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A Matter of Perspective: Nationalism

I, as a devoted Awate reader,  most times scan the pages of this site in the hope that I will find there something informative and educational, something uplifting and  inspiring, something original and sometimes something controversial where we all can have an input of our dimes worth.

True, time constraints don’t always allow one to indulge in his favorite quest, of course, but under the circumstances one has to slog on and on because it keeps us all connected. It is in this spirit that in the last week or two I have read some of the articles and a few, two or three of them I feel I need to posit a strong opposition to  and share my thoughts with my fellow Awate readers.

I will start with one written by a certain Mr. Semere T. Habtemarian. The article which purports to be a critique of a book written by the late Mr. Seyoum Haregot could equally have been more appropriately titled “In Defense of Dr. Bereket Habteselassie”. Of course, I, in my humble opinion, believe that Dr. Bereket is a person who is intelligent enough, a scholar enough and patriotic enough of defending himself in the true sense and essence of the word.  Why Mr. Semere felt he has to bear this Herculean task of defending him is not exactly clear to me.

The article starts with the usual run of the mill standard statements you find in book reviews such as ‘it is a great addition to …’ or ‘it is rich or poor in detail although…’ The article,  instead of reviewing the book, sounds more like the writer has a grudge, a long simmering and vented up anger against Mr. Seyoum and instead of  explaining to us what is in the book what is glaringly missing from the book and how correct or incorrect the historical treatise is, seems to be more designed to teach us what a creepy character the author is in Mr. Semeres’s eyes.

Mr. Semere accuses Mr.Seyoum of not being a patriot and of being an opportunist who married into the Amhara royal family and acquired an Amhara identity (honestly!!) for fame and fortune (I would if I could, there is nothing in the Bible which forbids that and am sure in the Quran too). Of course, we all know Mr. Seyoum married the daughter of a prominent Tigrean nobleman, Mr. Abebe Retta, although Mr. Abebes’ role in the rise and shine of Mr. Seyoum could be debatable.

But be that as it may, our Mr. Semere thinks that Mr. Seyoum should have recanted his past missteps, (and, like people such as Dr.Tekeste Assefaw, seen the light and did what is right). He Mr. Seyoum should have apologized to the ‘Eritrean People’ who have in their ‘collective wisdom’ developed a litmus test to discern who has done what for them (watch out those of you who haven’t) and would have been very receptive to his recantations, for his past misdeeds if he had done so.

But above all Mr. Seyoum shouldn’t have criticized Dr. Berekets’ politics because Dr. Bereket was a better student and a more nuanced nationalist than most of his peers, and the good Doctor has accomplished immense deeds for his beloved Eritrea both pre and post independence.

Mr. Semere further accuses Mr. Seyoum of also serving not only Haile Selassie (which I believe many Eritreans did, be it as civil servants or in the ranks of the military) and should not have even temporarily served Isaias in the early years. I could go on and on but it would be too boring to repeat everything here except for the fact that Mr. Semere thinks Mr. Seyoum is not a person fit to tie the good doctors’ shoelaces. I doubt if he would want to do that even it the opportunity were to avail itself even in the spirit of humility the way Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as we are told.

But here is the clincher. Mr. Semere writes ‘Many Eriteans of Seyoum’s generation (and that would include a number of us) have to navigate the uncharted territories of multiple national identities. (I don’t know exactly what  this multiple identity and  uncharted territory and why it is peculiar to Mr. Seyoum’s generation, since national identities constantly change with changes in  national histories and boundaries.) A significant number of them had to straddle between Ethiopian and Eritrean identities while they firmly rooted themselves in the former.’ And he goes on a ‘majority chose…’ Can anyone make any sense out of this gibberish? Please people enlighten me.  And all these years I had thought the Eritrean identity or ‘meninet ‘ as the current rulers called  it  was issued some twenty years ago and Eritrea was recognized by the international community after that. Just for the record Eritrea lived its existence as an Italian colony, as a British Protectorate and as an entity federated under the Ethiopian Crown.

The second article in similar fashion is even more amusing. This one again is a castigation of a certain Mr. Yosief who has been writing articles not to the very liking of the author Mr. Ismail Omer-Ali. The article “Yosief’s Circular Journey in Search of Ethiopia” is a sort of a call to arms and a warning to all the ‘gullible’ as he calls them and the uninitiated (in the field of politics I assume) Eritreans to be vigilant of this individual because he is out to poison their minds with falsehoods that he Mr. Ismail could easily disprove. To be fair to Mr.Yosief, I would like to tell him that I have read some of his articles and to rest assured that I have been enlightened and not poisoned by his articles so far though with the caveat that I will at the same time heed Mr. Ismails’ wise admonishments.

Mr.Ismail tells us that Yosief is on a circular journey, (not straight which could be the shortest or rectangular or triangular) but doesn’t explain why. Mr. Ismail has also been able to discover that Yosief is attracting and rallying quite a number of followers because he is a very prolific writer, although it is implied that he is sugarcoating his evil intentions and that we are to beware of his false projections of how we would be better off if we joined Ethiopia because he has unlike Mr.Isamil no magic wand of prophesying the future that we would be.

He also accuses Mr.Yosief of having identity crises. Why disagreeing with Mr. Isamil should trigger an identity crises is also not clearly articulated although I will be careful not to disagree with Mr. Ismail myself in the future.

Both the above articles seem to have some commonalities. That all Eritreans are supposed to articulate a single opinion not very far from what the two gentlemen advocate. That Eritrean identity is not issued based on origins but based on contributions to the struggle. No tolerance here. That Eritreans who served the previous Ethiopian regimes or who were never a part of the struggle are to atone for past mistakes in order to redeem  their patriotism and love of country and in order to be cleansed and accepted into the fold like the late Mr. Tedla Bairu.

The articles are most times rambling and I found them more emotional rather than rational, at times condescending most often patronizing, insensitive and mawkish but above all I found them to be muddled, fuddled, confused and incoherent. In fact to be blunt they seem to have been written for the consumption of young children. Very very young children.  I found both articles as stellar examples of divisive nationalism.

Which brings me back to the article I found most interesting.  An article written by no other than the respected Mr.Gadi. This is a piece about an old Eritrean ‘tegadalai’ Mr. Adem Melekin whom Mr. Gadi had interviewed some years back but who has passed recently. Now don’t mistake me as an anti Mr. Gadi individual. I admire Mr. Gadi for his dedication to the Eritrean struggle, I admire him for his journalistic accomplishments, his prolific writings, and well informed and well-written articles over the years, but above all for giving us a venue to vent our frustrations against him.

Having penned all those platitudes, though, it doesn’t mean that I always agree to everything Mr. Gadi writes or opines about. But the democratic me will always respect his right to his arguments.

Mr.Gadis’ latest article is titled “Eulogy to a Patriot”. Note the word ‘patriot’. The word in its totality is actually quite harmless and only implies devotion to a specific place.

Let me divert here a little and tell you and anecdote. I once read an article by a certain Mr. Mark Halprin (a columnist for that right wing rag called Time magazine) in which he unadvisedly states he admires the patriotism of the Tea Party.  I sent Mr. Halprin a letter asking his advice if I should join the Tea Party so he could admire my patriotism. He never replied and I will never know. I never joined the party though. But I am not going to bore Mr.Gadi by asking him what I need to do for him to admire my patriotism.

But here is the point .Mr. Gadi’s use of the word patriot in similar fashion is to tell us that Mr. Melekin was a patriot because of his contribution to the struggle. Mr.Gadi and others in the past have used all kinds of epithets to categorize, compartmentalize, departmentalize, fractionalize us in to groups, sub groups and sub-sub groups and into species and sub-species in accordance with what they perceive is our contribution or our lack of contribution to the glorious foundation of our glorious State. And as a consequence I have always found it mind-boggling why anyone has to join this or that struggle or espouse this or that ideology to be labeled a patriot. This of course is a question I will always ponder for eternity for an answer. Why couldn’t we Eritreans simply be Eritreans.

In this his latest article Mr. Gadi tells us that Mr. Melekin was a man who knowingly threw himself into a storm for the sake of the people. Maybe a figure of speech, but a powerful figure of speech. Still it is not exactly clear to me why a person of Mr. Melekin’s intelligence (and I assume from Mr.Gadi’s description of him he was an intelligent person) would want to knowingly throw himself into a storm instead of evading and deftly trying to manage the storm. If there is an unselfish self-emulation that I have heard about, this tops them all. Why a person should throw himself into the eye of a storm for the sake of ‘others’ or why those ‘others’ are worthy of his tragic sacrifice is beyond me. For me Mr. Melekin probably threw himself into the eye of the cyclone because he believed in his own beliefs.

If Mr. Melekin were alive and reading the eulogy Mr. Gadi has written for him I am sure he would be humbled and will tell Mr. Gadi that he like his other compatriots played a role no smaller or no bigger than any other Eritrean who believed in what he then believed.

Mr.Gadi further writes that Mr. Melekin was a brick stone in the foundation of Eritrea. Eritrea if my history is correct was a country I believe cobbled from the highlands of Abyssinia and the lowlands of the horn by European colonialism in the later half  of the 19th. century which could not have made Mr. Melekin (a strapping 84year old when he died) a foundation brick of the State. But that is another story for another day.

Lastly, Mr.Gadi calls Mr. Melekin a giant of the Eritrean struggle. Warfare as Neitchez once wrote “ sorts society into lower and higher ranks”, and because of this experience we have been oriented and Mr.Gadi articulates it very well in his article to believe that of those who participated in any way or form in the struggle , there were some who floated above others. I of course beg to disagree. There were no giants in the Eritean struggle there were no dwarfs in the Eritrean struggle, there were only Eritreans. But above all we should never forget that there were also Eritreans who never came home. Which brings me back to some of the contents of the article that I most disagree with Mr.Gadi.

Mr.Gadi writes, “this column the Fertile Womb celebrates all Eritreans who pushed the wheel….until it reached its final destination with the gallant fighters entering Asmara victoriously…” (woe to those who did not push the wheel !!)  But then he goes to tell us that “Eritrea entered into the unknown era and the struggle was renewed, this time (emphasis mine) for the dignity of the citizen, the acknowledgment of past sacrifices and for the establishment of a just, free prosperous and democratic society”. This is going to be the next phase of our next struggle.

It’s a lofty objective and no one I am sure will reject the desirability of these posited ends. But wait , Mr.Gadi, wasn’t this precisely what the people were told the old objective were or was it a two-tier struggle that we have now to renew to bring it to its final fruition?  Are we going to have an asymmetrical narrative because Mr.Gadi finds it suits our historical biases better? Eritreans died for these very objectives and not the mere physical and geographical independence of the country which I believe was tangential to the issue. Independence and freedom and democracy Mr. Gadi are not values that are mutually exclusive. You can’t have one without the other.

Unlike these committed nationalists, that I often encounter on the pages of Awate or the other sites, I am one that believes Eritrea is a political entity, an abstract construct, that belongs equally to all those who believe they are Eritreans regardless of what their past history is, what their beliefs past and present are or what their wishes are for the country of their origin. No one is supposed to have a monopoly on the Eritrean idea and what Eritrea is or what it should be.

I am not a nationalist and I abhor nationalism because nationalism is a reactionary trait.

Nationalism as George Orwell once said is ‘power hunger tempered by self deception’.  In the final analysis we should never lose sight of the fact that Nationalism is tribal, cultural and ethnocentric. Above all nationalism diminishes the capacity of the individual to judge.

In the lexicon of the ruling class, a nationalist is a “hagerawi”, meaning he has more love (mostly I believe measured through repeatedly shouted convictions and public displays of passion) for the country than a non-hagerawi.  The ruling class has a stake in this, the glorification of war and bestial nationalism, jingoism and chauvinism allows them to command an audience and an influence that is rare and this gives them an ontological status and political authority over the rest of us. Because Nationalism is divisive it is the tool they always employ to manipulate the masses for eventually an end result of self-destruction.

But this has always been the ruse that nationalists from Hitler to Franco have employed in their quest for supremacy. Take the case of the first elected black American to the Presidency of his country. The reaction from the Caucasian tribe was visceral. He was labeled the worst president in the history of the country by some prominent members of the ruling class. An underlying belief of how could he be better than a member of their tribe.

The Caucasian tribe organized in town halls in every major city, they called themselves patriots and, directed their fellow tribesmen to come out en masse on the streets with all the paraphernalia and regalia befitting their tribe. They forced their elected representatives not to cooperate in any way with the usurper. They openly and in no uncertain terms, proclaimed they wanted to take their country back.

They questioned his origin. From the outset the President was asked to renounce and distance himself from everything any member of his tribe said in the last one hundred years to slight their tribe. Further, this black president was constrained from helping his own tribe who were most devastated by the economic downturn (not because his tribe as citizens of the country were less deserving of their Governments help) lest he be viewed as a tribalist himself.

Throughout our brief history to the present we in Eritrea have been subjected to similar manifestations of these traits. Today we observe these traits in the writing of the Awate team and some Awate contributors and in websites like Dehai and Meskerem and what have you that is much more pronounced as what we observe under the current ruling class. The current ruling class derives their power from quarters who feel their support should go the members of their clan and sub clan regardless of the conditions the country is. The ruling class sustains its power from this unfettered support it gets from its base. The ruling class and their base use jingoism, nationalism, chauvinism to silence any opposition both from within their base and from without. This is understandable. They need to do this to perpetuate their rule.

There is nothing new here or different from the culture we live in. Remember, those who by some fortune or misfortune found themselves in the heartland of Ethiopia are referred to as ‘Amices’. Not (tsuruy) pure blood Eritreans. Those who may manifest a different view from those who feel they are best suited to define who an Eritrean is are relegated to the status of a Woyane or a terrorist by the very people who should be hostile to these very ideas regardless of who is articulating them. In its heyday, a Woyane remember used to be called a ‘Ehiwodeg’ by these very people in the first days of ‘Independence’. The overnight conversion of the Ehiwodeg into a Weyane enemy may not surprise us. But the conversion of an Eritrean into a Woyane because he entertains a different idea should have somewhat made us say ‘wait a minute that is not right”.

We, I am sure all understand that the current ruling class has delegitimized the basic unit of democratic discourse the ‘Nation State’. But this is not the tragic part. The tragic part is that in spite of the fact that we have turned to the different websites that have mushroomed and in which we find solace and space to vent our frustrations, we are still mired in the thinking and actions and mores of our history and its resultant base nationalism.

Like the ruling elites, our writers now worship anyone they feel is a real hagerawi. They eulegise heroism and celebrate heroic deeds and what they call heroic deaths. Writers like Mr.Gadi and Mr.Younis still think this is 1968.  To them a few bad apples who have been lording it over us in the last two decades  aren’t going to rob us of our cherished ideals as long as we march lockstep for the light at the end of the tunnel we lit a half century ago. A few tweaks here or a few twists there will not deter us from the relentless march of history. We will continue on the chosen path we originally mapped without having to examine the past which is sacrosanct and not for anyone especially one whose past and love of county is suspect to question.

In the lives of individuals and even societies a half century can make all the difference And in the vast time scale of the struggle for Eritrea, in the our history of once upon a time a thousand sacrifices ago, if this is only what the abundance of the Eritrean experience has though us then we need to rethink and ask what was it all about.

The older generation of Eritreans made a choice and their offspring’s made a different choice, but in the process all Eritreans made a choice intentionally or otherwise. Every one makes a choice even if he doesn’t choose. And as a result we all have to bear the consequences of these choices. We have to put the blame right in the middle of where it is supposed to be regardless of how bitter the after taste may be.

We Africans sometimes overreach and seem to expect our leaders to be bigger than the environment that shapes us all. We seem to forget that them and us we are all products of our environment. The environment of our geography, our tribal alliances our cultures our religion and our herder–farmer way of life. It is naïve to hope that the next leaders are going to be very much different in their banality even when we in spite of castigating their divisive nationalism are practicing in it ourselves. European society became democratic because they were able to learn from their history in response to the stresses of war and the demands of the Industrial age. As for us to hope that once Isaias is gone every thing is going to be dandy and we will be marching on the road to paradise as originally charted is simplistic, naïve and extremely dangerous.

History is not a narration of the past. History is about why things happened the way they did. As Thomas Meany tells us we should learn that the choice is never between an ideal future and a bad one, but between a better future and a worse one.

Eritreans have never been asked what they want freely without fear of repercussion. Members of the elite class has already determined what we want because we all assume no one will reject democracy, the rule of law, inclusiveness and human and civic rights.

But that isn’t enough. The future isn’t something that just happens because we wish it to happen. The future is something we create. Hence we need to know of how we came to be where we are, who we are and what we want to do and where we want to go. We need to recognize each of us is just but one member of the whole and that everyone should have an equal say regardless of education, status, birth or belief. We cannot afford to live in the Orwellian world of “all animals are equal but…” We need to know how we can organize, shape our various ethnic and religious configurations into a viable whole. But above all we need to know our history and what participatory democracy is and as Mao once said ‘let a hundred flowers bloom’.

The approach of our writers like Ismail and Semere and Gadi and Younis, who seem to believe that we need to operate under the constraint of the past without questioning its basic tenet and its failure to achieve its intended end as everyone I believe had hoped is merely an adulation of history without its inconveniences. This history is false and it is exclusionary. In sum it is designed to exclude anyone who shows even the mere appearance of being and thinking different.

We should learn from the outset that we cannot continue on the quest of as Mr. Seyoum has written eloquently the “Holy Grail” under the confines of the you are either a hargerawi or a non-hargerawi with the caveat of the definition of hagerawi being one who toes the line. The Bushian “you are either with us or against us” slogan of our Awate writers. This (an exercise in self flagellation) is doomed to fail before it starts but in its failure it may consume its victims and victimize not only the victimizers but the very entity their beloved exclusionary Eritrea will eventually represent.

About Fessehaye Woldu

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  • rezen

    [From moderator: Rezen, please don’t re-post an entire article. Provide a link, or an excerpt, then give your input (if you have any) or ask for input from commenters/forum participants.]

    • rezen

      I am puzzeled! The input is mine as indicated at the top part of my commentary as:
      “Belated Commentray, 10 June 2013”

      Perhaps mentioning (at the top part) the title of the Article to which I was commenting upon may have led to confusion. If so, I learned a lesson.

      With that, I wish to re-send my commentary as is, for your re-consideration i.e. without the reference to the Article (at the top part), of course.

      Thank You and sorry, if I caused confusion.

  • yegermal

    “We are equally disappointed to learn, through the emails that she sent to some members of our community, that she was not willing to travel to Europe or to the USA to meet with the real stakeholders as part of her fact finding mission. Instead she chose to investigate issues in Eritrea from Mauritius, the conference halls of Banjul and Geneva as well as the libraries of Ethiopia.” (source: ” Eritrea Human Rights and Eritrea’s Reality”, DIA’s goons rant against Special Rapporteur’s Report for Human Rights.)

    Couldn’t resist to share DIA’s goons definition of “real stake holders”. Against the backdrop of DIA’s refusal to allow Sheila B. Keetharuth (special rapporteur)inside Eritrea to conduct her mandated investigation, the misguided opportunist newcomers, aka “handsomely paid DIA’s diaspora operatives”, are again showing utter contempt for the “real stake holders” who reside inside Eritrea and are the subject of untold human rights abuses. They are now openly telling the world that the only Eritrean voice that matters is theirs! Who is to blame for this indescribable disrespect of the Eritrean people? Mea Culpa, mea maxima culpa!!!!

    • haile

      yegermal haftey:)

      I don’t know if PFDJ is ever to learn, every country in this video has slapped them one after the other. I heard and official of PFDJ in VOA sometime ago saying that she was irrelevant and wasn’t going to be issued visa.

      Now the argument is she was unfair and she should have balanced her report with some kind of mystic ball to see what is inside Eritrea. Thanks to non-existent opposition, PFDJ can get away with murder!

      • yegermal

        haile hawey, ok let’s bury the hatchet….ala Eritrean:).

        Back to DIA’s reaction to Sheila’s report. There is nothing new about the way his gutless robotic emissaries reacted. They gloss over DIA’s childish perennial refusal of entry to international fact finders, and blame the universe and the border impasse (no pun intended)for their regime’s dismal human rights record. It was hilarious how ST first takes a photo-op with Sheila to boost her importance and dupe her naive followers, then trashes the good rapporteur on twitter. The beeray doctor from Virgina and other pseudo intellectuals follow suit.

        • haile


          We needn’t have had a hatchet to begin with. There are more hatchets in the Eritrean diaspora politics that we could have exported some to China 🙂

          Of course, PFDJ’s performance in this case of HR report is dismal. Even more so, considering that they’ve had so much experience of such things with the intl. community, by now you would expect them to have learned one or two tricks! Well, I hope you now see why I find it a waste of time to be criticizing them here despite Aman’s incessant threat of refusing me a say in Eritrean politics.

          To me, once a dictatorship pass the age of twenty something, it has reached the end of its ropes, in Eritrea proper that is. There are complex factors that have conspired to keep the diaspora in a limbo. However, it is too late now and it wouldn’t matter much.

          Change will occur in Eritrea sooner than later, for two reasons. The inl. pressure from external forces and the internal dynamics that is increasingly finding it difficult to cope with the status quo. The diaspora organizational capacity is weak and not in a position to influence the course of events as they unfold.

          Yes, you and me are the opposition, but even more importantly, the diaspora includes other heavy weights in both sides of the camp. They have failed to lead. I can’t be blamed for expressing my views as I see it, and neither do you. Leaders are meant to create the ground for struggle and rally the people around a popular cause. Not the other way around.

          As you see, they are no where to be seen or heard of, and you and me are exchanging marching orders as to who should be trusted or who should be ostracized.

          Few months back, I started a thread that appealed to these leaders to give the right signal to the Eritrean people, to protect their activists from reputation smearing campaigns, and help to create a ground that would unite Eritreans and salvage the border issue from being used to oppress the people but to assert Eritrea’s long term interests and regional peace.

          Well, you bore witness to that shrill mystification of views some indulged in. While you cheering on 🙁 To me, what is doesn’t matter, but what can be. Things are moving fast if you are a keen observer. And the way I see it is that the diaspora opposition may be relevant as individual and not as an organization in post-PFDJ Eritrea. As organization, they lack the essential component of power, popularity. And, popularity is not easy to get from a constituent that one refers as HITLER and many other labels, including giving the signal that you mean harm to it.

          Well, yegermal, many things are happening…but what is to celebrate for as an organized diaspora opposition?

          AboKha zeyblu aymerAkhan
          Hawka zeyblu ayguaylakhan….koynu negeru

      • yegermal

        A little bird whispered in my ears that the “non-existent opposition” is made up of you and I. Mea culpa eba bel?

        • Yegermal,
          You are right. But Haile want to eat from two dishes at the same time one with his lefthand and the other with his righthand respectively. Haile doesn’t know that he can’t travel at the sametine on different roads (the opposition road and PFDJ road). He can’t say Mea Culpa at all.

          • haile


            PFDJ zblA’E ente zhilwo kabakha amterefenin neyru, and the opposition ewn kemEu zblA’E ente zhilwom neyru edka tehaxibka chinin aymbelkan 🙂 We are looking for a solutio in our own ways, aytexabubuley elka fenterter aytbel!

    • yegermal

      For those interested in listening to wedi gerhatu’s speed-talking and pointed comments by representatives of other nations, here is the link:

  • Hayat Adem

    Haile, the great externalizer
    I think you and I have a yawning difference on so many things but the border issue is not one. border is not an issue for me and by the admission of pia also it is a settled issue. who else can make you listen better other than niSu?! although we have long suspected you of carrying the torch for pfdj, we don’t have a reason to suspect you of becoming more pfdj than the pfdj. pia, said border is settled. so it is settled for you. and i don’t mind not making it my priority now.
    talk about excusing and externalizing self made problems, you have no limits of shame. but what is the gain, even thinking as pfdj, if you save pfdj and lose the entire eritrea? the Book somewhere asks a piercing question as to what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the world, and lose his own soul?
    look where the ethiopians are now. it is not the usual history of misery and famine news we are hearing from ethiopia these days. the peaceful power succession with pmmz death left us envying them a lot. in 20 years, they surged well to become a regional power and stand toe to toe with egypt. they shined at the center in the 50th oau/au show. they are steering igad and nepad. they are globally and regionally trusted peace keepers. they are on so many ambitious projects, be it GERD, the lamu port, the layered development project blanketing s.sudan>djibouti>kenya>ethiopia…in 20 years. we can be part of the new future if we start fixing things now. it is not late but it pains me when guys like you become slackers instead of movers. border, border…well, weyane said no unless we dialogue. eritrea has no force to force weyane. warsai is not in shape and appetite to fight for the border. you are not either. you squandered the rare opportunity you encountered on that fateful day on a particular street in asmara to fight for the border by hiding. i hate people wasting a good opportunity:)

    • haile


      Well since you seem to think that Ethiopia’s better shape compared to Eritrea is reason enough, the view you hold that PFDJ started the war because it felt it had the power must also be right according to your logic. Hayat, principle is the way to forward, duplicity is proven to be time wasting. Regarding your poking fun about asmera…lol 🙂


      Please don’t be bothered by my expression of views…hey what’s democracy for:)

      But, since you seem to hold the view that the border will not be settled with the PFDJ in power, the ball is in your court to tell us how can the opposition engage the people. Mind you, the border is the only stick the PFDJ fights with. Besides, it was Hayat that started this thread by complaining that I should like woyane better…if you are in firing mood, fire her:)

      • haile

        Hayat…read ‘reason enough to flaunt the rule of law”

    • yegermal

      Dear Hayat,

      I hope you don’t get offended if I say that you’re taking stagnant (tsemam hade derfom) people like “haile” too seriously. By now am sure you realize that unless you’re willing to join them in their irrational obsession with the border issue, you will not succeed to move the discourse to the next level. For DIA and his followers, it’s kolel kolel then marchadetro to Badme and as far as 1950…:).

      • haile

        Miskinay yegermal….so you think Hayat and Aman are talking to me?…gerimuka’do…lol:-)

      • Hayat Adem

        your advice is well taken.
        thanks. hayat

        • Hayat Adem

          sorry, i meant to address to yigermal.

          • yegermal

            Not a problem 🙂

        • haile

          EURIKA!! you must have said when his wise observation hit you like a bolt of thunder, Hayat?….abiyet ktkElalu embeytey…:) yegermal d’A weriduwo Hgbgib Egi’shgish mbal ember…bjeka jegunenen entay yfeliT eklyo?

          Do you know which type of girls use to make me lough in Asmara in my old days? The one’s who flatter a boy simply to escort them back to their home if they’re scared to go alone! Funnily enough, they all pick the same type of guy, one that would make yegermal look an orator compared to their few words and constant big grin without anyone saying anything!! Hayat…dhrit meliskni

          • yegermal

            Eureka! for you. But you’ve been an open secret since the beginning to moi;)

          • yegermal

            BTW, I am a woman…A shocker to carry your day?

          • Hayat Adem

            Not really. i know what you mean. btw, pretense has never been a girl thing only.
            that said, mine was a genuine response to yigermal’s well thought feedback.

          • haile

            ere gena…chihmika laxikha bqemish ketekuadid ekha….gual dikha’ke sebeyti?

  • Kaddis

    Haile –
    News are out Eritreans in Israel are bound for East Africa. Do you think it will be Sudan since you guys have a lot in common? I think Ethiopia is out of the picture ..

  • belay

    Dear haile,
    You want the border demarcated,so do i,but why are you presenting the issue in PFDJ way.They messed it up by design to control the youth and the hearts and minds of most Eritrean people.
    Even they managed to trick the top noch lntelectuals like respectable SAAY,on who started the war issue.
    Cracking a nut with Sledge Hammer,that was how the started and we were invaded.
    But,what i want to say to you more than any thing is,please please try to conquer hate and you can conquer any thing Haile.
    What a waste,all the knowledge and time you got can change the world.
    Be your self,time is to short.
    No matter what i respect you.
    Your brother.

    • Hayat Adem

      “…why are you presenting the issue in PFDJ way.”
      Well, how else can he present it? if you put lipstick on pfdj, it is still pfdj. to his credit, haile has gone this far acting unreal. he still has some gas to continue his roles of duality. somewhere along the line, though, the unreal skin will yield to the real one. but by then, the context for his real skin will no longer exist. and haile can still run but can’t hide (even as good as he is at that) from the layers of shame.

  • Haile,

    Let’s say you are a talking dog. Let’s also assume that you run into a talking Lion. You both disagree on many points. Would you resolve the differences by picking a fight with the lion or peaceful means (diplomatically)? The lion can resolve the issues two ways: peaceful means or by force. Obviously, for the lion might make right. You have only one choice: peaceful means.

    From all your comments, one can hardly fail to see your deepest sympathy to PFDJ. Your comments have all the marks of HGDF. You are for and not against the Freaking brutal dictator in Asmara. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is “lazim” a duck. Haile is hgdef.

    It is about time for Haile to come out of his closet. Say it Haile! Admit it! You are HGDEF, if not a sympathizer. You may have kept this secret for so long for you do not want to be embarrassed.

    Picture this:

    Haile is like a hungry wolf whose first attempt to snatch a sheep from a herd resulted in total failure. The shepherd fought the wolf off. The hungry wolf is not stupid. It’s a smart Alec like Haile. Next time it put on sheep’s skin and sneaked up to the herd and became one with the herd. With this tactic, the wolf was able to pick and choose a “sibihti” sheep by avoiding detection.

    Haile has turned into a wolf in sheep’s kin and picks a fight with those people who are fighting tooth and nail to remove the dictator and the culture of ghedli.

    • haile


      Let’s say you are a rat. You see a nice little sack full of grains. You try to cut into the sack with your pairs of ugly incisors (google the image). It doesn’t work. And you curse the home owners for storing their grains in a sack!! What you miss to notice is that they didn’t have you, as a rat, in their mind when they did so in the first place.

      You obviously need to know your limits. Asking woyane to abide by the rule of law doesn’t make one PFDJ. Any way, how did you figure that out with such a tiny brain as your role in the character you played above 🙂

      • yegermal

        “Asking woyane to abide by the rule of law doesn’t make one PFDJ”

        True that! But pretending that DIA’s innate dictatorial nature is a variable directly dependent on weyane’s behavior (read Badme’s occupation by weyane turns DIA into a dictator)does make one PFDJ (goon) ;).

        • haile


          What are you hiding from? Whether IA’s dictatorial nature is variable or not is for you to figure out. What I know is that Eritreans would definitely PFDJ in mass had weyane not give it a cover to silence them with. So, if weyane abides by the rule of law, it has nothing to lase, and would stop being the regional obstacle to peace and development. Demarcate today and Eritrean people will have a great weight lifted off their back. You don’t need the unlawful act of weyane to save you from almost a quarter a century of dictatorship.

          With demarcation out of the way, PFDJ has to be faced with multitude of question as demobilization, release of prisoners, constitution, economic hardship, lack of opportunity to the youth, immigration, basic freedoms…for which it can no longer throw in “no war no peace” reply.

          You want to strengthen PFDJ’s hand and call us PFDJ in a strange twist of logic. All we ask is that TPLF honor the final and binding verdict that was handed through the court of law.

          With that single act of demarcation, all Eritrean opposition would no longer have to make difficult decision, their reputation intact and their arguments resonate powerfully among an emboldened populace.

          Sorry guys, you are PFDJ…and not fooling anybody here.

          • haile

            read “challenge PFDJ in mass” and also..”have nothing to lose”

          • Haile,

            Since you believe the the situation between Ethiopia and Eritrea is at “no peace no war” why would the Eritrean regime kept almost a quarter million of our young in the trenche? Is it acceptable by your side to hold them hostage for over a decade for no war no peace situation? Isn’t the Eritrean regime who provoke all the wars in the region ( Yemen, dijbuti, Ethiopia) and distabilized the region by arming non-state actors (Al-shebab)? I think you are living in the world where the rest of us living. The border issue will not be resolved under this regime in case if you didn’t reach that conclusion. The regime is untrustworthy not only to Ethiopians but also to the Eritrean people. Don’t wast your time to defen the undefendable evil regime.Stay away from politics to make a self-deliberation to have the right reading to the predicament of Eritrean people. The entire world can not be wrong HAt this time your ar not defending the sovereighnty of Eritrea.

          • Corrction….correct as “you are not living where the rest of us are living”

          • yegermal

            Logic mechem yebel yebel! Kemaka yebzahayom keynibil hade akilu terifuna alo;)

          • yegermal

            BTW your rebuttal is reminiscent of DIA’s priceless moment with Jane Dutton….fah ilato kela:)

  • rodab

    10 days after the event (& who remembers how many days before the event!), EriTV is still headlining independence day celebrations. Folks back home must have been bored to sleep – just as Haile is putting us to yawn & sleep over here 🙂

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      10days plus 22 years!!

      • Kokhob Selam

        Gentle men,
        they said Ford can produce 140-170 Explorers per day. lets say 140 is real. so 140X365x22? are we human beings with a free nation? are we all the sons of Adam the same as those who are manufacturing and creating things?

        • Tamrat Tamrat

          -the sacrifice

  • haile

    selamat Serray,

    It is pity that your debate with saay has been put on hold. You guys have been making great presentations. Now to the issue you raised about my comment, I carefully used the term “PFDJ justify…” I am not rationalizing or supporting it. The statement can be misunderstood, and let me clarify by saying that PFDJ was given a justification to get away with murder! It obviously wouldn’t mean much how one individual like me regrets such pretext to remove basic human rights. But, it is true and obvious to the naked eye that the only counter argument from PFDJ is that of the “No War No Peace” enforced by TPLF.

    Just imagine that had TPLF agreed to the demarcation and went ahead with it back when the verdict was given. Imagine how the opposition would have been shaped from that time to now. Just imagine how difficult it would have been to PFDJ to run Eritrea the way it did. My point is that Ethiopia had nothing to lose by demarcating the border, and we would probably would have been on our second multi party elections in Eritrea by now (on optimistic note) although no one could for see for sure in that manner.

    TPLFs refusal (I say TPLF because that is the source) to abide by the ruling have set us all on a destructive journey of mutual suspensions, paralysis in the face of dictatorship and simply a tremendous loss of opportunity for both peoples and the region.

    Why would TPLF decide to go on that course? If Eritrea started the war, then obviously it has something to benefit from it and wouldn’t accept any settlement. The party that has refused to close the chapter through the legal settlement must have started the war. Because logic dictates that it is not interested in resolving it, since it didn’t started it to demarcate the border but for other grand objectives.

    The death of the Ex-PMMZ has changed the ball game, and TPLF’s relationship with the opposition seems to be strained at the very least (listen to Tesfay Temnewo’s DC speech). And if Eritreans have nothing to gain by supporting TPLF now, it would hasten change and leave a legacy for future stability to call for immediate resolution of the border.

    I do not agree that this would strengthen PFDJ, actually the opposite.

    • haile

      please read “mutual suspicions”… instead of “suspension”

      • zegeremo


        Good Job for intensifying the Eritrean campaign to end the Woyane occupation. Don’t be surprised the woyane and its stooges(fuluiat fitret) are badly frustrated as the manipulation of the opposition miserably failed.


        • Kokhob Selam


          When are we going to label each other? when are we going to discuss Ideas? when are we going listen each other. when are we going to respect people?

  • Hayat Adem

    Haile and Weyane:
    (Bear with me on the following redundant and long quotes from Haile; who else then?!)
    “YG accepts our independence by hook or by crook, because Eritreans have actually made his leaders, weyane, ent’s sersirna ent’s NesiEna ent’s regixna to accept it.”
    “With woyane’s fast demise after their ex cappo has gone, Ethiopia seems heading to the way most of us want her to be: free, democratic and at peace with itself and all its neighbors.”
    “…considering that the Sudan has become smaller, how about confederation, federation and unity with the Republic of Sudan?”
    “Now, you would be better served to shed the woyane inspired attitude (that cought on with many) of bs’ing any one and anything without a clue of what you’re on about…try it, manners don’t hurt.”
    “Ethiopia is neither a powerhouse nor an economic miracle. You got to give it to their knack of spinning though! BTW Horizon, which kilil of the ethnic federalist hodgepodge to hail from?”
    ‘“The so called “vocal opposition”, “neo-andinets”, “club awassa” or “woyane stooges” have been successful in one thing alone over the last decade or so.’
    These are few collected from follow-up discussions of one or two recent articles. Even if I go back and comb all his comments, it would not make any difference. They are similar in theme and if you have read one, you have read them all. These are just to show how he repetitively gets himself drifted away from a purely Eritrean agenda to what it seems his full-day work, bashing Weyane/Ethiopia at every corner. Why? What is Haile’s beef with Weyane/Ethiopia? It is just mind-boggling to see someone so intoxicated with a pulse to hate, is it not? Sure, we all have a thing or two to say about them, but Haile’s is way different. Mostly, most of us want to say a lot more about ourselves. How can one be so fixated that he looks for every opportunity to insult Weyane/Ethiopia and is at more ease to embrace one’s own piled up dirt?
    Needless to say, Weyane/Ethiopians have plenty of their own weaknesses, but there are things we should never fool ourselves with and we should agree to accept and admit some facts if we ever have any chance of coming out of the wood. First, we should acknowledge they(weyane) are doing better in every sense of the word compared to us. Secondly, whatever wrongs were shared between us (Eritrea/Ethiopia) post-independence, our side had more to cause it than the other side. Thirdly, even when it comes to regretting due to hindsight wisdom about the past harms, they have come out with better grace and grown-up sensibility. Fourth, we can forget about their help to the opposition attributing to the debate whether it is helping or hurting, but we cannot forget their help extended to our people running for their lives at the risk of being shot from behind.
    What do we want as a people and country with regard to Ethiopia? Do have to nurture the fuel of enmity all the time, forever? Shouldn’t we be forward-looking and make sure the future is not as dark as the present? When do we start our part of peaceful and respectful neighborliness if not today? Why do people like Haile want us to keep on feeding the hate? What is to be gained? If you (readers) agree with me, we don’t need bloody wars or even bloodless wars any more. We are eager to put conflicts behind us and unleash the entrepreneurial potential of Eritrea. People like Haile should really be mindful of not gambling with our future. What you cannot find from peace, you will never be able to get from any kind of hate and violence. Is Badime your priority? It is for people like Haile who stir the dust crying loud about it. If that is the case, well Badme, which is still at the hands of Weyane and has always been so at least since independence with the exception of the one year interruption that led us to that regrettable brother-kills-brother collective madness,- Well chances are we are not going to get Badime back at will, and the odds to regain it through force is slimmer. We tried and failed, remember and the 2nd time we tried, we failed even worse. Through legal lines, then? We squandered that chance that, too, didn’t we? Through diplomatic maneuvering, then? Zero chance! We are not at liberty to do that as we are without a friend at government level, and you don’t do effective diplomacy excluding governments.
    But there is a good chance to negotiate and retrieve it by making sense and setting a relation with the Ethiopians. We are not going to shy away from our cousins south of the Mereb just because Haile and PFDJ are toiling for it. We know where this kind of mindset left us for now. Eritrea’s future is brighter with friendly and brotherly neighbors than without them. Haile and cohort, you should start a responsible approach for the sake of our Eritrea and Eritreans if you want to maximize brighter future for everyone. Deviate from this, you have nothing more to give us anything new about hating Ethiopia that we’ve not tried in the past. Free your chest, brother. Shake the hate off!

    • haile


      You really don’t have to parade snippets of my entries to prove the obvious. I hold that woyane has no reason to extend the Ethio-Eritrea conflict beyond 2003. It did so out of the same evil that caused it to ignite war and also commit horrible war crimes. As it stands, woyane, unless it abides by the law, it remains the greatest threat and mortal enemy of Eritrea. I believe without the illegal occupation of Eritrea, Eritreans would’ve accomplished their political dreams in few short years. Trust me, I am VERY modest when compared to the true feeling of the Eritrean people against these criminal and ethnic apartheid architects. Yes, we told them to avoid article 39…did they?….Please save your Eritrea bad and Woyane good diatribe for your next visit to Mekele. Weyane is in breach of moral and legal obligation to abide by the rule of law. PERIOD

      • haile


        I forgot to add the following:

        If Woyane demarcates the boundary according to the binding decision (or any other agreement that both party would enter) then I challenge you to find haile writing even a single letter in reference to them. How about that challenge?

        • Tamrat Tamrat

          Is that true? Then we will tell all the important org. and People that Haile wont Write about tplf the very org. created by shabia. The moment this is confirmed then the border conflict is history. Remember meless had siad he went to armstruggel due to derg. Except the so called Showa People was excuted by derg, the dream of meles, there was no reason for meless to start arm struggle. In short it is eplf created tplf in its image. That is burning you inside Out, Haile.

      • Abrham


        Are you telling us the atrocities by Shaebia could not happen if the demarcation was on ground. are you kidding, no connection at all.

        ”we told them to avoid article 39”ay Saleh Sorry Haile!! Mentor, teacher,trainer, counselor….are these Shaebias [moderator, “kkkkk” is not in this forum, we strive for serious debates] but the bad news for the mentors is the students made it far better.

        • haile


          are you telling me that PFDJ would justify the fact that Eritrean youth be kept in the trenches if the border is demarcated?

          Are you telling me that the PFDj would justify the suspension of Constitution?

          Are telling me that PFDJ would not be left with no reason to justify its violations of human rights?

          Above all, are you telling me Eritreans would not start to talk about human rights, rule of law and freedom of speech and the rest, with the main distraction and source of mistrust out of the way.

          Please give us a break! Woyane has done the greatest DISSERVICE to peace, justice and development in Eritrea by reneging on an agreement that was entered in good faith. I am afraid they are using the issue to undermine Eritrean independence, and not PFDJ.

          • Abrham


            Expecting justification is not possible from dictators or not plausible at any time.Likewise, The border affair can not be a justification by any means for the atrocities committed by isu. That’s insane if I got your intention. Mr haile,look into and unlock yourself from, before accusing someone else.

          • Serray

            Selam Haile,

            Let me ask you a question, if sheabia lost the war and was kicked out of medda, do you think eritrea will be independent today? The justification for its independence will still be there. The rule of law will still support eritrea’s independence but the rule of war, the ultimate judge, wouldn’t.

            In war, the winner dictates the terms. When the loser turns into a cannibalistic brute against his own people, he is not doing it to force the victor, he is doing it because it is his nature. Nothing, I mean absolutely nothing, justifies turning eritrean youth into slaves or suspending the constitution. The fact that you believe that woyanes refusal to let go of their war spoils rationalizes the dictator’s actions even remotely is shocking to me.

            When isaias ignited the war, he was in search of the ultimate excuse to finish the medda project. If badme had failed and the woyanes decided to go to court instead of their blood thirsty response, he would have poked Sudan and intensified his wars with Djibouti and Yemen. He would also have used his terrorist supporting habits. His aim was simple: to create a fearful and unstable environment to shelve the constitution and rule eritrea the only way he knows how, medda style.

            What is amazing to me is how well the woyanes played their part…and still playing.

      • Hayat Adem

        pls refresh your memory: a dog is as good as its ability to scare of an unwanted presence or its ability to bite. that is if it is a working dog. if it is a pet dog, then it is as good as its likeability and ability to appeal to emotional kindness. both are perfectly fine in their respective roles. but if a pet dog is trying to act as a guard dog, and vice versa, no one will care about the guard turned pet dog, and people would get irritated by the noisy pet. nobody likes a noisy pet.
        you can only get what you want or what you deserve through justice, negotiation or brute force. eritrea’s clouts are effectively trimmed and tamed on all fronts. lets assume for the sake of arguing that eritrea is innocent and wronged by ethioipia and the world, and lets assume also the entire world admits this fact. even if we believe in this skewed scenario, haile’s incessant barking of insults will not bring any difference. nobody is interested in a no-impact demeaning insults and it really reflects bad on the eritrean civility. even if hail is a minority voice, we prefer not to entertain such lowly and cheap shots. we have a very good chance to be able to rebuild a brotherly relations with all our neighbors. and which country could be a better start for such a positive overhauling than ethiopia?
        haile, don’t make it dialogue of the deaf. listen to and read what others are saying and writing. detach yourself from the “I’m haile, therefor i am” mindset. no body except pfdj and some folks from eritrea (now a days only pfdj) said weyane started the war. nobody. if you are curious enough, it is easy to analyze the circumstances and conclude that pia and his inner-most group alone started the war brought misery uncalled for. if you don’t want to do that analysis, pick witnesses of neutral parties.if you only think you can just throw out things to be picked by the rest of us, then we all are grown-ups who can tell a barking pet from a real dog.
        you can’t keep on saying weyane started or ignited the war against tones of evidence without risking to expose yourself for a real fool or someone with dishonest motives. one is not better of the other. even dishonest motives may be temporarily tolerated if they are meant to advance national interests. yours is neither principled nor justified. such behavior is only explainable and understandable if only the motive was meant to defend the criminal group of pia.

        • haile


          Apart from the border issue, could you please point me where you and me differ? My point is for TPLF to abide by rule of law and we can move one. And yours appears to me and the readers, let weyane trample on the rule of law and let’s just make peace with them and marvel at their super human qualities? What caused Hayat to hate Eritrea proper like that? Your love of Ethiopia’s woyane doesn’t need further elaboration:)

          • Hayat Adem

            you and us differ in a lot of things: we can handle weyane in the only practical way the world cares to work: using a stick or a carrot or a combination of them. i prefer to give carrot and receive an equivalent of it from neighbors. if i’am a victim, and the carrot is only motivating the other side to do more harm onto me, and if (emphasis on conditionality) i have the means, i may turn to non-carrot means in a limited way and only as far as encouraging the other side to come to terms to dialogue and negotiation. and i never ever encourgae non stop hate feed as a permanently conditioned mind-set. it is so self-consuming and good for nothing as far as results are concerned. it may have a little help for small-ego massaging. crying victim are seemingly comforting for little egos.
            haile, you are thinking of eritrea as if it is still a gravity center of influence due to its military prowess, superior will power and as if still have a relative advantage with all the necessary human and material resource. we gambled on that and we lost it big time. today is different from yesterday. you seem to have remained stuck in yesterday. you can call all the names on weyane, no little dint would be impacted. you can pray for ethiopia’s weakness in an intensity that compels one to think that all evil-wishers would envy your commitment on that line, 2014 is just going to be another year where our country goes to a deeper unless we do something to save it. that is the trend and you are less interested in changing that trend as much barking at the weyane tree.
            haile, you said the war should not have been extended beyond 2003. i call that the mother of all hypocrisies. what is it holding from saying the war should’ve have been started at all, in the first place? whom are you trying to protect? the war’s destruction was million times more visible between the time it was started and 2003, than after 2003 and onwards. what possible logic did you see to conclude that it was necessary up to 2003, but not then after? let me tell you straight what i think about weyane in case you stop your hate campaign considering your insignificant chances of scoring anything. read this: the way i see it, they (weyane) will never concede any (real or perceived) military or political score to pfdj. they will deny any face saving opportunity. time and resource is with them. your empty barking will not change the game.
            our priority and focus should be redirected on putting our own house in order. then after, we can handle unsettled external issues from a posture of strength and high moral ground. and the border issue is not something fiercely urgent compared to the risks and vulnerabilities we have from inside. even pia repeatedly told us that the border is settled with VD and nothing can change that closure. so, if you have any dime to contribute to the effort of reshaping eritrea, add it to the efforts directed at putting our house in order. if you are here for a role of spoiling, then it is not up to you; it is up to us to recognize for one and treat you as such.

          • haile


            You said “you and us differ in a lot of things:…” and couldn’t go beyond the border issue…huh so much for “a lot of things”.

            The then go on to foment new angle of attack by saying that I implied the war was justified until 2003! Let me tell you so that your “felitu zxememe’s…” approach. Around that time the border demarcation verdict had been given and no need to extend an obviously unnecessary war beyond such a legal conclusion.

            That is all I said, but your desperation is getting the better of you in being hopelessly dishonest.

            By declaring that any Eritrean that asks for the application of rule of law vis-a-vis the border issue is PFDJ, you are demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt what it is you stand for, to advance the TPLF agenda.

            A true Eritrean can listen to my concern and either agree or simply ignore it. But you, no…you had a bone to pick. A nerve gets twitched by the mention of TPLF’s abdication of rule of law and plunging the region into perpetual conflicts and divisions. But hey, what it would matter to Hayat with that kind Tiger economy building mentor, TPLF.

            Your association of us with PFDJ is simply another weak link in the chain of faulty thinking pattern that seem to shape your worldview.

      • Tesfamariam


        “Yes,we told them to avoid article 39…did they?” who are you referring as “we” ? who are those of your “we ” to tell woyane what to do or not to do?
        As always you don”t know your limit and you don’t know who you are and where you belong…
        As usual keep entertaining us

        • haile


          • Tesfamariam


            Yes indeed you are; and you are not the first one but don’t try to hide and cover up your true identity here in awate.
            Keep on entertaining us.

    • Mr. smart alec other wise known as swollen-headed Haile is a lone voice in the wilderness. It’s been quite a while since PFDJites have dropped accusing Ethiopia for anything and everything anymore. It is, instead, at logger heads with the UN over human right abuses, and the long forgotten border issues. Ethiopia, to borrow PFDJ’s old saw, is like a camel marching forward indifferent to the barking of the few remnant dogs.;-)

      • haile


        As a TPLF cadre, you are welcome to discuss on issues. But, it is ugly and characteristic of your weyanay flippancy to insult Eritrean commenters here. I haven’t insulted your person as a Tigrayan, you should reciprocate in kind. Srqi nweyane ayteqemon…leba leba entebelwo luba luba zbelwo ymeslo 🙂

  • Zaul

    The remnants of ELF were never satisfied that EPLF liberated Eritrea and continues therefore their armed struggle to this day, because they want to implement their Pan-Arabism agenda that Egypt started in the mid 1800’s and reignited by supporting ELM’s and ELF’s agenda. Just to be able to control the source of the Nile and control the entire red sea coast, to make the red sea an Arab Lake. Their Arabic and Tigrinya as official language program is key in this endeavor. They are claiming pseudo-historical evidence of having Arab ancestry and some colonial protocols from Massawa, to support the claim that Arabic should enjoy a higher status than indigenous languages and they have brainwashed the people into believing that if they are against Arabic, they are against Islam. This is not NATIONALISM or PATRIOTISM, this is running the errands of foreign powers .They want to kill 7 Eritrean languages by refusing to give them legal protection under the law. Finally they want to kill Tigrinya by encroachment as a final “coup de grace”. People need to pay attention. Too many Arabic words are already used in everyday life, that we are not aware of, a few examples (keman, yumkin, shaebia, jebha, amma,lakin,Yaekhi, ahlen, ashera, khamseen, manjus halal seb, haramu, hasad etc..)

  • belay

    Yes,but lets not forget Eritreans fought to the teeth to keep their identity,culture,languge etc. Intact.
    But we failed them,we gave them away to the Italians,we should have fought to librate them as they were fighting in every corner of our country as proud citizens of Ethioppia.
    Atlast Atse Minilk betrayed them,again Atse Haileselasie cheated them.And Mengestu was determined to Destroy what do you do when it is to much to cope with.
    Yes the Egyptians jumped in to take advantage and still do but,but it was all our stupidity and the stupidity of the Showa Dynsty for all the mess and destruction for the last 50 odd years.
    I thank for EPRDF to agree to let Eritrea go.what came after that was mr Isayas and co to answer.
    I might be wrong but that is what i think.

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    First the horse then the cart!
    Eritrea had not even created the Colonial Identity from italy when it joined Ethiopia. Many nations created by colonizer have Identity made by the colonizer as legacy like Language and culture as a common unifying character which makes them United, bonded even when they dont want that Legacy. Eritreans dont have even italian Language or culture as unifying force though their elites try to make a nation out of the map made by italy. There is no doubt italy created Asmara as a colony but that is confined only to asmarinos People and that generation has left withtout not much contribuiton leaving the mass to its Natural Family trees who have more in common in South than the New identity.

    So when Eritrea declared independency the cart was firs and the horse follows. Why did not they try to use time in 1991 to put Things in perspective? What isayas had tried was to put the horse first but this task was difficult to anybody. Even elf took Power it could have been the same. The Identity isayas had created was derg was facist. But that was the same in ‘Ethiopia’ too. Removing the derg left Eritrea With out strong Identity which made them different than ‘Ethiopians’ not undermining the ‘euphoria’ followed 1991. To the dismay of eritreans elite was easy to see when the happiness of millions ethiopian reduced by the secessation of Eritrea.

    If one can make Eritreas are differnt from Ethiopians by derg style then isayas has created pfdj With out derg’s blue uniform. The rest is the exact copy. What isayas couldnt controll is that People to run to thier Natural families than to be molded by the brutal force of pfdj.

  • Sabri


    Simon Woldehaimanot and Semere Kesete have written one article at Review of African Political Economy Vol. 29, Issue 131, 2012. Here is the abstract:
    As part of a revisionist discourse, it has been contended that the core of Eritrea’s political, cultural and economic identity is based on colonial premises and these three premises are false. As a result, Eritrea is in a dilemma. It is further contended that Eritrea’s future lies in seeking unity with Ethiopia. This article is a rejoinder to the contention. It shows the truthfulness of the premises and argues that, save for the prevalent dictatorship, it was and it still is a correct decision for Eritreans to opt for an independent Eritrea. Avoiding the old talk, this rejoinder recommends that as sovereign states, Eritrea and Ethiopia should govern their relations by principles of civilised nations.

    • Sabri

      Correction: The number of volume (Vol.29) I wrote above is wrong. The correct volume is Vol.39.

  • haile

    With woyane’s fast demise after their ex cappo has gone, Ethiopia seems heading to the way most of us want her to be: free, democratic and at peace with itself and all its neighbors. I saw this video of demo in Adis ababa

    What interested me is not the content of the demo per se, rather that it has been conducted peacefully and in a civilized manner.

    Very beautiful sight indeed!

    • rodab

      Addis is not Asmara – it has seen many peaceful demos opposing the regime there.

      • Zegeremo

        Yeah… Executing 300+ protestors is not considered violent.

  • Dear Saleh,

    I like the three logical approach of our struggle you put it in your argument against Serray. Even though there is no jotted briefly about the sequence how we approached our struggle, the political orientation was given in a similar way to the rank and file at least within the ELF organization. I don’t think it is different within EPLF also from theoretical approach… leaving the stiffness of centralization compared to ELF organization.

    While I agree with the premises of your argument, I would like to make some corrections (a) as to the concept of “colonialism” originated during the partition of Africa, Asia,North America, and South America by the European countries during the era (1500 to mid 1900). Colonialism is the practice (exploitation, acquisition, and expansion) of imperialism in order to strength the economy of the colonizing countries. So we had a heated debate about the concept with EPRP in the seventies. Since Eritrea and Spanish Sahara were under Ethiopia and Morocco respectively the argument by ELF as it is laid down in its 2nd congress was “special colony” or “fuluy megza’eti” just to separate from the other colonized countries by the Europeans. I don’t know on the EPLF side. Since the Eritrean case doesn’t fit to the universal definition of colony….so the definition of ELF as “fuluy megza’eti.” This is just for historical purposes as the cause for our struggle. Whether we should agree or disagree on this historical approach it is not important for the current struggle. (b) On the issue of “political decentralization” I don’think both organization envisioned on what kind of structural governance will they install other than “political pluralism” in terms of multi-party system in their political programs. ELF’s political program is called “National democratic program”. It was nationalistic b/c they were fighting against Ethiopia, it was democratic b/c it envisioned democratic ideals as was laid down in their political program. I will leave the political program of EPLF for EPLF-fighters to elaborated themselves.

  • Tzigereda

    Dear Amanuel,

    Ghedli is likewise my history as yours, and I have no regret in having joined it (ELF), for I believe that it was a justifiable struggle. And still I hope a genuine evaluation of Ghedli in all aspects will evolve. YGs articles don’t even try to show this type of reflection, since he repeatedly defames Ghedli as unjustifiable.

    Dear Serray,
    What is your take on these quotes?

    (II) Eritrean Independence: Is It Worth All the Sacrifice?
    Thursday, 16 July 2009 Yosief Ghebrehiwet

    “..And if, in the end, we find out that ghedli has had no justifiable cause at all, then the loss would go beyond the question of proportions; for there would be no worthy cause at all with which to compare the sacrifice and hence becomes prohibitive and inexcusable.”

    “…On the Muslim side, it was primarily a religious grievance (buttressed by pan-Arabism) that motivated the independence movement…”

    “…We have seen that urban Eritrea’s (mainly Christian) development grievance would have been met within proper Ethiopia…”

    “….after all, there are certain experiments that only larger nations could easily afford…”.

    Eritrea: the Martyrs’ Dream – “Hidri Suwuatna”
    Friday, 15 June 2012 00:05 Yosief Ghebrehiwet

    “…When a revolution with no justifiable cause goes through so much horrendous sacrifice, as the Eritrean Revolution has, it seeks justification in numbers only…”

    (II) the Circular Journey in Search of Eritrea: A”Wold Distance” that Never Was
    Tuesday, 23 October 2012, Yosief Ghebrehiwet

    “…If there was no world distance to justify a revolution to begin with, the Fronts had to invent it; and therein lies Eritrea’s predicament. The alien identities that they made their goal were meant to create that distance..”.

    (III) The Circular Journey in Search of Eritrea: “Hadnetna” from Sahel to the Sinai
    Saturday, 01 December 2012 Yosief Ghebrehiwet

    “…But the teghadelti themselves had no clue as to what they were fighting for…”

    “…as if Eritrea being in the colonial map was all that was needed to justify their revolution…”.

    • Dear Tzegereda,

      YG was part of our journey till until the border war and the defeat of the Eritrean regime. I believe YG developed the current position when he saw our nation in the free fall as in physics by its own weight. So YG’s view seems to be dictated by the current picture of Eritrea. I believe in early 2008, he started to question us how ghedli contribute to the evolution of Eritrean identity (common identity). To satisfy his inquisitive mind, I wrote an article “The evolvement of Eritrean nationalism and the nationhood of Eritrea” at in 2008 (a) using history, psychology, and political ideology as factor to justify the cause of our struggle (b) using the concept of national identity and common experience have reflected our “common identity.” YG wasn’t satisfied with my argument. Slowly he drifted into the current position arguing against ghedli, accusing that its cause was to bring “alien identity” …and the rest of his prospective on all flashing and mismatching arguments. I will safely argue that if Eritrea had a constitutional civic government, a fair cycle of democratic elections, and a legal due process, YG will never surface such kind of argument. So that is why YG’s argument wasn’t and isn’t principled argument.

    • Serray


      In the context he used them, he deal with most of these quotes appropriately. If you think otherwise, put them in context, explain why you agree or disagree with them and we can take it from there.

  • My take,

    Unlike Serray and others, I don’t have any issues with the following labels-Neo-Andnet, or Andinet 2.0. After all, Andinet 2.0 might in time lead to confederation, a prerequisite for federal arrangement with Ethiopia. 😉 Unity is strength. “Dir biyabir Anbesa Yasir”. Yesterday’s Ethiopia is not today’s Ethiopia.

    In addition, as many celebrate the monstrous ghedli, some also want to at least acknowledge our great (great) grand fathers’ good intentions, and wishes to unite with their southern brethren even though their methods of struggle were not only wrong but also back fired and led to a rise of the Liberal Progressive Party (which is said to have initially sought to create tigray-tigrini), and independence bloc. Alas, we don’t have a time machine to change history.

    The Andinet party members rising political consciousness at the time was firmly rooted on common culture, history, and language on one hand; and, the perceived fear of domination by Arabs and Arab wannabe Muslims on the other. Just like the fear of a united “habesha” tend to unite some Eritreans.

    Accordingly, Sal and his disciples (Haile included) should have continued the label “Neo-Andinet” in place of “Ghedli defamers”. I believe that some of those who swear by “swiAat” are “ghedli defamers” as well and I don’t think you want to merge them with the young , vibrant and so called disillusioned “ Noe-Andinet” subscribers .

    The seemingly strong bond among many Eritrean Ghedli-romanticizers is such that without a tyrant to symbolize their nationalism, or without a sanitized history of ghedli, the glue that holds them together easily collapses.

    Have a blessed weekend.

    • I meant to say “My turn”.

    • haile

      “Unity is strength. “Dir biyabir Anbesa Yasir” Dawit

      You have good point, except that given our significant attachment with the Sudan now and during our struggle and considering that the Sudan has become smaller, how about confederation, federation and unity with the Republic of Sudan?

      We have many things in common and have contagious border with the Sudan. In land mass, most of our country is moslem lawland or moslem coastal areas. We have ethnic groups that straddle both our countries, why not Sudan?

      ….of course, I believe in one indivisible and sovereign Eritrea. But if you want to take your pick based on a narrow self interest, we might as well redraw African geography all over again. Unless you are in service of a certain party that is.

  • haile


    Regardless of what one’s take is on point by point case, both Serray and Saay have been making excellent arguments for each of their respective stands. There is no need to bore you with the obvious on which side I go for, hence lets do the numbers side of things.

    On the PFDJ camp, the sampling distribution curve of shades of political opinion is a vertical line. This is of course when different views (X) is plotted against different issues (Y). Since the divisor for the rate of change with respect to ‘views” is therefore zero, the rate of change is undefined in this case. In real life, it can be understood to mean “unheard of”.

    The opposition’s sampling distribution curve is consistent with bell like normal population sample distribution. The bell has the majority view (95%) is on the Eritrea first shades of views (can be proven through indirect data). The extreme left 2.5% tail along with the view that “Habesha, Injera, Tewahdo, Tigrigna” can be coalesced to define a new “menTeri bayta” While the far right 2.5% tail in a mirror opposite “Arab, sambusa, Islam, Arabic”.

    In the event of PFDJ’ fall, the opposition’s distribution curve would remain pretty much the same because the pro-PFDJ distribution is a mere vertical line (everyone falling along it) and it would just merge with the center (95%) of “views” in the current opposition and the right and left tails would remain unaffected by any potential re-run of Jan.21/13


    • Haile,

      Read your 2nd and 3rd paragraphs.

      I am not a statistician but I am wondering whether “Sampling distribution curves” tell you rate of change of a variable(s). I thought sampling frequency distribution of variables show, among others, variation of any given datum from the mean, and frequency of each datum. Unlike a graph, a bell curve does not show a relationship between two variables, say X, and F(X). Yours statistical inference might then be wrong. Revise your premise.

      • haile


        Paragraph one is the plot and paragraph two and three are analysis of the normal distribution. In PFDJ supporters it is not suitable to analyze it using the normal dist. So the normal is not meant to regress relationship here! (may be I should have (explained)…

        Are you with me, before I move on to variance analysis?…and final exam will be yesterday by the way 🙂

        • Haile,

          Well, well, well… Before you continue on your flawed statistical analysis, I would like to pick a hole in your “plot” and supposed analysis.

          A bell-shaped curve is used to determine probabilities of the normal distribution. In your rudimentary plot and flawed analysis, the 2.5% at the opposite ends of the bell curve indicate the probability of making Type 1 or Type 2 error. You are making a Type 2 error.

          Memhirey Hailuwa! I will let you find out for yourself what type 1 and type 2 errors are for now.

          BTW, you need to brush up your Statistics 101. I recommend you buy statistics for dummies book from Barnes and nobles, or Amazon 😉

          • haile

            aha..Dawit, eta mexhaf kdelya keyde tesheyta elomni 🙂 May be you’re reading it as we speak 🙂

            I don’t know your background in stats. but to me it takes a chunk of what I do. Let’s not invent the wheel here. And I hate to challenge someone without truly knowing who they are and what they know.

            At the risk of embarrassing you by having to explain to you grade level statistics, let me tell you that the Normal distribution is fitted in many modeling scenarios where random variables (mostly real-valued), whose distribution are not known, are studied. Its usefulness drives from the fact that it defines the CLT. Equally powerful growth model is logistic. I had, some time back, had the opportunity to work with both these extensively in constructing an age-structured model for determining sustainable harvesting…

            Now, you would be better served to shed the woyane inspired attitude (that cought on with many) of bs’ing any one and anything without a clue of what you’re on about…try it, manners don’t hurt 🙂

          • Haile,
            In response to Dawit, you have said: “And I hate to challenge someone without truly knowing who they are and what they know.” The implicit message for us is, don’t challenge to those who debate in virtual world with pen-names (like Haile). Am I right Haile? Isn’t it self-persecution against your interest in this medium?

          • haile


            You can extend my poin there, but in my opinion I am sticking to what I believe and not calling anyone to judgement to begin with. When you decide what to associate me with, however, what choice do I have? 🙂

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    We are told eritreans won the US Proxy war, the soviet union and the largest african military. According to shabia this victory was almost half way already 14 years since the movement started.

    Ethiopians believed that shabia is a messagner for Egypt and Arabs in the thinking of controlling both Read Sea and Nile.

    After 22 years Things became more clearer. Isayas still is ummoned occasionaly to continue his work on the behalf of the Arabs. If it were of for the well bieng of Eritrea then by now eritreans after 22 years could have reached what ever they wished at least economicaly concidering the country’s Natural Resources combined With its small population.

    But my question how come eritreans still under shabia inhuman rulling? Is it because Egypt and Arabs not helping? Do they have any reason to help eritreans?

    Egypt which doesnt entertain Democracy even now in 2013 for its own People has had great credit in forming one of democratic party or Group by the name E L F. As one eritrean explained very well nothing free comes from forgeiners. The undemocratic the countries are the sky high is the rent of the ‘free help’. Where the araba countries from Siria to Egypt who said Eritrea is ara while Eritrea is the poorest arab country. Politcs is rude. Some times People even sacrifice to the opposite of their goals. How woyane People now sleep in Peace after they sacrificed themselves for the purpose of shabia ie purpose of Egypt while now woayanes confronting Egypt in the oppoiste side of the negotiation table. We definitly know where isayas is sitting.

    It is always good to see Eritrea and Ethiopia together when we see other nations concerning these to countries. most of the answers we are striving for lie here.

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      ‘unmmoned’ = ‘summoned’

  • Serray

    Selamat Sal,

    You are right, I am using nationalism and patriotism interchangeably. My definition of nationalism is similar to that of…1.spirit or aspirations common to the whole of a nation or 2. devotion and loyalty to one’s own country; patriotism.

    In addition to interchangeability, the key here is the “the whole of a nation” as opposed to loyalty to a part of the nation. I like the way you try to make ghedli-defamers sound innocent, not a label. The other day you introduced it by “we have all settled…”.

    For a habesha to say we habeshas share a culture, tradition and history with our kins in ethiopia is a fact; there is nothing nationalistic about it. On the other hand, the nation eritrea de-emphasizes this heritage because its very existence is found on denying the oneness with ethiopia.

    Fessehaye is right, eritrea is political entity and so is ethiopia. Habeshas are a subset in both countries. I think it is a little paranoid to accuse those who emphasis our habeshaness as nationalists who want to be part of ethiopia. We are who we are. You are telling us that we need to be proud of a political entity that so far has brought us nothing but blood and misery because people died to bring it into existence. And that is fine, that is what nationalists and patriots do; but when you try to put words in the mouths of those who say that we are not just a product of italian colonialism and that we have a history that we share with some of those who live in present day ethiopia – thousands of years before the italians came to our land – I think the enjera eating, tigrigna speaking tewahdo in us revolts. As a proponent of arabic language as one of our two official language, I hope you understand where I am coming from. If your logic of nationalism is true, them those who accuse you of wanting eritrea to be arab is true. HS and Dergi were wrong but that doesn’t mean we are forbidden to acknowledge our common heritage with our ethiopian kins. Habesha is not a dirty word; it is our other identity, even if ghedli tries to play it down.

    Finally, Sal, for me the ghedli romantics in the opposition (the nationalists) are weird for what the leave out; you leave out our existence before the italians, you leave out the nature of ghedli that doesn’t fit your all heroic picture and you leave out that you share this view with the regime that is destroying the object of your devotion.

    Selam Dawit,

    The second part is a quote….but let me repeat, people have a right to be proud of their country. The problem is when they make what they feel as the only legitimate feeling or, use nationalism as a weapon to shut down others.

  • Serray

    Selamat Fessehaye,

    I agree with you that the book reviewer and the article critic used the medium more of an expression of a point of view than actually taking to task the book or the article. Little material or concept of the subject was used?

    Unlike you, I have no problem with nationalism; my problem is using it to win an argument or to shut down one. In our case, more often than not, nationalism is used as a tactic to bring someone’s idea down. This happens when the nation is not living up to the dreams and aspirations of the citizens. Nationalism becomes an abstract; the love of the nation gets perverted…it is precious because it costed more.

    It is possible to look at eritrea today and be proud of it….or not. If you happen to be proud, it is because of how it came to be; if you are not, it is also of how it came to be. The pfdj use nationalism and patriotism to blind their supporters and target their opponents. As a matter of fact, the only weapon the pfdj use against the opposition is nationalism and patriotism; “sellouts and woyanes stooges” are designed to pull the strings of nationalism and patriotism and weaken the oppositions. I agree with you that the tactic is now creeping into the opposition.

    I like the following from your piece because it is clear and stands in naked contrast with the non pfdj nationalists,

    “Unlike these committed nationalists, that I often encounter on the pages of Awate or the other sites, I am one that believes Eritrea is a political entity, an abstract construct, that belongs equally to all those who believe they are Eritreans regardless of what their past history is, what their beliefs past and present are or what their wishes are for the country of their origin. No one is supposed to have a monopoly on the Eritrean idea and what Eritrea is or what it should be.

    I am not a nationalist and I abhor nationalism because nationalism is a reactionary trait.

    Nationalism as George Orwell once said is ‘power hunger tempered by self deception’. In the final analysis we should never lose sight of the fact that Nationalism is tribal, cultural and ethnocentric. Above all nationalism diminishes the capacity of the individual to judge.”

    I don’t know why but this reminds me about the use of neo-andnet by our non-pfdj and semi-pfdj nationalists.

    • Dear Serray,

      On the one hand you are saying you “have no problem with nationalism”, but on the other hand you are saying you “abhor nationalism because nationalism is a reactionary trait.”

      Are you not having problem with nationalism because it is ” a reactionary trait”? Aren’t you contradicting yourself?

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Serray:

      I think both you and Fessehaye are using “nationalism” and “patriotism” interchangeably. I will try to show in the following that the party that is guilty of “nationalism” is not the “Ghedli-romanticizing” opposition; actually it is the “Ghedli-defaming”* opposition.

      First my definitions: nationalism is an appeal to a collective identity that stresses common culture, history, language, ancestry and heritage. Patriotism, on the other hand, is an appeal to a collective identity stressing values, beliefs, behavior.

      Is it not the “Ghedli-defaming opposition” who stress our common Habesha culture, our common history, and our common heritage? Isn’t the “our” they refer to a geographic entity that was known as Abesha/Habesha before the European scramble? In fact, their appeal is for us to throw away our silly patriotism and its appeal to values which they never take a single break from denigrating–values such as heroism, courage, volunteerism, stick-to-itness– and to embrace the ultra-nationalism of Habesha: our heritage, our history, our churches, our mosques, our shrines, our Geez language, etc. They remind us of the “artificial” and “fake” Eritrean identity and appeal to us to choose our Habesha identity.

      In short, the “Ghedli-defaming” opposition wants to make patriotism a dirty word and replace it by nationalism: Nation of Habesha. And when we call that “dangerous” development for Eritrea, we are echoing George Orwell who called nationalism “the enemy of peace” because those who don’t feel any sense of belonging to this “Habesha” identity (no matter how “charitably” it is given away by the Habesha) will feel like second-class citizens in their own country (the way the Somali Ethiopians do right now in Ethiopia.)


      *I could have used “neo-Andnet”–but I am trying not to use “labels.” Labels like “semi-pfdj nationalists” 🙂

      • Selam SAAY,

        Rather using everyone his definition, I would prefer the universally accepted definition. Why I said that b/c you started with your own definition. Politically, nationalism is sentiment based on common cultural characteristics that binds the population of a country. While patriotism is devotion to one’s country or loyalty to one’s country. Correct me if I am wrong. Look at the characteristics you mentioned to define nationalism. Certainly it is not quintessential to have all those characteristics to bind one’s population to exhibit a sentiment of nationalism. for instance take Eritrea , it is a multi-lingual nation where language will not be a factor for binding the population to have a common sentiment. So every nation has its own cultural characteristics that define the sentiment of its nationalism.

        Sal as one of our Erudite it is unbecoming to use label in your arguments while you are capable to do it without labeling. Those who runs for labeling are those who run out of ideas. Let us engage with ideas. And of course there is always give and take in the process.

        • Salyounis

          Ahlen Amanuel and Serray:

          Emma, the reason I gave my definition of nationalism and patriotism is that there doesn’t appear to be a consistent definition of both, other than the common understanding that they mean different things. But I accept your admonishment: we should strive to get agreement on the definition of words before we argue about them. So, who better than Orwell? Here’s what I found from “George Orwell: Notes on Nationalism:

          Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

          Would that work for you? Now with respect to “labels”, I will expound on it in my reply to Serray below, I really find most of the crying about name-calling and labeling to be disingenuous and phony. In America, there is a movement called “No Label” which is attempting to differentiate itself from the labels “democrat” and “republican” and all it ended up is giving itself a label called “no label.” A label is simply a short-hand adjective and the only test should be whether it is accurate or not.


          You seem to be unaware that “ghedli romantic”, a term used by YG and by you often, is a label–and not a flattering one. But it is a label, and it is calling a certain group of people fantasists, not grounded in reality. And when I say “we settled on calling the critics of ghedli “ghedli-defamers” it is because many found the alternative, “neo-andnet” offensive.

          I don’t know anybody who is denying your Habeshaness so your “injera-eating, tigrinya speaking Tewahdo”ness can rest at ease. What I am saying is that millions of “injera-eating, tigrinya speaking Tewahdo” said there is a better alternative than being the subjects of a brutal king and partnered with millions of “injera-not-eating, tigrinya not-speaking non-Tewahdo” to re-assert a collective identity that was handed to them 123 years ago. Millions of them got maimed, killed, tortured and exiled to advance this identity. Maintaining your habesha identity does not require you to trash and denigrate all their sacrifices.

          I do not downplay at all Eritrean history before the Italians came. As I have written before, the strength of character Eritreans displayed, or the weaknesses we show, were not invented by Ghedli–they existed long before the Italians came. All the Ghedli did was marshall and coalese the Eritrean strength and weakness. You, on the other hand, attribute all the bad things to Ghedli and all the good things to a mythical Eritrea (Habesha?) that existed long before our colonization. Talk about romanticizing.

          People can have multiple of identities. But a State is a jealous woman: it requires that you put loyalty to her above all else: your nationality, your heritage included. Where you and I can join hands is in telling the government supporters that the State is too demanding, she can’t continuously demand sacrifices. Where you and I have been differing is that you say that the very nature of the State of Eritrea, the circumstances of her birth, requires that she demand endless sacrifices.


          • Sal,

            Nationalism grows out of romantic glorification of the past and the morbid cult of the dead tegadelties.

            One starts feeling patriotic first. This patriotism in turn develops into nationalism. It is this nationalism I and perhaps many others as well have a problem with. You can not expect or force every Eritrean to celebrate the past other wise it would be like saying “my way or the weyane way”

            There is a sort of continuum.

            Patriotism ->Chauvinism->Nationalism

            Once one feels patriotic, there is a danger that this one individual may suddenly and unknowingly precipitate in to a dangerous form of nationalism such as tribal nationalism.

            Other than that, we all seem to differ on our perception of the things around us including the Eritrean politics.

          • Serray

            Selam Sal,

            As gezae suggested, how about sticking to ghedli romantic and de-romantic? All your other labels are either loaded or pfdj sounding. Ghedli-defamers is as bad as neo-andnet…you chose it because it relieves you of doing the hard work of challenging the idea incapsulated in de-romanticizing ghedli point by point; it pulls the strings of nationalism and patriotism and replaces logic by emotion. At least your neo-andnet serves another purpose: to make a point that we are not what our fathers say we are. Its attraction to you is the way it rests the eritrean identity on ghedli and not beyond. After all, you coined it in response to the first eritrean who challenge the infallibility of the identity as defined by ghedli.

            Back to nationalism and patriotism. If you insist on orwell’s quote of nationalism as a definition, I insist on my samuel johnson’s quote that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”. I have a lot more where that came from if you continue to insist replacing quotes of famous people for definition….here is one of my sources:

            Sal, I struggle with both; is isaias a patriot or a nationalist or both? What gives you the right to say he is one or the other? Can one be a patriot as you define it and still hate a big chunk of his countrymen? What does it mean to love your country? I understand loving your people; I am not sure what it means to love the shell enclosing them. But most importantly, why are they always used as weapons. They have the word “love” in them but they are always used to attack others…case in point, neo-andnet. But that is enough about word games.

            Sal, you and I differ on two things that are joined at the hips. Two men marry their childhood sweethearts; one is happy and content and the other is jealous and always looking behind his shoulders torturing his love with unreasonable suspicion. I am the first type when it comes to eritrea. It is ours and no one will take it. If we lose it, it is 100 percent because of us. The ethiopians don’t bother me; I know beyond any shadow of doubt that badme is the work of isaias . When I read YG, I see the blue print of what it will take to lose it.

            A state is not jealous by nature; eritrea definitely is not. But you guys make it, isaias makes it. For reasons only God knows why, you still think the ethiopians want to date eritrea. The way you go after the ethiopians! it is like we are in the eighties. Nothing they do will ever reverse the statehood of eritrea…but you guys hold a paranoid posture… “born again andnetawian are hiding behind every corner ready to sell it to ethiopia”. The worst thing is, the dummy who rules the nation not only thinks that way but rules eritrea so that people internalize that insane idea. Knowingly or not, you guys are helping him reenforce that idea.

            Let me be honest with you, your neo-andnet sounds insane to me. When there are zero buyers, you created a cottage industry around a truly bizarre idea that your brothers, fellow opposition, are trying to sell your country. That is our first difference. The second is, your willful omission of ghedli’s role in facilitating the mindset of the people destroying our country. Your one man theory has no backup. If it fails, you have no plan B; but you stick to it hoping that when isaias is gone, eritrea’s problem will be solved. What if is not? What if the rabbit hole goes further than that (from Matrix)? What if isaias 2 or 3 or 4 takeover? In a country that abhors diversity, a country that even its opposition insists on walking in lock step with the regime’s version of our identity, the chances of having a lazy ruler who demands allegiance “because many have died to bring our country in existence” is more than real. You are fond of comparing eritrea’s misery to that of other african nations. Most african countries are now in their second, third or fourth generation of dictatorship. Your one man theory fails to factor that…what if the next ruler of eritrea used the value systems of ghedli and “the ethiopians are drooling over us” mentality to create a symmetrical eritrea?

            NB, I just saw Dawit’s comment, how about that?

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray and Dawit:

            Serray, when you say, “As gezae suggested, how about sticking to ghedli romantic and de-romantic?” you are making my point that you want to retain your side the right to insult and take away from our side the right to self-defense. You call me a fantasists and I call you a realist and that is supposed to be a fair trade? In the immortal words of the Philosophers of In Living Colour: “homey don’t play dat::) As long as you guys calls us “ghedli romantic”, we get to call you “ghedli defamers”. If you want more neutral words, we will call u “ghedli prosecutors” and we will be “ghedli defenders.”

            We don’t have to go on a search for Famous Philosophers to define nationalism and patriotism; we just have to find an acceptable authority–even if they are controversial, these are standard polsci terms, I think. People that stress organizing people on the basis of a common heritage, ancestry, language are nationalists; when they bring this to a smaller unit, they are sub-nationalists; when they expand this to go beyond national borders, they are called Pan-nationalists. (Pan Africa, Pan Arab, Greater Habesha, Tigray Tigrini, Greater Somalia Kurdistan are all in this category.) Patriots tend to be border obsessed (very defensive, this is mine, don’t come any closer); nationalists tend to focus on people (good), except it is always, always, THEIR people (bad.)*

            The biggest joke about Ghedli-defamers is that they perceive themselves as brave truth-tellers. Let me show you why they are actually intellectually dishonest.

            Let’s play a game of infinite regress for Eritrea’s predicament. Here’s the ghedli-defamer version. Who is to blame? Isaias Afwerki. But who produced Isaias Afwerki? Ghedli. But who produced Ghedli? Some confused Eritreans who imposed an alien identity. After that, they are done, they have no place to go. The fact that they say Eritrea’s problems are deeper than Isaias Afwerki and go all the way to Ghedli, all the way to the “clueless” Eritreans enamored with alien identities gives them a self-image that they are brave truth-tellers. The problem with this: (a) their blame game does not go far enough and (b) when they are reminded that this is exactly what the Andnet Party of the 1940s said, they stop the debate by invoking their hurt feelings. They are very brave truth-tellers when they say that thousands of Eritreans died for nothing, but the minute you point out to them that their argument is identical to that espoused by Andnet party (that some confused Eritreans are bringing alien–Arab/Italian–identity and rejecting their own Habesha identity), oh, my, the tears they shed about their hurt feeling. Some brave souls, the ghedli defamers.

            If you want to be intellectually honest, you would ask why was our Ghedli the way it is. I mean, there were dozens of Marxism-Leninsm inspired guerrilla movements in the world which were founded by the vision of “clueless” founders. How did ours end up exactly the way it did? How did Isaias Afwerki become the man he is: he was fully-formed at the age he joined the ELF. Did the “Ghedli” change him into the monster he is? What is it in the Eritrean culture that contributed to forming the Ghedli–its strength and its deformations?

            Here, the truth-telling Ghedli de-romantics have nothing to say. In fact, in much the same way they accuse the “Ghedli romantics” of stifling debate whenever the weaknesses of Ghedli are mentioned, the minute you mention the failures of our cultures, oh, the fury and the rage they bring in. With all due respect, Serray, you and Ghezae are case examples. The minute we get any closer to even broaching the subject, you immediately run to your “injera-eating” hyper-nationalism. Just consider your over-reaction to the writings of Ahmed Zaki which you characterized as “lowland good, highland bad.”

            Let me say it clearly: Isaias Afwerki’s is Eritrea’s problem. But I don’t stop there. Isaias Afwerki arrived to Ghedli fully formed and the factors that contributed to his ascension to absolute totalitarianism don’t just stop at Ghedli. Oh, no. They go to the very core of the Eritrean culture: its values. Even the fact that we can’t have an honest discussion about the weaknesses of the Eritrean culture are also part of the Eritrean culture. Where nationalist and patriots all agree on is in paying tribute to our strengths (we can’t stop singing its praises); but we are not ready yet to discuss the weaknesses of Eritrean culture.

            I once read (don’t remember where now) that all great civilizations became great by identifying a cultural flaw and correcting it. Too bad we are not ready at all.


            *By the way, the skepticism Eritreans feel towards the government of Ethiopia is not just paranoia. The Ethiopian government clearly believes that encouraging Eritreans to organize on the basis of their “nation and nationality” is in the interest of the Ethiopian government and is actively working for it. The reason they haven’t progressed as much as they like on that project is due to some “ghedli” developed value that shuns organizing on the basis of your tribe/nationality. But they are chipping away at, and the Ghedli-defamers are chipping away at it from this side of the border. It is not a conspiracy; call it deus ex machina.

          • Merhaba Saleh,

            Terms could be interdependent but not interchangeable. So for the less literate people at time could be hard to extract the difference of interdependent words or terms. So your role and among others is to show clearly where they relate and where they differ. Now patriotism and nationalism falls in the category of interdependent words (terms) and along with it the “confusion” you (in this comment)or George Orwell (on notes of nationalism) have alluded how people they use them interchangeably.

            I like to argue based on theory..probably influenced from my back ground. I intend to link any argument to a theory that could relate to the issue at hand. Now let me see “nationalism” from the prospect of “the theory of evolution.” Human thoughts evolve with time and space and the factors that dictate them in order to solve the problems they encounter thereby to change the quality of their life.Nationalism is evolved within this curve belt of social development. Nationalism is not absolute but dynamic, relative, and changes the parameters of human sentiment that binds them as an entity of one nation. Look the culture of Habesha that was a factor for binding us together back then is not a factor now to evolve the sentiment of common nationalism in the nation we call “Eritrea”. And don’t forget under different circumstances with generational change, could evolve say in our region “the horn of Africa” a different type of nationalism dictated by the factors the time and space could shape it. For my generation we fought to bring the current reality “Eritrean nationalism” dictated by circumstances that time and space gave us and defined by the cultural sentiment that binds us as an entity of one nation.This fact on the ground for those who agree or disagree. We accept it and we go forward from it. As what it holds to the future, the future generation will take care of it with the circumstances that dictate them at that time.But we all should keep in mind that the current Eritrean nationalism is evolved from different set of nationalism.

            Now back to the issue of “label:” For me “romantic” and “ghedli defamer” are not labels. Why? If they call me ghedli-romantizer, yes I am and ghedli is my history and I will cherish it delightfully with all its posetive and negative of it as part of our history as long as the nationhood of Eritrea actualized.I joined consciously the armed struggle with no regret to it. The ghedli-defamers are denounced it irrespective its achievement…and that is okay with me to say what they feel.. and I don’t think they will be irritated when they call them as defamers. The issue it is unjustfaible to label them as neo-andnet for they could defame ghedli for what it was not being against the cause. Even YG is not against the cause for he was for it before he has the current position. neo-andnet is a blanket characterization even for those who fought for it but foresee new dynamics as to what the relationship of Eritrea and Ethiopia should be. You see Sal there is time where I feel that we become so blind as to the transformational and transactional politics in the region that could help us both for security and economic development to our nation. Everything we do should be within the belt-of-politics of our region for there will be no such development without interacting the countries in the region.

          • Serray

            Selam Sal,

            How about we call you patriots and you call us de-romanticizers? Otherwise we will always link you with regime because your name calling bears undeniable resemblance to the regime supporters’ habit of name calling.

            You raised a good point; were did our inhuman version of Bart Simpson came from? I am not sure how reliable, but there is a story that the only reason he went to medda was because he was afraid to face his father when he was kicked out of AA university. In those days, you have to get almost all F’s in your first semester to pack and leave (the ethiopians can help us by making his college transcript public).

            But you raised a good point, how did our culture contributed to his being a ruler in ghedli first and now eritrea? Once you make that connection, you still need to explain how does he maintain what the UN Special Rapporteur calls a system of “extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, indefinite incommunicado detention, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment..[which] undermine the deepest values of any society committed to respect for human rights and fundamental freedom”. Here is copy of the report:

            I have to tell you, though, I am curious to find out how a guy who denies the role of ghedli in medda-like eritrea; a guy who thinks a million crimes all lead to one man is going to make a case of linking our culture to isaias…and to a present day eritrea bypassing ghedli…how it is possible to make a point that Ghedli brought independence and then disappeared into a thin air. But be the truth-teller.. remember, though, we are not in the forties now, we are living the dream of those who went all out to make eritrea a reality.

          • Salyounis

            Selamat Serray and Amanuel:


            Well, I consider the Ghedli-defamers “patriots” and I have to assume when you present “patriot” and “Ghedli de-romanticizer” as an either/or preposition, you are being ironic:)

            What the entire opposition is talking about is the three step process that faces every revolution: (1) how did we get here; (2) what do we do about it? (3) how do we do what we do in a way that we minimize the future resembling the present.

            Let me show you the superiority of Ghedli over that of your side, the Ghedli-defamers:

            (1) How did we get here?: The ghedli asked this question in 1961 and said: “Ethiopia is just one in a long line of colonizers, no different from Italy, and the Eritreans who are serving Ethiopia are no different than those who served the previous colonizers.” To the extent it talked about the Amhara hegemony, it wasn’t to direct hatred towards the Amhara people but to describe how this is just another feature of colonialism (domination.) To the extent it talked about Eritreans who sided with Ethiopia, it was to describe them as duped people. Now, how does your side answer the “how did we get here?” question? It is all the fault of Ghedli. The end. It is infantile in its simplicity. Even worse, it never misses an opportunity to tell us that the founders of Ghedli were Muslims and Arab-wanna be Muslims (I challenge you to find a single ELF/EPLF literature that mentioned the religion of Haile Selasse.) It actually thinks that the more minutely it is describing the crimes committed during Ghedli, the further along it is coming to answering the question. If a person kills his entire family and a psychiatrist is asked why did it happen, he can’t just keep on describing how gruesome the killing was.

            (2) What do we do about it? The ghedli asked this question and said we struggle. (Notice how it was called “Ghedli”–struggle–and not “Vengeance” or “Revenge”) In short order, the Ghedli refined this even more clearly: we form alliances with every Ethiopian opposition group (the TPLF and its predecessors the TLF, EDU, EPRP trekked to Eritrea: the Ghedli showing that its fight was with the Ethiopian government not the Ethiopian people who were being suppressed); and we fight in a way that we are never dependent on a foreign powers for our arms. (nXelai b ETQun bretun.) We stop fighting the minute Ethiopia agrees to our demand that the people be allowed to hold a referendum. Now, how does your side answer the “what do we do about it?” Well, beyond “we must pressure Ethiopia to give us more help” and beyond ridiculing the idea of self-reliance, I haven’t heard much. Have you? I am all ears.

            (3) What do we do to make sure that future Eritrea doesn’t resemble present Eritrea? The Ghedli wrote political programmes that explicitly promised a pluralistic society where the individuals freedom of expression and assembly was guaranteed. Over time, some got even more explicit and the vision that emerged was that of secular democracy that is committed to the principle of political decentralization. Now, what is the vision of your side for tomorrow’s Eritrea? I don’t want to paraphrase the High Priest of your movement so please tell me.

            In short, on all the key questions that a movement faces, your side is failing. In fact, I don’t think it has moved beyond question 1. (You can’t be a movement if you ain’t moving.) And, after close to 4 years of waiting, I am convinced it is incapable of formulating one. Your side is like a fire extinguisher coming to the house after its burned down to the ground: a fire extinguisher for ashes. Actually, it is more like a manual on operating a fire extinguisher:)


            I think you are better positioned, by training, to give the theoretical underpinning to the practicum we are proposing. No Marx or Hegel here:) Eritrean culture, like all cultures in pre-literate societies, has a lot of weaknesses that get in the way of movement-building, and later, state-building particularly in the area of human resources (merit-based right person for the right-job philosophy.) My working theory* is that Isaias Afwerki knows Eritrean culture–all its strength, all its weaknesses–better than anybody else in Eritrea. This is partly because he has “information advantage”: since he joined the field, he made one strategic decision: “I, and only, get to ask questions such as ‘who are you? where are you from? what village do you hail from? what is your ancestry?’ Nobody else but I, and people I deputize, is allowed to ask this question.” And, in the Third World, that is, sadly, the only question you need.

            Am I saying that once Isaias goes that all our problems will go away? No. (And before the Ghedli-defamers start patting themselves on the back for this insight, 90% of what is written in Arabic in Eritrean websites since 1999 is focused on this issue.) But the answer is not analyzing Ghedli; the answer is in understanding the Eritrean culture and its weaknesses.


            * In an interview, Herui Tedla Bairou once told me that “Isaias is a self-made person who knew what he wanted when the others lived in a mist of idealism.”

      • Tamrat Tamrat

        Your subjectivnes makes you the same as the Groupe of People you are accusing if they ever exist.

        Comming to patriotism then what is Your difference With pfdj in applying ‘patrotism’`?

        What is it effects on the Southern part which the patrotism targetting at depneding on the Groupe using the ‘patrotism’ to the distruction of the South ‘patrotism’?

      • Serray

        Selam Sal,

        I was hoping you will expand on what cultural flaws contributed to Isaias. You said you are going to go beyond ghedli to explain the nature of our misery but you stopped in 1961.

        For the record, I think the muslim half of our country were justified to resist federate/union with ethiopia (sorry to remind you the origins of ghedli again, the fact is our fathers voted in favor of federation). The christian half miscalculated the determination of both the muslims and the ethiopian king, and ghedli miscalculated its own nature. Don’t get me wrong, ghedli did your 1, 2 and 3. What I am saying is, it did more than that. What is different about your take of ghedli than mine is, the way you omit things about ghedli; the way you severe it from the present to avoid any causality. In the three paragraphs you summarized ghedli beautifully, there is no discussion of civil wars, purges, fallul, menka ‘e, pushing jebha out of medda…etc, etc, etc. Your ghedli always sounds pristine, with some rough edges cause by its flirtation with marxism.

        Sal, it’s been 22 years since ghedli won. You said, “[w]e stop fighting the minute Ethiopia agrees to our demand that the people be allowed to hold a referendum”. Not true, we are still fighting the ethiopians. The pages of awate bear witness it. Eritrea is sanctioned because it kept fighting the ethiopians. The whole nation’s existence revolves around its unhealthy obsession of its rulers with ethiopia. If ghedli’s aim was to free eritrea from ethiopia, it failed miserably because eritrea is still defined by ethiopia.

        You don’t have to go far how unfree is eritrea from ethiopia; all its youth are enslaved to protect it from ethiopia. But you have convenient answers for all that…you reset the aim of ghedli to just UN membership and eritrea’s miserable existence and its unhealthy obsession to one man. It is not so much you are wrong, but that you leave out important facts that makes it difficult to see the situation in eritrea in its entirety. Let me restate my position, unless we look at everything that makes eritrea what it is, the danger of isaias 2 is very, very, real.

        Sal, for thirty years during ghedli, we went without officially been notified about the death of our loved ones. Many perished by the hands of fellow tegadelti accused of spying, disobedience, purges and civil wars. We still don’t know how many died fighting the ethiopians and how many by the hands of other tegadelti. As long as your voices dominate, the voices that make ghedli pure by omission, we will never know. When isaias ignited and lost the badme war, the nation has to wait until shaebia was good and ready to find out the fate of those who didn’t come back. And like cattle, years after the war ended, the names our dead was posted on community center boards and mothers were told to celebrate, and not mourn, the dead (Dawit Isaac is in prison today because he reported about what human beings always did do when they lost a loved ones). In a cruel twist, the regime added the names of many people it disappeared before and after the war. For you this has nothing to do with ghedli; it is not a lesson learned from ghedli. For you these acts are normal outcome of guerrilla movements that strive in secrecy. True, but as a citizen, your role should be to change that not beautify the ghedli mindset that created it.

        Sal, in every other aspect you are a guy who strives to free knowledge; when it comes to ghedli, you act like a gatekeeper blocking the knowledge needed to understand ghedli beyond its goals. Thirty years went by from the first to the last shot; thirty years of blood and death…ghedli is a lot more than the three paragraphs…a lot bloody more.

        • Salyounis

          Merhaba Serray:

          1. Yes, the founders of the ELF were Muslim: mentioning this obvious fact was not what I was complaining about. It is the explicit and implicit message that a movement Muslims start is, by definition, Islamic or Islamist. This has been a theme in Eritrea from 1961 to present. From Isaias’s Nehnan Elamanan to YG’s series of articles, to Forto 2013. So, when the “brave” Ghedli-defamers “went there”, they were guilty of being wrong and unoriginal:)

          2. Serray, I think you misread my statement about Ghedli saying that it would “stop fighting the minute Ethiopia agrees to our demand that the people be allowed to hold a referendum.” I was trying to answer the criticism that the Ghedli fighters were some kind of proxy fighters for Arabs or they were clueless people who were enamored with the gun. No, I was saying, these people had not only answered the question of “what do we do about it” (we fight), but also the follow up question “when do we stop fighting?” (when our people are given an opportunity to vote on a referendum.) The ELF and the EPLF offered a joint press release specifically describing when they would lay down their gun and calling for a referendum…in 1980!*

          3. Your para 5, well, Serray, I don’t know if you remember this, but this website, at great expense, and over a cacophony of criticism, published the Martyr’s Album of Eritreans who were killed in the Eritrea-Ethiopia border war. We explained that many of the “martyrs” were actually Eritreans who were executed or committed suicide, etc. So, no, I have no interest at all in justifying secrecy which, most often, is to save rulers embarrassment and not a matter of national security at all.

          4. I hope you are not suggesting that the culture of Ghedli is what brought about May 12, 1998. I have heard the late Meles Zenawi saying that the Eritreans have not recovered from their guerrilla mentality, etc, when he was addressing Europeans and Americans. The one thing Ghedli insisted on when it came to military matters is to have an end game: calculate the probability of success, plan extensively, have an escape route if trapped or if the project fails. May 12, 1998 was the anti-ghedli: it was Isaiaism gone wild. (Most Tegadelti, including some of the highest ranking officials, were just as shocked about it as we the commoners were.)

          5. The role of culture in hringing ruin to Eritrea… that, my brother Serray, is the kind of thing that requires 10 footnotes for every sentence: it has to be a scholarly, well-researched paper and it is something unfit for Internet scribes. Otherwise, we will do to our culture what the defamers have done to our Ghedli: mock and caricature it. Maybe that will be my Big Project before the Bus of Life hits me:)


          The argument that the ELF was trying to address was: how can Ethiopia, which has not reached the stage of capitalism, become a colonial government? In the 1970s, the ELF came up with the “fuluy megzaeti” argument. Much later on, Eritrean intellectuals, citing authorities like Marx, would argue that the assumption that a country has be industrialized/ capitalist to be imperialist is wrong and that Ethiopia fit the definition of imperialist. Before the TPLF discovered their love for Tikur Sew (Menelik), they described him as an imperialist, too.

          My point was that the Eritrean Ghedli had coherent answers to the questions of: “what are we fighting against? How are we going to fight? When will stop fighting? What blueprint will we implement to make sure that our current nightmare doesn’t happen again?” The neo-ghedli (our fight against PFDJ) has not reached a consensus on how to answer any of these questions. Part of the reason for that is understandable (we don’t have a “vanguard organization” that has reserved the right to be the “official spokesperson of the people” the way leftist/nationalist organizations do.) But the other part? Well, that’s what we discuss in these pages everyday, isn’t it?


          * Joint Declaration of the ELF and the EPLF’, in ‘The Eritrean Case. Proceedings of the Permanent People’s Tribunal, Milan, Italy, May 24-26, 1980’, pp. 24-26.

  • haile

    Selamat Awatistas,

    A moral riddle:

    You happen to be a parent with a sick child that needs urgent treatment. You have no means of transport (car) to take your child to the hospital:

    1- A passer by with no car of their own offer to help. They stand by the road side waving at drivers for help, also make frantic phone calls on your behalf to seek help, also give you advice on what to do to hold on the sick child steady while help arrives.

    2- A passer by with no car of their own offer to help you. They step into the middle of the road and block oncoming driver. When the driver stop, they approach them, then whack the driver in the back of the head and drag him/her out of the car onto the curbside and tell you the hope on with your sick child for a quick ride to the hospital.

    In the first case, you have found a true friend you would be grateful for as long as you live. What about the second one? Would you take the ride, how would you react towards them during the whole process and afterwards?

    The neo-andinets are the second type of the samaritan to the Eritrean people. They would like to commit petty lying and other more serious blunders in order to “help”. What is needed is a decent form of opposition that utilizes the time honored universal values of truthfulness, respect, courage, kindness, dignity, hard work and honesty.

    Much like the first (nationalist) samaritan:)

    • I have noted that you enjoy indulging yourself in cheap jibes.

      Anyways, (I am not Awatista, but will give you my two cents worth)

      First, is your #1 Samaritan the same person as the #2 Samaritan? If not, well,

      Some times it’s wise to prefer to choose #2 to #1, because the driver in #2 takes minor pain to prevent great suffering:-) You can call me Andinet, no biggie !

      • haile


        Your reply wouldn’t have lost any value without your opening sentence. Talk of cheap! that is worth more than NO value:) Again, sice a jibe is when directed to specific person (like Aman does to me:), and the question above is open, your point is sort of “drop dead”.

        Since you go with #2, your profile, consistent to that the neo-andinets, is one of short sighted and indulgent:) It is indulgent because it fails to recognize inherent dangers when partnering with known evil for convenience. What guarantees do you have the violent and criminal #2 will not turn on you?

        • haile

          You can also read ….your profile jibes with that of the neo-andinet’s…

        • Haile,

          You are in a cab/taxi sitting in the back seat. Say that the hearing impaired cab driver is about to run over five pedestrians. Let’s also assume that if you attempt to stop the cab from running over the pedestrians by steering the steering wheel to direct course of the vehicle to either side, there is likelihood that you will hit a pole and endanger the cab driver’s life. What would you do if you find yourself in such kind of ethical dilemma?

          1. Would you steer the cab away from the pedestrians at the expense of the cabby’s life (cab driver)

          2. Would you let the cab driver run over the pedestrians because you don’t want the cab driver hurt?

          If you miss to pick the right answer, I won’t say you are afflicted with a disease know as an excessive patriotism, or nationalism. I would, however, recommend that you calibrate your moral compass. Definitely, it won’t make you a Neo-Andinet 🙂

          • Saleh Gadi

            Selam Dawit and Haile,
            I am thinking of making your hypothetical quations more practical. Could you consider Isaias as the cab driver?

          • haile


            Yours is a moral riddle of “the lesser evil” and mine is a moral riddle of “which one is the prudent option” Your type of moral dilemma questions are presented on an admissions interview of top institutions of higher learning such as Harvard or Cambridge. My type of riddle is typically presented at grade six general examinations to assess a child’s normal brain development:-)

            So, I would takeout the driver and save the pedestrians, he shouldn’t have been driving in taxi cab with such a dangerous impairment in any case.

            If IA was the cabbie, “nkhid tray” would be the most likely reaction of those who have chosen to hire him for a ride 🙂


  • TsTe

    Dear Mr. Fessahaye
    I read your article with great interest and some amusement (I like your humor) and agree with some of the things you discussed. YG is defintely misunderstood and for the most part feared (‘dangerous views..?),you seem to look at his views and “fear’ them as a some people do.

    I love the way you tackled the issue of “nationalism” sometimes I feel that those of us who were never in ghedli are not “nationalistic” and we owe those patriots and ever lasting gratitude. joining ghedli was a personal choice and nothing about Ghedli needs to be “romanticized”anyway. So, the question is “who is the nationalist?”

    Thank you for putting this discussion on the table.

    One word for Mr. Semere is like the kids say”chill” no one is stalking you. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You went after fellow Eritrean with no shame someone who could not defend himself. So, now Mr. Fessahaye can very well speak for himself.

    • TsTe

      Mr. Fessahaye, (Correction)
      I meant to say you DON’T fear YG views like other people.

  • Zaul

    What is the biblical/Quranic/Ghedli definition of an apostate? What does apostasy mean?

    I think apostasy can be defined as someone who with full knowledge of the gospel/scripture, full knowledge of the message of Scripture turns against it in a final act of rejection.
    Why would I care for the national symbols, if the people that reside within it’s territory are seen as mere subjects, to be molded and manipulated?

    I think EVERYONE can stand behind the following:

    A Secular Constitutional Democracy that;
    – Respects Individual Liberty
    – Respects Religious Belief/Disbelief
    – Respects Minority Rights

    Preserve and Develop Indigenous Cultures/Languages.

    • haile


      Make no mistake, Eritreans do that and have always been like that. PFDJ has briefly interrupted that for almost quarter of a century now (“quarter of a century” in two years to be exact). Aslamna krtana, abina nEshtona, sebAyna sebytna wetru mstekhebabernan mstesanenan abta abay denbiena. You just need to watch out from the neo-andinets as the main threat. PFDJ has gone on beyond its time, even if you do nothing, it would be impossible to stop its imminent collapse soon. Now is the time the neo andinet should be kept in check as it seems to be rearing its ugly head on this sensitive juncture in Eritrea’s history.

      • Zaul

        nayo-andnet? Dohh tefaena! ‘tay tbl ‘ta’ya 🙂

        • haile

          hurum eleki…zhul arkey 🙂

  • Hayat Adem

    With all due respect, I want to call your attention to a misinterpretation implied in the following quote: “Ismail Omar Ali is writing a “review” of Yosief G/Hiwot’s articles. One of Yosief’s articles is called “The Circular Journey In Search of Eritrea” where Yosief criticizes Ghedli’s journey as nothing but a strained effort to avoid finishing the circle back to where it started from (Eritrea as part of Ethiopia.)”
    According to my understanding of Yosief, I don’t think Yosief at this point is arguing about the need to return Eritrea to Ethiopia in the way it happened during the federation and later. Of course, we should always be mindful of the possibility of, not just Ethiopia and Eritrea, but any two neighboring countries can merge and be unified at any point of time, should that be wanted by both. I think Yosief argues well on how harmful it would be for Eritrea to run away from its real (“H”abesha) values. Although he (Yosief)recognizes the political reality of independent Eritrea, he thinks the political project of re-engineering the Eritrean society to lose its natural identity and rewiring it with alien identities. It is unfair to talk of YG as if he is calling for the write-off of the Eritrean independence. Sure, he did not support the struggle for independence; he did not support ghedli. He is not happy with the results, as well. But he is not looking back. I think he accepts the independence as a decided fate, de facto reality. He is only offering his thoughts on how we got here and on the next best options. He should be judged by the merit of his thoughts only, and must not be attacked as if he is after lobbying and advocating for particular political games. I mean, how many YG level thinkers do we have?!

    • zegeremo

      ugh..puking! what a backward assertion, I mean really? Yes, and they are only .02% of the entire population. The YG thing is over, sorry if I woke you up.


    • haile

      Hayat must really be for a joke or something! YG is not a thinker, he is a blubber. The former types show results the latter types tell you about things that they don’t like it and they don’t recognize it but they accept it, that is called blubber. Again, who does Hayat think is to tell the Eritrean people (who have paid with blood to decide their future) which way to go? Yes YG accepts our independence by hook or by crook, because Eritreans have actually made his leaders, weyane, ent’s sersirna ent’s NesiEna ent’s regixna to accept it. What choice does he have. Hayat, if you have so much issue with our independence, you can always renounce your citizenship and get an Ethiopian one. Stop heckling people who don’t need your type of nay gubtish andnet (nay qedem ekua yhaysh neiru)!

    • TsTe


      Thank you for explaining YG views. A great summary of his opinions and writing.

      It’s not easy being controversial and speak out. I admire his courage and determination not to let all the insults and criticism stop him from expressing what he thinks. Slowly people are getting it. You will never go ahead in life if you don’t recognize what went wrong in your past and learn from it.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Hayat:

      Always a pleasure…

      Before we talk about what Yosief’s argument is, let me try to put the discussion in context.

      Yosief made an argument in three articles (I will get back to it); Ismail made a counter argument in one article. Then Fessehaye came and critiqued Ismail’s as rambling, emotional, condescending, patronizing, muddled, fuddled, confused and incoherent. What I find most interesting in all advocacy writing (not just Eritreans) is how one side always feels it is being victimized by the other (stop personal attacks! stop trying to censor! stop trying to bully and intimidate people!) and easily forgives the transgressions of people on its side. Yosief gives as good as he gets and I find all the “poor Yosief, stop picking on him” amusing–specially coming from Fessehaye who specializes in taking down the writings of others.

      In the series “The Circular Journey In Search of Eritrea,” Yosief says that a group of people, in search of modernization, began a 50 year futile journey to evade their true Habesha identity. But no matter how many alien identities they (the engineers of the 50 year journey) try to impose, the people stick to their Habesha identity, which forces the engineers to find ever new rationale to extend the journey so as not to face the obvious fact that they have ended up exactly where they began.

      The counter-argument to Yosief Gebrehiwot’s thesis is is: (1) the group of people were indeed in search of modernization–escape from rule by autocratic monarchy; (2) they felt they had the moral and legal right to aim for this modernity (Eritrea, a colony of Italy, should have been treated like the other Italian colonies–Somalia and Libya); (3) their journey towards this modernity was made long partly because they faced a powerful foe (Ethiopia: Black Africa’s largest army) supported by powerful countries; (4) their search for modernity was contagious and resulted in Ethiopians searching for it, too (first the Derg, then EPRDF); (5)Eritrea is more than a Habesha identity– we argue Habesha (within Eritrea) is a subset of Eritrean identity; whereas Yosief would argue Eritrea is a subset of Habesha identity); (6) the search for modernization (freedom, liberty, etc) still continues because, and here’s where the government supporters and the opposition part ways: (a) those whom we had trusted to deliver it for us* betrayed us (opposition version) or (b) the same powers that stretched our struggle for independence from Ethiopia for 50 years are now stretching our struggle for organic state-building indefinitely (government version); or (c) both (a) and (b) (a lot of the so-called “silent majority”** believe this).


      * By “deliver it for us” I mean live up to the promises you made during Ghedli to surrender power to the people.
      ** The phrase “silent majority” should be taken with a grain of salt because the people telling us they exist are part of the loud minority:)

  • Beyene

    Selam Fessehaye,
    Although this article is a summary of valid criticisms on 3 different articles in one, I still think that it would have best served its purpose had these 3 opinions been written as comments under their corresponding articles. This would spare the reader the trouble of getting back to every article in order to grasp what the writer means to say.
    Semere Habtemeariam’s book review has made me aware of Sium Haregot’s memoir which I eventually happened to read recently. While reading the book, I was at the same time trying to find out what Semere meant to say in his review of the book. Dr.Bereket must have been mentioned somewhere between the lines. On the 10th of sep 1974, when the prisoner Sium Haregot was taken before Dergue’s Commision of Enquiry, Dr.Bereket was one of the members of the enquiry. I don’t know if Dr Bereket had the choice to reject the post but the book describs him as the prima donna of the Enquiry. I neither want to take any sides nor do I make any difference between both of them as they were both highest officials of Eritrean origin serving the Hailesellasie regime. Bereket joined the ELF/EPLF at the time when Sium Haregot was behind bars, with no chance to join nowhere.
    Semere’s review is consisted solely of his opinion on the book and anyone who reads the book will definitely end up having his own impression and not that of the reviewer.

  • When Fessehaye Woldu says “Unlike these committed nationalists, that I often encounter on the pages of Awate or the other sites…”, he is not far from the truth.

    The following excerpt proves Fessehaye Woldu’s point. In his article entitled “Qernelios: Arte Mailam’s Political Recklessness”, Mr. Gadi has this to say, “Eritrean nationalism is a result of bloody struggles waged by many generations; and one cannot separate that nationalism without acknowledging September first 1961 and Mt. Adal, from where the first bullet whistled. … and denigrating Hamid Idris Awate is equal to denigrating the struggle that made Eritrea a nation. It is an assault on the Eritrean identity, and anyone who besmirches the name of Awate, the revered Eritrean symbol, is an enemy trying to weaken the resolve of Eritreans, one who doesn’t wish the nation well and is a revisionist of the worst kind. Italics mine.
    By his own admission, he implies to the readers that he is a nationalist Eritrean. Consequently, he recklessly labels anyone who questions “ghedli” or who slanders Hamid I. Awate as “enemy of Eritrea”.

    It seems to me that he and the Awate team are harking back to a form of nationalism which is continuously being fueled and fed by many prolific writers who have started to examine “ghedli” closely.

    It’s understandable now that many like him can be irritated because they were part of this monstrous ghedli; therefore, any one that speaks ill of Ghedli becomes a subject of contemptuous rudeness, and insults. Some of the names given to those who are perceived to be not nationalists include Neo-andinets, Andinet 2.0, Ethiophiles, and etcetera. These insults, nevertheless, inadvertently makes many young Eritreans revisit the old politics and start to question the historical narratives that have been told and re-told by ghedli. Were our forefathers right when they advocated andinet over independence? Have the stories told about these forefathers been twisted to suit the narration of ghedli?

    What ever the case may be, it is surprising to notice how nationalism has lent itself to chauvinistic, and jingoistic qualities. It’s also shocking to see the tricks used to silence other voices (labeling).

  • Dag

    Criticize, dissect, tear or collate the major points in the argument. Please stop ad hominem (Semere). And funny enough, at the sight of a hare running across the landscape, Gedii and Salah are immediately after it….

  • Dibe Kulu

    Dear Fesehaye,

    Nationalism & fascism must not be confused! When we talk about true nationalism, we are talking about love of country and its citizens. True and genuine nationalists do not threaten others so long as they are not attacked or threatened by outsiders. One of the various lethal, but invisible weapons, currently used against Eritreans is a systematic psychological warfare to cleanse NATIONALISM off the blood veins of Eritrean youth! What a terrible WMD to be used against the historical guarantors of a nation’s survival and its future!!

    • Asmara Eritrea

      Eritrean diplomat ‘ taxman’ kicked out of Canada – excellent!

      Thank you Canada for showing the lead. Let’s hope other countries follow and kick out the Eritrean money laundering houses from their capital cities. Apparently the head office of this money laundering business is in London, England. Time for the British government to boot out the so called ‘diplomat’ and shut down the fake consulate. TIME TO FOLLOW CANADA’S LEAD!

      Eritrea for ever, death to the dictator.

  • Semere Habtemariam


    My online stalker is back and please let him fulminate against virtues that are universally celebrated. From mimicking my column’s name at Awate, PERSPECTIVE, to responding to my articles with medicore and sophomoric leftism and grading my talent (including yours. good for you, you’re above average. I’m sure you has me as totally retarded) a “certain” Fessehaye Woldu has demonstrated unhealthy obession with me. He sophomoric understanding of issues is only surpassed by his ego which seems to enjoy fleeting jolts of sadistic pleasure by trying,in futile I might add, to tear people down. I don’t know how to react to this guy; I had to stop reading his article at the part where he was talking about Meleke. I’m sure Amu Melekin is turning in his grave. Amu Melekin spent a life-time fighting for his country and is survived by compatriots who could not even correctly spell his name as if he is an alien with an alien name.

    I don’t know if I should pity, feel sorry for Fessehaye Woldu but I hope he is okay. Whatever is ailing him, MHret Yewrdelu. I’m sure we have Gabr DerAnto somewhere in the wilderness of North America.

    Fessehaye Woldu has been writing at Awate, on and off, for a long time and for those of us who have read him, he is not a “certain” Fessehaye Woldu; he is Fessehaye Woldu.

  • saad musa

    It is flabbergasting to me to assume that the above article will shape or redirect the discourse of understanding the nature of Eritrean politics. But, the question is what’s the nature of Eritrean poltics? To me, put in a simple terms, for now and the forseeable future, it’s to make Eritrea viable. Home for every Eritrean where her/his RIGHTS are guarded; unlike current Eritrea where there is no citizeship, to say the least. If this is the nature of Eritrean politics then by default it should evolve towards the how of acheiving this end. Other than that it’ll be questionig the very existence of the entity. And that is unErirean, yes, unpatriotic……..

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    Hi Fessehaye!
    I couldnt follow the following sentence follwoing the dots.

    ‘Mr. Semere further accuses Mr. Seyoum of also serving not only Haile Selassie (which I believe many Eritreans did, be it as civil servants or in the ranks of the military)…’

    Do you mean … but also have even temporarily served Isaias in the early years?

  • Saleh Gadi

    Fessahaye, there are a few points in your article that baffled me.
    1) Patriotism is bad.

    2) Patriotism is exemplified by Hitler et al.

    Really? That is out of context, otherwise, it would be helpful to remember Pol Pot, the North Korean dynasty, Isaias, etc are all products of the ultra-leftist school of thought that you represent.

    3) You didn’t bother to quote a name correctly.

    Engagement become futile if you cannot quote a name correctly. You kept mentioning Meleki and Meleke. How difficult is the name Melekin?

    4) Why do some people refer to themselves in the third-person. Fessahaye, you have been writing on awate for so long we don’t even have your contact address like the rest of the writers. That is because you started to write before we established our current posting guidelines that requires us to have at least a telephone number. Please, when you talks about Awate writers, use the first person “we.” Don’t be like some ENDC members who refer to it in the third person.

    5. You sullied the reputation of Awate Team and other writers and claims they have a slogan ““you are either with us or against us” slogan of our Awate writers.”

    I am hoping it is an honest mistake ; otherwise, your assertion falls under an eighteen-wheeler. If that was the case, your article wouldn’t appear on A little modesty goes a long way.

    Unfortunately for you, I and my colleagues (and many, many, many Eritreans) will always celebrate our heroes, heroines and patriots. Amazingly, according to you, there shouldn’t be distinction between cowardice and bravery; between patriotism and indifference; between virtues and vice. YeftahAllah my friend. Those distinctions will always be there, and that distinction makes or breaks Eritrea (the country we care so much about) until the end of the world.

    We strive to keep the torch of patriotism and bravery alive so that we can face the monster lurking in our country. Without those virtues, our struggle will not bear fruit. Do you want Eritreans to throw the towel Fessahaye?

    Finally, the virtues that you treat as a sign of backwardness are actually the engine (and gist) of any struggle; including the one Eritreans are waging against Isaias and his regime.

  • Ahadu

    Fair critique from different perspective. I did enjoyed the argument and counter argument by Salyounis and Serray the other day. Salyounis compared the mystification of Democracy by esayas with Thabo Mbeki’s AIDS fiasco. Speaking of Thabo Mbeki, I stumbled in to one of his latest articles appeared in IOL (Independent online)on the occasion of 50 years of OAU/AU.
    His thoughts on the African nation states that came in to existence after the Berlin conference of late 18th century…here is the link

  • Salyounis

    Selamat Fessehaye, Semere, Ismail, Saleh G:

    A certain Fessehaye Woldu who writes for a certain on certain days is our own version of Andy Rooney: a grouch introducing everything with “have you ever wondered why…?” wave of the hand. Of course, Fessehaye, although exhibiting nihilistic tendencies, is “a person of a fairly average intelligence to me although I could be mistaken, and I would stand corrected”*

    But seriously, Fessehaye, are you having issues with values that have long been considered settled since Plato’s time: virtue and vice? Bravery, honesty, justice are the virtues being celebrated by Semere, Ismail, and Saleh G. Cowardice, lying, hypocrisy, greed and injustice are vices which are being criticized. These virtues and vice transcend all cultures and are universal.

    The thing with universal virtues is you don’t have to have them to see their superiority. I don’t have to be heroic to admire a hero. Even when we fall short of the ideal, we shouldn’t re-define what the ideal is. Now to the specifics:

    1. Semere Habtemariam was reviewing a book by Dr. Seyoum Haregot. The book is a memoir: a literary device which is an extended diary. Seyoum Haregot, the author, like all memoir-writers, put his spin on events. When reviewing a memoir, and you are looking at the memoir critically, it is impossible to do so without appearing to criticize the author. This is what Semere did. He could have given you pabulum and fluff but he did a serious review by comparing the author’s notes with the recollections of another author who lived through the same events. He corrected, and he brought up omissions. It would have been useful for you to tell us where Semere went wrong, if he did, but you did your “aw, shucks, I am amazed by it all” routine which appears to be the same Perspective you have, regardless of the subject you are writing about. (Don’t get me wrong, I think it is cute. But it is not serious.)

    2. Ismail Omar Ali is writing a “review” of Yosief G/Hiwot’s articles. One of Yosief’s articles is called “The Circular Journey In Search of Eritrea” where Yosief criticizes Ghedli’s journey as nothing but a strained effort to avoid finishing the circle back to where it started from (Eritrea as part of Ethiopia.) A serious argument. Ismail calls his article “Yosief Gebrehiwet’s Circular Journey to Ethiopia” where he makes the point that it is Yosief who is trying to make a circular journey back to Ethiopia but the Ghedli has made its linear journey to Eritrea. A serious counter-argument. Yosief calls Ismail’s kind of thinking clueless and Ismail calls Yosief kind of thinking dangerous. Par for the course. I hope now you won’t be confused by the geometry questions of circles, rectangles and squares, which is another cute line, pun intended.

    3. Saleh Gadi is celebrating the virtues of Adem Melekin (not Meleki or Melake as you insisted on calling him pre-edit), which is, shockingly, what people do in eulogies when people die. It is a tribute to one of the men who stood up for Eritrean statehood because, if others had their way, the Eritrea the Italians created would have been forever swallowed as Ethiopia’s 13th province. For Adem Melekin to do that in the 1940s and 1950s required courage (a virtue that you apparently scoff at) and love/devotion to a country (aka patriotism, another dirty word in your vocabulary) and some form of altruism, which, to you, is the most irrational thing to do (hatred of altruism unites left-wingers and devotes of Ayn Rand alike.)

    You have strong views about Obama, Tea Party, Mark Helperin, Bush (standard left-wing rant which would call Time Magazine a right-wing rag:), but I don’t think they would accuse you of trying to silence them. Similarly, Saleh G, Semere, Ismail, have strong opinions and they are not trying to silence or “bully” the rest. They are expressing their perspective–which may include ridiculing the morally ambiguous universe (where courage and cowardice are just two words which begin with a “c”) some people crave for. And that’s my perspective:)


    * borrowed from Fessehaye’s previous perspective:)

  • Dear Fesehaye,

    This is really a mesmerizing report…what in its real sense is “essay report” as in book report…three in one.Excellent and many things to learn. In short you extracted the deficiency of the essays and put it clear like crystal to the readers on the one hand and to the writers on the other.The writers as eloquent as they are they have their own deficiency undeterred ultra-nationalism that stirs emotion to the general population. I hope they will get some scoops from your rational approach to weigh what makes us Eritrean and how to live together without undermining each other. To the readers, read and re-read this report, it will help you to expand the scope of understanding the nature of Eritrean politics and to redirect the discourse as we go forward.