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Confession From Outside The Bubble

Consider today’s Negarit edition mainly a confession booth; I hope the so-called “silent majority” would join me. But first let’s remember the phrase “silent majority” was popularized by President Nixon, who robbed the anti-war constituency of the credit for the decision to pull out of Vietnam, and countersigned that credit to his Republican constituency.

In a 1969 speech Nixon said: “And so tonight–to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans, I ask for your support.” Thus, he bastardized the phrase “silent majority” which until then was a reference to “The Dead”. Unfortunately, the phrase was introduced to the current Eritreans struggle as a lexicon in its Nixonite form, provoking others to revert to its origin as “a euphemism for the dead.”

A Theory: let’s Recognize Our Size

I want to test a theory and I am soliciting your help; hopefully the exercise will conclusively prove (or disprove) my theory regarding the size of the real Eritrean Diaspora activists. Please list all the names of people you know to be declared opposition elements and at the same time pray for the “silent majority” to Rest In Peace.

  1. If you cannot list more than fifty people, my theory is right.
  2. If you can list one hundred people, my theory is half right.
  3. If you can list over three-hundred people, my theory is wrong.

If three persons can list four-hundred individuals, even if by including family members, it’s a miracle!

Over the years, I supported what I considered promising endeavors that would help the overall opposition camp, while at the same time criticizing activities that I thought were worthless. Most of the time I played the devil’s advocate arguing different, sometimes unconventional, perspectives hoping to help a more focused and effective struggle for justice and freedom. Regrettably I annoyed a few in the process, and in a few cases I earned enemies who are engaged in turf wars. But the fight for a national cause is so important to be stopped for fear of bruising some egos. I always moved on.

The opposition camp is wide. It is even wider if we add the so-called Nixon type “silent majority” who oppose the regime secretly. Why are they silent anyway? Certainly there are many reasons for their silence, but none of it can be blamed on the organized opposition.

Generally, the so called “silent majority” is silent because it is intimidated by social forces. Effective regime propaganda and fear of being ostracized is an emotional assault they’re are ill equipped to withstand, even if they live in democratic countries, not burdened by life’s basic needs. Though they do not approve of any of the charted paths, they are not willing to chart their own path and to fight for it . Still, blaming one’s inaction on others is mind boggling. Being silent is not a virtue. Eritreans should take solace in the fact that not every able person fought for the independence of Eritrea, only those who were determined enough did so.

The so-called “silent majority” camp is an assortment of different individuals; very few have plausible reasons to be silent:

  1. The Careful: Being vocal is costly. Eritrea is a police state. Individuals with legitimate reasons to travel to Eritrea (for instance, to visit ailing parents) cannot afford to be on the bad list of the regime. Also, some work in sensitive places and cannot afford to be openly vocal.
  2. The Tourists: Eritrea is their vacation spot; similar to the fearful, they avoid the regime’s bad list.
  3. The Wobbly: They play it safe, one leg secretly planted in the opposition camp, another with the ruling party; they are careful not to put their financial interests in Eritrea at risk, even if the nation goes into flames provided their properties are safe.
  4. “PFDJ Koboro Junkies”: They trek to any venue, any camp that provides better organized parties–Eritrea can burn as long as it provides a bonfire for their parties. The PFDJ is the champion here.
  5. The Parochial: They consider the regime their own; they support it at any cost or remain silent.
  6. The Dispassionate: Their interest in Eritrea is casual. They’re too absorbed in their day-to-day Diaspora life. They have a passion for trivial issues, but less for Eritrea.
  7. The Disillusioned: Innocent, traumatized individuals. Trying hard to cope with life–focusing on acquiring surviving skills, education, and settling down. Long years of victimization under the PFDJ regime has inflicted deep scars of betrayal in their psyche. Generally skeptical about the entire struggle project and need time to heal. Their numbers and age group is significant.
  8. The Heedless: They consider the national struggle a game in which they are forced to play along. They’re wrongly considered part of the “silent majority”, though many wish they were silent for the confusion and the demoralization they spread.
  9. The Tactless: they claim they’re disengaged from the struggle because “the opposition to the regime is disorganized and unattractive for me to join.” It’s akin to saying: I didn’t have lunch because nobody cooked for me! Entitlement?

Struggle is very taxing, and there’s a dead-weight that pulls it back; some of the above dead-weights are a liability to the nation let alone to the opposition. Efforts to win them over is fruitless, except for The Disillusioned and The Careful.

The Internet is full of heaps of insults and defamation hurled at the opposition by the “confederates” of the so-called silent majority and the PFDJ mouthpieces. Surprisingly, not a fraction of that is directed at the PFDJ! How is that even possible?

There are many factors that have frozen the so-called “silent majority” who have mainly succumbed to the relentless barrage of propaganda, the onslaught targeting the organized opposition, including the war of attrition waged by OTTO (Opposition To The Opposition) who claim to be members of the broad opposition camp. OTTO targets the organized opposition using bigoted battle tools picked from the PFDJ playbook. It vengefully accuses the opposition as treasonous, as sellouts, and as unpatriotic. Ironically, all these vices can easily be attributed to the PFDJ. But in some Diaspora circles, it’s trendy to badmouth the organized opposition which, ironically, is blamed for all the ills befalling Eritrea!

Relativity: What’s A Minimum Program?

There is a common slogan: Let’s agree on a minimum program! However, those who live outside the bubble know that there are “maximalist” and Minimalist demands within the opposition camp. It’s unfortunate that no one has managed to form “a middle ground.” For instance, I belong to a camp that believes in weeding out the PFDJ regime. It is difficult for me to work with anyone with less than that minimum demand.

It’s disingenuous for strategic allies to ask the organized opposition to accept the continuation of the ruling party that brought Eritrea to a risky edge. But if saving the regime is the only solution, then the opposition would be better off negotiating directly with the PFDJ itself, not with brokers. Why should it accommodate a proposal by self-appointed brokers who are in a partisan power struggle? The organized opposition might be weak, but it doesn’t lack principles. Certainly it doesn’t lack wisdom.

Nevertheless, there is a snag: Does the opposition have the needed leverage to force the regime to sit and negotiate with it? Absolutely none at this time. However, though a few people think that the political and security situation in Eritrea and the region is constant and not changeable, all those who live outside the bubble know it’s prone to change. Any change in the region will certainly result in new alliances, new arrangements, and new realities in the balance of power and political leverage.

It’s important to note that a political struggle for justice and freedom should not be treated like a product that a for-profit corporation markets. Corporate performance is assessed by reconciling books every year to produce a profit and loss statement; if the figures are in red, sell your stock, wrap up, and go home, and if the figures are in black, rejoice, reward your CEO’s, and plan for more profits for next year. Such methods cannot be applied in assessing a struggle, its emotions, its culture and value, and other non-tangible individual and social investments. Corporate balance sheets cannot measure the humanitarian and morale aspects of workers’ lives: their emotions, trepidations, and aspiration. A citizens’ freedom and dignity cannot be willfully monetized to be reflected in an accounting record.

Confession From Outside The Bubble

When you live in an Internet bubble your worldview becomes limited to the tiny space enclosed within a thin wall of foam. Nothing is relevant unless it competes with you for more space within the bubble. Undoubtedly social media has empowered citizens to have a say, and in our case, a few are using it effectively by bringing ideas and triggering brilliant debates, particularly on facebook. But as far as the overwhelming majority is concerned, and in relation to the Eritrean opposition, I don’t think facebook or twitter has contributed much–we simply are not using them effectively. Social media has created a wrong sense of self-worth and an illusion of invincibility in the minds of quite a few people. That tiny bubble, however big it may appear, cannot accommodate even a fraction of the Eritrean struggle that is being waged in pursuit of justice and freedom. That is why communication with those who live inside the bubble is frustrating. However, fortunately, after three years of seclusion inside the bubble, many Eritreans are realizing its claustrophobic nature and are becoming sober. We should not forget that in the Eritrean case, the social media bubble is too inflated and might burst just like the dot com bubble did.

After giving generous benefit of the doubt to the bubble, now I realize that I abandoned the serious opposition when it was being kicked left and right, and facing an aggressive onslaught by amateurs who haven’t made up their mind regarding the ruling regime. Of course, the slow pace and weaknesses of the organized opposition camp is disappointing, but regardless, one has to stick to principles and see the bigger picture.

Importantly, there are critical questions that we need to ask: what is the alternative to the organized opposition, however weak it might be? The social media battalions and the mediocre bigoted cadres? The Neo-Andennet? The naive who think making one negative comment makes you an opposition figure? Those whose main credential is the use of vile, racist, and bigoted language against Ethiopians, against Arabs, and against their compatriots? Individuals who have nothing to offer but their bitterness with the “Weyane”? Groups who are busy curving their envisioned fiefdoms in Eritrea once someone else removes the regime for them? The intellectually lame scholars? Those who think they have a mandate to lead the millions of Eritreans because they belong to the Diaspora? Those who want to enlist the young as their foot-soldiers in their quest for raw power and rivalry? Those who claim to be enlightened, but are immobilized by the shackles of tribalism, sectarianism, and chauvinism of all types? Those who are still living in the partisan atmosphere of the Eritrean struggle era?

Soon I will have a say on the counter-productive struggle-era rivalry, and the useless ELF/EPLF partisan loyalties, that some are campaigning to revive. But until then… are any of the above, an alternative to a diligent organized opposition? Can any of those be trusted to lead the Eritreans struggle in search of freedom and justice?

Sadly, the organized opposition camp is not free from such destructive elements, it houses their duplicates simply because it’s is a social problem and will exist glaringly visible in any segment of Eritrea as long as it is not resolved. But within the organized opposition, those elements and ideas are not as noxious. They’re fomenting aren’t out of sight in suspect gatherings. They are there, openly. But the organized opposition has recognized those social ills and is courageously facing them, wisely negotiating and taming them, and educating about them. In the process, it’s chipping away the mistrust that prevailed for too long and resolving them piecemeal, not avoiding them by hiding in a bubble!

All of the above leaves us with a choice of what we can broadly define as the genuine organized opposition. I never believed the Diaspora cacophony would bring about change through part-timers and hardly passionate individuals. That’s why I support the more dedicated individuals. But I feel I didn’t do enough in the last few years. I made a mistake and I apologize. That is my confession. My final statement is: I fully support the organized opposition and I will promote its struggle for unity and progress. Only an organized opposition can usher justice and freedom.

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

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

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  • Tesfabirhan WR

    What I can agree with incidence of crime is that even today crimes among civilians is low. But crimes committed by the regime to the civilians is extremely high. Unfortunately there is no means to record statistically except by testimonies.

    On the other side, live please in 2015. We are 16 years ahead of 1999, almost half and 3 years days of
    one generation (one generation is 25 years). DOn’t behave as a misty-eyed old glories reflector here. Read Eritrea being in 2015.

    • selam

      I was not talking about the past i am just saying that HGDEF manged to kill and create a great damage to the eritrean people. That is the only conclusion i take from that statistics.

      Tesfe you have a problem on spewing and running around and throw things at people with out taking any thing in consideration.
      Do you forget about the past post you claimed china respect the international norms

  • Explorer

    (لوجيا) لاحقة لغوية تعني “علماً” أو “دراسة” أو “نظرية”
    باللغة اليونانية القديمة. وبدءا من القرن الثامن عشر أصبحت تلحق في أوروبا
    باسم الشيء المراد تفسيره أو دراسته أو تقديمه كعلم مستقل.. وبمرور الوقت
    ارتبطت بعلوم جديدة ومدارس حديثة فأصبح هناك مثلا سيكيولوجيا (علم النفس)
    وبيولوجيا (علم الأحياء) وجيولوجيا (علم الأرض) وتكنولوجيا (علم التقنية)
    وبارماكلوجيا (علم العقاقير) …الخ

    وطالما أن المسألة (لوجيا في لوجيا) يمكننا نحن أيضا ابتكار
    مصطلحات محلية تفسر علوماً ونظريات ودراسات لم يسبقنا إليها أحد من
    العالمين.. فنحن مثلا لدينا:

    = البيلابيلولوجيا : وتعني إشباع شهوتك الكلامية قال وقيل…تتكلم
    كثيرا بدون علم ومصدر. يعنى الكلام من أجل الكلام بدون أي هدف أو معنى أو
    حتى مصدر موثوق!

    = والتحليلولوجيا : التي تتعلق بحتحليل ثم تحليل التحليل…بما
    يحاولوا أن يعمله الأخرون أو عمله الديكتاتور فى إرتريا. أما أنت تكتفى
    بالتحليل…يا خطير، يا خبير إستراتيجي…يا خبير ” دجيج بلا طحين”!

    = أما السلبيلوجيا: فهي حالة يعيشها الشعب الإرتري من الظلم،
    التهميش، والإضطهاد…الخ ولا أحد يحرك ساكنا، لأنه ينتظر ويتوقع أن يعمل
    الأخرون وهو يكتفى بالتحليل والإنتقاد وعدم مشارك لا بالمال ولا بالنفس!!

    = أما الإنتهازلوجيا: فهو أن تفكر “كيف” تكسب ويمكن ان تستخدم
    أي وصيلة للوصول هدفك…الشعب، الجالية، اللاجئين، الوطن…مستعد أن تعمل كل
    حاجة وأي حاجة للوصول الى هدفك!

    = أما الإنتقادلوجيا: الإنتقاد أي شخص يعمل أو يحاول أن
    يعلم…بعلم وبدون علم. أما انت ناقد ، ويدينك محننة (كما يقولوا
    السودانيون). وشعارك هوك “الشخص اللى يعمل يمكن أن يخطأ، فأنا لا أعمل لكى
    لا أخطأ، ولكن من حقى ان انتقد على الأقل”!

    = أما الإستسلامولوجيا: فهو الإنبطاح التام، والقول “مافيش
    فائدة” “نحن غير موحدين” “الحكومة قوية” “ما عندنا تنظيم قوى ولا قيادة”
    “نحن لا نستطيع ان نحكم” “الوقت غير مناسب” “لآيوجد رجل آخر يستطيع أن يحل

    = أما الإنهزامولوجيا : فهي عدم الثقة بالنفس والإحساس بالضعف
    وفقدان الأمل وإحساس بالدنائة. الإستسلام يخلق الإنهزام ويتبعه الإنبطاح
    ويليه الإستسلام…فهم ثلاثى قاتل ومتعاون يصيب الشخص “الحي ميت” فهو حي
    بالجسد ولكنه ميت بالروح المعنوية، روح المسؤلية، الإحساس والكرامة…محسوب
    مع الأحياء ولكنه ميت “لايهش ولا ينش”!!

    = أما الفاندلوجيا : فهي ان تتحصل على “الفاند” بأي طريقة …فريق كرة، جالية، جمعية الخ…المهم هو الفاند ثم الفاند.”!!

    = أما التنظيرولوجيا : فهو إبن عم “التحليلوجيا” فهو يتكلم بما
    يجب أو لايجب أن يكون وكيف يسير…بدون برامج عمل، بدون هدف، بدون عمل…
    فيكتفى بالكلام ويحس بأنه خطير!!

    = أما العقربولوجيا : هذا الشخص مستعد ان يحلل، ينظر وينتقد
    بشدة ولكن لا يشرك مشاركة فعلية وفى جيبه عقرب، لذلك لا يدخل يده الى جيبه
    ابدا (إبن…)!

    = أما الأنانيولوجيا: الشخص دائما يريد ان يكون القائد، فى
    المقدمة حتى لو ما عنده إمكانيات ومأهلات…ولازم “هو يكسب” فى النهاية، ولا
    يهمه الوطن ولا الشعب ولا…ومستعد أن يتاجر بأي حاجة وبكل حاجة…!!

    = أما السطحيولوجيا: فهو الشخص الذى لا يمكن أولا يستطيع أن
    يقنع حتى نفسه. والمصيبة هو مصر بأنه “عالم زمانه”. لا الألقاب ولا العمر
    يجعلا من الإنسان “عالم” المسطح هو مسطح حتى لو شرب من”ماء النيل والفرات
    …و ماي بلا”!

    = أما المنفعلولوجيا: فهو الشخص الذى يرى فى كل شيء مصلحته
    ومستعد أن يبيع الوطن وبأي سعر. المهم “كيف هو يستفيد” وهو شخص لا يستحي
    ومتقلب و…!

    = أما القبيلالوجيا: فحالة تتبنى أقصى حدود التشدد والتزمت، ولا
    يتفق مع أحد ويتخيل بأن قريته أهم من إرترية وقبيلته أهم قبيلة فى العالم
    وهو خطير…فهو شخص عقيم ومحدود لأنه “لا يجيب ولا يودي” وحرام من أمثاله
    يهاجروا…لأنه “لا يفيد ولا يستفيد” وكما يقول الأستاذ …بعد مماته سوف يذكره
    الناس بأنه “عاش كيشة، ومات كيشة..الله يرحم الكيشة”!

    = أما التباكيولوجيا: فهو الشخص الذى يشتكي ويتباكة بما يحدث فى
    إرتريا، ولكنه غير مستعد أي يعمل أي شيء لأنه يعاني من “الإنهزامولوجيا”
    و”العقربولوجيا” يشتكى، يتباكى، يحلل وينظر…وبس!

    = أما الإنفصامولوجيا: فهو شخص يريد أن يكتسب جنسية جديدة من
    “سودانولوجيا” الى “أمركانولوجيا” فيتصرف كأنه “غير إرترى” ويحاول جاهدا أن
    يثبت بأنه تخلص من حاجة إسمها إرتريا…فيطلق كذبة ويصدقها!

    = أما السذاجولوجيا : فهو الشخص الذى لا يهتم بما يجرى من جرائم
    فى وطنه وعلى أهله…واذا علم لا يساهم فى المقاومة أو العارضة، ولا يدعم
    النظام، ولكنه ينتقد كل حاجة وأي حاجة…وبدون فهم… !!

    = وأخيرا أيها السادة هناك مصطلح صعب النطق يدعى
    (سدالذرائعلوجيا) الذي يهتم بإغلاق كافة أبواب المقاومة والمعارضة ضد
    النظام الطائقى الديكتاتورى والإدعاء لا يوجد بديل أفضل منه ونحن غير
    جاهزين وما عندنا قيادة مؤهلة!

    … وفي الحقيقة يمكنني أن أكتب عدة مقالات بهذا الشأن، لولا خوفي
    عليكم من الإصابة ب(الاكتئابلوجيا) أو التصديق بأننا نملك فعلًا ما ننافس
    به (التكنولوجيا) أو (البارماكلوجيا) حيث المعيار الحقيقي لتقدم الأمم.

  • Etraw

    Good essay and observations with the exception when you said,” hopefully the exercise will conclusively prove (or disprove) my theory
    regarding the size of the real Eritrean Diaspora activists”. You should have said will conclusively support my theory or disprove my theory..technically, you can’t prove a theory – you can only come with supporting evidence until someone can falsify or debunks it.. in the eyes of many I guess it is splitting hair.. my 2 cents on your silent majority

    • Saleh Johar

      True, point well taken though the wording exercise sounds “hair splitting” against “hair splitting” 🙂

      Seriously though, in plain language. I want to be proven wrong, right, or a combination of the two. Okay, how many did you count 🙂

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Amazing selam habtey!!!


    12th grade is even too much for you.

    • selam

      I am not questioning your agricultural degree, i am questioning your understanding of the norms of the international community.

  • T..T.

    Hi Nitricc,

    Choose which group you belong to, based on the findings of: Campbel, K. K. (2014). The great silent majority: Nixon’s 1969 speech on Vietnamization. College Station, TX: TAMU Press

    1) “If a vocal minority, however fervent its cause, prevails over reason and the will of the majority, this nation has no future as a free society” (p. 60).

    2) “By contrast, the “great silent majority” was composed of those committed to democracy, to decisions made through voting, and its members would listen to and respond to reason as their elected leader with
    access to the best sources of information explained what was the best path to follow” (p. 60).

    • Nitricc

      T..T. none of the above.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    But sanction is an outcome of wrong policies of PFDJ. Did the majority had a say in deciding to whom they should help. The majority were confused by the sadden sanction imposed but they never knew to whom it was targeting and PFDJ diverted the sanction towards Eritreans.

    The paradox of the UN sanction is that there target became safe while the already sanction innocent people became the first receiver. What made worse this sanction is that Eritreans were from the very beginning sanctions domestically by PFDJ regime and by transpassing another international sanction worsened the miser of the an already slaved people.

    The above being a direct reaction towards your twisted meaning of the call, the silent majority are those who could not voice the voiceless. And it is hard to know what voice they have unless a means is designed to shock them saddenly.


  • Ted

    I like your enthusiasm. Where one can find this “moderate” train and a map of its routs. I bet the silent majority will be on board. Like they say,
    “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing.”
    Empower the people!!

  • Nitricc

    The simple and profoundly the point of silent majority explained with one picture.


  • Hope

    Ok Your Excellency/Ustaz Saleh Johar!
    Thank you for taking the Brave Lead,as usual!
    God bless you,reward you and guide you on your 2015 Resolution.
    I can guarantee you that there will be a Real Change sooner than we thought if you lead the Lead along with the Organized Opposition!
    I rest my case, for real!.
    No further questions,your Honor!
    Uncle Asfeha and Brother Semere H.,please take a note and follow suit–and Congrats,btw!
    Keep it up!
    Yes to Organized and United Opposition and Reconciliation!
    No to Divided and Disorganized Opposition!
    No to Regionalism,”Religionism” and Tribalism!
    Time to WALK and ACT!
    Bye, for good,every one!

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Just keep an eye, I will first de-program you. In fact, I wrote this thinking of you and like minded people, the confused justice seekers.


  • Abel Fesshazion

    Also this is a must watch for all Eritreans and all Africans



  • Abel Fesshazion

    Exactly the resistance must be very strong inside Eritrea to make a huge difference. However it’s very important to have Eritrean diaspora aware of the regime and how they are hurting themselves greatly indeed. But the question is how can the inside resistance shine and non violently “fight” the bully without huge causalities? Guerrilla warfare was a fail example look at EPLF to PFDJ regime. Also military coup is a fail as well only leaving oppressed more oppressed and those who fought the once oppressor now to repeat the oppressor mistake to dedicate the country and the people.

  • Peace!

    Dear all,

    It is so ironic that them the opposition groups set the goal, and when they fail, they question the ordinary citizens for not heeding their advise. The silent majority may have a point that who are those over thirty opposition groups? What type of change are they trying to deliver? These are among critical questions that defines their foundation and capacity. Obviously the foundation, on which all the failed policies rest, has proven to be poor, and quensequently, failed to help make progress. It is naive to think that the wishes we have some how will lead us into freedom nirvana.


    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear Peace!

      Peace be upon us!!!

      I agree with your angle of questioning. Can we conclude that a new political thinkers are needed? Political thinkers than challenge the past and exisiting political landscape and create a new layer of political equilibrium?


    • Saleh Johar

      Hi peace,
      No one can disagree with you on the weakness of the organized opposition. But there are important attitudes we need to see: I believe if pointing out the weaknesses is with the intention of improving them, then the one making the diagnosis better not be in any of the assortments of the so-called “silent majority” (7 of them). If he is in that group, his diagnosis delivered in the familiar tone and attitude is not received as a genuine concern for improvement, but as fault finding intended to weaken the organized opposition.

      Also, anyone who refers to the opposition in the third person (THEY) would not be taken seriously. That only comes from 7 out of the 9 parts that I listed.

      It is also wise to remember the opposition is not a monolithic entity and qualifiers are needed to discern who the subject (or target) is. Any of the 7 groups with the 9 cannot be considered an opposition element. You first sentence needed a qualifier, I do not understand which group you are talking about Qualifiers please:-)

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Saleh “Gadi” Johar,

    You never failed to penetrate and your sober emdeding of all clusters have boosted the political landscape outlook of today’s opposition politics. You are always superbe! I will come back with clustering techniques and with a strategy of game theory in changing our short term political investement.

    Till then, I wait a genuine analsysis of your converged views that led to a wise confesion.


  • Ted

    “The social media battalions and the mediocre bigoted cadres? The Neo-Andennet? The naive who think making one negative comment makes you an opposition figure? Those whose main credential is the use of vile, racist, and bigoted language against Ethiopians, against Arabs, and against their compatriots? Individuals who have nothing to offer but their bitterness with the “Weyane”? Groups who are busy curving their envisioned fiefdoms in Eritrea once someone else removes the regime for them? The intellectually lame scholars? Those who think they have a mandate to lead the millions of Eritreans because they belong to the Diaspora? Those who want to enlist the young as their foot-soldiers in their quest for raw power and rivalry? Those who claim to be enlightened, but are immobilized by the shackles of tribalism, sectarianism, and chauvinism of all types? Those who are still living in the partisan atmosphere of the Eritrean struggle era?”

    How in the world it is possible to unite these people apparently all claim to be fighting for the well being of Eritreans.I applaud the article for the pointing out what the oppositions are made of although it fails to guide or teach the opposition to better themselves as it only serve as observational analysis. Currently, I myself see the opposition groups( as the author mentioned above) as “toxic asset” with no intention of investing on it. And i think the oppositions are obsessed with marketing themselves rather than improving the product. At this time the product is garbage how much international NGO and human right groups attached to it.
    My advice the oppositions, start somewhere to show you genuinely care for the people- send books, seeds, medical equipment, help martyred families, advocate for territorial integrity of Eritrea, ……..it can be done. We can have change when we empower the oppressed.

    • Saleh Johar

      Ted, I think in one part you missed my point. The organized opposition, whether you agree wit it or not, is clear on what it wants. I see the problem primarily, with the so-called silent majority, and then with individuals who are no where to be found struggling, or sacrificing, but just love to act like referees with folded hands. So, when we mention opposition we have to put qualifiers if the are organized or free-lancers who are somewhere in the list that I presented. There is a big difference there.

      • Ted

        Saleh, if we assume the silent majority wants change in Eritrea, it is also fair to assume the aspect of change they need to see also be different. Eritreans have their own priorities when it comes to change and the silent majority acknowledged that unlike the oppositions. The silent majority doesn’t want to dictate the wish of Eritrean people how they want to proceed about change. Again, unfortunately the diaspora opposition does. For me it is wrong. They( the opposition) lay out a plan for everybody with either with us or against us attitude. They create alliances with shady characters and groups just only to fit their agenda without the consent of Eritreans as a whole. If that doesn’t make you bury your head in the sand, i don’t know what does. I think the opposition need to be honest with Eritreans and take off their mask to earn their trust. The silent majority has enough reason to to be silent. The opposition need the reality check, they only play a supportive role not the leading role.
        And i have no clue who the organized opposition is. What they have done to distinguish them from unorganized ones.

        • Saleh Johar

          If we accept that the silent are actually silent, how do we know what they want?

          For the rest, let me re post my comment an hour or so ago:

          1. “,…anyone who refers to the opposition in the third person (THEY) would not be taken seriously. That only comes from 7 out of the 9 parts that I listed.”
          2. “… the opposition is not a monolithic entity and qualifiers are needed to discern who the subject (or target) is. Any of the 7 groups with the 9 cannot be considered opposition elements.

          3. Following on #2, since the opposition is not monolithic, you need to qualify your claim whenever you feel like attributing a position or statement to the “opposition” since we can only speak about the declared opposition elements, be it within the organized opposition or on their own. Apart from those, we cannot discuss what we do not know, particularly those who hide and do not air their voices. Qualifiers please:-)

          As for speaking what the helpless people in Eritrea think, we can only guess since we do not know the opinion of the different Eritreans.

          • Ted

            Saleh, the third person characterization implies the distance i want to create from “the opposition” while doing my part personally to see the change the Eritrean people aspire to. I believe change will not be always constructive when the intended goal is illusive in the non-monolithic fight, add the egomaniacs and vengeful souls in to the mix- you have a mess you don’t want to come near it. Whether one want completely overhaul the gov or nip tuck it, first and for most assuming what the people need is a wrong start. As i said, Diaspora oppositions are supportive not the engine of the struggle fueled by assumption or hidden agenda. For example If the majority of people want to reunion with Ethiopia(god forbid), i will be there on their side since it is their choice. Let us not get ahead of the Eritrean people.

  • Abraham Hanibal

    If there are people with the wild expectation that the Eritrean diaspora could effectuate a change inside Eritrea, they must be naive and daydreaming. Whether organized or disorganized, Eritreans in diaspora couuld only play a helping role, but the real job of regime change must and could only be materialized when those inside the country say enough is enough and confront the regime.

  • Semere Andom

    Hi Saleh:

    Thanks for your reflections on!

    I agree with you that the organized opposition is disorganized, ineffective and disunited, remiscent of ugly Ghedli era silly, trivial and sometimes along toxic insidious regional and religious lines. I suspect that our failure to tackle these issues will come to haunt us again. Our problems, our archenemy might be PFDJ, but our collective, mostly shallow, dishonest discourse have both helped our tormentor’s buoyancy and our needlessly prolonged, messy trek on the opposition terrain that you are so intimately familiar with.

    The current opposition emulated the ELF/EPLF era animosity and took it further; minus the guns. We cannot succeed by using ideas that did not work before or proved to be costly. Ghedli was closed, no room for dissent, and now dissent for no reason just for the heck of it, for the thrill ride.

    Even if there are reasons to dissent, what are the cost benefit for doing so? Even if there are diverse issue and there should, we do not have the tools of conflict resolution to integrate opposing ideas to make it work. The learned among us, the intellectuals have failed us before and now they are doing the same. The freedom seekers have emulated everything bad from the bygone years and worsened it, it has not change even its communications style, bullying, derision, and unsubstantiated attacks are rampant. Sometimes you wonder when you get the vibe that some people in the opposition want to keep this cycle going through endless loop deliberately. Regional, religious strings are pulled by some “invisible” hands. You cannot prove it beyond reasonable doubt, but you feel it. You cannot put your thumb on the heart beat but your feel the throbbing palpitations induced by the heavy lifting done to pulling those strings.

    I think the people have history, both old and recent history to learn from; to assert their power to say never again to the leaders instead of coalescing around everything the leaders in their perspective organization pitch them, or splintering for the slightest disagreement.

    Our problems is not numbers: that is the lack of enough people who abandoned PFDJ. I think our problems can be distilled to the following:

    1.Failure to learning from the past
    2.Mastering the conflict resolution skills
    3.Interrogative thinking: blending opposing ideas with your own values and principles to create a robust and viable alternative, instead of doggedly clinging to your my way or the highway linear thinking
    4.Critical thinking, the lack of it. For example may Eritreans have the problem with the facts that Eritreans collaborate with Ethiopia to defeat PFDJ. Many believe the 03, rumor mill accusing people of regionalism without a scintilla of evidence.
    5.Right now dissing against your own pre-conceived notions is beneficial both to the nation and an individual more than dissenting from any freedom seeking group for the most minute difference

  • T..T.

    Thanks Saleh for mending the views of the greater opposition, which will help to isolate the OTTO’s tension causing politics now openly condemning the opposition.

    Most of
    the Eritreans, as you arrived at, intertwine the vocal unorganized opposition
    and the silent majority as integral part of the organized opposition. There may be some demands to be met before
    the three converge to coin their single strong voice against the
    Isayasists. Indeed, confessions like
    yours may evoke trust of the less united forces and renew their commitment
    promoting their active involvement against the tyranny. Again, like yours, openness and flexibility are
    critical for their collaborative moves, which are central to making the
    opposition more robust and key to pressurizing the UN into action to free our
    youth from the continued mistreatment and cruelty they are subjected to by the