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Isaias Afwerki Deals With His Regime’s Suicide Note

The goal of all authoritarian leaders is to create a state that does not have alternative power centers or breeding grounds for a leader to emerge and to challenge them. In Eritrea, the institutions which incubated emerging leaders were traditional, religious, civil society, and the military. After a 50 year-long assault by secular fundamentalists, social engineers, and Maoists, the established regional, ethnic, tribal, and religious institutions and authorities were de-clawed and the emerging intellectual, civil society, trade associations were co-opted.  Now, all that is left of Eritrea’s institutions are the President’s Office, the military, and the blueprint outlined by the 1997 Constitution.  Put another way, the only thing that is preventing the transformation of the extreme authoritarianism of the self-declared President into an outright totalitarianism are the military and the still flickering constitution.  And, oh yes, the president’s office has plans for both–particularly after Forto 2013.

“How did this happen to us?” is not a useful question now.  Suffice to say that this is hardly new to Eritrea.  One observable fact in group dynamics is: individuals and small groups love liberty, but mobs and large groups love security above all else.   A person who is selling security almost always wins over the person selling liberty–even in the land of liberty.   Furthermore, people love transformative figures and builders over enlightened leaders. This is why there is a statue of Menelik II (who forcefully incorporated the Southeastern and Southern territories to Abyssinia) in Addis Abeba and not, well, name some other enlightened Ethiopian ruler—my history of Ethiopia has become sketchy.  This is why there are pictures and statues of Chairman Mao in China and he is, to many Chinese, a god to worship and pray to despite the fact that, according to historians, Mao was (fully or partially) responsible for the death of 49 to 78 million Chinese people over a twenty-year period (1949-1969) and it was Deng Xiaoping who transformed China into a superpower on a trajectory to be the world’s largest economy.

Ok, now that’s two mentions of Mao.  What does Mao have to do with Eritrea?

President Isaias mentioned ten times during the course of the evening his “42-year long relationship with China,” dating from his 1967 training as a political commissar during Mao’s Cultural Revolution….He remarked repeatedly on his admiration of Chairman Mao and claimed that Mao laid the foundation for all of China’s subsequent achievements. Other Chinese diplomats tell us Isaias dislikes Deng Xiaoping because Deng attempted to undermine Mao’s legacy. Isaias avidly consumes biographies of Mao and has refused offers of books on Deng and modern China.

That was America’s ambassador to Eritrea, McMullen, reporting to his bosses about an event that happened in October 2009 at the Chinese embassy in Eritrea.

So, when we are trying to speculate on what Isaias Afwerki intends to do with the Eritrean Defense Forces and the ratified 1997 Eritrean constitution, we are asking what will somebody who “avidly consumes biographies of Mao”do?  And if you are asking “what constitution?” and “what EDF?” and why would he even consider those a threat, consider this: the Eritrean opposition is full of people who question the legitimacy of the 1997 constitution; the Eritrean opposition is full of people who question the ability of the EDF to bring about change;  the Eritrean opposition is full of people who question the wisdom of bringing change at the point of a gun.  Yet, when a few colonels and soldiers stormed the Ministry of Information on January 21 (Operation Forto) to announce, at gun point, their demand for the implementation of the 1997 constitution, everybody was cheering them on.  Why?  Because, I think, people know that our last chance at a remotely orderly change is via the EDF and via the constitution. Whether the people have articulated this or not, I think they know it: this is why there was so much support for “wedi Ali” and “Forto 2013” from some of the most unlikely sources.

Authoritarians may have terrible records when it comes to identifying what is good for their country but they are exceptionally good–can see around the corner–when it comes to what is good for their power.  An authoritarian may rail against the evil of nepotism, corruption or regionalism, but he will have no compulsion to have family members and fellow villagers raiding the state coffers so long as they are protecting him.  This is why the EDF and the Eritrean Constitution are a menace to Isaias Afwerki.

EDF No More?

During Eritrea’s revolution, Isiaias Afwerki was the undisputed leader of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Army (EPLA) which became the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) after Eritrea’s liberation when Isaias Afwerki was briefly enamored with the New World Order and was scraping off whatever reminded the world that his background is revolutionary Marxism/Maoism.  But the EDF is not the fearsome unit the EPLA was—what with Ethiopia crossing the border and hitting anything anytime it feels like it; what with soldiers deserting their units by the tens of thousands, and what with unmotivated commanders obsessing over their daily life and the countdown to old age without retirement benefits or even respect.  Thus, it becomes necessary to recreate the Eritrean People’s Liberation Army (EPLA) from scratch.  (Coincidentally, Mao never changed the name of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA.)

The problem with the EPLA was that it had incubated lots of heroes who had authority (military leadership authority) that was not dependent on the largesse of Isaias Afwerki but on their own heroism and gallantry.  But over a 40-year period, they have been purged, eliminated, emasculated or maligned from an assortment of enemies.  In post-independent Eritrea, the attack on them is from the Isaiaists (“they are all midgets who looked like giants because they were standing on the shoulders of Isaias!”), from the wounded opposition (“they are no better than Isaias! Their hands are just as bloody as his!”), and from the De-Romantics (“the problem is not just Isaias! The whole armed struggle was a mistake! Eritrea is a mistake!”)

So, the EPLA has to be created.  Step one was the creation of an elite team with total loyalty to Isaias Afwerki.  That was achieved years ago (you can learn about that courtesy of another wikileak.)  Step two was the hallowing out of the existing army—if they are going to leave anyway, you might as well profit from their desertion.  So, in a devilish plan, if you believe the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (and I do), Isaias Afwerki actually benefits handsomely from the trafficking of Eritrean youth—from Eritrea to Sudan, Sudan to Sinai, Sinai to the West.  Step three is creation of a people’s militia.

When it come to the new militia, we focused on the superficial side of it: that Isaias Afwerki was arming old men: there were pictures of men in their 60s using their AK-47 as canes and women holding them next to their vegetable stands. Ha ha.  But the real question is: why would Eritrea need two military forces? The goal has to be the creation of an army that has no remnants from the revolution demanding respect from their years of service and contribution during the armed struggle.   A people’s army led by generals with little role in the armed struggle, but absolute loyalty to Isaias Afwerki to replace the EDF as it withers on the vine.

The Constitution (The Suicide Note)

Under the terms of the Eritrean constitution of 1997, the citizens had the right to form political organizations (right of assembly), to publish newspapers (press).  The State could hold a prisoner without charges for no more than 48 hours, and the president could be the head of state for no more than two 5-year terms.  Well, let’s not get confused: with all due respect to the independence of the constitutional commission of Eritrea, if Isaias Afwerki did not want any of these liberties for the citizens (or any of the limits on the state) they would have been stricken from the constitution. In 1997, Isaias Afwerki, then practicing the philosophy of enlightened absolutism, was so popular he could have made dictatorship popular.  But, back in 1991-1996, when he was part of the “New Generation of African Leaders” (insert appropriate trademark sign here), Isaias Afwerki had drunk from the New Democrat Kool Aid.   This is because the world had changed in 1988—and the New World Order looked like it was here to stay.  He would brag to friends and foes that the constitution is pretty much based on the booklet he distributed at the Municipality (enda municipio) meeting in 1995.

The problem was that this was not an organic growth: the EPLF was many things but “democrat” wasn’t one of them. It is something that he felt he had to mouth because the alternative was to be a pariah in the New World Order.   It was the path to respectability and relevance and being the new voice of Africa.  It was the path to American bases in the Red Sea, and blessings from the World Bank and the IMF.    By 2001, the New Generation had become the Not-So-New Generation: ironically, while all the old generation of African leaders were embracing liberal democracy, all those who were being hailed as heroes in the early 1990s—Uganda’s Museveni, Rwanda’s Kagame, Ethiopia’s Meles, and Eritrea’s Isaias—had rediscovered their inner-Mao.    Whatever their differences, all had come to develop the same view towards the citizens: they are infants who cannot be trusted with such a complex machinery known as liberal democracy.  Their legs are not stable yet, and you want them to run marathons? First must come stability: peace, food security, infrastructure, education, healthcare, and other goodies that take a generation or two or three to materialize.  Meanwhile, the Not-So-New Generation will just have to assume their heavy burden of being the guardians of their countries to protect it from all temptations, foreign and domestic.  But what to do with the suicide notes they had penned?

The other members of the former New Generation found a way to deal with the suicide notes they had once penned.  Musevini did it the Old School way: he just amended the constitution to allow him to run indefinitely; Kagame has his regularly-scheduled programming: the farce runs every seven years, on time, and his coalition party (including an Islamist party) wins anywhere between 80% to 95% of the seats; Meles had his scare in 2005 when his opponents discovered the magic of coalition building and his party was reduced to a 60% seat, but equilibrium had been achieved with the 2010 elections when his coalition, in a “peaceful and well organized” election (according to EU which is why EU is becoming a joke) won 499/547 seats.

Meanwhile, Isaias Afwerki’s suicide note, written in a different era was sitting around gathering webs.  His regime was stuck between a triangle of opposite beliefs: 1. The 1997 Eritrean Constitution was a marvel, a result of PFDJ’s ability to ensure popular participation; 2. The Eritrean constitution cannot be implemented now because we are in a no-peace, no-war situation; 3. The Eritrean people have rebuffed all efforts to hold them hostage of Ethiopia’s evil intentions and it’s business as usual in Eritrea.    The answer to the question of “if the no-war no-peace situation is of no consequence, why not implement the constitution and have election?” was to mock elections in Africa, which is always a fertile land for mockery when it comes to self-government.

The 1997 Constitution was a document that was produced when Isaias Afwerki actually believed that liberal democracy was the wave of the future—which is why he insisted (according to Dr. Bereket Habteselasse, the chairman of the Constitutional Commission of Eritrea) that term limits be incorporated.  But now, when he has rediscovered and embraced his inner Mao, how does one reconcile term limits with his claim (Riz Khan Interview Al Jazeera) that there won’t be political pluralism in Eritrea for three decades, four decades, maybe more? How does one reconcile term limits when he tells an interviewer (ABC – Foreign Correspondent) that resignation is not something “that will ever cross my mind again any time in the future as long as I am alive.” ?

You can’t.  Well, I couldn’t.  But I am not as smart as the ideologues of PFDJ because they have come up with a perfect plan.  The way to solve a complicated problem is to complicate it further.   It goes like this.  The 1997 Eritrean Constitution is a marvelous document.  However, the Chairman of the Constitutional Commission of Eritrea, who had (and has) become a foreign lackey, had unbeknownst to the rest of his colleagues “fatally compromised their autonomy and the legitimacy of the Commission”,   “may have irreparably damaged the future of the constitution.”

When I read it first (in a piece, allegedly by two no-names in a review of Dr. Bereket Habteselasse’s book, but really penned by friends of the President’s Office), I felt like Yossarian in the novel Catch-22 when he learned of how catch-22 works: “Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.” After boasting for years that the document had popular participation, expert reviews, layers of ratification processes, to claim now that the Eritrean constitution is “fatally compromised” and “irreparably damaged” because of the actions of one man…. Phew.  That is brilliant, really.  Because the only thing you can do to a “fatally compromised” and “irreparably damaged” document is to change it. Of course! The only way to undo this damage—for the sake of national unity!—is to draft anew.  Except that this time, all clauses referring to political pluralism, civil liberties must—for the sake of national unity!—more explicitly be made subservient to stability and national unity!


Eritrea had organic institutions for incubating the next generations of leaders.  They were traditional, religious, civil society, military and law.   The assault on traditional, religious and part of the civil society (student, teachers, arts associations) began in the Eritrean field during the armed struggle and continued through post-independence with the redrawing of the traditional provinces, emasculating religious leaders, and co-opting the civil society.  Leaders who emerged from the Eritrean field and did not owe their authority to Isaias Afwerki were purged, disappeared, killed, or imprisoned.   The rest, now aging and without any safety net for their families, feel trapped.

From the perspective of Isaias Afwerki, there are only two choices when it comes to the EDF:  to recreate the Eritrean People’s Liberation Army with an all-volunteer army or just to purge the EDF of its revolutionary-era leadership and maintain its conscript army.  Either option eliminates whatever minimal independent authority remains with the EDF.   Similarly, with the 1997 constitution, which was written in a distant, relatively-enlightened era,  Isaias Afwerki has two choices: if he wants to avoid the infamy of presiding over a country that has no constitution, he can amend the “irreparably damaged” constitution so that there are no laws that can be used against him in a court of law or language that poses a threat to his power or to his legacy.  Or he can, as he has now for 15 years, choose to not have a constitution at all and to have a country in a de-facto state of emergency.  All that requires is a crisis of one sort or another, and one can never run out of crisis.

From the perspective of the exiled opposition groups, there is no one voice that speaks on their behalf: we have a cacophony.  Some said that the 1997 constitution is a non-starter because it was illegitimate, exclusive, and unfit to solve Eritrea’s complex problems and some said it is workable; some said change cannot come at gun point; some said it is the only way it can come; some said that change cannot come without Ethiopia’s help, some said there should be no role for Ethiopia.   The exceptional appeal of Forto 2013 was that there was clarity in thought and action.  What people were thrilled about was not based on the precision of the operation—it was somewhere between bumbling to good effort—the thrill was that, at long last, there were Eritreans who knew exactly what they wanted to do, and then tried to do it.   It was a clarifying moment: one can have a constitutional government or Isaias Afwerki: but not both.  One can have a country governed by rule of law or by Isaias Afwerki: but not both.  One can have a country where the accused are brought to a court of law or a country governed by Isaias Afwerki where yesterday’s heroes become non-persons or, worse, their death is spoken of as if they are common criminals.  But not both.   What Forto 2013 said was: one can initiate a momentum for change and win, draw or lose pursue it; or one can provide a long list of preconditions for initiating change.  But not both.  This is why Forto 2013 was so powerful and why it has led to more arrests in Eritrea than even the September 2001 challenge to the authority of Isaias Afwerki.

About Salyounis

Saleh Younis (SAAY) has been writing about Eritrea since 1994 when he published "Eritrean Exponent", a quarterly print journal. His writing has been published in several media outlets including Dehai, Eritrean Studies Review, Visafric, Asmarino and, of course, Awate where his column has appeared since the launch of the website in 2000. Focusing on political, economic, educational policies, he approaches his writing from the perspective of the individual citizens' civil liberties and how collectivist governments and overbearing organizations trample all over it in pursuit of their interests. SAAY is the president and CEO of a college with a focus in sound arts and video games and his writing often veers to music critique. He has an MBA from Golden Gate University and a BA from St Mary's College.

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  • eriiiiiiiiii

    This below is an idea which I copy & paste from the Isias Favorite book- Machiavelli, ” The Prince”. Please guys print & read the book, you will find Isias in the book.

    Here below is how he create mess in the country through the igonorant & illiterate army leaders:

    When the duke occupied the Romagna he found it under the rule of weak masters, who rather plundered their subjects than ruled them, and gave them more cause for disunion than for union, so that the country was full of robbery, quarrels, and every kind of violence; and so, wishing to bring back peace and obedience to authority, he considered it necessary to give it a good governor. Thereupon he promoted Messer Ramiro d’Orco,(*) a swift and cruel man, to whom he gave the fullest power. This man in a short time restored peace and unity with the greatest success. Afterwards the duke considered that it was not advisable to confer such excessive authority, for he had no doubt but that he would become odious, so he set up a court of judgment in the country, under a most excellent president, wherein all cities had their advocates. And because he knew that the past severity had caused some hatred against himself, so, to clear himself in the minds of the people, and gain them entirely to himself, he desired to show that, if any cruelty had been practised, it had not originated with him, but in the natural sternness of the minister. Under this pretence he took Ramiro, and one morning caused him to be executed and left on the piazza at Cesena with the block and a bloody knife at his side. The barbarity of this spectacle caused the people to be at once satisfied and dismayed.

  • belay

    Dear Tamrat Tamrat,
    So there is such thing as unionist then.
    I used to think,that was dead and burried long time ago.
    Are you realy serious?or it is a wind up.
    Any way i found it very scary to mention this,at the present moment any way.
    I truely think,we are both better of to be good neihgbours.

  • Sabri

    I was trying to find an alternative program to the policy of the Eritrean government from the opposition. But I couldn’t find. The only mantra I hear is the vague concept of democracy. How do they plan to govern Eritrea? What is their political program? What is their economical program? The issue of development is very complex. You can’t find a solution just by saying democracy. Many third world countries are leaning towards East rather than West. What is the opposition stand on this issue? When they are criticizing the policy of self-reliance what is their alternatives? Yes, we need democracy. But how do you bring it? Just by throwing the current government? The issue of democracy must be concretized based on the current reality of the country. Many people are striving after change but they don’t see alternatives from the opposition. The existence of silent majority are wrongly described by many analysts as a result of fear.  Many are silenced because they don’t see alternatives. I think it is time to think this suppressed but important issue. 

    • Kokhob Selam


      it is fine. but why even wait for some one to give alternative? come up with ideas and put it in front of the opposition.

      Look brother, no one is responsible more than the other. the people who are struggling are only part of us and we have to work all. even majority, why they have to wait for some one. why we expect but we don’t move ourselves ?let you and me start to fight in all forms and let us give choices and alternatives to the once who are working but not advancing. thanks

      • Sabri


        Everybody can talk politics but everybody can’t be politician.One of the confused thing in eitrean politics is that everybody is trying to be a politician. Talking politics and be the actual politician are two different things.  Those Eritrean who claim to be politician should have clear alternative. Don’t you think so?

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    One of the greatest mistakes of isayas and his supporters mistakes is that what the unionists (both from Eritrea and ethiopia) have tried to bring in Peace, is tried by isayas goonies by force and croocked ways.

    1) Infilterating the first Ethiopian election done by tplf.
    2) Direct influence and involvment in Ethiopian economy.
    3) Demanding and possessing the geological data of somali regional and afar regional state in the disguise of accessing the data worked on Eritrea. This even dwarfed the tplf member who sympathize Ethiopia and brought unexpected discomfort between the agressive eri-and tigre revolutionaries.
    4) Engaging all ethiopians in ethnical politics while denying the same right for eritrean ethnic Groups in Eritrea.

    5) In the terroized Ethiopia the import exporters had have two governments to obery. One in addis from tplf, and another one from eplf in Assab.

    All the above could have been done by the uniounists for the best of both People. But that time both were bussy and happy to humilate, sett in prison and kill the uniounists. To ask why isayas and his supporters were engaged on the above Points is meaningless now but at that time was is confussing if not irritating.

    So what do we learn from this and do NeXT? What do the New leaders do for Eritrea With Our runing Ethiopia or the uniounists?

    We might be minorities but we the uniounists must have full respect from both sides. We have no hidden agenda. We believe that together we can do better. As the separetists have respects, we deserve also the same respect. Both in Eritrea and ethiopia the uniounists must live With out intimediation, name calling, haterade, killings, prison ets.

    If we belive in Democracy though the majority decides but that doesnt mean the Group who lost shall be eliminated.

  • Asmara

    Dear Saay,

    Wasting your time entertaining the likes of Eyob, all the Unionists and focusing on bashing the Eritrean Government amounts to nothing. And I don’t think it would add any value to your cause, whatever it is. Nor will it bring you closer to the Eritrean people.

    The one and only one thing, you and other intelectuals out there, can do to help the situation in Eritrea, is by directing all your might (Writing skills, attachement to the outside world, and knowledge of the shitara of the world, and also your detailed oriented nature, to mention some) towards FORCING WOYANIE TO DO THE RIGHT THING, I.E. ABIDE BY THE BORDER RULLING AND NORMALIZE RELATIONS WITH ERITREA. It is high time you should divert your focus to the one which the Eritrean people would be grateful for

  • Eyob Medhane


    Wow..look at the comments here. Apparently, everyone’s missed you…

    I am sorry, I don’t mean to sidetrack you, but I saw your (I can bet that it’s yours) comment on awate facebook on the dinner of Obama and Miss Israel Yitayesh Ayenew..

    Come on, dude. Must you be that hard on these “Major World News” with that famous snark of yours? Tsk, tsk,tsk,tsk……. 🙂

    • Salyounis


      You are reading too much into it: at awate facebook, we just love headlines, wordplay, awful puns. You mean when you read the headline that Obama is meeting Miss Israel, the first Israeli of Ethiopian ancestry, the first thought that came to your mind was not, “Great, for the sole purposes of optics alone, a black Christian American president of Kenyan ancestry, who is accused of hiding his Muslim faith when in fact he is just hiding his atheism, is going to meet with a Jewish black beauty pageant winner in a country which simultaneously says it is a democracy and a Jewish state”? We are the only ones who thought that?:)

      Since you mention awate facebook, when we posted a news item about Somalia, for the first time in 20 years exporting livestock, an Eritrean commenter wrote: “Dont undermine our Tiger economy, We passed from exporting livestock to humans…” Sad but true.


      • Eyob Medhane


        Honestly, I wasn’t that much impressed with the ‘first black Israelite beauty queen. M beef is not with her, but the purpose that she seemingly ‘won’ the beauty pagent. She has become a pawn to hide a hidious scandal of injecting Ethiopian women with deprovera. It’s seems a typical PR manuplation to say “…see, we like black people. Even some of our beauty pagent winners are black…” It’s really disapointing and even depressing. I actually thought you were going to point that out. Other than that she is a beautiful girl…

  • ቅኑዕ ልቦናን ድሌትን እንተሎ ኩሉ ይክአልዩ ዝብል አብሓሕላ አብ ኤርትራና ንሰምዖ ሓረግ ኢዩ ብፍላይ ፕሬስደንት ኢሳያስን ስርዓቱን ዝምርሑሉ ስነ ሓሳብ ኢዩ ዝብሉ ብዙሓት አለዉ ይክአሎ ኩሉ ዝክአሎ ንቅዋም ምጽዳቅ ስለምንታይ ዘይተክአሎ ንምካኑ ከም ሉዓላዊት ሓገር ንነብሳ ዝአወጀት አብ ዓለም አፍልጦ ዘይብላ ፍትሒን ሕጋዊ ቁዋማዊ ስርዓት ተኺላ ባይቶአዊን ፕሬስደንታዊን መረፃ ብምግባር ንዓለም ዘደነቀት ሓገር ሶማሊ ላንድ ነታ ባንዲራ ተኺላ አብ ዓለም አፍልጦ ካብ ትረክብ 20 ዓመት ዘቁጸረት ቁዋማዊ መንግስቲ ዘይብላ ኤርትራ ብምስምስ ብዘይ ቁዋም ነታ ሓገር ዝመርሓ ስርዓት ካብ ናይ ካብ ሱማሊ ላንድ ስርዓት ይምሓርዶ ደሊና ፍትሓዊ

  • Abu Sala(saleh),

    I am sure you read it… but in case not, this is how EPLF then, and now PFDJ indoctrinate Maoism and produce cult worshipers. Keep in mind I am still in our last threads, arguing about the continuum of Maoism in Eritrea from its inception as “new democracy” and now as “guarded democracy”. Read below the link from a defected YPFDJ exposing the “behavior modification techniques.”

    • F.M.

      Thank you for the link Aman. The article is a real eye opener. The only good Eritrean is one who is a zombie. And to think that’s how Eritrea became….

      • haile

        …Oh dear guys,

        It sure looks like the Eritrean people are the poor dart board and you guys and PFDJ are having a good old game sticking it on that old board hanging there. Good job Amanuel Hidrat.

      • F.M.


        Which Eritrean people are you trying to use as cannon fodder in service of your secretive state of Eritrea, Willis?!

      • F.M.

        Correction to @Haile:

        Whatchu talking bout, Arnold?

    • asmara


      We saw that already. It is posted on the biggest ANW’s* website. Two things render that document useless. 1. The dude says he was on a top leadership position before his alleged defection. Top leadership? so who is he/she blaming or accusing now? HGDF is not some kind of monster from outer space, it is a collection of Eritreans, lead by Eritreans. So, is this dude accusing the lower rank of HGDF or what?
      2. Any one can write this nonsense. No name no nothing.IT smells assenna. And the timing is funny.

    • haile

      …and of course here is the funniest part:

      The writer is versed on the “mind control” techniques that use “fear” as a tool, yet was afraid to write openly and under his real name… my foot,,,, The opposition better get its acts right at an individual level, else stop wasting everybody’s time. Blaspheming the proud people of Eritrea is not a measure of hard you’re fighting the system, rather how deep you’re sleeping in the enemy’s bosoms.

      • haile

        correct: how hard you’re….

    • Asmara

      This part is kind of give away:

      “I was one of the main leaders of YPFDJ.” So, who is he blaming then? the low ranking members?

      The problem with the ANW is, instead of showing the Eritrean people what good or what best alternative they can bring to the table, they waste their time in preventing the good part of the Eritrean government from showing (I said good because millions and millions of Eritreans are following it. For instance YPFDJ)

      • Asmara

        [Moderator: Asmara, think before you write. If your comments do not add value to the discussion, don’t comment. Be respectful.]

      • Asmara


        Point taken.
        Just to note, thought, the word was not meant to add any thing to the discussion, it was just a description assigned to certain group depicting their usuall action or stand. It is equivalent to the descriptions or names used by the main contributors of the forum, including the moderators themselves, such as : Zombies, HGDFites, ISSAIasists, Komaro, PFDjites, when addressing any one with a sensible mind who happened to see things as they are and see it to support the Eritrean people and the government.

        [From moderator: First, you are doing that thing that you do: changing your name. Do you get bored that easily? Is “Asmara” your new name and you have retired “oh Yea”, “seb”, “Eritrea2” or will they show up to praise “Asmara” for great points he made. This is against posting guidelines so shape up, real quick. People, please remove your clown suit when you enter the grounds of]

    • haile

      Reply to F.M.

      hehe…if woyane can think it can be one (by selling its soul)…why not me??? In fact Arnold is no match…he is make belief like your own woyane…we are the real deal. Cry a river baby!

      • F.M.

        Ok Haile. Godspeed to you. Eat more spinach. As it stands, they are looking down at your Popeye fist and murmuring ” Even if I want to get serious, I would not get serious about you”

      • haile


        hahaha… spinach? what’s wrong with wedi A (I mean wedi aker!)…haha:-)

    • Salyounis

      ahlen Amanuel:

      Thanks for the link.

      When I say that, between 1988-1998, there is a great deal of evidence that Isaias Afwerki had pretty much accepted liberal democracy as the “final and binding” world ideology, you think I am complimenting the man. What I am telling you is that the idology of Isaias Afwerki is “Isaisism”: maintain power at all costs. If this requires embracing the ideology of Maoism, he will; if this requires accepting the terms of the New World Order because it seemed inevitable at the time and it was the price of admission to respectability, he will; if this requires being an ally of Iran, he will; if this requires telling Donald Rumsfeld that there is no limit to what Eritrea will do to accomodate American needs, he will. Isaias believes in one and only one thing: that Isaias must rule Eritrea. So do the Isaisists, which is why the most sincere slogan that has ever emerged in the Eritrean field is from the Isaiasists, namely: “Nehna=Nsu, Nsu= Nehna.”

      If a person was drunk and signed a contract, and the contract favors me, I am not going to argue that the contract is flawed because it was written by a drunk man who did not really mean what he said. At the very least, I am going to get him to admit in a court of law that the contract is not binding because he was drunk when he signed it. The 1997 Constitution* is such a document. Whatever its flaws, it dramatically alters the balance of power between the Eritrean regime and the Eritrean people. The most important thing in it: it reduces the time people can be held in prison without charges from infinity to 48 hours. That, alone, is worth pushing for its immediate implementation.

      In a different thread, in a conversation with Ismail (point blank), Mohammed Ahmed (who may share your views on the 1997 constitution) beautifully explains the power of the Eritrean constitution within the context of Forto:

      They did this not because they believed in them and wanted to talk to the dictator about them (far from it) but rather, because they knew of all the wounds the dictator has, these two [constitution and political prisoners] were the worst for him and the best for them to rub salt on

      Isaias and all Isaiasists can argue with confidence about why elections, political parties are not timely, or the world is not fair, or why conscription is necessary, or why this Eritrean political party and this Eritrean individual cannot be “allowed to set foot in Eritrea.” But they can never answer with confidence why a ratified constitution is not implemented and why there are Eritreans held in prison without charges for years and years. So, you hammer them over the head with it until they lose balance.


      * Incidentally, when those who don’t like the constitution refer to it as “the 1997 constitution”, they are trying to show that it is one of several (including 1952) constitutions Eritrea had and what matters is not a constitution but constitutionalism. Those who love the document never refer to it by date: they just say the “ratified constitution.” When I refer to it as “the 1997 constitution”, I do it as a reminder that it has not been implemented for 15 long years. More hammering, please.

  • Papillon

    Dearest Sal,

    Again many thanks for the link on Hirui Bairu’s interview. Sure enough, he is not only one of the most colourful personalities with in the leadership enclave of the struggle for independence, as an individual, he is fascinating as well. However, it is rather difficult to imagine or speculate if he had faired any better than Isaias had he assumed power in an independent Eritrea. Having said that, he is a sort of classic case where it is a given “logic” that in politics luck plays a major factor where looking into his political life he seems to have run out of luck in many critical stages where his life would have otherwise turned around for better. Well as they say, a house and old-age find favours as time goes by and he may probably have a shot in post-Isaias Eritrea. One can only speculate that, his own father might have had an ambition in him when he named him Hirui (as in the chosen one….perhaps to take on his footsteps where he failed to bring it to a completion).


  • Salyounis

    Selamat Haile:

    You say that the “collective failure of the opposition is due to its tendency to start out with practice as opposed with a well thought out theory (time frame aside)…Can you give me the basic theoretical structure of an opposition movement?”

    I would propose an alternative analysis for the “collective failure.” The opposition is not short of theories, perfectly coherent theories, in fact. A group that spends days, weeks, trying to define the nature of the PFDJ (chauvinist? fascist? authoritarian? ethnocentric? Christian?) is not short of theories. The problem is that, like niche-marketing, each one is perfectly happy to appeal not the entire people of Eritrea but to the segment of Eritrea which they consider as their base and target market:

    * DMLEK (Kunama) and RSADO (Afar): their “theoretical structure” is that the built-in problem with Eritrea is that, given its geography and history, no future government, however well intentioned or democratic, will ever be sufficiently just to the Kunama and Afar. They consider the Tigrinya ethnic group so far advanced (relatively) to the rest of Eritreans, that it will dominate the nation’s government for several generations. Therefore, they demand a system that greatly empowers the provinces (to the point of secession) and weakens the center. They are not sure if the other provinces will go for this arrangement, and, they don’t want to make their goals dependent on convincing others even if it scares the rest of Eritrans half to death.

    * ISLAMISTS; their “theoretical structure” is that democracy, even with best practices, is rule by majority and, whatever rights the minority have, are always a day away from being forfeited by the majority. They reject the “majority” vs “minority” construct of democracies because given migration patterns and given the de-population of the Eritrean lowlands over the last 50 years, the Eritrean Muslim will always be outnumbered. They demand a political system that guarantees traditionally Moslem-populated areas to have the autonomy to have whatever kind of self-government they choose for themselves–including a Sharia system.

    * TRADITIONALISTS and FEDERALISTS (ELF/EFDM): their “theoretical structure” is that democracy, even with best practices, is rule by majority and, whatever rights the minority have, are always a day away from being forfeited by the majority. Having said this, they demand a political system that (a) returns us to the traditional provinces; (b) allows each province to decide on what kind self-government it wants to have. By sheer coincidence, once this arrangement is made, they will be the super majorities in “their” provinces at which point the issue of how to deal with minorities will be of concern only to those who live in the province.

    * the “SECULAR NATIONALISTS”: their “theoretical structure” is for a liberal democracy that advocates a decentralized system that will be rule by majority but one that will, via supreme law, ensure the rights of minorities. Their formula is scary to those who consider this a formula for Isaias II as, in their view, it doesn’t adequately address the danger of a future emergence of a dictator.

    All of these organizations have given great thought to their theoretical structure and they have asked all the right questions political organizations ask: what is the history of Eritrea? what is our objective? How will we achieve our goal? Who is a friend? Who is a foe? Why is our political program the best alternative for Eritrea? The problem is that (a) their proposals scare to death those who don’t buy into them which includes not only Eritreans but many countries (including Ethiopia, btw) who consider instability as the greatest enemy of all, (b) while the Eritrean revolution was free to propose any formula in “tomorrow’s Eritrea” because Eritrea was then an abstraction, the Eritrean opposition doesn’t have that freedom because somebody, somewhere is saying, “yeah, that is what Isaias promised too, remember”? (call it the “Eritrean Heckler Problem”:) (c) they haven’t taken a single action that has inspired all Eritreans. Failure is an orphan.

    For example: if they were to go inflict instant justice on the human smugglers, all the international-law advocates would be appalled, etc, but I guarantee you that they, irrespective of their political programs and theories, would find themselves a lot of respect among Eritreans.


    • haile

      Merhaba Saay,

      ewu’E…gud eko rekhibna -:)

      If I should start with your closing prediction, it is true that such symbolic act may indeed pay off in capturing ‘hearts and minds’. However, we sure need to scroll up, to look to your list of theories one more time. What is a miss is ‘the mother of theories’, so to speak. Take any country, for example, there is none that would stand as precedent in having a system that fully meets the needs of every section of its society. echa nay ‘zbexho’ awdiqom aykonun tesamamiOm! There is a lot of give and take involved. The master theory needs to be crafted in the depths of secrecy and only those prepared to pay the ultimate price(with their life), would be privy to it. The rest would be building the bridges to implementing it using ‘principles’ that would guide the path.

      The master-theory would take your listed realities as such as part of the broader objective reality of Eritrea. And of course, needs to theorise how to bring it to serve the greater good of the nation and its people. This master-theory would have artistic, traditional, philosophical, political, social, economic, identity, aspiration, limitations, relationships, alliances, people, events, threats, advantages, disadvantages…you name it, all tightly compressed in it. It would be the microcosm of future Eritrea.

      It would only be revealed to the sworn in members, no outsider (or potential threat!). It needs to mirror the existing theory that is followed by PFDJ and with the aim of undoing them. This calls for deep analysis of what are the existing theories being practised by PFDJ? and what is the mirror opposit of that?

      Note my earlier insertion of ‘time frame aside’, it is not an easy task, but a sure and scientific way to success.

      So, your points above are part and parcel of the objective reality that need to be understood. Before asking who is PFDJ, how about who are we? what are we prepared to sacrifice and what are beyond compromise? How do we fit in the bigger category?…

      Developing the master-theory may already be under way in some quarters, qedawina ygbero!!!

      • Salyounis


        Quick note. I can’t emphasize enough the difference in receptiveness to “vision statements” in the era of Ghedli (when Eritrea was just a dream) and now. That is: when PFDJ tries to describe its vision for Eritrea (outlined in its political charter in 1994), people compare that vision with the 22-year monopoly it had and how far it has fallen from its vision statement. That is: people are much more cynical now than they were in the 1970s and 1980s when everything was possible because nothing had been tried.

        Coincidentally, yesterday I was reading somebody’s interpretation of what PFDJ’s vision is at (I am a glutton for punishment) and I found this:

        I think what the author is saying is this: Just as Mao modified Marxism to fit China’s reality, Isaias is modifying Maoism to fit Eritrea’s reality. I think. This reminded me of a sentence in the “review” of Dr. Bereket Habteselasse by the two anonymous authors who were trying to indicate that there is no consistency in the ideology of the people Dr. Bereket admired. This is what they say about Isaias Afwerki’s ideology: “Isaias Afwerki had perhaps wisely improvised on Chairman Mao’s concepts of liberation and class struggle.” How?

        Maybe you can help.


      • haile


        eza nay memhir Tsehaye tereKhboKha shelel aytbela. There has always been people who would throw stones and others who would be indecisive. Memhir Tsehaye’s prescription landed him in the right job, the guardian of the master-theory in ghedli era.

        The fact that people can not be tied to the ‘vision’ by virtue their geographically dispersed (diaspora) lives is another factor that would be properly addressed in the master-theory. It is not that people are more cynical (PIA’s New York visit) but haven’t been presented with and made beholden to a promising alternative.

        The master-theory would be the black box of the totality of relevancies. The memhir Tsehaye element would also be theorised about.

        Finally let me give an example of this master-theory at work. In 1988 when Dergue generals attempted the over throw of Mengistu, woyane refused to support them. Even if they apparently had common objectives. I will look into the link you forwarded soon…

  • haile


    Not that it is worthy of disproving (since in reality, you may be right to label us (you and me) both zeret’ti), but just to save you a further blunder of calling out be’al wata for the occasion, let me give you this hints.

    Since you are a journalist, you could have asked that “ok Haile, since you had a western passport, and that you were unlikely to be rounded up, why did you decide to duck in?” ….hmmm the problem with internet is that it means sharing (in simple terms). Once a week or so, when this website is crawled by search engines, whatever you put out here will always be out there.

    Based on the above theory, the principle is to have more than you show, and to know more than you say. Hence, my response would be to ‘quip’ “no comment” but promise you that mzrat wasn’t the chief reason in that particular occasion. Not in the way you frame it, at least.

    The second point is fairness, since the lot of them are wedded to woyane, why do I selectively engage people? Let me first admit that what has been my opposition to you, was your role in the in the unfortunate calling out for the implementation of travel ban on past Eritrea’s independence fighters.When I tried to correct you on that, you would rather accuse me of Zemhret worshipper and PFDJista, and many other things.

    What you did today is very different. After all those long diatribes that you forwarded by way of explaining, which only ended up hardening the resolve of those who thought that this simply wouldn’t fly. Yet barely in half a line long small sentence, you brought the whole motion directed against you to halt. By saying that “It was unintended, and sincerely apologize for the hurt” you’ve decommissioned me from persuing the matter further. Considering my irrelevance in the big schemes of things, however, I would also would have thought that would be appropriate to do it in a public way, there by closing the case for good.

    In terms most people spared my wrath, they bear distinctive difference that the don’t dare to tell anyone that they are “PFDJ” if the differed from them. They know my views on the matter, but haven’t seen them trying to deny others to choose to think differently. And, if you think about it, they shouldn’t really, bad politics. Papillon is a main offender in this regard, and amanuel’s problems will be made clearer as we go forward. (Moderator: I am not promising a witch-hunt, this is purely educational)

    I will write about the ‘theory vs practice’ along with examples (thank you for volunteering your organization to be put under the microscope, I accept the gesture 🙂 (aytzert) a little later today.

  • Hayat Adem

    Last call 4 Semere,
    Feedbacks from Sal would have been more enjoyable. I am not sure if there is any space around Semere’s brain to go for any interactive exchanges of views. But, Semere Haway, since you have come in to bat for, I feel obliged to teach you a lesson or two.
    You said: “By the way, for Eritreans, the Derg and the Haileselassie regimes were far worse than the Fascist Italians.”
    Let me put upfront a story about an encounter of two people and a donkey:
    There was this hard working woman in the vicinity of AdiQeyiH. She was taking some supply on a donkey-back to the town along the AdiQeyiH-Asmara road. Then, a reckless SUV caught from behind. The woman tried her best to clear the way but the donkey (as if intentionally) was painfully reluctant to yield for the car. The driver was impatiently and deafeningly horning and shouting out at the woman and her donkey. Slowly the donkey gave way and the car had to squeeze itself through between the woman and the donkey. While passing, the driver lowered his window to say this to the woman: “kabakHi’si eta adgiKhi ti’Hayish”. To which the intelligent woman responded, “Hrrray! ziHishekasi baeliKha tifelTo meArey!!!”
    I take no bother at all on anyone who wants to praise Fascism or despise the Derg and Hailessilassie, but things can’t get funnier when seemingly serious people make assertions such as this one. How is a fascist colonizer better for any subject of colony unless weird psycho-analytical considerations are applied?
    You said: “we got what we wanted from Ghedli: sovereign, free, independent Eritrea. That was the purpose of Ghedli and Ghedli served its purpose.”
    Ok, you got not just sovereign but also pariah and isolated Eritrea. You got not just free Eritrea but weak and poor Eritrea. You got not just independent Eritrea but constantly imprisoned, tortured, Eritreans who are mass-running away from it for their real freedom. I don’t consider a journey of basic deviation as a journey-on-track. Not 20 miles and not even a single mile on mark. You see, in many ways, what YG told us about the circular journey makes sense. There are people like you, Semere, who count their miles even if it doesn’t add up a penny distance towards tranquility and prosperity. But, fine…The Eritrean mothers who have been pregnant for long but could never see a healthy child should not be asked to dance happiness for the mere pregnancy. If a pregnant woman did not deliver a healthy baby, then the fact that she was pregnant doesn’t mean anything to her aspiration of becoming a happy mother. For she knows she will have to do the pregnancy all over again and she can’t get a rollover credit from an earlier but aborted pregnancy. What is to be happy for if it means pushing the reset button again?
    You also said: “In the country where I live (USA), I don’t think black Americans got their “NatSnet & Harnet jointly blended”.
    Ok, so go check with distant descendants of black Americans. Then tell us if you could see them jumping over the couch on the mention of the American Revolution for independence. Of course, it is different if you ask the non-black ones who have had the freedom and liberty blended from day one. The problem of Harnet with today’s Eritrea is not even about particular minorities, it is about the entire nation and its people. If you really believe, Fascist Italy was better than the Ethiopian regimes, at least, it seems to me, you are comparing their behavior and service quality. If it were for geographical and biological proximity, it is another story unless you go as far as denying that Derg is your closer kin and skin than any Italian or Arabs. If that makes sense, follow the same logic, and check the behavior and service delivery of the criminal PFDJ, which is the direct product of the Ghedli, and compare/contrast them if they are any better than Fascist Italy, Criminal Derg and Backward Hailessilassie for citizens.
    The implication of all these exchanges with Semere would lead me to conclude this: that I can expect Semere to fight tooth and nail to get rid of bad forces like Derg and Hailessilassie but not the likes of Fascist Italy and the generation and dream killer- PFDJ. By that merit, Semere is not and has never been for change like Sal and I. Hear me Semere, You are not with us, you are not us and if I already know that why would I be surprised that you said what you said.

    • haile

      W/ro Hayat,

      I know you dismissed my earlier views as “confused” so I guess I am within my right to get confused here with your analogy of a pregnant woman’s woos. As, a side note, however, your joke was not only funny but goes to prove the old adage kab mhro’s aemro!

      Back to your analogy, my “confused” mind always taught that if you are ever to construct an analogical model, each aspect of the real life components need to be represented in the body formation of your analogical model. Hence, in your analogy you have a pregnant woman who had to abort her pregnancy or end up with some kind of tragic event in relation to her child birth. On the real life side you have the Ghedli and the subsequent situation in Eritrea.

      Now, to be fair, if Ghedli was to compromise and bring about an Eritrea, say without Assab or an Eritrea where ethnics and regious strife would render it incapable of being viable (live birth) then you would be right. However, ghedli had given birth to a perfect, healthy, beautiful baby – Eritrea! All, intact here threat, the then neftegna beaten to the ground and her leaders hailed the new breed of Africa’s failed leadership. Hence, a far cry from a pregnancy resulting in a tragic birth.

      On the other hand, the current formation of Eritrean opposition, that is impregnated with dangerous ideas of compromising Eritrea’s future for good, would fit your analogy perfectly. The way the current opposition, by selling out to weyane, is molded it is simply a prelude to a situation that would make Somalia a kids plaything by comparison.

      Ghedli was a tough pregnancy and delivered a healthy and beautiful baby. It would be unfair to blame the pregnancy, bkha mai kynka keydka, when the child has become unruly.

    • Semere Tesfai

      Ahlen Hayat:

      Let me try one last time.
      You said – “I take no bother at all on anyone who wants to praise Fascism… How is a fascist colonizer better for any subject of colony unless weird psycho-analytical considerations are applied?

      Hayat: you don’t get it; You are not communicating. You’re just talking to yourself. It was never about ‘Entay YiHshena’ but about something that was imposed on us. I didn’t praise fascism; I didn’t say fascism was good. I said ‘for Eritreans, the Derg and the Haileselassie regimes were far worse than the Fascist Italians.’ And I challenge you to prove me wrong.

      I don’t see anything wrong, if people compare two evils and say one was worse than the other. For example, one can say, having malignant cancer is worse than having the AIDS virus, and reasonable people could disagree. That’s all. The only people who say – Eritreans love Italian fascists are, YG Gy type UNIONISTS and the Amara and Tigrean hardliners; of course for ulterior motives. Not me.

      You said: “You got not just free Eritrea but weak and poor Eritrea.”

      Hayat Eukhty, give Eritrea 3000 years and – Ensha-Allah Eritrea will get where MAMA-Ethiopia is today.

      You said: “you got not just independent Eritrea but constantly imprisoned, tortured Eritrea..)

      I agree with you there, but you know what, governments came and go, and PFDJ is no different. The trick is, keeping our eyes on the ball: Eritrean sovereignty. We have to secure Eritrean sovereignty and Eritrean territorial integrity while working how to change our – government and government policies.

      You said: “….Eritreans are mass-running – away from it (Eritrea) for their real freedom.”

      Hayat: just imagine – If western countries were to blast the Ethiopian people every single day through every media outlet against their government, fund every political and human rights Ethiopian entrepreneur, accept “victims” of the Ethiopian regime at the borders of Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, South and North Sudan. Now, how many Ethiopians do you think, would show-up at the border to secure residence in the West? Thousands and thousands. The proof, 1970s and 1980s.

      You see, there is a simple reason why Eritreans are dying at the Mediterranean Sea, not at the Indian or Atlantic Ocean. There is a simple reason why Eritreans are dying – trying to reach Corsica and Sicily not Madagascar. There is a simple reason why Eritreans are dying at the Arabian desert sands and not at the Kalahari desert sands.

      If you can understand, why Ethiopians were heading the same direction in the 1970s and 1980s, you shouldn’t haven’t have a problem understanding why Eritreans are doing so today. If you don’t believe – the source of the mass-exodus of Ethiopians in the 1970 and 1980 as being, the sovereignty of Ethiopia in itself, I don’t understand why, you are trying to make us believe, the source of Eritrean mass-exodus today as being the result of Ghedli that brought Eritrean sovereignty.

      The rest Haile said it better. THank you Haile. And thank you Hayat for your ‘Ethiopia MaArna TiHishena’ lesson.

  • Papillon

    Dearest Sal,

    I have been looking for the interview you had with Hiruy T. Bairu a while back but I can’t seem to find it either in google or in the archives of Awate. Would you be kind enough to post the link. Much obliged.


    • Salyounis

      Selamat Papillon:

      The link is here

      In my fantasy Eritrean parliament, I never see Herui T Bairou as the Head of government. No, he is much more interesting than that: he is the head of the opposition, the shacow government who, in the style of the Brits “question time”, grills the head of state and his ministers.


      • Papillon

        Grazie mille mio fratello.

    • Dear sal,

      Oh my friend, I read your wishful democratic interplay in you imagination for the wrecked nation of ours…it will take generations to see a prototype of British democracy….don’t make it look like a low hanging fruit ready for grab. Ah!!!!!

  • Ghezae Hagos

    Hello Awatistas,
    Hope all is fine.
    1.Dearest Papillon, I sincerely appreciate your heartfelt defence of me. I want to assure you this: I won’t be discouraged and intimidated into silence by small-time PFDJ and semi-PFDJ loyalists. Suffice to say: As much as I feel sad, withdrawn, conflicted, I deeply know Issayas’s PFDJ is the worst regime Eritreans have ever experienced and it currently is the worst political regime in the world. Now in that terrifyingly hellish reality unknown to me, who the hell is Haile or some small-time, wannabe downers? So, take heart in knowing fight against tyranny wins. REMEMBER ALWAYS!
    2 Haile: “Ab Gauyala Eritrawi/ Ab Giffa Canadawi”
    Quickly, here is confession: Haile, you and other Meskerem-lites actually help us in a way that you never, ever, intended to. We need you to do what you do best. As in the past, you will see the results coming one by one.

    You accused me of flip-flopping; that I am an ex-PFDJ. Can I say half of the opposition is so. Even some of its leaders. Martin Luther was Catholic Monk; Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee, both zealots even. In fact one can argue Issayas Afewerki was ELF member. Your buddy Zemhret’s better days were recorded as ELF member. Ask what became of these guys. Question is who are you?
    I had long given up on PFDJ loyalists. Long ago. A friend of mine always shuts them up, in debates about Badme, EEBC decision, supporting the regime by saying this: “If you so support the regime and hate the woyane that much for failing to withdraw from Badme, and if you care so much about land sovereignty, why DON’T you just go and volunteer to be part of the Eritrean defence forces? In fact, I can help you raise funds for your air ticket. Promise I will give you more than 2% of my income (wink wink), after all you need is ONE-WAY-Ticket.”
    It is a very effective panacea for jingoistic-minded, bravados who want to imagine costly and deadly wars from the comforts of their home in the west, while keeping their safe young teens in ‘I love Eritrea’ T-shirts.
    But this line of arguments could not be employed for those who left Eritrea before independence. Most of them are in their 50s or 60s; so you just have to use other ways, to install sense into their Badme addled mind.
    Until now.
    Issayas the sworn enemy of everything Eritrean will continue to shock every Eritrean. In a verbal decree, he ordered every breathing Eritrean to carry arms. As long as you are Eritrean citizen (dual citizen, wink, wink), if you are in Eritrea, you are bound to take a crush-course of ‘Tae’lim’ and pick one of them old ‘newits’ of the times, ‘the AK-47.”
    Even when you ask these older dual citizens who pester and belabour about ‘Badme’ ‘Dob Keytehanxexe’, a simple logical question: ‘why don’t you go pick arms to take back Badme and protect Eritrea’s land sovereignty that you are so obsessed with’, some would answer they were not put in that position.
    It would be stuff for good, sick satire what Haile did in Asmara, possibly few months ago, as he reported it beautifully.
    This guy prides himself in being an arbiter of who is a nationalist or not; who pontificates about the border issue and Badme , was presented with opportunity to test his own words. He denigrates Canadian and US governments, and the protection they provided him and poses as ultra-nationalist Eritrean who is deeply concerned about Eritrean sovereignty.
    Now, as fate would have it, he was put in the position any logical person who has been following his haughty lectures would expect him to volunteer for. Life as they say is, a *****.
    His words do better job,
    “One morning I was heading to a local grocery store in Asmara, and two men (in their early to mid Fifties) were stopping and talking to passers by….I realized he was actually talking to me. He said “menqesaqesi yhatu alewu’ in a low voice visibly drowned in fear. I had my western passport with me, …I arrived to knock on a nearby kanshelo (forget the store, who cares about the economy in this crazy place anyway, I thought)…An old man (in his mid sixties) opens the door, didn’t bother to greet me. Just gestured me to get in mumbling in hushed voice. Inside, I met several (my be close to a dozen of fellow none-hagerawyan) from all walks of life. United in our determination to make it until giffa is over, that is until a none-hagerawyan members of the Giffa squadron call us. We waited,,,,hours passed, no one bothers to talk about the government or caountry. As I waved good bye to my none-hagerawyan friends, I knew the game was over..’
    I am sure in these crucial hours, he never thought of ‘Badme’ or the land soveirgnity, Sophia TM or Canadian laws etc that he pompously repeats ad nasuem at Awate forum. He said it himself, “nobody bothers to talk about government or country..’. The guy who was determined to discredit many activists as frauds, as non-nationalists, as Woyane lackeys and called others to be united in ‘determination’ against activists for perceived flaws or errors, was put to test in real time, in Asmara in giffa. Guess what? He DUCKED. Haile, cowardly hid himself for hours and the only thing he was determined for was, “ united in our determination to make it until the giffa is over..’ (his words entirely.)’ As we used to say… ‘Z-E-R-A-T-I.’
    The irony is boundlessly funny, as I said stuff for ‘sick’ satire. Haile, don’t you see what you did? You just made a traitor out of your own self. Instead of writing in Western keyboard that “Woyane had to pack and go from Badme’, WHY DON’T YOU MAKE THEM PACK AND GO YOURSELF WHEN YOU WERE ASKED TO DO SO? When the regime called you to mean your own words, you fled WITHOUT KNOWING WHERE YOU ENDED UP (with strangers but still determined to make it until giffa is over).You absconded. When Issayas wanted you to pick arms because YOU SAID IT IS OUR DUTY to defend Issayas’s version of Eritrea, you failed to show up., You even call it ‘survival of the fastest’; you see your, arrogant moral absolutism was proved to be false and so hallow that even you don’t even recognize what you did to it.
    I don’t mind you going to Eritrea (though I would presume Sal and others may have frowned ); I suspected you were long time 2% payer, beholden to some land or property, in a land of anguish. I just find it immeasurably interesting when you said, “I had my western passport with me..” This is the funniest, extremely interesting, statement coming from you. When you heard of Giffa, you totally forgot you are Eritrean but you remembered you are a Canadian , a nation you denigrate and mock, now you turn for its protection. Kemiza Kemaka iyom, Ab Guyala or Awate forum Eritrawi, Ab Giffa Canadawi d’behalu.
    But I concede that is the clever of you, not even to trust your ‘western passport.’ After all you are still a dual citizen that vocally supports Eritrean regime, deeply you knew the Giffa squadrom don’t give a hoot if you showed them your western passport and that they shouldn’t too. Deep in your heart you knew you will end up some ‘Taelim’ camp and that in fact it was very fair as you knew you deserve to carry arms as an Eritrean. Though in profile of cowardice, you betrayed yourself, oddly I find you consistently logical and clever.

    • haile


      Your “convenient” assumptions aside, your endeavour to respond through your typical lengthy shenkolel, would have made a perfect sense had I been the supporter of the current regime in Eritrea or the current situation of my people. Not at all, there goes your argument down the train. I think there is far better way for Eritrea to be, but flippant, duplicitous and users like you have hijacked the process. What my narration tell you is that the situation was ripe for Eritrean’s to solve their problems, if it wasn’t for the likes of you openly siding with woyane. Hence bankrupting the entire opposition movement in the eyes of the masses. Who cares about a small time HR scam Ghezae, I am talking about the whole tendency. As far as you are concerned, you are a showbiz. Your ego so ahead of you, those of us who know the real you must be PFDJ. I could say more, but out of respect to and the moderator, I will pass. But you are a con man, that is for sure!

      • haile


        One more tiny point, according to you, if you are not willing to fight the PFDJ physically, spare us your HR fundrising stants. Makes perfect sense.

      • Ghezae Hagos

        Haw Haile,

        I am not ‘gotch-ya’ kind man even though it is easy, very easy to pinpoint and even satirize your pontification about Badme, sovereignity issue in contrast to your act of cowardice of hiding in Asmara, clinging to your Western passport when reality, in the name of Giffa, hits you.

        You are telling us now you don’t support the regime, though you have been shamelessly pandering to known PFDJ operatives, like Sophia TM (the individual deeply hated/or despised by every opposition, Zemehret and every PFDJ forum members). That is fine. What I do may and could very well be ‘small-time HR show biz’ and you may be right. I can’t fight your opinions. So the logical thing is to forget and dismiss me. And as you said you are so concerned about the whole tendency of the opposion, then talk and enlighten us about the bigger and more organized opposition. But again, the culprit is the likes of Ghezae who have ‘hijacked the process,” by openly siding with woyane.’ Really, Haw Haile? The last one is new; but I will not hold it against you. May I remind you though that this is brother which has been accused for ten years and more of the same charges, ‘openly siding with Woyane.’ I think you need to fairly distribute the same charge to everyone who has visited Ethiopia for political purposes, including Wa’ela / Gubaie participant, like Awate publisher Saleh “Gadi” Johar. You have to shoot down the whole ENCDC; the youth groups etc. More importantly, if you think Woyane’s role is the ‘major problem’ in the opposition,(many people do), the onus is on you enlighten us what can be done about it. By talking about the problems of the opposition and your opinion of how to change it, you at least do what change-seekers are expected to do. Then we can move on.

      • yegermal

        Oh,another member of the new breed of “non-supporters” of DIA’s regime who travels freely to Eritrea and comes back in one piece, and whose raison d’être is to spew hatred against weyane/meles. Leaving aside their misplaced priority – assuming they care to change the status quo in Eritrea – this non-supporters are oblivious to the fact that excessive obsession with weyane is a sign of inability to define Eritrea in dissociation with Ethiopia. A sort of jilted lovers syndrome? yegermal!

    • haile

      (Hiray bel Eshi) Haw Ghezae,

      As they say “haxiruni entebelku’s, teKhodimu ysiEsE” may go with your introductory chest tamping of “ane Koyne’mber kalE neyru” approach to your Z-E-R-T-I conceptualization. Let’s say I am happy to wear that badge any time, but would you? or could you? Wouldn’t that include virtually every one else? That is starting with welwel? Would that spare you? Would that spare those who cheer woyane to regime change from a safe distance? would that spare Ghezae who ….? More importantly, would that spare anyone contemplating to contribute to the struggle of improving the situation at home? In fact, it makes you the super duper Z-E-R-T-I of all.

      Really,, think about it, if I am the one (according to you a PFDJ) and decided to support the regime, then it doesn’t make me Z-E-R-T-I at all! You might have been lost in translation, but simply followed a disastrous logic and came back to pat yourself in the back. As a side note, there is a grave yard of a dear member of my family that I go to visit from time to time. I wish I had the property or wealth you alluded to, but entay Kgber kembeal eskha ech kolokhum’mo! 2%, nay haven’t paid it in a long while, get your facts right. As far as I know, it is not required to visit there, unless you want to break a news here in awate,,,be truthful this time, ok. All in all, you previous argument, that I passed due to moderators irritation, was as logical as letting off a hand grenade to get your enemy who is sharing a small enclosed space with you. It has far greater unintended victims than you anticipated. But, that has always been your trademark logical judgement hasn’t it?

      The second part of your question, if sincere, can be considered reasonable. You have asked me the same last time we traded qoyqi, this time it sounds toned and made with courtesy. I wouldn’t put it down. You see, good manners brings out the best response from your audience! That is why I respect SAAY, you and papillon called it sucking up, I call it his inalienable right that he earned in a long time of reading his discussions. I don’t have to agree with all his views, but his person is very respectable!

      The collective failure of the opposition is due to its tendency to start out with practice as opposed with a well thought out theory (time frame aside). Actions are taken and invariably followed by analysis for explaining the action after the event. Theories are developed from objective realities, and their validity is tested initially through critical analysis and later through practical implementation.

      Can you give me the basic theoretical structure of an opposition movement? Its hierarchy, inter and intra relationships, its symbolism and individual and group identifiers (what it means to the individual and what it would mean to the group), its representation of values and principles, and so forth…

      Every event, action and reaction are validated or discarded in priori by tallying them against such theoretical contractions. How do the actions of individuals, groups, communities, webblogs and media communication fit in this bigger picture (aka abay SEli :-))

      Basically, where does theory evolve? external interest or internal reality?

      Obviously, you can see the myriads of process that are set off when you barely scratch the surface. What is your input here based on how things have been going on?

      P.S. there is a saying “Stupid is rejecting something without knowing anything about it” so Z-E-R-T-I ZHmeylu yteHameylu mber, hawkha Haile dmbrix yeblun ktfelt….:-)

      • yegermal

        “The collective failure of the opposition is due to its tendency to start out with practice as opposed with a well thought out theory (time frame aside). Actions are taken and invariably followed by analysis for explaining the action after the event. Theories are developed from objective realities, and their validity is tested initially through critical analysis and later through practical implementation.”

        It is not every day that I agree with a “non-supporter” supporter, but you nailed it! Lack of planning and visualization is what has been paralyzed the opposition for ions. The rest of your argument …..lots of haser:).

      • Ghezae Hagos

        Selam Haile,

        If I were a good Negash Sagla (where is Mehrtu or Kokhob Selam), I could have done a good rejoinder in ‘awlo’ in jest/serious to your ‘Hawkha Haile dmbrix yeblun ktflet.’ Nay dmbrix si dehan! Giffa Asmara Timesker, aya.

        In extreme seriousness though, I would like to say I or members of Eritrean-Canadians Human Rights Group, never, ever intended to defame any Eritrean EPLF or ELF ex-fighters. For any hurt feelings, I sincerly apologize.

        If you don’ support the regime, dear Haile, and you call yourself belonging to the broad term ‘opposition’, Awate forum members conceivably agree me with me when I say you were doing lousy job of presenting yourself as change-seeker. A great chunk of your entries were devoted to criticize, and target opposition forum members and their positions. Your extremely selective targets were so bewildering. You target Amanuel Hidrat for being in Wa’ela while Awate’s two Saleh’s were promoters of it. You never let Papillon say anything without reminding us that she is Woyane lackey while most of the official opposition still partner with Woyanes. The reason I and I assume Papillon (who thought you were ‘cool-headed’ in this entry) were so conflicted about you, you pose as change-seeker but primarily devote your energies against your ‘own team.’

        We come to this forum to be consoled, to take a break, to learn, to speak up. Continous attacks on activists and opposition members simply wastes everyone’s time, energy and mood.

        I highly suggest that you expound in detail your analysis of what ails the opposition. Practice and theories you mentioned, preferably backed up by examples (you can include that of ‘mine’ in Canada; as part of the weak or wrong or failed.) We can learn and put it use. I am sure you know people are hungry for working hypothesis.

  • Saleh, it is excellent description. Some are asking the leaders for the forto but it was done as a group rather than an individual.

  • Semere Andom

    I know my good friend Sal is a fan of the Eritrean constitution. To some level he has a point: even the founding fathers of the USA like Ben Franklin and Madison hated the constitution for they felt it restricted freedom, but voted for it. Ben Franklin even went further and advocated in its favour despite his reservations. Madison voted for it but he worked hard to be elected and he proposed several amendments immediately. The intent of the founding fathers, most of them intellectuals, who were steeped in the Renaissance principles, was genuine so the giants like Ben Franklin and Madison voted to save the nascent Union despite the inherent shortcomings. Unfortunately Dr. Berket, who was not the first choice of the dictator, who witnessed the brutal and thuggish nature of EPLF played along and wasted three years of his life and God knows how many decades of Eritrea’s life. He laboured to produce a still- born document that was solely choreographed to protract the rule of a dictator. And in an interview with I was disgusted when he told us with Isaisisque audacity that during the ratification process he tried to make the Moslem women comfortable. I can envision him vividly assembling illiterate Moslem women who learned Tigrinya during their tenure in ghedli and thought that unlimited possibilities have opened to them for becoming fluent in Tigirna, the official language of EPLF and the working language of the Eritrean government. I could imagine that these Moslem women were so smitten by the Dr. Bereke’s “zente mogot”, mesel gual anSteti etc that they muttered to each other “jella jelaka rebi, eLm” My friends and I call these women “Deqi Qeshi”* So no the Moslem women were did not ratify DIA’s constitution.

    The Eritrean constitution was authored bye chogar danga led by those who wilfully chose to be chograd danga. The intellectuals in the commission lacked intellectual integrity and their membership was everything but inclusive. The drafting process was a farce.

    To claim Isaias genuinely wanted liberal democracy is worse than saying Etirea was a mistake. Dr. Berket was uniquely positioned to know this. His looked the other way when he saw the brutal and inhuman treatment of people and when he was chosen to lead the commission, he did the same. Now he is paying for it. Yes the current document can be amended and it is a starting point, but that is not the point. The poignant point is that it was not meant to be implemented; it was a façade to kill time and kill people

    People associate Dr. Berket as the author of the Eritrea constitution, that is an insult on its own, but I also associate him as the creator of a pagan Eritrea. Look at the preamble of the document “We swear by our martyr…..” This is not separation of State and the Church, it is the Separation of State and God to usher the amalgamation of the State and the demi-god.

    The claim by the reviewers of Dr. Berket that Awate reviewed speaks volumes DIA’s intent when he assembled to allow the drafting of the constitution. Sal makes a brilliant point here.

    On the De-Romantics:

    Well, there are always the “Mark Fuhrmans”* of everything: for the opposition it is Ali Salim and for the De-Romantics it is ironically YG. No De-Romantics worth his salt will say Eritrea was wrong, but he/she will say EPLF was wrong.

    The tell-tale signs of De-Romatic purists are:
    1. They will question June 20, Martyrs Day? They will tell you that nothing links that day to our martyrs, it is the day DIA arrived in Eritrea after the Ethiopians left Asmara
    2. They do not call May 24 Independence Day; they call it a day when Ethiopian Army was eradicated from Eritrea
    3. They will never say the concept of Eritrea was wrong
    4. They will tell you that the constitution drafting process was wrong from the assembly of the members of the commission to its factious ratification process.
    5. They will not praise Nhan Elamanan, they will denounce it
    6. They abhor the Eritrean flag as they see a dry olive leaf immersed in the blood will inevitably suck the life of the nation.
    7. And like Madison if given the chance will vote for this still-born document to save Eritrea, but will immediately scramble to get elected and amend the living hell of the document questioning the Flag, May 24 and June 20.

    Deqi Qeshi”*: referse to some Eritrea Moslem women, who suddenly suffer amnesia of their own mother tongue and embrace Tigrinya and adapt the name of their mentor who Tigrinyized them

    Mark Fuhrmans*: referees to someone who screws a solid case by his stupidity

    Semere Andom

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Semere:

      This will not stand! You are ruining one of the best jokes you ever told me, one I use now in my personal life so you are putting me in a position where I have to tell YOU your own story the way you told it.

      But first, on the constitution. Honestly speaking (and I hope Dr. Bereket is not reading this), unlike the 18th century constitutions, all constitutions written in the 20th and 21st century are really inter-changeable. Print out two draft constitutions: one written by Dr. Bereket’s committee and one written over a weekend by Embaye Melekin, the original “wedebat”, and give it to two constitutional scholars and I doubt they will be able to tell the difference. (Maybe Embaye Melekin has deportation clause for people he hates which is a large segment of the population) Another test: take out the word Eritrea from the 1997 constitution and maybe from the preamble and ask people if they can tell what country the constitution belongs to. This means that all the opposition groups clamoring to write their own constitution will not write anything that is remarkably different. We will just go through 3-5 more years of “transition” so that they can consolidate their power and make competition next to impossible.

      My fan status of of the 1997 constitution is a bit overblown. The deal breaker: I can’t possibly be a fan of a document that says “all land…belongs to the state.” I see it as a very useful rallying cry for civil liberties (it sure beats referring to the UN’s document which considers having a job a human right, I think) that has the added benefit of putting the Isaiaists on the defensive. Moreover, all the things that people complain about (including the one I just complained about) I consider fixable via an amendment (assuming enough people feel the way I do, which itself is questionable.) Even the complaint that it excluded a whole lot of people, can be fixed via an amendment (“WHEREAS, the constitution as originally drafted excluded Eritreans by refusing to invite their legitimate representatives….”). Even your complaint that it was tailor-made for Isaias can be fixed via an amendment.(“WHEREAS, the constitution as originally drafted had the heavy presence of Isaias Afwerki…”)

      The argument is that amendments are hard and that the default position of the constitution unfairly rewards those who happen to have a vision of Eritrea that is unitary and centralized. Now, now, let’s go back in time, to 1994: assume that the ELF and ELF-RC (then the only real opposition to the PFDJ) were admitted in as full partners in drafting the constitution. Do you think they would have come up with a constitution that is vastly different from the 1997 constitution? Yes, they would have quibbled about the flag. Yes, they would have (especially if Seyoum O/Michael was delegated) have raised holy hell about “land belongs to the State.” Yes, they would have taken a strong position about two official languages. They would have lost some, and they would have won some. But do you think they would be talking about right of nationalities to secede and all the other stuff introduced in 1999 by the Kunama and Afar Liberation Fronts? Does anybody think that the Islamists and the De.Me.Ha.E. and Se.De.Ge.E. had anything but the most marginal support (if at all) in Eritrea in 1994-97? If this view is more widespread now (decentralization to the point of secession, to the point of creating Islamic mini-states): put it to the test via the amendment process.

      Now to your classic joke. It goes like this. A girl from the lowlands, a Tigrayt-speaker who doesn’t speak a word of Tigrinya, joins the EPLF. Within a few years, she is completely fluent in Tigrinya and speaks it like her mother tongue. An old man who can only speak Tigrayt approaches Tegadelti and asks for directions. The Tegadelti, who don’t understand his language, summon the girl to translate. She approaches them, listens to their request and, considering her mother-tongue the language of the illiterate says, “Eway, weriduni gwal Qeshi!, ane de’a Tigre zeykiel!”

      Even these types of inferiority complexes can be fixed via an amendment:)


      • Saleh,

        Wow your joke is hilarious and surely it makes me laugh. But to the point… did you say “amendments are hard?” Ah, that is the crux of the matter and it is the alpha and Omega of my argument. In the name of “amendment” with all its flaws, believe me all the grievances will be thrown into the thin air…and the “abey keybezehu eyom” rejectionism will continue as it existing in the politics of today. Wouldn’t be wise to check the problematic issue of the constitution (language, land, nature of governance…etc) and be corrected before it is implemented, if we are really serious to keep our diversity intact? Think about it. By the way you mentioned about the “Eritrean covenant” in your previous comment. we don’t know the authors. They have to come open to the public if they think themselves as “think tank”. There is no such think tank without the knowledge and approval of the public.

        • Salyounis


          Can’t take credit for the joke, it belongs to a friend: Semere Andom. Say nice things to him; he may stick around. He is one of those people who shows up every blue moon…

          I think of the 1997 constitution the way we think of the colonial treaties Africa inherited. It doesn’t make much sense but to try to replace it with something that makes more sense, starting from scratch…why that just requires more of the one resource Eritrea doesn’t have: time. To be painfully pragmatic about it, Emma (and I know this probably is offensive to you): some things are, simply put, in the “Aasha ztekelo lebam ney’neQlo” category. I consider the 1997 constitution in that category; doubly tragic because if the opposition that existed in 1994-1997 was respectfully invited and allowed to participate, the constitution would not have looked that much different from what we have now.

          There is a price to be paid for the “go-along” recommendation and I don’t disagree with you. But, you have to admit that there is a price also to scraping it off and starting from scratch.


      • yegermal

        ‘(especially if Seyoum O/Michael was delegated) have raised holy hell about “land belongs to the State.” ‘ …ahem, clever way of referring to the region from where Sium hails?

        • Salyounis


          Ha! Wrong tree:) Ere ebakih aygermim. Actually, I referenced the late Seyoum O/Michael, (aka known as Seyoum “Harestay” due to his leadership role in “MaHber Harestot”) because he was passionate about land and the politics of land. Long before Ali Salim introduced us to the term “land-grabbers”, this is what Seyoum Harestay had to say about land:

          The existing PFDJ policy is a policy of plunder and that is how we see it. Basically, the use of a veneer that says, “land is the property of the government”, is a ploy to own and to distribute land selectively and on whim; to enforce your power interest until you solidify your financial capability. To seize land as you wish; to offer land in the marketplace in exchange for hard currency, is to undermine the basic asset of our people that they used for ages. In short, it is undermining and pulling the carpet from under their legs. Because of that, we consider the policy that the government is following, as a policy of plunder; it is a policy of looting. It is unpopular, illegal and undemocratic.


          In Eritrea, there is not a compact entity [land] that is not owned by the people; there is no piece of land that is not territorially delineated and that can not be identified by a people, regardless of the number of the people. There is no land that is outside the control or ownership of a segment of the people. There is no commune or county that cannot be identified with the people. The people own the land; they are identified by the land; they are identified with the land; and their livelihood life is based on that land.

          You can read more about Seyoum and his strong views here:


      • Dear Semere,

        I miss-read the comment of Abu Sala (Saleh) until he makes me aware about it. I attribute the joke for him by mistake. Sorry for that Semere. I will never forget Semere and his “joke” as it becomes “a marker” for identification of you as of now, at least for me. By the way, I think your argument and mine falls in the same category. Bless us with your insight brother and keep up the flow.

      • semere andom

        Thanks Sal:
        The joke is verbatim. Now you cannot give me the excuse of “Semere I forget, I am old” whenever I remind you to tell me joke 🙂

        But the point of the joke is not inferiority complex.I do not want to drag this debate to the language issue, but the point of the joke was that how PFDJ discouraged other languages. Who knows how many people went to halewa sewra because they spoke their language. I will share with you an other true story.

        In 1993 a Tigre speaking friend was bullied by a Tigrinya speaking PFDJ official when trying to get his ID to vote in the referendum, the official questioned my friend’s identity. The friend who speaks fluent Tigrinya told the official for all he knew you could be from Mekele, so he refused to speak in Tigrinya and demanded an interpreter. The official capitulated and brought in an interpreter, the friend replied he does not trust this interpreter as he has a slight accent that did not sound Eritrean; they offered English, my friend refused. Finally I was called in as a compromise interpreter. I listened to the official and repeated his words to my friend in Tigrinya. My friend would speak in Tigre. It drove the official insane. My friend and I laugh about this until today.

        For all I know my friend could have pulled the gual Qeshi line if this has happened in Eritrea. And if gual Qeshi was in Toronto she could have pulled my friend’s lines.
        The weakly encrypted message of the joke was do not be fooled by the “baburaye aserera”songs, PFDJ bullied Tigre until it took its current form, where the language lost its personality and eloquence.

        So my imagination of the Deqi Queshi whispering to each other in Tigre is not contradictory, it is complimentary.
        Amendments will fix lots of things including PFDJ’s hubris that is why I am for amending the living hell of the constitution
        Writing a constitution in his basement for the sole reason to deport some Eritreans did notdo wedi Melekin any good.


    • yegermal


      muchas gracias for Sium’s info. Quite enlightening I might add. But I believe his take about land tenure was also influenced by his background, hailing from the part of Eritrea where “risti yewagaalu anesti”. Just a thought:)

      • Gumare

        Yegermal, your comments desrve one big “Yegermal” exclamation.

        I think you should appologize to Salih Yunis. Here is why:

        when he commented and mentioned Sium O/Mikael you cleverly accused him by insinuating something everyone here understands: “‘ …ahem, clever way of referring to the region from where Sium hails?”

        When he came with quotation from Sium’s interview, you wrote: “But I believe his take about land tenure was also influenced by his background, hailing from the part of Eritrea where “risti yewagaalu anesti”. Just a thought:)”

        Honesty requires that you appologize because you imply you have the right to say things others are not allowed to, even when you are dead wrong after second-guessing them. I don’t like to mince words, let me put it bluntly. You accused Yunis of cleverly mentioning Seraye (no, no, no, that is weganwi in some quarters) and it became obvious from his rejoinder he was not implying anything of that sort. Then you imply it openly yet you do not have the courage to say “Sium hails from Seraye.” Don’t you think you need to appologize for ininuating he committed a “sin”? Why do people lack the courage to mention regions without feeling guilty?

      • yegermal

        Frankly, am not afraid to mention regions at all. Indeed, Sium is from Seraye. It was just my shot at circumlocution ala Eritrean – kolel melel and long paragraphs to make a simple point. Bizkone, I apologize profusely for raffling your feathers. Chill!

  • Yodita

    Dearest Papillon Haftey,

    As Amanuel Hidrat advised, just ignore these zombies (Eritrea2, Ziggy, Haile, and the likes) because when one sums the amount of ink they collectively utilise to attack you, one realizes that your fight is bearing fruit. You are a thorn in their flesh.

    The one thing that stands out about these thugs, is they are at their element when they hurl insults and defamations at a woman. I never see them do the same at the men. There are staunch anti-Hgdef and anti-Isayas persons with nicks of men, and they are scared of them and hardly ever address or comment their criticism.

    They may know how to write in English, but they are as Ewala as they come! So is their Idol by the way! In their tiny winy mind, in order to be an Eritrean, you would have to go on all fours and swallow ****, without questioning anything (deaths of hoards of young people escaping slavery). Then you are a good Eritrean. Anything less than that, you are not an Eritrean.

    Little do they grasp that before you are an Eritrean comes being a human being with conscience, with a mind, with a heart. First and foremost, as an adult person, you owe it to everything that matters in this universe to try to be honest and truthful. When you knowingly and deliberately lie, like they do, you are toxic and anti whatever is life and progress-oriented energy. Actually, they fool themselves believing you can get away with it, but all the hate and crime they (with nsu at the helm) are issuing will boomerang and ‘annihilate’ them, sooner than later.

    My dearest Haftety, you care conversant with SAAY, Amanuel Hidrat, Serray, Eyob Medhanie, and their likes. Please ignore totally these mercenaries and continue to delight us and enlighten us with your razor-sharp mind laced by your great advocacy for rule of law and good governance. The zombies do not deserve a second of your time. Sooner than later, they will exhaust themselves listening to their own hateful words.

    By the way, I myself can hardly resist to pay them back insult by insult but am now gonna opt to simply IGNORE them.

    If you only knew how some of us appreciate and love you for your great contribution at!


    • Genet


      That is not true actually. Yes, these people you mentioned (ziggy, haile, Eritrea2) are annoyed by you. They seem convinced that you are not an Eritrean. Frankly, your writing, always taking on Weyane’s side, doesn’t help you come across as an Eritrean.

      But you are mistaken when you say they are targeting you because you are a woman. Ziggy tried to grab HGDEF by his collars the other day and throw him out. So you see they do it to men too. They are not singling you out because you are a woman.

      Awate is an open forum but you would garner a lot more respect from the posters if you were honest with yourself and the forum participants regarding your loyalty.

      Is your loyalty to the Eritrean State?

      • haile

        [From moderator:Haile, we are using your posting to put an end to the deteriorating postings. Lets all pause and take a break from the piling on and personal assaults. Honestly we feel like we are trying to run a library and patrons who had a big fight at a nearby bar are bringing their fights here. When will people learn that internet fights are un-winnable because the ink is free and the winner is not the one with the best arguments but the highest endurance for pain and the most time in their hands? It’s is pointless so lets please move on!]

      • yegermal

        “Is your loyalty to the Eritrean State?” tricky question….Are you referring to the “Eritrean State” which “Isaiasits” deem DIA’s private real estate property, hence, assaulting DIA equals assaulting Eritrea; or to the Eritrean State for which our martyrs gave their lives and which is tightly entangled with the survival of its people, therefore, assaulting its people equals to assaulting the genuine and legitimate Eritrean State? You see, there are two different Eritrean states and the likes of Papillon – yours truly included – are fighting for the Eritrea that safeguards the basic human rights of its inhabitants. Which Eritrean State are you toiling to uphold?

      • haile

        moderator: agreed.

      • Yodita


        You say “..taking on Weyane’s side,…”. Hgdef indoctrinates that unless you hate and denigrate Weyane, you are not an Eritrean. But this is a farce! Weyane’s good governance of Ethiopia needs no elaboration becaue it is in the eyes of the whole world in concrete terms. They are marching on and changing standard of living of peoples who have known only poverty. Hgdef’s mal governance is also in the eyes of the whole world or need I give you a long list of attrocities? It is not a question of taking sides as you simplify it.

        Loyalty means a feeling of devotion, duty or attachment to somebody or something. If by Eritrean state you mean to the regime (Isayas and his cronies), I say hell NO! I have no loyalty to offer to the regime. If you wrote Eritrean state to mean the Eritrean people, I say YES!! I very much admire what Weyane are doing to bring about badly needed change in their country but I am not loyal to them since I have no interaction. On the other hand, I very much resent what Isu and Hgdef are doing to our society and believe me loyalty to them is the farthest thing in my mind. I know to Hgdef and their supporters, this (speaking the truth)is tantamount to treason. In Eritrea, I would be locked up in a container and in WiAA!!

        If as you say the hgdef supporters attacked one man (HGDEF),then I stand corrected and thanks.

    • Genet

      We only have one Eritrea. There are no multiple Eritreas. Multiple Eritreas is only a creation of its erstwhile enemies designed to “divide and conquer” the Eritrean people by first making them believe that so and so belongs to Eritrea therefore he or she is not your compatriot because you belong to the other Eritrea and so so belongs to yet another Eritrea that has nothing to do with the two other Eritreas. That is a sure way to divide a people and have them go at each other’s throat and destroy any sense of common citizenship.

      There is only one Eritrea. Indivisible!!!

      • F.M.

        You care about indivisibility. Some care about liberty and justice. Without liberty and justice, indivisibility can go to hell. And there are multiple Eritrea if you thought for a second about the lives of the many Eritreans. You can start with yours… educated, settled, westernized who either can only imagine enemies where there are non or just has no consciousness and empathy to relate to other Eritrean’s pain, not unlike the colonialist that your parents or grand parents came in contact.

    • Papillon

      Dearest Yodita haftey,

      I absolutely agree with you. I was actually hoping an Eritrean version of Carter or Clinton would engage in a shuttle-diplomacy to breaker a peace-deal but no-takers until the moderater delivered his verdict on us to move on. I agree otherwise will be turning into a “Reality Show” so to speak.

      P.S. Moderator, my apologies for veering away from the article at hand where we are supposed to chip in or counter-argue if need be. Again, my apologies.

  • Hayat Adem

    Sal Haway, sorry for getting lengthy…I wish I could write as concisely and beautifully as you do. But wishes have never helped simplify the real squeeze of doing it.
    You said that GY and YG criticize Ghedli today, and they never supported Ghedli yesterday. giRm!!! You know what that makes them? It makes them consistent. And what Eritrea has made of itself after that long Ghedli journey and its unparalleled sacrifice tends to support their case. On the other hand, you support the Ghedli and you didn’t get what you hoped for from the Ghedli but you still think the journey was to be condoned and what went wrong after independence can be corrected…giRm!!! The burden of proof rests on your shoulders, though. Show me the money! Theirs- supported by explanation and outcomes. Yours- only by rationalization. You are not equal matches. If I’m a voter, I can wait until you make your point but naturally, I am a bit swayed to what I see. I have to admit the fact that I don’t value the purity of Eritrean identity, the way you do, separate from people’s gratification of travel and fruition.
    For most rational people, NatSnet & Harnet are more of a jointly blended goods than separate. They are supposed to come at once than phased. The absence of one tends to negate the existence of the other. I don’t see Independence as a project in progress if it meant more repression and agony for citizens. But it is understandable if you take pride from the fact that the struggle is half fulfilled and we need to pursue the other half.
    You said, “ The sole purpose of the journey was to rid Eritrea of a huge obstacle to determine its fate.” And the fate being more suffering was the opposite of what we had hoped, was not it? People like YG and GY believe: the state of conditions we see Eritrea in now are not accidental but the making of the Ghedili itself. They see something wrong with the journey itself. I have not analyzed enough to condemn or condon the journey all together. Neither do I support your line that the Ghedli was all a good story of Eritrea and has to be glorified in a blanket. At least, our current state defeats any notion of blind praise to the Ghedli. A road is as good as it gets you somewhere. We are somewhere and we don’t seem to like where we are. You can argue that was not meant to be. But you need to shoulder the burden of proving that assertion. You need to convince me that we can retrace our national path without fundamentally writing off the Ghedli. Ghedli had a value system. Ghedli had functional stracture. Ghedli had supporters, members, executers, leaders etc. Most of those compenents are still in tact and part of today’s PFDJ. It is not just PIA that we are concerned with. Sal Haway, could you show me how you can fix it? And please, forget Forto 21!

    • Semere Tesfai

      Hayat Adem

      You said: “…you (SAAY)support the Ghedli and you didn’t get what you hoped for from the Ghedli”

      Hayat, I’m afraid you’re wrong here; we got what we wanted from Ghedli: sovereign, free, independent Eritrea. That was the purpose of Ghedli and Ghedli served its purpose.

      You said: “For most rational people, NatSnet & Harnet are more of a jointly blended goods than separate. They are supposed to come at once than phased”

      Wrong again. In the country where I live (USA), I don’t think black Americans got their “NatSnet & Harnet jointly blended”. As far as I know, to this day, their fight for civil rights is far from over. And this is in the land of milk and honey and in the land of – the mother of all democracies that you and I aspire. The way I see it – continuous improvement is the word of wisdom. And in that path, we are at the twenty mile mark in a gazillion mile journey.

      You said: “People like YG and GY believe: the state of conditions we see Eritrea in now are not accidental but the making of the Ghedili itself. They see something wrong with the journey itself.”

      So tell me, what would YG and GY say about the people of Zimbabwe? Looking Somalia today, do they think the Somalis were wrong to go for independence? What if we had to fight the Italian fascist and end-up with PFDJ, would our Ghedli be still wrong? By the way, for Eritreans, the Derg and the Haileselassie regimes were far worse than the Fascist Italians.

  • haile

    Selam Ziggy,

    The problem with the papillon & Co. is that they are the main culprits in holding back Eritreans from doing what they are best at. Solving problem. These guys (you will know why I say guys shortly) jumped the boat and are now trapped. The more they sing the Woyane mantras, the more they make PFDJ a far better alternative there by pushing back the majority of Eritreans from asking legitimate questions to better their situation.

    Amanuel Hidrat is another trapped soul who despondently holds on to anything that would glorify woyane and put down Eritreans. Only few days ago, he was in the other post lamenting how Eritreans are no good to do any thing meaningful to advance their own good.

    He pretends he knew papillon all his life and is ready vouch for her in every turns and twists. Here is a treat to show that he knows jack-all about here. Back in January 2012 he wrote:

    ” What I love from B’Alti dragon is not the veracity of his/her knowledge but also his/her style of debating, which is very inviting and magnetic to keep you in the debate. Though I would like him to be a contributer in this wonderful website, to enrich and be additional vector of knowledge, I still enjoy him/her commentary and challenging questions to awate writers. I salute him for that.” see:

    and of course, the papillon introduced herself in response as:

    “Sure enough, the cyber world could be deceiving where the rest of us are mere characters on the screen but if anything, I am not a BeraH, Haxir, and Terbab sebAy who pretends to be a “cerebral” chick with a rather juicy or an urban legend pen-name.” see:

    So, the poor chap took the word on face value and conceded:

    ” b’Alti dragon w’qatto,
    No offence at all. I stand corrected. I will use the pronoun “she” if you are “she”in the real space-time continuum.” see:

    …and ever since he started blurting out all sorts of fluttery on grounds that he finds her woyanite stand appealing.

    It is these confused, flip flopping and nefahitos that are miring the legitimate demand of the Eritrean people by continually hijacking it to be an accessory of a foreign aggressor (as per EEBC decision).

  • Eritrea2

    Oh Goodie!

    Did the Puppilon said she agree with me? Oh, boy. This can’t be good. Somehow I must have angered the Gods or something.

    Puppy, here is the deal: I am sorry to present it to you this way, but you are everything Eritreans hate.

    Did you just called our women Komaro? Ridiculous! You see, you failed in every aspect that anyone can think of:

    1. You failed as an Eritrean woman. Those beautiful women that you shamelessly called comaro are our moms and our sisters. And as a woman, and in the wake of March 8, you just violated your feminine side
    2. You failed as an Eritrean. Reading at all your comments, (Thanks to Haile for digging your crap up and bring it to the surface for anyone to see) it is so apparent that your loyalty to Eritrea is not in its place. And what is the deal with your scary obsession with the deceased Woyanie dude?
    3. You failed as an intellectual. Analysing the substance of your comments, it is not hard to see you are just an idiot, who has a good mastery of the English language
    4. You failed in communication skills and in socializing. Every time you hear something different from your way of thinking, you jump and bite every one’s head. And the more you confront Haile, the more he bares you to the skin. We can tell you are an emotional wreck and unbalanced from just reading your comments. Imagine what it would be like if you were to discuss issues in person.
    I can go on….

    • Zgeremeni

      Eritrea2 – you failed communicating your disagreement with Papillon.

  • Mickielle


    I agree when we sit down and talk, we can resolve issues that seem insurramountable.
    The growth and maturity from EDP to its present EPDP form is a good example like you indicated. Mainstream youth in the opposition do not have much regards for EPDP. As far as smer youth is concerned by a wide margin, EPDP is irrelevant – sad but true. Sad because EPDP can be a potent force within the opposition.

  • Mickielle

    Qolla/kebesa is still alive as in aslam /krstian, jebha/eplf, tigrinya speaking/non tigrinya speaking – roughly speaking that is.I have my own name – center/periphery.

    By some friends of qolla/moslem/jebha background, issayas would never have been the issayas we know with kebesa people in significant numbers rooting for him. Wodoboy Younis, I want you to address this one in the future with your kind of sensiblities, and humor.

  • haile


    I know you like to throw the “confused” “zombies” “pathetic” and many other unflattering descriptions to those who are least impressed by your flippant nature. Lets put you te the test:

    Papillon to Ghezae Hagos on April 18, 2012 at 3:26 am said:

    “I am not sure if this is a day of reckoning. As I read your otherwise a brilliant-writer-to-be-discovered-threads, I feel like I am walking into a solemn room where a feminized Eritrea is to be intervened (as in intervention) by her children.
    The silver lining is however, her kind and generous people will pull it through where losing hope is what we can not afford to give in to. The new Eritrea will shine up on the hill. It is a fact. God bless us all.”


    Papillon to Serray on April 15, 2012 at 3:59 am said:

    “I sure hate to burst your bubble where you’re tuning in to the forum if I come out of the “closet” to attest to the long held suspicion that I am in fact an………..Well let me put it this way: Both my parents are Eritreans but I have long decided that I don’t belong to Isaias’ Eritrea. If that makes me non-Eritrean, so be it.”


    …hard to figure out if she might indeed be “confused”

    • Papillon


      Playing Sherlock Holms doesn’t cut it. Read the threads again. They are similar. In the first thread I said, The NEW ERITREA will shine up on the hill. In the second thread: I said, I don’t belong to ISAIAS’ ERITREA. If you’re having difficulty to see the similarity. Let me help you out. The new Eritrea is not Isaias’ Eritrea. That’s where I belong.

      P.S. I can’t believe you’re in a digging frenzy as if I am running for a public office where you’re sent to find anything “juicy” about my past. Get a life.

      • haile


        Goodness, didn’t I see that coming…you need a cheering bed time story…here is one about a quick thinking boy like you who worked as shop assistant (not med school lecturer or…)

        Well the boy was tidying the vegetables section of the store he worked in when a customer approached him to ask the price for half of a whole cabbage that was on display. The boy only knew the price for the whole (presumably by reading the price tag underneath) and asked the customer to wait while he goes to the store manager to find out for him. When he got to the manager, he asks “hey Jerry, how much is half of this cabbage, there is an A@@h@le asking me for it?” but sadly as he glanced over he notices that the customer was actually following him and was standing right behind him. The quick thinking boy (must have gone to the same school as you) follows on his ill thought remark by addning “ah..and this gentleman wants the other half too!” How clever!!

        Papillon, stop trying to run away from yourself, it is enough that you’ve done that from everyone else.

  • Ziggy

    By the way, everyone should read’s expose on Weyane officials replacing veteran fighters (gedaim tegadeltis) in the Eritrean opposition groups with Weyane cadres.

    Every Eritrean needs to recognize what’s happening. The leadership of the so-called opposition groups is no longer staffed with Eritreans.

  • Papillon

    Dearest Aman,

    You’re right. It is waste of my energy threading with PFDJ-the-walking-dead. At first, I actually thought the guy (Haile) was cool headed person where one can reason out with on different level but as the cleavages start to come off his true colours got cluttered. What threw me off the most is not what he says about me but when he started defending Sofia and bashing and trashing Ghezae. That was “a red flag” to say the least. He is NefaHIto.


    • haile


      I don’t really understand what is going on here, do you?

      I am trying out a theory that says “if we are going to bring change to Eritrea, we have remove the main obstacles in this regard first”.

      The likes of you, Ghezae, Amanuel… are the “main obstacles”. And as such we need to take you to task with your duplicity, flippancy and intimidation of Eritreans with an array of fallacies.

      Let’s see a live nefahito, as you would say, Ghezae Hagos ex-PFDJ, this is what S.Gadi told him back in February 2012:

      “Hello Dear Ghezae,
      Don’t you get tired of always belittling the “internet scribbling”? You have been an avid Internet writer (or scribbler and still are) since 2000 when you considered unfair for not hosting views from the PFDJ camp. We were hosting your not-so-generous writings against the opposition and what you then referred to as “ELFites.”


      Of course, this nefahito would do anything now to stop the “PFDJ” from having any views. Such us calling for summary travel ban of all past members of the Eritrean struggle for independence, calling that we shouldn’t question Zionism else he will manipulate it to defame, and many other lies on personal representation and accounts.

      Here is the deal: imagine you favorite type of food, and now imagine you are also very hungry, and finally imagine being served your favorite dish at a time you were very hungry but not on a plate but on dirty garbage tray. Would you eat it?

      It is not much about what is attempted to be done, but who is doing it. Ghezae, an ex-PFDJ, who has the best of treatments that PFDJ can ever give wanted better and greener pastures, and his nefahito self is open for all to see, don’t give us the usual cr@p that you didn’t mind you pants being set on fire, it’s seeing Ghezae’s pants going up in smocks that saddened you most…

  • Eyob Medhane


    Oh no..not Semere’s book 🙂 (I look forward to read it, when it comes out though…

    I found one for you. In fact, someone you probably appreciate and fall in love with 🙂

    His name Afenegus TAKELE Woldehawariat. (For some crazy reason I don’t know wikipedia has his name wrong and gave him a totally Eritrean name TEKLE Hawaryat. You guys just don’t quit claiming our heroes, do you :-))

    Here is his partial biography from wikipedia.

    Please read Hiruy Woldeselassie’s book about him.

    The reason I said you might like the guy is he probably was the ONLY Ethiopian noble of the time, who opposed the unification of Eritrea and Ethiopia, based on, according to Hiruy Woldeselassie he protested saying “..They have learned a lot of ‘Ferenj’ things, they won’t fit..” He bitterly hated Aklilu Habtewold and his entire family for PM Aklilu’s effort to unite Eritrea and Ethiopia. He insulted Aklilu and Ephrem Tewoldemedhin in public calling them “Afash agonbashoch” (Lackies)

    He probably is the first person in Ethiopia, who was called a ‘terrorist’ by the public media for laying landmines to assasinate His Imperial Majesty King of Kings Haileselassie the First, Elect of God the Lion of Judah, Emperor of Ethiopia :-)(Sorry. I just couldn’t resist)

    Afenegus Takele couldn’t relent, even if the emperor gave him his beautiful cousin in merriage. What is different about him was he was a bit more educated than many of the nobles in the courts and have been to few European cities, so he has a totally different out look.

    What happened to him? Well. Yes. You guessed it. Two months after he was released from prison, he spattered landmines on the road to Sebeta, trying to kill the emperor (Should I do the title again? :-)) when the emperor was on his way to his vacation home in Alemgena. His plot was discovered and, he was asked to give himself up. He refused. In a shoot out, he killed two police officers and a member of the imperial guard and was killed.

    Here is a VERY partial and somewhat destorted bio of him from Wikipedia…

    • Salyounis

      Eyob, Eyob, Eyob…


      What is Amharic for “ny lbKha dikha?” Dude, the Eritrean revolution produced an Afenegus a week; we called them Fedayeen and you called them wembedye:) I don’t think you understood my question:

      The context was this: Menelik II has a statue in Ethiopia, and this confirms the warrior/conquest bias the world has: it glorifies and rewards soldier/statesmen. Surely, in the long and illustrious 3,000 year-old Ethiopian civilization, there must be an Ethiopian ruler/governor who was beloved by his people, or at least considered a visionary, for changes he (or she) introduced to improve the quality of life of the citizens. This could be artistic, religious, industrial, governmental, societal, cultural… pick anything, you choose, anything except military (btw, belated happy battle of adwa day by the way; I will forgive you for not congratulating me Happy Nadew Day:-)

      And no, I am not saying this to mock Ethiopian history; I am genuinely ill-informed about the subject and would like to learn and who better to teach us than the great Ethiopian Eyob, since, in one of my articles I said I couldn’t find any and people thought I was making fun.

      Semere’s book is going to be about the great contribution of the Tewahdo church to literature, architecture, religion. So don’t step over his domain:)


      • Eyob Medhane

        Oh Sal,

        That is easy. Gebrehiowt Baikedagn…

        Who do you think Meles Zenawi’s ‘Developmental State in Ethiopia’ ideology came from?

        Unlike so many others, you can read Dr. Negadras Gebrehiowt Bikedgn’s book “Mengistna Hizb” translated in both English and French. There is also an analysis in his economic theory in Library of congress. You can find it there.

        I have a bit less favorable opinion of him, because, he seemed he somewhat admired the Italians colonialism in Eritrea.

        Again, here is a partial biography of him from Wikipedia.

        (I hate wikipedia. It distorts some facts..)

        • Salyounis


          Awesome, now that’s a good tip.

          And, I was messing with you of course about Madingo: the man has an amazing voice. He did a song that sounds a lot like Abraham Afwerkis “Maryam Asmereiti” when I can find the link I will share…


  • Serray

    Selam Sal,

    Keep steering the conversation towards the constitution and justice. One of the glaring deficiencies of the opposition is the lack of a galvanizing leader or a galvanizing idea. From the beginning the constitution was something we could have used to corner isaias. But the opposition is full of people who are either indulgent or want to play devil’s advocate all the time. Dissing the constitution is indulgent on many levels; whether you do it because of the lack of official languages, land policy, term in office or even worse, because it was directed by isaias.

    I am not sure which is worse, the mindless indulgence of the constitution haters, identity politicians and ethnic and religious teasers or the devil’s advocates who will say anything, do anything or go anywhere as long as it does not yield results.

    The elegance, simplicity and practicality of demanding the implementation of a ratified constitution or releasing political prisoners is priceless. The fact that it is taking us a long time to galvanize around it shows the disconnect between the victims and those who think they are fighting for them. When the victims did their own fight on January 21st, they knew exactly what to say. I wish we find the complete document; if the first two statements were as meaningful as asking for constitutional governance and justice, imagine what the rest would be. Don’t forget, a handful of people put their lives, the lives of everyone one they love, in these pages and went to the ministry knowing the chance of their coming out alive was slim to none even if the document was read in full. They must have felt the idea behind the document is worth dying for.

    I am glad you did this, Sal, we can no longer pretend we don’t have an idea to galvanize around.

  • Papillon


    Listen to the kind of language that you use to communicate: “No body cares about who started the last war of aggression by woyane, what matters is they pack and go. If you have a problem with that, I still hold that you were there to make a presentation as a member of the Awassa tourist, with Amanuel Hidrat and YG to your right and left. And woyane holding the gun on the head of the poor students forcing them to listen to your non-sense.” Do you know what the audience (read: Awate) see in that? A garbage-in and garbage-out synthesized in and other class-less Eritrean websites.

    Every time I see your thread, what comes to mind is the woman draped in Eritrean traditional dress as she is lined up with an army of Komaros carrying in her left hand a framed picture of the sadistic psychopath and with her right hand lifting Isaias’ un-supported arm and kissing it where he takes a pride as the gesture is reserved to His Holiness where the latter is of course rendered to languish in “Dante’s purgatory.”

    • Zegeremo


      I don’t meant to be rude, but do you need to be riminded that Issias is a brutal dictator? I mean bashing DIA doesn’t legitimize Meles’s crimes. Period. You have tried to be everything just to defend meles: economist, agriculturist, politician, philosophist, and…I mean what’s left!? There are legitmate accusations against meles, and guess what?? Bashing Issias doesn’t validate them. The guy is in hell with gasoline all over his body.


    • haile


      Your recycled garbage can be also found here,when you said to Serray;

      “Several springs ago, in one of the Eritrean pal-talk rooms, an Eritrean woman who lives in one of the Scandinavian countries barged right through the huge line up of people who were waiting for their turn to get the mic, grabbed the mic and said something that sent me into a virtual coma for a whole one minute long. She said, “If an Eritrean and a Tigrean kid were to stand at my door-steps and beg for a loaf of bread, I would be glad to feed the Eritrean kid and starve the Tigrean kid to death.” Later on, I found out that, the lady is a replica of the quintessential and prototypical woman who kissed Isaias’ hand while she was carrying his framed picture in her left hand.”

      In your pathetic attempt to justify why you don’t consider yourself an Eritrean. Yea, it was April 16, 2012 and almost a year on you are repeating the same garbage. That is what I call garbage in garbage out.

      Check your self and how you were exposed by serray on that day on:

      Come on Drs papillon (…hmmm)you can do better.

    • Eritrea2


      I think you are dead on when you said:

      “I still hold that you were there to make a presentation as a member of the Awassa tourist, with Amanuel Hidrat and YG to your right and left. And woyane holding the gun on the head of the poor students forcing them to listen to your non-sense.”

      If I want to destroy Eritrea, I would definitely call Puppy and co.

  • Merhaba Saleh:

    In politics there is always a leeway or lateral argument – away from the organic essence of the subject matter on hand. Sure enough, all politicians are prone to to do it, if they find rooms to wobble anyway, until they are challenged. One who exercise politics can not be immune from practicing such tactical argument and of course it includes me and you. A good example of lateral argument (searching room to wobble) is the two individuals in the office of the president who tried to strike and void the 1997 constitution by accusing Dr. Bereket the chairman of the commission of becoming “a foreign lackey” and becoming “unbeknownst to the rest of his colleagues.” Good observation on your side by the way. Did you say they are smart? Not really.

    You asked me to quote you something pertinent to the word I use “out of mark” in your analysis. Sure I will. Correct me if I am wrong to point out some of your argument.I have two observations (1) EPRP which was the vanguard of the PLF lately changed to EPLF organization with its Maoist ideology “new democracy” in the armed struggle, is now EPFDJ with the same ideology running the country. I don’t think Issayas “rediscovered and embraced the inner Mao” after 1997 constitution, rather he continued the same ideology since the inception of EPRP consolidating his power by liquidating any possible opponents. He did it during the armed struggle and he continue to do it this time. Actually by the mere fact of your judgement that “EPLF was many thing but ‘democrat’ wasn’t one of them” which I completely agree is a justification that EPLF under its vanguard (EPRP=EPFDJ) wasn’t anything but Moaist party now and then.I don’t believe issayas hasn’t hand on the constitution either directly or indirectly nor do I believe issayas will be govern by constitutional law as he believes on “guarded democracy” his own democracy.(2) If the awate team “considers the 1997 constitution as a document unfit to address the needs of Eritreans” what is good to disqualify the disqualifiers what ever the basis of their arguments are? The points of disqualifying is not the organic issue but the constitution is. The argument should be whether the document unify the Eritrean people or not. I believe it doesn’t. It is from this prospective that I pointed to you that you missed the mark.

    What is interesting of you is, you always bring debatable issues though it isn’t solution oriented as most of us expect from you. In fact it is rather descriptive analysis clearing the dust and the innuendos, however, good for solution seekers. By the way I find you that it is easy to open history files for reference than most of us.


    • Salyounis

      Ahlen Emma:

      I think we have a difference of opinion here. My thesis is that Isaias started out as Maoist, had a reluctant conversion to neo-liberalism from 1988-1997, then reverted back to Maoism. The evidence I give for this are his public addresses after 1988, (interviews with a bunch of media outlets including EPLF magazine “Merih”), the language of the constitution (very different from what Mao wrote) and the press proclamation providing space to independent media (Mao didn’t have that.) Essentially, during this phase, Isaias’s language and Meles’s language were identical (“we don’t advocate democracy and political pluralism to satisfy the West but because we consider it essential for our own stability”) because he believed that no matter how many political parties are licensed to exist, the EPLF/PFDJ would have a dominant role for the foreseeable future. After the war with Ethiopia and his bitterness towards the West and the UN, and the loss of US prestige after the war in Iraq, he reverted back to Mao.*

      With respect to constitutionalism, there have been, as you know, a bunch of proposals. Generally speaking, those who joined the opposition from EPLF believe that the 1997 constitution (with amendments) is an adequate document for governance; those who are in the opposition from non-EPLF legacy do not consider the 1997 constitution adequate on the grounds that it does not address the diverse population (and diverse interest) of Eritrea. The latter have come up with “blueprints”, “road maps”, transitional charters and, in the case of Mejlis Ibrahim Mukhar, a hybrid of the 1952 and 1997 constitutions. The question here is this: to what degree will one side support the other in its confrontation of the Isaias regime? In other words, if the 1997 constitution is good enough to rally people (an organizing document), will those who are, on principle, opposed to the document withhold support to the rally or will they say: one step at a time, we will deal with that at some future date? The point of the article was (a) there was a surprising lack of criticism about the 1997 constitution as a rallying document following Forto 2013 and (b) the rallying power of the constitution may disappear once the Isaias Afwerki administration tinkers and amends it on the rationale that it is “fatally flawed.”

      * By the way, some Eritreans who were advocates of liberal democracy but strongly opposed to the G-15 and the G-13 used the following argument (to me) back in the day: Isaias is a very reluctant democrat that has to be prodded slowly and if he is confronted directly, he will revert back to his Sahel days. Irrespective of the morality of their argument, I find it impossible to dismiss their arguments off-hand.


      • Dear SAAY,

        The rhetoric pronouncement of Issayas is not deceiving to your intellect but to the general public, as a matter of fact till this date. The removal of ELF from the field was rationalized to bring the focus on the enemy in order to expedite the liberation. But wasn’t. It was to control the Eritrean politics and the Eritrean people. After the liberation they didn’t allow political organizations to join them freely to build the nation and its institutions…denied for the same reason “after”. They didn’t allow the political organization freely to participate in the Referendum retaining their identity…they are denied again for the same reason “after”.They don’t allow POs to have a say in the process and making the constitutions…so many “afters” for every request from the other side. Now dear Sal, are you really taking his words as serious when you had many examples that had been said by him but wasn’t really mean it.So what makes the examples you had stated above in your comment are part of his inner intentions but lately forgotten to rediscover his Maoist idea. In fact it is all part of his tactics to divert issue momentary, as he knows that the Eritrean people are easily gullible and never question him for what he had said in the past.Think about the “many” he had said but wasn’t to mean it.. and then the examples you mentioned will still fall in that category. Saleh don’t count on him on what he said but on what he did. None in the record that shows Issayas stood to his promises but to his individual interest (power) rather. Unless it is for the purpose of intellectual debate based on “political psychology” if you want to further your argument, I don’t see the interruption of his thinking on his political endeavor and his ideology throughout his political career. so no sudden rediscovery of his old thinking and revitalized it to its existence. It is still moving on the same trajectory in fact linear trajectory all the way.


  • Ziggy


    It’s true that Weyane is used as an all-encompassing and catch-all insult word among Eritreans. It has several meanings: liar, thief, selfish, untrustworthy, back-stabber and greedy (zeymeretu zigibit). My cousin likes to use it a lot when referring to people he doesn’t like or trust.

    • Yodita

      ziggy zag

      Less and less rural women go to fetch water for kilometres breaking their backs because the late PM Meles and Weyane transformed and are transforming lives in Ethiopia so that women have water inside their homes. Same goes for electricity. More and more kids are attending schools. A country that slumbered for three thousand years seems to be going vibrant in a mere 20 years thanks to PM Meles and Weyane.

      And what does a zombie like you say as a mantra: Weyane is this Weyane is that and lists all the baggage he carries inside his being like ‘liar, thief, selfish, untrustworthy, back-stabber and greedy’. All these things reside inside your spirit and your inner being. Since you are unable to identify who the real culprit making your existence so precarious is (you are too weak and dishonest to point your finger at Isayas), then Weyane becomes your easiest target.
      Weyane are nothing you say they are! They are visionary, bold, action-oriented and hard-working to (a) put more milk, meat, fish in the plates of the down trodden, (b)to give them sound medical coverage, and good high education ad (c) a higher standard of living. If Weyane are left to do what they are doing now, in the next 20 years, Ethiopia will definitely be a predominantly middle class society, a pride of Africa.

      You may be able to fool those who have not had a better chance for education with your diabolic game of spewing poison to defend an indefensible man like the mad dog in Asmara but some of us see through you and despise you, also knowing that if the reality in the ground about Eritreans does not move your compassion, nothing ever will. You will always feel comfortable on your knees worshiping a tyrant (Isayas, Gedaffi, Sadam) you name it. What a scum!

      You would never lift a finger or say a word to be on the side of a three hundred thousand strong that are in the trenches toiling away to keep an undeserving man in his throne. Neither would you go back to Eritrea to live or encourage your kids to serve at Sawa.

      • Eritrea2

        What are the odds that the two vocal women on this forum happen to be Melese’s sidekick, detest they are born Eritrean, waste a lot of breath preaching about Ethiopia’s development, hate Eritreans and above all snap and act in a weird fashion whenever the border issue is raised? ummm. It looks like Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde gone awry, and ended up to be Ms. Hide and Ms. Hide.

        Anyway, this is for Yodita (Ms Hide 2).
        I posted a reply to your comment on the article to Tsgereda, and it seems appropriate to post it again here, as you seem to repeat the same mistake again and again. The essence of the comment is:

  • haile


    First off let me be honest here, I really laughed when I read that you claim “You were teaching in a a med school in Ethiopia”. Sorry, reading you here, I have hard time swallowing that. Unless of course, you were taken there as part of a woyane cadre entourage that gives seminars on how Ethiopia, under the great thieve and criminal Legese Zenawi, had transformed into a first class chameleon for life as a CIA play ground.

    You papillon, you can only see things through the prism of who they would potentially please. Here is small word of wisdom, to help you untangle from the web of deception that the woyane have entangled you. Wen you don’t like something, it is more of about how you see it than how it really is!

    I see things the way they are, as much as it is humanly possible to do so. I have told you one aspect of my experience whenever I visit Eritrea. There are more to it, most of which I wouldn’t bring up for discussion here (morally, very wrong to do so).

    If we are to go by Eritrea2’s strict definition of ‘Hagerawi’ then you are totally off the mark. Here is a “who is the real chameleon test”

    I dare you that you can’t write the following two sentences:

    “I believe that the TPLF regime in Ethiopia is seriously damaging peace and stability in the horn of Africa region by illegally occupying sovereign territories of a UN member country ERITREA”

    If, as you say you are switching career and trying to enter politics, you need to at least to know not to publicly defend a very unpopular, criminal, dead, buried in Addis and racist leader of a minority clique. That is just a no starter in Eritrean politics. In fact, I noted this at home too. Woyane are VERY unpopular. “komzom woyane eyu” is a common put down used against flip flops in Asmara.

    So, you will hear more from me, some you like some you don’t. Unfortunately, I won’t be tailored on how you would respond to.

    P.S. By the way, what’s up with Ghezae Hagos, I heard he is angry with the Canadian immigration authorities for not obeying his orders with his last gimmick of human rights advocacy con-art.

    • yegermal

      a case of split personality here?

      • yegermal

        “Woyane are VERY unpopular. “komzom woyane eyu” is a common put down used against flip flops in Asmara.” And why on earth do Eritreans flock to weyane land? Might it be because Eritreans hate DIA more than they hate weyane? Or do you have an explanation for the paradox?

        Btw you remind me of this certain lady who just recently found out about the existence of Eritrea and is telling everyone that she is more Eritrean than thou because she “is Eritrean by choice.” She too is obsessed with weyane and Badme to a point of OCD. She is in fact seen twitching her face muscle at any reference or thought of Meles/weyane.

        Get over it! The genesis and responsibility for Badme occupation by weyane lies fairly and squarely on DIA. You care about Badme? Bark at right tree, DIA, not those that are not in power!

    • Ziggy


      Wiqato was teaching body modification (tattooing) to the young students.

    • haile


      Don’t you get it? To not like the situation in Eritrea doesn’t mean you go along with any cr@p!

    • Papillon


      Let me help you to water the lump in your throat down where you are having difficulty to believe that I was there for teaching purposes. As I see it, it is not a big of a deal where it is a career nothing more nothing less. But obviously had I said I was there on a vacation or on a business trip, that would have eased up your tensed up and parochial self tattering on a confused and jealous mind set. No wonder you subscribe to the small time posse of Isaias the menace.

      What you have noticed in what you call home (read: Isaias’ Eritrea) is disgusting words coming out from a minority group who bend backwards to worship a psychopath where the majority of the Eritrean people are grateful to the Weyanes for helping them out in a time of a dire need. Let the facts on the ground speak for themselves.

      Meles is not going to be judged by small time good for nothing people like you for history is on his side. Yes you read me right. History is on his side. When you expected and waited in earnest for the system he built to crumble in the aftermath of his death, it was a rude awakening for you and your likes in Isaias’ turfs that, not only you ain’t in his league, you ain’t match to his stature at all. The man stood tall and he made you look not only a nobody but a residue of history that is meant to be discarded into oblivion by men and woman who recognized the priceless legacy in him. Again, let the facts on the ground speak for themselves.

      Sure enough the Weyanes are occupying Eritrea’s sovereign territory but again, that is not the issue of a paramount importance so that Eritrea once again could stand on her own feet. Rather, the criminal and sadistic Isaias ought to be held accountable for starting the war where you are collecting the booty when many more families lost their sons and daughters where the scar is too fresh and pristine to be relegated into the back burner.

      Isaias commands an army of men and women not only in his fiefdom but here in diaspora as well. Military Star laced Asmara Rose rampages Eritrean communities to bury the horrifying facts where Eritrean bodies are littering the arid vast desert of Sinai as they try to find a place to breath in this otherwise unjust world. She is not alone, she has small men like you who brazenly take on giants like the brave young Ghezae as he speaks up against injustice, oppression and repression not only directed to Isaias but also against his lieutenants who are determined to suck the Eritrean blood to its last drop.

      P.S. Don’t you feel shame at all when you accuse Meles of destabilizing the Horn? It is as clear as Descartes’ logic to see who has been picking up a fight practically with every nation in the Horn. Pathetic.

      • yegermal


      • haile


        You started out by saying:

        “Let me help you to water the lump in your throat down where you are having difficulty to believe that I was there for teaching purposes…”

        …true to your all talk and nothing but just talk self, you came up with the following in order to fulfil your proposal:

        ” …it is not a big of a deal where it is a career nothing more nothing less”

        That is ‘pathetic’ demonstrated in the most practical form of it. You have nothing more except talk and more hyped up talk. You think if you suck up Meles’ this or that hard enough, the penny will eventually drop. Forget it, papillon, that dog is still born.

        No body cares about who started the last war of aggression by woyane, what matters is they pack and go. If you have a problem with that, I still hold that you were there to make a presentation as a member of the Awassa tourist, with Amanuel Hidrat and YG to your right and left. And woyane holding the gun on the head of the poor students forcing them to listen to your non-sense. You guys don’t even know Eritrea!

        P.S. Ghezae is not what you make out to be by the way, he just miscalculated in his early days and jumped up and down when he met few people who mislead him. That is all.

      • yegermal

        “Do not argue with an idiot they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

        ― Mark Twain

        ….and by now we all know who the idiot is:)

      • Dearest Papillon,

        Please don’t waste your time arguing with PFDJ. As Saleh indicated in this piece, PFDJ ideologues know how to complicate the already problematic (complicate) issue of Eritrean politics.Therefore know with whom you are debating. you can’t add value to the issue debating with them, rather they will digress you to their pit.Isolate them as “innuendo-peers” as oppose to others….you know who they are.

    • Henock

      yegermal lol, you remind me of sophia wurinchila.

  • Papillon

    Dearest Eyob,

    Welcome back to the grand palace of As the advert has it, one shouldn’t leave home without it. I remember several years ago I was in Ethiopia for a season or two to teach in one of the Medical Schools in the country and I was pretty surprised to find out that, was popular among the student body including the non-Tigrigna speaking students where the series of articles were the center of debates in their hung outs. Back to the real deal: I was under the impression that, the most popular and sadly under-puplished heroes who stood up to the absolute rule of the HaileSellasie regime were the Neway* brothers (Girmamie and Mengistu). What do you say?

    Neway often times is spelled as No-way for their defiance and protest.


    • Eyob Medhane

      My Lady,

      How have you been?

      I wish I could take along awate with me to Addis. A few days after I got there, I couldn’t access it. I wasn’t very much surprised, because there are a lot of websites one can not access in Ethiopia, and I just figured “well, may be awate ran afoul with Dr. Debretsion and he has banned them forever”. Then I heard about the Jan. 21st incident. The Ethiopian gov. media had a total black out of that news, and the info that I got from some other sources were very confused and sketchy. That is when I missed awate….

      Anyway, it was pretty cool that you have taught in Ethiopia. You have to forgive me, I am one of those people, who is very doubtful of training a lot of medical professionals with out providing them suitable benefit to stay and work in the country. I can bet with you that you’ll find most of the med students you have trained in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Yes. There are a lot of med schools in the country. The problem is they end up training doctors for largely southern African countries, as these countries are keen to recruit well trained doctors from Ethiopia, that they didn’t have to pay a dime to train them for…Sorry. I got side tracked.

      Ehh…Germame and Mengistu Neway. Nope. Don’t like them.

      One (Germame) is a big fat communist. The other (Mengistu) An ill educated egotistical aristocrat, who was entirely driven by his brother ideology that he never understood.

      Germame’s political ideology was shaped, during his four years of study at Yale University. Probably, he was one of VERY few black students at Yale, and have faced certain kind of discrimination from the sons of the fat cats of the time. That seemed what informed his political ideology of socialism. Revenge. when he went back home he manuplated his brother to become another Gamal Abdul Nassar. His brother and his friends ended up mounting a bloody coup attempt that oversaw a murder of 28 largely aging patriots, who fought against fascist occupation… Mengistu never understood what his brother ideology was. However, one good thing I can say about Germame was he was very prophetic. He predicted the problem of Ogaden EXACTLY dead on. He informed the emperor that unless the government brings development and make Ethiopian Somali feel like they belong to the country, he would risk insurgency. what he said happened some decades later in 1984….

      That is what I think of the Neway brother….

      Hey Sal,

      What do you think? Please chime in…

      • Salyounis


        If I chime in, will you search through Ethiopian history to come up with that enlightened Ethiopian ruler? Otherwise, I am going to have to rely on our buddy Semere Habtemariam and his soon-to-be published book.

        The Neway brothers. I only have two stories about that, one serious and the other is surreal. The serious: anybody who stands up to a man who claims to have the divine right to rule (elect of God) is a hero in my book. And the Neway brothers must have, at some level, inspired Eritreans and Ethiopians who eventually stood up against Haile Selasse I. I can’t say this for sure because I haven’t heard anything but a passing mention of them… primarily because Meles, Isaias, Abdella Idris, Totil, Ahmed Nasser, Ramadan Mohammed Nur, etc, etc haven’t written biographies. Sabbe probably mentioned them in his books. Are they mentioned in Gwad Mengistu’s book, “Tigilachin”?

        The other story: About 15 years ago, at a relative’s house, I was listening to a relatively old EPLF-veteran talk about the Neway brothers (probably the story you narrated), but I couldn’t pay any attention because he kept referring to Haile Selasse using the royal plural pronoun..”Dahray Haile Selasse entay ilomo…” After years of the egalitarianism of the revolution–“anta seb’ai! anti sebeyti!”–it was a shock to my system. Incidentally, VOA tigrinya program does that royal-you too and I always find that unsettling (iskum, isom, etc) in contrast to Eritrean TV or radio programs which do not use the royal pronouns even when interviewing Nsu (not nsom). More incidental information: Solomon Berhe*, the guy who interviewed Isaias Afwerki about the “incidents of January 21”, sounds exactly like VOA’s Tewelde Tesfagabir. The only reason I knew it wasn’t him was because unlike Tewelde, Solomon was not referring to Isaias using royal you.

        * More trivia: Solomon Berhe is the author of “sigir dob”, a book authored in 1993 when the EPLF and TPLF were booked for years at the honeymoon suite. That book is now probably an un-book because it quoted un-persons saying un-sayable things about eternal love:)


  • Hayat Adem

    Lets test the strength of your assertion: PFDJ, TPLF and Tamil Tigers, all three followed the same path, the EPLF path. Only TPLF succeeded. Tamil Tigers and PFDJ didn’t. One student succeeded and the other including the author/teacher of the formula didn’t. Is there anything to be proud of in this?
    Sal, with all due respect do not throw an excessive punch on people who are not part of this discussion. Ghirmay Yebio never said (in the quote you reproduced) that Eritrea is a mistake. It may be fair to interprete G.Y. strongly reflected that he is not happy, in fact very furious, with what Eritrea turned out to be and he rejects as well the road that resulted in today’s Eritrea. I cannot possibly think you like what you see in today’s Eritrea, as well, although you don’t think that there was necessarily any problem with the road that get us here. I don’t think you can justifiably accuse GY or YG for questioning the road if your claim can not be supported with confirming positive results. At least, you cannot conclusively dismiss questions challenging the revolution if it brought you to a bad end. But, I guess, it should be OK if you argue that the revolution and the current situation can not be mapped for a direct cause-effect implications. But it is valid as far as it remains an argument and not mistaken for a truth.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Hayat:

      Let’s take it from the top: you said that you have never heard of anybody who has said Eritrea is a mistake. I think Girmay Yebio says that and rather than paraphrase what he said, I quoted his words. And he IS part of the discussion because, as far as I know, he didn’t retire his keyboard: what I quoted was written less than a month ago.

      You missed my point about the EPLA and I am not sure I can add anything more to it without repeating myself. Ditto with the journey and its positive/negative results. The sole purpose of the journey was to rid Eritrea of a huge obstacle to determine its fate. That obstacle, then, was successive Ethiopian governments. Independence NatSnet was the goal. That was done. The next mission was freedom. Harnet. An obstacle was created in the realization of this mission. To blame this failure on Ghedli is short-sighted, simplistic and wrong. By that rationale, every single de-colonization movement in Africa was a failure and, extending the logic, Africans should be clamoring to be colonized by Europe. Many factors contributed to our failure– including: the quiet Eritrean culture that Girmay Yebio is, ironically, praising in his article; the tendency of Eritreans (like most Third World people) to support leaders no matter how brutal just because they share the same religion, ethnicity, region as them; the rise of Islamist movements and the subsequent fear and suspicion of Islam and Moslems in general; the Western preference of Ethiopia over Eritrea and Ethiopia’s never-ending lust for war (i.e., a warrior culture that believes that all political problems can be solved militarily–which, incidentally, is the same culture shared by Isaias Afwerki who, coincidentally, is a hero to Ethiopians and Eritreans who worship the warrior culture); globalization and the relaxation of asylum rules, etc, etc. From all those, to conclude that current state Eritrea is the direct and inevitable outcome of Ghedli is simple-minded and, not coincidentally, comes always from people who never, ever supported the Ghedli to begin with. There is a fitting expression for these people uttered by Upton Sinclair a long time ago: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” In this case, it is difficult to get the YGs and the GYs to understand something when their ability to be at peace with themselves for life-long decisions they made depends upon them not understanding it.

      I am not disputing your assertion that Girmay is bitter, disappointed, unhappy with the state of Eritrea now. But bitterness, anger does not absolve people from being criticized when they make assessments and give recommendations based on their bitterness and anger. In fact, it is highly recommended that people refrain from taking any action–including writing–when they are excessively bitter and angry.


  • belay

    Has somebody nicked,Haile’s nick or he has joined the Dragon’s Den?
    If you did respectable Haile,nobody owns the truth,so why not.
    You must have really worked hard to drop your ego though.

  • L.T

    On this long your articles how manay Isaias Afewerqi you name it?Have other words people both Weyane and to so callad oppostion than Isaias:is he your god?I guesse pretty.
    I will send this piece to Swid journalst to learn Isaias how nuch they wany.We are fedup.

  • Eritrea2

    Great, here is another twist. No, I am not talking about SAAY. I guess SAAY has already consumed his one twist of the year when he changed labeling people from hgdefites to issayasists, remember? Of course that twist happened after Ali Abdus’s alleged defection. That could of course mean either he wanted to save his brother (I.e. HGDF are ok, only Issayas) or may be Ali abdu convinced him that HGDEF and Issayas are two different things each with its own set of fans.
    Nothing new on the article, it is just another cheap attempt to give life to the otherwise lifeless Forto drama.
    The twist, this time came as a comment. Nah, it did not come from the usual useless suspects either (Pappilon, Mehretu, Amanuel, or all the Woyanies). Actually it came from “haile” – the guy, I normally use as a sanity check in this forum of otherwise unrealistic day-dreamers and unionists.
    Nah, I am not talking about giffa in Asmara. You can’t blame the government for doing round ups, as people tend to overstay their leave from duty. And you can’t blame the people for dreading to go back to service either, as the serving doesn’t seem to end. Everything is related and goes in circles.
    The new twist is on the term “hagerawi” and the percentage assigned to it. That is new. The term hagerawi was actually limited to people in diaspora. The term is used to tell the so called opposition that there is no such thing as supporters. By hagerawian, what they mean is, they base their thinking in terms of hager. Meaning, they are not mere supporters of issayas or HGDF. They base their stand on hager (Eritrea) and gouge HGDEF or any other group or individual in relation to the wellbeing of the hager. That is why the so called oppositions are always at loss and far away from the Eritrean people, as these so called opposition never stood or never have the intention of standing for Eritrea. The so called opposition love to label people as supporters and opposition, just to give the impression that they care for Eritrea, while those people they call supporters are just Issayases puppets (Issayasists, according to the ginus SAAY). But we know better. Almost any hagerawi that I know, starts with Eritrea, then evaluates Issayas or any other government member by his service to Eritrea. It never starts with Issayas.
    Now, Mr. Haile, just told us there are hagerawian and non hagerawian inside Eritrea, and only 5% are hagerawian. Just ridiculous!. True, almost all of Eritreans inside Eritrea are wary of the situation, and the no peace no war, the sanction and what not and also condition induced (Read: Woyanie) hardship. But, never are people inside Eritrea divided as hagerawian and non hagerawian. That is just a new day -dream
    I must say, I was surprised to hear this coming from Hile

    • rodab

      Allow me to bridge the gab that exists between your understanding of “hagerawi” in its true meaning vs. as used by the regime. You are describing it as you would interpret it on the basis of its true definition, or a dictionary defintion, if you will. But then there is a separate, a HGDEF defintion of it and that’s what Haile was talking about. The HGDEF definition of hagerawinet is obdience without buts and ifs, and not dare asking questions that doesn’t concern you (actually even something that concerns you). If you are someone who investigates matters and thinks independently or if you are a concerned citizen and you become vocal on advocating for rule of law and transparency, then clearly you’ve become ‘tiHity hagerawnet ateHasasba alewo’ and you are moments away from being made to disappear. Why do you think the fate of people like Bitweded Abraha ended up being unpleasant? By the meaning you understand ‘hagerawnet’, people l ike Bitweded Abraha, who insisted that Ethiopia must pay port taxes and services, would be national heroes and not reminders of what we have now – ‘zeyhagerawi meriHent’.

      • Eritrea2


        What did you took me for? According to your book I am not HGDF, right? The definition I gave is the correct definition that the Eritrean people (HGDF inclusive) use.

    • Papillon


      I actually agree with you. When Haile is a full blown PFDJ-ista whose stellar performance as a bonafide Opposition is worthy of an Oscar, the Chameleon in him must have gotten the best of him in a bid to please Saleh as he vacillates between cozying with you (read: PFDJ zombie) and his “rejoinder” to the article at hand.

      P.S. I wonder who Eritrea 1 is.

    • haile

      Dear Eritrea2,

      Please note “nick named hagerawi”…and “presumably non-hagerawyan” the latter being my deduction. Actually, the usage oh “hagerawi” in the diaspora is different to the one I encountered in Asmara. If you want to get off early from your 10pm-2am wardia duty and couldn’t the common reason given is “hade hagerawi endyu getimuni” If you are caught without menqesaqesi when giffa is underway, if most of the group (usually they hang around in groups of 4) asking for the document would give you a wink to make a dash for it, unless the hagerawi guy is around. Basically, the word is used sarcastically to refer to those who are grassing on people and who go around with a chip in their shoulder. If those I call “non-hagerawyan” find you without menqesaqesi (resident visa) they would help you out for free. The hagerawi would also help you provided he is not in company of another hagerawi (they like to out do each other) AND that you are willing to settle out of pocket. My understanding is that the so called hagerawyan are the one’s who use the current situation, and the non-hagerawyan tend to err on moral values of people.
      The main point was though, the level of fear is so great. Everyone is watching out from being caught for one reason or another. I remember similar atmosphere during the later years of the dergue. But I think the fear then was more of about one’s physical safety. Now, the fear, if you really try to sense it by being there, is more about existence. Like going out and coming back to your home, not some detention camp where your papers have to be processed and being open to all sorts of personal crisis ,,, such as leaving sick relative home, leaving business unattended,,,missing basic engagements as funeral of one’s mother…I felt the people were deeply afraid of the government and usually would need nothing from it. It is usually the government chasing them for all sorts of things that it needs to survive. If they can’t give them they know where they would end up.

    • Salyounis


      Actually, there is a simpler explanation for “Isaiasists” instead of hgdefites or PFDJistas. (1) for the same reason that I don’t refer to Isaias as a dictator but as an authoritarian and self-declared president: some words become so overused that they become cliches–unreadable. (2) “hgdefite” or “PFDJistas” assumes that there is a hgdef and a PFDJ: an organization with principles, value system, and minimum requirements for organizations: bylaws, elections, congresses. (3) hgdefite also implies that the so-called hgdefite or PFDJistas actually believes in anything more than this: Isaias Afwerki should be president of Eritrea. But to the true hgdefite, while everything else is subject to change, revision, reconsideration–heroes become villains, and villains become heroes–the one constant belief is: Isaias Afwerki must be president of Eritrea for as long as he wants to be president. Since that is the sum total of the belief system, why not just apply the appropriate name: Isaiasist.


  • Bini

    Isias governance model = f ( Maoism, Machiavelli, Castro ).

    He strictly follows the principle of those three persons. He loves to talk about Mao as well as Machiavelli. If you read the book of Machiavelli ( ” The Prince “), you will find Isias there. The only option for the people of Eritrea to rid him is to kill him. period. ” One bullet and one hero” is the only solution. No spring, no armed struggle. First kill him then do spring”. When you come to the army generals & colonels, I have no hope on them. Almost all of them are very corrupted first class citizens. They’re leading a comfortable life by starving the majority people. Those army leaders know that they won’t get that position once Isias is gone. They are fattening their pockets & putting people under the siege. The occasion of Jan 21 is a rare case to happen again. Unless his guards take Segumeti, nothing will happen to him. But even if he is gone, the Higdef clique will put his son or brother at his helm. Therefore dismantling Higdef through armed struggle is the only but not essential option.

    • Michael

      Bini, can you volunteer to kill him? I know you would!

  • Dear Saleh (SAAY):

    Your analysis about the current political reality (pertinent to the regime and the opposition camp) mostly correct in its merits. But as to the possible solution to our diversity, you are completely out of the mark. It is not that simple as you have insinuated or otherwise conveyed in your piece that the removal of issayas will be the panacea to our core social contradictions. It is far complex that a simple centralized government as it is envisioned in the constitution of 1997 could solve it.

    Dear Saleh, though any change (from the current government) is a welcome to all of us, especially to the Eritrean people inside, but also keep in mind, that any change that comes by unenlightened military group is not conducive to have a fundamental change that will bring a modern state where justice, rule of law, and the process of democratic institutions could be observed.The current EDF is not well versed about the nature of governance that will hold the equilibrium of our diversity, respect group and individual rights.

    As much as you are a proponent of democracy (even with its absolute essence), advocated and highlighted in your writings and comments in the debate forum… me any example of any nation with its diversity as ours governed by centralized governance (as depicted in the 1997 constitution) that respect individual and group rights and adjudicate justice to its citizens? I have good ear to listen. So far I am sure that you are aware about the attitudes in our politics and the mistrust rooted within our social forces, the centrifugal forces that pulls to magnetic dipole polarization. I am always baffled by the idea that all our social ills will be remedied with removal of Issayas. The problem is the current system and the alternative system enshrined in the 1997 constitution.The constitution will not resolve the mistrust among our diversities in general and the mistrust of citizens and the power holders.

    In any case I always appreciate your detailed analysis and the depth of politico- historical knowledge of Eritrean society.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Emma:

      I am often “completely out of the mark” and when I am, I sure would like to be quoted on what is it I said.

      My view is that in a country where we don’t have many rallying symbols–provincial names, flag, anthems, heroes–the last two that seem to have a broad-based support are the Eritrean Defense Forces and the 1997 constitution. Notice, I didn’t say universal support: many in the opposition consider EDF legitimate military targets and many (include the awate team) consider the 1997 constitution a document unfit to address the needs of Eritreans. However, I argue, many of those who consider the EDF as enemy tools and the constitution as a far-from-perfect document, would have rallied to the aid of Forto 2013, if it had become a showdown between a successful Forto 2013 and Isaias Afwerki, with the understanding that EDF+Constitution is a much better and far less messy beginning point for change than expecting it to come from Isaias Afwerki or taking on Isaias Afwerki on his military terms and defeating him.

      Most of the Arabic-language Eritrean websites who host the “military communiques” of the opposition announcing their successful operation against EDF and articles bemoaning the exclusive nature of the 1997 Eritrean constitution became the biggest boosters of Wedi Ali, Abdella Jaber, Mustapha Nurhussein, etc.


      • rodab

        You don’t mention Saleh Osman at all. I believe it was Gedab news that broke the names of the leaders of the Forto movement back in January, and I believe Saleh Osman was the prominent name we got back then. So help me clarify this: Who was the leader of the movement? Was it Saleh Osman, or was it Wedi Ali? Or others?

        • Salyounis

          Selamat rodab:

          Look for it in the front pages of in the next few days.


  • Halewa Sewra

    With all due respect, Sal, let me disagree with you my man. What the little incident at Forto said was that a disgruntled person inside the government (a low level colonel) can be bought for the right price. But though he himself can be bought, he can’t buy a large number of followers within the army to try to do anything signifcant. I mean, the man wasn’t even able to read his little note on Eri-TV and couldn’t escape the country. Unable, too, to get the soldiers under his command to follow his lead once they realized what was happening. Basically, the incident at Forto was still-born. And the sell-out was within 24-hours, as we say in Tigrigna, “Tekhariju.”

    To me, what the incident at Forto said was that it is hard to even get an infantrymen (agar serawit) to go against PIA or betray Eritrea, no matter what their circumstances. That’s my read of it.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Halewa:

      Who is the “low level colonel”– does he have a name? Who bought him?

      My assessment of the origins of “Tekhariju” is a bit different. The first person to introduce that word was Alazar Abraham, who is in charge of the PFDJ community center in Oakland, CA, when narrating the “incidents of January 21” to a Paltalk audience. Now, Alazar is not the stereotypical brash PFDJ loudmouth: he is very guarded with his words. He used that word because he didn’t want to use the word he was told: “committed suicide.” He did so because he didn’t want to create a martyr for a cause. Isaias Afwerki, who has the authority to veer off the script, said that the man committed suicide. Wouldn’t that create a martyr and a cause? Well, not if the person’s name is not publicized. And this takes us to my question: what is the name of the low level colonel, Halewa? Such a “little incident” poses no threat: tell us his name–I am pretty sure you were not told.


  • Eyob Medhane


    Ohh…..I kinda missed you…(Please note kinda.. 🙂

    Where the heck have you been hibernating?

    “…This is why there is a statue of Menelik II (who forcefully incorporated the Southeastern and Southern territories to Abyssinia) in Addis Abeba and not, well, name some other enlightened Ethiopian ruler—my history of Ethiopia has become sketchy…..”

    I would have given you some names to fill the blank, but I realized you wouldn’t like any of them. So I decided to leave you with your “sketchy” knowledge of Ethiopian history….

    Wonderful to hear from you…

    P.S..Did I already say the obligatory ‘I loved the article’? If I didn’t, I really did love it.. 🙂

    • Salyounis

      Hey Eyob:

      Thanks, bro.

      Ever since you went on a trip to Addis and came back, I think you have forgotten the use of the Internet. I think the psychiatrists call that conditioning:) Weren’t you making a “national security” excuse for the 1990s internet connection of Ethiopian telecom. Ah, patriotism…

      Do tell me the names some enlightened Ethiopian leaders. I was genuinely stumped. I tried to do a little research for the article, then got sidetracked by a book about enlightened Ethiopian intellectuals. But that doesn’t go further back than the intellectuals that were swindled by Haile Selasse I.


      • Eyob Medhane


        Don’t even joke about internet service in Ethiopia. That thing needs a serious overhaul very soon…(I mean VERY) The security threat excuse that I gave you is real, but you should have heard some excuses that are being given over there..It would be enough to author a book that is collections of humor.

        Ok…My favorite ‘enlightened’ Ethiopian hero is Belay Zeleqe.

        -He distributed land to poor farmers, he liberated, when he was a rebel against the Italian occupation.

        -He refused the title ‘Dejazmach’ that was given to him by emperor responding “..I don’t need any other prefix on my name, because my mother had already named me Belay..”

        -He confronted the emperor (even though I believe he was being very simplistic) about why he left the country, when Italy invaded, while he and his ragtag farmers fought and died. According to Hiruy Habteslalasie’s eye witness account, he has written that this is how the conversation went.

        HIM “..Why did you fight for us?..”

        Belay Zeleke “…I never fought for you. I don’t even know you. I fought for Gojam and I fought for my ‘mateb’..” hummmmm “..I fought for Gojam..”.. very sectarian, don’t you think? 🙂

        I guess it was too much for the emperor to bear that kind of talk from Belay Zeleke, and decided the time is up for Belay. Belay Zeleke was sentenced to death by hanging and killed in front of thousands of Addis Ababa residents in a place, where today is known Belay Zeleke street. Derg named the street after him. The funny thing is his brother Ejigu Zeleke was under house arrest, until 1974 revolution. EPRDF has named a huge meeting hall after him and actually has a statue in Bahir Dar.

        Though he was a simple farmer, he had the courage and stamina to fight off the Italians and asked nothing in return.

        I know you are a big Madingo fan, so I invite you this song about Belay by Madingo Afework. Watch it it is pretty cool…

        • Salyounis


          Ah, Belay Zeleke. I couldn’t write about him, because I had already written something about him, in a piece that you truly hated. To go all YG on you and quote myself:

          “Dejiat Belai Zelleke, the one Ethiopian who rebelled against Haile Selasse accusing him of deserting his country while it was under fascist attack was publicly executed.”

          There have to be more enlightened leaders in a country with a 3,000 year civilization, no?

          Thanks for the Madingo video. Some voices are meant to be part of a duet:) Pray tell, his name is not based on Mandingo. And if you are too young to know who Mandingo was, well, look it up.


  • Alem

    Ansewer to ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ብዕሊ ክግንዘቦ ዝግባእ: ሽርሕታት ስርዓት ኣዲስ ኣበባ ኣብ ልዕ…
    This moron writer wants to tell us that Woyane started to claim power and land (beyond badme and other occupied areas) in Eritrea yesterday. He must have been in a coma for a long period of time. It is important to remind him that the ambition of woyane to enslave Eritreans was energized when Isaias decided to solve a simple quarrel among comrades in arms by establishing a prison in EraIra and put everyone who did not agree with him there until death. For Eritreans it was clear that such decision would have very serious consequences and it did. For woyane it was a gift from god. For them it was clear that Eritrean unity would not be the same anymore. That was the reason why woyane not only refused to implement the boarder decision but also even harbored more ambitions. They knew that the dissatisfied Eritreans would search for other solutions. When Isaias told Aljezeera an election might be possible in Eritrea after forty years, Eritreans were listening. They knew that it means forty years of hunger, arrest, intimidation, dictatorship, and monopoly of power in Eritrea. That is why we see so many Eritreans are buying the woyane agenda. It might be incomprehensible to think that an Eritrean would believe woyane would have a good future for Eritrea. Yet Eritreans are thinking that it would not be worse than Isaias. That is the logic pushing them into the hands of woyane. If you respond to any citizens request for simple rights through the barrel of arms, if you hunt your people like animals, if you tell everyone your fate is in my hand knowing that you are the worst human being in the world, what is wrong with finding a better alternative? What did we get from Isaias? Isaias made us the least respected and useless people in the world. Organ traders are hunting us for our body parts. His generals are making money by selling our body to those traders. If you do not have anything even a five cent is a lot. Under Isaias not only we do not have anything we lost what we had. So what is wrong with working to get what we had? We are not working to get more, just to get what we had before Isaias came. The right to move from place to place, the right to sleep in our home, the right to be buried in our country, the right to leave our county through legal means, the right to till our land and reap the benefits, the right to marry and have children. Is that too much to ask for those rights? We lost them under Isaias and I am sure even if we will be in the hands of woyane we will not lose those rights. Now the Isaias propaganda dogs are attacking families. Yes, that is the start of the big agenda similar to what Said Barre planned and Implemented for Somalia. If you are smart that is what is happening to Eritrea. First empty every abled body, next divide the population vertically, and third torch the fire of regionalism and religion. Mission accomplished. If you let Isaias stay in power for additional five years that plan will be clearer and will start to be implemented at a higher speed.

    After throwing their comerades into prison dungeons in ErarIro Isaias and his cohorts perfectly know that they do not have any future. Hence they will do anything that will help them to stay in power. Even the desperate activities that will put Eritrea and Eritrean back to the old days. That is what is happening to Somalis and it will happen to Eritreans. It is how dictators end their rule. Sied barre, Gadafi, Mobuto, Idiamin, Mubarek, Sadam, do you want to me to mention more? My answer to the moron writer who thinks he came up with something that we did not now is find a job and start waking up early. If you are a welfare guy who works for Yemene Monkey as propaganda tool I like to tell you we are ahead of you.

  • haile

    Dear Sal;

    If I get the gist of your analysis right, the government in Eritrea is re-creating the armed forces and the constitution with a view to ensuring survival.

    The logic followed there is plausible, with the only problem of manifest lack of first hand appreciation of what is going on there. That experience is unlikely to be gained without physical presence there.

    The peoples militia, are in fact ordinary local people organized in groups of 6-8. Majority of them are dead against the system, with one or two who keep it intact (typically nicknamed “hagerawi” by their peers). Everything they do has to be behind this Hagerawi. The hagerawi is the one that pesters them to do the ‘wardia’ duty at night and the ‘taElim’ in the mornings. The hagerawi is the one who ensures the apprehension of those without menqesaqesi when the group sent out on giffa duty.

    The majority (often times all except a lone hagerawi) presumed ‘none-hagerawi’ are the one’s who would cover for each other. The none-hagerawyan are the one’s that make phone calls to potential targets of ‘giffa’ when their group sent out to perform these type of round ups. The none-hagerawyan usually help in the escape of those apprehended while helping their ailing parent without menqesaqesi. The none-hagerawyan (usually making up anything between 90-95%) view the system and its trusted hagerawyan (about 5-10%) as a existential threat.

    One morning I was heading to a local grocery store in Asmara, and two men (in their early to mid Fifties) were stopping and talking to passers by. Before I could get near them, a young none-hagerawi was walking past me from the opposite direction. He was talking on his cell phone but looking straight at me. As I got closer to get past him, I realized he was actually talking to me. He said “menqesaqesi yhatu alewu’ in a low voice visibly drowned in fear. I had my western passport with me, but wondered how he figured out that I wasn’t hagerawi (I guess, with such odds, very hard to get wrong!). I arrived to knock on a nearby kanshelo (forget the store, who cares about the economy in this crazy place anyway, I thought).

    An old man (in his mid sixties) opens the door, didn’t bother to greet me. Just gestured me to get in mumbling in hushed voice. Inside, I met several (my be close to a dozen of fellow none-hagerawyan) from all walks of life. United in our determination to make it until giffa is over, that is until a none-hagerawyan members of the Giffa squadron call us. We waited,,,,hours passed, no one bothers to talk about the government or caountry…blah blah,,,,it is survival of the fittest (fastest). To most people (none-hagerawyan making up 90%+ of the population) it is about avoiding a threat in a place that they recognize under some kind of hostile clutch.

    As I waved good bye to my none-hagerawyan friends, I knew the game was over. We can write and talk cr@p as much us we like here. None of it mean a jack in Eritrea. Where you have the entire population doesn’t trust the few hagerawyan, and frankly see them as an existential threat for their survival from dawn to dusk.

    You really need to be there and experience it, to know the massive divide between people and few hagerawyan there. It is much like the relationship between a lone wolf and a heard of sheeps.

    • Salyounis

      Selamat Haile:

      Thanks for the report. Although I have heard something similar, I must say your “reportage” is more detailed and sounds more credible to me than the bits and pieces I have heard. I go with the premise that (a) one can’t have indefinite conscription and maintain military readiness particularly when (b) the commanders are demoralized. I think what will happen is that from the wide net that has been cast to capture everyone, the core of the “militia” (people’s army) and a core group from EDF (including those “koblelti” who are not being returned to their original unit but to the people’s army) will make up a new Eritrean army. That may take a year, two years… but I just can’t think of any other explanation as to why Isaias Afwerki could create a people’s army that completely bypasses the system and does not report to Wedi Ephrem in any way.


    • Papillon


      When your narrative gives the audience a rare peek into the reality of the insulated nation, it could as well be taken for a clip in a docu-drama a’ la Spielberg’s movie where the central theme is the survival mechanism utilized by the Jewish people in Nazi Germany. What baffles me the most is however, when you have this kind of first hand experience on how the Eritrean people are suffocated to the point of cardiac arrest, why do you travel an extra mile to discourage the brave Eritrean souls (read: Ghezae inter alia) and make yourself overly protective of the regime? Or is it a bid to deny the darn Weyanes a gratification so that the skin deep remains to shine at any cost.

    • danny

      Dear Haile,

      I liked so much your summary of today’s Eritrea under Isaias the wolf. Indeed, we are helpless herd of sheep in a land of a lone wolf… very well said.

  • Michael Araya

    Punchy enough, with exception to the twist on the either poorly executed or yet to be explained Forto 2013 operation.

  • Ziggy

    People need to be patient. Eritrea is a young nation. The fact that it has already had many attempts on its young life has complicated matters. Eritrea at 20 years of age is a baby compared to other countries. Give it time. Let it mature and finish the building blocks needed for a true constituitional democracy, not a bogus one staged for Western consumption Weyane style.

    When the time is right, Eritrea will have its own version of home-grown democracy that fits its culture and diverse populace. Better to take your time and do it right.

    • yegermal

      Patience comes really easy for you and I (diaspora Eritreans)because we are not being subjected to DIA’s inhumane governance. But if you cannot visualize how hard it would be to exercise patience in the event: 1.your youthful years are forcefully snatched away from you through indefinite conscription and slave labor, 2. your family is devoid of basic needs (e.g.,bread, electricity and water), 3. you had better zip your mouth or else you face indefinite jail without due process or outright disappearance, 4. you’re left with no option other than risking Sinai’s perils in search of freedom and better life,……..etc., GO BACK to Eritrea and gain first hand experience of the life many Eritreans long to abandon. I have no doubt that your patience would run out in less than one week. There is nothing more irritating than DIA’s cronies pleading for patience from the comfort of the west!

      • Zegeremo

        Ugh….you keep missing the point! What he’s saying is very straightforward: it would be much more painful if Eritrea becomes the Barbie of Weyane.


  • Hayat Adem

    I don’t have to agree 100% to say that I’ve enjoyed this piece and found it to be enlightening. Thanks Sal. I have some issues though. You should believe the bigger fact that Eritrea and Eritreans are your independent variables. No matter what you want, they will remain what they are independent of your wishes. They cannot be your mistakes; they cannot be your blessings, either. They are what they are. So, Eritrea and Eritreans can never be a mistake! Nobody should say that and have not heard one saying so Or if they did, they are they only ones who are mistaken. With you, Sal, the problem is your underlying assumption that Eritrea and Eritreans are somehow equal to the revolution. Eritrea would have evolved even if there had not been a revolution or thereof. It could have brought a worse (can it be worse?) or a better Eritrea. The other disturbing consideration in this article is the fact that some people still support the idea of recreating EPLA. But EPLA is the the direct product of EPLF which evolved to PFDJ. The political mind-set (environment) creates every associated functionaries. How is Sal considering EPLF/PFDJ are problems but not EPLA? The other point: in today’s Eritrea, it is not a matter of choosing security over liberty or the other way. It think both commodities are rare. There are so much gathering clouds of insecurity when you don’t have a national army who can defend the territories of the nation, when people willing to mass-cross national borders with a knowledge of 50% risk of being killed, when your youngest generation falls prey to cruelest Rashaida and you can do nothing about it, when the entire world sees you as abnormal nation being governed backwardly and you still think there are softer ways of improving the situation…etc.
    To your credit, Sal, you clearly pointed out that it is either for PIA or normalcy. You are right on that: The two are mutually exclusive. But, you would be erring if you believe it is ONLY PIA and the riddance of him would be the very cure. I wish our problems were that simple. For the most part, I believe, PIA is in many ways the direct making of our grandiose problems and not necessarily the creator of them.

    • Salyounis

      Hi Hayat:

      1. Since you haven’t heard anybody saying that Eritrea is a mistake, I would like to introduce you to Ghirmay Yebio ( who said:

      “After 50 years, the people have realized that the independence struggle was wrong and that they were used as cannon fodder by the butchers of Nakfa and Barka…It is time to make a U-turn and back track our steps to our roots. It is also time for all concerned to encourage and help Eritreans retrace their steps and welcome them with open hands.”

      Had to do that not because I think Girmay Yebio is a clear-thinking-individual but because sometimes people think I exaggerate the nutty points made by the Yosephites.

      2. Perhaps you and I are using different terminologies. When I say “Eritrea”, I mean the political entity known as Eritrea. And that one most certainly was the outcome of a revolution. Moreover, the right of Eritreans like me and you to claim that our nationality is “Eritrean” was most definitely the outcome of a revolution. I am old enough to remember arguing with immigration officials who insisted that “Eritrea” doesn’t exist and the line “for country of birth” should be “Ethiopia.” That right existed only after 1993.

      3. EPLA was one of the world’s most famous guerrilla forces which was studied by successful (TPLF) and unsuccessful (Tamil Tigers) guerrilla forces. What made it a force to reckon with as a military organization was its leadership, belief in its mission, its morale and its discipline. If you want to argue that all these were possible only due to the authoritarian culture of the EPLF, you can, but then you would be unkind to the Eritrean spirit and to some of the very few things we take legitimate pride in.

      4. Since you brought up Sinai, I believe that if the savagery that is happening in Sinai was happening when the EPLA was around, then perhaps a military operation would have been organized to send a strong message to Egypt. So, the problem is not just that the PFDJ is a terrible organization that puts profits over people, but that the Eritrean people are too exhausted to fight back in anything more meaningful than writing petition letters. And, once again, what Forto 2013 showed was that it is ok to fight back even if the odds are heavily stacked against you.


  • saleh you ar indeed saleh{الله يصلحك> yuor article is the best cotrebution i read since the forto oporation in exposing the core mental make-up PAI &PFDdJ &its supportrs double standard i woud not say any thing more than please traslate this to Arabic&TIGRINAI FOR the benfeit of the general population thak u again

  • biskut Birham

    If Eritreas come together and work together they will be really like Singapoor as per their wish. They have brilliant people and rich county. They could be hope for East Africans. But I do not know. why their relationship to each other is like that of Babylon.


    Great article as always.

    When you come to the realization that the constitution of 1997 is dismissed by some in the opposition (especially by qolla people as than by kebesa – annectodally) and when there are part of the opposition who want autonomy and the right to secede, then the the power of Forto that is ‘so powerful’ at ralying the opposition has not really been tested yet. If forto stays relevant with the rank and file organizing another mutiny type of resistance, then their call should be for the ‘rule of law’in place of the ratified constitution if they want to unite the opposition.

    • Ethiopian

      I think Eritrean are cursed people . They can’t live by themselves and also they can’t live in peace with others .

    • Salyounis


      Hadn’t heard the word “quolla” in a long time. Is it still being used?

      I agree that Forto 2013 could have achieved the same goal while advocating “constitutionalism” instead of “the constitution.” I suspect the next Forto will: it is the inevitable outcome of dialog and the learning process. The evidence for this is the evolution of EDP from the days when it espoused one flag, 1997 constitution to a two flag, constitutionalism-espousing, two-official-languages-supporting organization after a long dialogue with ELF-RC. When Eritreans are able to have a dialogue without the pressures of PFDJ and TPLF, they always surprise people with how quickly they arrive at a consensus decision.