Some friends have suggested that we need a clear path and a focus on issues this time and proposed that I make a little introduction as a regular contributor.

Also bowing the my good friend SY, here is what I thought any good friend would want to know:

  • I was born to a mother and a father in Eritrea.
  • I grew up and went to school in Sudan and did a bachelor’s degree in Economics at the University of Khartoum – graduated in 1994.
  • I went back to Eritrea same year and worked – the last one being at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • I did the 9th round of the national service and was sent back to finish my service at the MFA.
  • In 2001 I went along with the students who were sent to South Africa for an MA in Economics at the University of the Western Cape but had to leave (to Canada) before finishing and graduating.
  • I tried to go back to school and managed to do an MA in Human Security & Peacebuilding from the Royal Roads University in Canada.
  • Politically I used to be a member of the General Union of Eritrean Students (very few may still remember very little about it) until its dissolution in mid eighties and was a member of the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students until I left Eritrea in 2001 – two of the most amazing mass organizations that I am very proud to have been associated with.
  • You may also add that I spent at least a week as an active member of almost every Eritrean opposition organization in existence

Back to topic!

I have been reading the comments and discussion to the previous article: SY summarized the previous debates very well (I have nothing to add) – Emma set the tone for the next period and for all I would have to say in a single sentence that (paraphrased) “what matters isn’t in whether we would have this regime or the other but in good administration and governance of whatever we have” – Semere and NITRIC framed the spirit of how we should proceed (paraphrased) “concentrate on solutions and good assumption of one another.” SG practically stayed out of it but (being his nom de guerre) I should be able to read his mind: “kab meEgergerti teTenqequ”. The others that I have not mentioned including Hayat, Haile, Ghezae and others have also raised tough questions, whose answers I cannot claim to know and hope would be answered through our debates based on the assumption of good in everything Eritrean.

Brother Semere Tesfai seemed to have a bit of the bashing (please give him more) for all the crazy things he had said in some of his articles and here I will try to find him an excuse (diHri Hiji gn teQoTeb).

I think what we all do when we take time to write our ideas and make arguments is like painting (not that I know anything about painting). Mind you – WE ALL (from tanika-moulded PFDJ to Gangman-style opposition) HAVE THE SAME THING IN MIND: AN ERITREA THAT WE CAN BE PROUD TO CALL HOME. Simple because we have no choice (as no other human being does as far as I can imagine), we discuss the same thing in three dimensions. Change the name “dimension” if you chose or add others if you will: (a) we describe what a perfect prototype Eritrea is the way we conceive it; (b) we describe what the actual Eritrea on the ground is or looks like; (c) we propose ways of bridging the gap between the two.

Imagine someone, say you, making the simplest argument in just one sentence and decide to propose that: “Skalu Menqerios is a woman” (you could pick any other name or even use a pronoun – it is just an example). Then we will assume that your projection of the other two dimensions is implicit in your statement:

(a) You told us what you saw and decided it was a woman.

(b) The prototype of “woman” looks like what you see (i.e. if you ever wish for a woman, what you see is what you will get), and you know no other prototypes (since you have not said anything more).

(c) By not adding any qualifiers to your sentence, you are saying there is no difference between what that woman is and what a woman is supposed to be. Of course, by using the article “a” you are also telling us that, “she is not alone” and that “there could be millions of them out there” (and you say fear-mongering?).

If you add any qualifiers to the sentence, such as “Skalu Menqerios is a beautiful woman”, then you are making assumptions about the difference between the prototype woman and the actual woman and implying possibilities of bridging the gap between the two.

No one can write any argument in less than (at least) those three dimensions without either explicitly writing or implying some assumption about the other dimensions (go ahead and try to write a one-dimensional argument). Give the article to any reader and voila, you will see the three dimensions either “teKhodimom” or “tegadimom”. These projections are present in anything that anyone can ever say in the context of debating. I think what makes debating endless fun is this enormous capacity of simple words to hide extensive internalized knowledge and experience (and therefore meaning), that would allow every Tom & Jerry (Gadi’s Idea – yelokhulan) to make very plausible scenarios about how you might have managed to know, prototype and compare that, “Skalu Menqerios is a woman” (aymeslekan?).

In doing so – as far as I can imagine – each of us along with T&J (individuals and groups alike) have only two (not less and not more) ways of making an argument. The two choices of technique are:


True to the tradition of our “opposition”, we all use dark to show light. In an integrated picture, we almost exclusively concentrate on showing the bad in our opponents in the hope that people will see the good in us (i.e. as a means to an end). Of course, there are those for whom showing the bad in others is an end in itself (the subject of the paragraphs below). In our obsession to prove that the PFDJ regime is wrong (and hence leading people to believe that we are right), the overwhelming tendency is to attribute to the regime everything that shows up in the bad news media. I think what brother Semere Tesfai, myself and the majority of our great writers did was exactly the same. Deep in our arguments all the demonization of the other was seeded to cultivate in readers the capacity to choose the proposed solution by warning them that the alternative was far worse.

To make these arguments convincingly you need a few fixed non-negotiable (obviously irrational) assumptions like those that we have come to accept as true. For example, the proposition that “THERE IS ONLY ONE KILLER IN ERITREA AND IT IS NOT GOD”, used to explain away everything and leave unanswered only “why the PFDJ decided to kill X?” If it happens that some government official, for instance, has died of natural cause, we get confused and run out of words, as was the case with the great Wuchu (may he rest in peace).

Foundational propositions, such as, “THERE IS A ROOT CAUSE TO EVERY DISASTER” are used to attribute every catastrophe to the PFDJ. I know making statements like this in light of so many sad incidents might sound insensitive, but I believe it is the most sensitive thing to do. The intention is to reach a common understanding in ways that contribute real value to efforts dealing with real horrors. We will come to the complexity of humanitarian challenges in our diaspora in separate articles later on. For the sake of the point that I would try to make, let us think of a simple scenario.

Some crazy person treats his wife like a slave and maintains a “slave camp” in his backyard. On a daily basis, she wakes up to “doolla” and sleeps to “shamooT”. He starves her to death and gambles with the neighbors. He promises a lot and delivers nothing but disasters and horrors. Is she not justified to run away for her life? Well she does! Things do not work out. Sadly, on her way to a safe place, a drunk driver hits her and she passes away. If you were a lawyer, or a person with some decency and honesty, and would genuinely like to help by making sure that somebody accounts for her death, and pedestrians who survived get some help, what would you do? Would you go after the drunk driver and traffic police and the bystanders who did not help, or would you go after the abusive husband because he was the root cause of all this?

Let us think of a different root cause, where the husband was actually a sweetheart who insists on one “kutsha” next the one he had just stolen from the neighbor’s wife. She wakes up to a kiss and goes to bed in a hug or does the chicken dance in the dream gardens in the backyard. Early one Valentine morning she decides to pick him a red flower. Sadly, on her way to the flower shop, a drunk driver hits her and she passes away.  If you were the same philanthropist, would the root cause still matter? To be honest – if you were the root-cause philanthropist – all you cared about was to use the poor woman’s cause to incriminate the abusive husband on something that had nothing to do with the horrible accident and the immediate victim. Do not get me wrong – there is no cause nobler than going after abusive husbands – but why fish in dirty waters?

I mean no disrespect spoiling my New-Born state with sinful acts (and my deepest apologies to brother Woldeyesus Amar and the rest of the EPDP for any misrepresentations and offensiveness in my previous articles), but this video (start at 5:20 to 10:00 mark) shows one organization (by no means the only), that has internalized and taken for granted so many of these irrational propositions to be true, and hence acceptable without question, stating without reservation or shame pure meanness as primary foreign policy objectives: (a) depriving the PFDJ of popular support at home and abroad; (b) depriving the PFDJ of any benefits flowing from other countries. I know many of you agree with them and are surprised about the extent of my U-Turn, but please continue to read as I try to show what I believe to be the source of what I see as policy inconsistencies.


The PFDJ (you may say, “along with all regimes that have an interest in overlooking the horrors they have caused”) follows this technique in making the case for the Eritrea that we all dream about. Watch Eritrean Television and PFDJ media for a few days and you are on a U-Turn: if not fully convinced, at least seriously entertaining the FACT that it might not be as bad as you had always thought. Apart from digging holes or carrying rocks in the government’s propaganda section, you will see unbelievably good people, like Adey Abeba (I guess), who funds and I believe runs programs for blind and deaf kids year after year – just for the heck of it and irrespective of the “root causes”. You will see kids, who obviously have no idea what a root cause is, reaching out to the best of their imagination to answer simple questions; women smiling just for learning to write “weridooni”; and lots of people tired but proud building dirt roads connecting nowhere to nowhere. If you tune in at the right time, you may see some snow in Asmara for a change.

Would you make a U-Turn – and a U-Turn from what? I did a U-Turn on the method and not the substance of the struggle for change in Eritrea. There is no need to make a U-Turn on substance. In fact, the PFDJ (and everything under its mandate inside and outside the country) is the only Eritrean entity that is actually directly involved in a struggle for change in Eritrea: we change the regime and they change the people. We may not agree on whether their change is different from our change but it is change nonetheless. Even if you manage to argue that the actual outcome of their change is horrible, you would not be able to disagree with the principle that they think, just like we do, that they aim towards a better Eritrea not a worse one.

To make a U-Turn on the method of struggle for change, we need one core assumption: THAT ALL PEOPLE PURSUE THEIR GOALS TO THE BEST OF THEIR INTENTIONS. This assumption might seem unfounded as it seems to assume away all evil intentions from the politics of our relationship to others. It is actually at the core of the conception of “Utility” in social sciences. Rational individuals (read chapter one) in economics are selfish agents who maximize their own utility with the core and only purpose of satisfying their own needs not with the mean purpose of hurting others. In no way does economics or any social science that I can think of, as far as I know, presume pointless meanness in human beings. Meanness may be a by-product of economic behavior that probably arises as a problem at the level of the distribution of benefits, but even in those cases, I believe, it should be seen as a strategy that can be justified by rational humans rather than an end in itself. The condition of “maximization” as a characteristic of rational agents is only another way of stating that economic agents pursue utility exclusively for the good contained in it and they do so to a point that leaves no doubt of under-exploited rationality.

Help me if it does not make sense, but I suppose meanness, as an end in itself cannot be assumed even in the worst of criminals. Things that can stand trial in a court of law and the court of public opinion in any decent society are those that are capable of rational thinking, and causes that are worthy of the administration of justice. The reason that there are court proceedings with a focus on establishing evidence of deed or intention is because we have to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that there are rational, reasonable and believable calculations involved in committing an offense or breach of the law. People on whom such rationality cannot be assumed implying that the meanness involved in the crime was pursued as an end in itself, are referred for psychiatric assessment and society does not care if they get away with their crimes no matter how horrible they might be.

You may be wondering why I would be making such an obvious statement – but to your surprise and mine – there are actually people who have tried very hard to prove the insanity and pure sadistic meanness on the very person they are suing for horrible crimes. No smart lawyer with the least common sense would do that if he/she cares one bit about the cause of his/her victims. It is a loosing strategy because it contravenes the basic sense of justice in any society. No self respecting community can tolerate any form of coercion whether carried out at the level of personal initiative in contexts of voluntary transaction or administered as legal punishment representing collective will or employed for PR purposes to promote specific interests of political groups, taking place against people that society considers irrational by nature or incapable of rational reason.

Do not take this as an obsession with newfound wisdom, but this links to the concepts promoted in the previous article. As the example where the assumption of meanness cannot exist without also assuming limitations on the capacity of the person or thing concerned to make rational judgment implied, these assumptions apply at the level of intentions (i.e. means) not on ends. In a community where the logic of incrimination drove backwards from ends to means and intention, i.e. where the intention could be implied from the extent of damage done, every crime would have to be accounted for, including those committed by individuals who would be well deserved to plead “not guilty” on the basis of insanity.

Such a society does not exist and if it does or did exist, it must be on its way to extinction because such is the beauty of God’s creation of men that if not acted upon by external forces, always strives for the best in the human spirit. Hence the consequence of what you do is irrelevant in the precautionary devises (such as the law) of a just society, as such devises should be designed to control excesses and deviations in the presumed intentions of individuals and groups in that society. Where the presumed profiles of members of that society exhaust all the factors that predict the acts and behaviors of rationality, it can be safely assumed that any consequences that do not match our expectations of that society were caused by forces beyond the control of a just society. This is true because irrational members (those whose profiles do not fit the definitions of rationality), who may also cause deviations in the expected outcomes, are not worthy of trial and are therefore natural disturbances that any perfectly designed humanly system should expect and accept (in Arabic you may call them “Museeba”).

It is this natural constitution of men’s behavior that the greatest philosophers blended as the “invisible hand” that regulates society and produces order, respect and dignity in the hypothetical society of men presumed equal in their capacity to pursue the improvement of the state of their utility to the maximum. It is true that societies have found the invisible hand of natural order crippled by considerations of differentials in men’s capabilities to maximize giving rise to suboptimal social order where the distribution of opportunities, liberties and protection cannot be justified by the assumption of rationality in men. It is also true that restrictions to the rational character of men can be justified on the grounds of guaranteeing the incidence of the just society at the level of outcomes where actual justice is experienced. You may add to this the utilitarian rule of thumb, (underlying the conception of voting democracies – elaborated in SG’s comments to the previous article) that the closest that any humanly system of social order can come is by assuming sufficiency where the good in society can be maximized to fit the constraint of “the greatest good for the greatest number”.

Under no condition may we, however, assume away the objective existence of the good society of well-intentioned rational men because this natural law is inherent in all forms of relationships regulating interest-driven interactions among men. Where any form of sustained patterns of interpersonal relationship is observed, some variation of that natural constitution of men must be assumed. Where such a society of men is constituted through a long history of cooperation and competition in horrible wars and bloody negotiations, as is the case with the PFDJ, it is safe to assume that a more complex social contract regulated by some form of constitution balanced with many sticks and a few carrots does exist. It may not be a written and explicitly codified constitution, but a constitution nevertheless, and a much more sustainable one by virtue of its proximity to the natural order of rationality.

Claims surrounding the “unimplemented” Eritrean constitution, therefore, should be rephrased for its proponents to evade absurdity and ridicule – as the proposition that “Eritrea does not have a constitution” is one that only an ignorant and bigot or a rationally deceitful politician can promote with a straight face. What the “constitution crowd” is demanding isn’t “Eritrea should implement THE constitution” but “THIS Constitution”. That probably is why such demands are always qualified by reference to the year of ratification (1997).

To be honest with you again – you should be glad it ended up where it belongs (this time for a different reason than what you probably guessed I have in mind). Now that we have seen and heard the assumption of pure evil in anything that has to do with the history and achievements of the Eritrean struggle and the unimaginable reconstruction efforts of a people sweating tears and blood in the hope of a better day, we should know what was wrong with the constitution. Here too, I mean no offense and what I say should be understood within the limits of rationality and good intention described in this article.

I have never met Professor Berekhet Habteslassie in person, but I did talk to him over the phone a couple of times during the hay days of the EDP, where I used to be a member and I know he is among the very few people of his education and age that managed to maintain a tireless presence in Eritrean politics. To be more direct, he is one of those many Eritreans that make up the profile of the prototype Eritrean upon whom the assumption of purity of intention should be presumed without question. I might have said things that sounded mean and irrational about him and about many other good people in some of my previous articles – but as I have mentioned above – it is my hope that all those crazy things would be reinterpreted within the heat of making arguments in the context of means to ends. I hope he accepts this as a gesture of goodwill and an invitation for input and guidance in a civilized debate (and on the right side this time).

Am I trying to find an excuse to refer you to this interview with Professor Berekhet? Well I have to find a way of provoking him to say something – anything is good enough: as part of the argument above, I thought, an implicit elitist agenda presuming (actual or potential) evil in the men and women that the constitution was designed to control is clear beyond doubt. In other words, the designers of the constitution were well aware that their task was to set up a constitution that would usher an era of radical transformation from a Big Brother dictatorship to a democratic one. They were also aware or had reason to believe, that political pressures surrounding the PFDJ and the President motivated the push towards a democratic constitution. In some meeting with the President, the commission members (I guess) were pleasantly surprised that they did not have to explain the gravity of what a constitution would mean to his presumed monopoly of power.

In light of the concepts of rational invisible-hand justice proposed above, it would be, more plausible than not, to take the preceding two statements as pure and unfounded assumptions (i.e. the “Big Brother regime” assumption and the assumption that it would be irrational for “the Big Brother” to promote a constitution). The reason is that, “the Big Brother” of the armed struggle was himself premised on similar circumstantially situated presumptions – not on the possibility of the unintended byproduct of rational interaction with the circumstances of the armed struggle. It is partly this built-in bias and presumption of evil and selfishness in people who had exhausted any imaginable limits of selflessness toward trading their own dreams for those of others that made the spirit embodied in the constitution contrary to the predominant spirit of goodwill and optimism at the time. At the grassroots orientation of the spirit of the constitution too, the presumption of the Hobbsian characters that if unchecked, would unleash unlimited potential to cannibalize and devour one another is clear beyond doubt.

I believe it is this inability (of the designers of the Eritrean constitution) to presume that humans in general, and Eritreans who have gone through so much in their history, are inherently decent rationally maximizing individuals that restricted their (of the designers) ability to predict many of the phenomena that invalidated the applicability of their provisions in later years. It is the same flaw in our thinking that continues to restrict our ability to interact positively with the behaviors, ideas and politics of developments on the ground and the tears and smiles of ordinary people in Eritrea today. My guess is that, if some good in the Eritrean spirit inherent in the rational explanation of their objectives, activities and interactions had been assumed as given, the potential for groups of individuals with a natural (not necessarily mean spirited) tendency to exploit every opportunity in constitutionally regulated loopholes such as the land proclamation would have been predicted.

Similarly, as long as we insist on presuming unexplainable evil in the PFDJ government or any other government that follows, subsequent struggles for change in Eritrea will necessarily be trapped in zero sum solutions where one side must lose for the other to win. Let us make a U-Turn and assume goodwill in whatever the PFDJ government and the diaspora opposition is doing or has ever done, so that we would be able to rationalize the policies and activities of the government and opposition and explain differences in terms of tangible things whose solutions may be negotiated. It is only such a U-Turn or some form of it that can guarantee the emergence of naturally acceptable and rationally believable alternatives – either, because of our good intentioned proactive initiatives of negotiated change – or in spite of our stubborn inflexibility to change. Deep down, we should believe, that such a U-Turn is inevitable because such is the destiny of a proud hardworking decent nation that would never settle for less.

About Ali Salim

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  • ALI-S

    Hey Dawit,

    You make a very good point. And you restated the same if you view from rhetorical point of view of just using the logic to make the point and within the context of the whole argument in the article.
    My view of how we should proceed does not have regime change as goal. I am calling for reconciliation among all Eritreans (where both the PFDJ and opposition are irrelevant) – regime change unless we reach a conclusion that there is no room for reconciliation. The argument may be made that it looks like reinventing the wheel because the opposition chose regime change because they couldn’t reach reconciliation. Possible. But if any of us sees that there are ways to reconciling that we haven’t tried, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a shot.

  • Saba

    Ali salim, i contest the last part of your bio:” I spent at least a week as an active member of almost every Eritrean opposition organization in existence.” Do you have mesekakir? 🙂

    • ALI-S

      That is actually true as most of these organizations were born a few days before your first birthday (:-). I have menqesaqesi from each

  • Hayat Adem

    Hi Dawit- yes on both, the translation and the analysis

  • AMAN

    Communication mode always reflects the type of social relations between
    two cmmunities and the political forums the support or advance.
    Moreover it also depends from the type of social school you came from.
    A student that came from a catholic society and learned in a catholic
    mission is not the same as the one who came from a secular society
    and learned in a public school. But no one can say this one is right and
    the other is wrong. It all depends on the type of mission it is serving and
    from what point of view it is originating.
    Unfortunately, many Ethiopians have the wrong culture and mode of
    communication and distorted understanding of what is commonly accepted
    cultural,societal and cultural norms by the world and that is why Ethiopians
    more than any even backward countries like Nepal, Guatemala and Afgahnistan
    find it so hard to understand and live in western western countries and cultures.
    This could be because of the deliberate isolation from the outside world by
    regimes like HSI and Mengistu and woyane so as to consolidate their hold to
    So the interviwee must be in different world than the interviwer and so angry at
    the level of ignorance of the interviewer. That is if you are talking about Awraamba
    and if he is talking or asking you about KOBO that makes one so mad and angry.

    • Eyob Medhane

      Do you see the contradiction of what you are saying?

      You started by saying “…But no one can say this one is right and
      the other is wrong. It all depends on the type of mission it is serving and
      from what point of view it is originating…..”

      Then you continued…”…..many Ethiopians have the wrong culture and mode of
      communication ….”

      That is exactly what “…Aramba na qobo..” is.

      By the way, it is “Aramba” not “Awramba”. “Awramba” is a totally different thing….. 🙂

      • Aman

        Eyob Medhane
        & Abinet
        The limited time and space I have didn’t allow me to write longer articles which would otherwise make my short opinions clearer to readers like you from Ethiopia (due to cultural and political thinking difference with the outside world) First of all it is you who brought the idea of Eritreans… this and Ethiopians that… type of categorization. Based on your faulty observation or may be you were attempting to create a slippery floor so as we slide ( a common futile woyane tactic).
        I know that you do not have any ideas to bring except living as parasite on my ideas by sucking and pulling hair on the body of ideas. However, I will give you replies to what I say and write but at the same time I want to tell you clearly that I will not be fool to be held back or diverted by your tactic and I have to keep going and not fall behind as you wish it. ( If AWATE allowed me, I can give you answers in 10 pages…. but I am always cutting it short..without elaborating what I really want to say).
        For the time being…
        When I say “….no one can say R or W…”
        I mean a truly democratic country and you are right not in countries like woyane ruled Ethiopia Ethiopia under the three past regimes of HSI, MENGISTU and WOYANE doesn’t qualify and is unfit and exceptions to the ideas of rule of law, democratic ideals, democratic rule and rights, and so on ideals… Please understand your country’s right place and do not get bullied by thinking Ethiopia is UK or USA.

      • Aman

        @Eyob and/or
        Also thankyou for the quote and please tell me the totally differen thing of Awramba next time.
        But now I am so ecstatic to see where your end will be starting from this your faulty start/ideas.
        May be you will end up like woyane in his 20 yeras of erratic trajectory.
        While evreryone knew it from the start it is fauly the woyane just kept going and going and going untill it hits the wall and come to a sudden stop.
        May be you are trying to repeat that….

      • Aman

        Because you looked like to me
        as if you have more ammunition to fire.
        Neger zeytsegebe Guasa
        Ge Endabelukha do ti GaGE ………..?

    • Abinet

      I don’t think you know Ethiopians . If you think Ethiopia is in isolation , what do you think of Eritrea? As to me I don’t see a major difference between the two people . A minor difference , in my opinion, is when it comes to diplomacy . Eritreans don’t hide their emotions whereas Ethiopians don’t usually show their emotions . You might call it backwardness / isolation, I call it yeAbesha chewanet.

      • SM

        With all due respect,
        What has all this compare and contrast thing between the two indisputably sisterly or brotherly people has to do now?
        The divorce was settled for once and for all.
        We R good but they R bad, this and that….
        LET’S change the topic for good.
        Let’s us work hard to achieve a better and constructive neighborhood and for better economic integration…etc…If not,then mind your business.

  • haile

    All of ya doing (or thinking about) U-turn,

    Some questions:

    – As far as IA and his regime is concerned, who cares what kind of turn you wish to do? As far as he is concerned, you can go to the moon if you so wish! And as far as Eritreans caught up mired in torture, loss of life and destruction of their country and wish to see the end of this regime, you can actually go further to Pluto or somewhere like that. Which one do you like?

    – It is laughable that people try to speak on behalf of the “Eritrean people” when they actually admit that the Eritrean people are in no position to express their views. Eritrean, in their recent living memory, only knew of:

    Deprivation thus don’t really understand possession
    Oppression thus don’t really understand redemption
    Sacrificing thus don’t really understand gratifying
    Siege thus don’t really understand freedom
    Disturbance thus don’t really understand peace
    Violence thus don’t really understand rights
    Humiliation thus don’t really understand respect
    Dispersal thus don’t really understand closeness
    Rumors thus don’t really understand facts
    Betrayal thus don’t really understand trust
    Wandering thus don’t really understand belonging

    The disaster in IA that has befallen the Eritrean people has changed our national make up for good. Today, it is unthinkable in Eritrea to find someone finding reason to U-turn into believing that the lawless, deceptive, criminal, dangerous, entrenched, incompetent regime can somewhat be reformed to make any part of a decent process in making a free and peaceful nation. We, of course remain hopeful that those doing the U-turn be able to convince PFDJ to reciprocate to you by making a similar gesture of U-turn to even acknowledge you were ever born Eritrean and allow your body a small plot of resting ground.

    Hayat summarized our work in progress struggle superbly earlier today. The Eritrean people would eventually make it through this and the song በዓል መን’ዮም ዝጠለሙ would change to በዓል መን’ዮም ስረኦም ዝፈትሑ። Whether you struggle from a million miles away or from the border areas or from inside the country it is all a matter of situation and how things turned out. But, to reverse gear and tell all those behind dark jails, being tortured, separated and killed that you are joining their assailant is nothing but your own choice. No flattery however, that you are doing it or saying it in anybody’s interest.

    As one brother said recently, እዚ ቃልሲ ንኮራኩር ክንገጥም ዘይኮነ፡ ጎይተቶም ከነንበርክኽ እዩ። ውዒሉ ሓዲሩ ድማ ክበርቕ ምዃኑ ክንዲ ፍረ-ጣፍ እውን ዘጠራጥር የሎን።

    Nkid Tray

  • Ermias

    Crystal clear. Thank you!

  • AOsman

    Selamat Semere,

    Over the years of debating HGDefite you would appreciate that it is hard work with little result, as you read below in Nitric’s post the feeling is mutual, both sides shout over each other. At this stage I don’t think AS has washed his hands from seeking change, but he has given up on the opposition. He is restless, he wants results quickly as you saw in his previous call, now with his U turn, his conversation is with the HF

  • Saleh Johar

    Selam Tafla,
    The problem we are facing is the existence of so many standards scattered everywhere. Many people tried to come up with a standard Latin representation for Tigrinya. I know of this since the days of Dehai in the nineties. Let me give you my views hoping it will help.

    1: we do not a standard representation for some sounds: ጸ – ጰ – ጠ – ጨ, etc.
    We have to find a reasonable representation for them.

    2 : There are redundant of useless Latin alphabets as far as Tigrinya is concerned: example, we have two sounds C and S, one can be eliminated. I think we adopt S.

    3: There are others that we do not need at all in Tigrinya, example X and V. If we are writing VINO, we can just write Weini and do away with V.

    4: We have a few redundant Latin and a few unique Tigrinya sounds. We adopt the redundant Latin to represent the unique Tigrinya. For example X could be the hard Tigrinya as in Hade, Hayal, etc. If we need more, instead of cosidering P and p as two letters, we can adopt those European alphabets with funny dots and slashes on top. Many languages do that.

    5: In Geez we have the first alphabet and six more with vowels (I think Tigrinya uses only five) The vowels of Tigrinya can adopt the English or other developed language. We take the closest language (remotely though) to Tigrinya.

    6. Capitalizing the first alphabet of a sentence remains as is in English because I believe it is a perfect system.

    7. We stop mixing upper case and lower case in one single word, it is confusing and ugly. For example, if we adopt x to represent H (and in Hade), I would write it Xade.

    8. Long vowels. We adopt the Oromo or Somali model to write sebaay instead of apostrophes before the second a as in sSeb’ay or seb-ay, or seba’ay, etc.

    9: Can you suggest a solution for the difference between btn and bttn. At the moment, both are written the same almost always.

    10: But if we want to keep talking to ourselves only, we keep working on the Geez alphabet 🙂


    • tafla


      I’m not a linguist, this is more your field. I’m very fond of g’e’z though, would’t want to lose it.

      here’s a video of the pronouncation of the somali alphabet.


    • Ermias

      SGJ and tafla,

      I like this discussion. I don’t know of any attempts that have been made to standardize Tigrinya (or is it Tigrigna) in Latin alphabets. I particularly like your point number 8 above. I like sebaay rather than the other alternatives. To make it more simple and straight forward, I think we should do away with apostrophes, “funny dots” (but keep slashes*), and no mixture of small and big letters in a single word. A lot of people alternate x and ts (as in Tsega or Xega). I think we should eliminate X altogether.

      *I like slashes because they are easier to write (by hand) and they are easier on the eye plus much less confusing (to me anyway). I have never used it but I always thought about it.

      1. ጸ (tse – tset/ta) – ጰ (p/ – p/etros) – ጠ (t/ – t/erat/i) – ጨ (c/ – c/ena), ኸ (k/ – ak/le), ቀ (qe – qewt/i), ቐ (q/e – bq/et/ta), etc.

      2. no more using C (for the ከ and ኸ sounds) and use K consistently (for kelbi, keydu, kabey, HIGDEF ak/timu etc.) and S (saat, seldi, senkam, etc.). Please see number 1 for other uses of C.

      3. eliminate X but keep V because what if someone names their son Victor or how would we otherwise write television (but no Tinglish for TV, that would crack me up)?

      4. H/ (h/ade, h/maq/ h/nziz kem Nitricc).

      5. I don’t understand this point.

      6. Agreed.

      7. Coudn’t agree more. SAAY please stop it.

      8. Couldn’t agree more.

      9. btn and bttn (SGJ, I don’t know if you remeber ማላላት እና ማጥበቅ (I grew up mostly in the Derg era). If you do, you will simply see that the correct one must be ‘bttn.’

      10. Latin alphabets for Tigirnya is actually very useful because not everyone has the Geez software and even so it is usually easier to type in Latin and make your point unless one is writing a long paragraph or article in Tigrinya.

      Thank you!

      • tafla

        ሰላም ኤርምያስ ፣ ሳልሕ

        Sorry brother Ermias, but I don’t think the slash is better than the upper case solution esthetically speaking ;). I’m not interested in replacing the g’èz with another writing system, just want to use what I have readily available on my keyboard optimally. But to make a standard, we can use some of the unique characters from elsewhere as Saleh suggested. For example.

        ሐ – x

        ቀ – qe

        ቐ – qhe

        ቸ – c (as in italian cesare)

        ጨ – ç

        ኘ – ñe (~ on top of n)

        አ – e u i a é è o (can’t come up with anything other than apostrophe to distinguish it from the vowel e.g g’èz)

        ከ – ke

        ኸ – khe

        ዐ – öe

        ዠ – z(^) with a hat on tap ( like o—>ô)

        ጀ – j

        ጘ – gwe, gwi, gwa….

        ጠ – t (^ hat)

        ጰ – p (^hat)

        ጸ – tse

        Have a good day

      • tafla

        …cont, keep ጸ as θ because it coincides with theta and can be found in ms word easily, thus θe θu θi…

      • saay7

        Hey Ermias, Tafla, SGJ:

        Dehai (specially Drs. Ghidewon Asmerom and Dr. Omar Kekya) tackled this issue in the mid 1990s:


        After much grumbling (particularly on the mixed uppercase/lower case), I adopted it. Are we reinventing the wheel here? What exactly is the issue and is the standard “dammit, I don’t like it!”?

        I think it might all be moot point because it has completely evolved, driven by the agelglot who use their own standard, you gotta read how they communicate with one another on SMS, particularly Yahoo!messenger: (none of your business, Wedi Kassa:)


        • Saleh Johar

          Sometimes is all right to say, “dammit, I don’t like it” and suggest something else 🙂

          Uppercase and lowercase used in one word annoys me; I think there is room for improvement. Users suggest what they think and someone might take it further towards perfection. Nothing wrong with that because such projects do not come with “defter tezazimu” statement, they are open.

          I know about the Dehai project and I mentioned it in my earlier comment. In fact it would have been much better if that had gained ground and everybody was using it. Not many abide by that standard and that is why sometimes when I read different Tigrinya posts written in Latin, I feel like I am hearing a one-year old baby beginning to talk.

          The Arabic use of 7, 9, etc for unique Arabic sounds gained ground because there are millions of users. As we speak, it is no more as popular as it used to be, particularly on Facebook and Tweeter. By now it is almost dead since Arab programmers perfected Arabic script; there are dozens of apps around. Microsoft has a large Internet language development lab in Kuwait and so many It specialists are working and developing it in many parts of the world. The market is large and can afford to buy all technology there. Last night I read a report that most new young Arab celebrities were created on tweeter, surpassing movie starts–preachers, columnists, media personalities and politicians are becoming an overnight celebrity through Tweeter, all written in Arabic script. Tweets instigated/raised issues are becoming hot public (and parliament in some cases) debate topics. That is the limitation that we have, numbers and wealth.

          Therefore, encouraging a revision of the way we use Latin to type Tigrinya, I believe, needs standardization. Today, even Geez fonts are not standardized, that is why most see squares on their screens. I think the Internet uses more than a dozen Geez fonts, most don’t recognize each other and many of them are not written in Unicode.

          Building on what was already developed in Dehai, and a few tweaks can won’t hurt anything. It will improve our communication. Maybe someday the Internet would be totally Latin, which I doubt, but until then….

  • Eyob Medhane

    Haile, (Dawit, this is for you, too)

    I do believe that there is a national character, which usually starts, as a trend from a specific group of people and extends to itself from border line to border line. Hence many people around the world have certain characters that they are defined by largely in general terms. Eritreans and Ethiopians also have some characters that may define them. If we trace back, where those specific characters started, we could trace them back to a certain small groups, then stretched their roots through out the entire society. For example, please watch this interview, between an Ethiopian interviewer and an Eritrean interviewee. You will be able to see a character trend that defines both of them as ‘Ethiopian’ and ‘Eritrean’. The interviewee (The Eritrean) has a trend of characters that are impatient, combative, dismissive and ‘in your face’ attitude, but to the point way of expressing himself. The interviewer (The Ethiopian) has a trend of characters that are reluctant, subtle, inquisitive, but suspicious, not trusting, but accommodating. The difference is very subtle for those eyes that don’t know the two peoples’ languages and the way they speak and communicate. I want you to judge. Please watch this interview and I hope you’ll notice the difference…


    • Saba

      You mean like PIA&PMMZ?

    • saay7

      Selamat Eyobai:

      To add to your convenient cartoon characters (I think Mengistu Hailemariam was an Eritrean, using your definition), consider also:

      * The newscasters at Eri-TV and ETV. The Ethiopians do that Far East culture of bowing low to greet the viewers; the Eri-TV newscasters stare back at you Ayni-Aynikha;
      * Ethiopian media uses the plural you to indicate respect (erswo, eskhum) and Eritrean media uses the singular you no matter how mighty the subject (eskha, eskhi.) Only deference shown is to old people, not people with authority.

      Voice of America Tigrinya edition serves Tigrinya-speakers in Eritrea and Ethiopia. And the interviewers have come up with a standard: if you are an Eritrean government employee, or any Ethiopian, they use the plural you; if you are an Eritrean opposition, you get the singular you.

      By the way, Haile and Rodab, why does the “Ministry of Information” translate to “Ministry Zena”, shouldn’t it be “Ministry Habereta”?


      • Eyob Medhane


        I think I failed to clarify what I really wanted you guys to notice. Please allow me to try again. Abraham, the Eritrean was not abrasive or rude. Though he was a bit defensive, he wasn’t interested to be eased up into the conversation, by doing small talk and chit chat. He wanted to get right into it. That is very Eritrean. It is just a small character trait that I wanted to identify. I was not trying to generalize. I just wanted you guys to see and notice these small grain of character traits.


        I am pleasantly surprised that for the first time, you chose not to dismiss or ridicule of what I had to say as a ‘talk of some mid-level woyane cadre’ I don’t know, if you forgot to do that or you changed your mind about me. 🙂


        I realized that he was born in Ethiopia. His typical Gojjame accent influenced Amharic gives him away easily.

        Aman, http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=N0-aQPbzCZE

        • Saleh Johar

          Is that so Eyob! His Amharic accent is like mine, Gojjame?

          • Eyob Medhane

            Gash Saleh,

            No. Yours is a typical ‘Arada’ accent. Seriously, though. Didn’t you hear how he pronounces certain words? For example, instead of ‘Metan’ he says ‘Metan’e”. That actually is typical Gojamme.. 🙂

        • Rodab

          No, you’re still a mid-level cadre and will remain to be so, till I get a reason to demote you.

    • Rodab

      Don’t read too much into Eritreanism vs Ethiopianism in any interview. Naturally, an intrviewer is in the attack position thus is more relaxed, whereas an inetrviewee is in the spolight (defence position) thus a little insecure.

    • Dawit


      How do you think each (interviewee , and interviewer) would behave if the role were reversed? I believe that the interviewee would be tense whereas the interviewer would be , as Roadab said it, relaxed. Besides, this interview can not sufficiently represent the whole population’s collective character (Eritreans or Ethiopians collective character.). You are making a generalization without considering all the variables.

      Selam Saay,

      Information means habereta, or zena. If you don’t believe me , please refer tigrina English dictionary for more “habereta”;-) Ministry of “zena” is therefore the same as Ministry of “habereta”.

    • AMAN

      one thing you should also know is that the Eritrean is under aggression and under forced/imposed war on him by the “Ethiopian” or in the name of Ethiopia. It is common for the one attacked to respond in that way because unjust attack hearts… I do not know if you are the kind of person who give the other cheek when you are slapped once on your
      cheek… No one knows! you could be!


      The correct way to ask instead was why does the Ethiopian attack the Eritrean ?

    • haile

      Hello Eyob,

      Thanks for the link. But you need to remember that the Eritrean interviewee was actually born and brought up in Ethiopia (till some young age that is). Hence, even if he may display many of the elusive “national character” we are trying to identify, he is also influenced by the Ethiopian “national character” what ever that may be accepted to be. So the search must go on… 🙂

  • Dawit

    It’s random that I used you and Serray to illustrate a point. I don’t have any ill-will towards either of you. Please don’t make me feel that I am the meat in the sandwich 😉

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selemat Saay @ Younis Hossien,

    Always in politics there is frequent surprises. Nothing new, but surprise from someone whom I expect fighters in the forefront for justice, it is wall knocking surprise for me. Before my friend SGJ comes with a title for a subject of his writing in mind, this time I will offer him one title letting the content of it to put it in a simplistic English as he is known for that. In his last article SGJ explained the Year 2009-2010 is “The Year of Ali”s”. Without doubt the year 2014 will be “the Year of U-Turns” as many will follow suit. As for me I have already to count “HadBelely…..Kletebelely…waiting more to come. So SGJ you have enough time to write your prose this time not in kind of “shifen fen” a type of food I learned from the food menu of Hamassien resturant in 1969 when we come back from Poly-Technic Institute at Bahir Dar to Asmara as a student rebellion of that era.

    As a flavor to our discussion let me tell you that short story. I went with my friend (he is from kerenites currently a member of the diplomatic core of the Eritrean government) to the restaurant. We start to order from the list of their menu. My friend ordered Tsahli (the cultural one) and I ordered “Shefen fen” which I was eager to know it. My order came first ” shifene fen” rolled in a circle like a ball on plate. My friend’s order took time as they were cooking it in the traditional “Tsahli.” The order came, my friend start to eat and myself waiting for something the waitress to complete my order. After waiting for sometime, my friend asked the waitress where is his order (his referring to me). The waitress told him, didn’t he order “shefen fen” ? and my friend said Yes. The waitress respond that is it then. We laughed to our mayheiminet. We opened it and we found it like regular food except they rolled the staff with enjera. Now SGJ for “the year of U-turn piece”, if it is in your mind at all, please write it, do it in an open way for everyone to see it not in “shefen fen” way that took us sometime for my friend and myself to understand what shefen fen was at the Hammasien resturant. Myself I will tackle the philosophical aspect of their argument.

    Back to my argument, I will not attempt to respond to brother Younis Hossien this time for he already told us that he is coming with a series of articles to explain why we need a U-turn in our politics. I will reserve my time until he finish his U-turn journey. But some reminders are warranted

    Dear Younis H,
    Just a reminder, when you come with the issue of land and the nature of PFDJ government in the last 2 to 3 years, irrespective your choice of words (such land grabers, neo-nazi which was not appropriate) You had a clear message and clear strategic idea some to follow you and even myself I call upon you to re-frame you argument in such a way the debate to be educational. While many of your responders were calling you as bigot, I didn’t not only because of my nature, but your issue was my issue. I saw some worthyful argument in your essays the same as that of Ahmed Raji (statistics that show discrimination,where he argued in a decent way not in angry way like you). Your argument and Raji’s argument influenced my thoughts in a good way to fight for justice and equitable power sharing. Now You are asking us to make a u-turn. You turn to where? Is it a u-turn of idea or a u-turn for a political expediency (which is the game of shroud political actors)? For instance, suppose if you ask me to make a u-turn? Is that from my heart felt (subjects) social advocacy? just tell me in crystal clear way? If you don’t have an answer (as you stated in your article) you shouldn’t ask us to make a u-turn. You sound a good leader with good idea asking your people to make a u-turn with no strategy and goal. Hisebelu De’A.


    My good friend saay, I wish I know you in person. But I know you for almost 18 years from your writing, For all intend and purposes, I was following you addictively…..at time we agree and at time with divergent view with each other. Nothing unusual. For almost a decade we were fighting against the PFDJ political culture in your own way and myself in my own way which I call it a “political synergy in display”., I believe you were doing it in a principle out of your disgust of the political culture of the regime of Asmara. Now in unfamiliar twisted way, you change your struggle to reform PFDJ, and in doing that in unscientific way, you try to bring new theory,and let me call it for purposes of argument “an Eritrean theory” that there is a culture of individuals in politics and the nature of the political culture in Eritrea is the culture of one man, unheard in the lexicon of modern politics. I am puzzled you to tell us that a culture (be it in different shape or form) is not collective value. I will challenge you, you to write a thesis on it (just kidding).

    But let me try to explain the political culture of the communist party of the USSR which I believe PFDJ is a prototype of that. The architect of the Communist party of USSR of the old Soviet was Lenin. But there were the Martov’s and Trotskey’s ..etc in the Ranks of the party who had good role ( despite the Bolsheveks and Mensheveks divide without a split within the party). When Lenin died, the party continue to survive without Lenin, it didn’t die with the architect. It continue with Stalin, then Khrushchev, then Brezhnev, then Andropov, then Chernenko, then Gorbachev which gives a way to openness, transparency, and open market (Glasnost and Perestroika). In the same talk, Issayas had also the Haile Derue, the Ibrahim Afas, the mohammed Nurs …etc were then in the field to build the culture of the organization, though now purged as we know, the same like Martov and Trotskey and others during Stalin era. Stalin continue with his new colleagues, with Khrushchev, Brezhneve, and you know the minister of foreign affairs Gromicho known as Mr. “net” by the west, as there are the Yemanes, the Zemhrets..etc now to Issayas. For USSR, it took seven decades to be transformed to the current Russian government, it will takes us some decades to fight the culture of PFDJ. So there is no such one man culture in any kind of political ideology that took roots for years. I f you want to make it an ideological debate be my guest.

    Last but not least, I mention that I prefer the Tunisian way of transition. And you saw it as an exception. You want me to take the experience of Egypt, Syria..etc. Why would I chose the Egyptians and the Syrians way when I have better examples the Tunisians way. You see Sal you want to debate on the rough things, and I look for smooth transition lead by technocrats until we settle with our constitution and the election laws. I know why you are doing that. You believe on the constitution of 1997 (which I believe it doesn’t unite the Eritrean people) which I also see it as tailored by PFDJites and was guided its drafting process by the party leaders. I want you not to forget the words of the good doctor when he said it is based on the experience of EPLF and the advice of some parties from France. Whether I win or loose in this battle I will still characterize the document is a document for an authoritarian government by its nature and its content. I have never seen a constitution where a president is elected as an executive from the legislative body “the baito.” I will keep my fight till I die against that document and leave the torch for those who fights for justice and equitable power of social groups. In that you will defend for the powerful and I will defend for the weak and voiceless. In the words of Semere Tesfay my bumper sticker “justice and equitable power sharing.”.

    Aamnauel Hidrat

    • Ermias

      Emma, if you sit back and reflect and ask yourself what do the Eritrean people want, you would be surprised. When I say the Eritrean people, I don’t mean awatistas. This group here is not a representative sample of the Eritrean people and we are detouched for the most part. What I mean rather is the people back in Eritrea, for example your family in Asmara or wherever they are, and the average diaspora. My informal research shows me that most Eritreans still have some faith in PFDJ. I know Haile will chew me for this but at the very least, the Eritrean people do not like the opposition groups, that’s for sure. Most Eritreans still hold that “under normal circumstances,” the PFDJ has a decent potential to pull it off and lead the country out of poverty. You and I know that’s far from the reality. So we have two options 1) prove your point to the people or 2) side with the people and give PFDJ the benefit of the doubt and let IA run his course.

      As you can see, SAAY is following path (2) above and now Ali Salim, Saba, and many others in this forum. SAAY (and now Ali Salim) seems to have a lot of confidence in the Eritrean people’s take of the current state of affairs no matter how uniformed they are. Some of us think we know better for them. That’s where the balancing act should come.

      I will continue on this later.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Merhaba, Ermias,

        Not that I don’t have confidence to our people,.In fact I had confidence for that last 40 years .Without that confidence I wouldn’t be in the struggle for over 40 years. Take out that accusation from your chest. As I see it you haven’t a grasp to my argument. The problem in Eritrea is a “System and its culture.” It is really delusional to say it a one man culture. It is a system with all its institutions and ideological culture rooted to its members which in now passing clearly to YPFDJ. It you don’t believe on that (a system that should be dismantled) and as I see you, you are from the young generation, you will count the years of your struggle as I am still keep on counting it. This is not in any way a curse to you, it is a warning to our young generations when they start to see it as a fighting against one man. Please don’t listen to this fake one man culture, it is a culture of an organization that has worked for decades and still has formidable members to defend it. The more you took it easy to your psychic the more the years of your struggle will be. Think about it carefully. It is politics of interest and they will not give to their power and to the political ideology of their party. If you want change it want be by dreams , acquiescence, and passive assessments..

        Amanuel Hidrat

        • Ermias

          Selamat Emma, I am so sorry about my misunderstanding and I didn’t mean to accuse you of not believing in the Eritrean people in any way. When I was writing that sentence, I thought hard and I suspected it was going to look bad but I will try to rephrase here so at least I exonerate you.

          Here is one thing that I strongly suspect is true. Most of our people do not have the means that many of us in the West have when it comes to mass media, as in Awate.com etc. Someone correct me if I am wrong but this website, for example, is a place for elites by Eritrean standards. Again Emma, you would be really shocked to see how many diaspora Eritreans’ information about Eritrea solely comes from Eri-TV. Imagine the scenario within Eritrea.

          Hence, I am arguing that Eritreans have a serious lack of truthful information about their country which leads to a flawed belief system. That belief system includes giving PFDJ the benefit of the doubt and an utter and complete disregard to the oppostion groups. SAAY and Ali Salim know this full well yet they have decided to side with the people with this belief system in giving PFDJ a chance to reform itself instead of, say, calling for complete dismantlement. I have never read SAAY saying that it is impossible to completely weed out PFDJ, which leads me to believe that he does strongly believe it is reformable. From the people that I speak with day in day out, that is the sentiment of the average Eritrean.

          • ALI-S


            My perception of the situation is exactly the one expressed by Emma: that the PFDJ (defined broadly as the people and ideas upon whom the system rests) is a political force reflecting entrenched interests. We differ with SAAY in the one-man regime perspective.

            Where I have a problem with Emma’s argument is what I think his conclusion does not add up. I think the “dismantling” argument should belong to SAAY to say “dismantle IA and his henchmen if any”. Since we have defined the PFDJ as a political force reflecting the interests of rightful Eritreans, it contradicts the spirit of “democratic change” to try to do away with one group of rightful Eritreans and replace them with another group.

            Therefore, my argument that the PFDJ should be seen as part of the solution even if we conclude that they are “the whole problem”.


          • Araya

            Ermias Anta Betki you sound like a little girl asking apologies right and left. Why are you apologizing for? Out of all those people you have to apologize to Hidarat? Did you know he is in love with TPLF and he is a recipient of their charity? Ask Hidarat about his trip to Hawass? Ask him who paid forhis trip.
            Go ahead, Show some balls and stop acting like a little girl. You are
            brave in playing a detective game and assigning names on this forum, yet you
            don’t have the balls to stand up to rifrafs like Hidarat. You are too soft and
            too feminine to do anything. Watch Wedi- Halima’s on Timali movie, what he has
            to say to all of his solders “GET-BEL” meaning be brave. Also you keep saying I
            am nitric. Well what do you want to know about me? Ask me and I will tell you. I
            can tell you I am not pharmacist or was it clinical pharmacist; that was hilarious.
            What is the difference anyway? Oh; nothing just Drama and glorifying counting
            pills. That is all there is to it, counting pills. I guess this days pharmacists are making
            enough they have to accept a charity from known beggars, the TPLF.
            Let me back to my point, what do you want to know? Ermias, ask me. If not please leave me alone.
            I came to see what Serray has to say for my last post but I can’t overlook reading your spineless apology. Now if you don’t mind, I have unfished business with Serray.i got to bounce.

        • Haile Zeru

          Hi Amanuel Hidrat,
          I really like your summary of PFDJ. After all that we have seen, how on earth one wants more of it, or a part of it, or e reformed portion of it? The culture of PFDJ should be weeded out. What kind of culture is this? You stay put, mouth shut, mind closed while the human rights (I am not saying the democratic right) of your comrades and fellow citizens is dashed? The minimum litmus test is to stand up for the rights of humans. Any thing less is uselessan and so is PFDJ culture.
          I know you are very good at expressing your self and you do not need my help.

      • saay7

        Hi Ermias:

        “As you can see, SAAY is following path (2) above…side with the people and give PFDJ the benefit of the doubt and let IA run his course.” Hmmm. Who is this SAAY and why is he using my initials?

        You will like this, Hayat, for its ironic value but I think it is time for THIS particular SAAY to give his executive summary:) Here it goes:

        I believe the only existential threat to Eritrea is one person: Isaias Afwerki. I also believe that he is not reformable and he has no interest in sharing power with anyone, ever. If he is not removed from power, Eritrea will continue to experience massive migration, a dead economy, and a jump from one conflict to another. Those who believe that the only way to remove Isaias Afwerki from power is by declaring war on the entire PFDJ (a) overestimate the effectiveness of armed opposition in a country with its peculiar social make-up (b) underestimate the potency of the PFDJ and (c) are forcing the hand of the entire PFDJ hierarchy to side with Isaias Afwerki. I do not condemn, on moral grounds, their intent to do that; I remain skeptical of its utility, skepticism that continues to deepen with every passing year.

        If Isaias Afwerki is removed from power, preferably via a democratic coup, all of Eritrea’s problems will not be solved, but they will be manageable: Eritrea will be an ordinary country where politicians compete for the support of the Eritrean people. Because PFDJ, even without Isaias Afwerki, is well-entrenched and made up of people who have more experience in organization and, due its power monopoly, more current information about Eritrea’s make up, it will likely be in charge of Eritrea (PFDJ 2.0.) It will cheat, steal, to remain in power–but, again, that will put Eritrea on a “normal country” footing: one whose governance is far from ideal, but one that is not marching to the edge of the cliff.

        Is that clearer, Ermias?


        • Ermias

          Yes it is. I typed another comment simulatenously with you. Please see below in response to Emma. I hope I am now closer. See, that is why I don’t like writing executive summaries on behalf of others. I got in hot water at work last week just for summarising someone’s paragraph.

          • saay7


            You are almost there:) I think one way to make sure we don’t talk past each other is to agree on definitions: who are the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ)?

            a. In its entire existence, PFDJ has given only number: 650,000. That, allegedly, is the membership of PFDJ, which includes every grandma who got the PFDJ membership to get her food coupon. Is she a PFDJ member?
            b. Is it every member of government (past present), every member of the mass organizations* including YPFDJ, every member of the armed forces who has a PFDJ card?
            c. Is it those who are in the Central Office and Executive Committee of the PFDJ?
            d. Is it a core of people who are vaguely identified who, we are told, are horrible (when they were alive) but decent patriots (when they die?)


        • ghezaehagos

          Yes, Sal…”I believe the only existential threat to Eritrea is one person: Isaias Afwerki. I also believe that he is not reformable and he has no interest in sharing power with anyone, ever. If he is not removed from power, Eritrea will continue to experience massive migration, a dead economy, and a jump from one conflict to another.”
          Without him, Eritrea will be another ‘ordinary’ country…drama, ‘extraordinariness’ suits for individuals; nations should be boring; Eritrea should be one; normal, ordinary….like Ivan Illych.
          Ghezae Hagos

      • ALI-S

        Thanks Ermias – I couldn’t have stated it better.

        It is also my belief that we will never be able to regain our confidence in Eritrea, its people and be proud of who we are unless we all cooperate to bulldoze our way as strongly as we can through tough resistance from a lot of people for who opposition is not a cause any more but a way of life.

        But we can do it and in the worst case we can set the agenda and the standards for a mature opposition that adds value to Eritrea not thugs that would destroy our spirit

        • derei

          DEAR Ermias,

          I am still in a state of shock for my friend’s u-turn. I am not going to delve into long jargon of debate. However, the assertion that the Eritrean people gave PFDJ the benefit of a doubt is flatly absurd.
          No one in his right mind will claim today that there is a single study conducted to gage the opinion of the Eritrean people towards PFDJ. It’s not in the nature of the regime to allow such things.
          My friend, just because the opposition is weak does not mean that the regime is good. it saddens me that some people just diminished the basic human rights of the Eritrean people to the comparison between a pariah regime that we witnessed pillaging the fabric of a society and a weak opposition. If the opposition is weak, work to strengthen it, after all it is not the monopoly of any group to oppose a bad regime. But don’t tell me let’s give up opposing the regime because certain group have wrong or no foreign policy.
          The Eritrean people deserve better than a cruel regime.

          By the way if you want to gage the opinion of the Eritrean people just follow the number of people putting their life in risk in order to flee their beloved country.
          I wish this U-turn is blocked by a no-turn sign.

          • ALI-S


          • derei

            Itesil be ya akhee

    • ALI-S

      Hey Emma,

      I think we have a lot in common in the way we think. I fully understood your concerns and arguments in the “land-grabber” debate.

      The difference between the two stages i.e. the “land-grabber” and the U-Turn ones is in the scope. The first reflected a conflict among Eritreans, i.e. one Eritrean against another. Since both sides of the conflict were part of the debate – there was heat. Although I doubt that we have achieved much, I still think we managed to get the issue on the agenda of any future resolutions of the Eritrean problem.

      The U-Turn stage is not about conflict and no “conflict” should be assumed. This is a stage when we should all cooperate to find a feasible and fair solution to a common problem. The method is “colour-blind”: there is no “we” and “there is only “we”.

      My call is not for anyone to abandon the causes of liberty because that is the cause that we should all cooperate we should As I said in the other post, we should stop viewing the cause of liberty and development as our problem and assuming that the only risks to these causes comes from the PFDJ. If we ignite the good spirit that Eritreans (and the victims of the failures in our causes of liberty deserve) we should base our struggle on thinking that makes sense. We should be able to see the causes of liberties, human rights, and democracy hand in hand with the prerequisites of maintaining national sovereignty and the challenges of economics development. In other words, we should be able to appreciate the difficulties that the PFDJ government is facing in the context of national, regional and global challenges.

      We should be able to listen and say where the PFDJ government is justified and where it is making claims just for political consumption. We should be able to know where we may pressure the government to do more because we know Eritrea (given its limited resources) can do better. We should also be able to excuse them and appreciate their arguments when we know that we are making unreasonable requests such as when we ask the government to to conform to democratic standards that we know full well that even the USA cannot meet.

      Here is the key argument of the whole U-Turn:
      We should design our opposition to fit the challenge – we should not (or devalue) our challenges to fit the capacity of the opposition. It is the opposition that should rise to the challenge. It is not the challenges (that the PFDJ government is facing) that should be played down and trivialized to fit dreams of an opposition that we know full well it is not fit for the job.

      I don’t think we should worry about the current opposition because we have none. Let us put them to test so that only those that would prove capable and worthy may pass. When President Isaias says there is no organized opposition, he is only stating the obvious. There are people who are organized and ready to take positions of those in power (if that’s what we are calling opposition). But opposition should be an alternative regime of ideas and specific projects that if the PFDJ is gone, would redirect the nation to an alternative.

      We have to know that if those in power leave today, the bureaucrats in each ministry can take power and run the country. We wouldn’t need people to come from Addis to fill job positions. The reason we need opposition is for the ideas and directions and projects they are expected to come with in a way that is coherent and responsible.

      I know we are on the same boat – all of us in Awate – where we need help in making the U-Turn is to break the taboo for people to see something good about Eritrea (such as a report saying we achieved some MGDs) and say they are proud of their country because those achievements do not belong to the PFDJ – they are the result of very hard work by good people.

      I want for all of us to end to era

  • tafla

    I think I will withold judgement until I see where this is destined. But I really like your tgrña transliteration; we should agree on a standard, so we don’t communicate as monkeys.

    ዐ – E, ዑ – U, ዒ – I, ዓ – A, ዔ – É, ዕ – ‘E’, ዖ – O (all capital letters, note the accent for ሓምስ)

    አ – ‘e’ (if it’s placed in the middleof a word, beginning (e’), end (‘e))…. ሓምስ (értra)

    ሐ – He……….. ሓምስ (ሔ – Hé)

    ቀ – qe…..(e.g qn’i – jealousy and lom qne – nowadays)

    ቐ – Qe

    ኘ – ñe (e.g españa)

    ጠ – Te

    ጨ – CHe

    ጸ – xe

    ጰ – Pe
    ፐ – pe

  • haile

    hey Dawit,

    I’ll locate the study, just trust me on this one for now, it is legit 🙂 Let me clarify my question though – since you say “bihere tigrigna character” does such character (in terms of attribute as heroic, coward, truthful, untrustworthy…) exist? that is the question as a opposed just “culture” (that is Aman’s thread 🙂

    There was such informal descriptors to say Hamassienay, Akeletay, Serawetay… is it true?

    Regards, let the chill be on you 🙂

    PS: Hayatom is very close, but could be more frank if I may add. I know IA says Kbur hizbi ertra…then continue to disrespect us like @#%#. Let’s be a bit more candid, what sort of people are we?

  • haile

    Italian Navy reported that it has pulled 273 Eritreans (many women and children) to safety on board its gunboat Sfinfge last night (Monday night March 17, 2014). All have been reported safe. Another batch of 323 Syrians have also been rescued in a separate frigate at about the same time.

    • Kokhob Selam

      that is good news. others are working for us while we are talking about U Turn. the enemy is killing our people. what are we supposed to do?

      • haile

        Hey KS,

        We’re actually supposed to do a U-turn, but not the kind of U-turn that Ali Salim is talking (with all respect, I consider that type of U-turn mebaKhurti). Rather the type of U-turn that Petros Kfle is talking about on the poem below.

        NB. Not my poem, the writer’s name is at the bottom.

        ካብ ዝና ህያው ከልቢ፡ ይበልጽ ኣማውታ ኣንበሳ ወዲ ዓሊ!

        የለኻን ኣታ ዘለኻ ዝመስለካ
        ብሕማም ታፍላ ማሲንካ
        ሕዩር ኣብ ከርሲ መረበትካ
        መሰክሒ ካብ ኮነ ህላውነትካ
        ቃፍላይ ብቃፍላይ ዋህዚ ምስዳድካ
        መኻዕበቲ ሃብቶም ሽያጥ ኩሊትካ
        ስለ’ዚ የ ዝበልኩ ካብ ዝና ህያው ከልቢ፡ ይበልጽ ኣማውታ ኣንበሳ ወዲ ዓሊ!

        ግፍዒ ሓፍትኻ መሊሱ ብኢሱ
        ቁስሊ ሓውካ ኣመና ረኺሱ
        ንፋስ ጥፍኣት ኣብ ምድርና ነፊሱ
        ንጉስ ዓመጽ ኣብ ሃገርና ነጊሱ
        ኣለኻ’ዶ ወይስ ኣፍካ ተዓቢሱ
        የለኹን በል ኣለኹ ኢልካ ኣይትሓሱ
        ስለ’ዚ የ ዝበልኩ ካብ ዝና ህያው ከልቢ፡ ይበልጽ ኣማውታ ኣንበሳ ወዲ ዓሊ!

        እዚ ድዩ ኤርትራዊ እቲ እንፈልጦ
        ተረጊጹ ዝነብር ብበዓል ወይጦ-መይጦ
        ግፍዒ ህግደፍ ክሳዱ ዘጎበጦ
        ኣዒንቱ ላቒተን ዝሪኦ ነይልቦ
        መቃዕቲ ገፋዕቲ ኣብ ዝባን ዓደቦ
        ዓለም ብዓለሙ እና ኣርመሞ
        ልቡ ደሪቑ ፍጹም ዘይገርሞ
        ስለ’ዚ የ ዝበልኩ ካብ ዝና ህያው ከልቢ፡ ይበልጽ ኣማውታ ኣንበሳ ወዲ ዓሊ!

        ብኣእምሮ ሰብ ተሓሲቡ ዘይፈልጥ ወጽዓ
        ብዓይኒ ተራኡ ዘይፈልጥ ቁጥዓ
        እዝኒ ዘይሰምዓቶ ዶግዓ
        መዓት ወሪዱ ካብ ዓቢ ክሳብ ቆልዓ
        ኣብ ምንቲ ምንታይ እዩ እዚ ኩሉ ደርዓ
        ስለ’ዚ የ ዝበልኩ ካብ ዝና ህያው ከልቢ፡ ይበልጽ ኣማውታ ኣንበሳ ወዲ ዓሊ!

        ደቂ-ህዝበይ ውጹ ካብ ናይ ፍርሒ ብዓቲ
        ክሳብ መዓስ ጽዋእ ገዛእቲ ክንትሰቲ
        ተላዓል ኩልኻ ሰብኣይ ምስ ሰበይቲ
        ሰባብሮ ዘንጊ ገዛእቲ
        የብቅዕ ናይ ዘመናት መድጋዕቲ
        ይቀንጠጥ ድነ ሞት ይጥፍኡ መብረስቲ
        ስለ’ዚ የ ዝበልኩ ካብ ዝና ህያው ከልቢ፡ ይበልጽ ኣማውታ ኣንበሳ ወዲ ዓሊ!

        ጰጥሮስ ክፍለ

        • Meretse Asmelash

          ዓሊ ክብል ጸኒሑኒ ዮኑስ
          ቅንይ’ሉ ከይኸውን ሃንስ
          ጸጸኒሑ ንከብደይ ዝሕምስ
          ለይቲ’ሎ ከይብለኒ ፋዱስ
          እንድዕለይ ፈሪሐ’ምበር ሎምስ
          “ኮኮብ ሰማይ” ኣሎካዶ ፋኑስ

          ፋሩሰይ ኢለ ፋሩሰይ ፋሩሰይ
          ኣልዒለካ ኣትሒተ ንነብሰይ
          ኣመለ’ዩ ክጻወር’ቲ ከርሰይ
          ቃልሲ እንከሎ ከየድንን ርእሰይ
          መኣስ ይጠፍኣኒ ‘ትሓቀኛ ፈውሰይ
          ናትካስ ደሓን ምለሶ “ፈረሰይ”

  • Hayat Adem

    hi saba, you are talking kelkelo-silicha*
    The 1st and the 3rd stages are meant “sameness”. following that logic, the logic of symmetry dictates either he was lebam pro eritrea then or he is naive pro-eplf now- the same bread sandwiching aletawi/hymanotawi. ali salim may not like that as sandwiches are defined not by the bread but by what the bread is sandwiching.
    * i’m aware not many eritreans are interested or familiar in the amharic literature (i have to exempt myself rom the interest aspect, and Sal from the familiarity aspect), but you could enjoy prolific poets and playwrights such as mengistu lema. kelkelo-silicha, silicha kelkelo is his line to mean the same thing with different wordings.

    • Dawit


      kelkelo-silicha, silicha kelkelo can be roughly translated into Tigrina as “Wecho tegelbetkayo Wecho”. If I am wrong, I will admit that I am wrong. According to Saba, Anti-EPLF cancels out Pro-PFDJ and only then will you become not “nothingness or sameness” but Pro-Eritrean. Basically, anti-EPLF is a requirement or an antidote that neutralizes Pro-PFDJites.

  • Ermias

    Selamat Ali Salim, I agree with your four points above in general terms. Minor disagreements in the details but good summary overall.

    1. If you consider the average Eritrean, the opposition organizations are either (more or less) nonexistent or flat out ‘to not be trusted.’ By the population of Eritrea’s standards, most awatistas are elites or even for that matter anyone participating in the internet activism. I am a person who believes change can only come from within Eritrea (Wedi Ali style). Our contribution as internet roaring tigers is to apply pressure on the regime from all angles. I don’t quite believe we will be capable of recruiting large masses of the Eritrean population via the internet, for obvious reasons. Internet service in Eritrea is dismal and even if there was a good service there, the large majority of Eritreans are uneducated and it would be beyond their means in every sense of the word. Hence, the most we could probably do is help limit PFDJ’s diaspora support and hence strive them of much needed hard currency. So speaking of leaders that could provide alternatives to PFDJ leaders is in my opinion a no-starter. The best we can hope for is for internal change and then the oppositions can prove their worth if granted the opportunity to do that.

    2. Similar as in number 1 above. Most of the oppostion groups haven’t set foot in Eritrea for a long time and thus they only have a general understanding of everyday problems in Eritrea. You can’t expect them to be prescriptive of any solutions. Instead, like I said, if given the opportunity later on (after a Wedi Ali style change), they can bring in their experts and do major DAHSAS and offer solutions. I believe they are most capable of doing that.

    3. Excellent point. No arguments here.

    4. I would hope we can produce more for less cost in the long run at least.

  • haile

    Hello awatistas,

    Do you believe in the existence of “National Characters”? Study shows
    that the perceived attribute as national characters seldom correlate with
    reality. In fact, actual research suggests that the correlation nothing more
    than a miserly r=0.134 if at all found to exist!

    Assuming that there is such quality as national character, what would describe
    us Eritreans:

    – “the can do people” OR “run as fast as you can people”

    – “caring people” OR “lookout after the #1, no matter

    – “decisive” OR “Procrastinators”

    – “mean what they say” OR “depends which face you’re talking

    can you think of more??

    • Hayat Adem

      Haile the Great,
      There is no need to 2nd-think the nobility of the Eritrean people. It is just overwhelmed by all the unexpected burdens of events. The Eritrean people thought that it was necessary to support the liberation struggle 100% without questioning. They gave everything it had without plans for contrary eventualities. And then it started the independence life with absolute faith believing that no one would dare to gamble to do evil given the sacrifice of the 30yrs and the optimism that came with the new day. Now it has become a rude awakening that things turn unbelievably bad and it needs time process it, internalise it and get mobilized for change. It has nothing to do submissiveness or indecisiveness or weaknesses of the opposition. The ones that are able to be able to read the situation for what it is and not patient enough to wait until effective leaderships emerges and the masses are mobilized are moving out. To put it in short, the national character of Eritreans stands out as one of the best and 2nd to none. If you go through the numbers and analyses, you’ll only be rediscovering the same thing. But, better to focus on the sources of evil without doubting the national character (the people) as there is no use of stringing a single log.
      I give you credit and respect for your razor-sharp comments and uniquely angled inputs you are providing.

    • Dawit

      Where is the frigging study? How big is the sample from which the correlation coefficient is derived? In my opinion the dominant culture almost always determines the national character. In the case of Eritrea, the Tigrinya biher determines, given its cultural and linguistic domination, the national character. The Tigrigna biher’s culture and its language diffuse to other minor cultures driving out some while taking up others thereby creating an identifying character of an Eritrean whether that Eritrean is a Rashaida, or Tigre. Eritrean nationalities are lose coalition united (for the foreseeable future) by a common ghedli “concocted history”. Likewise, the Ethiopia national character mirrors almost always the Am(h)ara’s culture. This culture is also readily assimilated by other cultures and the combined cultures create the appearance of a national character. Due to globalization, however, we may soon adopt a westernized culture and form an international character.

  • haile

    ahaha….(do you know it is not haha – one of those little misnomers of laughter..) No worries, the golden leaves isn’t a health ad for “marijuana is expensive”, just a timely (thematic) design for St. Patricks day (Mar.17). oh…the nick, yeah, well, meda awate kab hade GREAT n’laEli kxawer ayk’Eln Eyu, nay Ra’esi’tat hashewye ayedlyenan eyu hiji…but mind you it all depends on AT if I can continue to use it because the seniority previlages I have with my other “haile” account need to be transferred to this new one. Otherwise, those leaves are plastic, they don’t need watering and tending to 🙂

  • haile

    Saba, ya but the focuse was never on the rain nor the emergencies or what have you. It is on a PFDJ that has left the nation impoverished to the point that it is incapable of avoiding preventable deaths in such circumstances. The only way to agree with you is that to believe the PFDJ is officially DEAD and there is no government in Eritrea, just shifta.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Let me give you a kind of alert in order to make an intellectual alert in your game of politics. All the technics and your words of invention no less than YG by the way, is for the sake of intellectual consumption. it isn’t for a political solution argument. such as for instance “One man culture” that never heard in the lexicon of modern politics. I have a reason why you are saying it, because from the argument you had with YG, it is indeed an attempt to show your consistency. But you don’t make argument for the sake of argument. Reason and principle must dictate you. If my guess is correct it is a wrong approach, and is also a wrong political calculation by a CEO to use your own words. Culture has a ” Collective behavior” either indoctrinated or slowly ingrained in the way of life of group of people or society living in an given prescribed space. Culture doesn’t have singularity behavior. Look you are saying every individual could have his own culture, of course by implication of your argument. Nope my friend. ELF and EPLF were sets of organizations fighting to liberate Eritrea in the image of their political platforum, and along the way they intend to give a birth to a new political culture to the people they govern. Of course all of us we tend to give examples to our argument by the background of our training. But I guarantee you, the CEO in political administration and CEO in other areas of administrational practices is completely different, as the factors that dictate them to produce the intended outcome are different in nature even though you might find traces of behavior as we call in science “traces of elements” that does affect to the final outcome. I will come back to you later today, after reading all your comments and responses. Younis Hossien and Saays U-turns doesn’t look towards your principal principles you have been advocating, but it is away moving from it. The move sound from political conviniency dictated by subliminal factors that comes and go. I will come in detail later on. Anyway, this will take us to the whole of ideological debate which I don’t like to have it at this time. But I don’t have choice, your gravity and insincerity pulled me to engage.

    Amanuel Hidrat

    • Nitricc

      Aman hahahha. Lol, you are having a nightmare that Sal might take you U-turn. Lol
      Aman, Sal has no choice but to look at the problem and treat it with the right kind of solution. Ali, did U-turn and many others will follow. Rigid and blind hate anti PFDJ produced nothing for last 15 years. If it did, please tell me, you are a member of the disgraced opposition. Even what is intriguing is you are criticizing Sal for using the word “one man Culture” my man you don’t have to tell us that a culture is and its collective meanings. I don’t think it far from the truth to coin PIA and his actions as “one man culture”. Everything goes through PIA so what is unheard of about it?
      Aman If you will like to hear what is unheard of in politics lexicon is
      When you prize a cold blooded killer a brutal dictator; Melles Zenawi;as a moral leader.
      Now, Aman, the time has arrived to think fresh, to act smart and to bring a peaceful change to people; they deserve it. Hey Aman, are you still in YG’s Bus? you better jump out lol.

    • saay7

      Selamat Emma:

      Am I the only one who still remembers Gwad Karl Marx and the Marxist School of Thought? The Marxist ideology on economics failed but we still use Marxist interpretation of history and the world on everything, including history, sociology and politics and, of course, culture. In fact, Marxist analysis gives us such a commonly-held views that we don’t even question their origin.

      For example: cultural hegemony. I am sure, Emma, you have heard of this phrase. It defines the practice of a group, usually a ruling class, imposing its value system on another. In fact, as a decent progressive man, you rail and warn against it all the time here. Who set the culture for Maoism? This applies not just to countries but companies. Where does Apple’s culture come from? Is it a coincidence that Steve Jobs would minutely inspect floor plans of his Apple Store? Is it a coincidence that part of due diligence that a company does when buying another company is to ask: what is the company culture and who set it in place?

      Let’s go through some steps: EPLF imposed its cultural hegemony on Eritrea. Would you agree? Next, follow me (this is where I am losing you): where did the EPLF culture originate from? What did this culture reward and punish? Who was responsible for the lion’s share of EPLF culture? Its communication style? Its sense of justice? Even its sense of humor? Its belief system (what Ambassador Adhanom summarized as Jahran, TimkiHten, Hasoten)? Come on: why where journalists who were going to the Eritrean field seeking out to interview the deputy Secretary General (Isaias) when the Secretary General (Ramadan Mohammed Nur) was available? Is you question serious? Is there any doubt that the EPLF/PFDJ culture is really an Isaias Afwerki culture?

      Now, can you tell me what is this “U-turn” that I am allegedly on? Same question I asked Ali Salim about his U-turn applies here: if you are saying I made a U-turn, you have to show I was headed in one direction and now I am headed in the opposite direction. So, bring it. If not, I am immune to flattery and moral hectoring and I will just have to dismiss your allegations of insincerity.


      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Saay,

        Can I say to you Aya Adi’U” I use it for people I have respect to them. Sal, I always put a caveat to any of my in conclusive understanding like “if I am not wrong or like correct me if I am wrong”.. I am not flattering or hectoring by any measure brother. I don’t even know how to flatter. So you have all the right to correct my impressions as you always do. Here are how I come to that impression. My understanding was at least before your speech at the United Nation I had an understanding that you voice was for fundamental change and now when you advocate for reformed PFDJ I consider it a change of mind. So I probably had wrong reading in the past. as I said earlier your writing could be interpreted in many way, it isn’t forward at least for me. Tell me I will stand to be corrected if I had wrong reading as to your political views before. At this time you clearly stated that the only option we have is reformed PFDJ to pull from the current mess. You see how I come to the word of “u-turns” as coined by our own Younis Hossien. As to the political ideology of the communist party in my last rebuttle I brought it as an example to show the culture of an organization which by the way from my belief that PFDJ is a prototype of that nature. Yes I understand the cultural hegemony of EPLF (now PFDJ). That is why the idea of of one man culture is not reality to me.

        Amanuel Hidrat

        • saay7


          Anta emma, how could possibly get, from my New York speech, any conclusion other than: the problem in Eritrea is Isaias Afwerki and a parallel, stealth government he has created?

          Let me pull a YG on you and quote myself (extensively)

          “Let me be blunt: THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT IN ERITREA.Even to call it “a regime” implies a system, a structure and a hierarchy.In actual fact, Eritrea is the State of Isaias Afwerki. It is a tyrannical police “state”: there was a systematic subversion of state power by party, and an even more intense subversion of party power by an individual.So now, the State is The Man, and The Man is the sum total of his mad contradictions. This was done by creating parallel infrastructure: illicit and informal.Because members of this illicit and informal infrastructure are themselves rotated in and out of jail, their loyalty is to one man: the president.

          “One simple example: Eritrea has a ministry of finance, defense, fisheries, energy, mining, transportation, trade and industry, agriculture.It has authorities: airlines, ports, shipping lines.If you were to ask the ministers and directors to speak about the policy of their ministries, they couldn’t say much. I have said before—in an interview with Expressen—that if you were to take all the ministers and water-board them, they would not be able to give you anything of substance of how the regime runs. Because all the power and authority that should reside in their ministries belongs to the “government garages” led by a colonel who is nowhere in the government structure.Those who work in the “government garages” call their institution Somaliland—just like Somaliland is autonomous of Somalia, the government garages are autonomous of the government structure.When you read the Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) report, which talks about how much time Isaias Afwerki spends in meetings with “government garages”, here’s the context: that is his real meeting with his real ministers, as opposed to the rubber stamp “Ministerial Cabinet” that is often televised, showing images but no voices.More recently, Isaias Afwerki has created a “people’s army” that has no reporting structure within the Eritrean Ministry of Defense or its Eritrean Defense Forces.”



      • T. Kifle

        Selam SAAY,

        The “one man culture” theory, much to the chagrin of Amanuel Hidrat 😀 , is plausible to me in a sense that if IA , by some spell, is to have made a U-Turn like Ali Salim and start reforming PFDJ, then, PFDJ would have been reformed. But, for all we know, the last thing IA hates to hear about is admitting wrongs, hence, PFDJ, will remain a curse to Eritrea.

        But , a big but, Sal, it seems to me that you are tacitly assuming the other guys in the ranks of PFDJ would behave normal or close to normal in the absence of IA. These guys have been effecting all the atrocities, imprisoning, trafficking, enslaving and breaking the fabrics of the Eritrean family. Given their background, they might sense a danger and insecurity in case power is slipped away from their hands. I don’t think the “one man culture” assertion would save them in the days of reckoning. That makes them hardened their positions and continue the legacy of IA just to save their behind by hook or crook. My take is a change that comes from the guys at the next highest echelon of PFDJ’s hierarchy would lead anywhere. The healthy expectation as to me should be a popular uprising which the lower rank military officers are in the lead.

        • saay7

          Selamat T.Kifle:

          My answer to your reasonable question: how can people who have been accused of “imprisoning, trafficking, enslaving and breaking the fabrics of the Eritrean family” be expected to be normal after Isaiasism is gone?

          1. Some won’t: Isaiasism didn’t make them bad, they were selected because they were already bad.
          2. Some will: Isaiasism made them bad. Normal people can do atrocious things as the famous Stanford Prison Experiment showed in 1971: http://www.prisonexp.org/

          Then what? Three options:

          A. a future form of justice process which will be implemented in a post-Isaias Eritrea can tell us who is who and metes out justice. Somebody pays.
          B. We have a shefno-shefafno CYA (cover your menber) party. Nobody pays.
          C. We will have warlords created because they will not trust any justice system to be fair or to be forgiving. Everybody pays.

          My point is that if we don’t narrowly identify our problem as being Isaiaism, and if we continue to demonize an entire movement (EPLF, PFDJ, Ghedli), then options B and C are more likely than A.

          No military in the world likes taking orders from civilians. This is true even in mature democracies like the United States. Where there is NO record at all of military reporting to civilians, and no precedent, nothing except vague hopes, the military will not relinquish power to any civilian.


  • Mulugeta

    Hi Ali Salim

    If I am allowed to modify the title for your article, looking at what your wrote, I would write it as “n” turn as your spirit seems to descending down.

    • Ermias

      Mulugeta, the Eritrean situation is really confusing. It personally puts me on a roller coaster of emotions. One day, you don’t see any problems given other issues in other countries, another day there is Lampedusa, you hear IA saying ‘democracy in moon’, Yemane Monkey begging Russia to bail us out, snow in Asmara disrupting residents, the US is to blame for all our problems, YG and SAAY bven sforza debates, ghedli era mishaps, you name it. It ranges from violet to red. So it is hard to blame anyone for getting despirited. If we had an accountable governement, we would focus on our daily lives and vacation there every other summer or so thereby seeing our loved ones, which most of us dearly miss, and flushing the economy with tourist cash.

  • Dawit

    Dear Ali Salim

    You stated :

    The reason that there are court proceedings with a focus on establishing evidence of deed or intention is because we have to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that there are rational, reasonable and believable calculations involved in committing an offense or breach of the law.

    Let’s say Serray, after calling NITRIC some expletive names, throws “denagula” at him. Seray’s intent is to hit NITRIC with at least a “dengola”; Serray’s motive may be to stop NITRIC’s taunts. It may not be to cause injury.

    Thus, It may not be easy “beyond a reasonable doubt to establish evidence (let ‘s say in criminal case) which provides proof of intent; but, one’s intent can be inferred from a series of events that has led to one’s criminal act. Here I am assuming that “rational, reasonable and believable calculations and meanness “ mean motives. In addition, “ meanness or rationality” as you called it may or may not be an end in itself. In the above illustration for example, Serray’s motive is to stop NITRIC’s insult (an end or a presumed just cause from Serray’s perspective ) and the resulting injury caused by Serray is a means to an end, unintentional one.

    When you said :

    “Similarly, as long as we insist on presuming unexplainable evil in the PFDJ government or any other government that follows, subsequent struggles for change in Eritrea will necessarily be trapped in zero sum solutions where one side must lose for the other to win. ”

    Are you suggesting a peaceful as opposed to armed struggle. If I understand you correctly , your U or may be V turn is a turn from advocating an armed struggle to a peaceful means of removing the dictator in Asmara. Or, are you turning a 180 degree from a frighteningly violent approach to politics? In other words, are you saying good bye to essentially vulgar and meanspirited politics. If that’s the case, you must have adopted a pious and holy observation of , and participation in Eritrea’s political and/or social affairs.

    If Eritreans’ cast spell ( “pure sadistic meanness”) on Issayas in order to stop the madness/crimes of PFDJ, their action can be considered normal reaction and welcomed by many. Sometimes you fight a fire with a fire . A sort of “key kedemeni kikidimo”. So, we should not choose and pick methods of struggle while the enemy uses all available methods to stay in power.

    • Nitricc

      Dawit, i don’t think you are feeling me
      Dawit at least be honest with your self Idid not bring this thing with Serray just to attack Serray or to hurt him. I brought this up for real concern. If you can not accept your brother as who he is, how in the hell will you accept Nitricc with his big mouth?
      Can you at least see my beef? I have no personal vendetta or with any other on this forum. All I am saying is Serray is hypocrite and I stand by it.

  • AOsman

    The target of the article is not the leadership of PFDJ or opposition, interesting that by article two the tifozo in this forum has flipped :). In what follows if the HGDefite lend their ears, Ali may bridge the gap between supporters and opposition.


    • Nitricc

      Wediere, What I like about Ali is, he understands that something new approach is needed. I agree 100% with his idea.
      Wediere, how can you not get excited by Ali Salim’s approach? If you trying to do something and you did not get the result you want, why would you keep doing the same bull crap again and again and you get the same result. It is my absolute desire to see an honest, responsible, visionary and progressive opposition for Eritrea. Because it is the best interest for the people and for the country well being. If you want to bring any meaningful change, then, try a new approach. Point out the positive thing the government has done and doing while expressing the wrongs honestly. Stay out of Ethiopia, as along as you lean to Ethiopia, no one will talk you seriously. Declare your program with absolute clarity and confidence. Explain what you will do differently than what the PFDJ is doing.
      What is your position on AID? This is huge for me, just humongous.
      What is their idea of democracy? Do I have bread before democracy or do I have to choice?
      What your take on political representation among all Eritrean ethnics? Is it all about
      Asmarinos worst gung up with their cousins to the south and forget others?
      What is your program on social justice among all Eritreans despite their ethnic, culture and religion?
      What are you going to do with national military service?
      How are you intending to solve the border impasse and your relations with Ethiopia?
      Are you going to stand up to TPLF and demand they leave the Eritrean land?
      I mean I go on and on. Then it will be I am wasting my time. You got my drift though.
      I am personally happy my work paid of. I am witnessing amazing U-Turns to the better future. Too bad, I don’t get to enjoy the fruits of it. I got to get going for a little while
      If not I would have loved to stick around and sticking it to Ermias, Serray and the rest of my adversaries but I got things to care and a bigger fish to fry.

      • Ermias

        Nitricc, I will make a U-Turn just for Saba. You got Rahwa, I got Saba. Here at AT, you win some you lose some. You never lose it all.

        • Nitricc

          Ermias i am getting married to Rahwa. Are you checking Saba out? lol, is she hot? You should see my Rahwa; Beauty – check; creamers -check ; gears – check just a knock out gorgeous
          lol awate-team should create a hook-up page.

          I have made a U-turn long time ago. lol
          what up Rahwa? lol

      • AOsman


        “If you trying to do something and you did not get the result you want, why would you keep doing the same bull crap again and again and you get the same result. “

        Maaaaan! you know PFDJ have perfected that approach more than anyone else and the result is not the same but gets worse and they still stick to their stubborn policy.

        Ali Salim is on U turn and wants to walk side by side with you now, why you running away, are you out of your comfort zone. Usually SAAY says you are different because one day you surprised him by disagreeing with DIA. Now the pal conversation you will have with AS is suppose to analyse things at a deeper level than usual, it will be about the dim Light, its cover, what alternative approach are there to make it shine. Are you guys amenable to such discussion, AS thinks so and I hope that in his journey he will achieve a U-Turn on your part to meet him half way.That is good for Eritrea.

        You mentioned a long list, one at a time…….in your last conversation you mentioned SAWA/National Service as something close to your heart, I am waiting on your take to the presentation from Dr Gaim.


        • Nitricc

          wediere, you know better than thinking I am running away. This is the most exciting moments in awate.com history but I am addicted to this web-site. It will be the greatest challenge not to read and write on this forum but sometimes you got to do what you need to do and roll with it. Otherwise let alone talking about U-Turn, yes the U-turn and the topic I worked hard for; I am here even in the boring times. Like I have said I would love to slap it in their face but there is things I got to do that will require every gram of my attention and dedication. I was going to write something on Jebena section explaining the reason then, it will sound bragging. I got shut things down; concentrate and fish the job. Tomorrow is my final day and I shall be back within a few weeks. I shall be done by mid May.

    • Semere Andom

      Brother Osman:
      I do not think Ali Salim will bridge the gap, in fact he will burn the bridge, but only after making sure that he has crossed the river that is infested with sharks and will sell everyone to the river. When I went “ELF-RC” retard on my friend Sal by suggesting that AS was “hasus”, I was thinking about A. Hamdan, who this website dubbed as a former lone voice against PFDJ and then suddenly one day he has repented and became a new born again. Not only did he become a PFDJ supporter, but his ceremoniously accused opposition members as woyane agents. The said article had this memorable line: “Hamdan, once he was a man.” It has been long and I am writing from memory, but that awate article also mentioned that he was courted by Alamin M. Said, the PFDJ general secretary and he sold his soul for what amounted to be a “lentil soup”* to the unerring bidder for 100K.
      Ali Salim owned the existing metahit issue: the right of the refugees to return, which is a huge human right problem in Eritrea and cannibalized it. Along the way he accused all the highlanders of genocide, he fostered animosity by deliberately picking all the Tigrinya proverbs that speak to bigotry and racism, while ignoring those adages that negate those he was fond of emphasising. Now, he made that proverbial U-Turn, along way insinuating many things against the justice seeking community, some subtle, some not so. He delved into his economics 101 to exonerate PFDJ by implicitly saying that the evil the “good” people in PFDJ are doing to Eritreans is not evil.
      I believe he is not a provocateur as Sal wants him to be. I think that he believed in what he was saying, it made him almost a lone voice in terms of his tone, self- righteousness and how far he was willing to go, but that lone voice, you guessed it, is lonely and it may have had its toll on him. He got tired, got home sick, missed his “warsayitat“ mistresses who were gifted to him by the minister of MFA as a recognition to his loyalty and the delicious “lentil soup” was so tempting and appetizing especially after the laborious years of solitude in the wilderness of his own making.
      We can try to glean some solace from this U-Turn and perceive it as bridge, but the second article has set the tone and it is disturbing. The journey to justice is not for the faint of hearts and along the way many of a wodo-geba will be burning our bridges so we cannot cross.

      * Lentil Soup: is mine the awate article did not say soup or lentil 🙂
      Semere Andom

  • saay7

    Hala Ali:

    you make it sound like the only two choices are “Nkhid Tray” (Avanti!) and “U Turn” (indietro!). Here’s another option, courtesy of our friend Ghezae Hagos who had boarded the YG Bezeqzq:

    “I am off of YG’s ‘babur’ that suddenly took off to the 50s federation era….I have been silently noting to the conductor my ‘fermatta’ was way back there.” There is a third option: get off the bus.

    A CEO who is obsessed with cost efficiency is a bore, s/he is not a leader, s/he is a micro-manager. The CEOs we admire are INNOVATORS. In fact, the guru that is a god to CEOs (Peter Drucker: the guy who invented business consulting) made this point years ago: “A business has only two functions—marketing and innovation.” So, those who are disappointed with the opposition (a growing army) have two options: to market what we have better and/or to innovate. The PFDJ, whatever its strengths, is terrible in both. Can you tell me the last time PFDJ had an innovative idea? The last time it was able to market it? It is an organization living on the goodwill of the EPLF.


    YG’s Bezeqzez is the mother of all U-Turns: his train goes all the way to 1941. Why? Because we Eritreans need living space. But unlike the Nazis, who justified their need for living space (what they called lebensraum) by aggression; we are going to Finlandize our country to one of our two large neighbors.

  • Saba

    From the bio i can say that Ali Salim’s U turn is as follows: Naive pro-EPLF–> Aletawi/haymanotawi anti-PFDJ–> Lebam pro-Eritrea

  • haile

    Selamat Awatistas,

    Do you actually watch ERiTV? I don’t mean leisure watch, rather purpose watch. The settings and backgrounds are often stage managed, but it is not always possible to completely hide reality at all times. The coverage of the Bus accident around Tinqulahas which killed about 17 outbound passengers from Keren to Tesseney and the recent freak storm that left flooded streets with a 3ft high snow in places, are rare occasions that really give you a glimpse of the realities of life under the mafia system.

    The Bus accident:

    The ERiTV coverage of the incident show local people scrambling to offer help and retrieve bodies. The causality level was quite high, 17 dead and over 50 injured (numbers from memory, easy to dig them). The only sign of institutional intervention was a man wearing a police uniform top and a casual athletic shorts and a sandal. No ambulance were in sight, no medical personnel, no emergency first aid administration in progress, simply a group of locals trying to turn over the weight of the crushed bus onto the opposite side to free those trapped. That is all. 17 dead and over 50 injured and a national media (the only one at the spot) was incapable of showing the type of intervention response given on the spot!! PFDJ has no functioning services and such rapid events are rare occasions that expose the reality on the ground.

    The freak storm, rain and icy showers

    The image in this regard also caught the failed PFDJ basic public services by surprise. If you look beyond the lone fire truck that was flushing hazard lights in a middle of a flooded street and a single small sized dozer shoveling (imagine a big section of the city is reported to have been dumped with the white stuff and 1 small dozer is the only thing a national media can zoom on). Besides, there was a more telling scene of quick flooding that accumulated over 90mins and remained clogged long after. This is to do with the broken canals that have long fell into disrepair over the years. One key reason for the city’s inability to supply water to many households (in addition to lack of imported chemicals needed for water treatment facilities). Of course, PFDJ like to tell us that the water problem is to do with the fact that they are diverting all the water to remote areas along the lines of their “social justice” policy.

    I watch ERiTV and am surprised that Ali Salim found anything to help him make a U-turn in it. If at all, one would only be seeing the nation making an O-turn to below pre-independence in a wasted quarter of a century long misadventures of a dictator and his band of loonies.


    • Saba

      If there is no rainfall, it is because of PFDJ.
      If there is storm, rain and icy showers, it is because of PFDJ.
      If you keep doing that you will lose your focus! Try to keep your criticism of PFDJ reasonable, not just gimmicks

    • SM

      This tragedy could have been prevented had the GoE renovated the old Begu-Jufa-Keren built in 1977-78 by ELF when the EPLF denied the ELF an access through the old-current dangerous Tinqulahas road,which is causing a huge cauality here and there.
      Imagine, it is worth only few million Nacfa to renovate the Begu-Jufa-Keren road–as it needs a single bridge

  • SM

    You said:” First,the PFDJ should be weeded out then reconciliation among others could be considered”.I tried to ask the good Professor at Virginia Tech Univ,Professor Dr Ghebremeskel Ghebremariam, during the Award Winning Naz Radio Show;and his answer was blunt but clear.i.e.,:” mobilize the people–public awareness campaign.But I made a follow up question: How do we mobilize or unify the public?”
    But please enlighten us as to how to weed out out PFDJ if you have a diffirent approach from that of the Good Professor.
    I think this topic should be of a paramount importance: How to mobilize the public for real change—besides repairing the broken into pieces Opposition .
    What I have observed here is the exact opposite of what should be done.

  • saay7

    Hey Abu Ulwa:

    I think you have answered one of my questions: I had asked since a U-turn, is by definition, a reversal of path, what was your direction before so we can determine the present direction? Anytime somebody says that he is making a U-turn, one should expect at least two reactions: (a) are you sure you are at an intersection where U-turns are allowed? Remember, the navigation guide advises: make a LEGAL U-turn. (that, by the way, is Ermias’s reaction against “YOU” writers: we don’t have the luxury of time to indulge “YOUR” restlessness) and (b) ኣታ በዓል ካሮሳ: ምለሳ ምለሳየ! aka in Tigrayit ባቡር ይ ገበይካ! aka in the car race video games I used to play with my kids where I rarely, ok: occasionally, ok ok: sometimes, fine fine: always lose the game badly and the frustrated game announcer is yelling “you are going the wrong way!”

    Since (thanks for the bio), you were part of the EPLF’s mass organizations and an employee of one its ministries, and since you defined your U-turn as a different method for the same substance (positive change in Eritrea), does it follow, then, that your U-turn is going to go all the way to your former colleagues and conduct wshTawi srHit? Or is it a course correction, a calibration? If the latter, “U-turn” is imprecise; if the former, say hi to Abdulkader Hamdan:) Remember Abdulkader Hamdan once accused awate.com of owning a Weyane/CIA funded building in LA (that he saw with his own eyes.) And don’t think I didn’t notice in the first piece announcing your U-turn you called awate.com an “extreme opposition website hosting our debates” (extreme? I think CheHamat is not far behind:) Hade beleley. And you referenced how some people “who lobbied and kissed to restrict the possibilities of thousands of people who are literally digging the grounds with bare hands in search of a better future” make you sick. Who are these people: Hamushay MesreE? Klte beleley.

    I can’t ask you where you are going: restless minds can’t give assurances where they are headed because they themselves do not know. But it’s what it has always been: compelling reading! And… you will be called on it.


    • Ermias

      SAAY, I beat you by two minutes taking back my accusation of all writers. You are among the ones I excused. Your comment was so humorous, really enjoyed it. Did I really say “YOU” writers wedaitkum tmxae: we don’t have the luxury of time to indulge “YOUR” restlessness. I couldn’t contain myself when I read that…super hilarious. BTW, I was good with the video race cars, I always picked the school bus.

    • ALI-S

      This is for all. I just picked you because I just signed in so that the others do not think I was selective.
      Imagine the road leads to a cliff and that’s why they had the “Legal” U-Turn sign. Being carried away, you missed the legal point the U-Turn. Wouldn’t you be justified to make the U-Turn and go to jail rather than trying your luck over the cliff?

      Emma, Hayat and Ermias squeezed me with tough questions. I don’t know of anyone who has answers, what we are all doing is look for the best through weighing options. If you convince me that there is a better way of bringing change in Eritrea, I am ready for another U-Turn as the Taxi that awate picked for my article suggests (hopefully to indicate flexibility – no idea). My only condition is that you squeeze your brains and come up with a different path than the one tried by the bacterial orgs in Addis. SAAY was one who ridiculed the “Nkhid-Tray” slogan – and you would not do the same.

      I was thinking of writing a separate article on clarifying the U-Turn rationale but here is the logic:
      I have no idea where the U-Turn will go but “Nkhid-Tray” wey wedi wey gual kitwelid iya. This is how I see the opposition agenda (assuming the best of intentions that I think even you wouldn’t take seriously in them) should be:
      1. Assuming the best intentions in all removes the the possibility of gambling based on whether this leader is more trustworthy than another. So far the only thing that the opposition is selling is the promotion that we should trust their leaders more than those of the PFDJ. I didn’t think we should bet the nation’s future on that. Do you have anyone that you trust more than another?
      2. The focus on intention brings the debate on what it takes to administer a nation in terms of tangible believable solutions to real problems. Let us assume that the President’s interview is our starting menu (or even Obama’s description of his program on details of health care and everything). I am demanding the opposition to take this and go through the details showing us that they understand what he is saying and proposing alternatives (on details not totalities like Dr. FuTsum’s garbage). E.g. if the President says they are building a micro dam in Habero, they should reach the stage where they can say the people of Habero don’t need the micro dam. That is the opinion that will matter in deciding whether we can trust them to take the job.
      3. Where we (all of us) should take opposition to task (the movement that I would dream to motivate) is see if they understand how much it would cost to write a political program and put it to action. Whether they know the cost of running Eritrea? The reason that many people are sad about many horrors (we are not blind) but don’t rise to take action against the government is because part of what the PFDJ is saying, that for a tiny nation with huge challenges, the cost of simply surviving with flying flag is not bearable. It is for the opposition to say for instance how they would be defending Eritrea without Sawa. And if they keep Sawa they are going to do it without people running away from the horrors of maintaining continuous wars. If they plan to do it without wars, may be they can share their magic for the Horn to be in peace.
      4. CEO’s of companies have two ways of improve cost efficiency (just a guess): (a) Produce the same output for less cost or (b) Produce more for the same cost
      If the PFDJ is trying to produce more for the same PATTERN cost (cost defined to include all the resulting horrors), and the opposition will do different, they can only produce the same for less cost.
      I am also for the second option because little things that we do can be cost effective (like controlling corruption, doing our best towards less wars, respecting basic human rights where violations would at least be limited to excusable (i.e. necessary evil national security conspiracies).
      On the humanitarian front my argument is that this activism should target immediate victims and ways of helping them. Humanitarian activism, Emma, I believe by its very nature is APOLITICAL. “Humanitarian-Activism” the way you defined it is immoral because you would be using innocent victims for political gains.
      But please give me some time, we are just one week and two articles in hopefully many many more. I will still need a few more to set the stage. Let us do it together as an initiative of awate.

    • Hayat Adem

      Sal, not always is bad to ask for executive summary, In fact there aren’t many exceptions: just one, only one to remember- Yg!:)
      Thanks Sal. Thanks for what? Thanks for the enjoyable comments on Ali Salim’s articles.

  • Ermias

    ‘You’ (not only you Ali Salim but most of you* writing articles on this website and elsewhere) are taking advantage of Eritreans’ lack of experience and political shrewdness and the Eritrean peoples unsuspicious, decent, and innocent nature to basically make us ‘your’ study subjects and guinea pigs.

    *originally I was accusing all article writers by saying “all of ‘you'” but on second thought, I would like to exclude the likes of SGJ, SAAY, Amanuel Hidrat etc. My apologies.

  • AMAN

    May I agree
    it is possible to make peace with EPRDF and EPRDF ruled Ethiopia but
    Woyane/Tplf …hell NO. NO. NO and NO! Absolutely NO !!

    • ghezaehagos

      Selam Aman,
      If it is possible to make peace with EPRDF without ‘Woyane’, can you tell us in that case why the Issais regime can’t make peace with EPRDF bypassing ‘Woyane’?…

  • dine

    i have said what you said so many times, nobody lesson to me. thanks AMAN for sharing my thought.

  • Fiona

    The good thing is Woyane’s days are numbered. I don’t think they will be in power come next election. It’s not sustainable for a small ethnic group that barely registers at 5% of the population to have that kind of a stranglehold on a country and its resources. Tigray’s dominance of Ethiopian politics are coming to an end soon. Thank God for that!

  • haileTG

    🙁 disqus has insisted I include TG for “The Great” !!

    • Dawit

      Congrats except it took you gazillion minutes to switch from a default to a chosen avatar. What took you so long , man. I always thought you were good at technology. BTW, what does the avatar represent: the three crosses of the Calvary 🙂 And, is your nick descriptive, suggestive, or fanciful? Or is it a misnomer? Did some one give you the nick because you were unable to come up with one? Why did this someone prefer Haile the great to , say, Haile the elusive, Haile the terrible, Haile the conqueror, or Haile the contender?

  • Peace!

    Thanks for being honest, enjoy!

    • Senifalu

      ዝነገሰ ንጉስና፤ ዝበረቐት ጸሓይና – nehna nesu … nesu nehna

      • Horizon

        No wander he feels and acts like a

  • Hayat Adem

    “Is he gonna make all THOSE TURNS?”- That was an exclamatory question innocently thrown from an apolitical family member upon glancing the many turn symbols Ali Salim displayed on his weirdo car that seemed poised to sprung to two opposing directions at the same time. Does that symbolize his state of mind- running opposite directions at a time?!!!

    • Saleh Johar

      Dear Hayat,
      In publishing, images and titles are the right of the editorial board. At awate.com, we rarely change title chosen by the writers though we have editorial rights to do so . Writers can supply images or suggest some, but the final decision is purely an editorial right. The images that you see with the articles are all made in house from our image archives, Internet stock images, or purchased by awate.com.

      • Hayat Adem

        Selamat Saleh,
        Thanks for the information.

  • AMAN

    Many writers and medias also write like this
    In my opinion this is misleading
    There is no war between Eritreans and Ethiopians
    The war is between Eritreans/Ethiopians and Woyanes. To represent the name Ethiopia by Woyane is wrong.
    Woyane has chosen to be at war against the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia by denigrating not to accept international laws and rights of oppressed peoples. Had had woyane chose to respect and accept people’s voices both Ethiopians and Eritreans and pass power to the legitimate owners there would not be any war against him. But so long as it chose antagonism and war against the rights and demands of the people there is no any other choice left other than to fight it fiercely and with dedication on behalf of the oppressed peoples of Ethiopia/Eritrea.

  • haile

    aread!!…what was that man!!

    OK seriously, there is nothing new in the above, the theory has long been used
    and abused by generations of wodogeba’s during the independence struggle (OK
    still kidding, ignore the wodogeba part too :-).

    As a general guiding principle, it may be argued that guarded optimism may not
    be a bad thing after all. The problem here is however, the tendency to crowed
    out the known factors and cram-in the unknown factors to propose an arranged
    marriage (of sorts) with a demon! Before casting the philosophical, hence
    analytical net far and wide, let’s get clear at the basic axiomatic and defined
    truths of the matter in the first place.

    Is the regime of IA:

    a) destructive

    b) reforming/constructive

    c) transformative

    – Can its aims and goals be explained by the facts on the ground or the theory
    on one’s head?

    Again, I feel there has been “unfair” extension of common
    misconceptions into “supposedly” solid facts to drive home the
    intended message towards the target “Opposition”. After all, a week
    is not enough to ascertain in clarity: the vision, mission and inclusion (constituency wise)
    of an opposition group. So, I am still of the view that the attempts to breath
    life into a dead regime may have more to it than faithful statement of facts as
    we see them.

    The more people, who once were “the first” or “an avowed” adversaries,
    start to feel sorry for you, the more likely your situation must have
    deteriorated badly. I hope this gives confidence to Ermias in his appreciation
    of the existential predicament that the PFDJ finds itself in. Qalsi nay zQalesu
    eyu….hgdef dma b’shnfa’E enteleqleqkayo ayts’En eyu, teKariju eyu 🙂

    • Ermias

      PFDJ’s current state of affairs by virtue of Ali Salim’s newfound soft spot:

      “The more people, who once were “the first” or “an avowed” adversaries, start to feel sorry for you, the more likely your situation must have deteriorated badly.” Courtesy of Haile.

  • Kokhob Selam

    “zeyhalfela chirus meskerem t’ewer”

    • haile

      Selamat brother KS; you looking great ma friend, is that a recent picture :-)…ha

    • Hayat Adem

      cool pic!

    • Ermias

      Kemzom grum sebay nay edme tsega yifterelka!

  • Saba

    AS, I am happy that you made a U turn. But remember that many people are in the stage where you were and some will never undergo a U turn. So can you share the reason/ personal experience that helped you to make a U turn, since this might help for others not to repeat the same mistake or it might help to make a U turn. I am asking you this because you seem very educated and you seem to have interaction with people of different ethnics and so i would not expect you to have such kind of ”land grabbing” discussion. You seem more of a statistician than a politician:)

  • Peace!

    One more try 😉

    • Dawit

      We are not Ethiopians ; we are Italians : ዝነገሰ ንጉስና፤ ዝበረቐት ጸሓይና።

      • Dawit

        Then Came another king: Here is a marching band entertaining the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and Root of David

        Now we are Ethiopians till the next king comes along: ዝነገሰ ንጉስና፤ ዝበረቐት ጸሓይና። says the people

  • Semere Andom

    Ali Salim’s twist: fizzle, but no sizzle

    It will be a shock to many, you know who you are :-),but your truly believed and still
    believes without the need to be born again that many brave Eritreans knowingly
    without being duped, endured long years of life in the dungeons with the reptiles and many paid dearly to fight a brutal system. That was patriotic!

    In the process of that patriotic trek some people gave up and surrendered because they
    could not handle the hard life of the ghedli, that was cowardice. Everyone agrees. Even Nitricc and Serray “aYni nAyni ytemametu” on this:-). But they have to find an excuse, the
    ghedli was an Arab agenda, to spare their lives from the “good” men in charge then. They were used in many creative ways to impede the just struggle.

    When history rhymed again, brave Eritreans are suffering too: dying without seen their loved ones in Eritrea because the “good” people in charge will kill them if they dear
    set afoot in Asmara. Patriotic!

    Some people cannot handle this protracted separation from their loved ones and surrender to the “good” people of our epoch. Everyone has his breaking point. But Cowardly!

    Repeat after me my new born friend, three times as in “selest slassie”, that is a magic number in any new born soul.

    Grown up men “ynafqu, ydefanQu, gin ayjajwin”. How long will this fizzle last? The jury is still out,
    but the hint from revelation of the new born is a week 🙂

    Semere Andom

  • Amanuel

    Please read Lampedusa Strategy as Lampedusa tragedy

  • Ermias

    Classic case of ዝኣኽለን ጥሒነንሲ በዓለ ማርያም ይብላ።

    ‘You’ (not only you Ali Salim but all of ‘you’ writing articles on this website and elsewhere) are taking advantage of Eritreans’ lack of experience in political shrewdness and the Eritrean peoples unsuspicious, decent, and innocent nature to basically make us ‘your’ study subjects and guinea pigs. ‘You’ just like to take us for a ride for ‘your’ adventures and experiments and see if ‘you’ can write a deseration or a book about that. ‘You’ are out of touch with the Eritrean people. Most Eritreans including me do not have any political objectives or desires ascending in the political arena. We have families in Eritrea who are struggling to make ends meet because of the failed economic, political, and public relations endeavors of the current regime. We want that to change. We want opportunities, peace, and justice for our people so they can work and stay home and also for us who left our loved ones to go back and rebuild our country and so we do not have to be slaves for the ‘West’ for life as (of all people) Nitricc says this very often.

    This is not U-TURN, this is RE-BIRTH which is totally okay for anyone to change course but don’t do this at the expense of the Eritrean people because I have no doubt you are writing these articles for fun.

    Your U-TURN is not only on the method but also on the substance. Not very long ago, you were accusing PFDJ of dispossesing people of their God-given land, you may well have been correct. But that is a very serious and inflammatory accusation and now you are saying the PFDJ is not all that bad afterall by what you see on Eri-TV. You were there (in Eritrea) not very long ago (2001) so in 2009 you had forgotten that and you thought it was extremely bad or you went on a mission to make groudbreaking experimentation. Please be honest with yourself and recognize that we have a ‘human rights’ problem in Eritrea and help your people alleviate their dire economic situation if you can. To me ‘human rights’ doesn’t merely mean people lacking freedom of speech and expression. It is more so lack of utilizing their potential and providing for their families instead of speding upwards of 20 years in agelglot.

    • Nitricc

      Ermias, I know you don’t give a hoot about me but please get real.
      Ali showed you the darkness to show you there is a light and he showed you the light not forgate the darkness?
      do you understand the magnitued of his writings?
      let me live you with this speaking of darkness and light.

      “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
      open your eyes and reread the article.

      • Ermias

        Nitricc, I am not afraid of the light (well nor the dark literally). He has not shown me the way towards the light (not quite yet at least). But my issue is the inconsitency of the writer’s message. Can you imagine yourself being a member of the ‘toothless opposition?’ That is as much swing as Ali Salim is showing. Just to give you an everyday kind of example, I had a relative who had a really rough marriage. Everytime there was an incident, he would demonize his wife and he put his brother and his sister at complete enemity with his wife on the latter stages. He then begged family, friends, and city shmagletat for forgiveness from his wife. She accepted but on the condition that she never sees his brother and his sister, only for them to eventually divorce (very bitterly) anyway. I will let you connect the dots with what Ali Salim is doing.

    • Saba

      Hi Ermias, i think you too need a U turn but of a different kind.

      • Ermias

        Hi Saba. Glad to hear from you. I am all ears, please tell me what kind of U turn you think I need. Coming from your inquisitive and analytical mind, I will entertain any ideas but no gender change or things of that nature.

        • Saba

          Hi Ermias, i want to come here but your awate team is very sensitive(knee jerk, tinkif-beteg zi aynetu) and lose control easily so they banned me once. I guess more is to come. DIA started that way:)
          I think you need a 90 degree TURN:
          from: tik kem feres, only anti-PFDJ
          to: anti-PFDJ & anti-cyber opposition, pro Eritrea hopefully with full visual field:)

          • Ermias

            Hi Saba, there you are finally. Please stop this game of showing up in here for a few minutes on your train ride home and disappearing again for a long while. I will make a special plea to the AT not to ban you again. Or if they do, I request that they preemptively and concurrently ban you with me so I know where you are and I don’t have to think it was me who made you leave.

            I have finally revealed my secret admiration to you and now Nitricc knows all about it.
            On a serious note, there are VIRTUALLY no women in this forum and always so women are the voice of reason – everywhere, starting from home, to work, to public office. Your input, I strongly believe, is really valuable specially because you make bold conclusions that most don’t dare to do. So I hope that you visit more often.

            About the 90 degree turn, you may have noticed that I have been making sharp criticisms of the opposition organizations. But you and I differ on the definition of cyber opposition. Awate.com is an opposition place based on cyber space. There are a lot of good ideas here. But if you take me on a ride of anti-Eritrean-opposition parties, I am all game because I like to hear what you have to say.

  • Hayat Adem

    Hi Ali Salim,
    There seems to be too much catchy dancing in your language and thinking. As in any dancing, there were plenty of beautiful moves and twists but I must also admit it was at times hard for me to follow you. For me to read your article and end up unable to grasp your message is a bad spending so I have questions that may help remove the garbage that are covering the shines of the lamp.
    1) Now you could see some or many good people in the pfdj leadership. Can you name some of them for us? Does that list include Isaias?
    2) Now you could see some well meaning intentions and policies of pfdj. Can you itemize them for us? Does that list include the militarization of Eritrea and national service program?
    3) Now you could see not all of the things that went wrong were caused by pfdj. Can you tell us some of the major mistakes the nation had to suffer from that came as a result of no fault of the leadership? Does that list include the exodus of our youth?
    4) Now you could see the opposition need to be accounted not for their bad intentions and zero outcomes. Following your logic, forces of bad intentions need to be contained and neutralized and not condemned for results as the least from them is the best (once you know they have no good intentions).

    • Nitricc

      No, no, No, Ali will not go down that low. Ali, please let me have the honor addressing this TPLF thug. Amazing; this woman is something else. If she can understand YG’s preposterous garbage how is it she is having a problem understanding Ali’s brilliant article?
      Okay Ali Salim, let have the honor. Sit back and take easy.

      “1) Now you could see some or many good people in the pfdj leadership. Can you name some of them for us? Does that list include Isaias?
      Are you serious? What a stupid question? You don’t deserve an answer. I guess no surprise here, since Eritrea independence is thanks to Weyane, then, anything goes.
      2) Now you could see some well meaning intentions and policies of pfdj. Can you itemize them for us? Does that list include the militarization of Eritrea and national service program?
      Sure, not to be a bagger like your TPLF masters. That alone works for Eritrea and Me.
      3) Now you could see not all of the things that went wrong were caused by pfdj. Can you tell us some of the major mistakes the nation had to suffer from that came as a result of no fault of the leadership? Does that list include the exodus of our youth?
      Sure like your TPLF ignited the war just to appease their inferior complexity. If it wasn’t for the war, we woudn’t have all this miseries and PIA would have no excuse or reason to hold the country. So, yes, your TPLF is to blame.
      4) Now you could see the opposition need to be accounted not for their bad intentions and zero outcomes. Following your logic, forces of bad intentions need to be contained and neutralized and not condemned for results as the least from them is the best (once you know they have no good intentions).

      If you don’t understand what Ali is saying how come you ask question # 4?

      • Hayat Adem

        It seems you are desperate of finding a hero for your qiTni eEbdit confusion. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have jumped at the “new found” partner like a preschooler does at the glimpse of a candy. If you support Ali, if you endorse Ali message in totality, that would mean you are un-nitrccing yourself. My questions are there despite not because of his new posturing. You have no big enough commonness…

  • Amanuel

    Hi Ali Salim

    Your writing gives the impression that PFDJ is an institution. I think you are wrong, PFDJ is a company owned by IA and works for him to help him remain in control of Eritrea.

    The arguments you brought up to justify your U-Turn are absurd. Specially, your examples. To be honest, Skalu Menqerios resembles more a man than woman, she is tall, slim with masculine face ( nose, fore head), so it is none starter.

    On your second example (scenario) you seem to miss the role of a lawyer and politician or activist. The role of lawyer is to secure convection and I am sure you agree with me on both scenarios the lawyer will prosecute the driver. But when it comes to a politician/activist role, one should ask why was the woman running away. Politician/activist role is to bring solution to a problem and in order to achieve a lasting solution, he/she need to deal with root of the problem, hence need to deal with man he treats his wife like a slave. Let see the Lampedusa strategy. A lawyer might prosecute the ship skipper who set a light to a blanket to attract attention but an activist or politician will ask beyond what happened at that morning, such as why are these people forced to take such a very risky journey? At last not least, did i read it right that you have MA in Human Security & Peacebuilding from the Royal Roads University in Canada? Based on your writing specially, about land grabbers ” MemHr Hmak Tmhru eyu zebl”

  • Micky

    How do we not know that Ali Salim is not a PFDJ plant? The game looks like first act irrational by spewing divisive and ugly point of views and later on confess never mind PFDJ is not as bad as we think it is..after all they are for change .. in my opinion change to nowhere. I am for change where the people are not only the stakeholders but are the decision makers by regularly electing and firing their leaders and not beholden to a mad man’s whims and his corrupt illegitimate coercive organization. I guess it is harder than I thought to undo the damage of coercive brainwashing — the type PFDJ dispenses on its former employee or captives.

  • tes

    Energy lost in calculating the minds of the commentatory box. I am in doubt to make a complete U-TURN as far as the gragging forces are put into consideration for every volume you present. Let you first consume your energy of the total journey and allow the draggers to follow you as much as they can with all the frictional forces they have.

    If not, the invisible had, [in econmics, the market], and in politics, [the game] will dissolve you and might leave in the L-TURN, a direction with lots of opportunities, Good or evil.

    Your U-TURN has to go and envy for good ends. And remember, the heat [the journey you did] is not completely dissassociated, by conduction, you have the previous deeds and now, probabily by convection or at worse by radiation, influences could hang you with that of the old path.

    PFDJ is not only the source of such games, the diasporas and eritrean political elites still have the power of dissolving any immerging path, the reason is simple: THEY ROMANTIZE the old honeymoon politics.

    With all this, I wish you a strong Magnetic force full of universal attractions to embody all the wisdom you acquired in the journey you are pacing.

  • Kokhob Selam

    my car after reading this article

  • Guest

    My after reading the article

  • Kokhob Selam

    My car after reading the article