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Charting Healthy Future For Eritrea Today

Everything the regime in Eritrea does blatantly undermines what Eritreans stood for when they embarked on the struggle for independence that took 30 years and over sixty thousand brave souls who paid the ultimate price to accomplish their sovereignty. PFDJ relentlessly aims to destroy the very historical fabric that made Eritrea a country of mosaic cultures and religions that served it as an indispensable elixir.

Therefore, I am compelled to write this piece as a backdrop to Saleh Johar’s reposted (14 August 2015) article (“Language & Religion in Eritrean Politics”), which had generated so many comments, sad to say, I mostly took mental note with the exception of one, from which I will quote a paragraph a little later; two that stood out to me, one of which I was reminded by a friend over the phone earlier today, is that 50% of opposition’s challenges would’ve been solved if the language question is resolved today. Alas, the needle as the author later quipped, only moved an inch in the five years since the original posting of the article. Nevertheless, my following of the discussion began to falter when the comments reached 800; as of today, it shows 1099 comments and continuing hither and tither with no discernible solution but there does appear to be clear demarcation along religious lines with some cross overs here and there.

Now, this is not part two of language nor is it about religion per se, but a call to Eritreans in general to deeply reflect in what kind of Eritrea we want to see in the future. The powerfully destructive narrative the regime in Eritrea had unleashed is leaving sizable number of Eritreans in opposition discombobulated, which goes to show the importance of the story we embrace that might as well be one that would end up destroying us all as nationals of this young country. Consider the following powerful assertion that speaks to this notion:

“Stories, parables, chronicles, and narratives are powerful means for destroying mindset – the bundle of presuppositions, received wisdoms, and a shared understanding against a background of which legal and political discourse takes place. These matters are rarely focused on. They are like eyeglasses we have worn a long time. They are nearly invisible; we use them to scan and interpret the world and only rarely examine them for themselves. Ideology – the received wisdom – makes current social arrangements seem fair and natural. Those in power sleep well at night – their conduct does not seem to them like oppression.” (Delgado, 1989, pp. 2314-2315).

Now, we have a choice and the choice is starkly clear, do we want to adapt the bankrupted narrative of the regime which has been hard at work – two-dozen-years doses of it – which seems to nourish, at least some of us, with this false sense of power and security, which left us sleeping at the wheel, as it were.

It is entirely up to us; do we want Eritrea polarized by highland/lowland dichotomy? Do we want Eritrea divided along religious lines? Do we want Eritrea marred by ethnic rivalry and rift? Do we want a country that can use these social markers as a point of strength? Do we want to use these fault-lines as a tool for dividing the nation into mini factional groups as the PFDJ has done or do we want to use it as a source from which innovative ideas can emerge? These are questions not necessarily meant to be answered by this article; nor are they rhetorical questions; they are, however, questions that can help us chart a healthy path in the future of Eritrea. First, however, we must find a way out of the 24 years of the narrative stupor that the regime is keeping us in a bind with, which seems to be etched in our mindset. We cannot afford to move forward with these toxicities inhabited in the personas that we present and in the arguments that we attempt to advance, which are too close for comfort to that of the regime we all despise.


Here comes the comment I saved for a day like this. This is not to single out one person but meant to be used here to help us delve deeper into a larger point that needs to be lillustrated. Before the larger point that needs to be made, context demands that I quote Mahmud Saleh’s view on ELL and his less than sanguine position; readers whose line of thinking ostensibly seem to be commensurate with Mahmud’s are in the loop here as well. Here is what he stated:

“…the ELL wanted to dance tango alone [emphasis mine]. I felt such complaints would best be addressed in a democratically framed constitution. That their grievances would be every Eritrean’s concerns. I have been saying that such and similar issues related to styles of governance, rights of citizens, the vision of the nation, issues of war and peace…would better be addressed by all Eritreans. In order to attain that I have been calling for effective opposition, and opposition that stimulates and enables the domestic potential.” (17 August 2015 Comment Section of awate.com).

Now, while I agree with most of what’s quoted above, I would like the reader to zero in on this: dancing a tango alone. This is really the crux of the matter as far as I am concerned. But, first a little detour toward some concepts that can be made to aptly fit into the Eritrean narrative, namely, Critical Race Theory (CRT).

According to Delgado and Stefancic (2012), CRT was conceived by “activists and scholars interested in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. The movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies discourses take up, but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, history, context, group-and self-interest, and even feelings and the unconscious” (p. 17). Granted, the idea of CRT was being advanced with American society in mind. However, there is an undercurrent concept that runs through it that can be appropriated to explicate what myriad Eritrean minority groups have been subjected to in economic terms, from historical standpoint  as well as when seen how sociopolitical power was exercised to marginalize each of the ethnic minority group. (Raji, 2009).

Critical Race Theory (CRT) does not stop at the above notion, it goes deeper in breadth and scope than the “traditional civil rights, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law” (p. 17). To this notion, please refer to Ahamed Raji’s (2009) “The Lost Rainbow” four series articles linked for your convenience at the end of this article, which unequivocally shows the irrefutable facts, through quantitative data, in how the Eritrean system of governance systematically marginalized all ethnic groups, one by one, bit by bit, until it applied its final wrath on the Tigrinya speaking Eritreans, when there was none left to devour.  By the time it dawned on us all, it was too little too late, the country is now being investigated for human rights violations as was made clear by the UN earlier this summer and we were all witnesses of how the first CoIE report caught the regime and its supporters unawares.

Some writers have not only contentedly appropriated and accepted, albeit, one hopes, inadvertently, the notions above, but are asking the regional and ethnic groups to “kick the can down the road” to borrow the ever ubiquitous term that has found a comfortable spot in the American lexicon. I am here to say not so fast brothers and sisters, not so fast.

Now, after reading Ahmed Raji’s four volume short pieces, how one can expect these afflicted groups to suspend everything until all in the opposition collectively help remove the PFDJ regime?  But as some see it, let us take care of the menace at home, then and only then, can we begin to address all of our grievances! The problem with this line of thinking is that it leaves a gaping hole in the term supposition. The supposition here is that all different groups just to align with the opposition and trust each other in the fight of unseating the regime? Why would these groups trust others the second time when the first entrusting was violated in only seven-to-eight years, the rainbow that took thirty years to build was decimated after independence as the data that Ahmed Raji’s references irrefutably show?

Critical Race Theory also gives us phrases such as “micro-aggressions” (which can be termed in Eritrea’s context as micro-ethno-aggression and micro-religious-aggression”) that occur on a regular basis that inform our assumptions. These aggressions are deeply entrenched into the system of governance, the cultural, social, and media outlets that perpetuate it until they become normative in the lexicon of everyday interaction. For example, when someone makes an erroneous connection between Arabic language and religion in that any Eritrean Muslim who advocates for Arabic language to take its rightful place of being co-official language to Tigrinya as was the covenant that Eritreans made with one another; but such arrangement was vehemently and systematically violated and the Tigrinya hegemonic power that is in existence in Eritrea today reneged from that obligation and such a claim is now met with fierce opposition and suspicion – this, in my estimate, is macro-national-aggression not micro. All what one has to do is see the alignment of unanimous support toward Arabic language on one end of the spectrum and fierce opposition on another with few crossovers swinging both directions.

It is this fundamental structural flaw that I want us to all examine together in the Eritrean context. The above quote is only a case study that becomes illustrative in how we can be sucked in to that vicious circle of influence of hegemonic power that subtly or unsubtly is exercised in every facet of Eritrean lives. Consider Ahmed Raji’s (2009) “The Lost Rainbow” seminal work of scholarship and research that showed the systematic marginalization of Eritrean Muslims, the corollaries of which, one would’ve thought for all Eritrean opposition groups to swiftly bring the marginalized group from the periphery to the center of sociopolitical gravity. Six years since the article was written and five years since S Johar’s piece was written and reposted few days ago we seem to be entrenched in our respective positions. The marginalized remain marginalized and Tigrinya hegemony in the opposition resumes unabated. It is this lack of willingness to correct at the center that leaves other ethnic Eritrean groups disengaged and gravitate toward their respective ethnic enclaves. It is this very resolute center of power remaining in the hands of highland Eritreans that is giving no room for others to join the cause.

One should not be surprised if all of the Eritrean ethnic groups coalesce to counterpoise the sociopolitical onslaught around some of these fundamental principles that they see as their inherent right the highlanders must first accept before any kind of coalition can be made to counter the regime in Eritrea. This is part of the reason why Eritreans from different ethnic groups are reluctant to join hands with the opposition that is Tigrinya dominated.

In the final analysis, Eisner (1991) alerts us to how “[c]ultures throughout the world have provided their inhabitants with the resources necessary to transform experience into a public form so that it can be experienced by others” (p. 22). If the culture of the Eritrean struggle era gave those who participated in it this remarkable experience who are rightly holding and clinging to its memory, post-independence Eritrea’s leaders have marred that experience and turned it on its head so much so that thousands who spent their adulthood to bring independence left in dismay from the very country they fought and were ready to pay the ultimate price for. Now, the question that is worth asking here is this: Are the ones who are choosing to hold onto to the memory of the past at the expense of the reality of the present day Eritrea the ones who should reconsider their position? ELLites, for example, may have started the rain dance when it was not rainy season, but they sure are now finding a whole lot of Eritreans who are courting them to dance that beautiful tango in the process of charting a new course in diaspora. Let us see this as the rainbow in the making and not necessarily a loner dancing tango alone.

Eritreans in the opposition must begin to see the issue as it exists and not as we wish it to remain suspended and etched in our memory of long gone Eritrea of the yesteryear.The present day Eritrea is nothing like the Eritrea our combatants fought to bring independence for – that Eritrea belongs in the history books; meanwhile, we must chart a new path, a path that makes room for those who have been and continue to be marginalized. They all seem to be saying let us renew our sociopolitical pact, the covenant that was agreed upon between and amongst us all, only then can we work with one another.

The following links should have a permanent spot on the Awate page. This is such dignified scholarly work from a scholar and a gentleman and a thousand fold more that Eritrea could’ve benefited from but is not. What a waste of a talent? Meanwhile, the menaced narrative led by a handful of Eritreans has been leading us ever closer to the cliff of the abyss.

The Lost Rainbow (I)

The Lost Rainbow (II)

The Lost Rainbow (III)
http://web.archive.org …

The Lost Rainbow (IV)

About Beyan Negash

Activist, a writer and a doctoral candidate (ABD) in Language, Literacy, and Culture at New Mexico State University (NMSU). Beyan holds a bachelor of arts in English and a master of arts in TESOL from NMSU as well as a bachelor of arts in Anthropology from UCLA. His research interests are on colonial discourse and post-colonial theories and their hegemonic impact on patriarchy, cultural identity, literacy development, language acquisition as well as curriculum & citizenship. The geopolitics of the Horn of Africa interests Beyan greatly. His writings tend to focus on Eritrea and Ethiopia. Beyan has been writing opinion pieces at awate.com since its inception (1 September 2001).

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  • Ahmed Raji

    Here is a temporary link to the final part (part 5) of the Lost Rainbow articles that Beyan and I referred to earlier:

    • Bayan Nagash

      Thank you AR. You have done a great service in opening my eyes to how hegemonic power infiltrates all sectors of society when there is no mechanism of check and balance in place to curtail its perversely pervasive nature, akin to a plague in the way it ravishes the citizens of a nation. Recouping from this kind of societal ravages will take a whole lot more than just lip-service to equity, justice, in the way we right the wrongs that seem to have continued unabated for at least a quarter of a century now.

      We are reminded by AT that it has been 54 years since the inception of the struggle for independence, and we have not an inkling positive thing to say or show for it yet. What a colossal failure it has been, but hope is the only thing left at our disposal to cling onto. I just hope we will come out of the current abyss the same way we did when the de facto sovereignty of Eritrea was declared thirty years after the epic fight for independence. I just hope it does not take us that long before we see the demise of the current menace at home.

      Suddenly, it just dawned on me that the word hope that i have used several times already is sounding like a pejorative word instead of its usual meaning that dictionary.com, for example, says it is:” the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” I am in a somber mood. I better leave it at that.


  • Bayan Nagash

    Selam to All,

    Concluding Remarks

    The worst part to this virtual conversation is when time constraints make it difficult to engage and the speed at which things move make it that much harder to keep up. I am forever grateful to those of you who manage to participate day-in-and-day-out without relenting. Suffice it to state I am going to make an attempt to wrap-up my thoughts using your rejoinder as a theme.

    On Hegemony

    To declare that hegemony is natural just so as to keep it part and parcel of the status quo that one cannot do anything about is to inadvertently accept its antecedents such as slavery and apartheid as once been natural phenomenon as well. This kind of resigned sense of acceptance in order to keep the power and hence domination on certain social sector is nothing more than a laissez-faire
    hegemony that will forever keep the marginalized relegated into a subordinate position. What this shows is that ShEbyaism is well entrenched in in the psyches of those who once supported it and who now find themselves opposing it, a position not only very difficult to attenuate but harder yet to relinquish because of the privileges that come associated with such hegemonic staying power. Such contradictions can be seen in a form of dissonance in those who have once enjoyed such dispensations.

    Of course, Eritreans have come a long ways from when the sayings such these were common: aslamay yHarrid ember aymerriHn or aslamay Addi yebillu Awdi yebillu. These are not in the parlance of today’s Eritreans, but, unfortunately, are replaced with much more sophisticated forms of marginalization, marginalization that comes tucked beneath the surface in the voice of hegemony by effectively trying to normalize them as if they were natural and organic evolutionary processes that
    we must go through forgetting all along that these were deliberate choices as Amanuel Hidrat articulated it better than I could’ve ever done in this thread.

    The idea of deciding what language, what identity a sector of society chooses to use by a group that already had been given its right to its own language is hegemonic temerity of extreme proportions. Beneath it all is nestled this audacity that comes embedded in other elements which are peppered to inject doubt, such as questioning patriotism of the marginalized, worst yet, questioning the ability of these groups to be leaders; these are nothing more than the political and hegemonic conveyor belts, if you will, that drive the well-oiled, at least until recent years, machination of ShEbiayism framing the historical narrative of Eritrea and daring to frame it henceforth at the expense of those who have been on the receiving end of such relentless wrath.

    Let me now turn to my brother Mahmud’s rejoinder framed in a & b in that those who were “hurting Eritrea” most of whom were “particular constituency” to the PFDJ machination who are now finding themselves on the other-side of the frame. It is this association to the PFDJ that is making them forever more suspect in the eyes of those who were victims by the very people who were perpetrators and are now saying come and join us to unseat the menace at home. When a & b are from the same mold, that’s when the marginalized groups are saying, we need assurances, warrantees, and guarantees this time around – the marginalized are effectively saying no whole sale agreements anymore. There needs to be agreements tailored at a retail level so that each ethnic group will have a say in every conceivable moves the opposition transacts with. And they are not really asking for much, a simple contract, a social and political covenant so we may work together because when that was done in the past, that social contract was null and void, as it were, abandoned and the hegemonic power took everyone to the cleaners – that’s why the opposition is finding itself mired in this quagmire.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Dear Beyan,

    All the nature of marginalization in our nation are exposed by AR’s well studied documents. What we need now is how to address them. Let us deal with it, by coming with feasible study on multi-cultural constitutionalism. Ahmed Raji, you, or others who have a stock on the issue should come with possible solution for public debate. My next article as continuation of my last article (the contours of change and the equilibrium of its parts) will try to deal with it. Stay tuned.

    Amanuel Hidrat

  • Nitricc

    Hey Aman I used to think the same way. I thought there was no way a single man operation and got be at least weakly organized structure. That believe of mine was gone when I forgot his name but he used to live in London and died there. His family wanted to burry him in Eritrea. At the time of his death, some high Eritrean officials were in London and told the family not only they can burry their dead man in Eritrea but any expense will be covered by the state of Eritrea. To make it short, the dead guy never got to be buried in Eritrea, let alone his funeral expenses to be covered by the government of Eritrea. The moral of the story is that if it wasn’t for the one man thing, who and how anyone anyone could undermine those high government officials? My point is, if there was weakly organized structure; those high government officials promise to the dead family could have given a face saving option. Like let him be buried in Eritrea but no covering any costs. But what happened is a total rejection and big time humiliation for the high government officials. For me,this show a work of one man a the way.

    • Amanuel Hidrat


      Institutions can not be stand by one man even though he might have the final say in most decisions of national issues. Institutions include the enforcers of the decision. The institutions are there, the decision making process is the only different. Hence a regime with its institutions is a “system” whether it is a good or bad system. Hopefully you will get it now.

      Amanuel Hidrat

  • Hayat Adem

    Dear Bayan,
    I’ve time issue these weeks: Awate discussion ideas the discussions themselves are moving too fast, faster than I can cope with. So, I’m trying to catch up 1) by selecting, and 2) by trying to voice my reaction however late. So, I read your interesting article and I skimmed the comments selectively. The discussion has already moved on, so you shouldn’t be dragged back to mine. It is just for the purpose of registering my 2cent note.
    -Do not expect to solve the politics of language and religion through consensus or based on the will of agreeing majority. Not just that it can’t be secured but it won’t be solved that way.
    -Rather solve it through mapping out fair and effective rules and working through those rules.
    Religion is the easiest: full faith freedom, a wall separating the state and faith values, all faiths (big. small) must be equal, people can agree to settle civil disputes through faith institutions, faiths get full state protection, faiths are governed by the laws of the land. Done. It should have nothing to do with language. There is no religion language, as there is no language religion. Faith is the ethics of managing relations with your God. You don’t need language for that as any language (including no language) can do it adequately.
    -All native Eritrean native languages enjoy equal recognition in their heritage status, and as such they get adequate state resources for their development and furtherance (by my book, Arabic shouldn’t enjoy this status in Eritrea). All respective groups that belong to those languages should enjoy an utmost freedom to advance and modernize the languages.
    -The state should pick one as a national working national language. The selection must be justified purely on technical grounds: native, economies of scale advantage, political considerations, history as a government language, size of speakers, as a business and socializing factor, size of geography among others.
    -The state has to pick one international language for trade, diplomacy, and international partnerships. These has no much political element and it can be considered from the point of maximizing national advantages.
    -Other languages can be considered as gap fillers on merit basis or focusing region by region.

    • Abi

      Could you please CC this beautiful comment to Anbessa Sem. He subscribes Arabic for muslm ethiopians.

      Anbessa tewardo
      Ende dimet etach werdo
      Gize yesemerelet
      Ya yeguwaro dimet
      Anbessa sibal kemsema
      Moche liref, yelehuma!

      • Nitricc

        Hi Abi, the other day i was arguing that Anbessa was in Amharic i.e. in Tigray’s Tigrigna while Ambessa was Eritrean; thank for the conformation. thanks, case closed!

        • Semere Andom

          Hi Nitricc:
          I will tell u a joke to make my point. A smart professor died and went to heaven, St Peter met him and congratulated him for making it this far but the saint added that to be tenured in heaven he needs to write a paper on any subject he chose. the professor said he is a flood specialist and he would like to do his paper on that. St. Peter replied we like that subject here but a word of caution, you have to make sure that you know what you are taking about because Noah will be in the committee.

          So, do not go linguist her because Sem Habtermariam is lurking.

          There are regional accents: Shebet vs. Sibet, Shim vs. Sim, tseguri vs Cheguri, embley vs enbley, enkelay vs entelay, and I can go on and on ksab (ksaE) eten kebti ngeza ziAtwa 🙂

    • Bayan Nagash

      Thank you Hayat for your input. I surely understand what you mean about the time factor not being on your side. I, too, am struggling to answer those who have taken their time to share their views with me. I am dutybound to answer. But, this virtual bullet train moves way too fast and I am just no match. I didn’t even have the chance to answer them all, now there comes the Pencil that has always been a must read for me when I am around. So, what is the man to do. Just an hour or so back I came to answer my next interlocutor, the ever lucid, Sal, but found myself gravitating to Aman’s call. So, such is in the nature of the cyber world. Again, I truly appreciate thoughtful comments, and you never disappoint – you always offer a challenge to many preconceived notions. I am going to digest this one some more, no doubt.

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Hayatina:

      Hi All: Disclaimer: If you have no sense of humor skip the first two paragraphs and if you cannot handle the art of contradiction skip the entire comment. The contradiction is putting Ethiopia and Arabic in same comment:-)

      I use this Italian inspired endearment to get to Emma’s and Sal’s nerves, they both call you Hayatom 🙂 I was going to send you a flower, but Abi bit me to it when I was snoozing, then I thought of sending you a “dabbo”, but Abi has that in the plenty nowadays he says, so again he will be me by the time my queue in the welfare lines are serviced. I was wondering about this: who came first “dabbo” or democracy 🙂

      Now about the question of the languages, I disagree with you a little but that is ok because you and I believe in the separation of state and love affair 🙂

      One of my heated debates with brother HTG were about the Rashaidas, who I personally held responsible for the human trafficking of Eritrea’s. Yes I am aware of the “scientific” studies that discovered that just a “few” families participate in this disgusting trade. I know that there are the old, the disabled, the women in labor, the infants, but the entire Rashaidas are either into the business or look the other way when the crime are inflicted on Eritreans. Why am I telling you this? , I am taking the pains to do so to intimate to you that contrary to popular notion in this forum, I am not a fan of the Arabs. But who gave us the Rashaidas, you guessed it, EPLF/PFDJ and they are still continuing to sell Eritrean identity to the Arabs. I am also not a fan of the Middle East, a fertile land for despotism, hypcrocay, slavery, cruelty and an epitome of collective failure. But why do I want their language to have the same status as my beloved mother tongue? Reason: it solves at least half of the problems that I predict will come to haunt us. Notwithstanding its beauty as I am sure you know that 😉

      The Rashaidas became ethnic group by EPLF in its first congress in 1977 and as usual at a whim of few teenage college drop outs. The Jeberties have been denied that status and the Elit were revoked from their ethnicity and lumped into one of the 9 groups by EPLF. Rashaidas were given citizenship without being vetted for their crimes, a normal procedure when granting citizesnhip, yet the government and many people want to cash their majority status to lord over other nations. The state does not have any right in doling the identity of people, it is there to protect it, and it only has the right to granting citizenship.

      But I am for of Arabic language to be the co-official language in Eritrea for reason hashed before but bears repeating.

      I am also a fan of the indigenous languages, developing them by funding and creating institutions and expanding the anthropology and linguistic departments in our higher education institutions. Teaching Arabic from the onset will level the tilted field to the 50% Moslems whose mother tongues are mostly unwritten dialects that will hinder their learning in science. Most of them have some familiarity and deeper attachment with Arabic in the “Madrassas” and above all, they will not complain about Arabic. Arabic is also cheaper to maintain, it does not need protection by the government. It has the advantage of connecting you with the 300 million consumers across from the sea. Imagine a democratically elected president and professional who converse effortlessly in Tigrinya, Arabic and English. The fear of culture domination that is the source of Maakebay’s angst can be tackled by strengthening the ties with Tigiray and Ethiopia. Since the destiny of Christians and the Muslims in both countries is indelibly inked, it is by the strengthening of both that will guarantee stability, even if embracing Arabic is “shopping” for a new alien identity.

      Then after grade 6 high school instruction will be in English and higher education also in English with Arabic and Tigrinya offered as languages.

      Our first priority as people and nation at this time is to keep the nation together, preempt disintegration and ensuring both will help us avoid wars and blood shed of any kind. After that we can move on to more sober dealings with Ethiopia. The implementation of Arabic as an official language I think is the lowest hanging fruit and the first arrow in our quiver to solve 50% of our problems as an independent nation. But the ultimate solution to the survival of what I call the ethnic groups in the brink of extinction is Ethiopia. The tiny ethnic groups in Eritrea must think out of the box and that entails transcending the demarcation between Eritrea and Ethiopia. They must, with anguished desire foster relationship with the same ethnic groups in Ethiopia to expand their circle of influence by creating a bigger nations: such as the nation of Kunama, the nation of Afar, the nation of Jeberty and so on, for the ultimate of a new dawn of era that can wipe out the borders that marked with blood. The majority in any country will not guarantee the right of minorities from the goodness of their heart but from their need to comprise with a force to reckon with.

      • Dear Semere Andom,
        Your last paragraph seems too radical; nevertheless rational. Empowering ethnic groups at the borders, such as the Afars, Kunamas, etc, by bringing them together with their kin in Ethiopia,
        which inevitably nullifies the importance of the border, will surely scare Eritrean nationalists. These ethnic groups were forcefully separated by politics and human-made borders. The division of an ethnic group and forcing it to live in two or three countries, is the cause of wars and human suffering in many places all over Africa and the Middle East; the legacy of European colonialism.

      • Hayat Adem

        Semere Anbesa,
        I’ve dabbo, send me flowers please. And I think I know how to calm and cheer up Abi. And let not Abi make you feel that you are not anbessa. Roar like one and don’t miaw.
        Semere, I’m so cool with this disagreement. I wouldn’t give the descriptive word anbesa (adj) for a person who is a copy of myself. I never called myself anbesa. So my anbesa has to be larger than me, which you are.
        I really doubt if your assertive position that arabic will solve our problem is explainable. What part of Eritrea’s problem today are attributable to the absence of arabic as co-official? If I give you 5 or 6 top problems, I don’t see them being cased or solved by the arabic issue:
        1) youth exodus- not related
        2) war and peace with neighbors- not realted
        3) democracy and law&order- related some how but not centrally related
        4) poverty and backwardness- maybe not immediately related
        5) isolation- not related
        6) weak opposition- not so much….

        • Semere Andom

          Hi Hayat:
          Thanks so much.
          These 5 points are as your said not related. But let us not be fooled by Ghedli’s narrative. I attribute all the bloody civil war, the protracted suffering and needlessly elongated armed struggle and the divisions we had before independence and the weak opposition that is ever swelling opposition that is impeding our united vision and future for Eritrea to linguistic, religious and regional issues. Arabic will automatically solve the first two to my mind
          If we simplify it as merely the absence or presence of Arabic, a tool for communicating, divorcing it from the Muslim culture that he language is baked in, I believe we all become PFDJ. This issue has been settled by the founding fathers before Ghedli and HS “conspired” to ruin it for Eritreans, Do not fix it if it is not broken.
          And looking at the future here will be my general theme for bringing the people first instead of rocks and soil first.
          1. The ethnic groups of Eritrea must build the bridge with their counterparts in Ethiopia to rejuvenate their culture and language.
          2. Eritrea unequivocally establishing/reinstating Tigriniya and Arabic as official language and leaving the people alone to claim their identity: let the Habesha be one and the Arab be one but bound by one citizenship
          3. Looking forward for free trade first that will slowly evolve into full fledged integration of both nations to one country ? Name of the new country? refer the book of who cares:-)
          4. PFDJ survived and is still buoyed by two ethnic groups: Tigriniay and Tigre, the majority of Eritrea and the reason the Ethnic based opposition cannot defeat PFDJi is a game of numbers. To spook the majority from imposing its will as it is doing now, the tiny ethnic group like Kunama, Afar, Saho and Blen must transcend citizenship if they want to survive. I am aware some of our ethnic groups may not have kin in Ethiopia but you get my drift.

      • Nitricc

        Hi Semere; i did not know you are anti Arabs but you advocate the most foolishthing ever said on this forum; which suggesting Arabic to be Ethiopian official language, yet you turn around and go all out against Arabs.
        my question is, since you were in Sudan, are Suddenness Arabs?

        • Semere Andom

          Please do not relapse, where did you get I am anti-Arab
          About Sudanese, you can ask them if they are Arabs, but Arabic is the official language and they like it, they are very diverse society and all the other languages including Tigrayit thrive especially in the eastern region

  • Solomon Haile

    Dear AMAN,

    In the dire or intensive care of the Eritrean Liberation War and for Independence(rEisikha mkhAl) era, IF (ente) was not to be at all contemplated because it was dire circumstances that necessitated a “Just Do It” without fear of any doubt of the consequences, direction/misdirection, … up to the ultimate sacrifice for (ane nhzbey) and “Awet nHafash” the cause. I am sure you know and as a consequence you are exploring and coming up with newer ideas… The process has been hijacked “… by lack of oversight and supervi…..”

    Nativity or the intentional obstructionism counting on the primordial fears and miss education of the Eritrean People by what was back then termed as “TebeleTsti”… opportunists is rather frustrating to yours truly as well. I am failing to get a grasp of your comment and more than likely I have to read your previous thoughts on discus. I assure you, though I am in an NWA state of mind due to the timely release of a time piece, i.e the the movie Straight Out of Compton, the anti opportunists mantra is probably born was a good fit for dire circumstances or “Tsinkur kunetat” of that time. Have no fear for any opportunity that you are given access too as long as it is consistent with your core desire for a solution or THE solution that peals more layers of problems leading of course to more solutions. Stagnant status quo by those comfortable and content with their LAST or THE SOLUTION welllll …. I will just say how about seeing you on AT’s most recent glance/focus/future response to your “AT Please” request.


  • Ali

    I already know what will happen and it won’t be peaceful, sadly we’ll have to face the truth. Eritrea is not in the West. Have other nations in post dictatorship become sucessful especially those near Eritrea? What happens when this dictator falls when no one has a clear vision?

    (1) According to the ethnic structure, if one does bad to them, even if one child is brutalized, they will label the whole ethnic as ‘enemies’, even if he is a clan. This backward mindset applies to the people from Africa to Mid East and Eastern Europe. What does this means for the future and what the tyrant have done? See, the way the diaspora communities behave.

    2) it is divided through ethnic lines. The Muslims on this hand have no issues in term of politics but on the other hand, they’re divided through geographical reasons. The Tigre and the Beja wants the lowland region connecting to the so called “Red State of Sudan” which is a Beja-Tigre-Hedareb dominated with other ethnic minorities. Hence, why Omar Bashir is paranoid of being landlocked and will become weak, so he is keeping them marginilized in Eastern Sudan with the backing of Isaias, Kassala conflict is the prime example of this. Isaias downfall will empower them and vice versa.

    The Afar wants to incorporate Eastern lowland into North East Ethiopia and Djibouti with name changes. That’s why they are all marginalized in three countries.

    The Saho, the Jeberti and the Tigrayan in the Kebessa will also likely to have problems due to historic tensions (i.e Yohannes/R.Alula, Shifta, Shabia, 98-2000 border war etc which affected them hugely because Isaias started the useless war).

    The Tigrayans, one thing is they’re nationalist so they want Eritrea as one and have an opposite view of political views. One of them is Tigrinya as a language of Eritrea, something the others opposed as they prefered Arabic but will they share powers and equality with all ethnic today? The madman failed to do this. Will they sympathize the Tigrayans of Ethiopia or incorporate? Something that the rest of the ethnic are against. I hope this time they will gather with peace with everyone especially everyone is marginalize in all corners meaning there is a chance everyone will bring a peaceful solution on table.

    3) Anyone controlling Eritrea controls the red sea, moreover, Eritrea represent a port opening (Bab Mandeb) which means there will be heavy meddling from Western powers and will monitor the situation carefully. They fear Isaias downfall will affect the sea and also Israel has strong presence in those Islands who has relationship with this dictator because it is an economical encompass to Port Eliat/Suaz Canal and Gulf of Aqaba.

    4) Eritrea is surrounded closely by instable nations. Yemen, Eastern Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Egypt and a chance in Djibouti and Ethiopia as well because of the Afar followed by other ethnic (Harar, Oromo, Ogadeni etc).

    All those ‘opposition’ group nonsense will never work, they act as if he will fall through peace which will never happen, he is a brutal tyrant who share no sympathy with anyone threatening his throne. It is more likely like Libya when Ghaddafi and his Qadhadhfah clan tried to fight for survival and in the end, it is run by tribal gangs with no clear future vision. Sounds a lot like Eritrea..

  • saay7

    Emma Nebsi:

    It appears that you need to dry your power: your matchstick is wet because all the “Strike” you did ignited nothing:) Follow me, sir:

    1. When Kiros says “I am not a politician”, he is telling you he has no political ambition, he is not aiming to achieve political power, that he is: ሓቀኛ እየ: truth-teller. From that, you cannot conclude that he doesn’t understand politics. It is because he understands politics–and the risks associated with it, and how power is being abused–that he spoke out. And he is interesting to me not because of his political analytical skills but because he is a witness who is willing to speak out. So you cannot discount someone’s testimony just because he didn’t say, “I am a politician.”

    2. Who said that Mejlis Ibrahim Mukhtar said that ethnocracy means one man? I am trying to tell you that Eritreans, looking at the Isaias regime, have reached different conclusions. 90’s era Islamist used call it “crusaders,” the TPLF used to call it “chavunists with superiority complex.” And so MIM called it “ethnocracy.” It is a matter of perspective.

    3. Medrek has very valid reasons for calling the Isaias regime a “monocracy”: it is just a creative way of calling it a “one-man rule.” And it is. Instead of ascribing motives as to why they did that, I think you should prove the demerits of that description, i.e. can anything happen in Eritrea without the approval of Isaias Afwerki? Can even the body of a dead person be buried in Eritrea if Isaias does not will it?

    4. Of course Ahmed Raji did not. That’s why I referred to Haile TG’s addendum. Ahmed Raji’s argument is very nuanced and sophisticated and I could not summarize a 5-part article in this posting. What he is saying is “this is the data; this data, from a diversity standpoint, is worse than any time during Eritrea’s history including colonial Eritrea, Haile Selasse’s Eritrea and Mengistu’s Eritrea. And this didn’t happen by accident.” From the standpoint of diversity, what one sees at the ministerial level, at the PFDJ Executive Committee Level, Central Committee level is vastly different from ones that appear throughout the civil service. Is this inconsistent with one man rule?


  • Nitricc

    Hey Aman, don’t you worry i will keep you busy and no need to get frustrated by the lack of unexplored ideas. i was reading Bayan’s article and the following, one of many that caught my attention. i will let you help me with this one and i will take it with Beyan the rest.

    Bayan wrote

    “..one of which I was reminded by a friend over the phone earlier today, is that 50% of opposition’s challenges would’ve been solved if the language question is resolved today.”

    Do you believe with was said? i am assuming the language they are talking about is Arabic. my question is, only 2% are the real Arabs in Eritrea, yet, how could it be Arabic to the solution of 50% to the current problem?
    Thanks Aman.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Thank you Sir,
    another v. good article.
    እቲ ንፖሎቲካዊ ሃልኪ ወገሐ ጸበሐ ህግደፍ ዝጭድርሉ ሃገራውነት ኤርትራ – ንቀጻልነቱ ዝቅንጽልን ዝቀትልን ተግባራት እዮም ኣቛስዮም ከብልዑ ጸኒሖም :: ኣብ ኩሉ መዳያት ህልውና እዛ ሃገር እናልመስካ – ብዝሓለፈ ጀግንነት ህዝብና እናተመካሕካ – ዕድመኻ ምንዋሕ ከም ኣማራጺ ዝወሰደ ጉጅለ ህግደፍ ጉዱ ኣብ ምቅልዑ ህዝቢ ኣብ ናይ ሓባር ምርድዳእ ከይበጽሕ ዝፈጥሮ መሰናኽላት ኣዝዩ ብዙሕ እዩ ::
    እቲ ኣዝዩ ኣብ ጥቅሙ ዘውዕሎ ግን :- ነቲ ፍልልያት ተቃውምቲ ምምዝማዝ እዩ :: ፍልልያት ከም ምርቃ ክንወስዶ ክሳብ ዘይከኣልና ድማ ከም ቁስሊ ከቀንዝወናን ርእሲ ብርእስና ከይንላገብ ክፈናፍነናን ክነብር እዩ :: ነቲ ቁስሊ ሃመማታት (ሰለይትን ኣላኻዕትን) ምፍናው ህግደፍ ብማዕረግ ዝወሰደቶ ፍሉይ ክእለት እዩ ::

    ሕጂ ግን እዚ ጸገም ንሓዋሩ እንድምስሰሉ ፍቱን መድሃኒት እነሆ ይቀላቀል :- ብዘይ ገለ ሕብእብእን ንሓፍነትን ጉዳያት ዘርጊሕካ ብሰነፍልጠታዊ መገዲ ጸጺኻ ምፍላጦምን ኩሉ ታሪኻዊ ይኹን ካልእ መስመራትን ከም ምርቃ ተቀቢልካ ነቅ ዘይብል መሰረት ዘለዎ ናይ ሓባር ባይታ ምጥራይ ::

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Hello Ustazom

    Let me again express my respect to you. Your articles are educational and I value them. Having said that, I want to give a greater context to the paragraph you have made the bedrock of your article.

    1. In the last 16 months, since joining this great forum, I have aired my frustration as to why the opposition camp does not yield a strong alliance, or better, a strong front. I say this because the objective situation is so conducive. I note that we have made great strides on civic activism, but on the political front, I would say, organized political momentum was stronger fifteen years ago when things in Eritrea were relatively better. This is an irony. Any social or political observer will tell you that the more economic, social and political grievances get tougher the more impetus will the opposition get. Meaning the strength of opposition is directly related to the force of oppression. I have been asking myself that question. Despite the terrible human and economic repressions the regime exact on citizens, despite hundreds of thousands of young men and women fleeing their country and crisscrossing their way all the way to Europe, passing through the bases of organized opposition land, why don’t these organized, and some armed, organizations don’t get traction? If the enemy is one, why don’t they narrow their differences and build, at least, a functioning alliance? If questions of program incompatibility don’t unite them, why they don’t cluster up along similar programs and then form some sort of an alliance? What’s the priority of each of them? Is there a common factor running through the priority of each of them? For instance, is not the federal movement supposed to answer some of those social grievances (power…ethno-cultural hegemonies…)? What’s common to An Eritrean Kunama…Saho…Afar…grievance? Could the solution to one of them also becomes the solution to Eritrea’s malaise, in general, or to the solution of similar grievances raised by other ethnic (social)groups? If so what keeps them from grouping up? The questions are many and I don’t think we will exhaust them. But buried deep in this questions are two important ones. Answering them will give you the program you should formulate and the modus operandi you will follow in your struggle. They follow bellow.

    2. The reason you oppose PFDJ’s rule, or the raison d’etre of your organization:

    a. You exist because PFDJ is hurting Eritrea

    b. You exist because PFDJ Eritrea is hurting your particular constituency

    Note; both are not mutually exclusive. But where do you place the emphasis will determine how fast we cultivate and how securely we preserve the trust of each other which will determine how fast we change our nation for the better and how comfortable we live there after negotiating our differences. What is the priority? Uniting on minimum agenda and creating an atmosphere where Eritreans deal with these issues (language…power and resource sharing…) freely through their democratically elected representative (in free Eritrea), or we stick to our factional demands now, in effect displacing or supplanting the participation of all the stakeholders, and in the process hurting the move for change? Who are the parties to negotiate these issues in my behalf, in the behalf of the general social group in question? Let’s forget who ELL is, for instance, let’s think of it as a viable and influential with following of above half of the lowland population; let’s just think that way. Let’s give them a decent coefficient of confidence. Who are they going to negotiate those issues with? Do we have an organization that could present itself as having the consent of the nation, or, even an organization that commands the legitimacy of the other half?

    We normally say, “We have to do this…we have to do that…we have to do this covenant or that…”, but who do we mean by “we”? As I see it, the opposition camp is so pliant and elastic, at times it contracts and at times becomes extremely stretchy. We will still to see an organization that is representative enough to deal with these issues.

    Given the above backdrop, my view is one that is cognizant of the marginalization issues, but also recognizes that what we see today of all the ills befalling our nation are not typical manifestation of free Eritrea that we want to see established, rather symptoms of a totalitarian regime that has hurt all sectors of our society. PFDJ rule should not be a point of reference for discussing issues of hegemony. It’s an exception to the rule. The rule is the one we are struggling for where citizens negotiate and bargain through democratic channels. My view is also pragmatic. You are wrong on strategic and tactical levels.

    – On tactical level; it corrodes trust among all stakeholders (organizations and individuals who see their individual grievances incorporated to the grievances of other justice seekers). For instance, as a lowland man, I have common interests are entangled with the interests of my highland brothers/sisters. Among them: justice, good governance, policies related to the quality of education, health, safety/security, etc. Solving the main constraining puzzle will also solve issues related with it. For instance, addressing the issue of democracy will also address grievances related to power, resource and other cultural specific demands. The tactical element is that if we stick to ” answer my specific demand before we go to the general ones”, well, the other side will also pose the same demand. This is not a way forward. This is without mentioning the crucial question: who has at this time the legitimacy to frame the struggle that way.

    -On strategic level: let me quote you here. This is really the crux of the article.

    ” One should not be surprised if all of the Eritrean ethnic groups coalesce to counterpoise the sociopolitical onslaught around some of these fundamental principles that they see as their inherent right the highlanders must first accept before any kind of coalition can be
    made to counter the regime in Eritrea. This is part of the reason why Eritreans
    from different ethnic groups are reluctant to join hands with the opposition
    that is Tigrinya dominated.”
    This is a path of confrontation rather than a path of negotiation. I will only say the following:
    I will bet this is not the best picture of the struggle Eritreans are waging against PFDJ. I believe the resistance is still in its boiling stage. The fermentation is taking place. There are many sub-units interacting with each other. There is still space for that. Negotiations have not exhausted yet (some open others in clandestine; inside the country and in the diaspora). Once the internal pressure builds up the big bang will occur. At this point no one knows when and how that tipping point will manifest itself. No one can really predict that. It may come in the form of a simple street scuffles (as happened in Tunisia, a FB uprising as occurred in Egypt (also SAAY tells us the infrastructure for that-internet-is terribly bad), it may be in the form of another Forto; or hopefully, a new charisma will find itself in the face of a leader who could pull the current chaotic strides…no body knows. But the above quote that I used from your article tells me that we are totally unprepared and actually seem to be more disoriented than ever. Because you are saying: let’s all ethnics congregate and put a condition to the Tigrigna dominated opposition. BTW: How did an opposition that was said to be dominated by “islamists” turn to Tigrigna dominated? With all respect, that’s not a viable strategy my friend. I will still find a convincing reason to consider the fact that we are that distrusting. The priority is bringing change to the nation, and change would mean a climate that would be conducive enough to tolerate the discussion of these thorny issues.

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Mahmuday:

      You know by now that when I start addressing you as Mahmud, it is all good news:-)

      The opposition is three kind: the organized ones and the rest, who oppose PFDJ’s rule, but are not affiliated with any one group. Also you can say overall the entire Erean people, save the PFDJ supports is opposition, all of these groups failed us, we failed us in other words. I know I am meandering, If I was a good writer I would have economically said, we failed us without the fluff, but “entay ketmise” hashewiye abile enklil zeybleka, pun is of course intended:-)

      So criticizing the opposition brutally is healthy otherwise they will rest on their laurels and we will be having meeting in Addis and will be dying there and the dream of generation gone.

      Finding the least common factor and uniting around that requires courage and confidence, courage in facing the risk that this may entail in the future and confidence on your ability to rectify them if things go wrong. But both are predicated on trust. We may say we trusted each other as we bled together for 30 years. The bleeding part is true the trust one is not. The forced unity was that for convenience during the armed struggle, the two major groups as least in EPLF needed each other, suppressed grievances were easy to emerge when the burden of the bloody war ceased.

      The demographics of Eritrea with 7 tiny ethnic groups proves hard to unite and impossible to defeat PFDJ alone, catch-22.

      Take the Afar for example, if they cannot trust the rest of the Eritrean ethic groups and cannot single handily defeate PFDJ then this crack opens an opportunity to seek alliance somewhere else and that somewhere else is Ethiopia where their kin and Kith command sizeable demographics. The rest ethic groups who are in the same predicament also will do the same, looking to survive by invoking their version of “mdri msMeseye seb nabsebu zbie nab gerebu” The onus is really on the majority in Eritrea whether they are in the opposition or in PFDJ to take charge to be tolerant, to make consensus to these minority, if they want to keep the country together. Hint: the majority are two ethnic groups, who have being alternating in wreaking havoc in the country by becoming willing enforces of PFJD evil agendas

      The organized opposition springs from these facts and they do reflect the wider malice that plagues our society (Sal, I know we can fix them with one speech and a couple of decades correcting, am just analyzing:-)

      Mahmud, I know you are solution oriented and you are wondering what we do:

      I put the onus on the two major ethnic groups, Tigrinya and Tigre to take charge, lucky for them they have won the demographic draw and they are not in the verge of extinction, they may outlive PFDJ in some form or another, their culture may not. So these two groups who are mostly Christian and Muslims must sit down and brutally access the situation of the other Ethnic groups, mostly on the road to extinction, Afar fair better because of what I said above, but the rest in my opinion we will lose them at the speed we are driving toward destruction.

      So the elites of these major groups draw a road map how to save the nation and saving the nation does not mean removing TPF from Badme, barring some massive geological drifting of land Badme will be there forever. Saving the nation means saving these ethics groups from extinction because Eritrea cannot be of Tigrinya and Tigre groups just because they own the arithmetic of demography.

      I think the reason we have failed for the last 15 years to unite under the least denominator is not just politics, well everything is politics at the end of the day, but I mean it is also the way we were dealt the cards of 7 tiny ethnic groups with two dominant ones encourage fear and the tendency to fight in silos.

      If you are 1% of 4million and ruled by PFDJ it and opposition that has penchant for intolerance then fear and cocoon are safest for survial

      • saay7

        Hi iSem, Bayan and Mahmuday:

        I love it how we always give the opposition–particularly the ELF–the benefit of doubt when it takes disastrous measures by saying, as you did, “they do reflect the wider malice that plagues our society” (the society is to blame) but all the mistakes and screw-ups that EPLF/PFDJ make is never society’s fault but theirs and theirs alone. Wad Amir answered why decades ago: “ኣና እግል ፈታየ….. ኣና እግል ኣባየ….” and Mahmuday will fill in the blanks.

        So, Bayan, when I read the Eritrean Lowland League’s (ELL) manifesto I had a negative reaction to it: I could not verbalize it and, irrationally, I lashed out at the authors. Dayphi (when he was still guest) took me to task for it and I apologized. I think I am now able to articulate now what my discomfort then was: the ELL was saying, among other things, that the Eritrean lowlands have paid too much to safeguard Eritrea’s unity and now believe that they should focus their energies on safeguarding the interest of the society. It appeared like regional interest and unity were an either/or choice, despite the fact that they took pains not to pull out their “otherwise!” threat–one used by RSADO and DMLEK.

        Here’s where I think we are on the state of the opposition. Excluding the Islamists (which were part of a global phenomenon), what was happening in Eritrean opposition was an attempt to create ideological organizations, that is, to recreate the model used by the liberation fronts. The problem is that the world has changed–all that coincided with Fukuyama’s End of History (an ideology-free world dominated by the US)–and there wasn’t going to be the critical mass to dislodge the PFDJ. So essentially, the opposition was just a verbal insurgency calling for constitutionalism and free press and elections. With time, this became a fight for human rights and, with more urgency, stopping extinction. Then what?

        If you take the “politicize, organize, fight” model, we are past politicize (raise consciousness) and now people are looking at the right model to organize. My sense (and I guess Mahmuday’s view) is that once you organize vertically, you have crossed the Rubicon and there is no going back. It is also my sense that people have indeed crossed the Rubicon and the hope is that very sober, sensible, responsible people will lead the organizations.


        • Solomon Haile

          Damn dude you giving props. This is worth reading again: “you have crossed the Rubicon and there is no going back. It is also my sense that people have indeed crossed the Rubicon (rhetoric, smooth talk, one speech won’t do Cousin iSem) and the hope is that very sober, sensible, responsible people will lead the organizations to the next stage: fight for their and our rights.”

          I will leave it to the experts but my sophomoric chyme would be: The founders of the Eritrean Liberation Frontssssss, i.e. are vindicated or saying from up in heaven “gulnalekum” or “ilmakum antebo”…. Lets pray for the “very sober, sensible,…” to lead and be lead.


          • Solomon Haile

            Just wanted to add: weyo weyo weyo… Elllllllllll ana igle fetaye and igle abeye indeed!

          • saay7

            Hey TsaTse:

            “ana egl fetaye…. ana egl abaye…” was a quiz for iSem:)

            Here’s his last chance to cheat…and for you to pull your six-string:



            PS: No swords were involved in the making of this video.

      • Semere Tesfai

        Semere Andom

        Mokhsi, Mokhsi, Wo Mokksi!

        You said “The reason we (the opposition) have failed for the last 15 years to unite under the least denominator is not just politics (which everything is politics), but the way we were dealt the cards (seven tiny ethnic groups with two dominant ones encouraging fear and the tendency to fight in silos.”). I disagree.

        Without denying their political flavor, their share of mistakes, and their role on the Eritrean people’s misery (“the two major ethnics”), the reason why “the opposition camp have failed for the last fifteen years to unite under the least denominator” is simply for one and only one reason: The Tigres failure to play their cards right. Every time, the Tigres never fail to disappoint their constituents.

        Divisive and controversial issues (Arabic language, regional politics (LLF), political Islam, ethnic politics) are not going to get the Tigre led opposition to the top. If Arabic language is not Co/National language, all bets are off (there won’t be Eritrea) type threat, is going to send them only to political irrelevance. PFDJ is ethnic Tigrigna dominated dictatorial regime and the solution is to weed them out, is not a winning political strategy.

        Let me give you (all my Tigre brothers) unsolicited advice where you screwed-up before, and how you could get to the top in the future: create an air tight political coalition with a block of ethnic Tigrigna. And I guarantee you you will win and you will be at the presidential office in no time. Look and learn from EPLF/PFDJ/GoE. They are comfortably governing because they have created a solid coalition with the Tigres of Semhar and the Tigres of Sahel. The Tigres whom your Jebha Abay bled, humiliated and killed during QYada Al-Ama and Tesfia years because they were Mudad Al-Sewra, Al-MunHarifin, Al-TaEfeen, Al-Qebileen…..

        Where you srewed-up: I was a loyal soldier who believed on my Tigre brothers leadership to the bitter end. To this day, Western Hamassien, almost most part of Seraye, and the whole southern Akelegozai are your nostalgic constituency who still sing your songs.

        And look at you, look how you’re playing your cards: Arabic language, Lowland Liberation Front, Political Islam, Ethnic Politics, we are going to weed them out, Eritrean government is ethnic Tigrigna government, we’ve to di-Tigrignanize the country (whatever that means)…….. Fifteen+ years in the opposition business, to this day you can’t even describe the PFDJ regime.

        Now, go ahead, aim and shoot all your arrows, just be gentle.

        Senai Leiti Nkulna

        Semere Tesfai.

        • Semere Andom

          Hi Semere:
          Thanks for your reply. You disagree with me. Excellent, disagree we must.
          The Tigre and Tigrinya alliance you noted is true but you glossed over one fact that unholy alliance was made when what it was trying to supposedly solve was being solved in ELF, do you agree.
          The alliance only did well for itself and that is why I said PFDJ, the alliance of the 50% and 30% Tigrinya and Tigre respectively is wreaking havoc and they will out survive PFDJ because of their success and because of their demographics. You are advising them to stick to together to continue the hegemony, I want to dismantle them, or I want to weed out the tyranny of the majority, Eritrean cannot exist or it does not deserve to exist with its current configuration of tyranny of it majority. You should upbeat about the prospect of the Tigre occupying the presidential office, but if that happens without solving the language and the tiny ethnic who were cashiered by alliance If I was Afar I would take my Asseb and joint the over a million Afar in Ethiopia to take advantage of the federal systems in Ethiopia that is a budding systems for nurturing my language and culture

          • Semere Tesfai

            Semere Andom

            Thanks for engaging. I’m not going to be very articulate on this one because I don’t quiet understand what exactly we are arguing about. But anyway I’m going to try.

            1. – “That unholy alliance (the alliance of ethnic Tigres and Tigrignas) was made, when what it was trying to supposedly solve was being solved in ELF, do you agree?”

            I don’t. I wish there was Tigre Tigrigna alliance in ELF, but there never was. In the whole life of ELF, the highest representation ethnic Tigrigna received was 25%, which was June 1975. I’m honored to say, I have participated the ELF Second National Congress. And except the three (from ethnic Tigrigna) that were at the executive committee and one member of the military staff (EduE HyAt Al-Arkan), the rest neither had permanent nor meaningful assignment for the most part of their term. And two years after they were elected, one was arrested, two fled hours before their arrest, one was shot point blank in broad daylight, and one was martyred in Goluge. And that will leave you with 12% representation. And with about 70% of your fighters from ethnic Tigrigna, that is no alliance to me.

            2. -“The alliance only did well for itself (for Tigres and Tigrignas) and that is why I said PFDJ, the alliance of the 50% and 30% Tigrinya and Tigre respectively is wreaking havoc on the other ethnics”

            Again I don’t want to speak for the EPLF/GoE/PFDJ but there was never alliance in its true sense in the ELF that I know. As to the “wreaking havoc to the other ethnics”, yes it is true. But I believe we all Eritreans will fair better, if the Tigres and Tigrignas would stop their confrontation, share power, and lead. Then the other ethnics would live in a peaceful and stable country with a choice of two evils – the evils of the East and the evils of the West.

            The Arabic language problem – Well, it is not a problem, it is a symptom of a problem. And I don’t see any wisdom wasting time, energy, and meager resources to manage a symptom.

  • Amanuel

    Dear Beyan
    Thanks for well articulate article and for bringing these series of articles (The Lost Rainbow) to the attentions of the readers. I am aware that there is absolute dominance of the PFDJ government apparatus by the Tigrigna speaking people. However it is my first time to see a document supported by well researched evidence. Well my massage to those who think our problem is IA and few cliques please read these series of articles properly and think twice.

    • haileTG

      Dear Amanuel,

      Ahmed Raji’s analysis document is a great asset not only to learn about today but to develop holistic mindset in the future too. One acknowledgement I wish to have been made is though, I know for a fact how positions are given in under the current dictatorship. Seriously, I saw it all the time. The appointee need to be sufficiently insecure, i.e. in the level of education, connection, potential… This doesn’t lessen the nature of the problem but must also have contributed in the distorted configurations of current appointments in senior and middle govt jobs (I think AR’s part III discusses that point of imbalance more). The question is: would a constitutional Eritrea with accountable and democratic leadership have produced that? I think not. Hence, judging too harshly a situation that is obviously under abnormal circumstances may need careful balancing in general (not meaning you).


      • Ahmed Raji

        You made some sound observations, Haile. My contention is not far removed from what you’re saying. The severe imbalances discussed, while rooted in colonial history, were made worse by the current regime. Yet the mere removal of the regime will not correct them, either. I believe a combination of democratization, genuine, balanced development, and, targeted corrections (a from of affirmative action) for as long as it takes to bring about a reasonable equilibrium, will be required. These are discussed in detail in the final part (V) of the Rainbow series (the link to which I hope will be fixed in time).

        • haileTG

          Thanks Haw Ahmed,

          I fully agree that balanced development would ultimately be the path to guaranteeing peace and stability for the country. After more than half a decade since you penned these excellent pieces, its central message has now become the idea whose time has come. As we draw near the eventual and long awaited change, the value of what you’ve wrote back in the last decade has now sky rocketed. If you don’t mind my unsolicited advice, I would recommend a piece that would serve as a latest edition, that contains all the past volumes and current situation. The importance of the documents at this juncture does warrant them to be promoted from the references section of other related articles. Again, it is an idea whose time has come and I hope you give this humble opinion a due regard.


        • Yohannes

          Hi Raj,

          I read the ‘Lost rainbow articles’ after Beyan cited it here and admired its research approach, and as always, your mature voice and healthy spirit manifested in your wording. But I have a few questions regarding the lists of people you dag out to prove the assertion ‘Tigringya domination’ is valid.

          The questions: 1. You mentioned that for historical reasons, the EPLF has come as a Tigrinya dominated front unlike its predecessor ELF; and we all know senior officials are picked if they were part of the struggle(if Tegadelti), so, how did you account for the fact of statistical probability
          that if you pick blindly from an ex-rebel group with more Tigrinyas that you will obviously end up picking more of them than the a lowlander(which makes this rather unsystematic bias and thus doesn’t help prove your declaration of Tigrinya hegemony).

          2. You wrote there is in fact no un-owned land in the lowlands as it is the pasture of the natives, and that now they lack legal protection. Given the land pastoralist life style requires is many folds more than traditional farming’s; do you think it is fair to make a parallelism with the highlands on this issue? And how would you see this in the context of the need for modern farming and more agricultural production that could be a necessity given the size of the country?

          3. If you agree that the EPLF is a one man controlled dictatorial regime and you have lived in Eritrea to see almost all senior officials are former ‘Tegadelti’ is this not a simple demonstration that not just lowlanders but all ‘civilian population’ are marginalized despite region and ethnicity?

          4. If you agree with No. 3, don’t you think your methodology of comparing lists of senior officials in different eras is too weak to validate your theory(statement); but appealing enough for the vulnerable diaspora to pick from it and embark on a new circular frontier of ‘Lowland Vs Highland’, ‘Arabic Vs Tigrinya’ enklil?

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear Amanuel ( Mekusi),

      Do you know what I am still failed to convince to about your concern? our own Saay. Our friend Saay believe, it is one man government and one man system. O’Saay are your listening what Amanuel is saying? Come on brother there is no such thing. Amanuel, I will leave for you to argue with him about that issue.

      Amanuel Hidrat.

      • saay7

        Haha Amanuel:

        Did you just ask “O’saay can you see?” I refer you to:

        1. Interview of artist Kiros. He said the liberation of Eritreans will mean the imprisonment and/or death of “4 or 5 individuals.”

        2. Refer to Haile TG addendum/clarification of Ahmed Rajis “Rainbow” series.

        You call it a system. Majlis Ibrahim Mukhtar called it an “ethnocracy.” Medrek called it a “monocracy.” I call it “manocracy/Issucracy.” This manocracy may have deceived different social groups over the last 40 years, giving it an aura of an ideological or an ethnocratic system. But as supporters are shed and followers become opponents and opponents become followers (don’t be surprised that with the country being hollowed out of Tigrinya demographics if every who-is-who over the next 10 years–if he stays in power– is Muslim lowlander.)

        But I am our discussion will continue.


    • Bayan Nagash

      Dear Amanuel,

      I was even excited and delighted to find out there was fifth part which I now have in my possession, that will be my treat for the weekend – it is 12 pages long in a word/pdf format. One thing I know for sure, It does not belong in the comment section. Hopefully, the AT could avail it as a re-post in article format or something. So, Amanuel, stay tuned for the caveat.

  • Ambassador

    Dear Bayan,

    First, thank you for this thought provoking article. As you have a fanatic fun base (no pun intended), it will only be redundant to express my admiration for your flow of thinking and the eloquence of articulating it in English. So goes my question, wouldn’t it be obvious for you to support English as an official language of Eritrea, than any other language? You would’ve had an edge on that.

    Now back to the point; there might be a Tigrigna hegemony in Eritrea. And you may be right in assuming that people of other origins may resent that. But remember, Eritrea is a nation-state in construction. It is a natural process for states in their evolution towards a nation to go through a phase of hegemony. All Germans-as we know them today-weren’t people of German descent from the get-go. Language and ethnic uniformity (the only requirement to be called a nation-state) can only be achieved through the process of hegemony. The question is, in this day and age, do we really need to go through hegemony to create a nation-state? The answer is no; these days, the concept of nation-states is understood more as a contact than uniformity in societal features. Globalization may have had played its part in undermining the old understanding of nation-state. But, for centuries to come, we will keep seeing this old understanding of nation-state manifesting itself here and there.

    The question of religious identity through-no matter how archaic it is-is still lively and important. When someone asks for religious identity, contesting resolutions (rectifying proposals) are always intractable. Religion presupposes absolute truism, and as such compromises are almost impossible. So, when someone asks for the officiating of Arabic as a national language (in a country which is not a nation-state) for it represents an Islamic identity; I do not fear for any possibility of fading Tigrigna hegemony; I fear for what I might do as a Christian. Religion is dangerous; we should not play identity with it. And we should not cloak this dangerous identity in coward phrases like lowland league or arabic speakers or 50% opposition challenge… If 50% of your challenges as an opposition are non-issues like language; you have no business in being one. It is like saying 50% of the people who are dying under the brutal dictator would be better-off, were they speak Arabic. Or an Arabic speaking torturer would be more benevolent; or 50% of the pain of the oppressed is resulting from them speaking Tigrigna….. I cannot even wrap-up my mind around this idea…..

    • Bayan Nagash

      Dear Ambassador,

      Kbur Haw, I wish it was about personal competitive advantage, if it were I would’ve been for opting out from all but Amharic – I can already hear the ouch! Loud and clear. Kidding aside, I will humbly and cautiously take the compliment you lavish me with for if I don’t be careful it could as easily lead to hubris, and that is my archenemy when it comes to how I conduct my personal affairs in life.

      Ah, woe to that nation-state and the inevitable hegemony, for at the root of such perspective rests the ostensible notion of human folly in that we are hardwired to plunge headlong before we pick ourselves up by our bootstraps. I reject this fatalistic outlook. I firmly believe that we are capable of averting disasters of sociopolitical proportions. What was the “Hade lbbi and Hade hzbi” motto if it wasn’t based on “language and ethnic uniformity”? What was Awet nHaffash if it wasn’t meant to glue the myriad ethnic groups
      under one coherent tent?

      What I am hearing from you kbur Ambassador is this rationality of to err is human, which really gets us nowhere. We must step out of that resigned sense of finding a rationale and instead we should make genuine attempt to find the amicable solution to the present and multifaceted challenges we face today. You do, however, answer the question of hegemony by stating that “[t]he question is, in this day and age, do we really need to go through hegemony to create a nation-state? The answer is no; these days, the concept of
      nation-states is understood more as a contact than uniformity in societal features.” It is to the latter I, too, wish to speak of. Uniformity as in hade lbbi, hade hzbi is not what’s needed but affirming and genuine validation of the our differences.

      The tapestry of mosaic cultures voluntarily coming together to coexist is the kind of affirmation that one would expect in the vastly and rapidly globalizing world. Affirmation of differences, by necessity, requires us to first affirm our similarities. Therefore, enumerating our similarities will only serve to affirm our differences, differences viewed in such context
      become unifying themes, not to control the “Other” but to celebrate and cherish those who are different from us. I will leave it at that for now, but I am grateful to you for elevating the discussion.


      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Dear Beyan,

        Don’t listen to the folks who take marginalization as a natural process we have to go through. They are the creed of injustice and will resist anything who oppose marginalization. Group interest is their formal pronouncement of principle and are insatiable to the end. Marginalization in all forms are real in Eritrea and is the main source of mistrust in the landscape of Eritrean politics. Until the nation comes to term to recognize the reality and do something about it you should be one of the prominent advocator for justice straight on on the battle of ideas.


        • Ambassador

          Dear Amanuel Hidrat,

          Marginalization is a natural process, unlike you try to de-naturalize it. And, it will continue to exist in a democratic Eritrea, albeit at a lesser intensity and extent. There are always winners and losers, in every country and every political system. My issue–contrary to your intellectual par excellence, Ahmed Raji- is with the treatment of Eritrean marginalization along religious lines. I don’t know how providing list of workshop participants considered evidence for religious discrimination, but it is far from being an intellectual process of gathering evidence.

          You folks even fail to see the weird dichotomy Ahmed Raji has made between the oppressed and the oppressor. Didn’t you notice the oppressed is religion (Muslim) and the oppressor is ethnicity (Tigrigna)? Like all Muslims are non-Tigrigna and all Tigrignas are non-Muslims… Discrimination is systemic and institutional. If you are able to show me a single institution in undemocratic Eritrea that unfairly discriminates against Muslims-and only Muslims, I’ll stand corrected. Don’t jump through hoops to tell me about Friday prayer for similar arguments can be made on Nigdet, michaele, gebreale, etc..

          The kind of discrimination we have in Eritrea is along tegadalay and gebar. It happens to be that EPLF is a Tigrigna dominated organization. And after “independence” those Tigrignas and Muslims (to use that weird dichotomy) who were/are in the EPLF come to be government officials. For example (I am still following the same line of argument to that of Ahmed Raji’s) the Director of Administration at the Ministry of Labour and Human Welfare is a 5th grader named Jume’a Ahmed. Her husband is another 5th grader who is the chief of police in Gash Barka. For heaven’s sake, we even had a Muslim ex-radio operator as a minister and a Muslim ex-driver as administrator of a zone. My guess is that all those Muslim-EPLF-fighters, who can at least read and write, are in key government positions. Only those Muslims who happens to be gebars, were ex-Esepas, Halesellassie fitaweraris and dejazmats or EPLF fighters who dare to challenge the mad man are discriminated. Not by coincidence, I can say the same thing about Tigrignas or Christians in the same category. Now, if you think the situation would’ve been different had ELF won independence; I would say you are right-but it would’ve been Muslims who would be on positions of power, because ELF was Muslim dominated.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Haw Amabassador,

            I will try to make two points, if it could help you to understand as to what my stand is, at least within the context of the issue we are debating:

            First marginalization is not a natural process. It is deliberate action of dominance of one social group over the rest of our social groups. Whether EPLF was dominated by Highlanders or not, if an organization want to avoid marginalization, they could do so, nothing can hinder them, unless they are dictated by the insatiable urge for dominance on the economic and political discourse of our nation. When EPLF become victorious, it shouldn’t establish a state and a government from its ranks and files only, if it want to govern a nation of multi-cultural diversity. The whole issue of barring the ELFites from being part of the process of nation building as a political organization was a stark example and well designed for marginalizing Eritrean Muslims (because ELF was understood as Muslim organization by the highlanders). I am an eye witness as to what EPLF cadres was giving orientation to our people in the highland in the 70s – “abotat adetat nehna en Dekikum.” So haw Ambassador it is EPLF that has framed the Eritrean politics by religion from its inception.

            Second, my position is, the Eritrean politics shouldn’t be framed by religion. My take on this issue is clear. The building blocks of Eritrean nation are its “social groups” with their definite cultural identities. I understand the grievances of our social groups and their marginalization in the nation of ours. Eritrea is a multi-cultural society. A multi-cultural society can only be governed by equitable power sharing and equitable economic distribution. That is what I believe and strongly advocate for that political approach as solution to hold the co-existence of our social groups as a fabric to our unity. I strongly believe the separation of state and religion.

            Third, Ahmed Raji work to educate the Eritrean people the nature of our state we have in Eritrea and how it governs its people, and above how they disturb the equilibrium of its part must be appreciated and welcomed. AR has given us the insight on the evils of the regime and the structural flaw of the state.

            Amanuel Hidrat

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Beyan,

        “nation-states is understood more as a contact than uniformity in societal features.” It is to the latter I, too, wish to speak of. Uniformity as in hade lbbi, hade hzbi is not what’s needed but affirming and genuine validation of the our differences.” I always want to say but I couldn’t put in such way. I love you Beyan.

        we need to say it right and frankly. we need to see the reality (as Amuni put it) “Until the nation comes to term to recognize the reality and do something about it you should be one of the prominent advocator for justice straight on, on the battle of ideas.” really the culture of hiding ideas should be destroyed and all men and women with good knowledge should come out to teach. it has become like AIDS of 1980’s where people were hiding not to be known for their killer deaths. thank you both,

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Salam professor
    As usual, beautifully written; ideas well articulated and argued. Thank you for accidentally landing on my paragraph. Frankly, I found the theoretical backdrop interesting; and as soon as I get time, I will defend my position (quoted paragraph).
    I may need to borrow from PFDJ lexicon: with patriotic zeal and ሃገራዊ መኸተ; probably we will have ሳልሳይን ሓድነታዊ ጉባኤ in order to hash out all these ideas.
    Thanks Beyan.

    • Bayan Nagash

      merHab ya Ustaaz Mahmud,

      Nothing would please me more than having Hadnnetawi Guba’e. Remember, the third time might just be the charmer that we’ve all been waiting for. Looking forward to the rejoinder. It is always an honor to cross-path virtually speaking with you Ustaaz Mahmud – not by accident though as the term cross path may seem to suggest.


  • Bayan Nagash

    Dear All,
    Apparently, there was a fifth part to Ahmed Raji’s “…Lost Rainbow”. I am able to see the piece when I scroll down on the link below, but trying to open it, it just comes back at me with blank page. Hey, AOsman might be what the doctor ordered, eh. AOsman you were able to help many of us who wanted to get our hands on the four parts, how about the fifth one, the last one for the road, to borrow the parlance of the happy hour dudes.


    • AOsman

      Dear Bayan,

      Unfortunately not this time, you are ahead of the game…..see we have short memory already forgot about the fifth. The easy way is to ask Ahmed Raji (bezi halifu neru, teqelelena bello – nay Gezae amel lemidu). If you we are lucky, a 6th supplement may come as a bonus.


      • Bayan Nagash

        Selamat AOsman,

        Thank you for the suggestion. I know AR is rarefied commodity whose fleeting visits are always pleasing to see gracing any virtual space. As though the fifth part is granted you’re peeking my interest with the bonus suggestion that might come tagged with the fifth – ah, now I do have to go on my knees begging, especially, if the potential for the sixth could be in the offing.


  • haileTG

    Selamat Beyan,

    Thankful for this nicely put article, let me quote you on:

    “Eritreans in the opposition must begin to see the issue as it exists and not as we wish it to remain suspended and etched in our memory of long gone Eritrea of the yesteryear.”

    That is indeed what seems to be letting us slowly approach a hard to rectify disaster, in what is undoubtedly the most uncertain period in our history. Let’s even extend that message to all Eritreans, at home or abroad, for that matter. In deed, where are we? It is time to take stock of our reality for what it is: dangerous and unavoidable.

    When IA announced the removal of the 97 Constitution in a rather hasty and unceremonious way, nothing really changed in practice, but it was also a diabolical move that has ensured that the bridge is burned. Any law, guideline, policy… is now openly (always was despite the Tesfankiel’s and Yemane’s of this world lying through their teeth about the con97 being implemented) rests on the Office of the President (aka IA). There is no mechanism by which Eritreans can justify or not justify one act over another as it relates to their country, no common reference, anything is potentially permissible as there is no state to citizen contractual framework.

    The de-facto source of rules and references now, i.e. The Office of the President, is one that is increasingly losing control in many spheres (political, diplomatic, social welfare). Its protagonists are increasingly gaining in momentum, virtually any spark can completely eliminate the only office that is now precariously holding on to the reigns. Once that office is slammed shut for good, which will certainly happen sooner than later, we have multitudes of centers, all having their conditionals. None of them can claim authority over the other, neither is there any binding contract among them the equally reference. The current de-fact law making office is in no position to fundamentally change anything now nor does it show any inclination to do so. Technically, our situation is likened tripwire with a pull fuse grenade pin attached to it. That set up has no time-delay and the moment the pin is pulled, bang goes the explosion. Such is the degree of PFDJ’s sadistic tendency, i.e. they don’t care to let it go up in smokes if the dictator isn’t going to be there anymore!

    The de-facto proclamation issuing office of the President is unlikely to survive the current complicated and dynamic conflation of multifaceted crises inducing epicenters. From justice to defence, from economy to diplomacy, from external pressure to internal resistance, it is mired in an insurmountable problems. This can only mean one thing, i.e. it will lose it with an almost certain probability. And hence, the minute that de facto law making office hits the tripwire, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what we are in for. Such isn’t pessimism, rather a very real and near possibility. Against that backdrop, Eritreans are indeed not moving at the appropriate pace and nor do they have a reliable cover from the impeding looming danger. Therefore, let me close here by saying that the writing is on the wall, there is no going back now and the sooner agreements are hammered among all stake holders, the more likely that the potential cost can be lowered.


    • Bayan Nagash

      Selamat kbur Haw Haile TG,

      I would not add anything of value if I even tried to what’s lucidly and critically perceived danger that may lie-in-wait that you carefully outlined above. What I would say, however, is that it is in this kind of unexpected moments where we may come up with the potential solution. I am seeing so many good and clear thinking heads here that hope is not lost on me we will find the needed solution. Likewise, I share your view that “Eritreans are indeed not moving at the appropriate pace…” . As if the pace of the turtle was not slow enough, we seem to be going, to borrow my friend Semere Habtemariam’s phrase, at a “molasses” speed. That has been my source of frustration as I never tire from repeating, meanwhile, if we don’t find solution fast, we Eritreans are on the verge of not only collapse, but in real and present danger of going extinct.

      Thanks HTG for all that you do.

  • Berhan Beyan

    Selam Brother Beyan,
    The EPLF leadership and without the consent of the Eritrean people decided to govern independent Eritrea along for four years. According to the EPLF leadership the four years are transitional period to constitutional government. The decision of EPLF leadership to govern Eritrea along undermined the very basic right of the Eritrean people to participate in the affairs of their country.
    Now we all have to agree that the EPLF transitional system of government is illegitimate because the Eritrean people did not have a hand in creating it. The Eritrean people do not have an obligation to abide by any policy of an illegitimate system of government including by the constitution that was drafted without the full participation of the Eritrean people, and ratified by a national assembly that does not reflect the wish and desire of all Eritrean people.
    The problem we are facing in my opinion is that Eritreans particularly those former EPLF members started to hate Isseyas, but they are still in love with his policy. That why we are having an issue.
    My suggestion is that the former EPLF members should recognize that their organization violated the right of Eritrean people to participate in the affairs of their country, and reject everything EPLF did from the time of the independence including the constitution of 1997. Then and only then we can start new chapter by embarking in an all inclusive new constitution making process.

    • Bayan Nagash

      MerHaba Brother Berhan,

      Glad to hear back from you in a long, long time. If I am not mistaken it is the Berhan whose writings I used to enjoy during the heyday of dehai. Let me take this opportunity to give you my e-mail, let us reestablish the connection long lost: beyan.negash@gmail.com

      Back to your well argued points. I have no qualms about what you stipulate above. Unless and until we begin to think in inclusive ways, considering the dire urgency that brother Haile TG has alluded to above (to which I will come to you about HTG, in due course), we have got to come up with a blue print fast, a blue print with clear trajectory that can lead us to that coherent place, a place nothing like where the country is now. Otherwise, confusion, despondency, and political vacuum will reign in and that by all means must be avoided. This is why I want to sound the alarm now before it is too late. The ISISes and the alQaEEdas thrive in political vacuum, that is why preemptively and proactively finding amicable sociopolitical covenant is of the highest order now, in every sense the term now implies. So, I am glad to see you sharing your concerns, this is a great beginning.

      • Solomon Haile

        Selamat Bayan and Berhan,

        Though I as well do not have no qualms with Berhan’s stipulation above, I disagree with certain aspects of how the transitional period of EPLF governance. Though, my arms or could be twisted with reasonable arguments of the dissatisfaction and and close to insurrection by the tarra tegadelti and hzbi within to the blunders === I mean could a compromise short of “illegitimate”, which smells a lot like YG’s stipulation be better. Speaking of blue prints….. I am sure you will not mind me noting your e-mail address as well. No sound track theme I promise. Open only if it is pdf file.

  • cool

    Dear Andom”anyone who want to run for President or Prime Minster must be barred from running if he/she cannot speak Tigrinya and Arabic, he/she should be deemed ineligible if they cannot address Eritreans in both languages.” what a nonsense ,what has arabic to do with eritrea .Jews Langauge better than this isist Langauge.

    • Bayan Nagash

      Dear cool,
      The ISISes, the al-Qeedas, the al-Shabab (this group was supported by our own menace), the al-Houthis (these, too, were allegedly received material support by our own homemade terror inducing state), the Boko Harams, and the like are not the alphabets of Arabic language.

      They are real and are made real when there is political and structural flaws in any system of governance. Terror knows no language, it is our own Tigrinya speaking fellow who is terrorizing the young and the old. Amharic language was not at fault when Dergue terrorized Ethiopians and Eritreans alike. Let us have some reality check and have some grips on the fundamental problems plaguing us so that we may find a sound solution.

      • cool

        Dear Bayan Negash, this name sounds like my childhood neighbour from gezabanda???
        now to your comment ;first of all your comparism between this “tigrigna speaking fellow who is terrorizing the young and old”and those real islamist murders is very hyperbolical.
        In eritrea you have a leader who is trying to safeguard his very survival by using controversial methods but the blood thirt jihadists are slaughtering people just for fun.

        second i am not blaming the arabic langauge for the wrong doings of the terrorists,i am just only saying eritrea ist not arabic ,you should argue giving a chance to other eritrean langauges like tigre or bilen etc. to be second eri langauge.

        In eritrea there is a saying that goes so “ADI A GEDIFAS HATN A TINAFIK”

        Imagin a referendum that would be held in eritrea , for or against jewish(hebrew) langauge to be national langauge of the state?how does this sound in your ears.ridiculous isn`t it?the same is true with arabic.

  • Semere Andom

    Hi Beyan:

    Eritrea has a lot of problems and the simplest of all of them is the issue that Saleh’s article aimed to tackle. It is the simplest of our problems because it was solved before it occurred. It seems to me that it has been deliberately too muddied. This issue has been raised many times before independence and it was consistently ridiculed, those who asked the question were humiliated by the one who was supposed to answer; emboldened by the clapping robots he continued. No.” ageb” from the clapping morons. Just two examples suffices: both in USA, one young man asked IA and was ridiculed and that man is a founding member of ELL and then another woman who spoke impeccable Tigrinya and was good intentioned, but in keeping with tradition that was an harbinger for thing which will unfold she was jeered for her ornaments.

    Actually, I can even go further in my believe about this issues by saying this: anyone who want to run for President or Prime Minster must be barred from running if he/she cannot speak Tigrinya and Arabic, he/she should be deemed ineligible if they cannot address Eritreans in both languages.

    • Bayan Nagash

      Selam Semere A.,

      I was following the first paragraph with a calm node in agreement as I moved my head up and down and then came the curve ball from the right field putting me out of balance at which point my head began to shake violently disagreeing with your last paragraph.

      In a polarized topic such as this one throwing some such stipulation will only make those we are trying to convince less likely to come to our line of thinking. You sure have one fine mind whose fecundity no one can expect which way it would lead. I will just leave it here by saying that was just a classic non sequitur which will remain etched in my mind if not for its implausibility at least for its originality – I give you that much.

  • L.T

    I ‘ll start by saying “Isaias Ezi Elu”(Isaias quote)you love him.I remember it was 10 years ago when ten people go out into the snow waether in Stockholm to protest with a picture of Isaias ,the young guy is a little smart and he does not want to carry Isaias Image with slogans (Isaias Welqe melaki’yu)and want to give to an older man and first the older take it then when he sees that the Isaias picture he get scared and say”Abzi uka aybXaHnan”give to someone and I do not want to see you again and kicked him…..
    Part Two
    Isaias said in 1993 that”If I wanted to speak Arabic,I can speak this language becouse it is mine and I can talk Tigre becouse this language is my brother and sister languages and I try to talk “Saho” becouse Saho is Eritrea languages and eyeing Mahamud Sherfo and then he said”Why you hats tigringa ,talk ye Arabic at home?”and he out”Ane nay Ahwatey Quanqa kizareb kichi-chci ayblenin’yu”Who can stop me If I want to talk Ertra Language,who said that Arabic is only to arabian?”.
    Part three
    I as L.T talk Tigringa,Amharinga,Engilsh,Swedish,German,little Arabic and small Bilen languages so?Or do you want me to yell after Banan as an Ape or I would cry like arabbit after carrot?
    Harike em’ber