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Professor Asmerom Legesse Gets It Wrong

In an article entitled “Critique of the Human Rights Commission [sic] on Eritrea”, Professor Asmerom Legesse attempts to take to task the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea (CoI-E) as well as Ms. Sheila Keetharuth, the UN-appointed Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in Eritrea.” Unfortunately, even very able and committed advocate of a cause—and Professor Asmerom, with his generous smile, and his massive contribution to de-colonial anthropology is impossible to dislike–can only go so far if the cause he is advocating is wrong (factually and morally) and the methodology he is criticizing is exactly the same as the one he personally conducted: “The Uprooted: Case Material on Ethnic Eritrean Deportees from Ethiopia Concerning Human Rights Violations.”

I. Background

On May 13, 2014, the UN-appointed Special Rapporteur on conditions of human rights in Eritrea filed her report after conducting a year-long survey. After itemizing cases of arrest and deprivation of liberty, the abysmal conditions of detention, case studies of women and children in custody and how all of this violates Eritrea’s human rights obligations under international law, the Special Rapporteur concluded that the Government of Eritrea uses the so-called “no peace no war” environment with Ethiopia to inflict “severe restrictions on civil, political, economic and social rights, as well as a lack of economic opportunities; excessive militarization of society, with a high proportion of the population either in indefinite national service or the People’s Militia; forced migration and that the government does all of the above with impunity.”

In June 2014, the UN appointed a three-person Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea (CoI-E)– (one of whom was the Special Rapporteur)– and mandated it to “investigate all [emphasis mine] alleged violations of human rights in Eritrea, as outlined in the reports of the Special Rapporteur.” On June 4, 2015, after a year-long investigation which included 500 interviews and 160 submissions from exiled Eritreans, the CoI-E issued its 500-page report concluding “the commission found that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed in Eritrea under the authority of the Government. Some of these violations may constitute crimes against humanity.”

II. Professor Asmerom Legesse’s Rebuttal

In his “Critique of the Human Rights Commission [sic] on Eritrea,” Professor Asmerom Legesse makes the following points:
(a) The Commission relied heavily on asylum-seekers who are incentivized to lie so they can get asylum. The Commission should also have interviewed asylees (those who have already received asylum) as those have less incentive to lie;
(b) The Special Rapporteur saw her task as that of a prosecutor and not an investigator. The distinction is not just a frame of mind but a presumption of innocence and an opportunity for the Government of Eritrea to defend itself;
(c) The Special Prosecutor Rapporteur worked closely with opposition groups and regime-change advocates and did not speak to “mainstream Eritrean communities” including members of the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW);
(d) The Special Rapporteur did not highlight the government’s achievements generally recognized as human rights: food security, primary education, universal health care;
(e) The Special Rapporteur did not sufficiently credit the government for observing the UN’s Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights because it didn’t mention how the government supports societies efforts to preserve and develop their cultures and languages; nations can focus their efforts on “Covenant on Civil and Protective Rights”—which is about individual rights—or they can focus on “Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural rights”—which is about group rights.

Now, if you notice, all the rebuttals are addressed to the Special Rapporteur—which is odd considering that his intro tells us “the world is buzzing with media commentary in response to the report by the Commission of Human Rights on Eritrea” and you would think he would buzz back. But no matter: let’s get to the substance.

III. Professor Asmerom Legesse Undermining His Own Work?

During and shortly after the Eritrea-Ethiopia war of 1998-2000, Professor Asmerom Legesse interviewed many of the Eritreans (and Ethiopians of Eritrean ancestry) of the 70,000 who were deported by the government of Ethiopia. From that interview, he issued three reports entitled “The Uprooted” where he made the argument that Ethiopia had violated international law, and specifically Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

At the time, Ethiopian writers made this argument: there are 500,000 Ethiopians of Eritrean ancestry; 130,000 of them voted on the Eritrean referendum; and we deported 70,000. So, how can Eritrea argue that Ethiopia has attempted to “ethnic-cleanse” every Ethiopian of Eritrean ancestry? How can it be argued that it went after those who voted in the Eritrean referendum?

Well, now, curiously, Professor Asmerom is making their argument: there are hundreds of thousands of exiled Eritreans who have NOT been abused by the Eritrean government; why didn’t the Special Rapporteur and the Commission of Inquiry interview them? For the same reason, Professor Asmerom Legesse, that you didn’t interview the hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians of Eritrean ancestry who were not deported: it was entirely irrelevant to the mandate. The Uprooted was trying to determine the magnitude of the deportations of Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean ancestry: the mechanics of the deportation and what patterns could be detected.   Would going to Ethiopia and interviewing people who were not deported have changed the narrative of The Uprooted?

Here, the CoI-E and the Special Rapporteur interviewed exiled Eritreans to report on the magnitude of the exile and the conditions that led to their exile.   How would interviewing “settled asylees” have changed anything, particularly when the CoI-E Chairman, Mike Smith, said he HAD interviewed them and their stories are not substantially different from the recent arrivals? Was he also supposed to interview people who were exiled during the Haile Selasse and Mengistu era—people who only know Eritrea remotely and have not lived day-to-day under the rule of the Isaias Afwerki government? But that was not the mandate they were given.

The exculpatory evidence that Professor Asmerom Legesse is seeking to find could only have come if the Special Rapporteur and the CoI-E were allowed entry to Eritrea to interview Eritrean prisoners, prison wardens, Eritrean members of the national service, families of the accused and the disappeared, female members of the national service…. As an accomplished anthropologist, Professor Asmerom Legesse knows that is how one gathers data; however, the Government of Eritrea refused access because it very well knows what the interviews would have shown.

IV. Investigator or Prosecutor?

Professor Asmerom then goes on to indict the Special Rapporteur for seeing her role as a prosecutor and not an investigator. This begs the question of “what is a special rapporteur and what is their mandate?” Let’s go to the source, the Human Rights Council (HRC): “The Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective…. Special procedures are either an individual (called “Special Rapporteur” or “Independent Expert”) or a working group composed of five members, one from each of the five United Nations regional groupings: Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and the Western group.”

There are 14 Special Rapporteurs and Experts right now monitoring 14 states. Some, like Sudan, have had one since 1993.  On the difference between “prosecutor” and “investigator”, I think it bears noting that the Special Rapporteur was appointed after the State of Eritrea repeatedly failed to address specific requests by the Human Rights Council and, therefore, the mandate that the Special Rapporteur was given ALREADY assumed that the State was guilty of major infractions. From resolution 20/20:

The HRC: strongly condemns: (a) The continued widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms committed by the Eritrean authorities, including cases of arbitrary and extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, the use of torture, arbitrary and incommunicado detention without recourse to justice, and detention in inhumane and degrading conditions; (b) The severe restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of information, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom of peaceful assembly and association, including the detention of journalists, human rights defenders, political actors, religious leaders and practitioners in Eritrea; (c) The forced conscription of citizens for indefinite periods of national service, which could amount to forced labour, the alleged coercion of minors into the military and the mining industry, as well as the intimidation and detention of family members of those suspected of evading national service in Eritrea; (d) The shoot-to-kill practice employed on the borders of Eritrea to stop Eritrean citizens seeking to flee their country; (e) Any violation by the Government of Eritrea of its international human rights obligations in connection with the collection of taxes outside Eritrea from its nationals; (f) The lack of cooperation with international and regional human rights mechanisms by Eritrea;

The HRC: Calls upon the Government of Eritrea, without delay: (a) To end its use of arbitrary detention of its citizens, and to end the use of torture and inhumane and degrading treatment and punishment; (b) To account for and release all political prisoners, including the “G-11”; (c) To ensure free and fair access to an independent judicial system for those detained to improve prison conditions and to allow regular access to prisoners for relatives, legal advocates, medical care, and other competent and legally authorized authorities and institutions; (d) To put an end to the policy of indefinite military service; (e) To allow human rights and humanitarian organizations to operate in Eritrea without fear or intimidation; (f) To respect everyone’s right to freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, and freedom of peaceful assembly and association; (g) To promote and protect women’s rights, including by taking measures to combat harmful practices, such as early marriage and female genital mutilation; (h) To implement the recommendations accepted during its universal periodic review and to report on progress made; (i) To end “guilt-by-association” policies that target family members of those who evade national service or seek to flee Eritrea; (j) To cooperate fully with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in accordance with its international human rights obligations, by, inter alia, allowing access to a mission by the Office as requested by the High Commissioner, the human rights treaty bodies, all mechanisms of the Human Rights Council and with all international and regional human rights mechanisms; A/HRC/RES/20/20 3 (k) To provide the Office of the High Commissioner with all relevant information on the identity, safety, well-being and whereabouts of all detained persons and persons missing in action, including journalists and Djiboutian combatants; (l) To implement fully the Constitution of Eritrea adopted in 1997;

The HRC: Urges Eritrea to make available information pertaining to Djiboutian combatants missing in action since the clashes of 10 to 12 June 2008 so that those concerned may ascertain the presence and condition of Djiboutian prisoners of war; 4. Decides to appoint a special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for a period of one year, who will submit a report to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-third session; 5. Calls upon the Government of Eritrea to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur, to permit access to visit the country and to provide the information necessary for the fulfilment of his or her mandate; 6. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the Special Rapporteur with all information and the resources necessary to fulfil the mandate;

So, no, the role of the Special Rapporteur is not that of an unbiased investigator: that train left the station a long time ago when the Government of Eritrea failed to address its massive human rights violations. The people who appointed her have told her we have a long history with this country and we know it is doing terrible things to its own citizens and it has refused to acknowledge doing terrible things and correcting them and we have strongly condemned it for it; we want you, the Special Rapporteur, to document it.

In any event, it is always jarring to hear the Government of Eritrea, which has arrested thousands of its citizens without evidence, without giving them to the right to self-defense, argue so vociferously about due process.

V. The Special Rapporteur & The Eritrean Opposition

Professor Asmerom Legesse feigns surprise that the source for the Special Rapporteur and, in fact the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, is the Eritrean opposition. Well, sir, it goes beyond that: the reason for the HRC’s resolution itself is the Eritrean opposition: how else would it know about arbitrary and extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, the use of torture, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, and detention in inhumane and degrading conditions, severe restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of information, freedom of though, conscience and religion, and freedom of peaceful assembly and association, including detention of journalists, human rights defenders, political actors, religious leaders, the forced conscription of citizens for indefinite periods of national service and the shoot-to-kill practice? It is not because there are international reporters in Eritrea (banned); it is not because there are NGOs (banned); it is not because the Asmara-based embassies are filing reports (movements restricted from Asmara and citizens strongly discouraged from talking to them.) It is because the Government of Eritrea has made the entire citizenry the opposition.

I don’t know why Professor Asmerom Legesse is tsk-tsking this: if you have a company that is violating the law, the investigator will talk to the whistle-blowers. Similarly here, when a State is violating its citizens human rights, one talks to the whistle-blowers: the opposition.

It is fair to say that since the opposition includes “regime change” advocates, they are incentivized to exaggerate, to lie, to say and do anything to get a short-cut to power. Fine. The best way to prove that we are liars and exaggerators is to engage the Special Rapporteur and show her the following:

1. There is no arbitrary arrest: everyone who was arrested was charged, given due process, and sentenced. The State of Eritrea can’t do that;
2. There are no restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression, please refer to all our media. The state of Eritrea can’t do that;
3. There are no restrictions on freedom of peaceful of assembly: look at the last demonstration held against the government. The State of Eritrea can’t do that.
4. There is no forced conscription for indefinite period: look at all the citizens who were demobilized and served only 18 months The State of Eritrea can’t do that.
5. There is no degrading or inhumane treatment of prisoners: talk to all our prisoners! The State of Eritrea can’t do that.
6. We have accounted for and/or released all political prisoners including the G-15. The State of Eritrea can’t do that.
7. We allow regular access to prisoners for relatives, legal advocates, medical care, and other competent and legally authorized authorities and institutions. The State of Eritrea can’t do that.
8. We have ended “guilt-by-association” policies that target family members of those who evade national service or seek to flee Eritrea. The State of Eritrea can’t do that.
9. We have implemented the 1997 Constitution of Eritrea. The State of Eritrea can’t do that.
10. We are co-operating fully with the Special Rapporteur and giving her access to Eritrea to fulfill her mandate. The State of Eritrea can’t do that.

As for the pretense of trying to show the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW) is an independent civil society that advocates for women’s rights and is an independent pressure group all you had to show, Professor Asmerom, is one incident—one, the number next to zero—where it actually did that. And in its entire existence—and that is decades—on all the issues that affect women: FGM, divorce, reproductive rights, sexual abuse of women in Sawa. But NUEW was nowhere to be found because it reports to military men.

VI. What About MDG!

In 2000, the UN set goals—Millenium Development Goals (MDG)—that required all member states to hit specific targets in 1. Eradicating extreme hunger and poverty; 2. Achieve universal primary education; 3. Promote gender equality and empower women; 4. Reduce child mortality; 5. Improve maternal health; 6. Combat HIV/Malaria and other diseases; 7. Ensure environment sustainability; 8. Global partnership for development.

Now, despite the fact that (a) the baseline being used is 1990 when there was no Eritrea and thus the baseline is an estimate; (b) Eritrea has no census (our population is estimated between 4 million and 6.5 million) and the whole MDG calculation is based on a ratio of metric to population; (c) Eritrea’s budget is a secret and nobody knows where it is allocating its resources; (d) there is no Statistics Department to speak of and there is no independent auditor to verify anything; (e) quite a few Sub-Sahara African countries have registered impressive gains in some of the MDGs…

Despite all of the above, the Eritrean government has wanted to use its achievements in MDG4, MDG5 and MDG6 as unique, magical conversation-enders for everything.

Well, sure, there is forced disappearance…but let’s talk about how we tackled malaria! Well, sure, there may be arbitrary arrest…but let’s talk about how we arrested HIV/AIDS and TB! Well, sure, we may arrest mothers for their deserting children…but let’s talk about how much we have improved maternal health!

For whatever reason, Professor Asmerom Legesse jumps on this bandwagon and accuses the Special Rapporteur for not noting this, despite the fact that it has nothing to do with her mandate. Her mandate was: we believe the Government of Eritrea is violating international law and arresting, causing forced disappearance, extrajudicial killing of its own citizens, that there is rule of fear and not rule of law: please confirm. Why would she write about MDGs?   In any event, the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, whose 500-page report that Professor Asmerom Legesse doesn’t even begin to address, does include the “MDG Achievements” in the background section.

VII. Sure, the State Kills, But It Also Feeds, Heals & Throws One Hell of an Expo

I have heard this argument before but Professor Asmerom Legesse actually makes it sound almost rational. What are human rights? If you come from a capitalist background, he says, that is about the right of the individual and his/her civil liberties: freedom of speech, of conscience, of due process, of assembly.   But if you come from a collectivist background, he says, human rights are about the collective right to food, shelter, healthcare and culture.

The UN has two conventions that deal with both: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the UN’s Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.   The Special Rapporteur is obsessed with the former and neglects the latter or, as the good Professor put it: “Keetharuth dwells largely on civil and political rights of 450 individuals and aligns herself totally with capitalist nations in placing issues of governance, freedom of speech and assembly above the economic, social and cultural rights.”

First of all, the report filed by the Special Rapporteur and the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea is not the story of “450 individuals” but that of the whole country. It is my story, it is the story of Eritreans reading this article—whether they are pro-government, pro-opposition, or indifferent. I don’t know anything personal about Professor Asmerom Legesse—other than that he has a winning smile and he lives in a house he was born in, because a documentary I saw told me so—but I am willing to bet anything that he has close friends, family members who were subjected to forced disappearance and arbitrary arrest. So, when you are dealing with something that affects the entire country, it is futile to try to minimize it as witnesses and testimony-providers are born every day.

Secondly, I am trying to understand why the two rights—individual rights and group rights—are in contradiction.   Maybe I do: I think what he is saying is that the State has finite resources and when it comes to deciding whether it should allocate its resources to building courts or importing food; building a law school or an engineering school, it will opt for importing food and building an engineering school? Maybe? But, if that is the case, shouldn’t the people have a say in that? Maybe they will find another source such us calculate how much it costs to build all the prisons and feed, house, guard all the prisoners and use a fraction of that money to build up the legal institution?

Professor Asmerom Legesse should be complimented for at least trying to provide substantive response to one of the reports of the HRC, a stark contrast to the categorical denial and fog-blowing that was made by representatives of the Government of Eritrea, some of whom have family members who have disappeared since 2001 (I am looking at you, Ambassador Beyene Russom.)   Nonetheless, he is wrong on the facts when he assumes that the testimony of the Commission of Inquiry was given by recent asylum seekers when the Chairman had said he interviewed those seeking settlement and those who had received settlement papers and there was no difference in their narrative. CoIE had considered, just like CoI on North Korea, to have the testimonies made public but given that the Government of Eritrea practices “guilt by association” and traumatizes families of asylum-seekers, it refrained from doing so.

Just on this regard only, forgetting all other allegations, the Government of Eritrea is failing even by the low standards of Mengistu Hailemariam because, during the Derg era, both the father and brother of Eritrea’s now head of state, then rebel-leader, Isaiaas Afwerki, were allowed to live their lives in Asmara unmolested by the Derg.  Isaias Afwerki fails even by the “Black Stalin” standards of Mengistu Hailemariam, which is quite an indictment on his regime. 

Professor Asmerom Legesse is also blemishing his own The Uprooted series of reports when he demands that a murderer should be given the benefit of doubt because we have to interview all the people he didn’t murder.

Furthermore, to demand that the Special Rapporteur be a neutral “investigator” when the mandate she was given tells her the people she is investigating are guilty of heinous crimes is naive. The time to pre-empt the naming of the Special Rapporteur was ten years ago when the Government of Eritrea ignored repeated pleas to stop disappearing people and to bring the accused to a court of law.

The achievements of MDG 4, MDG 5, and MDG 6 are not exceptional to other Sub Sahara Africans and repeated mentions of them only highlight the deficiencies in MDG 1, MDG 2 and MDG 3. MDG1 (dealing with extreme poverty) has not been reached and is unlikely to be reached when a government deliberately courts sanctions and fails to do anything to get them lifted and pursues disastrous economic policies.  MDG2  (dealing with education): the State of Eritrea’s education system will always be sabotaged when the only high school is in a military compound—it is designed to fail.  MDG-3 (equality of women) has been seriously compromised by the repeated stories of sexual abuse of women and when the women’s advocacy group—National Union of Eritrean Women—reports to military men who are unlikely to take seriously allegations of sexual abuse.

Finally, while the distinction the Professor makes between individual rights and group rights is illuminating, he fails to explain why one has to come at the expense of the other. But mostly, his rebuttal fails because, in pursuit of some cause, he is denying what he himself knows: that the country is full of the disappeared, the arbitrarily arrested, and it has not rule of law.  There is a Cabinet Member right now, sitting in the cabinet of ministers of Isaias Afwerki, who doesn’t know what happened to her disappeared husband.  So, the era of shefno shefafno is long gone, Professor.

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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  • Tedi

    To Professor,

    Thinking wisely is better than anything! When I have tried to analysis about his decisions I got it quite to the opposite of his professional ethics. Everything what we do and communicate is all about our decisions. Mathematically decisions are categorised in to 4 [++ Excellent, – + very good; – – fair; + – worst or distractive] but I got his decisions is categorised on the worst or destructive decision #4 [ that is positive +, – Negative ] because he has the knowledge as a professor but his decisions are quite irrelevant to his knowledge. This reflection shows who he is in relation to his cognitive capacity. In order to support my idea let me explain some point.

    * I know that in Eritrea there is no the right for Education but in professors skills/knowledge and decisions,
    there is the right for Education in Eritrea. The right for Education is total violated by the regime in Eritrea because the right for Education is to get an access to education at the right environment with the willingness of students (not using any force on them, therefore our civilian students are forced to learn at SAWA MILITARY ACADAMIC TRAINING CENTRE this is basically against the right for Education and not only against the human rights law but also against the International law because civilian students are not forced/not allowed to Educate at a military training centre.

    * The University of Asmara was closed by the regime for political reasons in order to disperse the students which were already started to protest against the regime miss handling of the Eritrean population.

    * In 2004 Elementary and Secondary school students were taken forcibly from their schools to the military training
    centre- KILIMA – Southern Region ASEB. This is the violation of the right to Education.

    As I indicated on my points on the above it is clearly a Human Right and International Law violation. Generally the professor took a wrong decisions for supporting the regime’s ideology because as a professor he should take the right decision for the moral and the ethics of his profession. He should have to protest against the regimes action for the right of the Education and human rights. As the consequences of his wrong decisions; currently, advocating about the regime’s in supporting against the Human Rights.

    I would like to advice him as his name indicated a professional man; I thought that he may know something of everything about Education and its rights, therefore he should protest against the action of the regime and support the right for Education in order to get the right development in the country.

  • dawit

    Dear Saay,

    The professor rightly pointed on the flaws of the report writers, the methodology they followed, in defending his country and you have to attack the professor integrity by comparing apples and oranges, trying hard to defend the authors and methodology of COI. But I guess that is accepted in politics, and modern diplomacy the professions of distortion and artfully lying to accomplish your goal to change of government in Eritrea. You have to devote a whole article to defame an individual a fellow Eritrean because of his belief in defending his stand.

    1. The Eritrean deportees which the Distinguish Professor Asmerom collected data were forcibly rounded up out of their homes and work places and imprisoned and deported to Eritrea in the middle of war forced to walk through mine fields by ‘democratically elected government of Ethiopia as opposed to the asylum seekers willingly walking through the border, albeit a militarized border with shoot to kill order from a ‘dictatorial régime of Eritrea’ passing in thousands every day, dodging flying bullets over their heads.

    2. The Prosecutors/ Rapporteurs gather their information from refugees or asylum seekers who were incited and encouraged to abandoned their country to illegally cross the borders sometimes being transported by UN peace keepers and UNCHR staff, and multibillion human trafficking industry with promises of resettlement in Europe and America. The professor data came from people who were forced to abandon their homes businesses and families unwillingly and no one encouraged them to leave their lives behind with no one promising them heaven in Eritrea or any other place. In fact most of them who left Eritrea travelled legally and resettled in other countries while the asylum seekers are promised automatic acceptance if they land in Europe or America.

    3. The distinguished Harvard Professor conducted his research sampling Eritreans and Ethiopian-Eritreans nationals only whereas the Prosecutors/Rapporteurs data came from a bunch of would be Eritreans, some real and some fake Eritreans, including Ethiopians, Somalis, Sudanese, Gambians etc a hole range of people south of Sahara. As one Ethiopian who made it to Europe by boat crossing the Mediterranean Sea put it in simple words “In Libya we are all Eritreans”!

    4. Many Awatista commentators and you tried to make paint the Distinguished Professor intellectual capacity and integrity as pseudo professional, a man who studied at the number one university in the world ‘The Harvard’ who also lectured and research published immensely to be granted Emeritus status in his profession. Some also labeled his defense of his country and people trying to secure employment with Eritrean government. The truth is he does not need employment he has achieved an Emeritus professorship in his profession. Contrary to that it is the Special Persecutors/ Rapporteurs who have to lie and manipulate their reports to continue employment with the UN system. Their only interest is extending their paycheck year after year. They have no any interest about the welfare of the Eritrean people, except to beg their mandate year after year. Therefore, the Distinguish Professor is doing what he does because he loves his country and people, unlike Human Right junkies.

    5. For those who doubt Eritrean resilience, hard work and nationalistic commitment you can reflect to the Tour de France and Tour of Utah sons and daughters of the generation of “Cheguar Danga Tegadelti” achievements of brave Eritreans making it to the top of the world. The Eritrean train is moving forward as schedule since it was launched by Hamid Awate on September 1, 1961. Every attempt to stop or slow the speed Ethiopian consecutive régimes has been met with strong resistance, resilience and hard work by Eritreans from all walks of life regardless of their Ethnic or religious differences. Yes “We are Number One in Africa” Hade Hizbi Hade Lbi!

    Enjoy the video of recent Eritrean Celebration in world stages and more to come.


    • saay7

      Dear Cousin dawit:

      I don’t believe I have defamed the professor and if I did, please show me where. Now to your comments:

      1. I don’t understand the distinction you are trying to make between Eritreans deported by EPRDF and Eritreans exiled by PFDJ from the perspective of that of a person who is trying tyo chronicle their story. In the case of the deported, Professor Asmerom Legesse interviewed them and got the specifics (when, where, how, who, why) and in the case of the exiled, the COI and the Special Rapporteur interviewed them got the specifics (when, where, how, who, why.) Professor Asmerom Legesse argued that since the CoI and Special Rapporteur did not interview the tens of thousands of exiled Eritreans who were not mistreated by the Eritrean government, their interview is incomplete and unrepresentative, I am saying, using that logic, then since Professor Asmerom Legesse didn’t interview those who were not deported by EPRDF then his report is incomplete and unrepresentative. In logic, they call that reductio ad absurdum : I am trying to show using his arguments takes us to absurd conclusions.

      2. You are arguing that the refugees or asylum seekers “were incited and encouraged to abandon their country to illegally cross the borders sometimes being transported by UN peace keepers and UNHCR staff…” But Professor Asmerom Legesse didn’t make that argument and, remember, I was replying to his report.

      3. You are arguing that “Prosecutors/Rapporteurs data came from a bunch of would be Eritreans, some real and some fake Eritreans…” But Professor Asmerom Legesse didn’t make that argument and, remember, I was replying to his report. On the other hand, (Browyn Bruton of the Atlantic Council, our latest Senbetu) did make that argument and I responded to her in another article which you are welcome to read it here:

      4. You said that “many awatista commentators and you tried to make paint the Distinguished Professor intellectual capacity and integrity as pseudo professional….” No, sir, I did not. Please show me where I did that?

      Welcome back!


      • dawit

        Dear Cousin Saay;
        Thank you for the welcome note. I truly apologize for lumping you with other commentators about disrespecting the Professor. In fact you wrote with respect and recognizing his contributions to the liberation struggle in Africa on his field of Anthropology. That was a mistake in my part for not recognizing and give credit to you. I was carried out reading the other negative comments.
        On the methodology of the two researches I criticized you for not distinguishing the differences of the two subjects, I said his method was right for his subject matter but theirs was wrong, even though both were trying to document same thing of where, when etc..

  • Aida B

    to LT

    You may wish that the murderers are non-Eritrean but it is just your wishes and has nothing
    to do with reality.

    I see a big similarities between pfdj and white nationalists. They never admit their
    national can be criminal and parasite to the society. For them white people are
    perfect and all criminal acts are committed by Arabs and black people. They are
    against democracy and anti- media. If it was for them to decide you wouldn’t live in
    free county and write what you are writing now. You wouldn’t even show your
    face near the border.
    My friend you are not helping your country by denying
    problems. You are just standing on the way of any development. I would even
    dare to say on the way of its simple existence in the future.

    • dawit

      Dear Aida B.
      What part of “We are #1 in Africa” slogan you don’t like? Here is The New PIA Hair Style at 70 Crowned King of the Mountain #1 in the world representing African Continent.

  • Nitricc

    Hey SAAY, how about i give you a gift of your Fev person. lol, now, he justifying why Weyane involved in Somalia.

  • Tedi

    Hello Everybody,

    I don’t think pro.Asmeron Legesse has good knowledge about Eritrea and its population because since the independence he didn’t live in Eritrea and know the life of the population of Eritrea. He had never participated the life in Eritrea with the wider population; therefore he couldn’t speak about Eritrea and its population.
    The false Research of the Professor: I assume that his advection about the regime is based on his research models by “simulation” of Eritrea and its population rather than doing a practical research in the entire community in
    Eritrea as a result he couldn’t get a credible results. I thought that his research method was based on theories only and didn’t include any practical data.

    Basically, his mistake was at the beginning of his research proposal because he conducts his research on false assumption of critical thinking for his objectives. As a result he didn’t get any credibility of his research about Eritrea and its population, therefore now, how this man can speak about his research results. He didn’t live in Eritrea as I indicated on the above and he hasn’t the right to speak about Eritrean population. He has the right to say something about the Oromo people if his research has a positive outcome. Now, the Proposer couldn’t precede his mission any longer. In July this year he tried twice to advocate the Regimes Agenda in London UK but he didn’t
    get a ground or permission from the authorities because they knew him and his missions.

  • Haile

    It is puzzling really to see some intellectuals support tyranny. Dr Joseph Goebbels was a propoganda chief for hitler, Dr Senai Likie for Mengistu. What is the mystery behind this fact that distinguished intellectual, in spite making contributions to the struggle for freedom and democracy, they stand on the side of killers? Soon or later the tyranny will go. I am curious what such people would say then. Another puzzle of this old professor is his dinning with Oromo narrow nationalists. Messing up in neighboring countries politics in long run doesn’t go to the benefit of Eritrea.

  • SenaiErtrawi

    I don’t understand, what is the point here? Yes, as a result of colonization, Eritreans have learned many trades from the Italians – some of which involve using a screw driver, a tool with with out a name in Tigrigna. Are you questioning that?

    I am sorry but the problem is not only the superiority complex some fellow Eritreans have, some of you Ethiopians need to get over your inferiority complex as well.

    • Sahle


      1.Am Eritrean.
      2.Yes the point is the superiority complex . Not from some fellow Eritrean that can be excused but from an anthropology Prof that i found disturbing. I believe this attitude has a huge contribution to the mess we are in . And the same man is insulting the thousands of refugees by his senseless analysis of COIR.

      I expect our intellectuals be guiding lights to the road of peace and prosperity. Read Tekeste Negash on PP176 of his book “Ethiopian and Eritrea : The Federal Experience”. He cautioned Eritrean leaders as early as 1997 to promote peace with Ethiopia. Quote:It would be wise of Eritrean leaders, now when they enjoy an opportune moment, to concentrate their energies on building Eritreo–Ethiopian relations on a firmer basis. As things now stand, a change of government in Ethiopia may bring with it a change of policy which could directly affect the security of Eritreans in Ethiopia and Eritrea’s access to Ethiopia. A vivid example that friendly relations can suddenly go sour is that of Eritreo-Sudanese relations.

      Unfortunately Shabia feel itself an all knowing entity from Temokiro and from clappings of the likes of Legesse . No ear to listen to others or entertain different perspectives.Aggression is their solution for every problem. AHWATNA /AHATNA ABEY ALEU?!

  • Abi

    LT the GRATEST
    You can eat any kind of Adgi including Hamli Adgi. Whatever tastes you the best. Who am I to tell you not to eat your favorite dish ?
    You have my permission. Enjoy!

  • Fanti Ghana

    Dearest Saay,

    Thank you for this great work; as usual.

    The attempted denials, cover-ups, and downplays by Yemane, and now Professor Asmerom’s attempt to reason out the unreasonable shows PFDJ has lost focus. There seems to be indecision about whether to deny, defend, downplay, or counter attack the CoI-E report.

    Yemane’s subsequent interviews were confused between denial (they are not Eritreans) and downplay (there are many refugees from other countries too) blackmail (the UN is always after us). I didn’t comment during Yemane’s interviews, because he seemed under pressure to come up with a quick response during those interviews, and he did not come up with anything any Asmerino wouldn’t come up with impromptu. Although these overwhelming evidences provided by the CoI-E interviewees are undeniable, I was however expecting a well formed and reasoned out explanation from PFDJ camp instead of Professor Asmerom’s ‘when I do it, it is right; when you do it, it is wrong’ claptrap.

    The charismatic and approachable appearance of Prof. Asmerom may have given him some political mileage in the past but, there is a limit to everything, and the human perception is no exception. Scholars who teach with well-timed sense of humor and pleasant smile are perceived better than those straight faced dry wells, but an abused and misused smile and humor can backfire badly and it is really hard to recover from. I believe that is about to happen to Professor Asmerom.

    It is a serious waste of resource for professionals like Prof. Asmerom to waste their intellectual caliber defending and rationalizing the indefensible. His education, experience, and charisma are being used for no other purpose except to amplify, exaggerate, or cover up PFDJ’s not only wrong but immoral and inhuman undertakings.

    Assuming that he specialized in Cultural Anthropology and assuming that he studied some amount of Social Anthropology along with it, His street-wise explanation of ‘the difference’ between the Tigrignas North and South of Mereb in his “The Uprooted” and now his attempt to discredit all the Eritrean refugees who left the nation, to systematically deny the thousands of Eritreans languishing inside hot tins or underground water holes, and to ignore all those Eritreans who has been disappearing with no trace for years, among other formidable charges that can be handed to him in time, that makes him extremely unreliable intellectual on his field of study.

    Both his works “the uprooted” and now CHRC are about ‘migrations.’ We have to assume that the reason his anthropologist face is used on both occasions must be to give the topic credibility. Unfortunately, I think he just tarnished his credibility for good. Anything and everything he said on this paper is nothing but an added finesse and spin to the government’s denial, cover up, and blackmail campaign.

    • Solomon Haile

      Selam Fanti Ghana, “he did not come up any Asmarino wouldn’t come up….”

      There is further data analysts or polling (maybe or that maybe warranted consistent with yours, Saay’s, HTG’s, AH, MH..Nitric.. Beyan N’s etc… Intent or goal. This is perhaps an unintended or very well thought about by Professor Leges when he differentiates between asylum seekers and Asylees. Though he sneaks it as those with incentives vs. the indifferent Asylees who I guess the proffesor is betting would not support COI- E. I whole heartedly agree with Saay’s “come on Doc” message to Professor Asmerom. I am hoping HTG/MH /SG or any one interject here. While I draft the sequence of questionnaire I have in mind. I bet HTG can beat me to it.


  • Aida B

    With a great sorrow in my heart I would say today that it is not pride you feel when
    you talk about being from Eritrea in Sweden. Every time someone is murdered, we
    are afraid that there will show that the perpetrator is an Eritrean. Eritrean
    killing with knife as this amount is for me a new experience. Only in 2015 three
    knife murders are committed by Eritreans and it is what I know it can be more.
    A man murdered a child of seven years with a knife and stubbed himself. He was
    supposed to take care of her. Two completely innocent people are murdered by an
    Eritrean in the middle of a day.

    No one doubts that the current situation in Eritrea is the cause of most of the negative
    things happening to Eritreans. It is was just a matter of time until these young
    people grown up in brutal and lawless Eritrea knowing only brutality would show
    some signs of disturbed behaviour.

    I cannot believe that there are still those people who sold their soul to a man
    whose purpose in life is to see Eritreans suffer to death. An entire nation and
    people have lost their honour and pride only to defend one criminal man’s honour.
    Children born and bred in Sweden in a democratic nation are helping the
    dictator to continue be dictator, they think that those Eritreans born in
    Eritrea do not deserve freedom that they use for themselves. These people use
    academic language and freedom of expression in orders to oppress their own
    people and maintain a power crazy leader’s position.

    Zekmiko aleni betrey habuni

    It is shameful that they reduce and ridicule those who are trying to help Eritrean
    people and do not touch a finger themselves to show the dictator, and a mass murderer
    Isayas Afewerki how bad the lives of Eritreans has become. Isayas Afewerki do
    not even pretend to bother when a whole ferry ports under water and over 300
    Eritreans die. He did not bother to mention that our own people were beheaded by
    ISIS. It is in order to save his face they attack those who come with
    information about the reality the Eritreans in Eritrea live in.

    I wish dictator followers dare to challenge themselves and stand for their
    country and not for a man with no conscience and will do nothing good in
    society. I wish that those Eritreans who kill others would kill themselves
    instead of a lot of innocent people who have done nothing evil to them or

    I draw parallels to these things because we Eritreans
    have transformed ourselves to the little creatures that go on and crack down
    those we can crack down and not those who need to be turned down for their actions
    and deserves to be cracked down.

    • Solomon Haile

      Selam Aida,

      No doubt on the sadness and perpetual compounding from the causes. Parsing data as well as the an un unintended is what bothers me though the amplification effect warrants utter…..


      • Mahmud Saleh

        Hey selle
        What time was it when you bought your strings? My guitar’s high “E” string has been missing for a year now, and I usually stop by the music shop at about 3-4pm after school to buy things for my kids, but I keep skipping myself. I guess I will have to double the caffeine. But you know the instrument is just beautiful, you don’t have excuses of neglecting it. It can play even with one string. But you will not have a harmony out of one string though.
        Anyway, that’s to say, our unity’s harmony is intact when we look after each other and care for the broken and missing ones. We can make it more harmonious by selecting the right strings, tune it nicely, and make sure that each of us play our part of the tune gently and carefully not to overcast the role of other members of the band. You know what I mean. HTG is said to be looking for a conductor. The position is open.

  • T..T.

    Hi all,

    In the USA, when one runs for an office the media strip the candidate to his/her bare bone to find damages in his/her past. So, in the USA running for an office is also running the risk of becoming a laughing stock.

    In the Isayas Land, those who run for a position of loyalty are tested for their blind love of Isayas and not seeing the blemishes on him. So, in the Isayas Land running for an office is also running the risk of liking to be loved for lying to erase blemishes on Isayas thereby becoming a perfect liar to Isayasists and a confirmed biggest liar to the opposition camp and the world.

    Alemao Kahsai is remembered for many laughs that made people cry. He re-coined the Asmarinos “Iwi Ifki” to “Born on Saturday and walked on the next day,” to indicate, what we call nowadays a notice of freeing oneself from accountability by stating that, “The content of the joke does not reflect our political opinion nor our official endorsement of the joke.”

    Although a lot of lessons are learned from those who side with the Isayasists, I would say all defending articles that endorse the Isayasists’ position should include Alemao Kahsai’s like statements.

    Yet, from the lessons we learned, we now know that it takes a great courage to invest in Isayasism for changes. But, it takes greater courage to tell the Isayasists the truth about who they really are and that will help to stop living in hate, hating the world the way it stands against the Isayasists.

  • L.T

    To Sahel;
    I do not think Tegaru had been subjected to bullying in Eritrea when they were there during my tme.They feel safe and they get job as the were best at ,eat as Eritreans Pasta if they can afford, own house if they have money and buy a car if thry have good job.I have never called them “Agame”so why they have think called them”Agame”when I was a child becouse I know this riveting leads to strong concern, mental strees and illness and in the worst case,that one can start the war,In Eritrea there are good laws that says”If you called Agame to Tegaru 3-month in “Sejin”prison.
    Sometimes people often lack knowldege on these issues but when I was a child I called “Eider”(Donkey) to Ethiopian soldier becouse they are idiots.Make peace no war.

    • Abi

      LT the Greatest
      How is your skill in cooking the traditional eritrean dish , humbuchbuch ? Do you like pastabuchbuch? Try it hot. It will help you to unfreeze your brain.

  • Solomon Haile

    Selam Saay and Awatistas,

    [Amanuel, it is a matter of triangulation intended for AH or AAAH. Awatistas Aya Amanuel Hidrat. The error on my part, similar to that of A. Nitric on the very same discussion when he was addressing Amm A. A. Hanibal, however I now realize was indeed an un unintended. I.e. intended for A. Hidrat and not for A. Amanuel. Incidentally is it IA or Aysayas Afeworki in some pronunciation. Thank you for allowing me to see Awatistas Nitric under a different lens as well as to correct my error. “Ma bad”]

    Data Analysis is indeed a mutual responsibility of all Awatistas. I am rather tuned in MH and HTG’ radio station a “dimTsi Hafash” true product indeed.

    What is it you want to know?
    Why do you want know?
    Is it to build knowledge and or understanding?
    To seek knowledge?
    build theory?
    Make a comparison? Or
    Find meaning through experience?

    It is safe to say, though encompassing all of the above, I would like to focus on the comparison aspect for starters. The value of Awatistas Nitric… Free at last… An all Eritrean experience. All submissions thus far building knowledge at AU.


  • Tewelde G/mariam


    Why would he be embarrassed to say that the tool does not have a name in Tigrigna? And are you implying that if he could not state a Tigrigna name for the tool , then he must have fabricated his claim that Eritreans had internalized Western technology?

    By the way, I am not expecting any answer from you; I just want to help you see your irrationality.

  • L.T

    You said”University of Asmera has served generations of Eritrean since the 50s” Yigermal…University of Asmera had opened 1969 not in 50s(your counted brought procedur with Gezz:-)using 3 million Birr from Nun and the rest of the people of Eritrea( not from Tigria) and main man was Dr Siuom Harogot Abay and commandor Solomon and the other Eritreans.In this Universtiy the first your victims was Dr Petros Teklemariam(19974).To come to our University We have not closed but we use for different courses and you Weyane Tigria want us to stay only in this but no.We now have seven Academy in various field while you are in Empty college building..You ‘re ..Adi-Grat…Axum…you name it.You’re still 50 yrs after us…..Yigermal…

  • Amanuel

    Hi Saay

    Thanks for the brilliant arguments supported by facts. Could you please review the following paragraph.

    (c) The Special prosecutor worked closely with opposition groups and regime-change advocates and did not speak to “mainstream Eritrean communities” including members of the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW);

    • saay7

      Selamat Amanuel

      Ok, I reviewed the paragraph. Here’s what Professor wrote that I tried to summarize:

      Keetharuth was working closely with opposition groups who are plotting to bring about regime change in Eritrea, out of their base in Pretoria, South Africa, but had no contact with mainstream Eritrean communities around the world: Every one of these latter communities has a branch of the National Union of Eritrean Women, an association, founded in 1979, which fought for women’s rights in Eritrea for three decades and continues to do so today.

      What am I missing?


      • Amanuel

        Hi Saay

        Do you mean “The Special Rapporteur”? you wrote “The Special prosecutor”

        • saay7

          Hi Aman:

          Ah, so. My american is showing: in the US the Special Prosecutor is named either by congress or attorney general to investigate a government employee who abuses his/her power. Like Hillary Clinton did with her top secret email server:)


          • Amanuel

            Hi Saay

            I have no idea what you talking about Saleh. Are you saying Special Rapporteur and Special prosecutor are the same? Will Ms. Sheila Keetharuth, be happy to be called The Special prosecutor? I think the easiest thing to do is to be consistent and amend it. If you see your points from a to e, you used The Special Rapporteur in all except in c.

          • saay7


            I was joking and trying to explain why I made the mistake. Also I was trying to needle Hillary-lover Ted. Thanks for the correction!


          • Amanuel

            You are welcome Saleh.
            I feel like my correction is not welcome. I did it because, I have high standard for Awate and you guys.

          • saay7


            Quite the opposite: your corrections are welcome–we actually think of the discussion forum now as integral to the correction/enhancement process. It’s just my terrible sense of humor; Emma (Amanuel Hidrat) is my witness. By the way Emma I am offended that you thought my very serious political platform was a joke:)


          • Amanuel

            Hi Saay

            This incident is not the only reason for my feeling. There were two recent incidents. One regarding the picture accompanying the news item by Gedab news about the boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. I thought, a shark with its open mouth was insensitive the families of the victims and brought to attention of the news editor. Some formers shared my concern but it was ignored. Second, was regarding the mixed up of Geneva & Vienna conventions. in this case my correction was addressed but in a very mean way. My correction is below with moderator reply and compare it with the way you replied to Solomon Haile’s correction. Mine and Solomon correction are below for your convenience.

            My correction
            Hi Gedab news
            Thanks for the news. I have a question. Did Ambassador McMullen said the following or you are misquoting him? “they seized diplomatic pouches in contravention of the Geneva convention.” As far as I know it should have been Vienna convention. Geneva convention deals with human rights, specially during conflicts, and Vienna is all about diplomatic relations. Please review it. [From moderator: done! And thanks.]

            Solomon Correction
            [from the moderator: thanks Solomon, it’s now corrected.]

            Selam Saay and Awatistas,

            Well, now I know how the angriest person on earth can be the coolest of ’em all. “That train left a long time ago.” I suppose, with this next to last layer peeled, the professor and company, contrary to their detailed and expert knowledge of railways, are asking the conductor to make a u-turn. a concerted effort to cement the denial of the very little wins, the professor and co., maybe aiming for as a “hail marry” desperate last play call for a win/survive…. Now time to re-read Saay’s previous themed:”emo khe deA Hji entay ygeber” Because, though it is not by any means a done deal and time to relax and be coooool…., the conductor will be announcing shortly “All Aboard”.

            One typo on the paper Saay. # 6 is used twice in the 10 points and NOT 9, you so very well articulated, regarding: “What the state of Eritrea can’t do”

            On data analysis and the cementing, I too want to be as cool, despite, and declare now as the Terminator with shades and all: “I will be back!” (minus the accent) Peace.


  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Awate friends, and ሳይ ሰቨን ኣንታ ፍሒራ !

    …… ፕሮፌሰር ህግደፍ ………

    እቲ ዶክተር ህግደፍ ዲግሪ ዝጸዓነ :-
    ንፍሽለት ህግደፍ ብዙሕ ዝሸፈነ :-
    ክንሰምዖ ቀኒና ሐሕማቅ ክምነ :-
    ካለኦት ፍሕፍሕ ክብሉ መሪጹ ከም ሕነ ::
    ….ፖለቲካዊ ድቀት ዝጎዶሎ ሞራል:-
    ….ንኻለኦት ምኽሳስ ነብስኻ ምትላል :-
    ….ናትካን ሸፋፊንካ ኣጉል ጸፍ ምባል :-
    ….ዶክትሬቱ ፍሹል ምሁር ነይበሃል

    ፕሮፌሶር መጸ – ናይ ‘ዚ ዝገደደ :-
    ዘንተ ሞጎት ኣልቦ – ንኹሉ ጨምደደ :-
    … ኣብ መሰላት ውልቀ ሰብን ሕብረተሰብን –
    ….ዘሎ ድልድልን ርክብን ዝምድናን :-
    ….ክመሚ ዝይከኣለ ክርኢ ክመዘን :-
    ….ዶንቆሮ ድኣ እምበር ፍጹም ኣይምሁርን ::

    • Amanuel Hidrat


      “ፖለቲካዊ ድቀት ዝጎዶሎ ሞራል” – this is a good one. As a matter of fact there many even in this forum who need to balance their political take and moral judgement.

      Amanuel Hidrat

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Dear ato writer

    As usual very interesting, cohesive and the voice of the masses. Yes, you are Dumtsi Hafash.

    I will read it again, it’s too late in the night, but this paragraph is worth of noting.
    “So, no, the role of the Special Rapporteur is not that of an unbiased investigator: that train left the station a long time ago when the Government of Eritrea failed to address its massive human rights violations. The people who appointed her have told her we have a long history with this country and we know it is doing terrible things to its own citizens and it has refused to acknowledge doing terrible things and correcting them and we have strongly condemned it for it; we want you, the Special Rapporteur, to document it.”
    This is what PFDJites fail to understand; time is ticking. It’s past midnight now, we are embarking onto a new dawn. Window dressing and damage control tactics are not going to save the day. The regime is to blame itself for becoming the subject of the buzzes that are annoying it.
    On the professor: I would like to keep my respect for the man, but he is just messing it up. For a starter, when an anthropologist talks like a politician he isn’t a genuine anthropologist per se. The professor should have talked about the disintegration of traditional bonds between families, villages, tribes, regions….the distraction of the environment of natives (highland/lowlands)…there was a program in Tigrayet in Er-TV (the only time ERI-TV discussed truthfully). It showed Abraha Garza, the highest official for the protection of the environment pleading the government to do something about the environmental degradation few spoiled “investors” are causing. The viewer could see plains of Barka turned into a war zone look. Patches of lands burned, trees cut for charcoal….I found out that there are individual land grabbers who LITERALLY terrorized armed forest rangers.Well, they must have “big brothers” high in the military hierarchy, otherwise, how could such intimidations take place in a country known for its militaristic disciplining and control.
    The professor should have researched about the toll the National Service is incurring on the society, he should delved into matters that would unveil the complete societal breakdown through the militarization of a nation….He would have many…many…interesting subjects worth of study had he chosen to uphold his profession.
    If you fail to respect an individual’s right, believe me you can’t assure me you will respect collective rights of members of a society. Violating an individual rights to chart his/her own way of life leads to violating the collective right of a nation to chart its future. You can take any individual’s right and expand it to a nation/society’s right.
    Eritreans have been made dependent on handouts more than ever. Believe me, I have been there, and I have not separated myself from the realities going on in the country. That’s what happens when you “own” all the working force of a nation. What happens next? The whole nation becomes so desperate that it risks the perishing of its young rather than continue being sucked up into the black hole created by a controlling government that has no human respect, an individual or collective. If Eritreans had collective securities of life, they would not chose to gamble with their lives. So, it’s all a farce.

    • Solomon Haile

      Selamat MaHmud, “If you fail to respect an individual’s right you cannot guarantee collective rights.” Indeed. Even the collective gains, the much taunted or redirects by…” will inevitably be destroyed and deemed worthless from within due to the neglect or disregard of the individual human rights from within within. See if HTG can help me here if I say: The square root, cubed root…of within. I.e (from n=1 to 10: within^(1/n)) = individual/collective. Mr. Gideon sees your argument very well MaHmooday as well as our distinguished professor of Anthropology.

      The effects of the PFDJ’s narrative of the collective, “Hade Libby, Hade Hzbi”, on asylum seekers and Asylees alike is another bet the “professor with Charisma” has penned. Nitric can perhaps provide the cement for the cementing the “hail marry” attempt for the interception end game.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Ahlan Solomon
        Thanks buddy for the additional input. ትሕሾ ደኣ። ሸኸም ኣይተኽብደለይ ሰለሙን። But with all honesty you summarized what I wanted to say.
        Your mathematical theorem will be reserved for Haylat. He’s good at these stuff.
        Nitricc, like Nit in football? Well, only Haqi beats the hell out of him. That’s according to SAAY. There is another guy, though, Semere, who plays “Hashewye” with our wudubat as if he is strategizing a football game. Never mind, he doesn’t know a thing about football.

        • Solomon Haile

          Menn deA kshkemelka delikha 🙂 TeseAn deA YKAALO! NIT… The Great Danes of UofA have now made it to the big dance, eight squared +1 elites, two consecutive years and going for the third — 3 times within a decade. NIT, the national invitation is for the PFDJites and PFDJ schools due to the significant drop in rankings with regards to… NIT and that is only BECAUSE, as the name suggests — National Invitation Tournament, IT is all about the National baby! Yeah NIT fits Awatista Nitric at the moment though transfer options and eligibility extensions as well as pay for the elite NCAA players are available to Nitricaay the great Aba Treg that he is. NIT! nskha zeykeAlkayo menn deA khiElo delikha… bel ble abta meAltawit nay shekhem shiquley yneQuil alekhu mo.. nAya Amanuel Hidratn — bzAEba Theorist arEisti Hizu alo ab maEken “Tebeges”, wekhaA iza Hadas ArEisti— “Haymanot nay gli, Haymanot nay Habar ab nay Aritrya poleticawi gudayat , zerEisten tesekime/TeTsaEine nIgrimegedey sgab HTG dehai zhb nbleka. Al Yom Barika ya Akh al Kebir.


  • Solomon Haile

    Selam Saay and Awatistas,

    Well, now I know how the angriest person on earth can be the coolest of ’em all. “That train left a long time ago.” I suppose, with this next to last layer peeled, the professor and company, contrary to their detailed and expert knowledge of railways, are asking the conductor to make a u-turn. a concerted effort to cement the denial of the very little wins, the professor and co., maybe aiming for as a “hail marry” desperate last play call for a win/survive…. Now time to re-read Saay’s previous themed:”emo khe deA Hji entay ygeber” Because, though it is not by any means a done deal and time to relax and be coooool…., the conductor will be announcing shortly “All Aboard”.

    One typo on the paper Saay. # 6 is used twice in the 10 points and NOT 9, you so very well articulated, regarding: “What the state of Eritrea can’t do”

    On data analysis and the cementing, I too want to be as cool, despite, and declare now as the Terminator with shades and all: “I will be back!” (minus the accent) Peace.


  • haqi
  • haqi

    well done brother, here is the article he wrote

    • saay7

      Welcome back Haqi:

      We missed u; even more whenever we here Nitriccs consistently wrong predictions. Can you please do one and show Nitricc how it’s done?:)


      • Nitricc

        SAAY, leave my boy alone lol. Haqi is depressed his beloved Eagles are dead for good. speaking about predictions; SAAY, Haqi was the one he predicted Eagles would go super ball and yet, they didn’t even make the playoffs. do you remember when you pick the packers and pats for Super-ball and haqi got offended with you for not picking the Eagles? well, here you have it for the so-called prediction. if that is not enough; now the fat slap, Eagles’s head couch is accused of being racist.

        • saay7

          Hey lieutenant Nitricc:

          Don’t u dare mess with Haqi: awates sports correspondent. Actually I remember and u know he was right: he was saying to me how can you make a prediction that early when the Eagles are still contenders? Very valid point. Now don’t u make me pull up all his posts because he writes so infrequently: whether it’s football, soccer (world cup), basketball, Haqi calls it and it’s always Haqi. I bet u that if u challenge him he can call hockey and baseball too. Just hope he is a bookie and be his friend. You on the other hand are so wrong u should call yourself Hasot:)))))


          PS: who was it who was so bored by a game he went to sleep at halftime and u couldn’t believe it? U mean u have never done that before? That’s because u haven’t lived in the East Coast where sometimes sports is broadcast past midnight.

          • Nitricc

            LOL SAAY, you remember that? That Haqi who he dosed off and missed the greatest comeback in recent history. lol I was on him for a long time about it. I still can’t figure it how anyone could fall sleep while watching football. lol I mean, how do you fall to sleep while watching a football game? I don’t get it. by the way; Haqi is huge baseball. he is an avid sport man but i am better than him, because i watch the game alertly. lol

          • saay7

            Hey, Nitricc, I remember now how Haqi schooled you on some basball rule which you thought was obscure but is common place! Remember? About his going to sleep during the Pats-Broncos game of thanksgiving 2013…half the country had gone to sleep at halftime, not just Haqi… even this dude:


            Now you have done it: I told you not to mess with Haqi. Here’s the scary record of Haqi:

            Futball (Soccer)

            “I am picking Germany to take it all. if not Germany then it will be Argentina.”
            Haqi also picks Liverpool over Arsenal (because Arsenal is Isaias Afwerki’s team and Isaias is a loser:) Liverpool kicks Arsenal’s ass.

            Football (american style):

            Supebowl: Haqi predicts Seahawks will defeat 49ers. They do. Even this Eagles thing you are teasing him about he said the Pats will be there for the AFC and he HOPES the Eagles would represent the NFC. Hope, not predict:)

            The guy even predicts college football and college basketball. I think you should just take notes from him:) Why do you think Rodab is no longer here: he just kept losing bets to Haqi.


  • Nitricc

    Hi SAAY; i am scratching my head and in a complete loss when you tried to make a point where there is no point at all. how on earth can you compare the Ethio-Eritrea war and the deportation that followed after ward? i am discombobulated to no end. it is a very well articulated and a nice read article but you ruined it when you tried to compare those two things.

    • Amanuel

      Get real Nitricc

      He is comparing the methodology used to compile the two reports, i.e., “The Uprooted: Case Material on Ethnic Eritrean Deportees from Ethiopia Concerning Human Rights Violations” by Pro. Asmorom Legesse and “the situation of human rights in Eritrea” by Ms. Sheila Keetharuth, the UN-appointed Special Rapporteur.

  • Ambassador

    Bravo SAAY, way to go brother-

    I see your struggle to find a redeemable character in the personhood of the ‘good’ professor. I believe, his “winning (generous) smile” had saved that quest. If it weren’t for that smile, I too agree with the premise that the professor is a devil’s incarnation.

    You would expect a professor of his stature to be sensitive, if not overly, of the meanings he would create or covey through his utterances. When I first read his article on tesfanews, the first thing that came to my mind was that of a confusion to the degree that he could easily be mistaken for an illiterate. The bug that infected the PFDJ idiots must have gotten him somehow. Here are the list of meanings he created in that unfateful article:

    1. A confused meaning of space that disowns the Special Rapporteur’s role as a prosecutor, but as a same time bestows the right to the government of Eritrea to defend itself as that of a presumed-innocent-defendant. He vehemently argued that in a setting where investigation is required, the special rapporteur acted as a prosecutor. When it comes to the government of Eritrea though, he took an offense for the fact that the setting was not similar to that of a court.

    2. The shameful meaning he created on all Eritrean asylum seekers. For him, all asylum seekers are liars; or at best imbeciles that do not differentiate between COI and host counties’ immigration department.

    3.The idea that there are opposition groups in the world which do not work to bring about regime change. The professor missed the meaning in being an opposition, or lost that of the inherent aim of an opposition is always to unseat an incumbent.

    4. For the professor, it is perfectly ok to incarcerate the father of a child who has access to healthcare, education and food without due process of law or incommunicado. Because access to healthcare, education and food are collective rights of the child; his dad though- is more of a luxury (an individual right tantamount to greed inculcated by the capitalist west and shoved down to the throat of GOE by the UN that cannot deviate from US policy).

    5. For the professor, there must be a magical number of individuals, surely above 450, for them to start to be called collectives. 450 people are still individuals and their right are not yet ensured by the principles of PFDJ.

    6. You would expect a professor of anthropology to know basic anthropology 101 that culture encompass politics. There is even a subcategory called political culture. But in the meaning of culture the professor has created, both are distinct, mutually exclusive concepts. A given government either works to ensure the cultural rights of its citizens (a collective right) or the politics of individuals (individual right). GOE champions cultural right, or so we are told.

    7. Last but not least, the meaning that the abstract idea called country is more important than the people. “If Eritreans have no country, no other rights matter.” I thought an idea, like that of “Eritrea”, resides in the psyche of its people. Now, the professor is telling me that a country devoid of its people can still live in the psyche of its ghosts. By the way, who am I to judge the professor in this matter? After all, he is closer to being a ghost than I am.

    • yigermal

      Hi SAAY,

      Thank you for the great rebuttal. Sadly, the good professor, a Harvard graduate and Swathmore professor emeritus (at that!), has joined the ranks of the weakling and pseudo-intellectuals of the likes of the blubbering Ghideon Abbay, apparently to protect a house in Eritrea. A life full of contradiction is the price he is willing to pay for it. Here are some examples of his contradicting choices:

      1. He moved to Eritrea shortly after independence and was the VP of the now defunct University of Asmara, an institute that provided him the opportunity to groom a younger generation of Eritrean anthropologists. However, upon the closure of UOA, the professor did not utter a single word, as an intellectual of his caliber should, on the perils of closing the only accredited university that has served generations of Eritrean since the 50’s.

      2. When many prominent EPLF leaders were incarcerated indefinitely without due process and accused of “treason”, the good professor did not advocate for “presumption of innocence and opportunity for the accused to defend themselves”, nor did he question the Isayas’ regime motives that had every “incentive to lie”. Here too he abdicated the responsibility that comes with his well-earned intellectual status.

      3. Of all people, he should know why young Eritreans choose to flee their beloved country. He too had to make some tough choices when he was confronted with the possibility of his three young children, whom they were born after he moved to Eritrea, wasting their best years in indefinite “national service”. Like many Eritrean parents, he managed to send his children to a neighboring country while he and the mother stayed behind. After few years, the parents made their way to Philadelphia to live happily thereafter…except for the issue with the house in Eritrea, that is. Had the professor not lost all vestiges of decency, he would be advocating for the displaced Eritrean youth whom he so callously dubs as “incentivized to lie”. Furthermore, his own saga of fleeing is a statement that reads “Eritrea has no future for my children or me”.

      “Cowards dare others to
      do what they themselves do not dare to do.”

      ― Ana Monnar

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Yigermal,

        Welcome back, you were missed for sometime. Good reflection on a professor willing to live in a life full of contradictions – ygermal.

        Amanuel Hidrat

    • saay7

      Selamat Ambassador:

      You wrote:

      5. For the professor, there must be a magical number of individuals, surely above 450, for them to start to be called collectives. 450 people are still individuals and their right are not yet ensured by the principles of PFDJ.

      All I can say is “I wish I had thought of that!” That’s brilliant.


      • Nitricc

        SAAY, Ambassader is the exact genetic properties of, xyzxyzxyzxyz, no, i want say it. Brilliant, huh, what was Brilliant was when the good professor tried to tell the difference the meaning of human rights in the freaking west and Africa. it is sad for SAAY caliber to ignore it as ” almost convincing” Come-on man! to use Monday night football language. “almost convincing” really SAAY? Not Good!

        • saay7

          Hey Nitricc:

          I am just going to wait for Field Marshall Mahmoud to Mahsplain it to you, you stubborn Eritrean.


          • Mahmud Saleh

            Hello SAAY
            I see your article, and I am saving it for bed time reading. Sure, you won’t elude Nitricka’s smelling abilities; he must have sniffed something worth of toothless reply. I will see who takes the smack.

  • haileTG

    Hi saay,

    I will read the article that is highly relevant (I had followed the Prof’s recent dealings) later today. I hope this video belongs here, so don’t mind me parking it here:)

    Awatista: Here is a direct refutation of the regime’s denial as to why Eritreans leave or if they do at all.

  • Abe z minEwale

    Hi 2 my self
    I suspect the writer is an excellent billiard player mentally