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Presenting Master Painter Michael Adonai

Recently I had a lengthy conversation with master painter Michael Adonai. What was planned as a brief interview expanded and in the middle of the conversation, I discarded the list of questions that I had prepared and let the flow of conversation lead wherever it may. Below is an abridged version of the lengthy conversation that I had with him
Saleh “Gadi” Johar.

I have followed the work of Michael for many years and always enjoyed his bold use of colors. His “Coptic Art” style brings to life the ancient form of art that was developed within the church tradition, as such, his work is authentic and builds an art form over a millennia old.

Michael wants to share his work with the readers of awate, and I want to share Michael the artist and his art with the readers of That will not be a difficult undertaking because Michael has been an established artist for decades, he is a known quantity who has been, “scribbling with water color brushes before [he] began to go to school.”

Currently, Michael is holding an exhibition in Melbourne, Australia. The show was scheduled for June 14 to 27 but has been extended by one week and will stay open until July 4, 2014. He has another exhibition scheduled for November this year and he is worried for the shortage of time to be prepared. He says, “I like to paint slowly, I don’t like to rush.”

Tell me Michael, why are you an artist? Why not a mechanic or an economist, for example?

Michael was influenced by his elder brother Berhane Adonai, a renowned painter. In the early seventies, Berhane Adonai painted at home and Michael says, “I don’t know what I else I would have become growing up surrounded by Berhane’s brushes and paints.” When Michael joined the liberation struggle Berhane was also there teaching painting to young painters. Michel was one of his students and feels lucky he had his brother and others as teachers. Michael says, “I loved painting with passion and it became my life.” Talking about his brother he says, “he is my teacher and my mentor.” Berhane literally raised Michael because their father died when Michael was too young.

That is why he was destined to become an artist, and his younger sister also followed on the footsteps of her elder brothers–Elsa Adonai is also a painter. That is the influence of Berhane on the Adonai family.

Michael has travelled and exhibited his work in many parts of the world, which of his exhibitions does he consider the best? Michel quickly replied, “Andorra!”

In 2012, UNESCO invited top artists from 30 countries to represent their countries and exhibit their work in Andorra! Michael was selected to represent Eritrea, he explains: “Of course, the exhibition I am holding right now in Melbourne is equally important to me, but in Andorra I was an ambassador of my country and that is not something I take lightly… it is a big responsibility and I did represent my country to the best of my ability.” That is why Michel fondly remembers Andorra, the tiny principality sandwiched between Spain and France.

He further explains: “The work that was exhibited in Andorra is still touring the world in 2014. But my current exhibition in Australia has other important meanings…maybe it is because it is my first exhibition as a refugee, and I am expressing my work without any limitation on my freedom, I consider it a different and an important exhibition….no shadows are following me, no one is controlling, no one is telling me what to do or what to present… as an artist I am expressing myself through my work in an atmosphere of freedom.”

The theme of the exhibition in Melbourne where Michel is currently exhibiting his work, is: I DID NOT CHOOSE TO BE A REFUGEE.

I asked him: Who made a choice for you to become a refugee, Michael?

“Of course I did not choose to be a refugee… the victims of Lampedusa also didn’t choose to be refugees. That was not my choice but I reached a stage where I faced risks and couldn’t stay in Eritrea… I didn’t choose to be a refugee, the choice was made by those who have made life in Eritrea so narrow and so tight that one has to flee from the suffocating environment to find a space of freedom… they made the choice for all refugees to leave their country. The oppressors made the choice for all of us.”

Michael’s latest work is a tribute to the victims of Lampedusa, and according to many people I talked to, “he has represented the tragedy in an excellent work of art.” I feel the same, he has contributed significantly in spreading awareness concerning the sufferings of Eritrean refugees. His latest work, “Lampedusa” is a 152 cms by 62 cms oil painting, an homage to a pregnant Eritrean victim who gave birth while drowning last year a few miles off the Italian island of Lampedusa together with over 350 Eritrean refugees. When rescuers pulled her out of the sea they found her dead baby still connected to her by the umbilical cord. Lampedusa is a painting overwhelmed by different shades of marine blue paint–the depiction is so powerful it is haunting!

Your work is highly priced, and with that in mind, do you think your work is commercialized enough? And, do you suffer from theft of your work–copyright violations, reproduction of your work without your consent, etc.?

I could feel him chuckling, and he explained:

“If there is money and fame that one earns, if it is a result of hard and passionate work, then I consider it good… my focus is in expressing my thoughts and ideas on canvas without worrying too much about other things, and what follows–fame and money–does not concern me when I work.

“During the struggle era I was also painting, telling the story of the struggle, the culture of the people and scenes of battles, and such works. My concern was to make sure that I reflect my ideas properly to achieve my goal of getting the message of the struggle across.”

Awareness about intellectual property is not widely spread in our region including Eritrea. Many wrongly think, if something is on the Internet, it can be used willfully. I wanted to know if some people copied your work without your consent and reproduced it, for example, on T-Shirts, mugs and the like, what do you think about that?

Michel took a deep breath, he said: “In 2009 I took a two-month course on copyrights in Switzerland. I found that a good opportunity and learned about the legal implications and meaning of copyright and intellectual property… I know about that, I am aware of it.

“You see–I don’t know how you will present this–let me tell you a story: In the nineties, the Eritrean government was renovating an old Italian governmental palace, and they needed pieces of arts to adorn the walls, and also wanted to paint the walls and ceilings. In 1997, President Isaias ordered me to do the work for the palace… I am sure you have read how Michelangelo was suspended, laying on his back while painting the ceiling of the Sistine chapel! For five months I went through similar experience, suspended on ropes, on scaffoldings and ladders doing the work. The president personally selected eleven of my paintings that he liked to be hanged on the walls of the palace. These paintings were my best and I consider them masterpieces. The presidential office never acknowledged my work or my paintings, and they didn’t pay me at all. A man named Eritros was managing the project of renovating the palace…they took my paintings, my five-month worth of work, and they let me go with nothing, it was just like grabbing a handful of water!

I interrupted him, “didn’t you have a work contract or sales price agreement?”

There was a verbal promise that they would advance me with money when I travelled abroad for exhibition and the like and they promised to deduct what the advance from the amount due to me from the government. Indeed they advanced me some money when I travelled, but . strangely enough, when I returned they made me pay the advance but never paid me my dues. Eritros was in charge of that, maybe he is around in America or elsewhere, he knows that very well. They took my canvases and work… they just confiscated my sweat, my time and creative work. So, you asked me about copyrights, the government took my work and they used it on T-Shirts, on school exercise books and other things as they wished. They print my work as they wish without my permission and collect the revenues… I didn’t get a cent out of that… and there was nothing I can do about it. That is how artists are treated in Eritrea.

What I just told you is a brief sample of my experience, it may help to understand how copyright and intellectual property is treated in Eritrea…just as an example.

Speaking Up, Good News, and Bad News

Since most of the news coming out of Eritrea are negative and depressing, when Eritreans see some of their own gain fame and become successful in what they do, and attract the attention of other people, such news ameliorates the demoralizing news coming from Eritrea. Everyone feels when their country is country mentioned in a nice way. In a short time, Michael has helped Eritreans in that aspect. I talked to a few people in Australia and I can feel how proud they are for having Michael among them changing the perception of their country, and telling the world that Eritreans have a large pool of artists and skilled people—that contributed in helping Eritreans regain their damaged collective self-confidence. They are happy and they feel proud of Michael.

Michael, you cannot be an artist in seclusion, an artist has to take his work to the public, you cannot have a tableau finished so that you can keep it in your house to enjoy it alone? You have come out and you are speaking out without fear. Is that dictated by the nature of your work? I mean, if you were a mechanic, a medical doctor or an economist, after leaving the system, would you have come out like you are doing as an artist, or you would have remained silent, hidden from the public like many others? Would you have come out if you were not an artist?

I think being an artist you know that your work has to be presented to the public, but my coming out to express my thoughts freely is not because of that…being an artist doesn’t necessarily help you speak up. I could have done it in a different way if I wanted to. For example, I would have painted landscapes, animals and images from nature that attracts Australians and still show my work in public while concealing my true feeling so that I don’t ruffle the feathers of the government by talking about the bad situation in Eritrea. I could have done that easily and focused painting safe images… braided women, camels, cultural faces and costumes, sell them, and stay away from any trouble and stay on the safe list of the government.

In my case, I live for my artistic message. My behaviors is dictated by the content of my message. And I carry the message of my people as I have always done: the suffering, the limitless oppression, I simply tell the story of my people. I grew up carrying and reflecting these kinds of messages and I still carry limitless love for my people… I will firmly stay the course, always trying to do whatever I can to help.

Though you have not been in Australia for too long, there are beginner artists. Do you mentor young artists? What are you doing in that aspect?

I have trained young artists, 15-17 age group and I have been doing community service teaching many other artists as well. I have also appealed to the public to help me find ways to transfer my skills to the young. Luckily I have the full support of the African and Eritrean communities in Melbourne, including the full support of Australian authorities who cater to the diverse communities living in Australia. I have found full cooperation on this aspect and I am very grateful for that.

I don’t want to get you out from your role as an artist but I like to ask you a question that is relevant to any citizen regardless of the occupation or field of passion. Can you give me an assessment of the Eritrean situation from an artist’s point of view, an artist’s bird’s eye observation, if you will?

You see Saleh, I will be 52 very soon. Since I was a child all my life was spent on arts, colors, paints, brushes and canvases… that was always my special little world. When I reflect on what we went through as a people–the fear, the intimidation and terror—which I can’t say others cannot understand, but now living for an extended time in a society blessed with all sorts of freedoms, expressing my views freely without any kind of fear, gives me a better perspective to understand and explain our situation. As a society we are introvert, we do not have a habit of expressing ourselves freely and now we are even prevented from doing that—a while ago I read an article you wrote along those lines…

Sometimes one has to face a mirror and tell himself stuff just to release what is trapped in the heart… it is nice to have an environment of free expression. Unfortunately in Eritrea, the gag of freedom of expression has greatly weakened arts… and art is all about free expression!

According to the prevailing norms in Eritrea, everyone can express the view of the rulers but not his own views. One can write what they want and not what he wants. Your mind becomes their mind and not your mind. In such a situation art suffers a lot.

Many Eritreans say that there is oppression and lack of freedom of expression in Eritrea but they have not suffered from these lack of freedoms personally since they live in the free world and they can express themselves freely. But you lived under the system and you have firsthand experience of life in Eritrea. Now that you are out, and expressing yourself freely, what do you think is lacking from Eritreans? Why were we not successful in ending the suffering of our people? Can you share your thoughts, your perspective?

Unfortunately I see a few things that I do not like. I think we should make patriotism our priority and center of attention…and shun narrow mindedness and cliquish approach to solving our problems that is preventing us from bringing about change. Those who are inside Eritrea are hostages, but the Diaspora has no excuse for not focusing on what is important. Artists in general—singers, poets, writers and painters—should work in a focused way in order to have an impact… I acknowledge a lot has been done and a lot has been accomplished, but we cannot pat ourselves on the back until we achieve the goal of freeing our people. We should make our influence felt in the communities where we live, not limited to targeting Eritreans only, but targeting other audiences as well.

Next Projects?

Now that you have represented the story of the victims of Lampedusa, what is your next project?

I have several ideas on the pipeline, some are on progress and others are waiting for the availability of time and the flow of creative juice to better present them, but it is mainly an issue of time.

Can I ask you something?

Yes, go ahead…

I wish you can depict three things in your arts: 1) present the entire Eritrean struggle, Haraka, Awate’s 1961 armed struggle, the PLF’s EPLFs and ELF is one chain of struggle that ended in 1991 and we all own the legacy be it good or bad. But after 1991, since the PFDJ chose to rule on its own, without the consent of the ruled, without a mandate, it bears full responsibility for the period following 1991. I am not sure but I think that can communicated through your arts. Second, I would like see a depiction of the suffering of the youth, slave-labor victims particularly in the mining sector. Third, the plight of Eritrean refugees who have been stranded in Sudanese refugee camps since 1967, forgotten by most of us and disowned by the PFDJ and the UNHCR. Maybe visit the camps if you get the chance, that would help you mirror their plight properly. Can you consider that, dedicate some works for these three subjects?

These are important subject, as an artist such ideas are very helpful and I always think of many such projects. When I get a chance I would like to talk with you and others about such issues and I believe it is my responsibility to pay more attention to such issues. We have so many problems in Eritrea and what you mentioned are part of them. But you are right, the situation of the old refugees and information about them is limited but I have knowledge about their sufferings, I have been following it from many sides and your appeal is well taken. I will consider it more.

A Home For “Lampedusa”

Today we are doing this interview; you have been featured on many other media outlets and now you will be featured on What do you expect from the readers? How do you want them to react?

I can’t say much on that but honestly I am not looking for emotional support though naturally like everyone else I appreciate good words and encouragement. But I want people to see my work more deeply, contemplate on all the aspects of the stories that I tell in my paintings. Of course, fine arts are sometimes enjoyed for their beauty alone but mine is more targeted towards spreading awareness of the plight of Eritreans. I hope those who see and appreciate my work to think deeply on how they can take it to the next level and use it as a tool to advance our national cause.

I have a website that displays many of my works… all my life I have been carrying messages of the time for the sake of Eritrea. During the era of struggle I was focused on the situation of the time, war, terror, suffering, bravery and heroism… now that we are in a time when the suffering is of a different kind, I will focus of relevant topics, the tragedy of Lampedusa being the first major work since I left Eritrea. I will do that kind of work.

The painting named “Lampedusa” is one that I painted with extreme passion. I want it to be a dedicated memory for the victims of Lampedusa, a symbol of the tragedy, of what the victims went through. I want the support of Eritreans to find a permanent home for that painting, a place worthy of the painting and the subject, such as a museum or an important place where it would be kept permanently. I didn’t do this painting to be hidden in a private home; it is my wish that it is placed permanently in a public place. I wish some of your readers will help me find an appropriate place for my painting, “Lampedusa.”

Michael’s website

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 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 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 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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  • There are three sides to every story.
    Your side
    His side
    And the truth.

    “By Denden Hayelom,
    It is with great dismay that I read your interview on and it is with a very heavy heart that I write this open letter to you. How your conscience allows you to distort facts is beyond me. It is, however, a sad
    reflection of the length to which some are willing to go to mask their sense of guilt and justify their leaving behind a legacy that they themselves could never measure up to.
    At the outset, I would like to make it clear that this open letter does not intend to chip at or take away from your creative abilities. You are a gifted Eritrean artist and nothing I say here attempts to deny that.
    I do, however, have to remind you that your gift was nurtured and encouraged inside Eritrea, amongst your people and comrades. It is for that reason that I find it necessary to set the record straight lest you forget the real source of your talents.
    Having political differences is one thing but to go out of one’s way to invent a story as to gain the sympathy of a few is truly disgraceful – especially when done by someone as endowed as you are.
    Therefore, what follows is a short summary of the facts that surrounded your involvement with the State House.
    In 1997 you were commissioned by the Office of the President to create paintings for the State House. In preparation for this task, you and your elder brother, Berhane, were sent to Europe for a few months to tour several countries to provide you inspiration and ideas for this work. The expenses for this trip – including room, board, travel, per diem, etc – were fully financed by the Government of Eritrea. Upon your return, all necessary material, including paint, canvases, brushes, and whatever else you needed, was provided to you – again fully paid for by the Government of Eritrea.
    After consultations with different people you began your work and were expected to complete it in good time – and in good faith. In the midst of this task, you – without any permission or regard for the Office that provided you its full support and blessings – sold a painting, the Rahba, at the cost of over 400,000 Nakfa (equivalent to $60,000 calculated at the exchange rate of the time) to the Asmara Palace Hotel. This, until today, remains the highest ever amount paid for an Eritrean painting.
    You cannot now claim that this painting was done privately and/or separately because the idea itself for such a painting was discussed with several members involved in the selection process at that time. The painting still hangs in the lobby of the Asmara Palace Hotel. No action was taken against you at the time although in my personal opinion this constituted a very serious legal breach and betrayal of trust.
    Nonetheless, upon completion of your paintings, you were requested to present your work for selection. To the utter shock of those present at the time, you demanded an exorbitant amount of money – amounting to millions of Nakfa – for your creations.
    Seeing this act as completely unreasonable – and very un-Eritrean – the Government of Eritrea decided to relieve you of this task and asked that you:
    1. take all your paintings with you and

    2. reimburse all the expenses paid to you in advance – including travel/tour expenses as well as painting material expenses.
    Your claiming now that your paintings were confiscated and/or used without your permission, that you were not paid for your work, and that you were unreasonably asked to pay back money advanced to you is a complete distortion of facts.
    Dear friend, you may choose to take things out of context and perhaps fool some people with a sob story of copyright and your imagined mistreatment of artists in Eritrea but we all know the truth. The fact remains that your greed did not allow you to appreciate one major point: the honor and privilege that any other humble artist would have felt to be commissioned to take on such an important task.
    There are many other points that you raised in the interview that I found quite scandalous and shameless and do not merit a response. Having said that, it is my sincere hope that your conscience allows you to give credit where credit is due and to show some humility when necessary.”

  • Pingback: Betrayal And Predicament Of An Eritrean Artist | Awate()

  • Senay

    I think Michael is more EPLF than most of us here commenting about him. He is the result of the Eritrean revolution. He had contributed a lot to the Eritrean cause in his capacity as an artist. he is a respected artist. After independence, he had a salaried position. Of course being an artist may be different than any other person working in office hours. However, anything you do in the paid hours is the property of the one who hired you. Because you are hired to do that. The salary may be too small. That is another thing. So, I cannot buy Michael’s lamenting on matters of intellectual properties, complaining to be a victim of the government’s overriding of his intellectual properties, which he is paid for in salary. If he were having his own studio and working on himself, this is another thing. He is paid for the hours he worked. Plus he had some privileges and perks like going abroad, access to facilities, etc.more than any of his colleagues.
    Michael is falling to the deceiving political atmosphere of the Eritrean opposition and the pressure from other forces against the government of Eritrea. I think Michael is just trying to be opportunistic in having the wrong calculation of being on the right side of history. I believe he understands the political dynamics of the country and the region, and why Eritrea, the Eritrean people, and the GoE are undergoing the current situation which is not their choice. He is more EPLF than many of us commenting about him in this website. Neither do I buy it if he tries to be more sympathetic with the tragedies of the Eritrean youth in the deserts and the sea, and score a political point . We are all heart broken by what is going on in the desert and the sea. Life in Eritrea is becoming tough economic wise and the inconvenience of daily living is not appealing to stay there. Michael left the country in search of a green pasture disguising hatred to the political system in Eritrea. This is the song of the day for any immigrant,
    My advice for him is just to shut up and enjoy the “green pasture” he sought fore.

  • ALI-S

    Hey Saay,

    You made a good point on the idea of entitlement. Tegadelti delivered independence. This generation should deliver human rights and the next should bring democracy. Then another would bring prosperity.

    I think the misplaced blame is coming from the pre-independence presumption that the four of them would come as a package. May be we never read the fine print that each piece of the combo had a different and independent price tag.

    Now that we have read the fine print we want to make sure we get them as a package. Assume that the mediator for the mini-dog combo says sure you can have them all but since all are mutually interdependent improving on one would necessarily involve a tradeoff from the others. Also assume that currently all our eggs are in one basket and while we have “independence for all our money” we have none of the rest. What would your ideal tradeoff look like? Assume also the ideal situation is to split the money in 4 but this situation is unachievable for reasons beyond our control (for convenience of debating). Say you have $12 and spread the money showing your preference ranking for sacrificing on one for the sake of the other given Eritrea’s circumstances.

    If my case for instance I would get along with this:

    Independence = $5
    Human rights = $2
    Democracy = $1
    Prosperity = $4

    • Semere Andom

      Merhab Ali-S:
      You cannot divorce Independence from its innate property of freedom and liberty. The ghedli generation commenced their long journey to institute rule of law, to bury the rule of “shiftnet”. Do not take my word for it ask any Tegadalai if he fought to replace Amhara with Tigrinya speaking tyrant and you have insulted him. Also no one in his right mind would expect from ghedli a fully functioning western style institutions in 23 years. The idea/allegation of the spoiled brats who expect everything from gheldi is pure hyperbole from my friend Sal, if there are some, fringe group who are delusional to demand this, it is ghedli’s fault because it was over promising and under delivered.
      By reducing the ghedli toilsome years to merely remove the occupiers from the land, first it is an insult as the ghedli literature spoke of liberty, rule of law and therefore the Eritrean rocks, mountains, rivers have been liberated, but not the man, who was created to tend, and take care of it.
      There is no excuse for Eritrean not to have the basics of rule of law, basic freedoms of assembly and worship, rudimentary laws, budding press so the new generation can take it from there and refine it. Fledgling democracy, buddying institutions was very possible in Eritrea after 23 years.
      To discuss extinction, 4000/month population exodus, our first president to be reported to the crimes against humanity says a lot about the process that started to remove crimes against humanity. I think we should hold our armed struggle to a higher standard instead of miniaturizing its goals and diminishing our independence by confiscating its defining properties: liberty and freedom

      • saay7

        Selamat Sem Sebar Ghedli:

        “The idea/allegation of the spoiled brats who expect everything from gheldi is pure hyperbole from my friend Sal….”

        Said Sem Arkey. But he couldn’t stop there:

        “… if there are some, fringe group who are delusional to demand this, it is ghedli’s fault because it was over promising and under delivered.”

        That is the Bart Simpson defense: “I didn’t do it; nobody saw me do it; you can’t prove anything!”

        Not only is the Tegadalai routinely blamed for not bringing about a democratic government that respects human rights, s/he is blamed for the way s/he waged the struggle and even for initiating the struggle for independence to begin with. The spoiled brats are no longer a fringe group, Sem, they have gone mainstream.

        About the exodus… with every thousand of Eritrean youth that leave the country, the chance for bringing about change in Eritrea becomes less and less. Unfortunately, because those of us in the opposition are exiled, we do not have the moral authority to say what needs to be said: STAY AT HOME AND FIGHT BACK. This is why the Catholic Bishops statement is powerful: they have the moral authority to say it. It is exactly what we would say if we played by the rules of national liberation and not the rules of international NGOs. This stating of the inconvenient truth is, among other things, why I have a soft spot for Nitricc. Although I wish he would learn some manners:)


        • Semere Andom

          Good morning Sal:
          The question of independent Eritrea has been seared indelibly, it is immutable, at least in our life times and if in the future a new leader emerges and declares, “People bury that Mereb River”, invoking Regan’s tear down that wall” we cannot do anything about it. The only danger to reverse Eritrea to before May 1991 at this time is PFDJ.
          Still you have not addressed my comments that I repeated again and again directed at you and it is: why is our ghedli’s goal is reduced merely to liberating the land? Ok, speaking of myself, with all my previous idealistic exuberance I never expected from ghedli in 23 years to hand me a democratic government, but I was expecting the basics of it as I mentioned in my last comment. I am sure it was your expectation as well.
          To make it easier for us we can ask Emma and Saleh Gadi, former Tegadalti if the goal of ghedli was only liberate the land. To say one geneation can only accomplish one thing as Sibhat Ephrem said is also twisting the truth, the tegadati I met, debated rule of law, articulated that they were fighting for self-determination and democracy, accountability even as far as 1970, before the Gadi and Emma joined, the young kids, the peers of Emma and Saleh and their “ayatat” debated this ferociously so it is wrong to reduce the ghedli to what Sibhat Ephrem said and that the romantic seem to increasingly echo. Ghedli cannot be blamed for not handing us democracy in a silver platter, I repeat again, but we should agree that it should be blamed for not creating the foundations upon which the younger generations could have built upon, which was what ghedli promised and could have realistically delivered.

          • saay7

            Kbur Harbegna iTegadalai Sem:

            Well, no, Ghedli is not “reduced merely” to liberating the land. Ghedli was elevated mightily to liberating the land. To see the difference, all you have to ask is “liberate from what?”

            It was to liberate the land from tyranny (and therefore tyrants), from backwardness (and therefore for progress), from injustice (and therefore to bring justice). The founders of the Ghedli believed (correctly) that Ethiopia of the 1940s and 1950s equaled tyranny, backwardness and injustice and removing Ethiopia meant removing tyranny, backwardness and injustice.

            That was the permanent feature. There were fads and trends within the Revolution that were as deeply believed as the idea of liberal democracy. For half of its lifetime (mid 1970s to late 1980s) the Eritrean Revolution also struggled for the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” I don’t think you are mourning the fact that the Revolution didn’t deliver on “dictatorship of the proletariat” are you? The general idea was: we Eritreans, independent of Ethiopian rule, can get there (“there” being progress, democracy, justice) faster than we would with Ethiopia. We* all agreed. And the Ghedli delivered. That’s the part that you keep misunderstanding: We told the Tegadelti that We, given self-determination, could build a country better than the trajectory Ethiopia was on. And the Tegadelti delivered us that: a country that would have no Ethiopian overlords telling us what to do as they had for centuries. After that, we collectively, Tegadelti included, proved ourselves wrong. And now, some are asking ask to “break glass in case of emergency” (because we are going extinct, don’t you know) and invite back the overlords.


            *By “we” I mean almost everybody including YG:) Everybody except Tekeste Negash and Tesfatsion Medhane, two Eritreans that I have a great deal of (grudging) respect for because they were gutsy.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba Sem,

            You pulled me to interject my view and share my knowledge as to what the “political scope” of our liberation front was. At the time I joined the armed struggle, my political consciousness was limited to “nationalism and unity.” I will leave the EPLF side story to them and limit myself to the organization I was a member with, and that is ELF. I hope Hawna Mahmud will share with us the EPLF side.

            In the process to my political maturity, I have learned many thing. For a young highlander, who grew up and educated in the kebessa area of Eritrea and Ethiopia, knew only the highland part of our society. My first foot in the liberation struggle helped me to be acquainted with the other social groups of our society or our diversity, which will change the basis of my political view. Why? For instance my view on unity was transformed from “unity of the fronts” to “unity of our society” as soon as I started to realize the conflict of the fronts was the reflection of our internal societal contradictions. A big lesson to me – a lesson from our ghedli. All the unconscious political positions I had, like the issue of language and the issue of the contradicting interests of our social group equally changed with my re-framed approach to unity. [ lesson-1 to understand the atomic-social structure of Eritrean society]

            The second lesson was “the national-democratic political program” of the ELF organization which defines the nationalistic and democratic behavior of the organization. What was good in the ELF organization is the freedom to cultivate your political maturity yourself, to read books and debate with your peers where ever you go. The national democratic political program clearly envisioned the democratic Eritrea of tomorrow, which includes the democratic institutions and the democratic structure of governance. I saw the rudimentary democratic institutions in the liberated areas forming Hizbawi shimagletat in villages and towns with their meager resources, to increase the public consciousness,prepare them for future democratic Eritrea, and ensure the power of our people. The political orientation to some extend was decentralized. I will illustrate as I continued [lesson-2 about democratic ideals]

            Third the rank and files of ELF can bring any political issue to debate within a group. Let me give you an example from my personal experience. In 1977 there were a training for about 80 social workers for “social development,” what we call it at that time “nabra Ebyet”, a department within the office of social affairs. Myself with a colleague (his name reserved for now), both of us from a different department discussed and framed a topic for debate to these trained social workers. The topic: ” What are the causes for the multiplications of political organizations and how to unite them.” In Tigrigna = “Arabe’Ha wudubat’n AtaraNifean’n”. Myself and my colleague agreed to sat at the opposite end of the gathering and gave one after the other an introductory about the subject and why the topic is important to debate. We gave the general possible scenario what makes organizations to split and what are the possibilities to bring them together. From that the house debated on the concept and try to relate with the Eritrean reality. The debate took two nights. The reason why we brought the topic was, in order to understand and check at least conceptually, if the unity of the two organizations is an attainable. Knowing from that, the trainee will have some tools to debate about unity where ever they are assigned either with in ELF bases or EPLF encounters. [lesson-3 to emulate as signs of democratic decentralism]

            If this is not the basis of democratic process then what it is. There is no way to reduce ghedli only to liberating the land. There was democratic infra-structures for democratic process to flourish. The democrats were defending for the nationalistic-democratic political programs.Those programs were our basis to challenge the leadership in every institutions of the organization. Was the challenge easy? Not at all. So sem, don’t listen to those who bashes Ghedli and those who tried to tell us ghedli wasn’t for justice and democratic ideals – the new born PFDJ-2.

            Senay Mishet,
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Semere Andom

            Thanks to both Saleh Gadi Johar and Amanuel Hidrat for the detail

            If I can distil it, I can say both of you fought for justice and dignity. I did not hear from both of you reducing the goal of ghedli to merely removing the Amharas. And this is consistent of what I heard from other tegadalti before and what this means is that ghedli started to reclaim justice and dignity after the occupiers who subjected our people to injustice and indignity were gone.

          • Saleh Johar

            Ahlan itegadalai Semere,
            You asked me about the goal of Gehdli, a big topic. But and I can tell you, in the context of your question, that you should have asked the goals, in the plural. I will explain mine.

            During the struggle era, many combatants like me had no interest in the debates that raged for days on end about proletariat, democracy, public vs private property, and other issues that the cadres, and those interested in the subjects took very seriously and spend their life discussing and dissecting, and discussing again. I never had passion for such debates then; my goal was to rid my country of the enemy so that Eritreans can live in peace and dignity. Mine was a reaction to the injustice I witnessed befalling my people, and at a later stage on me personally. You can say I solely pursued justice, basic justice and rule of law though I would be laying if I told you I knew what I know now. Democracy, proletariat and other catch-phrases never interested me and catchphrase of today don’t. The closest I came to the ideological topic was my ability to draw images of Lenin and Marx. I was so good at it to the extent that people (particularly women) would line up with blank pages asking me to draw for them one of the saints of communism! In the process, I offended the traditional communist-hating combatants; I was dissuaded to stop the “communist indoctrination!” Once I used a black ballpoint and tatooed Lenin on the forearm of a friend who kept it for weeks, making sure not to wash it away even when we lived on the banks of Anseba river and showered everyday.

            There. Ali Salim’s allocation of value to democracy, prosperity, etc, didn’t cross my mind then and it doesn’t now. I was simply focused on ridding the enemy with the sole objective of achieving justice and I am doing the same. See? My goals are not trivial but simple. During the struggle I thought: If I lived, I would be doing what my ancestors did in Keren and live in peace; if I died, then I would have passed away pursuing a goal so dear to me. It is that simple. And I can assure the overwhelming combatants had such simple goals–I can even say most leaders…but they just sat there for days writing complicated programs because it was the in-thing at the time. They spiced up everything they wrote. Letters would start, “dHri sewrawi selamta” or ending it, “ms swerawi selamta”… revolutionary rhetoric all over the place, to me it was boring. Then there was the giant rhetorical slogans: we condemn the Imperialists, the Zionists, the petty-bourgeoisie (this one was the team I was assigned to by the way, without my consent 🙂 and the like.

            Such rhetoric didn’t move a hair in my body unlike many who were all stiff and worked up debating it as if it was a divine ordinance. So, the defamation, vilification of Ghedli and tegadelti, defining them by the brutes we have in Asmara, is disrespectful, ignorant and dishonest.

            Currently, if people are struggling for power, enehe feres enehe golgol, they can have it. If some are struggling for the supremacy of their tribes, clans and regions, I pray for them to find a “white road.” If some are struggling to revive partisan glory, as the medrekh groupies are doing, they can go ahead until they face a solid wall. Mine was, is and will be a struggle for justice. Defining it in philosophical terms is boring and I have no stomach or stamina to discuss it. There are many who love such debates and they can indulge in it. I would rather spend my time facing the impediments to achieving justice.

            Here is what I hate most: people unjustifiably (and stereotypically) insulting tegadelti of the past and “opposition” of the present. Unfortunately, on both instants I find myself on the victimized side. But I get solace because I can laugh at the stupid rhetoric of the “Johnny came lately” Cheletat!

  • Nitricc

    Semere: Why are you playing dumb? I am asking you have you ever seen
    an Eritrean general raping an Eritrean woman. You are accusing people right and left without
    witnessing yourself. That in itself makes you hypocrite to the highest order. You
    keep asking me if I have seen someone raping somebody if I would do something
    about it, of course I would; but if you tell me some one raped somebody; I will
    be stupid to act on the hearsay. So, what you are asking is, for us to act foolishly
    like you because somebody told you about something. Now, you are asking me if I will do something
    if I have seen some one raping somebody; I am saying yes, I will do something
    if I have seen one. Now my question to you is have you ever witnessed yourself
    an Eritrean girl being raped by an Eritrean general? As you have us to believe and
    to want us condemn? Do you understand how shallow and futile is your argument?

  • Serray

    Selamat Sal and Semere A.

    Semere, tactically, criticizing the artists back home is better than doing what Sabri is doing; putting them at risk by saying they oppose the regime from inside. But sometimes it get blurred. Ali Abdu is a good example, he run the only functioning arm of the regime while opposing it…go figure.

    But I am here to respond to Sa because, after all these years he managed to misunderstand Yg when he wrote, “The reason I associated you with the YG Bus is because YGists have an entitlement mentality: that Eritrea is a Sparta and it has a warrior class–Tegadelti–who have a special obligation to carry all the burden: bring about Eritrea’s independence, then bring about Eritrea’s human rights, democracy–at the risk of life, limb and liberty–because it is their duty. Meanwhile, the non-warrior class (the entitled class) demands more of them than it demands of itself”.

    No, Sal, Yg is not asking tegadelti to fight more, he actually wants shaebia regime to stop fighting. He is saying tegadeltis fight in ghedli brought nothing but misery disguised as independence. Second, he is not asking them now to fight to bring about human rights and democracy; he wants them to stop enslaving the young and to stop driving half of the population to extinction. The reason you miss these two points is because you have romanticized ghedli so much you have forgotten that eritrean regime is by tegadelti for tegadelti.

    De-romanticizing ghedli is in more ways than one begging tegadelti to refrain from fighting for us anymore and retire because their past and present fights have created hell on earth. De-romanticizing gedli is about the eritrea people being entitled to own their destiny free from two organizations who don’t know when to stop fighting. The misery of the last sixteen years was created when shaebia leaders ignited a war out of thin air so that they can recreate ghedli in all its aspects while saying goodbye to freedom as we know it. I think if you get one thing from yg, that will be it.

    • saay7

      Selamat Serray:

      YG’s First Principles were enunciated in “Eritrean Independence: Was It Worth It?” Everything else since then has been a postscript to the points he made there and, no, I won’t summarize the points because you know them well. So, the trust-fund-baby of “why can’t everybody just work hard and fix things” so I can enjoy them comes from that article.

      Your characterization that the “Eritrean regime is by tegadelti for tegadelti” is as wrong as the “Eritrean regime is by Habesha for Habesha” and as wrong as “Eritrean regime is by Eritrean highlanders for Eritrean highlanders” and as wrong as “Eritrean regime is by Christians for Christians.” Anybody who suggests the last three gets pounded by you (even when they didn’t say it and you imagined it), and any evidence that shows that the tegadelti in Eritrea are as victimized as the ordinary people gets ignored by you.

      And, ah…that extinction talk. Is “extinction” the new catchphrase? Has hyperbole become the official language of YGists?


      • Serray

        Selamat Sal,

        First, continuing with Yg wanting tegadelti to solve our problem while causing all of it, I thought one of your side’s criticisms of Yg is his call for other powers to help out because the suffocating brutality of our shaebia tegadelti rulers will not allow a movement to gain momentum and the ghedli era opposition are not up to the job with their endless bickering.

        Your “why can’t everybody just work hard and fix things I can enjoy them” is unfair. You can criticize me for not doing my part but yg is doing his…and in the long-run, what he put out there will be what will save us from being a nation that puts a permanent straw on the necks of every citizen to allow those who value sacrifices more than life to suck the life out of everyone.

        We had a lot of discussions about the nature of shaebia regime; whether it is a regime of tegadelti, habesha, highlanders or christians. I thought we agreed that the defining characteristics of the people ruling our country is being tegadelti. You were telling someone about how the CEO and people leading an organization are responsible for the direction of a company. In our country, 99.99 percent of every position of power is held by tegadelti, don’t you think the logic applies here? Tegadelti being victims, I don’t ignore it except there is no other way of describing our tegedalti rulers as tegadelti. By the way, when you talk about TPLF, we make no such distinction…it is always woyanes…never tigrians, never christians (well, you and I not the devil worshippers; they are mindless buffoons).

        By way, extinction is not new catchphrase, it is the new reality; it is a word the catholic bishops and the US based orthodox church used to describe what goes on in our country. It is like the phrase “eritrea is an open air prison” only more precise. It is an apt description and I don’t know why it bothers you.

        • saay7

          Selamat Serray:

          You are too smart to do the proverbial “blind men describing an elephant to each other” routine, so your faux-puzzlement at how YG can be accused of simultaneously criticizing Tegadelti for failing to do more AND calling for Ethiopian intervention is beneath your brain power. The answer, as you know, is all of the above. But if you insist (I am guessing you are playing the devil’s advocate) I will play:)

          1. YG says there was no reason for Eritreans to rise up against Haile Selasse. He was going to leave it up to the goodness of Haile Selasse and the ruling class to reform itself. But it was rushed. Conclusion: it was the confused Tegadelti’s fault. A lot of big words and long articles but in essence it is: izen aslam n’nebsen tegagyen seb agagyen.
          2. YG says that if the Tegadelti had to fight Ethiopia (although there was no reason for them to do it, as we have already established), they took far too long and demanded too much sacrifice from Eritreans because, you know, Ethiopia was just telling us to hurry up and finish and making a series of reasonable peace offers. Conclusion, it was the Tegadelti’s fault.
          3. YG says that after all that sacrifice, the Tegadelti didn’t deliver on what they promised: a free and democratic country. This was, of course, entirely the Tegadelti’s fault: the people are entirely blameless because they don’t have guns and, ah, they have a life to live: it is too much hard work.
          4. YG says that now neither the Tegadelti, nor the Eritrean people are capable of reversing this long and disastrous experiment and it is time for Ethiopia to step in to save Eritrea. In classic Prince Yosief style, he didn’t deliver this message to Ethiopians directly (that is too much hand-dirtying), he asked the Eritrean youth in Debrezeit (where he was the keynote speaker) to do that. Of course, you and I know that if Ethiopia was governed by a group made up of Shanqla and Oromo and the Nations and Nationalities, he wouldn’t invite Ethiopia to do that. But the ones in charge of Ethiopia, why, they are our fellow habesha: maryam Adwan maryam Adi Qualan, etc.

          Now, you said that Eritrean regime is “by Tegadelti for Tegadelti.” To make that claim, you have to establish that (a) the entirety of the Tegadelay class has an agreed upon system of achieving power and (b) the entirety of the Tegadalay class is benefiting from this distribution of power. A parallel: if you have, say, a Saudi Royal Family, if you say “by the royal family, for the royal family”, it would be easy to prove: the Saudi Royal Family has a system of succession that it has negotiated and the Saudi Royal Family benefits from the system. Your “by Tegadelti for Tegadelti” fails this test at both levels. The overwhelming majority of Tegadalai has no say in the power structure and is not benefiting from it. You might as well say the Eritrean system is “by men for men” by simply doing a head count of who has power and who is benefiting from power structure. And once you do that and you still insist on ignoring qualifiers like “some”, “a few”, “a handful”, your argument is identical to the ones that you loathe: substituting “highlanders”, “Christians”, “Habesha” for Tegadalai.

          The reason “extinction” bothers me is simple: it is imprecise and hyperbolic. People are being exiled in huge numbers; they are not being made extinct (extinguished from the face of the earth.) It is a sloppy word–and the opposition, as you well know, is full of sloppiness. The other reason is that those who want to justify Ethiopian involvement (the YGists, mostly) want to paint an apocalyptic scenario to justify their unpopular stand and “extinction” fits well within their doomsday arguments.


  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Hey L.T,
    You have a collected mind with collected memory. Wonderful!!!

    Amanuel Hidrat

  • Rodab

    Hi L.T
    So those are your favorites. Hmmmm…
    Some of mine are: Tekhle Tesfazgi’s ‘kokhobey kokhobki’ (we have no chemistry); Yemane Barya’s ‘nay gdn koynu tmali’ (you dazzled me yesterday); Osman’s ‘slki qutsri’ (I missed you, answer the damn phone); Yohannes Estifanos’ ‘alekhu asmera Adey’ (I am stuck here) and ‘lbey meAduley’ (i might need heart surgery); Tsegay Berakhi’s ‘may endahareme’ (love & hurricane season); Haile Ghebru’s ‘nsa jida ane asmera’ (this long distance relationship is killing me)……….

    • Rodab, this is amazing, descriptive yet funny. How about you starting a monthly column where you write about music, singers… and related anecdotes and maybe trivia? For now we can accommodate your work in awate 7.0, but come September 1, 2014, you can have a presence with a splash in 7.1! What do you say?

      We would like to suggest the same for Ermias, sports, but we are afraid it will be once every four years when all of them travel to Brazil. If not, hey, the offer is very inclusive. Anyone can suggest an idea and we will look into it.

      • saay7

        Hey Rodab:

        Jemal Romadan has covered two of Tsegai Beraki’s songs. Here (“Hsum Gahi”) is where it’s done absolutely perfectly (acknowledgment to the original artist):

        And here (“Mai Enda Hareme”) is where it’s absolutely messed up (no acknowledgement, terrible choreography):


      • Rodab

        Good morning AT,
        You want me to do what now?? Writing about songs, and on a monthly basis at that?
        I do enjoy our songs but they’re too sophisticated for me to comment about them, much less to write or analyze or critique. L.T can do some work in that regard.

        But about the contributions you mentioned, we have several excellent writers in the house. Looking at the Disqus list, we got 20 people and that many ‘unDisqused’. So that’s 40 strong regulator contributors. 40 sharp minds can come up with great ideas about contributions/columns that can be added to this great website. I had suggested a “Hailat Files” column for iNews analysis. I think I was yawned at:-)
        So what’s on Awate 7.1 anyway?
        Btw, the menu sometimes is irritating on mobile devices. It comes out of the blue and covers the whole screen when you scroll on articles.

        • Semere Andom

          Hi Rodoba:
          I second AT’s suggestion, writing about Eritrean music and singers, funny and critical dissection (“hyesa” is the Tinglish for critic) and this way it will inspire Sal to be here more often and also I suggest and call Nitricc also to contribute often under a column “Nitricc Rants: The Freaking Bad vs The Freaking Good Boy” 🙂
          And we need women column contributor, this is male dominated forum, we need the ghedli defamer Ethiopian, Tigraweyti woyanawit Hayatina Adem, Yodita and Pappilon, What do you say ladies? Our ladies, sharp, articulate, polite and tenacious are under appreciated, under utilized and often verbally abused by some. Ladies unleash your talent that is dying to “infect” some. Do not let your talents be buried with the mediocre comments of the rest of us


          • Rodab

            Hi Semere,
            Yeah I agree the ladies of the house are not contributing as much as they should. I take it life is more busier for them. But when they write, they write remarkably well. God knows how they do it.

            One way to improve their contribution is to upgrade their comments to articles like that of Fanti Ghana’s. But often times comments are too short to be featured as articles.
            What do say ladies? Why not consider contributing articles? Since you are already known personalities, I am sure AT would waive some of the posting requirements.

  • Sam

    i am always impressed when i hear Artist Michael talk; the breadth and depth of his linguistic ability, his skills of building up ideas and narration of the same are absolutely superb.

  • Semere Andom

    Hi Sal:
    A decade or so ago the following add for a beer named Canadian was raised in the USA congress:)

    • saay7

      Hi Sem:

      Thanks, I think I remember it. It is a little hard to fight stereotype when you have a beer called Moosehead:)

      I am feeling generous so… here’s South African comic genius Trevor Noah on how the rest of the world sees America. It is about 15 minutes, but worth almost every minute.


      • Semere Andom

        Hi Saleh: This is amazing.
        Thanks. I missed this until I read my email.

  • AMEN

    [Moderator: AMEN, you have told us for times in as much weeks that your luggage is packed and you are leaving Awate Forum. If you changed your mind and want to stay, you are more than welcome. If you are leaving, you do not need to bid us farewell so many time.]

    Allright TOL hoops I mean Awate we could never get along I think because you are still in journey to to what I already found it years ago – journe to freedom where I am now So I will leave you here I gess. And we will continue our life journeys in the way GOD planed for each of us.
    Thankyou for the exchange of information and Happy for the stay together until now.
    July 4th, 2014

  • Nitricc

    You are asking if I have seen one. But have you seen one?
    You are going by what the people are telling you. You haven’t witnessed it your self but you have the nerve to ask me if I see one. Again, the problem is you have no evidence you are accusing people just to make feel better your self about life wasted.

    • Semere Andom

      I have no evidence? remember you are denying that Veteran fighters like two Asters,Sherifo and innocent Eritrean journalists are in prison. This is not new, the world have seen it, heard it with deniers of the Holocaust.You guys are the deniers of our own genocide

      I asked you a hypothetical question and I rephrase: “If you see someone in the street beating and raping the hell out of woman do you call 911 or cross your arms and watch the show and say it is not my freaking business”.
      If you keep avoiding it and be silent your stand will be clear for readers just like your current silence about the crimes you are witnessing denying it by saying I have not witnessed it

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Abraham,

    History is the collection of our activities (bad and good). The united front of EPLF-TPLF against ELF and against Derg is part of our history, whether it is bad or good. Until history gives its judgement on the merits and demerits of it, it will be part of our collective memory and part of our history. I don’t think Haw Mahmud will deny these facts. For EPLF “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” was a policy that has worked and still is working. We will live with it’s consequences and will endure the lives lost for it.

    Amanuel Hidrat

  • Nitricc

    Last time I check PIA said Eritrea will be active in all diplomatic activates and visible in international arenas. But what I am observing is something I failed to put my finger to it.
    The other day I saw Eritrea was observing something that happened in Rwanda some twenty years ago. I scratched my head and I don’t what was that all about. I mean what is the connection? What is the point? And once more again; I see observing Nelson Mandela’s whatever. Again; what the point? The guy has died and Eritrea said nothing about his death but why bring it up now? What I don’t get is, with all the problems we have to solve; issues to attend and observe; real obstacles to solve; all the government of Eritrea can come out is observing about Rwanda and a dead old man Nelson Mandela?
    Can some one enlighten me what is this all about? I mean it. what is the point?

    • geltam

      Call embassy Eritrea 😀

  • Haile Zeru

    Dear Tegadalay Semere Andom

    I agree with everything you said. Here we are talking of people who are intellectuals and artists. To say they do not know right from wrong, legal from illegal, moral from immoral and ethical from non-ethical is plain stupid. I read “WEDI HADERA” like you did 25, may be 30 years ago. It is pure propaganda at its worst. One of the contradictions that I noticed then is that he was freed from the Ethiopian prison by ELF. The narrator tries to aggrandize negatively small things about ELF and downplay the positive actions they took (freeing the prisoners and allowing them to go the the organizations of their -the freed prisoner choice-choice).
    Intellectuals and artists that are serving the system are working to strengthen the system and weaken the struggle of the people. And they are doing it knowingly. Any thing else is plain stupid!!!

  • L.T

    I ‘ll offer you now my best Tigringalist song here,they are and here you go,
    “ati qetan maenta”-“the slender girl”by Beyne Free,Milana Milenu”you know how it feels the first time?” by Tewelde Redda,”Ati hadar girki semie b’were”-“I felt very uncomfortable when you walked away with others”by Yemane Baria and Gebretsaadg,”nay meqabir bitsotey beal men ekum?”you do not worry about dead,death is apart of us”Yemane Baria and Redie Kifle(Bashay),”Nayakal Vitamin,tsbhi tsom yibluki”-“do not listen to them”by Osman Abderhim,Nugesse Mensatay and Alamin Abedlletif,”Tsahytu Beraki”kab May Jah-Jah kiwerd”-” I have received your litter”,Tukan Quenci melioumo”_”It was better before with Italia”By Tiberh Tesfehune and Memher Asres Tessema,”Handebet mengesha”-You’ll know where to turn to if there is someting wrong”Tekle Tesfazghi,”Nifatah”Go ahead/you can move on”Yessuf Said,”Senay gualay kab delekiyo..beli ra’ayiyo”Home sweet home”by Eng Asgedom,”Helen”-“Then I try to guide you the correct place”by Tewelde Abraha,Yessuf Said and Michael Goitom,”Ruba Ruba Tahti shefnwa Gime Ayterater naeKi amine”-” I selected you” Bahr Bereket Mengistaeb,”Adey Adi Jeganu”-” You change your mind” by Ato Atew Berah Segid ,”Ruth gual Addis Abeba”-You are no longer our clients”by Nuggusse Mensatay and Yennus Ibrahim…..
    I hope I help a little and we are wating for your…

  • sabri

    Selam Emma and Tes,

    I don’t agree with your assessment that everybody who works at governmental institution is a supporter of the system. There are a lot of people in Eritrea who are working for the good of Eritrea. These people are facing huge challenge from malgovernance of the regime. I can give you one example. I know one person who is working at the ministry of education. He was doing something beneficial for his country but his bosses want to credit for what he was doing and created a lot of problem for him. When they realized that he will not allow them to disturb his work they decided to derail any financial and logistic support from the ministry. Nevertheless, the guy courageously continuing his work and partly financed the work from his pocket. Other good willing people also helped him. At last he finish his work successfully. Now his work is acknowledged by UN. Does this person support the regime through his work? The answer is obvious. He hate the regime more than ever. People like him are heroes. They should be applauded. Alemseged Tesfay, Solomon Tsehaye and the one I mentioned in my example and many others are working for their country. They are not the supporter of the oppressive regime.


    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear Sabri,

      If you give me a chance to speak about myself and my stand, I am not against the individuals, if individuals are guilty or not, let the rule of law say that. But When I say the system, it is the ideology, strategy, policies, programs, projects, politics, social and economic approach of PFDJ system. In this regard, my objective is to dismantle the system not to go after individuals. Rule of law that does not exist within the PFDJ system will be installed and become the doer of all discourses. This is what I say when I talk about the system.

      Emma hopefully clarify the thing more but I do share common interpretation with him in this regard and of course I am his student in the way he deal with the Eritrean politics. I am so far in complete harmony with Ammanuel Hidrat, I am not sure how he see my approach (as he is the one who can say that) but I am his fellow student here.


    • Semere Andom

      Hi Sabri:

      Nice to see you around after a long time.
      Sorry to interrupt your debate with Emma and Tes, but to be fair it was me who started this so if you have not followed me this is the summary of my stand on this issue.
      It is always wrong to lump people together in one. I am sure we all heard the tired out cliché of life is not black and white there are shades of grey. So we cannot with absolute certainty delineate the complex tapestry of a human feelings, biases and so on, this also applies to the issue we are debating right now. But if you believe like me that there is not even an embryonic thing that the regime does or did or will do to benefit the country and the people as has been proved time and time again for the last 23 years then all the people working willingly, unwillingly, those who hate the regime and curse the regime in their prayers, those who have deluded themselves of thinking they are working for the benefit of the nations, everyone the forced slaver labours, everyone is BENEFITING the regime and by extension contributing to the prolonging of the suffering of the people. Now to the writers, artistes you mention here, given their access, given their craft and the opportunities they regime bestows upon them and most of them are privy to the crimes of the regime from the days of the ghedli and we are told that they put up with it, not only sacrificing their lives but their freedom, we get that but at this hour it is almost inexcusable for them to keep silent, deafeningly mute by choice. I am sure it is excruciatingly painful for them to watch the ravages of the nation, but they have a choice. Is this tormenting, wilfull indifference punishable by death or even by prison like that of the head of PFDJ or the few at the top, resoundingly NO. But silence while given a choice earns these people the title of “supporters of the regime”. I am surprised why many people including one of my favorites, the impeccably polite, the Great Yodita found this this simple truth unsettling?

      • sabri

        Selamat Emma and Sem,

        Sem, I was supposing to address you but wrote tes wrongly in my first post.

        There are people who are struggling the PFDJ inside the country but they look like silent on the surface. However, you judged them as a supporter of the regime. According to your definition people like wedi Ali, the leader of the recent mutiny, is a supporter of the regime before he embark Forto. For me it is clear wedi ali has always opposed the regime before Forto. Forto is just a culmination of his silent opposition. We don’t know people like ALemseged are doing silently. On the surface they are doing something good for future Eritrea but inside nobody knows what they are doing. The impression I got from ALemseged when I met him last time is he doesn’t look like a supporter of the regime.

        Another important point to consider is it is not easy to oppose the regime from inside. They have to be very careful for not to be identified by the regime. They know what is expecting if they loud their opposition voice. I’m sure they do something silently. We will know their share after the demise of PFDJ. Before that it is wise to be careful not to judge them.


        • Rodab

          Hi Sabri,
          Comrades Hailat and Semere tend to stick to their guns when scrutinized. The other week, before he moved on, Hailat was at war with some on his insistence of the ‘externality’ of the Bishops work. Similarly, Semere is not ready to be humbled about his wrong characterization of one of Eritrea’s finest writers either. May be it is a good idea to move on.

          • Semere Andom

            Hi Rodab:
            You have to stick to your guns when facts do not change. The fact is without naming names, because in Eritrea everyone is nameless. If you see someone committing a crime and you watch silently society holds you responsible to some degree, at least morally as Emma said, granted you may free for your safety to do anything, but when you have the chance to get away and at least call then it is not excusable. And the finest writers, who no doubt contributed selflessly before they are doing that, watching silently. Even worse than that some are ambassadors of the regime while their own brothers are in prison and I always wonder when they see IA in a meeting they pretend that as if nothing has happened. Some people’s feeling is hurt because we spoke “harshly” about fine writers, come on Rodab. Show something to abandon my “guns”. No one is taking the sacrifices of these fine writers, the same way we do not erase what IA did at some point the armed struggle maybe it is in accurate to say this fine writer is a supporter, but the silence of his calibre makes the regime look good and if you look good you feel good and if you feel good you can live longer.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Haw Sabri
          If your don’t have any tangible activity he has done to resist the criminal regime why are you trying to defend him. In your own words you proved to us that “we [you] don’t know people like Alemseghed are doing silently.” Alemseghed as an intellectual, is making the despot look good by serving to his institution. He is an intellectual commodity to Issayas’s ideology. Therefore Alemseghed is at least “morally guilty” and will be judged by history.

          Amanuel Hidrat

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Merhaba Sabri,

      Here is our reality. We have a tyrannical regime that suffocate our people. We have a nation of a very awful place to live in it under the PFDJ regime. The Eritrean people are divided in to two diametrically opposite positions. One who support the regime and the other who resist the regime’s way of governance and its policy. In other words we have the regime, we have our people who support the regime, we have our people who oppose the regime. Everyone of us can only fall in one of these category, excluding those opportunist who watch from far to see where the chip is falling so as to swing accordingly. There is no other in between. If you agree with these categorizations, then Alemseghed and others who have similar position will fall in one of these category. As far as Alemseghed worked to the institutions of the despot he is the enabler of the regime. There are two enablers (a) those who are directly involved in crime doing and (b) those who are not involved in crime doing but working in areas that makes the regime good looking. So far Alemseghed didn’t raise his voice for what is happening to our nation and our people, at least to my knowledge. Alemseghed is an astute of a high caliber intellectual, who can discern more than an average man on what is going in our country. Even if he is not involved in crime doing, history will accuse him of his “moral guiltiness” of doing nothing to the crimes and injustice falling to our people by the ruling regime. Let me remind you, the regime is proud that he has some elites that serve his policy and its value system.

      Remember, we can accuse anyone whom we think he is politically or legally guilty. But he is not criminal until it is proved in the court of law. So Haw sabri, we know who is “criminally guilty” and who is “morally guilty”. The criminally guilty will face the court of law and the morally guilty will face the judgement of history. If I am not clear yet, take it from here, and will get back to you.

      Amanuel Hidrat

  • Rodab

    L.T malet,
    Tell me about ‘weyzerit tsige’ or ‘lady in red’, as per your translation.
    Beyene Fre’s songs are some of my all-time favorite oldies. But I couldn’t get hold of them. SOS!

  • Semere Andom

    am speaking on behalf of the victims you are speaking on behalf of killers and it will not surprise me with your military experience when PFDJ gets desperate and asks you to come on board to pay you same USA salary and to kill one person a day, to receive the attention of the murderer tyrant you will murder 10 people a day, such is the kind of people who never utter a word about the victims who I mention and speak on their behalf every time the chance presents itself. Every time I attack the dictator every cell on your body including the one cell brain you own fasciculate profusely.

    • Nitricc

      It is not my business to tell you who to support and not to support. If you support the victims it is still your freaking businesses not mine. With the same token; if I am supporting killers, devils and whatever; it is my freaking business not yours but for you to be the judge, the jury and the executioner trashing to people who made possible the impossible; it is simply a miscarriage of justice and fairness; and I won’t stand for it. I don’t know if you know this but you are not only a slave but the caged one; you live in Canada, so; don’t try and act like we don’t know.
      . I know we all are slaves the difference is, most of us, we know that we are the slaves and we know we are not caged like you and that is the difference. What is even intrudingly tragedy is that not only you don’t know that you are salve but you are the happy one and proud of it.
      I know you are trying to mimic and replicate your ideal YG; please stop it, you sound real stupid and I know that you are not stupid but I can not say if there is more stupid thing to say than what you are saying. In any eventuality; stop trying to be YG, there is only one YG and if you must mimic him please come up with your own fresh stupidity. Because repeating Yg’s ideas are outdated, old and people are tired of it.

      • Semere Andom

        It is the business of humanity when you cheer and clap for murderers. Simple. So, yes, it is our freaking business when you are cheering those who kill our people.
        Let me ask you as a citizen of this planet when you see someone in the street beating and raping the hell out of woman do you call 911 or cross your arms and watch the show and say it is not my freaking business? Be honest

  • Semere Andom

    let see if you can defend Alemseghed like this after he defects. Speaking of dignity any PFDJ support like you with identity crisis cannot lecture me about dignity. The world knows you and compares you to Hitler so go to your closet PFDJ supporter.
    By the way there is no non-accredited university in Canada, but there are plenty in the USA, ,just so you know

    • Peace!

      Simply stupid!

    • SA

      Dear Semere,
      Reading the apologists of the regime in this forum, I was thinking if Yemane Ghebreab read your post and gave direction to his foot soldiers to label your post as “stupid”. I wish you were a little temperate in your criticism of Alemseghed Tesfay, but I am with you in your outrage about the overall situation back home.


  • haileTG

    OK Araya, my agenda is free and democratic Eritrea. That concerns me a lot because I was born and brought up there, all my connections are there and all my folks and everything attached to my background is there. A person like me doesn’t need midlife crisis to to react to issues directly related to his basic interests. If I go to Ethiopia, I have many friends (including Eyobai) who can show me around and possibly court me for my stay in their great country (and would sure be reciprocated in kind in due time from my side). Hence, no agendas here, simple clear straight forward. FYI I don’t actually write “posts” , only comments. I don’t know which of my “invisible” posts you found to be “depressing”. If you are referring to comments, then the source is the reality in Eritrea and not me, otherwise if you are imagining some posts by me, I can only put it down to midlife issues 🙂 The reason I criticize you about Ethiopia is because you seem to be soooo mean about people and country that helped to form you into the person that you are. I have limited experience of Ethiopia but a highly respectful and cordial friendship with many Ethiopians here in the diaspora. They are respectful enough not offend feelings when we associate out of the cyber, they would hardly talk politics and if they ever do, they often refrain from advocating any positions, likewise here. All this, from both our people’s side, is to invest on future trust and mutual cooperation and heal some of the past great wounds. You were supposed to be a model in that effort as an Eritrean born in Ethiopia. But, where us people like me with broken Amharic and nothing more than two vocabulary in Oromiffa and little local knowledge of inside Ethiopia are managing to bring reason for mutual understanding, your actions are disturbed to say the least. That is why I might be considering to get some Ethiopian security to pick you up from Bole in your next visit to one of Africa’s emergent Tiger economies 🙂 Don’t worry about the border and other issues now. Things have changed, and removal of the despot is first order of the day. One needs a simple agenda to that effect, total war on the dictator and his stooges. In this case I remind you that Eritrea and Eritreans are not here to assuage your inferiority complex against the people of Tigray (for personal issues). We have enough problems, and you deal with it.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear L.T,

    Yes I am new to politics and new person in abroad. Does it make sense then for you? I am telling you the truth.


  • AMEN

    Dear L.T
    Having agreed with your opinion I would like to tell you that
    my main point of posting my opinion is only to express my
    part impression of the memories of the 1980’s and our gen.
    Nothing more
    But since this diverts my main purpose for now I will leave it
    for another time because I would like to stay focused on my
    primary purpose.
    And while I agree that a lot of good work is done by all of us
    my concern is that why do some people see or take it as minor
    that the precious gifts we give them risking our personal and
    professional lives in to line.
    Why do they think our contribution is less than others.
    Because the gifts and infos we gave them……are not something to
    find them easy. You cannot get them from a Taxi driver, a store owner
    or an accomplished career professional for the purposes of protecting
    his/her private life……….but only from us……so you better not look at them
    down and minor thing. Playing with it cheaply with everyone on public
    medias and belittling us and our efforts or works as if simple things.
    Anyways I do not want to say or talk more…….but to walk the walk.

  • Kokhob Selam
  • L.T

    know what? EPLF is part of our strugglr history anf PFDJ is came after.Do you think you ‘re going to learn as well as we are from today?and you must know that we are very accessible to our job.please relax! even I do not know if you are a new career as politician,and that you re here to shout PFDJ ..PFDJ…people are tired of it and hurricanes no more to hear about it.And they had enough.Ilook at your oicture and think that you are in abroad you trained(you bag remindes me when I was a new person in the west:-)be sure to check that the degree is approved in Ethiopia and entitled to..dare to take the leap!I wishing you all the good.

    • AMEN

      Yes I am not a politician
      I do not politics either……
      But also I am not look away and abandon my people
      for fear of politics and political reprisals !!
      And I was not one going to wait until it was/is too late.
      I am only an independent scholar or academician
      the first time I came to politics is when I saw our
      people in trouble after the war and thought I could
      help them a little despite so many risks due to politics
      actually better said so much dirty politics. But that didn’t
      deter me from doing what I have to do.
      Thanks God I achieved my purposes !!

  • L.T

    Selam Amen;
    I was born in Eritrea Azmera like you and grown up during the war and the Dergue in the 80s..I and my friends were out after the Western and Indian movie but We had others that they are a little aged than us and they were our role model and the way we will find out more about why our brothers and sisters are in the fight..I came the west in the 80s at a young age and meet many former ELF fighters and know more about..I bought the cassette””Kiyah Mosebey” 1985 and read “Wedi Hadera from Bademe to Sahel” and listen Elsa Kidane”Weledi”-“how is it down there” and Aaron Abraham song”Meneasey”-“Go up young man and take your father’s arms”-Yemane Baria”Zemen” Eng Asgedom W.Michael “Ade Sieuwu-“Strong mother”-Sammi Berhane”Kokob Awalid”-“The muture girl”..”Keyah Mosebey is about two young lovers Eritrean in 1975-Azieb and Yackob after Dergue murdered Gen Aman in Nov 1974 and gives want to spread hatred cry koch sent “Beherawi Tor” in began 1975 and on friday 24 and I was 5 years,and I will remember the violent attcken in Azmera of Ethiopia Nazi militant and they killed over 1600 people in just two days..but Hailesillasie has cleared lot Metahat 1967-1975 and it was obviously a threat to the whole Eritreans but what we have done then?maybe it is easy for those who are not within their direct hatradie and it can have its own price…”Keyih Mosebey”..I thanked you for coming by…

  • AMEN

    Dear Mahmud Saleh and L.T
    Thankyou for the memory of Qeyah Mesobey you brought me here today.
    Yes I rememeber those days when we used to listen to the empowering
    Dimtsi Hafash programmes of the 80’s while we were studying hard to
    succeed despite to many odds against us politically,economically and socially.
    I still admire the Eritrean youth of my generation of the 1980’s for their ethics
    and courage in every sphere and who allways were coming atop of everything
    both in Eritrea and Ethiopia against all the odds against them.
    Actually one aspect of y writting is to awaken them and that era and see them
    shining on the present medrek (stage) of our history AND not see them submerged
    and squeezed by the 70’s and 90’s youth controlling all the spectrum exclusively.
    ( so I might have some bias to 80’s youth……………..just kidding but not sure)
    I do not know why but I always have great confidence in the youth of the 80’s Gen.
    especially for this stage(medrekh) of our struggle – that is democratic non-violent
    struggle with enlightened leadership for a fundamental change in our society and
    country. I believe that they are on spot and fit well for the medrekh.
    But as for the timing of keyah Mesobey on Radio Dimtsi Hafash, I think it is 1985
    than 1983 if I my memory is right so I agree with L.T on that than Mahmud.
    But congratulations Adonai for the book that still lingers on our psyche/memory.
    And thankyou Mahmud and L.T for the well said opinions.

  • haileTG

    Go clean yourself up, lest people would think of you asadagi yebedelew

    • Araya

      AT do you really think I was out of line by using the word “weyanay”
      come-on AT! Why are you Safeguarding and protecting this guy with an absolute Precision?

      Right Haile, who is displaying the real symptoms of middle age life crises, you or me? I got to be careful what I say to you but read your own exceptionally depressing posts and you will answer your own question. You have this hidden agenda that didn’t materialize on this forum and it is eating you inside out. Haile, just tell me your agenda and I will leave you alone. You know you have one. And don’t you ever think Eyob will deport me. Since he is from Tigray; let me have the honor deporting him where he belongs, back to Wiqro.

      Now, what is your agenda; Haile the “great”. By the way What ever happened to the border case that you were defending pretentiously and pompously? You get my drift, right?

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear SGS,

    Thank you for the flow and simplicity of this inteview. Yah, ideas flow when you let the environment lead you for an open discussion and from here we learned innocence of ideas. Ideas matter!!!!

    And I may add one question to Michael Adonai. Could he put please the hell of PFDJ System of administration? PFDJ literally created hell, but not for people who made committed sin but just because a Satan is ruling the land of the righteous people. The hell that I am asking is a place were the PFDJites live.

    Thank you

    • Nitricc
      • Tesfabirhan WR


        Better to be a mad dog than to be a dead soul man. And thank you I am in summer vacation. Play your dead soul’s politics. You will be free from me for a while. This is my last comment to you before coming back.


      • saay7


        I am never sure if you are being a bad boy or genuine. You do know that Aaliyah died prematurely in a plane crash. So that quote…there is something either poetic or cruel about it.


        • Nitricc

          Hahahhahah SAAY, me bad boy? What is wrong with you? You are mistaking me with Haile. Lol do you remember when Haile used to be a bad boy? At one point he was so bad, Pappilion changed her name from Wquato to Pappilion.SAAY I am not making it up. Ask pappi she will tell you. Lol I think Haile needs to go back to that Haile.
          Anyway, when I brought that quote what I had in mind is to reminding tes that life is more than if someone agrees or disagrees with you and your ideals and what you believed in. He breaks down someone is not agree with him and joining him insulting PFDJ. So I was trying to tell him about life
          in a profound and insightful way that there are more things to it what it appears to him.
          So, I was in my good behavior.

  • luckytobeme

    In my opinion, he is very good technician, but he lacks of authenticity and personal originality. And he is the best known in Eritrea, but there are many other good eritrean artist and I do prefer the other to Mr. Adonai.


  • Kokhob Selam

    we are talking about our artist and the great one, when an artist ( to this level ) leave you or reject to be around you, you should tell him to come back and leave the area for him. because the most kind and generous soul is to be found on this type of artists. if they lose their hope on you, you should remember the best doctor has tried with you and is saying you are dead.

    now this wonderful artist will need space and time and who can open the space to him more than awate. I appreciate awate for all the work they are doing with limited resources they have. Thank you Saleh and Saleh and all awate . you are really the reflection of Eritrea.

    Adonay, we are all with you,


  • Nitricc

    I used to like Ali Abdu and I was considering him as the next president of Eritrea. When I told one Eritrean writer about my views on Ali Abdu; this perosn who was a writer back in the days of free press era in Eritrea told me. Stories stuff I couldn’t believe. I have heard some freaky corruption deals between the two when they were back in Eritrea and they were best friends. So, JX; you seem to hint you know something about those two and can you please share what you know; so i can see, if it matches with what I heard. What heard was the two, Michal Adony and Ali Abdu are partners in a freaky corruptions. I have no idea if it is true or false but what i was told is not good.

  • Semere Tesfai

    “In 1997, President Isaias ordered me to do the work for the palace…For five months I………. was suspended on ropes,
    on scaffoldings and ladders doing the work. The president personally
    selected eleven of my paintings that he liked to be hanged on the walls
    of the palace.These paintings were my best and I consider them masterpieces. The
    presidential office never acknowledged my work or my paintings, and they
    didn’t pay me at all.”

    Michael Adonai, I’m proud to say I’m one of your admirers. I love your artwork. Also, I respect your choice and wherever you are, I wish you a happy and successful life in the foreseeable future. Having said that let me say few words regarding your interview.

    I suppose, the work that president Isaias told/ordered you to do was, an art work for the presidential palace, which is a government palace (national property) that will live for generations to come. And your work will be seen and admired, not only by our successive Eritrean government leaders but also by foreign leaders and dignitaries, as a pride of Eritrean artwork. Now, even if we assume, you were self educated, even if we assume Eritrea never invested a dime in you, I think given an opportunity to do that kind of work is in itself an honor most of us envy, even if it was a hard work done for free.

    As to “the presidential office never acknowledged my work”, well, I don’t think you really need Isaias’ or his government officials verbal acknowledgement. out of all people, they selected you; and that says it all. And I’m sure there is your signature in some corner of your artwork. If not, many people have seen you in person and have taken a picture/document of some sort when you where doing your hard work. Even if there was no document no witness…. which I doubt it, you are Michael Adonai; who could possibly claim your artwork and get away with it?

    And there is one phrase that made me uncomfortable: “they didn’t pay me at all”. Michael, modesty is the best policy. I know you should have been paid for your artwork (as everybody should) but you were not the only one. The people who lost lives and limbs, the families who lost more than one family members (3,4,5 from one immediate family) didn’t get compensation by the Eritrean government either; and they are not saying a thing and never will. Think about it.

    The point: everything is relative. ኤርትራ፡ ንዘይንቡር ከም ንቡር ወሲድካ ዝተሰርሐት ሃገር’ያ። And I don’t think you want me to waste your time to lecture you on the obvious.

    Good to hear from you.

    • haileTG

      wow….ንስኻ ዝሓዉ እንኳዕ እይቀተልዎ…ትሩፍ ድሕሪ ደጊም

      • Thomas

        Hi Haile TG,

        He is indeed something!! He and his kind are the reason for we are in the situation we are. Eritrea, why would you let best heroes to die and the good for nothing people survive/escape the fire?? It is just not fair!!

        • haileTG

          ST is a man of broken dreams but unlike many others in his situation, he is bitter, too bitter about it and wish to see Eritrea go in flames.

      • Araya

        [Moderator: Please refrain from making derogatory remarks–it is a violation of our posting guidelines]

        Haile xxxxxx, which part did you find exactly offensive with what ST has to say?

    • Shum

      I don’t comment often, but I follow Awate religiously. One thing I notice about you, Semere, is that you rear your head when an article is posted to point out the WRONG lessons. A ranking PFDJ official gets arrested and you chastise the opposition for reporting it and their response not being in line with what you think kosher. Michael Adonai mentions he didn’t get paid as he should have and you send up a subtle rebuke that’s deferential, once again, to PFDJ. That’s your problem. You’re too deferential to these authoritarians. Get off of your high horse preaching to us about how he should respond. He had a very natural response. Do you think it’s lost on him, the honor of doing this artwork? You miss the point. He wasn’t credited with doing it nor was he paid for it. Focus on the obvious and stop using every opportunity to tell folks here the great idea or moral lesson that only you can see.

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Semere Tesfay:

      Michael Adonai by talking about himself he was also talking about the slavery that everyone is subjected to. For an accomplished artist like him to be dangling from robs to hang his work shows that DIA wanted to dominate and humiliate him like he does with every successful Eritrean that outshines him. But typically you would not allow to break out of the “us”, the group think that we are accustomed to. Again you prove my point by calling the digs of the dictator the property of the people and Michael is supposed to be appeased and you recommended that he find solace in that twisted logic of yours.The problem was not that Michael complained that he was not paid and acknowledge, but rather if he was paid handsomely and serenated and received the well-deserved accolades for his master pieces, would he still be there serving at the pleasure of the president. What you did here is blaming the victim for taking.

      But having said that, Michael Adonai like many of his artist comrades he was the tool of the dictator, although he is well known for his paintings he is also an accomplished author, his two famous work are “Keyah Mosebey” and “Fridi Gobo Arey”. The first narrates about the courageous Azeb, although she was short, her friends called “emet” she was a gallant and as underground clandestine freedom fighter, she refused to confess under the inhumane torture by the enemy of that era. The story of love, betrayal and courage was a hit in the mid-eighties as it depicted the heroism of our women. The second one, “Frdi Gobo Arey” was a braining washing PFDJ propaganda, which depicted the ELF tegadalati in bad light after the civil war. It came second to Solomon Drar’s “Mekete”. Michael Adonai with all his talent he was a romantic who used his art to truly depict war, terror, suffering, bravery as he says, but also like his comrades such as Solomon Drar and Isais Tsegai he was not an august individual who depicted and inspired truth, justice and freedom through his art until recently. Isaias Tsegai, the author of the put down, “warsay temaharo eyom nerom tmali”died uttering nothing about the ultimate yearning of Justice and freedom, too steeped in the unhealthy animosity with Solomon Drar, who is still severing the dictator for the attention of the DIA and Ali Abdu.
      Another writer and intellectual who still serves the dictator is Alemesghed Tesfay. He wrote a book called “Wedi Hadara Kab Badme nSahel”. This was a story of an illiterate “shifta” who became a freedom fighter. He meets EPLF and ELF fighters in a prison and when heated debate ensued between EPLF and ELF fighters Wedi Hadara discerns that the EPLF fighters had truth and the ELF fighters were immature, shallow and selfish. The EPFL fighters showed “bstaynet” by sharing the measly luxury items smuggled to them from outside, while the ELF fighters did the opposite. Mesmerized by the qualities of the EPLF fighters Wedi Hadad joins EPLF after his released and emerges a model fighter. This is in a nut shell the summary of the book from my memory of over 20 years, the rest details of life after and before the dramatic transformation and the author takes the liberty at empty moralizing and platitudes.
      I recognize that the scope of the conversation was the artistic side of Michael, but at this hour everything about Eritrea cannot be divorced from the politics no matter how hard we try to do so.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Salam Semere Andom;
        I don’t intende to deflect the focus from Wedi-Adonai, but your remarks about Alemseged needs some correction.
        1. Alemseged, like many other educated Eritreans, did have a life full of meaningful contributions to our struggle during his time in Meida. He participated in the birth and development of the department of information and propaganda ( aka in Tigrigna as kifli ziena) during the struggle and also participated in the development of the department of Education of the EPLF; but his lasting impact was undoubtedly his role in the department of culture, during the struggle, and now as a researcher and writer of Eritrean history. Michael Adonai too has had his impact, it’s just because I am talking about Alemseged.
        2. The book you are talking about, “wedi Hadara” was a true story of one who had lead a life of banditry, captured and then freed by the freedom fighters with many others, and joined the EPLF. The person was well known in mieda; and was of those characters that gave life some spices. Alemseged interviewed him several times, lived with him to observe him closely and finally came up with a book that got a wide spread reception. I wish if I could get it. It was written during the mid-eighties, right after the terrible civil war, and although I do not have full recollection, I would not find it surprising if it contained some biased naration, EPLF V ELF.
        3. He is also a playright, short-story writer, a very down-to-earth and decent man, despite his popularity, dedication to the struggle and its cuse, and his educational level, he was never promoted past mi-level managerial roles; but I never saw him bitter about it; always with big hugs and smiles.
        4. He is also a humanist; all his short stories and playrights depict the human condition, anxieties, agonies, expectations…hope…etc. In one of his famous article about nadew “Libi Tegadalai”, he took hits for depicting the heart of tegadalai as being too kind towards his enemies. I read one of his war report during the Ethio-Eritrean border war, it reflects human emotions and the loss; he puts it as “senseless carnage.” Another booklet that contains his experience of two weeks in the trenches tells the typical life of tegadalai in trenches; some of Michael Adonai’s artist peers who died in that offensive “8th offensive, or BaHri Negash” include my friends Girmay Hakhli and “Oromo.”
        5. All of us know he has authored two important books on the history of Eritrea. I once asked him if he would continue working on the history of the Eritrean Revolution, he said ” That should be for the future generation, it should be studied compiled, and interpreted by people who are not biased by their participation in it. The raw material is there, and it’s safely preserved.” This shows you how the man is a serious scholar, that his tegadalai and “wudubawi” energy has transformed in to some one very much keen to leaving behind good work for future generations.
        6. Therefore, his work, as a reasearcher, should not be seen as serving the dictator. He’s not in any official capacity, none. So are many doctors, researchers..profesors who are doing what they are doing for the good of their people and their country. They are sacrificing their time, energy and expertise. He could have easily landed a more prestigious tenure somewhere. So, sometimes, caution is warranted when dealing with these types of issues.

        • Yodita

          Kbur Mahmud Saleh,

          You keep on shining! You are a treasure. I am not saying you are perfect, but almost. We need you to make even some our prestigious contributors like Semere Andom not to be picky and throw the baby with the dirty water. I also believe Alemseghed Tesfay’s overall priceless participation and contribution is seen out of context and with an excessive and obssessive knack to critisize and see flaw that we all suffer from, although I would not have expected from Semere Andom. Belittling, negation, denial are our achilles heel and IA’s most effective instrument of disunity and inhuman iron grip!! I sometimes despair that we are becoming increasingly blind to see the great and positive in us and each other and that this deliberate process to become so has taken hold. It is in this that I find you, Kbur Mahmud Saleh, different. You are a learning point.

          • SA


            Thank you for your humane comment. As much as I love Semere Andom’s passion in writing against the PFDJ regime, I think he is being presumptuous in his attack against Alemseghed Tesfay. How does he know that Alemseghed Tesfay is one of the influential persons who “just wait for the last minute to see if they make it to the inner circles of the regime and when it does not happen and the degradation continues unabated do they defect?”


          • Yodita

            Dear SA,

            All I can say is Semere Andom, by making the statement (that you quote) in no uncertain terms, puts his own credibility and his dignity at stake. He will be obliged to substantiate his strong allegations in the Eritrea we are craving for or else lose face and credibility and dignity. We can not go on attacking our icons because they did not give 30 or 40 MORE years of their existence while some of us have not experienced a single day of the sacrifice and hardships they freely gave during their youth, manhood and prime life. SA, thank you.

          • Semere Andom

            Dear Yodita and SA:

            No one is asking them to put 30 or 40 more years of their lives. The icons, writers and artists I mention here served the dictator by lingering around him, they supported him by their deafening silence when their comrades and many innocent Eritreans are put in the hell-holes of PFDJ. They serve the dictator with their craft, writing, words and their mere accolades and other talents that they are blessed with and all this generates money that funds the various tentacles of the regime, not to mention the legitimacy they give to the out law by their mere accolades as memebers of the regime. These people have the unbridled opportunity to dissociate themselves with the regime, not jumping ship, but they kept quite when the G-15 were arrested, but 12 years later when most of them (g-1) are dead they are still serving the regime with their craft. No one is asking them to put 30 more years, no one is even asking them to join the opposition, I am asking them leave. I remember a Pencil editorial after the arrest of the G-15 calling on the remaining CC members to oppose the regime and if they cannot to defect. With opportunities for them to go out of the country they can easily do it. Yodita, now is this too much to ask? My words may hurt the feeling of these icons, but their tormenting silence in the face of the brutality of PFDJ against the innocent is injuring the aching hearts of the loved ones and the bodies of the veterans in the Era Ero and also it is indelibility damaging to nation as intellectuals become tools and subservient of dictator and church and mosque leaders answer to a pagan tyrant

            There is a little fallacy about what Teg.Mahood Saleh said about everyone opposes /wakes up at his own timeline, an euphemism for it is ok to take your sweet time, tell that to the 10,000 prisoners when every ticking second means death or survival, tell that to a mother who has waited for 12 years to have a closure, tell that to the daughters and sons of the imprisoned who were in their infancy to remember the faces of their parents tell that to the son of Aster and Sherifo who lost both of his parents. Tell that to the body of Haile Deru whose organs have been ravaged by the scourge of diabetics. The lack of urgency and the muteness must outrage us not the blunt words.

          • Araya

            ELF is dead long time ago. Whenever I read your article you always say stupid thing but when you said…
            “No one is asking them to put 30 or 40 more years of their lives”
            That is the stupidest thing to say, ever! Do you have a shred of dignity? What a stupid saying. They
            should have followed you to Canada so they can collect welfare like you; is that it? Alemseged want to Eritrea from one of the finest University in theUSA, not from no name useless university in Canada, just you know.

          • Nitricc

            Real sign of desperation. At least they have done something worthy life lived; what have you done Semere?
            Some times ask your self before you make an ass out of yourself. It is absolutely okay to not do what they have done but to thrush it like that; it speaks about your coward ness more than anything else.
            Have some respect.

          • saay7

            ITegadalai Sem:

            First, a belated happy Canada Day (that’s a thing, right? What do u guys do: modest fireworks? Have every day is UN Day celebrations?)

            Second, when Ghezae got off the YG bus he should have yanked u off with him. Here’s why:

            The Eritrea you have created is one full of tyrants handmaids or people agitating to get out of the country. It doesn’t allow for people who hate the system but have absolutely no intention of leaving the country. To me, those people are heroic and patriots; but in the dichotomy you have created (you are either a tool of the regime or somebody who is just waiting for the right time to leave) they don’t exist. All this because we are using our lame standard: who is good enough to struggle 1/10 of the time (using a pen name) while he spends 9/10 of his time dealing with the challenges of life in exile.

            I will give you one simple example. Suzinino is in Italy for the EPLF 40th Bologna party. Is him staying in Bologna good for us at all? If so how and why?

            In your world, there can never be an Eritrea based seedling for opposition because every Eritrean works for Isaias or just about to leave it. The reality is far different.


          • Semere Andom

            Hi Sal:

            Thanks and Happy in advance July 4. Eritrean Canadians we listen to Helen Melese and drink habesha coffee during Canada Day 🙂
            Now. I am on record or about how I feel about YG (the ghedli defamers, the new unionists). I was
            As to the seedling inside, I am also clear on that, I cannot quote myself verbatim, but in response to Serray I once said to the effect of: “I am sure we have our own Oscar Schindlerr,whose stories will be told after the dust settles, you have to believe in that, it is just human nature”. You can find it you want verbatim. But am very clear in the latent heroes, un sung heroes, who are doing miracles to save the Eritrean girls from the rape and unfair treatment by the generals and they pay dearly for it. In your world there are not cowards and opportunists in Eritrea in the reality we have our share of those, but they are the victors, in reality Eritrea are is not devoid of heroes, but they are the under dogs and in the brink of extinction along with the population. I consider this defiance to regime and I have commented about it a few times. “Iterdanin neqfetaka” in this and you know what “iterdanin” mean, it does not mean I do not understand 😉
            Are you denying that everyone does not work for Isaias? Then we have a system.
            Correction: In the Eritrea that Isaias created and that you have cheered, that I have cheered, that we all cheered at one point the reality is that those intellectuals, writers and the personalities we mentioned in this thread they are either tools or waiting to defect. We deduce this by their actions in the last 12 years consistently, they wait, they look around and when they suspect they will come after them they defect, I have no other means to reach conclusions about their behaviour they can tell us whatever why want what they did inside and their defection regardless of its last minute nature I support it actually cheer it as I see it as the sing of the disintegration of the regime. I never consider myself struggling for Eritrea even part time, my actions are just internet fenterter

            Sal this debate was about those in the know, the powerful, the writers the ministers, those the Pencil in its golden years once called on to leave the system instead of sticking with it.

            Only a fool can lump every Eritrean as a tool, those who have access to IA are all willing tools, but let me say it again and you do not need to repeat after me, just read after me. The stories of the heroes who are doing miracles day in and day out will be told, their stories will be told for generations to come, but the stories of the few tools, those who mostly likely will form PFDJ 2.0 when the opportunity comes someone will cheer them but those who cheer them will be disappointed again. The debate was about these people not of a fictitious world in the fictitious mind of the fictitious name Semere Andom.
            But you need to say this line with me as I paraphrase an Israeli prime minster and say,
            “Those who do not believe that MIRACLE will not happen in Eritrea are fools, it happened before and it will happen again”

          • saay7

            Selamat iTegadalai Semere:

            Thanks for the well-wishes.

            The reason I associated you with the YG Bus is because YGists have an entitlement mentality: that Eritrea is a Sparta and it has a warrior class–Tegadelti–who have a special obligation to carry all the burden: bring about Eritrea’s independence, then bring about Eritrea’s human rights, democracy–at the risk of life, limb and liberty–because it is their duty. Meanwhile, the non-warrior class (the entitled class) demands more of them than it demands of itself.

            Judging from what you have written, I think you are still in that bus.

            Sem, friend, you know that part of the 10,000 political prisoners are my own family. But when I look at somebody like Alemseghed, I have zero animosity towards him. He has failed in bringing about a democratic country that respects human rights, but his share of that blame is no more than mine and yours. The law of averages says that he probably has immediate family members in prison, disappeared, killed, exiled, drowned in the Mediterranean. So your anger is misdirected.

            And because it is misdirected, you write things like “These big guns like Almesghed and the others we mentioned have means and wherewithal to defect, they just wait for the last minute to see if they make it to the inner circles of the regime…” You really have no evidence for this, Sem Arkey.

            In Saleh Gadi Johar’s book “Miriam Was Here”, there is a character names Harish, best friend of Zerom. Zerom, the father of Miriam, is exiled. Harish is the rock: the ex-Tegadalai who hates the regime but stays home, come hell or high water. Ask Saleh G why he had the character Harish in the book and why he is heroic and not some regime functionary:)

            Anyway, happy Canada Day. I am sure Canada Day is a light version of America Day: instead of hamburgers, you have sliders; and your hot dogs are mini-sized; and you are so polite there are no drunken brawls:)


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Sem,

            Lately, our brother Saay has come with one theory, and that is “issayassim”. His theory explains that there is no a “system” in Eritrea. There are no institutions in Eritrea. Issayas is the system and issayas is the institution. Frankly speaking, this theory needs a dissertation paper to challenge the conventional theory that defines “a system with its institutional structure”. My argument is, there could be one man designer who could build a system and an institution, but there is no such “one man system and one man institutions”. Because one man can not sit at all the institutional structure at the same time to run the state. Minimally, one has to put his delegates to run the various institutions under his instructions. Second, since institutions in them themselves are broad and have many branches within themselves, there is no way that the head of the state could run the state machine by himself without enablers.

            So haw Semere, in the new theory of our friend saay, Issayas is the only culprit, because he is the system and he is the man sitting at all the institutional offices. Saay is exempting the real men who occupies the office of his institutions and the messengers of his instructions. Unheard argument to redefine a system and institutions. So his defense to Alemseghed is centered from the premises he argued, that Issayassim is the system in Eritrea, he is the only culprit and those who instructed them are free from criminally and morally guilty.

            Sem, so far we can’t identify correctly the enemy of the Eritrean people and the culprit of the current predicament, which I believe, it is the PFDJ state machine. Until we recognize this fact our struggle will continue in disarray with no end to the current reality.

            Mehret Yewridelna,
            Amanuel Hidrat

        • Semere Andom

          Hi Yodita and Tegadalai Wedi Saleh:
          Thanks both for your comment;
          Mahmood, what you mention about the contribution of Almesheghed are correct, but the book Wedi Hadera is more than biased, specially how it depicted the ELF fighters in the prison. Also. hands down,it is his worst regarding intellectual honesty, the other facts about the Wedi Hadera,there is no reason to doubts their truth.
          Mahmood, anyone, right now who is paid, working, willingly,or forced or ordered or any combination of these is the supporter of the dictator and is giving the much needed life line for the dictator and contributing to the misery of the people and tarnishing his/her legacy. These big guns like Almesghed and the others we mentioned have means and wherewithal to defect, they just wait for the last minute to see if they make it to the inner circles of the regime and when it does not happen and the degradation continues unabated do they defect.
          Everything in Eritrea, the blowing wind, the singing birds,the gushing rivers, the rain droplets the blooming flowers, the high priest, the Mufti, the mountains, the shining sun, the moon, the hard working teacher and caretakers, the writers and gifted artists,who are in he payroll knowingly , unknowingly or crippled by fear or ordered by the heaves all serve to please the dictator.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selamat Sem, Yodita, Mahmud

            Sem – Well said. All those who are working in the government institutions are doing what they are doing by their own choice. Serving to the government at this time is serving to the despot. And those who are serving to the despot are also the culprit of the current predicament. Alemseghed had and still have other choice (option), but he didn’t prefer to take them. He doesn’t want to leave the government and defect to other country of his choice. However if Mahmud’s info is correct, that he didn’t want to write history after the federation era, I will consider that decision wise. Because he will be biased by all accounts for he was part of that cruel history. Let me give you an example: The EPLF organization has never acknowledged the the role of TPLF in our internal civil wars and the role of TPLF (as united front) in the battles against Derg inside Eritrea in order to keep alive the myth of “yekealo”…..Yekealo to everything and anything. So Alemseghed who knew very well about this issue will not have the freedom to write what he saw and how history evolved in those three decades of the armed struggle.

            Ypdita – Like many who where in the ghedli era (martyred or alive), there is no doubt that he had contributed to the Eritrean revolution. The question is, the era of the armed struggle and the era we are in is different. Different in the cause of the struggle (liberating the country VS building the nation). Alemseghed at this time like all of us had a choice to make – Choice for what to struggle and with whom to struggle. Alemseghed chose to be aligned with the despot giving the life-blood to the tyrant and giving deaf ear to the cry of our population in general and our youth in particular. History will asked him why he chose to stay with the despot.

            Mahmud – What Alemseghed contributed in his capacity in the armed struggle is the same like your contribution in your capacity to the armed struggle….no more no less than his comrade-in-arm in the revolution. The question is what is Alemseghed doing now while the country is losing its young, alienated from the international community, when its social fabric is torn down in to different pieces, when our people lost every kind of freedom and property…name it. If Alemseghed is asked to answer those problems, I am sure he will fail miserably. He is not contributing to alleviate the current situation. He is serving to the naked emperor of Eritrea not to the oppressed Eritrean people. He could have chosen Mahmud’s choice, to separate himself from the regime and defend our people like what you are doing. So don’t defend to the undefendable choice of Alemseghed.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • abrham

            Dear Aman

            I think your take on the EPLF-TPLF will not be comfortable to the likes of Mahmud Saleh.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Salamat Ahwat, Semere A, Amanuel Hidrat And Yodita;
            Semere And Amanuel;
            I agree with the main idea that in general people with opportunity to lead should do so, particularly artists, writers, musicians…have an important role in accelerating change. Ken Saro-Wiwa, the renowned Nigerian poet, under Ge. Sani Abacha of Nigeria, Victor Jara, Chilean musician and singer, under dictator Augustus Pinochet, Baalu Ghirma, a writer and journalists, under Dic. Mengstu are some of the courageous artists of recent memory who gave their lives for their cause. Others like Bob Marley, The Philippines “songs of revolution” or “Rise” and many others in the middle east (due to the readers’ demography in this forum, I am not going to waste your time) are some of the examples where arts met revolutions. In our case artists like Bereket and Alamin of the seventies (unlike today) rose to the occasion. Osman A. and Husien Mo.Ali severed their ties with the regime and now are doing their part in the opposition camp, Idris Mo.Ali where about is unknown. I wish Alemseged severed his ties completely with PFDJ and spearheaded the struggle against this uniquely cruel regime. That’s a personal wish and at the same time a call. Alemseged’ds works have always been about the country and the people, and therefore, their right place would have been among the oppressed mass, reflecting on their plight. However, it is important we differentiate between those who are causing havoc and wanton destruction of the nation and the people and those who are doing works that all of us benefit from. He is not on executive or policy maker or executor capacity. I believe what he’s doing is beneficial for generations to come.
            On personal note (and it will be my last on this); I know the man, he has no political ambitions; the only connection is for PFDJ to give him a space and utilities to do the research. Amanuel, you joined the revolution in 1974, so did Alemseged. Some of your peers did not join with you; they did not join the year after… or even not at all; people have a wake-up-call moments; some feel it or get it quickly, others on their own pace. Choices are personal requiring individualized response. Alemseged, I can assure you is not there thinking he will benefit personally from the statuesque; he’s not even paid for all the books and researches. If it was for personal gains and promotion, he would have left the EPLF soon after he had joined it; because it was hostile for people like him; like many dedicated doctors…engineers…and other professionals, he put his personal gains behind and dedicated his life for the cause of our country. With all his talents and towering personality, he lived as a private (tera) tegadalay. Now in his late life, it would be unlikely that he there to get what he did not get in his prime time. So, the man does not really care about political positions; he thinks what he is doing is crucial and must be done under any condition. The last time I met him here in the USA, he did not want to talk politics, he was also grieving the loss of his sixteen years old son. But I could read anguish deep in his penetrating eyes. I heard from others that his position was clear regarding the G-15; I am told he openly called for the respect of their rights of self-defense, that they should be given the opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law; by the way, he’s a lawyer by training.
            I also want to be clear on one point: I consider many of the people associated with PFDJ one way or another, unlike the few who are on decision making and instrumentation of injustice to be equally recepients and responsive to calls of change. SAAY said many times that we are rational being and our calculations may not be the same; we should respect that. The whole nation is under direct or indirect influence of PFDJ, the business man doing business there, the doctor doing his best to save lives, the engineer doing his/her best to utilize whatever opportunity avails him/her to improve the infrastructure of the country, the teacher working for minimum wage to produce learned persons under difficult situation…etc are directly or indirectly doing contractual business under the PFDJ. I don’t categorize them in the same basket with the folks who are payed for destroying the future of our country; the political cadre of PFDJ who are even interfering and running the functions of the government…ordering professional soldiers what to do… interfering with the works of doctors…teachers… Those are the ones we should target and alienate. If we put everyone who has some associative connection with PFDJ as supporters of the regime, then who are we left with? Anyway, this is just my opinion.
            Semere: On wedi-Hadara, as a product of arts works, we may have different tastes…reviews..etc. I read the book 30 years ago under different time and feel. I don’t know if I would have the same impression to day, but I would like to re-read it. I heard it was reprinted.
            Yodita: Thanks for the comment.

    • SA

      Are you serious? You have got to be kidding us? You make it sound as if the owners of Eritrea work for free. Let’s me quote Petros Solomon from his interview with Dan Connell:

      “If Papayo was not a coward, he would have talked about how much money he paid for this man (IA) to enjoy himself in a geisha in Japan or Taiwan or Hong Kong. ….the $ 50, 000 – 70, 000, he was spending on geishas….”

      While, according to you, the martyrs’ families were not being compensated, your man (IA) was was spending lots of money on geishas.


  • L.T

    I did not realy know anything about arts costums before I find in Michael’s performance art scene in Azmera Eritrea august 2004..there are people,fight,child,trnce on the war,patterns,reuse,lost comrade,your family and friends of friends-his material is mixed and some kind of duty and afton a more dispatch and they can be contacted and saved you in them.And then I swa him in hidden camera with program leadres Natsnet in 2009 on Tv Ere and he told her his favorite color is “Aranchioni(Aranchii).”Yellow”Maybe he miss them now!!

  • haileTG

    Selamat AT,

    A nice and easy going interview, excellent style! It has been several times now that I have followed Michael’s recent interviews. Something that keeps coming to my mind is the topic of “dignity” that we talk about here. Michael had the same skills and attributes before coming to the free world and after. However, here he is today, speaking, educating, debating and delivering ideas with dignity and the status his position warrants. He works from “commanding” and “accommodating” studios in Australia, he speaks his idea, he brings his talent unhindered and definitely shines at it. All these has has been unthinkable in his life under the yoke of dictatorship, he was nobody and only good to say what ignorant hgdef cadres told him to say or allow him to say, a prisoner of a backward group who has brought us to the edges of our demise as a nation. Imagine the other Eritrean artists in various fields, their dignity downtrodden to make way to an insatiable ego of a criminal megalomaniac, whose delusional attempt to hoard and control the whole country is fed by equally delusional supporters who measure nationalism or patriotism by individuals perks and benefits. I am so glad and proud to see Michael having recovered his dignity and the true status his position warrants (albeit and ironically in a land he never fought for to get those rights).


  • Mahmud Saleh

    Saleh Johar and Michael Adonay;
    Both thank you. I would like to ask him if he has also done some lirary works inside Eritrea or in his new home. He’s also a gifted writer, a novelist. I remember his first book winning the first prize of the first “wddr sne tsHuf” or the first round of litrary competition during his years in the liberation struggle; the entire novel was read on radio Dimtsi Hafash in 1983 (QeyaH Mesob”, I have never experienced the like of the buzz it created. I enjoed it too, and it remains one of the vivid memories still lurking in the back of my head. Ironically, the book is full of episodes of torture enactments on captured liberation fighters/ civilian collaborators…etc. I don’t know if it’s published. And now, the writer who captured tortures, injustices and atrocities committed by Ethiopian occupation forces finds himself afraid of the country he had spent his prime time to get it free from injustices. Moreover, it’s one of those sad debacles; when people with solid careers and connections, like artists, pilots, football players, doctors….leave a country, life for the ordinary people must be indescribable.

  • L.T

    It’s good that you bring up Michael Adonai here.He had a key role in Eritrean struggle against Ethiopia with his art talent.I know Michael for the first time in 1985 when I was new in Germany with his book”Keyih Mosebey-“my secret blood”or” you cute my head but not my idea” but his first work short novel “Abt tahti eta kewhi-“while I was in the mountains”(1983)and then he write in 1988″frdi gobo Arayee”-“judge us for what we do you Gobo Arayee”and after Eritrea will be free,he prescribad a long factual novel”Mosqueti my mnne”-“it happens a lot in my mnne”.I think it was 1996/97.What I mean ,he is not only a painter but..last thing I would add ,forget politics for today:-)

  • JX

    hmmm… why didn’t you ask what kind of relationship he had with your ugly brother – Ali abdu? and how he managed to escape from the dictator?