What a change! Smartly dressed PFDJ official, with a bonus. For the first time he travels alone, and he scores two full points.
The second person who comes (used to come) second to Osman Saleh was the previous information minister. The current one, I testify, used to dree sharply. But since he started to carry a camera in Africa, he went all journalist garb. Ghideon is a sharp dresser and I hope they announce his appointment as the minister of information soon. But where will they send Yemane? They might appoint Yamane Gebremeskel as the propaganda director—the position fits him well and he will get much support by the now “shadow minister.”
That aside, I read a typically overrated no-news-news on the Saudi owned Arab Times. Then I learned about some real info, but awate.com’s Gedab News denied Negarit a permission to use the copyrighted material that it promised will soon be publicly available. “No need to rush as if we are in some sort of a Breaking News competition” They told me.
But what the heck, I will lightly violate the copyright.
A few days ago, the Saudi foreign minister called the office of Osman Saleh, the foreign minister of the sponsored president. The phone rang and the secretary responded. On the other end, a man said, I am the “Kefeel” I want to talk to Osman Saleh. Immediately she connected him with Osman Saleh, and they talked about “stuff of mutual interest’ to both Eritrea and Saudi Arabia. If you want to decipher the meaning of the cliché that governments use, don’t try. Make a wild guess and that is it. But soon enough those who follow the Kefeel-Mekfool relations correctly guessed the stuff they talked about. However, it’s prudent not to take the rundown no-news=news for granted. That is why scrutinizing anything published or aired by a pro government media, be it Saudi, Eritrean or from a government in planet Mars if there is one, is important.
But I heard Awate.com has an expose about the “stuff of mutual interest” on which it has been working. It’s about some country’s intensive intelligence operation to use Eritreans inn Eastern Sudan as a leverage to advance its interest in Sudan and expand its influence in the region. Never mind what the interest in Eastern Sudan; it is not going to be much different from what the PFDJ spread after it arrested Abdalla Jabir in 2013, after the bold coup attempt by Colonel Saeed Ali Hijay. But who is handling the Eastern Sudan portfolio after him; I do not know who has taken over the Eastern Sudan portfolio after they put Abdalla Jabir in some dungeon? I heard some names, but they will certainly put someone who shares Abdalla Jabir’s identities. Otherwise, it will be difficult to accuse him of being an Islamist when eventually they arrest him. He must be someone on whom the Islamist branding can stick among their cult– whoever it is, I wish him luck.
For years Abdalla Jabir handled the eastern Sudan portfolio very effectively and helped the PFDJ gain an upper hand in in the Sudanese politics. Then he fell out of favor and when an opportunity arose in 2013, due to the ill-fated Forto operation led by Colonel Saeed Ali, they used it to arrest Abdalla Jabir. They spread rumors to justify his arrest: he had contacts with the Saudi Ambassador, he worked for Saudi Arabia, and he was an Islamist. Immediately Abdalla Jabir became an Islamist extremist. No one can be as far as Abdalla Jabir was from the ideology of the Islamist. But his name is Abdalla, a perfect name for any accusation of that nature to stick. But shame on you–do you even remember Abdalla Jabir, whom used to receive with a standing ovation and fanfare? Abdalla Jabir and Islamist! The word funny has found a new meaning.
A disclaimer. I met Abdalla Jabir for the first time in a public meeting he held during the early days on the Badme war. I pointed out to him, in a question format, that any military conflict could take unpredictable turn and submerge the region in serious bloodshed. Furthermore, it could take long to resolve, and it might linger for years. He looked at me from under his chin and said, “Ha ngesserha” (Arabic for ‘we will shorten it’); he was so sure the PFDJ was in control and it could shorten the war. I guess, in a way, the PFDJ thought it will make it a Blitzkrieg. Well, we know what happened.
Is getting in and out of a Turkish Bath the same?
There is a popular Arabic saying: دخول الحمام مش زي خروجه (getting out of a public bath is different from getting in.” I found its origin and I will tell you now.
Public baths were quite common in ancient times, particularly in old civilizations like the Greek and Roman. But the Turks kept perfected and it alive to this date—and in much of the world such public baths are known as Turkish Baths. The story goes, a man opened a new Hammam (bath). When he didn’t get enough customers, he put a sign that read “get in is free.” Customers flocked. And when they wanted to get out, they couldn’t find their clothes. They asked the owner and found out he was holding their clothes in piles away from their reach. He said they must pay for the cost of bathing before he gives them back their clothes. “But you said it was free” they protested. To which he replied, “getting in is free but getting out is not.” Thus, the saying getting in and out of a bath is not the same. I wish the PFDJ bosses and their cult realized that before they plunged into all the fiasco they created and the mess they created.
Eastern Sudan is home to many tribes that straddle the Eritrean-Sudanese border area. Several governments. Intelligence agencies and politicians have used the Eritreans there as a scarecrow to tighten the grip on them or to use them in its adventures—smuggling and spying. Every segment of Eritreans has a large presence in the refugee camps in Eastern Sudan. But the targeted are the Beni-Amer followed by the Maria and Habab.
The PFDJ considers these tribes as enemies; 30 years after independence, still. they survive in refugee camps while the government and its affiliates exploit their land.
Finally, for the last twenty years Eritreans have been living in a state of war with Ethiopia and there is no end in sight. Even the much-publicized theatrics performed by Abiy and Isaias has already lost its luster. Meanwhile, Abdalla Jabir has been in jail for the last eight years with no charges like the rest of his colleagues, some of whom in jail for the last twenty years while others have spent thirty years (since the independence of Eritrea). Trust the PFDJ at your own risk, and children should not play with the PFDJ, you must treat it like matchsticks.
NB: rough script of my Negarit 103 delivered in Tigrinya