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September 1, Happy Double Awate Day

If nations do not have symbols, they create them. National symbols help solidify a common identity and strengthen unity. Every nation does gives attention to symbols, including the ancient Greeks who created “national mythos”. Some nations go as far as creating fictional narratives and heroes as symbols or created symbols and national narratives from mythologies. However, lucky nation do not have to resort to creating fictional heroes, they are endowed with heroes who inspire them, and a national epic struggle that empower them. South America in general, and Venezuela in particular, has Simon Bolivar for an icon. The USA has George Washington. Eritreans have Hamid Idris Awate. He is the man who followed on the footsteps of Eritrean heroes of the forties and fifties of the last century, the pioneers of the resilient Eritrean struggle for self determination. But Awate took the Eritrean cause and struggle for determination and freedom to a new level, and his farsighted leadership inspired Eritreans to fiercely fight for their rights. Finally, the armed struggle that Awate initiated culminated in the liberation of the Eritrea in May 24, 1991.

Unfortunately, due to the limitations of scholarships in Eritrea, and Eritreans are overwhelmed by the injustice that is befalling their country, not much has been written about Hamid Idris Awate. However,  his memory, his inspiration and heroism, is etched in the heart of every Eritrean patriot.

Despite the betrayal of the Eritrean struggle by the Isaias regime, Eritreans find solace in the fact that Awate’s struggle is still alive. His children and grandchildren, the torchbearers of the current struggle are determined to rid Eritrea of the stains of injustice and oppression, and to usher an era of peace, justice and freedom in its place. All the time they are led by the spirit of Awate, and guided by his vision. Eritrean patriots will always remain true to their icon who shaped their sense of patriotism and selfless struggle.

Unfortunately, some have tried (and are still trying) to weaken and defeat the Eritrean resolve by assaulting the history and the person of Awate who is the bedrock of the Eritrean nationalism. But the Eritrean patriots know that there is no national Eritrean narrative in isolation of awate, and they will not allow the wicked to demoralize Eritreans by attacking the foundation of their nationalism. They will fight back any such attempt with resilience, the way Awate taught them how.

Today, September 1, 2015, we celebrate the 54th anniversary of the Eritrean armed struggle, which was ignited by our hero Hamid Idris Awate, and the 15th anniversary of awate.com that is named after the national icon, we renew our commitment, and we promise to stay the course until we see Eritrea free from the shackles of tyranny and free from the Isaias regime. On this occasion, we are re-posting below what Tahir Indoul wrote about the exceptional Eritrean icon fourteen years ago, on September 1, 2001.


As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of our armed struggle, we duly pay tribute to all men and woman martyrs who paid their lives, the most precious thing a human being can offer, for our cause, our national aspirations and dreams.

Nobody can avoid mentioning Hamid Idris Awate’s name and role when remembering the great day of September 1st 1961, which remains as one of the most important turning points in our history.

Awate, the man of history, occupies special place in our hearts and memories.  He was the guardian, the defender and above all father and the founder of the Eritrean revolution.  While Awate’s name was a source of terror and intimidation to the enemy’s ear and its collaborators, it was causing a sense of great hope for Eritreans, a feeling of protection, defiance, and confidence in the inevitability of the ultimate victory of their legal and just struggle.

Awate is the first Eritrean revolutionary and leader who fired the first bullet of Eritrean armed struggle with 13 other pioneers in the historic battle of Adal.  He dedicated his life serving the cause of his people and demanded no less than the liberation of the man and the land.

A profile of a leader:

Hamid Idris Awate was born at Gerset, located between Tessenei and Omhajer in southwestern Eritrea in the year 1910.  His father was a peasant and known to own a rifle.  Awate was trained by his father how to use that gun.  At early age, he was a very skillful fighter who achieved great superiority in the usage of arms and developed a high knighthood skill that gained him the respect of his generation.

Grown up in a locality that appreciates and values ethical principles based on honesty and faithfulness, Awate was known to be a man of moral values and a good example for them to follow, trust and was a great leader to be obeyed.

In 1935, he was conscripted by the Italians to serve in the colonial army.  Beside his fluency in Arabic, Tigre, Tigrina, Nara, Hedareb, and Kunama, Awate learned the Italian language within short period of time and was sent to Rome for a course in military intelligence.

After returning from Italy, he was appointed as security officer in Western Eritrea.  Shortly after that, he served as deputy chief of the city of Kassala, Sudan and surroundings during the brief Italian occupation of that city.

At end of World War II, Awate returned to his village.  He went back to a humble life style where he can farm and raise cattle. The British soldiers who were searching for arms in western Eritrea have, in the process, confiscated properties and killed cattle of the localities in Gash\Setit and Barka areas. In a self-defense reaction, Awate killed one of the soldiers.  The British authorities accused Awate of a “crime” and forced him to live as a fugitive for some time.  In the meantime, he was defending his people against the British plunders and other bandits who cross the border from the Sudan, the Shifta from other parts of Eritrea and Ethiopia who used to raid and loot the properties of people of the Gash\Setit and Barka areas as well.

Awate commanded a group of 40 gunmen who Actively operated against the British forces causing heavy loses among them.  Aware of his great influence and role, the British colonial authorities decided to negotiate with Awate in order to avoid embarrassments and cool the tension with him. A deal was reached and the result was that he could go back to his village and live in peace.

Awate was a symbol of courage, bravery and boldness. His leadership capabilities were enhanced by his daily experiences through the posts he held coupled with his national consciousness and awareness of his people’s problems and concerns. He was the most respected individual in the Gash\Setit and Barka areas. The people in these areas had full confidence on him and his leadership.  Many instances are told about his courage and how he was able to fight back when attacked by colonial police and assassins.

When the Ethiopian government broke the terms of the UN Federal Resolution, reducing Eritrea to status of an occupied country, the Eritrean people rose against it, showing their objection to that evil act by the Emperor’s government who adopted all means and ways of torture, intimidations, imprisonments, and killings. In the face of that,  the Eritreans did not yield or surrender to the Ethiopian unilaterally annulling of the federation agreement. The Eritreans had no way out but to exercise their right of self-defense. Martyr Awate witnessed all the details of the Ethiopian ugly act.

Being a man of initiatives and combat, he didn’t leave events to take course according to the aggressor’s wish. He decided to take an action that would set history straight and restore stolen rights, but he was waiting for the right time to take the most important decision of his life.

The armed Struggle

In July 1960, in the city of Cairo, a group of young Eritrean students and intellectuals held a meeting and formed the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF).  The group consisted of the following names:

1. Idris Mohammed Adem (the president of the Eritrean Parliament)
2. Idris Osman Galaydos (a graduate of law school in Cairo University)
3. Mohammed Saleh Hummed (a graduate of law school in Cairo Uni.)
4. Said Hussian (a student of Al-Az’har University in Cairo)
5. Adem Mohammed Akte (a graduate from University of Cairo)
6. Taha Mohammed Noor (a graduate from Italy)

Back home, the Ethiopian authorities were suspicious of Awate’s movements and activities, and were watching him closely.

On his book Eritrea, destiny challenges, Hamid Saleh Turkey wrote about Awate’s beginnings and how the Ethiopian police forces had a plan to arrest Awate in his village in August 1961.  Turkey explains that the Ethiopians deployed a large amount of police forces but their plans were failed thanks to an Eritrean nationalist within the Ethiopian police who informed Awate earlier of that plan. Thus, Awate was able to escape the trap and headed to mount Adal.

Awate’s decision to kindle the armed struggle was reached after a period of long deliberations with other nationalists who operated actively in a network and pledged to deal with the Ethiopians in the language they understand.  That decision which change the course of our history, was a fruit of a well organized endeavors and sincere portrait activities by individuals proven to be loyal to the cause of their people.

On an interview with Eritrea Al-haditha, issue #75, 2nd year, fighter Mohammed Al-hassan Dohen, a long time friend of Awate and his assistant when Awate was “Shiakh Al Khet”, meaning in charge of a district, says:” In the year 1960, Idris Mohammed Adem sent a letter to Awate, the letter was written in Arabic… Hamid Awate told me that Idris Mohammed Adem was asking him to declare the armed struggle; but he was not ready for it at that time.  After four months, Mohammed Al-Shiekh Daood, who was a famous Eritrean nationalist, came and asked Awate to declare the revolution.  Awate agreed to lead the armed struggle and declare the revolution but asked for support.  Mohammed Al-Shiekh Daood provided Awate with arms, “3 abu khamsa” and gave him 300 Birr with sugar and tea.  In addition, Ibrahim Mohammed Ali brought two rifles and myself owned a rifle.  At the beginning we were only seven, then shortly our number grown to be 13 fighters.”

Awate received a lot of pressures to end the revolution.  The Ethiopian authorities desperately attempted to crush the revolution in its early stages.  According to Awate’s contemporaries, a military unit in six cars was sent to apprehend Hamid Awate but didn’t succeed.  The Ethiopian resorted to using different tactics to deal with Awate.  Mohammed Al-Hassan Dohen indicates in his interview that Omer Hassano and Egeal Abdulrahman did a last minute appeal to end Awate’s rebellion on August 1961.  Awate responded saying:” If you want us to end our armed struggle, then you better lower the Ethiopian flag and raise up the Eritrean flag.”

When the Ethiopian got that defiance reply, they lost their temper and decided to use aggressive military measures against Awate and pioneers.

The mount of Adal witnessed the birth of the long awaited event, the declaration of Eritrean revolution.  Armed with strong believe in their just cause, Awate and pioneer made the history of our armed struggle in Adal with very poor preparations in terms of arms, men and equipments which were incomparable to the Ethiopian machinery and hardware.   Nevertheless, they waged their first fierce battle against the Ethiopian occupation in mount Adal.  The freedom fighters, the “RA’EEL” pioneer, who accompanied Awate, were the followings:

1. Abdu Mohammed Faid (the first martyr)
2. Ibrahim Mohammed Ali
3. Hummed Gadef
4. Awate Mohammed Faid
5. Mohammed Beareg
6. Mohammed Adem Hassan
7. Saleh Giroog
8. Ahmed Fekak
9. Mohammed Al-hassan Dohen.
10. Adem Fegoorai
11. Ali Bekhit
12. Idris Mohmoud
13. Omer Kerai

According to Awate’s contemporaries, the battle of Adal lasted for 7 hours from (6 am to 1 pm).  Failing to crash the newly formed Eritrean Liberation Army (ELA), the Ethiopian forces retreated back and Awate ordered ELA fighters to withdraw to Obel area then to the area of Omer Siggo.  The reaction to Adal battle was great among Eritreans.  The Eritrean people showed their support and solidarity with their revolution.  The ELA pioneer received a warm welcome wherever they go.  On his side, Mohammed Al-Shiekh Daood sold 30 camels to raise the needed amount of money to supply the revolution and submitted that money to Awate.

Having received a humiliation in the battle of Adal, the Ethiopians were alarmed by Awate’s performance in that battle. They started massing their forces to carry out a large-scale attack.  The Ethiopians were able to encircle ELA in the area of Omal where another fierce battle took place and resulted in martyrdom of the first Eritrean freedom fighter, Abdu Mohammed Faid.

ELA was getting stronger as new well-trained fighters who serve in the Sudanese military forces began to join the armed struggle.  Kiboop Hejaj and Adem Ge’sear joined Awate and at later time, on February 17th 1962, another group consisted of 11 freedom fighters joined too. They were:

1.      Mohammed Idris Haj
2.      Omer Hamid Ezaz
3.      Taher Salem
4.      Osman Mohammed Idris (abu shenap)
5.      Ibrahim Mohammed Behdouri
6.      Mohammed Omer Abdella (abu tyara)
7.      Omer Mohammed Ali (Da’mer)
8.      Kisha Mohammed Kisha
9.      Mohammed Ibrahim
10.    Abdalla Idirs Adem
11.    Adem Gendifel

Kiboob Hejaj was famous for his accuracy at pointing and shooting at the enemy.  Asking forgiveness for killing his enemy in the battlefield, he used to say: ”Af feni” in Tigre language, which means forgive me, because Kiboob knows that when he points, he will never miss.

Awate led all the battles fought during his life.  Freedom fighter Abu Rigella reported that after the battle of Amnait, leader Awate and Mohammed Ibrahim Shandi got wounded.  He says that, they were 11 military and civilian individuals joined Awate, they swear in front of him, and declared their commitment to fight with him.

Abu Rigella attended the meeting when Awate was elected as a leader unanimously and Mohammed Idris Haj as his deputy. He says” Awate addressed the meeting saying: “ We are all Eritreans, we have to serve our country with honesty and sincerity, we are here to achieve a goal, and if there is anybody who may has individual ambitions other than the declared objective, then, he must leave now.  We all have to show extreme commitment and dedication and carry out the commands and instructions of the leader, no matter how hard they are, for the cause of our country.””

On May 27th 1962, Awate drunk milk for dinner, then soon told his unit that he was not feeling good.  His condition began to deteriorate quickly.  It is said that Awate called pioneer Kiboob Hajaj and gave him his beloved gun emphasizing on the continuations of the revolution.  The next morning, Awate rested in peace.  The ELA decided not reveal the martyrdom of Awate, and they buried him secretly.  Awate’s martyrdom was made public 4 years after his death.

Martyr and leader Hamid Idris Awate lead the armed struggle in its critical times.  He laid the way for this new Eritrean experience to take its shape.  Awate died when our revolution was in desperate need for his leadership.  He has gone but left huge legacy of self-reliance.  He left without a farewell to his comrades, people, family, and most importantly his wife and son Karar who was born in the jail in the city of Tessanai.  May Allah\God bless him and bless all our martyrs.

On this occasion, I would like to call the attention of all Eritreans for the need to have a book about our great martyr and leader Awate.  The new generation needs to learn and understand our history.

About Awate Team

The PENCIL is awate.com's editorial and it reflects the combined opinions of the Awate Team and not the individual opinion of team members.

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  • Amde

    Hi Semere,

    You have an interesting point about Muslim insurgency caused by Ethiopian counter-insurgency brutality against civilians. In your personal experience, can you say that the majority or a good proportion of Muslims were fighting for the independence cause directly due to Ethiopian counter insurgency rather than ideological committment to a state that was not ruled by Christians? In other words, if HaileSellasie’s counter insurgency had been softer, we would not be talking about an independent Eritrea today.

    When I mean your personal opinion, I mean to ask about your information from Eritrean Muslims you interacted with in Sudan and elsewhere.

    Amde

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Amde:
      Absolutely, I heard it in tailor shops older men cursing and blaming HS of the atrocities, I heard it from young people who heard from their older siblings or parents and I also heard it from my own father (not a Muslim) who in 1975 was in a business trip in Agordat and was almost killed when the soldiers massacred civilians and arrested camels to retaliate for ELF’s murder of one Eritrean spy. My dad said that because of that experience lots of Muslims from Barka joined ELF and hated Ethiopia for ever.
      But having said that I do not claim that the struggle was pristine, devoid of other tendencies and influences. Some people may have had the agendas you mention, but the overriding reason people turned against Ethiopia was to avenge, protect and redeem their dignity

      • Amde

        Hi Semere

        Thank you. I do not think most Ethiopians know too much of this part of history. I feel this is a really important point. Most of us are led to believe the war was waged against guerillas in the bush. These would be considered legitimate military targets by any definition.

        But atrocities against civilians that drove them out to be refugees is not really appreciated. I have another question for you. Were civilian atrocities in the lowlands worse during HaileSellasie’s time or Derg’s? The war was simply more massive during the Derg era for sure, but so were the number size and composition of ELF and EPLF as well. So how was Derg era counter insurgency different in civilian atrocity compared to HaileSellasie?

        Counter-insurgencies are tough, and this is a classic case where military gains translate into political losses.

        Amde

  • saay7

    Abi.net:

    Derg was a unitary government which experimented with de-centralization when it was in its deathbed (it inhaled.) A communist government can be unitary AND decentralized (eg. Yugoslavia.) The point being that it is the central government (based in Addis) which giveth and taketh.

    In “Ye Ertra Guday”, the author says that the thing that Haile Selasse I was most unhappy about Eritrean federation was not the federation per se, but that Eritrea was being treated differently from the other provinces in his kingdom. So, super-smart Aklilu Habtewold advised him: rather than annex Eritrea so that it is identical with the other provinces, why not create an Eritrea-like federation with the other provinces. Opportunity lost. And the Arabs had nothing to do with it:)

    saay

    * by the way, is the role of Arabs mentioned in Babile Tola’s “To Kill A Generation: Red Terror in Ethiopia”? A good friend who has been following the revisionist story told by our Ethiopian friends here has recommended that I read it. Wonder what Addis has to say about the book.

    • Abi

      Saay
      I hate everything which is based on ethnicity and religious background. This includes federation.
      Regarding the arabs , I blame them on everything including losing a marathon for an unknown country.

      • saay7

        Abi.net:

        Aren’t you a huge football fan? I hear that in Walia’s next big game with Seychelles, four of the players joining Walia are all based in Arab countries: Walid Ata, Salahadin Said, Omer Ukuir and Getaneh Kebede. I will send the Arab countries a “thank you!” card on your behalf. It is the Habesha thing to do.

        saay

  • dawit

    Dear Alebachew,
    That will be the time when we all start to stick to the truth, than falsely accuse one another. It is written in the ‘Good Book’ that “Only the Truth makes you Free”. Blaming others is the oldest trick that man invented in the Garden of Eden. Adam blamed his wife Eve and she blamed the Serpent for breaking the rule that was given by God, not to eat the fruit of wisdom, before God ordered their punishment. .
    Regards

  • saay7

    Hey Cousin:

    I am sorry but I missed Hayat’s “original and gutsy” question: can you rephrase it. All I heard was the same question she has been asking–channeling YG–the same question that has been answered ad infinitum: why didn’t Eritrean’s try peaceful struggle BEFORE they rushed to armed struggle? The answer was, is, will be: everything Eritreans tried to do in the 1940s to avoid Federation was peaceful while their opponents in Hebret/Andnet, funded by Ethiopia, used shifta to intimidate and assassinate them. Everything the Eritreans did with the Eritrean Liberation Movement (ELF aka Haraka/Mahber Showate) in 1958 until the emergence of Awate was peaceful. Haraka was inspired by Sudan’s Communist party. It turns out if you are Muslim, even if you are a communist, you are still Islamist:)

    saay

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Sal:
      I also add that if Ethiopia did not breach the arrangement and did not elevate its crimes, the peaceful fight would go on, most people would opt for peaceful, bloodless struggle to get what they want. Even if second referendum voted for union and Eritrea remained with Ethiopia by will of the majority, there would still be peaceful movement, with armed resistance that would not have attracted the highlanders in the overwhelming numbers that changed the calculus. So no IA and no awate as a hero. Eritreans would be asking for distinct society status and the struggle would have gone on a civilized manner because as your cousin iSem is fond of saying, the identity has already started to gel.
      Conclusion: the blood shed that is erroneously attributed to Eritrean Muslims by some Ethiopians would not have come to pass. Eritrean resistance was in direct response to the stimuli of cruelty from HS that was even made worse by Derg, Ethiopians like Kim and Eyob have nothing to blame Eritreans for this.
      But as it has said, the thing is we did not undo what we started out to undo but that was said ad infinitum time:-)

      • saay7

        Hi iSem:

        I am still waiting for the “original and gutsy” thing that Hayat said. I know you are in a mad rush with Abi and Fanti to send red roses to Hayat (good luck cousin) but still…

        saay

        • Semere Andom

          Hi Saay:
          Here it is:
          “The questions that need to be asked is: Why couldn’t Eritrea think shaping the configuration of Ethiopia to its liking and achieve what she wanted through leading a change in the Ethiopian framework rather than separation? Why not? Eritrea was at an advantage considering the higher share of the possession rate of every bag: resources, know how, technocracy, polity, intelligentsia etc. Eritrea could manipulate the Ethiopian monarchic system to its hegemonic advantages and spend such capacity in changing Ethiopia for the better. If this was possible and admissible, then Awate made history but not necessarily a good one.”

          • Shum

            Hello Semere,

            I was waiting in the lobby with Saay. How is that an original question and gutsy? It has been said a million times. Plus the question is always posed as if Awate and Eritreans, in general, just one day picked up a gun out of the blue. No Eritrean would pose this question if they understood the steps it took to get there. After what true transpired, how can an Eritrean think he can shape Ethiopia if the monarchy has no respect for the Eritrean society and the agreements they negotiated? Ok, I’m going back to the lobby. Saay will come out when he’s ready to see you.

          • saay7

            Ala iSem:

            Now, how is this question remotely original or insightful? It is twisted actually: it is saying, “why weren’t Eritreans more opportunistic (hegemonic) instead of being more driven by justice?” Why? because this would have contributed “in changing Ethiopia for the better.”

            Please take a look at this map of Africa, circa 1913:

            https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Colonial_Africa_1913_map.svg

            If you look at the chronology of colonialism in Africa, you will see that Eritrea’s case falls smack in the middle of the Scramble for Africa (1890.) If you look at the number of years we were colonized by a European state (1890-1941), it falls smack in the middle of the range of years (some African states were colonized longer, some shorter.) If you look at the demand we were making, it is exactly like that of every African country wanting to be decolonized.

            Do you really think that if we had been colonized by the Brits and not the Italians in 1890 there would ever have been a discussion about “the fate of Eritrea” in 1941? It is only because we were unfortunate enough to be colonized by Italy (the loser in World War II) that that issue was even open.

            Notice also that Hayat’s question mentions “separation” (to imply that all of Eritrea was part of Ethiopia); it assumes the interests of highland Eritrea are interchangeable with the interests of Eritrea (in her calculation, highland Eritrea=Eritrea) otherwise, why would an Eritrean in the Western lowlands (significantly the largest part of Eritrea by landmass) give a nano-second thought to what is good for Ethiopia much less think in terms “hegemonic advantages”?

            This is neither insightful, nor original. It is the same all “nastro” giving scratchy noise.

            saay

          • Music Novice

            Greetings saay,

            Do you know of any guerrilla led third-world liberation movement that had a happy ending?

            Do you think that Western type of democracy will ever take root in Eritrea/Ethiopia?

          • saay7

            Hi MN:

            i am not trying to be flippant but please define “happy ending.”

            I think Western type of democracy–the Scandinavian model–will take root in Eritrea/Ethiopia but only after they first go through the Developmental State model because, not surprisingly, they first want to deal with the fact that, like almost all of Africa, they are in flashing-red zone when it comes to the fragile state index.

            saay

          • Hayat Adem

            Dearest saay,
            I wish you have taken my questions as curiosity-driven than twisted scratchy noise although you may be right on the “neither original nor gusty” attestation. Semere Anbesa might have been playing a bit generous on me. But those inquiries could still be just keen questions and nothing more. When you face questions like that, the best you can do is addressing them.

            I’m surprised you finally have narrowed down Eritrea’s case of not becoming independent immediately after Italy left to the fact that Italy was defeated. But we all know it was Britain that took over not Ethiopia. So, the federation came not straight out of the hands of the defeated Italy but the victor Britain. Plus, Italy had other colonies in Africa. Countries like Libya and Somalia were not hurdled from becoming independent nations because of Italy’s defeat. And both countries always had Muslim leaders.

            Saay, also, from one word I used “separation” you took on the notion as if I mistake the highland for the entire Eritrea. For the record, I don’t. But you are sounding for the first time as advocating another kind of “separation” between lowlanders and highlanders. This new spirit of yours is to be picked from your wording when you attempted to compare the larger lowland landmass against the less endowed smaller highland area to implicate me with picking the smaller over the larger. That from you is a news to me.

            We’re talking about Awate days here and what he thought and did. That was exactly after Nigus Hailessilassie had undone the federation. The federation acknowledged both lowland and highland as one Eritrea. It was this entire Eritrea that was federated with Ethiopia. The armed struggle for separation (the euphemism is self-determination) starts then. It was not aimed to undo the monarchy. It was not to redo the federation. It was destined for separation. And unless you want to imply Awate didn’t have the entire Eritrea in mind as a field of his vision, I would not miss Eritrea as a single entity because that was how the federation platform defined Eritrea.

            Hegemony/Justice: Only because I posed a question on the possibility of Eritrea faring better within Ethiopia had it used its cards differently, you accused me of accusing Eritreans of not preferring a cause about hegemonic opportunism to justice. What is wrong if I see more justice in avoiding the 30yr blood shed that ruined both peoples. What is wrong if I see more justice in preferring the Eritrea of the federation time to the one we have today. What is wrong if I see more justice in Eritrea playing a leading role that matches what it can offer in the Ethiopian political landscape as part of Ethiopia than trying to do the same thing from outside after it opted for separation.

            The 1998 war is about opportunistic hegemony than anything else, forget justice. Only Eritrea and Ethiopia were trying to do it from outside as a stranger breaking in rather from from within as part of the entity which Eritrea rejected with Awate’s 1st bullet. Were really irritated that the 1998 war had nothing to do with justice as you seem to have chosen as value for Eritreans?
            Regards,

            Hayat

          • saay7

            Good morning Hayat:

            1. The reason I can’t take your questions as “curiosity-driven” or “keen questions” is because you have asked them many times and they have been answered many times. It would be one thing if you challenge the answers you were given, but to pose them as if they are new questions is a system devised by people who practice the art of disinformation known as “trutherism.” Their favorite sentence to everything is, “I am just asking questions.” A perfect example of that is in the article linked:

            http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/24/iran-deal-truthers.html

            2. In the 1940s, Eritreans were being asked to be treated like every Italian colony in Africa: Somalia and Libya. Nobody said about Libya: The East goes to Egypt (British) and the West goes to Algeria (French.) Nobody said of Somalia: British Somaliland goes to Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland goes to Kenya. But they (the Powers that be, under the emerging superpower US) said that Eritrea should be federated to Ethiopia because it served their interest. This interest would not have been served if the same Ethiopia, with its same claims to historical, cultural ties to Eritrea had been ruled by a Muslim or a communist.

            3. Hayat, I have already complimented you many times for your choice of words: you used the word “separate” deliberately. For units to be separated, they must have been one. This was the argument of the Hebret/Andnet party: the metaphor they drew is that of a Mother and a daughter, a daughter that had been snatched and now wants to be re-united with her mother. Just like I asked you to imagine how the World Powers would have acted if Ethiopia then was under the rule of a Muslim or a Communist, I am trying to change your visual of what you mean when you conceive of the word Eritrea: for a minute, imagine it being the landmass of Western Eritrea and the Red Sea zone. Then all your why didn’t they opt to stay with Ethiopia, “the armed struggle for separation (the euphemism is self-determination)” would be self-evidently nonsensical.

            4. I hate to burst your bubble but to Haile Selasse I, Eritrea meant access to the Red Sea. For sometime, access to the Red Sea meant Somalia, but that was rudely rejected by the Brits and that’s when he shifted his eyes northbound to Eritrea. Then, when Bevin-Sforza to partition Eritrea to Sudan and Ethiopia was presented, the deal was accepted by Haile Selasse because that would have given him what he wanted above all: access to the sea. That’s why there was a statue of Haile Selasse in Massawa and not in the highlands of Kebessa.

            5. The 30 year bloodshed. Of all the things you say that in the “I am just asking questions” department that give it all away for me, it has to be this one. The reason Eritreans fought and bled for 30 years is because Ethiopia fought back hard. Yet, that is always missing: Ethiopia and its actions is always missing from your (and YG’s) arguments. Instead of asking, “why did Ethiopia fight a pointless war for 30 years to retain a people who clearly didn’t want to be part of it?” it is presented “why did Eritreans fight a 30 year war before trying an alternative?” This becomes doubly suspicious when it is common knowledge that Eritreans fought peacefully for 20 years (1941-1961) to keep their autonomy or semi-autonomy.

            In a different thread, Ted posted a video (it is a long one) that describes how and why Eritreans accepted Federation to begin with. It is explained by Woldeab Woldemariam and Ibrahim Sultan*. Welwel says that the Bevin Sforza deal was so frightening to Eritreans–that Eritrean would seize to be–the pro-independence bloc was asked to give up its maximum demand (independence), and the pro-union bloc was asked to give up its maximum demand (unity with Ethiopia) just to ensure that Eritrea as a unit doesn’t disappear. You can begin at the 23:45 mark

            https://youtu.be/M6kfunfx9m0

            What if we were to apply your logic to our current situation? We have been resisting the rule of Isaias Afwerki–some of our compatriots have raised arms; and you are on record as saying that you would like them to get even more “help” from Ethiopia–for the last 14 years (some for 24 years.) Using your logic, shouldn’t we be working with Isaias Afwerki instead of our current struggle?

            saay

            * translation of Ibrahim Sultan’s words is not accurate: what he says is that “Eritrea will not be parceled, nor partitioned: neither to the right, nor to the left.”

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Selam Saay,

            That was a slap in the face for the neo-andnetists. Thank you for a service in support of the Eritrean cause, and setting history right. Regarding why the Eritrean struggle for independence took 30-long years, we can also add that it would have been much shorter if HS was not supported by the West, and the Dergue by the Soviet Union. As an example, we can take the Eritrean liberation movements were almost in control of the whole Eritrea in the year 1977, had it not been for the massive military intervention by the Soviet Union and the Communist block.

          • Saleh Johar

            Abraham,
            Do t forget the Arab support:Libya, Yemen, and George Habash’s Palestinian front.

          • Saleh Johar

            Dear Hayat,
            Allow me to start with a disclosure: You are one of my favorite debaters at this Forum, your tenacity and debating manners are what I wish many to emulate. And I have been accused of supporting you unfairly because it is not secret that I like you. However, it should have been obvious that I have many points that I strongly disagree with you, I will address two for tor now:

            1. SEPARATIST: However you try to explain it, it is abrasive and disrespectful to Eritreans, particularly those who paid the ultimate price and their colleagues, and all those who pinned their hope on the struggle, regardless of its saddening outcome exemplified by Isaias and his brutes. Separatist reminds me of “TegenTay Buddin” –in that every group that challenged the oppressors was separatist, not only Eriteans, but including the TPLF, and other patriots who pursued justice and freedom. WE called ourselves Freedom Fighters, our struggle for a struggle for Freedom and justice (democracy is an afterthought). And you know “Separatist” is as seen from our oppressors. Why would you insist on that belittling and demeaning term when you do not have to? I suggest that you stop calling our struggle separatist and move on.

            2. On Awate the hero: you see Hayat, every Sunday there are a group of missionaries who keep ringing the bell and when I open the door, immediately they ask me “Have you been saved by Jesus?” I keep avoiding them respectfully until they leave. A few years ago, every weekend I used to open the garage door and sit there with a bood, a cup of tea to relax–in no time groups of Marmons, Pentecostals, Jehovah witnesses, Gym membership sellers, and security alarm installers came to me in droves. I found a way to avoid the security alarm sellers, I have printed a sign that read “Protected By JC” and I would tell them it is my security vendor. They would ask, “JC? I never heard of that company!” And I would tell them, “it’s protected by Jesus Christ, no bug off.” I was banished from my pwn garage because of these groups. Do you expect Eritreans to go door-to-door to sell Awate? Seriously? It’s nota new product as you know, Awate has been a hero long before 1961 and as far as we are concerned, he is our hero. Those who do not want to acknowledge him are free to do so–but we will not allow them to come and rub their belittling remarks on our faces. At the end of the day (if we take this issue in its political, hypocritical, and bigotry context) it might come to a confrontation, as symbol of contention to push other motives. And like any other conflict, it may take its natural course which I hope will not happen. To sum it up, though you may be expressing your individual views on Awate, I am certain of the causes and motives that drive the anti Awate diatribe. Just like Eritreans use Awate as symbol of their freedom, there are entities who equally take him as a symbol, as a foundation stone of Eritreanism which they think if they remove it the wall will crumble. Many of us know all along the political games around our hero. Please do not rub it in if it you do not think it is so important and you can afford not to be obsessed with it. AS for Eritreans, Awate is one of the pillars of our country and we will protect that pillar at any cost.

            Finally, Hayat, you can do better and I hope you take my advice on the two points.

            Thank you for your civility

          • Hayat Adem

            Thanks for the thanks SGJ. I also like you very much and respect on top of that. Your advice is noted and excesses on my part, if any, will be tamed. Hayat.

          • Fnote Selam

            Semere and Saay,

            Correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that one of the reasons Haileselasie went so aggressively to annex Eritrea is to avoid any kind of influence from then relatively vibrant democratic atmosphere in Eritrea? If that is true, it is quite incredulous to think Eritreans could have done what is mentioned above.

            FS.

      • Dear Semere Andom,
        As much as some people (especially those opposed to the federation right from the beginning) were concerned, the federation was not meant to be. The dice was cast before the federation was implemented. With your above statement, I think that you are supporting the same thing, when you say, even if there had not been armed struggle, with peaceful struggle Eritreans would have achieved the same result, which was to dismantle the federation. Therefore, dissolving the federation and HS’s atrocities are factors that turned on the machine of armed struggle, and not the main factors that created the unwillingness to the marriage. The divorce certificate was signed much earlier before the marriage took place.
        This is a rhetorical question that does not have any impact on what took place (the unfortunate blood shade). Were the atrocities of HS before or after that famous first bullet?
        I do not know if you remember; once I had asked you, if Eritreans would have continued to support the federation with all the provisions the federation gave to Ethiopia, especially concerning the ports, if the federation was not annulled
        by HS and if he had not resorted to atrocities? Your answer was a big no. In other words, the federation was not meant to be right from the beginning.
        Finally, HS government was not known for its democratic rules; how would you think that Eritreans would carry out peaceful struggle to cancel the federation? Do you expect HS to
        call for a referendum and ask the Eritrean and the Ethiopian people to decide whether they want to retain or dissolve the federation? I think that nobody would expect that to happen. Therefore, what I am trying to say is that there were
        forces, that did not want this federation to last, whatever Ethiopia did or did not. The curse was there to consume the two brotherly people.

  • Saleh Johar

    Selam Anwar,
    During the despotic rules, anyone who resists the oppression is considered an outlaw. Amets corresponds to injustice, rape, insurrection and a host of other meanings as per the political development. Those who rebelled against rulers are always called Shifta, sheffitu, sheffete, meaning he went to the forest, the mountains usually carrying a gun against the system. To alleviate your confusion, find a tigrinya word for Rebel, you will not find anything than Shifta. Besides, aren’t all rebels in our region called Shifta, to belittle their influence. The Weyane rebellion was branded shifta by the rulers of the day, so was the Eritrean rebellion.

  • Saleh Johar

    Selam Welde ab,

    I thought you would give me some insights, the link you provided is a debate between two persons (one of them) replying to Prof Tecola. But thank you anyway.

    I don’t know if you believe me, but reading most of my reading is history because it fascinates me. Most of my time in Addis was spent scavenging for old books in obsecure places–I even have a story: I was once haggling with a book seller in a dark shop in Mercato when suddenly security personnel and cars surrounded the place. I was there carrying about eight books and reaching for my pocket to pay. I discovered the vendor was selling stolen books. But he has displayed his books on the street and when I asked a specific book, an Olledeorf, he took me to a secluded place. I thought that were he stored his books and followed. I was let go; but I almost cried for loosing the books–the police took them away with the vendor.

    At any rate, I do not want to go into details of Mehal Sefari, (the nucleus of the Kbr Zebegna, protectors of the king, just like Saddam’s Republican Army) I brought it to mean a group of people who are infatuated by the feudal rulers and would be furious when anything negative is attributed to the king and his entourage of feudal lords, and I am really challenged in finding positive attributes to him.

    The Mehal Sefari were basically defenders of the king and nobility and anyone who longs for that era of cruelty and subjugation, and uses excuses and argument he used, is an extension of the Mahal Sefari, a few generation removed. Dear Wolde ab, I mentioned it in this context, I was not commenting on how they were formed, when, and how they were joined by Ethiopian soldiers whom the British trained in Kenya, and how their number was inflated by Italian Askaris who fought in Tripoli, etc,–I didn’t want to go there. I will leave Ethiopians have fun with that topic. I am out 🙂

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Dear Semere,

    Excellent “conditions” to frame your answers; consequently to test the personalities on questions. Well done brother. However, I am curious if MN could tell us as to what “hero/heroine” stand for as a vocabulary or terminology. And what qualities are worthy for attributing the accolade of hero/heroine to an individual.

    regards,
    Amanuel Hidrat

  • Solomon Haile

    Dear Awatista,

    1910 —..> 1 91 0
    —> 91

    Rotate clock wise the nine 180 degrees

    —-> 61 —— 91

    Eighty one years since Hamid Idris Awate’s birth. The significance of 81

    —> Crushing Derg’s 6th offensive in ’81 sealed IT. i.e. The inevitable and successful culmination of Awate’s phase I initiative to liberate himself and Eritrea from all oppression! As for Phase II….

    let me paraphrase the great vocalist Teg. “Zematch”

    n lEili meIti Amet n Harinet steQalese Uwut Hzbi
    ktgobtu ab barinet tTsiEru bHaili
    bdHo bdHo bdHo nzmeTsiE zeyHigawi, zeysewrawi ekey gbri
    klTsim fTHawi rtEi hjiwn INIHO!

    Awate Awate Awate!!!!

    Solomon Haile

  • Semere Tesfai

    Selam Hayat

    The topic you raised is not just one, but many. I can’t answer every topic (Awate, ports, balance of power, exodus of the young, the fate of Eritrea, border, resurrection of the opposition……..) but I will respond to the Awate part briefly.

    1. – “Awate can not be a hero to all of us in the universal sense of it. Even if he is a hero, he can’t mean hero in the same intensity to all of us. This kind of day should help us know him better. It is the right time to share what we feel about him amongst us. There is nothing wrong in discussing him freely and decently without resorting to unsubstantiated mischaracterization or glorification.”

    Hayat, there are many kinds of heroes (religious heroes, athletic heroes, music heroes, military heroes, political heroes…) and all are heroes on their own right. Please don’t confuse hero with perfection; they are not. Heroes are heroes not because they are perfect or righteous people but because they initiated a change that changed the course of history. Because they set a wheel of change in motion that changed the whole course of history. Awate is a hero simply because the wheel he set in motion changed the whole history of Eritrea and Ethiopia never to be the same again.

    Ethiopians can deny Awate’s heroism all day long, but they can’t deny the product of Awate in Addis (the EPRDF government) and EPRDF’s fingerprint in Ethiopian history and in the whole region.

    Again, please, please, please don’t confuse a hero/heroine with an ideal man/woman. All heroes and heroines have weaknesses that they struggle-with every single day, and past act they are not proud of.

    About the other topics I can debate you if care about them too much, but I don’t think they fit on this article.

    N.B. Sorry Hayatom, my comment should have been under your comment, my bad.

    Semere Tesfai

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Semere.
      For a change I like and agree with your opinion on this. Excellent comment.

      • Semere Tesfai

        Selam Saleh

        Thank you sir. It means a lot to me.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Semere

      This is the first sensible argument You made. Solid argument. I give you thumbs up.

      Amanuel Hidrat

      • Semere Tesfai

        Selam Amanuel.

        Thank you Amanuel Hawey. I will always try very hard to meet your expectation. Again, thank you.

    • Music Novice

      Greetings Semere T.,

      You said:
      “Heroes are heroes not because they are perfect or righteous people, but because they initiated a change that changed the course of history (when others couldn’t).”

      Using your description, is Hitler a hero?

      What about Pol Pot, Shoko Asahara, Reverend Jim Jones and Charles Manson?

      Can heroes be compared? For example, who is a greater hero, Isaias or Awate?

      Could you reply to each in clean and precise way, without mixing up the usual way?

      • Saleh Johar

        MN,
        Why the hair splitting. And though Semere doesn’t need my hel, let me volunteer an answer. Yes, KKK consider Hitler a hero. The skin heads also do. All fascists consider him a hero. I and Eritreans with the exception of a few, and Tigrayan patriots consider Haile Sellasie a cruel villain while others consider him elect of God. Eritreans fever their hero Awate and those Mahal Safari whose main objective is to protect their oppressors, kings and feudals, hate him. Let it go. Let it go because I see a new breed of Dispora ashaferegn ontemplating mass deportation. Enough with the madness. Please let’s not fuel fires that doesn’t pose any risk to us. Can I count on you to fight the fire that some joveniles are planning to ignite ?

        • Music Novice

          Greetings SGJ,

          In discussion such as the present, hair splitting is not a bad thing at all. It will help clarify concepts.
          What is “mass deportation”? I am not aware of any.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Dear Semere,

        Excellent “conditions” to frame your answers; consequently to test the personalities on questions. Well done brother. However, I am curious if MN could tell us as to what “hero/heroine” stand for as a vocabulary. And what qualities are worthy for attributing the accolade of hero/heroine to an individual.

        regards,
        Amanuel Hidrat

      • saay7

        Selam Music Novice:

        This is a tribute to your irreverence. I was going to share David Bowie’s “Heroes” and “I need a hero” from Flashdance but they are too simplistic. This (30 seconds) one is more fitting. “BoJack Horseman calls the troops jerks” from my favorite show about a talking horse:

        http://youtu.be/LTr60WYjNM4

        saay

        • Music Novice

          Greetings saay,

          Most Generals are jerks,

          Those with the rank of Colonel and below are cannon fodder.

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Dear Semere Tesfai

      Thank you Sir for both comments that you penned in defense of this date. You have included the gist of what I wanted to say and which seems to go along my original comment . For the defamers and deniers, this is a testimony of what this man and the ideas he represents mean to the majority of Eritreans. You see awatistas of different political stripes come together and declare peace on this day. What else of “proof” are they looking for? The fact that people who would not agree in political discourse have shown a unison of a heart beat on Awate and the essence he represents. Hayat said, “So, those who care a lot about the legacy of this famous man have the burden of explaining issues that surrounded his fame.” Really? What a travesty of justice!! Only a terribly delusional and severely self-righteous person challenges a nation to prove its founding hero and the ideals he symbolizes are in fact r true. I mean, in truth, Hayat should be the one who should prove why she think a whole nation born out of that first spark is indeed phantom-stricken. Remember, we are not saying he is a hero to the Sudanese, the Kenyans or the Ethiopians. No, we are just saying he and the ideal he set in motion are worth celebrating. And we are saying this not in websites they run but in our own website. We are not asking them to celebrate him either.Some of these folks are people who defended Hailesselasie’s atrocities right in this forum when the massacre of Ona was discussed.
      .

      • Semere Tesfai

        Mahmud Sleh

        Please, Please ሕጅስ በዚሕኒ:: ኣነ ሰብ ዘይበሎ ኣይበልኩን: ንመዋእል ዝተባህለ እየ ደጊመ:: I don’t know if I deserve it but I’m flattered, thank you, thank you.

        Hawkha Semere Tesfai

        • Pass the salt

          Semere T,
          Enjoy while the party lasts. In not distant future, you will go back to painting the regime gold, and folks will go like…hmm.. betrey habuni

      • Hayat Adem

        Dear Excellency,
        You have the highest Office and I also think the Office has one the highest quality person we can offer. It must worry me when you say, “Only a terribly delusional and/or a severely self-righteous person challenges a nation to prove its founding hero and the ideals he symbolizes are in fact r true. I mean, in truth,”. Heroes symbolize cultural values. Even though we may agree on the presence of collective consensus around cultural values, the grading of actors loyally carrying them are always sources of controversies, on some mild, on others polarizing. So you should allow me to question validity of some designations as heroes. That right should be there for me without the risk of being called delusional. You don’t have to be angered by any deviation on this. True heroes must always survive any sort of questionings and screenings.
        With assured allegiance,
        Hayat

    • Hayat Adem

      Thanks for the note, Semere,
      Unusually, you wrote this interesting reply with measured tone and perspective. See how many positive reactions you attracted. This suits you much more perfectly and that means you will impact your audience when you are this Semere and not the other.
      You may be surprised but your overall message is not that disagreeable to me. Just be careful about stretching the role of Awate as a creator of EPRDF. If there were only 100 things that created EPRDF and got them to Addis, Awate was not one.
      The other day, my Prime Minister told us that if was not Awate anyone could could have come out to play that role. He was pointing how objective situations create personalities, not the other way round. On that general concept. my PM was spot on.
      Again, thanks for the polite note.
      Hayat

      • Semere Tesfai

        Selam Hayat Adem

        “See how many positive reactions you attracted. This suits you much more perfectly and that means you will impact your audience when you are this Semere and not the other.”

        You know Hayatom, you’re right. Since the days of the “other” abrasive Semere, I’ve lost a lot of hair and I’ve added a lot more gray ones. And of course, a lot more of both to follow. I guess it must mean something. Thank you for your advice, and I’ll try very hard to follow your positive advice. Again thank you.

        N.B. And please, please, please እዉይ ሓወይ: ሎምስ ክመዉት ‘ሉ ኣዩ መስለኒ ከይትብሊ 🙂 I’m fine.

        Semere Tesfai

        • Semere Andom

          Hi Semere and Hayat:
          Why are you playing with the word “semere”
          Semere T, nice to see your sense of humor, I lost a bet:-)

      • Peace!

        Dear Hayat,

        What’s even more interesting is if someone lectures you, the first thing you do is go personal and divert the subject. What you said to Semere applies to you too: if you stay true Eritrean Muslim Woman and advocate for Eritrean identity, no one will call you payed Weyane Agent.

        Regards

        • Hayat Adem

          Yes Peace, it applies to everyone of us. But I want you to understand the message here exactly: discuss your views and ideas freely but respectfully. We are not talking about trimming and re sizing one’s own beliefs to fit someone’s. You spend your entire life calling me a paid agent. There is one thing I will keep doing and one other I will not be doing: I still tell you the truth I see it without disrespecting you.
          Regards,
          Hayat

        • Ted

          Peace, There is a gap of understanding by some Ethiopians with what we cherish , defend even offend us. Some Ethiopians seem not to get it that our current problem in any shape or form is not related to our being independent. We celebrate Awate, for the man himself who ignited the struggle and more importantly the sacrifice we made since the first bullet is fired for our independence. One need to be Eritrean to know what we went through and how we feel when we celebrate it.

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Selam Ted,

            I think these Ethiopians, Hayat Adems & Co. are just hallucinating, hoping that Eritreans would repent their lifetime dream of independent and prosperous Eritrea because of the current hardships they are facing. That is just foolishness, but the biggest problem is these anti-Eritreans have a very good helper in their quest of undoing Eritrea’s independence-and that is Isayas and Co.

          • Ted

            Hi, Abraham, if only they know us, they wouldn’t be this delusional and make a fool out of themselves.

          • Peace!

            Merhaba Ted,

            It is good that you say some Ethiopians because the majority of Ethiopians respect our history, our independence, and our identity. The few we have here at this forum are TPLF cadres with ambitious intention to take advantage of the current situation by dragging the issue back all the way to 40s. I am glad saay is doing good job on lecturing them their own history.

            Regards

        • Music Novice

          Greetings Peace,

          So, you impose your idea of how “a true Eritrean Muslim Woman” should think.

          I have become more convinced that it is unlikely that democracy will ever succeed in Eritrea.

          • Peace!

            Dear MN,

            “Democracy will ever succeed” Aren’t you impressed with the way democracy handled at this forum?

            Regards

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Peace,

            Democracy is working reasonable well here; not because of you but in spite of you.

          • Peace!

            Dear MN,

            Thank you, you just made me laugh. You made a general statement, and I proved you wrong by giving you an obvious example then you go personal on me, I guess you guys use same old tactic book? Anyways, ምነው ኣስጨረሱህ እንዴ? Don’t worry, ኣንድ በደሌ on me, clap clap የሺመቤት ….የሺመቤት

            Regards

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Peace,

            What did you prove wrong? You only proved you are in your own Universe.

            Initially I said: “So, you impose your idea of how “a true Eritrean Muslim Woman” should think.

            I have become more convinced that it is unlikely that democracy will ever succeed in Eritrea.”

            That is why with tendencies like yours democracy has little chance of succeeding. Imposing a particular view point is undemocratic.

            You said: “…. you guys use the same old tactic…”

            Which guys? Which tactic? Are you talking to yourself?

  • Rahwa T

    Dear Haile The Great,

    The “disrespect” I was referring was “disrespect” from EPRDF. If a group of US Ex-pats in UK celebrates the defeat of Britain day and isn’t disrespecting the Brits rather honoring their history, it is because this was done about three centuries ago and long forgotten. Remember that in our case it is only 24 years since the two countries have been legally or illegally separated, and many of the parents, families, widows, and children’s of the Ethiopian soldiers who paid their life are still living and memories of their loved ones are still fresh and vivid. On top of that, the wounds of 1998 -2000 war are also fresh.

    It was clear that despite their occasional collaboration in their struggle from the removal of the derg, both rebels had different objectives. I think the Eritrean armed forces struggle was against occupation by foreign forces (Ethiopia) whereas the TPLF revolution was feudal monarchy that kept the people under poverty and repeated hunger and famine. So obviously the fighting between TPLF and the derg is war between peoples of the same country. In the Eritrean case, it is like the fighting between Somalia and Ethiopia irrespective of the common historical background we share among ourselves. The “kebesa” people have denied the common history we had as Abysinians, let alone the revolutionaries from the lowland Eritrea. I don’t think Idris Awate or Osman Saabe and co believed in the 3000 years long common history, leaving aside the few hundred years Eritreans fall in the hands of the Turks and Egyptians. We have seen it here at Awate.com that we are different people. So obviously, the Eritrean and TPLF forces are seen not in the same eye by Ethiopians (or specifically the showa Amhara). So my dear Haile, I don’t you are raising relevant question when you ask “Why is the Eritrean portion of one and same history disrespectful to Ethiopians and not the Tigrayan half?” What I am saying is this is not the right time to celebrate “Awate Day” in Ethiopias Capital.

    Having said this, I am not saying all Ethiopians are happy when TPLF celebrates its revolution day.

    • Abraham Hanibal

      Hi Rahwa T,

      “Having said this, I am not saying all Ethiopians are happy when TPLF celebrates its revolution day.” No doubt this is true if someone belonged to those very few privileged who were members of the Dergue, and enjoyed life at the expense of the great majority of Ethiopians. This is also true about the Amhara-supremacists who feel their throne to preside over the rest of Ethiopian people is lost for ever.

  • Eyob Medhane

    Haile,

    I think you are comparing Oranges and Apples…

    1) Rahwa’s terminology of disrespecting Ethiopians is correct. Regardless of what the intention of organizers (They may not intended to disrespect Ethiopians) What they have done has received by very large number of their hosts as disrespectful and out right arrogance. Visit a host of facebook and twitter discussions about it and you will know how Ethiopians of all languages and ethnic persuasion. In this regard, it’s not about what THEY intended, but it is about how WE see it and RECEIVE it.

    2) TPLF and ELF/EPLF are not the same. ELF/EPLF has fought a separatist war demanding and propagating that it was fighting a war with an entity that it believed “COLONIZED” it’s people. Hence, for Ethiopians it was a war to preserve their territorial integrity. TPLF was fighting injustice in its own country. Hence, it was fighting a system to replace it by a better system in the same country. Therefore, where as TPLF’s celebration of forty years anniversary of its triumph in a country, where it believed has succeeded to achieve its goal of changing the system. ELF/EPLF however was celebrating its triumph the COUNTRY it has supposedly defeated. Hence, rubbing their “victory” on the nose of the “vanquished”, even though the “vanquished” has been overly generous hosts, when they didn’t have to.

    3) No body is asking Eritreans to reject their history or anything. They can honor what ever they want to honor without disrespecting their hosts, as I described above. The notion that you put forth that “Ethiopians might celebrate the Ayder school children murder in Asmara in the future” is farce, even more insulting. We are not children that you shoo away with candy. When Ethiopian not just soldiers, but civilians were evicted from Eritrea, they were forced to trek to Ethiopia, along with children that they had with Eritrean women.While on the way being robbed spat at humiliated and some even were killed. (At the same time there was a huge number of “Eritreans” were living in Ethiopia peacefully. It was not Shabia soldiers, who have humiliated and robbed these deportees in 1991. It was the everyday Eritrean. In other words, parents, big brothers and sisters of this even organizers in Ethiopia. Yet, that horrific behavior has NEVER been accepted and apologized for by ANYONE, the “opposition” included. Many of those returnees now are in their country that they were evicted to peacefully. Yet, they wee forced to relieve the memory that horror with such festivals and “celebrations”, to reinforce the notion that they are of the “vanquished”.

    4) Please stop the guilt trip that “may be we are down today….” I am an eye and living witness how many of your compatriots act, when they are not “down”. What is surprising to many of us is that at least this event organizers have showed us how some also behave, even when they are down.

    No one again is asking you to abandon what is true to you. Just don’t rub on my nose in my own country, when I don’t want it. Is that too much to ask?

    • haileTG

      Dear Eyoba, no guilty trip or candy inducement here. I see your unearthing of such solid history to wager a political chip, a gamble with too great risk for you.

      So, given that many Tigrayans paid with life and limb in support of the Eritrean struggle, you are telling me that they are not worth to be honored for their act in Ethiopia and what’s more what they did was a disrespect to the Ethiopian people? May be it is thanks and a million thanks to what they did, you have what you have today. They can no longer betray you, as they have paid the ultimate price, but I guess you have a choice. Life sucks!

  • Dear HTG,
    If it were celebration of Ethio-Eritrean friendship, cooperation, brotherliness, peaceful co-existence, or with the aim to bury the hatchet, everybody would have been happy. Partying in front of the Ethiopian people, to celebrate the beginning of a 30 yrs war, that cost the lives of tens of thousands of Ethiopian children, is an insult to their injury. The Eritrean society is of course the
    opposite side of the same painful equation.
    The government of Ethiopia should have known that behind the dictator MHM, there are the children of Ethiopia who were sacrificed for a cause they believed was holy, and yet the dictator was sacrificing them for his own diabolical selfish
    reasons. The Ethiopian government never gave a damn to this side of the coin. What it always sees is only its side of the narrative. Ethiopians have lived humiliations at the hands of the government at other times, too.
    The wounds have not yet healed, the controversies and hatred are still there, and in addition, we should know that there are people who do not want the wounds to heal, for their own unholy reasons. Simply put, it is not the right time for such events, which do not add value to Ethio-Eritrean friendship, but perpetuates the animosity sown by the elites.
    Dear HTG; I have no reason to accuse Eritreans, but the Ethiopian government for allowing it to occur with such a big fanfare, and at these troubled times in our history. As you said, I wish they have a better explanation.

    • haileTG

      Selamat brother Horizon,

      You’ve articulated the truth of the feeling without layering it with contentious narratives. That is what I call the road to peace and mutual understanding. Without understanding the “other side of the coin” as you aptly put it, no peace can be complete. Nor can a peace be complete by only trying to shine one side of the coin like my friends Eyoba and Rahwa seem to be doing. In fairness, Rahwa’s point is done reasonably that only need minor challenging, Eyoba gin qoy b’cha ageNhalu-:)

      In the side of the coin that Rahwa slightly tried to shine and Eyoba went full on rubbing it with iron brush, I wonder if we were dealing with oranges and apples in TPLF/EPLF or Oranges and seeds? Was there no Tigrayan blood and bones shed from Sahil to Asmara? Was there no Eritrean bones and blood shed from Shire to Addis? I know of regime change but not history change. Was TPLF not called ye shaebiyya qitreNa wenbedie in derg language or was it called revolutionary Ethiopian group at the time? Dis TPLF not supported, organized and sang songs for the Eritrean independence war?

      This is why I tend to like Horizon’s direct and honest approach. He doesn’t have to do “history change” to tell me how he feels about it and considering that this is a major event in the Eritrean calendar, it is for me to think of ways of addressing his feelings for the sake of further understanding and bridging of differences. Let’s not take advantage of a brother in peril, that is hard to forget unlike the peril itself that would be easily forgotten like some have already done.

      If I was to be appointed Eritrean ambassador to Ethiopia, I would still hold the event there in Ethiopia but contextualize it to serve good purpose as Horizon alluded to. But if I were asked to do it in refugee camps, that I take as affront to very meaning I attach to what I value most. I might even be tempted to shut the embassy for good. Understanding doesn’t require a mischievous attempt to humiliate the dignity of others. A win-win situation can emerge. Eritrean’s are at cross roads at time in history, and their decision will have implication both within and without their borders. And I think the message we send ought to be calibrated with that in mind.

      Here a talented TPLF singer’s work in honor of the Eritrean armed struggle…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XrP03va7nE

  • Saleh Johar

    Dear Welde Ab,
    Thanks. Would you be kind and take this as a teaching opportunity and seize it to educate me and the others? Since you seem to know the term, please explain it. Don’t worry where I got it from, you might change my understanding of it since you think I learned it from someone I hardly know.

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear Awate, the Penciler & all,
    I’m addressing two issues and I may go a bit longer. After touching up on this article and the discussions, I also would like to say something about the recent article under The Pencil.

    Semere is my all time anbesa and he will remain so indefnitely. But I found one more thing to disagree with him. Hero is an expression of a manifest of cultural ritualism. All nature is absolute. All culture is relative. And all personality is a mix of both. Awate can not be a hero to all of us in the universal sense of it. Even if he is a hero, he can’t mean hero in the same intensity to all of us. But we can reason to and influence each other based on shared values and sensibilities to show the heroic aspect of Awate in the same way we discuss to show the ugly part of butchers like Mengisto. We can expand the understanding of such heroic values through adequate explanations. This day (Sept 1) is a good time to discuss the good sides of this much celebrated man, and expose also if there are other dark sides of him. This kind of day should help us know him better. Not only learning though, it is also the right time to share what we feel about him amongst us. There is nothing wrong in discussing him freely and decently without resorting to unsubstantiated mischaracterization or glorification.

    I don’t believe in war as a solution to any kind of conflict, nor do I believe in heroism on the battlefield because I have never seen any. These are words I borrowed from the much celebrated Norwegian explorer. Indeed, what cannot be solved in peace cannot be solved by war. What war accomplishes is changing the first problems with other new problems, usually not for the better. So, in that token people who lift up guns to solve problems are not my type of heroes. The only time I may support armed intervention is when it is brief, limited and the purpose is to stop a much worse horrible crime on humanity, like the war on Nazism, and secondly when it is done in a justified self defense.

    But Awate was not only a fighting man; he was an idea man, as well, who set a liberation revolution into action. Awate as a thinker saw the need to fight against British and Ethiopia through armed struggle in order to liberate Eritrea and make it an independent nation. What he initiated took 30 years of firing bullets. The questions that need to be asked is: Why couldn’t Eritrea think shaping the configuration of Ethiopia to its liking and achieve what she wanted through leading a change in the Ethiopian framework rather than separation? Why not? Eritrea was at an advantage considering the higher share of the possession rate of every bag: resources, know how, technocracy, polity, intelligentsia etc. Eritrea could manipulate the Ethiopian monarchic system to its hegemonic advantages and spend such capacity in changing Ethiopia for the better. If this was possible and admissible, then Awate made history but not necessarily a good one.

    There have been so many ways of struggling for independence, and lifting up guns was not the only game in town. Some of the ways have been less bloody and more effective. They were tried in many countries and succeeded. Was those options worth considering in achieving the Eritrean independence as aspired? If yes, Awate could be judged as a tactically erring leader who made both sides pay dearly for his mistakes. Any attempt of lionizing Awate as a true hero (as opposed to truly brave) need to be addressing these issues if to make sense.

    His discipline: there are a lot of questions that come with the personality of Awate. Some allegations point to his actions on helping the Italians and fighting the British and Ethiopians, indicating his preference of alignment with forces of other quality other than depending on removing all colonials with same logic and zeal. Some allegations go down right to associating him with petty crimes. Heroes are of only positive identity. There is no an ounce of heroism in negative actions. Some people could be braves in as far as risking their lives or their belongings in order to accomplish something they thought is worth doing. But if that thing they are aiming to do doesn’t reflect well for the greater good and greater number of people, it can’t be an added value. And there is no hero for zero or negative value. So, those who care a lot about the legacy of this famous man have the burden of explaining issues that surrounded his fame.

    Well, I’m way behind. And I must stop trying to catch up. The topic “A Glance to the Past, A Focus on the Future” is my turf- by sheer passion, not expertise wise. I read it after you all have discussed it. I must say; all what needs be said is not said. The Pencil tabled the most important issues of Eritrea and the region of the time with an inviting pointer for us all to fish really deep and come up with solver ideas. But the speedy discussion moved on on other events and I believe enough was not said.

    One smart calculation of the Egyptians (according to Foreign Affairs magazine) when entering a negotiation with Ethiopia regarding Nile and Gerd NOW (not earlier, not later) is because they believed negotiating today gives them more handle and reason than yesterday or tomorrow, or say after 5 years. That was a smart calculus. They didn’t have to do it yesterday; their leverage may lose edge if they hold it for tomorrow. That is why, if you notice, every time the talks hit a bump, it is the Egyptians who reinitiate calling for the next talks, and all the time Ethiopia and Sudan react to the calls.

    It seems to me Ethiopians use the same logic inversely when they think of Eritrea and the larger region. They believe negotiating or partnering or cooperating with Eritrea might be much easier later than now. The trend and pattern of seemingly small events attest to this observation. There was a time the Ethiopians were scared of going to war against Eritrea; they are not now. The ports and sea access were part of Ethiopian political psychic more in the past than now. The Ethiopians used to factor in the sensibility and perceptions of their actions in the eye of the world when they feel going after the Eritrean government with some excesses; not anymore. There used to be Ethiopians trailing to Eritrea for opportunities; the migration wave is now trending on the opposite direction. I suspect if that is game card being played by the Ethiopians with the mindset of dealing with Eritrea would be easier in future time. If indeed they are waiting for a weaker Eritrea so that they can dictate terms, they are damn wrong. I’m of the opinion now that Eritrea’s vital signs are showing a failing state. There is nothing with more unknown bags than a failed state. If Eritrea happens to be a failed state, the Ethiopians will be too busy not negotiating and dictating but containing and minimizing the spillovers.

    What about Eritreans, particularly the entire opposition political body? If the above point makes sense, what follows as a matter of logical sanity is the fact that the Ethiopians shouldn’t ask for settling their pending issues with Eritrea and the Eritreans shouldn’t wait to be asked. They should take initiative after initiative and promote their talking points. That means- the opposition will be better off starting the discourse and discussion on all key pending issues including the ones mentioned now than later, not the other way round. Real politicking experts might laugh when they see the Ethiopians asking for talk and the Eritreans rejecting it. How the wheels have been turned on a reverse logic. In every sphere of life there is physics. There is political physics. The laws of political gravity are always at work mercilessly, and real power and soft powers are the laws’ primary considerations. Political physics cares less for history and justice. Own the real power or own the access and you can have a better playing edge in using the gravity to your advantage. Or else, you should work harder and harder to minimize externalities. On Badme, ports and access to the sea, it seems Eritreans would be better off to deal with Ethiopia today than tomorrow.

    The opposition and change seekers don’t need to start their message in a protocol setting and in a conventional way. They have to think fresh and different without being abnormal and irrational. For example, they can discard and write off the EEBC ruling. Remember, the EEBC ruling is encrypted with an eye of settling a war situation, hardly the best optimal solution. The opposition need not subscribe to that. There is nothing that forces it to subscribe to that. It was not part of the war or the negotiation or the ruling. It has the ability and leverage to say it is not bothered by any of the Hague events. It shouldn’t tie its hands with a messy blood-soaked rope that was not part of its making. It can come up with a new, blood free and clean plan. So, what is the need for the opposition to start from someone’s mess? And yet they can secure much better advantages and Eritrean interests that way than starting form someone’s mistake. Go back to the drawing table and propose new ways and approaches. The quality of change must be measured by the amount of distance the opposition is willing to maintain between itself and the PFDJ regime. There is no legacy of this regime that deserves to be cheered and protected.

    For me, there is nothing that makes me sad as the condition of dereliction with Eritrean ports. Many may assume this condition as temporary problem. The Pencil also tells us next regime will handle ports-Ethiopia in a business like. Well, I am sure we can always do to improve the current situation of the ports but we need to acknowledge also a lot lost and it is not a matter of resetting the button. Infrastructures are built into the Djibouti Port with billions of dollars. Even geographically closer ports to Ethiopia can hardly outcompete this high facility port. Another new port is being opened exclusively for Ethiopian in-out shipments between Djibouti and Assab. That makes Assab lose its vitality to Ethiopia. These are few examples to show how life time economic opportunities have been bulldozed senselessly. Ethiopians too paid as much price because of the bad relationship. The only difference is Ethiopians are investing their way out while Eritrea is doing nothing with its agony. Djibouti and Sudan are the only countries that reaped fortune out of all this madness.

    Following the big clue: Eritreans are crossing the border risking their lives all the time in growing numbers and ever widening age range. They are not going there to defend the border, they are going into deep Ethiopian hinterland camps by passing the border line and Badime left behind. That in certainty tells me that they don’t care about the border line and they don’t consider the people beyond the border as an enemy. Most importantly, why would anyone think that the border has to be addressed based on Isayyas (thanks Made, it makes more sense) narratives if it has to be? But worst of all, why would anyone assert the oppositions’ chance of enjoying a popular support is tied to this fact of claiming Badme per EEBC ruling? The people who want the opposition to be weak, do things that makes opposition weak, and then come back and accuse the opposition of being weak, and then do more damaging things to the opposition, and then come back again and accuse them of being even weaker…
    Hayat

    • S.Tesfa

      Dear Hayat Adem,
      ” The quality of change must be measured by the amount of distance the opposition is willing to maintain between itself and the PFDJ regime. There is no legacy of this regime that deserves to be cheered and protected”.

      Well said !!

      Regards

      • Hayat Adem

        Dearest S. Tesfa,
        You got it. Thanks.
        Hayat

    • Volte_Face

      Hayat, can you give as an executive summary of your comment above?

      Sincerely,

      Volte Face, formerly known as Mizaan.

      • Nitricc

        Hi MIzan, this time you picked the right nick lol
        “In the context of politics a volte-face is, in modern English, often referred to as a U-turn or a flip-flop in the UK and the US respectively”

      • dawit

        Dear Volte_Face;
        I doubt it if Hayat would give you an “executive summary” of what she wrote. What she wrote in that long fictitious story is not new to those of us who are following her writings here at AT. In summary, blame Awate for starting the revolution, blame Isaias, Ghedli PFDJ, the Eritrean people for all the thing that went wrong in the region. And finally swap Assab for Bademe, and her cheerleaders, Amede and K.H repeat same song.

        • Hayat Adem

          dearest dawit,
          why are saying things for me, and saying the wrong things?
          Hayat

      • Hayat Adem

        Dearest Volte_Face,
        Why are changing your names so fast? I forgot that you already said it. But seriously, when I feel close enough to identify myself with the name, a new name popes up. let me pray this one is the last and you allow us to abbreviate it.
        ——————–
        Asking for summary is okay but I shall leave with my central message: 1) revisiting the past with a fresh eye is okay; 2) the solution to current Eritrean problems must be tried using new and untried ways and fresh departures; 3) look up forward to the future without being clouded by the past and embrace it freely not with a crippling timidity and limiting fear.
        Hayat

    • Amde

      Dear Hayat,

      Brilliant as usual.

      At minute 17:17 of the recent BBC “Our World” program there is a shot taken of Yemane Gebreab’s office. While he is droning on about whatever, this shot shows a stack of two books. The top one is titled “Ethiopia Under Mussolini: Fascism and the Colonial Experience”. The one below it is titled “Why Nations Fail” The reviews for the latter are quite interesting, but they basically indicate the authors believe Nations fail or prosper driven by the nature of (or lack thereof) equitable politics and economics.

      https://youtu.be/alnKJtPAl8o?t=1037

      Perhaps there are other worthy tomes in Yemane’s office, but it is quite telling that what caught the BBC’s eye were works that deal with a no longer relevant part of Ethiopian history, and a book from which the PFDJ has read thoroughly in order to undertake the exact opposite of what it purportedly recommends. One would be almost excused for thinking that Eritrea’s PFDJ elite is driven by visions propagating Ethiopian State failure by hammering away at Fascist era political strategies of ethnic divisions.

      Hayat, your arguments and everybody else’s rests on whether or not the Eritrean State is already failed or if it is on such a trajectory. Pappillon once used the term “haemmoraging” to describe the current exodus out of Eritrea of the young and able. This is a country with its future draining out of it. To my eyes, we are watching collapse in progress. Unless and until people accept it for what it is, we will be consumed by vanity arguments of whether or not someone is a hero, the x-point plan on how to get Badme back etc….etc….

      And this applies to all of us – Eritreans and Ethiopians. As deeply unpopular any Eritrea entanglement is with the Ethiopian public, I fear it is inevitable when Highlanders especially are deporting themselves from their ancestral lands. People might claim yhey will return, but I think the statistics on refugee returns especially from the West are not encouraging. And if they do, they come back in their retirement years, having left the next generation in their host countries.

      Amde

      • dawit

        Admde,
        You wrote “At minute 17:17 of the recent BBC “Our World” program there is a shot taken of Yemane Gebreab’s office. While he is droning on about whatever, this shot shows a stack of two books. The top one is titled “Ethiopia Under Mussolini: Fascism and the Colonial Experience”. The one below it is titled “Why Nations Fail”
        I must congratulate you for having such a microscopic eye that can clearly read the titles of books from a blurred picture shot!
        Also in that BBC video, it revealed an interview with ‘Eritrean’ describing himself who escaped from ‘Eritrean prison’ and why it is unsafe to back to Eritrea. Listening to his English language proficiency and accent, I can tell 100% sure he is not from Eritrea. But since the BBC video was not to reflect the real condition inside Eritrea, it can fool many non-Eritreans. No wonder why 37 out of 37 Eritreans decline to be interviewed by the BBC reporter.
        Now Amede, I will not accusing of lying but this a deliberate distortion of Eritrean reality and your wishes to see a failed state, and that is understandable for an Ethiopians who wished Eritrea not to exist as an independent nation. There are indications Eritrea is standing and moving forward regardless of the bad wishes of those who are dreaming for Eritrea to fail..

        • Amde

          dawit,

          Well what can I say. I will wager my eyesight is slightly better than your ability to discern Eritreanness from accents.

          You do misrepresent me. I do not wish to see a failed state in Eritrea. A failed state is not an abstraction – it is that poor Syrian child floating dead in the sea. I don’t wish that on anyone, let alone Eritreans. This is primarily for humanitarian reasons. But also because I am convinced Eritrean state failure especially in this particular time in history would be terribly bad for Ethiopia.

          However, I don’t think Eritreans in general have been served well by the pursuit of an independent state. It has not solved their political, economic or social needs. On the contrary, the consumption of young Eritrean lives and livelihoods in belligerence with the Ethiopian state has now been given the additional “legal” cause of “National Defense”. The EPLF that could formerly ILLEGALLY burn you at the altar of fighting Ethiopia is now replaced by the PFDJ that can now LEGALLY burn you at the altar of fighting Ethiopia. What else have you qualitatively gained?

          You are one of the people I am genuinely curious about in this forum. I cannot understand you (well you and Araya). Have you actually lived une Eritrea? Have you spent more than six consecutive months living in Eritrea as a common ciizen? It sounds to me you have had a better Ethiopian upbringing and privileged life than I or millions of Ethiopians, but your sycophancy to Isayyas the man is astounding in today’s media age. Awqo yeteNan biqeseqisutim ayneqam indemiballew, you find reasons to detect the absence of an Eritrean accent in people forced to leave the land of their families since they feel their hope has drained from Atse Wedi-Afom’s empire.

          Amde

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Amde,

            Sunk Cost logical fallacy:

            Reasoning that further investment is warranted on the fact that the resources already invested
            will be lost otherwise, not taking into consideration the overall losses involved in the further investment.

            X has already been invested in project Y.

            Z more investment would be needed to complete project Y otherwise X will be lost.

            Therefore, Z is justified.

            Example1:
            I have already paid a consultant $1000 to look into the pros and cons of starting that new business division. He advised that I shouldn’t move forward with it because it is a declining market.
            However, if I don’t move forward, that $1000 would have been wasted, so I better move forward anyway.

            What the above person does not realize is that moving forward will most likely result in the loss of much more time and money. This person is thinking short-term, not long-term, and is simply trying to avoid the loss of the $1000, which is fallacious thinking.

            Example2:
            There are ministers, priests, pastors, and other clergy all around the world who have invested a significant portion of their lives in theology, who can no longer manage to hold supernatural beliefs — who have moved beyond faith. Hundreds of them recognize those sunk-costs and are searching for the best way to move on whereas many others cannot accept the loss of their religious investment, and continue to practice a profession inconsistent with their beliefs.

          • Amde

            Hi Music Novice

            Well said… I say the only reason to objectively support Eritrean independence is out of respect for the feelings of the many who have lost loved ones.

            I personally find clergy to be the most cynical people in using religion for petty personal reasons.

            Amde

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Amde,
            Pearl is your name for your ideas shine so bright and your sentences have more concentration that a Russian Vodka:) It is very unfortunate that we ,Ethiopians, lack engaging online forum such as this website to benefit from yourself and the other contributors here.

            Let me ask you this, since Awate writers seem to pay no deference to it; is the Eritrean national character capable of nation building? You look back the 60+ years of struggle and the ill preparations for post Ayssayas order makes you wonder if they have what it takes to build a nation. Yes, we can blame this and that or Essayas/EPLF for every nook and cranny but at the end of the day it is our collective character that enables us to achieve higher goals. I recall an interview of Meles by a Deutsch Welle Amaharic Radio service on the eve of EPRDF’s take over of the country which the journalist asked him why he was optimistic about the prospect of the nation in the face of the impending doom. He had two answers which the first one was blah, blah, blah….we are better than Dergue and the 2nd was, which I dismissed him as naive (20/20 regrettably) , he believed that Ethiopian people are over all ‘decent’ and would prevail in the end. It is my opinion that it is not the wisdom or brilliance of EPRDF that has enabled tolerance and cohesion (though I would not discredit their role) rather the decency and patience of the Ethiopian people that has proven the doomsday conspiracy theories wrong. There is not other way to explain it especially given the fact that many nations with more cohesive history have failed.

            Nation building requires a lot of give and take. It demands compromise[ 26 position groups. 1:200k people). It requires humility and sometimes kissing people’s feet in order to achieve one’s objective. It also requires sometimes to sacrifice short term needs for long term goals.

            I would be glad if you could shed your wisdom brother.

            Wondimih,

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Yoty Topy,
            .
            Sorry for barging in for a minute, this cannot wait.
            Your statement “It is unfortunate that we, Ethiopians, lack engaging online forum…”
            .
            It is unfortunate indeed. I always think about it when one of these “International rivers”, or prominent “western intellectuals” deliver over the line, below the belt punch, we have no one to respond on our behalf.
            I hope you give it more thought.
            .
            K.H

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Kim Hanna,
            Oh Lord , those articles! I am glad to see them muted since the rise of Al Sissy but their pertinence used to give me ‘ras mittat’

            I am also amazed at the poor quality of online discourse whether it is on the pro or against websites. 🙁

          • Amde

            Hi Yoty Topy

            You are way too kind. Thank you for the kind words.

            I don’t think your question can be answered easily. I will say though that it boggles the mind why Eritreans don’t seem to seriously plan for a post Isayyas future as you pointed out.

            I completely agree with what you said about the inherent decency of Ethiopians. Melles was right on that point and there are countless stories of how many many communities survived the interregnum between Derg and EPRDF fully functional and at peace. There is a mix of respect for authority, patience, being considerate. There are a few Amharic sayings and concepts I love that encapsulate personal and social philosophies that in the aggregate allow a slow and steady process of nation building. They can be abused of course, and they frequently are, but so is life.

            I don’t know if there is a “national character” one can ascribe to Eritreans. I feel there is a lot of diversity there, but the typical Eritrean you and I interacted with are likely Christian highlanders with a reputation for being hot-tempered. Now that I am older, I doubt if that is sufficient basis for me to form an opinion about a “national character”.

            Can they form a nation (viable or otherwise)? I think the jury is still out on that one. I don’t think it is a “character” issue. I believe you hit it right on the head when you said “Nation building requires a lot of give and take. It demands compromise[ 26 position groups. 1:200k people). It requires humility and sometimes kissing people’s feet in order to achieve one’s objective. It also requires sometimes to sacrifice short term needs for long term goals.” What Eritreans don’t have is time.

            It is an organic process. Isayyas is trying to accelerate this process via the Sawa indoctrination camp, and base it on the mythology of a Ghedli that conquered Ethiopia. I think he could have accelerated the process and put it on a more durable footing if he had worked on returning and reintegrating the millions of refugees in Sudan. In my eyes, the fate of Eritrea’s nationhood rests in the resolution of this issue. I don’t know of any other comparable situation where people who fled their homes to escape counter insurgency were then denied the right to go back home once the peace is secured. There is obviously some major unresolved issue within the Eritrean body politic that made the EPLF decide not to allow these people to come back. I say EPLF because this is a policy collectively taken even before Isayyas officially became everything. Resolving this issue means coming to peace with a whole chain of events – the reason why a federation was proposed as a compromise in the first place, the fact that most highlanders were ardent unionists, the fact that much of the atrocities against lowlanders was conducted by Highlander police and soldiery, the whole ELF vs EPLF sordid history etc.. It is a huge baggage you see. I don’t know if it is reconcileable. There is no equivalent deep seated suspicion between Christian and Muslim that I know of in Ethiopia for example.

            Anyway, instead of resolving this major issue so that the foundation for true nationhood can be set, EPLF chose the Sawa route… force the youth to live and serve together under military conditions fed on a diet of anti-Ethiopianism. It is mistaking Guerilla camaraderie for nation building.

            Yoty, you made me think and write more than I was prepared to for a Friday afternoon. It is your turn..

            As you say, it would be nice if there is an equivalent clean forum for Ethiopians. I don’t know of any. I really really appreciate Saay and Saleh and the rest of the unknown Awate team for the work they do to keep this site vibrant clean and meaningful.

            Amde

          • Abi

            Hey Yoty
            If I may correct you Mele didn’t say ethiopians are decent. He said ” ethiopians are NOBLE people “. Mine is better. Hahaha

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Abi,
            He probably did say that 🙂

          • dawit

            Topy Toty,

            መልከ ጥፉ በስም ይደግፉ’:: ውስጡን ለቄስ ይባላል
            In truth the Abyssinians society is rotten inside its core values. It is consumed with jealousy towards its neighbors. See what has happened in Somalia in 2006, when Somalis, when they tried to rebuild their society. Look what happened to EthioEritrea relation when border war opened out of the blue sky, and the effort of Ethiopia to isolate Eritrea, regionally and internationally, since 1998. Despite all obstacles, Eritreans are building a nation from the scratch, a country that was devastated by half a century of war. If Ethiopians were noble society, then they would have spent their time cleaning their homes, tackle the recurrent drought problem in their country and depend on begging bags of corn from the rest of the world. As long as you beg to fill empty stomach you can not aspire to be independent and noble society.
            dawit,

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Dawit,

            It is quiet refreshing to see that you are not shy to speak Amharic in public in contrast to the early days of hyper Eritrean nationalism when speaking Amharic was deemed no less than contracting “Ye Sigga Dewe.’ However, I don’t see what that’s got to do with the topic at hand? Mamo lella….Metawokiaw lella.

            Responding to your accusations of ‘jealousy’ and mirage of ‘self-reliance’ requires me to talk about ‘deferred dreams’ and ‘dissemination’ of an entire generation which a:)My humanity does not allow me b:) Amounts to flogging a dead horse but most importantly c:) It is not in the spirit of this forum’s civil discourse . So I am going to plead the higher road here and let you get away with all that:)

          • dawit

            Toty Topy,
            That was the time also when children in Tigrai were ashamed to speak their mother tong Tigrnya. That was the time when oromo children struggle to learn Amharic, forced to give-up their children for Gudufetcha, changing their names from Dechas to Desta. That all changed when EPLF reached Addis liberating Eritrea and Ethiopia in May 1991..

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Dawit,
            A:) ‘ bihere , bihresoboch’ minamin neger is an EPRDF lingo . EPLF’s contribution is more of a new meaning as to what a ‘migrant’ is today.
            I do concur with you that prior to the ascendancy of EPRDF many groups have been made to be ashamed to profess their linguistic heritage but what you are alluding to is different from that. That one has to do more with self aggrandizement and ‘we all know it’ kinda mentality that was making waves in the early 90s. You know the one about setting up a Singapore like state and teaching Africans how to establish a modern constitution .. Wozete terrrefe..

          • dawit

            Amede,
            First I am not one of those privileged child in Ethiopia. I am one of those millions who was abused and deprived to reach my potential because of Haile Selassie and Mengistu and now the Woyane regimes. Within that abusive environment I have done reasonably well mainly because of my family sacrifices and my own personal efforts. Now because I have overcome my own circumstances, I don’t have to mute when abuses continue in the country that has shackled millions in ignorance and poverty.
            About my ability of discerning people based on their accents, speaking English or Amharic, I can locate with a reasonable accuracy his or her origin. Among Africans, I could tell if one is from West Africa, East Africa, Horn of Africa, North or South Africa. Globally, I can tell people origin if they are from England, Italy. NYC, Boston, Alabama, Caribbean, India, China, Australia or New Zealand, because I have travelled in those areas and interacted with ordinary people.
            On your crocodile tears you shade about Eritrean youth and state leadership ignoring what is happening to Ethiopia. There are more Ethiopians fleeing their country on all direction despite the double digit economic growth, yet you are fixed on what is happening in Eritrea under Isaias. Why? From my study the region history, Isaias is one rare individual that emerged in our region after Emperor Thewodros, with an ambition to build a strong unity among the people of the region in the horn of Africa. For that stand there are many opponents, locally and international that hate to see a strong united people in the region. On that he is laying a strong foundation to the young country facing all kinds of oppositions internally, regionally and internationally. In mere 25 years Eritrea has reached many in Africa took them several decades or centuries for Ethiopia and Liberia.
            Have a nice Sunday
            dawit
            dawit

          • Abi

            dawit
            If you give the Lion of Nakfa another 20 years of life on the throne, it’s not only eritrean children that reach their God given potential, the whole of horn Africa will march forward .
            Now I need two shirts with The picture of the Loin.

          • dawit

            Abi
            How do you wish only 20 years for His Majesty Isaias I. Don’t you remember we were wishing HS I to live for ever. Please Abi my friend don’t repeat those words, that could be consider ‘Kibre-nek’ punishable in metal container prison. We wish and pray to God to bless him and extend his life like Abraham and Methuselah, 1000 years. As two shirts, that is not possible, we have to give one for those who have non. we must give equal opportunity to all.

          • Abi

            dawit
            My appologies
            I forgot he was only 50 years young.
            Mengistu stayed in power only 17 years with all the help around the communist world. His Excellency Isaias I is already 25 years on the throne and counting with no help. I am definitely sure he is doing something right.
            He relied on his people, gave them state of the art training at SAWA. In return they stayed with him developing and defending their young country . He is an African hero. His role model jigna Awate should be proud of him.

            Edewun yarzmew ende matusala ende Abraham
            Kezih yeteshale mirqat yelem.

          • Saleh Johar

            Abi,
            edmewan yassatrew amlak b’telo
            Sayyechanwat teseqelechebachew beqlo

          • Abi

            Aya Sahle
            A little correction
            It is not Sayychanwat beqlo
            It is Saaychanut feres
            Yihonal fes befes.

            Let me try again
            Edmewun yarzmew ende Haileselassie
            Ene besu fiqir litweTa new nefse

          • Kokhob Selam

            ኣብየ !
            ጠላ ዝቆመጥጥ – ቀኑ ረዘመና ድብልቅልቅ ኣለብህ :: ቃዛፊስ ቢሆን ፵ መስከረሞችን ገዝቶ የለ !

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            Isaias agote yeKokobe abat
            Esu keman yansal arba amet lemegzat ?
            Zufan alweresem taglo yagegnew new
            Eskezelalemu yemiqemaw man new?

          • Kokhob Selam

            Abo,

            ኣርብቶ ኣርበርብቶ መግዛት ማን ኣቃተው :
            መፈረድ ግን የግድ – ኣያምርም በማምሻው ::

          • Kokhob Selam

            Abo,

            እንኳን ፈቀድክ እንጂ ኤስያስ እንዲገዛ :-
            ኢትዮጵያን ይጠቅልል ባርያው እንዲበዛ ::

          • Abi

            Antew sigedlet
            Endefeqedklet
            Ene min beweTagn
            Meto bemeto alegn
            Lelela yemiterfegn
            Kokobe temeles abrew endigezun
            Mebt baynorenim dabo enTegbalen

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Abo,

            ምክንያት ኣድርገህ ልትመልስኝ
            ዶቦው ላንተ ይሁን – ፍጹም ኣይመቸኝ

          • Abi

            Bete yaferawun enqames silih
            Alfelgim sitil mestengdo niqeh
            embayen rechehut eyayehu semayun
            Yedawit amlak endiyameTa firdun

          • haileTG

            Abi,

            ይሻለኛል ከተባለ፡ የኢሰያስ ፍቅር፡
            የበረከት ይሁንልህ፡ ሂድና ሞክር፡
            እኛ’ማ ነገርንህ፡ ኣርፈህ ትኖር በክብር፡
            ኣውሎ-ነፋስ ታቅፈህ፡ በህልም ከመስከር። ፡-)

          • Kokhob Selam

            The great,

            ወላሂ እዚኣስ እቶም ደቆም ሓቂፎም ኣብ ወጻኢ ዲሞክራሲያዊ መሰሎም እንዳተሓለውሎም “ሃገረ ጽቡቅ ኣላ ‘” ዝብሉ ሕልኩሳት እንተዘንብቡዋ

          • Abi

            Hailachin
            Hilm qelal neger sinega yiresal
            YeIsayas fiqir beqen yaschenqal
            Isaias tinbit new kehilm yigezfal
            Ene aydelehum dawit zemroletal
            Amlakm merTotal
            Zim bileh tegeza lantem yibejihal.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Abo

            ዝም ብሎ የሚገዛ
            ማን ኣለ ፈዛዛ
            መንግስቱ እንኳን ሄደ ዘማቹ ተንዛዛ
            ኤስያስም ይሄዳል እንደ ጥዋት ጤዛ

          • Abi

            YeErtra Nigat ay aqezaqezu
            Tinishim moq ayil min cherq biyabezu
            Teza new yilegnal yemeriwun edme
            Leka fara norwal kokobe wendme
            Yemeshebet meslogn Isayas anbesaw
            Ahun gena gebagn leka mengatu new
            Bel arfeh tegeza qeri zemen alew.

      • Hayat Adem

        Dearest Amde,
        You have the rarest powerfully acute observations and brilliant interpretations. PFDJ always does that. They learn the world only to mess it up from the power of knowledge, which of course, total stupidity in my world.
        Thanks
        Hayat

    • Kim Hanna

      Selam Hayat Adem,
      .
      I am going to point out possible reasons concerning this particular issue and if I am corrected quickly so much the better. I don’t want to read and re-read and think hard and hurt myself; weekend coming and all.
      .
      ” The questions that need to asked is; why couldn’t Eritrea think of the configuration of Ethiopia to its liking (TO ITS LIKING) and achieve what she wanted through leading a change in Ethiopian framework rather than separation? Why not? Eritrea was at an advantage considering the higher share of possession rates of every bag; resources, know how, technocracy, polity, intelligentsia etc.”
      .
      You forgot the Tigrinya language as a core unifying force, to boot?
      .
      The 6th sense of Muslim Eritrea as I said before trumps the notion of your “why not”. They do not wish to be part of Ethiopia, never did and never will.
      Even though weaker on victory day their desire is well known and the other side’s believing in their own marinated propaganda of the unique history precludes doing the very obvious thing you mentioned.
      .
      Thank God for that. That could have meant about 75 million people would be on the receiving end of the abuse and untold misery for a long time. Look what they are doing to their own flesh and blood.
      .
      As I said before the desire of the Muslim Eritrea to be a big fish in a small pond as opposed to a small fish in a big pond is an overriding sentiment even today.
      I said today, because I see the agitation and venomous comments you see here against the Tigray/Tigrinya Abesha brotherhood overtures, when it comes even in a small doses.
      .
      In my opinion, (or if I maybe bold enough to suggest) regardless of what is happening now; Eritrea will always be a separate country because the Muslim Eritrea and the non Tigray Ethiopia prefer it that way.
      Muslim Eritrea and “Amhara” will form an alliance in any shenanigan the Mereb Brotherhood might produce in the future. Such an unholy alliance, wouldn’t you say?
      .
      K.H

      • Abi

        Hi K.H
        The lowlanders knew exactly what they wanted. Free eritrea from a Christian kingdom.
        If we come to your big fish , small fish aquarium, I think the highlanders wanted to be the bigger fish in the small eritrea with all the benefits and relationships from the biggest aquarium, ethiopia.
        All respect to the lowlanders ! They stood firm. They didn’t want to live in two houses. They want their own without taking advantage of their neighbors. You don’t see them flop flopping.
        Again, all respect to the lowlanders!
        The highlanders, a different story. They wanted both, they are losing both. They are paying the price for their arrogance and inflated ego.

      • Semere Tesfai

        Selam Kim Hana

        You said “In my opinion, Eritrea will always be a separate country because the Muslim Eritrea and the non Tigray Ethiopia prefer it that way. Muslim Eritrea and “Amhara” will form an alliance in any shenanigan the Mereb Brotherhood might produce in the future.”

        Kim you are 50% right and let me explain why: First your wrong perception.

        – It is not just Eritrean Muslims who want Eritrea to be a sovereign country but all Eritreans. If you’re not buying that, then you have to make a compelling argument as to why Eritrean Christians sweat bled and died for decades side by side with their Muslim brothers, why they voted overwhelmingly for independence during referendum, and why they are not regretting what they did (a quarter of a century after Eritrean independence).

        Now where you got it right:

        – The Tigreans are torn between their heart and their mind. Their heart says we have to remain close to our brothers on the other side of the Mereb River, but their brain says we’ve to be hostile to Eritrea and Eritreans in order to govern. Their dilemma: they can’t have’m both. Either they have to choose to be close to their Eritrean brothers or they have to choose to govern Ethiopia.

        – The Tigreans are 6% of the Ethiopian population. They can govern Ethiopia for a while by – erecting walls between ethnics and regions, by creating conflicts, and by crying foreign threat but they can’t sit on a table, negotiate, and close a deal with Eritrea – even if Eritrea asked the unthinkable (to go back to the lap of mamma Ethiopia).

        – I said it before and let me repeat it again: The relation between Eritrea and Ethiopia will always be inversely proportional to the distance between Eritrea and the dominant ethnic in Addis. The farther the distance from Eritrea to the dominant ethnic in Addis, the better Ethio-Eritrean relation would be. It is that simple. The Tigreans can talk about Ethio-Eritrean relation all they want, but what good is it if they can’t deliver.

        The Tigreans would always be better served (in Ethiopian politics) if they become loyal ally (partner) of the Amaras; not if they dominate Ethiopian politics. Then the Amaras or the Oromos for that matter, without being threatened by the close relation of the two Tigreans, could negotiate and reach a meaningful and lasting solution that is in the best interest of both nations. Otherwise, everything we say is just meaningless.

        Therefore, the failure of Ethio-Eritrean good relation is not (for the most part) due to Eritrea’s unwillingness for peace, but primarily due to Ethiopia’s political instability (since Ethiopia is governed by ethnic minority) and the internal complexity (ethnic politics and ethnic regions) of Ethiopian politics.

        The point: if you solve Ethiopia’s internal politics, Eritrean politics will fall in line.

        Semere Tesfai

        • Abraham Hanibal

          Hi Semere T.,

          You wrote “Then the Amaras or the Oromos for that matter, without being threatened by the close relation of THE TWO TIGREANS, could negotiate and reach a meaningful and lasting solution that is in the best interest of both nations. Otherwise, everything we say is just meaningless”. Do you mean the two Tigrinya speaking peoples, instead?

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Hanibal

            Yes sir, without being threatened by the close relation of the two Tigrigna speaking people is what I meant. Thanks.

        • Kim Hanna

          Selam Semere Tesfai,
          .
          The statement you made “Now where you got it right:” worried me for a minute. I read the analysis. I think you are wrong on that heart and brain thing. The realty was Tigray was O.K with Eritrea, in fact took risks to be more accommodating to advance Eritrea’s cause at the expense of Ethiopia from 1991 through 1997.
          .
          Then the 1998 blunder happened. They became bitter about the way IA poisoned the relationship. It will take a generation or two but will find its natural state in the future.
          .
          You see, now I feel I am right again.
          .
          K.H

      • Hayat Adem

        Dearest Kim,

        The thing you said about lowland/highland is interesting and I’ll look into it further. Would like to reconsider the line “…Muslim Eritrea and the non Tigray Ethiopia prefer it that way”?

        With love,
        Hayat

      • Amde

        Selam KH

        Interesting points.

        An old gentleman who used to serve in a senior position in HaileSellasie’s government at some point once told me.. “You watch carefully now – Shewa and Hamassien will come together again. He was neither Shewan nor Hamassienay. He was saying this post-Badme, when it seemed Meles was doing his damnedest to help the Eritrean side and yet Isayyas was hosting/pampering Ethiopian opposition groups. Silly me, I thought he was old and getting senile.

        His deeper point was that the old regional rivalries that drove Ethiopian politics were still potent and active, even after the independence of Eritrea. The Hamasienay Isayyas is staking the fate of his country so he can decide who sits in Menelik’s palace. In other words, Isayyas is still playing Ethiopian domestic politics but with the resources and the rules of a sovereign state.

        The nervousness many Ethiopians have for a Pax-Trans-Mereb 2.0 is real, palpable and not unreasonable given the exclusive and oppressive natures of the two regimes so far. (To be fair their governing differences are night and day). The perception is that the two are natural and obvious political allies. This perception probably led Menelik to – let us say – not be as aggressive as he theoretically could have been about getting Kebessa Eritrea back from the Italians.

        I am sure the same nervousness exists among non-Tigrinya speaking Eritreans as well. They would not want to have one segment of the Eritrean polity have a special transnational bond with a group that has access to all the benefits one can get from the Ethiopian state. In any case, such an alliance has not proven enduring beyond the admittedly huge co-operation to form independent Eritrea.

        One can make a case that twice in a century, Ethiopian ruling elite have supported or acquiesced to an Eritrea outside of the Ethiopian political system for domestic political calculation needs. One is Menelik. The second one being TPLF. Menelik’s argument was probably being incapable at the time to mount an offensive. TPLF will probably argue they did it out of principle. In any case, Menelik’s gamble resulted in the Fascist invasion of 1935, and TPLF’s ended up with Badme. So that is two for two.

        Personally, I don’t see no more special political affinity between Tigray and Kebessa that would be different from that between Gonder and Gojjam. On the face of it, the ethnic profiles suggest a theoretical unity which tends to not be supported by the facts of political competition.

        In general, larger units with institutional accommodation to handle diversity would work better. The Emperor lost a big opportunity to extend Federalism from Eritrea to the other political units.

        Amde

        • Kim Hanna

          Selam Amde,
          .
          Thanks Amde, for the nuts and bolts of these political intrigues of our recent past. You provided it in such a coherent fashion, if Hayat asks me to explain of what I meant, I will point to your above post.
          .
          The question of Hayat of “why not?” was such a real obvious and normal possibility, it was one the worst venerable spot for Ethiopia. I have to look at that ….Ethiopia stretches her hands to God. A statement I had dismissed before.
          .
          K.H

  • Saleh Johar

    Hi Shum,
    Of course, those damned Arabs fought Eritreans with teeth and nail, I do not understand why we Eritreans love them. Aren’t they the ones who funded the countless peasant zemechas? The Yemenis went as far as participating in bombing us with their planes in support of Derg’s sbiot, the Libyans opened their coffers to eradicate our revolution- I suspect the Some Ethiopians were trying to sell Eritrea to the Arabs after they decimate the Eritrean and Tigrayan rebellion. Now, do you have any doubt who wishes to deport more people? They call them metal safari–straddle is in the cheat list. 🙂

  • Admas

    Am I right in picking you as an Ethiopian but perhaps trying to be more Eritrean than the Eritreans themselves(PMMZ group), your tactical decision to buy Shabia’s fictional reasons for disproportionate hatred towards Ethiopia and it’s history does not necessarily reflect the truth…After all history is written by the victor and since Eritrea’s doctrine happens to suit the current victors on both sides of the border, there is nothing me and you can change by debating on line…so rest assured, there is no appetite for Eritrea even if the sky falls and Eritreans decide it is time to reconsider their position in relation to Ethiopia…according to your lame argument, people’s future should be decided by what happened hundred years ago regardless of it’s pros and cons, and the hate campaign and “slavery vrs freedom” option given to the already brainwashed society was smarter than what Minilik did over hundred years ago under threat from powerful european forces ….Minilik may be an 80th century king who made an 80th century blander, but what do we make of the so called 20th century leader(RIP) who paused an insulting question to Eritrean people whether they want to remain a slave or not?…I honestly don’t understand how TPLF’s position regarding Eritrea is any different from that of Minilik except that the current one did it in the name of peace that did not even last a decade…please don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keeping Eritrea as far away as possible as long as it results in peace and security, but where is the peace?.I wish your defence for Eritrea’s sovereignty is out of principle but I know it isn’t, it was all about clearing power vacuum….Eritreans resented Minilik’s Ethiopia over 100 years ago and they still resent Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopia so where is the beef? it is as though they can not sustain their identity with-out the misguided hatred they have towards Ethiopia…

    • Rahwa T

      Hi Admas,
      Is it because of his name? No, you are wrong he is an Eritrean?

      • Admas

        “At last, OUR leaders sold or abandon, Eritrea and it’s people to Italian invaders….”

        Dear Rahwa,
        thanks for the info but it is his/her statement above with a clear “OUR leaders sold Eritrea” that made me think he is Ethiopian…After all let’s not forget we have groups within Ethiopian authority that have a very weird and disturbing stand when it comes to Eritrea..as we speak, Eritreans are celebrating the day they began attacking Ethiopia AT THE EXPENSE of Ethiopia…I tried to imagine if some of the most advanced tolerant societies like Britain would go as far as sponsoring Scottish independence day had the scots decided to go their way…….not only disrespectful to the people they claim to serve but weird, really really weird…….

        • Rahwa T

          Dear Admas,
          You are right, his statement looks as if it is coming from an Ethiopian. I am doubting now. But I remember I read many comments from Belay- the- Eritrean. I don’t know if there is a difference in the “B” and “b”, but I am sure there is an Eritrean Belay at Awate School.

  • Eyob Medhane

    Sal,

    I am surprised that you didn’t add at the end of your rant that “…WoldeAb WoldeMariam had wings and used to fly to havens and come back, when ever we needed him with his majic wand…”..

    The seven Assasination attempts that you have attributed to Ethiopia are just unprovable accusations. The forties and fifties of Eritrea is a place where political rivalries and intrigues were rife. His political enemies apparently tried assasinate him. He had absolutely nothing to link these attempts to Ethiopian government. If you had one put it out here…

    As for him being a hateful man, I am sure I can come up with couple of his news paper clips I saw somewhere to prove it just stay tuned…

    • saay7

      Hey Eyobai:

      I can’t persuade u…I am trying to persuade reasonable people. Here’s Woldeab Woldemariams address at the 2nd congress of EPLF. Don’t listen to his words; read the faces of the EPLF combatants. Hate never inspires; hate frightens. Fantiness will translate what the Lion is saying

      http://youtu.be/aq6kurva8A4

      saay

      • Fnote Selam

        Saay,

        While we are at it, do you have any evidence those jets that bombed Massawa in 1990 were in any way linked to Ethiopia. For all we know, they might have been flown from Saudi Arabia……

        FS.

      • Bayan Nagash

        Selam Sal,

        abay d’a nerka wedday, the legendary Eritrean has said it, bQanQa Tigrinyan ArabiNa natsnet ented’a yitswwaE koinu ekhul eyyu. And to make sure that his point resonated, he went further to identify English and other languages as foreign languages. Of course, little did he know srAt PFDJ was going to derail all of Eritreans dreamed for – the man would turn in his grave would he see what came of Eritreans’ aspirations and dreams as it turned into this long drawn out nightmare. As you observed, the faces are enough to tell the story, one needn’t know Tigrinya to get the gist of it.

    • sabri

      Eyob,

      Why are you twisting the known facts? Aboy Woldeab Woldemariam was assassinated by the messengers from the Asrate Kassa office in Asmara. He was man of virtue and justice. Moreover, he was a very religious person far away from the hatred you are trying to paint. It is miraculous that he survived the all 7 attempts. You can hear from his mouth here:

      http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2rs3xm

      • S.Tesfa

        Dear sabri,

        Do you mean ” attempted assassination ” because Aboy Woldeab Woldemariam died in 1995 after Eritrea became an Independent state.

        Regards

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Hello Awatawyan
    Gee, reading the comments makes me see what progress this site has made. Just think! To true Eritreans, Awate is an essence, forget the man, the flesh and blood. He could have been anybody you want to imagine of him; a rebellious bandit who challenged intruders to his abode; an intellectual of his time who mastered world politics of his time; a tactician military man who evaded capture and struck where it hurts. The man could be thought of as the product-persona of every individual thinker. Some are motivated to defame him and others are ready to defend him.There are rare moments that one faces in his/her life time. Some don’t recognize those rare moments; Some recognize them but pass them up because they are too challenging and/or too costly; very few grasp the gravity of those moments; they understand their place and significance in the continuum of human history. Those who seize those rare moments have the potential of detouring history or rectifying it. These few individuals who seize those rae moments become, for some, heroes; for others, they become zeroes. Still, for some, they are nonexistent, they carry neutral charge in the fate of their history (far away nations have their own heroes, we don’t know them, and we don’t care to know them). What’s interesting about this man is the fact that he lived for just about a year; and by the time of his death, he would have commanded no more than about a platoon of apparently ragtag but firm and brave followers. By the end of his one year-term as commander-in-chief of the first independent Eritrean army, he would have not known where to get his next meal; he would have probably fought very few battles of low level intensity. However, it is incontrovertible that he rose to the occasion, and he left a lasting mark on the region. Here is what’s this man is all about. He is the essence of stepping up to the plate when the call is clear. For years, the call was there, it was simmering and seething underneath the cacophony of federalism which in reality was the prelude of an annexation. It was the call of a people who knew best what it was meant to be colonized, enslaved and downtrodden. If Awate passed up that call of leadership, Eritreans would have certainly found the essence of Awate in some other Eritrean. It would not matter if it was Mahmud, tesfay or Agar. Still it would be Awate. Because the essence of Awate is resistance against occupation, Awate is standing up against injustice…Awate is the hero of those subjects who experienced what Awate experienced; who endured the humiliation he endured; and who were and are in line with his feelings and ideals. He is of course zero for those who uphold the opposite of his ideals. So, I’m not surprised that they are churning up and growling. Decent Ethiopians should not rile over a mission that has been sealed; if at all, they should try to understand what it is that makes the persona of this man so close to Eritreans hearts. Of course this is for the serious and decent folks. Few may be misguided, but when 3 million (entire country) develop a consensus on the essence he represents, wise people try to learn about him. The truth is when you deny what your regimes did of ugly atrocities in your name, you will not open your heart to the story of the victims. The easiest way is to seek refuge in the mist of arrogant and empty narrations.
    Here is the twist though: despite desecrating his name and face, Awate is saying welcome to everyone, including his defamers. His defamers are having an equal opportunity at defiling him. They are right here, in this Awate forum. Awate essence is alive; he is teaching by example, he saying Arhebo/tafadal/welcome to everyone.
    Again, happy Bahti meskerem, or happy ghedli day (HTG version).

    • Kokhob Selam

      ማሕሙዳይ ገለ ዝዓይነትካ ! ትረኽቦ ድኣ ትረኽቦ!!

      መን እዩ ብዘየገድስ እቲ ሰውራ ክፍጠር ግድን እዩ ነይሩ :: እቲ ሕቶ እቲ መንፈስ ናይ ንመሰልካ ምቅላስ ምህልዎ እዩ : ግዳስ ከም ነጥበ መንቀሊ ንድልየትን ህርፋንን ሓፋሽ እቲ ውልቀሰብ ጀማሪ ኮይኑ ምቅራቡ እዩ ልዑል ዝገብሮ :: – ተሰማሚዕና ብምሉእ ልብን ኣእምሮን ተቀቢለዮ :: ስለ’ዚ ናይ ዓዋተ ግደ ኣብ ሰውራና ብቀሊል ዘይረ አ ክንሱ ወኪሉ ድኣ ተላዕለ እምበር ኣይወሰነን ::

      እዚኣ እያ ‘ ታ ብዛዕባ ኤስያስ ‘ውን ክትበሃል ዘለዋ :: ውልቀ መላኺ ካብ ሰማይ ዱብ ኣይበለን :- ጉጉይ ኣተሓሳስባና ዝፈጠሮ መርገም እዩ እምበር ሞሎኾታዊ ዝበሃል ሰብ የለን :: ብዙሕ ንገባቲ ዘገልገለ ባይታ እዩ ነይሩ – ንሱ እንተዘይህልሉ ‘ ውን ካብ ካልእ ገባቲ ኣይምደሓናን ኔርና :: ስለዚ ንኣውንታ ይኹን ን ኣሉታ ወሳኒኡ ኣተሓሳስባናን ስምዒታትናን እዩ :: እምበኣር እቲ መሰረታዊ ለውጢ ዝጥረ ኣብ ምቅያር ኣተሓሳስባና ስለዝኾነ ምጽግ ጋንን ምጥቅቃዕን መፍትሒ ኣይኮነን :: እሂ ማሕሙዳይ እንታይ ምበልካ ?

      ብሩኽ ባሕቲ መስከርም ይግበርልና እዛ መስከርም ስቃይን ስደትን ማእሰርትን ‘ውን ተሞኪርናላ እና እሞ – እዛ ዘላ መስከረምን ዝመጻ ብዙሓት መስከረማትን- መስከረማት ሰላምን ራህዋን ይግበረን ኣሜን ::

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Ahlan KS
        Exactly, reKebkaya, treKeb Qalka.

    • Abi

      Ato Mahmud
      You are missing the point. I care less if you give Awate sainthood or make him your king . All we are saing is it is your hero and keep him with you. why you insist enforcing his heroism on us.
      You can erect him statue, name a university, or airport, basically anything commemorating his name. Make sure it is in eritrea.
      he is a hero for you , he is a blood sucking ascaris for me. Minelik is Emye for me , he is a butcher for others. Alula is a hero for me , he is a killer for you.
      Haileselassie is a hero for Africa, at the same time he is a killer for Ato saleh.
      You are making a big deal out of this. It is all relative.

      Is there anything named after him 25 years after independence? Other than this website, I mean.
      Just curious.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Salam abi
        Equally curious, just tell me where we have tried to enforce his personal on you. The fact is the man ignited a revolution that dislodged Ethiopian occupation from our land, a revolution that whose effects spread all the way to Borona. We are celebrating the ideal behind that person as we see it. We don’t ask others to see him the way we see him. Others have their heroes we have ours. That’s the message of my comment. Every social group, every nation has its own hero. Menilik may be a hero for you, but he is a butcher in the eyes of millions of other peoples. Why not a statue in Eritrea? Qoy becha. But his ideas are his representative statues, and they live in ALMOST every Eritrean’s heart, except few forty-five and YGs. Abi let us deal with how we should handle with his legacy. THANK YOU FOR EXTENDING YOUR GOOD WISH. Isaw Yours and Fanti G good wishes.
        Thanks.

        • Rahwa T

          To all Eritreans,

          Happy Revolution Day!

          Dear Mahmud Saleh,

          Interesting comment but as always there are one or two points that provoke us (the defeated occupiers). Being an ardent nationalist and ex fighter, it is something that is well-expected from you and comrades and those youngsters following your tracks. I wonder if, you sometimes, reread your first draft comments, or you deliberately do it to bring unnecessary argument. Otherwise, Abi has said it clearly that Ethiopians don’t have problem if 6 million people and the generations to come keep Him in their hearts. But the problem lies when you try to take the story of your hero beyond the border line-from Mereb all the way to Borana. Here is one line of sentence from your comment:

          “…Menilik may be a hero for you, but he is a butcher in the eyes of millions of other peoples….”. It seems that you forgot the recent story we read about hundred thousand people that belong to one ethnic group which see him as ruthless shifta.

          Moreover, you guys are making it like the Eritrean revolution was the only revolution that has been initiated in our region. Do you know that we had farmers’ revolutions in Tigray, Bale and Gojam started but failed many years earlier against the feudal system? why are guys boasting that your revolution was the only revolution that initiated revolutions in Ethiopia?

          Mahmud, last September, I remember there was a very strong exchange of comments from both directions. It seems that your and dawit’s comments are going to ignite another round of it again. I hope it will not happen.

          • Semere Andom

            Hi Rahwa:
            First I disagree with both Mahmud and Abi for their portrayal of heroism as relative. It is not. Semere T was the most correct in defining what a hero is. The fact the many people worship IA as their hero does not make him their hero but my dictator.A hero is someone who transcends the societal norms that cripple him/her, defies the powers that be to accomplish something that alleviates human suffering. It could be justice, freedom, diseases, or science or telling the Pope that the earth is not the center of the universe. Notwithstanding the recent accusations of Awate about the Kunamas, we know that he stood for justice, his world view may not have been as inclusive, but the fact that he stood to the powers that be to demand justice even if it was to receive a fair price for his camel’s milk should make him a hero for all of us. The First Woyane that started way before awate should be the heroes of all of us.

            We cannot make heroism relative, shrug our shoulders and say, Mengistu maybe a butcher for your but he is my hero. This kind of thinking belies the” makeup” of we are all one people, it nurses the deep animosity that lurks inside many an Ethiopian and an Eritrean.
            EPLF did not consider Awate a hero until they figured out that they needed one, but behind closed doors they call him a bandit too. They figured out that their “in vitro” created hero would take time to register with the people who had real heroes.

            If movements do not have heroes they should not artificially create them as the intro of this article mentioned. Movements must organically create their heroes and their leaders and when they are real we must celebrate them and revere them. For example the TPLF when it was celebrating its 40th anniversary it summarized how a few men sparked the aspirations of the people in Dedebit and how heroes emerged and how they were celebrated without worshipping them.
            Our heroes must not be limited to our own kin. Papi once got a heat in this forum for saying to the effect the MZ was her hero. She is an Eritrean and her hero is an Ethiopian? It did not compute in some of the minds here. But I see nothing wrong with it, because if you want to find heroes only in your own country then that country of your should be able to produce Mandella , Newton and Galile .

          • Rahwa T

            Dear Semere,

            Yohana! specifically to you my bro,

            Glad to read another interesting comment on the issue of heroism. I should have read few more balanced views such as yours earlier before I post mine. You brought Papi’s (I may add Amanuel H. and Hayat Adem) case as a fitting evidence to support your point that our heroes and heroines should not be bounded to our localities. I agree. I wonder to whom I should name if am asked to mention one from Eritrea. Definitely there should be great men/women, but I will not be able to put a single individual, partly because I do not have enough information on the biography of the Eritrean elites. I believe that the reason Papi and the other see MZ as hero is because they have very good information about him, they know him very well. If you ask me to my heroes from the land of Mereb Milsah, of course, I can mention more than half a dozen of them. But they are Ethiopians of Eritrean origins to me, not Eritreans. I am stressing that information is the most important factor. I respect Eritreans’ right of having their own Hero – Idris Awate. The information that I have on Awate – the revolutionary- doesn’t qualify him to see him as my hero.

            Thanks Semere nebsi

      • Semere Andom

        Hi Abi:
        I hope you were not serious when you asked Mahmuday” “Is there anything named after him 25 years after independence?” “Other than this website”
        You are a veteran of this website and how many of us complained that PFDJ is there to erase our history, so I hope that you know no official symbol will be named after him when PFDJ is thriving.
        But on personal level, there are kids named awate, if not awate, they are named Adal and Togoruba, all associated with the man
        And the fact that HS is a hero for Africa shows the ignorance of those who consider him a hero and this is one of the reason Africa is stuck in the stone age. Eritreans, Muslims and Christians did not create awate, HS did, Ethiopia did. Tell me who created HS?

        • Fnote Selam

          Semere,

          Just FYI, there is a school in Asmara (Edaga Hamus/Embagaliano area) named after Awate.

          FS.

          • Semere Andom

            Hi FS:
            Sure, but I expect the country to be name after him not a dingy school.

          • Fnote Selam

            Hi Semere,

            Wasn’t countering your argument, just FYI….BTW, it is quite pretty school, actually.

            FS.

          • Semere Andom

            Hi FS:
            My fault, I was terse, I was rushing but I did not mea you were countering me.
            Thanks

  • dawit

    Hi Papillon,
    The heavens say you rip what you saw. I think that is why your Moses is rotting six ft. bellow ground. Your Mosses would have been alive, if he had drank camel milk with Isaias in Asmara, Eritrea, than drinking whisky and gin vodka in London and DC. The heavens, must have heard the cries of millions children in Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea who perished because of this man

  • T..T.

    Hi all,

    So all agree the heroes’ and heroines’ footsteps should be followed.

    Surely, every Eritrean expects their leaders to follow the footprints of the Eritrean martyrs. Accordingly, the leaders should carry on the martyrs’ legacy of continuing the revolution and fighting for the freedom. If the leaders are self-serving, they are betraying the legacy; and if they are serving the people and the country honestly, they are giving back.

    But what! The dictator is in wrong footsteps and his tendency to wickedness carried him heading in the wrong direction. For him, no notable footprints were made to be followed and all martyrdom were written on snow.

    -That is why the regime is steered by grievances, the grievances that he etched in stones while in the field.

    -That is why he is driven by narrow vision of politics that are observed through his mistreatment of his long time comrades and his policies of shackled freedom of expression as well as his wars with the neighboring countries and the world.

  • said

    Why is Eritrea – let us speak with frankness and terrible sharpness – so backward? Why we have a dictators, one of the most brutal dictator with no human rights to speak of, so much state security and torture, so terrible a literacy rate? And so on. In a country where sectarian and regionalism identification trumps national interest, for many, the rubbish PFDJ symbolised everything rotten in the Eritrean state, from failed institutions incapable of providing the most basic services, a cruel and tiny corrupt political elite guarding vested interests only . More than 24 years after the end of long road to independence, the country still struggles to provide with basic services such as water and electricity.

    Why the country we love so much produce the system of one man show. Why does this wretched place, so poor and yet rich in natural resources , yet potential to produce more , even in the age of high tech and the computer, a population so poorly educated, so malnourished . Indeed, so brutal and corrupt regime. Some of our people never sprang from the Void. They are a product of the same dominant epistemology and culture we all brought up in. The Thing that needs revisiting and revamping is our political Heritage that is fraught with misrepresentations and fabrications. ….It Is There Where All Should Start! The simple understanding by our Eritrean political analysts and academics, mark you – the retarded state of Eritrea. It talks of “the fragility of the political, social, economic and environmental structures. And luck of enough water … But does this account for desertification, for illiteracy – especially among our dire minority.

    How we tackle the underlying causes of our problem and mediocrity and bring about real change anchored in equality, equitable and solid citizenship, productive economies and stable and peaceful statehood, remains the riddle that has defied over two three generations of Eritrean.

    Eritrean homes are spotlessly clean our streets is clean our neighbouring countries are their often repulsive, dirt and ordure spilling on to the pavements. In our beautiful Eritrea, where a kind of democracy does exist and our once upon a time our people were among the most educated and cultured to some extent. If only our politics could be like our home we care about.

    I suspect that a real problem exists in the mind of Eritrean; we do not feel that we own and have a stake in our country rightly so . We are often coaxed into effusions of enthusiasm for Eritranesim or national “unity”, I think we do not feel that sense of belongingness which European, American or some westerners and many other democratic countries feel. We are Unable, for most part of our history, not able elect real representatives and feel citizenship.

    But freed from “our dictatorship” and tutelage, we might develop divers societies to the advantage of the people who live in them. Maybe the Eritrean would even come to believe once again in a real sense that we owned our own county that we sacrificed so much for.

    Eritrea maybe passing its most crucial historical tests surpassing all political partisan considerations: Enshrining the Principles of Functioning Democracy or plunging into an utter state of political confusion and chaos.

  • Admas

    “In July 1960, in the city of Cairo, a group of young Eritrean students and intellectuals (all Muslim lowlanders) held a meeting and formed the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF)……”

    I have a sincere question… I’m just wondering why Egypt who out of all the countries in the world cared about the destructive “struggle” no longer cares about post independence Eritrea and support it’s refugees, or even help Eritrea regain it’s “occupied land” Badime?…could it be because Shabia’s “invincibility” only applies for hit and run guerrilla war with which it could bleed a third world country for 30 years and declared victory…? or could it because there is only so much risk the “invisible” coward can take for interest of Egypt…….whatever the reason is, one would have expected Egypt to be on the side of the people of Eritrea at least on humanitarian bases, but the irony is they are still profiting form selling Eritrean kidney when they can no longer use you to destruct Ethiopia, while to the contrary Ethiopia the victim provides them with safe heaven…

    • Saleh Johar

      Hello Admas,

      I will take your expressed sincerity at face value, though this morning you wrote this, which was insincere:

      “the highlanders have Isaias the devil as an idol you see, hence the lowlanders needed one so they fabricated awate in their mind…that is what it is all about, an invented idol.”

      Do you sincerely believe Awate was created after Isaias? Do you not know that no one heard of Isaias when the name of Awate was reverberating all over the place? Please answer that to your self, sincerely.

      Four hours ago, you started your comment with an expression of your intent “I have a sincere question” you stated though there are a few statements that betray the sincerity part, but I will take it at face value, as much as I can.

      1. The foreign policies of countries and governments is dynamic. For illustration, compare the old Ethiopian regimes that tried quash Eritrean cry for self-determination and the EPRDF that dealt with it responsibly.

      2. At present, helping Eritrean refugees or not is based on many variables. Positions are not constant and facts of today might change in the future.

      3. “…bleed the third world country for 30 years and declared victory…?” is a statement, it cannot be a question by any stretch of imagination. You are asking your rhetorical question as a soft ball to go for the kill. Is that a sincere question, Admas?

      4. Eritreans, Ethiopians and other individuals are profiting from selling Eritrean kidneys, be objective to be taken seriously. And be sincere.

      5. Your statement that Eritreans are used to destruct Ethiopia is straight from the old playbook. It’s tired and retired. Please don’t sound a fanatic propagandist from the sixties.

      6. Now, I hope you live up to your expressed intention and take the following with sincerity:
      Egypt of the fifties and sixties was the Egypt of Gamal Abdelnasser. Egypt was the backyard of every revolutionary in the world. Museveni once reminisced his time in Egypt and explained the aura of revolutionary Egypt back then. All rebels, including Mandela, Binbella of Algeria, even Che Guevara had to make a pilgrimage to Egypt, Nukrumh and a host of other revolutionaries. Abdelnasser supported every anti-colonialism organization. Even The Neway brothers, and military officers who were overthrowing monarchs were inspired by Abdelnasser because he paved the way by removing the corrupt Egyptian king, Farouk, and nationalized the Suez canal. Eritreans?

      Way before their kidney became commodities, Eritreans headed to Egypt for education, on foot, sneaking through borders and facing serious dangers, many were educated in Egypt. In fact the bulk of Eritrean intellectuals of the fifties and sixties were educated in Egypt. Given the revolutionary atmosphere and the fact that Egypt opened its radio waves for all revolutionaries by giving them air time on its radio, Ato Weldeab Weldemariam was the first to take advantage of this opportunity and begin his agitation of his people–I am sure you are not going to accuse him of trying to sell his country to the Arabs, are you? It was natural that the young Eritrean students and intellectuals in Egypt form the Eritrean liberation regime to rid their country of a feudal king, to be free. In fact Eritreans take pride because they are among the first to revolt for their rights–it is not an insult, it is a source of pride.

      • አዲስ

        Hi SGJ,

        Are you putting Egypt’s interest of weakening Ethiopia by supporting Eritreans rebels under point 1? or do you not subscribe to that idea ?

        Thanks,
        Addis

        • Saleh Johar

          Hi Addis,
          No. I am just trying to show Ethiopian positions in different eras as an example, and stating that Egypt or any other country doesn’t have a constant foreign policy.

          For my position on the Egyptian-Ethiopian relations, the following might interest you:
          http://awate.com/beware-of-warmongers/comment-page-2/

      • Eyob Medhane

        Gash Saleh,

        Sorry. I know I have said MUCH MORE than anyone on this subject, so I will not repeat myself. But in you response to Admas, you asked

        “…I am sure you are not accusing him (WoldeAb WoldeMariam) trying to sell his country to Arabs are you…”?

        Well, may be Admay may not, but I am.

        There wasn’t anything that WoldeAb WoldeMariam wouldn’t have done to quench his thirst of hate against the Ethiopian Imperial government and the ethnic group that he associates with it. He was a hateful individual, inspired by hate, as far as we are concerned. You may disagree, but that is what our truth tells us…

        • Saleh Johar

          Eyob,

          Your hate of the brave man is dully noted 🙂

        • Saleh Johar

          Hi Eyob,
          Thanks for confirming your hate of WelWel. It’s okay for you to spew your hate here (evidence) but you accuse the gentleman of hate. First, he didn’t own the title document for the real estate you call Eritrea. If I dint take that as hyperbole, I would ask you to prove it. He hated the ancien regime with passion, so do I, so do the weyane 1 and Weyane 2, so do all free Ethiopians. But because he hated the hate inspiring feudal King is the right of any subjugated individual. Are you suggesting he should have taken oppression silently? Please, if you decide to respond, irate check for hyperbole. And don’t expect Jews to apologize for hating Hitler, just in case. But thinking about it, WelWel was not a rent collector 🙂

  • Volte_Face

    Papillon, just as I own up to everything that happened in Eritrea since recorded history, I like to so called ghedli romanticizers to go at least 100 years back and own up to that history as well. If we start our nation building process referencing back a mere 54 years, we are doomed.

  • Dayphi

    Dear Gebre,
    It is my bokhri izni to hear عammu Idris Awate is Wolkottai. I would appreciate if you can cite your source. If true, KUDOS! Our Habeshannet rogode. Another setback to the denyers. If Barack Hussein Obama, Sn. can be Luottai, no surprise 3ammo Idris Awate Sr. be Wolkottai. Just bring your evidence to support your claim.
    Thank you Gebre, for the first time info.

  • Tewelde G/mariam

    Hamid Edris Awate is an Eritrean hero and so are the many who followed his footsteps and liberated Eritrea. Unfortunately, we are being revisited by the same specter that put us in the situation that forced Hamid Edris Awate in his old age to act. Back then, ethiopia, with help of the USA and the British, covertly and overtly, using internal saboteurs, inflamed our difference, and we , unable to differentiate between primary and secodary issues, danced to the tune of destruction of our country.

    Today, woyane Ethiopia is busy doing the samething, spawning sectarianism in our midst , and through local saboteur, Isaias afewerki , decimating our political, economic infrastructure and our social fabrics. And our reaction is virtually the same, mindlessly watching the rampant destruction on the ground, which some of us shamelessly take for birth pain hypnotized by the carefully choreographed flattery the enemies profess of their love and concern for our people and country.

    There is no more compelling evidence to the folly of some us than to trust woyane despite its supporting and financing for the cessation of Denkel from Eritrea. And equally foolish are those who are standing behind isaias afewerki who, if his command were not ignored by our military , would have handed our beloved Port of Aseb to woyane. To the skeptic, I remind them of Badme.

    We are all celebrating First Meskerem in memory of Hamid Edris Awate’s herald of the birth of armed struggle. But then, if he is watching our disorder and confusion in the hands of the enemies, he will no doubt say, These cannot be Eritrean, they must be zombies.

  • sara

    Dear AT
    why is the RED LINE only enforced selectively, i cant understand why some are allowed to spew their venom on US. can any one tell me why?

  • dawit

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NmK4XE3WhlY&list=PLSP-Elxc8M-WRSWCvx_0Z1-aU93aZlF0u
    Eritrea 1961-2015, the journey that started with one step by Idris Hamed Awate in 1961, continues with world Marathon in 2015! Eritrea keeps rising.
    AwetNhafash!

  • Teyaqi

    Dear Awatista,

    I am new for Eritrean History narrated from Eritreans perspective. I have two questions regarding the history of Awate.

    1. If Awate was against oppression,occupation and injustice, why did he serve the Italian racist and fascist colonial system?why didn’t he fight the Italian racist/fascist system ?was Haileselassie’s system more brutal and racist than the Italian system..??

    2. I am always puzzled by the word ‘Martyr’. What is the definition of Martyrdom for you..?? I read Awate died because of natural cause. Here in Ethiopia, some of Meles’ supporters called his death as martyrdom(መለስ ተሰዋ). Awate could have died the same way(by drinking milk) while he was serving as Italian ‘Askari’. He was not killed on the battle field.

    • dawit

      Dear Teyaqi,
      We are not celebrating Awate’s death or martyrdom, but the day he started the liberation not only Eritrea, but also Ethiopia. Awate should be celebrated as a hero of the Horn of Africa, from feudalism and communism dictators . Also as an Ethiopian you should thank Eritrean Askari soldiers who lead the liberation of Ethiopia from Fascist Italy. Without the sacrifices of Simetru Hamasein, (Eritrean Askari soldiers) our region even the whole world would have been singing for Mussolini and Hitler. But this must be hard to visualize after being brainwashed by fictional stories of Haile Selassie, Derg and Woyane.

      • Teyaqi

        Well Dawit, I don’t have problem celebrating him as a hero. But I raised those questions before I start to adore him (which you failed to answer).

        Eritrean Askaris were servants of Mussolini.They were not freedom fighters. Askaris were fighting and killing Ethiopian freedom fighters by accepting military orders from their white masters . Their history is well recorded and can be found online on public resources.

        “An askari was a local soldier serving in the armies of the European colonial powers in Africa, particularly in the African Great Lakes, Northeast Africa and Central Africa.”(Source wikipedia.org)

        • dawit

          Teyaqi,
          You are right they were soldiers drafted to serve the European Colonial powers, after they were sold by Menelik II who exchanged them for few guns and 5 million Italian lire. They were victims of your king. However, many rebelled from their masters, to lead the liberation of Ethiopia, names you remember and celebrate few famous ones, Zerai Deress, Abraha Deboch and Mogos Abraha, Lorenzo Taezaz, while Ethiopian feudal accepted to serve Italians, Ras Haile Selassie Gugsa, Ras Hailu Teklehaimanot just to mention few, who sold their country and dignity for a plate of spaghetti . Learn you true history.,

          • S.Tesfa

            Greeting,
            Do you mean Mogos Asgedom ???
            And,
            BTW, Abraha Deboch and Mogos Asgedom were not Askaris.

            Regards

          • dawit

            Greeting Tesfa,
            Thanks for the correction, but all Eritrean male youth were drafted by Italy to serve the colonial army and many deserted to Ethiopia, even before the start of the war.

        • Abi

          Hi Teyaqi
          Once an Ascaris. always an Askaris .
          We should call them ascaris. It is fitting.

          • dawit

            Abi,
            What about Sime-tru Hamasien.

          • Abi

            dawiti
            Hamasien,
            Agerih bitgeba milasen!

      • Music Novice

        Greetings dawit,

        Teyaqi asked: “If Awate was against oppression,occupation and injustice, why did he serve the Italian racist and fascist colonial system?”

        dawit, you need to stay on topic and answer the question rather that starting a Strawman argument, which is diversionary.

      • Abi

        Mezmure dawit
        Could you please refrain from putting Awate and Ethiopia in the same sentence.
        We are blessed with heroes and heroine that shook the world .
        Keep your hero for yourself.
        Thanks.

        • Volte_Face

          Abi, deep down, I think you are Eritrean by blood because you are an isolationist. Eritrean history = Ethiopian history, at least as regards to Tigray, Begemidir, and Shoa.

          P.S. This is Volta Face, formerly know as Mizaan. Amanuel Hidrat declared that I am not worthy of that nickname because k delve into taboo subjects all too often.

          • Abi

            Mizan
            Check which ones you agree with
            1– an eritrean is isolationist
            2– Abi is eritrean because he celebrates ethiopian heroes
            3–Mizan is an ethiopian because believes ethiopian =eritrean history
            4– mizan is not mizanawi because he doesn’t use Ato Amanuel’s brain to think.
            5– mizan is not eritrean because he questions Ghedli.
            If you don’t mind explain isolationist in regard to celebrating my heroes.
            Stay with mizan. You sound off balance today.

          • Volte_Face

            Abi, abet ante sew. eshi bel yihunlih.

            1. no, 2. no, 3. that is the million dollar question. 4. agree. 5. agree.

            I called you isolationist because you are trying to isolate Ethiopia from Eritrea. We share way too much history and culture. Whether you like it or not, Awate has changed the course of history for Ethiopia not necessarily directly. Eritreans believe that he started the struggle for independence and followed his foots steps. Just that alone is responsible for a large chunk of where we are today, Eritreans and Ethiopians alike. Would ghedli have started without him, absolutely. But we don’t know where it would have started or how it would have started so what we have is what we know.

            My point is everything that happens in Ethiopia affects Eritrea and everything that happens in Eritrea affects Ethiopia, to a much lesser extent now but early in the 20th century and late in the 19th century, it was a substantial influence. Alula made most of his prolific history in Eritrea and its immediate areas. You cannot own Alula and disown the history of Eritrea.

            Volte Face – formerly known as Mizaan.

          • Abi

            Mizan
            I celebrate my heroes. I am proud of their deeds. If an eritrean believes it is his history and want to celebrate them , I will be more than happy. I don’t want the heroism of moges asgedom, abraha deboch and other many ethiopian heroes to be buried. they are your heroes as much as mine. They are african heroes.
            I don’t mind sharing them with the world. However, I reject if you want to share with me Awate as a hero. I have much better and real ones that stood the test of time.

          • Volte_Face

            Abi, a ‘hero’ is a relative thing and I didn’t mention the word hero until now. Don’t put words in my mouth. Not all Ethiopians see Atse Menelik as a hero but they do share his history. The same goes Yohaness IV, Tewodros, and more so with Ahmed Gragn but you don’t pick and choose your history. Mengistu was the president of Ethiopia but he probably had much more to do in 17 years with Eritrea than 90 of Ethiopia combined together. Hence, he is our history. This is at the heart of the problem I have and that makes me lose sleep. I don’t have any problem with a state or nation called Eritrea but I do not want people to change history.

            The people within Eritrea were there centuries before the area was named Eritrea but we have the ghedli generation people purposely distorting our history and making it seem like, Eritrea and its people, culture, religion, customs everything as being the products of ghedli. We, the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia are much bigger than EPLF, TPLF, EPRP, Dergue, HS II, and so on. Everyone comes along and tries to change the history of this ancient peoples to fit their agenda. We, all of us, need to reject that. Menelik did what he did to consolidate his power and weaken his rivals in Tigray and Gondor. My conclusion is that he signed the Treaty of Wuchale simply to divide the Tigrinya speaking highlanders of Eritrea from that of Tigray. Luckily for him, Yohannes IV was killed in Metema and Alula became neutralized and Menelik II, shrewed that he was married Etege Taitu (she is a heck of a woman), hired the his Swiss adviser, all these smart moves enabled him to be the unquestioned Emperor but his decision for Eritrea was power greed not least because he believe Eritreans were a different people or country. This is my history and equally yours as well.

            Saay will come and draw lots of analogies from around the world but there is nothing that is intimately intertwined than the history of the people in Eritrea and Ethiopia. If we start from here instead of ghedli, I think we would be more compassionate with each other and more cooperative and easily come with good solutions, particularly for Eritreans, so they can live normal life like a huge majority of Ethiopians are living.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear friend,
            you are wonderful. let us put it this way, let everybody be proud of his history and celebrate it but without rejecting others history. but let everybody be open to accept the negative side of each history and let everybody learn from the past for good of coming generation.

            I think every hero who brightness in every era is the result of the societies nature, in fact even the coward is the result of the society. nothing comes by accident and everything has a cause and reason. temporarily we are all governed by our emotions but at the end of the game none remains unchanged. few do look in advance but we all were conditioned by the past. what now? all the pain we are facing is past even if you study about health you will find out toothache that we complain in one specific moment is not real it is past and if you live in now you will never feel it. that is what we all should learn. even being proud of your history is an emotion that is not real it is just past. in reality none of those kings and revolutionaries are there. none. every thing is gone and we are here. here starts love. unconditional love. the only problem that makes me crazy in life is when someone wants to monopolize others now. and worst of all if someone comes to govern me without rule now. this is the situation that brings me down from love.

          • አዲስ

            Hi Volte_Face,

            I believe Abi’s issue here is with the concept of this dawit’s statement regarding Awate : “he started the liberation not only Eritrea, but also Ethiopia.” . Abi doesn’t recognize Awate as an Ethiopian hero (somebody who did heroic deed for Ethiopia and Ethiopians). That’s very clear and I boldly say can be shared with absolute majority of Ethiopians. I wonder if 5 percent of Ethiopians even heard of Mr Awate let alone consider him their hero. So I guess Abi don’t have an issue about historical consequences in Eritrea having an impact in Ethiopia. Abi please correct me if I am misrepresenting your position here.

            Btw, this day was celebrated in Ethiopia by Eritreans with a big fan fare and support from GOVERNMENT OF ETHIOPIA to the dismay of many of us. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an issue if Eritreans celebrate whatever they want wherever they want on their own, but I feel sad when I see the government of Ethiopia supports and promotes the beginning of Eritreans freedom struggle from the very country it’s governing, Ethiopia. It is simply a joke on the bloods of those who fought for its territorial integrity. I guess what I am saying is Ethiopian government shouldn’t have any involvement with this issue.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • dawit

            Hi Addis,
            Well the spark that Awate started at Adal mountain spread all over Ethiopia, burned to ashes Haile Sellasie’s (1974) and Mengistu’s (1991) governments. The present Ethiopian government lead by EPRDF knows clearly how they arrived at Menelik Palace, if they celebrate September 1, Awate’s Day, they knew how they end up where they are. I understand if Abi and Addis (1% Ethiopians) lamenting their loss of Eritrea and blame Awate as the cause of their tragic loss, but the 99% are celebrating their freedom from their oppressions of feudal and communist Ethiopia. Soon you will be surprised when Awate and Isaias celebrated throughout Ethiopia by erecting statues . This is the beginning!

          • አዲስ

            HI dawit,

            I like your humor. Keep at it at these difficult times.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • dawit

            Addis,
            Thanks to Awate, our difficult times are behind us and future is bright. Once Woyane come their senses Eritrean and Ethiopian future is return to its natural state once they declare Awate their national hero. PIA declared the sky is the limit.

          • Abi

            Mezmure dawit
            Of course! As most eritrean fighters they don’t have a burial grounds in eritrea. They will be buried in ethiopia, we will erect statutes on their burial grounds.
            End of a wasted era!

          • dawit

            Abiye,
            Eritrea is wide enough to accommodate burial places, not only for Eritrean Martyers, but also 1000000+ HS and Dergu couless armies wasted over the 30 years invasion (zemechas).

          • Abi

            Addis
            You said it all. I was busy with homework and projects with the boys. Besides, I’m tired of going back and forth on things that are not relevant.
            As you said Mr Awate is not an ethiopian hero.
            What our government doing is showing eritreans that it cares for them. Politics as usual.
            Hod siyawq doro mata yilal yagere sew

          • አዲስ

            Abi,

            Right on brother.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • saay7

            Hey Abi.net:

            I think what Cousin Dawit is saying is that it’s the Eritran mans burden to save Ethiopia from archaic monarchism, black Stalinism and now, ethnic federalism. I think he is wrong on the last part: we can’t save Ethiopia from ethno-federalism by presenting an example of absolute. monocracy. But if we were to open up our political space and get rid of one-man-dictatorship and create a country where ethnicity is just one of many identities, then of course Ethiopians who are sick of ethnic-federalism would, once again, look to Eritrea for inspiration.

            You are welcome.

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Hi Saay,

            I don’t mind if inspirations comes from North or South or Mars :)…but where did this come from “Ethiopians would, once again, look to Eritrean for inspiration.” Am just scratching my head on that one.

            Thanks,
            Addis

            p.s may be cycling ? hmm that’s definitely it for Mekele, Adama and Hawassa cyclists

          • saay7

            Really Addis:

            1. The rebellion against Haile Selasse (the successful one) by the military was inspired by the Eritrean revolution.

            2. The TPLF–the Ethiopian force that waged the struggle in Ethiopia to remove the Derg–was trained by EPLF, all its vocabulary (Victory to the masses, our struggle is long and bitter but our victory is certain, etc etc) is that of the EPLF, even its emblem is (yellow star embedded in a red bed of triangular laout) was inspired by EPLF. Even EDU, EPRP, TLF all got their inspiration from the Eritrean revolution. (Refer to TPLF 40 documentary.)

            Ethiopia had a long and proud history of repeling foreign forces. But it had no history of popular uprising against an unjust ruler. Until the Eritrean revolution.

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Yes really Saay,

            Don’t be a revisionist. Demo bezih metah. Eway tekeste belwal GereMedhin 🙂

            1. Why only talk about the successful ones? Remember we’re talking about inspiration here?
            2. Ofcourse TPLF was helped by EPLF but was it really inspired by it? Are you going to take credit for the students movement too? How about the Neway brothers ? or the Gojjam peasant revolts…?

            Your last paragraph is just a bold misstep. You are tired. Go to bed 🙂

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Abi

            Saay,
            So when are you going to use this wealth of experience to inspire others to free your own people against unjust ruler?

          • saay7

            Hey Abi:

            Addis told me to go to bed and it sounds like a good idea to me. And there’s your answer: we used up all our energy inspiring others that we have none left for ourselves. It’s like the mechanic whose car doesn’t work, the carpenter whose door doesn’t work. You dig up a proper Amarigna proverb for it and there’s ur answer.

            Hey Addis: do NOT make me bring the timeline for the rebellion against Haile Selasse. The first demand was by the Eeitrea based division. And as SGJ told u the Neway Brothers were inspired by among others the revolution of Gemal. I am going to sleep now: take all the time u need to research when in Ethiopia’s 3,000 year history there was a popular uprising against an unjust King. (Warning: Warlord feuds, and kings wanting to be king of kings, do not count)

            By the way, there is a new book called King of Kings by the son of our former governor Asrate Kassa. Send a copy to Fantiness who will send it to Teddy Afro.

            saay

          • Abi

            Satay
            Stay awake!
            Leraswa sayterfat lesew tabedralech.

            Sayterfat abedra satqebel motech
            Ouch!

          • saay7

            Abi:

            You can do better. Even fernenj has better idioms than that. I don’t know why Addis is scratching his head about verifiable facts: do you guys have Head & Shoulders anti dandruff medication.

            I am lobbying African American universities to add Hamid Idris Awate in their list of great Afeican revolutionaries. I am certain I can count on your support.

            saay

          • Abi

            Saay
            Those idioms are perfect for your situation.

            revolutionary =ametsegna

          • አዲስ

            Hi Saay,

            3000 years? We don’t really need to go that far Saay. Remember 2005? or you still counting only the successful ones. Again going to bed is a good idea 🙂 but sure we can review this in the future.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • saay7

            Hey Addis:

            My calendar (beferenj aqotater) tells me that 2005 came long after 1961. (Awate day). What I am asking u to do, and u keep waking me dude, it to rifle thorough your 3,000 page history and find an event of a popular uprising in Ethiopia that precedes Awate day. I will give u 30 days to find it.

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Saay,

            No need for 30 days. By the way is that a teacher thing to give assignments ? 🙂
            Why don’t you bring the timeline you mentioned earlier and we talk about it? Remember just because a certain event precedes another it doesn’t mean it was an inspiration for the events that followed it. Now the burden is on you to prove that too along with your timeline. That’s your assignment 🙂 but don’t worry I am generous i will give you 60 days 🙂

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • saay7

            Haha Addis:

            Come on. You have 3,000 history. That would be, what, 1,000 BC to 2,000 AD? I am asking you to find, from that long long history, a single even of a POPULAR UPRISING against one your kings. Just one. Surely that’s not a lot to ask. But it has to be BEFORE 1961. Not only am I giving u 30 days, I am asking Eyob, Abi to make it a group project.

            Saay

            Confession: I said all that to get T Kifle to rush over and tell us about Weyane I. I am sure you don’t consider that a popular uprising 🙂

          • አዲስ

            Hi Saay,

            Why wouldn’t I consider kedamay weyane as a popular uprising if that’s what you talking about? If not then there it’s for you. Fanti also mentioned it above or you do not call that popular uprising yourself ? 🙂

            Thanks,
            Addis

            p.s. Now Eyob and Fanti is in it too. I am enjoying this

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Saay,

            Abraha rebelled against King Kaleb in Yemen during the 6th century AD. Will this count?

          • saay7

            Hi MN:

            There is always a test you can administer, MN: if they lived in the 20th century would they be driving what the Somalis call “Technicals”: pickup trucks with machine guns?:)

            saay

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hey Saay,

            The first ever popular uprising against any government in our region is “Kedamay Weyane.”

          • saay7

            Dammit Fantiness

            You ruined it!! I was trying to see if Addis considers Weyane I as a popular uprising. Because you know it was against a Seyoume Egziabher.

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Wait wait Saay 🙂

            When did I become supporter of HS ? Am I upgraded from derg gize nafaki by some EPRDFites ? lol

          • saay7

            Haha Addis:

            I don’t know: you were giving me a bit of Neftegna vibes. Must be all that head scratching u were doing.

            Now about this timeline for the fall of HSI…before I dig it out and share it, u are not going to pull an Eyob on me and dismiss ALL fernenj sources are u? Every single time that Weyane Light dude lost an argument he would dismiss my authoritative sources just because they are fernenj.

            Saay

          • አዲስ

            Saay,

            We know who the Neftegna is right now 🙂

            I won’t discredit your sources just because they are ferenj. I might do so if they are unreliable. But this bring us to the conclusion of our discussion that your claim there was no popular uprising that wasn’t inspired by Eritreans is simply unfounded.right? 🙂 If we got that covered then by all means come with your timeline.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • saay7

            Addis:

            Keyword: successful. Every kebede lema and Hagos can rebel. Question is: is it popular? Did it succeed? And for that u have no precedence before the Eritrean uprising. Sorry:)

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Saay,

            Popular uprising doesn’t entail success. You added “Successful” to nudge the discussion your way. Shrewd you 🙂 but it’s in the word. Popular uprising. Go figure.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • saay7

            Haha Addis:

            I didn’t introduce “successful” halfway into the debate did I? If I did, my bad. Now, can you talk down Abi from the ledge? He is threatening to jump: when he is mad, he blubbers something about Arabs Egypt Cairo:) Does he know that Haile Selasse I received the highest award a nation can bestow from virtually every Arab country? Its true.

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Saay,

            Abi has a reason. Many reasons but he’s never gonna jump from the ledge 🙂

            Look at this one for instance. Abi, this will make you proud.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMvNsSGHOe0

            Ato Minase lek lekun negerelgn eko leza Arab 🙂

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • saay7

            Sure Addis:

            The Libyan diplomat said “does it surprise anyone that we Libyans and Somalis would be very sympathetic to Eritrea because we were all former colonies of Italy?”

            He then went on to say, “Clearly, the OAU should be headquartered in Ghana, a country that has proven its track record in leading fight against colonialism not Ethiopia, whose King, partnered with colonialists to draw the arbitrary borders of Africa and whose present King, Haile Selasse, was dragged into leading Africa, a continent he feels he is superior to based on the color of his skin, by pan African intellectuals”

            Saay

            * the above quote is ‘based on true stories’ and has no resemblance to what the Libyan said.

          • አዲስ

            Hahaha Saay,

            Couldn’t help yourself right? Fortunately the Pan African leaders and intellectuals at the time disagree with that and put HS’s and Ethiopia’s contribution to Pan African-ism in high regard and kept the OAU headquarters in Addis. Addis Ababa bete…Shega lej konjo lej alech gorebete…I miss my Addis 🙂

            Thanks for the translation
            Addis

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,

            Several decades after the clip Addis provided, Libya tried once again to have OAU, which was on the process to become AU to be removed from Addis Ababa lining very few Francophone countries behind it. Guess what, this time not just Ambessa Foreign Minister Minase Haile like in the seventies they had to face, but another generation of fire brand….

            Here it is…

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=o9aHxYbWAoc

          • saay7

            Hey Addis:

            Yesterday was fun–I am glad Abi persuaded me not to go to sleep. Although, he ended up pouting and he was no fun at all. He is hellbent on blaming Derg’s defeat not on the ineptitutde of Derg but…Arabs! As your people say, ለመሆኑ ሳይሆን እንዴት ይሆናል ቢሆን:)

            Now then, to the timeline. HSI was dealing with students, taxi drivers, soldiers and paying them off. Until, the soldiers in Asmara made him an offer he HAD to refuse and…

            25 February 1974: soldiers in Asmara “detained their commanders and took control of all communications, the banks, and important public installations. While declaring their loyalty to the throne–characteristic of the soldiers until the coup’s final stage–they sought greater pay, better food, and more freedom to proffer their criticisms through the chain of command. The mutiny’s noncommission leaders also pointed to the frustrations of fighting an insurgency with inadequate supplies and armaments and suggested that a political accomodation be considered. The recommendation was more than the emperor could bear, and he refused Asmara’s demands.

            “The appeal to patriotism was ignored as garrisons throughout the country joined the insurrection.”

            Source: A History of Ethiopia, Harold G Marcus

            I will now accept your gratitude…:)

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Hi Saay,

            Quick reply now and I will return tonight.

            You realize that “soldiers in Asmara” are not only Eritreans decent right? If I had to guess, and this is purely a guess, most of them were probably from the rest of Ethiopia. This coupled with my issue of your statement of and I am paraphrasing here ” Ethiopians looking for inspiration from Eritreans and never had their own popular uprising” is not holding much water now does it?

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Addis, Saay,

            In fact, I wasn’t going to say anything at all because of your “successful ones” disclaimer, but Addis mentioned the Gojam uprising but not W1, Abi seemed hopeless, and TK is busy these days changing authorities. So, I had no choice. Sorry about that.

          • አዲስ

            Hi Fanti,

            Glad you chimed in 🙂 I like it when Ethiopians cooperate haha in your face Saay

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Amde

            Hi Fanti

            I don’t think we can say that. I don’t know what constitutes as “popular”, but I do not believe human nature changed in the last 100 years. We collectively are biased to events closer to our times.

            One of the greatest popular uprisings in our history is the one in the 1600s when Tewahdo clergy and adherents rebelled against the imposition of Catholicism from the Court. It was so bad, it caused the Emperor to give up power and appoint his son, for the Portuguese to be kicked out, and for Ethiopia to knowingly cut itself off from the rest if the Christian world. If this does not qualify as popular then I do ‘t know what does.

            There is a persistent and insidious campaign on this forum to narrow the historical frames of reference to the last century or so. This allows Eritrean Nationalists, and those who hated Shewan political hegemony to establish a historical baseline that is more conducive to their political ambitions.

            Amde

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Dear Amde,

            What I call Modern Ethiopian politics is from Atse Tewodros till present. What makes an upraising popular is its relative spontaneity and it is an upraising by the masses without pre-planned membership.

            “… narrow the historical frames of reference to the last century or so.”

            That is understandable. Usually anything before that ends up being either argumentative or irrelevant to most of the subjects we talk about here. In fact, since there is no strict agenda we follow about what to discus about, most of the time, we are all over the place.

            If you mean the tendency by some Eritreans to exaggerate or even fabricate dissimilarity with Ethiopia, I can only say that that is work in progress.

          • Abi

            Saay
            Your problem is all the ethiopian history you know was written by an idiot at Cairo university.
            Atse Tewodros revolted against his King in 1820s. Later he became King of kings. Don’t tell me he was by himself. He had followers. Popular uprising!
            He got inspiration from Awate the cartoon hero.

          • saay7

            Hey Abi:

            I have an authoritative source for why cliff-edge-mass murderer Atse Teodros rebelled against his King (not written in Cairo) and it had nothing to do with popular uprising. It was Warlord 1 fighting Warlord 2. If it was the 20th century, they would have had pick up trucks with mounted machine guns.

            saay

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,

            Please, don’t start what you can’t finish… :-)…

            I got one for you. While you are chewing on that, I will be back with another…

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bale_Revolt

          • saay7

            Eyob:

            That was just a localized rebellion against rent-seeking:) not exactly nationwide. From Red Sea Karora to shining Omhjer, is it

            Saay

          • አዲስ

            Saay,

            Ahunes mafegfeg abezah 🙂

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • S.Tesfa

            Dear saay7,

            “………But it had no history of popular uprising against an unjust ruler. Until the Eritrean revolution”- that is a very bold statement.

            As a starter, what is your take on the First Woyane Rebellion

            Woyane or Weyane (Ge’ez: ወያነ) (or ‘First Woyane’ Ge’ez: ቀዳማይ ወያነ) was a rebellion in the Tigray province of Ethiopia in 1943.
            The rebels established their headquarters at Wokro. During the rainy season of 1943 the rebels under the leadership of Fitawrari Yeebio Woldai and Dejazmach Neguise Bezabih, hailing from Enderta, which was the heart of the first woyane rebellion.

            The Pan Ethiopian nature of Woyanne:
            The slogans of the first Woyanne were clearly Pan Ethiopian and
            for equality and autonomy. Their PROCLAMATION after liberating Mekelle had FIVE MAIN POINTS.

            · Autonomous self-administration under Ethiopian flag and unity
            · Administration by Tigrayan Customary laws
            · Appointment of one’s own leaders free of domination by Shoan Imperial elite
            · Eradication of thieves and bandits (shiftas)
            · Objection to payment of excessive taxation and payment to appointee of the Emperor

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woyane_rebellion

            Best Regards,

          • saay7

            Selamat S. Tesfa:

            Of course I do*. Don’t mess with Weyane I: my favorite. But, you know, they didn’t succeed. This is no small matter: both success and failure are addictive. As the expression goes: whether you believe you will succeed or fail, you are right.

            saay

            * I do, despite the fact that His Fantiness told us once that his people in Tigray rebelled with or without a cause. I actually saw the interview of some of the survivors of Weyane I and it is extremely informative how pronounced the difference between the rich and poor was. The poor had to humble themselves and accept the most demeaning terms… it actually gave me an insight into why TPLF embraced communism: it wasn’t some esoteric concept for them. Never understood why the ELF/EPLF embraced communism because that culture didn’t exist in Eritrea.

          • Rahwa T

            Selam saay,
            If success is your measure, you can’t say the Eritrean revolution inspired revolutionary movements in Ethiopia because no one was sure that your revolution would reach at its end, as it has walked, long, sluggish and bitter walk of 30 solid years.

          • Abi

            Thanks , Saay
            Anything and everything to get rid of ethnic federalism or ethnic parties in general, I am 10000000% with you.
            PS
            Mejemerya yemeqemechayen alech zinjero.
            ” whoever wants to kindle others must first himself glow.”
            When was the last time you were inspiration for others?

          • Ted

            Hi Addis. We have no illusion that most Ethiopians have not came into terms that we are gone rather ASSAB is gone, let alone celebrate it. For “dismay of many of us” is right. I dont know who you are nevertheless if i know Ethiopians, it is not further from the truth if you have a chip in your shoulder. Don’t take it personal, It is all politics. Eritreans in Ethiopia are trying to make the best out of the inauspicious situation they are in as Eritrean opposition. As for Ethiopian Gov approval, who are you to criticize the Gov who won 100% vote;-) “It is simply a joke on the bloods of those who fought for its territorial integrity” We didn’t feel good either when we were forced to celebrate Dege army’s victory after they mowed down village full of women and children.

          • አዲስ

            Hi Ted,

            You are not getting my point. Try again 🙂

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Ted

            Hi Addis, What is not to get, You and me see Derg Army in Eritrea differently. Things shouldn’t had ended by killing thousands of people killing from both side but it did. Both side are wounded and need time to heal and If you feel your Gov let you down allowing Eritreans dance their Victory over Ethiopian forces, i get that too. What i don’t get is Ethiopian “territorial integrity” is playing over and over.

          • አዲስ

            Hi Ted,

            If you get my point on why this government is letting us down once again when it comes to Eritrea. Good on you.

            The territorial integrity part is not played over and over. For this context, it is there to explain the position of the Ethiopian soldiers. That was their job. Keeping Ethiopia’s territorial integrity. EPRDF allowing you to come and dance in front of their mourning mother is tantamount to putting them as enemies by their own government(which it has repeatedly done). Again what you feel about them is not my concern. It doesn’t change a thing here.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Abi

            Addis
            What is amazingly stupid is the arrogance of those eritreans dancing.

          • Ted

            Abi, It is not arrogance, it is shrewdness and bad politics.

          • Abi

            Ted, Addis
            What were they dancing for? Happy they are refugees?
            Everyone is sick.

          • አዲስ

            Abi,

            True. But you can’t help that. It’s their prerogative. Go dance infront of them belo sponsor yaderegachew new enji yemiakatelew.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Ted

            Hi Addis, True, it doesn’t matter what i think of derge Army now even it is better you said to consider them as solders doing their job.
            If i can bring you back to Eritrean perspective, the dancers are using the occasion granted by Gov to show Eritreans that Ethiopia stands for Eritrean interest. Bad politics by both side.

          • Dear addis,
            It is part of the big plan of keeping Eritreans and Ethiopians separated forever. We fought for Eritrean independence more than Eritrean themselves, lobbied in the corridors of the UN more than Eritreans themselves for Eritrean secession, we
            would fight on the Eritrean side if Eritrea is attacked by Ethiopia,
            land-locking Ethiopia without any provision for Ethiopia, and now this, participating in the dancing and partying in front of Ethiopian mothers and fathers who lost their sons, because
            they believed that their sons were defending Ethiopia, despite the dictatorial regime, are not said or done in a vacuum, unless there is a grand plan. What Eritreans do by themselves is an Eritrean problem. But, when the government politicizes
            such sensitive issues by become part of it, and that within Ethiopia, then, it is something else. Be sure, those who rule Ethiopia will block the way for any Ethio-Eritrean rapprochement of the future. They do not want the wounds to heal, or people to forgive and forget.

          • አዲስ

            Hi Horizon,

            Very good points. If it’s part of their grand scheme, then the pieces are falling well in place for them.The poor people in between is the one shouldering the burden and the suffering.But when the tide turns they won’t survive it either.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Rahwa T

            Dear Horizen, Eyob, Admas…
            I agree with your arguments. It was none-sense and disrespectful of the Ethiopians to allow a party in Addis. The right place should been at the refugees camps. Sad… and hope it will not be repeated next time.

          • haileTG

            ah..disques holding my comment again 🙁

          • Eyob Medhane

            Addis,

            Very well said.. (y)

            The fact that they would rub this on the noses of those,who lost their precious youth in the trenches and some lost limbs and became disabled in their own country and city is incridablly appalling.

          • አዲስ

            Hi Eyob,

            Appalling indeed! May those who died on our and their country’s behalf rest in peace and those who were wounded get at least a peace of mind.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Volte_Face

            Eyob, I, for one, am not rubbing anyone’s heroism on anyone else. Like I said before, one man’s hero could be another man’s worst nightmare. Atse Tewodros was a shifta to a lot of people. You have probably heard the famous expression of his “soldiers eat, peasants provide.” I think that’s why he was nicknamed Abba Bezbiz. See, but Mengie used to say “ye atse tewodros tsiwa etsewalehugn.” It’s all relative. Awate, merely because Eritreans believe so, has played a pivotal role to our current status quo.

            Needless to say, we Eritreans and Ethiopians share all these history. How did the British get to Atse Tewodros? Through the land of and seas of present day Eritrea.

            We were all the same people first before we became separate nations.

            I am here not primarily to reunite us but to make sure our common history is not distorted. Reunification is much easier.

          • Eyob Medhane

            Volte_Face,

            I will skip everything that has anything to do with Awate, because I said everything there is to say about the man, what I think of him and what he means to Ethiopia and to me as an Ethiopian. I don’t think there is anyone, who debated this in these forum fiercely than I am. So you can’t get me do it again… 🙂

            However,

            A group of event organizers in Addis Ababa have made a tasteless, ungreatful and unclassy display in the last couple of days throwing a music festival in commemoration of a war that he ignited. As you said you can call my shifta a hero. I have no problem with that. But you don’t call him a hero in my yard and taunt me with it. A war that was ignited by Awate has maimed and killed so many Ethiopians. For better or worse, many of these Ethiopians felt they were fighting a just war. Many also forcibly recruited to fight it. During the course of this fight, these many Ethiopian children were raised without parents. Parents have lost their young children, young people lost their limbs and now are growing old without them. And as a result of what awate started, twenty five years ago many former soldiers and civilians were kicked out of Eritrea dispossessed and humiliated. Now, twenty five years later, while these victims trying to heal and bury what happens to them and live peacefully in dignity I. Their OWN country, another generation of Eritreans, came to them, unprovoked, with their pomp and Koboro to rub it on their faces that they are the winners. That is unbelievably low blow…They may claim “they are refugees and they had no place to celebrate it”, well do it your camp, be less pompus about it, but no. They chose to continue with a tradition of arrogance that Isayas has introduced in the culture of Eritrea, unfortunately many seem to oblige to..

          • Admas

            “They chose to continue with a tradition of arrogance that Isayas has introduced in the culture of Eritrea,”

            we can not blame Eritreans for being what they are, it is “our own” idiots, the so called “Ethiopian Government”

          • saay7

            Ah Eyobai:

            From the 90 million Ethiopians, how many would be offended by Eritreans celebrating September 1 in Addis Abeba? Would that include those who have to stare at Menelik’s statue, a man who subjugated their ancestors? Would that include the Somali Ethiopian who has to look at the tribute to Cuba for its role in the Ogaden War? Harbeyna Weyanai is showing something rare–gratitude–and you should salute them for it.

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Hi Saay,

            Are you trying to find a parallel between Eritrea( a foreign country) and Oromo, Somali Ethiopians….(all Ethiopians) in this context? Don’t try to confuse. The issue is very very simple here. If you fail to understand it I will repeat it for you. Those Eritreans in Addis who are dancing and jumping in front of the Ethiopian mothers and fathers who lost their children, they are who they are. Some call them arrogant, some call their act insensitive…but nobody is here to tell them how they should act and feel even though they are reaping the benefit of Ethiopia as refugees and dance on its ground and celebrate how they started attacking it. As far as my understanding goes, most of the Ethiopians are angry on their government that sponsor and promote this act.

            By the way here is a definition of arrogance for you : ” Harbeyna Weyanai is showing something rare–gratitude–and you should salute them for it.” If this doesn’t sum up what’s wrong with the thinking of SOME Eritreans, I don’t know what will.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • saay7

            Hey Addis:

            You are welcome. That definition of arrogance only belongs to a small (declining membership) school I chair, the school of chauvinism, so please don’t get mad at all Eritreans for the excesses of this school and its department chair. When Tes is done with his final exams, he has pledged to sledgehammer the school—but he didn’t know that Semere T had arrived just in time. I presented it as an example of a case where those of you who attempt to present your voices as that of Ethiopia are always from areas of Ethiopia which have been its ruling class in perpetuity. Thus, I ask innocently (hope Sem A thinks it is insightful and original) would an Ethiopian from the Omo Valley, from Somali killil, from Oromia be outraged to the same degree that you are? We had one Ethiopian awatista from Ogaden (now Somali kilil) who did not share any of the views that you represent as “Ethiopian” here. Hope he comes back to balance your Hade hzbi Hade lbi views.

            But seriously, all the teeth-gnashing, nail-biting you guys are doing would be put to better use if you express your disgust to your government. We are mere refugees in Ethiopia:)

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Hi Saay,

            Again we are mad at our governments. Not at the acts and behaviors of some Eritreans in Addis, though what they did will continue to strengthen our understanding of Eritrea even more.

            Your framing of our anger coming only from “ruling class in perpetuity” is very dangerous and not new. You are trying to articulate that parts of Ethiopians you mentioned don’t share the same Ethiopianenness as the rest of it. You think when we talked about ETHIOPIAN soldiers who died trying to protect its terittorial integrity only refers to the Amharas? You think Tigreans, Afars, Oromos, Benishanguls, Gurages, Sidamas…. didn’t die ?? You think they won’t be offended when you dance in front of their mothers who lost their children?

            Yes some like your Ogaden friend might not share that idea. There will always be some. But you continue to make mistake that when it comes to the country we call ETHIOPIA, whatever kilil we live in, we always come together and have a UNITY and UNDERSTANDING against foreign entities. To spell out for you. You are the foreign entity who feel prevailed to dance in our beloved Addis after all our generosity. So try again with your divisive tactics, we’ll reply back as we’ve done for centuries. TOGETHER in UNITY that’s.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • saay7

            Hey Addis:

            One Eyob is enough for me. Jeez, I almost heard the Ethiopian national anthem in the background. Go on with your united self, my brother.

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Hi Saay,

            Well, you shouldn’t have started what you can’t finish. Did you hear “Yezegnet Kibir” or “Ehiopia Ethiopia Ethiopia Kedemi..” in the background ? 🙂

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • saay7

            Hey Addis:

            It was that “Ethiopia Agere yenetsanet arma…” that played right before “Yefiyel wetete” and i was getting cold sweat so I had to end the conversation. I already get enough “we are united! We are one! Don’t try to divide us!” when I argue with PFDJ-heads:)

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Haha Saay,

            Cold sweat and shiver is what we send to foreigners when we talk about our Unity. It’s a common reaction don’t feel bad 🙂 but I am happy to end the conversation here too. Off to my labor day weekend. Have a good one.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • saay7

            Hey Addis:

            You know, in 1961, my perpetual calendar says that September 1 (Awate Day) was on a Friday. So Labor Day is always Awate day. Thanks for celebrating it; we appreciate it. And the message of the Armed Struggle was “unity at any cost” doesn’t work for those who espouse it. So pay more attention to your dissidents.

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Haha Saay,

            Good one. Never!

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,

            Every single of Ethiopian ethnic group, I mean EVERY SINGLE one had some members that died or disabled in that God forsaken war for thirty years. Unless you think that an Oromo mother feels less about her child’s loss than an Amhara mother, the disrespect we feel is universal by the act of the organizers of this event and the government authorities that let it happen. It is very much disconcerting, though to see that you even think that this is an issue of concern only for some Ethiopians of certain ethnic persuasion. You can not be more wrong about that…(Don’t you remember that in your Dehai days that you have been calling these Oromos, Somalis and many other ethnic groups, who were fighting for Ethiopia “fenji regachoch”? )

          • saay7

            Hey Eyobai:

            Then perhaps you should conduct an opinion survey in Ethiopia. Because war is not the best time to test whether a country is “united” because even the most disunited country is united in war. It is what political scientists have called “Rally Around The Flag Effect”: a temporary unity and don’t flatter yourself too much: every country, regardless of whether it is artificial or organic, has that.

            You should institute opinion surveys. Opinion surveys just before the 2015 elections would have helped EPRDF how much rigging-pulley it should have used to avoid the embarassment of 100% (meto-be-meto) election results. Remember how they were running around scared thinking they have lost this kilil and that kilil? Survey is the way to go.

            You are welcome. (PS: I don’t believe your “Dehai Days” quote; leave that department to Hayat, that’s her specialty.)

            saay

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi VF,

            I have deligently researched the term “Shifta” since a long time.I asked many elders, in fact a few who were bandits. Here is the English term and our languages:

            Rebel (Shifta): a person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or ruler.

            Outlaw (Werebela): a robber or outlaw belonging to a gang and typically operating in an isolated or lawless area.

            But since anyone who rebels was considered an outlaw, the two were morphed by the rulers, including the Italians, British, Haile Selassie and Derg.

            If someone who rebels against an unjust rule it is sheffitu (in Tigrinya) or sheffete (in Amharic). All freedom fighters are Shefatu (not bandits), rebels with a cause. Based on that, rethinking and questioning general perceptions might help.

          • Amde

            Volte Face,

            Very Well said.

            Whatever caused you to do a volte face, just made your Mizaan name even more appropriate. Personally, I see Eritreans in general as Ethiopians that are unfortunate victims – of geography, and of a particular historical era in African and Human history.

            This past weekend I was lucky enough to be in a family function, among whom were a set of sisters who were born and raised in Gonder from a father who came from one of the Eritrean awrajas, married and settled there. The way they describe how every Gondere is a born wit and azmari was hilarious. And it was clear that if there would ever be a call to represent Gonder, these ladies would be front and center and they would do it in style.

            It is nothing unusual of course, but at the same time I could not help but be saddened that we are at a point that this seems like anything unusual or special. Their family story – probably multiplied by the hundred thousands – is more of a basis for going forward than the Ghedli could ever be.

            Amde

    • Music Novice

      Greetings Teyaqi,

      You are asking one too many questions for your own good. So, I would call you a ‘Bad Boy’.

      Once upon a time, I was a Bad Boy myself. While I was learning ‘ABUGIDA’ in church school, I asked some questions and the priest beat me up being a naughty child.

      Good luck with your enquiries.

      • Ted

        Hi MN.

        I sense you have something in mind to comment, criticize or oppose. It is all good that this forum has seen so much from different point views nothing can be wrong as long as you adhere to civility in your discussion. You will be surprised how people here are receptive and engaging to contentious ideas.Please don’t hold back, fire away.

    • Admas

      the highlanders have Isais the devil as an idol you see, hence the lowlanders needed one so they fabricated awate in their mind…that is what it is all about, an invented idol,,,

    • Semere Tesfai

      Selam Teyaqi

      I don’t know what your definition of a hero or a martyr is, but this is my definition. A hero or heroine is an ordinary imperfect person like me and you who has done extraordinary thing – something an ordinary person hasn’t done before him/her.

      Our Tegadelties were ordinary people some students, some workers, some farmers, some business men/women, some former Ethiopian soldiers, some Ethiopian government bureaucrats, some technocrats……..

      And since most of them joined the revolution when they were adults, like me and you, they have lived their life the way they saw it fit before they joined Ghedli. And also during Ghedli, some have made their share of mistakes and choices that they are not proud of. But still, people in their community, knowing full well they are imperfect people, they call them heroes and heroins. And if there are people who are looking for perfect people, they should look for saints, not heroes and heroines.

      As to martyrdom: a martyr is an imperfect person like me and you, who died fighting for a greater cause that benefits all.

      Semere Tesfai

    • Tewelde G/mariam

      I think you are sarcastic. Awate was too young to contemplate resisting Italian colonialism. But that does not mean the rest of our population took Italian invasion peacefully. There were many , such as Bahta Segeneity, Abraha Deboch, Megos Asgedom, Zerai Deres, to mention but a few, who gave their previous lives fighting the Italian invader whereever and however they could.

      Given the Ethiopian regim’s expressed alleged kinship with our people, one would expect them to jump on our side against the invaders. No. No. They did not do that. To the contrary. They jumped on the invader’s side for some leftovers. However, at the end of the day, their sellout and sleazy behavior did not save them from all out invasion. And if it were not for Allied Forces Victory, Ethiopia would have been Italian colony God knows for how long.

      However, did the Ethiopians, in the aftermath if italian defeat, feel shy to reclaim kisnship with our population after what they had done before? No they did not feel shy. In fact after they, with the help of the USA ,unilaterally abrogated the UN brokered Eritrean-ethiopian Federation and forcefully annexed our country, they characterized their illegal act like the reunification of a daughter with her mother. Of course, these characterization is wishful thinking. A country, Eritrea, that hosts the the oldest Christian Monastery ,and a Mosque in East Africa , whose population speak the language of both Eritrean and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches,cannot be in any sense be younger than that which has none of that.

      • Teyaqi

        Hello Tewelde,

        You didn’t answer my question .Firstly, Awate served Italian colonial system (before starting the armed struggle) as “Security officer,aka Askari” and “deputy chief of the city of Kassala”.He can’t assume those positions as a teenage boy(minor).So, are you supposed to be too old to fight occupation,racism and injustice?were your “tegadeltis” not young when they fight Haileselassie and Dergi?

        Secondly, for me, Abraha Deboch, Megos Asgedom, Zerai Deres, Belay Zeleke,Abebe Aregai and many more are real freedom fighters. They deserve to be celebrated.But I want to know the quality of “Askari” Awate?

  • negusse

    Hi Awate Team,
    wonderful presentation…but the language is below Awate’s known standard. Remember, it took quite an effort to be where you are. Do not lose it for lack of 30 minutes of editing time.
    That said, thanks for the wonderful tribute to a man of courage and vision!

  • Fanti Ghana

    Happy September Everyone!

  • Saleh Johar

    Hello Dawit,
    It is good you discovered the plagiarizer in chief. Just like they plagiarized Semere Tesfais’ article last time, including the image, with no attribution, all they can do is repeat the offense.

    Tahir Indoul was an awate.com writer and this article first appeared at awate in may 2001. Since then, we have re-posted it several times. Now, have fun finding our who authored the Wikipedia page. I will let you guess if you can’t find any clues. I will also give you a few hours to trace the article in question in the Internet–you should work for it. Later on, I will give you the link. At any rate, equating the caliber of awate with that kind of website that lacks basic journalist ethics (Plagiarism and all) is very cruel and unfair of you. Awate.com plagiarizing material about awate? The history of the man whose name it carries? That is very unfair, dawit.

    • Dawit

      Hello Saleh,

      I have been supporting and reading Awate.com for the last 10 years. I read this article in the past and know for sure who wrote the article. I know Tesfa News paste and copy the article without given credit and not surprise. I am in noway accusing Awate.com plagiarizing.

  • Abraham Hanibal

    Selam Dawit,

    Really not sure who is plagiarizing? Did you read the following in the introduction of this article here at Awate? “On this occasion, we are re-posting below what Tahir Indoul wrote about the exceptional Eritrean icon fourteen years ago, on September 1, 2001”.

    Btw, the PFDJ-mouthpiece tesfanews has referenced “its” article to wikipedia; something that confirms its dishonesty and unprofessionalism.

    • Pass the salt

      Selamat all,
      Given the fact that there are not adequate written resources on Hamid Idris Awate and his movement, what is the big deal if TN commemorated this important day by publishing whatever information it found to be accurate? Their gesture is good enough for me to overlook procedure. Many other websites didn’t even bother to say a word or two about the day.

      • Saleh Johar

        Hi PTS,
        You are absolutely right if it was in a different circumstances. But a website that duplicates what the he regime media publishes, and it is so connected to the regime that is well placed to produce more detailed content, to resort to this is sad and incompetent. That is the the point, not that it is good they tried. But this goes in contrast to the fact the government has totally ignored the event, like it has been doing all along. Doesn’t that say a lot?

    • Nitricc

      Hey Abraham. Normally your takes are fair and well balanced but on this one, your are out. First of all SJ could have showed as always he does, some class when he was trapped by Dawit. He could have said, so? TN is an Eritrean web site and they have every right to honor an Eritrean hero and Eritrean holidays. Instead SJ resorted to quick score. The point is Eritrea comes first before out differences in ideology. Awate comes first before our political side. Besides; TN have disclosed their sources; what is the problem? I was happy to read it on both web sites as it should be. Some times I don’t get it. I can understand if it was regular article; this about national hero. What is wrong with you people?

      • Abraham Hanibal

        Hello Nitricc

        “TN have disclosed their sources…”. Who is their sources, wikipedia? Nitricc, we are not objecting to tesfanews or any other website telling the history of Awate or our liberation struggle. We know that this yet barely told and barely documented history belongs to all Eritreans, regardless of their political inclination. We are opposing the absence of minimum requirements of editorial or journalistic practice of citing the right source of their information. When they didn’t shy away from copy-pasting entire article from the Awate website, it shouldn’t have been difficult for them to tell their readers of their source, instead of dishonestly referencing the information to wikipedia.

  • Ted

    Hi HTG, why don’t you school me. You seem to know a lot, the man pulling the string behind the screen:-(

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Awate friends,
    Okay, let us say someone may hope and wish freedom under any type of front and be part of it. But going through the list we can see some of the starters and who continue to be ELF till independent went to Asmara – most of them arrested and disappeared .after all those experiences they went through, What were they expecting from EPLF leadership? who can help me on this, were they really serous to see democratic nation by joining the corrupted leadership? what makes a man such- innocent to be cheated to this level? I am asking this question to learn form you.

    • Dayphi

      Eeeeeeh Kokhobey.
      You are pressing at the nerve that hurts most. Aytibkey indiyu zebkyenni zello.
      When i see people of high personality of ELF llike Huruy Tedla dodge their Jebha, enter Asmara as individual, never open his mouth as if he was born dumb/mute with no criticism to the regime in Asmara untill the embarrassing defeat at Badme; then only then after the defeat ran out of Asmara to lead opposition and in hope of returning to Asmara, this time as head of the organization he quit to join the regime years ago. When i see that, all i can handle doing is shake my head in awe and agony. I brought his name only as example, but the list would include many from Jebha as well as from the so called إصلاحيين of Sha3biyyah or G-whatever number who were part of the dictatorship till the defeat, as to wash their hands of any responsibility of the 30,000 (declared ) death in the Badme debacle. Kokhobay, i asked same question for years. The most plausible answer i got was he was busy selling sesseg. I hope our enlightened Awatewian can come with better excuse or explanations.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Kokhobay,

      How do you miss this? It is all about the mind of opportunists to vacillate with the direction of the winds, especially those who strive for leading. Nothing else.

      regards,
      Amanuel Hidrat

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Teacher,
        yes, and their end was too bad. But some I think were not optimistic to see change. Hopelessness!

  • haileTG

    Heloo Awatista,

    Here is the funniest Eritrean lowlander jock @10min, enjoy the show:)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=268&v=qJUnaoYFrWs

    • Bayan Nagash

      Selam kbur Haw Haile TG,

      Would it have gone well, were the MC to make similar jokes using Tigray accent as opposed to the lowlanders one? Would the gracious hosts, Ethiopians from Tigray, took to such an attempt of humor using ethnicity lightly?

      • haileTG

        Merhaba Haw Bayan,

        You certainly brought a new angle to this which could be a topic in itself. I know such jokes have been here for as long as I can remember (actually saay told one real fun joke like that recently that cracked me up:) Should AT moderator had warned him to refrain from such humor as it could offend the host:)? It would sure be a new bar (notch higher) in tensing the relationship between people. Because, this thing “stand up comedy” has to be written. Now, writing such a material is one of the toughest creativity unlike how easy it seems. There is nothing like an embarrassing moment where the comedian says something that doesn’t solicit immediate burst of laughter. That would then have knock of effect to the entire performance of the presenter involved. For this reason, comedy writers go extra mile to add many different attributes to what they say to build up to the end of the joke where everything comes together for the audience to crack up in laughter.

        certain societal sensitivities are therefore put in place as a safe-valve, because in the thick of break neck competitions to be the best, the artists in this area could easily be tempted to tap into social conflict lines as geocentric, ethnocentric or religious types of subjects. As far as a lowlander’s Tigrinya accent, I personally never heard of it associated in bad way in the past. There are reels after reels of such comedies from the Bologna era of the Ghedli till last few days that I mentioned above from saay:)

        Mind you those communities have their own language and when he speaks in their language he will be the laugh:) When was the last time you heard in the radio someone trying to speak in Italian accent or Spanish accent or Arabic accent of the English language? Is imitating accent racist?? I believe in the main line of social discourses, it is acceptable source of fun and laughter. I know black people joke, Muslim joke, Jew joke , women joke are all in the red flag zones, not so with accents. In most cases, such is also done affectionately and is a good thing in bringing people together and breaking the ice.

        I wonder how other awatista (especially from lowland, since we both are caring highlanders-:)see this. Do they laugh it off and enjoy the fun or have issues with it and don’t like it. The only id holder lowlander is Mahmuday in here and he is unlikely to criticize them ግርም ገበርኩም እዞም ደቀይ ክብሎም እዩ 🙂

        Regards

        • saay7

          Hailat TG:

          I don’t remember what I wrote but I am glad it made you laugh…but now I am worried if I offended anyone. My observation on stand-up comedy:

          1. If a group sees itself as a persecuted minority, it is very sensitive to anything it considers ridicule. In the late 1980s, Alamin Abduletif was touring and, between songs, Alamin like to tell jokes (ethnic: including accents.) I happened to have been with a friend who views his ethnicity as persecuted and he was very offended. But, back in Eritrea, Alamin tells that joke and the people he tells it to telling him a counter joke. They laugh: and they, holding hands like Eritreans do, go to a coffee shop. (Not theory: Alamin and my father are very close friends.)

          2. Some self-described activists and people who are about empowering groups are very sensitive to jokes. They will even get mad at a person who makes fun of his OWN ethnic group: the activists own the ethnicity MORE than the person who belongs to it.

          3. In the United States, a black comedian who makes fun of black people is uproariously funny. A white comedian who does that is racist. Comedian Trevor Noah makes fun of African American dialect punctuated by no-amin (“do you know what I mean”?), the walk, and the “complete disregard for syllables and punctuations.” That would probably be a career-ender for a white comedian.

          4. Comedy is a social construct. People laugh louder when it is among a group. And when the topic is taboo, people generally check to see if it is ok to laugh before they laugh.

          saay

          • Music Novice

            Greetings saay,

            Russell Peters’ jokes are the best. Omid Djalili’s are good too (the Nigerian accent jokes).

          • Bayan Nagash

            Selam Semere A., HTG, SGJ, and Sal,

            I remember buying two videos on VHS that I purchased during the 1998 – 2000 war. Granted, they got the accents down pretty good alright, but the humor was pedestrian at best, saying found it humorless was an understatement Semere A.

            I believe humor, be it the stand-up type, sitcom, or in any form is context dependent. I enjoy, for example, self deprecating jokes, ethnic, religion, race based ones are not for amateur comedians, these are best left for professional comedians who have the ability to take an otherwise offensive situation and turn it into an uproariously laugh out loud kind of humor – Trevor Noah is one that belongs in such a league. But here is my favorite comedian, Russel Peters on Indian accent:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D66c1BIpeo

            In the Western world, however, accents have their serious side to them to a point of it now being known as accentism that people are being professionally discriminated against based on their accent, hence accentism.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/28225710/accentism-similar-to-racism-suggests-new-research

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Bayan,

            Russell Peters doing the Chinese Street Vendor and the Indian Customer is hilarious.

          • haileTG

            Hey Haw Beyan,

            Thanks for sharing those, I think I saw the comedy before (indeed funny) and the bbc link was new material. Now, let’s put equivalencies on a fair scale. The Teraro comedy was an open and blatant attack of the people of Tigray. It wasn’t limited to a role play of a Tigrayan character for innocent and clean material. That isn’t morally and intentionally equivalent to the character dispensation issue we have here. The plot doesn’t communicate anything else apart to manner of usage of Tigrinya. Surely, that is not equivalent to what it is put side to side with.

            The second issue of equivalence is the issue of hegemony is a disputed realty in the Eritrean case (I appreciate the issue is close to your heart, but opinion are divided about it), hence the black vs white scenario is not faithfully equivalent in our case.

            So, from point of view of the need to protect the artist’s freedom to utilize themes and the activist’s desire to rid off what they see as oppression reinforcing methodologies, we need to strike a balance. Social role stereotypes are always there to be scrutinized. Gender, race and ethnic eccentricities are looked at for varied purposes and intents. Sense of fairness and balance would go a long way in encouraging healthy progress.

            Also, please refer to my response to saay above and your input there will be most welcome too.

            Regards

          • haileTG

            Hey saay,

            True and agree with the way you’ve put it. The jokingly recollected thing you said recently was when your Tigrayt speaking friend said ናሕረይ ተሰጢሩ; ስር ብሶተይ ትህንድግ ኣላ! 🙂

            It is true that when an activist grabs hold of a hammer, everything is dealt with as a nail. That is why activists are not politicians. Since you were appointed Culture minister by Fanti, please weigh the following:

            – A comedian, as being member of trade in the performing arts industry, is legitimately concerned by the limitations that would be imposed on his/her creative spaces.

            – A consumer of the artist’s product can have a legitimate concern on sensitivity grounds.

            As a culture minister, how would you bridge the gap and draw the boundary.

            Regards

          • saay7

            Ahlen Haile:

            Ah, I remember now. I was inseparable with that guy and another lowlander for 2 years. Another friend whom I met years later teased me, “did you guys every disagree on anything? All I heard when I was close by was guys saying, ‘ኣማንካቱ!'”

            His Fantiness is so nice once can’t disagree with him but, of course, I disagree with the bloated government structure he created. There should never be a “Culture Minister” anymore than there should be a “Minister of Information.” If you don’t want your government to be so big that it is scary, you only need these ministries: Ministry of Resources (Water, Land, Mine); Ministry of Safety Net (Education, Health, Social Security); Ministry of Getting S@!t Done (Foreign, Defense, Security, Immigration, Tourism.)

            Now, then, there is not a single civilization that has progressed to greatness without making civil liberties at the apex: above group rights (ethnicity, religion,cultural norms.) Of course, it takes time to get there…and there is a give and take but I defintely would want to expedite that. That’s one of the reasons I am opposed to ethnic political groups because those get in the way of civil liberties–they tell the State “give us our ethnic rights and how we deal with those who belong to our ethnic groups is up to us.” In the US, that would be the equivalent of “state rights” which were used for centuries to suppress the civil liberties of the individual black man. (It is for the same reason that I am very suspicious of power devolution to provinces: but I have said enough now: Emma is already reaching for his shebeT to throw at me.)

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba Saay,

            I didn’t know that you are against “power devolution” to our people in their respective provinces. Really, you are suspicious giving “certain power” to our people to elect and administer themselves in their region. What makes you to be suspicious to our people to administer themselves from themselves? So you trust the representative of the central government (self-centered-interest political organ) than the people to govern themselves. You remember you use to say we don’t have ideological difference. Big time. I trust our people than any centralized brutal government. All centralized unitary governments are run by authoritarian regimes. Wishing for Eritrean people to have centralized unitary government is like cursing Eritrean people to live under the mercy of an authoritarian regimes. Just to have a clear understanding on the nature of government you want to see in Eritrea, are you in favor of Centralized unitary government? If it is so, can you write an article, arguing centralized unitary government is better than decentralized unitary government for Eritrea, and I will do the opposite argument? As matter of fact this is a crucial topic that determine the fate of our people looking forward.

            regards,
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • saay7

            Hi Emma:

            I knew that would get you:) you make the unitary state as if it’s a monster, when in fact almost all of Africa and some highly developed states in Europe (UK, France) are unitary states. We will compromise: the Eritrean provinces can all have kings and their own flags and holidays. Also they can have the state animal and state bird. As for giving them power so they can tell minorities and women in their areas “izi ko bahlna ayfqdon iyu tiEgsti gberu…” YftaHala 🙂 remember you can have brutal central governments and brutal state governments. Power should be devolved to the citizen, the individual, and not a group (region, religion, ethnic group): that’s your only safeguard against tyranny.

            I am delegating Sabri and Haile TG to debate this, whoever is on my side. If nobody is for it then I will reluctantly have to…draft Mahmuday to do it.

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            O’ Saay,

            UK and France are not centralized unitary governments. They have decentralized unitary governments. Eti Ashkaelal Gedifka, devolving power to regions or provinces, is not crowning kings and giving them their own flags. You know it better. But when you are against something you know how to make it look bad and ugly. Again I really want to challenge you on the theory and the concept of it and how good or bad to our people will be, and why with the necessary reasons. Based on literature and some research, and I am sure our people will benefit from it.

            regards,
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • saay7

            Hi Emma:

            It looks like you are already building your strawman arguments:I said UK is unitary state and then u said UK is not centralized unitary government. How about you write your article: be sure though to reference Engels and Bourdeau because they talk about how social order, in the absence of economic hierarchy, transfers to cultural hierarchy. Just remember every time the “deleyti ftHi” talk about our cultures and traditions you are scaring women half to death 🙂

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Good Moring Saay,

            You have said “power should be devolved to the citizen (people).” Can you tell us structurally how it could be practiced? What does it mean power to the people? I hope you will not limit the power to electoral vote only. Come on enlighten us without sarcastic-demeaning attitude.

            Reagrds,
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • saay7

            Hi Emma:

            The exact way it is done in democratic unitary states like the UK and France. It begins by making the Citizen (his/her rights and duties) the centerpiece: with constitution that defines the balance of power between the Citizen and the State and, in parallel, defines the balance of power between the State and the local government (region/state/province.) In the UK and France, the local governments have little power. In a federal system like that of the United States, all power that is not explicitly given to the Federal government is given to the State. In a unitary state, all power that is not explicitly given to the Unitary government is given to the citizen.

            Thus, power to the people.

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Okay Saay

            Do you agree USA is unitary state With A Decentralized unitary government ? if you Agree that it is, then when you talk About UK and France it is only the degree of the devolution that you are arguing in your comment. That is my understanding in your last comment. If I am correct then both of us believe on unitary state with Decentralized unitary government. Do you know what you omitting in your argument “Centralized ” and “decentralized ” in order to confuse those Who are following our discussion. And you know both Centralized and decentrsliz

          • saay7

            Hi Emma:

            Como? Of course the “U.S. Is NOT a unitary state with a decentralized unitary government”. The founders had a long debate on that in the Federalist papers. In fact the whole Tea Party movement is fueled by the need to remind the people that the USA stands for the United States (plural.) The U.S. Constitution says that all powers that are not explicitly given to the Federal government are to be given to the State. I mean this is fundamental stuff Emma 🙂

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Haw Saay,

            Please keep this debate alive. Our debate will continue with concepts and theory before we relate with countries who have either “decentralized unitary government” or “centralized unitary” government, with clear understanding the difference of “state” and “government” and the “degree of power” devolved either to the state, province, or regions. Now let me start with questions to clear the path of our argument. What is centralized unitary government? What is decentralized unitary government? Is Federalism (irrespective its multiplicity) a decentralized unitary government or not? What is a state? and what is a government? When we have a clear common understanding on those concepts, then we will classify the countries by the nature of the states and governments that have. After that we look the type of government and state for Eritrea. I hope you will agree to engage on the basis of these questions. Let us go step by step to bridge our differences.

            Regards,
            Amanuel Hidart

          • saay7

            Emma:

            You know how the Eritrean fronts, using Roberts Rule of Order created this hierarchy of engagement:

            Question (Hto) comes before comment (r-eyto)
            Comment is followed by follow up (tewesakhi)
            Recommendation (lebewa) comes last.

            I am going to ask that we flip that and ask that recommendation comes before question. And my recommendation is: if we are going to discuss this issue, let’s place it within the context of Eritrea. No discussion of abstract concepts without definitions that are universally accepted (ie: authoritative sources must be given.) Then u can make your case for why a Unitary government is, on balance, bad for Eritrea. And I will make my case as to why, on balance, it is good for Eritrea.

            This way all Awatistas including our Ethiopian bros and sistas can join in. I am specially looking forward to the inputs of Addis. To ensure that Eyob and Abi join in, I will name them as Ambassadors of goodwill to Saudi Arabia and Egypt. They can flip “anbesa-negus” to see who gets which portfolio.

            And no we can’t do “oh Lordy Lordy lord! I am shocked! How are u different from PFDJ!” because that will poison the well.

            How about that? (Hto)

            saay

          • Semere Andom

            Hi Cousin
            What you just told Emma when he was tegadalai, now we do the following 🙂

            This question and comment thing
            Whether it is big or tiny
            The country is the priority
            First let the country be
            We own the highest honor of freedom
            Its preservation is the entrusted burden
            Because there is always evil
            So Eritrea can stand for eternity
            The country is the priority
            Whatever comes let face it head on
            The country is a priority
            Above all let the nation be
            Let us grab our gun firmly
            Let there be no joke with soveritey
            The wolf in sheep skin
            If they see open door
            They will swindle us to the bone
            Fish cannot survive without the sea
            man can survive witout land
            That is just laws of nature
            But it is the country that ties all together
            First let the nation be

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Saay

            Since the word “unitary” exist in both type of of governments (meaning in centralized unitary governments and decentralized unitary governments) they are unitary governments one with devolved of certain power from the center to the periphery and the other all power concentrated at the center. As a result all forms of federalism are decentraized unitary government. If you do not agree on this definition or explanation please do your own and let us move with the debate. By the way since Ethiopia has one type of federalism it has decentralized unitary government, the Ethiopians people who participate in this forum will contribute to the debate. Why are you reluctant to debate on it? I think you are worried about centralized unitary govrnment of Eritrea with its constitution from being exposed? Am I correct?

            Regards
            Amanuel. Hidrat

          • saay7

            Emma:

            You said, “As a result all forms of federalism are decentralized unitary government.” This is not accurate and I would love for you to show me a source that treats federalism as a unitary government. Can we agree with the following before we discuss their strengths and weaknesses (all have strengths and weaknesses) when applied to Eritrea?

            1. Federal : Central government’s power are restricted; states/provinces exercise a lot of autonomy including, in some cases, the right to secede. States and provinces have the right to challenge the constitutionality of acts passed by the Central government. Examples: the United States, Canada, Austria, Ethiopia.
            2. Unitary: Central government has supreme power; states/provinces powers restricted and whatever they have is delegated by the central government and they have no power vested in them to challenge acts/bills/laws passed by the central government. The central government treats the states/provinces as administrative zones that can be consolidated/merged/bifurcated. There are two types of unitary: centralized or decentralized.
            2a. Unitary Centralized: Central government has supreme power; states/provinces powers restricted; AND central government grants little (almost no) power to them. Example: almost all of African states are Unitary and highly centralized.
            2b. Unitary Decentralized: Central government has supreme power; states/provinces powers are restricted by central government BUT central government grants them a lot of power. Emphasis on “GRANTS” them, which it can take away. Example Rwanda.

            It is a contradiction in terms to say that “federalism is a decentralized unitary government” simply because the antithesis of federalism is unitary and the antithesis of unitary is federalism.

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Good Moring Saay,

            Look Saay, all federal system has a “central government” to unite the unit of administration whether the united the states as country, hence the term “unitary”. Federal governments devolve the power to the periphery (in this case from the central government to the states), hence the term “decentralized”. The “degree of power” that devolve to the periphery varies from one federal state to the other, depending on the nature of grievances of the people who live in each specific country that chose federalism. You could take as reference India and USA as an example. So if you assemble those vital structural concept, it will give that Federal governments are “decentralized unitary governments”, federal government being the most advanced decentralized government that gives the liberty of citizens, the power to the people, and most democratic government that any other forum of government. Since I am running to work, I will let with the link below for reading, and I will come with more info later this evening.

            http://web.stanford.edu/~ldiamond/iraq/Decentralize_Power021204.htm

            regards,
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • saay7

            Hi Emma:

            Sigh. Like I said, in political science glossary, “unitary State” and “federal State” sit at opposite ends. Here are a gazillion links you can follow that describe this very basic subject that is literally taught in high school civic classes:

            https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=federal%20vs%20unitary%20state

            By the way, the link you provided (a 2004 presentation in Baghdad about the merits of federalism after after the US broke Iraq: the irony is way too delicious) has no such thing as a “Unitary Federal State” or a “Federal Unitary State” no matter the degree of decentralization. It is reassuring Iraqis that they shouldn’t equate federalism with splintering and breaking .

            We cannot have a debate unless we accept commonly accepted definition of terms. If your ego won’t allow you to accept terms developed by others, then let’s use simpler concepts like “Decentralized Eritrea” and “Centralized Eritrea.” That is, let’s just talk about the degree of decentralization–autonomous, semi-autonomous—or what powers should remain with the provinces and what powers should remain with the central government without getting entangled in terminologies. All references should be to Eritrea, using actual Eritrean concepts. Because someone (for example me) can recommend de-centralized government for one country (like the US) and unitary for another country (like Eritrea.)

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Saay,

            You always bring a deflected argument. Where did I say “federal Unitary state” and “unitary federal state”. Why do you play like that. I am really disappointed by you.. I close my case. you are not serious.

          • saay7

            Emma:

            Really? Ok, here’s where you said it:

            1. Do you agree USA is unitary state With A Decentralized unitary government ?

            2. “Is Federalism (irrespective its multiplicity) a decentralized unitary government or not?”
            http://awate.com/september-1-double-awate-day/#comment-2234604458

            2. “As a result all forms of federalism are decentraized unitary government.”
            http://awate.com/september-1-double-awate-day/#comment-2235363116

            3. “So if you assemble those vital structural concept, it will give you that Federal governments are “decentralized unitary governments”
            http://awate.com/september-1-double-awate-day/#comment-2235714511

            And those are just from two days of writing. If I go back a month, a year, a decade, you have always been saying this, and I have always waited for you to correct yourself and you refuse to. A State cannot be Federal and Unitary at the same time. It is like saying a shape is a square and a circle. And, again, we can have a useful debate about what form of relationship should exist between the center and the “peripheries” in Eritrea but to do that we MUST use commonly accepted and understood terms. We cannot call the United States a Unitary State because, for God’s sake, we are talking about a nation that existed in prehistoric times: it is a country that has written extensively about its nature as a Federal state.

            saay

          • Bayan Nagash

            Selam Haw Haile TG,

            Let me be the spoiler of the humor that you enjoyed. Let me be the activist trying to pull-out plenty of nails of stereotypes from their hegemonic walls. This topic could really be made into article, as such I will leave for our Minister of Culture to address the questions you posed that you’ve asked me to consider.

            I followed the controversy that ensued in the aftermath of what transpired when Jaqueline Woodson (2014) received The National Book Award for her memoir, “Brown Girl Dreaming,” because she is one of my favorite children book writers. At any rate, Woodson’s friend, Daniel Handler (a writer in his own right) was the MC for the evening and his attempt at a joke that these two friends had shared in private he thought was okay to use in the realms of the public sphere. The backlash was swift and furious, and Woodson had to write an opinion piece in the New York Times explaining it all and Handler ended up apologizing profusely.

            It only took less than a minute, but the wounds of the past gushed out flooding and cutting deep into the thousands and thousands of African Americans who were the butt of humorless humor from the dominant culture early in the twentieth century. See the postcards that used to be printed for Americans to use for Valentine’s or any other joyous holiday occasions. If you google watermelon postcard images of African Americans will give you a glimpse of unsavory past.

            Here is Handle’s infamous 57 seconds blunder:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4uBRcx3268

            I will let J. Woodson do the talking in how stereotypes should not be made light of in particular when there is historical past injustices lurking beneath it. An excerpt from Woodson’s NY Times opinion piece: “This mission is what’s been passed down to me — to write stories that have been historically absent in this country’s body of literature, to create mirrors for the people who so rarely see themselves inside contemporary fiction, and windows for those who think we are no more than the stereotypes they’re so afraid of. To give young people — and all people — a sense of this country’s brilliant and brutal history, so that no one ever thinks they can walk onto a stage one evening and laugh at another’s too often painful past.” It is not a long piece really, but a wonderful read here is the link:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/29/opinion/the-pain-of-the-watermelon-joke.html?_r=0

            WonderWomanist 11/28/14 10:43pm wrote the following brief comment that I thought I’d share here as well: “…The history is more than an ugly stereotype of African-Americans… This pretty much shuts down all the “whitesplainers” who thought this wasn’t a big deal (as if white people finding racism not a big deal is shocking) because it was a “harmless joke” exchanged between two good friends, as if perpetuating racist stereotypes isn’t harmful.” (hegemonic power at work, Hade belallay)

            Now, Haw HTG, juxtapose this to the highlander MC using lowland accent, which you found funny. It is safe to assume most of the audiences were Tigrinya speaking highlanders,
            perhaps some Tigrinya speakers from Tigray one would expect to be there for the mere fact that the whole show was in Tigrinya language (hegemony through language, klette belally).

            Now assume our own MC in Addis decided to humor us using Tigrayan accent, don’t you think a load of past wounds that was perpetrated by Asmarinos on our Tigrayan brothers and sisters would’ve gushed out to bring afresh those past wounds similar way the watermelon joke did for African Americans?

            Along the same vein, no humor by an Eritrean using Tigray accent could go unhinged because of the deeply seated stereotypes that Asmarinos used on Tigryans as a butt of their jokes to a point of Tigrayans were made so uncomfortable to speak their own language with their own accents until the 1990s.

            SGJ alluded to the accent being more of Saho than the lowland, well, does that really make it any less inappropriate. Sahos are the other groups who were stereotyped by our Asmarinos, and there, too, I bet you there were a lot of Asmarino Sahos who wouldn’t dare speak Saho in public for fear of ridicule by their hegemonic prone Tigrinya speakers (hegemony: selste do betsihu haQQay).

            Now, be it on the American side and the Tigrinya side ignoring the hegemonic power at work beneath it all is to ignore how power is exercised, the only difference is in the former it is writ large and in the latter writ small. I am not sure what you meant when you said the “issue of hegemony is a disputed reality in the Eritrean case…[that] the black vs white scenario is not faithfully equivalent in our case.” Before I go on a tangent, I
            would appreciate elaboration on this.

          • haileTG

            Dear Brother Beyan,

            On the issue accents and their use in performances, we definitely have different threshold of what is acceptable. You have in deed made a good case, but your stick on Asmarinos seems way over used. But, this is rather subjective and matter of taste. Let me move on to elaborate on the point that I made: “issue of hegemony is a disputed reality in the Eritrean case…[that] the black vs white scenario is not faithfully equivalent in our case.”

            The whole notion of PFDJ is Tigrinya hegemony and simply “Tigrinya hegemony” tend to get mingled up carelessly. The first one clearly tends to legitimize the PFDJ as a representative group one section of the country (half of it). That is politically untenable given the fact that the regime operates with no constitution (i.e. the argument can’t be validated credibly), with no budget (economic argument can’t be made), with no basic freedoms across the board (and makes the concept of the victim being in place of hegemony a farce to say the least). Again, there exist incontrovertible material evidence that many people from across the social divides of the nation are fully immersed in the perpetrating, financing and implementing the crime against the Eritrean people. That both from with in and with out the country, spying for the regime, torturing Eritreans in dungeons, facilitating its fund raising and festivals, serving it at ambassadorial and as straight killers murders of the innocent people. I have firm documented case of such criminals from lowland and highland which is also public information. Power struggle is understandable, but working one’s way against recorded history in the brutalization of Eritreans as a whole can’t fly.

            The second type, simply Tigrinya hegemony, is not supported by active, incessant and widespread persecution of non-Tigrinya by the former. They are both never empowered to court their future and isolated, regime initiated acts of violence is disingenuous way to implicate. There many lowlander hgdef mafia, killers and rapists should truth be told. When was the time Tigrinya enslaved non-Tgrinya in modern Eritrea? When was the last time Tigrinya held hate rally against non-Tigrinya?

            Dear Haw Bayan, the making or breaking of Eritrea is the responsibility ALL Eritreans. Minorities always deserve special attention and empowerment an care, but provocation of a gentle segment of the population who bled and died for the nation and fell victim just as everyone else crosses moral boundary.

            These cases are serious matters of castigation, the victim has no means to argue its case fairly and the accuser can’t wash its hands off the acts of involvement in the grand crimes committed by hgdef. We need to hold our horses until such time that the nation is freed.

            We shouldn’t play with fire for the sake of political power struggle. The nation’s major fault lines and tectonic plates out to be dealt with care. Failing that, it is only fair to ask for credible evidence that the Tigrinya/highlander people are at fault here, and their right to self defend (against the accusation by countering the evidence) be recognized in the interest of justice.

            To equate such social divisions to issues of whites vs blacks, with all its brutalities recorded, defies common sense.

            I hope this isn’t too strong brother Beyan, I put a high premium on the belief that Eritreans once at peace, they are best thing after bread and butter. It disheartens me when there is infighting among groups that should have forged alliance as our grand fathers/mothers did.

            Regards

          • Bayan Nagash

            Selamat Kbur Haw Haile TG,

            Unless one is wishing to willfully neglect the data that Ahmed Raji (2009) presented or perhaps you have not read it, there just is no way of absconding or shirking from this – the numbers tell an ominous story. Absent counter empirical data, it is just very hard to claim of no Tigrinya hegemony in Eritrea today. How you can square that circle brother Haile TG? Bringing lack of constitution
            as mitigating factor when the systematic exclusion of other groups was recorded as you and I and thousand other Eritreans were supporters of the regime just does not change the fact; it was done right under our respective noses, I had suspicions and I raised my suspicions then, but did not have solid data to back
            up my claim, many probably looked the other way. I don’t know how deep the extent of your support of the regime was, only you can dispense that.

            However, bringing the issue of constitution to deny existence of Tigrinya hegemony makes little sense. And having documentation of individual criminals does not negate or exonarate the claim of hegemony. After all, the power of hegemony rests in its ability to sway and wring hands, influence and peddle under duress, all these are part of its arsenal that helps it maintain the status quo.

            I must say, this was a kicker that I did not expect from you, Haile TG. Bringing moral quandary into this as though that will lend your argument a high moral ground, which is a real cheap shot that takes the conversation from the world of here and now to a different plain field, as it were, out of this world.

            I sure do not want to ensnare you on this topic as I know how tirelessly you are fighting the regime a fraction of which I cannot claim. Thusly, allow me to silence my pen here, because the last person I want to preoccupy on the topic that I know I can find other ways, perhaps even better than this space, to deal
            with what I see as compulsory endeavor which should be addressed spontaneously with the efforts to unseat the regime.

            Let me leave you with this observation Haile TG: such a hard-line response vis-a-vis denial of Tigrinya hegemony from someone whose avowal of minority rights as indispensable to Eritrea is a sure way to keep them away from joining any Tigrinya led opposition. Remember, what you consider minority, collectively will equal majority, and that’s perhaps the best path to peaceful co-existence when negotiations and dialogues on national matters are conducted from point of strength rather than begging for what’s rightly theirs, they can afford to demand it. If history is any guide where there is majority vs minority, invariably, the latter gets the short end of the sociopolitical and economic stick.

            Respectfully,
            BN

          • haileTG

            Merhaba kbur Bayan,

            Ahmed Raji’s excellent material, as I said before, is an asset to the future in setting one good example of accessing the state of affairs from across time periods and various departments of the state. It is one data that signify trend and snapshot of composition at that given time. What AR’s data doesn’t yield is causative relationships. That is to say that greater oppression was resulting in greater lack of opportunities. In that case you’ll need a similar data on how many and what demographics were applying and what was the rejection rat for each demographic applicant. In short, the numbers presented by AR are facts, but the reasons for that fact were not established per se. For example, let’s analyze the martyrs and war disabled lists, as per your conclusion, one expects to find the oppressed people to be predominantly make up the numbers. For example, in Ethiopia’s Derg were there more Oromo or Amhara died in the war in Eritrea and Tigray? If you extend your deduction from the “numbers” alone, the current crisis and tragedies also wouldn’t have been the way they are.

            Dear brother Bayan, what was the cause of fewer Muslim names in the different data component of AR’s document? In other words, how did you establish the cause? Were Muslims fired from jobs, were Muslims refused or turned down by non-Muslim decision makers? Again, how did you get at such conclusion?

            I refer to Muslims by following from what you said about the minorities combined together are majority. The bases of their combination, I assume is religion, otherwise even the non Muslim oppressed highlander would join in and what you said would lose meaning. Dear Bayan, I can understand power struggle and wanting to have greater say, I can understand the inherent disadvantages of our minority groups and holding affirmative actions to bring them to higher decision making levels. What I don’t understand is the claim that the Tigrinya highlander has been given the express powers of hegemony. The Martyrs book is a testament to the fallacy of that assertion. The Lampedusa victims are testament to the fallacy of that. The more than half a million uprooted highlanders (mostly) in little less than a decade is a testament to that fallacy. An oppressor that takes a lion’s share of the oppression meted out is unheard of. Again, to say that PFDJ hires some under duress and others as hegemony title holders can’t be remotely true. If PFDJ hires under duress, that is the end of the argument as far as all its employees are concerned. We can’t say one demographic is hired under duress and the other on purpose!

            Numbers are everything and are not everything at the same time. We can’t take AR’s numbers as an end in themselves telling the full story. For a causative relationship to be established you need to ascertain the why part of the equation. Again, you need to see oppression in a day to day life of the nation across demographics to say it exists. Surely, if such thing exist, it must be easy to prove it. Shouldn’t it be?

            This discussion is important brother Bayan, and I don’t mind to continue it (regardless of other PFDJ issue…kenerkbelom ena:) I hope you give us more solid account of how you see the hegemony operating.

            Best Regards

          • Bayan Nagash

            Selamat Kbur Haw Haile TG,

            I don’t know what happened to the response I just posted, it showed up in this space with “in few seconds” message, which usually means it would post, but it seems to have dissipated into the cyber oblivion. Let me quickly give it a go here.

            Unless one is wishing to willfully neglect the data that Ahmed Raji (2009) presented or perhaps you have not read it, there just is no way of absconding or shirking from this – the numbers tell an ominous story. Absent counter empirical data, it is just very hard to claim of no hegemony. How do you square that circle brother Haile TG? Bringing lack of constitution as mitigating factor when the systematic exclusion of other groups was recorded as you and I and thousand other Eritreans were supporters of the regime just does not change the fact; it was done right under our respective noses. I had suspicions and I raised my suspicions then, but did not have solid data to back up my claim, many probably looked the other way. I don’t know the extent of your support to the regime was, only you can dispense that.

            However, bringing the issue of constitution to deny existence of Tigrinya hegemony makes little sense. And having documentation of individual criminals from other ethnic groups does not negate the claim of hegemony nor does it exonerate it. After all, the power of hegemony rests in its ability to sway and peddle; influence under duress, all these are part of its arsenal that helps it maintain the status quo.

            And then you bring moral quandary into this as though that will lend your argument a high moral ground, which is a real cheap shot that takes the conversation from the world of here and now to a different plain field, as it were, out of this world. I sure do not want to ensnare you on this topic as I know how tirelessly you are fighting the regime a fraction of which I cannot claim. Thusly, allow me to silence my pen here, because the last person I want to preoccupy on the topic that I know I can find other ways, perhaps even more effective than this space, to deal with what I see is compulsory and an important endeavor that is best done spontaneously – i.e., efforts to remove the regime do not preclude discourse with minority groups, the two go hand in hand.

            Let me leave you with this observation Brother HTG: For someone like you who shows unflinching avowal toward minority rights yet to take such a hard-line and hard nosed position in denying the existence of Tigrinya hegemony is a confirmation for the minority Eritreans to not want to join the fight along the side anything that has Tigrinya majority in it. You just made the case for other groups to find an alternate way of opposing the regime.

            Remember Brother HTG, these minority groups collectively can become majority, and that perhaps might prove to be the best course of action, much more conducive environment as they could then negotiate and have a dialogue from a point of strength. As you know where there is a majority vs minority, the latter invariably gets the short end of sociopolitical and economic stick. And who wants to be in that predicament again.

            Respectfully,
            BN

      • Semere Andom

        Hi Brother Bayan:
        Yes, I believe so. And am I basing may believe from the past. Remeber the “terarro” put downs during the last war? There was a movie when the people of Tigray were portrayed as backward people where modernity has not reached them. So in this movie the people were ransacking a modern Eritrean house hold and they found many household items that baffled them. The men found tables, radios and TVs, the women found lips sticks and just like prof Legesse’s “screwdriver” they named the lips stick organically and called it”meteraKhesha.” The Eritrean actors did wonderful job with the accents albeit the putdowns.
        In the diaspora, thee movie was played in their restaurants and they loved it, men more so, women no so much. So I believe that if a joke was told in their accent in their home land by an Eritrea and and was devoid of putdowns I think they will love it. The Woyane also had couple of putdown movies, but I believe they did not do good job. The Eritreans, I should say PFDJ, masters of putdowns, portrayed TPLF and the its people as backward, who believed in witch crafts to win instead of sound military science

        • haileTG

          Dear Sem,

          Saying things “About” other identities and way of life is a red line, not so with accents. Considering the complexity of developing a stand up comedy material for thousands, such area is fair game so long as the topic is accents you are judging that. Does it make sense? 🙂

          • Saleh Johar

            HaileTG,
            I think it is okay and humanizing to joke bout ourselves. I have no problem with that. But I do not think the joke you shared is about the lowland Tigrinya accent, it sounded like a Saho Tigribya accent to me, closer but not exactly.

          • haileTG

            Thanks SGJ, he said Barka and must have got it wrong. Going to prove that it was more a technical decision in the skit developing stage.

  • haileTG

    Ted

    “If Ethiopia’s TPLF were not involved to skew the balance of power btn Eritrean groups, both groups would had reached an agreement that would been the seed of democracy and tolerance that we desperately need now.”

    How do you know that? What if it had gone the opposite way devolving to an extreme sectarian violence and the abandonment of the struggle for independence?

    • Ted

      Hi HTG,
      Because composition of each groups during the civil war doesn’t prove it is sectarian conflict even some here want us to believe so. It is a lot more like the current justice movement and PFDJ except Justice seekers have no guns. What would you do if you have a gun and power as a justice seeker, would you go for war or solve the problem with compromise? Eritreans want you to compromise not go to TPLF for help as some of justice seekers doing..

      • haileTG

        held up in disques!

  • Peace!

    Dear All,

    Happy Awate Day!

    I think this may also be helpful to awate readers!

    http://youtu.be/8DXIOb95RTg

    Regards

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Peace,
      this is very helpful for every alive person who want to see peace and prosperous society. I am not sure if PFDJistas watch this type of interviews. actually his principle is simple to understand all it needs is peaceful mind.

      • Peace!

        Dear KS,

        Thank you! I am just trying to help others create agility in their life; It is shocking to see some people are too confused to even know what they are doing.

        Regards

    • AOsman

      Dear Peace,

      That was great, thanks for the link. It is a must listen for both Eritreans and Ethiopians.

      Regards
      AOsman

      • Peace!

        Ahllen AOsman,

        It is my pleasure. Yes, you are absolutely right it is a must listen interview that shades a light on what ignited Ghedli: eloquent answer for eloquent question.

        Weselam,

  • Saleh Johar

    Ted,
    Please stay away from “majoritarian” thinking, Ethnic alliance to create a ruling majority certainly leads to fascism 🙂

    • Ted

      Hi SJ, Even we try ‘Ethinic alliance”, it doesn’t work when we have spoilers like Semere Andom. They are a blessing in disguise standing in a way of both good and bad. That is why we call them our indispensable bad friends:-)
      HTG want me to disregard what i believe to know and learned in this University about the Eritrean “Civil war” if you want to call it as that. Was EPLF/ELF conflict sectarian in nature from its beginning to the end. I would appreciate Amanuel Hidrate and Kokeb’s view too in this.

  • Admas

    It takes a courage to call a spade a spade, and the relatively much successful TPLF has began a “circular journey”..The mother of all ethnic politics is now admitting the trap it has got itself in to…please listen to the courageous PM of Ethiopia and learn a thing or two…it is never too late to admit mistakes….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwRot35a3Zo

  • Kokhob Selam

    ክቡራት እንዳ ዓዋተ

    ሕጉስ ተኻፋልይ ናይ ‘ዚ ልዳት ብረታዊ ቃልሲ እየ :: ኣብ ልዕሊ ጀማሪ ብረታዊ ቃልሲ ኢልና ኩልና እንሕበነሉ ጀግና ሓመድ ኢድሪስ ዓዋተ ‘ውን ልዑል ኣኽቡርት ኣለኒ :: ብርግጽ ግን ሕሉፍ – ተሞክሮን ምህሮን ዝህብን ንወለዶ ዘሰጋግርን እንትኾይኑ :- ጉድለታት ኣወዳድኣ ናጽነት ሃገረ ኤርትራን – ዛንታ ጉዕዞ ሰውራን ጥራይ ዘይኮነስ ኣፈላልማን መባእታዊ ኣሰጓግማን ዓቢ ጉድለታት ከምዝነበሮ ምዝካሩ ጠቃሚ ድኣ ምበር ጎዳኢ ኣይኮነን :: ብርግጽ ቅድሚ ምጅማር ብረታዊ ተጋድሎ ዝተሓልፈ ሰላማዊ ተጋድሎ ‘ውን ነይሩ እዩ – ብሓቂ ኸኣ እዚ ተሞክሮ ድሕሪ ምሕላፉ ኣብ ምጅማር ብረታዊ ተጋድሎ ዝተገብረ ገምጋም ነይሩ ዝብል ታሪኽ ብንጹር ኣይትርኢን ኢኻ :: ስለ ዝኾነ ‘ ውን ንቃልሲ ብዝተጸንዐ ኣገባብ ኣይጀመርናዮን :: እቲ ቆራጽነት እምበኣር ብክለሳሓሳብ ዝተኾስኮስ ነይሩ ኢልና ክንጀሃር ኣይንኽእልን ኢና : እዚ ተገይሩ እንተዝነብር ሰውራ ኤርትራ ዝሓለፎ ሓጎጽጎጽ ምጎደለ ነይሩ ዝብል ግምት እዩ ዘለኒ :: ንኣብነት ተሪር ጸጥታዊ ስርርዕ እንተዝነብር ሃይለስላሴ ዝለኣኾም ሃሱሳት ገና ኣብ ምብጋሶም ምስ ሓረሩ ነይሮም : ብኣንጻሩ ነቲ ሰውራ ዝጀመሩ ኣዝዮም ብቀሊሉ ክሰሓቡ ዝኽእሉ ለዋሃትን እዮም ነይሮም : ልውሃት ‘ውን ኣብ ዕሽነት ተቀይሩ በዚኦም ሃሱሳት እናተጠውዩ ዘጥፍእዎ ብዙሕ እዩ ::

    ህጻን ቅድሚ ምውላድካ ከተዳልወሉ ዘለካ ነገራት ኣለው እዮም : ምናልባት ከይተዳለኻ እንተተወሊዱ ግን ክዓቢ የብሉን ኣይትብልን ኢኻ : ኣንስቲ ዕልል ኢለን ከኣ እየን ብታሕጓስ ዝቅበለኦ :: ሓደ ሕደ ግዜ ህጻን ቅድሚ ትሽዓተ ወርሒ ይውለድ እዩ : እንኳዕ ኣይበርዓነ ኢልካ ድማ ኢኻ ብታሕጓስ ትቅበሎ : ድሕሪ ምውላዱ ግን ዝለዓለ ክንክን የድልዮ እዩ :: ኣጀማምራን ኣጨራርሳን ሰውራ ኤርትራ ብኸምዚ እየ ኣነ ዝገልጾ :ካብ ‘ዚ ተሞክሮ እዚ ኢና ኸኣ ኣጀማምራ ሓርነታዊ ገድሊ ከንስተህለሉ ዝነበረና : ጥራይ መመዓሩ እንዳዘከርካ ኣዕረኡ ሓቢእካ ምኻድ ደጊም ኣይጠቅመናን እዩ : ብታሪኽና ምሕባን በይኑ እኹል ኣይኮነን – ማዕረ ማዕሪኡ ነዚ ገባቲ ስርዓት ዝፈጠሩ ሮቛሒታት ቀሊዕና ዳግማይ ከይፍጠሩ ቆራጽ መርገጽ ክንወስድ ኣለና :: ስረሓት ቅድመ ምድላዋት የድልዮም እዮም : ዲሞክራስያዊት ሃገር ክትህልወና እንተኾይና ከም ‘ቲ ሓደ ህንጻ ፕላንን መራሃ ግብርን ዘድልዮ መሪሕ ግደ ዝጻወት ብኹሉ ሸነኻቱ ክምዝመዝን ክስረቕን ዘይክእል ኮይኑ ክዳሎ ይግባእ ::

    ብዙሕ እኳ ምበልኩ የግዳስ ስምዒት ብዙሓት ንዘይምትንካፍን ካብ ጌጋ ተረድኦ ንምድሓንን ኣብ ዚ ክጎጺ ::

  • Admas

    With all due respect to the sentimental value “independence” has to some fanatics, I just think it is a bit insensitive to celebrate a man who ignited the fire that is todate consuming Eritrean lives…What has “independence” proved so far other than the fact that you rightly or wrongly hated Ethiopians?…I think one would at least wait until the fruit of independence is ripe, but even then I doubt if any amount of “fruit” would much the precious lives lost just to preserve a colonial name…happy anniversary anyway!

    • Admas

      sorry mod, my bad..

      ዉድ ሊቀመንበር ሳላ ጋዲ፣ ምክትል ሊቀመንበር ሳላ ዮኒስ፣ ዉድ ታዳሚዎች፣ ይህቺን የእንክዋን አደረሳችሁ አጭር ምለክት ከማስተላለፈ በፊት ረጂም ሰላምታየን ትቀበሉ ዘንድ በትህትና እጠይቃለሁ..…

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Happy Bahti Meskerem
    The day of ghedli, ghedli for fetHi. I agree that this is the day we redouble our resolve for justice. Awate, as the article reminds us, is a symbol of rebellion against injustice, he is a symbol of ghedli (fight or struggle), the essence he represent lives on as long as human race exists. It is the essence of standing up against injustice and subjugation. It was a character dispensed against forces of annexation and occupation, it’s a character in display against home-made injustice, and it will manifest itself in the future the need dictates.
    Happy Double baHti meskerem.

  • belay

    Dear all,
    All Eritreans,
    Happy independence day.
    Hope fully, next year , I will say to you all, happy independence and happy freedom day.
    Thank you Awate. Com for your service and tolerance with us all.
    That is what I call a freedom fighter.you proved it.
    A freedom fighter, never denies freedom of speech to others.That is you.
    I respect you.

    • Kim Hanna

      Selam belay,
      .
      I appreciate the thrust of your post. If I knew how to do it I would have up voted you.
      .
      In my case, I feel like an Eritrean student at Haile Selassie I University of the 60s. Now I know how some of them felt and I am glad there is no pledge of allegiance to attend this university.
      .
      I am an Awatista for the educational aspect only, however, when the university celebrates its anniversary, I offer the common curtsey Congratulations.
      .
      K.H

      • Saleh Johar

        Hi Kim Hanna,
        Thank you, Thank you. And thank you. Courtesy is the secret word.

      • belay

        Dear Kim Hanna,
        Thank you, can I take this opportunity to say, you are one of my best teachers, here, in the university of Awate.
        I Wish you a very happy new year.

  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatista,

    Rhusn Q’dusn bea’le tarikna ygbero.

    Thank you AT for the re-post of the rare history of the fighter Awate. September 1 is celebrated in connection to the armed struggle, May 24 in connection its outcome (independence) and June 20 in connection to its costs and what was paid ultimately in lives and limbs. Each of these dates need to reflect the contribution of ALL Eritreans in all aspects of it. For example, the commemoration of Sep.1 is usually associated exclusively with the date of the start of the struggle and that is then reduced to one of Eriatrea’s hero Awate. That is commonly done. But if the day is that of armed struggle day, then the sotory of the armed struggle would have been best narrated by something that aims to put Ghedli at the center and all its positive attributes, its challenges and how all Eritreans contributed to it. (OK Nitricc face other way) even the contribution of organizations like TPLF had a role to be celebrated (critiqued by some)in the armed struggle.

    Just in a spirit of the ongoing season 🙂 why does a history of the armed struggle that was disproportionately fielded by highland sections of our society in the thickest of its battles has nothing to say about that? September 1 is the only calendar date that celebrates the armed struggle as a whole and reducing it to one iconic figure (without meaning to take anything away from the great Awate) and the activities surround him alone may leave a lot alone.

    So, let’s make Sep 1 a Ghedli day and celebrate all about ghedli and of course also the great feats of the heros mentioned above.

    Happy Ghedli Day 🙂

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dUV6SdudNk

    • Semere Andom

      Hi HTG:
      I join you too on wishing “rhus ghedlawi ldet”
      I have this feeling that the comments will descend to Ghedli and language discussions.
      PFDJ issued statement, giving the credit to EPLF for setting Ghedli in the right direction according to http://www.shabait.com.
      I think the reason that this article is centered on one man is because it was written 15 years ago to shed light on the life of the Awate, the human being. But here is the thing, PFDJ wants to erase real heroes and create phantom heroes. In Feb TPLF celebrated its 40 years of founding and it paid tribute to all its founders. It was impressive.
      The path PFDJ is following to erase history is dangerous to the nation, making it orphaned country only with abusive foster parents, the PFDJ. I like this article because it demystifies the falsehoods told about him that he was common, camel herding, milk drinking, Kunama hating bandit. The man was educated, an elite on his own right and during his own time. He know what he was doing.
      As you can see from the list of names, the cradle of the armed struggle was the lowlands and now it has become its grave yard. Without dichotomizing it between lowland highland, movements start somewhere, by some people, that is they do not have to be inclusive from the start.Take for an example USA as Sal always reminded Serray that it started with white protestant men. But the point is it did not remain a cloistered pastor-hood of those protestant. Ghedli is the same, it started in the lowlands with Muslims, but it did not become the cloistered “sheik-hood” as EPLF and PFDJ try to frame it before they came to “right” it
      I know this is not a rebut to your comment, I m just being mean to you, Sal will not be surprises as he know tht I am devout cousin and good human being but terrible Eritrean 😉

      • haileTG

        ኣንታ ሰሜ፡ እንታይ’ከ ገዲፍካላ እዛ ናተይ መደረ፡ ስልዕልዕ አምበር ኣቢልካያ….

        I didn’t get it when you say “cradle of the armed struggle was the lowlands and now it has become its grave yard.” ኣስፍሕ ኣቢልካ’ስኪ ግለጸለይ። Secondly, what are we or should be celebrating in Sept 1?

        a/ Ghedli – and call it Ghedli Day

        b/ Awate – and call it Awate day

        c/ Bahti – and call it Bahti Meskerem (haha..sorry Mahmuday)

        d/ Bretawi Qalsi – and call it as a above or call it amed struggle day

        e/ September – and say Happy September like haw Fanti put it

        So, no poletikawi ትንታነ፡ what is september one exactly in an inclusively reflective and joyous description that will bring smile to every Eritrean’s manner of description? 🙂

        • Saleh Johar

          HaileTG,
          As far as I remember the day was known as Eid ‘assewra, Revolution day. It became Awate day when a concerted efforts began to undo the Sewra legacy, and Eritrea, by beginning to demolish the founder of The armed struggle. If you remember three years ago the attack was so serious it split the opposition and since then the ENCDC has never recovered. I believe the target was not Awate but to undermine the very idea of Eritrea. I think it is revolution day but when under attack, tactics change to show solidarity. It’s a long story and may be boring so I will stop here.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Ahlen Saleh,

            While your description about September one is correct “Eid Alsewra” I passed your explanation or your “hateta” by saying “gushtetey. I always find problematic explanation in your comment. Big problem on your view and explantions on the reasons of ENCDC malaise. Let the clouds over ENCDC settled and we will come to debate on it. Your sources are one sided hence your report.

            regards,
            Amanuel Hidrat

        • Abi

          Haile
          Do you think the same questions would be asked by all eritreans in eritrea under slavery, in the 360 prisons, in the refugee camps, in the deserts, in the seas?
          Or is this question diaspora specific? What are you celebrating? Your achievements thus far? Or the possible achievements in the future?
          This day should be reserved for reality check if not a day to forget.
          As a human being I don’t see any reason to celebrate September 1st. Sorry.

        • saay7

          Hailat:

          Well done. You know my cousin iSem loves his prose and he is very good at it. One of the least appreciated qualities of Cousin iSem is he knows his prose. And in prose, the beauty of the construction is more important than whether it is true or not. On the “cradle of the armed struggles was the lowlands and now it has become its graveyard”: that is straight from parallel construction. All hail iSem.

          Now, on to your list. Here’s more to add to your stew: ኣካዊስኩም ቅመማ ቅመም ጌርኩም ንሓፋሽ ኣንግድዎ:

          1. Have you seen those very, very humble African-American homes in the Deep South that have framed pictures of Robert Kennedy? There are very, very, very humble homes–including in refugee camps–that have framed pictures of Hamed Idris Awate. Nobody would dare go to the Deep South and tell them Robert Kennedy was a philanderer, but we have people–including an opposition organization leader–telling those people with their humble homes, that their hero is an ordinary bandit.

          2. Add “Fat’H mn Sebtember (NOT september) to your list of names for BaHti Meskerem because that’s what lowlanders call it.

          3. Both the Eritrean Lowland League and the Majlis Ibrahim Mukhtar complain that their history is hijacked by the EPLF/PFDJ: their heroes ridiculed, their villains elevated.

          4. Socialism that EPLF and ELF cadres taught de-emphasized individualism and celebrating individuals. That gave us a land whose capital city has one statue: Pushkin.

          5. The statue to Dogali does not celebrate how Eritrean-Ethiopians defeated Italians. It is a statue paid by Italians, built by indentured servitude of National Service. This has nothing to do with Hamid Idris Awate but how symbolism means nothing to PFDJ: the mighty dollar does.

          6. I don’t know why we blew up the statue of Haile Selasse in Massawa. I wish they hadn’t: it would have been great tourist attraction. How people with a vision work on their vision (Haile Selasse worked for 30 years to make Massawa an Ethiopian port; it took Eritreans 30 years to take it back.) I don’t know why we are always re-booting: why we are always starting from scratch. Why can’t we just leave our history alone. Haile Selasse in Massawa is part of our history, and yes, Pushkin in Asmara is now part of our history. Stop blowing things up. Our dldiy afrash is also part of our history, but it needs to remain just that: history.

          saay

  • Haile WM

    Hi there Awate people,

    can anyone give the stories of each of these legendary people? of all the people listed in the article i only had some news of abutyara who was living near teseney. I would love to see a book or chronicle of these brave men as they should be though a school and every eritrean should learn their deeds.

    on other note PFDJG mouth website is mute since august 28th… not even a mention about 1 September

  • Music Novice

    Greetings awate.com,

    It would have been wise to allow all kinds of opinions, even those antagonistic ones, to be expressed in this forum. This would have been a test of tolerance and would have made this website an arena for a dress rehearsal of a future diverse and democratic Eritrea.

    But, I have serious doubts if a diverse and democratic Eritrea is possible.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Music Novice,
      Do you mean to say different opinions are not expressed at this forum?

      • Music Novice

        Greetings SGJ,

        Different opinions are expressed to some degree. How about extending that to the full spectrum? Allowing even the irritating ones, rather than deleting or banning them? A taste/test of diversity and democracy?

        • Saleh Johar

          MN,
          That is exactly how the forum operates. No visas, no question of nationality, citizenship or creed. However, there is no pint in having this forum if people who come to irritate, to disrupt and to disrespect others are allowed. I haven’t seen anyone banned except for violating the guidelines. I don’t think you are suggesting allowing such disrupters with no limits to their disruption and violation!

          • Music Novice

            Greetings SGJ,

            Ultimately, of course, it is the people who run a website who will decide the governing rules.

            Personally, I think posts of personal attacks and incitements should be banned as they lack subject matter content. However, I firmly believe that opening every topic for discussion, having no taboo subject, will increase the practice of diversity and democracy.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Music Novice,

            Do you have any Maverick idea that are on hold from sharing it with us? Or do you know some people with maverick ideas who couldn’t a get a forum to share with? Maverick idea from maverick people….I am really interested to know them.

            Regards,
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Amanuel H.,

            The question is: do you support opening every topic for discussion, and having no taboo subject?

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba MN,

            Unless we are driven by issue of priority, I don’t think there are a taboo subject we are afraid to deal with. Non at all. But if the subject topic are brought just for purposes of drugging us from fighting the current issue, I am the first person to lament to the moderator. And I did it several time. Otherwise there is no such taboo subject in Eritrean politics, at least on my side and I believe on the side At too.

            regards,
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Amanuel H

            You said: “But if the subject topic are brought just for purposes of drugging us from fighting the current issue …”

            and “there is no such taboo subject in Eritrean politics, at least on my side and I believe on the side AT too.”

            Meaning: there is no taboo subject but the one taboo subject you declare to be a taboo at a given moment.

            Is our current discussion about taboo subjects also a taboo subject?

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam MN,

            First thank you for the corrections, I expect people to make such errors when they try to comment in between their work using I-phones.

            So in other words, by implication, you are saying that, there are no issues of priority in the current Eritrean political and social problems. Am I right MN?

            If you think the current predicament of Eritrean people is not a matter of priority that we have to deal with, then you are either from the PFDJ lots or Non-Eritrean who doesn’t care about the Eritrean people. Setting priority in your struggle is not declaring your subjective taboo you chose to fight for.

            regards,
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Amanuel H.,

            “Corrections”? My typos are worse!

            There are priorities, but subjectivity creeps in when deciding as to their root causes and their possible solutions.

            You said:
            “If you think … then you are either from the PFDJ lots or Non-Eritrean who doesn’t care about the Eritrean people.”

            You go straight to speculative Ad Hominem. You see, you sound very similar to uncle Isaias. When people disagree with him, he would say they are “Woyane”, or “Non-Eritrean” or “CIA” or “where were you during Ghedli”.

            That is why I do not think diversity and the multi-party democracy model will not work in Eritrea.

    • Peace!

      Dear MN,

      እነሆ ሜዳ እነሆ ፈረስ: This is an open forum. If you know something you would like to share, you are more than welcome as long as you stick to the posting guidelines.

      Regards

  • sara

    Dear all
    on this faithful day the tough walk for independence started, and on this occasion in memory of those who have fallen hero’s i dedicate my day off to do a social service in our locality to help/work for those
    in need.
    Good Day T o you all-

  • Elias Lemlem

    Hi Awate Team,
    But let us be honest. The names of the founder of ELF tells all the cause of the armed struggle.
    1. Idris Mohammed Adem (the president of the Eritrean Parliament)
    2. Idris Osman Galaydos (a graduate of law school in Cairo University)
    3. Mohammed Saleh Hummed (a graduate of law school in Cairo Uni.)
    4. Said Hussian (a student of Al-Az’har University in Cairo)
    5. Adem Mohammed Akte (a graduate from University of Cairo)
    6. Taha Mohammed Noor (a graduate from Italy)

    The armed struggle started and sustained due to the confluence of the interest of the lowlander to create Islamic state and the interest of Egypt to weaken Ethiopia which is the source of the blue Nile. The cause of the lowlander was justifiable as the Kingdom of haileslassie and the orthodox church were inseparable. But the highland who joined the struggle later on didn’t have a clue what they were doing and are now trying to fabricate an identity out of Geli. To justify their Geli, as YG described, they are fleeing away their real identity and culture.

  • Dayphi

    Rejoice Awatewian,
    The Father of our Sawra, Martyr Hamid Idris Awate, and his pioneer companions and comrades in the path of liberty and freedom are the stars who will keep shining and beaming their lights upon us, from whom we shall continue receiving inspirations to keep on the struggle until Eritreans, all Eritreans, are emancipated from the bondage and captivity of Esayas and his demonic party.
    May Allah Almighty bless the soul of Hamid Awate, the ignitor of the first sparkle of our revolution, the souls of his comrades,and the souls of all who paid the ultimate price for our freedom and the liberation of this Sacred Land. May their souls rest in peace among those upon whom God has bestowed His blessings: the prophets, and those who never deviated from the truth, and those who [ with their lives ] bore wittness to the truth, and the righteous ones; and how goodly a company are these!- 4:69

  • stewie

    Men, reading this makes me so happy and proud to be an Ethiopian, I came from long line of black lions, proud black people who were never colonized or kneeled to a white master. My heroes are not a bunch of uncle tom’s and askaris. But true African hero’s like Menelik…..I feel sorry for eritreans.

    • Haqi

      Didn’t menelik say he was Caucasian? Lol. Didn’t he have ethiopian slaves and sold them to Arabs? I could go on on for days but what’s the point. Awate is a hero who ignited the struggle that buried the 3000 history backward racist fuedal war lords

      • guest

        At least minilik didn’t sell kidney…