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Thanksgiving Edition: A Ruby Celebrates Sweet Fifteen

The life of an Eritrean in 2015 was riveted by the COIE report, the unprecedented Geneva demonstration against the tyrant, the death of hundreds of Eritreans in the Mediterranean Sea and Europeans Union’s flirtation with the idea of injecting capital into the tills of Eritrea’s dictator to stop the influx of refugee to its shores. But one event that was not reported—a milestone in the Eritrean life that was quietly celebrated–was that a beloved Eritrean has turned 15, Sweet 15.

If she was born in Eritrea, where the infant mortality rate is almost ten times higher than in the USA, she would have died. Or she would have been killed while crossing the border. And if she managed to cheat both; she would be preparing to leave to Sawa to be enslaved, her most precious and productive years to be squandered and to be raped. Fortunately she dodged the high child mortality and PFDJ’s shoot to kill border policy. She is an Eritrean American, she will also avoid Sawa.

When a temporal gloom and doom reigned an angel appeared to the father and revealed to him: “You shall depart to the West, and you shall have a daughter and you shall name her after a man. She will enrich lives of many and decimate the lives of others.”

She was not a product of the union of a woman and a man. Yet she was a product of love, not of an infatuation, not of a passing interest, not of a crush, and not of a transient affair; but an intense love that prevailed in the face of threats and insults hurled at her from those whose lives were to be decimated. She was not conceived in the womb but she endlessly and deferentially talked about womb.

Though she was the child of one man for the last 15 years, she was nurtured by two men whom she addresses by their first names. At times no one responds to her as both “daddies”, with sheer coincidence share the same name. She cannot call her mother; she does not have one, but she knows she is not an orphan.

When she was born she did not cry; she spoke with eloquence and purpose. Many were shocked, some eyes welled in jubilation and others wailed in grief and trepidation when it dawned to all of them the impact that this child would have in their lives. The prophecy had it that she would enrich some lives and would decimate others. She was aptly named; her namesake did exactly that: he enriched the lives of many and decimated the lives of others.

Those who thought their witchcrafts solved the riddle of a daughter born only into a man and named after a man, claimed they are the rightful parent of that daughter, but in their haste they named her after the month the man decimated lives, which coincides with the month this ruby was born. She mimics the prophetic signs of the true daughter and bears the name of a crucial month. But she is the false one. The devil thought he too solved the riddle of the prophecy, and he ordered the murder of every child who was born in the same month as this beloved child. To cover his bases the devil ordered the murder and arrest of everyone who talked about that daughter and the man she would be named after.

Now she is fifteen. For many it is a dangerous age, it is a time when the important hormones needed to induce growth flow abundantly in the blood, these hormones can also dabble as “drugs”, contributing to unpredictable behavior. The chest gets bigger, the head gets swollen, and the mind absorbs everything indiscriminately. One leg will be stuck in adolescence and the other will cross the chasm to adulthood. The risk of being trapped in the chasm between is also high. But this birthday girl was born with a wider chest, both legs have already made it beyond the treacherous chasm where many remain trapped. The hormones seem to have a calming effect. Age-wise she is an adolescent, mind-wise she is a consummate advocate for enriching and decimating lives, true to the prophecy. How can she be any different? She is a child of love, a child of the brain, the child of a revelation and that is why she was at liberty and ease to talk about a womb she never was conceived in, with utter authority.

Ecclesiastics, who pleaded with man to serve God during his vigor and youthful years would be delighted with her as this ruby started serving God in faith and offering sacrifices the moment she was born and never flinching, never surrendering.

When I was growing up I was not fond of the names like Alganesh, Belainesh, and ManTegbosh. I also hated those Eritrean names which conveyed in-law rivalry such as Russom, Ablellom and Kebedom , and Yehferom, and Hayelom, and the terror summoning Ashebir. But I fell in love with names such as Mihret, Hidaat and Trihas when I learned that the exotic names like Helen, Rutha, and Aster and Rebecca were foreign. Later in life I was also smitten by names like Sennet, Affiet and Arhet, Rummanna and Meymunna. When I was a teenager I also read a Tigrinya book by the tittle, Hidaat, written by an EPLF fighter. It was a story of a “tegadalit” who was captured by the Dergi soldiers in a battle. She showed extraordinary bravery in the face of her ruthless captors. So I came to love the name, the connotation of Hidaat.

Like any loved one, this beloved Eritrean is not a flawless child. In the first few months of her birth she contemplated of “de-Hidaatizing” Eritrea. What Eritrea needed was to be “Hidaatized”, I believed, reminiscing about both the character I read in the book, and the fine girls of my childhood named “Hidaat”. And here I was hearing the need of “de-Hidaatizing” Eritrea. I was furious.

But then I came to understand that the child of the prophecy was talking about a contemporary “Hidaat” and not the one I was fond of, not the one our mothers endearingly referred to as “Mehdeet”. She was trying to save Eritrea from the one that canonized the devil, praised the shoes (Shidda) the devil used to wear to mix and mingle with the unsuspecting people whose lives were about to be enriched to avert his prophesised decimation.

If she did not die as a child or got killed when crossing the border, she would most likely be in one of the PFDJ prisons just like her peers, Settit, Tsigenay, Meqalih and Qeste Debenna.

She was not conceived in the womb, but she longed and talked authoritatively about the “Fertile Womb” that the man she was named after was born from.

Happy belated birthday, beloved ruby! Without information it’s darkness, and the pitch-darkness where the devil does his damage would engulf us. Although nothing can be accomplished if we always waited for inspiration to descend like manna, nothing that transcends our mortal lives can be accomplished without it. Fear is debilitating and it is an emboldened human being who triumphs over hardship. Reconciliation glues all the three together, to heal, to alleviate during our wandering in search of real pastures, beyond the elusive mirage that we pursue when justice deserts, chased away by us and from us. May we all live an Informed, an Inspired, an Emboldened and a Reconciled life!

The late Sudanese singer, Mohammed Wardi sang the ageless song, “Sebertta” that went like this:

Dreaming I waited long with patience
I tell myself tomorrow will be paradise
From afar how I waited
While with my heart I begged
You made my heart thirsty
As you become more beautiful everyday
Say something to me
And forgive me
It is official you are a grown up now
You have just turned nineteen
The age of roses, age of hope and age of romance and love
I dream of the day when our love brings us together

And just like the singer, Eritreans are waiting patiently, dreaming that tomorrow will be paradise, and that their love to one another will one day bring them together.
The age of hope, romance, and love maybe nineteen according to Wardi but the age of Information, Inspiration, Emboldening and Reconciliation should be every day. It is the right of a human being, a citizen to be informed, his destiny to be inspired, and his obligation to be emboldened and to seek unfettered reconciliation.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

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  • T..T.

    Hi Ali,

    I read the linked item and could not link the message. Noted a lot of confusions and unable to link the message intended as a response. Can you elaborate?

    Unless you intended ALL-I and not Ali, when answering to: Are you with the people or against the people? Yes, GoodKa YiwTza.

    And, unless you don’t stand for truth, a truth that is not misrepresented and falsified, you should sign ALL-I (ALL Inclusive) to indicate a politics of lying, distortion and a culture of deceit as one of the Isayasists. That will help to hide the real face. Otherwise, if wanted to write clearly and to unmask the face without departure from the real ideology you can claim a real name and not ALL-I (representing ALL Inclusive lies) or HOPE (to depress hope). Again, GoodKa YiwTza.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Hi Hailat, and awate friends,

    let us shine this article and let us read your poems. and here is the first and simple one prepared within 10 minutes.

    ኣቶም ደቀይ – ገባትነት እባ እከይ :-
    ንዋንኡ ኣዐሻዋይ – ኣብ ሕሊሚ ኣንባራይ :-

    ካን በቃ ኮይንዎ – ሓቂ ተሓቢእዎ :-
    ስልጣን ኣጸሊልዎ – ኣዒንቱ ጋሪድዎ::

    ንሰቲት ጽጌናይ – ኣሲሩ በቲኑ :-
    ጽሓፋይ ደራሳይ – ኣብ ጸልማት ሸፊኑ:-
    መሲልዎ ደቃሳይ – ዝነብር ቀሲኑ :-
    ንድሑር ተበላጻይ – ሓቂፉ ኣሚኑ ::
    ……..ቁሊሕ እንተበለስ – እንተተዓዘበስ :-
    ……..ዓዋተ ይግስግስ – ሸርሒ ሓሶት ይበጣጥስ ::

    ሻቡ :-
    ወያናይ እንተብለካ – ጅሃድ ዶ ወገናዊ :-
    አማሪካ እንተበልካ – ቀጣፊ ሓሳዊ:-
    ኣበይ ኢሉ ከርክብ – ኮይንዎ ሰማያዊ :-
    “ንፋስ እዩ” ኢሉ ከዕግብ – ጀመረ ከእዊ ::

    ዓዋተ ንንቅሓት – ዓዋተ ንምህሮ :-
    ዓዋተ ንትብዓት- – ዓዋተ ነእምሮ :-
    ኣዋተ ንጽንዓት – ዓዋተ ንተሞክሮ :-
    ዓዋተ ንሓርነት – ዓዋተ ንኣኽብሮ ::

  • Ali

    Are you kidding us killing your brother by another Eritrean is love. please re-think again or insulting for those who are in prison not by invader but “Brother Eritrean” who is selling our brothers and sisters to bod wins who is trafficking our beloved brothers and sister—————————– in Eritrea no brotherhood until HIGDEF comes to justices. An Eritrean is my brother if and only if he believes in justices otherwise we Eritreans are one ——–remains in the lip. One if we believe in justice, one if we stand for truth, one if we are genuine but this time we are not one we are so diverse until the dictator is in power by force and off cours until there are few Eritreans who support the dictator.

  • tes

    Happy Birthday Awate.com


    “Inform, Inspire, Embolden and Reconcile


  • T..T.

    Hi all,

    It is also a re-birth day of Nitricc the great.

    For Nitricc, it is a day he declared that a blind support for a dictator can be equated to stagnation, which is frustrating to a politically conscious person. To Nitricc, Isayas-Land’s stability through starvation and denying the people their rights to free expression was related to the Eritrean people’s dedication to nation building at any cost.

    At long last, Nitricc turned a new page to read that stability comes in many forms. But for sure, the Isayas-Land stability is the worst hated one because it failed to provide political stability that is crucial for economic development and growth. Indeed, Isayas-Land stability can be classified as slow death process to the nation because it killed all signs of life in Eritrea.

    For evidence, please read by clicking the link: http://www.lse.ac.uk/IDEAS/publications/reports/pdf/SU004/shepherd.pdf


  • Fnote Selam

    Happy Birthday Awate.com!

    saay7, Amde, Semere Andom, Mahmud Saleh, SGJ or anyone else, I am no expert in this matter, but care to comment what this (link) means to identity politics in the horn in general and Eri-Ethio in particular…?




    • Dear Fnote Selam,

      could it be that ethio-eritrean problems may lie in their genetic makeup, (80% african, 20% euroasian or Caucasian and 0.5% neanderthal), while europeans and asians have about 95% of their genes euroasian and about 5% neanderthal, and finally africans (west and south) 95% african, 5% euroasian and 0.5% neanderthal? just kidding.

      the out-of-africa (more than 60,000 years ago) and the back-to-africa (about 3000 years ago) theory of the movement of human beings and their genes, show that africa was where human beings came to exist for the first time. in other words, africa was the eden, where the first two human beings, adam and eve lived. (if you believe in the book).

      some two years ago, genetic study of samples taken from ethiopians from different regions all over the country, had shown that there was a transfer of genes to ethiopia from the regions of today’s israel and syria, some 3000 yrs ago. in addition, they had said that the story of the queen of sheba and the coming with her to ethiopia of people from that region might have not been a myth after all.

      now, compare this to the discussion we had on awate.com sometime ago about the genetic make up of ethiopians and eritreans. there were some people who had the audacity to say that ethiopians and eritreans, who have lived together for millenia, had no genetic relationship whatsoever. we can deny our history and everything else, but not our genes. they are the indelible markers of who we really are.

      • Fnote Selam

        Hi Horizon,

        Thanks for your reply. I agree with you and channeling AOsma a bit, given the genetic link, I would actually say lets expand that brotherly feeling beyond Eris-Ethios to others in our neighbors like Sudan and even those across the pond (may be start with resisting that discernible hatred against them…..).


      • Mahmud Saleh

        Selam Horizon

        I have a reasonable guess as to what you intend to send off with the following:
        “there were some people who had the audacity to say that ethiopians and eritreans, who have lived together for millenia, had no genetic relationship whatsoever.” you added, “we can deny our history and everything else, but not our genes. they are the indelible markers of who we really are.”

        – Can you locate that please, and tell us who said that and in what context it was said. ምናባታቸ፡ ዋያናይ እርምጃ (not ኣብዮታዊ) ልወሰደባቸው ናቸው።
        HINT: I have a bad feeling you are not going to provide that, though.
        Race is not the primary factor for peoples to be condemned in a political arrangement they are not willing to be part of. Humanity shares common genes, and even more so for peoples who live next to each other. Countries in the Middle East, Europe Africa…Asia are all populated by peoples whose blood run across borders. So, I want to know who said this. It’s public and no reason to worry about sharing it.
        Focus Point: Gene. because you put it that way instead of putting it the usual way of “They deny their Habesha roots…” Good luck.

        • Dear Mahmud Saleh,

          bingo, you found out; i do not have the time for such things. you can look up yourself, by going to the time such a topic was discussed on awate.com, or call it a lie to satisfy yourself. i can assure you one thing though, that you did not say it. otherwise, it was even said that adjacent villages had no such relationship.

          indeed, race and genes are not everything. two brothers and sisters could be more deadly enemies than two ordinary friends. if you think that i am using the genetic factor to undermine or annul eritrean independence, be assured that PEACE had always been the only thing that matters to me. i hate to see tens of thousands of young ethiopians and eritreans dying over the last half century for one or other whimsical dreams some elites might have here and there. my friend, eritrean independence is not a problem to ethiopia, but only that it has not brought peace, which all of us expected. if eritrean independence is going to survive and thrive or not, depends on eritreans and not ethiopians, and much morem not on what i may or may not say. in addition, sometimes, a second-time marriage of the same couple is prone to be an unhappy relationship. i hope this could save you from guess work.

          about the habesha thing; let us not quarrel on a term coined for us by foreigners.
          funny; i could not understand the amharic part. sorry.

          finally, let me use reverse psychology as you did; you are going to tell me, get out of badime so that peace will come.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Selam Horizon
            Thanks for raising a shaky issue and then leaving me to fish for possible supporting statements! !
            TBS Brought this to remind ourselves to be careful about statements and allegations we make. You made a subtle yet audacious allegation that some ( which would certainly mean Eritreans) say that they don’t have genetic connection with talaQua Etiopiachen. I can assure you I have no familiar connection with the people of Adigrat, let alone Debrebrhan, but that would not mean imply that I don’t share genetic material with them. One may dispute political connection based on historical ground, but can’t make such obviously clear claims as not sharing genes. And you are right. I raised it because intentionally or otherwise it plays in the arguments that are made against Eritreans choice for determining their political fate. You know the accusations of searching for an identity. ”
            On peace, you are right except underlining that peace needs two committed partners. We have a partner that has consistently walked out of its obligations, and which places its dirty laundry in the wrong laundromat. And another partner that has different meaning of peace. Meanwhile, people will continue paying until they rise up to shake the powers at work in separation and pitting them against each other.

          • Dear Mahmud Saleh,

            if their is anyone who tries to use a special biologic process of genetics to influence political goals, he/she must be naive. neither can ethiopians create talaqwan etiopia by calling upon the similarity of the history and culture of the proples of the region or by swallowing countries of the region. the only thing she can achieve is having indigestion, and nothing else. she can be talaqwa only through hard work and by sustaining for a long time the high gdp growth she has achieved, and by developing a robust democracy. these will make her a good example for all the countries of the region. i hope that she is aware of this fact. otherwise, it is a lost game, for this is not the age of conquests and dominations, but that of willful cooperation and peaceful coexistence.


          • Mahmud Saleh

            Thanks Horizon
            I’m glad we are on the same page on the general viewpoint. My interjection was to clarify, because invoking “genes” makes the statement so specific. You have to understand it against the backdrop that paint Eritreans with a broad stroke as if they believe they are”special,” something that they have neither said they are nor would entertain the idea of asking for it.

        • Fnote Selam

          Dear Mahmuday,

          Indeed, I have come across a few people (yfpdj, of course) that vigorously reject the idea that we are genetically linked to much of Ethiopia. I suspect though, it is simply a misguided over-reaction to being bombarded from several direction to say ‘i am habesha first, Eritrean second’ kind of crap….


    • AOsman

      Fnote Selam,

      In short “Abi Nech New Arab Kalhone” seems the message………it ties with the 3000 years History…wey gudacin fella.


  • saay7

    Cousin Sem:

    You are in your element. The muse has taken you, she possesses your keyboards now, mixing it with her elixir and our comes elegant diction, beautiful prose. Bottle it, bribe the muse for she is moody. Here’s your gift, Wardi singing of Umr al-zhoor live in Addis Abeba at an outdoor statidum. Even grumpy Abi may have his love of his city overcome his hate of Arabic:



    • Semere Andom

      Hi Sal: Thanks for the link, the translation of the lyrics does not do justice when I heard this that was mostly from memory
      Thanks again, I am not sure about the elegance of the words and beauty of the prose. But you are correct; even one of the greatest writer Hemingway in “Moveable Feast” said he stopped writing for the day before empting everything when his muse arrived in hi the “Moveable feast”:-)

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Semere,
    Happy Birthday to our awate. Next year Insha’allah in Asmara.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Thanks Semere. It is as usual beautiful. It’s a poetic prose; my goodness, that’s just a beautiful paint. ናይታ መስኪነይቲ ሽዳ ግን ኣይተዋሕጠተለይን።
    Happy Birth Day Awate.com

    • sara

      Dear mahmud
      when i saw the “beautiful paint” as you said , i thought its about girls and women etc, because today is the international day of the Girl Child, what a coincidence? could that be a good omen awate.com birthday is celebrated the same day.
      happy birth day!

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Mahmud: Thanks
      I know, that paragraph is hard to understand due to the historical reference, but nothing against the might shidda, I know we should have named the currency shidda and put it in one of the deminiations. And Nacfa and Camel? immortalize them in something better, like something immortal