s michael

    Salih G.J.
    Well said as usual but I felt that you are being judgemental too early.Hope they will accept your points.
    My concern is limiting dialog to certain groups only.They already failed right there by discriminating.Ideally,PFDJ including PIA should be included as well.
    As Professor Tesfatsion said it,first thing FIRST -NATIONAL Reconciliation, then National Conference.
    I was surprised when you expressed it in a way that the agenda of the GROUP is only to remove PIA and not the system.Are you kidding?How do you know that?You did the same thing when you attempted to tarnish the EPDP and it’s leadership.I think it is unfair to do that.Just join them and contribute your part ,man.We need to respect the opinion of others too and challenge as needed or try to correct things as needed.
    May sound like ” my way is the HIGHWAY”.
    I am sure they will develop guideline s,rules and regulations and they will follow commonsense.
    Inclusiveness is a necessity by all means and irrespective of anything and no matter what.Exclusions and preconditions are signs of a failure.

    • abi

      Well said Michael!

  • Thomas


    I like the pressure you put on Medrick and clearly, there was something strange on their way of engagement. The demise of EFDJ is the core of our straggle. I thought that Medrick can be a facilitator and would work to narrow the division among the oppositions. I don’t want to rush in to conclusions, they need to know that we got much wiser than any time before. The time is not safe to entertain wrong doings. It will be wise to remember that our civil society are the leaders of the resistance. Neither the old EPLF nor EFDJ or any liberation fighters can turn the resistance against those who betrayed what we fought for….

    • Saleh Johar

      Thanks you for the comment. But please remember there was no entity that didn’t claim it will facilitate and bridge gaps when it is launched.

      • Thomas

        Yes, I am with you on that. Something is cooking, but let’s see where they are heading with this. As we got older, we have become more wiser. I listen to DIA’s interview parts of interview on assenna, but as usual it has attacked his supporters. Those who has been waiting for him to change has turned to complete idiots. What a shame!! After listening to his speak, you would think people turn their back on him. Now what? Talking about democracy (those who hope that to happen must go to mars), talking about internet/cyber (even superpowers are giving up on it’s uses), Multiparty (again to mars in searching for it), on energy (have more than enough/having it surplus/like an “elephant” is not necessary), on houses (from begging diaspora eritrean to invest on housing to promise on loaning/mortgage to people living inside the country- Nakfa national currency will work this time:))). Generally, DIA is just being sarcastic. He knows we all are feed up with him.

        His entire messages targets the opposition. I think he is finally feeling the heat. Though he was not direct in his speech. We can safely say now we, the diaspora Eritreans, have defeated his regime.

        When listening to his talk, I burst into tears while laughing with sadness. I think this guy has reached the stage Gedafi had when he said “My people love me” That was when the CNN journalist interviewed him. Ironically, the Lydians were across him chanting “death to Gedafi”. Sad, we had to end it that way.

  • Saba

    You said “I have a long held belief that any thought of reforming the regime is as bad as giving it a new lease on life”. I agree with you on that. But i would say also “I have a long held belief that any thought of reforming the CYBER opposition is as bad as giving it a new lease on life”
    More analysis of your article to come.

    • Dawit

      Can you tell us what you mean by “CYBER opposition”. Do you consider yourself one of the “CYBER oppositions”? I assume you mean that any one who opposes others by writing online is a CYBER “teqawamay”. If that’s so, you are also being one of the the very phrase you have coined to attack others-CYBER oppposer. This self-flagellation will lead you to abandon both PFDJ and Anti-PFDJs.

      • Saba

        Hi Dawit, by “CYBER opposition” i meant to say political PARTIES in which their representation/opposition does not go outside the internet. I am not a political party, i do not have followers inside or outside the internet but i use the internet. It refers to political PARTIES, not news organization or individuals.
        One of the reason why DIA is still in power is because there is no alternative, credible, REAL(not cyber only) opposition party. I can divide Eritreans interested in politics into: 1) SILENT majority 2) PFDJ supporters 3) the few followers of “CYBER” opposition parties. I am on the silent majority and i keep coming back to it.
        There are many reasons why the opposition parties remain cyber. So instead of focusing on these “CYBER” opposition parties, it is time to look for NEW opposition parties with REAL representation.

      • Dawit

        Let me add one more opposition camp to your list: the silenced majority. These people are living inside Eritrea but can’t speak their mind; they have become like rabbits that spy a dog. In other words, the silent minority have deliberately chosen to keep quiet; however, the silenced majority are always forced to not speak against PFDJ.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Silenced or “siqtawian” are not oppositions by definition. They could be one way or the or the other….which means “supporters or opposers.” Until they come up explicitly one way or the other they are those who goes with flows. You see Haile always categorize the siqtawian with the forces of change but they aren’t always. Siqtawaian are opportunists watching from the rear sit.

        • Saba

          The ‘SILENT” are diverse, some want to change DIA but did not find any real opposition party to represent them, some are opportunistic, previous DIA beneficiaries, and some are ZINEGESE NIGUSNA but not DIA.
          Supporters of the “CYBER” opposition parties are diverse too, they are not monolithic. Some are looking for democracy, some are power hungry, and some are for ethnic/religious reasons only.

    • Ermias


      • Saba

        This insult should not be allowed by the awate moderators since it does not help to the discussion and it is a personal attack.

      • Araya

        Ermias, Duhur
        you are backward. why are you insulting Saba?

      • Ermias

        What I wrote is far less damaging than someone making a complete mockery and ashkaelal of our fight. You guys need to know who is on the right side of our people and who is not. Protecting the likes of Nitricc and Saba is a waste of resources.

        • S Michael

          Who gave you the right to say/to do so?This is a dialog/forum.You better respect the rules.
          S Michael

        • Saba

          Ermias, you do not deserve my response but i can see you frustrated. I might help you to reflect on your struggle. Remember most people in EPLF were struggling for democracy and now look what is the result. They have not discussed enough about the post-independence as you are hindering the discussion on post-isayas. These “CYBER” opposition parties have not produced any tangible result other than telling me what DIA did and is doing, which i know in first hand. I have tried to engage with some of them and they started to attack me personally, as you did. This personal attack, character assassination, happens also to many other “NON EPLF”, “NON ELF” citizens, activists or intellectuals. As a result most people go back to the “SILENT majority” group because the opposition camp is toxic. That is why i rephrased this: “I have a long held belief that any thought of reforming the CYBER opposition is as bad as giving it a new lease on life”. If you want REAL change in Eritrea, you have to represent the “SILENT majority”. I know it is painful to throw your 14+ years of work and start over from the scratch, but NO REAL OPPOSITION no real change!
          All the things i say is not personally directed to anyone, i just see things holistically, what is the best for the Eritrean people.

          Lastly, if you are fighting for democracy, remember what Voltaire said: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”.

          • S Michael

            To the point again.Never kneel down except when you pray and shoot(My own Ali Abdu’s motto)

          • Ermias

            Well Saba. I don’t think I can help you but any trace of change that has so far been realized came about from the cyber opposition you highly despise. The Eritrean people would probably have never heard about lampedusa if it weren’t for people like Haile, this website, Examples of such nature are abound. Like you said it’s only been 14 years but IA has been planting his root for 50+ years but now he is on the verge of implosion. I would characterize our fight really productive given the short time and how much of a strong grip the dictator has enjoyed. So wake up, smell the coffee and help your people by dropping your antagonism of the great opposition masses.

          • Saba

            Ermias, i was really expecting your apology for insulting me.
            I think you misses some of the points i raised. When i say “CYBER” opposition parties, i am referring to political parties, not to news organization.
            In short,
            1) regarding the news organizations, they should improve on their reliability/predictive value. But definitely they are better than the opposition parties. Sometimes this low achievement is due to activism but you can be activist based on facts, not just based on twisted or cooked news.
            2) regarding the “CYBER” political opposition parties, they are to do over again. They are drugging the struggle.
            I thing we agree generally on changing DIA regime but we do not agree on preventing future DIA the like.
            Anyway what will your “CYBER” opposition parties do if DIA netseliu teklilu ni sudan inte geyshu kem menghie?

          • Ermias

            Saba, the word I used (‘to insult you’) is usually associated with fiestiness and cuteness. Since you do not like it, then I take it back. My apologies.

            The irony here is that I have been called much worse including ‘go beat your wife’, ‘go play with your children and wife’ and more.

            The Awate Team never raised their eyebrows on those vulgar and terrible words because some people here are good for business, which is the case with a young man called Nitricc who has no other valuable contribution. I am dispensible but the controversial ones like yourself and Nitricc are a rare breed around here.

            To come to the meat of things – when you first raised the word cyber, it was CYBER opposition. You made no mention of parties and news organizations. Hence to me, simply CYBER opposition includes me and I think you also but I am not sure exactly where you stand. In any case, I belong to no organization whatsoeve and I never have. I do not know anything about them except that they are remnants of ELF for the most part.

            At this point, my understanding is that we need to rescue our people from further downfall and hardship. The best way to do that is to isolate the regime completely which is well under way. I have literally been going door to door and debating with people and telling them the realities on the ground. If we all can turn around a few people each, that can go a long way.

            If DIA escapes, then the people led by Warsai will revolt and eat the generals and colonels alive. He is so extremely feared but once he is gone, you will see the anger of the people boiling over and burning the military chiefs. My hope then is some wise group of men and women to install a transitional government…

          • Abi

            Wow! I am proud of you. That is what I call an Eritrean.

    • Ermias

      The CYBER oppostion, as you wrongly, call it doesn’t need any new lease on life or whatever. It is full of life and vibrant as ever. Do some reading and you will learn that most of the grassroots movements around the world emanate from social media and forums like this. If we had a free flow of information in Eritrea (as you have it wherever you are but you seem ungrateful about your luck), these brutes wouldn’t be in power until now. But our people are suppressed and deprived of anything that the average human being is freely enjoying at this day and age. Most of the damage to the DIA regime came about from the internet at the forefront of which is During the war of 1998 – 2000, a lot of the propoganda and war of words were carried out on the internet as well, visafric, dehai, asmarino, etc. So before you look down on the pioneers of our opposition movement, please do some research and be respectful to all of us who spend day and night, writing, researching, reading, petitioning to depose of this regime and bring about real change to our people. Most of us here, including SGJ and SAAY, are well off and we could simply forget about Eritrea and live happily ever after. But we have families there suffering at the hands of a few junta criminals. So please be mindful of our struggle and if you can’t help, at least refrain from making a mockery of our miseries. Thank you very much!

    • S Michael

      To the point, and cannot agree more.
      S Michael

    • selam

      The way forward is to reform eplf and manage the country along the lines of Chinese communist party which successfully implemented a hybrid economy. If we are going to continue having a country called Eritrea, we need reformed hezbawi ginbare….. Kalea suq elka ajewjew yu. Saleh gadi…, u might as well start looking for seniors home in beautiful cali…cus issaise and his part are there to stay for long long time to come.

  • Bini T

    SG, it is good job to tell these criminals up front. We don’t need to do a through back ground check to know the crimes done by AW, MH and others criminals who formed a HIGDEF- cloned group. These guys have tried to infiltrate in the opposition camps and play on us by saying ” we have more money”, ” we have more connection “, …etc . Although their claim is totally lie, we still don’t alow to see another Higdefian criminal group with a new promise package. We need a total change. These criminals are not the individuals who deliver us a total change. They are intending to infiltrate in the opposition camps by going to Bologna as well as by hatching new groups , like Medrek. Unlike radical oppositions, those of decent opposition groups are the main target & favorite of such criminal, Higdef clone groups. We should take care , try to work with each other rather than attracted by such criminals of Higdef sister companies.

  • haile

    Selamat SGJ & Awatista,

    This is the closest to sobriety that I have read in connection to Medrek. As I
    see it, here is the conflicted reaction the guys are getting:

    1 – They are unlikely to deliver results in the way they are set up (in their
    current form) and risk undermining the existing momentum by dividing opinions
    in a futile “Winter Project”.

    2 – That they are likely in cahoots with disgruntled regime sections and what
    they might bring about “palace coup” isn’t enough.

    Your view point seems not to be firmly committed to one or the other of 1 or 2
    (No confidence or some confidence)

    Public reaction is mixed. Some are willing to give it a chance, believing that:

    a: any thing would do for orderly transition

    b: once IA (mob leader) is ousted, they’ll never be able to fully control the
    situation and “sur beteK” (“sur neqel” is amharanized
    tigrigna) would be imminent. Remember, IA’s support base is essentially made up
    of corrupt army commanders and people who have compromised their morality. The
    latter is helpless people who have to be helped by a decisive move to effect
    change. Think of the as a drag addicted parent who would turn blind eye to an
    abuser of their children to simply secure their next fix. Whatever is holding
    them to PFDJ would hold them there till the nation is completely collapsed. I
    know the inner workings in the PFDJ and trust me when I say that the prats
    despise each other so much that they wouldn’t see eye to eye once their sugar daddy
    is gone. Hence, an opposition that is divided, a “supporter” that is
    only after #1 (Own behind) and a disgustingly criminal armed commanders is
    roughly the contour of the future ahead. IA is a done deal, and turbulent transition
    is a sure thing to happen.

    The question is that are we going to be broad minded and allow for more
    autonomy for others to do their thing and less judgement and predictive
    analysis? Because the transition in Eritrea has already began. IA has NOTHING
    to bring to the table and has made his choice to confront the people, his
    supporters have been slammed against the wall by his implosion, and his
    generals are fighting over less. We need to condition our mind to the new
    reality and approach matters holistically. Here is a new song by the way, by
    the great artist Amanuel Zemichael 🙂

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Hey Haile,
      “sur-Neqel” is pure tigrigna, in fact from the center of tigrigna speaking. If you grew up in the rural area you will know it.

      • S Michael

        Aman and Haile,
        We cannot refute the fact that both Tigrinya and Amahric have the same parent-Geez.
        Not a big deal to borrow words–the nature of Linguistics.
        S Michael

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          S. Micheal, you are correct. But there are individuals that if it is not spoken in the surrounding they grow. Yes Geez is the parent-language of tigrigna/Amharic as Latin is to many European languages. If Haile questioned again Sur-Nequel again I will advice him where to go to find that vocabulary. Let me give you an example in a sentence: Nequel abilu awsi’ewo.

          • haile

            Hey Aman an S Michael

            I think Aman has a point in as far as local dialects vary. However, if you look at the phase “sur neqel” it is not like considering if “neqele” is correct. The former is a compound that describes a concept. “sir neqel” in amharic is equivalent to “sur beteK” or “sur m’Eho” in Tigrinya. In fact, the second one “sur Me’ho” is appropriate. “BeteK” leaves a part or breaks into two pieces. “neqele” is commonly used to mean “start out” as in “kab libey zneqele” “angihu neqele”… I said “sur neqel” amharanized, simply because “neqele” is commonly used to mean “Meha’we, borqeqe, mezuHaqe….” in Amharic. Now this is only looking at common usages. Cultural, historical and demographic characteristics don’t often correlate with etymology per se.

          • haile

            Sorry…not finished yet:

            “sur neqel” in Tigrinya has common meaning as “starting from the root” not as in Amharic “weeding out from the root”. So, Tigrinya “sur neqel lewti” means changing PFDJ starting from the root. It doesn’t make it clear if the “change” is reform, transform or get rid of. “Sur Meho” tells you of the change being intended to “dispose” it completely. Political language need to be as precise and direct as possible of the intended meaning. In politics, words are your main currency.

          • Amanuel Hidrat


            Neqel de’a yeblka mber it is tigrigna. (you see my curse doesn’t go anywhere but most mothers use it when you make them angry). Now again you want to throw it as local dialect. Initially your argument sound “it isn’t tigrigna”. If your question is its usage “improper usage” of the word I can agree with. So Saleh was right to say “Sur-neqel” b/c he was talking about fundamental change. Sur-betek and sur-neqel are synonyms words. Just wait we don’t have well studied etymology of tigrigna yet.

          • ቶማስ ሰሎሞን

            I wonder if sur beteK is more appropriate than sur neqel. I heard the first one more often than the second one.

          • Haile, regarding the two words you remarked about, you are wrong that sur-neqel is an Amharanized word. You messed up in your follow up response even more. The root word neQele in Tigrigna has two meanings: the first, as you already said it means to start, tebegese in Tgrigna. This word is commonly used. The second one, which means to remove by the root or as if by pulling up by the root. In Tigrigna this word is rarely in use, not only because it has a narrowly targeted use, but also because, almost exclusively, it is used in its metaphoric form-to remove as if by pulling up by the root. The object, plant is being used for mental imagery. In contrast, its counter part in Amharic has a broader meaning: to remove, to eradicate, to pull out, and of course to uproot; thus you hear it a lot more often there. So the use of the word in Saleh’s piece was in its proper context. Just like you uproot a plant to make sure that it does not thrive again in the land, a suggestion has been made to uproot an organization to make sure it does not rebound to prominence in society again.

            Saleh should not have conceded to your correction. To settle it once and for all, hopping that you will see it with an open mind, I will give you an example: over the years you might have heard an embittered mother uttering several times “ati nesKis neQil de’a yeb’elki” or the insult “yinqellaKe ‘dia: gual Haram.” I myself and many others grew up hearing it being used in that context. It is an authentic Tigrigna term. Now, back to the compound word as used in the piece, such type of construction is more typical in Tigrigna than in Amharic even though the style is Ge’ez adoption which predates both languages. Again to give you another example: the words seb-messel and siga-lebbes are exclusively Tigrigna adoptions while semay-Teqqes and lebb-welled happen to be used in both languages; however an Amhararic speaker could claim his party coined ayyer-welled first, but it does not mean it is an Amharic word because Ge’ez provided the construction style.

            Finaally, the word you substituted, sur-beteK does not exactly mean the same as sur-neqel because you are not separating the plant from the soil; you are only clipping or cutting the root; which leaves you with a dull mental imagery in your expression.

          • haile

            Selam Tsige,

            Declaimer: Limited expertise and willingness to learn assured on my part.

            I find your explanation very good, although I understand it is not easy (for all of us) to conclusively validate our respective claims.

            Let’s look at the forms: ሱር-ነቀል would then have to be formed as ሱር-ነቐል Please identify which of the following would be correct:

            1) ነቲ ምስማር ምስ ነቐሎ እቲ ከብሒ ወዲቑ።

            2) ነቲ ምስማር ምስ ነቀሎ እቲ ከብሒ ወዲቑ።

            Now, please do the same in the following Amharic corresponding:

            1) ስሩን ሲነቅለው፡ ዛፉ ወደቀ።

            2) ስሩን ሲነቕለው፡ ዛፉ ወደቀ። the ቐ is replaced by stressing the ቀ instead.

            If we are in the same page, then you would end up forming it as ሱር-ነቐል። Not so common and the problematic distinction between its formation and usage obviously points to it being an adopted terminology.

            Hearing something all the time while growing up may not be the best of evidences for analytical validity of once assertions. Incidentally, I knew an Eritrean man called ኣሸናፊ growing up in Eritrea. That doesn’t make it a typical Eritrean name in the highland region that I grew up. There are reasons why people end up certain terms and I am not saying that I have conclusive evidence but that was my take.

          • Saba

            I agree with you. Surka ti betek is more superficial than surka ti neqel. My auntie used to say to her son “surka ti neqel” when she is really mad. But i have to say i never heard of using sur-nekel or sur-betek directly as they are, not conjugated form.

          • Saba, this is what I can share with you: I am not a linguist by training, but I am old enough to have studied inTigrigna from grade 1 to 4, just before Amharic took over. I also happen to have been to a catholic boarding school whose curriculum included Ge’ez, which was an eye opening experience in terms of learning word forms and etymology, from grade 5 to 8. This background coupled with my own keen interest of language and an insatiable taste for style has, I believe, given me an enlightening exposure. I have grown up hearing country-side Tigrigna and enjoying masse and melqes in areas were it is a “staple” of ceremony and celebration. That said, what I could tell is just like you would create an adjective in English using a hyphen to place it before the noun it qualifies, in Tigrigna too, you could combine some select words based on a style adopted from Ge’ez as I have stated earlier.

          • Ermias

            Impressive! Even your English writing style is exquisite. I hope you stick around and contribute in this forum more often. A Tigrinya school headed by you and Haile could be useful to some of us.

          • Haile, I read the e-mail you sent me yesterday, but I could not respond to the questions you asked me on time.

    • Saleh Johar

      Z Haile,
      Thank you for correcting the word to Sur-Betekh, live more learn more….
      As you said, I agree there are well intentioned people who are so scared of the future and the possible risk to the well being of Eritrea. I see them leaning towards a sham change of regime. We do not have the luxury of being that analytical when a tyranny is chocking Eritreans, it is something that has to be done, regardless. It should not be Sebaay delikhin ChiHmi tseliekin type of thing..

      As you know, if there happens a palace coup, it is beyond our control, but we have to warn against unjust, unfair change that doesn’t meet the expectations of the people… a change not commensurate with the sacrifices that was paid and is still being paid. That applies to any collaborator who plans with anyone to protect his back and at the same time enjoy the privileges they acquired during the long dark years of the PFDJ rule. Those, I am sure, are looking for an exit strategy and would be easily convinced to jump ship and abandon Il Capo. Still, we have to scream from the bottom of our lungs to let them know that nothing less than the eradication of injustice is accepted, including the system that is perpetrating oppression. Besides, I loath people who think everyone in Eritrea is their private militia, as if we are from Czechoslovakia or Tjikstan, with no relations and friends in Eritrea. I am confident when the day of reckoning arrives, all aspirants to easy ascension to power will be disappointed.

    • ethiopia

      ”sur neqel” and ”medrekh” both of them Amharanized words, do you think they can be undercover unionist? simple question.

    • S Michael

      This is typical for Eritrean politics any way but why are you quick to judge though?.I agree with most of what you said but let them try it and try to join the camp,man!
      Give them a chance and contribute something constructive and help them as to how to succeed.After all, isn’t that what we are missing-lack of Dialog,ihim mihim,sharing ideas,reconciliation,rapproachemnt,mutual respect,listneing to each other,unity in diversity,etc—.It is past due.
      This is like aborting a fetus in its first trimester.
      S Michael

  • Aron

    SGJ,Great advise brother, but I thought Medrek is working to create some kind of dialog forum among the change coalitions(I refuse to use the term ‘opposition’) in and outside Eritrea not for power…..maybe they are breeding herbivorous? I love it anyways.

  • Ermias

    Dear SGJ,

    You should call a spade a spade. It is not your sincere advice that these old farts need, they need to be weeded out. No questions asked. These guys, Adneberhane and Co., have a ton of blood in their hands. They would be doing the exact samething as in the PFDJ leaders at home and abroad (if not worse) if given the opportunity. But they are not because IA handed them their behinds. We should utterly reject this movement called Medrekh dialogue whatever crap. They are not here to brigde any gaps. They are here to destroy the bridges and sabotage the momentum the opposition has gained in the recent past. Yes indeed – “where were you all these years?” (you = they).

    I hold every single hilgh level PFDJ official responsible for the blood of our brothers and sisters pre-and post-independence. Anything short of charging all of these guys for mass murder and destruction of Eritrean lives is a complete failure. I belong to no organization and I will fight these guys until my last day even if it takes bombing them with American drones. You (SGJ) are spot on when you say ‘Weed out the PFDJ Beast’ but you are wishful to think of these guys positively and optimistically even the slightest bit. I am agitated and furious at this article with all due respect.

    • S Michael

      May I beg your pardon,sir?Who are you to label this and that ?
      The golden rule says:”whoever considers him/herself to be sinless, let him/her throw the first stone unto her”(simplified).
      “You better first remove the foreign body from your eyes before you attempt to remove from others)from the eyes of others).”-simplified.
      The inco solution for our problems:
      “Proper Dialog and National Reconcilitaion”.
      Who are you to weed out others.? well, they may weed you out too,as Semere tesfay said correctly.
      The real EPLF is trying to come together and you did not want that either–huh! Good luck to you.

  • Asmayt

    Dear Gadi,
    I read your article carefully, it has some interesting comments and advices for Medrek to refrain from doing these and that, but I could not have any alternative way to avoid the authoritarian regime from your self or the organization you belong for.
    I think it is high-time to talk about something that can be applicable otherwise we are feed up of theories. For me I prefer reform because I do not want to see bloodshed in my people. The regime can not be avoided by power, it has many supporters due to different reasons.

    • Saleh Johar

      Asmayt, you claim to be fed up of theories yet you are challenging me to provide you theories.
      I do not belong to any group, that I am sure forces you to alter your question. Finally, It doesn’t mean that one has to accommodate tyranny and statuesque because others haven’t provided you an alternative. Thank you.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Saleh, well said. Medrek came upfront to bridge the disgruntled PFDJ in the diaspora with those who are inside Eritrea. Unfortunately they are still in the old mentality longing their old political house singing their ritual chorus. I heard it right from their lips. In any case the old Arabic wisdom won’t hit their home as it didn’t to myself. Wouldn’t it advisable also to be interpreted in English to share it with the rest of us?

    • AOsman

      Selamat Amanuel,

      If I understood the saying correctly….it means O God save me the harm of friends, as for my enemies I know how to deal with them……..the message is emphasising that an intentional or unintentional harm from a friend can be lasting and more damaging….

      I will leave the experts to elaborate if I got it wrong.


      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Thank you brother.

  • Tes

    This group were PFDJ officials and they were the inner circle of the system’s movers and shakers and whether they were willful cooperators or not time will reveal it but to come from no where and trying to be seen as innocent concerned group is simply outrageous. They knew quite well their wicked nature that is why they prefer to do their business behind close door with very few chosen individuals. They have used the old trick of EPLF which was selecting some individuals for one purpose to use them to do their dirty work.

    Many believe that they are high caliber diplomats who can make dramatic progress for the opposition, they are wrong. I have a doubt because those individual lack the basic principle of honesty and integrity demanded from any professional. They happened to be there not by merit but by being unquestioning obedience to their master. They were proven yes men of the dictator who were holding portfolio without authority for years. They lack courage and principle which is very clear from their track record pre/post independence. If someone believe they are reformed criminals let them come out to open and say sorry for association. No one is asked eye for eye. We needs respect not such inflated ego which they knew all what is good for Eritrea, typical old way of EPLF/PFDJ excluding from playing their share to all stakeholders.

    They are not here to help elevate the life of our people from suffering. They are here to help themselves as usual driven with greed. If they are really concerned individuals why they don’t come out and join with existing mass movements such as wedi Vacaro or with other of their choice. Why they didn’t fellow the right Chanel for reconciliation. Those who believe they are a bonus to have them in the opposition because they are experienced x-diplomat is simply naivety. They are more of abstraction and liability for our unity. If there are decent people they should encourage to youths on how to fight and topple the system and support by apply their diplomatic skill which I doubt if they have to. If they are that smart they had mended PFDJ when they were in it. What chance do they think they have from outside. For me none but they my have that unique crook nature of PFDJ deceiving innocents, end off. They claimed they have connection inside Eritrea as if the rest of the oppositions are aliens. Just it is a selling point with no honesty. There is a tigrigna proverb ” Zigebir Nediu Enaynegir” . Full stop it is all bluffing.

    • Power

      That is how it is brother. There is no honesty and integrity in politics today. Just look at the USA. Is there any honest politician there? Is there anyone who has come to power by qualification? They all are crokes and corrupted.
      My suggestion to you is sometimes you have to choose less evil than more evil.

  • AOsman

    Selamat SAleh,

    In the above presentation about foreign relations the speaker refers to the three options USA in dealing with DIA as follows:
    1. Containment
    2. Limited engagement
    3. Regime change

    #3 is discounted straight away without much explanation, it is quite telling that such adventure is regarded as dangerous and without control…the Arab spring may have influenced the attitude. #1 is regarded as failed policy, so the focus of the presentation is about engagement.

    With the US, EU, UK and others buying in the limited engagement approach, the opposition to DIA further be complicated….

    Medrek’s silence on regime change may be a tactical calculation based on the mood of the foreign powers, to give them advantage over the rest of opposition.

    On the point of belittling the opposition, Wedi Vaccaro also was doing the same with his call to seek forgiveness from the people…which I found it a bit strange.

    From what I read, there is not much difference between the two in approach and the kind of change they seek..


    • AOsman

      For quick check start @1:00 for the point mentioned

      • Dafla


        This talk is from 2010 (even if it was uploaded 2013), do you think the process of engaging the PFDJ has been going since then?

  • Dawir

    Dr. Assefaw and et al,
    don’t let this venomous sneak stray you from the path you are threading. He is trying to entangle you before even you start. His hidden agenda is well known for those of us who have known him for long time. There tens so called opposition movements in Eritrea, why is so concerned about your organization so much? The answer is obeveous he is sensing that hesbawi ginare is about to get back to its rightful owners and that directly contradicts to his agenda- i.e, dividing Eritreans along religious lines. Dr. Thank him for his comment and move on. This. Guy shouldnt be a part of any activity you are involved. He will destroy you! I am warning you. Salh you trick is like the Amhara say Yetebela Equb new!

  • Kokhob Selam

    “Wedi-Ali was PFDJ.” he stand and challenge PFDJ. he has done a lot for Eritrea and didn’t commit crime personally. at one point he stop and said “that is enough we need change” and paid his life. he didn’t go for reform or didn’t speak of the past he just take action for better future. Medrekh leaders? they want to cover their mistakes, they reject others long struggle, and still armed with their backwardness toward freedom of other parties and ethnic groups.

    Change in Eritrea is needed to the root. that starts from each person way of thinking. we don’t need to cheat each other as everything is clear. removing DIA and replacing similar savage will never be done after all those experiences we pass through.

  • fthi

    Where were you SalhGadi yourself until 1998? Don’t forget, that there are people who were fighting against undemocratic practices of pfdj before the war of 1998 while you were enjoing vacations in Asmara! Let the people do what they can do. Don’t try to spoil the air from the begining.

    • Saleh Johar

      If you choose Fthi as a nick, at least you should know what it means. No, I was not vacationing in Asmara until 1998. Check your facts and then come back with debatable issues, not your own fiction.