Inform, Inspire, Embolden. Reconcile!

USE: The United States of Eritrea

Currently Eritrea is ruled by an undemocratic regime that, can’t be reformed, continues to violate basic human rights, and is unable to provide even bare necessities for most its citizens. And it has been condemned by human right organisations and the United Nations. Dwelling on that however, does not help. Instead, I would rather focus on planning for the aftermath of the fall of the regime, for the future of the United States of Eritrea that works for all, not just for one group or another.

It seems to me, most prominent opposition groups are, overall, influenced by ex ELF and PFDJ leaders, might want to replace the current dictatorship with a tyranny of the majority in the name of democracy. Their political programs, albeit proposing a commitment to democracy and rule of law, do not clearly address crucial issues that now divide Eritreans and re more likely to continue threatening our peace, security and unity after the fall of the current regime. The opposition must urgently address how it would share power with those they describe as minorities, nationalists, separatists, regionalists, and Islamists in the future.  We must know now, how decisions would be made on issues that most matter to many of us such as addressing land and property distribution, question of nationalities, regional disparities, businesses and investment, official and working languages, power-sharing, position on universal human rights and freedoms, education, and languages policies. We must refuse to merely accept replacing the current ‘tyrannical regime’ by the ‘tyranny of the majority’, even if we are told some powers would be delegated to the local and regional governments–we know that those powers can also be taken away at will.

If we look around in Africa and in the Middle East, the system of government is based on giving all the powers to a single winning party which imposes a harsh reality in which minority parties would never have a chance of being in government. Very often, a ‘tyranny of the majority’ leads to a highly centralized political, social and economic system that serves the interests of the majority. And that in turn leads to the marginalization of minority groups and parties.

In a diverse country, such as Eritrea, where religious, regional and ethnic persecution is apparent, having a simple majority rule would always threaten peace and stability of the nation. It would certainly lead to a cycle of violence, political chaos, civil unrest, and continuation of violation of universal human rights and freedoms in the name of establishing unity and security. It would also threaten the dream of nation building and risk creating another failed state.

What are the options for the future Eritrea?

This article will attempt to address, in part, issues of languages, education system, power sharing and government system.

1- Education System and languages in future Eritrea

Today in Eritrea there is an explicit PFDJ and implicit opposition groups’ ideology of linguistic assimilation which dictates that everyone must learn and use Tigrinia, which has become a dominant language on the expense of all other languages. This cannot carry on. There must be a policy that encourages linguistic pluralism. All citizens of Eritrea must be expected to be proficient in Arabic, Tigrinia and English, as well as in their respective nationality languages. The future democratic governments must be prepared to provide the human and physical resources that are needed to promote multilingualism. The pluralistic linguistic policy should aim to promote better understanding between the ethnic groups, in line with the efforts of nation building, and a recognition and support of co-existence of multiple languages within the society.

At a primary school level, a child should have a right to choose Arabic or Tigrinia as a language of learning (medium of instruction) while English should be taught as a compulsory examinable subject and at the same time nationality languages would also be offered in classes. Children must be encouraged to have a good grasp of their nationality languages.  Where it is not feasible to teach some nationality languages in some geographical areas due to existence of small number of children in that area, the government must fund alternative community schools and classes so that children do not miss out from learning their own nationality languages.

At a secondary level and beyond, English language should be the medium of learning and instruction of all subjects, while Arabic and Tigrinia remain as compulsory examinable languages. Secondary schools should also continue offering nationality languages as described above.

2- Type of Government and democratic systems

History and experience illustrates what would happen if power is handed over to the central government, to the single winning party or group. What is needed is a system that limits powers conferred to a central national government; what Eritrea needs is a system that delegates constitutionally guaranteed separate powers to regional state governments.

The type of government system that has been proved to be relatively successful in a diverse country is a federal government system. It is used successfully in the most diverse nations on earth including in one of the largest democracy of the word, India. It is also used in multi-ethnic nations such as Belgium, South Africa, Canada, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Switzerland.

A constitution in a federal system limits activities of national government to a few areas such as: regulating internal trade, foreign relations, creating a currency, national defence, Immigration … etc. While at the same time, a federal state would have the power to control activities such as: establishing local government, drafting state constitution, administering land and other resources, education, conducting elections, providing welfare, and maintaining police forces, etc.

3- What type of Federal system in Eritrea?

Most federal systems in the world are based on geographical division of, territories, language, or ethnicity. Creating a federal system in Eritrea along ethnic lines, as advocated by some ethnic based groups, is not practical or achievable. It’s also too complex. Firstly, the reality is, most regions in Eritrea have been inhabited by mixed ethnicities for generations.  Secondly, not every group clearly wants to define itself along ethnic lines as its primary identity. For example, my experience is that most Jeberti activists primarily prefer to distinguish themselves based on culture and religion, significant activists from other communities prefer to be distinguished by regional identity such as lowlanders, Akeleguzai, Hamasen and Seraye; while most Afar, Saho, Blen, and Kunama prefer to be identified along ethnic and linguistic lines. Furthermore, people’s identity and ethnicity is not rigid; it is flexible and loose.  Therefore, attempting to create a federal system in Eritrea based on ethnicity would lead to internal conflicts between different ethnic groups within each state, as well as between borderlines of most federal states.

The most realistic federal system that can be achievable in Eritrea, in my view, is a system which is based on amalgamation of a well-known regional administration. Prior to changing the regional administration boundaries by the current regime, Eritrea was divided into administrative regions: Akeleguzai, Seraye, Gash, Barka, Dankalia, Hamsen, Sahel, Semhar, and Senhit. A federal system that can be implemented in Eritrea without too much complication can be achieved by combining the regional administration into 4 Federal states. The four federal states should be relatively balanced in terms of population, resources, size, and geography. Importantly, the fear of continuous domination of one ethnic, religion, or regional group, would be minimized. Those nationalities who still look for self-determination would still be able to negotiate within their federal states, the extent of their self-rule within their own regional administrations.  In this case, Eritrea would be divided into four Federal States, as shown in the map above, making it a United States of Eritrea, U.S.E.:

  1. Northern Federal State: Senhit, Sahel, and Barka
  2. Western Federal State: Gash-Setit and Seraye
  3. Central Federal Sate: Hamasen
  4. Eastern Federal state: Semhar, Akelguzai, and Dankalia

Federal System and democracy

For a federal system to work, it must be backed by a genuine, fair, and free democratic voting system. For example, the attempt made by the Ethiopian EPRDF system to accommodate ethnic diversity without corresponding process of democratization is a complete fiasco. The reason why the EPRDF won all parliament seats in 2016 is because it lacks a commitment to power-sharing due to its poor democratic culture and by taking a full advantage of a plurality voting system. That is a system in which each voter can vote for only one candidate, and the candidate who polls more votes is elected. This is also called “Winner-takes-all”. In such a system, minority party candidates would have no chance of winning seats. Alternatively, a proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems by which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. If 30% of the electorate support a particular political party, then roughly 30% of seats will be won by that party. The essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result: not just a plurality, or a bare majority, of them. These would lead to a genuine power-sharing on all levels.

Conclusion

It is time for all Eritrean civil and political activists to stop putting their heads in the sand and start working on the best formula of political system that is available; the system that provides Eritrea with a lasting peace and prosperity; a system that works for all Eritreans, not just for one group or another.

Pinterest
  • Ismail AA

    Salute all Awatistas,

    I just read at Togoruba.org a well-written article by Abdu Habib. The article mainly focuses on the historical bearing of Arabic to Massawa (Samhar) with which the author is familiar. The appropriate place of the article should have been Awate.com since it’s written in fine English. Actually the write appears to be a regular visitor to the Awate forum and was inspired to write the article by some comments pertaining to the Arabic. I thought I should recommend the article to Awatistas who might find it interesting and informative.

    Regards

  • saay7

    Yabu Hmeid:

    I think we are getting to the point where we are just repeating the same arguments, so let me try to be more direct:

    Many of the people whom you address as the nephews of those in power (you are always telling them “your uncle”) have to be persuaded by your argument. This is because you will need them on your side if you want the goat we spoke about to be tied up. Many of them are not persuaded that the 1952 constitution has any authority on Eritrea (regardless of the strength of your arguments) anymore than you do that the 1997 constitution (the first constitution drafted in a post-independent, sovereign Eritrea) has any authority over you. They are not persuaded that Arabic (which is a language and a culture) will not have very negative consequences on their lives and their loved ones. My point is that we make our argument, and then, if we have faith in the strength of our argument, leave it to the people and allow for the possibility that the people disagree with us, and leave it up to them to make a decision. The people have all rights, including the right to make a historical blunder.

    As for guarantees, there are none in life, except one: death. And the only moral question is what have we done to alleviate people’s suffering and promote peace and harmony in the short blip of a time we have here on this Blue Sphere.

    saay

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Ustaz Saleh,

      Thank for you comment, but I differ with you concerning this issue.

      Why do we burden ourselves with persuasion of the other side? Eritrea is equal for all, and all should have same burden and responsibility about her unity, peace, and prosperity. We should say what we think right and good for Eritrea frankly without any courtesy. We have to remember our civility and humbleness brought us to our present condition. There is no courtesy on rights. We should not gamble with our rights.

      Al-Arabi

      • blink

        Dear Hameed
        It is not a burden if you try to persuade the other side , it is just the way forward for many reasons . I can’t see any credible challenge to the dictator with out getting help from your Tigrina brothers. Because they can just simply destroy the dictator if we all try to inform them with good intentions ,unless you and i will remain here complaining . They hold the card for change and we have to show them our civility . Provoking them will just help the dictator stay in power . We are talking about one Ethnic group which is very large to be pressed by minority. If you check , most elementary , high schools and colleges in Eritrea most of the boys are from Tigrina , The girls they are just may be at 90% of all Ethnic groups , so just run the numbers of tomorrow Eritrea. Even in the western world Eritreans can be seen just in one number which is Tigrina , so run the numbers again . If we are fighting for justice we just can not afford to off load these people from our movement . we just can’t afford unless you want to remain in abroad and comment in awate .com forum for the foreseeable future. I hope you take saay advice to your home and talk with your family and tell them about that.

        • Hameed Al-Arabi

          Salam blink,

          We started Eritrean revolution with SEVEN men. We where very weak, but through time became strong. We are weak today, but will not remain always weak.

          Al-Arabi

          • blink

            Dear Hameed
            Yes you are right but you know fighting foreigners always has benefit to mobilize people as we know it from our history , But now we have this dictator from inside and it is not easy to topple internal dictators. With out the hand of all Eritreans , independence could not even imagined. As we can see we have problem uniting our voice even though the dictator has been committing horrible things to every one who question his bad move.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam blink,

            We have accepted your choice, Tigrinia, without any hesitation. On other hand you refuse our choice, Arabic. If this refusal was from the regime, it would have been swallowed; but to hear it from those who are supposed to be opposition is very sad. You are on the way of our unity and you don’t believe in democracy. Imposing your whims on equal citizens contradicts with fundamentals of democracy. Believe and practice democracy, you will get tyranny evaporated from Eritrea and replaced by peace, co-existence and prosperity.

            Al-Arabi

  • Lamek

    Tesfamariam, who gave you the right to impose sharia on 3 or so million Christian highlanders? You and your Arab wanna be friends can do anything you want, but no but no thank you for my people. Our Tigrinya is our language and it is here to stay. baal niska, amanuel hidraat, semere gele mele, maas kemtlibumu, I don’t know.

    • tes

      Selam Lamek,

      I don’t know how you are connecting sharia with Arabic language. Are you a disillusioned person on your own identity? If you read my point, Arabic language has nothing to do with religion let alone sharia law. Arabic language iss ours and we can not pretend to be not ours. Lets know who we are.

      Wake-up and check the reality

      tes

    • blink

      Dear Lamek
      Are you always like this or you have some times bad day or ? come on it is their way of saying we do not like the government that is it , they do not say they did not like Tigrina , by the way if you go to dubai which the the center of every thing the Middle east can offer , the working language is English . English language will be always the center of every thing but I will definitely support arabic to be equal with Tigrina , by the way Tigrina is just a coffee shop language while Arabic is international .

  • abysinay

    you guys are ready to sell tour identity or are Muslims those who leave aboard who don’t care for identity but religion.eritrea has nine recognized ethnic groups: Tigrinya 55%, Tigre 30%, Saho 4%, Kunama
    2%, Rashaida 2%, Bilen 2%, other (Afar, Beni Amir, Nera) 5%,estimated by the CIA World Fact book (2010 est.) Arabic is mother tongue to rashaida 2%. @sara ,saay7, if colonization should be the reference Italian language should be added ,massawa was under control of the Turks who rule Egypt. and sara the sewra ,jebha or shaebya are nonsence they used it to elude their creators.Arabs,Egypt,Sudan,Syria etc idris awate ones told the Arabs that Eritrea is 90% Muslim nation..usman sabe married the daughter of Syrian president, shaebya and jebha promised and told the Arabs that they will make Eritrea Arab nation this is b/c the west was with KING haileslasie I ,so the Arabs were the only side that they could rely on for their mission against Eritrea and b/c the Arabs consider Ethiopia as a black Zion who support formation of Israel at the UN general assembly using its seat. in Eritrea sewra is GEDLI AND HIZBAWI HAILTAT..JEBHA IS STEEL JBHA and couldn’t win b/c of its ideology is has not realty on the ground of Eritrea. Eritrea WAS NEVER BEEN ARAB AND WILL NOT IN THE FUTURE.
    ………….resident has to give a presentation awddaa albeled.. and his presentation was in ARABIC though
    the
    audians was all eritreans, then during the session of question and
    answer a man asked if he could get the answer translated to tigrinya,
    wow- our president was angry, shouted to the man that he answered
    him…. LOOK , we are not in DEMBELAS………….shame full president..you should be pride of this saying coz this shows identity crisis..PRESIDENT FORCED HIS CITIZENS TO SPEAK FOREIGN LANGUAGE OF NOT RELEVANT TO THEM..arab is not advanced language ..even the Arabs are using English officially as their language..Sudan,Egypt,Yemen,KSA,UAE…PERHAPS ALL OF THEM.
    AS far as i know afars,somalia in ethiopia use Latin letters .afars in eritrea also prefer latin..i have heared afar eplf members talking so many time that Latin is the one for afar..that was what they were fighting for..
    AND IF IT COME TO VOTE 90% OF EITREAN WILL REJECT IT( Tigrinya 55%, Tigre 30%, 50% of Saho 4%, Kunama
    2%)… and lastly mister al- arabi you want arab coz you are tied to it somehow…either you live there or are muslim….and start preaching kuran….ones you make arab eritrean if it is possible your next move will be to import sharia.

  • Ismail AA

    Salute to all Awatistas,

    Logging in after a brief absence from the forum due to loss of a high value member of my family, a quick run through the
    discussions let me realize that I have missed learning a lot of information. I saw a rare, but important, article by Burhan Ali. I say rare because we do not get such contributions produced by such intellectually refined writers very often. This article and that of Ahmaddin Osman have generated extensive participation.

    Incidentally, moreover, I must thank saay for the link to a book of which I was not aware; it adds greatly to our knowledge on a topic (Arabic) that refuses to get tired and settle down due to its escapable bearing on the future of the people and nation, unlike the way some of our compatriots who look at the matter from narrow compartmentalized perspective. Robust
    comments have been posted by formidable debaters like saay, Al-Arabi, Aman, Semere and many others. One has really not much to add save perhaps a few sentences.

    In my view other than a matter of right and choice of part of the population of the country, practical and pragmatic thinkers
    cannot miss the essential fact of national interest in material and utilitarian sense of the matter. I imagine Eritrea within the geo-demographic realities of the broader region as a linguistic Island. Let us consider for a moment fantasize a sea of more than 40 million Sudanese on the west, 100 million Egyptians to the north, 30 million Yemenis to the east and 100 million Ethiopians to south. The population of the former three uses Arabic and English and the latter Amharic and perhaps in future Oromo and English. Given the known above and beneath surface resources we have, our future economic development and wellbeing will by and large depend on trade and movement of our citizens.

    Thus, any development and broader national interest oriented Eritrean plan designer would never miss the essentiality of the citizens being equipped with tools they need to communicate with their counterparts in the surrounding countries to facilitate their undertakings be it business or other social-cultural matters.
    Regards

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Ismailo,

      Sorry for the loss of one of your family members. May God rest him or her in peace. Good to see you back

      Regards

      • Ismail AA

        Dear Aman,
        Thank you very much. It was my father, Aman. Very kind of you brother.
        Regards

        • MS

          Selam Ustaz IsmailAA
          Sorry to hear that, my condolences to you and your family. Rabana yerhamhu.”We belong to Allah and to him we shall return.”

          • Ismail AA

            Hayak Allah Mahmoud,
            Taish inta. Thank you very much. It’s very kind of you, dear.
            Regards

    • tes

      Dear Ismail AA,

      Sorry to read that you lost one of your family members. My condolence to whole family.

      tes

      • Ismail AA

        Dear tes,
        Thank you very much; it very kind of you brother.
        Best regards.

        • Hameed Al-Arabi

          قال تعالى: (وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ * الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُواْ إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ * أُولَئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ)
          تقبله الله بواسع رحمته واسكنه فسيحة جناته والهم أهله الصبر والسلوان (إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون) الدوام لله وحده لا شريك له . عزم الله أجركم

          • Ismail AA

            Hayak Allah Hameed,
            Taish inta ya Al-Arabi. Tawalla Allahu fi umrak. Sorry, I do not have the Arabic script to thank you in Arabic.
            Regards

        • Hagos Kahsay

          ጽንዓት ይሃብኩም!

  • sara

    Dear awetians ( not those who show for a day throw their dirt)
    whether we agree or not Arabic language is Reality in Eritrea and for all Eritreans. those who deny this knowing
    or unknowingly i only will say time will tell. first, the language due or by history or culture it ties all Eritreans equally to it and much was said about it in this forum i do not want to bore you.As they say in tigrnya “neay ayrehik neti aykerbo” , how do you like my proverb.. awetians
    from the comments and articles i read, though there was a lot we could learn (and i do) i find it repetitive and some times ugly to an extent i feel i am in a different place than awate website. the worst is some of us act as the custodians of the Arabic language and we try to impress others all the way with a treat of war and violence, the words and tone we use is very harsh that you do not expect from people who claim to be in an opposition who profess day and night about democracy,justice , human rights etc
    look,regardless be it official or working language etc, Arabic language is a fact for eritreans…..
    first –history second thanks to our SEWRA eritrea…remember eritrean revolution is SEWRA eritrea it is not
    abyot,weyane, do we have any other word for it, SEWRA is orginally arabic now it is tigrnya,tigrayit,saho,and the rest of our languages. but sewra is not only a word but what took place as a result of the 30 years is beyond many our imagination, those who knew little arabic learned more, those who knew nothing learned it fresh , those who moved because of war went to the middle-east (not to kenya and ) and over there they found out arab culture and langage are not what they perceived during the Ethiopian occupation from 52-91, they easily managed to mingle with those culture and make a living and support their compatriots at home and of course their sewra. think now how many eritreans been to the Arab world and stayed there for years and still do, how many have moved to the west after their stay in the middle-east, every where you go in the west you will find an Eritrean who lived once in an Arab country and many remember their stay fondly …like amee salih for his journey of kuwait and saudi arabia.
    At home go any where in Eritrea there is no one who doesn’t know a word or two or more of Arabic language,
    because of the reasons i mentioned earlier, and because unlike during Ethiopian occupation we are free to use
    our languages , and our media and schools and our daily life is proof to it. thanks to sewra… again
    to add to the facts, i will tell you what i heard when i visited a family in one of the Arab countries,
    it is said once our president was visiting that country and all Eritreans where invited to attend a gathering, and
    of-course the president has to give a presentation awddaa albeled.. and his presentation was in ARABIC though
    the audians was all eritreans, then during the session of question and answer a man asked if he could get the answer translated to tigrinya, wow- our president was angry, shouted to the man that he answered him…. LOOK , we are not in DEMBELAS ( be-care-full i am not saying Dallas) you have been here 30 years and you couldn’t understand what was said, thus he shamed a guy who lived years in an Arab country and has failed to learn the language.
    now , as our friend Nittric always alludes…. the moral of the story is.. deki ere– DEAL WITH IT arabic is one of our languages.

    • Hagos Kahsay

      Hi Welde,
      The language issue is not as innocent as one might think. Tigrinya does not stand a chance to survive as a co-official language with Arabic, which has a bigger megaphone and finacial muscles to wipe out all Eritrea’s 8 other languages within 2 generations. The author of this article (only new to Awate) runs allsaho.com and the aim of the admintrative regions is to curtail and limit (prefferably to zero in the long term) the Tigrinya people. One wonders if some people made a misstake in wanting to belong to the same country as the Tigrinya or if the goal is a new Pakistan?

      • Hameed Al-Arabi

        Salam Hagos Kahsay,

        My friend, there is no intention to fight Tigrinia or highlanders. Your claim “not innocent” has not any proof that supports it. You are just imagining what will happen after hundred years. it is better to leave future for time because we don’t have any power on future. After one hundred years the world may be one country and one language. In the future the Horn region may be one country that you intend to divide Eritrea among them. Your forefathers said same you have written above in forties of last century and the mafia practiced same since holding office in Asmara. The result is we are all living in turmoil and unrest for the last eight decades.

        It is a great mistake to make the entire country hostage of groundless fears. Mr. Hagos, think about the present and leave future for future to decide on it.

        Each day the world peoples are becoming closer to each other due to modern technology, but you want to isolate yourself even from your neighbors. Really, this is very sad condition. At last, it is not your mistake my friend to hold this mountains big fears. (أعتقد نحن نؤذن في مالطا) I think we are calling for prayers in Malta.

        • Hagos Kahsay

          Hameed,

          “Your forefathers said same you have written above in forties of last century and the mafia practiced same since holding office in Asmara. The result is we are all living in turmoil and unrest for the last eight decades.”

          What do you mean by this?

          “After hundred years, before we drift you the West will drift you and your children will have gay-marriage.”

          This diesn’t nake sense at all.

          And 2 generations about 50 tears not a hundred.

          Not wanting Arabic as an official language does not mean that I dob’t see the usefullness of it.

          It’s quite possible to study it as you study English, Amharic or Chinese. Let people choose what’s useful for their individual future. One nation one language ©. Not one language for Muslims and another for Christians. I support Referendums. The first one should be a choice between Bejastan, Afaristan/Sahostan, Tigrinyastan and Jebertistan or 1 Eritrea.

          BTW, which Arabic tribe do you belong too?

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Hagos Kahsay,

            Having more that one official languages is not coined in Eritrea, there many countries in the world that have more than one official language. I quote in the following some of these countries.

            1- Canda has two official languages: English and French
            2- Hong Kong has two official languages: English and Chinese
            3- New Zealand has three official languages
            4- Afghanistan has tow official languages: Pashto and Dari
            5- India has 22 official languages, but mostly they use Hindi and English

            Having more than official language is not a crime my friend, but a solution to make people one country to live in peace.

            * Even within 50 years a lot of things will be changed, but unfortunately you will not be there to watch and expose your old way of thinking to the new generation. If you live more than fifty years you will understand my last sentence in my previous comment. You will definitely be chosen to be a witness or a contract maker of gay-marriage for your grandsons.

            Al-Arabi

          • Hagos Kahsay

            Hamid of the lost tribe of Arbia, I could go down the listof countries one by one and show yoy their dysfunctiion,but I don’t have time to talk to who disrespects my kin and taks avout gay marriage when we are talking about languages.

            Bye bye

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Hagos Kahsay,

            It is good you know the word respect, but I think you don’t know how to use. Primarily you have to respect rights of your compatriots in the nation. The result of this well-cultivated attitude will bring co-existence, stability and prosperity to the country. I deem you understand meaning of respect when you are pinched.

            Al-Arabi

    • saay7

      Hey sara:

      Something about your writing made me write about this tired subject of Arabic in Eritrea. I don’t remember anyone who has ever said “hey, now I understand, I am completely persuaded by what you say.” Both sides are like 💯 sure of their positions.

      When you are trying to build a coalition group, the goal is to take what both sides agree on (or should agree on) and in this case I think it is “let the people decide”.

      History says Eritrea became Eritrea because the Italians decided to make it one. And Eritreas first capital city was Massawa. And Massawas working language was Arabic. The official languages negotiated for the federation period were Arabic and Tigrinya. They continued to be the official languages 1961-1981 during the jebha years. And they continued to be the working languages during the EPLF PFDJ years (1977-present). Yes to present.

      If we leave this to Eritreans ( and I mean all Eritreans, not just net of Eritreans after you take out all those who have been permanently exiled) this issue is a no brainer. Eritrea will have Arabic as co official language. And those who keep talking about “importing arabic” are just advertising their ignorance of Eritrea: u can’t import now what’s been domestic for centuries.

      Semere, who is my favorite Awatista who tries to compensate for his lack of knowledge by aggressively 1980s frozen Eritrea was talking about how the Afar have no interest in Arabic. Dude never mind Eritrean Afars, even Ethiopian Afars use Arabic as a medicine of instruction in their schools. Update your chip from 1981 😂

      In short let’s file this subject in “let the people decide” and we will have both sides convinced that they will win.

      Saay

      • Saleh Johar

        Saay,
        I am mad at you. All these years you didn’t bring this argument. How beautiful. You would have saved me a lot of heart aches debating with people who are fond of dictating their wish on others. Thank you but I am still mad 🙂

        • MS

          Abu SalaH
          First begin your comment by salutation (ha…ha…), then relax and sleep. We need you tomorrow. SAAY has closed the matter beautifully.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Mahmouday,

            I did. Just like you started with Abu SalaH, I started with Saay. We are even 🙂 You have a disadvantage though, I will enter from the back and add “Hi” while you struggle to edit on disqus 🙂

            NB: thank you for reminding me, I apologize.

        • Yoty Topy

          Hi Saleh Johar,
          Waay, sorry to hear you took exception , that we did not address His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa , by his full name (which BTW is his full name).We were hoping to play the part of conservation by freeing up kilo bites of space for Awate servers:)

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Yoty Topy,

            I heard a certain Hamen was praising Yahya and mentioned a long version for hi name, a Muzungu who was there made fun of that. And we all fell for it 🙂
            Imagine you are in a wedding party, the Hamien wants to entice you to give him a fat tip. He praises you in a song: Yoty wedi Topy Haneta wedi Haneta jigna jeganu, etc etc. Ghen a Musungu will make fun of you for having an eighteen word name. It is good you are not the president o Gambia.

            The only exception is Haile sellassie because I know his long name is not Muzungu advertised, It was inscribed on a marble on the wall of the school I went to.

        • saay7

          Abu Selah:

          An argument is beautiful only if it’s persuasively so and I am sure I have managed to persuade zero people 😂

          I think the mistake some proponents of Arabic have been making is the same one they have been making about the blue flag: that’s what we agreed upon during the Federation era. And the rebuttal to that is “great, we will keep that in mind next time we are federating with Ethiopia”😂 If we are certain of what our people want, let’s just say “let the people decide in a free and fair referendum”. Why scare people and throw them to the arms of Isaias now?

          Horizon: I should stick to what I know. An exception was made for Afar Ethiopia but it was *NOT* Arabic. I think it’s the only state that can use both Amharic and Afar as medium of instruction. But now I am not even sure of that :). What will Eritrean Afars do? Let the people decide!

          Saay

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Saay,
            That part is not wise, I think. You cannot revisit covenants every time some guy wants to change it. Nations are supposed to be stable, not fragment like our opposition because some Obe claims he is Hzbi and wants to revisit past covenants. If so, it will be like isaias’ constitution , a cheap dry battery that must be changed frequently. Hardly efficient source of energy for anything. Haza hwa alHal.

          • saay7

            Hala Abu Salah:

            But nations have a right to change their mind. Just look at the number of European countries who will slowly fragment from EU. The agreements made during the Federal Act were time-place-condition specific unlike scriptures which are for all time and all place. If we have the conviction, I say we just defer it to post-Isaias Eritrea to decided and I am sure, in a free and fair referendum*, Arabic will be the co-official language for any Eritrean government that respects the will of the people. And if it is not, because the people have changed their mind, so be it.

            saay

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Ustaz Abu Johar,

            Yes, “Haza hwa alHal”. Enkilil Sarafrafit.

            Al-Arabi

          • Ismail AA

            Hayakum Allah SJ and saay,
            Let me jump in if I may about the your exchange of the flag. It is sovereign right of nations to change past agreements or covenants. But the crux of the matter is when and how. After their formation, nation design emblems and relics to officiate their identity from their counterparts within the community of nations. These are symbols that signify their particularism vis-a-vis others because they embody their legitimacy as nation. So, crafting and sanctifying these symbols have beginnings and exist as nationally approved and respected elements of a nation’s existence. They constitute as national precedents whenever the nation is exposed to exigencies such as aggression or occupation as happened to Eritrea in 1962 when the national symbols and insignias were arbitrarily removed.

            Now, the Eritrean people had no other symbol to show to the world except the blue flag. Those who carried arms fought, martyred and jailed did so under the shadow of the flag and their commitments and devotion was legitimized by the raising the flag. The fighters would have faced an impossible feat to persuade ordinary Eritrean citizen without carrying the flag. Thus, the legitimacy of the Eritrean flag was not, in my humble opinion, circumscribed by the Federation. Once it was approved by the duly elected representatives of the Eritrean parliament it became the symbol of the Eritrean national identity and the government of the time. It continued to be the symbol of the struggle for restoration of national rights during the war of liberation. The ELM and ELF and others save Selfi Natsnet were conscious of the symbolic importance of the flag.

            The imposition of the regime of a partisan flag without even slightest consideration for modicum of procedural measures was flagrant aggression of the precedents the Eritrean people endorsed and their sons and daughters carried to sacrifice their precious lives.

            As to making case for Arabic which I read Semere Tesfai was demanding in his debate with Al-Arabi, I agree with saay that the burden of proof rests with those who argue against Arabic while saying nothing about Tigrigna, too. Those who argue for the two languages to become official national languages can make the for both on equal footing. The question of precedents applies in this as well. Many of us wonder why on the part of those who advocate for Arabic never raise any doubt about Tigrigna.
            Regards

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Tahiyati Ustaz Saleh,

            The question is: How are we going to reach that stage of (let the people decide in a free and fair referendum)? I think we have to hold tight to what united us in the past in order to bring together our fragmented people. I deem the 1952 constitution should be our starting point with its co-official languages and flag.

            Al-Arabi

          • saay7

            Hala Hameed:

            I will quote the incomparable Ali Salim to make a point:

            Correct me if I am wrong, but if the “gedli” people had it their way, under ideal conditions, you would have ended up with a communist state, chairman for life, no constitution and Red Terror everywhere. Literally speaking, that’s what people died for if you want me to be blunt.

            The PFDJ now rationalizes everything it is doing–a nation aspiring for social justice– as “fulfilling our pledge to our martyrs.” It believes that this promise that was given encapsulated as “Awet nHafash”, should be the beginning and end point and anyone who doesn’t agree with that can go take a bite out of Mt Lalimba.

            A rigid “this is how it is, take it or leave it” position does not show much faith in the will of the people. Additionally, it has the terrible disadvantage of scaring people who could be on your side, fighting injustice. You may consider the 1952 constitution “the best solution to unite our fragmented people” but many consider it as a document to further fragment the people.

            The good news is, whatever we think about it, it shouldn’t get in the way of the goal and what we are fighting for.

            What we are fighting for is to give people full sovereignty, which includes the right for people to change their mind, and change it again.

            saay

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Hayak Allah Ustaz Saleh,

            I think our divided fighting will not bring “full sovereignty”. The past two decades is a good example for that. Let every group fight on its own whims, I think, is not a solution to make all come together and fight in unison. Leaning on a foundation already exists is better than an open ended imagined solution.

            Al-Arabi

          • saay7

            Ahlen Hameed:

            I am not saying “let every group fight on its own whims.” I am saying when you give preconditions for opposing the Eritrean regime (you must accept the dual Tigrinya/Arabic official languages), then, those who strongly disagree with your post-Isaias vision, are not inclined to join you, which contributes to fragmentation of Eritrean opposition. It is entirely unnecessary because all we are fighting for is to return power to Eritreans, and what they do with it is up to them.

            But if we say, “accept the duality of official languages! accept the blue flag! accept the traditional provinces!”, we are creating all sorts of unnecessary pre-conditions to our goal: empower the people to chart their future. They are, [proverb alert] husband and wife fighting over where they will tie the goat before they buy the goat [proverb alert off.]

            saay

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Ssay,

        This is a good lesson to Semere Tesfay if he consider himself also as a student in this forum and soften his arrogance. By the way thank you for the link. The Editorial review of the book is impressive. I will try to buy it.

        Regards

      • Dear saay7,

        If I have understood you well and what you said is the reality on the ground that “….even ethiopian afars (and we all agree ethiopia is the most arabic phobic country in the world) use arabic as a medium of instruction in their schools.”, in this case, may be the things I have read and known up to now must be outdated and wrong.

        The afar language is spoken as a mother tongue in all the three countries the afar ethnic group lives, and the great majority of them are monolingual, meaning they speak only the afar language.
        Afar is recognized as an official working language for internal administration of the state, and it is the national language in djibouti. It is the medium of primary school education, and it has more or less replaced the amharic language. “Afar language development centers” are doing their best to make the afar language the language of the afar state, local administration and education in primary schools, etc. In addition, it is said that the center is also compiling an afar dictionary. I think that they use latin-based script.

        Even Muslim Quran teachers are enrolling in afar language classes, to be able to convey their teachings in the mother tongue, so that people could understand them better. Moreover, Quran religious teachers are perfecting themselves in the afar language so that they could translate the Quran in the future. Literacy classes are carried out in afar communities in their mother tongue, and some people call this afar-inization.

        Therefore, afars and I think somalis too, (who are more than 95% muslims) are investing on their mother tongues. For the time being they are using arabic for the study of the Quran with a possibility in the future to translate it to their mother tongues, as many non-arab muslim countries have done so. They want the future generation to speak their mother tongue and thus ensure the survival of their unique ethnic cultures and traditions.
        (i hope Amde, Kaddis, Eyob and others could say a word or two. I believe they have a first hand knowledge of the topic).

        • Hameed Al-Arabi

          Salam Horizon,

          I think there is a fact that misses from your understanding about Islam. You can translate or explain the Nobel Quran in any language, but when it comes to worship/prayers you have to recite the Nobel Quran Suras as it was revealed to Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him). This commands any Muslim either to memorize by heart or learn the Arabic language alphabets and read and memorize the Nobel Quran in its original scripts.

          Dear Horizon, you can visit any Muslim country or if you are in Addis Abeba visit Makatto Mosque during dawn prayer, dusk prayer or evening prayer and you will get the Imam recites the Nobel Quran suras in Arabic. Also any Muslim when he prays or recites the Nobel Quran at home he does it in Arabic.

          You can explain the Nobel Quran in any language, but you perform your prayers in Arabic language.

          Al-Arabi

          • Dear Hameed Al-Arabi,

            I think that as much as the use of a language for a religion is concerned, this should not be a point of disagreement in the case of ethiopia. May be it is right to say that it is difficult to imagine Islam as a religion without Arabic, as it is difficult to imagine the Ethiopian Tewahido Orthodox religion without Geez. Therefore, having Arabic as the language of Islamic learning and worship and the Geez language for Orthodox ethiopian christians, and both language having their rightful places in churches and mosques, I think is accepted by all.
            The problem is, especially in the case of ethiopia, if a social group or society as a whole is asked to adopt a language alien to its history, culture and tradition, or if asked to use it as a language of education, and as the spoken language in their homes, in the streets, market places or in their songs, when all ethnic groups in ethiopia are already using their own languages for all the above.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Dear Horizon,

            In Christianity, you can do your prayers in any language; but in Islam prayers should be performed in Arabic language. Due to difficulties of publishing in past centuries there was no opportunity for Ethiopian Muslims to learn Arabic language. As today these problems are solved certainly Ethiopian Muslims will perform a lot of advancement in Arabic language. Not only Ethiopian Muslims who will master Arabic language; but all Muslims around the world.

            Al-Arabi

        • saay7

          Selamat Horizon:

          Do you watch basketball? There is a term called “coming on hard in the paint”: that’s when one comes hard into the scoring area (the paint). The player is sure he has a slam dunk and then, sometimes, an embarrassing miss (specially if he is short, like Curry, who should stick to 3 pointers:))) So to modify what I wrote in reply to SGJ:

          Horizon: I should stick to what I know. An exception was made for Afar Ethiopia but it was *NOT* Arabic. It was allowed to have two co-official languages while the other states (kilils) have one mother tongue policy but Amharic as official language. This applies even to the Debub hzboch bhere sewoch… But now I am not even sure of that 🙂 Will have to wait for Kaddis and his spotty internet connection. What will Eritrean Afars do? Let the people decide!

          saay

      • Hameed Al-Arabi

        Tahiyati Ustaz Saleh,

        As you elaborated it beautifully the Arabic language issue is settled before centuries. The Italians, British, 1952 Federation Parliament, Jebha, and Shabia were just confirming already established fact. Any endeavor to reverse this reality is a failed attempt. Opening the file of resolved issue again and again is just wasting a valuable time from our people.

        Thank you for the valuable book you furnished us with, and there are many that require only research to bring them to light for all to benefit.

        Al-Arabi

  • welde

    Hi all,

    I find the Muslim Eritreans intellectuals to be creative and innovative in their search for solution for Eritrean problem, where i have a problem with most of them is the choice of language for Eritrea, Arabic, which is causing as one of the major stumbling block in uniting the whole Eritrean for one cause, removing this man, Isayas. Why don’t they abandon this obsession with Arabic language as a medium of communication for Eritrea when they have many native languages to choose from is very disturbing and the main cause for suspicion between Eritreans.
    regards,

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Salam welde,

      Language is not a problem; you are just making it a problem. I think It is better you to abandon Arab-phobia. Many highlanders have a problem with Islam not only with Arabic language. Eritrea for them equals to their villages. It is better to depart village mentality and think about the entire country which is composed of Muslims and Christians. You have to understand, Mr. Welde, when we discuss about Arabic language, it doesn’t mean we are in quest of approval from you. We just discuss the issue to enlighten you and assist you depart your village mentality.

      The official languages of Eritrea issue is settled in 1952 constitution, it is a finished issue for Eritrean Muslims. Secondly, Arabic language is a fact on ground in Eritrea. No one is importing it newly to Eritrea. Of course, if we look it village wise, it is alien to your village, but not to Eritrea that is bigger than your village.

      Al-Arabi

    • Hagos Kahsay

      Hi Welde,

      The language issue is not as innocent as one might think. Tigrinya does not stand a chance to survive as a co-official language with Arabic, which has a bigger megaphone and finacial muscles to wipe out all Eritrea’s 8 other languages within 2 generations. The author of this article runs alksaho.com and the aim of the admintrative regions is to curtail and limit (preferavly to zero in the long term) the Tigrinya people. One wonders if some people made a misstake in wanting to belong to the same country as the Tigrinya?

  • Yohannes

    Hi people,
    Sad to see Awate now publishing fantasies for articles.

  • said

    Greeting,
    Islam, .…..The Overlooked Great Civilization
    In the sad current affairs of the world and Western political and cultural discourse, mainstream Islam and mainstream Moslems are increasingly marginalized, alienated and reduced – a varied mosaic of sea of ethnicities and cultures – into the convenient stereotypical pariah’s in the Politics of Expediency of American and some Western politicians to serve narrow Agendas at the expense of the cross-fertilization between human civilizations and the future of world peace. Mainstream Moslems, universal and worldly, are encapsulated into a monolithic, indiscriminate “The Others,” in search of simplistic answers to a far more complex reality. In the process, Polarization is setting apart great human civilizations that with the doctrinaire, supposedly academic and intellectual framework of the “Inevitable Clash of Civilizations,” is increasingly playing into the dogmas of the minority few of self-serving politicians.
    Mainstream Islam, universal and worldly, need to be studied from its broad cultural and civilization optic. One of the greatest of all human civilizations, Islam represents a unique historic human experience, almost unmatched, of the mass assimilation and integration of ancient cultures and civilizations in a mind bugling speed, and as early as the 8th century, that the fruits of which are being reaped by the current world civilizations.
    Islam as a crucible of unifying world cultures is a civilization that is distinct from personal predilections and individual proclivities to excess expressions of faith and ideology. During the dark ages of Europe, Islamic culture, from the very early years of its evolution, provided an environment of unprecedented relative tolerance that encouraged intellectual and scientific pursuits, considered a historical novelty by the standards and political cultures of that age, and whose parallel, the crossfertilization of human thought across geographic boundaries could not be matched until the dawn of the Scientific Revolution in Europe, at the threshold of the 17th century, and as the final expression of the Renaissance.

    That parallel found expression in one of the most illuminating epochs in human history exemplified in the integrated, albeit individual efforts of European scholars of the time in the revolutionary cracking of mythical concepts of the cosmos and formulation of complete hypotheses, the heliocentric model, that became the cornerstone of modern science and thence ushered in unhindered the humanity’s progress towards new realms of technological breakthroughs. With Copernicus, the Polish, cracking the geocentric theory in favour of the heliocentric model, it was a string of European scholars, of varied ethnicities and affiliations, who followed on his heel to build upon that great Copernican departure to perfect the new theory to the full empirical and practical application: with Kepler, the Italian, advancing the geometrical and mathematical frameworks for predictive superiority; with Galileo’s new basis for testing theories through a host of technical instruments rendering the Copernican theory physically a substantiated frame of reference; with the French Descartes enunciating the first statement of the law of inertia, for it all to culminate with the English Newton providing the more encompassing conceptual scheme through the laws of motion and the theory of universal gravitation. A wonderful orchestra of human minds that were universally linked through a liberated human thought, and the cross fertilization and integration of independent individual patterns of thought through the surmounting of the distortions of cultural barriers and the impediments of preconceived judgments.
    In a similar tradition, Islamic scholars thrived, during many centuries, in an environment of open receptivity and set the trend for the free flow and sharing of knowledge across varying cultures and on a universal scale. Their collective endeavours highlighted the nobility and ultimate objective of the pursuit of knowledge as an end to serve higher purposes and interlink with past human achievements and offer a bridge to posterity.
    Following are glimpses of great Moslem scholars who immensely contributed to the development of human intellectual and scientific thoughts beginning as early as the 8th century:
    Jabir Ibin Hayyan (Died 803 A.D.)
    Jabir Ibn Hayyan, the alchemist Geber of the Middle Ages, is generally known as the father of chemistry. He practiced medicine and alchemy in Kubfa, current Iraq, around 776 A.D. Jabir introduced experimental investigation into alchemy, which rapidly changed its character into modern chemistry. The ruins of his well-known laboratory remained

    after him for centuries, and his fame extended to over 100 treatises, of which 22 relate to chemistry and alchemy. Perhaps Jabir’s major practical achievement was the discovery of minerals and other acids, which he prepared for the first time in his alembric (Anbique).
    Abu Al-Nasr Al-Farabi (Died 950 A.D.)
    Al-Farabi was born in a small village named Wasij, near Farab in today’s Turkistan in 870 A.D. He lived through the reign of several Abbasid Caliphs of Baghdad. As philosopher and scientist, he acquired great proficiency in various branches of learning. Al-Farabi contributed considerably to science, philosophy, logic, sociology, medicine, mathematics and music. He stands out as an Encyclopaedist.
    Ibn Sina (Avicenne – died 1037 A.D.)
    Ibn Sina was born in 980 A.D. at Afshana near Bukhara, in today’s Uzbikstan. Ibn Sina started studying philosophy by reading various Greek, Muslim and other books on this subject. While still young, he attained such a degree of expertise in medicine that his renown spread far and wide. He also contributed to mathematics, physics, music and other fields. He was the most famous physician, philosopher, encyclopaedist, mathematician and astronomer of his time. His major contribution to medical science was his famous book “Al-Qanun,” known as the “Canon” in the West. The “Qanun fi Al-Tibb” is an immense encyclopaedia of medicine extending over a million words.
    Ibn Al-Haitham ( Died 1040 A.D.)
    Ibn Al-Haitham was one of the most eminent physicists, whose contributions to optics and the scientific methods are outstanding. Known in the West as Alhazen, he was born in 965 A.D. In Basrah, nowadays Iraq. Ibn Al-Haitham made a thorough examination of the passage of light through various media and discovered the laws of refraction. He also carried out the first experiments on the dispersion of light into its constituent colors. His book “Kitab-al-Manazir” was translated into Latin in the Middle Ages, as well as his book on “The Colors of Sunsit.” He contradicted Ptolemy’s and Euclid’s theory of vision that objects are seen by rays of light emanating from the eye. Ibn Al-Haitham’s influence on physical sciences, in general, and optics, in particular, has been held in high esteem and, infact, it ushered a new era in optical research, both in theory and practice.

    IBN Al-BAITAR (died 1248 A.D.)
    Ibn Al-Bitar was one of the greatest scientists of Muslim Spain and was the greatest botanist and pharmacist of the Middle Ages. He was born in the Spanish city of Malaqa (Malaga) towards the end of the 12th century. His researches on plants extended over a vast area including Arabia and Palestine, which he either visited or managed to collect plants from stations located there. He died in Damascus. Ibn-Baitar’s major contribution, “Kitab Al-Jami fi Al-Adwiya Al-Mufrada,” is one of the greatest botanical compilations dealing with medicinal plants in Arabic. It enjoyed a high status among botanists up to the 16th century and is a systematic work that embodies earlier works, with due criticism, and adds a great part of original contribution.
    Al-Khawarizmi (Died 840 A.D.)
    Al-Khawarizmi was born at Khawarizm (Kheva), south of Aral sea. He was a mathematician, astonomer, and geographer. He was, perhaps, one of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived, as, in fact, he was the founder of several branches and basic concepts of mathematics. The influence of Al-Khawarizmi on the growth of science, in general, and mathematics, astronomy and geography, in particular, is well established in history.
    Ibn- Rushd (Died 1198 A.D)
    Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes in the West, was born in Cordova, Moslem Spain. He made remarkable contributions to philosophy, logic, medicine, music and jurisprudence. In medicine, his well-known book “Kitab Al-Kulyat fi Al-Tibb” was written before 1162 A.D. Its Latin translation was known as “Colliget.” In it, Ibn Rushd has thrown light on various aspects of medicine, including diagnoses, cure and prevention of disease. The book concentrates on specific areas, in comparison with Ibn Sina’s wider scope of “Al-Qanun, ” but contains original observations of Ibn-Rushd.
    Ibn- Al-Nafis (died in 1288 A.D.)
    Ibn Al-Nafis was born in Damascus. His major contribution lies in medicine. His major original contribution of great significance was his discovery of the blood’s circulation system, which was rediscovered by modern science after the elapse of three centuries. He was the first to correctly describe the constitution of the lungs and gave a description of the bronchi and the interaction between the human body’s vessels for air and blood. Also, he elaborated on the function of the coronary arteries as feeding the cardiac muscle.
    The above is an anthology of great human thinkers who contributed immensely to the advance of sciences and human endeavours in many branches of knowledge. One only hopes that this humble initiative of a writing could slightly contribute to dispel unjustified stereotype notions that preclude communication among the human race, and the gratifying rewards of the open dialogues between the world’s civilizations.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Semere T.,

    Because it becomes one of the threads that hold us together between the religious divide. There is no other justifaible reasons for it. Is that hard to understand it?

    • Semere Tesfai

      Selam Amanuel Hidrat

      This is my beef with the Arabic should be Eritrea’s national language – because it “unite’s” Eritrean Muslims argument.

      (a) It sacrifice’s domestic Eritrean ethnic languages to accommodate alien Arabic language

      (b) It is extremely expensive and destined to fail, simply because it is inconceivable for Eritrea to provide every conceivable government and private services with two languages that are EQUAL IN STATUS.

      (c) Since it is impossible financially and humanely to accommodate government and private sector services and employment in every square inch of Eritrean land, it is going to do us more harm than good (divide us than unite us).

      (d) It was created by Tigre political strategists to expand their base (at the expense of their culture and language) by uniting all Eritrean Muslims under their leadership to challenge ethnic Tigrigna in national politics. Case in point: During the ELF era, the Jebertis were classified as ethnic Tigrignas. And as such – they were awarded high positions in the organization representing ethnic Tigrignas. Well, ELF lost and EPLF won. Now they are telling us they are not ethnic Tigrignas. Now, explain to me what changed after 1981?

      Tigres and Tigrignas constitute almost 85% of the Eritrean population. The Arabic as a national language argument is to win the 15% of the population using political Islam. But that won’t work. The Kunamas and the Naras are not going to board on that ship, the Afars are at the outer-most shell of the orbit, the Bilens and the Sahos been and still are divided on this issue – because no matter what, they are always going to be third string players. And most of all, the Tigres of Semhar, the Tigres of Sahel, and the Tigres of Barka are not always on the same wavelength.

      The point: elevating Arabic language to an official national language, at the expense of your language and culture, is not going to yield much dividend – as it is going to be easily outmaneuvered by a little legal political manipulation.

      Semere Tesfai

      • Hameed Al-Arabi

        Salam Semere Tesfai,

        Now you have gotten out of your shell; it is very good that people can read you very clearly. You desire to mushroom in the disagreement of Eritrean Muslims. No, my friend. It is true your uncles tried to beguile some Muslims for sometime, but you will never do it forever. Today Eritrean Muslims perceive the dirty games you have played to reach where you are today. You have to understand very well that awful experience will never be repeated again. You can run to any extension you like, but that old experience impossible to do it again.

        WHAT HURT YOU IF ERITREAN MUSLIMS UNITED ON ONE HAND AND CHRISTIANS ON THE OTHER HAND?

  • Lamek

    Hi Ahmedin. You masterfully made the Tigrinyas minorities in their respective regions. Brilliant.

    • Hayat Adem

      Hi Lamek,
      I got a political word: gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is for those who are gerrymandering.

      • Amde

        Selam Hayat and Lamek.

        Let’s see how long this link lasts. http://imgur.com/jgM2hGd It is an example of a modern era gerrymandering. Illinois’ 4th Congressional District – I believe in Chicago. It actually is shaped like jaws, and for some distance it extends strictly along Interstate I-294.

        Amde

  • saay7

    Selamat Kaddis:

    Governing is hard. It is always damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If I had superpowers, I would erase people’s proclivity to be proud of something they had nothing to do with, the biggest one being: pride for inheriting genes that trace your lineage to into a certain ethnic group, certain region. Neither shame nor pride should be inherited but earned. Affinity and love, I get; pride I don’t get. This, despite the fact that I have a piece of paper (which SGJ mocks mercilessly) which shows I trace my lineage to Seidna Ali. This may explain my instinctive sympathy for the Houthis:)

    Ethiopian federal politicos should treat the local agitators the way the British Administration treated certain tribes in Western Eritrea. “Hey!”, it said with a British accent, “we will give you until _______ to form your tribal federation. If you don’t, guess, what: you will be administered by the British Administration (center.)” That did the trick.

    When it comes to Eritrea, I am always intrigued (but non-commital) to new configurations because while there is always a certain logic to the proposal, if people have no faith, then it is easy to assume ill-will. Here are the proposals and realities I have seen so far:

    1. The traditional provinces.
    Advantage: they are “natural” and ancient
    Disadvantage: 50 years of painting them as sources of conflict and division has marred any advocate as a provincial, narrow-minded person. “Regionalist” is just below “traitor” in Eritrean’s book of insults. So much so that province is a taboo word in Eritrea.

    2. The PFDJ provinces, I mean, administrative units, I mean “Zobas”)
    Advantage: they are supposed to be economic units (with the exception of “Central Zone”, all the admin units border a country or the Red Sea or both) which promote development
    Disadvantage: they do away with the traditional names and identities (the only two words held over are “Gash” and “Barka”). Some of the names, as the late Dr. Russom once in a poem, indicate direction not identity (South, North). Moreover, these directions are the Tigrinya words for North/South. Its not Southern Red Sea but Debubawi Qeyh Bahri. Before you can say “Tigrinaization”, they have created an accronym out of it De.Qe.Ba and….stop smiling Semere T 🙂

    3. The map of the Federal movements, particularly, EFDM
    Advantage: Simplicity. You have three regions: Western Lowlands; highlands; Eastern Escarpment.
    Disadvantage: Lots of land, few people; lots of people, few land. A toxic mix. Plus, the “Western Lowlands”, “Eastern Escarpment” are also, um, directions and group heterogeneous people who have one thing in common: religion.

    4. The map in this article:
    Advantages: maintains the autonomy of the traditional provinces and the economic imperative of right-sizing
    Disadvantages: It appears to have been done with one goal: maintaining equal sized provinces (land and people). But, hold your fire, I need to read it again.

    5. The Isaias Afwerki map
    Well, it is not drawn yet, but it is described. You take three vertical slices of Eritrea: Western lowlands; ALL highlands (not just Tigrina highlands) which would be, Seraye, Hamasien, Akele, Senhit and Sahel); and then Eastern escarpments. Basically, Isaias updates EFDM’s map.
    Advantage: Purely economic map based on people’s life style (pastoral, agrarian, fishermen)
    Disadvantage: Somebody needs to draw the map:)

    Oh man, I ran out of time before I drew Ali Salim’s map which is a horizontal map: Bejastan. Ali, where are you: draw that map! 🙂

    saay

  • Amde

    Selam Kaddisachin

    እየመጣህ ቀድሰን።

    Great point on urban identity. Considering the rate of urbanization globally, anything claiming to look forward has to make this front and center.

    Amde

  • said

    Greeting,
    Thinking about time gone, In the 60th and 70th A lot of so called Ethiopian activists and elite intellectuals do not recognize the national aspirations of Eritreans. For them asking for independence is a crime and not a political choice. There is this preference between land and territorial geographical integrity over Eritrean aspiration and humanity. Eritrean people did throw off Ethiopian colonialism and take control of their own destiny, ‘controlling one’s destiny’, but the newly born State is about to be handed to a dictator one man who will give an entirely different direction unchartered water, much darker, more deadly meaning to dead reckoning—a reckoning from Mother Earth, plunge to the bottom, hell on the earth.
    An old habits die hard. Known for his fascist reputation, a self-appointed IA one of the most tyrannical dictators in the world. After taking power in 1991, he refused to permit democratic elections, suppressed the entire population, suppressed political dissent, censored the news and no outlet for independent news , no basic civil rights. And, of course, IA was Mao s student a communist . Tyrannical and Machiavelli rolled into one. lA president, plus the proletariat, a sellout “minion elite” a military hierarchy in civilian clothing, he imposed a socialist economic central command system on the entire country, paternalism and vertical chain of command in place during colonial times. which entailed the nationalization of all aspect of major enterprise? allowing economic exploitation, stagnation and with the inequitable economic system. Most everyone became an employee of the state. only one IA capable of solving his country and compatriot’s economic problems. For the EPLF revolutionary apparatus, it was not enough to take over the apparatus of the Ancient Ethiopian Regime after felling Eritrea –With IA regime Eritrea would have to be totally reengineered and smashed, the ruins reassembled in new combinations until the long-term Mao’s student viscerally indoctrinated communist ideology goal – the agony of the Eritrean State – destroy to build, would be achieved.
    IA accomplished his revolution, by a massive intimidation of the non-convinced, as well as mobilization of the impoverished and enthusiastic poor masses attracted by the promises of the IA power. Marched to his dram. Power exercised by Marxist bogeyman an elite PFDJ, a tiny cruel minority, infinitesimal – but very powerful, against an impotent majority and passive majority. but for this for whom? Thousands of Eritreans died for this– His supporters don’t think he’s a dictator. May be they do not know democratic elections and the right to vote him out of office? or they know they and careless.
    When we look back on this sad era, during struggle period and after independence. a pathetic period in very short history of Eritrea. we will ask the questions all, who have slid into awful dictatorship, we ask. Why were we really asleep? How did we allow this to happen? Specially those who knew the Nuso, did they know not see that the rest of them would be next? Why didn’t we see it coming? Was it obvious. Why didn’t we resist in time? It was bred by ignorance, indifference or was it? It was bred by IA minion’s elites. Why did they collaborate with the evil man? Why didn’t they challenge him? Why did they stand mute? Why did those in circle of power with IA commit intellectual treason? Where were the great moral and political truth tellers? Why didn’t they and many others warn us about the dire consequences of gloom on the horizon is set and fight the injustice. Eritrean rights as citizens in no time were taken from us one by one. For greater part there was hardly a word of protest. Except few brave souls. Any kind of political beliefs and associations were criminalized? Why didn’t they protest when heroic Eritrean dissidents, even those who broke no laws to speak of, they were stripped of their rights and imprisoned without any kind due process and made to disappear and forgotten in dungeon jail ?
    Why did accepted and we allow the dictator state to strip away the rights of our poor people force them to live in terror dictatorship states? Why did we remained so silent as the PFDJ arrogated to itself the right to detain and prosecute people not for what they had done, or even for what they were planning to do, but for holding simple inherited religious or genuine nationalistic and patriotic political beliefs that the PFDJ deemed sellout and seditious?
    Eritrean in general were hoping the ‘citizen’ where all were equal before the state in the social contract of rights and responsibilities. And one was hoping equality. Equitable, dignity, justice to be prevailed, it can be possible because we are inclusive. an inclusive voyage toward safe harbors for all . Our aim should be the empowerment of ethnic minorities is a central component of what should be taking place in Eritrea. Given our unfortunate situation, We Eritrean in diaspora are scattered and broken-hearted. There is nothing new in this.
    This is when we dig and foster deep for our connections to each other and begin rescue our nation with a better strategy going forward.
    When we think, solidarity, unity, and let act together, our mass wisdom can exercise a dead reckoning that will set us on right directions and a course that will work for all Eritreans. That is the wisdom, enlightenment and commitment we need now and into the coming future period. A rapid step must be taken from national consciousness to political, economical and social consciousness.
    Can we work together. We can do this.

  • abysinay

    Arabic has no root in Eritrea….unless his aim to arabaise Eritrea
    or this article is sponsored by the Arabs…for me geez is better b/c
    tgrayt and tigrigna emerged out of it and this two are mother tongue to
    about 70% Eritrean population . those guys are treatening the eritrean national identity
    b/c:-
    # are arabs in origin and went to reunion..turkish,egypto hereditaries
    # are muslims… we know muslims prefer their religion to national identity # remnants of jebha, Osman sabe… groups who want arabised Eritrea funded by Arabs as part of arabasing greater Abyssinia.
    # Ahmeddin Osman 39 the author of this article and Hameed Al-Arabi, who strongly recomending arabic for eritreans are muslims ,so thats why they try to impose it with out any feasibilty…i cant figure out why islam can’t be preached in english or tigrigna ???

    # ones these guys impose arabic as a national language….be hood the will as for sheria..as anational court….
    and about the adminstrational zobas….they are systematicaly acordingly move paralel to this arabisation b/c these zoning is agains the hailanders who strongly resist and fight the arabs for centuries.except for hamassien(central) tigrigna and tigre speakers are distributed to the others so that can be dominated by the others..if other ethinic united and vote against them to inforce arabic and sheria….
    shaebia didn’t care about this as long as it benefits him…b/c pfdj is against culture and identity.

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Salam abysiay,

      Arabic is a fact on the ground of Eritrea, you are swimming against the stream, wake up my friend and get rid of old mentalities. You are hardly stricken, please, don’t tell that you live in the west.

      • Hayat Adem

        Selamat Hameed Al-Arabi,
        Arabic is indeed fact on the ground, but no more than English is. Arabic is NOT, part of an Eritrean identity. But it doesn’t have to be one for the need to re-institute it in Eritrea as effectively functioning language. We need it. Function-culture-identity.: the first is without controversy. The second has some inconclusive truth. The last has no merit at all. Identity and culture are all about nativity and substitutionality. Who wants to kill cultures and identities to be substituted by others? Each Eritrean ethnic people has their own other native languages, except the Rashaida, which are basically immigrants. As you very well know, nativity and identity elements to a given group don’t come in plurality.

        • Saleh Johar

          Wo Hayat!

          The other day I heard someone who claims to be “core-democrat” saying, “the Rasahaida are not natives, they have been in Eritrea for only 150 years..”
          I have to believe it i a slip of a tongue a finger rather) for you to repeat that. How long do you think a group have to be in a country for people to cease considering them not natives? I know it is less than ten years in most of our new homes. Would you identify other groups in Eritrea who arrived after some Rashaidas? Why are those who settled in Eritrea during the Italian era, some in the forties when Italy lost? How many Haddis Adi’s can you count in Eritrea?

          I think for this to be a fair game, we have to accept anyone who is born in Eritrea to be one, unless they choose otherwise. If we are going to count years, and say we make 150 years a cut-length of time, I am afraid the already small population of Eritrea will become equal to that of Djibouti.

          Dear Hayat, fairness, justice and “democracy” are not retailed, they are sold wholesale, equally, not sold to club-members only 🙂

          • iSem

            Hi Abu Salah and Hayat

            The issue about the Rashaid identity takes us back to the blunders of you know, EPLF (read PFDJ), the dolling of identity was random when the organizations did it and with EPLF was even more whimsical like everything else. As Sal and I repeatedly said, they stripped the Elit’s identity and gave it to Rashaida, why not the Tokrir, why not the jeberti, a group who speaks Tigriya and to my mind have their own unique culture, albeit with many commonalities with the brethren and who have as far as I remember feel the Eritrean identity and also feel they are distinct. Also there is this subtle insitatuon that they are not even Eritreans. The Eritrean identity is a mess like the country itself. Identity can be based on nativity and whatever else, but the one who is identified must feel some identity for the identity in question and I have never met any Eritrean from the 8 groups that does not fill the Eritrean identity, but I have never met a Rashaad who feels the Eritrean identity in my days in Sudan. The Eritrean identity must not be something that can be given or taken at whim, one must earn it and it not by supporting PFDJ and it is not by labour like PFDJ wanted us to believe when they were staffing their brutes with Ethiopians: who he works for Eritrea is Eritrean was their mantra. Even by that logic the Rashaidas do not pass, settlement alone should not qualify you. And as long as there are no rules of citizenship established by natives to rightfully and legally give that Eritrean identity to others

            Where Hayat has erred is comparing Arabic to English in Eritrea, Arabic is intricately woven into the identity of at least half of the Eritreans, it informs their faith, the culture, their names and recognizing that the founding fathers settled for a bilingual state and it was a master piece ahead of its time and PFDJ is deliberately toying with it, and this is ironic given the Muslims in PFDJ have the closet proximity with Arabic than the rest of Muslims, to put it bluntly, I am talking about the Tigre of Semhar
            Hayat, I remember when you snapped at SGJ when he posed the ELL article with a pair of scissors tearing Eritrea and you had your first and last argument with Saleh G and that was on of the reasons of the emergence of ELL and others is the threat to their culture under PFDJ, granted PFDJ is not protecting anyone’s identity and language there are protecting their own identity of tyranny. So to equate Arabic, a language that legally enshrined as an official language in our nascent country is contradictory, but that is fine, you are still love (Sal pau attention, I am using passive voice, is the writer in you cringing;-)) ,only a corpse like you know who can be so conistent following script:-)

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hi sem,

            Good point, and it is true that Rashaidas have never felt the Eritrean identity and their contribution to the birth of our nation if not none extremely negligble. So they don ‘t have sense of Eritrean identity and Eritrean nationalities.

            Regards

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Emma,

            Did you survey the entire Rashaida or it is just your common perceived feeling?

            Maybe you are right, but I cannot make blanket judgement unless I see evidence. But based on my memory, I met a few combatants with the EPLF, who were generally called “Rashaida” by their colleagues. But having lived a secluded nomadic life, and their austere lifestyle that kept them away from other communities, they might not have developed a sense of owning the Eritrean cause as the rest. But like the rest of the Eritrean groups, had the occupiers killed and maimed them, they would certainly have joined in droves.

            In the eighties, I worked at the Jeddah port for sometime. The director of the Jeddah port was a Rashidi from Eritrea, and I had befirended a few of the Rashidis who worked in the port. Maybe it was because of the Rashidi director, but there were considerable of them around. A guy named MesAri used to be a close friend. He missed talking in Tigrayet and he would always be around Eritreans at the port, which was heavily populated by pilots, technicians and salors from Massaw and the Dankalia. I was a bboarding clerk and the tugboat that I traveled in was piloted by Ahmed Denkeli, the two sailors were from Massawa and the cook was from Asseb. The chief technicianof the fleet of about 19 tankers and boats was Ahmed Ragge and the general manager of the shippng company was Ahmed Habona. There were a few Rashaids.

            That was a bonus story but I know that the major human smugglers and traffickers were Rashaida, however, the ringmasters were mainly Tigrinya speakers, mostly associated with the mafia regime. I know that because I spent so much time researching the topic of human trafficking for my book, “Miriam Was Here”. However, many people consider that crime the enterprise of the Rashaida only when the majority of the ring leaders are not Rashaida. The blanket vilification of the Rashaida has some sting of bigotry laced with anti-Arab sentiment in it.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Ahlen SGJ,

            Actually, it becomes a norm to accuse each other of “generalization” in every aspects of debate in this forum. When one speaks in general which means generally speaking, it does mean in an absolute number count. Because there is no such sbsolute number in quantifying the thinking of human beings to categorize them in one mind. When one generalize, it implys the dominant counts of the subject matter. Giving me examples by finger count does not preclude me from talking in general nor will it sound a vilification to the Rashaida or bigotry to them.

            Regards

          • Saleh Johar

            Ahlam Emma,

            I am afraid it does feel that way. Because there are quantifiers that would help you avoid the pitfall: some, a few, ten, one-hundred, ten-thousand, the majority.

            And indeed, it has become a norm to accuse some people of generalization because that is what it is. So, wouldn’t you say quantifiers or disclaimers would help us avid that? You are an advocate of seriousness, and this is out of character argument. It doesn’t sound like you dear Emma.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba abu Salah,

            You are right on the importance of a “qualifier ” to show the limits of your comment or the boundry of your comment.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Emman,

            Generalization is a grave mistake from your excellency who always says: Chibti Alleka (do you have a proof?)

          • blink

            Dear Mr.Amanuel
            How do you reach on such conclusion ? I guess it is because they did not go to sahel or pick the arms as you did , i am guessing !!!

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Emman,

            Did you have any attempt to organize them in cells and collect their shares for ELF or EPLF, and they refused to participate. I think the failure is not of Rashaida, but of our fronts.

            I hope Eritrean opposition should not forget to organize Rashaida to share their part in our struggle to remove the mafia.

            Al-Arabi

          • Saleh Johar

            iSem,

            Believe me I do not remember debating with Hayat on that or any other issues. I generally like Hayat’s cool and composed debating style though I had a few reservations on her views, generally speaking. Just like we all have reservations on each others views.

            Today I am off and I have all the time of the day, tolerate me because I have to get my frustration out on the keyboard, not of anybody else. It’s what my therapist would have told me if I had one: take it all on the damn keyboard and you will feel fine! If I sense I am becoming combative in a few hours, I will take a break and go to the kitchen to break a few other things. I hope my keyboard survives. So, bear with me and please try not to be bored 🙂

          • blink

            Dear Mr. Saleh
            It is not a slip of a tongue but it is their right to say what ever they want .They are calling names because they have a root in the south and the rashiada do not . They are happy to accept any one who came from south to Eritrea as Eritrean but not from yemen or saudi in that case. The good thing is these( calling such card ) are losers . They will lose on dreaming and they will lose on the ground.

          • tes

            Dear Saleh Johar,

            You wrote, “I know it is less than ten years in most of our new homes.” Absolutely right. I am witnessing people who are not spending time to have a citizenship and call themselves “I am …” the time they get nationality forget their new identity and flash hundred years back to claim Eritrean identity. It is shame especially when people who call themselves democrats say it laudly by forgetting what they advocate for.

            I think everyone needs to study Civics now adays before talking about democracy and justice. Saying that, for most, a call justice and democracy is out of the existing defintion of these aspects. I would better consult Hayat Adem in this regard if she is kind enough to give us a lesson on Civics.

            tes

        • Hameed Al-Arabi

          Salam Hayat Adem,

          Arabic is a moving fact on the ground in Eritrea more than English. As far as Geez, tigrayit, and Tigrinia are Arabic, therefore, Arabic is rooted in Eritrea deeply. Secondly, don’t forget everyday we do our prayers five times a day in Arabic language. Moreover, for centuries all our business and documentations were/are in Arabic. Don’t forget Miss/Mrs. Hayat the lowlands of Eritrea were part and parcel of the Islamic nation for centuries, a nation that was ruled by Sharia and her official language was Arabic.

          • Hayat Adem

            Hi again,
            So far as it can be put into good use for any secular and nonsecular purposes, i’m for it. Look: Geez is native. But i wouldn’t advocate for bringing it up as its functionality would be limited. Arabic is not native but using it can benefit a lot.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Hayat Adem,

            You seem to be very constraint in giving your ideas about the issue at hand, and this speaks a lot. How many centuries do you give for a language and peoples to be native? According to your logic Geez has grown on the plateaus of Ethiopia. History has no place in your world; everything to you is rootless. You belong to where you find yourself. If that is the case, why do you relate yourself to Adem as far as Adem and your forefathers are history?

            I think, it has become very difficult for you to swallow what is going on. Come on, Hayat.

          • Hayat Adem

            Selamat Hameed,
            No no no… this geez thing is just about the arguments of nativity. otherwise, I’m saying Arabic should be welcomed not Geez. It is not the length of time but for any language to grow to be native, it has to completely replace (or more accurately, displace) the preexisting native language and effectively take its place. There has never been two native languages that survived side by side in one person. That is what i was trying to say when i said no plurality in nativity. You can talk to me with out being angry…no body is being killed because of my views.
            And yes, you are one of the many my favorite awatistas here.
            Hayat

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Hayat Adem,

            I think it is unfair to curtail human mind in one language and culture. Human mind has a capability to master fluently many languages and cultures, it depends upon the person.

            Words are more powerful than any weapon. Wars begin and end with words, so no lash for ideas.

            Mother-tongue means the language you express yourself with fluently. If you speak French fluently than the language your mother speaks, then French will be your mother-tongue, your first language with which you express yourself fluently without any difficulties.

            Al-Arabi

          • Saleh Johar

            Hello Hayat,

            These days our stars are veering, I will try to force them to steer back to their natural course 🙂

            I don’t know how it is with others, but I am sure that languages pile on top of each other like playing cards. You can always pull any card and replace it with the Ace on top without the rest loosing their value. Let me illustrate.

            My mother tongue is Tigrinya but I cannot say Tigrayet replaced it because I am equally fluent in both. Tigrayet just found a comfortable space beside Tigrinya in me. I speak Arabic and English, and I do not find one replacing or imposing itself to occupy the first place. They both co-exist, peacefully. I cannot say that my Amharic is fluent compared to any of the four I mentioned, but it has found its natural place. On the third tier I have Italian, on the fourth tier, a little French and a little German, they just survive hidden under the blanket. Now I am studying Spanish on line and have reached 14% proficiency which I plan to elevate to 70% or 80% in three or four months (if interested, try dualingo, a free app which I highly recommend as a support resource). The only problem is, when I find an opportunity to practice my French for instance, and I confuse it with French, but that doesn’t happen on the three tiers.

            You may ask, where is your Blin, which you should because it is a Kerenite language, and I should have been fluent in it. But blame it on my peers, the Blin speakers, most of whom do not speak the language. They split their tongue into Tigrinya or Tigrayet when they meet non Blin speakers–God forgive them, they denied me the chance to be fluent in it 🙂

            When I attempt to use my rudimentary Blin, it is mostly what I picked in the countryside during the days of the struggle.

            Now let me what I experienced and observed: no language replaces another, with Arabic, it is the psychological preparedness that counts.

            One more illustration: when I lived in the Arab Gulf, I knew an Eritrean who lived there for twenty years before travelling to Italy and he had learned only basic Arabic words (those that are similar or close to Tigrinya). Whenever criticized for not learning Arabic, he would say, “Kla, Areb ka’a”. However, his attitude towards Italian was different: he spoke excellent Italian in about a year. I believe it’s the psychological preparedness Hayat.

            Another illustration: when Amharic was forced on us as students, most of my peers rejected it. But when it became mandatory, we had to learn it without acknowledging we were doing so. Among friends, we had to make fun of the language a pretend we cant speak the language. It was unpopular to score high grades in Amharci and most of us would even purposely fail in the tests just to boast. High grades in Amharic would invite derision from peers; we boasted of low grades in Amharic. That was the situation then, a form of protest. I think Arabic has become the new Amharic to many Tigrinya speakers:-)

            But remember that those who were in the struggle, before the ligua-franca became Tigrinya, learned Arabic in no time: Isaias is exhibit-one. Those who worked in homes in teh Arab countries, were forced to learn Arabic to make it easy on themselves. Like Eritrean Muslims who had to bridge their communication in Arabic, the workers found Arabic useful to communicate with their co-workers who hailed from every conceivable place in the globe. In addition, those who had it good and were happy, and were flourishing in Arab lands, spoke fluent Arabic. But compared to the majority of Tigrinya speakers, the Filipinos who had no linguistic relations to either Arabic or other Semitic languages spoke better Arabic.

            Dear Hayat, I am sorry for the long comment, debating in soundbites and two liner comments is not cutting it. I hope I din’t bore you 🙂

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Ahlen Saleh,

            In my early days in the ghedli era, I was one of those who oppose adamantly to Arabic language as co-official working language (tigrignas & Arabic) in ELF, until I know that it was the demand of all our Muslim brothers, and came to a point, who am I to decide their desire if they do not want their own ethnic languages. So frankly speaking, I support Arabic as co-official language not because it is an Eritrean language, but because our Eritrean Muslims demanded for it. I believe they had the same argument during the Federation as it is today. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a co-official language in the 50s. Second if keeping Arabic holds the bond between the two religious divide and strengthened the unity of Eritrean diversity there is no justifications to ignore the demand of half of our people. The point I want to make is, respecting “the right of our people” is part of the tents of democracy. Despite the issue of Arabic is intermittently recycling in our debate, it can only be settled in a national conference or in a constitution making process.

            regards
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Emma,

            “But, despite the issue of Arabic is intermittently recycling in our debate, it can only be settled in a national conference or in a constitution making process.”

            As far as Arabic is the demand of your Muslim brothers and you accepted that demand before, why do you call for putting it again into debate in a national conference or in a constitution making process? I think this issue is settled in 1952 constitution. All debates that endeavor to reverse the course of 1952 agreement is just seeking for supremacy. Mr. Amanuel, Isaias was also postponing the issue until he got the opportunity to show us his ugly side. Can you tell me what is the difference between you and Isaias?

          • Nitricc

            Hey Al-Arabi, you are killing me hahahahahahah.
            What constitution are you talking about? in 1952? it is dead and bride. let alone the 1952, the 1997 is dead. Don’t worry, in future Eritrea, there will be a mandatory languages to learn in a class rooms.
            Tigrigna
            Arabic
            Amharic
            English
            you see, it is that easy. let them learn the language and let them use as they may. I can force you to learn it but i can’t force you to use it. please don’t force Arabic upon the people.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Nitricc,

            You uncles are already doing the job for you, but you should conceive that you will reap what they have sown for you. They endeavor to impose Tigrinia same as Ethiopians imposed Amharic, but they left Eritrea without leaving any trace behind them. I don’t force people to learn Arabic, but it is my right to learn and use it in my daily life and the region that I say my home. You can’t impose upon me Tigrinia language and culture by force, it is impossible.

          • Nitricc

            Al Arabi; hahahahah, you are killing man. I will ask you one question and the answer for that question, which you will answer it to yourself shall set you free and will knock some sense on to your senseless argument.
            Q ) Is Eritrea closer to the christian Ethiopia or to the Arabs?

            A ) case close!

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Nitricc,

            All cases for you are closed, true. They told you that everything for you is in a safe haven. I understand my comments do not give you any sense. How it will give you sense and all except you and your uncles are toothless.

            Al-Arabi

          • Nitricc

            Al-Arabi; you are very funny person, lol okay take this, no one is opposing Arabic language in Eritrea but why are you imposing on the people by force? Again, it is not about the Arabic language but the repressive and primitive culture of Arabs that comes with it. what is next, Sheria-law?

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Nitricc,

            If you continue to laugh and have fun with the BEEF, PORK, CAKE, AND BEER in your hands, then Sharia will not be far from the scene.

            Al-Arabi

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Hameed,

            I put my reasoning as you read it in my comment, and as an Eritrean, I expressed my view that both languages to be as co-official working languages for the sake of unity to our religious divide. Second I do not have a “veto power vote” to over ride the will of the Eritrean people. I have a single vote and a single say on the issue and you read it in my articles and comment. It is on record. The funny thing about you is to put me on the same pedstal with despot. Hameed you have a problem that you can not identify your enemy so your fight is against all christians. You have been one issue drive in all your comments (Arabic). Eritrea has multiple of social and political problems. They can not be solved in this forum. You can debate to influence your opponents but not by increminating the whole social group and people who are on the side of your issue. Get real and know your enemy. Look, you are locking your horn with all of us especially with the highlanders, and you are not helping the cause of our Muslim brothers nor to the cause of unity and harmony of our diversity. I always avoid to engage you, only this time to set my record and my position when you distorted it. Good lack with your incriminating project.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Emma,

            I think your position to be clear make it pure of any mines in the future. A controversial issue that settled in 1952 should never be opened again by calling to national conferences or constitutional process unless you wish to pull the country to unrest.

            Mr. Emma, I am just trying to assist you to make your position free of any hidden mines that will hinder our strong unity.

            Al-Arabi

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Haneed,

            I do not need help from you. I know my society practically on the ground. In fact you need help to know your enemy and your friend. You are an antsgonizing person by your nature. So keep your advice to yourself.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Emma,

            You have chosen to continue a person who puts poison in a well cooked “Zignee”. It is your right, but you have to understand the people you thought naive are not so. They were just humble and respective people, therefore, stop your cunning, simply it will not work.

            Al-Arabi

          • Hayat Adem

            The Dearest and honorable SGJ,
            Veering of our stars…no way! Boring me with a long note…never!
            This is, indeed, a great feed. Who can say things with greater authority when it comes to language and culture?! Here, i am so humbled and I must ask for a favor: what is the key secret to being able to learn so many languages? When Eritrea is freed from this beast, (and i hope there will be enough time), you will have to carry a lot of responsibility on your shoulders to pass this enviable passion for languages to our kids and curious adults.
            —————
            I always feel like there has been a concerted agitation against Amharic. the one you mentioned of failing on purpose, one expression. IA never hesitates to speak in English and Arabic. Some one in the know told me his Amharic is not that bad, certainly not weaker than the two. His rejection to use it is purely a political statement of distancing which morphed into force of habit. I’m told, the current Djibouti President speaks very weak Amharic with accent and yet he confidently briefs the Ethiopian media in Amharic. When heads of state use a language of another people even at a broken level, the effort of just trying it earns them so much good will that the people they are trying to address feel the affection and closeness, as opposed to closedness and rejection. That way, messages of solidarity and cooperation can be so effective. I feel like Amharic is so irrationally and foolishly discriminated, and that plays against Eritreans’ and Eritrea’s interests. I don’t remember, English, Italian or Arabic being rejected so much as a mobilizing factor of any sort by any group. In terms of number of speakers, usability and usefulness, In honest comparison, Amharic doesn’t stand more dwarfish.
            —————–
            Like Emma said, the language issue (co-officialism) can be decided with recommendations from academic conferences and symposiums of language and culture scholars, and from there into the constitution. The justification can or should only be demand and utility-based. As you know, my argument has never been against bringing Arabic on board. That part must be clear. It is when some people put it as a matter of identity agenda.
            ———
            technically speaking, I would say that first language or “L1” is the first language you ever learned, probably the language your parents spoke to you. Yours is Tigriyna like mine. Your primary language can be the language in which you feel the most comfortable expressing yourself. This (your primary language) can change throughout your life: if you stop using your primary language in favor of another one, eventually, the new one may become your primary language. Note that a language can be your primary language even if you are not fully (native-like) proficient in it. You may also be equally bi-lingual or tri-lingual with your primary languages. No language should replace or displace another one in that case. For most people they are both the same, (primary and native) and many can’t even fathom how can your primary language be a different one from your first language, which is very easy to explain in cases of emigration.
            ———–
            One thing that never changes is your native language..it is always one and you have heard it first when you come to this world. It is only when majority number of mothers shift from one to another that we may think the native language baseline has shifted enough to become another over time. Now, how many Eritrean new born babies do they hear Arabic language as they arrive under the nursery care of the mothers? I’ll leave it to your verdict, the truth is Arabic is for outside the home: schools, mosques and offices.With all due respect to All-Arabi,he was wrong when he said “Mother-tongue means the language you express yourself with fluently”. You only have one and often the only mother, and so does a mother tongue (native or L1) no matter how many languages you have come to master all your way to your adulthood as you age.
            Hayat

          • Ahmed Idris

            With all due respect to all who hate Arabic language,
            And from long experience on discussions about this topic, no real Eritrean is hating Arabic, All those who have all this hatred are from Tigray or Eritrean but born and bred in Tigray.

        • blink

          Dear Hayat
          Basically immigrants , waww , ok count 6 ethnics in eritrea minus the Kunama and Nara . The others i mean Tigrinja (may be 50% of them are Tegaru plus the jeberti ) , Bilen they just come to eritrea in the 16 century , we can go on and on , The basic argument you and your friends make here is just false and has no basics to hold. The rashaida are equally eritreans as Mr.Saleh, Mr. tes , mr Amanuel ,Isem( candadian more of ethiopian ) , i can go on and on but what does it matter to a person who is hell bent to make a divisive point among the Eritreans.

          Lets make it clear again , in this website or in any place in remote eritrea or city , there is no one more Eritrean than the rashaida .

          • Nitricc

            Hi Blink: I have never agreed with Hayat in anything but what she have said above is something i agree with her. I don’t even know the whole history but by just looking at them; they don’t even display the common phenotype that every other Eritrean ethnics do. So, for you to say ” there is no one more Eritrean than the Rashaida” bull crap. Who are they? what was their contribution during the 30 years struggle for independence? Their contribution is in destroying the Eritrean youth. now you are going to tell me they are more Eritrean than anyone? The only good thing that they are listed as ethnics is, they can represent the Eritrea, if Eritrea decided to join the Arab league, i mean who would send there? None of the Yemanes’ fit there lol. The Arabs call the Africans “monkey” so, Eritrea will better not send one of her monkeys. lol.

            NO; I don’t think Eritrea will ever join the Arab league. it is a good tactic to scare the Ethiopians though. Now, PIA is in Egypt and the Weyane are soiling there punts. Nothing burns them than Eritrea and the Arabs.

          • blink

            Dear Nitricc
            So your reason to support hayat is what ? Rashaida should concur to the idea of going to war with Ethiopia under the umbrella of ELF and EPLF in order to get their Eritreanism .They should not even consider it as a starting point why would they ? Rashaida are equally Eritreans as you and more Eritreans than these who are born anti Eritrea ( lets count them , who were these weldegeba ,who were killing their brothers and looting ) did we need to open the file again ? ) Nitricc you know it well and good who these bloody ,money hungry people are . Rashida are just the middle men of the current human trafficing unless it is you the Tigrinja , Tigre , saho , bilen and so many of you helping them make this horrible crime over the youth. You want to know more lists , lets start by number one (HGDEF manily tigrinja and Tigre ) , weyane mainly Tegaru , i can go on none stop .But lets stop it there .By the way what is the main reason of this picking rashaida ? what is the hidden motive behind.

            Again , Eritrea will never be Eritrea with out every one inside unless you can go with the Agazians claim or may be you can choose more

          • Nitricc

            Hey Blink: you said ”

            “Eritrea will never be Eritrea with out every one inside unless
            you can go with the Agazians claim or may be you can choose more”
            I agree! it is my principal and i stand with idea is every Eritrean should be treated equally and with dignity. However; we should not be afraid to tell the historical truth. Have you ever seen a Reshaida EPLF or ELF fighter? I haven’t! so, for me to ask what their contribution was is not to deny them their identity but to get to the bottom of it. At time we got to call it as is. And Yes, I know who is behind all the human trafficking is but even as middle man; the Rashaidas have caused real pain on Eritrea’s youth. again, let’s not afraid to say it as is.

            But I do agree with you; we need Eritrea that will treat all Eritreans equally and respectfully with their dignity intact.

          • blink

            Dear Nitricc
            As i said participating in the revolution is not and must not be the criteria to be Eritrean, that is my main reason and you should not use it to pick them out of the many. Plus hayat point may be another issue , do not forget she called them immigrants as if she has been in Eritrea for million years or 100 years . Nitricc give me a break , you know why people like hayat say such thing .

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Nitricc,

            Let us not open the panadora-box. All Eritreans didn’t stand on the side of their revolution from day one, that is, on 1st September 1961. Ask your dad, Mr. Nitricc, to tell you honestly what was going on at that period in Eritrea.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Al-Arabi

            “All Eritreans didn’t stand on the side of their revolution from day one, that is, on 1st September 1961”

            The Eritrean resistance against Ethiopian occupation didn’t start in 1961. But let’s leave that to historians. Now:

            Please tell me what is the reason why, we should put the Arabic language as official co-national language?

            Semere Tesfai

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Semere Tesfai,

            Who are you to dismantle our rights or favor them to us? You seem to be very confident about the power your uncles have stolen. Please, conduct as a grown up and responsible person.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Hameed Al-Arabi

            I’m not trying “to dismantle your rights” or favor anything to you. I’m trying to have an honest and intelligent discussion.

            Again, please tell me, why we MUST HAVE Arabic language as official co-national language?

            Semere Tesfai

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Semere Tesfai,

            You have answered your question by “I’m not trying “to dismantle your rights” or favor anything to you”; then, Arabic is one of our rights, do you have any objection to experience our rights?

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Hameed Al-Arabi

            Why is it ONLY your right and not mine?

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Semere Tesfai,

            You have the right to choose any language you like whether it be Arabic, Tigrinia, English, Hindi, or any other language you like. I will not experience upon you my whims. Semere, Stop wasting time of Eritreans who are passing through a difficult time in their history. I think it is better to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Hameed Al-Arabi

            We’re people of one nation destined to live together. And as people of one nation that are destined to live together, we will have an official national language that represent us all.

            And there will be a rational reason why our official national language is our official language. Don’t ask me, it is my right, is not rational reasoning. Because as your fellow citizen, you’re not telling me why it is ONLY your right and not mine. You’re just telling me, I’m not going to be happy if I don’t have it my way.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Semere Tesfai,

            For the majority of Eritreans, it is reasonable and rational to have Arabic and Tigrinia as official languages, why is it irrational and unreasonable for Semere Tesfai and his likes? The reason is understood, they want to impose Tigrinia and their culture upon the people of Eritrea. Of course, this is a failed endeavors that will just elongate sufferance of the Eritrean people. Mr. Semere, you are just wasting a valuable time from the people of Eritrea for an issue that will never materialize on the ground. Remember, the force of your uncles that you are confident about have no power over minds of our people.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Hameed Al-Arabi

            In advance, thank you for your respect and thank you for engaging.

            As you and I engage in this forum, many people are following our discussion attentively. This is political discussion that concern all of us Eritreans with no exception. Please let’s avoid the “us” vs “them” politics. We all are people of one nation destined to live together, prosper together, and grow together.

            If Arabic is going to be Eritrea’s co-national language, it is incumbent on us to have serious discussion in order to forge and shape a common understanding. All of us – those who are for it and those who are against it, have to make our case in a very convincing way for all to see. We can’t avoid each other and be united people, and we can’t be divided people and move foreword.

            Now, I’m asking you to engage me in a constructive way, and make the case for the Arabic language argument.

            You don’t like Tigrigna and all the baggage that comes with it? Fine! I got it! Then why not Tigre? Why not Tigre and Tigrigna? Why not Saho? Why not any other Eritrean ethnic language or combination of languages? What is the rational for Arabic language, to elevate it to an official Eritrean national language?

            Mind you: no body is against Arabic language being taught in state government schools at every level. Nobody is against Arabic language being used in religious schools and institutions. Nobody is against Arabic language being used in business and trading…….

            My question is why make Arabic language Eritrea’s co-national language? Thank you.

            Semere cTesfai

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Semere Tesfai,

            The answer to your question is very simple. We have used Arabic language for centuries; it is part and parcel of us. You, Semere, are also an Arab guy, but you deny your roots, and dream to be Charles Dickens, David Cameron, Theresa May, Ernest Hemingway, Uncle Sam and your very loved guy Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renze. You want to be part of peoples you don’t have any trace of connection with them. You have given for yourself a free ride, at the time you criticize me when I say I am part and parcel of people that connects me with them a lot of live traces.

            Mr. Semere, It is impossible to disconnect Tigrinia from its Arab roots and Arab World. (Abzeysaleteka negar Hirdig Aitibel)

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Hameed Al-Arabi

            1. – “Mr. Semere, It is impossible to disconnect Tigrinia from its Arab roots and Arab World”

            I don’t deny my roots, I dearly value our (Eritrean) relation with with Muslims in our region in general, and our relation with the Arab people in particular. And last but least, I don’t hate the Arabic language. I wish I have an opportunity to learn more of it – so you know.

            2. – “We have used Arabic language for centuries; it is part and parcel of us”

            I don’t deny that. But, “we (Eritrean Muslims) have used Arabic language for centuries” is not a convincing argument to make Arabic language Eritrea’s national language. There are 1.2 billion Muslims who “used Arabic language for centuries” – just like you, who chose Arabic language not to be their national language.

            Therefore, that can’t be the reason – meaning, you’re not being honest.

            3. – “Abzeysaleteka negar Hirdig Aitibel”

            If we’re going to call Eritrea home and live together, we have to talk. But again, I’ll let the readers be the judge.

            Thank you for engaging anyway.

            Semere Tesfai

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Semere Tesfai,

            It is wonderful to claim “Please let’s avoid the “us” vs “them” politics.” Mr. Semere you may beguile a naive person, but you have to perceive well that a rational person could not miss an infant swerves or feigns. Primarily, your uncles have divided us into NINE “THEM”, and lastly into Tigrinia on one side and the rest on the other side.

            Frankly, before I was “US” Eritreans, but now I am “US” and “THEM” until your uncles stop to exist in the Eritrean scene and all of us become equal citizens with equal rights. How do you want me to utter “US” while the government in Eritrea from “Biyantoni” to “Military General” are from the Tigrinia tribe. Please, don’t tell me about the “Meqamemi”.

            All more than one billion Muslims love Arabic language, because it is their Nobel Quran and their Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him” language. They recite Nobel Quran as it was revealed to Prophet Mohammed in their prayers.

            Some Muslims didn’t not get an opportunity to learn Arabic language in the past in their countries, but today there are many centers and schools that teach Arabic language. Moreover, many Muslim countries introduced Arabic language in their educational curriculum, such as Malaysia. Even in the West nowadays, you get many centers and schools that teach Arabic language.

            Mr. Semere, really your mind is jammed up with situations that existed during colonization era. You are speaking about unhealthy time that Muslims passed through in past century. The Muslim World suffer from consequences of colonization up-to now.

            To compare Eritrea with those far Muslim countries is a grave mistake. How do you compare a people from the region with peoples very far from the region? By the way, are you sane?

            Al-Arabi

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Hameed Al-Arabi

            All I asked you is:

            WHAT IS THE RATIONAL FOR MAKING ARABIC ERITREA’S NATIONAL LANGUAGE?

            And instead of making a rational and persuasive argument as to why Arabic MUST be our co-national language, you are giving a list of PFDJ ሓጥያት

            Ok, ok, ok…. let’s say all the PFDJ ሓጥያት (sins) are cleansed. My “uncles are stopped to exist in the Eritrean scene” (whatever that means), we Eritreans have “become equal citizens with equal rights”, the air is clean for the first time in decades, the birds are singing, the church bells are ringing, the MuEzin is calling for prayer, people are singing Kumbaya allover the nation…. Now:

            WOULD ARABIC STILL BE ERITREA’S NATIONAL LANGUAGE? Why?

            Again, Again, Again, I’m not against Arabic language being taught in state government schools at every level. I’m not against Arabic language being used in religious schools and religious institutions. I’m not against Arabic language being used in business and trading, I’m not against Eritreans speaking Arabic anywhere in Eritrea……

            Semere Tesfai

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Semere Tesfai,

            As far as you accepted Arabic language in all walks of our life, why do you oppose it to be a national language? It is not good to contradict yourself, Mr. Semere.

            I think no one is importing Arabic language to the Eritrean scene. It is already there for centuries and will remain so in the future. Believe me, your calls to oust Arabic language is a failed effort, facts on ground do not back all your arguments. You are swimming against the stream and you will drown at the end of the day.

            When your uncles are eradicated from the Eritrean scene, then you will certainly have a different position, and your language and understanding will be changed.

            Eritrea is a country with two religions; therefore, we have to accept each other rights if we want to co-exist in stable and prosperous country. Endeavors to prescribe your whims upon citizens will bring more devastation to Eritrea. I think, you have a live example, the failed policies of your uncles to discern, if you have any good glasses to see properly.

            Al-Arabi

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Hameed Al-Arabi

            “Eritrea is a country with two religions”

            What does faith got to do with politics and national language?

            Shouldn’t separating religion and politics (state) be job one? Do you believe we should mix faith and politics? Do you believe having Islamic political parties and Christian political parties in post PFDJ Eritrea is the way foreword?

            The Arabic language is not a national language in Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Indonesia…….. The Berbers of North Africa and the Kurdish people of Iraq rejected the Arabic language as their national language… Are they all wrong? Why?

            What is special with Eritrean Muslims?

            Semere Tesfai

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Semere Tesfai,

            Yesterday, I answered this question. Please, search and read it.

            Al-Arabi

          • iSem

            Semere T:
            Because the founders of the nation said so. I am not sure why you have problem with that because according to your logic since PFDJ brought independence and they know the intricacies of our ghedli and cus they are from the majority Tig, they should rule us, although to your credit you want freedom, so with the same vain since the ppl who founded the country, who framed the last const. said Arabic is an official language. Abotatnna zbelliwo meriet aywediqqin eyu
            But more compelling reason is the 50% Muslims from different ethic groups will warm their hearts to it and instead of teaching them in their mother tognue, which is not written and so the kids fall behind.
            Example in Sawa shcool some ethnic groups who do not speak Arabic and or Tig take oral exam for certain examinations, if they were thought Arabic at an early age, they would not do that/That is a big problem.
            I am sure you are smart enough to understand why Arabic can solve many of Eritreas problems

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam iSem

            Again, Again, Again, I’m not against Arabic language being taught in state government schools at every level. I’m not against Arabic language being used in religious schools and religious institutions, I’m not against Arabic language being used in business and trading, I’m not against Eritreans speaking Arabic anywhere in the country………..

            I”M JUST ASKING WHY MAKE ARABIC ERITREA’S NATIONAL LANGUAGE?

            Stop you Abotatna nonsese ……

            Abotatka also said ኣስላማይ ተዝነግስ………

            Semere Tesfai

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Semere Tesfai,

            Who are you to give permits to Eritreans? You have to understand very well that when we discuss the issue we do it just to give you a digest of Eritrean history. We intend to assist you make a shift from your village and your village people mentality to entire Eritrea. Arabic was/is there for centuries; therefore, it doesn’t require a permit paper from you and your likes.

          • Nitricc

            Hey Arabi; I did and i was told, despite my uncles having it good; back then, they couldn’t sit back and watch their Muslim brothers getting massacred by the Ethiopians. so, they joined and fought to the end. you see, my uncles are not that bad. so, yes my uncles told me that you started it and my uncles finished it. do you get that lol

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Nitricc,

            This is not the whole picture, this is just one part of the big picture. Let your uncles bring you the missing parts of the picture. Tell them history doesn’t take side and will never be merciful with anyone.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Nitricc,

            You really are aba Treg! Now that you declared citizenship is tied to participating in the struggle, and the Rashidis are out, and you haven’t participated, what does that make you? Would you piggyback on your tribe, region, or religion and by extension consider yourself as a bona fide contributor to the struggle?

            But there is a snug: if your participation is through one of your identities (by extension0, then you are on record as being totally militant against any “sub-national” allegiance. So, strike that out.

            If you would remain true to your conviction and voluntarily discard your Eritrean citizenship, because you didn’t participate in the struggle, Eritrea will be left with a few thousands of veterans. Millions will be, maybe, deported and the population of Eritrea would drop to a few thousand souls. Strike out that one too.

            If you are as fair as you always claim to be, what would you say to the 80% or so Rashadis (and other youngsters) who came of age after independence and they have nothing to answer to since they were too young or not born yet, to participate in the struggle? You might say you against justice and fairness, but you will never say that, I hope. Strike out that one too.

            Now for your arguments: do you believe in individual liberty and accountability or the pluralistic “Nsom-NHna” ? And I know (I hope it still holds true) you do not believe an individual should be judged as a group when he is consciously responsible for his own mistakes only. So, strike that out as well.

            WHAT WAS YOUR ARGUMENT?

          • Nitricc

            Hey SJ; you said “Now that you declared citizenship is tied to participating in the struggle, and the Rashidis are out, and you haven’t participated, what does that make you?

            Oh well, how can I be hold responsible where I wasn’t even around? I don’t know what that makes me but I will assume it obligates me to shoulder the responsibility of the well being of the country and the people’s future. Responsibilities and obligations vary from generation to generation. What was obligation back then it may not be today and what is today it may not be tomorrow. That is why I am very critical to likes of Semere Andom. They abandoned their generational responsibilities and obligations but now they have no shame to open their big mouth in trashing
            the braves who answered the call of the day. So, my thinking is in line with what I have said about Rashida. The Rashaidans didn’t fulfilled their obligation and responsibilities during the bloody years of struggle i.e. it should be known and addressed as such. I am not saying they should be
            discriminated or treated differently; all I am saying is let’s not deny the fact and let’s not be afraid to tell it as is.

            “If you are as fair as you always claim to be, what would you say to the 80% or so Rashadis (and other youngsters) who came of age after independence and they have nothing to answer to since they were too young or not born yet, to participate in the struggle? You might say you against justice and fairness, but you will never say that, I hope. Strike out that one too.”

            Not So fast SJ; I just explained above because I am one of them. But since we are talking about history and the contributions of ethnics during the struggle; what is wrong with stating the facts? If Eritrea is going to be something viable; then the majority must be careful, mindful and respectful of the minority.

            Hey SJ I will continue…with the rest; got to bounce.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Nitricc,

            I think Mr. Semere Tesfai is your dad. Anyhow, I advise you to look after things that benefits you in your future. It is better to leave the panadora -box closed, If we open it, we will discuss about people who sell Eritrean to Haile Selasse and we will pass through the practices of “Commandos” who were trained by Israel.

            Al-Arabi

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Nitricc,

            You are cheating but I am alert 🙂
            Not so fast? You make it sound as if I just posted my comment challenging you to think. The “not so fast” is your trick as if I just asked you, in a haste. No Nitricc, I asked that yesterday and you were responding to it today. The reader would think it was a follow up question after you replied the first part. No Nitricc. The two questions were posed yesterday.

            1. Your replies are okay with me except they invoke additional questions/challenges: can you describe the role of every Eritrean group in relation to what you are trashing the Rashidis for?

            2. You claim you are fair and you cannot judge one minority group and absolve the other groups, can you? But there is a snug: could you tell us that you have the basic knowledge of the history and culture of all Eritrean groups, so that your judgement could be considered objective?

            You know, you can’t judge people on scanty knowledge that is haphazardly acquired. It is a serious topic and requires serious challenges.

          • Nitricc

            Hey SJ I will go all the way with this one but when i say not so fast, is to your take saying……

            “If you are as fair as you always claim to be, what would you say to the 80% or so Rashadis (and other youngsters) who came of age after independence and they have nothing to answer to since they were too young or not born yet, to participate in the struggle? You might say you against justice and fairness, but you will never say that, I hope. Strike out that one too.”

            so i was responding to the last word ” Strike out that one too”. and i said no so fast.
            but I will respond to you tomorrow and i intend to all out on this one. Get ready 🙂

          • Hayat Adem

            hi blink,
            you are unnecessarily harsh on the other groups in unnecessarily defending the Rashaida group. Of course they are Eritrean like anyone else. But the fact that they are cross-sea immigrants is undeniable. And they came with their language and identity. Immigrants specially those truly minorities tend to integrate themselves by adopting the culture and language of the land. Few, like the Jew were able to impose their culture and language on arrival. But that is a point aside. That is only from the point of arguing Arabic as nativity to any group in Eritrea. No need to extend this to the point of claiming about making them more or less Eritrean. I was just hinting Arabic is not a home grown language. I am not also against bringing Arabic as a functioning language to official use but on other justifications. But on nativity, identity and cultural justifications, Arabic can’t stand closer compared to the other Eritrean local, native languages.

      • abysinay

        my friend there is no arabic in the history of eritrean,but were arabs,turks and egyptian around massawa for some time and were gone for good.don’t try to impose arabic to this land.

  • Amde

    Selam Ahmeddin,

    For what it’s worth I think retaining historic regions as basis for federal units, and then addressing other issues (i.e. minority rights etc) is generally the way to go. Other than that I like what you have here.

    There is however an element that Saay alluded to in one of his many responses with respect to federalism. I understood it as economic inequality between the units, and between the center and periphery. I wonder how much of a distortion of the federalism this causes, so that however well meaning and well thought out the arrangement, over time power accrues to the part that has economic leverage.

    For example, in Ethiopia it is estimated that the most organized federal units can (States) can only meet 30% of their costs from internal resources. The Federal level has additional revenue sources such as additional taxation, loans/grants/aid and frankly also printing money.

    Economies heavily dependent on extractive activity seem to run into this problem quite a bit i think.

    How could a USE envisioned here address that?

    Amde

    • Hayat Adem

      Dear Amde, and all:
      On the one hand we entertain federalism and decentralization. the first is for representation and shared power, the 2nd is for efficiency and distributed power. on the other hand, there is an alternative to that: unitarianism and state consolidation. the first is for centralization, while the 2nd is for continuity. i would customize my value-system taking the best from each: representation, efficiency, consolidation. however, each of the systems we have, has difficulty to adjust themselves with new sensibilities. any attempt to change always comes as a shock for the systems. change is an unavoidable condition of life. there must be a way of incorporating changes effortlessly and shock-free to the systems. So, my ideal recipe would be around these values: representation, efficiency, continuity and change. Give me any system that carries all these, (or nearly close enough) and I’ll commit a permanently locked marriage.
      Hayat

      • Amde

        Selam Hayat,

        Great input as usual.

        I think we are living in a kind of unique period in time, where change – rapid change – is forced on us the people of the south, as opposed to being driven by internal concerns. The fact that the student movement of the 60s felt the changes wrought by the HaileSellasie regime was not happening fast enough made some things worse – primarily by accepting a dogmatic view about the absolute necessity of revolutionary (rather than evolutionary) change and the attendant political culture of vanguardist politics. In any case, we have to accept that the kinds of and pace of change are pretty much imposed on us.

        So from that perspective one could argue that the overriding point of legitimacy of the regimes we have seen so far have been their insistence on the being the most efficient stewards of necessary change. To use your values, representation and continuity are sacrifice for efficient change. This is really the main theme of the executive’s centralization trends – whether the Emperor and his cabinet, the Derg and WPE politburo, the EPRDF under the PM’s Office, or the President’s office in the PFDJ’s Eritrea. Other “branches” of government are somewhat ignored or made effectively toothless.

        It is almost like this force of external driven change has to be formally acknowledged and institutionalized. I hope you understand what I mean.

        Amde

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Hi Amde,

          What did the evolutionary social movement of the feudal era contribute to the social justice of Ethiopian people? One thing I could agree with you is, once you set the nature of the system that brings justice and equitable sharing for the Ethiopian social groups, you must allow the incremental changes. Because it takes time to understand the social change set in motion for the general public. To educate and make the public the drivers for change really demand years of orientation.

          Second, do not forget the elites are the engineering class of social change. And if the elites of the various social groups did not get a fair and equitable power sharing, it is easy for them to divide societies based on the interest of their own social groups.This is fact in Ethiopia as well as in Eritrea.

          Third, there is no smoth change without shock in any socio-economic and socio -political change, because of the resistance from the custodian regime of the statesque. So I agree with Hayat, that if you set Federalism and decentralization based on fair representation (power distribution) and fair economic distribution that brings effeciency and consolidation of the state, Ethiopia will be move in the right direction.

          Regards
          Amanuel Hidrat

          • Amde

            Selam Amanuel,

            “What did the evolutionary social movement of the feudal era contribute to the social justice of Ethiopian people?”

            You must be joking right?

            HaileSellasie’s era saw the ending of slavery, opening of schools accessible to commoners (vehemently resisted by the aristocracy and the church). a constitution, a parliament (with much freer standards of elective competition than anything we have yet to see since), erosion of the arbitrary power of regional princes and the institution of administration by a modern bureaucracy, a judicial system with a penal code. If you were a child of some promise and you were lucky enough to be noticed by Haile Sellasie, the sky was the limit to how far you can go.

            The Derg accomplished by revolutionary means the one big thing that had eluded him for years – land reform via evolutionary means. Again, he could not shake the power of the feudal lords.

            “One thing I could agree with you is, once you set the nature of the system that brings justice and equitable sharing for the Ethiopian social groups, you must allow the incremental changes. Because it takes time to understand the social change set in motion for the general public. To educate and to make the public the drivers for change really demand years of orientation…… ”

            I think you are basically saying the pre-EPRDF era was terrible and deserved to be torched. The EPRDF era is bursting full of marvels that the public is too dense to appreciate even after “…years of orientation…” (in this case 25), but we still need to go slow.

            Whatever system there is in Ethiopia, it is not a federation as we know it. It is elite competition completely closed from the public within a faction riven organization called EPRDF. The real system exists outside the constitution and the offices it supposedly creates. The rest of it – the parliament, the multiple parties, the “free press”, etc – is mostly for ferenji consumption.

            Amde

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Amde,

            Your argument sounds that the “Feudal Haileselassie” has done better for Ethiopia in his over forty years rule than the EPRDF in their 25 years of administration. I have seen Ethiopia in the 60s and 70s as a student and as a civil servant in one of their ministry. And I saw modern Ethiopia under the current administration. There is a stark difference between the two without going to details. There is nothing to compare between the modern state of Ethiopia and the feudal state of Ethiopia.

            Second, I don’t think the land reformation during the Derg era was an evolutionary, rather it was a revolutionary. As a foreign observer who has seen Ethiopia, the current development in Ethiopia is impressive. What I saw to be problematic is: (a) the election and the election laws. EPRDF should reform the election laws to have a free election where the oppositions could compete freely on a plain field with EPRDF and let the people of Ethiopia to decide who to govern the state of Ethiopia (b) corruption as shown in link-d. In my view there is no problem with the constitution and the formation of the states, if the ruling party, the opposition parties, and the Ethiopian people respect and enforce their constitutions. Let me add a link which I believe you are aware about it, and if this is not impressive, then show us something that excel the current development from the Haileselassie & derg era. Amde the world is talking about the development in Ethiopia. Few examples are linked below.

            (a) http://www.afdb.org/en/countries/east-africa/ethiopia/ethiopia-economic-outlook/

            (b) https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/economic-development-the-good-news-from-ethiopia-and-what-might-make-it-even-better

            (c) http://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/august-2015/ethiopia%E2%80%99s-development-
            mostly-people-driven
            (d) http://www.heritage.org/index/country/ethiopia
            (e) https://www.usaid.gov/ethiopia/economic-growth-and-trade

            Regards
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Amde

            Selam Amanuel,

            I was reacting to your comment that there was no progress during the Feudal era. Sometimes it is good to know where we came from. I know you were a partisan who chose to see the bad and take up arms, but I wonder what the impression of people who were a generation older than you and what changes THEY witnessed.

            And I did say specifically say evolutionary land reform was something that eluded Haile Sellasie, only to be resolved through the Derg’s revolutionary reform.

            I have never denied impressive economic grow under EPRDF. They have demonstrated impressive capability to design, fund and implement huge programs that help not just the economy in the general abstract, but specifically the poor and economically marginalized as well. I have said a number of times that my wish is to see an EPRDF reconstituted into something like the Brazilian Workers Party, with the added humility of facing the people’s judgement in free elections.

            Where we differ I think is that you believe the current state of emergency is a bug in an otherwise good system, while I believe it is in fact a logical result of the nature of EPRDF. What passes for LEGAL politics is factional infighting within EPRDF and its privileged members. If it wasn’t for the pesky requirement to please the muzungus, I am convinced the “constitution” would have identified EPRDF as the ONLY legal party. A few years ago, after EPRDF succeeded in eliminating all but one oppositionist from parliamentary seats, government media started referring to EPRDF as the አውራ (a word that could be translated as Prime or Hegemon) party. There is a reason why ex TPLF generals are publicly calling

    • Dear Amde,

      Please, do not take it that I am writing this to oppose your point of view, because yours is the type of federalism I would have liked to see in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, what our elites from all ethnic groups really want is what we are forced to take into consideration, at least for the time being.
      Let us say that federalism has two sides to it, the people and the land or ethnic groups (social groups) and geography. For a big and more or less diverse and non-confrontational society like the U.S.A., India, Germany, and others, geography is the main point of discussion, contention, whatever, and ethnicity, language, culture, etc, do not play a major role to put the foundation of their countries in a precarious situation . On the contrary, in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation like ethiopia and eritrea, it is ethnicity and tribal-cultural etc affiliation that is the main political issue, and the land (geography) plays a less important role. In addition, for good or for worse these ethnic groups are concentrated in certain areas, which they call their own, more or less accepted by others. They stress that they have a different language, culture, tradition from those next to them or far away. Moreover, since the day Leninism taught us in the 1960s and 1970s the so called “self-determination and up to secession”, the trend in ethiopia has been that of ethnic liberation forces mushrooming all over ethiopia, thus creating a dangerous centrifugal force. Even today the ambiguous language of oromo elites, and of course that of olf, is due to the above philosophy of self-determination and up to….., marinated with other topics, but not really unique only to them, for all ethnic groups lived and continue to live under the same shadow of oppression.
      I think that in any federation the economy will always be the problem. One of the things we hear from oromo elites is that the oromo federal state contributes 60% to the ethiopian nation’s economy and it is the majority ethnic group, therefore, why should it share with others and why shouldn’t it be independent. They do not care about the impact of such a move on others and on the oromo people as well. An Oromo intellectual was saying that the odds are so many and they have been forced to accept the Latin alphabet, and they are writing four full pages something they could have written in one single page if the used the Geez alphabet. For the sake of diversity and because of hatred some Oromo elites have ended being anti-educational.
      Although the best and the most trouble-free scenario would have been regional federalism (e.g. the former provinces with a decentralized federal government), unfortunately for some it is an anathema and they would reject it even as an agenda for discussion.
      Therefore, the above arrangement for eritrea does not seem that it will have acceptance by everybody, because social groups are amalgamated into one whole, which in my opinion will not be able to solve the grievances, fears, mistrusts, etc of the minorities. Who owns central and regional power, who controls the economy, if minority languages and their cultures will be saved and developed, will continue to be the big question. The genie of ethnicity and tribalism is out of the bottle, and how to appease it and return it to the bottle is a million dollar question.

      • Amde

        Selam Horizon,

        One of the phrases that make me cringe is “ethnic elite”.

        What does that mean really? If you are a small community, I can see how it would make sense to have a recognizable somewhat coherent group that can be termed an ethnic elite. But once you hit a certain population or geographic spread, it becomes meaningless.

        Who are the Amara elite that supposedly speaks for ALL Amara and have the demonstrated following of ALL (or even most) Amara? And the same exact thing can be said about the Oromo. The fact is, however it might appear, scratch the surface and the true organizing principle for most sedentary people is who you share the land with (Geography/Space), and for most nomadic people it is who you spend your time with (Clan).

        Why are these two the largest groups? There is no data that shows Amaras or Oromos are especially – shall we say – fertile, nor do they live in areas that are healthier than others. Most of today’s Amara or Oromo do not descend from an original stock of people. Basically, both of these languages and cultures encompass within them a lot of assimilation and cultural genocide of prior existing diverse peoples and cultures. And that underlying history is also one of the drivers for the inability to demonstrate that there really is a coherent unifying identity.

        It is fashionable nowadays to see everything in terms of ethnicity but it seems an intellectual pastime for elites that cannot figure out ways to deliver the goods for “their” people.

        We probably are on the cusp of something centered around the Oromo, but I bet it is just going to end up being a lot of unsatisfying fizz. I don’t know if you read the latest, but apparently Dr Mererra Gudina was arrested today when he came back from his trip abroad (I am assuming the US). The Command Post decided he was a terrorist. Now – this is a guy who has led for 25 years now a peaceful political party. But guess who is the harshest on him? Yes – OPDO of course – with their cadres openly calling him on-line a dog, a half-breed, a chauvinist, a nefTenya, an idiot, a buffoon. I fear for his safety. But the depth of their insults are instructive of the fear and loathing they have of him and his party. And basically, his party is centered on the Oromo speakers occupying the Western Ethiopian Mountains (Shewa, Wellega), vs the traditional OPDO stronghold centered around Arsi (Eastern Mountains).

        I am convinced things will devolve to some kind of regional units, at least for the larger demographic groups. It is just a matter of how much blood flows before sanity kicks in.

        Amde

        • saay7

          Hi Amde:

          I actually learn something from every single thing you post. Enamesegnalen

          On this:

          “The fact is, however it might appear, scratch the surface and the true organizing principle for most sedentary people is who you share the land with (Geography/Space), and for most nomadic people it is who you spend your time with (Clan).”

          I was going to add it to Amde-isms but:

          1. It doesn’t rhyme like a proverb should
          2. It’s only half right. Pastoralists just like agrarians are also focused on land. Just use of land differs; but it’s the same fights over use.

          On Merrera Gudina: thinks are real bad when the EPRDF starts arresting (from Bole Airport) the professor who converted them from wide eyed guerrillas to statesmen at AAU. He was the last oppo standing. His crime was having contact with a terrorist which the emergency proclamation forbids and he was pictured (gasp) with Professor Gnbot Seven.

          Anyway, ur postings are persuasively pessimistic. And Eyob is too busy to spin us and tell us everything will be fine, Abi is at the Davi mill and his fantiness is oh so very busy.

          saay

          • Amde

            Selam Saay,

            You thrown down a challenge (pronounced “sha-llanzh” a la French) early in the morning for a rhyming Amde-ism and so here is one…

            ye arash zemedu abro arashu
            ye zelan zemedu abro teguazhu

            Thank you – soy en fuego.

            ” It’s only half right. Pastoralists just like agrarians are also focused on land. Just use of land differs; but it’s the same fights over use for grazing and water.”

            I think I meant to say the organizing principle through which the fights are organized. Yes land is probably the core of most disputes, but the dispute resolution process (i.e. war or politics) involves organizing along the bonds of sharing space for the sedentary, and sharing time for the nomadic.

            On Dr. Merera, it is hard to tell if this is a case of the Command Post hardline position, or a case of a newly emboldened OPDO on the national stage using its newly gained leverage to snuff out its ethnic competitors. Sorry to sound pessimistic, but a year ago it was just some rural kids rioting in towns across Shewa and Wellega. And there was not a peep about farmer militias having shootouts with the Federal Army. And now a year later, I cannot distinguish some of the rhetoric coming from the government side from the Derg era propaganda.

            Amde

          • Dis Donc

            Dear Amde,

            Let me break my silence for a bit…

            I have no idea what you meant by “soy en fuego”; but I imagine that you wanted to say “you are on fire.” If that is the case then it should be “estoy ardiendo,” or “yo ardo.” What you wrote is incorrect and the grammar does not exist. Even when you replace soy by estoy; it literally mean that you are burning. Just a side note!!!

          • Amde

            Selam DisDonc,

            I was outed as a fake haha.

            I meant to say “I am on fire.”

            Thank you for the correction.

            Amde

        • Dear Amde,

          The special group of people in each ethnic (social) group, those who consider themselves the most intelligent and sophisticated and believe that they deserve to be rulers, the negatively thinking and functioning group of people, who have in mind their personal interests and not the common interest of the people they say they represent, was in my mind, when I talked of “ethnic elites”. Elitist politics in third world countries has always been hegemonic and personal economic interests oriented, while that of the ordinary people is the politics of peaceful coexistence and prospering together with others. Elites empower themselves and very rarely the people. They all say that they are torchbearers of democracy, equality, good governance, etc, and nothing could be far from the truth, for they end up being the owners of political and economic power. We have even a LF which calls itself a party, ethnicity-dependent political parties that are run by elites from different ethnic groups have mushroomed of course, encouraged by the incumbent government and others. The ordinary people pay the price, the cunning elites reap the fruits. Because ethnic politics has always been the politics of the land, ethiopian political elites are therefore ethnicity oriented.

          Fortunately the amhara and the people of tigray were never the beneficiaries of the elitist system that ruled and rules in their names. They are equal with other ethiopians in the degree of their poverty, oppression etc. That is the reason in the last uprising the confrontation was with the ruling eprdf/tplf elites and not with the ordinary people of tigray.

          Therefore, not appreciating the existence of conflict of interest among ethnic elite groups in ethiopia, for which liberation wars were fought and continues even today, and not seeing it as the cause of uprisings and instability, is a grave mistake. Of course, as I tried to show above, I do not put all the elites in one basket. When I speak of elites I always mean those who negatively affect the social group and the country. In case of the oromo ethnic group elites, I am referring to those who want the ashes of ethiopia to build oromia, and in the case of tplf, those who say tplf/woyane is tigray and tigray is tplf/woyane, very dangerous anti-peace concepts. This is the talk of the negative minded elites that are found in all ethnic groups.

          If opdo has morphed itself in the image of those who rule from the center and functions irrationally, forgetful of the periphery, where the majority of oromos live, then it will lose the hearts and minds of the 35m oromos.

          The anti-terrorism, anti-ngo laws and the new so-called command post are the albatross around the neck of tplf/woyane government, that make even its own supporters to lose faith in the government. They should be ashamed when they label an opposition party leader a terrorist. The work of an opposition party leader is to criticize the actions of the government and not to worship it. Action counts more than any thing.

          Ethnic politics was and will always be there until ethiopian elites from all ethnic groups understand that above and beyond their narrow ethnic identity, there is their common ethiopian identity. I hope ethiopians will do their best to avoid bloodshed. They should not only think of internal enemies, who hate the very essence of a united ethiopia, but also those foreign enemies who are waiting to feast on her demise.

          If you like history, here is one by an oromo intellectual, if you have not seen it, and if you have the time.
          http://www.ethiomedia.com/1000codes/7937.html

          • Amde

            Selam Horizon,

            I had seen the link before it was removed. On Professor Fikre Tolosa’s work, I have to confess it sounds to me something that will have more value in other interpretive ways than as factual information. But I do believe most Oromo and Amharic speakers today have always been residents of the region with a common genetic stock, albeit speaking different languages. I don’t buy the coming from Yemen and Madagascar stuff. Certainly a LOT of internal migration due to wars or to make livelihoods. Luckily, we are probably within 20 years or less of having a pretty well detailed genetic picture to tell us who begat who. We probably will find something else to fight about though haha.

            Amde

  • unedited11

    Seriously people. Dont you get tired of speaking into an echo chamber of useless old voices with useless and unrealistic ideas. From people with irrelevant skills and experience?

  • Thomas

    Hi Ahmeddin Osman,

    When I for the first time brought the idea of Eritrea with many provinces administrated the old way, some people here fiercely reacted and seem not like the idea. Yes, let’s go for the United States of Eritrea/USE:) You have gone many steps to even show them how they should be administrated. Imagine, they will try to read between the lines of your article. Let’s start by making easy for everyone and get back to the old way of administrating states/provinces (8-10 awrajas). This has worked for decades before the mafias/guerrillas screwed with it.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Hi Thomas,

      The old administrative units (provinces) could not only work perfectly, but also are our geographic identities for generations. Devolving some powers (administrative and representing powers) from the center to the periphery, as a political and administrative philosophy of “decentralized unitary governance” will certainly build trust and bring peace and stabilities to our people. But the highlanders are for “centralized unitary governance” in order to maintain the power house in their grip. I have written and argued for decentralized unitary government with the old administrative units, and will continue to do so.

      regards
      Amanuel Hidrat

      • Thomas

        Dear Amma,

        That is what I like about you, you are always firm in your standing. You are always on the top in analyzing and seeing things realistically. Please keep it up!! If the provinces/states way of administrating the nation was bad, it would not have worked for decades. As a matter of fact, our parents have enjoyed and enriched their culture during that era. That is the whole nature of Eritreanism, administrating and keeping our culture intact!!

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Dear Thomas,

          The Eritrean people does not need new social engineering. By that I mean: we do not need redistricting new administrative units of the current regions by the current government nor the redistricting administrative units by the author of this article. We have an established geographic identity used for administrative purpose that served us for generations harmonously.

          Regards

          • Thomas

            Hi Amma,

            I agree 100%. Let’s bring back the pride the identity of our people. Like you said it was for a very strong reasons it was set up that way. Each province/state geographic location has to do with the population of that region, economy, designed local law which intern follows challenges/cohorts the nations, rich culture, respect among the societies among each provinces and united as a country. In general, all the ingredients are within provinces in the country we had and we will have.

          • blink

            Dear Mr.Amanuel .
            which established identity do you have before ? You have zero evidence of such harmony , You people just want create this false idea of harmony , You can not have it both ways , either admit you made a mistake about rashaida or you have to pull your established view of this harmony.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hi Blink,

            I do not know about you, but let me tell the layers of my geographical identity. The first layer of my geographic identity is my “village ” a small unit of community in a prescribed geograhic boundries. The second layer is the “district” I grew up – groups of villages with specific geopraphic boundries that are bound by specific cultural and other common values. The third layer is the “province ” that comprise several districts administeted together using customary laws and national laws. The fourth layer is the “country ” the ultimate common national identity that identify us from other countries within the international communities. So these are the established geographic identities the Eritrean people respect and adhere to them unless one want to make social engineering as lssayas and his colleagues did it by impostion.

            Second, I did not say that the Rashaidas are not Eritreans. What I say is the Rashaidas have not the Feeling of Eritrean identity abd nationalism the same as the other social groups. I think SG gave us the reason which could be the fact – and that is their secluded nomadic way of life. If a social group has a secluded of life they could have a common aspirations such “national independence” with the rest of the Eritrean social groups .

        • Nitricc

          Thomas nice wishful thinking! It okay you can dream and fantasize, after all it is your right and
          you are free to dream. However; let me save you future heart breaks and disappointments. Anything can change and subject to change in future Eritrea but there are three things will never change.

          1) National military service will never cease to exist.

          2) Eritrea will never go back to the divisive and backward regionalism; The Hamasisen, Seraye etc names are gone for good, never to comeback.

          3) Eritrea will never be Aid dependent. Never! I mean, NEVER!

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Nitricc,

            Life is based on give and take. Today we will take, tomorrow we will give. This comprises entire aspect of life. Today you import technology, tomorrow you will become innovator of new technology and export it(The bad news is people who suffer from complexities will never be innovators. Creativeness requests free minds). To isolate ourselves from the world community denotes insanity, imbecility.

            Everything in life is subject to change; specially, when it comes from low profile entities. What your uncles imposed upon Eritreans is not the Holy Bible Scripts; therefore it is subject to change.

      • des

        Dear Ama,

        I would like to know:

        When did the name and divisions of Sereya, Akeleguza and Hamasssen have started?

        Who introduced it?

        What was the purpose of it?

        Is this the best administration you can think of?

        Why is it so important to have regional feeling?

        How does this help in forming a cohesive society? People to go work anywhere and become part and parcel of the region they don’t belong? How does this affect the regions integration in cross regional mix e.g. marriage?

        How will this affect the economic and political landscape?

  • Josef the Great

    hello all,
    I can someone please tell me how many Eritrean’s native language is arabic? Outside the Rashida who make up about .48% of eritrean population?
    my not a Singaporean model? All this ethnic federalism what are you going to do with 70,000 bilens?
    The new generation don’t care much about this noise..
    This is non sense from Gedhli generation dinosaur full of frustration and boredom.. I can’t wait for the day when Gedhli generation pass on… I think then we will be truly independent from feudal mentality…
    The generation that created the problems can’t solve the problem..

    • Robel Cali

      HI Josef

      The Arabic fetish by a minority of Gedhli era people is not coming from a sincere place. Their real motive is to Arabize and Islamify Eritrea. Let’s call Arabic for what it is: It’s a foreign language of the mosque that is useless outside of the Arab world. In a global economy in which even Arabic-speaking countries are learning English to compete, we have Gedhli era men telling us Eritrea should make Arabic the national language as if the big elephant in the room, English, doesn’t exist.

      If they said English should be the national language, I would say that’s fair and reasonable based on economic benefits that will bring to the country. But to say Arabic, it’s just absurd beyond belief. No thank you. Eritrea will make Arabic the national language if Saudi Arabia makes Tigrinya its national language.

      • Hameed Al-Arabi

        Salam Robel Cali,

        I think the issue is about Eritrea not Saudi Arabia. Small minds will never be innovators even in English language. Surely, they will end up till doomsday roaming the world for alms.

      • Some communist guy

        Stop this paranoia ! Arabic as a language has a long history in Eritrea. You should visit the Dahlak Islands and study the archival material found in Massawa.
        I am personally opposed to the importance given to English in our region. I think Eritrean children/young people should be asked to study one foreign language of their choice among French, Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish, English, etc. That would be beneficial for business, the development of tourism; and to open their minds to others as languages must be seen as “መፍጥሕ ንሓርነት”.

      • Some communist guy

        Dear Robel,
        Stop the paranoia about the arabization and islamization of Eritrea. Arabic as a language has a long history in Eritrea. A quick visit to the Dahlak Islands or Massawa’s records and archives would help you figure that out.
        But as a general remark to all those who oppose the use of Arabic as a working language for Eritrea, Eritrea
        has had somehow three constitutions until now: UN-drafted 1950, PFDJ’s 1994 National Charter, 1997;
        all three state that Arabic and Tigrinya are the working languages of the Eritrean governement. As everyone
        wishes the rule of law to prosper in post-PFDJ Eritrea, respect for the law must also prevail. Therefore Arabic
        is a national and working language next to Tigrinya punktschluss as Germans would say.

        Then the obsession in our region for English is quite puzzling to me. Why the need to focus so much attention
        on that language ? I believe it would be better to allow Eritrean children/youth choose a foreign language they wish to study be it French, Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish, etc. That would be beneficial for business (everybody in the world doesn’t speak English you know) and tourism (as tourists from all over the world could flock to Eritrea and find speakers of the world’s major languages). It would also give Eritreans the opportunity to learn other cultures, literatures, realities because knowing foreign languages is “መፍጥሕ ሓርነት”.

        [Dear awate moderators, I hope my comment fits your rules]

        • Hameed Al-Arabi

          Dear Some communist guy,

          Thank you for this advanced understanding. An understanding that can bring difference in the Eritrean scene. The more we have such voices in the opposition camp, the nearer will be our unity and resolve of all our problems.

          In olden times a person may not hear his entire life except his parents language in his village, but today everything is changed. You like it or not you will hear dozens of languages in your daily life and you will mix with different peoples with different cultures. Today we have to make ourselves ready to co-exist with all cultures and languages. It is a must that time dictates and our modern life style demands.

        • Robel Cali

          HI some communist guy

          Yes a small part of Eritrea spoke Arabic during Arab/Islamic Caliphate occupations but so what? Many Eritreans also spoke Amharic during Ethiopian occupation, does that mean Amharic is an Eritrean language? Many Eritreans spoke Italian during the Italian occupation, does that mean Italian is an Eritrean language? Many Eritreans spoke Greek during the Ptolemaic Kingdom (Greek) occupation, does that mean Greek is an Eritrean language? The answer is a resounding no.

          The Eritrean government doesn’t get things right. Making Arabic a working language was a necessary evil to attract all fighters to its rank (especially when ELF was still dominante). This was no different than when ELF was going around branding Eritrea as an Arab country to Arab leaders. Even Ibrahim Sultan famously said 80% of Eritreans were Muslims at the UN in the 1950s. We know why he said that – it was to distinguish Eritrea from Ethiopia by all means. We can look passed these exaggerations and counter intuitive actions because the means justified the end.

          English the lingua franca of the world. If you ever traveled anywhere, you’d know this. English works in South America, North America, Indian-subcontinent, East Asia, Europe, Middle East and all of Africa. In fact Some of the best English speakers outside of English speaking countries are Saudi Arabian youth (hmmm I wonder why is that!?). English is the language of aviation. All pilots must communicate in English when flying. There is no language as complex, advanced and rich as the English language. To compare a decaying regional language like Arabic to a global Goliath like English is a mockery of intelligence. Even smaller languages like Spanish, French, German and others are far more rich and advanced than Arabic.

          So with that knowledge, how on Earth can any rational person NOT recommend Eritreans speak English as the national language? This is why I believe those who want Arabic to be the national language of Eritrea are doing so for ulterior motives.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Robel Cali,

            Don’t disturb yourself too much, we will learn Arabic, Tigrinia, English, Hindi, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, German, etc. We will never seclude ourselves to one orphan language. We are free and open minds that interact with world peoples and cultures. We are not racists or sectarians, we look all peoples have equal rights to live on earth. Mr. Robel, you are not creator of earth or human beings.

          • Robel Cali

            Hi Al-Arabi

            You as an individual can learn any language your heart desires. Learning lots of languages is good for you. I support that. What I’m saying is Eritrea’s national language should be English. Not Tigrinya, not Tigre and certainly, not Arabic.

            You can’t hint that I’m a sectarian, when I’m not even religious or a nationalist. I’m agnostic. I have no religion. But I do have common sense and can see through the Arabic as a national language shenanigans. Just be honest and sincere for once. You want Arabic to be the national language of Eritrea so you can Arabize and Islamify Eritrea, don’t you? There is no rational reason other than that for you to even bring Arabic into the conversation, let alone demand it to be the national language of a multi ethnic and multi religious country such as Eritrea. It’s religiously motivated, but none of you guys who are advocating for it want to say it.

          • Peace!

            Hi Robel,

            If you really think you do have common sense, then stop imposing your will (ego) on others besides no reason to panic just try to help or contribute for a genuine democracy that treats everyone fairly and equally to evolve. The challenges are out there, and as you can see, everyone is trying to come up with a solution. Wake up and don’t let yourself be so blinded by your ego.

            Peace!

          • Robel Cali

            Hi Peace!

            I’m giving suggestions like all of you who support Arabic. I have no power to impose anything on anyone.

            Defend Arabic with facts or don’t impose it on my country. That’s all i’m saying. You can speak Arabic as much as you like but don’t impose a useless language on my country is my message.

          • Peace!

            Hi Robel,

            Well, just because you think it is useless it doesn’t necessary mean it is useless for the rest of us, and the other thing is the country belongs to all Eritreans, so stop treating the country as if your personal property. Is it hard for you to say “our country?” I am not an expert on this subject, but I do believe that in a fair democratic process, everyone should be a winner.

            Peace!

          • Robel Cali

            Hi Peace!

            Fair enough.

            But even in a fair and democratic process, that doesn’t mean it’s still justifiable to make Arabic a national language in Eritrea. For example, if female genital mutilation was voted on, i’m sure most of the community who practiced it would vote in favor of continuing this barbaric practice. So the ballot box doesn’t always deliver improvement to people.

            Arabic will hold back Eritrea economically. Even if we just allowed Muslims to speak Arabic, that’s still holding back Eritrea from reaching her full economic potential. In fact, that will likely increase the economic divide between Christians and Muslims in the country (something that seems to be a common theme throughout Africa and the middle east in which Christians seem to be more well off, even in Muslim majority countries like Egypt, Lebanon and Syria).

          • Peace!

            Hi Robel!

            I don’t know why you sound too conscious about Muslims and Christians when the subject is simply about language. If majority Eritreans approve Tigrygna, Tigrait, Arabic, English, Mandarine, or even Dutch as an official language, then that would be the end of it, no ifs no buts..look the current situation in Eritrea is obviously worst than anything you can imagine, would you blame Tigrygna language? I don’t think you would.

            Peace!

          • Robel Cali

            This Arabic debate has everything to do with religion. Why don’t we see Christians calling for Arabic to be the national language of Eritrea? It’s only a minority of Muslim men living in mostly English-speaking countries doing so.

            The national language of Eritrea can not be voted on because the majority of people within the country are not educated enough to make an informed decision. Even in America, where the education level is there, we still make stupid decisions like electing a bigoted racist into office (Trump).

            Since you can’t tell me how Arabic is better than English, how about you tell us how Arabic will benefit the Christians of Eritrea. Give us some examples.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Robel Cali,

            You call Trump “a bigoted racist”, because he made a promise to his supporters that he will get rid of immigrants. You are afraid not to be driven out from America, this should teach you a lesson that racism and sectarianism is not good. You are a racist and sectarian; therefore, why you insult a person same like you? You seem to tell us yours sectarianism and racism are accepted, but that of Trump not. It is very sad, you lack integrity.

          • Robel Cali

            Hi Al-Arabi

            I was born in America, so I have nothing to fear. I called Trump a racist because he was sued by the Justice Department For discriminating against black families trying to rent apartments (he latter settled, which means he was wrong in my book). His Mexican and anti-Muslim rhetoric is also unsavory.

            Who is racist in this debate? A minority of Muslim men demanding Eritrea make Arabic the national language with disregard of how Christians would feel about it or me who is suggesting the national language be English out of fairness to all stake holders? Seriously think about it, how fair is it for a Christian to go out of his way to learn Arabic just to appease your religious motivated demands? Would you like it if Christians demand the Muslims to start speaking another useless and religious inspired language called Ge’ez? What economic sense would it make for Muslims to learn Ge’ez? None right? Then use that same logic for Arabic. English is the only fair and particle solution.

          • Peace!

            Selam Robel,

            If you were born in US, where does the hate come from? Well, my friend whoever is mentoring or raising you tell them hate is not a Christian value, and they need to go to church it might help ease ego driven panic, even if it’s severe. wow!

            Peace!

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Robel,

            Trump did not invent racism. Racism, in one form or another, is part of every society including Eritrea and Ethiopia. Racism is part of human nature, it cannot be eliminated. Our task is to manage it and minimise it. Here in the UK, for example, many Estate Agents [rental agents] openly put up signs saying “We do not accept welfare claimants.” And nobody bats an eyelid about this.

            What Trump did in the 1970s was to follow his businessman instincts. The majority of his tenants were middle income or high earning Whites. If a disproportionate number of Blacks were to move to those apartments, nearly all of his customers would have left. It is also a fact of life that colour of skin and level of income and welfare dependency have a strong positive correlation.

            This seemingly catch 22 issue has to be tackled in an integrated fashion at the societal level, with heavy government intervention, rather than be a burden on an individual businessman. Government should help poor families [of any colour] with housing, providing decent health and education services. In addition, training and education on teenage pregnancy and drug addiction are vital. In return, poor individuals and families [of any colour] should adopt a positive attitude towards life, respect fellow human beings and take responsibility for their actions rather than trying to milk past injustices to extract more welfare dependency policies.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Hameed,

            You are mistaken with your claim that Trump “made a promise to his supporters that he will get rid of immigrants.”

            What he promised was to get rid of illegal immigrants.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Simon Kaleab,

            Never mind, heavy rain begins with drops, you are the next target.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Hameed,

            Controlling illegal immigration is in the interest of already settled and well integrated immigrants. Don’t you think?

          • MS

            Selam Robel
            What’s needed is respecting each other’s feelings. No one should unilaterally impose a demand on the other. That includes the demand that unilaterally excludes Arabic language. You asked how Arabic is going to benefit the Christians of Eritrea. Well, no one is proposing forcing Arabic to you or to any sector of our people that does not want to accept it. It has not been done and it will not be done. What I see is not the demand to impose Arabic language upon the Christians, although I may say there are many Christians who are sending their kids to Arabic school, and who would want a better delivery of the language in the schools. What I see is the audacity of some to deny a big chunk of our population the right to demand as simple thing as what language to use for their official transactions and for teaching their kids. I mean this is a fundamental democratic right. People are demanding simply to respect the spirit of the documents of the constitution of the State of Eritrea (during the federation), ELF, EPLF, PFDJ, and programs of most of the opposition in regard to this issue. This is not a new demand. It’s a cry of your citizens and you have to at least be ready to listen to them. If it was about imposing Arabic to citizens (Muslims or Christians), if it is about Arabizing our people, if it’s about proselytizing the Christian population, I will be the first to fight it. And believe me, and you know it, who is going to preach them, who is going to try to convert them, anyway? If you know Eritrean reality, I’m sure you would not say that the demand of Arabic language was of “only a minority of Muslim men living in mostly English-speaking countries doing so.”
            Arabic Language is an Eritrean language. I encourage you to read more about Eritrea’s social composition. I encourage you to make friends from diverse communities. Dear Robel, at the end, communities will have the right to decide, Eritreans will have to talk it over. You should not feel threatened. If we can agree on the basis that those issues should be determined by the communities (which is believing in a fundamental democratic tenet), then the rest, including discussions we do here is only for exchanging information, deepening and solidifying our knowledge, and for widening the horizon of our views. Once a favorable political climate is created, Eritreans will sit together and hammer all the issues that seem to us insurmountable. They did it in the fifties, we are more stronger than the fifties, we are more united than the fifties. All we need is to hear each other and debate calmly.
            Regards.

          • Saleh Johar

            Selam,

            You wrote, {Even if we just allowed Muslims to speak Arabic…] Who are those “we” who allow a citizen what to choose? Explaining that would clarify what you have in mind. Please explain.

          • Hagos Kahsay

            Hi Saleh,

            Tafla here, changed my nick. Forgot My password :).

            Since everyone is piling up on Robel, I have to ask a question too. You guys are knowingly using enotional blackmail avd arguing against logic. Noone can stop you from speakibg and demanding whatever kanguage you want in your country. But “we”,the opobnents of Tigrinya/Arabic also have a right to resist and if becessary nake decision whether to stay or go, when the outcome is not to our advabtage. So who decided that we should have Arabic from the beginning? It was surely not adey taHma or aboy seId. People hace been vrainwashed into denabding Arabic. I know you will not agree. I will just keep playing my waTa to you “the river”. But one day I hope to play ny tune to a river that doesn’t flow to Sudan or Egypt..

          • Hagos Kahsay

            Sorry for the misspellings, hope you get my point anyway.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Hagos,

            Of course one can opt for any choice. In a covenant, anyone can either violate it or annul it and move away. Not so easy in the case of countries.

            Societies devise systems to live together. They forge agreements, protocols, and covenants. Whoever want s to be the first to violate it is wrong, and bears the responsibility for what ensues. That is a common statements.

            In the case of Eritrea (that is our context I suppose) it stands on pillars that were agreed upon by the representatives of the people (don’t argue they were not, please, I don’t have the energy for that debate:-)) They signed a covenant where they agreed to have a dual language arrangement. Pull any of the pillars out and you have a crumbling roof. That is my view.

            If you reject the choice of half your citizens, there is a chance they will reject the choice of the other half (assuming you believe both sides to have equal rights) So far, a sizable portion of one side is rejecting the choice of the overwhelming majority of the other. And it is getting uglier by the day and if wisdom doesn’t prevail, it could go out of hand.

            I suggest you stop the belittling and patronizing attitudes: no one brainwashed our compatriots. It’s their choice. If you insist they are brainwashed, then they also have the right to ask you, “who brainwashed you to reject the choice of free citizens?” It’s a vicious cycle.

            I don’t remember “adey taHma or aboy seld” were elected to represent Eritreans, but Eritreans had delegates and if you search, you will find it. Try google.

            Also, please stop your provocations of bringing Sudan or Egypt to the issue–you are not talking to an Egyptian or a Saudi. If you want to do that, check their embassies near you and tell them whatever you wish to. But remember, I can take that though others might react with equally foolish comments–unless your mission is to ignite a conflict. I hope not

          • Hagos Kahsay

            Hello!
            I’m sure you are not that thinskinned to find insult in that comnent.
            The good old 40’s and 59’s was such a happy and exaplary time in Eritrean history 😂. I don’t want to waste your time nor energy, just remind you that, the covenant or agreement or waEla of those days also included federation with Ethiopia. Should we uphold that deal too?

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Hagos,

            Aha, thank you for the compliment. Long time ago I declared my skin was borrowed from an alligator 🙂

            Dear Hagos, don’t worry, I know that legacy is still alive today. There are a few pockets of “almot bai tegaadai” left. They know nothing but defeat and they will get that, not on a silver platter, but on an over-used brown paper 🙂

            Now let me challenge you to think without being politically correct: if you were given a choice between federation and the Isaias slavery, what would you chose? It’s a rhetorical question, don’t take it seriously. But there was also other options then: remaining the colony of Italy, partitioning, British trustship, etc. What matters is all lost and Eritreans honorably accepted a deal of federation. The fine lines at the bottom of the federation deal read: violate this agreement at your own peril. Now also we though we had a deal where all Eritreans would live as equal citizens, for the “Future Generations” we struggled. That deal is erased by the PFDJ. The fine lines are still there, only people are not paying attention. So, returning to that, my dear Hagos, would be tantamount to shredding the paper of the struggle era, which was literally written in blood of our martyrs, and erasing the fine lines. Only one as foolish as the PFDJ is allowed to think in that manner. Not me and you 🙂

            Final word: Nottingham lost to Birmingham United (I am not sure if such football teams exist, but appease me, they do) and no one would sugget the game be replayed for any reason. Eritreans have no deal to reconsider, according to my understanding and view.

            Final question: do you have to go to that extreme example just to win an argument with me? No, no, no my friend. We do not need example when we have reality staring at us with its four eyes (never mind, they are two but today they look like four).

          • Hagos Kahsay

            Saleh,

            I’m not a big fan of bravado and chestpumping. I prefer sober dialogs. I didn’t bring up the federation era to win an argument with you, it was just to demonstrate the logical vontinuation of your covenant argument.

            I have a different take in the ghedli era social contract. I don’t believe the majority died to re-institute the official languages of the old days, but to get rid of foreign occupation and oppression.

          • Robel Cali

            Selam Saleh

            My grammar isn’t as good as yours. So forgive me if that came off the wrong way. That wasn’t my intention. What I meant by we was the Eritrean people. Not as in we as in one ethnic group.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Robel,

            If you complain about your English, we are in a big messy problem. tHshuwo da’a. But just like you were humble about your English, would you care to humbly assess your social and political knowledge 🙂

            Maybe that would give you a chance to re-evaluate your position on co-existence and citizens’ choices.

            Stay good dear.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Robel Cali,

            As far as you stated “You want Arabic to be the national language of Eritrea so you can Arabize and Islamify Eritrea, don’t you?” definitely you are racist and sectarian. Do I have a right in your book to choose or not? I have chosen Arabic, this is my right as a citizen, do you object that? I will never have intention to impose by force Arabic or Islam upon you. If highlanders choose English or Tigrinia, French or any other language I will not oppose it, it is their right. Do you, Mr. Robel, allow lowlanders to choose Arabic in the lowland of Eritrea or you will dictate, as a custodian, your choice upon lowlanders? If I oppose your choice and you oppose my choice, then we will never co-exist.

            You are severely sick of Arab-phobia and Islam-phobia, you need treatment, Mr. Robel. Please, try to think in a different way than you accustomed about at least for one hour, just try, just try, just try ……………………………. perhaps may bring difference in your life and emancipate you from shackles of decades, and makes you an open-minded person who could participate in solving his country men and women problems. Don’t think about your village people only, think about all Eritreans.

            Al-Arabi

          • Abraham H.

            Hi Al-Arabi, well said and a fair comment. May be these guys are thinking you want to Arabize Eritrea b/c you’ve Al-Arabi as a nick? Who knows, haha. They cry also about the prospect of Islamizing Eritrea, while forgetting already at least half of Eritrea is Islam. These people do not own any shame. It is this type of mentality that has plunged our country into deep backwardness.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Robel,

            For all intents and purposes related to economics, technological development and scientific research, Arabic is as good as dead. Does it make sense to invest in a failed and dying business?

          • Robel Cali

            Hi Simon

            Well said.

            At this point, people who say they want Arabic to be the national language of Eritrea is tantamount to saying you want to put a linguistic barrier in front Eritreans from gaining easier access to the global economy that is spoken in English.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Salam Simon Kaleab,

            Naturally, people are not afraid of dead things, but to be afraid of a dead thing is something unnatural. This explains you are not honest person. I know what makes you have such kind of stands against your compatriots in the country. It is the power your uncles have at present. Try to think about when authority reversed against your uncles. The Italians were building infrastructure in Eritrea as if they will not leave it, but they disappeared with all their might.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Hameed,

            Arabic is a beautiful language to learn and there is no doubt that it is intimately related to Eritrean languages such as Tigre and Tigrinya.

            I personally recommend it to be studied by any interested person. However, to elevate it to a national language is unjustifiable.

            First, there is the issue of squandering resources on a language that will not help poor Eritrea succeed in the fields of Economics, Technology and Scientific research. Is there anything original or worthwhile that is published in Arabic in the fields of Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science and the various branches of Engineering recently? The fate of Tigrinya is also the same.

            Second, Arabic comes with a baggage i.e. religion. As is well known, all religions promise everything in the hereafter, but they are vague and they can neither explain a given phenomenon nor predict it; they can’t even deliver warm bread on a poor family’s table on this Earth.

  • Bahri Negasi

    Hello Awatistas

    “ኣይምደለኹን ምቾት ___ይትረፈኒ Welfare
    መንእሰያት ኣግኣዝያን ድሒኖም የርእየኒ እምበር”

    ናይ ሕልሚ እንጀራ ________ዝቐለበ ከለና ተምሃሮ
    ንቕሓቱ ንድኻ ኣታሊሉ______ ንሃብታም ዘንቁሮ
    ሃካይን ቀናእን___ _______ፎሎዞፊኡ ዝተኸተሎ
    ካፒታሊዝም ኢምፔርያሊዝም___ ብጭርሖ ዝተጻረሮ
    ብጻይ ጎማዲ ሞይቱ,ንፍርቂ ክዩባ ዝሓረደ መላኺ ካስትሮ
    መንእሰይ ኤረይ ኣብ ሲናይ ተዓሚጹ___ ዓረብ እናነወሮ
    ተኸታሊኡ ሽፍታ፣_ኣሜሪካን ኤውሮጳን ይነብር ኣሎ !!!

    ከመይ ይወርደሎም ኣሎ_____heineken ናይ ጀርማኒ
    ናይ ዓዲ እንግሊዝ ዓሳ _____________ናይ ጠለይን ባኒ
    ናይ ኣሜሪካ hot dog ___________ናይ ስዑዲ መጀነኒ
    ንሶም ተጋግዮም ብዘጋገይዎ_________ መንእሰይ በናኒ
    ምስ ተጋሩ እውን ኣጻሊኦሞ___ ምስ ዓጋመ ደቁ ተኻናኻኒ
    ኣነስ ካሊፎርንያ ኣለኹ___ ብ foodstamps እናቐለቡኒ
    ናይ ቆለውዕ ደቂ ኤረይ እሞ __________ተስፋ ኣቝሪጹኒ
    ብ Internet ክቐብሮም______ ኣጻብዔይ እናሕመመኒ
    ሓመዶም ይቕለሎም __________ኣነ እንታይ ዓቕሚ ኣለኒ !!!
    RIP Eritrean youth

  • Robel Cali

    Selam everyone

    The author’s administrative regions looks like a classic case of gerrymandering. Basically, if elections were to be held, the Christian populations would be a minority in every administration with the exception of Hamasen. It’s a subtle way of targeting an ethnic group via the ballot box.

    As for Arabic, no thanks. If you as an individual want to learn it, more power to you. But on a national level, Arabic has no business being there —ever.

    • Some communist guy

      Not sure. Seraye and Akele Guzai have historically been the most inhabited parts of Eritrea (less now because of Asmara’s expansion) and A.Guzai would therefore overrun Denkelia for sure. You also forget that Semhar and Gash-Setit have huge Christian communities (Tigrinya rural migration, Kunamas). Some basic knowledge of demographics would actually help you very much.

  • Some communist guy

    Dear Ahmeddin Osman,

    dear awate aficionados,

    First of all, I would like to thank you and
    congratulate you for your effort to conceptualize your views for
    post-PFDJ Eritrea. For too long opposition activists have been unable to
    offer concrete proposals for an alternative Eritrea; and have – in a way – contributed to the current stalemate. (I do include myself in that criticism)

    Let me also say that I fully concur with
    your position on language policy. Both Arabic and Tigrinya must be
    mastered by every individual Eritrean (and at the end they are related
    languages which makes it more simple). I personaly would argue that
    Tigrayit must be raised to the status of third working language as it is
    commonly used by people of different national backgrounds; and
    therefore also be taught up to 12th grade.

    I absolutely agree on the need to
    decentralize political power to avoid abusive centralization and popular
    marginalization but I must disagree on the 4 states federal
    organization. I would argue that the most effective decentralization
    process is to rely on the strenghtening of sub-zonal power (nuus zoba,
    awradja, wilaya, district) so that people can be closer to authority.
    Eritrea could therefore be divided in something like 20 small entities
    which could exerce authority on a definite number of issues. The
    State-District-Village scheme appeals to me I must admit. Every level of power would have its own prerogatives (village: land distribution schemes, basic social services p. ex.). The closer political power is to the masses, the better.

    I would like to raise a question though. Do you think a radical shift in administrative and political structure is feasible in the short run ? Wouldn’t it be necessary to first ensure all regions/sub-regions are provided basic infrastructures ? I myself don’t know and would like your opinion on this.

    Thank you for this very interesting piece

  • Desata Tella

    መግልጺ

    ጊዝያዊ ሓይሊ ዕማም ማሕበር ሰላም ኣግኣዚያን [ህዝቢ ትግሪኛ]
    (Peaceful Agazian Association)

    ስርዓት መንግስቲ ህግደፍ ኣውራጃዊ መንነት ኤርትራዊን ብዘይ ሕጋዊ መንገዲ መንዚዑ ናይ ኣውራጃዊ ፍልልያትን ናይ ሕግደፍ መጋበርያ ኮይኑ ከምዝጸነሐ ንኹሉ ኤርትራዊ ዜጋ ንጽር እዩ። ነዚ ስርዓት ህግደፍ ዝመስረቶ ዞባዊ ምምሓዳራት ዝምልከት ሕጋዊ ዝኾነ ኣመሰራርታ ስጋብ ዘይነበሮ ንሕጊ ተጸቢኻ ብሕጋዊ ኣገባብ ንኽፈርስ ምኽኑይ ኮይኑ ስለዘይረኸቦ ሎሚ መዓልቲ ዕለት 28 ሕዳር 2016 ብውግዒ ብመንግስቲ ህግደፍ ቆይመን ዝነበራ ዞባዊያን ምምሕዳራት ኤርትራ ፍሩስ ኮይኑ በቲ ልሙድ ኣጸዋዉዓ “ኣዉራጃታት ኤርትራ” ብዝብል ስም ንኽቖማ ጊዝያዊ ሓይሊ ዕማም ማሕበር ሰላም ኣግኣዚያን [ህዝቢ ትግርኛ] ብዉሳኒኡ ኣጽዲቕ ዎ ኣሎ። ኣብዚ እዋንዚ ነዚ ስጉምቲዚ ክወስድ ዝተገደደሉ ቀንዲ ምኽንያት ቀንዲ ስርሑ ንምጅማር ከም ቀዳማምይ ስጉምቲ ክዉሰደሉ ዘለዎ ናይ ኣዉራጃ መንነት ምርግጋጽ ኣብ ዝብል ስለዘኣምንን ብዘይ ሕጋዊ ኣገባብ ንዝተመንዝዖ ኣዉራጃዊ መንንነት ህዝብና ናብ ዋናታቱ ክምለስ ወሲኑ ኣሎ። በዚ መሰረት ዞባ ዝብል ስም ተሪፉ “ብኣዉራጃ” ዝብል ስም ተተኪኡ ኣሎ።

    ኣዉራጃታት ኤርትራ ብቕደም ተኸተል:

    ኣዉራጃ ኣከለ ጉዛይ
    ኣውራጃ ዓሰብ
    ኣዉራጃ ኣቕርደት
    ኣዉራጃ ባረንቱ
    ኣዉራጃ ሓማሴን – ዋና ከተማ ኤርትራ
    ኣዉራጃ ሳሕል
    ኣዉራጃ ሰንሒት
    ኣዉራጃ ሰምሃር
    ኣዉራጃ ሰራየ

    ሃገርና ምድሪ ባሕሪ* ዝብል ስም ከምዝነበራን ኣብ ግዜ ግዝኣት ጣልያን እዚ ስምዚ ብኤርትራ ዝብል ስም ክቕየር ከምዝተገብረ ታሪኽ ሃገርና ዝምስክሮ ሓቂ እዩ። ነዚ ስም እዚ ናብ ንቡር ስሙ ንምምላስ ማለት ኤርትራ ዝብል ስም ናብ ምድሪ ባሕሪ* ዝብል ስም ንምቕያር ዝከኣል ጣልያን ዝተኸተሎ ናይ ስም ምቕያር ሕግን ኣገባብን ምዉካስ ስለዘድሊ ከምኡዉን ነዚ ጉዳይዚ ዝምልከት ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ክሳተፎ ኣለዎ ኢሉ ስለዛኣምን ኤርትራ* ዝብል ስም ንግዚይኡ ከምዘለዎ ንኽቕጽል ግዝያዊ ሓይሊ ዕማምም ማሕበር ሰላም ኣግኣዝያን ወሲኑ ኣሎ።

    ዓወት ንሕቢ ኤርትራን! ንማሕበር ሰላም ኣግኣዚያን [ህዝቢ ትግሪኛ]

    ጊዝያዊ ሓይሊ ዕማም ማሕበር ሰላም ኣግኣዚያን [ህዝቢ ትግሪኛ]

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