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Eritrean Parallel Religious Lines

The roots and branches of Eritrean Diaspora seems to point to the mistrust that lingers stemming from their religious parallel lines – Christianism vs. Islamism – any other isms can amicably be ameliorated once this colossal issue is handled with sensitivity, care, and tenderness it so deserves. The other roots and branches that get in the way of making progress over the Diaspora’s socio-cultural & sociopolitical landscape has to do with this fact: we want to be political scientists, psychologists, philosophers, and the like, leaving no room for the professionals who may have something valuable to teach us. Saleh Gadi makes a clear delineation between dialogue & debate as he adds the disposition of some political actors who choose to go into the realms of “assault” instead of conversing – a point well taken. Therefore, allow me to start with the following, if I may speak for myself. Starting with disclosure of sorts is important here for those of us who are part-time activists and who disappear from the scene for seasons on end and expect to make a dent in the political landscape of Eritrea. I am painfully aware of this shortcoming, and it is for this reason I feel there is a gaping hole in my knowledge of Eritrean Diaspora’s political actors or their activities. I will defer the political activities to those who have been in the forefront of the struggle with relentless determination. Saleh Ghadi’s apt observation in this regard is a timely one:

“I also think the political parties should think of this; and if wish to have a sane political environment, those with skills and passion should be in political parties to be more effective–when are we going to develop political parties is such debates remains in the sphere of free-lancing? Add to that our lack of academic and intellectual institutions that should lead this kind of debate, it is scary. We are doing little to develop our politics, why don’t we have association instead of everyone going to politics in an unorganized way? When are we going to identify our individual skills and passion and work there in a specialized manner instead of all of us becoming jack of all trade? That is my worry Amanuel, though I understand the concern and the wish to prepare the ground future eventualities, I wish we would develop (or think about developing) institution. We can start by having specialized institutions, even in the Diaspora though it is not the ideal place.” (Saleh “Gadi” Johar, Nov. 23, 2013 at 11:57 am ).

I take this comment to heart. Saleh Gadi’s comment is spot on. There has to be other calling than political endeavors. Let us take stock and evaluate where our passions and our strength lie and based on that try to pursue those venues rather than stretching ourselves way too thin in areas we know very little about. At this junction, I have zero interest in political organizations of any stripe but I have, to some extent, some interest in the realms of Eritrean traditions, cultures, heritage, religious coexistence, and anything that addresses of humanitarian matters in this context. Something I have great passion for tends to be culture, literature, language, culture, and peripherally, religion. Today’s muse is on the last two.

The erroneous assumption a lot of people make tends to be in the way they see cultural traditions as this static phenomenon when in fact they are very much dynamic. Therefore, the challenge then rests in how strong is one’s culture relative to religion. In Eritrea’s case, the Eritrea that we have left behind, perhaps, years ago (I am speaking here from my perspective as someone who left home decades ago) has evolved a great deal – its language has evolved, its norms, its values, and the like have evolved while sizable number of Eritreans who are in Diaspora have also evolved to amalgamate the cultural tradition of their host societies. Now, of course, the kind of culture that has been created in exile, for example, in the Middle East tends to be influenced by the religion adhered in that region, which is, for the most part, Islam. In other words, religion trumps culture so much so that the children who grow up in these regions have strong religious leanings.

Way before Al-Qaeda had come to occupy a space in our consciousness, there was Eritrean Jihadist movement in the early 90s, but Eritreans did not give it the light of day because people wanted to give peace and freedom a chance. What we ended up having in Al-Qaeda, of course, has turned out to be completely beyond our wildest imagination in its perverseness and its ability to mutate and adapt to any environment it finds itself in. To think that such a movement would not have influence on Eritrean Muslims is naïve at best. A great deal has changed since 1996 in Eritrea. AlQaeeda has now become the shadow enemy of many nation-states the world over that can really wreak havoc on the population, the recent Kenya’s mall attack is case in point. In light of the unpredictable predicament of Eritrea’s political landscape what we must do proactively to avert the fate of Somalia, Nigeria, Liberia, and many other nations that have been mired in this intractable religious based violence ought to be clear.  Al-Qaeda tends to thrive in places like Iraq and Syria, among many other countries, where there is a power vacuum. What must be done to protect Eritrea from such potential recipe of disaster is to preemptively and proactively make sure it does not occupy any space in the first place.

Some of us may still believe in the power of culture over religion, but the reality in our part of the world seems to suggest the reverse, where religion has time and again shown to trump tradition and culture. We can choose to bury our head in the sand into thinking that Eritrea’s circumstance is unique, but I am here to argue, it is not.  Where to Eritrea and Eritreans heretofore?  Belatedly reading about two brothers, born and raised in Britain and who were of Eritrean descent and who died while fighting in Syria’s civil war was mind numbing event to process much less to make sense out of This news sent my memory reeling way back to 1996 when I wrote three short pieces in dehai under the title “JIHAD vs. Common Sense.” No worries, these are no longer than a page each. All it took was a simple Google and viola retrieved them all. Dehai was a virtual space and place where many of us used to think out loud, if you will, as we wrote our thoughts half constructed and dehayans basically responded with their impressions of each other’s’ ideas. So, the poor quality of the pieces notwithstanding, they do address the danger of political Islam taken to its extreme.  In 1996 nobody had the patience to read more than two pages on their computer screens–accessing the Internet through dial-up was a challenge in itself – we have come a long ways now in adapting to reading for hours on end as though we were leafing through the pages of a book.

This is not a thread-bare comparison between Al-Qaeda and Jihad and it is not a game of semantics, but a mere evolutionary process that political mutation must be met with equal force and magnitude, not through means of arms and cannon fodders, but through our collective wisdom vis-à-vis the rule of law that will render such shadowy terrorists who tend to mutate faster and quicker the weaker the bond that ties the two people together.

In Eritrea’s context the most effective way to fight such potential pitfall from taking place is not retroactively fighting it but proactively making it impossible, so impossible, in fact, by making Eritrea an ideal place where the rule of law reigns, where democratic system is applied, where Muslims and Christians alike live in harmonious coexistence at the helm of which must be an unequivocal separation of Church (Mosque) and State.

Now, how does one avoid such potential pitfall from occurring? Clearly, there will be some elements within Eritrean circles that would play into that perception to ignite a wedge within Eritrean proper. The best antidote to this is an inclusive governance system; unlike that of PFDJ whose domination in the governing body of Eritrean political landscape has been abysmal, to which I make a passing remark in one of the links below. About a decade or more later, Ahmed Raji’s article that was posted at Awate made it explicitly clear using evidence in how systematically PFDJ discouraged Eritrean Muslim from playing their role in the Eritrean nation building reminiscent to that of Haragot Abbay who used to discourage Muslim Eritreans  in Eritrea and suggesting that going to places like Saudi Arabia in search of employment being their best option. Now, I certainly do not want to give this perception disproportionate weight, but acknowledging its existence in the past is a good beginning.

That said, I think it is really high time that Eritreans not only be cognizant of this fact but also must make sure such perception from being incepted in the future, post-Isayas Eritrea that is. Let me make it unequivocally clear here that religion will have a role to play in public life in Eritrea but it cannot be one where it becomes the political governing body. Singling out the Orthodox Church in this as a religious institution that has stood to the tyrant on moral ground, at least since 2004 to a point of imprisonment of Abune Antonios, is an exemplary moral crusade all other religious institutions should emulate. Religion belongs in our homes and in our respective communities; it should also rise up to national scene when the need calls for it as the conscience of its society when it sees it going rampantly errant as has been the case with the current political menace in Eritrea. But political and governing matters must be delegated and relegated to the political system that has the capacity to separate itself from any religious dogmas and rule its people fairly and in equitable manner.

Herein follow the links. If you are so inclined you can read the responses and counter responses by delving deeper into the discussion thread.

JIHAD vs Common Sense Part I (
JIHAD vs Common Sense Part II (
JIHAD vs Common Sense Part III (
FB: Bayan Nagash

About Beyan Negash

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

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  • Nitricc

    Speaking Arabic where is my love Rahwa?
    Baby Rahwa, if you wear Hijab I will Mary you lol
    What is wrong with Hijab though? I thought that was kool. It sucks for YG all Eritreans will wear Hijab
    Come on Rahwa , show me some love. Andande lesew maseb ale
    This is for you

  • haram

    You said;
    “The issue for me is that, it’s such a dominant language that it’ll kill all our languages if we give it a higher status than them and I also think it Will delineate a clear secterian line in the school system.”
    First i would like to thank you for you honst answer to my question i highly appreciate it. Arabic has been used long time ago at the koran schools in harmony with the geez of the christian church, it grew up parellel to tigrnya to be used at schools and other for purposes until selasei abolished both of them. That means arabic never affected our tradition but played a crucial role in creating a united solution for the non geez ethnic group in eritrea.And eveeritrean must be proud of its excitance and the role it played rather than to see it as threat,no body have the right to oblige halv of the population to abanden the language that fit them.Arabic is inherited and not imposed.

    • Zaul


      I appreciate your respectful and civilized manner of debating. Let’s see if we can reach an agreement.

      There are many things I like about the muslim faith, namely the fearlessness towards human authority, the rejection of racism, Islamic banking and the effort to use arabic as a unifying language.

      I have full respect for My muslim compatriots use of Arabic in koranic schools and I also see that you know about the use of Geez in the christian tradition, the logical concludion of having 2 official languages on those grounds would lead us to Arabic and Geez.

      We disagree on the benefits of Arabic at the state level. Arabic may be unifying but only for half the nation, i.e not total unity and I also believe it was imposed by the Brittish to create division and not a natural development as you say.

      My wish is to build on our natural bond irrespective of faith, Geez, Tigre and Tigrinya can enrich each other and so can Afar and Saho.

      Blin, Nara and Kunama have to be extra protected because of their vulnerable position.

      Do we need to learn Arabic? Yes we do, but we also need to learn Amharic, English and other languages to do business and benefit our country.
      My proposition is to have mother tongue instruction in school until the age of ten, afterwards all subjects should be taught in English, while giving those students who wish to learn another language a free choice to choose Arabic, Amharic, French or another Eritrean language within the curriculum.

      I would even go so far as saying that Tigre written in Geez as the sole official language is more preferable than Arabic and Tigrinya.

      I hope you understand what I’m trying to say, if we disagree, not a problem, at least we know each others perspective.

      • Wediere

        I suggest you start to learn Chinese, so you can introduce it to Eritrea when the people will have the list of choice you suggest….just in case some opt for Chinese so they benefit from the future superpower. At the moment it seems the more people become determined to reject Arabic the more Muslims are sticking to it, especially in the Diaspora it is becoming the default language.

        I was trying to dig an article from Eritrea Alhaditha by Abu Arre that was translated in English and posted at discussing the failure of mother toungue educational policy that was implemented in Eritrea…..awatista may find it on the time machine and kindly post the link to the article ….if they feel you are amenable to reasoned argument…anyway the following will give you a gist. SG has also written two articles on Negarit, if needed I should be able to pull the two..just ask.


        • Zaul


          People are free to do what they please and I’m free to express my thoughts and I’m grateful to awate forum. I read the article you provided and I don’t think mother tongue instruction is an imposition, but rather a right of every child. Those who advocate for 2 languages to get a higher status than the remaining 7 have the burden of proof. Habeshasization is the last thing on My mind. If you only want to unify the muslim population then what’s the point of being one nation? The Kebessa will start looking south of the border sooner or later.

          • Wediere


            You sounded defensive, ofcourse you have the right to express your views and shout it out as you like, more important people should have the right to choose aswell….
            Consider Nitric’s suggestion…..just an opinion aswell and harmless when just an opinion.However, if he was given the driving sit in future Eritrea and thought he had a bright idea and went ahead to device the relevant policy and implement it, how would you react????? Well you have answered it above, ready to throw the towel….you better perfect your Amharigna as a contingency plan 🙂 Nitricc is rooting to inherit the presidency once he knocks Haile out and DIA runs his course.
            You see the problem is not the tens or idea that we can talk about, the article link I provided discusses Abu Are initial stand for mother toungue then after years of experimentation concluding that the policy was detrimental to the non-Tigrigna speakers as they were at a disadvantage later on when they were seeking employment in government. Imagine the years lost trying the whims of some intellectuals, the resource spent to prepare the curriculum….
            The simple solution is let the people decide for themselves, since you are against imposition…..each tribe, region, administration zone can decide on the matter through their locally appointed representatives. Post DIA Eritrea is likely to have a decentralised government (Nitricc you have a tougher job than DIA) the issues of language will not be our greatest problem.


        • Beyan Negash

          Gentlemen, If I may Interject here, the following is extracted from Toffelson’s book, “Language Policies in Education” and I am just providing a glimpse of a chapter from it.

          In “Righting Language Wrongs in a Plurilingual Context: Language Policy and Practice in Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast Region” one can easily follow Freeland’s notion and even be cognate about the topic the author was addressing.

          The essence of the author’s message rests in how might multilingual nations find a happy-medium in their coexistence as nationals of one country. The author divides the region into two zones the East and the West, within both of which several languages are spoken. The post-Sandinista Nicaragua seems to have a good grasp of the political ramifications to oppressing any minorities, therefore, came up with a workable “legal framework [that] recogniz[ed] the importance of “negotiated” settlements in which the “government[…] ratified and implemented with more or less political will over the past 30 years.” (P. 91)

          The problem, however, seems to me is that the country is trying to give equal rights to all of the languages spoken in the country. Though noble in its undertaking, I think it is ill conceived, because what ended up happening is that the country was unable to furnish educational opportunity to all of the citizens in their mother tongues; granted, these mother tongue based educational curricula are doable when it is at an elementary level, or in some cases even up-to high school.

          However, where the rubber meets that bumpy road is post high school trying to create a curriculum that can offer highly advanced and professionalized subjects using an obscure language, a language that has no words for such complicated concepts, technical terms, is just a policy doomed to fail. What ended up happening, those whose language happens to be Spanish or English, reaped all the benefits of higher education. Those who were made to feel good because they learned using their “mother tongue” could not compete in post-secondary required professions. Professions such as, according to the author, “linguistics, anthropology, and psycholinguistic” were beyond reach for these mother tongue educated children.

          This is kind of ironic because here is a system that wanted to teach its children in their respective mother tongues but ended up tongue tying them to a point of not being able to further their education to become professionals in linguistics and psycholinguistics – paradoxical indeed!

          • Zaul

            “The problem, however, seems to me is that the country is trying to give equal rights to all of the languages spoken in the country. Though noble in its undertaking, I think it is ill conceived, because what ended up happening is that the country was unable to furnish educational opportunity to all of the citizens in their mother tongues; granted, these mother tongue based educational curricula are doable when it is at an elementary level, or in some cases even up-to high school.”

            This is exactly, what I’m saying. Mother tongue instruction at the elementary level.

          • Ahlen Beyan,

            This is a good scoop for the time being for awatistas. since your educational back ground is along that line on anthropology and psycho-linguistic area of studies, you have to go more into its theoretically concepts and draw some relevance to our reality. Take it as your project to enlighten us.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • beyan negash

            merHaba Amanuel Hidrat,

            I like the way you began your input as “[t]his is a good scoop for the time being for awatistas”, which is how we should all think in terms when we are writing and reading pieces, notes, articles, communications, debates, dialogoues, what have you? For all what we say may enlighten us in someways, but at the end of the day, when all is said and done, we will have to be vigilant in demanding exhaustively studied approach before any instituting can take place, especially, in the educational arena – because it involves our cherished assets, our children, and that must come with some clear vision.

            Without a vision there is no mission and without mission there cannot be a vision. The intention of the former is to ignite that fire from within which in turn will help us dream as the latter will fuel and trigger us to act. Owing to educational philosophy and theoretical framework that must be articulated, in clear terms, with vision and mission, otherwise, any vision without mission will put any idea or any institution out of commission.

            I pray to the powers of the unviverse, to God/Allah/Egza’bher/atheists/agnostics that I will live to see the day when Eritreans can amicably work to that far flunged future generations well-being as opposed to the interest of any person or group of today. Mine happens to wanna go beyond tomorrow, to the horizons of decades and centuries hence. Let me stop before I go onto those realms of fantasies…


      • haram

        It is good to have different perspectve as far as we are open to improve our knowledge. Eritrea is a very poor country and the impact of divide and rule of feudal Selasei made things warse. We need free thinking to get rid of our regional Nausea.
        Childern geos to Arabic koran Schoools untill the age of 10 as well, this includes the Afar and Saho.
        You said;
        “The Kebessa will start looking south of the border sooner or later.” Why the kebessa look to south/Ethiopia when ever
        efforts is made on the road to peace and reconciliation? This records is filed through our national struggle, be it ELF/PELF conflicts or the andenet subjection. I believe Eritrea will survive by those who striving after coexcitance and respect of others right. If we go to the south with all its crime against our people then how can we dare to says to our people do that or this, may be the idea of YG is right, the habesha are not confortable with the other nationals and feel unscured thus they reject coexcitance within one nation and i don`t hate him for that, it make me think about the habesha situation in eritrea. How are they going to be partner in the nation if they did not choose side. Please don`t feel ofened, all i say is for our beloved nation, we need understanding.

        • Zaul


          Our beloved troubled nation needs to stop cornering the Kebessa for having wanted Andnet with their own ethnic group (Tigreans) as the same time as muslims are seeking a unifying language (Arabic) and organizing political parties only for muslims. The border is not holy and the federation era constitution was good for its time, but things never remain the same.

          May I ask what your mother tongue is?

          • beyan negash

            I do not profess to have extensive knowledge on the subject of language acquistion, mother tongues, or language policy matters. I find language, culture, and literature fascianting topic, which is why I try to inform myself by reading as much as I can and to that end I have three books that I highly recommend to those of like mind.

            At anyr rate, what I hope Eritreans do when the time of transparency and accountability becomes the norm not the exception as it has been for the last two decades; instead of instituting policies on the whims of one leader’s fancy, that they leave these matters to the technocrats who are experts in their respective field of endeavors. With that as a backdrop let me just inject my thoughts on the matter. Please note that these are opinions not necessarily on a solidly founded ground either.


            The wrinkle to the mother tongue is that today, the Chinese who used to introduce English language in their schools in the seventh grade have lowered it to a third grade, obviously, realizing the importantce of English language to globolization. The Japanese seem to have been keeping the right balance in this regard as well. I think the drawback to mother tongue in elementary school is that as was evident in my previous note, those whose mother tongue happens to have sufficient books will suffer and those, for example, whose mother tongue are Tigrinya and Arabic will fair far better. The ameloreation to this seems to me is to introduce English at an early age to where the other kids will have a leveled plain field as they advance their knowledge about the world and beyond. Consider this:

            In “Paving the Way to College…,” Mayer looks at a specific school in California that was a participant in International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB) in which it found the program beneficial for English Learners (EL) to thrive beyond high school. One daunting fact that the author lays out is this: “Some research estimates it takes 7 to 10 years of learning English for ELs to be able to perform cognitively demanding tasks in English on par with their monolingual –English peers.” (P. 56) This right here ought to ring an alarm bell for those in Nicaragua’s case who were (probably were well intended) believed in teaching children in their mother-tongue. With this research as a caveat why would any parent expose a child for such a lifetime hardship? Teach the child at home his mother-tongue or through other means outside school, and that child prepare for the real world to compete in the global language that everyone is learning in.

            With this digression aside, what the study revealed was quite interesting. When children are challenged with high expectations they perform better; and when educators show low expectations toward their pupils, the very children tend to perform poorly. Teachers who participated in IB programs, “[n]otably, these studies all documented significant shifts in teacher expectations and attitudes towards the academic abilities of minority students.” (P.57) The only drawback that author notes to the study was that “they report on very small numbers of students, fewer than 100 in each case and pre-post data on student achievement are not available for students in any of the studies.” (P. 57).

            Beyond this cautionary tale, however, this study sheds light in what really must happen if EL children are to thrive and compete in equitable way is this: “language instruction options in IB are such that native Spanish speakers, who make up the majority of the EL students in the United States, or even native Vietnamese speakers, can meet the IB Literature course requirement by taking these classes in their native language.” (P. 59) If I were from the “Amen” corner I would say a million Amen to that; this is what needs and what must happen. If a kid is advanced in his mother tongue, and that mother tongue happens to have literatures translated in that particular language, by all means, allow that kid to be tested in it. This is no different than DMV availing written test to drive a car, in which it allows a person to take in his/her mother tongue even using an interpreter if the written language is not available at the DMV. At least, California allows such leniency. And, literature should be treated no differently.

            so, bottom line, public education has been America’s strongest tool to democratization and citizenship of its population, which has served it well to today. I hope that Eritrean children are given equal chance from the beginning with solid education background, which will serve the nation and the children in becoming global citizens, not only Eritreans.

            1- Alternative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition.

            2-Douglas Brown. Principles of language Learning and Teaching. Fifth edition.

            3-Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues by James Tollefson. Second Edition

            4-Linguistic Minority Students Go To College by Yasuko Kanno & Linda Harklau.

          • haram

            I gree with you that condemning kebessa for having wanted Andnet is wrong i respect thier choice as far as they respect
            the choice of those who rejected to be under the ethiopia orthodox. I am tigre speaker and my education is in Arabic.

    • Nitricc

      I really don’t care what language is used or officially recognized.
      But I want Arabic or Tigre to be official language that way the Tigrayns can leave us alone.
      The mine thing for Eritrea bright future is to break the connection between the two Tigrigna speakers
      The Tigryans and the Eritrean high landers.
      Since they suffer from Arab-phobia I think making Arabic an official language will do the trick

      • Wediere


        I am pretty sure you are an Amiche, your support for DIA is as a consequence of hate for Weyane….you have to move on. Blame Melles and his cronies, but what have the people of Tigray do to you.

        Anyway before you lash out at me, I will shoot off.


        • Zaul


          Just because PFDJ has failed at something doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. Electricity and water is good idea too…

        • Nitricc

          Wedi ere you don’t drink do you? Or smock some sh!!t?
          I don’t hate anyone, including the Weyane what I hate people with your mentality who waste their time and energy to find out who is what. How do you figure I am Ameche? Even if I am, what is to you? PIA DIA, why don’t you cook and eat him.
          I have known you for a long time and it means something to me, don’t act like the rest of the idiots. I believe in self-worth and I have nothing to Haid. You should have known better than your stupid and useless comments
          Next time, think before you post.
          Nice try you are trying to chase away my love Rahwa from me. 🙂

    • Zaul

      Haram: of course I respect that brother, thank you for sharing your views.

      Beyan: Thank you brother for your balanced and serious approach, I’ll read up.

  • Teclay

    Please,Please,,Help,Help,Help,,,when, who, and where was said the the biggest mythos * we need Eritrean land not the Eritrean people (Eritrea mereta inber seba ayedliyena iyu) give me hand pls

  • said


    It is interesting you commented about Balkan people, I do not need to remind you, if you followed the Balkan war, first erupted in 1992 and that gave birth to a new country of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s. for many Bosnian Muslim it is very personal memories of war’s horror and nightmare .today, the hard-core chauvinist president Milorad Dodik, of Republika Srpska, of the Bosnian Serb entity, is rewriting recent history and the narrative of the awful war —in claiming unjustifiably that Muslims started the war, what a crazy wacko . Milorad choose to close his mind and heart and he totally denies Serbian responsibility for genocide in the 1995 of Srebrenica massacre of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and young boys; he even goes recently testified on behalf comrade of the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, on trial in The Hague for war crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing . Over three years, the merciless Serbian snipers were able to pick off women and children one by one indiscriminately shooting innocent civilian as they lined up for basic survival of daily bread. The awful siege lasted over three times longer than Hitler siege of Stalingrad and that took and massacred over 10,000 innocent lives, for they happen to be Muslims. I know very well this not the teaching Christian orthodox of Serbia far from it and I would not associate this kind ugly massacre to any faith.

    Your comment remind me of the Bush era the neo-conservative ideology manifested in many ugly faces , the ultra-minority a secularized version of blind fanatic and extremist fundamentalist Millenarian Christianity. Both adhered and shared a Manichean narrow world view characterized by the believing in the inevitable clash between us and other, between good and evil. Both were ultra-rightwing and total absolutist, seeing political dialogue give and take compromise as a sign of surrender and weakness to evil the other. As a consequence both saw force, strength, and violence, subjection as inevitable, necessary and desirable. And both believed in an apocalyptic end catastrophic in which, despite all kind of damage done, to them and others the evil, the good would be victorious and evil would be totally destroyed and vanquished. Inspired, funded and both guided by Manichean ideology, the neo-conservatives and Millenarian, rejecting any political dialogue and compromise. The consequences of this Millenarian and neo-conservative Manichean ideology were it brought devastating and catastrophic in invading sovereign Iraq and by new mission by neo-con absolutist and reject peace dialoged and negotiations and insist on invading Iraq and by using of violent force until the final victory is realized and won , Neo-con refused to consider the concerns of world opinion and their weak opponents pleading for peace . Neo-con operating under the false illusion that through the application of vastly superior force and more violence the evil side” can be vanquished , destroyed total decimated by modern weapon once and for all — with ultimate good force triumphant over creating mass suffering ,mayhem and messes by the Neo-Con and Zionist absolutist . Israel since its inceptions to have played havoc with the security and stability of the Middle Eastern region.

    The count of the killed in the fratricidal war in Iraq is well beyond the millions souls with multiples of that count figures among the injured, maimed and incapacitated for life. No mention is made of millions, in excess of many million made refugees outside as well as displaced within Iraq facing all kinds of deprivations and humiliations forced to survive near or below inhuman subsistence levels. Destruction of homes, hospitals, worship sanctuaries, schools and infrastructure beyond repair are taking Iraq millennia back to the Stone Age brought by absolutist.
    The lives of the innocent children, women, elderly and the young fall in the scores with the passage of each day, self-righteous absolutes NEO-CON remain repugnantly callously adamant to heed the pleading outcries of mercy of the innocents to cease hostilities, put a stop atrocities to the most indescribable war of annihilation are hooked on one singular principle: “Prevalence in a Heartless Power Game.
    Who would need to ponder the visiting of the apocalypse and the Armageddon that rational skeptics commit to the books of imaginative fables when, in actuality, the images of horrors of destruction of lives and possessions were virtually played not too long ago at, it feels as it is this moment, in the here and now, acted live on the Iraq stage? It was war of Genocide: history could never look kind at NEO-CON; yet, maybe worst, the “Real” Deity that the recruits invoke in the killings in the War of good, would never be merciful twisting his instructs as unequivocally communicated in his Holy Books.
    Your comment about hijab is simply is sign of modesty that is her freedom to wear. Yet as you may know in America, the family has disintegrated. About Forty percent of white children are born out of wedlock, as are about 50 percent of Hispanic children, and 70 percent of black children. Kids from broken homes lead by single mother are many times more likely to drop out of school, join street gangs, take drugs, commit crimes, and end up in prison.

  • Teclay

    Before 50 or 60 years we made historical mistakes all of us ,but specially the highlanders,now we don not have any chose like it or not now we have to swallow the bitter very biter pill

  • crocus

    The article verged on a number of issues besides the gist of its headliner – the mistrust among Christian and Muslim Eritreans. Much can be said. Unfortunately, it would require a long article to address all the points. So, I limit myself to a few points.

    In the ideal world religion is about god, and a private matter. In the real world, religion is neither about god nor private. All through history, religion has been a repository of nationalism, sometimes of the type of nationalism which unites citizens for a collective defense of the homeland, and other times of aggressive nationalism bent on conquest. The centuries-old warfare between Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants was religious only in name. It was a war of resistance against the British. That Irish Protestants sided with Britain does not change the fact that the Irish struggle began as a war of resistance. Before it mutated into its present state, Ben Ladin’s Al-Qaida began as a war of resistance, against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

    But often, religion has been a bridesmaid of aggressive nationalism. The Crusades and the Caliphate Wars, and Al-Qaida’s present agenda have nothing to do with god. They are examples of instances when religion was recruited to unite citizens or the “faithful” for an aggressive nationalist and imperialist cause. The Crusades managed to forge a Western Europe (Christendom) from a litter of small and weak Germanic and Latin nations. The Caliphate Wars united the fragmented and scattered desert clans of Arabia.

    There is a lesson in here, a cautionary tale reminding readers not to drop their guards for a wishful harmony absent a genuine conviction. First, note that faith and rationale are incompatible. Religion is inherently irrational. Faith is tolerable as long as it can submit to the government of reason. Extreme religious fervor submits to nothing but to “god” as it sees it and interprets it – a subjective standard, to be sure. Be careful. The rule of law is a high ideal, and must be promoted by all means. However, glibly coddling the rule of law without a corresponding push to commit each citizen to submit to rationale is fraught with danger. Religion and rule of law cannot be reconciled, particularly where the meme is driven by a tired and erroneous mantra:the only worthwhile rule of law is Sharia law.

    Religion holds a big sway in human cultures because it has been marinating the human psyche for no less than 15,000 years. (No need to bore you with the details.) The first form of state government was a theocracy. Pharaohnic Egypt saw the beginning of a separation between religion and secularism. Roman emperors continued to cling to a debased form of theocracy and never shied away from declaring themselves gods when they saw it fit. With the birth of America the theocratic institution began to be formally cleaved. The crown and the crosier both were left to the Papacy and to our own bishops, the true scions of Melke Tsedeq, founder of all Christian priesthoods.

    Our history and our culture predates Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I take exception to the comment above which saw culture a subset of religion. Culture is more than religion. Agriculture is culture. Agriculture ushered in Civilization, settled communities, a religious hierarchy, writing, legal, educational, health and commercial institutions. Agriculture conduced to Christianity with a defined ecumenical hierarchy, which is absent in Islam, for instance. The harsh environment of the desert conduces to Islam. It fostered a religion without hierarchy, and a tradition that is less favorable to women, among other matters. Agrarian cultures celebrate holidays, saints’ days and mark time with changing seasons. Beer was an offering of an agrarian nation to the god of agriculture, who made it all possible. The Rite of the Eucharist (bread and wine) is primarily a rite of an agrarian culture. If Islam frowns upon drinking, it is because the religion coddled the desert culture of Arabia where nomadic life was the only way of existence and agriculture was insignificant at best. Before the present trend of extremist madness began, our Muslims brothers drank libation with us because we sprouted from a common tradition. Muslims in the Balkans still drink their plum brandy. After all, the Balkans are not desert Arabia. So, worship Allah by all means. But leave the hijab to the Arabs. Leave the prohibition of alcohol to the desert clans. Never look down on your mothers, sisters, or daughters, and never make war against the arts (music, dance, painting…) Highlanders; that is, Habesha, be it Christian, Muslim, Jew, or animist has no obligation to subscribe to Arabia’s desert culture. African, European, Asian and other Muslims should think twice before they make themselves unwitting instruments of a petro-dollar galvanized Arab nationalism, even when this nationalism rides a horse called Allah.

    • haram

      habibi crocus! Do you think consuming alcohol make the habesha culture advanced than others?? The word alcohol is originated from the arabic word akohool, they know it and used it, please read why islam prohibted alcohol first.The Arabian desert culture invented irrigation for you, feel free to use your food grain for beer/sewa or what ever as you said. The problem is not religion in eritrea, it is about culture.
      We have the habesha culture enfleunce from the South while the arabic culture enfluenced ertitrea through the east, the west and the north, please refer to the eritrean map to find your way. We are enfleunced by this huge culture and we have to use it to strength our position in the region. Ofcourse we have to knock the door of habesha in the South as well but it is closed för now.

      • Zaul


        I thought religion trumpted culture in Islam, because Arabian culture can be muslim, christian and jewish. About the irrigation, it came from mesapotamia long before they became arabized. trade and learning the arabic language (as a second language while preserving ours) on the other hand is something else.

        • MG

          Selam Zaul,
          Zaul you stated “trade and learning the arabic language (as a second language while preserving ours) on the other hand is something else.” what do you mean by saying “(as a second language while preserving ours) I hope you mean ours the nine Eritrean Ethnic(Biher) language that includes the Ethnic/ Bihere Rashayda which is Arabic. yes if Arabic is one of Eritrean Biher Language. then Arabic is Eritrean Langage. whey is so hard to accept that truth and fact. Arabic is Eritrean language and will remain Eritrea language period.

          • Zaul

            Selam MG,
            I’m well aware of Rashaida history, language and livelihood (Sinai etc.). All I’m saying is, the other 8 groups have to learn Arabic as a second language while preserving their own, because it will benefit them trade-wise, not because 1-2% of the population speaks it as a mother tongue.

        • haram

          I agree with you that we have to preserv our mother language, sing with it talk with it and we are proud of it above all, still preserved. But since most of the erirean ethnic has no written language it was natural for them to adapt arabic to improve themselvs. Arabic opened a new window to the outside world for those ethnics, news, litrature, education and many more advantage. The idea of the eritrean revolution is itself was inspired by this advantage. This culture mobilizesd people to glorify freedom among unreached peoples including the habesha of eritrea. At last eritrea is free because of this Knowledge.Know if the case of arabic in eritrea is a matter of choice what is wrong with that? what is the disadvantage of arabic in eritrea? give me one reason.

          • MG

            I am glad you are well aware about our biher. regarding your comment about the Rashaida livelihood (Sinai) is derogatory and unnecessary. there are bad and good people in every ethnic and community, ethnic Rashaida are no different to that Human behavoir.

          • Zaul

            The biggest problem for me is not the arabic language per se. It has the same roots as Tigre and Tigrinya (80%) of Eritrea, it should be relatively easy for us to learn. The issue for me is that, it’s such a dominant language that it’ll kill all our languages if we give it a higher status than them and I also think it Will delineate a clear secterian line in the school system. We have to be clear-eyed about it and create a system that allows us to learn many languages while guarding our own.

  • Robel Yosef Kahsay

    Brother Beyan Negash,

    I appreciate your initiative to start this kind of discussions. I hope more people (from both sides) follow you to take this bridging role to promote engagement between Eritrean Muslim and Christian Diaspora communities. This is the only way we can get rid of our mistrust and fear towards each other, and focus on our shared values.

    Thank you!

    • Beyan Negash

      Indeed, Robel, “our shared values” far trumps any other differences we may have and that is where we should focus like a laser beam on. Right on brother – I am all ears for anyone who has the know how to galvanize the Diaspora into such timely and noble endeavor.


  • Ermias

    Selamat Beyan,

    First of all, what a great piece of work! Thank you for your fearless account of our contemporary issues. I looked through all the comments and I didn’t see any from Nitricc. He seems to have a particular aversion to you and I, which is quite entertaining to me.

    Beyan, you say, “Therefore, the challenge then rests in how strong is one’s culture relative to religion…….In other words, religion trumps culture so much so that the children who grow up in these regions have strong religious leanings.”

    At least in Muslims and Christians of Eritrea (from what I saw growing up in Asmara), I always held the belief that the culture is a subset of the religion. The most notable of which are Nigdet, Awde’ametat, Eid, Weddings, Chriteninig, Funerals, Women, Respect for the elderly, etc. Without the religions, these things would either not exist or would be totally different. What do you think?

    • Beyan Negash

      merHaba Ermias,

      Hey, I made it out on the other end of Nitricc’s wrath (I considered it hazing or the right of passage), scathed but left to my own device now to recover and thrive; but now that you dragged me into this I hope Nitricc will have mercy on me – we made our peace and here you are Ermias disturbing the peace.

      I, too, remember those fond memories of holidays you mention; ngdet was my favorite one because that hilbet, silsi, and injera I ate in Mi-Temanay I still remember the taste of as though I have just eaten it. Of course, both of the Eids that I celebrated with my family were the ultimate affirmation of my identity and enjoyed them immensely.

      At any rate, the delicately interwoven nature of culture and religion is where the push and the pull seem to constantly be at play at all times. If you notice, for example, Ghezae’s scolding of a fellow who showed no regard to a Holy man and elderly emanates from our cultural and religious up-bringing where we were raised to show due respect to one’s elderly and to abboy Qeshi even more so. But, that gets blurred as society evolves. It is in that space, between hammer and nail where things can get lost in the shuffle – that nuanced space – a very narrow one at that – that I am trying to capture and say how vigilant we must be so we won’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

      Speaking of the bigger picture, I just read Horizon’s well thought out piece where he shows a very important wrinkle to the whole matter, where regional politics can bounce a weak country like ours like a ball from one end of the field to the other without us being able to defend our side of the fence. This is where farsightedness, vision, and shrewd political acumen would be the only way out of such predicament. Djibouti is an illustrative example, where it has been able to ward off any potential pitfalls that could’ve befell it – operating under the protectorate of the French has served it well, it seems; of course, its leader’s astute ability to keep the country stable must have played a role as well. This is why I am choosing to distance myself from such highly political matters, matters that require finesse in the language of political science and in the art of diplomacy, both of which I find myself lacking.


  • Horizon

    It is not possible to see Eritrea and Ethiopia outside the regional and international politics and tendencies. External factors will affect internal behavior and internal factors will affect the external reactions.
    A small, poor and strategically situated nation like Eritrea will always be under the shadows and scrutiny of powerful regional and international players. The passage to the East and West through the Red Sea is/was/ and will always be crucial, and there are regional powers who want to control it, while others are especially vigilant to avoid this from happening. Eritrea’s political tendency, its leaning towards one way or the other will cause a counter reaction. Unfortunately, she does not seem to be stable and strong enough militarily, politically, economically and socially, to guarantee her role as an independent neutral actor in the region.
    Resourcefulness and being strategically situated are a curse to weak nations. Look at the Middle East and the Gulf region. Who would have cared if Africa was resourceless and if human labor was not a commodity? The world wouldn’t have known the slave trade, the civil wars and genocides in Africa that have become unfortunately the major part of African history.
    Religion and ethnicity play a major role in parochial societies of the horn and the Middle East, and they are instruments of destabilization at the hands of powers who have strategic interests in the region. Regional and international involvement in the horn of Africa geopolitics has always been there, and it will continue to be. Egyptians and other Arab nations, Europeans, the USA and Russia are involved one way or the other in the politics of the horn. The cold war was fought much more in the horn of Africa than anywhere else. Therefore, peace in the horn would not come only from internal players but also from external players as well. In addition, mixing religion and politics is a very dangerous concoct that should be avoided by all means possible, wherever it might come from, especially in the horn, where ethnicity has already become a curse.
    Despite whatever might be said of the causes of Gedli, one of its main reasons was the fear of Christian domination that forced Eritrean Muslims to start the armed struggle. By the same token, Islamization of Eritrea will cause similar reaction from the Christian side. Therefore, the Christian/Muslim and Highland/Lowland dichotomy, ethnic issues and the role played by international and regional actors are important factors that will determine the future of Eritrea. Of course, internal factors are crucial, but unfortunately, not always the sole determining factor, especially when there is disparity in scope, vision and interest.
    Ethiopia’s experimentation with ethnic federalism seems to have calmed the centrifugal forces that have been functioning in the country. Equitable political, economic and social rights of ethnic groups, and generally economic success of a nation that improves the life of the individual can bring together diverse people much more than identity, ideology and ambitions, that mean a different thing to different people. In addition to democracy, it is economic prosperity that has brought peace and unity in developed countries. Therefore, poor nations should invest on economic development that improves the life of their citizens, with democracy creating a level ground that facilitates economic success, while avoiding giving priority to elusive concepts like identity, uniqueness, self-reliance etc. especially, when these have not brought an iota of change in the life of citizens. As the writer has rightfully said, religion is better left to the individual, family and community.

  • Dear Beyan,

    The title of your piece “Eritrean Parallel religious lines” reflects to all our perceptual misunderstanding to each other. I like your straight and bold talking. I am sure there are many who denies to the fact “mistrust to each other” are making them to live in parallel. Beyan, until this fact is understood, it will be difficult to build the “transversal bridge” for peaceful coexistence.

  • Teclay

    Zula,,,i agree with you ,but it is wishful thinking ,,,we as a people have made a lot of mistakes so w we are paying heavy price and the worst is coming unfortunately.

  • Semere Habtemariam


    Welcome back my friend and a great piece.

    When you quoted a 17 year old article, I was painfully reminded of the mileages we have accumulated on the speedometer of life. Why do I feel like I read them yesterday? I guess per Sal’s recommendation, I better go and listen to Wedi Tukabo “Zemen” or the Sudanese Nancy Agag’s song “Ya Zemen”.


    • Beyan Negash


      Indeed, I remember it all when I first met you in Dallas years ago when your hairline over your head did not recede as it seems to have done now while mine is showing its mileages through the white (grey) hair that is sprinkled all over it – no receding hairlines yet, but it may come soon – who knows.

      Ah, where have the time gone, the two songs may just be what the doctor of reminiscence has ordered. I have never heard the Sudanese one, so I shall start with that first.

      I must give credit where credit is due, the inspiration for the article came after we had a lengthy talk over the phone last week, as we always do whenever we talk, we talk about various topics. So, I will take all the credit while I will pass on to you the critics -:) In fact, I am enjoying every bit of the responses being offered – very colorful, indeed.


  • L.T

    Religion are a media industrie with world-wide politics interst in the study of the western globalization nuture books.But,In Eritrea there is no way to introduce and provide a companion and there is no to taking too seriously you.

  • haile

    Selamat Beyan,

    Thanks for bringing up a topic that requires humble courage to face up to. OK let me get opinionated now 🙂

    Since there are such things as peace and an uneasy peace, the former is founded upon levelheadedness in the face of ‘critical stance’ and the latter is merely a standoff a midst bloody mindedness. Back in late February 1950, 31 people were killed and 55 wounded in rioting in Asmara between Moslems and Christians. The Skirmish begun around Embaderho, where suspected members of pro-Ethiopia Shiftas threw a hand grenade into a crowed of Moslem funeral procession. In the same week, representatives of the UN had arrived to discuss the future of Eritrea that was under British stewardship. The riots were quelled by the imposition of a curfew in the native quarters of Asmara outside of 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. The question is that was it an uneasy peace or real peace that saw us to 1991?

    Considering the fact that what followed from 1991 – present is complete reversal of political maturity in the Eritrean political landscape, it is hard to think of any progresses in whatever ended up being the status quo at independence. Looking a generation ahead, it is hard envisage genuine unity in diversity, given that Eritrea’s current political fabric has deteriorated so much that even those pro and against the current regime can’t even accept each other as citizens of one and common nation to discuss matters of national concern.

    Unless there comes a point where we, as Eritreans, begin start peeling away the fear of the other and start to narrate and listen to each other’s grievances, the social and structural fabric of our unity is likely to remain weak and unlikely to withstand the grim challenges we are facing ahead.

    Great article as ever.


    • Zula Negus

      We don’t need unity. No country is unified — is America unified? This is nonsense. Sure, citizens of a country can rally behind something momentarily but that is not unity. No country has ever unified for long periods of time. There is always going to be class, ethnic and religious divisions and grievances (real or imagined). Even countries with one religion, one ethnic group and one language (Somalia) fail to unify with one another. So stop this unity nonsense. It’s not real –it was never real, not even in Eritrea.

      In Eritrea, it’s simple. No to Arabic language (abolish it on the national level, actually); no to Arab culture and no to political Islam. I can careless who rules, just follow those simple rules and everything is fine by me.

      • GM

        I agree.

        I am worried when our pseudo high caliber kebesa-Christian intellectuals, beginning from A. Hidrat,Gash Semere Habtemariam, Haile (and I hope not Haile, the sympathetically baptized -the great by the pan arabist SY), Beyan Negash and few others, including the opportunist wata wedi Tkabo, chanting, to sell a romanticized empty concept unity unity unity none-sense.

        Be aware of what Awate web Team are trying to inculcate- Arabism!

      • Azeb

        Somalia has one religion,culture and language. Is Somalia united?

    • Beyan Negash

      Dear Haile,

      I have personal story on what you narrate above, but will save it for some other day, some other time. Yours captured it all for me. That said though, I think there still is room for bypassing the pain of the past from being repeated in the future. The “fear of the other” and the fear of the unknown is one heck of a mountain that is not easy to climb, but it is mountable if we only begin to put ourselves in the shoes of the Other.

      The positive evolution of American society that seems to regenerate itself and move toward that ideal perfection is because it has a tradition of rule of law and along with the democratized educational system that allows and lets its children from their formative years to learn about civic duty, responsibilities, and the sovereignty of the individual; these ideas are so inculcated from when these kids are babies, where they sleep is their own crib; and a little later, it is their own room; and then as they grow to that teen years, you would not even dare barging into their room without knocking.
      These may seem mundane matters, but these are what serves America well later in life. I see it with my own kids and I just cherish it for the miracles that it does.

      Philosophy of education in general and John Dewey’s one in particular is what I would like us Eritreans begin instituting, but that is putting the cart before the horse, for it is entirely different subject matter. The fear of the other does not dissipate suddenly it will take generations to construct and equitable educational system will be a darn good place to start. But, of course, that cannot be done if we adults screw it all up. This will be the kind of project worth undertaking, but one needs to lay the ground work of governing system that can allow for such undertakings to have a chance to thrive.


    • L.T

      Read books
      1,”Aynifelale”Alemseged Tesfia(2001)
      2,”Zanta Eritra”Fitewrari Micheal Hassma Racka-86
      3,”Bedel an leali hizbi Ertra”Dr Msmaye G.hiwet
      4,”Tilmet”Ab Simon Amanuel Barnebas…………………………………………………….

  • Zula Negus

    Eritrean muslims are a unified people who think and act alike. Eritreans, however, are people who think differently, are not unified and follow different non-Muslim religions. Where have I heard this nonsense before? Oh yea, here! Islam has never unified anything under the sun, let alone Eritrean Muslims, who have been killing one another in the name of religion and resources since they converted to Islam at the barrel of Egyptian guns in the 19th century. Who is killing who in Syria? Those two terrorist British brothers were killed by Sunni Muslims who reject Arabic and the Arab culture (Kurds). Kudus to the Kurds. They have managed to keep their dignity by resisting Arabism. They are secular in nature and fight for their homeland. Allah must really like those type of Muslims because those Jihadist brothers from London are rotting away in Northern Syria.

  • Dibe Kulu

    Dears Bayan & Readers,

    The origin of fundamentalism lies in the decades old injustice that the subjects of a state suffer under the system they live in.For example, Palestinians suffered from the international community’s indifference to their suffering suffered and ordinary Africans, Asians, Latin Americans and other third world countries’ people were dehumanized and subjugated by their backward and feudal rulers (masters). People who have been deprived of their basic rights,lose hope, become and frustrated. Then, they tend to believe anything that the “religious” or “revolutionary” leaders tell them. Religion becomes a refuge that can shield the faithful from all worldly hardships. A revolution becomes a hideout from our daily hardships. When one reaches that state of mind, the society has reached at dangerous stage.

    Under a religious dictum, people are discouraged to question anything that is being preached to them. In fact, they are told to faithfully accept it. Under a revolution, questioning higher authority’s motives and wisdom is considered treasonous. What we need therefore, is to teach our sons and daughters to be guarded believers. While being faithful to their Creator and respectful of their Faith is necessary, they must not feel guilty about questioning something that they deem is questionable. Patriotism does not mean not questioning the motives and actions of our worldly leaders and holding them accountable.

    Democracy and the rule of law are necessary ingredients for building a viable societal foundation. But that alone can not resolve the problem of religious extremism. We need to refurbish our cultural & traditional heritage! We have strayed too far and it is time that we made the journey back to our roots! Thank you for this inspiring article brother Bayan.

    • Beyan Negash

      Dear Dibe Kulu,

      I agree with you a 110%. All I can say is, Amen!


  • Mussie

    [Moderator: your racism has no bounds. You have been warned a few months ago, one more violation and you will banned.]

    • Mussie

      [Moderator: Mussie or whatever your name is, you do not have a right to post in this forum; we offer you a privilege. Once you abuse that privilege, you have crossed the line. You are rude, disrespectful and ungrateful and therefore you are banned. Find a forum that can accommodate your arrogance and your vile racist comments.]

  • Dear Beyan
    Reading your article gave me the impression that, in your opinion the safety and stability of Eritrea is in the hand of Eritrean Muslims. In a sense the ball is in Eritrean Muslims court and if they wish they could partner with Al-Qaeda and make the country hell on Earth so it seems that you are telling your readers to save the Eritrean Muslims from taking the wrong direction at their cross road juncture, other wise things are going to be messy & even messiar than the current act of PFDJ.

    Beyan you are focusing on the effect & outcome and not on the cause of Eritrean Muslims grievance. I agree to disagree with your article because in my understanding your shoot is off the BULLS EYE.

    • Beyan Negash

      Dear Zula,

      No, the stakes in Eritrea lie within all of us. All what I wanted to point out was how as Eritreans – Muslims and Christians alike – can play constructive role in curbing the external menace such as Al-Qaeda that tends to mutate and plays into the weaknesses of groups with the perceived inequities, what have you?

      Of course, most of the onus, in this regard, will fall into the Muslim Eritreans’ hands, but the Christians have just as important role to play in helping diffuse the potential threat. How, Eritreans Christians can help in this regard is, let’s take in this site, for example, Amanuel Hidrat has about the only soul who goes out of his way to focus on our diversity in matters of sociopolitical issue. So, if you let this idea writ large, suddenly that perception in which the Al-Qaeda like elements role would have diminished totally.

      People do not go seeking Al-Qaeda – Al-Qaeda seeks the vulnerable teenagers in mosques and events. I realize, by and large, it is Eritrean Muslims’ issues, but the constructive role that a nation can play in curving such threats is what I am attempting to hone-in-on. I hope this clarifies my point.


  • Fr. Athanasius G.

    As one who changes several hats in a given week,i.e. – as an academic and an Orthodox priest who celebrates the Divine Liturgy on Sundays as well as trying to provide spiritual guidance in the community where I live – I do perfectly understand the multi-dimensional character of our lives. Irrespective of who we are, I believe that we should all remain active in our respective communities – even when it is not so pleasant at times. Thank you for pointing us to the truism that our lives should not be dictated by a single element of our existence. For us Eritreans, it seems as though that politics takes over our entire existence at the expense of everything else.
    Fr. Athanasuus G.

    • L.T

      Give us a break prof Habtu Gebraeb and advise yourself.We heard you and we are not babies.

      • Ghezae Hagos


        What is wrong with you? Can’t you respect elders and ‘bete-kihnet!’ Please respect people.

        Ghezae Hagos

    • Beyan Negash

      Father, Professor, and Scholarly Gentleman,

      My deepest respect goes to you sir for taking the time to remind us of how we may consider balancing out lives. The mosaic nature of life sometimes seems to get lost in the shuffle of politics and I am honored to hear your impression, especially, “the multi-dimensional character of our lives [and that how] we should all remain active in our respective communities.” Point well taken.


  • samuel

    Islamists and even most secular muslims want to forcefully convert and arabize the whole world. That is the main issue that should concern us. Where there is majority of Muslims, non-Muslims have no rights and live under constant fear and opression. So Beyan Negash, it is the Christians in Eritrea that should fear Muslims, not the other way around. So I choose Eritrean to remain a Christian majority country and the power to remain with Christians, because then all Muslims and Christians and animists will be living in peace and harmony. I pray never to see any kind of Islamic upperhand in Eritrea, because it will be much worse scenario than PFDJ Junta’s repression. I would rather live under PFDJ’s secular totalitarianism than Islamic rule.

    • Zaul


      we have to strive for solutions, accusations and counter-accusations will not get as a anywhere.

      Rule of law is what can save Eritrea from disintegration along the Bevin-Sforza lines.

      the most challenging issues we have to deal with in the future are (after a reconciliation process).

      1. Role of religion
      2. Minority rights
      3. Language
      4. Land
      5. Women’s rights

      • Beyan Negash

        Well said, Zaul. You’re my archangel – God Bless you, buddy. I am not as quick as Sal, but, let me see how well I mind the store here.


        • samuel

          There are just some universal truths we must face and admit to be realities all the time,, one of them is that Muslims can never live in peace and harmony with minorities unless they are the minority themselves. Any country where Muslims have the power, the people of other religions are persecuted, killed, chased away or forcefully converted. So me personally, I want Eritrea to be a Christian majority country and the power to be held by Christians for centuries to come. Muslims can never build successfull and democratic states…the only country coming near that is Turkey, but even in Turkey minorities are persecuted and alienated and live in constant fear.

  • Zaul


    you are a welcome voice of reason, you can build bridges brother.

  • Beyan Negash

    A Note on my Face Book: Please use Bayan Nagash (not Beyan Negash) to locate me on FB. I de-activated the one with Beyan Negash a long time ago and wish to keep this new FB. Again, Bayan Nagash and not Beyan Negash

  • Thank you brother Bayan Negash,for your wonderful Article.Because that is the reality reflection in our Eritrean society situation. We don’t have to make a leap to catch China or the other side of the world by the wish,wish idea of the few elites or idividualism objects riding in power without the concerned matters of our main culture. And that is like leaping to the roof of the house with out using the propper ladder. Ofcourse; and this is only to make names for themselves. If we have the wisdom and courage lets talk with out covering any thing and discussed it, then only then we can make a common goal to move forward respecting rour culture.. And I am sure we can be good exaple to our world and neighbors. Yes we can move forward in peace and modern democraciaby respecting our long lived culture . We can breake through the Arabia and Habeshia setements to finda centeral point by draffting a constitution .

    • Beyan Negash

      Thank you brother Oqbai. With great deal of sincerity, honesty, and sheer respect toward one another we can reach to heights never seen before. I truly believe in that, but I also know it is going to take a great deal of soul searching from each one of us and a whole lot of hard work to achieve it.

      So, with the spirit of Thanksgiving descending upon us in a couple of days for those of us who live in the U.S., let us make it a meal in which we may reach out to people we have never extended an invitation to join us for a cup of tea, coffee, lunch or dinner. The main point is that every journey has a starting point and let us make that effort now.

      I love this time of the year where Americans show their softer side, the kinder side, if you will, toward their neighbor, toward any stranger who may not be as fortunate as they are by giving food or volunteering in food distribution centers where the homeless are fed. And then comes the Christmas in which lights are lit in a lot of houses around any neighborhood which gives it this unique mood-up-lifting feel. Whatever religious holiday one celebrates, Hanukah, Kwanza, Christmas, Eid, it is a time when nature reaches out to our softer side and I love it for that reason.