Inform, Inspire, Embolden. Reconcile!

The Ordeal Of Human Trafficking and Organ Harvesting

(This is a speech I delivered on Wednesday, Dec 12, 2013 at the Hinckley Institute of Politics, University of Utah.)

Thank you for coming. Thanks to Rebecca Heal who made this gathering possible and thanks to the Hinckley Institute of Politics, University of Utah, for giving me this opportunity.

Many years ago I was in a taxi in Thailand driving to the North, a place called Shangmay when the taxi run over a snake that was crossing the road. The driver stopped, went out of the car, picked a stick and walked to where the snake was. He kept hitting the dead snake until its head flattened on the asphalt road. Then he went to the side, dug a hole and buried the snake. It seems you have to make sure the snake doesn’t survive all of that and haunts you—the driver explained: snakes know who tried to kill them!

I know such superstition, I grew around it, and I just smiled. Looking back at that lesson, I believe that authoritarians, dictators and tyrants are similar to the snake. They have to be buried if people are to live in peace and freedom.

I am very excited to speak to you, the politicians of the future; the current politicians have been letting us down for as far as I can remember.

To me those who study and pursue a career in politics (particularly with a super power) play a great role in the safety and well-being of the world. The rest of the disciplines, economics, financing, engineering and others follow politics. In a politically impoverished country, the social well-being of the society is endangered. Good politics maintains a good society and thus gets humanity closer to its goal of pursuing happiness. Unless one’s happiness in not based on seeing others suffer.

Over the years, politics and politicians lost the glamor, the job has become similar to gambling. And in turn, gambling has become a “game”, just an innocent game, not a social vice anymore. In the past, a gambler was considered an outcast, an untrusted individual in society; today gamblers are featured in TV shows and are treated as stars!

The opposite happened to politicians.

In the time of Benjamin Franklin, the position of an ambassador carried heavy responsibilities. It was an important and prestigious position—not everyone could be an ambassador; you will not find the equals of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Joseph Kennedy in today’s ambassadors. Today, I don’t think Kennedy would accept the position of an ambassador; if he did, he would probably resign in frustration. Ambassadors do not have as frequent audience as in the past with the British PM, for example, (a position that has become a dull shadow of its glorious past). This has happened because of the advancement in the fields of transportation, communication and information technology. Obama calls world leaders and talks to them directly. He can eat breakfast on a plane on his way to London, meet the British PM for a couple of hours and probably return home on the same day, thus, diminishing the role of ambassadors. But that is not my concern of today. I am concerned with what has happened with foreign policy which has deteriorated as well. That is why the tragedy of human trafficking and cruel organ harvesting is going on unpunished.

In the past, elected, or officials appointed by elected representatives, used to run the foreign policy of governments—and I am talking about the Western World, the rest are inconsequential in this context. To cope with modern development, Western government have followed their corporations in outsourcing their tasks, today, foreign policy is sub-contracted, outsourced—the only consolation is they are not outsourcing it to China, like in the manufacturing of sweat-shirts, gadgets and toys. The tasks are outsourced to shady entities with unelected officials; the execution of foreign policy by free-lancers: the political NGO industry. Yes, it has become an industry with 9-5 career jobs. Western governments are treating the Third World as a franchise given to different political NGOs who have become more visible and better funded compared to the charitable, humanitarian organizations that survive mostly due to the dedication of blessed people whose aim is to help the poor and the destitute. Not many of those who operate under the guise of conflict resolution, democratization and many other good sounding terms, have lifted a finger to pressure the UN or their governments to do something about the human trafficking gangs operating in the Sinai Desert, for example.

Except for USAid, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and few other small outfits with noble ideals, civic duty minded people who really work hard to better the world, the rest have been big disappointment. I have been waging this one-man fight (that goes nowhere) for a while now. And many people tell me, “Saleh, you cannot fight well-entrenched, well-funded influential NGO’s, you cannot win!” I do not fight to win (that is the yardstick of corporates) I fight to satisfy my conscience. I do what I have to do; winning and losing is not my concern. But if enough people fight for a right cause, they certainly win—meaning, their cause wins.

“Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. ” This is from wikipedia.

That assumed there were 1.5 billion inhabitants in the world—it could be revised. But the entire social network mediums, like google, facebook, linkedin, twitter and others, build their platforms based on such theories…it is a topic for mathematicians, social behavior scientists, algorithm and all.

What about countries that are not very mobile? Societies like my country that is roughly 3 million people–give or take a million because there is no published census since the 1950s–I would say the degree of separation is much less than 6.

I learned the population of Utah is just around 3 million. Now imagine, God forbid, 366 inhabitants of Utah drowning in the Great Salt Lake in one day! That is what happened to my compatriots from Eritrea ten weeks ago in October 3; in that day, 366 Eritrean victims of human trafficking drowned near Lampedusa, Italy. To Eritreans that was not a mere story, the degree of separation is so low that I know many victims who are friends of people I know, or their relatives and neighbors. I know the father of one of the victims when I was a child.

To us, human trafficking is not a topic for intellectual curiosity, it is a real tragedy that leaves us in continuous state of mourning and sadness.

In the last six years alone, it is estimated that about 8000 Eritreans lost their lives in the Sinai Desert. Over a thousand drowned in the Mediterranean Sea and thousands more died in the Sahara Desert crossing to Libya from where they would continue to Europe or head East towards Sinai to cross to Israel. There are around 40,000 Eritreans who entered Israel, almost all reached there through the Sinai Bedouin traffickers. A recent report estimates the traffickers made around 600 million dollars on that route alone. In Sinai, dozens of gangs are engaged in the crime of human trafficking; harvested human organs are the major cash crop in Sinai. Thousands of victims went through the blackmailing and ransom rackets. Many were raped, tortured, killed, their human organs harvested and their bodies was thrown in the desert where animals fed on them

The racket is everywhere. Ransom which could reach as high as $50,000 per person is paid, collected rather, in Israel, the USA, Europe…everywhere, including inside Eritrea where there is a network of collaborators with the trafficking gangs. Eritrean communities abroad are going through a lot, selling their properties, depleting their life-long savings, borrowing, collecting donations in churches and social gathering to pay for the ransom to free a relative. If they don’t pay, the traffickers harvest the human organs of the victims. The organs, mainly kidneys, are sold in many places, including in New Jersey for as much as $400,000. In 2011, some people pleaded guilty in Trenton, New Jersey; they were accused of organ trafficking to the US.

The international audience was exposed to the human organ trafficking on August 17, 2009 when the Swedish Journalist Donald Bostrom, reported on the Swedish ‘Aftonbladet’ a story under the title “Our sons plundered for their organ”. It was around the same time that many people became alerted of the situation. Since then, the news has gotten more gruesome by the day.
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For Eritrea, there is a lost generation. Those being victimized by the Eritrean regime and then by the human traffickers are mainly young men; losing them would have negative consequences in the future of the country, the long term effects are great. The “…age and gender imbalances would certainly have disastrous implications in the future particularly in terms of reproduction.
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Eritreans and other concerned people cried, appealed to the world to take action. Deaf ears! The lives of young Eritreans, it seems, are not as valuable as a barrel of oil. But there are a few exceptions, a few months ago, Ira Glass of NPR talked about the issue of human trafficking in “This American Life.” But that is hardly enough to affect action, we need more Ira Glasses.

 There! My indignation with the NGO’s.

When the human trafficking events started to unfold in its present magnitude, one would expect the world to take action. Those who should pressure for action were sitting in the office, or traveling the world with the pretext of compiling a report–very mechanical. Would it be wrong to hire a mercenary force to blow up the Bedouin camps in Sinai? Of course not. Governments have been blowing up places for trivial reasons, less significant than that.

Here, you could ask me, in fact challenge me: why don’t Eritreans do it themselves? Why do Eritreans pay ransom; if they didn’t pay, the kidnapping would stop!

First, what would anyone of you do if his sister, brother and child fell in a hostage situation and risked a gruesome death at the hands of human traffickers. That is a moral question, not a legal one.

Second, a victim cannot be blamed for being a victim. My people have been victims for over twenty years under the current Eritrean regime. Like all underdeveloped nations, Eritreans depend on their children to make a living. Villagers depend on the entire family to farm their lands and to harvest enough to survive. In our case, the government decided that it owns the youth the moment they reach eleventh grade, at puberty! Thereafter, they are hauled to military camps for the final year of high school. Then follows the compulsory national service time that extends indefinitely.

I have a relative who has been serving (sometimes carrying a gun and running from one battle  to another, sometimes building roads, sometimes tending to a general’s farm or building a house for him) for the last 16 years–with no pay. He was forcefully conscripted in 1997 when he was 18–now he is 34, not married, never had a chance to have a home, to pursue his education or to help his parents.

Eritrean youth are spread all over the country in slave labor locations, and their labor is extracted for free; Nevsun, a Canadian mining company, profits from such slave labor. Supposedly, the enlisted are paid 400 Nakfa a month (that, in case you are wondering, is equal to $8 a month, if paid at all.) In addition to that, the regime in Eritrea is trigger happy, endless wars with all our neighbors–Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen–now it is provoking the USA. I am serious.

The Eritrean regime was at war with Ethiopia over a border town; the war ended in 2000. We lost 18, 000 lives. Since then, “20 years after gaining independent statehood, [Eritrea] has emerged as one of the largest refugee producing countries on the African continent as well as one of the most militarized societies in the world.  And since then, it is estimated that 5000 people escape the country on a monthly basis despite the shoot to kill order on the borders through which the frustrated youth escape. To date there are about 80,000 refugees in Ethiopia, around 125,000 new refugees in Sudan (on top of around 500,000 refugees who are in Sudanese camps and towns where they began to arrive since 1967, the UNHCR closed the chapter on them). Trying to escape this reality creates an opportunity for the human trafficking rackets. UN Monitoring Group for Somalia and Eritrea has implicated senior officials of the Eritrean regime for involvement in the racket of human trafficking and smuggling.
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As I tried to explain in my recent book, “MIRIAM WAS HERE,” human trafficking is a result of the oppression and enslavement of Eritreans by a totalitarian regime. It is the repercussions of tyranny and lack of respect for human rights, democracy and basic justice. In short, it is the denying of basic freedom that a citizen should enjoy.
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Human trafficking is a world-wide phenomena, there are hundreds of papers, books, movies and documentaries that address it. I am focusing on Eritrea for two reasons: First, simply because I am Eritrea, it is natural that it touches me more than the rest; I feel duty bound to do what I can. The second reason is more important. The percentage of Eritrean victims of human trafficking is, by far, the largest compared to the other countries of our region. For example, the ratio of Eritrean refugees to Lampedusa, Italy, the major gateway to Europe, is 2-1 compared to Syrians. Taking into account the population of Syria which is eight times bigger than that of Eritrea, it means, for every Syrian refugees, there are 9 Eritreans. And the world knows the carnage raging in Syria, it is awful. Yet despite that, Eritreans are outdoing Syrians by 9-1 in escaping their country. Now you have an idea how bad it is in Eritrea, particularly for the youth, (your age); the ratio reflects the level of dissatisfaction that Eritrean youth have reached.

I do not know what would stop human traffickers; I know what would stop the supply of Eritrean victims to the criminals. The tyranny in Eritrean should be weeded out–from the roots; I have taken a lesson on that from the Thai taxi driver.

Now. What has the West done to elongate the suffering of Eritreans, to the extent that they become commodities for human trafficking?

Well, there is this policy, mainly followed by Europe; it is called the positive engagement policy. Europeans believe that if they treat tyrants nicely, they could miraculously become nicer to their people. Wrong. On the contrary, they have been giving the tyrants legitimacy, funds and a cover to continue to do what they do best: increase their oppression of citizens.
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The West always cajoles and flirts with tyrants who wreak havoc in the lives of helpless people. I believe that a democracy, a nation of free people like the USA, should have nothing to do with tyrannies; any relation should be severed. If they cannot help the people attain their freedom, then they should stop interfering and leave issues to their own devices. If it is a confrontation between the people and the authoritarian regimes, I am confident no tyrant would survive. Policies that undermine freedom of citizens for a barrel of oil, or for a trivial national interest, should be shunned. Only then we can solve the problems associated, not only with human trafficking, but with freedom and liberty.

Thank you

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  • asmara

    [xxxxxx],

    Here is what you missed on the other post.Some funny stuff been going on there Interesting stuff.

    -Nope, it is not what the Don of the Unionists is saying here. People already know about him
    -It is not the chaq chaq of his chifra (Sirrays, and the Ermiasis) either, people have known them for a while
    – It is not the chifra woyanie’s twisted logic either, aren’t we all in this xxxx because of them after all. They want to see us down, they pray for that. Nothing new there
    – It is not the joy Ethiopians do not seem to hide because the Unionist is here to challenge SAAY, either, as these people have been enjoying the free ride they get in this forum to call our Eritrea, our independence, our government and out President (A honorable and a representative of all the Eritrean Heros to most of us) all kind of names.

    – THE FUNNY part of all was the up and down jumping of Haile, trying to lift his MINUTE self to be counted, amoung the big guys – or to be noticed by the YG dude, while the later didn’t even seem to notice this minute creature and that scene was so pathetic and embarrassingly funny.

    http://en.video.canoe.tv/video/comedy/latest-viral-videos/1906868833/curious-cat-interrupts-push-ups/2596247417001

    Oh, boy! Haile the Minute!
    Really, funny stuff!

    • gebreab

      Agreed! You are absolutely right! We are in the mess that we are in because of Chifra Weyane. Every Eritrean needs to remember that!!!!

  • gebreab

    I love how Tigray people come here and tell us we should overthrow PIA. I personally think they should mind their own business. I can sense their frustration in their tone.

    They are upset that Tigray failed to expand its border into Eritrea. They are obsessed with their “Greater Tigray” manifesto.

    Although the expansion of Tigray’s borders into Begemedir and Amhara land succeeded, Tigrayans hate the fact that PIA stopped it cold in its tracks when they attempted their land grab on Eritrea.

    Its simple as that. Hey, Tigrayans, butt out of Eritrean politics. Mind your own business.

    • TiETiE( shiro bubble )

      Poor minded Eritrean talks about tigrayan – they call them agame, name their road Lbi tigray, talks the story of tigrayan homeless on the streets of asmera,agame Listro, the agame did that and this, we thought them how to fire artillery, overall they are fluent talking ugly story of tigrayan.
      You yourself mind your business. I am not advocate of tigrayan nor tigray citizen however,If you have disagreement you can respond in civilized manner at the same time the Awate team said they are welcome to all no matter who they could be whatever they could say against Eritrea and Eritrean it would not tear Awate form.
      People like you who are irresponsible and love to offend others took us into war all to be paid at the cost of the poor Eritreans. I am sad that you counted with the Eritrean population – I wish you had be trashed with your Mother MedHanTi than grow and alive.

    • Gebre

      “A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding
      holds his tongue.”

    • tezeta

      Gebreab,
      I must agree that is true. Tigreans are afraid of Issu. They think that he has a wand that could change them into rats if he wants. They are his brain child and hence want his end soon. Wedi Afom is their nightmare. As you said, they managed to grab lands from Amharas and other ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Issu is the last bulwark for their expansionist policy. Gullible Eritreans fall for Tigreans trap. Stop thinking that ‘the grass is greener on the other side of the river’ when Issu dies. The worst could come to Eritrea in the absence of Issu. We hated Haileselassie and see what we got – the worst murderer – Mengistu. We thought no government would be worse than Mengistu – you guessed it right – we got these inhuman Weyanes – who care less for human lives. Think again, before you change your government think of the consequences. A poor country Eritrea is better than Weyane led puppet government. My two cents.

      • TiETiE( shiro bubble )

        The Amhara play smart gambling – they always look two collisions to happen though both forces they hated much they can extract result that is resulted out of the two destruction in other words they look windfall profits out of two forces they hated very much and they wish their destruction by God or by any ground force.
        The Amharas at times of Derg they used large number of tigrayan spies and security agents all to create conflict between the two tigryan speakers.
        Infact the Amhara hate Eritrean at the sametime the Amhara hate tigrayan so they play with both sides as friend or sympathizer all aimed to cause them conflict and see the destruction of both(Eritrean and tigrayan).
        The main purpose of the Amhara is to weaken tigray and to weaken Eritrea then build AnDneT and Emye EthioPiya as the same to H.S and Derg times Ethiopia.
        the tigrayan are divided in this thing. Some they listen to the Amhara tricky point because they are unhappy of the loss lack of Red sea that does not help etiopia at all and some refuse them aware of the tricky side of the Amhara point and approve Eritrea independence then build good friend with the eritrean.
        Some Eritrean believe tigrayan are dishonest. But it is false-the tigrayan are humble toward Eritrean at the sametime they are not violent nor use offensive words anyone. All I hear from tigran is Embetey, goitay, BeiZa, overall very nice gesture. These some Eritrean scorn them then expect the tigrayan mind the same as they scorn them so as they move to outsmart them the tigrayan much outsmart them. Therefore they call them dishonest. I do not see this is about dishonest or honest, it is unable to realize on the Eritrean side that everyone person is potential to sharp mind no matter whether born Agame or Adi NfaS.

  • Thomas

    We Eritreans should be ashamed of ourselves! Majority of our people act like pets and think I assume like humans. I don’t whether this has come as inherited or by design, but we trained to only be loyalists. We must teach these people on how to think for themselves and to have an independent mind. It is shameful for the dummies to see them clapping their hands as robots simply because the talk is coming for DIA. They never learn to question his motives. This guy was right when he said he knows the people and he can abuse and treat these people as dogs. Meaning he know better that these people are a bunch of dummies and nickle heads that they will never stand up for their rights. I don’t know how far this is going to go. I think YG is right that these people should be humiliated and insulted even more. I think reverse psychology is the only alternative just to get them to understand things:)

    • Zahra

      If a person behaves like zombie, there are only two explanations. Did I say explanations or answers? Let’s see what Wikipedia had to say, “A philosophical zombie or p-zombie in the philosophy of mind and perception is a hypothetical being that is indistinguishable from a normal human being except in that it lacks conscious experience, qualia, or sentience.[1] For example, a philosophical zombie could be poked with a sharp object, and not feel any pain sensation, but yet, behave exactly as if it does feel pain (it may say “ouch” and recoil from the stimulus, or tell us that it is in intense pain)” and let’s focus on why they have to be poked with a sharp object. A plain thinking will not help to answer the question we are asking. But we know that zombies do not need food because they don’t eat and Isayas knows this fact. Isayas does not compensate them for diving into adventurous political trails like declaring HIZBAWI MEKETE (Defenders of Isayas) in the USA. He doesn’t want to poke his zombies with a sharp object because he is benefiting from their sleep-serving him. It seems like he is saying “let them go to hell.” Lampedusa is a witness that they are indeed sleep serving him and the world is a witness that they were sleep dancing to the news of Lampedusa tragedy.

      • Thomas

        Hi Zahra,

        You are right on it. It cannot be explained any better. Thank you for the enlightenment!! I just always wonder to know what triggers these Zombies to support these murderers. I am sure they are not supporting the regime out of good will for their nation. They can all see the nation and the people of these country bleeding. Most of these Zombies left the nation under discussion because there is nothing good there to keep them and most of them are sawa/the regime runaways. In the case of those in Kenya who were grooming the dictator, they probably went to his meeting because they might return back to eritrea and they might think they are not far enough from the hands of the dictator. So, it might their way of saying to the dictator, we are with you.

  • Callin’ Weyane Out

    I love how PIA comes up with these apt characterizations for Weyane. He is not one to sugar-coat things. He calls it like it is.

    1. Weyane = Zerag Mai. (Polluters).

    2. Weyane = Kedemti. (Servants).

    He is right on both. Plus, he is also correct on the things he said about IGAD.

  • haile

    Shocking!!! and utterly disgusting!!!

    Thanks Papillion for sharing the link for the interview. In a first ever public reference to the Lampedusa tragedy, this cruel dictator only says the following two:

    At apprx. 40 min. into the video;

    He said “…ላምፔዱዛ ከምዚ ኣጋጢሙ ይብሉ፣ ኣነ ግን ጥልያን ብናቶም ኣሃዛት እኳ ክሳብ 46% ዜጋታቶም ከምህሩን ከስርሑን ዘይክእሉ፡ ሓደ ሰብ ካብ ኣስመራ እንታይ ደልዩ ናብኡ ይኸይድ?”

    Roughly translated “…they say such and such happened in Lampedusa, but for me, I wonder, given that Italy, according to its own statistics, is incapable to even provide education and employment to almost 46% of its population, why would any one think of leaving Asmara to go to Italy?”

    At approx. 50 mins. into the video;

    He said “…ካናዳ ዝኸዱ፣ ላምፔዱዛ ዝኹዱ…ንዓዶም ክምለሱ እንተደልዮም ዝብሉ ኣለዉ። ኣነ ግን ንዓዱ ክምለስ ዝደሊ $50,000 ክህልዎ ክኽእል እየ ዘተባብዕ…”

    Roughly translated “…those who went to Canada, Lampedusa…there are those who’d ask how they would be able to return to their country, I would say that if they want to return to their country, I would encourage them to have saved at least $50,000…”

    It was to be noted that neither him nor his operatives paraded as audience mentioned the nation’s loss of 366 Eritreans of average age around 22, including a mother with two children and another mother who gave birth while dying in the sea and her corpse was discovered still attached to a dead baby boy – both the women and all of the the others believed to be Eritreans.

    For this animal, IA, to make such opening and only public reference of the victims only shows his grotesque and rotten core. Both his above “insensitive” and “repulsive” utterances were received by clapping and ululation of those present.

    This, I believe, is hard to comprehend for non-Eritrean and yet another sad event in this sorry saga that he is fully responsible to causing it.

    • haile
    • rodab

      Haile,
      Among many things,one think Isaias is good at is deflecting challenging questions and turning them into’light-hearted’ humors. On the video, notice how he tackled his isolation from his world counterparts ‘gezana ena nfetu bzuH mwtsa’e aynfetun ena’. What a silly excuse! There is an old footage that shows him being challenged about the finanical mis-management by Kisha in DC back in the 90’s. Of course he wasn’t going to answer such a serious question. “ezom beAl Hagos dyom?” was the trick to burst the audience into laughter – thus eliminating the question. Case closed. Just like that. Thanks to shuting down all but the presidential media, he has rarely been challenged by local journalists. The few times he was exposed to real-deal questions, it came from the public in townhall meetings. The experienced evader that he is, none of the questions materialized. Peace!

    • The dictator seems to have raised the ‘dowry’ requirement from $10,000 to $50,000. At one point in time the dictator was quoted as saying that Eritreans in Uganda and other African countries should return to Eritrea with at least $10,000. Perhaps the amount of money the dictator advises Eritreans to bring to PFDJ’s coffer is not arbitrary at all. If you are in the west the amount is higher that if you are in Africa, or Asia. We don’t know but a decree may be in the pipeline with $$$ requirements to enter Eritrea.

  • Papillon

    Dear Moderator,

    Here is a link of Isaias’ visit to Kenya and doing what he does best: lying day-in and day-out. Last time I tried to post a link from the same website, you refused to post it. I wonder if that is going to be the case this time around as well.

    http://www.raimoq.com/video-president-isaias-afwerkis-trip-to-kenya/

    • tezeta

      This guy is down to earth. I like the way he dresses. No drama Issu Hama!

    • Ermias

      Papilooooooon, sorry, just got a little excited. I was asking where the females, including you, Yodita, etc. disappeared. It’s always good to have the voices of reason around – women.

      IA looks just about ready to go where he belongs, hell. Why did uhuru invite him?

      • Papillon

        Dear Ermias,

        I have actually been tied up with other stuff and I see that I have been missing out a lot of exciting things here in the grand palace of Awate. And of course, the intellectual giant YG is here amongst us. Hope he will linger around longer.

        Haft’kha.

  • Zahra

    Thomas,

    When a highly volatile situation is over, Isayas does not release his statement immediately. He first has to get rid of all witnesses while his devotees disseminating information, distorting the truth. Finally, his official statement is released just making the devotees’ unofficial news official. Unless the opposition immediately issues its information based on the compelling evidences, his strategy of killing hot information through delays will remain to be an Eritrean mode of press-releasing, even though it diverts from the international norm. Information is power and opposition does not want to bring Isayas under control through denying him to delay and manipulate hot information. Lampedusa’s tradegy is an example of how we can snatch information power from Isayas. The faster the opposition releases the info, the weaker gets Isayas’s role of playing politics.

    • Thomas

      You are absolutely right, that has been a pattern witnessed since the onset of DIA’s ruling. He even has brought his wife, Saba, as an excuse when he was talking about his death rumor. That he did not know about the rumor until Saba hinted to him that such a news was surfacing around. We also know about the Forto event that the DC or the Oakland operative who gave the detail about what happened (of course, made it convenient for DIA). Then later after about a month, DIA came out to formalize the story told by the california puppet. They are simply gambling with lives of our people and trust me, they are best at playing a street game. Though, that is an expected out come from being ruled by a bunch of bloody street gangsters. This tragedy will pass to.

  • mahmud saleh

    Not a regular commentator, but I follow your works, and appreciate what you are doing. I thought I might share some feed backs, and here are they:
    1. I’ve watched several interviews of your in the Arab media and thought your delivery was as effective as the ones I watched in your English presentations ( although different topics, and more fluent in Arabic); and given your familiarity with the Middle East audience, has there been an effort on your part or other folks knowledgeable of the Arab street in engaging the faithful community in Egypt in alerting them of this situation and getting them involved? If you are familiar what Dr.lAlganesh, similar but on a deeper degree. I’m sure you can pose this problem in a more ethically arousing way to an Arab audience than to the students you addressed, not to say, of course, engaging these students and the West is not important.
    2. On the root cause: I believe, we, the families, also should shoulder responsibilities. people are rational and reasonable. If crossing the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea is perilous, do not do it, for those paying for those whose payment is initiating these terrible ordeal, please do it in a way our youth are not going to be ensnared in ransom seekers or organ harvesting business. People who are abducted and end up in Sinai are very few. Most of them initiate their journey willing to face the hardship, but of course, reach their destination safe. The cost of these expensive journeys are covered in most cases by families living abroad. I have no doubt that these tragedies will continue as long as there are people willing to pay. So, while the role the disastrous policies of the government play (your main theme) is well noted, personal responsibilities and engagement of the Muslim community on a community to community level is essential. And it makes, I believe, your presentation balanced.
    3. The West will keep doing its business ( we know they they care less about the moral issues their business entails. If the US is to disengage with the dictators you mentioned then it will be left with few to make business was, that’s not to say you oversaw it but that’s what the reality is.

    • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

      Thank you Mahmoud,

      I am sure you are familiar with the Arabic saying: Al Ayn Besira wel Yed Gesira.

      1. One can only do what he can. If you want me to engage Egyptian audience, in Egypt for example, I cannot do it simply because I do not live everywhere; I live in the USA. Besides, our struggle is a multi-faceted one and as such, many people are supposed to get involved–everyone covering his geographical location.

      I disagree with you that engaging the students and faculty (and the wider coverage thereafter) in the West is unimportant. Unlike in the Middle East and Africa, students are a dynamo who can affect policies as free citizens simply because they are connected and enjoy their full voting and petitioning rights. Don’t underestimate that.

      I have been writing for too long and I write for everybody. Thanks to the Internet, one can reach different countries at the same time Help me get to Egypt and I will do it–I can do nothing on my own.

      2.I have addressed this point in my speech. I believe, whatever the argument, one cannot blame the victim. The youth see no difference in the risks of fleeing their country to reach a safe place or staying under the PFDJ oppression.

      3. The West will keep doing its business, as you said. I agree. But we also have to keep doing our business.

      On engaging the Muslim community, you have raised and critical point. Unfortunately, the engagement of Muslims in the affairs of our country is at its lowest. People seem to think the only thing they should do is worry about Deen and forget about Dunya; the two should go in tandem. Community leaders have emasculated the Muslims by shying away from national issues. Check the Arabic facebook pages and what you see (particularly from Eritrean youth in Saudi Arabia), is very disappointing. The majority of Muslim youth seem to be more interested in what happens in other places than in Eritrea. They seem happy discussing KhuzaAbelat that appear in websites like sebayacafe.com (I am not sure of the correct url) I followed their discussion in نريد مليون ارتري etc, for months. The level of maturity and topics that are discussed, really disappointed me. Eritrea is left wayback in their memories, if that. An awakening is needed there and you need to help.

      • mahmud saleh

        I don’t think discussing issues of personal responsibilities amounts to blaming the victims. Your main thrust seems to be the task of weeding out hgdf.Fair enough. But we know these tragedies are not going to end with the weeding out of hgdf as long as there is some one willing to bear the consequence. So, unless you address this part of the problem your motivation will appear to be political, which I don’t have a problem with,but discussing the role of the community (particularly, Eritreans abroad, since in most cases, they are the ones paying the money for smuggling their loved ones out of the country) would make your presentation more responsible and balanced.

  • Thomas

    Actually, we lost more than 18,000 of our citizens. I cannot say who won or lost the war. Haile Duru said the Eritrean people won the war, but the leaders failed us. We were told that the weyanes were our brothers during the struggle and that they shared blood with tegadelti (our people). But then again in 1998, we were told Weyanes were our arch enemies. Many explanations on the changes of attitudes of our leaders, majority agreed that DIA purposely ignited the war just to distract us from working on the path of democracy and the implementation of our constitution. I believe this argument is valid by all measures. The same way he is now using the border demarcation and the US as a pretext. These people are very deceptive and will always use lies as a means to prolong their grip. I think now I know much about DIA’s behavior and his insensitivity about our miseries (Lampadusa victims as africans) and many reasons along with that, we must have lost way more than 18,000. The regime does not seem to care about our people as they become victims of everything. All they care is about staying in power and cause a maximum damage to us.

    • Zahra

      Thomas,

      In the last Ethio-Eritrean war, The Indian Ocean Newsletter is remembered reporting that 19,000 Eritreans were routed out when they tried to take back. This was a one battle lose of Eritreans, let the other battles of the 1998-2000 war. Early figures read a total of 93,000 Eritreans and 165,000 Ethiopians lost their lives in that war. If one is familiar with Isayas’ strategy of depressing his losses and exaggerating his enemy’s losses, you have to multiply Isayas reported own losses by max. 10 or min. 5. To be conservative, if we would multiply Isayas reported losses of about 20,000 by 5, the exact correct loss could be 100,000. There is a lot of messes to be cleaned after Isayas is gone. So, to hasten Isayas’s departure we need to discover or try to decode his formulas of covering up his reporting strategy.

      • Thomas

        Zahra,

        I strongly agree with your points. The Lampadusa tragedy has somehow exposed the true nature of the regime and its everyday lies. They have gotten away with their lies for long, but they were not able hide their lies on the Lampadusa because everyone was able to see the coffins and the list of those dead Eritreans (357 of ours). The so called president could not care to talk about these victims. Truly a government governing by itself for itself. It is SO strange and painful to think of it.

  • ዕትብቲ ኮኾብ ሰላም

    talking about good, goes with every article. and here again we are …….…..ጽባቐ ጽቡቓት…3rd page.tks

  • Salih

    Parfaite présentation, et à combien d’actualité. Heureusement que tu es là Salih
    en défense de peuple Erythréens… ንአደ ዘይብሉ …… ይፈጥረሉ.

    Si l’opposition Erythréens additionner ensemble, et un jour, font un discoure pareille Le régime de chez nous n’aura jamais survécu jusqu’aujourd’hui.

    Que Dieu te bénie mon frère.

  • abel

    Well Done, excellent speach Mr.Saleh,

    I haveone question though!!!

    Was it deliberate or unintentional that you Omitted the main perpetrators of Eritrean organ Traffickers? The criminal Rashahida and Bedouin Arabs???
    It just a thought.

  • Gebre

    Yonas on December 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm said:
    “Did you think of that all by yourself? Your mother must be proud of you.”

    Here we go! Now Mr Yonas you want to tell the world (in a street language) whether my mother is proud of me or not. Jumping to comment on what my mother felt of me was really crossing the red line of a civilized discourse for the sober mind in an international forum like this.
    Mr Yonas, why would you have to bring my mother to this forum?

    The only thing I would say to you, Mr Yonas, is please discuss the real issues and present to the world communities your alternative views and actions, if you have any, that would help raise the awareness of the communities so that the people that are really suffering while we are bickering here pathetically, would get some help and be extricated from their unfortunate ordeals.

    Mr Ghadi is a hard working courageous man who has done a lot more than his share to help his people. It does mean that we should agree with his political views on every issue. But on the humanitarian side of the problems in the Horn of Africa, I wouldn’t differ much from him. He has wondered from one corner of the globe to the other appealing for help from the world communities. He has written a book elucidating the plight of the sufferings of innocent young East Africans in the hands of the most evil half-human beasts of the Sinai human traffickers.

    I think, you Mr Yonas and your likes have missed the point of delivering such public speeches. Such public speeches are not meant for beauty contest in terms of consistencies. You don’t worry or care how you present your message on 911. Your only immediate concern is to pass your message and get an emergency help as quickly as possible. The main point is to make all the inhumane sufferings of innocent people known to the world so that people in power can wake up from the slumber they are wallowing in and help the helpless and voiceless. And Mr Ghadi has done just that. We are very grateful to him for his outstanding courage and work.

    • Gebre

      Correction: Please read Gadi instead of Ghadi

  • sewawi

    The important thing in all of this is that the world, particulary the “Western” world, has finally come to see Eritrea as a poor, proud but stubborn little country.

    They have come to realize that their threats aren’t going to work on Eritrea.

    Eritrea is very different from other African or Midddle Eastern countries in that sense.

    Threats, intimidation and black mails are none starters when it comes to Eritrea.

    So in that sense, YES!

    ERITREANS ARE A DIFFERENT BREED IN THE WORLD!!!!

    Eritreans are not a different breed because they have special geneticts! No Sir!

    But we are a different breed because we stand our ground! And the world eventually come to see things our way. And Ertireans always triumph in the end because they are willing to outlast their enemies and hold out as long as it is necessary.

    Awet n Hafash!

    Zelealemawi Zikhri n Sematat Ertra

    • abou Yara

      I know Eritrean people are proud . However politic is not like how the regim in Asmara is handling. Politic away from him. One could be proud and stubborn and can be still a polititian . 22 years of stubbornism only brought to Eritean desaster economically and socially . I think we had enough of this regim it is about time for change by any mean neccessary.

  • rodab

    As we know PIA doesn’t participate in world stages like the other leaders. Do you wonder why? Wonder no more. Here is your answer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JUtUl5M1T8

    • rodab

      To get a better context, you have to watch the full vid in EastAfro. But here is what he said about why he donesn’t take trips outside the country:
      … ዘራጊ ማይ ከሎ ከም ዝብሃል ክሳብ ሎሚ ጽሩይ ማይ ክስተ ኣይተኻእለን። እዚ እናኾነ ግን ተስፋ ከይቆረጽና ናይ ቤትና ሽግር ናይ ቤትና ጸገም ንፈትሕ ንሓዋሩ ከኣ እቲ ጎዶበና እቲ ከባቢና እንተሰሊጥዎም እዞም ኩሎም ሽግራት እዚኣቶም ሰጊርና ክንተሓባበር ኢና እንዳበልና ኢና ምስ ኩላቶም ንሰርሕ። ምናልባት ኣብዚ ኣጋጣሚ እዚ ናይ 50 ዓመታት በዓል ናጽነት ናይ ኬንያ ከምኡ’ውን ኣብ ካል ኦት ኣጋጣሚታት ብዙሕ መገሻታት ስለዘይንፈቱ ገዛና ስለንፈቱ ካብቲ ዓዲ ምውጻእ ብዙሕ ኣይንፈቱን… ካላስ በቃ ከምዚ ከነጽሉና ፈቲኖም ንኤርትራ ከነጽልዋ ፈቲኖም ከምዚ ጌሮም ይብሃል እሞ ኣንታ ባዕልና ብነብስና ኢና ካብ ገዛና ክንወጽእ ዘይደለና እምበር ኣብዚ ኣሎ ድግስ ኣብቲ ኣሎ ድግስ ኣብቲ ካልእ ኣሎ ድግስ… ብዙሕ ከምኡ ስዘለይለመድና ኣብ ገዛና ኮፍ ምባል ስለዚሕሸናን ንደልን ኢና…

      • haile

        Rodab… lo and behold, he should get off that lazy azz of his 🙂 the IMF predicts the lowest GDP growth for Eritrea in 2014 for sub-Sahara Africa. And business insider predicts, with real parity growth of just 1.8% for Eritrean economy for the next 4 years, Eritrea is headed to be THE POOREST NATION ON EARTH by the year 2018, unless something gives. Well, well…

  • Citizen

    I disagree with the following statement of the presenter, “The Eritrean regime was at war with Ethiopia over a border town; the war ended in 2000. We lost 18, 000 lives.” Is the author talking based on substantiated fact or he is trying to say that Shaebiya was the victor. I think the author should have explained well where he got his figures when the rest of the world tell us the lives lost from both countries was quadruple times than what the presenter is mentioning here. Or is he trying to dishonour the lives of those poor fellow citizens of his. In short my question is why sympathize with the evil regime you are trying to disclose? It is due to lack of honest reflection where Eritrea is right now. Too much and too blind nationalism.

    • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

      Citizen,

      You seem to have many questions and assumptions: the subject was about Eritrea and the “we” means Eritrea. We lost about 18000 people is a fact and if you want to know, check the archives because we have published a detailed list some years ago. When I talk about Ethiopia and Eritrea together, the loss are many folds that. But for your question, “….or he is trying to say that Shaebiya was the victor” I really do not know what to say. Maybe someone would volunteer an answer.

    • Ermias

      Citizen,

      Where in the world did you get that the author claimed shaebia was the victor? Simply because the 18000 looked far too few to you? FYI, 18000 is 0.6% of Eritreans. If you consider the USA, it would amount to 180K people. That’s a lot of people, given the war took place in three years time only, even if you believe that figure is biased low.

      Given the six degrees of freedom theory, nearly every Eritrean lost somebody they knew. I for one have been in the USA for so long yet I know of easily more than a dozen people closely who died in the war SGJ mentions.

      I know you are fighting our fight but it doesn’t pay to undermine the efforts of a highly respected figure as in Gadi for one issue that you have a reservation on.

      • Citizen

        @saleh & ermias
        Based on some of the moderatories account (@zahar & Thomas ) the lost lives as a consequence of the ’98 boarder war on the part of Eritrea was more than 18,000 soldiers. For sure Eritrea must have lost more lives than Ethiopia to have lost the war. Because the greater the lose of lives in any given battle the inevitable the defeat becomes. This is fact. Don’t need to be a military analyst to know this. The idea some how Ethiopia won the war because of its population size is preposterous. Because in ’98 Eritrea had 10 times soldiers than Ethiopia, for instance. This is fact. It took ethiopia two and more years to bring its soldier surpass that of Eritrea. My point is this: the notion somehow Eritrea did not lose the war because the number of soldiers lost in the battle were fewer than that of Ethiopia not only is it at a disservice to Eritreans but also encourages the nation to continue to go to war for no apparent reasons as it does currently with its neighbouring countries. For your information, in the ’98-2000 war with Ethiopia 99% of the diaspora Eritreans backed the war. So, having this type of war mongering culture one would expect some lesson learned being shared by the activist but all there is a mix of activism with blind nationalism. This is not going to serve the purpose. I also would like to see the website address where you (Saleh) got the 18000 figures from. Finally, I wish you the best in your activism.

        • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

          Citizen, we published the list almost nine-years ago with the technical and server support from asmarino.com. Search the asmarino.com archives and you will get it there. The number is not exactly eighteen thousand, that was our estimate from the information we had. But we published the details of almost 17,000 soldiers who were killed from the Eritrean side. You will find their names, birthplace, their parents names, age, reason and place of death, unit number, etc.//

  • widibna

    saay,

    You were doing fine up until you quoted YG. I have this visceral reaction to YG.

    Just seeing the name YG on the screen ruins my day.

    My day is shot now. Thanks saay 🙁

  • Dawit

    Great content and timely issue. We all know Saleh is a cogent writer and a good story teller. How about his presentation?- I leave that to him and others. Here are a list of essential public speaking skills by Andrew Dlugan and of course he did fine on most of them except: being too close to the lectern limited the energy and passion he could have exhibited and his lack of variation vocal pace, tone, and volume, depending too much on his notes, etc. I wish Saleh the best as he hones his public speaking skills…and tells Eritreans’ quagmire with the unelected dictator.
    25 Skills Every Man/Woman Should Know, I pondered a list of the 25 essential skills every public speaker should have. How did I do?

    Every public speaker should be able to:
    1.Research a topic – Good speakers stick to what they know. Great speakers research what they need to convey their message.
    2.Focus – Help your audience grasp your message by focusing on your message. Stories, humour, or other “sidebars” should connect to the core idea. Anything that doesn’t needs to be edited out.
    3.Organize ideas logically – A well-organized presentation can be absorbed with minimal mental strain. Bridging is key.
    4.Employ quotations, facts, and statistics – Don’t include these for the sake of including them, but do use them appropriately to complement your ideas.
    5.Master metaphors – Metaphors enhance the understandability of the message in a way that direct language often can not.
    6.Tell a story – Everyone loves a story. Points wrapped up in a story are more memorable, too!
    7.Start strong and close stronger – The body of your presentation should be strong too, but your audience will remember your first and last words (if, indeed, they remember anything at all).
    8.Incorporate humour – Knowing when to use humour is essential. So is developing the comedic timing to deliver it with greatest effect.
    9.Vary vocal pace, tone, and volume – A monotone voice is like fingernails on the chalkboard.
    10.Punctuate words with gestures – Gestures should complement your words in harmony. Tell them how big the fish was, and show them with your arms.
    11.Utilize 3-dimensional space – Chaining yourself to the lectern limits the energy and passion you can exhibit. Lose the notes, and lose the chain.
    12.Complement words with visual aids – Visual aids should aid the message; they should not be the message. Read slide:ology or the Presentation Zen book and adopt the techniques.
    13.Analyze your audience – Deliver the message they want (or need) to hear.
    14.Connect with the audience – Eye contact is only the first step. Aim to have the audience conclude “This speaker is just like me!” The sooner, the better.
    15.Interact with the audience – Ask questions (and care about the answers). Solicit volunteers. Make your presentation a dialogue.
    16.Conduct a Q&A session – Not every speaking opportunity affords a Q&A session, but understand how to lead one productively. Use the Q&A to solidify the impression that you are an expert, not (just) a speaker.
    17.Lead a discussion – Again, not every speaking opportunity affords time for a discussion, but know how to engage the audience productively.
    18.Obey time constraints – Maybe you have 2 minutes. Maybe you have 45. Either way, customize your presentation to fit the time allowed, and respect your audience by not going over time.
    19.Craft an introduction – Set the context and make sure the audience is ready to go, whether the introduction is for you or for someone else.
    20.Exhibit confidence and poise – These qualities are sometimes difficult for a speaker to attain, but easy for an audience to sense.
    21.Handle unexpected issues smoothly – Maybe the lights will go out. Maybe the projector is dead. Have a plan to handle every situation.
    22.Be coherent when speaking off the cuff – Impromptu speaking (before, after, or during a presentation) leaves a lasting impression too. Doing it well tells the audience that you are personable, and that you are an expert who knows their stuff beyond the slides and prepared speech.
    23.Seek and utilize feedback – Understand that no presentation or presenter (yes, even you!) is perfect. Aim for continuous improvement, and understand that the best way to improve is to solicit candid feedback from as many people as you can.
    24.Listen critically and analyze other speakers – Study the strengths and weakness of other speakers.
    25.Act and speak ethically – Since public speaking fears are so common, realize the tremendous power of influence that you hold. Use this power responsibly.

    Which skills have I missed? Are all of those on the list essential?
    .

    • Beyan Negash

      Dawit,

      Thanks for sharing these valuable points that one must consider when engaging the public and/or an audience. This is the kind of information that any of us can benefit from and worth displaying on one’s (Face Book wall) but office/library wall, especially, when one’s business is engaging the public as SGJ’s activism seems to be leading him towards that endeavor. One can only appreciate such constructive suggestions, I am certainly most appreciative of it.

      Sincerely,
      BN

  • L.T

    I have found those words some where and to share to you before I went to reply you and the words that I will show you it’s just to”Gaza Tegaru” and go ahead and read it.
    “Think of anything that is unbelievable”
    “Askull full”
    “Here,where are you!”
    “If life is like life what is deadth?”
    “Beware Ducks only!”
    “Children play and you smoke,how does it feel?”
    “What is success?do not make money anywat!”
    “Here we are,do you?”
    orderly provocede huh!let us introduce a real and we can not buy anymore like that:”I am born in Asmera on..and they called us “Agame”For once I wanted to say to youand remind you that Eritrea is only to Eritreans and “Agame is a small “Awraja availabale in Tigria where Dej Sabagadis Weldu Shum Agame born.

  • Mohamed Edris

    Wedi Ghadi as usual well said. Mabrook

  • Thomas

    Hi SGJ,

    Great work on your presentation!! You have a clear voice, you know what you were talking about very well (of course it shows an inside and deep heartfelt and strong emotion to the issue on discussion as you were talking about the once of yours, the Eritreans). We are all touched when we try to think of what is going in our homeland. It is really bad to remember the monster and all the blood suckers.

  • Beyan Negash

    Perhaps, the following idea might prove instructive for those of us who are prone and have the tendency to look what’s outside us instead of looking within us first. A little contemplation and introspection may take us a long ways in awakening the great things that may lie within us.

    “If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself, if you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” – Lao Tzu

    • ዕትብቲ ኮኾብ ሰላም

      Yes Sir,
      That works everywhere and all times. The first step for change to start is, within. Now changing the programmed mind of PFDJ supporter’s is to let them know this truth. the same with opposition and the same to those like Yonas who are opposing both without doing nothing.
      Mr.Saleh sure didn’t come to this level of consciousness without fighting his own ego (selfishness) that most of us couldn’t. If you (Beyan) think about it you will know how much you fight your selfish self to be so gentle to stand for your people. The more you have gone ahead to fight the selfishness within, The more kind you become to the world wellbeing.

      • Beyan Negash

        Well said dear EKS. I hope to live to see a day in which EKS will read the poetries in the capital, smack in the middle of town like Cinema Capitol (aka, EKS Theatre) to a live audience; I hope to live to see when SGJ will join you in that same EKS Theater to tell his riveting stories to a live audience; I hope to live to see a day when YG, SY, Haile, Amanuel H., Ghezae, Serray, Amde, Horizon, AOsman, Kaddis, Eyob, Thomas, Dave, Nitricc, Ermias, T.Kflu, Hameed, Said, and many thousands more who would stroll via downtown to see your show. That’s when I would know the day of reckoning has not only arrived but also the country was finally coming to grips with its shortcomings and its people finally figured out a way of looking from within and began to enjoy life the way it should be enjoyed.

        kbret yhabellay,
        BN

        • ዕትብቲ ኮኾብ ሰላም

          ክቡር በያን ነጋሽ ምስጋናይ ንምግላጽ ቃላት ይሓጽረኒ:- ምንዮትካ ክውን ክኸውን ይጽልይ። ንሎሚ ጀበና ነቲ “ጽባቐ ጽቡቓት” ብዝበል (ነቲ ብክቡር ኣክሊሉ ዝተጻሕፈ) ተንጸባርቕ ግጥሚ ካልይ ገጽ ይዕድመካ ፍሉይ ዝገብራ ኸኣ ነቲ ዝተሰማማዕናሉ:- ለውጢ መሰረቱ ካብ ንብስ ወከፍና ከምዝኾነ ንምንጽብራቕ:- ነቲ ሓሳብ ብምድግጋም ከተቅርብ ትፍትን:: ምድግጋም “ጽቡቕ” ኣብ ኣእምሮ ሰላም ከምዘስፍር ካብ ክቡር ኣክሊሉ እየ ተማሂረዮ::

          enjoy Jebena of the day.tks

  • haile

    Selamat SGJ

    Great presentation, it seems public speaking comes naturally to you too. Well done brother.

    Regards

  • berhan gedem

    dear
    Gadi you did execelent presentation that it more than that from eritrea this generation stand up fight for right nobody eritrea will save it from this evil dictator Essayas and his puppets.

  • Yonas

    There seems to be a lot of inconsistencies and outright fabrications in your presentation. This sadly, amongst a number of other reasons, is why the masses do not throw their support behind the opposition. We need to not lie to get our message across. It’s one thing to lie to foreigners but this won’t work with your own people. It’s truly sad when the Eritrean people are stuck with an apathetic regime and a useless opposition.

    • Beyan Negash

      Dear Yonas,

      With all due respect where is the “inconsistencies and outright fabrications” in SGJ’s “presentation” that you allege exists. When a judge issues a verdict, which you seem to have voluntarily assumed of one, he/she does not just make blanket statements full of buzz words, such as “fabrications, lie, etc.” In all fairness to the “accused” the judge would unequivocally blurt out what those misgivings were before throwing the law book and the key to lock the accused.

      What you have done is precisely that, Yonas, without giving us what those misgivings are, as it were, your virtual law-book and the virtual key to lock the accused, thank God, remains in the virtual world. And the “apathetic regime” that you speak of is where one expects this kinds of unfounded allegations before they put young men and women in the dungeons. And what makes the “opposition useless” is when your likes are happy to throw their critical venom without seeming to offer any kind of support even when it is on human rights ground. You cannot even bring yourself to support those in opposition who oppose human trafficking and yet conveniently forget that Eritrea is “stuck” with “apathetic” silent majority.

      Fairness demands that you at least give those of us who are on the sideline cheering the man for going out on a limb trying his utmost best to expose the culprit by not taking us for dummies; and that you should not become an accessory to the human traffickers to which your brothers and sisters have been subjected to for many years now by inadvertently supporting their evil work as you deny yourself the chance to say bless you SGJ for doing this on behalf of humanity; for going the extra mile to expose the well oiled evil machinery that seems to operate seamlessly because we are quick and ready to thrash those who are trying to right the wrongs. For crying out loud let us give credit when and where credit is due, that’s the beginning of cultivating healthy opposition.

      You may have political world view that stands in stark contrast to that of SGJ and that’s well and good, but to go this extreme in attempting to tarnish one’s image based on tenuous and untenable reasoning makes your unfounded allegations rather irksomely annoying.

      When someone makes noble gestures to alleviate the thousands and upon thousands of young Eritreans’ pain and suffering and for you Yonas, to ignore all that and operate under the guise of championing the truth and yet spewing your own “lies and fabrications” is perverse at best. If you cannot muster the courage to encourage, at least, stay silent or, of course, specify what deceptions you accuse others of.

      Sincerely,
      Beyan

      • Yonas

        I stopped reading your comment after the first sentence. Next time more facts and less emotions. If I wanted an emotional outburst, I’d have a discussion with my wife. If you can’t decipher or identify the inconstitencies then I truly feel for you and your sense or lack thereof of logic. Go do a bit of research before going on another rant. Sadly too many in the opposition camps like to hear themselves speak. Long articles and even longer comments will not help our people. No wonder change has not occurred.

        • Beyan Negash

          Dear Yonas,

          I did a little research and I found a corollary of Saleh Gadi’s speech paying off in terms of the topic receiving more exposure as a result of his efforts, but I must make sure to say my piece in one sentence before you cut me loose – so herein follows the link to the radio program out of Utah. Enjoy.

          The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour (Air date: Dec. 18, 2013) –

          Saleh “Gadi” Johar is an author and human trafficking activist focused on the ordeal of human trafficking victims from Eritrea in the Sinai desert. According to Johar and a human rights report released in December 2013, The Human Trafficking Cycle: Sinai and Beyond, since 2009 thousands of refugees, mostly young men, have been abducted, tortured, forced to labor, or held for ransom by Bedouin gangs in the Sinai desert near the Israeli border. As Johar describes, in some cases victims’ organs are harvested by their abductors who intend to sell them for profit. The victims are held while their relatives, friends, or sympathetic strangers are pressured into paying enormous ransoms. It is estimated that 95 percent of these victims, roughly 8,000 people, originate from Eritrea. Johar recently published a book on the subject, Miriam Was Here. This Hinckley Institute Radio Hour was recorded live with an audience of students, at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, on December 10th, 2013.

          http://kcpw.org/blog/hinckley-institute-radio-hour/2013-12-18/saleh-gadi-johar-human-trafficking-activist/

    • Gebre

      Wei guud! So where is your alternative solution Mr Yonas?

      He, who has no donkey despises others for having a horse.
      Ayija Yelyelow Beklon Yinikal!

      • Yonas

        Did you think of that all by yourself? Your mother must be proud of you.

    • Naznet Emnetu

      Hi Yonas,

      Can enlighten us what inconsistencies and fabrications you found in Saleh’s speech? You pointed fingers at others on why the masses do not support the opposition. Are you Eritrean, then do not feel sad for us for being stuck with “apathetic regime and useless opposition”. Why don’t you become then our savior and start an effective opposition or help them to become useful? Saleh is a fighter. He fought for Eritrean independence and he is fighting for freedom of himself and the rest of the people. He believes that he has to fight to earn his own freedom otherwise he does not deserve to be free. That is why, if you notice, he did not ask for external military intervention. Knowledge is power. He is working very hard to accelerate the freedom of himself and his compatriots by letting every know the situation of his country and people and mobilizing support.

      Please reflect on this quote, (thanks Beyan Negash for the quote) “If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself, if you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” – Lao Tzu

      Once again, it would be very useful if you could be specific about you accusations. And if you want effective opposition be it yourself. Generalizing is the weapon of falsehood, and used by those who want to confuse people or distort the truth because they know they do not have the truth or could not or want not tell the truth. I hope you are not one of them.

  • widibna

    Dear Saleh,

    I get the sense that deep down inside, you just want to be a politician. Excuse me, a “public servant.” That is why I think you hate Issaias.

    But you chose the wrong widib man. You should have joined the EPLF not the ELF. You joined the wrong front.

    Remember the song: “Gimbar aleki, Edel aleki, Iza Kinite widib mihazki.” It was a popular song in the 70s.

    Translation of the song in Tigrigina: “You are lucky because you chose the righteous front.”

    • tezeta

      Widbna,
      I partly agree with you. Like spoken words, body language, gesture, and the looks say a lot as much as the words. Hence, I see a lot of similarities between him and Issu. However, his hat was totally misplaced. I do not know what he was thinking going to a college with a hat (It reminds me MZ). I do not want to second guess him. Let him tell us why the hat was necessary in such a formal place.

    • saay

      Hey widibna:

      No comment on your speculation but the song was:

      Edel alleni/allena
      Gnbar alleni/allena
      Iza kinEti wdb mihazki/mihazna

      Alternates with

      Hambise wexieyo zeyweHateni.

      Song was huge in the late 1970s when all major Eritreans towns were liberated by ELF and EPLF. Only 95% of the country; the country had to form transnational alliance to liberate 100%, according to the Book of Zekre Lebonna and YG. I think, mathematically, this means Ethiopia’s importance to Eritrea’s internal affairs is 5%.

      Ah, good times.

      saay

    • TiETiE( shiro bubble )

      Widibna:
      You are wrong.
      First Both ELF and EPLF evolved for liberation of Eritrea that both were important for Gedli so no one was wrong or right – both did some wrong or both did some good too. While I have little knowledge of Jebha and Shabiya I do not see the benefit of eradicating Jebha from Eritrea MeyDa. The greedy members of Shabiya particularily the top criminal esayas Afewerki mislead Eritrean people that Jebha was trouble – infact he was the top trouble maker since the early 1970s. Rather than to focus on Jebha why this stupid group of esayas were not focusing on enemy fighting. Two sons may have disagreement on many issues but sure they can agree when it is in terms of the family and extended family interests so no need to turn bloody toward each other.to the family the winner and looser have sad impacts. I mean Eritrean are sad for losing Jebha at the same time they are also sad toward the killer son(shabiya)no satisfaction at all.

      Second the present day of Shabiya is a bunch of criminal group for these reasons.
      1. the execution of mayHabar veterans
      2. Humiliating Weyane and Tigrayan for no reasons.this created long term stand against Eritrea.

      3. Encouraging certain people from certain region to boast that attracted enemies overall let these groups to mistreat their own citizens especially these southern tigryna and the entire muslim Eritrean.

      Do not give credit to Shabiya for carrying the final liberation of Eritrea from Derg colonization. The victory was the work of individual fighters and the civilian Eritreans inside and outside.

  • thank you saleh

  • I just love your introduction story.
    The speech one of a few timely speeches.

  • Tecle

    Great presentation, Saleh. Proud of you brother, keep it up.

  • Thomas

    “The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think” -Aristotle, philosopher (384-322 BCE)

    SGJ,

    You see unlike YG, SAAY and others argument about what happened 60 years ago, your concern is relevant and factual. I wonder if the time they are wasting arguing would have been used to address the none existing, irrelevant issues and focus on the current issue which requires urgent solution. Our nation is on the verge of collapse and is about to become a failed state. Some people have chosen to talk tediously about Haileslasie and other ugly history of ours. We need to talk about things that can be proven by all measures, the gross human right violators who should have been in prison but still cleansing our people and turning our beloved nation into a somali like.

  • T.Kifle

    Dear Saleh,

    I am in the middle of reading “Miriam was here”. I hope Miriam would make it safely to her father, Zerom. Yours is a well-delivered message. Keep fighting the evil.

    Regards

  • Delta

    Well done Gadi!”ezni zelato ysmae” message. Great job for effectively highlighting many issues in so little time!!

  • rr

    Saleh, I forgot to say that I am your biggest fan.

    • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

      Thanks, chronic allergy and unusually cold weather that I am not accustomed to are to blame. Next time, I will handcuff my hands 🙂

  • Dave

    Saleh,
    Beautifuly delivered speech with a caveat : the snake metaphor(“hitting a dead snake, its head made flat on the road”) may strike a chord with Eritrean audience , not with those students who might looked at it as uncalled and cruel treatment of the animal. I hope that won’t leave a sour test with them In otherwise excellent speech.

    • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

      Dave,
      Thanks… it is a true story, I couldn’t help mentioning that. Those who are sensitive to snake are only used to the harmless garden snake. I am sure they would change their mind if introduced to Mendelay Temen 🙂

  • rr

    Saleh
    You did not mention the study done by Meron and another European guy that the Eritrean military are involved in human trafficking. Why?

    NB: leave your nose alone next time you give lecture.

    • Dave

      Rr,
      May be you missed it but Saleh did mention that study

      • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

        Dave, in Tigrayet, there is something called “SreE.” I have no problems with Meron, she is a co-activist, an ally of sorts. The other woman I never heard of before her name appeared in the report. The third lady, I am bound by the Tigrayet SreE not to mention her name. The following might give you a clue:

        “The tasks are outsourced to shady entities with unelected officials; the execution of foreign policy by free-lancers: the political NGO industry. Yes, it has become an industry with 9-5 career jobs. Western governments are treating the Third World as a franchise given to different political NGOs who have become more visible and better funded compared to the charitable, humanitarian organizations that survive mostly due to the dedication of blessed people whose aim is to help the poor and the destitute.”

        With apologies, this is my first and last comment on the issue

  • rodab

    Hats off Saleh G,
    Good presentation. Living in afluent society such uas America, no amount of presentation would make the students understand about what their counterparts in Eritrea are going through. On the Q&A, your message was very effective when you told them to imagine being taken to boot camp to finish their 11th grade, and thereafter into indefinet service where they would get desperate and try to escape to Mexico. That must have gottent them 🙂
    P.S. Take crispy, unfolded papers to your presentations. It will save you time and attention to keep them unfolded during the proceeding. Just a tip.
    Good job.

    • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

      Rodab, point well taken…I had cue-cards… I lost them 🙂

  • Haqi

    Well done Gadi. I am proud of you, tell the world about the Eritrean youth misery at the hands of the devil and his minions.

  • L.T

    Salih,a special assigment from the CIA to be postponed and you have much else to deal with and will probably even much away the mess so you now need to try a new strategy or change the already set plans in your thoughts and forces in construtive courses.There are little amateur cooks(Zionist) with love for the homeland and its raw materials are wxcited.Do you think they believ or trust you?but to me it clearly shows that you were on the natural history museum but I am so happy that you have had fun there and prepare yourself for some acidic comments when to fix something you are not really happy with.

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