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The “Sacred Cows”

Nationalism pushed to its extreme equals ultra-nationalism of the fascist kind*. Ethnic pride pushed to its extreme leads to a narrowly defined ethnocentrism or even worse. Religious beliefs pushed to the extreme leads to fanaticism of the Boko Haram, ISIS, Al Shabab and of Myanmar’s genocide (on minority Rohingia) kind. Regionalism pushed to the extreme leads to narrowly defined sub-nationalistic tendencies. In today’s article, attempts will be made to address these volatile issues that are increasingly, to the chagrin of this writer, becoming a staple in the diasporic Eritrean social media, albeit minus the actual violence for obvious reasons. Every conceivable venue must be used to counter these disparaging tendencies. Eritrea, the bastion of diverse communities living side by side, is the last country that needs some such dangerous tensions. Allow me to start out with a subject matter far removed from Eritrea, religion-wise, but will provide a useful illustration, namely, the sacred cow in Hinduism.

One of the must-read textbooks for Anthropology students in universities, at least when I was an undergrad student, seemingly eons ago now, was the work of Marvin Harris (1927 – 2001). The beauty to the intellectual tradition of this country is that some scholars are able to cross that barrier from the Ivory Tower to the public sphere where their work becomes accessible to the laymen and laywomen. Harris was one of those whose intellectual gravitas I enjoyed thoroughly. Rather than focusing on “thick descriptions” (Geertz, 1973), Harris modeled his anthropological work by borrowing concepts from cultural materialism and population demographics. He was able to marry the two concepts into culture & ecology. His seminal work in this regard for the purposes of this article is the “Sacred Cows” essay that challenged the West on why Hindus’ inconceivability of slaughtering their surplus cows was not irrational even when starvation was widespread in India in 1968. The inconceivability of slaughtering the cows in the name of religion the West felt was proof enough that religious practices of Hinduism was irrational. But, Harris’s tenaciously thick analysis provides the below the surface that underlay to such belief system.**

The essential message that one should be cognizant of is to NOT be judgmental of others’ beliefs. Any belief has its own surface and beneath the surface level internal logic, as such, it is best left to its adherents’ devise so long it does no harm to others who may or may not be believers. So, when priests and sheiks cross their theological lines and use history, political science, medical procedures to explain away and justify Providence’s greatness, especially, when they have no training in these fields is when the message they send becomes dangerously irresponsible. Eritreans need to learn on what it is they can speak with authority. This is not to suggest that one shouldn’t have an opinion, of course, one should. But, one also should be open to learning from others who speak from a place of expertise. All that one needs to put into consideration is that every brick ought to not act like it is the whole wall. A brick is part of the wall but not what exclusively makes the wall. That one brick needs to live in harmony, with all modesty that such coexistence invokes in knowing where it is placed on the wall where it is contributing to the wall to be erected upright. This needs to be emphasized, lest someone surmise from this that one cannot move from one field of endeavor to another. Of course, one could, but one needs to have the needed interdisciplinary knowledge to make that transformation. Therefore, if one’s training is in theology, then, please cling to it and don’t try to somehow feel entitled to be an authority in other fields of endeavors. The reverse is also true. When politicians begin to use their political office to advocate for something they have no sufficient knowledge of, resorting to their personal beliefs to justify issues, is when they make colossal mistakes

The corollaries to the above mix-ups are nothing more than misdirected anger, outright rejection of the Other’s idea as ill-conceived and laced with xenophobia. Such ignorance quickly turns to a wholesale intense loathing toward certain belief system, akin to a show of the grotesque, so grotesque, in fact, one is hard-pressed to even sit through some of these clips to watch in their entirety. Fleetingly, they appear and disappear through social media. However, they not only raise the temperature of the targeted groups but also, they leave their indelible mark on our collective psyche. Cumulative effects of these kinds of unwise and detrimental remarks leave many to wonder whether the idea of the nation-state of Eritrea and its viability is going to weather these endless social and political storms. Whether Eritrea is going to be a failed state after the menace expires of old age or is deposed like countless men at the helm of political power who ruled with an iron-fist across the world, before him.

Not so fast! The sky has not fallen on us yet is a visceral response that injects itself on someone who wants to cling onto a hope and to that flickering light at the end of the tunnel. We can still get it right appears to be the little voice that whispers in one’s ears.

Nonetheless, this vicious cycle can only be made to stop if we collectively begin to think with cool heads. It is in the nature of optics for some of the highly charged video clips that we are subjected to watch to generate overreaction on all corners. The nature of social media is such that it requires swift responses. But, some optics need not be reacted to, nor should they be popularized by overreaction. What these overreactions are doing is allowing us to be distracted from the task at hand. Each and every time someone comes up with an outrageous statement, or a little play produced in the prayer halls, a place that was supposed to be of spiritual renewal and sustenance. How we treat such productions matters the most. If we keep on sharing some such nausea-inducing messages, what we are doing is inadvertently popularizing it. The best thing to these kinds of clips is to bury them by overwhelming other constructive messages.

I still believe that the sky has not fallen yet. Here is what’s meant by constructive messages:

Two major Eritrean national holidays are descending upon us in the next three months, the first one of which is May 24th. This is not my idea, but a dear friend who is trying to locally institute this, my take, however, is that it should be applied globally. Think of the entire month of last November where Eritreans came out in droves from North America to Europe, to Australia, to the Middle East and Africa by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Aboy Musa and the Akhriya uprising, because Eritreans in diaspora understood it was, indeed, Eritrea’s uprising against tyranny. How about Eritreans the world over selecting the weekend following the said date to celebrate in unison, male, female, Muslims and Christians, Eritreans from all walks of life own Independence Day, because it is the day in which Eritrea became a de facto nation and two years later with overwhelming support of the population of Eritrea it became a nation de jure. That fate of nation-state was sealed. Of course, each community can decide how to celebrate the day, but what matters is that Eritreans show solidarity and own that day.

Similar solemn memorialization can be done on June 20th. Now, this kind of solidarity will send a clear message to the menace at home, a menace that thrives in the colonial master/slave narrative of yesteryears. Oh, by the way, it so happened May 24th will fall on the month of Ramadan. That would be a perfect opportunity for Muslim Eritreans to invite their Christian brothers and sisters to join them in their Iftars (when they break their fast) as a way of celebrating May 24th. It’s to be recalled Ramadan and Eid were a month in which Eritrean Christians and Muslims have fond memories of, because it was a month in which sharing food, giving alms to the poor was invariably instituted by individuals and families toward their neighbors. Of course, in the diaspora, this will have a different tone to it. People will not come to break the fast because they don’t have food but will come because they have a common heritage, part of that common heritage happens to be May 24th and ought to celebrate together.

There is nothing more an irritant and something that the regime fears and detests the most than seeing Eritreans gathering across religious and across ethnic lines because creating a wedge has been the way it throve up-to this day. Using the divide and conquer rule from the old playbook, little by little, the country has been emptied and is on the verge of disintegration, because young men and young women couldn’t live under such conditions. They are opting to leave the country risking their livelihood.

When one’s population chooses to risk of vanishing in the high deserts of the Bedouin monsters; when the young choose to risk of becoming victims of the vicious ISIS and Al Qaeda riffraff of human beings; when the young choose to risk of vanishing in the high seas of the Mediterranean. There is no clearer message than this that the tyrant at home must be fought tooth and nail by those of us who are not directly impacted by its merciless wrath, a wrath that does not even discriminate between nine-year-olds and ninety-year-olds. The latest low has been where both categories have been made to disappear in the dungeons within Eritrea. The least we can do is have some sense of knowing what our priorities are. Blaming one religion versus another is not where it’s at. Where it’s at is with those who are the source of major problems that Eritreans are facing: handful bastards changing Eritrea for something it is not. So, this is a call to action for the cool heads to prevail.

Khaled Abdu’s Cool-Headed World

A cool-headed speaker on weekend that ended the month of March 2018, changed the downward spiral to a hopeful and encouraging note. My hope is that we continue on that trajectory for the rest of the year and beyond. It was so relieving to listen to Khaled Abdu’s speech. He captured it all, spirit and soul. The ever-fractured gatherings on so many various lines, he respectfully challenged his audience like nobody else has done before. The core of the message appeared to be to not belittle the contribution of the likes of Abona AbdulQadir Kebire and Abona Musa’s nationalist message. Khaled Abdu saved me from myself, made me believe there is light at the end of the tunnel, because he just didn’t shy away from what ails us, he confronted it head on. See the video link and I guarantee you, you will not be disappointed. Rare are those who teach and entertain simultaneously.

What this young man addresses needs to be heard and listened to attentively. Giving description and analysis of it here will not suffice. Suffice it, however, to mention that his sense of humor, his topical subject matter, his flawless skills of Tigrinya language, his analytical abilities, all and all, gives the much-needed hope that was otherwise beginning to be lost in the clutter of the social media, one that is poorly conceived optics-doctoring. Nobody would deny that there will be disagreements, but these disagreements will only make us better and sharper in the way we handle our national affairs. I watched Khaled Abdu’s piece at the behest of a friend who insisted that I would be pleased, because he knew these are the topics a handful of us talk about incessantly, but Khaled Abdu captured it as if he was with us discussing these issues for several years now. Listen to it on this link.


* After writing the article above a week ago now, but I felt there was something amiss in it. Thus, I couldn’t bring myself to having it published. I kept on asking for its delay to Awate editor. When I heard an interview of Madeleine Albright on her new book two days ago that warns of the ominous signs she sees in the rise of fascism. That was exactly what I felt this piece was missing, the ominous signs of the dangers of fascism coming in different disguise, including in our part of the world. At any rate, this is a woman whose family fled the dangers of fascism when she was a girl. And, she rose through the ranks and became an expert of diplomacy, and she has the knowledge and the experience to show for it. After all, she was the first woman Secretary of State of the most powerful nation on earth. I urge y’all to listen to the interview. I have yet to read her book, but certainly, all should listen to the interview here.

**Here is how Harris justified why the sacred cow continues to stay sacred in India:

“…the system operates with such high efficiency that the children of West Bengal recover nearly 100 percent of the dung produced by their livestock. From 40 to 70 percent of all manure produced by Indian cattle is used as fuel for cooking; the rest is returned to the fields as fertilizer. Dried dung burns slowly, cleanly, and with low heat – characteristics that satisfy the household needs of Indian women. Staples like curry and rice can simmer for hours. While the meal slowly cooks over an unattended fire, the women of the household can do other chores. Cow chips, unlike firewood, do not scorch as they burn. It is estimated that the dung used for cooking fuel provides the energy-equivalent of 43 million tons of coal. At current prices, it would cost India an extra 1.5 billion dollars in foreign exchange to replace the dung with coal. And if the 350 million tons of manure that are being used as fertilizer were replaced with commercial fertilizers, the expense would be even greater. Roger Revelle of the University of California at San Diego has calculated that 89 percent of the energy used in Indian agriculture (the equivalent of about 140 million tons of coal) is provided by local sources. Even if foreign loans were to provide the money, the capital outlay necessary to replace the Indian cow with tractors and fertilizers for the fields, coal for the fires, and transportation for the family would probably warp international financial institutions for years…” (Harris, “Sacred Cows”, p. 205).

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  • Mez

    Dear Twahde,

    don’t get biased,

    1) PM MZ & PIA will always choose political power over their own life.
    2) the impact of “previous regime cadres is probably number 20 out of 20.
    3) if you have some special knowledge pls provide.

  • Mez

    Dear Tewahde,

    You confuse me even more.

    1) EPLF is kicking well and good in Asmara; I had to admit its economy may had been better if it, instead, moved in tandem with TPLF; simply the economy of scale.
    2) OLF was from the very beginning compeating with OPDO, so split was an apparent order of the day–nothing extraordinary in regards to the the new extended exil life of OLF.
    3) True, since the begining (TPLF) is the mover and shaker of Ethiopian politics. Nothing new here.
    4) why you invoked the USA in your answer? You can do (absolutely) nothing about a global power while dealing with a local and regional politics–They are an integral part of the problem and the possible solution.
    5) please teach us how EPLF could conceivably be part of EPRDF and govern Ethiopia? As a foreign power or as an Ethiopian entity? Or, are you saying that someone forced PIA to chose the path of independence?
    6) by any account EPRDF (with TPLF as its core engine) is doing well for all practical purposes–and that for three decades now.

    Thanks

    • Berhe Y

      Dear Mez and Tewahde,

      I have heard rumors to that fact. For example, in the meeting IA, MZ attended in London brokered by the US / Cohen, I don’t think there was any other Eritrean other than IA. What they agreed to do in that meeting, I don’t think we have knowledge until we see the transcript when the classified document probably becomes open at some point.

      There was this guy named Wedi Filipo who lived in Italy and he said he was IA friend growing up in Asmara. He use to have pictures of them to prove it so what he wrote I think there was some truth.

      He said, after the meeting in London, IA come to Italy on his way. He met him and he said he had the document he signed with Melles in his pocket.

      There was different theory when and how the Eritrean referendum should happen. They agreed in London that the referendum will happen in seven years. They hoped (the US, TPLF and IA (EPLF) that by then, if the economic and social condition has changed, the Eritrean people desire for total independence may be wined down and they may reconsider.

      This was not acceptable to the veteran EPLF fighters and they pushed for the referendum right away and two years was thought to be enough to do it. EPLF were charging US 75 dollars to get the ID card in order to vote in the referendum, they reason was the he International community did not want to sponsor so we have to do it on our own (I think it’s EPLF way to collect money).

      Berhe

      • blink

        Dear Berhe
        First and formost the 75 dollar per paper is simply not fit for any reason, second referendum was not decided in 1991 , it was decided a decade before 1991. EPLF continuous meetings in Port Sudan, Khartoum and in the field about Referendum just in mid 1980. Finally, the EPLF leadership decided in Khartoum that referendum would be necessary for our case and that would enable us to challenge those who would provide us with different packages of a proposal. Hence, the need to conduct referendum was decided then. The issue of self-determination was not an issue of concern only for the EPLF; it was an issue of concern mainly for the Eritrean people at large. So the Eritrean people had to be consulted and heeded. Whether the people of Eritrea wanted to be part of Ethiopia, wanted to be entirely independent or wanted to be granted some sort of self administration, the people had to be given a chance to voice their heartfelt concerns. All the aforementioned actors were shocked when the decision to conduct referendum was officially announced in 1980. You see Berhe instead of going conspiring about an open truth you should have known better.

        • Berhe Y

          Hi Blink,

          I think you didn’t understood my comments so perhaps you should read it again.

          1) I did not say the referendum or holding a referendum was wrong. What I said was, the discussion between IA, MZ and Cohen in London was to agree “WHEN” to hold the referendum.

          2) I paid 75 dollars to get the ID so I vote during the referendum. Not only that, I was a student in university at the time and I was asked to give the application paper and collect money on behalf of bet SiHfet. When I asked, what should be the answer if people asked me what the money is for , I was told the reason as I stated above. If you say this is not true, please elaborate.

          As to what was decided in the 80s or 90s, by EPLF is good but it doesn’t happen unilaterally without the blessing of the UN, and specifically without Ethiopia’s agreement.

          A case in point, Punland in Somalia where it was declared independent since 1998 but not recognized.

          The Tamil Tigers has almost freed the entire region and they were not able to hold referendum or declare independence.

          Other successful examples are, East Timor, Eritrea and S. Sudan.

          Berhe

          • blink

            Dear Berhe
            Sorry about the 75 dollar, I missed your point by 180 degree . In fact to tell you more , there was money mismanagement in USA at that time .let that to another day .

            Your second take though didn’t sit well with me unless you come up with more. You said “They hoped (the US, TPLF and IA (EPLF) that by then, if the economic and social condition has changed, the Eritrean people desire for total independence may be wined down and they may reconsider. That is simply not true by millions of miles .

          • Berhe Y

            Dear blink,

            Again, I think you missed my point by 360 degrees. I am not saying that the feelings of the Eritrean people Re: Independence would have been changed. But they “IA, MZ and US” may have hoped that.

            I don’t know about MZ, but IA has said in the interview he gave in Ethiopia “we see our relationship beyond boarders or something to the effect that would make the independence irrelevant”.

            I think that was his plan all along but MZ didn’t play along…Like I said Mez, I do not know what exactly went wrong between MZ and IA.

            Berhe

          • blink

            Dear Berhe
            Isn’t it that we are the same now ? Look at it this way , I was at 180 now you said I am 360 ( which means on the same point) I mean mathematically . Again if the time for respectable relationships comes independence or united economic regional cooperation can be made . It’s not like non achievable but for that to happen we need more than any perceived blood link .

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Blink,

            I wasn’t thinking much in terms of the degrees in real mathematical terms. I was trying to say, you didn’t understand what I was saying. I am not suggesting this is right or wrong, or it could have this or that.

            What I am saying, I don’t know what IA and MZ plan was for Eritrea long term plans.

            Berhe

        • Mez

          Dear Berhe Y & Blink,

          1) $75 per ID or not is policy analysis wise irrelevant.
          2) to that London meeting PIA was invited as a leader of EPLF (with the default assumption) representing Eritrean at large and their interest; while Meles with Tplf and olf the non Eritrean Ethiopian.
          3) For all practical policy relevant purposes, what ever options and scenarios discussed there(except the one brought to light officially at the end of that meeting)—are all expired and dead at the moment the meeting was concluded.
          4) regarding the referendum you may be correct. But you have to ask yourself, what will be the benefit (as of now and in the future) of knowing …the referendum was planned for 7 years time frame or not.
          5) That you said pia was afraid (or pressured by) the friedem fighters is a sort of fuzzy to grasp, and it is incoherent in the whole dynamics—for all practical purposes PIA had and have an absolute control of his organization. And Meles didn’t come to public about it—either he is happy with the two years OR there is no seven years….
          6) regarding the “…the Eritrean people desire for total independence ….” the one or the other way, the nation was about to get what was fought for.
          7) circumstantial evidences show that the independence of Eritrea was in the best interest of TPLF leadership of the time; so both elf & Tplf had an absolutely overlapping interest on this. That was why it was resoundingly successful.
          8) dear Blink- if the referendum was initiated in 1980 or 1990 is not significantly important. People were anyhow fighting with the objective of liberation.

          Thanks

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Mez,

            I don’t know there is value in discussing this issue but from historical perspective, it may be important to know what really happened. I am off the opinion, I still do not understand exactly what went wrong between IA and MZ. People say, economic, Nacfa, Badime, etc..but I do not believe that’s exactly the reason….

            “3) For all practical policy relevant purposes, what ever options and scenarios discussed there(except the one brought to light officially at the end of that meeting)—are all expired and dead at the moment the meeting was concluded.”

            When you say “dead at the moment the meeting was concluded”, what exactly do you mean? What was agreed up on and what was made irrelevant after the meeting. Again all we know is rumors at least from Eritrea side, the Americans told EPLF not enter Asmara but they went ahead and entered anyway…the told them to hold referendum in 7 years but they did it in 2 years etc..etc..

            Looking back….7 years would have made much difference to actually know what EPLF / PFDJ real intentions are…and they will be either behaved really well or they would be exposed for what they were planing to do.

            Berhe

          • Mez

            Dear Berhe Y,

            a) With #3, what I meant was both PIA and pm mz had got what they want. All other options discussed had practically no political force as an owner. For America all solutions are acceptable; their interest will not be affected under all possible solution scenarios.
            b) it is very hard to know what makes them decide for this or for that optionFROM WHAT THEY TALK. What matters is to observe and connect what they do.
            C) I believe, the seven year pre referendum time and “ …eplf not to enter Asmara…” has more to do in giving the “ unionist idea supporters” some political space. But they are all gone now—Except the slim possibility that they may revive—just as the native plants are doing every year on farming fields (to the dismay of the hardworking farmers…)

            Thanks

  • Berhe Y

    Dear Tewahde,

    I am not sure I understand what you are trying to say.

    Berhe

  • Beyan

    Selam Awatawyan,

    This powerful message from Amanuel of Assenna complements to that of Khaled Abdu’s link I shared in this article. I have confined it to Amanuel’s message because this is the kind of unifying message that all Eritreans should listen to:

    https://youtu.be/1k6PtoaGgv0?t=2303

  • Mez

    Dear Tewelde,

    who is WPE?

    Thanks

    • Berhe Y

      Hi Mez,

      Workers Party of Ethiopia or ESePa. Mengistu HM communist party.

      Berhe

      • Mez

        Dear Berhe,

        I don’t think Tewahde mean that.

        If so, he has to provide some cornerstone evidences supporting his thinking.

        Thanks

  • Ismail AA

    Selam dear Awatistas,

    I read interesting discussion on issues ranging from individual vs group rights, ethnicization of politics elevated to constitutional levels as in the case of current Ethiopia to international and regional laws and statutes that define what those rights and are and how they should be applied. The ideas many participants have contributed from various perspectives add up to useful pool of ideas that expand our understanding of such complex matter. That being the case, though, I would like to throw a few things via this entry rather than in the form of responses to many interesting inputs.

    First, I think it is useful to differentiate the contexts that more or less determine terminologies and dimension of their essence and meaning. This is to say that the rationalizations of the human realities in dependent and independent states that led international and regional bodies to define norms and laws to address and manage rights and obligations differ from status of realities that apply to set ups of individual countries in process of various phases of evolutions. While laws and norms enshrined in international instruments such as charters, treaties and protocols are general in dimensions of reference and application, the interaction of interests and stakes with human components that constitute diverse polities and entities are informed by internal specifics and concomitant dynamics. The status and quality of state formations and historical forces that produced them impact the way politics and governance systems play out.

    In my view, thus, issues pertaining to group and individual rights within the diversities that make up states such as Ethiopia and Eritrea could not be appraised and understood outside the historical developments that brought their emergence. The colonial impact in the case of the latter, and the imperial history of the former have much to do with the current political and governance dynamics that affect progress towards coherent nationhood. These nations did not come to existence by natural forces of evolutionary integration culturally, humanly and materially (economics). They came to existence through involuntary colonial aggressions and imperial expansions as in the case of Ethiopia. It was, hence, simply anticipated phenomena that when history provided opportunities smaller components would demand rights from larger ones primarily for self-preservation on all aspects before material benefits though the two are symbiotic.

    This process had manifested itself in Ethiopia since the 1960s with the emergence of political awareness and activism among college students in the face of disastrous man- made and natural crises that devastated poor peasant communities due to decaying imperial system. The end of the imperial system gave the ethnic components of the Ethiopia to rebel against history that brought them to where they found themselves.

    Politics of governance could not sustain and proceed without recognizing the realities. The successor regime under the Derg tried to deal with problems of identity within the context of socialist centralization mechanisms and ending humiliating feudal-imperial relics and nationalization of properties such as land. But since the grievances of the oppressed components were beyond material matters, the problems remained.

    After the collapse of the Derg and ascendance of the ERDF, the option of recognizing the existing realities within the framework of the development of awareness that preceded them since the 1960s could not be shelved if the fluid situation needed to calm down and not slide to turmoil that could threaten the unity of the country. Thus, referring to the components of the country as peoples, nations and nationalities might not have been an escapable option. In my view, any person familiar with Ethiopian history would have understanding why the EPRDF had to resort to ethnic politics and crafting a constitution to encompass the distribution.

    The debate on how democracy and democratic management of the affairs of the country had fared is another issue. Shortcomings in the system have already come to the surface and the transition phase has run full course. The recent developments signal fair steps towards more democratization and opening space for freedom if the EPRDF would want to remain relevant.

  • Patriot

    Dear Moderator. Is not one given notice before they are banned? Did not think some of my comments were so sensitive. Thanks.

  • Amde

    Selam Awatistas,

    Well, it has come to pass that Ethiopian powers that be have come to the epi-center of the Oromo movement, and competed to tell the ቄሮ how great they are, to give a moment of silence for the fallen ቄሮ martyrs, to proclaim the ቄሮ the heart of EPRDF’s ህዳሴ።

    There is a significant section of Oromo activists that complain that Dr. Abiy does not have an Oromo agenda. But here we have EPRDF bigwigs prostrating themselves to the ቄሮ revolution. Whatever the “Oromo Agenda” is, the nation’s highest executive is speaking to them at their turf, in their tongue. That’s huge.

    The other day, in response to Ethio-Somali questions as to when the ESPDP can stop being regarded as an አጋር organization and become a full-fledged member of the EPRDF, the EPRDF Chairman Dr. Abiy chose to side step the issue and bring out Dr. Abiy the Federal Prime Minister, who highlighted Ethio-Somali contribution in the constitutional organs of the legislative (Parliament) and the Executive branches. I am sure Abdi Illey was not pleased. But Dr. Abiy’s speech to the elders and the people highlighted their role in the defense of Ethiopia and their አብሮነት with Oromos and the rest of Ethiopians. When EPRDF rode into town, the PM at the time Tamrat Layne made a point of telling the population that they would have shipped Ethiopian military who defended the country in the Ogaden war to Somalia as war criminals, and the only reason they wouldn’t was only because Somalia itself had fractured.

    I don’t think I would have imagined these scenes in my wildest dreams even two months ago.

    So we have EPRDF brass anointing ቄሮ as legitimate agents of EPRDF change. Nothing on the agenda of expanding the EPRDF franchise.. Of all the አጋር parties the ESPDP probably is the largest – so if it is a “Not now” for them, the other ones might as well forget it.

    In sum, this is not the EPRDF we have known. It bears little resemblance to the EPRDF that issued the egregious concluding report after its marathon session. That one is the EPRDF of Bereket Simon and the old guard who shot their way into Addis in 1991. But the EPRDF on display in Ambo is very much that of a TeamLemma. Dogma is very much on the way out. People’s pulse is very much on the way in. Maybe one can say we are witnessing the birth of EPRDF as a primarily political organization, as opposed to the primarily military one we have lived with for close to 30 years now.

    Amde

    • Mez

      Dear Amde,

      The key for Ethiopian in moving forward will be:
      1) the patching-up the existing law of land ownership (especially the unfair practice of dipossessong without proper and progressive compensation),
      2) the availability of enough amount of credit capital, primarily, for Rural populance to uplift their economic status,
      3) an elevated effort to substantially increase the FDI flow,
      4) Work tirelessly on the project of creating ” an open, law & order abiding” competitive society.

      Thanks

      • Amde

        Selam Mez,

        I don’t disagree.

        Is this EPRDF policy?

        Do you anticipate adjustments in the political sphere in tandem with these?

        Amde

        • Mez

          Dear Ande,

          1) “…..Is this EPRDF policy?….”

          I have no idea. I hope it somehow will be.

          2) Yes , I mentioned there shall be evolution of politics too under #4. “…competitive…

          Thanks

    • saay7

      Amde:

      It was not nice of you to call the EPRDF-affiliates but non-members አጋር parties but it was hella funny 🙂 specially on a day like today when there were so many men riding horses. Can’t they at least give them observer status?

      EPRDF may be stumbling itself into a People’s Party. I will miss the lectures on rent-seeking and Bonapartism though. Sniff.

      saay

      • Amde

        Dammit saay,

        You got me misty-eyed as well… Da Rent Got Too Dam’ High as Jmmy McMillan the brotha from New York said a few years ago (Youtue is ur friend if you don’t know him)

        The thing is, a People’s party makes sense, but that in effect means the ethnic federalism project will be waning.

        Amde

        • saay7

          Haha Amde:

          Don’t know the brotha, but I have seen SNL’s parody of him and I get the general idea. If he thinks rent is too high in New York he should come to the San Francisco Bay Area: today a burned down shack was listed for 850. K. In San Jose. And chances are someone will offer more.

          I don’t want to rain on your parade as a fanboy of Lemma but wasn’t he lectury-cadry in his address in Jijiga? And why do u guys keep calling it Jigjiga? Are you jiggy wit’ it?

          saay

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,

            አ ጋ ር Parties is what they are called. What was funny is that Abdi Mohammad Oumer openly demanded at the Jigjiga speech the other day that ESPDM to be included in EPRDF and both Abiy and Lemma sidestepped his request and proceeded to talk about ‘Etiopiawinet’. I wish I were a fly on the wall and saw how he felt. Abiy is proving to be a very cunning politician though…after his Mekele trip, he will be speaking with Addis youth at Millennium hall (if you don’t know Millennium hall, it is an ugly HUGE hall that was built by Al Amoudi, which hosts concerts and large events. Byonce sang there) and I am sure there will be some sort of Etiyopia hagere songs there 🙂 Then he will head to BahirDar to participate on Tana forum, where he will get a chance to show his continental politics acumen and rub shoulders with Paul Kagame and few selected African leaders…at the same time, he will display some of his charm that we saw today in Ambo to Amhara constituants…This guy is on the roll, I tell you… 🙂

          • saay7

            Eyob:

            That registers 7.8 on the Abiy fanboy scale. Man, everything you mentioned is stuff that would be done by generic PM in his honeymoon period 🙂

            saay

          • Amde

            Hi Saay,

            Very funny….

            Yes we are Jiggy with it.

            Jijiga is neftenya speak. Jigjiga is Somali speak (sometmes sounds like “chic-chic-ahh”).

            I have theories on the Jigjiga visit for what it is worth. Basically, it is outflanking Abdi Illey.

            Oromos hated TeamLemma going to Jigjiga. They hated the clasped hands photo even more. The Oromo displacement numbers were simply huge, and one can imagine with those numbers there must be very many harrowing stories. And it is generally accepted that this was an engineered crisis for purely political purposes. I think in future years, this will be seen as an epic political blunder for the ages.

            In any case, Abdi Illey is/was an Addis Ababa sanctioned warlord pure and simple. His hold over the population is personal, and the Liyu Police army is his own personal special forces. The guy detains family members of opponents overseas. In short he is feared and hated by much of the Ethio-Somali population. Respect and Love – maybe not so much.

            So,if you are an Oromiya region executive, you have an Abdi Illey problem, and a Somali problem. The two are different but linked. The Somali population probably know quite well what has transpired, and traditional rules being what they are, are probably afraid of what an Oromo at the nation’s helm will do. If you are an Oromo executive, you’d want to release this pressure and reduce temperatures.

            Hence Lemma’s andinet & limmat cadrespeak.

            On the flip side.. there is no way in hell that an ESPDP under Abdi Illey will get an EPRDF seat while OPDO has the chair. There is no reason for Lemma or Abiy to burn political capital for the sake of Abdi.

            Amde

    • halafi mengedi

      Amde
      Just checked the videos, incredible seen indeed. This makes his trip to Tigray even more intriguing now.
      hm

      • Teodros Alem

        Selam hm
        In tigrai he will have two core messages.
        1, we been through in a mess for the last 3 years and now let us forgive each other and move on for the new beginning.
        2, eprdf from now on is not going to be just ur party only so we don’t need ur biased support anymore.
        He will say it With a different tone.

        • Amde

          Selam Teodros,

          Can you clarify your #2 please?

          Thanks

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Amde
            He will tell them by pretending eprdf supporters abusing the value of the new eprdf , corruptions r not acceptable anymore.
            He will tell them this kind of things with a different tone.
            Mark my word. The two points.

          • Amde

            Selam Teodros,

            Well we will see. I am not convinced OPDO has a better reputation than TPLF in terms of corruption, but at least it can show new faces and TPLF can’t.

            So he would be defacto attacking the TPLF old guard in their home turf. I find that unlikely.

            But now you have made me curious, so we will see.

            Amde

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Amde
            He might not directed the corruption message just for tplf .
            But he will address the tplf complain that say “we fought and bring the democracy thing “as there is no such thing no more and move on to the new direction , kind of messages.

          • saay7

            Tedros:

            I will bet you 10 nakfas that Abiy will do none of that. He will not violate rule 1 of the populist politician (tell ur audience what they want to hear.). He will:

            1. Speak at least a sentence or two in Tigrinya
            2. Praise Tigrayans role in Ethiopian history
            3. Speak more Tigrinya
            4. praise more Tigrayans
            5. Talk about love and reconciliation
            6. Talk about how Tigrayans as Ethiopians can live and invest anywhere and if somebody doesn’t like that they will have to answer to the law
            7. Conclude by blessing the people of Tigray and Ethiopia.

            He might add Amen.

            Saay

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Saay7
            1, agree
            2,no . may be he will say few word about the connection of Abyssinia and eth as we know her today
            3, at the beginning, may be in the middle and at the end of the speech
            4,no
            5,big yes
            6,big yes
            7 , by blessing ethiopia may be as the way they like it.
            And the bet is on , with my two points.

          • Amde

            Wrong saay,

            Absolutely wrong.

            He will say Amen in Tigrinya.

            How could you miss that?

          • Eyob Medhane

            Sal,

            First of all the man is a fluent Tigrigna speaker…So, I think he is capable to do more than two sentences….And. I bet you he will do much more than that. Unlike previous “revolutionary” PMs Abiy is very media saavy. He knows that his speech in Mekelle is very well watched online by everyone. So, don’t be surprised if he says one or two surprising things that might raise eyebrows. Believe me on this. (As Trump would say).. 🙂

            P.S It is Jigjiga..for you Amharic speakers it is Jijiga…It’s Deerydhaba…for you Amharic speakers it is Dire Dawa..It is Hawassa for you Amharic Speakers it is Awasa.. It is መ ቕ ለ for you Amharic speakers it is መ ቀ ሌ.. …. 🙂

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam eyob
            How do u know he speaks fluent tigragn ?
            Let me guess reporters, coca’s?
            And how do u say dire dawa in ur way?

          • Eyob Medhane

            Hi Teodros,

            I don’t do hostile conversation. You don’t know me enough to call me coca.. I will have to decline your invitation for conversation. Bye…

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam eyob
            I did call u coca. I said do u know it from caco.
            Hostile conversation? I didn’t talk. I wasn’t except answer either but never mind.

          • halafi mengedi

            Amde, Teodros, Saay,
            Agree with Saay’s assessment below. I was actually more intrigued by what kind of reception he will receive than what he is going to say.
            hm

          • Amde

            Selam hm,

            I concur.

            I think the ordinary people will receive him warmly. The cadre class – not so much.

            Amde

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam hm
            The reception, it is obvious tplf by now working on it , the people already received orders by kebele people and they r preparing thier hair by now.

          • halafi mengedi

            Amde,
            With the recent cabinet reshuffling, seems team lemma is going to walk the talk…
            btw, one of my earlier speculation that aaa may attempt to use conflict with Eritrea to rally people behind him…woof, didn’t age well at all. we will see where it goes, but his approach seems quite the opposite actually (i.e., appears he is trying to use peace with Eritrea to get people behind him).
            hm

          • Amde

            Selam halafi mengedi

            I just don’t think AAA is into jingoism. I know how the አንድነት and አብሮነት and መድደመር (being added, self-aggregating) as opposed to መደመር (adding up, accummulating) rhetoric might sound like a new rerun of the old times, but I think he is that kind of personality at all. If anything, TeamLemma are proving to be quite the feminists as well. The spate of new promotions in Oromia region has pulled in young women to be regional VP and head of the OPDO Office (which was Abiy’s position before the swap with Lemma).

            I do think people want peace with Eritrea in general terms. But is there a constituency for giving up land and displacing thousands of people? I doubt it, and I do not think it is on his calendar.

            Dr. Abiy’s Meqele speech overall turned out bad for him outside of Tigray. The Moyale incidence yesterday is quite bad – it smells of political sabotage. The Amara region is riled up due to his Welqayit comments. So, he has work cut out to mend fences.

            So good thing for you – no jingoistic rallies for a war with Eritrea. Bad news for you, Eritrea is in the back burner. Now, I guess if I was interested in this issue, perhaps this might be the respite one should use for building an Ethiopian internal constituency for the implementation of tge Badme decision. What can you say to the Irob people?

            Amde

          • halafi mengedi

            Amde,
            You would think AAA’s problem regarding borders would be with Eritrea, but that Wolqayit thing is really really sensitive and potentially more dangerous. We are already starting to see people writing essays, showing old maps and make all kind of analysis of cultural attributes of the region to claim the region. It reminds of me early days of the Eri-Ethio and Eri-yemen border conflict. It doesn’t bode well.
            It appears the constituency for resolving the border conflict with Eritrea seems to be at its strongest point (may be not strong enough, but still better than it ever been). It seem we have moved on from the times when that Daniel berhane was proposing taking away gash and denkalia from Eritrea and give to ‘independent’ kunama and afar, as if they are toys. BTW, none of my business, but given the kind of following and access he has to gov/party officials, the guy needs to be careful what he writes on social media. One of great threats to unity of Ethiopia if you ask me.
            If you have not done it already, take time to see the land Ethiopia is currently occupying. you will see that it is actually huge compared to the contentious spots, i.e., badme and irob. I really wonder what Ethiopia is trying to achieve by holding those areas? BTW, i don’t think irob is that important to IA. it is all about badme to him.
            hm

          • blink

            Dear Amde
            Who are the Erob people? , How many of them ? Is the story true ? I mean weyane can construct stories like the Burj Al khalifa building. If they happens to be in the wrong place , they have to move unless there are hundreds of people like these in this forum who will die on behalf of weyane,

            The notion there are people who wanted to be Ethiopians in Eritreans land is no logic to deny the international law.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam blink
            What is “burj al khalifa building”?
            R u talking about khalifa buildind in merecato(the one that been build in 6 months)?

          • blink

            Dear teodrose
            Shush , the weyane goons can read you .

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam blink
            What makes u think i care for weyane goons.
            When u mention it, i was thinking about khalifa building because of it took just 6 month to build it and it was a talk of people in addis at the time(15-16 years ago).

          • Amde

            Selam blink

            Yes, there are Erob people, among many others. They are not space aliens.

            To be honest, I don’t know why you badgering me. I am just telling you tge realities as I – a politically unaffiliated Ethiopian – see them.

            There is the Ethio Ministry Foreign Affairs. I will help draft a ማመልከቻ in Amharic for you if you would like.

            Amde

          • blink

            Dear Amde
            I can apologize for not knowing the Erob importance to keep millions of people at arms target for almost 20 years. Now why is Bambis closing? Say something if you ever was there shopping at any time . Feeling really sad .

          • blink

            Dear HM
            Do you also know there are many Tigrians who wanted peace with Eritrea than the Eritrean opposition? Some Eritrean opposition are rooting for the foreseeable conflict with Ethiopia until they come to power. There is a campaign in Tigray at this time going on all about peace with Eritrea. Their reasoning quite different from ours .

    • Selam Amde,

      Ethiopians are still aware of the early 1990s, when they were forced to live under the ugly manifestations of the newly developing absolute power, and the philosophy of winner takes all, and our people were told with a lot of arrogance and audacity that “anyone who wants power should go to the bushes and fight for it as they did”, and thus power fell under the exclusive ownership of tplf.

      Now, what the new ethiopians leaders should counter with all their power, is to allow a similar situation in oromia, where some in their turn may come out and tell us that they are the ones who revolted and sacrificed themselves, and therefore, a bigger portion of the political power belongs to them. Such trend should be an anathema to the new government, and nipped in the bud.

      Today is the day to pledge and show in practice that, unlike the past, ethiopia belongs to all here people, irrespective of ethnic size and the level of sacrifices, for there is no social group in ethiopia that has not sacrificed itself for this land at different times, and the idea of the level of contribution and the amount of political reward should not (can’t) go hand in hand.

      Sometimes i ask myself, what sort of party is really the eprdf? – a coalition of ethnic parties that represent their ethnic groups – at the same time they tell us that as the federal government they stand for the remaining 25% of the population (afars, somalis, gambelans, benishanguls). I do not know how strong (if any) is the voice of the above groups in the central council, committee (whatever). After all this is a concoction of different ethnic parties, and what is the problem in putting some more ingredients to the soup. It may make it sweeter or sour, nobody knows.

      Finally, what are the chances that a party outside the eprdf coalition would ever rule ethiopia, provided the eprdf remains intact? Who can really predict the future?

      • Amde

        Selam Horizon,

        Well said.

        According to the current system in actual practice ( not in theory ), a non-EPRDF party will never get to executive power. So technically no Afar PM ever.

        But then you have to ask why EPRDF has remained in a stunted state for the past quarter century. Fundamentally, it is because it is designed to be a cheat around the constitutionally established demographic representation. Basically, the non-Amara and Oromo are at 50% of political power, when demographically they should be at 35%. The situation can only get worse if more ethnic parties are added, that is why I don’t expect any more to be allowed in. The Oromo and Amara power will be further diluted, plus it will trigger calls for the SEPDM to break up. After all, how can you have a Somali party with 20% of EPRDF voting power, when the Gurage and Sidama are quite large and they are already swamped out of their fair demographic representation. So it won’t happen.

        The rational thing to have done would have been to work on the safeguards within the constitution and parliament, instead of relying on the continued existence of the dictatorship of a party. The second chamber (House of Federation) should be co-equal, something like the Senate.

        The EPRDF as currently structured is really not in the interest of the Oromo and Amara. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if they start killing it. Probably by calling for it to merge into a party.

        That is all of course assuming ethnicity is the be-all and end-all of politics. A lot of these issues will simply melt away if ethnicity stops being the only yardstick of politics.

        One interesting side point about PM Abiy. As you probably know, the constitution says Ethiopia is a country of Nations, Nationalities and Peoples. People like Dr. Abiy, (and yours truly) of mixed ethnicities, are written out of the constitution. Addis Ababans of mixed ethnicity are double punished. We get no representation in EPRDF, and no representation in the House of Federation. Had Dr. Abiy chosen to self identify as one of mixed ethnic background, he would never be PM today. Him and his pretty daughters are an affront to the EPRDF written constitution.

        Just one of many reasons why the front should and probably will die.

        Amde

        • Selam Amde,

          “…….. if ethnicity stops being the only yardstick of politics”, – amen to that, but when and how will it ceases to be? Somebody wrote it in the ethiopian psyche with an indelible ink, and it seems to stay there.

          I believe that we cannot get rid of ethnic parties, at least for the foreseeable future. Even if eprdf is to disband itself, the final product will still be ethnic parties that have retreated fully to their enclaves away from the center. This situation is going to form a bigger rift between the different social groups.

          A pan-national party may do well for those who do not commit themselves to the one or the other ethnic groups, especially in the big cities (ethiopians of mixed ethnic origin), but how many are they?

          The damage has already been done. Tactfully and with malign ethiopia was apportioned into ethnic states and ethnicity was introduced into the ethiopian id card. It was to divide and conquer, and no worse damage could have been done to the unity of the country.

          At this stage, what matters most is to make the bitter medicine sweet. But how? Damned if ethiopia puts up for too long with ethnic federalism, and equally damned if she tries to get rid of it suddenly. It is better the monster is gradually tamed than killed. The consequences of the later action is unpredictable.

          • Amde

            Selam Horizon,

            People should organize as they want. What is bad is saying one kind of organization is legit while others are not. I think Ethnic parties are fine (and probably necessary) for a cultural minority, but completely meaningless for large ones whose interests (economic and otherwise) are probably better served by parties organized along other lines.

            The new generation is showing promise, so I am not as worried.
            We will see.

            Amde

        • saay7

          Amde:

          You guys don’t even qualify as People?
          I will have my people call your people and discuss it over lunch.

          The cartel has perfected the scam of “the party=the people” so if you don’t like the party you will be accused of hating the people (even in this august forum.) What would they call a Tigrayan who hates TPLF? A self-hating Tigraway?

          saay

          • Amde

            Selam saay,

            Yes I don’t think we legally qualify as a “people”. There are millions of us, constitutionally and institutionally locked out of the current system. The system designates us as errors. Haha.

            A Tigrayan designated as “self-hating”..oh yes.. there are many, but right now very few daring to come out in public. I have a feeling this will be more and more common.

            I heard this joke yesterday.

            Prison Investigator/Torturer, seeing all the people currently freed, complains “እንዴ ይቺ አገር ወዴት እየሄደች ነው? በሙያችን እኮ ስራ እያጣን ነው!!”
            Opposition guy: “አይ አንተ ደሞ የድሮ ስርአት ናፋቂ!!”

            Amde

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Sir Amde,

            If there are “ የድሮ ስርአት ነፋቂዎች” there could be remenants of the old regime. I don’t think Ethiopians who saw the current developments in their country will give a hoot about them.

            Regards

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Amde
            It’s funny, it is amazing some old tplfist still don’t want to accept the new reality.
            Do u know PMAA Nick name is abiyot (Becouse he born at the time of derg came to power and his father still call him abiyot).

          • Amde

            Selam Teddy,

            I thought that was his actual (formal) name. If he does succeed, his real-earned-nick name would be fitting.

            Amde

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Amde
            I heard his father and his old neighbor in agaro still call him abiyot. His father must be a pro derg . this kind of name came from derg supporters family.

          • Amde

            Ha Teodros,

            He was born in 1976 I think. Just after the revolution.

            I don’t think it is a pro-Derg thing necessarily. The abyot was very popular at the beginning with many people. Especially the land issue in much of the Southern half of the country.

            Amde

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Amde
            U right , i meant pro revolution family.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Amde,

            Actually it was weird to hear the PM repeats it many time “Nations, Nationalities and Peoples” instead of just “Dear Ethiopian peoples”…
            why do they have to specifically say “nations, nationalities and peoples”.

            So you don’t fit in the “peoples” thing….by being mixed, should have been advantage no? in normal circumstances..
            And I think the appeal of the PM, in my opinion is because of he is mixed?? Oromo, Amara, Christian, Muslim and from his wife, at least I heard “half Tigray”,

            Imagine his girls first cousins…from almost everywhere

            Berhe

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Berhe
            The reason tplfist say nation and nationality is because they believe there is no ethiopian identity. They see ethiopia as a collection of ethnics with completely different rice, history, identity. But u know they do that for obvious purpose.
            Not just ethiopians but east africa in general has a lot of commen identity and commen history. They r intertwined eachother.
            Dr abiy wife is half tigraian is same way u r eritrea. I mean she is half tigrai is as u r eritrean.

          • saay7

            Berhe:

            The “people, nations, nationalities” is part of what both the UN and the AU (but not the US) now recognize: we don’t just have civil liberties (individual rights) but also group rights. In fact, (as u will recall from my debate with Hayat who is a fan of it) the Ethiopian constitution (written in 1994) has that as a preamble “We, the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia…”. Why is this relevant ?

            Because, I think, in Eritrea, a lot of the opposition groups that we dismiss as “ethncists”, “jihadists” are trying to emphasized the importance of group rights. And those of us for whom civil liberties are paramount have questions that are not answered and they come across as groups saying, “just give me my administrative area, give me my self-autonomy, and let me worry about that.”

            saay

          • Amde

            Ah Saay,

            What does “unofficial spokesperson” mean?

            If the “official position” is reasonable, the “official spokesperson” wouldn’t have to farm out the selling job to the “unofficial” silver tongues.

            Most people are polite, many are considerate and some are genuinely nice.

            But give many of these same people some kind of relative power over others, then things tend to get a little complicated. Hence while the unofficial spokespersons seduce with their reasonableness, the official ones find useful causes to take your land or torture you.

            “Group rights” is fine, and there should be mechanisms for addressing them. However, the current Ethio system is ALL about group rights – with groups defined a-priori. It talks a lot about the divorce proceedings, but it does not refer to “the Ethiopian People” in the singular. It is more a pre-nuptial agreement than a marriage contract with children in mind.

            Amde

          • blink

            Dear Amde
            Can you expand on the current group rights of Ethiopia? Let’s see how the majority of Tigrians got protected by TPLF leaders who are eating group right to their own bank . I think all this group right is advanced by some elite from any group to simply benefit themselves with out sharing to the group. Group right is a means of enrichment of the few.

            Let me tell you Eritreans thing . In Barentu where the kunama think own a thing , even if they got their wish they will be still under Tigre majority or Tigrinya majorities and it means nothing to the single Kunama farmer . Almost all Eritreans I know see all the Ethnic political opposition as a weak link to the opposition and number one reason to the longtivity of Issaias rule . Let’s take the Al-Nahda ( mostly Jeberti old guys ) opposition party , can you imagine these guys to have any impact on power by affirmative action inside a society that is may be 50% larger than them ? Group right is a blessing for each elites from any ethnic groups nothing more nothing less. Dismantling this sick Ethnic disease needs telling the hard truth and that means exposing the lies told by these group right advocates. I believe TPLF own a big time apology to the Tigrian people first and so do the Ethnic based Eritrean opposition leadership. They have to be exposed as lairs and thieves so that the society can take a lifetime lesson.

          • Amde

            Selam blink,

            I actually think the Eritrean and Ethio demographic cases are different. Ethiopia is strictly a nation of minorities (no majority), while Eritrea has an ethnic majority, or at least a very large plurality.

            The Ethio case is complicated by the EPRDF Political Cartel system, where a group that has single party dictatorship over a defined territory and “people” can milk this status for the benefit of its group members. It empowers self-appointed charlatans, good at ethnic rhetoric and filling their pockets. And once money is involved, the genuine and the clean are systemically driven out.

            That compounds problems. Since this ethnic elite’s interest is built on its control over its “home” population, it is in its interest to maintain, and exacerbate real or imagined grievances vs “other” groups. Hence the narrative of a history of victimhood, martyr worship, etc… Because a resolving of these grievances means the captive population will start looking elsewhere.

            To know if the system is legit one would have to run an experiment where a TPLF faces a free election and loses to another group. Until we see that, extolling the virtues of the current system and its durability is pointless.

            Now, to be fair, another group could also use the narrative of “ሃደ ህዝቢ ሃደ ልቢ” and be just as self-dealing and self-rewarding and self-perpetuating. It can quash legitimate group grievances in the name of unity. Proponents of the current Ethio model will say that was the case they fought against.

            So, i am at a point where I say, the primary and immediate problem we have is not the design of the system to address diversity, but the nature of the elite, how they gain, maintain and exploit power.

            In the Ethio case, not the ethnic federation per se, but the EPRDF ethnic monopoly political franchise system. In Eritrea’s case, the uber-centralization of everything.

            As they say, politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason.

            Amde

          • saay7

            Haha Amde:

            “Unofficial spokesperson” is a layperson who has no power ambitions but finds the argument of the official spokesperson appealing. Whereas the “official” presents his or her view (ok, who am I kidding: it’s his) in a “take-it-or-leave-it, I-don’t-have-to-explain-myself-to-you” tone (because he has to always puff up and appear powerful and negotiate from a position of strength) the unofficial one will reason with you and reassure you that your fears are misplaced and/or exaggerated.

            As for the rest, I have deputized Emma to answer all your questions 🙂

            saay

          • Selam Amde,

            In my opinion, when ‘group rights’ instead of ‘individual rights’, or ‘nations and nationalities’ instead of ‘the people’ are emphasized in the constitution and in everyday political life, it is like saying ethiopians can’t live together, nor can they live separated. The best solution therefore is to dwell together in one big house, but in separate rooms, every group caring for its group interest.

            In a country like ethiopia where individual rights are trampled up on, and democracy is not fully practiced by the government, nor is the constitution fully implemented, group rights seems to act as a sort of a safety valve. Nevertheless, it will not replace the people or their individual rights. At the end of the day, the person and their individual rights will be the main issue, and there are signs of that.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Horizon,

            Did you hear when the Presidents of the US addressing to the American people, saying every year on January 20, “the state of union is strong” to tell them about the unity of the states and the people of America? There is no difference if the Ethiopian leaders address in their speech about the state of the union of the “nations and nationalities, people’s” of the Ethiopian people. Just think about it.

            In politics there are always “group interest” and individual interest,” and the politics to govern them depends on how the individuals are grouped and the reasons that made them to be grouped. The minorities emphasize their fight as a group more than as individual, is because the ruling majority oppress their rights with the system of government the majority have installed. The “majority-group”emphasize on individual rights when they do not experience “group oppression”. Since group rights and individual rights are interdependent and inseparable political virtues, multicultural politics address them equally and judiciously. Ethiopia is experimenting precisely that. The old political culture always resist to changes. The elites who benefit from the old politics will try to sabotage the new politics. That is why you are seeing the ups and downs in the current body politics of Ethiopia, just to remind you.

            Regards

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay,

            You have it brother, it is a well reasoned comment. The politics of multiculturalism is a new phenomenon that political scientists and sociologist are venturing to study the conflicts of diversities and minority rights in the political and economic sphere of their counry. Saay, I advice you to read a wonderful book by Fleras. The title of the book is: “The politics of multiculturalism: Multicultural governance in comparative perspective.” It will give you a general glimpse on the subject we are debating about Ethiopia in particular and multicultural society in general. The conflict of interests among diversities, the oppression of the minorities, and the mistrusts among the social groups that affect their coexistence, brought to the existence of the new model of multicultural governance.

            The problem with the Eritrean and Ethiopian elites is always denying the conflicts that breeds mistrusts within the the social groups. Worse than that they don’t acknowledge the existence of the “mistrust” that is eating the social fabric of their society.

            Anyway, I love the way the preamble of their constitution and how it address to the components of the structures: “We, the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia..” and is very relevant to their realities. Ethiopians must be proud to finally find a structure of government that holds them together.

            Regard

          • halafi mengedi

            Saay,
            Glad you brought this, I think ‘group rights/representation’ (esp when contrasted to ‘individual freedom/rights) is one of the core-values, at least, of the highland people in Eritrea that i think is still there, but like most of our values is flickering. Also, it is easily construed as ‘regionalism’ or ‘ethnicism’ which kind of doesn’t helpful.
            hm

          • saay7

            Hm:

            It doesn’t surprise me. Human rights were institutionalized late but when it came, it had something that European and Americas (US, Canada, South America) did not have. The Africa charter on human and People’s rights itemizes individual AND group rights. And this charter was ratified by ALL African states. Here are the articles that specifically deal with Peoples (group) vs human (individual) rights:

            ARTICLE 19

            All peoples shall be equal; they shall enjoy the same respect and shall have the same rights. Nothing shall justify the domination of a people by another.
            ARTICLE 20

            All peoples shall have the right to existence. They shall have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination. They shall freely determine their political status and shall pursue their economic and social development according to the policy they have freely chosen.
            Colonized or oppressed peoples shall have the right to free themselves from the bonds of domination by resorting to any means recognized by the international community.
            All peoples shall have the right to the assistance of the State Parties to the present Charter in their liberation struggle against foreign domination, be it political, economic or cultural.
            ARTICLE 21

            All peoples shall freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources. This right shall be exercised in the exclusive interest of the people. In no case shall a people be deprived of it
            In case of spoilation, the dispossessed people shall have the right to the lawful recovery of its property as well as to an adequate compensation.
            The free disposal of wealth and natural resources shall be exercised without prejudice to the obligation of promoting international economic cooperation based on mutual respect, equitable exchange and the principles of international law.
            State Parties to the present Charter shall individually and collectively exercise the right to free disposal of their wealth and natural resources with a view to strengthening African Unity and solidarity.
            State Parties to the present Charter shall undertake to eliminate all forms of foreign exploitation particularly that practised by international monopolies so as to enable their peoples to fully benefit from the advantages derived from their national resources.
            ARTICLE 22

            All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity and in the equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind.
            States shall have the duty, individually or collectively, to ensure the exercise of the right to development.
            ARTICLE 23

            All peoples shall have the right to national and international peace and security. The principles of solidarity and friendly relations implicitly affirmed by the Charter of the United Nations and reaffirmed by that of the Organisation of African Unity shall govern relations between States.
            For the purpose of strengthening peace, solidarity and friendly relations, State Parties to the present Charter shall ensure that:
            any individual enjoying the right of asylum under Article 12 of the present Charter shall not engage in subversive activities against his country of origin or any other State Party to the present Charter;
            their territories shall not be used as bases for subversive or terrorist activities against the people of any other State Party to the present Charter.
            ARTICLE 24

            All peoples shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development.

            Let’s hear how Africa got it wrong 🙂

            saay

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Saay7
            I think peoples in above content means people of different african countries. Am i right? If yes, that is where ethiopia(am not sure any other african countries) got it wrong.

          • halafi mengedi

            Saay,

            Wow, this is amazing (to me at least). Not that i have studied it in detail, but this aspect of the human rights charter (in Africa) was not apparent to me. Thanks for putting it together.

            I am thinking this probably has its origins in the fact that Africa is the most diverse continent, genetically, socially, culturally and ethnically. this means most African countries/nations constituted of very diverse population with no overwhelming majority dominant group, hence inter-group relation becomes very important, sometimes more important than individual rights. In the other continents, on the other hand, the relative homogeneousness allows them to focus more on the individual rights.

            Do you think the concept of ‘group rights’ is inherently problematic? Or is it the inability to find the right balance between individual-group rights that is leading to underside outcomes?

            hm

          • saay7

            Halafi mengedi, Teodros and all:

            The African version of human rights was the last one to arrive–long after European and inter-American–and the drafters explained that when they were writing it that they would neither copy the existing European structure, nor “be original for the sake of originality.” So they came up with something different: unlike the European and American instruments, this one has individual and group rights (human and Peoples) and, also unlike the European and American one, this one imposes a DUTY on individuals and groups. Duty to family, the nation, to pay taxes and to promote African Unity. Unusual for a document that is supposed to highlight rights.

            The People’s right is explained as (a) a reaction and redress to the vestiges of colonialism and (b) recognition of Africans allegedly “collectivist” nature. Eritrean and Ethiopia were the last two countries to ratify the African Charter.

            To answer your question, HM, my problem with the document is not in the recognition group rights because the way it is written it is a supplement and not a replacement to individual rights. The problem is that it imposes duties and it defers to the State a great deal. A lot of the rights have many qualifiers that any old dictator can render null and void. I am not a lawyer* but all that “provided that he abides by law”, “except for reasons and conditions previously laid down by law”, “subject to law and order”, “within law” that appears in the charter is an escape clause for totalitarian states. And, of course, the Court that was supposed to mitigate this…the dictators fought it tooth and nail and it doesn’t exist.

            saay

            * by the way, Ghezae Hagos used to use the “Halaf Mengedi” monicker a lot which is why I assumed you were him until you started asking questions about the law: Ghezae Hagos majored in law.

          • Amde

            Hi Berhe,

            Yes Berhe, hear my lament..

            “I Ain’t A People”

            I went through the constitution.
            It does not define a Nation vs Nationality vs People. You’d think based on how every EPRDFite uses the phrase ad infinitum, it would have a legally meaningful distinction.

            But it does not – at least in the constitution.

            The relevant language is in the infamous Article 39, section 4:

            “A “Nation, Nationality or People” for the purpose of this Constitution , is a group of people who have or share large measure of a common culture or similar customs, mutual intelligibility of language, belief in a common or related identities, a common psychological make-up, and who inhabit an identifiable, predominantly contiguous territory.”

            It does not say anything as to why for example the Harari people in the City of Harar are a State, but the Sidama or Gurage only qualify for a “zone”.

            If we want to use the strict wording of the constitution, one can make the case that Addis Ababans meet almost all the parameters of what qualities as a “Nation, Nationality or People”. That could then make Addis Ababa a Federal State. It would also mean the possibility of an አዲስ አበባ ህዝቦች ዴሞክራሲያዊ ድርጅት..thereby qualifying for our own homegrown dictators who can hobnob with the rest of the ኢህአዴግ መሳፍንት at EPRDF central in our name. At about 5 million or so, we could be somewhere around the Gurage numbers. In addition, we would have representation in the upper house. Right now we don’t – it is only in the lower house.

            But conceptually, this constitution is not written for generic Ethiopians. It is written for the Nations, Nationalities, Peoples. Hence, funny enough, EPRDF’s organization as a front for ethnic parties is being true to that sentiment. Unfortunately, the world has changed, and there are articles relating to citizenship and individual rights within the current constitution.

            Much of this would remain academic if elections were።free and fair, and outcomes were reflected more along proportional representation basis. We will see if that happens anytime soon. But until then, people like me are a constitutional anomaly.

            Dr. Abiy’s popularity is in-spite of the EPRDF orthodoxy that only offered him a path through his Oromoness. People love that he personifies so much of the nation’s diversity. But there are still many within EPRDF who think it is a cardinal sin for him to relate to people outside of his designated ethnic and ideological lane. They invented a term – “ህዝበኛ” – to mean “populist” – just so they can attack him on it.

            Amde

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Berhe Y.,
            .
            I think the imputes and necessity early on for the formation of EPRDF is to guarantee that one ethnic group, Amhara come to mind, will not be able to dominate the national agenda.
            .
            The ethnic Killils are nurtured to be strong defenders of their new, acquired say, in national politics and get used to and protect the ownership of it.
            The Oromo /Amara alliance was determined to be a danger to this structure.
            There was an attempt made early on to create enmity of the two peoples. Atrocities well publicized were committed against the Amharas inside the Oromia Killil. There was a vitriol accusations of Amharas about the historical subjugations of other people particularly the Oromos.
            .
            The current constitution gives the smaller Killils effectively more power. The majority of Killils would have to agree to whatever kind of democratic, one man one vote, approach to deal with issues. Constitutional amendments is virtually impossible.
            One man one vote favors the two Ethnic groups (70%)
            .
            As they say it is what it is. The ethnic based political parties deal, head on with all home issues 1st, and come to the national in conjunction with other parties.
            The methods tried in the past obviously did not work. There are multitude of hypothetical untried theories out there. No one wants to be dominated by any other ethnic group.
            .
            Therefore until such time that we are able to stand on own two feet AND the Dr. Abiys and Amdes become the clear majority and ethnicity recedes to the background in political discourse, EPRDF can succeed by making big and small adjustments for its survival to insure the nations survival.
            .
            Mr. K.H

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam k h
            1st, amharic was dominant in the previous gov.. Not amara and that is the fact
            2nd, it is not good to adjust ur poltical interest thinking on the advantage and disadvantages of others groups. U have to see it from ur own interest.

          • Kim Hanna

            Teodros Alem,
            .
            I accept number 1. I don’t know about the 2nd.
            .
            Mr. K.H

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam k h
            2, it is better to see ur poltical views (to create ur poltical agenda) based on ur own interest than seeing it from advantages or disadvantages or amara /oromo interest gain or failure.

          • blink

            Dear Teodrose
            Kim is looking from a Tigrians point of view which is his main interest.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam blink
            My point is anybody should see his interest based on the group they represent. Not based on other failures or gain.
            From which point of view r u looking for?

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Teodros Alem,
            .
            Ignore blink, he does not hear or see.
            As to your question of “representation”, I will tell you in a very humble way that I am trying to “represent” Ethiopia.
            .
            From which group point of view are you trying to do the representing, may I ask?
            .
            Mr. K.H

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam k h
            From my point of view, from fairness(justice) point of view, from reality, from the future (not narrow) point of views and from betterment of ethiopia in general point of view.
            If ethiopia doesn’t represent every ethiopian , the name ethiopia by itself is nothing.
            I want ethiopia like every proud country in terms of economy, modernity etc.

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Teodros Alem,
            .
            Hallelujah! I agree with you. Little did we know that we want the same thing for Ethiopia, did we? Let us take a moment to appreciate it.
            .
            Mr. K.H

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam k h
            But u r not for harmonisation of ethiopian people regardless of what language, religion, how they drink coffee etc.
            I thought u r eprdf/tplf which say “u different , in language, religion, the way u drink coffee so u guys hate eachother. U shouldn’t be supporter eachother, kind of thing” .
            I guess am wronge.

          • blink

            Dear Teodrose
            My point of view is based on justice to all and the pursuit of happiness for everyone with out any connection to his ethnicity, religion and region. I see justice to be an deniable right of human being. I don’t attach myself to any ethnicity or any grouping , I believe if everyone has a chance to do his humanitarian intentions there will be no time to be cheated by some crooks . Kim is an old guy venting his lost time lose by cowardly protecting weyane at the behest of dying kid.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam blink
            Agree in what u said above.
            But we need to behave and advocate as we say it instead of running round every where.

          • blink

            Dear Teodrose
            Yes we need to advocate for it and I have no idea who is running around everywhere.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear K.H. Saay, Amde, AH, T.A and all,

            This stuff is way over my head. I just do know actually if it was really necessary in the first place. It seems to me, over complicated solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.

            I hope eventually Ethiopia moves to a democratic system and may the best and the brightest people lead it to a better future.

            ንዓና ከአ ሓደ መዓልቲ ከምናቶም ይግበረልና፡፡

            Berhe

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Gash Amde,

      Very encouraging and anxieties soothing obervations. It’s positively significant for the EPDRF to choose what works and discard what does not. It seems that in this regard the threshold has been passed. Political fixation on revolutionary culture that operated on mechanisms of centralization of power and state control has run full course. As you have clearily explained, the EPRDF would be doing nice to itself and its credentials if it would recast itself to become amenable to more openness that provide space to socio-economic forces of the country to take part in building vibrant political system.

      The initiated youth, the key wealth the country has, had, as the recent political history of Ethiopia since the eary 1960s has demonstrated, played once more historical role. I think the emergence of youthful leaders as Dr. Abiy and thousands of his generation have been given not to miss opportunities to lead the youth to particiapted in building united and forward looking Ethiopia. In my humble view as an outsider is that the new leadership will do better and watch external disruptive hands that often lurch on the margins during transition from crises to settled political conditions.

      Thank you for your enlightening in put as usual.

      • Amde

        Selam Gash Ismael,

        I concur, and in the spirit of the times, I say “From your mouth to ዋቃ’s ears.”

        Amde

  • saay7

    Alex:

    The thing of it is that I know iSem knows people who are silent but are not PFDJ. The Silent could be silent because they do not want to completely antagonize the PFDJ (they want to go home); they are not sure what to think because they feel the information they have is incomplete; or they think that by vocally rejecting PFDJ they are de facto embracing the Opposition (all of it) and they don’t want to.

    iSem knows all of this but he so relishes his role here as what a friend calls “ቦንባ ዝናሩ”. Every movement (and the opposition is a movement, disorganized yes, but a movement) needs its iSem to tell us “stop looking back to see how large the group is. Simply charge!” Just like it needs the individuals Blink called “brilliant but lazy” 😂

    saay

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Saay,

      Why are you doing all these excuses on behalf of them? They are plain and simple “opportunist”. Aha, they want to go home, and we don’t want to go home. Really this is an excuse if they want a change for our people? They have incomplete info. For a naked regime, they can not see what is going in their country? These are people who are going home back and forth. In fact they are witnesses to the plight of our people, more so than those who are in the opposition. Saay, arkucha you are not a good defense lawyer for the opportunists. You have more facts to defend your people and the opposition than to the opportunist.

      regard

      • saay7

        Selam Emma:

        Your honor, if I may approach the bench? I would like to call someone to the witness stand. His name is Amanuel Hidrat and this is what he said on {lawyer shuffles his paper, consulting his calendar} April 9, 2018. Oh that’s actually today:

        I agree with saay that the silent majority are not PFDJ….So our task should be how to make them proactive in the movement of changes. That is my take on the silent majority.

        Your honor, please direct the witness to tell the jury how his take is different from saay. 😂

        saay

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Merhaba Aya Adi-U,

          I agreed with you that the silent majorities are not PFDJ. I disagree on the excuses you brought for us on behalf of them on the other comment. I characterized them as “opportunists”. I hope I am clear to you now.

          Regard

          • saay7

            Emma:

            So *ALL* of them are opportunists? Dont you think the word “opportunists” (ተበለፅቲ!) is a relic from Ghedli era, which of course imported wholesale the words of VI Lenin. This is what he wrote in 1904 and see if you agree:

            The opportunist, by his very nature, tends to avoid a definite and final solution of a question; he is always seeking for alternatives; he writhes like an eel between mutually exclusive points of view; he tries to ‘be in agreement’ with all sides, but expresses his disagreements in amendments, doubts, pious and innocent wishes, etc. etc.”

            Now that’s the language of a revolutionary. It is also the Ghedli culture of “democratic centralism.” But we don’t have a revolution, do we?

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay,

            Opportunists are everywhere and in every place. It is not only associated with revolutionaries or a revolution. Opportunism can be exhibited in every way of life. In short an opportunist is a person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage rather than being guided by consistent principles or plans. So the character of our silent majority fits in to the definitions given in the Oxford dictionary and it is as follows: Opportunism is “the practice of looking for and using opportunities to gain an advantage for oneself, without considering if this is fair or right.”

            Regards

          • saay7

            Emma:

            So. If 100 people are silent on Saturday. And they become active and vocal on Monday, the only thing that changed is that they decided not to be opportunists on Sunday?

            So, let’s see: remember Wedi Vacarro? Was he opportunistic before he started speaking out? Or any number of people who did something similar to him. And wait. What if someone was in the opposition and then gets fed up and decides to be silent: did he suddenly become opportunistic?

            Your one size fits all answer does not work. Human beings are much more complex that the caricatures you have created.

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay,

            Are you telling me that there is no such opportunistic behaviors? Your argument sounds clearly that my friend, when you try to test me about individual behaviors. I gave you the definition, test each of us who fits and don’t fit to that behavior. It is as simple as that. But If there are individuals who fluctuate on daily bases, there is a term for that also. Check your vocabulary for that.

    • iSem

      Hi kbrom
      please help transalt ቦንባ ዝናሩ to Tigriniya, I know what ዝናሩ means but not ቦንባ? If you cannot find a Tigriniya for it, Tigrayit will do, I can then try to translate it to Tigriiya or just do with it to understand the gist of the meaning
      Also while u are at can you be good sport, ልኢኽኒ አይትበል እምበር to translate for me zeragitozim
      If you cannot aptly or directly translate them please feel free a use a combination of Tigrayit and TIgriniya or any Eri language combo
      ሽኩንየለይ: (ሽኩረን የቅንየለይ)
      I do not know how to say thank you in Tigrayit so I used Kbrom’s method of combining Arabic and Tigriniya

  • iSem

    Hi Alex:
    Ok, what are the signs of a silent opposition majority? this is getting really dum. No one is asking this so called silent majoty from opposting PFDJ, without joining teh oppostion, like telling the regime to release prisoners, like implementing the still born const (still will solve msot of our major problems). Tell me what is preventing them to tell PFDJ to stop the crimes, to be the government of the ppl by standing up for them and protecting them
    What is preventing the same silent majority to oppose the “dysfunction” oppostion.
    Either we are not communicating or am missing something or the crowd of silent majority are making nos sense
    am all ears on why the silent majority are silent on the indefinite national service, they support the subjcation of others. It is human nature they are gaming the game, they are called free riders otherwise they have options no to join the opp and even not call for regime change, they can tell the regime to change and made its way and they are not using it. Therefore they are PFDJ

  • Selam All,

    The controversies we see in the political life of Mr.Cohen as depicted by those who seem to know him well (e.g Mr. David Smith, most of the points below belong to this writer), leaves you scratching your head asking where does he (Mr. Cohen) really stands.

    “Ambassador Cohen is assumed not to be an officially registered lobbyist for the Government of Eritrea. Nevertheless, he has no problem in condemning that ‘The UNSC has decided to continue sanctions against Eritrea. Despite all accusations against Eritrea regarding alleged assistance to the Islamist terrorist group al-Shebab in Somalia, which has never been substantiated. Therefore, the continuation of sanctions against eritrea is a ‘miscarriage of justice’. He blames ‘certain persons [Susan Rice] in the highest levels of the United States Government having mean spirited grievances against Eritrean President Isayas Afwerki. He compares ethiopia and eritrea by saying that, with the same rainfall and climate, eritrea continues to feed its people, while ethiopia suffered from drought and food shortage.”

    In addition, he is supposed to be one of the most active american lobbyists for african dictators during the 1990s, for the likes of mugabe, mobutu, laurent kabila, dos santos, omar bongo and others. By standing with african dictators, he is accused of “putting a face on murder and mayhem.”

    Mr. Cohen supports dictatorship in eritrea and recently democracy in ethiopia, two conflicting situations.

    He seems to be a very controversial and an elusive personality. The main question is what was his impact to the region up to now, and what could it be in the future.

    (Finally, thanks to all who participated).

    • Patriot

      Selam Horizon. Fact is that the U.N. Security Council has not been able to come up with any evidence support it’s sanctions against Eritrea. Question is, why the U.N. Security Council never applied sanctions against Ethiopia for refusing the EEBC decision and again later, when it invaded Somalia in 2006? Is it possible that Herman Cohen, now at 86 years of age, is simply speaking his mind?

      • Selam Patriot,

        The sanctions against eritrea are supported and opposed at the same time by different people and organization, the AU for example supports it, and the final decisions lies with the UNSC.

        I think that the questions you put up are relevant, but i do not know if the answer is simple. In the past, if i am not mistaken, Saay had given a concise and relevant answer that implementation of the decision either by force or sanctions was not clearly addressed in the agreement (sorry Saay, if i am miquotting you by mistake) . That is why the decision remained floating in the air. Of course, this does not mean that if there were the right motives against ethiopia, anything could have happened, and it seems that there is none in this case for the time being. In addition, border problems are common on the planet earth. Commitment on the one could require commitment on others too (golan heights, kashmir, …), which means that solving the one with force or sanctions, could cause a chain of events.

        Please, do not forget that the invasion of somalia was with the blessing of the usa and the west. Have you seen any sanctions on western interests?

        Finally, Mr. Cohen at 86, seems be an active politician with a sharp mind, and i think that one should not underestimate him for his age yet, or accept that he does not entertain ulterior motives.

    • blink

      Dear Horizon
      The man’s views on Ethiopia seems honest advice to abyi , he is not controversial at all . One thing is for sure America and Europe are the owners of TPLF .

      • Selam blink,

        I wish you could add some explanation to your statement, “America and Europe are the owners of TPLF”. What it meant up to now and what it would mean from now on wards.

        • blink

          Dear Horizon
          I think if you see the 600 million dollar aid at the time of crisis ,at which TPLF are at death row can help you more with. And if you ever thought they are free from western aid and demand, well I do think you know more

  • Selam Amde, Kim Hanna and everybody else,

    I find that Mr. Herman Cohen’s interview on OMN (Oromia Media Network) is very interesting and worth the opinion of our awate forumers. I hope that it initiates a discussion in parallel to the already going on discussion.

    More or less here are the things he said:

    – Abolish the soe and release all political prisoners immediately,

    – On the army and security: PMAA should ignore the army and concentrate on the political side and call on all parties conference (as Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel has said), he should assert himself and tell the army, “I am in charge now” and he should be ready to contradict the actions of the military, take charge of the military and show that it is not an independent institution, the armed forces do not have anymore the support of the west, the military should be out of domestic politics and concentrate only on defense of the country, and a military coup will be opposed by the whole international community.

    – Ethiopia as a stable country is of great importance to the region and to the west,

    – If PMAA resigns as his predecessor under the pressure of the army and security, chaos will ensue, and he should never resign under any circumstances,

    – Sunctions by the usa against tplf officials from adwa, who have enriched themselves illegally with government money, is a possibility,

    – The last part of derg rule: the derg lost support from Gorbachev, the usa and israel refused military support and the army was disintegrating and retreating, because the army thought that the americans were brokering peace and they saw no reason to fight anymore and die – which opened the way for tplf and eplf. It was not that they were winning the war, but the ethiopian army was giving up fighting.

    – The Americans believed that MZ would be inclusive, but when they realized the truth, it was already too late, because he controlled the army and there was nothing they could do.

    – Tplf guys should not be afraid of democracy; although they would lose power, but there is not going to be any sort of revenge.

    • Ismail AA

      Dear Horizon,
      While waiting probable input from SJ and saay7, who I believe there is probably no one better placed than them to analyse Cohen’s views, here are my quick response to your suggestion.

      1. I am aware that Cohen as handsomely paid lobbyist of the regime in Eritrea the points you have listed are nakedly saturated dreams, wishes and agenda of the regime. I think he cannot express pure personal views because his job compels him to conceal the intentions of the regime diplomatic manoeuvre.

      2. He appears to lure the Prime Minister with imaginative assumptions that USA and allies would jump to his rescue if takes suicidal steps contradictory to the coalition programs he agreed to implement before he was voted in. Taking unilateral and preemptive measures against the security and defense forces would turn to be a straw that will break the camel’s back as the popular Arab saying goes. I believe the Dr. Abiy will be aware of what Mr. Cohen is suggesting. He knows that he has not come to the post by winning popular ballot box to tell the army and his coalition partners what the Cohen is suggesting.

      3. The things he stated in connection to the Derg and its army and role of Mr. Gorbachev do not have by any measure comparability to the EPRDF and its army. The Ethiopian army and Ethiopia had already lost a million dead and wounded and astronomical waste of resources by the time Cohen is talking about. Collapse of the army was eminent without role of Gorbachev because the USA and its allies had already taken side and empowered the EPLF and TPLF since the time of President Carter.

      4. I do not think Mr. Cohen misses the fact that it is only TPLF and its officials that have stake in the Army and the security force. OPDO and other partners have equal interest with TPLF because the concern about the security and order of the country is common to all. Dr. Abiy knows any premature shape up of the army would mean chaos and threat to unity of the country given the unrests in the peripheries. The only side that interest in such scenario is Isayas Afewerki and his regime.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Ismailo,

        “Dr. Abiy knows any premature shape
        up of the army would mean chaos and threat to unity of the country given the unrests in the peripheries. The only side that interest in such scenario is Isayas Afewerki and his regime.” You are correct Ismailo. One hopes that Dr. Abiy, not to miss the realities they are confronted with. The intervention of foreigners will not be to the interest of Ethiopian people. Our friend Sir Amde who wishes the disintegration of the current alliances of the “four parties” should not forget, if it happened it has a serious ramification to the unity to the state and the country as a whole.

        • Amde

          Selam Gash Amanuel,

          “They have to build trusts among the components, before they try for any meaningful change.”

          Consider me proudly in the De-Pedestallation Business. As far as I am concerned the EPRDF parties are just political parties and nothing more.

          The four parties in EPRDF are just political-military organization who have self-proclaimed and installed themselves by force as the representatives of each of communities they claim to represent.

          How much of each community really supports them? What proportion of each community will drop them and choose someone else if given the chance? These are questions for which they will not want an objective answer provided. Hence the መቶ በ መቶ parliament.

          To see their internal intrigue and power competition as representative of the relationship between ethnic communities is incorrect.

          Amde

      • Patriot

        Selam Ismail AA. Some of your points are far off the mark.
        1) What evidence can you provide to support your claim that ‘Cohen is a handsomely paid lobbyist of the regime in Eritrea’? Sounds like typical TPLF propaganda. Isaias has never liked nor trusted Cohen.
        2) Cohen has not suggested taking preemptive action against the TPLF controlled military or security apparatus. So, why are suggesting that he has?
        3) You state that ‘the USA and its allies had already taken side and empowered the EPLFand TPLF since the time of Carter’. This is completely false and baseless. The USA only really started to support the EPLF and TPLF after the Battle of Shire which ended In February of 1989.

        • Ismail AA

          Selam Patriot,

          On item # 1, please read my response to my brother, saay7, with addition that you seem better placed than me on relationship of Isayas and Mr. Cohen since your statement sounded emphatic.

          On item # 2, I think you formed an opinion before reading the sense of what I wrote. What I said was that the way Horizon has reported Mr. Cohen’s suggestion would amount to preemptive action if Dr. Abiy would heed his advice.

          On item # 3, I do not know how far, and in what way, you was involved in Eritrean affairs of the period. If you could come with concrete information that the USA had no relation with the EPLF and TPLF before 1989, I assure you in advance that you get my apology for stating “completely false and baseless” allegation.

          Moreover, delving into the matter would be long and irrelevant to what is being debated in this forum. Otherwise, President Carter’s administration was involved covertly at the beginning by combining the stick and carrot to persuade the Derg away from going all the way to the left and Socialist Camp, and overtly when those attempts had failed and the Derg formed the workers’party.

      • saay7

        Selamat Ambassador Ismailo:

        First of all, I am nominating you as our Permanent Ambassador to join Fanti to spend one day and solve all of Eritrea’s and Ethiopia’s problems. I don’t know what you guys will do with the 23 hours remaining:)

        Now, on Ambassador Cohen. As someone who has been falsely accused over the years of getting paid (by Weyane, CIA, PFDJ, fill in the blank), I am sensitive to this: when someone says, “no, I am not getting paid”, we should take them at their word, unless we have evidence to the contrary. Mr. Cohen has said that he is not getting paid by the Government of Eritrea and we should take him at his word. It is not that the PFDJ Gov is beyond paying lobbyist –it paid lobbyist to convince the US to establish a military base in Massawa (exhibit available upon request) but that doesn’t appear to be the case here. In any event, what the two parties are getting from each other is priceless:

        Mr. Cohen gets relevance–by advocating for the government of Eritrea, he advocates against the Gov of Ethiopia. And for a man who is long past his retirement age (the last time he held office was in the Bush I years), relevance is priceless. The Gov of Eritrea gets one person who can get his calls returned in the West–and that makes him irreplaceable.

        With that out of the way, I think his recommendations on Ethiopia are on-point.

        saay

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Aya Adi-U,

          Are you saying Mr Cohen is not a lobbyist? If no, then a lobbyist do not give service without getting reimbursement for the service he/she rendered. I do not think he gives service of lobbying without reimbursement.

          Regard

          • saay7

            Selamat Emma:

            He owns a lobby firm but he has said that he doesn’t get paid by the Gov of Eritrea to represent it. It is not in his interest to lie about that because the penalties for being an unregistered lobbyist for a foreign government are HUGE. (Refer to the case of Plouffe from the Obama administration and what Chicago did to him.) Besides, there are other ways for people to get remunerated: by taking a very controversial position (supporting a government accused of crimes against humanity), he raises his profile and perhaps other countries and governments to consider him for advocacy roles.

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Saay,

            I don’t care to whom he lobbies, but I do know, if he has a lobbying firm, he will not do his lobbying service without reimbursements. And he is not required to tell us how he is doing it, as no one will go to verify his reimbursements. Unless you have ways to verify as to whether he is paid or not, why should we take his words at face value.

          • saay7

            Emma:

            You did not answer the question of why an experienced lobbyist, who knows all the rules about lobbying, INCLUDING stiff penalties imposed on those who do not disclose and register with appropriate US gov agency the fact that they are foreign agent, would lie about it?

            saay

          • Amde

            Selam saay,

            I always thought it funny the law that addresses this is called FARA (Foreign Agent Registration Act)

            So unless evidence is provided to the contrary, Mr. Cohen is not so ፋራ።

            Amde

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay,

            I know they have to disclose to appropriate US agency. But I don’t think their reimbursements is disclosed to the public to know it. The easiest way for you is to verify his claim that he is not paid by the Eritrean government. Otherwise, he told us that he is not paid, in itself, is not enough to trust him for a lobbyist who does it for his living.

            regard

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Saay,
            My little input here:
            Cohen is a lobbyist. Everything he does is considered lobbying. We do not know if he gets reimbursed for his services or not. All we can say is he is a lobbyist and he is engaged in a lobbying-like activity. Maybe he does it for free, which I doubt. But also, most likely he does what he does for reimbursement in kind if not for cash. But that is a sort of reimbursement. Besides, lobbying is mostly made of lies, even when lobbyists apologize for known oppressors. They are mostly not driven by anything but money. I for one will never take his word for it–he is a PFDJ apologist. Yemesleni gega yKhlaalei ‘mber 🙂

        • Mez

          Dear Saay, I am quoting from a 3 years old blog in the US:
          ” Ambassador Cohen is not a registered lobbyist for the Government of Eritrea. However, public records show that in 2012 he, along with George Denison, was a lobbyist for a group called Democracy Ethiopia. They were paid a total of $20,000 for unknown lobbying activities in 2012. Information from the Sunlight Foundation shows that in 2014, Ambassador Cohen still represented this organization”. Date: November 8, 2015.

          Further online records show that his company (him as a president) worked as a lobbyist for: Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Mobutu Sese Seko (former Zaire), Laurent Kabila (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Blaise Compoare (Burkina Faso), Charles Taylor (Liberia), Edward Dos Santos (Angola), and Hajji Omar Bongo Ondimba (Gabon).

          Dear Saay, all in all this person IS NOT an Angel of DEMOCRACY.

          THANKS

          • saay7

            Mez:

            I certainly don’t want to extend this thread beyond its natural lifespan BUT: the reason that we know that PFDJ is careless with the truth when it comes to things we know nothing about is because it is careless with the truth when it is talking about things we know about. Same logic applies to us: when we are careless with information the regime supporters know, then our credibility suffers when we talk about things they don’t know.

            We do not know for sure that Ambassador Cohen “lobbies” for the Government of Eritrea and certainly not, as Isamil said (very uncharacteristic of him), that he is a “handsomely paid lobbyist of the regime in Eritrea.” The question is not whether Cohen is a lobbyist or not (he is); the question is whether he is a paid lobbyist (required to register with the government of the United States) for the Gov of Eritrea. The law makes no distinction between “in-kind” payments or cold cash: it has to be reported. And, on that, he has gone on the record and said “NO I am not”, and it strains credulity to say that he is risking heavy punishment if caught by the US Government. This is even so because critics of the law (FARA) have said it is selectively used to punish lobbyist of countries the US is having issues with and if he was lobbying during the Obama administration and being very critical of Susan Rice (which he was), do you think she would have let it go?

            The clue really is in a document awate published about his meeting with Eritrean Charge d’affaires. American law makes exception for what we would call lobbying IF it is for educational, scholarly purposes. If you remember the notes of the meeting, it was all about Cohen organizing think tanks, meetings with scholars, etc: ie activities that fall outside traditional lobbying.

            saay

          • Mez

            Dear Saay,

            Well, well, the ፋራ law may be invoked under certain circumstances–as is generally the case in a day to day social life (including a legal person).

            You remind me of the speed limit on the Interstates of the US; for example even if it is posted 65mph, you will frequently find yourself in morning rush-hour driving way beyond it (probably 70mph or more).

            So much so about the ፋራ thing.

            thanks

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Mez,

            I think saay has a point on this one. Your comparison of interworking FARA (very few, lobbyists) and day to day millions of drivers who may go over the speed limit is not accurate (so few state troopers).

            All he is saying, let’s leave the assumption aside and focus on what he is saying (advising the Ethiopian PM).

            Berhe

          • Mez

            Hi Berhe Y,

            That is exactly my key problem; (for me) he is suspect to be impartial, and genuine about what he is advising the Ethiopian PM AAA. Look what he is doing for living over the past two dozen decades.

            Thanks

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Berhe,
            You could be right if we were mere spectators, or neutral judges. We are not. We are stakeholders and we should fight anyone who lends a helping hand to the PFDJ. Once we remember were we stand, I think we can get clarity. Sometimes we are tempted to be fair and just but we cannot afford that luxury. We are the victims in this issue and we should fight the way a lawyer fights for his client even if he knows his client is wrong. Our cause cannot afford to lose is for our moral judgement as if we are not stakeholders. Yemeskeni:-)

          • Patriot

            Selam Seleh Johar. So, you are saying we should fight anyone who lends a helping hand to the PFDJ which includes Japan and the EU and we should at the same time have morally blind eyes when it come to Badme, unfair U.N. Sanctions and economic isolationist strategies against Eritrea? You sound totally Machiavelian in saying the the end justifies the means. Then in the end, are you not lowering yourself to the same playing field as Isaias? I believe that it would be better to take the moral high road and hold all actors responsible for their wrong actions; to include the U.S. and Ethiopia.

        • Ismail AA

          Hayak Allah saay7,

          First, the honor of nomination to the august office of PA is hereby accepted with commensurate humity. How would I refuse such an offer with Fanti on my side? As to the surplus 23 hours, no worry because Fanti can allocate them in such a way they would serve promotion of justice and fairness among politicians and lobbyist in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

          Now back to Mr. Herman Cohen. I think my use of the adverb “handsomely”, and not quoting the payment in figures had fallen to the minds of fellow forumers as source of dismay. I regret this because I should have chosen another word or at least qualified it by word or two for clarification.

          Nonetheless, I could as well gather from the different inputs that there is no discord on the payment issue. There is hardly a lobbying firm or individual that would be driven by sheer philanthropic ends, and Mr. Cohen’s firm may not be an exception. If it is, then it will be Mother Theresa incarnated in the person of Mr. Cohen who turned out to be extraordinarily genernous to pay all expenses for the empathy he had for politically sanctioned and financially embargoed rogue regime and pay all his expenses from his own pocket to reverse policies of his own country.

          However, your point about taking the statement of Mr. Cohen about his saying that he does not get paid at face value is reasonable. The liberal notion that a person is innocent until proven guilty should also apply to him. In customary laws of some parts of our Highland regions, too, there is similar legal notion that a forcefully raped girl is her own witness (ztedefret gwal qala miskra). We should also trust Mr. Cohen as his own witness because he told us that he got no money from the regime.

          But as you apty said in your exchange with Aman H., there are other ways payements could take place. Mr. Cohen knows that he deals with a rougue and sanctioned regime whose most financial dealings are done in stealth and secrecy, which makes transaction in cash very risky. It is understandable for him to choose other ways than cash and avoid the attention of sanctions and embago watchers of the regime.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Ismailo,

            In all the years we debate in this forum, if you agree with Saay to take Mr Cohen’s words at face value and believe them, this will be the first time to register our differences since we know each other in this forum.

            Now, because his reimbursements for his lobbying service is not disclosed to the public and we don’t have any access to dig it, we can not simply trust him to his words. If lobbyists are accountable to appropriate government agency only, and not accountable to the public, there is no any reason to believe them. Mr Cohen was a shroud diplomat, who works for his interest and his country’s interest, then we must admit that he is shroud lobbyist. And there is no any basis to take him as someone who render services for the interest of other country without reimbursements to his services, unless someone comes with verifiable assurance to his claim,

            Regard

          • Ismail AA

            Ahlen Aman H,
            If you have taken note of the sentence that contained “face value’ and “reasonability”, the context has been qualified right away by the next sentence that alluded to the legal notion pertaining to innocence and proof of guilt. The paramter of the exchange was limited to saay7 and me, and not whether or not I believed what saay7 had written about the claim of Mr. Cohen. Moreover, I thought I did say enough about Cohen’s shrewdness and diplomatic savvy. Hope the ambiguity has been cleared.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Ismailo (Abi-Seb),

            We are always in the same page on the politics of our nation and the needs to our diversities. That is a big deal for me. The Cohen issue is immaterial to me even if we differ our understanding about him. Now I get it, that your argument was only within the parameters of Saay’s argument. Thank you for the clarification buddy.

            Regard

          • Saleh Johar

            Ahlan Ismail,
            Don’t worry, Cohen has now switched playgrounds. He is playing in the Congo playground accusing the voting commission there, of rigging votes. I know that happens all over the place and it is sad, but if Cohen says it, I think there is no vote rigging in Congo. You see, if tomorrow he says Isaias is not a dictator, I might change my mind and leave you guys behind. It’s that bad 🙂

          • saay7

            Hala Ismailo:

            This is a surreal discussion on so many levels. There are two words we are using interchangeably: advocacy and lobbying. What is surreal to me is that the GoE accuses all advocates as being paid lobbyist and we are now doing the same thing to Ambassador Herman Cohen thereby burdening our cause with great damage, and here’s why:

            There are Eritreans (I call them the “silent majority”) who hold the view that there is no difference between the opposition and the PFDJ: that the former is just an out-of-power PFDJ. And this thing that we are doing (insisting that someone is a paid lobbyist when he is on record he is saying he is not, when Susan Rice would have strung him by the balls if he was an unregistered lobbyist) contributes to that. Other habits include minicking PFDJ behavior of accusing women with whom we disagree by highlighting their gender (she is ugly, she is a whore, etc.)

            It is also surreal because the man has such a long paper trail that are worthy of critiquing; that his advocacy for a government accused of crimes against humanity is sufficient cause to criticize him without us adding unproven charges. For Gods sake this man wrote a book where he said that people of the Horn (Eritreans, Ethiopians, Somalis, etc) have, like people across the Red Sea, have a culture that does not value life. The man is a rich target yet we keep misfiring and worse justifying our misfires.

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay,

            I think we know the difference between the two words, and we are not interchanging them. We are arguing that he was not advocating, rather he was lobbying. Trust his words is not a good argument. Why should we trust for a lobbyist who did it for his living to tell us that he is advocating. Saay we know the terms, we just don’t agree on what the lobbyist is saying.

            Regards

          • saay7

            Emma:

            Why is it important for us to show he is a paid lobbyist when we can make the same point by pointing out he is an advocate?

            Saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Aya Adi-U,

            Isn’t it what you are doing? And I am saying no he was lobbying. You trust his words and I don’t. That is where we stood for now.

          • saay7

            Emma:)

            I give up: you win😀

            Saay

          • iSem

            Hi Sal:
            I think you have a point, paid or not paid and for whatever he is doing it he is advocating for the GoE, said differently, he is standing up for and defending repression. But remember people are not rational and despite what happened to David Plouffe Cohen can still be paid, but it doe not benefit us to talk about something we cannot proof and does not add any value and does not concern us whether he is paid or not, even if he is doing out of conviction, it is damaging us. I agree. He can deny it. How many times did we stay otherwise intelligent men do stupid things, so maybe Emma is trying and others are saying that. Can you imagine Cohen saying that other people do nto value life, he will lose he shirt, that alone is enough to make him a pariah
            Now to the silent majority, or so called silent majority, they do equate PFDJ to the opposition, but silently, in a hushed voice, in behind closed door of Easter dinner etc. Someone, here called them closet PFDJ and they are dangerous and no one should count them and if count them we should count them as insidious Sofia Tesfamriam and other. I would take Sofia Tesfamriam as enemy any time of the day instead of this silent majority
            I find them the price we pay in terms of the suffering is the price Eritreans should pay to stay in tact as a country, they will give you example of how China mowed down its citizens to safeguard its united nationhood and one day Eritrea will be strong after it solidifies its united nation hood.
            The silent majority are PFDJ

          • saay7

            Hey iSem:

            Ah, so we are back to that debate. You say the silent majority are the PFDJ, I say the silent majority is not PFDJ and then we have a stalemate. You are just an American history buff the minute you hear that phrase, your mind goes automatically back to Nixon (it’s orginator) and it repels you. I am using it in its conventional use in political science. For example, environmentalists say that the overwhelming majority are for windmills but they are opposed to having them in their backyard. iSem would say: that’s it! They are not environmentalists! Fight fight fight! But others would say, let’s educate them and show them alternatives on how to get them to be bolder.

            saay

          • blink

            Dear saay
            Win them on our side , Is that a joke to semere Andom ? These kids really believe in the history of EPLF and people like Semere don’t. Bringing these kids to the fold will require you and other people like you to choose one over the other . These kids are growing up with a bold vision but they have one serious failure and that is they are rooting for dying dictator. Semere Andom and his pals will not be different than PFDJ if they got the chance to rule the only good thing about them is that they are easily defeatable .

          • saay7

            Blink:

            So “believing in the history of EPLF” is a pre-requisite for you? What if you believed in it’s cause and also believe it had a terrible habit of ostracizing those who had a different view? What shall we do about the 10s of thousands of our compatriots who feel victimized by it and are exiled all over the world, some for generations? Write them off?

            Your approach is just as bad as your alleged views of iSem. Probably worse.

            Saay

          • blink

            Dear saay
            No these who don’t believe in EPLF or feel humiliated also believe in ELF past heroic history, in which it makes them in par with these who believe in EPLF no less and no more . What I am saying is about these people who continue to believe Eritreans revolution was just Arab work or There was no sembel operation what so ever . They continue to allege that all the war was just to make ill of the two brothers ( Tigrinya speakers) or these who draw their Eritreaness from their small kitchen. These YPFDJ kids are no more kids at all and few years from now we will deal with them as a force to be rocked with not like some people think few years back.

            I am saying anyone who doesn’t believe in Eritrea as a country and betted for its demise is far valueless than the YPFDJ guys. In my circle I tend to see it not like what you are allegedly t

          • saay7

            Selamat Blink:

            I have been reading iSem (Semere Andom) since 2002 and I have never read him say “…Eritreans revolution was just Arab work or There was no sembel operation what so ever.” Where did you come up with that?

            saay

          • blink

            Dear saay
            You don’t need to scratch Semere this much going back to 2002 sir. No one can be eluded by slow walk of a rabbit and think it cannot jump over. Semere is a bashing inchief and he has a certificate .

          • saay7

            Blink:

            So, in other words, you got nothing.

            Just as I thought

            Saay

          • blink

            Dear saay
            Are you expecting me to dig Semere thousands comments in this site? Or defending Semere just to make him feel ok. Now Semere believes Egypt hosted Eritreans and the main reason was not caring for Eritreans but to stifle Ethiopia( I am assuming you will take Egypt as Arabs just as the Qatari) , I can bring more things that support my points but since you feel obligated to defend his worthless bashing .” As You thought” , ahmm who can stand your wits saay but this time I am not having it. Saay you wanted to defend him please make a big poster .

          • saay7

            Selam Blink:

            Man, the list of things you consider taboo and out of the mainstream keeps growing. So Semere thought that the reason Egypt hosted Eritreans and the main reason was not caring for Eritreans but stifling Ethiopia? And that is outrageously unEritrran? There is a video on YouTube of President Isaias Afwerki making the exact same point.

            And yes, when you make wild allegations you *DO* have the responsibility of backing it up. That’s how it works.

            saay

          • blink

            Dear saay
            I am just repeating Semere lines and I don’t really compare to Issaias lines . Wether you like it or not Semere for me is a person who try to make his name by bashing EPLF and that doesn’t reguire your approval because that is not about Eritrean or uneritrean, it is all about his views . The responsibility of backing it up ahmmm…. which allegations are saying
            1. Semere is a certified Basher
            For such I need no backing.

          • iSem

            Hi Blink:

            You are everwhere, u oppose dictatorship and then canonize them because they believe in the histo4ry of EPLF. First that is false, they do nto believe in EPLF, they invoke that because all Eritreans believe in the armed struggle,. I know this shocks you, but there is difference between IA gangs at EPLF and EPLF that broght the finale in the Eritrean struggle. These kids are just kidnapped and some are profiting from it monetarily and otherwise, so with due respect you do not to know what you are talking about.

            Sal things ( I say wrongly) that the silent majority must be won for us to succeed. I say they are closet PFDJ and just like the gheldli not every single Eritrea must take part for us to win, we, the opp just have what the much missed Serray called the reverse Midas touch

            Now they are calling EPLF’s name like mad person, because PFDJ and YPFDJ are bankrupt, they are coasting on the good legacies of EPLF

            And you made a statement, a bold one that u cannot back up, why are u equating us with the PFDJ, did we kill people or are you prophesising that we will.

            YPFDJ is a club of losers, with handful of winners, who will profit personally. I will say it again, YPFDJ is a club of for binge drinking and whoring, like the top echelons of PFDJ, not good for Eritrea, the are tools used by the now mute Yemane Monkey due to the injuries he sustained in Italy

          • halafi mengedi

            Semere,

            Without naming names, a few people who frequent this forum and many others i have encountered in person are anti-anti-PDFJ/IA. I think, most in the majority have such tendencies. It is another wrinkle that we have to work with. I also think we should try to win them and/or form alliances with them. That is why I didn’t ‘like’ your article, i am not sure bashing someone for getting in touch with pfdj groups is productive.

            hm

          • iSem

            Hi HM:
            I am all ears if there is away to win these guys. I know some of the naive, very young ypfdj are intellectually kidnapped and it is their parent’s fault, the adults allowed it. I know they need some belonging, but there are alternative community centers.
            But here is teh problem with teh win them over mentality,the ppl with conciouness have left eplf, those who will leave now are after they have exhaused their options
            about my article, I think pastor and engineer Fesehaye Gezai knew what he was doing and it a shame. He abandoned his responsiblity

          • halafi mengedi

            iSem,
            Let me first say that I am not trying to undercut you here, you are very valuable. Saay has put it better than I could in his reply to Alex, but we do need people like you to tell us to ‘cut it out’ when we have to.
            But, I really do believe in segmenting a problem and prescribe solutions in more tailored way. I don’t think all silent majority or anti-anti-pfdj/ia are the same or are the way they are for the same reasons, so there is room to work around. Also, putting them in the same group helps them unify which is against our interest. So, for now at least, tag me as someone who thinks silent majority are winnable.
            Regarding the pastor, I am not sure you convinced us (or at least me) he is doing it for malicious reasons in your article. If you can, please share more details.
            hm

          • iSem

            Hi HM:
            thank:
            I itemized the things the silent can do, they do not have to join the opp, they can just oppose
            the Pastor, the man of God went to the gathering of killers, I do not have problem with that as Jesus also when to “unbecoming” places but to do his did, heal, cast demos
            so our pastor did not even pray for the leader nab imprisoned, he could not, they will take the mic from him on the stage it may not be malicious but for sure he was not there for Godly messages.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Sela All

            Mmmmmmmmmmmm………

            Forget about iSem’s ኣየውፍር ኣየእቱ childish blanket accusation.

            Please help me; I’m dying of curiosity here!!!!

            1. – “Without naming names, a few people who frequent this forum and many others {Eritreans} i have encountered in person are anti-anti-PDFJ/IA.”

            2. – “I think, most in the {Eritrean} majority have such {anti Isaias} tendencies – which is another wrinkle that WE have to work with.”

            3. – “I also think WE should try to win them {the Eritrean silent majority} and/or form alliances with them.”

            4. – “That is why I didn’t ‘like’ your article, i am not sure bashing someone for getting in touch with pfdj groups is productive.”

            SOUNDS VERY FAMILIAR, DOESN’T IT? YES< IT DOES!!!!!!

            Now:

            Do we have a NEW clone here…… or it is an OLD drama-queen in a different garment? I say……

            ሓያት፡ ሓያት፡ ሓያት፡………. ሕጂ ኸ ፈላሲት ክትመስሊዶ ዝዋውዕ ኣሲርኪ……..

            Semere Tesfai

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Semere T.,

            Two things:
            1- አጥፊእካኒ “ዝዋውዕ” ማለት እንታይ ማለት’ዩ?

            2 – እተን አርባዕተ ነጥቢ ንክበርሃልካ ኣቅሪብካየን ዘለኻ አነ ከምዝመስለኒ “ንሓላፍ መንገዲ” ዝምልካታ እየን:: why do you address them to all of us?

            Regards

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Amanuel Hidrat

            1. – “ወኻርያስ፡ ፈላሲት ክትመስል ዝዋውዕ ትኣስር” ዝብል ምስላ፡ ዘዕበየና ምስላ ወለዲ እዩ። ነዚ ምስላ’ዚ፡ ንመጀመርታ ግዜኻ ትሰምዖ ዘለኻ ኣይመስለንን።

            2. – ሓልፍ መገዲን፡ ሓያት ኣደምን፡ ዝብሃሉ ናይ ብርዒ ስማት – ትሕዝቶ ጽሑፎም፡ ፖለቲካዊ መርገጾም፡ ቅዲ ኣጸሓሕፋኦምን ኣሰር/ሰረት ትግሪኛኦምን ሓድ ኮይኑ ስለዝረኸብኩዎ፡ ሓደ ሰብ ድዩ ዋላስ ክልተ እዮም ኢለ፡ ንኹሎም ተኸታተልቲ ዓዋተ ሓቲተ። ንስኻ ከኣ መሊስካ። ንኻልኦት ድማ ዝመስሎም ክብሉ ይጽበ ኣለኹ።

            ሕጅስ ኣበይ ‘ዩ ‘ቲ ጌጋ?

            ሰመረ ተስፋይ

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            ሓው ሰመረ ተስፋይ,

            ነቲ ዝሓተትኩኻ ቃል አብ ምስላ ሰኹዕካ ስለዝሃብካኒ ትርጉም ናይቲ ቃል ዝሃብካኒ ከይመስለካ:: አይሃብካንን ዝሓወይ:: ቅድምውን’ኮ አብ አብ ምሉእ ሓሳባት እያ ተሰኹዓ ነይራ:: እታ ምስላ እንተኾነትውን ንመጀመርያ ግዜ እየ ዝሰምዓ ዘለኹ:: ስለዚ ገና ትርጉማ አይፈለጥክዋን::

            Regards

          • halafi mengedi

            Semere,
            You are wrong not-so-Sherlock! And by the look of it, it would very hard to figure out how wrong you are, so let me help.
            There are big differences between hayat and I. I will give just one evidence for now, it should be enough. You probably know what hayat’s position regarding YG is. Go scan my comments to find out what I think of him and his writing.
            hm

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi iSem,
            I always wonder why being silent is considered noble! Being silent in the face of what is happening is a crime and I would settle for “Criminals” as a settlement 🙂

            The debate has raged for months a few years ago and it has caused so many damges, seen and unseen, felt and unfelt, painful or irritating. Bringing it again, and insisting on carrying it on, is not a wise thing to do. I wish we are saved from it before it causes additional pain.

            If someone stays silent, for any reason, in Eritrea’s affairs, I wouldn’t honor them with anything even if it remotely sounds positive. I agree there are many who are silent (deafening silence) but they are not doing any harm to the opposition. I have no problem with them. But those “silentees” who have mouthfuls for the opposition but never utter a word against the PFDJ, they are despicable. Besides, they refer to the opposition in the third person, as if the matter does not concern them…or, maybe they don’t think it concerns them. And this is nothing new, it was an experience of the struggle era. Nobody bothered with those who didn’t join (excepting the eighties, gffa and all, which was justified by the prevailing military situation) though there was a firm position regarding those who collaborated with the enemy or demoralized the people.

            To the likes of the YPFDJ, there was a norm during the struggle era. It followed several steps: advise, advise, advise, followed by warning (three times) and then an action depending on the severity of the damages they were inflicting on the struggle. But no one is advocating the extreme measures of the struggle era but cajoling them and endlessly educating them is another extreme, 180 degrees to the opposite side. It can be viewd as a choice from one extreme to another. Here is a middle ground I would like to propose.

            Let’s do this: those who want to educate the YPFDJ, good luck but be prepared the flow of the silentees never stops. The moment you educate the lots already in the Diaspora, a new wave will be arriving. Keep educating them and no one is objecting. Just let those who want to fight them keep fighting. I am with you iSem and others who do not consider the struggle a never-ending educational undertaking.

            Unfortunately, people cannot fight effectively when hesitation is instilled in them and they are asked to reconsider that those they consider hindrances (sometime including PFDJ and affiliates) are not your so–stop fighting them instead, preach to them. Well, those who like to preach and educate, good luck. But those of us who want to fight the tentacles, should be left alone to fight.

            I hope the above solution satisfies both sides: do your thing.

          • iSem

            Hi Saleh:
            I have nothing to add to your comment. I agree.
            Ok, I hope Sal not here but I was still seething from my interaction of “silent majority” on Sunday and then I listned to the interview of pastor Gezai, then Sal mentions silent majority to Emma in passing and I could not help it:-)
            Otherwise u are right, I remember this debate. I agree

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Sem,

            I will agree with Saay that silent majority are not PFDJ. Actually the silent majority precisely are change seekers. They do not want to be drivers for change, they are “waiters” for change from the sidewalk of the movement of change. Call them opportunists. Otherwise, it is not right characterization to call them PFDJites. So our task should be how to make them proactive in the movement of changes. That is my take on the silent majority.

            My view on YPFDJ is: they are brainwashed PFDJites. There is no way to change them. They are making them the inheritors of PFDJ values. We can only fight to defeat their values in the public sphere.

            Regards

          • blink

            Dear Semere
            You already did kill people, it’s just that you don’t remember because it didn’t work your way . You ,semere know whoring and drinking never stops in the opposition either , who can not know Aregash ….,and many names of the awasa buss of Meles time . If I was you at this time , I would question the intensity of my own views. I am not everywhere, I am here at awatecom and that being said I do entertain the idea of laughing at the squirrel game of nuts .

      • Teodros Alem

        Democratization of ethiopia (including the army) is more beneficial to tigrai in the long run by defusing the resentment of other ethiopians towards tigrai.
        So if any body want to help the people of tigrai should encourage the democratizing process of ethiopia to be fast.
        The stats quo is not sustainable and trying to keep or delay the stats quo will have a very negative result , because of the attitude of none tigrai ethiopians have been changed and changing fast now.

    • Kim Hanna

      Selam Horizon,
      .
      I didn’t listen to the interview. Your snippets is enough. My opinion is highly subjective to a point that if you ask me for evidence or facts to support what I am saying I might get to stutter a bit.
      .
      Mr. Cohen had 1st hand involvement in Eth?Eri affairs early on. He has a perspective and probably has knowledge of individuals as to who is who.
      His over confidence in his recommendations is a typical American view of ” I know and I have solutions for it” kind of talk which is expected.
      .
      I don’t know how many of his phone calls are returned by senior U.S officials now. However I am sure he has his name out there as an expert of Eth/Eri.
      He is a lobbyist. He may say the “Eritrean Government” does not pay him all he wants. SOMEBODY is paying him. He doesn’t do all this at some expense, energy, to prepare for a good heavenly reward.
      .
      What is important in my view is how susceptible the senior Ethiopian leadership players are to the pressures of U.S/EU.
      The U.S/EU donate and finance a lot, with strings attached. They are not shy about cutting off the funds in mid way if Eth. does not do what they ask in some unrelated sector. (Ethiopian Constitution, Law, custom be damn, it means nothing to them.)
      Maybe I misunderstood Meles, his push was to rely on China for military, security and important infrastructure projects and use the cash the U.S/EU donate for the purposes of Health, Education and Environmental protection.
      The Ethiopian Government is strengthened in resisting a knee jerk reactions of the west by letting them publicly cut off the Health, education etc….with a shy least costly public relation appeal for common sense.
      .
      However, I feel the Ethiopian government is probably getting cozy with the U.S/EU too much. As I said before the U. S is a fair weather friend. When things get tough they push you under the bus to get the immediate problem go away.
      So in the final analysis, treat U.S and Mr. Cohen as a 4 year old boy with a loaded gun. Humor them, play nice but try never to put yourself in the line of fire.
      .
      Mr. K.H

    • Amde

      Selam Horizon,

      Well, the SOE may be “abolished” as early as next week.

      I don’t know how well you have been following it and to what detail you are familiar with US politics. But as you probably know by now, HR 128 passed. This is the House Of Representatives side of a Bill. I have not read the details, but apparently, if passed into law, this bill will require the Ethiopian Government to allow UN Human Rights Observers into the country among a bunch of other things. If the Senate version passes and Trump signs it, this might prove to be a watershed moment in Ethio-American political activism. Funny enough, the resistance in the Senate to the Senate counterpart (I think it is SRes 168), seems to be coming from religious conservatives. It turns out Dr. Abiy’s conservative brand of Christianity is well received and he has a fairly strong baseline support in the Senate.

      I listened to Cohen’s interview. I think there is a missing subtext here. It may be we are slowly shifting from a counter-terrorism narrative in the horn to a great powers competition. US v China for example. The US diplomatic station in Addis has been rather undiplomatic in the statements coming out about decidedly internal political affairs. With Trump being Trump and the State Department being decimated under Tillerson, it is not clear who has the portfolio. Yamamoto sounds just as good a candidate as any. If SRes 168 passes, the US government would have been handed a potent tool to selectively use as the stick in tandem with the traditional carrot.

      Amde

  • Haile S.

    Selam Selamawi,
    I like your story. Let me tell you what I said to my guests and friends yesterday. Due to Easter, discussions about this and that church started and one said “we are working to be bring a priest from home”. And I told him, okay fine, you guys are bringing everything, the jebena, duka, tabot, meTHan etc, but now more than anything else you need a President. Why don’t you import him too! My guest is a recent arrival, and he answered me. ንዕኡ እንተምጺእናዮ ድ’ኣ ንዓድና ክንምለስ ማለት እንድዩ (nA’u entemxi’enayo d’a Adna knmles ina malet endiyu). I found someone more ironic than me 🙂 🙂 🙂 .
    More than anything else, I like your poem. It is exquisite. Please consider sending it fully and in geez alphabet if possible. I tried to partly transcribe it:

    አሾኽ ጎዶቦና ወጊኡኒ
    ቱኻን ውሻጠና መጽዩኒ
    ደንበና ገዲፈ ንግዳም እንተበልኩ
    ?መኣስ? ናውቲ ከብደይ ንመሸጣታ በልኩ

    I couldn’t completely figure out the rest. Come with your poems frequently.
    Best

    • Beyan

      Selam Selamawi and Haile S.,

      The stories both of you tell are intriguing. Selamawi, the exact replica can be found in every major metropolitan cities across North America and Europe. In Toronto, which I visited three times, but without saying it, never visited these two enda shahis, one of which is called enda Ustaaz… and the other enda Memhir, both of which mean the same in Arabic and in Tigrinya. It wouldn’t take genius to figure it out which caters to which. Abrehet might catch me on this premature judgment again. But, my guess is these two tea shops are illustrative to the dividing line you’ve alluded to in your note above.

      Haile S., thanks for typing up part of the poem that Selamawi shared, which I bypassed automatically, because I begin not only to get frustrated when I see Tigrinya words in English letters, but also begin to get thirsty at first try. Poems though really need to be in their mother-alphabets.

      Your story about the Easter was funny and as you aptly alluded to it, its irony was captured by the young man right away. It sounded like a gathering I would’ve loved to be a part of.

      Cheers,
      Beyan

    • Abrehet Yosief

      Selam Aya Haile,
      Here is Selamawi’s lamentation. I wrote it for him so he can use his time to come up with new stanzas.
      እሾኽ ጎዶቦና ወጊኡኒ
      ቱኻን ውሻጠና መጽዩኒ
      ደንበና ገዲፈ ንግዳም እንተበልኩ
      መኣስ ናውቲ ከብደይ ንመሸጣታ በልኩ
      እቶም ሓገዝተይ
      ሞጊቶም ኣየቕንዑ
      ስዩም ኢሎም ኣይዕረቑ
      ንሓድሕዶም ክቋየቑ

      • Haile S.

        Thank you Abrehet, my Sis,

        Selamawi has a real talent. He said a lot in few strophes. I hope we will hear more from his fingers.

        Merci mille fois

  • saay7

    Selamawi:

    I wish you weren’t good in writing then I would have an excuse for not understanding it 🙂

    I think I have a different conclusion though. From the tone of your writing, I sense that you are not happy about what you are describing. This means what is happening is violating some core value you appreciate. And I would think that core value is tolerance and harmonious co-existence. No?

    saay

    • Selamawi

      Selam Saay
      Once I read an article by Syrian author claiming that the Arab civilizations he knew are gone for good. Yes you are right the core value we had tolerace and harmonious are gone for good. We may not saying it out open, Muslim blame the crime of pfdj as crime of Christians and we Christians claim we are better off with pfdj than religious fanatics. If you want to test how tolerant we are invite all the awatista for round table. Once I asked my friend if he knows the number of Eritrean opposition parties and he replays he doesn’t know the exact number, but he was sure they are not more than the population of Eritrean.
      Regards
      Selamawi

    • sara

      Dear sal,
      being an expat i lived or visited many places eritreans reside but never heared such segrgated place eritreans frequent as “selamawi” is aluding.
      I think when people loose hope they feel/imagine unusal phenemeno.

  • g. michael Tzerai
  • g. michael Tzerai

    Hi Beyan,

    With back to back articles that you wrote and so exhaustive, and plus all you other obligations, no one would be surprised if you fall behind on some of the events such as the interview of Radio Erena with Saleh. Here is the address to the broadcast. I hope you have lack accessing it and really enjoy it as I did. Please, keep up the good work.

    • Beyan

      Kbret yhaballey ezi Haway. Thank you for sharing the link. I will listen to it during my break.

      Sincerely,
      Beyan

      • saay7

        Beyan:

        I got even better news: Erena has an app. I think it’s the only Eritrean audio streaming service that has an app. Download it (it’s free) to our phone and you will be able to hear SGJs interview. Erena has tightly produced daily news….if you still lived in California you would have enjoyed one hour commutes which would have enabled you to catch up but no…. 🙂

        Saay

        * Paltalk obviously also has an app

        • Beyan

          merHaba Sal,

          I am listening to the conversation right now.That’s a wonderful idea. In fact, I commute about 45 minutes one-way without the stress of driving in Southern California, as you well know. I live in a border town and work across the border in another state. So, my commute has no traffic whatsoever. it is a joy ride. So, if this is the kind of interview Erena does on a regular basis, it sounds it is something I will get into a habit of listening to, which will be competing with NPR, the most I listen to. I won’t just Erena by this single interview.

          But, It is hard to believe, in the interlude where the young woman introduced awate as English and Arabic website. The host didn’t even know he was talking to the author of the very article he was asking him about. I kid you not, this is what he said: There was an article that I read about an envious Eritrean on the new PM of Ethiopia. SGJ had to say, albeit delicately, that article, by the way, was written by him. There were several times where SGJ had to correct the host. The interviewer seems to be a bit ill-informed about awate in general and appeared to have come ill prepared to an interview. But listening to SGJ doing what he does best, taking that opportunity to inform, embolden, and, one hopes, will inspire other listeners of Erena to begin to come to awate with a different perspective. So Qalsina nawiH eyyu awetna gn nay-gddin eyyu zebbil negeru.

          Beyan

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Beyan,
            Radio Erena has the best quality programs in my opinion. The interviews on Saturday cover various topics and different interviewers. The young man you heard on this particular interview is known for his “aggressive style”. I find him charming in that he has a lot of heart and doesn’t hold back. I think his main audience are relatively young who didn’t get access to various information outlets and mostly formed by post-independence events/culture. So his finding out more as he goes style works for them as well. He doesn’t come as too educated “with certain agenda”, which I notice the young are very cautious about.

          • saay7

            Abrehet:

            While we are complimenting Erena, one person whose talents as host are not sufficiently appreciated is Yonathan Habte (“shekortetino”). When he is being an entertainer, you will get the whole works (“alora”, “deqi halal”, “zemedey”.. and his crank calls) But he also does phenomenal interviews where he actually listens to his guests and asks follow-up questions. He had a great one with an Israeli-based Eritrean that had the perfect message and was informative.

            saay

          • Beyan

            Selam Sal,

            I must mention, the talent of the host Shekortetino (is he now former Lula band?) I was telling someone who sent me the audio clip in which he does an improvisation of the interview of Nsu, which has to be a classic. And, here is what I told the friend who sent me the audio clip this past weekend:
            This never gets old. Each time I hear it, each time I find the genius of shekhortatino who could’ve been our late night host …akin to Trevor Noah …you name any late night show hosts, he would either match or exceed them. Alas, we live at an era where those who should be part and parcel of Eritrea’s cultural composition are abroad and those who should be out are wreaking havoc – convoluted world, indeed.

          • saay7

            Beyan:

            Yeah, that’s him, the former leader of Lula Band. And, yeah, I agree: he is a talented conversationalist who has an infectious happiness about him. And decent: in one of his shows, he was trying to say he understands but can’t speak Amharic because it reminds him of Tor Serawit, and when people protested, he acknowledged and apologized. That is what normal looks like, something we don’t have much of in Eritrea.

            saay

          • Beyan

            Dear Sal,

            In myriad of facets, in cultural terms, in entertainment terms, in art in general, and many more “normal” things the country could’ve been in a trajectory of; Alas, has been so hijacked and robbed our young from that chance for them to shine in their own homeland, it is really depressing. But, I cannot afford to be depressed, now that the medicine-man, Amanuel Hidrat mentioned that it is one of the causes for forgetfulness, worst yet, to be attacked with dementia of the worst kind. Indeed, we don’t know what normal looks like, what it feels like anymore.

            Beyan

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Beyan and Saay7,
            Beyan I was not pointing any mistake in your comment. I was rather encouraging you to follow all their programmes. The radio is heard in Eritrea.
            Saay7,
            I cannot appreciate Yonathan Habte enough. My measure of any activist is how much love he/she has for the Eritrean people. Yonathan and his team used to visit Asmara and had fund raiser for St. Mary Mental Health hospital in Sembel. They gave concert to the disabled veterans. They were incredible. Lula band’s song for the journalist Joshua is one of the biggest monuments against PFDJ attempt to forget those they decide are enemies. Yonathan has single handed made the expression of brotherly love towards all who contact him the norm. He is very humble and by making himself the butt of many jokes he puts everyone at ease. I am specially grateful to him because he calls the young refugees wherever they are and encourages them. Despite his fun loving, free spirit appearance, he is very deep and compassionate. Someone raised him right.

          • Beyan

            Selam Abrehet,

            Points well taken. That’s why I tried to preface my comment toward the end of the first paragraph by stating thus: “I won’t just [judge] Erena by this single interview.” I realize the word was typed as “just” instead of judge. I now see the style is purposeful that Erena does with its audience in mind. Another rush to judgment on my part was that I was giving my impression as I was listening in real time, which subsequently had proven my judgment to be premature.

            In fact, I enjoyed the conversation between a young man and a veteran activist, which in the end I found to be enriching in the way the two interacted with respect. You’ve now given me a chance to say a little more about it. The two covered myriad of topics. The intergenerational talk that identified areas in which how each misperceived the other and they were able to understand each other at the end. So, Abrehet, many thanks for calling me up on my misperception or premature judgment. I will certainly continue to listen, especially, now that Sal Y. had alerted me in how I could listen to the Erena by installing an app, which I very much like.

            Sincerely,
            Beyan

  • g. michael Tzerai

    HI Beyan,

    Both this article and your previous article on, “Gender Roles ……” together with Saleh’s interview at Radio Erena last Saturday, brings Awate’s conversation mainstream conversation. Both of your articles and Saleh’s interview are rich in content, and message and timely too.

    • Beyan

      Hello g.michael,

      I’ve heard of the interview yesterday that SGJ has had an interview at Erena. I am so behind when it comes to following what goes on the virtual world of radio, TV, PalTalk, and the like, which makes me feel I am missing out on a lot. Just now checked the Erena website in hopes of hearing the interview while I sipped my morning coffee as I get my kids ready to go to school, alas to no avail. Wish you had shared it here, since you are saying the content of the interview appears to comport and supplements the article at hand. I will try to hunt for it later today.

      Many thanks for your input g.michael.

      Beyan

  • Patriot

    Selam All. Back on April 8, 1969: the U.N. World Food Programme announced that it would provide food assistance to Eritrean refugees in Sudan.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Dr.Beyan.

    What an article ..I read it carefully with full heart and I enjoy it..a bout Khalled Abdul I have the same feeling..” He captured it all, spirit and soul.”

    Thank You BN..

    KS,,

  • Ismail AA

    Good morning all,

    Dr. Beyan often ends his posts with a short sentence. It has by now become familiar to me. He writes that once initiated and starts to type he just goes on writing. It is not too tasking for me to understand the reason. Simply put, the man just knows much; wants to share much; and is wonderfully equipped to deliver.

    Now then, after nearly five decades of costly national struggle and nearly three decades of independence, Dr. Beyan is rightly justified to voice concern about extremism and the risk this can cause. He is right to worry about the role of the electronic media that has proven to be a hard-to-harness carries of contagious and negative extremism. We have seen how the most vicious extremist groups have been enjoying access to the social media outlets. Of course it cannot be lost to aware opinions why some of these modern murderous inquisitionists are tolerated to use the electronic media though this is not a place to expand on this point.

    Nonetheless, considering the fragile national (psyche as Dr. Bejan has termed it) set up that has not yet been shielded to withstand tempestuous onslaughts of extremisms, we will do better to listen to concern-driven alerts. The reason why I am describing our national set up as fragile is because we have so far failed, despite the cost we had already paid so far, to transform the nationhood to an Eritrean “sacred cow”.

    Unless we discharge of this essential and determinant task, xenophobic rejection, arrogances flavored by contempts “ከላ እዚኤን ደኣ እንታ ከይገብራ”, which the current regime and its surrogates have raised to distinguishing trademark, and behind-the-walls chatters of social and cultural superiority isolationist complexes would not diminish, and shall always pose as challenging risks to the unity of the nation and future of the state. The inward looking social cultures of the enclaves and indifferences are fertile soils that could be open fields for excesses disseminated via social media about which Dr. Beyan has eloquently explained.

    The way out from this dilemma is how to plot long term national schemes to render statehood that we have managed to established to a superior “sacred cow” to which the myriad “sacred cows” that entrench in social and cultural enclaves will have to be subordinated without negating the rich but harmonized value systems of our people to nourish sustainable national and culture.

    The advanced national polities that have emerged on the world scenes as stable and progressive nation-states have passed through the transformations I am trying to allude to. The 1648 Westphalia process in Europe was not anything other than gradually overcoming divisive and ruinous social and cultural traditions and concepts to unifying “sacred cows” called sovereign national states that gathered the ruled as subjects under all-powerful sovereigns. Peace and stability which such political set ups had provided opened opportunities for material progress and cultural advancements that produced extraordinarily talented social and political reformers that helped societies to negate omnipotent sovereigns, and educate peoples to become masters of their own fates on the basis of sharing responsibility of preservation of the state and wellbeing of societies between the ruled and the ruling. Briefly stated, thus, the eras of Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s “Social Contract” and other reformers had represented the “spirit of nations” that put pillars for modern nation-states, and opened philosophical frameworks for engaging nation in state building processes. On this matter, I anticipated fellow forumers such as Dr. Paulos to correct me if I messed up with big things and educate us more on processes how nation-states became revered and preservation worthy “sacred cows” of peoples. Let us generations of Eritreans dream to lived under a nation-state they revere as source of bounty in the way the Hindus revere the “sacred cows” as divine source of bounties. Dr. Beyan, thank you so much for this educating article.

    • Beyan

      Selamat kburat Ahwat, Dr. P., Prof. Sal Y., Haile S., Mahmoud S., Halaf Mengeddi, & Ismail AA,

      “If I had to choose, I’d rather sink with the atheists who say they don’t believe in God, yet love God’s children, and show it with the work they do and in their compassion for the vulnerable, than rise with believers whose view of God is shriveled and vicious, and who punish others, and themselves, ultimately, with hard-hearted moralizing, and a cruel indifference to the suffering of the unwashed that grows from the despotic ill-tempered of the self-righteous” (Reverend Michael Eric Dyson, The Michael Eric Dyson Reader, 2004)

      Forgive me for bringing you all nab hanti meaddi. We are all addressing what ails Eritrea, by extension its people today. Seldom do I find it difficult to send an article I want published to AT. This one I sat on for a week and in between I had bombarded SGJ to publish this version that version until I finally heard, Albright’s interview of her new book on fascism, which brought it all together that this is an alarm bell that I wanted ringing loud. Hope you will have a chance to listen to the interview, the link to which I shared in the footnote.

      Dr. P. alluded for the need to moderation. Reverend Dyson in the caption above captures that sense of moderation which emanates from compassion toward humanity. That art of moderation has been lost on us, it was more of a case that it was stolen from us when the colonialists took over our nation with it our soul. Recently, I read on FB where a stolen treasure was being returned on loan to Ethiopia from England. The idea that a thief loaning you your own property with the promise to return after the exhibition is over is mindboggling to say the least. So, I shared it with a good friend who is not on Facebook. His response, I am sure he wouldn’t mind my sharing it was this: “The british during their preparation for the invasion stayed enough around Senafe and surrounding area. It is clear from the books that they later published, they were busy collecting interesting objects and treasures. I happen to read a traditional medicine book they stole from Theodros’s ‘palace’. An Ethiopian who was studying in London went to british museum, copied manually the book and published it. That is how I happen be able [to read] the book.”

      Thievery aside for now, in the spirit of Easter, I am hoping we can go back to the drawing board as Sal Y. challenged us to think about the core “sacred cow” that binds Eritreans together and Ethiopians. It is something we all have to wallow in, do some serious introspection, one of which Halaf Mengedi has given, simply put, that basic human need to feed one’s family – work – Eritreans are being deprived of. There is nothing more fundamental at individual level, at family level, at community level, at societal level, than being left to our own devise to provide for our respective families.

      Haile S. eloquently, metaphorically, captured it in how we should reclaim the national symbols, trunk, leave, stem, the entire tree that binds Eritrea ought to be reclaimed, at least in its beginning, thereby strengthen our resolve to march forward as a people. He even used the proverbial “sacred cow” to capture the essence of Eritreanity in his Tigrinya poem. But, Mahmoud Saleh’s less than sanguine, yet realistic assessment on the nature of the opposition that’s unable to even keep the sacred national holidays intact was an antidote that Haile S. appeared to have anticipated. Both of whose messages are now being heeded, where there are two major Festivals underway later this summer. In July, in Denver and in August, in Atlanta. So, we are coming around on this slowly, painfully, but surely. So, pencil it in Mahmoud. We may end up meeting there for the first-time and it would be an honor, bro.

      In his usual on point style, Ismail AA is suggesting – without intending it perhaps – that these are mere details, we need overarching philosophical principles akin to the Saleh Y’s mold to keep us all tied together as a people. So, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. We must find a way to overlay these moving targets, which are headed to all possible directions. At philosophical level, I cannot speak with authority. The surface level philosophical inquiry that may get us on the trajectory toward future might be one of ethics. Dr. P. is more equipped in this regard than I could ever be. I am sure there are others who can help us figure it all out.

      All of you have left me to think hard, to introspect inward more. I am glad I shared the piece as Sal Y. said, let us use the piece as a springboard to bounce our ideas off of. As someone had said it before in admiration that the forum has a way of not only matching the articles that are written but exceed it in the way they elevate the discourse. I enjoy that part of writing more than anything else in this regard.

      Heartfelt thank you all for sharing. We merely scratched the surface. Keep it coming is all I can say for now.

      Beyan

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Ismailo,

      I enjoy your comment always, sometimes more so than the articles that made you to comment on them. You always polish them with historical prospective, the elements most writers are not blessed with. By doing that you are helping us to have a broad view on the subject we are grappling with, at any given time and space. Most of your effort does not go to critics, rather you try to explore additional dimensions to the subject to induce engagements on the forumers. Keep up brother.

      Regards

      • Ismail AA

        Dear Aman H.,

        Thank you so much for the compliment. I do not do more than sharing some of the things my memory had stored when they flash back thanks to the brilliant contributions you and your fellow writers and commentators provide. Good writings keep the reader engaged to read and think simultaneously, and the end gets initiated to ask questions in quest of more information and knowledge.

  • Haile S.

    Selam all,
    Sorry Kokhob. this poem’s place is here.

    ቅድስቲ ላም

    ቀራን ላም ቅድስቲ
    መጋቢት ቤተሰብ ርሕስቲ
    ጸባ ተሓላቢት እምንቲ ብጸይቲ
    ሳዕሪ ናብ ጸባ፡ ጸባ ናብቲ ዝበለጸ ሃብቲ
    ሳዕሪ ናብ ኩቦ፡ ኩቦ ናብ ሓሙኽስቲ
    ሓሙኽስቲ መደጎሊ ሓዊ፡ መሳገሪ ለይቲ
    ፈልፋሊት ጸዓት ገመድ ዘይብሉ ኤለክትሪሲቲ

    ቀራን ሃገር ከም ላም ኣላትና
    ዘይትዋጋእ ኩሕሎ ጠማቲትና
    ብርኽቲ ሃብቲ ናይ ደቃ ኩልና
    ተሓሊባ ዘይትውዳእ ሃብቲ መንጎና
    ንሳ ኩቦ፡ ጸባ፡ ቤትና፡ መዕቀሊትና
    ቀያሕ ደም ደቃ ዝለበሰት፡ መተርኣሲትና
    ዘይንርስዓ ንዝክራ ሜትና ተኣሲርና ተሰዲድና
    ግፍሓታን ክእለታን ዓቕማን ዘጽበቡ ፋሕ ኣቢሎምና
    ሰሳዕርና ሂብና ከይንሓልባ ከከምክእለትና
    ኣብአ ኣባና እምነት ዘጉደሉ ከሊኦምና
    በዓላትና ነኽብር፡ ወኒ መውጽእ ገዲፍና
    መበሊ መዘከሪ ኣለና ኣለና ኣለና
    ደው ንበል ነመልክት ኣጻብዕና ንላምና

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Hailat,

      Yes ..this is the place …

      “ቀራን ሃገር ከም ላም ኣላትና
      ዘይትዋጋእ ኩሕሎ ጠማቲትና
      ብርኽቲ ሃብቲ ናይ ደቃ ኩልና
      ተሓሊባ ዘይትውዳእ ሃብቲ መንጎና…. ”

      KS,,

    • Abrehet Yosief

      Aya Haile,
      The more I read your poem the more I think of the song “Arem”, by Amanuel Yohanes. The cheated cow feeds others.

      • Haile S.

        Thank you Abrehet Sis,
        That is a great complement. I remember the sing getting discussed at Awate a year or si ago. I am just listening to it now. Recently I got a book, a collection of poems, written in 2013 in Denmark by ምስጉን ጎይትኦም entitled ከብሒ ግጥምታት. Let me put here one of his poems. I hope he doesn’t mind.
        ብተይ
        እዛ ብተየይ ኩሉ ደላይኣ
        ጠፊኣ ኢሎም ዘውሩይልስ ደኣ
        ኣነ’ዶ ኣይኮንኩን ካብ ጥንቲ ዋንኣ
        ሃሪፎም’ዶ ብሂጎም ስግኣ?
        እቱ ዝጠፍ ኣቶ ካልእ እንተ ኾይኑ
        እንዳማቱ ብተይ እንታ’ዩ ‘ያ ንዕኡ
        ወይስ?
        ኣይነበሮ ኣይጠፍኦ ዝይናቱ’ዩ ደልዩ?
        ወዲ’ቲ ትማሊ ዝነኸሳ ዝብኢ
        እንተኾይኑ ሕጂ’ውን ክጎብጣ ዝኑቂ
        ይትረፍ ናተይ ክብላ ንርዛ ንኽሪኣ
        ይመኸራ ኣእጋሩ ከስዕባ ድሕሪኣ።
        እንተታ ጠፊኣ ‘ተባህለት ብተይ ግን
        ትማል ነይራ ምሳይ እነሆት ሎሚ’ውን
        ናተይ ከላ ናቱ ከመይ ኢላ ትኸውን?
        ወዮ’ኳ ጎቢዛ ሓምራ ኮይናትለይ
        ጸባ ኣ ለጊሳ ዕብጊላቶ ከብደይ
        የዳርታ’ለኹ እንዳ ሓለብኩ ልገዐ
        ኣዒማ እነሃለት ኣብ ሰውሒ ዝለምዐ።
        ምስጉን ጎይትኦም 05.05.2013

  • MS

    Selam Beyan
    I think the majority of Eritreans continue to celebrate those public holidays without mixing them with whatever political differences they may have with the government. It is up to those who have been protesting against them to change hearts and lanes. Part of why the opposition is stale and uninspiring is because few vocal activists hijacked its message and energy. It is inconceivable to expect people you mock as imbecile and “koboro junks” persuaded to follow you. If you remember, even the celebration of May 24 was controversial for some in this forum. We were told the sense of hopefulness and patriotism was impending change.
    I like your article, it is bold and thought provoking. SAAY is correct in challenging us to think deeply. There are core values for any people interwoven in its history and culture. We should seek for positive change by embracing those core values and by making them the tip of the spear for social and political changes. We should draw inspiration primarily from within.
    That’s just my say, sorry, if I spoiled the atmosphere. The point is: it is just depressing even to talk about Holidays such as May 24 at this stage. It shows how lowly Eritrean discourse has gone.

  • saay7

    Beyan:

    Your article is a great springboard to initiate conversations and one of them (at least the one that interests me given some intractable problems we seem to have intra-Eritrea as well as Eritrea-Ethiopia, is this: what is *our* sacred cow? Put more conventionally, what are our core values?

    Negotiators and peacemakers say that anything that offends people’s core values cannot be part of the solution and, in fact, may worsen the problem. So I am asking you (as a social scientist) and I will ask awatistas (as Eritreans and Ethiopians): what are the core values of Eritreans and Ethiopians? Honor? justice? Fairness? And are these core values in deep contrast?

    saay

    • halafi mengedi

      Saay,
      A number of things came to mind (esp about intra-Eritrea), I am pretty sure other can article most of them better than me, but i will mention one that struck me for long time and comes up often: the concept of ‘serihka miEto’. In fact, the most common complaint you would hear from Eritreans is not lack of political space, corruption, lack of rule of law etc etc, it is that they feel the gov of Eritrea wouldn’t let them live and work in peace (even after completing all the pre-specified national duties the gov decreed). That is certainly I how felt. I have heard the phrases ‘serihna keynatu keliomuna’ or ‘serihna keynibelie abiyomin’ and similar others from just about every Eritrea. I think that is because that is core value of Eritreans, they just want to get off bed, hurry to work and get back to their families safe and sound.
      Attacking this core value of Eritrea is also at the center the strategy used by gov to break the spirit of the people (I vaguely remember someone telling me sibhat ephrem teaching such thing at cadre training in Nakfa). All the relentless, unpredictable and incessant decrees, changes in rules and policies, call of military training, reporting for this/that etc are meant to ensure people don’t go about doing their business as normal people. To deny any semblance stability. Akelabitom, they say. And rather sadly, pfdj have succeeded at this, they really broken the spirit of Eritreans by attacking that core value: ‘serihka, bselam gezaka mietaw’.
      hm

    • halafi mengedi

      –Sorry if this appears twice, was having difficulty posting, had to try multiple times…—

      Saay,
      A number of things came to mind (esp about intra-Eritrea), I am pretty sure other can article most of them better than me, but i will mention one that struck me for long time and comes up often: the concept of ‘serihka miEto’. In fact, the most common complaint you would hear from Eritreans is not lack of political space, corruption, lack of rule of law etc etc, it is that they feel the gov of Eritrea wouldn’t let them live and work in peace (even after completing all the pre-specified national duties the gov decreed). That is certainly I how felt. I have heard the phrases ‘serihna keynatu keliomuna’ or ‘serihna keynibelie abiyomin’ and similar others from just about every Eritrea. I think that is because that is core value of Eritreans, they just want to get off bed, hurry to work and get back to their families safe and sound.

      Attacking this core value of Eritrea is also at the center the strategy used by gov to break the spirit of the people (I vaguely remember someone telling me sibhat ephrem teaching such thing at cadre training in Nakfa). All the relentless, unpredictable and incessant decrees, changes in rules and policies, call of military training, reporting for this/that etc are meant to ensure people don’t go about doing their business as normal people. To deny any semblance of stability. Akelabitom, they say. And rather sadly, pfdj have succeeded at this, they really broken the spirit of Eritreans by attacking that core value: ‘serihka, bselam gezaka mietaw’.

      hm

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam HM,

        I completely share your feeling. Most of the time, I define our people as apolitical in nature. I always come in conflict with Aristotle who explained that, in politics man is a “political animal” which contrast to the nature of Eritrean people. Eritrean people by nature have always individualistic instincts. They always work hard to improve their private lives as oppose to others. That is why “ሰሪሕና ክነብር ከሊኡና ዝብል ምዕዝምዛም ኩሉ ጊዜ ክቃላሕ ንሰምዖ“:: You see HM politics involves with the concern of other’s lives and our people mostly concern about their private lives. Make your own social study and you will find out that will the case. If the regime would have allowed to do their lives, the freedom to do their own business, the freedom of free movements, they wouldn’t care what kind of government is running their country. I don’t understand as to why the regime misunderstood our people that they are “industrious individualistic” in nature.

        Regards

      • saay7

        HM:

        One of my favorite expressions is ዝወፍር ኣይስእንን: He who ventures out won’t be lacking) which is related to “dunk you hand in the Sea: you will either get a fish or a hand wash. But, Halafi Mengedi, these are our values (ክብርታት) and what I am looking for is our core value, our sacred cow (I will let Kbrom iSem Emma and Hailat tigrinasize that.). I have theories, downer theories, but I want to hear what the rest have to say about it.

        saay

        • Haile S.

          Hey Sal,
          ፍረ ዓካት ክብርታት ዶ’ ክንብሎ? ገለ ከተዛርበና ኢኻ 🙂 🙂 🙂
          ደሓን ሕምብርቲ-ክብርታት እብል ንሕጂ ካልኦት ዝበለጸ ክሳብ ዘምጽኡ።

        • Kbrom

          saay7 and all

          Finding the tigrigna word would not be difficult it could be ሕመረት ክብርታትና። what is difficult is to find and declare one value as core over the other values. Can you please elaborate more or give us an example of core value of a certain country so we can try to find one.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Sal, Kbrom, Hailat,

            I will agree with Kbrom:

            Core values = ሕመረት ክብርታት and hence: “our core values” will be ሕመረት ክብርታትና:: Thank you from my lips before I type them.

            Regards

          • saay7

            Selamat Kbrom, Emma and all:

            Are you guys sure you don’t want for iSem to give his last word? You know he is the ultimate contrarian with a streak of zeragitoism 🙂

            Examples of countries core values.

            France: Liberty, equality, fraternity.
            USA: liberty, liberty. Source: God (Sometimes : American exceptionalism)
            Israel: Jewish homeland. (See also: only democracy in the Middle East)
            Canada: we are like the US but without all its enemies.

            Core values are mostly aspirational: what the country envisions itself to be when it achieves perfection. The American Civil Rights movement success was due to its ability to convince the majority that its practice is far short of the country’s core values.

            So, what are Eritrea’s core values? To add more to the stew: YG wrote tomes on this and arrived at this: the core value of Eritrea is Eritreanism, which he called a circular argument.

            saay

          • Haile S.

            Hi Sal,
            Then for both Eritreans and Ethiopians, I would say like YG, the mother land, ሃገር፡ ዓዲ፡ እናት-ኣገር.

          • saay7

            Hailat and Kbrom:

            Hmmm. I think I should have quote some anthropological source so you guys can understand what I am saying. Here’s how core value is defined by Oregon State (“Go Beavers!”) school of anthropology:

            Core values: Attitudes and beliefs thought to uniquely pattern a culture .

            Further, before you give me any attitude, In anthropology, attitude is that which “describes how people think, believe and feel.” And beliefs are those which are assumed (accepted) to be true.

            saay

          • Selam Saay,
            Is it not problematic to ask such a question? We are inhabiting in a postmodern world I assume where such talk of national values reeks old fashioned meta-fictions. No?

            On a different question: as a libertarian- by which I understood to mean a position which elevates the individual as supreme arbiter of her own moral/politica/social positions as opposed to the dictation os such matters by a collectivity- what is your reaction to collective moral/ethical injunctions? To put it differently, where do you position yourself in the debate between those who posits the individual as “self-buffered” entirely responsible for the production of her subjectivity, and those who insists that the individual can’t be trusted with the making of her own self/morality/values?

            p.s. excuse me if i did not make sense or I asked impertinent questions.

            Samuel

          • saay7

            Samuel:

            You asked a perfectly valid question as it relates to a subset of a culture, or a subculture. I prefer to get the core value of the entire culture which is what Beyan’s article is about (sacred cow = core value)

            The core value of libertarians is liberty and if they had a slogan it would “ግደፈና በጃኻ” (ኸሊየና in asmarino parlance) but only in terms of their relationship with the government. Libertarians believe many of the functions performed by government (and its coercive powers) should be and can be better performed by civil society. (If you remember your Toqueville — Democracy in America—that is what most impressed him, America’s civil society not its government.)

            saay

          • Beyan

            Selamat Samuel, Teodros, and Prof. Sal Y.,

            Cultural heritage one of the core values that binds societies together. It is why a Pakistani Muslim and Eritrean Muslim have nothing in common other than their belief system. Similarly, be it Greek Orthodox or that of Russian ones do not have any commonality with their Eritrean and/or Ethiopian counterparts, because their culture, tradition, and heritages are far removed from one another. Of course, within these comes language, as TA alluded to it few minutes ago, psychological makeup of a society, all these furnish us to have similar sensibilities, out of which can grow core values.

            Ethics is no different. I am no expert nor can I claim more than surface level knowledge in this part of philosophy, but I believe together we can arrive at a core value. Therefore, here is a surface level dispensation of ethics from the Western perspective.

            St. Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274)

            This medieval theologian believed that “natural law” which he believed was part of ethics that common man received from God. He, however, still believed in “secular law” as compulsory for semblance of “order” to be ensured in the life of humankind. His belief in the natural law as bestowed by God was so strong that if secularism did not comport with it, it was the duty of the people to not follow the law of man. So, Aquinas highlights this notion by asserting “…law, properly speaking, regards first and foremost the order to the common good…the making of a law belongs either to the whole people or to a public personage who has care of the whole people; for in all other matters the directing of anything to the end concerns him to whom the end belongs.”

            Benedict Spinoza (1632 – 1677). “God or in other words, Nature” portends above all else on this earth. Spinoza pushed the envelope of ethics a little further to the freedom of the individual. He said, “I have striven not to laugh at human action, not to weep at them, not to hate them, but to understand them.” He was the one who unequivocally believed that “the true aim of government is liberty”, which aligned him to be the first thinker, philosopher, who advocated for “freedom of speech”

            Aquinas & Spinoza combined bring ethics, by extension, religion to the realms of politics, which essentially can be translated to the concept of liberation theology…it is in this sense where one can come close to making a case for the “sacred cow = core value” that Prof. Sal Y. alluded to in one of the threaded comments here. Albeit, in Eritrean and Ethiopian case, it can be arrived at through common cultural and religious heritages that binds the people together, notwithstanding the politics that get in the way of having open discussions about our commonality. Again, to have common heritage doesn’t preclude having separate national boundaries, as, again, Prof. Sal Y. had mentioned earlier when he made a point about Canada and the US.

            Jean-Jacque Rousseau (1712-1778). Here is a man who philosophizes that mankind’s inherent goodness allows him to be good without needing religion, because there were and there continue to be human beings who had shown compassion toward their fellow man where religion was never part of their forte. Rousseau, then, had to believe of “Man” as being “born free…[and that ]Man is naturally good. It is only institutions that make him bad.” But, this freedom is curved steeply when it came to individualism. He believed in “collective will over the individual will.”

            Kant on Ethics (1724 – 1804)

            “Kant suggests that when one faces a moral dilemma or questions the morality of an act, one may arrive at the answer by imagining oneself on the receiving end of the action. The immoral agent, therefore, should imagine himself being the victim of his own actions. Kant is suggesting that immorality may be due in part to a lack of imagination…The Western preoccupation with reason as a quintessential virtue has been widely criticized… Kant’s pleas that reason must be at the service of good will is a useful point of departure for an ethics of ethnography…We employ reason as critical ethnographers, but we do so with the good will in knowing that we must be circumspect and self-reflexive of the varying contexts that require and define different values and motivations…To act with reason in one context may be to act without reason in another. To identify one category of human beings as having a special capacity for reason over other categories of humans is considered reasonable by some and harmfully unreasonable by many others…As critical ethnographers, our commitment to social justice becomes an ethical duty of the first priority based on social change and the well being of Others. Most of us part with Kant because it is not the virtue of pure duty or duty for duty’s sake that guides our commitment, but rather the heartfelt desire to work for change…

            Anyone can synthesize the above and extract for us a core value that can be appropriated by Eritreans as national of one country.

            Good Night y’all!
            Beyan

          • Beyan

            Dear Sal Y.,

            Believe you me, I am not snoozing. Like you, I was also hoping others will step-in. In fact, I was so glad you included in your core-value-question our Ethiopian friends, because, there too, we have more heritage connection than each of us is willing to acknowledge, a perfect example of which is, well, wouldn’t you know it, we are on it right now: Easter. That’s just one aspect of the core value…similar heritage connection on the Islamic front, for both sides of the border. For now, that will suffice. Keep on it, bro. I am so glad to see you engaging us on this important subject. I shall comeback, hopefully, shortly.

            Cheers,
            Beyan

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam beyan
            Easter is a religion holiday which same kind of believers share it throughout the world.
            Core values r more of similarity of psychological behavior on issues.
            That is what i think.

          • Beyan

            Selam Teodros Alem,

            Excellent thought, TA. Methinks of this differently. What would you say were all of those Ethiopians and Eritreans who are adherents of Islam today. The religion (Islam) came to them, they didn’t go to it. Tewahdo is the heritage of all the people who may not be adherents of it today. Semere T. Habtemariam’s (2017) “Reflections on the history of the abyssinian orthodox tewahdo church” opened my eyes to this notion. I had the honor of reading the manuscript before it was published, it enriched my outlook, not only of the tewahdo church, but also of who I am as an Eritrean within the rich tapestry of its evolution between Ethiopia & Eritrea. When Prof. Sal Y. asked the question of core value that included Ethiopians, that was what came to mind first.

            A lot of times, Muslim Eritreans, some of whom don’t even go three generations, the names switch, for many others one doesn’t even go further than six generation the same goes in their ancestors. On the other hand, Eritrean Christians are quick to distance themselves where Islam kicks in their heritage. So, it is in this sense where I believe the core value traverses our respective borders. We shouldn’t hesitate to embrace these two religions as part of our heritage, because it is – As such, it is one core value we should all embrace. Invariably, some will take this as though I am diluting my Eritrean identity in finding a heritage that binds me with Ethiopia, it is not.

            Cheers,
            Beyan

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam beyan
            According to ur argument we have the same core value with Russian orthodox too ?
            If religion ,culturral dress or language r core values, how come u see all this wars and hate because of our differences on core values?
            For me like i said core values r not the sameness of religion, language or how to drink coffee but similarity of the way we see things. In short it doesn’t matter from which religion u r but the similarity of psychological views on things ( be it language,religion)is core values.

          • Kbrom

            SAAY7

            For now Eritrea: The betrayed land of sacrifices
            Tomorrow Eritrea: After God we trust in our martyrs

          • halafi mengedi

            Kbrom,

            there is a Tigrigna/Arabic version for the ‘now Eritrea’: rekisna bara.

            hm

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay,

            The core values of our struggle was limited to “patriotism” and “nationalism”. We did not transform those values to a new common core values that could be enshrined in to our political social contracts – a social contract that binds our diversity, for which the whole citizen could defend them. If someone want to give some ideas, it could be the values they want to see it in the forward of our political discourse. I don’t know as to why you brought this question when we are yet divided in multiple discourses. We don’t have agreed core values we could be recognized for, like that of France or US.

            Regard

        • Kbrom

          Hi all

          If that is the case then the second step is core value to who. I am assuming core value to the just seekers. For us፥ the justice seekers, I would suggest the core value to be:

          To realise the inherent human dignity and liberty of Eritrean people.
          ምርግጋጽ ሰብኣዊ ክብረትን ሓርነትን ኤርትራዊ ዜጋ

          Where as the PFDJ’s core value is continuing to be

          to hold Eritrean people in servitude;subjected to cruel degrading treatment in order to stay in power.
          ዕምሪ ስልጣንካ ንምንዋሕ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ብጨካን ኣተሓሕዛ ናብ ጊልያ ምቕያር።

          • saay7

            Kbrom:

            By core values I mean one that transcends organizations. It is the character of the people, if you will. Or at least how they want to see themselves. Two contributed by ur org (EPLF) are:

            1. Against all odds (tenacity, stick-to-itness)
            2. ለቤላ ሊበል ( ignoring naysayers: camel dog etc)

            So that’s what I am looking for but one that transcends organizations, epochs and cultures.

            saay

          • Kbrom

            Dear Professor saay7

            ur org EPLF? uh didn’t I tell you I spent more time with ELF than supporting EPLF.

            Ok, on serious note ain’t we talking about the abstract drivers of our collective behaviours? Against all odds sounds slogan or motto rather than value ( BTW it is Dan Connel’s invention stolen by EPLF) where as ለቤላ ሊበል sounds song lyrics than an impacting factor in shaping the values.

          • Amde

            Hi saay,

            This one is easy at least in much of highland Ethiopia.

            Fate.
            Destiny.
            የአርባ ቀን እድል።
            ለኔ ያላት እንጀራ ትደፋለች እንጂ ማንም አይበላትም።

            It is huge.
            On balance, it makes for a conservative society, but perhaps an enduring culture.
            But a great tool for tyrants.

            Funny enough, I feel the amharic ways of articulating it (especially the ለኔ ያላትን እንጀራ…), are quite liberating. You have a deatiny. It is not clear to you. Life is a matter of uncovering your destiny.

            Amde

          • saay7

            Amde:

            Well. Well well well. Now we are making progress.

            As we wait for the rest of the class to join, here is something that will show you that belief, that fatalism is not unique to the Ethiopian highlands:

            Let not the fear of people stop anyone of you from saying what is true, or doing something important, because what you say or do will not keep you from your rizq [riches, wealth, Gods bounty] or keep you from your ajl [ life span]

            This is one of the more frequently quoted verses from the Quran. So, I would definitely qualify is as a core value, at least for those who take their faith seriously. But it’s not uniquely Eritrean or Ethiopian for reasons given by Ted already.

            Saay

        • halafi mengedi

          Saay,

          Aha, got you now.
          __

          Given our society has effectively been made ‘closed’, we never really got the opportunity to agree upon and articulate a national core-value shared by people across the board. One can see segments of our society write up/contemplate/shout-out some attributes of our society that they describe as core-values, and these people try to project those ‘core-value’ onto all of Eritrea or image it applies to all segment of Eritrea, but I am not sure if they have tested if those values are shared by others in open, not-driven-by-fear kind of manner. And in the diaspora, although more open than inside Eritrea, those discussion really only reach a limited audience.
          __

          I guess, i would say we may have some (i can think of a few), but we wouldn’t dare declare them national until the time we can openly discuss/enrich/articulate them.

          __
          A side question,
          Would you say, in such society as the current Eritrea, the distance between basic necessity (such as ‘serihka mietaw’) and core-values may be very narrow? or basic necessity may replace core-values?

          hm

          • saay7

            Halaf Mengedi:

            Hmmm, can basic necessities replace core values? Let’s consider:

            1. Would basic necessities make us carnivores?
            2. Would basic necessities make us consume food not sanctioned by our understanding of our religion?
            3. Related to 2 above, I once heard/read, during the Welo famine of the 1970s, some starving Ethiopians refused to eat rice which was then (in that part of Ethiopia) considered Muslim diet
            4. Amde, if #3 above is just urban legend, go ahead ruin it. Sigh.

            saay

          • Amde

            Selam saay,

            I have never heard of refusing to eat rice because it is Muslim diet. First of all, you are speaking Wollo, where the gap being Muslim and Tewahdo is.. shall we say.. more illusory than real.

            There are hard core Christian areas of Wollo, where if some ቄስ promises excommunication, they wont do it. But the stipulation is more on slaughtered animals… not grains.

            What I have heard is that in the 80s famine, people got a lot of rice. Since it really is a strange grain for the area, they were roasting it, ቆሎ style.. as they couldn’t figure out how else to prep it. As far as I can tell, rice needs flat terrain and a lot of water. That ain’t abesha topography in general.

            Sorry… sigh away…

          • Selam Amde,

            That is the notion i too have about rice. The problem was that ethiopians did not know how to prepare it. Almost everything about food in ethiopia even today concerns waT and injera. The last served as food, spoon and fork before these were introduced to ethiopia. Rice was not the right item for injera and the ethiopian way of eating

            Unlike west africa where they boil it, add different ingredients and then eat it by making a small ball out of the rice in their palms and then throw it into the mouth, ethiopians did not know what to make of rice. There was a tomato shortage in nigeria a year or so ago, because they consume a lot of tomatoes with their rice. Rice had been in west africa for centuries, if i am right.

          • halafi mengedi

            Saay,

            I guess the answer is that basic necessities are the litmus test of core values; those who loosely adhere, abandon easily, while the moderates stick it out for a while, and the die hard followers endure forever….

            To rephrase my question though (if it makes sense): in the current Eritrea, for example, could values (kibritat) like ‘serihka mieto’ function as core value in lieu of ‘attitudes and beliefs thought to uniquely pattern a culture’ such as liberty, pursuit of happiness etc?

            Thanks for your time!

            hm

          • saay7

            HM:

            I understand what you are saying: which core value triumphs over basic necessities. Let’s test this out (for my generation):

            You are a typically malnourished always hungry child. You go somewhere and you are offered food. Your basic necessity says hell yeah I will have me some of that delicious-looking food. Your upbringing taught you to be proud and you say “ብሩኽ! ሕጂ ኢና ኣብኡ ኔርና! ብኡነት!” (Just ate! Verily!) You tell a lie and swear that you have just eaten when you hadn’t and you are very hungry because the Pride and Honor Code says you are no charity case. There are degrees in the lying (you will swear “verily” but not “May so and so die if I am telling a lie!”) and you will relax this rule if you are visiting close family.

            Your mission if you choose to accept it: find the core value in that scenario.

            saay

          • halafi mengedi

            Saay,

            Thanks again!

            So, to get back to your original question, here is another proposal. I will stay with the same theme as before (i.e., working/enterprising/laboring), but rephrase it based on my improved understanding of core-values.

            ***Rihixka/ki bila’e*** or a better of articulation of same.

            i choose this, because i fell like i could go to any part of Eritrea and appeal to these core-value and be able to labor and enjoy the fruits of my labor, and people will be totally fine. (this is, of course, excluding hisidna by pfdj).

            hm

          • saay7

            Selamat HM:

            The reason I was asking a question is not to quiz people like a professor but because I really don’t know.

            I used to think it was hard work, but I think how when hard work became compulsory people rebelled and some in exile plot ever creative ways to live of the teat of the State;

            I used to think it was justice, but I see extreme version of injustice lording over the people without massive resistance;

            I used to think it was tolerance, but I see intolerance perfected to the point now where people only want to be with people who agree with them about everything;

            I used to think it was love of freedom, but I see very unfree people celebrating their unfreedom and fighting for it;

            I was searching for the word freedom in the 100 page plus document the Gov of Eritrea gave the Africa Charter. And it appears only in the context of freedom fighter. I was searching for the word “life” and it only exists in the form of quality of life and not the dignity of a human being. I was searching for “integrity” as in “integrity of human being” and the only time “integrity” is used is when it is coupled with “territorial.”

            Thus, my search.

            saay

          • sara

            Dear sal,
            Ok..ok..we ran,hide.be quite..for a time…and a lot more..but we dont kneel dawn except to god…that is a heck of a core value eritreans are proud of.

          • Abraham H.

            Dear sara, when it comes to foreign invasion, yes, we have proven to not to surrender easily, but when it comes to our own home grown brutality, we have indeed knelt down big time (to borrow someone’s phrase). Forget everything else, we cannot even protect our own lives from a gangster regime that could kill and disappear us with impunity. In my opinion, nothing is worse than this reality.
            Yes, we have surrendered to wedi medhin berad and his bunch of thugs; there are even those of us who worship him like god.

          • Saleh Johar

            Abraham,
            Just to state I agree with you.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Saay,

            This is a solid argument that no one can go around it. Short, precise, without ገዓገልጠም to the point. 👍

            Core values that serve for certain circumstances such as patriotism and nationalism are not unique in themselves to distinguish us from any other society. We are not judicious, we are not free, we are not tolerant, we are not self-liberated, we are not united, and we are not sympathizers to our troubled brothers and sisters. A society short of all these basic values can not posses “a core values” that we could recognized with.

            Regards

          • Beyan

            Thanks Aman for your response to Sal Y. I almost missed it. It reads like a free verse poem. Sal, you should develop this piece to a poetic form where you can move from the social to the political; from the individual to the collective; from art to craft; from gender roles to patriarchal roles; from cosmopolitan city to the suburban; from countryside to inner city; from lowland to highland…on and on. Your insights are captivating. Just a thought, bro. I am saving this and Aman’s response to it. There is something there that deserves to be visited for some other mood where the muse will be on your side. This is for keeps.

            Beyan

          • saay7

            Beyan:

            I have used this metaphor before:

            A cop pulls you over because you were speeding, driving recklessly, and you hit a pedestrian. Imagine you tell the police officer that this cannot be true because (here you pause and reach in your wallet) because I have a valid drivers license!

            I was reading the Gov of Eritrea’s first report to the African Charter and its proof that it is not violating Eritreans civil Liberties is some document: a proclamation, a rule, a law. Like the person who pulls out his drivers license.

            So that free flowing verse you mentioned is the result of me shaking my head after reading 100 pages of somebody saying “look! I have a valid license!” I will have more to say about this in this or another channel.

            saay

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay,

            This is a good metaphor. I hope HM have taken a note from it. Initially, I thought he is a reasonable citizen. But his response to you sounds as if he is indirectly supporting the current reality of Eritrea.

          • halafi mengedi

            Aman,
            How am I ‘indirectly supporting the current reality of Eritrea’?
            hm

          • Beyan

            Sal, Kbrom was right in handing you the title of a professor, you have a way of crystallizing ideas to their essences where they become crystal clear once you grace them with your words.

            The Elusive Nature of Eritrean Core Values
            By Prof. Sal Y.*

            Halaf mengedi** appears to have understood you well when he felt you had thought about the topic thoroughly before the “sacred cows” piece. The way you were able to get it to its bare minimum, sized it down to a bumper sticker was incredibly exciting, at least, when viewed from this writer’s perspective. When readers are able to get the intended objective to its core essence is when the writer feels understood.

            At any rate, back to halaf mengedi, the parallel he drew about African American experience of the 1960s (can be stretched back to the entire first half of the 20th century) in this country vis-à-vis liberty is an apt one; that liberty didn’t apply to them at all, where they were part of that Southerners’ lynching culture, which the whites used as part of their picnic activities. That pain of African Americans nothing else can capture but Billie Holiday’s “Southern Trees” song, part of which I am sharing below. Of course, Ralph Ellison’s (1954) “Invisible Man” is another devastating literature that captured America at its worst through his hard punching novel, using a narrator with no name.

            Southern trees bear a strange fruit
            Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
            Black body swinging in the Southern breeze
            Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
            Pastoral scene of the gallant South
            The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
            Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
            And the sudden smell of burning flesh!
            Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
            For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
            For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
            Here is a strange and bitter crop.

            * I gave your piece a title and I saved it in the-to-be-printed list. Something about it is capturing my imagination. But, I am glad you are planning to write more in response to the 110 page that you referenced having read.
            **halaf mengedi (Our “Transient”, hope you stay longer)

          • saay7

            Beyan:

            The thing of it, in one of my exhanges with Emma, I have argued that the PFD has a perfectly coherent value system—-if one is to judge it from its National Charter. (Coherent, not fair not equitable but one where each value feels like part of a whole.) Here I am not just saying that the PFDJ was only paying lip service to it (duh, we all know that) but asking what is the core value of Eritreans (not Ghedli, not post Ghedli, but the enduring, timeless core values of the Eritrean people.

            The metaphor is imperfect so I hope you work on it:) A drivers license is given to us by an authority after we meet some defined requirements; a statue, a law is self-written. The analogy would be with the treaties and conventions the State claims it is a signatory to and uses its ratification as proof that it is not defying it.

            Small correction on the Billie Holiday classic: it’s acfually called “strange fruit” which is what makes it shocking when you first learn what she is singing about: a tree whose fruit is a dead African American.

            Saay

          • Beyan

            Hala Saay,

            I stand corrected on all counts. I just put my comments in Semere Andom’s article, which seems to fit in what you say here. You are right, however asinine, it has core values, Higdef does have it. It may “not [be] fair not equitable”, it seems to be working to at least prolong its shelf life just enough. It is crazy to be sure, but it is why it’s always miles ahead of us, the opposition that is. We have yet to find our voice, our narrative of the core values that we can use to advance our cause. Core values that can motivate us all to work as cohesive unit.

            Beyan

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Beyan & Saay,

            If we are going to PFDJ core values, we are narrowing our debate from “national core values” to a “ group core values”. If that is the case, there are many organizational core values that each political org could be recognized. It is not worth to debate on “group values”. We have debated on PFDJ core values for years and we are fighting against those values that brought us to the current predicament. I think now, there is no any person who could dare and boldly say and state them any “common national values” that we could be recognized with. If we start to divert it from “common core values” to “group values”, I suggest to close it by making a closing statements to our arguments if there are two side of it.

            Regards

          • Beyan

            Kbur Aman H, Sal Y., and all,

            You make a lot of sense. How bankrupted the regime’s core values are is to be found everywhere. Semere Andom’s article is one clear example that illustrates Higdef’s bankrupted nature of its core value. There is a guy on a You Tube who goes by ክስሕቕ ዝደሊ ይስማዕ, its barrage of sound effects notwithstanding, what he shows his viewers are all of the contradictory nature of Higdef and its henchmen and some of its supporters.

            Now, Aman, If I am not mistaken, what you are suggesting is that it is not that difficult to show the enemy’s corrupted core values. But, do we have an antitheses that defines the opposition’s core values, something we can carry, not only as a badge of honor, but core values that we can pin down and say these are what we Eritrean opposition groups collectively stand for. It is not enough to say we want those unjustly imprisoned to be released unconditionally, for example, but translate that to a core value, appropriate it, define it, embody it. Developing enough of such core values and use those as a rallying cry to keep on fighting strategically, tactically, proactively, and preemptively attacking the regime at every opportune moment. This way, the regime will be on the defense rather than us, mostly, playing defense. Let us go on the offense, but we must first identify the core values that binds us together. Now, the heavy hitters of this forum can come up with the list is what I am hearing kbur Amanuel saying. Correct me if I am misperceiving what you are saying.

            Beyan

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Beyan,

            We have proved already the “core values” of PFDJ are the antithesis of the “basic values” of our people at different occasions of our debate in the past. We had this debate back and forth with Saay when he told me that the PFDJ will fight for their own values. The fight now should be to restore the basic values of our society and build some “common core values” as a nation that reflect to our diversity. Since organizations are constituted to have their own “core values” that hold group interests, the public has to work for the national core values that binds us together. This was my message in a nutshell.

            Regard

          • Beyan

            Thank you, Aman!!!

            Now, I am following you. The nature of this medium makes it difficult to not repeat certain things. I remember writing an article thinking it was original. Few days later, as coincidence would have it, SGJ re-posted an article he wrote several years back. I simply said, Saleh, had I read your article, I wouldn’t have written what I wrote, because he captured everything I wrote in that piece and did more in his.

            What you are raising is akin to that because I wasn’t part of that conversation on the values of PFDJ and the like, but I am glad you were and you are now taking it a step further to say that, “the public has to work for the national core values that binds us together. Usually, the value of organizations do not reflect to the value of our people at large. This was my message in a nutshell.”

            I concur.

            Sincerely,
            Beyan

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Beyan,

            Everything we debate in this form are always a recycled arguments. So don’t worry about it. I am glad we are in the same page.👍

          • Beyan

            Thank you, Aman!!!

            Now, I am following you. The nature of this medium makes it difficult to not repeat certain things. I remember writing an article thinking it was original. Few days later, as coincidence would have it, SGJ re-posted an article he wrote several years back. I simply said, Saleh, had I read your article, I wouldn’t have written what I wrote, because he captured everything I wrote in that piece and did more in his.

            What you are raising is akin to that because I wasn’t part of that conversation on the values of PFDJ and the like, but I am glad you were and you are now taking it a step further to say that, “the public has to work for the national core values that binds us together. Usually, the value of organizations do not reflect to the value of our people at large. This was my message in a nutshell.”

            I concur.

            Sincerely,
            Beyan

          • halafi mengedi

            Saay,

            I am on this discussion not because you have the answers, it just seems to me like you have thought about it quite a bit and of course, i always respected your take on Eritrean and other issues, and I am learning a ton.

            ….

            Would you say your current disillusionment regarding core-values, or lack of thereof, in the contemporary Eritrean society, is similar to what a typical black person in the US would have felt before 1960s? I would imagine liberty was not something they could relate although it was well accepted core-value in the US back then?

            At the same time, in one of your posts, you alluded that one of the strategy of the civil rights movement was to appeal to liberty as US core-value. I am guessing, probably they saw the seed of that core-value (not necessarily in practice) in the US society of that time.

            I guess, until the obfuscation of our mind and soul and society by the current regime is lifted, we will have to try to find that seed in our societies (no matter how buried it is).

            Zidefreka deluku koinu yisimeani alo koinu ember + also I feel like I may be out of my element trying to discuss this issue with you, but I have to say I was a little surprised what you thought our core-values were.

            – Hard work: instituting hard work as core-value seems a little tricky in our or other societies (with a few exceptions), because it means different to different type of people even within a society. For example, almost no society in the whole world thinks bankers could be hard workers.

            – Justice and freedom (especially individual freedom): crucial, of course, but really not the forte of our society to begin with and we never got the chance to cultivate them.

            – Tolerance/harmonious co-existence, definitely I thought of it as our core value, but I don’t think it is as degraded as you and selamawi are implying…may be I haven’t seen what you saw.

            I sense you or others in the forum may be a little jaded by the topic by now, but I still think there are a few values/core-values that our society holds despite the continued besiegement…

            hm

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam HM,

            If justice and freedom are not cultivated (as you have admitted it), then we don’t have them. If tolerance and harmonious coexistence are degraded (as you have admitted though not to the extent of saay and selemawit) we don’t have them. Uncultivated values and degraded values can not be called core values.

            Regard

          • halafi mengedi

            Aman,
            I admit, my writing is not crisp and I have problem with brevity, so those may have contributed to the confusion, but we are in agreement here.
            What i said in my reply was that I was surprised saay thought of justice and freedom as our core value, because i didn’t think we had them (especially individual freedom, at least not the extent we could call them core-values) to begin with and never got the opportunity to cultivate them.
            Re tolerance, i mean, in my experience i don’t think it is as badly damaged as people think, but I may be wrong. But, remember, Aman, no society has all its core-values 100% intact.
            hm

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Saay7
            1st,rice was not known even in addis until 1978 e.c Let alone wello
            2nd, wello is known for religion tolerance and even there is a lot of people believe in both religion .weird but true
            3rd, there is a place called lasta hard core orthodox but there was know way they know about rice before the addis people know about it.
            4th, do u know when i grow up most of the food shops and most of ” wofecho bet” belongs to muslims.
            5th, meets yes there was muslim bet and Christian bet meet but now people don’t care.

          • Desbele

            Hi Teddy,
            I think saay is correct .
            Rice was the main distributed food during the 1977 e.c. famine in Ethiopia by relief orgs. Wollo and Northern Ethio were the most stricken and they were recipients of it. I heard this story from some one who worked in the region during that time.
            In Addis, I remember Efrem Tamru’s song lyrics changed
            ልመደው ልመደው ሆዴ
            ልመደው ልመደው ሆዴ
            ሩዙን ብላው በዘዴ
            ቀበሌ ተወዷል ስንዴ
            This was 1977.
            The same guy told me that people in Lasta used to shake hands with the Muslims their hands covered with their ነጠላ.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam desbele
            The agriculture failed at the end of 1977ec and relief org to the famine came 1978.
            The guy that preach about the shake hands thing must be tplf , in order to make animosity to the people of lasta.
            Seeing u guys the last 27 years it is now clear tplf is behind every hate in ethiopia and beyond.

          • Patriot

            Selam Desbele. Sorry but only small amounts of rice were distributed during the Great Ethiopian Famine as wheat was the main cereal used. You are correct in that Welo and northern Ethiopia (Tigray) were hardest hit. Early on ICRC was responsible for the Adigrat to Wello corridor and World Vision was responsible for the Adwa to Shire corridor. At the time, Girma Woldegiorgid (later to become Ethiopian President) was the Transport Coordinator for the Derg for northern Ethiopia and Dawit W0ldegiorgis was Head of Ethiopia’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission.

      • Tedla

        Selam Halafi,

        I think what you wrote here is more like a necessity than what can be thought of as core value. The opportunity to find employment, support oneself and family, and get a certain level of self-worth out of it is almost a natural expectation in any society. And when people are denied such opportunities, they feel despondent and apathetic. Maybe that is the intention of authoritarian states all along – to limit opportunities to its subjects and turn them into subservient beings. Make scarcity into an art form, and you’ll rule till the end of time. Now that I think about it, limiting opportunities to people could be one of the core values of a dictatorship.

        On the other hand, a society’s reaction to such circumstances could be what can be legitimate called a core value. If Ethiopians and Eritreans, both within and outside of their countries (especially within), fail to rise up for their dignity and social justice, nothing will ever change, and their situations will remain same – apathy after apathy. Coming generations will still be talking about, “If they could only get me a job and leave me in peace”. No, they would not let us work and leave us in peace. They know that internal peace and a modicum of economic growth could spell an end to their rule.

        Our societies may ascribe to the dignity of human life, abhor injustice when the powers that be indulge in it, but they hardly do anything about it. That may be because we have internalized እሱ ያመጣውን እሱ እስኪመልሰው kind of thinking. So, I think there is a core value of fatalism in our societies – at least in the Ethiopian case anyway. Go figure: looking for a wishful supernatural intervention for one’s own failings. You could argue, fatalism is more like an anti-value than a value, but that is where we are. In any case, one proven solution for such state of mind is to organize: Problems which seem insurmountable for an individual will very likely yield to collective efforts. Organize, organize, organize.

        Lately, the Ethiopian youth have grown assertive driven by the sheer hopelessness of their situations, and hopefully that would continue towards creating a more equitable society in the country. I very much wish their Eritrean counterparts would also start something similar so they would feed on each other. It’s high time for the Horn Spring!

        • halafi mengedi

          Thank you Tedla!

          hm

  • Haile S.

    Hey Beyan,
    Superb piece! Thank you. In this piece you have touched into several aspects of the ailments afflicting our society in particular of our the society out of the regime’s physical control. The mental control is still there on many of our compatriots. Even those who feel are completely out of it are somehow under. Leaving the terrains to the regime is not enough to get detached and free. The only one who thinks we are out of control and feels secured is the regime, thus the genius and pertinence of your call and the importance to respect and get connected to the symbols of our country showing the regime we are not far. Lets go to our trunk, the solid support of us all and our nation’s symbols. Lets not drop from our branches and leave like dried automn leaves. Lets not leave the trunk to the one hunging around it. It is the superb message you are sending. I hope all of us will be on rendez-vous.

  • Paulos

    Selam Dr. Beyan,

    Many thanks for the great article. It certainly is thought provoking to say the least. Perhaps one can equally make the argument that, isn’t everything around us sacred, for the same reason that, if for instance, forests were to be worshipped, we wouldn’t have had climate change and global warming as in when deforestation is taken for the direct cause of it.

    But one can also make a flip side argument that, if we had taken forests or trees as sacred beings, we wouldn’t have been able to fight germs in our foods; we wouldn’t have been able to make shelters; we wouldn’t have been able to make baws and arrows to hunt and protect ourselves from menacing predators; we wouldn’t have been able to make books as in papers……

    The rather striking difference between the sacred nature of the Cow and its pragmatic role in life rests on philosophical underpinnings that has shaped up civilizations where the Aristotelian “Great Chain of Beings” defined what it is to known as Western Civilization and Holism defined Hinduism. Man in “The Great Chain of Beings” is in the middle between God and the rest below as in the other creatures including animals. In Hinduism, however, the Cow is one and the same with Man and the Manure it produces that ultimately fertilizes the soil. There is no distinction so to speak. If there is any distinction, it is an illusion.

    What seems to rule and reign between the two extremes is Moderation, however. That is precisely the reason every thing around us falls with in the Bell-Curve. For instance, Venus is too hot to be habitable because it is closer to the Sun. The other planets are too cold for they are far away from the Sun. Earth, however, is neither hell nor heaven but average and almost in everything in it as well. Most people, for instance, have average looks, height and intelligence as well. With in the political spectrum, those who appeal to human instinct are those with moderate platforms…..

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Dr. Paulos,

      Thanks for reinforcing Dr. Beyan’s expanded discussion. I could see the substance has been made simpler and accessible for an average reader.

      As ordinary individual I understand by instinct and practice that the natural and organic worlds are constituted by center to two directional schemes that sustain prolongation of existence. I mean the median is the center that balances organic and non-organic existence. There are extremes of heat and cold that can end life; continued over-eating and continue starvation can kill; static existing of a living organism and extreme exertion can cause threatening problem etc.

      I do not know if this had ever occurred to your thoughts, but I cannot resist the temptation to ask you this question: can one ponder on the fact that the most important invention in the life of humans is the concept of how to maintain the median? I am thinking about cognitive conceptualization of moderation.

      • Paulos

        Selam Kbur Haw Ismail AA,

        That is a fantastic question. It is also a difficult question but will try to get around it and I ask for your firgiveness in advance if you find it a bunch of BS.

        The two extreme scales of measurements where the smallest scale known is 10 to the power of minus 24 [Planck’s scale–the length of spacetime at the beginning of the Big bang] and the largest is 10 to the power of plus 35 which is the scale of the Unuverse. We as species live in a sclale of 10 to the power of minus 5 which is roughly halfway in the middle. The interesting of the two extremes is that, things in them are less complicated and regular but in the scale where we find ourselves in, things are extremely complicated and messy as well. But with in the complex and messy reality, we tend to gravitate towards the thing we call optimum and median in statistics-speak if you will. The question is of course why?

        Perhaps, it has a lot to do with the fact that, we came into existence 4.5 billion years after Earth was created when not only Earth was stabilized but when the chemical interactions in it came into equilibrium as in when the ratio of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon di oxide became fixed for instance. More over, natural selection favours moderation where extremes are selected against.

        The median sense of reality however is not only limited to natural phenomena but in the evolution of political dynamics as well. With in the world of “isms”, those who subscribed for extreme views as in Fascism, Totalitarianism among others are selected against by the power of providence when history seems to move in favor of the interests of the majority in the middle.

        • Beyan

          Kbur Dottore,

          I like your optimism as you use evolutionary perspective to explain away that “fascism, Totalitarianism… [being] selected against by the power of providence when history seems to move in favor of the interests of the majority in the middle”.

          But, if I may speak on behalf of Ismail AA and myself, we are saying, must we wait until after the damage is done. Must we wait until history records our genocides of Rwandan proportions; must we wait until the strong men like Milošević of Serbia are hauled away by the International courts after they do the damage? Can there not be a way of preempting these grave potentialities before they occur. I go back to an expert of global diplomacy, Madame Albright, who speaks from personal experience as well as from her professional experience, who is saying that Fascism is creeping in on us through the likes of the far-right being elected into the office by way of democratic means in Germany, in Czechoslovakia, in Turkey, now in China where the leader is but guaranteed to be at the helm of power for life. It used by iron clad means like in Eritrea, but now they are coming at you through ballot box like in Turkey.

          • Paulos

            Selam Dr. Beyan,

            Heading out now. Will catch up later. Again great input.

            Happy Easter All.

          • Ismail AA

            Dear Dr. Paulos and Beyan,

            First, allow me to extend profound gratitude for Dr. Paulos’ graceful engagement to share his extensive reading on philosophy, theoretical reformers and practitioners. I understood the dimension and complexity of the question I raised. But he came out with brilliant and brief answer from which many of us will surely benefit.

            Furthermore, I think many of us, who watch the current condition of our national state in depth, do agree that we are not immune to the infective diseases of social and cultural isolationist outbursts wrapped in vulnerable religious extremism that go rampant in the social media. These have to be appraised in the background of the unwholesomely divisive political and governance culture the regime has established.

            Dr. Beyan has a point that nonchalance and indifference toward such negative propaganda diseases is prelude to state of paralysis once they are allow to penetrate ranks of our social and cultural enclaves, incubate and mature to stages of fascistic attitudes. Facing them and exposing their infective traits on time is crucial part of the challenge. I read “the sacred cows”, Khaled Abdu’s thoughts, M. Albright’s book (I read her comments in 6 April 2018 New York Times edition) in the framework of the truism that prevention is cheaper and useful than treatment and rehabilitation. On the vulnerability of our social and cultural set and the need for the search of state level accommodation of the at the moment deceptively latent grievances, I know no voice lauder than Amanuel Hidrat.

            While I agree with my dear brother, Dr. Paulos, that history teaches that in essence evolutionary transformations social and cultural formations and politics that govern them provide durability, disruptive diseases that create favorable soil for extremism, authoritarianism and fascism do not allow time. We have seen how the less than two decades after Versailles had produced the Nazism and Fascism in Germany and Italy that created the disaster of WWII that the world has sworn to avoid its repeat. In our case, too, the state extremism and terrorization of the regime and those spread by fringe groups on both sides of the cultural and socio-religious divide have be confronted head on before they contaminate the nation and cause irreparable breaches.

          • Paulos

            Selam Kbur Haw Ismail AA,

            Berhino and Semerile might have watched last week when Steven Pinker was invited to TVO [A Canadian version of PBS] as he was promoting and discussing his new book, “Enlightenment Now.” Pinker argues that, due to the powerful mechanisms of Enlightenment as in Science and Reason among others, human conditions as in health, stability and peace have significantly improved over the last decades. In short, he says, we are lucky to live at this point in time. More over, the reason to celebrate the fruits of science, reason and humanism is not only confined to the Western World but across the board as well.

            Well, are we heading then to the world of Nirvana? Or to the Hegelian “Absolute Idealism” if you will? If Western Europe gave us Reason, Science and Humanism, it is equally threatening to spread Fascism and Nazism when Nietzschian “Eternal Recurrence” seems to be at play.

            Here is the paradox: Another great Canadian academic—Margaret MacMillan in the early 2000s wrote a fantastic book titled, “Paris 1919” where she argues that, when the leaders of the victors as in US, UK and France gathered in Paris to define the fate of the smaller states which had been part of the vanquished Empires as in Austro-Hungary and the Ottomans, Widrow Wilson’s “Self-Determination” was not well received and if it did, it lent a hand to the antagonism between the new nations and ultimately to the rise of Fascism and Nazism. But the duo “isms” were defeated when the very elements of Enlightenment as in Reason and Humanism prevailed in the end.

          • Ismail AA

            Dear Dr. Paulos and Dr. Beyan,

            History seems to teach us that the great achievements human intelligence had attained with the goal of improving the well being of humans get in the process challenged by antithetical postulations by intelligence of other humans. Ideas that produced principles of liberalism have counterparts as ideas that breed fascism; sciences that produces ideas that fight diseases are also countered by ideas that produce mass destruction weapons that could end life on earth.

            I ask my self endlessly whether human intelligence would be able to come up with ideas to harness human egos and man’s propensity towards greed which is at the center of domination for the sake of satiating egos on individual, group and national state levels. As long as the material resources that mother earth contains get scarce the dichotomy between benign inventions of human intelligence and malignant ideas that threaten and eventually destroy human life will remain part of existence.

          • Paulos

            Selam Kbur Haw Ismail AA,

            If our existence as species has always been dependent on pure luck, we are extremely lucky for the odds are high up that reinforce the chaos around us.

            66 million years ago, when a meteorite destroyed the large animals including 3 out of 4 faunas and floras, we survived. When our closest species Neanderthals went into extinction, we survived. During the Ice Age that had lasted for thousands of years, we survived. And the specter of diseases as in Cholera, Typhoid, Bubonic and Black death pandemics among others, we survived. And as recently as 70 years ago, we survived a potential nuclear holocaust as well.

            What is so fascinating is that, those who survived and were able to pass on their genes to the next generation [Survival of The Fittest] their immune system got honed better so that they can resist and withstand should the same pandemic arises. As it happened, our entire genome is wired for one purpose and one purpose only—Self-Preservation. What is more remarkable is that, at the quantum level, reality doesn’t actually exist, there is a possibility and probability to exist instead. And as species, we beat the odds of non-existence with in the cruel game of probability. That is essentially what we call life or the constant struggle in life if you will.

            The struggle to exist and to be able to pass on your gene comes at a price, however. If everything around us is in obedience with the Law of Entropy [A tendency toward disorder—as disorder constantly increases], we as species, try to make an order out of a cesspool of disorders. The Sun for instance, produces light waves as a product of nuclear fusion between two hydrogen atoms and the light wave is essentially a disorder-product. And plants make food [Glucose] through the process of Photosynthesis using the light wave coming from the Sun—a disorder-product. We ultimately consume plants to harness energy–we garner energy out of disorder that is. In fact, Erwin Schrodinger called it, “Negative Entropy” in his celebrated book, “What is life.”

            If our genetics is wired for self-preservation, if we have to avoid death or collective extinction by any means possible, the need to cooperate toward one another becomes imperative and we create a society rooted in structure and and order to that end. Order only comes however, when opposing ideas clash in a bid to find the best possible scenario whereby progress is attained. Progress in the mean time, can be sustained if it equally benefits every member of the society. Thus far, only Liberal Democracy and Capitalist system seem to be in tune with the power of Self-Preservation and it is to be seen if it is “The End of History.”

            P.S. A year or so ago Elon Musk made an astonishing comment if the race for AI will herald WWIII. I leave that for Awstistas to ponder on.

          • Ismail AA

            Selam Dr. Paulos,

            Recognition and deserved admiration of the wealth of knowledge you are blessed with as well as the power to share it with those who need it is stating the obvious. Pondering on the competence and expertise some postings manifest in this forum makes one cry with deep regret how much our wounded nation continues to lose. These highly learned compatriots should have been in our colleges and faculties to educate and train our youth.

            On the question I had posed earlier regarding human intelligence and its power to dichotomously sustain or annihilate life, you have come up with allround answers that do more than satiate my layman’s drive to wonder about the natural organic and inorganic worlds and the place and role of man in them. Probably unfairly in comparison to other species, man is endowed with superior faculty to think. This enables him to excel (relative to other species) in harnessing the vagaries and extremities of natural phenomena to his benefit in the way you have explained. What I trying to say, thusly, is this: humans had indeed both luck as well as creation’s grace to endow them with superior brains that were ignited to operation at the time when that meteorite had struck and caused destruction of living things bigger in size and physical power than man.

            Speaking, moreover, about systems of managements and bedrock philosophies such as liberal democracy and free and globalized market economics and their contribution to preservation of human species in comparison to other competing ideological systems, the debate has not yet been conclusive. The collapse of the state systems that took Marxism as guiding philosophies had as we know unleashed many theories because the less anticipated way in which the Soviet Union had collapsed and the fall of the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall had symbolized gave way perceptions that were upgraded to production of bold analyses and postulations.

            Samuel Huntington and Francis Fukuyama emerged as leading thinkers though the latter had voiced after thoughts regarding his view about the so called “end of history”, while the former’s contentions appear to have fared better manifested in some regions if note is taken of expressions of cultures and identities of groups in ethnic and religious frames. This might preoccupy humanity as whole historical epochs in their own right if they would transcend the power and impact of the post 1648 Westphalia process to national statehood though the nearly collapsed Wahabist puritanism based Khaliphate could signal proof of Huntington’s clashes of cultures and civilizations as less than ephemeral events despite the scale of material and human life they have been causing.

            With many thanks.

          • Paulos

            Selam Kbur Haw Ismail AA,

            Many thanks for those kind words. The feeling is certainly mutual.

            The role of Man in nature as you have aptly put it, is removed from organic relations with his surroundings to a role of domination over his surroundings where reciprocity is replaced with one way dynamism. Thinkers and experts tell us that, the very misguided role of Man is the cause for all the economic, social and environmental crises we are witnessing today.

            Profit driven economic model that traces its inception to Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand”, saw nature as an infinite arena of resources where the mantra to this day is “Winner takes all.”

            Instead of viewing nature with in the framework of coexistence, we created a civilization by exploiting nature where the ramifications are possibly beyond repair.

            The progression from steam-engine to coal then to gas and electricity was framed around the same philosophy where nature was taken as a pot to satisfy Man’s insatiable needs. Deforestation not only disrupted ecologies but created greenhouse gases as well, for instance.

            The idea of profit driven economic model is not only confined to economics but to medicine as well among other things. Pharmaceutical companies synthesize drugs with “acceptable” side effects where the drugs are designed to fix the disease not to completely cure it particularly most of the serious diseases as long as it satisfies the shareholders.

            If again the entire idea of Man’s individual interest takes precedence over anything else reflects political system, can it be transplanted on other traditions, values or cultures who celebrate the collective community as opposed to the individual. Certainly, whether the “One Fits All” or “Cookie-Cutter” modus operandi is a wand for all societies is the trajectory owned particularly by Huntington’s scholarship. What is universal is however, the respect for human dignity and rights but the contradiction arises when people start to ask for more rights as in political participation. That is when Liberal Democracy becomes irresistible in other cultures as well.

          • Ismail AA

            Good morning Dr. Paulos,

            Understanding the fact that gracing me, as well as interested others in this forum, with such generous thoughts to answer my inquisitive questions and inquiries add extra burden to your precious time, I should close this educative exchanges with sincere gratitude. I understand the intensity of the stress contraint of time bears on all of us. I hope you stay on doing the useful contributions.

          • Paulos

            Selam Kbur Haw Ismail AA,

            It certainly has been an honor and a pleasure exchanging great ideas with you and I must say, I have learned great deal from you and your humble presence in the forum impacted me in such a powerful way. Thank you Sir!

            As it happened, I am going to be extremely busy from now onwards and I may not be able to engage as frequently as I would love to. As they say, c’est la vie. All the best!

          • Paulos

            Selam Dr. Beyan,

            In 1989 a bearded 26 years old young man took the podium and captivated the small audience with his charisma and sense of optimism when he spoke about the unfolding new era where good was about to triumph over evil; liberal democracy over totalitarianism; civil liberties over gross human rights violations. The young man was Viktor Orban.

            The above tersely cited rise of a man was published yesterday under the heading, “The Most Dangerous Man In Europe” on The Atlantic when Europe is struggling to define its own future where the spectre of Fascism and Nazism is hovering over the horizon. Orban’s drastic transformation from the champion of Liberalism to Iliberalism is far from the adage where one does not have the heart if one is not an idealist in his twenties and one doesn’t have the brains if one is not a capitalist in his forties.

            The movie, “The Darkest Hour” is a historical reminder when a giant figure during World War II stood up to the spread of Nazism in Europe where the making of the movie at this time doesn’t seem to be a coincidence when Britain instead of standing up in solidarity with the European community, it opted to exit. But of course, good will triumph for the alternative is not an option at all. Liberal democracy is the only way forward.

            Certainly, at the heart of Hungary’s right wing extremism is the issue of immigration when citizens of the world roam around in search of a better life. Eritreans among others are betrayed by their government when a third country is asked to take them instead. Any responsible government would feel ashamed when its people are treated with vile and dehumanizing situations but Isaias says with a callous and arrogant tone, “Why don’t they go to a nearby country as in Jeddah instead of going to Lampedussa.” Fascism can not win nor can dictatorship for history sides with the oppressed and reason as well.

          • Beyan

            Amen Dottore!!! Nothing to add other than something about power that does a number on leaders to a point of dehumanizing them as human beings. Power bereft of check and balance is power that corrupts completely.

            Consider Madame Albright, once removed from the power she’s had as the first woman Secretary of the State, is now realizing how Europe is slipping toward fascism. I wonder if she would’ve said the same today, were she the Secretary of State. We are at the tail end of the weekend, let me share a less than one minute clip from an interview she gave to 60 minutes that will leave you aghast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PMIAsy4e-4. Nevertheless, she does say it was a “stupid statement” and that she “regrets” it. It kind of makes one wonder though why under her watch the genocide in Rwanda was not prevented. Does this change the narrative between North and South, where in the case of the latter 800,000 people being mowed down did not register. But, now the alarm is off the hook to alert the West of the dangers of fascism.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8j7-X2vVfpY

          • Selam Beyan,

            Whether the usa should intervene or not in genocides that occur around the world, depends on the eternal and the holly dogma of “the american national interest”, as president Clinton said in this clip. It is the leading political philosophy of the usa, despite what it preaches about democracy and human rights to hoodwink the world.

            The albatross hanging around her (Albright) neck, when she said that it is worth it half a million iraqi children should die for the sake of american policy and national interest, will remain as one of the blackest points in history.

            Who are the people she is worried about today who could be targeted by the reemerging european fascism: is it blacks, immigrants or jews? As a jew she cares a lot about other jews, much more than for anybody else. That is the reality that awoke her from her deep insensitivity and slumber. She cannot change now.