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Ageism In Eritrean Politics: A Stereotype Gone Berserk?

Why? When that three-letter word is uttered (or rather blurted out) by my daughter, I sometimes wish the word never existed (J).  Tell her it is time to go to bed, she wants to know why.  Explain that she needs to sleep because she will wake up early to go to school the next day, she will retort: “then why don’t you – dad – go to bed since you will be waking up even earlier to go to work!”? In frustration, I sometimes threaten her with a shoe or whatever object is close by but she – the devil that she is – somehow knows that I won’t throw that object or that shoe so she just stares at me like a jungle cat and often dares me to do it!

As children, I am sure many of us gave our families a painful migraine by impertinently asking “why” of everything.   As we grow older, we despair of having our questions answered and eventually stop asking them as it finally dawns upon us that some questions will remain unanswered.  Not everyone gives up this quest for answers however and some carry it to their grave and it is from the latter that history’s finest and greatest thinkers (philosophers, scientists, politicians) are culled from.   Some in this group made their mark at an early age; others toward the end of their lives but in almost every case what led to their greatness and what made them competent leaders in their respective fields is their relentless quest for answers/solutions and their equally resolute willingness to use their thinking faculties to the fullest.

Not their chronological age! Old age never prevented the truly outstanding from continuing to contribute, to create, and to produce solutions nor has it ever prevented ordinary folks like you and I from remaining productive and competent if we so choose. History is replete with stories of old people that continued to benefit humanity in their old age and it is this universal time-tested realization that account for the prevalence of cultures that venerate the old all over the world.  From Africa to Asia to the Americas and beyond, the old were/are looked upon as living reservoirs of knowledge and wisdom and are still considered the sagest and the most fit to lead their societies.   Until recently, this was also the case in Eritrea.

I wanted to share my views on this topic because Eritreans are already exhibiting tell-tale signs of a cultural shift away from this glorious tradition and into a society that dishonors and marginalizes its old (however defined).   And nowhere is this cultural corrosion more starkly evident than in the shrill voices coming from a tiny minority within the opposition that is blatantly and unabashedly calling for “the old” to step aside and for the “young” to take over. In honor of my daughter and many graying philosophers and thinkers of the past and present, I am asking WHY?  Why should age matter?

In the context of Eritrean politics, why do we want the older generation to step aside?  Is it because they did little or is it because we are extrapolating or generalizing from Isaias and his likes or the failures of ELF? Aren’t we being unfair to paint many of our elders (some of whom remained exemplary) with the same brush?   Can we really and truthfully postulate that all our elders have failed? Isn’t it truer rather that the leadership in both camps (one tyrannical; the other inefficient) did not live up to our expectations? Weren’t the bulk of those who are now over 50 innocent of any crimes committed in their names?  Must we lump them all indiscriminately as guilty and incapable of leading?  If the old are to be blamed for trying and failing, then what makes us think that the unproven young (products of our loins and bearers of our genetic stamp) will be any wiser or worthier?  Does modernity and youthfulness inoculate one from mistakes? Does it bestow wisdom?

Please understand that I am not advocating the opposite here.  In other words, I am neither discounting the valuable role the young could play or have played in history and in current affairs; nor am I suggesting that only the old should lead. No, not at all! I am denouncing rather all forms of exclusionary practices and hereby appealing to fellow compatriots to use a single consistent criterion for qualification: COMPETENCY (in its comprehensive sense*).

In an apparent effort to bar all ELF/EPLF veterans, some have proposed a maximum age of 50 years to be the qualifying age for candidacy.  If such an age-based criterion was to be formally implemented, Eritrea would be the first to do so! Many countries impose a minimum age (for e.g. it is 35 in US to run for presidency) but I know of no country that imposes a maximum age.  It is unheard of!  This is due to the universally held belief that experience and maturity are absolutely essential characteristics of a good leader.

Globally, if the suggested maximum age of 50 had been universally adapted as the age of candidacy, it would have colossal historical and contemporary ramifications. In US, only 9 out of the 44 presidents would have qualified.  About 80% (including Abraham Lincoln) would have been disqualified! Furthermore, all the currently competing declared US republican presidential candidates would be similarly disqualified!

And if you are thinking this is an anomaly or a peculiar US eccentricity, you would be wrong. Here are other examples: 60% of Canadian Prime Ministers since 1867 were 50 or over. Of UK Prime Ministers only 21 out of 53 were less than 50 years old.  75% of German Chancellors since Bismarck were 50 years or older.  In India, only 2 prime ministers were under the age of 57.  In New Zealand, about 55% were above 50. In Nigeria, the minimum age is 40 while in Italy, you have to be at least 50 to be eligible to run for presidency.  As we can see, many in the democratic world and their societies seem to favor older leaders while Eritreans (from whose tradition one would expect even more appreciation of wisdom that comes with age) are shamelessly promoting age-based discrimination.

I think an overlapping dual stereotype is at work here: one age based; the other era-based which together coalesce into flagrant ageism i.e. “prejudice or discrimination on the basis of a person’s age”. Ageism, like many others of its kind, is based on distortions or exaggerations of reality.  If we sometimes fail to recognize such stereotypes for what they are it is because they are often cloaked in nobler-sounding slogans.  European colonizers for example were not invading racist armies bent on destruction of indigenous cultures but benevolent forces on a mission to “civilize’ the savages.  The US was not aggressing against sovereign countries but “democratizing the region”. Waterboarding is not torture but a ‘war on terror” etc…  They are all meant to assuage our guilt feeling and garner support for our misdeeds or prejudices.

The height of absurdity to which such rationalizations can ascend to became evident in US’s recent request for its surveillance drone to be returned.  Can you imagine the nerve and the arrogance!  A country spies on yours, violates your territorial sovereignty and when you capture a symbol of its aggression (the drone), you are expected to smile and hand it back!  But such is the deadly force of stereotype and bigotry that over time, its hardened practitioners engage in them semi-unconsciously and even more atrociously expect others to buy into them.

Stereotypical assumptions or false characterizations of others thrive not because of any objective truth in them but simply because one can always find examples of extremists in almost every human group.  To validate your prejudice, all you have to do is count the bad apples in the group you want to malign.  Examples of such maneuvers are everywhere from the notion of blacks as stupid, violent, and inferior to the caricature of Muslims as terrorists and irrational.

The formula for blacks for example would be to disregard the millions of law-abiding, intelligent, productive blacks and to count only the murderers, the rapists, the drug dealers etc… and you can then guiltlessly nurture your bigotry, your profiling, and your discrimination.  To malign Muslims, use the same unfailing formula i.e.  gloss over the 99% of Muslims who are peaceful and law-abiding and focus instead on the 1% that aren’t and you can then justify your witch-hunts, your Guantanamo Bays, your Abu Ghuraiab torture chambers, and your overseas meddling. All bigotry-driven crimes against humanity begin in stereotypical thinking.   When will the US learn from its own checkered past and those of others in history?  It was Europeans’ parochial notion of Native Americans as “savages” that made their extermination less horrifying to them and it was the same type of thinking that buttressed and justified slavery for hundreds of years.  The Jewish case is another example of people who were caricatured first and then led to the gas chambers.

A vicious cycle of mutual demonization sets in sometimes when victims of such extreme provocations react by creating their own surreal stereotypical images of their victimizers. Whites became devils personified in Elijah Mohammed of the Nation of Islam’ mind for example while in Ayatollah Khomeini, the US was the great Satan.  The former, a descendant of slaves who could easily chronicle countless cases of injustices done to his kind could (with a little imagination) turn whites into walking devils in his mind.

Khomeini, whose country was a victim of US interference for decades including the toppling of its democratic Government in the 50’s and its subsequent support for the oppressive regime of the Shah (a brutal dictator) could likewise find ample “reasons” for his harsh denunciations. Both went to the other extreme of course but the point of all the above examples is to illustrate the great lengths to which humans are capable of going to justify their crimes of bigotry.

Not surprisingly, age-based discrimination also relies on a similar formula.  Disregard the innumerable productive, wise, capable, and experienced elders and focus instead on the confused, the faltering, or the Alzheimer’s stricken elders.  You can then feel free to belittle them to your heart’s content.  No one is disputing by the way that our physical abilities decline with age but there is very little concrete evidence that cognitive competency necessarily declines with age. In fact, Psychologists believe that “wisdom and creativity often continue to the very end of life” provided we continue to use our physical and mental faculties.

“The secret of genius” wrote Aldous Huxley “is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.”  It was said of Benjamin Franklin that at the age of 82, he possessed “an activity of mind equal to a youth of 25 years of age.”

For many, old age is a new frontier that opens newer dimensions and a deeper understanding of the human condition. The “Elders”, a global partnership that seeks to draw on the “collective influence and experience” of the old was founded by Mandela in 2007 based on this very belief.  Barring severe physical and mental ailments, we become wiser and more skilled as we grow old.  “When Physical eyesight declines” wrote Plato “spiritual insight increases”.  Agatha Christie who continued to write thrilling detective novels well into her eighties believed “we bloom” as we grow.  Her assertion was backed by recent studies that showed that the average age of Nobel-winning physicists was 50.3. Zillions of other examples could be given but why should Eritreans need such external validations to know that old age is not synonymous to stupidity or incompetence when they can find many examples in their own experience?

When I was reunited with my late father in 1991 who was then about 95 years old, I expected to find a fumbling, mumbling old man with child-like brain who forgot almost everything he knew but the only weakness I discerned in him was in his limbs which then required a walker.  Mentally, he was as sharp as ever and wiser than I could ever hope to be!

This is not the selective recollection of a loving, dotting son towards his departed father by the way.  I am sure you, dear reader, can corroborate this in your own life experience if you would only reflect back to the many cool and wise elders you have known in your family or in the neighborhood you grew up. Superior we may be in handling a laptop and other modern gadgets but in terms of raw wisdom and common sense, our elders were/remain the super heroes.

Age weakens the physique I readily grant and in severe cases that should be enough to disqualify one but a younger person with debilitating physical or mental disability would be similarly disqualified.  Again we come back to competence and ability to do the job as the ultimate yardstick.  Any other criterion is false and deprives or reduces our nation’s pool of talent. Besides, the consequences of exclusionary/discriminatory practices are dire for both the victims themselves (the elderly) and for the nation at large; the former because they are being stripped of their basic human right and the latter because the country is being deprived of a potential source of wisdom and insight.  All we have to do to get a foretaste of the consequences of such a cultural shift towards disrespect for elders, is to visit the many nursing homes that house the elderly in western societies and contrast it with Eritrean culture (prior to Isaias’s bestial regime that is) and you will see what a dreadful prospect that would be!

If you are young and harbor such stereotypes about your elders, you may want to remember you are working against your own future self-interest because you will one day be old and wrinkled (believe it or not!) and it would be a hellish existence if all you envision in the distant horizon is a dreary empty future where you are treated with disdain or disrespect.

Instead, we all should look forward to old age with dignity and courage anticipating honor and love from our families, friends, and our society not with fear. Speaking for myself, I hope to continue functioning well into my 90’s InshAllah. I will even dare to dream of finally throwing that shoe at my daughter.  And if you are wondering how old I am as you read this, please keep wondering because I swear I will never tell you except to say that I know many people who are much older than I and quite as many who are younger than me.  Go figure!

Welcome back conferees and thank you.  Happy holidays!

*by comprehensive, I mean competence that includes such obvious basic prerequisites as sanity and minimum age (to establish adulthood.) 

About Ismail Omer-Ali

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  • wed. garza

    Omer -Ali, you did it well;
    however, our political fights within these 40-50 years goes on those terms and generations unabated, that’s what poses the question. Should it be wise/ better if we dare say to those who frequently dwell on the PAST POLITICS? No, doubt they’re the source for good and bad!
    Therefore, I think we need to keep them at the background as our source for history, wisdom, culture and reference with honour and respect and not like what the Isayas’s regime is treating them.
    Up to now we failed to focus our politcs more for the future instead go-around the circle to the past, that’s why we need the new generation’s help, to make the journey short.

  • Serray

    Selam Ismail,
    Let me first say, as I always enjoyed reading your piece.

    With all due respect, you can’t complain of dicrimination when you dominate 100% of the politics both inside and outside the country. Reading your piece reminded me of the republicans compliant about x-mas. While they live in a country where christainty is so dominant it is suffocating, they feel besieged every time a feeble pc voice suggested that we say happy holidays instead of merry x-mas. They feel the are losing their country because there are no school prayers or the 10 commandments are not plastered on every wall. Some times I feel they are faking it…preempting to stop stronger voices for moderation.

    I happen to agree with those who say the old need to pass the baton. I don’t have tell you the destruction the old men are doing inside the country. When it comes to the opposition, there is a huge disconnect. For one thing, most (all) of the old men in the opposition never spent a day under the brutal rule of the regime….they’re simply not itsvictims. You can say most of them are men with old grudges. That is why they are very ineffective. What drives them as well as the tool they apply are out of place. But most importantly, they have nothing to show after been in it for decades (please don’t tell me having meetings in ethiopia every year counts).

    I truly believe that when the young realize their uncles are totally out of steam, change will materialize. Until they do, we will continue to have meeting in harrer, wello, gojam etc.



    ህግደፍ ከም ሓንቲ ክቡር ዝዋግኣ ኣመንዝራ (high class whore) እዩ። ነገራት ክዝሕል ከሎ ፍርቂ ዋጋ ንኽትቅበል ንድሕሪት ዘይትብል።እዚ ኣብ ኣህጉራዊ (international) መድረኽ ተርእዮ ጠባይ እዩ። ኣባና፣ ኣብዞም brain dead ዝኾንና ህዝባ ግን ከም መዓረስ (pimp)እያ ትሕይል። ሓንሳእ ስለ ዘጃጀወትና። ከም እሙን ከልቢ፣ ክንዲ ነቲ ዝቕጥቅጦ ዋንኡ ዝነክስ፣ ነቲ ቡንን ሽኮርን ዘሕልፈሉ ሕያዋይ ሳምራዊ ዝምንጭት። ናይ CHINA, IRAN, CANADA, FRENCH,ማሕበር ዕዳጋ ክትገብር ትኽእልያ። ምኽንያቱ ፣ ሙዳዳ/ህግደፍ፣ ንኤርትራ ከም መመንዘሪ ገዛ (hooker house) ንዓና ድማ ከም ርካሽ ኣመንዝራታት cheap hookers እያ ትቖጽረና። ሲናይ ኩሊትና ኣሻይጣ፣ ንህዝብና ፣ ዓጸባ ዝለኸፈን ጠንቂ ሕማም ዝኾና ኣባጊዕ መደርበዪ ትጥቀመልና።ንሙዳዳ/ሻዕብያ/ህግሕኤ ይጸርፋ ኣይኮንኩን ዘለኹ። ነ 40 ++++ ዓመታት ብፈትሊ ንእሰር በትክታት ንሕና ኢና። ድሓር ክኣ ሻዕብያ ናይ ህዝቢ ቃልሲ ከም ዝነበረ፣ ግን ሕጂ ብህግደፍ ከም ዝተጨውየ ንሰብኽ፣ ኣብ ክንዲ ሓንጎል ርኳን (ርኳን ይብል ባባ ኢሳያስ) ዝተሰኵዓና ደንቍርና፣ ሰብ ነደንቍር፣ሰባት፣ ካብ እንቋቝሖ ተመን ርግቢ ዝጽበ፣ ዕደ (ዕደ ይብሉ ደቂ ግራተይ ) ጥራይ እዩ። ኣልቓይዳ፣ ብኣልሸባብ፣ ተተኪኣ ማለት እቲ ቓልሲ ተጨውዩ ማለት ኣይኮነን። ሓንቲ ምዓልቲ ዘይተጋደለ፣ እንታይ ይብለና ከይትብሉኒ !!!!ናይ ብረት ሒዝካ ኮለል ምባል ኣይኮነን። ብብሩህ ልቢ ክትርእዮ ኣለካ። ድሕራይ ክኣ ስድራይ ከዕብዩኻ ኣለዎም። ናይ auntie jemima ዘይበሰለ ጣይታ እናበላዕካ፣ ናይ እኒ ፍሒራ ደርፊ እናሰማዕካ ምጵእ…ምጵእ
    ምባል ንህዝቢ ኤርትራ ኣየርብሖንዩ። ምኽሪ ሓደ ሓደ ኣሕዋተይን ደቂ ዓደይን/ኣውራጃይን፣ ጉሓፍ ናይ ዓድኻ ስለ ዝኾነ ኣይትካላኸለሉን ኢኻ። ነውራጃና ዝጠቕማ እንተዝኸውን፣ ኣነ´ውን ምናልባሽ መጥቅዓኒ። እዞም ወስላታት ብደምካ ተጻዊቶምዮም። ኣነ´ውን ዝፈትዎ ዓርከይን ሓወይን ፣ ወዲ ጉራዕ፣ ደዊሉ እሂ ወዲ ሓማ ጭደድ ክብለኒ ከሎ፣ ንሓደ ደቒቕ ፍናን ይስምዓኒ እሞ፣ ድሓር ብነብሰይ ስሒቐ፣ ሓቢርና ንዋዘ። ብቑዕ ወዲ ካልእ ኣውራጃን፣ ሃይማኖትን ከሎ፣ ነቲ ዘይበቅዕ ወዲ ግራተይ ከዳሉ ግን ነቦይን ነደይን ትምህርቲ ኣንዒቐዮ ማለትዩ። “እዚ ወደይ እቲ ሰብ እዩ ዓርክኻ እምበር ፣ ዓዱ ኣይኮነን”። ነዛ ምኽሪ እዚኣ ነቶ እንዳያይ ዘስም ዓለይ ሰብ እንተዝህሉ ግርም ኔሩ። ብ ኣውራጃይ ሽም ገበን ክገብር ኣይከፍቅደሉን´የ። ምስ እቶም ቡርቱዓት ተቓወምቱን፣ ናይ ቀደም ተኣመንቱን፣ ሓኪም ዘየሕውዮ ሕማም ዘለዎምን ኮይነ ከይቃለስ ግን፣ ኣብ ታሕታይ ገዛ (basement of house ) ኮይኖም፣ ኢሳያስ ደቂ ዓድና ቀቲሉ እናበሉ ፣ ኣብ መድረኽ ዘይዛረብዎ፣ ናይ ውሽጢ ኣጀንዳ ዘለዎም ጸበብቲ ኮይነ ግን ኣይጭፍርን። መሰሎም ክሕለወሎም ግን ኣዕዚዘ፣ ከምቲ ቅድሚ ሕጂ ዝተመለሰለይ “ንሱ ናህና ጉዳይ እዩ ኣይትሻቐል” ክሳዕ ዝብሃል፣ ንመሰሎም ክሕለቐሎም እየ ። ምኽንያቱ እንቋዕ ደኣ ነዚ ወገን/ሃይማኖት እዚስ ዝብል፣ ንነብሱ እዩ ዝፈርደላ ። ንጀብሃ ንኹናማ ንሃይማኖት ምስልምና ተኸተልቲ፣ ጴንጤ፣ ናይ ዮሆዋ መሰኻኽር፣ ንኣካለ ስንኩላን ፣ ንድሩዕ ንሽሪፎ …….. ወዘተ ክበጽሖም እንከሎ ኣእዳውና ሒዝና ናይ ስቕታ ሓገዝ ጌርና ። ሕጂ ንኹላትና በጺሓትና !!!
    1) መንነትካ ብትኽክል ምፍላጥ
    2) ሰብ ንዝደለዮ ኣምላኽ ኣይኮነን፣ ነታ ጣውላ ናይ ሳሎን ውን ከምልኽ መሰል ኣለዎ
    3) ቅድሚ ንሓደ ብደም ዝጠልቀየ ሃገር ንህዝቢ ሓልዮት ክህልወና ይግብኦ
    4) ሃገር ናይ ለባምን ዓሻን፣ ናይ ዝተማህረ (ዘዋር ታክሲን ) ፣ ናይ ዘይተማህረን፣ ናይ ወገናዊን ፣ ናይ ጠርናፊን ፣ ናይ ቅዱስን ሓጥያተኛን፣ ናይ ትፈትዎ ሰብን ፣ ወረዳን፣ ኣውራጃን፣ ከምኡ ውን ናይ ጸቢብ ወገናዊ ናይ ኩሉ እዩ። ንኹሉ ሰብ መሰል፣ ብጀካ ንዓዲ እከለ ዝብሃል ነገር የለን። ወይ ጠኒሳ እያ ወይ ኣይጠነሰትን፣ ቁሩብ እያ ጠኒሳ ዝብሃል ነገር የለን።
    5) መታሕት ብዓረብ ይዛረቡ፣ ከበሳ ብእብራይስጢ ወይ ሲንጋፖርያን ይዛረቡ፣ ናይቶም ህዝቢ መሰል እዩ።
    6) ጀበርቲ ብሄር ኮይኖም፣ እንታይ የሕብጠካ፣ ኣንኳይ ብታሪኽ ደጊፍዎም ዘምጽእዎ ነገር ገዲፉስ፣ ዋላ ካብ ጁቡኦም የውጽእዎ፣ ንዓኻ ኣይምልከትንዩ።
    7) ደርግ እንዳለው ደግሞ፣ በጩኸት የፈረሰች ኣገር ብትኖር የመጽሃፍ ቁዱስዋ ያሪኮ ብቻ ነች።ተባበር ንቃ ተደራጅ ታጠቅ። ወይም ይቅርብህ !!!!

    • sara

      mehretu habte….

      natka hatew ketew gededu….the only differenc with the article writer is … you wrote yours in tigrina.

  • FM

    A mountain out of a molehill….

    1. I found an interesting a comment made here: that the elders of today are the revolutionaries of the 60s and 70s now demanding an age old privilege granted to elders while they (revolutionaries) during their most productive ages thought fit to lecture the elders–an irony of course, however, respect and privileges of the elders granted.

    2. I haven’t noticed ageism unless the writer wants a broad definition. Few writers have stated (not direct quotation) “out with the old and in with the new”. I understand the spirit in which those statement and others that can be misunderstood for ageism are made: out with the old politricking, and the politrickians, a new generation unencumbered with the old tricks should carry the banner.

    3. I wish the writer would spare the readers from anti-US tirade at every opportunity as in an article supposedly about ageism.

    • Ismail

      Selamat FM!

      Thanks for your comments though at my age, I am not sure I can process them correctly (:-). Seriously though, here is my feedback to your excellent observations:

      First, discriminatory/exclusionary attitudes (however seductively dressed) are not molehills but gigantic societal problems that should be taken very seriously. .

      Second, my article’s main thrust (as is evident from its subtitle “stereotype gone berserk”) is to strongly denounce all age-based stereotypes. Critiquing the previous generation as you did is absolutely OK and legitimate of course. In fact, I have done so myself on several occasions. It becomes problematic only when we rely on such sweeping generalizations to assess individual qualifications.

      It is my view that each individual should be evaluated on the basis of his/her merits or demerits not on whether he is 20 or 80 year old or whether he belonged to this or that generation. If we are faulting the previous generation for what they did or for their crimes, for example, then it is past criminal behavior or misdeeds that should disqualify them not their age or their era. Likewise, if we are blaming them for incompetency, then it is their incompetency that disqualifies them. As you can see, the safest way to insure an inclusive and healthy participation is to consistently use a single criterion for candidacy namely fitness for the job. As I have clearly stated in my article, I believe competency should be the criteria. Don’t you?

      Third, I think you are making mountains out of molehills (:-) of my criticism of US. It is extremely important to distinguish between legitimate criticism and deliberately hateful remarks. As long as criticism remains within the bounds of factual historical data, it is always legit. It turns into spiteful remarks only when it is emotionally driven and speculatory in nature. What I have said about US is nothing new by the way and is readily acknowledged from within. Historical facts, however brutal, are there to teach us a lesson. I was critiquing the US for not doing so. That is all!

      Ismail (pointblank)

      • FM

        Selam Ismail!

        I still stand by that ageism in Eritrean politics has not gone beserk on the widely read sites like Awate or Asmarino. Not enough light has been shed on the disfranchised nature of Eritrean politics and those ‘old hats’ quick to franchise their own chiefdom when they fall from the top–I suppose that is the nature of a professional politician.

        On being anti-US or being a critic of US policies, factual or not…. I stand by that it has no place, its inappropriate to mix it, in an article about ageism in Eritrean politics; I think we are all aware of who in our region dangles anti-US rhetoric and why.


    “ንኣድጊ፣ ሓሰር እምበር-መዓር ኣይውሓጠላን”

    ውሃ´ነ ገልዳም ተዓዊቱለይ
    ህግደፍ ሓድሽ ስም ኣውጺኦምለይ
    ህዝበ ትግርኛ ተብሂለ፣ ዘይሓረኽዎ ባዕለይ
    ትግራዋይ ከይብሃል ድዮም ሓልዮምለይ
    ኣይደለዩንን ክኸውን ሓው እንድርታ ዘመድ ዓጋመታይ
    መንነቱ ዝጸልኤ፣ ንባዕዳውያን ዝብል እምበይተይ፣ጎይታይ
    ተረፍ ጣልያን፣ ሙታንታ ኣዕራብ፣ሮማን ጅዳን ተመጽዋተይ
    condom ግብጺ፣ ኣብ ብላሽ መዋታይ
    ሲንጋፖር´የ ወዲ ኣስያ ታሕታይ
    Lasagna,spaghetti ይበላዕ ኣብ ቋሬጣይ
    እንጀራን ሽልጆን ኣይተምጽኡ ኣብ ገበታይ
    ትግራዋይ ከይብሃል ፣ ሕብኡለይ መንነተይ !!!
    ንባዕልና ትግራውነትና/መንነትና እናሓባእናስ፣ ንጀበርቲን፣ መታሕት ኣሕዋትናን፣ ብብሄርነትን፣ ብቛንቋን ክንሰብከሎም መሕነኸና !!!!

  • million Ketkit

    Omar Ali is really a smart man! Oh what a waste for Eritrea not to use such intelligent people!

  • Another oldie

    Mr Omar-Ali,
    I do not think you captured the esssence of the “let’s give the Youth a chance”. It has nothing to do with age and wisdom but with history. Getting alone and leading is a lot easier amongst the youth because they are not burdened by the fears of the past. The current leaders have done/tried to do something against the other in the multitude of the roles they played during the struggle, hence, the numerous organizations they create and dismantle. Let us have new faces, not necessarily by age but by involvement.

    Saying that, do you think it is a bit of “you get what you deserve” here? Remember the red hot “communist” youth who were teaching their parents how to live? How they went about the adi’s restructuring land and setting new systems? Is there any fairness in them turning around now in their older age and demanding respect? Did they listen then or enforced their beliefs?

  • I can maybe agree on such agrement in this your agoism topic about our farfather(notmothers)now day story.
    When the doctor back to squre zero and wanted to be reuinan with our arich enemy and when the one old men from Saho needed help from outsider borderline in his clan and when the Blin from Keren GezaWereket want a some letter from Lasta Agaw and when the Tigrigana muslim from Mendefera are agree to work toghter with their common case in Shire or Axum in Tigria Ethiopia then we can walk back into 40s and 50s
    Andinet with Ethiopia rose Tidla Baiaru and Shek Kikiia to fedretion and non hear them any more in that truble time.
    The Abraha Tesema and other muslim leag make bussines and left the Eritrea politic to Ego Asfaha,Demitros and Qkbit the two legandrist grande Weldeab and Ibrhim god blees them I am here now.
    Ato Ismaiel;
    When your father was in Mesgid Gem’Ea my father has sold Eritrea to Jan-Hoy Ethiopia and when you were in Arab an d so my big brother Isaias came with me freedom Eritrea.So what is your point bla bla….?!
    Get my word
    Viva to Isaiasim and Isaiasti

  • Kokhob Selam

    Thank you. On what should they young depend to be proud if he doesn’t respect our elders? And those elders who were always for their people and who forget their personal advantage deserved even more respect. The wisdom is with them. In our culture even one year elder should be respected. This is very important culture that should be inherited. But that doesn’t mean all elders are full of wisdom. There are people at their 60 or 70th but still act like spoiled kid.
    Now I am at the middle edge and I have difficulty in respecting those elders who don’t feel the pain and sufferings of our people. PFDJ leaders are I think at 60 and some at 80 but they don’t feel anything about the death and sufferings of our people. I lost respect on this category. Even if I want to pretend I can’t. Simply I can’t and I will not try it. That doesn’t mean I am not cultured. That means I am no more considering them humans I am more kind to animals.

  • Dear Mr. Omar you just nail. The thing is hgdef and stooges never respect their elders. The stereotype way of thinking is blended in their blood. All you wrote about is well said. This time around it is not about what hgdef said or did. our aim should be how to dismantel it. I thank you for job well done,and keep up the good work.

  • Shimagle

    Dear Mr. Omar-Ali,

    Thank you for such a superb article that is full of wisdom, common-sense and humanity!!
    May Allah grant you long life and health so you can keep sharing your insights with us.

    Awate Editors: I nominate this post for “Best Awate Article of 2011”