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A Letter from a Martyr!

I am an “Asmarino”, born and raised in Asmara. My father was a senior government bureaucrat. We lived in the affluent neighbourhood of “Tiravolo”. I was enrolled in a private Italian school, “Botego”. My father wanted me to be “ingegnere”. He promised me that as soon as I finish my high school, he would send me to Italy to complete my studies. My class mates were mostly Italian, I become very fluent in the Italian language and well versed in Italian culture. My life was happy, everything around me seemed to be perfect. I was eagerly waiting for the day I would go to Italy to become ingegnere. I had no doubt in my mind that this will happen, I believed my father had the means and the connections to make it a reality.

From “Tiravolo” to “Idaga Hamos

On occasional Sundays my father used to go to the Italian “Bar Danadai”, on Leonardo da Vinci Avenue, to play bowling and sip his favorite Italian cappuccino. On a fateful Sunday, he left home to go to “Bar Danadai” and never came back. We frantically searched for him everywhere until we found him languishing in the “Karsheli” prison in Asmara. After one year of imprisonment, he was set free with other prisoners on the occasion of the birthday anniversary of “Janhoi”, King Haile Selassie. My father came back home, but he wasn’t the same person we knew. He was strong in spirit, but physically severely weakened. He had back pains, he limped when he walked and had scars of torture on his body. He was suspected of harbouring antigovernment views. He tried to go back to his work, but he found his position was taken by an Amharic speaking official from Addis Ababa.

Living in “Tiravolo” and going to private Italian school became beyond our means. We moved to the “Idaga Hamus” neighbourhood and I was enrolled in the nearest public school, “Benevolent School”, commonly known as “Islamia”. The transition to new neighbourhood, new school and change in life style was painful. But with time, not only was I fully adjusted to our new poorer life, but I started to prefer it over my life in “Tiravolo”. ”Idaga Hamos” opened my eyes, it connected me with the realities in the ground. Here I started feeling the pulse of my people and seeing firsthand the ugly face of occupation.  In “Idaga Hamos”, I saw, in the live stock market, the public hanging of many young innocent Eritreans. In school and neighbourhood, stories of imprisonment, torture, disappearance were stories I heard commonly. I witnessed the sudden disappearance of some of my teachers, I saw hundreds of displaced beggars who run to Asmara, after their villages were destroyed and their livelihood were shattered by the “commandos” and “Tor Serawit”.

From “ingegnere” to “tegadelai”

As my awareness of the suffering of my people increased, my sense of duty and responsibility towards my people was weighing heavily on my conscience. In the alleys of “Idaga Hamos” and the school backyard, I chatted with my friends regularly about the atrocities of the occupation and what we should do to stop it. We spoke about “Jebha”, some friends suggested taking arms by joining “Jebha”. I was becoming restless, I wanted to do something to end the suffering of my people. On the summer school break, I made up my mind and with a group of friends I sneaked out of Asmara and joined the struggle, I officially became “tegadelai”!

Life as a “tegadelai” was tough and dangerous. We slept on bare grounds, we traveled at night on foot for long distances, food and water was scarce and we regularly encountered wild animals. But despite all the hardships, the sense of camaraderie and common purpose was deeply comforting. We were all young, we deeply cared for each other, we were all selfless, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of our country and we had no objective other than the full emancipation of our people. The songs of “Wedi Gebru” resonated with us:
Let my eyes flow,
Let my jaw be crushed
I shall die for my country
Country isn’t a trivial matter![i]
Certainly, not everything in the front was good. I personally, didn’t like the Marxist-Leninist ideology indoctrination we were subjected to. I felt our struggle wasn’t ideological nor class struggle. Our struggle was for freedom and justice. Introducing ideological element to our struggle will only create more social tension and diversion. I also didn’t like the factional and partisan politics. Calling other “tegadelti” in other groups as “reactionaries” was wrong. I saw them as partners in the struggle, not foes to be eliminated. However, I saw these as pains of growing that shouldn’t overshadow the greater noble objectives of the struggles.

Our struggles was gaining momentum, our enemy was in retreat and our imminent victory was in reach. We had captured hundredth of enemy soldiers. The first time I saw captured enemy soldiers, I was full of rage and desire to take revenge, but after seeing their frightened faces, their relatively young age and listening to their stories, my rage and vengeance turned to sympathy and compassion. Many of these soldiers were forced to join the army and many didn’t know why and who they were fighting. They were told that they were fighting few “wenbedewach” bandits who wanted to destroy the country. I came to realize that these soldiers, similar to us, were victims. They weren’t the enemy, the real enemy were those rich and powerful elites who were occupying our country and driving these young soldiers to their demise.

From “tegadalai” to martyr

To counter our advance, the enemy was preparing a major offensive. We spent weeks in planning and preparation, I was assigned a major task. The enemy unleashed an aerial and ground bombardment that turned the ground to hell. We held our ground, we frustrated the enemy’s attempts to advance and we finally managed to break through his ranks. As we were advancing, I was fatally injured with a bomb and fell to the ground motion less. I was placed under the shade of a tree, my comrades were trying to comfort me, but it was clear to me that my days were numbered, I was to become a martyr!

Dreams and worries of a martyr

As I was struggling with my pain and injury, my mind was swamped with all kinds of thoughts. In one way I felt sad that I will not witness independence “nazenet” and fulfil the dreams of my parents of becoming “ingegnere”, but on the other hand, I felt a sense of accomplishment for making the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of my country and people.

I started envisioning life after independence. I envisioned independent Eritrea where “Karsheli”, “sembel” and other notorious prisons will be closed once and for ever and no one would ever go to jail for expressing their political opinions. I envisioned independent Eritrea where no mother will spend sleepless nights because of her children’s disappearance. I envisioned an Eritrea of rule of law and due process; an Eritrea of equal opportunity, dignity and integrity.

As I was engaged in my visions of independent Eritrea, a frightening set of questions crossed my mind.

Could it be possible that my visions never take place?

Could the fruits of our struggle be stolen from our people?

Could the “liberators” turn into new “tormentors”?

Could the jailers change but jails remain as is?

Could Eritrea turn into another Zimbabwe or Mozambique, a country of one man and one faction?

These questions rattled me, but I quickly dismissed them. I said, my people have sacrificed so much, and they will not let anyone steal the fruits of their struggles from them.

I felt my injuries weighing heavily on my body, I saw tears in the eyes of my comrades, who saw, as I saw, the slowly creeping death. In these final moments, I was thinking of my legacy and how I and other martyrs of the struggle will be remembered. I was sure that a day will be designated as “martyrs day’, celebrations will be held every year, speeches will be made about our heroic sacrifices and flowers will be laid on martyrs’ monument. To me, these has become rituals followed by every nation; I cared less about them and they are in my view sentimental in nature. I felt the best way to remember and honour our sacrifice is to turn Eritrea into a tower of freedom, justice, human rights, peace and social cohesion. Anything less than that will be a betrayal of our sacrifice. 


Fellow Eritreans, I gave up my dream of becoming an “ingegnere”, I endured so much pain and I made the ultimate sacrifice so that you don’t experience what my generation experienced under occupation.  I and my comrades made the ultimate sacrifice so that you will live in your country with dignity, freedom, respect and with no fear. We did our part of ending the occupation, now is your turn to reap the fruits and ensure it remains within your reach.

May Eritrea be a model nation and a pride for all generations to come!

[i] Ae’ntae yefsesa,
yeseber mu’ghurtai,
kimotela aleni,
waza aekonen hager!

About Ismael Ibraheem Al-Mukhtar

Ismael Al-Mukhtar is a scholar, a mentor, and and Eritrean writer. He lives in Canada

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  • mokie berhe

    Salam all. The ‘TPLF has destroyed the lives of thousands of Eritreans, Ethiopians including their own Tigrayans and Somalis for two decades. They economically raped Ethiopia by which the TPLF millionaire and billionaire club flourished. Now, that the Dedebits are cornered, some of their shameless and remorseless leaders are asking for peace with the Eritrean Government to save the wrath of Ethiopians. TPLF: -You cannot disgrace a disgraceful man; you cannot make a shameless man feel ashamed; you cannot make a cockroach a cockroach, because it is already a cockroach!-.

    • Nitricc

      Hi Mokie Berhe; It is a must. The reason the peace progress is slow and at times scratchy is because it didn’t include TPLF thugs. At the moment, TPLF is powerless to do anything good but extremely dangerous to do everything evil. TPLF has no power in Ethiopia but look what they are doing? TPLF will die before it gives the credit of peace with Eritrea to PMAA. They want peace with Eritrea desperately but if they have to they will derail this PMAA initiated peace and then initiate their own TPLF one. So if I was PIA, I will visit Mekele. All he has to do is visit Tigray, really.

    • Consolation

      Hi Mokie,

      The TPLF is a criminal organization that has committed horrendous crimes in the horn of Africa. The region cannot have peace until this cancer is totally eradicated. To add insult to injury, these thugs are still sitting on sovereign Eritrean lands. How long are the people of Eritrea to take this flagrant insult?

  • mokie berhe

    Salam all. Eritreans never ever forgive TPLF

    EP’s Editorial: We Remember Shambuko Martyrs Cemetery

    20 June 2019 (EP) – Eritreans were angered when TPLF led Ethiopian government desecrated the Shambuko village’s Martyrs Cemetery in summer days in 2000.

    What shocked the Eritreans the most was the place was the burial place of 180 martyrs (pictured) who had fought during the war of liberation, and who had fought alongside the Dedebit rebels.

    Even the bones of our martyrs had been dug up by TPLF and left strewn on the surface.

    • Paulos


      መርትዖ ተለካ ኣርኤና ተዘይኮነ ጻዕዳ ሓሶት ኣይትሓሱ!

      • Mesfin

        Thank you for asking the two. The two do not have proof. They are propagandist.

    • mokie berhe

      Salam all. To add that the Shambuko Martyrs Cemetery was also the burial place of the 8 officials & colonels who were killed by TPLF at the end of 1997 before the 1998 war.

  • Haile S.

    ሰላም ሰብ ዓወተ፡

    ክብሪ ንስውኣት

    ጽባሕ ክኽበርዩ መዓልቲ ስውኣት
    ህይወቶም ዝስኣኑ ምእንቲ ውጹዓት

    ነኽብር ነብዕል ናይ-ስጋ ህሉዋት
    ስክፍታ ከነውርድ ኰንና ተረፍ ምውታት

    እቶም ዘለና ንብል እንቋዕ ሃለና
    እቶም ዝመቱ ይብሉ እንቋዕ ከድና
    ነጻነት ዘምጸአ መን ይኾን ካብ ኩልና
    ዘለና ንብል ንሕና፡ ስውኣት ዘንጊዕና
    ምውታት ይብሉ ንሕና፡ እናርኣዩ ንዓና
    ይብሉ፡ ይኾኑ ይሕበኑ፡ ነዚኦም ኣፍሪና
    እንታይ እሞ ክገብሩ፡ ገዲፎም ጥራይ ንዓና
    ተስፍኦም ኮይኑ-ተሪፉ፡ ኣብዞም ዝተረፍና
    ዘይምለሱ ኮይኖም ርሒቖም ካባና

    ጣዕሳ የለን ኣብ ዝኸደ ኣብ ዝመተ
    ዝቐበጸ ክኸይድ ኣንዊሑ ኣብ ዘቛመተ
    እንተዘይደሊ መስሓበ ንድሕሪት ምተጎተ
    ክብሪ ንሃቦ ነቲ ዝኸደ፡ ነቲ ብኽብሪ ዝመተ

    ዝጥዓስ እዩ እቲ ብህይወት ዘሎ
    ኩሉ ኣብ ኢደ-እግሩ ዘሎ እንዳመሰሎ
    ክደሊ፡ ኣስታዪ ጸባ፡ ከይደሊ ለኻዪ ጸለሎ
    ዝኣስር ዝፈትሕ ዝሰርሕ ብጽፍሩ ዓዲ ሓሎ
    ናይ ኩሉ ክኢላ፡ ሰራሕ ባቡር ሰራሕ ፈርኔሎ

    ዝኸደ ግና ሓንቲ እያ ድምጹ፡ እታ ቓሉ
    ንጽባሕ ንድሕሪ-ጽባሕ ዝብሎ ዘይብሉ
    ህይወቱ ሂቡዋ ሰዊእዋ ካይሓሰበ ንባዕሉ
    ከማይ ከይቆጸረ ከይሓሰበ ዝሃዳድመሉ
    ኣብ ሓሳብና ይንበር ንዘለዓለም ይሃሉ
    ስውእ ኣይምተባህለን እንተዝህሉ
    ጽላሎቱ ትንበር ዘለኣለም ትሃሉ
    ዘሎ ይትረፍ፡ ኣብ ዝኸደ ተማህለሉ

  • Nitricc

    May Eritrea be a model nation and a pride for all generations to come!

    Hi Ismail; reading your take and listening to the new interview with professor Mesfin; took me somewhere I didn’t want to go. In the interview he said very interesting thing. He was asked why he is always known for making troubles for all Ethiopian governments and he has seen them all and his answer was, I am not the problem. When the government and high officials sent us to overseas to be educated and we did. When we came back well educated, we were a changed people while they were the same, that is the beginning and all the sources of the all problems. This is very telling to why there problems with the Government of Eritrea and the diaspora. He was talking from the king all the way to Abiy. While I was listening, I ask myself when he thinks of Ethiopia who might come to his mind. He has been through all Ethiopia administrations and I wondered? For instance, when I think of Eritrea, PIA comes to my mind. When I think of Rwanda, Kigame comes to mind. When you think Uganda, Mesevoni comes to mind. When you think Sudan, Al-Bashir comes to mind If I ask you who comes to your mind when you think of Ethiopia? Well that it depends who you asking? If you ask an Oromo, he may tell you take the hike. If you ask Amara, he may tell you Minilik, King Hailesilase, even Mengistu Hialmariam. If you ask Tigrian; they will defiantly PMMZ. Even there may be telling you PMAA. Now, do you see the problem? A leader to be a true leader, he needs to be first an owner of the country, an owner of the people, an owner of their aspirations and hopes. I know most of you will disagree me, but governing will get more difficult and to the point of impossible with emergence of social media, fake news, wanting instant gratifications by the new generations and by corruption it self. Besides, history tells us to look, for instance, what exactly is wrong if tell you think Turkey and I mention Mustafa Kemal Ataturk? What If I say Portugal and you say Antonio Salazar? What is I say Lee Kuan Yew and you shoot back by saying Singapore. What if I say Josip Broz Tito, I am sure you will say Yugoslavia, The list goas on and on . The moral of the story, a country needs an owner before a leader to any peaceful, prospered and viable nation. I wouldn’t oppose to some kind benevolent dictatorship style of administration. Some of you might say, we tried that with PIA but the truth is, you can own a country with out owning the people and their issues. He didn’t won their pain, if did he wouldn’t throw people, real people, some once father, mother, brother and sister in prion with out the due process and I am not sure who suffered more, the detainee or their family and that is the definition of pain.

    • Hope

      Selamat Gen Nittric,The logical man:
      Whats up General?
      I really admire your logical analysis
      .Spot on Gen Nittric but I would agree more so with your logical and practical take if PIA acted like the Tito or the Singaporean or Rwandan Dictator.
      PIA could have done better and he could have ruled Eritrea until his death but he messed up,man,unnecessarily.Worse,he abused the Eritrean people,who adored him like god.
      He could have done it easily and simply by simply allowing the ELF Leadership,by implementing the 1994 EPLF National Charter and the 1997 Constitution but he has some confidence issues/paranoia and guilt feeling,even a sadist and cultist personality,if you want me to be blunt.

      • Nitricc

        Hi Hope; I think the war has lot to do with the way PIA went. If there wasn’t war and what has transpired as a result of it, Eritrea could have been in a very different position. As bad as things went in Eritrea and PIA, there is enormous positive things PIA has done, sure like you have mention could done better but not all is lost. At one time, I hear PMAA declaring on national TV of Ethiopia saying that his best asset is “begging” I mean I like the guy and he has done many good things to my country but what do you think will do upon hearing such crippling thing to the young people who are coming to lead the country tomorrow? despite what happened in Eritrea, all is not lost, trust me!

        • Teodros Alem

          Selam Nitricc
          When u cote words, contest matter, otherwise the meaning will lose in translation.
          speaking of ” begging”, i mean the real disparate begging, i show u hundreds of refugees videos but it doesn’t add up anything.

          • Nitricc

            Hey Teddy; what do you mean context matter? Like I said, I like the guy but he said it with out no doubt, straight up, my man. As a leader that is the worst thing you can say to your people, absolute worst. Now, if you are trying to compare with Eritrean refugee, well it is what it is, they are refugee and they have nothing to do with their country because they left. No man of principal will leave his country. It is all about who you are. Once you leave your country, it is a fair game if you are treated as a dog, let alone you are begging. I am talking about a leader of 110 million people saying my greatest asset is Begging. Now please tell me how I am miss quoting him or context mattered? Please, some times accept the facts even if they hurt. the man said it and it was a mistake.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Nitricc
            I think u need to know “eprdf” propaganda system or style, “kuchet mefter”,
            2, when i say context matter, i meant he is doing “kuchet mefter”, not as u said it he is proud to be beggar.
            3 .eprdf propaganda style is Sharp contrast with that of eplf/pfdj, they don’t say we r number 1 in africa kind things, so i think that was why u understood 3A’s begging remark.
            4, people don’t migrate to other countries by rescuing their lives unless they r in desperate situations in thier own country.
            after independence eritreans spouse to be return back to eritrea.
            otherwise what is the meaning of country or independence means.
            by the way what do u mean when u say “no man of principal will leave his country” , what do u mean by “principal” ? Is it abiding the gov/poltical party principal?

          • Nitricc

            what do u mean by “principal

            Hi Teddy; I mean only the coward and the irresponsible leaves his country. If something is wrong, fight to right it, if not die fighting. that is meaning of principal and duty. This is your country, your people, your land; why are you leaving? where are you going? On the other side, your country’s economy is growing by 11% and then why Ethiopians are leaving their country? You seeeee

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Nitricc
            1st, ethiopian gov never denied the migration problem, they say (atleast in rhetoric) the r working on to solve the problem by solving the unemployment and opening up poltical space, they never called them “unprincipled”, coward or irresponsible.
            2nd giving eritrea”s past history, this time what kind of guarantee do the eritrea people sacrifice will lead them freedom and prosperity?
            r u by any chance live in eritrea? If not, all what u saying above contradict with urself.

    • Selam Nitricc,

      Is this not what usually happens either in nature or human society, that the new will negate and replace the old, and the resistance of the old is the core problem for any sort of change. In nature, change results in the rise to an upper advanced level; in human society as well under normal circumstances, and the new and more educated generation should replace the old to lead society to progress. In african politics, fighting change is the biggest problem. African leaders try to stay in power until they rot or another rogue element replaces them, and most of them avoid peaceful transfer of power.

      The only and permanent owner of a country is its people. A leader should come to serve the country and its people for one or two terms, and then he should leave power for another actor. He owns nothing, nor do the people owe him anything.

      • Nitricc

        A leader should come to serve the country and its people for one or two terms, and then he should leave power for another actor. He owns nothing, nor do the people owe him anything.

        Hi Horizon; I don’t think you get my take. before I respond to you, let me ask two questions.
        1) when you think your country Ethiopia which leader comes to your mind?
        2) How do you get to the above you mention which I have quoted you. What I have recommended is a bridge to get what you have alluded too. You are rejecting my idea in to how get there and tell us how you can get to your Illusionary and Preposterously dream? I really want hear your take.

        • Hi Nitricc,

          There is nothing illusionary and preposterous. The professor was right when he said, they send us to study and when we come back they see us as a problem, and not as part of the future. They want to own the past, the present and the future. Naturally, the young is the antithesis of the old and its replacement, which scares the old.

          HS did not appreciate this and in his eighties he wanted to continue to rule, the derg and tplf would have done the same thing if they were not deposed. Mugabe couldn’t walk, the deposed leader of algeria after a stroke (i think), both wanted to rule their countries. That is the drama of african leaders. They know no limit to the duration of their power. They believe that power belongs to them till their death. They killed to acquire it, and only through their death they could lose it. In normal cases, for the sake of the people and the country they should have worked to hand over power to a better and more educated future generation, instead of fighting them.

          In ethiopia we have a young leader who professes democracy and he tells us that he would hand over power after two terms. He is at the beginning and he has still a long way to go. It is a good start, but he is continuously being tested to prove himself at every stage. He is expected to end his term with a legacy he can be proud of, and not pushed out of office, just for a change. He took over a country poisoned by ethnic/tribal politics and he has to find the antidote for it, millions of jobless and restive young who are a major problem, corrupt politicians who have corrupted the ethiopian society, etc. He has a mountain to climb. The odds are big, nevertheless, he is trying. He is not sitting and telling his people to come out and depose him if they can. He is doing his best, i think, unlike the old sailors who are ready to abandon the ship in the middle of the ocean, because they do not want to transfer the responsibility to the young who could take the ship to safety.

          • Nitricc

            Hi Horizon; You have not answered my question. and please do. now I said what is needed in your Africa is not white man game plan called democracy but a true benevolent dictator. in case you did understand what that means here is it…..

            A benevolent dictatorship refers to a government in which an authoritarian leader exercises absolute political power over the state but is perceived to do so with regard for benefit of the population as a whole, standing in contrast to the decidedly malevolent stereotype of a dictator. A benevolent dictator may allow for some economic liberalization or democratic decision-making to exist, such as through public referenda or elected representatives with limited power, and often makes preparations for a transition to genuine democracy during or after their term. It might be seen as a republican form of enlightened despotism.

          • Hi Nitricc,

            You can go on saying ad infinitum that ‘i have not answered your question’. You may as well give us your own answer, if you are not satisfied with mine.

            Let’s go to the new topic of ‘benevolent dictators’ you brought. You are more or less saying, leave democracy for the whiteman, and give benevolent dictatorship to the black african, i.e. the stick and carrot. I do not know whom you have in mind in the african context, when you say benevolent dictator. There are many who doubt the very concept of benevolent dictatorship. Usually they are dictators, but not benevolent.

            Singapore is believed to be an example, but if it were not for its geographic positioning which helped it in international banking, business and shipping, being on one of the busiest shipping lines in the world, influenced by the powers that ruled the region, it wouldn’t have become an example.

            If i may ask, do you have in mind IA as a benevolent dictator? MZ tried to act as one, but what ethiopians got was the stick and not the carrot, i.e. death, incarceration, torture, corruption and debt that exceeds 60% of the country’s gdp, and never three meals a day. Democratic rights were curtailed and unity and harmony of the people lost that undermined the very existence of the country.

            Finally, in the africa you have disavowed as if you are a whiteman and you see africans with contempt as incompetent, how do you put together an african and a benevolent dictator, or are you going to tell africans to import somebody else from somewhere, a sort of recolonization?

          • Nitricc

            Hi Horizon; before I go in full gear; what do you think of Kigame of Rwanda? Can he qualify for Benevolent Dictator? For one thing he is African!

          • Hi Nitricc,
            The answer depends on whom you ask, his allies or critics. As much as i am concerned, i take into consideration both sides, and i would like to leave the final answer to rwandans themselves. Some call him benevolent, others malevolent. State repression, killings, incarcerations, vote rigging (>90%) and military interventions to surrounding countries, are some of the things told bout him.
            Take MZ, and draw your own conclusions, having in mind what his supporters and critics say. Do you call him a benevolent dictator or a malevolent one. There are similarities between the two. Don’t expect that any african country will ever prosper under dictatorship.

          • Nitricc

            The answer depends on whom you ask, his allies or critics

            Hi Horizon; the question is did the life of the people improved?
            is the country on the path of development?
            is country’s economy growing and stable?
            is there peace and is rule of law upheld?
            How is Rwanda today than say 10 years ago?
            the question goes on and on. Remember; at this stage, in the duration of benevolent dictatorship, democracy is out!!! just keep in mind. the whole point of Benevolent dictator is to bring the real democracy. it is a transition stage.

          • Hi Nitricc,
            Although it is a known fact that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, (we have too many examples for that), and one should not expect a dove from the egg of a serpent, nevertheless, let’s wait until (?benevolent) dictatorship begets democracy, if such things ever happen, as you seem to be certain about it. Remember, dictators are not philosopher kings entertained by ancient Greeks. It was theoretical, as benevolent dictators bringing democracy is again a rhetoric than anything else, especially in the african context.
            The economy of rwanda and ethiopia had many similarities, nevertheless, ethiopia was not moving towards democracy. A small country with its economy dependent mainly on agriculture, and divided on ethnic grounds, if (? benevolent) dictatorship will bring to the country democracy or not, we will see.

  • Nitricc

    Good morning to all my respected Eritrean people, EDF and dear friends of Eritrea. Today we have gathered here to celebrate this great national event; june 20th the day of Eritrean martyrs. We all know what it took this country and what endured to be a free nation and as well as to defend the freedom itself. As the same time as a country and government there
    were many undesirable but necessary measures that was taken to insure the survival of the nation. As the government shoulders the responsibility of the nation, the government was forced to take actions against political officials, journalists and many others the government felt danger. However; as nation is out of danger and peace prevailing with Ethiopia; on this auspicious occasion, the Eritrean government is releasing all political prisoners, journalists end everyone who was caught crossing borders illegally. As the government of this country was forced to take abnormal actions on abnormal situations to encounter the menace, however as the nation’s survival and out of peril; the national military service is back to its normal duration. As the nation is out of endangerment and jeopardy, it is only normal to go back to normality and start our nation’s political process. On this regard, the nation’s constitution will be implemented; national election shall be commenced within two years. Although, national reconciliation is very important step but for the moment every Eritrean national is welcomed to come their country, no questions asked. Especiall to those who gave up your time and your youth for country’s cause, come home and enjoy the retirement in your country. The next two years will be very exciting time for our country and I salute for the people of Eritrea for their forbearance and for our defense forces for their steadfastness and persistence in protecting their people and country.
    Eternal glory to our martyrs,
    Awat Ni-Hafashe.
    Isaias Afeworki, June 20th 2019.

  • Brhan

    Thank you Shekih Ismail,
    I know you have an audience that follows your religious lectures and I hope such article will help specially those Eritreans who are born and/or raised in the Middle East particularly in Saudi Arabi help not only to know about Eritrea and Eritreans but also encourage them to be active participants in Eritrean affairs. Allow me to remind you about last year Toronto, Canada event that you participated as a guest speaker. I was astonished that there was no even a single prayer to ease the suffering of Eritreans specially those who are languishing in prisons in Eritrea including school childeren of Al Diaa School. I know the orginizers can put an agenda and you have to follow it but I see you in awate writing articles about Eritrea and Eritreans and this shows your excellent nationalism. I hope that you take this flavour or some of it to stages likes that of Toronto, Canada conference.

    Thank you

  • Amanuel

    Hi All,
    Shaleka Dawit destroyed Abiy. In short he just asked him to due the honours and resign.

  • mokie berhe

    Salam all. Eritrean martyrs will always be heroes and never forgotten. That includes thousands of Eritrean brothers and sisters lost during the 1998-2000 border war. A ‘Cry Me a River’ story simply does not digest well when in the company of many here that have and continue to sympathize with the TPLF.

  • said

    Greetings ,
    Dear Ismail,
    Thank you for thoughtful and penetrating article.

    In Rev. Reinhold Niebuhr’s classic Moral Man and Immoral Society, he noted, “…it has always been the habit of the privileged groups to deny the oppressed classes every opportunity for the cultivation of innate capacities and then to accuse them of lacking what they have been denied the right to acquire.”
    The Spanish liberal-philosopher, Jose Ortega y Gasset wrestled with it a century ago, when his homeland’s empire was crumbling, and came up with a lot better answers (though it didn’t save Spain from its fascist clown). Spain even had, in his words, ‘a common past, language, and race, yet had split into mainly-regional factions because it had failed to invent a sufficiently-attractive collective program for the future.

    In the mid-1700s, Rousseau discussed the Social Contract-the concept that individuals give up certain rights for tangible and intangible benefits to both them and society-but that the populous remains an important part of sovereignty.
    At every juncture in the human history, ever since the start of the colonialization of Eritrea . Ethiopia remains true to its history of heartless and inhuman colonialist and imperialist drive dictated by the well-entrenched the king and Supremacist Oligarchs Amhar who were well in control of the agendas and the policies of the feudal Ethiopia . This, despites all the gloss of the so-called “ Ancient land with oldest civilization ” that finds manifestation in the facades of the Separation of Power as all powers reside in the king – as never budged an inch – under the full control of the said Amhra Supremacist elite Habesha . Ethiopia true to a long history of wars, standards adamant in defying all the norms of decency, humanity and responsible statesmanship. It is so flagrantly uncivilized and in defiance of “The Rule of Law.”
    One in this vein – as well-proven by the hard facts of the recent historic annals – concludes the obvious of the indisputable fact of the UTTER Incompatibility of the Ethiopia rulers through centuries , Fresh out of the machination of fostering the endemic, wasteful and most destructive internecine wars in the Region of horn of African till recently that are still simmering, the same reactionary forces – freed with impunity of any accountability – seem readied to wearing a new hat promoting and sponsoring what hitherto was condemned as inconceivable, incompatible and most counterproductive. And the Theatricals Continue as Eritrean and Ethiopia sham peace , Ethiopia at large increasingly plunge into internal strife, becoming increasingly fragmented into tinier enclaves of sub-ethnicities and sects, slipping precipitously into the irretrievable abyss, to a point of no return.
    Habesha I mean (elite ruling class )

    The inherited distorted Habesha narratives forming the general discordant epistemology governing a Habesha’s thinking process and attitude is reinforced in acts by the Habeshas of misperceived self- defense and assertion of identity warranted by Habesha narrow minded feudal Oligarchs’ “Politics of Expediency” in the hegemonic drive for the control and the dominance of entire Ethiopian nation world post WWI and second . the domineering Habesha oligarchs have no place in history, in fact their militaristic action destroyed the good vast majorty Habesha population .
    Some raciest Habesha ,they not be reformed . Posing as the avaricious predators with utterly narrow Machiavellian objectives – short of any well-intentioned benevolent plans and programs in the service of the freshly newly colonized Eritrea – the far much advanced and domineering few elite Abyssinian only compounded the sense of a lingering mistrust; alienation; self-victimization and pent up negative sentiments by the colonialized Eritrean nation with all it component and diversity.

    Thus, what could have been an opportune occasion – other things being equal – for the progressive and enlightened Eritrean to take the generally backward of then Habesha worlds by hand on a benign journey of embarking on a genuine far-reaching benevolent socio-economic and socio-political development turned around into a bonanza of a plan of Habesha imperial Ethiopia colonialist powers exploitations and crude military dominance and illegal invasion of Eritrea by means brute power .
    Eritrea Fresh out of one century or so of Italian colonization of fascist Rule and same time where the Habesha world receded further into social, economic and political backwardness in full contrast to a Eritrean if it was not for Ethiopian Habesha interference and containment and colonization Eritrea. The Eritrean World that was in the interim would be and most likely would experiencing real democracy and equal citizens ship and rule of law and Habesha would drawing the benefits for centuries of renaissance touching on every aspect of a human’s life culminating in the immersion in the blesses of the age enlightenment; if Eritrea was independent in late 1950th . With will help of United nation and Western powers and not letting Eritrea to be independent, the domineering Habesha oligarchs and Amhra oligarchy could very well have engaged in confidence-building measures with the entire Eritrean people that could have ensued in genuine symbiotic plans for development touching on all aspects of peoples’ lives of both nations . Leaving Eritrea as independent nation and build trust effectual economic relationship
    Habesha worlds of near past was defined by its ruling royalty and as true of all backward and illiterate masses, represented to the Habesha worlds at the time the sole avenue for meagre knowledge, social cohesiveness and the assertion of identity in the absence of any other meaningful and viable alternatives in the midst of the ravages of intensifying bewildering vying geopolitical schemes and ambitions.
    The Habesha of the dynasty worlds were in dire need to shed archaic and stale social systems, foremost the kings representing religious narratives and narrowly interpreted Christianity teachings, and embark on a meaningful social and political developments that had Eritrean succeed and become independent democratic nation and were in the best position to render and assist in the implementation for the rest of all our Ethiopian brethren neighbour would have benefited mutually.
    The backward Habesha of kings and royalty’s world needed the lull, the time and space to engage in deep self-introspection process; needed a profound revamping of Habesha ruling class and beliefs and ethos. Eritrea was in the best situation to genuinely extend guidance and support had it succeeded to be independent nation.
    However, most tragically in the broader historic purview and the prospects of future inter to two nation relations, the Oligarchs of the Habesha of power grapping , sought, in the typical narrow purview of politicians pinned down on the “Politics of Expediency;” the ruling Habesha planners started dealing freshly anew with the Eritrea from very narrow unionist mostly elite Eritrean Habesha and some church representative where or similar the historic Crusaders left, nearly seven centuries earlier of that time could not conceive differently .
    Actually, sadly ironically, it was widely alleged that when the Ethiopian king- appointed as representative of the Habesha elite government in Eritrea and commander of the Ethiopian Army of the Habesha This, following on the 1960th Agreement to divide the spoils, the remains of the Italin fascist Empire of Eritrean patrimony between the Habesha of Ethiopia and Habesha elite of Eritrea; seems, sadly to have summed up the narrow schemes and interests of the Habesha powers’ return this time to Eritrea preaching peace and love of one people ,new discovery of history of our people .
    For very long time the Habesha world was in dire need for deep socio-political reforms in emulation of then prosperous Eritrea of the past century. Much the Eritrea could have done to cause a huge jumpstart to causing this to happen had the Habesha ruling royalty and feudal oligarchs and narrow-minded political planers not started from the lingering old exclusivist divisive paradigm of the “They” first class Habesha and “Us;” second class Habesha of eritrea ,designating, as currently the case with the recent few elite Tigray Habesha new class of Administration of Ethiopia no different than the few elite the Habesha of Amhara.
    The invading Ethiopian army is the first most powerful army in Africa, thanks to the American largess and unconditional military, financial and economic support as the Eritreans under the most oppressive Habesha regime and illegal occupation are short of the slightest means.
    The backword militaristic imperial Habesha in the experience of the colonization of Eritrea, have foregone a major historic potential turning point, a historic opportunity of all proportions, to advance the causes of a more lasting peace between neighbourly civilizations of all the people; the cause of cultural dialogue and open and friendly peace loving ,in two equal nation, based in neighbourly relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia people and even rather between all nations of the world.
    Habesha politics well refined by late king Hiale Selassie. In hindsight, it is not all that farfetched to assert the “Divide and Rule” in the service of narrow exploitative Habesha colonialist agenda was the sole interest and sole objective of the Habesha imperialist power Eritrea.
    The fragmentation and division of the Eritrean opposition still lingers because of some narrow minded -Eritreans .The Habesha of DIA NENAN ALMANA is pure and exclusivist PFDJ Habesha ruling class of Eritrea .The Eritrean states under the control of the Habesha militaristic powers began with earnest with the appointment on the head of each newly created local political entity of lackey Habesha local rulers with strings attached no different than Habesha of Amhara class .
    For Eritrean Habesha unionist with No plans were genuinely put forward by the supposedly enlightened and falsely calming to develop truly representative functioning democracies in Eritrea. leaving new appointed Habesha political regimes to rule Eritrea by the imperialist King Haile Selassie . by decree of divine of church and at the whims of the absolute rule of appointed local Habesha leaders of sell out Eritrean.
    The imperialist King Haile Selassie, kind of Habesha, as represented by the most backward feudal class and by using clergy and religious institutions, remained exclusivist in its central doctrine and distorted historic narratives; archaic interpretations precluding the development over all Ethiopia. A Habesha ’s mind and modern social institutions was part of reforming even when there were voices. However, the local imperialist King Haile Selassie temporal authority, the vassal of imperialist King Haile Selassie, Eritrea Habesha were happy to serve their newly-found divine king and union with mother Ethiopia, they thrived in the conduct of their absolute rule on the close alliance they forged with the clergy stifling meaningful development of the political and social life in the two nations.
    The anomalous creation of Eritrean Habesha separate commando’s army and the ugly force that created massive dispossessions and exodus of the indigenous Eritrean contributed to protracted conflicts and wasted scarce national resources best had been allocated for the socio-economic and socio-political developments of the Ethiopian people and the Eritrean people.
    Ironically, and instead of the some few sell out enlightened Eritrean Habesha . The Turns of political events that followed, most tragically, only contributed to Eritrean’ continuing slide into the unfathomable abyss; this, as the rift between the Habesha of Ethiopia and the Habesha of Eritrea only widened, especially with the privileged position enjoyed in the political and strategic decision-making Habesha of Ethiopia and their sympathisers in Eritrean Habesha in west of Merab river .
    We Eritreans let a thug-looking DIA and clique with an educated class, with their broken English occupy the media news waves poorly presenting the Eritrean narrative. This, notwithstanding the huge damage they caused and continue to cause on dictatorially insisting on managing the Eritrean political affairs.
    None of our Eritrean Intelligentsia, prominent businessmen and intellectuals could express strong opinion and make a stand against DIA and his mediocre coteries to listen and abide. In many ways, as continues mostly now, the Eritrean Intelligentsia acted and is continuing to act as the Silent Devil yielding to the corrupt, incompetent and outright collaborator self-styled Eritrean Political leadership.
    No one better the way this achieved Eritrean misery well put it in above article in awate A Letter from a Martyr! What a reflection and hope as it amply apply to Eritrean Leadership then and now: we Eritrean Failed him and tens of thousand like him sacrificed their lives for Eritrea .

    This remind me. As the exemplary intellectual renowned writer, Hannah Arendt withstood alienation and disapprovals of friends, coreligionists and admirers standing her grounds for her deep humanitarian convictions, much like Socrates, to preserve the legacy of the Courage of Conviction and Intellectual Integrity of a true intellectual. Her lasting words, “C’est dans Le Vide de la Pensee que s’inscrit le mal.
    Much of Socrates, Hannah Arendt coming two millennia in posterity, upheld Socrates’ legacy in his final stand in a beauty of speeches transcending pity preoccupation with the fears of self preservation to the upholding of the virtues of his philosophical thought. He disdained and endured the ultimate pain of death, so we would inherit the legacy of his courage of conviction and intellectual integrity.”

    The wide spread gruntling and near current social turmoil currently ravaging Ethiopia can best be analysed from the optic of Ethiopian being permanently in a precarious financial strap of virtue of lacking the indigenous economic capabilities to ensure Ethiopia ’s long-term economic sustenance and true and genuine political independence. It is same for Eritrea but much more worst.
    However, several new factors in the recent 5 years came to play to yet further worsen Ethiopian ’s enduring socio-economic problems One can list them, among others in the following order:
    The swelling of Ethiopian population of 105 million, by natural demographic growth. An inflated economically none productive public sector to unsustainable levels in the long term. Ever expanding spending and allocation of budget items, by priority, to economically none productive Defense and Internal Security outlays beyond Ethiopia ’s indigenous economic and income capabilities, however, most warranted by constantly worsening volatile security conditions in the horn of Africa region. However, all the above beside government spending on essential social programs made it forever difficult for Ethiopia to balance the government budget and ensure self-sufficiency; prompting the logical conclusion that Ethiopia ’s endemic chronic budget deficit and drying financial resources are only a candidate to get worse with the future an realized economical progress will be holding general strikes bringing economic life to a complete halt.
    PMAAA and Ethiopian government’s options look rather limited to submit to the demands of the general public going on demand and soon will see vast people strike. Things will not be helped by a general strike that risks that might bringing downhill of the government and will be bring down not only the Ethiopian government, but equally seriously shake the very foundations of a century old Habesha Dynastic Rule that is was not source of Ethiopia ’s socio-political stability and that never was.
    As Habesha of Ethiopia lacks the existence of deeply rooted truly system of representative democracy as well organized representative political parties reaching down to the grassroots as potential solid pillars of the foundation of a representative democracy. So far they have failed Habesha of ruling class of Ethiopia have faile to develop over the many years that were further made worse by undue influence of narrowly tribal Habesha politics besides the near total absence of consensus among fractured political factions of narrow geographic orientations; all this leaves the PMAAA Ethiopia government with limited options to maintain the long-term socio-political stability. I for one wishing good will as manygood wishers Eritreans do. Not with standing his embracing fully DIA.
    As the status quo appears increasingly unsustainable in the face of increasingly disgruntling public with street attempting, increasingly, to assert its political will, the situation could potentially get out of hand as it could lead to a total chaos. This takes us back to what SGJ touched upon above of the ever-looming threads of Habesha Ethiopia. I might be wrong.
    The current socio-economic turmoil ravaging still Ethiopia cannot totally be excluded as miserably failed ruling class of Habesha of past and present.
    A narrowly tribal Habesha politics, this not Conspiracy Theory in the making by an orchestrated Habesha politics hegemonic designs to redrawing the political map of the entire Ethiopia in making.

    Unfortunately, so to speak, but it is just more of the same – excuses for personal or national failure. If the home Habesha county were doing what they should be doing, . Habesha would not have the huge refuge influx. Until people take ownership of their own problems and shortcomings, the future will not improve for anyone. Instead of creating war misery and havoc, they failed to provide opportunities for their work force – pay them fair decent wages instead of using them as slaves to non Habesha people for century – look Ethiopian if they have opportunities and can earn decent wages they do not want to emigrate. Into Western nation or even Arab nation of GCC, they have a large number of Eritreans, Ethiopians, , etc working in western countries – all would prefer to be home with their loving families and their beloved country . IF they could earn enough to support them and live decent lives.
    Ethiopia Colonization of Eritrea, created Mass Dislocation of Resources, Wars and misery, disruption of the norms, are at the source of much of the socio-economic disruptions to the normal evolution of the societies of the colonized Eritrea. settings and social relations of the aggressed and mercilessly exploited colonized Eritrea. Problem is mostly of Habesha ruling royalty in its origin and causes of Eritrean Colonization.
    As to the Habesha ruling dynasty, and ever since the creation of this Habesha nation t immoral grounds, the Habesha , by its very heartless make-up on the Skulls of many thousand innocent if not in millions of rest of Ethiopian native and oppressed Chained by Habesha . Habesha is reverting to an ugly past under the slogans of Habesha of Aande Ethiopia and with Eritrean Anade Habesha.

    Speaking of Tiravolo for many Asmarino this will bring some nostalgic memoir . There is nothing to compare to Addis Ababa and The city Asmara of the 18th and 19th century, Asmara has a long and rich architectural history thanks to its natural resources. Fortunes, including that of the many element were made here, and left part of the city with an architectural legacy that most closely resembles Roma even Vienna. Mixed in are intricate works both old and new Italian architecture,

  • Hameed Al-Arabi

    Ahlan Mukhtar,

    A well articulated article. Thank you. Yes, our martyrs sacrificed Eritrea to be a heaven for her people never a hell. The aim of our martyrs was as you intelligibly expressed it:

    ” I felt the best way to remember and honour our sacrifice is to turn Eritrea into a tower of freedom, justice, human rights, peace and social cohesion. Anything less than that will be a betrayal of our sacrifice.”