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The General’s Bad Lessons

A longtime ago in the environs of Kulentebai, the late Tesfai Tekhle, the liberation era commander, told a group of young combatants a joke. He was warning of a military involvement in governance in post-independence Eritrea. That is an important lesson I learned from him.

Tesfai told us the joke: once a general was sick in the head and was admitted to a military hospital and the military doctors decided to operate on his head. They put him on an operation table and opened his head, took his brains out, fixed it, and sewed his head back. Moments later the general was cured. He jumped off the table, put on his uniform, dusted it off, and walked out. The doctors followed him to the door to see him off and stood in attention and salutes him. He jumped onto his Jeep and drove away.

The relieved doctors returned to the operation room only to find his brain on the table. A doctor exclaimed, “Oh, we forgot to put his brain back and sewed an empty head.” They were shocked and trembled fearing a severe punishment for the mistake. They also wondering what will happen to a general without brains!  A junior doctor sitting on a corner of the room consoled them: “don’t worry, he is a general, he doesn’t need brains.”

The General

Last time I hinted that “I will soon have a word with Major-General-Doctor-Jigna-Tegadalay, Agazianawi-Tekhlebeirhan. The time for that for the word is today, in Negarit 142.

First, I would like ask the Dr General: why he doesn’t have ‘grnb”, the customary scars on his temple or eyebrows? I think some people are not born with face marks; their parents do that. Right? I might be wrong.

However, it’s not a big issue, don’t feel bad about it. I also do not have grnb or bTaH either. That’s why I acquired a virtual bTaH-BTaH, face scars. By the way, it’s called Sheddeli, and if that is too difficult for you to pronounce, though you hold a PhD, at least TbaH-TbaH not bTaH-BTaH! But why go there? Let’s dissect what bTaH-bTaH means to you in the context of the campaign you and your likes are in: deep inside what you and others want to say is Aslamay, Muslims, it’s a weak denotation. Isn’t that what you discuss overtly and covertly with your Agazian groupies?

Incidentally, I knew about you when I was looking for a Tigrigna translation of the word enlightenment. Someone texted me saying it’s “Abrehot” with a link to a video where you explained that. Thank you for that and pls check Negarit 83 above where you were my subject. It was last year and I thought, ‘a man who talks about abrehot (enlightenment’, must be not only enlightened but must have a help floating over his head, berhan z’Aselo seb. Unfortunately, I discovered you are still living in the darkness of the Middle Ages. Proof?

The proof is, you stated that Eritreans who have bTah-bTaH (read Muslims) have changed the Eritrean Tigrigna speakers into Arabs and they want to do the same with Tigray. Really? Let me assure you, I am Tigrigna speaker, and I am a bona-fide Habeshi. No one changed into an Arab. However, I muster Arabic and I know the Arab culture surrounding our region…and it is not an alien culture in Eritrea—revise again your PhD literature. If you do that, you will know it’s a good thing to be familiar with other cultures and know their languages. It’s not something to be ashamed of. I hope you do not expect me to apologize: “Sorry, I speak Arabic and know the Arab culture, please forgive me for that crime!  Do you want people to apologize for what you consider a crime?

Incidentally, I always admired the lady who interviewed you, she really exposed your bigotry. Bravo. But now I am worried she may change into a bigot; many we trusted and considered liberal and enlightened before the trying times, are showing their true faces. WE always ask: who’s next? See, a Tigrinya saying goes: kab Hmaq zgebrukha, Hmaq zemherukha (the bad things they do to you is not worse than the bad things they teach you). Your bigotry against many of us is not as painful as making us suspicious of many others. That is the bad lesson we learned from you! You are taking away our innocence and sincerity.

If you ask me, you need to apologize for disgracing the PhD certificate, and the military rank you hold because you made a statement not worthy of a middle school student.

I hope you followed the story I heard from a liberation era commander, the late Tesfai Tekhle, at the beginning of this episode of Negarit. Anyone can have a health issue, but is it possible you were victim, and your brains were forgotten in some operation table?

Never mind that; please pay attention to a question I have for you, it might lead you to do some research on it: what does the noun Tigray mean, the origin of the word?

What’s the origin of the noun Tigray

So far, I have heard and read that Tigray means something not in your thoughts. Let me give you a little context so that you understand it properly. Let’s me start with a basic introduction to Arabic.

Most Yemenis pronounce J and G—that is why they say Gemel for Jemel, Gemil, for Jemil, Git for Jit. The Egyptians adopted that because many of them trace their ancestry to Yemen or were influenced by ancient Yemeni immigration to Egypt. That’s why the rest of the world wrongly identifies the Arabic G for an Egyptian J though it’s originally Yemeni. That’s due to the overwhelming influence of Egyptian artistic production, popular dramas, songs, movies, and books.

Now let’s go to ancient Axum, the center of the ancient Habesha Kingdom. I do not want to delve into the meaning of Habesha, at least for now, but my topic is the meaning of the noun Tigray.

According to ancient narrations and traditions, Tigray comes from Tujjar, its Yemeni pronunciation, Tuggar. In time, Tuggar became Tigrai. That is the origin of the region’s name.

Axum used to be a bustling trading post and was inhabited by many traders and merchants trading everywhere from India to Egypt, Syria, Arabia, and Persia—it’s was known as the land of the Tuggar, the land of merchants. That was before “merchant” negaaday in Tigrinya, and negaadie in Amharic became derogatory terms.

Mengistu Hailemariam once explained AmHara as Mountain-dwellers in Hebrew or some related language. He said it’s a compound word, Am + Hara. In Eritrea, mountain/highland dwellers are called Kebessa (I think you call it DegouAa in Tigray). And the Merchant region dwellers of Axum were called Tuggar. So, modern Tigray is ancient Tujjar-land

I first heard that Tigrai means Tuggar from Ghaddafi in a televised interview when he was trying to mediate during the Baddme war. I am still looking more information on the topic and once I find enough to share, I will do that.

So, dear General Dr. Tekhleberhan, you are an offspring of merchants, Weddi Tujjar, wedi Negaado ikha. Humble yourself, you don’t own the regional history alone, there are many people who share that history though they don’t want to go all racist and bigots on you. History is not a box that you own individually and keep under your armpit from generation to generation. Cultures change, the decay, prosper, acquire different traits, or stay frozen in time. And to talk about 1000s of years old history based on skewed oral narration full of superstitions, and cultural prejudices is simply foolish. And what, in a nation that is so illiterate that many people like you are so sure of their claims when they don’t even remember when their grandparents were born. Do you have a birth certificate of your grandfather? I am sure you don’t like others, but you narrate stuff, superstitions, unprovable and unrecorded genealogical history, with so much certainty!

My dear respected listeners and readers

a few of you remind me not to waste my time in such “petty issues”—challenging individuals like our “star” of today. Unfortunately, I feel insulted by that reminder. Do you really believe I am wasting my time? If I do not think it’s important, I wouldn’t raise an issue—allow me that freedom to choose my topics. Also, remember I am a writer and a speaker, and should not be restrained from expressing my views when I am promoting that freedom for all.

I think it is your turn to remember: if an injury is not cured in time, it will grow uncontrollably and it might turn to be malignant—it could result in the amputation of a hand or a leg, or even cause death. Nothing venomous is so small to ignore. And sometime, “dawini bima hiya aldaou” (وداوني بالتي كانت هي ا لداء)—curing the ailment with the cause of the disease, is a perfect medicine. They say the antidote for a snake bite is medicine that is extracted from snake venom.

All our disappointments and frustrations enrich our experiences; we are learning the difficult way, and it makes us stronger. We will be fine if we just avoid getting entangled in wars that are not ours, like the Isaias excursion into Ethiopia, or the wars he has been waging since he came to power. They are not our wars. Everyone who holds bad feeling against us (like the general I mentioned above) should be challenged with correct arguments and with confidence. At the same time, they must be treated fairly and not with vengeance. At the end, remember that as a people, we had a decent culture until the PFDJ abused and destroyed it. We will be fine, never give up.

NB: This is a close translation of what I delivered in Negarit 142 in Tigrinya.

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

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

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  • haileTG

    Selamat awatista,

    On the current Ethiopian conflict, despite the sad loss of life and property, one thing we have had chance to see is that the road conditions in Ethiopian hinterlands. Ethiopia seems to have well maintained, newer roads. Billions of $$ must have been spent on these roads. Roads are the main arteries of a nation and critical for economic connectivity. In Eritrea, road construction has been talked about much, but the result is not much. In fact, Ethiopian traders were complaining about the conditions of the road on their brief visits during the border opening exchanges we had. Ethiopians need to maintain these roads, and what ever you do, all sides, don’t shoot downwards:-)

    • Haile S.

      Selam MoKsi,

      Well we have the Fil Fil road to Massawa, which was supposed to be a road of pride. But as per the youtube video I saw, it is impractical because of the rockslide (መደረጋሕ) that block drive at different places there. I just checked Google map satellite view, you can see the rickslides in many places in the park. If anyone knows this road, it must be you and Semere Tesfay 🙂

      On Alemayehu, I agee with Ismail and you. He was one of the greatest. It will be dufficult for Abi to pick one. It is difficult for me.

      Here is one for you guys till Abi comes.

      • Abi

        ሰላም የተባበሩት ኃይሎች
        I believe this song is fitting for all sad occasions like the untimely departure of the Legendary singer.

  • Brhan

    Hello Awate forum participants

    Ethiopia: Can Abiy and the TPLF make peace?
    On Thursday, September 2 at 19:30 GMT:

    In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:

    Meaza Gidey, Activist and International Relations Researcher

    Zecharias Zelalem, Journalist

    Tewodrose Tirfe, Chairman, Amhara Association of America

    • haileTG

      Hello Brhan,

      Good points raised, but I felt the panel didn’t have much time to argue their cases.

  • Haile S.

    Selam Awate people,

    ኣልተለሀንም፡ መለየት ብቻ ነው በሥጋ
    ድምጽህ ይኖራል ዘለዓለም ከኛ’ጋ ሲያወጋ

    • haileTG

      Thanks Moxi!

      RIP to the Ethiopian Elvis. I hope Guad Abi shares the one he thinks the best of Alemayehu Eshete’s great song.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam haile TG and Haile S.,
      He was one among great musicians of the secular modern Ethiopian music. In my view, he was quite a creative musician of his time. Several of his songs will retain their place as classical musical gems.
      May his soul rest in peace.

      • saay7

        Selamat Ismail and Hailetat:

        I never understood the appeal of Tilahun and Mahmoud but Alemayehu Eshete was in a class all by himself.

        The last video I saw of him was a collective of various artists ironically entitled “alefe/halifu ” (it is over ) where Ethiopian artists celebrate peace and reconciliation. The tune is the composition of the great Elias Melka who passed away very prematurely last year. Even among the collection of great artists with unique voices, his voice stands out. Since the message is timeless, and very much needed now during the Season of the Stupid War, I will share it here….


  • Brhan

    Hello Awate Forum friends
    According to the Eritrean Arabic website , The Eritrean Afar National Congress and the Ethiopian “the United Afar Revolutionary Democratic Front” a.k.a “agagumo” have established a united front to fight against DIA and PMAA and work side by side with TDF.
    The news said this was announced in a zoom meeting last Sunday conducted by the leaders of the two parties. Present at the event was Mr. Haile Mariam of ENCDC, indicates the news.

  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatista,

    Mr.Alamin M Said, PFDJ Secretary, concluded his interview. His take away point is that we need to make sure Ethiopia doesn’t fall apart, to have strong Somalia and strong Sudan. God knows what we are supposed to think about Eritrea and Djibouti, he left them out. As Brhan said, the second part was also pure PFDJ propaganda. He made one blatant mistake in that in part one he said the Democrats of the US and their allies are Eritrea’s enemies and in the second part he referred to them as right wing conservatives (yemanawyan aqabawyan). Wrong.

    I was very happy to see the good man Ato Yishaq Mehari as interviewer. He is a very wise and intelligent man, unfortunately, despite his best efforts, Mr. Alamin was not easy to hold to answer a single question. But thanks anyway Ato Yishaq, you tried your best kbur haw.

    • saay7


      If Isaias Afwerki had fallen on his head when he was a child, he would sound like Alamin M Seid. He has all the weird theories of Isaias (Eritrea is more important than Egypt when it comes to Red Sea geopolitics, the Federation era flag was given to us by Matienzo, EPLF gave Eritrea its first Bayto, the first human was an Afar….) without the articulation and the clever wordsmithing.

      The PFDJ chiefs have stopped reading anything since 1987 and their brain is frozen and it’s always a chock when you are confronted with the fact that they are in charge of a country.


  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatista,

    According Alamin M Said PFDJ secretary, Al Fashiga is Sudanese land that was settled by Amhara farmers with the formers good will. And Western Tigray is Amhara land settled by Tigrayans as per the good will of the Amhara. This is a paraphrase [and interpretation] of what he said on his recent interview with ERiTV on the occasion of Sep. 1. Can this be taken as the position of the Eritrean government on those disputes?

    • Brhan

      Merhaba haileTG,
      Propaganda war from PF(DJ) against TPLF, as simple as that!

  • haileTG

    Merhaba SGJ,

    Thank you sir! What a wonderful and pleasure to follow episode! Any one who tells you that you are wasting your time discussing this issues is out of their mind. We say don’t waste your time to many of those who do not know how to handle sensitive issues such as this one. You are evidently more than capable of handling such matters. So, please keep it up. I particularly liked your choice of style for narration – an imaginary dialog with the General. Such style releases the audience from being the subject, yet allows them to calmly follow the content. The actual content was very educational and full of interesting new facts about the shared as well as individually distinct history of the region. It was light, fun and educational. I also hope the General gets to see it too.

    I second Brhan on his point that such sectarian, bigoted and racist topics seem to get a boost at times of crisis. Often, to escape responsibility. I remember that during the Trump era, the issue of racism was brought left right and center. Hardly any CNN program was produced without racism being the boogieman. But racism existed for over 400 years and continues to do so. Although, it feels that with the democrat victory, it has miraculously become less of a mainstay product.

    We also are mindful of the nation building struggle in Eritrea needs to address the bigotry that characterizes our handling of diversity. However, at times like this where Hizbawit Ginbar is caught with her pants down in the Tigray crisis, she is muddying the waters of our legit discourse on the issue. Individuals such as yourself are important voice of reason and perspective. You have done a wonderful job to bring it forward like this. Only you can do it.


    • Saleh Johar

      Hi HaileTG,
      Indeed, the Trump era is reincarnated in Ethiopia. Racism has become more prevalent. In the past it used to be subdued, there was some decency even if it was qal Aalem. But it existed for centuries though you were generous and limited it to 400 years. I believe it started around 1250 AD with the rise of the so-called Solomonic dynasty. What we see now is not even feudal, “it’s beyond feudal, beyond the characteristics of Haile Selassie rule” as a friend put it.

      I liked your first paragraph. You are only one who detected the literary devise of addressing the target in an imaginary direct discourse setting. That has been my preferred style to avoid misunderstanding and help relax the audience.

      Thank you

      • haileTG

        Selam SGJ,

        Thanks. Now an intellectual gymnastics if you don’t mind, as a writer do you prefer AD and BC or the more liberal and inclusive CE and BCE? I hear liberal writers go with the latter. Is SGJ breaking ranks with the comrades:-)

        • Saleh Johar

          Ahlan HaileTG,
          It’s funny because a good friend reprimanded for saying Amete Mhret! You know the doctrinal implication of using Mhret. What do you think I go with Hijra:-)

          Usually I don’t pay much attention believing terminologies should fight it out and eventually…:.. See, the world is already so complicated; political correctness and sensitivity is making it burdensome. And most of the time I feel people are too much into symbolism and intellectual gymnastics and forget the issue of liberalism.

          I had a discussion with a friend who insisted on using the neutral gender on everything–the calm discussion turned into a heated argument when I asked what do we do with our old Baboor? Is it she or he? You don’t have to guess, we arrived at a dead end. So, since offending people is not nice, I will go with Common Era thing:-) Did it offend you? Just asking 🙂

          • haileTG

            Hi SGJ,

            I am not offended for your good choice to stay clear of the Romans, else YG will be after you for showing a petty Italian tendency:-)

            But, how would one extend such neoliberal dictate on a capitalism-friendly frame of language [read political correctness] to Tigrigna in the following cases:

            ቅድሚ ልደተ ክርስቶስ OR ዓመተ ዓለም
            ድሕሪ ልደተ ክርስቶስ OR ዓመተ ምሕረት

            I think MoKsi (Haile S) might come in to rescue you 🙂

          • Saleh Johar

            Not yet HaileTG, let’s invite your Mokhsi for the final word when we feel exhausted. I think true Christian would keep saying Amete Alem and Amete mHret and Muslims will keep counting in Hijriya calendar. But since the most commonly used is the Gregorian calandR, we must compromise on CE and BCE and keep the Gregorian until some power forces another calandra on the world.

          • Ismail AA

            Selam SJ and HTG,
            Is there something like “zemene orit” ? . I thought I hear this in some old folk conversations long ago.

          • haileTG

            Selamat Ismail and SGJ,

            Yes, I hear that sometimes too. Usually, I hear it together as “Kab orit Kab Tinti”. My assumption was that it relates to the times of the “orit” books of the Bible, which are the first few chapters of the Old Testament. As they deal with creation, I assumed “zemene orit” refer as “since/time of creation”.
            PS. The main sticking point for me is the usesage of the word “common” in CE is difficult to translate into Tigrigna. Hmm…may be “ZH” for “zemene hafash” and “QZH” for “qdmi zemene hafash”. 🙂

          • Haile S.

            Selam HGT, SGJ, IAA & all,

            ባሕቲ መዓልቲ ገለ ከተዛርቡና ኢኹም! በሉ እቐዲመ happy Awate day!

            SGJ, I am not waiting until your debate, which invariably ends in “HaileTG-ይዕወት”. Anyway I was provoked. Too late to stop me 😁!

            When HTG brings a subject of discussion it is with purpose. I had hardtime figuring out this one. I asked myself whether there is politeness correctness factor between ድሕረ-ልደተ-ክርስቶስ & ዓመተ ምሕረት or ቅድመ-ልደተ-ክርስቶስ & ዓመተ ዓለም. There seems to be none! ክርስቶስ & ምሕረት are the same and ቅድመ-ልደተ-ክርስቶስ was ዓለም or sin. Let me sin big time then, despite it is the first day of the month (ባሕቲ). ተዛሪቦም የዛርቡኻ፡ ኣጥምና ኢሎም… ይሓምዩኻ!

            I think, may the lord hide my errors away, HTG is planning to institute something big. He respires Tigray, he eats Tigray, he writes and reads Tigray, he thinks Tigray, he drives a Tigray-ትዕወት plated car 😁. And now, I tell you, he wants to institute a Tigray Calendar just like the french revolutionaries did in the 1790s. At the time, the preeminent revolutionary scientists gathered to establish a new revolutionary Calendar. The committe included mathematician like Gaspard Monge (let my MoKsi be happy!). The year and first month started in March 21 (Germinal was its new name), followed by Brumaire etc with all new names changed including replacing saints by well known french people. The AD became after the revolution and the BC before revolution etc etc etc. If this revolutionary calendar was accepted worldwide, our revolutionary 1st September Awate-day would have occurred on the 14th Fructidor.

            And now HTG intoxicated by the news he hears everyday in TMH is planning to establish after-Tigray and before-Tigray Calendar. Inspired by and competing with YG’s original “Tigray English Poem” with the longest sentences ever written, a Guinness World Record (check Teddy Press), HTG is searching names that are typically in Tigray and not found anywhere else to use them for the months, days, saints etc. But, he is suffering as there is almost none, except may be ምግበይ from people’s names and very few place names like መቐለ, እንቲጮ. Other than General ምግበይ, none of the names of TPLF revolutionaries are qualified for such august naming for the reason given. Adwa was tampered with Menelik’s success, it is out! I will personally be against appropriating Axum, because territorially, it more belongs to us in Eritrea now than those in Tigrea. Please help my dear MoKsi find names typical of Tigray for his ትት Calendar😁

            As HTG and Ismail said, ዘመነ ኦሪት is said, but occassionally. ኦሪት by definition is strictly Torah but is also in practice applies to all the books in the old testament.

          • haileTG

            Selam Moxi,

            I think your sacrifice of me as wanting to go Tigray on this was a cover for you to go Axum! Anta shitara endo gdef:-)

            Anyway, the liberal view on AD and BC is that it is a form of imposition of religious values on others. How do you propose an alternative? Here, shoot it straight…haha

          • Haile S.

            Selam MoKsi,

            Don’t worry, I am not Cain! As for Axum, either we take it 😁 or share it with Tigrea.

            There is no easy answer, since the division revolves around a birth. But generally snd roughly the period lies between the decline of ancient Egypt, we can say Egyptian/Pharaoh period and after Egypt/Pharaoh, ዘመነ ፈርዖን & ድሕረ ፈርዖን. But again this doesn’t include all civilizations.

          • Saleh Johar

            Good day HaileS,

            Thank you guys, starting your day with funny comments is refreshing and up-lifting. “HaileTG-ይዕወት” is the funniest though.

            I think this will be the first time I catch a serious mistake by you 🙂

            Tell me if you came across information that says “Pharaoh” is wrongly understood to mean the title of ancient Egyptian kings. In fact it’s the name of one single king out of the many kings of the dynasties. There was only one king named Pharaoh. I think he is prophet Moses’ story king and that is why he was made so famous. In modern times, politics is involved and as such, books and papers were written to create a different narration of the ancient Egyptian history.

            What do you think/

          • Haile S.

            Selam Saleh,

            First time a serious mistake! Thank you. I am doing good then. To begin with I used it for convinience of saying ዘመነ ፈርዖን as opposed to ዘመነ ግብጺ. Having said that yes it was my understanding it applies to many. I didn’t question it. But you are right the popular use of it has given a different meaning to it. I will try to check hiw the prolific authors lije Christian Jacq use it.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi HaileS,
            Take a break from the French Egyptologists for a moment, look into the work of the British Egyptologist Flinders Petrie and the Egyptian Egyptologist Dr Waseem AlSisi (also a urinary tract specialist) who has written a number of books ( a few are translated into English). The Pharoah use was promoted by flinders and AlSisi challenged him to come up with a single king named Pharoah except the one of exodus who was cruel and that cruelty became a defining characteristics of all kings by extension. But out of the over 500 kings of ancient Egypt, no one was named Pharoah or used it as a title meaning a king. A little addition for your research. I am doing that to understand why the Abowatna crowd narrate history the way they do. It’s the Orit influence and Flinders magnified it using so many assumptions that he couldn’t prove conclusively. That’s what I have for today 🙂

          • Haile S.

            Thank Saleh for the refs. I will.

            Talking about abowatna channel, have you watched No 78 and 79, you are migraine-proof! I have still to finish the last one.

          • iSem

            Hi Haile S and Haile TG:
            Sorry Haile TG, the reason I put your name second instead of first is not personal, it is alphabetical order: S comes before T 🙂
            and NOTE that the S in Haile S doe snot stand for small, NOR for Seyoum (submit) 🙂
            About this liberal political correctness, I disagree with changing it to Common Era and then finding equivalent translation in our language. Then what? we will change Higra to SF (seeking refugee) . I stopped eating healthy nuts, because liberal political correctness is driving me nuts:-)

            I am not saying this as my own option, I have an academic source:, Saay, who once said, why are we destroying past legacies and symbols, we should keep it: meaning we should keep the Pushkin monument, the HS statue because they are our past. So now Sal will lower his reading glasses (I did not know he has reading classes) ppl who run and drink green teas do not use reading glasses) and say, iSem remembers this stuff for mewerard reasons, Ala iSem, that is in the past, old stuff my dear 🙂

          • Haile S.

            Selam iSem,

            As an amateur of history and Co, like Saay I like to keep everything as is, the calendar, Alula’s three huts, Ibrahim Hannibal’s great grand son including iSem. But I am not sure about keeping iSem as is. When D-day arrive, he will run into action. I see you hiring a Hercules military grade jet, place a bulldozer in and go back to Asmara, straight before visiting family, to the square (triangle rather) between Meta, Felket and 173-18 streets to bulldoz our poor Pushkin’s monument. If you that at all considervplacing Ibrahim SulTan’s and WelWel’s. The library is just infront, they will have easy access to their 50s and 60s newspapers and litrature.

          • iSem

            Haile S:You know what they say during the USA prez election: in the first 20 days I will do XY
            so you got it, that is the plan in the first 20 minutes of getting off the plane:-)
            You have WelWel, you have Awate, Sultan and many others.
            You must have read me saying, Pushkin was an insult to Eritreans
            I like to keep those too, but in museums to charge money for them 🙂 but not in the frees streets that we walk free

          • Saleh Johar

            No mediocrity in your vocab. It’s jUst a brilliant comment and a”brillianter” idea 🙂

          • saay7

            Ola (not Ala) iSem:

            That is what a conservative means: s/he who wants to conserve. If we have መቓብር ጥልያን and a monument for the Battle of Dogali (Ras Alula vs Italian occupiers fighting in our land) then we certainly should have had everything else because it is part of our history. I would not even have blown up Haile Selasse statute point to Red Sea but put it in a mueseum somewhere in Massawa.


          • iSem

            Hi Sal:
            Success. Sal is back 🙂
            I agree, I am for putting them in museums, but in the the godona Harnet, in our Tahrir Baddob (if you do not know what Baddob mean, or better confer with SGJ ) 🙂

          • Ismail AA

            Selam Ustaz saay and Ustaz iSem,

            I believe relics of the past are preserved as a right of posterity, and not so much as the choice of the living. I consider it a right because posterity has the right of getting information about its past. And we all agree that information is one of the important matters in the pantheon of human rights. All is aside from its material and aesthetic value in an organized forward looking society.

            Only the narrow-minded destroy relics of their own past as we had seen in Afghanistan when the Statue of Budha was blown. Otherwise, what at one time seen as unacceptable become so precious source of material income and national pride at another. How many pagan worshipping edifices are being enviously preserved and renovated around the world.

          • haileTG

            Hey iSem,

            Statues are past and sometimes also part of the present. When statues, terminologies, annotations… not only represent past history of conquest and suppression but also reinforce it in todays world by affirming the oppressor’s narrative, then there is a moral question. The difficult stand of on statutes in western world at this time is case in point. Statues of generals and war hero who created the current system of inequality can also be seen as glorifying painful past of the subjugated people. A young black man in the US once related how he feels about a white uniformed genera’s statue he has to walk past everyday to work vis-a-vis police brutality. Same with many native and first nation populations. BC and AD validate a specific religious belief and those who don’t subscribe to it still have to use it. In liberal establishments that is an act of subjugation and domination. So, of all people, for you to follow saay’s center left doctrinaire on this is not impressive. Saay is very much aware of my Asmara green space Peace Park’s master plan to be built on the land currently occupied by PFDJ head offices:-)

          • saay7

            Haha Hailat:

            How is it center-left doctrine when you want to conserve, which is the very reason conservatives are called conservatives? No comprende.

            Yeah I remember our “discussion” on the PFDJ building. I believe before then it was an ESAPA building and my guess is that, in future Eritrea, it will be head office of government/party officials. I mean for one thing, we had no new buildings in Asmara for the last 20 years and people need offices 🙂 We will just change the facade of the building.

            Happy Awate Day!


          • Hashela

            Selam Haile S.

            The French committee was wise and strictly scientific. Starting the year with March 21 makes astronomically sense and avoids randomness. As you know, March 21 (and September 21) is the date of equinox, a date when day and night are equally long.

            Geologists use apolitical and areligous counting. They use Before Present (BP). For example, “1991” is 30 years BP.

          • Haile S.

            Selam Hashela,

            Indeed! Germinal refers to the germinating plants of the spring followed by the month of Floreal (I corrected a mistake on my previous comment) which refers to the flowering plants of the season. It was well studied calendar. The French revolutionaries came up with this, the Ethiopian revolutionaries came with ተራማጅ መዝገበ ቃላት!

          • Ismail AA

            Selam Haile S.

            Thank you for your input. Actually, as college students we had the same information you have graced us with in connection with the relation of Ethiopian calendar with others. Moreover, you reminded me how power and great events like the French revolution enable persons and groups change conentional matters at a whim or by force of expediency. I recall Colonel Gadafi of Libya had changed the names of the months. He tried to rationalize the changes by deciphering the meaning and relating them to conditions and human activities.

          • Saleh Johar

            How about BA and AA –Before Awate day and After Awate day 🙂

  • Brhan

    Thank you, Saleh, for the episode,

    There are three points that I would like to add to your episode:

    1)I believe the generals take came in the war of propaganda.

    EPLF AND TPLF, when at odds, waged a propaganda war against each other and have used religion/ethnic group as their wild cards. Propaganda wars create a disturbance among ordinary people, and each side will use it, especially during war times that we see now. It is the interest of one side to create havoc on the other side. The general’s remark, which is not new has created, anger among all Eritreans. That has been the goal for those who unleased it then and now. Tigray and Tigrayans are in the process of deciding about their destination, and the Agazian ideology is not the only choice they have on the table. They can play with it even they know from the bottom of their heart its impossibility. If it is impossible, then why do they play the card. Again, as I have said, to not give others peace of mind.

    2) What do you think the reply of YG, the Eritrean gov’t spokesperson, will be, to the general?

    The Eritrean regime first informed that there had been no troops in Tigray. Then it acknowledged their presence but denied the war crimes, atrocities, and crimes against humanity. Sophia T/Mariam said something,” it is not in our culture to do those terrible things”. General Philipos W/Yohannes knows which platoon destroyed the mosque and which platoon peed in the church. But Getachew Reda is neither interested in the Eritrean platoons nor General Philipos. He wanted to make Isayas and Abi uncountable for the crimes in Tigray.

    3) Awate has reached out to the late MZ and presented interviews. Is there any attempt to reach out to the current officials and ask them a thousand questions, including their view on the general remark.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Brhan,
      Religion has always been the tool of agitation because that comes natural when you have theocratic governments. I am coming now need Ethiopia never freed itself from the grip of theocracy, the crude type at that. It’s suppressing that most Ethiopian intellectuals follow the laymen and delve into mythology, legends and superstition, all wrapped in overt and covert bigotry. I rarely see these intellectuals promoting secularism but want to keep the not so mild type of Spanish Inquisition. And we are neighbors !

  • Haile S.

    ሰላም ሳልሕ ጆሃር

    ካብ ግጥሚ ተኽልንኪኤል ገብሩ
    ኣብ ርእሲ ኃይለ-ስ. እንሆ ሓዲሩ

    ንኹሉ – ንኹሉ – – ንኹሉ
    ሳልሕ ኣርክበሉ

    ኣይገርመናን ኣመልካ ግበር
    ዓቢኻ ሸምጊልካ ብንቑሕካ ንበር
    ጎሪሕካ ኣይትቆጠብ ብጩቕ በል
    ፍሽኽ ካይረሳዕካ፡ ስቕ ኣይትበል
    ንዓ ሓቂ ተዛሪብካ ዘለኣለምን ክበር

    ንኹሉ – ንኹሉ – – ንኹሉ
    ሳልሕ ኣረኻኽበሉ

    ኣቦ ዜና ጸሓፊ ደራሲ
    ምስ ገባራይ ሓራሳይ ሓፋሲ
    ምስ ሓርበኛ ጨማታይ ተኳሲ
    ቀምጨጭ ግደፍ ንዓ ኹን ኮላሲ
    ነዞም ኣብርሆት ኣልቦ ንዓ ኩኖም ፈውሲ

    ንኹሉ – ንኹሉ – – ንኹሉ
    ሳልሕ ኣርክበሉ 2X

    ንምንታይ ዲኻ ትነፍሕ ማእገርካ
    ሕጉስ እንዲኻ ካብ ኤርትራ ምውላድካ
    ኣይትልውጦን ኣይትቕይሮን ቀለምካ
    ኣይተልምጾን ኣይትሰፍዮን ብጣሕካ
    ምስ ኤርትራ እንድዩ ዘሎ ምስጢርካ

    ንኹሉ – ንኹሉ – – ንኹሉ
    ሳልሕ ኣርክበሉ 2X

    ፋይዳ የብሉን ሓሶት እንተመከረ
    ሓቂ ይሓይሽ ዋላ እንተመረረ
    ክትሰግሮ እንዲኻ ክንደይ ዘይተሰግረ
    እንታይ ካይመጾ ምስ ለባም ዝመኸረ

    ንኹሉ – ንኹሉ – – ንኹሉ
    ሳልሕ ኣርክበሉ 2X

    ብቖልዓኻ ኮሎኻ ብህጻንካ
    ዋና ቃልሲ ተጸዋዓይ ኰንካ
    ሕማቕ ርኢኻ ኣስቅጥ ካይበልካ
    ኣስደሚምዎ ንሰማዓይካ
    እዚ ኹሉ ንዓኻ እኳ ክንእሰካ

    ንኹሉ – ንኹሉ – – ንኹሉ
    ሳልሕ ኣርክበሉ 2X

    ደ ር ብ !!!!!!!

    • Saleh Johar

      Selam HaileS,
      I am flattered, very flattered. I would settle for one line of that from the late Wedi-Gebru. I hope I deserve a fraction of that….thank you