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Kabuga, Fascists and Jackets

I know when what comes on Negarit hurts them because they go berserk with their insults. The last episode really made them mad—and I couldn’t differentiate between PFDJ cults and the fascist cult. They reacted the same—insults and jingoism, as usual. I know the sickness is inflicted by the 800 years of Kbre Negest indoctrination; someday I may dissect that despicable document.

Sensitivity by extension and affiliation

In a modern secular society, citizens are individually responsible for what they do—they must be denied refuge in their ethnic or sect group. Also, no one should believe those who share the identity of a culprit bear responsibility because one of their own committed a crime. In such instances, in the eyes of the law, anyone is on his own; individuals answer for their transgressions alone. Equally, victimized citizens should identify their target individually, and not incriminate innocent people by affiliation or because they share a similar identity with the victimizer. And importantly, if individuals are challenged or accused, those whose identity or partisan affiliations they share, must not have knee-jerk reactions and jump to defend them.

So far, from my observation, I have much praise for the young and the principled, they are better equipped to think rationally and not be swayed by racist and hateful primordial agitation. However, those calcified individuals with primitive mentality must be confronted when they spread hate. Sadly, in some agitators have found fertile grounds in our primitive and unenlightened society. Naturally, their agitation has a better reception among the uneducated and among the badly indoctrinated haters. And indeed, they make their relatives, their friends and those who know them, uncomfortable. They embarrass them.

To the agitators I say: those you consider an easy push are not so, they are half  your compatriots—don’t steer ethnic hate and sectarian divide—you better be sure your crimes will haunt you. If you do not mend your ways, you will face the wrath of some laws.

Genocide–Felicien Kabuga

After 26 years on the run, last May Felicien Kabuga who used a fake identity to escape arrest was apprehended by the French police while hiding in Paris. In the mid 1990s, the USA has put a rewards of $5million for information that would lead to his arrest. Kabuga was one of the key men who directed the Rwandan genocide in 1994 where 800,000 Rwandans were killed. Kabuga instigated the killings and sustained it by financing the purchase of hundreds of thousands of machetes that he distributed to the murderers. His RTLM radio managed a network on informers who identified where Tutsis were and told its mobs to go to the places and finish off the Tutsis. Those who are walking the road on which Kabuga walked must know they will share his destiny.

Thank You, now let’s go back to work

Awate’s Achievements: Last week PEN Eritrea honored me, Thank you all. But I have to say this: if I did anything worth that, I was just a conductor. All my friends and colleagues, my readers and my sons and daughters share the honor. In a bigger sense, all victims of the regime share it because in a way, my cause and your cause is about advocating for the freedom and dignity of all Eritrea, no specific region, religion, or party. All citizens. Congratulations to all. Now we are done with the celebrations and congratulations, let’s go back to work .

But let me state the following. If there is one thing I am most proud of is my record when it comes to sectarian and regional, or any other dirt—I am free from all of that and my record speaks for itself. However, as evil as they are the fascist-PFDJ duo want to defame me on the most established part of my character which is free from bigotry, racism and sectarianism.

The most stellar achievement of awate and mine is our ability to assemble a diverse team of writers, readers and friends—it is the exemplary achievements of the larger family of Awate.com and my circle of friends. It’s my pride. And here is my challenge: no Eritreans entity, even the tyranny in Eritrea that runs tens of websites, television and radios, can match its achievements in that regard. None. That is bitter but you have no other choice except to swallow it.

Shabby Dressing

Over the last two weeks I shed some light on how shabbily many of the PFDJ officials dress. I raised the matter twice and I didn’t think I will raise it for a third time. But I was provoked by the shabby dress of the Eritrean ambassador to Ethiopia. Why do they insist of wearing jackets three sizes larger?

Language

I would like to express my appreciation for what my friends at Qursi Bun are doing. They have started to do educational segments to help in the quest of awareness and enlightenment that they present in an amazingly simple manner. Please visit their channel and subscribe. You will thank me for telling you that.

But what do we make of those who cling to the old superstitious and primitive thoughts uncritically? Why do the fascists consider language a tool of hegemony and empty pride and an attack weapon? Isn’t language primarily a communication tool… for educating, dialogue and understanding? Isn’t it a vehicle for acquiring knowledge to get closer to the causes of humanity and to achieve a true a cultural awakening? Why do the fascists make it a wedge issue?

Imagine some English persons campaigning to take their society back 400 years so that they can speak in Shakespearean English? I am sure people will consider them nut-cases. Imagine a modern society going back to Shakespeare age and mimicking the language of the era, of 400 years ago! Our fascists are worse, they want to take the society back thrice as much, to the days when Moses preached. So, while I see educated people trying to expand the horizon of Tigrinya to help their people come of age and ride on modern technology, the detractors are promoting language as a tool of hegemony, as a tool of fascist agitation and as a tool for ethnic strife.

I see naive social media entries asking for Tigrinya translation of foreign words–what should we call Ice Cream in Tigrinya? Then someone suggests answers ranging from ‘ዝሑል ሕልበት, to ምቅርቲ በረድ, hbsti bered, zHul cake, etc. I usually stop when it becomes so hilarious. Then, what do we do with the medical, technological and other scientific terminologies?

Most living languages today boast of dictionaries that contain hundreds of thousands of words, and we can only show a tiny fraction of that.

Languages evolve, they adopt foreign words and sometimes they drop their words and replace them with foreign ones. That is what a vibrant culture and a living language does—interacts with other languages and cultures and picks what is beneficial. A dead language never improves but is slowly taken over by other languages. They all begin as a basic communication tool. Languages didn’t invent culture, it’s part of culture. And cultures die if they doesn’t adopt to the changes of the time. Incidentally, English has the most loanwords and that’s why it’s rich; now it loans words to the other world languages.

Language is a wonderful tool to be politicized. It should be left to compete in a free market of languages. Unnecessary conservative protectionist attitude is not good for the economy or language, it is isolationist, the way the fascists want to build a wall around themselves—even the Chinese who built the great wall of China have smashed it and adopted to open connection with the world—the wall is now a tourist attraction, not a military defense structure. Just like the way we dress and the way we eat, languages should be left to flourish on their own merits. And people should not be fooled into believing there is good and bad languages. The truth is, there are poor and rich languages; it’s not decided wishfully but there are standard measurements to decide that. And those who borrow flourish those that don’t become bankrupt.

Now, what should we call Algebra in Tigrinya? We can’t keep using an Arabic word! Let’s call it Jebbere or Gebere. That is not a vulgar explanation as someone who thinks and spreads ignorance, by preaching the sources of words are inspired by nouns and verbs involving the human organs below the waist.

NB: this is a rough transcription of my Negarit #102 video on YouTube.

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

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

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  • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

    ሰላማት

    ጸላኢና መን?
    ህግደፍ
    ላንጋ-ላንጋ ኣይትበል ሓፍ-ኮፍ
    ‘ዚ ሰባብ ህግደፍ
    ብስሚ መንደላይ ተመን
    ከምትልከፍ
    ትፈልጥ ምሽ?

    ሓደን-ቀንድን ጸላኢና መን ?
    ህግደፍ
    ስለምንታይ ኢኻ ምሁር ‘የ በሃሊ
    ትስከፍ?
    እንኮ ጸላኢና ‘ዩ ምባል

    በዓል ክልተ ፍረ-ነብሲ
    ኣብየናይ ባር ተምሲ?
    ወይለከ! ኣብ ባር-ሓርነት ግዲ!

    በዓል ሓደ ፍረ-ነብሲ
    ኣበይ ተምሲ?
    ምስ ሰብ ኣየብዚ-ኣየብቲ
    ኣይገርመንን

    በዓል ብዘይ ፍረ-ነብሲ
    ኣበይ ተምሲ
    ኣብ ECCC!

    No wonder!

  • Brhan

    Thank you Saleh,
    1.The word Algebra as you mentioned is drived from Arabic الجبر and “it means restoring of broken parts” wikipedia
    2. And in the الرائد Arabic dictionary it comes as:
    جبر= إصلاح الكسر
    The above is the nearest to #1
    3. It i.e. Algebra came when Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi in 9th century wrote علم الجر والمقابلىة , which means the science of restoring and balances
    In Tingrinya restoring can be : ናብ ኣገልጉሎት መለሰ..መለሰ…ዳግመ ህንጻ…ኣዕረየ
    The idea of restoring things that fall apart, the things can be numeric
    So what do you thing ዳግመ ህንጻ ቁጽሪ

  • Haile S.

    ሰላም ሳልሕ፡

    ምቁር ዘረባ። ንምዃኑ ክትዛረብ ከለኻ ኣብ ምንታይ ኮፍ ኢልካ ኔርካ? ኣደናጊርካና እኮ! ኣብ Sofa ኣይመስለንን! ኣብ ኣየር?

    ብዛዕባ እዛ ድርዕቶ ጁባ ገዲፍካ ተዛረብ። ሎምስ ደንጽዩና!

    ንዝሓተትካዮ ሕቶ ብዝመስለኒ ክትርጉም ክፍትን ፡

    Algebra = ግብሮ-ቁጽሪ. If quasi innapropriate, not my fault. First Bokre’s, second yours ካብ በሃሊኡ ደጋሚኡ።

    Ice cream = ልሕሶ’ስሓይታ

    • Saleh Johar

      HaileS,
      Next time I will walk on water:-) I sit on anything but mostly on a high stool. Not comfortable though

      Here is your bonus:
      In ninth grade we had a cool Srilankan teacher. There was a shy girl who suddenly started to sob. The teacher asked, what’s wrong? She mentioned a student who was making embarrassing gestures to her. The teacher scolds the student for his behavior. The student defends himself “ she always looks at me with he mountain eyes”

      How about that culturally loaded translation!

      • Hashela

        Selam Saleh

        no matter as to whether you made it up or not.
        “she always looks at me with he[r] mountain eyes” is the best and funniest by-product of literal translations.

        • Abi

          Hashela
          I need your help here. I hate missing this kind of thing.
          How are mountain and eyes related?
          Thanks

          • Hashela

            Abi

            the Tigrina word ጎቦ has two meanings
            1. mountain
            2. cross-eyed

            The latter is contextual.

          • Abi

            Hashela
            Thanks.
            Some people are just cruel. Growing up I was one of those people.

          • Hashela

            Abi

            I figured that out.

          • Abi

            You have no idea!

          • Hashela

            Abi

            I mean all of your conducts on this forum hint to a troubled childhood 🙂

          • Abi

            I was more of a trouble maker. Always found myself in trouble. So many mischievous things to count.

            My favorite thing was to bring የእጅ ውሃ for my mother’s የነፍስ አባት. He never liked me just because I eat at my Hedere ( ሃደሬ) friends house.
            Every time I bring him የእጅ ውሃ I made sure I urinate in it. He thought I went to the bathroom to bring hot water. It was hot water nicely mixed with warm urine .
            Watching him rinse his mouth was so satisfying! Some things are just priceless!!!

          • Hashela

            Abi

            I am glad that I provoked you (maybe unnecessarily) .

            atypically, instead pulling your long-range artillery (130 mm) from the garage, you came up with a ?genuine childhood story. Thanks for the laugh.

          • Abi

            Hashela
            Its all good. I settled down after hig school.

          • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

            Abi,
            That’s terrible. I would expect that from Trump.

          • Abi

            MM
            I’m sure you have done something worse while tending goats.
            እውነቱን ተናገር ስንት እንስራ ሰብረሃል ?

          • Haile S.

            Selam Hashela,

            Although you definition ended in Abi’ confession, ጎቦ ዓይኒ, የጎሪጥ, is side-eye, not cross-eye.

            I have a serious question here: why do painted personalities in Abyssinian traditional paintings most of the time give a side-eye?

          • Abi

            መምህር
            የጎሪጥ ስለሚመለከቱ ነው:)

          • Consolation

            Abi,

            Or may be they never trust their shadow!

          • Abi

            Consolation
            Growing up we used to call people with ጎባ ዓይን ” ዓይናቸው እርስ በርሱ የሚተያይ” ሰዎች::
            I tell you we were really cruel .

          • Consolation

            Abi,

            ጎቦ ዓይኒ 😒 is about looking side ways. Has nothing to do with squinting eyes which in Tigrigna is ሸውራር or ሓውላል 😠

          • Abi

            Consolation
            ለቃሉ አገባብ ሌላ ትርጓሜ እስካልተሰጠው በቀር እርስ በርሳቸው የሚተያዩ ዓይኖች “ሸውራር” ወይም “ሓውላል” ተብለው ተመዝግበዋል::

            ምርምር ተቋም ቋንቋታት
            ሀደ ባዶ ሀደ ጎዳና ትግርኛ
            ዞባ አዋተ

          • Consolation

            Aboy Abi,

            ቃሉ ባማርኛ: ካላወቅክ ሸውራራ መሆኑን
            ‘የገርሂ ልባ’ ልጆት: የተባልነውን የምናምን
            ኣማራ ነኝ ብለህ: ኖርክ’ንዴ ስትቀልድብን::

          • Abi

            Consolation
            ነቃህብኝ!!!
            አንተ እንኳን እቺን የዝንብ ጠንጋራ እንኳ ለይተህ ታውቃለህ!
            So far I learned
            ሸውራር /ሓውላል = ሸውራራ እርስ በርስ የሚተያዩ ዓይኖች
            ጎቦ ዓይኒ= የጎሪጥ የሚተያዩ (የተኳረፉ) ዓይኖች

          • Consolation

            ኣቦይ ዓቢ

            የገርሂ ልባ ልጆት: ካማራው ሊያጥላሉ
            ስንቱን ያላየን: ኣማራ ነን ኢያሉ
            ጨው ቍስላችን ላይ፥ ሲረጩ ሚውሉ::

          • Hashela

            Haile

            maybe to depict and highlight how broad-angled their view is 🙂

        • Saleh Johar

          Hashela,
          It might embarrass the individuals but I could have identified them both. My old classmates reading this know it. The girl is now a married woman. The boy? I lost trace but two decades ago I herd he lived in Germany. The Srilankan tracer was Mr Joseph, a calm guy who used to be a boxer. I remember him because he taught me words like Skidded, collusion, and the like. I credit him with my best English base vocabs. No fiction unless I state that clearly 🙂

    • Abi

      መምህር
      Algebra in Amharic is የሂሳብ ጎዳና.
      ድሮ ድሮ በእናንተ ጊዜ የሂሳብ ጎዳና ይባል እንደነበር archeological findings ያሳያሉ::
      How do you say archeological in Amharic? Sorry, wrong number. Please disregard the call. I wanted to call Horizon.

      • Haile S.

        Selam Jetaw,

        I recall my second grade math book, it was named የሒሳብ ጮራ. Archeology እንዴ ቆፋሪዎቹ እዚህ እያለን! ሥነ-ጥንታዊ-ቁፈራ መባል ስለበት።

        • Abi

          መምህር
          እንግዲህ ምድር አዲስ ሳለች ከነበሩ ሰዎች ጋር መከራከር አያዋጣምና እርስዎ እንዳሉ ይሁን::
          If you get a chance to visit AAU, try to visit a library at IER . You will find all sorts of documents and old books from your time (1902).
          IER = institute of Educational Research.

      • Saleh Johar

        Abi,
        How about ቀብርቁፈራ? Then you get pieces of bones and pottery and write a book. No one will contest your findings. I love it. 🙂

        • Abi

          Selam Ato Saleh
          You and I make great partners in this. You dig, I write.

  • Selam Abi.

    Last time when i suggested the use of the Amharic language in sciences by importing scientific terminologies from English, you said i must be smoking something.
    From this article, the thing i understand is that, it seems to support what i had suggested, when one reads things like, “Languages evolve, they adopt foreign words and sometimes they drop words and replace them foreign ones……English has the most loanwords and that’s why it’s rich and now its loans words to the world languages. …. And those who borrow flourish those that don’t become bankrupt…”
    As the author says languages are living things. They develop and they are not stagnant. Otherwise, they die. They don’t lose by adopting words from other languages. On the contrary, they become richer and more modern.
    If i have understood well the message of the author on language, it seems to support my position as i said above, that one can teach science in any language, provided it adopts the scientific terminologies used worldwide, as the english language did itself, by adopting from greek and latin. Hopefully you will see that what i said last time was not so irrational.

    • Abi

      Selam Horizon
      I haven’t read the article yet. I will be back after reading it at least two times.

    • Abi

      Horizon
      He agrees more to my stand than yours.
      Actually he took the idea from me without recognizing me:) just kidding! Slow down, now! I don’t want him growl at me:)
      Pay attention to his last question regarding algebra. I’ve read an interesting article long time ago at AAU. The title is ” የኮሌጅ ሂሳብ በአማርኛ”.

      The only time he agreed with you is mentioning your nickname once. That is it. What is missing from his piece is the phrase “ ራስ አቢ እንዳሉት….”:):):)
      He enforced my stand.

      • Saleh Johar

        Abi,
        Sorry I didn’t mention you are my inspiration on all things Ethiopian. You represent all the stuff I know about Ethiopians., mostly good and … mostly bad. 🙂

        Seriously though—most of what I say on video is recycled from my articles. Everything is buried somewhere there. But is the forum an inspiration? You bet. Thank you.

        • Abi

          Selam Ato Saleh
          They say “ there is no rose without thorns “.
          You have done a superb job regarding the language issue in the past. This one is for the lazy ones who didn’t go through the speech you gave at a university in Maryland.
          Glad to be your only inspiration:)
          ወዳጅ ለመቼ ነው!