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The Engagement Party

In mid-December 2013, Hank Cohen argued that it was time for the US to rethink its policy towards Eritrea and there was over-reaction everywhere. Some in the opposition were alarmed by this, and some in the Isaiasist camp were thrilled:     The argument in itself is not surprising, particularly given the publication where Cohen’s article appeared—African Arguments.  In the same pages where one could read Cohen’s “Time to Bring Eritrea in from the Cold”, one could also read Rethinking Zimbabwe, a series of articles questioning and criticizing Britain’s policy towards Zimbabwe.  This is because African Arguments is a website which is part of the Royal African Society, a UK foreign policy franchise; and the World Peace Foundation (WPF), which is a franchise of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; and Guardian Africa Network, a franchise of the Guardian media conglomerate.   It is where the engage-disengage parties have their debates with little or no input from the bride-to-be.   Sure, some bridesmaid may show up with a bouquet of flowers or Areqi to the gated community (“can I have my picture taken with you?”), but it is mostly an exclusive club of nerds and wonks who are as engaged with the daily lives of the parties involved as the players of the video game Call of Duty are with actual warfare.

There were two unrelated issues working in tandem to give this particular engagement party a bigger buzz than it deserved: (1) the (mostly undeserved) legend of the author, Herman Cohen; and (2) the vacancy within the Eritrean Spin Troika after Ali Abdu demobilized himself.  Let’s look at each.

Herman Cohen

Whenever we Africans complain of the inexperienced bureaucrats who shuffle in and out of the Africa Desk or are assigned to the Assistant Secretary Bureau of African Affairs post within the US State Department (quick, no googling: who occupies the post now? Exactly), we are comparing it with the “glorious” years of years gone by when senior people held the post for more than two years.   And since, for us Eritreans, our case was brought to the attention of the United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we are talking about two “legendary” Assistant Secretaries of State: Crocker and Cohen.

C and C were appointed by and served Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, respectively, back in the days when there was a Cold War and Africa was relevant and it made sense for the US to appoint experienced diplomats to the post.

In the US, it is customary for government employees to seek greener pastures after they resign their posts: regulators join the lucrative world of the regulated; the aging seek job-security in academia, etc.   Within that context, what Herman Cohen has done since he left his post is entirely American: he, along with long-time colleague Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, Jim Woods, formed a lobbying firm (he is a registered agent) to represent the interests of African countries whose image needed a little polishing.

Part of what lobbyist-to-be do is what feeds into world cynicism about American foreign policy. Let’s consider Cohen’s contribution to world cynicism: Angola held elections in 1992 and the contestants were two liberation-era fronts: MPLA and UNITA.   The latter, headed by Savimbi, was a darling of the US in the Reagan era but, by the time the Bush administration was in charge, the nuttiness of Savimbi was clear to all and what was needed was an election where there would be one decisive winner.   The MPLA rigged the election on massive scale—disenfranchising UNITA, massacring opponents, the usual African horror show.   Every human rights group, including those who hated Savimbi, cried foul, nonetheless.  But Cohen, who was one of the “observers” of the engagement party, declared that the elections had been largely free and fair.

His lobbying firm, Cohen and Woods International, represents Zimbabwe—and, coincidentally, African Arguments has a page dedicated to “engaging” Zimbabwe. I need to emphasize here that in the norms and customs of American politics, there is nothing wrong with this: there is transparency: it is disclosed, and people can make their judgements.  Moreover, there is absolutely nothing wrong with African countries hiring lobbyists to influence opinion because, many times, very ill-informed US congressmen are writing legislation based on misinformation campaigns from the opponents of African governments.

So, coming back to Eritrea, where did this article come from?  Is this a case of the US foreign policy establishment using an old Africa hand to float a policy change?  Is this a case of the Eritrean regime hiring an experienced diplomat-lobbyist to polish its image? Is this a case of Herman Cohen taking an initiative to un-stick a stalled relationship and drum up some business for his lobbying firm?

I rule out the first possibility because of one thing: his article gets one huge fact wrong.  In the article, Cohen claims “In 2008, the George W. Bush Administration declared Eritrea to be a “state sponsor of terrorism”, thereby triggering US trade, investment, and travel sanctions against Eritrea and its leaders.”  No such thing happened.  Somebody ostensibly following the Eritrea-Ethiopia, and the Eritrea-US, relationship closely would not get that part wrong.  (What’s strange is that none of the other authors, all luminaries of the US-Africa policy wonk establishment, who responded to his article corrected his assertion.)

I don’t rule out the second possibility—that he may be consulting for the Eritrean regime—but, if he were, he would have disclosed it.  In any event, his lobbying firm is required to, by law, disclose it and we will know in time.  Despite his claims that he is squeamish about which dictators his firm chooses to represent, he did, at one point, represent Taylor, so methinks the lady doth protest too much.

The third possibility—that he is free-lancing—is the most likely one.  The Lobbying-for-Africa industry in Washington, DC is highly competitive and the ones who are sought out are those who have had very recent experience in US government, particularly the executive office.  It has been 22 years since Cohen served an administration and the article, in my opinion, is a way to stay relevant and drum up business for his lobbying firm (not that there is anything wrong with that.)  He may have calculated that Ethiopia has enough representatives and friends and Eritrea needs some help. The narrative of his article–its omissions, its de-emphasis of certain developments, particularly the hilarious downplaying of Isaias Afwerki’s support of Somalia’s Al-Shabab (“In view of the absence of any intelligence, real or fabricated, linking Eritrea with Shabaab for over four years”)—supports this possibility.

The Spin Troika

The second reason that Cohen’s article received bigger buzz than it deserved is due to the changes that have occurred within Eritrea’s Spin Room ever since its Minister of Information, Ali Abdu (disclosure: he is my younger brother) left the regime.  For years, Eritrea’s Spin Masters have been three people: Ali Abdu, Yemane Gebreab and Yemane Gebremeskel.  Each had, in my view,  a relatively well-defined role: Ali Abdu focused on the populist constituency (mass media: particularly its over-sized Eri-TV); Yemane Gebreab and Yemane Gebremeskel focused on the opinion-shapers in the Diaspora (the professors of Dehai.org; the weapons of mass destruction like Sophia Tesfamariam; the cadres of YPFDJ and other assorted political moths. ) Isaias Afwerki was the Bull in the China Shop, the free-floating steroid undoing—or-reinforcing—the message of the day.  By the way, I haven’t watched his announced interview yet (scheduled for Sunday night) but I expect him to undo whatever little promises his regime made in its Universal Periodic Review report to the UN in weeks prior.

Within this dynamic, particularly after Ali Abdu left,  Yemane Gebremeskel (the Director of the President’s Office) and Yemane Gebreab (the Director of Political Affairs) have become the Dispensers of Good News and they have been working overtime to account for the vacancy in MoI.  Yemane Gebremeskel does this mostly through his twitter handle, where he drops “news flakes” about under-reported “good news” about Eritrea.  The two Yemanes were hyperactive in December hanging good news ornaments on the PFDJ Tree: Eritrea will have the world’s fastest-growing economy; the sanctions will be lifted; the “fabricated” human rights issue will be addressed; the MDG goals will be met, mining industry will explode, etc.

And where dehai.org (RIP) has gone dark, two pro-regime websites with relatively (by which I mean “they don’t make you cringe”) dynamic content have stepped in: tesfanews.com and raimoq.org.  These websites have now become the go-to sites to hear happy talk about Eritrea.  It is where the two Yemanes send their prophesies: of electricity restored (I particularly like the reference to a percentage met, as if the regime has any metrics at all), of explosive economic growth (never mind that the main source for that claim, The Economist, has got this wrong in the past; never mind also the Economist’s disclaimer: it says that it doesn’t expect this growth to translate to anything meaningful given the government’s record of mismanagement); of sanctions about to be lifted (never mind that the mandate goes all the way to December 2014); of MDG goals met (never  mind the fact that this is self-reporting from a country that has neither a budget, nor a census–critical to having a meaningful MDG); of human rights accusations addressed (by having human rights monitors meeting with Eritrea’s “civil society”, the PFDJ mass organizations, who are a conduit for the human rights violations)… And what the two Yemanes send are dutifully, and uncritically, jotted down by Tesfa News and Raimoq. Curiously, none of this happy talk makes it to Shabait, the official ministry of information website; nor to shaebia.org, the official website of the ruling party.

The Cohen article fit this spin perfectly.  What will come out of it?  Is there going to be an engagement party? And if so, how long before it’s broken off?

Two-Party and One-Party Engagement Parties

In two-party states like the United States, it is customary for one party to take the exact opposite position of the other—on every single issue.  I don’t know how much of this is policy and how much of it is politics but it’s eerie how the two parties, Democrats and Republicans, take diametrically opposed positions on everything.  Don’t get me wrong: they don’t exactly do the exact opposite things once they assume power; but they will take an opposing view to help them achieve power.  One of these issues is whether the US should engage with, or continue to disengage from, an “unfriendly” country.

The list of countries that the US has been advised to engage with include Cuba, Iran, North Korea—the entire “axis of evil.”  In the 1980s, there were those who were for confronting/containing the USSR, and those who were for engaging/cooperating with the USSR.  Now, since Americans (the people) are very disinterested about what happens in the world, this debate among Americans (the policy/politics community) has been at the margins.  When the country involved is considered of less strategic value, like Eritrea, the debate is even more marginal—it is conducted at the intersection of Nerdville and Wonkistan, which is unfortunate for those of us who consider Eritrea our home.  Particularly so since We the People are never consulted about policy issues. All we get are “seminars” about “the objective situation on the ground.”

That’s the prism that we should view the Engagement Party that was proposed by Herman Cohen.

The Cohens are not stakeholders: they do not have to answer details as to why we are where we are.  All they need to know, from their perspective, is that whatever the reason was, and whatever the US policy is now, it is not working.  The word they use in foreign policy circles is “reboot.”  I don’t know why my computer is acting up, I will just turn it off and on.  Reboot!   The implication is, well, maybe you are wrong, maybe we (the other party) is wrong: let’s have a fresh start.

One party-states, like the one in Eritrea, do not have a reboot or reset button.  That’s why there are no initiatives that come from Eritrea to resolve any conflict: everything must come from another party because to offer initiatives, changing initiatives, is to admit error and, as we all know, one party states are infallible.  This is why problems fester for years and sometimes over a decade.  Even our little dispute with Djibouti—now approaching its 6th year!–required a third party, Qatar, to mediate it.  At least on paper.

The only option available to one-party-states to present old initiatives as new is to change the face of the presenter.  That is, shuffling people.  However, Eritrea’s ruling party, cannot even do that since it has not successfully recruited “new blood” into its party.  Not only does it not have new blood, it regularly bleeds out old blood—particularly when they show any signs of deviating from orthodoxy.  That is: it is institutionally designed to serve the initiatives of one man—Isaias Afwerki—who hasn’t had a single, fresh idea since 1969.

So, yes, some “engagement” from the US is likely—it is the essence of two-party states—and the biggest clue for that will be whether the US will invite Isaias Afwerki to the US-Africa Summit scheduled for August 5 and 6.   The invitations have been extended to 47 African leaders who are in “good standing with the United States or are not suspended from the African Union.”  There are 54 states, that leaves out 7 including (sadly for Herman Cohen) Zimbabwe. Who are the other 6?

Whether the engagement party is started or not, it will be met with the usual rigidity and inflexibility from the one-man state.  The engagement party will then change to a disengagement party.   And, a few years later, some other version of Cohen will emerge calling for a re-boot, as Eritrea will be crouching towards failed statehood.  Unless, of course, we in the opposition have our own engagement party and create that formidable force we have always wanted to have. Remember that?  Too hard, huh.  There is another option: a cabal of reformers from within the PFDJ have Forto 2.0 and then we in the broad-based opposition moderate them from their years of exclusionary conditioning just like we did with the EDP reformers.  Consider me intrigued.

About Saleh Younis

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  • Abinet

    Seber zena by Nitricc (RIP)
    “Egypt has fighter jets”
    According to him, Ethiopians did not know about this fact otherwise they wouldn’t build the dam without egypt’s permission .you are just useless .

  • haile

    dawit

    I have my facts, where is yours?

    • dawit

      “During the war, more than 150,000 Eritrean died, and about 65,000 freedom fighters were martyred and tens of thousands sustained disabilities most of them were freedom fighters (Tegadelti)”. That is your legacy a gift of death and destruction of Eritrea.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Hailat,
    You see Hailat “ezgiher Yer’eyo” Dawit want to teach me history…. weigud. He opened from the chapters of history and he recited to me. The only question I asked him initially was, to challenge Saay as he is the author of the piece. Because he dismissed his argument as “hypothesis” which by the way the article is a complete experiment starting from premises and tested and elaborated by actual facts with end result “Cohen engaging for money”. If Dawit is up to challenge him, what he should have done is, to disprove him point by point by giving his side of truth. Then the rest of us will segregate the facts and lies from his presentation. Dawit can’t move through that logical debating approach, for he has nothing to spill for a debate worth. That is why he want to divert the argument to me. Saay doesn’t debate through surrogates. Actually he will be enraged by such proposition. Did I read him well Hailat? What does dawit want me to do when he failed to come to the podium to challenge him? In fact what dawit consider it as a debate is, if you remember when the comment section of Semere Tesfay’s article was closed for obvious reason (no need to go back to that exchange) he was arguing to the moderator (which he doesn’t know who was the moderator from the team BTW at that time) to open the comment section. That was a debate with him in his view. Open and will not open argument is not a debate of substance. it was a kind of an appeal to open the comment section.

    Regarding the sanction, in his view, Military sanction=economic sanction=political sanction. No difference between the three sanctions. Should I call him to the laboratory to show him with a magnifying microscope. Just kidding. Dawit is not capable to debate Saay. If he proves me otherwise, I will pull my words and give him thumbs up.

    Moderator: Like many others I couldn’t log with my normal username and password from home while I could from work. Isn’t it strange? Should I open new one?

    Amanuel

    • dawit

      Well Brother Amanuel your horse arrived quickly but with little load. You should thank me for the free history lesson, because people sometimes forget their history. I believe it is the case with many of our opposition fellows. If they remember their history, we would not have seen the confusion in our political arguments (“Mith-lelak”). Perhaps you forgot your history and that is why you are aligning yourself with Eritrea’s historic enemies.

      I never claimed I visit Awate.com to debate, if you had read what I wrote, you would have noticed that I visit various Eritrean Web sites to get information, learn if I could and share information. It is hard to debate intelligently and civility when people color their arguments with insults and foul languages. Some times I have the temptation to comment, and challenge their orthodox faulty thinking and that is what gets me in trouble.
      Now seriously can you teach me what the difference is between economic and political or sanctions are to a country? This is not a debate but a request to learn.

  • said

    Dear Hayat

    I totally agree with your excellent comment in regard PIA
    “Wisdom & True Patriotism Dictate that DIA Steps Down.” For 23 years DIA and coterie failed miserably in answering to Eritrea hope and aspiration, even disabled veteran courageous
    fighters demonstrating in peaceful manner calling for internal reform, they did
    not say the day. Going back that far,they proved patriotic and true nationalistic laymen they are, they far more judicious and wise than the Eritrea Ruler and his corrupted entourage.

    “DIA and his Mafioso coterie of DeQe Arbata strong men in power can help greatly alleviate the dire consequences attending Eritrea,especially and foremost the staving off of the prospects war with neighbouring countries and preserve the military capabilities of a nation, by recognizing
    and admitting that matters have reached the point of no return. DIA and his
    coterie of Deqe Arbata in power, recognizing the indelible facts, ought to declare their failure and agree to a peaceful interim transfer of power to ensure interim transition to ultimate democratic rule.”

    “Facing up to the inevitable, the DIA Regime would save
    the day for Eritrea , the tiny ruling class of Deqe Arabata minority and the Eritrea nation at large as Eritrea potential would always remain the vanguard of horn of Africa security and economic Unity.”

    “Would DIA and murderous entourage prove judicious and truly patriotic to heed the call?”

    I wished that DIA or his entourage would have thought along the same lines,saving Eritrean lives; the complete failed of the economy and destruction of a country; of been saved himself from the inevitable charge of a “War Crimes” irrespective of ideologues’ debates of the “Pros” and “Cons” desperately trying to exonerate.The answer is regretfully….. NO
    This dictator do not leave “democratically” or with feelings to others. He will leave only, when he is pushed out…..killed or run away in time let us hope for a better future

  • Nitricc

    “Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Wednesday that Egypt
    would be on the losing side if it referred the issue of Ethiopia’s
    multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam project to the United Nations
    Security Council (UNSC).
    “We’re ready for this and will win politically,” Desalegntold local
    reporters on Wednesday.
    He went on to describe as “useless” Egyptian plans to take the Ethiopian
    dam file to the UNSC.
    The Ethiopian prime minister added that work on the dam was proceeding on
    schedule despite stalled negotiations between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt,
    which Desalegn attributed to Egyptian “intransigence.”

    And this lol do you beleive what is in the link?

    http://www.alhadath-yemen.com/news32049.html

    Hopefully the Ethiopians are busy fighting their own size, Egypt and they give a break to Eritrea.

    • Hayat Adem

      He also said something regarding Assab: “EPRDF’s stand on Assab has always been clear. Assab belongs to Eritrea. We’ll never leave our principle and be tempted to take over Assab just because Eritrea now is found at its weakest posture.”

      • Nitricc

        Eritrea in her weakest posture? Wishful thinking. Hayat is they tell you your Weyane friends? If I was Egypt; I will send 4 F-16 and I will demolish anything and everything what is built around the Nile. What do you think the Wayane going to do? Nothing! But Egyptians are coward. Send the freaking jets and get it over with.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Hey Nitricc,
          Why do you want to be a bad boy calling for a bad omen? you are influenced by the culture of PFDJ. You should never call for a tragedy to any society as we don’t want to happen to us. That is why I hate PFDJ politics and its culture. Try to be adult and matured who knows the consequences of all you say. Things will be changed with change of leaders and don’t be fooled by the current leaders. Just think of the mass who are always the victim of leader’s animosity.

          • Nitricc

            Aman as principal I stand with the Ethiopians regarding with Nail issue. But as strategic national interest I would like to see Ethiopia intangled with Egypt so the Ethiopians will be busy going at it with their size.
            Truly Eritrea has been a victim of Weyane. I know you are a very supporter and sympathizer of the Weyane but I got to look out for my people and country. When the Weyane told me they don’t like the color of my eyes only Aman, Hayat and papillon would disregard and bow to the Weyane.
            Again I know war is not good and I don’t wish to anyone but if I am Egypt; I am not going in danger my people and yes I will send few F-16 and settle the matter. I know the Ethiopians are not match for the Egyptians.
            Advice, get comfortable with PFDJ politics it is here to stay.

          • Hayat Adem

            Nitricc, try to think outside the box, more specifically outside the pfdj box. Don’t be that desperate to wish your brothers, Ethiopians be bombed by Egyptians. I don’t know how logic works in your world but the Ethiopian PM is saying he doesn’t want to take advantage of Eritreans at this time when they are demolarized and weakened. That kind of stand comes from a firm and sacred principle. In the long term, a nation’s strategic interests and principles mostly go in harmony. PMHD says he doesn’t want any harm on Eritreans although he believes he has the necessary force to spend. You (by extention pfdj supporters, therefore PIA supporters, therefore PIA) wish Egypt to bomb Ethiopia because you believe have no capacity to do it yourself. Can you be more desperate and worse evil than that even at the level of cheap talk?
            There is a way: Weyane have no problem with Eritrea and Eritreans. They never had one and that is well tested at soft and hard times. Their problem is not even the current regime or even its leadership as such. It is the policy of the current regime. That same policy has never been good to Eritreans, as well. That only means we have a common problem with them, only that theirs seems less hard than ours. They can survive and outwait PIA even if this trend continues. Can Eritrea survive him? Once you understand PIA has been wrong all along and has committed all those horrible crimes against Eritreans, how do you think he still deserves your support? Merely just because you hate Weyane?

            Although late, many American thinkers and politicians knew their country’s war policy on Vietnam was wrong. But just they wanted to conclude it with victory, the war still continuing with a significant support from many Americans who didn’t want to exit in defeat. But John Kerry, a commander at the rank of colonel commanding a US army in the war front, was bold and outspoken to express his opposition to continuing the fighting in Vietnam. When congress asked John Kerry in a hearing an explanation as to why he opposes the war, he said this unforgettable words: “how can you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake.”

          • Nitricc

            Hayat the confused , let me tell you. Sines you love gossip; the Ethiopian pm wife is Eritrean and her name is Roman. They have a child; a girl named Yohona. I am guessing you are getting my drift.
            If not, let me tell you point blank. Weyane is at their weakest point ever. In the mean time; Eritrea is at her strongest point she have been sines 1999. If you don’t get my take ask me I will break it down for you.
            You are right principal and strategic interest should be at one; but for reasons, I am diverting from that.
            Again Eritrea comes first. I know for you Ethiopia comes first and here were you and I clash. Have some dignity, will you?

          • Hayat Adem

            You are kidding me. Otherwise, your true feeling and desperation about today’s Eritrea is showing in Nitricc ONE. Nitricc TWO is speaking only for the sake of Weyane bah aybello. Self-Contradiction is not a fact of life, It make you miserable. it is about getting it right in your mindset. You wish Egypt to bomb Ethiopia for you today, al-Shebab tomorrow. Look at the mirror side by side (this is today, in one discussion thread in a difference of minutes)….
            Nitricc TWO: Weyane is at their weakest point ever. In the mean time; Eritrea is at her strongest point she have been sines 1999. If you don’t get my take ask me I will break it down for you.
            Nitricc ONE: But as strategic national interest I would like to see Ethiopia
            intangled with Egypt so the Ethiopians will be busy going at it with
            their size. Truly Eritrea has been a victim of Weyane.

          • Asmerom

            Nitricc
            Not just a mistake you lied the wife of PMHD she is not from Eritrea she is from Sidama the same as the prime minster and Yohana is a word from the bible and no body has a monopoly on it . This expose you how narrow mind you are and a just bark with wrong information you better do your homework before you come to the discussion form. This tells your knowledge is based on bel belew poor guy grow up

          • ethiopia

            he is talking about gossip man, besides the PMHD and his wife r both welayta, not sidama.

          • ethiopia

            Hayat
            seriously, r u for tigrai-tigregn ? sometimes u sound like typical tplf cadre.

          • ethiopia

            Nitricc
            the only problem i see u have is, u have to know the different between the people of ethiopia and wayane or darg or H.selassie.

        • SMichael

          AT-I kindly request this comment to posted unedited,please.
          Yes Nitric,
          Eritrea is stronger than ever despite all the Containment,Isolation,Regime Change threats and attempts “y any means possible”They are,in FACT,scared of what is going and what will happen in the next 3-5 yrs, economically,diplomatically,educationally,militarily,etc–But if I have to be specific,here we go:
          Just the tip of the ICEBERG!
          Economically-(Based on the Independent Western Economic Intelligence Report and Disclosure)
          -The multibillion precious metal mining,upto $10-15 billion in the next 10yrs only
          -The limitless potash resources,-Bada and Culluli Projetcs combined–more than $300 billion-(will take more 100yrs to exhaust it)
          -The,as of yet, untapped multibillion Fishing ,Salt and Tourism Industry
          -The,as of yet,sealed secret of massive oil and gas potential(more than that of Saudi Arabia in the words of the Western Economic Intelligence Report)
          -Most important of all, the Eritrean Brain and its miraculous potenial-not just hard working people
          Diplomatically–read the news–China,Russia, EU,Egypt,etc—begging for—-
          Education: Read the Independent Statistics and news(” What it should have taken 30 yrs to get hear,Eritrea did it in few yrs–“,an expert commenting on the achievement of the Education and Health Sector during an International Accreditation and Recognition Speech by the same Expert.
          Militarily:sealed one for now-confidential;Hint:considering the above potential, Eritrea needs only a fraction of it to build the BEST Military–Air force,Navy,-Air Defense System,hence–the sanction ,the containment,the regime change threats,etc–as they are scared to death about this and a Western Diplomat was heard saying: “If this smal Nation of 5 million people is going to have a GDP of $2 billion per yr,well, it is not difficlut to figure out its Military and Economic Power Potential/Capability in Africa )
          Let them keep crying-little Bro…
          I forgot the Red-Sea/Danakil Depression Dam and its unlimited Water and Huge Clean Energy Potential.
          God bless Eitrea
          S Michael

    • Horizon

      These aircrafts might be able to destroy the GERD, but they will NEVER secure the Nile for Egypt. Egyptians need much more than aircrafts; Egyptian boots on Ethiopian soil, and occupation
      of Ethiopia. That will NEVER EVER happen, because whoever tries to desecrate this holy land will not live to tell the story. They have failed in the past and they will fail again.

      If you were not blinded by hate, you would have known that indirectly at least, Eritrea is a stakeholder in this mega project, unless of course, you are planning to build your Singapore on 200 MW of electricity produced by fossil fuel. Know where your interest lies.It is never with Egypt. They have shown that they are not trustworthy friends in the most inhuman way in the Sinai and in their prisons in Cairo and elsewhere.

      • SMichael

        Gashie Horizon,
        Holy Land and Queens?I beg your pardon Gashie Horizon??
        So,what your “Holy Land” and your leaders have done to Eritrean and its hard working and innocent people is holiness, then?
        Or, are you afraid of what might be cooking in behind the scenes where the Egyptians, the Sudanese, the Eritreans, the Somalis,etc—backed by the rich Qataris, Saudis—the Emirates ,etc.,are negotiating for Military,Socio-economic,Defense–Intelligence,etc—Cooperation.It is what it is,and am afraid that you will get what you see,and at last , the Horn will be more peaceful than ever as there will a balance of power and we all respect each other for GOOOOOD!.Thank God! God has its own way of doing things..
        Good luck.
        S Michael

        • Horizon

          Dear SMichael,

          The holy land of Habeshas, blessed by both major religions, was holy until it was desecrated first by foreigners, and latter by the children of the great people who lived in the region over millennia. If you think that your history is different from the history of other Habeshas, whether they live in Ethiopia or Eritrea, that is where you have made the big mistake. In addition, non-Habesha Ethiopians and Eritreans are equal and blessed children of these holy lands.

          No war ever existed between the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. It was a war cooked and served to both people by the elites, and of course, it was the ordinary people who paid the price. Eritrean and Ethiopian families living side by side, drinking their coffee in each other’s houses or inviting each other during holidays, before the elites spoiled for them had no problem at all. Do you know what some people say? My “good neighbor” is my best friend, even compared with my relatives that are living far away, because when I have a problem, he/she is the first to knock at my door and extend a helping hand. Ethiopians and Eritreans were good neighbors, until the elites poisoned their brain. Be
          sure, they will be good friends again. It is a matter of time.

          My friend, are you suggesting that you would be happy to see a broad regional religious Armageddon? Have you thought of the fate of the Eritrean people in the great fire that is going to burn the region? How can you say that it will be only Ethiopia against all the Muslim countries you mentioned? Be serious, if you think that you would be sitting and watching Ethiopia burn to ashes from a secure Eritrea, you must be out of your mind. Do not wish such a thing even for someone whom you call an enemy, because the blazing fire has no boundaries, and it will burn everything αnd everybody on the way. It is a pity that you have aligned Eritrea with the wrong people. Why do you have the obsession to be at the wrong place, with the wrong people and at the wrong time? I am hoping that you said what you said only out of anger and frustration, and not because you really believe in it. Remember, you are not my enemy; you can never be my enemy, unless of course, you set my house
          on fire with the odd friends you have chosen. This generation of fools will pass, and Ethiopians and Eritreans will live together in peace.

          Finally, you should know that there is only one God, a good God, a loving God that is never vengeful, as we humans are. It is a sin to use him as our long arm for
          our sinister aims. Leave God alone.

          Have a good day, a restful night, whatever.

      • SMichael

        Corrected

        Gashie Horizon,
        Holy Land and Queens?I beg your pardon Gashie Horizon??
        So,what your “Holy Land” and your Leaders have done to Eritrea and its hard working and innocent people is holiness, then?
        Or, are you afraid of what might be cooking in behind the scene where the Egyptians, the Sudanese, the Eritreans, the Somalis,etc—backed by the rich Qataris, Saudis—the Emirates ,etc.,are negotiating for Military,Socio-economic,Defense–Intelligence,etc—Cooperation.It is what it is,and am afraid that you will get what you see,and at last , the Horn will be more peaceful than ever as there will a balance of power and we will all respect each other for GOOOOOD!.Thank God! God has its own way of doing things..
        Good luck.
        S Michael

    • Zegeremo

      The Ethiopian puppet regime should focus on food supply for its overpopulated people. In few years, there will be 120 million people in Ethiopia with No Enough Food, No Enough Medicine, No Political Stability, No Clean Water, No Enough Housing: No Enough Condoms… the list goes on. Who is inviting Eritrea to this endless misery?

    • dawit

      Ethiopia 80+ million hungry people, Egypt 80+ million thirsty people fighting over the Nile River, AU bankrupt organization and Arab-League rich with oil money debating at UNSC, interesting show.

  • said

    As we all very genuinely care, the fault of DIA,
    and to that matter of all dictators and what brought Gadhafi and many mini dictators down, is that they take the bait and when
    they turn around to muster indigenous powers, foremost, their public, there is
    a huge disconnect.

    That DIA never could carry out by the constraints of
    his myopic and inherent “Deep State” counterproductive system that
    ultimately ushered the current All Destructive.

    In the
    euphoria of utopic excesses, a scenario could be envisioned where farfetched
    idea that DIA could convene an open forum of a broad spectrum of Eritrean
    intellectuals and progressive political theorists ,ALL INCLUSIVE OPPOSITION PARTY to participate in marathon free brainstorming self-introspection rounds to scrutinize the history, achievements, shortcomings and limitations of so-called Eritrean progressive political movements, especially the path of those that had the privilege and opportunity to assume
    the reins of power, such as the extended PFDJ’s rule in Eritrea . Viewed from the
    wider optic of modern political theories and the apparatus requisites of a
    well-functioning modern state, the ills and long list shortcomings in every aspect of the DIA government experiment would be highlighted and objectively analysed.

    “Consequently, a Manifesto, inclusive and outreaching, could develop as a rallying new modern and democratic based ideology AND INCLISEIVE PARTY supplemented by a well thought-through program and definitions of a responsive party structure that’s commensurate with the
    perceived ominous challenges to Eritrea Nationalism.”

    “The exception this time around in Eritrea history is survival: To Be, Or Not To Be.
    To resign to DIRE stagnation and let the field wide open to the small
    copycat of present regime reactionary forces to determine the future and destiny
    of the Eritrea nation, Or assume an enlightened proactive posture, an initiative that could salvage Eritrea destiny, however, if not, least leave a legacy that would inspire Eritrea
    generations to build upon.
    Sadly, we all are living to witness dire consequences of the failure of Eritrea leader.

  • dawit

    “democratic coup d’etat”, =’Creeping Revolution’ = Eritrean DERG . Experienced consultant for hire? Mengistu Haile Mariam.” DERGUE AND EVERY ONE BEFORE WERE FAR FAR FAR …. TOO HUMANE TOWARDS THE ERI PEOPLE…” haile ?

  • Nitricc

    I don’t how to explain it. Reading the posts by some people not only leaves me perplexed but discombobulated to no end. For instance, Haile said IA=PFDJ.
    Really? It is not only a dangerous proposition but irresponsible one. Sure, PIA might be PFDJ but all PFDJ are not PIA; to put them all in one basket; it is not only wrong but you are making it impossible for any reform or change within the PFDJ. If you are going to place every PFDJ at one, then they will hold and protect the current system to death.
    Take it or leave it; Eritrea going to be governed by PFDJ for a long time to come. Even after PIA’s time up. So, you must differentiate who is what and take the best people among the PFDJ and take the best outcome. Haile, you can not have it both ways. You glorify Wed-Ali and you turn around and say PIA=PFDJ. Well, is not wedi-ALI PFDJ?
    The same wrong take; reading Amanual’s position. He wants nothing to do with PFDJ. Well, I guess when you are completely detached from what is in the ground; you can say what ever you want. What you people should know is that in a coup; Leaders don’t bring change; the change is that brings leaders. So, for what ever change there is no way to know who the leader and what his agenda is? For all this reason; the only thing that makes sense and responsible thing to do is, to let PIA run his course.
    Not that you have any choice but he does not have that much time left and sooner or latter he has to hand power to some one. He will do so to hand picked individual or groups and then you can you can demand and discuses about the political process. Election, constitution and all that crap; first thing first, let the nation come first.
    Watch this and learn why we say the nation first.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr9j51n1qCY&feature=player_embedded

    • dawit

      Practical advice, from a wise Eritrean man! YouTube link from wise Eritrean artist Bereket Mengistab http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vegtL1rewQ0 Enjoy the song and Message

      • S Michael

        A timely advice.

    • haile

      Hey Nitricc,

      May be I didn’t explain myself well. It is not that PFDJ=IA, rather the public perception is framed in that way and hence would be difficult for PFDJ to appeal to the masses because it is perceived in such a way.

      We know that PFDJ has a charter. If you read the charter, you would find that it is reasonable and can be persuasive for many Eritreans. Unfortunately, PFDJ has never been in a position to implement its charter. Instead it was left to collect dust. What happened in practice was that the regime used PFDJ as a cover to takeover state structures from Banking, trade, organizations…It then took over PFDJ under the guise of national security and the national security is taken over by the Office of the President. This is called wudeba ab riesi wudeba or organization within organization. We are now dealing with the aftermath.

      Take for example the decision to blockade all normal activities of the nation under the talk of “no war no peace”. When exactly did PFDJ convene to pass such a decision? When did PFDJ convene to assess the conduct and effect of the war? When did PFDJ convene to discuss important national issues? Never. Because PFDJ was neutralized/taken over by national security. And national security is shadowy and only run from Office of the President. Did PFDJ attempted to resist? Yes, Forto, G-15… are known examples. What happened? Well, many paid with their lives.

      So, if you blame Eritrea as a whole for the current mess, Eritrea will blame PFDJ, then PFDJ will blame national security and national security will blame the president’s Office. The Office of the President doesn’t consult with anyone to reach a decision, it doesn’t account on Economic, Political and Social decisions that it has taken, which proved brutal on our people and simply blames unspecified external intelligence agencies as the source of the aftermath of its brutal misappropriation of the nation’s human, material and natural resources. The level of our people’s nqhat is very low on the nature of nation building process and hence many have resigned to identifying PFDJ as the ruler of the day that is exposing them to brutalities that has never been heard before. PFDJ would then have a mountain to climb to raise this consciousness so that people would understand that it is IA and his henchmen that are holding the nation hostage, under the barrel of a gun, following the 2001 crack down of Eritreas final and embattled transition to multi party democracy. IA and his henchmen brought that final march to stop in 2001 and have made and continue to make the Eritrean people pay unbearably high price, including that of threatening their very existence.

      IA will not run his course, and can not be let to do so. It is a matter of short time before he is physically tackled in Asmara and we will see what or how far he will be prepared to go to confront the Eritrean people who are down to their last gasp of breath now.

      Regards

      • Nitricc

        Haile I am not saying there is no problem and concerns. Even PIA said it in his interview. ( I am listening to the interview in preparation of going to all out war with SAAY :-))
        Anyway what I am saying is, if there were any good time to do anything then it was 2001. When PIA arrested the G-15 that was the time to stand up against PIA. But now, after all the damage; after all the misery what is the point?
        I am saying this after I did detailed research from 1998 to 2010. And of course I have the luxury of 20/20. I am sure you guys know better than I am. I am just gathering what was said and written. After all the thinking I came to conclude it is better to leave things as they are and let the man run its course. And judging from your toothless opposition; if god can let PIA live another 100 years then PIA will rule for the next 100 years.
        Look around Haile, who do you have?
        Some times the best thing to do is to do nothing.
        , if you must do something, then, encourage PFDJ to reform it self.

        • haile

          You have a point Nitricc. We can even cite precedent from the case of South Sudan where Kirr has been checked when attempting to pull similar trick on his new country. I would say that our sense of ownership of the independence struggle and its realization of an independent nation gave us a false sense of being in control and part of the process in our newly founded home. We put our trust in a very haphazardly way and given in to cheap propaganda rather than staying on the straight and narrow and demanded lawful engagement. We paid a colossal price for our negligence to leave our country’s fate to the whims of a small group of men and women who claimed to have the magic key to the promised land. It may be that we lack this kind of experience and were not aware that no one had a higher stakes on the nation than the other. We thought that if we let one little misshape go by unnoticed, that would be the end of it. Here we are now, facing a mountain of problems made up all those “little incidences”. We can’t turn back the clock, and we can’t go forth following the same wrong route that got us here in the mess in the first place. There is a distinction between “the opposition” and “the regime’s opposition”. The first one often refers to the guys you call “toothless” and they better answer you for I am not responsible for their welfare. The second one however, refers to the critical mass of justice seekers that are currently bringing pressure to bear on the regime. Most of them are not members of “the opposition” but are “the regime’s opposition”. They have done massive job in exposing the regime, documenting and publicizing its atrocities and reaching out to the victims of the current senseless situation. This critical mass will boil over and likely come to head on collusion course with the oppressors.

          On reforming the PFDJ, let’s take of rescuing it first. It is no where to be seen. As I explained earlier, it has been reduced to ghost organization that exists in name only to serve the regime and its cronies. When it steps up to the plate and makes its presence felt, then reform may be entertained (or who knows may not even needed to reform). Eritrea is at cross roads and the choices we make now are even far more critical to our ability to stand as a nation than the previous bad choices that we made to lock ourselves in this dreadful situation.

          Regards

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Hey Nitricc,
      You have a problem of commenting without reading others comment. In fact I make it clear when I was replying to Haile the Great, that we can not disband PFDJ as one of the stakeholders in a democratic Eritrea. If they want to have it they should. It is up to the Eritrean people to throne or dethrone them from power. Otherwise what will make us different from them – the exclusionist party. What we are fighting is to dismantle the political super-structure as well as the political infra-structure “as a system”. They are afraid to compete democratically with the rest on equal foot. Does this satisfy you? Whether it satisfy you or not, if I am fighting for justice and democracy I should respect their rights as well. So that is my position.

      • Nitricc

        Aman lol
        For once you said something right. You are right I do have a bad habit. At times I respond before I get all the facts and details. I got to work on that one.

  • Hayat Adem

    anta mesHaq guhmamat ‘ba aytikhun. yire’ayeka dello, amerika yiqreta bedille ktbil? eway niskhasi kemey zibelukha beliH ikha bejakha?! “formally” ke’a belka’mber!

  • Hayat Adem

    A Gabrovo* Man and PIA
    A Gavrovo guy flags for a taxi in the outskirts of Sophia. The taxi stops for him and the driver lowered the passenger window and waited for the man to speak. “How much would you charge me for a ride to center of the city?” “Only 2 Lev” answered the cab driver. The Gabrovo smiled and said “Thank you” . But when the cab driver opened the door for him, he seemed not willing to get in. Confused, the cab driver asked, “Don’t you want to go or you think I’m overpricing the distance or what?” “Of course not! But it never was my plan to use your cab. I was just trying to know how much I would save if I walk from here to downtown.”:)
    Whenever you hear PIA or his info guys say something new or pretend to say something new in the name of engagement or otherwise, sometimes it is just to test the waters; sometimes it is a spill over from the nature of his spontaneity; sometimes it is a way of release when he is in a mode of narcissistic criminality. The pschology of some of criminal minds doesn’t get fulfilled by just only doing the crime act. They continue harvesting satisfaction from further post-crime payout and interject themselves to the crime scene in different ways.
    We don’t have to study PIA’s speeches for policy clues. We don’t have to chase Op-Eds here and there to analyses if change is coming. PIA has crossed too many bridges and has entered the zone of no-return. If he sees Eritrea’s and Eritrean’s agony and existential risks as his priority, he would change course even if it might result in impeachment against him personally. If he owns a dynamic sophistication and growing personality, he would change course for the sake of the greater good and a long term credit even if it might look bad and weak on him now. PIA is neither of these. No, he will not change a course, he will not change a direction, he will not change a lane. He has been in charge of the same course for 50 yrs and it looks he has been managing every single day, every single subordinate, every single issue same way, same style. The only growth in him is the biology in him. Why then would we hope he might change his way of doing things now when he is living the last lap of his biology? He knows what will happen: he has to answer for all crimes and disappearances and killings in the meida; he has to answer for massacring our disables post independence; he has to answer for launching an unnecessary wars and conflicts resulting in so much destruction and death; he has to answer for the g-15 and their families; he has to answer for emptying Eritrea off its youth generation and push it to demographic abnormalities…..
    *I’m hopping to be defended by Roadab if readers here don’t like me to recite Gobrovo jokes.

  • Saba

    1)The most important part of this piece is the last paragraph even though the author looks confused in it. Assume that forto 2.0 results in a post DIA democratic state where multiparty system is allowed. Would the cyber opposition party join the democratic system win by election? Or they will demand respect/credit for their invention of democracy in Eritrea, if not continue the struggle? Is their quest for democracy, the result or a means for other agenda? Forto 2.0 will be a real test for the confused cyber opposition party.

    2) Here is a paragraph that i found better explains the Awate team. Where is the source of this paragraph?(just an intellectual exercise for you, well if you don’t Google )
    ” It is not intellect he lacks; it is wisdom; not articulation but substance. He is good at laying out premises but horrible at drawing valid conclusions from them. That in a nutshell is how I would sum up xxxxxx: the Eritrean guru of the young, the restless and the confused. ”
    Now substitute the “he” with Awate team.
    ” It is not intellect that the Awate team lacks; it is wisdom; not articulation but SUBSTANCE. The Awate team lacks the capacity to lay out premises {other than DIA&co bashing articles}. That in a nutshell is how I would sum up Awate team: the Eritrean news site of the desperate, the restless and the confused. “

  • Eyob Medhane

    dawit,

    I am dead certain that President Obama himself is writing an apology letter to President Isayas and the Eritrean people, as we speak. The letter is to be delivered to Asmara tomorrow with a bouquet of flower and a capsule filled with his tears. Wait for the news from Associated Press tomorrow morning…

  • haile

    Awatistas,

    I think dawit and Aman are holding interesting debate. I don’t want to intervene by screaming out …BUT THE DERGUE AND EVERY ONE BEFORE WERE FAR FAR FAR …. TOO HUMANE TOWARDS THE ERI PEOPLE… although I wouldn’t, because a) it may be viewed as taking sides in their debate and b) caps lock tends to wake up the moderator from the bliss 🙂

    Hence, I would just share this important archive video that would show you that the only reason HGDEF seems to be looking to “Engage” is simply because it is held against a wall in all directions and the chickens have home to roost. In less than 5min watching, you shall recognize the dirty hand that lurked in the shadows then just as now;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFuZrTbEgTs

  • dude

    Excellent job on the mobile site

  • dawit

    Selam Amanuel,
    I am not sure what you did not understand what I wrote? In my first response I addressed my comment directly to the Author of the article, and you stepped forward defending his article. I am sure he was more than capable of defending his article. So next I send my response to the ‘Abokato’ and still I stand with my original assessment of the article. No need to debate on ‘empty hypotheses and empty analysis’. They say ‘garbage in garbage out’. I visit Awate.com to learn if I can and share my idea for anyone willing to learn and not to argue on every crazy idea written. As to your client debating skill, don’t worry to educate me, I know little about it. We had a brief chance to debate on Awate.com’s decision when it blocked the comment section on Semere’s Tesfai’s article a couple weeks ago. Amazingly, what you are accusing me is exactly what you and your compatriots did to Semere’s article!
    You posed several questions to me. Since you asked let me try to respond briefly. About US economic sanctions and who mislead Cohen, I am not going to waste my time, if you are an honest student of Eritrean history and reality you can goggle those names from Susan Rice, Sec. Condoleezza Rice, Ambassador Ronald K. McMullen, Jendayi Frazer , Sec Hilary R. Clinton, President Obama, bunch of Human Right Watch outfits, Asmarino.com, Awate.com etc. AU, IGAD etc. You can even add your name and your friends to the list. Read what you wrote in the past few years and see yourself in the mirror and tell us if you did contribute to the misinformation campaign against Eritrea. Don’t try to split hair trying to distinguish between, economic, political or military sanction. Sanction is Sanction!
    You posed the question “Dawit could you be sincere as to the reality of our nation and the wellbeing of our people?”.
    The short answer to that question is Absolutely Yes! I was asked this same question and I remember answering it. Now as Eritreans we all went through different experience during Ethiopian occupation. Some Eritreans were happy with Ethiopia and they saw the cup full and actively helped Ethiopia in return they were able to accumulate wealth, power and they send their children abroad for education, they were the ‘loyalists’. Others Eritreans saw the cup empty, when their houses were burned, no school, no job so they took arms to get rid of the occupation, they were the ‘rebels’. The masses had no choice they struggle to preserve their families, their bodies were prisoners of the occupiers but their hearts and souls were with the rebels. In the end after 30 years of destructions the rebels proved themselves that they were right and liberated Eritrea in May 23, 1991. They conducted a UN sponsored referendum, something that was denied to them by Ethiopia, and Eritreans opted for independence by 99.97% margin. Eritrea declared its independence and joined the family of Nations in May 1993; the world accepted it including Ethiopia. This 30 years’ war however came at a heavy cost and it added a heavy responsibilities to Eritreans who voted for it. During the war, more than 150,000 Eritrean died, and about 65,000 freedom fighters were martyred and tens of thousands sustained disabilities most of them were freedom fighters (Tegadelti). For the next five years after independence Ethiopia and Eritrea established a strong cooperation and their leaders forged very close friendship and the future for both countries was promising. Eritreans from all walks of lives supported their government and those who were forced to leave their country started to flock home. The Eritrean government started the heavy task of nation building from the ashes of the devastation of war, without a ‘Marshal Plan’ but ‘Self Reliance’. The country established a people’s assembly and begins writing a constitution, but this development did not rest well with few Eritreans who had privileges with Ethiopia and the large majority of the Ethiopians, who lost power to TPLF. They agitated the Ethiopian people by fabricating lies and accusing Eritrean President as the defector leader of Ethiopia and Eritrea and Prime Minister Meles as a puppet. Well Meles also must have fallen for the trick and all of a sudden out of the blue he declared war against the young nation Eritrea, a 180 turn over. The war consumed a lot of young people from both sides for nothing. After two years they stopped fighting but continued the war. Meles consolidated his power, by proving to Ethiopians that he could bring their arch enemy Eritrea down, the only factor that had kept Ethiopian Unity before. Using Ethiopian reserve political and diplomatic skills they tried to isolate Eritrea in the region and the world. While the war helped Ethiopian unity it undermined Eritrean unity. Ethiopia with its friends agitated for change of Eritrean regime, and hoped to reverse Eritrean independence and restore Ethiopia’s access to the sea “Asab port”. They focused their opposition to the country’s leadership, by inventing endless adjectives, Isaias dictator, Isaias Crazy, Isaias drunken, Human trafficker, Eritrea the Pariah state, the spoiler, the North Korea of Africa etc. They fabricated lies to place Eritrea under UN Sanctions with the idea of the old worn out hypothesis, that Eritrea cannot be a viable state economically or politically, therefore it should be occupied by foreign power. They wished to ignite religious and ethnic strife that has plagued African countries since they became independent, like Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Congo, Central Africa, and Ruanda, Burundi. Under all this outside pressure, the Eritrean leadership and people went to the drawing board and designed a national plan that would safeguard Eritrean independence and development, and still standing on its feet. Now with that historical background, I return to your main question,,I have to do that not because you dont know the history of Eritrea but to establish my foundation where I am coming from.
    “Dawit could you be sincere as to the reality of our nation and the wellbeing of our people?
    Under occupation, Eritreans when they looked to the sky they saw Ethiopian Fighter jets dropping bombs, napalm bombs, fire raining from the sky in their land and burning their villages and houses.
    Today when they look to the sky, they see the sun, the clouds and rain.
    Under occupation, Eritreans were digging trenches to protect themselves from the daily bombardment of Ethiopian jets.
    Today they are digging dams to collect water.
    Under occupation Eritreans could not stay out in the field to plow, plant, harvest afraid of Ethiopian armies who were trained killing Eritrean children women as their pass time sport. During occupation they were afraid to take their cattle to market, afraid they meet the Ethiopian army always hungry for free meat.
    Today Eritreans build roads to take their cattle and produce to market and buy clothes for their children.
    During occupation Eritrean little children spent their childhood herding sheep and goats.
    Today the go to school to learn.in their villages.
    During occupation Eritrean mothers died giving birth
    .
    Today they receive free health care and maternity care in their villages.
    Under occupation no Diaspora Eritrean ventures to visit his/her country, not even venture to call or write afraid that the Ethiopian could intercept the message and endanger their loved ones.
    Today thousands of Eritreans flock to their country, with their national passports, to visit their loved ones, to walk and even dance in the streets. They can call home with their cell phones
    Eritreans have a country called Eritrea, that take care of its citizens. Despite the economic embargos put on it, it takes care of its disabled war veterans and martyrs families out of its meager resource more than any country in the world!
    Now, Amanuel what I wrote above is a personal eye witness account and not a hearsay, because I visited Eritrea recently and travelled extensively. Are there problems in the country? Yes of course, there are shortages bread, gas, electricity, water etc. But there is one thing in abundance unique to Eritrea, there is plenty of peace and hope, the two things that we did not had under various occupations history.
    So you see my friend Amanuel we have to compare from where we started and not where we standing, and that is why I am “PIA worshiper”. On your challenge to me you stated that I have ‘the Feres and the Meda’ to write. Well I did not ride your horse; I preferred to ride the camel and I took the short cut through the hills and valleys and that is why it took me a little more time to reach. I see Eritrea’s cup half full and we need to work together to fill it. You see it half empty; therefore it has to be changed, even at the risk of destroying it.
    Now Big Brother it is your turn, take your horse and ride the whole ‘Meda’ and convince me and others the “DIA supporters, worshipers etc” why we should abandon our ‘docile Dictator Camel’ and take a ride on your ‘wild Democracy horse”?
    Don’t try to list the usual adjectives and insults of the Eritrean government and its leadership, I have heard it all and it did not convince me a bit or change my stand, about, PIA, Eritrea or PFDJ. The more you use those languages the more I get closer to my ‘Savior the Dictator’. Just brotherly advice.You said you know him more than I do, so educate me.. You also wrote I was free to consult any government cadres; well I did not use their help. But, also you can consult with your compatriots on this. Take you horse and show me your ride!

    By the way, I read in one of your responses that you opposed the border war back in 1998, well I did too! At least we were in the same camp then. I wonder why we are travelling on parallel roads now. Is there any chance that we can converge, well not according Geometric theorem, unless one of us take a slight bending.

    Peace!

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Haw Dawit,

      I think some one told you to teach me history which I was already part of it and know it very well. So you kill your time and energy to do that. At least if not directly but indirectly that the sanction is not economic sanction, though you failed to say it for your own political turfs. I don’t think you failed to understand between economic sanction and military sanction. I surely don’t believe that. But you have the audacity to spin and talk on diversionary issues.

      If you are worshiping the dictator (your words not my words) it is bad. It means you are taking him as a religious alter to follow him without a question. But I don’t believe that you are that dogma. What I see from your writing though is arrogance (mith-lelak)…. and I think that is part of the Eritrean political culture that kills us to the extent where we are. You couldn’t miss that my friend dawit. The only message I have to you is “stand with the destitute Eritrean people and advocate for justice. When you do that surely history will absolve you as it should be.

  • saay7

    Selamat awatistas:

    Here’s a consolidated reply that I hope will address the questions and requests for clarification for my call for a “democratic coup d’etat” in Eritrea. It is in no specific order:

    1. Ambassador, yes, I agree that the “Ali Abdu is my younger brother” line has a high hirikrik factor because in all my writings I have never said that. I felt it was necessary to say that in this particular case because I am hinting at a conflict of interest for Herman Cohen and I wanted to disclose any potential conflict of interest I may have. It is a very American culture, I think, for writers to disclose any “real or perceived” conflict of interest. If I were real biased, I would say that Ali Abdu created the only institution in Eritrea that works (Eri-TV) and he had superior management skills:) I wasn’t trying to show he was indispensable; in fact I agree with you that although he may have been a sharp tool, he was still a tool (I will come back to that in a minute: my point is that everybody in a position of authority in Eritrea is a tool of Isaias Afwerki: s/he has no independent power), and the context was: that all ministers, all governors, all administrators fight for their budget and when there is a vacancy in a ministry, governorship, nobody fights for its resources and some other assertive exec fights for allocating the funds for his pet projects. This is what I am suggesting happened with the Y&Y pet projects: the raimoqs and tesfanews. But that’s mere speculation.

    2. Emma, I would like to echo Ermias’s point that I am surprised you are surprised. I think I coined the word “Isaiasist” (I am sure it appears somewhere in this article we are discussing) to make one point: that our target is Isaias Afwerki only. I could give you any number of articles (start with “Isaias & The Eritrean People” series; or postings in the comment section, particularly in my debates with Eyobai where I was telling him who is most likely to replace Isaias Afwerki), but the biggest character reference for this would be Yosief Ghebrehiwet who delights in making fun of my argument that the only target is or should be Isaias Afwerki. I actually expected you to question the term “democratic coup d’etat”: is it a contradiction in terms? Does Eritrea fulfill the requirements for that (a military institution trusted by the people)? The success rate? The risk factor? Etc. You may also be misunderstanding my point: I see our struggle as a two-phase struggle: phase 1, remove Isaias Afwerki from PFDJ; phase 2, compel/educate/annoy/ PFDJ into transitioning us to a multi-party state. This is the right thing to do because everybody else in the regime is just an abused tool who would be delighted with change; it is also the most pragmatic thing to do because since you are a politician, I am sure you know politics is the art of the possible and not the art of maximalism.

    3. Mahmud Saleh: Actually, Eritrea was placed under sanctions because (a) Isaias refused to acknowledge and come to terms about his dispute with Djibouti which he repeatedly called fabricated; (b) Isaias became the unofficial spokesperson of Al-Shabab and he was denying they were a terrorist organization even after they had pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda. This is not just a case of bad diplomacy/image; but a reckless man doing reckless things. The proof is: China and Russia would NOT have gone along with the US if it was just a US on a witch hunt.

    4. Medrekh: An organization cannot call for a “democratic coup” and I doubt if Medrekh ever will (and they would not be very smart if they did.) From an international law perspective, that is the thing that gives all the suits a case of the willies and none would sanction it. Publicly. While I like the Medrekh people and their vision, actually, the person who comes closest to articulating what I am talking about is not Medrekh but Wedi Vacarro. He has a three step call: (a) the people conduct an uprising; when they do, (b) the army sides with the people and refuses to open fire or arrest them. This results in (c) the arrest of Isaias Afwerki and the instituting of a care-taker government. That is the very definition of a democratic coup.

    I don’t see this being in conflict with the strategies of most of the established opposition groups. As the sharp Mohammed Ahmed mentioned at awate (will add the link later), the strategy of the armed groups within EDA is not to bring about change in Eritrea, but to be well-positioned enough so that, when change comes, they will be ready for the political fight. Those who engineer the democratic coup d’etat can use the Hungugu factor of the established opposition to convince their colleagues that it is time for change and we must be in charge of the change because this is what is awaiting Eritrea.

    Thanks Papillonn (sorry you were forced to add an extra n; just like I had to add a 7: Disqus is moody) and thanks, kinda, Kim Hanna. iGwad-am Eyob: you are still confused about the age thing, huh?

    saay

    • Haile Zeru

      ·Hi SAAY
      I zoomed on those two points of your argument:
      “I see our struggle as a two-phase struggle: phase 1, remove Isaias Afwerki from PFDJ; “

      · Ok, it sounds good. Hoping the top echelon of generals and no name generals will be ousted too. BTW are you exhorting PFDJ members themselves to do that?

      · phase 2, “compel/educate/annoy/ PFDJ into transitioning us to a multi-party state.”

      · SAAY I admire your analytical capability but here I lost you. PFDJ is made up of a lot of garbage, visible and invisible. They should be compelled to abandon any hope of coming back to power as a structured body. Otherwise we will run in circles. If one can “compel” and “educate” why not let the people own the country and their destiny without carrying PFDJ remnants and their dirty cultural baggage?

      · “ This is the right thing to do because everybody else in the regime is just an abused tool who would be delighted with change;”

      What kind of change? Why do you assume the core PFDJ members want the same change that you want?

    • Eyob Medhane

      Sal,

      you know what I hate the most? When you are right. That is something that should not happen. Stop it.. 🙂

      Your assertion that Issu might get invited to the August banquet may be true.

      I found this CCTV clip that says, ‘Obama Administration may revise its list of African leaders invited’ They probably will try to find a loophole to sneak him in..

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91Mz6kQGQ9M

      • dawit

        I hope Eritrea will reject this dress rehearsal gathering unless US formally apologizes to the Eritrean people for its unfair treatments since 1950’s. The Eritrean people deserve that. The Eritrean people can forgive but never forget the historic crimes caused by the selfish U.S. foreign policy makers.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Merhaba Saleh,

      You are by far politician than the politicians. Aren’t you the one who always coins new political terminology into our political lexicon, like the one in this comment “democratic coup d’etat”. Come on Sal. But I am still in surprise how you are putting trust for PFDJites for “power” which their track records are exclusionist to the core. There is nothing you could prove that they could without ambiguity could transfer power to the people. PFDJ doesn’t become exclusionist after 2000 rather they start it with their parent organization (EPLF) soon after they come in to the city of Asmara. Remember when Issayas was saying “there is no Hashewie nay wudubat” . All the rank and files of the organization welcomed to his echo even his colleagues who are in jail now. Do you think the Menkerios’s and Andebrhan’s (medrek) who are despising the ethnics and who are calling to our Muslim brother “the chehamat” derogatory language will bring an equitable Eritrea? Who are the reformist-PFDJ in your book my dear friend? I still to know them. In any case I am still dazed (stuned) a man of your caliber couldn’t see the destructive of this secretive organization. And now you approprating the power of transition to them. Hisebelu De’a.

      • saay7

        Hi Emma:

        Weriduni, I didn’t invent the phrase “democratic coup d’etat.” The brainiacs at Harvard (International Law Journal) came up with it. It is actually a good read and I am sure you would enjoy it. The abstract is here; and I am sure you can google the entire pdf document:

        http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1922792

        I disagree with you on your assessment of the EPLF/PFDJ, Menkerios, Andeberhan, et al. The best way to think about this is: what if the G-15 had followed up their call for reform with a military coup and succeeded? Where would Eritrea be right now? Do you think it would still be a one party dictatorship? And you know my feeling on blaming the EPLF leadership and rank and file for the mess we are in; intellectual honesty requires us to extend that logic and blame the people, then, doesn’t. Or, in the immortal words of Hebret Berhe when she was asked, “where were you when Isaias converted the country into a dictatorship”: “where were you?” Not directing this at Emma, but at the people.

        saay

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Hey Sal,

          Thank yo for the link – a lesson for today. However it doesn’t change my view that sal is a prolific and savvy politician. Your political argument is more than enough and excels to the so called politicians. I mean it. As to the concept of “democratic coup d’etat” is concerned, I will read the example countries given in the link. There are many factors to judge those individual coup makers. After finding the background of those individuals we will relate with the Eritrean reality whether we could have those kind of individuals within the ranks of our army.

          So far waiting for a coup in Eritrea is out of hopelessness of our people from the opposition camp, nothing else. You know the top military brass of our army, almost all of them are part of the apparatus of oppression. Once they are part of it, it will be difficult to carry it, for they know their role in the last 13 or more years.

          But just a reminder, even from the medium rank like wedi Ali – though it was a patriotic endeavor. they lack organizations. Without organizing skills especially within the security apparatus of PFDJ, it is highly unlikely. We saw how it was foiled.Second, those in the medium rank, they will be limited in the scope on how the country should be governed equitably. So when we wish let us wish realistically. For now I close my case and I will come back when I read the link to understand the educational capacity and their democratic ideals, and how they understood the delineation of civic government and their role in civic government. That might give a room to argue against your approach.

          Thank you

          AHT.

          • Kokhob Selam

            well said Amanuel.

        • T. Kifle

          Selamat SAAY,

          The problem I think arises from the feeling of lacking safety in the face of uncertainty. Coup makers from IA accomplice would only complicate matters as they think they are liable for the atrocities they committed all along. Which authority do you think would absolve them from that? I guess no one and the reasonable course of action for them would be continuing his legacy with much the status qua. How about the essence of time? For how long can Eritrea stand the tribulations of experiments of transitions?

          Of course, I also understand in the absence of clear alternatives for the struggle, yours could be taken as one but you seem undermining the spillovers that may arise from the immediate layer of authority next to IA. Real change, if it comes, should be from the middle lower rank of the military not from the top brass the main reason being that group(the top one) naturally would weigh the role it played in making what have become of IA.

          T. Kifle

      • Kokhob Selam

        as for me I don’t want to shoulder all those crimes to DIA, and I am completely convinced he is the result of our (Eritrean people thinking). honestly speaking all the way in our history long before DIA’s Era we as people have done a lot of mistakes and one should be bold enough to accept this truth. no single enemy can be around you unless you are enemy of yourself. so the change I work for was and is and will remain change in each individual and go up to the higher society. this makes me believe that change needed is from the root. the process will be long but we can all work against the group in Asmara with solid foundation that holds all. at this very moment thinking to reform PFDJ is just playing HASHEWIYE and we have to replace it only following the minimum ground we agree all.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Dear Redab & others who have similar questions regarding fundamental change:

    Fundamental change to me is a change in relative to the status quo. That means (a ) a complete change in the structure of the government and the way it functions with our people and the international community (b) A transformational state that gives equitable power to its inherent social groups (c) to strike out the anomaly governmental structure that hinders the independence of the three pillars of governance(namely the executive, judiciary, and legislative).

    To do that we need a process where all the stakeholders as well as the public at large could assemble and negotiate on the three points I mentioned. Keep in mind the mistrust within our people is deep as it gets. No need to mention the current political alignments in the way they are framing to challenge PFDJ. But let me clear myself: Making an overhaul on the way we function as a government doesn’t prevent the existence of PFDJ as a stakeholders in the political process. Otherwise nothing could make us different than the exclusive-PFDJ, at least from the view who strive for democracy and justice for all. The current document (constitution) as it stood, couldn’t be a unifying document -.Absolutely not. Make a survey if you will especially in the non-tigrigna speaking. In that regard I wrote an article as a personal suggestion…..hoping many writers to come along that line of approach to resolve the constitutional crises we are in (not exactly but addresses the three point I alluded here). I hope this clears my position in regard what should be the essential political process.

    • haile

      Selamat Aman

      I am not sure if you remember but saay hasn’t actually changed any position, i.e. about a year or so ago he shared similar view that the next leaders would come from the warsay generation in Eritrea. He made that remark when we were discussing with serray in relation to culpability of ghedli and tegadelti as a whole.

      In my view, it is understandable for pro-democracy advocate to countenance the involvement of PFDJ in post IA era in Eritrea. There can even made a point that would strengthen their (PFDJ) argument for it. The fact that IA and small clique of security and military leaders have hijacked the normal political process in the country. Who is PFDJ? When did it last convene for regular conference? When did it discuss and ratify its periodic plans for government? Not that anyone can remember. Even the so called “cabinet of ministers” have never been allowed to be heard discussing anything by the public. All their meetings are silenced and presented with voice over of a journalist (the last such ban on voice was applied to the leaders of northern Ireland “terrorist” (as described then) groups by the UK media). In fact Abdella Jabir was one of the latest high ranking leader of PFDJ to have been liquidated by the IA squad when the former has reportedly was linked to the pro-democracy FORTO operation by Eritrean patriots. Hence, the PFDJ may argue that it was as much sidelined and muzzled as the rest of the country and its name is used to cover IA and his killing squads.

      The problem with the above is however, the fact that the Eritrean public opinion has (rightly or wrongly) firmly associated PFDJ with the IA and his henchmen. Hence, even if the PFDJ is allowed to be part of the political process, it would have to climb a tall mountain to clean its tarnished image once IA regime is gone and all his atrocities start to reel on the camera for the world to see. I doubt it that the PFDJ would then be able to maintain its existence by finding enough people to join it or vote for it.

      The reality is thus the PFDJ would be dismantled and be no more immediately after the instance when IA and his henchmen take a flight out of the country for good. After all, who would want to have a throwback from a dark era hanging around, regardless of its justifications for doing so.

      So, lets all get real, NO IA means NO PFDJ! Period.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Hailat,

        I am for justice for all. We can’t deny them in a genuine political process. it is up to the Eritrean people to give or not to give them power. Our struggle should be to dismantle the political system they created and not to disbanded them. As to the crimes they committed, they have to face the court of justice on individual basis, based on the role they played for the inhumane activities they rendered upon our people. Justice couldn’t happen to our people while PFDJ is in power. Therefor I am for collective transitional leadership made up of independent technocrates until we settle the issue of the constitution like that of the Tunisian people.

        Please read an article titled as “Tunisia’s Hopes Near Realization” written by Rached Ghannouchi dated 2/1/2014. I am really for such kind of transitional government. I mean it and I argue for it.

        Amanuel

    • Zegeremo

      Sounds realistic and practical. But one may ask, which comes first ligitmacy or reform? And would the ideal reform be capable enough to deliver justice for the crimes committed by DIA in the last 20 + years?

  • Ambassador

    Selamat aya,

    Superb article, nice flow; and if I may add- typical of you Saay. I always enjoy the panache of your writing. Your articles project an image of smart pants on the part of the author who grows impatient with the increasing gullibility of its readers. You breakdown events to their simplest form very successfully that when I read your piece, I always feel you looking down at us saying “look idiots-things are not the way you think they are”. Yet, as much as our audiences look naïve pertinent to the current events in Eritrea (of Eritrea)- may be because they allow their imagination to fill for the endemic lack of information- similarly your article is anemic due to this fundamental problem, ergo, could also be judged likewise. The case in point is Ali Abdu..

    Since PFDJ gave Ali the post of a minister, this article is, by far, the first attempt to elevate Ali to the personhood of
    political significance. Succinctly stated, you said that one of the reasons that Herman Cohen’s article get the undeserved buzz is because Ali Abdu left the regime; and consequently created a vacancy that needed to be filled in a form of spin-worthy article like that of Herman’s. Although I do agree with the perception that Ali was a tool of the government (like an article that could be replaced); I part company with you in his being significant. Common sense dictates tools to remain tools with no chance of being a person, let alone that of a significant person. And, it is contrary to the nature of DIA to work with people who could create void should their absences are needed. And MOI is still spinning and will remain spinner whether Ali, Yemane and Yemane are there or not. It is a culture of lying that emboldens dictators; and there will always be someone –a product of that culture-who steps up to lie and willing to be used as a tool if situations demand.

    Other than that-once again, zibila’e hiTibo eyu…

    • Nitricc

      “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”

      I once read this author’s post and I read it with a great sadness. On the surface, he sounds educated, his writings are impeccable and one expects this person to be a little commonsensical. Last time I read this guy, he was arguing 0.1% Eritrean population should be forgotten, dismissed and written off so Eritrea could have peace with Ethiopia so, the highlanders like himself can make out with their Tigryan cousins. Yes, this guy said, forget Badime and the people. Then the scond time I read him; he was allover Akiliu Zere because Aklilu wrote “the good woman”. He throw tantrum about harmless narration of the Italian’s era in Eritrea.
      And the same guy has no shame, not shared of grace and he has to come out and say Ali Abdu is not a person. NO am not kidding read….

      “the first attempt to elevate Ali to the personhood of political significance
      Common sense dictates tools to remain tools with no chance of being a person, let alone that of a significant person”

      It is obvious from his writings this guy went to school, I just hope he comes out and share the name of that pathetic school he attended to, so, no other Eritrean will go to that that freaking school. If not, he could have learned people are people, humans are humans regardless their choice of politics. how do you take someonce humanity? there is uncondtional respect just for humanity.
      Forget Ali Abdu, a man who served his country from his very child hood all the way to his manhood. He gave it all to what Ali believes. He was there when it matters. He did not sell his soul, dignity and honor to flee from his country when his people were hanged, burned, executed and humiliated. He stood and fought to the end. To me, Ali Abdu is that the definition of a life worth living, a person worth mentioning. He stood with what he believed and left when he was not.
      What can we say about Ambassador? Who? Exactly! But one thing we know and we deny you is, you are a person and a human being. You have the nerve to question Ali’s humanity as a person. Take it; you are the tool because you have nothing to show.
      To all of you out there, you can hate, ridicule, dismiss the ex-tegadelti, But you are going to respect them. When your coward behind was fleeing the country and lie your teeth off to be a burden of the west; the Tegadelt stood up and paid everything.
      No one cares about sorry rear-end. You will respect them.
      and remember …….
      “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Tegadelti did it right.

  • mahmud saleh

    SAAY: Hmmm, it went through, so the rest of my comments:
    1- Just wanted to know if you think Merek’s emergence and the voices of the former diplomats; not that I’m anxious about it, but being curious.
    2- You know it deep in your heart that there was no factual information( related to Alshabab) that would subject Eritrea to embargo; Eritrea was subjected to the embargo b/c: a/ it aided the organization that preceded Alshabab and particularly the hosting of Awey, in Asmara despite Bush’s ” either with us or against us” warning; b/ Ethiopia’s heavy handedness in both IGAD and the AU, and its emergence as a force to reckon with, particularly, watching the Horn hood and therefore Ethio-US colluding interests, c, Eritrean regime’s diplomatic weakness and warped reading of UN security members intentions, and generally its bad image, image as you know it, is everything in today’s world.

  • mahmud saleh

    SAAY: I’ve no idea if this will go through; I’m having difficulty signing in in to the forum. As always beautifully presented.
    “There is another option: a cabal of reformers from within the PFDJ have Forto 2.0 and then we in the broad-based opposition moderate them from their years of exclusionary conditioning just like we did with the EDP reformers. Consider me intrigued.”
    The most likely outcome.

  • Beyan Aman

    Yes a reformed PFDJ should lead Eritrea at this time is a good fit.
    Because during any transformation there should be also a continuity
    of the state and its history than dismantling all and build again wasting
    what allready ther is. But as for those whose question is “where is fundumental
    change then………….?”My answer would be :
    The fundamental change has taken place in 1994 allready.
    With due respect to all Awatesites.

  • Papillonn

    Dear Sal,

    God gave you an extraordinary gift–a powerful mind. Can’t say more except that, glad you’re w’lad Eritrea.

    Haft’kha.

    P.S. I am unable to use my old nick. I have added an “n” to Papillon.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Moderator,
    you are not recognizing as member of the forum when I try to comment from home. It reject as the email is already used. So I am posting my comment as a guest from home. However I am okay from work. Is there any reason that I miss. I want to use the same email for the purpose of desqous.

    • If you are using the same e-mail and username, there shouldn’t be a problem If there is a change, it will reject it. By the way, Disqus is a third party, we are just using their platform.

  • Abinet

    Thank you team AWATE for your service . Interesting discussion . Saay, you really surprised me .how do you differentiate your stand from that of Medrek?

  • Kim Hanna

    Dear Awatistas,
    I have read SAAY writings since the late 90s. He was my counter balance to someone who goes by the name of DAGMAWI at that time. There is no question SAAY is well educated and has acquired a mountain of knowledge. Beyond that he is a gifted intelligent man.
    He wrote this article with such clarity of thought and spot on points. He conveyed it to the average reader like me, perfectly. He has diagnosed even the malady of American politics better than their professors of political science, in my opinion, to shed light into the effect it has in our corner of the world.
    What is surprising and baffling to me then is to see him go banana ape bonkers and losses all his composure and tact when the topical name of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, Abyssinian history etc. is mentioned.
    Can anybody, other than the Awate team, shed light on the phenomena of this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide personality. I hope I don’t get back question of “where is the evidence”. I don’t have time for that.
    There, I teed it up for you. Don’t hit it out of bound.
    KH

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Saay,
    I would like you to write a piece on your last comment regarding Eritrea to be governed by reformed PFDJ. Just elaborate your reason on the point you mentioned to convince to those who oppose that idea. You took me by surprise and I am still in disbelief.
    regards,
    Amanuel

    • Ermias

      Selamat Amanuel.
      I read Hayat’s comment with respect to SAAY’s position and I thought she did that out of the blue (didn’t know he actually written a comment about it). I re-iterated her take. You can search and read my comment, just click on my name. Anyway, I am really surprised by your surprise. SAAY has been saying this all along. You are a bright man but I am dumbfounded by how you missed this glaring take of SAAY’s with respect to IA, the regime, and PFDJ. Search his comments, articles, and it will not take you before you make your conclusion. To save you time, the most telling article about his stance is the piece he wrote about his visit to New York with Petros Solomon’s family to speak in a forum for human rights. Here is a link to it:
      http://awate.com/younis-disengage-from-isaias-afwerki-engage-alternative-voices/

      Sorry for my interjection because you asked the question to SAAY and he can speak for himself better than anyone I know. I just wanted to chime in while he sharpens his pencil for you.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Ermias,

        I read him for over 13 years addictively no matter I agree or disagree with his point of view. So I know his position at every turn of our politics. Yes he was for a reformed PFDJ in early 2000 and may be up to mid of the decade. I saw him moving from that position slowly accusing the party and its leaders to the extent supporting the document of Mejlis. From that point he was in my book with those for a fundamental change to reconcile the Eritrean people not under PFDJ but in a political-forum where all the stakeholders will workout for the future of Eritrean people. So that is my surprise dear Ermias. I have no clue how he expecting changes with the arrogance of PFDJ exclusionisst…..yesterena eye zebl.

    • Rodab

      Aman,
      A reformed PFDJ is better fit to govern Eritrea at the moment. When you walk down the stairs, you are more likely to continue steadly than, say, taking a number of strides at a time.
      You’ve said you are for a fundamental change. Dandy! But what does that mean exactly and how realistic is it? Could you, in a simplified way, outline the steps that involve fundamental changes? Thanks!

    • Horizon

      Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard his spots? I wonder.

  • Araya

    Awate-team: is there any reason why my comments are not
    posted. I don’t mind you making my comments subject to moderation but to not post it is downright wrong. It is not like I am new comer. I have been here.

    • Selam Araya,
      We deleted only one of your message because you appointed yourself a warden 🙂 You are not allowed to ask people to leave this Forum because they are not Eritreans. Anyone is welcome at Awate Forum as long as they abide by our posting guidelines which as you know, doesn’t have restrictions based on race, gender or citizenship.

      Apart from that, we have no problem with you.

      • Araya

        AT
        Thank you for your response. Now I know what the reason was.
        Thank you.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Nitricc,
    Her you start to count our diverging point with Saay. I am for fundamental change and Saay for a reformed PFDJ with their organizational constitution to govern the Eritrean people (which he looks like Medrekawian). This is aside on past issues. So I hope you stand corrected now.

    • Araya

      Ladies and Gentlemen; please fasten your belt .
      Aman, get ready here we go. This forum is about catch a fire. I couldn’t believe reading SAAY’s take.
      Holy cow! Nitric is going to do a cartwheel. Well, I guess, if you are persistence enough, like nitric has been, everything is possible. It is a major victory for nitric in particular and for every Eritrean with a common sense in general.
      Ladies and Gentlemen; please fasten your belt

  • haile

    Hey all,

    IA to go to D.C ? No way! The guy is avoided by virtually the whole neighbourhood like some disease carrier and there is no way anyone would go all the way to D.C to spend time with him 🙂

  • Ermias

    To Awate Team:

    I have a simple suggestion which, if implemented, will help me and perhaps many others too.

    On the Recent/Popular Threads section, it normally shows the latest four comments. Can that be expanded to perhaps ten comments? That way, if we check every few hours or so, we will not miss so much because traffic has been quite high. This will prevent us from going through each article trying to dig what’s new.

    Thank you!

    Ermias

    • Thomas

      Hi Ermias,

      I think those are populated I wonder if that can be adjusted easily.

      thanks,

  • Thomas

    S. Michael,

    I am sensing you are the supporter of the dying regime. Nowadays, it has become a tabbo for the diehard supporters to pretend on something they are not. I don’t understand why you chose the pronoun “We” our sentence. I am taking that since we, most documentaries on this website, are against dictatorial regime, you are saying you share our views. That is you like to see the current regime removed and replace by a democratic government. If this is your stand which I would not be surprised if you reveal your true color otherwise. Taking from you want note above, “all options including containment,regime change,sanctions ,etc—failed
    by all the evil wishers and the so called Opposition Groups,which is why
    they are freaking out like Saba said it.
    The only option left out is
    Engagement-be it full or limited, before we try to “weed out”
    PFDJ/PIA,as one of your partners mentioned it.It is not a Rocket Science
    again to figure it out..” WOW, is really what you think is happening and you still are with us? I advise you to come clean, open and tell us you support the killer regime back home for whatever weird reasons.

    • S Michael

      Thomas,
      I think you have to follow certain steps and guidelines of debate.This is childish.Bring up new ideas constructively,challenge opinions , correct if needed to be corrected.
      Character assassination,name calling,etc… are obsolete.
      I support the regime when needed and I challenge it when needed as well.

      • Thomas

        So, you cannot be trusted, right? We gone through ups and downs to know people of your kind. So, no more deception. Debate with you, about what? You have data of your own to prove anything, other than what you get from the ministry of disinformation, Eri-TV. I see you criticizing the opposition for being weak and all. He went even further to tell us that sanction on DIA and his puppets did not work, evil wishers/the so called opposition failed to materialize and what else? Our people have more united against the decaying regime than any time before. Mark my words, it won’t last long. We are now watching people like yourself, you are running out of time you better surrender to the people.

        • S Michael

          Thomas(Fake name to sound Eritrean-huh?)
          Do I care wether “Thomas” trusts me or NOT?
          Look at what SAAY has just said–exactly what most of us would like—-inclusiveness–including PFDJ Leadership,and that includes the Genius Ali Abdu-too,irrespective of what his role might have been under the HEAD.What about those elite ex-PFDJ/EPLF Veterans? Are you going to exclude them.I just confirmed as who you might be.
          Lol, we have enough experieince to discern as to who is who.
          Again: extremism, fanatism,exclusionsim,–etc are bygones and the INCO solution?
          Proper and inclusive Dialog/engagement at any cost and under any condition and circumstance followed by national Reconciliation is teh WAY but the WAY to go.
          Since Salih Younis agreed with me about this, hope you will change gears.and join the camp.
          Good luck to you.
          S Michael

  • saay7

    Selamat S. Michael:

    One of the things I get criticized for often is that my writing is “Isaias-obsessed.” But there is a reason to my madness: I believe that if the man is removed, all the changes that we want can be implemented–gradually. I am not a fan of revolutions, armed struggle, uprooting the regime, sur-neqel, etc. In short, I am for “democratic coup”: a Wed-Ali type overthrow of the regime–minimal bloodshed.

    Of course, then we will be dealing with EPLF/PFDJ without its head and there will be a tendency for the EPLF/PFDJ to echo all the words, and do all the deeds that it is famous for–exclusion, arrogance, etc. But we can deal with that gradually once the mad man is gone. In short, my step one is to have the EPLF/PFDJ in power, without its mad mad; step two is to educate/moderate the EPLF/PFDJ. Hope that answers your question.

    saay

    • Hayat Adem

      SGJ’s view is “.I have a long held belief that any thought of reforming the regime is as bad as giving it a new lease on life.” SAAY’s is ‘I am for “democratic coup”: a Wed-Ali type overthrow of the regime–minimal bloodshed.”‘ This is not a small difference from political point of view. Yet, most of us feel the presence of complete trust, friendship and marriage-in-Awate between them. So lovely and so symbolic to the kind civility we want to see built in Eritrea!!!

      • haile

        Hayat, spot on, and thanks for pointing that out. IA and followers are in a mindless self preservation mode and hence this might give them to pause and reflect. I appreciate their latest technique of “temesasel” to engage in debate. Speaking from observational wisdom though, those who start to pretend to be opposition in order to gain air time for their regime manifesto, tend to usually end up being real opposition in the end of the day. This because Freedom is addictive 🙂 so, do look after them till then. Here was a news about “border issue” that caught my eye yesterday:

        http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-china-discuss-cbms-on-border-issue/article5678518.ece

      • Ermias

        SAAY puts the blame totally and squarely on IA. No question he is the chief master of all evil (not SAAY but IA). SGJ, I know, advocates uprooting the whole system but whether he simply thinks the system is dysfunctional (because of IA), hence revamping it totally, or that they are all to blame for all the attrocities, I am not clear about. His last article seems to point towards the former. I say this simply because he sincerely tried to engage with former PFDJ criminals.
        My take is slightly different. IA could well be the source of every single evil in Eritrea but when it comes to innocent human lives and destruction of an entire nation, there is definitely such a thing as GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION. Hence, every high level PFDJ official, at home and abroad, will need to be charged with mass murder and destruction of families livelyhoods.

        • SMICHAEL

          Ermi,
          Watch out as you may ne biting them.

    • SMichael

      Thank you cousin.I want Ali Abdul back then to be the next PFDJ head as at least he will listen to you.Am not joking now as am sure he has that genetics you have.Am sure you know better than most of us about the internal dynamics of the PFDJ Leadership.
      My major concern for step ONE -CUTTING the head, is that there might be unnecessary consequences.Plus you are completely discrediting the positive role of the Head.
      I do not believe our case scenario is worse than that of S African Apartheid issue where the ANC completely forgave the worst oppressors and killers under the Sun
      And therefore, still I prefer dialog and engagement with the head intact and take over smoothly as it is possible.
      The only major problem is the Opposition is fragmented and not strong enough to challenge the Head

      Our first step, in fact , should be how to mobilize our people to come together and organize people oriented and people based , Unified, broad based strong Opposition but not the way the current opposition is doing even though I sense some awakening towards that.
      National Reconciliation First!
      Proper Engagement and Peaceful Dialog.

  • S Michael

    Sal,
    Pefect analysis as usual.But what are your expectations and suggestions then?To re-phrase it,at this moment,what would be our choice–?Limbo-limbo,no peace-no-war war status until PIA is gone or weeded out; or start engagement,realistically and practically speaking?I sympathize with you but if your reaction is for NOT getting what you suggested during your expert witness report,I am afraid that things may not go the way we want them.Weeding out PIA/PFDJ at this moment may not be the best option but we should give a final try for the engagement.It is a long process and it has taken 45 yrs for these people to be in this position-the Leadership..
    Lol, all options including containment,regime change,sanctions ,etc—failed by all the evil wishers and the so called Opposition Groups,which is why they are freaking out like Saba said it.
    The only option left out is Engagement-be it full or limited, before we try to “weed out” PFDJ/PIA,as one of your partners mentioned it.It is not a Rocket Science again to figure it out..
    While admiring your metaphysical analyisis–analysis for the sake of analysis,while knowing fully,of course, what is the BEST for Eritrea for now,I am dismayed and disappointed for deliberately playing “intellectual and political acrobatism”.
    It is time for you and your alikes to change game plans too as those the likes of Hunk are realizing the real game belatedly.But you are belittling it through your “expert” analysis.I am sure they know what they are talking about and they might be as intelligent as you are but ,hey,politics is a agme and you have to play it right.
    “Kuuso bi mossa alem bisiyasa zeykonen eti mela??.
    PIA is playning it well, I guess, and it is your turn to play better rather than empty bluffing.
    Bottom line,wether it benefits PFDJ/PIA or the opposition group,I am sure the engagement will benefit the Eritrean people.
    Enough is Enough!Be part of the solution,NOT,part of the problems.
    S Michael
    Pls,by the way,Salih G J, thanks for your response and kind words.
    My point is that you should be part of the Medrekh as well and go deep inside and challeneg them rather than peripherally and remotely monitoring them.
    Make no mistake that I have admired your bold and aggressive fight against injustice but my opinion is that we need to engage them diplomatically as telling them the Truth to their face in a dry way may not be constructive.I have had bad experience in the American System being truthful to theiri face as they will consider you like their enemy number ONE if you say it in a ” wrong way”.I guess it is a Kerenite culture but—alem tisha’te eya–truth prevails at last but —-.
    I am sure I am naive as you may notice but we need to change the game plan and our approach rather than running in a parallel way–with out trying for an intersection.That is what we need now and what we have to work hard.Speculating,suspecting,assuming,being judgemental—stubborness,etc—will take us no where as it has not benefited the PFDJ..
    God bless you all.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Dawit,
    First of all I didn’t challenge you to debate with me. Rather I told you to engage with the author constructively without being dismissive (read your first dismissive comment). You see Dawit you are capable to debate. But since you couldn’t able to disprove his argument you try to throw is as ” speculative hypothesis.” Not new as expected from the side of the government. What I was expecting from you was, to tell us that your facts to every hypothesis you read in his argument. So if they are correct to learn from them. You still have the space and time to do it my friend to disprove his argument by simply getting the fact by consulting with them if is wrong what we hear from Saay.

    But let me say something on the questions you put forward in responding to me rather to the author. Can Cohen change his mind without considering his financial interest? Absolutely no. Businessmen can’t change their mind without considering their financial interest especially lobbing business. B/c that is how they make their living. Have I ever thought people correcting correcting their wrong thought after they have been mislead? Yes indeed and many. But what was the wrong thought that mislead Cohen and who mislead him and when (need specific facts and frame time)? You also mentioned about economic sanction on Eritrea. What kind of economic sanctions are being acted on Eritrea? could you please educate us and supply us with documents? The sanction we are aware about are not of economic sanction.

    As to the rest of your comments, they are not relevant to the article, so no need sweating my friend. Dawit could you be sincere as to the reality of our nation and the wellbeing of our people. Last but not least challenge the author even with the help of senior cadre of the regime, line by line and point by point. So far you failed to bring the facts to strike to the “hypothesis” as you deem to call it (article of Saay) from your audacity of characterization. I am putting you on the same pedestal with saay for the time being until your bring your facts. If you fail, the story will be different. Am I right Dawit?
    Amanuel

  • Rahwa

    Quote of the week ” if you want democracy go to mars” his highness president for life Isayas Afeworki.

    • Hayat Adem

      H.H. PIA continued, “While in Mars, feel free to do what ever you want- just make sure you don’t forget sending the 2%.”

      • Ermias

        Good one Hayat. Reminds of the joke IA in Italy. He ate at a decent restaurant, waiter was Eritrean. The bill was much more than cheap a** IA expected. He asked the waiter “2% kefilka dika?” Waiter said no. IA said, “bel abti hisab ye’etwo eka.’

      • Saba

        Nice joke! 2% is always on his head, at least to maintain his modern time “swur ginbar.

      • Rodab

        haha Hayat.
        I feel like having a Gabrovo joke. You got one?

        • Hayat Adem

          The lovely people of Gabrovo! Here is one that I remembered in relation to PIA’s repeated advice to diaspora Eritreans to get back home with some amount of dollars. “50shih Hizkume entemeXikhum…”- that was recently when he met Eritreans in Kenya. At other time, he said “ab Amet 10-15shih entewahlilkum…”
          Now to the Gabrovo joke: A friend called a Gabrovo friend to alert him that he was coming to his home to visit and also asked for a direction. The Gabrovo friend seemed excited to welcome his friend and told him the exact address, and started describing the very gate of his house.
          “You can’t miss it, it is the only green gate door you will in the block. That is my house. When you get here, just knock the door with you right hand and I’ll come out to open it for you.” The visitor was intrigued by the right-hand-knock-only advice. Curiosity pushed him to spit it out, “Why right hand?” he asked. The Gabrovo clarified: “Well, I’m just guessing you will be carrying something with your left hand”

          • Rodab

            Funny indeed and yep, that sounds the exact way Isaias treated/treats Eri investors (Wedi Vacaro and others).

  • Rodab

    Good article Sal.
    Well, initiative no initiative, at the end of the day what PIA says is all that matters for he is the policy, the law and the decision. The final and binding decision. And as far as he is concerned all these little talks about relations with Ethiopia and the U.S. are nothing but “huwteta”. Case sealed! Now everyone please go back to what you were working on before the distraction. Speaking of huwteta, our diplomats have been doing huwteta all these times about meeting MDG’s goals when all they needed to understand is whether PIA believes in MDG’s way of measuring success. And predictably so, he doesn’t like MDG or anyone for that matter that attempts to award “bajila” of accomplishment. Even the nice people from Sudan who were praising the medical achievements on EriTv, thanks for the praise, but come on this doesn’t impress us (Isaias, not me saying). Is it me or does PIA not micro- manage EriTv? Sometimes things are a little different from the ouside. Peace!

  • Saba

    Just a Quiz!
    If this “engagement” results in the resolution of the border issue, who will be the most likely winner?
    A) DIA and PFDJ supporters
    B) The opposition camp
    C) Outside groups
    D) Democracy in Eritrea

    • Ermias

      Saba, B and D are the same thing. The answer is A for the short term. B, C, and D in the long term.

      • Saba

        Ermias, my answer is A for the short term (that’s why the opposition-oid camp is freaking out) and D in the long term. As of now, B and D are mutually exclusive 🙂 as A and D are mutually exclusive. I have not decided yet whether A and B are inclusive to some extent (remember your subset math?) or mutually exclusive 🙂

        • Ermias

          Saba, I agree that A and D are mutually exclusive because the existence of DIA/PFDJ necessarily precludes democracy and vice versa (or the existence of democarcy will have resulted from the vanishment of DIA) but I disagree wtih B and D being mutually exclusive. B and D are reciprocal. Awate.com is an institution of democracy for future Eritrea – no one can give you a better example. See, Eritrean opposition = Democracy in Eritrea.

          • Saba

            Ermias, i am sure you understand about correlation.
            The correlation between DIA and Democracy in Eritrea is -1
            The correlation between the “cyber” opposition parties and Democracy in Eritrea is -1[not even zero]. You sound a reasonable guy, i think you are more an activist than a proud supporter of the “cyber” opposition parties.

          • Ermias

            Hi Saba. I started writing my story to you but it was already a page long before I can get to age 6. So I decided to delete it. Anyway, I have no affiliation nor sympathy to any opposition party or group. I have no knowledge of the opposition parties. Hence opposition to me means ME. I AM OPPOSITION. I AM DEMOCRACY. I AM THE ANTI-ISAIAS AFWERKI. I AM THE ANTI-PFDJ. So when I speak about opposition, I speak about myself, who is fed up with a system that’s holding my family, my fellow countrymen hostage.

          • Saba

            Hi Ermias, i think you have edited your posting, tenkol do mihiromuka beal dawit? 🙂 Just kidding. I said you sound a reasonable guy,because i think you to try to understand somebody’s point of view, that does not mean you have to accept it. I am glad that you are an activist but beware of afratat and selmitat. I am not affiliated to any party. I will work for the formation of a party that will be dedicated to the public demand of democracy and a party where EPLF and ELF will be seen as independence fighters, not constituting the core principle of the party, DIA and cyber opposition will never be a choice for me.

          • Ermias

            Hi Saba. Happy valentines day. My avatar should have said so too. The fact that you are following me is quite flattering. If you read the original comment, why didn’t you respond then? Anyway, I prefer to be called sincere (no tenkol here as I am no politician) rather than reasonable. When all said and done, you and I are on the same page. If you don’t read and get back to me on this, I might edit it.

          • Saba

            Hi Ermias, happy (post)valentines day:) I have noticed your nice V-day avatar but i do not want to be a concern for your loved one:) I read your comment on the “popular threads”, 3 short lines in the side but the computer i was using did not allow me to open disqus(not an excuse alla semere). Anyway your original post is now in the “awate archives” section:) I am interested on your posts because you are talented but also, unlike the other guy(saay7, who is very talented too), you are humble. I think you are sincere. Do you remember the end of Narcissus? I have talented friends/coworkers with narcissistic personality and i see what it means. Life is about balance. Anyway if you are talented in politics&entertainment, i want you in my upcoming
            Jon Stewart/Rachel maddow-style EriShow:) Just kidding, do not visit the daily show for cramming:)

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Saba,

    If this full fledged article is “half truth” we are here waiting to come with the other “half truth” in a full fledged article. I think you said it without thinking that such kind of demand will come to you from the accusation you made. So Sabina can you meet your words to tell us the other “half-truth” not in paragraph, not even two or three paragraphs but in a full fledged analysis. A big task…you pull yourself into it. “Enho meda enho feres” ….I will give you one to two weeks. We will put you on a balance to equate with the heavy weight debater.

  • ethiopia

    Aman
    the war wasn’t about land but US-Rwanda proposal was about the land that is way it did not accepted .

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      I am saying based on their argument not on the fact I do know exactly.

  • haile

    Selamat Saay

    This is great! (I really mean it….Nitricc shut it:)

    I kinda thought along a similar lines, Hank was just doing the usual business of bringing a back burner issue in the thirdworld to the fore and make nice little earner for his business (It is amazing why some Eritreans have a problem with other Eritreans doing the same and not a foreigner! (Like the rumour about Medrek’s 5 star Hotel get together Wink)). I also suspect the Sophias were the initiators and he considered, and said … oh yeah, why not type of thing. Any way, great write up, but should have edited the draft to include IA’s interview that just proved your prediction right: he said there won’t be any change to PFDJ rule forever (yeah, he appeared serious about it – in a dimwit kind of way). Now, why is that you couldn’t “back space” to delete and update and publish. Is this ala Semere Tesfay, “hey I am at awate.com now and can’t really go to hotmail.com because the buses are not running and and need to pick up “toilet roll” on my way”… sorta excuse or what? 🙂

    Selam Aman,

    My take on the “Silent majority” has considerably evolved, since many incidences happened from the time I was argueing for the “opposition leaderships” to clarify their Badime position (back in 2011/early 2013) up to now. I am afraid that I have no longer consideration to the opinions of those on the regime side, I have serious reservation of their integrity. I no longer have the inclination to engage liers and thieves in good faith. I am now more of encouraging the opposition and believe that those on the regime side are useless and helpless when things change, they will be the first once to claim to be justice seekers. Most vocal one’s are really embassy employees or community swindlers. I don’t thing someone who would dismiss and walk away from the death of 366 children, mothers and young people of their country and excuse it with cr@p are worth engaging. Let, change come by the change seekers – forget the thieves, liers and embezzlers.

    Regards all,

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Hailat,

      You have it and you will prevail. That is what I could say at this point.

    • saay7

      Haile (the great):

      Back in October, an Eritrean that you and I know wrote:

      ”The one thing you can do is understand the nature of the regime—truly understand it—because if you did, you would know all the well-intentioned ‘engagement’ and ‘discussions on the margins of the conference’ and ‘new initiative’ that you individually or collectively dream up are all futile.All they do is legitimize an illegitimate government; extend it a lifeline and tacitly endorse its wanton human rights violations.You are trying to reform something that is beyond reform.”

      And, like clockwork, less than two months later, Cohen arrived with his “engagement” halewlew. This is what I was reacting to.

      Actually, I give the government of Harbegna Weyanay (Ethiopia) a hard time as often as I can but, man, they really nailed it in the its Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Week in the Horn.) Once in a while you see perfection and say, I can’t improve on that: and here it is:

      http://www.mfa.gov.et/weekHornAfrica/morewha.php?wi=1309#1309

      Last year I told Eyob Medhane that he (or somebody from his fraternity with his sense of humor) used to edit that piece before the grown ups took over, and he replied that it’s read by me and 33 other people. He actually thought that was a put down when it was a compliment:)

      saay

  • AboyTesfay

    was the article written before isias’ interview and posted today Feb 12? “By the way, I haven’t watched his announced interview yet (scheduled for Sunday night) but I expect him to undo whatever little promises his regime made in its Universal Periodic Review report to the UN in weeks prior.”

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Sorry Aboy Tesfay, this article is not about the interview of DIA. It is about his foreign enablers who want to engage for money. Just go through it again to have grasp on it.

    • saay7

      Aboy Tesfay:

      The article was written and submitted for publication on Saturday night and it was on cue since then. See, even I don’t get preferential treatment. 🙂

      Love your avatar.

      saay

  • Eyob Medhane

    Sal,

    Well, the ‘engagement’ you are talking about does not seem to include Issu.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States%E2%80%93Africa_Leaders_Summit

    Only Madagascar, which will have its ‘snub’ rescinded, because it has held an election, elects a ‘legitimate’ president and rejoined AU. Yay!. As it happens, it also elected a very good friend of the west. His name is Hery Rajaonarimampianina

    (Five bucks, if you know how to pronounce his last name with one breath 🙂 )

    P.S What? Ali Abdu is younger than you? How old is he 33? Because your avatar pic makes you look like you are not a day over 35….Spill the secret buddy. How did you do it? 🙂

    • saay7

      iGwad Eyob:

      Well, in THEORY, Egypt won’t be attending the US-Africa summit because its AU membership has been suspended since the coup d’etat it engineered. But do you foresee a US-Africa summit that excludes one of Africa’s 4 African “anchor states”? I doubt it. I think Egypt will be included, unless Ethiopia vetoes it.

      Similarly, Eritrea might be invited–remember the leftists (and Obama is the High Priest of the delusional leftists) believe in the magical powers of TALKING. “If we could just TALK about the ISSUES then we will have transformative change,” is one of the dogmas of leftists so I don’t rule out an invitation to Mad Mad Isaias Afwerki.

      My secret for looking young? It begins with giving up meat (and DEFINITELY raw meat), running long distance, and smoking herbs.

      saay

      • Aldem

        Let’s assume he will be invited. Will he come? I doubt.

      • Eyob Medhane

        Sal,

        I agree with you. Egypt also will get its invitation card to the party, albeit a bit late, because Field Marshal General Doctor Sheik Abdel Fettah El-Sisi will become a ‘legitimately elected’ president, and ‘constitutional order will be established, a minute after that happened they will rejoin AU, and they new President will fly to DC. But for now, this is what Egyptians are saying about the invitation of US-Africa summit.

        http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2014/01/22/Egypt-surprised-by-exclusion-from-US-Africa-summit-.html

        You said “….Unless Ethiopia vetoes it….” You tease!…You like flattering us, don’t you?…. 🙂

        About the combination of stuff that are making keeping you young, well, all I know is it’s obvious there is some ‘herb smoking’ is involved, when I sometimes read some crazy stuff you had to say… 🙂

        • saay7

          Eyobai:

          I was testing to see how much nationalism you had digested when you visited Enat Ager (along with the raw meat), but you are still cool: you sidestepped my bait about Ethiopia’s veto power. Well done.

          About my alleged youngish looks, I think it is all in the camera. Proof: I always ask for senior discount at theatres and restaurants and nobody has yet challenged to see my ID. Dammitt.

          saay

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,

            I had lots of tre sga and nationalsm, none of which has taken me to the point craziness to think that Ethiopia has a veto power…

            It is not your camera modified look that informed my decision that you are getting ‘up there’ age wise, Sal. I gave you a chance to take a shot at Girma Asmerom’s navy blue 19th century vest completed with picture proof, which is largely old people’s acquired test, but you passed. That actually is what tells made me think that “..may be Sal is 104 years old..” 🙂

        • This one for you Eyob: Dr AlHilaly from AlAzhar likens the Egyptian General, Al Sisi, to prophet Moses on this youtube clip. Warning: the AlJazeera broadcaster presenting the clip is Osman Ayferah, an gifted Eritrean whose mastery of the language is amazing.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwUbNJicZZg

          • Eyob Medhane

            Awate Moderator,

            Are you kidding me with this? My clip beats down your clip senseless 🙂 Here is His Holiness Pope Tewdros talking about how handsome and awesome El-Sisi is…They are going a bit weird, in that place.. 🙂

            (Granted, it is from Memri TV, but hey, መቼም ሰው ባለው ነው 🙂 )

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN8h047-pYw

    • Kaddis

      Selam Eyob – you picked the two things I was about to comment – US Africa summit and Saay being younger than Gash Ali.
      US- Africa – I foresee Egypt will also make it to the summit…given thier seriousness about thier political status.. they even lobbied at the AU during the last summit to be reinstated …the AU high level panel for Egypt demanded election and stuff….I also agree with saay’s take and add that …the fact that Eritrea is not invited to US Africa summit deserves a full analysis when you look at those excluded includes Zim, Sudan, Madagascar, Guinea Bissau, CAR….Eritrea must have pissed the US so bad …even South Sudan is invited while under war zone. Countries not invited are either in a war, coup fans or on big time sanction…so mending relation with the US takes more than op-eds here and there …and does not necessarily depend on the relation to Ethiopia …though it helps..
      Lej SAAY – well done to look this young at your age…that’s all I can say

      • Hayat Adem

        More likely than not, they will not invite him because he is under targeted sanctions and he has a lot of pending issues on human rights. And if they do invite him, the probability of him attending it is less likely than not because PIA hates to be any part of a discussion where responsible economy and trade, transparency of governance, elections and plurality are on the center of the table.

        • SMichael

          They may not invite him only because he will tell them the TRUTH.
          Plus engagement should be engagement.

  • Ermias

    Selamat Saleh Younis. I get buffled by how you get the time to research all the minutest details but hey I am not complaining because it is less work for my lazy butt. Nice article. Since I do not have the knowledge of all the details, I can only comment in general terms. Your concern, it seems to me, is that engaging this rogue regime with the US (hence almost necessarily with the rest of the world) will give it a ‘new lease in life.’ Because it will have a fresh cash flow, sanctions lifted, diaspora moral raised, etc. I share that concern. We in the ‘broad-based opposition’ camp need to be better organized and more credible and have the ability to influence policy making at the State Departement with regards to Eritrea. The best way to beat IA and his regime is total and complete isolation from the world and its diaspora support. This makes the regime more and more desperate and exposes its lies and hopefully people can say enough is enough and march into his office and take him out.

    • saay7

      Selamat Ermias:

      This has nothing to do with your post but I read (somewhere) that we in awate.com coddle that full-retard constituency at the expense of our loyal supporters, like you, and we do this for business reasons? Not true, my friend. Honestly, it is not as complicated as that: we accommodate our full-retard for the same reason that families do with their own: it is the right thing to do:) But when it comes at the expense of the non-retard, DO remind us:) We don’t think of awate as a business and we never obsess about what we have to do to get more readers, etc: we just do what we like to do, and if people like it, fine; and if they don’t, that’s fine too:)

      saay

      • Ermias

        Sal, thank you! I stand corrected. In fairness, I should know more than anybody why awate.com is here for because I was there from its inception, not always posting but following it for reliabel Gedab news (I hope Saba is reading) and great articles. We are getting close my friend. The PFDJ grip has been loosening, compare them now to 2000. I was telling Saba that in 14 years time, we have done a lot of damage to an institution that has been trying to strengthen its iron fist for 50 years, all along planning to rule Eritrea for eternity.

  • Hayat Adem

    Thanks for shading some good light onto the vague move of Cohen and cohorts, and the confused reactions of the PFDJ corner attendants. Your arguments are always great and powerful; but what I never fail to wow is the presentation: so concise and with best artistic appeals from start to end.
    Saying that, you gave us good angles and perspectives into but still you left us with half-answered questions as to what the motive of the diplomats is and if it has anything to do with any kind of initiations from the regime itself, or UN/SC people or the US policy circles or other first-in-line stakeholders. What that means is, the search for answers should not stop here.

    • saay7

      Selamat Hayatom:

      I hate writers who always remind their readers about how they forecast something or they were the first to write something. Grrrrr what a turn off. BUT. I had spoken about this in my address to the NGOs who came to attend the address by the Human Rights Rapparteur in New York back in October.

      That is: with or without the initiative from mad men, the West has plenty of do-gooders who believe that the world could change if ONLY people could talk. The Neville Chamberlain constituency. These are people who would have talked to Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Pol Pot because they truly believe that every human being is salvageable. They believe this because they are, for the most part, irreligious (secular fundamentalist) people who do not subscribe to the view that EVIL exists in the world and that it can’t be negotiated with but defeated.

      saay

  • boku

    Brother Saay,

    Sorry to say, but this article screams desperation. Brilliant I might add for trying to fish for info on any indication about what may be taking place behind the seen. Sorry, but glad you are out of the loop and insignificant after all the years since Twgahmo.

  • dawit

    Brother saay
    Sorry to say this, but your article is an empty analysis based on empty speculations. You could have written a better article after listening to the interview. The points you raised about Cohen and MDG was raised and PIA’s answer would have surprised you. Of course you are complemented from same circle.
    Trying to spin that U.S. does not have economic sanctions against Eritrea is futile exercise, the
    facts are there for anyone to see. U.S. have a permanent sanctions since 1951 formally or hidden.
    Why do you need a lobbyist when you stand on the Truth? The Lion was roaring from its Pride Massawa. Great interview without the spin doctors from Aljezira. Tough questions and tough answers relevant to the people’s interest same message he gave in the 70s in hills of Nakfa. He is not gambling with the faith of Eritrean people, still self reliance and he is telling it as it is!

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dawit,

      You could support DIA to the death. But could you rebuttal his argument point by point rather of being dismissive. Show us the emptiness of his argument by disproving the man at question “Cohen”? I knew that there aren’t potent individuals who can argue on the opposite of SAAY who knows very well their entry and their exits even to their enablers. Dawit either be capable to challenge him with facts or don’t attempt to tell us about DIA for we know him better than you do? Show us your debate skills even if we don’t agree. Show us the items you want to sell in the market of ideas.

      • Nitricc

        Aman, I agree with what Dawit has to say. SAAY is the best and the brightest writer and analyzer but this one? I could have written it my self. Of course, you, Aman, have the habit to support what ever and when ever an opposition is uttered anything against Eritrea. Sometimes, stop and think. Be honest with yourself. What SAAY has written is not the worst but excellent? The facts that are provided by SAAY are unusually forced in to the reader’s throat. Normally the facts he presents are smooth and hard to ignore.
        But of course Aman has to come and say the usual.

        • Thomas

          Hi Nitricc or Son of Sofia/dekihidirtina,

          We call you and your kind saba, dawit in tigrigna/arabic “Lekbatat”. You said, “SAAY is the best and the brightest writer and analyzer but this one? I could have written it my self” and you also agreed with dawit because dawit as you are supports the dictator. Look what you said about dawit, “Aman, I agree with what Dawit has to say”. Now, why do you agree with dawit ? Can you mention one point on dawit’s point that was persuasive to you? Whenever saba says something, you and dawit are ready to say, yes she is right regardless. Typical, yes men. I wouldn’t expect less from dictator worshipers.

          • Nitricc

            Thomas, Show me a single respond of mine to Saba’s post?
            you see how you lie?
            yes, SAAY is the best at what he writes and this time is not at his best. I tell it as is. you got a problem with it?
            Thomas, the white man, would you please respect the lady and drop the Sophia name. it is not cool to call names and to talk about people who are not here.and it brings the forum down to your level.
            by the way what does it mean when you said ” dekihidirtina”

          • Thomas

            Nitricc – Dekihidritina someone means a stranger or naive. Dekihidrtina are some spirits/souls who are invisible to us. They come and see you sleeping during night time. You don’t see them though. So, you and your mother Sofia don’t have any clues about Eritrea. You talk about Eritrean politics but does not have any idea about Eritreans & the way we do business. You have never set foot on our nation, but you pretend to know everything and what our people needs. You are just a bunch of opportunities who are exploiting our current worst situation. After going through miseries & lots of war crimes, we expect the government to serve us, the people. For the regime to be abide by the law of the land or for us to move freely, speak & work freely. We fought so hard and liberated our land. At the end, we created a monster that you seem to adore and he is destroying everything we fought for. With Dekihidirti such as you, he is prolonging his grip in power. That is all to it. Can you think of what I said to night? Think about it, Nitricc? It is not hard to fit with us? Voice for the voiceless and you will succeed at the end.

          • Nitricc

            Thomas Oh, my. I know I am good but I never thought that good, as good as invisible. Lol
            You used terms like invisible, soul, night are you trying to say Ghost?
            I have no idea what you are trying to say but it sounds like you are trying to say Ghost to me.
            but that it does not make sense either. what ever you are trying to say can not be that bad becouse the moda is not saying anything. anyway, have it your way.

          • Thomas

            Nitricc – Sofia’s son,

            You guys came out of the blue; and your nativity about our beloved nation and her people is shown to everyone. You got the chance to look wiser during our down times. Dekihidirtina means aliens to our Eritrea. However, it is ok because you are just a foot solider. Do you live with your mom, Nitricc. I don’t have answers to all of your questions. Could you please forward some of them to your mom or dad? My bad, never mind. Sofia (mom) does not have any clue to.

          • Saba

            To say your opinion is a fairytale/dekihidirtina is a fairgame but to say “Lekbaxxx” is not a fair game to me, i do not know if it is a fair game for awate moderators. I do not know why you guys you are quick to insult. Did you inherit that habit from DIA?

          • S Michael

            Thomas,
            I am not sure why the AT has allowed you to call names.May I call you the AT’s son then?
            Nitricc has a right to comment and express himself,who has done it in the best professional way irrespective of his stand or understanding of current eritrean Politics and that is why the AT/the Fora /audience love him but you.
            Your have a right to debate rationally and challenge the debators professinally and with civility,not to belittle or call names.
            Ms Sofia has nothing to do here but if you feel challenging her, please do so in a right way.
            For sure she will hit you back and make you “pee” in your pants non-stop,if I may use your similar language.
            S Michael

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Nitricc,

          I don’t oppose for the sake of opposing. There was many instances I disagree with Saay especially during the senseless war until he came with his historical piece “twgahmo.” We had different take on who start the war and on what the Eritrean government should do to save lives and property of our people. So Nitric you are young newcomer and learn from this forum which you couldn’t get it from the other side. Still tell your colleagues “enho Feres enho meda” and challenge his argument without Sarcasm. Even if they don’t post it here they could do in their home websites we always visit it. Show as your caliber of debating with the aim to sell your products for public consumption. Am I clear Nitricc?

          • Nitricc

            Aman I have a terrible product no one wants to touch. I tried in reducing prices, no one wanted it. I tried to trade it; no one is even slightly interested. And finally I tried to give it away for free; no one will touch it with 10 foot long stick. Did you ask what my product is; The Truth. If we all had strived to seek the truth instead of scoring cheap political points; it would have been a very different outcome. Unfortunately your opposition is not interested in finding the truth, they are interested to blame, point finger, defame and destroy the president of Eritrea at any cost. The more your opposition pushed unfairly the more we, the majority; left with no choice but to defend the president. We are in viscous circles. What about your opposition changes a different way, we know “everything is the fault of PIA did not worked for the last 15 years. How about for a change; tell us the good, the bad and the ugly. Tell us the truth so we can learn and support your cause. Let’s start with you Aman; how come you never defended Eritrean interest? When I say never, I meant on this forum. I have yet to read anything good you said in defense of Eritrea. Yet, you jump in defense of Ethiopia and the Tigryans? What is up with that, Aman?
            Why is it?

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Nitricc,
            How old were you during the senseless war that took the lives of our young, consumed our meager resources we had, and dislocate one third of our population? I stood against that barbaric war to the end and support the US-Rwanda proposal the only option we had to save our people. I am proud to have that position at that time and this is what I was saying: Even if they chose to go to the war, at the end the issue will be solved only at the table. Here is the fact, after losing tens of thousands young souls and a large swap of land occupied, we came to the table. Wasn’t my argument justified by the outcome of the war? Even if I lost to win the argument of saving our people and protecting our land at that crucial time, I vindicate that I had a correct position when GEO lost the war and the peace. We could have our land without the war and save our young generations (your generation) from the darkness they are in. How about that? I have never defended the interest of Ethiopia as they are capable themselves. But in your secluded political house everyone who oppose the guilty regime is not defending our nation and our people. Am I right Nitricc? What you are doing is protecting his legacy – the evil man at the helm. Take yourself as a student to the history of Eritrean politics and bring the actors who brought the demise of our nation to argue and defend their crimes. You think you are protecting our people and our nation, but by virtue of the reality you don’t. You are on the side of the criminal who brought all the hell in our country. Protecting the criminal is not protecting the nation and its people. Go to you bed tonight and think about who is on the side of our people’s interest. Our people will tell you exactly when they have the right to say without coercion. Just bring to the ring to the big enablers.

      • Saba

        That is a good point. If you want to challenge someone show it with your debate skills, not by insulting as some people do. But i want to add that a skillful debater can swing between FACTS and FACTOIDS as needed, using colorful languages. Classic example is how the tobacco companies were shaping public opinion using powerful debaters and it took long time to change that by facts that, unfortunately, includes human lives. Skillful debater NOT always = FACTS.

      • dawit

        Dear Amanuel, where do you want me start debating you
        friend, he has three speculative hypotheses, trying to speculate why Cohoen
        wrote his article and none of them grounded in facts. Have you ever thought
        people correct their wrong thoughts after they have been mislead by some one?
        Can Cohoen change his mind without considering his financial benefit for his
        lobbying business?

        Then he injects another wild hypothesis how information is
        disseminated in Eritrea by dragging his brother into the picture. Did your
        friend’s brother change his thought about PIA because of money? If it is true,
        I don’t want to speculate where the money came from. As to Eritrea’s agenda in U.S. Foreign policy,
        it is always at top file cold war or not since 1940’s. It is sitting in
        President’s desk with US Security Advisor Suzan Rice trying to figure out what
        to do with it, wondering why their economic sanctions did not bring the change
        of government as they planned it for years. The Eritreans are still behind
        their government and no riot in the street of Asmara. Could this fact prompted
        the former Ambassador to change his stand on Eritrea?

        Last you don’t need to advertize if you have good product,
        the product sales by itself. PIA and Eritrea do not need makeup, face lift to
        dine and wine with people like the Suzan Rice and the Obama or the Clintons in Washington
        DC. If Washington decides not to invite Eritrea for the new dress party in
        August to DC, it will not be because PIA is less important figure in Africa,
        but it will be because of the traffic jam that may paralyze DC when Eritreans
        in US and Canada travel to greet their leader and attend his seminars. That is
        my wild hypothesis for the day.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Hailat,

    Since you are the proponent of “silence majority” below is a link you need to explain how your silent majority will look the approach of “Medrekawian” and how could they react to the questions of the author pertinent to the Medrekawian? Do you think they are hijacking the momentum of the silenced majority? What is your take Hailat?

    http://togoruba.org/togoruba1964/mainTogorubamap/mainMap/headingMap/2014A/1202WT4-07AE.pdf

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Ahlen SAAY,

    As usual this is an excellent analysis and argument that could induce debate, provide if there are potent argument from the opposites. I doubt to see a challenge. Keep up.

    AHT

  • Thomas

    Hi SAAY,

    Actually, nothing said by the two YY counts. As a matter of fact, there is no minister or any informative official in Eritrea. For everything, we have to wait to the self-appointed king, DIA, to speak whenever he feels to like it. I myself are very annoyed to hear the annoying voice of DIA. I tend to write the summary of his interview or whatever. This dictator good at not answering of any questions that are provided to him. Nothing has a meaning for this dictator: the questions asked are treated as irrelevant, the world is irrelevant, high tech is irrelevant, advanced countries symbolic/fake, anything seen or heard is not true, living is not living and so forth. The guy is good at creating confusion, denial of everything going on, belittling achievements of the advanced world & underdeveloped nations, good at creating divisive and deceptive vocabularies for his followers.

    Your article is great, but it would have helped to include the madness shown on DIA’s current interview.

    • saay7

      Hey Thomas:

      I have negotiated a new contract with awate.com: I no longer have to do reports on DIA’s interviews. I am free! if this was last year, I would have watched the interview and been fascinated that he created a Tinglish phrase for “skeletal structure” (Qrsi ny Askeren), but now it just bores and disgusts me. In the new division of labor we have, it is up to Saleh Gadi Johar to listen to those interviews and give a digest. Haha, take that abu selah!

      This way, I can focus on things that I find fascinating and intriguing. I am very fascinated and intrigued by Medrekh. There are things that they are working on that they cannot share with Chegwar Danga: it is elitist, and secretive which I find attractive 🙂 I wish I can say more, but I can’t:))

      What I believe is that “sur neqel sewra” (sorry, Hailat, sur betek lewti) is a pipe dream. A Delusion on par with any hippie expectation and I am, and I have always been, for a “democratic coup d’etat.” That is the medrekh agenda (whether it admits it or not) and that is what I am for.

      saay

      • Thomas

        Hello saay,
        Thank you for the response to my comment. I don’t have allergy to anything except to DIA’s talk. I think we all have developed that from DIA. Saba – might think this is strange but it is true. I am sorry SGJ have to listen to what that mad man has to say. I suggest a split as part of 1) SGJ and part 2) saay

        • saay7

          Selam Thomas:

          Please don’t re-open my contract with awate.com: it is done; I will never do a report on Mad Isaias’s mad ramblings. For my farewell report, I have a done an audio satire (submitted to the Forto webfest) which we hope to post at our youtube channel. I think you will enjoy it. Maybe.

          saay

          • Thomas

            Hello Brother saay,

            I will wait for your audio thing then. No one can object your refusal to report on that crazy dictator. That guy belongs to a mental institution, tsetserat:)

  • Saba

    Nice analysis over all and particularly about Y&Y and Moi. But your article suffers some “selection bias”. When the glass is half full and half empty and if you talk only about the part that you like(either about the half full or about the half empty) then you are not reporting the whole picture. This is the case on your reporting on Herman Cohen and the economist. Since Herman Cohen and the economist have said something “perceived” positive for the regime, your report on him is more about the “half empty”. The other thing is that you do not seem interested to see the border issue resolved, based on your antagonism to factors that favors it. I would like to give you 75% on my Truth-O-Meter measurement to this article based on my betri-haqi analysis.