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My Fears and Paulos’ Views On Seyoum Haregot

Two of my worst fears are that one day we will wake up and discover we were ruled by a clinically insane person. Two Eritrean medical doctors who have known Isaias for a long time and have closely observed his behavior have already indicated that he suffers from some sort of mental illness. The fact that his younger brother and grandmother had suffered similar ailments has given more weight to this possibility.

To our greatest dismay, we might find out that Isaias was a victim like the rest of us; he was obeying a cruel master. It is, of course, our responsibility to remove a man who is not fit to rule—mental health is a prerequisite of the job and its lack of a cause for impeachment and removal. Upon either his inevitable death or removal, we will find ourselves crippled by doubt and perplexity. Asking “how could we miss the obvious?” is a very uncomforting and disturbing thought. We can forget about a much deserved moral victory; a pervasive sense of guilt will be our lot. El loco presidente will get our sympathy instead of our rightful condemnation.

My second fear is that we will have some people, who are now comfortably serving the regime, come forward to tell us that they had been in the opposition all along. I remember a story that my friend, Saleh Gadi told me; on his return to Eritrea in 1991 he discovered unproportionate number of former Dergue officials who claimed to have been EPLF’s secret members. In a conversation with Mohammed Said Bairh, Saleh Johar rhetorically mentioned why it took us thirty years if we had so many people working for us from the camp of the enemy.

In what follows below, my dear friend and brother, Paulos Tesfagiorgish will portray the late Seyoum as a man of “courage”,” integrity” and “gentleman through and through” who had passionately stood for the public good, particularly during his tenure as a member of the Constitutional Commission, as a high ranking Ethiopian government official and one who, in later years, was also opposed (privately) to the regime of Isaias Afwerki.

Silence in the face of evil is no courage; and no amount of rationalization would exonerate the few privileged Eritreans who have shirked their responsibility of looking out for the public good or, even worse, directly or indirectly collaborating with the regime. We all have the moral imperative to speak up and stand against evil once we become aware of it; and silence cannot be a choice. In implicit and explicit terms, the late Seyoum has indicated his disappointments with the regime of Isaias Afworki, but, as long as he failed to speak up; disassociate himself from the regime and, at least, wash his hands off, his silence is tantamount to condoning evil.

Is it a wonder that Dr. Berhe Habtegirogish, a man in a short list of Eritreans who have become the face of PFDJ in the Diaspora, is the one who wrote the brief review on the cover of the book? Second, Seyoum never regretted nor apologized for the anti-sewra Eritrea diplomatic missions he had led. Third, he held /attended the wedding of his son in Ethiopia in 1998 when Eritreans were facing the most unjust punishment ever inflicted on them for being Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin by the country Seyoum proudly calls home. No self-respecting Eritrean, let alone of the caliber of Seyoum, would have showed up in Addis Ababa. Where was his sense of outrage and Eritrean pride! Or, is this the case of be’Al klte ansti new nejew kbl mote? Lost in between.

I applaud Seyoum Haregot for doing the right thing when Isaias asked him to chair the Constitutional Commission. He refused; seemed to know he was not worthy of the honor and had to recommend Dr. Bereket instead, a man who by political affiliation, record of service and expertise, should have been the natural choice. I wonder if this good deed was an aberration or Seyoum later suffered from what the Bible calls, “bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthian 15:13)

In what matters to most Eritreans, Seyoum as an elder and  intellectual had failed miserably—did not stand up for the rule of law, justice and human rights. He might have been virtuous in his private life but that is none of my concern.

“But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die.” Ezekiel 18:24.

__________________________________________________

The Other Side of the late Seyoum Haregot
By Paulos Tesfagiorgish
May 31, 2013

Hi Semere, my dear brother:

It has been long, again. A common friend sent me the review you posted about Dr. Seyoum’s book. I thought you were too harsh on the person although I like your ability to weave history and current situation and educate. You write very well. Allow me, however, to say something about Dr. Seyoum Haregot more as a person not as a book-writer.

Dr. Seyoum was a gentleman through and through: An Ethiopian gentleman; an Eritrean gentleman. He was indeed an Ethiopian. He was also an Eritrean. I have no doubt of both. Dr. Seyoum was a rising star in His Majesty’s (Emperor Haile Selassie I) bureaucracy as a young graduate ending up as one of the most senior bureaucrats in the system. I am sure he believed in much of what he did; otherwise, it would have been difficult, if not unthinkable, to climb so high in that ladder. I don’t think any Eritrean would have been able to go beyond that. But, at the same time, one cannot say Dr. Seyoum was not an Eritrean in his own way. He lived a double life, as many educated Eritreans of the time, perhaps also other Ethiopians of non-Amhara background. Dr. Seyoum was therefore more than an Ethiopian bureaucrat who served the Emperor well.  Where we, the now Eritreans, not Ethiopian once in our recent history? Ethiopian colonialism was assimilationist unlike European colonialism. It made one an Ethiopian not a colonized Eritrean.

I met Dr. Seyoum as a senior student at Haile Selassie I University, and later as an employee of the Ministry of Land Reform and Administration, legal advice department, after my graduation. Because of my close relationship with his sister, Ethiopis, a fine lady on her own, I ran into Dr. Seyoum a few times in the early 1970s. Although I don’t remember having any meaningful conversation with him at the time – we were too young and he was too senior to us – he always repeated one thing to me: you (Eritreans) should focus on your studies quietly now, you will do politics later (nesikhatkum hiji siq ilkum temeharu, poletica keterkiblu ekhum). There was no doubt that he was talking to me and through me to us Eritreans; Dr. Seyoum believed that we would serve Eritrean politics better as educated individuals. He never berated me for being Eritrean or for supporting the struggle for Eritrean independence although he suspected, perhaps even knew, that most young Eritrean university students were engaged in underground support of the Eritrean struggle, including active sympathy. It couldn’t have been a secret to him at all.

I got close to Dr. Seyoum during the drafting of the Eritrean constitution as we both served, together with 8 others, as members of the Executive Committee, of the Constitution Commission. Differences of age and background had melted like snow by then, but, I still saw him as an older brother and respected him as one. I listened intently to his statements and argument as he spoke from long real life experiences, directly, without exaggeration and ego. That also meant that I could talk to him as an equal, an older brother and a friend, and this relationship continued until Seyoum passed away. To me it was a loss of an older brother, aya, and a friend.

Dr. Seyoum’s contribution in shaping the Eritrean constitution cannot and should not be minimized. He brought the weight of his extensive experiences in the Imperial bureaucracy and as a student of law to help produce a constitution that fit into the Eritrean reality. His warning from time to time to avoid unclear concepts, dubious phraseology, perceptions or ideas that were irrelevant and to re-state them differently, so as to avoid future problems and cause the constitution to be un-implementable was superb. He was also an excellent lawyer and legal drafter and he executed his role with honesty, integrity, principle and honor throughout the process. He never tried to read Issayas’ mind or PFDJ’s temperament, and never attempted to please them in any way. He also never succumbed to any argument that he thought was wrong, including PFDJ’s, during the entire period of the drafting process.  To give a couple of illustrations; it was in the early stages of the drafting process that the establishment of the “Special Court” was announced suddenly. It was a shock to some in the Executive Committee and Dr. Seyoum was furious about it. We took it up as a discussion item in the Executive Committee meeting although we were aware that it was not part of our mandate to comment on or object to existing or new laws as they appeared. We persisted in our objection in any case; we called it law-less law, (anti-rule of law) and one that undermined the existing judicial system instead of building it. It was a bad omen as far as we were concerned, a move against the spirit of the constitution under drafting and future constitutional rule in Eritrea. Dr. Seyoum was one of the two who insisted that their objections be recorded, put in the minutes.

Another example, during one of the Executive Committee’s engagement with PFDJ top officials, it was made clear to us by Yemane Gebreab that PFDJ was not happy with the draft Chapter on Human Rights and with the articles contained in it.  Yemane wanted us to shorten the Chapter and write the articles in more general terms. For them, the articles in the Chapter were too specific. On our side, we argued that eliminating some of the articles and writing the rest in general or in less precise terms would render the whole Chapter of Rights meaningless. As it was, we argued, the Chapter contained only the most fundamental articles written quite modestly. Other constitutions contain, we argued, a Chapter with extensive and elaborate Human Rights provisions, etc. Yemane would not listen to our explanations and sticking to his position resorted to what can be termed as intimidation or blackmail: he said they were telling us this because they knew what was better for the Eritrean people; “it is for the good of our people”. Dr. Seyoum retorted, quite unexpectedly, but not uncharacteristically, “Yemane, when Hitler started doing what he did, it was for the good of the German people, according to him”. That was the end of the argument – and the meeting. It was only Dr. Seyoum who could be as direct and daring under the circumstances.

While I am at it, let me say something about whether the “working draft” document, was originally a Tigrigna version or English and who translated what, although I don’t understand why one wants to make an issue of and take sole credit for. The working draft, the official one that was presented to the Executive Committee and used as a basis for discussion was Tigrigna. As we went along debating, we simultaneously made an English version (for some in the Executive Committee, if not for the majority, a legal document was better understood in English rather than in Tigrigna – let alone Arabic), or an English draft of what was agreed, and Dr. Seyoum took upon himself to work on the English version. In effect, Dr. Seyoum became the de facto translator into and drafter in English and it was accepted by the Executive Committee. The original Tigrigna, or working draft, was completely changed beyond recognition by the time the Executive Committee finished its task. It was truly a collective piece of work. No one can claim sole authorship. No one among the 8 (left of the 10 – two, with vast experiences in the Eritrean struggle, were too sick to continue serving in the Commission) members of the Executive Committee can honestly say he/she had more influence or more impact on the final draft. There were many considerations and many opinions that we took into account and they did not belong to any one of us in particular, but to all of us, to PFDJ, to all those who contributed during meetings and who made submissions in different ways. The stated aim was to exert utmost effort to produce a draft constitution that will serve the needs of Eritrea at present and the generations to come. We were guided by the spirit of the struggle, by the Charter of PFDJ, by the input our people made into, custom of our society, international norms… That is why it will not be right or honest of any one person among the members of the Executive Committee or the 50 members of the Council of the Constitution Commission to try to take sole credit for the outcome. The Preamble of the Eritrean Constitution can tell many stories.

It is also absolutely normal that a working document is provided; there are several examples, and there are many constitutions throughout the world to choose from and use as one. I don’t understand what the fuss was about, except perhaps a generational difference. For the selfless generation, and that is my history, the outcome of the victory of Eritrea was a product of major collective effort, much greater than the sum total of individual contributions. For many in the generation before, shining as an individual and amplifying the role of the self was acceptable, but it could sometimes be at the expense of others, even the collective. The struggle generation was different; it was a generation of sacrifice and martyrdom, of undermining ones heroic deeds, of giving credit to others or the collective, even at the expense of the self.

For the record, Dr. Seyoum was asked by President Issayas to lead the Eritrean constitution making process and head the Constitution Commission. Dr. Seyoum declined. He suggested that that honor be bestowed on a person that is more qualified than him in matters of constitution. And he proposed that Dr. Bereket chairs the Commission and that that he, Dr. Seyoum, would support the process with all his ability. Issayas accepted Dr. Seyoum’s suggestion and appointed Dr. Bereket to chair the Commission. Dr. Seyoum supported the process with all his heart.

Again, was Dr. Seyoum Eritrean? We can either dismiss this question as non-starter and unequivocally determine that he was Ethiopian without doubt (did he not serve the Emperor at a very high level? Did he not marry the Emperor’s grand-daughter; what more proof does one need?) or consider how one would define Eritrea-ness during Dr. Seyoum’s prime time in the Empire.

Dr. Seyoum marrying the grand-daughter of the Emperor is used against him. It is true that the Emperor married his daughters and grand-daughters to prominent Ethiopians that he wanted to co-opt, buy loyalty of or bring them to his side. A political move on the Emperor’s part; after all feudalism ruled! Was Dr. Seyoum a victim of the Emperor’s machinations? Or, was it Dr. Seyoum who wanted to climb the ladder even higher through marrying the Emperor’s grand-daughter? Was there any bond of some sort, affection, even love between the princess and the young lawyer? I don’t know. But, it could be a mix of all the above, including political considerations or advantages that Seyoum wanted to gain by marrying the princess; but I don’t believe he married the princess to be more Ethiopian than he already was.  But, I know one thing for sure. He loved his family, and the three boys of Dr. Seyoum that I know grew up as Eritrean as any other. And not Ethiopian! Dr. Seyoum’s children were among the young (and old) Eritreans that returned to Eritrea from Diaspora to live and work and if possible to contribute to building the Eritrean nation. How could that happen without the strong influence of the father, and Seyoum’s commitment to his Eritrean identity that he wanted transferred to his children?

 Semere, let me add an example or two about the role Dr. Seyoum played in the Eritrean struggle in general. Long before ELF came into existence, there were sporadic shootings and bombings in Eritrea, especially in Asmara, with some assassination attempts on some Eritreans who were serving the Imperial government well. I came to learn that Seyoum was among those who supplied some of the arms, together with some who are still alive, who might not want to talk about it for their own reasons. How it is that Seyoum and the others were never detected and/or arrested? Dr. Seyoum and those Eritreans who worked with him were some of the people absolutely trusted by the Empire and its system; it was therefore easier for them to act as they did with full confidence. However, a certain cunning Eritrean, who was effectively serving Ethiopian interest in Eritrea and whose life was put at risk because of the activities supported by Dr. Seyoum and his friends suspected Seyoum of the deeds and informed the Emperor about his suspicions. The Emperor asked the then Prime Minister Aklilu Habte-Wold, who was Seyoum’s boss, to investigate the matter. Aklilu, it was recounted to me, got furious at this particular Eritrean’s nerve to accuse Seyoum, and challenged him to produce concrete evidence, which, this person was obviously not able to do. Aklilu then warned him to get off the back of Seyoum. But, Seyoum never stopped supporting the Eritrean cause in his own way.

Another important act that I can attribute to Seyoum’s Eritreaness was the measures Seyoum took to save about 13 young Eritreans from certain imprisonment, even worse. A group of Eritrean university students in Addis Ababa were working underground either as members or supporters of the ELF in the late 1960s when the Ethiopian intelligence came to know about it and decided to arrest them. A father of one of the Eritreans, who was working for the Ethiopian security/police, was tipped off by the intelligence operatives and advised that he saves his son.  The son told his friends/comrades about the impending arrest. The group did not know what to do. It was a time when the ELF was imploding; no one in his right mind thought about running away to meda, the field, at the time, unlike the period of the mid-70s and after. The group had to act to save itself and decided to approach Eritreans in high offices in the Imperial government for help. A delegation then went to see one Eritrean who they thought would save them; however, before they could finish explaining why they came to see him, this particular Eritrean got frightened; he immediately ceased talking to them in Tigrigna, and, in Amharic (that became the language of communication between them) asked them to leave his office. He was scared – keylikem. The delegation then went to see Dr. Seyoum; he listened to their stories and told them to sit still. He went to the Emperor, convinced him that these were young and gullible and that they should be pardoned. He then arranged an audience with the Emperor; the Emperor pardoned them. What was important is that Seyoum made sure that the Ethiopian chief of intelligence and the chief of military intelligence (and I think the head of the police) were present so that they could witness the pardon. He also made sure that the files of these young Eritreans were handed to him. Seyoum made absolutely sure that these Eritreans will not be harmed in any way by the Imperial system. I am talking about people who are still alive, who are known to many of us; some professors, lawyers, medical doctors and of course about some who made the ultimate sacrifice for the independence of Eritrea. Important for our current purpose is a profound statement that Dr. Seyoum made during his discussions with the delegates. He confided in them his belief of the Amhara ignorance when it came to the Eritrean issue; he told them how much the Amharas did not understand Eritrean nationalism, their lack of understanding about how far it could go, and because of their ignorance, Dr. Seyoum said, they will one day be surprised.

I and many Eritreans who were at the Haile Selassie I University during that interesting period knew this story very well, although we might have not known of the identity of the person who arranged the pardon and what exactly happened during the audience with the Emperor at the time. A story however began to circulate among university students that the 13 had asked pardon from the Emperor in the name of all Eritrean students in the university; this created mistrust, people felt antagonized and some got very angry, although most, if not all, of us were working underground for Eritrea in one way or another. As emotions were boiling high, we decided to organize a meeting to address the matter; we did; we debated a whole night: did they ask pardon on all our behalf? Should they even have asked pardon at all? Tempers were very, very hot. But, the matter was discussed extensively, perhaps without any lessons learnt, but was openly discussed. It might have somehow been academic; we might not have taken into consideration the risk the group took to do serious political work in the very capital of the enemy. Most of us were doing political work, but, student political work albeit in support of Eritrean self-determination. Convincing the Ethiopian university student association leadership to support Eritrean right to self-determination and take a public stand was no small feat at the time.

Semere, you mentioned something to the effect Dr. Seyoum joining a letter-writing campaign that was defamatory of Dr. Bereket Habte Selassie in the name of the Executive Committee of the Eritrean Constitution Commission. Seyoum came out to the US right after that and we had a telephone conversation about how and why the letter was written, among other things. I expressed my absolute disagreement with him joining the letter writing campaign against Dr. Bereket, especially using membership in the Executive Committee. One, I argued, the Executive Committee was long dead, disbanded in May 1997, after honorably discharging its task. Secondly, some of the issues that were raised in their open letter were never mentioned in the Executive Committee; anything therefore that was not taken up in the Executive Committee that related to a member of the EC could not justifiably be raised when the Executive Committee had long ceased to exist. Third, I said, I could not accept Seyoum being party to a political campaign that had nothing to do with finding facts or telling truth. He listened.

What Dr. Seyoum said about Dr. Assefaw is not clear and I don’t have the context as I have not seen the book yet. But, I know how much Dr. Seyoum respected Dr. Assefaw. I also have no doubt that Dr. Assefaw’s respect for Dr. Seyoum will not diminish because of this.  If Seyoum states in his book that Dr. Assefaw was disillusioned with Issayas’s policies that must have been a gross understatement. Assefaw was and is more than just disillusioned. He feels betrayed, not as a person only; but at the absolute betrayal of the revolution, all the sacrifices that were made by the Eritrean people to gain independence and live a decent life in a country they can proudly call theirs. But, Dr. Seyoum himself was also very much disillusioned at the turn of events in Eritrea. He was very much saddened by the state of affairs caused by the misrule and cruelty of the Eritrean regime towards its people. And he had aired out his opinion at critical periods and opportunities.

His statement against Dr. Bereket? I am not surprised, nothing new! They are contemporaries and knew each other very well. I would leave it there. I would not try to embellish one’s image and destroy the other’s. Should Seyoum have written about Dr. Bereket? He shouldn’t have. He had many other stories to tell; experiences to share. I know them both very well. I wouldn’t get involved – it is also because it is totally irrelevant to what we are, what we would like to see in Eritrea now and the future, and what we can learn from to improve our wretched situation.

While serving in the Constitution Commission, and after, Dr. Seyoum and I were asked by shimagletat adi Arbate Asmara, to act as advisors on village matters; we both felt honored and accepted. We tried to do our best to help the village get more organized and obtain what is its inhabitants’ birth right – tessa, a right many young died for. It was again there in the meetings that I saw, witnessed how candid and bold Seyoum could be, telling members of the village committee to do what is right both in customary and modern/national laws. He used to repeatedly say this, that, if we don’t do the right thing and act quickly, this government is going to reduce us into the status of the “Red Indians”, landless destitute.

Again, I don’t know how Dr. Seyoum portrayed the Eritrean government or its leaders in his book. I yet have to read it. But to say that Seyoum had any respect left for the government or its top leaders is absolutely not correct. He was himself disillusioned. Manifestation of disillusionment, disagreement and disrespect might differ. But, I am sure he would have told his own history if he had ventured into his encounters with the Eritrean President and some senior members of his government truthfully as was his character. Dr. Seyoum had a stroke and came for treatment to the US and I went to see him. I told him I could not understand how he could have the stroke; I said to him, you are the most health conscious person I know, you don’t drink, you choose carefully what you eat, you are calm…. How come you had a stroke? His answer was – the situation in Eritrea would cause any person more than just a stroke!

Semere, my brother and friend, you reviewed a book written by Dr. Seyoum. I am talking about Dr. Seyoum as a person.

With my best wishes,

About Semere T Habtemariam

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  • Michael, B.

    Semere

    I suggest you go back to your review and make sure the date of Ewostatewos is really so precise. I have my doubts, simply because in our hagiographic texts gadl derusatna the approximate calendar reckoning is prevalent. Theoretically, you might have a date besides the one you would find in the gadl or in the Tewahdo sinaxarium and if you do it is important you disclose to the audience.

    More important issue is the your clan / ethnic belonging and the pride you might feel, is not irrelevant to us. However our Eritrean national belonging is fundamental. As such the emphasis of Nation, Nation-State or Country is paramount for all of us. Therefore, you cannot tell us that we are Tigrayan in good faith. Every time one does has also the duty to explainn in what way we are related to the people of Tigray, when in fact they only our dear neighbours! You must come with historical, religious, cultural ethnic or clannish … proof, which you do not have or you do not have time to elucidate and share it with us.

    We are Eritrean, no matter our partly Tigrayan ancestry, an ancestry recalled by traditions and yet to be proven by historical means and methods.
    In the meantime, I would also suggest that we should not think in terms of kebesa metaHit because we tend to exclude each other. Our context is Eritrean, not any form of Tigray-Tigrigni. If you insist in telling us that we or we the kebesa clans are related to Tigray, the implication that we are not related to the Djiboutian and Sudanese etc.

    It is commendable you worship the truth. I share you holy position. But there people who, like Pilate once did ask: what is truth? Others who think that is relative. In the context of our recent Eritrean historical experience we may detect a gradation of national truth of those who died for our beloved country, those of us who suffered hardship and exile, those of us who opted for andinnet and yet claim to be Eritrean etc. Truth is different!

  • yemane

    Semere Habtemariam,
    Thank you very much for admitting that I am wiser than you and the reason is simple.It is because I am a Natural Science Graduate….No Hallucination on Engineering and Medicine areas!!…Thank you Again.

  • Semere Habtemariam

    Selam,

    I’ve always wondered about Proverbs 26:4 and 26:5, and invariably come, like Solomon, there is time for everything. That, in a nutshell, is the stuff wisdom is made of.

    Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
    or you yourself will be just like him.

    Answer a fool according to his folly,
    or he will be wise in his own eyes.

    What do you do with the likes of Yemane? Fool and very proud; a dangerous combination. There is an immanent risk of stooping low like him, but he does represent a sad commentary in our culture and that can’t be ignored. He simply could not fathom the idea of freedom and his tyrannical tendency manifest with every sentence he uttered. What people do to make a living for their individual life is none of his business, but he has the audacity to insult an entire profession.

    He accuses people of hate and intolerance. Awate.com has become, since its inception, a bastion of freedom and free exchange of ideas but he accuses Saleh Gadi of being anti-Christian. He was surprised that I quoted the Bible in my last article and Saleh allowed this to happen. Anyone who has been reading me knows that I like to quote the Bible and occasionally the Quran and the Hadith, but I’m not the only Awate writer who does this: Sal Younis and Saleh Gadi Johar have quoted the Bible multiple times, and let me point out the obvious that Christianity is not just dear to them because as Muslims they are commanded to respect it as “ahl alkitab”; but, because they are acutely aware it is a proud part of their heritage. Both Salehs’ ancestors were once Christians before they embraced Islam and Christianity is part of their history and heritage not to mention half of their population and fellow Christians happen to be Muslims. Let me also state the obvious that any self-respecting Eritrean Christian is also culturally Muslim. Eritrea has a proud Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition and this is the tradition we need to jealously guard.

    You also accused me of hating Akeleguzay. I don’t know where you get this obnoxious idea; but, unfortunately I’ve seen a futile attempt on the side of few people in the opposition of demonizing the people of Hamasien. It is true, a majority of Hamasenites do support the regime as a majority of Akeleguzayans oppose it. But, whatever demonization is waged upon, I assure you I will not stop to be proud of who I’m: A Proud Hamasenay through and through. If my pride in my identity is a threat to you or bothers, then, let it be.

    I tell you this much: with enemies (haters) like me, Akeleguzayans don’t need friends (lovers).

    Semere

    • Haleqa Semere,

      Don’t’ you enjoy lecturing us, as though we did not know anything about Islam, and Christianity?

      Let me be blunt. We have noticed Semere. Complex writing makes you appear smarter. You are accustomed of using complex sentences and big words when in fact you don’t need them. See how Salih Yonus uses simple but brilliant statements to get his point across. He is both clear and direct. Even though, I don’t like his political position, I like reading his writings. To sound smarter, you must stop fluff and flowery language. If I was your friend, or the friend of the Salihs, I would not say this-the beauty of being not a friend of anybody in the Awate team.

    • According to Proverbs 26:4-5 , you are now a fool because you have answered to “the likes of Yemane”. In other words, the “likes of Yemane” would now feel wiser.

  • Saleh Gadi

    Semere,
    This guy Seyoum Haregot was a declared Andenet. He was against anything most Eritreans stood for until Isaias, for obvious reasons, tried to rehabilitate him–he did that with many like Seyoum. But Seyoum was servant of the monster Haile Sellassie. While brave people were fighting against the senile monster called Haile Sellassie, he was working hard to destroy the Eritrean resolve–and he is not ashamed of it, never apologized for it and never helped his people. He served at the constitution commission is just like saying he served in Isaias’ cabinet. Anyone who tries to polish this feudal weakling is not only trying to put a lipstick on a pig, he has bought a wing for the guy to present him as an angel. I suspect those whom Paulos claimed he saved in Addis Ababa are from his village, for premordial reasons, not for the love of Eritrea. He didn’t save any of those who were languishing in Alem Beqagn prisons, or being tortured by his government’s police in Eritrea. I feel like poking when I see people trying to polish a servile character with a new veneer of patriotism. It is fake. It is forgery, and it is an underestimation of our intelligence. It is an insult. I agree on every word you said about the servile, feudal quisling.

    • Kim Hanna

      Mr. Saleh Gadi,

      With all due respect, let me present a different view. Mr. Haregot was a great Ethiopian. I looked at him as an Eritrean Ethiopian who brought strength and new blood to Ethiopia. In the 60s Luciano, Italo, Gila (goal Keeper) and Berehe contributed to the only Ethiopian championship of the African Cup. We always hoped that togetherness will be replicated in all areas of our society for the success of all of us. Alas it was not to be.
      At least in the name of decency let us not go back and drag all ( they are healthy numbers)their names thru the puke.

      KH

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      It is only in pfdj world one can adresses the King (a unifying father of two Peoples separated by grusome colonizers) ‘monster’. Other wise Eritrea couldnt end up under the rule of pfdj. If most People stand for to the exact opposit of what ‘Sir’ Sioum stood for then it is too absurd to believ that eritreans are ruled by a ‘mentaly disturbed’ person. It is easy to demonize the King because he is ‘amhara’, but anywyas after we defined how the common eritreans standing it is so meaningless to be rulled by pfdj which is so ‘not-eritreanim’.

      • Saleh Gadi

        TT,
        Your “unifier father” could be your father, but to the rest he is a monster, a baby-killer and brutal tyrant. If you exhume his body, you would find it soaked on the blood of Eritreans. Too bad, such revisionism cannot go unchallenged, enough of us still alive my friend. But if you were within the circle of Seyoum, I understand your nostalgia. To most Eritreans, Isaias is cruel because he is a disciple of the monster king.

        • Abrham

          Saleh Gadi

          He was monster and unifier, Isayas is monster too but not unifier. how come he be a disciple of HS he must be others.

          Tamrat

          You are here and there spreading hate. he was monster by his doings not by his color or tribe.

    • Semere Habtemariam

      Saleh,

      I agree with the core of your argument and that has been my contention all along. Although, I am, like you all for reconciliation and reaching out to all Eritreans, I believe reaching out to the like of Seyoum Haregot was a luxury Eritrea could have afforded to ignore. The Transitional govt of Eritrea should have reached out to the likes of Seyoum Harestay and that would have been a great service to the country and a step in the right direction. Imagine a govt that honors Seyoum Haregot and shuns heros like Seyoum Harestay who gave his life, since his student years, to Eritrea. This is the lesson I am trying to promoting. Change is coming but we need to get our priorities right.

      Saying that my friend, I’m also sure, Paulos would not disagree with the core of your argument. I’ve had this talk with him. Paulos was bearing a testimony to the man who knew, who considered him his friend, older brother and yes his villager. Paulos did not dispute my conclusions; he just wanted to show that there was another side to the late Seyoum, a point that others have also shared with me in private.

      Paulos is in agreement with me about the lesson we need to take to heart. Eritrea has not been good to the heroes who have made the ultimate price, whether they are alive or dead and it is incumbent upon us to correct what has gone wrong.

      Semere

      • Semere Andom

        Hi Moski:
        That is the problem with Paulo’s testimony about how good person S. Hargot was. What we know is he did not stand for Eritreans. we were also told that the butcher of Sahel Naizgi Kiflu was a nice man by Adhanom, while we know better, from the testimony of veteran fighters. For some reason Eritreans get easily charmed by power. It will not surprise me if some people tell us that in the future how Isaias was so nice guy after he is disgraced by history and testimony of the people who know him.
        I believe that people can redeem themselves and the likes of Dr. Bereket and G-15 have redeem themselves. I find Paulo’s silly comments of how good Dr. Haregot is very troubling, I am not accusing Dr, Haregot of any crime, though.
        EPLF and PFDJ do not reach out to people who worked and sacrificed for Eritrea, they reach out for people who worked against Eritrea, this fact has been established. Even the treatment of Derg soldiers and the Eritrean political prisoners is a revealing fact. The fact that EPLF, Isaias and PFDJ are there to make Eritreanism extinct is a well established fact now. EPLF has an emancipated Eritreans and we are worse off than the Derg era. Some smart people have problems understanding this simple fact. 22 years of servitude has not taught them, because their parameters are their own ambition and predicament and not the plight of their people of this fact. EPLF made martyrdom something to celebrate and not something to mourn, soon they will celebrate June 20, reciting poems that insult our dead and our living heroes and what will Paulos say, celebrate June 20 or mourn it?
        semere A

        • Semere Habtemariam

          Moksi,

          The moral angle is what has been missing in our discourse and struggle. We need to reclaim it.

          In the case of Paulos, I think it is a case of two truths from different angles. Most of the specific stories that Paulos has nicely narrated has been collaborated by no other than Dr. Bereket and few others. Paulos’ contention was not to show that I was wrong but to put more balance: there is another side to the man. He thought I was “harsh” on Seyoum, a man that he knew up-close-and-person: a friend, aya and wedi Arbate Asmera like him.

          I know both Adhanom and Pualos very well and consider both of them as friends. Adhanom has shown some weaknesses in the last ten years (who hasn’t!) but truth and justice are not one of them. Adhanom has a natural proclivity for truth and justice and he is not someone who would fabricate stories to tarnish or enhance some peoples’ image. Adhanom is the embodiement of the old saying, “Arkom kesenyu bet frdi ykedu, m’inti Haqi gna ymskru. Indeed, telling the truth has made him an enemy to some people, but that is the Adhamon I know. He does not bear witness on the basis of dollar and cents or of how it will advance his his cause: he will tell the truth, irrespective of the ramifications. It is a trait that I like the most in Adhanom. This might make him a bad politician but not a bad person and certainly not a bad leader. The true Adhanom must be unleashed; he is fundamentally a good and decent man.

          This is one endearing quality that makes me believe that Adhanom has still a lot to offer to the country and people that he had well served throughout his life. This does not mean, he does not have other qualities that I don’t like as much; he does; but his overall persona (soul), particulary when he does not try (quite often in futile) to be evasive is one that is inherrently fair, just, caring, truthful and decent.

          It is this knowledge that I believe makes Adhamom great in my eyes. Adhanom did the right thing when he spoke out on Naizghi Kflu and that is the Adhanom that I personally like and hope to see more of. If Adhanom can be himself or let to be himself, all the time, I think, he will surprise all of us. He has a lot to offer and I hope he recognizes this and tap into it.

          hawka
          Semere T Habtemariam

  • Yemane

    Semere Habtemariam,
    You said,Dr, Syoum’s style of writing is beyond my Comprehension….Well,because You are a social science graduate,I don’t expect a special IQ from you.You are just a Parrot that Memorizes what is said now and then.”Ekele kemzi elu,kemzi tebahilu…blah blah blah”…Believe it or not,Historians are the least important intellectuals in a society! why would some go to school to study Contemporary History? what is that for? Does it help in improving the standard of living of Citizens?…Big No!!…Lest,Historians are the main causes of crisis in every Country.Because,They are big mouth people who spend their time in collecting “beleka-lekaka”…My 2 Cent to you is,if you have little brain that can help you to solve problems,please move to Engineering or Medicine where you can contribute some thing to the society.

    • hizbawi

      Yemane, Ata wedi kom’Eu Aybahalin Ey’u. lol
      In a series note, what would be this world without history and historians though?
      Anyway, you made me laugh.

      • Yemane

        Hizbawi,
        We can survive with our grand fathers ordinary stories.They are all organic and truthful with no “beleka lekaka”….The wanna be intellectuals like Semere are just crooks who use this mistrusted and unconfirmed news as a source of income.We don’t need them at all.

    • Amanuel

      Yemane
      You know it, society needs historian as much as it needs engeeners and doctors. To be fair to Semere he read the book and shared what he thought about it and the man. What you have written is personal and below the belt and it is a sign of defeat.

    • “Haleqa” Semere stated that “… Dr, Syoum’s style of writing is beyond ” his Comprehension…. Has he really looked hard on his usual “kolo tutuko”, “beleka lekAaka”, “Dumu Halefet , Anchuwa TeAaNkefet” type of his writing? I wonder if Mathew 7:5 also applies to him otherwise he is playing double standard.

      In one of his comments, “Haleqa Semere” quoted Mathew 7:5 to vilify another commenter. Mathew 7:5 says “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”. I suggest “haleqa semere” show some propriety. Haleqa’s ever increasing (in size) ego is not allowing him to admit that he is wrong. Well , may be he is showing off. Sigmun Freud says “The ego is not master in its own house”.

  • L.T

    Who is the pure Eritrwai?
    If President Isaias Afewrqi are fm Tigria but if he worked for Eritrean he is Eritrawi then Bereket Simon.
    Langauge is a common term act to people but are not a case to part of one nation.Engilsh are everywhere but England are one,There are people who speak Swedish in Finland and in Norway abut are not the some people.To make big noise about Eritrea just only you speak Tigringa are nonchalnt methode.

  • Berhe

    Dear Semere/Paulos,

    “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”

    Dante Alighieri, Inferno

    I agree with you that, we have to be critic to those who kept quite in times of crisis. If they kept their peace then may be should quip quite but when they tell us they have been great and contribute so much to us and want our respect and recognition then we should be “critical” and be “truthful”. Because the sacrifice of those “true patriots” means nothing.

    In case of Dr. Seyoum Haregot, it’s good to know that he has done good for Eritreans and service for Eritrea. What I think Semere point is, he has not done enough, at least speaking out openly and oppose the regime.

    Let’s look at the Eritrean intellectuals in general and some in particular. Let’s look at the recent development with the “UN reporter for Eritrea” and her findings and recommendations. I don’t have the details but I think it’s the labor of Elsa Cheyrum and few others that got where we are.

    Even if we go to the G-13 letter and after their meeting with President and what the outcome. Can we honestly say they have done enough this then to highlight the human rights abuse in Eritrea and expose the suffering our people are going through? Have they lobbied the UN, US, EU, AU and other institutions to expose the “hell” our people experiencing? Haven’t they all, with very few exceptions retreat quietly to their wilderness and moving on quietly. How close to the power need they to be before they can actually reach out to those that matter the most. For example, Haile Menkorios being the special advisor to the UN secretary, how close to the power they need to be, before they can have an audience with the secretary general or those at the UN.

    I understand, may be there might be a conflict of interest but really…is this so hard to do…

    Paulos what I am afraid you are doing is paint this glorious picture about Eritrean people and the PFDJ and EPLF. Even if we look at the history of TPLF and EPLF, I don’t think the Eritrean group have anywhere to compare in terms of the treatment of their own people. As we learn the history and how this organization operated, I think, without exaggeration one can come to the conclusion that, it was for its entire existence, worked against the “Interest of the Eritrean People”. There has nothing in its history that shows, it has cared for the wellbeing of the “People”. All it did was for the benefit of the “Front” and the “interest” of the leaders. Without out exaggeration, EPLF/PFDJ of Eritrea under Isayas is equivalent to that of “Stalin of Russia”. We really need to get this and the best way to heal our wounds is to flash this system and all it stand for out of our system to the point of total eradication. Now, I am not suggesting that we go and kill and arrest every member of this organization that have nothing to do with its policy etc..but the system itself. It’s corrupt and evil system and it’s only purpose was, I think “how to come to power” and rule the Eritrean people.

    Since it come to power, one will be hard pressed to find anything good this system did since the day they set foot. For example, when it became government, it continued to operate as a front with all the spy networks in tact but it’s aim was to SPY on the citizens. I really do NOT buy the idea that, oh we were making good progress and growing 7% until the war with Ethiopia. The fact of the matter is, it has done so much damage in many part of the country that we were not aware of, low lands, the Jehova witness, land, etc… It was all hidden may be for most of us, but to those intellectuals and those who were part and parcel of the government none of this was hidden but they continue to serve and worst when they left they continue to stay quite.

    If they are NOT responsible to the crime perpetrated by this regime, by keeping quite they are I think in my opinion an accomplice. The only one can cleanse from this crime is by speaking up, by telling the truth and by apologizing for not speaking up. This will at least brings some trust and heal the wound the people have suffered and continue to suffer by those in power.

    From this we can move on, to actually build a case and actually held them accountable for the suffering they have caused to the people, be it at the ICC or any other venues that is available to us.

    Semere:

    The only thing that I disagree with you is, how you try to criminalize the very idea of supporting union with Ethiopia or as some call it “Andnet”. I don’t know what really happened during those times and I am not here to defend them. What I disagree with you is that, the very fact one chose to be “united” with Ethiopia and be part of the “Ethiopian Federation” and this act in itself in my opinion does not amount any crime in itself. Those people who are advocating “Andnet” at the time, I think, specially that you are a scholar of Habesha and Orthodox, they should by all means advocate and associate themselves with the Habesha of Ethiopia. We cannot claim habesha and we chose to call our new year as Geez New Year, our Christmas as Geez Christmas. What I don’t think those people “Andnet” had in mind is that, Ethiopia go and commit crimes against Eritreans. This act did not come because of the “Andnet, federation or union” but because of the Ethiopian regime. So yes, they should condemn the Ethiopian successive regime but when they advocate “Andnet” I think there is nothing wrong with it.

    We have to allow such people to continue to express their desire and options freely without labeling them this or that…. There are lots and lots of example in the world where they chose to be “Andnet” or “Federation” that worked really well. India, Brazil, Germany, Russia and many more.

    Berhe

    • Semere Habtemariam

      Selam Berhe,

      First, I appreciate you for understanding my article the way it was meant to be.

      As far as the andnet goes, I don’t recall calling them criminals and could not imagine myself using that word to describe them. I believe they were wrong, a conclusion that most of them have arrived in their later years. I consider the latter-day andnet a nuisance, but I acknowledge their right to believe and promote whatever they want, and I reserve the right to fight them. I cant even stand the word; I might even have a bit of respect for it if it was Hbret or Hadnet.

      • Semere the know-it-all says ,”I cant even stand the word; I might even have a bit of respect for it if it was Hbret or Hadnet.” What a bigot !

        BTW, I also won’t read your book , if you use biblical verses to support evidence or illustrate ideas.

        • Yemane

          He is well know of intruding the Opposition camps just to disturb them…Look at EYSC…the once promising group is now almost dismantled because of these guy named Semere..His typical hatred and grudge against Akeleguzay dissendants is always his main weapon…How can you say this guy was a fighter?….He is like his cousin Colonel Haregot Frzun of Quazen(Karneshm)…Well,Things will be different soon though.

      • haile

        Semere,

        You have a great way of putting things the way they should. Hats off!!

        Regards

  • L.T

    his mirrage with Mariam-Zion Abebe Retta of Tigria was a dramticly politice cases and to have a children was not a mistake but more fiodalist move who by his Eritreans richer on his time Dej Harogot Abay good well motive.When war breaking between Eritrean people and Weyane his young brother Ato Bereket Harogot went out in Addis Zemen locol news in Ethiopia and he said “I am an Ethiopia and believe Eritrea is still one part of Ethiopia”Just save his skin I maen his family bussines in Ethiopia and he is now a daricter an south Africa Oil company in Addis Abeba.Dej Harogot has more power then Dej Tesfahanes had becouse by this mattar.His children Abay,Johnatal..went to Sudan with Luel Rasi Mengesh Siuom of Tigria becouse Lealti Aida and Emebet Marry was halv sisters and merry are an iligatimat doughter of Lealti Tengna Werk.Ato Abeba Retta was a car driver to Lealti Tenga Werk in 30s when Italia invaded Ethiopia in Lonondon England.
    Dr Bereket mirrade with an Harer Chuchu,L.T Generals Iasu Mengesh,Aman Micheal,Isaias Habtesliiase,bereket G. Medihn son of Weldeaeam W.Mariam Aster and Merharu Fisha al are Ethiopians becouse of it like Simon Bereket,Haergeweyni Asefa,Isaias Teweldeberhan,Dr Somon,Col solomon Aradom,Col Samuel Teklemariam,Melesenawi,teodros Hagos ,Dr Toedros Adhaanom,W/Felege Dej Berhe……..

  • Tezareb

    Most of the Ghedli romantics suffer from several psychiatric ailments and vindictiveness.

  • F.M.

    Semere, while we are on the subject of mental health…. I forgot to mention sympathy should go to the many victims of IA policy who will for the rest of their life carry a mental scar, particularly the Warsay. Thats one legacy that will haunt Eritrea for a long time and deserves attention beyond sympathy. The estimate is close to 50% of Warsay suffers from some sorts of trauma related illness.

    • haile

      F.M.

      “The estimate is close to 50% of Warsay suffers from some sorts of trauma related illness.”

      Please link us the actual report (that I am sure exists 🙂 ), so that we can give it the “attention” that you believe it deserves.

      • F.M.

        Amanual Mehretab is your guy. “35 – 40% were thought to suffer from PTSD.”

        (Border Conflict and its Pychological Impact on Youth)

        This I haven’t read, might interest you.

        (Wake Up Hanna! Reintegration and Reconstruction Challenges for Post – War Eritrea — 2004)

        • haile

          F.M.

          I am looking for the reference you’ve included (a link would be appreciated). Of course, I am hoping that this would be a peer-reviewed a scholarly case study into the issue. To start you with, here is an interesting study (and hence conclusion) made by a Dutch NGO in their “War Child” research project:

          http://www.interventionjournal.com/downloads/31pdf/25_32%20Westerveld.pdf

          Summary:

          “This article describes a study on the impact of war on Eritrean children living in an internally displaced persons camp in the Gash Barka region. It is based on a psychosocial needs assessment conducted within the framework of a psychosocial project by the Dutch non-governmental organisation (NGO) ‘War Child’. Key research questions used included; the nature of the traumatic experiences of the children, the prevalence of psychosocial problems, and the need for therapeutic intervention. Methods included; the analysis of previously conducted studies in Eritrea, open interviews and focus group discussions with key informants, and systematic observation of war-affected children. Findings suggest that powerful factors protected children from the impact of the war, and thus prevented the occurrence of severe post traumatic stress reactions.”

          It may interest you to note that their reference section doesn’t include any work of an Eritrean scholar.

          • F.M.

            Here is the link for Amanuel’s study (pages 28-77). Thanks for the link you posted, seems may be close to home for me more than the link here.
            http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/Research/Africa/200407eritrea.pdf

            His Bio (from Amazon):

            “Amenuel Mehreteab joined the armed struggle in Eritrea in 1975 and worked as a member of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front rank and file until independence. After Eritrea’s liberation, he served for five years as head of the agency responsible for aiding demobilized Eritrean independence fighters. Mehreteab is a consultant to development organizations in Eritrea. “

          • haile

            Thanks F.M. I have gotten hold of it now.

    • Semere Habtemariam

      F.M.,

      I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve always wondered if the alcholism, substance abuse, proclivity to pick up bar fights, higher rates of suicide and homocide might have to do with that experience. It is much higher in this generation than in previous generation of the Diaspora.

      Now, before someone jumbs and accuses me of being anti this generation, this is based on anectdal evidence. But I’ve heard more of these stories with this generation than with my own generation and the generation older than me.

      • haile

        Semere H

        Your anecdotal evidence may be challenged by those people who lived in the vicinity Tsetserat (aka enda tslulat) for many years! You see one of the pitfalls of our political climate is that Mental health or those suffering from it don’t count, just the headline value of mentioning them.

        There has not been through studies to report on any one of the statements made in this thread regarding warsay and mental health problems. This was not for luck of skilled Eritrean professionals with the technology they need to gather secondary data or indirectly collected primary data to study be it from historical or cross sectional analysis.

        Unfortunately, few or none care to do so. Instead we can go around counting our encounters with such sufferers to reach conclusions in an ad hoc. bases. Little is appreciated by way of the fact that self awareness is the surest way to redemption. This is one glaring example how the Eritrean intellectual have abandoned their people for greener pastures. We have plenty of them working for all sorts of obscure campaniles and collecting data about all sorts of things, no shortage there.

        Has there been a single scientific report that has been self produced by Eritreans to investigate the state of affairs in diaspora Eritreans life, has there been any that studied or tracked them against social, economic, family factors.

        It is just amazing that many people have a very narrow perception of patriotism, doing something for your lot…

        • Semere Habtemariam

          Haile,

          Again, I agree. The need for rigorous studies that are pertinent to us cannot be overemphasized and it is true it is a form of patriotism.

  • Semere Habtemariam

    The Yemanes, Chef and AyFaln are the reason why those of us who write should keep on writing. The layers of ignorance must be peeled off even at a painstakingly slow pace and critical thinking must be promoted if the sun of civilization is to once again shine in our coutry. The Tamarats are just annoying distructions that I will not dignify with a response; the man does not even have the decency to say, at least, some Eritreans hate Ethiopians; but he categorically calls all Eritreans haters without any qualification and context. We don’t need to hate or love Ethiopians; we just need to engage them and let them engage us in an enlightened self-interest. Mutual respect of eachother’s sovereignty is the basis of comity.

    The Yemanes, Chef and AyFaln (the last to a lesser degree) exhibit the cultural malaise that afflicts our society: they are impervious to reason, quick to judge and obviosuly their level of understanding is not what I would like it to be. Chef would not care if I tell him that I was qualified enough to teach senior college students contemporary history for 4 semesters when I was graduate student, not to mention that I’ve undying interest in the subject.

    Yemane, character assasination is a deliberate and sustained attack on the reputation of a person usig falsehoold and rumours. All the information that I used to critique Seyoum’s book was from the book. Seyoum wrote the book so we can read it; I’ve done my part and it will do you good to buy the book and read it. If you asked politely, I might even provide you with a study guide since you don’t show that you either know the language or your comprehension level is not groomed enough to understand Seyoum’s book.

    First, I never said the statement you attributed to me: Akeleguzay is part of Axum, but I totally agree with whoever said it if they are talking about the past. Akelguzay, Hamasien, Seraye, Bogos and Semhar were a piece and parcel of Axumite empire. Axum had even extended its rule across the sea.

    Axum is my intellectual, cultural and spiritual heritage and take enormous pride in it. I also believe that Akeleguzay, Hamasien, Seraye and Tigray are the same people who share the same history, culture, language and ethnicity. Ethnically, I don’t make any distinction between the afore-mentioned groups; they are one.

    I was trying to see if there was any etymological link between Ak as in Aksum and Ak as in Akeleguzay and also if there is any relation between the Oroma clan known as Akele and our own Akele-guzay. There are many theories that say, for example the Wragi of Ethiopia are from Gura, Akeleguzay; Adre is from Tigrinay Hade ri’e, Menzi is from men eyu izi and the Begemedir were Beja tribes who were transplanted to Ethiopia by no other than King Ezana. But, I give you this much, I posted my question in the wrong forum where parochialism is the norm and not the exception. I am amazed by how much the so-called Eritrean youth are contaminated with parochial disease.

    Somebody asked me if I believe I can win over PFDJites. The answer is a resonding yes. I remember in late 2001 and 2002-3 how difficult it was to arrange public forums in most states and cities. I can tell you that we could not find one single group in California, for example, to help us set up a civic group to adovocate the implementation of the 97 constitution, and the release of prisoners and the restoration of the free press. I’m very happy to see that some of the people what were opposing us in 2001-2002 are not active members of the opposition. I also vividly remember how most those who escaped Eritrea and were seeking asylm in the US were shunning those of us who were opposing the regime; they used to go to PFDJ meetings and festivels. I also remember the days how ostracized we were by the larger Eritrean community but thanks to the efforts of some of us, few years later, we made it acceptable to be an Eritrean opposition and that is not a small achievement. Let me also tell you, when many waived, gave up, some of us are still standing tall and doing exactly what we set out to do: adovocate the implementation of the constititon, release of prisoners and restoration of the free press. Unlike some, I and many like me, are not driven by hatred by the love of the values and principles we cherish and the strong belief that Eritrea and Eritreans deserve better than what they have now and what they had for over a decade.

    I know people who I think would only write on what is popular issue of the day, but I’m not one of them; I care less. i’m someone who believes that if the world is against the truth, then, I should be against the world. It is for this reason that I opposed the Eri-Ethiopan war when it was not popular to do so and have been called all sorts of names.

    I dont apologize for, if some of my views are similar or identical to PFDJ. I don’t have much problem with the 1994 charter and if it was faithfully executed we would be in a much better position today. In all honesty, there is no Eritrean organization that shares my ideology and vision of the country–they are too socialistic, if not communistic, for me and I can’t see myself being a member of any of them.

    While at it, let me say that I’ve seen more honor and integrity in Mesfun Hagos than in any Eritrean leader I know and yes, I consider him one of our heros. Whatever accusations people are incessantly making against him, I’m not taking them seriously but more importantly I beleive in innocent till proven guilty.

    • Semere Habtemariam

      I’m very happy to see that some of the people what were opposing us in 2001-2002 are not active members of the opposition

      It is supposed to read: I’m very happy to see that some of the people what were opposing us in 2001-2002 are now active members of the opposition

      • Amanuel

        Please have decency Semere. I have asked you that If you really believe you can win PFDJ over. My name is Amanuel and it was there in Black and white, however you choose to refer me as some body. it is not polite to refer to someone as somebody while there is a possibility to use a name.

        Back to whether you can win PFDJ over or not. I agree we came long way since 2001 and many PFDJites crossed the bridge, however the pace of change is not far from disappointing. I think some of the blame should be shared by Mesfun Hagos, considering the organisation he has created or joined since 2001 have been breaking up. I am sure you will agree with me the breaking up of organisations has adverse effect on the pace of change. I remember back in 2001 and 2002 several members of PFDJ who were not happy with the way PIA was running the country and didn’t want to join the ELF organisations to challenge him were ready to back Mesfun. However he (Mesfun) didn’t live up to the expectation.

        You said that there is no an organisation that shares your ideology and vision. Here you go! this a perfect opportunity to start your owen organisation. Believe me you have most of the qualities to be a leader. Go for it live it to short.

        • Semere Habtemariam

          Amanuel,

          When my kids say I’m sorry, I make sure they go through the three steps that almost strictly follow: acknowledge the mistake, apologize and ask how it can be made right. And let me be true to what I teach.

          You’re absolutely right I should have used your name; it is only the right thing to do and it also helps us to foster mutual respect and appreciation. I failed in that regard and I sincerely apologize to you. I assure you there was no ill intention. As I was responding to others, your question popped in my head and I thought I address it, but I should have taken a second to see who raised that question. As they say, neshtey tsebuq zeygeber Abi kgebr ayHseb. I was trying to do a million other things. The older I get, Amanuel, the less time I have for the things I want to do in life.

          Anyhow, brother, please let me know what I can say or do to make it right. If you ever happen to be in Dallas, please let me know and it would be my pleasure to treat you lunch or dinner.

          I do have great respect for those who use their real name and make their identity known to us. In my opinion the best we can offer the struggle for change, which for me is entirely morally motivated, is our name, identity and whatever honor we bring with it.

          AytHazeley zHawey, Hmaq meAlti weEle. ab igri af yinqef.

          hawka
          Semere T Habtemariam

          I would like to address your other issues but it is getting late and I had a long day at work and have to take care of few other things. Time permits, I like to come back to this tomorrow.

          • Amanuel

            Semere
            Appology accepted. No hard felling. I totally understand..
            Amanuel

          • Petros

            Dear Semere,

            I am impressed with your response to Amanuel. Great lesson to many of us. Kudos to Amanuel as well for accepting your apology. እንጌራ እዝጊ ብልዑ!!

            Petros.

    • AyfaLN

      SH is suffering by a complex known as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). .. his tendency to belittle others is uncomparable with the exception of DIA. SH please decent from the Heavens so can you teach and save us from ignorance and other human frailty while you are at it please fix our society’s problems we will be very grateful. The guy has no shame..lacks humbleness, is haughty and shallow.

      • Semere Habtemariam

        AyfalN,

        I call it adgi zgebereka Teyqi gbero. When I have you as a paragon of virtue, I can afford to be all the things you mentioned.

        Go read the things you’ve written and for the little virtue you’ve shown, I complimented you and you will see who is at fault.

        You jumped to conclusion without knowing what the author is saying, you exaggerate, misrepresent, and I’m doing you a favor for pointing out your fallacies and deficiencies.

        Straight talk and being specific is what I’m all about.

        izin wedHana

  • chef

    Are people using this forum for praising and counter-praising.? Paulos writes, ‘ although I like your ability to weave history and current situation and educate. “who educates whom”?
    Does his written proficiency qualify Semere’ weave’ history? , Eritrean society being an oral society, people tend to uncritically accept what is told to them by ‘wiser’ or senior kinsperson. I would rather advice Semere to first interact with fellow Eritreans from diverse backgrounds in order that he may liberate himself from the cultural biases afflicting him. I would also recommend that he heeds to what some of his senior brothers have hinted so he may refrain reproducing his divisive views, as I believe he lacks the life experience others have accumulated. And people like Paulos need to remember the disciple of historiography is a not a domain for any bigoted writer to make extraordinary intrusion.
    Earning credibility and validity to what a writer claims is much harder that writing a book on history to a target readership. Unfortunately, some of articles that Semere writes are pieces of sophistry deliberately crafted to fit into some divisive ideology. At times they are well in line with the hfdg’s. Far from teaching history, these pieces can be useful materials to train potential fascists.

  • Keshi Mihretab

    What happen to the opportunist Berhe Habtegiorgis, Gideon and Sofia Tesfamariam?

    They seem to slow down after Ali Abdu’s defection. Did the Naizghi Kiflu’s episode started syncing?

    • Semere Habtemariam

      Selam aboy Keshi Mihretab,

      They are still around and doing what they do, but I hope, as you said, they will find some edifying lesson from the way Naizghi Kflu was mistreated.

      As a man of faith, I’m sure, aboy Keshi, you would agree with me that we are created with an open-ended future, and if Saul could become Paul, our brothers and sisters in PFDJ could also switch over and join those of us who are on the right side of history. Aren’t Tesfa-Alem, and Medhne-Alem the core principles of Christianity?

      Pray for us aboy keshi.

      Respectfully yours
      Semere Habtemariam

    • Ghirmay Berhe

      Selam Aboy Keshi Mehretab,

      When we were in Mendefera, we were always talking about Dr. Berhe Habtegiorghis, Dr Gideon and Dr. Sofia how they could not see our problems. We could not go to school, we could not work to help our families and were not allowed to leave the country. Now I am one of the very few lucky people who managed to scape to Sudan and then after few years to St. Louis. When I came to the US, I am happy to hear that the Doctors were not traveling like what we used to read on Dehai when we were in Mendefera. That is very good news because probably they understood that they were wrong.

      But my problem is with the mothers in this country. They send their kids to schools but when they talk about the youth in Eritrea, they say they have to be in Eritrea to help build the country.

      Last year, I went to Chicago to visit friends and I met adey Azieb and adey Marta. I think they have been in America many years and they brought their whole family to the US. All of their brothers and sisters are here. No body is in Eritrea to help the country to develop. I was mad at this mothers but I know this country has law and could not say any thing.

      My question to Aboy Keshi Mihretab is, what do you say to this mothers? How can you help either send their kids and brothers to Eritrea to help the country develop or make them understand that the kids in Eritrea has the same needs as their family?

      After all, we all are Eritreans.

      Thank you very much

  • Yemane

    Semere Habtemariam….
    Character Assassination to a dead body is an indication of some an unusual behavior of your mind.Remember,his kids are your secondary victims and that is another sign of unstable mind.

    You said ” Saleh Johar rhetorically mentioned why it took us thirty years if we had so many people working for us from the camp of the enemy…..Are you kidding me?…That is the very negligible effect to slow down the Revolution…The biggest reason for that deadly break was “the refusal (of you,Salh Ghadi,Mesfin Hagos,Isayas afeworki…etc…..)to work for the very interest of
    Eritrea and its people during that Damn struggle…If you have the guts, question that crook from EPDP who is yet munching innocent Eritreans…If you are honest with your self, question Salh Ghadi about the crimes of Ali-Abdu.

    I am surprised,your friend Salh Ghadi allowed you to quote some phrases from “The Bible”…And do you remember your post on EYSC about “the Akeleguzay is part of Axum?”….Do you think,people will listen to you after all this hatred and Grudge?…..

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    If the auther afraid the consquence of the mental unstability of his president then now, then what if he had learnt that ‘the presidnet got Wild’ declaration of the presidnet in his multitudes international massemedia inteview. The presidant told the world Eritrea has a better economical and socio opolitcal than sweeden. He tried to explain the journalist how sweedish People cheated by some millionaries etc. Anybody who has doubt that the president has some sort of metnat disorder already 6-7 years ago then he or she has nothing to do With eriterean problems.

    How come then the nation survived so long. the answer is the pfdg members are not as the small as the oppostions concider. And even the many nof-pfdj People thinks this is what ‘eritrea’ means for them. They have neve seen an independent Eritrea befroe. So the onley free Eritrea they know is this.

    I have met many eritreans in addis both who came from all sudan, Eritrea and differnet country. For them this is what Eritrea means. it is accepted.

    I mate many eritreans in Europa. They are differnt from who i met in Ethiopia. The main differnece is that these ones have enemy ethiopia. They believe ethiopia is their enemy, they believ pfdj is doing good in ecomnomy, anything Connected With ethiopia is Dangerous, even the ‘amich’ who learn ‘corruption and vulgar’ are impure and they must be watched, leaving Eritrea after the military service is by any means is concidered as success. The 2% obligatory tax is positive. Even the black market controlled by the regime is called how smart is thire goverment.

  • AyfaLN

    Semere in his usual exaggerated style of writing he said: The fact that his younger brother and grandmother had suffered similar ailments has given more weight to this possibility.
    It is factual wrong to claim Isaias grandmother suffered emotional ailments as the woman was strong, giving, and emotionally stable.He can tear up Isaias all he wants but creating facts to buttress his argument is cheap and underhanded. He peppered his writing with unsubstantiated accusations of a woman long dead he debased his well written essay. By the way Seyoum was the son of Kentiba Haregot and the Haregots are as Eritrean as any one. His association with the royal family was a tactical move by HaileSellasie and Kentiba Haregot.
    Paulos letter to Semere speaks for itself although it has some historical tidbits, it did not illuminate any value speak of.

    • Semere Habtemariam

      Alyfaln,

      Which grandmother are you talking aabout? I’m talking about the paternal grandmother, the one from Tselot,whom the Tembienite fugitive, aboy Abraham, married in Gul’i (dembe Tselot) and I stand behind what I said. You’re probably thinking about Medhin Berad, the trail blazer business woman who started serving mes in Berad.

      I can afford to ignore your comment about exaggeration,(in fairness you also said well-written essay; an indication of fairness in you) but I implore you to clarify what you’ve stated and show us where I’m wrong.If you prove me wrong, I would issue a public apology immediately; I’m totally against any kind of falsehood, and in this case, it could also be malice. I don’t need any falsehood to oppose and fight a brutal dictator who has run a once promising nation into a hopeless nation where people risk their lives just to get away from thier own home and country.

      You can read all about the Haregot’s family in the book I reviewed. Aboy Abay, Seyoum’s grandfather was also the bahre-negasie of Arbaete Asmera. You can buy it from the Red Sea Press directly or from Amazon.

      An important part of my critique of Seyoum’s book was to pique your interest so you can buy the book and have an opinion based on it so you can challenge me. With the exception of, I think one person, I have not read a comment by someone who has read the book. Remember, my critique was on the book, a point that Paulos Tesfagiorgish makes clear.

      Waiting for your clarification.
      Semere T Habtemariam
      Dallas, Texas

      • AyFaLN

        Semere,
        I was thinking of his maternal grandmother who is constantly ridiculed by the paper tiger opposition forces. I am sorry if I hastily shot from the hip and I was too harsh toward you. I don’t know anything about his paternal side.. you may be right or not. The bottom line is, his family members living or r dead are not responsible for Isaias’ inhuman treatment of our society and his foolhardy Don Quixote adventures. Isaias and only Isaias and his enablers are responsible for his psychotic delusions.

        • Semere Habtemariam

          AyFaln,

          To err is human brother but to acknowledge your mistake is the stuff of virture.

          I don’t recall any Eritrean who has said that Isais’s family are responsible for anaything. I was just making a point about his mental state and as I said before illness is not something we blame people for; we sympathize and do what we can to help.

          If you read my articles without any bias, you will find out that I’m pretty fair and open to valid criticism.

          But if our discourse is to be elevated we need to speak specifically and avoid the usual-run-of the-mill analysis that have become permanent fixtures.

  • abraham

    Dear Semere,

    I dont know why you are hell bent to discredit the poor old man who has long been dead. As someone has mentioned, he cannot defend himself. I dont know what beef you have with him or his ghost. I dont know where all this obsession with the dead came from. Please leave them alone and do and talk about people who are alive and are suffering because of the sick person you have mentioned. You and all the ghedli romantics or, worse and ironically, ultra-pseudo-nationalists (who live in foreign country, assuming citizenship of that country and who are shading a crocodile tear regarding Eritrea and being an Eritrean) are suffering with some degree of brain disease that has symptoms like confusion, double standard, and worshiping and blemishing dead people (seweat, awate, seyoum, naizhgi, etc)…

    You condemn seyoum of being an ethiopian. But werent we all Ethiopians before 1991? If you were working in any Eritrean cities or ethiopian cities as civil servant, didnt that mean you have served the ethiopian regime? Didnt our compatriot use Ethiopian passport to leave the country? Werent we given ethiopian education and medicines?

    you guys’ self righteousness is matchless. you and gadi talking about those people who served regimes as being secret agents…That is funny. What do you expect? with ur kind of self righteousness eating deep into their dignity, they wd hv had no choice but claim that they were too secret agents. The sad part is you dont even recognise how irrational you are or that you are being self righteously lashing out on anybody who couldnt have an opportunity to escape cowardly (like yourselves and myself for that matter) and couldnt have any other choice but serve dictators or suffer their wrath. if you were in Eritrea now, you were a colonel in the eritrean army and you were told to forcibly conscript citizens into the army, would you have said no? Are you gonna accuse those in Eritrea who are willingly or unwillingly serving the regime as civil servants and paid soldiers to feed their family of being ex-pfdj enablers when you get to be the winners? Thanks to god that you have already chosen your citizenships which is not Eritrean. If that was not the case if you were to lead the nation after the sick old man goes, the only risalt that we get would be the same. One dictator out and another dictator comes in.

    Well people like Ghezai and aaron are making some head-way while you are lamenting about and shading crocodile tears for the dead. You are crowd pleasers. You talk hesitantly what you think the crowd likes and you feed empty pride to the masses. with all diue respect, i have seen no difference between you and pfdj cadres. They feed tehir supporters frenzy and you are also feeding the smae frenzy to your supporters. They mud everyone who disagrees with them. You also have excelled in that respect. And that kind of frenzy can only thrives in contradiction. You tell as Bereket is a hero and seyoum a villain. The only difference between the two is your contradictions and confusions buttered with your own twisted value judgement which suffers from contradictions and confusions by itself. You have started a propaganda war against eritreans and propaganda can only thrive in lies and mis-information. you continue mis-informing the public. Luckily for new generation Eritreans, there are those others who are committed to put Eritrean history upside down so that we find the truth. The lies and the propaganda that our eritrean identity is constructed on is being shaken heavily by those truth finders. They will shake us and wake us so that we face with the reality. And the reality is summoning all those youngsters that you call confused few to laugh at the absurd, old, and irrational and illogical mantra of pseudo nationalism you promote to gain an agenda what you might have thought is hidden. Even those agendas are being analysed in broad daylight. Now for an average eritrean who has served in the last rounds of Ethi-eritrean war, the over cry of nationalism is ringing the bell of absurdity. They know your motives. They know your regionalist, tribalist, religionist (specially islamist) drives that is forcing you to mock our collective intelligence.

    We will see who will laugh the last laugh. Saleh younis in one thread lamented absurdly that Heroism and sacrifice are considered established as virtues since plato times. How about earth faltness? That was also considered a virtue since plato times – until some men woke up and discovered that it wasnt true. Europeans have long awakened to the fact that nationalism is not a virtue anymore. They have long established it is a plague. Once they have established that, it was easier for them to form their union. Now a new wave of eritreans have also identified that the older false sense of nationalism is preventing Eritreans to discover their true worth among the horn of Africa and Africa in general. They are throwing the idea of having identity based upon hating another identity. They are warming up to discover themselves and their relationships with their neighbours. without trying to over play the false sense of empty pride we all once desplayed – that empty and arrogant pride you and pfdj enablers still continue to display. Well non of that is affecting us anymore. I dont care about Awate having to be credited starting sewra? I only care about awet who is suffering under pfdj rule today. I dont really care about seyoum or bereket. I only care about the many nameless and faceless eritreans who are suffering under the long arm of pfdj in diaspora. And when i hear ghezae made some impact i rejoice. When i hear pfdjistas are calling ghezae a pro andnet, I can see what your role is in this struggle. Please refrain from taking this disruptive role. One day history will slap u in the face for making the wrong choices.

    And one more advice to the self righteous pseudo nationalist crowd, “if you mention either bereket or seyoum in a bad way, please make sure that you yourself are capable of tying their shoes before trying to convince us which one of them is capable of tying whichsoever of the other shoes.

    • Semere Habtemariam

      Abraham,

      Anyone who tried to dictate what individuals should be interested in, focus on, cannot be a friend of freedom. You’ve your priorities and I’ve mine. The only advice I can give you is to do what I do: when I don’t like an article, I simply decide not to read it, but I have no write to tell people what they should write about. One of the reasons I write is to fight this culture that is inimical to freedom.

      You’ve this outdated views of not talking about the dead: mwt aytfred. No, I’m a believer seb kemote meshela keysewete aytfred. Seyoum’s book was published after his death and his biography is also coming at the end of this year; he is activily talking to us from the other side, don’t you think we have the right to talk back to him! Let me spell it out for you: we’re talking about our history and who we honor and not honor is the best indication of who we are.

      And yes, some of my ideas are identical or similar with PFDJ but that is because they are Eritreans too and my views are Eritrea-centered. I said it many times and I will say it again, my goal is to win them over and not destroy them.

      Life is not a zero-sum game. We can honor and celebrate the founder of our revolution, Awate, and do our part to protect and save Awet from the oppressive grip of PFDJ.

      Eritrea is not the alpha and omega of our being but it is where we are rooted and if we can’t get our house in order we will not be able to do other regional and internation things that would promote our interest and improve our lives.

      One more thing brother, it would behoove you to look at the log in your own eyes than at the speck in mine.

      hawka
      Semere Habtemariam

      • Amanuel

        Hi Semere
        Do you really believe that you can win over PFDJ? They have already crossed the line mate.

    • Araya

      Abraham
      and you are doing what to alivate the saffering you are mentioning?
      The desperation of this guy can be felt through the screen. I understand, old people, one to another who are way beyond their time, mumbling something outdated and extraneous. I get that but why are wasting your time writing pages after pages? The point is you did not pay the price why are bitching now? You left and you chose to better yourself in the west. I don’t get it.

  • Semere Habtemariam

    F.M.,

    Just you’ll not completely ignore my fears as unsubstantiated and unwarranted, let me share with you an example that might, at least, help you see a grain of validity in my views.

    Dr. Alexander Mysaniknov, who was at Joseph Stalin’s death bed in 1953, has written that the former Soviet Union’s dictator had suffered, for a long time, from atherosclerosis (a build-up of fatty materials in the arteries) and consequently was unable to tell right from wrong, particularly in the final years of his life. The doctor has written that “Stalin may have lost his sense of good and bad, healthy and dangerous, permissible and impermissible, friend and enemy. Character traits can become exaggerated, so that a suspicious person becomes paranoid.”

    If you find the similarites very uncanny, it is because they are.

    hawka
    Semere Habtemariam

    • F.M.

      That still makes him one sick murderer. It’s well known fact serial murderers are mentally demented, still there’s no love lost for them. I fear them while they live, not when they die.

  • Beremberas BerNente

    Time will tell ..we will soon know who is who…!! As for me: “Afey bsuqu: Idey ykwalesulu” kem zibehal: reading the “who is who bible” extracted from original dictatum, I will continue to pray to stay alive when Asmarinos, for the second time, are dancing to the tune of drums when the second “liberation” of Eritrea happens.

  • Fasil

    I think the first stone should be throw at you Mr. Semere for being fearful of your own shadow: Salah Gadi, if he was a true friend of you should tell you privately that your illness is chronic than Isayas: Amed BeduQet YisiKal: Isayas suffers from fear of unknown anything related to Ethiopia and you excel him by far beyond imagination. You accuse Seyoum an individual for visiting Ethiopia, but, what about 1.000.000 Eritrean who still reside in Ethiopia? are they traitors too? or you want the million Eritrean to leave the enemy land of Ethiopia and migrate to Asmera to be considered as nationalist citizen of Eritrea in your distorted court?

  • F.M.

    Semere, I am inclined to believe very few share your fears. And very few would ever sympathize with the Asmara psychopath mental health condition minus the nisu nihna crowd — your fear is irrational.

    “He might have been virtuous in his private life but that is none of my concern.”

    It should concern you, it’s the mark of a true man; he who capably leads his family , potentially, can also capably lead his people. By way of a story, I have a friend who is one half Eritrean and the other half African American. He grew up abandoned by his dad, in his adulthood was introduced to his extended family all because on a fateful day after a pick up soccer game on campus , he told me “I am from a small country… you would not know of it.” If i were to tell you who his dad was, you Semere, i am sure would be all praises for his work, but I would hope you would also weigh in his failures as a father.

    Thanks for publishing PT’a private letter. It brought much balance …

    • Semere Habtemariam

      F.M.

      On the first one, I hope you’re right. That is one area I like to be proved wrong.

      On the second one, lets agree to disagree.

      I’m always in favor of serious people who invest their time to elevate our public discourse so we can foster a balanced understanding of our history and historical figures. PT has done a good job and it would be a waste not to share it. There was another gentleman who wrote me a lengthy message which would have greatly contributed to the discussion, but I’ve not been able to get his authorization.

      Semere

      • F.M.

        We can agree to disagree, unfortunately. Because I brought up my friend because his dad happens to be a member of the constitution committee. And since you are big on values such as loyalty and principles, I would not expect you to be selective on application. TLC starts at home and its unfair to criticize Dr. Seyoum family choice at a time of war instigated by Eritrea ( per the government propaganda machine some oppositions where riding on Ethiopian tanks) . The unconscience recying of that kind of propanda by non other than the romantics is such a turn of, tbf. Since this is partly about fear, mine would be that we have learned very little and will repeat our mistakes over and over.

  • Semere Habtemariam

    Dawit,

    As far as the msla: You say Potato, I say potato. As long as Tigrinya remains unstandardized language, we’ve the liberty to use the language the way we know it, as we use it in our households and the part of Eritrea we grew up in.

    As far as the English word, thanks for trying but that was a word I purposely chose. I didn’t want to use disproportionate–a word that is commonly used. Unproportionate is not wrong.

    Unproportionate:

    Part of Speech:adjective

    Definition:not balanced; lopsided

    Synonyms: asymmetrical, disproportionate, ill-matched, inequitable, irregular, nonsymmetrical, off-balance, one-sided, overbalanced, unbalanced, uneven, unproportionate , unsymmetrical

    Antonyms: balanced, equal, even, level, same

    Take care

    • haile

      Selam Semere H

      When is your book coming out….you killing us in waiting!

      Dawit is a new face in the block, he tried his hand in Statistics. Well, he got confused:) He is trying his hand in Language Culture and History. Obviously, he seems diving head first:) go easy on him, he will soon learn the awate way. kurmaj haile ayte’Aman gena:)

      • Semere Habtemariam

        Selam Haile,

        With work and few distractions, I’ve neglected the project a little bit, but I think I’m on target to finish it soon. You will know soon brother.

        Thanks for the reminder. I need to focus on it and in the language of blue-color-comedy, get it done.

        Semere H

  • and another “be’Al klte ansti new nejew kbl mote?” should have been “sebAay kilite niyew Nejew kibil Mete”..;-)

  • “…. discovered unproportionate number of former Dergue officials who claimed to have been EPLF’s secret members.
    ” Editors , you are forgetting your job. disproportionate and not unproportionate.