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Ethiopia-Eritrea: The Two Victimized Farmers

The following was posted on the Awate Forum by Hayat Adem. We are bringing it to the frontpage.(AwateStaff)
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I don’t know how to relate with the Greece and European crisis, but I reflected on the Eritrean Nakfa and Ethiopian Birr currencies and the issue of the village of Badume.

Let me tell you why I characterize the Birr-Nakfa currency as a last straw effect for the border war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Both countries were benefiting from the Birr as a common currency while both were cursing it at the same time. The fact that Ethiopia’s birr was allowed to work as a legal currency in another country must be seen as an advantage to the issuer of that currency. Ethiopia was accessing Eritrea’s markets without needing to go through a dollar-medium. Port fees were being paid in Birr. All imports from Eritrea needed not pass through hard currency. Ethiopia had a leverage to influence Eritrea’s economy using its monetary policy as a tool and had differing macro-economic policies. Eritrea’s economy was then shaping up as export-driven open economy. Ethiopia’s economy was investment-oriented import-control, highly regulated one. Both had one currency but divergent policies and views.

Background

When Eritrea was liberated and before it carried out a referendum, the Mengistu regime of Ethiopia left Eritrean banks empty. The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) transitional government rushed 150 million Birr to maintain just the basics of market and livelihood in Eritrea. That 150 million Birr was not a loan nor was it a declared aid. And later in the years, the regime and Peoples’ Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) owned business branches were able to borrow up to 2 Billion birr at different times directly from the Ethiopian banks. That direct borrowing was only possible because birr was a legal-common currency in both nations. Many Eritreans, including those who were acting individuals on behalf of PFDJ business companies were able to secure loans from Ethiopian banks. Eritrea and Eritreans were able to have direct access to huge Ethiopain markets. All imports and exports to and from Ethiopia and to and from a third-country through Ethiopia were so easy and smooth with the use of Birr under the existing policy of the time.

But Eritrea was impatient to declare divorce from the Birr and print its own note for a good reason. One is purely a policy issue and understandable. Eritrea wanted to exercise its own monetary policy, rightly so because it is one policy tool to manipulate and manage macroeconomic affairs. Eritrea didn’t want to continue depending on decisions coming from the Ethiopian national banks and bear the effects. The other reason has nothing to do with the economy and everything with image and pride projection. Money notes are also symbolic national tokens. As a new nation, Eritrea was ambitious of projecting and asserting its political identity aggressively to put herself on the map, and this, too is understandable. So Eritrea announced its plan to have its own money and rushed to print Nakfa and leave Birr.

Ethiopia welcomed Eritrea’s move to replace Birr by Nakfa. Why? Ethiopia believed then that the disadvantage of sharing Birr with Eritrea as a common currency far outweighed the advantage. Ethiopia thought Eritrea was unfairly maximizing gains at the expense of Ethiopian economy by abusing Ethiopian currency and products in black markets and practices of money laundrying, creating parallel markets for currency exchange and products and service. The Ethiopian authorities thought the coming of Nakfa was a good thing for the Birr and were visibly as happy as the Eritrean authorities.

If both embraced Nakfa, what was the problem then?

The problem was both were welcoming Nakfa for different reasons and those reasons became very important tand needed to be compromised or reconciled or transformed, otherwise, they would become a monster problem standing on the way. Eritrea wanted Nakfa without losing all the benefits and advantages it used to enjoy when it was using the Birr. Ethiopia wanted Nakfa to remove all unfair advantages of trade and exchange Eritrea was getting from using the birr. I have looked into ways I thought could have been better options (at least compared to what we had to go through and still yet), and it definitely was not a problem without a solution but for the parties it seemed it had to be handled the way they did.

So Eritrea insisted for Nakfa and Birr to float in both markets in parity and without restriction, and for any imbalances of accounts and value adjustments of the two monies, Eritrea suggested both banks do inventories every 6 month and clear them off. Ethiopia categorically rejected this proposal stating once Nakfa starts circulating, Birr and Nakfa will have two separate and fenced market grounds and every transaction onwards can only be effected through a medium (dollar, euro, etc) and only bank to bank (using LCs). We need to ppreciate that this was the only macro policy issue on which the two leaderships collided head-to-head since they became governments. It was the biggest macro inter-nation issue that brought them to a direct confrontation. All other differences before were not that big as an issue or if they were, the leaderships were somehow finding a way to work some common ground around them. So far I know this was, the only issue that seemed neither ignorable nor solvable without offending one side or the other.

So Eritrea strongly objected the use of banks and dollar to reconcile transactions and insisted on Addis to accept the parity and free circulation of Birr and Nakfa in both markets. When Addis Ababa failed to change its view, Eritrea insisted more strongly to at least write off the LC option and allow individuals to conduct transactions direct without having to go through the banks. Eritrea’s justification was that people of both sides interconnected and act as one market actors, and that both markets transact at micro scales and that they are more of traditional than modern. Ethiopia’s rejection remained firm and insisted that all transactions needed to be treated as two country transactions, and it would only treat it with the same policy it followed with other neighboring countries. However, Ethiopia came up with a minor concession proposal that it could allow 2000Nakfa/dollar transaction of border markets without banks and dollars. That was not good enough for Eritrea but it had to say “whatever” and leave it there.

There was another issue that both needed to agree on and solve. When Nakfa comes to replace the Birr, what happens to the Birr that would be recalled from the Eritrean market? It wouldn’t have been an issue if Ethiopia allowed Nakfa and Birr to work in parity but since Ethiopia blocked that option it now became an issue. Eritrea asked to be paid in hard currency for the collected Birr amounts citing the legal terms of “pay to the bearer” printed on the note itself. Ethiopia was, I would say either dubious or tactful (your pick) on this that it didn’t object and it didn’t agree. They said, “We agree to solve this in a reasonable and fair way based on advices and lessons from IMF experts and precedence of other countries that had passed though similar issues.” Eritrea agreed to Ethiopia’s proposal. Securing Eritrea’s agreement was critically important for Ethiopia because they needed to print a new Birr notes and coins at the exact time Nakfa comes out, it would have been impossible for them without the consent of Eritrea. Had Eritrea not agreed, the Birr collected from Eritrea’s markets to leave space for Nakfa would slip in to the Ethiopian market. This would have damaged Ethiopia’s economy because the economic price values of those notes were transferred to Nakfa, and now it was to be blended with a larger amount of value-carrying Birrr.

Eritrea had old and not-so-modern light industries at a comparative advantage over what Ethiopia had then. Ethiopia was a nearly 100% destination for nearly all Eritrea’s export products. Eritrea’s import share of produce from Ethiopia was also very large. In the meantime, Ethiopia started planting similar light industries to substitute imports. And Ethiopia started taxing and regulating Eritrea-bound outgoing produces while trying to shift the trade to a bank-to-bank system. Isaias Afwerki clearly spoke of disapproval of the Ethiopian “protectionist” policy at the expense of strangulating Eritrea’s economy. These things coupled with Nakfa/Birr-born complications were growing all kinds of pains and irritation, more so visibly on the Eritrean side. So, Eritrea wanted to influence change of policy to favorable conditions. When discussions and lobbying were not doing the magic, PFDJ started looking around on other options from under its table. This is clearly displayed on the personal letter exchanges between Isasias and Meles. You clearly see, Isaias initiating and bringing two clash points (Adi Mirug and Bada) into picture while Meles’ letter redirected the focus to the economic/currency issues.

“Shock and shake them”

So that they get back to their senses; that was all about it. That was Badume. It was not meant to be a total war. It was meant to be a measured dose enough to bring Addis to a favorable policy sense. The reason why Isaias was unreachable to Meles after the May 12, 1998 Badume incident was to let the event run its course and give enough shock to Meles so that he understands well to accommodate Eritrea. The reason why Isaias acted surprised and shocked when Meles took the case to his parliament was because it was not meant to be. The plan was: Meles and EPRDF top leadership get shocked enough; they feel so desperate and hopeless; they try to reach out Isaias, they try again, they try again, they try again; and when about to try something crazy out of desperation, Isaias calls back while EPRDF leaders were so weak, so confused and so helpless. Isaias acts god and the last savior, gives them a life line of hope, they behave well thereafter. Why did Isaias think that they would give him enough time to play with it and that they would not shoot right back? It is obviously because he knew well that they were not ready for that. Not only that, he knew that they would be in split and disagreement on what to do. He knew that they were split on the possibility of conflict with Eritrea and Meles prevailed dismissing the warning against the rest of the ones who saw it coming.

Exactly as Isaias planned it, Meles attempted to reach Isaias when Eritreans forces took over Badume. You can imagine how Meles might have felt disoriented on the development. He is the leader and he argued against what others correctly predicted, and it happened after six months. In a typical situation, that ends the political life any leader though Meles survived it. But Isaias might have gotten what he wanted to had he not overplayed it. If he was reachable the first or second time Meles called him immediately after May 12, he would have gotten what he wanted. But after Meles made his move and involved the parliament, things were moving on a different inertia and dynamics. Amazingly, Isaias always misses the right bus for a few seconds. It was the Nakfa!

Had sober and cool minds been in control of the situation, harmonizing the monetary policy favorably wouldn’t have been difficult. They could have come even with a new currency for both (neither Birr nor Nakfa) or surgically remove the problems in million better ways than by war. So why did Semere Tesfai describe Badume War as a symptom? How can you call a war a symptom?

If someone dies of a certain illness, the cause of the death is the illness but the death itself cannot be a symptom. Therefore, Badume is a consequence, not a cause nor a symptom. When the Badume clash went out of control, Isaias thought he still had on advantage and he tried to expand it quickly to Adigrat and Shire, and cut the Djibouti line. When Wuchu reported to the commander-in-chief that he was halted and at difficulty to go beyond Zalazmbessa and Alitienna, Isaias hanged on him with a single sentence order: “ab adigrat koynka dewlleley”, call me from Adigrat! Isaias still didn’t have any ambition of taking land from Tigray. He was just injecting some more doses to the shock for necessary effect on the part of Weyane. He was trying to punish hard enough. When that was not possible, he still thought he can bring the wisdom of Nakfa (the place)- the art of trench warfare- little cost for Eritrea maximum cost to the Weyane, and for nothing: “the Ethiopians can come and die one by one if they want”. The mentality was one like: And when the chifra Weyane know the futility of taking the lands back, they would come to terms. When Isaias wanted to pass this message in no uncertain words he said: better for the sun to die than for us to withdraw from Badime. Instead there was something that you could have done and still could do and you know it. But if want to fight to the last, you will lose and it is your choice. Such was the thoughts of Isaias then.

Semere Tesfai is so naïve and he is not looking for facts and analyzing them or he is trying to act so smart and he can supply his own facts. If Weyane was planning such a war to take Eritrean lands, lets count the events again. May 6, Tigriay militia killed some officers. Then nothing happens for 6 days. So how is any government planning to expand territory by just killing 5 or 6 officers and go silent for a week? Shouldn’t they open fighting on all fronts and speak the language of war right after they opened the war? Even after 6 days, the one who acted was the Eritrean army by taking Badume. How is that to be counted as a war plan from the Ethiopian side? If Ethiopia open the Badume war, we wouldn’t see them taking it in their parliament and discussing it, mobilizing people for drafting. How would they ask Eritrea to withdraw from Badume if they were on the offensive? Shouldn’t they simply act to evict the Eritrean army from that place? After the Badume incident, the next wave of clashes came after a month. How does that gap show the fact that a full fledge war was planned from the South? So much about Semer Tesfai’s impeccable argument…and that is leaving aside EECC’s evidence and clear ruling, and PFDJ’s acceptance. The ruling said Eritrea committed aggression on the night of May 12, 1998 and took over Ethiopian territory, dismantled Ethiopian local administration. Every analysis on that fateful crisis should start from this fact or else, it suffers from basic deviation and becomes pointless.

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  • Fanti Ghana

    Hello Amde,
    If you are still here, I have the Eritrean delegate video done. It is not a summary. It is more like translation. I meant to write a summary, but since I was posting my own opinions on that subject I thought it is better to present it as is for fear of mingling my thoughts with it. I will do the PM Meles interview tomorrow.

    • Amde

      Dear Fanti,

      Thank you so much, this is going above and beyond.

      21:00 lays out the options well.

      The end effect of Eritreas preferred option – making both currencies acceptable and usable in both countries – would effectively be the free printing of Birr outside of the control of the Ethiopian side. There were more things to buy with Birr in Ethiopian than there were with Nakfa in Eritrea, so as House of Stark commented, it would have resulted in a drain of hard currency out of the Birr area into the Nakfa area.

      The second option – having a regular clearing house mechanism – but otherwise leaving the trade unencumbered, would have the same effect as the first one. At least to my eyes.

      The comment at 33:50 highlights some of the practical problems, which we know later did manifest as indicated. But that was the intention from the Ethiopian side – to slow down, limit and control the trade as it was being practiced.

      At 29:00 there is a mention of an Eritrean merchant buying “100 quintals of coffee” from Addis Ababa.

      Such a merchant who would have had a relatively straightforward business if he could buy the coffee with Nakfa, a little bit more complicated using the Birr, but would have a tougher process if he is now being asked to pay for it in Dollars, through an LC. The LC process not only limits/controls the flow of trade, it actually also starts to
      leave a document trail of the actual trade pattern.

      Obviously, there must have been serious undisclosed issues about the trade pattern and process prior to the currency issuances. My guess is the trading practices of the EPLF companies. But I don’t know where we would get that kind of information, outside of the Red Sea Corporation books. As an approximation though,
      http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Africa/Eritrea-BALANCE-OF-PAYMENTS.html states the following “In
      1997, the Eritrean currency, the Nafka, was introduced, changing the financial situation. In 1998, exports were only $30 million, and imports were $494 million. … Eritrea’s highest record for exports was $95 million in 1996.”

      If this is correct, this is huge: Ethiopia was Eritrea’s main export destination (65% by one estimate). In 1996, Eritrea exported $95million. In 1997 November, the Nakfa was introduced, with the Dollar trading and the LC requirements put in place. In 1998 Eritrea exported $30milion. To be fair, war also broke out May/June of 1998.
      But that would be at mid-year – so if everything else had been the same, the effect of trade disruption at mid-year would still have put Eritrea’s export at half of the 1996 numbers or approximately $50million. But the drop is significantly worse than that – it went down as low as $30 million.

      The upshot was that Eritrea was seeing a more than 50% drop in export revenue between 1996 and 1998.

      In one year.

      That is catastrophic. The Nakfa used in conjunction with the policy free Nakfa/Birr usage in both countries, was a policy instrument that would have completely made the Ethiopian market available to Eritrea. It instead became the very reason to basically close down Eritrea’s export trade to Ethiopia.

      With a nation to run, what were Eritrea’s options at this point?

      Amde

      • Berhe Y

        Hi Amde/Fanti,

        Can you please elaborate if you know, how was Ethiopia paying for the use of ports? Was it still in birr or was it paying in dollars? When Ethiopia starts using Djiubuti as main port, does it pay in dollars?

        May be Saay knows the exact amount, but today based on the search I made, Ethiopia spends over 700 million dollars in port fees to Djiubuti.

        It seems to me, I can’t see how Eritrea would lose (200 million is what I heard) if it’s getting that much dollars. If anything it exports have sky rocketed, compared to few dollars it was making at the embassy :(, if dollars is the main issue.
        Not to mention the oil refinery payments etc, etc,

        Off course Ethiopians who see only the problems do not see the dollars spend paying Djiubuti. I am not suggesting for Ethiopia predefing to use dollars is a bad thing, but I can’t see how this would hurt Eritrea.

        Abi, what’s the Amharic saying, Yeqtwqn Tila yebiTtwan Talech.

        Berhe

        • Ted

          Hi, Berhe Y. The perfect saying for the situation Ethiopia had put itself into. ” Yeqotune Awerd bila Yebitowan Talech”. There are many mechanisms(/ rules/regulations) to keep Ethiopian trade interest visa vise Eritrea with out affecting both, unfortunately TPLF went for the jugular not to protect its interest but to sabotage Eritrea’s economy. Why ? only TPLF knows. To come to your point, Imagine Ethiopia paying even half of it(350 million) it is paying to djoubity now. It would mean, Ethiopia would pay about 15- 20% of its export revenue ( about 2 billion dollar at that time).It is huge amount revenue for Eritrea. I don’t know how TPLF fail to foresee this coming: i have explanation. TPLF felt entitlement of the port use that they did’t expect to pay that much for port fee even they embargoed Eritrean trade. They wanted it both ways, ” Yeqotune Awerd bila Yebitowan Talech”..

        • Fanti Ghana

          Hello Brother Berhe Y,

          Ethiopia indeed was paying with Birr as confirmed by both sides. It makes sense since Birr is not only accepted in Eritrea but also the currency it uses anyway. About spending more using Djibouti is because the volume of trade has increased a great deal since then. Knowing how much was Ethiopia paying immediately after it stopped using Asab would be interesting. It probably started at similar pay as what was being paid to Eritrea, but given the speed with which Ethiopian trade sector increased, it is not surprising if Djibouti is making twice or more as much as it started with.

          As far as “Yeqotune Awerd bila Yebibtwan Talech” (as corrected by the closet Ethiopian, Ted below), it probably was not a choice of values. The principle may have played a higher role in those decisions. Are you trying to swindle me? No, are you trying to strungle me? You know how we can be sometimes.

          • Ted

            Hi, Fanti, kemey kemey.
            Do you know what happens to the Calcium in the Cow Milk i drank , it went straight to my Bone for life. i understand why Abi still thinks i owe him. He wants to yank it out of my body.;)
            the point of the matter is both countrie lost a great deal. Let the lesson be learned.

          • Abi

            Ted
            I need the bones.
            “Siga bada new aTint new zemed”

          • Ted

            Hi Abi, sure you do. ye Eritrean ATint eshohe huno Yiwegahale:)

          • Abi

            Ted
            I make sure no eritrean drink cow milk in ethiopia.

          • selam

            Dear Abi
            That’s not true , because Eritreans still benefit from the behaviour of weyane . Go to addis and ask how many Eritreans are investing in real estate. We are back , I want addis expansion on what ever price .

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Abi,
            I want to make sure every Eritrean drink Ethiopian cow milk and Every Ethiopian drink Eritrean cow milk. I want to make sure every Eritrean think Ethiopia is his 2nd nation and every Ethiopian think Eritrea is his 2nd nation.. I want both reach to the stage where they think are only 2 nations but one people. I want you to come to my nation without any visa and the same to me. I want to see those two nations teach the world how cooperation works practically. in fact I want to see in near future horn united nations (like in 10 years or less).

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            It is between me and Ted. he switched to soybean because he could not find original cow milk since he left Qera. No hard feelings between us. It is our way of communicating to each other.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Abo,
            sorry. keep going then.

          • Abay

            Dear Ted,
            I am a silent reader in Addis. Just a regular Ethiopian. I interject only when I think there are wrong remarks. The Badme war is a tragedy. With all the pseudo animosity between the two people, we are still brothers and sisters and it was all loose-loose situation here. Ethiopia won the war but, looking at the bigger picture, all of us lost in that it is our people on both sides that were and still are victims of the circumstances, Mind you, believe it or not, we are brothers and sisters. Yes, I read all postings littered with emotions, but that really is characteristic of love hate relationship. Active Ethiopian participants in this forum, what attracts them to the forum? What attracts silent readers like me to the forum? What attracts silent Eritrean readers in Ethiopian forums? Are we attracted to other forums with as much fervor? This, I think, indicates how deep the love for each other is entrenched no matter how much we try to repel it.
            But saying this, I would like to put some facts in prospective. I could not think of a way to put it modestly. Bear with me and allow me to put it bluntly. The episode has left an irreversible pattern: Ethiopia will never ever be dependent on Eritrean ports. Our old guards never thought Ethiopia would survive for a day with out Eritrea. Guess what, we are not only surviving, we are flourishing as the emerging lion of Africa. Ted, both countries did not loose a great deal. Eritrea did teach us not to be dependent on it, and, thank God, this is a blessing in disguise and the damage on our part is really minimal.
            I think it is time that we all address issues as objectively as we can and be brave enough to look at our past mistakes on the eye and again be brave enough to admit past mistakes. That will position us to better define the way forward. In country to country relationships, there have to be mutual trust and equitable benefits. Many here believe that in those honey moon days, Eritreans took unfair advantage of Ethiopians. I know this needs verification but it still is public opinion shared by the majority. This will linger at the backs of minds for some time to come. Many believe Eritreans blew this golden opportunity big time. Our divorce from good neighborly relations practices has now put Ethiopia in a better footing. I think the old time slogan has reversed gear: “Ethiopia shall never kneel down”, only that it is in ports and economic affairs this time. We are now into new reality. Any future relations will need to take these new realities into serious considerations. All of us need honest soul searching and contemplate the future in these lines.
            To summarize, Ethiopia has not lost big time. We are doing great without Eritrea. We will need an excellent country to country relationship with all our neighbors, even more with Eritrea. Sure Eritrea should get back its land we occupy. I believe it is to keep the unpredictable President Isayas at bay that the border issue is not resolved and honestly, many here agree it should be resolved as determined by court and I believe it will be implemented once your country has a sane president.
            Wish you all the best.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Abay,

            “…Sure Eritrea should get back its land we occupy.”
            Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I was dying of loneliness.

            SAAY,
            Kilte beleley!

          • Abi

            Fanti
            Don’t feel lonely. I’ve been with you all along.
            Saay
            Seleste beleley!

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Abi,
            Oh, I didn’t know that. Wow! So, you are not all bones, as tes would have us believe, after all?

          • Ted

            Hi Fanti, Abi “Wow!” me too. He is quite a gymnast. Your CD will be skipping at “hade beleley” for quite a while until time interferes. Time heals all wounds, so they say.

          • Abi

            Ted
            Time heals. Some of us are already cured and moved on. I tell you it is a painful process.

          • Abi

            Fanti
            I’m not all bones. I have a beef with you.
            You know why. I am ready to trade a plot of land for a beautiful rose.
            Fanti libu ruhruh afu new chekagn
            YeAbi Fanta bileh ande samlign
            Lantem yiTeqmhal enen aygodagn

          • Ted

            Hi, Abay,

            How is Addis Ababa doing. I heard there is shortage of Shola Milk. It was my favorite.

            “ we are flourishing” what ever that means, all the powers to you. It has become very clear for enough time now there is nothing Ethiopians need from us to do what Ethiopians do( flourishing?) . Then again, “Sure Eritrea should get back its land we occupy”. As i see it, it is the only way forward and it is not too much to ask “Flourishing” Ethiopia to vacate our land?.

            “Many believe Eritreans blew this golden opportunity big time”. Thank your for your honesty. The assertion ”golden opportunity” that Eritrea couldn’t survive without Ethiopia’s hand is the root cause of all the evil maneuvers perpetrated on my country. It starts and ends with it ( golden opportunity) and now 15 yrs later , it is important for your people to look back and examined that assertion. We are still standing, aren’t we? not “flourishing” of course nonetheless standing. As you can see Ethiopians came out from the woodworks to this forum, including you the silent reader, to make a case against Eritrea that the entrenched necessity of -coffee and dollar – which you called “golden opportunity” forced my country nothing but to call for the war. As you eloquently put it, verification being unimportant( Abi’s attestation is enough), “Eritreans took unfair advantage of Ethiopians. I know this needs verification but it still is public opinion shared by the majority” No sweat about its truthfulness, even our own people got into this messed-up-predicament for reasons they only know. The point is, although the matter is painfully divisive in our camp, it gave our southern brothers in this forum the opportunity(verification unimportant) to rub their nose in it. You have SJ to thank for it if he ever showed up in your neighborhood, he likes kettle mint tea(no milk):)

            About what to do with our “unpredictable President Isayas”, There is nothing you can do about it, Ethiopia agonizingly came short 15 yrs ago,and for now,Just enjoy your “flourishing” Milk without looking north. The President is our problem and i can’t promise you much but we can not dehumanize him enough with the hope of he relinquished his power. Trust me, we are good enough at it.

            Finally.I wish you said long live Eritrea too “ Eritrea did teach us not to be dependent on it, and, thank God, this is a blessing in disguise and the damage on our part is really minimal. “ you’re very welcome. what is “ “…..brothers and sisters.” for.

          • Berhe Y

            Thank you Fanti.

            The point I was getting at is, did Ethiopia offered or Eritrea requested that the port fees also paid in dollars? Because I didn’t see that in Hayat’s analysis and I don’t think Amde is putting it in perspective in his “Eritrea export calculations”. Sure other exports may have gone down, for
            example for Eritrean merchants buying with birr and exporting with dollars but in return the port fees would have increased dramatically that the merchants are able to get access to the dollars. If anything (if my numbers are correct based on what I heard being tossed around long time ago, about 200 million dollars a year), Eritrea export would have increased that much or at least in
            larger number.

            Ted, instead of putting the blame squarely on TPLF why they decided to abandon the port, I think it’s better to put the blame on PFDJ, why it did not request that it gets paid for port services in dollars.

            In retrospect I think it’s easy to see 20/20 but I think Eritrea had a lot of options and still have lots of options (e.g. expand its tourism attracting Ethiopians, Sundanese and many Africans by creating and building timeshare resorts for Eritreans who live abroad, accelerating and
            speeding up its mining sector, expanding bi-lateral relationship with many donor countries (which are Ethiopia’s major source of hard currency income even today) by implementing good governance and rule of law etc..), creating a competitive for port services for the region, building and expanding oil refineries to process crude oil and selling finished products etc…

            I agree with Hayat characterization of Isayas, is that he has NO good intention and NEVER negotiates in good faith, I really do NOT know why. He is one of those people he does NOT
            want to see other people happy or doing well that he can NOT control. I don’t know the word in English but in Tigrina / maybe it’s origin is Arabic but the word I have in mind is, Hasad.

            Berhe

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Berhe
            Why is the eritrean merchant allowed to buy in birr and exporting in dollars ? If it is an export commodity like coffee, an eritrean is not allowed to take it out of the country whether he used birr or dollar. Period.it is illegal to smuggle out an export commodity. You can be a registered coffee exporter . You can’t load it on eritrean trucks and smuggle it out. As it was the case before the war.
            That “Guest ” on Fanti’s post should be ashamed in mentioning 100 quintal of coffee as an example.
            I blame both governments in their handling of business in those days.

          • Berhe Y

            selam Ato Abi,

            I am not saying he should but that’s what I heard one of Eritrea’s taking advantage of Ethiopian goods. I also heard it did the same for gold.

            To be honest I do not know if it’s legal or not and the merchant should be guided by the rule and I do not have disagreement there.

            The question I asked and so far no body seems to give an answer is, if Ethiopia paying in dollars for port fees as its doing today with Djibouti, wouldn’t that benefit Eritrea as well. Because it is being described that, Eritrea started the war because it has lost the economic advantage.

            At least that’s what I can conclude based on the discussion.

            Berhe

          • Ted

            Hi Berhe Y. “The question I asked and so far no body seems to give an answer is……” PFDJ might had asked. It is good question you don’t have answer to but still, old habit die hard, you manged to get your fix “I think it’s better to put the blame on PFDJ”. It works every time till to the end of time.

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Berhe
            The law is it is illegal to take a kilo of coffee out of the country. This includes for personal consumption. If you tell the custom officer at Bole airport that you have coffee( green beans or not processed) , it will be confiscated on the spot.
            The same applies to gold.( yalteneTere werq) . Hide and skin , the list is long.
            There was an article on “Tobiya Magazine ” regarding this ( eritreans taking advantage of using birr) way before the war. The article precisely predicted that the two countries will go to war.
            I just wished I saved that magazine.

          • Amde

            Selam Berhe

            I don’t know what and how Ethiopia was paying for port service. It is an interesting point actually whether it is accounted via the export numbers. I suspect it generally won’t…. So this would be a big hole in the numbers.

            Anyway, I believe the issue of Ethiopian merchandise held up at Assab became an item that went into the claims commission deliberations. This leads me to believe that port service payments became the next point of friction. It was at this point Ethiopian trade was directed to primarily be Djibouti.

            In general, this is consistent with the trend of events. Currency change and LC shrank commerce. Eritrea’s export income got hurt. It tightened/retaliated via port services. Ethiopia responded by switching port service through Djibouti. Thus reduces Eritrea’s income even more, shrinking its options.

            Berhe, I agree there were a lot of options. Given time these would have all yielded fruit. I wonder though if Issayas felt he had the time to diversify his income sources. Even in good times, these take years, let alone closing a 50% shortfall in export income in one year. It is not difficult to imagine the military gamble being seen as an immediate move to reset the relationship.

            Amde

      • Fanti Ghana

        Hello Amde,

        To keep the promise of delivery on time I sacrificed a good portion of my leisure time this evening to finish translating the second video (PM Meles). It is done, and here it is, but all of it was 2080 words and it looked hectic (besides boring others to death). So, I am posting starting almost halfway where I think is relevant to our currency/war discussion, and I will post the remaining if requested by anyone.

        6: 40
        Reporter: As you briefly mentioned it earlier, there seems to be a problem [in your relationship] with Eritrea. During the struggle era the relationship between TPLF and EPLF and later during the early years of independent Eritrea, it is well known that the relationship was solid and very close. Is the source of the problem really the border issue?

        PM Meles: I won’t say the source of the problem is the border. As it is well known, even during the struggle the border was not demarcated. Also after Eritrean independence, for about 6 – 7 years, with the border still un-demarcated, the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea was very close. Although, we may not claim that the border issue had no role in the friction at all, I don’t think we can say that the border was the cause. Me, personally, what I believe is the cause of the problem is the nature and tradition of understanding one another. For instance regarding our economic relationship, I don’t think some individuals of PFDJ wanted it to be cooperative, friendly, and mutual beneficial based relationship.

        Starting from the beginning, there were those whose thinking was based on taking advantage, whether it was from those who came along with the organization [from meda] or professionals who came from foreign countries [as in Diaspora], there were those who did not want the kinship between Ethiopia and Eritrea to be based on equally beneficial and based on an equal footing. This, overtime, kept getting worst and worst. Toward the end, when Eritrea was preparing to issue own currency the problem came out glaring into the open. Starting just before it/he started the invasion, PFDJ’s news outlets started a campaign of blackmail. Weyane reneged, Weyane is planning to dismantle our economic ties, it doesn’t want to cooperate, and similar campaigns.

        Therefore, the presence of forces that did not choose the relationship to be based on mutual understanding is one of and the main spring/cause of the war. Second, there were also differences on regional policies. First they had arguments with Yemen that progressed into some shootout and at the time we had no choice but to side with Eritrean government, but also to make an effort to solve the problem between them peacefully.

        For example, they asked us for anti-aircraft weapons that may be near by and available since Asab could be a target for bombardment by Yemeni Planes and we supplied them with that. At the same time I had gone to Yemen and discussed with the Yemeni leadership about the need to end this peacefully. After that [he (implied)] argued with Djibouti. Also when they argued with Djibouti, we tried to defuse the tension. Then, as a third stage, both us and them [Ethiopia and Eritrea together] had a friction with the Sudan. Once we had a friction the pattern Eritrea wanted to follow differed from what we followed. We had an outlook which was based on whatever friction we had with the Sudan; we wanted a solution that does not contradict established international laws. They [Eritreans] side however had a different mentality including telling us that we must have adopted this kind of new behavior after we arrived at the imperial compound.

        So, with these kinds of saber-rattling behavior and because most of our neighbors and others do not distinguish between us we were being seen as associates of their behavior. This then was also one of the reasons that widened the gap between our relationships. And finally as the political and economic relationships kept getting intertwined, border issues which used to be none problematic, although un-demarcated, became also got intertwined [with the rest of the problems mentioned]. So, the border issue can be taken as one of the reasons, but I don’t consider it as the main issue.

        13:08
        Regarding those domestic or foreign elements PFDJ you referred to as wanting to take advantage of you [Ethiopia], did you try to talk about it, to solve it?

        Yes, we were trying to solve it one of two ways. One of the ways was based on our understanding of Eritrea’s problems/issues. Even though we are both poor, Eritrea had been at war for 30 years and it was devastated. So, one of the ways was based on this reality. For example the Eritrean embassy’s main occupation was collecting foreign exchange currency through black market. We new these types of activities were taking place. But we didn’t believe get him catch him type steps were that important.

        We used to pay port service fees with Birr. So, then, where can he get the foreign exchange otherwise? [He is referring to the overlooking of the embassy’s activities]. If we tell them to stop this activity when we are able to pay them with foreign currency it would make sense, but now we thought it would be meaningless. There other contraband activities also with those so called 09 [group]. We overlooked that too because given the shape they were in; we decided to let them until they establish a few things [stand on their feet].

        We believed eventually it will fix itself as we go on. There was also the Asab refinery which was not competitive with other similar refineries. But if it is closed those Eritrean employees who depend on that refinery will be the victims, so we agreed to help each other. We will let the crude we import be refined at Asab and Eritrea will get 20% of the refined fuel and pay for it with Birr and we will take the remaining 80%.

        The consequence for us that resulted from this arrangement was IMF’s objection, because they kept enquiring why while we could get the same amount of refined fuel from several free markets somewhere else do we insist on continuing. We tried and extended it as far as possible. Finally, once we were cornered, we had to stop and started to buy from the market. When we stopped this it was not because we thought that we were harming Ethiopia while helping Eritrea, we are each others kin and we are both poor, but Eritrea had been at war for 30 years. So, we had decided that some things should be left alone. The second way was to start from scratch and clear all potential issues as we go forward. We talked about this on several occasions.

        For example, the decision Eritrea printing its own currency was something we all discussed and agreed on. There were some questions that came up as result of printing own currency such as what will be done with the Birr that will be then in Eritrean. Some Eritrean professionals suggested that it should be tallied and accounted for and you [Ethiopia] should pay us in Dollars. Our professionals had a difference opinion. They suggested, among several things, inviting IMF professionals and asking how it was done in other countries with a similar issue.

        Regarding trade relation also the same. Goods will be imported and exported with no tariff into and out of both countries. Although we were in agreement in these plans, however there were still questions of implementation. For example, sales tax is paid for beer that is imported from Eritrea. If it pays taxes however, it cannot fairly compete with domestic the beer. So, they asked us to lift the sales tax from their beer. This was a problem, because technically the Eritrean beer would be given preference over that of Ethiopian. These were discussed extensively over the stretch of 3 -4 years on economic professionals and government leadership levels. Most of these differences were being solved over time except a few core issues that remained unsolved before the war. So, at least 50% of the reasons for the war were economy based issues.

        PS:
        As soon as you thank me, I am resigning from this translation career.
        Holy moly!

        • Amde

          Hi Fanti,

          Could you post this as a primary comment, not just as a response to a response? Wouldn’t want have all that work buried 🙂

          Thanks,
          Amde

        • Amde

          Hi Fanti

          You said..”He is a translator’s nightmare. I learned a view important aspects about speech in general. In our languages (Amharic/Tigrigna) we seem to get away with plenty of grammatical errors. Number agreement, verb subject agreement, and a clear separation of clauses are the most abused when you compare Tigrinya vs. English speeches.”

          I think Meles is a member of the species Politicalus Animalus. Most of politics is performed in linguistic ambiguity. Remember when Bill Clinton said “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” ?

          There are people who apparently create languages to drive out linguistic ambiguity. Check out artificial languages called Lojban and Ithkuil.

          Thank you again..

          Amde

    • selam

      Dear Fanti
      As always you are a very reasonable person ever to comment in this website. No one is near your realistic and honest analysis . I think awate.com needs people like you who can take no sides and present the facts. Most awate.com big men are mostly naive and want us to believe their skewed narrations. Thanks fanti for having the time to put things in order. One question I want from you and berhe is that just to make financial estimates on the port service as well as tracking service of all ethiopian export and import through Eritrea and make balance of the false 150 million birr as well as the interest of the warehouses services in asseb and massawa for all weyane companies under the Umbrella of EFFORT.

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Selam,
        I agree with you Fanti is among the best. but don’t forget two things here. first is it is when you got awate you found Fanti. and 2nd if there is right there is left I mean you should know we are ideas and the mission is not to stop differences but to balance and live in peace by narrowing differences to the most possible space to accommodate everyone in common ground. what do you say?

      • Fanti Ghana

        Hello Selam Shukor,
        I swear to you Selamey, if I ever get hired, even as a copier, or get near Ethiopian government, the first two questions I will ask will be why aren’t we getting out of Badme and what happened to that money. All said and done I don’t think ‘money’ will be our problem in the long run. We just need good leaders with good intentions who work for the people instead of those who make the people work for them. Let’s hope, someday soon!
        AjoKhi Selama, bizuH aytiguhayi. endashefenayo’br kulatna ab sekai ena zelona.
        With love.

    • Abraham Hanibal

      Selam Fanti Ghana;

      You’ve made a great and commendable effort to translate the interview by the Eritrean officials back from 1997. We can conclude from that interview that the Eritrean side was ill-prepared as regards what was to come after the introduction of the Nakfa. The Ethiopian insistence on limiting the trade to LC and hard currency meant the Eritrean economy would suffer hugely, as its main export destination was Ethiopia. But the Eritrean officilas, at least those in that interview, downplayed the serious situation that was about to come.
      My view is that the introduction of Nakfa coupled with the disagreements that ensued between the two governments thereafter, the general economic policies, the simmering harassment of Eritreans at the border areas by the local Tigrayan government, ideologial differences, etc. were the cumulative causes of the destructive war between the two countries.

      • Fanti Ghana

        Hello and thank you Abraham,
        Very good observation. I couldn’t help it but feel sorry for them throughout the video. It was obvious they were struggling with something.

    • Kim Hanna

      Selam Fanti,
      .
      Thanks for the translation. It is always amazing to look back at big events in hindsight.
      .
      K.H

  • Pass the salt

    For those of you who don’t understand Amharic, transilation follows:
    እዛ ቆልዓ እዚኣየ፣
    ድራረይ ከይትበንስ፣ ከይዳ ናብ ኣዲኣየ።

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Sabita,

    ከም ‘ቲ ተግባራቶም ታሪኽ ዝመዝገቦ –
    ኣሕሊፎም ዝህቡ ንወገን ወደቦ –
    ዝርያ ኣይባህልናን ካብ ስግር ጎዶቦ –
    ንግዝያዊ ዓወት ቦታ ነይንህቦ::

    ሕሹኽሹኽ ህግደፍ ንመን የደናግር –
    ጸለመ ፍሹል እዩ ካብ መድረኽ ነይሰግር –
    የብልናን እከይ ሸርሕታት ዝፈጥር –
    መርገጽና ንጹር እዩ ኣብ ናጽነት ሃገር ::

    እንተ ድሕረ ግንባር መበግሲ መሬት –
    እንተስ ካብ ዛ ዓለም ካብ ካልእ ፕላኔት –
    እንተስ ካብ ኣህጉርና ካብ ርሑቅ ደሴታት –
    እንተስ ካብ ኢትዮጵያ ኣክሱም ዓዲ ግራት –
    ኣየገድስን እዩ ክሳብ ዘሎ ጽርየት –
    ካብ ጽኑዕ መትከልና ዘይተንበርካኽነት –
    ክሳብ ዝድምሰሱ ህግደፍ ወያላት::
    ምርጫና ውስኖ ናይ ቃልሲ ሜላታት ::

    ጥርጥር ‘ቲ ጉጅለ መን ወሳኒት ገይርዋ :-
    ሃገር ነይነጥፍእ ክንቀትል ኣንጭዋ:-
    ሃገር ናይ ህዝቢ እያ ጀግና ባዕሉ ‘ለዋ –
    ህግደፍ ሕጊ ኣልቦ እንታይ ገዲስዋ ::

  • Eri Vigilant Citizen

    “The ruling said Eritrea committed aggression on the night of May 12, 1998 and took over Ethiopian territory, dismantled Ethiopian local administration. Every analysis on that fateful crisis should start from this fact or else, it suffers from basic deviation and becomes pointless.”

    You just said “May 12, 1998 took over Ethiopian territory”.

    How is Badme an “Ethiopian territory”.

    • Hayat Adem

      Hi EVC,
      Yes, Badme has never been formally under Eritrean administration except in the 10 months between May 1998 – February 1999.

      • Eri Vigilant Citizen

        Neither has the whole Eritrea being under Eritrean administration except in the last 24 years.

        My question to you was “How is Badme an “Ethiopian territory”.?

        • Hayat Adem

          Fine, let’s narrow it to the last 24 yrs.
          Badme has never been administered by Eritrea in the last 24 yrs except for those ten months of May 1998-Feb1999).

          • Eri Vigilant Citizen

            So does that justify the Ethiopian killing of the “some”/”6” Eritrean officers?

          • Amanuel

            Hi Eri Vigilant Citizen
            Can you (or any one) please name the 6 Eritrean officers killed?

          • Eri Vigilant Citizen

            May be Awate.com can do some Data Mining in the “DataBase of Martyrs ” they have.

          • Hayat Adem

            Hi Eri Vigilant Citizen,
            Since you have asked the question out of the blue, why don’t you answer it yourself for us. Does it?

          • Eri Vigilant Citizen

            Hi Hayat Adem

            The article above suggests that Isaias wanted to impose/enforce his policy towards Ethiopia through force but underestimated the Ethiopian response, How is he the starter of force as the President of the State when Ethiopia brutally cleansed a whole unit from his armed forces for no apparent reason in Bademe. given the two nations were closely working in their border security policies? and also how did that Ethiopia ever assumed that is their land when it is a known fact that we as Africans have agreed/dictated upon us to inherit the colonial map.

            NB: Eritrea accepted the EECC decision and paid its due (money) so did Ethiopia. But for Eritrea it was important to accept it so as to not to jeopardise the integrity of the EEBC but if you look closely the EECC mandate was not meant to judge in who started the war but it was to account for “claims” of war damage, like the school bombing in Ethiopia that costed Eritrea heavily even though 1/3 of Eritrea was damaged and 500 000 or so displaced.

            Please lets rationalise and look at the matter objectively, Us as Eritreans we shouldn’t belittle the Ethiopian hegemony towards Eritrea…specially in the past given the world has always belittled our flight.

            Lets Not Undermine National Sovereignty Because of the Hate of a Fellow National Being!

          • Hayat Adem

            Hi EVC,
            1) I understand there was one other commission to be supposedly set up for the purpose looking into how the conflict started and developed. That Commission was not formed. And you are right the EECC was about settling compensations of damages. But in order to assign compensations, they needed to look into damages, and who did what. In that context, they had to conquer the entry to all this madness, and they establish it on May 12. That sort of became a de facto reference on when and who started the war.
            2) Your phrasing “…the school bombing in Ethiopia that costed Eritrea heavily [in the compensation inventory]” is not good. I know what you mean but Ethiopia lost innocent lives, of kids and parents at that, Eritrea paid only money. But if you ask me, inheriting the shame and the emotional burden would much heavier than the money.
            3) Your last line as an advice is fine and agreeable. The question is always about “how better?”. For example, PFDJ claims it was provoked with the killing of those unnamed 5/6 officers. Then it led us to a situation you described above as “1/3 of Eritrea was damaged and 500000 or so displaced”. Is that the best way to defend “National Sovereignty”?
            Hayat

          • Eri Vigilant Citizen

            “a de facto reference on when and who started the war””..?? only if we want to make it or believe.

            The school bombing was just an example but surely no money can compensate a life of a human being.

            Losing 1/3 of Eritrea temporarily is defiantly better than losing the whole Assab but I guess you might think that Ethiopia doesn’t need Assab.

            Some of us look at history and say Ethiopia is a curse and some say it is a blessing but surely not in between!

  • saay7

    Hey Guest:

    You are actually using lines I used on the ambassador about the toy. Now how about you do what you promised/threatened to do: post the whole thread of the exchange with the ambassador.

    I know your team has an obsession with age so to make it easier for you all you have to do is subtract 20 from Isaias and ambassadors age and voila u arrive at mine.

    And no guest you would have to try a lot harder to press my buttons. Now don what you promised/threatened: post the entire exchange with the ambassador. You simply can’t because there just is now way to make him look good. Thanks for playing. And yes we (awate) knows who “guest” is: it’s fun because you do this every 2 months then you cross the posting guidelines and your entire masterpiece is deleted. Then you sulk for 2 months then you come back 🙂

    Saay

  • Peace!

    Dear Araya,

    As the big Shannon said “You will never find the real truth among people that are insecure or have egos to protect. Truth over time becomes either guarded or twisted as their perspective changes; it changes with the seasons of their shame, love, hope or pride.” What’s more frightening is that the chances that they can be a trustworthy neighbors doesn’t seem promising.

    Regards

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Peace,

      “ናታ ሓቢኣ ናይ እንዳማታ ” trying to talk about Ethiopian internal conflicts may satisfy the lazy ego. Let Ethiopians think about their case and hope for them the best. instead of hiding yourself by counting Ethiopian problems you better deal with your uncountable problems. just to remind you,
      Eritrea is supposed to be in peace and development more than Ethiopia as the ground was ready for Eritrea. think about it, Ethiopians have gone ahead very much than Eritreans. the first reason is you guys are not facing the reality.

      • Peace!

        Dear KS,

        That was my observation on Aray’s post not something I initiated, sorry if it has offended you. On a separate note, this is an open forum in case you need a reminder, and I know Ethiopia is doing extremely well which think it is a good news for all its neighbors.

        Regards

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Peace, thank you..

          but as the saying goes “ካብ ባሃሊኡ ደጋሚኡ ‘ when someone it lost you should not let him go more and lost more forever.

  • Ali

    This is exactly how the war developed. thank you Hayat Adem.

  • Hayat Adem

    Dearest Saay and Mahmuday, and all,
    I love the attention my comment is enjoying but not the scrutiny:)
    The only reason we revisit past events and whatever interpretation surrounded them is to understand the present problems better, and if need be, to reassign accountability based on rediscovered sensibilities and move on for a better future. That is all there is in my mind whenever I go to the past. Otherwise there is no use, no one will ever be able to reset the button for replaying the same game with a new knowledge and realization, therefore any attempt of reviewing the past with a different lens is can be considered as a re-positioning to take advantage in the new play. There isn’t such a thing. Today’s challenges are met with today’s realities and dynamics.
    There is nothing you can do about, only something out of it- positive lessons. I don’t hate PFDJ in relation to TPLF. My hate of PFDJ is independent of TPLF. It is not even a hate. It is a strong disapproval. I don’t support TPLF, it is not even support, I don’t applaud the Weyane in relation to PFDJ. It is independent of PFDJ. I don’t compare both parties against each other. But I do compare their performances against the respective set of challenges they faced and the successes they registered. I smile when people compare the two parties and the level of enemty they demonstrate against Eritreans. How can you do that? Theoretically, there is a level of enmity an outsider such as Weyane can project against a neighborly people is proportionally symmetrical in depth and intensity with kind of friendliness it can offer to the same people.The level of of enmity a native group can apply against a native people is proportionally symmetrical to the level of love it can demonstrate. Both forces are of different league in their relationship to the Eritrean people and the quality of character and responsibility they assume. So you don’t compare the two and how they relate to Eritreans. The utmost drop of enemty from Weyane and the utmost drop of enemty from PFDJ against Eritreans can never have a comparable effect. Weyane’s love or hate towards Eritreans can never assume as uplifting or as deadly in their intensity of concentration as there is the element of indifference that dilutes to them. With PFDJ, there can never be indifference towards Eritreans as Eritrea and Eritreans are its primary subjects of everyday occupation. The reverse is true, if you are Eritrean, you can afford to be indifferent towards TPLF but not towards PFDJ. That is why, if Eritreans have 1000 problems with Weyane and only about 10 problems with PFDJ, the latter is more lethal that needs to be addressed immediately. It is exactly for the same reason dictators always try to redirect the focus of their citizens to external problems.
    If the Tigray Administration was harassing and abusing my people, how best do I defend them? I can send my armed men and punish their villagers as much as I can. Then war is born. So fire and blood everywhere. A lot more villagers, a lot more economy, a lot more opportunities and future , a lot more blood and lives is squandered. If Gebru Asrat was doing that for the sake of Tigray people, then what did he give them in the net balance: Badume, Sheraro, Zalanbessa, Alietena…Destroyed. Mekele airport bombed and elementary school bombed. Adigrat bombed from air and artillery. 65,000 people displaced from the war area. 70,000 people deported from Eritrea. Two years of war, a bulk purchase of armaments, massive militarization and mobilizations, expense billions of dollars at a snap speed, APA, UNMEE, no-war-no-peace, DemHit, G7….How did Gebru Asrat defended Tigray in the net balance? PFDJ acted in defense of harassed and abused villagers, and the result was a flying colors of displacement in hundreds of thousands, leaving a third of Eritrea to Weyane, the deporting of 75,000 Eritreans, the bombardment on Asmara, Sawa and Hirgogo, the destruction of SenAfe, Barentu and Tessenay…(faster, faster) exodus, isolation, Mediterranean, Sinai, Hawka abey’alo…the extinction of people, the existential uncertainty of an entire country and population. There must be a sane and better way of defending your villagers, Mahmuday. So, what it seemed patriotic and heroic then is what got us where we are now- existential disarray.

    The main messages of my comment-turned-article above were these:
    1) The conflict was about a disagreement on economic policies within an atmosphere of stubbornness. It never was about the border.
    2) At the heart of the economic frictions were these issues related to Birr/Nakfa.
    3) The sticking points with Birr/Nakfa friction were the desire of Eritrea for Nakfa and Birr to work side by side in Both markets without a medium.
    4) Ethiopia rejected this and asked for LC trade with both currencies talking to each other through dollar rather than directly.
    5) Isaias hated this and officially said we are not party to this, do as you wish, so do we, and asked for redeeming the old money.
    6) Ethiopia didn’t reject on redeeming but hinted it would consult IMF and other expriences, also hinting repaying each old birr-paper must not be expected as the economic value of the Birr was already paid with the conversion of Nakfa.
    7) Ethiopia tabled a policy of 2000NakfaBirr transaction at the border markets without LC.
    *All the above 2-7 points are facts that can be supported with tones of evidences. Point 1 is my conclusion as a result of 2-7.
    ————————
    ** My theory: Isaias wanted Weyane to change their policy and brought to the front and escalated the border agenda as a way of twisting arms. When the first action failed to bring the necessary effect, he kept on inducing more of the same until it blew out of proportion for both sides. Then it just assumed its own dynamics following the law of action-reaction-counteraction and nobody had a leverage of control to scale it down.
    ———————–
    The rest were tangential information from what I know and recollect. Remember all these were to share what I remember as encouraged by Amde. It wasn’t planned and definitely it was not meant for an article. Though were not central facts to the article and would not affect the main picture if ignored in case there is a doubt of their truthfulness, I’ll still try to buck them up.
    i) 150 million birr. It is true. but this is peripheral doesn’t validate or otherwise the main claim. Nonetheless bear with me in patience or go to your respective sources and verify them or falsify them or just ignore it.
    ii) 2 billion birr (someone called and told me it was actually 1.5 billion birr), other than the slight amount change, the essence stands. but this is peripheral doesn’t validate or otherwise the main claim. Nonetheless bear with me in patience or go to your respective sources and verify them or falsify them or just ignore it.
    Hayat

    • Saba

      Dear Hayat,
      Like meles you are telling us the problem was PFDJ/isayas. But the driving force was the gebru astrat force and the “abay tigray” dream. PFDJ/Isayas mishandled the response but they are not the instigators. If someone slap in your face and if you cry then they punish you for your loud noisy cry, are you really the guilty one? It is interesting that you do not hate TPLF. As eritrean you were dancing with a wolf, as you can see in this interview:
      **In an interview he gave to the American writer, Paul Henze, in March 31 and April 1, 1990, Meles Zenawi, then head of the TPLF, expressed his feelings about post-independence Eritrea. He told him, first, that he did not expect Eritrean unity to hold, once the Derg was expelled from Eritrea. The main reason he gave for this was
      that Eritrea was a religiously divided nation and that he expected to see internal conflict once the enemy had gone. Second, he also expressed his unreserved preference to see, not an independent Eritrea, but one
      linked to Ethiopia in a federal arrangement. In explaining this, he told Paul Henze,
      “We look at this from the viewpoint of the interests of Tigre, first, and then Ethiopia as a whole. We know that
      Tigre needs access to the sea and the only way is through Eritrea ….
      There are many Tigreans in Eritrea ….. They don92t want to be treated as foreigners there … They have the same history. We are worried about Eritrea because we are not sure that differences among different groups
      can be kept under control”. (Paul B. Henze, Conversations with Meles Zenawi, J3 26/002/92/3 31 March/ 1 April 1990).**

      http://www.dehai.org/conflict/analysis/alemsghed1.html

      • Hayat Adem

        Dear Saba,
        I chronicled the acts and events for you. Then I shared with you what I make of them. I’m aware of what Meles has been saying. But we don’t need to go to all of them to form an opinion. There are tones of other interviews he gave in support of Eritrea, Eritreans and Shaebia since from his field time. The first harvest of benefits for acknowledging truth is to the acknowledger.

        • Fanti Ghana

          Hello Princess Hayat Adem,
          I was not going to forget you anyway, but now, our fate is sealed.
          The following makes my third frame-able quotes from Awate.com so far.

          “The first harvest of benefits for acknowledging truth is to the acknowledger.”
          ቅድስት ወ ብፅእት ሊቀ ሊቃውንት ሓያት ኣደም፤

          • Hayat Adem

            Thanks Fanti. I will not say “too much” for that praise because If a real friend whom I respect tremendously gives me a large shoes, I believe I have to double my effort to grow and fill them.

          • Hayat Adem

            Abi,
            Those 16 girls must have a good reason. I don’t mind competing with those to earn my space. It’s worth it.

      • Peace!

        Dear Saba,

        Shocked! He didn not expect Eritrean unity to hold, really!! Well, somebody needs to elbow Meles and show him where the cracks have started to appear!

        http://youtu.be/TTdFPEHn1J8

        • Nitricc

          Hi peace: interesting clip. Sooner or latter; Tplf and The likes of Hayat must understand that they are the minors. I just hope the Amhara, the Oromo and the rest will have mercy when the day comes. And believe, it is coming.

          • Peace!

            What’s up Bro,

            As you know, we do not wish any bad thing to happen to our neighbors for very obvious reason that we are humans and we will also be directly affected. But, astonishing enough, TPLF and its cadres don’t think that way which, in short, democratic Eritrea is not what they have in mind perhaps because it is a threat to the shaky federal system they have in place. They have waged countless evils including KGB style active measures: Demoralize and then Distablize, and then create Crisis, and then finally, after forceful change, Normalize. Guess what? there result is out there. Let’s hope they will learn from their own mistakes, and let Eritreans solve their own problems.

            Regards

    • haileTG

      Dear Hayat,

      When Egyptian border guards shot dead an Eritrean mother in front of her two kids (8 and 13), she posed no threat, she was unarmed and all she did was not stopping when ordered. Imagine a fully armed and trained soldier taking the decision of terminating her life in a most despicable way when he could have run and grabbed her. As everyone who came to learn the issue, rightly so, felt sickened by that barbarity some years ago, to your surprise it was only the PFDJ Ambassador in Egypt then who stood by the actions of the border guard and justified the killing of the Eritrean mother. To consider IA was heart broken by Eritrean farmers who were harassed at the border to the point of launching a full scale armed incursions is nativity at best. However, the irresponsible relationship between both parties before 1997 had led them to get into intractable recriminations and feuds that led to the eruption of the war. The conduct of the war was then history.

      Regards

      • Guest

        Ato Haile,
        Strange, it is as if there is a gap in the thinking process or may be the lights went out before the brain realized or decides these are totally unrelated things. Again strange. But it looks one is a case of citizens being harassed by an outsider right in their own home and country, while the other is a single case where a person is not only running away from his country but also trying to sneak into another country illegally.
        And it seems the lights where still out and the brain was with out power when it mixed up and couldn’t decide whether to go after Isseyas alone or not. And apparently the block out was long because we don’t know how the transition happened from talking about cruelty of issayas to the last part of the paragraph which is definitely about a Eritrea vs Ethiopia represented by their respective government.
        But now we would like to go back to Egypt and would like to know what happened or how that specific issue was settled. So ato Haile please tell us what happened after the incident:
        The border guard was convicted for using excessive power and murder?

    • Abi

      Hi Hayat
      I have a one liner for you .(as always.)
      Lib yemil sew Tefto zede yemiqeyis
      “Libe mulu” fetaw beyazew metreyes.

      • Amde

        Abi

        Are you gathering these together in an anthloogy or something? I hope you are

        This is like yesemonu zena be qnE.

        Amde

        • Abi

          Amde
          Altechalem enji Nakfan beBirr megzat
          Efoy enil neber kezih hulu chinqet.
          Ahunim mefthew ene endemamnew
          Nakfan beBirr sayhon beFiqir ” megzat” new.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Abi,

            Wow,

            ኣልተቻለም እንጂ ናቅፋን በብር መግዛት –

            እፎይ እንል ነበር ከዚህ ሁሉ ጭንቀት ::

            ኣሁንም መፍትሔው እኔ እንደማምነው –

            ናቅፋን በብር ሳይሆን በፍቅር መግዛት ነው ::

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Abo, now enjoy mine,

            ፍቅርን ‘ማ ገዢ ብናደርገው ድሮ –
            ………….መች ያልቅ ነበር ሃብታችን ተቆጥሮ ::

            ናቅፋስ ቢሆን ብሩ ብሩ ቢሆን ናቅፋ:-
            ………….መለዋወጫ ነው ሲፈታ ሲስፋ ::

            ልብ ሲነፃ ኮ ነበር – ተስፋ የሚኖረን :-
            ………….ነገሮችን በጋራ ብንወያይ ኣብረን ::

            ያለፈው ታሪክ ይሁንና ትምህርት –
            …………ለመጨው እናስብ እንስራ በእምነት ::

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            Thanks. That is beautiful and thought provoking.
            Migbma moltoal Amlak mech nesagn
            YeFiqir rehab new enen yakesagn. (Tilahun Gessesse)
            I’m sure you like Tilish.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Abo,
            the king!
            in fact I am hearing his music now.

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            I love Tilish. I always listen to his music.
            I was listening to one of my favorites, “leEmbaye boy lisra”
            Actually, I have so many favorites. Too many to count.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Abo,
            I was driving long distance listening my collection 8GB USB. all Amharic musics categorized by name of musicians – folders. 5 hours drive I reach only hearing his music except one or two of Mahmud. I came back hearing other musicians song to my place after 8hrs . Tilish remain the best although Amharic musics are all wonderful.

            what is not mentioned in his songs, peace, love, heroism any title that comes to mind are there, 50 years of service. RIP Tilish.

          • Amde

            Kokhob

            Mahmud songs are great for crossing lond distances. They goooooooooo ooooooooonnnnnnnnnn foooooorrrrrrrreeeeeevvvvvveeeerrrr. Like driving north south through Illinois, when all the corn is high and its just miles and miles. Beqolo irmen yasbilal.

          • NoDrama

            For all Tekle Tesfazghi funs, here’s a documentary on the life and music of the Great Artist ( sorry Abi & Addis, it’s in Tigrigna). I actually learned from the documentary that most of Tekle’s love songs are autobiographic and dedicated to his first love.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6w2Et4yIDQ

          • አዲስ

            How about Osman Abdelrahim guys? This one in particular. I have no idea what he’s saying but love it anyway.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhR4suE1rZU

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear ኣዲስ,
            we are actually rich people. Osman is another king in Tigrinya songs. we have a lot of them. they have thought us a lot. there also you will find some with few musics but strong once forgotten today.

          • Abi

            Addis
            I don’t know Tigrigna. I always loved The Great Tekle Tesfazghi. I have no idea what he was saying.
            Saba sabina
            Ane wey ane….

          • Saleh Johar

            Abi,
            Volenteering to translate the song for you:

            Saba Sabina = Saba sabiee
            ane wey ane = ldefalish wey enye

            then there parts that translate: afer liblalish, lmotelish,

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Saleh
            Edme yisTilign.
            Now I know why I loved Tekle. His music sound Amharic. Lidefalish, limutlish ….. are all typical amarigna.
            He was great with Roha band.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Abi,

            Please try the “Ethio-type” with geeze keyboard easy to use it when you want to communicate with amharic.
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Mr. Amanuel,

            Oh, we tried, advised, and begged before to no avail. The only thing we haven’t tried is Kaptcha
            verification to make sure that Abi is actually a human being.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Fanti,
            No, please !! don’t tell me I was busy with electronic machine or someone from the other world Lol…!

          • abrham

            Abi
            Tekle was a very talented man. But this saba sabina belongs to Ato Tesfay Belay from Eth.
            Eritrean old school tigrigna: http://youtu.be/jM3cBgvlNCo

          • Abi

            Hi abraham. Thanks . That is great. I recognized Alemayehu Eshete .
            Yasalefnew zemen destan yayenibet
            Temelso bigegn ahun min alebet? (Tilahun)

          • Haile WM

            Hi abrham,

            the original saba sabina is by Enginer Asghedom writer and composer of the song!
            enjoy

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvcsDeMGDmg

          • saay7

            Well Addis:

            Osman is criticizing himself for his naievete because a song he had written was stolen by another artist, Alamin Abdulatif (allegedly.)

            Now, aren’t you sorry you asked? I know Fanti is.

            saay

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Addis,
            Yes as Saay7 say it he was disappointed and it is a bit painful music on psychological problems he faced from false friends. he was and is still open friendly man. he has a lot of musics still and most of our people love his work. true and honest artists have similar problems I think.

          • አዲስ

            Hi Kokhob,
            Thanks for your input too. Looking forward to listen more of him. Edme le youtube. 🙂

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Addis,

            yes do that. osman, yenus, yemane, tewlde reda, eng.Asgedom are the most lovely musicians I think. try to hear them. but let me attach for you the most I love from Osman,

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_hEynUuYbA

          • አዲስ

            Hi Kokhob,

            Thanks for sharing all this. This one is also a beautiful music. I will definitely listen to all you suggested here.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • አዲስ

            Saay,

            haha well I didn’t expect that. I still love the music though. I always have a reservation of asking the meaning of music I don’t understand (in terms of language). Like for example whenever I listen to music from Mali or Niger, I would rather feel the music and keep that rather than spoiling it with what the lyrics actually saying. But I couldn’t help it here. To be totally honest, listening to this one, it felt like home. I don’t know what that says about me now I know what he’s signing about 🙂

            Thanks for the translation.
            Addis

          • saay7

            Addis:

            It says:

            1. You are old. (That song is from 1975)
            2. You love Motown music. (That’s Osman at his most Motownish. In his “Nefahito”, he was at most Jimi Hendrix, talking guitar and all)
            3. you are a melancholic man who pretends to be happy.
            4. Also, George W Bush hates black people.

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Saay,

            haha I didn’t know I was that easy to figure out. Thanks again.

            Addis

          • አዲስ

            Saay,

            p.s Kanye never lies 🙂

          • Bayan Nagash

            Selam Addis,

            Thanks Addis for taking me back to my childhood. It is amazing how I found myself singing along with the legend as though I had listened to it recently when in fact it was ages ago when I last heard it.

            Here is what can happen when an artist finds a band that brings the best in his artistic talents. Sophisticated instrumentation – absolutely fantastic on all counts: the audience was mesmerized, the artist was beaming and enjoying his artwork, and as listener I was entranced, to say the least. No naivete here, Sal, eh.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNKHqkSy0zQ

          • saay7

            Hey Bayan:

            You should have tried to sing along:) Osmans “lbey mdrebeda” (we talked about it when Haile TG introduced “Heart 101 For The Heartless”) has got to be one of the hardest Tigrinya songs to sing. You got to hit the high notes and then hold the note. Also, when we were kids, we mangled the lyrics because we had never heard of some of the words. Come on: admit it Bayan:)

            saay

          • አዲስ

            Hi Bayan,

            I am glad you enjoyed it.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Abo,

            Today Fanti put me in doubt if you are really a human … so as guarantee ans assurance let me ask the gold and wax of the poem above

            ናቅፋስ ቢሆን ብሩ ብሩ ቢሆን ናቅፋ:-
            ………….መለዋወጫ ነው ሲፈታ ሲስፋ ::

          • Abi

            Kokobe, Fanti
            Yekokobe dimqet selam yemiyasefnew
            YeFantaye deginet tewedadari yelelew
            Chigru yemimeTaw huletu siTameru
            YeAbin sewnet meTerTer jemeru
            Saay yiTeyeqna qurTachihun simut
            Abi sew aydelem website new Abi.net.
            Kokobe wendme bakih ghost atbelegh
            abi aydelehum eskahun Abi negn.

          • Amde

            አብነት ከAbi.net ልንለይ ስንቃጣ፣
            የtes Tesሱ ነገር በየት ዞሮ መጣ?

          • Kokhob Selam

            ፍቅር ይዞን እኛ ኣቢ ኣቢ ስንል:-
            የግጥም ባለእባት ፊደላችን ኣይችል::

            የሃበሻን ፊደል የማያውቅ ጎንድሬ :-
            እንዴት ተፈጠረ ኣቢ በመንደሬ::

            ነው ወይስ መግደርደር –
            የጎንደሬ ነገር –
            ተለምኖ ማደር –
            መቀበሉ ላይቀር ?

          • Amde

            አዬ ኮከባችን ምስጢር አውጥተሀል፣
            ለካስ ዘንግቻለሁ ዘመኑ ተራቁዋል፣
            የጎንደር መግደርደር ከምድርም ላይ ለቅዋል፣
            ድሮ ለሆድ ነበር ዛሬ ፊደል ደርሱዋል።

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Amde,
            It seems he is already accepting our request to write in Amharic font. but do you know on our way what we found? you, your skill in writing poems. we catch you, Lol, now you will have to write more and more. I love your way and style keep it up!

          • Abi

            Amde
            Abet mechekaken gizew tebelashe
            Amde yemtilew zemed eyesheshe
            Ahun min yilutal yanten dagninet
            Selam endemamTat esat charkbet.
            Amdu endayinaga selam endayTefa
            Kokobachin yidmeq birhanum yisfa

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            Agurah Tenagn biyalehu !!
            You are great.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Abi,

            life without you is impossible but we need more from you. so start using ….

            http://www.lexilogos.com/keyboard/amharic.htm

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            I started to practice but lazy me I stopped. I will start again. The other problem is I can’t focus at the keyboard since most of the time I comment while doing something like watching a game or waiting for the green light.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Abi,
            If I can why not you? you will, “practice make man perfect” all you have to do is repeat and the mind will do it’s job to instruct you fingers. 15 minutes a day you will master it within 10 days. please don’t stop practicing. I learn Arabic writing and reading even people start to wonder when they read my poems in Arabic leave alone mastering your letters which are already in your mind but practicing typing. don’t let us down !!

          • Rahwa T

            ወዳጄ ኮኾብ ሰላም

            እንዲህማ ልክ ልኩን ነግረህ ያችን አሮጌ ላፕ ቶፑን ወድያ እንዲወረራት አድርገው::

          • Abi

            Sistu
            ” endiyaw elshalehu ehte zemede
            Endalteweledkush eyaweqew hode.”

          • Kokhob Selam

            Lol,

      • Berhe Y

        Abi,

        Can I ask you one huge favour? Can you use Geez fonts when you post in Amharic Ike KS does. The reason I ask is, I think you say a lot of intesting things, sometimes I can’t get everything you say (actually most of the time).

        BY

      • Nitricc

        It took me a day to untangle this toothless take by the toothless Abi. but I am at lose what it really means. Here what I came up with. In translation. I need help from KM, Amde and the rest of the toothless’s help.
        “At the absence of a wise man; when can strategize or plane.
        A brave man solved the problem with a barel of gun. ”
        Since when is a good thing using gun to solve a problem?

        • Amde

          Nitricc

          “Since when is a good thing using gun to solve a problem?”

          Indeed, young general…indeed.

        • Kim Hanna

          Selam Nitricc,
          .
          Sorry, you have to go back to Gojam and study the art. I am from Addis and have been reprimanded for trying once.
          .
          I thought I knew what you meant by toothless, now I am at a loss.
          .
          K.H

        • Abi

          General Nitricc
          You just answered your question. That is why we killed over 100,000 people because we pretended to be brave. Notice ” libe mulu” is in a quotation.

        • Amde

          General Nitricc,

          “At the absence of a wise man; who can strategize or plan.
          A brave man solved the problem with the barrel of a gun. ”

          What is amazing about this post is you understood it thoroughly, translated it well enough that it actually also rhymes in English, but then of all people you – the professional soldier, trained to solve problems through the barrel of a gun – profoundly disagree with its conclusion by completely agreeing with its message.

    • Amde

      Hi Hayat,

      Since Saay said he did not want to be dragged in, I am commenting here.

      In relation to what you wrote, articles written by two Eritreans who are universally acknowledged for having been unquestioningly pro-EPLF were referred to in these discussions.

      The first is Professor Tekie Fessehazion, (http://www.denden.com/Conflict/newscom/com-tek98.htm) referred here to us by Addis. The second is by by Alemseged Tesfai (http://www.dehai.org/conflict/analysis/alemsghed2.html), referred to us here by Saay himself.

      As is clear from Professor Tekie’s writing, his article titled “Eritrean and Ethiopian State of Economic Relations A Nakfa/Birr/LC Analysis” was written AFTER the isssuance of the two currencies and Ethiopia’s imposition of the LC/foreign currency trade rules were imposed but BEFORE the outbreak of the war. I could not find an exact date, but he states in the footnote “Ever since the Nakfa was introduced several weeks ago”. We know the Nakfa was introduced on 8 November 1997 per Wikipedia, so he must have written his pieces in the November/December timeframe. His motive was spelled out in the title – to analyze and explain the repercussions of the new Nakfa/Birr/LC environment. (He actually says in the first paragraph, “Saleh Younis prevailed on me to take a vow of silence for one month” – this might be good point to ask Saay why he pushed the Professor for his silence on this issue, but no matter) Anyway, it is clear he is discussing the events that immediately followed the currency change and the LC rule implementation.

      It is clear from his article that the primary interest of the Ethiopian side was in controlling and maximizing foreign currency. The change in the currencies on both sides of the border, and the institution of the LC system (which he characterizes as “a de facto trade barrier”, the interpretation of the new rules collectively ended up with a situation which he describes as being “the closest
      thing to an economic blockade of Eritrea.” He then states that the Ethiopia Federal governments policy of foreign currency maximization, is used as a cover by unnamed “states” (code word for Tigray) to push Eritreans out of the Ethiopian market and substitute themselves. “For too long we have been lulled by the ready accessibility of the Ethiopian market. Since
      the States closest to us are embarked, on import substitution, the first target for substitution is whatever the rest of Ethiopia
      buys from us.”

      In his reading, not only were the actions following the currency change resulting in an Economic Blockade of Eritrea – worse, it gave an opening for Eritreans to be pushed out of the Ethiopian market altogether. A “blockade” can be lifted under some set of agreements, but losing established customers/monopolies is a really tough thing to recover from quickly.

      This article paints a picture of the situation just a few months before the war. He probably never imagined that a war would be in the offing so soon, but it is clear Eritrea saw some very serious existential threats to its economy.

      Alemseged Tesfai’s article was written in August 1998 (per his entry). His section on the monetary issue is written as a section of an overall paper explaining the cause of the war. So his motive on writing the paper is to provide an explanatory narrative of how and why the war started.

      Alemseged does indicate the difference of opinion between the Ethiopian and Eritrean sides on how to conduct trade between the two sides. He does indicate the Eritrean preference for the interoperability of both currencies within both countries, an option Ethiopia ruled out. He asserts that Eritrea was a victim when it was using the Birr, and that Ethiopia benefited more from the arrangement. (If that is the case, why the Eritrean side would ask for the continued use of Birr in the Eritrean economy is not clear) Then Nakfa was introduced, at which point he tells us “When the Nakfa came into operation, Ethiopian reaction was unexpectedly and astonishingly violent. Holders of that currency were harassed at all Ethiopian points of entry, the Nakfa was confiscated and sometimes torn or burned and the atmosphere of the complete break-down of trade created by Ethiopian authorities. In fact, trade from Eritrea to Ethiopia came to a virtual halt…. Nothing approaching that level of irrationality was seen prior to the Nakfa incident – not even at the time of Eritrean independence, especially by the TPLF cadres and their supporters. Suddenly, pictures of an economically weak Eritrea trying to get an easy ride on the back of Ethiopia started to be painted.”

      Please note, he says Trade came to a standstill because the Ethiopians became irrationally violent. The picture of the irrationally violent Ethiopian is a clever seed to sell the idea of the cause of Badme being the Ethiopian side, but nevertheless it does indicate the Eritrea side saw this dispute in martial eyes. “The idea, apparently, was to teach Eritrea the lesson that (the old fallacy) its existence was irrevocably and forever tied to Ethiopia’s abundant resources; that what amounted to a trade embargo, would bring it down to submission.” In his concluding section he says “In the areas of trade and currency policies, the post-1991 agreements between Eritrea and Ethiopia did not work and, in fact, led to some confrontations. In other areas, including the issue of citizenship, no insurmountable problems were encountered and, one may say, they were generally successful.”

      Alemseged’s last quoted sentence is quite revealing as he is saying that there were no other problems other than the trade issue. Of course he then moves into a next section where he tells us about the border.

      It is interesting reading both, that they both agree that immediately following the new currencies, trade had basically come to a stand still, and that Eritreans saw this as essentially an economic blockade / embargo in its effect. Both blamed “neighboring states” or “TPLF cadres” for this – and not the authorities in Addis Ababa. Both agree that a policy of import substitution was being enforced by the Ethiopian side, replacing imported Eritrean products by the Ethiopian substitutes.

      Six months later, the Badme war erupted.

      Amde

      • Abi

        Amde
        Good summary.
        I suggest those intellectuals to read
        ” Who Ate My Cheese” by John W Nichols.
        Interesting book .

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Amde,
        an article !

      • Fanti Ghana

        Hello Amde,
        Wow! Good work. Do you drive too?
        Note: There is a closing bracket, ‘)’ at the end of the denden link that needs to be removed.

        • Amde

          Hi Fanti

          Thanks, I removed the parenthesis from both links. Hope works better.

          I don’t understand your reference to driving.

          Amde

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Amde,
            May be I should have said “can you cook too?”

          • Amde

            Fanti

            Ha-ha.. I have the girth to prove it.

            Amde

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Fanti Ghana,
            .
            Speaking of cooking, I have to share this cooking “invention” I experienced recently. It is the old Engera and WoT presented in a different way at the dinner table.
            .
            The invention is to accommodate foreigners and “modern” Abeshas prepare and eat Enjera and WoT with a fork.
            .
            The cook cuts the Enjera into 4 equal parts of pie shaped quarters. The 1st quarter of Enjera is placed on the plate and WoT is spread around with a soup spoon. The 2nd Enjera quarter is placed flush with the 1st one and additional WoT ,Cottage cheese etc is spread around and so on until the 4th quarter Enjera completes the picture.
            .
            My brother in- law dubbed this dish “ENJE-SAGNA” . (The thought of a patent is pending.)
            There was no demonstration or explanation or anything except enjoy the meal. There. How about that? I don’t want to hear from any traditionalists or Nitricc about this.
            .
            K.H

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Brother KH, long time.
            It sounds very good actually. That is what Mexican Americans deed! Once upon a time, there was burrito. Some clever person cut it into three pieces, surrounded it with refried beans and cheese, flavored it with tomato sauce on top, called it Chimichanga, and voila! civilized.

          • Ted

            Hi, KH, here is mine.(open source)

            “HabeshRogie”

            Ingredients: Dry,lightly cooked, coarsely chopped spiced beef(raw Beef for Our Ethiopian Friends or ‘leb leb Kitfo)

            Cottage cheese.

            Kale(habesha gomen)

            Enjera

            Sauce( butter and berbere) or Comedero selsi for our Eri Friends.

            PS. The Sauce can be replaced by Tihlo sauce under Wezero F. Ghana supervision.

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Ted,
            .
            I think we are onto something here. With a little error and trial at the kitchen we will come up with an equivalent of a “Pizza” and “Burrito” adaptations too.
            .
            Ted, don’t forget MARKETING is the most important ingredient in this effort.
            .
            BTW. The only down side to this project is we get bigger whether we fail or succeed.
            .
            K.H

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear KH,
            modernizing cultural dishes! the inventor (your brother in -law ) may have more inventions. is copy write protected?

      • አዲስ

        Hi Amde,

        Nice summary here. By the way, have you noticed that in Tekie’s article what you,haile,I and others were discussing wasn’t even brought up as an issue?

        Thanks,
        Addis

        • Amde

          Addis

          Interesting.. I actually did not even look for that. That is interesting in its ommission.

          Sine you had presented the Tekie paper, and Saay the Alemseged one, I was expecting they would have opposite narratives on what happened. I was surprised they corroborated each other on the recollection of what happened trade wise in the months just before the war.

          Amde

          • አዲስ

            Hi Amde,

            Interesting indeed. That was one of the reasons I posted it in the first place. The sticking point was trade I guess. If anybody has any link that tells us otherwise, I am happy to read.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Amde, Addis
            Between the two videos S. Tesfa posted yesterday, and Alemseged’s Article (I haven’t read Prof Tekie just yet) I think we have enough clues to conclude that the trade/currency discussion did not go beyond the preliminaries, just enough for both sides to know that they were seriously differing from each other, but before they could work it out the friction intensified too quickly. Then the news outlets took over, accusation counter accusation ensued, the missing pieces started to be supplied by ‘intellectuals,’ and the rest is Badme.

          • Amde

            Fanti

            I don’t know Tigrigna. A summary of the videos would be appreciated.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Amde,
            If I get a chance I will try tomorrow. Otherwise I will translate everything word for word this coming weekend. Until then, the Eritrean delegate’s discussion does not seem to contradict any of what was being discussed here yesterday. From the tone of their discussion they sound hopeful for more talks and for eventual satisfactory outcome. The interview with PMMZ may have taken place after the friction was made public. His discomfort with the Eritrean position was obvious. You won’t get any new information from it, but it will help a little to have a feel for the mood they were in around those months.

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Amde.,
            .
            The idea of one country being able to print another country’s currency pretty much amounts to a broad day light highway robbery. To enforce it by force of arms is the highest form of thug-gery.
            .
            If you can print Nakfa and exchange it for birr at par, you might as well have the printing capability of birr too, why all this shenanigan.
            The propagandists that were out there presenting it as something noble and friendly cannot be considered intellectuals but enablers of a crime. I have read enough of their materials with all the condescending and insulting comments to last me a life time.
            .
            I wasn’t going to say anything about this old subject until I read one of the links attached. As some one once said to me, I am sorry I can’t help it.
            .
            K.H

      • Hayat Adem

        Exactly Amde,
        That about captures it. We can all disagree as to who did what for baking the bad pizza but the fact that that bad was made from ingredients of disagreements, irritations and mistrusts around the trade and currency must clearly stand unmistakable. Last time I checked, Badume had no significant role in the trades and/or currencies of the two countries.
        Once war is decided. borders and territories always serve as nice pretexts for war mobilization and diplomatic outmaneuvering efforts. When Hitler wanted to start WW2, he transported his Polish army uniform wearing 600 soldiers across to Poland and ordered them to enter from west Poland firing at the German army. Then, he accused Poland of aggression and declared a war of self-defense.

    • Eri Vigilant Citizen

      Hello

      How is Bademe an Ethiopian territory in May 12 1998. And why belittle “May 6, Tigriay militia killed some officers” the 6 police officers who died are called Martyrs, so who has the first blood in his hands.

    • tes

      Dear Hayat Adem,

      I wish your analysis was dealt at a national and responsible parties level of discussions. What you are basically missing is about the nature of PFDJ regime. I don’t care about woyane (this is my stand as he will be as he is as fara as we are weak as a nation). PFDJ is not a normal governing regime. Analaysing issues as if PFDJ was a responsible party is what it makes your analysis naive. More than that I wonder wwhen you come again and again wtih you solution package.

      Let me share this with you: “PFDJ is not a normal regime. he is abnormal. Witth abnormal goverining regime there is a system to deal with and that is to weed. If there are things left then after, we can deal with it though I believe any abnormal thing will vanish with the abnormal regime.

      tes

      • Nitricc

        Hi Tes ;the question is what is to be normal? For instance; are you Normal?
        My point is normal people should talk about normality. If you get my drift.
        Ps would you please answer about your dream feeding enginered food. I asked you to explain and you have ignored it. Please answer it, it is very important to me.
        Thanks

        • tes

          Dear Nitricc,

          I didn’t answer to you because you have mixed up things.

          Please know the difference between “engineered” and “genetically modified” foods.

          I know you are talking about genetically modified foods and that is why I don’t feel any need to respond.

          Just a hint: everything in life is engineered but not necessarily modified. When you make injera for example, you engineer the making of injera. But if you alter the properties of “teff” for example in order to produce more, that is not only engineered but modified too.

          lesson for you:

          What food engineering is:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehpP7DFWJlk

          and what Genetic engineering

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YftLoq8U6oQ

          Note for you: Genetically engineered food can be produced by food engineers but not all foods are genetically modified.

          Luckily I am studying development of traditional and local foods and watch what it means

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMjQhsSqXrM

          Therefore, try to differentiate first each subject

      • Amde

        Tes

        I disagree with this urge to completely make PFDJ an exception in some moralistic manner. It is dangerous to assume people do things because they are especially evil. It conveniently removes the responsibility from the rest of us.

        If another group had been in power, would they have taken a different set of actions? If you found yourself in charge of a nation who feels you suddenly are economically embargoed, dollars not coming in, but having to bear the cost of governing a country, what would you do?

        Please understand, I am not justifying either party. But, this probably would have been a predictable set of circumstances, because the economic arrangement between Ethiopia and Eritrea was not something built by TPLF or PFDJ, but it preceded them. The extension to this is that this same set of problems may also survive either one or both of these organizations, requiring a new generation and set of leaders to resolve.

        It is important for everyone to understand that the first economic divorce most likely led to war, or at the very least it led to an environment where war became inevitable. At this point, most Eritreans want to keep the war as a border issue, because the alternative – that the full economic consequence if political independence was not even considered – is not comfortable. And many Ethiopians may not be comfortable in seeing the war as one of Economic hegemonic competition between the old Eritrean economic elite, and the new TPLF led group over the Ethiopian market and resources.

        A generation has passed since the war and the economic ties are no more. But life will force us to figure out ways of living together again. The least we owe the next generation is honest understanding of what exactly happened. To leave it as “PFDJ was crazy” and ignore real issues is not it.

        Amde

        • tes

          Dear Amde,

          What I believe is that PFDJ as a system is evil and without exception I believe what Eritrea is upto today in heres domestic and extrenal mess-up is because of the evil system. If you call it this as a danegerous, call it but it is my belief.

          On the Eri-Ethio situation, from Eritrean side, it is because of the evil system PFDJ has. And if Ethiopia behaves in the way she did and is doing now it is only because of abnormalities of PFDJ. n fact, EPRDF has been used by PFDJ stupid game. I consider it like entering into a gambling casino (everyone plays and at last everyone losses kind of).

          Dear Amde, when I read people like Hayat Adem and YG, I simply laugh. These two are so naive in the way they see things.

          Hayat Adem considers there is a responsible party in Eritrea and must be accountable for all the evils that happened (though one dimensional) and she has a package of solutions to remove the party that she considers “GUILTY”.

          YG assumes what is happening in today’s Eritrea is basically the divorce of the 1960s (he never mentions the 1940s-1950s political history). And he has a solution package of seeing Eritrea of 1962 (the day Eritrean flag was lowered and declared united to her grande mama”.

          Though Hayat Adem’s and YG’s belief look different they both have common characters: ‘being void in their true essence of addressing the issue and the emptiness of their solution package. YG failed to recognize what happened in 1991 and Hayat Adem ignored what 1993 is for Eritrea (the recognition of Eritrea as a sovereign nation).

          The above dialectical and contarsting narration is not meant to divert your concern but to absorb it in that context.

          Saying that, what exactly happened prior to the 1998 badme war has a completely different angle of analysis from exactly then happened then after. Any reasoning before May 1998 leaves us disconnected.

          Look, can you rationalize things when Ginbot-7 and many others reside in Asmara and trying to use Eritrea as a base in order to destablize Ethiopia? What rationale do we have to connect the anecdotes? Can we really reach in to a conclusion by tracing back and analyse things prior to 1998?

          Dear Amde, I have dozens of questions of contemplation for you but I know you have your own. But let me address this single paragrapah:

          “PFDJ is an abnormal system and thinking in a normal way to this his mindset leads you no where. The best solution we have is then to eradicate the system first. Only then we can have the historical narrations (if necessary) to diagonize our past experiences.”

          tes

          • Abi

            Tes
            You are saying the ” formidable force” that brought you independence in 1991 and your sovereign nation in 1993 , turned evil or abnormal prior to 1998.
            How is your theory different from YG ?
            You also said EPRDF has been used by a stupid game of PFDJ. How ? When? Do you believe this stupid game led us to war?
            When did you notice the abnormal/ evil/ stupid behavior of pfdj? I read eritrean economy was growing fast prior to 1998 under the same pfdj. If you say pfdj was abnormal or evil on those days, how did this progress happened?
            ” It is Complicated ” for me . I need your help.
            Thanks

          • tes

            Dear Abi,

            My favorite (next to selam of course)

            You wrote, “You are saying the ” formidable force” that brought you independence in 1991 and your sovereign nation in 1993 , turned evil or abnormal prior to 1998.”

            Where did get this from?

            Did you interprate what I said like that or you read them from my lines?

            Where is the word “formidable force”?

            Where is the word that I said “brought independence and sovereign nation”?

            Where did you read “…turned evil or aabnormal prior to 1998”?

            These are all what you are saying not me.

            Stay corrected first before dealing to your next worse assumption.

            Did you adjust your eyeglass degree?
            tes

          • Abi

            Tes
            This is not English class.
            “You said” is different from ” you are saying “.
            You are saying means you are implying.
            Now, replace ” you are saying ” with “you are implying ” and answer my questions.
            I care less about syntax and semantics.
            Thanks

          • tes

            Dear Abi,

            But you care more on T and t, isn’t it?

            Ok, if it is, I am not saying what you are saying. Read what I am saying and be back again.

            tes

          • Abi

            Tes
            Never mind. It is difficult to talk to you. Either you change the “title” or the subject or both.
            Have you ever tried to hold a mercury between your tumb and index finger?It is impossible. That is who you are.

          • tes

            Dear Abi,

            Only honest people can talk with me at ease. Be honest, not for me but for yourself, then only you will find tes. If you not, for sure you will search Tes.

            Above all, I was not communicating you. You just jumped in and started to deviate the issue hence uninvited guest goes either empty of half. You left empty, right?

            tes

          • Abi

            Tes
            I agree with you. Only honest people stand by their comments. They don’t hide behind a new name. tes.

      • Abi

        Getaw
        Don’t you see the pattern? “Blame it on Rio.”
        Just shift the responsibility and you are clean. What tes is saying is don’t blame us , it is not my government who messed up. It is pfdj/ PFDJ (pick one or both depends on what time of the night it is in Paris) that made the mistake. Problems solved.
        Very cute.

  • Berhe Y

    Selam Guest,

    Although the article may be one sided, but at least it’s important to know that, the way things started with the agreement “Free Trade” and have a way to evaluate and come to terms was really encouraging to know. It is natural to an disagreement but you do not resort to war without giving all efforts. In our case, for Example in Eritrea, had the Eritrean constitution was in place, the President do not have the power to declare was “order army to invade another country” without full 2/3 approval of Baito “parliament”.

    The lack of economic development in Eritrea, for sure Ethiopian being the biggest partner had a HUGE impact but the main issue is, that Eritrea is lead by a ruthless dictator who has the Eritrean Youth, business and people are his NUMBER 1 enemy where he is/has done anything in his power to crash the country economy and resourcefulness of the population.

    Had Eritreans are allowed to do things like any other normal countries do, I am sure we will have find our own way of developing and making economic miracles, like all other people who are left alone to become creative.

    There is a LOT going for use than meeting the eye, if the PFDJ thugs can leave our people alone.

    So it’s NOT fair to compare…at least NOT now…

    Berhe

  • T..T.

    To Nitricc, Selam and all pro-Isayas guests,

    Face the reality. Blame your failure to defend your side on Isayas’s policy of mouth tightness.

    Those who know about what went wrong and the causes of the war were either faced their fate or remained mouth glued because of the risks of verbalizing about the causes of the war. Rather than clamping up the mouth of those who could explain it, Isayas should encourage those who could or assigned to do so by providing information.

    Like they say, the heart has a hundred tongues, just let the lips deliver the words making your side stories worth listening with the truth hidden in the heart. Even if Hayat, as a member of the Eritrean opposition, had to use those available evidences to make her point any short falling can be added from your side as counter evidences.

    Nitricc/Selam, don’t forget to first chew the truth on both sides of your mouth before you utter them. If your side stories don’t appease Isayas, you would be labelled “Wayne” in the way you did unto Hayat. See that “Isayas’s mouth tightness policy” will force you to lie again lest not be labelled with a name you hate. Again, that fear not to tell the truth is shutting your mind and ears to what Hayat got to get you reading from what the political marketing is offering as evidences.

    Indeed, your failure or your inability to verbalize the sufferings of the Eritrean people under what Isayas calls “no war, no peace” should be blamed on Isayas’s policies of silencing the pens and tongues of those who could. Isayas also to blame for killing the appetite of those who want to defend the Eritrean people by revealing the truth about the war and the sufferings of those fleeing the country.

    • Nitricc

      Hi T.T. aren’t you that guy who is educated beyond his intelligence? I thought so; mr. intellectual, take it easy. I hate to break it for you but you don’t know jack. easy! at least we stand with what we believe? what do you believe? I guess your believe is going after Hayat and kissing her behind? good luck with that.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear peace,
    no doubt making inventory is important event after event. But demoralizing the optimistic workers by exploiting weakness is a direct service to the opposite side. In fact, PFDJ office keep searching weakness and differences and expand it, color it, and supply it and manipulate. this what politics is inside PFDJ camp. if you are for change you better watch the tactics of PFDJ.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Selam,
    do heard what the doughtier of those parents who are arrested for unclear and unknown reason? what do you feel about this young girl who was not allowed to see them even for a minute and say -I love you dad, I love you mum. isn’t very painful story?

  • tes

    Dear Guest,

    Aha, yes let’s move on again.

    My take on the root cause of all evil in Eritrea: PFDJ

    and woyanie aggression: PFDJ mistakes.

    Border issue: Closed. Final and binding, no negotiation.

    To sum-up: why we are today as we are is: “PFDJ hegemonic mindset and woyanie’s expansionist agenda”.

    Solution: PFDJ must be weeded-out. Woyane, will never step a single centimeter inside our soverignland simply because we Eritreans know what we paid for it and we will protect it by all means.

    Point.

    Then what is up brother?

    For every mission, there must be a strategy and the best strategy at hand is to weed PFDJ.

    Let’s move on Guest. The Geneva gear should never be slowed down.

    tes

  • Peace!

    Dear Guest,

    No doubt that there are genuine and respectful members in the opposition camp, and we have to be thankful for their services to our country, but the problem is they are wearing the same uniform as the weyane infiltrators. If there is a serious difference within the camp, as most of them have admitted, then we need help so we can differentiate and expose the bad ones.

    regards

  • selam

    Dear guest
    I did not say that , what I said to k.s was that he keep accusing me or even tell me say this and that . Can you imagine for K.S who spent time with my grandfather and defeated by my father to tell me things from his 1980th defeat and expect the young to wait for them to lead. It is not the young who said ” ane wedi markato eye Kereyeka eye ” can you imagine , to know I am saying things that happend in Ethiopia between Eritrean opposition figures . Is not it enough that for the majority of Eritreans to just reject these old politicians and start their united front with out being reginal , ethical and religous . Is not it enough that we have seen them and now they are making us lose the inertia of Geneva by just taking our time for this fales propaganda of ethiopia . Can you see how many people commented on saay article about the call for united front ? Just to tell you the truth the comment section of awate.com becames hot when Weyane and PFDJ issue rise by people like hayat . Is not it the right moment to question saay and saleh to their face for letting us waste our time on this ?

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Saba,
    we have common understanding in most. there are some which are far from my understanding. I will swallow them since they will not affect our common stand.

    • Saba

      Dear Kokhob Selam,
      You made me laugh the way you put it:)
      I do not know which part you are trying to swallow but i think there are things to be swallowed and things to be ruminated:)
      In addition to you we need kokob tsibah.

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Saba,

        no not trying only ,I already swallow it with milk and honey. Lol,
        “መእንቲ ሞጎጎ ትሕለፍ ኣንጭዋ” type.

        • Saba

          Dear Kokhob Selam,
          You are funny:)
          I imagine you had some poems and “massetat” in addition to milk and honey:) You can’t just swallow (or just look at the ኣንጭዋ) and sip your milk.
          As for me i will destroy my ሞጎጎ with the ኣንጭዋ and make a new and better ሞጎጎ, mes mes tibil dildilti ሞጎጎ ::

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Sabino,

            ዓሻ ድየ ምጎጎይ ዝሰብር –
            ነንጭዋ ኢለ ኣብ ጥምየት ዝሓድር –
            ንሳ ትሕለፍ ንሎሚ ‘ውን ትንበር –
            ብመደብ እየ ኣጽኒዐ ዝኸትር ::

            ምጎጎየ ኣለዋ እዩ ዛንታ –
            ምእንታይ ኢላ ኣደይ ሃኒጻታ –
            ኣስሊ ስራሕ ዘይብሉ መሰታ –
            ናይ ወራዙ ክብሪ ናይ ማይ ቤታ ::

            ኣብነት-
            እቲ ጀግና እንተትህወኽ ነይሩ –
            ህግደፍ ክሃርም ኩናቱ ወርዊሩ –
            ምስ ሃሰየ ንህዝቢ ሃገሩ –
            ምስ ተረፍ ብዘይ ሃገር ክብሩ ::

  • Peace!

    Dear papillon,

    Of course logic matters, but first you need to have purpose and direction to challenge problems at hand. YG’s obsession with logic excessively didn’t help him to get his message across.

    Eritrean solutions for Eritrean problems is a simple idea that empowers Eritreans, specially the young justice seekers, to seek sustainable change from within, given that apparently all setbacks can easily be traced to poor interventions by foreign countries.

    Regards

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Papillon,

    someone describe you once “ጓል ሕድርትና” do you remember? you know how much we love you all. I can’t describe you fine ability – I wish I read your posts everyday. I even beg you to write an article. above all I love your stand in all events. I love you. please be around always.

  • saay7

    Selamat Awatistas:

    I actually wanted to resume a discussion with Berhe Y on Germany’s “economic water-boarding of Greece” but in passing I should give my requisite input into Hayats article.

    And that’s this: please read Alemseghed Tesfais “The Causes of the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict” parts 1-3 as a companion piece to Hayats article. To my reading, Alemsegheds piece is a lot more compelling when you couple it with contemporaneous records from the time (check out Aida Kidanes YouTube channel and search.)

    Here’s Alemsegheds piece: http://www.dehai.org/conflict/analysis/alemsghed2.html

    Now Berhe Y remember how you were having a debate with someone who was telling you the stereotypical view of the “lazy” Greek. Well well well. Here’s the data for hours worked by nation. Look at Greece and look at Germany. And this is BEFORE the Germans ordered the Greeks to work on Sunday’s. Image below from OECD.

    Cousin iSem: this is what we call “sleyan kolelan”, ha!

    saay

    • Amde

      Hi Saay,

      tangentially a propos, and completely stolen from somewhere else on the internet.

      “If 50Cent kept up with inflation, he’d be 73Cent”

      Maybe that’s why he’s in bankruptcy?

      • saay7

        Bad, bad Amde:

        The one I heard was “Is 50 Cent now dropping the 5 in front of 0?”

        He has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy “protection.” I think “bankrupt” is one of those words which means whatever the lawyers want it to mean. In this case it means, “Of course I am still a millionaire but by declaring bankruptcy I make sure that some creditor doesn’t get what they think they are entitled to.”

        saay

    • አዲስ

      Hi Saay,

      If you really believe that lopsided argument by Alemseghed is a valuable input, then it’s time for me to leave this discussion alone and move on to reading other stuffs here.

      Thanks,
      Addis

      • saay7

        Selamat Addis:

        What I said is Alemsegheds piece is a companion piece to Hayats. Both are lopsided and each referencing one side of the argument and from my perspective, since Alemseghed occasionally takes the trouble of supporting his arguments with sources* AND contemporaneous references (particularly on the 3 options available to Eritrea and Ethiopia in 1997 on how to harmonize the transition) I find his narrative more credible, relatively speaking.

        SaaY

        * Hayat was writing a comment which became an article so it’s understandable that it’s not included in the original piece. But since then she hasn’t forwarded any supporting documentation or references which is consistent with all her previous fly-on-weyane-wall narrations here at awate.

        • አዲስ

          Hi Saay,

          haha sure I will stop dragging you back. At least your statement “it wasn’t Eritrea vs Ethiopia: it was PFDJ/Red Sea vs TPLF/EFFORT.” resonates well with me.

          Thanks,
          Addis

    • Haile WM

      Hi Saay,
      I actually saw this statistics in a class when I was doing an MBA, and the professor was a German… his rationale was that actually the greeks worked longer hours but basically they were not productive 😉 they were warming their sits at work(and he was quite convinced about it) tinfer aytinfer T’el iya was his view :-). the germans are convinced the greeks are lazy no matter what they do or produce to show that is not the case…
      Cheers

      • Amanuel

        Hi Haile WM & saay7
        1) This data is collected by individual national statistics authorities who each have their own methods of collecting & collating information. They should be taken with a pinch of salt. The Greeks have a magic which help them to hide an adverse position. At one time their state rail way was making billions of losses and they designed a system to hide this loss. The magic was the government buys bonds issued by the state rail way, then the government payment for the bonds was not counted as expenditure, but as a financial transition. This process helps to hide the debt on paper but one day the chicken will come to roast and they did big time for Greece.

        2) The date is not comparing like with like. Lets compare The Greeks and Germans. The Greek workers are mostly self employed shop keepers and farmers who work long hours while the Germans workers mostly working in manufactory and other services. There fore, the two labour markets are structure differently, it is actually hard to compare like with like.
        When i criticise the Greeks for not working enough hours in my last comments, I made it clear that i was referring to public servants who consume public funds. It is acceptable in Greek not to find a civil servant in his office when he is required to.

        At last what i would like to say is, just throwing statistics with out their caveat is either naive or misleading.

        Thanks
        Amanuel

        • saay7

          Selamat Amanuel:

          I don’t think anybody would argue with your premise that the Germans are more productive than the Greeks. When you call someone lazy, productivity (output/input) is not the question but work ethic, and that’s what I was objecting to.

          The larger point for me (and this is one of the arguments I have with PFDJ supporters) is equating an actor with a State. I understand that in international relations the two are the same (the government is the state is the people) but when we have a crisis that can lead to a revolution (and the Greek situation is just a prelude of things to come), I think we should focus on the actors who are responsible.

          There have been a few reports written on what happened to the bailout money Greece received in 2010. Until Matt Taibbi shows up to tell us about Europe’s “vampire squid”, heres a less colorful but informative piece:

          http://jubileedebt.org.uk/reports-briefings/briefing/six-key-points-greek-debt-weeks-election

          I think it has been shown over and over that austerity plans without debt relief do not work.

          saay

      • Amde

        Hi HaileWM

        I am surprised a professor would say this. Take your typical highland Habesha farmer. His is a tough life, battling his cattle, the weather, pests, the taxman, theft etc.. to feed himself and hopefully produce a little extra. By no means would I call him lazy. But is he productive? Not compared to other farmers all over the world. There are too many other factors outside his control that affect his productivity especially compared to some other parts of the world.

        Amde

    • Berhe Y

      Thanks Saay,

      I just read this..

      “Earlier today, Greece used up virtually its entire €7.1 billion bridge loan from the EU to repay its creditors: between the money due to the ECB, the arrears to the IMF and the cash borrowed from the Greek central bank, Athens had about €300 million left over from the entire inbound wire to use as it sees fit just hours after the money was received, and then promptly sent right back.

      Or, as some put it, Greece collected a 4% transaction fee for facilitating a €6.8 billion payment from its creditors to its creditors.”

      And what do they get in return, increased VAT from 13% to 23% (almost across the board) and cutting pensions…

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-20/greek-hell-unchanged-after-athens-uses-creditor-money-repay-creditors

      BY

      • Amde

        Hi Berhe

        That is exactly the problem. It is not a bailout of Greece. It is continued transfer of money from the EU political entities to European financial entities. The Greeks are unfortunate patsies.

        You get extra thumbs up for the ZeroHedge reference, but that website is so doom and gloom day in day out I wonder about their sanity.

        Amde

        • Berhe Y

          Selam Amde,

          Yeah between that and automatic earth, the world is coming to an end…but there is some news items that you don’t hear in the main stream (at least in NA) that I find it of interest.

          Berhe

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Saay, Amde, Berhe Y,

            What is wrong with you guys???
            I was feeling hopeful about our planet when I heard (npr) some intriguing ideas scientists were contemplating to cool down our planet yesterday. Learning from the Mount Pinatubo Volcanic Eruption of 1991 –the ash that came out shooting from the mountain had tiny particles that reflected the sun, cooling the planet by a solid 1+ degree C. for 2 years– they were considering world wide campaign to fly as many planes as can be attained to spread similar particle around the globe 24/7.

            So, I came to work this morning feeling cheerful and enthusiastic until I made the mistake of reading you guys.

          • Amde

            Fanti

            Be truthful now. Was it not the prospect of seeing Saay taking a shower that turned your mood down?

          • Amde

            Fanti

            I always knew being amedam will pay off someday. In your face emahoy grandma!!

            Amde

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Amde,
            A good one! I wonder if the white mud some of our tribes and many Africans smear over their faces is a clue left for us by our ancestors. I wonder.

          • saay7

            Selamat Berhe Y, Amde, Fanti:

            I wasn’t going to do this, Amde, but you brought it upon yourself. You should have stuck to listening to your NPR with broadcasters trained to describe Armageddon using smoothing voice by whispering directly into the microphone but fine.

            You are probably not a fan of Daredevil? Figures! He is a superhero, who is also blind. His friend asks him what seeing means to a blind man, what do you actually see?

            He responds: “a world on fire.”

            Here’s your world on fire Fanti. They used to call it the “failed state index” fresh off the oven, published last month. But too many people’s feelings were hurt so they now call it the “fragile state index”.

            Have a nice day!:)

            saay

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello gate keeper,
            Is there any scientific reason why in the world Djibouti is still yellowish while Eritrea and Ethiopia are red and Somalia redder? I refuse to believe this data, especially since you are involved.

          • saay7

            Haha Fanti:

            I think what you are REALLY asking is: we just had meto bemeto election in Ethiopia; why do we suck so much? And, are we getting better? Is Eritrean getting worse? (Samuel Jackson voice): Well allow me to retort:

            Here are the indicators:

            1. SOCIAL INDICATORS
            (a) Demographic Pressures; (b) Refugees & IDPS, (c) Group Grievance, (d) Human Flight & Brain Drain

            2. ECONOMIC INDICATORS
            (a) Uneven economic development; (b) Poverty & Economic Decline

            3. POLITICAL & MILITARY INDICATORS
            (a) State Legitimacy; (b) Public Services; (c) Human Rights & Rule of Law; (d) Security Apparatus; (e) Factionalized Elites; (f) External Intervention

            So, (1) if you slow down your march to 100 million population AND (2) create an economy that doesn’t create brain drain (Ethiopians are migrating to Yemen NOW while it is in the middle of its civil war); (3) even out the development; (4) don’t have 100% victory elections so the government is seen as legitimate by all (win or lose); (5) give your prisoners due process and stop calling them terrorists and don’t release them ONLY when Obama shows up; (6) pull back your security apparatus so you are not paying hundreds of millions of dollars to spy on EXILED Ethiopians… you will be orange and not fire red. You are welcome:)

            Yes, of course, Eritrea is getting worse according to the report and Ethiopia marginally improved.

            Hope Eyob is NOT reading this as he will somehow find a way to blame George Soros for it:)

            http://library.fundforpeace.org/library/fragilestatesindex-2015.pdf

            saay

          • Nitricc

            Hi Fanti; how could you miss this? and worst, you are asking SAAY. he will take for ride lol. no,
            the reason Djibouti yellowish is that due to the number of US and France military. meaning Djibouti is safe i.e. yellow. the reason Ethiopia and Eritrea red is; due the possibility of war and the tense tensions between the two countries. and the reason Somalia is redder, well when you have Al-shebab; it will be going to be rod hot and redder than anything on that region. here you have it.

          • Nitricc

            Hi Fanti. don’t you get me started in this global thing. to add to your point; if people will stop eating meat or M
            EAT-LESS you will see the greatest reduction on everything. it is all the cows doing.
            A
            T
            look what Californians are doing. they are complaining about water shortage and they are number on Almond producers. go figure.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Nitricc,
            Oh Nitricc! have you driven through Nebraska toward Wyoming? I have never seen so many animals that smell so awful from miles away. What in the world do they feed them? I was driving through an old chevy nova, which was made before air conditioner was invented, so I couldn’t close the windows, because it was too hot. I had to bolt at 85 mph for what seemed forever. If that toxic smell continues mixing with the air for another 25 years, I think we will have a global crisis from those cows alone. Yeah, I believe it. Our cows may someday be our worst nightmares.

        • saay7

          Hey Amde:

          I know! Berhe Y, here are some more cheerful news pieces for us in the Pacific Northwest, particularly Mahmuday in Seattle as well as us Californians:

          1. “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.” said FEMA director talking about the next “overdue” earthquake, forecast to be 9.0.

          http://q13fox.com/2015/07/13/local-experts-respond-to-national-article-depicting-next-big-earthquake-in-pnw/

          2. “Before this century ends, the Southwest and Central Plains states are likely to shrivel under a decades-long megadrought worse than those that ended the Ancestral Pueblo civilization in the last millennia, a new study finds.”

          http://www.livescience.com/49794-megadrought-prediction-southwest-plains.html

          3. California Wildfire Leaps Freeway, Chases Dozens From Their Cars Amid Worst Drought In A Millennium

          http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/07/18/3682150/california-drought-wildfire-cajon-pass/

          This reminds me of a great line from the California novel “Less Than Zero”

          Clay: Are you happy, Blair? You don’t look happy.
          Blair: But do I look good?

          saay

          • Amde

            Hi Saay

            Lol on that California line. That is so true. The good thing is, looking good is something in your control, unlike the big one, megadrought and wildfire.

            Amde

          • saay7

            Hey Amde:

            You are very unsympathetic. I am traveling to Texas just to take long showers. I am talking about Texas. Here’s Congressman Alcee Hastings messing with Texas (set to Dr. Dre’s “still” background music.)

            https://youtu.be/aC_wNLNdXZ0

            saay

          • Amde

            Oh Saay

            Oh my god… That was hilarious. I can personally attest.. I have been to both Texas and Florida. Its so damn hot in Texas hell will never freeze over. Florida is full of eccentrics, but they won’t begrudge you taking a shower.. maybe proposition you lol.

            But Texas? balTefa wuha minnew texas texas aleh…

      • Saleh Johar

        Berhe Y,

        The Greece crisis is a good example of what bankers loath most, giving out good money to save a bad loan. At the end, the loans get so big one has to revert to the Eritrean wisdom: wey aleqaHay ymmewwt wey teleqaHay. And it will come to its natural conclusion.

      • Yoty Topy

        Hi Berhe,

        Where do we know that strain of narrative :” It is always someone else’s fault.” Sounds familiar?
        At the heart of this mess is that they [Greeks] just do not want to take ownership of their collective failure to strengthen financial, civil and political institutions like the rest of their fellow European citizens.

        They cooked the books, lied and forged their way into the monetary union and then elected incompetent politician to oversee the cheap loans they received from the banks and now when they are asked to pay back , they cry foul? A bunch of whiners! No body put a gun to their head to take the loans.

        You can dissect it which way you want but at the end of the day everyone is responsible for their destiny.

        Here is an example of what determined people can do. Slovenia, which just emerged from a command economy in the early 90s has its house in order and is the highest benefactor to Greece (%of GDP.)

        I hope they boot them from the union.

        • Yoty Topy

          Here is the data to back the debt ratio.

  • selam

    Dear Eritreans
    Lets assume that this comment by miss hayat is from inner circle of weyane and lets see the Eritreans in this site plus Fanti,
    How many of them can be counted to represent the Eritrean interest and if they are the majority who oppose PFDJ and want to guard the interest of Eritrea on the same time , it would make sense for us to go for and to . But that is not the reality here , it is quite to the opposit and we need to challenge Saleh and Saay the owners of this webiste if their main goal is to represnt the Eritrean victims not to lecture us about weyane happy day or deflect the reality of our own history and tell us this was what happen in 1997,2001. I do see some paradigm shift , for example how is this false comment by hayat able to be true on the eyes of Eritreans ? I do not believe this is the current issues I guess. I use my time to remained some southern people that we have our own problem and we do not need your false analysis neither do we need your help . Most of you can accuse me of my nationalistic narrow mind but you can not tell me such article is for the benefit of our struggling time . This is a pure weyane sauce in which shouldn’t be served to Eritreans by this great site. I have printed this article and gave to my 8 friends to read it , they said such analysis can only come from weyane and only could serve weyane not Eritreans.

  • Guest

    Att : Mr. Mahmud saleh

    Question, questions & questions.

    1. Lately you have started accusing* your compatriots during the armed struggle. Actually in one of your comments you said you were collecting/saving/noting grievances since 1992 until you can not take it anymore when accidents started to happen at sea. You also told us you and your wife decided early on to migrate (After Eritrea was liberated!**). So the question is did you leave Eritrea despite or inspire of the bad leadership? or did you think Eritrea was in good hand?

    2. Had you been like those who not only sacrificed a lot during the struggle for independence (Like you), but also unlike you staid behind and are sacrificing for Eritrea and its people the best way the know how, would you have been a) like those still serving Eritrea or b) you would have been in prison? In other words, because you said you woke up after the Lampedusa tragedy (2013), there is the likelihood you would have been the jailer and not the inmate in 2000, true?

    3. In one of your comments regarding the border issue, in an effort to show the good people of awate you are in the know, you claimed Issays was bad from the get go. To show that you said this:

    ” When IA ordered EPLA units to yield Badme to the TPLF in 1985….” ***

    The ELFites say EPLF handed over Badme to waoyanie and collaborated with them to destroy ELF. What are you trying to say here? Trying to please ELF? trying to look you know more than people? what? You are saying Isayas single handedly handed over Badme to Woyanie.

    From 1985 to 2013 is way too long (30 years!). That is the time it took you to wake up, so should you be accused with those being accused?

    4. Now a question about your epiphany, the wake up and after. During the latest tragedy (This year) at the Mediterranean you joined with those who were accusing Eritreans (Kebero Jankees to be exact) for dancing and doing what they normally do while Eritreans are perishing at sea and at the hands of ISIS. You showed you disgust at this you called despicable act. Remember? At that time it sounded as if all of you did stop functioning your normal tasks in honor of the dead. But not long after that you told the formers about your sons graduation and all, and how the festivity took you off from your beloved awate for a few days. Now, why on earth did you celebrate your son’s graduation while other Eritrean kids, your son’s age were perishing in the high seas? Actually those kids who perished in the high seas are most probably the sons/daughters of your old collogues (Tegadelties, leaders included), while the son of the one who abandoned his country and collogues early on (You) is graduating and you, forgetting the tragedy have to be in a festive mood?

    Ok, pause for a bit

    5. Please answer this honestly: Before the horrible war imposed on Eritrea by woyanie in 1998, Eritrea (lead by EPLF/PFDJ), got independence in 1991, sealed that by a referendum in 1993, drafted constitution & ratified it, free press was flourishing, businesses growing, Eritreans flocking to Eritrea. All in all progress & growth was amazingly fast unheard of in other places under the same condition. After the war all was hindered. Now,

    a) Had the war never happened, would you say Eritrea would have shown remarkable progress both economically and politically, or like what you are telling us now, the leaders are inherently bad, there fore war or no war what is happening now would have happened any way

    b) You claimed to be pro national service, so do you think with out the war the national service would have been extended from its normal 18 Months?

    c) With out the war, do you think the high level officials (Which you seem to have a high regard) would have been in prison (in mass? 15 of them, some of them?)

    d) I know you say a lot like: a good government should have predicted the outcome of war or should have averted the war or something to that effect (to show you are smarter than the rest who claim PFDJ started the war to stay in power, straight up) but wouldn’t you say Eritrea was patient enough, tried hard enough not to escalate the border issue out of proportion and also tried to solve it in negotiations and amicably (Exactly the same you are proposing what Eritrea should do now, dialogue, as if Eritrea never been patient and as if Eritrea doesn’t know the importance of solving issues amicably in a dialogue. Shame on you on that any way for insulting Eritrea) as outlined by Nitricc (See link below) ?

    http://awate.com/badme-woyanes-fraudulent-casus-belli-to-wage-war-of-aggression-p2/#comment-2144080338

    After all that patience, once Eritrean lives (ERITREAN LIVES!!!) was lost due to Woyanie, wouldn’t you say the Eritrean gov did what a responsible government whose citizens were murdered should react?

    e) With out the woyanie war, would you say Eritrea will be where it is now?

    6. Back to the national service (Your favorable topic), had it not been for the war and woyanies aggression, what benefit does the Eritrean Gov. (PFDJ or ISSAYAs, for you) by extending the it beyond 18 months? You used to be a soldier so perhaps you know, in an economic sense a soldier is not productive, it is an over head expense, actually it can drain and wears down a nation. So unless there is a legitimate concern for Eritrean sovereignty, a real threat or something, why would PFDJ hold so much national service. It is dishonest to claim the Eri gov. is extending the national service for the hec of it.

    I have many more questions, but let me close (For now) with one last question

    7. How did an Eritrean who writes this:

    http://assenna.com/a-call-is-being-made-to-at-least-fire-shabait-com-editor/

    in 2014, clearly showing a concerned citizen giving a positive criticism, and also displaying his wish and desire to see the Gov (His government) and all its services to improve, all of a sudden in 2015, goes all retarded and say what you are saying now. well like this:

    “..a small weirdo clique bonded by personal motives (rewards: material, power/psychological), cult-like loyalty, and the
    all known practice of blackmailing and appeasing tactics of the dictator: if you serve me you get this, if you don’t you get frozen, or worse, you get thrown away into the black holes dotting Eritrea- unofficial prisons…..”
    and all other junk.
    What in the world happened to you?

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Ahlan Guest
      What’s up man/lady? You expressed your dismay of my “long” comments. So, let me make it short: if you separate Eritrea from PFDJ; and the “government” from IA, my comments will make sense. Until then, ንኺድ ጥራይ።
      It is amazing Guest. You criticized me for criticizing a bigot and disgraceful ambassador who called his country fellowman “Adwa” just for asking him appropriate questions (see your other weak jabs:)
      I can answer your questions once you clean up your acts and come on the right way, not through cheap tactics of “shake-him-down.”

      • Guest

        Ahlan back at you Mahmud,

        What is up is, a sad thing happened, a tegadalay fell from grace-:) that is what is up.

        Now, your silly “..separate Eritrea from PFDJ; and the “government” from IA…” may work with those who were biting your head off because they have hidur hatred towards EPLF, or the ones who are going after Issayas for their personal reasons, to save a PFDJ/ex PFDJ family member or something. PFDJ is the sole party currently in Eritrea and is a collection of EPLF tegadelties, some noble ex ELF members and the general public. Issayas is the head of both the party and the government. Now, which part of my comment above and the other comment your replied to mixes up PFDJ/Eritrea/Government/issayas? None of them do. So old man, you are not moving even an inch -:)

        ” You criticized me for criticizing a bigot and disgraceful ambassador who called his country fellowman “Adwa” just for asking him appropriate questions (see your other weak jabs:)”

        So as the readers will not be confused let us bring here which comment of mine you are referring:

        http://awate.com/badme-woyanes-fraudulent-casus-belli-to-wage-war-of-aggression-p2/#comment-2145473214

        Now again instead of answering all the above questions I listed for you, you went all tangential and picked something irrelevant or something mentioned to demonstrate your habit of listing irrelevant items to the subject matter , exactly what you did in reply to Semere! And I pointed out that to you. It was not a criticism in support of the Ambasador or against say* so again, old man, you are tripping.

        Finally, you said this:

        ” I can answer your questions once you clean up your acts and come on the right way, not through cheap tactics of “shake-him-down.”
        Are you shaked down? already? I am not done with my questioning yet, and the tough ones were yet to come -:) Just curious, which one did the job? let me guess, the name calling of people here for going by their normal life after the tragedy in the high seas, while you dance that day away for graduation or something?
        On a serious note all the questions listed on my previous comment were generated from what you officially said here in this forum at one time or the other. So why don’t you be a good sport and answer them?

        • Mahmud Saleh

          Dear Guest
          Thanks, one more thing, if you insist, learn some manners and come back.

          • Guest

            Mahmud,

            Nah, no coming back. But it is interesting you mentioned manners and what not. Perhaps now you too will learn some manners (Learning is ageless) and think twice before you say something like this in the future:

            “..a small weirdo clique bonded by personal motives (rewards: material, power/psychological), cult-like loyalty, and the
            all known practice of blackmailing and appeasing tactics of the dictator: if you serve me you get this, if you don’t you get frozen, or worse, you get thrown away into the black holes dotting Eritrea- unofficial prisons…..”
            The list of questions are not really there for you to answer them , they are there to make some points. To show that a tegadaly is falling from grace faster than gravitational acceleration, and is shaming and soiling the name of those selfless Eritrea tegadelti
            Tata

          • Saleh Johar

            Ya Mahmuday,
            You are looking for manners where it is in short supply. You are expected to apologize for wasting your life struggling for your country. What is that called? poverty of manners?

          • Mahmud Saleh

            MarHab Saleh
            It is amazing, our “Guest” did not care to object the ambassador’s bigotry of characterizing veteran tegadelti as Baathists…and Jihadists…and name-calling his own citizen “Adwa..” and now he comes back to lecture me about tegadalay and what have you…
            Well, some dudes need to learn basic social skills before venturing to lecture others.

          • Guest

            Mahmud,

            Ok, let us check what say’s twitter is all about: I went and traced it as far back (Not so far for saay, as he is a rookie while the Ambassador seems to have been there like forever)

            1. Looking at the whole tweet on that thread, it is apparent our saay is not an angel himself. It looks like he was intimidating (at times disrespecting and bullying) not only the Ambassador but also all other Eritrean officials and strangely he was/is harassing Brawyan Bruton. (See first tweet). But not even once did Bruton reply or engage saay at all (May be she thought he is a nut case, or may be she sensed he is just finding his way around). None of the Eritrean officials seems to bother either, EXCEPT the good Ambassador. And it looks like saay pushed him to the limit.

            2. What saay pasted in this forum is only part of the conversation and is trimmed to show only the ones he wonted his forum to see, just the ones that served his purpose. If you see the whole thread, you see there were other people in the conversation too. Like the too very vocal and abusive ladies Selam Kidane, and a certain ghetto Aida kidane were ganging up with Saay to push the ambassador. On the same thread there were others intimidating saay as well, throwing bad & personal stuff about his family.

            3. Before the Ambassador said any bad thing it was say who insulted, him to go to one of Japan’s healthcare for his “turret syndrome” (see the second tweet below)

            4. If you just focus only on one part of the Ambassador’s reply, you definitely see he that he would have been better off with out saying what he said to saay. He should have kept his cool however much saay was pushing him. If you ask me the good Ambassador should have blocked saay’s ass off from the beginning like the others or should have simply ignored him. But apparently he is a nice guy who made a mistake engaging a gang of bullies.

            5. I am saying the Ambassador is a good guy pushed to the limit, because tracing years back his tweets, you will see he never says bad things, never engages with people much, except passing messages pertinent to Eritrea, its history, projecting what good he believed is happening and mainly about violation of Eritrean sovereignty and EEBC. Even on saays case, the last concluding tweet of the ambassador gives the context.
            Let me know if you want to see the whole conversation on that twitter thread.

            Therefore, tegadalya Mahmood, before you just read only what saay fed you and fly with it and start singing, you better check yourself. You also said “ambassador’s bigotry of characterizing veteran tegadelti” as far as I know, saay is not tegadalay and if you are referring to Ali Abdu, well I don’t know but, defection says a lot about someone. I mean, even abandoning ones country and deciding to migrate after independence is bad enough, let alone defection -:) so let us not disrespect the tegadelty still sacrificing for their nation to this minute.
            Finally, I want to be wrong on this one, and please tell me I am wrong, but I have this sickening feeling that your reaction to saay’s tweet has nothing to do with the behaviors of the Ambasador, rather with the fact that it is associated with Islam. I would love to be wrong on that, because I don’t think I can place you that low.

          • saay7

            Hey “Guest”:

            Let’s all pretend you are “guest” because it’s fun:)

            Now, then, please post the entire thread between me and the good ambassador, Ambassador Estifanos, in the right chron. To the extent anything was left out, it was a rookie mistake and I am a rookie Twitter*

            You appear to be asking us to be grateful that the ambassador is even taken the trouble from oh-so-busy schedule to reply, never mind HOW he is replying. i think when you post the entire thread people will see that I am treating him the way I treat most employees of Isaias Inc.: they are all victims and potential allies so give them the kid glove treatment. I mean: he favorited my tweet criticizing his boss. Is it just drunk tweeting or is he going to use that in his asylum application? I don’t know:) I reserve the big guns for the volunteer army: the Brutons and the “strategic studies” and “senior fellows” 🙂

            And of course, yes, as rookie I punch up. And at some point, some will punch down. And ambassador Estifanos–by temperament and sheer boredom–does. I think in that thread, he called me a spoiled, unemployed, privileged, Baathist, Bin Ladenist brother of a Baathist 🙂 I know the Japanese make a mean saki but come on, Guest, that’s way beyond drunk tweeting. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

            Actually, me and the ambassador go way back. His animosity is not just towards me but my entire family. Last year he kept asking about my brother (Ali) and I kept pretending to be confused he is talking about my arrested brother (Hassen.). The funny thing is I know everything about him and he knows nothing about me but since he may eventually ask for asylum when we tighten the noose around his boss, I have to treat him with kid gloves. Thus the “kbur tegadalai.” I am not in the opposition because it is “morally right to be in the opposition”. I am in it to win. It may be a long game but we will win. We have even written our victory song. 😉

            So by all means “Guest”, please post the entire exchange in the right sequence. There is no way you can make your man look good and me look bad. I play to win:)

            saay

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Salam Guest
            Please drop the title tegadalay, Mahmud is enough. OK.
            Second, my ten year old son who is growing up among whites, blacks Asians, Muslims, Christians, Jews….would say “wrong” if he heard those bigot expressions from his older relatives let alone from his peers. The ambassador was wrong, whatever gunging up should have never lead him to say that. He represents all Eritreans including the “Jihadists, Baathists…” and yes, the “Adwans.” It showed his true color brother. Did he call the other people “crussaders”? OR Adwas?
            Dear Guest, when you were trying to use the same tactics on other members of this forum using your other “G” nick, I was defending you. I still defend you to use whatever nick or skin to put on. I still will believe yours is a matter of insensitivity and misjudgment. I would appreciate if you re-exam your approach and call a spade a spade. The man was wrong. He was a disgrace for Eritreans as a whole. State clearly that he was wrong, and then we may get over this thing. This is my personal advice to you, otherwise, I have no doubt that the man was chosen for his propensity to show his sender’s character and spew out his appointer’s sickening attitudes. I don’t expect DECENCY and redemption from these individuals. Speaking of “tegadalay”, they are the ones who muddied that noble name, they are the ones who have betrayed tegadalay and his dreams. They are the ones who caused the grace of this noble title to fall in a faster ratethan any gravitational force of any heavenly body could have caused it to

  • Nitricc

    Hi Guest. okay, let’s assume that is the case; what you are saying but don’t you think i am using too, to advance my cause? I don’t if you understand the challenge. we have lost asmarino.com to Tigryans and we are not going to lose this web-site too. NO!
    I agree with you AT are not perfect but I thought they are progressing to wards where i wanted them to be. at times do they frustrate me? sure, but i grow up with this web-site. I argued with AT more than i argued with my own parents. so, when i see foul, i will not hesitate to call them out. I do understand your point though and thanks for the head up.

    • Guest

      Nitricc,

      Respect! I know you are straight up, that is why I said it would be extremely boring with out you and few other guys (Of course with out the spices like Semere Tesfai’s posts, to reactivate stagnant, stale, boring, woyanie praising, PFDJ bashing puke )

      And I don’t have any reason to doubt you when you say you are using it too, to advance my cause.
      Again, respect! do what you got to do

  • Pass the salt

    Selam Papillon,
    Elias Kifle is one of those bitterly regretting their decision to ‘work’ with our regime. He had the audacity to honor DIA as person of the year – this over our suffering. Tsibuq dea geberwo.

  • Amde

    Wow Pappi,

    I read the book many moons ago as they say (early high school) but never saw the move. That is a fantastic scene.

    Amde
    PS You have phenomenal writing skills. Tend to it please

  • S.Tesfa

    Dear Haile TG, Hayat Adam, Fanti, Amde …..
    I hope the first link below will give you some hint about Birr/Nakifa, boarder dispute of Badume in 1997 and beyond…. from the perspective of Meles Zenawi.
    He roughly mentioned about the currency issue and others on this interview starting on 7:01.
    I hope this video will give you some additional info how things were handled at the time.
    http://www.ethiotube.net/video/5414/PM-Meles-Zenawi-Addresses-Eritreans-in-Tigrigna

    – Here is also another interview of with the then “officials” of Eritrean government in 1997 about Nakifa and future trade/ economic relation with Ethiopia….

    https://youtu.be/xynXar3ozRM?t=1147

    • Amde

      Dear S. Tesfa,

      Well you definitely whetted my appetite. Unfortunately I don’t speak Tigriga, so I am at a loss here. Really appreciate your inputs though. I hope someone can give us at least the gist in reference to what we are talking about.

      Amde

    • Nitricc

      Thanks S.Tesfu you just racked hayat’s propaganda. lol. I thought the last strew that broke the camel’s back was the currency issue? well, here you have it, from the main sources.

  • NoDrama

    Guest,

    You are right, Ethiopia has no obligation what so ever to accept the Nakfa for sovereign trade. Besides, if Ethiopia wants to deal with Eritrea by using LC for trade settlement the way it does with its other neighbours it’s in their absolute right. Likewise, Eritrea can insist that port service be paid in USD and Ethiopia would have to comply if it wants to use that service. However, back then these crucial issues were handled by IA and MZ and the rest fo their respective administration hardly involved. Eritreans would have loved a national debate on the compensation that was desperately needed and overdue for the destruction and misery that Eritreans have endured at the hands of successive Ethiopian regimes. IA has denied that suffering nation that opportunity then. ( Likewise, he decided to handover to the TPLF regime goods belonging to the arch enemy of the Eritrean people, the Derg, that were parked in Assab while many high ranking Eritrean heroes such as General Bitew were adamantly protesting. Bitew boldly told IA that it was not his authority to hand over the goods but the EPLF Assembly’s, as countless Eritrean lives were sacrifices to liberate Assab and whatever was there was Eritrean property. It’s ironic that IA in now in Asmara Palace and Bitew in who knows what prison). You are right in that the dealing among both nations have to clearly defined, institutionalised and approved by the representatives of both nations. It’s way to important and emotional to be left to the will of two individuals, no matter how smart.

  • Binieam

    [begin comments with salutation]

    Isolation method is making it more complex than it really
    is. You have two countries that are integrated but with different economic models.
    The relationship takes a dive as each country implements policies unfavourable
    to the other, than finally at the height of the tension one decides to use a
    large force to occupy areas that were either uncontested territories or under
    the peaceful administration of the other and war breaks out.

    This conflict happened and escalated to fast because there
    wasn’t the mutual benefit in place to sustain harmony and strengthen the
    working relationship. Had the war not
    happened what would the relationship be like today? Could they have come up with a
    solution or decide to end their integration and act as two separate countries as
    done with other neighbouring countries?

  • Peace!

    كل عام وأنتم بألف خير

    Dear all,

    It was unfortunate to read a one-sided post marinated with TPLF souse and served by TPLF waitress after a month long Ramadan Break. It has no weight as far as young justice seekers concerned and specially at this critical juncture, but rather apparently it only pushes the idea of Eritrean solution for Eritrean problems to lose its balance and veer toward far more complicated calculus. Semere Tesfay was accused for trying to divert the attention from Geneva 26, and now the very same accusers are entertaining same story with great pride. This is exactly why the young justice seekers have to separate themselves from people with old politics otherwise we should embrace for more brutal PFDJ.

    Regards

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Peace,

      “This is exactly why the young justice seekers have to separate themselves from people suffering from old politics” is that the reality now? don’t you think young is also eager to know the truth? how does the truth pushes the idea of Eritrean solution for Eritrean problems?

      it is exactly the other way round if you really see it without taking side emotionally. PFDJ hurt us a lot for playing dirty politics with entire world not only TPLF. Solving Eritrean problem by Eritreans doesn’t mean hiding the crimes committed by PFDJ. wrong is just wrong if it is done against others or to our people. you and me should regret for allowing a corrupted group lead Eritrea. I am not saying TPLF were always correct but what concern us is about our home grown poisonous snake.

      • Peace!

        Dear KS,

        I thought we are on a stage of setting up an equation that help us solve our problem. No one can be a historian, a judge, an opposition, and an accuser simultaneously. Geneva 26 is a slum dunk prove that the hope lies on the young justice seekers given that they have accomplished more than the opposition groups in the last 30+ years.

        Regards

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Peace,
          Geneva proofs unity is important. Geneva proofs the young should be energetic and practical, Geneva proofs those experienced (whom you mention them as old – I don’t call them old -everyone is young every morning as far as he is updated and optimistic – I don’t call young to some one who is weak moral and sleepy) they should go united in common ground. knowingly and purposely PFDJ gangs are trying to change the real color of that wonderful day, and you should be very careful – PFDJ’s propaganda generated from their main office will hurt us.

      • selam

        Dear K.S
        I think peace is right to say the young should totally distance ourselves from the political class of saleh gadi and ambassador Andebrhan alike, look k.s i do know people like saleh has the right to help and advise the young but they do not have the right motive for the interest of our people and the state , you want prove , well they have played their chips for almost 20 years with no result , they do not compromise in between themselves and so many bad things has happened on their watch . Here is my take on these kind of people, their idea is totally rooted on the hate of PFDJ actions and also past history of their political life. We the young are just happy to take the world with out lookting to what happen to the Eritrean in kessela long time ago, and we could care less about the weyane frenzy of people like hayat but when people like saleh who ask people to write or sign a petition to UN on behave of the Eritrean people and on the back door , you see saleh repost this hayat comment which is no different from abay tsehaye class, why will i in my 20th spend time and energy for such people to dance on weyane carpets ? This is an open challenge for people like saleh and you in order to understand us. You can not set the rules on our behave because your time in making rules is outdated and you people are not fit to lead us. We should take PFDJ down by our own way and your friends should stay to tell the story of old times but even in that we do not really trust you to be rationale.

        • Saleh Johar

          selam,
          I can tolerate your crass and disrespectful communication style, but please, mind your words. Why are you jumping up and down? Can’t you challenge ideas with ideas? If you believed we were your militia, or an extension of Haddas Eritrea, it is high time you realized we are not. Also, you stop the “we” thing as if you represent a crowd. Humble yourself, you represent only yourself. You think you are the only guardian of Eritreanism? How dare you say I do not have the right my people? If you have the interest of the state of Isaias, go ahead and support it. I do not have the interest of the Isaias regime at heart. It took you two decades to realize that? It has been my position all along.

          I see you are only recycling what your colleagues in the shifta gangs have been saying about me for years. You are not even original. Boring. This has exposed you to the bone: one article by Hayat makes you lose your mind and makes you sleepless! Don’t you know how to challenge ideas?

          It seems you do not understand the purpose of this website, it is about ideas and the editors make the choice–if you are thinking about awate.com running content by you before it is published, wake up. Others dreamed of that long before you learned to type.

          Finally, I beg you to stop provoking me because I do not have time for your nonsense. Go find someone who brings street brawling to this forum. I beg you to stop it because it can get ugly and I do not like ugly. Save me and save yourself the heartache.

          • selam

            Dear Mr.saleh
            I did not say you did not have right , I have said you have the right to help and advice but as per the leadership and compromise thing , I specifically said you and the ambassador as an example that you do not have the will to compromise in order to move forward , how many people on your age was in Geneva on 26 june , may be 20 or 30 to make you happy. Second what is that makes you run over if I say , you people doesn’t seem to compromise and doesn’t represent the young ? Is not it the truth infornt of your eyes. Or you want me to count on how many times the opposition failed to rescue the Eritrean people , are not the 15 your favourite opposition groups leaders some how on your age ? I can actually name names and even tell you things very few can mention in this forume. So just forget the you are alone thing , because I am not alone. I invite people to read saay and MS articles and some times I discuse face to face with my age group from different places with different backgrounds.
            I am not just here to challenge your week favourite hayat , what does she has for ideas
            ? Tell me what is that you think she presented in the form of ideas ? This currency issue thing is not an idea it is a complet hearsay that get bored by orginal weyane cadres and their supporters . Are you trying to intimidate me by suggesting ,”it is going to be ugly ” what is that it is going to be ugly , saying things I did not support . You accuse me I support PFDJ well sir respectfully you are insulting me with zero prove , you have zero prove to present .
            If for you Mr.saleh is like supporting if some one rejected weyane daily retuals , well I can do nothing and you have the power to delet my post as usual and also bann me from awate.com forume . Unless you saleh can do nothing and have no control on how I dispise weyane 2 decade old propaganda. I selam reject PFDJ not now but when I was young enough to remember my father ,but I am not ready to dance for such on the above article and play the blame game. You think you know me no , you did not but I know you and so many because I have been inspired and followed you long time ago , but I do not feel any negligence if I rejected your favorite southernes explanetion of Eritrea and demonising us on things we know . If you feel I am against this sites development or mission Run your horse and delet all selam comments and bann me . I am not like most people who can’t navigate , but I hold my idiotic Eritreansim and I rejected your habeshanism as usual .

          • Saleh Johar

            selam,
            If you violate the guidelines, a moderator will ban you. That is the formal way, don’t bring that unneccessarily. I am here in my personal capacity, learn to differentiate between the two. Don’t bring your abusive communication to me as a person. When I comment here, I do it im my personal capacity–you should discern that. It is your habit to bring awate.com though you know I am not communicating with you as an awate.com admin. Stop that.

            You do not have the right to abuse any person because you do not like what others write or how they think. Deal with them. For your information, awate.com has published many, many articles that some individuals might not like. No one is asking you to agree or accept an argument. You have choices–engage the writer or ignore the content. You do not have the right to attack me for because you read something you do not like. If you have a suggestion, a criticism, or a feedback to awate,com, as a website, do it in a respectful way. The editors and administrators are not your employees to abuse them because you do not like an article.

            You are probably one of two people who think I am a punching bag, every time you have an issue with someone you bring my name in vain. Can you understand that awate.com is an institution and you have to deal with it as such? What is not clear here? Neither me nor anyone else tell people how to think. And brace yourself, there will be views you might not like. Deal with it without casting you net wide to involve others in your untamed rage.

            Reject anything you want including Habeshanism. I am not selling you any of that (just realize you have an uncircumcised tongue, that is fond of political vulgarity), it is just your paranoia of which I can not cure you.

          • tes

            Dear Saleh Johar,

            Aha that lady, the way you are responding her is her favorite. She doesn’t deserve it. I was doing good with her until the moderators warned me severily. Had the moderators understood my approach to that lady by now we could have such abusive words.

            She is gual hidirtina. I said it from the very beginning. I blocked her from riding freely here in this university but people were not happy why I did that. Esteemed Awatistas hoped to see cool lady from Asmara and it was naivety. It is not for exageration but I know a single line of PFDJ drop and I react for good. Oh no, now I have stopped that.

            tes

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Selam,
          I want you to get clear stand. if you are against PFDJ, don’t divide the young from the old or don’t try to divide the society. the worst of all you are mentioning individuals who are active in the journey and it is bad, as bad as supporting PFDJ. please be cool and think of yourself.

    • Nitricc

      Hi Peace where the hack have you been with this kind of amazing take. you said

      “It was unfortunate to read a one-sided post marinated with TPLF sauce and served by TPLF waitress..”

      say no more lol. I like it, i love it. but it gets worst. AT had to dig it out and put it in a front page. I couldn’t believe AT fall for it. as far as june 26 and Geneva; oh well, it is all gone and forgotten. it died its natural death; just like the Forto sensation.
      thanks peace; you said it all.

    • Ted

      Hi man. Long time no see. what did you miss? yep, the TPLF queen got promoted to the front page, G7 leaders arrived in Asmara , and Eritrean cyclist( well, your avatar says it all), Ethiopia’s war hype is up on us, Somalia and djibouti sponsored L23 resolution passed with out a vote, Geneva love is still strong, Saay calls for as is united front, Awatistas contributed money for the betterment of the University… Good to see you back.

      • Peace!

        Dear Ted,

        Thank you for the update. Boy! Too bad that it looks like we haven’t taken an exit from the long drive, and what’s more depressing is that the more the TPLFites open their mouth the longer the drive gets. What happen to the Geneva 26 exit? How could a sane driver miss the big sign???? ( surprised Emma didn’t check for possible DUI)

        As for the tour de France, I have watched every single stage, and feels good when the commentators pronounce Eritrea better than our friends in the south.

        And speaking of the Geneva saga, I had a strong feeling about the outcome. I maintain my position that sustainable change will only come from within, not by UN or any other neighboring countries.

        Of course we all should contribute to our university of awate, I am happy to hear people start to feel the cost of running such a gigantic institution.

        And it is also good to hear the U.S. is changing its tone on intervention, and let’s see if the puppet prime minister of Ethiopia can disobey his masters order and attack our country.

        Good 2 hear from you broah!

        Regards

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear all,

    PFDJ is suffering and don’t know what to do. here is new news..

    http://www.downfacebook.com/download-facebook-video-989709761061106.html

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Saba,
    there was a war, people were killed. the reason is not because of currency, nor is border issue. I have a challenge with my friends, that there will be war years back before it starts. it is not because I am intelligent, but because I was not cheating myself that EPLF and TPLF had honest and genuine relation. I know poor leaders IA and Meles will be cornered to fulfill their promises to each other simply because IA can’t return back Eritrea through any processes including federation (they both try it) as Eritrean people will never agree on that. Meles thought all those past agreements (witnessed by CIA) will be accomplished and just fully agree Eritrean national freedom.He thought prosperous Ethiopia will attract Eritrean people. now, Ethiopia is growing slowly while Eritrea is a failed state but with strong national identity. the wise mass should keep nationalism alive while removing the dictator.

  • guest

    Whatever any one proposes as a solution to past problems, there is no garaunty that they would have produceed better rsult than there is today..It sould by now be clear that however painful it is, the problem had to be dealt with by cutting off Eritrea and all the evidence on the ground shows Ethiopia is better of keeping Eritrea away at least for umforseable future until a better generation that understands true indipendence emerges..

  • tes

    Dear Readers,

    If Aboy Semere Tesfai has some input through his recent article, it is only calling back Hayat Adem’s favorite subject of Badme conflict: possible scenarios, its developments, diplomatic complications and Ethiopian’s indictment.

    Hayat Adem, as good as she and well versed and resourceful she is, she has stopped seeing Eritrea’s current problem beyond Badme. She has remained stucked there and worse she wanted us to stop and just think wwhat happened at that time. Her approach of “cause & effect relationship” and a solution oriented delivery Ethiopian helping package of snatching Eritrea from PFDJ and handing to the people is void, old fashioned, non-respectful and dangerous to our current progress for justice and Eritrean problems.

    On the other hand, Aboy Semere Tesfai shares the same view but from Eritrean side (aka PFDJ political view).

    Saying that, the Birr-Nakfa issue of Hayat Adem is just a confirmation and continuation of solution oriented delivery of “mama” Ethiopia.

    Frankly, I feel bad when Awate Staff again pulls us negatively to such void arguments. Can’t we move on?

    Dear Mahmuday, you excelled anybody to reject Aboy Semere’s hollow argument recently in a noble and extraordinary skills. What happened then for you to entertain Hayat Adem”s negative contributiion tou our “let’s move on” saga?

    For PFDJites, Hayat Adem’s and Aboy Semere Tesfai’s articles are great. Very very great. They talk on past and they never touch the present. Untouching the present is what PFDJ wants it. By haviing this kind of shield he strives. Are we then giving PFDJ an oxygen to breath while he was in the deep trenches of death?

    @saay7:disqus you pushed us to elevate our course by taking a lead. @disqus_bwi5OpK9Sz:disqus came in the forefront and became a comrade in leading our “let’s move on”. @mahmud_saleh:disqus and @hailetg:disqus joined you in their fantastic and entertaining noble skills of analysis and stratgic mapping for future solutions.

    Then sideliners came in and used the opportunity of a non-issue topic of Greek-Europe monetarian crisis to drag us in to their shoes. Yah, that is what they do.

    Therefore, I call all beloved Awatawyan to move on. If not, we will live on making a closed loop discourse.

    tes

  • Hayat Adem

    Berhe Y,
    I think the Geneva development is a great thing that happened to Eritreans politically. This victories and hopes should be protected and broadened. PMHD’s warning bases on what Ethiopia sees as a threat to itself and has nothing to do with helping Eritrea and Eritreans. They are either threatening IA to shrink back to its shells or alerting him punishment is on the way for whatever he did to them recently. As you know, my view is it would be best if Ethiopians package it as a help to Eritreans up to a level Eritreans would be able to take their country back from PFDJ. This PMHD latest yellow flag has nothing with what Eritrean justice seekers are struggling for. So, it is not a plus or minus. It is an independent development that has nothing to do to DIRECTLY speed up or slowdown the opposition against Isaias.

  • selam

    Dear All
    Here is an open letter to who is making lies and want to analyse as truth to simple people who know honesty.

    Depending on the severity of the lies you can simply try to slowly build up the trust again by building an honest relationship with them. If their lies are severe (I know that severity has greatly different meanings for people) you can put them on a probationary period so to speak. Try having them be honest with you about everything, if they lie and you are able to catch it than you could draw attention to that. Let them know how it makes you feel when they lie. If the relationship is only causing you pain than you might want to look for another option such as distancing yourself from that person. I do not like to suggest this simply because that is just the way that some people are, sometimes people don’t even realize that they are lying or that it cant hurt to lie about a specific thing. If this is a relationship such as boyfriend/girlfriend or husband and wife, than I would suggest that you two go to couples counseling. It will help you both in the long term. You can suggest that they go to counseling and or make an active effort to fix what they have done. Often times compulsive lying is a result of anxiety and/or depression. They may have issues that manifest in this way so it is key to have an open relationship and make sure that all of the problems are laid out if they are willing to do so. In this current case it doesn’t seem to happen. Poor people under attack even after their death , rich man under praise even he is licking someone’s blood. How do i put this overly simplified to make it real but still has smoke of lies through every window of the house.

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear House of Stark,
    If the countries set compatible parameters and procedures and place the right regulatory scheme on controlling the two monies efficiently symmetrically, it would be as if they were almost administering a single currency, and it would broaden the market and add efficiency. But, when there are divergent policy environments and tools, there will be imbalances, money growth, money velocity, inflation etc and those problems could be happening to one side, because of the other. To go that kind of arrangement, trust, confidence, transparency, and efficiency would be a requisite conditions. And you these were rare conditions in the two countries.

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear Mahmuday,
    1) The 150 million was made public then and I’m sure you have sources who would be in the know. If You are accusing me inflating it, tell me how. Why would I? What is the real amount you knew? In the mean time, I promise to get back to you on this with more.
    2) On the Tigray map, I will share with you what I feel about it. Definitely, you don’t go to war because someone drew a map that includes your territory. That is because unilateral cartographic publications about international territories would bear no effect. For maps to be useful legal materials on international border disputes, either they must exactly mirror the ground pillars that are accepted as border posts by both parties or the maps must bear signatures of parties and/or maps endorsed by internationally accepted tribunals for such purposes. If you are telling me the TIgray administration drew a map that included a chunk of Eritrean territory and the Eritrean government had to act militarily to correct that, I would say it is not just illegal but the most dangerous and insane way of handling national/international affairs. It is only when they physically push the border that becomes a serious issue. Even then, you don’t jump to seek solutions through the gun.
    But, I’ll tell you this: Tigray can not draw international border as it is only a Kilil within Ethiopia. What Tigray does must be inconsequential interms of border marking between countries. Surely, as an Eritrean leader, I would bring it to the attention of the Ethioipian federal leaders because it might say a thing or two about bad intentions, but war, lala!.
    Mahmuday, Somalia had 5 star blue flag and the greater Somalia map that includes all Somali speaking territories in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and beyond. And I know the Ethiopians fought wars with Somalia but not because it drew maps. It was only when it deploy army and launch offensives and start physically snatched territories. “We had to launch a war because Tigray drew a new map that includes Eritrean territory” must be so laughable had it not been at a dearly cost, human lives at that.

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Dear Hayat
      Thank you for the reply. I expect your response with regard to Number one. The source of the 150M plus what was the form of the transaction.
      On number two: I was curious to know if you are aware of the harassments Eritrean villagers and farmers were subjected to. You trivialized it by a mere matter of issuing a map. No, there was spatial/geographical encroachments crossing the colonial boundaries and moving in some places deep into Eritrea. The map was actually printed in the official organ of TPLF, and ingrained in the new Birr tender of the nation. Now, let’s put that aside; I am curious because what you wrote was excellent, but one-sided version. I have revised some resources; the squabbles surrounding policies are encapsulated fairly well in your comment. What’s missing out from your take with regard to the matrix underlying the cause of the war is the Eritrean version which stated that territorial encroachments and harassments by Tigray Authority was the main cause of the war. My position has been clear; I agree with you that force was not the answer. I spelled out my criticism of the Eritrean version in my answer to Semere and in previous comments in an ABC order; steps that should have been taken before jumping to the gun. Therefore I am just curious to know if you have any lingering thought that assigns any contributing role to the Tigray Authority. To put it bluntly, AS AN ERITREAN, do you sympathize with the farmers and villagers who were uprooted from their villages and farming plots? Do you acknowledge that? Please understand my questions and don’t give me evasive answers. I have blamed IA enough and I know he should never have ordered our troops to regain an area that had been yielded to TPLF 13 years prior to May 12, 1998. Bdme could have waited to be sorted out within the comprehensive border settlement. There was Adi-Murug that would warrant “stand your ground” order, if you like.
      Dear Hayat, let me spell out what I believe the components of the cause (s) are
      1. History: Ethio-Eritrean complicated history and bitter separation (just think about the name NAKFA!
      2. The two Tigrignas’ elites who have always been at loggerhead, disparaging each other; looking for excuses to pitch the general public against each other
      3.EPLF/TPLF unhealthy relations which had been characterized by the said Tigrigna rivalries and prides
      4. Once both governments in power, failure of both governments to address the simmering border problems seriously and on a timely manner.
      5. Growing and widening difference of financial, monetary and economic policies.
      Now, back to the question: please answer the question without trying to jump into the evaluation of cause and effect. Do you know, or acknowledge that those measures were taken by the Tigray Authority/wayane? What’s your opinion in this case.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Selam,

    back then Meles was blamed for allowing the thief EPLF leadership in loading a lot money to Eritrea through Eritrean airlines and allowing to flay without inspection. I don’t know how true. read it. those were the guys who oppose Meles for his stand in our national independent and are on the other side of the equation supported by PFDJ today against EPRDF.

    http://welkait.com/?p=2499

    • selam

      Dear K.S
      I would love to put such hearsay in the following long as well as short note , to describe them, here you have it .K.S
      Have you ever been in a relationship with a liar? It can be deceptive, painful, and down right confusing like PFDJ and TPLF NOW EPRDF ,You lose your bearings. You can feel like your relationship is a boat without an anchor, not rooted to anything, anywhere.Truth is a steadying force. It is heavy. It anchors us to the earth, to reality, and to one another in a way that is irreplaceable.
      Now, let me make the distinction: there are people who lie and then there are liars. All people, at some point or another, lie. White lies abound in their culture. Sometimes we’re not even aware that they are lying until someone points it out. We often substitute the word “excuses” for “white lies.” But it’s basically the same thing. Half-truths. Exaggerations. You get the point. This is an ugly part of life.

      However, a person who is striving for honesty and integrity always brings the truth into the light. They choose to admit they were wrong and apologize for any hurt they have caused. Truth is tough. It’s humbling and it’s often times, embarrassing.

      On the the flip-side, there are habitual liars. These people have made a habit out of lying. They have a lifestyle of deceit. These folks almost live in an a false reality that they have even come to believe. Crazy doctors call these people “delusional”. Sadly, I can speak from experience and being a liar can ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

      So i urge you to just synchronise them all and go with the truth because lies really did not help. Money is one thing but banking is really another issue sir. So many people misunderstood money and banking especially if they are looking from political point of view.

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Selam,
        I only ask you if you think it is true just to know your feeling about it. you should not worry about me as it is not may concern if it true or not. the reason is simple, I am an eye witness how EPLF use to steel the property of other fronts back in 70’s right from the port Sudan making agreement with Sudan’s authorities. corruption is smartness for EPLF since then. so anything that happens after those years is not important to investigate for me. I just simply accept if PFDJ is blamed as I told you before.” LA ZENB BA’EDE KUFUR”. if they take the life of Eritrean hero in Kesela, what more can I expect from those stupid guys. that is why I never expect to see PFDJ reformed or have constitution. in fact no single Eritrean is supposed to agree at least from 1991 to see them leading.

        Selam, Eritrea is not PFDJ and you should not defend for all their crimes. you can’t deny the truth and still be against PFDJ. the way is one and one love it or not if you are against Devil you should also be against the actions of Devil other wise you are pretending and you are not honest with yourself.

        • selam

          Dear K.S
          Have you ever been to Eritrea after independence ? Just to cent question , to reply to your accusation , I have never ever defende PFDJ nor do I see PFDJ as equal to Eritrea . You are a cool person with the talent for a pastor or a shiek who tell people what to say , but what you don’t understand is sir , your age and experience has zero value to lecture people on things that matter equally as you. Do you remember the awahlil thing from our highest guarded people to advice me , That advice was evil and a pure way of manipulation by SG , who do you think are people to tell other people what to say ? Do you think I come to awate.com to take lecture or being told what to write ? No I do not buy such . I said so many good things about MS , SG and saay comments and articles but I do not intend to buy everything they say and the reason for that is sir , I am not in their head and I am different . I tend to see men as irresponsible , arrogantly made , who think and act like a bull , what do they call the Catolonia people about the bull in the stadium or on the streets of malaga , just see the bull and take a picture and write MEn at the back of the picture.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Selam,

            no single man force you to accept what is said. even all those doctors and professors with good experience didn’t agree with us at the beginning till they all suffer under PFDJ. you are free to chose, that is your life. but my duty is to inform you what I saw, you are important soul as everybody else and it painful to see you in wrong side.

            what I am saying is EPLF leadership can do anything to stay in power and cheating, steeling property is less crime than killing humans, so I don’t wonder and go for investigation about their corrupted relation with TPLF and EPRF. besides the man who don’t respect his family and parents will not respect others -መራሕቲ ሻዕብያ ኣብ ገዛ ዝለመድዎ ስድነት እዮም ኣብ ደገ ዝፍጽምዎ ጸኒሖም ::

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear HaileTG,
    I agree on the import size from Ethiopia to Eritrea then with your source. In those times, one celebrated historian wrote Eritrea’s mean annual consumption amounted 400,000 metric tones, of which Eritrea produced 180,000 metric tone, and the rest was being imported from Ethiopia.
    On the export size, however, my source was Isaias himself. In a a Tigrigna interview he gave in February 1997, he said, word for word, Eritrea’s industrial exports were all in all destined to Ethiopia. I’ll try to find you his interview print in due time.

    • selam

      Dear hayat
      ok that was true in a ver5 different sense , would you accept DIA other interviews about the moeny issues and also about the border issues , you can not just pick things that support your argument and dismiss other that disprove your hallow words .
      would it be possible for you to explain the 2 billion birr your falsely stated and also the amount of tracking service that was given to weyane for all imported goods to ethiopia as well as the interest rate that was left to zero when Ethiopian containers were given as bonded warehouses in asseb and massawa . Bonded warehouse are only allowed for a state that can give prerequisites on budgetary system that reduce the value of the monetary system in order to give advantage to the customer ofq voletail commedities like sugar , oil and other things , all these goods where given a ppregnancy time for weyane to breath fresh air , yet you and your temporarily unavailable saleh forget to mention ? You seem to step over things you know nothing just for the benefit of propaganda on behave of weyane , come clean hayat.

  • selam

    Imagine that a bank has only one deposit for a 100.000 birr and a reserve requirement of 10%. So, it has 90,000 of free cash. The question is, what amount can a bank lend by placing a money on an account in it? Is it only a free cash – 90.000$, or a bank theoretically can lend 900.000 (create them out of air), put it on an account and deposit a 90.000 of reserves in FED?in such case the ECB in pre 1995 does not allow banks to such level because such system only works with electronic system like the American FED and also the new york bank , forget in ethiopia at that time Mekele based transe condit for money was based on air or special transport system. Black market issue by hayat is a complet lie which has no bases and no evidence except weyane hearsay.

    I understand, that it does not have any meaning to give a credit of 900.000 and be left without any free cash, because this money can be transferred by the client, and the bank would be out off liquidity, but the question with such figures is more theoretical, than practical. Bank in fact can lend more money, than it has in its vaults and its account at FED, just by creating an electronic record, crediting the borrowers deposit with the sum of credit. The limitation is the reserve requirement, so, if a bank, for example, has 100.000 in its account at FED, and the resevre requirement is 10%, it can lend 1.000.000 ,which in fact it do look easy on theory than in practice. Imagine at that time of hayat dream of such 2 billion falacy with no risk assessments and also stone age banking system . Hayat is trying to sell on the top by buying on the bottom in practice is impossible unless you put some lies over the rotten egg.Here is how it works if hayat and saleh tried the dose one time to shake their head of analysing .Now if the person that got the loan takes the money and redeposits it in the same bank, the bank now has 171,000 to lend out.  However, if that person takes that loan and then deposits in the another bank or just keeps it in his matress, then they original bank has no extra money to lend out. In which hayat tried every thing to tell us if
    Eritrea business men shiped the money to Eritrea and deposit it in Asmara . Can some one tell her that her money arguments
    does not sound real but a propaganda. The explanation for fractional reserve banking assumes that there is only one bank in the world, and there isn’t.  Talking about how the banking system creates money is different than how banks create money so does hayat believe Ethiopian banks just lend money to make more money from a secure investment or the banks just love Eritreans and gave them m7ney for no return in both ways she lied .i will put about currency and the relationship in between two trading parteners.

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear Amde,
    You captured it well. The Ethio-Eritrea conflict is wrongly diagnosed and wrongly fixed. The two parties misled their people and the entire world. Like I said, Isaias made the first move to impact policy menu. Meles found it easy to cry foul on the basis of territorial aggression. He thought that way, it would be easy to prove who the guilty is and who the victim is, easy to mobilize nationalists, and easy to successfully criminalize Isaias on breaching international law. I suspect Meles knew well why Isias was doing what he was doing but he left it for Isaias to explain his acts for himself and Meles thought he didn’t have to understand or explain Isaias’ motives. When faces to turn to Isaias, he didn’t want to justify his actions on the wrongs and the provoking done to him. First, he thought he didn’t have to deal with it in the open. If it was handled privately in closed doors, it would be a different ball game. But in the open and in the presence of third parties, he didn’t want to admit as it would make him look the bad guy. So Isaias denied saying he didn’t cross any line and didn’t take an inch of land from Ethiopia. He said: No, we are within our own territory and Ethiopia’s accusation has no ground. Mediators had no way of knowing who was right, who was wrong, so, so much diplomatic resources were spent on locating where this Badume is, and what around it. It was a waste. When the location of Badume was identified, and the international community somehow figured out what exactly happened, the war was escalated to other fronts and a change of hand effected on other territories. When we missed to capture the fire during the Nakfa/Birr, the problem grew to Badume. When the world focused on Badime, the problem spread to zanalAmbessa, assab/Burre, AigaAlietena etc.; When we got there, then the issue moved to APA, then to EEBC, UNMEE- then back to Badume. It is always rewarding to understand the truth however late. We should hold people accountable for the entire mess and loss. Above all, we should not continue echoing falsehood..

    • Amde

      Hi Hayat,

      I have a friend who has a theory that Issayas has so pissed off Melles because of promises not kept, or deceptions done, that he had a personal grudge against Issayas. I am told Melles holds grudges and so probably does Isayyas. Paradoxically, the problem then became worse than just two nations having a number of issues, since if you have issues with your opposite your primary focus will not be problem reslution but finding ways to undermine him. And now here we are, both sides arguably run by sets of people who don’t really have a history of working or interacting with each other. That is OK as far the grudge element is concerned, but now neither side really has an incentive to change course. I have repeatedly said the status quo is acceptable for the EPRDF, and also for Issayas.

      On the whole, it just points to how terribly and dishonestly the whole divorce was settled. They were all dishonest to each other, and dishonest to their people. There was no true discussion of the economic consequence of separation. They were dishonest abut their true long term aims. How big was the issue of currency separation – we don’t know for sure. But based on just the discussion this weekend, within the context of complete mistrust, that by itself could have been a cause for war.

      They were both so dishonest to the world as to the cause being the border, I sometimes feel sorry for the legal experts who worked on the EEBC resolution. These jurists did their best given the terms and evidences made available to each other. They figured out how “to divide the comb for the two bald men” but the two bald men are still fighting, both knowing real well the EEBC resolution is for all intents and purposes immaterial as a solution to the core problem(s), and have in fact found ways to use it as potent political tools.

      Amde

  • selam

    Dear Ukbai
    The Author also believes it is better to bomb asmara for 2 weeks in order to put weyane puppets from addis , this article is shame to the integrity of all Eritreans ,

  • selam

    Dear All
    When a bright future of journalism failed in a time of crisis , it shuts down every possible way for solution ,
    the awate motto of inform is totally under attack just for unknown reason just by associations of saleh gadi with hayat , 150 million birr of false and skewed analysis. All Ethiopian import and export was done through Eritrean ports with zero payment to Eritrea , saleh with his popular friend hayat are trying to tell us that 150 million was the amount and saleh as well as hayat haz zero prove of such numbers plus their inflated accusations of the black market in the Eritrean embassy or consulate in addiss. Dear saleh you want blame PFDJ for the war ok good you can have it on your way but you and hayat has zero knowledge of the amount of birr that was given to weyane through free access of ports plus the tracking system of weyane goods through Eritrean roads, yes i can mention numbers but you will try to just try to blame .

    Dear saleh i read that you have the same understanding as hayat in this case , do you have any credible evidence that support the 150 million out ways the port service and tracking service which was offered to weyane free of charge ? What evidence do you have for all the above hayat accusation and full of lies ? How honest are you to tell us 2 billion birr was give loan to Eritrean businesses people in Addiss ? Do you have prove ?

    If the cost of naming the enemy is diplomatically or politically unacceptable, then the war is not likely to go well.” as i can see the cheif jounalist who spend his time about Eritrea is squarly in support of hayat who thinks bombing Eritrea under the pretext of any evil job by DIA .

    • Abi

      Selam
      Is this selam asmara tsbuqti?
      You are on fire on this comment. you sound totally different. I see improvement in your argument.
      Why don’t you write like this consistently? I’m impressed!

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear HaileTG and Amde,
    Definitely both of you are better equipped than me to explain the issue as to the best way to clear the currency book of Ethio-Eritrea. There are similar experiences elsewhere in the world to take lessons from. For example some of the nations that exited the Soviet block like Lithuania that settled their currency change cases with Russia amicably can be a good precedence.
    I guess, Haile, you are right. There is so much amount or close to that amount of the old Birr notes stocked in the stores of Eritrean banks. However, I believe to demand the redeeming of the entire value of the old note (Birr) would not be justifiable. I tend to agree with Amde’s explanation. For example, there would be a lot of individuals who missed the conversion day set for changing physical cash notes. If they appeared an hour later to the bank with their sacks of cash, they would be turned away by the banks for missing the dead line. These are even individuals who just miss the deadline and never get Nakfa or the new Birr note in place of what they had. And mind you, what they had was a real value, not a paper. Contrastingly, the old Birr accumulated in Eritrea is just a paper as the real value is transferred to Nakfa. And on top of that the dead line for redeeming is over.
    But this is a huge stock of money that represented the entire economy of a nation and a special treatment must be in order. As such I do believe Eritrea can be justified to ask the printing cost and the conversion process administration cost to be compensated. And if there were some services and liquid values that were not represented by the new Nakfa because of time/technicality reasons, they should be itemized and redeemed so that they can be re-honored with a corresponding value even retroactively.
    Hayat

    • haileTG

      Hello Hayat,

      Your point “Contrastingly, the old Birr accumulated in Eritrea is just a paper as the real value is transferred to Nakfa.” is the main sticking point for me here. Amde has said that too. Can you elaborate what that would look like to the shoe man who is now turned down by the Eritrean banks too and is crying about the pair of shoe that went missing in Addis 🙂

      • አዲስ

        Hi haile,

        This poor shoe guy 🙂 we are dragging him allover the place. So this shoe guy sold (“went missing” 🙂 ) in Addis and got birr in exchange. So what to do with this birr. Assuming he is in Ethiopia, can he exchange it to dollar and take it back to Eritrea? hmm can he buy something with it in Ethiopia? hmm…So I am at loss where this guy lost his value. As much as I understood, most of the trade between the two countries, at least the commodity trade after currency change was conducted using LC. So I believe this poor guy was okay. May be inconvenienced with all these transactions but not lost his value.

        Thanks,
        Addis

        • haileTG

          Hi Addis,

          Haha…tewow’bakih debari neger new bale chama’w sewye…haha

          Assume the shoe guy is the Eritrean port authority that deposited fees it received from Ethiopian service users into the department’s bank account in the commercial bank of Eritrea. Ethiopia no longer recognize the accumulated fee. Do you think Eritrean national bank should settle the bill for services rendered to Ethiopians in good faith???

          • selam

            Dear haile
            Thanks for pointing the true nature of the whole in the middle of blind person. Why do not you put this article to a trash bin with your excellent way of doing things, the bases of hayat argument and saleh 1 kilo sugar is mind boggling to some one who know the truth. Please i urge you to stand for the poor man with his kids on the verge of thieves.

          • አዲስ

            Hi haile,

            Eshi techewalew haha

            But I don’t understand what you are trying to say Ethiopia no longer recognize the accumulated fee. That birr has a value. They can exchange it to Nakfa or dollar and deposit it to Eritrean national bank. It’s just as simple as that. And according to two directives by Ethiopia right after the currency changes, Ethiopia wanted all trades of commodities to be conducted by LCs. All services payments to be settled by hard currency(dollar). For example about port service payments, to implement the new directives, the directive authorized Ethiopia to create a hard currency revolving account with Eritrean banks so that subsequent fees settled that way.

            May be this article by Tekie Fessehazion shed a light on the issues concerning currency between the two countries at the time. I believe it was published right before the war broke out.

            http://www.denden.com/Conflict/newscom/com-tek98.htm

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • haileTG

            Hi Addis,

            Thanks for the link. I have whizzed through it. It doesn’t really address the issue we’re looking at, i.e. the resolution of the the birr accumulation issue in the Eritrean banks from previous economic activities prior to Ethiopia’s conversion. The article has many interesting and relevant sections however on the the timing and criteria applied at the time (specially those pertaining to the two directives issued by Ethiopian PM office and the Ethiopian Trade Ministry on LC and Crossborder petty trades). It also explains many of the things summarized in Hayat’s article, especially if you follow the article’s discussion on the Asmara meeting by both sides.

            Back to our issue, you are suggesting that the birr in question “has a value” and can be exchanged to Nakfa or dollar. The issue is that it “has no value” because the Ethiopian bank had changed Ethiopian legal tender and won’t accept them. What value has it got then for it to be exchanged to any currency? It isn’t even worth the paper it is written on.

            But mind you, there are still some facts we are lacking and I still haven’t got a good resource to serve us as a bases of fair judgement.

            Regards

          • አዲስ

            Hi haile,

            I linked that article to put more perspective to the issue and show you that what we are talking about wasn’t even an issue at the time. And yes the Ethiopian bank had changed Ethiopian tender. But that doesn’t change a thing here. Inside Ethiopia, people were given enough time to exchange the old Birr notes with the new ones by which transferring the old birr value to the new one. I assume old Ethiopian birr can also be replaced(1 to 1) to Nakfa and that wold in effect transfer the old birr value to Nakfa. This way the value is now placed on Nakfa. So apart from the printing cost which the Eritrean government willingly incur on itself since it wanted to have its own currency, the Eritrean government effectively transferred all its value that was in birr into the Nakfa. If Eritrea didn’t introduce its currency and Ethiopia changes its and render all old birr notes as useless then that would have been leaving Eritrea out in cold but that was not what happened.

            Again the issue with birr can only be raised when the question is about trade with Ethiopia. In that regard the link I provided earlier shows how it was conducted earlier.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • destaa

            Dear Addis,
            I think the main point is the purchasing power of nakfa. You are reffering to the nominal value transferred from birr to Nakfa. What happened to the exchange rate between nakfa and birr after that? As hayat mentioned it, if it remains one to one, then there will be no problem. But if one birr is exchanged for two nakfa (like 1 dollar=20 birr and 1 dollar=40 nakfa), then an Eritrean who got nakfa for his old birr is getting only half of his real wealth

          • አዲስ

            Hi destaa,

            The exchange rate was 1 to 1.

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • haileTG

            Dear Addis,

            Here is how Hayat has put it:

            “Eritrea agreed to Ethiopia’s proposal. Securing Eritrea’s agreement was critically important for Ethiopia because they needed to print a new Birr notes and coins at the exact time Nakfa comes out, it would have been impossible for them without the consent of Eritrea. Had Eritrea not agreed, the Birr collected from Eritrea’s markets to leave space for Nakfa would slip in to the Ethiopian market. This would have damaged Ethiopia’s economy because the economic price values of those notes were transferred to Nakfa, and now it was to be blended with a larger amount of value-carrying Birrr.”

            clearly, the sole purpose of changing Ethiopian currency was to sabotage Eritrea economically. Now, how is Eritrea supposed to transfer a “value” from an old birr when those who owned it have already engaged in act of sabotage to destroy the capacity of Eritrea getting value from a money that it earned by providing services and products that belong to the Eritrean people? This is why I asked Hayat if a democratically elected Eritrean government should take Ethiopian banks to courts. Ethiopia can refuse to settle, by my intention will be to ensure that the Ethiopian banks unlawful act be recorded on the books of international regulatory bodies. Everyone would probably have forgotten about this small amount of money. But mind you, it is a matter of principle when people grab each other by the neck over 25 cents, not the amount per se.

            Surely, Eritrea can’t be “…transferring the old birr value to the new one. I assume old Ethiopian birr can also be replaced(1 to 1) to Nakfa and that wold in effect transfer the old birr value to Nakfa”. The reason being what Hayat described above.

            Regards

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Haile TG,
            It is not economic sabotage Haile. That is just how it is done. Otherwise the ‘getting paid twice’ cannot be averted. The moment Eritrea notify Ethiopia about printing its own currency, Ethiopia should and must notify Eritrea and change its currency also. What they needed to discus before all that would have been how to get the old currency out of circulation and the guaranteed values of their new currencies. So, if Ethiopia had notified Eritrea about changing its currency and the deadline to cash in, Eritrea does not have a case.

            If in the other hand Ethiopia changed its currency without notifying Eritrea or without giving it reasonable amount of time to exchange, then Ethiopia owes the money. The most likely scenario is perhaps, they did not give each other a chance to solve the banking issue in its normal procedure, because this was the time when they were hurrying into the middle of the initial stage of the crisis.

            I think why Hayat was saying that the Birr value was replaced by the Nakfa is because Eritrea’s intent was to have both currencies in circulation in both countries. In that case Eritrea would have to burn the old currency because Ethiopia will also have to change currency anyway. That way the old currency will have no value in either country. Besides the printing cost, neither is really losing wealth by changing its currency’s appearance, and that would be the reason for why Eritrea cannot be paid.

            So, Haile TG, your case is dependent on whether Ethiopia notified Eritrea of the currency change. However, if Ethiopia says ‘yes, or yes we would have if Eritrea did not start to invade us,’ then you will have to negotiate for a settlement.

            PS:
            Haile TG, be careful, money is the source of all evil!

          • haileTG

            Hi brother Fanti,

            I think I am in complete agreement with you in this case. What seems to have been the argument of some was that Eritrea simply burns the old birr and declare Nakfa had replaced it. That would presume that Eritrea had initially printed the birr. In your explanation, the old currency need to be collected from circulation and disposed off in an agreed procedural manner. That is what I believe too. Perhaps this all thing was than right at the time of war also had crammed the timing issue. However, by re-visiting these issues with open mind and intent to re-build trust would be the best course of action. Because, if I only look out for the Eritrean’s interest regardless of justice and fairness and if an Ethiopian is only looking out for Ethiopian interest without those attribute, the struggle to correct history would be that much harder. This is why I tried to argue this case from a point view of restoration of trust and understanding. Even if that means we write off the money on the grounds of good will. True brother Fanti money is indeed the root of all evil, and I guess that is where principles and integrity are severely tested. I must say you have passed the test with flying colors. 🙂

          • Fanti Ghana

            MeHaba Brother Haile TG,
            Thank you. Same here, Exactly.

          • Amde

            Hi haile,

            “clearly, the sole purpose of changing Ethiopian currency was to sabotage Eritrea economically.”

            I don’t think that is right. As a matter of fact,, it is quite the opposite, you can argue Ethiopia saw the issuance of a Nakfa while the Birr was still an accepted currency on both sides of the border as an act of potential Eritrean sabotage of the Ethiopia economy. .

            Perhaps you may perceive it that way, but the paragraph you quoted from Hayat “..the Birr collected from Eritrea’s markets to leave space for Nakfa would slip in to the Ethiopian market. This would have damaged Ethiopia’s economy because the economic price values of those notes were transferred to Nakfa, and now it was to be blended with a larger amount of value-carrying Birrr.” explains exactly why Ethiopia needed to distinguish the Birr Notes that were replaced by Nakfa, from the Birr Notes that were not. Because, otherwise, these Eritrea Birr Notes will flow back into Ethiopia, increasing the stock of Birr Notes, thereby instigating inflation, and worse, they would be used to purchase items of real value when their value has been drained out of them.

            As I tried to show before, to control against such a danger, when the Czechs and Slovaks split up, they put a stamp (a literal stamp) on every note existing to distinguish one from the other. The moment a previously existing Czechoslovak Note get a Czech Stamp on it, it no longer carries any value as a Czechoslovak note. It still retains its purchasing power within the Czech half But you cannot use it to buy anything in the Slovak half. Legally, its purchasing value within Slovakia has been made null and void.

            There is no difference here, except, Birr Notes in Eritrea did not get a stamp distinguishing them. So they still exist. They have transferred their purchasing power and thus they are now impotent as an economic instrument. They are just paper. Unfortunately, they still look the same, and they can be used fraudulently as if they still had the potency of an economic instrument.

            It is almost the literal meaning of having your cake and eating it too.

            Amde

          • haileTG

            Dear Amde,

            It is necessary to guard against fraudulent activities like you say, but here is the problem: suppose I have 50 birr before the conversions. Those denominated notes are numbered and identifiable to the Ethiopian banks. This 50 birr is legally earned by me and taxed and the rest. Now, if I visit Ethiopia and wish to spend it, it is guaranteed to be redeemed by the Ethiopian banks. I am not slipping it or sneaking it. It is my money earned in a good day’s honest work. The issuer has promised to pay the bearer. I could exchange it to Eritrean Nakfa so long as the Eritrean banks are still in the slumber and don’t know that the note is not worth the paper it is printed on (i.e. Ethiopia won’t then accept the collected money). Otherwise, if they know they would decline to accept it and i am out of 50 birr. If Eritrea prints birr then Ethiopia can change her currency to block any new money printed by Eritrea from damaging its economy. It can’t change its money to block a legal tender advanced to Eritrean consumer as per the terms of common use of the birr. You are some what assuming that Eritrean banks would just take my 50 birr and advance me 50 nakfa and the Ethiopian bank is totally absolved of any responsibility. How so? Your example of Czech is a good example of collecting the old notes but how did they settle exchanging these old notes? If Eritrea collect all the birr in circulation, are you suggesting it simply burn it and replace the value owed by Ethiopia (by the promissory note it printed) out of Eritrea’s own pocket? My point is that the collected and accumulated birr would then need to be transferred to Ethiopia and redeemed at an agreed rate.

            Regards

          • Amde

            Hi Haile,

            I think mixing you as a person, and the Eritrean bank as an institution might cause slight confusion.

            I am attaching the article on the Czechoslovak currency conversion again.

            http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/08/us-eurozone-lessons-czechoslovakia-idUSTRE7B710V20111208

            This is also another useful link

            http://www.efinancialnews.com/story/2011-11-18/the-demise-of-monetary-unions-past-czechoslovakia

            And this one

            http://www.channel4.com/news/what-greece-can-learn-from-czechoslovakia

            This is i summary what happened:

            1. People were provided a limit of some cash value they could hold, otherwise everything was supposed to be deposited in the banks.

            2. New currency was not brought in. Instead they had stamps made in Latin America, and these stamps were placed on the notes. They had up to 40,000 people working on just putting stamps on currency notes. For what we are discussing, this is the critical part. As soon as the stamp was put on, the old note ceased becoming a valid currency in BOTH Czech and Slovakia, it just became accepted currency in ONLY the EITHER Czech or Slovak half. It is ingenious actually – the note must have a stamp on it to signify it is new, and it can only have one of the stamps, either the Slovak one or the Czech one. Each time they put a stamp, they destroy an old Czechoslovak currency note, and they create a new Czech currency note. It is one for one. You destroy one, you create one. That is what SHOULD happen, if the intent is to preserve the overall purchasing power. In the Eritrean equivalence, the equivalent would be – you create one Nakfa, you destroy one Old Birr. In this case the mechanism of creation and destruction were not the single act of putting a stamp on, it was (or should be) Print One Nakfa, Shred One Old Birr. For all economic intents and purposes the Old Birr is dead. If it is physically not destroyed and physically exists, it only exists as Zombie Birr. Just because it looks like a Birr it is not a Birr.

            Now, to use your analogy, if you had ETB 50 cash in hand you had one of two choices.

            a) You can either take it to the Eritrean bank and have it exchanged to a Nakfa, or

            b) As long as you were within the time and currency limit established by the Ethiopian government, you could go to Ethiopia and have it exchanged for a new Birr.

            c) Of course you have another option – you could exchange it for something else the market will accept.

            I don’t think you have any other option.

            I have to assume language on “REDEEM TO HOLDER” cannot be absolute. I have old HaileSellasie era Birr (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Haile_Selassie_over_massawa.jpg “HaileSellasie over Massawa it says 🙂 ) and it says “PAYABLE TO BEARER ON DEMAND”. The sovereign power that authorised the currency (Ethiopia) still exists, and so does the institution that issued it (National bank of Ethiopia). Just because it was issued by the National Bank of Ethiopia and has the promise to pay the bearer in 1974, I do not believe it is still valid in 2015. I can’t buy bread or qolo with it on the street, nor can I get it redeemed for a new Birr in the bank. It is simply a piece of paper of some historical interest. Why? Because it has been superseded by other new notes authorised by the sovereign power.

            From Ethiopia’s point of view, its main task is making sure that the Zombie Birr does not affect its economy. To protect itself from that scenario, it issued new currency.

            If Eritrea decided NOT to exchange a part of its Old Birr stock into Nakfa with the assumption that Ethiopia will exchange them into either new Birr or another alternate instrument of value, then I can see where it might be cause for the Eritrean side to feel aggrieved if Ethiopia decided not to do so. Otherwise, I still fail to see what Ethiopia owes to the Eritrean side.

            Amde

          • haileTG

            Hey Amde;

            This part outlines precisely the issue:

            “If Eritrea decided NOT to exchange a part of its Old Birr stock into Nakfa with the assumption that Ethiopia will exchange them into either new Birr or another alternate instrument of value, then I can see where it might be cause for the Eritrean side to feel aggrieved if Ethiopia decided not to do so. “

            1 – Only Ethiopia can destroy the old birr, as it is the sole property of the Ethiopian government.

            2 – When Ethiopia destroys its old birr, it sure would compensate the bearer. Otherwise it would just be taking somebody else’s money and shredding it…ouch:)

            3 – Hence, Eritrea collects the birr in circulation as well as in the banks, carefully pack it into sturdy boxs, then stacks up the boxs into cargo/shipping container and delivers it to the only authority that owns the legal tender.

            4 – The Ethiopian government/bank processes the returned birr for forgery and what have you and writes a cheque to Eritrea as per the agreed value of the currency conversion.

            Now if you are asking Eritrea to shred every birr and replace it with Nakfa, can it be considered that it is doing the job and jurisdiction of Ethiopian Banks? Did the old HS/Derg notes been simply taken and shredded or compensated for? Remember that Nakfa is a “New Money”. It is not the replacement of any previous money. Eritrea didn’t have its own currency befor Nakfa. Hence it would be unlawful for Eritrea to create or destroy the old birr. The New Nakfa has nothing to do with the old birr. Only Ethiopia’s new birr has everything to do with its old birr.

            Nakfa was introduced in Eritrea, it is note negotiable in Ethiopia and has nothing to do with Ethiopia or its currency mechanisms and administrations. The old birr belongs to Ethiopia, it was issued by Ethiopia and only Ethiopia can change it or keep it. Let’s not mix it with the Nakfa because Nakfa, as I said, is a new money issued by a new country.

            So, technichally, the two Sudanese mustn’t be negotiating the terms of returning the Sudanese pound to the north, because the north can simply tell the south to take each pound, replace it with the new S. Sudan currency and shred the pound. This as per your conclusion would be because the north doesn’t owe the south anything? Could that be right?

            Regards

          • Amde

            Ah Haile,

            I think now we are getting closer.

            However, I don’t think you can say “The New Nakfa has nothing to do with the old birr.” In fact, the precise opposite is true. The new Nakfa has everything to do with the Old Birr, because it was officially declared as being convertible on the basis of 1 Old Birr = 1 New Nakfa.

            As matter of fact, a New Nakfa also created (or forced the creation of) a New Birr. Technically speaking, the New Birr immediately superseded the Old Birr as well. The net volume of Birr in Ethiopia did not double. For convenience reasons, the government established a grace period for conversion of Old Birr to New Birr within Ethiopia. This is the same exact process within Eritrea as well.

            Now to explore a bit further what you had highlighted.

            Let’s say the Eritrean bank gathers 100 Old Birr from circulation, so it has the purchasing power of 100 Old Birr.

            1. It sets an exchange rate of 1 Old Birr = 1 Nakfa,

            2. It decides to change 60 Old Birr into Nakfa and keep 40 Old Birr as Birr, so it has 60 Nakfa and 40 Old Birr which have the combined purchasing power of the 100 Old Birr.

            3. So now we have the 60 Old Birr that have been exchanged with 60 Nakfa. So they exist physically but do not exist on the books. (1 Nakfa = 1 Old Birr). Since their value has been transferred into Nakfa they are only paper. I call these Zombie Old Birr.

            4. We also have 40 Old Birr that exist both physically AND on the books. Since they retain their economic value, for Eritrea they are foreign currrency. I call these Live Old Birr

            5. The Zombie Old Birr and the Live Old Birr look exactly alike. If you had these in your pocket you cannot tell them apart.

            6. You walk into an Ethiopian Bank and you present a Zombie Old Birr note and a Live Old Birr note.

            7. If you COULD tell one from the other, the bank should take your Live Old Birr and give you a Live New Birr.

            8. The bank will take the Zombie Old Birr and shred it/burn it etc.. It is dead. It cannot give you a Live Birr for a Zombie Birr.

            9. However, because they cannot, they run the risk of giving you two Live New Birr. You only had One Live Birr and you came out with Two Live Birr. That is doubling your money at the bank’s expense.

            As you can see, there are a lot of details that need trust and close interaction between the two parties. It can only work if the two sides have trust and goodwill, which obviously was sorely lacking.

            a) How much of the Old Birr were actually in circulation in Eritrea pre-currency switch?

            b) How much of these were coverted to Nakfa and how much were retained as Birr?

            c) How can you distinguish one from another?

            d) What is the mode of handling the Zombie Birr (identifying them/taking them from circulation/responsibility for destruction)

            e) What did the Ethiopia side promise in term of how much of the Live Old Birr it can take from Eritrea and change into Live New Birr, and in what time frame?

            Do you agree with me that Old Birr notes become Zombie Birr when they get converted to a Nakfa? I think our discussion hangs just on this point – let’s call it the Birr Zombification process haha.

            The details of who and how of destroying the currency are secondary, but I would agree the Ethiopia side should take them and be responsible for its disposition.

            Amde

          • Ted

            Hi, Amde, if Eritrea bank open their books and shows you the amount of Nakfa printed and circulated to the exact amount of Ethiopian Old birr( with puncture holes in them or stamp – previously owned by the public), would you consider redeeming the rest( probably owned by the Gov/private Eritrean companies in Ethiopia), with no stamp or hole on old birr, the money earned for service they provided for Ethiopia?. For now let’s forget the dead line. Would you redeem it?

          • Amde

            Hi Ted,

            Well yes of course. I don’t think that is controversial. In effect the “unstamped” or “un-punctured” birr you describe become foreign currency in Eritrea banks. Assuming again there is no conversion deadline issue here, they are valid currency.

            Amde

          • Ted

            Hi-Amde, that is the whole discussion was about. I guess your argument was clouded by “Eritrean may cheat”. If Ethiopians were cooperative/ honest, Eritreans would had not squandered the opportunity to get their hard-earned money(There could be many explanations, but this is mine.)

          • Amde

            Hi Ted,

            If the whole issue was about the fate of the unconverted Old Birr, then yes I agree. That was not how I saw it. Perhaps I read it wrong.

            You have to see it in the context of what EPLF companies were doing in Ethiopia in the years prior to the outbreak of war. They were definitely taking advantage of the one currency situation. Asking to have both a Nakfa and Birr operate at the same time would have made things much worse.

            Beyond the port services, Ethiopia had more to sell to Eritrea than vice versa. So this meant, with Birr your purchasing options were bigger, than if you had Nakfa. If you were Eritrean, with a Birr you can buy coffee from Sidamo and sell it for Dollars. What would an Ethiopian buy with a Nakfa that he could equivalently sell for Dollars? Yes at the time, he could buy some industrial products from Eritrea, but could he have sold these for Dollars?

            The Ethiopian government (like all governments) controls how much Birr are issued and put into circulation. If Eritrea could print Nakfa, and say they have the equivalent purchasing power as a Birr, and go around buying coffee with Nakfa, in essence they have increased the amount of Birr outside the control of the Ethiopian side. And used it as a way to earn the Dollars that should accrue to the coffee originating region.

            The trust was squandered. And I think Ethiopia saw the Nakfa as a potentially deadly financial weapon, and decided to protect itself by issuing New Birr. I can see how pissed Isayyas would be if he had planned on “doubling his money” by asking to be redeemed for all the old birr that were previously in circulation. I can imagine this being an issue to push to war. Dealing with the stock of unconverted old Birr would have been simple and a minor annoyance if the trust was there.

            Amde

          • Ted

            Hi Amde, the rules are there from the professor’s link you presented. Nakfa were only to be used only at the borders < 2000 birr/nakfa value.. How would Eritrea buy millions dollar worth coffee using Nakfa inside Ethiopia where the Ethiopian Gov don't use it as acceptable tender. You are recycling the same propaganda before the conversion of the currency.

          • Amde

            Ted,

            The professor was lamenting the rules you noted. Those were rules forced into place by the Ethiopian side. He was pushing for the Eritrean proposal that Nafa and Birr coexist in both Eritrea and Ethiopia. The fact that Eritrea was exporting coffee is accepted. Eritirea got this coffee using Birr from Ethiopia. What could Ethiopia buy from Eritrea using Nakfa? Answer me that.

            Amde

          • Ted

            Hi, Amde, No. You are moving the post here. Eritrea may had requested but Ethiopia refused to use Nakfa in Ethiopia. It is understandable from Ethiopia’s perspective, The end of the story. Did Eritrea accept the condition of currency exchange. Yes it did. You are arguing hypothetical scenario which you believe might had ignited the war. You are entitled to your opinion, but does not make sense to me. it is my guess if Ethiopia were to know they would be paying 700 million dollar annually for port fee to djoubity, they might had come up with better arrangements.(just my take). It will be a lesson to next generations.

          • selam

            Dear Amde
            Ethiopia don’t have to buy any thing and they could have printed birr in billions and cutt off eritrean monetary tools to a level of zero . Ethiopia can able to cut off any movement by the Eritrean central bank due to birr circulation in the market of Eritrea and the traders favourite currency. I do not think you all are looking to the labour and monetary policies of the central bank of Ethiopia. Eritrea in 1997 was a one kilil of Ethiopia by any sheer measurements . You all can discuss the issue of preferred deposits of banks and also the transaction of from and to , as well as the amount of goods traded in birr was able to out muscles any advantage the nakfa can get from the pile of birr at the hands of Eritrea. The argument that currency played any role is just not going to fly over . Please see it from political point of view not money issue. The war is just about power of the two parties for greater conrol in their respective country not money not interest of any in between.

          • Amde

            Dear Selam,

            I am not sure i understand what you meant. But the paper (http://www.denden.com/Conflict/newscom/com-tek98.htm) by Professor Tekie is quite interestng, he says..

            “What the Federal government wants to get out of the bilateral trade policy may have been different from what Addis Tribunewanted. But the outcomes have been close to what the Tribune had been hoping : the closest thing to an economic blockade of Eritrea. That’s not what the Federal government of Ethiopia had intended; but that’s what its policy reaped during the first weeks of implementation. The Federal government’s objective may have been the accumulation and preservation of hard currency, but its opponents wanted to kick Eritreans out of Ethiopia and hope for the unraveling of relations. In the policies, they saw the seeds of future conflict; the Federal government saw the articulation of a bona fide economic interest.”

            This is from a pro Eritrean source, written before the outbreak of the war. He sees the effect of Ethioian currency and trade policy as having resulted in an “economic blockade” of Eritrea, and of sowing “the seeds of future conflict”.

            Basically Eritrea sold light manufactured goods to Ethiopia and bought Ethiopian agricultural product. It then sold Ethiopian agricultural product for dollars on the world market. As you can see, there are other options here.

            Eritrea could theoretically sell its products to the world market for dollars, but it couldn’t.
            Eritra could sell its agricutural products to the world market for dollar, but it couldn’t.
            Ethiopia could sell its agricultural products to the world market for dollars, and it did.
            Ethiopia could buy light manufactured products from the world market and it did.
            Ethiopia could produce its own light manufactured products and it did.

            As long as Eritrea had access to Birr, it could continue to do as it was doing.

            But with the currency change and change in Ethiopian trade policy, Eritrea could not access Birr anymore. It had not worked on selling its industrial products to the world market. And it had not worked on selling its agricultural products on the world market.

            The result was “economic embargo” and then shortly thereafter the war.

            Amde

          • selam

            Dear Amde
            I do believe that economic trends tend to favour the money maker and Ethiopian central bank was able to make money in bandles with out fear of the cureency Eritrea. The federal government of ethiopia doesn’t fear Eritrea economy to take 8ut more from ethiopia , What I mean by monetary policy of ethiopia in relation to central bank of eritrea is that , Ethiopia doesn’t need to buy eritrean products , and can you mention one item that produced in Eritrea that can supply ethiopia no not even cartoon factory . Eritrea in 1997 has nothing to take and nothing to offer except the sea. Ethiopia was under international business watch due huge market and the potential of making money for the more rich people. Tell me what do rich investers want the sea port or the huge market ? The monetary policy of ethiopia can and was able to withsatnd any challenge that come from Eritrean nakfa or what so ever reason do you have . Can we just take one simple logic if the birr was to stay and the Eritrean nakfa come out on the understanding of both central banks, what is that nakafa has to do with the huge birr in ethiopia , how much money do you think shaebia has in 1997 , 1 billion birr or two . Just logic this currency issue does not compare with luthunia , georgia , poland and even after the cold war the east germany and west germany issue thing , that currecny issue was settled just as a bus ticket in the bus not even in the bus stations. My point is TPLF and EPLF want to have big power over their people and TPLF can not get the support of large portion of ethiopia in 1997 and in Eritrea 1997 shaebia was fracturing in to so many conflict with in the ranks , so many people first complain in 1994 and I actually has close family member who get arrested in 1994 and he has never seen the sun evrr due his difference with the evil man about the EPLF direction and the hijacking of the front from America based elite so called educated people but in reality evil people. Do you think G- 15 have their differences just after the 2001 war , no they have their differences just after 1994 but they were to late and DIA use the war to smash them all at once. The same goes with TPLF on their quest to get the whole ethiopia plus dergi reminants under their umbrella so called EPRDF. So all the talk of currency are just simply not visibpe if we can dig all the whole of PFDJ and EPRDF books.

          • haileTG

            Selam Amde,

            I think the numbers got mixed up:) Could you clarify the following:

            The man goes with 100 old birr to Eritrean bank and convert 60 to nakfa and keep 40 in old birr. The man now leaves the bank with 60 nakfa and 40 old birr. How is the man able to produce 60 “zombie birr” at the Ethiopian bank??? Has he not given the Eritrean bank 60 old birr to get the 60 nakfa?

            Now, the man and the Eritrean bank manager would turn up with 40 and 60 old birr respectively. And as per your analysis the Ethiopian bank would take in the combined 100 old birr and pay them each according to their sum of old birr. So, there really can’t be a zombie birr to begin with. Unless the eritrean bank simply gives the man 60 nakfa and tell him to keep the 60 birr too. In that case the Eritrean bank would have given a free 60 nakfa and the man still has 100 old birr. In which case Ethiopia loses nothing and still deals with 100 old birr.

            Regards

          • Amde

            Hi Haile,

            What is the point of setting 1 Nakfa = 1 Old Birr?
            I understand it as the Eritrean bank saying “If you have one Birr, I will give you 1 Nakfa”

            What you are arguing is the Eritrean bank saying in effect, “If you have one Birr, I will give you one Nakfa, and the Ethiopian bank will give you one New Birr”

            If you wish, instead of the man, lets change it to the new character you introduced, the Eritrean Bank Manager. He has in his vaults the Old Birr that were changed to Nakfa, and the Old Birr that were NOT changed to Nakfa. Can he tell them apart?

            Amde

          • haileTG

            Hi Amde,

            We are narrowing it to nice corner now;) Why should the banker need to tell which is which?

            The total old birr that needs to be redeemed by Ethiopian bank = All old birr in Eritrean banks (changed or unchanged doesn’t matter) + all old birr scattered all over the world + all old birr in circulation in Ethiopia

            The old birr belongs to and is issued by the Ethiopian government. The Ethiopian government has no business to look under the beds, mattress and cupboards. Its business is to identify old birr that are issued by it self and take them away and provide the replacement as it leaves with the old one’s. The birr is theirs and they take it. Simple as as that. If they don’t then that just means that the Ethiopian bank is in default of its commitment to provide sound financial services.

            Imagine you calling a plumber to do a contracted work and instead he is all over your house investigating where you purchased your home furnitures from, how much you spend on grocery… the problem is you already paid the guy and he cashed the cheque you gave him. It is not within his remit to do so. I expect the Ethiopian bank to check if the old birr is theirs, if so take it if not report it to police for forgery. What if we are not prepared to entertain any of these questions and we just want our money back? …haha that is how I return my stuff at the store:)

          • Amde

            Hi Haile,

            This is actually interesting. I think you said you are a lawyer. You are looking at the note and thinking of it as a contract. But it is money, and denotes more than just a contract.

            I was thinking that perhaps you were mistaking the currency conversion process with a currency exchange business. What you are saying makes sense only if you are using the currency exchange business metaphor.

            If you had a currency exchange business, you don’t get to create a currency. You don’t get to create a Dollar – you get dollars from the US by borrowing or some other process. You don’t get to create Euros, but you promise to exchange Euros for Dollars. Hopefully somewhere in that exchange you and Euro from France, and hopefully there is some margin for you to make a profit. But you are exchanging value for value.

            Now in the case of the Nakfa, you get to create the currency. Until you said it is exclusive legal tender, it was just a bunch of nice paper having no value. When it gets declared as legal tender, It gets value on the basis of some established standard – the selected standard was 1 Nakfa = 1 Birr. Assuming that conversion rate is accurate, you should be exchanging value for value.

            Since we are talking about Old Birr in total circulation in both Ethiopia and Eritrea, perhaps it is more accurate to refer it as the combined Ethio/Eritrean currency area. The minute the new currencies take the stage, the combined currency area is n more and it has been replaced with two currency areas, managed by different systems. The Eritrean side decided to convert from the old Birr to new Nakfa. The Ethipian side decided to convert from the old Birr to the New Birr.

            The amount of money in total circulation was authorized by the combined Ethio/Eritrean currency system. It has a defined total purchasing power. The goal of the introduction of new currencies is not to increase the amount of money or affect the total purchasing power. It is just to split into relatively accurate portions that add up to the same purchasing power.

            Haile,
            I can’t tell if you are toying with me or if you are genuinely not understanding. To me it seems pretty straightforward as an economic argument. You literally cannot have a cake in Asmara and eat it in Addis. It can either be money in Asmara or money in Addis. It cannot be money in both Asmara and Addis. It doesn’t work that way. Please read my links on the Czech currency conversion. It should go value for value, 1 to 1.

            Amde

          • Abi

            Getaw, Hailachin
            Birrrr bilachihu Nakfa deresachihu
            Belu temelesu Isu sayizachihu.
            Egnam nafeqnachihu.

            You guys are just great. Thanks.

          • haileTG

            Abi welcome back…

            zarie gud fela’ebakh
            endih new dawula meshekem behilm’h
            ke’enqlf lbie birr sil nakfa lay dub bye wedeq’kulh-)

          • Abi

            Hailachin
            Ene liwdeqlih sibirBirrrr yadrgegn
            Hilmem kene yiraq Nakfan kemiyasayegn.

          • haileTG

            Dear Amde,

            Please trust that I wouldn’t engage to simply toy with you about this. It is a genuine attempt to clarify my understanding of this whole issue. The doubling part has now been well explained by Solomon and I am getting to wrap my mind around that. I most of us have kept reminding each other, we are pretty much trying to make sense of things the best way we could with a limited knowledge in terms of facts and expertise. We’re also naturally inclined to secure a better outcome for our respective side. In any case I have told my lawyer to hold his horses until i study Solomon’s valuable input. Else, I will end up with double loss in lawyer fees and bust nakfa:-)

          • Amde

            Hi HaileTG, Solomon T

            No, I never seriously wondered if you were toying with me. Solomon’s input was just great. Tibebegna aydel – inde simu 🙂 Thank you so much for stepping in.

            In all seriousness, this whole thing led me to imagine if such kinds of misunderstandings were at play in 97/98. You and I can walk away from this just saying we agree to disagree. But if we were negotiators for our respective sides, we would most likely walk away absolutely convinced the other side has all intention of seriously defrauding us. Imagine we respectively report the results of our meetings, and more importantly our impressions of the other side. Our superiors are inclined to then interpret every other interaction with the context of this perceived intent. Not good.

            I really asked this question because during the war, I had heard this theory of EPLF trying to use the currency transition as an opportunity for getting paid twice was in the works, and the EPRDF heard about it and rushed the New Birr into service in absolute secrecy to forestall it. We are talking serious money here Haile – in the Billions. It is the kind of money that can lead to wars.

            If the Eritrean side felt they were legitimately justified in expecting to have all the billions of Birr redeemed, then they would be pissed off for sure. Alternately, the Ethiopian side would be breathing in relief that a financial catastrophe has been averted. My feeling is, Eritrean banking professionals know what the legitimate method is, but this was the kind of clever racket EPLFDJ could not pass without giving it a shot.

            Amde.

          • Solomon T.

            Selam Haile,

            It seems Amde has explained well why it was unreasonable for
            Eritrea to demand to be compensated for the ‘old Birr’ it replaced by Nakfa but you are still unconvinced, in good faith I guess. The main source of your confusion, in my opinion, is the assumption you are making about the legal status of Birr in Eritrea before it
            was replaced by Nakfa in 1997. It seems you are assuming the Birr was a domestic currency in Ethiopia but a foreign currency in Eritrea before 1997. Please be reminded that the Birr was a legal currency representing economic activities in both countries (since the time of the Federation). When EPLF became a de facto government in Eritrea in 1991 it
            chose to continue to use it as a legal domestic currency (although it did not
            have direct control over how much additional Birr was printed each year). Your
            argument that the Birr in Eritrea was mostly earned by selling goods and
            services to Ethiopia is, therefore, inaccurate. Here are the possible sources
            of the Birr in Eritrea at the time it was replaced by Nakfa:

            1) A bulk of it was owned by private individuals in the form of bank deposits and cash. Note that this money includes some of the Birr which was in the hands the residents of Eritrea even before Eritrea won its independence. The source of these savings could be anything including domestic salary, profit from trade with Ethiopia or any other country, remittances (converted into Birr)etc.

            2) Some of the Birr in Eritrea was owned by private and public enterprises in the form of bank deposits and cash. This money includes the money the commercial bank of Eritrea owned as part of its assets (although this will be small). Once again
            the source of this money could have been anything including but not limited to profit
            from domestic and external trade.

            3) Some of the Birr was owned by the Eritrean government itself. The sources of this
            money include domestic and external trade tax collected by the Eritrean government,
            port and other service fees (if any), external assistance and loans (converted
            into Birr), illegal activities in Ethiopia and elsewhere, etc. During the early
            years, there was also a direct transfer of Birr from the Ethiopian government to
            Eritrea (as part of the regular budget).

            On the eve of the introduction of Nakfa, therefore, economic activities in Eritrea were conducted/represented by the sum total of the Birr owned by the various entities described above. The moment Eritrea decided to replace the Birr owned by its various entities by Nakfa, however, the monetary value owned by each entity in the form of Birr is directly transferred to Nakfa at the set exchange rate. At that point, all the economic entities in Eritrea were as wealthy with the Nakfa as they were with the Birr but their wealth is now measured in a different currency. They can still buy real goods and services from Ethiopia
            or any other country using their wealth in Nakfa but they have to first convert
            their Nakfa into a hard currency acceptable in both countries (again at the set
            exchange rate) but the notion that the economic entities in Eritrea who have transferred
            their monetary wealth from Birr into Nakfa should be compensated the Dollar (hard
            currency) equivalent of the ‘old birr’ (for the second time) is ridiculous, to
            say the least! Before Nakfa was introduced the Birr was a common currency used
            to measure/conduct economic activities in both countries but the moment the ‘old
            birr’ was replaced by Nakfa in Eritrea and the ‘new Birr’ in Ethiopia, the ‘old
            Birr’ becomes worthless in both places but economic entities in both countries
            remain as wealthy as they were before. And the only sensible way to keep all
            the economic entities in both countries as wealthy as they were before was to
            convert the ‘old birr’ into a new currency at the same time and that is what
            happened.
            Solomon

          • አዲስ

            Hi haile,

            Coming back to this late. I think Amde argued my point below so I won’t add much. But I will say this, if your premise start from this point, “clearly, the sole purpose of changing Ethiopian currency was to sabotage Eritrea economically. “, it’s going be hard to have an honest discussion.

            Thanks,
            Addis

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Nitricc,

    you said”do you think if there was no new map issuing by the Tigryans and starting invading Eritrean territory; do you really think the currency issue could have been the reason for the TPLF to ignite the war?

    sometime you need to listen what the other side is saying. regarding the map here is something to read. do you heard Berekhet’s music then ? ተመንየያ ኔረ ተመንየያ፣—– ትግራይ ዓባይ ብዓይነይኳ ሪኤያ፡፡

    http://www.tigraionline.com/articles/abay-tigray-tplf-eritrean.html

    • Nitricc

      Hi Kokhob the toothless lol. i do like pulling your leg but lets be honest; you are more to the sides of the ignorant TPLF; why? they are stupid. or we Eritreans are the stupid one. we made the where they are today. here a gift for you and pass this gift to your TPLF paid agent; Hayat.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbgsYxL2fTk

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbgsYxL2fTk

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Nitriccay,

        who cares who is more stupid, for me they were all the same. but what makes me cry was the mass dancing. I really hate politicians who sing two different things in different times. Okay, here bellow the honeymoon music. it is bad when emotion leads the mind.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XrP03va7nE

        • Yoty Topy

          Hi Kokhob Selam,

          DIVORCE is a messy stuff. The moral of the story of EPLF/EPRDF divorce is that :

          A:) Don’t get blindsided by th hormones of love. Make sure you have a tight proof prenup.

          B:) Don’t take a RELATIONSHIP for granted- This being the overarching message.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Yoty,
            I love it. I knew about B. but A? I learn about it more today. you let me remember how Hormones are cheated by mind Lol. have you ever experienced when you think you love a lady by her external appearance? that is where mind plays moving hormones to the other side of the world Lol..body goes hijacked and emotions governs, leading you to the false haven. here is where heart wanted.

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Kokhob Selam,

            Hahaha… Love does make you do all goofy things:) I got the inspiration for (a) from an old British Sitcom called REDDWARF. You might have watched it.It is about a ship that is 3m light-years ago. This episode is about an encounter with a superior ship and are discussing love and family. Anyway, watch it from 4:01 if you are pressed for time.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfHbqdU5pPk

        • Nitricc

          Hey AT would you care why you delete my post? You have the right to deletes what you think a post is unfit but at the same time have the obligation to show some respect to your members in telling why the post was deleted. Sad. You don’t have to all the way but that… I thought you were better than that. Now; what was the reason you deleted my post?

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Nitricc,
            please make sure, do you think I can delete it?

          • Nitricc

            Kokhob no i do not believe that you can delete articles but AT do. what gets me is AT never delete a post from an Ethiopians and Tigryans but they have no problem and never bothered to explain why they delete Eritrean’s post. it is just disrespectful.

          • አዲስ

            Hi Nitricc,

            When will you learn that Tigrayans are Ethiopians ? Are you challenged somehow?

            Thanks,
            Addis

          • Nitricc

            adis no i don’t believe Tigryans are Ethiopians. they are ?????? i don’t know. ask Hayat the official mouth piece of the stupid Weyane.

          • Nitricc

            the Tigryans and the Ethiopians have more rights and privileges than the real Eritreans on this web site; that is the truth!

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Brother Nitricc,
            Long time no talk!
            I think I know why it was deleted, I can also guess why they didn’t tell you why. If you ever trusted me in anything at all, trust me on this: They were doing you a favor by not telling you why. If you can stomach the pressure of curiosity to know why just tell your yourself that ‘there must be something wrong with it’ and call it a day. It is tough, but let it go!

          • Nitricc

            Fantiiiiiiii; i know long time my man; how are you doing? last time we talked was when you were in Ethiopia from a juice bar. Fanti; if there are few people who I respect and i trust on this forum; you are one of them. Your rock solid principal and your sense of universal justice is unmatched. for that nothing but respect; sir! know; i agree with you; almost my every post AT deleted; it was for my protection. no doubt i was protected i am the first one to admit. there are times i say things our right dumb and stupid. I am trying to grow up and trying to do and say the right thing. but when they delete what i thought and see nothing wrong with; i am back at it. it is very frustrating but i guess i will keep trying.
            thanks Fanti.

  • Nitricc

    Hey Papi; your problem is, you take things at face value. besides; I just gave you the shovel. everything what Hayat said; it was said by Abay Tsahaye. there are negligible change to make it like not be 100 % TPLp’s way but the rest; all the way Abay Tshaye. if it wasn’t for your carelessness; it could have accrued you that no one will write this kind of detailed article in 2 to 3 hours. i just hope one day you will wake up and small it.

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear All
    I appreciate Awate for the upgrading. I could have cleaned it a bit more had I known it was being moved to the front page. I completely understand the uneasiness I caused to some friends (Bayan and others) in discussing this at this time. This thing will keep on coming because it is not discussed enough. I guess, we were all dragged to this discussion involuntarily.
    But once we are there, it is not bad to discuss it, but discuss it honestly and truthfully. All we need are three things as a character: be curious; be respectful and speak the truth, and in that order. These three character elements will take us a long way. We can’t know new things if you are not curious enough, listen/read with open mind/heart. Then, we need to equip ourselves with and apply proper manners before you act. Then whatever we do or say would be always powerful and for the better. Even if it is something that happened 15 years ago, there is only one truth that we all should diligently and continuously seek.
    Thank you. Hayat

  • Nitricc

    Hi Papi; if you are up to it, go dig it up what Abay Tsahaye’s has to say in DC seminar to only “Tegaru” and tell me the difference what Hayat’s toothless articles has to say? yes; if you are for real, i am challenging you.

  • Pass the salt

    Hi Hayat and all,
    “However, Ethiopia came up with a minor concession proposal that it could allow 2000Nakfa/dollar transaction of border markets without banks and dollars”
    What does this mean? Explain this to me slowly

    • Hayat Adem

      Hi PTS,
      That means: along the borderline markets, only goods and services that amount the value of 2000Birr or 2000Nakfa can be sold and bought in direct cash exchange, in parity (1nakfa=1birr) without using letter of credit. Say, a farmer from Meneqseito wants to buy a quintal of Taff from a farmer in Irob. What iis the price of a quintal taff? say 1500birr. So the taff owner can take it to the border market and the Moneqsieto guy can meet him at the market, and pay 1500 Nacfa and take his sack of taff. Here birr and naqfa are exchanging at par. No bank is involved. No dollar is invovled. This has become possible because the transaction is not exceeding 2000birr or Nkafa and because it is happening at the border markets. The rational is because people at the border area are so close and culturally interconnected, and because the market transactions and exchanges are very small, they shouldn’t be disturbed by macro policy interference.
      But if a big merchant supplier in Addis and another merchant in Asmara are to trade Taff at a bigger scale, it would be a different game.

      • Pass the salt

        Hayat,
        Yeah I get it now. your typo threw me off. So it is nakfa/birr and not nakfa/dollar.
        Thanks.

  • Nitricc

    AT this is not Hayat’s take. this is straight up from the head quarters of TPLF.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Nitricc,
      I don’t know how you know that what Hayat says “is straight from the headquarters of the TPLF” but I have almost similar views and argued about it extensively long before I knew Hayat, or awate.com was launched. Regardless of where it comes from, it would be nice if you present your counter argument. Discounting it by mentioning a source as per your perception is not argument.

      • Nitricc

        Dear SJ i could have presented what you are asking but what bothering me is; people are exploring billions of miles away and here we are expolring something senseless happened more a decade ago. i am starting to understand why the white man can bend any African country at will. so, my reaction was, i couldn’t figure it out why AT encourages this kind of toothless argument by bring it to the front page. what you have post is the exact takes of Abay Tsahaye in DC seminar. i see nothing new and that is the reason i said straight up from TPLF head quarters.

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Nitricc,
          people may have the same understanding of events. what we expect from you is a post against the Idea and understanding of events then back Badme era war. is what Hayat saying true ?

          • Nitricc

            Hi kokhob the original toothless : – ) you are not reading me. she is saying something new. let me give you a test for honesty. do you think if there was no new map issuing by the Tigryans and starting invading Eritrean territory; do you really think the currency issue could have been the reason for the TPLF to ignite the war? be careful; it is a test of honesty. what your toothless Hayat saying the exact words of Abay Tsahaye. so, get down from your high horse.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Nitricc,

            ዓባይ ትግራይ ? everybody is allowed to dream if someone has dreamed so. But Sir, Honesty should be also explained in details. so why don’t you put the way she put it or is that you support PFDJ blindly!!.

          • Nitricc

            Hi Kokhob. well you are not reading me right. you should know me by now that i am not a person who pushes some once idea. if I say something then it must come within me. i am not going to dig up what someone said years back and bring it as mine, hell no! that is the exact thing i am trying to tell you. the one, the article you reading from hayat and you climaxing about it, i am tell you that Abay Tsahaye said eight years ago in DC for Tigryans only meeting. i gave a test and you failed because you know better i don’t support PFDJ blindly. YOU know that.

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Saleh,
        really with all admiration I have to Hayat, and with all differences I have with Nitricc I am totally convinced this well analyzed post will not come from only her but there is a big support in collecting the information in such way to defend EPRDF. yet, I agree with her all and I will wait the other side like Nitricc to defend.

        • Hayat Adem

          Dear Khokobay,
          The respect love we have towards each other is mutual and I cherish it so much. The kind of purity of consistency, civility and wisdom I always envision in you inspires me a lot. The comment was straight from me written within 2-3hrs. That was just to keep a promise to a friend I respect so much, while I believe he know more, he asked me to put what I know.

          Hayat

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Hayata,

            Thank you. thank you for the explanation. by the way, it is not wrong also to get help from any side or documents if it is based on truth. those events were only less than 20 years back.. we have been all here. this was the first time when EPLF’s mafia style failed. ሻዕብያ ኮኾባ ምውዳቕ ዝጀመረሉ እዋን ::

      • KeyhKsad

        Saleh,
        The problem with Hayat’s presentation is that the content of his writing is very authoritative as if he was one of the principals in the negotiations. I don’t know what his role was if anything, but at a minimum he has to provide written references (which I doubt existed or is in a position to have access to ) or his sources of the semi-authoritative details of the currency negotiation imbroglio between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Other than that it is his synthesis of disjointed events to buttress his perspectives which like anything else has to be taken gingerly and not at face value.

        • Nitricc

          Hi Keyh; you got it. you are the only one to catch it. even the sharp AT fall for it and brought it to the front page. you are good!

      • selam

        Dear saleh
        Your previous arguments should have credible evidence sir , show me any evidence that Eritrean businesses people get 2 billion loan from ECB. Credit is given on the basis of risk analysis in which the profit out weighs the risk , in either way your arguments about the birr vs nakfa issue is not credible and has no merit at all. You are dismissing a very core identity of central bank and also liquidty issues just to support hayat for the sake of blaming DIA. You should put things on sound base than flowing on zero basis .

        • Saleh Johar

          Selam,

          1. I never said ECB gave Eritrean bussiness people 2 billion loan. hence, I cannot provide evidence for something I didn’t claim.

          2. I never said anything about the function of banks, credit worthiness, liquidity, etc. I just explained my views on what happened concerning the printing of Nakfa and related claims.

          3. As I mentioned before, I wrote extensively about this issue (LC, the border trade, etc) when the issue was fresh, in 1998-2000 in Dehai. I didn’t know of Hayat or anyone else and I have paid dearly for my views which I still hold to be true: the PFDJ’s financial policies were foolish and continue to be foolish–just like their other policies.

          4. Blaming DIA to support Hayat? Are you serious? You might be serious but you are unfair. I have blamed Isaias and his party since I started writing over two decades ago. All my past position was in support of Hayat whom I knew in the last couple of years? Well, I have nothing to say but only ask you to be rational.

    • Ted

      Hi, Nitricc,” Every analysis on that fateful crisis should start from this fact or else, it suffers from basic deviation and becomes pointless.” really?. ” Right before the war broke out, you wouldn’t believe the abuse Eritrean were taking at Zalambesa border crossing, the strip searching and confiscation of all kind of personal commodity like a kilo of coffee or berbere was humiliating. when i see it in retrospect what TPLF leaders were doing , the war was unavoidable. During those time the Eritrea gov said not a single word about the abuse. They had pushed us to the limit. There are good news out all of this,
      We have our borders well demarcated.
      We know how much our service worth.
      Weyane is our mortal enemy.

      • Nitricc

        Hi Ted, what they are not telling you is that back then when Siye was the governor of Tigray; the Tigryans in Tigray were ordered not to sell any kind of fuel to Eritrean drivers. and they were also ordered all tracks that are crossing to eritrea to be checked and investigated the content of the items on the tracks while Ethiopian tracks are free of any check ups or fuel restrictions. even in some of Tigray region; the Tigryans refused to accept the Eritrean Nakfa as saying ” A muslim Money” and they burned it; reason? all Eritrean currency displayed camel and camel is a muslim thing. of course no one will tell this facts. it is always Eritrea’s fault; it is always PIA’s faults. there was on Eritrean geologist who worked on that region back the tells it the horror story of how Eritreans mis treated before the war. true; the Eritrean government has contributed to this problem but TPLF is, no doubt is the enemy of the Eritrean people.

        • selam

          Dear Nitricc
          You have said it all but do you think hayat will listen and be realistic ? It is again a dead issue of being propaganda , what i find very surprising is saleh and his colleagues to just go with the wind as far as it gets , can you imagine saleh the great voice giver to Eritrean victims to dance on such false aanalysis ? I find it really diservice to awate.com , inspire , inform motto , sad day. If you go back and click his reply to haile about the tw currency and gold as well as the shoeman plus his 1 kilo sugar explanations is mind boggling to understand .

      • selam

        Dear Ted
        The reason so many activists get lost on half way of their activism is due to some people with microphone on thier hand and access to multi media channels are not credible to make real voice for the victim . Lets try to put Every thing in Eritreans perspective and draw hayat face in between , what do you see ? I see quite bleakness on their quest .

        A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” 

        • Ted

          Hi, selam, the funny thing is she is regurgitating what she heard in one of her meetings with you know who. She has no idea how currency exchange works and her replies is the showing of her knowledge of the matter. Look this absurd interpretation of things”Contrastingly, the old Birr accumulated in Eritrea is just a paper as the real value is transferred to Nakfa”. She is arguing the Ethiopia birr Eritrea earned servicing Ethiopia is Eritrea’s problem. How absurd is that.They should had respected their obligation to redeem with one form or another. And it gets better ” And on top of that the dead line for redeeming is over. “‘ how is it is over if you believe it is paper in the first place with no value. The truth is Ethiopia had refused to redeem the Ethiopian Birr. It is day time robbery. Like they say, Greed is not financial issue. It is heart issue. I hope SJ do more investigation into this.

  • Bayan Nagash

    My personal take: Invoking the fifth on this topic from here until the man at the helm is removed.