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Of Water, Women and Wind: The Three Ws of Eritrea

Semere Andom, the child of the Ontario water, wiring from Toronto–fresh is its breeze!

The Water

Isaias Afwerki told Eritreans that water does not come to where people are, it is the people who should travel to where it is available. He was predictably belligerent in the context of the question given his habitual disrespect of our people, but water for Eritreans is much more than its intrinsic usage and they have been travelling to where water is, both in their imagination and in their folklore. Water is irrevocably inscribed in our linguistic and cultural lexicons. Water for Eritreans is a slogan where they drive their pride and pedigree. Some of the water is fictitious, some even the size of a Jacuzzi. It does not matter. “Mai tray nibel!” Let’s just repeat, Water!

When my cousin who was born and spent her entire teenage years in Asmara said “gual mai tekhela” when she slipped on the wet kitchen floor, I laughed so hard that I smashed the plates I was carrying. The cousin in question by then has lived twenty five years in Italy. When I traveled to Eritrea after independence I asked my younger cousin to take me to “mai tekhela” for a swim, he looked at me in confusion and told me that there is no such thing as “Ruba mai tekhela”, everything is “mai tekhela”, even this, pointing to his “mlelikh” brimming with suwa, is “mai tekhela” he told me. I was not kidding with him, I thought that there was a river, a pond called “mai tekhela” somewhere around Mendefera. My laughter at my cousin was because she did not have any connection with that water which I believed actually existed.  In the Sudan there was a guy who used to be a known “doshkka” gunner in the ELF and his nickname was wedi “mai guayla”. He was from Tsaazega. I am not sure if there is a river or a pond by that name, but his nephew who was from Asmara and a childhood friend would occasionally swear “wedi mai guayla” when kids bullied him.

Many songs in Tigrayit and Tigrnya mention water of something. Deqi Mai Adkemom, Gual Mai Dearit, and fetch me water from the Anseba River are the common ones, without mentioning the obscure waters.

Eritreans are fond of their waters in their songs and in their slogans. Not to be outdone, the Asmarinos, who do not identify with any particular region collectively have their La Fountain to call their own: “Mai Jah-Jah”. In high school a Kerenite friend of mine wrote a love letter to my Asmarino friend. Annoyed, she replied with one liner: “Gual Mai-Jah –Jah eko iye ‘ta”, to which he replied with one liner, “Wedi Mai Dearit ember iye ‘ti”.

The Women

Then there are the Eritrean women. Long before their participation with the often quoted 30%, the Eritrean women were invoked when men were challenged or they were daring, “hawwi ekelit” That tradition is almost gone now.  There was an Eritrean business man in the Sudan in the late eighties, who would chant “Ane Wedi Silas” when he gets angry or something happened to him. I was curious,  but with a cursory inquiry to people around him I learned that his mother was a very strong woman in their village somewhere in Hamssien. She would milk cows, which is unheard of in the customs of that part of Eritrea. She would harness the oxen and plough the land, she would dare the men in “Baitto”. So I was told that like Rasi Woldemichael Solomon, who went by Wedi-Elleni, this Eritrean proudly invokes his mother’s strength.

This is mostly in the highlands of Eritrea. The lowlands, in the Tigre the invocation of woman is not limited to one’s sister or mother. When I was living in the Sudan, an Eritrean youth whose uncle owned the restaurant we frequented arrived from Barka and started working there. He was a nice young man and he treated us well. My friends and I befriended him and tutored him in English as he was very late in his schooling. But if a cup is broken, or he hears a loud cacophony of dishes or a bang on a table he would always say, Aderot.  Everything is Aderot, he slips, it is Aderot, someone arm wrestles him, Aderot was his trash talk. He gets the English word wrong, it is something, something Aderot. So I thought it was the equivalent of the Tigrinya “wedaEte”, but one day I noticed one difference, when you say “wedaEte”, no one said anything, but whenever our friend said Aderot someone, mostly a Tigrayit speaker would say something to him. Much later he left to Jizan and we missed him. One day someone spilled my tea and I spontaneously said Aderot, but no one said anything to me, even those who used to say that something to him. Then I learned two things: Aderot was not the equivalent of “wedaEte”, rather, it was the name of a beauty in his village. I was told she was tall like an arkokobay tree, her braided hair covered her lower back, her piercing darks eyes intimated everyone when she rolled them and her white teeth illuminated the darkest room when she smiled. She was not a fictitious or mystical figure. She lived and breathed, danced, sang and wed and bred. I wanted to learn more so I asked about the other thing they said to him whenever he mentioned Aderot. It was “semmekka allet” (she was also talking about you).

The Wind

Every Eritrean brags about his city, his region or village, how its cappuccino or its ice-scream tests better or how the potatoes that grow in the fertile soil of his village are the best, oh, yea, the potatoes of “Karneshim”! The Tigre Eritreans would also brag about their region just like the rest but they take it to the next level.  They would speak of theirs as Keren “brud shemalla” or Aderde “brud shemalla”.  Keren, its wind/breeze is fresh/cool.

Until I heard a guy from Agordat say Agordet “brud shemalla” with nostalgia, I believed that the weather in their villages was cool. But it turns out that “fresh is its breeze” is a fiction like my cousin’s “mai Tekhela”. What I remember about Agordat is fainting of heatstroke and when I told our friend from Agordat that there is not even oxygen in Agordat let alone fresh breeze and wind, he replied that I do not have a clue about Agordet “brud shemalla”.


In almost every Tigrayit love song, the woman is tall like arkokobay or camel, every young and beautiful girl is “tithawarir wo titlewale”:  She rolls her eyes, and her body is flexible. Dah, of course she is going to roll her eyes and she is flexible, she is young. That beautiful girl also drinks from Mai Dearit, and she smells of Sandal and of ginger.

In almost every Tigriniya love song, the beautiful girl is as tall as Segen, she is as slim and willowy as the Syye Tree and she is from Embasoira or she is from the La Fountana in Geza Banda. This beauty is also “ayna fenagil, selemlem teblo”,  her espresso coffee mug sized eyes are flirtatious. The young beauty is also almost always told not to mind the gossip of the village. And every beautiful girl drinks from some water in Eritrea, some fictitious some real. She also smell of Shillan plant and Mommona tree.

Do not we love our Water, Women and Wind! Who doesn’t. These are the goodness of life, but it is time for our artists to unleash their creativity when describing the “WWW” of  Eritrea.

About Semere Andom

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  • Ayneta

    Indeed, very sad. She was a sweetheart of Eritrean cinema and comedy. I remember her most notably playing in the series comedy titled ‘Kalu’ as the wife of the frugal gentleman. It was also my older Sisters’s favourite show back then. It was Kalu which propelled her career as an actresses. I can say she was one of the finest.

    Alem tiSheAte zeytimeliE aserte…….as to used to say going up…..we will miss her dearly.

    May God rest her soul in peace.

    • V.F.

      Hi Ayneta: saay and music novice (MN) were mourning the death of an american rocker several weeks ago for days, bitterly. We will see how they react to this news. At least one of them probably has never heard of Weini. I don’t mean to politicize this but you know also the likes of Nitricc who know absolutely nothing about Eritrea and Eritreans are here everyday acting more Eritrean and persecuting just seekers. It is a sad state of affairs.

  • V.F.

    Hi all, I am extremely sad to report* to you that the best Eritrean actress, Weinihareg Haile, has passed away on January 19 in Khartoum. She leaves behind seven beautiful children. Her funeral was held today in Hazhaz Asmera. Among her best performances are Viello, Minbar Jemire, and so many others. In particular, when she paired up with Suzinino, she displayed an incredible and natural acting talent. May she rest in peace!

    *source, radio medrek.

    • PTS

      What a sad news. I remember not too long ago she had traveled abroad for medical treatment and returned after feeling better, I guess. I believe it was cancer. I could be wrong.
      I have seen some of her works on the series ‘Sidra’ drama and I must say she was a wonderful actress. Rest in peace.

  • Wedebat Adey

    Dear Awatistas,

    Speaking about culture, check out this new song:

    When did Andit leave PFDJ, never heard he did. Or is did an edited video or something?

  • Tewelde gebremariam

    Hi Guest,

    Since you brought it up, allow me to add some more jouces to it. In the heydays of the now dead street smart, Meles Zenawi, Amanuel H.was eulogizing him as the intellectual virtuoso and supreme leader of highest calibre. But the fact matter that Meles was a piggyback of the Mighty EPLFs , and later, of the Western countries. Remember, he could not lead woyanes to dislodge the few Dergi soldiers from Shire.

    • Abraham Hanibal

      Hi Tewelde,
      Apropos Shire, I heard before that the tplf was sorrounded by the Derg in Shire sometime in the eighties, and the eplf came to their rescue. Is this history true? I know the two organizations were helping each other at times during the struggle against the Derg, so this is not to brag about eplf, but a desire to know the history.

      Also anyone: when I call home to Eritrea, I have a big problem, after speaking for a few seconds, the line simply repeats what has been said before, and impossible to continue the call. Have anyone here similar experience, or is the problem with my telefon? Thanks.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Selam Abraham
        Actually, it was a joint operation. TPLF had enough man power, but lacked the capabilities needed in smashing such an entrenched garrison. Remember though, this does not mean they could not have done it, it’s a matter of joining resources in order to ensure the effective decimation of that force with less casualties and within a short time, derg had an even bigger advantage of man power and logistical capabilities to mobilize it. It was also an operation that ushered the cooperation between EPLF and TPLF that later went all the way to Addis Ababa. In all those joint campaigns, the EPLF contributed advice, artillery and mechanized units, medical units, radio interception units(signals intelligence)..
        1. It came after the demise of Nadew command by the EPLF, that’s when the TPLF, reached out to the EPLF (after a period of deteriorated relation- around five years)
        2. That operation signaled to both sides that cooperation would pay off
        3. It was the beginning of the end of Derg in Tigray. That in itself signaled to TPLF leadership that pushing inward Ethiopia would be the best option…that ,matured to the creation of EPRDF, the ruling political body in Ethiopia-(TPLF joining other small organizations from the Amara and Oromo region, because the TPLF was an ethnically Tigrigna organization that would have difficulty subduing Ethiopia and ruling it.
        4. In the final push, Colonel Seeid Ali ( Wedi-Ali, forto) led the artillery units, the mechanized units were led by another person, and EPLF’s top commander of support heavy weapons (mechanized, motorized and artillery units), Romadan Awlyay led the EPLF units. At this time, he was also a member of the EPLF CC, therefore, obviously, he was EPLF’s liaison officer.
        Again, this is for historical recounting, otherwise, it doesn’t mean the Ethiopians would not be able to accomplish the job, but joining resources proved effective…
        Here is what’s important.
        -Eritrean organizations and particularly EPLF invested heavily in many Ethiopian organizations, and at the top of all, the TPLF. The TPLF was the most effective fighting force (I should say, but remained to be light guerrilla force until the advent of Shire Endaselasie.
        -Eritrean war had contributed greatly in the downfall of HS.
        -Eritrean revolutionary war had tied down the largest and best portion of Ethiopian army in Eritrea, it sucked up Derg’s capacities and capabilities. It caused the down spiraling of moral and combat readiness of Ethiopian Generals and soldiers.
        – EPLF had always pushed for unified Ethiopian opposition, and it should be mentioned that one of the misgivings of TPLF cadres was this fact. Nowadays, it is laughable when you hear EPLF was fighting to disintegrate Ethiopia.
        Conclusion: Eritreans, in their fight for gaining the right to determine their fate (self-determination) also contributed heavily in the defeating of derg. EPLF opposed the introduction of Ethnic federalism….but ultimately, that was an Ethiopian business.

        • Abel

          Mahmud Saleh,
          This one is the best fiction you ever wrote.I bet sooner than later you would come up with similar fictitious story to tell us the development of infrastructures ,the Dams, the highways, ski scrapers…in Ethiopia is HIGDEF/Eritrean/ prowess too.

        • Abi

          Merhaba Vet Mahmud
          It is heart warming to know the mighty eplf was fighting extremely hard to keep Ethiopia Unified. I can only imagine the anointed leaders of the heavenly eplf kneel down to pray and shoot at the same time.

        • Aron

          Hi Mahmud,
          Very instructive, I always wanted to know about the shire, redstar and other joint operations. If you have the time would you please write about red star to verify TPLF claim if they really participated and if they did was it in a meaningful way.

          The other thing is, there is a lot of talk about inside deals between EPLF and TPLF about Badme and getting rid of ELF. Does that have any merit or is it nonsense. If it is nonsense why was it under TPLF control until war broke out. Thanks for sharing what you know.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Selam Aron

            Just before I go to your questions, I want to underline the following. I personally discuss such questions for the purpose of exchanging information and experiences. In doing so, I stress on the political messages and good will of the two people for each other. There is no question that the Tigrean people stood by the people of Eritrea. Both sides helped each other when the environment of cooperation between their vanguard fronts allowed. The relation went through ups and downs. I believe the two peoples still care for each other however the relations between their political leaders ended up to become disastrous. Since the official documents are still classified, our sources will be personal accounts and politically charged tirades of the leaders of each side accusing the other. With that in mind:

            1. Yes, Tigrean tegadelti participated in foiling the 6th offensive. To give you an overview, therefore, you will make your own conclusion.

            – There were three heavily militarized frontlines at that time. Wuqaw Ez (gnbar seminawi mbraq Sahel), Naqfa, and Mebreq of Barka. Five major offensives had already been foiled, the EPLF had perfected trench warfare, a two year campaign had been launched to mobilize Eritrean resources, tactical and combat fitness, including psychological readiness of EPLF tegadelti (because as far as the Ethiopian Durg is concerned, it was an open fanfare; almost all countries of the socialist block, including Arab countries like Yemen, Sudan, Libya, PLO, led by Yasser Arafat….Asmara and Addis Ababa were busy ferrying delegates and weapons. Eritreans (civil and tegadalay) were told by the EPLF leadership that it would be the decisive battle. I remember the seminars that went for ours in describing how to prepare for the poisonous gases that were expected to be used by the Durg, how you would know they were deployed…signs and symptoms…what you needed to do…antidotes to the gas that was thought to be most likely used were distributed. I remember the incessant psychological warfare by Durg, international radio stations…It was a time when Eritreans felt really lonely. The toothless UN would not even bother to investigate Durg’s war crimes let alone try to intervene. It was huge. The TPLF took a historic decision by underpinning the fact thsat the end of the Eritrean revolution would mean that they would be next in line. Here I stress that the political gesture was more than the numbers. I can’t give you an exact number, but I can tell you they were not determinant at all. Let me give you a snapshot of how the offensive was fought.

            – Mebreq command (Kerkebet, Keiru…all the way to Hirum) was decimate preemptively before the official start of 6th offensive.

            – Wuqaw Ez was pushed to the see about a week before the start of the offensive

            -Therefore, the threat from Barka (MebreQ Command) was totally eliminated; and WuQaw Command was made to limp. The frontline where most actions took place was NaQfa and its environs.

            I will link Dr.Awet’s* researched work, which really goes beyond numbers and statistics, please take a look at it.

            2. Regarding Badme, I encourage you to read Ambassador Andebrehan and Col. Xegu books. But it’s believed that the decision to let TPLF administer until such time the common enemy was defeated was taken by the then Dep.Sec. General of the EPLF. In hindsight, it was probably the most costly decision although it seemed pragmatic in those days.

            * brought to my attention by our own awatista.
            I’m just out of time, not sure if this will help.

          • Aron

            Hi Mahmud,

            Thanks a lot Mahmud.

        • Abraham Hanibal

          Selam Mahmuday,

          As always, thanks a lot for your time and the elaborate reply. It makes more sense when the history is told by people like you who were part of the developments. Let’s hope the current enmity between the TPLF and PFDJ doesn’t overshadow any efforts to document such events of mutual co-operation between the two peoples that carry important historical significance.

        • Rahwa T

          Selam Major Mahmud Saleh,

          It is an interesting post. But the link below is the TPLF version of the story. Whom should we believe? Tsadqan or Mahmud, TPLF or EPLF, woyane or shaebia, the christian or the Muslim? Who is the liar here? Should we blieve you because Eritrians always tell truth?

          Thank you sir,

          • Abi

            Hi Sistu
            I have a solution for this. We believe Tsadiqu Mahmoud . You see it is easy to create harmony. Just put the two jiganu / wenbedewoch together. Problem solved.

          • Rahwa T

            Dear Abnet,


            So you think the problem would be solved by combining two names of blessed men giving it to a person who keep lies after lies to satisfy his and his followers’ ego? I don’t think it is that simple. The best solution is to hear from dreg general or military leaders who were there at the difficult times. It will be naive to expect truth from ex-EPLF cadre who do not seem participated in any of the strong battles that was carried out in his land. His comments are based on hearsays from his ex-comrades. He never mentioned a single EPLF fighter martyred in Ethiopian land fighting along with TPLF against the Derg army. No single fighter. “shola bedfn”. But he would never refrain from writing his usual brag that EPLF did this, EPLF did that type of fiction. In his second comment above he said he would never give figures. I was a bit surprised by his humbles this time. Where can he bring it from? I have come to conclude that he and his comrades do not count the thousands of Tigrians who died at the long trenches of Naqfa defending the final pits of the EPLF as humans. The only thing I share with him is that TPLF sent its solders (under the command of Arkebe) because they thought once Derg eliminate the remnants of EPLF, it would turn its full force towards Tigray.

  • Bayan Nagash

    Selam Awatawyan,

    I could say a word or two on Yohannes’s excellent piece in the way he made
    connections between art and politics – effectively at that – notwithstanding the
    “marginalization” bit, which I thought was a leap of faith, nonetheless, one cannot
    take away the narrative and the voice within it that emerged in the piece.

    now, comes by way of Semere, a marvel read. Sometimes, some written words are
    meant to be enjoyed and not analyzed and over-analyzed as we seem to hastily
    gravitate towards as if we carry with us our political hammer 24/7 and begin to
    see a nail where there is none to be nailed. This one, needless to say, is not even
    about politics but about cultural marvels we seem to overlook because of our
    preoccupation with the existential threat that is being caused to the very essence of
    our culture, heritage, and tradition. Thank you for giving us a chance to escape from
    the daily political grind that seems to continue unabated. No worries about that, we will
    return to it, tomorrow. Today, however, is time for a joy read.

    Speaking of which,
    these two pieces are just to be read with a coffee, tea, or whatever drinks one tends to fancy,
    literally, at hand. Enjoy these two deluxe reads. In fact, I intend to do later in the afternoon
    just that with both pieces, mind you, for a third time.


    • V.F.

      Beyan, I heard you on the Medrek Radio last week. Way to go guys. At first, I had doubts as to the motivation but your cause is great. I am speaking of GEAN, of course. I was very pleased to hear that your fight is a fundamental civil rights fight for everyone although the name might seem misleading. Why not have Eritrean muslims fight with us? That is 50% of the population being slowly disenfranchised. PFDJ can do that to anyone, make you feel like you have no stake in your own people and country. It is really a shame but I don’t remember the last time I saw an Eritrean muslim. It wasn’t like these 10 or 15 years ago. I had some good friends but I couldn’t tell you where they are now although I hear they live still in my city. A good friend of mine (back then, our joint journey to USA started from Asmara and ended here in the US in the same city). He went back to Asmara I think late 90s or early 2000s and I clearly remember what he told me then: “afasiga midri asmera mulu may yele lichi yele. tsere hizbi eyom eziom.” For some reason, he disappeared after that. What is your take on why Muslim and Christians Eritreans are going in very separate ways at this time, at least socially?

      • Bayan Nagash

        Dear V.F.

        You hit a sore spot here. How many days or weeks do you have for us to discuss this. Kidding aside, there is nothing that causes me more anguish and pain and sorrow than this fundamental Eritrea’s sociopolitical ailment. The drifting is real. In the next few days you will hear of some of the presenters’ video clips, which address the very issues you raise here.

        To speak from my personal perspective though, this is only a conjecture, no data to back it up with. A national character was conceived, an identity was forged that was supposed to cater to all Eritreans in the 30 years of struggle, but the drifting as you concisely put it, “the disenfranchise[ment]” is real. We must all collectively speak about this fundamental Eritrean issue. The recent example that can be cited to illustrate this point is that when the Brotherhood of Egypt gained power and was elected by the force of popular vote, it forgot that it then had to cater to all Egyptians, not just to its base. When it began to forget that, all hell began to break loose.

        In Eritrea’s case, unfortunately, the power base was concentrated in PFDJ’s hand and there was no mandate from the people and now there is real chance of kicking the bastards out of the office, if not out of Eritrea all together. Unfortunately, they were given a blank check, a check they still continue to cash at the expense of young Eritreans’ blood.

        So, when leaders forget that their mandate rests on the people’s wish is when things begin to fall apart. What we are trying to do at GEAN is precisely that: empower all Eritreans, not just a segment or
        segments of it, but all Eritreans irrespective of their station in sociopolitical or socioeconomic life at present time or the future of Eritrea. And this kind of empowerment can only take place when we collectively begin to feel sympathy toward one another; when we drop that antipathy and begin to see
        the Eritrean in all of us is when we will begin to see the light of day.

        We have forgotten that we have a nation that belongs to the collective, not the chosen few. We have seen the mayhem and the attendant chaos that continues to ensue when we began to feel too comfortable to leave, in your words, the 50% of our population as not amounting to much is when we began to march forth amidst the sea with no compass to guide us, as it were, we have been floating rudderless for quite some time now. The only way a healthy change will come is when we all begin to hear, I mean listen carefully to one another’s trepidation, that’s when we will begin to see the Light House, that’s when we know there is a land somewhere nearby to keep us safe. So, our only Light House is zete (discourse) of the highest order, that’s our safety net. Thank you V.F. for the vote of confidence – that means a lot.

    • saay7

      Hala Beyan/Bayan:

      It is the incurably polemic nature of Eritrean writing that we can’t enjoy literature without delving into the bio of the writer: who is he? what did he do for Eritrea? I don’t like him, so I won’t like this. What a terrible way to live.

      To support Semere’s argument about how we use bodies of water (streams, rivers, lakes) as our landmarks and fountains of nostalgia, here’s SGJ’s favorite song which I always make fun of: it is simply an artist (Said Abdella) explaining how he needs his thirst quenched and all he does is list all the rivers he knows. Asteeini my xemaeko. Bonus: video includes Abi’s least favorite animals in a race:) I dare you not to dance to it:


      • Abi

        Hi Saay
        It is a beautiful song. I can easily guess what the singer is saying. He appreciates the wrongly made animal called camel ( ” a camel is a horse made by a committee “), he dreams about lions and elephants in Eritrea. He also prays the imaginary rivers and ponds come true.
        What I say to this singer is to come to Ethiopia and sing about all the legendary rivers.He can sing until Jesus comes back. I can give him some idea
        Zifen, zifen alegn zifen sile wenze
        Abay ,Awash, Baro endihum Tekeze !

        ” Abayin yalaye minch yamesegnal”

        How is Ato Saleh? When are we going to hear from him?

        • saay7

          Hey Abi:

          Imaginary? I think you mean seasonal.

          And he DOES sing about Tekeze, except that he calls it by its real name: Setit.

          Ato Saleh (SGJ) is healing fast, now walking faster than Johnnie. Yesterday he asked me “what did you to do to Abi in my absence?” I asked, “what do you mean?” He said, “I don’t know: he is now just another angry guy without his legendary wit.” He recommended you drink a glass of camel milk.


          • Abi

            Ok, fine . I will drink camel milk if that makes me as cooooool as you. My problem is the self confessed camel hearder wetader is the angriest. ( sometimes) . I think either he sold all the milk or the seasonal rivers you keep imagining didn’t have enough water for those animals to produce enough milk. I bet he never tasted that milk.
            BTW, imagination and seasonal are almost the same when it comes to Eritrean rivers. You see them for only three months out of the year when it is a rainy season. The rest you use your imagination to see them.
            Joke aside, do you know Ethiopia #1 in the number of cattle in Africa and the last in milk consumption? Is it embarrassing or what? Some things just don’t have explanation.

          • saay7

            Hey Abi:

            Why is Ethiopia being last in milk consumption embarrassing? In one of his books, motivational-writer Tony Robbins said, “cow milk is great–if you are a baby cow.” You have to remember, Abi, that practically everything we know about nutrition is propaganda from the food industry. Just this week they disclosed that “breakfast is the most essential meal” was a propaganda piece put out by the producers of cereal, eggs, etc. Of course, those who disclosed this research are probably funded by lunch-dinner producers:


            A few years ago, I saw a documentary which was marveling at the hardy diet of Ethiopians who live in the Semien Mountains. So don’t be surprised that if in our lifetimes they come out with new research that shows that Semien Mountain diet is the best in the world:)

            As a Dabo-lover, you should appreciate what camel milk contributes to Ethiopian economy. When Eyob is a productive member of, he disclosed that camel milk export produces $300,000 in revenues for Ethiopia. Money that can be used to buy dabo for Ethiopians. Also, dude, you got to expand your claustrophobic definition of Ethiopia to include the large area that has made it home to the WORLD’s THIRD LARGEST CAMEL POPULATION (After Somalia and Sudan.) This is so deja vu to me.

            On the “self-confessed camel herder wetader” (aka, Field Marshall Mahmud Saleh), I think he is crystal clear and you are the one who is ambivalent. His view is (a) it is terrible that war was forced on Eritrea and Tigray by Ethiopian emperor Haile Selasse and Black Stalin Mengistu Hailemariam; (b) once it was forced, I am glad the Tigray and Eritrean rebels (TPLF and EPLF) won and (c) once they won, I am not going to put up with any revisionist history that tries to show my EPLF as anything but, on balance, a force for good in Ethiopia. It is you who is very ambivalent: you don’t like that Eritrea rebelled (you are very agnostic about whether the Emperor and later the Derg left Eritreans any choice but to rebel); you are not sure whether the TPLF/EPRDF are heroes for overthrowing Derg or whether they are traitors for aligning with Eritrean rebels…

            You need a lot of soul searching, bruh. The field marshall has overcome the PFDJ demons (he is not a supremacist) and he has overcome the ELF guilt-conscious-taggers (he considers victory over Ethiopia was worth it–and it is salvageable.) He is a man very, very comfortable in his skin and extremely respectful of the freedom fighters of Ethiopia.


            PS: This does NOT require you to drink camel milk. It just requires you to treat with respect all people, including your compatriots, who do.

          • አዲስ

            Hi Saay,

            I read your conspiracy against breakfast and was like what? 🙂 Then I went to the link, lo and behold you conveniently forgot to mention it’s about weight loss. They were not just pissing on breakfast(I know graphic 🙂 ) It remains to be important to eat your breakfast.

            Here’s the title: “New study says breakfast may not be the most important meal for weight loss”

            I am not going to put with any conspiracist who distorts research papers and try to show my breakfast as anything but, on balance, a force of good for my body 🙂


          • saay7

            Selamat Addis:

            Its been a long time. Well, sir, the whole pitch of “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” was for its alleged nutrition value and good health. (In American parlance, weight loss.) So, when somebody says, “nah, that is not true”, it is not a conspiracy but myth-busting. The original work was done by NIH and, of course, it is science-heavy and unreadable. So I linked something from pop-media. Here’s another one if that grates you:


            More to the point, I was answering Abi who considered a milk-producing nation not drinking milk is”pathetic” and I was telling him “maybe you are using the food-industry-subsidized-science to praise the nutritious value of cow milk. Years ago, I saw another documentary of the Omo Valley: the cow is standing and they stragically knife it, blood gushes out and they drink it. They looked far, far, far more fit that your average Canadian. (No offense, Sem and Berhe:)


          • አዲስ

            Hi Saay,

            Long time indeed. Nutritional value and good health is not just about weight loss even in American parlance. You can include better energy and focus alongside weight loss among other things. So there’s no research that I know of which implies breakfast don’t give you good energy and good focus. The article you linked here again talks mainly about weight loss.

            Here’s a statement in bold from the article : “eating breakfast has no direct impact on weight loss”. It’s more of an assurance that if you want to loose weight and also hate breakfast don’t worry there’s not that much correlation between the two and there are more ways to achieve your goal.

            I am chuckling here about the fact that I commented twice in support of breakfast. What a pressing issue 🙂


          • Hayat Adem

            Dear Saay,

            I know SGJ is mentally strong and he would beat death not once but plenty times. But like Fanti was trying to throw good health advice, death can not be always defeated only on the mental front, but also on the body front. Kindly, I want you to to pass to him the following Buddha line:
            “To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

  • Tewelde gebremariam

    You do not change subject in the middle of the discussion.

  • tes

    Dear Guest,

    Do not try to be more knowledgeable. What Semere Andom wrote is 100% right. I would say more if you are not satisfied with what he narrated so far.


  • Abi

    Hi Guest
    Ato Amanuel studied industrial chemistry at Bahir Dar Polytechnic Institute. He worked and mass mobilized in Addis. The rest is a bitter history.

  • V.F.

    Can someone explain to me why I am being blocked?

  • T..T.

    Hi all,

    What about “Arket, Wedi Ere!” to Isayas’s everyday surprises? Below is a surprise to be discussed.

    Although the world knows that falling prices in Eritrea were not caused by increasing or abundance of commodities, goods or services, Meskerem-com is proud to announce falling prices in Eritrea (ዋጋ ሃለኽቲ ኣብ ዕዳጋታት ኤርትራ። ኣብ ትሕቲ ዑቱብ ምቁጽጻር ምንቅስቓስ ገንዘብ). What Meskeremites do not know is that as artificial scarcity of goods (hoarders) cause price of goods to rise, so also artificial shortage of money (by the regime) is pushing the prices down because no buyers.

    The people, the consumers to be, who lack the money to buy the cheap goods are not enjoying the falling prices. The people were order to bank their money. But when they went to the bank to take some money out; they were told the bank did not know the rightful owner of the money they themselves deposited. So, they are waiting to know what the bank did with their money.


  • Tewelde gebremariam

    Hi Semere A.

    When you spelled Tigrigna phenotically incorrect ; when you confused the name of a place, Maitekela, with its literal meaning, water/river ; when you claimed that you heard a man from the Highland Eritrea invoking his mother, wedi Slas Ke ! , as a means expressing his readiness for a challenge, I say , you must be from Mars and not from Asmera. But if indeed you are, you must be raised in a very secluded manner, probably in a retail store.

    By the way, an Eritrean Highlander , when responding to a challenge, never invokes the name of his mother but that of his father.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Hi Tewelde,

      If a sister in a family is the first born ( which means Bokuri Geza) yes they do invoke by their sisters – Like hawi selas, hawi Abrehet..etc. They don’t in invoke by their mothers rather by their old sisters. May be they don’t say it in your area or you didn’t encounter people saying it. Please do not attempt to claim that you know everything in our culture. Open your mind to know what you don’t know from others.. In any case, before you call me someone from the Mars like you did to Sem, let me tell you that I am grown in a rural area of the highland of Eritrea and am assuring you that indeed they invoke by their sisters.

      Amanuel Hidrat

      • Tewelde gebremariam

        Hi Amaniel H.

        Please stick with the issue, mother and make your position honestly clear accordingly; eiither support Semere A. or refute him. Twisting issues does not help any one. Remember, the object of our discussion is knowledge.


        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Hi Tewelde,

          The issue as indicated in the title of the essay is “women” and not mothers, and women could infer to “Sisters and Mothers”. There is no twisting in my argument rather indeed straight forward to grab it if you don’t know it. Actually this is cultural info not argument. You want to be picky, not in this one.

          Suppose let us say Semere was wrong. Was your approach a genuine for correction? Go back and read your sarcastic response. Do you need to tell him that he is alien from Mars or skunis language like “Secluded in a retail store” if your objective was discussion for knowledge?

          Second let me advice you: do not use “never” in any of your communication for knowledge is always relative and for sure there is no “absolute knowledge” in the world we live. That is way learning is endless unless you put yourself a halt on it.

          Amanuel Hidrat

          • Tewelde gebremariam

            . Here is your convoluted logic paraphrased: Because some of our people also invoke sisters under that kind of circumstance and because there is no absolute knowledge you concluded, I should never say never.

            1. Did Semere A. mention sister? No Mother was the only one he mentioned. And I was responding to that specific statement.

            2. Who brought up the word sister out of the blue. You did.

            3. But are the words, sister and mother, in any way equivalent? No. If they are not equivalent, they cannot be used as interchangeable terms in logic.

            4. And if your premise is wrong, can your conclusion be right. No. Then, I am right, you are wrong.

            With regard to your claim that there is no absolute knowledge: Do you know you are uttering contradiction by such claim? I bet you do not know that. Remember, to make such claim, you have to have absolute knowledge. How else would you know to make such claim?.

            By the way, rest assured, nature is potentially knowable as many distinguished scientists maintained. The problem is not therefore in nature but in us. We have come a long way. Obviously, we have difficult road ahead but we will make it as people. We can make our journey a little easier by unchaining ourselves from religious superstitions.and other man made ignorances. Don’t you think?


    • Nitricc

      Hi Tewlde; lol Semere is not from Mars but from a village close to the town of Dedebit. the name of the village escapes me for the moment. I have no idea what you guys talking about but it looks you busted Semere. Semere’s story never add up though. he told us that he got in to Sudan when he was 13 years old and left Sudan for scholarship from the University of Canada. And now he is telling us that he was working in a restaurant. really???????
      fine, where and when did he go to high school that earned him a scholarship from Canadian University?
      According to Semere story, he lived only six years in Sudan. how many refugees get the chance to go to school and at the sea time work? and Semere has hinted the that the Weyane did the dirty job to crossed him to Sudan? how?
      at the same time Semre has told Mahmuday that he witnessed EPLF fighters treated as slaves when he was 14 years old boy spend on month in Sahil. how is it Semere was 13 years old to get to Sudan and yet he witnessed the slavery of Eritrea EPLF fighter when he was 14 years old Boy? point? the guy lacks credibility. Mr. Semere Andom, come clean; you can not hide behind the Tigryan man named Hayat Adam.

    • Semere Andom

      Hi TG:
      Are you serious, do highlanders say wedi Ghebremariam? news to me

    • Asghedom

      Hi Semere A. you are right , Eritrean Highlander women likes to give here son to his father even if these father don’t give him his name and she never see any social rank.
      the Highland women suffered because of these complexes of inferiority created by the Tigrigna people , shernuta if some mistake has been done by that women .
      Our women where educated and our low was very clear on abusing a woman or gate pregnant of any man .
      A man could not argue or refuse a son born from a woman , when she asked she gave the name who make her pregnant .
      That is way Eritrean highlander woman have this culture because no man was refusing , if the woman say the name of the man who make here pregnant .
      In Tigrigna culture the woman have never said a lay regarding child’s father , and the word of a woman in our culture was true and no need testimony .
      that is way we high landers we say wedi kusto with name of our father than our mother because our mother was trusty mothers unlike others

      • Tewelde gebremariam

        Hi Asgedom,
        That you are masquerading as an Eritrean Highlander is indebutable for you do not reflect knowledge of the subject matter you are scribbling about. I would rather have you explain why the woyanes say , The Eritrean Highlanders Are Arrogant etc. and the tegaru proverb, Maiguagas N’ Adwa YeAtralen?

  • saay7

    Wow Semere A:

    The muse is on; you are in your element buddy. I have this fantasy that Aklilu Zere and Amanuel Sahle and Lobinet will hold court somewhere in a free Eritrea, and we will be giving us a treat to Eritrean culture…

    Now, one of my favorite topics is Tigrinya-speakers idea of Eritrean beauty based on folk songs and proverbs. Pay attention Nitricc and all you young ones because you have an obligation to correct that culture which I always considered weird. (I can say that because I am a Tigrinya-speaker.)

    Thesis: Tigrinya-speakers Idea of an Eritrean Beauty is A UFO.

    Supporting documents:

    Folk song 1:

    ከመዓልኪ ጕል ኣቦይ ፈረደ (Sup! Daughter of Ferede)
    ጨጉሪ ርእሳ ምድሪ ዝጎተተ (Hair is dragging down the floor)
    ኣነስ ኣይሕድገክን እንተ ዘይ ሞይተ (Won’t leave you alone to the day I die*.)

    * this is before anti-stalking laws.

    Folk song 2:

    ዓይና ፍሩይ፥ መዓርንጣ ሰቲ (Big eyes, tiny waist*)
    ወሲድዋ ሓላው ከብቲ (Was taken by cattle shepherd**)

    * technically, “Seti” are berry bushes that grow on river banks
    ** “Halaw kebti” is a derogatory phrase for shepherd: cattle guard.

    Folk song 3:

    Whatever the great poet L.T. will share with us. including one by a song from one of his favorite, Osman Abdelrehim, “bHfret z’akel kzareb ayka’alkun” where he describes the girl he is in love with “Ayna fruy, sna kHule.”

    You put it all together, this is Tigrinya-speakers idea of female beauty:

    ዓይኒ ፍንጃል (eyes the size of coffee mugs)
    ኣፍንጫ ካራ (nose straight/sharp as a knife)
    ክሳድ ሰገን (neck long, like that of ostrich)
    ኣፍ ካትም (mouth, tiny, like a ring)
    ኢዳ ሽቦ (skinny arms)
    ስና ጉራማይለ (teeth, tatooed gums)

    I once gave this description to a sketch artist and he drew me an alien

    That’s not good. I bet you it is just as terrible for Tigre speakers…


    • V.F.

      Hey saay, looking at that alien pic, I have to say curves are good.

    • Nitricc

      Hey SAAY.
      I have no idea what you guys are wowing about this article. I have no idea what Semere is talking about. I couldn’t make a thing out of it. I wasted my time trying to figure out to no avail. He started with bushing PIA and ended with water, women and wind. What is he talking about?

      • saay7

        Hey Nitricc:

        Well, then, you are missing out buddy. Cousin Semere Andom is a writer first and an IA-basher second. Or vice verse. Even the selection of the title (“Water, Women, Wind”) is an alliteration: a special form of English poetry where the rhyme is based not on how words end but how they begin. It is also an anthropological piece, about our country. If you remember (you don’t, because you are always at war), sometimes I address you as “Hawi Selas”. When I say that, I have Eriterans I know in mind: always ready for a fight about anything and nothing. Here, Semere talks about the prototypical “Hawi Selas” except he calls him “Wedi Selas.”

        Meanwhile, have you noticed that our friend Ted is not trash-talking about the Cavaliers? Back home, we say of trash-talkers who are humbled “ኣብ ማይ ዝ ኣተወት ኣንጭዋ” (like mice dunked in water.) Here in your country (USA) they say, “like mice in church.” Makes no sense: what was the mouse doing in church, anyway?


        • Nitricc

          Hey SAAY, fair to say this article is not only over my head but boring for me; i said for me! and thanks shading some light to it. I also resent to your characterization Semere as a writer. do you want a writer, read Aklilu’s article. do you want a writer, read Beyan Negash, do you want a writer, read Nitricc, okay i got carried away lol. seriously though Semere is okay but i wouldn’t glorify him as the best writer. in fact only person who thinks Semere is the best writer is the woman from Tigray, Hayat “Adam” for obvious reason. moving on!
          about Warriors; well, this is the best can be for the Cavaliers. true, they got embarrassed and humiliated but when it comes to the crunch time, the warriors will be worn out. it is a long season. you can’t spent all your cheeps at this early stage of the season. let me be bold tell it as is, the warrior will not make it to the finals. the finals will be between the spurs and cavs.
          SAAY, please write down this prediction and i suggest you put a few bucks with the book-y. lol
          Thanks SAAY

          • saay7

            Hi nitricc:

            no, sir, I won’t take that bet. The Spurs are a scary team, particularly when the three pistons are firing. They came from 15 point defecit to defeat Ted’s Cavaliers who are still “conserving energy”–for next season:)


        • Ted

          Hi saay.

          Our Cavs nation know this for sure ““He is a beast,” – there is a difference between playoff and regular season James. “You know, you try to scout, you try to game plan, but there ain’t nothing you can do. There ain’t F@@ thing that you can do” as Perkin one time opponent said..
          ”When you are playing against a guy like LeBron you just hope that you can cancel his supporting cast out,” he added. “If you can take that away – because he is going to get his – then you’ve done your job.”
          Conserving energy and focus is our motto, come play off the beast will be unleashed.
          Semere A’s article, i am with Nitricc, is it as one of those ” participation trophy” kids of our generation come home just for being there or you think he is ” special”

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Ahlan Ustaz Semere Andom
    Libye abredka, Lebka lbred. A greater essay. I enjoyed it. Just excellent.
    Brother Emma, there is a time to square off, and there is a time to join for a treat welcome back. I’m not a habitual “teqawamay”, come on, Emma.

  • Hayat Adem

    And who would dare say this is NOT so brilliant an article to stay with! With that, I will totally write off whatever little misspeaking I might have thrown into my un-recycle bin. Thanks Semere A.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear Hayat,

      Yep! The tape in his head is the branna of our cutural history akin to Aklilu Zere.


    • Abi

      Hi Hayat
      I agree with you. This article is as elegant as the Sahel camel and a fresh breeze like the Agordat wind.
      Brilliant !

  • Hope

    A Good Break from the DIRTY Eritean Bolitica!

    That is why ,during the Keren High School Re-Union Get Together Party”,we e post a huge Poster saying “A Boletica Free Zone”f,which annoyed SGJ,as he wanted us to say and do some thing about our current Political Crisis”!

    BTW,I know now why you ” kidnapped” our Tigrayit Beauty.the dream girl !

    Nah,U did well describing the ERITREAN Beauty with no discrimination!

    Endorsing you as the Vice Ministrr of Information and Culture after ,his Execellency,Minsiter Salih Gadi Johar,the Acting Minister of Information and Culture,as both of your ERITREAN Prototypes in all aspects!

    To ” politicize your Article:
    That is :

    Add Amanuel Hidrat (Minister of Federal Gov Affairs )and SAAY(Special Advisor to the PM/President and Deputy Min of ” National Policy and Development)and in the Middle will be Field Marshall /PM/President Mahmud Salih along with Defense Minister Bitweded !!!

    Then Eritrea will be fine!

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Hi Sem,

    It is an excellent tribute to our women. Good job. And I am sure our own Akililu Zere who is fond of our women will give you thumbs up like me. It is time to recognize the value and controbution of our women in building our identity. I hope our own Mahmuday will not criticized this piece as he always oppose to what we say and stand. Mahmuday, can you smile and nod you for this to show your approval?

    Amanuel Hidrat

    • Berhe Y

      Thank you Semere,

      I really enjoy reading this article. You do have a very good observation and a good curious what’s really important in life. It’s really great that you do bring the best in our culture and that you give us a lot to ponder, specially for those of us who have very little or no exposure to the Eritrean low lands, culture, language and music.

      Since you mention Ontario water, I think I am going to tell the joke to SGJ, AH, Saay and others. It was back around 2002 I think. I had returned from Eritrea and for the first time I had visited Massawa. I didn’t make it to Keren. It was beautiful summer day and we went for a hike in Lake Ontario. As we walked close to the shore, he was the beauty of the lake, it’s massive size (as far an eye as it can see) and it’s beautiful sound of waves. He said to me, “እዚ ባጽዕ ዝብሉዎ ክንዲዚ ዶ ይኾውን?”. I laughed so hard and could not stop. I was telling myself, I found another Eritrean who
      did not know BaTsE. I thought I was the only person until that day, but soon he visited Eritrea a year later and visited BaTsE and Keren I think. I am sure he will have a story to tell and his unique observation.


      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Merhaba Berhe,

        Let me use this opportunity to express my admiration to your civilty in the way you engage in the debate of Eritrean politics.

        Second I am one from those who never saw massawa and the Red sea on the Eritrean side shores (though I knew it from the shores of Port – Sudan during the ghedli era). I have been on the shores of lake Ontario on the NY side. It is so big that at my first initial glance though that it is part of the Atlantic Ocean. So your story about it and the impression you had was not different than mine. Thank you for giving us morning smiles.

        Amanuel Hidrat