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Home / Negarit / Negarit 84: ፖለቲካዊ ታኪን – Political Turkey – ديك رومي سياسي

Negarit 84: ፖለቲካዊ ታኪን – Political Turkey – ديك رومي سياسي

A few years ago, I learned that whistling is a form of communication within a few societies. One such group resides in northern turkey and a few others in the bordering countries. It’s amazing how efficiently (and effectively) they communicate. But I wonder if they communicate with whistles. And that took me to turkey birds.

These days wild animals are behaving a field day roaming in city streets they never considered getting close to. During the last few weeks I was amazed to see wild turkeys carelessly scavenging in empty parking lots. As children, my friends and I whistled to turkeys and watched them gobble. Maybe they were communication something, like the Turkish group; we were not.

Growing up I had a lovely aunt who raised turkeys. Her customers were Italians who flocked to buy her birds. Some reserved a bird for Natale, Christmas. Eritreans never cared for turkey–chicken was the preferred bird. And unlike the Americans who would not pass Thanksgiving Day without a turkey meal, the Italians did that on Natale.

One day after the eggs hatched, aunt Lemlem pointed at a chick and said it was mine. And since all the chicks looked alike, she tied a colored thread around the leg of my chick. I wondered if it will gobble someday.

During the last few years Eritreans have been subjected to savage attacks by racists, fascists and bigots who have been lurking beneath the surface for a long time. Now that the Eritrean ruling party is exposed to the bone, as a system run like a private property surrounded by inept servile functionaries, the fascists think it’s an opportune time to dismantle Eritrea and impose their archaic dreams on it. And they have kahunas who preach hate and racism empowering them. For the ignorant crowd, the hate speeches have captivated their imagination tom the extent that some are daydreaming about a racist state built on the ashes of Eritrea. Sadly, they get some push from senior officials within the TPLF, the ruling party of the Northern Ethiopian region of Tigrai. And they will continue gobbling like Turkeys every time the whistle blowers send a signal.

Eritreans should not mind the turkeys very much; they should defeat the whistle blowers who are filling the heart of many naïve turkeys with hate.

So much for that…. Here is something from 1997, enjoy…

Tears of Joy and Fear
Saleh “Gadi’ Johar, June 1st. 1997

Abundant agonies… followed by tears of relief, joyous smiles, and happiness.
Nomads yearning for a pleasant breeze of hope… a storm of hope.
The sun above is sometimes scorching… sometimes bright, but never dull.
It is a dark night… a black sky, though a few stubborn stars refuse to die.
Then… a promising dawn…and a beam of hope engulfs the mysterious twilight.

And a trickling shower of hope dribbles across the barren desert.

On the distance, a magnificent mountain, high and proud… refusing to crumble.

It overshadows the equally proud coconut trees in the valley below.

They sway on the banks of the dry riverbed,
On the white sand stained by innocent blood and wetted by pious teardrops.
This lazy river never floods not to expose the bones of courage buried underneath…
And the pride whose spirits floats above.

These meandering trails curved on the slopes by the delicate legs of antelopes,
And by the bare human feet tucked inside light plastic sandals… or crushing boots.
These trails that lead to nowhere, but they also lead to everywhere!
This serene forest, of wild trees, blooming flowers, singing birds, and nightingales.
Vast plains full of gazelles, honey, wild beehives with absent queens.

On the side, wanderers decide to rest for a while and light a campfire.
But the stubborn wet wood refuses to ignite dashing their hopes for a huge bonfire.

Then, there comes young shepherds, herding animals bigger than themselves.
And a lonesome nomad watching it all from his tent while he sheds Tears of Joy and Fear.

And from the hilltop I enjoy the magnificent picture.
But then comes the unavoidable moment that hides the scene.
I laughed…  though engulfed by darkness the picture is still there.
It’s just hidden by a brief BLACKOUT!

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

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

Check Also

Negarit 148: ብሰላም ዕረፍ – Remembering a friend – ارقد في سلام

Eulogy for a departed friend, mourning in my own way and cursing the PFDJ//Saleh

  • Selam All,
    What is the thing that some people want to achieve by dreaming to live under italian colonialism for the second time? Is it freedom, prosperity, equality, dignity…. What exactly? They are ready to give everything to the italians on a platter?
    One can’t be free by accepting to be a slave, one can’t prosper by working for a foreign power that will extract their labor and resources and send it back home, they can’t be equal to a white man if they are black, because the white man will never accept them as equals, especially when they accept him as their superior, and they can’t have dignity when they are a second class citizens in their own country.
    What do they expect to get by calling back the italian colonialists? Is it to save them from one man, whom they can’t face him themselves? Don’t they think injustice under one’s own kind, will become slavery under a foreign power. They accuse africans while they themselves have a slave mentality. The least they should do is to show with their own words and actions that they deserve the freedom, equality, dignity, etc they are talking about, but not by looking for a master, who will never give them the above mentioned things.
    Africa is doomed, africa will get worse, let africans surrender to the whiteman, and invite him back so that africans will be his slaves. I see no worse insult to africans than this. On an individual basis somebody can be whatever he likes. Nevertheless, he/she doesn’t have the right to speak on behalf of a country and its people, much less on behalf of a continent.
    Africa has many problems, but it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t get any better in the future. Who imagined that China could be a world power within three decades? Why can’t africa be a better place? Africa could be different without being a technological miracle. A change in mentality may be what africans need after all. It is possible. They can do it.

  • Haile S.

    ሰላም ሳለሕ

    Well said as usual! Waiting to see the upcoming(s).
    For now here is my take: ኤርትራ ሓበጀረወይቲ

    ኤርትራ ሓበጀረወይቲ
    ክርስትያናዊት እስላመይቲ
    ናይ ደቂ ተባዕትዮ፡ ጓል ኣንስተይቲ
    ናይ ሳእኒ ካይወደየ ዝሓርስ ብናውቲ
    ናይታ ጥዑም ስዋ ትጸሙቕ ብመኹባዕቲ
    ናይቲ ኣላማይ ዝግለል ካብ መሬት ጉልቲምልቲ
    ናይታ ልውየታ ተኸዳኒት፡ ዝብጦ ኣብ ኣፍንጫ፡ ጽብቕቲ
    ናይ’ቶም ሃደንቲ ኮነ ካብ ቦታ ናብ ቦታ ማእረርቲ

    ናይ ፍትሒ ደለይቲ
    ….. ብዓመጽ ጠርነፍቲ
    ….. ብዘይ ፍትሒ ዳጎንቲ
    ….. ከም ኣሞራ ሞት ዝጽበዩ በተንቲ
    ናይ’ተን ስቕ ዝመረጻ ዕለታዊ ቆሎ ኣረይቲ

    ናይ ጻምኦም ዝመንጠሉ ኮነ ዘይረኸቡ ተጋደልቲ
    ….. ጸቐጥቲ፡ መሬት-ሓለውቲ፡ ህዝቢ-ጠመትቲ

    ናይ ሃገር ኣፍቐርቲ፡ ለሓስቲ ጀላቲ
    ….. ዕረ ጥራይ ዝርኣዮም ተመረርቲ

    ናይ ዓመጽቲ፡ ናይ ተዓመጽቲ
    ….. ንኣድቲ፡ ተጻረፍቲ ተራገምቲ
    ….. ብጻዮም ንዒቖም ጎረቤት ኣፍቀርቲ
    ….. ንዘለዎም ንዓቕቲ፡ ንዘይብሎም ኣድነቕቲ
    ….. ሽልማት-መዳልያ ለዋህነት ደለይቲ

    ናይ’ቶም ኣብ መሪሕነት ኣራጢጦም ዝብሉ ተወፈይቲ
    ….. ንመን ከምዝተወፈዩ ዝዘንግዑ የዋሃት ተሰለፍቲ
    ….. ዋርሳይ ኣሎና ዝብሉ ካየጥረዩ ወረስቲ
    ….. ዝካረዩ ደገ ዝዓበዩ ሽፉናት ደገፍቲ
    ….. ከም ኣዕዋፍ ዝፈልሱ ናብ “ዓዶም” ክረምቲ

    ናይ’ቶም ካብ መሪሕነት ዝተማህርዎ ደገምቲ
    ….. ተመራሚሮም ኮነ ካይተመራመሩ ወቐስቲ
    ….. መሣርይኦም ልክዕ ናይ ተወቀስቲ መራሕቲ
    ….. ኣሰር መራሕቶም ዝኽተሉ ብተግባር ኣድነቕቲ

    ናይ’ዞም ንላዕሊ እንተበልካ ዝጎቱ ንታሕቲ
    ….. ንየማን እንተበልካ ብጸጋም ኣኳለምቲ ሃለኽቲ
    ….. ምግ’ጣም ቅልስ እንተዘይኮኑ ጎድኒ ዘይተሰራዕቲ

    ናይ መዓኮረ-ጥጡሕ ተወቀስቲ
    ….. እዞም ብማዕዶ ብጽሑፍ ተማጎትቲ
    ….. ኣንቢብና ኣየንበብና ኩሉ ጊዜ ተወራዘይቲ
    ….. ላንጋ ላንጋ እንብሃል ኣብ ዝመሰዮም ሓደርቲ
    ….. ዝነገሰ ንጉሥና ዝበረቐ ጸሓይና “ዘይብልና” ምሕኩልቲ

    እሞ እዛ ኤርትራ ዘይዕድልቲ
    እዚኦም ዝሃብታ’ሲ እንታይ ጎዲሎዋ ተደቚሳ ኣብ ታሕቲ?
    እዚ ሽሕር ዝብልዎ ዶ ይኸውን ሕገ-መንግስቲ?

  • Burhan Ali

    Eid Mubarek to all
    “Now that the Eritrean ruling party is exposed to the bone, as a system
    run like a private property surrounded by inept servile functionaries,
    the fascists think it’s an opportune time to dismantle Eritrea and
    impose their archaic dreams on it.”

    we don’t have the leisure of letting the archaic dreams to materialize!

    keep doing the good job you are doing, Ustaz Saleh, it is one of few elements making it impossible for those criminal dreams becoming true!

    • Simon Kaleab

      Selam Burhan,

      You said: “we don’t have the leisure of letting the archaic dreams to materialize!”

      Be honest, what can you do other than letting off steam and waiting for Isaias to pass away? He may even outlive you. Worst of all is that the new generation is not interested in project Eritrea.

      • Burhan Ali

        ” the new generation is not interested in project Eritrea”, if it is so then there is no hope for anything, even Ethiopia will not be available for Ethiopia of the future is a different animal, much more different than what you now have. may be many Ethiopias and the return to Zemene mesafint. may be, if your comment is factual, Eritrea will also be divided into many small Eritreas and a zemene mesafnt of its own or a variety of Ethiopia’s. You are though mistaken in one thing: there are many, including myself, who believe that the death of Issayas brings no relief to Eritrea. in fact if the guy dies tomorrow we will have much more oppressive arrangement in country. You have to know that Eritrea is not a free country even after independence. we have invisible share holders with greater powers and interests. so, I think it is you,and may be few others who think that delivery comes in the coffin of the Dictator and you are here mistaken.

        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam Burhan,

          I do not disagree with you. We are all doomed.
          We might need to invite Italy or Britain back. They will charge us admin fees, if they accept our humble request.

          • Burhan Ali

            You are here falling into a contradiction, you can’t invite someone into a house if you don’t own it. Italy, Britain, Emirates….and the rest are the owners. it is this what you have, if your argument is correct:
            you rot and die in the diaspora and leave the Helots inside Sparta(Eritrea) suffer there also rot and finally die. inviting yesteryear’s masters doesn’t work. what you have at home now, without your invitation, is Italy, Britain and all the powerful as puppeteers and the mad Abu shanab the puppet. we have, if we want to survive as humans, to struggle and better die standing like a trees rather than submission and death under the feet of the powerful like cokeroaches.

          • David Samson

            Selam Simon,
            I was ridiculed for entertaining the idea of Italian recolonisation
            and some people thought that I must be am out of mind. Many accused me of having a slavery mentality and a worshipper of a white man. Yet many lectured me on the evil of colonisation as if I was born this morning. These people do not have some basic understanding of history; they take great joy in telling me the Italians had built Eritrea for their own sake and yet again I fail to know as I am five-year-old. But fundamentally, they fail to understand the issue we are entertaining is just Entertainment. Why should Italians come back to Eritrea? It is a sink-hole country as Trump once said.

            During the early 90s, in Rome, the chance of bumping into
            an Italian-born in Asmara was common. Majority had a nostalgia for Eritrea and longing to return. I doubt many now left and the memory of Italians of its former colony is a distance past.

            Years ago, I met a son of Denadia. He was keen to return to carry on his dad’s business, but the commy had other ideas.

            When Blair came to power, the song for his inauguration
            was called “Things can only get better” (I forget the band name). When Blair intervened in Sierra Leone civil war and rescued the country from total collapse and visited the country, people at the airport welcome him with a message “Bring back Her majesty government”.

            We all know that Africa is doomed but keep pretending that
            things will get better tomorrow. We also know that 99.9% of us will unlikely return to Africa and die in the West. This is brute reality and should swallow it like a bitter pill. We take in false comfort in blaming colonisation until the cows’ home and anyone who dares to look back at colonisation is ridiculed.

            “Things can only get worse” in Africa

          • Paulos


            Pessimism is a plague where the vector is mediocrity.

            The sages of human evolution tell us that, it was out of Africa that the first humans spread out the world and in the end, it will be into Africa for history is circular.

          • David Samson

            Selam Paulos,

            I am not a pessimist but a realist.

            If you talk to the Wes indies community who immigrated to
            the UK right after second world-war, you get my drift. “We will return to our country once we have saved enough
            money”, how long will that take you? A couple of years was the usual reply. I was filled with optimism and was boasting that we Eritreans will go back to our country once we gain independence. They were laughing at me and keep saying that they will see me around in years. True to their word, some of them have died before they set foot again and others are too old and retired. You see! A couple of years has turned in to a century.

            You might return to Africa reincarnated as “Lucy”. I believe
            in Karma after all, but you need that sense of optimism.

          • Paulos


            Well, Isaias doesn’t have a social base rooted in conviction or sense of mission. It is not even oligarchy or a family affair. It is a one man show. How many years does he have for a biological capital? Not much. As for the West Indies, it is tantamount to comparing onion with orange when you draw a comparison of their history to our recent history.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam David,

            ‘Things can only get better worse’, by Howard Jones.

            It is all bravado by some and paying lip service to ‘independence’ by others. Nobody has a clue about where we are coming from and where we are going.

            I recommend listening to ‘Dazed and Confused’ by Led Zeppelin.

          • Mokie Berhe

            Salam David Samson. Horrible Governance, greed, wonton corruption and uncontrolled population growth have doomed Africa to future economic indentured servitude to developed countries and to a life of internal rift spent on fighting for diminishing natural resources. Europe, U.S.A. and Canada will increasingly become even more hostile towards accepting new refugees/economic immigrants from developing countries. Automation/robotics now trumps arguments for the need of immigrants to perform lower wage sector labour jobs. Was Eritrea a better place 25 years ago than it is today? Certainly. Was it a better place 25 years before that? It probably was for most. The young do not have a proper yardstick to measure Eritrea’s status/wellbeing against, but for those of us long enough in the tooth to know better, the sad reality that the country continues on a downward slide and will never be as good as before, has long set in. By the way, never was able to find that Pub you use to go to near Metro Republica.

          • David Samson

            Selam Mokie Berhe,

            Yes, I know exactly the place you are referring to. As with many Europeans’ cities, Roma has changed for good. It has become a cosmopolitan city. When I went back to Roma, I struggled to recognise some places. I was saddened and unsettled seeing lots of refugees—mainly Eritreans— rough sleeping. Termini was always crowded and a bit dirty, but the sheer number of people has turned it to some ghetto.

            Angle Merkel told a refugee from Syria, “Germany is unable to accommodate all the refugee from Africa”. They are not many people from Africa, but the entire continent will flock into Europe if they can.

            The Romanes has quickly learned the dodgy business practice
            of the Chinese and SE Asians. Italians are known for good, hygienic food, but in Roma, it is no longer the case unless you venture out to “Fori Roma”. I was lucky enough to have avoided the centre except for shopping. A Romanes friend gave me all the tips I needed, including where to eat out. I found a pub, not far from Pizza Della Republica, which stock “Guinness”. No country on earth though could come even close to second as the Italians when it comes to style and elegance of clothes. Whenever I visit Italy, I buy all my clothes for the next ten years.

          • Mokie Berhe

            Salam David Samson. Your take on Roma is correct. Over the years, especially the past 10, the city has undergone a lot of change. People use to talk of the garbage collection problems in Napoli but not anymore, as many say that Roma seems comparatively worse. And yes, the food has gone really down hill; you really have to know where to go. The termini area has changed a lot and the Chinese are now very visable even in the Eritrean/Ethiopian area on the front side of termini. And, so many refugees in the parks these days. Thing is, I find very few cities better today than I did 20 years ago and that inludes Roma, Asmara, Addis Ababa and a host of other cities in Afirca, Asia, and North Amierica.

        • NewDawn

          Selam Burhan and Simon kaleab, eritreans sometimes, if not most of the time look for the worst in people and this translates into other aspects. Have some optimism and faith. What is your reasoning for thinking isaias’s departure, will lead eritrea into a more repressive arrangement?

      • NewDawn

        Simon, your assumption of the new generation not being interested in project eritrea is a wild one. There are many of us, who want to contribute, be it small or big.

  • Hashela

    Selam Saleh

    Ancient inhabitants of today’s Syria and Irak were not only good in Astrology ( ስነ-ጃዕጎል, ስነ-ዕጣን), as you explained, they also were excellent in Astronomy. In addition, they kept a detailed record of recurring droughts and river bank flooding, enabling today climate scientists to extend the record of impact of sea surface temperature variations of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans on precipitation in remote regions.

    ርሑስ ብዓል ናጽነት

    Let’s don‘t throw the baby with the bathwater!

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Hashela,
      It was a mistake, I meant to say astronomy… but they sound the same to the layman 🙂

  • Kokhob Selam

    Yes Memher Saleh,

    I am very attracted with your story. The example of the river….and the singer is in it’s proper place..

    We noted the during lock out so many animals have got freedom. As you said it like the “turkey” I think most wild animal got freedom..If human disappears most of animals will enjoy got free space..if it it is the other way round human will not enjoy..Ha..Ha Ha …..

    I enjoy it..