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Book Review: The Nurnebi File –Espionage and Politics

YeNurnebi Mahder: Silela ena poletica (The Nurnebi File –Espionage and Politics), published by Gebriel and son Publishing Virginia, USA, 2017. Amharic text: by Tesfaye Gebreab. 400 pages plus list of references and index.

This a very fascinating book for its imaginative qualities and for putting together some known facts in an imagined world. This is a historical novel, quite well known in European literature but probably the first of its kind in Ethiopian (Amharic) literature. This book is a story of Nurnebi and the fate of his descendants up to the fourth generation. It is also a story that covers the history of Eritrea, through the lives and times of the Nurnebi and his sons from its creation as a colony in 1882 until 2015.

In the summer of 2015, Debesai Gebriel, the fourth descendant of Nurnebi gave to the author, Tesfaye Gebreab, hence TG, a number of documents that were kept hidden by Debesai´s mother for many years. There is no doubt that some documents were handed to the author. But to claim that the book is a true account of the lives and times of the four generations (from Nurnebi to Debesai Gebriel) based on such documentation is to underestimate the critical faculties of his readers. To a great extent the book deals with TG´s grasp of the history of Eritrea where the four descendants of Nurnebi lived and died. I believe this critical remark would become more clearer as I proceed with the review of the book.

The reader has to plough through half the book to find out the nature of the documents that Debesai Gebriel handed to TG. It is a single criminal/pollical file compiled at Mogadishu containing a case against Gebriel Edmundo Gebre Medhin and thirteen other Eritreans for being spies of Ethiopia or working for Ethiopia (pp. 197-98). This is the file that TG imaginatively used as a title and organizing principle for his book. The file does not mention the name of Nurnebi for two reasons. The first reason is that the name Nurnebi was changed into Gebre Medhin. The second was that the memory of Nurnebi was not recorded in the colonial archive.

I am fairly acquainted with the Italian colonial archives and I wrote an article on Resistance and Collaboration in Eritrea, 1890-1914 (published 1982) I did not come across a file on Nurnebi Bechit, because he was not captured and because he was not considered as serious as people like Mohamed Nur.

The Italian colonial archives contain thousands of files covering all aspects of the law. There is a file for every person charged with a political or other crime and brought before a court of justice. Access to these and other archival material is restricted but I am almost certain that the file of Gebriel Edmundo Nurnebi was accessed from the Central Archive at Rome (Archvio Centrale dello Stato) where the archive of Rodolfo Graziani (first governor of Somalia and later governor of Ethiopia up to 1938) is deposited.


Nurnebi Bechit from Halhal (Bogos, Bilen) left his village in 1888 during the first year of the great famine, (1888-1892) with his two sons; Idirs and Adum. Nurnebi was from Bet Tawke, one of the two major clans among the Bilen..


Nurnebi saw initially the benefits of Italian colonialism; they abolished slavery; abolished the threat from the highlands over the lowlands and provided food to the hungry and were much better than the Egyptians and the Turks before them.

TG describes Italian colonialism as no different from Ethiopian colonialism; the only difference is that the Italian are white and they came from beyond the Sea; all are invaders. As to the Ethiopians, they were not united since they had no common bonds that united them (p.39). Where did TG get the empirical material (from the files that Debesai Gebriel handed) and how was that material composed. Was it Nurnebi himself who described Italian colonialism as not different from that of Ethiopian colonialism? If so, how was that tradition transmitted?

The description of Italian colonialism cannot be attributed to Nurnebi and his descendants. It is the opinion of TG but put forward as if it was the expressed opinion of the Nurnebi. I shall cite another example. Between 1890 and 1891, the Italian colonial state eliminated more than half of the traditional political elite together with their supporters. Over one thousand people were summarily executed in a pacification process, described by contemporary writers as the genocide of the inhabitants of Massawa. TG mentions the massacre of Massawa but dismisses it by writing that at that particular moment Menelik was engaged in the process of handing over hundreds of thousands of Oromo to slavery (123). The issue is not whether Italian colonial genocide is comparable with the slave trade policies of the Ethiopian state of the period. The issue is whether such a comparison can be made on the basis of so called Nurnebi file that TG was handed by Debesai in 2015.

TG can entertain any political or historical view of Eritrea and its past. My aim as a reviewer is not to interrogate the accuracy of his historical reading but to point out his false claim of writing the truth as if the truth was available in the Nurnebi file he got from Debesai.

Let us continue to narrate the life of Nurnebi, his two sons (Idris and Adum) and Meryem, Nurnebi´s sister. Nurnebi and his two sons (Idris and Adum) arrive in Massawa around 188. After some time Nurnebi got a job and his two sons were with him; they all stayed at Meryem´s home, Nurnebi´s young sister.

When things appear settled (the overcoming of hunger and the securing of job), Nurnebi, rebelled against the Italian rule and decided to carry out armed resistance. The pretext is rather insignificant; he was insulted by a drunken Italian. Nurnebi shared the information with his other co-workers who told him that they have been subject to far more insult (the amount of insult) than him and advised him to live with it and take care of his family. Nurnebi, however, was so proud and his humiliation so profound that he sacrificed his sons and sister and joined the anti-colonial resistance movement (p.52). This happened sometime in 1891.

Nurnebi remained fugitive (from the perspective of Italian colonial laws) and fought on the side of Bahta Hagos, (p.134) the leader of the first significant rebellion against Italian colonial presence in -Eritrea in December 1894. Nurnebi continued to fight against the Italian armed forces from Ethiopia and he participated at the famous battle of Adwa (pp.135-143) as part of the armed unit led by Gebremedhin, the son of Bahta Hagos. Nurnebi survived the battle of Adwa and had wished that the forces of emperor Menelik had crossed the Mereb river and drove out the Italians from the Eritrean landscape (p.152). But the people of Shewa (the soldiers of Menelik), after securing their border with Italy, decided to go back to their villages. Despondent but resolute, Nurnebi chose the mountains of Halahal to hide from the clutches of Italian colonialism, than to either submit to the Italian authorities or join the forces of Menelik, , like many of his colleagues did.  The final days of Nurnebi remain obscure and shrouded in mystery. Some say he joined the remnants of the rebel group led by Gebremedhin the son of Bahta Hagos. Others rumoured that he joined Mohamed Nuri another well-known Saho anti-colonial rebel. TG wrote that Nurnebi remained alive in the memory of the people of Halhal until 1900. He was forgotten from the annals of Eritrean history until 1935 when his name and memory surfaced again in connection with the Italian invasion of Ethiopia (p.160).

TG´s biography of Nurnebi is deficient in some important aspects. Nurnebi is not put into the context of the history of the region. TG hardly discusses the implications of Nurnebi´s close collaboration with other anti-colonial rebels in the region and especially the common cause he created with Bahta Hagos. In the hands of TG, Nurnebi appears to be highly erratic pushed by irrational impulses and with a personality disorder that preoccupied his co-workers.  A much better biography of Nurnebi could have been written even by TG himself.

I believe the problem of treating Nurnebi in such unsatisfactory manner is around TG´s perception of Italian colonialism. If Italian colonialism, is not different from Ethiopian or Tigrean colonialism (which is the position of TG) then it becomes very difficult to do justice to people like Nurnebi, who devote all their lives to fight against the presence of foreign rule. TG cannot really figure out what drove Nurnebi.

Meryem, unable to bring up the two sons of her brother Nurnebi, decided to hand them to the Catholic Mission at EMikullo (11 kilometres north of Massawa).  The sons of Nurnebi were very well received; they were converted to Catholicism. Idris became Eduardo and Adum became Edmundo. Their father´s name Nurnebi was changed to Gebre Medhin (p.113). Eversince then, they were known to the Italian bureaucracy as the sons of Gebre Medhin.

Idris/Eduardo became a colonial soldier in about 1895 (p.130), whereas, Adum/Edmundo became a clerk in the colonial administration. There is no record that the sons of Nurnebi fought for Italy at the battle of Adwa. It is most probable that Idris/Edward was still too young.

One of the Eritreans who fought at the battle of Adwa as an Italian colonial soldier (known as ascari) was Yacob Tewelde who was more or less the son of Meryem the sister of Nurnebi. It was estimated that up to 2000 Eritrean colonial soldiers were killed together with 4 600 Italian soldiers at Adwa on that fateful day of March 1, 1896. About 800 Eritrean soldiers were captured as prisoners and Yacob Tewelde was one of them. The Eritrean soldiers were accused of treason-(for fighting against their king and country) and thus were subjected to due punishment, which was the amputation of the right arm and the left leg (147).


The sons of Nurnebi begun their adult lives in the beginning of 1910s. Eduardo went to Libya as a colonial soldier in 1912 ( one of the first to be recruited) and his brother Edmundo found a job at the post office and ended up with the covetous title of Cavaliere (p.169). Eduardo returned from Libya in 1920. Yacob Tewelde survived the amputation of his arm and leg and returned to Eritrea and lived the rest of his life partly on his own skill as a farmer and partly as pensioner of the Italian colonial army.

TG described the political and cultural environment of Eritrea after the battle of Adwa. TG wrote that Menelik sold Eritrea to Italy not only once but twice (p.159). In the words of TG, Nurnebi said “Menelik has defended his borders and he will be remembered by history. Now the burden of solving the problem [the presence of Italian colonialism in Eritrea] rests on us” (p.154).

One of the lessons that Italy learnt from the Bahta Hagos uprising of 1894was the negative impact of expropriation of land. Italy shelved aside its policy of land expropriation and evolved a new policy of persuading the Eritrean to abandon his land for employment in the modern sector and the colonial army. TG wrote (p. 158) although the policy did not move as fast as expected, in few years Eritrea became the country of industrial workers (Yefabrika serategnoch ager honech).

I agree that the period from 1896 until 1932 is described as the best period of Eritrean colonial history. Peace with Ethiopia was established and maintained for nearly 40 years after Adwa. The economy was highly subsidized from Italy. Eritrea did not become a country of factory workers – far from it; it became the producer of the legendary soldiers (known as ascaris) at the service of Italian expansion elsewhere. It was only after 1935 and especially during the first phase of the British Military Administration, 1941-1945,  that Eritrea became comparatively speaking the country of industrial workers.TG fails to mention that about 40 per cent of the able bodied Eritrean men were recruited into the colonial army as cannon fodder first in the invasion of Ethiopia and later until 1941 in its pacification. The Eritrean rural economy was left to ruins as a consequence.

Life was good for the sons of Nurnebi and their very close relative Yacob, Tewelde.  Eduardo had, as a soldier a rougher time but his younger brother Edmundo was very much privileged as a high clerk in the colonial bureaucracy. Moreover, he had several opportunities to visit Italy. Their schooling at the Catholic Mission in Massawa had given them a competitive advantage and their loyalty to the Italian colonial system reinforced their position of privilege.

There is no record as to the private lives of the sons of Nurnebi but TG wrote both sons of Nurnebi were married and had children. Gebriel and Michael were the sons of Edmundo Nurnebi. Estifanos was the son of Eduardo Nurnebi . Tewelde had a son named Iyassu.  The grandsons of Nurnebi were educated at the Catholic School in Keren and were converted to Catholicism, whereas Iyassu, the son of Yacob was educated at Evangelical School at Beleza (p.179).

But in the 1930s the sons of Nurnebi (Eduardo and Edmundo) begun to criticise the policies of Italian colonialism and the role assigned to the Eritreans. By 1935, the sons of Nurnebi had developed a very critical attitude towards Italian colonialism.

On the eve of Italian invasion, Eduardo and Edmundo and their children and their families were transferred to Somalia; their loyalty to Italy was suspected (p.190).

TG leaves the sons of Nurnebi exiled in Somalia. They do not display sophisticated awareness other than vague criticism against Italian colonialism and its ambitions to invade Ethiopia.

Gebriel, the son of Edmundo and the grandson of Nurnebi was, thanks to his education at the Catholic School in Cheren, employed as a clerk in the government in Mogadishu, while his childhood friend Iyassu Yacob Tewelde was placed at the Italian intelligence unit after a short training in Italy (p.179). His cousin Estifanos Eduardo Nurnebi  born around 1910, was also exiled in Somalia.

Although the Italian invasion of Ethiopia took place on October 1935, preparations for war started already in 1932. One of the few Eritreans who followed the developments keenly was Gebriel, the son of Edmundo Nurnebi. Gebriel rejected the widely spread belief that Menelik sold Eritrea to Italy. Gebriel argued that Menelik did not have the power to sell Eritrea to Italy; he signed the peace treaty because he did not consider Medri Bahri (Eritrea) as his own territory. Menelik, would not negotiate over Aksum because he believes that Aksum is the origin of [the nation] (p192).

Yet, few months before the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, Gebriel, his cousin Estifanos and his uncle Eduardo, together with 12 other Eritreans were brought to a military court in Mogadishu on charges of treason – for spying for Ethiopia. And on 30 October 1935, Gebriel was sentenced to death. The case against Gebriel appeared convincing; he was accused of writing such statements: “It is a sin to participate in the war that Italy is planning against our Ethiopian brothers “(208). Estifanos Eduardo was condemned for 16 years imprisonment.

Due to his high education and the reputation of his father (Cavaliere Ednumdo), Gebriel was a privileged prisoner. He was interrogated by the political office from Asmara with the intention of changing the death sentence into life imprisonment. But Gebriel was intransigent; he defended his support for Ethiopia. TG makes Gebriel state categorically that “Eritreans would prefer their underdeveloped lifestyles than to live in material comfort under racist colonial rule. People long after the life that they had before your arrival” (pp. 225-6).

The death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment due to the intervention of his friend Iyassu Yacob Tewelde, who had a high position at the colonial bureaucracy.  Eduardo Gebre Medhin alias Nurnebi was soon released as he was not in any way implicated. His son Estifanos was also released.

Iyassu the son of Yacob Tewelde entered Addis Ababa with the victorious Italian army. Iyassu Yacob supported the Italians in Ethiopia throughout.

On December 1939 Gebriel, while still in prison, got his second child Debesai (the first died soon after birth) the fourth generation of the Nurnebi line of descent.

When Italy invaded Ethiopia, TG wrote that many Eritreans from all corners demonstrated to which side they belonged; they were on the side of Ethiopia. TG further wrote that those Eritreans who suffered a generation under racist system came out in support of Ethiopia. And those Eritreans who had sought refuge in Ethiopia prior to the war joined their Ethiopian patriots against Italy. Moreover, Eritreans who had better education (and they were considerable) were at the service of the Ethiopian imperial government such as Lorenzo Taezaz and Efrem Tewelde Medhin (238-239). Furthermore, TG presents in concise form the hundreds of Eritreans who defected from the Italian army and joined the Ethiopian resistance forces which made Italian occupation extremely tenuous.

Was it really the racist colonial policies and praxis alone that pushed Eduardo, the son of Nurnebi and Gebriel, the son of Edmundo Nurnebi to support Ethiopia and its struggle for liberation from Italian occupation? TG mentioned Lorenzo Taezaz and Efrem Tewelde Medhin, Eritreans who worked for the emperor in exile and after. Were these people contributing their services as an act of solidarity of black people supporting other black people in their war for liberation against white rule?

As far as Ethiopia is concerned, all the Eritreans who fought on the side of their Ethiopians compatriots did so as Ethiopians and those who survived the war were treated and rewarded as other Ethiopians. TG cannot share this view because he had already made up his mind that Eritreans joined Ethiopians in their war against Italian occupation as black people helping other black people. TG knows very little about the working of Italian colonialism in Eritrea and how it interacted with the various ethnic groups in the country. Many Eritreans in the highlands (as opposed to those in the lowlands), continued to resist the presence of Italian rule as Ethiopians. In 1986 I published an anthology of my articles on Eritrean reactions to colonial rule under the title: No medicine for the bite of a white snake: notes on nationalism and resistance in Eritrea, 1880-1940. TG did not either discover it or deliberately ignored it.

Eduardo Nurnebi died and was buried in Mogadishu while his brother Edmundo was buried in Asmara. TG does not provide information as to when the brothers died but it appears that they died before 1940. (p.272) Yacob, their friend was alive as well as his son Iyassu, all staunch supporters of Italian colonialism. In the early months of 1940, the grandson of Yacob Tewelde (whose name is not mentioned) was recruited by the Italians to fight against the British.

Gebriel Edmundo Nurnebi was released in 1941 and he soon became a friend of the most influential people in Ethiopia. Gabriel served as high government official from the early 1940´s until his death in 1983. And he supported the union of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Gebriel Edmundo was a very good friend of Ras Asrate Kassa, the governor general of Eritrea and a member of the Ethiopian Imperial Crown Council (p.339).

TG devotes many pages on the political events that took place in Eritrea – a description that shows very little knowledge of the political dynamics of the region.

Gabriel Edmundo Nrunebi and Iyassu Yacob Tewelde met in Addis in the late 1960s. Iyassu lived in Rome, but a had son, Fedai (born 1953) who later joined the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (established 1971).

Debesai and Mekonen, the great grandsons of Nurnebi grew in Addis Ababa. Gebriel and Lula his wife had ten children. Mekonen was a friend of Mohamed Kidan (bron 1948) in Cheren and an active member of the Eritrean Liberation Front (established 1961). In 1976, Mekonen the son of Gebriel, the son of Edmundo and the son of Nurnebi joined the EPLF (P.344).  The circumstances for joining the EPLF show the immaturity of youth and a communication gap between children and parents. He was persuaded to join the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front on the rumour that Eritreans were not allowed to compete for positions at the Ethiopian Airlines because there were already too many of them.  Mekonen joined the EPLF in 1976 and died in the battle front in 1982.

Gebriel and his wife moved to Asmara in the 1970s and Gebriel died in August 1983 (369).

Habteab Gebriel who lived in the USA came to Eritrea via Sudan at the height of the “Eritrean war of Liberation” looking for his brother Mekonen (374). He found out, much later that is after the independence of Eritrea, that his brother died already in 1982.

Iyassu Yacob Tewelde returned to Asmara from Rome and died towards the end of 1994.

Fedai Iyassu (born 1953) and Debesai Gabriel(born 1939)  were alive in Asmara in 2017 when the book went to print.

Now that I have described the contents of the book, I wish to evaluate it on its merits as a political biography of the Nurnebi family stretching over four generations.  This is not a political biography of Nurnebi and his descendants. It is a work of fiction woven around their lives. The work does not become more credible because it is built around real people. TG knows very well that he is engaged in a work of fiction, but he allows his publisher to state categorically that it is a true history of politics and espionage. It is a false claim.

TG can invent any history he wishes as long as he informs the reader that he is engaged in work of fiction or invention. He does not have a license as a writer, and much less as a person, to present a work of fiction for what it is not.

There is no file on Nurnebi Bechit in the colonial archives. But there is a file on Gebriel Edmundo Gebremedhin. We know Gebre Medhin was the Christian name imposed on Nurnebi by the Catholic mission at the time when his two sons were admitted.

TG can create a Nurnebi file which he did. TG has all the right to exploit his creative imagination. But he crosses an ethical line when he fails to inform his reader that the Nurnebi file is a work of his imagination.

But how good is it as a work of fiction? It is bad because TG fails to draw the line between what he writes and what his characters believe and write. His treatment of Nurnebi is beyond all criticism. He deserves a much better treatment – similar if not more than that given to another contemporary of Nurnebi, namely, Blatta Gebre Egziabeher Gilamariam.

The Nurnebi brothers (Eduardo and Edmund) are not given much voice and the social and political environment they lived is not well presented. Italian colonialism was experienced in more complex ways than TG could grasp. I think TG could have done some more research and describe even in pictures the evolution of Asmara and other towns and the strategies that Italy used to keep and control Eritrean resistance. Edmundo was a staunch supporter of Italian colonialism, whereas Eduardo was not. TG could have elaborated much more on how and why the two brothers (well paid by the colonial system) had different understanding of Italian colonialism.

Even the life and times of Gebriel Edmundo Nurnebi is treated in a very shallow manner, apart from the fictious conversation between Gebriel and the interrogating political officer from Asmara. Gebriel spent most of his life in Ethiopia, as high government official and he supported the union between Eritrea and Ethiopia, in the 1940s and 1950s. Why did Gebriel perceive the union of Eritrea with Ethiopia as a form of liberation of Eritrea? TG provided no information on the political thinking of Gebriel. TG did not want to describe the world of Gebriel as Gebriel would have wished it because TG did not support the politics of Gebriel.

The centre point for the book is the young boy Mekonen Gebriel who joined the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front in 1976 and who unfortunately died in battle in 1982. The memory of Mekonen was cherished and kept alive by Debesai, his elder brother. The documents were handed in a free and independent Eritrea in 2015. In reality, TG was handed a single file and some family mementos.

The Nurnebi file shows the ambiguity of TG as regards the history of Eritrea and Ethiopia. On the one hand TG maintained that there were no bonds (cultural, political ideological) that united the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia. On the other hand, he is forced (by the positions the sons and grandsons of Nurnebi took on Ethiopia) to deal with their history and reluctantly agree with them. Yet he does a rather poor job of it all. However, in spite of its shortcomings The Nurnebi File tells more about the bonds that unite the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia – resilient bonds that withstood colonialism and other external interventions – than TG is willing to admit.

About Tekeste Negash (Prof)

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  • Ismail AA

    Selam all,

    I am coming in a bit late to this discussion. Much has been said about this Negarit edition. As we all know, Saleh has reinforced course skin when confronted by povocations that aim to distract him from his principal mission. But, there is always limit to what a person can tolerate. It is the same with many focused opinion makers operating in struggle to rid Eritrea and its people of the dictatorship. Along the way the work in progress, it gets encumbered by some socio- political scams that pop up on the margins of society from time to time.

    It is like a cereal field. When elements that feed the crop to pass through natural growth to maturation, some weed types find opportunity to invade and feed interspersing among the real crop in the field. When weather and water gets lacking, some weeds mimic the real cereal crop and morph to what our folks in Kebessa Eretra call ሓርኢ እኽሊ – ugly and black cereal like seeds.

    Thus, what Saleh deservedly described and vigorously punched are the same: fringe groups that appear on the margins as “Harie AKli” of society. Actually, a society does also produce waste, and if not disposed off in time, they can become incubators of ominous disease that wreak havoc. One of ways of getting rid of the waste of society is what Saleh has done by way of this edition of Negarit. Sensible and worthy Eritreans who have been watching those groups and individuals should support such moves. Society should not let its waste rot on its margins till the “Harie AKli” claim ground and become burden to remove.

  • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

    ሰላማት ናይ ሃገረይ ህዝቢ
    ከም ንግስቲ-ኣልቦ ንህቢ

    ከም ሕሱም ነቢዐ
    ኣነውን ከምዝመውት ረሲዐ
    ናይ ዓለም ነገር ሰሲዐ

    ዓርከይ ጭር ምሰበለ
    ሀይ! ኢሉ ይበኪ መዓልካ ከይበለ
    ኣይተረደኣንን ‘ንታይ ከምዝኾነ
    ግን ርዱእ ‘ዩ ኔሩ ከምዝሓዘነ

    ሞት ኣዲኡ
    ዝቐብራ ስኢና ብጀካ ዝኣረገ ሓው ቦኡ

    መን ‘ዩ ሬሳ ከሻኽሞ
    ጭር ምስ በለ መሬት ወዲ-ሰብ ገረሞ
    ናይ ብዙሓት ሰባት ከመይሉ ንበይኑ ክዓሞ

    ወጻኢ ካብ ንቡር
    ንዝሞተ ክሰኣን ዝቐብር
    እከለ ሞይቱ ‘ሉ ዝሕብር

    ካብ ተሳእነ
    ናጻ ኣውጺአካ ዝብል ምስ ባዕዲ ካብ ወገነ
    ሕጊ ኣልቦ ኴኑ መሪሕ ኣልቦ ካብ ኮነ
    ሽዑኡ ‘ኳ ‘ዩ ‘ንቋዕ ኣይወለድኩ ዝበለ

    ሓንጎል ተዓደለ
    ሕስብ ምሰበለ
    ዝኹሉ ዓመታት ከመይ ለ
    ልበይ ናብ ህግደፍ ዘበለ

    ዓድና ብዋሕዲ ሰብ ጭር ኢሉ
    ሃገር ንታይ ክትመስል ንሕና ዘይብሉ
    በጃኻትኩም ኣስተውዕሉ

  • Sultan M.G.

    To all Eritreans, who can understand Tigrinya, Tograyit wo Blenayit!
    Enjoy my “ crazy” cousin’s Talk Show!
    The Adu Show!

  • Selam All,
    Who can tell us more? Who can inform us what exactly is happening in the region? There is this news that tplf has organized and armed anti-regime forces from Eritrean refugees and other opposing forces, with the aim to depose the incumbent Eritrean government and replace it with a puppet government.
    The Eritrean regime is reciprocating by moving the army to the borders. The news doesn’t say the stand of the Ethiopian government.
    Tplf’s plan is to form a puppet government in Eritrea that could save it from the tight situation it has created for itself.
    The attempt on IA had failed as we heard, and now this.
    Is a rouge state that is ready to put the whole horn of Africa on fire forming in the region?
    What is the truth and what is fake news? Any idea?
    South of the Mereb the Ethiopian government is saying that it is not going to sit and look as tplf does whatever it likes, which is worrisome. Jawar is fanning the flame.
    In my opinion, tplf is playing with fire, and it is dragging the whole region, itself included, into the abyss.

    • Nitricc

      There is this news that tplf has organized and armed anti-regime forces from Eritrean refugees and other opposing forces, with the aim to depose the incumbent Eritrean government and replace it with a puppet government.

      Hi Horizon; it is not new that TPLF trying this BS but I can tell you, no Eritrean will go out and carry TPLF’s mission. Sure. there are few after TPLF’s cash and they make sure they get paid but in reality; TPLF is the dumbest organization ever existed on this world. They never learn from their experience.To your point, there is something brewing, I believe, because the Eritrean chief of staff is in Addis; why? Ethiopia and the PMAA government is in a great stress. Egypt is not only modernizing her weapons but she logged in with security council, something Eritrea failed to do and accused as starting the war with Ethiopia, in fact Eritrea is the victum . Sudan is currently in Ethiopian land because Sudan sensed Ethiopians weakness and instability.TPLF finds this situation perfectly fitting and demanding all the ridicules demands that will end the unified Ethiopia. The only friend you have left is Eritrea and she send her chief of staff to confer with your issue. I am sorry Eritrea has be implicated on this mess, but that is Eritreans stand for, loyalty to their words. When PMAA the first time came to Asmara, PIA gave him his word, it is not going to be easy but we are behind your back, all the way. there one understanding, that is TPLF must be eliminated from the face of the Erath and I believe the time has come. Ethiopia is under great danger and the country you hate and the government you despised is on your side. do I agree? NO; but that is not my decision. You killed us, you make our youth to be wasted, you tried every thing kill Eritrea, but Eritrea showed up on your darkest hours. The point; there will be a war and Eritrea already signed up for it, by sticking on your side. I know you are ungrateful but that what Eritreanism means, stick with what you believe and Eritrea believes in one and greater Ethiopia. If you think TPLF cares about Ethiopia, think again.

  • Nitricc

    Hi all; I just read the content of this post by Tekeste Negash. I never heard this guy in my life, but I wouldn’t say I am in the know of the history but I can tell the Article is written for purpose. it seems to me, the professor is disappointed that he didn’t write the book by him self. it seems, some body beat him to the punch. This is just my take. Eritreans and Eritrea is under all out attack from the Tigryans by using the Agazinas. It is clear that the secret for Eritrea’s exitance is her unity and they are up in arms to destroy this unity by any means necessary. Ask yourself, why now this professor to write such thing at point in time? why in this web-site? Eritreans, be aware, your existence it didn’t come through the good will of the international community but through your blood and flash. The agenda is simple and clear, your unity must be destroyed and this article is one of the testimony for it. The great Ismail AA commented on the article and the reaction of Aron, the self claimed Agazian is gives you the exact point. I know the detachments, disappointment and dislike the current government of Eritrea, I get that but you have a bigger fish, Eritrea. how ever, I ask what is the choice?
    I am confident, Eritreans will come out of this and solve whatever the problem is but you can’t afford it to breach your unity. The attack is on in full scale. My plea is please give the chance to the incoming generation to do their part. I have no problem with Tigray or Ethiopia, I wish them well, but Ethiopia is Ethiopia and Eritrea is Eritrea. Your unity is under full scale attack. Again what is point for this professor to write such article at this point in time and on this web-site? I leave to you. but if you ask me, it is another attack at your unity. That is all you have, your unity, protect it.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Nitricc,

      I fully concur with your concern. Publishing of the review in by the professor should not under any measure be dismissed as innocent decision without intent. Internal hostile groups and individuals to Eritrea’s liberation and its accession to sovereign statehood have not ceased to lurch around on its horizon like honey bees who lost their queen.

      As a matter of fact, it has not been lost to the Eritrean people and patriotic forces relics of irredentist politics would stay on and off in the minds of groups and individuals. This would show up in one way or another and in many shapes and manifestation whenever the internal Eritrea’s body politics manifest disputes dissatisfactions. This is what we have been witnessing from time to time in both fronts – Eritrean and Ethiopian.

      The only hope emergence of neo-irredentism lies in internal conflicts of our nation. The more we cement national unity under just and unifying democratic system the more we deny it any chance, and disappoint Eritrean groups who present themselves to serve it as trojan horse to an array of alien forces beyond the borders. The point, thus, it incumbent on the Eritreans to work together to augment awareness and eliminate all reasons for disunity which just, trustworthy and democratic government would be capable to guarantee.

      • Nitricc

        Greetings the great Ismail: I will respond in detail tomorrow but the attack is real and few Eritreans are on it. I know you have un issue with the government of Eritrea and you should and for a good reason but let’s fight this and we go back the issues we have, The attack is well oranazised and well funded. Iam not saying or advocating the current system but there is a greater danger imposed upon Eritrea and I beg your support on this fight. I thank you sir.

    • Sultan M.G.

      TeAwet, TeAwet TeAwet Gen Nittric!!!!
      Field Marshall Basha Mahmuday is SMILING!
      For the RECORD, that has been EXACTLY our “ obsession” , for which we have been demonized and attacked right and left here at our own Awate Univ but hijacked by those Pseudo-Eritrean Guadalupe and the certified covert and overt TPLF Cadres with the TPLF and its Toxic Agenda Machine against Eritrea and Eritreans.
      It all started against the Eri Highlanders/ Christians since they are the BACK ONE of Eritrea then they intensified their campaign against PIA including Assassination attempts for obvious reasons:
      -For “Being their nightmare enemy and the backbone of ONE ERITREA”,at least in their mindset!
      As you brilliantly/eloquently observed and said, they are trying their last ditch and chance to destroy ERITREA and Eritreans through any and every kind of modality including direct military invasion in their agenda, which is an old new FAILED trick!

      They are just digging their grave!

      The saddest thing I have learned as Mahmuday testified it based on reliable sources is that the YeAkil Movement was created, engineered and fully sponsored by the DESPERADO HIEWEHAT!
      I almost gave up on the movement based on the new developments!

      • Nitricc

        Hi MG: this is the time we all act. the danger is real and Eritrea is under attack. But we are doing something that Digital Weyane have no idea about. we will fight.

  • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

    መርሓባ ውሽባት

    ኮቪድ-19 እንታይ ፈውሳ
    ኢድካ ሕጽብ
    ካብ ሰብ ርሕቕ

    ኮቪድ-91 እንታይ ፈውሱ
    ግዜኡ ኣይኮኑን ኣይትሕተቱ ተዓገሱ
    ወይ ድማ
    ንሰላሳ ዓመት ደቅሱ

    ‘ዘን ክልተ ኮቪዳት ‘ንታይ ርክበን
    ንኽልትኤን ሰብ ይርሕቀን
    ስጋብ ክታበት ዝርከበን
    መዓስዩ ክርከብ?

  • Haile Zeru

    Hi all

    I like to draw attention on the following paragraph…

    “…. The Eritrean soldiers were accused of treason-(for fighting against their king and country) and thus were subjected to due punishment, which was the amputation of the right arm and the left leg (147).”

    I am musing on the following statement, “…were subjected to due punishment, which was the amputation of the right arm and the left leg “. I wonder if this is Prof. Tekeste’s view or TG’s opinion. I did not get the book yet, to read the referenced page. But that it is not in quotation it implies either the author (TG) or the critic (Prof Tekeste) agrees with the punishment i.e. with Menelik’s verdict.

    The amputation was a historical fact but to hear now (today) an Ethiopian say it was “due punishment” is quite telling to say the least. I do not want to go into long diatribe but suffice to say if we (Eritreans) had paid them (the Ethiopians POWs) their due punishment (amputation right arm left leg) in 1991 the Prof. would be listing all the international conventions why that was barbaric.

    This is an Ethiopian who studied history and Eri- Ethio history in particular. Yet his bias or call it Ethiopian-ego has clouded his rational, and academic knowledge.

    By the way Menelik did not execute his “due punishment” on the Italian prisoners. Why? save yourself the trouble of listing me the reasons. I know the ones that you list and the ones you will not.

  • Abi

    Hello Professor Tekeste
    ተከስተ ነጋሽ
    ድግሪ አስመላሽ
    When the no nonsense Tekeste is around, no fool will get a pass to deceive others.
    It is always a tedious and painful process to separate the wheat from the chaff. I thank you for going through the painful process to enlighten the gullible people so that they are able to differentiate truth from fiction.
    Of course, you never hesitate to whack the chaff to separate the wheat.

    • Selam Abi,

      Historians unlike politicians have this difficult job of telling the truth by bringing up the historic facts after a tedious and time-consuming research work. Historians are not palatable sometimes, to people who would want them to cherry pick and present history to support a view or political position. Remember, the Adulis kingdom to show that Highland Eritrea was not part of the Axumite kingdom, Ottoman Turks and Egyptians couldn’t rule Eritrea for different reasons unlike the Italians, etc.
      The professor seems to have disappointed some people, because he can’t help but tell the truth, the facts. The best thing should have been to refute his points, if it is possible, so that we could learn more.
      Historic facts in no way are going to change the political reality on the ground as they are today, nevertheless, there is nothing wrong if they are told whenever necessary. In my opinion, i have learnt a lot, and i should thank the Professor for that.

      • Abi

        Hello Horizon
        One thing that should be absolutely clear for everyone interested is, it is almost impossible to get away with a sloppy job when Prof Tekeste is around.
        It is a great lesson for those historians who are trying to be politically correct.
        The hawk is watching!!!

        • Berhe Y

          Hi Abi,

          How did you get away with your sloppy job on Eritrea history and the Prof own work:).

          It’s good that the hawk is watching because a lot Eritrean scholarly work is coming.

          I didn’t even know, Tesfaye Ghebreab had already published this book. In the last book he published, የቲራቮሎ ዋሻ, he was being interviewed and he said.

          People always ask me, how come you don’t write about Eritrea and I use to tell them, I don’t know much about Eritrea. But now I can say that I have. He also said, there is so much Eritrean history that needs to be told, the whole country is a history museum. I am 50 years old and if I am going to live another 15 years, I hope to write one book every year.


          • Abi

            Hawna Berhe
            How did I get away with a sloppy job? He was not my professor. I was lucky. But I am lucky enough to have worked in the same building with him. Actually, I got an “A” in Hist 101. ( Ethiopian History)
            Three thousand years of History!!

            I hope the upcoming books go through some kind of consulting before publishing. Even fiction writers consult experts.

            I volunteer to consult anyone who wishes to write a book on Eritrea:)

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Abi,

            I don’t know how to post the pics but check out my avatar, and there you will see the gullible people celebrating Eritrean independence.

            I think the good professor has been sleeping for the past 60 years.

            You see the problem with some Eritrean Tigrina like me is, we don’t know where their heart is. And that’s because it hard to differentiate if someone is great grand son of Alula soldiers or someone who was born and raised from in the highland Eritrea.

            If it was up to me, I would like everyone to go through this simple “legion of allegiance” test before I can really consider what ever anyone writes about Eritrea. And that is, if the person can say the “oath of allegiance to the country, that is Eritrea to be a sovereign and free and independent country”, just like the Americans do.

            If a person failed to say that, then we know where his heart is and I give BIG X and move on.

            It’s like what you wanted to do with those TPLF:).


          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Berhe Y
            በርሀ ሓወይ ኣይትኹን ዕውንዋኖ
            ማሕላን ልብን መን ኣቋረኖ
            መልሓስ ድኣ መን ክኣመኖ

            ልቢ ካልእ ህልም ዝበለ ዱር
            ዝበለት ዊላ ካተር
            ምኣስ ተጋግያ ሰኪሓ እምበር

            እንተኾነስ ኣይትጋገ
            ወለዶ ጸብጺብካ ሰብ ኣይትፍደ
            ሓሳብ ሰሚዕካ ምፍራድ ናትካ ጊደ

          • Nitricc

            Gaul Aboy Yosief; What do you think about this strange news going on? for me. it makes sense but I have great hard time to believe that UK and USA will be involved on such schematic take down on TPLF. we all know the wired and strange UK and USA embassies announcements and the Saudi Arabia game changer approach. It can’t be real at the same time, it makes sense. would you please give us your take. I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t value your take.

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Nitricc,
            Thanks for the kind words. I don’t think I understand what news you are referring to.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Nitricc,

            I think I know the news you are talking about. I don’t think the US or the UK has anything to do with the news. And if they were, this news would never have been leaked.

            But their actions and directive of taking their citizens who were in Eritrea and are not able to leave has been used to spice up the speculations.

            Here is a fact that I know what happened, with regards to the flight out of Asmara for US, UK and there were Canadian and may be other citizens who were in Eritrea.

            There were Eritrean (mostly I think) who were citizens of those countries travelling to Eritrea and they were since stranded and were not able to leave the country. I know a family member from the US and another family (wife and her children) who went to bury the husband.

            The US and other western countries organized a charter flight to fly them out of Asmara to Addis and from there to their destination, expense being paid by themselves.

            BTW, the US consul general has posted on his Facebook (I saw it on the weekend) on what the US has done to help the citizens go back to their respected countries.


          • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

            ኣሞይ ኣብረሀት
            ማይ ዘይጠዓመ ግጥሚ
            ይበል! ኣሰዃዂዓ ቃላት
            ጠፋእኩም! በዓል ኮኾባይ-ሃይላት
            ነዊሕ ርሻን ንላዕሊ ኣሞይ ምስተኸለት

            ኣድብያ ጸኒሓ
            ሕጂ ጉድ ሰሪሓ
            ግን ደስ ዝብለካ
            መኣዲ ገጠምቲ-ዓዋተ ሰፊሓ
            ልበይ ተፈሲሃ!

          • Haile S.

            ሰላም ምሃንድሻ፡

            ኣብርሀት ሓውተይ ውሑዳት ቃላታ
            ንሳ እኮ እያ ናይ ግጥሚ መባእታ
            እቲ ትጽሕፎ ምስ መጸት ካብ ስቕታ
            እዩ ዝመተ ዘተስእ መንጫዕጫዕታ

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Abrehet Haftey,

            I hope I didn’t disappoint you. I don’t think you got what I am trying to say.

            First of all I am not saying, any body because who he is born from you a better than anyone else.

            Let me give you an example. Americans fought Great Britain to become independent nation. Then the same people decided who wants to stay loyal to Britain and the king and who decided to separate and become a free country. Those who supported the king are called loyalists and those who wants to be independent are called patriots.

            I am not suggesting that we go to war, but we should have some ways to know whose Eritrean is loyalist to Tigray / Ethiopia and whose Eritreans is a patriotic to Eritrea.

            Then we can have meaningful knowledge and understanding the reason and purpose of what people are writing and advocating.

            I would like to know if this professor is loyalist to Ethiopia or a patriot to Eritrea.

            If I know for example he is loyalist to Ethiopia, then I and people like me we know where he is coming from and what his wishes are.

            I think those people who are “nebsa misay liba mis debesay” should come out and state what their wishes are.

            One way I am suggesting to do so us by alleging pledge to free and independent and sovereign Eritrea, with s as all its lands, waters, air, people and animals.

            One can say, one can sing all the song that one wants to hear, but who is to know what’s in his heart. We don’t but I feel much better knowing and dealing with people that I know their unwavering loyalist than those behind the curtain devising day and night to weaken and destroy us.

            I think the problem is they are creating unnecessary and unneeded wedges between the two people that can get out of hand, that’s my reason and how we, those if us loyal to Eritrea, stay focused and ignore the mouses from those that are loyal to something else.

            For all I care, they can pack their bags and leave and leave the country to those of us who wants to have a free and independent country.

            If I hurt some people and if singled out, it’s not my intention, I don’t think there is anything wrong asking someone to pledge allegiance to his country. American kids do it everyday and that’s why we will never find any American who betrays his country ever. Same goes for all other countries, and why should we be different. I can say confidently that we will never find an Eritrean Muslim or from lowlands who does not pledge allegiance to Eritrea.

            Hope I make sense.


          • Ismail AA

            Selam Berhe,

            Very good input. You have elaborated the matter lucidly. I agree with your take, and you have supplemented better what I tried to explain concerning the Prof. Tekeste’s review. It didn’t mean to question his academic and literary erudition.

            The issue on hand was his familiar political persuasion (at least to multitude of Eritreans) as woven interactively in the backdrop of a work presented as political fiction. A prof. who supposedly endures the strain of time would not invest that much time in reading a fiction that narrated historical development around an evolving nation-state for no reason. For sure, the purpose was an attempt to, let me say, to correct (!) what the professor thought contradicted what his own research had established by way of reviewing the book, and finding for it a space in a fairly widely visited outlet, which the Awate forum had provided. The core of the matter involve mindsets in both Ethiopia and Eritrea that still entertain recalcitrant politics of irredentism in the background of cultural, religious or even linguistic affinities that tie the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia across common frontiers.

            The one thing which many Eritreans observe and question is why the elements that defined the politics of irredentism involving highland Eritrea and northern Ethiopia (by and large) figure out and not in other frontiers. For example, why is this not (neve) heard across southwestern and northwestern Eritrea where the same elements do figure out?. Now, I were to ask prof. Tekeste about forging federal or confederal relation with Sudan as model for trial and then proceed to expand it to Ethiopia, I would surmise he would question my thoughts awkward. He would probably think he has never foreseen it or crossed his mind except as very remote possibility in the framework of some economic common market arrangements, which his, and of many generations, would not see. By the way, such an attitude is common to a wide segment of intellectuals in both Eritrea and Ethiopia who entertain enduring outlook that the current status quo, which forces of history had established through blood and sweat could some how be reversed.

            Thus, a reader of the review does not necessarily deploys critical approach because the review would change anything. The purpose is to read the review in its own right and add some input by way of elaborating the political underpinnings the message tried to purport or designed to purport.

          • Haile S.

            Selamat Ismail,

            Great retrospective analysis on a retrospective book review.

          • Berhe Y

            Thank you Ismail,

            It means a lot someone like you actually finds what I am saying of value.

            I know most if not all our Eritrean brothers other than the Tigrina, have been very patient and thread very carefully and not respond in kind to the provocation that’s been coming, because their words can be used to create wedge against their Christian compatriots as advocating for the Arabaization or Islamization of Eritrean Christians from the highland and doing the job of the Arab world. We heard this all our lives…

            But its important for people like me to say and spell it out and confront those people if they are loyal to Eritrea independence or they are loyal to something else.

            I was wondering why this professor chose to write in awate (I have never read his articles here before, unless I am mistaken) and I think he has the right to do so, but like you pointed out, he wanted (most likely) to spread his message using this platform to reach wider Eritrean audiences. I would have like to see if this professor has said anything where Eritreans and Eritreans of Ethiopian origin have been uprooted and deported from Ethiopia, where they stamped in their passport “Deported. Never to Return back” as per ICRC and when they got criticized, they confiscated the passport anyway.

            These Eritreans who have been loyal to Tigray/ Ethiopia has caused us so much suffering in the last 70 years and we should learn our lessons of the past and stay united just like our forefathers have done.

            BTW, they are free to advocate what ever they wanted, what I think we should ask is, to be honest to their intentions…and we wanted them to recite “Eritrea, Eritrea” as it will taste bitter for them to say it.

            We can’t just seat and be a dove when there are vultures who want to swallows us and be, politically correct of the obvious. What ever their plan is or might be, they want to leave a lasting hate and confrontation between the two people.

            Please proud and reasonable people of Tigray, you should reject these type of people who wanted to see you carry the burnt of their hate filled agenda. If they are Eritreans and they don’t sympathize with Eritrea from the injustice that’s have fallen on her people, how can you trust them to sympathize with the people of Tigray who they never have lived before. Eritrea and Eritrean people are happy to live side by side with you and share what ever that we have with you, as you do with us. We want to have a normal and peaceful relationship with you as much as we have with the people of Sudan and others in our neighborhood.

            You will benefit greatly, as we do if we accept our borders and we choose to live in peace side by side. Reject these evil apostles and their ideas.


          • Ismail AA

            Selam Berhe,

            “We want to have a normal and peaceful relationship with you as much as we have with the people of Sudan and others in our neighborhood”. Such an attitude sums up what mutually beneficial relation between citizens of neighboring nation-states should rest on when it set on a two-way North-South and South-North ideas transmission lane. When residues of nationalistic jingoism stubbornly continues to nest in the minds of some die-hard elements after the fate of the two nations has been settled, possibilities for peaceful future relations suffer as the past nearly three decades experience has demonstrated.

          • Abi

            Hawna Berhe
            That is a great avatar. Is that Isu riding the cart over the people?
            You missed the warnings since you were drunk with euphoria:)
            I believe that Alula’s children paid dearly to bring the independence.
            Anyway, it is not my position to say who should be considered Eritrean or not.

          • Nitricc

            Hey Berhe; finally, you got an aviator, please keep it. And please be tankful for the 10 millions our weyane brothers donating for the fight for corona. Actually, it was 20 million but As good as Eritrean’s heart, Eritrea shared the half to our brotherly people in Ethiopia.

      • Ismail AA

        Selam Horizon,

        I too learned a point or two; and there is no dispute on the competence and credentials of the reviewer as a historian and the tools he had deployed to practice his expertise.

        But the point here is a historian doing a pure historical research on its own merit, and reading some one’s work and making political statements that satisfy own persuasion by way of invoking proor research. By the way, generalizing and asserting a historian’s conclusion on some historical events as pure truth could be an unwarranted overstatement.

        And, one point in passing: No one is arguing that the prof. should have ‘cherry picke(d)’ to suit any one’s ego. The professor is being read in accordance to his known position on some historical developments related to the emergence of a sovereign nation and its territory.

        • Selam Ismail AA,

          As you said, it may be difficult to speak of historical truth. The original writer of the historical event and the person who interprets it at the present, could be biased or may not be able to represent things as they had happened a long time ago in the past.
          In this case, the author of the book seems to have reached his conclusions, from a single file kept by an individual. It didn’t come from an archive in a library or government department in Italy or Eritrea. This tells us that opinions and conclusions drawn from certain historical event(s) are as good as the historian researching the event. If the historian can come up with more historical facts, to support his position, so much the better.
          My point is that we can’t speak of a monolithic stand on such issues. Some Eritreans believe that it is anathem to put Ethiopian and Eritrean history on the same page. That is their right. Nevertheless, if the known and accepted historical facts are told, there is nothing wrong with that. If we doubt and refuse to accept every aspect of our past history, then there is no history at all to talk about. Past history, as i said before, in no way will change the facts on the ground as they are today.
          In my opinion, unilateral elections in Tigray to be carried out by tplf is simply a show of bravado and it is much ado about nothing. It is not supported by tplf’s own constitution nor by NEBE. They even say that they will declare Tigray as the 55th African state. I have nothing else to say other than “መንገዱን ጨርቅ ያርግላቸው፣”.
          What about at the federal level? Who is going to accept the MPs from Tigray to the Ethiopian parliament? Either they will not dare, or they will be forced to carry out new elections, when the time comes. It is said that Effort will put EBirr150m for the elections. It seems that they have a lot of it to throw away. Easily gained, easily thrown away. That is the fate of illegal money.
          To tell you the truth, i am much more worried about what PMAA said in his meeting with the opposition. He told them in their face that there are politicians whom he characterized as “bandas”, and are working for a foreign enemy. That is a very serious thing to say, and nobody protested.
          Tplf, jawar and Lidetu were saying that a day after meskerem 30th, they are all equals, because there will be no government and no one to command the armed forces, security, etc. Jawar and tplf behave as if the first is ready to become the ayatollah of Oromia, and tplf would create an independent state. It is all about delusion due to obsession with power, and nothing will change, in my opinion. There will be a solution.

          • Abi

            Hello Horizon
            It is going to be a great day when Tigray becomes the 55th African country.
            How can we help expedite the process is the question of the .
            ወይ አነ! አለ ወያነ
            Did you hear about the attempted association on Isu orchestrated by ወያነ? I wish the well informed Eritreans comment on it.
            I’m sure Gedab News will bring us some reliable news.

          • Nitricc

            Hey Abiy; normally I am skeptical to this kind of news, but the whole thing makes sense. The TPLF desperation. The PIA trip in the middle of Corona. The persistence of the news and even some big wigs were buying it. I can’t be more happy if the TPLF thugs donated 20 million USD to the corona fight in Ethiopia and Eritrea,
            It is hard to believe but it makes sense.

          • Abi

            Hello General
            As you said the whole thing makes sense. The reason why Isu went to Addis not only to show that he is alive and kicking but to emphasize that he can go to Addis as he pleases and NOT the weyanes thugs. All the festivities in mekele for nothing. 20 million USD for Isu’s head plus a couple more for the finest whiskey went to the drain.
            ወይ አነ !

          • Nitricc

            Hey Abiy; I mean I will not believe that PIA goes to Addis in the middle of corona crisis just to talk about the locust and corona crisis. there is nothing they can’t talk it out over the phone. I mean this all could be over nothing and fake news but knowing PIA’s trip histories and action of the TPLF thugs; I am forced to believe it. Weather real or fake, at least we will have some break from the digital weyne for a couple of days. PIA will NOT GO Addis to talk about corona; he already refused the Aid that was Offred to him free! what is so urgent to make him leave his country while keeping his own people quarantined? I don’t know my man. If this things are true, then they just formed unbreakable bond between Ethiopia and Eritrea, witch is a great news. I can’t just see PIA leaving Eritrea other than in burring the TPLF thugs for good and off course 20 million dollars. Shabians love dollars. lol

          • Abi

            Hello General
            If you follow the news it states that it was the joint operations of the two countries security agencies that foiled the association plan.
            I tend to believe the ሹክሹክታ. Isu did not go to Addis to visit some nurseries or have coffee. It must be the most urgent situation that sent him to Addis.

          • Ismail AA

            Selam Horizon,
            Let us wait and watch. What I, and many, want is peace and prosperity for Ethiopia. Thank you for your input.

        • Aron

          Hi Ismail AA,
          I always understood and enjoyed your writings. I reread what the professor wrote after I read your inputs to have better understanding. I don’t understand your objection because the main criticism of the professor towards TG’s book is that he presented fiction work as real based on actual people. He also stated TG’s conflict on the historical background based on the book without adding his views on it. I must have missed something. Help. Aron

          • Ismail AA

            Selam Aron,

            Glad to have in the forum. I am not sure what I had scribbled in the framework of the discussion add up to an “objection” per se. I think I have duly recognized apriori the established scholarship of the professor. Irrespective of divergence of political views related to how history ought to had been meditated to secure Eritrea as part of Ethiopia, Eritreans and none Eritreans acknowledge prof. Tekeste Negash as an accomplished historian.

            Having said that, however, I thought, as reader of the review, I could sense his salient scholarly input to refute what the author of yhe book under review had stated about development by way of assertions the professor had reached through his own research to establish the organic link of Eritrea to Ethiopia.

            According to him, and others like him, this link should not had been severed or broken by historical developments by the mere fact that one part of Eritrea had historical connection informed by culture, religion and even kinship. To sum it up, thus, what Italy and Ethiopia under Emperor Menelik II had settle should not had affected a fate precedents of history, culture and religion should had imposed to restore Eritrea back to Ethiopia. This was in fact the fateful folly in to which the the late Emperor Hailedellasie had stepped t commit both peoples to decades of war and destruction.

            Thus, to keep a complex matter simple, without measuring my status to the professor’s level, I tried to allude to points in the review which I understood were designed to inform the reader about the fallacies of what the author of the book wrote in regard to some historical episodes that led to the present status of Eritrea. And, to reiterate though, my modest cursory input is far from being an objection as you put it.

          • Aron

            Hi Ismail AA,
            Maybe I used the wrong word by using objection. I don’t know professor Negash’s background very well as I should and also I didn’t read this particular book that’s in play. From reading his review I didn’t get when you implied what sounded to me he had ulterior motive “A prof. who supposedly endures the strain of time would not invest that much time in reading a fiction that narrated historical development around an evolving nation-state for no reason. For sure, the purpose was an attempt to, let me say, to correct (!) what the professor thought contradicted what his own research had established by way of reviewing the book, and finding for it a space in a fairly widely visited outlet, which the Awate forum had provided. The core of the matter involve mindsets in both Ethiopia and Eritrea that still entertain recalcitrant politics of irredentism in the background of cultural, religious or even linguistic affinities that tie the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia across common frontiers.” I was only trying to clear my mind if I missed something. That is all. Thanks. Aron

          • Ismail AA

            Selam Aron,
            Thank you for engaging; and stay on if your time permits you. I and others would benefit from your input.
            Regarding Prof. Tekeste, I would recommend that you read his works if interested in the history of the region. He has been writing extensively on matters related to Ethiopia and Eritrea and background history. Irrespective to his personal views about events that led to the separate existence of Eritrea, his works are worth reading for their academic merit. .

          • Aron

            Maybe I used the wrong word by using objection. I don’t know professor Negash’s background very well as I should and also I didn’t read this particular book that’s in play. From reading his review I didn’t get when you implied what sounded to me he had ulterior motive “A prof. who supposedly endures the strain of time would not invest that much time in reading a fiction that narrated historical development around an evolving nation-state for no reason. For sure, the purpose was an attempt to, let me say, to correct (!) what the professor thought contradicted what his own research had established by way of reviewing the book, and finding for it a space in a fairly widely visited outlet, which the Awate forum had provided. The core of the matter involve mindsets in both Ethiopia and Eritrea that still entertain recalcitrant politics of irredentism in the background of cultural, religious or even linguistic affinities that tie the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia across common frontiers.” I was only trying to clear my mind if I missed something. That is all. Thanks. AronU

          • Sultan M.G.

            Your AgAzian bravado aside, your debate and articulation with decency and civility is but commendable!
            Ustaz Amna Isnail AA is NOT only a Senior ELF Veteran but a Senior Historian intellectually , who knows, had lived and witnessed Eritrea and its history in its making LIVE!
            He is a living history by himself by making history and by being exclusively part of same Eritrean history!
            He knows what he is talking about!

    • Nitricc

      Hey Abiy; I checked the professor out and he started from Asmara University and all the way to Sweden. I am a little confused how you knew about the guy. Would you please share?

      • Sultan M.G.

        That Fake Gonderie / Ghost / Tigraway (or is he an Oromo?),at times lies when it serves his interest .
        He claimed to be Gonderie after u said so then said he has never been to Gonder but 48 hrs. Then he calls his son Alula( no Amhara would name his son an “Alula” ), then he throws in good Oromifaa!/ Oromugna!
        Then he claims that his wife is an Eritrean but then he hates Eritreans like no tomorrow and teaches his kids to do so presumably, since he made his wife to hate Eritreans since he told us that she calls Eritreans Wenbediewoch!

        • Nitricc

          no Amhara would name his son an “Alula”

          Hey MG: why would you put that in my head? hmmmm? well I guess we have to take people as what they say they are. Although his hate toward Eritreans sounds strange but he goes hard against Tigryans too. well, let him be whatever he wants. he seems aa man of principal. I don’t know.

          • Sultan M.G.

            General Nittric:

            “A man of Principle”?
            Someone, who belittled, joked about trashed and demonized the legit Eritrean Struggle and the suffering of Eritreans by the successive Ethiopian regimes is called what?
            “A man of principle”?

          • Nitricc

            Hey MG; he does that I agree but he does it out of commitment to his country and regardless how we feel, he displaying his believe and principal what he feels about it. I rather deal with such person than two faced confused Agazian.That is why I used the word principal.

  • Ismail AA

    Selam all,

    Interviews of books are useful in many ways. Among them, both those who read the book or not benefit from it. The former deepen their understanding, especially if the reviewer would be critical, and competent on the subject matter the author of the book handle. And the latter benefit gaining information about publishing of the book and some information it contains.

    Professor Tekeste, as an accomplished historian, fits in the category of critical and competent reviewer I have stated. Thus, there is much to gain from his contribution on information and deepening our understanding of the stuff in the book. I am one of the beneficiaries who has not yet had access to the book.

    Having said that, however, after going through the review the reader ends up with some impressions as well as points that urge reflection. One thing is asking one self about the reason and purpose of sparing time to read the book in the first place, and then deciding to embark on putting extra effort to write and publish the review for public attention or consumption. Of course, the first part of the statement needs no explanation. One reads books for many purposes – knowledge, information and aesthetic gratification. But it the rationale the second part the statement that draws the attention of acritical reader of the review.

    Seen from that angel, hence, professor Tekeste’s intention appears to be reminding the reader of the historical assertions he has been writing about and publishing in relation to multifaceted aspects of background relation between Eritrea as political entity with Ethiopia. At the center of all this lies the history and the actors and forces that had played role in creating the two as separate geopolitical entities. I think many of us who have read the professor and his views are familiar with his position in this regard. Here, in this book review, too, his thought come interspersed through the entire interview. For instance, he reminded us that the author of the book did not consult one of his works which the professor saw as relevant to the points he had recorded. There are in fact many instances which time and space do not necessity permit detail here.

    As a final remark, I would like to make the following statement. What ever the forces who created Eritrea and Ethiopia might have been, the relation between them as two independent sovereign entities has been settled through bitter struggle that cost so much in life and material to peoples of both countries. Legacies of the past be it geographical, religious, cultural and even blood relations serve as facilitating factors to establish mutually beneficial inter-state relations if they would be handled in proper contexts. As culturally and religiously diverse societies put together by colonial forces, and expansion in the case modern Ethiopia, what connects highland Eritrea to Ethiopia, as I have noted, also connects western and Red Sea coastal Eritrea with Sudan, Yemen or Djibouti. Our attention should not be drawn to our southern neighbor only. As an independent sovereign state that has decided its fate through prolonged struggle does aspire to live in peace and mutually prosper with its neighbors across all boundaries.

    In a word, it has already become overdue that our opinion makers and intellectuals should settle down and accept the realities on the ground and help us to craft future state-to-state relations on sound and useful grounds. The chapter of the era of irredentist politics – cover or overt – should be closed on all frontiers of Ethiopia.

    • Haile S.

      Selam Ismail,

      Your lucid input is always just, clear and on Target (message wise).

      እቲ ሽግር እንታይ ድዩ መሲሉካ
      ዘይትፈልጦ ኰንካ ኣይኮንኩን ዝደግመልካ
      እንታይ ድኣ! መልእኽቲ ስለዝኾነ ለኻኺምካ

      ኩሉ ኣለዎ ውሽጡ ዝቐበሮ
      ዕርዲ ተኺሉ ነቕ ካይብል ዝሓጸሮ
      ንኢትዮጵያ ዝርእያ ገይሩ ጎላም ዕትሮ
      ንኤርትራ እውን ዝተገምዐት ክሳድ ዕትሮ
      እንዳፈለጠ እቲ ኣቕሓ ዱልዱል ክሳድ ከምዘይነበሮ
      እታ ዕትሮ እኮ ነቓዕ እያ ነይራ ኣብ ጎሮሮ
      ማይ ሒዛ ዘይትኽእል ንነዊሕ ዘይትሰትሮ

      ቃልሲ ተዛዚሙ ኰንና ዕትሮ ምስ መንጠቢት
      መንጎአን ክትበርር ዝግብኣ ናይ ሰላም ርግቢት
      ሓላዊት ዕርዳ በዚሓ ናይ ታሪኽ ኣንባቢት

      • Ismail AA

        Selam Haile,

        Thank you so much for your this lazer sharp input. Many of us envy you for the faculty God endowed you as a gift. Poetry is an expression of a poet’s inner passion and emotion steeled by deep reflection on what goes on around him/her and in the society by and large, and comfortably deploys his/her command of language and its secrets to speak on behalf of him/her self to the wider environment. This forum is bless to have poets like you, Mehandis and Kokhob Selam. I am one of those who try to read you with an urge, and who benefit from a quick simplified meaning of complex stuff we get here from time to time. May you, and others, be blessed with health and energy. Thanks again, Haile.

        • Haile S.

          ሰላም እስማዒል፡

          የቐንየለይ ዝሓወይ። ኣኽቢድካለይ፡

          ዘይ ንኣኻ ንከምዚ ከማኻ እየ ኣንቢበ
          ካብዚን ካብትን ሓሳባት ዘታሕዝ ለቓቒበ
          ዝገጥም ከም ሎዃዂቶ* ብጥፍጣፈይ ኣላጊበ

          ሎዃዂቶ = Swift, makes its nest with its saliva. In south east Asia, the hardened nest of certain Swift species is used to prepare a highly sought for swift-nest-soup delicacy. Because of the collection of nests for this purpose certain species are endangered from extinction.

      • Sultan M.G.

        Viva Prof Hailat.

        Even though Eritreans are very FAMILIAR with this Prof and his writings, I have NO clue what the “ Good Professor” is trying to say after the core issue was settled and put in rest in 1991!
        ERITREA is an Independent and a SOVEREIGN UN Member State!
        Too late now!

    • Simon Kaleab

      Selam Ismail,

      The serious issue the esteemed professor raises in the book review is that of TG substituting fiction [his political opinion] for fact i.e. absence of professional ethics.

      • Ismail AA

        Selam Simon,

        I am aware of the point you stated. He did that with great erudition and competence. My point was an attempt to read the review between the lines, and pin point what the prof. wanted to fill in or correct things his in accordance of his views on the workings of history that created Eritrea with his political persuasion as background. This is the reason that led me to state what I believe in the concluding statement of the entry.

        • sara

          Amna, isamil…
          you said it well…. Ramadan Kareem!!!!!!!!!!

      • Sultan M.G.

        From metaphysical science point of view,you and your esteemed prof might be “correct”!
        But from Evidence-based Science and practical point view, your views are but fallacious and worse than metaphysics and Utopia
        Like or unlike your good professor’s evil intended and biased view towards/ against Eritrea and Eritreans ( by your esteemed prof ), TG might be legitimately biased towards the interest of Eritrea and Eritreans ;but like all other Authors, he cannot be a perfect Author either!

        We can say same about your professor’s evil intended or biased writings about Eritrea and Eritreans, which is proven as evidenced in this very “ Book Review” Article!
        Mr.Tesfaye GhebreAb cannot be a worse Author compared to the likes of your esteemed prof and a certain Prof Richard Pankhurst based on how they tried to re-write the Ethiopian(-Eritrean) History .

        • Simon Kaleab


          A waste of space and time.

          • Sultan M.G.

            Abi et al:
            The issue is not about the details of compiling together the traditions , stories or the hearsay when it comes to the history of Eritrea and Eritreans !
            And it does not matter as to who is right or wrong-be it Tesfay GhebreAb or Prof Tekheste .
            It does not matter what your esteemed professors or storytellers write but that the Eritrean People’s political and armed struggle was a legit one and it has successfully culminated to its conclusion .
            No matter what you chauvinists claim, it is a DONE DEAL and it is IRREVERSIBLE.
            Practically and realistically speaking,the above article and the book review are but obsolete and irrelevant except from academic point of view.
            That is exactly what PIA told your “ renowned Intellectuals and Story Tellers” in the 1991 Addis Conference .

          • Abi

            Hello Sultan
            Looks like your Blood Pressure is very high again.
            The problem is You are confusing your High BP with your IQ score.
            Just relax, calm down, take a breath, eat dark chocolate or ice cream and get back to me.
            With this kind of anger, you will end up back to a research clinic.

          • Simon Kaleab


            The issue the professor raised in his review of TG’s book is NOT the independence of Eritrea. It is about TG substituting fiction for fact.

            But stone head Sultan-Hope and others want to shift the topic towards their comfort zone – Independence. This is a Straw Man logical fallacy.

        • Abi

          Hello Sultan
          I hope you present your credentials as you promised. Then , only then you are credible to criticize the professors.
          Lab results and X-Rays from research clinics don’t count as credentials.

  • Brhan

    Hello Prof. Tekeste,

    Thank you very much for your book review.

    I have not read የኑር ኣልነቢ ማህደር but I was able to read another work by TG ( Part of A fiction). He is good story writer and his Amharic is like that of Ernest Hemingway style. It is known that his books are sold widely in Ethiopia. Also I have followed some of his interview and he had some astonishing remarks about Eritreans!

    Sir, you have made your arguments solid and I agree with you. Fiction based on true story should not distort facts. To be in a safe side TG should have made his book solely a fiction.

    Secondly, the book went wrong and this is not my first time to see books written by some Eritrea writers going wrong. And the reason for that is , in plain English, the writers are not seeking the review of their books by specialist before they publish them. And I do not understand the reason for that except to say that the writers are seeking to achieve fame and of course financial gain. Had TG forwarded the book before publishing it to you or other scholars , we would have saved ourselves from this fiasco. TG ተሃዊኹ ዶ ክብል?

    Last but not least , a good writer of a book that are based on true story always uses citation and from your review to the book , if I am not mistaken, there are no any citation of any sort.

    • Simon Kaleab

      Selam Brhan,

      Alas, no time for reading books! It is a full-time job navigating Masters of the Universe: Fakebook, Toxicter, Gooflyetube, and Instapompusgrand.