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When You Are Down…

To the unaware, the horrible stories about life in Eritrea would seem mere exaggerations; those who have no idea about the cruelty of the PFDJ rule would be tempted to brush it off.  But the stories are just the tip of a huge pile of more harrowing tales.

A man I know had a relative held hostage in Sinai and he has been collecting money to pay the ransom. When I asked him why he veiled that information from me; he was very disturbed that I know about it. He had a reason: “The family decided to avoid media attention.” That was half-true.

I found out that he and his relatives collected and paid $35,000 to the captors to release the young man. Incidentally, they transferred the ransom money to a person who lives in Asmara and facilitates such transactions under the supposedly eagle eyes of the PFDJ.

It is understandable why they kept the incident secret until the hostage is freed (half the truth); but the ex-hostage is now safe and lives in Europe.

Here is the second half (the lie). Two of the relatives expressed their worries that if word goes out, “It will embarrass our government and it is shameful for Eritrea.” They pressured the other relatives to keep everything secret. I urged and encouraged the man to talk to no avail.

The broker of the deal in Asmara certainly shaved his commission off the transferred the money. He might not have paid the 2% tax to the regime; probably the PFDJ has a controlling share of the illicit trade that the broker manages. Right now, he is probably closing another such deal sitting on a sidewalk cafe in Asmara and devouring a beer.

Many Eritreans have paid ransom money; most of them live in Europe and America, and they are quite. Only a minuscule number have shared the vital information with police authorities and relevant entities. Eritreans who hide the identities of the contacts and brokers are aiding and abetting the criminals. Their quietness helps the criminals flourish.

Importance of Diaries

During the years that proceeded WWII, the Jews were at their weakest. They were down. They were hunted door to door, their properties open for anyone to grab, their lives wasted at whim, and their labor forcefully extracted.

Last week I watched a 2010 movie, The Diaries Of Anne Frank. It is an adaptation of a book (itself a translation from the Dutch original), entitled, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. There are several movie adaptations of the book, but I think the 2010 movie is probably the best, certainly better than the 1980 version.

I discovered that the book is a mandatory reading at some American schools and I encourage everyone to either to watch the movie or read the book. Doing both is even better. You can find the translation of the book in many languages.

I didn’t find any new information in the movie about the barbarity of the Nazis; humanity already knows enough about it. What attracted my attention is the fact that Eritreans do not have a culture of writing diaries and memoirs. We have a lot to tell, but our contribution in documenting our experiences is abysmally embarrassing.

When Anne Frank and her family were hiding from the Nazis, the only connection they had to the outside world was a radio broadcast from the UK.  The broadcasted messages urged Jews to write diaries; that is what Anne Frank did. She left behind an amazing document of great historical and literary significance.

Anne Frank, her family (with the exception of her father), and those who lived in the apartment with her, died in the Nazi concentration camps. But the casual diary the young girl left immortalized their stories. The movies that I watched is a 2010 production, almost seventy years after the diaries was written. Almost seventy years after Anne Frank died. It is in this light that I bring the topic today.

Now let us imagine our future. An Eritrean student who will be born in 2032 goes to college in 2050. He or she visits the library (Yes, libraries will still be around in 2050, with more electronic gadgets) to write his thesis on what his great-grandfather (doing slave labor in the nineties) or his grandfather (who was in Sawa, or doing slave labor somewhere in Eritrea in 2013) went through. What do you think the student will find? A detailed description of events in Eritrea like that of Anne Frank? Very little. One-liners that go for news and opinion on social media? Nope. No professor will accept that. Unfortunately, our student of the future will not find much.

My point: we need to develop the habit of writing diaries, articles, blogs, etc.

I know that some people have a lot to say; but they are intimidated by public writing. Internet forums and social media, if used properly, are good training and practicing ground for young and novice writers. They can develop their own voice and style and learn how to engage the public… and at the same time enrich the Eritrean literature.

Literature cannot be built with one-liners just as history cannot be written in the form of disconnected crosswords puzzle. This is important because the selective cooking of Eritrean history in the PFDJ kitchen has badly damaged our nation. This should not be repeated in the future. We do not want future Eritreans to depend on stitched forgeries to learn their history, just like what is happening right now to the gullible. The onslaught is evident. Some people are vomiting their prejudices and creating a crafted history to fit their narrow interests and primordial prejudices. And they are good at writing the end of the story without bothering about its beginning. And…

When Eritrea is down….

When it is down, every wicked person runs with a rusty knife to skin it alive. When you are down…even the coward of cowards wields a knife. As the Tigrinya saying goes, Z’wedeqe B’Eray,  kara y’bezhho. A fallen bull attracts more knives; stubbing and slicing anything becomes a favorite pastime. And that is why we observe a lot of knife wielding. But Eritreans have been there; that stubborn bull never dies. It is a phoenix. It will rise again.

Thanks to the PFDJ, our country has acquired a bad image. Its people are humiliated. They are impoverished. They are intimidated, materially incapacitated, morally damaged. Our self-esteem is at risk. We have become a joke of those who are no better than we are. We have become a laughing stock of the political lepers. Gone are the days when we were known as bold and resilient people; now we are left only with good feet to flee our country. Our people have become the goose that lays golden eggs for all sorts of criminals, from Eritrea, through Sudan to Sinai and beyond.

We are down because of the PFDJ betrayed us. Now the wicked are gloating at our miseries. Gleefully enjoying our sufferings. Looking at us with contempt, a smirk in their faces. We have been there. We have been there and we sprung back with vengeance. Undoubtedly, the sneering lots will learn a lesson. When we are down, we celebrate even the smallest achievements. That is how we begin and that is how we regain our bold nature. But it would be nice if the ENCDC regains some of it, for a change.

Arbi Harnnet

When we are down, projects like Arbi Harenet reminds us that the bull is not yet down. It is simply having a headache. It is rising again. It has firmly planted three hooves in the ground; the fourth will be up anytime; and its horns are as sharp as ever!

We should direct our focus to the cities, town and streets of Eritrea. The rest of the forces are catalysts that should help; what matters is what happens inside Eritrea. The signs are clear for those who want to see; the pessimists are unable to see anything uplifting, anything inspiring, or anything emboldening. They do not even see the half-empty glass; they see the stained, dirty coaster on which the glass sits.

Yes. A fallen bull invites knives, a camel too. Amazingly, a camel sits only when you lightly hit its knees with a stick or a rope. But remember, the Eritrean camel is capable of biting off anything that crosses the line. Eritreans have a line and they will keep it with determination. Those who have given up on Eritrea, please stick to your adopted identities and save the beleaguered Eritreans your condescension and your paternalist gestures.

Fighting the PFDJ Komsomol

The derg effectively used Kebele structure to control the life of the population: distribution of ration, allocation of housing, policing, and many other activities. But that is not why the Derg found it effective. The derg structured Kebele as a security devise with a focus on spying, and protecting the power and authority of the regime.

The PFDJ has not come up with anything new. Why should it when it can inherit the effective derg apparatus that serves the purpose? In fact, the PFDJ reorganized kebele in a stricter form and energized it. It gave it a new impetus of tyrannical powers. Now kebele controls the lives of the people more than it did during the derg era. The effective derg structure is subduing the resolve of Eritreans. It has rendered them docile.

The derg did not create kebele as many think. It copied it from the Soviets system. In fact, the translation of The Soviet Union would be The Kebele Union. Soviet means Kebele. Gaddafi’s Libya also had its own copy of the Soviets, Ljjan Shaabiya, popular committees.

The PFDJ also copied another system from the Soviet Union: the YPFDJ. The ruling communist party of the Soviet Union had a youth branch called Komsomol; the structure and organizational level of the YPFDJ within the ruling party, is identical to the Komsomol (except the Soviet youth limited membership to the 14-28 age group.) It is also similar to the sister entity of the Komosmol, The Communist Youth League of China.

It is ironic that most information that I get about the YPFDJ (pictures of meetings, festivals and other events) is courtesy of people opposed to the PFDJ. They obsessively copy everything the YPFDJ publishes and paste it for the rest of us to see. Sometimes they add silly comments and stale jokes to the copied contents. Worst, they add ugly layman Photoshop rendering of the images and their amateurish alteration. If one is tempted to do that, I suggest thinking about how to better present an intelligent rebuttal or expose. Most of the Photoshop rendering out there actually invites derision and ridicule. I am sure you can come with tons of such examples on facebook; including a photoshopped image of a cloud made to look like a horse. Then someone posts it with a comment: “Say Subhan Allah and Like or share it.” And we are supposed to marvel at a fake image! I wish people stopped posting annoying images and postings.

Embarking on a fight against the PFDJ requires well thought of messages. For example: I have seen mediocre images where the faces of people are pasted on the head of monkeys. I have seen un-proportionally super-super sized heads attached to small bodies. I have seen so many ugly and mediocre rendering that damages the image of the resistance. There are also many copyright violation, or the willful posting and altering of content without mentioning their sources, even as a courtesy…. I urge those who do not have artistic skills to stay away from publishing their mediocre images and instead spend their time getting art classes (or Photoshop lessons). Stick to what you do best.

Notwithstanding the annoyance of what I mentioned above, I am sure the intentions are good. Unfortunately those who post such items think they are fighting the PFDJ and its satellites. They are not. In fact they are inviting apathy to what the anti-tyranny camp does. Nothing comes from a post or an image that reflects immaturity. It weakens the resistance in general and makes it look an undertaking by middle school students. Stick to what you love with passion and improve on it. If you are not skilled on something, keep away from it.

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

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  • Milkias M Yohannes

    What a beautiful uplifting article!! What a talent!! I really enjoyed it brother. Many things coming out of Eritrea are so depressive and mind boggling it has a paralyzing and a demoralizng effect to the reader and any observer for that matter. Frankly, many Eritreans been tured in to beasts,as your article’ narration clearly put, emphaty, love, kindness, feeling the other’s pain……… been vanishing from Eritrean’s psyche fast at the speed of light in front of our eyes. In this time of darkness and TSILIGLIG, it is heartning and up lifting to read such a marvelous article brother Gadi and May God give you more energy and power to keep the dream alive!!

  • Despite all the zeraf zeraf by the writer, Eritrea is just what it is, never what you thought of it for far too long until independence exposed it for what it really is..Go back to your per-independence drawing board and check your vision(if there was any, other than just hating Ethiopians) you will be surprised by how much you mistook being happy-go-lucky foot-solder with true governance and nation building….After what seemed to be an honest description of situations in Eritrea, you went on your usual trad mark bravado of comparing yourself with non existent “those” when you said “We have become a joke of those who are no better than we are”. But one wonders how you managed to picture any society in worse situation than that of yours unless you have missed all the latest developments that took even Somalia the only bench mark you could have used until recently. In fact if there is any thing Eritreans need to learn from Somalia, it is the need to to come to terms with Ethiopia’s natural position in the region without having to go through what Somalians went through…I am just saying because the contradictory tone in your writing suggests that there is still a deep rooted obsession to prove some thing to others while on the other hand you are pretending to have learned a thing or two from worshiping a devil you are now stuck with…As a matter of fact your attitude as people is more detrimental to the future of Eritrea than an individual that will soon or later perish. Isais Afewerqe is just a reflection of the people who made him, hence there is just no point in getting rid of him if 5 million of you are not better than least he has a quality in being a good prison-guard that keeps Eritrea suffocated but intact. God forbid the day he let go Eritrea without a clear sense of direction from any group any sort.

    Regarding Ali abdu, he is not foolish enough to utter a word knowing that members of his family are being held hostage.

    • Kokhob Selam


      ” Isais Afewerqe is just a reflection of the people who made him” i use to say he is the result of our behaviour. yet I am sure that is not the real reflection but result of our way. Mengstu was not the reflection of all those nice people of Ethiopia. he was the result of their way. DIA is not the reflection of Eritreans but the result of their way, some trust him because they never thought he will play on their life. if i trust you and you found to be thief it is not my problem it is your problem. i am not responsible for what you are.

      regarding Somalian people or any other including your country’s new development we Eritreans are happy but then remember that you have gone through thousands of years before you reach here. I have seen how much your people suffer during the two ex-governments. and now still you have to do a lot of job. we Eritreans are in transit, we just get our independent and this is the critical moment for us. just relax and see.tks

      • Thanks for your kind response, but when most of you Eritreans use Ethiopia’s old age as a bench mark for your early failure, you are not only fooling yourself by comparing apple and Orange but your are also falling for your oppressor’s trap….Ethiopians might have suffered for far too long curtsy of your contribution, but under what kind of global circumstance, I mean if you take Eritrea since independence with no fascist invader around it(except in their paranoid head) or to even give Isaias’s tight grip some credit, with no civil war of a sort to challenge it’s economy you guys are now suffering more than during the civil war under Ethiopia. I mean think about it, if you guys can not sail on a calm sea now, imagine if you are to be challenged by a fraction of the challenges Ethiopia had to go through starting from Gragn Ahmed until 1991..Cm’on, I appreciate the fact that you have no other choice but to fool yourself by comparing the incomparable but denial can also blind you from seeing the real danger..remember one thing, one big resource Eritrea had was the independence euphoria which went to your head and got you where you are, so if you could not exploit exploit that and and make something out of it what makes you think you will last 3000 years like Ethiopia?. Don’t get me wrong, I wish you all the best mainly for our own sake since I know why you were conceived, but me wishing you well alone might not mean anything…It is an unfortunate fact that your arrival as a nation has neither solved regional problem nor brought you any positive development. So although we are all in for a rough ride due to your arrival, it is certain that one of us will suffer more than the other..I don’t think we even even need to argue who?

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Ethiopian,

          what are you after brother? Eritrea is an independent nation. no one can change this fact.the rest is history. now we are fighting to make it democratic nation.I don’t think you have any problem on this. and we know we have brothers and sisters in a nation like ours ours named Ethiopia… like Sudan and others. that is all. we know the people were always nice to each other but the ex-governments weren’t. and sure we will always remain one family. some among us think Ethiopians are our enemies like some Ethiopians who think the same against Eritreans. we know also there are few Eritreans who are jealous of new development in Ethiopia while there also Ethiopians who couldn’t swallow the independent of Eritrea.agree. but that will not change anything. only the mass can make history.

          • you see how you are paranoid about any one sane Ethiopian wanting you back? for what brother? to help you recover at the expense of Ethiopia? come on bro, some Ethiopians have done that mistake before and I don’t think you will get it again no matter how much you play reverse is no longer Haileselasie’s Ethiopia, it is a generation that tasted the fruit of being without you and trust me they will not change it for the world let alone for a few extra poor souls who will bring nothing to offense, it is just a proven fact!

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Ethiopian,

            it seems you are alergic of the past history of those two nations. not only you we are all as it was not neccessary. who like to see to brothers kill each other but believe me there was no choice except to take back from the jaw of the king of juda and the childish cominist Mengstu. the past is gone and we can’t bring back all the prices we pay. we can only work on today. by the way there is such think as past there is only now and let’s think of now.
            yes, i prefer to think and work in “now”. The past has gone. let’s start to think about time vertically not horizontally so only we will see now, now, now,. are we up-to it? are you and me intelligent people to create peace among Habeshas and let them work together? that is the question now. be optimistic say yes. yes we can.

          • Mesgena

            You said it all.

        • Translate


          Chill out man!

  • Semere Andom

    I am used to the remenants of the Kebele era people like you, who do not know truth even if it touches them on the wrist. The suffering by the Eritrean people is made possible by honorless people like you. You do not have to lie to make your point and persuade me, but your DNA does not allow that, true of the signiture of people who celeberate their captivity and in the day of captivity while you go in binge drinking we are heading to Dc to break our captivity by chanting the following:
    eza al shaEbu yoMen aRad Al-haYati
    feLa buda an yesTejiba alQder
    wo labuda al-layli and yenJeli
    wo la buda alQeydi and yeNkeser
    and you will be chanting hade hade, killing more brain cells. join us,it is good for you

    • haile


      Here is the difference between you and me…

      You are one of those waiting to see the fall of PFDJ so that you can have afield day with your long held desire of destroying Eritrea and running back to mama misera people to the south. Haile and millions and millions of other Haile will be here to make sure you don’t see the light of the day in that venture of yours. Haile is happy to sing any song with any Eritrean any time, but not with the likes of you who have long signed up to sell their backside for peanuts. We know your true nature, that is why we have kept you were you are this long…keep singing your lullaby, and wear your drool wipes…

      • Semere Andom

        This is a debate forum and not to show off your insulting prowes that you perfected in the secreti rating (jasus) PFDJ meetings. I have a challenge for you and let us see if your are man enough: I am inviting yourr to the DC demonsration on May 24, 2013 and then we can talk face to face if you do not take this challenge then your second choice is to join your PFDJ friends in the Toronto Pride Parade this summer.

        • yegermal

          As you aptly implied,pfdjitis is deeply ingrained in the psyche of those afflicted by it. No matter how they try to mask it by appearing to embrace dissension it emerges with a vengeance (bolokh!)during stressful debates (much like DIA’s debacle during Jane Dutton’s interview). The try to control it again via a softened stand that lasts a couple of days and then it does “bolokh” again. Those already afflicted are doomed! Let’s find a vaccine for the uninfected.

        • Semere,

          Your challenge to Haile was an exercise that has “no-shenkolol” but straight forward with no room, haile to

    • Dear Semere Andom,

      For sometime I was pondering about the political syndrome – a politico-psychological disorder that affected for some of our fellow Eritreans. Watching their involuntary movement and repetitive vocalizations such as Wayanne, NeoAndnet…etal, I couldn’t think off other than a condition called “Echopraxia”.When I thought about this condition a French Neurologist Dr Georges Gille de la Tourette immediately came to my mind.

      Dr. Tourette had studied for individuals who had a repetitive vocalization conditions or Neuro-psychiatric disorders of compulsive profanity (coprolalia). The condition is now called as Tourette syndrome (TS).

      “Wayane Tourette”

      Now, Semere those who have compulsive profanity and who utters none other than “wayane and Neo-andnet” in this form are really “wayane Tourettes” characterized by repetitive stereotype involuntary vocalizations such as echolalia – socially inappropriate of obscene words and derogatory remarks. Here now I submit a new vacobulary to add “wayane Taurette” into awate data profile.

      • F.M.

        Aman: this is too funny. Tourette syndrome. Only yesterday I came to know of it on Discovery Channel and here again to read it from you one day later. Coincidence?!

        The Discovery Documentary followed few men who have Tourette. Funny because they can suppress their urge to curse and twitch and god knows what, but only temporarly, soon or later their syndrome must comes out with viangence. They can terrorize a stranger with all kind of faul laungage; while their family feel sorry for them. I found myself laughing; their audacity to use faul laungage at familiar and non familiar people was so innocent and child like, and funny because they are adults. 🙂

      • Aman,

        I wonder if you had Salih x 2’s and others in mind when you made the comment about tourette syndrome.

  • Hageraweet Yassin

    Thanks for the article mr. Gadi,

    I’ll try to make this as short as possible (under 1,200 words according to the guidelines). It’s a sad reality, but this has happened for centuries now. Governments always get one over on their people, happens in the Western civilisations, so surely it will happen everywhere else. Got news for you people, as much as I hate to say it PFDJ isn’t going anywhere, when we have Eritreans blindly accepting such ‘democratic rule’, some playing a role and then taking way too long to accept what has been done for the past, God knows how long, years is wrong.

    In my years of dealing with Eritreans (Im going to play the devils advocate here, don’t take it personally), I don’t think i have met anyone who is overly concerned with Eritrea. Now, wait don’t jump to conclusions here, I don’t mean we don’t care anymore, I just think there are two issues that are against us. The first is the fact that everyone is so involved in their “OWN” lives, they are too busy to really step up and make significant change. The second issue is everyone is so desensitised by everything really, it doesn’t affect us as it should. While everyone is living in diaspora is enjoying a good nights rest (however still finding something to complain about) we have mothers missing they children, wives missing their husbands and children missing their fathers.

    I’m not trying to offend anyone really, but if anything was going to happen, if people were really bothered and finally dropped the “I’m a victim” mentality it would make a difference. The proof is in the pudding………Palestine, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, and Syria in the making (Allahumma Ameen).

  • “If a person do willingly flatten his intellect by a concept, true or false, that is his right to please himself in mentally masticates it, but not necessarily imposes it on others. Alfredo Lama.”
    When we try to understand and attempting to analyse what is happening in Eritrea, it is important to appreciate and understand past horrific problems, civil, regional, ethnicity, social and political manipulation processes that led us to where we are today. Understanding the subtle and delicate balance of our society, the tectonic plates of our short a living history that led Eritrea towards cruel. Dictorship of fascism state post communism is very essential. Some time human action is deemed to have been moulded and shaped by the dead weight of understanding our own history or forces beyond our grasp and control.
    The point here is how a mere individual DIA has moulded and shaped and continues unabated to shape society. A person known for same time with psychopathic personalities.
    DIA is taken Eritreans on a dangerous journey of endless misery and suffering and of state of war without end, where no offer of compromise was ever enough, and where all forms of moderation were seen as weak and betrayal. DIA grasped total power and mercilessly imposed his fascism views and deadly deeds on innocent Eritrea. In order to get power, DIA concludes that population need to be controlled by all means of forces available, by getting killed ,tortured, taken as prisoner and by liquidating his comrade, his way to the top of pyramid it has been due to his cruelty and the butchery. This just one part of why our young people are pay with their lives ,what horrific price, unimaginable as it is. in world of DIA , as they say good guys have tended to finish last.
    Psychopathic is a personality disorder identified by characteristics such as a Lack of kindness, compassion, empathy , remorse, mega egocentricity, superficial personal ,manipulative charm, manipulativeness, indifferent, irresponsibility and impulsivity. DIA extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc.” – definition of a psychopath from
    This was an added layer of invisible power in the Ethiopia defeatism, DIA created a mystical personality around him. It was Eritrean grass-roots movement they originated, and for which they had paid money and sacrificed able-bodied men and women .DIA in some cases and at the end, been more vicious to them than Ethiopian.
    Today Eritreans seem to feel that their hard won war is being rubbed in their faces and let down . And they are not wrong. It is simply one of those intractable sad situations where their dream, hope and aspiration being stolen from under their feet in a broad day light , where nothing will feel right. For the loss the Eritreans feel is really the loss of today’s and coming generations, a sad story by itself in today’s awate article, Eritrean young running for their life’s ,they have to be pay ransom to the Mafioso henchmen of DIA for their freedom.
    For the young they are now a people without a dream., future, a traumatized young and old people, devastated by decades of war and migration, whose dream of independence d and freedom , was hijacked by the DIA and his henchmen .A nihilistic president without a vision of the nation and turned to nightmare.

  • It seems very easy for Eritreans and others to characterize the oppressive rule of Isaias Afewerqi as Tyranny but nobody deals with the unavoidable question: Tyranny to what end?

    Lately, many Eritrean websites had posted a secret transcript of interview the late Meles Zenawi, in 1990, gave to the late Paul Henze. As I read along, the following caught my attention, “…

    MZ: The EPLF has the problem that the population hates the Derg so much that it has all become separatist. The population wants independence to be declared as soon as the EPLF takes Asmara. Isaias understands some of the difficulties of this because he has thought a lot about it in the past year. But he has terrible pressures
    from his people. It is a difficult issue for him.
    PBH: Are the Eritrean highland Christians as strongly in favor of an immediate declaration of independence as Muslims?
    MZ: There are different opinions on this, but we think that the whole population wants independence. They may not understand what it means. These people were once strongly in favor of unity with Ethiopia. The Shoan Amharas destroyed that feeling.
    The highlanders are getting more impatient than the leadership of the EPLF. Isaias sees problems in independence and does not want to rush and create difficulties for himself, but he doesn’t have full control over this issue…”

    Was Meles Zenawi patently lying when he attributed EPLF separatism to the hatred of Dergi, or was he prevy to deeper and darker motive of Isaias Afewerqi than the ordinary EPLFs were aware of?

    Why did Meles Zenawi imply that there was difference between the people and Isaias Afewerqi with respect to Eritrean Independence? Again, was he lying, or was he prevy to deeper and darker motives of Isaias Afewerqi than the ordinary EPLFs were aware of?

    Why did Meles Zenawi said that the issue of Independence was a difficult issue for Isaias Afewerqi, at a time when Ethiopian colonialism was falling down like house of cards?

    When Meles Zenawi said that Isaias Afewerqi saw problems in Independence, …did not want to rush and creat problems for himself … did not have full control over this issue… What did he mean? and is the prevailing situation in Eritrea the realization of what Meles Zenawi was secretly telling to Paul Henze?

    • Mesgena

      That interview gave me a different but a realistic explanation of the war which Isayas dared to invoke and all the systems he is now using to keep besiege the country. I don’t think he was lying as I can’t him gaining anything out of it.

  • Feday

    If what you are telling us is true it is a big deal. However for that to happen you need to stop the yellow journalism and tell the people who paid the 35000 us dollars to come forward and tell us the true story. If not your assertion will remain a simple drama created by you to woo peoples attention for different reason..

    • Saleh Gadi

      Selam Feday,
      It sounds like you know the “truth.” Then I beg you to tell me and the others the truth that you know. C’mon, I am kindly inviting you to tell us the truth.

      one last thing: This is how you started you commen, “If what you are telling us is true it is a big deal.”

      Could you be specific please? What is that I told you and what is the “big deal.”?

  • Kokhob Selam

    every time the two Salehs write an article, we witness some people ask about Ali Abdu, I really don’t know why. Ali has his own way and every one of us has his own way in fighting against PFDJ. in fact it is better some time to be quite and silent for some like Ali than talking nonsense like that Mesfin and Adhanom. if you don’t serve the people and try to confuse to cover your historical crime better keep yourself aside. another thing that should be clear is this way or the other most of our politicians were some where in EPLF or PFDJ circle which makes them always frighten and victimized not only by PFDJ but others.some try to show us diffident personality to hide the truth and some came and surrender to the mass, the mass which is not organized well and expose them selves to dangers.

    let’s leave the people like Ali in peace at this moment and let them chose their way. instead, we need to fight the enemy in Asmara. “thehmuqo aleni betrey habuni” will not serve us. if all those who are serving DIA come out of Asmara and be calm like Ali we could have gained a lot.

    and let us really stand for truth and work practically. only then we can attract all. otherwise how comes some one will talk all secrets to some one who don’t show his boldness.

    • Defending Ali and Attacking Mesfin and Adhanom… this is the partial line of propagation of … Te’azazibna ena.

      • Saleh Gadi

        Selam Meron,
        You are supposedly responding to a commentator who uses forum just like you do. However, you have the audacity to lambast, “this is the partial line of propagation of”.

        Are you not enjoying the privilage of posting your views like anybody else on a forum that provides? Please think twice before you run wild like you did.

        • Selam Gadi,

          I appreciate for posting my comment in the blog. I might have been wrong to paint the same color to the commentator with just because he reflects to what wants us to think about the case of Ali. His comment in this or that way is tuned in line to Sals. article which was the biggest attempt to covering the case of Ali and to silence anyone who is interested to know about it.

          As i said in my previous comments i don’t have any problem about Ali’s decision to shut his mouth. But i can’t comprehend Awate’s stance on that issue, specially since this website have been used sharp pen on criticizing other officials or highlighting others defections. No doubt this lack of integrity have led people like me to think otherwise about

          I apologize in advance if i have offended you.

          • Saleh Gadi

            Offend me? If I can be offended that easy I wouldn’t have lasted this long. No you didn’t offened me. I am just curious, we at believe the sky is mostly blue, if Isaias says “the sky is mostly blue, does that mean we share the same view and will be held responsible for what he says? Think about that.

            On the second point, what is that exactly you want us to do regarding Ali Abdu? Can you specify it, maybe you have a point that we missed.

      • Suleiman Gama

        Dear. Meron

        ” Te’azazibna ena” <— menn ekhuom ? can you please clarify it since we all want to have an honest and open discussion. Tnx

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Meron
        “this is the partial line” what do you mean? thinking that way become exposed your partiality sickness but me i have nothing to make me close the Ali than Mesfin. and then please tackle the idea than the man. you see, those who went out of pfdj are of different type. those who expose PFDJ including their own crimes, those who prefer to be calm and those who defend their crime but want to tell us only DIA is criminal. imagine now Sebhat run from PFDJ and just be calm isn’t for our advantage?

    • Selam Kokhob Selam,

      Here you come, defending Ali and attacking Mesfin and Adhanom is clear what it means.

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Meron,

        Adhanom and Mesfin already open a war with Wedi Tamano. and they call it “iti kale’e kunat” (the other war). it seems defending their history is more important than the nation itself, isn’t it? do we need another war now at this moment? do we even start to face properly the first enemy? that is what i mean. if they were just calm in one corner of this wide world it was better instead of adding another fire. Ali is calm and if we need to talk with him we should first clean the remaining garbage in Asmara and have a legal procedure and call for justice. and take may words as granted that even you and me will not free of mistakes in our past history.

        • Dear Kokhob Selam,

          Opposing the government in Eritrea and narrating your own way of History is different. Everyone know Tesfay Temenwo has participate in the revolution for just 6 years. And he was not a member of ranks and files of PLF and later EPLF. These two points clearly can tell his lack of access to the core information of the organisation.

          So, if some one came to narrate to the case he hadn’t first hand account and if he did it in a very twisted way Adhanom and Mesfin have a right to tell their first hand account without discrediting the limited first hand account of Tesfay.

          Another point is, that man has not lasted the struggle for independence which able to regain an Independent Eritrea by defeating the biggest army in Africa and its sup-powers back. If our revolution was like Tesfay’s expression, we could not liberate our country, regain our independence and defend it to this date.

          Let Tesfay talk only about things what he know and experience in his short stay in the field and at the same time let the fighters who marched to the independence talk their first hand account about the twisted narration of Tesfay.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Meron,

            if i start to talk about Mesfin and Adhano I will again be like them as it is not the right time. the people who marched toward Asamara are always the people who make the impossible and we are all not individuals. we should all be proud of our determination but we should also correct our mistakes.

            Meron, i have my own version of history and i can say a lot about those guys. but that will not support the struggle. at this very moment we should all agree we have one enemy.that is all. so if you your words will hurt and not for advantage of our struggle is better to be calm. we should not lose single soul who believe Eritrea is the result of our long struggle and we need democratic government.

    • melese

      Ali is silent for a reason, he had a big mouth for his boss. There is no way he can say anything, it does not mean he wants peace. He was the loudest man.

  • Semere ANdom

    Dear Haile:
    Dear B Ali:
    You are comparing a private citizen with a former public figure. As you know every job/career has its own occupational hazards and being a public figure is no exception. Ali Abdu was not only a public figure he was the right hand of Isaias Afewerki, he was jumping up and down to sanitize the crimes he conspired to commit with DIA. Now he has defected and you want him have the right to keep silent the same way a private Eritrean has the right. Ali Abdu has no right to be silent. He called our brethren who were murdered in AdiAboyto a bunch of hooligans and criminals, he accused every political prisoner of high crimes of treason and he co-ordered their murder. He has blood on his hands and you Mr. Justice in Chief giving him the right to be silent like Meron and Efrem. Who gave you the right to give that right of silence to Ali Abdu and to take away the right of people like Meron to ask the questioned they asked, or are y our telling us since Ali defected it all right now let us hold hands, let us forget what he said and what he is accused of
    If your position is the same like’s that time is not right, his partners, family and close friends will be negatively impacted by his coming open, is another matter and makes sense. But if you are pontificating about the right to be silent, Ali Abdu has waived his right to be silent or to take the fifth in the USA constitutional parlance
    If he wants to redeem and cleanse himself from the crimes of DIA, he has only one option, he knows it, you know it and I know it, we all know it, he has to cooperate with the Eritrean people. He has the right and the potential to redeem himself. It is not too late.
    In the nighties he wrote series of poems under the pen name Tsegereda Ghebreamlak, his wife. One of the poems I remember was “ንነብዕ እወ፣ ዝነዝሕ ንነብዕ፡ ከመይ ዘይንነብዕ . Now the Eritrean people are weeping and he has the information to give them solace and closure of what happened to their loved ones. He has no choice or right except telling it all. He is intimately privy to all the dirty work of DIA. It will sad, if he disappears to the thin air like M. Shengeb did, another former PFDJ, with bloody hands. I know this because he was instrumental in arresting of Moslem Eritrean student union leaders under the falls Jihad accusation.

    There is nothing personal about Ali Abdu,whether is current like Yemane and DIA or former like he is now he has to be on the side of the victims.
    One of the song sof EPLF “እዋይ ነበር ሙኻን ክሓስም”: It is cruel to be former/EX, this was one of the putdown song to the ELF fighters after they were eradicated by the help of Woyane. Now I can imagine young Ali singing it in the mountins of Ararb. But time is also equally cruel and he is where he is now. But unlike that of the ELF fighters who faced a cruel enenmy in the PFDJ Ali faces a forgiving people. he can redeem himself, but not while swaddled in the mendacious assurances of Haile of his right to remain silent


    • haile

      Dear Semere

      I hope the geez texts that you’ve included doesn’t alter the message, as I can’t see geez right now.

      But you don’t seem to have grasped the points being contested here. Ali Abdu would do well to give all the information that you seek of him. Ali Abdu may/may not need to do all those things you say. However, this is not about Ali Abdu!!! It is sickening and disgusting to see people acting holier than thou while abusing familiy members who should not be approached about the matter.

      Frankly speaking, you guys are asking for saay to come forward and present you with this “magic bullet” interview. It is likely that saay has done far greater contribution in the opposition that many of these mandatious and rude individuals. If they want to get Ali Abdu to say something, why don’t they get off their lazy azz and find him and share with us what he tells them. The fact that saay is not responding (by way of a buzz off really) seems to give the guys harping about this issue the mistaken belief that they are into something here. No, ther’re not.

      saay is a family and we all have families in all sorts of places, and we don’t owe any one a jackall explanation about those family members. I honestly find it embarassing that people would even contemplete questioning a family member for something that has nothing to do with them.

      Why don’t Assenna, Asmarino, even BBC find him and talk to the man. If your intention is to attack and you’re using this, then fair game but it still is cheap and immoral to do so.

      So, here is again…This is not about Ali Abdu..comprende?

      • semere Andom

        I took you up your pontification of the right of Ali Abdu to remain silent and I never said, or my friend SAAY to do it. I never mentioned anyone. I was rebutting your for your knack of defending criminals So I am not going to take your shallow bate here. About assenna or bbc, I am not talking about them either, I am talkig about you and Ali Abdu. Some one mentioned Ali Abdu and your used your privelge to comment on that and I commented on your comments, I am not asking awate.comn or saay to interview Ali, I am telling you that Ali has not right to remain silent, whether he does his via wiki leaks or hadas Eritrea when PFDJ is gone is irrelevant. Your wrong and self-serving assertion that Ali or any former PFDJ official have the right to remain silent is werong and your futile attempt to put words in my mouth is vomit enducing and enducing and I urge you to rebutt me on what I said. It will not surprise me that when DIA has defected you will tell us that he has the right to remain silent and you will quote from the unratified Eritrea.
        I am using the comment to attack your ideas and what is cheap is your PFDJ style lies and there is not honor or mimicking PFDJ

        • haile


          “Vomit”??? Ok let’s give you time to clean up yourself and start over again. People have the right to remain silent unless ordered to testify under a legal warrant. If you are such ignorant to the basic facets of human rights, it is doubtful that you are as big as you make your words to sound. You are a mob justice vigilante, and should not be entertaining politics, law and justice. It is way out of your league. It is people like you who are destroying our nation and future, with nothing more than sheer evil and hatrade. Hope you clean your vomit after yourself.

          • semere Andom

            your proved your are disgusgting again.It is your game to divide people and pit people against each other and I am sure I cannot match you in insults and putdowns because you are PFDJ mole, “leklaki” I never claimed am big, but am asure I am bigger than you. Ali Abdu was not the subject of this article but you commented on it and I commented. Your actions so far prove that if PFDJ offers you a stipend you will not hestiate to rat on us to languishe in the containers that are probably financed by your 2%
            You expect me not to be ouraged by the crimes against my people. You claim the right to be ouraged by someone who merely calls YPFDJ Hitler youth and expect me be cool about the crimes and words uttered publicly.
            The vomite enduced by your will be cleaned by you and when the time comes no one will be opening their doors for you to dodge the wave of justice

          • haile


            If I wanted to support PFDJ, I wouldn’t hesitate on account of “vomit” drooling vigilante like you. You jumped to call Eritreans Nazi, you jumped to castigate the Rashaida tribe, you jumped to divide people about not talking about something beyond their control…I will not only put you down, but roll you in there really good…grow up!

        • If I am not mistaken, Ali Abdu is using his “Miranda right”. He has chosen to remain silent because anything he says can be used against him in “hadas Ertra”. He needs a lawyer who can speak on his behalf until we get to “Canaan”. Just a thought!

          • haile


            …and what right is Mengistu Hailemariam using?

            It really is bothersome to deal with people who are born brand new with every issue! no memory, no recollection, contrast with the past…

  • Ghenet

    ‘My point: we need to develop the habit of writing diaries, articles, blogs, etc.’

    I would say we need to call for the immediate unity (kind of unconditional)of the opposition parties to accelerate the end of the misery.
    It is not a good trace of our time to leave for our children. It is a shameful situation which we should cut short.

  • Gadi,

    Now a days, when it comes to many Eritrean readers as well as writers it has become a norm to be obsessed to criticism, judgement, assessment,…etc, and of course to make it worse without vigilance, especially with the youth that worships the pfdg culture. Therefore, such educational articles like yours should be read, re-read and digest carefully. I loved your article for it demonstrates the current situation of our people clearly. With this in mind, we also have dare to tell the truth about what we want to the country. As you stated above a head with out memory is just like a pot without water which in turn is worthless. Yes, many of us believe believe that LIFE is simply MEMORY and no less or more. However, if we want to get what we want, we also have an obligation to tell the whole truth. Why? because if we compromise, minimize, by pass,.. we definitely are denying our heart’s desire.

    So, dear Gadi, in many occasions you had expressed yourself that you are an activist as well as a journalist and that is well taken. During the last years you were able to sit down and interview many, “I say many opposition leaders and deserters” including nation leaders. Your role was appreciated and readers were so thirsty for next. But, then comes Ali Abdu case and you choice silence. Why? what happened to your journalism? Is this like if you are a pedestrian doctor but not qualified to check your immediate family? I am just wondered like those many, but not confused.

  • Hamid Hamid

    Abu Salah,

    The first paragraphs of your article make the reader prepared to read through a detailed accounts of the horrifying stories that our people has to deal with, but you changed to different topic. I was disappointed at the time when I saw the last paragraph which meant an end to the rather excellent storytelling technique that you started your article with. the second half of your piece could have been an independent article.

  • Semir

    Mr Gadi talk about your cousin Ali

  • abou yara

    Some poeple are naive asking vital informaton to be published in public network from Ali Abdou they just make me lough how naive they are…

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Mr.Saleh,

    it was nice to read such educational article. everything was interesting including the subject of art you brought here. nice advice. as everything else, art can be fruitful when it gets feed back including objections and suggestions. I thought of using this equation in requesting your advice in my own work in Jebana (my poems).will it be useful and serve the mass? if so, you will have to read a lot including those old (as old as 35 years).

  • Tamrat Tamrat


    I dont think there is any harm in improving Our ways of opposing pfdj or any dictators. And at the same time we must never undermine the contribution of those ‘mediocre’ images. Taking Our larg aduience and their Access to any media into concideration those ‘midiocre’ Pictures shocked negativly the pfdj supporters while the non pfdj found some propotional image outside of their thinking Box at tleast in the beginning.

    Now off course we dont need those Pictures, plain isayas Picture will do the job.

  • Efrem

    Dear writer:

    I appreciate your message; and it is true what you say: “quiteness helps the crime and criminals”. Let me dare you though: why don’t ask Ali Abdu to speak what he knows, because by being quite of whatever he knows helps the regime. I think, why don’t apply what you imply here to yourself. I was always thinking: why awate team just keep quite with Ali Abdu’s stroy… And you said it yourself today. Again, I really appreciate, and hope you will take my dare

    • B Ali

      I am still amazed and embarrassed by you, people. Ali Abdu removed himself from the public eye, so current news about him would be only personal, but then, perhaps you would like to know what he had for breakfast today, or if he had a walk this morning, or may be if he shaved properly this morning,
      what is exactly that you want, people. or is it pure airing of envy and hate. what can I say except: ‘Mutu Bighaizikum’ if you ever have the wit to understand what It means.
      Yemane Monkey, General Menjos, General Flippos, and I. Afeworki are the important people, the people to follow the news of, forget your fixation on Ali Abdu, compared to any of the above mentioned relatives of yours (your note emplies that) he is as innocent as a lamb.

      • Efrem

        No body is fixated on Ali; I am not asking about what he eat for breakfast. Rather, I am asking if Awate team if encourage Ali to speak what he knows so that the struggle for liberation would be easier. I am daring the writer is he can do whatever possible to do. “B Ali” don’t forget how Ali’s personal decisions affected many people’s lives. God bless your hear for telling me his innocence. Since I know him personally, don’t try to make him a saint. Ali is Ali – no less, no more.

      • Efrem

        I was reading your comment again; and I regret to reply to your divisive and childish comment.

      • Ghenet

        B. Ali,
        Why would we forget Ali and his deeds.Once he decided to go into the public eye and commit what he committed, he has given up his right to remove him helf from it. Whether you like it or not, he will have to answer to the eritrean seople. and so will for their silence concerning him.

    • Saleh Gadi

      My message applies to anyone who keeps quite. But as they say, l’qered fi nefs Yaacob (ask someone to explain it to you), you make it sound as if I absolved some, left out others, and addressed my message to specific people. If you think I have power over any free adult; it means you also have it. Stop being childish.

      • Efrem

        Well, I understand your explanation – until the part of how you can not dictate free adults (means people like Ali). Fortunately/unfortunately, didn’t get the part about me being childish. I wish….

    • haile


      How do you know that Mr. Ali Abdu hasn’t spoken? How do you know about the details of his situation? When you ask something, wouldn’t it go without saying that you need to know what you are talking about? Or is it that unless some information is plastered on public forums, it means that it hasn’t been shared?

      By the way, who are you? What are your credentials to request the information that you are seeking? Whom are you affiliated with? How do you intend to use the information? What specific areas of your struggle do you hope to address by acquiring the information you are after? Are you prepared to forward your full name, picture and location info. in order to get the information? At least Ali Abdu is publicly known, what about Efrem? What is your background? What roles have you played in relation to Eritrea in the past and at present?

      I hope you would be candid with these information, just like you ask others to be.

      • Daniel


        That is an ugly attack on a perfect legitimate question. Since none of has hasn´t heard anything, we can safely assume he hasn´t spoken out. Ali Abdu has escaped the country like so many before him, but the difference is that he was the information minister and was part of the inner circle that has led Eritrea to this disaster. We want him to expose this maffiaregime to ordinary Eritreans. We want him to speak out about how it works inside the regime, who does what and who besides DIA are the driving for the policy that are sending Eritrea to hell.

        A.Abdus information would be vital to the opposition to learn about the structural organisation within PDFJ. I have never heard that a government minister defects, but remains silent instead of exposing the very government his conscious decided he can no longer participate in. Only in Eritrea. This silence only leads to unnecessary speculations that could easily be shot down by telling us what he knows. Otherwise as Saleh pointed, he could be silent because he doesnt want to embarrass the government, if you catch my drift.

        • haile


          Trust me, I really tried to catch your drift…, unfortunately, it was impossible to catch your drift because you’re chasing a wind.

          “Perfect legitimate questions” – where does legitimacy come when asking questions while writing in disguise?

          “none of has hasn´t heard anything” and how did you ascertain that?

          “we can safely assume…” and who are ‘we”?

          “We want him to expose this maffiaregime to ordinary Eritreans.” you need Ali Abdu to do that for you, and you call yourself an opposition? PFDJ does that for you for free everyday, just look around you!

          “who does what and who besides DIA are the driving for the policy that are sending Eritrea to hell.” I thought the D in your acronym stands for dictatorship…does it matter at all for anyone to answer your question?

          “A.Abdus information would be vital to the opposition to learn about the structural organisation within PDFJ.” Which of the 35+ opposition would you think benefit the most? (Pun intended) why not worry about the “opposition’s” structural organization?

          ” I have never heard that a government minister defects, but remains silent” are you sure about that?

          “This silence only leads to unnecessary speculations ..” huh as if you’ve come here to do anything but!

      • Selam Efrem and Gadi

        Any one has legitimate right to ask to know what he/she wants to know about the x-public figure. At the same time Ali has a right to shut his mouth. What’s amazing is Awate’s silence on the issue just out of narrow and parochial sentiments. It is easy to imagine what Awate would have said had Mr. Yemane Gebreab had done the treason instead of Ali.

        • haile


          Could you please use your “legitimate right to ask” to present your questions. Here is how to do it:

          -Write a formal article in or other websites that verify your identity, requesting the information from Mr. Ali Abdu.

          It is laughable that you try to hide your identity (effectively shutting up your mouth) and would like to take liberty with other people’s persona and image. Get real! Tell us who you are, or you can “shut your mouth up” as you said.


          • Haile,

            You seem that you are ready to disclose your real name as you are challenging Meron to tell us who she/he is; and advice her/him to write an article in the major websites under verifiable identity? The challenge would have been real if you would have done before Meron. Otherwise who will wear the eyeglass of hypocrites. Do not pretend to have the moral virtue of courage.

          • haile


            You are Wrong!

            I am not asking for people to talk if they don’t want to. But Meron, Efrem, are. As such they need to be open about themselves too. We all have choices on levels of privacy. But you can’t deny that to others (Relatives of Ali Abdu in this case) in the same breath.

            Aman, give this one a rest, no hope of helping this hopeless case, they’re nuts. You want stick one to me, let’s do it over other issues. This one is dead case.

          • Haile,
            So long as you are not a public figure as I do me or anyone else is not interested to know who I am or who you are – let me underline it, I am not interested to know who you really are.
            I don’t understand in defense of whom you are talking about. But if you are talking in defense of Ali I don’t have any ambitions to hear anything from that garbage. And if you are talking in defense of Awate I don’t have ears to buy your stuff so long as the Awate stuff is alive.
            I can understand how big mouth you have about Issayas or you could have if other officials like Yamane had done the cowardice act of Ali.
            At last, if you are trying to silence us and to follow the foot step of Awate in the case of Ali I would like to assure you your endeavor will fruit nothing – for a simple reason that we are not as narrow and parochial as you.

          • Ghenet

            Or whoever you are, you need to control your temper. What is laughable is that you are upset because someone asked Salih to be an exampleon what he advices and write about Ali.Why would Salih advice people to write about the crimes committed on them and others if he does not want to share what he knows about someone people believe has committed unspeakable crimes. Why would Salh want read about the beatings and the rapes an the harrassment going on in eritrea that are himulating and he actually zips his mouth about information that people beleive is close to him?

  • yegermal
  • yegermal

    “I urge those who do not have artistic skills to stay away from publishing their mediocre images and instead spend their time getting art classes (or Photoshop lessons). Stick to what you do best.” Talk about condescending! Why bother to speak about an issue as silly and rampant photoshopped pics; as if it is a game-changing issue? Coming from SG, it is very disappointing! Deterioration!

    • zegeremo

      Dear Yegermal,

      Just curios, Are you bipolar or just moody? Please try no to comment when you are in a frantic mood. ugh…


    • Translate

      I want to maintain a positive disposition. So instead of admonishing you like zegeremo, I decided to highlight some of the important messages I take from Saleh Gadi’s invaluable piece. And that is that Eritreans are like the Phoenix. We are tough people who are down at this point of our history for all the world to see. My friend, use the good message and leave the rest. We all treasure this place Eritrea whose survival is at stake.

    • Saleh Gadi

      You presented a link to an obviously professional Libyan team painting superb cartoons. That is what I am calling for: professionalism. Not mediocrity. Quality matters and if you cannot produce good quality work, don’t do it. When you see the images that appear on our pages, you can tell who should give more and who should retreat from a job they don’t have skills for. Leave it to those who can do it best. What is wrong with calling for good quality work and professionalism my dear?

      • yegermal

        Mediocrity or professionalism would be relevant only if we were dealing with an art competition. However, here we are only dealing with one’s chosen medium of expression of frustration. More relevantly, would it really make the movement more robust if someone used a “professional” cartoon or caricature to represent the YPFDJ? That is the gist of my criticism of your take. In addition, and here I may be reading too much into it, it sounds as if you were implying that the realm of art belongs to you and only you. The article began well examining the attitudes of the a people that is “down” but it quickly degenerated into hatew ketew. I also noticed that you are exhibiting a tad of intolerance towards others’ opinion about whether the docile “camel will bite”. I called the camel toothless (at the moment) . And in response, you opted not to post my comment. If that is not deterioration in your democratic views what is?

        As for the others’ that I seem to have raffled their feathers for simply criticizing your take, I shall remind them that “free speech is the pivot of democracy” and it cuts both ways. Nothing personal on my part!