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Bridge Over Mereb and Other Rivers

[This article is being republished on awate.com with the consent of the Editorial Team of Discourse Magazine to which it was contributed. The maiden edition of the magazine which is published by The Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute appeared on Thursday, 19 January 2017. You access the Amharic audio translation of this article here. ]

In a 2010 interview, I asked the late PM Meles Zenawi if Eritrean ports have lost Ethiopian business forever or they would regain the lost opportunities in the future. He answered, “the demand of the Ethiopian economy is going to go beyond the capacity of Tajura and Djibouti ports.” He also said, “Ethiopia was beginning to develop the potassium resources in the Afar region… millions of tons per year that need to be transported” and that the closest port was not even Assab but Ti’o. And that, “under normal situation, Eritrea could regain most of these businesses and develop new businesses as well.”

It sounds presumptuous to harp only on the access to the sea when addressing Ethiopian-Eritrean relations. The two countries have deeper cultural and familial ties; it’s important to consider Assab as an opportunity for cooperation and not as a destabilizing factor. The scope of relations between the two countries should not be limited to access to ports. It is worth noting that so far, both countries have become victims of their closeness to one another.

Eritrean ports are indispensable for Ethiopia, though Ethiopia has a choice of other ports such as Port Sudan, Mombasa, Berbera, and Djibouti. If the current growth rate continues to hold, and with a population nearing 100 million, Ethiopia will need additional ports to satisfy its foreign trade requirements-more than what Eritrea could have provided. But it’s not all about seaports.

Peace and stability is vital for the Ethiopian-Eritrean border areas whose residents, ironically, never saw their relations disrupted even during the turbulent years of the armed struggle. The two countries share over 900 Kilometers long border and its security is of para-mount importance. Sparsely populated areas cannot be left open to infiltration; densely populated regions cannot be strangulated by red tapes. The two countries can ill afford a psychological wall to stand between them let alone a physical one that extremists from both sides aspire to build. Even China, which is known for its Great Wall, had to demolish it psychologically and convert the physical wall into a major tourist attraction.

The Commonality

In ancient times, the Aksumite Kingdom, which belonged to both sides, was the epicenter of an old political, commercial and cultural region whose radius reportedly extended to Mecca, Medina, Sana’a, Hadramout, and Zeila. It was an era where religions and cultures morphed, and languages enriched each other. Saint Yared, the legendary 6th century CE Ethiopian composer, who believed to have invented the Ethiopian Orthodox church chants and music notation, is a product of that Christian era when the radius of Aksum’s interaction extended further to Alexandria. It was a time when scholars contributed to a rich knowledge base, including religious studies. People moved freely from one corner to the other. Trade routes crisscrossed the sea and the land. Yet,  authority didn’t shift far from the Aksumite epicenter.

That was soon followed by the Muslim period and the region, one can argue, entered its second golden era. Arts, architecture and scholarship developed, and collaboration between Christian and Muslim scholars resulted in significant works, such as the Kibre Negest, codes, documents, epic and narratives that are much revered by Ethiopian Christians to this day. That period of religious tolerance was negatively affected by the incursions of fanatic Jesuits into Ethiopia.

Towards the end of the 15th century CE, the Moors were totally expelled from the Iberian Peninsula leaving behind Portuguese zealous with vengeful grudges against Muslims who occupied Iberia for almost 800 years. By then, the Portuguese had developed an interest in “Christian Abyssinia” and the Roman Catholic Church appointed a Portuguese national as its patriarch. In their zealotry, the Jesuits required Orthodox Ethiopians to convert to the Roman Catholic faith. They didn’t like “the [Abyssinian] Church’s tradition of dependence on the Egyptian Coptic Church.” Considering the religious relations between Alexandria and Aksum an aberration, they looked down on the Orthodox Christianity that coexisted with Islam peacefully before their involvement, and they planted the seed of confrontational posture between Islam and Christianity in Ethiopia. Finally, the fanatic Jesuits brought about their downfall when they demanded that Ethiopian Orthodox Christians be baptized anew!

The Jesuit involvement had in turn invited the involvement of the equally zealot Turks in the region, and it led to a religious civil war (1529-1543) between Hatse Lebne Dengel, followed by Hatse Gelawdeos, who led Christian forces, and Ibn Imam Ahmed, who led the Muslim forces. As coexistence between Christians and Muslims was disrupted, the region entered into an era replete with bloody confrontations that forced Muslims to cling to the wider regional affiliation of the past, while the Christians maintained weak links with Alexandria.

Most of the causes of the current predicament of both Eritrea and Ethiopia can be traced to a history of feudalism that continued until the 20th century. It is a history that made some Eritreans to accept Italian colonization, which they considered better than the Ethiopian oppression. It is also what led to the creation of the liberation movements. It is part of the history of the region that was never allowed serious closure and, therefore, the wounds continue to fester.

Blame it all on Past Ethiopian Rulers

Unlike the nation-states of the West whose social groups have mostly morphed into manageable sections, the region in question is still home to diverse societies. They were dismembered and put in arbitrary fences dividing indigenous people based on the wild and mendacious creativity of foreign cartographers. The foreigners are still active in the neighborhood. They are surveying Darfur, Sudan to build a new fence, knowing well that such undertaking ushers more mayhem and destruction.

In 1952, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia crossed a bridge over the Mereb River to Eritrea amid fanfare and jubilation. He had presented himself as a savior, though he was pursuing goals for an imperial expansion. Soon, that jubilation waned when the appeasement and cunning politics jumped out laced with the historical feudal bitterness, particularly for the Eritrean elites, who had tasted a short-lived freedom under the British administration. By arbitrarily demolishing the Mereb fence, the Emperor cast a spell upon Eritrea and Ethiopia; that gamble was the cause of the bloody era of destruction that lasted for decades until the “independence” of Eritrea that heralded the birth of a totalitarian regime.

Though the average Ethiopian or Eritrean doesn’t wish for instability, when the elites embark on a war, many people reach for their rusted guns, if not their spears and swords. For the most part, the elites have been working from an outdated manual when dealing with social and political problems; the enmity of the border war of 1998-2000 was further fueled by parochial rivalries that are based on exploits of warlords who knew little apart from pushing bloody campaigns.

Mythology is an important component in nation-building regardless of whether the countries came into being as a result of conquests or as a creation of foreign powers. Eritrea is a victim of both. A serious researcher on the social and political aspects of the two countries needs to go deep into history and mythology, though parts of that history are too recent to be considered a myth. Unfortunately, at any given chance, those issues that are buried in a shallow layer of the collective memories of both people are invoked to serve the narratives of the present. And they are so user-friendly for the gullible. They can be shaped and molded to serve any purpose.

Mythology is an important component in nation-building regardless of whether the countries came into being as a result of conquests or as a creation of foreign powers. Eritrea is a victim of both exercises. It has gone through the course of nation-building by paying heavy sacrifices: the pain of colonial rule and the armed struggle. Unfortunately, having accomplished the glorious goal of independence, Eritreans failed in state-building. The current totalitarian Eritrean regime sits over a deformed state that doesn’t reflect the aspiration of the people. Mythology and colonization have both played a destructive role in the current predicament of Eritrea. Today it is engulfed in devastating crisis, mainly as a result of its rulers’ exaggerated self-perception, aspiring to become the alpha males of the region. And the destructive rivalry with the leaders of the Ethiopian government led to a destructive border war, which is informed by mythology and emotional grievances. It became lethal simply because enough of the elites from both countries subscribe to it and fan its flames.

Thinking of a Sunrise

Policymakers in the region cannot help the situation without understanding the social and geographical complexities – including the region’s history and mythology. Post 1991 Ethiopia chose the path of a federal system among nations and nationalities, which seems to be working fine. But some elements in the Ethiopian political landscape seem to be lost on understanding the actual complexities in Eritrea; many Eritreans suspect that is why they keep promoting the idea of establishing an Ethiopian replica in Eritrea. Many Eritreans do not condone that, and not because it does not serve the hegemonic aspiration of a certain segment of Eritreans as is widely insinuated. At the same time, many Eritreans do not want to be denied the right to decide for their own regions. Self-rule within a unitary state is the most viable option for Eritrea. Also, reinstating the traditional and historical regional division of Eritrea would be acceptable by many political parties. Power must devolve from the center so that the regions can administer themselves without a central tyrant imposing his will on them.

Throughout our remembered history, Eritrean regions, sects, ethnic groups have lived in relative harmony, and there is no recorded serious division as in recent years. The mistrust and disharmony among Eritreans are mainly the making of the totalitarian Eritrean regime, which provided a fertile ground for primordial sentiments to be revived. In other words, the situation in Eritrea is exasperated by the repressive rule of the regime. However, Ethiopia’s role in helping prevent that has not been satisfactory – not because it is duty bound to do so but remembering that none of Eritrea’s neighbors have played a decisive role in the fate of Eritreans as Ethiopia did. Thus, its active role is not only a strategic necessity but a duty. Unfortunately, the other important Eritrean neighbor, represented by the current Government of Sudan, has disqualified itself from any role by choosing to be an ally and an enabler of the Eritrean regime. Ethiopian policymakers cannot afford to ignore the gap that is widening across the Eritrean social, regional, and religious divide. These divergences are too risky to watch silently; they are cracks through which bigger determinant problems could seep-in to make it unmanageable.

Moderate Eritreans believe they have enough leverage and goodwill among their people to defeat Isaias and his regime; Eritrea’s neighbors should focus on encouraging and supporting this strain within the Eritrean political camp.

Ethiopian authorities and the Eritrean resistance forces need to reach an understanding on the strategic relations between the two countries and people; once the intents of both are declared in a sort of genuine memorandum of understanding, the Eritrean forces should be left to their own devices, with less interference to reach strategic and tactical decisions. To this date, no such meaningful debate has taken place between Eritreans and Ethiopians apart from a few meetings and seminars with unclear agendas and conclusions.

Looking ahead, the often-repeated fact regarding the close relations between the two peoples should not be taken for granted; intellectuals and politicians of the two countries need to define and redefine these relations in strategic terms. The relations should provide tangible benefits for the two countries and not be considered ceremonial speech-feelers or words uttered for mere social nicety.

Today, the bridge that Emperor Haile Selassie I crossed in 1952 is politically and emotionally demolished; physically it has remained insignificant since 1998. Instead, it is essential to building a wider, modern, durable bridge that all should be able to cross freely, without dividing Eritreans and Ethiopians into toll-collectors and toll-payers.

Between 1991 and 1997, the two new governments signed many agreements: security, financial, economic, and political. As far as Eritreans are concerned, those agreements were designed and implemented with the PFDJ, the Eritrean ruling party, as a monopolizing power in mind. Still, though many Eritreans were denied the benefits from such agreements, they accepted it thinking the situation will improve with time. They found themselves splashed with cold water when the two countries went to war, and even the uninitiated ended up paying for the consequences.

The envisioned bridge should be erected with the intention of serving all stakeholders in the two countries with impartiality, unlike the bridge that Haile Selassie crossed in 1952, and it should also not be an unfair bridge similar to the one that connected the two governments between 1991 and 1997.

Though Ethiopia has made a remarkable stride in many fields and is pursuing the right path, both countries are on the lower rungs of the development ladder and are far behind in every human development indices. Both countries need a sense of urgency to build such a bridge since in this age neither Eritrea nor Ethiopia can afford to keep on falling behind. It is a fast-moving age and the power of mythology is diminishing and losing its efficacy. As more and more countries in Africa are going through – and succeeding – in the democratization process, current and future despotic regimes will find it difficult to rule with an iron fist. Building a durable bridge is a historical inevitability.

Eritrea is very much damaged after more than two decades of brigandage and repression; the band holding Eritreans together has been stretched so much that there is a risk it might snap. If the repressive Eritrean regime is removed without dealing with the subdued political wills of the society – and tens of thousands of firearms scattered everywhere – there is a genuine fear of serious polarization that only benefits warlords and gangs. Instead of a national army, Eritrea has a large armed force that is being managed as a private militia of a totalitarian regime. That poses a serious risk to the security of Eritrea and the entire region. Unfortunately, the Eritrean opposition doesn’t fare any better; it also holds the seeds for such disaster unless it forms an umbrella group that commands political authority.

Welcoming a Sunrise

Eritrea would benefit from a developed Ethiopia. A failed Ethiopia doesn’t translate into a victory for Eritrea as perceived by the ego-driven militarist bravado of the Eritrean regime. Ethiopia’s failure doesn’t translate into tangible benefits for Eritreans. In fact, the Eritrean regime, for instance, doesn’t think of the market that the Asseb port is supposed to serve; it is content with putting a division dedicated to guarding an idle port—rumored foreign use of the port notwithstanding.

From the outset, the Eritrean case was all about freedom and justice, never for anything else. Ideologies and partisan politics were not at the core of what the average Eritrean expected after the epic struggle. Of course, ideologies are important in a struggle, for they shape the future governance of a state. But ideologies are not an end in themselves. Unfortunately, since the Eritrean struggle delivered neither the freedom nor the justice it set out to achieve, some demoralized individuals have questioned the validity of the entire journey. However, resilient Eritrean patriots simply recognize that the lofty goals they pursued are not yet achieved in full. That is a confirmation that there remains an additional journey to tread. And, hopefully, this time when the destination is reached, it will not be based on goodwill or naiveté. Real justice and freedom must be achieved. And that is why the Eritrean resistance is ravaged by mistrust and rivalry – everyone needs to hear a declaration of intents as a preliminary guarantee for the protection of the lofty goals. They should strive to disallow anyone from eroding the ideals of the struggle.

Eritreans ought to envision peaceful relations with all their neighbors, particularly with Ethiopia. Eritreans should assure Ethiopia of their genuine intents: good neighborliness, security, equitable deal in accessing the sea, trade, and commerce. Ethiopia should also assure Eritreans of genuine intents: good neighborliness, security, territorial integrity and abstention from the operational heavy-handedness. That kind of conviction in itself would guarantee a prosperous, fruitful, peaceful and stable relationship between the two countries. And in such an environment, politics will be governed by the interest of the people, not by the narrow interest of the elites.

However, before reaching there, a serious discussion should take place between Eritrean and Ethiopian stakeholders, beginning with scholars who have proven track records, not those who would like opportunistically to climb the ladder of power without proving themselves, or investing in the struggle.

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

Born and raised in Keren, Eritrea, now a US citizen residing in California, Mr. Saleh “Gadi” Johar is founder and publisher of awate.com. Author of Miriam was Here, Of Kings and Bandits, and Simply Echoes. Saleh is acclaimed for his wealth of experience and knowledge in the history and politics of the Horn of Africa. A prominent public speaker and a researcher specializing on the Horn of Africa, he has given many distinguished lectures and participated in numerous seminars and conferences around the world. Activism Awate.com was founded by Saleh “Gadi” Johar and is administered by the Awate Team and a group of volunteers who serve as the website’s advisory committee. The mission of awate.com is to provide Eritreans and friends of Eritrea with information that is hidden by the Eritrean regime and its surrogates; to provide a platform for information dissemination and opinion sharing; to inspire Eritreans, to embolden them into taking action, and finally, to lay the groundwork for reconciliation whose pillars are the truth. Miriam Was Here This book that was launched on August 16, 2013, is based on true stories; in writing it, Saleh has interviewed dozens of victims and eye-witnesses of Human trafficking, Eritrea, human rights, forced labor.and researched hundreds of pages of materials. The novel describes the ordeal of a nation, its youth, women and parents. It focuses on violation of human rights of the citizens and a country whose youth have become victims of slave labor, human trafficking, hostage taking, and human organ harvesting--all a result of bad governance. The main character of the story is Miriam, a young Eritrean woman; her father Zerom Bahta Hadgembes, a veteran of the struggle who resides in America and her childhood friend Senay who wanted to marry her but ended up being conscripted. Kings and Bandits Saleh “Gadi” Johar tells a powerful story that is never told: that many "child warriors" to whom we are asked to offer sympathies befitting helpless victims and hostages are actually premature adults who have made a conscious decision to stand up against brutality and oppression, and actually deserve our admiration. And that many of those whom we instinctively feel sympathetic towards, like the Ethiopian king Emperor Haile Sellassie, were actually world-class tyrants whose transgressions would normally be cases in the World Court. Simply Echoes A collection of romantic, political observations and travel poems; a reflection of the euphoric years that followed Eritrean Independence in 1991.

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  • Kbrom

    Hi all

    ዶብዶ ሰጊሩ ዶ ኢልካኒ
    ….. ክንደይኳ
    ኣብ ዶብ ዘለኹስ ኣነ
    ብዝሓዝኩዎ ሓዊ ከይንፋለም ምስ ሓወይ
    ኣደይ ከተልቅስ ከይትኸሰኒ ነዓይ
    ንስለ ሕውነት ንስለ ኣቦ ኣደ
    ከይንኸውን መሳሓቒ ሕነ ከይንፋደ
    ካብ ዓይንኻ በሪረ ስግር ሰፊረ
    እንተ ንስኻ …….
    እንተ ንስኻ ……..
    እቲ ጤሳ ኣቦይ መፋተዊ
    ኣብቲ መርዓ ሓፍተይ ዘይኣታዊ
    ከየዕልል ኣፈይ ዓቢስካ
    ኣብ ሓዘን ከየልቅስ ሹት ትሓልፋ ኢልካ
    ኮኒንካኒ።
    ስለዚ መና ኢዩ ዶብ ሰጊሩ ኣብ ጣዕሳ ዝምብርከኽ
    መንና ኢዩ ብግብሩ ርእሱ ዝሓኽኽ
    ዶብ ሰጊሩ ኣይትበለኒ
    ዶብ ዝሰገርካስ ንስኻ
    ቆልዑ ትሕይር ዓይኒ ከይሓሰኻ

    ሩማና ብርሃኑ
    07-07-218

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Kbrom,
      Thanks for sharing this beautiful verses by Rumana.
      ሩማን ብሓቂ፣ ብርሃን ብሓቂ።

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Kbromay,

      Beautiful poem. But question to you: Do you consider the “reigning of justice” as revenge? Acquitting the “guilty” and condemning the “innocent” are detested by God, because both are the ugly form of injustice. They are abhorrent to God and a damaging impact to society’s rule of law and building trust on any system. What do you think? Can I demand give them justice to the victims of injustice?

    • Kokhob Selam

      Yes Kbrom.

      Nice, but you should tell us if you have asked permission .. Written permission when ti is from other person..

      KS,,,,

      • Kbrom

        Hi Kokhob

        I will. Thanks

  • ‘Gheteb

    The Atlantic Council: An Article

    Greeting!!

    In an article entitled, ” Finally, Peace in the Horn of Africa? “, Bronwyn Bruton sheds light on the recent development on the Ethio0Eritrean relation.

    Bronwyn Bruton, director of programs and studies and deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, discussed this important development in the Horn of Africa with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen. Here are excerpts from our interview.

    Q: What have the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed to and why is it significant?

    Bruton: The peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea in some sense is completely shocking because it has taken so long to get to. But it is important to bear in mind that the reason it has taken so long is entirely because of a small group of people inside Ethiopia—the old liberation fighters from the Tigrayan ethnic minority—who have refused to make peace in violation of international law since 2002.

    Ever since an international boundary commission ruled in 2002 that flashpoint territories belonged to Eritrea, Ethiopia has put up one excuse after another to avoid giving that territory back. This refusal to surrender the territory has been partially pragmatic and partially a matter of pride. After fighting alongside Eritrea to liberate Ethiopia from the communist Derg party, the leaders of the revolutionary movement felt indebted and consented to Eritrea’s independence. But then the Tigrayans were blamed by the majority tribes for “losing” Eritrea and, along with it, Ethiopia’s only access to the sea. It was considered to be one of [the late prime minister of Ethiopia] Meles Zenawi’s greatest failure—a black mark hanging over his and his party’s head. So the Tigrayans have always conspired to get Eritrea back and it has been a matter of national pride.

    Q: How after years of stalemate has this declaration happened so quickly?

    Bruton: Since the Tigrayan elite has lost power, sanity has simply prevailed. Once you take the issue of Tigrayan pride out of the equation, the plain logic of this situation is that both Ethiopia and Eritrea stand to gain immeasurably from peace—not only in terms of the massive economic benefits, which will accrue to both sides, but also in terms of regional peace and stability. Both Eritrea and Ethiopia have pursued proxy warfare in the absence of a regular armed conflict. Now that that’s done, the entire Horn of Africa region stands to benefit.

    Q: What specifically does this mean for Ethiopia and Eritrea?

    Bruton: It is not entirely clear what it means right now. Events have unfolded at breakneck speed, and it appears that many of the details have yet to be determined. What the leaders of both Eritrea and Ethiopia have jointly stated is that a full normalization of relations will occur, and in the short term that will involve opening the border, giving Ethiopia access to the ports, reopening the embassies that have been shuttered since 1998, and resuming flights between the capitals. People will apparently be able to cross the border at will—and no mention has been made of any tariffs on goods. (That was one of the sources of conflict before the war.)

    Q: What does this development mean for the United States?

    Bruton: For the United States it presents some challenges. In the first place, it is a magnificent opportunity because it will allow for increased stability. On the other hand, the United States has set up a kind of alternate reality in the Horn of Africa for many years, in which Eritrea was a “spoiler,” and was sanctioned, while the Tigrayan minority regime in Ethiopia was held up as a model partner and the shining white knights of US counterterrorism efforts. Now the Tigrayans have been thrown out of power, and overnight, democracy and peace seems to be spreading magically across the Horn of Africa—showing what might have been achieved so much earlier, if only the United States had not fought so hard to keep the old authoritarian regime in power. Neither the Eritrean government nor the Ethiopian people are likely to forget the US role in their long years of suffering, so Washington has some real repair work to do. In this one respect, it may actually be helpful that the Trump administration has put so much distance between itself and the Obama administration’s approach. They can try to disown the old policies and get a fresh start. But it may or may not work. By all appearances, Abiy intends to be a truly democratic, populist leader, and as such he may or may not be interested in courting US favor by pursuing Washington counterterror objectives across the region, at the risk of Ethiopian soldiers’ lives. That remains to be seen.

    Washington will also have to contend with a newly invigorated Eritrea, which is poised to take a leadership role on the regional stage. There’s a strong upside to that: Eritrea could be extremely helpful in resolving the conflict in South Sudan, for example, and could help the United States make progress in Somalia. But Eritrea is likely to seek progress by pointing out how badly US policy has performed in those countries, and by suggesting entirely new approaches that the United States may or may not find palatable. Eritrea, for example, has always talked about the importance of negotiating with all the actors in the Somali conflict, not just the pro-government actors—including parts of the terrorist group al Shabaab. That is the right approach to take, in my view, but something that the United States has fiercely resisted, and may continue to resist now, even in the face of an overwhelming lack of progress in resolving the conflict in Somalia.

    The bottom line is that a partnership between Isaias in Eritrea and a true democratic leader in Ethiopia will allow for the creation of a more authentic regional voice to counter American assumptions about the Horn. Washington is likely to find itself out of the driver’s seat at a time when it’s already worried by the growing Arab influence in the Horn. This is a reality that’s evident in the peace process itself: it’s something that Ethiopia and Eritrea sorted out completely by themselves, with precious little reference to the United States. To the extent that any outside actor is receiving credit for massaging the peace process along, it’s Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that people are pointing to. That is unfortunately the “new normal” that Washington is going to have to contend with—it used to be the only game in town, and now it’s not even the biggest game in town. In terms of influence, it’s lining up behind China and the Gulf States.

    Q: How should the United States respond to this development?

    Bruton: The United States will certainly celebrate the end of the border conflict, but I fear that it is poorly positioned to capitalize on the development because the Trump administration is so distracted by other events.

    The United States is going to be challenged because a lot of the newly empowered actors in the Horn of Africa—including the Ethiopian opposition that is now in power and the Eritreans—have long regarded it as a malign influence. The United States has put all of its military, political, and economic weight behind the Tigrayan elite and this Tigrayan elite has brutalized the Horn of Africa. They have robbed the Ethiopian people, they have kept Eritrea in a state of emergency for twenty years, they have imprisoned journalists and democrats as terrorists, they have invaded Somalia. They have done a whole host of awful things that the United States has either actively supported and condoned.

    Now that the balance of power has shifted, the United States has to come to terms with what it has done. It is going to have to envision a new way forward that is much more constructive and much more collaborative than the strategy that it has used in the past. It now doesn’t have an authoritarian regime doing business with it [in Ethiopia].

  • ‘Gheteb

    A Glimpse Into PIA’s Residence

    Greeting!!

    ” President Isaias Afwerki invited Ethiopian PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed and his delegation to his residence where his family, including his wife, Saba Haile and his eldest son, Abraham Isaias greeted them.

    That adorable little girl who sits on PM Abiy’s lap is Isaias Afwerki’s granddaughter.

    Those young women who rush to hug and kiss Dr. Abiy are President Isaias’ neighbors. That was not scripted. Eritreans really love PM Abiy”.

    PMAA and his delegation were treated to a coffee ceremony. They were accorded a warm welcome and a traditional Eritrean hospitality.

    This visit afforded us a glimpse into the life of PIA and his family. Their humble abode is a testament and not some posh presidential palace, is a material evidence that PIA does indeed live a simple and modest life.

    Despite all what his detractors allege, the man lives what he preaches. Simplicity. Humility. Sincerity.

    • Berhe Y

      Hi Gheteb,

      Who do you think owns the secret swiss account with amount of 695 million dollars? And that’s only what was exposed?
      How about the money transferred from Bisha transfer to swiss account as per their quarter reports and their response to the UN investigation?

      Before you tell us his humbleness, you should read the history of Mao and what he learned from him how to fool the people.

      Berhe

      • Nitricc

        Hi Berhe; here we go again demonstrating your stupidity. When was Bisha started producing and when was the 700 million came to light? stupid.

        • FishMilk

          Hi Nitricc. Berhe Y and other opposition social club members are simply desperate in despair. Look for ludicrous to surface as they desperately delve into their bag of chicanery. Most opposition social club members who are severely mentally depressed with borderline schizophrenia, now run a real risk of developing anosognosia. Sad…..just sad…

    • iSem

      Howdy:
      First, there is no more courruption than taking all the nation hostage and why are you so anguished to so restlesly lie about IA.
      ዎሓሰት ሓሰት ዎሓሰት፡ ይሀው ይኽጅል ኽጀሎ እግሉ

      And your butcher’s wife is not Saba Haile, she is Saba Hailu, minor but her late brother was named Haile
      Now there once a man in a village and he travelled away from his village for a over a year and when he was in his way to return, the village gossiper met him before he entered his home and broke the news that his wife was pregnant ,implying she is has she has committed adultery , to which the returning mans replied:

      ሰልፍ ሓሰት ሊደዩ ዎ ሓረ ሕጻን ሊደዩ

  • Abrehet Yosief

    Selam @george,
    I am aware of that. I am grateful to the Amharic dabbed soap operas. Thanks to them Eritreans have learned/not forgotten. That will help them learn how democracy works when they watch Ethio Tv.

  • Abraham H.

    Selam Awatistas, I’m, like any other Eritrean and Ethiopian, very happy to witness the peace-and normalization agreement between the leaders of both countries. But my full happiness is still pending until I witness a real change on the ground to the Eritrean people, in particular. The power grip and total domination of the society by the Eritrean dictator and his mafia regime should come to an end. The border with Ethiopia, which has never been demarcated, should be demarcated in compliance with the eebc ruling and in a way that minimizes the adverse effects to the people in the border areas. The national service should be limited to its time frame, our political prisoners, journalists, and all prisoners of conscience should be freed; the borders should be open for Eritreans to leave and enter their country freely and legally; the grip of the economy should end and Eritreans allowed to take part in the economy. And the process of an inclusive political atmosphere should be started by ending the undeclared 20-year long state of emergency, and by taking the first steps towards a constitutional governance.

    • Paulos

      Selam Abraham,

      With in the agreement, demarcation which has been the monotone and selling brand of PFDJ, has taken. number four position not even one of the top three in terms of priority and urgency. Not only that, the agreement was signed way before the pull out of troops. Only heaven knows if they eventually will where it is possible if there is going to be a border to speak of.

      • Abraham H.

        Selam Paulos, let’s hope and put all the pressure so that the two sides finalise the border demarcation, in order to put that sad chapter dead, so that our future generations not have to fight over silly issues as border.
        Now that the trade between the two countries is going to begin, I think one of the sticking points would be what currency are the two countries going to use when trading with each other.

        • Paulos

          Selam Abe,

          That is actually smart. Never thought about the kind of currency they are going to use. Hope the Forum explores that further and shed light on it. Thanks again.

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Paulos,
            Actually, I was thinking if PM Abiy wanted to do like Emperor Haile Selassie and distribute money to the people, the bank would allow him only 5,000 Nakfa.

          • Paulos

            ሰላም ፍትውቲ ሓፍተይ,

            That is really funny. In fact, it looked like it when people were crowding him as he almost pulled over to greet them.

            Not sure if you have seen it already where the young PM made a speech right after the signing ceremony and he said that, Isaias will visit Ethiopia soon. One wonders if his motorcade will be crowded by excited people or if they will feel sorry for him instead. He may probably ask to travel to Bahirdar for he will have fans fond of carrying his picture along side Mengistu.

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Paulos,
            I think he would receive a warm welcome anywhere in Ethiopia. Specially if it takes place soon.

          • Paulos

            ሰላም ፍትውቲ ሓፍተይ,

            I am sure they will. I was just joking. And thanks for the info on the travel to Eritrea.

        • Selam Abraham H.,

          The currency is going to be a sticking point, may be not. Whether we accept it or not, the economy was the main cause of the 1998 war, when eritrea circulated its currency, the nakfa.

          In my opinion, it will not be different from what happens between ethiopia and sudan. We should also have in mind the decision taken by the then tplf/eprdf government that in the border area trade will not exceed birr$ 2000 each time (i am not sure what it really means), re-exportable items will be traded only with hard currency, and the nakfa will not circulate freely in ethiopia on par the birr.

          I believe that the ethiopian government will adapt the 1998 decision and use it as the basis of future economic relations, unless unexpected things happen. This is the area where PMAA will not have a free ride. Ethiopia and eritrea are two sovereign countries, and their economic relations will be no different from others.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Horizon,

            I think if they stick to international norms and procedures, they will be fine. The problem is IA doesn’t like to follow norms, he is not an honest partner and he will always want to feel that he cheated you and have the advantage of leaving the deal, when he feels like.

            If it was like any other normal country (Canada and US for example, I know Ethiopia and Eritrea are not the same but there is reason for the base not the same).

            So from Canada point of view, if you travel to the US you can buy goods in the US dollars at most (credit card or cash / you converted brought with you from your bank). There is a limit how much you can buy (200 US per day unto certain limit) before you pay taxes st the Cdn boarder when you enter. This is the simple people travelling back and forth.

            At the business side, I think people sell in both countries (again using their currency / what ever the banks exchange) and follow the agreement of the free trade.

            The real problem is the Eritrean banking and finiancial institutions do not operate like any other standard institutions. For example, the recent policy of restriction on withdrawal of notes, forcing people to use cheques, forcing the exchange rate at value which does not reflect the real economic value, etc.

            So if IA insist on having both currency of equal value (one to one), instead of the market dictate them then that will create a problem.

            So ERITREAN has a lot of catching up to do to modernize its banking and all its government institutions, with regards to budget, its reserve, and bank rates etc, and total or some sort of transparency will boost the confidence of those who will likely choose to invest in the country and help the economy.

            I doubt IA has the desire or is the person to do it. It’s not that it’s difficult but I doubt he has the will to do so and that will lead to misunderstanding and eventually lack of patience and to potentially conflict of trade, etc.

            As I said before, PMAA understood him really well. He knows and he is able to stroke his ego, and he will fall for anything. May not be a bad thing.

            Imagine how he is going to treat him when he visits addis and when he attends the next AU summit, you think he is giddy now, wait till u see him then.

            Berhe

    • Peace!

      Hi Abraham,

      ነገሩ…..”ኣዲስ ኣበባ ደውለህ በ1990 ሚስኮል ኣርገሽ ነበር” ብለህ መጠየቅ ነው ያለው:)

      For now, let’s just hope all political prisoners be released soon. But the challenges ahead are even harder— corrupted PFDJ II. As YG said ህግደፍ ክህብትም እዩ— ሃብታም ህግደፍ very scary!

      Peace!

      • Blink

        Dear Peace
        Yes a rich PFDJ will be difficult to handle but not impossible if we can unite. The problem has been always from our side . I am sorry to tell you that we have been too blind about our own internal problems. We need a new ground work.

        • Peace!

          Hi Blink,

          True True True! What did we give to our people when they need help: well, we:
          -Revised their history
          – Disrespected their martyrs
          – Burned their flag
          – Demonized their Hero’s
          – Discredited their struggle
          – Apologized for their enemies

          ….and expected them to rise up.

          Peace!

      • Abraham H.

        Dear Peace, I think even the current pfdj is very rich; doesn’t it own the entire economy of Eritrea, with all the mining activities and the contracting companies, as well as its remittance business and the Red Sea economic arm of the org? Actually, it is said that the pfdj is richer than the so called government of Eritrea.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Peace,

        ሰላም ይኹን ንዓኻ::

        ናይ ምጣኔ ሃብት ሓጥያት ኣብ ኤርትራ መበቆሉ ናይ “ፓለቲካ ሰልፊ” (party) ናይ ቁጠባ ትካላት ክትውንን ምስ ትጅምር እዩ:: እቲ ነዚ ዓይነት ስርዓተ-ቁጠባ-መርሆ ዝመርሕ መንግስቲ ከአ “ደውላዊ ርእሰማልነት” (state capitalism) ተባሂሉ ይጽዋዕ:: ስለዚ ኸአእዩ ዮሴፍ ገብሪህይወት (YG) ነዚ ምጣኔ ሃብታዊ ዝምድና ምስ ኢትዮጵያ ዝግበር ዘሎ ንህግደፍ ዘሀብትም እዩ ዝበሎ:: ስለዚ ዮሴፍ ሚዛኑ ኣብዚ ጉዳይዚ is on target.

    • Ismail AA

      Dear Abraham H.,

      I understand your consistent focus on the bigger picture which the regime’s cheer crowds try to shroud in thick dust storm of euphoria. The first event prelude to genuine peace should unconditionally cause is release of prisoners. That is what we witnessed EPRDF doing through the agency of Dr. Abiy. But that happens in places where modicum of collective goodwill reigns. But our unfortunate nation has been afflicted by a one-man omnipotent despot.

      As long as he stays alive and rule, he knows that opening the huge and risky file of prisoners would be unbearable nightmare. Families would ask the whereabouts of loved ones.The least traditions and cultures would not let them rest discovering and retrieving the skeletons of their dead and giving them dignified burials in soils near places where their birth amniotic (መዳሕንቲ) sacs were buried. I do not imagine the despot would risk such a nightmare.

      • Abraham H.

        Dear Ismail AA, yes, the Eritrean despot doesn’t have the gut and goodwill to do those kinds of holy deeds as releasing prisoners, some of them who carried him on their shoulders and went through thick and thin with him. I don’t have the faintest illusion about the man, I personally gave up on him decades ago. But, if the ongoing normalization with Ethiopia succeeds, then Eritreans may have the opportunity to focus on their own internal matters. In fact any normalizations of relations with Ethiopia doesn’t have any meaning to the Eritrean people unless there is a notable all sided improvement within Eritrea itself.

  • ‘Gheteb

    Another Good News For Eritrea

    Greetings!!

    ” U.N. chief says sanctions on Eritrea likely to become obsolete

    By Reuters

    The United Nations chief said on Monday he believed the need for U.N. sanctions against Eritrea will no longer exist following its peace deal with Ethiopia.

    “The sanctions were motivated by a number of events that took place, (but) it is my belief that those events will no longer exist … If the reasons that led to the sanctions will no longer exist … they will naturally become obsolete,” Antonio Guterres told reporters in Addis Ababa.

    Guterres was visiting the Ethiopian capital a day after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s President Isaias Afkwerki declared that a “state of war” since a 1998-2000 conflict had given way peace and vowed to restore diplomatic and trade links”.

    • dawit

      Dear Gheteb,

      The single achievement of the so called ‘Eritrean Opposition’ evaporated in thin air!

      Long Live PIA ‘Znegese Ngusna’ and our new ‘Eritrean Foreign Minister’ PM Dr. Abiy!

      dawit

      • saay7

        Dear Gheteb:
        c/o: dawit
        Subject: the impeccable logic of Isaiasist

        The Eritrean opposition (henceforth “opposition”), which doesn’t exist, “worked day and night”, burning the “midnight oil”, in conjunction with TPLF (henceforth “Weyane”, “Weyane thugs”, “Weyane tugs”), who are “khedemti” and have no real power, to bring about sanctions on PFDJ (henceforth “Eritrea”). Now that the khedemti (who didn’t have any power over the UN) are out of power, the “opposition “ (which doesn’t exist), will no longer have such lethal persuasive powers to convince the UNSC to maintain the sanctions.

        Socrates is spinning in his grave.

        saay

        • iSem

          Saay: Add to that
          And the prime minster of a sovereign nation, PMAA is the foreign mister of Eritrea: because Eritrea was Ethiopia before Ethiopia was Ethiopia

          • saay7

            Haha iSem:

            Hear ye! Hear ye! And the “opposition”, which doesn’t exist, existed no more creating a new category called “beyond nonexistence”😂

            I think it will take them another 16 years to learn having an opposition is normal and there are a lot of silent opposition in Eritrea. Silent for a very good reason: because the vocal tend to disappear or die.

            Saay

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Saay,

            In Physics we are aware of particles that exist in more than one place at the same time.

            But, to exist, to non-exist, and to be beyond existence at the same time is past the frontiers of Physics i.e. it is Metaphysics.

            My current opinion is that the opposition exist, but are in a vegetative state.

          • saay7

            Selam Simon:

            Thanks for the illumination. So, how can something that is in a vegetative state (a coma) work day and night to influence the UNSC to place sanctions?

            saay

          • Paulos

            Sal,

            Vegetative state….ኣብ ቆጽለመጽሊ ኩነታት?

          • saay7

            Paulos:

            Language is the department of Abrehet, Kbrom and Haile. I try to focus on logic and its absence. Or when with iSem linguistic anaomolies. Like a person in a coma is said to be ቀልቡ ጠፊእዎ but ልቡ ጠፊእዎ means something different although ቀልቡ is a synonym for ልቡ 🙂

            saay

          • Paulos

            Sal,

            Profs ሃይላት and ሓፍተይ ሎሚቕነ ትምህርቲ ኣብ ምሃብ ዝሒሎም ኣለው። Chancellor ኣያይ ደሞዝ ኣይወሰኾምን መስለኒ።

          • Haile S.

            ሊቀ-መዘምራን ጳውሎስ፡
            ቆጽለመጽሊ ኮይኖም ማለት እሞ፡ ሰሲኖም ዓንቢቦም ማለት እዩ። ግና ምስ ኣሕዋተይን ኣሓተይን ከይተጻልኣኒ እምበር Vegetative state’ሲ፡ ሬሳ ኮይኖም እዩ ዝብሃል። ወይከኣ ከም ሳልሕ ዝበሎ ውኖኦም ኣጥፊኦም ወይ ከኣ ዓዊሎም እዩ ዝብሃል።
            BTW ኣብ ዓወተ ዝሓደረ ደብተራ እንጀራ ምስ በርበረን ጨውን ድፍድፍ እያ ደሞዙ።

          • Paulos

            ኣታ ሃይላት ሓወይ ድቁስ ጨዉን ድፍድፍን ብገንዘብ ኣይሽረፍ calorie ኣየዉጽእ። ዳሓን ንፍረ ጻማኹም ታሪኽ ክዝክረኩም እዩ። Educators are pillars of a society, as you know.

          • Haile S.

            ጳውሎስ ሓወይ፡
            ኣባይ ዘለካ ልግሲ መጠን የብሉን። ኣስመራ ተራኺብና እምበቲቶን፡ ጭሕሚ-ዓንተር ክሳብ ዝጋብዘካ፡ ሽመት ኣዕብየክካ ኣለኹ፡ ናብ ብላቴንጌታ። ኣይተስተዋሕዶ።

          • Paulos

            ምህረይ ሃይላት,

            ኣነ’ኻኣ ኣብ እንዳ የማነ ኣብ መደበር ዘለዋ ሜዞ ፖርታ እንዳ ሻሂ ፋታ ክጋብዘካ እየ፣ And ፍትውቲ ሓፍተይ if she could tag along with us, it would be swell.

          • iSem

            hi Paul
            አይፋሉን: ደምዝ እኳ አይጽበዩን እዮም እዞም ክልተ ደቂ መሬት፡ ሃገራዊ ኣጎልጉለት የኢዮም ዘለው: በዚ ንዓድና ደጊሲዎ ዘሎ ሰላም ቀልቦም: ልቦምን ሃምምን ስለ ዝጥመኦም ኢዩ

          • Haile S.

            Selam Semere,
            ሓቅኻ ኣነስ ሃነን ኢለ ኣለኹ። መዓልቲ ስራሕ ኮይኑ ደርፊ ካየልግብ። ኣብ youtube ደሊኻ፡ ሃነን እትብልን እተብልን ደርፊ ናይ ኣላይ ኣስገዶም መሪጸልካ ኣለኹ።

          • Paulos

            Selam Semerile,

            Shifting……Have you seen the new propaganda ploy roaming around a testament to the modest life of Chairman Isaias Afwerki?

            Here is the deal: We would rather see him living a high end life with all the mansions and all the toys as in Bugattis parked in his garage and being kind to the Eritrean people than living a modest life and being heartless cruel to the Eritrean people.

          • iSem

            Hi Sal:
            what is iSem linguistic anomalies ?
            so you mean when the Dean of Eriteran culturalal affairs Bereket M sang ልበይ ቀልበይ ከዳ ነቂላ ምሳኺ ተላዒላ means ከምከመት ምስልኪ ገሰት:-)
            or ዘላቂ ሰላም and ነባሪ ሰላም are all one and the same

          • saay7

            Selam iSem:

            The iSem School of Linguistic Anamolies is a department within Awate U. It specializes in flagging unusual words and unusual application of words largely as an outcome of Ghedli ክበሃል ይከእኣል ዪ ኣብ ንብለኑ ዘለና መድረኽ ዪ ማለትዩ:: Where is Admassie by the way? He had EPRDF Amharic down to hilarious perfection. I am noting that those who were hilarious oppo got all somber and serious on us when become gov supporters (Amdechoo!), sorry don’t mean to sneeze 🙂

            saay

          • Admassie

            Selam Saay,

            Just waiting till እየጨስ ያለው አቧራ settles. Our internal situation is in a murky territory. We are in ተስፋና ስጋት. I need to hold my breath till we know how the next election ends.

            EPRDF amharic. Well, EPRDF 1G ( first generation) is burning out fast and I do not think its “…ያለበት ሁኔታ ነው ያለው” “…የገመገምንበት ሁኔታ ነው ያለው ብሎ መውሰድ ይቻላል” amharic sustains so long. Now EPRDF 2G is out in full blow and we shall see what brings along apart መደመር.

            Admassie A.

          • saay7

            Haha Admassie:

            Well, Yemane Gebreab is not a member of EPRDF and when he spoke in Amharic he said:

            “አንድ የሚያሰዝን የ ታሪክ ምዕራፍ ዘግተን ወደ አዲስ ምዕራፍ ገብተናል የሚል እምነት ነው ያለን” So there is the post Abiy and pre-giddy Isaias tone. After IAs post deliriousness phase, we are now at the stage of “we have already made up for the lost 25 years.” Tomorrow, it will be “what war? Man, that’s ancient story.” Eritrea and Ethiopia haven’t learned how to have a healthy relationship: they only know state of ecstasy and melancholy. Nothing in between: because anyone who calls for reflection is anti-peace, anti-addition, reactionary, etc etc ብሎ መውሰድ ይቻላል:: At least you guys have some form of parliament, some form of opposition, some form of competition among stakeholders. We are a One Man Show. And right now, The Man Is Giddy.

            saay

          • Admassie

            Selam Saay,

            So Yeman is not EPRDF, you can tell which Amharic he was listening for the past 20 years from his comment. ለልቡ የሚቀርበውን አማርኛ ሲያዳምጥ ከርሟል ብሎ መውሰድ ይቻላል።

            You said፡
            Tomorrow, it will be “what war? Man, that’s ancient story.” Eritrea and Ethiopia haven’t learned how to have a healthy relationship: they only know state of ecstasy and melancholy. Nothing in between: because anyone who calls for reflection is anti-peace, anti-addition, reactionary, etc etc ብሎ መውሰድ ይቻላል::

            How true.

            Here it is ዘመነ ፍቅር ዘመነ ይቅርታ ዘመነ መደመር. And every one is saying it in ecstasy. Hey we all are for it. Who hates that – as SGJ said in his video.
            But it seems we are in love of the moment and the words not the deed. When the moment of euphoria is out disappointment is next door.

            “At least you guys have some form of parliament, some form of opposition, some form of competition among stakeholders.”
            እንዲያው በሞቴ ሳልህ አሁን በእኛ ይቀናል? When did we appriciate what we have?

            ሲጠቃለል ፡- ሁለት ወንድማማች መንግስታት አፍላ ፍቅር ላይ ነን! እናም ጌታው ምቀኛ ባትሆንብንስ?

            Admassie A.

          • saay7

            Admassie:

            Nah, Yemane was thinking in Tigrinya and speaking in Amharic. All that “የሚል እምነት አለን” is amharic for ” ዝብል እምነት ኣለና” which is a synonym for ” ክበሃል ይከኣል እዩ” Tigrinya for ” ሊባል ይቻላል”

            I think I am more optimistic than you about Abiy’s influence on Ethiopian politics. He may well be a transformative figure. Wherever he travels, he comes back home with a gift: this time it is Massawa and Assab, without firing a single shot (Derg) or lobbying the world (Haileselasse.) And all his giddiness about Eritrea is consistent with his general giddiness about every neighboring nation: Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, even (gasp) Egypt.

            But who is he partnering with in Eritrea? A man who is two decades past any capability to change. A man with a fixed world view of might is right, win-lose, and pretension of grandiosity (who State televison’s favorite hobby is to quote back his words to him: the ultimate in self-talk.) And before of his pettiness and jealousy, at some point, he will be jealous of the fame and acclaim of Abiy. This is why, while we have this window of opportunity, all the possible cracks for conflict and misunderstanding (including the festering border issue) must be resolved permanently. This was, after all, the only remotely positive outcome of the stupid war.

            saay

          • Admassie

            Selam Saay,

            Border: I agree that it is better to finish the issue while we are in “ውይ እኔ ድፍት ስልልህ” mood.
            1. There could be a “soft landing” which brings a relief to the people directly affected in both sides of the border.
            2. Our internal situation is not stable yet and we do not know what is coming next. The same could be true in your side too.
            Thus, ጊዜ ኣይትጸበ ጊዜ እንከለካ’ዩ።

            I am optimistic in PMAA’s intention and action. What bothers me is:
            1. If we the people have taken the message of Abiy at heart.
            2. How strong is EPRDF 2G?
            3. How will be the political order in the coming two years? Who are fighting for the throne and with what intention?
            4. etc, etc… እያልን እናስባለን፡ መቼስ ማሰብ አይገድ።

            Admassie A.

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Saay7,
            I know why the big boss was giddy, and I think you will also be so giddy that you will lose your Qelbi. He no longer has to do the somber and deathly interviews.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Saay,

            All the sanctions were self inflicted by the government and not due to the efforts of the vegetative opposition.

        • Saleh Johar

          Paulos,
          He didn’t only spin in his grave, he turned so furiously he broke this grave wall and is out. In fact he is sitting with me and I am listening as he is discussing the topic, over a cup of tea. First he wondered, “that means human beings learned nothing!” Then in surprise, he added, “it seems this drink that you call tea, is the best thing humanity invented,” particularly when he tasted the sugar.

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear saay7,

          ካልኣይ ድኣ ከይይዛረ እምበር:- ጽቡቅ ኣለኻ ::

          We all have seen how come change..when God permits we have seen Dr.Abiy who was born in the end of 70s how he arrived… just like that, just to convince the entire word. That may happen again to convince us all..Now I am not telling you that the Good Dr. will win the war and it is really in wrong moment..and he is in trouble for one huge case ot TPLF and the entire Tigray people they will crush him soon. What I am saying is the Good Dr. can’t and will not win over the illegal PFDJ group just by telling the love and peace— they are not predictable as you know..

          KS,,

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            የውስጥን ሰላም ምነው ጠረጠርኩት
            ባህሪህን በስም ሸፍነህ አየሁት
            ስምን የሚያወጣ መለአክ ነበረ
            አንተ ጋር ሲደርስ ምነው ተቀየረ?
            የሰላም ኮከብ ሰላም አማረረ
            በታላቁ ፍቅር አንጀትህ አረረ።

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Abi,

            We will see what will happen,,Are they going to fly always..Tigray is not in this agreement..Gonder Asmara without watching Mekele? Impossible. My dear Impossible or they should build a bridge to Addis Ababa.

            I see this will collapse….I think this is not good way..The young PM Dr. Abiy should think of all this..

            KS,,

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            Are you expecting a response for your zibazinke?
            Take care of yourself.

      • Abi

        Mezmure dawit
        Looks like your new and energetic Foreign Minister has more power and clout than your old president.

        Tewaridna!

        • Saleh Johar

          Abi,
          If I were you, I would start a brokerage business in Gonder. You can sell all Wefcho bet, Tella Bet, Shahi Bet to the new investors who are poised to invade Ethiopia, economically. Of course, on the other end, you will have the consultants, the skilled people that someone promised you, and so many businesses I cannot disclose here in a law-abiding family forum 🙂 Aytewaredkumin, zitewarednas ab botana alena. Eway Mehfer!

          • Abi

            Merhaba Ato Saleh
            አውራ ዶሮ ጮኸ መንጋቱን ነገረኝ
            በዛሬው ቀን ላርደው ቀጠሮ ነበረኝ
            ( Tagel Seifu)
            ተስፋ ሰጥቶኝ ነበር ተስፋ ቀላማጁ
            ወላ ሓንቲ ሳይኖረው ከእጁ
            (Ras Abi)

            እዋይ ጥራይልካ

        • Nitricc

          Ras Abi; what is the surprising. Your dead and deceptive prime minster cooked up sanctions by pure lie and deceit and your new, brave and honest current prime minster Adiy asked for the sanction to be lifted. Why is an act of revolution to do the right thing in Africa?
          by the way I am so happy that Eritrea is buying 20% of Ethiopian airlines. Instead of flying direct US to Addis now you got a brief stop in Asmara then to Addis.

          • Abi

            General
            20% of Ethiopian Airlines?
            What are you chewing? I know you are a leaf eating Toothless General!
            As I predicted 5 years ago Eritrean Airlines should be a subsidiary to The World Famous Ethiopian Airlines.
            The Next two Dreamliners will be named Masawa and Assab! Let me see if you laugh this time as you did before by the naming of the Dreamliner.

            Congratulations!!!

  • Dear Paulos,
    You know I have enormous respect for you but I have to call you on the unbecoming nativist categorization of who is bona fide Eritrean and who is not. That native/settler dichotomy is a dangerous political taxonomy bordering racism. I am sure you are cognizant of the fact that there is no such thing as establishing citizenship on gene-counting basis. Isaias is what he is not because he is less an Eritrean than anyone of us but because he is what he is. People might think reverting to such rhetoric could have some emotive windfall benefits but I take very strong exception to it.

    thank you

    • Nitricc

      HI Samuel; I thank you sir! amazing; for a person who wasted his youth and entire life dedicated for his country is questioned his nationality by a person who entire life trying to better himself in the west. Call him whatever you want but to question his nationality is low and stupid.

      • Dear Nitricc,
        While we are at it- a frank criticism and self-criticism session- you friends have been very active in trafficking in such nativist taxonomy as well. I should tell you that I am happy by what you said the other day apropos domestic changes in Eritrea. In that spirit, I call on you to retire any inflammatory and disrespectful language.
        Thanks

        • Nitricc

          Hi Samuel; you said ” I call on you to retire any inflammatory and disrespectful language.” Show me! where I used inflammatory and disrespectful language? please don’t go overboard. Show me where I disrespect anyone or used any inflammatory language. Talk is just like that, show me.

          • Nitricc nebsi,
            I have been reading you for a while and you left me with that impression. But, if that does not accurately describe some of your writings I will reconsider my assessment.
            Peace

          • Nitricc

            Hey Samual: it is cool but if I call someone toothless and slow are considered what you call ” inflammatory and disrespectful language” then I can’t help it but to disagree with you but if you are convinced about it I am all ears to be stand corrected.

  • Amde

    Hello Awatistas,

    Well this is blazing fast.

    The new Eritrean Foreign Minister, aka Ethiopian PM Dr. Abiy, has asked the UN officially to lift sanctions on Eritrea.

    Amde

    • dawit

      Dear Ato Amde,

      Yes our new Foreign Minister is working hard. The past twenty years loss is gained in a day! July 8, 2018 was day we were looking forward for too long. Another PIA wise leadership appointing PM Dr. Abiy as the new Foreign Minister of Eritrea!

      dawit

      • Amde

        Selam dawit,

        “The past twenty years loss is gained in a day! ”

        You must be a comedian.

        PIA is back in the game of acting the regional so-and-so.

        But Eritrea’s losses are incalculable. It is probably the only country in the region without a youth bulge.

        Amde

        • iSem

          Hi Amde:
          you know Africa is a young continent , it would have been even younger if you discount Eri. I agree

        • Paulos

          Selam Amde,

          These people remind me the movie, “Idiotocracy.” For real.

    • Paulos

      Selam Amde,

      This is extraordinary in the sense that, Ethiopia has shown its enormous clout where it can punish and have mercy on Isaias at will. Isaias must have assured the young PM that he will no longer play an evil man in the region. The young PM has put a leash on Isaias so much so that not only Ethiopia has shown that it can ride high sans Isaias’ Eritrea but his fate is sealed to the good-will of Ethiopia as well. Isaias has indeed sold Eritrea to Ethiopia. There is no question about that!

      • Berhe Y

        Dear Paulos,

        Please let’s not say that “Eritrea is sold to Ethiopia”. As much as hard to believe, I think yesterday was historic in a sense that, Ethiopia and Ethiopians have accepted the independence of Eritrea full heartily, by waving Eritrean flags in the capital of Addis Abeba and vice versa. This to me is a worthy of a celebration no matter who at the helm in Eritrea is.
        It means the future generation of Eritreans will be spared of war and destruction by their politicians for their own selfish power.

        The rest is just a business transaction that we can deal with as we see fit.

        We have been asking Ethiopia to accept the peace agreement so it doesn’t give IA an excuse to hold the Eritrean people hostage. Well there it is, what better way to fight back.

        Berhe

        • Paulos

          Selam Berhino,

          I guess communication is breaking down. When I said, Isaias has sold Eritrea doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s sovereign status is compromised. Eritrea is a sovereign nation now and it will remain so unless otherwise the people opt in the foreseeable future otherwise. On a side note here: I honestly see “Federation” being the main national issue option, say, five years from today.

          That said, the reason I said if Isaias has sold Eritrea is the fact that, the rule of engagement between the two countries is drastically changed.

          If you remember, in the 90s, leaders of PFDJ were reigning all the power they need in Ethiopia including exporting Coffee from Eritrea. They were essentially feared in every part of Ethiopia for the psychological vortex of tenacity and prowess of the 30 years war was the badge of honour they flashed around as in ብሒም ዝበለ ይታሓጎም።

          Enter the Badme war, everything changed. Isaias was defeated. Not only that, Eritreans, which had been unthinkable in the preceding years, started to flee to Tigrai in thousands and roam around the world when the TV men captured drawning Eritreans in the high seas and in the deserts as well. In the meantime, people started to grapple with the painful question if the struggle for independence was not only just but if it was worth it. Isaias’ Eritrea in the mean time became a “leper colony” where disgruntled “Fronts” sprouted to the extent of isolating the country even further. In the end, if people started to ask the sustainability of an independent Eritrea, Isaias seems to agree with them when he finally decided to take up a role of a subordinate not an equal partner to Ethiopia’s enormous influence in the region. And that is precisely I said, 20 years in the making, Isaias has essentially sold the once proud nation Eritrea.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Paulos,

            Don’t get me wrong but I never saw, nothing to be proud EPLF behavior of bossing people around and engaging in contraband and Shitara business. They never behaved and acted for the office they hold, unlike any other Eritrean leadership of the past.

            To think and worse to believe and act that one person can be better than 20 people put together is utter foolishness on EPLF and their supporters. The same mentality and foolishness has caused the TPLF to lose sight to be humble towards others and that costed them a lot.

            I never see any nation our country relationship that works based on federation. A federation means that, Eritrea gives up all it’s foreign policy, financial system, military defense and etc and it will be at the order of the federal government. If we do that, I think, it will be truly surrendering our sovereignty and the price we paid for to get independence and to borrow your words, sell of our country.

            I just read, Ethiopia airlines is buying a stake of 20% in Eritrean airlines. I think this is a very good move by the Ethiopian airlines which will wake up the dead Eritrean airlines. Similarly, I wanted to see such deals in terms of developing ports in Eritrean and have joint ownership. All business transaction based on legal frameworks with clearly defined agreements.

            Ethiopia have a lot of issues to deal with internally and they need time to sort it out without complicating and adding our own internal issues. We also have a lot of our internal issue that we need to sort out and move on.

            I believe everything the PM have said is the best way to move forward for our people, demolish the boarder that separate us and build bridge of love that unite us.

            Just think about it, if Eritrea is at peace with Ethiopia then what do you think we will do with our time????????

            Berhe

          • Paulos

            Berhino,

            You are a very intelligent person and I trust you see the reality beyond the young PM’s talk about love and forgiveness where they fall short of the remedy Eritrea needs at this very moment.

            For instance, one of the stipulated agreements between the two nations inter alia, political and economic corporation including a matter of security as well.

            Eritrea obviously doesn’t have the basic traits of a state where Rule-Of-Law, Accountability and Transparency hardly exist. When these fundamental political institutions are amiss, how is that even possible for political cooperation to take place between the two nations?

            When there is no structure in place that guarantees property rights, audit and business transactions consistent with the law, how is that even possible to make economic cooperation much less a huge risk of buying of a none-existent Airlines. Does it really make sense to you?

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Paulos,

            Intelligent tiHsho dea. First I would like to say that, I am not in support of the Eritrean government, the president and his track record so to be clear that I am not sounding to support.

            What Ethiopia does should be first and for most is for the benefit of Ethiopians. They can support us but it first needs to be for their benefit. This is true with any other country around the world. We don’t want them to go out of their way in helping suppress us but, honestly I don’t think it’s up to them to do anything about our internal problems. There are many single party countries in the world that are run by dictators that are functional and operate. The degree of operation differs but it’s unusual.

            For example, Cuba was run by single party and one leader for 50 years. Countries like Canada, chose to deal with Cuba and do business was. Where us others like the US refused to deal with Cuba for the past 50 years, until Obama softened that.

            In case of Eritrea, be that as it may, regardless of the countries Eritrea is dealing with, we have to deal without own dictator and we have use the means available to us to help change our country. Ethiopia is not going to do it for us, US is not going to do it for us or anybody else.

            The threat and excuse that Ethiopia was coming have worked for a long time and now that excuse is removed and our people are empowered to say “NO”.

            That’s how we start by saying “NO’ to PFDJ rules and we build on it.

            As far as the Eritrean airlines (you are right non existent), Ethiopian buying ownership is to have access to the Eritrean market. Do you think if the current price to fly to Eritrea reduced to half, that more Eritreans will fly with Ethiopian or not. This will benefit the PFDJ government, the Ethiopian government but and the Eritrean government as well. What we have to see is the opportunity it presents, as in many people fly in and out of the country, then it means, more opportunity for information to travel back and forth and for the people to rise against the regime. This is just one example and many will be available but we have to actively seek it and we have to actively find it.

            Berhe

          • iSem

            Hi Paul:

            I also think that ppl are conflating IA motives and his ultimate goal and with our aspiration, the aspiration of our people: the later is for soverignty to author their own density based on rule of law. IA has yet to prove that he is on the side of Eritrea and its people. If he follows up with releasing the political prisoners, which is unrelated to this border issue and Gheteb the insider has told us that this is not possible, I also agree with him, it is not be possible. But change is coming. To solidify his legacy, the fictional legacy of his heroism to transition it to the new blood of his ilk, he will make some changes, like releasing Senayit and Aster Y, two disappeared for non political reasons and the fools will fall for it and they will be slaughterer.

            PMMA has his own agenda and he is performing but that agenda despite his love speeches may not be good for the soverigny of Eri. I will tell u this, IA sees it this way: what is better, to be in the good books of 100 million or good books of 3 million. Have u seen IA this giddy, this happy, not even on the liberation of Eritrea. And if I am proven right that Eri is sold, I will blame us, me and the opp not IA. IA is doing what is in his DNA and he is accomplishing as u said the dreams of handful yes men of women

            Ethiopia is expanding economically and has political problems and she needs security and access and IA has both, yes he has them as he owns both the sea and the security who have disappeared our founding fathers and journalists and young.

            I have expected this to happen, the sudden peace even before we knew of Abiye and it has come at the right time for IA.

            They rumor mill is over drive, to confuse and cajole and mislead and deceive. Those who hopes are high will be disappointed by IA again, unless the genuine Eritreans and yes there are such thing as genuine Eritreans wake up and use this opportunity, the weakness of IA to make peace and take Eri back But if history is any guide they will not learn from history. And they have to do it before the millions start to funnel in his coffers

            I wonder what we will be discussing on the anniversary of this peace deal, July, 2019. I believe some of us will still call for the release all the prisoners and rule of law and Gheb will be telling us that IA is immortal, that he is eternal and that the G-15 are nation lsecurity risk (read security risk for the dynasty of IA)

            If I am proven wrong, I will consider it a triumph

        • Haile S.

          Selam Berhe,
          I agree with you .. and:
          እዋይ ዳርባ እምኒ ተወዲእና
          ናብ ኢሳያስ ዝተላእከ ናባና
          ካብ ኢሳያስ ዝተላእከ ናብ ርእስና
          ኣብ ዓወተ ባእሲ የለን እንተልና
          እንሆ ድሕሪ ሓንቲ ምዕልቲ ብእምኒ ጀብጂብና

        • Alex

          Hi berhe,
          I second your comment above in your response to paulos. Thank you

    • Nitricc

      Ato AMDE; it is only fair for PMAA to do the right thing. The sanction was placed by Ethiopia and it is in order to be lifted by Ethiopia. However; What we have witnessed over the weekend and for PMAA to ask for the sanction to be lifted is a double punch for TPLF to take. Do you worry Eritrea is straining further between TPLF and the rest of PMAA’s group? I guess what I am asking is that do you think such action will force TPLF to join the change or pushes away from joining such change.

      • Berhe Y

        Dear Nitricc,

        PMAA has warned us about people like you. He said, the people of Tigray and Afar (the two people who share boarders with) want peace with us Eritreans. He said, stop listening to the people who tell you otherwise.

        I advice you to stop this whole thing about TPLF and their loss. We, Eritreans need to make peace with Ethiopians and include the people of Tigray, Afar and TPLF as well.

        Read what I posted earlier, and see if there is any difference between what TPLF (MZ) proposed and what IA agreed yesterday. In fact the boarder, was listed number 1 and now saay pointed out it’s listed number 4.

        Berhe

        • Nitricc

          Hi Berhe; obviously you can’t read English nor can you understand what you read. reread what I have said and repost your take.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Nitricc,

            The genius.

            Why do you think “What we have witnessed over the weekend and for PMAA to ask for the sanction to be lifted is a double punch for TPLF to take.” is a double punch for TPLF. When the PM told us that, the tigray people (who are currently represented by TPLF) wanted to have peace with Eritrea.

            Berhe

          • Nitricc

            Hey Berhe; again you never understand me. Okay let me try in a simplest way and here is what I am saying. TPLF is having a great deal of problem with PMAA and a greater deal of problems with the government of Eritrea. So, witnessing PMAA getting so much love and respect by Eritrea and Eritreans coupled with PMAA calling for the end of sanction; what would be the general feeling of TPLF? Do you thing they will tend to join the change and support PMAA or be discouraged by PMAA and Eritrea and run-away resent the change?
            What do you think is my question. I hope you get it this time around.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Nitricc,

            You need to read what Fanti was writing. He is said in short PMAA is the best that happened for TPLF and the people of Tigray.

            So if they make peace with Eritrea, I think they got the doubio joko as we say in asmarino, double advantage.

            They will be the direct beneficiaries first and for most along the Eritrean people, so I see no reason why they resent this.

            Berhe

  • Blink

    Dear all
    So , what’s new beyond the already known .Ok I am talking about the Somalia and Eritrea thing , I mean all the lies of Al shebab thing ? Will the appointed guys look for other job with UN ? And what will the other guys do who supported the sanction say ? Ethiopia will not support the sanction and it will end soon because the reason was not Al shebab or Dijubuti as some people in here told us . Well
    Well , weyane people are out from IGAD.

  • Desbele

    Selam Awatewian,

    Interesting read from Amanuel Sahle in Assenna. The last straw :
    ኵርዓት ዘይብሉ መሪሕነት፡ ድላዩ ኪገብር ይኽእል እዩ። ድላይካ ምግባር ማለት ከኣ፡ ነቲ መጻኢ ዕድላት ኣብ ስግኣትን ምጥርጣርን ምእታው ማለት እዩ። ኵርዓት ዘይስምዖ መሪሕነት፡ ልብን ቀልብን የብሉን እሞ፡ ጽባሕ ንግሆ፡ ሸይጡና እንተ ሓደረ እውን ኪገርመና ኣይግባእን።

    • Peace!

      Desbele,

      I would tell him give it up ኣጋዝያኒዝም is Dead.

      Peace!

      • Blink

        Dear peace
        Thanks my man . I wonder how these people think Eritreans will not notice. Peace ,my idea would be to send all of them to mekele with the first bus ever in 20 years .

        • Peace!

          Hi Blink,

          They probably destroyed the opposition camp but helped us make a better choice although we died and bled for better.

          Peace!

        • Desbele

          Blink,
          Peace for you is when you celebrate the ones who actually caused the war as hero’s for ending it.
          Peace for me is when kerchelie is turned to Museum and the 100K are back to their land …
          painful fact for you – 100k are hosted in Tigray!

          • Blink

            Dear Desbele
            The people you are referring are not part of these people now you brought. Amanuel sahle is talking about his lost family tree that he dearly wanted to get by destroying Eritrea. That’s what I am talking not praising the dictator.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Desbele,

      Thanks for sharing this succinct and astute statement from a man who knows the veins and arteries of how the regime operates. Those who shrewdly followed the exchange of remarks between the guest and the host in the dinner hall explain what Amanuel Sahle meant by the by the phrase “ኵርዓት ዘይብሉ መሪሕነት”.

      Were the regime surrogates and cheer crowds would be sincere to themselves they would admit their hero was a disgusting embarrassment. The net exhibit of the spectacle articulated what a despot is. He did not even show qualm for failing to make notes such state protocols require. Save a few incoherent remarks he remained a bewildered listener to what the honorable guest had to say on behalf of his own peoples and our people. It seemed to me that his conscience did not let him quit before telling the mothers and fathers of the martyred, maimed and missing in action deserved to hear. Indeed,” ኵርዓት ዘይብሉ መሪሕነት”.

      • Abrehet Yosief

        Selam Ismail AA,
        During the dinner reception, Dehab Faitinga sang and offered flowers to both leaders. What followed was surreal.

        • Paulos

          ሓፍተይ,

          What do you mean? Surreal?

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Hawey Paulos,
            You have to see it. They did ስጋይ ስጋኻ , but it went beyond the polite one time “you first” gesture.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Abrehet,
            I also watched the funny part. He can’t dance, can he? But he nicely whispered in her ears, apparently to stop bugging him to dance 🙂

            The second thing that made me laugh was NSU’s excited smiles and body language that reminded me of something I will tell you about in another medium 🙂

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam ustaaz
            አንታይ ግዲኻ። i used the word “surreal” because I couldnt say the word which came to my mind. In my old fashioned world women dont use it; although it is innocent enough. But please see the coffee reception at the presidents residence first. And pay attention to the jebena and its handlers.

          • Paulos

            ፍትውቲ ሓፍተይ,

            ነቶም ብዙሕ ዘይንዕዘብ ትዕዝብትኺ ለግስልና፣ I really want to know if there was any “oddity” we may have missed to notice.

          • Saleh Johar

            That’s funny Abrehet,
            I have said it loudly to myself on your behalf… thank you for the smiles you bring here.

        • Ismail AA

          Dear Abrehet,
          Indeed, it was surreal as you noted. Did you notice as I did how the despot was wiggling on his chair with a mark of surprised demeanor listening to the good guest?

  • Simon Kaleab

    Selam Paulos,

    Saying “he is not even an Eritrean through and through. It is an established fact that he is a full blown Tigrean” a step down a slippery slope.

    “Eritrean” is just a citizenship label, it does neither refer to ‘race’ nor to ethnicity. There is no distinct ‘race’ or ethnicity called Eritrean.

    • iSem

      Hi Simon:
      The ethnicity and race issue so complicated and it is both are sometimes used ssynonymously but some scholars differentiate them. Now i kind of agree that Eritrean is a citizenship but so is American, and so is Canadian, but now people talk about American and Canadian ethnicity. May be they were mere citizenships before and ethnicity and race are not as immutable as we may think and they are not biological constructs, they are social and cultural constructs, me believe
      Do not u think that the 120 years proximity, the 30 years armed struggle, the 27 years of dictatorship has forged an ethnicity called Eritreanism, albeit it original citizenship roots

    • Paulos

      Selam Simon,

      When that is a classic case of confusion, the saying also goes, ክውዕየካ ብማንካ ክዝሕለካ ብኢድካ።

  • Nitricc

    Hi Paulos; you said “The irony is that, he is not even an Eritrean through and through” who is not Eritrean? I just don’t know who you are referring to.