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Operation Forto: A Prelude To A Final Showdown?

If you return to awate after a few weeks or even a few days it is hard to catch up but skimming quickly through some of the discussions that passed, the most outlandish was that triggered by Yosief Ghebrehiwet who unabashedly declared that the struggle for independence had been useless! Yosief writes eloquently and cleverly but like many unscrupulous lawyers out there who defend a known felon or murderer, his goal was to confuse, provoke, and sow doubts in an already fragile opposition psyche.  The opposition must recognize such attempts for what they are – a distraction or diversion from the task at hand. 

It has been said that silence is the most eloquent response to ignorance.  Silence is also the most effective response to deliberate provocations.   If we must respond to such taunts, we should do so in a dismissive and condemnatory fashion not argumentatively.  To do so is to give undue importance to views that are essentially balderdash.  That is why I thought Saleh Younis’s (and others) attempt to refute him (though capably done) ill-advised in my view. So following my own advice let me leave the issue here to jump into the topic at hand:

Operation Forto! What a close call it was for the regime!  How quickly hopes were raised and dashed for Eritreans!  As I wrote this article, I read Mohammed Ahmed’s articulate piece on the subject.  His article so closely mirrored what I was thinking at the time that I almost decided to throw mine away to avoid being redundant.  But in this case, I reasoned it is ok to share somewhat similar views as we are all struggling to understand what exactly happened on 1/21/2013 and what we can expect in the near future.  Though I found Mohammed’s “covert angle” theory to be a plausible explanation, I will not be making the assumption here.  What I share here will be based on what has been widely reported as “facts”.

Operation Forto was both an encouraging development and a huge disappointment.  If we gauge it against what it reportedly set out to accomplish i.e. implementation of the constitution and the release of prisoners, the operation was – needless to say -a total failure.  Not only did it fail to procure any change in the regime but was unsuccessful even in fully broadcasting its grievances to the people. Viewed from this short-term perspective, therefore, we can say it was disappointing.  The regime and its supporters had good reason to celebrate therefore (at least for now) because they had just crashed yet another rebellion without any real or perceived harm to themselves.  

The politically savvy among them, however, will look beyond the event itself into its long-term impact and will find little reason to rejoice and much cause for alarm because they will recognize in the event a possible prelude to a final showdown that may be coming soon. The fact that a mere 200 soldiers or so were able to penetrate defenses is a big embarrassment to the regime and exposed previously unknown vulnerabilities.  If there is anything that Shaebia had ever bragged about since its inception, it is the loyalty and discipline of its military establishment.  It has always demanded (and largely succeeded in obtaining) the unquestioned, total, and blind obedience of its dictates.  Heroic when fighting the enemy, Shaebia soldiers were/are notorious for their mindless submission to internal hierarchy of authority.

The event – the first military attempt of its kind – marked therefore a sharp departure from this long-standing tradition.  Credit goes to the gallant soldiers whose courage set a precedent for others to follow.  Their valor has aroused a spirit of rebellious in Eritreans everywhere that will now be unstoppable and it is almost a cinch that we will see another Forto-like incident in the coming months or years.  That is why I consider Forto operation an encouraging development despite its failure.

We have already seen its immediate impact on those in the Diaspora. Boldly barging into an Embassy was quite a leap for Diaspora opposition whose previous bravado was limited to riling at the regime behind closed doors.  Reactions were spontaneous, a bit chaotic, and disorganized but the new assertiveness and the spirit of rebelliousness and courage it epitomizes is a welcome change and those who carried them out deserve our praise and thanks. Hopefully, we learned the importance of planning and organizing to increase the effectiveness of such emotional outbursts (perhaps by inviting reporters ahead of time and outlining the steps we plan to take once we are in the lion’s den so to speak  ? etc…).

Inside Eritrea, no overt expressions of outrage or protest were seen or heard in the immediate aftermath for obvious reasons:  the stakes were (and remain) much higher for those in Eritrea.  That is why I wish the Forto soldiers managed to galvanize the civilian population. The chances of success would have been greater.  Our people have been itching for something or someone to relieve them of their misery that they would have jumped at the chance.  Thus an opportune moment to spread the rebellion far and wide was lost and probably contributed to the overall failure of the operation.

If we are to base our assessment on what has so far been reported, we can also say that poorly defined goals and lack of planning was another major factor that contributed to the failure.   Success in any serious venture of such magnitude requires not only a resolute determination to achieve goals but also a clear understanding of what the main obstacles are and how to remove them.  If we judge Forto Operation by this simple criterion, it is not hard to see why it was doomed to fail (again, assuming things transpired exactly as was widely reported).

According to these reports, the soldiers’ main demands were the implementation of the constitution and the release of prisoners.  If this is true, one is hard pressed to divine what type of response the soldiers were expecting from the dictator?  “Thank you for reminding me, fellow comrades, I will now release the innocent political prisoners and implement the constitution”?   Wasn’t the memory of what happened to the ex-tegadelti at Mai-habar and the G-15’s still vivid enough to remind us of the ruthlessness of the dictator and the uselessness of demanding anything from him?  If they really meant to get results or answers, therefore, it betrays an utter lack of understanding of what ails the nation and the nature of the despotism we suffer under.  Prisons and the still-born constitutions are the effect – outward symptoms not the primary obstacle.

Isaias is and has been the primary obstacle and as long as he is in power, no problem (big or small) can be solved or removed   i.e. no constitutions can be implemented and no prisoners can be released.  All future Forto-like attempts should therefore set aside all other demands and focus on the man at the top and begin their war cry with a strong, loud, unequivocal demand for the president to step down as was done in Egypt and in many other places. This is not a plea to copycat other successful revolutions but is a strategic idea that stems from the recognition that a dictator is temperamentally incapable of giving concessions.  He will never countenance any challenge and is likely to regard all rebellions (including mild protests and criticisms) as a personal affront to himself and a challenge to his authority and will act accordingly.

Would-be rebels have nothing to lose therefore and much to gain by focusing on the man at the helm and demanding his immediate oust because again the consequences are likely to be the same one way or the other.  But raising such a simple but powerful slogan has the advantage of electrifying the movement and signaling a determination, a will, and fearlessness that people can rally around and is sure to command respect locally and internationally.  Only after this important milestone has been reached and only then we should start mulling over constitutions, prisons, and how to dismantle the regime’s remaining appendages.

I don’t want to be misunderstood here.  I am not suggesting that we refrain from discussing such things until the regime’s downfall.  No.  On the contrary, we should fully discuss these issues and prepare for a post-Isaias era as meticulously as we can.  What I am trying to stress here is that as far as communication with the tyrant is concerned, there should be none at all (no demands, no begging, and no negotiations) except to scream or shout that he “get the hell of out of there i.e. out of power”. PERIOD!

What we have learned from both the Forto incident and the spontaneous multiple embassy storming is the importance of planning.  If they are to succeed or have the greatest impact, revolutions must be methodically planned and actions carefully spelled out. Moreover, would-be revolutionaries should never waste time asking for things that they will never be granted.  It will only end up making them sound unsure of their goals.

Begging dictators is as fruitless as Oliver Twist’s pitiful request for more soup was. Oliver’s reward was a blow on the head; theirs will be a lethal one.   “Find out what people will submit to”, Frederick Douglas once observed, “and you will have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong the people will allow to have imposed upon them.”  A serious opposition does not beg or ask.  It demands, insists, and acts for the overthrow of whatever person (Isaias) or entity (PFDJ) is blocking its way. I have great hopes that this will happen in the next attempt – InshAllah.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  – Winston churchill


About Ismail Omer-Ali

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  • Yosief Ghebrehiwet was a bright student at the Saint George Secondary School.He was one of the couple dozen students that joined the lab school without taking matriculation. In the fall of 1974, the then government ordered the University students to go for Zemecha. All the Eritreans at the University declined to go for
    Zemecha and instead joined the liberation fronts. Yosief and a handful others didn’t
    have the heart to join the liberation fronts. Why is he worried about Eritran issues?

  • Wow Saay!!

    “Kem kelassay ba’eray” fantastic moderation. I mean it. Haile must not dismiss your advice , and I am sure he will take into heart, as the rest will follow suit. If Haile really want to debate, whether you agree or disagree with him, he can bring substantive argument to the table. The only thing…. he must be watchful to the choices of his words. Haile keep up within the loop of decency it is good for all of us.


  • Mohammed Ahmed

    Ahlan Ismail

    As they say, “al’ghlub ind b’Adha” – it is the same fight – the same destiny, thus it is perfectly normal for the confluence of thoughts.

    I totally agree with you that trying to talk to the dictator is a non-starter but I also strongly believe that those who conducted the Forto Operation weren’t trying to talk to the dictator at all – not by any conceivable stretch of the imagination.

    The two demands (note that I didn’t use the adjective “their” so as not to lump all) which were (1) the implementation of the constitution and (2) the release of all political prisoners were more or less the salvos which the warlords/Generals tried to throw at the dictator.

    They did this not because they believed in them and wanted to talk to the dictator about them (far from it) but rather, because they knew of all the wounds the dictator has, these two were the worst for him and the best for them to rub salt on. They intended to rattle the dictator by flexing their muscles and showing him how far they can go to hit his Achilles heels – all the while getting the maximum media effect for their fracas. By all accounts, the warlords got what they were set to achieve through their expedition.

    But none of that mattered to Eritreans and least of all, to wed-Ali and his comrades, because to put it very bluntly – it wasn’t their fight. Their mission was to obliterate the dictator once and for all and to rid the nation of his menace. True, the warlords got in the way and gave the dictator a reprieve – but for wed-Ali and his comrades the risk was worth taking. Remember, the spark had to start somewhere (the most important lesson of the operation). The status quo was not an option.

    Any assumption that wed-Ali and his comrades were in for a chat with the dictator about some novel ideals is a flawed assumption. The treachery of the bloody dictator and his HGDEF establishment doesn’t escape anyone who is even remotely affected by it let alone for those who witnessed it first hand. Wed-Ali and his comrades were in for the kill not for the talk.

    As you alluded to in your article, there is a lot to be leaned from the Forto operation. The fact that this was a precedent-setting event in on itself is a quantum leap forward in our fight against tyranny.


  • Papillon


    It is fair to say that you and I tegatatim’na alena as in k’l’te goraHat Hamukh’shti s’nqom sort of thing on where the thread at hand is going to land. When you say the kind of procedure to utilize in a bid to remove the cancer cells, it is clear that you want the surgeon to own the operating room with out the presence of say nurses, anesthesiologist among others. And of course, the patient has the full right to choose on who or which surgeon has to operate on here as well. But with in these rather nagging details in procedures and elective mechanisms, one crucia aspect of the whole dynamism stands out. And that is timing. When the cancer cells refuse to procrastinate in their bid to invade and devour the entire body up, the patient nor does the surgeon have the luxury on what kind of procedure to utilize and who ought to be in the O.R. where again the sense of urgency to save the patient takes of a paramount importance. The malady in Eritrea has to be removed either through a home grown collective force or through a transient external force for the end matters more than the means for intended objectives.

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dearest Papillon,

      but you both have gone long and it seems to me the differences is going smaller. you have started to agree in main points although still tough to each other. i enjoyed too much your debate.may be this is the most intelligent challenger you have faced. we the ordinary people learn a lot from you both. I love you both.

      you are the star Papillon.

      • Papillon

        Dearest Kokhob Selam,

        Many thanks for those kind words. Sure enough, Haile is an intelligent person with an incredible knack for the English language but of course we have differences on how to approach as we aspire at times with unbearable agony to find a “solution” to the dire situation in Eritrea. I sure don’t mean to sound lofty or elitist but it is rather humbling to see people find a learning medium in our collective discourses where sometimes it is disconcerting to the audience as we resort or should I say regress into bickering.


      • haile

        Merhaba KS

        thanks brother, we are nothing without each other!! keep the love.

  • Halewa Sewra


    Why are you trying to make things uncomfortable around here? Why are you challenging us to know ourselves, get connected and practice discipline and fellowship?

    Why can’t we just watch ESPN and eat our hamburgers? Don’t you know it is March Madness?

    Why can’t we just bring change to Eritrea via remote control?

  • Ismail


    I appreciate your comments. If you haven’t read my response to Abe, please do so before you continue. For the sake of clarity, I am answering your questions in a Q & A format:

    YOU SAID: your two introductory paragraphs have nothing to do with Forto 2013.
    ANSWER: Agreed. The 2 paragraphs have nothing to do with Forto 2013. That is why I separated them in Italics at the top.

    YOU ASKED: “why is it that many who write on this website have to mention Yosief G. hiwet.”
    ANSWER: The reason is simple. Many who write on this website want to steer the opposition forward not towards unproductive discussions. Emblazoned prominently on Awate header are the words “inform, inspire, Embolden”. YG’s revisionism neither inspires nor emboldens. It has the opposite effect. It can potentially demoralize by making us wallow in useless self-pity over bygone days. Even worse, it needlessly hurts the feeling of thousands of people. Moreover, the opposition is still weak (though gathering strength day by day) and when you are weak; prioritization should become paramount in your thinking.

    YOU ASKED: “We all talk about democracy and yet we are the ones who deny our brothers the right to have different opinions. Aren’t we Hippocrates when we condemn PFDJ for doing the same?”
    ANSWER: With all due respect Mehret, the analogy is inappropriate. As I said in my response to Abe, nobody is denying YG anything. Nobody is saying that YG should keep his mouth shut or else. That would be undemocratic (at least in spirit). My plea was to the opposition not to engage in such fruitless argumentation. There is absolutely nothing undemocratic about this. In fact, the freedom to choose the type of discourse that meets your needs is democracy in action. In other words, as YG has a right to express his opinions, others have a similar right not to engage him. PFDJ on the other hand cannot only order you to stop from expressing yourself but can willy-nilly throw you in the dungeon or assassinate you for expressing your opinion. I hope you see the difference there.

    YOU ASKED (quoting your aunt): MESTA DERGI WERIDUNA DO ANTI GUALEY. DERGI REGIMUNA EYU YMESLENI and it killed me. How is Yosief’s stand different from my aunt’s, other than the presentation quality?
    ANSWER: Here is the difference. Your aunt’s words were mere expressions of frustration with the status quo. She was not trying to persuade you or anyone. She was just venting herself. Neither she nor you believe for example that the Derg has cursed us (regimuna). Do you? So, while we can sympathize with your beloved aunt’s exclamations of dismay, we cannot take her words seriously or literally. This is quite different from Yosief who wanted to persuade his readers that the struggle for liberation had been all in vain and wrote several long passages to prove the point. Unlike your aunt, he wrote to sway not to vent.

    YOU ASKED: Don’t you think many are questioning liberation and its merits? It is only human. When you are confused and are trying to find answers to why the present misery, you come up with possible answers or maybe solutions.
    ANSWER: very well said Mehret. If you are one of those questioning the liberation and its merits, you need to think hard and long. Is it really the merits of liberation you have a problem with or the human hands that bungled it? If you meant the latter, I can agree with you. If the former, I cannot because life without liberty is not worth living. In the words of Patrick Henry, “give me liberty or give me death”. Just because things turned out badly does not mean the struggle for independence was all in vain or liberty has no merits.

    Regarding the usage of horde…. It is not always used in the negative sense or to mean uncivilized as you put it. Here is an example sentence from Webster’s: “A horde of tourists entered the museum.” Here is another example from the same source: “Hordes of reporters were shouting questions.” Check it out yourself: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/horde

    Ismail (pointblank)

    • F.M.

      Selam again Ismail!

      On Hordes

      I figure discussing meaning of a word is lighthearted and safe way of spending time on a Friday. I hope you agree with me. I am in no way accusing you of anything other than a bad selection of a word to describe our neighbors—if you were describing Martians I wouldn’t care because I don’t live with them. And I hope that you agree with me that words matter.

      Horde has origin in describing the fearless and marauding Mongul tribes that at one time conquered and sacked many cities and empires. Today the word’s connection to the Monguls is lost, but nevertheless the usage is derogatory or pejorative whether used to describe the media or tourists. Sample sentences:

      Despite all this, the media horde—like a moth to the flame—congregates around the egomaniacal Donald Trump. [Washington Post]

      Players will battle hordes of zombies, cast powerful spells and must fight to keep their sanity. [Sydney Morning Herald]


      A blogger at this forum advises ( http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1598490&goto=nextoldest )

      “don’t want to use horde, unless you intend to be derogatory.”

      • Ismail

        OK F.M. You are a persistent fellow…. aren’t you?

        When it comes to words, shouldn’t we rely on official sources? Bloggers are just like you and I giving opinions. I gave you a dictionary meaning of the word and its usage to show you that it can have different meaning depending on context.

        But let us consider the example you gave about “media horde” and the example I gave earlier about “tourist hordes”: If these two relatively harmless classes of people with no weaponry can be described as hordes to emphasize their numbers or aggressiveness, why would it be wrong to use the term to describe the Weyane armies who not only came in large numbers but did so armed with heavy artillery and guns to overrun our country. The term connotes numbers and a certain degree of aggressiveness both fittingly applicable to the event in 1999. Just as in the examples, the term characterizes the action not the persons. Don’t you agree?

        Have a nice weekend!

        Ismail (pointblank)

      • F.M.

        Hi Ismail!

        Sorry for belaboring hordes. Vocabulary.com is authoritative enough I believe and the internet crowd or crowd sourcing (horde sourcing 🙂 ) in general has 95% accuracy rate, according to some study; feeds accurate info ,usage in this case, 95% of the time. We should test the Awate.com ‘hordes’ if this 95% rate is accurate 🙂

        “Horde is usually derogatory and should be used with care. ”


        Other than that, Ismail, I am left flabbergasted that the Eritrean hordes have yet to accept they were the aggressors, it was Eritrean hubris or arrogance that started the war. The international court said so, one authoritative body if I may add.

    • Atsbaha

      Dear Ismael,

      In your answer to Mehret, you wrote”If you are one of those questioning the liberation and its merits, you need to think hard and long. Is it really the merits of liberation you have a problem with or the human hands that bungled it?”
      Let me ask you a question. Doesn’t that apply to union with Ethiopia too? Wasn’t it bungled by the ethiopian rulers of the time?In any given situation it is the human element that decides the outcome.Had the emperor been a forward loking person and handled the Eritrean people aright the union would have definitely worked.

      Mis selamta.

    • Ismail,
      All you have done is that labelled, YG’s stand (what is the purpose of putting the 2 paragraphs there, italics or no italics?), undermined the example I gave you as a sign of ‘frustration’ and questioned its seriousness without giving it any benefit of the doubt that many may actually believe it. Oh LIBERATION OR DEATH? Do you seriously believe that we were liberated from what and who?. I just want you to think of this comment from someone who left eritrean after 2001 wave of arrests. ‘all that happened in 2001 was that ‘Amharic and oromo speaking colonizers left and tigrigna speaking ones arrived!and we paid so dearly for it’ The atrocities that were happening during the derg times are happening now in their worst and vast extents and magnitude. We do not have food , no water, not electricity and the young are leaving the country in never-seen-before rate. Forget the arrests and slavery and rape and human trafficking. You may say this is being simplistic but our people in eritrean are simple -mostly with some basic education. So which ‘liberations are you talking about, really?
      To me people who philosophizes and try to analyse the eritrean people and their plight are ones who have no touch with or interest in the grassroots. But I still want to hear them without labeling them if possible.
      I could have gone on but I don’t think it will make any difference in how you see your points of view, believes and stands about other people’s opinions and rights to have them.
      Finally, in my previous text I was only trying to tell you that if we focus on planning more than on acting our loss could be irrecoverable -the eritrean people.

  • Asmara

    How about all of you intelectuals out there use your skills in forcing woyanie out of our nation? How long are you going to go round the bush?

    Particularly SAAY – how about you focus on REMOVING the one LEGITIMATE EXCUSE of the government for not implementation of the constitution?

    We all know Woyanie is unjust when it comes to the border issue, so focus on that and the Whole Eritrean poppulation will be on your side.

    Writting and bashing the Eritrean government day in and day out amounts to nothing. The Eritrean people will never, never be on your side

    Comon, be usefull for a change

    • Semere Andom


      Here we go again blaming the victims instead of the culprit. The damage that PFDJ (more appropriately as SAAY says Isaiasist) are inflicting on Eritrea has nothing to do with the border issue. Com on Asmara, what happened to your Merhawi? The problem is in the DNA of this lunatic man and his thugs. And even if this so called legitimate excuse is removed they will have other excuses in their quiver- rebuilding the ruined nation. The onus is not on DIA now; it is on the Eritrea people not to believe a single word that this man tells them. Do not be so sure about the line “the Eritrean people will never, never be on your side, because when one day finally they summon the courage to demonstrate in Kombishatato (godena Barnet) the PFDJ will massacre them in broad day light,you will be on the side of the people, unless of course you share the Bisha money and the kidney mone.

      Your detest for Phds is what got us here in the first place. And if you are a Tigrinya speaker one day you will wake up without a place that you call summer home if PFDJ continues to rein shredding the very fabric of Eritrea. The lowlands will had had enough and if Eastern Sudan separates they can and should leave Eritrea to join the Easters Sudan region where they will be the masters of their language religion and land. And when Assab goes to its rightful owners and Isaias has taken his blood and kidney money, your alternative Andnet will be very elusive as you have already alienated and insulted the Woyane, they will not touch you with 6 feet pole. You can talk about the border excuse until the sun rises again in Badme, but it is tired and useless as DIA

      And if you think this is just utterance of a hallucinating mind, I will share with you what happened in 1986 in Kassala, Sudan. EPLF decided to murdered an ELF veteran and the Sudanese tired of the Eritrean shooting each other in their town they took matters on their own hands and occupied the offices of all Eritrean organisation , destroyed them and set on fire a garage run by ELF and their slogan was `La Tesfay Wo La Edrisay.
      The next day Kassala was occupied by Tigre speaking Eritrean with their swords, camels and donkeys chanting `Al Beled Beledna wo Al Hakim Woldena. Literally claiming their citizenship and ownership it was very peaceful and eye opening
      If you love Eritrea be on its side so you do not wake up without it one morning


    • Salyounis

      Selamat Asmara:

      Flattery aside, here’s why your proposal can either be turned against you or shown to be futile:

      (1) If you want to modify something that is bigger and more powerful than you, you have to have leverage. Who has more leverage among the following: (a) A group of Isaiasist (self-declared “hagerawyan”) with tons of money trying to influence Isaias to introduce the rule of law and constitutionalism or (b) A group of the Eritrean opposition (“Anatsu weyane” who rely on the charity of Weyane, in your charming words) trying to influence Weyane/the world to leave Eritrean land? Both are, on principle, the right thing to do; but which one has more likelihood of showing results? There are many opposition sympathizers who demand of Weyane to do what you are asking, but there are ZERO Isaiaists who publicly call on Isaias to abide by constitutionalism. I submit to you that a group of “hagerawyan” with hard currency that Isaias desperately needs have more leverage with Isaias than the opposition does with Weyane or the world. So haye, hases ilkum ab mongo igrikum zteHaz Hazu::) You can’t; you won’t; and it is this knowledge of your paralysis and powerlessness that gets you to be so aggressive against people you consider weaker than you.

      (2) Ethiopia’s occupation of Eritrean land is NOT a “legitimate excuse” to delay implementation of constitutionalism. If you disagree, show me how, but instead of using slogans, I would like you to use specifics of how implementation of the constitution impacts in any way Eritrea’s sovereignty. If Ethiopia’s occupation of Eritrean land from 1991-1998 was not a “legitimate excuse” not to draft the constitution, how can its occupation of the land from 1998-present be legitimate reason to delay implementing what’s drafted and ratified? It may be a legitimate excuse for Isaias because in a constitutional government, followed by elections, the fact that he has failed to return Eritrean land to Eritrea will become a political issue (as it should be), but it is not a legitimate excuse to the rest of Eritreans because the land is legally, permanently decided on.


      • Selamat Saleh & Semere,

        Isayas and his PFDJ know clearly that the border issue is not an obstacle to any democratic change in Eritrea. But indeed they know also that the “border excuse” will help them to sustain the power in their hand. The border issue is a “settled issue” by the the International arbitration court tribunal.At this time Ethiopia seems to be reluctant to deal with him as it saw the regime’s illegitimacy by the Eritrean people. Incidentally, the history of Badme goes beyond 1991 as Badme was the cause of alliance EPLF/TPLF and the ejection of ELF from the field. May be and still may be the mystery is not known yet as to why badme was under Ethiopian control until 1998 before the ignition of the war. This way or that, the border issue is a resolved issue once the normalization start between the two nations or once the provocative regime is removed everything will fall into its natural course. In fact it will be a bright future for both nations as soon as Issayas is removed from the scene.

  • Asmara

    As intelectuals who got the chance to persue education, doing your PHDs and what not, while the majority of Eritreans were sucrificing their precious life and their time in bringing independence and in still defending the soverignity of the nation, YOU SHOULD FOCUS AND CONCENTRATE ALL YOUR ATTENTION ON WOYANIE, AND DO YOUR SHARE IN FORCING THEM TO LEAVE OUR SOVEREIGN LAND, AFTER WHICH WE CAN CONCENTRATE ON OUR ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF OUR NATION.

    Try to be usefull for a change

  • Asmara

    It is hight time to realize the effect of the sanction you advocated for is actually harming our people.

    It is cruelty insensitivity on your part to expect a good result from the government while you worked hard to to ties the government’s hand in whatever you can.

    • gerimuna

      Wake up Asmara!
      If you think the dictator will accomplish any result by scattering and destrying the young and the army, then you are a dreamer. It is normality and law first, for any eventuality that a society could grow and flourish. In another words, it is the very people perishing under, the cock and bull, dictaor, that is capeable to bring the result that you are asking. Once the soceity is crippled, such as ours is, no body will defend our demand. A coin has two sides. You are looking the head where the dicator is taunting you not to speak the truth.

  • Asmeret

    In the days of Haile Sellassie there were no Students-Demonstrations that succeeded in the real sense of it. Students used to end up in jails & Hailesellasie used to stay in power. That still didn’t stop the series of demonstrations that were taking place every other year.
    The King ignored the legitimate demands of the students as he was busy concentrating on staying in power by tightning his rules more and more until the day the Dergue emerged.
    His brand new Limousine was suddenly changed by an old vw-beetle and his palace by a tiny cell. Wedi Ali’s operation is a straight and loud cry for a constitutional government in Eritrea and a direct warning to Isayas. It’s upto him to react to the legimate wish of the Eritrean people before thousands of Wedi Alis arise one day. The Higdefites like Denden and Brooklynite will then have the outcome they are missing now.

    • Asmara

      You still talking about that Forto thing? and you still haven’t got it in to you that you dont have any right to call any EDF member as your own, because you have already made your position so clear to us by siding to woyanie and advocating for arms embargo and other sanctions to be imposed upon our nation.

      Give it a rest

  • haile


    Ok, since you’ve offered me the podium to ‘propose’, you will be to blame if you don’t like my proposal. Here goes:

    1- Know yourself;

    I can’t remember now, but there is a school of thought any transformational undertaking can’t begin without adequate self knowledge. Self knowledge here refers to your ability to recognize your ‘real’ condition. Evaluate yourself in all aspects of Eritrea and its current situation and where you fit in. This are easy said done, for I am talking about realistic and as accurate as possible recognition of the self. (no wishful thinking please, hard facts must back up any finding!)

    2- Get connected

    The ultimate question here is what are you prepared to sacrifice. Karl Marx’ family were starving at the time he was involved with worker’s movement. Are you prepared to risk your’s and your families security, are prepared to take major financial risks, are you prepared to risk your life and that of your family? Would you abandon your career, would you sell your home or other assets for the cause, will you relocate for a worse and harsher(possibly hostile) area, would you leave everything behind and be ready to fight for change.

    3- Discipline and fellowship

    This involves your acceptance to commit to the cause unequivocally. To follow instruction, to recognize and submit to your leaders, to follow rules, to humble yourself to be a good follower to be a good leader.

    The reality of diaspora life would have you to be far out of place to conform to this mode of struggle, without which you are unlikely to get to that illusive castle atop the mountain. Every thing that is worth having in this regard, demands the pain, agony and fatal hazard to attain.

    since the above far drastic situation in direct contradiction to the nature of being a diaspora, plan two is to work to improve the lot of your people around you. When you accumulate enough strength as a successful group or community (economically, socially and educationally) in where you live now, you are bound to be taken seriously by virtue of your success. What does any Eritrean community have to show for decades of migrant life? Nothing, rented premisses and rented equipments full of opinionated old people. That is a lousy shot to be relevant thousands of miles away!

    • Papillon


      I think I am losing you. I sure wouldn’t call it “Entati’E n’zeriE alena” sort of thing but there seems to be a drift from the rather straight forward question I posed to you. Let me recap if I may. The issue of course started with your reply to Mehret when you said, the dire shortage of water and electricity is not a new phenomenon but it has gotten worse recently. And I asked you what the solution to it should be. You just handed me a brochure so to speak on how to reinvent and commit myself to a cause where you brought to life Socrates, Karl Marx and the dictum of Gandi when he said, “If a person wants to change the world, he ought to start first with himself or herself.”

      I am surely having a hard time to connect the dots if there are any that is. Or are you suggesting that, if the diaspora collects itself together, the dire circumstances in Eritrea will change for better? I hope you’re not suggesting that even though that could as well be something that should be looked at on the periphery.

      In the art of medicine, the holistic and reductionist approaches more often cross paths in a bid to solve complex problems. Holistic approach because the human body can not be compartmentalized on a cellular level and reductionist approach because one can not possibly bring all the factors involved in a malady (read: psychosomatic, history of a patient, environmental factors inter alia) when one deals with a specific illness.

      Suppose you’re a physician attending to a cancer patient where the cancer is with a potential to metastasize to other vital organs. In this kind of reality, of course, the holistic approach loses its meaning for you’ve narrowed down the true nature of the malady and its source as well. The next step is on how to deal with it. That is, the only solution you’ve is to cut the cancer cells out completely as opposed to containing the constitutional signs such as fever, malaise and fatigue among others. By the same token, the cause of the malady in Eritrea can be narrowed down to a specific entity as such it has to be rooted out in its entirety. Again, what do you think?

      • Saleh Gadi

        Haile and papillon,
        Your points of difference aside, I totally embrace the idea of narrowing down the malady to a specific entity in order to blow it away.
        Haile has some valid points when it comes to the disorganized and confused state of the Diaspora. I believe that all the bickering and confusion of the last ten-years has been between those who think they are an opposition and those who believe they are a resistance force. But the most crippling disagreement (lack of clarity) has been the division of the opposition/resistance camp along two views: 1) those who advocate cutting off the “specific malady” in Eritrea (Uprooting the regime), and 2) those who advocate “containing the constitutional signs such as fever, malaise and fatigue among others.” (Reform the regime)

      • haile


        I only decided to hand in my response in a brochure format, so that in case we end up in our typical embaguaro (after a couple of postings i.e.), you can still have for a take home 🙂

        The fact is that I was clear with your question, but not entirely sold to its apparent simplicity (bordering on hastiness). I am generally careful with analogies. Although, needless to affirm their usefulness, yet wary of their often a less than faithful application in replicating what we try to understand.

        Your analogy unfortunately didn’t help to reassure me any different. Your analogy is based on a singular factor that would immediately yield the desired result after the removal procedure is applied regardless how. I would have built into that analogical version of the reality at hand the process of readying the patient to undergo the necessary surgical procedure. How would that aspect be reflected in the reality being discussed? There is also another aspect of that analogical set-up, i.e. the type of removal process to be applied. What does that signify in the real aspect of this discussion. And finally, would you take a certain approach of this procedure if it is likely to kill the patient?

        So, we can see that all the parts of the said analogy, which you put forth had not been fully mapped to the corresponding ‘real’. hence my response earlier was meant to deal with the issue starting from the foundation (from point of view of what the diaspora needs to know regarding this whole matter).

        It is of course easy to propose, and many have done it over and over, however short of my two alternatives in my above entry, I fear that it may end up a pipe dream or an illusive target.

        Of course, Sal has introduced a direct classification of the diaspora based on approach. I think the side to heed the advice above may come out as the most relevant and a potent force to reckon with.

        • Salyounis


          With respect to your disapproval of analogies*, one rhetoric expert give this caution: “analogies work only if there are many revealing similarities between the items or activities compared. If the analogy gets readers thinking about differences between the items or activities, it will fail as a piece of evidence.”**

          The larger point is: people write to persuade their readers (that, btw, is the definition of rhetoric: communicating to persuade). There is something that mystifies me a bit about your writing: for somebody who is cautious about the use of analogies because of their built-in weaknesses, somebody presumably writing to persuade his readers with his points of view, why do you find it necessary to abuse them so much? Or, even worse, use tired language of “sleeping with Weyane” etc, etc. You are a gifted thinker: why do you dilute your original and fresh viewpoints with tired and cliched insults?


          * analogies when used right are almost poetic in their beauty. If there was “Best Use of Analogies Award”, Yosief Gebrehiwot would win it for, oh, 10 consecutive years:) See I can be objective
          ** http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/product/Communities-of-Discourse-The-Rhetoric-of-Disciplines/9780131515154.page

  • Ismail

    When Eritrean soldiers were defeated by Weyane hoards in 1999 and forcibly and decidedly pushed out of Badme, our Government was unblushingly declaring victory and resorted to all sorts of euphemisms to explain the defeat. We did not flee, we were told; we were merely ‘repositioning our defence forces’. We did not withdraw; we were only conserving our armed forces, we did not lose, we were the winners and so on and so forth. Something analogues seems to be happening to some Eritreans in the opposition regarding the Forto incident who seem unable to acknowledge the truth.
    On what basis can we claim operation Forto a “total success” or a “remarkable success” as Papillon and Redi kifle respectively asserted? I am sure neither of them meant it literally but I think we should try to preserve the meaning of words. Success and failure are opposite words and if we start using them interchangeably without qualification, their true meaning will be diluted. Thoughts and words are so closely intertwined that if we repeatedly distort the meaning of words, we will soon become delusional and muddle-headed in our thinking which will in turn prevent us from engaging in enlightened discussion.

    We need to be mature and confident enough to call a spade a spade. An operation that did not achieve its stated objectives is a failure period. It cannot be called a success by any stretch of imagination. But as I say in the article, the event itself is full of future significance and those who engineered the operation are heroes to be honored. They have charted a new paradigm that others will soon tread.

    Good point Abe about having the democratic spirit regarding YG. I fully and unreservedly accept your criticism and thank you for bringing it to my attention. But here is another way of looking at the issue. Yes, he has a right to express his opinions but the question I asked myself was: what is to be gained by trivializing the past and antagonizing the many thousands upon thousands who sacrificed so much in the struggle? Even if his analysis was to prove right, can we do anything about it NOW? If not, why bring it up at all except to provoke and taunt? Remember also that in my article, I do not address YG. I do not say for example that YG should keep his mouth shut. That would be undemocratic. My plea was to the opposition not to engage in such fruitless argumentation.
    As for writing about religion, why should that bother you or anyone? Isn’t the subject important enough to discuss? A new pope has just been elected and religion continues to shape the lives of millions of people every day including in Eritrea. So why should we shy from discussing it? Your antipathy towards religious sentiments is a relic of a communist past and its repressive legacy that you need to shake. Besides, unless you have only recently started reading my writing, I have written on a wide variety of topics over the years ranging from democracy to feminism. People find my religious writing memorable because I express them freely and fearlessly. Thanks all for your feedback!

    Ismail (pointblank)

    • My dear Ismail,

      You are right. “We need to be mature and confident enough to call a spade a spade” as you said it above. But, I am trying to target the issue from different perspective. If we measure the Forto operation mechanically, it will mean a failure as you said it. But, if we put it into the context of the philosophy of our political strategy, it narrates the real definition of what a dictatorship means and how to deal with it. If the Forto operation has become a catalyst, to bring us together in understanding a decisive issue, no matter how long it takes, we will be the marathon winners relatively together and the effect of the right cause or mission can be accomplished as envisioned broadly.

      We don’t need to argue on semantics, when we are not far away from the issue that matters. In a development, sometimes there is an occurrence of retrogress. I believe, as long as the strategy is in tact, that kind of phenomenon is a secondary factor which of course is very important, or even more necessary to be considered as a learning process. “Failure” is too extreme of an appendage to such a unifying devotion.

      • F.M.

        Selam Ismail!

        Just thought I share what went through my head at the mention of ‘hordes.’ I do maintain if not animal, then uncivilized or unrefined and of course the comparison I assume is against Eritreans…. Moreover, their numerical superiority, as implied by ‘hordes’, didnt win the war, but their strategic maneuver.

        For what it’s worth, the Ethiopians have over and over proven they have the upper hand diplomatically and strategically. Given their regional weight or might, they will continue to dominate.

    • F.M.

      “When Eritrean soldiers were defeated by Weyane hoards in 1999”

      Not trying to be smart alec …. you mean ‘hordes’

      You may want to pay your neighbors a little respect, implying that they are animals, uncivilized wont bring peace.

      • Ismail

        F.M. Thanks for the correction. Yes. I meant “hordes” which is defined as “a large group of people.” The term is used for both animals and humans but I was using it in its human sense. I would never characterize any group of people as animals. I have always been against all types of racial epithets.

        Ismail (pointblank)

  • TiETiE( Shiro bubble)

    i thought Awate.com gone.I found it by accident.I was typing A and it popped onto my screen. welcome.

  • Ismail,
    Good and timely text full of important reminders.
    However, your two introductory paragraphs have nothing to do with Forto 2013. And you have contradicted yourself when you imply Yosief does not deserve a response and then use negative words which are actually your responses to Yosief’s opinion by implication.
    Actually, I am wondering why is it that many who write on this website have to mention Yosief G. hiwet. He, like any eritrean, has an opinion which he believes he can justify and he tries to. We all talk about democracy and yet we are the ones who deny our brothers the right to have different opinions. Aren’t we Hippocrates when we condemn PFDJ for doing the same?
    Let me give you an example of a recent (two days ago)conversation where I hear my aunt say when I called her. It was about 9 PM in Asmara and she told me she was sitting on the stairs of her house as there was no electricity. When I asked her why she did not lit a candle and sit inside, she said she also had to wait for the water tap to make some noise in case the supply comes. They did not have water supply for more than three weeks. I was so sad that I had nothing to say. Then she said MESTA DERGI WERIDUNA DO ANTI GUALEY. DERGI REGIMUNA EYU YMESLENI. and it killed me. How is Yosief’s stand diferent from my aunt’s, other than teh presentation quality? Don’t you think many are questioning liberation and its merits? It is only human. When you are confused and are trying to find answers to why the present misery, you come up with possible answers or maybe solutions. Shame on us in the diaspora, the misery has been too long and I am afraid if we continue to procrastinate and do only talking, we may be surprised by opinions and preferences that might undermine the sacred martyrs’ cause that may crop up from our people. I hope you understand what I am talking about.WE should be very careful not to lose the ones who matter most– our people!! Yosief is an individual and if we disagree with his opinion we should only present ours in an equal manner, in quality and quantity. At the moment though we have merciless enemies to fight against.
    Finally, I would like to say I enjoyed reading your work. Thank you.

    • haile


      Since you keep in touch with your folks at home, I am sure you understand that is how it has been as far as water and electricity in Asmara. Recently, the last month or so, it has been specially dire and long periods of power outages have also been the case recently.

      When you talk of the diaspora, it doesn’t have meaningful group existence. It is a collection of loosely connected formations of people here and there. There is neither the facility nor the mechanism to respond to unfolding circumstances on the ground as it stands now.

      The situation in Eritrea is brewing in the helm, you may witness events moving faster than people would anticipated them. But, the diaspora is really nothing more than helpless spectator. And this is not accidental, it is the result of decade long indulgence and going against reason it self.

      As to YG and co. I think nothing no good can come out of a person who would tell a rape victim that what happened to her was because she is a woman. YG attacks the core of who we are, it is more than an opinion – much like a blasphemy!

      • Papillon


        If I may interject. You seem to recognize the dire situation the Eritrean people are going though. And I am sure, you’re also cognizant of the fact that, somebody out to be blamed (blamed is understatement) for it. My question to you is, how do you propose to change the dire reality into something say what our martyrs died for.

      • yegermal

        ok, this is scary. I am finding agreeing with you more and more….You see if you focus on the sad situation of Eritrea instead of obsessing with you know who, you might find a lot in common with most opposition “members”… and learn that our worst enemy is none other than ourselves for allowing a madman to rob our essence…. as humans.

  • Aklilu Embaye

    Comboni College,

    Hey, I went to Comboni. I remember Padre Luis, Padre Guerra, Father Charles, Aba Mehari (he was mean).

    Remember Mehmhir Tsehaye? He used to kick me out of class all the time. I would then go talk to the Italian priest who ran the book store until the next period. I hated Memhir Tsehaye.

    Actually, I hated all my teachers. I can’t think of one teacher that I liked at Comboni. No one comes to mind. We were all scared of them. I hated the monitors even more.

    The only monitor I liked was Wedi Aynom (the son of the arbitro — referee) Does anyone know where he is nowadays.

    Gotta run. Bye.

    • Salyounis


      This is a true story. When I was a kid, me and my neighborhood friends (about 12 of us) threw a rock* at Memhir Tsehaye. None of my friends attended Comboni. When I returned to school 3 months later, on the first day of class, Memhir Tsehaye slapped me on the face real hard and told me “you know what that’s for!” Then he went to the field and joined Halewa Sewra. JK! I don’t know what happened to him.


      * Don’t ask why: Eritrean intifada was random and purposeless:) uh-oh, I see somebody equating this with our Ghedli real soon…

  • Comboni College

    Okay so people want to believe that the incident at Enda Zena was a huge success, despite having nothing to show for it. We don’t even know if the gentleman’s name was Wedi Ali. Nobody knows his name for sure. I think they are just assigning a name to him so he does not remain some nameless, faceless dude to the opposition folks.

    When Hamid Idriss Awate, whose name this wonderful website bears, launched a daring raid on a police post in Western Eritrea on September 1, 1960, he actually survived the whole thing in one piece, walked away with lots of ammunition to arm his growing followers and went on to harass the Ethiopian army with more men and more ammunition. That was great success!

    The gentleman who tried some funny business at the Ministry of Information was liquidated on the spot. Never to be heard from again. The two accomplices he took with him are locked-up behind bars. The soldiers under his command defied his order and deserted him.

    I am being objective here but I honestly don’t see where the success is in all of this. Even if you define down the meaning of success, there is no success to be found here.

  • Abe

    Hi Ismail,

    Kudos for writing an article that doesn’t involve religion for a change (I think).
    I see you are recommending us to ignore YG. Not particularly democratic spririt, is it? YG doesn’t write articles just to throw them att readers faces. He provides evidences (tsk, tsk) to merit them. I recommend you adsress them intead of attacking his persona.

    Just a thought

  • Eri Eri

    To have a change in our beloved country, we should have just pay a life of one hero & one bullet who can send the tyrant in to hell.Period. No spring or armed struggle will be a feasible alternative. Just hunt & kill the DIA. Only then the game will be over easily.

    • Kokhob Selam

      That is going to happen if he is not smart enough to learn from history. I wish he learns and just listen to what we are saying as his death may including some innocent. for him there is one only way remaining just go out of the country. yet I strongly believe that the ground that creates him should be destroyed. Means people who let him be dictator should start to clean their dirty heads and narrow thinkings. i feel he is the result and victim of all. poor guy


  • Hi all, including the writer of the article,

    To me the Forto Operation is a remarkable success that every revolutionary should never miss what the connotation is all about. The Forto operation is not what happened in Forto, it is about what happened in our way of thinking on how to get rid off the dictatorial system. Wedi Ali and his compatriots backed up with arms including Tanks was not a pan handler’s tour, but a signal to take action by force if need be. Is that not a perfect message to all of us on how we can handle the enemy? Thanks to Forto operation, the excuse of who is killing who is over. It was a qualitatively different approach in it’s mission related to it’s predecessors.

    No military success is satisfactory without political understanding at the forefront of those who want to wage it. We should not be looking for a military supremacy in the opposition camp before we are fully equipped theoretically on how to solve the contradiction of the nature we are facing.

    We need to evaluate our status in the opposition in order to foresee where we need to station. We were diametrically divided on how to arrive our destination. Now, that our Forto operation is monumental example, I have come to witness the highly educationally decorated Eritreans who did adamantly advocated for peaceful means of dictatorial eradication (reformist move) are openly challenged and many of them have already chosen a U-turn drive. To me, this political success, the fruit of Forto, is the womb of to-morrow’s decisive power for fundamental change by forceful means. Failure is when some one gets confused on how to tackle a situation.

    Fort’s operational set back should not be called a failure. It must be evaluated comprehensively. Yes it was loosely organized that as a result the enemy managed to easily penetrate. But, such kind of loop hole in the right strategy can happen even in the supposedly forthcoming eventualities in as much as we are in a position to underestimate our enemy. We must be aware that our enemy is experienced for decades and exclusively dedicated to read one dictatorial book only. On top of that, we are facing a multimillionaire devil who can deceive not only his own watch dogs, but also even hire mercenaries. Such kind of acutely obligatory situation extends the issue of getting organized to the cautious toughest and extreme distance. Forto is an exampling event for every political nomad to choose the right compass.

    Farther more, Forto operation was the greatest guide line of all times to all of us that justified a theory as a guide for action. What other lesson do we need if this learning process is well taken? Now is the opportune to erect a formidable united front that will have the power to innovate Eritrean opposition Revolutionary Networking (ERNW) that can connect the opposition in exile with our EDF in particular and the Eritrean people in general. Unless we are dedicated for the above mentioned (ERNW) mission, there may be a discrepancy for common purpose with grave consequences.

    Viva Forto! Nay jeganu tihizto! nikulu mihirato!

    • L.T

      Great poems mr bashay.Do you think I am are a ready to lose my life while you set in Canada with your family,or?
      As I see you from back 70s you are a talant lyric person and I think you are still there”Nay Meqabr bixooty”Yeman Baria is dead but you are in here.Who will next?
      tirde oppssition,revolution,network,organ,mission…EPL…ELF….DIF….WOKT..

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dearest Redi,
      I hope all have seen carefully and understood all what you said. you make my day.so there was a massage for all of us and the price was that hero- wedi Ali.

      for me Forto was a forto lesson a book that will never be forgotten written in perfect time with the blood of our hero.a lesson for opposition. but if PFDJ learn even that is the best lesson ever given to them. most probably they will never get such a big lesson in the future as the film will end. the boss of the Mafia group is suppose to learn instead of saying “TEWEDI’A”. it is for his good if he know that it is TEJEMIRA. and better even to know “zemene HGDEF ktizazem eya” he still has chance instead of waiting the bad day as only the body of wedi Ali is gone but he is in us, the mass who is preparing for next and last action.

  • denden

    Say no more the 200 handresd or so has refused to shoot at any one because they know that Ali was (if he ever existed)an off shoot rogue commander! how shamefull you can get than that.

    Nothing is amise for shaebia or HGDEF, still the only and only one vanguard of Eritrea. ali’s case is closed!!

    • Semere Andom

      Ato Denden:
      Thy name leadth. I know many Eritrean kids are named after the mountain that does not perceive or synthesise. Your chosen screen name is an insight to your inside. The reason they did not shoot was that this was all a drill by the PFDJ on how to handle it in the event that such things really occur. The likes of wedi Ali were the betrayed and betrayal is the hallmark of the PFDJ generals, who are obsessed with their villas and what furniture they will need to look better than their partners in crime

      The likes of wedi Ali, will forever replace the name of DIA and when I am an MP I will vote for a monument in his honour and your master DIA will have no monument. His only enduring legacy will be his filthy words that you quote verbatim “ Ali’s case has been closed.” You cannot oppose my motion as no one will vote for a contender who speaks one language. I will kick your butt in a debate

      I can tell you that the reason the Forto 2013 failed was because Eritrean do not learn from history, thanks to EPLF, learning history is useless; they encourage you to be an electrician, a mechanic or a carpenter and not historian so you can repeat history. That was wedi Ali’s fault and his case is just fermenting and it will be more potent than the dmudum that has destroyed your brain and the brain of mathematicians like Dr Ghideon Asmereom.

      ታሪኽ አለዋ ጉሓፍ: ወዲ ዓሊ: አሎዎ ምዕራፍ
      Semere Andom

      • Yep! Semere,

        They don’t teach you history in order to repeat history….is an original characterization to the regime. very true!! Stick in the debate center please.

      • rodab

        Semere says, “The reason they did not shoot was that this was all a drill by the PFDJ on how to handle it in the event that such things really occur”
        I hear this a lot but I really don’t think PFDJ/PIA staged the Forto operation simply because the dictator would be the very very last person on planet earth to advertise for the need to implement the constitution and release of political prisoners.

    • Eritrea2


      Well said. Indeed where are the 200 soldiers?

  • Brooklynite

    Let’s see, the month of January started with PIA as head of the government and it ended with PIA as head of the government.

    We are now in March, and PIA is still head of the government.

    As for the ring leaders who were responsible for the Forto incident, they are dead.

    Where is the change? I see no delta here.

    January 2013 = March 2013 = December 2013 = infinity.

    Long live Eritrea! Long live our fearless leader PIA! Long live the EDF! Amen!

    • yegermal

      Let’s see, the month of September 1, 1961 started with Haile Sellasie as head of the government and it ended with Haile Sellasie as head of the government.

      We are now in 15 March 1964-Togoruba battle, and Haile Sellasie is still head of the government.

      As for the ring leaders who were responsible for the Togoruba incident, they are dead.

      Where is the change? I see no delta here.

      (September 1, 1961 = March 15, 1964 = March 20, 1988 = February 10, 1990, = May 23, 1991) ≠ May 24, 1991

      That’s what Haile Sellasie and his successor Mengistu Hailemariam believed. But what are they now?

      • Comboni College

        Dear yegermal:

        You wrote: “(September 1, 1961 = March 15, 1964 = March 20, 1988 = February 10, 1990, = May 23, 1991) ≠ May 24, 1991).

        What you correctly showed here is a 30-year timeline. Sure, if you wait 30 years, yes something will happen.

        What is that saying? “In the long-run we are all going to be dead.”

      • Ghezae Hagos

        Great reply there.

      • Ghezae Hagos

        I meant great reply to yegermal. I should have specified it. Every dog has its day. The greatest monster, Issayas Afewerki, that is terrorizing this poor nation of us will one day be gone. For good.Ok, may be not one day. I may be wrong. It could be one night.

    • Salyounis


      If it pleases the court, I would like to mark the posting by Brooklynite as Exhibit 278 in my assertion that there is no “hgdefite”, no “PFDJista” in Eritrea, just Isaisists. An “Isaiaist” is somebody whose sole and unalterable ideology is: Isaias Afwerki must rule Eritrea until he dies.

      January 2013, Abdella Jaber was the organizational director of the PFDJ. Mustapha Nurhussein was the governor of the largest province (population-wise) in Eritrea. Ahmed Haj Ali was the Minister of Mines and Energy.

      March 2013: all these individuals (and many, many, many more) are in jail and, if history is a guide, they will die in jail. Eritrea’s image is that of an unstable country which is a mutiny away from chaos. But according to Brooklynite: “I see no delta here.” Why? Because “PIA is still head of the government.”

      I rest my case.


  • Papillon

    Dear Ismail,

    Tegadalai in a person is a politicized hermit. The reverse is of coure to deconstruct the Tegadalai in a person where the noble traits (read: sacrifice inter alia) are replaced or displaced with worldly accolades such as material gains. When the Tegadalai morphs from the Sahil-manufactured entity into an urban-resident with all the perks modern world can offer, through the streams of time, s/he becomes overly indulgent with an excessive love for life armed with an aversion to mortality. That is precisely the difference between the G-15 and my own private hero Wedi-Ali. The latter is a prototype and a quintessence of the Sahil-manufactured Tegadalai. Between the politicized-hermit and the urban resident, he remained true to his basic-self. And died as such.

    As I see it, it was a total success from its inception to its open-ended “finale” where the after-taste is a revelation worthy of not only a celebration but an impetus for all of us who had been gripped with a melancholic pessimism as we perceived the edifice of Isaias’ regime as a replica of the wall of Jericho. The G-15 handled Isaias with senses and sensibilities and Wedi-Ali to on Isaias with steeled nerves. In a myopic scheme of events, one could be deceived into thinking that they have similarities in “failure” but in a long run and in a greater scheme of events, when the former is a done deal failure, the latter is a harbinger of a drastic change yet to come. And that is precisely what crossed his (Wedi-Ali) mind right before he denied a success to his captors.


    • Papillon

      Please read “took on Isaias with steeled…”