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Negarit Episode 2: Yemen Under Fire

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Imperial Britain occupied South Yemen for 106 years. In 1918 the Ottoman Empire left North Yemen which. In 1967, after four years of Yemeni rebellion, the British left South Yemen—and many Yemenis who lived in Eritrea and many parts of the world returned and settled in South Yemen, mainly in and around the then flourishing port of Aden. Older Eritreans surely remember the Omegas and Seiko5 watches which were mainly smuggled from Aden to Eritrea by dwellers of the Eritrean Red sea coast who were renowned seafarers and traders.

From 1967 to 1990, the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South) survived as an independent state until 1970 when it became a Soviet Union satellite and going through violent. But in 1990 when the Soviet Union collapsed and both South and North Yemen united to form the present Yemen Arab Republic. However, after a few years, things didn’t go well with the union and South Yemen seceded. Consequently, North Yemen reacted by unleashing its military force and occupied South Yemen. That resulted in a bloody civil war. That incident left bitterness amongst Yemenis and Ali Abdella Saleh dictatorship made it worse and he basically aroused the dormant Yemeni Houthis. Another round of rebellion was ignited.

A few years ago, Saudi Arabia and the UAE decided it is time to fight Iran and they decided to do that by bombing the Houthis. But surprisingly the Saudi and UAE target kept expanding to the extent they have been bombing Yemen to the stone age since 2015.
The ruling party of Eritrea is an ally of the Saudi-UAE alliance that is bombing Yemeni cities and towns into rubble. And the Yemeni suffering is continuing. Meanwhile, the culprits are using sectarian propaganda to keep their adventure alive. However, Yemenis, both Zaidi’s (Shia) and Sunnis, have always remained Yemenis and have lived in peace for centuries. The need of the culprits to keep their grip on power by manufacturing and agitating for conflicts and craving for regional and international support by adventures in geopolitical situations is the reason for the onslaught on Yemen. The rest, like Eritrea’s ruling party, are cheap “comparsa”, extras salivating for small perks.

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ብዘበን ዉርውራ ከብድኻ ኣይተዕብራ

ማህጸን ኣደ ጉራምራ ክበሃል ሓቂ እዩ። እዛ ዓድናስ፡ ብዙሕ ዝባህሪኦም ውሉድ ኣለዉዋ፤ እንኪዓብዩ መልክዖም እንዳቐየሩ …

  • Very useful video when you try to write an essay about “Yemen Under Fire”. Thank you.
    Regard, George – an essay writer from https://tutoriage.com/

  • Paulos

    G. Morning Dr. Beyan,

    Not sure what happened to the article you provided. Yesterday, tried to comment on it but Ayte Disqus said, can’t comment on an old entry. And today, don’t see it.

    • Bayan Negash

      Greetings Dottore,

      Tried it twice. The third time might be a charmer. The late Dr. Tekie’s entry related to the “listening of other voices” is insightful, considering eighteen years has lapsed since the commentaries. I will let his voice do the prognostication:

      “For Eritreans there are tough times ahead: first, how to clear the debris of this war in all of its manifestations–emotional, economic, and social. Second, how to avoid the calamity’s recurrence; and, third: how best to safeguard Eritrea’s sovereignty. None of the questions are easy; nor are the answers likely to be. But they must be faced. Eritreans have been through tough roads before, and they prevailed. No reason why they should not do it again. All it takes is massive mobilizations of resources- material; financial, and intellectual, to get the job done, to give Eritrea a secure future.

      “The post-conflict Eritrea will be a far different place than a lot of people realize. In case no one has noticed, there has been a massive paradigm shift in our understanding of what needs to be done to protect Eritrea’s sovereignty. The old ways of doing things no longer hold. New ideas are desperately needed. But first we must acknowledge that no one has a monopoly on good ideas. Not the government. Not the much-maligned intellectuals-whoever they are. And definitely not the assorted finger pointers and champion scapegoat hunters, proud “graduates” from the “University of 20/20 Hindsight.” The later have very little useful and timely ideas to contribute. At best what they have to offer are no better than boilerplate solutions designed for other places and other times. Still our version of the Golden Rule remains: Let all good ideas compete, and the best ones will eventually rise to the top.

      “As a starter we must begin with what amounts to a national confession. As a people we are not good listeners when we conduct political discourse. We think we have all the answers for everything. Sometimes we feel no one can tell us anything new. It maybe true that we may know a lot and that we may even have many good answers. But there are things we don’t know, and what we don’t know may be more important for our future than things we already know, things we have already mastered. At this juncture in our history, some of the things we have not mastered–like attentive listening, may be more important for our political well being. As we have said, no one has a monopoly on good ideas.

      “This time, we must do something contrary to our national character: let’s listen to other voices. Who are the other voices? These are people who, for a variety of reasons, did not believe they were listened to in the past. They are people with a different perspective on things relating to Eritrea. They cover the entire political spectrum. They come from all walks of life. They believe, rightly, or wrongly, that Eritrea is on the wrong track. The country is facing new challenges, unprecedented in its short history. These challenges require bold new actions. The voices come from every walk of life, covering the entire political spectrum, former fighters, and civilians. Some are in government, others in the business sector. Some come from among the “opposition” groups. When the war came, those in the Opposition reacted in different ways. Some who fought to defend Eritrea have earned the respect of their countrymen; others who joined the enemy have elicited their scorn. And a few, who sat on the sidelines, have garnered their society’s pity. The manner they reacted will undoubtedly affect their future roles in Eritrean society.

      “The overwhelming majority among the voices drew a distinction between their opposition to specific government policy or approach, and the threat to Eritrea’s sovereignty. They postponed their criticism to defend the country. A few, perhaps not more than a handful, took the opportunity to collaborate with the enemy, hoping that the enemy would anoint them as Eritrea’s rulers. And some chose to sit on the sideline because they felt so strongly about their opposition to government policy that even the threat to Eritrea’s sovereignty was not sufficient to persuade them to get off the fence.

      “The three groups have made their choices with which they have to live with. The collaborators have lost all moral standing to be taken seriously. People who commit treason have no political future. The fence sitters will have time to explain why they sat out when Eritrea was invaded. They have to defend themselves why they went in a huff when Eritrea’s sovereignty was threatened. Of the three, the first group has earned the right to be listened to on everything dealing with Eritrea’s future. At the most critical moment in independent Eritrea’s history, the group opted to close ranks with the people to defend Eritrea. These are the other voices worth listening, for the simplest of reasons that they have earned the right to be heard, the right to be present at the discussion table.” (Fessehatzion, 25 July, 2000)

      • Paulos

        Selam Dr. Beyan,

        Thank you. ነዛ article ፊሒርካ ከተውጽኣ ከለኻ ደሮና ተጸይቕካ ከይትኸውን ተስፋ ይገብር::

        The article feels a message in a bottle so to speak albeit for wrong reasons where his reading about post-Badme Eritrea was naive if not reluctant and ambivalent at best. But of course, he might had been a true believer in the sense that he was truly convinced about a grand conspiracy of forces who set out to undo the hard earned independence.

        When he didn’t have the luxury of a hindsight at his disposal, those who lived through the last 18 years and remained apologists of the regime, however, are not forgiven for they have seen the true intent and reality of post-Badme Eritrea, when it is anything but a grand conspiracy. Thank you again.

        • Bayan Nagash

          Selam Dottore,
          The dehai archival dust was causing me a lot of consternation, because the who is who of dehai, those who were “apologists of the regime” as you rightly asserted then and continue to be today, indeed, have a lot of ‘splainin to do.

          At any rate, the article in question (“Listening to other voices”) appears to have been systematically removed from the dehai archives. The partial quote I shared came from an article, “Is the Cease-fire Holding? Barely, But That’s Not bad Considering…” in July 25, 2000 that the late Fessehatzion penned. If you notice at the bottom of this article shows the title of “listening to other voices” as the next piece to be read, but that article in which, supposedly, the late Fessehatzion goes in depth about listening to others is nowhere to be found. However in a book titled “African Cultures, Visual Arts”, the writer quotes parts of “listening to other voices” and shows it in the footnote as a source: “In summer 2000, an article by Tekie Fessehatzion, professor of history at the University of Asmara, causes quite a stir when he called on the government to have the country run not only the Tegadalai, the former fighters, but also to listen to “other’, civilian voices; Fessehatzion,”Listening to Other voices,” Eritrea Profile (5 August 2000): 3.

          Needless to say, I wasn’t successful in unearthing this particular Eritrea Profile. Perhaps, someone from awatawyan may have it stashed away in their files somewhere. Else, what I share below kind of gives a sense of what the content of the article in question might have contained. Here is the entire piece where ideas of listening to others is contained in it toward the end of the piece. The first part deals with the OAU Summit and the cessation of hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea…

          ===========

          Is the Cease-fire Holding? Barely, But That’s Not bad Considering..
          Tekie Fessehatzion
          July 25, 2000
          Things that were expected to happen at the Lome OAU Summit this month, but didn’t are likely to have a far-reaching impact on the search for a peaceful resolution to the Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict. In bypassing President Eyadema of Togo, the current OAU Chair, in favor of the past OAU Chair, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, to continue handling the mediating role in the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict, the Lome OAU Summit signaled its seriousness about finding a peaceful resolution to the carnage in the Horn of Africa.

          Had the assignment been given to President Eyadema, it would have been another missed opportunity, given the cloud that hangs over his head about his role in exacerbating the conflict in the Congo and Angola. A man who perpetuates conflict because he chose to act as a conduit for conflict diamonds and illegal arm shipments could not be counted to act as a dependable mediator to settle the Horn conflict. President Compaore of Burkina Faso, the OAU’s Chair the first year of the conflict, had failed to move the process forward. President Compaore’s involvement in the civil war in Sierra Leone is well documented, and for the same reasons as President Eyadema. Another appointment in Cmpoare’s mold would have been a catastrophe.

          The reappointment of President Bouteflika to the role he played last year, on the other hand, augurs well for the peace process. It is a reassuring appointment considering the confusing and confused role Washington has been playing since the beginning of the conflict. The United Nations Security Council, for its part, sent equally compelling message that it too intended to work hard for peace when it sent Maj. General Timothy Ford, head of UN peace keeping mission to Eritrea and Ethiopia. General Ford visited Addis Ababa and Asmara and termed his visits successful. He has indicated that he would recommend that UN peacekeepers be deployed as soon as possible. These two events, President Bouteflika’s reappointment to the mediation role, and General Ford’s forthcoming recommendation indicate, that perhaps, for the first time in the last two years, there’s a flickering ray of hope that may be a major shooting war is a thing of the past.

          By endorsing the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities and the other two components of the OAU peace package, the OAU Lome Summit, aborted Ethiopia’s attempt to bypass delimitation and demarcation in lieu of arbitration, and to do away with the role of the UN’s Cartographic unit. Those were Ethiopia’s principal objectives at the Washington proximity talks early in the month. President Bouteflika’s continuing role in the mediation process means the OAU Summit wanted the speedy implementation of the OAU peace package. Ethiopia’s attempt to short circuit the process are unlikely to bear fruit, now that President Bouteflika, and not President Endyma is in charge of the peace process. If the Clinton team does not interfere with the process, we may be at the beginning of the end of the shooting war.

          To be sure, we have been through this before, only to see our hopes dashed because at the last minute something happens to torpedo the peace efforts. Even now there are booby traps along the way. Ethiopia has signed the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities that mandates the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Eritrean territory, within two weeks, after UN peacekeepers have been deployed inside Eritrea. The same document said UN peacekeepers would remain deployed until demarcation has been completed.

          Only a fool would think that Ethiopia will voluntarily abide by the June 18 agreement. There will be Ethiopian provocations to pull Eritrea into retaliatory responses, to break the Agreement. The most recent invasion of Eritrean air space over Assab, in which two out of three Ethiopian Air Force fighter jets that invaded Eritrean air space were hit, is a case in point. There have been other minor incidents of violations of the Agreement. But up to this point the violations, intended to elicit Eritrean reaction to undermine the Agreement, do not add up to a resumption of the shooting war. The cease-fire is holding, perhaps barely, but under the circumstances, it’s all we can hope for. Ethiopia knows there is very little it could do prevent the implementation of the Agreement. The die is cast. The UN Security Council is making plans to send peacekeepers to the area.

          Despite the provocations, the end of a major shooting war is a possibility, if not a sure thing. We know that unless the OAU under Bouteflika and the UN are firm, our latest hope may go the way of the previous ones-down the drain. Yet if our hope is to be realized two hurdles must be crossed. One: Ethiopia is as of yet to openly and for the record state her claims. Right from the start Ethiopia had accused Eritrea of crossing into Ethiopia, but then refused to indicate where the international border was. There was a reason for the refusal to be open about Ethiopia’s claims. Prime Minister Meles had said once that only Ethiopia would decide what areas Eritrea had occupied. No third party would be allowed to speak on Ethiopia’s behalf. This means an Ethiopian territory is whatever Ethiopia claims is hers. In practical terms, this means only Ethiopia can decide where the May 6 line is supposed to be. So even if Ethiopia abides by the terms of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, there’s no guarantee that the May 6 line Ethiopia is supposed to return to may not incorporate uncontested Eritrean territory.

          The second hurdle deals with the so-called peace agreement Prime Minster mentioned as a precondition for Ethiopian deployment from Eritrea. This is a new demand, unmentioned in any of the three key OAU documents. As if he had not read the document on Cessation of Hostilities he had signed, Prime Minister Meles, said at the Summit that Ethiopian troops would remain in Eritrea until a peace agreement has been signed between the two countries. What peace agreement is the Ethiopian leader talking about? No one is sure. But he’s probably referring to the preconditions he set while accepting the Agreements on Cessation of Hostilities: protection of the rights of Ethiopians-read Tigrayans-in Eritrea; compensation for the loss in Zalambessa; arbitration and not demarcation; and, limitation on Eritrean military capacity. Prime Minster Meles is behaving as if he had militarily occupied Eritrea, and that he was presenting Eritrea with conditions for reinstating Eritrea’s sovereignty. That might have been the objective of the invasion. But since the invasion was foiled, one assumes Prime Minister Meles would re-write his conditions to conform to the mandates of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities Ethiopia have signed June 18.

          So have we reached the end of the terrible roller coaster? We would not know for sure if we have made significant progress until Ethiopian troops withdraw to their May 6 line. Ethiopia may not have indicated where the line is, but, surely, the U.S and the UN have a way of determining where the line was. Both could compel Ethiopia to fulfill the mandate of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, and move to the internationally endorsed May 6 line. If Ethiopia refuses then it would be a matter for the UN Security council to handle.

          If we believe that the cessation of hostilities is likely to hold, then the time may have come for the public to move on to other things. We cannot remain hostage forever to every twist and turn in Addis Ababa’s diplomatic maneuvering to frustrate the end result of the process-demarcation. With Ethiopia’s belated signing of the June 18 Agreement, the case goes to the UN Security Council for implementation. If Ethiopia wishes to break the Agreement, the problem becomes one for the Security Council to deal with. The job of following the implementation of the Agreement and the entire process leading to demarcation will be a task for diplomats and legal experts. The rest of us should go back to other things. There are some immediate tasks-resettlement, rehabilitation, and reconstruction that require our undivided energy. Above all, there is the all-important matter of implementing the constitution, a process that was aborted because of the war.

          In the mean time, Ethiopians and Eritreans have to do a lot of thinking how we got into this mess. Both have to find a way of letting the scars heal, if that’s at all possible, considering the brutality of the TPLF led Ethiopian army. Ethiopians would have to decide on their own whether the war was worth the lives lost, and resources wasted.

          For Eritreans there are tough times ahead: first, how to clear the debris of this war in all of its manifestations–emotional, economic, and social. Second, how to avoid the calamity’s recurrence; and, third: how best to safeguard Eritrea’s sovereignty. None of the questions are easy; nor are the answers likely to be. But they must be faced. Eritreans have been through tough roads before, and they prevailed. No reason why they should not do it again. All it takes is massive mobilizations of resources- material; financial, and intellectual, to get the job done, to give Eritrea a secure future.

          The post-conflict Eritrea will be a far different place than a lot of people realize. In case no one has noticed, there has been a massive paradigm shift in our understanding of what needs to be done to protect Eritrea’s sovereignty. The old ways of doing things no longer hold. New ideas are desperately needed. But first we must acknowledge that no one has a monopoly on good ideas. Not the government. Not the much-maligned intellectuals-whoever they are. And definitely not the assorted finger pointers and champion scapegoat hunters, proud “graduates” from the “University of 20/20 Hindsight.” The later have very little useful and timely ideas to contribute. At best what they have to offer are no better than boilerplate solutions designed for other places and other times. Still our version of the Golden Rule remains: Let all good ideas compete, and the best ones will eventually rise to the top.

          As a starter we must begin with what amounts to a national confession. As a people we are not good listeners when we conduct political discourse. We think we have all the answers for everything. Sometimes we feel no one can tell us anything new. It maybe true that we may know a lot and that we may even have many good answers. But there are things we don’t know, and what we don’t know may be more important for our future than things we already know, things we have already mastered. At this juncture in our history, some of the things we have not mastered–like attentive listening, may be more important for our political well being. As we have said, no one has a monopoly on good ideas.

          This time, we must do something contrary to our national character: let’s listen to other voices. Who are the other voices? These are people who, for a variety of reasons, did not believe they were listened to in the past. They are people with a different perspective on things relating to Eritrea. They cover the entire political spectrum. They come from all walks of life. They believe, rightly, or wrongly, that Eritrea is on the wrong track. The country is facing new challenges, unprecedented in its short history. These challenges require bold new actions. The voices come from every walk of life, covering the entire political spectrum, former fighters, and civilians. Some are in government, others in the business sector. Some come from among the “opposition” groups. When the war came, those in the Opposition reacted in different ways. Some who fought to defend Eritrea have earned the respect of their countrymen; others who joined the enemy have elicited their scorn. And a few, who sat on the sidelines, have garnered their society’s pity. The manner they reacted will undoubtedly affect their future roles in Eritrean society.

          The overwhelming majority among the voices drew a distinction between their opposition to specific government policy or approach, and the threat to Eritrea’s sovereignty. They postponed their criticism to defend the country. A few, perhaps not more than a handful, took the opportunity to collaborate with the enemy, hoping that the enemy would anoint them as Eritrea’s rulers. And some chose to sit on the sideline because they felt so strongly about their opposition to government policy that even the threat to Eritrea’s sovereignty was not sufficient to persuade them to get off the fence.

          The three groups have made their choices with which they have to live with. The collaborators have lost all moral standing to be taken seriously. People who commit treason have no political future. The fence sitters will have time to explain why they sat out when Eritrea was invaded. They have to defend themselves why they went in a huff when Eritrea’s sovereignty was threatened. Of the three, the first group has earned the right to be listened to on everything dealing with Eritrea’s future. At the most critical moment in independent Eritrea’s history, the group opted to close ranks with the people to defend Eritrea. These are the other voices worth listening, for the simplest of reasons that they have earned the right to be heard, the right to be present at the discussion table.

          Next: “Listening to other voices”

          • blink

            Dear Beyan
            Who do you blame more ? The once who stood by their country or these who were on top of weyane tanks to wipe out Eritrean defense forces and even set their foot in Eritrea protected by weyane soldiers? You said “ apologists of the regime” as you rightly asserted then …. ? What did do in the weyane aggressions of 1998-2000 ? Did you support your country or you support weyane in order to topple Issaias? Just to know where was your stand at that time . I would rather support Eritrean defense forces than clapping with weyane reaching barentu ?

            The fact is many people supported weyane in order to grap power and still many hope for that chance .

          • Bayan Nagash

            merHaba blink,

            You asked: “What did do in the weyane aggressions of 1998-2000 ? Did you support your country or you support weyane in order to topple Issaias? Just to know where was your stand at that time . I would rather support Eritrean defense forces than clapping with weyane reaching barentu ?”

            Dear blink,

            It so happened I was searching to locate the late Dr. Tekie’s piece in dehai archives, after reading your question, I began to search for what I was doing in the said dates. This is not to brag, but to give some facts. Here is one from May 12, 1999 dehai archives:

            At any rate, let me revert to the reason of my revisit. Recall about Drar Tegadalay hosted by Amanuel Teklemariam here in Orange County. Well, on that Saturday alone $605.00 was collected out of msaHn drarn. Of course, the “$1.00 a day keeps TPLF away” slogan is going eleven months strong – with about $10,000 being sent to Embassy so far and the number of volunteers increasing by leaps and bounds.

            Well, in any case, the contagion of drar tegadaly – I call it drar Hallowti dob – is catching on; it is being hosted for this Saturday, May 15th, 99 by Efrem. Again, enda Shahi MerHaba cordially invites Eritreans from the surrounding area to come and dine for this noble cause, showing that we care in however minute way is really worth the trip. deQQi LA have shown last month that they care by showing up out there – I even met some of you, kbret yhablna kbret yhabkum ezom aHawatna kbl yfettu bshim MerHaban bshm Amanueln. This Saturday we would like to see folks from San Bernardino area as well – I know you guys love qwayla, hey, we will turn on the music for you while you dine if that’s what it will take for you to make the trip. Promise. Efrem ka keistemasl’bba QlQl da belu meinti Amanuel enda fekkere keyetEbo n Efrem, you know what I mean deQQi LA.

            Let’s keep our spirits up and show that we care about our veteran tegadelti as well as the Sawa Tigers shan’t we?

            Respectfully,
            Beyan Negash
            Irvine, CA
            [DEHAI] Address to MerHaba Enda Shahi, Orange County
            Expand Messages
            beyan negash
            May 12 8:06 PM
            Selamat Dehayans,

            I got caught in hastily attempting to write, inadvertently omitting
            the essential and the core part of the message: the address for crying out
            loud!
            Without the address the whole note would be pointless, wouldn’t it? This
            Saturday msaHn drarn bshm Hallowti dob tedalyulkum allo’mmo hayye deQQi LA
            and San Bernardino. Heck, deQQi San Diego, you are invited too – I know some
            of you make that trip for gwayla, why not for this worthy cause, eh.

            Merhaba Cafe
            2801 W. Ball Rd #6
            Anaheim, CA 92804

          • blink

            Dear Beyan
            Sorry that I wasted your time on this , I meant it Beyan. I know you and you don’t and that is really not fair to ask you while knowing you who you are and you don’t . What I wanted was to show to your friend Doctor that you were doing the exact thing Tekie did may be little bit different . That was my main point sir . My age is not for questioning here.

          • Bayan Nagash

            Dear blink,
            It wasn’t a waste of time at all. As coincidence would have it, I was literally scouring through dehai archives. In fact, I found some that I had no recollection of writing other than my name was date and time stamped. I shared with Saleh G. Johar with some of his that I found along the way. So, now worries there, bro

            At any rate, it was a matter of degree. Some of us realized our country was wrong headed after 13 to 14 months standing with it through the thick and the thin. It is on the record. Some individuals like SGJ – somehow – knew it was wrong headed from day one. We all did what we thought was right by our country and by our people. Be that as it may, what matters now is that we find that common ground to take us out of the abyss the nation is in. That’s really what I hope our focus to be as we were discussing it in a different thread in this space.

            Kindly,
            Beyan

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Beyan and Paulos,
            Now that the date of the article is established, I think my rebuttal might have been in Deai and not in awate as I thought. Awate was launched on September1, 2000 and it seems the articles in question were before that. Unfortunately, everything I wrote between 1997 and the time I found home at awate.com, were systematicalluy deleted or hidden. I have given up long ago because I couldn’t find anything I wrote with the exception of some mundane posts. Anything crtical of the border war, and anything that the gate keepers didn’t like, was removed. And that is one of the reasons for launching awate because I foresaw the trend of controlling opinins and filtering posts that Dehai was involved in.

            The point I objected to has a source: Mohammed Hamdan. He was a member of the Qiadda AlAmma and was jailed with five or six others by the ELF at the time. The problem was exasperated because all the jailed happen to hail from Semhar and the sqablle between the ELF leadership was at its worst time. At any rate, Hamdan left the ELF and reappeared in the nineties as a militant Islamist. He was popular in Sudan and the Middle East in his campagin against the “sectarian” PFDJ. He even had a newspaper that was very critical of the PFDJ. Then the borderw as started, he made up with the PFDJ and boarded the “sovreignity” bandwagon badmouthing any opposition to the PFDJ which embraced him full force. His newspaper was sponsored by the PFDJ and loads of copies were being distributed at the PFDJ comminuty centers all over the world. He also became a regular guest of the PFDJ media and was hailed as an example of patriotism. Then Tekie discovered him and lauded his position. Therfore, Tekie’s message was a call for all opposition to imitate Hamdan and climb on to the sovreignity bandwagon. The voices he wanted to be heard were the likes of Hamdan, the rest, including the late Seyoum Ogbamichel, Ahmed Nasser, Abdella Idris, and many of their colleagues were perceived to be in the enemy camp and their vices didn’t matter. That annoyed me so much that I wrote an article entitled “Tekie Listens to his own voice.”

            Hamdan became one of the worst PFDJ mouthpieces and his vulgar language angered many people. Fast forward, last year he became the PFDJ’s ambassador to the UNESCO in Austria and he is part of the team under the Saudi-UAE supported propaganda unit set by the PFDJ–trolling being the major activity. He has been writing and appearing on UAE sponsored media outlets since the sponsors started their boycott of Qatar.

            Around 2000 he conducted an interview with one of the PFDJ outlets in Sweden where he claimed awate.com has posh offices in Los Angeles and that Saleh Younis recruited Professor Tekie and that awate swims in a lot of money… I think I have a copy of the interview but if not, I will surely find its transcription and our rebuttal on awate.com

          • Paulos

            Selam Ayay,

            If that is the case with Professor Tekie’s article as in if it was benign if you will, why did the PFDJ attack dogs jumped him to the extent of removing the article? To be more precise, if he was trying to convert the already converted [Hamdan] and vilifying the usual suspects [Seyium Harestay and others.]

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Paulos,
            The PFDJ do not have any space between a friend and an enemy. The Isaias clique was mad because those whose voices Tekie suggested should be heard were considered enemies and were already in jail (G15+Press+elders, etc). As for the rest of the “enemies” Tekie and the PFDJ seem to have held a similar view. The PFDJ had already branded them traitors and it was carrying out a frantic campaign of vilification against them.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Abu Salah,

            About a year before his death (Dr Tekie), a friend of mine who is an acquaintance of Dr Tekie (RIP) had a package to pickup on our way from DC to NY. I didn’t know from whom he was to pick his item until we reach at Dr Tekie’s house. In any case, it was my first and my last I saw Dr Tekie. My friend introduce me to him. He told me that he reads all the articles and editorials that are published at awate.com. This is what he told me: please continue you what you are doing at awate. Your voices must be heard like all the other voices. He was sincere when he said it to me, and I believed his words. From that exchange I had with him, it becomes clear to me when he penned his criticism in his article “Listening to other voices” was a sincere criticism and sincere demand to the power of politics in our country. The reason I am giving you this feedback is, I read in your comment statingh that “Tekie’s message was a call for all opposition to imitate Hamdan and climb on to the sovreignity bandwagon.” The good doctor was sincere in his message that the voices of the aggrieved must be heard when I had conversation with him.

            Regardd

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Emma,
            It might seem like that to you from the brief encounter. I am talking about a series of debates I had with him and he brought Hamdan as an example. That was what triggered me. I agree he was sincere, but he had the journey of Hamdan in his mind when he was calling for the other voices to be heard. In plain words, he was not fair in his characterization of the opposition of the time basically considering them as an extension of Weyane. It’s there in his articles and I debated with him in a series entitles Taff and Dollar which went on and on for a while. But sincere, he was.

          • Nitricc

            Hi Beyan, i have uploaded the enrier articles of Dehai archive few years back. it is not secret that the one the first one to break is none but Beyan Negash. Right or wrong I will leave it to time, GIEZE! but we know who is what!!!
            in the mean time i invite you to this song.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeMk8Fozl9I

          • Bayan Nagash

            Selam Nitricc,
            Good to hear from you. If you have the article in question, that of the late Dr. Tekie Fessehatzion, namely, “Listening to Other Voices”, it would be really a wonderful contribution. What I located was not the exact piece, but one that appears to have the impetus to the piece in question. I say this, because the late doctor gives several paragraph treatment of listening to other voices with some qualifications as to who should be listened to based on what they contributed. So, I urge you to try to locate the article that Saleh G. Johar is searching for it and that of his own rejoinder to it.So, I urge you to dig into your archives or wherever you may think that article can be located.

            Cheers,
            Beyan

          • Saleh Johar

            Thanks Beyan,
            This made me smile. It’s something I scribbled on Jan 4, 2000.

            Oh sons of helpless mothers
            Oh mothers of dying children
            Oh fathers, bury a piece of yourself
            On the plains of Eritrea and Ethiopia

            I know your pain, I have seen your tears
            I know your agony, I have witnessed your pain
            Cry and wail for it is your fate
            Offered by no one but children of your own

            Volcanoes erupt –it is a deed of God
            Raindrops fall to fight the fire
            Ashes flow to enrich the land…
            Is digging a grave for children the work of God?

            Life is beauty, after the struggles
            But is life’s beauty just for struggles?

            Saleh
            Q8

          • Bayan Nagash

            Selamat Saleh,

            You’re welcome Saleh. The gravity of the subject matter that the poem addresses makes it rather difficult to turn into Shakespeare’s play, wherein he uses gravediggers to address topical issues of his time, namely, religion. In the third stanza, for example, there is a lot that one can unpack related to nature and the Creator. In this particular stanza the speaker invokes and leaves the reader to contemplate the question of “…digging a grave for children the work of God?”:
            “Volcanoes erupt –it is a deed of God
            Raindrops fall to fight the fire
            Ashes flow to enrich the land…
            Is digging a grave for children the work of God?”

            Just as in Hamlet, Shakespeare uses the two gravediggers talk about how they questioned Ophilia’s apparent suicide making it point of contention whether those who take their own life are forgiven based on the religious creed that seemed to preoccupy the society of the time. In the famous soliloquy of Hamlet of “to be, or not to be” the question of suicide, albeit takes a dark comedic turn.

            I see a parallel in the the third stanza above, where the speaker is wondering aloud if some such matters as digging a grave for innocent children who are supposed to be the creation of the Providence are now becoming innocently, at such young age being made to leave this life, this early? Where is the all knowing on this?

            Much as Shakespeare uses gravediggers to bring philosophical issues of life and death and so called leaders who lost their moral compass are using these so called wars to cause mass killing of innocent children who should’ve had a cycle of life as any others – i.e., a chance of turning to adults, having their own children to raise and die of old age. Instead, what they found was unwise leaders who wouldn’t give a whit how many were to be sacrificed as they proclaimed wouldn’t leave Badme even “if the sun rose from the west” – some such senseless reasoning to only wave that white flag once the trench was punctured by the then enemy taking countless lives. When all along experts were begging the Eritrean regime to withdraw from the contentious border. This is just too painful too to recall. But, I see the depth of the poem writ large in the third stanza.

            Many thanks for sharing it.
            Beyan

          • Nitricc

            Hey Beyan; I am away from home but once I get back, I will look for it.
            Thanks.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Nitricc,
            I will also like to ask you to fish anything I wrote between 1998 and 2000. Thank you in advance.

          • Nitricc

            Hey SJ; will do happily, when I get back that is.

  • Bayan Negash

    Greetings,

    Here is the piece of the late Dr. Tekie that speaks to the subject of “listening to other voices”. I posted it some four-to-five hours ago now, but DISQUS appears to have “detained” it, to borrow your picturesque term, Haile S. This was written back in July of 2000. 18 years later, sad to say, we have not moving an inch towards having any kind of dialogue. If anything, we are so retrenched in our respective positions, I am afraid, we may begin to forge an Eritrea divided along binary lines: As was alluded to earlier, one that sees everything wrong with the direction the nation is taking and the other that refuses to see the reality of existential threat that this path is taking for the viability of the nation. And they have the political power and they continue to dictate the terms. This is gridlock at its worst. At any rate, here is the late Dr. Tekie, in his own words:

    “For Eritreans there are tough times ahead: first, how to clear the debris of this war in all of its manifestations–emotional, economic, and social. Second, how to avoid the calamity’s recurrence; and, third: how best to safeguard Eritrea’s sovereignty. None of the questions are easy; nor are the answers likely to be. But they must be faced. Eritreans have been through tough roads before, and they prevailed. No reason why they should not do it again. All it takes is massive mobilizations of resources- material; financial, and intellectual, to get the job done, to give Eritrea a secure future.

    “The post-conflict Eritrea will be a far different place than a lot of people realize. In case no one has noticed, there has been a massive paradigm shift in our understanding of what needs to be done to protect Eritrea’s sovereignty. The old ways of doing things no longer hold. New ideas are desperately needed. But first we must acknowledge that no one has a monopoly on good ideas. Not the government. Not the much-maligned intellectuals-whoever they are. And definitely not the assorted finger pointers and champion scapegoat hunters, proud “graduates” from the “University of 20/20 Hindsight.” The later have very little useful and timely ideas to contribute. At best what they have to offer are no better than boilerplate solutions designed for other places and other times. Still our version of the Golden Rule remains: Let all good ideas compete, and the best ones will eventually rise to the top.
    As a starter we must begin with what amounts to a national confession. As a people we are not good listeners when we conduct political discourse. We think we have all the answers for everything. Sometimes we feel no one can tell us anything new. It maybe true that we may know a lot and that we may even have many good answers. But there are things we don’t know, and what we don’t know may be more important for our future than things we already know, things we have already mastered. At this juncture in our history, some of the things we have not mastered–like attentive listening, may be more important for our political well being. As we have said, no one has a monopoly on good ideas.

    “This time, we must do something contrary to our national character: let’s listen to other voices. Who are the other voices? These are people who, for a variety of reasons, did not believe they were listened to in the past. They are people with a different perspective on things relating to Eritrea. They cover the entire political spectrum. They come from all walks of life. They believe, rightly, or wrongly, that Eritrea is on the wrong track. The country is facing new challenges, unprecedented in its short history. These challenges require bold new actions. The voices come from every walk of life, covering the entire political spectrum, former fighters, and civilians. Some are in government, others in the business sector. Some come from among the “opposition” groups. When the war came, those in the Opposition reacted in different ways. Some who fought to defend Eritrea have earned the respect of their countrymen; others who joined the enemy have elicited their scorn. And a few, who sat on the sidelines, have garnered their society’s pity. The manner they reacted will undoubtedly affect their future roles in Eritrean society.
    The overwhelming majority among the voices drew a distinction between their opposition to specific government policy or approach, and the threat to Eritrea’s sovereignty. They postponed their criticism to defend the country. A few, perhaps not more than a handful, took the opportunity to collaborate with the enemy, hoping that the enemy would anoint them as Eritrea’s rulers. And some chose to sit on the sideline because they felt so strongly about their opposition to government policy that even the threat to Eritrea’s sovereignty was not sufficient to persuade them to get off the fence.

    “The three groups have made their choices with which they have to live with. The collaborators have lost all moral standing to be taken seriously. People who commit treason have no political future. The fence sitters will have time to explain why they sat out when Eritrea was invaded. They have to defend themselves why they went in a huff when Eritrea’s sovereignty was threatened. Of the three, the first group has earned the right to be listened to on everything dealing with Eritrea’s future. At the most critical moment in independent Eritrea’s history, the group opted to close ranks with the people to defend Eritrea. These are the other voices worth listening, for the simplest of reasons that they have earned the right to be heard, the right to be present at the discussion table.”

  • diaqon

    ጥዕና ሃበለይ ሳልሕ፡

    ብዙሕ ኢዩ ዝሕዝን፣ ን ህዝቢ የመን፣ ተኻፈልቲ ሽግሮም ኪንዲ ንኸውን፣ መሊስና ወገእቶም ኮይና። ኣብ ክንዲ ኩልና ኮ’ንካ ስለ ዚዘከርካዮም ከመስግነካ እፈቱ።

    ተባረኽ

    diaqon

  • Tzigereda

    Dear Saleh,

    Thank you for your excellent initiative which hopefully will have the needed impact on the eritrean media, specially that of the opposition. Though we, the opposition have managed to have many radios, paltalk, live streams, several “tv’s ( Adal, Tempo Afric Tv, Tv Sened etc…) in which news, interviews ( ኣስተምህሮታት, here seems to be a confusion between opinion and ኣስተምህሮ) are conducted, the quality and content is still mediocre with no sign of improvement (I am leaving out the talk-shows, serial dramas and comedy shows which have become very popular in the last years and my opinion on music & dance).

    Those who are engaged in the media are determined to contribute something good but most of them lack the very basics on how.
    We have Interviewers who are not well prepared for the topic they want to interview,
    mostly it is time consuming & exhausting interviews/ speeches (at paltalk, skype, tvs one person talks 2-3h !), sometimes it resembles as ዕላል ምስ ቁርሲ ቡን or even ምሳሕ ድራር, ( VOA, በዓል female-phobia and Radio Erena might be an exception ONLY ግዜ ምቑጣብ ብዝምልከት). For example, during the internal disputes in the EPDP the concerning persons were interviewed separately, each consuming several hours ሸንኮለል.

    Then we have ድምጾም ክዕቅኑ ዘይክእሉ but “ኣስተምህሮታት “ዝህቡ.

    Most of the live stream ( መዓት ክፉእ ትርኢት) ዘህድሙ እዮም, with zero style and disturbing content.

    The challenges are many, because we are trying to capture everything via this tools ( information, history, testimonies, vision, activism, politics etc).

    I have been dreaming ( and sure many others do) that we, the opposition have at least one good functioning Television with better quality and good moderation, in which different persons with different opinions can discuss an issue. Above all we should learn there is a big difference between ድልየትን ክእለትን.

    Again, thank you! You are gifted with many talents, and this one is definitely one of them.

    • Bayan Negash

      Dear Tzigereda,

      You hit the nail smack on the head or shall I say, you hit the bull’s eye with that remark. Great observation about myriad of issues related to social media and variants thereof. When imbeciles who happen to have time and mega mic who cannot distinguish between “ድልየትን ክእለትን” and those “ድምጾም ክዕቅኑ ዘይክእሉ but” [are] ready not only “ኣስተምህሮታት “ክህቡ”, but are so adamant in their “abilities”, one that’s replete with ungainly and graceless incompetencies by some such possibilities they are unfazed and/or unperturbed at all.

      Those who “are gifted with many talents” like Saleh G. Johar, Sal Y., and many, many others are drowned out by these cacophonous and compunctious lot. It is this very reason and the time that was being wasted to sift through finding the wheat from the chaff that I deactivated my FB & WhatsApp. Especially, on the latter, people just dump it on you without explaining what it is they are sending you, where you would have to spend few minutes to figure out if it is something worth watching. Without realizing it, one falls into that vicious cycle of forwarding and sharing – at times – seemingly without even watching what we are sending. May the cosmos save us from such incessant onslaught.

      Regards,
      Beyan

    • Saleh Johar

      Woooo Tzigereda,

      It seems you are fed up as I am. I wonder how many more are frustrated by the social media phenomena and its misuse. One of the things that annoy me are attachments from people who dump stuff they find on my private messnger and other accounts. The most annoying are those who send song clips, trivias, quotations and then you have those who send you quotes from religious books and want you to distribute it to say, a hundred people and you will have seceral credits to get you into heaven! The fouls lnguage discussions, the ignoranoramous presenting solutions to problems they know nothing about….

      It’s sad that technology should be misused in such a way…..

      My attempt is to counter the madness and try to help, but the madness out there requires more people to ome out and do their part. The smoke is so thick it is suffocationg us all.

      Take care and thanks for the encouragement.

    • Paulos

      Selam Tzigereda,

      I see what you mean. A while back, tried to watch some of the Adal TV interviews but the host [Tesfay?] would spend over 5 minutes to introduce the host with a slow tone and got turned off. Never watched it again.

  • Paulos

    Selam ACP,

    As we say it, ወቓሕ ወቓሕ ኢልካኒ ዝፈልጠካ ‘መስለኒ. If I have confused you with someone else, my apologies. Welcome to Awate!

    I often wonder, why people like the Mathematician who make a living in the art of Logic would want to support the regime? It sure is mind boggling. If I could make a point along the lines you raised, is it actually possible to bring the staunch supporters to side with the people instead? If it is possible, what would be the number or the cut-off number if you will, to really claim with confidence if the people are with the Opposition?

    Let me illustrate. In Immunology, “Herd Immunity” is a term used to describe the maximum number of people who should be immunized to contain the spread of an infection say, from endemic to epidemic or pandemic for it is rarely possible to eradicate a virulence completely.

    The classic analogy they use is the spread of a rumor. Suppose you heard a juicy rumor and say, you can’t keep it to yourself but you decide to tell only one person instead and the person decides to tell only one person and so on. By the end of the month, 31 people including you will have heard about the rumor. And of course, this is known as, linear progression.

    But let’s say, you decide to tell two people instead and the two people decide to tell two people each and so on. By the end of the month, over 2 billion people will have heard about the rumor. And of course this is called exponential progression. A rare of change between one and two makes huge difference*.

    That is precisely how Immunologists think about fighting an infection through say, vaccination whereby to reduce the contagion from exponential progression to a linear progression. That is, to make the spread from one person to one person instead where it becomes localized or contained. And they have a brilliant mathematical formula for that.

    What would be the minimum number possible out of the supporters to claim that, majority of them have sided with the people instead? Should one come up with a formula for that? Perhaps a nerdy Awatista may. And of course, it is only through a civilized dialogue that the Opposition and Supporters of the regime could come into a common understanding and common purpose as well. It is possible.

    *I read the analogy in a popular science article a while back but I forgot which one.

    • Saleh Johar

      Paulos,
      You never stop amazing me! What a brilliant analogy. I am glad today I learned something valuable–never knew that immunology, herd or otherwise, is planned and combated in that manner where the rumor example you provided makes it easy for a layperson to understand. But if perfectly applies to us and I think that is how we should handle it. After all, I believe the PFDJ are possessed with herd spirit.

      • Paulos

        Selam Ayay,

        Coming from you, it means a lot to me. Glad you like it. Thank you Sir!

    • Bayan Nagash

      Selam Dottore,

      ወቓሕታኻ was spot on as was your brilliant entry above. I’ve been here too long to go back to the veil of a pen-name, eh. This is just to submit to you that, indeed, it is the familia voice, which is not easy to bury.

      Cheers for now,
      Beyan

  • Saleh Johar

    Ahlan Beyan,
    I strongly believed in that kind of dialogue for a long time, but gradually I gave up. And my position which started as a genuine reconciliation developed into what you see. One of the biggest disappointment was when I suggested that to Abdella Jabir, in a public meeting, he mocked my suggestion. I repeated that campaign in dehai, but almost everybody kept repeating, “do you want the PFDJ to reconcile with ‘Nefer Neferen”” I narrated that story myself and almost everybody fell in love with Abdella Jabir’s response and it was used repeatedly to belittle my call for my reconciliation. I never called for inter-political party reconciliation, but a social one. After so many years of disappointment and frustration, I changed my position and some of my close friends forget all that and define my writings as “angry”. I am angry at the PFDJ and its supporters and my change of tone is imposed on me and not self-initiated. After all, I do not believe I am angry, but my frank and genuine messages, as I think, are perceived to be politicaly incorrect. And I know who are annoyed by my writings and talks about the usual suspects. But sometimes, my close friends fall into the perception trap–if something is repeated enough, it clouds the perception of otherwise sane people. So, for lack of better words, it seems it is easier to brand it as angry. But if I could be wild angry, there is enough justification for that.

    As talking with Ghideon, the last time I saw him was ages ago and I even commented that he is a good dancer, gwayla, only he seems to be inspired by our circular dances as the entire PFDJ lots. You only stop and move in one spot for a while, relax, and then you start another circular move until you fall down tired or someone breaks a fight. That is exactly where our struggle is leading. Don’t you agree 🙂

    If you believe your proposal might work, I am willing to me and debate with him in any place of his choice–pass that to him if you wish.

    • Bayan Nagash

      Greetings Ustaaz Saleh,

      I don’t know if debating would be the format I would like to see. For in a debate there will be a winner and a loser. We want to arrive to a win-win situation. I am not sure how that can be accomplished, but it is worth trying though. Your metaphor about the dance and its circular journey toward the abyss in the case of PFDJ lots is an apt one. ኣብ ስብራ ከይበጽሑ እንተርከብናዮም and thereby injecting some common sense through conversation and dialogue might just be what the laws of immunology would dictate.

      Beyan

      • Haile S.

        Selam Beyan, SGJ, Paulos and all,
        I wish I had a cup of coffee last night. You guys said a lot while we were sleeping! Sorry for the group responses.
        First SGJ: voluteering for such a talk is not at all a sign of a wildly, wildly and justifiably angry man, but of someone lucide ready for the smallest available crack that could lead to a bright day. I was questioning myself, phewww….. Merci mille fois, Saleh.
        Beyan: your thought of Gideon as a possible cool person from the regime supporters was brilliant, it came from a genuine thought. Based on the single time I heard him talk in a meeting in 1999/2000, he seems to be composed and able to listen. As you put it, “this would require on both camps a genuine act of listening, I mean real listening”. I would also add a phrase pronounced almost 2 decades back, “listening to other voices” that should be the driver for such type of talk. Beyan, now that the idea is thrown, we need to do everything to bring the guest or a guest to SGJ’s show. BTW, you don’t stop surprising me(us) with your epic tigrigna expressions ኣብ ስብራ ከይበጽሑ እንተርከብናዮም”
        Paul: you are a great dessiminator of knowledge, thank you. You are good at simplifying and finding easily comprehensible expression for complicated science and concepts, ፈትፋቲ ፍልጠት. I like catoons and I am a cartoonist in thought. I see an image and try to put it in few words.

        • Bayan Negash

          Kbur Haw Haile S.,

        • Paulos

          Selam Hailat,

          ትማሊ ሓሊፉካ ኣብ እንዳ ዓዋተ ክንደይ ወጃዕጃዕን ብላዕ-ስተን እዩ ኔሩ::

          And many thanks for those kind words where we learn from one another under the motto, “The Day We Die Is The Day We Stop Learning!”

        • Saleh Johar

          Hi Haile,

          Do you remember who wrote “Listening to other voices’? It was the late professor Tekie. When I read his article, I wrote a rather harsh rebuttal to it–I might share it if I can locate it in the archives. The title was, “Dt. Tekie listens to his own voice” or something like that. I really miss him–despite our differences, he was a decent debater.

          Beyan is thinking of a dialogue but in our case, I think debate and dialogues will always morph into debates. That is because there is so wide a gap that has to be narrowed first. I believe, divergent views should first establish common grounds before moving a step further to a dialogue. Can you or others say something on that?

          • Paulos

            Selam Ayay,

            As they say, ንጉስ እንተራኣኹ ጥራዕ ጥራዕ ይመጸኒ:: ኣነኻኣ ሓንሳእ ተተናኣድኩ ኣመል ኮይኑኒ::

            Do we have to listen to other voices? Or maybe I should reframe the question as why do people, particularly people in power, refuse to listen to other voices? I remember, when the late Professor Tekie Fissahatsion was dropped like a hot potatoes as if he was never the fav one, when he went subversive and boldly asserted about the imperatives of listening to other voices.

            Thing is, if the other voices have good intentions about the people as much as the power be, what could be the reason for the refusal then? Certainly, one can dig into the personal psychological profile of the person in power and one can also search for any anomaly with in the ideological edifice as well. But with our further ado, one can look around and notice that corporation is better than aversion and balance is better than off-balance.

            Nothing wants to be in a perpetual motion, the experts tell us. Even if you throw a stone, the stone inherently wants to come to a stop or to rest. And any object, unless otherwise a force is applied on it, it stays at rest. If there is a tendency towards an equilibrium with in the Laws of Physics inherent with in the physical world, John Nash [Whose Biopic was made into the movie, “The Beautiful Mind] argued that there ought to be a set of equilibrium with in Social Dynamics as well. “Game Theory” as it was later well known, the equilibrium was dubbed, “Nash’s Equilibria.”

            In their daily interaction, people naturally tend to think and act rationally. Or do they? The question is then, do people advance the interest of a group or community or are they driven by personal and selfish interests instead? Do the people in power achieve better outcome in the long run, when they listen to other voices, or achieve long term outcome by alienating others who have the same stake in the grander scheme of events?

            “Prisoners’ Dilemma” is a brilliant theoretical frame work that illustrates if people are better off if they cooperate as opposed to antagonize to achieve optimum outcome.

            Say, Gebre and Ande are two small time crooks and ሕማቕ ማዓልቲ ውዒሎም commited a crime. The detective who is assigned to the case puts them in two separate cells and makes a deal separately to both of them with out any of them knowing about the deal to the other.

            The detective tells Gebre that, if he confesses to the crime and if Ande chooses to be silent, he would be set him free. But if he chooses to be silent and Ande chooses to confess, Gebre will serve 20 years term in prison. If him and Ande choose to confess, they will both serve 5 years and if they both choose to be silent, they will both serve only one year. What would Gebre do? The same scenario is presented to Ande as well.

            The fact that, none of them knows what the other’s choice is going to be, the best possible scenario for both is, to keep silent and serve for one year instead. Cooperation is the best possible scenario argued John Nash and for his work, he won a Noble Prize in Economics in the 1950s. His theory is ubiquitous so much so that, it is applicable and utilized practically in every decision making complex scenarios including diplomacy.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Paulos,
            I am sure you know what I am going to say but here it is.

            Listening to other voices in the context that Tekie put it, was disappointing to me. But the PFDJ didn’t even tolerate that and made him the black sheep of the family. However, while many Eritreans were ostracized, exiled and disenfranchised, I didn’t see the point in encouraging the PFDJ to listen only to those who were considered members of La nostra famiglia. That was not the other voice I had in mind. And that is why I reacted the way I did. But I do not want to say more until I get the article. I might misquote Tekie or even misquote myself. It has been some 16 years you know 🙂

          • Paulos

            Selam Ayay,

            The article is probably pulled, no where to be found. It certainly has been a long time but if I remember correctly, I thought he was talking about the people who were critical of the war. Perhaps, G-13 would’ve been G-14 if he was alive and he would’ve been a great asset to the Opposition as well. ነብሱ ይምሓር.

          • Bayan Negash

            Greetings Gentlemen,

            Here is an excerpt from the late Dr. Fessehatzion who appears to be doing some serious contemplations about post-war Eritrea and his reading of the unknown future as a longview from where he was date-wise (July 2000):

            “The post-conflict Eritrea will be a far different place than a lot of people realize. In case no one has noticed, there has been a massive paradigm shift in our understanding of what needs to be done to protect Eritrea’s sovereignty. The old ways of doing things no longer hold. New ideas are desperately needed. But first we must acknowledge that no one has a monopoly on good ideas. Not the government. Not the much-maligned intellectuals-whoever they are. And definitely not the assorted finger pointers and champion scapegoat hunters, proud “graduates” from the “University of 20/20 Hindsight.” The later have very little useful and timely ideas to contribute. At best what they have to offer are no better than boilerplate solutions designed for other places and other times. Still our version of the Golden Rule remains: Let all good ideas compete, and the best ones will eventually rise to the top.

            “As a starter we must begin with what amounts to a national confession. As a people we are not good listeners when we conduct political discourse. We think we have all the answers for everything. Sometimes we feel no one can tell us anything new. It maybe true that we may know a lot and that we may even have many good answers. But there are things we don’t know, and what we don’t know may be more important for our future than things we already know, things we have already mastered. At this juncture in our history, some of the things we have not mastered–like attentive listening, may be more important for our political well being. As we have said, no one has a monopoly on good ideas.
            “This time, we must do something contrary to our national character: let’s listen to other voices. Who are the other voices? These are people who, for a variety of reasons, did not believe they were listened to in the past. They are people with a different perspective on things relating to Eritrea. They cover the entire political spectrum. They come from all walks of life. They believe, rightly, or wrongly, that Eritrea is on the wrong track. The country is facing new challenges, unprecedented in its short history. These challenges require bold new actions. The voices come from every walk of life, covering the entire political spectrum, former fighters, and civilians. Some are in government, others in the business sector. Some come from among the “opposition” groups. When the war came, those in the Opposition reacted in different ways.

            “Some who fought to defend Eritrea have earned the respect of their countrymen; others who joined the enemy have elicited their scorn. And a few, who sat on the sidelines, have garnered their society’s pity. The manner they reacted will undoubtedly affect their future roles in Eritrean society.
            The overwhelming majority among the voices drew a distinction between their opposition to specific government policy or approach, and the threat to Eritrea’s sovereignty. They postponed their criticism to defend the country. A few, perhaps not more than a handful, took the opportunity to collaborate with the enemy, hoping that the enemy would anoint them as Eritrea’s rulers. And some chose to sit on the sideline because they felt so strongly about their opposition to government policy that even the threat to Eritrea’s sovereignty was not sufficient to persuade them to get off the fence.

            “The three groups have made their choices with which they have to live with. The collaborators have lost all moral standing to be taken seriously. People who commit treason have no political future. The fence sitters will have time to explain why they sat out when Eritrea was invaded. They have to defend themselves why they went in a huff when Eritrea’s sovereignty was threatened. Of the three, the first group has earned the right to be listened to on everything dealing with Eritrea’s future. At the most critical moment in independent Eritrea’s history, the group opted to close ranks with the people to defend Eritrea. These are the other voices worth listening, for the simplest of reasons that they have earned the right to be heard, the right to be present at the discussion table.”

            Source: http://www.dehai.org/conflict/articles/tekie_Cease-fire_Holding_Barely.html

          • Haile S.

            Hey Saleh,
            I replied to you, but is still in detention. Thanks

  • Abrehet Yosief

    Selam Ustaaz,
    Many Yemenis in the west have arranged for some of their family members (old women and children mostly) to move to Djibouti and are paying exorbitant prices for barely habitable hotel rooms. It bothers me that even in their worst of times, they couldn’t cross the narrowest of the red sea and find refuge in Eritrea. On the “ንብዓት ሓርገጽ”, I am afraid it is one of the imported proverbs. It refers to the fact that a crocodile sheds tears while eating its prey. The reason is thought to be due to the placement of the tear gland and how the jaws work and the crocodile has to twist around to get a good grip of its prey. Thus, crocodile tears would mean one would appear to be sympathetic with a victim while at the same time causing the harm and now it simply means fake sympathy.

    • saay7

      Abrehet:

      Very informative, thank you.

      So what is the origin of the expression እንዳበላዕና: እንዳነባዕና?

      Saay

      • Abrehet Yosief

        Selam saay7,
        That is to recognize life doesn’t stop when a loved one dies. You continue to live as you grieve. ጌጋ ይኽለኣለይ ደኣ እምበር።

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Abrehet,
      Thanks for the info. Many people do not know that though the Saudis and Emirates have made Yemen hell on earth, Eritreans from that part of our country have been seeking refuge in Yemen and there are thousands of them stranded…unfortunately they do not have relatives in the west to rescue them. They live there with the Yemenis who are being bombed savegely.

      As you know, I do not want to bore you and that’s why I limit the videos to 20 mnts. Otherwise, there are many things I could say about the topic. But in due time.

      Thanks for the biology tip on alligator tears.

  • Haile S.

    Dear ACP,
    Great proposal of on the skype interview. I would even jump much further than your proposal to extend the interview and discussion to becoming between the Loosers and Enablers. I know, I have to think of SGJ’s heart & vessels well-being, but frankly, I think, he has seen and heard all. I believe he is the person with depth, breadth of knowledge, with memory and reflex to lead such debates. Giving this a try with a cool enabler to begin with may open a new suspended bridge where the debaters would avoid falling down together. At present we are at two edges of the valley talking-over between ourselves. I may be dreaming, but one thing is sure; discussing within camps of loosers and enablers separately is just an agreable soothing pat on the back, that I believe is necessary for those who have endeavored to bring a change, but it doesn’t advance in any step towards progress. I also see Ismael Ibrahim Mukhtar’s post looking far in that direction.

  • blink

    Dear SG
    Thanks for bringing the Yemeni people suffering. It is sad that the Saudis are blind on this . 17,000 Yemenis are being deported back to Yemen , they have no were to go and they are in horrible situations. The Saudi can actually do more damage if they continue to deport people as planed of the 700,000 . It simply sad to see the people are paying such price for the mistakes done by few dollar hungry individuals.

  • Selam All,

    Injustice to women in our region, starting from fgm to forced marriage, marriage by abduction, rape and the denial of basic human rights for women, is only too common not to say anything about the mistreatment of women.

    Latest stories coming from the region are, a woman who was buried to the neck in the ground and stoned to death by al shabab in somalia, because they believed that she was married to 11 husbands.
    From what i understood a husband can divorce his wife, but not the woman her husband, unless he releases her, which means the husband is free to marry again but not the woman. Here it looks like that any man who knew her felt he was her husband. I can’t find any other explanation for the 11 husbands, and the poor creature must have been a beautiful woman.

    The second case is a 19 years old Sudanese girl who was forced into marrying her cousin to which she was completely opposed. She was raped and mistreated, and unfortunately she stubbed her husband and killed him. She is now condemned to death. People are trying to save her life, but it looks futile. It must be that the sharia law has played an important role in the decision.

    In my opinion, living in the modern world and being governed by a law of the middle ages, is not only depriving people their human rights of deciding and choosing by themself, but it is also a stumbling block to the progress of the affected society.

    • blink

      Dear Horizon
      What do you expect ? from a religious perspective all these you mentioned horrific acts are punishment to follow the order of 150 years old outlandish rules over Muslims. The only solution is for the people to be rebellious against this rigid , evil religious practices.

      • Selam blink,

        May be one has to ask, who really is the culprit, for the things we see in religion? Can we say that religion per se is problematic, or those who have tried to present themselves as interpreters of religious writings have misinterpreted religions knowingly due to ulterior motives. I believe that both in Christianity and Islam, the problem lies with the religious fathers and the way they interpreted religious books, and not in religion itself.

        If one searches for love, kindness, peace, harmony, compassion, etc…..all the superior human qualities, i think that both religions have enough of these. Only that the religious teachers are dogmatic more than necessary and they are selective in what they want religion to portray that is most of the time in line with their authority and interests.

        Mosaic laws that could have been useful 3000 yrs ago, cannot be used today, and it is not religion that blocks the way for improvement, but the selfish and authoritative religious leaders, who have bestowed upon themselves the title of representatives of God on earth.

        Therefore, wholesale condemnation of religion as if it has no place in human society, may not be the right thing to say.

        • blink

          Dear Horizon
          These religious leaders are there because it happens to be they are good at reading the books and interpreting it. Mind you with out the books there will never be one Sheikh and priest to bluff about his love each religious figures. Now who do you blame the police or the legislature? The Somalian woman did nothing wrong or inhuman thing , what we have to see is what is in the books ? What exactly is the reason people interpret and where do they get it ? Religion can not stand on vacuum , it needs endless versus to lure the poor souls, it need people to believe in it without any reason and when people believe with out realistic reason then they are exposed to act evil things . How do you treat a human being that you believed was created by god and yet you sentence him to death just for mingling with opposite side ? It is simply beyond any logic for a grown man who can memorise the whole book in this 21c and expect him to kill innocent soul. For me the two women are innocent than any other but since they did their wish , here they are punished by death .

          Who do you blame ? Oh Horizon pls blame the religion not the religious once . The book must be edited in order for you to see the good once unless if the bad and good are in one book , the probability of getting the evil once is great .

          • Selam blink,

            Do you really believe that the world would have been a better place if there were no religion? Do you believe that politics would have been more humane if religion did not exist?

            Without science there would have been no weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological weapons, climate change, etc, things that could bring about the destruction of the planet and all life, nevertheless, what would have become of human beings without science and technology? If human beings have used science and technology only for good, the world would have been a paradise, and similarly if religious fathers have used religion only for good, the world would have been again a paradise.

            Those who kill in the name of God are not serving God, but their own selfish hegemonic interests, because God never asked them to kill, but to love and save life.

            Remember, i am talking of the christian religion, and i believe that islam, despite what the sheikhs do and teach, should as well be standing for good, if the sheikhs did not want to rule the world by using it as a weapon, as christianity was used in the past.

            About “good and bad existing in the same book”, let me bring this example. In the bible, a woman is shown as if she is in inferior to man, but at the same time the bible says to the man “love her as you love yourself”. What is the social message here? In my opinion, the bible says that both are equal. If you love somebody as you love yourself, that person cannot be your inferior.

          • blink

            Dear Horizon
            What’s this all about arms , pollution and other things, come on before all these weapons were on place there was diseases that would have wiped out human beings. Without the intervention of science humans would have been like indangered animals , may be just like the polar bear . Religion has done nothing good to human being. I see no reason for the claim that says religion is good , be it Islam or Christianity both loved human blood , don’t not see god asked his beloved servant to kill his son , what kind of god does give such test , again I believe you are a reasonable person and for that matter I think you are just not clear with the social pressure if you dump all the thousands of lies printed on the books .

  • Saleh Johar

    Ahlan ACP,

    Thanks for the elaborate comment…

    Indeed, ignorance about geography has been the most lethal Eritrean problem. Many people think the one square meter space on which they stand is a representation of the world, if not the universe. We lack the ability to see things from the other millions of square meters in the country. Paulos would tell you that a camera angle can be tricky: if you shoot a person from the top, you will only see the top of their head and shoulders, maybe little curves and bulges depending on their shape. But that will not be similar from a photo shot from the from, with a wide angle or a telephoto. If you see Eritrea from Asmara (the most popular angle so far) you will never understand the perspective of, for instance, a Dankali fisherman. In fact, if you were blindfolded, taken to the market in Gizan, Saudi Arabi, open your eyes for a few minutes, then to Mokha to do the same, then to Djibouti, and then to Assab, you will not realize you have been to four countries. If you visit Southern Saudi Arabia, the village of Souq Alkhamis (literally, Edaga Hammus) for example, you wouldn’t differentiate the huts, the features, geography, and people, from many parts of Eritrea. But if you have unifocal lenses only, you think differently.

  • saay7

    Abu Selah:

    An extremely watchable video series which promises to be another classic. This is a reintroduction of SGJ to the world: the one the rest of us know: not the “angry guy” but the one with a gift of gab, a raconteur, with vast interest and recall. And a wicked sense of humor.* Let me just say for now: excellent and keep it up! Keep up the good job! Or, since this is an Eritrean website, I will say it the way our people say it: Keep the job! Keep it!

    On the Yemen story, you didn’t share your story in Aden (?), and the similarity in Sabean and Geez alphabets. Thanks for remembering the Yemenis: the reason people say “politics is dirty” is because Eri-TV, which goes to great lengths to cover atrocities everywhere, never mentions Yemen: a sure sign that our hands are bloody. It’s an unprincipled useless front, this PFDJ—the Houthis should be our allies just as the Crimeans should have been—but don’t listen to me: keep your presentation as subtle as it is without the in-your-face slam, which should be saved for The Pencil.

    Saay

    * Examples just from this video: equating the Yemeni poems message with ብፅፍርና and the reference to the Sunni-Shia nonsensical fight as one triggered by “oh, are they still here? Time for war.” 😂

    • Saleh Johar

      Ahlan Abu Salah,
      Thanks for the “moral mhabka”. As you know, if I had to tell all the story about Yemen, it would be as long as ‘Dynasty” I am sure you remember the soap opera of the eighties that reached one million episodes! People cannot watch more than 20 minutes of a clip and not curse me–I want to say good with my audience! I think I raised about eight points that I could talk an hour about each. But the alphabet topic is very interesting and I might do one on that provided I find a suitable occasion.

      Thanks

      • Kibreab

        Hello Saleh,
        I sent you private email at awateteam@awate.com. Please contact me ASAP.

      • Kibreab

        You can reach me via email

      • A.Osman

        Selam Saleh,

        Thank you for the video clips, waiting for the next one :). While talking about the alphabet, there is an academic doing presentation on geez letters and their origin…a bit long winded, but quite interesting and educational.

        Since it is weekend, I will share one link and those who love the topic will have 20 to 30 hours to spend learning Ha Hu again.

        By Bokre Academy: History and Culture

        Prehistoric Development of the languages and scripts of Ethiopia and Eritrea

        https://youtu.be/66JZWUDCXFQ

        Regards
        AOsman

  • Selam All,

    Negarit has brought a very important topic that interests our region, and we should thank SGJ for that.

    When they started the war against yemen more than two years ago, saudi and uae strategists had said that it was going to be a war that will be won within weeks. This are people who have never been tried in modern day warfare. The bitter outcome is that, even with the help of mercenaries from muslim and non-muslim countries, some coming from as far away as south america, all they have succeeded up to now is to kill about 10k civilians and children, destruction of infrastructures and famine and disease for the people of yemen. The saudis and the uae are stuck unable to defeat with their sophisticated weaponry and their mercenaries the poorly armed houthi fighters. They are in the middle of a war they will never win.

    Worse still, they are flirting with netanyahu, trump, and may of britain to attack iran. The americans and the british have sold their souls and they are salivating for the $700 billion or so arms deal with the saudis and uae, and the jewish state of the far right netanyahu is after saudi and uae financing its war against iran.

    The israelis can only give them air cover and a single jewish soldier is not going to die fighting for arabs, the mercenaries can not do the job, and the saudis and uae have to move their azz and do the fighting themselves, which is more or less out the question.

    Amde, KH and Abi may know of the story of an ethiopian emperor that is told by some ethiopians, (i think it was emperor Yohannes), who rode his horse and charged against anything that reminded him of the enemy and yelled “ጦር አውርድ፣”, as if soliciting God to bring war, because he was bored of sitting and doing nothing. The unfortunate end of the story was that when war came at last, he lost his head.

    What the saudis and the uae are doing to day when they request for war with iran, it is reminiscent of the above story. They will lose the war, because when they cannot win a war over the houthis of yemen, the possibility of winning a war against iran is simply impossible, and the saudi kingdom will return to what it used to be during the 19th century, scattered and ruled by tribal leaders, riding their camels, as iSem said.

    • Saleh Johar

      Selam Horizon,

      You are right, the Saudis and UAE thought it was an excursion. But the two countries had another strategy as well. The UAE is bent on becoming a regional power, at least at par with Israel while the Saudis were looking into ways to be closer to the USA and Israel to secure the continuation of the dynasty. And to do that, they had to read Naomi Klein’s book: The Shock Doctrine 😊 No one argues against the need for a social reform in Saudi Arabia. In fact, it was long overdue. But with the SHOCK the aggression on Yemen provides, they think they can pull it together and defeat the entrenched clergy. Maybe they can clean their social garbage that is wrapped in religious garb and has not only crippled Saudi Arabia but has damaged many societies around the world. It is a serious and difficult undertaking and I have so much to say on that in due time.

      But the mercenaries are mainly recruited by the UAE from Blackwater and some Columbians and Gurkhas from Nepal. Only a few days ago I heard they occupied the Yemeni island of Socotra with airborne troops.

      Their strategy to appease Israel and Netanyahu’s fanatics is based on going against the rights of Palestinians and the status of Jerusalem. And that will have repercussions that would be felt down the road.

      Thanks, and I am glad you liked the episode.

  • iSem

    Hi Saleh:
    Weaving art and politics and music and history, once again impeccably and artfully. I remember the slogan that you wrote about in 2002, it strike me the PFDJ borrowed the ykealo from Yemen:-)
    Yeas, SA is bombing poor Yemen the stone age, it sis flexing its new found superpower muscle after Iraq was gone and Syria is in trouble and the new tensions between Israel and Iran will create its own new dynamics now
    I have a fried that always debates me about the politics of this region and she always says Yemeni are nice people, I say do not generalize, she hates Israel, I say do not generalize and she would be happy to hear your testimony of the Yemen people.

    I am enjoying your new initiative, it is refreshing and I do no understand what SA will gain by bombing Yemen in the long run, I think as their oil slowly but surely becomes irrelevant, the west and especially USA will abandon it and they will eventually need their neighbors to forge peace, but with the hate they are sowing that becomes impossible. They are burning their bridges and smart, shrewed Israel is laughing all the way to the bank. With every stupid move the Arabs make Israel to pounds its chest as sinking into the sea becomes a just t like the memory of their captivity in Babillion when they did not worship the God of Peritian king, Cyrus but they allied with him to survive and now Israel is doing the same thing by allying with SA, Egypt and the Arabs know this that their myopia will be their dawn fall but they are still self distracting and Eritreans are meddling, not even corro tears.But stupidity, myopia must be punished and onces that happens the 70 year old family owned enterprise called S. Arabia, masquerading as a nation state will go back to ridding their camels as what they are doing to Yemen comes back to haunt them.

    • Saleh Johar

      Ahlan iSem,

      I wish I could hire you to do those episodes… you have the content, my dear.

      You know what I observed over the last few years? We focused too much on the educated class of Eritreans and mainly on English. Roughly speaking, over the last decade, the growth of the people who can read English (or those who can read at all) has grown not more than 20%. While those who do not read English (and who do not read at all) grew by about 20 folds. Then the new habit of wanting to read about complex issues in two or three sentences–they want text bites like sound bites. The average reader of the new arrivals can listen to 48 hours of sound in one day. But they have no patience to read the content of more than one mobile phone screen. If they have to scroll, they just switch off. And if you see, the noise is coming from those who are impatient to read seriously but are influenced by the LIFE BIDEO phenomena. Oc course it is a world phenomenon not limited to Eritreans, but with the PFDJ on top, things are going from bad to worse as far as civil discourse is concerned.

      I am sure you understand all the above is not my view, but someone told me that 🙂

      • iSem

        Hi Saleh:
        you just “blinked”;-)
        speaking of the aversion to reading, a Harvard prof wote a book titeled The Shallows: what the internet is doing to our brains an din it he makes the case that internet and tech is making people less smart for the same reason you cited. And in a society where education and learning is fragile the effects of two liners become even more devastating. Your initiative is in the middle.
        Eritrea has also a unique problems added to those who cannot read and that is those who read and read well do not think. for the most part the intellectual is beholden to the unintellectual. Thanks PFDJ education has become synonymouss with skills, the thinker, the dissident is not embraced. In grade 9 when I learned about Newton asked how come the apple did not fall upwards, I joked if he was Eritrean his family would take him to mychellot or Sheik Zaida if he was in Keren. It is my hope that such fascinating vignettes and anecdotes will inspire the lurking inquisitive mid

        • Saleh Johar

          Yes iSem,

          That is what I am talking about. You have the ability to condense things into “text bites” :

          “..added to those who cannot read [..] is those who .. read well do not think…for the most part the intellectual is beholden to the unintellectual. ”

          Brilliant!