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Human rights lawyer vs. trained healer

PIA interview – Summary Notes

 Last week began with what appeared to be a curious finding by some pro-regime of the Eritrean diaspora, in the form of a letter dated September 17, 1945 and addressed to the then US secretary of state James F. Byrnes from the then President of a USA based Sinclair Oil Corporation (a company now known as Sinclair Oil Refinery Corporation), that attempted to sway US policy on the issue of Eritrean independence. The week ended with a six hour long interview by President Isaias Afwerki with the nation’s media, aired live from the President’s office.

The President’s interview has apparently not been reported, at the time of writing this article, by its diaspora based pro-regime news outlets as well as its dedicated cadres that normally clutter social media spaces with snippets of the regime’s propaganda materials. In addition, the interview, the final part of which was aired today (Sunday September 8, 2013), has sent a wave of speculations, as regards the possible normalization of relations between Ethiopia /Eritrea, among discussants of awate.com’s discussion forum.

IA’s latest interview, lengthy as it may, might be considered to fall under two broad categories: a declared re-structuring of the regime’s party owned business enterprises and an implied change of policy towards a long time regional arch-rival Ethiopia. The full political impact of what has been delivered, by way of an atypically scheduled interview, is yet to unfold. Many assertions that were being drummed up by the regime’s own emissaries in the diaspora, i.e. with intent to camouflage the worsening economic situation in Eritrea, were shuttered one after another during that interview. For example, the Eritrean Ambassador to the UK, Tesfamichael Gerahtu has recently been on record, speaking to VOA, claiming that the power shortages in Eritrea were natural manifestation due to his alleged expansion of the economy; as well as basic maintenance issues that were claimed to be common everywhere else in the world. Other pro-regime activists were also writing similar themed papers to explain away the situation that the country continues to experience. During his interview, IA described the situation  as “crisis”  and his regime’s current handling of the problem was likened to “a crisis management”.

On agriculture, IA pulled the rug from under the pro-regime activist’s main talking point, which is that Eritrea has attained food self-sufficiency. In fact, to the contrary, he stated that even with all the capacity combined, including those that have been accumulated over the years, Eritrea is nowhere near attaining food self-sufficiency. The interview paints a grim picture of the current reality of the state of the country’s economy in almost all of the vital sectors. Fishing and related sectors were described by IA to be underdeveloped to the point of having no such thing as fishing capacity to speak of. The ports were said to be dilapidated and incapable of meeting local demands, let alone regional or international demands. Asmara airport was said to be useless and described as nothing more than a financial liability. In fact, according to IA’s own ranking, he rated Asmara airport below that of Tesseney airport, one that is not even in service. IA also stated that everything, from basic lighting to major manufacturing activities in the country are paralyzed due to chronic power shortages.

In relation to the private sector of the economy, the President who ruled the nation with an iron-grip for over two decades, menacingly asserted that many of those citizens who aspired to engage in businesses were in fact engaging in an illegal and crooked undertakings. He blamed that his decision to shut off the private sector was largely due to what he believed to be of untrustworthy practices of those who invested on what he considered useless ventures, such as retail and hospitality sectors and lacked the required capital to invest in the manufacturing sector. The regime of IA is known to be notorious in the expropriation of private businesses. Investor guides that are published by external agencies often cite the case of the Asmara Intercontinental Hotel saga where the regime revoked the business contract of the management to later re-open the hotel as a party owned establishment. IA also blamed corrupt officials of his administration for expanding illegal business activities in the country.

In relation to the health sector, the President defended his actions to ban private health provision on grounds that those receiving services in the public sector were not being looked after as well as those opting for private treatment. He accused Eritrean health professionals of being in lacking of basic “ethical” and “moral” values in the way they carry out their practice within the private sector setting. He expressed his admiration of medical professionals in the Sudan and other countries whom he considered to have far higher moral and ethical standards than their Eritrean counterparts. The president also cast doubts as to the competence of Eritrean doctors to provide private sector health provision. It is to be remembered that even during the Ethiopian occupation, and many years thereafter, there were so many well-known Eritrean health professionals that have also provided outstanding services in the private sector. Nowadays, just like any other citizen, Eritrean doctors are required to patrol streets at night carrying AK-47 Kalashnikovs.

In connection to the construction sector, the President lamented the corrupt and greedy nature of those who sell or rent premises as well as those who intend to invest in the construction sector. He accused land owners of illegal activities as well as being backward and not knowing the true value of the land. This is presumably the reasons that the dictator had to intervene to ban all construction activities. Such a ban also included those people who purchased construction rights from the regime in good faith but were later cheated out of the deal.

Regarding water shortages in the capital and environs, the president contended that it is the people who needed to go to where the water is and not the other way around. He criticized the residents, who are going without water supply for months on end, for being inconsiderate of other fellow citizens who live in remote parts of the country, who are even far worse off than themselves. The president did not have any foreseeable plans to present at the interview; rather he condemned the greed and inconsiderate nature of those complaining about the water shortages.

The president was upbeat about the prospect of fiber technology that is claimed to being introduced in the telecommunications sector. He did not, however, illustrate how the project was being financed or what made it a priority in the face of the dire realities of a nation going for broke.

In relation to the forceful arming of civilians and the economic losses being suffered by those who have to attend daily training as well as duties of guarding regime buildings, IA denied that such cases were widespread occurrences. It is a well-known fact that the regime threatens to shut business premises, if owners fail to send their employees to receive fire arms. Many services in Asmara and other cities are often held off during en-mass rounding of citizens or other activities related to the civilian arming, trainings and guard duties.

Reacting to a question relating to the mining revenues generated so far, IA was initially seemed to be confused and unable to understand the term “mining revenue disclosure”, and soon launched into what appeared to be tirades of verbal abuse which alleged that the people forget to factor in the fact that the mining company’s declared revenues don’t actually translate into final payouts and that the government has been underpaid to the extent of potentially having to reconsider existing mining agreements. IA, also lamented the lack of sense by those asking for the revenues to be declared, in that they fail to appreciate the fact that his regime actually spends billions of dollars a year in subsidy and development projects. He dismissed whatever revenue was being asked to be accounted for, as something that wouldn’t even meet the nation’s six months energy expenditure. He dismissed the question as immature.

The president has also answered questions regarding the human trafficking ordeals of the Eritrean youth. His responses to such questions are omitted here. The reason for the omission is to do with the fact that the IA regime is currently under investigation by multiple UN empowered monitoring bodies that are tasked to ascertain the extent of the regime’s complicity in those acts.

All in all, it was clear that IA had no intention of dealing with the above mentioned questions, i.e. other than to degrade, humiliate and threaten the populace with the regime’s well established acts of severe violations in human rights.

On Ethiopia

Perhaps, his sudden shift of tone towards Ethiopia, the references that IA made concerning some signed “contract” to develop the port of Assab, the complete silence regarding the border demarcation, the reference to Ethiopian government as “goblel” roughly meaning big guy, as opposed to what he used to call them, “kedemti” meaning housemaids, and many other cues have led to wild speculations that the regime is [or has] already taken steps to mend relations. IA has spoken of Ethiopia’s right to use the Nile for the millennium dam and belittled some of the technical concerns raised by Egypt and the Sudan. Throughout his interview, IA argued the seriousness of the power shortages that Eritrea is faced with, and spoke positively regarding the prospects of Ethiopia’s proposal to generate electricity to meet its own needs and export to regional countries.

Gone are the “mekhete” mantra and in comes “Complementary and Durable peace”.

Gone are “resolute rebuff” and in comes mutually beneficial regional projects.

Gone are the last 12 years “Woyane conspiracy”  and in comes the post-cold war uni-polar hegemony over the last 20 years.

Gone are “Weyane invaded Somalia” and in comes “regional countries might have intervened for national security considerations”

 Gone are “national defense” and in comes “nation building” over generations to come.


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  • Woldai

    እዚ ቃለ መጠይቕ እዚ ካብ ኩሉ ኢ.ኣ ንህዝቢ ኤርትራ ዘለዎ ንዕቐት እዩ ዘርኢ! ብጣዕሚ እዩ ዘሕዝን! ፅብቕቲን እምንቲን ጎረቤት ክትኮነልና ኢልና ዝኸፈልናዮ መስዋእቲ ከንቱ ተሪፉ ኣሽንኳይ ናዓና ንህዝባ እውን ምኻን ኣብዩዋ ኢልና እንዳጓሃና ከለና ኢዚ ምንም ተስፋ ዘየብሉ ቃለ ምሕተት ካዓ ኣስሚዑና! ብጣዕሚ ዘሕዝን!

  • sara

    @blynesh,are you sure

  • yegermal

    “Reorganization and assignment at all levels in Government and PFDJ bodies would continue: President Isaias

    KIDI BELI! DIA infamous musical chair is operating again,openly! As in the past, after any dissenting accident, DIA studies the situation carefully, tests the loyalty of his close cronies, quietly purges the contaminated ones, announces a plan to restructure the power base and VOILA’ he consolidates his grip of power and the Eritrean people is emasculated further and stupefied into inaction.

    Here is my summary: Alamin after a long illness comes back from the dead like his boss and gets a new lease on cronyism. Monkey’s and Kisha’s jobs are secure as ever for keeping DIA afloat through trying times. Zemharet appears frozen and Filipos is in shaky grounds as well. Who else will be thrown under the bus this time around? Any guesses? I just wish awate will bring back its “musical chair”:)

    • haile

      Selamat Yegermal,

      What a mess!!! IMO what he needs is a retirement plan to present to most of those guys on the video. Not another dagme sririE/wudeba!!! Do you know that there are no pension benefits in Eritrea? They were banned less than 5 years after the dergue was gone, and there is no such thing as pension plan or TRota benefits nowadays just dagme wudeba till they make it to the grave.

      • yegermal

        Shoooo, we are doomed then! Some of them people might have a pact with the devil to prolong their lives!

      • yegermal

        Selamat haile:)

        Got to learn them niceties!

      • yegermal

        Just realized I missed your mention of a video. Which video?

        • haile

          Today’s ERiTV newscast @eastafro.com has reportage of the seminar that you referred to in your post:) ane yeKhbrom eye, Erefti yHshom eye dma zbelku, ente zeyelo dma baElna nrftom:)


  • Muluaska

    It seems IA has at long last realised that that he cannot go on and on avoiding the thorny issue of peaceful settlement with Ethiopia. His speech is littered with euphemisms which are highlighted by the commentator of the article on IA’s interview.
    As his battle against Ethiopia, has catapulted IA to the Eritrean presidency, so will his inability to solve the Ethio-Eritrean conflict be responsible to his demise.

  • Hayat Adem

    “hen I write about his communication skills people get upset because they think I am praising a monster. What I am doing is trying to explain why so many people followed him for so long, and some still do. Because the alternative is to believe that our Eritrea is full of dummies an cowards and opportunists–and I refuse to believe that.”
    If you don’t consider our reasoning that it is only because of his machiavellian manipulation why he still does have supporters and followers, and you keep on attributing it to his communication and persuasion skills, then I am afraid the inevitable conclusion would be the one you refused to believe. You could not normally take leaders and journalists to prison and put them in incommunicado for 12 years and counting, and let them perish there, and persuade normal people that you did it for a good reason. People to be persuaded of that by any level of communication skill have to be dummies, cowards and opportunists. You can not shoot at veteran disables and persuade your followers that you did it in good intention. You can’t persuade normal people not to expect water services to come to their residences but to move their towns and villages to where the waters are. By the way, where are the ideal places for water availability if at all Asmara residents are persuaded by the great communicator to turn themselves into nomads and move in search of water? wey zereba!

    • belay

      Dear Hayat Adem,
      Izi Sebai Gele’lewo Gele,works.

    • Hayat,

      a. The dictator is either a good communicator.
      b. Or, his followers are too obedient (they have listened to him since ghedli era). I found a good trigrina word for them : ምእዙዛት.

      His inner circle (his cabinet ministers, generals) may have been tamed while in “mieda” to be easily manageable, and willing to be taught. Today they choose to stick with the dictator because to do so brings them substantial wealth. Control of economic resources are attractive nuisances many would be politician are reluctant to forgo, and thus vie to hold key public offices. (Eritrean opposition parties are not different. Implementing democratic institution is a secondary thing, a by product. Their first goal is the control of economic resources even though such desire is not explicit)

  • Salyounis

    From Khokhob Selam, merhaba/jebena page of awate:

    ዘይተገመተ ክግመት ግመት ግምታቱ :-
    እቲ ዘይምግማቱ ኣብ ግመት ይኣቱ:-
    ነቲ ዘይፈለጦ ሰሪቁ ኣመቱ :-
    ቶኽላ ዝነበረ ቀይሩ ቆርበቱ:-
    ምስ ኣባጊዕ ይጽንበር ቀይሩ ኣንፈቱ::

    the rest at: http://awate.com/jebena-awate-open-thread/

    • haile

      He is a great talent, good job KS!

    • Kokhob Sellam,

      “yebel gitmi” keep up to enrich the language as well as to pass poetic political messages.

    • Kokhob Selam

      thank you all enjoy also ….ሓይሊ ብርዒ….today in Jebena page.

    • ዋላ እንተቀየረ ጸጸኒሑ ልብሱ
      ኣበይ’ሞ ይተርፎ ምዃኑ እቲ ንሱ

  • Araya

    Haile you are funny. You are wondering why I shared the music link only with the selected one. Well, since you people calling us names, you know the likes of “ nazi youth” “ telabee” courtesy of SAAY.
    In every society, the youth look down on the old one, because, the old is just old, simply they are waiting to die. They are useless. Only in Eritrean opposition the old hates the youth. I will never figure that out. Anyway, Haile, I just want to share with you people, the haters of the youth, how the youth respects you, your history and the nation you have paid for.
    We may be “Nazi” but the truth is we are yours and we love our country.
    Let me ask you this, why are you people calls us “Nazi youth”? you have the right to oppose but don’t you think we have the right to support?

    • haile

      Araya, then that makes you even funnier. In fact, you probably don’t know this but I had gotten into heated and angry exchange with some participants here because I disagreed with the approach of calling Eritrean youth in diaspora “Nazi” regardless of what political view they take. Again, when I called the commenter ‘Asmara’ and the likes butlers (unusual word) it was because I wouldn’t use the commonly applied term by many “slave” against my fellow Eritrean brothers and sisters. To denigrate them like that would be to denigrate myself. A butler on the other hand has a CHOICE to take up the role. But once they take up the role, the way they should behave is predetermined. I am not responsible for your choice of being a yes man to a dictator who has just announced that the country is in a terrible shape and all his past actions (for which you said yes sir) had failed. So, I disagree with using derogatory terms towards my fellow Eritreans simply because they disagree with my ideas (which you seem not to have a problem with). Please search any of my past comments if you will.

      Your involvement of the youth and their artistic work to make a political point, not only shows your utter disregard to the way the producers wanted to share their work, but also shows how far you would go to violate the rights of others to advance what you consider is “good” for you. It is utterly immoral that you try to involve our diaspora youth who have a complex and different set of priorities in your cheap propaganda service for a brutal regime. You have the right to support it and the obligation to share the responsibility of the crimes that it commits.

  • TieTie,

    I hope you are around and have some time to answer my question.
    In the past, I have promised you whenever I am confused I will see you again. I chose you, because you are one of the unconfused commentators @awate.com.
    So here is the question to you:- At the very end of IA’s interview one of the journalists asked IA: Dear president do you think North Sudan and South Sudan will benefit more if they go back to unity? Remember this question is not a follow up question. As usual, and of course, IA’s answer was ambiguous for a straight forward question; but aside from that why do you think IA chose to talk about several options such as:-and I quote, you can name the relationship confederation, federation, unity, …and so is better than sovereignty.
    Do you think the value of sovereignty is compromised here? and if so do you think his personal wishes are limited to the North and South Sudan only?

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      The president had said it before and he repeats it agian ‘there is no independent media!’

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    If Eritrea and ethiopia dont solve their problems in Peace regardless the horrible ego of Our tigre and tigrinya People, then Eritrea and People catagorized under the name of Eritrea suffer a lot by simple statistics. As we know pfdj has choosen the anti USA allince while ethiopia chooses the west. So there is no surprise that eri has been boycotted. No single country helps others just to wadge war on its interest except ethiopia between 1991-1998 thanks to woyane. And the press from Ethiopia, the boycott and the oppositions together crashed Eritrea to the ground. The paine is understandable for any ethiopian because we had it all and worse than Eritrea experiancing now.

    During mengistu time ethiopia was boycotted, Somalia envaded ethiopia, so shabia and woyane declared civil war, mengistu was massacaring any one who opposed him, the ngos and the west embasis used the help to cripple ethiopia more and 17 years was a living hell. Comapred to that Eritrea now has better condition and in 20013 Our world are more civilized than before 1991.

    So why dont we see the facts the way any layman like me does?

    Why does not isayas work With the west or at least stop the hostility against usa?

    The average erirean People do not take alshabab or Taliban seriouslly even those who support isyas. Infact many in Eritrea concider alshabab as a terrorist Group. If we take pure statistics then eritreans are more easyly influnced by any thing western than somalians.

    Why have ertreans not before or after 1991 engaged in peaceful struggel agaisnt Ethiopia?

    Who is eritrean or ethiopian around the 1000 km long border?

    Are the orthodox eritreans more comfortable With any orhtodx in Ethiopia than the eritreans non tigrinya speakers?

    Is there any significant relation between the muslims of eritreans and ethiopians?

    Are the ethio kunama, afar, tigre, etc more comfortable With their ethnic Group in Eritrea than the rest of ethiopian ethnic Groups? What about the vis versa?

    These questions must be addressed to the mass of eritreans not this mumbo jambo of 6 hours of an old die hard street smart.

  • Dan

    The interview made by PIA is a fun to the people of Eritrea for he considered the people is ignorant about the regional and global issues.
    He said shamelessly I will buy electricity from Sudan and Djibouti when Sudan and Djibouti are buying electricity from Ethiopia. How do you react then as an Eritrean having a liar so called president?

  • “What exactly is the nature of the relation between the two Tigrinya speaking people to the north and south of the Mereb throughout their history? Was it that of friendship or rivalry?
    As a high school student, I found it difficult to understand why Eritreans and Tigrians fought much more between themselves than they did with other Ethiopians.”

    Dear Horizon,
    Many people are not aware of any pre-98 historical rivalry between EPLF and TPLF. Back in early 90 When both parties marched towards their respective cities, the general assumption was that they are going to jointly rule both people. But perhaps the fact that their main focus was getting rid of the supposed enemy(the Amhara) they failed to foresee what human nature will request next once the common-enemy is gone. The assumption was that the Ethnic bond will be less conflicting than the conflict they had with the alien-Amahra..but unfortunately it is a common truth that there is no such thing as small-difference or big-difference when it comes to conflict of interest..In fact the fact that two political identities are created out of the same ethnic family will make it more complicated as the issue becomes more of psychological rather than political. And I doubt if there is any technical solution for psychological war, but I hope I am wrong. Trust me, if EPRDF today decides to handover the disputed territory to Shabia but leaves the border closed, Isais will still find a reason for not delivering all the fallacies he has built Eritreanism on.

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      No, I dont believe you! How dare you! Where is the evidence?

    • haile

      Selam Lij Alemayehu,

      ..In fact the fact that two political identities are created out of the same ethnic family will make it more complicated as the issue becomes more of psychological rather than political.

      I find the above statement loaded with an unwarranted assumption as regards the Eritrean identity (what you allude to as Eritreanism). Was the EPLF an entity representing the organized form of those sections of Eritrean society that shared common ethnic attributes with their counterparts in Tigray? Even more worryingly, are you alluding that “Eritreanism” is the expression of that section of the Eritrean society?

      The next misconstruction you seem to formulate says:

      Trust me, if EPRDF today decides to handover the disputed territory to Shabia but leaves the border closed, Isais will still find a reason for not delivering all the fallacies he has built Eritreanism on.

      Since when did boundary demarcation become an asset for state governing? Whether IA uses the same or different reasons to fail the people of Eritrea has nothing to do with concluding the border demarcation treaty, which was entered by both states in good faith.

      Eritreans, like any other similar people, shoulder the responsibility to bring forth a government that is accountable to them. Such is not dependent on what EPRDF does in relation to the boundary pillars emplacement along the borders between both countries. Nor does it depend on what reasons the current unaccountable and brutal dictator in Eritrea would use to justify his hold to state power unconstitutionally.

      Your conditionality is, I am afraid, ill advised about the nature of things making up the heart of your arguments.


  • Hayat Adem

    PIA’s leadership as zero-vision as we’ve known it now- is all punctuated by failure after failure. It is sad some of his mistakes have dragged the country down the drain, and made the people pay dearly. BUT he is not a great communicator either even by an average African standard let alone to compare him with great charismatic communicators of our world- such as Regan- by any imagined wild stretch.
    Of the four communication skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) there is no argument that he scores poorly on all of them. Isias is not a good listener literally and intellectually. He could’ve benefited and become wiser if he had ears for fresh thoughts. He enjoys becoming a contrarian experimentalist with a narcissist tendency. Such men would never listen to what others (friends or foes) have to say. Even in this interview, he doesn’t listen to the specificity of the questions he was being asked. When he was asked about the water problems and the projects, he mumbled at great length on the generality of the issue, availability of water, the wrong location of the cities etc…while the question should have been tackled with specific data and success rate. And where does he get this ridiculous idea that people go to water, not water to people? First of all, the job of any government is bringing service to people and dislocating people to the service. He is supposed to serve people and manage resources, not manage people and serve resources. Where does he want to move all this highland urban dwellers of Eritrea to? His job is to mobilize resources and services for the well being of the people, and mobilize the people for work and development. He also said something silly when he mention what he saw in a Hotel room of an Asian country about not wasting water. Water scarcity in Asmara is not because of waste, it is because of absence or nearly 0 supply. Either he did not get the essence of the question or he wanted to deflect and cloud it. Neither would make him a good communicator. On writing, the only write up Isaias is still being mentioned is the “nihnana elamanan” said to have authored it 40+ yrs ago. If the only thing you would bring is the 4 decade old doc of nihnan elamanan to declare that he is a good writer and nothing of late, it only tells volumes how he went totally derelict if at all he was one. I’ve never heard or read of PIA authored books or articles. Something like that could be inferred to his reading habits as well. You see the man not growing or inf act in a diminished thinking slope, and such qualities don’t come from a man who reads and updates himself. When he speaks, he doesn’t engage his partners at all. He doesn’t interact. He doesn’t allow mid-way interjections. That always came out wounded when ever he faced independent journalists form outside. Imagine how boring it would be for a journalist to patiently wait for 17 minutes of a wrong answer to a previous question.I can’t possibly survive long enough be able to ask the next question. The 4 journalist in the room were just captives and not interacting partners. If you are not in that room, you can’t possibly be interested to listen to him for the sake of it unless interests force you. If it were not for the fact that he is a president with so much power deciding on the fate an entire country and millions of people, and my urge to learn the policy implications of his talk that force me to listen to what he has to say in his long monologue interviews, I would never spend a minute on listening to his ቅጥኒ ዕብዲት ሃለውለው because of the pull power.

    • Hayat,

      You said,

      Of the four communication skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) there is no argument that he scores poorly on all of them. Isias is not a good listener literally and intellectually.

      How is Issayas able to rally hundreds of thousands of supporters around him and his ideas?

      Isn’t it Issayas who authored the much talked about manifesto : “nihnan elamanan”? I would also say he is a good speaker (he knows his audience very well and adjusts his message to them accordingly). Usually, the messages he delivers to Eritreans inside Eritrea is different from the messages he delivers to non Eritreans (Journalists, Diplomats, and so and so forth )

      Needless to say, if it were not for his above average communication skills, he would not be able to rally many forces inside and outside Eritrea. After all he has honed the communication skills for over 40 years. To stay that many years in power, one has to be able to effectively communicate and convince various personalities, from the “gebar” to the “elites”.

      In short, his communication as well as his leadership skills have enabled him to rule over 30 years. He may not be the best, but he is more than average. It’s why the opposition can’t yet beat him in the four communication skills you mentioned. The communication and leadership skills he has developed through the years are his forte.

      • Hailat,

        Absolutly not. He is holding the public by intimidation and by any interest they might have from their nation. that is all. In fact he has stooges better communicators (like Monkey, Zemhret..etc)than himself. Don’t give him credit when the credit is not due to him. There is one area who excels everybody and that is how to exploit the Eritrean “nationalist-psychology” that often comes and invoked on and off in this forum, such as “pride and dignity” – in any form or shape of argument for that matter.

        • Hailat,

          Oops sorry. Yes to Dawit. You see brother, when you comment in between your work that is what it happens. Again I apologize. Dawit the above comment should be addressed to you in response to your comment.

      • Hayat Adem

        Hi Dawit,
        What Aman mentioned is the main reason (playing with the Eritrean ego and exploiting the nationalistic feeling). I wuld add, the 2nd reason is ‘partnership in benefit’, meaning, there are a number of people who are really enjoying their personal shares from the pie. The 3rd reason is “fear of the unknown”, i.e., there are folks who think something worse will happen to Eritrea and Eritreans if we let PIA’s regime crumble. The fourth reason may be that a significant number hate Weyane (some extend their hate to include all Tigreans/Ethiopians) and the opposition, and they set their thinking mode at a zero-sum of Weyane/opposition via-a-vis PIA. For such folks, they hate Weyane/opposition more than they love PIA. For that reason they give him their support in protest of the alternative and in hating to see Weyane/Ethiopia prevailing. 5th, there are some who support him because he blackmails them/their family. And there are, of course, those who may think he is a good president and he is doing OK. But, you can see most of his support comes from all sorts of negative fields; he is not earning it because people think he is the best leader Eritrea can offer.

        • Hayat,Aman,

          I agree that all the reasons you mentioned are factors that have made many Eritreans prefer to deal with Issayas (even if they don’t like him) to another unknown (untested) leader. For them it is also better to deal with the devil they know than the devil they don’t.

          Yours and Aman’s reasons are however part of the story why the man has stayed in power for so long. For example, we are also told that before 1991 many tegadeltis (the elite group in particular) left the man rule essentially unchallenged because they were all in “wait and see” mod. They had waited until Eritrea was liberated.

          After independence and before the war with Ethiopia broke out, he was briefly challenged but managed to squash many tegadelties’ anger/concern about their living standards. His power was also challenged during the war by the G-13, G-15 or what have you but again to no avail. The ” ትዉጋሕ እሞ ክንርእአ ኢና ” have basically done little to mount a challenge that shakes up the system.

          So, how is the man able to rule over Eritreans both before and after independence despite all the reasons Hayat and Aman laid out? It is because he has shown a strong leadership and communication skills. Strong leaders use carrot and stick depending on the situation. Issayas seems to know this very well. One of the attributes of a capable leader (a brutal leader or not) are rewards and punishments. He uses these elements of leadership to get what he wants or achieve his desired goal.

          Like Salih Younus*, the man also appears to be a skillful debater, based on many of the interviews he’s done with foreign journalists. One thing that I would like to know about the man is whether he undertakes a course of action or embrace a point of view by using argument, reasoning, and/or entreaty besides threat and intimidation.

          *I am trying to draw the brainy to the debate so that I can chill out and read the exchange of views on whether the man is an able leader or a con artist 😉

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Hayat:
      I agree with your take that DIA is not a good communicator in par with Reagan, Churchill and others. You are also right on the fact that he has a never authored any paper, essay besides that Nhan Elamant, he is still coasting on that thanks to the Romantics and diehard. Even some have gone as far as saying that it is the best document ever written on the Eritrean revolution.
      By the mere fact that he was the first self-elected president of Eritrea all his supports buoyed by the Romantics call him the George Washington, but GW was not just the first president of USA, he is a giant, a founding father of the great nation/democracy that the supporters of DIA live and thrive. Imagine what Thomas Payne said openly said to GW “The world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an impostor; whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you never had any to begin with.” Now compare that to a common criminal and a hooligan president who tortures café owners, who were suspected of calling him “Anthonio”.

      But one thing for sure. DIA used to know his audience, if he is talking to Chegawar Danga, he will choose his words carefully. In such gathering for example, he would call a gun,”tebenja” not “bret”. He will use words like” “ashumbay do”and instead of “ashunkay”. When he is around the “skunis” he will use their diction, hypnotizing both groups. This is a skill in itself, albeit, evil one.
      1989 seminar when he was asked rather prophetically by an audience member about Woyane betraying them he said “se srena yewatsna and betray betrika”, to the delight of the supporters, which was everyone in the room, including an anthropology professor chants of “ I am an Eritrean, I am an Eritrean.”


      • Salyounis

        Kubur zeytagadali Semere:

        My friend, where have you been hiding?

        Let me quote you:

        DIA used to know his audience, if he is talking to Chegawar Danga, he will choose his words carefully. In such gathering for example, he would call a gun,”tebenja” not “bret”. He will use words like” “ashumbay do”and instead of “ashunkay”. When he is around the “skunis” he will use their diction, hypnotizing both groups. This is a skill in itself, albeit, evil one.”

        This is what I am saying–although people tend to get upset when I say it. Let me suggest that besides “Nehnan Elamanan”, he has authored (or had a heavy hand in authoring) other documents that many found quite persuasive:

        If you read David Pool’s account of the MenkaE movement in his book , (Guerillas to Government), it was a dispute among the Ala group (the founders of PLF3). Isaias was able to persuade the PLF1 group (Alamin Mohammed Said, Romadan Mohammed Nur, Ali Said, etc) by appealing to their Maoist orientation. That is called effective communication–even if it was done for evil purpose. Pool’s chapter dealing with Menake was excerpted and is available at an Eritrean website but I am not providing the link because I am not sure they have his permission to excerpt it.

        People like Ambassador Adhanom, who were not present during the 73-74 crisis, said that they had found Isaias’s account (and it is Isaias’ account because Menkae was a direct criticism of his leadership) that it was a Destructive Movement very persuasive.

        Leapfrog to January 2001. For 7 months prior to that, the G-15 had attempted to rile up the party (PFDJ) and later on the people in their cause via interviews in the private press and various Open Letters. In January 2001, Isaias and Company wrote and distributed “Weyane’s Third Offensive and the Political Campaign That Followed It.” I had discussions with many, very bright Eritreans then and they were completely persuaded by that paper.

        Consider his meeting in New York City a couple of years ago and the audience reaction to his carefully chosen words–alternating between praise for them and self-deprecating humor at being the target of the US (glx glx endabelna nkheyd)– and the ecstasy the crowd was in. Do you think that all the flattery directed at “kbur hzbi Ertra ab wshTn ab wexaen..” where the wexae always gets more praise that the wshTi is unplanned?

        Is it just Eritreans who are easily charmed? No. According to wikileaks, the US ambassador to Eritrea comments on how “very well received” a speech that Isaias made to diplomatic mission in Eritrea was and and he is told, by Yemane Gebremeskel, that it was entirely written by Isaias.

        When I write about his communication skills people get upset because they think I am praising a monster. What I am doing is trying to explain why so many people followed him for so long, and some still do. Because the alternative is to believe that our Eritrea is full of dummies an cowards and opportunists–and I refuse to believe that.

        Some “joke” that Isaias wants to overthrow the people because he is not happy with their follower-ship. Actually, this is not a joke: it is called realignment of constituencies. Consider this: In the 1980s, the most ardent supporters of the EPLF were housemaids in Italy. (kedemti.) Still, two-three decades later, one of the most derogatory words Isaias uses is “kedemti.” Do you think that if he believed in having a static constituency he would use the word “kedemti” as a derogatory term? After 2001, he made a conscious decision to dump another constituency: those who thought he was an authoritarian but reforming to be a democrat. And he will continue to do this “alignment of constituencies” at will until he completely runs out of people, or out of time.


        • yegermal

          Will take the blame for posting the link, deal? [deleted], incidentally that is the same site that contains many testimonials about DIA being a CIA mole:)

          [From moderator: No deal, yegermal:) Writing a book is an exhausting task, and people’s hard work should not be just taken. We will make the deal when we know Pool has authorized the excerpt.]

        • yegermal

          AT, there is no dispute about the effort it takes to write anything let alone a book, but I thought as long as the work is attributed to the original author, one needs not to ask permission to include excerpts in one’s website. Please share your insight about it. Perhaps I missed something when I learned about “MLA citing”. Just out of curiosity, how would I obtain permission from a deceased author that lived way before the internet was invented, say HOMER?

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Yegermal:

            Are you sure you want me to share my insights… Might be more than you bargained for:)

            Generally, if you are using more than 500 words from a book, you need permission from the author or publisher or both. With music, it is far less generous, unless the song is in the public domain. “For He Is A Jolly Good Fellow” is public domain, free; but “Happy Birthday To You” is not. Think of it next time you are at a restaurant and the waitresses gather around to sing you their rendition of “happy birthday” because if they sing you the real “happy birthday to you”, Warner will sue them for copyright violation:)

            Since this is Friday, more stories. I heard this from the source. Rick James biggest hit (a global hit, a monster) is the God-awful “Superfreak” and just when I thought Thank God it’s losing its popularity, MC Hammer came in and took its riff and used it for “Can’t Touch This.” (Another horrible song) and sold a gazillion records. Meanwhile, Rick James was then in jail, and he is going crazy and saying that’s my song and calling his lawyer and demanding he do something. Smart lawyer says, “just wait…let him make all the money, wait until the song falls to the bottom of the charts.” And bang, as soon as it does, he sues for copyright infringement. Now every one who wants to sample a song has to think of that.

            Did you know that Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” is NOT in the public domain and if you have to use it, you have to pay $ to his estate? Here’s an article about that in Reason magazine. http://reason.com/blog/2013/08/28/did-you-know-mlks-i-have-a-dream-speech

            If you want to copy stuff from Homer (ayne swru teraki, as my elementary school book called him), here’s the Fair Use clause of US copyright law:

            Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.

            The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
            The nature of the copyrighted work
            The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
            The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

            Pool’s book was published by Ohio University Press and I am sure they own some rights on the book. When reviewing a book, you can’t “give away the end.” For example, there is a line in Saleh Gadi Johar’s book (Miriam Was Here) that is absolutely the price of the book. It is an extrordinarly insightful line about those who consider themselves religious because they do the rituals but are evil to the core. I would be mad if that line was included in any review of his book:) Hint, hint, hint.

            Some books, like the autobiography of His Imperial Majesty, Grmawi Kedamawi Haile Selasse I, explicitly state that the whole book may be cited without permission. This is how Bob Marley was able to take HSI address to the United Nations, and create the song “War” one of his biggest hits. Of course, as Eyob knows, the speech itself was written by an Eritrean 🙂


        • Selam Saleh,

          In a long debate, you finally found the “only reason” of his success to stay in power for so long…and that is “realignment of constituencies” or changing constituencies.He knows how to dump old inner circles and build new inner circles. the old inner circles. Look how The Duru’e, Petros, Mesfun…etc supreseded by Monkey, Zemeheret, and Sebhat..etc. Add to this his ability to take a “swift action” against his adversaries. Otherwise he is neither good communicator nor good debater.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Emma:

            But must it be only ONE reason? Can’t it be a number of reasons? For example, I knew a maniacal supporter of his (now a fierce opponent) who told me that when she was a supporter it was because she thought he was a very charismatic and magnetic figure. It is kinda like American college kids who wear Che Guevara t-shirt (because he looks cool man) when they have no idea what he stood for. There are other reasons, but I consider his ability to connect with his audience to be one of his strongest suits. By the way, there was an article by Aklilu Zere about Isaias’s early days when all he traveled with was a…typewriter. The article, if I can find it, I will link it in this space, was an amazing piece of the gravitational pull he had towards Eritrean boys from the countryside.


            PS: Found it. Here’s an excerpt from Aklilu Zere’s “How About Then?” Please note, we are not discussing whether he uses his ability to communicate (persuade) for good or bad. The discussion is: does he have the ability to communicate: to persuade, to paint a picture, to create a whole world?

            Nsu was actively fanning the rumor and he was advising any struggler who approached him to not only run away and stay in hiding but if possible to go to villages and agitate villagers of the alleged atrocities committed over Christian strugglers by the hand of their Moslem brothers. He must have been good at it because those who approached him left impressed and emboldened. All their suspicions and hatred over him were gone like the dark cloud that scatters away with no rain. “He is the man” was commonly heard them say.

            No one knew what his plans were or why he wanted them run away while he himself did not. No one asked him why he opted to stay while preaching danger and calamity to others. Was he immune from danger? If so why was he the only one immune?

            The boys lacked directness and sophistication. The lack of these essential characteristics rendered them easily confused and unable to ask relevant questions. Nsu said and they accepted his advice without argument. They took Nsu as a prophet with extraordinary vision and supernatural courage who was sent to lead and protect them. Those who run away made his name legendary. They forgot his secretiveness and greed. They forgot his asocial and sometimes violent disposition. They forgot his divisive tactics and grudge stuffed soul. They created a new Nsu in their mind from a wish hidden in the depth of their isolation. He filled the vacuum left by their fathers who left all the responsibilities of raising them to their mothers. Nsu became the surrogate father [Aya] they wished they had.

          • Merhaba Saleh,

            Surely Aklilu will have a better reading. I don’t forget Aklilu’s graphic explanation of the 1976 meeting “the circle and how he sits” that depicted the “birth of the despot.” There could be other possible but yet undiscovered strengths that could be told by his colleagues who knew him for decades. We shall see about that if there are any. But from all his speeches and Q&A all the years we heard, I don’t see the skill of persuasion. One thing I observe though from the public in general “they adore and worship leaders” something we should make some research into it.

            Besides, Sal don’t forget that the organization (EPLF) promoted all the elements of cult cultivation that enable him to be worshiped as omnipotent leader, the Eritrean people to count on him.

          • Mussie


            don’t flatter yourself by considering yourself a teacher. what am I going to learn from you? a doctrine about the new ANDINET? by the way Saleh has already answerd the matter by saying ” Adobha (1969)* but to my knowledge there is no written record showing he actually attended the Adobha conference” ny lebam amtelu ny asha ke derqauhalu gerlka allo weys teretia key yblas egbay ybla Konica eyu.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Mussie:

            I guess the point I was trying to make didn’t get through, so I will try again. (1) When I said there is no WRITTEN record of Isaias Afwerki haven’t attended Adobha, I added the qualifier TO MY KNOWLEDGE. I am hardly an authority on this. I wish if you feel people are mistaken in recalling something that happened 44 years ago you would give them the benefit of doubt and say “you are mistaken” instead of accusing them of lying (2) What is more important than whether Isaias Afwerki PHYSICALLY attended Adobha or not is what his frame of mind was at the time: to SPLIT the organization on the basis of religion and ethnicity. All we have to do is look at his activities before and after the Adobha conference.

            At Adobha in 1969, Mohammed Ahmed Abdu was elected Secretary General of the ELF, a position he held until the First Congress (1971). A decade later, after the Eritrean civil war resulting in the ELF disintegrating, Woldeyesus Ammar interviewed Mohammed Ahmed Abdu. Most of the interview was published; one crucial piece was withheld at the request of Mohammed Ahmed Abdu (because of what it would do to the Eritrean revolution.) The crucial piece was published by Woldeysus Ammar (as a footnote) at awate* in April 25, 2004, a year after Mohammed Ahmed Abdu died (in exile, of course.) Here it is:

            Only a few weeks before the convening of the military conference at Adobha, Isayas Afeworki approached and seriously asked Mohammed Ahmed Abdu to agree with him and allow him to establish and lead a military division composed purely of Christians from the Eritrean highlands. Isayas opined that the 5th division to which he belonged would be more effective it is let to be “a pure Christian and Kebessa force.” Mohammed Ahmed Abdu did not agree and literally begged Isayas not to pursue that idea. Mohammed Ahmed Abdu reminded Isayas that even the ill-conceived division of ELA into regional commands required at least one third of fighters to be from outside each regional command.”

            Within months came the creation of PLF2, the authorship of Nehnan Elamanan…


            * Source for quote: http://web.archive.org/web/20070505031415/http:/www.awate.com/portal/content/view/3076/8/

          • Mussie


            the subject was simple did Isaias Afwerki attended or not the 1969 Adobha? I say he did not. if you have evidence to the contrary bring it. the reason I brought it is when you posted Aklilu Zeres lie about isaias speech in adobha even do he was not there it say a lot about yours and Aklilu credibility. now to hide the truth you replaced by another lie of Weldesus Amar. let me tell you something my brother weldesus Amar was serving the butcher Haile Selassie(Amars communities of Onna was killed indiscriminately) when his school mates was in the Eritrean field fighting the enemy. so if you want Bring testimony and witnesses who was at the Adobha meeting you have people inside and outside Eritrea. for example Tesfay Tecle and Mohammed Berhan Blata. don’t bring witnesses people like Aklilu and W.Amara who was not at the Meeting but with the Butcher Enemy Haile Selassie.the fact should be the fact no matter whom apply to. whether you Saleh Younis or Isaias Afwerki no lie no fabrication period.

          • saay

            Selamat Mussie:

            With respect, sir, your list of people you are angry with keeps growing.

            1. Aklilu Zere made NO reference to “Isaias speech in adobha”, I don’t know where you are getting that. What Aklilu said was:

            As always he did not say much during the conference and with his new assignment he left the conference and headed to the highland. By seniority, experience, skill and age, Nsu did not deserve his position. The senior leadership, albeit their education, were highly experienced and very wise men. They unanimously elected Nsu to the leadership for diversity and inclusion. They also acknowledged his lingual ability and keenness to learn new things. They had their reservations and suspicions on his character but they believed with their village heart that he would eventually change and become a good struggler and a good leader.

            2. You accuse Woldeyesus Ammar of telling a lie. (Man, that must be your favorite word.) Woldeyesus Ammar reported what Mohammed Ahmed Abdu told him. Only two people know if that piece of information is 100% correct (something that Woldeyesus acknowledges with regret: that he only published what he published after Mohammed Ahmed Abdu died.) The rest of us (you included) can only ask ourselves: is what is reported, that while the ELF reformers were trying to create a National Movement, Isaias Afwerki requested for an exclusively Christian Highlander fighting force, given everything we know of Isaias Afwerki, something he would say?

            3. You also accused Woldeyesus of “serving the butcher Haile Selasse” when Ona was set on fire in December 1970 and hundreds of Eritreans were burned alive. My understanding is that, at the time, Woldeyesus was, like dozens of Eritreans who would eventually join the Eritrean revolution, a student at a university. Even if he graduated and was working (while already enlisted in the ELF as an activist) do you equate that with “serving the butcher Haile Selasse”? Then you have introduced a new (and hyperbolic) meaning to “serving the butcher.”

            4. Whether Isaias Afwerki attended or didn’t attend Adobha is something of interest to you, but not to me. So, since you are fond of giving assignments, and since you have mounted your high horse as the truth-teller, let me give you one: call the people you are telling us to call and report to your readers what you found out. If you want one more person to add to your list of potential call recipients, call Abdulkader Hamdan (he was elected at Adobha and he is now in Asmara running a “strategic studies” (strategically kissing the toes of Isaias) website.) To the rest of us, Adobha was just another case (another week) of the ELF leadership investing heavily in Isaias Afwerki by electing him to a leadership position and hoping he would mend his wicked ways, while he had already formulated a plan to destroy them.

            And, for God’s sake, tone down your angry rhetoric and stop calling everybody a liar. Here are some handy words for you: mistaken, erred, wrong, misinformed…


        • yegermal

          Thank you for the insight. It is really helpful and will keep it in mind next time I get tempted to take a chunk of info from a book and plop it on cyber space:).

          • Mussie


            it Sims that wedi Blata told you the answer already, where were Isaias Afwerki adobha conference august 1969. seraq mobae balu ylefalef.
            by the way wasn’t you Jebha/ELF cadre. didn’t they taught the historical events at the ELF care school. just wondering!

          • Mussie,

            Whether I was ELF’s cadre or not, I gave you my assertion and you can’t disprove it. You project yourself as if you know about that particular event and when it is proved otherwise, you start to say “Hatew Ketew” – refer to your quoted proverbial words. If you want to be a student act like a student which actually opens your mind for a broader knowledge.

        • Mussie


          Aklilu Zere is wrong Isaias Afwerki never attended the Adobha congress/conference. it is true that he got elected in absence to the general command ( qiada al aama) it is amazing how some people can made up events and histories when the very participants of events are still alive.

          • Mussie,

            Ask those who where in Adboha> He was there. In fact he is the one who out loudly said “Nay Adobha guday netom ab- Adobha zineberu gidefwo” in a meeting to discredit for those who weren’t part of it. Issayas was sent from Adobha to encourage Abraham Tewelde (the leader of the 5th division) to join to the process of unity and explain the outcome of Guba’e Adobha.

          • Mussie


            it is you who need to ask those who where in Adobha meeting august 1969. even in your he said response supports my argument, read what you wrote. “Nay Adobha guday netom ab- Adobha zineberu gidefwo” he did not said “nizneberna gidefwo” according you! but Amanuel your hatred to EPLF is clouding your mind and blinding you to se what you wrote and to the point you hate the Eritrean independence with that.
            I ask Awate team please if you have access to documents of the Adobha gubae 1969 or those who attended the conference to ask. example people like Mohamed berhan Blata.

          • Salyounis


            Aredaib, Ansaba, Adobha, Arr, maybe the confusion is with the names: it appears all ELF conferences were held in places that begin with the letter “A”.

            But seriously, the confusion might be that Isaias Afwerki, fresh (or stinking, depending on your perspective) from his return from China and being named Political Commissioner DID attend Aredaib Conference (1968) and he DID get elected as member of Qiada al Amma (Arabic for “General Command”: all you people who use Amma derisively are just saying “I am arabic-illiterate which, apparently, is the only known case of people bragging about their illiteracy in a language 🙂 at Adobha (1969)* but to my knowledge there is no written record showing he actually attended the Adobha conference. Does it matter if he was or he wasnt physically there: seeing that less that 6 months after the conference he would create the splinter group (PLF2), all we know for sure is that whether he was at Adobha or not, whether he was elected or not, his mind had already been made up: I am opening my own franchise by pretending that all the reform movement I see all around me is my own invention.


            *It was at Adobha that the Cairo leadership was “overthrown” in favor of a field-based leadership.

          • Mussie,

            just count my word. Even wedi blata will prove my statement. By the way The words you quoted me was uttered by issayas in 1979 in a “unity meeting” at Hagaz between ELF and EPLF leaders. Include this info to you notes until some one will confirm and reassure my words to you. By the way who told you that he wasn’t in Adobha? Then where was he at that time? I hope you will not say he was at “ALa” with Abraham Tewelde.

        • Mussie


          the reason I called Weldesus Amar a lair is because he told many lies about Isaias and others. yes W. Amar was serving the butcher Haile Selassie in 1970, W Amar was Ethiopian Heralds chef editor the Haile Selassie governments mouth passé whom day in and day out was taunting the Eritrean liberation front(ELF).yes W Amar is pathological liar, if fighter/leader Mohammed Ahmed Abdu told him that ridicules story (which no body believe him) why did he wait till the man die to tell that story. saleh give me a break, the man Mohammed Ahmed Abdu can not defend himself now from Amar lies.

    • yegermal


      I share your feeling about DIA’s communication skills or luck of. Anyone that thinks he is a great communicator needs to watch (ad nauseam) his interview with Jane Dutton of Al Jazeera http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/talktojazeera/2010/02/201021921059338201.html and see how convincing DIA sounds as a communicator.

      • yegermal


      • yegermal

        Oops interview documenting DIA’s lackluster communication skills is nowhere to be found , not even on youtube where you get “the uploader has not made the video available in your country”. Hmmm…. how does that happen? Was the Bisha profit used to suppress access to information. Which brings me to a point that I thought about recently that kept forgetting to mention. DIA’s most powerful and effective arsenal is not his communication skill. It’s his keen understanding of the power of mass-communication (media). In fact, not only did he invest a lot on “control of information” during his early meda time, but post-independence he realized that he needed to use renown media in order to get international notoriety and to beat his smarter and gifted-communicator rival, the late Meles Zenawi. To that end (rumors has it(, he put over half million (to be withdrawn from his account at Riggs Bank) at the disposal of his then friend “Gheb” from the DC area and entrusted him with the job of securing an interview with Ted Koppel. It is said the arrogant DIA was so sure that money could buy him his way to notoriety that three weeks after he assigned the task he came to DC and checked in in a plush Hotel waiting for Ted Koppel’s call that never came. He was furious and settled for the LA Times http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-6zmWGPmPo, the price of which is rumored to be 250k. So how much did DIA pay to convince Al Jazeera to remove Jane Dutton interview from cyber space?

        I am hoping haile will pull the interview out of his magical hat:)

  • Horizon

    What exactly is the nature of the relation between the two Tigrinya speaking people to the north and south of the Mereb throughout their history? Was it that of friendship or rivalry?
    As a high school student, I found it difficult to understand why Eritreans and Tigrians fought much more between themselves than they did with other Ethiopians. It was odd for us to see the reason why two people, who were the same to our young and innocent eyes, would find it so difficult to be together.
    Recently I read an article that explicitly explains the rivalry between the two Tigrinya speakers and I was astonished to see that it goes deep into history. Those who lived south of the Mereb continuously aspired to rule over those to the north, while those north of the Mereb river were contemptuous and disdainful of those south of their internal boundary. This existed during the pre-Italian, Italian and post-Italian occupation, during the Gedli and of course today. The things that took place during TPLF/woyane and EPLF honeymoon in the years 1991 to 1998 that finally lead to the war were no different.
    I brought this in connection with the recent alleged rapprochement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, especially when PFDJ and TPLF/woyane/EPRDF are still ruling these two countries. I am puzzled and find it difficult to understand that as long as TPLF/woyane is the mover and shaker of things in Ethiopia and Shabia is ruling Eritrea, how is it possible that the alleged rapprochement is possible when a tall wall of discordance and even hatred divides both parties? The only possible explanation I have is that Shabia is so desperate that it wants to salvage what remained of the dream that never came true (i.e. salvaging independence minus all the rest), before things go irreversibly wrong. Let us hope that it is far fetched to entertain scenarios like somalization or dichotomy as long as union and independence have not worked, things that would be disastrous for the region as a whole – let us knock on wood to dissipate the evil spirits.
    Is it possible then if it had been another government in Ethiopia, things might have not gone that bad, with Eritrea entertaining a friendlier stand towards Ethiopia? One is also forced to ask, is the culture of rivalry between the two Tigrinya speaking people the cause of our predicament over the last twenty years?

    • belay

      Dear Horizon,
      1.PIA by his own nature will never get on with any gvt in Ethiopia or with the rest of his neighbours for that matter.
      Why?Go back to 1991-1998 and ask ordinary citizens in Addis Abeba,how any member of Shabia was behaveing towards the citizens in Addis and beyond.
      2.PIA wanted control over Ethiopia and beyond .
      3.PIA spoiled every thing for himself with Ethiopia and beyond because of his friend ship with Col.Gaddaffi and Mubarak of Egypt etc.Heis a bully even to his own ordinary
      people ,you know th
      at very well.

      • belay

        please don’t try to connect the problem with people to people,why Eritreans are flooding to the south with out hesitation to the south.and the people in the south accepting them with open arms.what proof do you want?there is many more but you know it any way.

        • Horizon

          Dear belay,

          When I said the two Tigrinya speaking people it was with full knowledge that the people of Eritrea and Tigray have nothing to do with this bigotry. What I had in mind was the elites from both sides. You see even those students I mentioned were in their own minuscule way part of the elites and inheritors of this bigotry. I am among the people who incurably believe and hope in future co-existence of Ethiopians and Eritreans one way or the other that would create a great nation of the horn, not for any other reason, but because this is undoubtedly to the advantage of both people.

          • belay

            Dear Horizon,
            My sincere appologies,I should have listened to my instinct,I knew you wouldn’t think other wise.

        • bukretsion

          why u tigrian join them and live happily ever after if u care about them.
          ur tigrian and eritrean love doesn’t have to cost other ethiopian a prize.
          don’t tell us it’s eprdf and eplf issue.

          • bukretsion

            i mean don’t tell us eprdf, tplf, derg,Hs vs eplf and elf(politicians)issues. it’s the HATE they have towards ethiopian is the problem.

          • belay

            Dear Bukretsion,
            Lets hate,Hate it self.
            Those who hate us are victims themselves.
            For over 50yrs the hate campaign was conduct openly and systematically by the so called Halewa Sewra (Halewa Isayas ).
            The people who hate us doesn’t know the truth.Don’t get me wrong,I am talking about the Poor Gebar (farmer,the majority).
            1.knowing they are lied to hate,if we hate them back and tell them that we hate them,then we are falling on Isayas’s trap and make ourselves a victim.Then it will be a vicious circle.Those who doesn’t benefit from it should try to break it.It is not because I love them,it is my way of showing

          • bukretsion

            my appologies as usual.

      • “Go back to 1991-1998 and ask ordinary citizens in Addis Abeba,how any member of Shabia was behaving towards the citizens in Addis and beyond”.

        Belay, I can understand why you have to avoid generalization, but was there any Eritrean in Addis that wasn’t a member of Shabia? To be honest don’t we know many Tigrians who pretended to be Eritrean let alone Eritreans to miss what seemed to be a long celebration to heaven? In case you think those lucky Eritreans who escaped deportation and still live in Addis are as innocent as they act, then perhaps you have to be like me somehow related to them in-order to know their evil intention towards Ethiopia..my friend, forgive me for not being diplomatic but they have all sorts of stupid derogatory names for Ethiopian relatives who helped them escaped deportation and conspire against Ethiopia day in day out!
        As for what Ethiopians think, Ethiopians don’t need what happened back 91-98, what’s happening today, our supposed generous government spending our meager resource on educating traitors is as burning as what happened prior to 98..They never learn from history..They think they are trying what Haileselasie or even the brute Derg didn’t try..Only fools arm future enemy and often end up paying a heavy price for it. mark my words, EPRDF will be a victim of it’s own sward!

      • Tamrat Tamrat

        Was his bullyness atracted woyane to ally With shabia?

    • Abrham

      Dear Horizon

      “I found it difficult to understand why Eritreans and Tigrians fought much more between themselves than they did with other Ethiopians.”you exaggerated Horizon!! Among the many things they did was defending themselves from HS& mengistu.Were these from Mereb?

  • wed garza

    The Bamboo leader, nam-nam of his time had added insult to his known denial attitude to whom every Eritrean is aware of.
    The despised leader by his mates around the world who lack any parallel had nothing to bring except gashing hatred ill-intestions towards his people who served him with golden plate and believed in his babling statements just for his own theraphy.
    The Eritrean people has long ago forgotten rain, food, peace, prosperity, consistency life, at large lost its meaning.
    After 22 years the shameless so-called leader talks on topics where he failed phenominally and worse acuses others other than himself.
    The mega failed leader in Africa is non other than president ISAYAS Afewerki.

    He failed to lead, to manage, to take correct decisions,so what…quit the chair without any condition before Eritrea rolls along the cliff where its last toe is hinging on.

  • Araya

    To Haile, SAAY, Eyob
    and even to the weyane lovers
    Aman, Hayat, Yodita and the rest of you.
    get the point!


    • Eyob Medhane

      Where is the point?

      I like the rolling credits at the end, though. Lots of authentic Habesha names. They resemble Ethiopian names. The kids also look like Ethiopians. Are they Ethiopians? 😉

    • haile


      That was one of the most impressive idea that I have seen among young Eritreans this days. Did you participate in the project? If not, why not? 🙂

      In any case, I think this was one of a kind and and very fitting tribute to Abraham Afwerki who was also another huge talent in Eritrean music. I am a little surprised that you wanted to share it with specific people here, don’t you think that is disrespectful to the WISH of the talented youngsters who wanted to share this beautiful work with EVERYBODY? Did they intend it to be used in the way you appear to be engaged in? Araya, please think twice next time.