Monday , November 29 2021
Home / Perspective / Andebrhan Welde Giorgis’ Book: A Commentary

Andebrhan Welde Giorgis’ Book: A Commentary

Title: Eritrea At A Crossroads: A Narrative of Triumph, Betrayal and Hope
Author: Andebrhan Welde Giorgis
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.
ISBN: 978-1-62857-331-2
Pages: 661
Price: $36.50

Eritrea At a Crossroads is a compelling story of people who had waged an epic struggle for self-determination and succeeded, albeit for a short time, to represent “a world-historic heritage of peoples fighting oppression.” The experience of the once-promising-nation is intricately entangled in a duality of extremes; it “embraces an array of commendable achievements offset by lamentable failures.” The long and protracted armed struggle was a tribute to the human spirit of defiance by people who were fully mobilized to protect the integrity of autonomy and self-rule, but, who in the process and at the finishing line, took a wrong and fatal detour that is robbing them of their humanity and what was noble and dignifying. “Sadly, we ended up with the opposite of what we fought for. The contradiction hurts like a permanent cut with a blunt knife.”

The book narrates beautifully and intelligently Eritrea’s “story of heroic triumph in struggle and of dismal failure in victory.” It is the story aptly encapsulated by the title of the book Eritrea At A Crossroads: A Narrative of Triumph, Betrayal and Hope.

It is Isaiah-like lamentation where the author saw the men of Eritrea fall by the sword and the mighty ones in battle, and Mariam-Asmereyti was lamenting and mourning, for deserted she sat on the ground. “The country reels under tyranny, the people languish in poverty, and the youth continue to flee in droves. Dictatorial, incompetent, and predatory, the regime perpetrates domestic repression, thrives in regional confrontation, and provokes international isolation. It has betrayed the rasion d’être of the armed struggle, despoiled the sacrifices of our martyrs, and miscarried the vision of building a free, democratic and prosperous Eritrea that stands out as a bright star in the African constellation.”

Liberation was made “possible at a staggering cost in human life and suffering” and the “huge sacrifices made on the way” could only be vindicated by “heralding a bright future shinning with peace, freedom, democracy and prosperity.” It was the simple recognition of this truth that the immediate post- independence years “generated a very high level of national excitement verging on euphoria, and triggered an explosion of optimism, setting the country ablaze with the flames of hope and expectation.” In the minds of Eritreans it was a foregone conclusion that it was time “to reap the benefits of liberty.” As a first step towards realizing the dream, the strategic planning of nation-building was set in motion:

The National Charter outlined a holistic vision of Eritrea, encapsulated in six basic goals and six guiding principles. The six basic goals are national harmony, political democracy, economic and social development, social justice, cultural revival, and regional and international cooperation. The six basic principles are national unity, active participation of the people, the decisive role of the human factor, struggle for social justice, self-reliance, and a strong relationship between the people and the leadership. The National Charter embedded democracy, justice, and prosperity as essential elements for the improvement of the human condition of the Eritrean people. (pg. 161)

The national Charter, the Macro Policy paper and the Constitution of Eritrea are consistent with the objectives of the National Democratic Programme of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), the Front that led the armed struggle for liberation to victory and formed the government upon independence. These policy instruments set the overall framework to guide the integral process of national-building, state construction and sustainable development in the new Eritrea. They aimed to enable the government to build a constitutional, democratic and developmental state able to deliver the rule of law, responsive governance, and prosperity (pg. 325).

Andebrhan Welde Giorgis does not spare any efforts to assertively claim that “liberation was pursued as a stepping stone for independence; independence was sought to enable the creation of a new democratic state whose hallmarks would be the pursuit of liberty, progress and prosperity, under a government constituted on the basis of the free exercise of the Eritrean people’s right to self-determination.” The vehicle of nation-building was stuck in first gear; finally coming to screeching halt under the pretext of the border war. Tragically, the regime that the author helped to install has gone rouge. A flagrant betrayal of the principles, which had inspired and animated Eritreans’ epic struggle, has led to a road of perdition where the long-awaited Exodus is away from the Promised Land and not towards it.

But it is also a story of hope and redemption where a renewed commitment, now and in the future, would lead to another more impressive victory by people accustomed to win against all odds. “It will not be out of reach for a reformed Eritrea to replicate, on a small scale, China’s remarkable progress in achieving relative prosperity and improved standard of living for a large and growing proportion of its huge population.” Andebrhan Welde Giorgis is a true believer who proudly clings to the ideals of his revolutionary youth that took him from the peaceful academic halls of Harvard University to the rugged mountains of Sahel, where, in the words of Roy Pateman, even the stones were burning. The intensity of conviction is truly a source of tremendous power; faith moves mountains. “It was the firm conviction that liberty, dignity and prosperity would remain elusive dreams under continued Ethiopian occupation that drove tens of thousands of Eritrean youth to the field, lent the armed resistance of a powerful new impetus and ensured final victory.”

The story of Eritrea’s thirty-year war of independence is one of great endurance, stoic self-sacrifice, and remarkable resilience driven by abiding faith in liberty, justice and a bright future, in defiance of superior forces and the odds. It is an amazing story of great human endeavor, heroic personal choices and selfless sacrifice: people abandoned families, interrupted careers, gave up education, and forfeited livelihoods to fight for freedom. (pg. 623)

Eritreans’ indomitable spirit and sheer defiance against odds is not dead; it is slightly buried by a series of setbacks. It needs to be brought back to the surface and tapped into. It is in the revitalization of this Eritrean character where victory lies, and it is in this victory where Eritrea’s hope lies. Andebrhan Welde Giorgis is the personification of this Ertrawi niH; after more than four decades of public service, he is still globetrotting to make a final push for the noble causes he spent a life-time fighting. “That the Eritrean people won remains a living testament to their determination, perseverance, and resilience in the face of great odds.” Although Andebrhan Welde Giorgis admits that there is “no silver bullet” to bring the desired change, he adamantly cautions that “only an internally driven and all-inclusive reform process, guided by effective political initiative to reconstruct the State on a new basis, would rectify the prevailing bleak state of affairs and reverse Eritrea’s on-going comprehensive decline to ensure a bright future for the Eritrean people.”

Eritrea At a Crossroads is the story of Eritrea’s past, present and future set against the “backdrop of lifelong engagement” in which the author “seeks to shed some light on the fundamental disparity between the ideals and objectives of the historic struggle for liberation, on the one hand, and the reality of independence, demonstrating the failed policies and practices of a dysfunctional government, on the other.” In the words of Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead, “Eritrea at a Crossroads is both a personal story and a unique expose of the failings of a Government which has brought misery and suffering to its people.”

It is hard to escape the poignancy of a story told from “the prism of an insider’s knowledge and insight,” and Eritrea At A Crossroads is nothing but intimate. Andebrhan Welde Giorgis was the ultimate insider. The lure of a first-hand account by one of Eritrea’s best educated revolutionaries and seasoned diplomats is irrepressible. The heightened sense of what-is-in-store-for-me makes the book a page-turner and turning the last page is literally and metaphorically a milestone. It is the same feeling one experience upon reaching the summit of a mountain—a holistic look of the landscape one has left below.

The voluminous book is rich in details and insights that will make every Eritrean scream with pride as well as shame. But the book is not just a memoir, although the autobiographical notes are priceless. Andebrhan Welde Giorgis’ Eritrea At A Crossroads: A Narrative of Triumph, Betrayal and Hope is written from “a desire to contribute to the existing body of knowledge about Eritrea and the Eritrean people, both historical and contemporary,” but “beyond Eritrea, it is intended to contribute to a greater knowledge, deeper understanding and more rigorous debate of the root causes and key drivers of the essential fragility of the prototype contemporary African state.” For the most part, it is mission accomplished. He shows with some anecdotal evidence “the existence of an autonomous Eritrean history, the feasibility of a discernible indigenous Eritrean culture worthy of identification and accurate analysis, or a distinct psychological makeup of Eritrea as a shared homeland of the Eritrean people.” The history part was not his best suit. There is no independent Eritrean history outside the greater narrative of Abyssinia. Having a shared history with Ethiopians is neither an ever-lasting Covenant to stay together nor a license for divorce; what matters is self-determination and interest; and our interest as the author rightfully asserts is in regional integration and collaboration.

The freedom fighter’s scholarly pursuit cannot be separated from his life-time activism and his intention “to stimulate informed political debate regarding the prevailing situation in Eritrea and the way forward” is only what the situation calls for and what reason sanctions. It is a clarion call by an Eritrean freedom fighter for a constructive engagement in the “internal debate on the future of Eritrea,” and the “issues that have matured and become ripe for open discussion without compromising Eritrea’s national security (as distinct from regime security), the drive for internal change, or the safety of former comrades-in-arms and colleagues.” It is a fervent call for change tempered by wisdom and experience.

Andebrhan Welde Giorgis reaffirms unapologetically “the need for a fundamental rethinking of Eritrean politics and for reform to reconstruct a functional state, in line with the ethos and transformational goals of the armed struggle.” The call to go back to the revolutionary roots and to the “promises of freedom, democracy, justice and prosperity, for which the armed struggle was fought and great sacrifices made,” may seem to the casual observer not revolutionary enough, a bit backward-looking and conservative, but his potent arguments are transformative and most importantly will resonate with the many veterans and the public at large who share his “sense of profound deception and disappointment.”

Eritrea At a Crossroads is a timely and important book for those of us who are interested in preserving, cherishing and celebrating Eritrea’s epic struggle. “At the core message of this book celebrates the war was fought for freedom, democracy, progress and prosperity.” It reaffirms the overall goodness and beauty of our heroic struggle while simultaneously decrying its negative excesses. Andebrhan Welde Giorgis condemns without any equivocation “the constant use of force as a means to settle internal disputes” not just as a matter of historical record but because, “Regrettably, the malignant practice that bedeviled the evolution of the armed struggle has given rise to a political culture of extreme intolerance of pluralism that disparages independent thought, criminalizes divergent opinion and equates dissent with treason and treachery in post-independence Eritrea.” The author’s goal is neither to romanticize the ghedli nor to denigrate it but to simply celebrate its goodness and to “prevent the recurrence of the mistakes of the past” by drawing the right lessons.

Despite profound disappointment with the rise of dictatorship and the reign of misery in Eritrea however, I am very proud to have dedicated my life to the struggle for liberation and to the cause for the emancipation, progress, and prosperity of the Eritrean people, as a freedom fighter during the war and as a public servant after independence (pg. 635).

Andebrhan Welde Giorgis, “as a veteran of the war of liberation and a founding member of the EPLF Central Committee…admit(s) a profound sense of disappointment and a painful awareness of shared responsibility in the betrayal of the programmatic objectives of the armed struggle, the promises of liberation and the expectation of statehood.” The decision to go into exile was the most agonizing experience to this freedom fighter who considers it his highest “honor and privilege to serve with Eritrean patriots across generations whose personal courage in the struggle for self-determination, political commitment to the cause of liberation, and the concern for the welfare of the people remain unequalled,” but “the existential contradiction between the values I (he) cherish(s) and the sense of guilt from continued association with a government whose actions I (he) detested gnawed my (his) conscience and denied me (him) inner peace.” Andebrhan Welde Giorgis clearly states that he bears his “share of blame, responsibility, and pain for Eritrea’s present predicament.”

Andebrhan Welde Giorgis’s book Eritrea At a Crossroads will be read by my four children, those who are old enough and those who have to do a bit of growing, so they can learn the reasons many of their relatives and particularly their grandfather, abandoned families, interrupted careers, gave up education, and forfeited livelihoods to fight for freedom.

On behalf of the many that are no longer with us, I say many thanks to Andebrhan Welde Giorgis for giving them the tribute they deserve.

About Semere T Habtemariam

Semere T Habtemariam is an author and a columnist at Awate. He holds a BA in Government and Politics and a MA in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas. He lives in Dallas, Texas. His two books are: Reflections-History-Abyssinian-Orthodox-Tewahdo and Hearts-Like-Birds.

Check Also

SmeTr Hamassien: Objective and Struggle

Book Review by Semere T Habtemariam Title: SmeTr Hamassien: Objective and Struggle (ስመጥር ሓማሴን፥ ዕላማን …

  • tokyo

    it looks great

  • Rodab

    Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affair’s review of Ambassador Andebirhan’s book…
    (The two regimes love to talk about the other but when will they review their own books – PFDJ that of the Ambassador’s and the Woyanes that of Ghebru Asrat’s?)

  • Yoty Topy

    ” At A Crossroads ?”. I think a more appropriate tittle would have been:”Last person: turn off the lights and lock it.”

  • Nitricc

    Mahmuday let me try at the quiz. lol you know what; i am going to show off
    ድፋዕ =============something you attack.

    ተሽኪል ======== i think like to be deployed or to be in a millitary training comp.

    ሰውራ ================ siriously? how about hard and long. revolution.

    ቀርሰና=============breakfast? i don’t think you will ask me that easy but that is all I can come up for.

    ጥሙሕ=============== testy?

    ጦፍ =============== small group of military personal who check things before the main Army goes through ===== like ስለያ

    ቶሚን (ተምዊን) ========== Mahmuday it sounds Japanese I have no idea.

    መሳርፍ ============= Ration

    እንትልፋፍ =========== I have no clue but let me cheat Sal, gave me a hint and i am guessing to be a some kind of army leader, say like a brigade leader? lol

    • Mahmud Saleh

      you almost got them. So, the quizz had two parts. a/ what the words where in Tigrigna,and; b/ what was their commonality. The second part was answered by SGJ inadvertently, while Semere did it purposely to help you, I guess. So they are all borrowed from the Arabic language, some of them underwent slight changes in the process, like what Ustaz Saleh pointed out.
      ድፋዕ= literally means defense; used in ghedli to say defense lines; trenches; any frontal protection
      ተሽኪል=in its Arabic daily usage it may mean formation, patterns or punctuation and assigning symbols for voicing, or patterns and figures in a multiform substance…societies, etc. But in ghedli Tigrigna, and in ghedli military lexicons, it was restricted to the area you spend the
      night at. Usually a commanding post, you would arrange units and individual in a
      predetermined formation that may help defend it if attacked. But it just meant
      the “sleeping quarters,” but think of open country and guerrilla warfare.
      ሰውራ= revolution
      ቀርሰና= Hey, I got you! Think of Capt. Oh I forgot, the captain who was captured by Somali pirates, a story that Tom Hank made a big hero out of it. Any way, it means piracy. It was an overused-Tigrignized word in ERI-TV and Hadas Ertra during the open pirates seasons.
      ጥሙሕ= ambition
      ጦፍ= it could mean many things in its Arabic sense, but ghedli Tigrigna only one of its meanings: normally a person or a group sent to deliver a message, or to patrol an area; but usually
      it was meant a messenger.
      ቶሚን= it comes from its Arabic (temwin), meaning which could mean to supply, to provide something or a store of supplies…in Tigrigna they used it as meaning the store of supply or depot.
      መሳርፍ= you got it
      እንትልፋፍ= the Arabic root would be
      lafa/ when ELF used it they would probably say altf, or make “eltfaf”…when
      our Tigrigna speaker commanders heard it, they copied it as “entlfaf”…do you
      recall many words of Red Indians that have been corrupted by the whites? It
      happens when words shift from one language to the other. But hey, they are now
      By the way PIA has been the indisputable source of this type of Tigrigna expansion. Let Semere butt the wall, that’s true. After every interview with him, Tigrigna words would grow by
      three or four new terms.
      So all in all, I am impressed with your Tigrigna knowledge; you surely thank your dad for his repetitive bugging.

      • Saleh Johar

        Pasha (I will use it deservedly 🙂

        I have to disagree slightly, for the sake of Nitric. You see, Mahmoud is telling you 50% of the history (EPLF perspective) now you get the other 50%.

        Since most of the erstwhile combatants who joined the revolution were trained military men from Sudan, they established the first training regime and therfore the Arabic military lexicon of the British (Sudanese) army. Thereafter, most of the military training for the combatants was offered in Iraq and Syria, again the Arabic military lexicon was established. That is why most of our military terminologies are adopted Arabic words.

        This is how I understood the the words (those not mentioned are more or less like Mahmoud described them)
        1: ተሽኪል: I think like to be deployed or to be in a military training comp.
        2. ጦፍ : scout, a small group of messengers of reconnaissance.
        3. ተምዊን: We didn’t corrupt this word, we used it in its original form ተምዊን, it is ration
        4. መሳርፍ: expenses, usually in cash as opposed to ration, actual flour, sugar, etc.
        5. እልትፋፍ: We didn’t corrupt this one also; it means encircling, as in cordoning the enemy.

        The military training was overwhelmingly in Arabic withing the PLF and ELF until the mid seventies when gradually Tigrinya took over beginning around 1975.

        Maybe Mahmoud can comiple more Arabic words like “enzHaf” for zaHaf, hejoum, insiHab, mudfaEjy, qumbbla, urnek, jasus, arkan, taba, qezifa, manjus, asbuE, Hares, tesliH, dibshk, akhmes Hadid, akhmes Khesheb, musedes, Talga…oh boy! They are so many.

        • Mahmud Saleh

          Salam saleh,
          I agree with the history and their proper use, I’m teaching my good student as they were understood by Tigrgna speakers. Thank you for all those words. I think we may have one weekend jabena over them.

      • Semere Andom

        Hi Mahmuday:
        One of the problems with the expansion (corruption) is that it is not made to communicate ideas, but rather to confuse and to impress and intimidate, to elicit expressions like “ewa, wedi kusto dea liQ endiyu, qelem tsegibu eyu”, this will create the mystic and then the demigod status, the confusion is the skill that PIA masters, so he is good communicator.

        I am cognizant of the evolution of languages and I am not a purist, even English got here by constant expansion and borrowing. But PIA and Co used unnecessary borrowing instead of elevating Tigriniya words to make them political and coining new ones. For example I heard a story and you can tell me If you heard it. A Tigrayiit speaker from MensaE oppossed the word “eqtsad” and called it “sheqenot”. I was told it means to economize “mqutab”. The Tigriniya speaker usually will start to converse in English when he is drunk in meda and the Tigrayit speaker recites “jahiliya” poems when drunk as if they are using their default language that they master.
        After every interview, Tigriniya gets slaughtered, losing its natural personality and this explains the current state of the language, the “chegar danga” get more hair in their “danga” and the “chegotat” would say,”jela jelalka” rebi, Elim” and if you ask both no one understands what PIA said. It reminds me of the “tehadso” movement in Asmara and some rebels in the church wanted bible studies in Tigriniya the conservatives wanted Geeze, to make his point the deacon for change said something in Geeze and then asked the gathered what if they understood what he just said, the older women said, you said “selamn erqin yfterelan” to which he replied I just told you that you were all “demamu” and that is the point for learning the bible in our own language.

        I am sure your know the you guys(EPLF) were seriously planning to destroy the Geeze alphabets and replace them with the Latin alphabets, that project did not go well, thanks heavens. So PIA’s unneeded borrowing was to impress and mystify and not to enrich our language. He is not a linguistic anyways. Those who say he does not communicate, here you have the answer, he communicates well by understanding the “chogar danga and “chegotat”: “eti wedi liQ eyu”, “le hitsan rebika emen….”
        One of his famous ones is “mnawera”, Mahmuday this is your homework, we have a Tigriiya for this. The corruption that you call expansion and what Saleh Younis called “literalism” and what I call the shallows of the language. Recently in one of his interviews he called some government projects, “tsaeda harmza”, a translation of white elephant. Mahmuday, because PAI said “tsaeda harmaz” and other expansions when he was “kab arebiaya weridu enkelo”, do not imitate him:)

        “kab arebiaya weridu enkelo”: This is for Sal:-)

        • Mahmud Saleh

          Sem A
          Honestly, tell me the ” pure” Tigrgna word for manawara.
          I have a lot to tell you about “eqtsad/Sheqenot” and the other points you raised in a different occasion, maybe in jabena. That’s if you take your ” AQabawi” hut off.

          • Semere Andom

            Mahmud: Please do. I will hold you to it;-)
            Now here is pure Tigrgna for manawara askeria:
            wetehaderawi fedahda 🙂

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Ahlan SemereA
            fedaHdaH= I have known this word by its negative undertone, like being showy, extravagance..flamboyancy…mostly for someone who wants to appear more than who he is.And in military maneuver you are not really trying to be showy, but you are trying to deceive an enemy; or it could mean a well rehearsed movements or moves in a certain battlefield; or just a drill. So I would take it like in th following examples;
            እዚ ወዲ ፈዳሕዳሕ ይብል ኣሎ፡ መዓዶ። እዛ ቆልዓ ፈዳሕዳሕ እምበር ኣብዚሓ፡ ቁምነገር ዘይትገብር? ናብ መምህር ሰመረ ከይዳ ዕዮ ገዛኣ ዘይትሰርሕ። and probably I would sing the following blues,
            ኣነ ወይ ኣነ
            ፈዳሕዳሕ ኣብዚሐ
            ከይገድፎ ፈጺመ
            ኣምሪሩ ሰመረ
            ኣነ ወይ ኣነ
            ፈዳሕዳሕ ኣብዚሐ
            You know though my Tigrigna background, so, easy. Just tell me if you still stick to your word. I have Asmarinos, Kereninos, and otherinos who could come to volunteer for arbitration.

  • Nitricc

    Mahmuday when you said
    “You have a point although you overdo it nitricc.” You plunged me in to a memory. Let me share this with you and I will get back with the rest. The reason I want to share it is that I feel the story about to tell you has made me to be aware and made huge impact in my life.
    The story is between my dad and I. growing up, my parents always talked to me and when they talked they explained things and I had always thought not only they were wrong but the repeating of the same talk and the same explanation was getting me. And one day while I was in high school my dad start talking about the same thing we had talked about and he explained for; right then for the first time and frankly for the last time; I blew up on my dad. In short, I just told him that I am not stupid and he doesn’t have to say the same thing over and over and I told him I am sick of it.
    He let me finish venting and when I was done throwing an absolute tantrum, he told me to sit down and he said
    “He said the reason I am repeating things over and over is not because you lacked intelligence, not because you are a bad kid, not because I don’t trust you; none of those things. The real reason is, that I am responsible for every thing you do in life as a person, your values, your character, your personality, your growth and success. I.E if I am to have a slight chance to rise a decent human being then I has to compete with opposing forces. The opposing forces start from my own leaving room, the TV, your friends at school, the magazine you read, your friends in the neighbor hood, the girls you talk to, the music you listen and the lists goes on. So, if I am repeat things over and over I am only computing to the magnitude of those opposing forces. I know I am out gunned and out numbered but for me to have a chance computing then I have to reiterate time and again. I am only fighting with whatever values they are telling you, which is nothing good. So, till I feel those forces are not a menace to your values and character, don’t expect me to stop my act of reiterating.”

    The moral of the story is, I know, trust me, I am over doing it; again look who I am computing with? As the wise man said it, till that threat and danger is eliminated from Eritrea by irresponsible Eritreans; I must over do things, I have no choice.
    How can I betray this people? Watch

    • Mahmud Saleh

      You should never betray them. What we write and say is in the hope that we may empower their ideals and aspirations by effecting a conducive political atmosphere which reflects a society they volunteered their life to create. I know sometimes the voices and energies of those who claim to be fighting for realizing this end may seem to be incoherent and self-contradicting. Keep being engaged. I understand you don’t deny that what we have at home is not what these people should deserve. Your rage, I believe is at the way some folks present their ideas and/ or those ideas themselves. I firmly believe, those who choose the hard way such as working to convince people, owning your history and learning from its negatives, being realistic and pragmatic, forward looking, being hopeful and after all trusting your domestic potential, focusing on the main goal rather than jockeying for popularity on how you vilify the past; and above all not mixing state and the ruling entity, the side that works to enhance Eritrean ranks will prevail over the side that’s bidding on shortcuts through multiple proposals. You can’t earn credibility on national level before you exhibit a credible and independent organ which displays qualities that are missing in PFDJ and for which PFDJ is uniquely condemned. Many of what you read may be discouraging but you have no option but to be engaged. You have three options: PFDJ camp, anti-pfdj camp or disowning your Eritreanness by numbing your brain cells (impossible for a guy of nitrikay nature although semere wants us to believe you are almost running out of brain cells. Nah, I don’t believe that guy at all. By the way you haven’t told me about this repeating statements of yours that sneak around the idea that Canada is the only country with welfare. I know I ate their wheat when I was back home, but to suggest that my friend Semere chose Canada for ….No, nitricc, unless you explain it. How about my test, semere and Gadi gave you half of the answer, are you waiting for Hayat to give you the rest?

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Nitrikay and dera awatistas
        “…the side that works to enhance Eritrean ranks will prevail over the side that’s bidding on shortcuts through multiple proposals.”

        The above statement is not intended to slap the serious analysts and columnists of Awate for whom I am grateful for their priceless information. Rather, the intention is to point out that there are voices and actions of few within the opposition, some of them quite scary, which are becoming a liability to the efforts underway to unify energies.

      • Nitricc


        Most of our work, we sub contract it. When something is designed that something is subcontracted 80% of the project to universities and private labs and we do the rest in the house. So, we had work to be done in Silicon Valley, Cali. So, I was there inspecting the work and going through the lists and
        documents of the employees who are doing the job. We check their education, experience and the legality of any employees. Going thru the lists there was a Pilipino guy who his working permit was expired. I told to the head of the lab to resolve the situation within two weeks. I supposed terminate the project but I talk the guy personally, decided to give the guy a chance. I went back after three weeks and he was no longer with company. So, I went back after few weeks just to check things up and I saw the same guy in a coffee shop. We exchange greetings, So, I was talking with him and I told him there was a Canadian official who was recruiting all kinds of professionals to Canada and guaranteeing them Canadian citizenship. And the guy responded “ I am young and professional man why would I go to a welfare state” I said what do you mean and he told me things about Canada I never knew. Sure enough he refused to Canada and went back to Philippines. I ask you how bad can Canada be for a Philippines citizen to reject Canada and go back to his country?
        Now you know why I go ballistic when the likes of Semere take a cheap shot at the great Gedli and the greatest Tegadelti. My thing is if I am going to criticize and take a shot at something; I better do something superior to what I am criticizing. How exactly can talk smack when you live in Canada? NO! So, this is the story behind my beef with Canada and the people who thinks they are all that. they are not.

        Mahmuday now you know the story.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Nitricc, leaving everything aside, your story is so deep I am wondering why you do not use that kind of argument when you debate? That was good, very good lesson for all fathers.

      • Nitricc

        Sal i am not telling you the whole story. once my dad explained it to me; for the first time i understood what he was talking about. i sit there after the talk and i thought about every thing and for the first time i started to get it and convinced that the old man knew what he was talking about. i started to evaluate everything he ever told me and ever since it made me a better person.
        did you ask why my debate skills suck? well, i am working on it. i felt i never brought my best to this forum so, I am planing to grow up and bring my best one day.
        thanks Sal.

    • Rodab

      Nice, Nitricc.
      One of your best comments. If Rahwa is reading it, she will fall for you.

  • Saleh Johar

    By እንትልፋፍ do you mean to say እልትፋፍ? Or it is just a typo, I don’t want Nitricc to learn a corrupted word, but he needs the military terminologies when he finally decides to lead a squad to give Eritrean a break 🙂

    • Mahmud Saleh

      yes, you are right but the word has been corrupted since its introduction to the Tigrigna language. It first appeared in 1981. During the civil war ELF was stretching the flanks and then attack from all directions; I guess it was introduced to Tigrigna from intercepted communications and may be prisoners; anyway, the word became known as Antlfaf in its Tigrigna form. So, I don’t know what to do with it, but Nitricc has already solved the problem, thanks to you and semere Andom.
      Ps; the goal is to teach him some Tigrigna words which have been taken from arabic, not teaching him Arabic.

  • Semere Andom

    Are you giving Nitricc Arabic lessons?;-)

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Sem A
      It’s not for you (shshshsh!).

  • Abraham Hanibal

    You Know Aba Habesh, no one would be discouraged by your hopeless suggestions. I’m looking forward to read the book from cover to cover, and hopefully, it would give me an insider’s view regarding the dealings of the EPLF, PFDJ, and the State of Eritrea.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Semere T.,

    Great work as usual and a man who does a commendable work at a particular time has to be appreciated regardless what he did or he might probably does after. I didn’t read the book so far but I have no doubt that his over all life experience and his recent PhD study is strong evidence for what quality product we can expect. And what you did was, according to my line of understanding is just this and worthy to read all about your honest comments about the over-all work.

    Saying this, much more critical thinking should be searched further regarding the pros and cons of the impact that it might have and a hidden manifesto it might probably carry on.

    Personally, I am a welcoming person regardless of how things fall apart, if correct measures are taken, the end result is worth to appreciate. PFDJ failed in this and so is EPLF. I believe that EPLF had successfully accomplished his mission based on the strategy drawn when a popular movement came into its peak. All this was done not because of the 1970 manifesto of Nihnan Elamanan but after the unity of the three forces who separated from ELF and later joined to form a united front. Nihnan Elamanan had a bad intention and what we see today is just in line to that. Yemane Gebreab, the Guru of Issaiasism and gospel of Nihnan Elamanan Manifesto, and the self-writer of Nihanan Elamanan (Dia), did all they can to disseminate that paper right after the formation of PFDJ. That paper has no tolerance to other religions as it is a product of self-created fear of religious segregations. It is basically against religious institutions though the writers claim that they belong to religious groups and second worst thing is their regionalism behavior. This two behaviors which products of fear kept the other side of Eritrean politics aborted.

    Ok, one might read the first and second congress of EPLF and is easy to draw the political maturity of the front and how open it was on its political vision. This is then what EPLF lost in totality. Instead of working on the visions drafted during these two congresses, he totally betrayed the long march to total emancipation and installed dictatorial system that has totally produced today’s Eritrean miser and became the principal enemy of the Eritrean population.

    Here, I am not trying to mix things or trying to ignore the other side of Eritrean history, but as successors of the popular movement, they usually are taken as references and I may say that it will probably continue till the system installed is completely wiped-out. saying this, I have a strong argument against saay7, the advocator of PFDJ-IA (and now + enforcers). As we have discussed for the last couple of months, when we talk about PFDJ system, we are not talking about individuals. It is about the system in which these individuals managed to strive.


    You wrote, “So, like I keep saying, our problem is simple (not easy but simple): it is one man, we remove him from power and we can fix all the rest in short order.” Ok well and good. Is this your another new proof that you came again to enforce your argument?

    To re-quote what you wrote (sorry for the duplication),

    (Begin quote)
    “Isaias ordered the arrest of ten journalists who had provided press coverage to the dissenting perspective and published interviews with the senior officials critical of the president’s leadership…A special committee, established later, to review their case found that the detained journalists were merely doing their normal professional work, and had committed no violations or crimes indictable under the Press Code of Eritrea. Accordingly, the committee recommended releasing the detained journalists and lifting the ban on the private press.

    “The president, who had set up the committee under pressure, characteristically shelved its recommendations. The committee comprised Mahmud Ali Jabra, Mohamed Ali Omaru, Naizghi Kiflu, Tesfai Gebreselassie (China), Yemane Gebreab (Monkey), and the author.”

    Dear Saay7, there is no doubt that all orders are delivered by this one man who stood at the top. But, but, You are stacked there and you didn’t go further to ask who accepts his orders. Dear Saay7, you know better than almost concerned Eritrean about the working principles of PFDJ and its clicks. Orders need an institution that implement it and these institutions are occupied by human resources that perfectly apply orders that come to them without questioning. And, if they start to ask, “Tebehaleka giber” arrives with NO delay of time. And, no matter how, no one will question them after on how they did or what cost it demanded as there is no Checking system.

    Let’s have a read on the current Gedab News Report. 5 million dollars in the pockets of individuals. I think, if one is using VISA or MasterCard or related, even private banks give you a regulation on how to manage your money flux depending on the agreements yo did first. Unlike this, PFDJ has no initial agreement and no final good-bye. One is recruited based on “entelka deamo oke” profession and when one gets wrong, easy to outcast them as they do not qualify it.

    I have a number of common approaches, especially on terminologies, like “Democratic Coup” but what I do not agree with you is on the “Definition of PFDJ” And I agree on Ismail’s recent article on the post-PFDJ Transitional management.

    What I think is,

    1. Occupy the Government office of Eritrea

    2. Dismantle PFDJ system (the software that guides PFDJ, the ideology)

    3. Build the democratic process.

    I am quite sure that you are still asking on who will do this democratic coup if later the PFDJ is going to be dismantled. I am not sure to say that you are not able to differentiate between PFDJ and EDF but you are endorsing the philosophy of General Sibhat Efrem, in which he perfectly worked during his office stay to interwind the government, the defense force and the public through which the ideology of PFDJ is in line with.

    To nullify Sibhat Efrem’s Philosophy,

    First, we are quite sure that under all circumstances, a country called Eritrea officially existed as an independent nation since 1993. And hence, Kidim kedadim hager tihalu does not have any valid reasoning to claim so.

    Second, a state needs a government to govern all the entities depending on the agreed governing principles, i.e., the constitution. Here there is no constitution and hence No government. As a result, what PFDJ trying to do is a virtual connection.

    Third, EDF is a force which is meant to protect the nation and hence is a guardian. What PFDJ tried in his system is to consider the who country as country of defence force and hence no clear separation between the one to be protected and the one to protect.

    I agree that middle ranking military officials can be mobilized to enable the democratic coup but if the end purpose is just to remoe PFDJ and its couples of enforcers, PFDJ system will continue to run the country and in a very near-by time a new dictator will be created, as PFDJ system is an incubator of dictatorial system.

    Remark: No traces of PFDJ system should be left over.

    If your proposals agree on this regard, which I am in complete agreement on Haile TG’s approach, then a move can be realistic for its harmonious and all rounded and encompassing solution.

    Back to Dr. Andebrhan, I would like to see him as inspirational, organizer. But, to see him as romantizer of EPLF programs is just a fatal error and will be a shame to modern Eritrean history. ELF era is over, EPLF era is over, PFDJ is over. We need now a New Eritrea that is free of blood and only because of this I support Saay’s terminology, “The democratic Coup’



  • Sarah Ogbay

    UoA is and always will be a university and not an army center. It does not need to be ‘re-organised’. Academic institutions follow academic traditions. People study a certain field and if they have the caliber they work in a department that needs their specialization/expertise..
    I feel like you have no clue about what happened in or to UoA. Or maybe you do not want to know it.
    Before liberation, UoA had many academic staff whose origin was from Ethiopia (not Eritrea). So the culture of bringing educated Eritrean from Ethiopia or ‘make room to those …’ as you said does not make sense. We all need to come clean; many educated Eritreans did not want to come to the then ‘war zone’ Eritrea to work. They wanted to be safe and enjoy the luxury of where they were. Let us not try to create a bad image of UoA. We have to honestly discuss and question who and why, after 1991,some educated Eritreans residing in Ethiopia, were invited by the university and not others.
    A national university is only created if the administration of the university in particular and the government in general thinks at a national level instead of regional and village level.

  • said

    Semere as lead book commentator or reviewer that in addition to the above one expect a balanced commentary not for what being written but for what being left out. What captures for most Eritreans is a heroic person who fight for their cause, and receive unending admiration and respect as the relentless never tiring voice for justice and freedom for our people. For a person that proves true to the man’s never waning zeal for the truth and rights. And we do have some. Leaving historical aside one would hope to read a book that introduced a novel understanding of universal humanity. Vision for the country and modern politics, Political awakening and awareness, of a kind of a renaissance humanists and philosophy of human rights, for most Eritrean intellectual that serviced under IA, not much is expected, who were actually less sympathetic to the plight of our peoples and been violently subjugated, seemlier to that of predatory behaviour of the colonist and conquistadores practice. There can be no doubt that it entailed hideous cruelty .Our people suffered much more than one can imagine at times ,the Regime is more inhuman than one can conceive, with no legal jurisdiction or rights . Regime adherence to very narrow political vision with a single mindedness of Maoism and Bolsheviks, a bloody indoctrination, clearly, it represents both, inherently violent, that created a worst regimes. Implicated in totalitarian oppression? Unchanging essence that compelled EPLP to act in conformity and uniform way, that the political class and leadership commit atrocities for a complex range of reasons and to serve a variety of ends. With long history of subjection, elimination and violence in the service of political leadership. As it has been and is, No sooner had the PFDJ rid themselves of one undesired individual, group or segment of society than they invented another. PFDJ are uniquely prone to acting violently with single-mindedness and so virulently hostile to the people. Like all bygone era of communism proven dysfunctional, the Systems need to be revisited and recalibrated. At the outset the System is intended to meet certain objectives of functionality to serving an end result and a final objective. This, in my humble view, equally applies to any system of politics and any system of values that if consistently proven to fail in promoting humanity’s general welfare, that system requires periodic re-examination, revisiting and recalibration. One hopes for someone who retained some political influence and who served as a faithful lieutenant to IA, Andebirhan, he had the respect and support of state institutions, including the bureaucracy, army and secret service, was expected to play somehow that he will be able to intervene and alleviate the suffering of his people and ease political repression. But the ruthless suppression continued and openly brutal under decades of dictatorship and under his watch, the regime launched a fierce crackdown against his former comrade by ruthless leader, but he was far more muted than he would be otherwise. To this one expected from him to issue a brief apology to the victims of his former junta regime and that he was part off, the tyranny he served underpinned by a ruthless machinery of repression. To this thousands of innocent lives got killed and political prisoners held in a network of prisons died from extreme mistreatment, tortured, jailed, and some forced to leave the country and some were victims of extrajudicial killings, the regime relied on terror and based on repression, thousands of Eritreans were murdered, and many more fled into exile abroad, robbing the country of highly needed professional talent. And finally in the final hour he abandoned the regime and received political asylum, the regime is notorious for failing to address the dire economic problem and poverty, while IA and his inner circle indulged in a luxurious lifestyle as is the case with all dictatorship.

  • saay7


    I tried to deal with the “pyramid” as you put it in a previous article. Here are the steps as I see them:

    (1) Members of the Eritrean Defense Forces, in co-ordination with Diaspora-based Eritrean change agents, execute the change.

    (2) The role of the Diaspora Eritreans is two fold (a) Guarantors: to give reassurances that we Eritreans have no quarrels with anyone who is not a voluntary enabler of the regime; (b) Rehabilitating: to take a group of people who have been conditioned from years of propaganda that their own people are Enemies of the State and to align their thinking. (In special education, they call this “mainstreaming.”)

    (3) Part of the mainstreaming includes conditioning any change on the formation of a provisional unity government that is representative of Eritrean diversity. And, no, by that I don’t mean just ethnic, religious, regional diversity but political diversity. And, no, I am not talking a month after the democratic coup, but the day after.

    (4) As all sorts of sharks smelling blood will be congregating, it is important that everybody agrees that we have ONE and ONLY one Eritrean Defense Forces. All those with military capabilities must suspend their activities immediately—the way the ELF and ELF-RC did immediately after the EPLF entered Eritrea.

    (5) The Chief Commanding Officer of the EDF is—provisionally—the chair of the committee that engineered the democratic coup. The chair reports to the committee and the committee is tasked with implementation of the 1997 Constitution provisionally (because we have to have law and order while drafting a new formula for law and order) and party-formation and electoral laws and securing the funding for the immediate (a) demobilization and reintegration of the National Service; (b) the repatriation of refugees as well as (c) drawing a pension plan for the aging civil servants.

    (6) The Committee is responsible for the implementation of border demarcation between Eritrea and Ethiopia in accordance with EEBC, which, as the EEBC Judges repeatedly said, doesn’t preclude the two countries voluntarily swapping territories. (What the judges objected to was one party conditioning the demarcation on territory swaps.) This is followed by immediate normalization of relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia.


    • Fnote Selam

      Hi Saay,

      Just wondering what you think of Gebru Asrat’s book (& interviews). At the very least, I though it was a good reminder (in the age of YG and other revisionist) why Eritreans sought independence back in the 40s-50s…



  • haileTG

    Hey Nitricc

    Let me start with small correction that seems a misreading of what I wrote on your part. I am not saying Dr Ande should be questioned nor am I saying if there are people with legit question against him shouldn’t do so. What I said was that since Dr Ande abandoned the regime, he joined the movement for justice and he is contributing through his activity as member of an active movement as well as produced a material (book) that would assist the justice seekers, one would expect him to earn a certain degree of recognition for the work he is doing for us. Hence, let’s count our blessings in that regard. However, despite all that we have people questioning him. And what I said is if Dr Ande could do all that and still be questioned (by others), what chance do those who go to the last minute get to be part of a national cause? I hope you get my point.

    The second thing I wish to do is to address your innocuous looking statement of gratification that is actually very dangerous and happens to be responsible for our misery: Some one who spent life in ghedli and paid in life and limb shouldn’t be questioned by the citizens who hasn’t. No nitricc, you couldn’t be more wrong. The objective of the armed struggle was not to conquer slaves from a different slave master, it was to free one’s own people. The US army has paid in lives and limbs for you and me to enjoy free capitalist indulgences with respect to our opinion and private properties, why would the Eritrean people feel they have to be slaves because an army of tegadelti liberated the country? Actually, tegadelti didn’t ask for that, our people decided to act mistakenly and abdicate their citizen responsibility to let a group cash in on that type of nonsensical argument. And when the small group is then allowed to trample them, they turn around to blame the tegadelti. Hang on, you are starting with the wrong logic and tegadelti didn’t ask you to do them a favor that involves exposing yourself and your country to unimaginable hardship and expose them to the same danger by implication too. If you are truly grateful for what they’ve done, believe on their’s and their children’s right to be compensated for service rendered to the state of Eritrea. That is morally and legally justified. Beyond that, I can question them day in day out to my hearts delight just like I would do to any other citizen who has a case on a national issue.

    The bottom line is that you logic that they should not be questioned by those who didn’t physically partake in the armed struggle can only be considered slavery in broad day light. Incidentally, slave owners had to fight to encircle and capture slaves too. Is that why the slaves have no right to question their slave masters? Tegadelti are as much victimized as the rest of the country and don’t actually subscribe to your reasoning and their miseries and lost opportunities in life is testimony to that. Nothing can come above your fundamental right to independence of your soul, body and mind and it can never be compromised under any pretext, ghedli, firefights or any other cause.

    Sadly, many people share your illogical sentiment and makes the struggle for justice that much harder.


    • Haile it is not what i am saying. you are way off.
      Haile, my bad. I think I wasn’t clear enough; I guess, with my question to you. I am not saying no one should be questioned or challenged. What I am saying is, for instance, Semere A is throwing tantrum because no one is digging dirt on Dr. Andebrhan.
      My point; is it fair for Semere to pick, challenge and question the likes of Dr. Andebrhan who are fighting for the second time in their life; once to bring the independence and now to bring democracy. Yet, what can we say about the people the likes Semere? they never fought for jack! The only thing they fought is their weight.
      I was asking you what does Semere –A has done to question Dr. Andebrahan? The way I see it, one gave it everything to serve his people and country the other opted to collect a welfare check. The Truth!
      I will never say ex-tegadaly should never be challenged or questioned. NO what I am saying was just the example I gave you between Semere and Dr. Andebrhan. For me justice is to thank and to be grateful for people like Dr. Andebrhan and to shut their mouth people like Semere-A.
      That is all.

      • Semere Andom

        I was told that long time ago a tool of the ruling Ethiopians Fit. Embaye Hadera said something stupid in Mendefera and the next day one of the papers reported that ‘ab mendefera bieray tezaribu”. I paraphrase that and I say ‘” ab awate, computer tezaribu”

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Hey sem,

          Fit. Embaye Hadera had said many laughable things. I remember this SDO (Senior district officer) of Serae saying some unforgettable in 1967 at the “Meskel Damera” day, on my way back to school to Ethiopia. In his speech to the observers of the holiday and the Damera, he told them to worship and respect emperor Haileselassie like Kudus Michael, st Mary and others. The public exploded with laughs – unforgettable talking point with my schoolmate until we reach our destination.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        I think HTG has a good grasp of this sensitive issue of “tegadalay”, he has come to the center which shows his will to learn and undergo needed adjustment. Gone are the days when he declared the reservation of Nakfa for the Lions (aka tegadelti)…wink..wink! The fact is the social group we call tegadalay is as oppressed as the rest of the Eritrean people. Regarding criticism, I think everyone who comes out on public forum and gives policy/politics related views needs to expect questions. And give a much needed break for Semere. NOW, back to our Tigrgna lessons.

  • Abraham Hanibal

    I don’t know to whom Dr.Andebrhan W. Giorgis has dedicated his notable work on Eritrea. If I were him, I ‘wd have dedicated it to all those who lost their lives to bring about a free, democratic, and prosperous Eritrea, as well as to all Eritrean political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.

    • Hope

      Dear Abraham,
      I agree and endorse your suggestion.

      • G. Gebru

        Dear Hope,
        I agree with your endorsement, but I am afraid that it will remain a lip service because all the players of the heinous crimes and social problems we face today in Eritrea and the innocents alike, say what they say and do what they do in justification of the ideals of our martyrs. Trading.

        • Hope

          Dear G Gebru,
          The struggle should intensify in a UNITED way by mobilizing the silent majority.

  • Aba Habesh

    I take an issue with Semere T. for writing this commentary. Is the intent here to sell as many books as possible or the commentator really believes that this book is worth of reading ?? It bothers me when commentary like this one thrown around for no reason other than to grease the wheel. Mr. Semere T, I dare you to review the book by Mr. Ande and this time please make worth while if your four children and others to read this book.

    • Abraham Hanibal

      There is nothing in Mr. Semere’s commentary about Andebrhan’s book that indicates anything other than his admiration for the well-written book and thus his belief that it is worth reading. Why would you expect for someone else to review the book for you, when you can read the book for yourself first-hand and make your own judgement?

      • Aba Habesh

        I have read parts of the book, the commentary written by Mr.Semere T, is half baked. If you are willing to writing a commentary based on admiration of a person, then that is Isayasism*. I didn’t find anything appealing about this book rather it was a washed up OLD EPLF mentality that is revive to explain past mistakes made by the author and people like him. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not writing to bash Mr. Ande as a person, I am simply stating my take on the book.

        • Abraham Hanibal

          Hi Aba Habesh;
          You are telling us by your own admission that you have only read parts of the book. How can you then make a conclussive judgement of the book without reading the whole book? By the way, admiration and approval of one’s ideas is not “Isayasism”, Mr. Semere T. is presenting his comment regarding what he read, and he is entitled to make his own free judgement of what he read.

  • Abraham Hanibal

    I’ve now ordered my copy of Andebrhan Welde Giorgis’ book; and can’t wait starting to read it. It would, certainly, be one of my favorite book collections.-))
    Thanks Awate for bringing such an important book to our attention.

  • G. Gebru

    Dear Awatistas,
    Eid Mubarak on the occasion of Eid Al Adha Al Mubarak.
    Eritrea is not short of educated people, but short of farsighted ones. What I understood from the comments written here is that the Dr. confessed. To confess especially to an audience of our sort needs courage and for that he should be appreciated and thanked. Since I did not read his book I can not comment on its contents, but my guess is that it will not go beyond the normal trend of talking and admiring the past that reached us no where except the slavery in disguise that we achieved in the name of independence. At least up to the present. At the same time it is my guess that it is not all despair. But, to over come this despair there are some ethical methods that we have to follow:-
    1. We have to respect one another in general and respect our elderly and our educated ones those who can share their life long experience either from the revolution era or in their private lives as civil servants, educators and other discipline.
    2. We have to be honest and truthful with ourselves and be able to reflect it on others.
    3. We have to show good manners.
    4. We have to appreciate anyone for the honest contribution he delivers and offer our constructive criticism that can build on the betterment of our common interest.
    Excuse me Awatistas for my foolish contribution.
    G. Gebru

    • Hope

      Dear G Gebru,
      Great points.I endorse them.

    • Abraham Hanibal

      Hi G. Gebru;

      I’ve to ask you what you mean exactly when you write “…that reached us nowhere except the slavery in disguise that we achieved in the name of Independence”? Are you of the opinion that because Isayas and his group managed to hijack our hardwon independence and freedom, all what we’ve struggled and died for is meaningless? You seem to have an understanding of the Eritrean Independence and self determination which is contrary to that of the great majority of Eritreans. I can back up this claim by once again quoting what you wrote in response to one of my comments below: “…Eritreans in unison will come to their sense and submit to Mama Ethiopia”
      Our legitimate struggle for Independence, with all its shortcommings, is never to blame for today’s problems that we face under the cruel Isayas leadership.

      • G. Gebru

        Dear Abraham Hanibal,
        It is not any body’s opinion that makes it meaningless, but the reality on the ground. To be frank with you as an Eritrean I have contributed within my capacity and I do not have any regret for that. Generally speaking one can say it is no body’s fault except that as human beings we were unable to see or predict what the future was holding for us. We rushed and as the Amharic adage CHEKUL JIP YEBERIEN KEND YENEKSAL ( a hurried hyena bites an ox’s horn) we are where we are today blaming one another.

        • Abraham Hanibal

          The people of Eritrea have nothing to regret about. In fact they have lots of things to be proud of, among them being the independence they secured in the face of innumerable odds. The fact that Eritrea has today fallen in the hands of a handfull group of criminals doesn’t change Eritreanss’ resolve to remove this gang and biuld on the promises of their long struggle.

  • saay7

    Hey Emma:

    I think the point I was trying to make is the standards for a book review are higher than a book summary or a commentary. I thought that a couple of the commenters were applying a higher standard…but I could be (and most likely am) wrong. In any event, none of that precludes your right to comment on his comment.


  • Hope

    Semere H just did a Commentary and he has NO obligation,prob even NO right, what-so-ever to criticize and accuse or judge the Author?
    He could have added a constructive criticism if he wanted but–he has no obligation to do so and that is his opinion and from perspective.So what is this fuss about his past and his work with EPLF or PFDJ.
    After all,hasn’t he done beyond his share and capacity to the extent of sacrificing his Youth life and comfortable life and Post-Grad Studies in then USA,where we all are sitting back,relaxing and bad-mouthing and gossiping about people?
    There should be a reason why we are hiding here or NOT willing to go back and fight back?
    The Author was a hostage at home but he has a chance now like all of us here, he has done a Superb Job to expose the system.
    Fair enough?
    Didn’t Emma tell us that the prosecution time is later on in new Eritrea?
    Can we set aside this kind of mubo-jumbo counter productive accusation and ,character assasination and welcome back home those ex-PFDJ/EPLF members and help us fight the system they know well?

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Guest,

    My comment doesn’t in any shape or form requested Semere to prosecute Andebrhan. Not at all. That is not his discretion or any one in this forum. You miss the point I made. Unless Andebrhan’s book talks only about his positive contribution only (which I will read it soon), or Semere somehow didn’t want to put his “book report” in context to the positions he held in both instances (EPLF and PFDJ), along with his positive and negative contribution in his tenure, it will be one sided report.

    Book report doesn’t talk about the positive role of individuals only, but also talks about the authors shortcoming. In Politics everyone errs. it could only differs in the scope of erring. So my friend Guest, there is no judges and prosecutors in here, but we can talk about our mistakes in the even we did commit mistakes to be corrected. If the mistakes are to the extent of “crimes” then that will be handled by the court of justice in future democratic Eritrea, if we can have a “democratic Eritrea” by the way. How about that? is it clear to you? Talking about my mistake, his mistake, or anyone’s mistake for that matter doesn’t hold you from doing the job of dismantling the evil institutions of PFDJ party. (I think this is a second encounter in our exchange if you are the same guest).


  • saay7

    Selamat awatistas:

    Thanks for this, Sem. First of all, Semere did not characterize this as a “book review” but a commentary. So I don’t know why people are expecting him to provide a review.

    Second: you know how people are always approaching us and asking us to refer them to a book about Eritrea. For me, Ambassador Andeberhan Welde Giorgis’s “Eritrea at a Crossroads, A Narrative of Triumph, Betrayal and Hope” becomes now indispensable: if one has time to read only one book, it should be this one. Of course, one should always have time to read at least two books, if they want to be truly informed, or at least one book and one serious critique/review…but this book now, in my view, trumps all others.

    Third, you know how we are always discussing Isaias’s role in the destruction of independent Eritrea? Whether he takes the lion’s share, whether the fault is in the entire system, whether it is the regime, whether it is the party. Those of you who think it is the entire damn system? The most telling piece, to me, is this entry that appears as a FOOTNOTE!

    Who is to blame for the arrest/disappearance/death of the private journalists?

    (Begin quote)
    “Isaias ordered the arrest of ten journalists who had provided press coverage to the dissenting perspective and published interviews with the senior officials critical of the president’s leadership…A special committee, established later, to review their case found that the detained journalists were merely doing their normal professional work, and had committed no violations or crimes indictable under the Press Code of Eritrea. Accordingly, the committee recommended releasing the detained journalists and lifting the ban on the private press.

    “The president, who had set up the committee under pressure, characteristically shelved its recommendations. The committee comprised Mahmud Ali Jabra, Mohamed Ali Omaru, Naizghi Kiflu, Tesfai Gebreselassie (China), Yemane Gebreab (Monkey), and the author.”

    (end quote)

    So, like I keep saying, our problem is simple (not easy but simple): it is one man, we remove him from power and we can fix all the rest in short order.


    • “So, like I keep saying, our problem is simple (not easy but simple): it is one man, we remove him from power and we can fix all the rest in short order.”
      SAAY, I coudn’t agree more!!!! Very simple!

    • haileTG

      Hey saay,

      How about if we say our problem is easy (not simple but easy), I am thinking more of the Pandora’s box effect. How do you see it? 🙂

      • saay7

        Haile TG:

        {{{ With my John Stewart voice I say}}}} Go onnnnnn!

        Explain, please.


        • Eyob Medhane


          Where are you?

          I got something I need to gloat on you about today…Ready?! Ok..Do you remember that you told me that some American football player has changed his mind or so much confused, where his heritage can be traced from? Ethiopian or Eritrean, and he was saying, ‘..I am Ethiopian…ehhhhh…no wait..I am…ok fine I am…” 🙂

          There was also a dispute about another young man, whose heritage also was in dispute…Now, please read this news from an Eritrean sports news…

          Well that’s very nice…

          But guess what happened today? Walid Atta, the alleged ‘Eritrean soccer star’ has joined Ethiopian National football team officially. The attached picture is him flying to Addis with Ethiopian striker Yusuf Saleh and Amin Askar (Walid is far right on the picture) The short news of his debut for Walia Ibex is here linked

          Now seriously, please solve this riddle. Who the heck does this guy belongs to? 🙂

          • saay7


            He belongs to the human race. We are all human, all these arguments of nations and flags are superficial creations. Even the human race shares 98% of its genome with apes so we are all apes. And even apes share blakenty blank percentage of our history with other animals and plants in this world, this planet that’s only a blue dot in an infinite universe with its billions of stars and galaxies….

            (You may now pick your jaw from the floor)


          • Eyob Medhane

            Ha Sal…

            So, this man who belongs to the ‘human race’ will play for the team of ‘human race’ or a particular country, which happens to have a name and a national team, which has a requirement of one to be a citizen of it to play in its national team? I am confused. Enlighten me.. Now after your explanation and you finishing singing ‘kumbaya’ about ‘all human races are from the same family of apes’, Meet me in Jebena. I have to finish what I started yesterday… 🙂

          • Semere Andom

            Very good points and Eritrea is a leader of this.Long time ago our president said, once we secured our right we do not worry about borders and because we are leaders in this notion we have “monkeys” in our leadership. We are all citizens of this vast universe

          • Eyob Medhane


            You too? Fine. I got a task for you also at Jebena. Meet me there.. 🙂

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Ato Eyob,
            You guys are taking our boys; now you want to complete my friend Semere ‘ s transition? Wey Ane!

          • Semere Andom

            My Tigrayit speaking wife has a rule, during Eid, “ayni tsum, melhas tsum” is the rule, so I will get you and get back you then 😉

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Semere Hfoonay
            I know what’s cooking.

          • Semere Andom

            Mahmuday, I know what is cooking here cus “id tegadalai newhih iyu” 🙂

          • Mahmud Saleh

            ሰመረ ሕፉን፡ ቀመት እግል እንሳእቱ፣ ኢትረብሽ።

        • haileTG

          haha…please sing away saay, I got you covered for the effects:-)

          The IA box is filled with all Eritrean evils much like the one given to Pandora in the Greek Mythology. Removing IA alone is akin to opening the box, whereas disposing off of the box while sealed and intact would be equivalent to dismantling the whole PFDJ apparatuse.

          Removing IA is a sure way out to a beleaguered leadership that is fast running out of time. The problem is the mutual recriminations and power struggle that would ensue. Dr Andebrhan has pretty much cleared the deck now he has left the regime almost 10 years ago and expressed opposition to his previously held views. Many others would find themselves in much worse and precarious situation than those who are jumping ship in the nick of time.

          I think a coordinated effort for mass uprisings, middle and lower ranking army officers taking up position and arresting the dictator and all members of his cabinet and senior army commanders and effectively declaring the the end of PFDJ.

          Following this and calling for transitional dialog, would in my view be considered disposing off Pandora’s box (with all its content and safely) than opening the lid (IA) and letting out all the demons currently feeding through the umbilical cord from him.

          If Dr Andeberhan is being challenged here despite his best efforts to come out with the truth, what is the likelihood of anyone getting away for simple reason that IA is no more. I like your easy approach, but could be made simple by disposing off the box than just opening the lid (knowing full well what is inside is rather nasty).


          • Amanuel Hidrat


            “Removing IA alone is akin to opening the box, whereas disposing off of the box while sealed and intact would be equivalent to dismantling the whole PFDJ apparatus.” Two thumbs Up my friend, and stand tall.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Hope

            Aman anad Haile:
            Both options and strategies should go hand oin hand but the question is :
            -Which comes first?
            -If the Architect is gone,–then the rest is –adjustable to the new Architect’s plan.
            -If there is going to be a newly Ratified and Modified and Inclusive Constitution and National Charter,-then any and every existing system will be subject to this new Charter and Constitution,hence–the current system will be gone as well and any upcoming System will be based on the Spirit of the New National Charter/Constitution and the Newly elected Assembly.
            But based on the hard core facts and circumstantial evidence that we have at hand,the Head seems to be the lead executive,the Prosecutor and the Judge,etc—and the others are just “sticks”.
            Bottom line,let us consider the one,which is more realistic and more practical considering the Urgency of the Matter.
            Let us NOT complciate things —and just deal with :
            _ID the major problems–done
            -Feasibility Study–a nightmare that needs more hard work
            -Strategy and Plan of Action–a nightmare that needs further hard work
            -Resources Allocation
            -Impementation: the most difficult one

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Haw Hope,

            Leaders come and go no matter how long they stay. Institutions and systems continue when you only focus to a single leader. A system can’t be change without a revolution be it imploded by mass movement or by radical organized movement. This making our issue as “single man problem” is either a tactic to salvage the evil party or a confusion to understand the relationship of a leader and a party as well as the relationship of a party and a system. Our problem is “systemic problem” that is rooted in the army and the security apparatus of PFDJ. Hopefully now my finished article ready to be send will do some explanations.

          • Abraham Hanibal

            The PFDJ system today is built arround one personality. There is no vice-president, no prime minister, no one who might step in, should the dictator disappear for whatever reason. It is like the honey-bees that lose their queen, chaos and confusion ensues in the highest echelon of the PFDJ the day this man is gone. But for us Eritreans, that chaos is far more better than the present situation. Because we know that, it would not last for long, and most importantly, amidst the disturbance, those left behind the dictator would not have any choice than handing over power to the people.
            I say this because we know that after Isayas there is no any central figure arround whom the top PFDJ brass can gather; some of them may even feel relief now that the overhanging and potentially dangerous power is gone.

          • saay7

            Selamat Haile TG and Sem:

            We now have at least two proposals on the table. And, in the interest of advancing the discussion, I would like to post your proposal and mine (and, soon, Emma’s) in Ismail Omar Ali’s “Eritrea: The Fall of Dictatorship and Consolidation of Democracy.”


            See you there.


          • Haile WM

            Selam Haile,

            I like your analogy of the Pandora box.
            In my opinion IA is the Pandora BOX it’s self, if we actually dispose IA we dispose the entire BOX. There is no structure other than IA, none is there to replace no vice president no ideological backup for the system to hold on, the structure is there to hold the mad man once he collapses all goes accordingly.

            I wouldn’t put much hope on middle-rank military nor the population to rise-up sooner or later for that matter. the only solution is IA removed in one or the other way.
            the real tough part however will be there to be faced, someone was speaking of South Africa style “truth and reconciliation” type of approach and to me that is the real potential pandora box that we will have to open in order to heal as a nation and people.

          • haileTG

            Selamat Haile moxie:)

            IA is an easy prey now. His removal would be welcomed all round and the need for change in Eritrea is at its max at this time. Now here is a basic premise:

            Power is gateway to a tremendous opportunity for those who would control it.

            Now, we have many entities with sense of entitlement to replace the current regime. The following are some:

            Army Commander: who would offer law and order and security as a selling point

            PFDJ: who would offer setting back the clock, blame IA and promise to do it right this time as a selling point

            Opposition #1: who would offer decentralized government as a selling point

            Opposition #2: who would federal system of government as a selling point

            Opposition #4: who would offer unitary central government on 97 constitution as a selling point

            Opposition ME: who would offer social, economic and diplomatic restoration and ample time to let political development grow organically with popular paticipation as a selling point

            Of all the above, you may choose one as a way forward. But only the “better” products would sell themselves. Each and everyone of the above has a sense of entitlement to be the leading and dominant alternative. Unfortunately, in the immediate aftermath of change, only one would be securely places to call the shots based on the volume of grassroots support.

            Which of the above satisfy external desire to avert chaos and civil war and internal anxiety normally associated with the nation entering a new and unpredictable era of transition?

            The people in the current regime actually believe they are as entitled to lead the coming system as anyone else. If left alone, they would just replace IA and keep everything intact. The people in the opposition do not have “democratic block” that would allow them to come under the same roof and hence are fragmented and weak. Therefore, the only cohesive and capable organization that is able to distance itself from PFDJ at a drop of a hat is the EDF. It has a tremendous amount of free hand it can play with. And provided it is assured that it has sufficient popular support, it can change the events quickly and with least price. The key is however, in its willingness to cede power as per constitutional orders. People have legitimate fear in this regard and I don’t have an answer. Is it worth taking the risk? Yes, it is…if anything, it would satisfy your very basic and modest requirement of removing IA. Yet our problems would persist internally and externally and the complete abolishing of PFDJ is one of the greatest tactical advantage we can have to start on a new path. In order to do that we need a replacement organized center to hold the pieces together, and this brings us again to EDF.

            So, my question to you is how would you see it if IA is removed tomorrow and and the same PFDJ starts to play the same game of the yesteryear? Surely IA is the center but don’t forget that he is the center of a system and not just a center unto himself:-)


          • Ismail

            Selamat Haile TG. I take off my hat to you for providing such a succinct and lucid synopsis of what we can expect during transition. But as you yourself seem to admit the EDF angle can be problematic because the seeming cohesiveness of EDF may be dependent upon existing chains of command that culminate in Isayas. With him out of the equation and with the threat of swift retribution gone, there is no reason to suppose EDF will remain cohesive. In fact, it is not unlikely that a power struggle will ensue among ambitious top generals. So even with such a venue, civil war cannot be totally ruled out. As an extension of Eritrean people, EDF cannot but reflect the divisions within our society. Nonetheless, I agree that total success may be impossible without EDF. Hopefully, a new civilian leader will emerge within the opposition that can galvanize EDF forces and Eritrean masses in general.

            Ismail (pointblank)

          • haileTG

            Selamat Ismail and Haile,

            Thank you guys.

            Let’s first note the two divergent perspectives here:

            Haile WM: The EDF would likely become more cohesive, contract power to the center and end up installing another dictatorship.

            Ismail: The EDF would likely become less cohesive, fragment along power alliances away from the center and end up risking a civil war.

            Despite the above two points of view being diametrically opposed, they share one common thread in factoring out the role of other factors (civilian uprisings, opposition groups and external interference) from the equation. These factors are key determining variables in how the final arrangements play out in practice.

            One important notion we should keep in mind is however our real capacity to control the course of events. Here I would point out to conventional wisdom of the matter that our society is deeply (politically) polarized, external conflict oriented and has been separated (by design) from from each other. The diaspora opposition don’t have a foot hold in the country, the citizens don’t have control of the national institutions and the institutions don’t have oversight of each other’s roles. In order to help to converge such disparate existence, we need to identify a likely center to start from. It may not be the best of choices, yet we take what we can afford given our situation. Now, what other center of gravity do we have for a choice that cuts across our social strata? (Remember agelglot is national)

            Now to the question of the existence of PFDJ:

            Dear Haile, I agree with the missing elements that you outlined. There is one consistent, time tested style of organizing things by the regime that dates back to the Ghedli era. A parent institution houses an inner part that runs the show. There was EPLF CC, then selfi; there is GSE, then office of president; there is EDF, then inner security agency; there is PFDJ, then the cabinet of ministers; there are embassies then their security attache; there are diaspora communities, then the inner mekhete task force….

            Here are two theories:

            The inner core represents the regime and uses the parent organization as a vehicle

            The removal of the parent organization makes the inner core vulnerable and incapable of justifying its existence (its activities are unlawful and unwarranted)

            Therefore, the removal and dismantling of the parent institution is a strategic means of curtailing the activities of the inner part. If you shut down a PFDJ diaspora community would result in outlawing the activities of its mekhete inner core. In deed, there is never a community in its ideal sense, but it also existed as an important vehicle of the regime activities in the diaspora too. So, do we say it doesn’t exist or it does? So, when I say dismantle PFDJ, it is not simply because I grew to hate the name, rather in appreciation of the complex dynamics with a labyrinth of parastatal entities that form the regime’s multimodal manifestations.


          • Haile WM

            selam Haile the great,

            I think you are quite allergic to the notion of “PFDJ” rather than seeing things on the ground about PFDJ, the institution PFDJ doesn’t exist no more and i doubt it existed at all. PFDJ Should have had a central committee, an elective body, should have had it’s congress every 7 years, and elected it’s leader upon every congress… and you know better than me that none of this ever happened…
            IA is the system and all revolves on him he personally chooses who is who and who is to be eliminated. I agree that he is the center of a system but the system is built upon him. by definition a system is where different components make part of a whole, and based on this definition i can’t really see which component is different from IA and his inner circle. where as if we remove IA i really doubt would remain something of the current system.

            EDF as an institution on the other hand is quite a vivid reality on the minds of our people as they are part of the tools used against our people.
            and god forbid if they size the power can’t even imagine the possible outcome, we have ample evidence in history that once the military have the power they tend to keep it for themselves at the expence of the people they intended to liberate (DERG and iseyas are glaring evidence of it)

            so my response to your question is that PFDJ exists nominally the player is Iseyas once the player is out he can’t really play the game of yesterday. on other words i can’t really see someone who can be PFDJ without iseyas.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Haile WM,

            I don’t know how to convince you about the relationships of “Party Leadership, party as organization, and a system that protect the party.” This are interdependent and inseparable organs with a functioning institutional system. You might not like it, but it does have effective institutions that serve the purpose of the party. I will leave it until you read my article. But I will ask you a question: Does the ruling party of North Korea or China have an institutions to govern their people however you dislike them? If you answer is yes, then you better adjust your reading and understanding as to whether the party (PFDJ) has institutions.. You can’t say PFDJ hasn’t institutions.


          • Haile WM

            Dear Amanuel,

            i hardly see PFDJ a a party, nominally it’s a front but hardly it functions as it should be. There was some time ago on the list of the central committee of the front, the vast majority is either dead, in prison or in the diaspora.
            PFDJ try to mock the makings of the socialist parties such as in China and North Korea but that’s all. the communist party in China holds it’s regular meetings and has a structure and elects it’s leader every ten years, it has a politburo, the standing committee, the departments, etcc… in other words it’s a system, we (the western type democracies) might not like it but they have a process they do respond to. The state has annual auditing and a budget approved by the congress, etcc..
            In PDFJ eritrea none of this happens, we don’t have political organization worthy of calling it’s self an organization, every thing depends on the whim and “vision” of IA. The state doesn have macropolicies on echonomic and societal aspects and nobody knows what is the actual budget of the governament and the state. We don’t even have a clear separation between state and government.
            One of the early things I was puzzled by was when, during the 1998-2000 war, some one from PFDJ leadership said that the party has lent some millions to the state of Eritrea.
            It was paradoxical and revealing at the same time. but it was a split of the curtain of how PFDJ works, the basic questions such as: who has approved the money to be lent ? on which criteria ? what was the interest rate? was it the best interest ? We didn’t have ways to question decision like this.. it’s like an individual lending money to him self approved by him self paid by another.
            PFDJ is more like mafia organization rather a party or a front, that’s why I believe eliminating the head is vital in eliminating the system.


    • Abraham Hanibal

      I’ve also always believed that the problems we are facing are largely, may be 90%, attributed to one individual with the name Isayas Afewerki. The day we get rid of him, by any means, we rid ourselves of the bulk of our problems. What I don’t understand is, how on earth is this guy still alive while constantly leading the people into the abyss?
      People who have survived and defeated all sorts of odds, how come they succumb to ONE man?

      • G. Gebru

        Dear Abraham Hanibal,
        He is alive simply because he is destined to destroy and kill until the time comes that Eritreans in unison will come to their sense and submit to Mama Ethiopia.

        • Abraham Hanibal

          The Eritrean problem is solely internal problem and has almost nothing to do with outside forces, contrary to what Isayas and his PFDJ would like us to believe. There is absolutely no need for Eritreans to “submit” to Ethiopia. Eritreans are proud of their hard won Independence not only through the barrel of the gun, but also through an internationally endorsed (including Ethiopia) referendum.
          The day Eritreans rid themselves of Isayas and PFDJ, they will continue on the path of building a democratic, just, and prosperous nation, from where they were interrupted by the evil group of Isayas.
          G.Gebru; if you are one of those who still have not woken from their dreams regarding Eritrea’s right for Independence and self-determination, I would urge you to wake up from your dreams.

          • G. Gebru

            Dear Abraham Hanibal,
            I woke up to find out my dreams were shattered and Eritrea become the home for those thick skinned only.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Gebre,
            Don’t give up and keep your hope alive. Not all dreams are right. I hope you will not pull me to the psychology of dreams.

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Ya, not all dreams are true; but the Eritrean dream for an independent country and a just and prosperous society was true. It is half fulfilled; it has been interrupted by some evil powers; but, make no mistake, it will soon be revived. Inshallah!

          • G. Gebru

            Dear Aman, Hope and A. Hanibal,
            Let me start with Aman and address his concern not to be pulled into the phycology of dreams. Once I learned from a spiritual father who was advising his audience about dream and said, quote “when ever you dream do not try to solve it or give it a meaning by yourselves, but pray to the Almighty God to make it good and to your advantage” end quote.

            Secondly, at the end of the day what we as Eritreans wishing and working is to see a stable, prosperous, peaceful and democratic Eritrea and I think this can come or happen in any form either with equal partnership with Ethiopia or at a larger scale in the form of Pan East African system of governance. But for that also we have to be prepared otherwise in the form we are to day a disarrayed people I am afraid that we will not fit anywhere.
            Third, I think hopelessness is a big word to use to describe our situation because as people what we are lacking is unity of purpose that is leaving us all frustrated. So, dear brothers what do you think if we use frustration instead of hopelessness.
            Dear SAAY you are well come from my side with the wish of Happy Eid Al Adha.
            Thank you all.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Gebre,
            That is the right word. I also share your frustration. Who doesn’t by the way. Let me ask you a question if you don’t mind. Are you Dr. Gebre who teaches at Virginia Tech?

          • G. Gebru

            Dear Aman,
            Sorry Aman, I am not Dr. Gebre of Virginia Tech, but for the sake of your sincere curiosity to know I am a student of a school of guidance. Over and out.
            Thank you Amanuel.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Thank you brother.

          • Hope

            AT/ G Gebru,
            My apology,I think I messed up.

          • Abraham Hanibal

            I would say that we are, in fact, not that much disarrayed people. It is no doubt, the current PFDJ leadership has spoiled the atmosphere of unity between Eritreans. But I don’t see this division deep-rooted. The great majority of Eritreans are well-wishers to the well-being and betterment of their country. As soon as, we Eritreans succeed to overcome the poisonous atmosphere created by the PFDJ, it would not take so long to find back to our historic unity and build a prosperous Eritrea.
            And once we manage to create a democratic system of government, our door would be wide open to all our neighboring countries for constructive co-operation that would be based on mutual respect.

          • G. Gebru

            Dear Abraham Hanibal,
            Honestly let me appreciate your patriotic stand towards your country and its affair even though present circumstances are on your side. Brother, I do not know how you look at it but we are in disarray and our divisions are deep rooted. The number of parties we have is one good example. The other is the number of websites which most of them more or less reflect the regional, ethnical, religious, linguistic, political and other social tendencies and differences and the many evasive and devastating articles from individuals and groups they carry and convey to the public. Those which pour oil on fire. As you mentioned Issayas and the PFDJ has spoiled the atmosphere, said that they have to be thanked for their clear stand towards the country and its people which is one of destruction and humiliation. As people we clearly know who is the culprit and as far as we are not able to unify our ranks and fight him is another sign of our disarray.
            G. Gebru.

          • Hope

            Dear G Gebru,
            Rather,the dreams of the “Thick thinned” will be shattered to pieces soon.
            I agree that we are way behind and that has been our disgreement with some serious debators here that we should do better than Cyber Rhetoric—-How?
            that is the big home work.
            I ask and invite SAAY and his Team to come up with a better approach of mobilizing and unifying Eritreans for ONE Goal.

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Mr. G.Gebru;
            Not only the dreams of yours, but also the dreams of mine and many other Eritreans have been hurt due to Isayas’ dictatorship. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve to deny the cause that tens of thaausands of our fellow citizens paid their dear lives for. What we’ve to do is take our share of the struggle to remove the criminal PFDJ gangs and re-live and realise our dreams for a democratic, just and prospperous Eritrea.

        • Hope

          —hmmm—Unity you mean?I hope I misunderstood you.
          It sounds like you read the new book by Weyanay Ghebru Asrat?
          If you are talking about the hidden agenda by PIA,I sense your concern.
          But even if that is what PIA wants us to be—it is our fault to submit ourselves to that level.
          But I am HOPEFUL that Eritrea and Eritreans will outshine and prevail as we have done before against all ODDS….

          • G. Gebru

            Dear Hope,
            I have not read it and I do not have the intention to do so. With due respect to Aite Gebru Asrat, if as in the past he is writing and talking about Assab or any other part of Eritrea, my message to him through this august forum is, the people in power in Ethiopia your past comrades you are opposing have already proved that Ethiopia can do and survive without Eritrean be it land or human, unless there are people of your type that want to incorporate Eritrea for the sake of historical PRESTIGE only. The shining of Eritrea and Eritreans is every Eritreans hope, but the question is that are we doing enough to achieve it and that the present day regional and international circumstances are in our favor?

      • Semere Andom

        Hi Abraham and G.Gebru:
        How is it possible one man, who is responsible for our destruction is alive, and the questions takes a different dimension when you consider the bravery of the people who transcended all kind of odds.
        First the concept of one man is a metaphor, DIA has complex tapestry of tentacles made up of collaborators, enforcers and these collaborators and enforcers are selected carefully and if mistake is made when selecting them and they accidentally became privy to the intrigue of the machinery they are murdered , if they are too useful to wasted, their behavior is modified. These people would never betray him until the time comes that they get clued that their time is up to be eliminated and they then jump and the recycling of the “disposables” continues. To my mind this is not a liberation movement gone wrong, or a liberator got wild, it was designed so. Eritreans may have removed the Ethiopians from the land, Eritreans may have killed more Ethiopians in numbers, Eritrea may have hoisted a blood socked piece of cloth called a flag, but Eritrea lost and Ethiopia won, even if the later lost port access and lost one of its “provinces”. At 23,years old, with no clout, Isaias Afewerki dines and wines in Kanjew with the CIA and Ethiopians, he has money that his colleagues like Petros are in the dark of its sources, DIA makes killing the go between man, Wedi Georgo his first order of business and he indicates that border is useless after our rights are assure and he drops snippets of confederation, he hates any Eritrean heroes. I think “temete” DIA was not free Eritrea to wit. This allegation is not researched and it induced continued ridicule even from those involved in the fight to get rid of him. Here is one both simple and easy proposal to remove DIA without a civil war: prove to Eritreans that he was an Ethiopian agent, this will unite Eritreans and they will automatically repair the cleavage that the rule of PFDJ created

        • G. Gebru

          Dear Semere Andom,
          Taking into consideration of the bad politics of that era I do not consider him as an agent of Ethiopia. In the first place people of his age were born Ethiopians and those who passed away those days their coffin was rapped with Ethiopian flags. This is the reality of those days. The days of division that still we fill its side effects today.

    • Hope

      Thanks Cousin.
      By now people should know you better and your indispensable Strategy.
      That is why I have unequivocally endorsed you and your ideology and Strategy as the best ,if not the only and inko choice or Amaratsi.
      The quote you quoted and the one quoted before by the same Author about PIA’s comment when he was drunk about his intention to destroy Eritrea says it all.

    • Abraham Hanibal

      Mr. Saay;

      I’ve noticed that you’ve upvoted one of Mr.G.Gebru’s comments above, where he, among other things, makes degrading comment of our bitter struggle for independence and disguises the independence itself as slavery. Mr.Gebru has further clarified his stance on the Eritrean Independence in his response to one of my comments where he writes: “…Eritreans in unison will come to their sense and submit to Mama Ethiopia”.
      To the great majority of Eritreans, the legitimate and hard won independence and territorial integrity of Eritrea is a red-line that should never be crossed. And to me, it is incomprehensible when I see people like you, Saay, who is Awate moderator, to approve of the comments of people like G.Gebru. I say this because I believe that although Awate team is in opposition to the PFDJ rule, just like me and many other Eritreans, the team approves of and accepts the Eritrean Independence.
      I think it is important for Awate team to come forward and present its official position on the question of Eritrean Independence and territorial integrity, because I feel there is some confusion here.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Hi Semere H.,
    I haven’t seen any critic in your book report. Andebrehan was in the topic circle of administration of EPLF and later in the PFDJ ruling party. How did he come clean in all the wrong doing serving at the high level of the organizations? In fact your report will make me to read the book to evaluate your report than the book itself. Your report is all praising the man and his history. For an organization that went through all bloody civil wars and ultimately came to power and suffocate the Eritrean people never heard in their history.


    • Semere Andom

      Good morning Emma:
      Semere is always too kind to those who were the enablers of the dictator. He praised Nihan Elamana, he dubbed it the best document ever written about our ghedli. I was the document that gave a sectarian spin to Isaia’s splitter group, and a document that also saved Isaias because ELF spared him not to add fuel to the regional and religious tuner that the document gave. Sem also praises the late N. Kiflu as a gallant fighter for freedom and emancipation. He never criticized Dr. Bereket and almost canonizes the man. I respect Dr. Bereket when he genuinely regretted his looking the other way. Now he is doing the same with Andebrhan, one of the willful enablers of the menace in Eritrea with inside scoop of all the PFDJ poop over the people and country. He may have raw intelligence but he was an implement of the dictator. But the good thing is even the tools are not spared from the wrath of the devil and one by one they are jumping the sinking ship and trying to distance themselves giving redemption a shot, but redemption is not going to happen by glossing over ones crimes or being accessory of a crime

      • Andebrhan shouldn’t fought all those years. He should have fled to Canada and collect his welfare check and charity.
        What a stupid man.

  • Silent Majority

    Dear Semere,
    Mr. Welde Giorgis is by far “smarter” than his peers. But he is not better than his peers when it comes to his disservice to his country. He has served IA knowingly for the last 3-4 decades. He could have chosen not serve IA or abandon “gedli” much earlier than 30-40 years of involvement. But he was opportunist enough to serve and act like the dictator for the last 30-40 years. We are talking about two generation of Eritreans who have periled during his “service” to his country!!! I wish he could shut up and stay invisible.

    • Hope

      Dear Silent Majority:
      Are you saying that he should “NOT repent” and change the course and help us for a better ONE?
      As a matter fo fact,he admitted his mistakes and apologized besides doing his share for the Nation better than ALL/most of us by any standard and criteria.
      Plus, did not we all mess up?Including the Silent Majority for at leats being Silent when the the Nation is being brutalized and devastated—?
      After the Lord Jesus Christ said:”Let he who believes is sin-free cast the first stone unto her”,all those who were ready to stone the woman walked away silently”.
      Are you/we clean?
      “Ab aynikha zelo beser keyalghiskas ab ayni hawikha zelo beser ketelighis aytiftin/aytidle”.
      “Do NOT judge lest you (will)be judged”—Do NOT judge so that you will not be judged.
      I still wonder as to when we Eritreans will learn lessons and be positive and constructive and agree on one thing –for a common goal through a common and unifying principle and guidelines.
      Poeple here seem to be articulate and rational but—-

      • Ismail

        Selamat Hope,

        HOPE_fully you won’t mind my butting in here like this but how can I help it when so sensible a head like yours starts to equate the benign faults of ordinary human beings to the grand faults of those who may have committed crimes against humanity (or those that collaborated with them)? Leaving aside the degree of culpability that Andebrhan could be accused of, we must ask: does confession to a guilt exonerate a person from blame? Does the mere act of regret wipe out past crimes? Would we forgive and absolve from blame a violent rapist just because we all make mistakes? Do courts free a person who confesses to a murder? We all know the answer to such questions because our inner sense of justice propels us to believe that sane and rational human beings should be held accountable for their actions.

        Whether we like it or not crime and punishment are ever-present constants in all societies….Just look around you and at the world at large Hope… Have you never wondered why almost every country in the world maintains a police force and a prison system? Is it not to maintain order and if need be to punish the guilty and to deter would-be criminals? Do you know of any country in the world that forgives those guilty of heinous crimes or of crimes against humanity? Though many people continue to pay lip service to Ghandian and Christ-like sentiments, they are hardly if ever acted upon.

        …about the woman caught in adultery…
        The story is a fascinating one! But are you aware that its authenticity is seriously questioned by some bible scholars and historians and that some even regard it as a later interpolation? This is due to the fact that the story is not to be found anywhere in the earlier manuscripts. But even if we take the story to be authentic, there is nothing in the story itself to indicate that Jesus (pbuh) was using it to enunciate a general doctrine of forgiveness to all. Besides even if we assume he was, moral forgiveness and legal forgiveness are two different things. Victims may forgive their victimizers for example but the law rarely does.
        This is not to say that forgiveness should not be prized. Not at all! We all should strive to enhance our capacity to forgive particularly to injuries done to us but when it comes to crimes of great magnitude and that were perpetrated on a large scale against multitudes, we neither have the moral mandate nor the legal authority to forgive. That is the distinction we should keep in mind.

        Ismail (pointblank)

        • Mahmud Saleh

          Marhaba Ismaelay
          So, you are insinuating as if Andebrhan had committed a crime or crimes, am I right Ishmaelay? Let’s see his tenure as tegadalay and later as a government civil servant.
          – as a student he was a supporter of the EPLF; one of the translators of NHnan Elamanan to English, a chairman of Eritrean students in North America, quit Harvard doctoral studies, joined the EPLF IN 1976, became a founding member of the central committee, deputy of the information department, worked for many years as EPLF diplomat, author of many pamphlets, revolutionary literature, diplomatic efforts against a world that had closed its doors to our cause…after 2nd congress of 1987, returns to the field, becomes deputy head of education dept, then moves to becoming the editor of EPLF organ megazine, after 1991, Asmara university, head of national bank, head of Eritrean commission that coordinated the UN efforts to demarcate the border, several Ambassadorial assignment, negotiated for development funds, known to be fiercely independent, which borders arrogance, his struggle to make the institutions he had headed independent and to be run at par with standards earned him demotions (something he noted in his book and widely believed by people who knew him to be correct).
          – He wrote how PIA has become the man he is,
          – He’s taken responsibility and echoed a painful regret that he and his organization let Eritreans down
          – He suggests the way forward
          ** What would be the crime of this man? Does a political failure amounts to a crime?
          Disclosure: I have no connection with him, but he was my head for some years in mieda, the last time I saw him was when he was the President of the University of Asmara.

          • Semere Andom

            Hi Mamuday:
            First when was the central committee founded? I thought it chosen in the first congress:-) Are you sure he was a member, though/
            The credentials you listed are common to many of his generations, like Haile M and other names victims of EPLF
            He has raw intelligence, he was the implement of the dictator. And he does not border on arrogance, he is arrogant confirmed to people he perceives beneath him and docile, obedient to the dictator, opening doors for him at events as if he was his secret service handler, if he was independent he would not last this long. He like many was quite when DIA disappeared Eritreans even after independence so that independence mind is post defection baloney. He did not have the guts to sign the G-15, he did not even sympathizes that is why he was spared while the likes of Aba-are and Pharon were arrested even though they were not signatories. He had a skill, a credential that DIA needed and he used him, but
            I could also list what Isiais accomplished: he left his studies at 19, he wrote Nihan Elaman, a document that saved EPLF and gave a sectarian tone to the split. When the dun of the Hashkerbeb shimmered on the rocky barren sahel mountains he blessed us with Abraham when God told isiaas that our deputy is not going to replace as a president when pass on;-)
            But I am with you that we cannot make him guilt by suspicion, crime has levels and all the allegation including that of DIA must be proved in the court of law and all the high echelons of are suspect, the onus is on us to prove their guilty with due process that they have denied many. But one thing certain, people like Andebran may have labored tirelessly, may have left a promising academic career in the ivy league, but it was all in vain

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Ahlan Sem A
            Com’n now, you smelled raw meat and warm blood, you’re just ready to knock me down. NO, way.Well, the idea is to encourage people with connections and potential to help speed up the much needed salvation. I’m mad at people like Andebrhan more than you are, semere, they let a lot of tegadalay and Hafash down. But think strategically, it’s always better to expand your ranks than seeing the ranks of your enemy expanded. Plus the man is used here as a symbol of entities and individuals who have had some connections with PFDJ; we need to welcome them as long as they are clear in their stance to establish a new type of political system. I take your last paragraph positively, of course, with some modification.
            On your question: yes, he was from the founding central committee, 1977, I think as a non-voting first and then permanently replacing dead CC members. He was also reelected in 1987. Your PIA credo ግን የለኹሉን።

          • Ismail

            Selamat Mahmud!

            First you need to make up your mind. Do you want to call me Ismaelay, Ishmaelay or just Ismail?

            Thanks for providing Andebrhan’s long list of achievements. Quite impressive! I presume you now want me to join you in declaring his innocence? Your comments call for consideration of yet another question in addition to those I posed in my comment to Hope: does a stellar-looking resume absolve a person from culpability for the rest of the person’s life? We both know the answer to that. Past record may reduce culpability in certain cases but in itself is not sufficient enough to exonerate a person. A person accused of drunk driving for example cannot plead for total mercy on the plea that he has liberally donated his wealth to charity or by drawing attention to his loyal service to his country in the army..

            Now, do I consider Andebrhan to be guilty? I personally do not know the extent of his guilt but in general, I consider all those who intimately knew the inner workings of the EPLF/PFDJ authoritarian structure (that was the hallmark of EPLF since its birth) and were deeply involved in its open and secret activities to be guilty at some level.

            Regrets are fine but most within EPLF/PFDJ political culture (I am not exclusively talking about Andebrhan here) surfaced only when we were defeated in war and the bubble of Shaebia’s invincibility was shattered. With shock came questions that was then followed by a mild form of disobedience (though the consequences were severe). I would have given such “uturns” more credit if they were independently arrived at. But I find little to admire in a change of attitude that was occasioned by deep disillusionment toward a cult-like leader like Isayas. I therefore do not consider such epiphany to be genuine.

            Please understand though that my comments here and those I made to hope are not a call for vengeance against all EPLF/PFDJ followers. Not at all. Honor is due to all genuine patriots (living and dead) that gave their all for our nation under EPLF command. But the top echelons who were intimately involved with Shaebia’s criminality need to be brought to justice for reasons I provided in my latest article. To which class of people Andebrhan belongs to (the forgivable or the damnable) can only be established in a court of law. When such a time comes, would you, dear Mahmuday, accept the honor of defending your former head (mentor?)?

            You would do splendidly!

            Ismail (pointblank)

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Ismail,
            Well said pointblank. People are always swayed by the academic achievement of individuals. They forget to see the character and personality of the individuals. They could be self-interested individuals and in the process harm their fellow citizens, or they could sacrifice their interest for the well being of their people and give everything of their life. So it is a long way on how we judge people fairly and squarely.


          • Ismail

            Thank you Amanuel. Your comments above reminded me of the following saying (I think it is Italian) :

            “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost”
            “When health is lost, something is lost”
            “When character is lost, everything is lost”

            Ismail (pointblank)

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Ahlan Ismail
            Thank you for replying. You asked me to pick either Ismail, Ismaelay or Ishmaelay. What a tough request. I like all, you seem too not to have preferences except that I identify you with one of them, so let it be Ismail. Now, look at yourself: you started with Mahmud and ended it with Mahmuday, although I know you have a legitimate excuse because I have not objected to people calling me either way. Just for bringing it to your attention, otherwise, feel free to use anyone of them. There is also another name/title that Gadi uses, but thanks God has not gotten traction. I hope it will soon fade away; I won’t remind you what it is.
            On your reply, I understand your point, I am very disappointed to members of EPLF leadership, like Ambassador Andebrhan, too. But my view is one of forgiveness and moving forward unless one is suspected of crime. I responded to nitricc regarding this and the juice of my reply is there. I appreciate the balance that you are making in separating the bulk body of the organization and those few who might have contributed to the creation of the state of affairs we are in. Frankly, I would be reserved from lobbying accusations at this time and encourage the disassociation of people from PFDJ. The reason why I listed his “resume” for you was to let you have a chart in front of you and be able to decide whether it is reasonable to suspect he might have committed a crime or crimes. We know people who are or who served in sensitive areas such as security, service and its recruiting and training centers, revenue and economic generating areas…border patrol…could be suspected of some sort of crime; and it’s prudent we scrutinize them farther. I understand there has been general political failure on the part of tegadelti and leaders and the failure gets more acute when a person is higher in the hierarchy. At this point I would recognize the ambassadors’ achievements and I criticize him for his moral and political failures. People who had access to the president tell us that he is paranoid of anyone (24/7); that he has no true adviser, that he treats his cabinet as his kids, that he has a parallel security and administrative apparatus…and so on. Andebrhan writes about the evolution of this unique personality, how constant pressure of war made the central committee delegate all organizational affairs to him, and how this autocratic nature took shape in him. It’s easy for folks to say why they did this or that or the opposite without appreciating the situation in which the revolution took place. Usually, we feel they should be questioned for many of the negative sides of the revolution, including political assassinations, but I doubt it if members of the CC were kept abreast of what was going on. I even question if all members of the PB were made aware of the security related networks and decisions. Let’s leave it for history. But after independence, and particularly after it has been clear that the president was moving towards a destructive direction, after the arrests and purges, I believe the Ambassador had a chance to break ties with this cruel regime. He needs to be criticized for that. Sorry, unlike you, I don’t have the skills and the practice of writing, but I hope you get my idea. I’m not defending him.He could do that better than anyone. But if you suspect someone of a crime, it’s not unreasonable for me to ask you to tell us what the crime is. You have already accused him of a crime; you seem to be restrained only on the extent of the “guilt.” Unlike political accusations, once you accuse someone of a crime the bar gets higher, and it’s a matter of justice to be asked to prove it. You said democratic Eritrea will be the right place of filtering it and I agree with you. The beauty of a just and a democratic system is that it’s fair for both the accuser and the accused. He will also have a chance to go after those who have been accusing him. I will skip the personal stuff for now, I am taking it as humor. wa shukran.
            * I appreciate you for the contribution you do; I read your articles.

          • Ismail

            Selamat Mahmud….

            About the name…..

            I also do not mind
            at all. My comments were meant to lightly draw your attention to the
            misspelling because it can potentially lead to confusion as to who the
            addressee of your comments was. Mind you, you were not simply adding
            endearment? letters “y” or “ay” as I did to yours, you were having too
            much fun with it adding H’s here and there and transposing alphabets
            haphazardly that I had to stop you before you end up with a totally
            different name (:-).

            About forgiveness…
            You said that you
            were for “forgiveness and moving forward unless one is suspected of
            crime.” That is also my view though we may disagree about what exactly
            constitutes a crime. I would include in the definition (as I did in my
            article) all conscious collaborators and enablers of the regime. Being
            an accessory to a crime is considered a criminal act in almost all

            As an example, consider an ordinary civilian situation.
            Let us say a person is murdered on the street and the police find three
            people standing near the body some cheering and some quitely looking at
            the corpse. Wouldn’t they take them all for questioning? Andebrhan of
            course was much more than a simple bystander or onlooker. He was not an
            ordinary run of the mill follower of Isayas but a highly intelligent
            and accomplished person. So devoted was he to the vision of his mentor – we are told –
            that he took it upon himself to translate Nhnan Elaman and so trusted
            by the regime that he held “several ambassadorial” assignments. This
            makes it difficult to defend him on the plea that he was deluded into
            serving a brutal regime thinking he was simply serving his people. Nor
            should we read too much into his “sacrifices” because highly ambitious
            people are capable of great selflessness and sacrifices. Seeming
            selflessness is sometimes a veneer for personal ambition and lust for
            power or for fame. Isayas himself who sacrified a lot is a good

            If you would but set aside your excessive awe at his
            accomplishments and your fond memories of him and ask yourself whether
            it is conceivable that such a highly learned person as Andebrhan would
            remain totally ignorant (and for years at that!) of the heinous crimes
            being committed by the regime, I am sure you will arrive at the same
            conclusion I do and will understand why I would say ” I personally do
            not know the extent of his guilt.”

            We can still forgive such
            people depending on the degree of their involvement but only after a
            competent court reviews their entire dossier and determines that their
            culpability is not grave enough to warrant prosecution.

            Thanks for
            taking the time to read my articles. I also read your thoughts in the
            commentary section and often find them to be quite insightful. As for writing
            skills, I don’t know what you are talking about! You express yourself beautifully, capably, and quite well.

            Ismail (pointblank)

          • Hope

            My own,
            For me or to me,this is a UNIQUE and Perfect Eritreanism at its BEST,no matter what and by any STANDARD!
            On the same token,Ismail arguement about Dr Ande is a Calssic case of a “Rotten Eritrean Culture” of Gossip,Character Assasination,belittling,hatred,name it,ect—

        • Hope

          Ahlen ismail,
          Thank you Sir for your input.
          I totally agree with what you said.
          But taking into consideration our intricate politico-socio-cultural background and history,i am of the belief and opinion that the ONLY solution,no amtter what is:
          To Forgive and Forget and move forward through appropriate National Reconciliation.
          This is,of course a naive thinking and stand–but as I said,I do not forsee a better option,at least for now.
          The Reconciliation issue is “unrealistic and non-practical” to many people but—-I mean for how long are we going to live like this?
          If the Ethiopians with all their complex politico-socio-cultural/ background,ethnic based politics included, have succeeded relatively,to reconcile and live harmoniuosly–in its relative sense;and if the South Africans made it to this point,why can’t we or at least,why can’t we be optimistic.?
          Hate,grudges,suspicion,mistrustetc–are against peace.
          The PFDJ is doing its best to prolong its life span and we will remain on the staus quo—

          • Ismail

            Selamat Hope,

            Like Mamhud, your heart is in the right place when you say you want to “forgive and forget” – please hold on to those beautiful sentiments. The issue is not however how you and I may think
            and feel about our current situation but also how victims and their families might feel and think about what we do. Of course, we have all been victimized by the oppressive regime in the general sense but there are many who experienced the regime’s brutality first hand and in all
            its ugliness. Can we expect them to be as enthusiastic about forgiving and forgetting those who caused them immeasurable suffering as you and I might be? As I have pointed out in my article, there are also long-term consequences to consider. Miscarriage of justice is one of the chief causes of conflict in many societies.

            You mentioned South Africa – a good point – but note that even in its case, it was not about forgiving and forgetting but about REMEMBERING and EXPOSING. The “truth and reconciliation Commission (TRC)” functioned much like a court of law where victims could air their grievances and testify against their victimizers and where the crimes of the apartheid regime were laid bare. TRC was a sort of compromise reached with the apartheid regime to hand over power. But we should not delude ourselves into thinking that TRC was a success. Not at all. At most, it was a partial success because violence and racial tensions continued long after such supposedly successful “reconciliation”. In 2012, for example, Graca Machel delivered a lecture at the 2nd annual Desmond Tutu International where she noted:

            “South African society is violent, intolerant, accusatory and angry because it has failed to address the emotional mutilation wrought by apartheid.”

            Some analysts like Nahla Valji even considered TRC a “grand failure”. “TRC has lost its impact” another researcher concluded because there was “no real change in social conditions and no clear attempt to address perceptions of injustice and exclusion amongst certain groups,”

            So there is little in TRC to recommend it for Eritrea.

            Am I sounding like a “classic case of a ‘Rotten Eritrean Culture’ of Gossip,Character Assasination,belittling,hatred,name it,ect” as you put in your comment to Mahmud?

            Hope. I respect your opinion and plead guilty as charged but next time please direct your
            queries or criticisms to me if you are interested in an honest discussion.

            Ismail (pointblank)

  • Hope

    —-Haqi–from TesfaNews?
    Welcome to the accomodating space but no accomodation for the TesfaNews’ Style of insults and name calling.
    Read what Senay and Teweld said.
    He did his best to contribute beyond his reach and capacity but was thrown away “unceremenously” despite his well-proven credentials—
    I am glad he is alive an dhope he will be th enxt President of Eritrea,not just that of the UoA,as he has every criterion and credentials to be so:
    -an Intellectual
    -Political and Economics scientist
    -A Diplomat
    -A Professor
    – A negotiator
    -A Banker
    -A fighter

  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatista and Semere H

    Thank you Semere H for a well written piece (I must also thank Senay for a value added info. will save us time when we read it). I don’t really know much about Dr Ande, but from few media coverage he seems a smart and confident man. I like that when I see it in my fellow people. The whole “apologize or else…” demands are jumping the gun and none of us really have to make that sort of demand from the other. I understand the issue of UoA keeps coming up (another topic I don’t know intimately) but think that that is an issue that needs to be independently verified at opportune time, if a mechanism exist to do so in post IA Eritrea. For now, we can’t prejudice or second guess the Dr and his activities as a justice seeker. Some of us hope to see PFDJ knocked down and some of us wish to it reformed by building bridges and the likes. These are different views and approaches and doesn’t make us enemies or give us the right to weigh the full burden of our redemption on the other’s inability to see it through our lenses. We may be better off to encourage and motivate Dr Andeberhan for being part of the struggle and count our blessings for the good work he is doing for us. We shouldn’t find it difficult to imagine that by every implication what we do to each other is really about each other too. What we need is for Eritrea to have space for all views and tendencies. The IA regime is on dangerous path, it is not even simply “dictatorship” in the normal meaning of the word (much worse and risky entity). Let’s welcome everyone and build our capacity to effect the change we need sooner than later.


    • Hope

      Dear Hailat,
      Another decent addendum to Semre H and Senay.
      Please advise Amanuel of Assenna to follow suit and some “quarters”,who tried to belittle Mr Ande’s input and his home-coming to Medrekh.

    • farnelo

      … Indeed Haile TG in every sense of it. Without sounding like idolizing “Haile TG”, safe to say currently you are the brightest shining star in the Eritrean cyber universe/world as top all-round commentator. I hope, mindsets like yours will narrow the diametrically opposing and mutual destructive opposition opposing stands and create a synergy of Eritrean energy to flush the terrible dicators and his enablers down the toilet of history.

  • Hope

    BTW,,Mr Semere Habtemariam(Dr. With a PhD?If not,I am giving an Honorary ONE)
    Unsurprisingly,well said ,as usual.
    I have enjoyed your commentaries here way better than some of the prestigious ones in the Times,the Washington. Post,the NY Times. and the Guardian.
    Kudos to you.

  • Hope

    GM All,
    Eid Mubarek and Happy Sunday,
    After I followed Redie’Mehari’s Controversial narration on and after I read his book ,I was skeptical about his “biased” story since it was based on, mostly assumption and circumstantial evidence.But after I read that of Prof Medhanie Tesfatsion’s Discussion Paper,the man with unclear stand,and after I read Dr Dr Andeberhan W.’s book and after Ireviewed the well documented stories by the Holland based mini-org by a certain Negash/Negassi?,I said:
    ” Excuse me,if all these are trure but true,what,why ,how and for what reason all these?”
    Here is the absurdity and hypocrisy,if I may call it:
    Knowing all these along for the last 45 yrs or so and until this minute when things are happening in front of our eyes—-
    -Kidnapping,jailing and even killing,the innocent,the elderly,the Generals, the Colonels,the Priests/Pastors,the Patriarch
    ,the Faithful,etc– and the worst,decimating the Youth form the face of Eritrea on a day light one way or another:
    What the heck are we doing then?
    For how long are we going to sit back and —keep witnessing the same atorcities,—until Eritrea and Eritreans are gone for ever,I guess?
    Here is my other dilemma:
    Are the supporters of the system aware of these?
    For sure they are,but why and how and for what purpose are they supporting all these atrocities and/or keeping silent then?
    Can someone elaborate these issues for me here in this Forum?
    Pls,Ms Sofia Tesf.,Prof Ghedeon Abay Asmerom,Dr Tesfay Ar’adom, Prof Habteghiorghis,Dr Asghede–the OEA(the Organization of Eri-Americans),the YPFDJ;the TesfaNews,the Madote,the meskerem.Net,the,Capital,etc–aware of these?
    If so,can you have the Courage to clarfiy as to how you are silent and or supporting all these?

  • Kiflu

    First Naizghi…the Bereket…and now Andeberhan…and the red thread is….

  • Said

    Thank you Semere Andom for your review and in-depth commentary for an interesting and
    timely book, Eritrea At a Crossroads by Andebrhan Welde Giorgis , Andebrhan musy have being well aware from early time, that nature of personality IA, his tendency to brutality, barbarism and untold atrocities have been meted out to the
    Eritrean people , Andebrhan was politicians and policy-makers and he was part and parcel of junta regime , and to be
    part of inner circle you have to be endorsing whatever IA decides to do. IA impotent and morally bankrupt policy was well known fact unless one want to close his eyes in broad day light. Andebrhan knows that if he were to side with justice and the Eritrean people, he wouldn’t last long as he did ,if he was even to comment and criticize IA’s actions in any way, he would face the same fate as his comrade G15 and thousand like them vanished , Andebrhan as intellectual person understood earlier that even the slightest display of independent thinking on any issues could leave him very vulnerable and he played it safe on pretense on “shared values”, hopefully and obviously from what I understood from the commentary, he repented ,confessed, reconciled and regret for what took place under his watch , at the time supporting or defending IA no matter what he does was his main raison d’etre , Andebrhan defiantly and definitely ,He has changed markedly in recent years, today he is willing to speak openly and write candidly about what took place and what is happening in Eritrea and he wants to be part an instrument of change , Eritrean situation is a tragedy and grave for all concerned, but today Andebrhan have to have more than that ,he must fulfil his responsibility to his people and remember the oppressed . The dead have being buried, the wounded will recover, today given the opportunity and he feel changed and enlightened by his own first hand experiences. Historians will one day look back and ask how Eritrea become one the worst dictatorship country and how come so many could be so ineffectual and so at odds with its professed values and that IA has “More In Common With Mao’s Red Guards — Hopefully the lesson learned “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.”
    – Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays

    “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

    “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

    “I don’t much care where –” said Alice.

    “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

    “– so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

    “Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

    – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, 1865

    As we all get older we revisit our past and we reflect. As passage of time one wander a person like Andebrhan an intellectual and Individuals endowed with an inquisitive mind racing to transcend the confines of the present and their delineations of social conditionings to grasp glimpses of the unknown as shaped in the abstracts of the amalgam of predilections, idiosyncrasies and innate intuitive urges are up to a surprise near the twilight of age: A Mirage of a Long Existence.

    Upon trespassing the threshold of the twilight of age, the assurance of the illusions of certainty gives way
    to cynicism. A state of suspension, judgement, values and all remnant vestiges of the illusions of an identity recede, precipitously, to oblivion, to utter irrelevance in the consciousness of the aware near the finishing line that come too late. Believers, engrossed in the fervor and passions of dogma, hold tenaciously to their original thought as they near the illusions of imminent deliverance and promises of the Kingdom of Heaven. The continuum of an original vision, deeply entwined with the intricacies of unfathomable psyche, enmeshes indiscernibly with the abstract of the threshold of the Kingdom of Heaven that never was to be realized.

    Believers neutralized the endowment of sensory perception; abrogated the onus of rationalization; reduced
    a testing earthly journey clinging to the pivots of annunciations and professes by yesteryear seers and sages. They’re spared the bewilderment of victims of the inquisitive mind on the closing of age.

    Gripped by the complexity of an inordinate psyche, apparently a common feature of humans committed to the pursuit and untangling of objective reality, the coloring of the vision entailed the spectrum of all the colors of the contradictions of existence and unfathomable depth of the soul.

    AS intellectual he ought to be in deliverance of the whole, ascribed to broad themes that transcend the confines
    of the self, a complex amalgam of sincere endeavor for the betterment of the whole in fulfilment of an endless quest for self-actualization, validation through the whole. In serving common good.

    AS intellectual ought to know much better espoused early to Eritrean patriotism and Nationalism as an inseparable
    link in prioritizing ascendance in the betterment of the intimate and familiar towards universality of values and thought, the ultimate spiritual liberation through the casting of the yoke of deprivation and material necessity by humans
    as preludes to attainment of conscious awareness of the self.

    As passage of time and after years Commemorating Eritrean national day (Birthday of new nation) – shall witness the shadow of existence as he trespass into a new decade of age. With a shattered paradigm defining relevance, identity and harmonious coexistence with a vision rendered oblique by the onslaught of cacophonies of novelties, foreign to cognitive realization and devoid of central themes, he shall float with vision, in suspension.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Salam Awatistas and Semere Andom
    This is a nice gift from Semere Habtemariam to Semere Andom who’s been wallowing in the omnipresent influence of his hero (xx), and has now redefined his previously redefined understanding of ghedli, which had previously been redefined…which has nothing in it that has been redefined except that we’re told it has been redefined. “Semere Andom’s ghedli for dummies” 4 point declaration, in effect, is a a summarized abstract of the literature that has produced his thinking. It is a manifestation of a mind preoccupied by the siege of compromised rationality receding in the far twilight of reason.I’m sure you have read the book, most of your false beliefs are raised there and analysed rigorously. The author seems to be concerned more about rectifying what went wrong than reemerging in power. ወ ደሓንካ። ርኢቶኻ ምስ ኣንበብኩ፡ ደሓራዩ ገደደ ኢለ ክሓልፎ ሓሲበ ነይረ። ብኣጋጣሚ ናይ ሰመረ ሃ/ማርያም ሓተታ ብዛዕባ’ቲ መጽሓፍ ርእየ እሞ ክውከሰካ ደልየ እየ።

    • Semere Andom

      Selamat Mahmud:

      First It was not Ghedli’s for dummies, I am sure is deliberate. It is my stand on Ghedli for dummies, because cousin Hope asked me to state my stand, even though I did and also you dawit and nitric emboldened by you keep saying am andnet and now you twisted my title as I predicted. I had a bet on that and I won, tomorrow a fried will by me coffee. It is not the literature that produced my thinking, it is the distillation of my thinking. I challenge you to dissect it ad compare and contrast it with YG’s ideas, or XX according to you. I also challenge you to tell awatista I changed/redefine my position about Ghedli.

      About what I think about the book, I like you so much and I do not want say it now in the Eid. But for teasers see the following

      “Despite profound disappointment with the rise of dictatorship and the reign of misery in Eritrea however, I am very proud to have dedicated my life to the struggle for liberation and to the cause for the emancipation, progress, and prosperity of the Eritrean people, as a freedom fighter during the war and as a public servant after independence”. He admits the rise of dictatorship, the reign of misery and yet he is proud of the progress, prosperity, emancipation and liberation. It is too late now here and it skips me but there is an apt word for this in Arabic, Help SJG
      It is good that he is not interested in power and he is struggling to rectify it, I embrace rectification, only PFDJ opposes rectification, but Andebrhan needs to do lots of growing in the first place

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Kulu Aam wo enta Taib Ya Semere Berbere;

        First of all, the respect is mutual, thank you. And then I didn’t deliberately “twist” your topic, but you will be sued for stealing a properietary brand, ” For Dumies.” Then you said you won the debate; hahaha.. I know who declared you the winner, it’s serray. The coffee treat is between you. I will comment on your 4 points declaration sometime later. And your challenge will wait until you beat my pending challenge regarding the liberation movements. However, a quick note on your latest reply:

        1. you misinterpreted the quoted portion of Ambassador Andebrhan statements. When he wrote “I am very proud to have dedicated my life to the struggle for liberation and to the cause for the emancipation, progress, and prosperity of the Eritrean people, as a freedom fighter during the war and as a public servant after independence,” please note the “… to the cause for..” He is proud to the cause, and he is disappointed because that cause was not materialized. Read it; it’s correct in semantics and thought process; nothing contradictory about it.

        2. I have not called you an andenetist, but you say statements that sometimes sound as if you are more cozy to Ethiopian government than your fellow country people while you talk about change. You make statements about Eritrean revolution which place you in the twilight zone. For instance in your 4 point declaration, you explained our revolution evolution this way: “But, early on the alliance of killers conspired to nip that seedling in the bud and designed ghedli in its current form, fooling the gullible and the honest, bribing the crooked, killing both the outspoken and silent, demanded complete submission even silence was considered disobedience.”
        You are telling the millions who participated in the revolution, one way or another, as if they did not know what they were doing; in your words, they were fooled. You see, these types of statements question your integrity; and for those who gave everything for a cause they were neither fooled in or bribbed for, the faces, laughter…deeds…anxieties…ambitions…of those fallen heroes and heroines come up alive in their memories. And they just snap. They ask themselves ” What are we doing palling with folks who describe the cause of all causes this way? Could these vocal elements be considered for the replacement of PFDJ?” I have been critical of ghedli, but I have no reason to give tarnishing blanket statements. So, my call is the same. Criticise it, but it should be objective.

  • Bahrey

    I have not seen the book either. Towards the end of your commentary you affirm that
    Andebrahan clearly states that he bares “his share of blame, responsibility,
    and pain for Eritrea’s present predicament”. Well, the major fact for which
    Andebrahan has been known to the large public in Eritrea, is his direct involvement,
    in fact as the main perpetrator, in the crack down of Asmara University’s 39 staff members back in
    1993. They were simply invoking the most elementary rules of a democratic running
    of an academic institution. As everybody knows, his response was brutal, to say
    the least. Question: does Andebrhan, in his book, address that shameful chapter
    of his long association with the dictator? If so, how does he do it? If not, he needs first of all to ask for forgiveness,
    formally and publically, to the teachers involved in the crack down, and then set records right. Otherwise his “cry of crocodile” all along his endless 600 page book will not convince anybody. To share one’s own responsibility and blame for Eritrea’s present predicament without being specific about solid facts is only a mockery.

    • Samuel N.

      “he needs first of all to ask for forgiveness, formally and publicly, to the teachers involved in the crack down, and then set records right.” well said.

      • Hope

        We all know about that incident and its politics but I thought it was PIA who directly dismantled the whole Staff.
        Plus, he admitted and apologized foe his ” share” of —
        He could have wrotten ten books about things you asked him to include–but–
        He may come up with Part II.

        • Samuel N.

          You are right in that he cannot include every thing, but the University of Asmara incident is the most notorious of Dr. Andebirhan’s legacy. Plus, there has been comments from members of his team (his team during the UoA incident as well as now in “Medrek” today) that still think the incident was somehow justifiable and that Dr. Andebirhan did not have much to do with that ( please read He cannot keep quite on one of his most notorious acts during his time before his “repentance”.

  • senay


    Thank you for bring this book to the attention of Awate readers. I have been waiting for sometime now for someone to present a review of this great book. Since the late nineties (my college years), Mr [Dr] Andebirhan was a household name in the cyber world. The mare mention of his name was a source of irritation to many. And lately, with the appearance of Medrekh, many spared no ink to chastise him. I was fascinated by his character as to why he draws so much attention. I never met him but I always want to know more about him.

    When I heard his book was out for sale, I wasted no time and I had it in one day rush order. I knew the book would provide answers to his personality, his work, and his background, and so many issues that revolve around him. And indeed, it did. It is one of the best investment I ever did.

    For its sheer size, (660 pages) the book is extremely easy read. The follow of the sentences, the weaving of the phrases, the depth of the analysis and mind boggling details with such ease, is a delight to read. To be honest, I was bored with the first 150 plus pages. Even though an easy read, it felt dry, “text book for high-school history”, or intended for foreign audience. The same repetitive history that bores most us. He devoted so many pages on Eritrea history pre-liberation era but very little on the 30 years of armed struggle. And also Mr Andebirhan felt he has to share his views on every subject on the green earth (Eritrea), official language, mother tongue, land reform, education, democracy, gender equality ….I found those to be boring also. The focus of the book is mostly post independence. He then turned the heat on and saved no punches. I can not stop turning the pages after that.

    Mr Andebirhan is an extremely talented and highly competent technocrat. His personal saga, ambition, and fighting spirit is impressive. He uses the 1994 National Charter as a guiding principle and excelled in every job or position he landed. And at the height of his success, in everyone of them, he was dealt with firing, humiliation, and the famous midiskal. But he never gave up and remained hopeful. After the first National Conference “waela” in University of Asmara in 1993, and the draft of National Charter, he run in full gears to turn the dream into a reality. However, every thing he touches before he reaps the benefit, turned into a nightmare. As the first president of UoA, as the first governor of Bank of Eritrea, as a chief economic negotiator between Eritrea and Ethiopia during the creation of Nakfa, as ambassador to the EU, as a chief facilitator of the UNMEE plans, he continuously faced obstacles and interference by the president and locked heads with him often. He was fired from all positions unceremoniously.

    Mr Andebirhan, as an insider, knows the inner work of the government very well and he has a clear understanding of the president plans. And he shared his views eloquently in the book. It is a great book with a wealth of information and a must read. I enjoyed it greatly.

    At the end, I am left with a puzzle. A man of such brilliance and caliber, why does he draws so much negative attention? I detect a little bit of arrogance in him, but that was very minor. And I also sensed that, we are quick to judge before we see all the facts. Regardless though, Eritrea is very lucky to have such competent and talented son and at the same time, it is very sad to lose him.

    Thanks again Semere,


    • SA

      Thank you Senay for reviewing the book. I think yours is what a book review should be like. I appreciate Semere’s commentary about the book, but I felt that he summarized the book instead of reviewing it.


    • Hope

      Great job Senay.
      Remember that he is a human being as well.

  • Tewelde T.

    I didn’t read the book in full yet, and I thank you for the informative commentary. It is true, it sour and sweet at the same time.
    The truth is in black and white with an insider of authority, immense knowledge and experience.
    I know Andebrehan very well, I have worked with him, I have travelled with him, I had good and bad days with him, but he is a
    Committed fighter, a nationalist, workaholic, educated, very commanding, and with high self esteem.
    It is sad our country is missing such wonderful people with proffessional skill and outstanding ability. Where is Haile Menkerios,
    Where is Dr. Tesfai Chega’a, where is Dr. Amare Tekle, where is Intoto, where is Paulos Beatay, where is Dr.Asefaw, where is Dr. Afeworki where is Dr. Bereket, and many many others who are still alive and active? What about those who are imprisoned incommunicado and killed and lost without trace? This living heroes are comrades who fought with dedication and selflessness during the armed struggle period for decades and more even after liberation with hope to achieve the vision and promises, unfortunately with bad fate and tricky politics the fighters and the people were put in quagmire and police state.
    Tegadelti with sincere ambition and core vision were marginalized, threatened, betrayed, freezed, defamed, and forced to run away systematically by the current Isayas regime for the undisclosed Agenda full of betrayal, and fatal policies of extreme power and Tyrany.
    Most probably, There is a light at the end of the tunnel, that is our hope. In fact the struggle is not over yet, that is the truth, cause the vision, the dream, the Charter, the oath, is kept hostage and we are all victims of the betrayal and hijack in action by the so called HGDEF.
    This is a master piece which is written by an intellectual fighter, an insider, a nationalist with plenty of facts and informative plans, it is a must read book by all Eritreans and concerned individuals around the world. Thank you Semere.