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Independence Day Reflections

Friday, May 24, marked the 28th anniversary of Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia -Eritrea’s proudest and happiest moment when it finally threw off the shackles of colonialism once and for all. The memory evokes in us a sense of liberty and freedom, but as we learned from bitter experience independence does not equal freedom. While freedom is impossible without independence, one can have independence without freedom. On May 24, 1991, Eritreans did not become free. What happened then is simply a transfer of state power & its organs from one entity to another. In other words, ownership of the land called Eritrea and its administration changed hands from a foreign entity (the Derg) to a domestic one (EPLF). In fortunate countries, independence is quickly followed by an era of freedom. Unfortunately, it didn’t in Eritrea though for a while after independence, such a scenario had seemed possible when EPLF, firmly ensconced in power, solemnly declared:

“The people of Eritrea have forever altered the course of Eritrean history and launched a new phase in the struggle for democracy, equality and freedom” (Eritrea: Birth of a Nation, 1993)

It soon became evident, however, that the above were empty platitudes that EPLF never intended to honor. Far from fulfilling the above promise, EPLF/PFDJ/GOE launched a reign of terror that in terms of sheer brutality and savagery arguably surpassed the worst years of Derg and Haile Selassie regimes combined. Victims of occupation throughout their history, Eritreans are not strangers to suffering but in no period in their long history was their misery self-inflicted as was the case in the years after independence. Twenty-eight years after independence, Eritreans are still searching for the ultimate fulfillment of their aspirations. Alas, the day they commemorate territorial independence is also the day they commiserate the dictatorship that gobbled it whole. It is thus with a heavy heart and mind-numbing frustration that Eritreans reminisce this Independence Day anniversary while also lamenting the great opportunity that was lost in the “post-independence” era. Picture this for a moment:

Eritrea is free. Not just independent but also free. Gracious in triumph, EPLF has invited all Eritreans including former ELF leadership & fighters to return to Eritrea. Responding to the call and eager to serve the country they have longed for years, refugees & expatriates flock back to Eritrea flooding the country with talent, wealth, and experience. Eritrean government cedes power to a civilian government and an inclusive constitution is ratified & implemented. Trade, farming, and businesses flourish as never before. A new, vigorous, and healthy political debate rages on in the country, but all sides are unarmed. Citizens roam freely from one corner of Eritrea to the other secure in their persons and property. Parents bring up their children in peace and sleep soundly confident in the knowledge that their children will be there when they wake up. Carefree, teenage boys and girls prance about playing, learning, and blossoming into fine adults under the loving care of their parents. Independent and free, Eritrea breathes contentedly and is at peace with itself and its neighbors.

That in brief is the golden opportunity that was lost in the post-independence era. It all sounds like a fantasy world, doesn’t it? In reality, this is nothing but a straightforward depiction of basic privileges that every nation deserves & should enjoy. Yet, how far away and impossible such a vision appears to us today! Far from roaming freely across the land, Eritrean citizens cannot even step into or out of their own doorstep without risking arbitrary arrest, abduction, or death. Parents, if they are lucky at all to escape jail, must nonetheless face the nightmarish ordeal of constantly worrying about their young ones frittering away their tender years in virtual slave camps.

After almost 3 decades, the nightmare has not abated, and the brutal dictatorship stands today just as it did in 1991. This ability to retain power despite facing widespread & massive antipathy is one of the most frustrating aspects of a dictatorship. A handful fawning sycophants; a brutal security apparatus; a propaganda infrastructure; and an ever-shifting chain of command is all a dictator needs to stay afloat. Terrifyingly effective, these set of techniques constitute one of the reasons modern dictatorships like ours last as long as they do. Be that as it may, no dictator can indefinitely stave off an eventual doom even when an opposition is weak or absent. Years of reckless mismanagement will take its toll; an internal decay will set in; a day of reckoning will arrive, and the dictator will be no more. With each day that passes, such a situation is closing in on us rapidly. Naturally or forcibly, the end of Isayas’s regime as we have known it is fast approaching and a post-Isayas Eritrea is beckoning us with a pressing but mocking question: now what?

For Eritreans who have been praying for decades for an end to this vicious dictatorship, such a prospect is understandably pleasing. Many envision an era of democratization and other wonderful things to appear once he is gone. “Nsu Ykidelna ember, kulu neger kei’rey eyu” (once he is gone, things will be better/fixed) is a familiar refrain. No doubt such a sentiment emanates from the realization that the opposition (and our people as whole) are for democracy and the rule of law. That is why most of our discussions in the past have revolved around what form of democratic government will be best for Eritrea presupposing that the fall of the regime will automatically usher a stable democratic Eritrea.

But what is the basis for such a belief? Undoubtedly, Isayas is the primary source for many of our ills but a lot of it has to do – we must own – with our weaknesses too. In one form or another, we enabled, prolonged, and precipitated the current state of affairs. As painful as it is, we must therefore ask the question: if we have been unable to effectively manage and organize the opposition right here and now, what makes us think that we will succeed in establishing a vibrant democracy in a post-Isayas Eritrea? What makes us believe that the host of problems that are keeping us from forming an effective resistance force today (egoism, regionalism, mistrust, lack of negotiation skills etc…) will not hamper or frustrate our efforts at democratization in a post-Isayas Eritrea?

The more I ponder over the plight of the opposition (or of Eritreans in general) the more convinced I become that it is not lack of resources or know-how that is crippling the opposition from moving forward and becoming an effective force. Nor can we find sufficient explanation in the military superiority of the dictatorship. Once a mighty force, Eritrean military is a spent force due to lack of motivation and a cause to believe in. Moreover, many in the military are desperate for a way out and will willingly switch sides at the slightest opportunity because they are also tired of the oppressive dictatorship.

So, what is the root of our problems? I think the answer is to be found in the intangible realm of attitudes, behaviors, and habits of thinking. Eritreans must develop new habits of thinking and behaving that are conducive to securing a lasting democratic polity before the looming collapse of the current regime because installing a new democracy will be useless if we cannot sustain it. What are some of these behavioral traits that are conducive to sustaining a democratic government? At a minimum, we need to acquire the following traits:

1. Negotiation skills

Deficiency in the art of conflict resolution is discernible throughout Eritrean history. A lot of the current opposition’s weakness is also attributable to this deficiency. Eritreans have little tolerance for negotiation and reconciliation due to an erroneous belief that negotiation equals weakness surrender but to negotiate is not to surrender. It simply means each side recognizes the needs of others and tries its very best to accommodate the reasonable demands of all parties. In most cases, it is a win-win strategy. Inability to negotiate can have grave consequences and often leads to chaos and disintegration of societies. It is imperative therefore that our political leaders familiarize themselves with the art of intelligent negotiation. They must learn the art of mutually respectful disputation where arguments proceed vigorously (even to the point of almost coming to blows figuratively speaking) and then be able to shake hands amicably. It is a game that all democracies must learn to play to survive. The sooner we master it, the better our future.

2. Critical and independent thinking

Lack of critical and independent thinking is among the reasons Isaya’s dictatorship was able to shape public opinion for decades in its favor. Critical thinking implies that we do not accept claims without subjecting them to careful scrutiny and that we are not swayed by smooth talking charlatans who appeal to our latent prejudices and biases. Independent thinking on the other hand connotes that we are willing to think for ourselves and reach our own conclusions – not by mimicking others but by energetic reasoning & deep reflection. Of all the traits we discuss here, this may well be the most difficult of attainment in these days of social-media-saturated-world where every Tom, Dick, and Harry – even imbeciles- can reach multitudes with a slanted & poisonous message. Nonetheless, it is vital we develop this skill.

3. Produce and honor leaders

In Shakespeare’s world, “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Whether born or made, leaders are always crucial to the success of any group effort. Indeed, one of the distinguishing features of all successful resistance movements is the presence of at least one forceful leader with a vision. Unfortunately, no such leader has emerged in Eritrea. Nevertheless, it is inevitable that leaders will appear at some point or will be chosen and when they do, we must respect and honor them even if they are mediocre

4. Be an intelligent follower

Leaders, however brilliant, are never all-powerful. They have no power to transform dormant multitudes into a dynamic force. There must be receptiveness and a degree of discipline in followers so that men of vision can arise and galvanize the masses. Unfortunately, deep disappointment in their leaders has developed a general apathy and mistrust in our people of any would-be leader. Both ELF leaders that abandoned their followers at a critical period and EPLF that continues to terrorize its own followers and other Eritreans were instrumental in causing such a chasm between potential leaders and followers. If Eritreans are to heal, we must unlearn such attitudes if we are to surmount the challenges of a post-Isyas Eritrea.

5. Let bygones be bygones – Stop living in the past

Former EPLFers should mentally bid adieu to EPLF/PFDJ once & for all and abandon all dreams of preserving EPLF. ELFers should likewise stop living in the past and firmly ground themselves in the present with their gaze fixed on the future. This does not mean we forget the past, our heroes, or martyrs. No. It just means we need to minimize dwelling on the past & concentrate on creating a new future.

6. Avoid trivialities & shun pettiness.

An example of pettiness is showing off or bragging about your abilities or the virtues of your ancestors, tribe, or region. You may not realize it as you engage in them, but you are indulging in subtle racism. Within bounds, pride in ancestry and country is probably harmless but it is easy to cross the line and move towards racism. If your ancestors excelled in certain virtues don’t delude yourself into thinking they are innately endowed. Complex set of factors are responsible for making us what we are. Beyond that scientists do not have a definitive explanation of how genetics & environment interact to make us who we are. Perhaps, they never will. Another example of pettiness is wasting time and energy arguing over things that have been universally accepted such as the issue of Arabic/Tigrigna. This historically cemented consensus cannot be reversed without risking an ugly civil war. So leave it alone at least for now.

7. Fight egotism

Anyone who has ever attended a large Eritrean gathering will be simultaneously impressed & appalled by the oratorical eloquence that grace the average Eritrean and the rampant egotism that often drive respectively. Ego-driven politics have been one of the hidden stumbling blocks to unity throughout recent Eritrean history but if we insist on ego-less politicians, we will be running around futilely with a lamp like Diogenes. Rather, our goal should be to keep out from vital positions those politicians whose ego is out of control (a perfect example is Pres. Donald Trump).

8. Embrace Diversity and tolerance

What does it mean to embrace diversity? It is primarily an attitude that is deeply rooted in the essential equality of all human beings and societies. To embrace diversity means to genuinely believe that differences among human beings and societies are not innate but the product of complex interaction of genes and environment. It is to recognize that none of us choose to be born in a family, society, or continent in which we find ourselves. Recognizing this should make us tolerant of other people’s beliefs and cultures. This is difficult but an essential prerequisite if we are serious about democracy.

The above of course is not a full list but if we could faithfully adapt even some in this partial list, we would go a long way towards ensuring a better future. But these traits will mean little if they are not complemented by a healthy dose of morality. I have always maintained that democracy without morality cannot thrive or survive for long. This is just common sense. The entire edifice of democratic governance is built on the presumption that citizens will behave responsibly and with integrity. If an official can be bought or lobbyists can sway lawmakers, it vitiates the vitality and reliability of democracy. What value can we derive from institutions (democratic or not) if those we appoint to manage them happen to be corrupt? Of what use are political laws and courts if politicians and judges can be bought? When liars and crooks are rampant, they can derail elections, rig ballots etc…

So, morality is not a ‘nice to have” prerogative for democracy but a ‘must have’ prerequisite. We may not be able to internalize all the above, but we must at least begin the journey of a deliberate process of continuous improvement and self-appraisal. As Benjamin Franklin put it “”be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each year find you a better man.” Nations after all are nothing but a collection of individuals. So, when we improve the character of the individual, we are also advancing the interests of the nation as a whole. If we can do so, a bright future of independence, democracy, and freedom awaits us in a post-Isayas Eritrea. If not, freedom will forever elude us. Ramadan Kareem & may the next Independence Day bring peace and freedom to all Eritreans.

About Ismail Omer-Ali

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  • Haile S.

    Selam Ismail AA, Paul and all,

    Ismail
    “ኩናት ዘይውዓከ በሉሕ”
    ተረዲኤካ ኣለኹ ኣመሳስላኻ
    ልክዕ ኣለኻ፡ እምሕል ሓውኻ

    ብዙሓት ኣለና ንላዕሊ ዘብለና
    ዓንጽዓንጾ ንብጻይና ብዝተረኸበ ኣብ ጥቓና
    ብሓንሳብ ነውጽኦ ዝተቐብረ ውሽጢ ከርስና
    ክሳዕ ተኸቲላ እትግልበጥ ጨጎራ ብኣፍና

    ብሓቂ እንተንበልሕ እዞም ኣብ ኩናት ዘይውዓልና
    ኣበይ ምስተወንጨፈት እዛ ድኻ መደኽደኽ ሃገርና
    ክትደኪ ዝገበርናያ ስንፍና ወሲኽና ብወገንና
    ኣብ ክንዲ ንበልሕ መሊስና ጎዲምና
    ንህረመሉ ንቕጥቀጠሉ ኣፍና ዓቢስና
    ነዚ ውሽማ ዜጋታት፡ ዝለመደ ሸሸ ኣብ ልዕሌና
    ገሌና ንዛረብ፡ ድሓር ንዓጽፍ መልሓስና
    ትም ጥዑም እናበልና እቶም መብዛሕትና

    Paul,
    ዴሞክራሲ ኣየድልዮምን መንዩ ዝበለና
    እቲ ዴሳ ኣመሓዳድራ ናይ ኣቦና ናይ ኣዴና
    ንሕጎመሉ ኔርና ከምዝብሃል ብዓቕምና
    ጣልያን መጺኡ እኳ ኩሉ ነየሕደገና
    ካሜራ ስለዘይነበረ እንድኣሉ ሽዑ ዘይተሰኣልና
    እምበር ኳደረ፡ ሓላው ሕዛእቲ ካይተረፈ ንመርጽ ኔርና
    ሃይለሥላሰ መጺኡ እኳ፡ ወሰደ ምስግና ንብል ኔርና
    ታቤላ ሒዝና፡ መዋእል መብራህቱ ሓጺ ዝቑመቱ ወሲኽና
    ሓጂ እንድኣሉ ናህና ምስ ኣምጻእና ኢድና ተኣሲርና
    ቀደም ዝዘለልኩሞ ይኣኽለኩም ተባሂልና
    በእንተ እግዚሄር መሃረነ ኢሳያስ ተገልቢጡ ጸሎትና
    ኣንታ እንታይ እዩ ወሪዱና ንሰብር እግርና
    እቶም ክንፈልጥ ዝግባእ ስለዘይፈለጥና
    መፍተቱ ረኺቡ ኢሳያስ የዕለብጥ ኣብ መንጎና
    ጭርጭር ዓበደ ይጻወት ንበይኑ እንዳተዓዘብና

    • Ismail AA

      ሰላም ሃይለ ለባም ፣ቆፎ ባህልን ልቦናን ኣቦታት።

      እንታይሞ ናይ ቀደም ሓሊና ሓዲሽ ናይ ምውሳኽ ዕድል ኣይተዋህበናን። Nations that fail to preserve valuable norms and precepts of their past and build on them pass through moral and material void striving to tap on virgin soil to make a new costly start. This is our lot now, and we find ourselves on the margins of that void confused, divided and and not knowing how and where to begin. Thank you for sharing artistic pondering on our national dilemma.

  • Paulos

    Selam My Good People,

    I was watching a video on Facebook earlier today—a seminar that was given by a certain Dr. Mussie Misghina. I am not sure what his expertise is—if he is a Political Scientist or a Historian for that matter but what he said in the seminar is an echo chamber of what Isaias had said on Aljazerra years ago when he was asked if elections will ever be held in Eritrea.

    The Doctor said, democracy as an institution whereby political parties compete for political power is not good for us [Eritreans] and not good for Africa either. He said, ብሓባር ኮይንና ንጓዓዘሉ መሪሕ እዮ ዘድለየና። Wow!

    • Saleh Johar

      Paulos,
      That is Dr. Mussie Misghina, the brother of martyr Israel Misghina, whose father defied the norms and held a big tezkar for his son when he was martyrd by the PLF, together with the first female martyr. Alem Mesfin, and Bashemel. Mussie is a veteran of dehai, and a leader of the Mekhete activities in Europe. More? He was a member of the G13 until he retreated.

      • Paulos

        Selam Ayay,

        I was going to say, that is pretty impressive “CV” till I got to the መኸተ part. And he was part of G-13? We should honor him then for being the first Eritrean who filled out the first ናይ ጣዕሳ ወረቐት. Hope he comes around and be on the right side of history.

        • iSem

          Hi Paulo:
          To your point you should read: Regression to the Mean by Saleh Younis. Can link it and is one of the articles worthy of republishing

          • Paulos

            Semerile,

            I remember reading it but forgot the gist of it. Will look for it. Thanks much.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam Dr Paulos,

          I hate when PHDs holders became the lipstick of dictators. I remember an article written by Daniel Tekle characterizing then as Intellectuals who lost their intellectual class by ADD condition, back in 2008. Mussie Mesgena is one of them.

          • Paulos

            Selam Professor A. Hidrat,

            One being a Ph.D doesn’t mean much. Really. He or she may know in a certain depth in their area of expertise but they don’t have the license for the truth if you will unless otherwise the society hands them one as it is sadly the case particularly in our society.

            As Berhino commented, the guy may know a thing or two about how the human body works than the rest of us but to say, in the 21st Century, Eritreans don’t need democracy is an utter contempt for the Eritrean people.

          • iSem

            Hi Paulo:
            One would think that having a Phd in anything will make one critical thinker, but it does not make you honest or person of integrity or someone with empathy. Mussie M may know we need democracy,society needs democracy but there is something else going on here and the many of Eritrea’s intellectuals have invariably gravitated to wards the power center shunning truth and ignoring crimes and that came to haunt us and them
            I was not excited about th G-13 from the beginning and I told my friends it would not amount to anything.
            That is why the likes of Dr. Tesfazion Medhanie and YG are refreshing, agree or disagree with their positions. regardless if their positions can solve our problems, their breaking from the dogma should be celebrated
            Think about this: SGJ once narrated to us that he was in the community center in Kuwait, at the back a lady was making tea and when she came to hall, everyone was raising heir hands and her eyes searched for EPLF cadres, I think his name was Paulous and she saw him raising his hand and she shrieked “እድ ምልዓል ተጀሚራ ዲያ” and she raised her hand. Oblivious to what was going on. SGJ never returned to the community center.

          • Paulos

            Semerile,

            One can infer a pattern why these people as in Legesse, Amare, Abay, Sofia-ጀንሆይ and this Mussie guy are sticking with Isaias. It was never ideological, but precisely because they see Eritrea in terms of dichotomy and a product of two small scale polar world.

            And if they belong to one as opposed to the other, they are absolutely convinced that, Isaias a prototype and a paragon to that effect is the ONE who represents their core interests–no one else with an absolute resolve can. What makes it even ironic is that, their forefathers stuck with the King precisely for that reason and that is Epigenetics at work.

            If I have to defeat my own rebuttal to YG’s assertion, I must admit that, no one else understood the anomaly more than YG, save his other talking points where I absolutely disagree with.

          • iSem

            Paulo:
            haha: now Sofia-ጀንሆይ will be added to the ST’s monikers: Virgin from Virginia and Asmara Rose.
            I agree with you about the anomaly specialist, YG: the ghedli ppl he said, they left Asmara and went to Sahel to find Asmara and they came to Asmara and are searching for Sahel

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Paulo,

            Sorry I meant to say “Psychology”. I met him in the 90s when he was visiting / teaching at UoT and, if i recall that’s what he told me he was teaching.

            You must have forgotten a lot…when he went to the dark side, there was a lot of discussion at Asmarino and he called Tes of asmarino “wedi sheqati halewat” or something referring to his parent candy factory.

            In free Eritrea, asmarino, awate, dehai are going to be very intersting place of research.

            Berhe

          • Paulos

            Berhino,

            Yea እርጋን is kicking in. An Awatista texted me this morning to remind me just that. Yea I remember now his beef with Tes and the uncalled for ሓለዋት or ካሪመለ thingy. Where is Tes these days, by the way. Hope he is well. His website is still no-show.

          • iSem

            Paulo:
            Mussie said worse than ሓለዋት or ካሪመለ, he said that he would beat Tes in street brawl, typical PFDJ በጋሚዶ or as SGJ called them ስኩኒስ, bullying talk

          • Saleh Johar

            Thank you iSem,
            Yes, begamindo (Vagabond) Skunis, and Wedini fit them perfectly.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Saleh Johar
            former prime minister of ethiopia HD delivers 10th thabo mbeki lecture on the day of african day celebration in south africa and he challenged african intellectuals with a lot of questions, if u had a chance to see it, can u tell us ur thought about his speech,? specially the question that he ask african intellectuals? u can find the youtube video on south african tv youtube channel, sabc.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Paulo,

            I hope Tes is doing well as well. I saw his pics with Saay few months ago, didn’t know they were class mates.

            I think Dr. Mussie, he was probably converted to the dark side when he fell in love with some girl from asmara and he become wedo geba in order to get her an exit visa. Someone commented like that at asmarino at the time not sure if it was true or not.

            Berhe

          • Paulos

            በርሂኖ,

            It is probably a joke and talk of a town but እንታይ ‘ይፍለጥ ምናልባት ህግደፍ ዘግ ኣብልዮ ኢሎም ልኢኾማ ይኾኑ 😂፣ to have him converted as you put it, to the dark side.

          • iSem

            HI BY:
            You told me that he told you he came her to do post doc in NeurScience, a little different than psycholog

          • Berhe Y

            Hi iSem,

            You know your memory is a lot more better than mine, I think you are correct.

            Berhe

          • iSem

            BY:
            I think you are understate that;-)

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Berhe,

            He use to teach at Uppsala university, Sweden in the 90s and early 2000. I think he is no more at that university. Did he move to Eritrea? He was mailing me insults when I was writing articles in the “Hidmo wifuyat” at Asmarino.com, in early 2000. BTW they are cousins with Mengedteab Asmerom, the current chairman of EPDP.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Emma,

            When I met him he was visiting the UoT. But I don’t think he moved in Eritrea, I just googled and this is from PFDJ organized seminar and how they described him.
            “Dr. Mussie Misghina, a neurologist at Sweden’s prestigous Karolinska Hospital”.

            Berhe

        • Berhe Y

          Hi Paulo,

          I think his area of study is in physiology, and it’s shame he become the first Wedo Geba. There was so much uproar when he switched side and went to the dark side but I don’t think he will be returned.

          Berhe

      • Ismail

        Selamat Saleh,

        Yes. I remember Mussie well in dehai. Isn’t he the one who had the effrontery to declare the dictatorship in Eritrea the best democracy in the whole world? I thought he has by now outgrown such silliness – apparently not. He is still at it it seems but now has descended even lower and is decrying democracy itself! How pathetic!

        Ismail (pointblank)

    • Ayneta

      Mehaba Paulos:
      I wonder what the good doctor says about keeping the leadership accountable then. How do you ensure the leaders wont abuse their responsibilities if you don’t involve the people? Isn’t the whole idea of democracy, involve people in their matter and at the same time keep leaders accountable? I find it hard to fathom such randomly thrown premises about adapting democracy to local realities. Nobody wants to copy and paste Western democracy, but we will need to apply a large chunk of the Western model because they are basic tenets of any political participation and interactive management. Just because they form main pillars in the Western model doesn’t mean they are alien. Such connotation is very deceptive!

      • Paulos

        ሰላም ዓይነታ,

        ብናተይ ግምት፣ ኣብ 21 ክፍለ ዘመን ከምኡ ኢሉ ክዛረብ፣ ዘይምፍላጥ ወይካኣ ድንቁርና ዘይኮነ፣ እንታይ’ዳኣ ኣብ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ዘለዎ ንዕቐት ዘንጸባርቕ እዩ።

        • Hope

          Hey Doc:
          But what benefit does he get though?
          .Am sure the PFDJ shall never pay him a penny..
          .GI understand Prof Asmerom Leghesse’s situation as he is a hostage.
          .Granted, I would respect his opinion after understanding the details of his message..
          Would listen to and digest his Lecture.
          “….democracy as an institution whereby political parties compete for political power is not good for us [Eritreans] and not good for Africa either. He said, ብሓባር ኮይንና ንጓዓዘሉ መሪሕ እዮ ዘድለየና። .
          Does he mean Dictatorship is preferred when he said:” ብሓባር ኮይንና ንጓዓዘሉ መሪሕ እዮ ዘድለየና”?

          He might have points considering the”chaotic democracy” as practiced in Africa rather than believing in Dictatorship.

          Focus on this clause:”democracy as an institution whereby political parties compete for political power

      • Desbele

        Selam Ayneta,

        What an irony to think that we need the material wealth created by the Westerners: Cars, airplanes, medicines, AC, flushing toilet, but we dont need the governance model that pave the way for progress and prosperity(creation of the very wealth we enjoy). For the likes of the good Dr. they can enjoy the material wealth and the spiritual freedom by immigrating where it is found. And the people at home?…They just need a stick to put them in order and march them to progress. Irony of our so called elites is just mind boggling. ጉድ እምበር ረኺብና ናይ በዓል ኣስመሮም ለገሰ ከይኣኽለናስ

      • Nitricc

        Nobody wants to copy and paste Western democracy, but we will need to apply a large chunk of the Western model because they are basic tenets of any political participation and interactive management. Just because they form main pillars in the Western model doesn’t mean they are alien. Such connotation is very deceptive!

        Hi Ayneta; this for the first time you said something sensible. Not only deceptive but the copy and paste are the sources of violence and destruction in Africa. When An African country tried to copy westerners democracy they always ended up with violence, destruction, election rigging and bloodsheds. So if any form of justice and equality is to be in action; Africans must go back to their roots and how their ancestors got done things. For instance; I am reading about the Oromo GEDA system and I am blown away at its modernity and civility. That system is built inside out while the westerners democracy is out side in; there here you have it where the problem settles. I know some idiots, western democracy will equate it with ” Cars, airplanes, medicines, AC, flushing toilet” but what stupid knows and what stupid does. Any system must consider the culture of the people and the fabrics where the people came from.

        • Mez

          Dear Nitricc,

          Please don’t deceive yourself. Every western democracy is unique to its culture, and historical dynamics; the African’s will not be any different.

          The only thing is the political process has to evolve.

          Thanks

          • Nitricc

            Hi Mez; I think you are the one self-deceiving. You can talk all politically corrected garbage but at the end of the day; for westerners democracy to work in Africa; Africans must understand the concept of duty and privilege; Right and obligation. The truth you shouldn’t look no further than Ethiopia. Do you want Ethiopian democracy?

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Nitricc
            Westerners democracy can be applied only on homogeneous society, atleast 2/3 of the country population has to be homogeneous society, that is the difference.
            If u take 12 -13 century Europe they weren’t homogeneous society and they had a lot of conflict like the present day africa at the time.
            so ethiopia is not 2/3 homogeneous society and she is working on it.

          • Nitricc

            Westerners democracy can be applied only on homogeneous society, atleast 2/3 of the country population has to be homogeneous society,

            Hi Teddy; so would you say that Iraq is homogeneous society? If so, why democracy failed to work? You see! culture and the fabric of the society is the key, that is my point. As far as Ethiopian democracy; well I don’t know how to describe it. It is very strange with what is going on. There is no telling where the country is going. One thing is clear, TPLF dominance is replaced by Oromo; that is clear and the Oromo have no clue where to go. I have always said, change is good as long as to what you are changing. People say there is a change in Ethiopia and I say from what to what? and they have no answer. Africans stay away from westerners democracy. This western democracy is deigned to take all out war while your resources are taken. Wake up people.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Nitricc
            homogeneous society is not just about calture similarity, it is more about togetherness, am not sure about Iraq but the invasion, the installation of gov, the historical grievances, geopolitics and so on has big impact for what is going on.
            tplf never been a dominance since 1993 ec and oromo is not a dominance now, it is all about media game to correcting peoples psychology of the historical grievances, that is all?
            What is dominance means for u?

          • Mez

            Hi Nitricc,
            Nothing to add.

            Thanks

  • Hope

    Ahlen Ya Ustaz Ismael Omar-Ali:
    A concise but a Brilliant Article.
    Thanks for articulating what Hope has been trying to say.
    The Dilemma is;
    Despite that we know our solutions ,we have FAILED to execute them as we “do NOT know” how,which we do though but we fail how approach them..
    Why and how in the world can and could ONE man-show mess the entire 6 million people?

    Why can’t we take this Enough Movement Opportunity and OWN it EXCLUSIVELY as an Eritrean Business it,organize it better and create a central committee of Strong Leadership towards achieving a new and an ALL INCLUSIVE EDA Umbrella through out the World..

    • Ismail

      Selamat Hope,

      Thank you. Yes, I agree with what you propose but its implementation is a challenge that the opposition is struggling to surmount at present but I am optimistic. .

      Ismail (pointblank)

  • Bahri

    Hi Ismail,
    Hello Ismail,
    Your commentary makes a lot of sense especially advising people to forget their prejudices based on their ancestral or regional connections in a free democratic Eritrea. Then you lost me when you contradicted yourself a few sentences further by threatening with a civil war by saying “… an example of pettiness is wasting time and energy arguing over things that have been universally accepted such as the issue of Arabic/Tigrigna. This historically cemented consensus cannot be reversed without risking an ugly civil war.” Your claim that the language issue is settled begs credulity. A better way to settle it in a free democratic Eritrea is to hold a referendum (hopefully including English as accepted lingua franca) to choose from. I am agnostic which languages should be transactional languages be it for governmental or private business. The people should decide and not claim as a settled issue based on some ephemeral historical claims and worse threatening chaos if Arabic is not an official Eritrean language. By that standard there are many groups and issues that will do exactly what you are preaching if the temporary outcome is not to their liking. Not good! The better way is to keep advocating peacefully.

    • Ismail

      Selamat Berhe,

      Not all societal issues are solved by referendum in a democracy Berhe. Referendums are often problematic in such cases because they often reduce complex issues into a “yes/no” ultimatums and as we have seen in the Brexit mess, the results rarely correspond to the merits of the decision . If we resort to referendum on this issue, it is unlikely to be won by landslide by either party & if one side wins by a small margin, it can create unnecessary bitterness that can escalate and yes, even lead to a civil war – . people have fought each other for less weightier causes.

      Is it totally settled then? I don’t know but if even EPLF saw the necessity to use Arabic along with Tigrigna in its educational, media programs, & other publications despite its deep disdain for Arabic, it means – in hard-nosed practical terms – that the issue has been settled in my view. There will always be nay sayers of course.

      Thanks for the excellent question.

      Ismail (pointblank)

      • Berhe Y

        Hi Ismail,

        I think you meant to respond to (Bahri).

        Berhe

        • Ismail

          Selamat Berhe,

          Yes. I meant to respond to Bahri. My apologies to both of you.

          Ismail (pointblank)

  • iSem

    May 24, 2019: The Fools Danced, the Brave and Wise Demonstrated
    Hi All:
    Ismail Omer: Welcome back!
    A lot of Eritreans, even many who despise the regime were hoping to hear something fresh from IA, something to the effect that our border will soon be demarcated, mention the progress of the Peace with Abiye Ahmed, something hopeful for a hopeful future. But not IA again his displayed what he has perfected over the 4 dedicates of his grip: raising the expectation and then insulting the Eritrean people
    But there was something new that caught my eyes: the new elite military and if we are counting on this well fed, loyal army, we are doomed. This is IDF (Isaias Defence Forces). EDF is languishing in the jungle, underfed, unpaid, disrespected. So those who are fooling themselves and calling on ISF to side with the people will be disappointed.

    The fools who danced to the tune of IA his mercenary army and the few men and women at the top who their safely secured with the military you saw on May 24 will fight tooth to nail because for them I tis not about sovereignty or liberty and democracy, it is about their own personal survival. They are vicious and the opposition to them must be vicious.
    There is this dichotomy between the old and the young. Although the old must groom and pass the baton to the young to refresh the struggle, the old has memory the memory of the long ardours struggle that they need to impart into the young. This is no history, or documentation, it is far better than that something that is not tangible. Mentoring, inspiring the young with their tales and stories, their triumphs and tribulations, stories of bravery and cowardice, betray lad sacrifice of the long struggle. So it is the interrogative nature of theses two generation, the young and the old, the experienced and the inexperienced, the educated the illiterate that will eventually propel the struggle

    So to observe May 24, some fools, some mercenaries danced, the brave and wise demonstrated and history on 2019 had indelibly recoded the action of the fools and mercenaries and brave and wise. For posterity. For the next generation

    • Ismail

      Selamat Semere

      Thank you.

      Ismail (pointblank)

      • iSem

        Hi Ismail:
        You welcome and make it a habit:-)
        this piece is an addition the others you have written about dictators’

  • Ayneta

    Dear Awate:
    While virtually everything Issaias has said during the May 24 speech is garbage in garbage out, one thing that caught my attention and found peculiar is the absence of the familiar scapegoats in his speech: TPLF/weyane/kedemti. He didn’t mince a single word about them. One wonders why he is lip tight after blaming TPLF for decades for anything that didn’t work well in Eritrea. Yet, he urged the people of Eritrea to tighten their stomach and keep on marching with no light in sight.
    One explanation is perhaps what has been circulated in social media recently about few wealthy Tigryans trying to mediate between IA and TPLF may have a grain of truth. Perhaps one of these days IA will come out officially to tell us the confrontation between him and TFLF is over ( especially if he senses his bromance with Abby is touching cold water.)

    • iSem

      Hi Ayneta: The romance with Abiye is symbiotic and so it will not end soon. As TPLF and PFDJ, remember Molla Asghedom, he did not abandon TPLF and run to Eri to fight for decoration, he was sent there as a protection for IA after the war by MZ in case IA does not trust Eritreans.,. I think the entire Demhit was a ploy, the way they left, the way they arrived in Eri and the peace process between Ethio and Eri was long simmering, what we saw was just the celebration of the event like you toil for years and one day you graduate or date a woman and then wedding to celebrate, since we know IA his heart and soul is with Ethiopia and he does not want to see it disintegrate this is ploy. IA was always, I mean always from the get go was Ethiopian’s man in Eritrea, a mole. Saleh G, you should write a book titled: የኛ ሰውየ ብሳሕል ውስጥ. Ayneta: I think we have not gotten it yet,
      when people criticize ghedli by in large, it is not that is roots for freedom and dignity was not just, it is how it did not serve the aspiration of the Eritreans, and if some are content with having a border they call their own with nothing to show for except more humiliation , it is their choice but that is where the ghedli criticism comes in: that it was hijacked and has long stopped to make the dreams true, but it used the our sacrifices to bring a despot to power and if IA stays in power for a few years now, the ghedli would be remembered for creating the dynasty of IA. The Palestinian may dream to have a border they call their own, but they are not dreaming for a despot to humiliate them once they get that border.
      And I can bet that if the new Palestrina brings a despot to become president whose heart is with Israel, who abdicates his power to the Israel PM, who tortures the likes of Abas and Arefat the Palestinian people will say that their sacrifices have been hijacked.

      Being content with the flag and name and border you call your own by some people is disturbing and it is antithetical to the founding principle of gheldi. In 1968 as documented in the Kramer papers, a Muslim young lady when asked why you joined the armed struggle, she said: እግል ሕሩየትና ዎሕሽመንትና (for our Liberty and dignity). Her name was Saediya, a lowlander survior of Ethiopia’s burning villages and looting

      • Teodros Alem

        selam isem g
        what a g, u call is PIA ethiopianist? wow isem, this shows u have no clue about PIA, u r talking about a guy with his generals openly vowing to make ethiopians(amara), refugees all over the world 25 -27.years ago.

        • iSem

          Teodros F
          And you do not think they do not deserve it after they making others refugees. I think it was good idea and if you do not stop eating flesh that may happen you Teodros Alem F

          • Teodros Alem

            selam isem g
            U make it easier like u make drinking beer and vodka and saying yaikle(kefaya) with berhe easy, no, it is not easy and been tried for so long and u know the result.
            eating flesh? I or ethiopia never vowed to make any body refugee, so who is flesh eater? For real?

          • iSem

            Hi Teodros F
            You are blubbering, Your fathers and elder brothers actually ate humans in Eritea so that is why am talking about and save this comment you will seen go back to were you belong, cannibalism

          • Teodros Alem

            selam isem g
            my father’s and elder brothers never been to eritrea! not a single one of them , ur fathers and elder sisters were the one who came to ethiopia and still coming to ethiopia to sabotage my country.
            if u r talking about derg, what can i say, for one neither my family nor me don’t like derg , two u better blame ur fathers for being puppet of HS and they r also responsible for innocent eritrean refugees in sudan, ur fathers r the one has to talk the major share of the blame.
            what a f g isem. any ways u r paying it now.

          • iSem

            Hi Teodros F
            We are coming yes and soon we will take over, u can go to devouring each other to the jungle and feed on human flesh or whatever u guys like to eat by turning to hyenas at night. That is where you belong.
            Teodros F, the Eritreans, are coming

          • Teodros Alem

            selam isem g
            now u just turn to moron g f. where u coming ? red sea or Mediterranean sea?
            what f g, u r naturally born flesh eater and the evidence is all over the place .
            u have 1%chance to take ur land(from asmera to mendfera) unite it to tigrai and be ag g.

  • mokie berhe

    Salam All. TPLF supporters continue to divide the Eritrean opposition. -25 May 2019 – (EP) A ‘large’ number of demonstrators against Eritrea’s dictatorial regime was held yesterday in Washington City, USA, in spite of TPLF supporters ‘gatecrashing’ the event.A dissatisfied protester told EP that one of the Achilles’ heels of the opposition lack of support from the majority silence Eritreans (Langa Langa) is the continued association the movement has with Mekelle.

  • mokie berhe

    Salam Ismail Omer-Ali. You are indeed correct when you say that ‘Let bygones be bygones – Stop living in the past’. However, this means that one must recognize the ELF is truly an archaic historic entity that has not had real power since 1982 and had slept with the TPLF for 20 years in fragmented/powerless form (1998-2018), and that the EPLF should not be obfuscated with the PFDJ.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam mokie berhe,

      I did not wish to speak on behalf on Ismail, but why do you risk putting words in to his mouth and engage in futile spin work? Every word you scribbled floats wildly inside your mind set, and has absolutely no relation to the words you quoted from Ismail’s text. You couldn’t even quote him properly, which tells a lot about you.

      Dear, do not expose your shortcomings. The reader would shrug and wonder what on earth “archaic historic entity” could mean. Your statement shows you have no clue about “power” and its relation with player, time and space. Then, after exhibiting extreme lack in understanding things you put in writing, you failed to hide a novel syndrome that is afflicting former PFDJ myopic surrogates. You would like people to accept PFDJ a direct extension of the EPLF. It indeed is, and will remain be so until the former will be formally disowned. Otherwise, the father of PFDJ relegated the EPLF to “archaic historic entity”, to borrow your strange characterization.

      Moreover, you strive to believe or ignorant that the EPLF has been disintegrating since its inception – right from it days in Aala. Shall I count for you. The list will too long. You have to realize the ELF and EPLF share the same status in regard to you contention of sleeping with the TPLF. You do not want people to know you do know the EPLF beat the ELF to sleep with the TPLF long before the time you quoted.

      • mokie berhe

        Salam Ismail AA and many thanks for your very kind, respectful and interesting comments. PFDJ is not the same as EPLF, as it is a political party and not a liberation front. In that the EPLF was spawned from ELF, could one logically assert that they are one in the same? Of course not! The EPLF dissolved in 1994 with many of its rank and file either having left the Government or having been imprisoned. Only the very fragmented and futile ELF, powerless since 1982 yet desperate to reclaim its lost glory, chose to sleep with the TPLF during Eritrea’s post-independence era. Close ongoing association with the TPLF is simply derailing the Eritrean opposition and casting it as a totally untrustworthy entity. ELF based or not, the opposition needs to wake up to the fact that hanging around a bunch of TPLF sympathizers, is simply self-destructive.

    • Ismail

      Selamat Mokie

      Thanks for your feedback but you actually typify what I warn against in the article. Vilifying aspects of the past without a cause is not letting go of the past but clinging to the past. As for EPLF/PFDJ, they are one & the same. I discuss this in detail here: http://awate.com/a-critical-look-at-the-eplfpfdjgoe-saga-a-half-century-10-epic-drama/

      Ismail (pointblank)

      • mokie berhe

        Salam Ismail Omer-Ali. Many thanks for your comments. I am not vilifying the past when I speak of post 1982 ELF and its morphs which have and continue to sympathize with the TPLF. In your article of 2010, you stated that ‘To me, EPLF of the 70s is virtually indistinguishable from the PFDJ/GOE of the 21st century’. That statement is so wrong on so many accounts. The EPLF was a popularist liberation front whose vision was in stark contrast to the PFDJ’s (a political party) subjugation of Eritreans to religious persecution and other forms of human rights violations. I also take reservation with your 2010 comment regarding religion where you stated ‘Muslims and Christians are not the same and they don’t have to think alike. This was true in the past, true now and will always be true.’ That is simply a very bad and insensitive generalization which is void of secular tolerance. I have seen other instances where you wish to drive a wedge between religions; I will simply have no part of it!

  • mokie berhe

    Salam all. The terrorist organisation TPLF is now clearly the number one enemy to the Eritrean-Ethiopian peace process, to the Ethiopian Government and to marginalised Tigrayans who continue to get locked up left and right. On May 22, the Ethiopian Federal court ordered that a court order be delivered to former intelligence chief, Getachew Assefa, and three other National Information and Security Agency officials. Federal police dispatched to Tigray region to deliver the court order have been detained by regional security authorities. Tigray region elites and supporters of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) were a week ago, thru the Tigray Youth Association, planning a “I am Getachew Assefa” protest rally in Mekelle which was cancelled. However, tens of thousands of T-shirts with Getachew Assefa’s photo and slogans that read ‘I am Getachew Assefa’ and ‘Getachew should not be prosecuted but awarded’ were sold out in one day.

  • Ayneta

    Issaias Afwerki and his too obvious doctored prescriptions.

    The all-know-it all doctor, AKA IA, has prescribed the same remedy to the old problem in his May 24 speech: more ‘’tetsemem’’ tablets. He has ordered the same prescription for the last 28 years. Now he seems to advice the people to take the tablets more regularly. Just don’t worry about overdose, the tablet had proven to be effective under the shades of Sahil during the armed struggle. It carried the selfless tegadelti through thick and thin, and it should work now. He professes that Tetsemem tablets were the secret to the glamorous success of the struggle. Unlike his past speeches, this time he didn’t externalize the problem: he didn’t mention about TPLF, CIA, nay dege haylat. Yet, the good doctor regurgitated his usual doctor’s prescriptions saying Eritrean people need more Tetsemem tablets as the solution to their problem is still lurking in the present. He urges the people to understand that the problem is chronic and the solution requires protracted intervention. Just keep on pushing the tablets down the throat, he happily declares.
    The tablets he prescribed for the last 30 years are not enough because the ailment is profound, he advices. The infection has gone deep, affecting the bone, thus a short course of Tetsemem antibiotics wont touch it.
    The good doctor will re-examine the systemic infection next year and will decide if more tetsemem tablets are needed. Until then, the infection will get worse, likely sending the country to septic shock and possibly bringing it to the brink of demise, unless the patient, Eritrean people, seeks the opinion of a better doctor.

  • Paulos

    Selam My Good People,

    Well, May 24 has come and already receding into the past but this year was unique in the sense that people expected for Isaias to lax a bit to the very least to meet people’s demands as in to implement the Constitution, demarcate the border and release political prisoners. But to the contrary, Isaias was defiant when he refused to address people’s demands and resorted to insults instead.

    On the other hand, the Yi’akil demonstration was a complete success in every conceivable measure where it has fostered a structure and a life of its own. Now the trillion dollar question is, when Isaias is closing off all the venues to reform as he made it clear in his speech, how does the Opposition including the Yi’akil movement proceed from here? Or as Lenin put it a century or so ago, “What Is To Be Done?”

    • Ismail AA

      Dear Dr. Paulos,

      Thank you. This is one of the two question I pose to Ibrahim Tada as a corollary GitSAtSE’s questions. My intention was to let Ibrahim put some flesh on this very question, which I though was missing from his discussion. The hope was to have the current state of the problem lack of program and leadership in clear focus under Ibrahim’s thread any time as long as his article remains in front page. But, the authors has not yet shown up; but is still awaited. So, you correct the question has been eluding the diverse forces seeking change. No one could come with an answer. In fact we see them wandering around the issue instead of walking through it and dealing with. Nevertheless, a clue to seriousness in answering the question will be seen when views start to move towards the center where minds will have clash to evolve credible task program under coherent leadership.

  • Nitricc

    Hi All; This amazing! I can understand when the people you will see on this clip say Enough is enough; i can understand because they paid the ultimate price. How am I supposed to sympathize with fat previaged coward Disporinas when they say Enough from their western silvery? Do you see the problem and the degree of your immorality? You watch understand your futility.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjlhqlGpBd8

  • Consolation

    Selamat,

    As the tumultuous celebration of our independence day in Eritrea clearly show, it is time the so-called opposition threw the towel and apples the “enough” slogan to their futile efforts. I am sure you heard the roar of the crowd when PIA spoke. I suggest you take a closer look at the words and phrases that caused the ;loudest cheers.

    ያኢ ወያነ ንኤርትራ ወሪሩ ጎቢጡ
    ኣስመራ ከእትዎም ኣብ መንኵቡ ሓንጊጡ
    ክብራን ንብረታን ዘሪፉ ቀንጢጡ
    ተረፉ ክምጽውተሎም ነፍሶም ዝሸጡ::

    ይ ኣ ክ ል ንብሎም ኣይተዕለብጡ
    ልሙስ ኣእዳውኩም ኣይተወጣውጡ
    ብኽያት ኣርብዓ ዓመት: ንታይ ኣስሊጡ
    እንትርፎ ብኽሕደት ብንታይ ትፍለጡ

    ንወያነ ክጕምብሑ: ሕቖኦም ዝጎበጡ
    ተረፉ ከልምጹ ርእሶም ዝተመልጡ
    ሳክት ኣይትድከሙ: ብህዝቢ ክትሽቅጡ
    ይ ኣ ክ ል ፋይዳይብሉን ሕኒን ከም ጣንጡ

    ኣይኣኽለናን ዝብሉ ግን ይፍለጡ
    ኣብ ኤርትራ’ለዉ ሰብ መዓናጡ
    ዘይሃድሙ ዘይሽየጡ ዘይልወጡ
    ብ ኤሬይ ዝመጾም ዝድርዕሙ ዝጕስጡ::

    እወለዉ ጀጋኑ ኣብ ዓዶም ዝቕመጡ
    ናይ ብሓቂ: ጎቦታት ዘንቀጥቅጡ
    መንጊስቱ ኣህዲሞም ዚምባብወ ዘፈርጠጡ
    ነውያነ ኣብ ኮረሻ ስልጣን ዘኾየጡ::

    ዘየለዉ ከይመስለኩም ተስቀጡ
    ተዘይለፍለፉ፥ ከማኹም ተዘይሓንጠጡ
    ኣለዉ ኣብ ኵሉ ግምባራት: ንወያነ ዝቐጥቀጡ
    ንሕልሚ ዓባይ ትግራይ ከም ወረቐት ዝሸርጠጡ::

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Friend,

      ሓጻር መልእኽቲ ኣብ ሓጺር ግዜ ንኺድ ዶ ?

      ኣለኻ ዶ ልበይ ትርህርህ ከም ቀደም :
      ንበዳሊ ጨካን ትፍትን ክትእርም ::

      ኣለኻ ዶ ዓቅለይ ትኣምን ብሒሳብ :-
      ንፍቅሪ ኣትሒትካ ስልጣን ንኽትረክብ ::

      ንቅሓተ ሕልና ክብ የበል ይበልጽግ :-
      ጥቅው ክከባር ይሰንዱ ንቡዕሉግ ::

      ንኺድ ዶ ? ……

      KS,,

      • Kokhob Selam

        DEAR AWATE PARTICIPANT,,

        ትብል ኣላ ህይወት ሚዛን ይተሓሎ :-
        ————-ኣንባሪ ኣንብሮ ቀንጻሊ ቀንጽሎ ::

        ልብን ኣይተስተማስል ስራውርካ ኣትርሮ :-
        ……………ነቲ ጸረ ሰላም ፍጹም ኣይተፍቅሮ

        ሓንጎል ውን ኣይተጨክን ሕሉፍ :-
        ……………ጽቡቅ ተግባርካ እዩ ኣብ መዝገብ ዝተርፍ::

        ክበር ተኸባበር ኣሕሊፍካ ኣይትሃቦ :-
        ……………ኩሉ ዓቅምታትካ ኣብ ሓደ ኣክቦ:-
        ቅዲ ሜላ ቃልሲ ዋሕሊልካ ጽረቦ ;-
        ……………ልቦና እዩ ጽቡቅ ንሰናይ ስዓቦ

        ፍልልያት በዚሑ ኣብዘየሎ ጎንጺ :-
        ……………ሓደን ከሽካዕልል ከናሹ ከፋጺ:-
        ……………ዕድል እዩ ረኺቡ ገባቲ ዓማጺ :-
        ……………ደጊም ይእኸል ተበገስ ሃናጺ::

        ትብል ኣላ ህይወት ይተሓሎ ሚዛን :-
        መልኽቲ ተሕልፍ ንዓቅልን ንልብን :::

        ሓቢርኩም መርሹ ኣብ ደስታን ጸበባን :-
        ………….ንደለይቲ ሰላም ብመዓርን ጻባን:-
        ………….ንደለይቲ ኩናት ብሴፍን ጎራዴን :-
        ………….ብዘይ ስሙር ጉዕዞ ፍጹም ዓወት የለን ::

        ንኺድ ዶ ? ….

        KS,,

  • Ali-Guban

    To Awate team,
    I posted this piece to Gubanmedia.com after few introduction paragraphs as a link. The author of the piece has already given a permission to publish it. My goal was to publicize the plight of Eritrean people. But If you insisted to take it down as link, I am going to delete this important piece from the website.

    Thanks,
    Ali,
    Editor of Gubanmedia.com

  • Brhan

    Thanks Ismail for the article.
    And SGJ..thanks for the picture…I did not know that you are also a gifted painter!!

    • Ismail

      Selamat Brhan.

      Thanks. Yes. he is creative and an extremely gifted artist

      Ismail (pointblank)

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Brhan,
      That is my hobby but the circumstances didn’t allow me to develop that and other hobbies that I would have enjoyed instead of fighting to regain a natural citizen right. See what they have done to us!

      • Paulos

        Selam Ayay,

        Sad as it is, how about you put it in an artistic form [drawing] what you just said.

        • Saleh Johar

          Dear Paulos,
          It is difficult to depict that in visuals maybe poetry or simple prose can explain it better. A picture is worth a 100 words they say, but I think describing that doesn’t fit in a simple one page visual. Drawing or a cartoon is not the right medium, I think, unless there is a genius who can do that.

          I loved photography. I even had a dark room in my house years ago–my father had the first photo studio owned by an Eritrean in Keren. When the CID troubled him repeatedly looking for youth who joined the revolution from pictures of sport and social events, and when they found pictures of many who were in the wanted lit. He sold it to another young man who owned one of the two photo studios. My hobby was neglected and forgotten.

          I was the official artist of the Boy Scout club and I did some childish drawings. Then I read and learned lot but didn’t go beyond simple abstract and better pencil and charcoal drawings. I never improved as much as I wished. I tried poetry and my first book was a collection of poems, published in 1993–I am thinking os sharing it on PDF publicly.

          I liked travel, but in the last 20 years, my travel have been associated with the needless task the monsters subjected us to. See! They killed all the beautiful things we enjoyed as individuals. All our human activities was switched from the meaningful to the more urgent–quest for freedom and justice. And when that happens, the artists within us is killed slowly. Unfortunately, that is now considered a luxury–but I try to fighting the killing machine and I have an inspiration from a few artists, one of them a close friend whom I am blackmailing to come out and share his work in a proper manner 🙂

          • Paulos

            Selam Ayay,

            I can see you one day writing a book titled, “The Photo Shop” where you can tell the story of your generation with respect to the occupying forces as in the King or Dergue.

            You probably heard of a book titled “The Book Seller In Kabul.” It is a story of an Afghani man in Kabul who owned a Book-Store. In the early 2000s, a Norwegian woman travelled to Kabul and she crashed in his house and wrote a panaromic story of Afghanistan when she learned more about the particular family. It was one of the books, you read one book and you know the entire country including its culture values, social settings including the political dynamics. The book received great acclaim for a good reason. However, he later on sued her of defamation but the ruling was turned over but in later years he left Afghanistan and asked for asylum in Norway.

            P.S. Many thanks for the song.

          • Saleh Johar

            Aha Paulos, that means you didn’t read it,
            I think I wrote that some years ago in 120,000 word book:-) It was a collection of some forty something short-stories that I stitched together to make a novel. I think I can expand each short story into an independent book–I will think about it

          • Paulos

            Selam Ayay,

            I often wonder who would be writing the ever elusive Biography of Isaias Afwerki. Perhaps you. No?

  • Haile S.

    Selam Ismail Omar-Ali,

    Thank you for this valuable advices to all Eritreans and our aspiring leaders. As you said and as depicted in the images that accompanies you article, we are supporting the load on our back with a string around our head, chaining our thoughts and deafened our ears. Suffice to flick away back this string from our front to be relieved in an instant for listening to each other, thinking about each other and more.

    • Ismail

      Selamat Haile,

      Thanks. I appreciate your comments.

      Ismail (pointblank)

  • Ali Mohamed

    Kudos to Ismail for your well thought and provoking piece about the plight of the Eritrean people. In 1991, when Eritrea won its independence from Ethiopia after along bitter batlle, it had all the hallmark to became a free, prosperous country,But unfortunately, Eritrea became the north Korea of Africa.Tor reclaim their freedom, Eritrean people must aside their difference and unite for one cause: a free, democtaric Eritrea. I know it is not going to be easy.

    To the south of Ertrea, on sunny Saturday May 18, Somaliland people celebrated 28th aniiversary of their independece after the defeat one of the most brutal dictators in Africa–Siad Barre. Somaliland, albeit imperfect, its citizens enjoy freedom,in terms of press freedom , political participation and free market economy.But that freedom needs always to be protected for the next generation.If not, it could extinguish.

    Happy Eritrea indepence day, and a prosperous, free and democratic Eritrea will rise up soon.Be optimistic,stay the course and patience and faith.

    P.S. Correction, May 24 was Friday in 2019.

    My name is Ali, I am editor and founder of Gubanmedia.com, which carries news analysis and commentary about the Horn of Africa.I am asking a permission to republish your piece on my wesbite.

    • Ismail

      Salamat Ali

      Thanks for the feedback and kind words. It was a hastily put together piece but you have my permission to republish it but you may need to get it from Awate too.

      Also thanks for informing us about your website – will check out -and for the date correction. The latter was the editor’s mistake by the way and I am sure it will be corrected.

      Ismail (pointblank)

    • Dear Mr. Ali,
      Cross-posting is not allowed, you cannot republish the article, but you can provide a link to the article if you wish.

      • Ali M.

        I posted it as a link. Thanks.

  • Ismail AA

    Hayak Allah Ismail OA and all,

    Thoughtful reflections on essentials that remind the reader to reflect. The message in this finely written piece is one: Free your mind from externally acquired burden before you ever hope to change conditions that affect your life and by extension the life of a nation. In a word, Ismail is telling his fellow compatriot to let his/her mind undergo a process of attitudinal revolution and become an authentic self before you set out to find your likes and join hands with them for common purpose.

    I will the risk and dare to surmise that Ismail had put before his imaginative mind the multifaceted baggage the social and cultural set ups Eritrea as a nation contains. Each of us as persons do not walk with one mind set; we walk with multiple mindsets (figuratively) we have acquired from our cultural and social milieus. We are born and grow to conform rather than fight. Instead of developing an independent self, the adult ends up property of social and cultural milieus. His mind gets set to receive and to provide.

    It is such state, thus, in my view, the individual becomes docile listener to what charlatans, as Ismail called them, say and ends up as an admirer instead of a critic. Under such state of conditions the shortage becomes very much felt when society finds itself in dire need of surviving impending danger. Free thinkers and creative participants to lead the effort for survival become none existent or an incapacitating scarcity.

    This is our dilemma in these menacing times in our existence as a nation under a destructive dictatorship. Ismail has used his independent and reflective mind to articulate for us the minimum requirements we should, and can, do if at all we intend to forge a collective will that can be deployed to cater for our survival as nation by regaining the opportunity and threshold we had lost, and use the costly independence we have attained as springboard for transforming our free lives as citizens under a democratic entity we aspired and still do.

    Thank you muga’oo (moKsi).

    • Ismail

      Ahlan Mugae Ismail!

      You have a unique talent to distill to essentials the thoughts of others. And this is not the first time. I have seen you do the same to many other articles. This requires focused reading that delves deeply into the written word.

      Many thanks moksi for your generous comments

      Ismail (pointblank)