The following is a rough transcript of Negarit #62, a video program published on tNov 28, 2019
1. Now I have proof our culture needs revamping—in some aspects it stinks.
2. “Meseta Abeyuti, mezena naashtu“—friendship among older and younger people is shameful in out culture, they say
Someone who tells you the shortcomings you need to improve, he should not be insulted because he makes you uncomfortable, but be thanked.
A developed culture is not built on illusion, it should be based on reality, and tangible qualities within a given culture.
If you missed it, I always say I am not here to increase the level of arrogance, therefore, expect critiques that may make you uncomfortable. I will never offer pretentious praises, because I am not running for election—and if you misunderstand my intentions, in time you will understand it properly. Faqd alshi’e la Y’aTih–What we do not have, you cannot give simply because you do not have it—but let’s aspire to achieve what we lack.
Many people are so protective of their culture and they are up in arms the moment it’s questioned or criticized. Sorry to say this, but we are arrogant, violent, and disrespectful. All of us? Of course not. But think of it as a stain on the pocket of a clean shirt. We do not say, the pocket is stained, but the shirt is stained. A drop of poison in a barrel of water makes the water poisonous—it’s not the water that neutralizes the drop of poison. Don’t try it at home.
But we have a poor culture, and though a bonafide Habesha myself, there is nothing that makes me proud of that culture. If anyone thinks I am wrong, go ahead and explain it to all. We have such a poor culture I think it’s a Saudi culture without petrol. If we have the Saudi petrol, no one would see the difference. I have lived in the Arab world enough and I know my people—our culture is almost cloned. I can prepare a long list to show the similarities, beginning with the way they treat women. If not for that culture, one man wouldn’t have oppressed us for three decades with impunity.
But I feel sad when I hear of different sections of our population being identified by the worst individuals among them. “Tseyaq Alet”, as they say back home. It is heart wrenching to see noble humble and respectful people being criminalized because of a few irresponsible rascals among them behave in unbecoming manners, are fond of foul words, and claim they behave the way they do on behalf of a certain segment they claim to belong to.
Have you seen, over the last two decades, how Eritrean Muslims were victimized by what 19 insane extremist Saudis did in New York? Are you seeing how Eritrean Christians and Highlanders are being victimized because of the malicious outgrowth within their communities? That I despise. Noble Eritreans have nothing to do with what the foolish, arrogant, the disunitying street boys are doing and propagating.
So, we should fight those cancerous outgrowth on all fronts, wherever we see their destructive, violent, and archaic behaviors. We should stand together in fighting this malice. If any Eritreans is victimized, we are all victimized and we should be able to protect our dignity, integrity and our good national character. We should also remember such unknown alien behaviors are not Eritrean, but implanted by the scum among us. We should not provide them victory for their damaging campaigns by staying quiet. Fight it back. Spread the feeling of camaraderie, patriotism and protect the Eritrean name—all Eritreans from all corners. We are all facing an assault by those who grew among us, those whom we considered part of us, and who are now planning to throw us in disarray and splinter us along unimaginable cleavages. Don’t offer them cracks to sneak through—and they are good at finding cracks like warms that find their way into our bodies. We have to fight parallel fights: one against our tormentor for the sake of freedom and justice, and another against those who are hindering our struggle for a just cause.
Now let me give you an example of one of the worst aspect of our culture.
“mezena Abeyti, maHaza naaShtu
Do you know the saying, “mezena Abeyti, maHaza naaShtu” See what that means? It means a compartmentalized society segregated along age and generations. No continuity, a broken chain of history, a faded sense of identity and a crooked path that hinders the proper passing of our legacy.
Today I can confidently state I have friends of all ages and among them are friends who are the age of my children and they are my friends, though it’s a no-no according to our culture. But I am very proud of them. I weigh their addition to our long struggle a huge jump forward.
They are the energy that would carry this struggle to the end. I can see it clearly.
A few days ago, my young friends presented me a rewarded—I am glad it was not a Noble prize—Noble prize has become so cheap, unattractive because you shake hands with someone and they give you one Noble coin. A friend came to my rescue (so I hear) and he suggested to my young friends to give me an original prize fit for the occasion. Here it is and I feel very proud of it. Thank you.
For my young friends. Strive to be the best at what you do. Aim for excellence in your life and never forget your less fortunate compatriots at home. Work hard to bring their sufferings to an end. But here, you need wisdom… and don’t believe anyone who tells you wisdom comes with age. Not necessarily, we have many examples of people who lose wisdom with age—look at the PFDJ! Wisdom is something you learn and you can learn it quicker if you are humble enough to learn while maintaining your integrity—and most importantly, stay clean of archaic, medieval thinking. You have better eyeglasses to see the times, and how the world is advancing and living while the foolish among us are busy building narrow, suffocating fences. You can do that. Have clarity and espouse natural progressive, modernist views, make those views part of your character and attitude. And pursue clear goals with tenacity, with integrity, with care for yourself, your people, and humanity at large. And you can hasten the time of the relief for all our people.
Thank you my young friends