Saturday , October 16 2021
Home / Negarit / Miriam Was Here! She Is Here!

Miriam Was Here! She Is Here!

Yes, Miriam Was Here, is finally here.

First, thanks to all of you: my readers, friends and relatives for your continual support and encouragement. Once again, I am delighted to announce the release of my latest book Miriam Was Here.

Two weeks ago, I announced the news of the planned launch and I am truly touched by your supportive messages. Thank you for your continual support, and I will always strive to reflect your voice in everything I do.

Three years ago, you welcomed and embraced my first novel, Of Kings and Bandits, which covered the period from 1961 to 1974. At the time, I made a promise to follow it up with another book that will cover the period from 1974 to 1991. I also had plans to write a third book that would cover the period from 1991 to 2010.

As fate would have it, my second book never went past the draft stage; the overwhelming news of the suffering of the youth became so acute, causing me so much grief and emotional torment. Since I wrote my first article, This Too Shall Pass: Time For Real Outrage, I became too involved in it and began to think of the issue in a much deeper and systematic way. Based on almost two decades of writing and activism, I came to realize that online articles have a short life-span and are not conducive to comprehensively address important issues. The myriad of dark forces compounding the difficulties our youth are facing deserves a serious handling; and it is out of this recognition that Miriam Was Here was born. I decided to write a book about it; my planned second book (1991-2010) was shelved for good. And I embarked on Miriam Was Here. I started the book with a working title, My Name Is Sarah then I remembered Prophet Moses, and his wondering in Sinai and thus opted for naming the main character Miriam, after the older sister of Moses who, together with her mother, put baby Moses on a basket…the rest of biblical story is too common.

KINDLE1All of you who have followed my writings know that I am an activist before I am a writer or a journalist. Miriam Was Here was written to publicize the unprecedented suffering of our youth and tell their story. I am very pleased that reputable programs and media institutions have taken similar interest in the plight of our youth. Kudos to Ira Glass of NPR’s This American Life for giving an hour of his program to the suffering of our youth.

Miriam Was Here will give you the whole story and help you understand the root cause of the plight afflicting the youth.

It is with this understanding that I embarked on researching the root causes for the ordeal of Eritreans in general and the youth in particular. Simplifying the suffering of the youth to what happens in Sinai and other places does not do justice to the entire tragedy that Eritreans find themselves in. Therefore, I began to interview Eritreans who were enslaved between first round and the 24th round. I tasked others to help with verifications and questionnaires from Sudan, Egypt, Europe, Australia, and North America. I had plans to finish the book in November of last year, but then I had to interrupt my writing when I traveled for a lengthy period to Australia.

Strangely, Forto 2013 happened while I was in Australia, and again, that also changed my plans about the book and, for the last five months, I have been rewriting the story to fit the development. And here is what the book covers.

An anecdote worth mentioning: last year, someone was pestering me non-stop for not writing about Sinai. At the time it felt painful, I thought, “who is he to question my interest in the case when I am spending hours doing just that?” At that time, I was in the middle of interviewing people and writing certain parts of the book. I hesitated to tell him that I am writing a book about it, almost told him, but then I changed my mind because I didn’t want to announce something which was far from being finished… and I didn’t write small snippets to satisfy his curiosity. But his persistence proved to me how traumatized Eritreans were with the issue. It was a pressure that made me work longer hours to finish the book. Thank you my persistent friend.

From Forto 1991 To Forto 2013

Forto Baldesera has always been the symbol of power; that is where the Italian might was stationed. In 1991, the power of the Eritrean liberation forces was asserted on that same fortress. And after twenty-two years of PFDJ rule, the first daring attempt to challenge the regime was carried out in that place.

Miriam Was Here covers the story of Eritrea and Eritreans from Forto 1991 to Forto 2013.

Miriam Was Here is composed of 28 chapters and 330 pages. Crammed between its cover is the story of Zerom (representing the liberators who were betrayed); his daughter Miriam (representing those who were born after independence and representing the segment of our population that is falling prey to kidnapping, hostage situation, and human organ suffering); Senay, a neighbor of Zerom who was born a short time before Zerom joined the rebellion in the mid-eighties (and who represents the victims of forced labor, conscription and lost hopes); Sara, still a post-independence child (representing the innocence of Eritreans and at the same time the resourcefulness and their survival extinct); Eva, an old American lady who befriends Zerom when he migrated to America, and the cultural shocks the simple country boy, Zerom, undergoes trying to adjust to American life, his brutally honest Eritrean character, his courage and his love of his country and people; and, Musa, an émigré ex-rebel who returns to Eritrea to settle down, but in disappointment he embarks on a second exile; and Harish, representing the veterans of the armed struggle who gave everything and are so stubborn to leave the country they suffered for, and chose to say there regardless of the dire situation.

In short, I can confidently state that every Eritrean who loves his people and country will find a resemblance of himself in one of the characters.

The story of the last 22 years need volumes to document and, God is my witness, I have striven to do my part. Like always, I encourage anyone who has a story to tell, to write it down, and I have established Negaritmedia Publishing solely for this purpose. I promise Negaritmedia Publishing will lend you a hand and take you through the process of writing your book.

As for me, I hope you will find the book satisfactory—I know it will be emotionally heavy—and I wish to get your feedback on the comment section of

How to order:

1. Order it at any of the following: * *
2. Amazon bookstore.
3. Amazon Kindle digital bookstore.
4. You can link to order the book through Miriam was Here facebook page.
5. In a few days, Miriam Was Here will be available at all major digital bookstores around the world.

Your Help Is Needed

As in anything else, in the book world, advertising is the key to reach as many readers as possible media. Negaritmedia is not a wealthy outfit and cannot afford press, television and radio advertising or doesn’t have the ability or resources to solicit free media exposure. This book tells the story of beleaguered Eritrea and I hope all those who are able to help with publicizng it, to do that.

1. A few days ago I met a friend who drives a taxi in the San Francisco area. He asked me to prepare postcards or business cards with places where the book can be ordered. This is what he told me, “many customers ask me where I am from; I tell them I am from Eritrea. But I can’t do much beyond that in a short time. If you give the cards I suggested, when anyone asks me where I am from, I will give them a card and tell them to order the book and learn about the ordeal of Eritreans.”

2. Everyone has a circle of friends, specially the youth who have thousands of acquaintances, business associates, school mates and friends. They can help publicize the book to a wider audience.

3. Since the cost of shipping costs outside the USA is expensive, this about $22 per book to anywhere in the world, $22 for Canada) I am hoping people will order in groups of a dozen books or so to bring the cost down to $4 per book. Much of my first book was distributed this way through the help of generous and kind friends and acquaintances. I will contact the usual supporters and friends to help; anyone else who wants to help distribute the book, please contact me.

Now it is time to take a little time off the lonely task of writing a book. I do not have to deal with my editor’s brutal critique and never-ending suggestions for change to the manuscript. If you haven’t guessed, Saleh Younis was the editor of Miriam Was Here. And however I try to thank him here, it would not be enough, it wouldn’t do justice to the efforts he put behind the work. Therefore, I will skip the “Thank you Saleh Younis” part; but I am glad I had him around.

With that, I came to the end of my launch message….

I hope you “enjoy” reading Miriam Was Here.
Thank you all

Saleh “Gadi” Johar

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.

Check Also

Please Come and Invade Us!

A fringe racist, bigoted, and servile group has been trying hard to undo Eritrea and …

  • Kokhob Selam

    ……ኣንቢብኩማ ዶ?…….. read the poem in Jebana/Merhaba page today.

  • rodab

    Bravo Gadi!
    You are full of energy full of enthusiasm and an inspiration, if I may say so. Writing a book calls for perseverance, dedication and discipline and I can only admire your niH. God bless.

  • Zaki

    Good job! keep it up, bro.

  • haile


    With all your intelligence and critical observations, you are hopelessly undermined by a regime that is dipped in crime in full – body and soul. It is ok that you get a bit loose with name calling, I can understand the emotional undercurrents that makes-up, unavoidably, part of this whole affair.

    It is sadly presumptuous of you to try to erect separation wall between the regime’s formal and informal dealings. On a general level, such has even been recognized to be the case by outsiders and the dubious reality is being checked by the UNSC investigations team.

    Let’s just limit for now to the fact that the regime actually is the principal cheerleader in the acts of disrespecting the people of Tigray and encouraging such behavior. The political spin-off from that is of course to promote fear mentality in order to derail the people of Eritrea from asking legitimate and pertinent questions, as regards its wanton distraction and looting of the nation and its resources.

    You asked at one point:

    ” If EriTV, Dimts Hafash, Hadas Eritrea, are to be considered the mouthpieces of the regime, when did they ever label anyone as agame? And when did they ever disrespect the good people of Tigray? When did they ever encourage any Eritrean to use such words and disrespect the people of Tigray?”

    Well, I have news for you. The regime not only instigates such, but also makes movies to inspire it too.

    “Shakush” is short enough (less than 10 minuets) that you can watch to help you answer

    “EriTV,… considered the mouthpieces of the regime…when did they ever disrespect the good people of Tigray? When did they ever encourage any Eritrean to use such words and disrespect the people of Tigray?”

    Followin the screening of such movie on YouTube, some “Eritreans” commented as”

    Commenter #1 “wayane(agame) they are a wast of space on earth…”

    Commenter #2 “Agames would sell their mothers for money. It’s no wonder winding roads are named ” LIBI TIGRAY “ ( 2WUY-Y ). AGAMES ARE NOT TO BE TRUSTED. AN AGAME DOESN’T EVEN TRUST ANOTHER AGAME. EVEN WORSE, AGAMES DON’T EVEN TRUST THEMSELVES! ~~ Thank God I am Eritrean ~~”

    Other comments are there to be read and are very disturbing. Some decent Eritreans protested by writing back:

    Comment #3 “I am Eritrean and feel so ashamed to see these top “comments” and “likes”…”

    Comment #4 “I am eritrean and I am ashamed of some of those small minded eritrean , how long r we gone talke bad things about tigray ppl”

    Another individual from Tigray protested that:

    Comment #5 “You know what, we Tigrians are so proud of being hard working. the only thing I can see from this video is just how small minded people can think of the proud people Tigray. I dont think this stupid thing is not the feeling of all eritrean people”

    Now then asmara, just observe the dirty allies that the criminal regime loiters around. In my comment that you responded to , I also said “Most Ethiopians don’t find it difficult to recognize such was not coming from the Eritrean people…” That was indicative of the manner in which the regime spends day and night in such filth.

    Again, how many Eritrean opposition or activists are labelled as to have Tigrayan ancestry by the regime operatives? What’s wrong with you, don’t you share the time you spend debating the fine people on with a little garbage from dehai and alenalki? You are supposed to go there at least once a month! you’re supporter, remember?

    PS: I heard W/ro Sophia T/Mariam on aynfelale yesterday. I don’t care about her other views, regarding her opinion on the current situation. But, it is about time she tone down her veiled threat on “people who make blames about the Sinai situation”…I am just saying that she has no right to talk in that manner…lest she provoke some people! (just a side note really:)

    • asmara

      {Thinking loudly …….”interesting, that dude is not that smart after all. No, that is not it. He is smart alright, but, like anybody who calls himself an opposition, he travels blind, or maybe he is one of those who would rather bullshit than admit a mistake, or doesn’t know when he is trapped. Oh, I got it, he is not different from some of the so called opposition whose sole principle is cheating, and who are trapped in deception and shackles of their own making. Or maybe he is not that complicated and did not read and understand the instruction properly and forgot checking who his audience is”……. end of thought }

      Sorry Dude, need more time to try again? Or you still want to present that YouTube comedy as your exhibit? As it is, it looks like you just brought your hanging rope.

      What is up with those comments in the YouTube you added here? Spices to your bullshit?

      You did not understand the question and instraction I gave you or what? Go back and read it again.

      nah!, forget it. I already know you will not find anything, because there is none to find. Add the fact that you are only a YouTube guy….

      The problem with you is, you are in a surrounding where you can get away with any bullshit as long as you include the word “Regime” and throw in some, “regime this” and “regime that” . You are also used to getting cheap pats on the shoulder and Atta-boys, from people so detached from Eritrea and been away from anything Eritrea that they don’t seem to have a clue which is north or south and fall or pretend to fall for what you are damping here.

      Here is the deal, for whatever failures and miss calculations the Eritrean government might have, it never had any ill feeling and possesses any bad intentions towards the Ethiopian people in general and the Tigray people in particular. And as a policy, it never insulted or disrespected the POPLE at all, and it never encouraged the Eritrean people to be disrespectful towards the Tigray people either, officially or unofficially, formal or informal. And to your disadvantage, the Tigrayan people know this perfectly well.
      Most of the things you see spilling over by individuals in cyber spaces and other are actually a carried over culture from the Derg Era plus some misgivings some individuals might have towards some Tigrayan individuals during the deportation of Eritreans from Ethiopia.

      Woyanie is another matter. If you cannot differentiate between Woyanie, and Tigrayan, well, the problem lies in you then. Don’t mix up things.

      Right now Eritrea and Ethiopia are at odds. That is a fact. You expect an Eritrean to fight for the benefit of Eritrea and a Tigrayan to fight for the interest of Ethiopia. That is natural. It is also natural for one group to try to penetrate and weaken the other group in whatever way they can (Particularly with similarity in language, culture of the two countries) . That is also natural. So, singling out, or pointing out a person or group seemingly an Eritrean but working against Eritrea, if you know for sure he/she is from Tigray and is working against Eritrea, by no means, means you are disrespecting Tigray or Tigrayans.
      Actually it is a complement, because he/she is working for his nation. Unlike our idiot so called Eritrean opposition who strangely seem to be working for the benefit of Ethiopia against their nation.

      What is up with those comments in the YouTube you added here? Spices to your bullshit?

      {Drifting away in thought again…… “50 Cent…….Hold on, Why am I thinking about 50 Cent here?” My Toy Soldier. …..” how is that related to the subject at hand?…oh, maybe it is related to the dude himself….I can hear FITY doing his thing…….
      You ready? OK let me wind you up
      Do it exactly the way i say do it

      I put that battery in his back
      I’m the reason why he moves like that
      That’s my f***en toy Soldier
      …why is this song popping up in my mind? I am sure It has to do with Haile himself and the thing about insults or something, he keeps on repeating here,
      “…I’m the reason why he moves like that…”,
      And it might also do with….his transformation into this new thing…..and the instant he came out, …could that be? Really? What the hell. Hit it again
      I put that battery in his back
      I’m the reason why he moves like that
      That’s my f***en toy Soldier
      ….may be it is high time to let this dude be. Actually, I am kind of done with this dude”
      ……..End of thought, }

  • Salyounis

    Selamat Awatistas:

    Hey, Abu Selah, if you are going to thank me in public I am going to have to congratulate you in public… congratulations bro. Most writers* describe writing books as a herculean task; now it is time for the less rewarding work of marketing…

    Buying books is a lot like buying melons–not much clue to what is inside. To remove part of that mystery, was set up and it has a sample of SGJ’s writing. Sample writing from Chapters 1, 2, 11, 16, 28 is included here:!iinside-the-book/c1qs9

    No, Semere Andom, the numbers are NOT the winning lotto numbers. (Does Canada have a lottery system?) See you at the cash register.


    *Most writers except author Elmore Leonard, who died today, and who wrote because he found it a good alternative to boredom. Of his 10 rules for good writing, SGJ is a devout follower of rule 5 (no more than one exclamation point for every 100,000 words) and rule 10 (“try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”)

  • asmara


    I haven’t read much of your writing and have not known you before that well, hence I would start addressing you with respect, like I always do, until I see or read something that doesn’t warrant any respect.

    Please allow me to open with something I read somewhere (And close with it too), it goes like this:

    “….A brother or a sister inside Eritrea serving his country (alive and kicking), is a TRILLION times better than a brother or a sister dead or suffering in the deserts of Sinai………”

    Now, back to the comment you throw at us here regarding the clip Haile posted on one of his replies to me. (* I would borrow SAAY’s trademark here. See below for the note)

    “…..what Haile has uploaded in trying to inject common sense to those who are devoid of such emotional dispositions and completely bereft of it…….”

    I think you need to think carefully and watch what you are saying, lest you would fall in to the category of those we know are shading crocodile tears and playing games in the name of our brothers and sisters facing all the miseries in the deserts of Sinai and other places.
    Whose brother do you think the guy in the clip is? Whose son do you think he is? Whose grandson, nephew, best friend, do you think he is?

    You see, we cry and die inside when we see our beloved brothers, sons, daughters and friends meet their demise this way. But, like Nitricc tried to tell you, we put the blame squarely on us – you and me in the diaspora. There is not a hardship that terrible inside Eritrea to warrant for the youth to take that horrible path to their demise. None! You can twist and turn, but you cannot compare the life of the youth inside Eritrea to the one they are facing in Sinai. There is no way on Earth that I can compare, even the worst case (1st round guys still serving ), the hardship my brother in Sawa is facing, to the life of my other brother who is suffering at the hands of criminals in Sinai (Any refugee camps for that matter)!

    Here is the difference between you (with crocodile tears) and us (the regular God and country loving Eritreans who are dying and bleeding internally) on the way we see and handle the Sinai tragedy and the horror our brothers and sisters are facing:

    1.We take full responsibility of what is happening to them, and we don’t do finger pointing and try to stick our failure to someone else. You see, if I did not send that damned money for my brother to smuggle himself out of Eritrea, my brother would have been alive and kicking right now. May be he would be in Sawa, but all the same he would be LIVE AND KICKING RIGHT NOW!

    But, I did, and he is no more. You think I don’t have emotion? Are you out of your freaking mind!

    If only I did not encourage my sister to go out from Eritrea, she would be alive and kicking in Eritrea, may be complaining a bit, but still, she would never have faced the horror she ended up experiencing in Sinai. If only I had told her to stay put in Eritrea! If only, if only. IF ONLY……

    If only someone had told our brother in the clip to stay put wherever he was and not encourage him to take that risky route, he would not have to face with the horror he had to go through.


    And guess what? By trying to use them for your failed political stuff, we hold you accountable and consider you to be the biggest criminals ever. Don’t you freaking forget that.

    3.You pray for such things to happen to Eritreans so that you would point a finger at, and defame the Eritrean government. Meaning, you don’t really care what is happening to these naive Eritreans in the deserts of Sinai, you only care how bad this would make the government to look.

    On the other hand, WE DON’T WANT THINGS LIKE THIS TO HAPPEN TO ERITREANS. PERIOD! It doesn’t matter to us what implications this might have on the government, on the so called opposition, on the international body, on anything. We don’t wish for this to happen! Do you understand what that means?

    (May not be a good analogy, but just to show you the difference in the mind set between you guys and the regular country loving Eritrean. Think of the following:

    Any regular country and God loving Eritrean would be happy if any Eritrean athlete wins something in one of the sports and would wish and pray for something like that to happen frequently. On the flip side, the fools on your side, would not control their happiness if any Eritrean athlete defects or asks asylum somewhere, and you would wake up every morning praying for something like that to happen and make your day – only because you think, in that twisted mind of yours, that the defection would make the Eritrean government look bad)

    The take away message from that analogy is: we normally focus on what is happening to our brothers in Sinai, while you focus on how bad that disaster in Sinai would make the GOE, or how closer that would make you to fulfill your failed dream.

    4.You jump to take ownership of the disaster in Sinai – not out of care for the victims (As explained above), but as another tool in your pocket, and you tend to make it look like
    “we mourn more for our loss, than the other side ” kind of thing (What your Haile tried to do using that clip), Which doesn’t make sense. On the flip side, the God and country loving Eritreans do not tend to make any distinction here. Like I said before, the ones suffering could be my immediate family member, or yours, on top of the fact that he or she is an Eritrean. Meaning who am I to tell you how to mourn for the demise of your immediate family? And how can you possibly accuse me for not mourning my loss etc., which takes us back to the comment you threw there without thinking:

    “………devoid of such emotional dispositions and completely bereft of it…….”

    May be now you would understand how idiotic that comment of yours was, and maybe next time you would think carefully before you jump and start accusing any one.

    Again, let me end here the way I started:

    “….A brother or a sister inside Eritrea serving his country (alive and kicking), is TRILLION times better than a brother or a sister dead or suffering in the deserts of Sinai………”

    *Mind you, that clip had no relevance what so ever to the things me and Haile were talking, but like any cheat person, who wants to garner support through manipulating and playing with the emotions of people, he had to throw it there. Of course he wouldn’t care to explain why he felt had to take the ownership of that poor guy’s misery, nor did he say why he felt he is fit to be the spokesperson than me. But that is a different matter, and that is about him, this was about you.

    • Hameed


      Your emotions has been dead since a long time ago. If the body that is governing the country is your master, how you dare to throw the responsibilty of your master to others who have no power either inside Eritrea or outsite it. Many who have escaped from Eritrea have no relatives outside Eritrea who can send them money, and those who have relatives outside Eritrea, I am sure the initiative of escaping has come from the youth who are enslaved by your master.

      I don’t wonder when I see a devout sectarian supports an illegal government though he/she lives in the free world and benefits of all the luxuries the free world citizens get. A devout sectarian is like a mad person who can not cured easily. A sectarian to recover from his madness his god has to die. I don’t think you will be cured easily from your madness unless you see your master has deceased.

      • gebreab

        Dear Hameed.
        …”a devout sectarian supports an illegal government though he/she lives in the free world and benefits of all the luxuries the free world citizens get” and quote.the free world you’r talking about,i guess you meant the West…ahhhhhhhh…free world,are you sure?i do not know where you are now,three possiblies,either in the west,somewhere outside Eritrea,or you are at home,sweet,you’r saying all you encounter in your free world (west)is benefits and luxuries!Just I want to know the name of the country you are getting these all benefits and luxuries from…with such comments you are creating a false perception of your free world(the West)esp.for the gullable and naïve ones back home…living on doll-money is not a luxurious life…You certainly have failed to include in your comments the real ones of the free world you’r very enthuisiastic about… namely poverty,hunger,lawlessness,homelessness,drug addiction of any kind,murder,robbery,prostitution,same sex marriage joblessness,xzenophebia…it seems mankind is turning his back to paradise and heading straight toward hell on his/her own volition.

        • bukretsion

          brilliant and true on ur respond to hameed

        • Hameed

          Dear Gebreab,

          At least you have a freedom of speech, thought and belief, and with this if you get (shahin banin or kicha) no one will escape from Eritrea. Eritreans are not after bread, but after the search of living free in their country without fear from injustices that they are facing by the regime in Eritrea. I know wherever you go you have to work hard in order to live. I think in the west they don’t hinder you to work, but in Eritrea you are not free to work, to build a house or even to make maintenance to your old house. Life without freedom is like a hell.

      • yegermal

        ” 1.We take full responsibility of what is happening to them, and we don’t do finger pointing and try to stick our failure to someone else. You see, if I did not send that damned money for my brother to smuggle himself out of Eritrea, my brother would have been alive and kicking right now. May be he would be in Sawa, but all the same he would be LIVE AND KICKING RIGHT NOW!”

        Monkey “taking responsibility, crying and dying inside” for Eritreans victims of human trafficking.

        ‘Each month, thousands of young Eritreans flee the country into neighbouring Ethiopia and Sudan as refugees, according to the UN refugee agency.

        Yemane however insists “it is not a big issue.”

        Until Eritreans are officially released from the programme, they are restricted from travelling outside the country, and in Asmara’s airport, travellers are screened for release papers before flying.

        Accusations of flouting democratic ideals and muzzling the media and opposition are common from rights groups and the international community.

        But Yemane insists that his country is unfairly judged and is often examined in a vacuum, without considering the wider context shaping Eritrea’s politics.

        “You can take a snapshot, you can have a checklist, you can say ‘OK, the press is owned by the government, there is no political opposition,’ you can reach that kind of simplistic conclusion,” he said.

        “Or you can look at the complexity of issues, the trajectory we have gone, the problems we are facing, the external threats we are facing.” ‘

    • rastaman


      “You see, we cry and die inside when we see our beloved brothers, sons, daughters and friends meet their demise this way.”

      Really? is that why TVERi had a news black out on the tragedy of Eritrean Youth that perished in the Mediterranean Sea and on the ongoing Sinai Tragedy. Is that why, Meron Estifanos was receiving death threats from higher government officials and defaming articles in the governemt medias merely for exposing the Sinai tragedies? Hasn’t the GoE’s income plummeted recently as the human trafficking business has gone south. Tegerim Ika, signor Asmara. GoE could have send one commando team to release the prisoners of the Bedouins if it had any concern.It did send Eritrean army to as far as the Congo with out the consent of the Eritrean people. GoE could have ordered the State Flag lowerd by half, to express the Nations grieving on our loss in the Mediterranean Sea. But,that would be expecting to find a horse when among the searchers is the thief himself. It was the funniest thing to hear that the GoE appealed to the UN, after been accused of probably having a hand in the Human trafficking saga. I wished you at least stay neutral until you get it and be able to stand to defend the oppressed Eritreans. We have hope, the youth is galvanized demanding for its rights and believe me it has always been the few aware that could liberate the majority oppressed. Actually it is always harder to liberate the oppressed themselves, as they always fight against their benefits. It was the poor oppressed Ethiopians that were praying for his longevity and were the few Ethiopian University students that brought change with their slogan: Meriyet Larashu!!

      • rastaman

        Please read ‘…for his longevity’ as ‘for the Emperor’s longevity, just as the gold decorated Asmarino women are kissing DIA’s hands, which I hope you wouldn’t do.”

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Asmara:

      In the list of people responsible for the evil Eritreans face, the supporters of the Eritrean regime blame the Eritrean Diaspora (for enticing and funding the travel of Eritreans); the Weyane and US/UN (for sustaining the no war no peace environment); the vitims themselves (for being naive and gullible and impatient.) Now, in any country, when disaster strikes, the government governing and the head of state presiding take responsibility but not in our Eritrea.

      I am thinking of Malcolm X…and the field Negro who loves the massa more than the massa loves himself. I wonder, dear youtube, if I can find the video and I just wonder if it is under 2 minutes…


      PS: Asmara, stop calling awatistas “idiots.”

      • yegermal

        It shows that even asmara knows deep inside that there is no government in Eritrea and hence he is stack with taking responsibility for all that ails Eritrea. Freudian slip at its best!

    • wediere


      Eritrea has become a big prison, however dangerous may be outside it, those who remain inside will take the risk.

      Read the article by Ahmed Raji, pose and reflect.


    • Danny

      Ato or weizero asmera,

      Most Eritreans are aware of the hardship opt brothers and sisters are going through in the Sinai desert and most Eritreans attribute the root cause to be the master of death IA. Would you please inform us about the many lives of the youth that were taken by the death squads of your leader in prisons, slave camps, in torture chambers and on the borders of Eritrea. Whose brothers and sisters do you think those poor souls were?

  • Dear brother Ghadi,

    The pen of a jornalist never runs out of ink. Thank you for your efforts.


  • Hameed

    A message to brother Haile,

    I was following in the past couple of weeks your comments, and really I was excited for your great ability that revealed when you liberated yourself from the shackles that was hindering you from starting off. I am sure, openness will make you always on the side of truth and justice. Your vigor, intellect and a free-man thinker will make you a great man.


  • Hameed

    My warm congratulations to brother Salih Gadi. Really, it is a timely exploded remote control bomb against the regime in Eritrea and a great job that narrates our dilemma to the international community. Thank you very much for openning a new unchallengeable front against the regime in Eritrea.

    I think this is a novel that should be translated to the vital world languages.

    Again, my heart-felt congratulations for this courageous, intellectual and humane work.

  • Semere Habtemariam


    On Saturday evening, I read the book, “Lessons before Dying” and Sunday evening, “Miriam was Here”. In a way, both books complement each other. The former was to regain lost dignity and the latter was, you have to find for yourself. You will know why I was mostly enraged, ashamed and saddened because Saleh does a great job of depicting our sorry state of affairs.

    If you cant finish Miriam was Here in one day, Beyan, then, you and I need to talk.


    • Beyan Negash

      Ahlan Semere,

      I cannot promise to finish the book in one day, but I will try my utmost to do so. What I was having difficulty as I read chapter 1 was that I couldn’t just read without engaging with those characters as I went along. The kindle for pc made the taking of note, highlighting, and the like, rather a perfect venue to read such kind of book that plays with so many aspect of one’s feelings, feelings that you expressed in your note,Semere.

      And just now I watched what Haile has uploaded in trying to inject common sense to those who are devoid of such emotional dispositions and completely bereft of it; why even bother to respond to such people whose state of mind is totally mis-directed and completely hardened, by I am not sure, what?

      At any rate, this three minute clip captures a great deal more than I could bear. The anguish of the young man is so transparent the tears flooded my face involuntarily. So, please have napkin or tissue, if you will, handy before you watch:

      Here is Haile’s note: “Please meet Tsegu-Bokhray Habtemariam, 20 years of age, from Himbrti, Zoba Maekel. This is brief and only a minute and half…”

      • Semere Habtemariam


        Whenever people talk in terms of zoba this and that, I get lost. It is not the Eritrea I know. If you’re talking about Himberti which gave us the likes of sewu Gebrehiwet Himberti, then, it is in Hamasien.

        It is strange how singers are the only Eritreans allowed to use the historical names of our provinces. I’m one Eritean who refuse to use this silly zoba names. I will always refer to Eritrea’s provinces by their historical names of Akelguzay, Barka, Denakalia, Gash,Hamasien, Sahil,Semhar,Senhit and Seraye.

        I don’t categorically reject everything PFDJ has done, but this is one that I totally abhor. For one it was done without the consent of the people.


        • haile

          Selamat Semere

          I appreciate the attachment that many people have to the historical classifications of Eritrea’s internal regions. The two things, among others, that I approved of from the regime’s legacy are:

          The fact that the older regional names were done away with; as you noted, it has become part of the 20 year old (independence generation) young man’s natural vocabulary.

          The fact that when the regime finds itself in a tight corner, it calls its opponents woyane, Tigrayans, agames… This has been a blessing in disguise because it could have easily called them other things that would have agitated restive internal fault lines. I don’t think the Ethiopians mind it that much and would probably find it easy to recognize that such is not coming from the Eritrean people that are undergoing unparalleled atrocities by any standard.


          • Semere Habtemariam


            This might end up being the case of “Asha zteklos lebay ney neqlo” and from that angle I might be totally out of touch with reality but, nevertheless, I cannt refrain from expressing my disapproval. There was no need for it and most of all, it was an imposition that infringed on rule-by-consent.

            I cannt see myself replacing Hamasein with Zoba Maekel. I will always remain Hamasienay in my heart–a place of my ancestry and history.


          • asmara

            I want to zoom in on

            “….The fact that when the regime finds itself in a tight corner, it calls its opponents woyane, Tigrayans, agames……” , with emphasis on the “Agame” and the implication of disrespecting the people of Tigray in saying so.

            Now, we want this individual to tell us when and where the regime calls people agames, or disrespects the people of Tigray. We are talking about the regime (as in the Eritrean government) now, nothing else

            – If the regime is said to be represented by President Issayas, then he should tell us when and where PIA labeled any one as Agame, actually he should tell us specifically when the President EVER addressed the people of Tigray with disrespect.

            – If Yemane Monkey is to be considered as one of the top guys of the regime and used here as a representative of all the so called regime representatives, then, when and where specifically did he label anyone as agame, or disrespected the people of Tigray?

            – If EriTV, Dimts Hafash, Hadas Eritrea, are to be considered the mouthpieces of the regime, when did they ever label anyone as agame? And when did they ever disrespect the good people of Tigray? When did they ever encourage any Eritrean to use such words and disrespect the people of Tigray?

            – Even if we are to call, madote, tesfanews, alenalki and remotely closer to the regime, when did these websites ever address any one agame or ever addressed the Tigray people as agame, or with disrespect?

            – Actually, when and where did anybody directly related to the government or regime ever, officially labeled any one as agame, or addressed the Tigray people with disrespect?

            I thought the new-idiots would at least have a tiny shred of smarts not to repeat mistakes and lies the old-idiots used to trap themselves with.

        • L.T

          Himberti is Hammasien Logo-Shuwa or Hamshte Adi 1,Geza Lamza,Gudad,Tsaada golgol,Geza Hidrat..and Himberti are a brave people center..Halleluya .For the sake info to give you Gebrehiwet ofcourse he is fm Himberti but first read enough his struggle story and where he was dead and for whom.There is Tigre Song for him and ask to Saleh Kadi or Salih Younus.

          • Semere Habtemariam


            I’m always interested in learning from where it comes from and in the words of Francis Bacon, “I’ve never met a man so ignorant I cannot learn from.” What I don’t understand is where did you get the idea that I don’t know enough about Gebrehiwet or for that matter Sal Y and Saleh Gadi know more about this hero than me.

            When I was a kid, I visited the meAsker named after swu Gebrehiwet Hiberti and became instantly curious to know more about him. His late son(RIP) was also my teacher in Kassala. Over the years, I kept my interest alive by talking to his close relatives who live close by.


  • Beyan Negash

    This is not a review of “Miriam Was Here (MWH”) but my first impression of chapter one. Please keep that in mind as you read. I just hope this will entice Hayat Adem not only prioritize and read the book but also her impression of chapter 2, and other readers can do the same. I think it would be enriching reading experience to us all. How about it Semere who seems to have read the whole book over the weekend – impressive, indeed!

    Chapter 1 “Sinai’s Laws”

    The challenge that writers must face when writing the beginning of a chapter must be that how much of information to divulge to keep their readers engaged. In Miriam Was Here (MWH), Mr. Johar keeps the balance straight and narrow. He gives just enough about the location to orient the readers about a sense of place where the story is taking place; enough of the main characters mindset; the kind of helpless positions of those who are in powerless predicaments and those in positions of power who seem to share adequate space in the chapter, thereby, allowing readers to delay an suspend the passing of judgments on the characters that they are reading about; though one is tempted to start hating tacitly or explicitly from the beginning.

    What I found striking about chapter one in Miriam Was Here (MWH) is the subdued way in which the book unfolds. The challenge I had with Of Bandits and Kings was the protagonist, Jemal, was I felt had to carry a huge load of characteristics that made the book heavy with burden. In MWH, the characters are not in a hurry to let the readers know who they are and what they are about. There is an interesting balance between the nature of the human trafficking cartel or transaction, if you will, and the characters who are involved in it. They seem to know when to press hard and when to stay calm and collected. In striking that balance, the omniscient narrator also seems to know exactly how much to press and stay back just right to let the story unfold as it ought. I think, many a times the imbalance between the narrator and the characters can make or break the pace in which the reader and the amount of patience a reader can have without feeling pushed and pulled between these trajectories is an important element that I see, at least in chapter one, playing out rather well. Consider the quote below in which the ring leader, Hamdan, probably the antihero in the book, is being described and readers are being allowed to his inner thoughts through the omniscient narrator:

    “Inside the cave it felt damp, dirty and smelly; unable to stand it, he made faces and tried to wave the odor off his nose. He often goes there and stays only for brief angry moments to check if any of his hostages are dead. If alive, he smiles and leaves; if not, he orders his men to beat the rest of the hostages after calling the relatives to pressure them to pay the ransom quicker. He doesn’t want the hostages to perish in his hands. That week alone he had lost two of them; one of them didn’t wake up from sleep and the other just dropped dead while he walked back from the outhouse. That meant a great loss, a disaster. Hamdan lost two hostages, sixty thousand dollar worth of stock… his [Hamdan’s] trade requires fast turnover of inventory, storing capital idly is not a good business practice, especially if the goods need maintenance and may perish” (MWH, chapter 1).

    The anti-hero character – Hamdan’s – portrayal as meticulous entrepreneur is precisely what helps the reader to understand the mindset of some such criminals, much as what one reads about in the papers and through myriad media outlets that takes place south of the border, here in the U.S. I barely began reading chapter one and the omniscient narrator seems to have gotten it just right in providing the right amount of information about Hamdan and his entrepreneurship of human trafficking that he can only see as commodity yet must keep barely alive if his business is to thrive. The hostages need not be in a robust health condition, as Hamdan seems to be, but simply to keep them weak enough to control barely alive at the bare minimum possible, by golly, enough for the transaction to yield positive monetary results. This is the genius in chapter one that I find quite fascinating.

    Readers are also kept somewhat in the loop in how the crime network’s inner workings operate through the phone exchanges between the ring leader in Sinai and the place from which he is supplied from. Here is a little exchange to the effect: “I [Hamdan] will tell you when to send them…I leave you under the safety of God. Salam my dear Rashid” He looked back at the hostages before walking away from the entrance”

    On this chapter readers are being cued in of the characters that will play important role as the story is beginning to unfold. The crime network appears to span across three continents – from the Middle East, to Sudan, to the United States and perhaps beyond; and the reference of the general offers a hint that there maybe someone many more than someone who are involved to make these transactions of human trafficking possible. The other arena that readers are cued in is God, prayers, and the like.

    There is a lot of God and prayers related talk between the hostages, obviously, in desperate attempt to reconcile or alleviate the pain and the anguish these hostages are feeling one can understand their use of God languages. The unbearable nature of the anguish would prompt one to forget about praying to God but cursing at Him as the Italians and Greeks are known to do when things are not going the way they wish or want. But, here, this is only the beginning, perhaps, few chapters down the line the transformation will occur where their helplessness will coincide in direct proportion to their daring to curse at God. One will have to wait and see. But, the questioning of the demi-gods in Eritrea must be dealt with before for one to dare question the Providence. Interestingly though, God and prayer even the criminals bandy it around to a point of making one to think that these people are doing God’s work of charity and serving humanity through their heinous crime networks. But that is the kind of lopsided world where the bad and the helpless, all want to appropriate the Providence to justify their perpetration and perpetuation of those whom they render and victimize.

    It is only befitting for a helpless person or persons to begin inner monologue when they are faced with such insurmountable manmade obstacles in life as Miriam, Sara and Yemane – nicknamed Pastor – are faced with. Miriam’s introspection is one in which chapter concludes with, one that gives a clear idea of what awaits for the reader in chapter 2.

    “Miriam started to reflect and began to doubt what she heard all her life, even what her mother told her, “Your father was among those who brought freedom.” But what kind of freedom was that if her father, a man who brought freedom, had escaped the country he liberated? What kind of freedom is it if she also had to escape from the country that her father liberated?”

    “Gadi” Johar, Saleh (2013-08-14). Miriam Was Here (Kindle Location 60). Negarit Media. Kindle Edition.

    • Hayat Adem

      Thanks for the head up. I’m getting the feel of it. It would be great if you could continue on your impressions chapter by chapter. My problem to access MWH comes from a geographical impossibility, well- temporarily, of course.

      • Beyan Negash


        Geographical proximity or lack thereof to technology can be disconcerting sometimes; but it is good to know of its temporary nature. My hesitation of resuming the impressions is that that becomes an inadvertent replacement to the original book. Writing an article or a thesis is difficult enough let alone an entire book. So, as a way of encouraging our few and far between authors like SG need encouragement and the only way we can do that is through purchases of the books they produce. However, if you would like, I can e-mail you my impressions, if you still find it of interest, as I read each chapters in the in the book.