Why did the Chicken Cross the Road? (The Eritrean Version; A Satire)


2009-2010 was a hectic year for Eritrean internet writers, users and abusers, even by Eritrean internet standards. With due regard to the seriousness of our discourse, I attempted to satirize, and caricaturize supposed dominant themes of our writers in an effort to lighten our mood and exact some humor along the way. I hope the satire comes off as a welcome distraction.

Now that the Opposition is mandated to work hard on the National Conference themes, I hope (no pray), we will have a productive and meaningful year ahead of us. Beyond that, the mother of all our dreams: May we (all the opposition) get to see and relish in our beloved Eritrea again. To that, we cross our fingers!  

For now, let us hear what some of our writers and notables answered when asked why the chicken crossed the road. 

Why did the Chicken Cross the Road?


 Meskerem Website

Because it is a Jihadist-Taliban, Tedamun chicken, trained in Afghanistan bent to implement Sharia law in Eritrea! It was the same chicken that crossed to Abdela Idris’s side in Korokon-Tahday! Eway W’rdet! Nay Lomi Derho Gedede!

Where is the picture of the Chicken in the ‘Hegerawi WaeLa?’ Where? Wey Gudd!

Ali Salim (Most probably a simple but astute anagram of Al Islam, The Islam)

In Article titled, “Gudam Emba DerHo

Why did the chicken cross the road? Bzuh Halewlewlew aytibeLu! Simple! The neo-Nazi, Highlander, Christian-supremacist chicken crossed the fertile lowland to grab my ancestral land! The rest is pure hogwash! It is matter of intrinsic dignity for the lowlanders to cross the road alone and if the neo-Nazi, land-grabber Highlander, Christian-supremacist chickens must go to hell, so be it! For all we care! ( And yes, you are most welcome!) 

Aklilu Zere

The kebesa chicken, by all accounts, is sturdy, hardy animal. In land of the scanty, it survived famine, diseases, malnutrition and ‘AwedeAmet slaughtering’. It eats everything that moves or not. “Derho Zeytibelo yebilan!”, the highlander observes. The Kebesa chicken is resourceful, innovative, like its owner. It is apprehensive of predators from sky, and land destined to prey on it and its chicks: hawks, bobcats, snakes, skunks, owls, raccoons, foxes and possums. The rooster comes in handy as reliable alarm clock for early tiller. The tiller sets his time according to “Derho keyneqewe..Aga derho Neqo.’ The chicken meal, ‘Tsebhi Derho’ is one of the delicious and most precious Kebesa meals. It is dismembered into 12 parts and the yummy ‘Chinchera’ and ‘Qorbet’ given for the elderly and the beloved. So why the chicken crossed the road? The only way it can prolong its lifespan is by becoming useful to the household. To produce eggs and hatch them. So it crossed the road to mate.

Semere Tesfai

Bumper Sticker: 278956,..Ya’ Abu Khelil..Look! cut it dice it! Whatever you want, whether the chicken crosses the road or not, it will still claim 50% share of the pie…Got it?

Fesshaye Woldu

Who said it was a chicken? What gave away? Its size, feathers or its humming of chicken’s national anthem. It could be a turkey. It is a matter of perspective. Or a goose?

Old Eritrean Grand-Pa..

Degim enhelka deAsi! Etuy Qedem Zemen! once upon a time, chickens crossed the Mereb and they used to rule the land with iron fist after ‘ Zemene eti eQuy Keysi Ar’we-mdri. If you didn’t pay tribute, ‘gibri’ of ‘klte kilo mashela, Esra ribiet sigem’, thousands of chickens marched to the village and harass the villagers. Kuf’e Zemen Halifu Zom Deqey! In the end, Amora Semay poked the heads of all the roosters and the female hens had nowhere to go but fled to the caves and all of them died out.

(Haven’t you heard strikingly similar story in the legend of Rum, Arumi, the Beja tribe???? but don’t gainsay your ‘AbaHago!)

 Yosief Ghebrehiwot (YG)

To de-romanticize the Ghedli!

Let us see take this example: A guy starts to cross to the other side of the road in a busy highway. What most of us forget is it matters very little he is ‘walking’ at snail pace. First of all, it is very busy street, and a car driving at 120 km/hr, coming from any direction is going to rear-end him any second now. Second of all, what is conveniently hush-hushed is why he is crossing in the first place. Third, ‘is the walking worthy?’, in terms of costs and expenses to get what he wants. Fourth, did he exhaust all the other options to get what he wanted that could have reasonably warranted eschewing the act of crossing. The third and the fourth could look the same to untrained eye but as I will demonstrate in the next piece, they have some differences for me to start another topic. Intents are not necessarily purposes. Costs and expenses are not the same; though a cost may or may not be an expense.

Similarly, as the Ghedli romantics never tire to tell us the chicken walk to cross the road is still worthy but the question that flies in the face of their logic is unaccounted costs (still mounting) and the sacrifices (here expenses) still required to perform the so-called perfect walking to cross the road. The pace and urgency of the walking is never put into the costs because what is required is walking to cross the road and walking to cross the road is what the chicken is doing. If as I mentioned the chicken, like the man, is walking at leisurely pace, then the expenses here (not just costs) could not be adequately calculated without asking a legitimate question of the end result of crossing the road.

How many chickens have perished in three decades armed struggle? Multiply them by the number of offspring they may have hatched, and the lost opportunities to crossbreed and come up with new breed that may have hatched the eggs in 12 days than 21 days. You end up with stratospheric figures (Ok you may reduce addled eggs but Eritrean eggs are one of the world’s most fertile ones as such the non-hatching eggs should be kept at minimum.)

A sense of urgency and effective analysis of cost-benefit calculus should be interjected in the recalibrated quest of chicken-hood making. Alas! with Ghedli being the sole reality and reference, the book of martyrdom the sole authority, the case of chickens whether walking forward or backwards, or diagonally or vertically, agonizingly slow remain unstudied in the 50 year old interruption that borne the mangled reality called Eritrea….There lies the tragedy of chickened nation.


To hit da’ club with that shikorina gual ere….Hey yo, yo’ my man, this summer, I’m ne go Erey, you know, chill, and go to Ma-Sawa, (Yo got that bro! My Sawa is Massawa, yeah men!) and then tesewiE kiLms yideli..for real! I want to ‘KiswaE’ and then come back to my hommies! Word!”

G. Ande

The chicken was crossing the road but right now it may be going back to PFDJ, which it repudiated under oath. It knows that there are knives in the hands of experienced slaughterers whose only reason to kill ‘without mercy’ is because they happen to see a chicken and they happen to have knives. Even if that is the case, it might take its chance than get a black eye and ruffled feathers.

Burhan Ali

It is not a road; it is the most important Zoo-geo-politico- entity, the River Nile.

To understand the complexities of the region, one has to delve into the importance of the River Nile to the Egyptian chickens. Fed from the mineral-rich, fertile agricultural soil that cascaded from the Sudd and the central escarpment of Abyssinia, the Egyptian rooster portrays itself, above its peers, as the most powerful figure in the region. Among its influential vassals and branches extended to Sudanese-Eritrean border is the House of the Fayoumis. The Fayoumis are “fairly small active chickens that have been raised along the Nile River since times B.C. They are very fast maturing and pullets may start laying a small tinted (off-white) egg by 4 months of age. The cockerels will often be crowing by six weeks of age. Males reach a weight of 4.5 pounds and females reach 3.5.” 


Selam Kidane..

I tend to put my money (granted my Pente sensibilities prohibit any form of betting) on the 13 full time EDA politicians who might have unduly influenced it and cajoled it to cross to their side, though as independent entity it should have stayed out of the road crossing business. Or should have road on its own accord. Now, is it too much to demand responsibility to know why?

Mengs TM

“The time has come to talk of cabbages and kings..And why the sea is boiling hot …”And why the chicken crossed the road.

Dr. Mohammed Kheir Omer

The question why the chicken crossed the road can’t be fully answered if we don’t have any information who is funding its travel. Is Paulos Tesfagiorgis and his NGOs behind its decision to cross the road?

Asfaha Weldemicheal

What chicken? I don’t see any chicken crossing the road; All I see is the Awate Team led by Ali Salim, taking their cues from the EDA bosses in an effort to grab power by sidelining the true party of Eritrea, the EPDP.

Amanuel Hidrat.

Naturally, it crossed because it abhorred the vacuum sprouted by acrimonious countenance of incompatible partisan hacks. horror vacui, or plenism. Apropos to lend succor to the manifold voices advocating for the rights of poultry everywhere, to studiously examine the pathogenesis and pathologies of the current abrade and to draw the road map of erecting the pillars of the veridical denouement deduced from the redoubtable avian history.

Ahmed Raji

To reclaim the lost rainbow of Eritrea. During the British Military Administration (BMA), federation, even Haile Sellasie, equitable crossing of Tigrigna and non-Tigrigna chickens was consciously encouraged. After independence 95% of the chickens crossing to the public sector hail from the Tigrigna ethnic group. Non-Tigrigna chickens were consigned to learn not only to cluck in Tigrigna but also to crow and squawk thereby ultimately creating structural inequity that pervasively permeated every facets of life.

Zekere Lebona

In 1978, during the strategic withdrawal, a lot of chickens crossed to Sahel ‘Eritrawit Yenan’ with the mass fleeing the Dergue offensives. However, a lot of them were unable to make it past MaEmido, giving rise to names of the hills like, ‘Taba Kukunay’, ‘M’tsdaf Chaquit!’

Micheal Abraha

I have interviewed the chicken who was crossing the road. Here is the interview. (The chicken disputed the version of the interview posted.)

Tesfay Mehari (Fihira)

Keyda..keyda Derho tefiAtni…
ZirAya MexiU Yihabreni..
TefiA  tefiA..Derho Natey
Abey  KemzAt’wet  zifelto Neybiley

Aboy WeldeAb Weldemariam

Dear Ibrahim Hawey, do you remember in 1941, when the chickens from Aba-Shawel crossed the road via Canalo when we crossed the road of Compo-shatato?

Saleh ‘Gadi’ Johar

Of Chickens and Men’

What really grinds my gears is when a chicken crosses and criss-crosses the road back and forth as it willed as if it is its birthright. Ala Kiefu! When we cross it, it ‘haram’; when it crossed it, it is ‘halal’. Who decides that? I hate a chicken that hopscotch from regime to regime. I call that loqmtast! Ketafi! Do you know that the Keren chicken knows how to weather injustices, privations and is intuitively wary of newcomers to the camp and doesn’t back down from fighting back? Forget the chicken and the road, my friend. Don’t cross me; if you do, I will make your life hell; your cyber life that is!

Daniel G. Mikael

As George Carline said, ‘Cause chickens are decent people.’ My favorite episode of Seinfeld is when Kramer (when he was Cosmo not the racist hater, that is cool though, that is cool though ) gets a new pet a rooster ‘Little Jerry’ deluding himself he had a hen for eggs. Then he enters the rooster into cockfight, paying a price. The moral: PFDJ neither gave us eggs (peace) nor won a war (a cockfight).

Now, look! Crossing the road is no biggie, really. What counts is what is the geo-political implications of such an act, the PFDJ connection (they will deny it for sure) in hatching the Al-Shabab chicks, and most importantly what the opposition should do to lure the world foremost lone rooster, the United States to bring about change in Eritrea, and let us expect that may include a sexy chicken dance. 

Girma Asmerom

It didn’t have to cross the street. It could have accorded all the rights of the accused in court of law, in Eritrea. If it returns, I personally guarantee its safety.

Gherezghier Andemariam(Wuchu)

emBeAr tsirguya Qortsiu iLomo….Aderser, ‘Hadish MeAsker’ nab Tekle manjus sidedo… five years underground!”

Hagos W/Gebriel (suzinino)

Derho Ata Rg’um! Kan Akiluka! EmbeAr xrgiya regixka! E’ih DeA! Kemey Mekina Aytregxekan! B’tn keblekA iye! Sidi! Lieba! Ketafi! Kemey Chaquit keloka h’lm Zeytbl!

Habtom Yohannes

As Voltaire said, “I may not necessarily agree with it, but I defend the right of the chicken crossing or not crossing the road…Hands off the chicken!”

Irresponsible Newly Arrived to West Agelgulot

Bejakum Meharuna!…I don’t care! Just tell  me where can I dance ‘Wegah tibel Leyti!’ yes ‘tewelide N’Adeye..N’Adeye…!

Poet Kiros Yohannes (tags in your face book page)

Eti Kukunay Lomi m’s sewede
Ekli Gedifu siga Seb m’s Lemede
meAs Derho neyru Derho ‘zaXahitra
Lekas! Z’bEi iyu Neyru Z’bEi Fishe-M’rara 

Alemseghed Tesfay

In December 14, 1949, chickens from ‘Al Rabita’ and ‘Eritrea n’Eritrawyan’ crossed the road to meet the UN rep., Keytefelalyu!’ defying the threats from the ‘Andinet’ chickens and stern warnings from the much-feared bandits, ‘shefatu’ of the time, ‘the Humushte chicken brothers,’ the ‘wedi-Zinar’ and ‘seQuar Derho’ (this ‘shift’a was given the name after a piercing he sustained in his left lobe during a cock fight in Qola Seraye with another ‘shifta derho’).

(Ato Alemseghed’s note: Methinks ‘tis safer to write and teach history than make one or live by its teaching!)

Dr. Bereket H. Sellasie

Nobody knows why the chicken is crossing the road than the person crossing with it, that would me, yours truly. May be Amanuel Sahle knows too.

Gabriel Gangul

It is not crossing (again misconstrued) it is displacement. In Analyzing the reason(s) why the chicken crossed the street, the chicken has to look nowhere but inside itself to find answers. It will soon learn the memory which comprises its organic-makeup stored nothing but one ‘displacement’ after another ‘displacement’ creating a massive dis-equilibrium in generations of chickens crossing roads every chance they got.

Yemane Gebreab

The question is not why the chicken crossed the road. Why is the Swedish government concerned about one chicken when four million chickens are inside Eritrea?


Amanuel Eyasu (Assena)

Assena reports that the chicken crossed the road to start a military insurgency. Wait now! We have just learned that 500 more chickens, after jointly poking the head of the rooster colonel have crossed the road fled to eastern escarpment of Eritrea and an early offensive to capture them was foiled. Currently in undisclosed location, the captain of the chickens talked to Assena radio.

Issayas Afewerki: On Al Jezeera

The chicken never crossed the road. I don’t know what you are talking about. It is all lies, lies. It is boring. It is news to me all the chicken soccer stars absconded in Kenya. It is a lie. It is not my business to know why they did that even though I am the leader of the nation. Where is the evidence? It is boring. We know the chicken was made by CIA.

It is a lie the Somali chicken crossed the road. Where is the evidence? Did you enjoy the show when it crossed the road? It never crossed the road. If it crossed, we support it.

Why, I, rich person who controls everything bother about giving a tip, ‘Mai and Tire’mire’ to this hungry and beleaguered chicken in this scorching bitter sun? After all these chickens ‘hanqiqom!’ and they should learn to feed themselves. They never gave us enough calories only omega 3 or 6 which is so fashionable to talk about these days. Where is the chicken? This is CIA fabrications. Is there any evidence Eritrea has chickens? It is all lies and fabrications.

Prepartory Committee for National Conference (PCNC)

To participate in the historic, unprecedented, much anticipated, the utmost urgent, the one and only panacea for salvation of Eritrea, to National Conference for Democratic Change (NCDC) in Addis Ababa.

The National Conference is so urgently urgent that it will be conducted early next Summer, in the year 2011.

Dehai/ Shabait.

Tik’d Tray! A self-reliant chicken crissoed (misspelling intentional) the road, turtle speed, and it even knows how to build micro dams. Why it crossed? Why, when, Where to? Who CARES! Nikid Tray! Tisgero Tiray! ‘Hade Derho. Hade Enq’uaKho.’ (Also repeated in Meskerem)

Association of Eritrean Journalists in Exile (AEJE, Press Release)

AEJE issues a press release five years after the chicken crossed the road, settled in Canada, had seen all, wed its babies, paid its mortgage, died of an old age and its body sent to funeral to Eritrea.

We, the AEJE, saddened to learn chicken has just crossed the road. We want to make note that its claims as to why it crossed the road is bogus and unsubstantiated. We will make further inquiry into the matter and we will issue another press release, in say 8-10  months.’

Joke Heard in Edagahamus, Asmara

Do you know today in Eritrea the chicken is more valued than a child? If a child goes outside, no one cares, (one less to worry about!) But if a chicken goes outside, the whole family runs after it for fear it will get hit by a car when it crosses the road.

Disgruntled (read Average) Agelgulot Warsay (give us the right answer)

Simple! To flee PFDJ. Kab Shaebia kithad’m!

You craz?  ata wedi? txawet Aloka Niska! Chicken wedi Chicken…Derho Aykonen eMni waLa  encheyti  kabza  Adi  k’hadm iyu! .waLa cruxrx zeyeb’lo neti Megedi!…All I care is how I could cross the border to the Sudan or Ethiopia…


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