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Our New Culture of Victimhood and Voyeurism

Virgil, Dante, Sartre, Milton and James Joyce all took turns describing hell.  But it took an Eritrean, Mulugeta, to surpass them all.  It is just what we Eritreans do, we are special.  This is what hell is like:

“Mulugeta said if he wanted to see his daughters, the traffickers would bring the girls to him and rape them in front of him. There was nothing he could do. They cried for him, but he was forced to watch as they screamed and were violated, stripped and beaten.” 

This was reported by Deutsche Welle on June 11, 2013 about yet another Eritrean victim of “human trafficking.” Now, if you—particularly if you are a parent—were to describe hell, can you envision something worse than what Mulugeta went through? I can’t. He was quoted saying this, through an interpreter, in Israel; that is: after going through hell, Mulugeta has to depend on the kindness of strangers to help him deal with the hangover of his daily hell. 

After I read the article, I packed my bags, headed to the airport and twelve hours later, I was in a Cairo cab headed towards Sinai to rendezvous with the soldiers of fortune I had recruited.  Most are Americans, veterans of the Iraq and Afghansitan wars, but the man in charge was an Eritrean: I can’t tell you his name, let’s just say he was in charge of EPLF’s 1984 “kiya 18 dekayk” commando operation that blew up the Ethiopian birds of destruction at the Asmara airport.  My only job was to give him the money and one instruction: make it painful, make it loud, make it so that henceforth everybody in the world knows that there is a price that will be paid if you mess with Eritreans…

Well, of course not.  Nothing of that sort happened.  I did what Eritreans do nowadays: I took it.  I seethed, I cursed, my blood boiled, my heart raced, but nothing else happened.  I waited for life’s banality to wash over me and for that to happen all I had to do was check what other headlines were competing with Mulugeta’s hell.  The shockingly tragic (“the traffickers would bring the girls to him and rape them in front of him.”) is just an event crammed between the mundane (“Confucius Institute opens in Asmara”) and the depressingly commonplace. (“They were detained on Saturday around Kassala town, said a leader of the Eritrean Islamic Reform Movement, who asked not to be named.”)   There is a strange quality to our lives: it is like being on bus tour and the guide says, to your right is hell, to your left is the absurd, and straight ahead is the surreal world where an opposition leader is asking not to have his name publicized.

It was not always so.

I had a vision of a loud booming man who died in 2009 (RIP) and my mind reeled back to 1995.    We (six of us) are at a friend’s house and he, the man with the booming voice, an Eritrean government official, was doing most of the talking.   He is loud, in-your-face, brutally honest and addicted to insulting and shocking people.  And those were not his only great qualities. This was: Henceforth!” he declared, “no blood will be shed in Eritrea.  We have bled enough.  If we ever have to bleed, it will be south of Tigray.”

He was saying:  whatever doubts we had about his government’s commitment to democracy, civil liberties, or the free enterprise system–and we did, and the discussion was us pointing out the failings of his government and him dismissing us as know-nothings–we can always count on his government about one thing: it will aggressively protect Eritreans, particularly innocent Eritreans, because Eritrea will never be a war zone.  That we definitely believed.

What happened to us?

Our New Culture of Victimhood And Voyeurism

One of the worst things the Isaias Afwerki regime has committed against Eritreans is to condition them into emphasizing the status of a victim.   I make an effort to understand the thinking process of the Eritrean government on any given topic (a riddle, most of the time) so I read a letter Isaias Afwerki sent the UN Secretary General earlier this year (of course nobody proofread the letter and it had grammatical errors.) In the letter calling for an investigation, President Isaias Afwerki said that human trafficking “was unleashed in tandem with the decision to block the implementation of the “final and binding” arbitral decision of the border dispute, and, is part and parcel of the war declared against the country.”   

Help me out here, but I think the argument of the Eritrean regime goes something like this:

1. The Eritrea-Ethiopia border is not demarcated because they (US and its allies) don’t want it to;
2. This has forced the Eritrean government to maintain a large army indefinitely;
3. Frustrated with this, they (US and its allies) have aggressively courted Eritrean youth to leave their country so that Eritrea cannot defend itself;

4. This has resulted in a large number of Eritrean youth leaving their country;
5.  But the Eritreans who leave their country remain loyal to their “country and government”;
6.  This has frustrated them (US and its allies) even more: that’s why they are trying to deny them the ability to send remittances back home;
7. Many of these Eritreans are victimized by human traffickers;
8. Therefore, it is their (US and its allies) fault.

This line of reasoning makes Eritreans victims—victims of US/UN refusal to compel demarcation, victims of the West’s generous asylum process, victims of the US conspiracy to weaken and starve Eritreans.  The larger the conspiracy, the easier it is to rationalize why you haven’t solved the problem. The new Eritrean breed may, based on causes blessed by the government, be inspired (or ordered) to rise up against some “injustice” identified by the government—border demarcation, sanction, freedom to send money—but is incapable of taking the initiative to rise up against injustice period.

Eritrea’s human trafficking problem via the Sahara desert goes back to at least 2006 when Eritreans began flocking to Libya en route to Lampedusa.  The question then is: why did it take 7 years for Isaias Afwerki to write a letter to the Secretary General? Why did it take Independence Day 2013 for him to use his newly-minted phrase for human trafficking, “flset seb”? Wasn’t he downplaying the exodus by referring to it as a picnic? Why did it take the pro-government Eritreans 7 years to raise the issue?  The answer is that the government (and its supporters) are raising the issue to defend themselves against accusations that they have a hand in it because their policies (which have created a hopeless country) are contributing to it or because some of their military officers are profiting from it.    Their outrage is not that Eritreans are being victimized; their outrage is that the government is being accused.

The Eritrean government owns the lion’s share in the causes that contribute to the Eritrean exodus, and, as a government—whose first priority is to protect its citizens—has the responsibility to address the issue effectively.  Addressing the issue should not be confused with rationalizing it or affixing blame for it but actually solving it.  If Plan A—waiting for the US/UN/Ethiopia to demarcate the border so Eritrea can demobilize its soldiers and re-direct its budget from national defense to productive economy—didn’t work, what is Plan B?  Waiting with more “spirit of rebuff”?  Is seething and watching our blood boil now officially our national policy? 

How about the rest of us? When we are not seething mad, we have developed this strange “tragedy voyeurism.”  We read tragedies, we watch tragedies, we listen to tragedies.  We pass around articles, and audio/video clips of terrible things happening to Eritreans.  Then, we pass judgment on each other based not on our ability to plan solutions or execute them but on the volume of our tears and screams.  

Jeffrey Eugenides’ Virgin Suicides is a story about five sisters—ages 13-17—who commit suicide.  They don’t do it all at the same time—it is a slow suicide that happens in two phases over a year as the entire community is watching.  It is a book about how mundane tragedy (even the most horrific) can be, how you can’t stop a person set on suicide and how there is, sometimes, no wisdom to be gleaned because, as the author says, “all wisdom ends in paradox.”   There is a line in the book when the 13 year old first attempts suicide and the perplexed doctor says “you are not old enough to know how badlife is, why would you try suicide?” She says, ““Obviously, Doctor, you’ve never been a 13 year old girl!”   In Eritrea, when we are asked why are you, a nation only 22 years old, committing slow suicide, we tell the world, “obviously, you are not a young nation: you don’t understand the enemies arrayed against us including the unquo Hayal America.”  


Here in the US, it is not uncommon to see people wearing a WWJD bracelet.  It stands for “What Would Jesus Do?” and the bracelet is supposed to be a moral and ethical guide for people when they are confronted with a problem for which they have no easy answers.  Ask yourself what would Jesus do, answer it, then do exactly that.

When we were stateless, we relied on the kindness of neighbors and people of goodwill—the people (never the government) of Sudan, the Catholic Charities and other religious institutions—for charity.  But for justice (or vengeance, take your pick) against those who would victimize us, we didn’t beg NGOS: we counted on our liberation fronts.  When we were struck with the massacres of Ona, Sh’eb, Weki Dba, Eritreans didn’t sit around and say, “Ewway, entai’mo kn’gebir? Eh! Edkum trkebkum!” We delivered justice.

I don’t know what exactly we should do;  but  I think one of the questions we should ask is What Would Tegadalai Do? It is a question worth asking because we have asked and failed to answer all the other questions.


About Salyounis

Saleh Younis (SAAY) has been writing about Eritrea since 1994 when he published "Eritrean Exponent", a quarterly print journal. His writing has been published in several media outlets including Dehai, Eritrean Studies Review, Visafric, Asmarino and, of course, Awate where his column has appeared since the launch of the website in 2000. Focusing on political, economic, educational policies, he approaches his writing from the perspective of the individual citizens' civil liberties and how collectivist governments and overbearing organizations trample all over it in pursuit of their interests. SAAY is the president and CEO of a college with a focus in sound arts and video games and his writing often veers to music critique. He has an MBA from Golden Gate University and a BA from St Mary's College.

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  • wediere

    Selamat Awatista,

    As usual split to two groups, the more you debate the more you depart. Rather than zooming in on the tegadalai, which SAAY attempted to use to focus all and come up with a similar conclusion, isn’t it time to say X and assuming we all love X, WWXD and each one of you tell us what is on your wish list to resolve our sad situation.

    Zikhone khoynu 3ilalna wela tinfer koynu.

    At this junction, the opposition located in Sudan needs to arm and get the support from the rest, otherwise we just have to suffer until change comes in Eritrea hoping those who are involved in the trafficking don’t take power.

    As for those who leave in the West or are at distance, the highest priority should be to economically struggle DIA and build institutions that will be desperately needed to support the country once change comes.

    Zterefe……..metsanihi iyu.


  • Tesfamariam

    WWTD ?

    I guess tegadali is a collective name for all those who survived and for those who paid their precious life for the cause of Eritriea. We know that gedli was composed of volunteers and forced tegadelt’s and definitely this two groups have different way of assessing and understanding a situation and of course a different way of solving a situation. Mr Sal when you say WWDT I don’t know which group you are reffering too?
    All tegadelti’s don’t have the same kind of understanding to an issue’ and there is no way that they will come to the same kind of solutions and no matter what, since they were lead by a group of elites within the organisation what ever they say was meaning less unless the leading elite approves it( we know who the leading elites are) . I am really confused while there is so many issues about our people that we can exchange and contribute ideas, why are we arguing and wasting our time for this WWDT? which is meaning less and has noting to do to the suffering of our people.How on earth do you expect from collective of people “tegadelti” weather before 1991 or after to get one constructive solution to any kind of issue? Is there any criteria to define who was a real tegadali and who was not within the time of our gedli ? Are we in a position to separate,select,condemn or phrase any group within the tegadelti’s themselves?
    Even if you try so hard to defend the so called” WWDT” It is meaning less which makes no difference to our couse and to the situation we are in.
    Let us put our thoughts and energy and contribute new ideas in a positive way to the unity and common understanding of our opposition and elevate our people from the suffering they are in

    • Tesfamariam


      should read WWTD please

      thank you

  • butros

    Nice read and great debate here is my input.
    Lets accept only few of tegadelti are bad and subjecting us all to this suffering. Why would i want ask a hero who turned into victim just like me?
    You been doing great inspiring us to struggle you are more of role model than the clueless tegadaly who is at worst a tool and at best victim of the system he brought to asmara.
    Most of us dont accept this new fashion of awate team tendency to assert gedli in every chance you get, i do appreciate why you want assert patriotism these days but in the words of SG i say to you eritrea is not an egg shell that will break by hajew jew of some. So ustaz salh pls be assured eritrea will not break on its own if that is what you fear there wont be revival of the long dead empire but new nations.

  • Hameed


    You commenced your comment with a question ((Do you know Eritrea?)) ……………………… and concluded it with ((Hameed, get real, because our master (mine and yours) will eat you alive for a snack, if all you have to do is wear fluffy dress to scare him off .))

    I have to ask you the question you have directed to me, but I don’t need a clarification from you, because I know your past and present history. Aren’t you, Haile, who were worshiping Haile Sellase yesterday and Isaias today? People beg you to be free, but you dance to remain slaves. Isn’t Haile, the slave, who holds umbrella when the sky rains freedom?

    I assure I don’t scare from the son of Midhin-Berad.

  • Kaddis

    Sal – as much as I admired your premises – asking the Tagadali stuff fallen into YG’s famous statement – it’s all about the dead ( or similar line). He argued about martyrdom and asking the dead for direction promoted by Shabia extensively. Unfortunately, I felt the same trend in your conclusion.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Kaddis:

      One of the problems I have with YG is that he takes what Eritreans do, that he doesn’t approve of, and defines it as if it is something unique to Eritreans, when the whole world does the same thing. Interestingly, It is the same thing that hgdefites do on the opposite end: take something ordinary that every country does and define it as unique to Eritreans.

      Now this “Eritreans focus on the dead” sounds like an insightful statement. But which group, nation, religion or nationality doesn’t do that to inspire its people? Even companies use the biographies of their founders to inspire employees, for God’s sake.


  • Lemlem

    All that crying out for Tegadeltis to do something is a tacit recognition that the vocal opposition based in the diaspora is completely helpless and that if change is to come, it has to come within. Only problem is people at home don’t want a regime change! That is Weyane’s wish.

    So Ghezae Hagos is giving himself a pat on the back for getting the Eritrean Ambassador kicked out of Canada. That is about as bad as it can get for Eritrea. There is nothing more that he can do from Canada after that. I mean, he managed to break off relations between Eritrea and Canada. But Eritrea doesn’t need Canada. Actually, it is the other way around. It is Canada, Canadian investors and Canadian companies that need Eritrea. It is Canada that needs the handsome profits coming from Eritrea that line the pockets of its investors and pensioners. Canadians are just as greedy as their American counterparts. They will not give up profits and money.


    So the history goes ¨when Ethiopian leader atsie gebredingil was running from monastery to manastery hiding because ahmed Gragn was pursuing him and Bahri Negasi Isaac ¨an Eritrean ¨ defeated Ahmed Gragn..¨could it be that hatsie Libne Dingil was ¨Woyane¨ and Bahri Negasi Isaac ¨EPLF¨ and Ahmed Gragn ¨ELF¨..kind of coming soon(in few centuries)to a battle near you (1981)..do not hate me for being imaginative.
    But Bahri Negasi Isaac was Eritrean,did our ancestors have agreement with Ethiopia ? Some Mahber Andnet may even tell us Eritrea was known as part of abbysinia ?
    Why did they not demarcate the border ? izom rigumat tegaru do abyom ,Qeniomlna ?
    I think I need prozac ?

    Just a lousy satire.

  • Ghezae Hagos

    Hello Sal and All,

    Knowing that I came late to this debate, I should not be given much leverage. Hence I will be brief.

    Sal, asked WWTD? I don’t think it is that hard to answer. Aren’t they very much around, albeit getting old, tired and having late-arriving offspring. Let us ask them, as they are still around. Let us see what Tegadeltis are doing in respect to Sinai nightmare? Most of the victims are their younger brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces and in some cases, their OWN SONS and DAUGHTERS.

    What are they doing? Simply nothing. Hence, they, as we, all are voyeurs and helpless victims. Nous Sommes (read N’som) means N’hna. So, no matter what, the Tegadalai that has made military miracles pre-1991 Eritrea has failed to usher in era of democracy and justice; and has failed, like all of us, help stop the Sinai nightmare, rather became a spectator in this grand tragedy.

    The valour and selflessness tegadeltis displayed during armed struggle should not be concluded as the only and last ‘gift’ to Eritrea. After all, one’s devotion to justice, to human rights, at heart, are meaningful only if they are held as timeless, as long as you held them dear, until you are departed from this earth. If we are going to compartmentalize ideals of justice and make them contingent upon time (and its relativity), well we will run the risk of utter subjectivity and absurdity. After all, there is one life to live and it stands to reason to conveniently divide one’s pursuit of justice with in that life time.

    • haile

      Hi Ghezae,

      A very good counter. Only if it wasn’t that saay had repeatedly clarified (then jumped off the bus:) that he was strictly confining his definition of T to 1961-1991 period. Of course, with the onset of zebene akahida, things had changed greatly. Most tegadelti are fairly content to be left alone, and make ends meet in their day to day lives.

      The other point that saay mentioned that I thought you might have overlooked is that, most were trapped into the army, hence the civilians would be better placed[ as in one may think:] to lead the way. But the civilian is kemza trEya…recently it has been rumored that IA may go out on a one man march to demand PEOPLE CHANGE NOW! because the present public has refused to demand REGIME CHANGE no matter what he does to provoke that:-)

  • belay

    The big dog eating the small dog.
    I am afraid to say but,who is doing all that evil treatment to Tegadelties and to rest of the population? TEGADELTIES,isn’t it?
    It better to face reality and something instead living in denial.

  • Fanus


    It’s very simple. Instead of asking what would a tegadalai do?

    Look to what tegadalai did.

    Tegadalai took to the field, abandoned the life he knew, launched an armed struggle and lived on a loaf of bread and half-a-cup of water a day to right a wrong that was committed when Ethiopia illegally annexed Eritrea and terrorized the Eritrean people.

    Somehow I can’t imagine “anabis internet” doing anything like that.

    • Fanus

      A loaf of bread and half-a-cup of water a day!

      And that’s if he can find it mind you. Often times, he fought on an empty stomach.

      If there was bread, it was usually “Kicha Wedi Aker.” Barely edible.

      • Fanus

        And if he got injured and surgery had to be performed on him, it was usually without any anesthesia. He could feel while his limbs were being sawed. But no matter! As soon as he felt better, he would go back out and fight or do whatever he could to help his comrades.

        You know this is a true story. I swear to God it was told to me by a Tegadalai. There was a period when some tegadelti men were forced to walk around and fight topless (bizey kanatera) because they literally gave the shirt off their back to the women tegadeltis so the women tegadeltis could have sanitary napkins (tampons). This was during a period of extreme deprivation after Saleh Sabbe split and cut off the funds to the EPLF.

        That is the story of tegadalai.

  • haile


    I am too confused where to include my latest comment on WWTD, so I am parking here, right at the top:-)

    This would address many, and saay, for Goodness sake, stay sitted:)

    Q: WWTD?
    A: Despise our guts!

    Good question that you’re saying how so?

    Well, tegadelti teTelimom eyom. By every one that is. Soon after independence, and just the mai habar icident, they were asked to work for two years without pay. The chicken heads that we are, we never said Ba’Elna alona!

    Then they were given about 10,000 birr each as temporary measure (really?), and it was reported at the time in Hadas Ertra that there was no money in the banks when the PGE took over and thus the latter had to borrow 100 million birr from Ethiopia to give out the payments! The chicken heads that we are, we never said wurdet! ageb! Ba’Elna neHwyo. Another hadas ertra report also told them to spend it wisely and not be taken to drinking! Can you believe that?

    We were told a number of Taxi were purchased and given to tegadelti to self help. How many Taxis? How many tegadelti were able to have been compensated? a Token few! Many said halifulom! Shame!

    bado seleste was rife about how tegadelti were taking over house/villas in Asmara! Here is the inside scoop on that: Italians can’t own the homes they had in Eritrea during colonial times (the same to Ethiopians). So, those Eritreans who were living in Italian ownership home, no longer had a landlord. If there is a Tegadali in the family, the ownership would pass to him (see family here, it is still his/her family home). Yet the tegadelti were made to pay for that by spreading false info. that they were taking over homes! We helped that. Shame.

    There are now in 2013 (serray please ask your tegadelti relatives to verify) there are tegadelti living in makeshift homes in the middle of Asmara. Please, come forward if your family home was taken over by tegadaly and you found yourself homeless. None. You probably still renting it or sold it or whatever…Tegadalay was brutally attacked by all sides…including the one’s trying to make him/her a scapegoat.

    2001 Tegadelti asked for reform, what happened? shame.

    Tegadelti know men kemzTelemom, why are we chasing around the bush here? Who is Telam? They acted with dignity and believe it or not, they have long cut their loses. As to the diabolical argument to hold the responsible for your excesses and failings…huh they have long grown old and deaf, all they remember is that we were never big enough to shoulder our part and stand to the occasion…

    ..many horrible things can be added, but I guess this would do to answer WWTD? ynEqena anta..entay dea!

  • Tzigereda

    It is somehow perplexing and partially shocking how such an article is read. As to me it is a serious reflection full of deep sadness and desperation. I can find nothing (at least intended) trivilizing the cruelty the eritreans are going through in Sinai.
    As for WWTD, my take is, how far we are dedicated to stop the brutality we are witnessing.
    Saleh Gadi and Amanuel Hidrat have made brief explanation on this, I would just like to put this question for those “demonizing ” or mystifying the word “Tegadalay”:
    Those who are opposing the tyrant IA are “tekalesti, ex- tegadelti, and tegadelti”. Why do you support FORTO 2013, though conducted by a Tegadalay and why do you call Wedi Ali a Hero?
    I dont allow the tyrant, the deceiver IA to be the owner of the bravery of many Tegadeltis and civilian eritreans who have done and are doing their best, I dont allow the tyrant to discredit or denigrate our history of resistance, it is him who strayed from the straight and narrow and isolated himself from the virtue of struggle for justice.
    …besides I like to add to WWTD :what would a mother do, what would a father do, what would a sister do, what would a brother do; in general WW (a genuinely concerned) Eritrean Do?

    • Serray

      Selam Tsegereda,

      I don’t know about others but I am sticking to the issue of WWTD? Sal’s frozen in time and unknown dimension question requires to be unfolded to make it comprehensive and relevant to the present. If you believe that tegadelti brought us independence, then you should own what happens to mulugeta and his family. I don’t think like you, I don’t believe only isaias is responsible for the system that brought back slavery in eritrea. My argument is, given the regime is a made up overwhelmingly of tegadelti; given the regime is the real cause of Muluggeta and the rape of his daughters; given the regime has the means to stop this abuse by simply issuing passport and ending slavery as we know it, I am saying that we need to unfreeze the question.

      I agree with you about about Wedi Ali but what is your point? Nobody is saying all tegadelti are evil. What I am saying is, regardless of their numbers or proportion, the system that is creating victims like mulugeta and his daughters is maintained by the guns and blind devotion of tegadelti to isaias.

      As someone said, majority of tegadelti entered asmera; most STILL believe they brought us independence; after reducing the meaning of independence to have the right to be sanctioned as a nation, abused by tigrigna speaking brutes and be slaves. I am saying, no, you can’t make me feel grateful for bringing hell on earth on my people. I am sticking to the original meaning and essence of independence that goes beyond a UN recognized real estate. I am saying mulugheta and his daughters would have been happier if they were riding on a plane over sinai with a Timbuktu passport in their pockets than the nightmare they went through. The response of most tegadelti and the romantics to this is tantamount to telling me, “you ungrateful prick, we lost limps to bring you independence and this how you pay us?” My response is, “either finish what you started or don’t expect me to be grateful. The idea of eritrea doesn’t impress me, the reality of it does”.

      I am looking at eritrea and I am terrified to think of its future – two, three or four generations ahead. Sinai is an effect. I have this picture in my head; fifty former soldiers and fifty civilians mostly young girls chained and led by two or three armed egypian and rashaida men. At the end of the ordeal only a handful will survive and yet they give in so easily. Why do they become helpless victims? The question is silly; tegadelti taught them to give in, of course. When tegadelti turned their country into a giant prison; when they kidnap them in giffa (or forced their parents to give them) and then took them to sawa to break them, to teach them how not to fight, how not to be soldiers; that is when they become, we became, a nation of victims and voyeurs.

      But you guys keep insisting, “but tegadelti brought us independence” and my question is, who brought us the “nation of victims and voyeurs” then? Martians?

      • Senay,

        You stated “The response of most tegadelti and the romantics to this is tantamount to telling me, “you ungrateful prick, we lost limps to bring you independence and this how you pay us?”

        Your response is, “either finish what you started or don’t expect me to be grateful. The idea of eritrea doesn’t impress me, the reality of it does”.

        My response is “men kebdiika tewiku Nexanet amxaley eluka Mr. tegadalay”. Three million Eritreans never begged the tegadalay to go to the wilderness and raise arms despite what the romantic would have us believe. You(tegadalay) (with the exception of those who had been forcefully conscripted) raised arms on you own with out approval of the entire population of Eritrea.

        • haile


          Ageb! newri! Atsmom keyweg’aka.

          Those Eritreans who were under going torture and killing at the time didn’t have had the means to hold a referendum to authorize self defense. zerkebe yqedm was the order of the day, and they did that.

  • Semere Andom

    Thanks Sal:
    Really now you are packing:)
    Clarifications on my lat comment: I never said, I guess I never meant to say the “tera”tegadaaly is/was a dupe, I will never say that. I actually agreed with you when you commented that the tegadalay is like the private in terms of tenacity, valor and commitment and all the qualities he/she exudes.
    Here is what I said. Can I have my title now, it has been almost a decade and now you are revoking it:-). Is this permanent or just mdikal 🙂

    “Well now if we only want to celebrate the qualities that you list that grace the Tegadalay, no one will disagree with you on that, but that is reducing the argument to its most simple form: Tegadalay refers to the “tera” and this my “bstay” is making YG’s point as it implies that the “tera” Tegadalay was just a follower and dupe.”
    To the former tegadalti here especially my friends Aman and Sal, this was misunderstanding remember Saal is packing 🙂 My sincer apologies.
    Sal knows better as we have several brief discussions about YG and my disappoints with him regarding calling the freedom fighters dupes and calling Awate a bandit. I think the way I phrased it and the punctuation made it come out the way Sal took it. I was trying to tell Sal by reducing and narrowing the definition to “private”, like those we do not have in Canada that he was making YG’s point.
    tegadalay zeyneber Semere

    • Salyounis

      Btsay Semere:

      Tgage alekha:: Hijiwin tgage alekha:: kabu Halife: ane kdaqos aydelin iye:: nHiji baliQaka tewsiden alewa:)

      If YG had called the Tegadalai a simple private soldier, who would argue with him? He called him a simpleton who was forcibly recruited against his will. You guys think that the traits we celebrate in the Tegadalai are ‘meh, so what’ when they are really rare to find anywhere including the most disciplined armies anywhere. By the way, if you guys think the Tegadelti are forcible recruited (all of them), shouldn’t that make them victims? Why do you pick on them?

      I mean: Hangofay!

    • Dear Semere,

      No qualms my friend. After all it is the duty of the public to weigh in on what tegadelti have contributed to the cause “the birth of the nation”… with all the bad and the good attributes. It is all our history, and we bear the responsibilities to the net outcome of the struggle. Again no apology needed, not all, except do we need this kind of talk at this crucial time? is the problem I have.

      • semere andom

        I agree with you, we sometimes beat the dead horse and this discussions has actually metastasized. I always think such open, heated debates where lacking during the armed struggle and I believe is one of the contributors to our current plight.
        But there is no doubt that we must need to focus, look at our enemies (PFDJ) are so focused on the things they do, albeit their evil nature.


  • haile

    Quote of the day

    “…at the end Eritrea is our asset and let us preserve it.”

    Amanuel Hidrat

    **There is nothing that I can add to that nor should anything be added to it!

  • haile

    Selam qedamay zur saay 🙂

    Correction/clarification in order: Those links that I interjected don’t in your discussions with Eyob don’t carry any endorsement of their contents. I furiously oppose the bombing of SAWA (as the tegadaly is an aged granddad) and equally disapprove of using such racialist vitriolic to advance a political agenda. My purpose was to illustrate two issues:

    1 – It is too conflicting to masquerade as a TPLFite and care for what the Warsays learn, after trying to bomb their school and failed.

    2- It is so pompous to care much about people from a neighboring country “allegedly” hating you, when such an atmosphere is chocking, with thick smoke, your very home. You would expect one to work to rid of hatrade in their back yard before preaching the virtues of love to others.

    entekhone gin kab autobus mwrad amel koynuka alo, kab lomi hansab z’Atewe mwrad yelan just like the good old ghedli 🙂


    • Semere Andom

      I was expecting you to call Sal Zero Zur and not qedamay zur 🙂

      • haile

        Semere A

        lol…zero zur? much like yg’s circular trajectory:)…I am always incentivising saay to keep him on the ride…(otherwise abal hizbawi wefera may still predate qedamay zur:)

        • semere andom

          Tegadalay Sal and Haile:
          your see I am not going to revoke your title even if you support 18 months national sevices 🙂 But that is discussions over tea one of these days,one conditon I like to see tea, so please do not serve it to me in “tasa”, the asmarino way when I come to Cali 🙂

          By “zero zur” I was trying to teas Haile for his techincal savvy as I imagine him as an engineer and engineers count from zero instead of one:-)

          • Salyounis

            Texabaee Semere:

            one conditon I like to see tea, so please do not serve it to me in “tasa”, the asmarino way when I come to Cali

            This is a true story. A few years ago, I was talking to an Eritrean lady and asking her about food lines in Eritrea and how she is dealing with it. She is Eritrean stubborn (is that redundant?): So she tells me: “aye! aytegan’nu! re’enakum endina nHanta tasa sha’hi firqi seAt ktsriU!” (she had been to the US and she had wondered at people waiting in lines for coffee at Starbucks.)


      • Salyounis

        Selamat Semere:

        In the immortal words of Halima, “Weriduni Gwal Qeshi!” 🙂

        I was never a member of “Hafash wdbat” and I have never said “Awet nHafash!”, whether it is the “wetru” or “”ngiziu” variety:)

        I did support (and will support in a future democratic government) the idea of an 18-month national service, with an opt-out for its military component.


        I keep getting off the Haile Magical Bus because sometimes, you know, sedyaka korkihuna🙂 I will just stand, if it is ok with you.


        • haile

          Hi saay… kabzen nwushti hager z’Atewa otobus nai 09 hibomkha dyom? Mine might be one of the setayo’s and true to the course and time tested with time itself…bejakha kof bel:-)

  • Horizon

    Just look how the discussion was hijacked and human trafficking and the horrendous crimes of Egyptian Bedouins in the Sinai against Eritreans were not discussed to the extent they needed to be discussed.
    After all, what is new? Ethiopians under HS and the Dergue have done worse things and are still doing. Many Ethiopians are walking with Eritrean kidneys, hearts and livers, unlike friends in the Middle East. Egyptian Bedouins were trained by Ethiopians how to mass rape, torture with melting plastic, harvest internal organs, create a chain of slave markets, demand for tens of thousands of dollars to free an Eritrean etc. Although Eritreans fought Ethiopians to get rid of them, nevertheless, it is a taboo even to discuss the crimes committed by Egyptian Bedouin friends to the extent it needs.
    The take home message for Eritreans is therefore, a crime committed against an Eritrean by non-Ethiopian is no crime, and there exists no crime under the sun that has not been committed by Ethiopians against Eritreans.

  • Jemil

    Salh Ghadi And Sal,
    You guys need to limit the comments for a single article to 10K….If it exceeds 10,000 comments for a single article,even your Intelligent & Notorious dude from Dallas(SH)will get bored and may boycott this page.And we know if S.H. rebels,specially Salh Ghadi will jump to denounce Sheria-law and presume drinking Blue-label( DIA’s favorite drink)….We don’t wanna see all this drama please…Thank you

    [From moderator: Jemil aka Zerom aka Yemane. Just make it easy on the readers and pick one name. We suggest: “Semere-obsessed”]

    • awatestaff

      [Jemil, Aka Yemane, Aka Zererom, etc.. check our posting guidelines, no misleading nicks. Revert to Yemane or you will be banned.]

      Your attempt to be funny is appreciated–do you think your comment is funny?

      Your main message, we presume, is “limit comments to 10k.” Had you stopped there, you would have avoided the pitfalls.

  • Serray

    Selamat Sal,

    As usual, thought provoking.

    I also feel faltered to be compared to Hayat and Haile, except Haile has a tendency to mistake causes and, therefore, solutions; …the one you corrected him on the incompetence of the opposition and a poisonously unhealthy government is a good one. Another one is his bonehead response to Beyan about our tradition of mourning. He linked a shaebia propaganda video and wrote, “Your lack of references to relate to how we expressed sorrow from the great Eritrean Ghedli tradition, but basing your narrative on an alien traditions and concepts betrays your inherent detachment from your roots. Here you can look how Eritrean mothers ululated and dance in the farewell of their heroes”. First, we don’t have ghedli tradition of mourning in eritrea…the video is choreographed. Second, mourning by the population outside war causalities is exactly how Beyan describled it, not how a rehearsed video thirty years in the making showed it.

    Sal, your question to Hayat made the point why “a man has to know his limits”.

    But I am here to talk about the distinction you made between soldiers (post 1991) and tegadelti. In my experience, a tegadalai is like degree holder. No college graduate says he or she is a former college graduate or a former degree holder. There are certain experiences that define who you are and ghedli defines tegadelti; specially those who entered asmera. I don’t ever hear them refer to themselves (or act) as former tegadelti. It is always hizbawi genbar izi eya…like it is a living and breezing entity.

    Sometimes I see yours (or Saleh Ghadi’s) defense of everything ghedli as creating unnecessary noise. Defeating the regime will necessarily involve defeating tegadelti. If we are lucky enough and a momentum was achieved to fight the regime openly in its turf, practically everyone who will fight on its side will be tegadalai. Don’t get me wrong, tegadelti will also be on the other side, too, but those who fight to death for it will only be tegadelti. When they took to the airwaves, the regime will use its ghedli accreditation, its ghedli history, to shut down the opposition. Your split will play right into its hand. After all, if tegadelti are all good, the one with the loudest loudspeaker will slowly but surely wear down the opposition. Shouting without a microphone that the enemy is only “former tegadelti” and that the real tegadelti cease to exist in 1991 is a strategy that only ties one hand of the opposition behind its back.

    The nonviolence crowd in the opposition always make noise when the opposition engages the army of the regime; saying that EDF is made up of eritreans or that they are forced recruits. Fair enough. But it will take defeating them, if they stood on the way, to defeat the regime. This doesn’t change the fact that they are eritreans or they are forced recruits but pointing these facts every time the opposition made a mild move does nothing but wear down the part of the opposition that has the guts to face the regime and ALL the forces at its disposal.

    I am not saying you are wrong to make the distinction between tegadelti and soldiers, I am saying that distinction, because it is not mirrored by the regime, will always favor the regime. The regime drives its authority from ghedli and the regime will use ghedli and tegadelti in its fight against the opposition. Telling the people in the middle of a fight that we respect the source of the regime’s strength but we respectfully disagree with its classification is nothing but a noise…when and if you are fighting it.

    Finally, I have an easy answer to your WWTD. Hindsight being 20/20, I think they will first evaluate their relationship with egypt and, depending on whether it benefits their organization or not, they will either ignore it or help the bictims. Remember, unlike you, I don’t split ghedli or tegadelti. If you put out a fire in my house in the morning and burn it in the afternoon, you are an arsonist in my book…your fire department uniform notwithstanding.

    • haile

      Selamat Serray,

      @saay’s “correction”: you just need to look around you serray, the ethnic, religious and clan politicking is way too much a priority in the so called organized oppositions. I would decline the correction of “poisonously unhealthy” because it is not exactly “Tsebel” either.

      @Ghedli tradition: your’s is not a fair assessment, I can understand your Ghedli rejectionist stand, therefore your denial of facts. You really need to have had hang around many such events, especially before the border war, to appreciate that NOTHING is choreographed. Ghedli was a national experience, thus it defines many aspects of our culture. Music, Arts, theater, language… you can’t wish that away.

      @If you confront the PFDJ, tegadelti would be the one’s to defend it. Really? Did you happen to witness the border war? Did you not know many ex-tegadelti have been backing off and most of the burnt was taken by the Warsays? In fact there has been (2 weeks ago) big altercation and court case involving the Nairobi Eritrean community center there, you would see how much the warsays have taken over and become very intimidating towards the tegadelti. Please give Semere Russom a call:)

      I tend to believe that Facts and not CLAIMS form the basic tenets for anything to have to build “momentum” in the realms of REAL LIFE. Please update yourself on the real situation of tegadeli neber, probably you would be surprised how things changed a lot.

      There was nothing bonehead about what I said, stop hitting my head with a bone 🙂

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Serray:

      First I have an announcement to make to all Awatistas:

      If you put out a fire in my house in the morning and burn it in the afternoon, you are an arsonist in my book…your fire department uniform notwithstanding.

      All hail Serray! I love that line…. even if it is not applicable. Which takes us to the debate and my own metaphor:)

      We have, whether we admit it or not, joined the long line of philosophers who debate what “reality” is. This range from the idealists (Plato, Descartes, Aboy Hlmi Drarom) to the empiricist (Locke, Hume, Aboy Drar). I think we are all in the empiricist corner (bigibri! is our slogan.) So, a former Tegadalai can call himself Tegadalai, Ato, Colonel, Field Marshall, General, President but it doesn’t change the fact that he is still a former Tegadalai: a soldier, a civil servant, a bureaucrat. It is empirically true. And what makes it so is that his top priority now is exactly our top priority: how to secure for himself and his family a better life. If he rises up and stands up to Isaias Afwerki, it will most likely be due to the fact that he cannot secure for himself and his family a better life, better salaries, better retirement package–as opposed to whether Article 19 of the Eritrean constitution is implemented*.

      Notwithstanding Beyan Negash’s calls on the Eritrean Tegadalai to redeem his former glory, Eritrea is not Sparta or India and we do not have a permanent warrior class or untouchables.

      So the correct metaphor (attention all the Ghedli-defamers) is:

      “If you, with your modest means, build a house for the homeless in the morning, and you were part of a group that watched by as an arsonist was burning it to the ground, it is wrong to come blaming you for not building a fire-resistant house.”


      * By the way, this has always been the argument of Berhan Hagos, a writer at Asmarino. He says: if you want to bring about change in Eritrea, promise the civil servants (the former Tegadelti) in Eritrea job security and a retirement package.

      • My turn,

        In the morning, you build a house for a poor, homeless and helpless; in the afternoon you allow him to occupy the house; at night you demand that he not only keep praising you for building the house but also work and fight for you for eternity. You agree with the terms and conditions and occupy the house. Later, you get tired of serving him for free and consequently give his house back and choose to be poor, homeless, and helpless. The following night, you ask him to help you fend off an arsonist who is attacking your house. Will you help him avert the arsonist or choose to be a bystander?

      • Semere Andom

        Gedim Tegadalay Saal :-)
        I think it is the packing you made two statements that need addressing 🙂
        If you watch an arsonist burn down the house you built, of course no one should blame you for not building a fireproof house, but they will wonder if you built it for a fetish just to watch is burn and you should not be surprised if people withdrew their once out of this world respect and canonization of you and even question your motive for building the house for the “homeless” to begin with. What should we call a man that does not protect his treasure, his labor of love, the house for the homeless he built at great risk to his life?
        About one of the commendable things about the Ghedli of not targeting the civilians of the enemy, your statement is correct; we even watched how the prisoners of war were treated. How do your reconcile the Tegadalay’s treatment of his own political prisoners now and then and that is one yard stick by which many of us calibrate
        Call him former Tegadalay or Tegadalay for life we love him/her as he is our older brother, our father, our sister or our class-mate, our teacher, but one fact remains: the Tegadalay has not succeeded in securing even for his own children the life of dignity that has bedeviled his own, notwithstanding his indelible sacrifices on their behalf. On the contrary it seems that the proverbial Eritrean Tegadalay in general seems to want the new generation to go through what he went through, the very antithesis to Ghedli core tenets.
        What should the Tegadalay do? The answer should be obvious: the same thing he did before and doing that will make the so called Ghedli-Defamers to shut their mouth, a more potent anti-dot than the name calling in response to the harsh and sometime unbecoming criticism that the Tegadalay was subjected to, but ironically the Tegadalay was the name calling in-chief and in that he succeed passing the baton.

        I will stop now as I am apprehensive that someone I love unconditionally and who claims to love me back will withdraw his love 

      • Serray

        Selamat Sal and Haile,

        Sometimes our views have a luxury of distance. If you and I lived in eritrea today, you wouldn’t say of former tegadalai, “And what makes it so is that his top priority now is exactly our top priority: how to secure for himself and his family a better life”. At whose expense? The free labor of Warsai, the extortion fees from diaspora, complete and corrupt ownership of our country and blood money from brutal arab rulers represents a big chunk of the source to secure that “better life” for the tegadalai. You statement assumes away power and force.

        Sal, I don’t begrudge them for looking to secure a better life, it is how they go about doing it that boils my blood. There is coercive system in our country where a tiny minority enslaves, forces and loots the population at gun point. Human Rights Watch issued a report on how and at what cost this security of theirs is maintained. Here is link to those who hasn’t read it, please read the recommendations while keeping in mind they were addressed to tegadelti.


        Remember, eritrea exists exactly as they designed it. Tegadelti are responsible for EVERYTHING that happens in our country even the misery that have befallen on other tegadelti.

        Your metaphor: tegadelti didn’t built homes; they didn’t even made concerted effort to bring our refugees of three decades from the sudan, even when they were offered millions to bring them. YG was correct in saying that tegadelti are about displacing people. They displaced people during the thirty years war and now the are displacing the youth, first from their parents home to sawa in the name of a war their leader ignited, then to sinai and the four corners of the earth. Tegadelti are supreme homeless creators by their fire solves everything mentality.


        The burial of fighters is always choreographed…in any country. Don’t make it our tradition. The regime tried to impose it after they announced the names of the dead of the war they ignited but Dawit Isaac was there and busted their (your) version that “mothers ululated and dance in the farewell of their heroes” and they put him in prison for over a decade and counting for telling the truth Our traditional of mourning is as Beyan described.

        On tegadelti opposing the regime, I agree there are many. But the regime counts on them to exist. If enough of them withdraw their support, if enough of them just became eritreans and not sheabia first, the regime by shaebia for shaebia will crumble.

        • Salyounis

          Tegadalai Neber Semere and Ato Serray:


          Asmarinos call what you are doing “quarta” or “sania”: you are running real fast, bro. And here’s why:

          Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Isaias Afwerki’s popularity in 1991 was 90% (I will take as low as 80% or even 70%, if you are in an argumentative mode.) He didn’t have a functioning democracy but he did have colleagues who had their own high popularities (indulge me: let’s call it 60%)

          Now, what do politicians do with political capital like a high popularity rate? They spend it. It wasn’t the Tegadalai that applauded him when he shut down the door to the refugees from returning, it was the Eritrean people. It was the Eritrean people that applauded and ululated when he, slowly, consolidated power to become a one-man show and diminish to zero the popularity of his colleagues. (Haziliwom indiyu atyu!). It was the people that applauded him madly (I have the video) when he was trashing tegadelti (Tegadalai kbahal kelo’ko kndey hadami: kndey Telam neru iyu) So, when you say “Tegadelti are responsible for EVERYTHING that happens in our country even the misery that have befallen on other tegadelti”, that is an incomplete statement. It was also the people that cheered him on. It was the people who said, “gele ente zeygebrus ay m’aseromn” when he was arresting and disappearing people in the 1990s. And by the “people”, I am not talking about the poor farmer or person just trying to make a living, but the political class: students, teachers, particularly, particularly, those in the West. In other words, get yourself a big, fat mirror. Get two: pass one on to Yosief Ghebrehiwot:)

          Then, when you say the “Tegadelti”, can we please do some quick back of the envelope math? The EPLA at independence was about 90,000 strong and after the first phase of demobilization, they were down to about 65,000. But let’s go for the 90,000. What percentage of these 90,000 are victimizing Warsay and the Eritrean people? 100%? 75%? 50%? 25%? 10%? 1%? What percentage are living a life of luxury and what percentage are as destitute as the rest of the Eritrean people?

          The Tegadelti built a shelter (state) for the homeless (stateless.) Our job was to tell them: “your job is to guard it; we will do the rest: we will renovate it, we will improve on it.” We failed. Since you quoted YG into the discussion: his argument is that because the Tegadelti didn’t build a villa for the homeless, they were responsible for creating homelessness and, by the way, weren’t we better off complying with the terms of the landlord who was renting us our own house?


          The Tegadalai is a private, or whatever you call their equivalent, an enlisted soldier without rank, in Canada* (assuming you have an army in Canada:) What is a private recognized for? For valor, endurance, integrity, unselfishness, loyalty. That is what we celebrate the Tegadalai for. The rest, all the stuff you are mad about, you take it up with the officers. Your argument is with the mesafnti, my friend, not the Tegadalai.


          * Happy Canada Day, ey.

          • Semere Andom

            Well now if we only want to celebrate the qualities that you list that grace the Tegadalay, no one will disagree with you on that, but that is reducing the argument to its most simple form: Tegadalay refers to the “tera” and this my “bstay” is making YG’s point as it implies that the “tera” Tegadalay was just a follower and dupe. Do get me wrong, I know you do not even remotely entertain those thoughts, but that is the result of minimizing the definition to merely the privates

            Tegadaaly neber Semere
            PS: We do not have an army in Canada, but we know how to save USA citizens when they are stuck in Ayran:-) 

          • Salyounis

            Tegadalai Zeynebere Semere:)

            Your honorary “Tegadalai” title is hereby revoked. But seriously, if you want to know how far you guys are gone, all you have to do is know that you actually think a “tera tegadalai” is synonym for a “dupe” or a “pawn” and you don’t think you are defaming the ghedli or the Tegadalai when you call it full of dupes and you call him a pawn.

            Antum sebat, many of the tegadelti are still alive: why don’t you ask them if they saw themselves as “dupe” or “pawn”? Just on this forum alone, there has to be a dozen of them, beginning with Tzigereda Zerai, Saleh G Johar and Amanuel Hidrat* : I am inviting them now, please tell Semere and Abraham and YG whether you saw yourselves as “dupe” or “pawn”. A dupe is somebody who is tricked. A pawn is an unthinking tool which is just manipulated. If you insist on repackaging them, just wait for all the tera tegadelti to die before you re-brand them.

            Nations have reputations that they build over a period of time. I will give you two random examples: France and Ethiopia. France, because of its quick defeat in World War II, has one reputation; Ethiopia because of its repeated victories over Egyptians and Italy (Adowa) has another reputation. We Eritreans were, for years, just known as being a staging ground of foreigners to attack Ethiopia. The Ghedli gave us an entirely new reputation: that of a country of men and women with valor who fight back and defeated a mighty army. In fact, the whole reason that Eritreans say “what happened to us?” is because of what Ghedli was able to give us. Without Ghedli, the hell that Mulugheta experienced at Sinai, would just be a continuation of what his compatriots suffered at Ona, Besekdira, Weki Dba, and She’eb. It is Ghedli that has given us the right to be outraged.

            There are many factors that have contributed to the trashing of Ghedli and (my theory) somewhere on top of the list has to be the radical pacifism that many Eritreans have adopted–something that was once only in the belief system of a tiny few Eritreans. I realize that this radical pacifism is a natural reaction to radical militarism–I just think that the pendulum has swung too far.

            Finally, to address the concerns of some who think that the discussions have deviated too far from the article, the question it asked is this: is “what would a tegadalai do” help us answer the question when we are confronted with the evil that our countrymen like Mulugeta are facing? I think it is perfectly fair for people to now discuss the essence of the Tegadalai before venturing an answer.

            *Emma, I know you do not think that these discussions help us find solutions to our dilemma. I respectfully disagree. Here is the deal: we are looking at Eritrea’s balance sheet. Many of us think that the Ghedli belongs in the asset column (in the current assets, in the long term assets, and particularly in the intangibles); some think that it is either a liability or, if you insist on calling it an asset, it is mostly toxic asset that has to be surgically removed, and the quicker the better.


          • Dear Saay,

            Do you know what I like of you, you know how to say things even if we disagree on matters or issues and try to pull people to a debate.A lot of credit to you to keep alive this forum my friend. I don’t know whether the word “but” is created especially when applied in politics…but in opinion it is always used when people to avoid the topic…and here I am avoiding myself as a former tegadaly to argue on the value of what tegadalay has contributed. I will live the value of tegadalay for the public to judge. One thing for sure I know myself that I wasn’t a “pawn” or “dude” for I did travel and faces the ugly part of Ghedli. Ghedli as the name signify it, it is mountain of hardship and those who passed through it know it absolutely more than those who were not in it. Everything in hindsight is easy to judge….and anyway the judgement is always given by those who were not part of it. We understand that. SO I don’t think any former tegadalay should have any qualms when the Eritrean people give judgement on it…..the only thing I could say now is “eti ghedli sele zeytewede’a abzi nay hiji ente netequer zebeleze neiru.” At least from the dilmma we are in one could understand how ghedli is complex and complicate it is, as long as it remains to be social revolution. So every on must understand that they are still in ghedli.

            Fast forward to your last comment, and by the way I like your metaphor of “asset and liability”. For me or for all former tegadelti for that matter, our revolution is an asset of our history and surely it will be forever in the asset column of our balance sheet. Eritrea is born and Eritrea is an asset to the Eritrean people. Those who are against the revolution, until the revolution finds a closure to it (removal of the despot), they will argue only on the shortcomings of the process and that is the nature of politics. But at the end Eritrea is our asset and let us preserve it.

          • Serray

            Selamat Sal,

            If there was some sort of democracy in eritrea, I would agree with you. If isaias’s power depended on people cheering him, I would wholeheartedly agree with you…people did cheer him even when he said stupid, inconsiderate and hurtful things. Hell, people cheered him when he made fun of the woyanes for buying fighter jets from catalogs just a couple of months before the war he ignited ended in humiliating defeat; with the woyanes planes completely dominating eritrea’s skies. You can say thirty years of cheering nothing turned our people into mindless cheerleaders in the beginning. But, don’t forget, also, people were also cheering their children. If you really think about it, people were cheering the peace and the awesome power that brought it.

            Isaias’s power never depended on cheering, though; his power always came from guns, tegadelti and ghedli. The cheers have died down significantly but his power didn’t. First, people stopped cheering tegadelti as tegadelti showed their human side on the daily lives of the people. Tegadelti started competing for scarce resources and the regime showed its preference for them – for obvious reasons. After 1994, after mintsiltsal, after sawa, after the massacre of the disabled, the city dwellers saw a glimpse of what the countryside knew all along. As you mentioned, isaias used that resentment to bring them down a notch; he bought a little cheering time for himself as a result…isu beynu indiyu.

            But a weird thing happened as isaias disrespected tegadelti openly. Instead of resenting him, they fell in line. They actually closed ranks against the people. I remember in 1996 some tegadalai friends and relatives telling me that people are spoiled when I mentioned sawa or the layoffs or the long arm of shaebia businesses.

            North Koreans are not a weird people; they are actually, genetically, like south koreans. Don’t let their pretend worship of the Kims fool you. If the americans managed to do to them what they did to sadam, they will slap their statues with whatever is more disrespectful in their culture.

            Isaias is the face of ghedli; the face of tegadelti. He came to power with their guns and will stay in power with their guns. The moment they decide they have enough of him, he is gone – even if the mindless among us keep cheering. If there is one thing I disagree with you – whether we are talking about ghedli or isaias – is the way you discount, almost ignore, the power of guns in the hands of tegadelti and the intimidating purpose they serve. In all your arguments, guns are factored out except against ethiopians. Isaias is one person; without guns he is nothing; but the way you talk about him is like he has superpowers. He doesn’t, he has many comrades who are willing to lay their lives if he doesn’t get his way. Second, because you assume away the role of guns (and tegadelti) in maintaining his power, you always end up making the victims, the people, guilty. Sometimes I think the reason you assume away the power of guns and tegadelti is you have never been at the receiving end of their awesome power; like all our youth and the many, many, of our the citizens. I am not pulling “sania”, ask any warsay or any businessperson or anyone who lives in eritrea; when they aim that gun, they are very intimidating.

            By the way, it is irrelevant what percentage abuse warsai, live in luxury, as long as all the abuse is committed by them and all the luxury belongs to them.


            Your warsai comment is baffling. If you were not in the opposition, if you were one of the regime’s spokesperson, I would have said “the hammer is going to come down hard on the demobilized warsai soon”. Communists and shaebia usually manufacture stuff before they go after a group whose turn has come on the guillotine. Scary stuff you wrote up there. Buy the way, the last time I was there was in 2004. I have family and friends in eritrea that I keep in touch with.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray:

            1. The Power of The Gun: One of the “Ghedli-defamer’s” debating tricks is to to paint all the “Ghedli-romantics” as people who were far removed from Ghedli and could, therefore, romanticize it. It is a clever one, specially considering the fact that those who are intimately familiar with guns and are proud of their Ghedli (the tegadelti themselves) don’t participate in the debate: they are stoic by nature and dismiss all talk that is not action-oriented as hatew-ketew🙂 If it is relevant to our discussion at all, yes, I have heard the magic words “Qum!” and the click of a gun being loaded and it has a paralyzing effect. How about you?

            2. North Korea: Since you brought up North Korea, the world’s other “self-reliant” (juche) state, it has been a one-party hereditary dictatorship since 1948 and the equivalent of its “Tegadelti” are all old or dead now but it hasn’t stopped it from being a dictatorship. If we go the path of North Korea, our Tegadelti will be in their 60s and 70s soon and the people pointing their (terrifying) guns at you then, and most of the colonels and generals giving them orders will be the Agelgelot/Warsay. That’s Isaias’s expertise: hitting the refresh button on his enforcers. So, will you then be all shocked and become “Agelgelot/Warsay defamer” or will they be exempted from the condemnation and you will still be cursing the Tegadelti?

            3. Choices:: I am sorry, but you are still in Quarta* mode. We are not debating why Isaias the dictator is acting like a dictator. We are debating how Isaias became a dictator. The Tegadelti (low ranking soldiers) said: “we were in a military institution, and the culture of the military institution prevented us from doing anything more than following orders.” Excuses, excuses, right? We, on the other hand, are private citizens. Everything that we as a people have done since 1991 is the sum total of our individual choices. That is, whether we want to face up to it or not, we chose–by action, or inaction; whether well intentioned (Deqna indiyom!) or ill-intentioned (Tsubuk geberom!)–we chose to create a dictator and then strengthen him (ewe geza alatni ab Adi; aboy Hamimu alo..). The most unfair thing you ghedli-defamers do is to shift the entire burden of the choices we all made to the Tegadelti. It is one thing to assign them part of the blame (the watching the house burn down metaphor), it is quite another to give them the entire blame (because all of us are watching the house burn down) because of individual (and very cowardly and self-centered) choices we have made. What is worse is (and this is what Haile is warning you) is that because the Agelgelot wants to rebel against the Tegadalai, he rebels against all the values the Tegadalai is celebrated for including selflessness, courage and mostly, sacrifice. (Good luck trying to find a solution for Mulugeta that doesn’t require sacrifice.)

            4. This is Too Easy: “By the way, it is irrelevant what percentage abuse warsai, live in luxury, as long as all the abuse is committed by them and all the luxury belongs to them.” Hint: it is what drives you crazy about Ali Salim and Ahmed Raji’s writings:)


            *Quarta, or fourth in Italian, referred to the fourth gear that a car is shifted for maximum speed. “Quarta geruwa” is Asmarino for “he sped away.” Car shifts didn’t have 5th then; otherwise we would say quinta geruwa:)

          • Salounis,

            You wrote, “…..Ethiopia because of its repeated victories over Egyptians and Italy (Adowa) has another reputation. We Eritreans were, for years, just known as being a staging ground of foreigners to attack Ethiopia….”

            This is outrageous and complete distortion of our history. You are denigrating our forefathers and you should know it.

            By the way, who chased Ahmed Gragn and defeated him in collaboration with the Portugusse when the king of Ethiopia, Libnedingle, was fleeing from one monastery to another? Wasn’t it Bahri Negasi Isaac?

            And when those whom you refered to as “…. being a staging ground of foreigners to attack Ethiopia…” defeated Ethiopia despite of its total support from every Super Power on Earth, instead of taking pride of the spectacular achievement, you lamented it in view of the current predicament, as if the two are linked as a Cause and Effect.

            Obviously, you are right that the present situation in Eritrea is not something to be pleased about, but laying blame on Independence Struggle is tantamount to abdicating your Eritrean Nationalism. I hope you are not hopeless to that extent.

            For the rest of us however, the Struggle that dawned our Independence, despite its short comings and current hiccup, is that we will cherish and defend for ever. Any hiccup that pops up along, big or small, with patience and perseverance, we will put them to rest.

            By the way, Tegadalai is one who offers his life for worthy Cause without any sort of compensation. If he loses his life on the struggle for the Cause, he is permanantly refered to as Swu’E Tegdalai, but if he survives however, he loses the title but can be referred to as Former Tegadalai, in virtue of his past good deeds.

        • haile

          Selamat Serray,

          Let’s get some perspective here. We are in fact talking about people who completed their 30 year marathon war of independence some 23 years ago! Are you really after a real target here?

          Let me even add more FACT to ground you even more. The top military brass of PFDJ have money. That is a FACT. Who do you think is next on the chain of that money and glitter? Warsays or Tegadelti? Do you remember Fikre? The guy who died in mysterious circumstances, in his prison cell, how much hundreds of millions Nakfa did he leave behind? Was he Warsay or Tegadalay? No point stating names, but who are the guys buying villas for 15, 20, even 30 million Nakfas nowadays in Asmara? All of them are ex-agelglot. How many tegadelti got jobs (if you call it that) in Bisha? Very few. You really got to appreciate the fact that my be the ex-tegadalay isn’t the way you pictured them to be to begin with.

          The only tangible assistance that I can think of that some received is housing. Do you know the psychological bully and dis-ing they use to get from the warsays? Do you know how many got shot at by warsays. Do you know many warsays can put them in jail at will now and they do.

          Give one name of tegadalay that is running a major business in Eritrea and you will get 10 warsays in exchange who own clubs, bars, restaurants, multiple houses and a lot of illicit contraband goods and money. Actually, take most of the major business nowadays in Eritrea and most of those running them or owning them are qedamay zur agelglot.

          I just can’t picture the tegadelti the way you try to portray. Yes, they are hardened, they say little and hardly confide with you unless you really prod them skillfully, but by and large nothing like you want to make them out. For God sake, they completed their duty of 30 years (most 25 or so years) and it has been almost that long since then, and you really have to up date your assessment with time.

          The warsays that I mentioned, I really hope that they slow down a little, I don’t really see the morality (leave the hardness for now) of tegadalay at all. You really never going to have that era that saay is talking about ever again. Please try to separate the tegadelti from those who make/made decisions. But, anytime you get to deal with Eritrea, it is pretty much warsays, and I can assure you, they are very different…you will miss the good old tegadalay 🙂

          • Hameed


            Don’t you feel ashamed to say warsy are making good business. By the way, is there any business in Eritrea?
            There is one thing the world knows about warsay, they are fleeing their homeland in droves to save their humane dignity and future. I think you and your master still hope to beguile the Eritrean people with your lies. You seem to replay a game which is over.

          • haile


            Do you know Eritrea? Or you just read newspapers about it? Seriously, Hameed, if you allow yourself to be delusional like that, then do yourself a favor, stay out of the politics of Eritrea. The roller coaster would be bad for your cardiac health. In fact, there is business in Eritrea, but not is the way that one would hope can be a solid base for future development. And give it a break, you don’t have to wast your time with the crass as “your master”. He is our master, your master too. Unless you are not Eritrean that is.

            Just ask yourself that, obviously, large scale aid to Eritrea has been closed off since 2003, and there has been economic embargo for the last couple of years from the UN. Now, tell me that there is no business in Eritrea and they are just printing money! Hameed, get real, because our master (mine and yours) will eat you alive for a snack, if all you have to do is wear fluffy dress to scare him off.

          • Salyounis


            Dammit, now I have to get on your bus:)* Are you saying a generation from now, arkebe will blame warsay for leaving him a dilapidated country the way warsay blames Yeka’alo?

            *But hey, this ain’t no amusement park where you strap us on the thrill ride and we don’t get off until it stops. It is more like the Third World Bus: we are standing by the door, half our body dangling out, ready to jump out any minute you send us a link to a toxic video:)


          • Serray

            Selamat Sal,

            I have to start by your 3). Isaias was already a full fledged dictator in 1991. The excesses of ghedli are designed and executed by him and his loyalists. You have to do a couple of assuming aways on this one. We are talking of a period when almost all guns were in the hands of one group. You are passing judgement on civilians for not confronting a man supported by every gun in the nation…about three hundred thousand guns if not more. The romantic in you refuses to grasp this inconvenient fact. Isaias came in town with people who force-marched a quarter of a million previously armed-to-teeth ethiopian soldiers on foot to mekele and you squeezed this awesome power into one man in order to make the unarmed, powerless, eritrea people responsible. If the eritrea people tried to pull anything then (or now), our year zero would began in ernest.

            Nobody is shifting anything; power always rests with those with guns. Only in democracy can you blame the people. I am of the opinion that if, today, eritreans challenged the regime openly without any guns, they will be mowed down. You seem to have an unfounded optimism that isaias or the regime will hear them out.

            No less shocking is your 4). Ali salim and ahmed rajj held responsible millions of people with absolutely no power because a tiny, tiny, tiny, fraction happened to be near where crumbs fell. You are equating them to tegadelti who control 100 percent of everything simply because they are 90% to 25% of the total population of the organization. You pulled a Humpty Dumpty here.

            I agree with you on 2). That is my fear; our fascism could become hereditary starting with abraham and what the amhar call ye dil atbia arbegnoch.

            No 1 is a doozy. Any warsai can take your one “qum” and multiply it by…you know what giffa is, right? I saw it live in 2004. Dergi’s qum is child play compared to our armed saints. I am sorry, Sal, but for reasons beyond my comprehension you seem to factor out guns in every discussion. How do you think the over a billions Chinese, USSR, and the rest of the communists states own all the productive resources and deny the population a fair chance, by preaching to them? System like communism and the one shaebia tegadelti setup can only be maintained by guns.

            Maybe we should stretch back your soldier vs tegadalai distinction to ghedli because you seem to strip tegadelti of the one thing that defines them, guns. Isaias is in power with the force of guns carried by thousands and thousands who are willing to lay their lives if he ordered them. Guns are omnipresent in eritrea. My silly pfdj brother told me back in the nineties that there are no guns or beggars in eritrea. Ya, right.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray:

            We are talking of a period when almost all guns were in the hands of one group. You are passing judgement on civilians for not confronting a man supported by every gun in the nation…about three hundred thousand guns if not more. The romantic in you refuses to grasp this inconvenient fact

            Using your logic, the “agelgelot” is also carrying guns and enforcing Isaias Afwerki’s rules. Most of the gffa is conducted and overseen by fellow agelgelot. Why do you selectively apply your outrage against the Tegadelti? At least the armed opposition are consistent: they say anybody pointing a gun at me (agelgelot, yikealo) is my enemy and I am just defending myself. You are very selective: one is a victim, the other is a victimizer. And you have no rationale for this despite the fact that the Tegadalai, just like the agelgelot, cannot exactly resign his position.

            Only in democracy can you blame the people. I am of the opinion that if, today, eritreans challenged the regime openly without any guns, they will be mowed down. You seem to have an unfounded optimism that isaias or the regime will hear them out.

            Not true. The people are to blame for introducing, encouraging, rewarding our own dictator. They did this despite repeated warnings from those who knew him well. The special dictator we have is very sensitive to public opinion, spends a lot of time building a case to destroy his enemies (“regionalist”, “corrupt”, “foreign agent”, or “homosexual” (Xeyaf, newram zeybahlna Tebayat, is the code for that)) and to aggrandize himself (tours, public addresses, interviews. Lots of public addresses with total ability to pick up the mic and address him specially in the 90s.)

            Please don’t change my definitions: when I say the people, I always mean the “political class” (which is true of all societies, specially the Third World.) You, by definition, are in the political class: educated, literate, politically discerning. Tell me what you did or said publicly (besides talking to your PFDJ brother) to shoulder your responsibility as a citizen to stop the emergence and sustenance of dictatorship in Eritrea? Not picking you: I am saying you are representative of the Eritrean political class. It is all bench-warmers, no players. Take responsibility for your failure instead of dumping it on those who, at worst, share only as much blame as you do.

            The Ali Salim statement about the “land grabbing highlander” and your comment about the looting Tegadalai are the same. Both statements are immune to numbers and statistics. Except that his has more qualifiers and apologies and is more cartoonish–designed to shock. His tainting of an entire group, he has said, is accidental. Yours is deliberate and you are proud of it. Nope, you got to wear that crown, Serray my friend. The “shocking” part is not my comparison but that you said you don’t care about the statistics; your mind was made up and nothing was going to change it. It doesn’t matter to you whether 0.5% of the Tegadelti are benefiting from the system or if it is 100%. That is rigidity, a sign of a closed mind, surprising coming from you.


    • Tamrat Tamrat

      Hi Serray!

      I see how deeply you thought the core problem of promoting the ghedil. Here we have many grupes from the die hard who never stopp commenting before they have to say the last Word to the ‘smartest’ who use the ghedil for their politica and economical advantage. But in the real Eritrea the danger of ghedil is creating hundred thousands eritreans With a littel false tegadali in her or himself. That little tegadali will start kicking if its treshhold is chalenged be it isue concerning the nation or any daily life matter. The irony is that false tagadali in them left Eritrea With out defending Eritrea from the injustice done by pfdj. The mass exodes is accepted ironicaly. I see both ethiopians and eritreans refugees fresh from home. the first time they get interent the eirs are bussy With their sawa, revolution song, ghedil videos while the ethiopians bussy With Picture of buildings of addis and some major city. And if you see the feeling of supriority of the eris boy towards any other Groupe refugees you would be amused. I have never seen such proud refugees. You can almost read that we are the ‘true refugees’ and the rest are the fake ones. What the ghedil preacher wish is/was to produce New generation to build Eritrea by the blood and sweat of the mass, but the mass follows thier mentors.

      • Serray

        Selamat Sal,

        A few points: first, ali salim and ahmed rajj, one is about crumbs, the other is about actively enforcing a system of repression. One is an organization purposefully directed; the other is poorly defined residents of a region covering half the nation. When you talk about an organization, what percentage of the total is involved is less relevant when every single person leading the organization is involved than when you are talking about half of the population propping up a dictatorship because a tiny, tiny, tiny, number happened to be near where the crumbs fall. Even those who made the ridiculous argument that the regime is ethnic accepted the fatal flaw of their logic and left the stage. We used to have them every week on these pages of awate a few years ago; their silence is testimony to their truly untenable position.

        Second, you wrote, “The special dictator we have is very sensitive to public opinion, spends a lot of time building a case to destroy his enemies”. No, he is not. He is a regular dictator with an armed-to-teeth followers who worship him and the land their families reside. Before they bring out the guillotine, all dictators announce to the people whose neck they are going to put under it next. This is not in search of public opinion, it is just to give their minions talking points and to show the people who is the boss.

        The first quote of mine you used is it in response to your “people cheering” turned isaias into a dictator, they didn’t. When you get a chance, explain to me how woyanes managed to stay in power this long. The ethiopians actually waited for meles with their slippers out. Your agelglote and guns point is way off if you are arguing people are responsible for isaias in the BEGINNING.

        Finally, I am not changing the definition of people, I am using its regular english definition. If you mean by people, “political class” say so….”When I say people, I mean political class”. Again, no people, no class – be it political or otherwise – has anything to do with isaias becoming a dictator. He was a dictator when he set foot in asmera. The reason you think so is because you bought his sandals and poor fitting short-sleeve shirts for humbleness in the beginning. Sal, your “people turned isaias into a dictator” is tantamount to insisting that everybody went through exactly the same evolutionary thinking you did. Many didn’t. Actually, except for few, the political class I know understood the nature of isaias from the get go. Now, what did we do about it? I admit, no one wrote articles in hadas eritrea and few of us spoke to power. The reason, we never bought the sandals and short-sleeves…the guns, those we did and we still do.

        • Salyounis

          Selamat Serray:

          I am of mixed mind about our debates: on the one hand, I enjoy them enormously and I want to them to go on. On the other, I have this sixth sense that tells me when our readers are at their breaking point, particularly when our debates drift far from the topic. Maybe we should just have a permanent Sal & Serray thread where we just do a point-counter point and people can drop in…

          For now, you have the last word.


          • Serray

            Selam Sal,

            Agreed. It is always a pleasure.

  • abraham

    I dont think the question ‘what would a tegadalay do’ is the right question. well i am not a ghedli fan but, to me, what shd be asked instead of your question was “What would Isayas do?” or if it is awate who started it “what wd awate do.” What would all leaders do in this kind of situation. What would moses do when he saw an egyptian harrasing a jew? Bzey qelealem, wars are won by leaders not by followers. That is why the leaders would abuse their power. They understand that the average tegadalay is not a hero. He is just a sheep that follow a shepherd. And the shepherds are the leaders who will have the ‘wene’ to start it all. They are those who wdnt be afraid of what the fools that follow or the fools that distract would say. They start something. If they start it right it gains momentum. The tegadalay and the gebars would be given huge dose of propaganda to play a role in the struggle. Their roles will be over emphasised so that they feel good about their contributions (whether it is forced or willingly). Once they beleive they have a very huge role in making the revolution, then they will play accordingly. they will start to dance to the tunes played out by the leaders. Without them fools whose role is to do what they are told to do, the revolution will never succeed. So the like of isayas would do whatever in their power to get the tegadelti to play their roles – being pawns in the power struggle.

    Most of usm tegadeltis included, would sit it out like mulugheta when our loved ones are raped and wouldnt do anything even afterwards to get our revenge. Most of us didnt have a clue of what must be done in order to get things right. Only few have that ability to start things up and follow it thru. Once they started the rest including the likes of the tegadeltis will follow. A tegadalay is just a pawn. The hero is the leader who orchestrates it all. And the tegadalay wd do nothing with out a leader. the tegadalay’s role is to be an eternal ‘tifozo’ of the role that was allotted to him by the leader. He would sing the song that is written by the leaders for kingdom comes. He will be forever grateful for playing that role if he succeeds. When things go wrong he will blame the leader who started it all and who finished it all but will never ever talk ill of the role that he and his co-tegadelti played. Even if he personally has his reservations about ghedli, he will never mention that to an outsider. At the expense of contradicting himself and sounding moron he sings mezmure wudase for his past whose befitting title could be ‘wala tnfer mber tel iya.’ A tegadalay who sung a different song is a traitor. A gebar who understood that tegadalay was just a pawn is a de-romanticizer or a unionist.

    Well i tell u once again. A tegadaly would have done nothing. He is no different, and actually a bigger fool, than the warsai. The difference between the ykealo and the warssai is just a name,time and age. In all the other aspects we the warsai and you the tegadeltis are all the same. Nowadays a bigger difference is emerging. And this difference is that we, the warsay generation, know that we were about to die for nothing and we do not in any way try to romanticise the unfortunate incident between us and ethiopians while you, the awrasi generation, are still trying to convince urself and others that your fight was noble and that you were not used as a use and throw device by ur leaders. And for that you pat each others back. Well knock your selves out big bros but we aint buying it no more.

    With respect


    • awatestaff

      ok, Abraham:

      The terrible Tegadelti (then in their early 20s) hijacked Ethiopian Airlines about 3 times just to publicize the Eritrean cause. If you don’t like the Tegadelti, other activists have gone on hunger strikes. Some have scaled embassy buildings and occupied them just to call attention to their cause.

      So let’s rephrase the question: “What would Abraham do?”


      • Eyob Medhane


        Oh..goody..So the ‘tegadeltis’, who hijacked a commercial airplanes are to be applauded and emulated? Are you asking What these kinds of ‘tegadeltis’ would do with the current situation? Well, they would hijack another airplane and earn a badge of honor of being an ‘international terrorist’. Hijacking airplane three times and terrorizing passengers is something that should be glorified and to be taught to your warsay?.. That is amazing!!!!

        • Salyounis


          ooooo, scary.

          The point that you are missing (because you are too busy being shocked by everything including a kid with 40 view video:) was that the Eritrean Tegadalai didn’t assume the fetal position and wail, or sit in the dark and curse but fought back almost always within the confines of what was permitted as self-defense in international law.

          Aren’t you supporter of the TPLF? Well then I am sure you know that the TPLF is listed in the “National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism” as a terrorist organization, right? So chill.


          • Abrham

            Nelson Mandela was on the list too. You know who should be listed first but you are quit or try to tell us with humor.

          • haile

            Hi saay,

            “National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism”?

            I think there are other, more fitting” studies made to appraise TPLF supporters:


            When TPLF had in fact tried and failed to bomb SAWA out of use in 2000, it is interesting that they are concerned about the “peace curriculum” as to what is taught to warasays there:



          • Salyounis

            Selamat Haile:

            Every time I find myself on your bus, you do something to make me jump out. I am just going to use my mule now: it is stubborn but it gets the job done. That was a terrible video: I know everybody complains of “hate speech” and it is overused but that one–attacking not a political ideology or supporters of a political ideology but a people (Tigrewoch)–is hate speech. I couldn’t get past the title of the video, and the 30 seconds of narration when I heard “Tigrewoch.” It is beneath you; you are too smart for that.


    • Kim Hanna


      Are you Serray by any chance? You say things like a Professor of Physics not like a Lawyer or Psychologist. To be frank, such frankness, was Serray on Steroid.
      I believe the statement holds true not only on Eritrean revolution but on all the other good and bad revolutions. There are people who blow themselves up for a cause when the leader is content to issue an approval and encouragement. They may succeed or not depending on skill of the leaders and favorable circumstances for their cause.

      Abraham, in the name of the father of the three religions, God bless you for speaking truth to power.


    • Abraham,

      That’s indeed a knock out punch to the ghedli romantics in general and Tegadalay Salih in particular.

    • Salyounis


      You wrote:

      “Most of usm tegadeltis included, would sit it out like mulugheta when our loved ones are raped and wouldnt do anything even afterwards to get our revenge.”

      Well, we don’t have to theorize about this. The Derg and Haile Selasse’s armies raped Eritrean mothers, snatched their jewelry, burned them alive and many of the Tegadelti who joined the Ghedli did so because they wanted to fight the barbarity of the occupying army and avenge crimes committed against their people. In fact, the Ethiopian historian Alemseghed Abbay (Identity Jilted…) says that the Eritrean people’s support for Ghedli had nothing to do with the historical arguments that the pro-independence Eritreans made: it was in reaction to the brutality of the occupying regime.

      No need to hypothesize when history says otherwise. The Ghedli was, in part, about avenging the crimes committed against the Mulughetas.

      As for the rest of your argument–the importance of leaders–I do not disagree at all. But your argument can be used to absolve Tegadelti of the crimes that the Ghedli-defamers throw at them: a leader who gets credited for doing great things, should also be blamed for doing terrible things. That is: if you are going to apportion credit to the Ghedli leaders for their vision, charisma farsightedness, etc, you also have to blame them when they preside over a disaster.


      • abraham

        Dear sal,

        You wrote

        “The Derg and Haile Selasse’s armies raped Eritrean mothers, snatched their jewelry, burned them alive and many of the Tegadelti who joined the Ghedli did so because they wanted to fight the barbarity of the occupying army and avenge crimes committed against their people.” I wanted to underline on the phrase ‘who joined ghedli’ I wd want to underline, bold and italicize it so that you can understand that in fact u r supporting my thesis that goes leaders started it and tegadelti joined what the leaders started (willingly or forcibly)[i am trying to agree with u that the reason to join ghedli could be anger of the rape they hv seen when i say willingly; but i am adding forcibly because i do not want to discount the possibility that they joined also because they were getting into trouble with law or they may have been scooped off their home through gfa].

        If there was no ghedli to join (which was started by leaders), a teghadalay wdnt have been a teghadalay in the first place. Please do understand that my intention is not to make tegadalays role smaller. My intention is to highlight that teghadalay has played a role of a pawn in what the leaders have outlined in their plan As, Bs,… and Zs. Thhink of what would have happened to the tegadeltis if Isayas was successful in concluding an agreement with the Derg or was it with haileselaasie in Kagnew station. Tegadeltis do not have roles that they have cut for themselves, they execute the plans of leaders. They wd have had executed the plan to appease or displease haileselassie if they are told by their leaders.

        And as for the issue of absolving teghadeltis, until today, i havent found any “ghedli defamer” trying to hold teghadeltis responsible for the ills committed by ghedli. The stories narrated by “ghedli defamers” talk ill of the gehdli itself and the leaders who orchestrated all the brutality that was executed in it. No one will deny that the teghadaly have believed in a much more nobler causes to give his life to a cause. The leaders have seen to it that the teghadleti beleived in the nobility of the causes once conscripted. Once they have accomplished that, they could have led them to anywhere. Even the leaders might have started with what they believed is a nobler causes too. But because of revolutions violent nature, things might have gone out of hand. And they ended up in taking each other out. I and you both know that we both have good intentions when it comes to the people of eritrea, Ethiopia and the people of the horn in general. We have our disagreements about ghedli, the causes and the effect of all of it including what our choices will be in the future Eritrea (structure of government, language issues etc), yet we both have good intentions for the people who live in Eritrea. If we were both armed, it would have been interesting to know what would come out of our disagreements. That was the reason i abhor ghedli. Once created by the leaders, it will have its own life. Even the leaders cannot entirely control where it is going. They can navigate it nice if they are skillfull. If not it will take them into abyss like a frightened horse. The method of conflict solving is violent in nature. It is usually so violent it usually ended up devouring the very people who gave up their world for it. And that happened just because of simple disagreements which might have been much more simpler than the disagreements that we have.

        with respect,


        • Salyounis

          Selamat Abraham:

          As I indicated earlier, I have no argument about the importance of a leader in any organization; I think I differ in your simplification of the role of the follower. If a leader trains followers to become self-sustaining and able to lead themselves, part of the credit goes to the leader (for being a good teacher), but part of the credit should also go to the follower (for being a good student.)

          The rest of your points, in the interest of maintaining the chronology of the thread, I would like to draw your attention to my response to Semere Andom in reference to the importance of the “Tera Tegadalay” (or what you guys are calling, without any Hifret, a “dupe” or a “pawn”.)


  • Sabri

    On the issue of tegadalay one gedim tegadalay was appearing at EriTv last year in Manna show. I forgot the name. Please other help me. That was the most profound thought I heared on who tegadalay is.

  • Kokhob Selam

    There was a song during our Hagerawi Gedly times. Still valid during this Harnetawi Gedly too.

    ““ገድሊ ማለት ገደል:- ካብ ቃልሲ ምህዳም በደል”

    I use to understand part of the meaning. But, I understand it all today after reading the comments here. My God, May the almighty keep our heroes in higher paradise AMEN.
    My beloved Jebena is calling me to say something about Tegadalay. See you there.
    Thank you awate team and all participants.

  • Tegadalay Saleh (SG),

    Let me stress it saleh again and again for you. Your eyes are still off the ball. Is it debating on what “tegadalay” means is the issue of our time? What does this contribute to alleviate the pain our people are going through? Can’t we get a lesson from their pain? Ahhhh….our advice is mediocre to you as you try to portray it in responding our friend “Beyan Negash”. By “Us” means me and Ghezae who tried to bring you in line with the issue of the day.

    But for readers purpose let me quote your provocative negative words: “You see, those who always chastise us to stay focused on the regime, are now silent. They do not say a word when there is an assault, but when there is a defense, they become like the proverbial Chinese wise man, gracing us with their mediocre advices: stay focused, don’t say this don’t say that…Achhhhh. But that is for another time.” I think Saleh you consider yourself as the wisest Savvy politician Eritrea could relay on. I never thought that you wear that accolade as a crown jewels bestowed on you. A lesson that took me too long to grasp. Hummmm, Should I say…..(fill the gap after all you are a mind reader).

    Seriously, do you want us (the mediocre as you call us) to debate whether the despot and his cohert are tegedelti or not? No my friend this will not add value to the cause of the current struggle. If you want it, you have Haile, YaY, Hizbawi..etc who enjoys it for the known reason……(you know the reason, how can you miss it, if the mediocre can understood it).

    But let me sincerely ask you: Could you please educate the public how we the mediocre Eritreans could learn from Saleh (SG) the high tower of academia….who is not known among the Eritreans? Saleh If you are belittling your colleagues…remember the bouncing stone will still strike you back. Just it is an advice from a mediocre who strives to learn.

    • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

      Selam Gesgasi Tegadalay Amanuel,

      So you are confirming to me you are one? I never mentioned names! And since you wrote “us” and mentioned Ghezae, who else is included in that group of yours Amanuel? Please enlighten me. But one thing, please stop lining up people to your side whenever you debate, why bring Ghezae to this? For once, please just present your comments agitating others, just once. You appear as if you are always forming a ganta to be on your side to bolster your debate. And your above comment proves my point, you quoted me on the following and since it is appropriate, I will repeat it here: You see, those who always chastise us to stay focused on the regime, are now silent. They do not say a word when there is an assault, but when there is a defense, they become like the proverbial Chinese wise man, gracing us with their mediocre advices: stay focused, don’t say this don’t say that…Achhhhh.

      I was talking about your kind of comment which is a reaction. Your proved my point Amanuel, no need to go any further: those who always chastise us to stay focused on the regime, are silent when a provocation is launched.

      • Tegadalay Saleh (SG),

        You see Saleh, you know with whom you debated about this issue (issue of importance). Now you are showing the public how insincere you are, when you say I don’t mention names. Aren’t the public are reading our comments? Aren’t the public reading your comments addressed to a particular person or persons on variety issues? You can’t hide it. Go back and check how you address to me and Ghezae about this particular issue with a long “discurs” like a good teacher.

        But, wow!! you don’t have an inkling to say “you proved my point” that I am a mediocre. Really Saleh? I will leave the judgement for the public. I wish I could go to school with you……You know what I mean ( the mind reader).But as always, I know…..(fill the gap after all you are the teacher of the mediocre).

        • Abe z minewale

          Aklikum Aitesbubu yehwat Happy canada day to me

  • haile


    This debate has turned rather interesting, albeit too sad that it strayed from the main characters of the saay’s story above (those suffering at the hands of human traffickers).

    Considering the issue of Tegadelti, some of the views forwarded here were sadly selfish and betray a crazed sense of entitlement. The over 100,000 tegadelti who survived the brutal ordeals of the independence war, the majority were left with severe physical, psychological and emotional wounds that can’t be healed with a magic wand. The vast majority were not spared from the fate of destitution, migration, arrests and mistreatment at the hands of the undemocratic regime in the country. It is sad that people would try to blame and whitewash their failure and ineptitude on those who are the shining example of success and fortitude.

    We were not lucky to have had a system that would have allowed us to tend to our gallant veterans in the manner they really deserve. Yes, we know that the regime sometimes allocates preferential treatments here and there, but that is more for a show than to address the their issues. Many still live in abject poverty, with sever mental illness’ and tragic set of conditions. You may have paid small alms of no more than $20 in martyrs day, may even sponsored an orphan or a martyr’s parents, or most likely given nothing and just feel mad about the fact that these people who were exposed to an unimaginable horror to give you and the rest of your generations the ownership of Eritrea for you to work on and make it habitable, haven’t continued to carry you in their backs (mahzel) and bring you all your sweet dreams. Shame!

    There is a Tegadalay friend of mine back home, he works in stitching car seat cushions for a living. He has four kids. His wife often stands outside rtawi dukans requesting people to give her their coupon for 30kg mashela if they don’t want it. She buys off as much as she can like that and takes it to shuq in the afternoon to sell it at a profit margin. Many are working in Juba SS and other African countries to make a living, away from their families and children. The better off one’s have rental apartments in govt. owned buildings, yet others live crammed in in poor settings with their children.

    These are tegadelti that some are trying to accuse of being responsible for their miseries. The most vocal leaders of PFDJ in the diaspora were never tegadelti. In fact tegadelti worked without pay for 2 years soon after independence. How arrogant and selfish can someone be not to have given a dime to those who gave them everything and yet try to pontificate here that we should not be so much as thankful to them. Shame!

    As to the cultural aspect, I say look closer to home. Eritrean men were not the top of the list when it comes to doing housework. Seriously, visit any tegadaly’s home and don’t be surprised to find him (male one’s) washing cloths, feeding babies and making injera. Trust me, it is normal and they do it with pride and as a normal fact of life. If you feel the Eritrean culture is suffering, look somewhere else, don’t attack those who served you faithfully. If you can, look at their condition and see to it that you can give them the restitution that they duly deserve. Otherwise, stop the profanities, as you would be taking the fastest route to being rejected by the Eritrean people for good.

    • Hameed


      You want to recruit the honest tegadelti through the window opened to you by those who consider the problem of Eritrea is just a single one. These mediocre consider anyone who deviate from their only problem as an focused person. Haile and his likes have to know, the true tegadelti will remain honest to their country and people and the moment they get chance will change with their people the deadly course our country is heading to..

      It should be understood, Eritrea upto now didn’t give birth to a scholar of the highest calibre who broke national boundary and become an international icon. Search for a famous Eritrean thinker in any field of knowledge and you will get none.

      If we want to compare among with an average education and their famousness among their people I will get Salih Gadi is more known to Eritreans from border to border while Amauel Hidrat to his gang only. It is far better for Eritreans with average education to struggle to win the minds and hearts of all Eritrean not just their group. I consider an educated person who only wins his colour as a failed person who will never bring change to his country. I advice all to endeavor to win Eritreans from all walks.

  • Hayat Adem

    Hi Saal,
    Interesting reflection. Every one has his/her own WW_D. The late PMMZ once came with his own one: WWFD. What would an Ethiopian farmer do in such a testing situation?, he asks. The tough situation MZ was referring to was the 2005 Election crisis and the trouble he run into with European Observers in the lead-person of Ana Gomez. MZ said he had no better hero to turn to for a wisdom than the farmer who has been surviving every bit of existential challenges and prevailing. You, Saal has come with the “T” and hence provoking and generating an interesting discussion, as usual.
    Although I admire and appreciate the selflessness and sacrifice, I do believe our worship for “T” had gone out of proportion. First of all, lets not make a yawning difference between the Ts who died in action and the Ts who survived unless we want to argue that the bullet was selectively targeting the best ones. The living Ts were as ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice and they survived out of mere luck not because they were acting calculatingly to preserve their own lives at the expense of their comrades. If we, for a moment, imagine of switching and bring the fallen Ts to life, they would not be acting significantly different under our situation than their living comrades. So, we don’t have to look for any qualitative difference between the fallen Ts and the living ones as such.
    The other fact is, the survivor Ts are much more greater in number than the fallen ones. The Ghedli had more than 100k Ts at a time especially in the later years. Spreading the numbers over the years counted, the yearly loss never was more than 2000-3000 Ts. When we compare this to the living average number of Ts and multiply it with total number of Ghedli years, we should end up getting a number higher than a million.
    The point here is that we should not use the fallen heroes to characterize a generation or a movement. If there was some thing unique with fallen Ts, we should have seen it also with living ones. If it is not witnessed with the living ones, it is most likely that it was not there as well. Be mindful that the living Ts would try even harder out of determination to materialize the dreams of their fallen friends on all fronts as in liberating the land of Eritrea. So that was what there was.
    Saal, your effort to look up for help for today’s challenges from the Ts is unjustified. They don’t give you what they don’t have. We should always be grateful for the sacrifice they paid but we should not think of them as solution providers. We should also realize many of the problems we see today were seeded and rooted during their time in those fields. It would also be true to accuse the Ts (living and fallen) of not correcting the many mistakes early in time.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Hayat:

      If we are ever forming debating teams, I want you and Serray and Haile on my side. Then, on our breaks, we can debate each other to sharpen our tools:)

      You bring up an interesting point: Is the WW_D situation-specific or is it universal? For me, it is situation-specific (as it was, apparently, for Meles in the example you gave*).

      Ideally, of course, we would ask WWCD with “C” standing for “Citizen.” Citizenship requires us to protect our fellow citizen, and one way you do that is to reward (vote for) a government that is doing its job (which includes protecting a fellow citizen by having excellent relationship with other countries; for example: lining up the entire AU and shaming Egypt) and firing it (voting it out) when it doesn’t (like its current self-imposed isolation because it has chosen “seething anger” as its sole foreign policy.) Citizenship would result in the creation of a dynamic global civil society that would persuade others to persuade their own governments to take action (assuming they have governments that have empowered citizens). But we are not citizens, just subjects of His Excellency Isaias Afwerki: some of us are obedient subjects and some of us are rebellious ones.

      When I ask WWTD, I mean it in the sense of the Sinai tragedy brutal savagery: what would a Tegadalai do if he heard that his sisters are being raped and his brothers organs are being harvested. I would certainly not ask “WWTD?” on any other governance issue–I wouldn’t say WWTD with our other challenges like the absence of rule of law, constitutionalism, or the absence of life’s necessities. In fact, I would want them to be as far away as possible from running the affairs of the country because it is NOT their core competence. In my ideal situation, the Tegadalai would be no closer to Asmara than Forto.

      The Tegadalai ethos here would be: (a) send a warning letter (directly or through intermediaries) to the criminals to refrain from their behavior immediately; (b) take action that directly endangers their interest including their ability to have a pulse (if the law didn’t get in the way.) This is a cause I, believe, many would enlist in (provided we can find Eritrean leaders/organizers we can trust) and it is, in the end, less expensive than the ransom that Eritreans are paying.

      Finally, please note, all ye Tegadalai haters, there are things the Tegadalai did NOT do: for example, he did not target the family/ethnic group/tribe of the bad guys. You may not think that is a big accomplishment but, within the African context, it is.


      * Hayat, I am always surprised when people bring up Meles Zenawi as a person to be admired or whose behavior should be emulated. I don’t ask this question ever, but it would address my curiosity: are you Ethiopian? In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “not that there is anything wrong with that”, I am just curious.

      • Hayat Adem

        Saal,thanks. Serray? I am flattered. Haile? It is a let down:) (Just half-kidding Haile, no offense!) But, I would have been the happiest person if some how I could bring Saal and YG together for the same cause. Look how a marriage of mighty brains for a good purpose would shake our generation and region???!!!
        The situation specific WW_D is well explained except that you seem to have missed this Senai hell is more of a governance caused than of anything else. No body, including these Senai interceptors are targeting Eritreans per se, but who ever is found there to be good enough by the greedy cruel and weak enough either to respond, defend or get protection, then you are in for the cruel play. And it is not a matter of dispatching an able commando team as this is not an accidental occurrence. It is a direct effect of the governance spillovers from the hinterland, hence the relevance to be cautiously implicate the limitations of Ts resulting in the mess we are in. WWTD? This question implies falsely as if we are living in a far distant time. Ts are partly responsible for this. And they are watching with folded arms like the rest of us. You don’t have to ask, because the answer is there. What you see is what you get.
        Saal, Your footnote question threw me off balance. It really doesn’t matter even if you are asking out of pure curiosity. If you are asking to point out the level of my affiliation/admiration to MZ, then I would prefer to address that straight.

        • haile

          Hayat…qeni’Ekley’do dma, kemza nai IGAD ktgebri delikhi:-)

          • Hayat Adem

            I guess Saal was referring not to the power of your ideas (for that comes only out of truthfulness) but to your powerful ability of presenting them. And I, too, don’t deny that quality of yours.
            Did I miss anything on IGAD?

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Hayat:

            Don’t make go all Hiwot* on you. You can say Sal, saleh, saay, but not saal:)

            * Hiwot = an Ethiopian girl, Eyob’s hero, who goes postal because Americans can’t pronounce her name:) She probably got some Angry Woman Scholarship from the people she was mocking. You can watch her “rebel without a cause” indignation here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-Uo3TwTRcc


          • haile

            Hayat..Thanks @IGAD it was a swipe at Mr Biniam Berhe of PFDJ Au rep, who was thrown out of the IGAD meeting sometime ago…sorry my mind gets too hyper on me sometimes in connecting…I have humble background in numbers field 🙂

        • Salyounis

          Selamat Hayat:

          Again, the Tegadelti are not “watching with folded arms like the rest of us.” The ones doing that are the former Tegadelti, now the severely underpaid soldiers (is there any other kind of soldier?) with their own families and dependents (refer to your future debating partner Haile’s story about his friend, the former Tegadalai, trying to hustle a living.) The Tegadalai in my WWTD is the 20-something Eritrean Tegadalai of the 1960s, 70s and 1980s.

          I have great admiration for YG. I just wish he would target his considerable ammo against a more fitting adversary.

          Please disregard my footnote question: I am sorry I asked. I was packing and my impulse checked itself in:) Out, damned spot, out I say* If and when, in a different thread, we discuss the virtue and vice of the late Meles Zenawi, I would like to introduce a thesis: “If Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was the prime minister of Ethiopia when the latest Egyptian drama unfolded, it would have been escalated and people would be talking about war now.” But now I am thread-jacking…


          * Lady Macbeth: “Out, damned spot! out, I say! One; two: why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky! Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and a feard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?”

          This quote was gratuitously inserted to invite Ghezae to the debate:)

    • Hayat Adem,

      You provided a brilliant comment. You effectively destroyed the following logic :

      The T worshipers, in effect, tell us that:

      A dead T is a saint,and
      A living T is a villain,

      The above premise led the T worshipers to conclude that a dead T is not a villain.

      • awatestaff

        Try this one instead:

        Mohammed Ali (Casius Clay), in his youth, stung like a bee, floated like a butterfly (61 fights, 56 wins, 37 by TKO) and was incredibly articulate.
        Mohammed Ali (Casius Clay), now, has Parkinsons and can barely walk or talk.

        Your move.


  • gebre

    What would Tegadalai Do? Not much. The answer is as simple as that!

    First of all let’s clearly state who the Tegadalai is. The Tegadalai is the one who participated in the struggle for independence. All citizens who were born after independence and those who were born before but never fought for independence are therefore not Tegadalai. This includes all the products of Sawa trainings.

    If we agree that the youngest Tegadalai in 1991 was 18 years old, then he/she is 40 years old today. This tells us that all Tegadelti are above the age of 40; mostly they may be in their 50. These are obviously people who have families and children. They have gone through thin and think in their lives. So it is unlikely both psychologically and physically that they dare to stand for another adventure. The leadership is of course Tegadalai mostly above 50 years. This is the group responsible for what happens in Eritrea today and there is definitely no change to come by this group.

    There may be some disgruntled Tegadelti who have good relations with some Sawa trainees. They may attempt a coup, like that Forte incident some months ago. But such isolated attempts are unlikely to succeed.

    So the only hope, to my mind is, for the opposition to reform itself and to work hard to convince and mobilize the young Sawa trainees in close proximity and not from Europe or California. To do that it has to have some COURAGE to sacrifice something for the cause. Without any sacrifice there no success at all. As the saying tells us: without pain there is no gain. So who has the COURAGE to bell the cat? A committed opposition would do, I think.

    Good Luck my brothers and sisters Eritreans. You will make it and integrate yourself into the peaceful communities of East African nations.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Gebre:

      A point of clarification: in post-independent Eritrea, there are no Tegadelti. They are Tegadelti-neber. They should be called soldiers: “wetader/wetehader.” Those who can’t be part of the professional army (we moved from Tegadalai to professional, salaried soldier in 1994, I think) are people who should have been demobilized and integrated into civilian society.

      The Tegadelti I am referring to are the person who, in their teens and twenties, joined the Eritrean revolution. There was a fight or flight choice and when many of us chose “flight”, some chose “fight.” I am specifically talking about that Tegadalai spirit (the fight-back spirit) when I say WWTD. Do you raise $30,000 to pay ransom or do you raise $30,000 (in advance) to send a message that nobody should take Eritreans hostage?

      I am sorry that the young Eritreans had a bad experience in post-independent Eritrea that is run by Wetehader. They had no business running a country: they don’t have the training or the temperament for it. Their only training is that of soldiers: their bosses told them that part of being a soldier is that you have to be vigilant and look for enemies everywhere and their bosses created an incentive system that rewards people for being cruel and corrupt.

      There is nothing I disagree with when it comes to the following excerpt from your post and is, in fact, the core of the issue:

      So the only hope, to my mind is, for the opposition to reform itself and to work hard to convince and mobilize the young Sawa trainees in close proximity and not from Europe or California. To do that it has to have some COURAGE to sacrifice something for the cause. Without any sacrifice there no success at all. As the saying tells us: without pain there is no gain. So who has the COURAGE to bell the cat? A committed opposition would do, I think.


  • Sele Haqi

    Dear Sal

    You have concluded your well articulated article with a question we should all ask.What would a Tegadalay do ? To be honest the Tegadalay I know and the one you-Sal and others of your generation knew must be totally different .The one your generation knew may have been selfless and have devoted their life for Eritrea and it’s people.The once I know and have practically worked together are totally different. Extremely coward and paranoid of their organisation EPLF yet contemptuous of their civil population and full of hatred of the young generation who welcomed them wholeheartedly.This behaviour was not only seen among the top leadership of EPLF but all the way down to the private Tegadaly who joined the struggle after may 1991(known as Wegahta).Most of them or all of those I have worked with in many places in Eritrea were illiterate or semi literate yet arrogant and vulgar beyond belief.Their top leadership blaming the younger generation as compass less generation as early as 1994, while they deliberately hide the compass themselves.I don’t know about those who haven’t made it all the way to Asmara but the once they did were brutes who hate their own people as much as they hated the enemy.This was the practical experience the younger generation faced early on after indepnendece and it continued to get even worse as time went by to this day.That is why many in my generation feel sick these days when you hear the name Tegadaly.The Selfless, the hero ,the devoted you portrayed weren’t there to be seen.The one we expected will come and liberate us were totally different from those who finally entered Asmara as liberators- They were selfish,hateful of their own people,who wished and worked hard to make sure the younger generation experience the hardship they went through or even worst.Those are the Tegadelty we know in practice and that is why no one wants to be Tegadaly these days.Hence Beyan Negash was right when he says we need to attach a name to it or Tegadaly should be followed by a name, like Tegadaly Sal or Tegadaly Saleh Johar otherwise it is simply futile to use the word to describe a selfless human being for there are many Tegadelty who not only are not selfless but are brutes who are responsible for the misery the country find itself.So the question should be what would the oppressed people do.Obviously I have no answer as I grew up under Sheabia being told as a compass less generation or sometimes a certain grade 4 Tegadaly used to tell us we are Coca cola generation in a country where coca cola is seen as a luxury for the rich only.The Tegadelty we know are a useless bunch who should be forced to live in a camp totally separated from society for the remaining of their life if spared from being sent to prison of course.That is my feeling about these idiot Tegadelty and many of the young I have spoken think the same,I”m really angry with them.Don’t mention their name please.It makes me feel better every time I belittle the Tegadaly with a few exception of course like Tegadaly Tesfay Temnew,my hero.

    • Salyounis

      Sele Haqi:

      I see your point. I do. Please refer to my reply to Hayat Adam and Ghebre and see if I come close to addressing your concerns.

      all the best,


  • Tamrat Tamrat

    Hi Salyounis!

    What about WDJD?

    What did Jisus do?

    While NGOs, the west, Egypt, the Arabs promotting war on east africa to impose their interest on the horn in General and Red Sea in particula, there were many eritreans and ethiopians who left for abroad. Guess who was dancing more victoriou than those who sacrificed ‘selfelessly’? Ya you guessed right. Those who run away and used the problems at home for thier better life in the west. That is why more tigrians sacrificed for elf/tplf Eritrea than the eritreans themselves.

    Now history is repating itself without the NGOs active participaion in spying.

  • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

    Hi Beyan,

    Actually the onus is on you. I am saying a sack of wheat is good for eating though there might be a small chaff in it. We call it wheat, we don’t call it chaff because chaff happens to be in it.

    An elder once told me of a story that happened in Keren in the fifties: Asfaha Weldemichael gathered the people to warn them about the likes of Ibrahim Sultan. He said, if a drop of poison gets into a barrel of water, it is not the poison that turn into water, but the water turns into poison. That being true, if we can find a way to take out the drop of poison, the water becomes potable.

    My view is, Isaias and his 200 or so brutes do not define the tens of thousands of selfless Tegadelti. You are saying, since Isaias was a Tegadalay, Gedli should be defined by him. I am saying, be fair, it is not fair at all to define all the dead and alive by Isaias. Gedli had spies, traitors and cruel people in its ranks, but they never defined Gedli.

    Honestly Beyan, if I didn’t know you, I would be disappointed.

    Simply because we failed to defeat Isaias until now, we should not throw the blame on those who did their part. The focus is on Isaias, and if an assault comes from any other direction while many of us want to focus there, it is our luck, we will fight it all the same. In that fight, I expected to see you to be defending those who cannot defend themselves, not add your punches with those who have made assaulting Gedli their prime task. You see, those who always chastise us to stay focused on the regime, are now silent. They do not say a word when there is an assault, but when there is a defense, they become like the proverbial Chinese wise man, gracing us with their mediocre advices: stay focused, don’t say this don’t say that…Achhhhh. But that is for another time 🙂

    Now do me a favor Beyan: I promise to accept your one-word definition if you are convinced with what you might come up with. Help me find a one-word substitute for “Tegadelti” that would be an appellation, defining “the martyrs, the wounded, the living, etc.” All the good ones, less the 200 or so brutes. I am sure you agree that we need to have a word to define them! I say Tegadelti, but since you objected to that, the onus is on you. If you cannot come up with one, please accept the only definition that doesn’t need re-engineering. Let’s call the content of the barrel, water, not poison, even if it might be contaminated. If it is, a pound of real lemon would do the job 🙂

    • Beyan Negash

      Brother Saleh,

      Allow me to distill what I have been saying all along. What is wrong with separating those who lost their lives as tegadelti, and those who have been wounded falling in the same category. I see no problem with such characterization as I am sure you don’t.

      Here is where it gets a bit murky: The living former tegadelti would still have their title whether they turned into brutes now. Hence, for adding a real name as a tag to call him/her as former tegadali so and so turned brute; former tegadalai so and so turned hero;former tegadali so and so turned criminal etc. Let’s take the latter as an example to illustrate my point. Suppose, decorated veteran tegadalai commits heinous crime, admits of his guilt and is given his due punishment in the court of law. How then would you characterize such a man as you attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff Saleh?

      So, the attributive adjectives following the names can come based on what each and every former tegadaly has or had done or will end up doing in the future. These qualifications are important as are the real names that must be attached to separate the wheat from the chaff bother Saleh.

      The collective brush with which you want to paint all the living tegadelti as though they were saints is unrealistic; To lump those who selflessly paid the ultimate price with those former tegadelti who turned brutes and criminals is just an unfair characterization is all what I am trying to say here.

      If after all these spirited back and forth discussion we can’t come to an agreement, perhaps settling it for agreeing to disagree will have to do.

      n’us Hawka,

      • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

        Beyan, I assumed, since you raised the issue of defining, you must have been following the debates about Tegadalay, Gedli, etc. Apparently you were not. It would be draining to repeat what we have discussed in your absence. I agree, let’s leave it here.

        • Beyan Negash

          I would definitely not want to subject your readers to a replay of the same, akin to dehai days, in which a topic that was exhausted previously gets raised by some rookie, seasonal, or part time, reader like me as is apparent in this case – and it was just too dauntingly tiring.

          • Hameed

            Those who sacrificed their selves for Eritrea and its people are tegadelti, but Isaias and his likes were struggling for what we see today, misery of the Eritrean people. A true struggler will never change against his people.

            The problem is in us, we considered all in the fronts as angels.

        • Hameed

          Brother SG,

          It is the Eritrean people pinching luck to face continually cavemen coming out from their deep sleep to purchase food with centuries old conins.

  • When you ask “What would Jesus do?” You are implying that Jesus represents all Christians.

    When you ask “What would a Christian do?”; however, you are asking an individual Christian who (loosely) represents his or her denomination only and not all Christians.

    Most of the Tegadalay’s values have continued to destroy Eritrean cultural values that have existed for many generations. Tegadalay’s values have neither worded in the past nor will they work in the future. The values have created many monsters who careless about Eritrean lives than “Badume”, or “Demarcation”. You may have seen how a tegadaly has treated the elderly man and woman. A Tegadalay does not respect the elders in general and civilian Eritreans in particular but this tegadaly expects deference and submission to Tegadalay and every thing related to Ghedli. Such are the values advocates of Ghedli culture want the Warsays/the youth to inherit.

    The Tegadalay values are values that have become obstacles for social reform as well as economic development. An economy rooted in Tegadalay’s economic values does not give an individual an incentive to compete. Tegadalay’s values do not protect the individual right and are recipes for creating many “issayas’s”.

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      A person who thinks to lead a country or any org. just because he reads a Bible or Quran and a person who preachs about the tegadalies are the same. Both are playing evil smart to abuse value the society they are living in to their wicked advantage. Other wise they dont have the real staffs what makes a real leader among the common ones like us.

  • hizbawi

    I can not post, is it me or there is some technical problems with site?

    • awatestaff


      Nothing on our end: you are not a flooder or spammer and you are not on the banned list. Are you sure you have all your spyware and anti-virus updated? Maybe WordPress is treating you as a clear and present danger:)


    • I have the same problem and wondered why?

      • Selamat Dawit,
        Thanks for your information. By the way my comments were typed in the comment section!

    • Hizbawi & Meretse,

      If you are copying and pasting your comments from Microsfot word or other word processors, your comments could either be chopped or disappear altogether. You need to type in your comments in the comment section to prevent such a problem.

      • awatestaff


        Thanks for the tip!


        • You are most welcome !

  • Hagos Berhan

    Just to check; that I did not miss or misunderstood something, I had to go and read Salyounis’ article once again. What a pathetic response to the article!! What’s wrong with you people, I too felt the urge to take the law into my own hands, in a land where the human dignity is not respected. The Tegadeltis of yesterday are not around, they all left the building!! And if they were around, this everlasting status quo would have changed long time ago!!!! Where’s our sense of humour gone? What is wrong in being a bit imaginative to illustrate the suffering of the Mulugetas and hundreds others, I really find our reaction to certain issues very confusing.
    I don’t appreciate someone’s attempt to explain to me the reason behind the deadly Eritrea- Ethiopia war, call it whatever you want to call it, this regime is rotten to the core, I don’t care how many dams they built, or how many villages have running water, this Al –Capone regime has to go, and reacting in a very emotional way about the Tegadeltis is not going to get us there.

  • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

    Hello Beyan,

    If you mention a cowboy, for people our age, the picture of John Wayne pops up. When we mention Tegadalay, the picture that pops up is one of a selfless person who died and sacrificed his life in pursuit of justice. But if the mention of Tagadalay invoked the image of Isaias, then that is the problem. That would be like taking the image of Haile Sellassie and superimposing it on all Ethiopians. The objective would think of the tens of thousands of men and women who gave their lives, the thousands who were maimed and handicapped, the hundreds of thousands who fed and protected the revolution, the thousands who paid part of their meager earnings so that the torch of the revolution stays lighted. Then some whom you consider the representative of all of the above “Tegadalti” somehow usurps power. You immediately dwarf all their sacrifices and consider them just like the usurper. Not only that, you erase all their sacrifices because Nhna Nsu is changed to “Nsu Nsom…He Is Them.” Why then are we fighting Isaias if he represents all what we as a nation struggled for? Hesebelu da’a Beyan!

    • Beyan Negash

      merHaba Saleh,

      hasibollu, kenday’kka Saleh hawwey. Your analogy of Haile Selassie (HS) with the likes of Isayas cannot hold because HS was never a tegadalay. Perhaps, the late Meles Zenawi and Isayas would’ve held the analogy to further scrutiny. Two former tegadelty rising to the helms of the highest political office of two sovereign nations. One turning into HS and Mengistu like leader and the other, arguably, leading his nation and preparing its people to the 21st century civilized society.

      So, the tainted images of Isayas and his cohorts continues to blur that image of former tegadalay hero that we all held to the highest esteem. And, it is up to the former tegadelty to recover and resurrect their good name and that heroic image. Until then the memory is way too fresh to wipe-out these leaders from the role they played as tegadelty. The time they spent in the field has not even out-lasted the time they have been in their respective political offices to delete them from our collective memory bank.


      • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

        Hi Beyan,

        Sorry, you have crossed to an important subject. Thank you for clarifying your position. But I am afraid the question remains hanging: Do you take the not more than 200 brutes represent the thousands of Tegadelti, dead and alive? All the Tegadelti who are languishing in jails, those who are facing the monster while Eritreans who are supposed to move their behind from the chairs on which they sit are rubbing their stomach and mocking us all? I still beg you to think about that. Kem bHadish Hsebelu, da’a.

        You state, “So, the tainted images of Isayas and his cohorts continues to blur that image of former tegadalay hero that we all held to the highest esteem.”

        Isn’t that what I am begging you to do–hold them in high esteem and never equate them with the worst fraction of people?

        But I have a problem with your next statement, “And, it is up to the former tegadelty to recover and resurrect their good name and that heroic image.”

        Nabay getska Beyan? It is up to the nation, the Tegadelti did their share, it is up to me, you and every body else to do our part. Tired, handicapped, and dead Tegadelti will not do the job… it is upon the living, the able. But if the able cannot do anything tangible, then the second best thing is to hold their peace, and not besmirch the good name of selfless people who cannot defend themselves… and why do they need to defend themselves, because they gave their lives and future for the nation? No, the able should take responsibility, face Isaias, not the victims of Isaias. If that is not possible, then holding your peace would be the next best thing to do. I am a former Tegadalay, and I owe nothing. Those who stayed behind me are more so, they finished the job, they owe nothing, to no one. But we owe them respect, the least we can do. The least that decency dictates.

        • haile



          @”Sorry, you have crossed to an important subject”…I have a take II on that too.

          “Meles… leading his nation and preparing its people to the 21st century civilized society.”

          I would say let’s leave that to the most able PR institutions of TPLF.

          • Beyan Negash

            Folks, exactly the point. By blurring those who paid the ultimate price with those who were tegadelti and are living to betray that trust are being lumped together to be referred as heroes, that’s my beef with your line of thinking.

            Therefore, please spare me the lecturing of how I crossed the line. As former tegadali, Saleh, you should be the first one to demand the separation of the wheat from the chaff. Unless and until that is possible, I am afraid, Saleh, as former tegadaly Saleh I can hold you in high esteem, or Tesfay as former tegadalay, or Halima/Trhas as former tegadelti I can hold them in high esteem, but once you remove a name from it, sorry to say you will be hard pressed in trying to separate your self from the former tegadelty who are living and making a living hell for other civilians. That distinct and clear separation is important. The individual tegadalay must be identified to receive the well deserved heroic title, otherwise, again, you will fall into intractable problem of group title which is totally unnecessary.

          • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

            That is why we have a name for Isaias and his clique, they are called the tyrant and his stooges, not Tegadelti. Tegadalai is generic, tyrant/dictator is not. And we cannot possibly list the name all the tens of thousand who were killed, and the tens of thousands who survived, whenever we mention Tegadaly. It is simple, Tegadalay means the selfless who we revere, Isaias has a name tag: Tyrant. I thought that was easy, would you refer to Isaias as Tegadalay or as a dictator? But if you insist, suggest a generic name, representative of the Tegadelti that I listed.

            Two: What we do here is comment/debate, I don’t believe anyone is lecturing another. But if there is need for a lecture, by all means. You can go ahead and lecture us on why we should not use the term Tegadaly as a generic identifier. Calling a comment a lecture, with a smirk, is not cool Beyan. How did I see the smirk? I feel it 🙂 It is an ammunition I have seen many people pull from thin air. If you consider my comment a lecture, what is to prevent me from considering your comment a counter-lecture, or an insult? We don’t want to go there Beyan. Let’s stay focused on the topic without characterizing comments.

          • Beyan Negash


            The onus is on you and those who wish to lump the martyrs, the wounded, the living, etc. under one umbrella, former tegadlti. Trying to disassociate Isayas from ex-tegadalay title won’t hold. He did spend his youth and a portion of his adult life for Eritrea, therefore, that title of former tegadalay won’t be erased – history will identity him as such. The thugh, tyrant, dictator, and the like titles are merely the last 15 years labels.

            Your comments related to lecturing is fair enough and I stand corrected. I do, indeed, enter into this dialogue box to dialogue and discuss, and to learn from those who sincerely enter to do likewise; therefore, I take nothing personal.


          • wediere


            The word tegadalay “within Eritrean context” was undestood to mean one that struggled for independence of Eritrea. This was fine and well understood by all. Post-independence instead of ex-tegadalai or gedim tegalai, the term was left in use and people were abused by “tegadelti”, to a point if there was a dispute between two individuals….the “tegadalai iyu eko” was used to get the other to relinquish his right….so the word has been abused so much….that it is understandable when we have people reject its use. All that is needed is for Beyan to come with an alternative, as the article attempts to move us from the helpless state to do something about our awful situation. There is little that can be done when the victims reach Sinai except pressure Egypt to sort its backyard, but something can be done in Eritrea or Sudan. The armed wing of EDA needs to be supported by Eritrean all over and they need to make the protection of refugees par to fighting DIA. This way they will be supported, strengthened and respected as an alternative.


  • Fanus

    If the Eritrean people give the Government of Eritrea a free pass in some areas, it is because of the following truths:

    Eritrea has the unfortunate reality of being the only nation whose nation building efforts and sovereignty are continuously challenged by the big powers. The only nation who has a determined enemy cuddled by the West (Weyane) and whose sole obsession is to erase its sovereignty.

    None of the countries who are one-party states gets anything near the relentless, obsessive, guilty without due process bullying that Eritrea receives at the hands of UN bodies.

    No other country is the target of such non-stop, well-funded, and highly organized campaign to discredit, delegitimize, and demonize a sovereign state and its people.

    No other country faces continuous threats, bullying and sanctions passed by UNSC on fabricated grounds and without any evidence whatsoever!!!

    No other country has its right to self-defense challenged as Eritrea does, even though it acts no differently than any other nation would if confronted by periodic military adventures and invasions.

    No other country is subjected to systematic schemes designed to empty it of its young population in order to weaken its ability to defend itself.

    And no other country is as demonized by the Western media, from the BBC to the Economist to the wire services like Reuters, leading to such typical whoppers as the BBC headline that ran on January 21 declaring a coup in Asmara wishing to foment violence and chaos.

  • said

    To remain optimistic?
    With deeply entrenched parochial, irrelevant opinion, nonsense conversations, a symptom of the insular and infective intellectual bubble in which Eritrea has been trapped for far too long. Eritrean Diaspora and Young people went abroad, to find better life ,to work, to be educated , to experience and know how things can work much differently in society, cultures ,economics ,political and countries that don’t play by the same old rotten rules — the idea is to contribute and reinjection some of the knowhow ,energy and enthusiasm they’ve absorbed to help reconcile and make the difference with our broader population with the global reality and to advocates of tolerance, coexistence and dialogue with a new worldview with an ideology that upholds moderation and fostering tolerance and coexistence could be the best thing to happen to Eritrea. That Eritrea has shunned for over years and far too long.
    As many Eritrean i consider themselves a worldly humanist subscribing to Universal Values and never ensconced, as they are free-thinker, to ethnocentrism, My admiration of the Eritreans , right-across the board, stems from the upholding of Universal values best exemplified on the practical applicable plain by the incredible virtues relentlessly and tenaciously upheld, generation through generation, and for a whole half century, by the Eritrean as a human breed.
    Eritrean s’ incredible resilience, crave for justice, love of freedom and human dignity find expressions in their daily struggle to uphold these values generation after generation. Their enterprise and fighting spirit, handed from one generation to the next, never by design, never wane and is a reflection of a race that loves life, however, realizes that being the Divinity’s trusted vicegerents on the tiny planet Earth, they need to live up to that Divine trust – Divine Covenant – and uphold the values of Human Dignity; Justice and Freedom for all, Living in the Image of God.
    Many Eritrean are proud of their Universality as they are proud of being and belonging to Eritrean a race that sees no qualms in living Universal Values in the perfect applicable example of which that despite the lapse of a whole half century, immeasurable sufferings, Eritrean continue to charge ahead with steadfast determination, creativity, enterprise in their adherence to the foremost of Universal values: Justice & Freedom for all. The Universal values of Freedom, representative democratic values and social justice when applies to the Eritrean people independent of narrow ideologies.

    • Said,

      What exactly are you trying to say?

      • Terry

        You don’t know what he is trying to say?That’s the reason you are wasting away precious time here.

      • Kim Hanna


        What kind of question is that? (What exactly are you trying to say?) Let me tell you what he is saying. First of all I think he a secret Ras Tafarian. He has to pretend to be someone else, you know, to get on the forum.

        After getting on the forum, he does not like the discussion. Therefore he goes to the nice place and type what he sees. Of course he will be sorry tomorrow, just as I will be for what is said.


        • Sorry but I could not understand what he was trying to say. If you understand his comment, well , you might be smarter than I am 😉

          Take a look at this statement for instance

          Said writes “Eritrean Diaspora and Young people went abroad, to find better life ,to work, to be educated…”

          Now , can an “Eritrean Diaspora” goes abroad?

          The above is just one out of many confusing statements. I read it three times. If you understand, please summarize it to me using an elementary English.

          • awatestaff

            [Supermoderator: moderator, you are out of line:)]

  • Fanus

    One of the most despicable things the opposition has done is to rub shoulders and fraternize with the same Weyane officials that killed 19,000 Warsays. It is like killing those heroes all over again. This act of betrayal alone has discredited the so-called opposition groups.

    • @Fanus
      That is true , but what about when EPLF aka (HEGDF) introduce Weyani to Eritrea in to kick out ELF from Eritrea and they killed in the process more than the number u mention or bcz EPLF were in bed with Weyani u were shy to say that

  • haile

    Selamat saay,

    After getting distracted by the stone throwing mobs 🙂 Let me give my rebuttal of your article above. You asked “WWTD”, I say Tegadalay would sacrifice, persevere and fight on despite what eza telamn nay telementn alem has to throw at him/her. In fact, much like what the proud and fiercely patriotic people are doing at this point in time. It is strange that you glossed over the fact that Eritreans, at individual level, have done so much so including the payment of the ransom it self whenever it proved to be the only urgent action to save a life. This against the backdrop of an incompetent regime and poisonously unhealthy opposition.

    Eritrean Tegadelti can at least claim to have had an organized platform to co-ordinate and mount their self-defense counters. The current Eritrean people have surpassed that and have managed to balance an aircraft, one without a pilot and being shot at by crazed groups from the ground while flying all across hostile territories.

    This leads me to get off your bus, because I don’t like where it is headed with that kind of scapegoating. We have an opposition that can’t stay sane at the sight or sound of anything positive about Eritreas past, present or future. An ardent student of the TPLF cadre school of lies, deceit, fabrications and self-aggrandizement. I think the Eritrean people deserve a great praise for how well they handled. And your article comes as a nurse who administered the doctor’s prescriptions on the wrong patient.


    • Salyounis

      Selamat Haile:

      Getting off the bus so soon?

      You know how people accuse you of being too sympathetic to the PFDJ? This doesn’t help:

      “This against the backdrop of an incompetent regime and poisonously unhealthy opposition.”

      Most of us in the opposition think that it would be “an incompetent opposition and a poisonously unhealthy government.”

      There, fixed it for ya.


      • Nice ! lol The wrong is to great to be overlooked. If you see some thing, say something. Had it not been for sal, I would be confused as to where Haile stands in regards to Eritrean politics.

        Haile has a soft spot for PFDJ, does he not? He has been soft on PFDJ for sometimes. He needs to take great care to write in a way which is generally accepted for those in the opposition so as not mistake him for an anti-PFDJ and pro-opposition.

      • haile

        hi saay

        ha…I would have taken the correction and stay put for the ride, unfortunately, when highlight a tragedy and those so called “us” tell you in not so many words that it can wait because the real tragedy for them is that we own Ghedli, poison is a very soft ball from me….where is commenter @”asmara” this days? 🙂

    • Haile,
      Saay and you couldn’t be in the same ride. You don’t have the same feeling towards the pain of our people. You couldn’t miss your bus “the red bus.”

      • haile


        And why are you keeping close to chest? Don’t you have stand on issues being discussed here or your license is to only to harass haile? think about it…I have rights too 🙂

  • Jemil

    I decided to read what is transported on Awate.com just once in a month merely because of Semere Habtemariam’s rigid and obnoxious articles and the twisted ideas that they convey…It won’t be too late to diminish the vibrant Awate page to share the same fate as EYSC page did….Extreme and fake Nationalism( better to call it a circular journey as some one put it) while once physical contribution is(was) some how non-existential….Instead of concentrating on the sole interest of the younger and future generation,a deliberate unraveling of myth is yet to be spread…and the worst part is, it is coming from an intelligent Historian even not concerned for his kid’s dignity not to mention his eternal history after his death…Well,Salh johar was expected to act and the remedy is simple…Just encourage the delusional mind to balance the internal and external emotions…The “FACT” and the “TRUTH” should be separated as the Church and the state are.

    • Beyan Negash

      merhaba Sal, Jemil & Tsigereda:

      I, too, was flustered by Semere’s book review, and has been following Awate a little more closely since. But, heeding Tsigereda’s sincere and genuine call for action on subjects that matter, I will try to wrap up my thought on the subject at hand until I find something of substance to write about. But, this subject is one of the most important ones that are facing young Eritreans abroad. My frustration with Sal is that he gravitates to humor even when the subject requires serious reflection, introspection, and sympathy. In this piece the latter is the only emotional connection that a reader can detect, but even that gets diluted by the subsequent surreal narrative.

      Attempting to entertain while telling a harrowing, real life event, is a risky endeavor, because it can fall not only flat on its face but also might become offensive to the readers for many reasons. The problem with Sal’s piece in question is that it starts out with something seemingly serious and genuinely sad event, and no sooner than the reader begins to buckle into the journey with the writer does Sal suddenly turn it into a surreal John Wayne movie in which the protagonist wipes out the Native Indians in one fell swoop; and Sal manages to create a hybrid of John Wayne like film with that of a preposterous Indian film minus the ‘mary-muhabbat’ songs our generation grew up watching.

      The trivialization and the pettiness that the overall message of the piece turns-out to be is what I find deeply saddening.

      As a child of no more than seven years of age I remember vividly coming home from school to find my mother in deep grief over a loss of her mother. There was a great deal of wailing and lamenting out loud in this harrowingly sad voice that would bring uncontrollable tears to me and my siblings. During the three days of traditional mourning this heart-wrenching lamentation was reinvigorated each and every time women came to visit and offered their condolences months and months later. It was confusing for me because some of these women rarely came to visit us prior to the death and were not even relatives of ours. It was hard for me to comprehend why they would cry this loudly over the passing of a person they hardly knew. Retrospectively, however, I came to understand that they were fulfilling traditionally dictated norms of behavior. Failing to give such show of grief would be unforgivable by the person who lost a loved ones and vice versa. Meanwhile, parallel to the grieving period, we children were taught to pray, chant, and recite certain of the Holy Koran’s scripts that were traditionally read out loud, in a group. In fact, this was the most positive remembrance I have, because there was no wailing, no crying during this time – only relating to the benevolent God, the merciful, and the all-forgiving, what have you?
      Of course, I didn’t expect Sal’s narrative to include wailing and lamenting, or chanting from the script, but the least one would expect is that the narrative stayed focused on the path that it initially started out with, which reflected the heaviness of the subject matter that demanded a great deal of sadness in it.

      Speaking of sadness, grief, sorrow, and the like, a genuine and a deeply felt one at that is captured not in Milton’s Paradise Lost or Paradise Regained, or in Dante’s Inferno but in C.S. Lewis’s Grief Observed. To offer a context, C.S.Lewis is grieving over a loss of a loved one. Here is a snippet of it:

      No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing…At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in…I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me…Then comes a sudden jab of pain…And that. Just that, is what I cry out for, with mad, midnight endearments and entreaties spoken into the empty air…If God’s goodness is inconsistent with hurting us, then either God is not good or there is no God: for in the only life we know He hurts us beyond our worst fears and beyond all we can imagine. If it is consistent with hurting us, then He may hurt us after death as unendurably as before it…Sometimes it is hard not to say ‘God forgive God’. Sometimes it is hard to say so much. But if our faith is true, He didn’t. He crucified Him…Come, what do we gain by evasions? We are under the harrow and can’t escape. Reality, looked at steadily, is unbearable. And how or why did such a reality blossom (or fester) here and there into the terrible phenomenon called consciousness? Why did it produce things like us who can see it and, seeing it, recoil in loathing? Who (stranger still) want to see it and take pains to find it out, even when no need compels them and even though the sight of it makes an incurable ulcer in their hearts? …Death only reveals the vacuity that was always there. What we call the living are simply those who have not yet been unmasked. All equally bankrupt, but some not yet declared…But this must be nonsense; vacuity revealed to whom? Bankruptcy declared to whom? …I am more afraid that we are really rats in a trap. Or, worse still, rats in a laboratory. Someone said, I believe, ‘God always geometrizes’. Supposing the truth were ‘God always vivisects?’…The trap, so long and carefully prepared and so subtly baited, was at last sprung, on the cross. The vile practical joke had succeeded…

      People who are grieving do not make light of their hellish predicaments as can be surmised from the lengthy quote above. The unbearable nature of what these young Eritrean men and women are facing in the deserts of Sinai and in the high seas of the Mediterranean ought to compel us to not trivialize it to something deeply incongruous as trying to create an environment and ambience so riddled with the surreal and with the absurd.

      Sal, I read your piece three or four times now, and the more I read it the more I find it lacking in genuineness. I hope you take this criticism the spirit in which it is intended and that you don’t try to create the anonymous tegadalay hero out of the blood, sweat, and skeletal remains of young and innocent Eritreans, most of whom are, partly, victims of the very people you try to place in the highest honorary pedestal possible. That is perversely insulting, contemptuously insolent, and an affront to Mulegeta and thousands more like him.

      If you feel there is an inherent need for identifying a hero. So, identify one specific hero and worship him/her all you want, but to give us heroes, which comprised, at some point in our recent history, in the thousands and thousands, is just an impossible endeavor to accomplish. Think about it when you try to say tegadaly hero, whether you like it or not, you are including the likes of Isayas and his cohorts, and no sane person will buy that. Please identify, name, and give your hero a personality is all what I am saying, then and only then, your readers can decide whether to follow suit.

      • haile


        The British War heroes are held in high esteem in their countries, despite many gruesome episodes perpetrated by their ranks and in their names. The shooting of those identified as “Cowards” during the WWI is an example. However, your initial argument was more aimed at the very essence that defines the Eritrean Pride. It was doomed from the start.

        Your lack of references to relate to how we expressed sorrow from the great Eritrean Ghedli tradition, but basing your narrative on an alien traditions and concepts betrays your inherent detachment from your roots. Here you can look how Eritrean mothers ululated and dance in the farewell of their heroes.


        Baring in the face of adversity is usually achieved through humor (Adey etay), Guyila and jokes told by tegadelti (ab hamed dbe nadow knsatef nkheyd alona)…is the hall mark of the indefatigable and resilient Eritrean Ghedli traditions. Beyan, you are trying hard to chip from the hard rocks that Ghedli is made out of…if it wasn’t possible abti fetani dqdq tselmat yesteryear, it is unthinkable now…dem ensisa tesetyu ab thti qoTqaT te’aridu aelaf zselebe rezin tarikh znqnqo yelon.

  • L.T

    First from all the war between Eritrea and Weyane began when Eritrea stoped projact to Newyork based bussiness men in Dahlak Island with 333 milliones Dollar Hotel and Casnova Cubas 40s moddel so this prasaite Zionist men have power in state department sent green light to weyane to wag war against Eritrea people.
    I thought always why all so callad oppostion have hard feeling to say “Ehiopia must go back from Eritrea bordar line now”This enemay are in your house and you work with them and this is nasty thing.

  • Tzigereda

    Dear eritreans opposing the eritrean regime,

    The fate of Mulugeta and his daughter is one among thousands of exceedingly terrible fates we have been witnessing throughout the last years. The barbarity of the tragedies are far beyond the scope of imagination. These are fates of painful stories that should neither be repressed nor let us fall into helplessness and despondency. Since we have a regime who does not feel responsible to neither prevent these tragedies nor ascertain the protection of its citizens, it’s solely up to all of us and solely up to us to change the course of events. It is difficult to avoid the impression that we are “getting used” to such barbarity putting up with it as normalcy. I hope this proves incorrect.
    We need an urgent proposal, and an urgent call of all who feel this pain and really want to make a change. This exceptional situation demands an urgent and unified action, a serious call. We can not let more time elapse, NO, not at the cost of LIVES and RAPES at the order of the day. The demand of “save the lives and stop rape/ human trafficking” can not be the duty of only a few brave women and men! If this tragedy does not arouse the opposition camp, make them sit up and take concrete actions and sound measures then the opposition is not worthy of its name. If the stories we hear can not be translated to action and getting together to make a change, then I have great doubts about the honesty of our voices.

    Most comments yet posted bear analogy to our funeral ceremonies where the hazentegna is immediately appeased by wihato, wihato, and then you begin ilalat…hey, brainy people, serious and sound suggestions, please!

    Thank you

  • belay

    Dear Eyob Medhane,
    You are right,a father who teaches to hate fails his children.
    Those Tegadelties motivatied by hate failed their own people.when the enemy was out of reach,they turn to their own people in the most horrible and unimmaginable way.It is impossible to teach to love and hate at the same time.
    Once we teach kids to hate we are stealing their mind.we producing programmed robots which just do that,They might prorotize which one to distroy first but at the end they kill every body, and at the end,distroy them selves,if there is nothing to feed on.
    Haters are like a haunted castle.

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    Eplf vs tplf
    Ethiopia vs Eritrea

    Ethiopians has chanlenged tplf every single day since it took Power by guns.

    Eritreans has worshiped eplf since every single day since it took Power.

    If anybody says ethiopia is better than Eritrea then thousands lives paid for it.

  • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

    Haile,Beyan, Sal and Eyob,

    My math is very bad, I need your help. Suppose the foolish boy on the video really believes what he said. Now suppose that someone posts a clip of an Eritrean mad person throwing a stone and injuring a child. Given both are Eritreans, could we consider the two cases representative of all Eritreans? Here is my math question. I will assume Eritreans are 3,000,000. What is the fraction of one over 3million. I am sure it is not half! If that is more than 10%, all Eritreans have similar attitudes to the foolish boy. If it is less that 10%, well….I just want to know the fraction.

    Bonus: in Addis Ababa they had a neighborhood where they banish people with leprosy, it was out of town, way beyond the old airport area. A medical student went to Ethiopia to research leprosy. The people told him, “oh you take bus # so-and-so and you can see it for yourself.” When the student returned to the West, he presented his findings in a report: 90% of Ethiopians have leprosy.

    If you go to a rowdy nightclub and sample Eritreans, or any other nationality for that matter, then consider them a representative sample of their nations, your findings will be skewed, not to say a joke. Why do people think Eritrea is a virtual country?

    That Hiwet girl is cute… but no doubt she is angry. I am sure many Africans cannot pronounce her name correctly, it is not a whites only thing. Eyob spelled it Hiwot (with an “o”) I spell it Hiwet (with an “e”) We know the name was not originally written in Latin, how are we going to resolve this issue? In fact I have a character in my upcoming book named Hiwet, with an e. But I beg Eyob not to tell the angry girl, if she hears, tell her it is an Eritrean Hiwet who doesn’t mind the e. 🙂

    • haile

      Hi SG

      Your question lead me to believe that you skipped the math lesson delivered by IA during his NY visit:) Here is what you missed: IA said that “I get really bemused by people who tell me that the Eritrean people are 3,4 or 5 million. I think to myself that if one is really doing the job of 5, 10 or 20 people, what would this make our real size to be?” If you say take 1:20, then that would safely put us as the most populous nation in Africa:) It still wouldn’t change the 0.00003% implied in your math because the fraction is scaled equally on both sides.

      Talking of such scenario, as in scaling equally on both sides, it appears to me that such is probably the main culprit in what saay describes as inexplicable paralysis. You see, the democratic space in the Eritrean political landscape has been closed off both in the diaspora and at home to the same degree. So much as one can’t discuss constitution, G-15, youth migration, national service…in Eritrea, the vocal oppostion has also seen to it that Ghedli’s historical legacy, the interest to resolve ethio-eritrea conflict, to be optimistic with anything as regards Eritrea…has been made off limits [worshiping habeshaness is and neo-andinet is in, and Eritreaness and patriotism is to be PFDJ] and hence made collective action impossible.

      The diaspora must first be democratized, if it is going to inspire democracy to Eritrea. Otherwise, the Eritrean PEOPLE in the diaspora have done excellent job in supporting those affected through financial, moral and communal assistance at the individual level. And, this is where I got off saay’s bus 🙂 and not at the mention of Tegadalai (as I am never allergic to being Eritrean and accepting part of me).


    • Eyob Medhane

      Gash Saleh,

      I think that is a trick that has been tried a lot. “…Oh these few crazies don’t represent us…” Believe me. I know. We do it, too. It’s just an easy way to escape and sweep it under the rug. But I have seen a poisonous efect of poisoneous propaganda of EPLF,PFDJ and Ghedli on the young generation, and I repeat it, they sem to care more of hating Ethiopia than the tragedies, which Sal discribed in his article.

      As far as spelling Hiwot is concerned,I stand down from having a speeling challenge with you, because I remember that sometime ago you were annoyed with me because I spelled ‘Tigrigna’, instead of ‘Tigrinya’ (Or the other way around?) 🙂 But seriously, it seems we Ethiopians have a thing about making sure our names is pronounced right. I know you saw the angry Hiwot, but I insist you watch this young Ethiopian guy, who prepared a tutorial video to teach everyone how to pronounce his name. Pretty entertaing and light hearted and only 1minute…



      Thank you so much for the link. I really enjoyed it. There was such a bromance between those two. (Jon and Bassem)

      About that angry kid, I seriously doubt his anger is from the ‘influence of gangista rap or western orientation’. It is the inheritance of Ghedli that has been passed to him through his parents to hate and resent a particular people, especially those people, who he happen to have common language and culture with. That is my point. As I said to Saleh above, he and his generation mates seem to be more occupied wih hating us than doing something about what should be done to their age mates in Sinai and elsewhere. That is the point I want to drive. Please watch the one minute video I linked for Saleh and understand how we get irritated our names are mispronounced. (Not Hiowt angry, just nice and friendly angry) You’ll like it. The guy on the video is actually is a comedian, who hits some routs around some comedy clubs in Seatle and San Francisco…..


    Respercted Sal,

    My mind would not even dare to visuialize or even analyze,the situation of Mulugeta´s family. you are right ,if that is not hell..I do not know what hell is.Maybe I am selfish for doing this,I am trying to numb my feelings by blocking it or by simply reasonning ,I am not responsible for this…infact in Edmonton Canada ,,around 2001 ,I argued us to not brush off ,what happened to Kunama & Afar eritreans..when the reasonning from the supporters & opposition of the Eritrean goverment were almost identical . ie…the kunama always wanted to be Ethiopians & the Afars wanted their triangle including ¨our¨ports.
    Well ,Then ,I was not knowledgeble nor brave enough to relate how things would mestasize to all of us. Well ,but no matter what I said my piece & people gave me a deaf ear.
    Yes, I tried to quiet my conscience,by grandeising myself & cheating my self , well, I am not doing a good job, I am weeping (literally) like a small girl.
    I never filled out a form (like in the case of Canada & USA citzenaship I own).I just happened to be Eritrean.As things came clearer in 1978 I had already calculated ,independence that comes from EPLF bandits would be regrettable.I repeated it in Uganda around 1984.I am trying to divorce myself from this crime that is happenning to all but to the most part to our sisters & daughters,..but ,how could I ,my health situation does not make it easy either.but ,it is not a matter of who was right ,that would make me a stereotypical Eritrean, maybe even typical..in both cases not flattering.?
    On the..I quote from the article ,……¨but the man in charge was an Eritrean: I can’t tell you his name, let’s just say he was in charge of EPLF’s 1984 “kiya 18 dekayk” commando operation that blew up the Ethiopian birds of destruction at the Asmara airport. My only job was to give him the money and one instruction: make it painful, make it loud, make it so that henceforth everybody in the world knows that there is a price that will be paid if you mess with Eritreans…¨END OF QUOTE
    I like to render unsolicited advice..¨for the Eritrean ex Commando..in order to win & fight with emotions ….he needs to be informed ..that the people doing this crime were Amharas & Agame ,not bedeouin…and make sure he listens everyday hateful songs dehumanizing ,amharu aidug/donkeys & agames….of course it does not hurt to give the commando what he is used to ,even if Isaias himself has to brew it.
    Without EMOTIONS & HATRED towards our neighbours to the south.,I do not see the mission led by Ex commando succeeding.Yes, I wish it succeeds, …but no body forcing him or brain-washing him I do not think only mesharif money will cut it..or EVEN tell the EX Commando ,It was the corpse of Jebhas & he needs to kill them again (adagmo resa naizi hadami wedi Halima ) may motivate him.
    Sal ,the house was built on a rock ,in 1981 was uprooted & built on sand & rock of lies ,that is why people like to cyber stone Isaias & his stooges ,but nobody wants to fight to save Eritrean lives ..just derIImo, hijemo ,ab gibri deqemHare bqetri..etc..i wish I could do more than burn in circle of destruction & fake emotions of my fellow…..so sad.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Cyber Cure:

      Of all people, I thought you would appreciate the bi-polar trip I was taking into fantasy land: an elite Eritrean commando team going to Sinai to deliver justice. There are many things I don’t like about what has become of us and somewhere on top of the list is our embrace of unconditional pacifism. If we could assemble a special commando team to free Eritrean prisoners in Sinai, in Ella Ero and the hundreds of Eritrean prisons in Eritrea, would we?

      I think your memory is playing tricks on you, the Tegadelti of yesteryear who took action did not require “hateful songs dehumanizing, amharu aidug/donkeys & agames” (please cite a single song) to plan and execute: they were motivated by justice.

      You said that when you read the story of Mulugeta*, you were “weeping (literally) like a small girl.” You know who else did that when horrific tragedies happened to Eritreans in the 60s, 70s and 80s? Men and women OUR age: people in their 50s and 60s. So, you are forgiven. But that kind of reaction (“weeping (literally) like a small girl” is completely unacceptable when it comes from people who are the same age that the Tegadelti were when they confronted the horrors of Ona, Besekdira and She’eb.

      In times of existential threat, every nation relies on its history for inspiration. The problem with us is that we have allowed the PFDJ to loot our history: first, by telling us that the first 10 years of our revolution (1961-71) was misdirected; then by telling us that the second 20 years (1971-1991) belong solely to it– they were its directors and the Eritrean people played supporting role. Then came the Ghedli-defamers to tell us that that is exactly so: the Eritrean people were unwilling participants in the Ghedli; self-reliance is a joke, etc. Now, the Ghedli is used only to mobilize people against enemies defined by the PFDJ but never AGAINST PFDJ or enemies ignored by the PFDJ.

      So, let’s take the argument that the appeal to the spirit of the Tegadalay is not a workable strategy because to the new generation of Eritreans “Tegadalay” is not the young, selfless Eritrean of yesterday but the corrupt, sadistic regime enforcer of today. Where does that leave us? Begging the NGOs, the UN, the US, Europe to help us? And where does that put us on the world’s long list of pity cases? Ahead of Congo but behind North Korea? Begging Ethiopia to help us? Begging the AU? The whole WWTD do was supposed to challenge us to look within ourselves for the solutions.


      • CYBER CURE

        Marhaba Sal,

        Thanks for your sober and thoughtful response .I do not know where you get your optimism considering the foreseeeble odds against the survival of our people ,unless we mend our ways and approach things in an honest and open manner.
        All people that surrounded me (not my family),have had love for warrior mentality and Eritreanism being defined by not eating at Ethiopian restaurants, specifically Tigrawot of Tigray..and I have witnessed in CANADA ,& EAST AFRICA..EPLF organized supporters dismantling Eritrean communities that were free of politics..the EPLF principle in action has been create mistrust among the populace ,use religion and region..or even black mailing and defaming the populace.
        Sal ,am I taking things out of context, or are you so optimistic that you believe we can make 180 degrees change of heart ?
        The people that blame Isaias/EPLF singled out their region for extra massacre were very active in Isaias´s diaspora crimes against Eritrean conscience & civil organizations .Are we suddenly to believe this people came back to their senses or the other side also acting the same but contrary to this region ?
        I hope I can have your broader and positive understanding of the issue ,Because our people have been cloned to anti – themselves.
        I thank you …

        If I were to bring a song top of my head would be ¨..cha belo nA wesh belo ,kalashinya tiaKhlo¨


        • Salyounis

          Ahlen Cyber Cure:

          You said:

          “If I were to bring a song top of my head would be ¨..cha belo nA wesh belo ,kalashinya tiaKhlo¨

          Haha. This really was a “song” (more of an anthem) that Asmara boys coined (weridua Ghedli) and used it whenever there was a strike or an Eritrea-Ethiopia soccer game:)

          It is a silly anthem no different than “Ya Ahoho, ahoye, WekHaria beliAto Janhoye.” On the “hate-speech” measure, Adgi doesn’t register higher than “Anbeta belicha.” (locust-eater, which is what they called us sometimes.) So, stop beating yourself up for childhood pranks.

          Yes, I am optimistic because I believe very few things in life are irreversible.


          • CYBER CURE

            Respected Sal,

            I would not want to reverse anything ,just honest healing discussion.
            The ¨song¨was so lame ,I even agree with your characterization of it.
            May god show me the day ,we can sit down and evaluate the process (gedli) of 1981 – 1991 ,without changing the outcome.
            The outcome is the outcome ,as much as it was/is run in a divisive ,unholy ,mafia style result it had a legitimate cause ,it was a question of rights of fate qand religion.

            my atmost respect

  • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

    Ahlan Beyan,
    Welcome back, I hope this time it is not the usual hit-and-run 🙂

    The following in your comment caught my attention: “Thanks to exile and life in diaspora Eritreans have become citizens of the world, but one would be hard pressed to see that being reflected in the virtual sociopolitical spaces.”

    Don’t you think we have enough people who want to embrace the “world citizen” thingy to the extent they debase their culture, their history? For me, I think there are more than enough of us already sold out to the globalization craze and they preach it to the rest of us provincials with a sneer 🙂

    Seriously though, your statement doesn’t capture the reality of Eritreans in the Diaspora, I don’t know what your study/observation sample is, but I don’t think it reflect the reality. If you go to a sport bar that Eritreans frequent, you are bound to think “Eritreans are infatuated with football” the American one. For example, I need a dozen of aspirin if I glanced at it. If you come to Eritreans forums like awate.com, you will find the overwhelming majority are obsessed with what is going on in their homeland. But even those of us who are infatuated with that, are not closed mind people. We just think there are tens of thousands of Eritreans who would do the cultural diplomacy and establish relations with the world beyond Eritrea. As a minority as we are, I would rather have us focus on Eritrea–it is already hard without taking the burden of a bigger area and a wide variety of cultures.

    But I have another, different take than your. If you travel to places like Sudan, Ethiopia, the Gulf Arab countries, you will not “be hard pressed to see that being reflected in the virtual sociopolitical spaces.” If fact it has gone to extreme, total erasing of the original brand.

    In short, it depends on the social circles concerned (and we have dozens of those). They are different and I do not think we can categorize them in one aspect of the cultural and multi-cultural situation.

    However, if you meant to say we have had meaningful strides in the countries we reside, I agree with you–that is true. But is not because we do not appreciate reaching out to others, or assimilating. It’s rather the lack of guidance, as the Yemenis say, Ana Amir we’enta Amir–men yesug alHameer? It is our failure to structure our efforts in an effective way. But we will get there, when we get there. If I am to heed Saleh Younis advice, I would be tempted to ask a Tegadalay who would tell me “qalsna newih’ey; Awetna nay gdn’eyu.” I love it. This struggle is not for the faint heart, for those who get tired quickly, for those who think a struggle is a “get rich quick” scheme. It is not. But if someone has a fix for that, I wouldn’t ask them for How-To manual, I would encourage them to get dirty and do it the short way and lead us to the promised land–Bgbri!

    Finally Beyan, I am excited to have you back, I hope you stay and adorn this forum with your comments—a regular article would even be more welcome.

    • Beyan Negash

      Merhaba Saleh:
      Unfortunately, in all likelihood your intuition about “hit-and-run” may well be right. I wish I could commit and contribute a fraction of what you, Sal, and many others, who have been in the forefront of this worthy fight; but I can’t make any promises. This shouldn’t give an erroneous impression therefore that what I write and discuss, albeit haphazardly, lacks any merit. I hope not anyway.

      I,too, brother Saleh, found your comments about the tegadalay advice of Sal to you a curious one. I am not sure if tegadalay is in vogue nowadays. Sal seems to want to enshrine the tegadalay to St. Hood, although the John Wayne aspects of it may not allow it for such contention. The danger I see in such futile attempt is that these are fallible human beings as anyone of us, and elevating them to such an impossible height in the long run will be fruitless endeavor – many of them have failed the country and many more continue to fail young Eritreans by making the country an impossible place to co-inhabit as citizens of one country.

      Another curious iteration or lack thereof it is the glare absence of any mention of tegadalit. If my Tigrinya serves me right, tegadalay refers to a male, thusly, omits and shuns tegadalit as though she never existed. What gives?

      At any rate, Saleh, your open invitation for me to write is a humbling one – I will indeed take to heart. If I feel I have anything of value to contribute I wouldn’t hesitate – Awate.com has been my refuge when that urge and the itch to write kicks in, and when it does, I always know where to go, and I should add that I was never let down. I am grateful for that!


      • Salyounis

        Selamat Beyan:

        Quick notes on Tegadalai/Tegadalit, prophets, John Wayne, feminism:

        1. Way back in 1985, either “Soldier of Fortune” or “Guns and Ammo” had an article about female combatants and there was a story on EPLF’s female fighters. As you remember well, Beyan, back then, we were starved for any news about Eritrea and I remember buying the copy. Anyway, when we were posting my article on our Facebook page, earlier yesterday morning, I chose an image of a fierce female combatant from post-independence era to accompany the story (the image is from Women Warriors). This is because I consider the contrast between something we were once celebrated for (the participation rate of female combatants in our revolution) and the one we now are pitied for (the female who is victimized) quite astonishing.

        2. You may have heard me address our friend Semere Habtemariam as well as Semere Andom as “Tegadalai” Semere. It is an inside joke: it is a commentary on the misuse of the word by people who have no business using it. To me, the “Tegadalai” is the young Eritrean revolutionary who took a selfless act to elevate the cause of his people over his personal ambitions. The ELF and the EPLF veterans have a right to call themselves former Tegadalai but never Tegadalai. (by the way, in reference to a comment you made earlier about my absence from audio/video centered media, one of the many reasons I don’t appear at Paltalk is that I have a very inappropriate and ill-timed sense of humor. If I hear an old man saying “Hade Hade beluni; segud segud beluni”, or a guy saying “kdmi Htoy nushte r’ieyto alatni” and then go on with his soliloquy for 30 minutes, I am going to burst out laughing and the guy will be offended. It is a quirk I have, and I am NOT working on it:)

        3. I think you must have misconstrued my narration of the discussion we had with an Eritrean government official in 1995. It’s probably my fault as I was trying to be vague to protect his privacy. The point was: Back in 1995, the PFDJ thought that the only national security threat would be from Ethiopians who were dissatisfied with Weyane rule and that if that war was to break out between Ethiopians, Eritreans were not going to wait for it to come to their doorsteps, they were going to join the TPLF and make sure the battles were fought South of Tigray. They were going to spare Eritrea and Tigray from becoming battlegrounds. I was contrasting such declaration (persuasive at the time, but proven to be disastrously wrong) with our current reality: not only did Eritrea become a battleground, but there is nobody protecting innocent Eritreans as they are being victimized by savages. In short, the PFDJ, whose most compelling argument was that it could protect Eritreans, ended up being totally not up to the task at all. It is like waking up and finding out the Democrat Party has lost its zeal for looting people’s money 🙂

        4. John Wayne. You know, Beyan, I have flown out of John Wayne Airport a few times. Due to its closeness to millionaires estates and the noise ordinance the rich folk passed, planes take off on what feels like 75 degree angle, 5,000 feet up the pilot switches off one of the engines and there is an eerie silence as the plane banks west to the Pacific Ocean, and once over the ocean, the engine is switched on and the elevation continues. It is the only airport that requires that, according to the pilot’s announcements. Is that what you are talking about or the man that the airport is named after? 🙂 In case it is the latter, why, of course, our Tegadelti performed more miracles that he (or his heroic characters) did.

        5. Feminism. Now, to those who don’t know Beyan, he has been a vocal feminist since forever. But sometimes, feminism goes deep into PC territory and it forces him (or her) to express himself (or herself) in manner that makes writing (or reading) awkward. It reminds me of this skit from Monty Python: (1:50 minutes)



  • belay

    What is that little boy to do with all the crime in Eritrea or Senai desert?for that matter the young Ethiopian girl.
    Isn’t it those stupid Adults behind them on the back ground?
    Please people grow up and never involve children in a very serious matter.There thousands in pain.

    • Eyob Medhane


      Honestly, you are absolutely right. On the surface, it might look unrelated. However, one of the reasons that the people’s will to fight is lost, because the young and the vibrant are made to look the other way and indocternated with hateful attitudes. These young folks would have much more focused on fighting the regime, had their attention was not diverted into hating someone and something else. My fear is should such attitude is allowed to grow and ingrained in the minds of the young and impressionable, it would be very difficult to reverse it once they become ready to be charged to lead..That is my point..

  • Dear Saleh,

    Thank you for reverting us back to the issue that matters most. Your article focuses to the core problem of our society… the problem we are confronted with. Your question: “what would Jesus do?” I will encapsulate the answer to a a single word “sacrifice.” Jesus sacrificed for our salvation (as the bible says). Your question is a good reminder as to what we should. The answer is to be a committed fighter even to give the high price to remove the cause of all the misery.

    • please correct to be “as to what we should do.”

    • Ibrahim Idris

      ‘until we remove the cause’ who is the cause to our displacement? immigration problem? The answer is clear woyane junta who refuse to abide by rule of law who refuse to implement the international court ruling. woyane and his friends created no war no peace for indefinite to prolong their power on the expenses of ethiopian and eritrean people. we should fight and see our common enemy by looking our political difference as secondary.

  • Samuel N.

    Dear Saleh Younis,
    It being around Martyrs Day, I was thinking in similar terms the past weeks. I confronted myself with a hard question, “All propaganda aside, what exactly have we, Eritrean youth, learned from the Martyrs(tegadelgi + agelgilot)?”

    The genuine answer (though painful)from my observation and experience is (mind you I was in Eritrea until 2010): “Never to be the one to take risk or pay price.” especially for the “masses”. We are slow but we finally have taken the lesson. This is one of the greatest successes of the PFDJ. Eritrean history (even the border conflict is now history) has taught us that you pay the price to replace one evil leader by another and to throw your loved once into more suffering.

    N.B. Trivia (maybe just semantics): WWTD doesn’t sound appealing for those of us who were in Eritrea till recently. See those committing the crime in Eritrea are ALL Tegadelti. (I know people in diaspora only remember the old “tegadelti” in the pictures. Well a lot of them are alive and kicking. Most of them are criminals or at least supporters of the criminal regime.)


      Samuel ,

      I am old as time itself ,I never struggled with Jebha ,neitgher did I roam with EPLf carrying a gun.I jusdt happen to be objective ,brilliant & wise to the most part…I mean only Isaias is culpable is an insult to the Eritrean people or to anyone for a person that posses half of my prozac filled brain.
      The bandits that were date raping Eritrean girls after forcefully recruiting them in the middle of their peasant honeymoon are also committing the crime now.No body listens to my brilliant reason..¨those who were killing a dead body of ELF corpses ,are the same ones commiting the same crime.
      I wish people thought ,WWCCD, what would cyber cure do.

      thanks Samuel

  • Eyob Medhane


    Weren’t those selling and bartering the youth in Sinai also ‘tegadeltis’? Or many on the other side, who are ‘oppositions’, who do not want to be named were once the fabled ‘tegadeltis’? How does WWTD apply to them?

    Y’know, human trafficking and all the horrible ordeal will pass after it’s done with what it is doing. What would be a time bomb and possibly the never healing damage has been done and is being done to the culture and atttitude of young and future generation of Eritreans, who are infected with a tremendous hateful culture of EPLF, PFDJ and of course Gehdli, like this young man in this clip….Please watch it and tell me that young men like this are the ones in the waiting wing to be handed your country over. If that is what one has to look forward to, it is not only for you, but for those of us, who live around you, we need a prayer…A prayer that is long and very devotional one to deliver us from their evil. The day they become in charge, what is happening now may be viewed as child’s play….


    • Salyounis

      Ah, Eyob:

      You are worried about a guy whose youtube video has 51 views? Given your level of concern, 50 of the viewers were you:) In previous exchanges, I have noticed that you are prejudiced against some art forms–hip hop, spoken word, hard rock–so it’s your bias talking. Otherwise, the kid is no scarier than this angry Ethiopian girl with a gigantic chip on her shoulder and an even bigger sense of entitlement who is tired of Americans not making an effort to know her name (gasp! horror!)


      So, sleep safely, the Eritrean kid is not waiting in the wings to be handed over the country. He is just a young man being young.


      • Eyob Medhane

        Oh come on Sal,

        Are you really comparing Hiwot to this kid? Really? She just wants her name to be pronounced right. Nothing more. Nothing less. In fact, the premise of her spoken word was more of self respecting than self hating. Whereas, the Eritrean dude is spewing hate against people he happenes to have a common language and culture. How is that comparable?

        You said he is not to be handed the country over, but just being young. Are you sure? Trust me. I encounter many of his likes, who are, ‘just being young’. The level of the seed of hate that they are planted with is jaw dropping. Their rant is usually not for their names to be pronounced correctly. It’s about hating someone. The ‘us against he world, so I am angry as hell’ attitude. Sadly, many of them are of Kebesa. They are much angrier at Ethiopians than what is happening in Sinai. Ten years later, it is these young folks, who would be ready to carry on with what has been bestowed on them. Extreme hate. Let me tell you why I chose this kid to show you. He made sure his hate speech gets to Ethiopians by downloading it or linking it to Ethiopian video blog sites. (Ethiotube and such) Thankfully, they removed it for it’s offensive content, after I watched it only 50 times. 🙂 After it was removed, I had to search it on YouTube, to provide the link to you.

        I humbly advice you the wise men of Eritrea to work hard to change such attitudes of the young, before they become tomorrow’s pain. …

        • Salyounis

          Selamat Eyob:

          I try to be sympathetic to people’s nightmares but when you show me a video of an angry Eritrean boy saying angry things, If I think of it at all, I think:

          1. I wonder if his family knows what he is up to,
          2. Western culture is really influential. Consider the penetration of the gangsta culture of hip hop,
          3. there is another lost Eritrean, he will probably never return back to Eritrea…

          But I would never think “this could be future Eritrea’s leader and I better help change his attitude.” But then, your advice was addressed to the “wise men of Eritrea.” Well played, sir.

          By the way, on a somewhat related subject–the influence of Western culture (carrying on our conversation from a far, far away galaxy:) here is John Stewart appearing on Al Bernameg, the show hosted by his Egyptian clone Bassem Yousef. It is in English with Arabic subtitles:



      • haile

        Selamat saay

        …What is this, a training session? belo endo desqo eti koboro…



  • John

    If you tell some one day in and out that he is stupid/worthless, you could inflict some psychological trauma. As the time goes , the victim take it as ” normal” and the new normal becomes the norm: the victim helplessly worships his abuser . That’s what exactly Isayas did to Eritreans. We , Eritreans , have been through a lot . We are hurt. Collectively as a nation, Centuries of successive colonizer did inflict psychological trauma into eritrean’s psych.
    I think it will take time for us to recover from this embarrassing state of mind as a nation .

  • Beyan Negash

    Saleh, I was nodding my head in agreement with you until the last three lines, which seem to take a reader back to the article to locate the answer. I wish you let the reader pose the question rather than letting it spoil, an otherwise, well thought out piece: “I don’t know what exactly we should do; but I think one of the questions we should ask is What Would Tegadalai Do? It is a question worth asking because we have asked and failed to answer all the other questions.”

    Haven’t you already answered that yourself. Wasn’t Isayas tegadalay? Was the nameless official in your piece former tegadalay? Aren’t the former tegadelti who are perpetuating and perpetrating these unmentionable crimes?

    • Beyan,

      what a coincidence ! I was thinking the same thing;-)

      We should not be asking the question “what would Tegadalay do”; Instead , it would help us a great deal to examine and seek answers if we rephrase the question and ask: ” What has tegaday done to get us into this mess? 🙁 “

      • Mengis


        A double coincidence. I was also thinking the same.

        Salih, if I had WWTD bracelt, I would defintely go to Mekete meetings and demonize the victoms, blame WOYANE and finally AB GODNI MENGITEYIN HIZBEYIN DEW ELE KIMZILEKU MICHEDERKU! And then join some jeganu TEGADELTI in KUDA and GUAYLA! Luckily I do not have that bracelt!

        Salih, as usaul thank you for your insightful writings!

        • CYBER CURE

          Beyan ,Dawit ,Mengis,

          What a coincidence ,I have been thinking the same since 1978.

      • Beyan Negash


        Steering clear of the anonymous tegadalay would probably be the best course of action. The problem with drawing a parallel between a prophet – who is distinct and who carries an identifiable personality – with anonymous tegadalay – brings forth incongruity so writ large that one doesn’t even know where to begin in trying to make logical connections.

        Another incongruity writ small that one can handily see is between the video clip that Eyob posted and what Sal availed as a rebuttal. The former’s video clearly shows of an irate young man filled with hatred but was discounted by Sal as young man being young; what the latter avails by way of a rebuttal is of a young woman asserting and demanding that her name not only be pronounced correctly but also expresses and articulates the deeper meaning attached to her name as given to her by her parents. Another incongruity in reasoning.

        I am a bit at a loss in the overall message that is being conveyed. As much as I was nodding in agreement with the article as a whole, I find the elevation of the tegadalay to a prophet and to a John Wayne like wrapped in one character, an impossible incongruity to wrap my head around – it is dizzying at best.

        Whatever happened to the tegadalit, eh?

        • haile

          Selam Beyan,

          Suppose that saay asked “what would a christian do?” instead. Would it still be “logically incongruous” given all Christians don’t uphold the same degree of moral and ethical conduct in their daily lives? Surely, from what I understood, saay is referring to the Tegadaly’s selfless values in the notion of Ghedli as whole that we’ve come to understand than the individual acts of those who are also Tegadelti. The same comparisons would also be: “what would a Catholic do?”, “what would a Moslem do?”, “what would a businessman do?”…..

        • Beyan,

          I can’t agree more. You have certainly grasped the inward or hidden nature of the article and some of the comments.

        • yegermal

          I suspect that the “anonymous tegadalay” is the late Saleh Meki. Poor soul for the longest time he really believed that DIA had the best interest of the Eritrean people at heart. Rumors has it that he was growing quite disillusioned with the regime and died under “suspicious” circumstances on his return to Eritrea from a US tour.