Calling A Spade A Spade

Is HGDEF a chauvinist Tigrigna regime? Did the ethnic Tigrignas benefit from HGDEF’s sadistic and illegal reign of terror of the past 18 or so years?

If your answers to these two questions are in the affirmative, then you are absolutely right. And if your answers are in the negative, well, you are still right, without a doubt. The idea here is not to play with words or to trivialize the arguments made so far by some sensible folks for or against these contentious issues, but rather, it is to reiterate the point that both sides could be right, but only if this caveat is met – that each side makes a little effort to see and acknowledge the dichotomy which exists within the subject group – the ethnic Tigrignas, before making a blanket assertion one way or the other.   

In so far as the majority of the Tigrignas are concerned, it is fair to say that HGDEF doesn’t represent them, nor does it represent any of their interests. It is true that many within this group may have supported and sustained HGDEF, albeit for the sole purpose of giving it the benefit of the doubt.

However, as the regime’s dubious façade kept crumbling, they all realized that the “nascent mengstna” they were babying for years turned out to be a freaky monster which devours its own young. Contrary to the regime’s inner makings of hate and bigotry, theirs was a genuine struggle of making the story of Eritrea possible. Case in point, they abandoned the regime en masse to stand side by side with their compatriots from all other ethnic groups, with the sole purpose of dismantling HGDEF and helping bring democracy to the nation.

That being the case, it is hard to imagine that these decent Tigrignas could have benefited from HGDEF’s reign of terror. That’s of course if you consider the glaring disparity which exists between the Tigrigna and non-Tigrigna areas of the country (an oxymoron of sorts, given the concerted effort of the Tigrignization of the entire country) to be purely co-incidental and nothing more than a natural by-product of the spoils of war. 

So for the sake clarity, if anyone is making a claim that HGDEF is not a chauvinist Tigrigna regime or that the ethnic Tigrignas didn’t benefit from its reign of terror – then it is safe to argue that they are talking about this group of decent and fair-minded Tigrignas who have long rejected fear-mongering, arrogance and prejudice as too alien to their proud culture.         

Conversely, when some concerned folks (both Tigrignas and non-Tigrinas) talk about HGDEF as a chauvinist Tigringa regime and one that benefits the ethnic Tigrignas – then unless some are hopelessly cynical, they can’t consider this assertion to be a blanket condemnation of the entire Tigrigna community. Given what we are witnessing both inside the country and in the Diaspora, it is totally plausible to say that the above assertion is actually referring to the bigoted section of the Tigrigna community – the zer’ie shefatu, if you will.

And for those who cynically, unwittingly or for whatever reasons try to downplay the numbers of the zer’ie shefatu, here is a small piece of advice – firstly, you’re going to need more than your fingers to count them and secondly, by you downplaying their numbers and describing them as aliens, don’t you ever think even for one second that you are striving to create ethnic harmony. In fact, you are doing quite the opposite, by providing the zer’ie shefatu a convenient cover to piggyback on the wider Tigrigna community and to continue committing their despicable atrocities.

These days the zer’ie shefatu within the Tigrigna community may be outnumbered, but based on what we can all see as the obvious, they are not all that outnumbered. There is still a sizable section of the community, and an unhealthy section at that, which is still serving as the only remaining lifeline to which HGDEF is clinging on with the teeth. When many folks refer to HGDEF as a chauvinist Tigrigna regime, it is these hardcore bigots, with the dictator as their demigod that they are referring to.

And these thugs are everywhere. Pick any important or sensitive position within the entire Mafia state apparatus in the country; you will find it to be occupied by an ethnic Tigrigna Christian.

Again, pick any meaningful post within the ranks of the conscript army or the spy-enforcer network of the regime, and as is always the norm, you will find it to be occupied by an ethnic Tigrigna Christian.

Go to and just skim through each and every headline they post every single day of the week – you will find that nine out of ten news items talk about projects or services headed by ethnic Tigrigna Christians.

If you are among the Diaspora, just take a peek at any of the PFDJ gatherings or the so called national events – you will find that almost all attendees by the hundreds or at times, even by the thousands to be ethnic Tigrignas.

The situation inside the country is no different. Go to any town, village or hamlet in the country – you will never find a single crevice in the land without the presence of zer’ie shefatu keeping tabs on the local population.

You would be amazed to know that some of them even disguise as Muslims and attend Islamic prayers with the sole purpose of spying on innocent worshippers. An old friend once confided that he spotted one such thug leaving the Khulafa’ Al-Rashidin Mosque in Asmara after attending prayers. What my friend found to be even more shocking was the fact that HGDEF thugs are so fixated with their chauvinist cause, that they don’t even trust the Muslim jawasies they put in the Mosques – they had to bring one of their own, one who belongs to the cabal just by default!  

Contrary to what some would like you to believe, the zer’ie shefatu are definitely not confined to HGDEF’s inner circle. They have permeated through every conceivable crevice, tainting the entire socio-political, cultural, demographic and economic landscapes, both inside and outside the country.

They are the so called “beneficiaries” of this project or that project when their fellow citizens are actually being expropriated and forced to leave their ancestral lands. They are those who rally in support of the PFDJ (mengstna) even as they see heinous crimes being committed by the regime against their fellow citizens right in front of their eyes. They are those who play victims and feign innocence, when in reality, anything and everything they do sustains HGDEF. They are those bigots and revisionists who make futile efforts to create a make-belief history circa 1979, defiling anything and everything which Eitreans stood for.

What is really appalling is that after all these, there are still some thugs who have the nerve to call others wegenawiyan, jihadists and what have you. There are also those “Tigrigna-wannabe” sidekicks whose verbiage against one of the most progressive and unbiased Eritrean websites ever, is so nauseating, to say the least.

And believe it or not, these are the people who think of themselves as the would be torch bearers who are supposed to usher democracy to Eritrea. Well, guess what? The decent Tigrignas have a befitting saying for you; “tehaguami kholos tehazi lbi.” 

As much as it is wrong and immoral to blame the whole Tigrigna community for the crimes of the zer’ie shefatu, it is also equally wrong and immoral to absolve the latter of their complicity in PFDJ’s reign of terror. Not disclosing these thugs for all to see would be tantamount to appeasing them. Appeasing the zer’ie shefatu will only put the entire Tigrigna community at odds with all the other ethnic groups. It is hard to imagine that these criminals are worth it.

An afterthought… 

As I was penning down these few words, I received a couple of e-mails from friends sharing their thoughts about the Brussels conference organized by EEPA. They had legitimate concerns, particularly about the wrong signals such a gathering may send to the dictator and also to some self-appointed guardians of democracy in Eritrea:

Well friends, when was the last time Eritrea had any luck with an international gathering determining its fate? 

The first such gathering paved the way for Ethiopia to swallow Eritrea in whole, remember? Remember what it cost us to be back on our feet?

The second such gathering helped crown the bloody dictator (although Jimmy Carter now strongly resents it).

The third such gathering were sworn witnesses to PFDJ’s shameful surrender to end the border war but when the time came to implement the arbitration decisions, all the witnesses/guarantors went moot (hear no evil/see no evil) with Meles grinning ear to ear and getting to keep his cake and eat it too.  

What would it be this time around? Does it even matter?

Folks, see what is happening in Eritrea these days – that’s more important and really, that’s what matters. Daily military operations by the armed organizations hitting legitimate targets on a consistent basis. A visible presence for almost all the armed opposition groups inside Eritrea. An unprecedented army uprising led by courageous and patriotic officers in AkeleGuzai which is growing in strength and ferocity by the day.

Where is the regime’s conscript army in all of this?

Half of them are lined up at the borders pointing their rifles at the Ethiopians and the Djiboutian and the other half are lined up right behind them with their guns pointed at them, just in case some units attempt to cross the borders. (There are unconfirmed reports that a huge number of armed conscripts may have crossed the border to the Sudan in the last few days. For whatever reasons, the Kassala state officials are keeping a tight lid on this)

The regime’s directive to Meskerem and the other Kiddie websites?  “No condemnations, no ceremonial awyats, just a complete blackout”. This must be extremely hard on the twerps at Meskerem, who are used to conduct their awyats in public every time the opposition groups attack HGDEF’s positions. 

Obviously the beginning of the end for HGDEF is finally here, but is a “Mengistu-style” exit strategy in the works?  Did some unarmed opposition groups find themselves caught off-guard?  Is this why…oh there is more to come on this.



Related Posts