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The Enigma of The Bologna Conference

This article is systematically produced to entertain with different perspectives about Bologna Conference based on content analysis and empirical data done with the intention to develop a ground for healthy political discussion and debate among Eritreans regardless their political thoughts. We should view this article keeping in mind that there are difficulties of analyzing the available information largely brought on the basis of assumptions, political motivated interpretations or vague descriptions over “ulterior motives” of the conference, if there is, because this topic needs deeper research to be assessed from all the parameters in order to reach in rational conclusion. Thus, I attempt to avoid certain unsubstantiated rhetoric intended to focus on tangible and well evidenced information though it is still subject to further investigation. So far the article formulates a thoughtful analysis largely treating the “national interest” as the focal point of my scrutiny that may direct to the collective action for well being of our nation. And your constructive comment is definitely significant for constructive discussion.


For the last ten years the people of Eritrea have been described as hot tempered, aggressive, dissected, intolerant, amateur democrats etc. Some eloquent people stated “We, Eritreans, have agreed not to agree with each other”, but I do believe that our forefathers had partly different experiences, and succeeded to develop a strong customary or traditional laws what we called it “Higi InDaba” that enabled them to govern and regulate their daily activities to live in harmony though they experienced all sorts of conflicts- land issues, lootings, power struggle, and other confrontation, but they had strong values, norms and traditional rules to manage their conflicts sitting under big trees, “Daro” so as to resolve their disparities. The system was virtually more advanced and civilized than the Machiavellian tactics of governance or absolute authoritarian system that the ruling party, PFDJ, use to govern and maintain Eritrea, a modern state, in 21st Century. In these old times, at least we had a parliament at village or community level, “Bayto”, to address our problems instead of indulging in the law of jungle.

This traditional institutions were partly damaged by the introduction of Italian colonial system; and the values of native courts, political pluralism and freedom of speech, though they had positive and negative effects, got relative ground during British occupation which became a benchmark for the foundation of semi-democratic state under the Ethiopian crown in 1950’s. The internal constitutional rights of Eritreans were systematically demolished; and paved way for final annexation in 1962. Eritreans involved in army confrontation in which the nationalists lost the art and skills of negotiation; and became very violent and intolerant among themselves to achieve their objectives. The negative side of the armed struggle still polarizes the political system of “independent” Eritrea. The mismanagement of justice and socio-economic crisis have resulted a lot of political grievances and the formation of many political parties which has to be intended to develop a practical democracy in Eritrea with a notion of tolerance, integrity, openness and transparency. 

Nonetheless, the opposition parties have least tolerance and skills to manage and resolve their conflicts; they may be the other face of the same coin of PFDJ. What it makes them different: they do not have the real power to exert of their wish. We can objectively define and test them when we put them in actual power. In fact the Bologna conference has partly tested the lenience and the spirit of developing “collective struggle” against regime change in Eritrea. Seyom Tesfaye underlined, “The underlining principle that every Eritrean group has the right to organize its own meeting without asking permission or approval from any other organization has to be firmly stated. This democratic principle makes the Bologna Summit a legitimate meeting. Those who are working hard to abort or subvert this meeting have deficiency in understanding democratic rights”.  The event significantly questioned the level of maturity, capacity and optimization of democratic values and principles among opposition parties.

About Mebrahtu Berhe

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  • Asfaha Woldemichael

    First of all Mr. Berhe’s bottom line is not very clear to me. In his comments to the piece Mr. Seyum Tesfay alluded that every group(Even deqi gezawti emphasis mine} have the right to form their own political organization is far from our objective reality. If the best thing we can do as an opposition is encouraging the creation of splinter groups every six months, what happens then to the main goal? Is that all we can offer to the grieving country? We may exercise all the democratic rights we want, but to me, anytime a new faction is created, one dream of the Eritrean people is dashed. Bologna? Is that the history they wanted to emulate? Good luck my country.

  • abel

    Was there any conference in Bologna to speak off? I only saw a get together picture of five friends?

  • Mebrahtu, Andom, and Sali G violated Awate’s golden posting guidelines by using less that 1,200 words. Shouldn’t AT has given them a warning before bouncing them? If these violations go unpunished, we would soon start reading an article written in few words , say 500 words. Hayat Adem’s and Haile’s comment are much longer that the aforementioned articles. 😉

    Awate’s guidliene

    How long is an article?

    It should be about 1,200 words. But good luck finding an article that short; people here usually take twice as long as average to say what we want to say. Somebody should write an article about this phenomenon. (using 1,200 words or less.)

    • we would soon start reading an article articles

  • L.T

    Be exactly and expect from nowsday Eritrean society in Eritrea No dogma Conference and no to victimized foolish outsiders “Byato”.Just stop this romantics dreamy.
    All nonsenses the story of Conference of Mekele,Shire,Gonder,Akaki,Genet Hotel,Wub-Shebele Hotel….Debre-Zyti….Stockholm,Norway,Germany,Sudan,Senae,Izrael,female,theolgians,lawyers ,political,cultural and intellectuals conference …I am going to tell you all you begins with an outrageous abuse of power.

    In 1955 Ato Tedle Bairu the first head of state in Eritrea told to public at Chinema Capitol Asmera”Eza Wenber nay Hade seb iya”Not everone would accept his conclusion at that time.My father was there.
    I say now”Eta wenber nay Isaias iya”than give absolution over the mass.

    • Eza wenber nay Hade Sebiya iya Elom Ato Tedla Bairu. Yes, It was true then and it is true now. But big BUT the question is how do get there? Even like Higi or Bayto endaba That Meber or Wenber is only for the elected One, and It should be by democratic way. The president we have is not by election but by selection of his peer or self appointed. It is also with out any LAW. That is why we can call him self appointed One. He will be there as long as he lives. Because there is no Rule of law in the state of Eritrean.