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UN Sanctions Against Eritrea Likely to Outlast Current Regime

Following its annual review of Eritrea sanctions in place since 2009, the UN Security Council (SC) announced on November 14, 2017, its decision to renew the measures for another year. Supported by all but four abstaining Council members, the decision was similar to those of the past seven years in the degree of consensus it represented. But this year’s review process seemed to differ from previous ones in the level of expectation it had aroused among supporters of the Eritrean government.

In the run-up to past annual reviews, pro-regime activists abroad mounted campaigns that projected optimistic scenarios of an assured lifting of sanctions to be made possible by the expected acquiescence of the US. This unmitigated optimism – if at all genuine – reflected false hopes generated by political shenanigans that the regime devised to give the impression that it was making a successful effort toward resolving the sanctions crisis.

In contrast, sentiments around this year’s event were subdued and the review process ran its course and issued its decision seemingly without attracting much public attention. These observations suggest that even the staunchest regime supporters are growing anxious about the way the regime has been handling the sanctions issue. They see that in eight years of sanctions, the regime has not brought itself to abide by the rules of the UN verification process much less to comply with the provisions of the sanctions resolutions. Consequently, a growing number of Eritreans fear that the country may be fated to suffer debilitating sanctions for much longer.

Pursuing objectives dictated by his ego more than by the country’s national interests, President Isaias Afewerki and his regime walked into the quagmire of international sanctions recklessly and nonchalantly. And while the country suffers the punishing provisions of the sanctions, the president continues to engage in brinkmanship dedicating himself to actions and behavior that exacerbate rather than rectifying problems.

A Sure Way to Provoke Sanctions

Years of foreign adventurism by the PFDJ government had become increasingly irksome to some Western and African countries. But it was the bizarre behavior the regime displayed following its border conflict with Djibouti in June 2008 that put it on a collision course with the international community. After the clash, Djibouti promptly appealed to the UNSC for intervention claiming penetration into its territory by Eritrean forces. It allowed visits by fact-finding missions from the UN, AU and the Arab League and withdrew its forces to pre-June 10, 2008 positions. In contrast, Eritrean authorities took a rejectionist stance amid their staunch claim of having “no problems with Djibouti”!

The diplomatic brouhaha that surrounded the event generated a stream of appeals, admonishments, criticisms, warnings, and threats from friend and foe alike – mostly meant to prod the regime into cooperating with potential peace partners in addressing the crisis. Notable among these were the initiatives of two friendly nations which invited President Isaias to their capitals for consultation in attempts to avert punitive measures against the country. At the behest of the U.S., Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak tried to impress on the president that sanctions were inevitable unless he cooperated with the UN. Likewise, speaking from experience, the late Muammar Gaddafi warned him that while a country can easily find itself subject to sanctions, getting such measures lifted is a daunting task that may take years to accomplish.

Unfortunately, not only did these friendly entreaties fall on deaf ears but, reportedly, provoked the president’s indignation against the leaders for daring to give him advice. In the months that

followed, he grew even more defiant declaring that Eritrea “has moral obligation to stand with the brotherly people of Somalia” against foreign intervention. Worse, he continued to deny his entanglement in a border dispute with Djibouti. These inescapably led to UNSC imposing sanctions on Eritrea in December 2009 and tightening them in June 2011.

UN Sanctions and Compliance Thereto

In their ensuing contention with the UN, Eritrean authorities have pursued a self-serving strategy of misrepresenting the SC sanctions resolution as simply demanding that the regime: (i) end assistance to Al-Shabaab and (ii) accept mediation for its border dispute with Djibouti. They tie this to the Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) finding of “no evidence of Eritrea’s support to Al-Shabaab in the last four years” and to Qatar’s mediation of the border conflict. And they argue there no longer exist justifications for the sanctions which must, therefore, be lifted.

In truth, a key article in SC resolution 1907 (2009) demands that “… Eritrea, cease arming, training, and equipping armed groups and their members including Al-Shabaab, that aim to destabilize the region or incite violence and civil strife in Djibouti.” It is therefore evident that the support the Eritrean regime has been giving to a host of armed rebels arrayed against Ethiopia and Djibouti constitutes serious violations of the sanctions resolution. As for Qatar’s mediation effort, it is known that the process plodded along fruitlessly for eight years before it collapsed in mid-2017 when Qatar abruptly announced its departure and pulled its peacekeeping troops from the border zone. The regime has yet to meet any of the crucial demands of  SC resolution 1846 (2008) “that Eritrea … engage actively in dialogue to defuse the tension and engage also in diplomatic efforts leading to a mutually acceptable settlement of the border issue; abide by its international obligations … [and] cooperate fully with the good offices of the Secretary-General …”

Government Handling of the Sanctions

From the outset, the SC sanctions resolutions had met with the regime’s denial and hostility. In a clear display of defiance, the government mobilized its supporters globally to stage public protests against the “illegal and unjust” UN sanctions. On the other hand, its officials severely restricted engagement with the SEMG barring cooperation with UN monitoring and verification mechanisms and refusing to respond to requests for information. Furthermore, since 2011, the regime has refused to allow the Group to conduct mandated annual visits. In contrast to its antagonistic stance against the SC, however, the regime has duplicitously courted the favors of selected members and attempted to “buy off” Russia’s and later China’s vote for lifting the sanctions. But all it was able to garner from these powers was just abstentions.

Eritrean government’s record of compliance with the sanctions regime has been equally deficient. UN sanctions-monitoring instruments have established over the last few years that the regime obtained military-related external support from sources in Asia and eastern/western Europe. The support (which included training, repair/maintenance, equipment, spare parts, etc.) is known to violate the terms of the UN-imposed arms embargo.

‘Who Will Blink First?’

Smart handling of the UN sanctions regime would require drawing on the hard lessons of similar experiences of other countries. Libya, for instance, was a target of sanctions by the UN (for 11 years) and the U.S. (for nearly three decades) purportedly for engaging in terrorism and development of weapons of mass destruction. The measures had plunged the country into severe economic and political crises; so, in 2003, Muammar Gaddafi took the bold step of initiating negotiations with his principal antagonists thereby bringing an end to sanctions. But, not before Libya had met all demands of the sanctions regimes! Similarly, Sudan succeeded last year in persuading the U.S. to lift financial and trade sanctions that it had imposed on the country for 20 years. This was achieved through sustained diplomatic effort that offered concessions, bilateral cooperation and policy reforms.

If these experiences are any guide, the veto-wielding members of the UNSC seem not inclined to lift sanctions until they see a “white flag raised!” That much was also implied by the UK representative at the 2015 sanctions-review session: “The text couldn’t be clearer on what Eritrea must do.” he declared speaking for the Council, “Eritrea is master of its own destiny.”

The Security Council also appears intent on ensuring the government’s violations and defiant behavior do not go unanswered: A proposal of developing a roadmap that China advanced in the 2016 review session for a phased lifting of the Eritrea sanctions was dropped shortly thereafter without any consideration. More significantly, the SC toughened the wording of its latest resolution signaling no easing of sanctions until the regime mends its ways. This prompted the Russian representative to complain after the voting that “The text this year had not improved, but had worsened”

It takes political courage to accept responsibility for actions that lead to a sanctions quagmire and foresight to cut one’s losses and make a quick exit from resulting political crises. But all President Isaias has to offer are arrogance and a false sense of invincibility which render him geopolitically irrelevant and force him to ultimately surrender to the dictates of others. During the 1998-2000 Ethio-Eritrea war and its aftermath, we saw him time and again rejecting equitable, mediated peace deals only to humiliatingly accept a few months later hugely unfavorable terms dictated by his adversaries!

One can bet that the president will not change course and resolve to address the underlying causes of the sanctions through cooperation and negotiation with the international community and by letting his people have a say on the matter. But even in the unlikely event he does, his actions and behavior thus far have destroyed any prospects that his belated capitulation would earn him any credit from the international community or his own people. Either way, the UN sanctions have become a political albatross around the president’s neck; and they will undoubtedly be a major factor in bringing about his ultimate demise.

About Yohannes Zerai

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[Editor’s note: Reflections is Beyan Negash’s new column. He selected, edited and presents the following …

  • Yohannes Zerai

    Selam Hope,

    First, let me thank you for your issue-loaded comment. I am “guilty as charged” for the excessive delay in getting back to you with a response. But, the issues you raised in your comment are of considerable national importance that I would be remiss not to respond to them because I had not been able to do so sooner.

    The topics you outlined in your comment are presented as compound issues in which a pair of perhaps interrelated topics are lumped together into a single issue. So, to be able to deal with them in a meaningful way, I will split each compound issue into its components and speak to the individual parts separately.

    1. Rallies against UN sanctions:
    Government supporters in the diaspora had staged multiple demonstrations and protest rallies in various capitals of the world condemning the sanctions and demanding that they be lifted. People were within their rights to take part in those activities, and I did not criticize them for doing so. Obviously, I can only speak for myself. But I believe my position on sanctions is not any different from those of the majority members of the opposition movement.

    Certainly, this class of Eritreans did not go out and demonstrate against the sanctions; but, neither did they advocate imposition of the sanctions (or tightening thereof) much less agitate and collect petitions for purposes of inducing such outcomes. You may not believe this but there are two reasons why Eritrean “… Opposition Groups,the Intellectuals,the Activists ,etc…” (as you referred to them) could not have done what you claim they did: (i) their conscience would not allow them to work against their own country and its people regardless of the extent of their opposition to the ruling party, and (ii) they did not need to waste their time and energy on those pursuits when PIA and the numerous enemies he has created in the region were doing a fantastic job of having sanctions imposed and making sure they will not be lifted any time soon.

    2. Whether or not the PFDJ Government is doing its best to have sanctions lifted:
    On this issue, you wrote “ … the Regime,in fact,has been panicking and following the Recommendation by the UN and its satellite Organizations including the UN Human Rights decisions.” I wish this were true, I really do! We cannot deny that the government had ample opportunity to avoid being slapped with sanctions (as explained in the article). Instead, it actually dared the U.S. and the Security Council at large to go ahead and impose sanctions! And impose, they did stridently!

    Even after sanctions were imposed, the PFDJ government chose to play cat-and-mouse with the world body: the regime stupidly refuses to fulfill obligations and abide by procedures, and the SC obliges it by renewing the sanctions for another year! We have boringly observed this game played out year in and year out for the last seven years! It is time for all of us to place the focus on the key player in this drama – the Eritrean Government – and ask why it is doing the stupid things it does, instead of getting all worked up with how the different sectors of the Eritrean population may or may not have reacted to the staging of the drama.

    3. “PFDJ apologists and enablers”:
    Yes, I have used the terms “apologists” and “agents/cadres” (though not “enablers”) in the past and I am sure many members of the opposition have used all of those terms at one point or another. But certainly they were NOT used to “label” Eritreans who demonstrated against sanctions in support of the Eritrean government. Rather, the term “apologists” was used to describe those government supporters who claim: “PFDJ has instituted indefinite National Service because the country faces an imminent threat from Ethiopia”; “thousands of young Eritreans are fleeing the country because they are being lured by the CIA and other enemies of the country”; “the hundreds of Eritreans who gave testimony about the cruel and inhuman conditions that forced them to flee their country are liars paid by the West”, etc., etc. Likewise, the terms “agents/cadres/enablers” have been used refer to PFDJ operatives abroad who: “spy on (and sabotage the activities of) opposition groups and their memberships”; “defame, intimidate and threaten opposition activists”; “coerce and blackmail diaspora Eritreans into paying 2% tax and making other payments to fill PFDJ coffers”, etc., etc. I am sure you will agree with me that the terms are being used consistent with their dictionary definitions to refer to people who engage in tasks exemplified by the despicable activities listed above.

    4. “’Petitioning’ against the EU Development Fund to/for Eritrea”:
    Yes, I strongly opposed EU’s decision to grant substantial aid package to the Eritrean Government supposedly for halting/controlling the flow of refugees out of the country. The financing agreement carried no adequate transparency and accountability requirements and mechanisms. I opposed the decision because I was convinced that the funding will not stop/reduce the exodus and will not be used to achieve anything that benefits the people. Well, it has now been two years since the funding was granted and can you tell me what came out of it all? Has the exodus of young people stopped? Have EU-funded projects expanded employment opportunities for young people? Has the population benefited (or is it about to benefit) from a development projects that utilized EU funds?

    Thank you.

  • Beyan

    Selam Awatawyan,

    Eyewitness speaks fondly of her upbringing in Asmara, Eritrea, where tolerance between and among various belief systems were the hallmark in the way the city managed to coexist. Interestingly, the interviewee says her dad, apparently, from the Arabian Peninsula left packing to earn a decent living so he may provide for his family. Imagine that for a second: people migrating to Eritrea for better living conditions. Would we be able to regain that once more, I just wonder aloud? Is what’s being said in this one-minute clip hold for Eritrea in general and for Asmara in particular, anymore?

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Dr. Beyan.

      What an explanation man..She went to extra distance.. talking about where she grow up..


      • Beyan

        Dear Kokhob Selam,

        There is, of course, the larger campaign that Saudi is undergoing to become an open society that the message is being conveyed to the younger generation at large for. One can’t lose sight of that. The fact that the interviewer is very young is one indication of what the country is trying to do in undoing the damage that was done to a society because of the dogmatic educational system that its previous generation had undergone until recent years; that did a lot of damage to the country’s wellbeing, you know the 9/11, the bin Laden generation were the damaged goods that nothing could’ve come out from, but there might be some hope now if the policy of tolerance is inculcated in every sector of the society.

        The woman’s story is I believe sending such kind of message to the new generation.

        What I found fascinating is, for our purposes that is, how Asmara was multicultural, multiethnic, multi-religious, cosmopolitan city. I don’t know if we will be able to regain that once the menace disappears from the face of Eritrea. It is saddening to see us going against such a grain, at least, in the diaspora that we see endless bickering of sub-national issues occupying us more than anything else is a worry-some development that I find disturbing, to say the least.


  • bmi1

    The dictator wadiya country comedy..Admiral General Aladee of Eritrea Esayas. World is laughing

  • Yohannes Zerai

    Dear Hope,

    I thank you for your comment. I will try to speak briefly to each of the points you raised:

    Points (A) and (B)

    If I seemed to be, as you put it, “EXCLUSIVELY finger-pointing at the Regime as the sole culprit”, it is because I know that nothing is to be gained by blaming countries/entities who have their own interests (often adverse to ours) and over whom we have no control. You see, if you as a nation ‘do your homework’ and ‘keep your house in order’, external forces are unlikely to succeed in hurting you and taking advantage of you. Similarly, when we find ourselves in trouble for whatever reason, it would be much smarter for us to make the necessary adjustments in our thinking/behavior/actions/policies and get rid of the problem as soon as possible instead of getting wrapped up in the problem and continue to endlessly blame outsiders for it.

    Most importantly, I want you to know that at the root of what most of us say and advocate is love of country and its people and NOT hatred of the PFDJ government!

    Points (C) and (D)

    Please read the brief exchange that Saleh Gadi Johar and myself had on the current thread where a modest attempt was made at addressing these very points of your comment:

    – The short-term and long-term damages that the sanctions are causing to the country and its people were acknowledged with a deep sense of concern for the interests of the nation,

    – All patriotic Eritreans were urged to discuss and debate the country’s dire situation and search for ways and means by which the sanctions can be ended, This is because the PFDJ government has been doing practically nothing to bring about the end of the sanctions.

    I hope the above helps.

  • Peace!

    Hi all,

    This day, four years ago, 21 January 2013, Wedi Ali and his colleagues martyred to free Eritrean people, thank you for your scarifies and we will never forget you.

    • Beyan

      Selam Peace,

      Thanks for this important reminder on the fourth anniversary of Weddi Ali’s heroic confrontation with tyranny, I wrote to a group of Eritrea last night, for which he paid the ultimate price. This is a solemn reminder to the burden of responsibility that awaits us, one that will be weighing heavily on us all to continue Weddi Ali’s legacy. Here is a video clip that can serve as a reminder on the burden we must carry to expedite the demise of the homemade tyrant:

    • josef

      We should do a fundraiser to support his family… and recognize what he did.. the only way the suffering of 4 million eritrean is thru action of what wedi ali did.. this is what we should emphasize and promote in Eritrean community and not talking heads… in cyberworld.. Jan 21 should be called Wedi Ali Day…

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Awatistas,

    No matter how long it takes, Justice always prevails. Alemu Eshete, who was the henchman of Mengstu Hailemariam, is sent by the Dutch court to life prison, of Killing 75 Ethiopians during the Red Terror, in the 70s. BBC reported. Could Eritrean victim families find solace by getting similar justice be it inside Eritrea or outside Eritrea.


    • Yohannes Zerai

      Dear Amanuel,

      Thank you for sharing the news. Oh yes, the Dutch seem to be up to something these days by way of meting out “at least a little” justice to some crooks from our region! I wish that what appears to be Holland’s unique and genuine effort in pursuit of justice will continue to grow in scope and level of official commitment in the months and years to come. One would also hope that this bold policy decision by the Dutch government will rub off on other European countries so that those who engage in criminal activities against the peoples of our region and their interests from the safety of European cities will no longer have a place to hide in Europe!

      Thank you.

    • blink

      Dear Mr. Amanuel
      Could this be expanded to Mengistu Hailemariam too?

    • josef

      I think most Ethiopian were born after those days and they have moved on… probably most ethiopian would say “eshete” who?
      This is not justice… it is strange after 50+ years we african are looking for justice in European court..
      Our problem in Eritrea is not pfdj or regime it is mentality and backwardness of gedhli generation… whether in Eritrea or America.. their mentality has been poison to Eritrean back home and diaspora from lack of strong community organization, etc..

  • Peace!

    Selam all,

    ቆሎ ጥጥቖ ናይ 25 ዓመት ፍርያቱን- Unprecedented distraction, anger and sadness!

    • Beyan

      selam Peace,

      I was listening to the endless ዓጀዉጀዉ for about ten minutes. I was feeling my temperature rise and chose to bail out. The last thing I wanted is to suffer from hypertension as a result of listening to this man. Oh, what happened will ask concerned relatives, and I can see my family saying, well, we found him passing out in his chair with his headset on and he was listening to … Now, that must be avoided at any cost. Listening to this man should come with a warning label: “Listen at your own risk.” The disconnect this man has, as it were, the capacity to remove himself from the issues as though there were angeles causing all of the challenges the country faces from water to tourism is a clear indication of the dissonance he suffers from. One thing I saw in the man is the capacity he has to pop-out cities and regions within Eritrea … he must have been good in geography, shall we say the ghedli era of thirty years has given him that knowledge base. Other than that, nothing more than, as you aptly put it, “ቆሎ ጥጥቖ ናይ 26 ዓመት ፍርያቱን”.


      • Kebessa

        Beyan & Peace,
        Why does Isaias use excessive English words and phrases, what is your theory? He is getting out of control on this.

        Also if you notice, he never provides direct answer to any question. For example, he was asked about the progress made in implementing salary increase. He went on lengthy and trying analysis on currency values, purchasing power and he used the usual ‘should’ve been this, should’ve been that’. He failed to explain almost a year out, why the so called salary increase didn’t come to pass for many, or what the future timeline was. I was thinking I wish Chris Wallace was the interviewer and I imagined him interrupting ‘with all due respect sir, the question was…’
        There is huge disappointment back home specially on the salary answer. People were anxiously and patiently waiting to get answer on this.

        • Beyan

          Selamat Kebessa, Peace, & Haile S.,

          There is no rhyme or reason to what this man does or say, who knows, maybe because he was talking in English with someone right before the interview and it was rubbing off on him … Who knows Kebessa? No amount of theorizing could help us figure him out, because the only theory I can think of is theory of sakitism is the one that applies in this indecipherable Eritrean world we are made to experience. His use of English you thought was excessive this time than the previous years. I tended to rely on Sal’s analysis to get the gist of the man’s yearly diatribe. I just couldn’t stomach to listen to the man more than ten-minutes. The man is not accountable to anyone – he simply does what he pleases. It won’t surprise me if he does it in Arabic next year, courtesy to the Egyptians who are done with their kidney harvesting of our young and now are headed there to do what exactly, who knows. By the way, do we even know who his audiences are, I doubt he caters it to any particular groups, because his meandering without answering the question that posed which you alluded to is a good indication that he just does what he pleases.

          Hey, if there is “huge disappointment back home specially on the salary answer” as you indicated, well, that’s well and good. Maybe, our people will say enough is enough and chase these bastards out of the country much as this kid does in the clip below, who decides to fight the giant, because አሳፊሕካ ሞት ተኾርሚኻ ሞት. Thus, perhaps, the man doesn’t realize this and that he thinks he is trying to inject hope in the public who may have no hope left. Unlike in this clip where the giant says, paraphrasing here: “people who have no hope have no control and that whoever has the hope has the control”. So, his statement that Haile S. referenced in which he says, “ተስፋ ምቑራጽ ስለዘየለ እምበር ኣብዚ ዓዲ፡ ተስፋ ዝህብ ኣይኮነን…ናይ መንበሪ ገዛ ሽግራት”, he may just have given Eritreans who are carrying the brunt of the burden a weapon to fight back. We shall see.

        • Peace!

          Selam kebessa,

          Nothing new about this mad man and the people have already gave up on him long time. And not just the countless promises he has swallowed since the armed struggle, but his mental well-being is becoming a frightening issue. People in Asmara call him DEGA (nick name) every time he passes through the streets.


          • Berhe Y

            Hi Peace,

            What does DEGA mean?


          • Peace!

            Hi Berhiney,

            Sorry for the late reply, I meant to say “ዲጋ” I don’t know what happened but I sure remember I edit it.


      • Haile S.

        Selam Beyan,

        I listened to PIA attentively, at my own risk, as you cautioned. Like in the past 26 years, he presented himself as the best critic of his own throne. It sounded like I was listening to a unique atypical powerless king criticizing his prime-minister-nominated-for-life. Credit where it is due; credit to him for saying “ተስፋ ምቑራጽ ስለዘየለ እምበር ኣብዚ ዓዲ፡ ተስፋ ዝህብ ኣይኮነን…ናይ መንበሪ ገዛ ሽግራት” when talking about the pernicious housing problem. In fact it applies to everything he said. I wonder why he didn’t apply it to himself. May be because he knows deep down we have thrown the sponge on him (ኣብ ባዕሉ ተስፋ ምቑራጽና ስለዝፈለጥ). What he said at the end was pathetic; throwing responsibility on parents and relative for the country’s bleeding of its youth.

        • Beyan

          Selam Haile S.,

          Glad you acknowledged my warning, but you captured for me, in a nutshell, what I missed, which is headache. Be that as it may, the dissonance keeps on keeping on, eh: “ተስፋ ምቑራጽ ስለዘየለ እምበር ኣብዚ ዓዲ፡ ተስፋ ዝህብ ኣይኮነን…ናይ መንበሪ ገዛ ሽግራት” And where does the buck stop, your highness, is it aboy Afewerki’s fault or aboy Isaias, do you care to elaborate. Of course, the poor lads are so uncomfortable, it is so visibly on their faces, this must the assignment they dread the most. You know how some actors have stage/audience fright and who have to vomit before the show, these lads might be going through much worst the week, or days, however long the advance notice is, before the interview. Every year they have to go through this: “Survived this one, another elven months before I can worry about it. I mean who can envy them. Of course, a show of the grotesque cannot end without the caveat: The hollowing out of the youth is now “parents and relative[s]” fault not his alter ego’s. Ah, where is our expert in residence here Ato Sal when we needed to him to parse it for us.


          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Beyan,
            And imagine the pain of the transcribers. They have stopped to try and make it a bit comprehensible. They printed it in the Newspaper verbatim this time. How many times the poor National Service members assigned to Ministry of Information have to hear it to type it out.

          • Beyan

            selam Abrehet,

            Didn’t even think of that painful endeavor. Heavens forbid they mis-transcribe a word here and a word there … when this nightmare is over and done with, there will be stories that we will hear the extent of the absurdity they had to endure to make it through life as unscathed as possible, though inconceivably hard to imagine.

        • Peace!

          Selam Hailuwa,

          “ተስፋ ምቑራጽ ስለዘየለ እምበር ኣብዚ ዓዲ፡ ተስፋ ዝህብ ኣይኮነን…ናይ መንበሪ ገዛ ሽግራት” The fact is that it has been over twenty some years since he has ordered to stop giving license for building new houses to ease the problem, and the pathetic reason is the young would be employed. He wants the young to remain jobless and serve in the military forever.


      • Peace!

        Ahlen Beyanom,

        Sorry for the late reply እቲ ዓጀውጀው ዳኣ ተለሚዱ እንድዩ ግን ዓመት ዓመት ክኸውን ነይርዎ ኣይሰለጠን በኒኑ ተሪፉ ብጉቡእ ኣይተሰርሓሎምን certainly raises questions about his mental well-being, and the journalists also appeared helpless and incapable of restoring sanity to the interview/conversation. How would a sane person justify vouching for this mentally challenged man? It is really sad that every year he comes and say ops we screwed this time too and he gets away with it.

        It was painful to listen to this man- but thanks to this Sudanee song :).


        • Beyan

          My goodness Peace! What a way to start a morning…with one click and five minute of such a treat, you took me back, way back into the memory lane that was buried somewhere within. “…My heart loves you…Don’t say I am in the past, don’t say I’ve forgotten you… Ya Nur al Eyn…Ya Nur al Eyn… the brown color … the brown color … you’ve increased my youthfulness… and I yearned for heaven…heaven…in heaven made me yearn for pain…I yearned for heaven … the heaven … and heaven you made me yearn for pain… Ya Hilwa … Ya Nur al Ein… Oh, what a beautiful way to express one’s inner torment of loving a woman … This about completely made up for the ዓጀውጀው we are subjected to hear the meander in chief year-in-year out.

          Peace, you hit the memory nerve center about with one song. The late Wardi’s song comes to mind: “The age of innocence, the age of youth, the age of hope, the age of radiance like roses…” With all of the beautiful songs and the kindness of the Sudanes people, the insecurity I felt during those years when I was meandering seemingly aimlessly barely coming of age, I used to get this pit in the stomach. in which I felt no more than fish in a pond, captive hostage who could be disposed of at whims. I felt nothing more than a political pawn, collateral that could be disposed of whenever there were political and diplomatic niceties between Ethiopia and Sudan, the deportation orders were close at hand for the refugees to be shipped back to our respective home turfs.

          All along though, the Sudanese people never voiced their disapproval of refugees, never wavered. The continually welcoming attitude of Sudanese people is etched in my memory. That pang in the stomach never ceased from attacking me though, because no matter the public sentiments, the governments of the Horn of Africa had unwieldy power to deport, detain, and made refugees to disappear in a flash, ain’t nobody had any say in the matter. The vulnerability, that insecurity surrounding the political ambiance hits one in the gut.

          Time to fly, time to flee, that adaptive behavior of intuition came as a signal through the pang at a visceral level. Fleeing I did to only meander through Saudi for several months to arrive in Cairo, where the late Abdulhalim Hafiz’s song received me: “I wish I can forget you. I yearn to make you evaporate from my memory. I simply cannot” said the said the velvety voice, seeming to quickly replace that of Wardi, at least, for a period of time. Feeling secure from the dangerous proximity Sudan had to Ethiopia, the farther away I went the more secure I felt and the less intense that pang in the belly was. Those were the years that only songs can cushion within and they come out only when I hear some such songs. What a treat this is!


          • Peace!

            هلا بيان اولا أنا أسف اتاخرت في الرد كنت مشغول وبعدين والله عندك حق الأغاني السودانية فيها كلمات قيمة تخليك ترجع لايام زمان مش انت الي كنت عايش في السودان بتقدر الاغنية السودانية وتعرفها ولانا كمان طوال الْيَوْمَ بسمعها فاستمتعت بإحساس والكلمات القيمة الموجودة في الأغاني

          • Beyan

            merHaba ya Peace,

            I was waiting for a weekend to suggest this to all of those who can understand Arabic. I’ve read the English version of موسم الهجرة إلى الشمال (“Season of Migration to the North”) over the years, it is a book I keep at close reach. Our appreciation to Sudanes music reminded me of this critically important novel that captures the essence of Sudan and its people in the first half of the twentieth century as it was lived, and what a beautiful life it was.

            There is more to this novel than that as it does a revers of Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”, Tayib gets into European Colonial project and its impact on the elites whose mimicry was beginning to kill the continent softly. There is Shakespeare’s “Othello” in the way Europeans project the African Moore and much more. So, here is the first part of the book that I am listening to in Arabic for the first time. I have read the book recently, I keep coming to Season, because it speaks to me at personal level and on so many fronts. What a treat to hear the novel in its original form:


          • MS

            Selam Ustazna
            Thank you so much for the reminder. There was this humble, jolly ( Ahhhhhh…how could I describe him, I wish Tayeb Salih, thje author of “Mowsum alhijra ila Ashemal/ Season of migration to the north” were arouhd to help me describe my dear buddy, Omar Ahmed). Omar sustained head injury in 1976 or 77 in Nakfa. He would get frequent seizures; life trained us to look after him. He was from Akria, Asmar. He loved Arab literature and introduced it to many. I owe him a lot. I wish if I could say hello to him, not sure if he is alive. Any way, I will always cherish the images of the good-humored Omar Ahmed, and the images that “Season of migration to the north” had inculcated in the depths of my memory. Omar had overcome his debilitating seizures and made to the finish line. I met him in Asmara in early 1990s. When I think of heroes I think of people like him who endured physical and psychological wounds and kept moving along their comrades. Wow!!!!

          • Peace!

            Ahlen Beyan,

            Thank you for the fascinating novel and for setting the weekend with a beautiful tone. In deed the music is a spontaneous composition that genuinely reflects the moral quality of the very people– leave compassion, kindness, gratefulness, sharing and the willingness to help others to Sudanese people, and their beautiful music continues to enrich their culture and incredibly their way of life. I have never seen people as grateful as Sundanese, regardless. Thank You Habibna!


          • Beyan

            Ya MerHab ya Peace,

            Music is one way not only that keeps a society civilized but keeps its public afloat and away from the political rhetoric of dogma that politicians may espouse to stay in power. I am a firm believer and Sudan is a good example of this as you rightly indicated that “… their beautiful music continues to enrich their culture and incredibly their way of life.” keeps them as beautiful as ever. Here is one that’s like a candy to the eye and music so soothing that it triggers this drive to trace Tayeb Saleh’s Season of Migration to the North by going there to Wad Hamid in person. Hey, who says one can’t dream and wallow in matters that might have zero chance of happening. One more before Saturday bids us farewell and makes room for Sunday. Enjoy!


          • Haile S.

            Selam Awatawyan, Beyan, Mahmoud and Peace!
            በያን ወነይን ቆለይን ኣበራቢርዎ፡
            Here is an assortment of musique traditionelle erythreenne. ENJOY the article and the music! No time to translate the article and I don’t think it need, just read and you will understand it.

          • Peace!

            Ahlen Hailuwa,

            Great songs by great musicians! Saed Abdella’s songs remind me life in Asmara after liberation, danced for the whole week may be more…here is one of his beautiful songs. ክንዲ ናትካ ኣይትኽውንን እያ ግን ኣይተስተዋሕዳ….:)



          • MS

            Selam HaileS
            I don’t know French but nothing bad comes out of your pristine mind, plus you and the magnanimous Kokobay happen to be our art ambassadors.

          • Haile S.

            Thanks Mahmoud,
            I feel privileged to be counted with KoKobay while I am just a Jack of all. BTW the website gives an english version; anyway my cellphone gave me a choice on the bottom to selected an english version, that i am linking again now, hoping it keeps the english version.

          • MS

            Ahlen HaileS
            Thanks for the link. And please, you are not a jack of all. You are a tenured professor in our Awatista campus. Of course, the humility that you, Beyan, IsmailAA and few others display is something we all should strive to emulate.

          • Peace!

            Ahlen Beyan,

            Man, that’s really organic! I enjoyed every beat of it. Well let me keep it Organic/Real then:)



        • Selamat Peace,

          “Ya narra al Einn inta weynek weynek?” Shukrann

          Eagles Eye Patriots vs Minnesota Dome.

          GitSAtSE 40||40AcresMule

          • Peace!

            Hi GitsAtSe,

            How do you know I am an Eagles fan? Well, “A Cheating Team” ( thanks to Jake Tapper) favorite by nearly 6-points. Who cares:)

            Go Eagles!!!!! 26/23boom boom!


  • Selamat YZ,

    As X is reserved in “as EZ as 123” ABC 123 alphanumeric permutations.

    Based on 30 years Mortgage Rates, the irrational Hade Siso basis points, 3 to 3.5 percent discount factor:
    Current Liabilities for funding purposes would be very high. Maximum contributions allowed, under tax laws ERISA…. ewe Eri ‘Sa! ‘Sa?

    Back of the envelop “Where do we go Right?”
    T.E X A&M X>YZ
    ABC 123 XYZ

    The Imperative GLOBAL Narrative

    Abbu Ashera Weapon X – Evolution
    40/60 klte Siso Susa’s’alata ###1∆ Delta X with respect to ∆Y∆Z partial DFQs

    @MaHmuday “The Best” SaliH, time to dust the CalHisab Calcium-Halib wa mayy tSrH igle nste– Actually the Funding valuation discount factor would b klte zrebbHo klte Siso, I.e. ArrHibo @ 6-7 percent. Current Liabilities valuation of the Assets and Liabilities is for the Finance Folks FASB…. PBGC the guarantor. Hence,
    Assets = “Where did we go Right”
    Liabilities = “Where did we go Wrong”

    klte kabb miEti PLUS 100 to 150 basis points @3.5% as rational for the currency necessity and CL valuation. Hmm 3.5% based on the Thirty years Treasury Mortgage Rates table. Back of the envelop ZaEgolYanalitics.

    10 Thousand Georges and GlImpact

    Perhaps this time compiler to translate the code OR not.

    //###SB LII // getting REAl

    AmEritrean GitSAtSE Azzilo40 Agnyeya40 Acres and a Mule

  • Ayneta

    Dear Yohannes:
    Thank you for your article.
    I have no doubt that the regime will outlive any sanction slapped against it by UN or any other regional organization. It has been years since the sanction enforced and there is no evidence whatsoever that the sanction is wearing down the regime. On the contrary, the regime is as robust and versatile as ever. Rarely do we see external sanction bringing totalitarian regimes to their knees, The regime knows how to surf through the unfavorable current, the main reason being the people of Eritrea are not ready yet to fight the regime, simple and plain. The tipping point is not keeping traction and the regime will play us as long as the point keeps on moving. Call me pessimistic, but given the tenacity of the regime and the feebleness of the opposition, I think the regime will survive some more years, if not longer than that.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Ayneta,

      Actually, it is not a matter of pessimism or optimism, rather it is reality on the ground. As far as we make our struggle against a single individual Issayas, him and the system he is running will outlive any sanction or any resistance. The opposition is always in denial of the reality for various reasons we could come up with. It is what it is.

      • Yohannes Zerai

        Selam Amanuel,

        Greetings! It has been a long time …..

        It is true that the issue you raised in your comment does come up periodically in political discussions and debates among Eritreans in the diaspora. The sense of the issue can be conveniently paraphrased in a pair of related questions: (i) Who exactly is the enemy of the people that must be fought against, President Isaias Afewerki or the political system that he created and presides over? And (ii) What is being done to attack the enemy and get it off the back of the people once and for all?

        It seems to me that the first question is an academic one often engaged in by diaspora Eritreans who enjoy the relative safety (and perhaps luxury) of life in exile and who, despite their genuine concern for their people, are frankly out of touch with the bitter realities of life back home. Eritreans inside the country who live, everyday, the hardships, indignities of life under the present regime are very well aware that it is not PIA who knocks at their door in the middle of the night and drags their loved ones to jail, but the foot soldiers of the system. They know it is not PIA who throws their families out into the streets so that he could confiscate and claim ownership of the residential units they are evicted from, but military officers and party officials of the system who are scrambling to build wealth for themselves by snatching property from the masses.

        They also know it is not PIA who demands a bribe at every opportunity and at every office and street corner from ordinary citizens who request routine government services; it is the civil servants, “law enforcement officers,” prison officials, etc. of the political system who wish to supplement their incomes or simply enrich themselves at the expense of the people, etc., etc. In short, the people inside the country know that it is all the personnel, agents, cadres, etc serving these segments of the system – i.e., the totality of the political system – that are exploiting and oppressing them WITH THE INSTRUCTION AND UNDER THE PROTECTION OF PRESIDENT ISAIAS AND HIS CRONIES.

        With respect to the second question, let me refer you to the last paragraph of my response to Ayneta (see above) so as to spare myself repeating the views I have on the matter.

        Thank you.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Dear Yohannes,

          First, I have to thank you for gracing us with this well written article about the sanction watch on the regime of Eritrea and its summary from the date it was enforced up to now. I have nothing to add or to oppose on the whole account you submitted for reading and understanding the whole saga.

          However, I want to say few words about your comment that is addressed to me. I read both responses to me as well as to Ayneta. Actually you have nicely framed the argument I have raised for Ayneta, in “a pair of questions”. In my view both questions are related to each other, the former focuses in identifying the enemy of our people, and the later what we can do to free our people from its enemy. In any struggle you have to identify your enemy in order to channel the whole effort against it. Without doing that we can not do any meaningful struggle to emancipate our people from its enemy.

          Second, what it matters a lot in a struggle is (a) the orientation of the struggle (b) the direction of the struggle. The orientation is about the politics of the enemy and the politics of the opposition or Justice seekers. For instance, who is your enemy and what is the politics of your enemy? who are the opposition and what is the politics of the opposition? are indeed part of the political orientation we are discussing to understand the politics of Eritrea. It is with in this frame of argument that the where and how should we direct our fight consumes our debate. Should it be against “Issays” or should it be against the “system”? Fighting against Issayas is not fighting against the system, for a system can continue without Issayas. However fighting the system is fighting against Issayas, b/c Issayas can only be protected and survive by the system. This is basic orientation, and it is not an academic exercise by any stretch of imagination.

          Third, yes the general public inside Eritrea know that, it is all “the government personnel, agents, cadres, Enforcement officers etc ….that are exploiting and oppressing them” but they can not understand and define it as a system with its state machine of centralized government.

          Amanuel Hidrat

          • Yohannes Zerai

            Dear Amanuel,

            I thank you both for your appreciation of the substance of my article and for the additional clarification you provided on the topic of our discussion. I believe that we are essentially on the same page as far as the concept of (and strategy for) popular struggle for change. Any apparent divergence in our positions is nothing more than differences in perception and emphasis.

            Thank you.

      • Selamat Ayya Amanuel Hidrat,

        In any war, the warriors do not fight to win or loose. Rather it is to protect the populous. Particularly when defending the land.
        I believe Eritreans have ample experience in defending the land and the people’s sovereignty. Where did Sewrana go right? Why is sovereignty of the people’s victory worthy to fight and die for? Who are the warriors ready to fight to protect the people in the event of the “seemingly” imminent war?
        What matters is stability?
        Malleability or teAAtSAtSAfinett is a quality admired even when it calls for rigid principled STAND. Metkelawi rigitSE ykAlo!

        The Thaeta🇺🇸🇪🇷 measure of °

        Of stability and global impact. tSA tSU tSi tSE tSIE tSeh tSO

        tstSio teAAtSAtSAfinett.. tSE sound most utilised, giega ‘khlialeyy–Thaeta angles of Democracy. Hmm…

        AmEritrean🇪🇷🇺🇸Hi🚴tSAtSE Azzilo40 Agnyeya40 Acres and a Mule

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam Solomon,

          There is no “people’s sovereignty” in Eritrea. What we have is the sovereignty of our land. I do believe you know the difference of the two. Defending the regime is not defending the sovereignty of the people. Second, we can’t live on past history. In fact, we are challenged by the current circumstances to make history. If you are in to it, fight to regain the sovereignty of our people. Defending the status que is not one of the making history.

          • Ayya Amanuel,

            I agreed. You can’t live but in the present. Let’s get REAL.


    • Yohannes Zerai

      Selam Ayneta,

      It is indeed remarkable that the regime has been able to survive for 26 years, and particularly for the last 17 years since the regime had a fall out with almost everyone and everything: its own people, its neighbors, world powers, international organizations and the international community at large. This defies logic for this impressive outcome was achieved certainly not because of the regime’s political acumen, diplomatic tact, military might or economic power. The regime possesses none of these attributes, quite the contrary!

      One thing that I find puzzling about Eritrea’s current political reality is why a political system that has been universally condemned for years as a pariah, thuggish, belligerent, inhuman and a variety of other unflattering names continues to be treated with “velvet gloves” camouflaged, of course, by seemingly harsh rhetoric. As some on this thread have already commented, even the UN sanctions that were slapped on the regime (and get renewed annually) with much fanfare are just a toothless imposition whose provisions remain largely unenforced. Some members of the Eritrean opposition may jump up and down with joy when Yemane Ghebreab is periodically prevented from addressing a gathering in Washington D.C. (and I am not, by any means, trying to understate the effort and lobbying it took to make those incidents happen). But, the truth is he and other regime officials still continue to conduct their globe-trotting unhindered despite the travel-ban provision that has supposedly been imposed on them.

      Not that I expect (or even wish) world powers to send their troops into Eritrea and remove the dictatorship from power. No, not at all! But a reasonable person would expect some “justice-loving” countries to encourage and support genuine Eritrean opposition groups as reasonable alternatives to the belligerent, tyrannical system they claim to find repugnant. Frankly, and without sounding a conspiracy theorist, I genuinely believe that there are external forces that benefit from continued existence of this abhorrent system for reasons and in ways that are perhaps too sophisticated, complicated or mysterious for me to decipher.

      Be that as it may, pro-democracy Eritreans have to keep their spirits high and look into the future with a realistic hope that tomorrow will be a better day for all. “This too shall pass”, as they say! Granted, there undeniably exist serious weaknesses in the Eritrean (mostly diaspora) opposition movement and an “apparent political dormancy” of the population inside the country for not having been able to stage an effective public protest against the regime. But I would guess that the Tunisian people too were probably being criticised for their “politically dormancy” just a month or two before the Tunisian revolution broke out in January 2011 to sweep away the oppressive old order! Dictatorships and tyrannical powers have their respectively unique ways of departing the scene – some peaceably, most unceremoniously. So will the Eritrean regime depart in a manner and at a time that no one can predict!

      Thank you.

      • Beyan

        Selam Yohannes,

        You hit on some salient yet puzzling points here. The seemingly enduring nature of our homemade tyranny is nothing more than “seeming”. We’ve seen episodic challenges that stared the abyss in the face. Of course, some are imprisoned others lost their lives for it, but such bruisings are compounding and are chipping away at the facade of the regime, but of course the regime tries to show its untouchable nature by not even blinking twice to imprison a 93 year-old-man who stood his ground in defense of the private, community school that he was chairman of the board for. That bravado from the regime is one desperate attempt to show that it is still in control.

        You know Yohannes, in my moments of despair I think of some outlandish thoughts, though this particular one wasn’t mine, it came from someone who is much younger than me but understands the workings of the regime so well, because he has paid his share of SAWA zuriatat. Here is how he thought the opposition got it all wrong in its attempt to unseat a system this rigid from remote corners of the world. He said, think about this for a moment. Once you declare yourself as an opposition and you are vocal about it, you’ve automatically boxed yourself in. You’re in for a fix. You will keep on writing and opposing and the regime knows you will not step into Eritrea, because there are some precedences in which Eritreans like Dawit who has had Swedish citizenship and were made to disappear. So, you wouldn’t even dare to think of going there now even with your American passport. As far as the regime goes though, one less person who can poison the well of tyranny within the Eritrean proper – vociferous indignation confined outside Eritrea will have no teeth to bite.

        Now, continued my young interlocutor by adding this for measure: Suppose, few of you kept writing but a whole lot more in the opposition made bogus peace with tyranny, paid their two percent, visited Eritrea regularly – the whole nine yard – and acted as vehement supporters of the regime, receptive to all of its actions even the bad and the ugly…now, wouldn’t these people be far more effective to poison the well of tyranny by going there and intermingling with the public, at minimum, in their respective neighborhoods, where they are trusted and can trust their own community. Now, multiply that by manifold and a couple of dozen years later, this regime would’ve either morphed and evolved to function for the better or would’ve been overthrown. I was befuddled and bemused at the same time at his line of thinking, but snapped out of my stupor, not necessarily to offer a counter narrative; rather to leave it sublime me for a while to come. This conversation took place soon after the Akhriya uprising. I am still not convinced, mind you not through reasoning and logic but through my intuition and visceral gut level feeling. I simply said, something to the effect, this argument is something I have never encountered from anyone before and to be honest about it it was compelling narrative. In fact, my line of thinking tended to be and has been the opposite to those who go to Eritrean Festivals sponsored by the regime as people who are enabling and empowering and approving of the regime’s indefensible acts and more so to those who visit Eritrea and invested their money there.

        Maybe, someone at the forum can give a better counter narrative, I sure couldn’t come up with any.


        • Yohannes Zerai

          Dear Beyan,

          I found the idea you presented in you last comment on the current thread very stimulating and I thank you for it. First of all, the idea proposed by your interlocutor should be appreciated for the creative thinking it embodies. But serious questions can be raised with respect to its applicability in the form it was proposed. The proposal would ostensibly allow a person (i.e., a political operative) to combine two seemingly conflicting roles: (i) collaborating with the enemy to win its confidence and trust, and (ii) engaging in activities that hurt the enemy by executing them inside its area of control. Thus in theory, implementation of the proposed idea would allow the user to get the best of both worlds – ensuring the safety of the operative while enabling him/her to inflict damage on the enemy. In practice, however, this would prove too good to be true.

          As a stand-alone operation, the first role would work well when the objective is spying on the inner secrets/workings of the enemy and perhaps sabotaging some of its activities from within. Incidentally, this is rumored – with a strong likelihood of being true – to be the strategy that is being pursued by the PFDJ government in its agenda of destroying/weakening diaspora opposition groups. An agent is recruited from within a given target group (or injected into it from outside) who first works hard to win the trust, confidence and respect of the membership. Having earned a positive reputation, the agent then embarks on clandestine activities that sow discord and dissension within the group, derail its activities and bring it into conflict with other groups.

          Conceivably, the opposition movement may reverse the above process and play the same political game against the PFDJ government and its institutions. However, this is a task that (i) requires the operative to be embedded in the PFDJ system for an extended period of time. It is not something that can be accomplished through an on-again, off-again engagement such as by travelling to the country periodically as suggested by your interlocutor, and (ii) entails the risk of having the operative harassed and ostracized by members of the opposition as a ‘traitor’, a ‘sellout’, etc. This would be particularly true given our “characteristic Eritrean political intolerance” of others and the operative’s discontinuous assignment (as suggested) which would make him/her appear to switch allegiances every now and then!

          In my opinion, the weakest link in the proposal is the assumption or implication that once you gain the trust of PFDJ, you would have a chance of working against its interests from its home turf i.e., operating within “the belly of the beast”, as it were! The PFDJ’s record on this is very clear and unambiguous. Anyone who engages in any task in the country – with or without the “trust” of the government or party – would be placed under surveillance to monitor their activities; and would be arrested at the slightest suspicion of disloyalty and even independent thinking! And in the clear case of being caught in the act of “working against the interests of the state and the party” an operative would, to borrow a phrase from SGJ’s recent comment, “be taken to the gallows”! In this regard, the “PFDJ sword” does not spare even one of its own who spent a lifetime serving the organization much less those who managed to just secure its transitory trust!!

          Having said (or rather written) all of the above, however, I believe that the pro-democracy movement can advance its struggle by developing a less ambitious and more carefully-crafted version of the idea proposed by your interlocutor – one that minimizes the material and political cost of “fake collaboration” with the regime as well as the potential risk to operatives while maximizing the returns to the movement.

          Thank you.

          • Beyan

            Selam Yohannes,

            Simply put, the way in which you elevate dialogue is flawless. Indeed, PFDJ has perfected the art of discord, of injecting doubts in the air whenever it senses a threat from any pockets of resistance. You know in the world of social sciences in general and their methodological approaches – as in qualitative research – in particular goes through evolutionary epochs, because new way of looking at scholarly world comes to challenge the prevailing methodological inquiry. Particularly, anthropology goes through this, what they term as “the crisis of revolution of representation”. Whenever such opening comes to occupy the scholarly space, the sensory overload is very apparent in the scholars of the field who go on churning epistemologies, theoretical frameworks that jives with the emerging concepts, thoughts, and ideas. want in on …no doubt, it is intellectually engaging.

            In the aftermath of the Akhriya uprising, aka, “crisis of revolution of representation” brought forth “the text to new voices”. My interlocutor, I felt, was one of those voices emerging to occupy that intellectual space, in this case, it was literally through the spoken voice. But, there were other voices that have emerged, one of whose textual voice I am finding mesmerizing. It so happened, he has written a new article that I implore you and forumers to give him a listen and/or a read to. Of course, the flip-side to these emerging voices the social scientist contend creates “erosion of authority”, in our case, it would be no other than the regime at the helm of power … it is being weakened by these episodic crises and the subsequent voices that are emerging. Much as the old-school would have to make room for the new scholarly lens, not so much it has become irrelevant as a lens but on the account that it served its useful purpose for its time and that it must make the space for the new lens to have its chance to reign in until another comes along to do away with the new voice. So, goes the cycle. So, the regime’s authority has been eroding, albeit too small and too slow for our taste.

            Any who, these are the kind of new voices we must begin to listen to, because they are one generation at a remove from you and me. You may even be as young as the younger generation I am speaking of, but the maturity of your textual voice seems to suggest otherwise. Incidentally, that’s the only inference I have; so, forgive me if I am misrepresenting you, one of my own crisis of misrepresentation going on here, eh.

            At any rate, your well-crafted and thoughtful rejoinder is giving me some hope that we may eventually find that intersectionality where generations across the board are coming together to find a way forward from the relentless saga and crises after crises we are being made spectators to and not actors wherein we could conceivably serve as arbiters for peace, prosperity, and just that sheer right to exist in this life without having to become casualties of this cruel world that we see our young are being subjected to, day-in-day-out.



          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Beyan,

            “Crises of revolution of representation”. I love this statement. Using it as a topic, could you write an essay or an article on “a revolution of representation” as new politics of diversity? It is a subject of great interest to address the Eritrean realities.


          • Beyan

            merHaba Aman,

            There is a lot that can be unpacked in the phrase. It would, indeed, not only be a quaint subject matter but also an important component to our state of politics in the diaspora today. Consider what Eritreans have been able to accomplish at individual level, the recent one of which is Holland and the closing of the Eritrean embassy there … that’s monumental feat in my book. Now, could our opposition political groups show a resume that shows them doing anything remotely as tangible as that case of Holland … my ears ache to hear for some such feat…but I am no politician and it would require the zeal and deep knowledge of politics to contemplate a write up that you suggest comprising the “new politics of diversity”. Knowing how passionately, forcefully and biting your articles are when it comes to the nature of Eritrean politics, I will defer that honor to you my friend. I appreciate the suggestion though, you can already surmise from my entry here the piece will be framed in the context I’ve mentioned here and it wouldn’t be as kind to our opposition political lot.


          • Yohannes Zerai

            Dear Beyan,

            Apologies for the delay in getting back to you on your last comment. I happened to be on the road over the weekend and, although I somehow managed to send in a couple of rejoinders, I had neither the time nor the convenience to have done so on the rest. Anyways, ……

            Your comment is heavily loaded with scientific realism, philosophical outlook and caring concern regarding the predicament that our country finds itself in. I thank you for that. However, it would not be easy for me to provide a reply that adequately addresses the multiple issues that your comment encompasses. I will therefore settle for just a brief statement of my views on a couple of those.

            For one, your comment presented a brief scientific basis for understanding the evolution of social and political thinking – a dynamic succession process in which one generational thinking in a society is gradually and incrementally replaced by that of the generation that follows it. But as you know such a succession process is bound to take one of two forms:

            1. Orderly Succession: is a succession in which an old mode of thinking (or philosophy) gradually gives way to a new one seamlessly and without raising antagonism between the generations that practice and advocate them. Indeed, this type of succession is generally accompanied by a brief period of overlapping existence (or co-existence) of the two philosophies thereby bridging the transition. Here, the old generation accepts the inevitability of change and passes the baton to its successor generation while the latter honors, and benefits from, the legacy of the generation before it – i.e., it acknowledges the contributions of the former and draws upon its experience and wisdom.

            2. Chaotic succession which, in its essential elements, is an antithesis of the orderly succession just outlined. It is an acrimonious succession marked by clashes between the “incoming” (or new) and the “outgoing” (or old) modes of thinking and philosophies. Far from fostering cooperation and understanding between themselves, the two generations challenge, criticize and even belittle each other’s ideas and perspectives. In short, both generations behave as if the two sets of philosophies and modes of thinking they advocate are mutually exclusive. As a result, not only would the new philosophy take too long to take root, but the transition period would bring confusion and confrontational behavior into society, hence hamper social and political progress.

            I believe that the present dynamics of Eritrean politics in general and the state of the opposition movement in particular fits the conditions associated with the “chaotic generational succession” (see above). The level of involvement of the young generation in opposition politics – including membership in existing political groups remain low. There is presently an obvious disconnect in political thinking about the country’s recent past and its current predicament – a disconnect between “older” Eritreans who saw the country through to the present and “younger” ones who will have to take the responsibility for guiding it into the future. Young Eritreans harshly criticize the neglect and outdated political outlook of veteran activists in the opposition; the latter group complain about the indifference and lack of discipline of the younger members of the diaspora communities. Old-timers in the opposition camp are busy talking about the youth and pretending to be speaking on their behalf; the youth are angry that they have been denied a voice that would allow them to speak for themselves.

            Thus, Eritrea’s current reality is not only untenable but is potentially disastrous in the long-run as well. And it may well turn out to be so unless the opposition movement scrambles to sweep aside the present political morass and fight to put in its place conditions that ensure an “orderly succession” as outlined above. Such a STRUGGLE SHOULD BE UNDERTAKEN AND WON before the bigger struggle of removing the dictatorship can have any chance of success.

            Thank you.

          • Ismail AA

            Selam Yohannes and Dr. Beyan,

            These two postings introduce the reader to core intellectual discourse which the debate on change has been lacking. Any coherent and endgame oriented social and political change requires sociological and philosophical bedrock that can inspire and inform a rationalized dynamic task program that guides a transformative movement. This is a gap our intelligentsia has not been able or not willing to fill. By the way, this shortcoming is not unique to our current predicament; our previous self-determination era struggle did not fare any better though the national fronts did benefit in formulation their political programs by emulating counterpart liberation movements that relied on socialist socio-political theory that was in vogue prior to the development that ended in the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

            The divides that impact ideas and role of humans positively or negatively are concomitant with transformation from the old to new. Though it is in the nature of things that the old has to give space to the new, there are inherent conflict of interests that pit the priorities of the old actors against those of the inheritor actors. The old find it not easy to trust the new actors would rate and uphold the values for which they paid so much to achieve. The incoming generation understand this as hindrance to their aspiration of getting their way to the new order and think the values that are important to the older generation are not really primary to their mission.

            Now, in my humble and may be crude imagination, it is harmonization of the interests of the two generations that is at issue and meaningful incentive for the learned Eritreans to engage in the discourse the two of you have started by way of this exchanges. Finding a median between the two attitudes can shorten the time for effecting change. I have been tracking Dr. Beyan in several of your postings coming with major core matters which Yohannes responds to with his way of persuasive style of arguing and writing. I would argue that such contributions are extremely useful to those of us who want to learn. Keep the good job brothers.

          • Beyan

            My Dear Brothers Yohannes & Ismail AA, Amanuel, and all,

            Life in the country of the milk and honey requires us to juggle so many facets of our lives that need attending to that sometimes it becomes next to impossible to participate in such intellectually engaging conversation. So, Yohannes, believe you me, I understand your predicament over the weekend travel. I am sure Ismail will be understanding of my predicament where my weekday schedule tends to be so tight that I would have to resort to one hastily composed idea that I hope will be worthy a rejoinder to your both well thought out responses.

            Gentlemen, I conceive of us being in this triangle, the base of which is occupied by our youth, the two sides of which are occupied by the regime and the opposition respectively. The “orderly succession” and the “chaotic succession” that would invariably end up trampling or stabilizing the base. Injected within this triangle are many of the philosophical and ideological underpinnings, one of which that Ismail astutely observed (Marxist ideology) of the gedli era I contend still having its reverberating effect on both sides of the triangle, the triangulation of which is being surveyed, I am not sure how prudently, by the base. Do we even know the philosophy of the base we speak of? Sure, one hears of “rule of law, constitutional democracy, pluralism”, etc., but has the base really internalized these lofty ideals, I am not sure. One of the sides of the triangles we know for sure does not give a whit about these lofty ideals, but we have no control over as Yohannes has succinctly gave a response to Hope in a different thread that I just read before starting to jot my thoughts here. But, ones that we have reasonable control over is the second side of the triangle, where they can bring their act together in finding that collective “harmonization of the interests of the two generations”, which Ismail has mentioned.

            What we have to do and what becomes compulsory to do is find a way of digging deep into our collective heels within that triangle and come up with what could conceivably work at macro and micro sociopolitical level. A respite of sorts for our young is sorely needed, but, somehow, assurance to the generation that toiled to bring a nation-state called Eritrea needs to be injected somehow. Of course, the majority of the civilian Eritreans who are caught in this project of sovereignty that has been mired in endless miseries.

            Though it was suggested to me by Amanuel (see below), perhaps widening the circle to the best minds of awate to collaboratively brainstorm, which I sense can conceivably be in the offing, that might end up serving as white paper – draft of sorts. For example, Amanuel has suggested a subject matter to be related to the “revolution of representation” as a forward looking polity in an otherwise bruised body politick of the opposition. A fleeting thought coming to my mind as I am penciling this on the response box here.


          • Ismail AA

            Dear Dr. Beyan, Yohannes, Aman and forumers,

            Despite pressure time imposes on daily routine of life participating in social and political causes that one believes in is by no means an an easy challenge to cope with. Not understanding the plight Dr. Beyan and Yohannes have in this regard would be a mark of callousness. But attachment to, and sentiments towards, one’s own nation and a people bein watch fast moving towards the brink of an uncertain future under a ruthless and egocentric regime is a burden that worthy and patriotic sons and daughters of that nation can afford to shun. Those trying hard to make ends meet regarding allocation their tight time is to be commendable.

            Now, my bet on prodding (in genial sense of the word) Dr. Beyan and Yohannes to keep up the gracing me and others in this forum by their thought on core matters in the framework of political and social discourse within which our struggle to overcome our current national predicament should operate has not failed me. Dr. Beyan has driven closer home two concepts Yohannes has succincly tabled a day back: the two possibilities of post regime orderly and disorderly succession. He has captured the essence of those two prepositions in an easy to grasp geometric concept that links the three stakeholders with variations in attitude and ambition: the youth, the multitude of the opposition and the dictatorship. I think a layman like my self would not the point by just looking at the representative triangle and contemplating on it.

            The triangle suggests the base (the youth) and one side share the point of intesection at the point where the two sides make an angle, But each of them do not share angles with the side that represents the regime. The shared goal of the opposition and the youth sides is to shatter the regime side and replace it with one that embody the interest of both. To attain this end, thus, the youth and the opposition need to reach a deal that enable them to harmonize their endeavors without jeopordizing priorities – inheriting the what the opposition (old) consider valuable and the much more elaborate bet of the youth on the future. It reconciling and harmonizing the interests of two sides that call for intellectually rationalized frameworks from which a deal should emanate that should engage collective effort of the patriotic segment of the intelligentsia. This where Dr. Beyan’s thought on macro and micro social and political contributions would valuably count. To begin with, this conceptual Enterprise would level the ground for the youth to organize and trace their way to the philosophical matrix relevant to their struggle to take over the future of their country – the essential uniting factor they are at present notably lacking at least compared to the other two sides to which Dr. Beyan has alluded (Socialist theory).

            One point that has been perplexingly causing discomfort among the organized opposition is that fact that the youth have not had chance to assimilate the political and ideological prepositions that rule of law and democracy and notion these embody. They have not gone beyond levels of slogans and experiences Diaspora life in democratic countries provide. Our youth are yet to succeed to found and consolidate political and social formulations that could help them build their philosophical and ideological perceptions about the present conditions and the future. So far, we they could not come further than debating in social media outlets such as pal talk and rudimentary organizations on the level of civic society groups. They remain fractious and even more acrimonious than members of organizations that house the so called “ghedli” generation.

            To conclude these lines which could sound cumbersome to some, the point that is essential here is how the base and opposition side of Dr. Beyan’s traingle could be translated to produce a working and harmonizing equation at the angle the two sides meet. This could come out as conceptual deal if properly analyzed and reduced to rationally do-able unifying task program fit to challenge and break the third side and redraw it to benignly meet the two sides and accommodate their concerns. Otherwise, the vicious circle will continue serving the regime side of the equation if the youth and the existing organization will keep mutually blaming one another for not participating in the case of the latter and unconditional hand over of the baton in the case of the former.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Beyan, Yohannes, Ismailo,

            Your engagement as trio is impressive and educational of high quality in its nature, both philosophically and conceptually. I have noticed in your debate few conceptual elements, I might be interested and share my view on the concepts in the framework of the Eritrean politics, later this evening. Please continue, it is very stimulating exchanges.


          • Beyan


            Our predicament vis-a-vis being part-time activists speaks loudly and clearly in how difficult it is to make the necessary headway confronting the tyranny that occupies us some 10,000 miles away. As much as I would’ve liked for this fascinating conversation to ensue, it is simply next to impossible for me to engage during the weekdays. Having said all that, let me just throw in a little wrench to see if someone may pick it up where we left off and take it to the next level. Ismail, did a great job in how the simple geometric triangle that I tried to conceive with its three sides, he added the angles where we need to trim the regime’s power by severing it where it would expedite its collapse. Well, here is a theory as borrowed from the business world – “Theory U” that I can also see our triangle fitting in within the model U or the U within the triangle conceived. So, anyone willing to take the bait? Yohannes, by the way, the kind of voices that we must begin to listen to are the voices from the younger generation who are emerging as a result of the episodic blunders that the tyrant at home keeps making, which would ostensibly amount to his demise at the end. Thank you Yohannes, Ismail AA, and Aman for the intellectual treat.




          • Yohannes Zerai

            Dear Beyan,

            I found your thoughtful and motivating comment a little depressing NOT because it conveyed – implicitly or explicitly – a message that could be misconstrued as bad, negative or accusatory in nature or content. But rather because it reminded me of my own weaknesses and inadequacies in having been unable to find THE TIME to contribute as much as I believe I should to the discussions/debates that strive to analyze the problems that our country faces and find solutions thereto.

            I wish one could easily “lay out for all to see”, so to speak, one’s situation with regard to the responsibilities they shoulder and the incredible demand placed on their time. It certainly did not escape me that our earlier exchanges on the present thread were upping the quality of discourse and level of understanding to increasingly greater heights. And I was enjoying every bit of it and was thrilled to have had the chance to make a modest contribution to the ongoing discussion. But, to be frank with you, I soon saw myself falling behind as the exchanges continued to proceed at a fairly accelerated pace. It soon became apparent to me that, because of the time constraints I had to operate under, I could not keep up with the rate at which the trio – you, Ismail and Amanuel – were relentlessly firing in your comments.

            I was in the middle of this uneasy situation when I posted my last follow-up comment two days ago trying to catch up with you guys. However, shortly thereafter, the flow of comments on that thread seemed to have noticeably slowed down and soon came to a halt! I was not sure if the observed change was somehow linked to my last comment or whether the flow of comments had subsided “on its own” or for other reasons.

            Having noticed the abrupt end of the exchange, I re-read my last comment the next day and came to suspect that it may have conveyed a message that was not intended. Indeed, I sensed that my poor choice of words may have wrongly hinted that I was posting my final comment thereby wrapping up my exchanges on the thread at hand. That certainly was not my intent, and I regret my having inadvertently given the impression to the contrary. Fortunately, you stepped in “armed” with your latest comment to shake things up and try to get the discussion start again! And restart, it will! – as far as I am concerned and within the realities of the time constraint I spoke of above. I am grateful to you for having created for me an opportunity to present my explanation on the subject.

            My comment here is already getting a little too long and so, while I am glad to have cleared up the air with respect to what happened in the last couple of days, I have decided to defer until later the forward-looking half of the message I want to convey. That message will carry proposals on how to avoid similar “miscommunication” in the future and on what needs to be done to ensure sustained discussions and debates on issues/topics we all consider of critical importance.

            Thank you.

          • Beyan

            Selam Yohannes,

            You’ve written the article that got us to talk, and it is up-to your readers to make do with the conversation to ensue as Ismail, myself, Amanuel, and thanks to you for joining, as we’ve tried to do, at least on this thread. Now, you should be the last one to feel any more responsible in becoming the cause for the halting of the conversation, by along shot, you’ve been the elixir that binded us all. I used to feel the same, not necessarily in the comment section, but at the rate the rate awate machination churns the articles. It coninues to be a pace very difficult for me to keep up with. So, I made my peace with it by selectively reading the articles that I find interesting to me personally and engaging all the same on the ones I find of itnerest. With the Awate Global Forum, I foresee even more challenges vis-a-vis the frequency of articles should be produced per week. Again, at a personal level, I can’t do more than one or two per week, especially, If I am going to engage in the discussions, but the AT knows the inner workings of this, it has its reasons for the kind of pace it thinks must keep to get the website rolling for maximum returns.

            Now, Ismail, has come back with a lot for us to chew on, who knows Amanuel might’ve decided to do an article instead of engaging in this space, thereby taking the conversation to the front page. And you will be taking a communication angle of this, which is an important component to any discourse. So, all seems well as that is just the nature of virtual communication.


          • Ismail AA

            Selam Beyan, Yohannes, Aman H. and all,

            Dear Beyan, the toll time and distance takes on the Eritrean pro-justice and freedom activists is enormous. Many and I share your predicament in this regard.

            The discussion few of us have been pursuing in the past few weeks under Yohannes’ article is, in my humble judgement, crucial. Though informal and voluntary, as Yohannes has pointed earlier, the inputs did touch on key issues. Relating the regime and its control instruments to the current status of the fractious opposition groups is not a mean and pointless endeavor. Perhaps some may be wondering why we engage in such efforts that do not normally transcend the borders of this forum. But the value of participation this forum caters for rest in the fact that people (especially the youth on both sides of the political spectrum – opponents and loyalist) do need this kind of formats of discussions.

            Thus far, the debate had moved a step forward with Dr. Beyan’s representation of the political-organizational scene in Eritrea in simple expressive triangle. It provides the youth and the organized opposition a point of connection at an angle while each of them meets the regime at the second and third angle. The crucial area inside the triangle is occupied by the principal game makers or breakers (the population) as sovereign stakeholders in the demise of the regime, depending on how the dispersed and demobilized youth and the ineffective organized opposition formations would fare in finding their way towards collective entity (organization/movement) guided by credible unifying task program and leadership. To arrive at that stage, the self-deployed vital agents (coalition) of change fit enough to rally the sovereign stakeholders need to pass through uncompromising scrutiny and assessment of the past and present.

            Here is where the theory U Dr. Beyan has suggested relevantly fits this discussion more as source of emulation rather than transposable formulation suitable to repair the current opposition scene. Before I jot a few things about how the modes of thought and ideas this theory project relates to the elements that make up Dr. Beyan’s triangle, I must warn you that I might not be the best candidate to tackle this matter (where are you Paulos, Xaxe (on condition he use plain language), saay7, SGJ, MS, Hayat, tes etc.). My exposure is limited to a Dutch book review I read many years back of C. Otto Scharmer’s book on behalf of a publishing house. I do not even recall the name of the reviewer. So, my purpose here is to prod our savvy commenters to grace us with their inputs. Having said this much, thus, let me record a few things in bullet form:

            1. To begin with, the theory U presupposes a situation that had already crossed the threshold from social and political conditions typical of underdeveloped or even developing societies. It targets social and economic set ups that encompass innovative leadership, labor markets and work ethnics that need to adopt constantly transformative behavior in the interest of making better use of available human and material resources in order to avoid sluggishness and eventual stagnation. Developed political economies of nations could maximally benefit from applying the theory to make economic venture feasible and gainful.

            2. In our case, what we are confronting is a condition that has not yet socially and politically crossed the threshold to collective national consciousness and identity. The Eritrea is a scene where social, ethnic and religious fault lines are rife and which have rendered worse under egoistic dictatorial order. Such a condition is yet to be properly assessed in the context of tools epistemological discourses could provide. But urgency impels us to tackle the appraisal of the current opposition vs regime politics because dealing with core issue pertaining to institution building within state/nation building frameworks is not viable as long as the regime stays.

            3. In order the self-deployed agents of change to transform themselves to effective existence, they need to put their past and present to critical assessment in the way the Theory U may incentivize. To go straight to Dr. Beyan’s triangle, youth that which partly may represent the present) and the organized but fragile opposition have to agree on a platform that allows for scrutiny that serves to discriminate what is useful from the outlooks, attitudes and perceptions of the two sides, on the one hand, and on the other, discard or abandon what is harmful and cumbersome. Feasible and novel ideas will have to be formulated that can purposefully mediate passing to collective program of action that can sway at least sufficient segment of the sovereign stakeholders at the center of Dr. Beyan’s triangle in favor of an organization representing the youth (base) and the organizations individually or in formations of umbrellas.

            4. Now, thus, given the realities that pervade the opposition scene – dispersed and uninitiated youth and tired and organizations that suffer from depletion of vitality and vigor – a challenging question imposes itself: Which part of the society should be tasked with the job of assessing the past and present so that the agents of change as identified in this discussion would get an articulated and do-able blue print that would enable them embark on the process of connecting and producing a collective organization under a pro-active program of action and guided by credible, trusted and innovative leadership? The answer to this rather ubiquitous question is none other than the elites of the society. If they fail to provide a conceptualized prototype of the political and social scene of current Eritrea in a frameworks such as the Theory U suggest, would not our intelligentsia be blamed for not discharging minimum duty towards a society that feels so proud of their existence and expertise?

          • Yohannes Zerai

            Dear Ismail, Amanuel and Beyan,

            Ismail: Thank you very much for the optimistic and positive spirit that you seem to be capable of effortlessly imparting into debates that go on at this forum. I also cannot fail to take note, with great appreciation, of your humble ways of praising the modest contributions of others while pushing your own contributions of equal or greater value “away from the limelight”, so to speak.

            Now, moving on to the issues under discussion ……. As you alluded to in your comment, a systematic effort is needed to enable people to contribute ideas which serve as building blocks for an agenda of national movement for democracy. Such ideas would be tested, refined, amalgamated, merged, modified, etc. in a sustained process of discussions and debates so as to lead to formulation of a sound philosophy and clear objectives to guide the struggle. But, such a complex mission cannot be accomplished successfully without first putting in place an organizational structure along with provisions of appropriate forums (or fora) as well as mechanisms for effective coordination and facilitation of the required activities and processes.

            I believe that the type of informal discussion we all have been engaged in lately at this forum can constitute the first step towards building the setup outlined above. If pursued persistently and diligently, such exchanges would make it possible to address the needs (and tackle the challenges) associated with creating the political instruments that the movement needs in order to be effective and produce results.

            Finally, I would like to thank you all three for your inputs – i.e., your observations, reasoning, ideas, perspectives, etc. – all of which have undoubtedly enabled me to broaden my understanding of the issues we touched upon in our repeated exchanges.

          • Yohannes Zerai

            Dear Beyan,

            Sorry for the lapse of attention on my part which led me to respond to your earlier comment with a rejoinder that I later figured was incomplete – it failed to address an important element of your message. In fact, it was not a simple element that I overlooked, but your entreaty that I read Mr. Mohammed Ismail’s interesting article. Coincidentally, I had already listened to an audio version of the article at few days earlier. But having been more than happy to oblige, I again listened to the audio (you uploaded) and also read the article (at the link you provided). The experience was as enjoyable the second time around as was the first, and I thank you for having enabled me to have a double treat!

            The power of the message that the article and the audio convey and the effectiveness and eloquence with which the message is delivered are strikingly impressive. I hope the essence of the message will work upon some powerful Eritrean minds and impel them to produce actionable ideas that will change the future of the country for the better.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Yohannes, Beyan & Ismailo,

            This thread of your comments lead us to another sub-context of Yohannes’s article, alluding to the nature of the regime’s security operatives, both inside and outside our nation. Yohannes did zoom his binocular mind in to the network of the security operatives of the regime, inside the opposition that make them ineffective in particular, and with in the Eritrean communities in the diaspora to create discords in general. Yohannes in explaining the dangerous security operation of the regime has to say this: “An agent is recruited from within a given target group (or injected into it from outside) who first works hard to win the trust, confidence and respect of the membership. Having earned a positive reputation, the agent then embarks on clandestine activities that sow discord and dissension within the group, derail its activities and bring it into conflict with other groups.” Indeed, this clandestine security operatives of the regime were sent not for one days, not for weeks, not for months, not for years, but for decades inside us to disintegrate the opposition camp and to disharmonize our communities in the diaspora. Yohannes’s comment is worth noting and could be considered a call to act accordingly in our fight.

            Second, Knowing the nature of the regime it is not prudent and feasible to infiltrate in the regime’s operative system inside the country in the current situation of the opposition camp. Though, I am a lone advocator change from outside to inside, there is no viable forces from inside for those who advocate to bring change from within the system. A party embedded on the security apparatus and on the EDF is unrealistic to unseat it from inside. We are throwing all our hopes in to the pockets of unorganized resistances that can be smashed easily and we have seen it in the uprising of the army and in the incidence of Akriya. Therefore, we need a big conference for coming together to evaluate the regime and our situation to engage in a meaningful modus operandi against the formidable oppressive system.


          • Beyan

            Selam Aman, Yohannes, Ismail and all,

            Allow me to hastily point out several points as we combine all of the astute observations made in this thread as anchored on this very important article. Herein I humbly add my observation for consideration:
            1. Resources.
            2. Efficacy and efficiency
            3. Grassroots, Manpower & Leaders

            1. Arguably, resources seem to be available based on the seemingly endless conferences, seminars, and meetings that are held on a regular basis that we see in the opposition camps. Where they fall short is in their allocations, where they tend to be squandered appears to be on duplications and replications. Unless and until our resources are streamlined, our efforts will fall short on efficacy and efficiency.
            2. The resources we have – limited as they are – must be spent in prudent manner. Lacking this fundamental capacity and capability, there can be no way out of being perceived as incompetent lot, rightly so, one might add. Lack of transparency and accountability in this regard are recipes for tremendous quandaries. These quandaries can be ameliorated, in my estimate, through grassroots movement where manpower and leaders are harnessed to function at their optimum.
            3. Grassroots movements function effectively when there are leaders who can mobilize and sustain it. Mobilizing for demonstrations, seminars, and conferences cannot in be an end, but a means toward the larger goals, mission and vision that ought to be laid out for achievement, in our case, seeking and effecting change.

            Voluntary activism, part-time one at that, add to that the challenges outlined above, and juxtapose that with the adversary that has country-size coffers that can never be matched, how realistic are the ideas we are espousing here in their applicability viewed and contrasted to the realities on the ground? There has to be a mechanism in place where we can gather our resources, where we can find, at minimum, ten-to-twelve individuals of high caliber, who will be paid and who are willing to lead the way in creating globally mobilized and organized movement. Else, the monumental challenges we face is difficult to see how we can achieve the lofty goals and ideals we are trying our hardest the realization of.


          • Ismail AA

            Dear Aman, Dr. Beyan and Yohannes,

            No one, who engages in the opposition vs regime politics, would in any way or manner can dispute the centrality of the intelligence issue Dr. Beyan had earlier raised and Yohannes astutely elaborated and now Aman has succinctly framed as relevant item that deserves attention and robust debate. Intelligence gathering, analysis and judicious use constitute an essential segment in the struggle against an adversary. One of the many weaknesses of the opposition is embarrassing shortcoming on this matter; actually one may argue that such work might be non-existent though (for the sake of objectivity) an allowance need to be made for activities by some organizations.

            The point that should be emphatically stated here is that the regime has excelled in intelligence work and actually defeated its opponents since its time as a front. The despot at the helm and his clique had from the beginning relied on elaborate spy network for survival at the initial phase, and later on, for consolidation and unchallengeable dominance and control.

            Actually, those of us who served under the banner of the ELF had belatedly become aware that the organization was already dangerously vulnerable due to clandestine penetrations by operatives before the launching of the EPLF-TPLF concerted attack in the Summer of 1980. Some of the hitherto trusted politically savvy elements became conduits for valuable intelligence information which the EPLF cleverly used to out smart the ELF side. I The intelligence flaw and weakness had cost the ELF many lives. Heroes such as Said Saleh, Wolde Dawit Temesgen, Mahmoud Hassab etc became targets due excellence in use of intelligence operations. Much material and assets were lost due to penetration of operatives especially after 1982 and first half of 1990s.

            To make a long story short, thus, given the elaborate background of the regime in spying and targeting work against its opponents and adversaries, it is imperative for the opposition to take good note of this part in the opposition vs dictatorship equation.

          • Yohannes Zerai

            Dear Amanuel, Beyan and Ismail,

            I certainly do not underestimate the grave dangers of any attempt to send someone from the diaspora into the country and have them work against the regime from within. In a comment I made a couple of months ago on a different thread, (and which referred to the “infiltration/espionage scheme” that the PFDJ is known to play on Eritrean communities and opposition groups in the diaspora), I had proposed that “ …. the opposition should stick it to the regime and force them to taste their own medicine by embracing disgruntled insiders and get them to help with attacking and weakening the system FROM WITHIN.”

            Despite the use of the phrase “attack and weaken” in the above quote, the mission of these disgruntled insiders does not necessarily have to be “to unseat it [the regime]from inside”, but to simply gather and transmit government secrets to the opposition. Leaving aside for the moment the question of relative feasibility of internal opposition versus diaspora opposition, I am sure you will agree with me that such regime secrets would be of tremendous value to diaspora opposition groups/forces enabling them to draw up realistic strategies and develop effective action plans for the struggle.

            Thank you.

      • Ismail AA

        Selam Yohannes,

        “I genuinely believe that there are external forces that benefit from continued existence of this abhorrent system for reasons and in ways that are perhaps too sophisticated, complicated or mysterious for me to decipher.” So do I and many more do. Actually, it is not something to be believed or hard to be deciphered. Aside from the police state tools and mechanisms of command control domestically, this is one of the key game makers or breakers in the life of dictatorial regimes. Don’t we know the number of decades dictators in some of the countries of the regions had ruled and tormented their populations in spite of existence of opposition due to endorsement and support they enjoyed from big powers as long as long those regimes discharged of their assigned services for the benefit of strategic national interest of their protectors?

        One of the services dictators got in exchange was denying the opposition accesses to media and solidarity from peace and freedom loving peoples and keeping them divided, acrimonious and weak. The current regime in Eritrea does neatly qualify for that benefit as long as it proves capable of keeping at bay potential known an unknown forces that could become threat to the strategic interest of the big powers. This was very much evident in the Eritrean affairs since the 40s and 50s and through well in to the thirds quarter of the armed struggle phase of the struggle. Regional political and strategic interest had overwhelmingly impacted the endeavors of Eritrea’s patriotic movement. The imperial government of Emperor Haile Selassie was as good role player as Isayas’, and this fact can be plausibly understood when one looks beyond rhetoric and some toothless measures like the sanctions or media campaigns the international organizations such as UN adopt and allows.

        For instance, the fate of the ELF and indeed other factions was similar to what the opposition is facing: isolation in state of mere survival and nothing more. Things began to turn corner after the EPLF congress of 1978 when Isyas and his clique resolved to abandon some slogans and rhetoric that we in fashion during those decades in the context of the left leaning national liberation movements. One of the clauses left out from the EPLF program was anti-Zionist and imperialist clause. This move requires no extraordinary task to read in the context of regional priorities of, for example, the US and Israel. From the time Isayas took over as secretary general from Ramadan Mohammed Nour, his credentials had notably improved among the powerful media quarters and lobbies. I remember supportive and welcoming way he was received in USA during his visit in Summer of 1990. The endorsement of the leaders of the TPLF had preceded him, and Mr. Herman Cohen’s (undersecretary for African affairs of the time) was how to coordinate between EPLF and TPLF to get rid of the Derg and take control of the aftermath.

        The points is, thus, dealing with the current opposition and its role would not be judiciously complete without taking in consideration the foreign element and its impact. It is objective to note that the opposition is currently disadvantaged on both end of the equation: domestic and foreign. In order to stage itself as credible actor, the opposition will have to close ranks and make huge sacrifices on many levels to grow to stage of threatening the regime. To do this it will have to depend on local human and material resource before it succeeds to draw the attention of the foreign powers who would realize that their interest would dictate reassessment of their options. When the threat of the opposition to regime would be real, the powers would be tasked by their needs of how best their interest would be served: continuation of the current regime or the one that could replace it.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam Ismailo,

          First glad to see you back. I hope you are doing well. Second, who can explain better the impact of the alliances of domestic and foreign forces against the opposition and justice seekers in the Eritrean politics, be it directly or indirectly. It was and is the alliance of mutual interest. It is a given realities in a region of great strategic importance for the big powers. But the problem still remain with us, the resistance force. Knowing the complexity of the problem, we can’t even unite our voices and energy to tackle it. Third, we don’t even identified our peoople’s enemy collectively. Some of us are fighting the removal of Issayas as a person, some of us fighting the system he installed, knowing that dismantling the system is dismantling the individuals who are running the system. If the fight is against the individual, it means there are forces who want to maintain the system that brought us to where we are. Therefore, the primary problem still remains squarely with us Eritreans.

          (Yohannes: I did not forget you, I will get back to you later this evening)


          • Ismail AA

            Dear Aman,

            Thanks you and many others in this forum for concern and brotherly advice about my personal condition; I am doing well and there is nothing to worry about at the moment.

            I agree with you that the onus and responsibility about our nation and its future squarely fall on us. Worthy peoples of nations do very well understand this. Actually, the point I tried to make in my last paragraph in the context of rejoinder to my Yohannes’ exchange with our brother/sister Ayneta was on what the opposition should do to put its acts in order, grow and mature to present itself as credible and eventually an impossible to ignore actor in determining the fate of our nation and country. Of course doing this presupposes shake up of the nearly feeble array of opposition groups and organization and re-aligning them to make realistic space for credible, forwarding looking and uniting coalition of the vital forces of change. I think we had discussed this point in the past under one of Yohannes’ article. This issue has become pressingly crucial given the fluid conditions we are witnessing in our region.

            To jump back to the issue of how foreign powers could factor in our struggle, thus, the opposition could become a force capable of seriously challenging the regime and stand as responsible national alternative when it becomes effective and force to reckon with. At that point, the foreign forces and powers would get alerted about the changing circumstances and their impact on working policies that would have to be reviewed to calibrate with strategic national interests. Moreover, even when outsiders provide political, public relations and material solidarity, they can only play supporting role and cannot supplant mobilized national human and material resources.

          • Peace!

            Selam Ismail AA

            “Thank you and many others in this forum for concern and brotherly advice about my personal condition; I am doing well and there is nothing to worry about at the moment.” Alhamdullilah!


          • Ismail AA

            Dear Peace,
            Thank you brother for your brotherly feeling.

        • Yohannes Zerai

          Hi Ismail,

          “Amen” to all of that! Your argument is more daring than mine , and it is certainly more convincing on account of the ample historical facts that you have presented in support thereof.

          Thank you

      • Selam Yohannes Zerai,

        Allow me to say this as an outsider.

        I do not think that there is a conspiracy of one sort or other against eritrea. In addition, nobody should believe when the west speaks about democracy and justice. Nowadays , it does not deliver democracy and justice even to its own people let alone to foreign countries. The only thing they care about is STABILITY, so long as it lasts and whoever may bring this stability, be it a dictator or a democrat.

        The refugee crisis, as an instability factor, is somehow being handled with some hundreds of millions of dollars, by building walls and by deporting refugees. Jobs are being created in the neighboring countries to keep refugees near the source countries, and it is going to be extremely difficult for refugees in the future to access western countries.

        As much as neighboring countries are concerned, especially ethiopia, she seems not to worry a lot as long as dia and his pfdj remain toothless and weak. The unholy alliances it tries to create will only be detrimental to the regime without any gain for it. It will be used and abandoned in the end. None of these countries are going to come to its help, if the need comes.

        Therefore, the final solution rests with eritreans themselves. As long as dia and the system he created are not challenged by eritreans, the dictator and the pfdj are going to remain in power, provided they continue to deliver stability within the country. Much worse, there is a possibility that dictatorship could continue by the same group of people who have the same ideology, and the same political and economic interests. Finally, i believe that there is no conspiracy against eritrea by external forces. Simply, nothing is done by eritreans themselves.

        • Selamat Horizon,

          “The only thing they care about is STABILITY, so long as it lasts and whoever may bring this stability, be it a dictator or a democrat.”

          Exactly. So your suggestion of do not go into hibernation mode, is it?


          • Nitricc

            Hi Tsatse; in my opinion the sanctioning of Eritrea harmed more Ethiopia than Eritrea. read this clip of this article and you will understand what I mean. the Article is by Dawit Weldegergios.
            ” It is the most populated country in the Horn of Africa with a history of having never been colonized. It has 40% of the area of Djbouti, Eritrea and Somalia and 85% of the population of the region. Yet Ethiopia to day is not the regional power. It has lost any respect it had in the region. Even Djibouti whose economy entirely depends on Ethiopia is flexing its muscles and asserting independence. Its relationship with Ethiopia is based on its own terms. It seems that Ethiopia is more dependent on Djibouti than vice versa. Somalia is slowly coming out of it civil war and has kicked out Ethiopian forces as its alignment with Arab world gives it more confidence. Eritrea is slowly coming out of its cocoon and as we see these days, it has already started preparing for transition in Ethiopia. Egypt and the Arab world are strongly behind it. Egypt has never been as belligerent as it has been. It is beating the war drums and in diplomacy it is ahead by taking away all the influence Ethiopia had in the region. South Sudan despite its proximity to Ethiopia and the support it got from Ethiopia in the struggle for its independence, is aligning itself with adversaries of Ethiopian regime. Ethiopia is at its weakest. Battered by years of rebellion, corruption and ethnic politics and a fake economic growth that is now unraveling, it is most vulnerable to its enemies now than ever.

          • Selamat Nitric,

            Thanks. I will follow the lead and read its entirety. You will agree, on occasion and more frequently than not, leap of faith feels awesome to read a lead. KndishiH or a Thousand fold is the return.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Nitrickay,

            Tame your hate and pls read the link below.


          • Nitricc

            Hey Aman-H: not so fast! hahahahah I wish it was true but the reality is?????

            ” According to Fund for Peace, “Failed state or fragile state means that the central government is weak, ineffective and has little control over its territories.“ All the major indicators show that Ethiopia has consistently been one of the most fragile states (failed states) in the world. All other indexes including the United nations (UNCTAD) and Business Insider rank Ethiopia one of the 15th poorest countries on earth. The UNDP human development index still ranks Ethiopia 173rd of the 186 in the latest human development index. Over 77 % of the people live below the poverty line and over 44% live in less than 2 dollars a day with a 30% illiteracy rate. Unemployment in the cities is as high as 80% and 38 % of children are underweight. It has experienced severe political instability for several years now and the government has lost control of its people. It has one of the largest number of political prisoners in Africa and it has the largest number of journalists in person in the world next to Iran. It is the most censored country in Africa. In internet use Ethiopia is one of the four least users in the world (the rest are Somalia, Niger and Eritrea) with only 11.6 % of the people using internet.[9] Ethiopia is among the 9 least mobile telephone users in the world [10] Djibouti does better than Ethiopia in proportion to its population.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Nitrickay,

            Back up your statistics with actual references. Not one, not two, not three, but every figure you put in your argument. Then I will say fair enough to your argument.

          • blink

            Dear Nitricc
            Such people aren’t interested in opening EPRDF they will not even admit that people are opposing the ethnicity’s political propaganda. I told many times that the man is a Weyane sympathiser and he will go on digging his favourite numbers just to look good for Dr.Debretsion.

          • Abesari

            You still forever amazed by Ethiopia’s failures…..I thought you would make a change as part of your new year resolution….ab zemen wube zitsememes ziban wube kibil yinebir…….Amanuel Hidrat will do the free translation…just sit and listen…..even tegadelti no more speak ill of Ethiopia…..and you the late comer….kehola yemeta ayin awta…..i guess you need that ‘Ethiopia pill’ to get you through the day… your infatuation with anything bad about Ethiopia and willful ignorance to Eritrea’s regime countless blunders is defeating. Yimharka!

        • Yohannes Zerai

          Dear Horizon,

          I thank you for your comments regarding the ‘Eritrean regime and stability’ and in reference to my earlier rejoinder. I must say I find your views on the subject to be incongruent with a political truth that stems from a substantial body of knowledge (observations, facts, evidence, opinions, analyses, decisions and resolutions ) was developed over a period of several years and originated with authoritative sources.

          For the sake of brevity, I will cite just one of many processes which confirmed that truth. An initiative consisting of (i) assessment of actions and behavior of the Eritrean regime, (ii) a concern about the threat they pose to peace and stability of the region and (iii) a request for an international punitive action against the regime was sponsored by IGAD in 2009. The initiative was unanimously endorsed and supported by the AU. Subsequently same was accepted and approved by the UN Security Council which in a near-unanimous resolution imposed sanctions on the regime for, among other things, its “ … support to armed groups engaged in undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia and regional stability.”

          For the better part of a quarter century, the Eritrean regime has been associated with: fighting wars with some of its neighbors and entangling in border conflicts with the rest, supporting armed rebels against governments in the region, pulling out of regional and continental organizations in protest, defying the UN Security Council and violating the provisions of its resolutions, adopting repressive domestic policies that drive thousands of its young people into exile each month, etc. I cannot help wondering which of these actions/behaviors/tendencies are so conducive to ensuring regional stability that continued existence of the Eritrean regime becomes a policy imperative for Western powers!!

          Thank you.

          • Selam Yohannes Zerai,

            I think that the sudden collapse of the regime may not bring smooth transfer of power, when eritrea is separated on religious, regional, and ethnic fault lines, and with the opposition in no position to fill the void that is going to be created in the case of the regime’s demise. That is when the issue of internal stability within eritrea comes in, which is very important as much as the only world power and regional states are concerned. The american government has looked to the other side and even cooperated with dictators for the sake of stability and loyalty. Of course, loyalty does not seem to be true in the case of dia/pfdj.

            As much as regional stability is concerned, deeds and words are now two completely different things for today’s pfdj world. It cannot interpret into actions it’s rhetoric anymore. The early 1990s were different times, when it felt strong, entitled and empowered, and attacked the neighboring countries for no reason. Today, its rhetoric as much as regional and world politics are concerned, is simply to show its existence and not that it could add an iota to influence the situation, and it is mainly for internal consumption. Whatever it tries to do in the region could end up in the regimes demise, and i think that it is aware of this fact. The surrounding countries are no more weak as they used to be. Even sudan cannot be bullied directly anymore. All these may have made it more cautious.

            The punitive actions taken by igad, un and others are meant to bring the regime to its senses, and they seem to have succeeded to a certain extent. Even egypt do not seem to trust the regimes recent desire to serve its interest against sudan and ethiopia. In simple terms, the regime has been forced to retreat into its shell somehow, and it has become toothless, and not trustworthy in regional politics, no matter its rhetoric.

            Nevertheless, internally within eritrea, it does not seem to be so, which of course has the same result, which is stability, unfortunately the hard way for the people. It seems that it has an incontestable power, at least for the time being, judging from the absence of dissent or organized opposition within the country, and that is the reason the regime brags that eritrea is the most peaceful country in the region.

            Thank you.

  • Ismail AA

    Selam Yohannes,
    Well written refreshing update of state of affairs and fate of the sanctions. It’s pretty tasking to tackle and come out with reasonable assessment of matter from the regime’s end of the diplomatic equation as you have done. Students of international relations and practicing political analysts would face hard feat to make sense of the a kind of “macho” diplomacy the regime runs. The despot at the helm of power in Asmara takes diplomatic challenges as an affront to his person and deals with them whether or not the out comes satisfy the dictates of his ego. There is nothing called national interest in his book of diplomacy. As long as he stays in power sanctions are there to stay.

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Selam Ismail,

      Nice to have you back at the forum, brother. Hope you have now fully regained your wellness and fitness. Please take care of yourself.

  • Saleh Johar

    Hi Yohannes,
    As usual, a great summary of how Eritreans will have to deal with the PFDJ damages for a long time to come. Unfortunately, most of the supporters and sympathizers of the regime do not realize that or pretend they don’t. In addition to Eritreans it is supposed to be answerable to, the regime’s “Years of foreign adventurism by the PFDJ government had become increasingly irksome to some Western and African countries.” I think it has done enough damage already, it has gone beyond irksome. The regime of loonies has to be stopped. And the sooner those who provide it with a pillar to support itself on realize, the better.

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Selam SGJ,

      The points you made succinctly in your comment go to the heart of the objectives and concerns that motivated the preparation of this article. On the surface, the article may seem to lack a concluding theme that weaves together the various strands of argument that I tried to develop in the text – i.e., a sort of a concluding statement, recommendation or message. On a closer look, however, it is not difficult to see that a theme has been presented albeit an implicit one. The last paragraph of the article does carry that theme although it is, of course, couched in the form of the grim historic failure of President Isaias to act as a responsible and thoughtful leader worthy of the title.

      In your brief comment you have fully captured the subtle message that the article was intended to convey, namely: (i) A great deal of damage has already been done (and is still being done) to the country and its people in the eight years since the sanctions were imposed, (ii) Damages will continue to accrue in the time the sanctions remain in place, (iii) The nation and its population will suffer from the negative repercussions of the sanctions long after the latter will have been lifted and years after the current brutal regime has been relegated to the dark chapters of history.

      Given these current and impending adversities, therefore, patriotic and pro-democracy Eritreans can no longer afford to be indifferent to the issue of sanctions. Neither can they entertain, as some had done in the past, the shortsighted notion of viewing sanctions as favorable conditions that undermine the regime and bring about its ultimate downfall. Never mind those pro-regime elements who continue to cheer on the tyrants for no reason other than to satisfy their self-interest instigated emotions – nothing better can be expected of them because they possess neither a sense of justice nor the slightest concern for their own people! Rather, our concern should be the fact that the evil regime and the punitive measures it brought upon the country have combined to push the nation and its people further into despair and misery in ways (and to extents) we may never be able to comprehend fully.

      So – to put it in the simplest term possible – the pro-democracy and pro-justice movement should focus some of its energy on such questions as: “What can the movement do to minimize the impact of the dangers that are hanging over the country and its people (as outlined above)?” “How do we structure a systematic effort to that end?” “What actions need to be taken?” and “How should those actions be implemented to produce results?”

      Thank you.

  • Peace!

    Hi YZ,

    I think that seems the case, and the timely question is given the regime is falling on its own, are we the people organized and ready to take over to avoid possible power vacuum which DIA used the phrase to warn multiple times in his latest interview.

    In the mean timeNew York Times reported today:

    Jan. 17, 2018
    AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government has told the highest representative of Eritrea in the Netherlands to leave the country, minister of Foreign Affairs Halbe Zijlstra said on Wednesday.

    Tekeste Ghebremedhin Zemuy has been declared persona non grata, Zijlstra wrote in a letter to parliament, as the government saw mounting evidence of Eritrea continuing to force tax payments from people who fled the country.

    A spokesman for the Eritrean Embassy declined to comment on the decision.

    Dutch radio program Argos last month said Eritrean refugees were being intimidated into paying a “diaspora tax” at the embassy in The Hague, in order to get access to its services, despite earlier orders by the Dutch government to stop this practice.

    “This is an exceptionally severe measure, meant as a signal to the government of Eritrea”, Zijlstra said. “We want to make clear that we don’t tolerate these unwanted practices.”

    Zijlstra said he had decided not to close the entire embassy, against the will of a majority in Dutch parliament, as that would make it impossible to help Eritreans.

    He called on Eritreans to report criminal offences they had experienced at the embassy.


    • Yohannes Zerai

      Selam Peace,

      I note with appreciation your foresight in placing your concern on the immediate post-Isaias period and Saleh Johar’s thoughtful focus – in his comment here to which I have yet to respond – on the damage that the regime’s destructive actions/behavior and the international sanctions are jointly inflicting on the country and its people. It is high time that the pro-change and pro-justice movement focus its attention on these two issues of concern that you and SGJ have raised.

      Not to forget the added bonus of the New York Times news item!! Thank you for sharing the news about the Dutch government’s policy decision against the coercive and illegal machinations that the regime has been employing to exploit and subdue Eritrean exiles that were forced out of their country by its barbarous rule. The event you reported and the recent developments in the political, economic and security situations in the Greater Horn region seem to herald that the “moment of truth” is not too far off!!

      Thank you.

  • Thomas

    Hi Awatista,

    I never to listen to DIA’s mumbo jumbo interview, but there was summary of the interview by people. DIA referring to the weyane/tplf said that the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia lost “a 25 years of missed opportunity” and he hopes the issue being resolved soon. My question is how did DIA come with the number 25 years? Am I missing something here, I thought DIA ignited the war in 1998 and years before 1998 he and Meles were sleeping together? So, the number of years must be between 1998-2018 which equals 20 years. He likes to call world medias as lyres, but in the same interview these are kinds of lies he spreading publically. Strange and the most wieldiest man:)

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Selam Thomas,

      Do not be surprised by President Isaias’s theatrical performance that he recently staged at the only (and regime-controlled) broadcast service in the country. In its content and significance, his manic monologue amounted to nothing more than the same old tired deceptions, exaggerations, distortions and lies that he touted without fail for nearly 25 years (and more emphatically since 1998).

      In fact, he has been doing this for such a long time that the Eritrean people have long wised up to his stale tactics and have been viewing his archaic, immutable ways with utter contempt and disgust. What is really strange is that, despite these facts, the president remains conceited and pathetically believes that he is succeeding in fooling the Eritrean people and the world – a weird mode of thinking that is perhaps reflective of his deteriorating mental capacity!

      Thank you.

      • Thomas

        Yohannes Z,
        Thank you for the refreshing feed. Yah, good thing he has left with no audience especially by our people within the country. They never trust him in anything he says and they gave up with him long time ago. Those who could are fleeing or are planning flee to far from him. The sad thing is that will never be good to our nation. A country with her human capital cannot be a promising country. Very sad.

  • Haile S.

    Selam Yohannes,

    Thank you for the great insight into the past, present and future of this sanction. You mentioned several diplomatic missteps
    that contributed to the establishment of the sanction and in its maintenance. The diplomatic arm of the country looks regressing instead of evolving to the level of regional complexity that the country is found. It even looks not very different than the ‘Gedli diplomacy’. That is the reason why the regime resorts constantly to calling the Diaspora’s help in defense of the country. And this is attested by the regular reports that appear in the front page of the country’s newspapers like Hadas Ertra and Eritrean Profile mentioning this and that Eritrean community in this and that country performed diplomatic activities etc etc. Is there a way-out out of this?

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Dear Haile,

      Thank you very much for your perceptive comments. I agree with you that the Eritrean government is woefully deficient in its collective diplomatic skills. But I am not quite sure if that is really the government’s primary problem. To begin with, Eritrea’s leaders do not seem to even have the “political will” or “political culture” to engage in diplomacy as a way of resolving foreign/external disputes. It is not as if Eritrean officials have been striving to find peaceful/political solutions to their myriad of bilateral/multilateral problems, but are not succeeding for lack of diplomatic skills! The record will show there is NOT A SINGLE external problem that the regime tried to resolve through diplomacy, or a single domestic problem it settled through consultation with its people! Such goals and attitudes are simply not in their nature!!

      You also touched upon the “cheering role” that pro-regime supporters have been playing while the country pained under international sanctions for the last eight years. This observation and your question: “Is there a way-out out of this?” are of critical importance and warrant extensive discussion. I will express my views on these points in another rejoinder, but thank you again for raising them.

  • Natom Habom

    Selam awate
    Sanctions or no sanction the balance already shifted ,the enemy can’t do nothing
    Eritrea has thighteen the regime neck its GAME OVER for TPLF
    Eritrea will not allow anyone to enter the country nor it will allow to control
    The armed group so they can save their puppet regime .
    They refuse to abide by Algiers agreements,we will not have peace until this criminal racist regime
    Be destroyed once for all ,for you opposition we have nothing to say we leave it to your conscience .

  • R Aybu

    This sanction is just nominal and serving the regime in Eritrea to play the victim status. It’s not freezing any assets, no travel ban, the arms b
    embargo became dysfunctional with the Saudi-led intervention in the area. Basically, this sanction is benefiting the regime.
    Let’s hope the recent appointment of Dr Alazreg will help in activating the sanctions