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Creative Destruction

Let me start by first sincerely apologizing to Awate, the website, for referring to it as “extreme opposition website” (thanks SY for calling my attention). For some reason, I believe, some might have interpreted it as saying “extremist” website. Thank you for tolerating our always unintended transgressing. You have done a fantastic job and we are all very proud. I would also like to thank all those who spared some of their precious time to read my articles, leave comments and engage all of us in discussions.

Back to Topic

Of course, we are still in the initial stages – testing the grounds for a feasible U-Turn – and hopefully an exciting and fruitful debate. What we have done so far and will keep doing in the couple more articles that I have in mind is to set the stage and the key parameters that should govern the way we rationalize and reason as we go forward. We are practically negotiating the rules of the game. The aim of this article is to give clarifications and responses to some of the concerns and comments made to the previous two articles in the U-Turn debate.

Some wanted to know about the personal motivations for making the U-Turn. Well, like all good Eritreans I have been hopping from one opposition to the other. I am one of those people who would not show up for meetings on time. By the time I come to the meeting (thanks to some “abalat”) all the back seats where one could take a nap without being noticed are taken by “gedaym”. I would not care much. But the few “teqebelti gasha” that are awake would take me by the hand and have me sit in the center of the front row, where I am showered under a big mouth bloopering all kinds of stories. By the time we finish with a few screams of “Down – Down”, I am dizzy, cross-eyed and seeing only black & white. One day I managed to evade the procession of “abalat” who usually wake me up and carry me to the meeting, and tried a U-Turn, where beautiful women in “tcherqin-werqin” spoke about heaven on earth. I decided to take your opinion and here I am.


Of course, I do not need to explain that the whole reason I saw it necessary to write articles to tell you that I have made a “U-Turn” is because there is more to my conception of the U-Turn than me going to an Eritrean embassy and signing the “tkhormeyeni teTaEse” form for a few dollars. All I know is that, I am sick and tired of the PURPOSELESS OPPOSITION that has sucked every spirit of goodwill and optimism in our ability to dream of change. I am deeply disappointed at our stubborn insistence on pleasing and appeasing opposition groups and leaders-to-nowhere that we know very well, have the potential to bring catastrophic results to Eritrea as a nation.

Check if this applies to you. I have reached the conclusion that, the Eritrean opposition, composed of the Ethiopia-based organizations and a decisive portion of diaspora-based political groupings operating under guises of civil-society & human rights organizations, is heading towards dangerous territory. In the context of the volatile and unpredictable regional political dynamics infested with dubious state and non-state actors in the Horn of Africa, the damage that can be done by an irresponsible opposition movement bracing for every opportunity of employing whatever means possible to weaken the Eritrean state should not be underestimated. Even where the right to oppose the ruling regime in Eritrea can be justified under the most horrible crimes against humanity imaginable, no courses of action that do not guarantee a better outcome than the one upon which the whole struggle is premised should be allowed to proceed.  We cannot afford to wait helplessly for the inevitable to happen, when we can see for ourselves an unmistakable monster hatching under our noses. We should under no condition or excuse – whatever the cost – be part of what we are all convinced is a horrible future waiting to happen. An opposition that has the potential to develop into a real existential threat to Eritrea’s national security interests is a shame and disappointment that no decent Eritrean should tolerate.

The time that we may stand up and stop this madness is long overdue. The latest that we can actually do something to control its direction is right now or never. We should consider ourselves very lucky that things have not worked out so far and that all efforts to institutionalize this irresponsible phenomenon of parasites waiting for a ride to Asmara have failed. We should be very proud of every single Eritrean who refused to bow to dubious interests calling for blind commitment – including those I had made – to an obvious suicidal mission for a nation that deserves better. However, it is only a matter of time before, on repeated trials, the misguided Eritrean opposition and their partners in the region find ways of defeating the resistance of the Eritrean diaspora. Several disastrous examples in our neighborhood bear witness to the potential dangers embedded in the ignorance of unsuspecting activism. No one who has seen or known of horrible experiences of once prosperous cities changed to rubble and proud peoples turned homeless, should allow anything that has even the slightest probability of repeating to happen to Eritrea.

We know better than to be herded like sheep by irresponsible and vengeful attitudes that have nothing to add to our politics. I am suggesting a debate on this alternative way of doing the right thing hopefully the right way, not because I have come up with some golden key to unlock heaven, but because, I think, our challenge is actually easier than we have been led into believing. Our problem is that we have no problem. Hence, the idea –naïve as it might seem – to wake up one day and decide to put every incapable entity and twisted motivation in Eritrean opposition politics structurally out of business.

Lessons Learned

Several people have noted the obvious contradiction between what I used to say in the “land-grabber” debate and the conciliatory spirit the last two articles attempted to promote – that is why the U-Turn needed no explanation. I do not want to go back to those crazy times. Part of the reason things got out of hand was because of the shocking discovery that every single opposition organization, including extremist Jihadi groups who have armies on the ground blowing up everything that moves in Eritrea under identical slogans of “land-grabbing” PFDJ, were fiercely resistant to pressures to adopt the conclusions that would naturally follow from their own arguments. Contrary to the fears of “yikhdenena” that, the campaign ignited in the presumed “backers of land-grabbers”, those who stubbornly refused to interact and instead came up with face-saving teddy-bear groupings, covenants and a few articles here and there were those that would be expected to rise and torch the planet, based on conclusions that would flow naturally from their whining & wailing about ethno-religious injustice in Eritrea.

The preceding paragraph may sound like I am regretting the finding that people did not cooperate to realize a project that would have great destructive capacity. I am mentioning it only to draw your attention to what might be a defensive mechanism (guarding against irrational outcomes) being produced as an unintended consequence of the collective of our individual and group activities. There are at least four relevant observations that we have learned from that experience, the role of political entrepreneurs in conflict situations and other similar issue-centered debates over the years:

(a)     Where an opposition with an objective and holistic alternative that reflects well-defined ideological differences does not exist, obsession with specific grievances selected on the basis of their power to galvanize support may prove catastrophic with implications far from remedies for the grievance at hand.

(b)     Obsessive hammering of selective issues, in spite of their power to galvanize popular support behind political entrepreneurs, has the potential to effect qualitative transformation of the subject of conflict and a complete divergence of the end of feasible solutions to solutions that have nothing to do with the initial substance of the conflict.

(c)     Where a coalition of “interest groups” is mobilized into an opposition movement, through issues selected for their campaign-value (such as “constitution”, or “Nsu” in our case), the possibility of displacing the existing issues, by a new set of selective issues falls within the domain of political entrepreneuring and is a matter of only proving that the new set has a greater potential to mobilize support.

(d)     The enormous difference in the degree of commitment to specific issue (think of any) among Eritrean opposition organizations, and the obsession with the search for unifying instruments of mobilizations, prove the point already made by many writers: that the Eritrean opposition is a coalition of issue-specific interest groups not of political parties in the conventional sense.

Built-In Stabilizers

Do not despair though. It is actually a blessing in disguise. In our diaspora-based activism, the unrestricted entry and exit (of political entrepreneurs) to the market of organized opposition politics may be maintaining an equilibrium no-go situation (“aylaEli aytaHti”) in a manner that any perfectly competitive market would maintain equilibrium in textbook economics. Not only the “land-grabber” debate but even the ENCDC, the EDA and almost every organization that fell in the indeterminate domain of potential horrible outcomes for Eritrea as a nation were all aborted by the same innovation of every Eritrean hiding in a basement writing “politikawi medeb” in the form of: “Hade: hagerawi Hadinet – Kilte: ahgurawi zimdina – seleste: Awet nHafash”. You may recall situations when we were sure we had 15 organizations and were pleasantly surprised that we actually had 60.

This phenomenon of the capacity of free citizens to innovate in controlling outcomes that affect their collective being through a process of creative destruction is nothing new to Eritrea. The notion that elite groups could control people’s lives by running them to the streets to overthrow governments and stealing their revolutions is increasingly becoming difficult to materialize with the expansion of the infrastructure of individual liberties. The aftermath of the Arab Spring is replete with these examples. The question that this observation should raise in our reasoning is this: “what if in an Eritrea that guarantees free entry and exit to organized politics (like the one we have in the diaspora), the same grassroots basement activists decide to employ the same creative destruction in aborting national development or defense projects?” Since this exactly is the concern of the PFDJ with the “constitution & democracy” argument, it should be seen in combination with realities that may be created by similar incidences of the recent developments in Egypt, where a new dictatorship emerged to protect the revolution that came out against dictatorship in the first place.

The argument I would like to justify on these grounds is that, for the Eritrean opposition (whether inside or outside Eritrea) to produce any form of multi-party democracy, it must first produce a dictatorship that would be able to restrict civil liberties by coercively controlling entry and exit to the market of organized opposition. Based on our own arguments and campaigns in the opposition, “Isn’t that what the PFDJ government is already doing?” Homework: “Why overthrow a dictatorship to produce another dictatorship?”

The President’s Dictum

President Isaias’ definition of “opposition” (the spirit of all statements on the subject) is by no means animosity to the idea of an opposition party itself, as it is to the lack of viable holistic conception of opposition that can be trusted to compete, take over and run government as an alternative ideological paradigm. We should reinterpret the “30 – 40 year statements” that we have all used and abused over the years not as the time needed to construct a micro-dam for every politician, but as a random (rhetorical) guess of the time needed for the emergence of such a meaningful opposition. What he is practically saying is this: “we will keep doing what we are doing until we have a credible opposition that would tell us why our way is not the only high-way”. This conception divides the idea of opposition into two categories: (a) opposition parties as coalitions of “specific-interest” groups that have nothing in common other than backing power-grabbing elite groups; (b) opposition parties born out of a shared conviction on alternative ideological world-views of a coherent perception of national interest. The first is a liability with enormous destructive capacity and the second an asset with indispensable constructive promise.

In the first case, the only thing that ties all these organizations and individual advocates together is the simple statement of fact that they all believe that their concerns cannot be resolved under the PFDJ government. Both the EDA and the ENCDC and any other coalitions that formed and broke before and after them were all nothing but marriages of convenience where each of these interest groups agreed not to impede (not necessarily accept) the issues raised by each of the others. These united fronts essentially postpone the fight over specific interest to the point where there would be no legitimate authority entitled to claim collective property of these rights. While those “dictator-centered” elitist groups are betting on an opportunity where they would use state power in the “new Eritrea” to deal with ethno-religious interest groups, the latter are betting on the obvious fact that reconstituting centralized state power with monopoly over the coercive power of the state is virtually impossible after the destruction of the PFDJ regime.

Primary Target of U-Turn

The concept that my first article was intended to introduce was a U-Turn as clearly stated in the topic. In the Zero-Sum game, where according to every opposition Guru and preacher, PFDJ MUST LOSE FOR OPPOSITION TO WIN, it is understandable that a U-Turn from the opposition is necessarily a U-Turn towards the PFDJ. Where we all revolt against those that have a vested interests in locking our activism to Zero-Sum solutions and stand up to declare ourselves free citizens, we would still make U-Turns without changing directions. That is why I am asking people to wait before making conclusions about where the U-Turn is going. If we do succeed in challenging this vicious cycle, it will be a U-Turn, that we will all be taking together and it will mean a U-Turn from one state to a different state of opposition politics. If we fail, it will be a U-Turn of loyalties that I will go alone. I appeal to all those who were interested in these motivations to wait until we first understand what this particular U-Turn will actually be.

The primary objective of the U-Turn debate is to challenge the consensus on the assumption that the Zero-Sum Way is the right way. The core argument is this:

Where we have assumed good intentions in every effort of every opposition member, from the extreme to the extreme, we should also assume that this irrational behavior and irresponsible brand of activism could have only come incrementally through a protracted process of arm-twisting from within and without the opposition movement. The Zero-Sum Model of opposition is “the invisible hand” that regulates Eritrean opposition politics. It is mysteriously made to hold consistently as the unwritten code of conduct.

A simple proof of the fact that it is an alien and exogenously imposed restriction can be found in the inability of more recent arrivals (especially young refugees) into the business of opposition to meet the prerequisite of washing themselves clean of whatever they had known about Eritrea in order to transition into the Zero-Sum attitude in their new state. The following are four possible sources:

(a)  The initial form and attitude was inherited from the historical roots of some opposition groups and remnants of the era of the civil wars of the armed struggle. Opposition for these groups was a continuation of the civil war between the ELF and the EPLF. Eritrea’s independence in 1991 was a new reality in Eritrean politics that must have transformed at least one of the parties (the EPLF). The continuation of the Zero-Sum Model found support in those that could not reason that they would be making the Eritrean government pay for mistakes that were done by the EPLF to the ELF. This is something that had already been challenged successfully, with the help of all our great writers and activists, years ago.

(b)  The second source of the Zero-Sum Model was the subsequent reinforcement of inherited forms of struggle to fit the unfortunate circumstances of an opposition movement, which had to suck-up to hostile neighboring countries for assistance and accommodation, in exchange of fighting their proxy wars.

(c)  You may think that the strong predominance of the ethno-religious dimension in Eritrean opposition politics reinforced the “we” Vs “them” justification of the Zero-Sum Model. It is actually the other way round – ethno-religious formations were initiated as a response to pull factors and demands to institutionalize the Zero-Sum Model. This is true simply because the composition and structure of active ethno-religious groupings does not explain their exclusive roots in ELF and non-EPLF historical foundations. Ethno-religious concerns (raised by actual citizens for real concerns) as such are of no interest to such organizations as was observed above in relation to the “land-grabber” campaign.

(d) The severe restrictions placed on political spaces that accommodate opposition activism inside Eritrea leading to the almost strict definition of opposition activism as a transnational phenomenon associated with diaspora groups defined the space of opposition activism as anything but Eritrea.

These observations, together with the destructive role that the Zero-Sum Model has played in institutionalizing the effective segmentation of Eritrean politics do indicate that it is a model that does not belong with us. This is true not only because it has its roots in what had nothing to do with current concerns and forms of activism, but also because it has been the principal culprit that may explain the failure of two decades of persistent opposition to become relevant.  The whole idea of the call for a U-Turn rests on the belief that there must be a way where we can all win and the principle that no one wins unless we all win. WodeHanka – now go home and squeeze your brain – we need the juices!

Semantics: You May Skip This

I hate wasting your time and mine explaining my use of words and concepts but there are people who read articles word by word, and some are good in employing distractive semantics (“inkilalo” – to quote Bitbito, may he rest in peace). For example, you might be frowning at the characterization of “irresponsible opposition” because the whole argument rests on this key assumption. This would of course go contrary to our agreement in the previous two articles that we would be assuming the best in one another. I do know and believe very strongly that all our politicians and activists are the best that Eritrea can offer. At the risk of sounding a bit chauvinistic, I may add, the best that any nation on the planet – past or present – can ever hope to have.

The use of words, such as “purposeless”, “irresponsible”, and a lot more synonyms that will follow, to describe aspects of our politics or activism must, therefore in no way imply anything about the personal motivations or characters of individual persons involved. If you say we have an “irresponsible opposition”, it does not necessarily mean that every opposition member is individually irresponsible. Concepts such as “opposition”, “government” and anything that refers to the institution of more than one person are relational in nature (i.e. they can only be defined at the intersection of collective relations) and do not apply to single individuals. They do not even apply to linear additions of individuals under any collective names. They refer to phenomena associated with synergies created by systemic relations among individuals (not even between individuals if the system has more than two individuals). They fall in a domain that no individual (in his/her capacity as individual) controls and hence can be held responsible for. Hence words such as “irresponsible” referring to a specific individual implies purposeful action (intention) by that individual, while the same word referring to an organization implies the unintended consequence (outcome) of the synergetic interaction among possibly (in the case of Eritrea) the most responsible people on the planet.

We can, therefore say horrible things about the opposition (or any group of members as a collective) while at the same time maintaining the utmost respect, and the best intentions about individual members and leaders of the collective (including on all their daily activities and dedication to everything they do to save Eritrea). This exactly is the other side of the coin of saying so much horrible things about President Isaias, the generals and other PFDJ members as unrelated individuals, while at the same time maintaining the utmost respect, and good intentions about the PFDJ system as an institution. This is the claim that the “Nsu” and “Down – Down” guys are making, in trying to sell the impression that if the “dictator” goes away everything will be happy and cheerful. Those who stand for this approach tend to dismiss that “dictatorship” exists only and only at the level of systemic synergies of individual relationships not necessarily centered on a specific individual. You do not have to assume evil in the leader as an individual in order to conclude that the system is a dictatorship.

May all the Generals rest in peace!

About Ali Salim

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  • Hayat Adem

    Note: an important exchange of analytical views between Sal and T. Kifle is happening buried on the 2nd page of this thread. In case you are interested in some serious stuff, don’t miss it.

  • tafla

    ሃይለ፣ደስ ዝብል ዜና። ድሕሪ ህጂ ስምካ “ብስራት” ኮይና ኣላ ። የቐንየልና

  • Eritrea is Gold

    Congratulations to Team Eritrea for winning the gold medal at the 2014 Copenhagen Marathon!
    Eritrea is Gold! It wins gold. It produces and sells gold! It is just golden!

    • Rodab

      Zeresenay* took fourth place.

      * His performance is gradually declining. He is 32 years old but in sport’s age, that is nearing retirement. Over the past several years, he and other athletes became resposible for the few times Eritrea was mentioned positively on foreign media. For that, they deserve a big thank you.

      • saay7


        You forgot one thing. Zeresenay still holds the world record for half marathon speed, which he set in Lisbon in 2010. His world record, 58:23, still stands. How likely is this record to be broken? Consider the results from yesterday:

        Geoffrey Kipsang Kamaworor (Kenya) 1st place (59:07)
        Samuel Tsegay (Eritrea): (59:20)
        Guye Adola (Ethiopia) 3rd place (59:20),
        Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) 4th place (59:37)

        Don’t count out Zeresenay yet.

        While we are giving thanks, how about a shout out to our cyclists? There are 3 or 4 of them that could dominate the sports in a couple of years.


        • Rodab

          Hi Sal,
          It would be super tough to break Zere’s record. A glimpse at Wikipedia’s record history says it all. The list there shows record times since 1960. At 58:33, Kenya’s Samuel Wanjiru is the closest record holder to Zere’s 58:23. Interestingly, the list shows record times getting better as time passes. Why do you think that is? Technology?
          Sorry Sal, Zere’s hey days have passed.
          The hope now is on cyclists Natnaiel and Merhawi. I am not sure on Daniel T. I am hoping his high times are yet to come. We’ll see.

          • saay7

            Selamat Rodab:

            Why records keep getting broken is not due to technology but to human behavior explained by the great Eritrean Philosopher Menshmu (lived circa 900 bc) who remarked: ዘይቀንእ ኣይወለድ::

            In sports, it was believed forever that human beings are incapable of running 1 mile in less than 4 minutes. Then, in 1954, somebody broke the record. But that’s not the amazing part. The amazing part is that once people knew it can be done, two people did it within two months of the record being broken. So its not technology; it is human will.

            The reason I ask you not to discount Zeresenay is because of the Haile Gebreselasse story. In sports, comebacks happen often:)


          • Rodab
        • silent

          Eritrean Beraki Beyene won the 8th santiago international maraton.

  • Hayat Adem

    Which attitude of Eyob are you telling us now? Eyob is not on this (Emma’s) thread and he is on many others. You didn’t quote, you didn’t rephrase. Can you be kind enough in making your points clear and save us from asking you questions to get the gist of your message?

  • T. Kifle


    If you are a sympathizer of ONLF, that is very understandable that it would be bitter for you to swallow the fact that the people of the Ethiopian Somali region are dealing with their affairs with an absolute hold of authority and legitimacy. Of course ONLF now is dead for good and no more will have the chance to maim the limbs and blaze the huts of innocent people.

  • Hayat Adem

    hi Nuradin,
    Would mind informing us a bit more with some details on that?

  • Hayat Adem

    Yes! xibuq sraH!

  • Rodab

    GoE’s G-15 and Woyane’s G-13 (courtesy T. Kifle) were challenging the regimes aftermath of the devistating war. The similarities of the two groups end there. Whereas the G-15 was fighting for normality and rule of law, all the extremist G-13 wanted was to get tough and needing more war. Fortunately for both people, RIP, my hero PMZ (Priemer Meles Zenawi) told them they will have to go to the moon with their stupid demand. I have huge respect to PMZ and the Woyanes on that incident.

    Anyway, G-15 losing the battle brought the no peace no war situation we are in; and the loss of the G-13 prevented further bloodshed. So we (both Eri & Ethio ppl) ended up being neither totally blessed nor totally cursed.

    • dine

      trust me, we ethiopians are blessed on this one.

  • haile

    Dear Tafla and Awatista,

    I think this is the kind of work the people wish to see from the opposition:


    Congratulations to those who worked tirelessly and all those who assisted. I believe the action taken by the government of Ethiopia would go a long way in cementing the already flourishing people-people relationship between the two fraternal people. To those fellow citizens who were abandoned by PFDJ as some kind of disposable commodity, FREEDOM AT LAST!


  • Eyob Medhane


    The weekend is upon us again, which means it’s time for you to take a break from nagging everybody here and relax a bit.. 🙂

    For this weekend I chose this song for you. It’s by Haile Roots and Teddy Afro. I know that you are not a big fan of flash mob dance, but this one is somewhat different. The message of the lyrics also very relevant about what you should do just for this weekend… 🙂

    ሂድልኝ ሃዘን ጭንቀቴ: ደስታዬ ና ወደኔ

    ጥፋልኝ ሃዘን ህመሜ ደስታዬ ና ውደኔ…

    በቻልኩት ያቅሜን እሞክራለሁ

    ማዘኔ ላይፈይድ ምን ዋጋ አለው…

    ካልቦዘንኩ እየቻልኩኝ ሰንፌ

    ባልሁንኩት ለምን ይራቅ እንቅልፌ…

    ለራቀ ከእጄ አምልጦ ለወጣ

    በቁጭት አልኖርም በትዝታ…


    • saay7


      Some amche cousin sent me this on FB. Been looking for a reason to use it, so:

      እረ ጥራኝ ጫካው
      እረ ጥራኝ ዱሩ:
      ባይሆን እመጣለሁ
      ባቡርና ኔትዎርክ
      ስራ ሲጀምሩ::


      • Eyob Medhane


        That is really funny, and are you telling me that you will be going to Addis next year? The network will start working in July at the latest..(Calculate that according to yabesha qetero 🙂 ) and the ‘babur’ will start by January 2015 at the latest. See you at YOD Abyssinia (a very famous hangout of ‘Diaspora’ (Lame Bora, which they are called by the Addis aradas).. 🙂

  • Hope

    But the mega-million question is:
    How do we put it in PRACTICE?
    How can we realize that DREAM?

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Hey Saay,

    Good observation as to how Ghedli was governed during the liberation era, and that is “democratic centralism.” Not only you identified it as an observer from outside, from the words that often comes out from tegaselti, but also you define the concept of democratic centralism in a way the general public could understand it. In this case you would have been a good cadre of mass organization if you would have been in the rank and files of the liberation era. Just kidding. You are a good “explainer-in-chief” like that of Clinton to borrow President Obama’s words. I will call you from now the explainer-in-chief.

    • saay7

      Hi Emma:

      You give me too much credit; actually the “freedom in thought, unity in action” is not mine– it’s Lenin’s. Unlike the dense and unreadable Marx (a philosopher), the writings of Lenin (a revolutionary) were crisp because he was always interested in turning thoughts into action.

      “Democratic centralism” was used by everyone, including, of course the TPLF which copied it from EPLF (According to John Young: read “Peasant Revolution…”) People like T. Kifle have always argued that unlike ELF and EPLF, the TPLF truly practiced the “freedom in thought” part of that formula. If so, the TPLF is the only Marxist-Leninst organization in the world that ever did that. Color me skeptical.

      One of the most interesting readings (you will like it Emma) is a paper by John Young (who is TPLF’s answer to Dan Connell) who narrates how “democratic centralism” was tested within TPLF in March 2001. (Right around the time we were going thru our G-15, the TPLF was going through its G-something.) One one side were the “hardliners”: arguing for a Tigray-centric, TPLF-centric policy. On the other were the Meles group: arguing for an Addis-centric, EPRDF-centric policy. The Meles side won and he did it by expanding the “freedom of expression” to include the whole constituency of EPRDF (not just TPLF) and then demanding “unity in action.” Some of the losers were arrested, and the rest dis-empowered (they went on to form the Arena party) and Meles went on to groom a successor from far outside TPLF.

      So, one of the most ironic things about the YGists is that they missed the train again: in 2001, just when the traditional rulers of Ethiopia, the Abyssinians (Tigray, Shoa) had made a conscious decision to focus their attention South to include the long-marginalized Southern nations and nationalities of Ethiopia for a more sustainable, democratic state (which is, hands-down, the smartest move Meles ever made), our Abyssinia-nostalgic Eritreans (the YGs) started crying for attention from Tigray and Shoa. This is why I consider people like Eyob particularly cruel: they know what Ethiopia had to do to sustain its unity (reach out to marginalized groups; de-focus Abyssinia, emphasize Ethiopia) but their formula for Eritrea is to have its “habesha” (read: Tigrinya-speakers) re-assert itself and dominate Eritrea.


      • T. Kifle

        Selamat Sal,

        Yes, “TPLF was going through its G-13”. Very close to your G-15 indeed; that too might be copied from EPLF, the citadel of originality at every nitty-gritty of an armed revolution.

        As to the “freedom of thought” you mentioned, your scepticism is understandable. But it isn’t hard to spot the differences the two fronts have been going through while handling their internal squabbles. 2001 was the second time that witnessed major crisis among the ranks after 1985. In both cases, the disputes were settled without major repercussions.

        Let me tell you this. One may not be liked if they happen to air different point of view which means they might miss some opportunities(benefits of in their work place) and rewards of their toil.Apart from that anyone can hold their opinion and still walking in the streets with out any sort of fear attached. And this isn’t a reinvention after state power is assumed but was a norm through out the struggle.

        • Ermias

          Excellent comment T.Kifle. Sadly though a huge number of Eritreans still believe those backward attitudes thinking they are better than (you know who). We need to get past this false sense of too much pride, depose this IA regime, and try to catch up with the rest of Africans. It’s not imaginable to catch up with the rest of the world in our life time.

          • Nuradin

            T. Kifle,

            We’re yet to taste that right to disagree with the TPLF in Ogaden and many other non-Tigrean regions of Ethiopia. So all animals are still not equal.

        • saay7

          Selamat T. Kifle:

          I get your little dig, but it was John Young who wrote in “Peasant Revolution in Ethiopia: The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, 1975-1991” (p.113) that the “TPLF was also impressed by EPLF’s ‘democratic centralism’ which encouraged debate, but demanded absolute loyalty to the decisions reached.” He wrote this within the context of explaining why the TPLF shifted its loyalties from the ELF (the organization that carried out more attacks on the Derg in Tigray than the EPLF, thereby giving the “fledgeling” TPLF “combat experience” ) to the EPLF.

          No arrogance or supremacy was implied, Ermias. Just me quoting a person (Young) who many consider an authority on TPLF. The student can surpass the teacher is one argument; the student was never a student of the teacher is a completely different argument.

          In any event all of this was to explain to Semere Andom that the brutality of Ghedli was ideologically driven and there is no reason to go on a fishing expedition the way YG does.


          • Ermias

            SAAY, speaking of YG, I was impressed for a moment thinking there was an alpha and omega to his diatribe but it got old on me too quick.

          • T. Kifle

            Dearest Sal,
            There is no doubt EPLF had very strong foundations in many aspects among which logistics comes at the top. That could be attributed to the time they spend in the mountains, the kind of combat engagement they adopt in fighting the enemy, which was of defensive posture and helped them get the time to better organize themselves and as well as source of funds. They had been better armed and better funded compared to the meagre resources that TPLF commanded.

            It’s also true TPLF learned a lot from EPLF in those aspects mentioned above but EPLF failed to learn from TPLF in areas where TPLF excelled which mostly were of political in nature.
            TPLF also didn’t accept every edict of the Marxist-Leninist world. Simple example: it repudiated the communist party of the Soviet Union for a belief of digressing from the central values of communists by meddle in internal affairs of many countries but EPLF believed it had no problem with the CPSU. While it adopted many useful tools from Mao’s peasant revolution, it also criticised that revolution for its coercive nature and the way Mao’s personal cult was cultivated to sainthood again against the communist values where achievements are of collective and no single person can claim for their cause.

            To sum it up, I can say TPLF though with many foibles here and there had a listening spot. EPLF in contrary was deaf, only singing “independence” from beginning to end and when independence was once achieved, attributed to many socio-political dynamics, there was nothing it can do as it has become hard to shed off the hard shell rendering it deaf for too long. This reality was a common knowledge among TPLF rank and files as early as 1985 and from our side what transpired in Eritrea afterwards is not a surprise at all.

            PS: I would be grateful if you throw me some of the books you mentioned and don’t want them crowd your shelf any more. I smuggled Gadi’s two books somehow but smuggling is not always a success story.


          • saay7

            Selamat T. Kifle:

            First, to answer your postscript, after years of losing books from friends who borrow books and never return them, I made the choice to either keep friends or keep books, so I decided to keep both: all my books are now digital (Google Play, Apple books, etc): this way my friends can’t “borrow” them and I don’t have to fume at them. So, no shelf for me: I can’t lend it to you, and you won’t have to forget to return it. Win, win.

            To your points, in no particular order:

            1. National Liberation Fronts and the Soviet Union: Yes, the TPLF criticized the Soviet Union’s imperialist ambitions and its foreign policy and yes, the EPLF did not. But, my dear T. Kifle: have you considered that this too was part of the global “freedom of thought, unity in action”? That is: the EPLF Politbureau discussed it, criticized it, and then decided not to speak anymore about it? Have you also considered that this was a question that faced not just the TPLF and EPLF but every national liberation organization in the world and that they all had different responses to it? There was the “sqta meritsna” approach of EPLF and there was the “izi ny metkel guday iyu” approach of the TPLF and since the USSR was remotely interested in what either had to say, what difference did it make so long as you consider one crucial variable: the EPLF did not choose to be quiet for fear of antagonizing the USSR: it was already at war with it then.

            2. Military Strategies: The TPLF advocated the view that you must liberate a land and live with your people; and the EPLF advocated the view that you do that when you can, you retreat and hold on to a secure base when you can’t. Have you considered the possibility were counter strategies to the enemy’s strategy? Now, you and I have become friends and I hope you won’t consider me the stereotypical Eritrean chauvinist but consider the four major Commands of the Derg: 501, 502, 503 and 505 that had been pounding Eritrea since 1978:

            MebreK: through Barka to Kerkebet
            MenTir*: through HalHal to Nakfa,
            Nadew*: through Afabet to NaKfa
            WiKaw*: through Marsa Teklay to Mahmiment

            The EPLF had to take a defensive posture for much of the war because it was facing a war of annihilation targeted specifically at it in the 1980s. The Derg calculated (correctly) that if they could annihilate EPLF and have total control of Eritrea, they would overrun the TPLF fairly quickly. This has nothing to do with the bravery of Harbegna Weyane; it has to do with simple geography.

            3. Economic Policy: To my knowledge, there isn’t a detailed EPLF economic policy that goes beyond the platitudes of “mixed economy.” This doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist; I just am not aware of it. There were fellow travelers who wrote at Eritrean Studies Review but, for the most part, the EPLF considered writing detailed economic policies as getting lost in the ideological mist and what mattered was if you are grounded in “social justice”, then “work ethic+pragmatism = results.” The Singapore model was supposed to be short hand for the “developmental state” but I concede the point: I have never seen an EPLF economic plan that actually takes the Eritrean reality (its industries, its assets) and come up with a 5 year or a 10 year plan.

            But hope springs eternal: yesterday, there was an announcement that Ambassador Andeberhan Woldegiorgis has written a book. Maybe it will reveal something we don’t know.


            * If you want to understand the magnitude of our loss and the Isaiasization of Eritrea, consider the following: the EPLF commanders of MenTir, Nadew, Wikaw were: Petros Solomon (in jail); Mesfin Hagos (in exile, evaded prison); Oqbe Abraha (in jail, presumed dead.)

          • dine

            the truth is darg was forced to deploy most of it’s troops from eritrea to TPLF’S positions in ethiopia since 1979 E.C.

          • T. Kifle

            Selamat Sal,

            My mention of the stance the two PLFs took on
            the USSR is not to make one front right and leaving the other wrong. I simply
            mentioned it to indicate that difference in political takes existed between
            them since day one. Also I don’t mean that criticizing the then USSR showed the
            boldness of TPLF. What it means is TPLF leadership was full of extreme
            ideologues that keep on questioning the status quo of the mainstream world view. That probably could be
            attributed to the nature of the struggle which required putting in clear
            directions in the face of turbulent political dynamics in the country in
            contrast to the singular Eritrean struggle for independence.

            Politically speaking, any average men, who
            subdued their ego, could have led Eritrean revolution to its logical end, given
            those selfless fighters ready to die at any moment of the day, as the goal is
            crystal clear: Survive the war, persist, overwhelm the enemy, and emerge
            victorious in the end. Except the pain
            in fighting the war, Eritrean struggle for independence should have been
            politically smooth. Alas it was not. Not
            because there were really so much irreconcilable views on how to carry the
            struggle forward but because the ELF and EPLF were both combative, considered
            themselves as the only legitimate heirs by one discounting the other in the making
            of independent Eritrea.

            But TPLF had to
            survive, thrive and align the struggle in Tigray with that of the bigger
            umbrella of the Ethiopian revolution, and chart the way out for the Eritrean
            question. The political challenges were even more daunting than the war proper.
            Forming EPRDF took more than 9 years of hectic negotiations which simply show
            the deep mistrust that persisted between TPLF and EPDM at the time. That task
            in the one hand enhanced the expertise of the leadership in managing
            differences and helped them gauge the level of mistrust among Ethiopian
            political forces on the other.

            EPLF thinks winning a
            war is an Eritrean attribute. TPLF thinks winning any war is attributed to its
            true cause. Having a legitimate cause alone doesn’t guarantee victory but that
            is an essential factor in rallying mass mobilization. The consequence is that while
            TPLF had to continuously search for the right means of the struggle, EPLF and
            ELF were exempted of that burden by virtue of the clarity of the end and the
            means of the struggle. While the means is equally important as the ends in the
            TPLF camp, any means that lead to independence is justified by the Eritrean
            fronts. It’s this problematic take of EPLF that continued after independence
            which is costing Eritrea as we speak.

            My bottom line of argument
            is that the two fronts are intrinsically different. Whether TPLF passes the test
            of you liberal values is something but lumping them in the same basket of convenience
            is quite another thing. Even if we say TPLF is as bad as EPLF, it never been badly
            the EPLF way. The sad thing is no political force operating in Ethiopia so far clearly
            understands the nature of TPLF/EPRDF. The Eritrean counterpart is not better
            either. That’s why many Eritreans worth their salt act foolishly and demonize an
            all time friend of their struggle.

            As to your footnote. I am aware of all of the magnitude of pain Eritrea and Eritreans are enduring at the moment . It’s unfortunate the lives of heroes ended up that way.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        merhaba Saay,

        Yes I read Lenin’s words in my ghedli era. But that wasn’t my point when I attribute you the “explaining chief”. It is from the way you use your words of explanation – its simplicity to understand even to the bystanders. Saay, to know is something but to explain it, is different thing. You have both. Now back to the concept of democratic centralism: I will try to read the reference you share with me ( or us) as how the TPLF had utilized democratic centralism effectively in its essence. Even without reading Mr. Young’s intake about them, I observed closely especially after mid 80s. Case in a point: There was an Eritrean by origin who was member of the polit bureau (I can’t remember his name, Mr. Kifle could help us on his name) who oppose the new policy of TPLF’s leadersahip. They debated rigorously, and you could say it democracy at its play. He refused to show unity in action on the policy they agreed upon collectively. They gave him his freedom to exit from the front, and left for good to Europe through Sudan. If he would have been in the Eritrean ghedli, particularly in EPLF, just for showing disagreement to their policy, would lose his life. That was our reality.

        As you alluded Meles’s smartness in your note, I would go beyond, that Meles the genius won as his eye was on Ethio-centric focusing on his policy – eradication of poverty and ilitracy changed Ethiopia in their psychology of “unity” by creating nations and nationality to have autonomy – to avoid mistrusts and marginalization in the country. Meles’s legacy will live in Ethiopia for generations as they are happy with the policy he left for them is running on the ground. So my friend bingo on your perception on the man who changed Ethiopia for the good.


        • Semere Andom

          You are thinking about Ghidey Girmazion, who many say he was an Eritrean and Melese told him ” Mengdih Cherq yargilih” and Ghidey stood up and left. I watched that video in Sudan, I think it can be found
          I will get back to you on the evidences 🙂

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hi Sem,
            Yes he is “Ghidey Girmazion” thank you buddy. What do our mothers’s say when someone help them to recall “Shimka Yibrah”. Here you go…..and I say it for you..


          • Eyob Medhane


            It’s Ghidey ZERATSION. He was more than polit bureau member. He chaired TPLF for a very short time. He now lives in Canada and leads a very dysfunctional opposition group…


          • Amanuel Hidrat


            Thank you for the info. No body bits you with informational clips. The reason why I was looking his name is, I want to make my point on how democratic centralism was working within TPLF in the 80s. Thank you again.

          • Hayat Adem

            I watched a video about it on one Ethiopian website very recently. I think his last name is Zerazion, and I think he was more than a member of the polity bureau, he had assumed chairmanship of the organization at one time. I don’t think he was Eritrean in more sense than Meles or Brekhet is though.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Bereket Simon is Eritrean by the background of his parents (father and mother) though he was born at Gonder. while Meles is only Eritrean by his mother side. Just only to state their background. By the same token, Ghidey – he is of Eritrean background. But on what they believe is another story.

        • T. Kifle

          Dear AH,

          I think you have a grasp on the essence of TPLF’s “Democratic Centralism”. At the leadership level they would discuss any issues, sometimes painfully taking long times as long as months. The case you mentioned was discussed for more than a month within themselves and another three months including the next echelon cadres but Gidey Zeratsion couldn’t budge in all of that. Then, in the end, when every attmept to convince him failed to produce results, he was seen off to Sudan fully facilitated by the front including his safety. Aregawi Berhe too was vacillating between the majority and Gidey’s positions but decided to stay on the field which he afterwards found it difficult to work under the then emerging leaders and quietly remained in Sudan following a short vacation there.
          EPLF tegadelties used to make witty remarks regarding the ” daily evaluations” the TPLFItes used to conduct during their stint in Naqfa. They took it as a waste of time and unnecessary.

          So, democratic centralism was not intended to prevent diverging views in a discussion platform but to be obliged to remain “quite” once the issue is discussed and resolutions passed on majority decisions and share the responsibility of the consequences of those decisions.

      • Nuradin


        What do you call that kind of attitude from the likes of Eyob? Schadenfreude perhaps.

  • Hope

    Emma et al,
    Let us put it to rest the Hayat-et al arguemnet once and for all by re-quoting ,our Gallant, fearless/bold(defar) and SHARP SJG’s quote:
    Quote: “To understand Gedli, one needs to see Eritrea in its entirety, not from a specific region-centric perspective. Gedli was not to maintain the colonial glamor of Asmara..”–end of quote.
    Moderator, again,please be so kind to re-post SJG’s above statement as the featured comment and quote of the year!
    Let us move on and keep debating as to how to be on the same page in unifying and mobilizing our people for a REAL,REAL CHANGE.

  • Dawit


  • Dawit

    The silent majority says: we either know everything, or know nothing or have no clue.

  • Hayat Adem

    dear Durue,
    what is your point here. of course the war was never about border. it has never been about the border. durue is saying what meles had said. where is durue now? when i see pics or video of durue, my mind doesn’t go to what weyane has done. it reminds me greatly of how many people isaias has locked and vegetated in his countless inaccessible prisons.
    BTW, the commission already gave a ruling that says IA invaded Ethiopian parts and that triggered the war and he alone is responsible for breaking the war. this is a 3rd party, an international party selected and set by both parties at that. so you can’t say i don’t buy that because it is a ruling that has been accepted by IA’s regime. If you deny that, I will be reminded of the adage: a fool always wins by saying “no”.

    • tafla


      can you please clarify this for me, If PFDJ started the war to reclaim Badme and a 3rd party rules that the town does actually belong to Eritrea. Wouldn’t that be called protecting national sovreignity? thus not an invasion. Secondly, if Melles did not believe the war was over territory, did he say what it was about?

      • Hayat Adem

        Easy, i am surprised that you have not figured this things till today. the commission didn’t state PFDJ launched a war to reclaim what was its territory. It said it launched the war against localities and administration that were under Ethiopia for no justfiable reason. Go and read it. It is an unambiguous call. And be surprised, PFDJ has accepted it.
        The ruling of Badime by the border commission is a different issue. In the tribunal commission, treaties and applicable international laws were the two guiding references to be considered for the ruling. Badime was fiercely contested by both for known reasons. Eritrea presented Italy mad international maps that place Badime inside Eritrea. Ethiopia argued from a claim of effective administration. The commission put the burden of proof on Ethiopia, that is Ethiopia should proof that it has been administering Badme for the entire time since Italy left. What Ethiopia could produced were documents (tax, census, elections) that account only for 35 consecutive years of recent time. It couldn’t solidly prove a solid hold of the entire 65 years. That is how Eritrea won over Badime. It is not as if Badime was under Eritrea prior 1998 or 1997 and PFDJ opened war to claim it. Nope.
        Meles said then Isaias opened the war to influence or tame Ethiopia’s economic policies to be favorable to the PFDJ regime.

        • Hope

          But the decison was biased though as you know very well.
          The OAU conveniently kept quite from doing its past due job due to the Ethiopian and State Dept pressure.
          Per your arguement,the whole Eritrea should go back to Ethiopia then as it was administered by two consecutive Ethiopian colonizers.
          As to invading Badume by the EDF,militarily,it was justifiable.Not sure what the USA,Britain,Israel,for that matter,Ethiopia could have done if their innocent 7 unarmed Officers were brutally and cold-bloodedly murdered.
          Not to mention the Bada incident of 1997,which was an official invasion–What about the new Abay Tigray Map,which,by all standard,is invasion of Eritrea—etc—-Do not talk cheap talk and cheap politics,we all know the truth but we are living in a biased world.
          Do NOT forget that Badume was adminstered by ELF for yrs.

          • Amde

            “What about the new Abay Tigray Map,which,by all standard,is invasion of Eritrea”

            I needed a good chuckle after work. Thank you.

            Pray tell, which of the “…all standard(s)…” are you pointing to which would construe the printing of a map with an armed **invasion** of a country?

            This Abay Tigray thing is yet another clueless wandering in the desert. Cheaper to buy a mirror.


          • Hope

            It is too bad that you have no clue about your own history!

          • Hayat Adem

            “As to invading Badume by the EDF,militarily,it was justifiable.Not sure
            what the USA, Britain, Israel, for that matter,Ethiopia could have done if
            their innocent 7 unarmed Officers were brutally and cold-bloodedly
            1) How do you know 7 Eritrean officers were killed?
            2) How do you know they were unarmed?
            3) How do you know if it was escalated from a confrontation or planned and executed (cold-blooded)?
            4) If Eritrea was provoked to invade Badume, why did IA say that he was unaware of the problem, and there was nothing he knew of an issue that caused the Ethiopian parliament let the cat out of the bag?
            5) Why did IA and his regime lie to us, first by pretending unaware of any problem; 2nd, by claiming Eritrea never moved out of its territory?
            6) Why didn’t we hear from IA about the map, the birr map, about bada, about adimirug, about abay tigray before may1998?
            Can you answer those questions? I know you can’t. You can only say things the pfdj cadres say. Please don’t let yourself be played tabula raza for all cheap writings of the pfdj.

          • Hope

            Since you know each and every answer to each and every question,no need of wasting my time,
            Plus,every answer you requested is well clarified and well documented.You are just playing old games.
            The case is closed but since you provoked us again,it was necessary to remind our naive readers,.not you ,as you know exactly what you are doing.
            I would refer you to Prof Tesfatsion Medhanie,who shocked me when he exposed the Truth about all the conspiracies and evil intentions you are inquring to know about,albeit,knowingly and purposely.
            FYI: His article is written in Tigrigna,Amharic,Arabic and English–in case if you have flavors to pick up..

    • Jo


      Do you think the TPLF (Ghedli) struggle was a waste of time?

      What about other revolutions (Ghedlitat) ANC, UNITA, Algeria, CUBA etc.?

      Can you please tell us your opinion, if they were justified to start the struggle, given their condition, before, wether they were justified to persist during the struggle; if they are justified, in hind site, after they achieved or failed what they were fighting for?

      Do you think people, in those countries, who achieved independence but still are poor were better off to stay colonized?

      What makes the Eritrean case different than any other struggle in the world?

      If one was driven to the extent of accepting the hardship and misery of Ghedli, to overcome another system of misery, I don’t think it is that hard to fathom how awful that system was by comparison.

      You may be tempted to argue, what is different? or even, it is worse now. Is it really? Now, maybe a question of survival, but, then, it was a question of existence.

      Thanx!! to Ghedli Eritrea will exist and will persist to overcome any hardship that it is going to encounter; be it of survival or growing pains.

      • haile


        Do you think TPLF struggle was justified?


        PS: yes, it is a trick question! / ዘይድሓን ነጊሮም፡ ደሓን ሕደር ይብሉኻ 🙂

        • Jo


          No, it was not.

          To begin with, it was not Ghedli in the real sense. Because, they had time to sit down and do cost analysis. if they could not be certain to get maximum return for their effort, they could do without it; happy with what ever they had the status quo, things were not that bad after all. But, it was the 1960s and 1970s, rebellion was in the air – it was hip to be one, wearing berets with red stars on them a la Che Guvera and Mao Tsetung. in their cost analysis they figured out how to look hip and be a rebel at the same time, to side with the strongest rebel movement in the region, ELF. They got all the help and protection from ELF, until after things started to shift in the Eritrean field. which forced them to review their initial coast analysis and recalibrate. The EPLF appeared to get stronger by the day, and it was time to shift sides albeit with heavy heart, not!!! The EPLF trained them and armed them. It was the time of “operation red star”, “everything to the north front”, “6th offence”. Again coast analysis, let us ran to Sahel. 6th, 7th, 8th, selaHta came and went, but EPLF persisted. Their cost analysis showed them to stik around in SaHel because things were about to change for good, they did. WiKaw, Tesenei, Barentu, Asmara airport commando operation, Nadew, and Fenkil, everything is working according to their plan. But, somewhere, somehow they had to carry their weight; Shire, Southern and Western flanks in Ethiopia, ouch!!! they cried help!!! considering the grand scheme of thing EPLF commandos and mechanized brigades had to take care of things again, and push all the way to Addis. EPLF fighters handed them the keys to the palace and they were off to Asmara Bella. Everything worked as they planed with less cost and maximum return; hasas Hamsienai had to bare the cost. huffff!!!

          – There was no reason or urgency to their cause, so you could deem it camping trip.

          – They were under protection of one organization or the other, no danger.

          – The way was paved for them, no originality.

          – They had to sit and plan, it was not spontaneous.

          – The out come was predictable, no element of surprise.

          If it lacks, urgency, uncertainty, creativity, spontaneity, and unpredictability it is not romantic enough to be Ghedli, hence it is unjustified.

          I hope it is a good enough answer to your trick question!

          Luwam zelewo meAlti!! 🙂

          If you ask me, coast analysis is afforded only by virtue of those who, spontaneously, took the challenge and paid dearly for it. To translate that virtue to foolishness is nothing but arrogant.

          • Hayat Adem

            Dear Jo,
            If Haile the Great could squeeze any sense out of your preceding comment, I say good for him. For those of us we couldn’t understand a bit of it, would kindly put it in a straight language? I know you are saying, TPLF’s struggle doesn’t deserve to be called ghedli and they had no justification to go through armed struggle…which is your opinion and which is fine…but the explanation you gave for that assertion is pretty dense and foggy.

          • Jo


            No, Actually I believe any society that believes it has been wronged has the right to rise up to ascertain its rights however it deems is the right way. The people of Tigray rose up to fight for their rights and formed the TPLF; it is a Ghedli, that lead and fought for the rights of its people. So, I want you to be clear, that, I believe the TPLF struggle was Ghedli and justified to go what they went through to achieve the altimate goal, to verify the fundamental rights of the Tigrayan people. About my comment above, Please!! let us be candid.


            Rest assured that I could back up everything I said about the Agnawaks, Oromos and/or Ogadenese anytime. But, I don’t see a point since I believe, you, knowing all the facts, are deliberately trying either to justify it or deny it altogether for whatever motives you have. What I don’t understand is, a person of your calibre trying to justify a system that violated fundamental rights of its own people, by comparison to others; who, by your own assertion, are the worst human rights abusers. I believe, Human rights is universal. We all should refrain form justifying systems that infringe, even, in one individuals rights, when it comes to human rights, that is one too many. As human rights begins with an individual. Who are we? to sit behind computer screens to tell a certain Agnewak individual, who claims to have been abused, to tell him whatever abuse he endured is not an abuse. Human rights abuse is a violation, wether it happens in the USA, South Africa, Eritrea, or Ethiopia. We could/should not cherry-pick and cry foul here and get a blind eye there, driven by a desire to mitigate the abuses of a system we are infatuated with for whatever reason.

            Remember, “In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist; and then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist; and then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew; and then . . . they came for me . . . and by that time there was no one left to speak up.” food for thought, may be?

            Have a pleasant day!

      • dine

        eritrean struggle was for secession from ethiopia, tplf struggle was for ”ethnic democracy within ethiopia”.

      • Hayat Adem

        “Do you think TPLF struggle was justified?”

        I don’t know, but I think it is relative. Struggles, particularly armed ones, should be seen on the basis of legal/political grounds that caused them, the nobility and doability of the grand goals they set and the magnitude of the sacrifice they demand. You be the judge: Derg was a killer beast much worse than what pfdj is now. It did not only tell you to “go to the moon”. It killed the educated youth, displayed their body on the gateway of their home and asked their family to compensate the killers with the price of the bullet that killed their son/daughter. In terms of achievements of the struggle and sacrifice paid, TPLF stands better relatively speaking. I don’t know how many tegadelti they lost but given their ghedli time was twice shorter, their loss could be as much less compared to ours. And at least, theirs is not in vain as they are using the results of the struggle for bettering their people.

        • Jo


          You are not serious, are you? I guess it is a matter of perspective that only your identity affords you, as the Agnewaks, Oromos and Ogaden peoples would have a different take on things.

          If you ask me, coast analysis is afforded only by virtue of those who, spontaneously, took the challenge and paid dearly for it. To translate that virtue to foolishness is nothing but arrogant.

          • Hayat Adem

            What do Agnawaks, Oromos and/or Ogadenese say about TPLF Vs EPLF? Share it with me.

          • Jo

            It is an Ethiopian peoples case vs TPLF, EPLF has nothing to do with it. Incase you are wondering the “E” stands for Eritrean not Ethiopian.

            The whole web world is there for you to discover, I don’t think you need me to poke some sensitive spots (Kuslkhum kHakekum ayedlin eyu) to show you what you already know exists.

            Why waste time, space and ink?


          • Hayat Adem

            Jo, That is fine. Then we have no case at hand to talk about if you are not in mood to back it up. I was just following up from your last comment, not that I thought you are an expert on the issue but out of curiosity of what you really know about the issue.

  • haile

    …but many have realized the truth when IA betrayed the nation and most of our people are camped in Ethiopian refugee camps.

    • Durue

      [Moderator: Durue, you seem to be new here. Read the guidelines, it will help you. Until then, we do not allow bigotry and blanket condemnation of any nationality as you have done, is not allowed. Consider this your final warning]

      dear haile the great,
      with all due respect,XXXXX like you and hayat whose sympathies are with tigray and weyane’s goal of erasing Eritrea’s sovereignty do not fool eritreans’ no matter how hard you try or how much you pose as Eritrean. I’m just giving it to you straight. Tigrayans underestimate the resolve of Eritreans to defend their sovereignty at all costs.
      watch the first 5 minutes of haile durue’s intereview again. It will tell you everything you need to know regarding the truth about the war between Eritrea and Tigray. It was never a border war. It was a war of aggression aimed at erasing Eritrea’s sovereignty.

      • haile

        Durue Jigna,

        And how do you plan to show your resolve from over here?? It is the height of your misadventure you try to question my identity….which is why you wouldn’t be able to defend anything about Eritrea. Know your people first. The term that “Eritrea has been weakened” has sadly become an established diplomatic term. You’re just acting like a bundle of nerves otherwise your regime is toothless, it can’t bite. How could you fight a major war under total arms embargo and international isolation and fall from grace? Did you read the last AT article “Ye Ertra hzb endanasqeym enji wede dahlak bashagernew neber”! Come down, respect your people, submit to rule of law, you would see Eritreans developing and getting stronger in no time then you can brag. You just remind me my friend Nitricc’s toothless cursing 🙂 BTW if all of us who oppose the dictator are Tigrayans, how many of you are there to defend the land bare hand?

        • Hope

          Cool down you,too.
          Why do you think Eritrea is under arms embargo?Please do NOT tell me that it is because of the Al Shebab since I will challenge you with real Facts,not just “Facts” by the SEMG/Meles/IGAD said so thing.
          Wasn’t it to weaken Eritrea so that your “Bravo” Southerns will push us to Dahlak?
          What about the economic sanction,which is obvious and overt but you are still conveniently denying that FACT?
          You seem so “compassionate” about Eritreans as Tafla said it but you do NOT seem to be compassionate about Eritrea in her TOTALITY,i.e.,her Territorial Integrity and National Security by denying all hard core facts about the REAL threats,not just perceived threats,which are well documented all over—,which you have conveniently ignored and denied.
          The logic behind the suspicion of some people here is based on those facts–
          We have to be able to call a spade,a spade and balance things and be clear, firm and balanced when we are fighting for real chnage in Eritrea.
          While fighting PFDJ,we have to be vigilant about the real and perceived threats Eritrea as a nation and as people have faced–based on FACTS on the ground,NOT based on what PFDJ and its supporters say.
          How can I differentiate you fromm the SMERR people,who are well funded,supported,manipulated,etc–by the hard core TPLF Gang,the likes of Aboy Sibhat and Bereket simon–whohave clearly told us that Eritrea cannot survive as a viable Nation,besides threatening that Aseb will be annexed by all means possible to their Mamma Ethiopia,in the words of Bereket Simon–the highest Ethiopian Official.

          • haile

            Selam Hope

            Your arguments don’t cut it simply because you have a wobbly stick and you think it is a spade. Getting high on shabait/meskerem overdose is not good for you, get yourself a real spade.

            – Ethio-Eritrea war: we had a long and heavy weight discussion a year ago about the “start of the war” with serray and hayat. I argued on behalf of Eritrea using tough facts (not on behalf of IA who is capable of anything). Dig out the arguments, learn facts, increase your knowledge and comeback with real spade, not shabait manufactured toy spade.

            – Eritrea and terrorists: again get a real spade. Talk IA defense of al shabab against terrorist charge, talk about the UN sought terror suspect that took up residence in Asmara for years, talk about IA’s dispatch of Sebhat Efrem to meet al shabab to free French hostages…. Get a real spade, not made in shabait toy spade.

            – On Smerrr: why is Smerr proving strong challenger to the regime? Andit Okbay (Singer & ex YPFDJ till 2013) sang ho ybehal alo smerrrr ybehal alo in Leeds over march 8 🙂 What is the secret of Smerr politics? TPLF fund, blah blah….that is (sorry to say) but bull cr@p, only fit to appear on you know where. So, I ask you again: misTir Smret entay eyu? ንሕና ንሓድነትና ሸጥ መዓንጣና! Please get real spade to say “spade is a spade” otherwise it is like wobbly stick is a spade…lol

            Hope, trust me PFDJ and YPFDJ are politically retarded. The opposition have the smartest and brightest minds but we need solutions to unite us all. Don’t rely on PFDJ retarded politics and reasoning…it would be bad for your blood sugar.


          • Hope

            I do NOT buy the PFDJ mantra propaganda.
            My ref are:
            -South Africa’s Expert Witness Report
            -TPLF Gang itself
            -Why would I buy your arguement,which is based on biased report while my arguement is based on FACTS form the sources?
            -Why are you silent about the well proven Fanatic islamistTerrorists being baby sitted by TPLF with full knowledge and back up of the CIA/AU/EU?
            Your way CANNOT be the only HIGHWAY.
            I do NOT buy any Simret,which is sponsored,funded,created,,engineered,etc—by the bloodiest enemies of Eritrea.
            -I would like you to create and organize–an ORIGINAL and Real Eritrean based Youth Movement and Struggle,NOT Weyane Satelites.
            -The only reason SMERR is “strong” is because it is sponsored by “Strong” sponsors with their own AGENDA!.
            Al Shebab:
            -Do NOT tell me Al Shebab is this and that–get it real yourself.It is not Rocket Science to know how and why Al Shebab was created or came to existence.
            -The Alliance for Re-liberation of Somalia,created by the PFDJ ,was and could have been a real solution for Somalia,if we have to be realistic.Do NOT hide hard core documented FACTS and repeat to me the Weyane Litany.Al Shebab ran away and threatened Eritrea for creating a broad-based and moderate,non-extremist genuine Nationlaist Movement
            -If we have to argue for the sake of arguemnt using Logic 101,if the Weyanes have the right to destabilize Eritrea by any means possible,including using those well documented terrorists,why can’t Eritrea have the right to do the same for its existence?

          • haile


            Seriously, you need to recognize that your woyanization of Eritrean politics is outdated. I still haven’t provided you with any facts because you are looking at these issues from the top of your bloated chest. If wishes and desires were means and achievements, we would have long been running the planet. Do you know some hgdef anticipate the fall of the USA and triumph their cappo over it? Strange but true! The more refined one’s are predicting that TPLF will be no more past 2015 (tell me about maniacs). You are charging with the same blind fold against the “whole truth”. The regime survived this long on your type of arguments to extend isolating the people. ERiTV news would only feed a daily dose of international news that is exclusively and selectively prepared to shoe death, riot and chaos in the world. This form of mass mind control has taken its toll and many of our compatriots’ rational intellect has been degraded to narrow sense of siege. I still urge you to study facts with open mindedness or continue taking refuge in your besieged mentality and arrested growth and development. The Eritrean people know what is wrong with their country now, it is not easy to turn the clock back. I still encourage you to independently investigate why Smret is making such appeal to a wide section of the youth. I am not giving or denying support here, just stating facts. Why is PFDJ so DISTURBED by this smerrr movement, what does it see. Your reason is not really well arrived at. Please make the effort to know what the secret is 🙂 Here is an assignment, evaluate every topic we discussed in terms of roles/responsibilities without including weyane in it, that would be the moment you would start to take baby steps towards the truth that is bedeviling you. When you finally break off/ divorce from the woyane-mania, your whole purpose in this struggle would be transformed, you would take control of your mind, you would start to see things like normal humans are supposed to look at, your thinking would get sharper, you have many interesting contribution to make to the lives of others and your people. Sadly, you are not engaged in the woyane issue from legal political realities, rather a deep and nauseating anger, which is unpredictable all round.

          • Hope

            Do NOT be too redundant here.
            What I have asked you repeatedly is:
            -In order to have credibility and followers and buyers, you have to be balanced and comprehensive,truthful,honest,reasonable-etc..no matter what—even if you are playing politics,which to me, is political acrobatism and political bancruptsy,the way you are playing.around.
            Do NOT try to be more Catholic than the Pope.We all know what you know and we all suffered,prob even more than you do,by PFDJ System etc—But I am not going to put my precious country for SALE simply because I hate PFDJ.

          • haile


            If you believe what you say and really mean it, you must be somewhat confused to end up opposing PFDJ!!!

            If you are a victim of PFDJ THEN do not oppose the injustice
            If you oppose the injustice THEN you are considered opposition
            If you are considered opposition THEN you are weakening PFDJ against woyane
            If you are weakening PFDJ THEN you are selling the country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            Eritreans have seen the worst a living human can see under the PFDJ mafia and paid heavily to finally wake up to see the truth. Never have Eritreans had an enemy worse than IA and his regime. That is just a FACT. If that wasn’t the case you wouldn’t have all of the regime scholars lost for word to justify anything other than regergitate ghedli era razzmatazz to youth depleted regime seminars. PFDJ is indefensible, even Einstein wouldn’t have figured to defend them. I rest my case.

          • Hope

            Per Logic 101.the YG et al School of Thought style, this is what we call fallacious Logic.
            The way you are trying to weaken the PFDJ is the way you are selling the country.
            If you are the Student or a Cadre of SMERR/Aboy Sibat and Bereket Simon,(which you admitted indirectly),which is created,engineered,funded,manipulated,nurtured and etc… by the SWORN abd Bloodiest Enemies of Eritrea,then you are selling the country.

          • tafla


            I like that, very balanced analysis. keep it up.


  • dine

    i have one question for all YG lovers ethiopians, as long as there is no hostility(they can’t be hostile any more) from eritrea what is that you want from eritrea? don’t tell me we all are Habesha bullshit. let them be what ever they want to be even if they want be like Afghanistan.

  • Hope

    Here is what the Amharic saying :”ye godda biresa,YETEGODDA airesam”

  • Eyob Medhane


    I am here to chase and defame Shabia, because I just have such desire, to defame its ‘good’ name..

  • Haile Durue

    Haile Durue’s interview dated 1999 about how Weyane Tigray’s goal had nothing to do with border dispute but rather about erasing Eritrea’s sovereigntly altogether. Watch the first 3 minutes. He lays it out openly and succinctly.


  • Rodab

    Let’s not be rude enough as to interrupt the man from his sweet dreams. After all, it won’t cost us a dime…

    • Hope

      Who is rude?
      A spade should be called, a spade.I do not see any honest debate here but “me’ar-covered ere’.I will keep fighting PFDJ until Hidri Swu’atna is achived based on facts,not on LIES and fabrications,albeit,it is the nature of politics to do so.But we do have plenty of facts to defame Shabia with out indulging into cheap politics.
      Good luck to you and to your sweet dreams.

  • Saleh Johar

    To K.H, the guy with the dog that won’t hunt.

    With all due respect, find a dog that hunts.

    the cat that defeated the hunting dog :-).

  • Saleh Johar

    Yes Haile!
    Two excellent explanation today:
    1) when they feel impotent, they curse the opposition to make you feel bad and by extension to elevate their perceived patriotic caliber.
    2) they preach tolerance as if they practice it. They imply their opposition is intolerant–natas nHamata.
    3) They never show any feeling for the people, they don’t talk about Eritreans but Eritrea, a territory. No more no less. A domain they exploit at whim.
    4) they belittle the opposition, “cyber opposition,” as if it is not forcing them to lose sleep.
    5) Their definition of national unity is “nHna nsu, nsu nHana.”
    6) their love for the country is expressed by wrapping one’s self with the flag.
    7) I left out 7 to 100 for lack of time and stamina….:-)

    • ALI-S

      Haile & SG,

      Apologies for my heated reaction Haile.

      Haile here you make a lot of sense and a strong argument. But if you and SG have the U-Turn argument in your mind here is another way of seeing the U-Turn phenomenon:

      (1) you rightly express your disgust at the YPFDJ girl appearing insensitive to the Lampedusa tragedy.
      A reason that you might have not paid attention to is that, the (misguided) opposition jumped and practically owned the tragedy and were more interested in using the horrible accident to score politics. Instead of turning their anger on Italian coast guards who had roamed the boat when it was on fire and stood by filming the drowning boat thanks to a dumb opposition, attention was diverted to the “root cause”. The one responsible for the tragedy became the Eritrean President and Italian coast guards got away with blood in their hands.
      I have no idea what the young lady said (I am relying on what you mentioned), who just like you probably had loved ones on the boat, was disgusted as I was.
      That’s where the call to avoid exploiting humanitarian tragedies for political games (irrespective of root causes and I am not denying justifiable push factors).

      (2) You also made a good point in that how can anyone say this is not about the opposition but about the victims.

      The only problem is that the opposition (as it stands today) is not about the victims. Even if that is the intention, the opposition as experienced in what is apparent to all of us: is about grabbing state power at all cost. We are saying we have already paid too much and we are not paying more to a new “freedom fighters” on Ethiopian tanks.

      We are ready to support if anyone knows of an alternative. The alternative is what we are trying to figure out.

      • haile

        Selam Ali-S,

        No worries, heated discussion do happen, it is good that we are over them.

        Regards your point:

        1 – Lampadusa rolled in following Sinai which rolled in following previous tragedies in the Mediterranean, this in turn rolled in the mass deportation of Eritreans from Egypt, mass migration to regional countries….

        Some people may look at this incident in isolated fashion, yet for us it has become a way of life. Accepting death and wanton loss as a given, our given. We know that the is hardly any formal employment in Eritrea, we know that there is trade restriction in Eritrea, we know that a citizen can’t handle even small amount of hard currency, can’t travel, can’t decide….you know the score. Despite the worsening desperation of our people, the regime has not lifted ONE SINGLE blockade that it has firmly imposed on the citizens of Eritrea. There is a TOTAL regulation of EVERY aspect of economy, movement, mobilization…. life is tough for our people. The death toll is rising, the tragedies becoming common place, a week following the ill fated Lampedusa ship sunk, more Eritreans came on board other boats.

        There is hardly any “opposition” group that has played any meaningful role in any way that you describe. It was Fazer Musye Zeray who worked in these rescue for far too long, it was Dr Adanesh, it was Meron Estifanos, it was the religious leaders, it was the 22 intellectuals, it was wedi vacaro, it was wedi tikabo it was the Eritrean people who called for the regime of IA to desist from raining hell and pouring fire on our people. Give me a single opposition group that has lead these popular reactions? It sounds that PFDJ is pouring a boiling water on our peoples bare skin and accusing them for expressing their pain. I totally disagree that they (PFDJ) can bulldoze over the public psych on this one. All of the above individuals that voiced concern were described as woyane, agame, anti Eritrea….sad to see we are taken down this way.

        2 – We need to be clear about terminology here. Who is “opposition”? Are you referring to Ethiopia based, outside Ethiopia, organized, individuals…we need definition here as there are groups I don’t agree with either. But whichever way we put it however, Lampedusa is a watershed. I would personally never have imagined to think of supporting/sympathizing with the regime (as YPFDJ) would require such degree of callousness. I don’t think you would disagree that the ground had shifted since. It is hard to contain the current sentiment by the “Ethiopia Card” alone.

        The said fb comment is attached. Every Eritrean to express sadness was described as “crocodile tears”! God, how often do people face such tragedy of their flesh and blood live on screen? PFDJ has taken a deeply damaging and disturbing route on the tragedies. In my opinion, it would be best to deal restive fears in a more imaginative way than simply applying brute and coldblooded dismissal of public outpourings.