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Two Pictures of a Man Five Years Apart

The above is a composite image, part of which appeared with an editorial by the Awate Team in 2014 while the second part is a propaganda image widely distributed over the last few days.

In Eritrea and in other parts of the world, the PFDJ has been busy celebrating the 25th anniversary of Sawa military training and indoctrination camp. As usual, extensive preparation was done to make the military parade the main focus of the celebration, an impressive show. Isaias Afwerki also appeared in a national outfit of the Eritrean lowlands. The military parade and the appearance of Isaias in a traditional attire captivated the imagination of the supporters of the ruling party. Of course, the celebration couldn’t highlight any achievement save the impressive target shooting skills the trainees acquired and the appearance of Isaias Afwerki in a national attire. But one flop explains two types of emptiness: the regime’s non-stop propaganda, and the naïveté of its supporters, particularly those in the Diaspora.

In a widely distributed image in which Isaias appeared with a man, the captions read, “President with  his people” and “People’s president”. However, if the PFDJ and its affiliates are naturally forgetful, or chose to be so, their Eritrean victims are not.

To begin with, we do not believe a picture with a person can be considered proof that Isaias “loves his people”, but worse, the man in the picture with Isaias is not “his people”. He is the Nazir, Ahmed Humaid Al Burki, a chief of the Sudanese Rashaida tribe.

On December 4, 2014, published an editorial under the PENCIL carrying a content image of Ahmed Al-Burki. The article was written when human trafficking was at its highest level and Eritreans were being kidnapped, abused, and blackmailed all over Eastern Sudan.  You can click HERE to read the whole article, but below is an excerpt:

Five years ago, the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) wrote letters to President Omar Al Bashir as well as to the Minister of Interior and the local government of Kassala about the rampant acts of extortion, kidnapping and human trafficking that Eritrean refugees are subjected to. When it received no response, it identified the area where Eritreans were being held hostage by Rashaida gangs, and stormed it and freed some hostages. Khartoum, which is tasked with protecting Sudan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, gave a strong warning to the ELF to cease and desist. The ELF wrote: “We will never accept that the children of our people whose sufferings we strive to end, to be vulnerable to coercion and extortion. And we say to these people that our people know how to defend their rights and to avenge themselves; the Eritrean Liberation Front will not keep silent and to the criminals ‘it spins back the act.’ “

This led to more discussions between the leader of the ELF, Hussein Khalifa, and the leader (Nazir) of the Rashaida, Sheikh Ahmed Humaid Al Barki. On February 5, 2010, the Nazir issued the following statement: …READ THE  EDITORIAL “Who will speak for the voiceless Eritreans by the Awate Team” LINKED HERE

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  • Amanuel

    Hi all

  • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

    ሰላማት ዓዋተ

    ካልእ ኤርትራ

    ኣነሲ ካልኣይቲ ኤርትራ ‘ላ መስለኒ
    ንዓይ ዝይትራኣየኒ

    ኣነ ዝፈልጣ ኤርትራ
    ተደዊኑ ሕብራ
    ሕቖኣ ተሴራ
    ሰንከልከል ዝብላ የእጋራ
    ፈሪሕና ከይስበራ

    ኣብ ፍርሒ ንነብር
    ከይትጠፍኣና ንሻቐል

    ገሊኦም ዝገልጽዋ ኤርትራ ግን
    ምስ ህልው ኩነታታ ዘይመጣጠን
    ወረ ዘይራኸብ
    ወይ ናይ ገለ ሰብ

    ይብሉና ኤርትራ ተወንጪፋ ማዕቢላ
    ዝስተ ማይ’ኳ ዘይብላ

    ኤለክትሪክ ኣይትሕስቦ

    ንሱ ተደሊኻ ስገር ናብ ጎደቦ
    ኮይንኩምዶ ዘ ብዛሮ ዎርልድ [ካብ ሰይንፊልድ ተለቂሐያ]
    ዛ’ ዓለም እንታይ ዘይትወልድ

    ፓራለል ዩኒቨርስ ጥራይ /የ ዝብሎ
    ንገሩኒ ዝተሰወረኒ እንተሎ
    ወይ ይካኣሎ
    ረኺቡዎ ዘሎ

  • Selam All,
    Some people are asking: why the show of strength by IA at this time when eritrea is at peace with ethiopia and the sudan, by carrying out a huge military parade at sawa. Some others are saying that the message is that, a) things are to remaIn the same in eritrea, b) it is also a message to tplf in which he (IA) wants to remind it that eritrea is not an easy target, c) at the time when his services through the port of assab are no more important to the uae, he wants to tell the world community that he still remains an important political figure in the region, etc.
    Why does the region has to put up with the opposite of what is normally expected, like, war instead of peace, dictatorship instead of democracy, continuation of the open ended military service while eighteen months are the norm especially after a peace deal with ethiopia, this should be the time when peace and cooperation is expected instead of the show of military might, sacrifice for a country only to be forced to run away from it, etc?
    At the same time, the news includes ethiopians getting drowned in the red sea on their way to yemen despite the fact that war is raging there and there are many already in prison under horrible conditions. A new group of refugees, the people of irob, are said to have become the newcomers in the exodus from the horn of africa, and men and women from the region of irob were among those drowned in the Med. Sea recently.
    While most african states are at peace; on the contrary, peace, stability and the chance for progress and development remain elusive in the hoa.

    • Berhe Y

      Hi Horizon,

      I think it could be a message to the Eritrean people with their movement of “yiAkl” and “enough” movement. It’s something Isayas has never faced or seen before specially outside the country.

      Asmara and other cities in Eritrea have been coloured with graffiti every night. And the message is against Sawa and going to the national service for next round. It basically says

      “zur fenqil” meaning “the round of uprooting the system”.
      “sawa aynwerdin” meaning “we will not go to sawa”.

      These 25 years anniversary, I think was just planned not long ago (may be 2 months) since the yiAkl movement.

      As to the regional powers..I don’t think it makes much difference if UAE uses it or not, Assab should be used by a lot of others who are interested (like the Chinese) and other mining companies.

      As for TPLF, I don’t think they consider to go to war with Eritrea and IA will not do either. He wants the “status quo” to remain as far as Eritrea domestic affairs is concerned, so he can ride and stay in power…It’s just a survival mode right now.


    • Nitricc

      Hi Horizon; What is this all BS about SAWA ? What is this sudden interest about SAWA? Remember, we were told SAWA nothing but a waste of time and resources? We were told SAWA was a camp of slaves and huge concentration camp where young girls are raped. It is true, we all heard those things and even by wonna be Eritreans like Semer Ewur told all the stories. So happened? Why now? I have no idea what happened SAWA to generate such interest at this point in time but if you ask me, what we have witnessed in sawa means nothing to anyone and it is simply is an assertion stating “we, Eritreans will never get caught napping” EVER! Peace no peace, war no war, no war no peace, for here on, is what you have witnessed in SAWA the life of Eritrea and Eritreans. The history of the nation edified Eritreans to sleep with one eye opened. So, what you have observed in SAWA is nothing new and you will see it forever, it is a way of life in Eritrea. This is the truth and you should wait and hear what the west modeen slaves tells you though.

    • Thomas

      Hi Horizon,

      The take home from that huge military parade is that the dictator never misses the opportunity to purchase war weapons at the risk of enslaving the same army you see parading. The armed military, made to serve under the pretext of national services, you see don’t get paid even to fee themselves let alone to help their immediate families. The dictator has turned down the state to a level where her people cannot be provided the basic human needs such as electricity and water. The dictator knows that it is not the armed military who is to win the war but the moral of the military. The moral of the military is so down that you can see them fleeing to wherever their foot is taking them, Sudan, Ethiopia and going everywhere from there. I think the military training is given to these poor kids to flee the country:)

    • Teodros Alem

      selam horizon
      R u guys scared of T72 , curise? The show was because 1, It is the 25th jubilee of sawa.
      2, to show the world that, eritrea(eplf/pfdj) never bend from its princepal to achieve peace with ethiopia.
      any ways u guys r ok for now. until ethiopian army intact as one , but if it’ is one to one , i mean tigrai vs eritrea , not just they destroy u, they can even enslave the whole of u and sell u in open market.

      • Thomas

        Hi Teodros,

        Analyzing the dictator in Eritrea or the people of Eritrea is beyond your level of your back ground. I will just ask a simple question, but promise you won’t be so angry as you always do. My question is why do you wake up every morning? Do you have any reason/s at all for you to wake up? At any level even when it is a tiny small, have you contributed anything to the society? Don’t worry, it will be a step by step process? I will go the next question if you do get made at me and allow me to do so.

        • Teodros Alem

          selam thomes
          I see u r offended by my statement, which one of my comment bother u the most? The fact that they celebrate the 25th jubilee or they show that they came out a Winer and tplf is a loser? which one of it?
          Let me us u this , what is ur ” not dictators” tplf planning to do to protect tigraians from sinking in maditranian and red sea? Or thier life don’t worth like eritreans?

          • Thomas

            Hi Teodros – “Or tigrai life don’t worth talking like eritreans life do ,so no need to talk about it?” Where did you get this? Remember I come to this forum to discuss about Eritrea and Eritreans only. Now go back to my previous questions up and answer them! Why do you really wake up every morning? Have you contributed anything (mention if there is even one) to the society?

          • Teodros Alem

            selam thomes
            i was just asking if it is worth talking or if there is a plan? And ur answer is …….
            to answer ur silly and idi#tic question, yes i think i contribute positively what i can to the world , to my surroundings, family , friends, county and so on in a positive way, one of contribution is fighting “Diablo” and worthless life like tplf.

          • Thomas

            Hi Teodros,

            Thank you for answering the first part of my question. So, you have been waking up every morning to show your hate against the wayane – showering insults against them, wishing them death and all? That contributed to the demise of the weyanes/tplf? I mean I am trying to make sense out of what you are saying:) You really contributed a lot to the society:)

          • Teodros Alem

            selam thomes
            I said, what i can and one of it, it can be one out of 10000.
            And tplf is half dead and the total burial will come for sure.

  • Brhan

    Hello awate,
    PIA in ERI LOWLAND dress reminds me

  • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

    ሰላማት ዓዋተ

    ዛ ስእሊ
    ‘ታይ ተዝክረኒ
    ሸቐጥ ከመይ ኣሎ ኢሉ ክሓቶ
    ሳላኻ ኩሉ ሽሻይ ከመይ ደሓን እቶ

    ኢሉ ይምልስ
    ናይ ራሻይዳ ርኢስ
    ኮነ ፍስሃ-ወሰላም ኣየ ክምስምስ

    ትሓደ ሸያጢ ትሓደ ገዛኢ
    ትሓደ ዲያብሎስ ትሓደ ድማ ዝብኢ
    ኣቤት! እንተልያስ ዓይኒ ክንደይ ዘይትርኢ

    ዕርክነቶም ኮንትሮባንዳ ዝመሰረቱ
    ዕላሎም ኩሉ
    ክንደይ ከምዝሸጡ
    ክንደይ ከምዝሞቱ

    ክንደይ ኔሩ መኽሰብ
    ናብ ዕዳጋ ‘ናውረዱ ደቂሰብ
    ዞም ሕማም ተላገብ

    ሕጂ ድማ ከምስሉ
    በዓል ዘኽብሩ
    ዘለዉ ክመስሉ

    ኣብ ቅድሚ ሰብ ክተሓቛቖፉ
    ሂወት ዕሸላት ምሰሕለፉ
    ከመይ ኣብኣ ትረፉ

  • Hameed Al-Arabi

    Ahalan Awatestaff,

    Why did Isaias appear in a national attire of the Eritrean lowland and with the Nazir of Rashaidah? Why didn’t he appear with a man from Sahil, Samhar, Dankalia, Akologzay, Seraye, Hamassein, Ansaba, Barka Rakha, or Gash? What is the message Isaias wants to pass and whom it concerns? The message of the image that widely distributed intends the Gulf States rulers. He wants to show them that he deals kindly with all Muslims in Eritrea even those who immigrated in the twentieth century. Hypocrisy, one of the cultures that compose Isaias, displays itself here clearly. Decisions built on hypocrisy will never develop a nation and make it stable.


  • Amanuel

    Hi Awatestaff,
    First class journalism and I have a correction that the Sudanese Rashaida tribe are IA’s people, his partners in human trafficking and smuggling contraband.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Amanuel and all,

      Let me add my voice to yours. Awatestaff deserve support and praise for their dutiful work of exposing the regime’s deceptive machinations. As you mentioned, the regime has been the prime beneficiary from unlawful activities of the Rashaida tribes who crisscross frontiers at will under the cover of their nomadic way of life. They engage in illegal trade such as controband in which they excel. For this pupose, they own fleets of pickups such Toyotas and land cruisers. The regime and its suggogates took good notice of this fact from early on from which they and have been benefitting. .