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Reshaping History: The Role Of Wild Cards

In his book, “Out of the Blue: How to Anticipate Big Future Surprises”, John Paterson defined wildcards as low probability and high impact events that would severely impact human conditions when they occur. Similarly, “The Black Swan Theory” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb also claimed that all consequential events in history come from unexpected igniter of social changes. Certainly, it always happens as anachronistic event, and people haven’t been consciously paying attention. Otherwise, there is always a sudden spark that sets off these forces that have been gathering below the surface of the objective reality to ignite the waves of changes. Once it starts, it is a quirk of fate, and it will not stop by any political high jinks.

Sometimes the wave of change could be catastrophic; other times it turns societies in a more positive way to emancipate human conscience. Interestingly enough, history is replete with many surprises. In 1914, a young Serb nationalist, Gavrilo Princip (wildcard) shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and triggered the clash of Alliances that become WWI, a wave of catastrophic change.  In 1955, Rosa Park refused to give up her seat to a white man and set in motion a chain of events that ended racial segregation in the United States of America. In January 2011, Mohamed Bouaziz set himself on fire and became the catalyst for the Tunisian revolution, that sparked protest in several Arab countries, and eventually brought dictators to their knees. So, there are many wildcard events in human history that change the path of history one way or another for good or bad.

The underlying pressures that can foment major changes in societies are typically built up long before an unpredictable event provides the trigger, according to Professor Michael Oppenheimer of New York University’s Center for Global affairs. Of course, the unpredictable event cannot trigger social movement unless the objective reality is matured. “Social change” encompasses concept that comprises of revolution and paradigm shift to change social relations of a society and its social institutions. For instance, the Hegelian dialectic change is based on the interaction of opposing forces– which means, from the starting point of stasis, thesis countered by antithesis, yielding conflict but subsequently results to a new synthesis.

In any case, this writer and many others were expecting a big social movement within the Eritrean people triggered by (a) the tragedy of the 400 Eritreans who sank in the Mediterranean Sea (b) the Eritrean refugee’s tragedy in the Sinai desert who perished after their organs were brutally extracted to supply the lucrative business of human organs trafficking. On the other side of the equation, I was also convinced that the underlying pressure (the internal oppression by the regime and the outrage of the Eritrean Diaspora) has reached its climax to foment major changes. Albeit, the Eritrean people, especially in the Diaspora, are still insensitive to the suffering of our refugees, that is recounted by many, including the international media and non-governmental organizations (NGO).

The opposition camp on the other side, let alone to bring change to our people inside Eritrea, it couldn’t even have a little leverage to mitigate the reality of the refugees who are struggling between life and death in the hands of human traffickers. So far the International Commission for Eritrean Refugees (ICER) has done a commendable job in identifying the network and the names of those who are engaged in this despicable barbaric act. This organization deserves all kinds of help in its fight to stop and nip at the bud the crimes of human traffickers operating at the border areas between Sudan and Eritrea.

EDA Is Not Greased For Overhaul And Change

Sometimes it is funny. Though we hear EDA advocate for change, it always has the instinct to resist it. It talks about the need for change, but yet it clings to its familiar politics, to protect its comfort zone. Even after decades of stagnation, EDA’s power to the people is all smoke and mirrors. Understandably, what we got so far is a game of political dodge ball, in which power turns into demons that corrupt its collective spirit. New ideas and visions are shot down in an effort to protect the status quo of its leadership. The political spin which started just after the congress concluded four months ago, has clogged ENCDC from moving forward. Even the most learned and lettered individuals who participated in the congress have become bewildered. Honestly, at times fueling the devil’s feud is critical in shaking the foundation to ignite the spark for the forces that have been below the surface, to bring the needed change. In short, change becomes tough slog within EDA circles to show its redemptive behavior. Here, stupidity makes easy bedfellow for it, as always, with a persistent resisting behavior for change.

In his book, “The Big Sort”,  Bill Bishop complained how like mindedness is tearing America apart, culturally and politically. He magnificently explained the polarization of the American society when he aptly put it as follows: “We have built a country where we can all choose the neighborhood and news show most compatible with our lifestyle and beliefs. And we are living with the consequences with this way of life and people don’t know and understand those who live just a few miles away form them.” The reason I brought this story is because it has a parallel interface with the story to our reality. EDA has built the balkanization of Eritrean politics based on ethnic identities that do not understand each other and never tried to listen to each other’s grievances. Frankly, we are feeling the consequences; they are tearing the Eritrean society apart, culturally and politically.

The whole purpose of the Hawassa congress was to create a new reality in the opposition camp and to define a new unified political structure that is compatible to the new realities which eventually transforms the organizations that constitute the EDA umbrella. In fact there were some political organizations that promised in the congress and stated the need for the transformation of the EDA, and that if EDA members are not ready for transformation, that they are ready to go their own separate way. Ironically, we recently found out that in the EDA meeting (convened between March 31 and April 10, 2012), those organizations that manipulated the Hawassa congress under the slogan of “transformation of the EDA” were in fact the advocators for the parallel existence of EDA and ENCDC. In hindsight we found out that they were simply posturing to garner votes of confidence that translates to actual vote count at the congress. Now they are sitting on the driving seat of the executive committee of the ENCDC waggling right and left, with their treasure trove of betrayals. Tactics and processes, while important factors, do not address the socio-political issues that many organizations now face in the Eritrean landscape. Leaders should identify the social bond among the diverse groups if they are going to find the edge they need for sustainable acceptance by the entire society.

Recovering, nurturing, and expressing the common sense of a political wonder, seems to me, is not a political enactment that unifies “promise with betrayal” and “integrity with dishonesty”, but rather separating them as opposite values that do not co-exist in one entity at the same time. When betrayal and dishonesty interfere with politics or governance, the set a sequence of conflicts not limited in time and space, but undeterred, extending beyond history and unlikely to end. What we have been witnessing in the Eritrean politics for decades is something that is always outside the circuit of a civilization ambit. For sure it becomes a growing pain in our social upheaval. EDA’s promise of fake moon landing in our politics is a bygone reality. It has to retire its trench coat and be recreated in the new reality, clearing the way to the young generation before it is thrown into a dismissed basket case of our history. Not easy decision, but that is the only way out with no much wiggling room to the sunset of obscurity and convivial atmosphere that flies in the face of common sense. I am not flipping the ball to be the favorite punch bag for everyone. I am doing it to re-ignite the spark that failed to strike EDA, to induce rude awakening, kowtowed for the demand of an inerrant description of path. In a nutshell, it is known that EDA is better at making family feud than making unity and providing effective leadership.

Odd Symbiotic Relations

In politics, symbiotic relation is the living together of unlike political organizations. As we know, nothing in the universe exists alone, every human being in a web of life, all ideas and knowledge, are part of an immense evolving dynamics. In such interconnected and inter dependent co-existence, the pattern of symbiotic life is inherently predictable in a way on how they support each other. But strange enough, the symbiotic relations of EDA and ENCDC became clearly odd at best and irrelevant at worst, living more like solitaire, where the relevant existence of ENCDC is missing and the gratification of EDA is more purely mental – lacking all sense of accomplishment that accompanies solving problem. Currently, EDA is moving itself to the center of power by chastising civic organization and the public further out to the periphery of EDA circle. Now members of ENCDC who are from the public are less sure about what their role is and is not, what they could hope to do and what they could be allowed to do.

Consider the following facts to come to a logical, but heretical conclusion to cudgel one’s brain:

(a)   EDA’s Reveal Bits:-EDA leaders attempted its shroud diplomatic posture to expose its contempt to the collective leadership of ENCDC. These duly elected leaders in the congress, who are members of ENCDC, have done diplomatic shuttle on behalf of their organizations as reported by [Gedab News], essentially to make ENCDC a hostage of irrelevance.

(b)   EDA’s Game of Thrones: The trust investments from the Hawassa congress to create a formidable resistance force are being shortchanged as EDA leaders continue to drink the power squabble Kool Aid in their last meeting. That is not the whole story, but it is the guts and an evil scheme against ENCDC by EDA (EDA’s third official meeting).

(c)    EDA Refused Transformation: The long awaited transformation of EDA has dashed the hopes of those who pertinently doubt and deny the dogma existence. As I see it, these are all indications of blatancy error or the culprit’s knowledge and standing with no canonical warning.

(d)   EDA’s Business as Usual: EDA reconfirm business as usual by making the widely accepted ENCDC inert, a state of doing little or nothing. Currently ENCDC does not have power of action as long as the Executive body is in the hand of EDA. Case in point, ENCDC didn’t move an inch since the congress is concluded November 30, 2011.

(e)   EDA Attacked Coalition of Willing:  EDA, indirectly kicked out the civic organizations to the periphery and attacked the coalition of willing that was formed at the congress. ENCDC is the coalition of the willing that was formed by EDA, civic society, non-EDA political organization, and individual citizens, at the congress of Hawassa. EDA striked out the membership of EGS by creating its own rule which is contrary to the spirit and guidelines of the congress. It is irony to eject one of its coalition members while it is supposed to bring others to the loop of broader alliances. Look to the reaction against the chairman of ENCDC in this (video).

Right now ENCDC must fight to restore its legitimacy and the trust of the public within the opposition camp. The inchoate offense of the chairman to civic organizations must be deterred swiftly to rescue the body politics of the opposition camp, which is seen by the public as conspiracy on the making. In the eye of the public EGS became “undeserving victim” of EDA intrigues. The consequences are real and the leadership must address promptly, though the leadership is completely irresponsive as  Saleh Gadi once remarked in one of his article.

About Amanuel Hidrat

Amanuel Hidrat, is a political activist and a passionate writer in the current struggle against the Eritrean regime. His extensive writings are focused on constitution and constitutionalism, constitutional process, nature of governments, and grievances of the social groups. His articles can be found “Tebeges”, a rich column at awae.com that archives over 150 articles. He has been writing at Ntsebraq in Tigrinya since 1998, and in English awate.com since 2000. Through his writings, , he promotes "multicultural liberalism" and "multicultural constitutionalism" that provides a fair share to social groups in the decision making process of governance. Amanuel believes it’s not individuals, but ”our social groups”, that should be the building blocks of the Eritrean nation state. Amanuel studied “Industrial chemistry" at the Poly-technical Institute in Ethiopia, and "Clinical Pharmacy" at St John's University in the US.

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  • wed garza

    Hi; Hidrat
    I think you’re hammering harshly the gab that is widening between the EDA and ENCDC. You need not to demonize one instead help them to come together nearer. As you’re intellectual it would be better if you concentrate on the bigger picture and prioritize issues accordingly.
    We should not exert excess presure to avoid counter-productive results.
    Because the bridges are not yet stable to build the tower. Time is essential and we all need it. More than 30 years of divided society on purpose by the regime is not easy to bypass.I think that is what the fundamental difference between EDA and ENCDC lies.
    Quick fix is not productive after years of isolated mindset. let us approach gradually to the common end with patience.
    The best is to communicate with them about their concerns, worries instead blaming them to accept things faster as they appear. We have many mines on the ground, prudence and deep understanding should be our yard-stick.
    these organisations kept intact years and will not liquidate in a blixt speed. Time for both and engaged work is still a condition for solving the debacle.
    thank you


    Dear Amanuel
    thank you for taking time and answering my inquire , I would like to inform you I was the coordinator of the Australian delegate to the conference , I also represented Australia in the election committee , which had the responsibility to allocate seats in away that reflects the make up of our society and to over see the election , the EDA represented by Haj Abdulnur & Adam Ismail argued that the political parties request 60% of the seats , however there was disapproval and rejection from non political parties,it took long hours of negotiations before we reached to point the EDA delegates came down to 55%, and that took also time to bring the number close enough , I put the proposal of 52/48 believing it gives the political parties small working majority , while it gives the rest to become partners and to participate, contribute,and energize,the opposition which seemed tired and lost and lacked direction ,the delegates at the end agreed to my proposal, the chairman which chaired the meeting Istuz Mahmoud Adam from Europe and Hamid Adala from the Middle East made calculation using computer to divide the 127 seats , and the result was 66 seats to political parties and 61 to regions ,the 66 seats was divided by the political parties in their meeting.the 61 seats was distributed according to the no. of the delegates represented in the conference.the calculation allocated 12 seats to N.America 15 seats to Europe, 4 seats M.East ,12seats Sudan ,11 seats Ethiopia , 2 seats S.Africa ,5 seats Australia & New Zealand , the N. American delegates Tareqie Paulos & Dr. Said Ibrahim , argued strongly that they need more seats because there is a lot of work has to be done to bring the the regimes supporters in the US. and it is the center of political influence they said ,however the chairman also took into consideration the issue of fairness and balance , and asked the Sudan delegate Hamid Dalashay , which willingly rendered two seats and Ethiopian delegates young Yuwdit and Mahamed Ma’ar also rendered one of their seats, hats off for the three delegates with out doubt I was impressed by their act of generosity,to same extent it was able to satisfy the N.American delegate, and sis. Mehret Dawit from women and young Ghbre Haile from youth group requested that certain seats should be allocated to them and on these bases 20% for women 20% for youth and later on Mah. Ali hajji requested seats for veteran fighters Sudan and Ethiopia agreed to allocate 10% from their seats , in no time that I remember the issue of allocation for civil society was discussed nor can I find it in my notes that I recorded in that meeting my dear Amanuel , the EGS after receiving one seat should have negotiated for one more , if it was not possible it should have gone in to election and win in its own right if it is a popular organization and its leaders has many supporters you assume to win easily ,however going out of election in rage in my opinion is not a good look ,what is then the difference between those who went to London and Sweden from EDA and the leaders of EGS , they both lost the instinct of sacrifice, and the good tigrinia proverb that says [mienti mogogo tihlef anchewa ] it is tme of great struggle and sacrifice and not time to expect in return, or an attitude of what is in it for me .

    • Dear Alhagiga,

      You comment is full of common sense. You Said ” the EGS after receiving one seat should have negotiated for one more , if it was not possible it should have gone in to election and win in its own right” That is what I am saying. They could not get more but the one seat which was appropriated (allocated like the one for the European) should have it. They are robbed in day light. injustice for one is injustice for all. They have failed their protest for the second but the first should not loose it. This is my argument. But sad as it may be and it is always the nature of Eritrean and always I hate it they interject their personal hate to the national issue to create confusion. Trust me they are many who like this kind of circus. I salute you for your honesty. If there would have been honesty in the leadership it would have been so far resolved. Look our reality instead of going to our peoples issue who will be out and who will be in.

  • Saleh Gadi

    Hi Amanuel,

    Of course I have issues with any entity that makes a lot of noise when it is a hallow vessel–and thank you for suggesting, I will write about it in detail so that the readers who do not know the whole issue are not hoodwinked. So we will meet there. But until then, here is my last comment on this issue:

    You wrote: “…Other than that it is all personal, and I don’t want to go to that cheap shot.”
    I do not know what a cheap shot is in debating an issue that you consider important–I don’t think your article is a cheap shot when you criticized your colleagues at ENCDC of which you are part.

    But a few lines before that you said “Who else have done more than Hailemariam and Teklai”. Though I think that is very personal and you should have avoided mentioning persons when what I raised was issues. But nevertheless, I am not the type who would deny the efforts of anyone who toiled to make anything a success–for that behavior, look no further than those you are defending. Indeed, the two individuals worked hard twice: one for the congress and another, well….for the congress. My problem is that I don’t think those who worked hard for the congress were expecting rewards in the form of retroactive membership to the council… and nobody is obliged to reward them with any position. A struggle driven by conscience is rewarded by the conscience, public appreciation is secondary and even if it doesn’t come, it doesn’t dilute the satisfaction one gets from a conscience free from the feeling of guilt.

    And I do not think our friends who call themselves EGS are exempt from any criticism, I know that you are open to criticism of your personal performance and that of others…so don’t discourage me by calling my few lines comment as “cheap shot”. How would I engage you and others if that is the case. Please take my comments for what they are, don’t assume anything. If there is anything, I will write for all to see. As you know Amanuel, if we conduct our debates based on assumed understanding, it will not be productive. Thank you in advance.

  • Saleh Gadi

    Hi Ammanuel,
    While I understand your frustration with the ENCDC turtle speed, and your general take, I have an issue with the way you are presenting EGS. As a council member, I think you are part of any criticism that you direct at the ENCDC–as far as the public is concerned, there is not he (meaning Ammanuel) and they (the rest of the council. You are all ENCDC.

    I think you would do your readers a service if you describe what the EGS is? In my view all the explanation that you and a few others are giving regarding the EGS are not accurate. Please explain to the reader if EGS monopolizes representation of North America as far as “civi associations” are concerned. It is also important to inform your readers the EGS positions (or positions) prior to the conference, inside the conference, after the conference for that would help in reaching an objective understanding. It is also important to explain whether all “assumed” members of EGS blessed the idea of their observer rep being part of an elected political body. Once that is cleared, we might go into dissecting what the whole EGS argument is all about.

    • Saleh,

      Let me make two important things clear (a) I absolutely understand as part of the council and if they fail I am part of the failed leadership so is the responsibilty for the failure. But also it is my responsibility to highlight why we are failed (b) What I know about EGS during the commission was, that they were in the forefront in organizing our people in USA going from city to city to make the congress successful. Who else have done more than Hailemariam and Teklai. If you want to deny that it is up to you. If you have issue about EGS yourself, and if you want to bring it, do it. Other than that it is all personal, and I don’t want to go to that cheep shot. I am not going to bring my personal difference to interject to the big national issue. It is not my nature. My struggle is to bring every possible entity to the loop of national umbrella.


    Dear Amanuel
    Your articles are always about common sense ,tolerance and respecting the point of views of others, your contribution is always appreciated. What I would like you to explain to me my dear Amanuel ,who a located seats for EGS , as there was nothing was a located for civic society , out of the 61 seats ,as far as I know 20% for women,20% for youth and 10% for veteran fighters out of the share of Sudan and Ethiopia ,for your information there were civic societies which participated from other countries ,Australia were I am from we didn’t a locate any seat for them they participated on the remaining 60% of the seats ,Australia & New Zealand our allocation was 5 seats but one was taken from us after Malaysia’s delegate complained , we remained with only 4 seats for the two countries , here where I live our support for the ENCDC is not negotiable , we have formed local committees made up of our diverse society , at the end it is up to us to defend our rights, Hawassa was step forward, as they say in china a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step , I am optimistic today than in any time , we need to look at the large picture and the active involvement of the young gives me more hope , change is gonna come, sung [ Sam Cooke ] during the civil rights struggle for justice and equality [ ZEY HALIF YELEN ] keep the hope alive .

    • Dear Alhagiga,

      I don’t know whether Australia had an established civic organization, what I do know in absolute term is, Eritrean Global Solidarity (EGS) in USA and Network of Eritrean civic societies in Europe (NECS-Europe). These two civic organizations were represented in the process all the way, from the preparatory committee for the national conference (wa’ala) to the preparatory commission for the congress of hawassa. They were represented in every part of the process.

      The “allocating committee or election committee” in collaboration with the “secretariat of the congress” designed the proportions of the seats in a way every political organizations and non-political organizations should be represented fairly. First allocation of the seats was the 52% and 48% ratio of the political organizations to the non-political organizations on the total 127 seats of the council, which will be 66:61 ratio. The second allocation was the distribution of the 66 seats to the political organizations and the 61 seats to seven geographical zonal division(North America, Europe, Sudan,South Africa, Australia,Ethiopia, Middle East). Here, now the election committee gave an instruction that each zonal division must allocate their zonal seats as follows: 20% to youth, 20% to women, 10/% civic, 10% to veteran, and the rest 40% seats to the general public who represent from to towns and cities of the region they came from and to the individuals (muhurat) who were invited to the congress.

      The civic society seat for North America (for EGS) was one seat according the 10% rule. It could not and should not be taken by any body as a rule. The seat should be reserved for them or should be taken back to the legitimate body – the election committee. The NECS-Europe had taken its seat without protest, while EGS was protesting for more seat. unfortunately the North America zone took the seat of EGS and voted on it.

      After the illegal ruling by the North American delegates which I voiced against it, there was an attempt to resolve the issue of EGS seats. The rest of the story you heard it from the public’s exchange in the websites and the video I linked in my article. Watch the way the chairman was answering; how disrespectful he was and above all he does not even has a grip of the issue.

  • Said Selam

    አማን ብኣማን ሓቂ መስመር ሒዝና :
    ማ ዕረ ቲ ስቓይና ዓሪጉ ሓጎስና :
    ኑ ሕ ቀዲዱ በሪሁ ጉዳይና :
    ኤ ረትራዊ ሕቶ ቲ ነዊሕ ጉዕዞና:
    ል ዕሊ ኩሉ ነይሩ ሓያል መስዋአትና ::
    ሓደ ልቢ ካብ ምባል ሕዝብ ንምትላል:
    ዳ ዕሮ መሪፅካ ድአ ብሓባር ምጽላል:
    ራህዋ ፅባሕ ሓቢርካ ምስልሳል:
    ትርጉም ናጽነት ንኽልኡ ምዕንጋል::

  • shoan

    your article should be made a required reading for the guy who wrote “the ethiopian roar and the weary eyes of eritrean mothers.” and ethiopian/eritrean intellectuals who are dead sure of their brilliant ideas.

    i was struck by his spirited argument that he could think of all possible scenarios and logically answer them with mathematical precision. if f (x, y, z) then this, if not then ……..or let us say i’m wrong then …..etc. logical fallacy.

    this is the problem with both the leadership in eritrea and ethiopia. they are over impressed with their own achievement/intellegence, they had taught out any possible scenerios etc.

    even if i’m not a reader of history/political science it is true events that change the world are not the expected, obvious ones. it’s is rather the unthought of, unexpected and counter intuitive that take on the world. This is more true in the world of technology and science too. random events, statistical fluctuations, non-localness of reality/the quantum fluctuation of being and nothingness etc…

    this makes people to become intolerant, uncompromising..etc because they are so sure of their own interpretation of reality/read as: ignorance./

    take the case of Balti weqatto, she is in jail, why ? because she chose to be free spirit and wander off the party line not by much just a little bit..

    the guy who goes by the name Serray, who strike me as not unmature person accused her of not being eritrean, agent of woyanie. Even if at a fundamental level they have the same position: democracy for eritrea, isayas must go etc. she staryed by mentioning ethiopia/eritreans in ethiopia, tigreans in somewhat positive way, so if she was a journalist and Serray was the president of eritrea we have a “traitor” and in jail.

    i can’t predict the future, let me just say i’m not optimistic. When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth as Sherlock Holmes say.

    sorry i wrote more than i intend to.

    • Shoa,

      Politics does not go by empirical mathematical calculations. All such attempts are just an academic exercise that does not contribute a solution to the problem at hand. The positive outcome of politics comes only from compromise and horse trading all based on mutual interest. All the rest are just bluffing as a seed planted in rock that does not have the chance to germinate.

      I am sure the anger (if there is) between the two people will soon be subsided and indeed the brotherhood and mutual respect among us will take root to challenge poverty and backwardness hand in hand in this global community.

  • seyoum Tesfaye

    Dear Amanuel,
    In one article you have managed to do three exemplary things:
    1. You have become an honest witness about the Awassa process and the usurpation of the EGS legitimate seat,
    2. Insightfully frame (if there are genuine listeners) the lurking strategic conflict between EDA and the newly formed National Council and
    3. Last but not least, you have shown us how a creative mind thinks out of the box by integrating new ideas and perspectives into a living breathing dynamic politics where the past has become a burden than a reference point as to what not to do in the future.
    If the Awassa endeavor was to create a genuine popularly elected National Council that will represent the voice of the political, civic and citizen activists why maintain parallel power centers that contend for the attention of the people? If the undeclared intention of the Awassa was to rubber stamp EDA as the de facto vanguard of the National Council then the whole conference was a massive deception.
    The National Council as the living umbrella must find ways to expand its inclusiveness by reaching out to all other political, civic and citizen activists that did not attend the Awassa conference for whatever reason by undertaking an ongoing dialogue and mitigating all negative reservations in the process. It is not an easy task given the fact that Eritrean politics is more focused in proving oneself right than doing the right thing and in spite of the historical disputes and the entrenched tendency to wage a revisionist political war even when the actual narrative of an 80 years old epic struggle with all its gallantry and treachery has not been documented by authentic (objective) historians – not politicians.
    Awassa was about a vision focused on the future and not about organizational maneuvering to maintain a perceived dominancy (vanguard) of a segment of the political organizations. As the saying goes- The more things change the more they stay the same. Without losing my perennial positive disposition I have to confess when the chairman of the National Council’s first major decision is to freeze a civic organization’s (EGS) participation in the Council the chances of finding ways to expand the Awassa umbrella by accommodating the other actors that are outside of the national Council seems an impossible task. This will only please those who want to dominate the Council at all cost irrespective of the long range impact to the democratic transition.
    The hope is as long as there are free thinkers like Amanuel the cause is not lost. Between those who put their dedication to the central order of the organization over the right thing to do in other word known as individual conscience the latter make all the difference for they are rare gift to the nation. Amanuel stay as a rare gift. Leave alone when I agree with you even when I diametrically disagree with you it is an honor and a privilege to be in the democratic camp with you. Speak the truth as you perceive it.

    • Seyoum,

      Our respect is mutual and will endure life long. We are there together to correct the Eritrean politics and I am sure we will prevail pulling the Eritrean people to the center where the each of us accept each other and accommodating to every one’s grievances.

      • WegaHta

        The above exchange between Seyoum Tesfaye and Amanuel Hidrat (among the top-notch Eritrean intellectuals who care) is a winner threshold and sends the message that, among their other activities, through their precious pens, they will light the road to freedom, justice, truth, dignity and yes democratic practices as opposed to the totalitarian and authoritative system eating away what is the vital and nourishing fabric of the Eritrean society.
        Unfortunately, in situations like our country, it is the cunning and crafty tyrants like Isayas that know all the tricks imaginable to get hold of power and manage to maintain it by feeding on the human weaknesses that surrounds them. The honest and enlightened as are both Tesfaye and Amanuel, may easily make it in very highly evolved societies (Nordic countries?) because there, the societies have reached appreciable levels of education and wellbeing that permits them to focus on value and genuine practice of democracy. In ours, a gem and a true democrat like Lady Arwe, will be ‘insulted’ by a fellow intellectual as a non-Eritrean because she expresses an untarnished honesty, among her other very high qualities!
        Our own society, although culturally endowed with very high values, has been trodden (my view is that the last 40 years may have been the worst as goes forcibly and systematically changing the people to unseeing and unhearing passive subjects who live in denial), and as such, even in the Diaspora, we witness the success of PFDJ organizing people to publicly support the indefensible government at home with placards ‘Eritrean Government must be respected’.
        To mention but a few, b’Alti W’qatto Arwe, Amanuel Hidrat and Seyoum Tesfaye, are our beacons of light and if not protagonists themselves, will be our guardian angels against whoever tries to deviously highjack people’s aspirations and rights.
        A big hank you guys for being who you are! It would be darker without your contributions.

  • Gobian Garibaldi

    selam Hameed and all,

    Hameed, we all spend time here to exchange and share information that is relevant to what we are discussing. People write books and others quote them to make a point when they present their views to the public. That is using history to justify a story and tell us about today from information gained about yesteraday. Everything is connected and the ideas of the past of people, dead or alive, are the bases of the ideas of today. If one shares information of general nature gotten from blooks or from simple stories of similar nature narrated in a chat or chatter cyber forum regarding any person or entity, event or issue, the function is the same, namely, to inform or to make a point. The reader has the choice of reading or ingnoring what is presented as also does the writer when he is a reader of what is written by others like you.

    Your speak of generating ideas and all sorts of ideas have been generated about what was and is being generated by by the people of yesterday and today, dead or alive. From what I have been reading here, I came to know that many people have done what I am doing, narrating stories of yesterday to support their stories of today while my doing so to have particularly irked you. And I say, do unto others as you would like others do unto you. Don’t act like a thought-police in a discussion and a chat and a chatter forum like this which is supposedly public.

    What is good for the gander is good for the goose, my friends. Constable Hameed, take it easy, and deal with the messages instead of the messengers who bring you one or another sort of message. It is upto the receiver of the message to deal with the message they receive as they sees fit for themselves only and live and let live others to do the same. In order to deal with the problems that people are attempting to handle, they need to know what went on in the past, what is going on in the present, and what they want to go on in the future. Take the past and the people of the past out of the picture and you have a today without legs, an amputated day. We inherited the problems that we are trying to solve from the past and it is very essential for people to know and understand who were the actors and/or entities, the events, and the issues of the past that have brought us to this cripled day. Cure is what peole should be looking for and they should have as much information as possible about what ails them before they can decide how to treat their illnesses.

    As far as I am concerned, I don’t have the pleasure of wasting my time as any Hameed may think. If I spend time here and there chating about or opining something, it is to converse with folks of the cybe-house I visit and others who are here and there, hoping that our conversations will help us takle the problems that bedevil us as a society betrayed by the past and held hostage by those who created the problems of today in the past. Today is full of the same ugly past. If today is what it is because the past was what it was, then tomorrow will be the outcome of both, an ungly future. Those who donnot know what went on in their ugly past are condemned to repeat it. May God give us peace and bread and help us end war and dread! Amen!

    Cheers and Peace!

    • Hameed

      Dear Gobian Garibaldi,

      I think we don’t discuss history, but we take it as it is without addition or deduction. As I realized in the Eritrean forums and paltalk rooms, they discuss history with the intention of making changes in it according to their tastes. We learn history to take lessons from and take precautions from repeating the same mistakes again and again.

      Forging of history has become a widespread commodity in Eritrea. Many participate in that business for they suffer from identity crisis.

      I am not against history or narration of old events, but when we hear about an event we have to listen and if we didn’t understand a part of it we can ask for clarity, but to deny it as if that event didn’t happen at the time some of us may not born when that event took place.

      I wonder why you are very sensitive towards my comments. You are free to chat or discuss whatever topic you like with any Eritrean wherever you meet. If this is your rights and the right of any Eritrean, therefore am I not free to agree or disagree with what is written? Why you want me just to agree with all what is written? Your attitude is against the spirit of democracy. I think you are reared in the bosoms of the mafia in Asmara, therefore any person who didn’t comply to your taste is against you. It seems you need to walk a long way to be a real democratic person.

      Forging of history has become a widespread commodity in Eritrea. Many participate in that business for they suffer from identity crisis or the feeling of guilty from participating in crimes against Eritrea and Eritreans.

      Forging of history has become a widespread commodity in Eritrea. Many participate in that business for they suffer from identity crisis or the feeling of guilty from participating in crimes against Eritrea and Eritreans.

      • Gobian Garibaldi

        selam Hameed and all,

        Hameed, many of your writings, such as some of what you wrote above, can only misinform the casual reader and discourage the writer if they don’t understand the busisness of thought-policing and useless political agitation and shake it off. I will take it as given that you wrote your reply after properly reading what I have written here and beside my other writings. And you say, ” I think you are reared in the bosoms of the mafia in Asmara, therefore any person who didn’t comply to your taste is against you.” You can say anything you want about my writings but be honoset and don’t characterize people with lies. I have never been part of Shaebia and your Weyane friends and my writings in this forum attests to that and more and are here for all to see. It seems you just shoot blindly or lie deliberately in some of your rejoinders. Take it easy and you have the choice of not reading writers who make you fed up and cause you to release undesirable steam.

        Cheers and Peace!

  • Gobian Garibaldi

    selam Hameed and all,

    Hameed nebsi, get ready for more narrations:-). Well, Hameed and all, history begins with the story of God dealing with man, his wife, and the devil. Man and his wife disobeyed the commands of God and obeyed the lies of the devil, sinning against him who created them, and opting to livein the dark kingdom of ingnorance, lies, and murder of man by man according to the ways and nature of the devil, a thieve, a liar, and a murderer. And so man lives to make something out of his temporal life in the ways of the this world of Earthlings whose lord is the serpent of old, Lucifer. And so, man’s story of yestercenturies, yesteryears, yestermonths, and yesterdays his history. If you don’t know the stories of the histories you inherit you become today without history, talk in vaccum. Every Adam and Eve is born, lives his own span of life, and finally dies completing his segment of life along the highway of time, his story or the strory of his life. One’s life is his particular story and his life in the company others governed by the the condtions of environment and challenges of time. The national story is but a big picture of the local story and the local story is but a big picture of the personal story. If the big picture fails to function, then one shoudl strive to help heal it. If that doesn’t work, one still has the freedom to live his own life and continue his story of time, his life, till death do us apart.

    Our people need to know that their problem lies in that they gave everthing they have to make indpendent Eritrea a reality. Eritreans’ Armed Struggle for Independence ended in a de facto and a de jure victory, the internationally recognized dawn of an independent Eritrean state. The story of Awate ends well here and the ELA and the EPLA retire as the EDF comes into being. This is the territorial side of things Eritrean.

    The social side of the old Eritrean family was overtaken by the revolution and it would have been well if it was like the 70s when our people gave us all their trust and we did our best to uphold the ideas around which all Eritreans rallied but were wrecked by internecine fueding and and bloody strife. The people intervened stopped the blood shed in the 1970s and this crystalized the seeds and weeds of Eritrean territorial nationalism in 1977 when over 90 per cent of he Eritrean land was liberated and the ELF and EPLF acted like little governments there. In 1978, the Derg. came with the Cubans, Soviets, South Yemenis, and perhaps Dadafi and fought both fronts out of most Urban Eritrea and many of the rural. The ELF entual came to Barka in full force without leadership while with drawing not from the Derg and his friends but from the EPLF and TPLF united and coordinated onslaught that saw Jebha Abay disintegrate into the small organizations that are still there doing the same thing, just a stories of the past that should have been history by now and new stories made to be told as the history of today. For yours truly, the story of organized Eritrean politics really stops here besdides what was in this new century till I retired from formal political activism but chat and opine here and there, most here lately:-).

    The story of Isaias Shaebia and Meles’s Weyane went with its ups and downs and ended with a bust and the two allies where like no other as if there where no others of the same or different kind that belong to the to lands under their de facto control. Then the two bald men went to war over a comb that once was in Jebha’s hand, the notorious Badme and its likes. The people have not gone home yet by the time the the big houses of Weyane and Shaebia turned against each other and went for each other’s neck and they people did what was very amazing to me, yes, they went for each others neck in Weyane’s and Shaebias Diaspora and the little Jebhas came to the picture and joined the squable on the side of Weyane, an old enemy now a friend. The Eritrean who was not part of the many organizations that sprung from Jebha Abay, the great ELF, has now come into the sociopolitical and politico-military discourses of the day that he had no means to do in the old days, the last century. Technology has made the poor man a world man if he knows how to deal with his own world and that of technology and his kind. For me, what is bothering people now has been there since 1982 when I left Jebha after it disintegrated into little organizations that were more hostile than friendly to each other. Nothing new and the old tune still sounds the same acopanied by the same walk and talk.
    Now, the problem of the Eritrean people is a problem of not going back home, to that they left behind before they joined the Eritean revolution and gave everything they have to their children who were fighting the enemy in the Eritrean battlefileds of the last century. The Story of Jebha Abay and Eritreans who where in its embrace ended in the early 1980s. The Weyane and Shaebia story ended in 1998 when they formally went to war against each other. The story of the EPLF ended in 2001 with the jailing of independent journalist and the Shaebia high officials who rebelled against their former boss. Isaias made Shaebia in his own image and likeness, a liar and a murder like a wife of a devil. No constitution, no election, no mult-party, except the jails of Wi’a and IraEro-Ero to go to and rote or die.

    The real people who are affected directly by the Eritrean trago-comedy are those who live in Eritrea and where expecting to live a normal dignigied life and have their own constitutional and institutional government but were betrayed by their Shaebia and her master Isaias. The story ends here and the condition that we are in is best summarized by Hameed’s characterization of those who were and still are in the field of Eritrean socio-political and politico-military dynamics with the new socio-political civic organizations joining the struggles and getting jolted by the land-mines of old. The Eritrean journey has many colors and hopeful hills to climb to the mountain top, their own government that can be elected into or out of office with one-man-one vote under a constitution that governs the institutions of the state of the people of Eritrea and not of politicians and their organizations.

    Man cannot create a new him without changing his old self. The vast majority of the Eritrean old self is a follower or a nowhere and the new self should strive to be a follower and a leader. This new person should know and then understand what was and what is in order to lead or be lead into the future that is the daughter of today and grand daughter of yesterday. If mother and grand mother are real then the daughter will be born real. If not, the daughter will be sick. People of tomorrow will be sick in the future if the seeds of today are not come from the right seeds of yesterday, Eritreans who lived during the Eritrean federation with Ethiopia and/or British Military Administation and Italian colonization whose legacy was inherited by the ELF and then EPLF who upheld and made a reality the desire of the Eritrean people to have their own state and nation.

    Unfotunately, the Eritrean people have the state without the nation as a result of a government who has turned into their worst enemy and presides over their miseries and destruction. The goal of the Eritrean Ghedli had ended victoriously and with national and international acclaim and finally had its trophy called Indpendent Eritrea. However, the people of Ghedli entered Asmara have turned around and robed the trophy of the Eritrean people and enslaved them instead. The story is ongoing and the actors of old are still there. Our people know they have been betrayed by Shaebia and disappointed by the rest. But, it is time that the people know for themselves the simple facts that went on in the stories of Ghedli as they journeyed from then to now and from there to here. Then, they can simply choose what to do with what they knew and came to know now as the convesations of new and old go on to shape the convesation of tomorrow’s Eritrea. One has to know what was and what is there in order to know what he is dealing with and make up their own mind on issues of national concern and find their ground before they can do what is desired to be done for the common good. Information is a source of knowledge from which spring understanding of one and of one in relation with the whole. The Ghedli culture has done its job of liberating Eritrea from colonization and now the old culture has to brought back into being so that our people can finally go to their home and natural self in `civic citizenship as a diverse people of old and beautiful cutures in their unity in diversity. This will come when all demand justice for one and justice for all under the rule of law without regard to gender, race, tribe, region, religion and the like and be able to live and let live in their natural self without the political pusharounds of the day running their life and ruining it. May God bless us with peace and bread and helps end war and dread! Amen!

    Cheers and Peace!

    • Hameed

      Dear Gobian Garibaldi,

      I am sorry that you have wasted your time in singing the same song that we are fed up with. I think you want to say that our minds are only fit for recording events and not generating new solutions. In fact you have proven that by your long comment. You have excelled in recording, so next time don’t confuse yourself with the producers of thought. As you know the people of Eritrea also requires recording machines, but at the moment is not his immediate requirement.

  • Hameed

    The immediate need of the people of Eritrea is to see producers of brainstorming ideas and big events. I don’t think their immediate need is narration of history and events of the past. They know the regime is tyrant, the EDA clumsy and EPDP devious and the others are shadowy who claim to have done big events.

    To quote from a comment by brother Amanuel which I admired greatly:

    “Few days ago I was discussing with my fellow Eritrean about the contemporary Eritrea as a nation and its people. The discussion was full of sorrow, anguish, and bitterness but always focused on what could be done. Suddenly my friend paused in the middle of our discussion and asked me “TEGAGINA DE’A KEYNIKEWN” a question that stained in my mind and was difficult to answer without giving plenty thoughtful days to reconcile the perception and reality. He surely threw me to the edge of the cliff to think whether there is “guilty of wishful thinking” in our thought. Now three days later, Sal after giving us synopsis of Eritrean history, asked me if there is any in our history that we can refer as the strongest factor that pull us together. Wow, what a coincidence it is! Surely, the mechanics of my thought was clogged for sometimes.”

    The Eritrean people needs to be assisted to know well, where everything has gone wrong? What are the mistakes they have made and where is the way of getting out of the mess?

  • Selam Saleh and All,

    Sal, I am still a student of you in “history and literature” and all who follow your foot step (SG, Gezae, Aklilu, Sis Arwe..Etc) commanding the English literature. God bless you all and bless us with your kind (“sesinu ke’A” as a blessing in Tigrigna).

    Few days ago I was discussing with my fellow Eritrean about the contemporary Eritrea as a nation and its people. The discussion was full of sorrow, anguish, and bitterness but always focused on what could be done. Suddenly my friend paused in the middle of our discussion and asked me “Tegagina de’A Keynikewn” a question that stained in my mind and was difficult to answer without giving plenty thoughtful days to reconcile the perception and reality. He surely threw me to the edge of the cliff to think whether there is “guilty of wishful thinking” in our thought. Now three days later, Sal after giving us synopsis of Eritrean history, asked me if there is any in our history that we can refer as the strongest factor that pull us together. Wow, what a coincidence it is! Surely, the mechanics of my thought was clogged for sometimes.

    To answer your provocateur question, I will look history in hindsight and will use the premises based on “big ifs” to help us to sort out our dilemma. Let me start by the obvious that comes in my mind and that is, I believe “Federation” reassured the “unity of Eritreans” in the 50s while the Eritrean independence of 1991 failed to do so, at least so far. Part of the reasons might be, that our fathers and forefathers are (a) wiser and (b) more rational than our generation, despite we are more enlightened (educated) than them if we see it academically. For them there were two guideposts for exercise. They are, “marked dignified process” followed by “marked concession with mutual respect.”
    I had debated YG on the issue of “identity” few years ago. Yg’s argument was based on our failure of not fulfilling the wishes of our people. Yg completely neglected the historical drive for our armed struggle, and that was the “annexation” of Eritrea by the Ethiopian government. One thing for fact though, again “big if” and that is during the Eritrean federation. There was one possible scenario to accommodate YG identity theory and that is the constitutional change of the Ethiopian government. If the emperor would have changed the constitution of Ethiopia to a Federalist constitutional monarchy, a prototype of Great Britain, there would have been a good ground for his argument and hence the unity of Eritrea and Ethiopia.

    Sal, I still have a hope to restructure the opposition camp if the general public equally could engage in the political process. We need confidence building measure at demonstrating the seriousness of our reality, which is quintessential now by defying the ultranationalist edict and balancing nationalism and co-existence as it should be. I think Saleh, your question must be the homework to all of us to give enough thought to it to dig out a remedy to our malaise.

    • L.T

      Always student?Your age with the name your ber some in this site they callad you Emma.When I was a kid we have many Emmatat in our street Godena enda Yesus 204 in compo-vollo near Kagnaw Bar Tecila area.One of the Emmatat we call him Emma wedi Tebeka and he is not a live today he is gone to libirty Eritrea and the other one Emma his nick name was Emma Hakele becouse he eating harsh so much food and he is a maryter when Eritrea crashed with Weyane when Woyane try to take advantge to get gate to Gash Barka via Badme the nr three Emma is now in aboard some were in Libay or Italia or Israel and We give him a name Emma Katati bcs he is the great one liar from black to green color.
      I don’t want to call you Emma to you becouse your are at my father age and you saw many things when you were with in struggle Jebha time as a cadree.I respcet you so high.

      • L.T,

        Yes I am always a student, because knowledge is infinite no matter what acadamic diploma you own. Gebito as in tigrigna “hiji’ke terediEka do.” Eritrea needs someone who adores infinite education and hopefully you will be one of them as a young generation citing from your comment. Thank you for your respect.

      • Kokhob Selam

        Yes, he was a student and will continue to be intelligent student, and don’t forget only the one who continue to learn can continue to teach. this bold man was my teacher and will continue to be my teacher. some of the teachers became students b/c they don’t update their mind.

        let me honestly say once again that I learn a lot from you. Eritrea needs people like you. people who are optimistic, bold, open minded an honest. all my respect to you.

  • Gobian Garibaldi

    selam wedi Hdrat and all,

    Wedi Hidrat, out of the few articles of yours I read, I like this one and your take on decentralized unitarism as way of organizing the would be Eritrean nation. May be people ought to build up a road map that guides and coordinates the divesrse struggles of Eritreans for constitutional and institutional democracy and the eradication of despotisim of all kind at the top of which is the master despot, Isaias, at the helm of useless and evil organization which is killing the Eritrean people as it kills itself, the so called PFDJ, a Frankenstein monster.

    Groups of similar politico-civic orientations should be chapters of one national organzation with its charters and cosntitution that govern its independent units. Each unit may act in unison with other units or groups of its kind or can go it alone when time and circumstances should demand that. People should keep changing and progressing as units or united units to bring the desired change and progress for Eritrea and Eritreans as civic citizens under the rule of law.

    Then, this national organization can represent its members in all activities that demand official interaction with other nationa and international groups of different orientation than the civic, like the EDA and its member organization as political and politico-military entities of diverse kind at the national or international levels. Civic organizations as the one I am trying to describe are units of activist-oriented citizen groups for change and progress while political or politico-military organzation are power-oriented groupings that can change with the widnd. This would safe-guard the organization as an umbralla organization of its members from unforeseen negative developments that may develop as the case seems to be with EDA and the others.

    Cheers and Peace!

  • b’Alti W’qatto Arwe (As in a girl with a dragon tattoo).

    Dearest Ghezae,

    The other day, I was watching Eri-TV and it was one of those moments where you freeze in time and you feel suffocated in the meantime you feel elated with in a time-warp. A reporter was asking a certain ex-tegadally-turned-musician about the differences of the essence of music during the Ghedli years and after independence.

    And along the line he started asking him about his personal life where his older brother was a tegadallay (well known tegadallay) as well. He asked him if he had ever met his older brother in mieda or if he had a casual encounter with him.

    Get this: he said, “Well as you know in mieda practically everybody is your brother or your sister one wouldn’t see or treat anybody else differently but I specifically remember at one time he came over to where I was stationed and he asked me to walk with him, and after we walked for a while without exchanging words, he asked me if I have any news from Rezene (another brother) and Yodit (a sister), then I said to him, the last time I heard about Rezene was he was wounded and he was receiving treatments but I haven’t heard from Yodit in a long while. Then after an eerie silence, he said, from now on don’t ask about them no more because they are not around anymore (read: tesewiOm eyom). We just have to wait for our turns.”

    Imagine how much Eritrea had bled, imagine how much Eritrea had maimed. Imagine how much horrifying his narratives are. Of course, the ultimate trove was independent Eritrea but as you have aptly put it, no other nation has sacrificed her own children than the nation we call ours. The heart-breaking part is, when bickering, squabble, innuendo refuse to let up with in the Opposition parties and when Isaias is inflicted with a short memory to the point of turning the so much sacrifice into a smokescreen characters, our glorious Revolution tatters on a verge of an oblivion. God bless us all.


    • Kokhob Selam

      sorry wrongly I put my comment with my earlier comment. please read it.

  • Kokhob Selam

    my god,
    a lot of job remaining then. Thank you Amanuel and all. for those who are far and unable to see the picture clearly, this is a great lesson. I think the comments on this subject not only will show the reality but it will sharpen us more. more comments please.

    • Kokhob Selam

      books can be written on our sufferings during gedli . imagine a fighter from ELF saw his own brother died during war between two fronts most probably killed by him, what do you feel about it? Ah sewra Eritrea…But don’t worry sister at last united we will won. Allow me to attach here the song I love most. so innocent people deserve to live in peace.


      • b’Alti W’qatto Arwe (As in a girl with a dragon tattoo).

        Dear Kokhob Selam,

        Many thanks for sharing the great song with the rest of us. It sure has become imbedded in our collective psych that, we sort of gush out our agonies and pains through songs where for instance the Greeks or Athenians resorted into Homeric poems during the dark ages of their history.

        I sure don’t mean to bog you down into a rather lofty thread but the point I intend to highlight is that nothing is perennial, this seemingly gloomy period we are witnessing is transient and the Sun will always rise on the mountains, terrains, rivers, lakes, and villages of Eritrea. Rahwan selamin zmel’O gizie y’metsiE ‘allo. God bless us all.


        • Kokhob Selam

          I admire your intelligence in catching things as you understand what I want to know from you by attaching the song that I love and feel a lot about . but above all I love your kindness.

  • Meretse Asmelash

    What a tone? For sure, it is not sweet but sour for those who think they can always deceive the public.
    I can’t wait to read your next article.

  • Saleh AA Younis


    Bill Bishop’s “The Big Sort” reminds me of another book that came out a dozen years ago: “Bowling Alone.” That author, Putnam, observed a strange phenomenon: that bowlers are no longer necessarily part of leagues but one can bowl, at night, all by himself. This, plus the declining rates of church attendance in the US, etc, gave the author (unwarranted) nightmares about the future of the US.

    What Bishop observed is, as The Grateful Dead sang once, “even worse than it appears.” Because, even within the stratified neighborhoods and communities, there is further isolation: even within the same house, family members are no longer doing the same thing at the same time: one is watching TV, one is playing video games, and another is playing with his tablet. With the iPad increasingly forecast to be 5 per household, bandwidth getting stronger and cheaper, even family members may go for weeks with barely talking to each other:-) But the idea of religion and civil society is so ingrained into US history–it is the first thing that an astonished Tocqueville noticed when he visited the US in 1831 and documented it in “Democracy In America”–that Americans always pull back and recreate the civil society, even if it is a version Tocqueville wouldn’t recognize (Facebook, Google Plus, Tea Party, etc.)

    But what about us Eritreans? What is it in our history that we can point to that should give us assurance that the drive towards, and not the driving away, the pull and not the push, is the strongest factor? Is it the defining moment in the pre-federation era (the rejection of Bevin-Sforza by Eritrean Muslims)? But that has been re-written by the revisionist history of Isaias (who said both sides embraced Bevin-Sforza in nehnan elamanan) and by the yg academy (who repeated the same bogus story.) Is it the Federation era? But we are told that era was all bad, that we were “tricked” by Ethiopia to do many of the things we willingly, democratically, did. Is it the Ghedli era and all the noble efforts, however their failings, to instill nationalism? But we are told the ghedli was a monster, ugly, with no redeeming quality to it. We are even told our nationalism is “artificial” and has no meaning besides hatred of all that is Ethiopian. Is it the post-Ghedli era? But we say all our political leaders in the opposition are tribalists and regionalist and all the political leaders in the PFDJ are Mafiosi criminals. So where is the light, Emma? What if the “civil society” and the “youth movements” are even now, judged objectively, just as stratified as the “tribalist and backward” EDA they want to replace?

    From my observation of the Eritrean political landscape, the one organization that was not only mouthing diversity and nationalism but living it was the ELF-RC. When it is pretty much self-destructed, and demonstrated such an appalling level of navel-gazing, that it was truly nationalistic and diverse became secondary and remote to its overriding definition: criminally incompetent. After that, it has all been “bowling alone.” But hope springs eternal.

    all the best,


    • b’Alti W’qatto Arwe (As in a girl with a dragon tattoo).

      Dear Sal,

      I have never “seen” you pulled down with the a despair of melancholy. If it is any consolation, it is still the agonizing years of growing pains. It sure is not unprecedented as nations struggle to define their “identity” or as they try to find a comfort zone among the pantheon of nations where for instance circa sixty years after the fact, Pakistan is still struggling to define itself as a Pakistani identity is taken for anything that is not Indian.

      But as years go by immeasurably, any nation fosters a “solid” identity as it garners its uniqueness through unique experiences. As I see it, in our case (yes I am an Eritrean) what is terribly missing is a sense of candor. To be more precise, if we find a sense of courage to discuss openly the things that are considered a taboo such as the issue of identity and nationalism inter alia, we are not going to find ourselves in a parallel universe or a worm-hole so to speak, it will only help us regain ourselves as people where our sense of independence remains intact.

      Eritrean identity is not superficial or artificial, we only make it sound like it or let it take a superficial shape when we opt to hide our heads in the sand instead of tackling it head-on. It is that simple. God bless us all.


      • Ghezae Hagos

        Selam Sal, Amanuel, sis Arwe and all,

        I would like to say to Haw Amanuel thank you for being so courageous to tread in the almost untouchable area, the EDA politics. I hope many members of the Council speak up what they really feel is the problem in a constructive way so that mistakes could be rectified and necessary changes made.


        I have inchoate ideas and musings to build on your observation, ‘melancholic’ as the one and only sis put it. For me, your concise summary of the past 50 years in one paragraph says it all. This is one of dearest entries you had in the blog, for me.

        For those of us who had been reading the rise and fall of nations across the pages of history and happen to watch helplessly ‘worst-case-scenario-possible (live and in color), yes the eventual demise of this beautiful nation of us and had been yelling and wailing for an odd decade or so, consolation may be like the rope thrown to an already drowned man, to paraphrase Irving Wallace’s the The Prize ( I can’t believe I read around 20 books of this guy!) who paraphrased George B. Shaw’s reaction when he learned he won noble prize late in his life.

        What really grinds my gears about our tragic nation (well there are many) is that it has been virtually betrayed by most of us. Every one of us who chooses to be silent in the face of such senseless deaths, every one of us who use the noble and holy cause of saving the nation as a springboard for unrealistic and eventually unhelpful agenda (yes because it is their prerogative) are complicit in killing the nation. Where are the Eritrean intellectuals? where are members of G-13 who pardon my language had just a night-stand with the nation in Berlin? where are our singers? writers? what is left so sacred about this mysterious nation of us???

        We became a nation of little, petty people who sat down, with our burdensome collective weight, on an impossibly holy, impossibly beautiful, impossibly greatest mission known to human beings; SAVING THEIR NATION FROM THE JAWS OF HISTORY. I am not sure if we are up to the task…I am not sure…

        • Saleh AA Younis

          Oh, Ghezae:

          You have a way of touching all the “intellectual erogenous zones.” I love reading you, I love all your references, because they take me back to a time and a place.

          I am not melancholic at all; I don’t have the luxury of melancholy. My too moods are “calm, cool, collected” and “pissed as hell.” I am calm, cool, collected about Emma’s analysis. I am willing to break it down, give my theories. I am pissed as hell about all the attempts to break down, to trash, what I call “our fountain of strength”–which is our Revolution. But I don’t want to hijack the thread here: I want all of us to engage Emma on his postulation.

          all the best,


        • b’Alti W’qatto Arwe (As in a girl with a dragon tattoo).

          Dearest Ghezae,

          I am not sure if this is a day of reckoning. As I read your otherwise a brilliant-writer-to-be-discovered-threads, I feel like I am walking into a solemn room where a feminized Eritrea is to be intervened (as in intervention) by her children.

          The silver lining is however, her kind and generous people will pull it through where losing hope is what we can not afford to give in to. The new Eritrea will shine up on the hill. It is a fact. God bless us all.


          • Ghezae Hagos

            Dear Sal and sis Arwe,

            Thank you both!

            Candor is certainly the missing element in our discourse. People say what they don’t mean. People don’t honor what they promised. Our opposition has become a solitary affair…really ‘bowling alone.’

            One of the things I learned and observed in our opposition is how enormously important each citizen’s contribution and how enormously important this mission of saving Eritrea is. Many a time we fail to recognize how valuable our cause is. This is beyond politics. This is beyond individuals. This is beyond parties.

            If for once we stop and ponder! This extremely endeared nation of us is dying agonizingly. This nation that we searched and yearned for more than 50 years, with every sacrifices known to man given to it finds itself at its wits’ end. No other nation, to my knowledge sacrificed as much!

            Thus, playing politics of consumption, ego-driven orchestrations, should by God have no place in our opposition. If the quest for individual redemption and successes, as we life-lovers know, is given so much value, how about the saving the nation of millions as endeared as ours?

            The question is as ever, eternal! how much do we love Eritrea? How much do we love each other?

      • Gobian Garibaldi

        selam lady Arwe and all,

        As far as I am concerned and the Eritreans I know, we had no, have no, will not have a problem of identity crisis. Eritreans remain to be who the they were and are: villagers, urban villagers, urban and rural towns’ people, and , yes, Eritreans of the city. Shaebia, a lawless entity of its kind, is the problem with the Eritrean question besides those who are in the field dealing with their own version of what Eritrea was, is , and should be. Eritrea is a de facto and de jure state fallen victim to the devils of revolution, the liars, thieves, and murderers of Eritrea in Eritrea and eslsewhere.

        Eritrean territorial identity and nationalism had come to its end with the retirement of the Eritrean Liberation Army and the Eritrean Peoples’ Liberation Army. The first goal, the goal that was set into motion by Awate is accoplished. Eritreans who where not hypnotized by the Shaebia-cum-Weyane conspiracy remained what they where and are still there attempting to make real the second goal of Eritrean nationalism, civi nationalism, the victim of dictators of all sorts.

        If anybody have any problem as a legal or natural person of his land and his nation, then it is upto them to find their own cure of what may seem an illness to themselves and to others. Our problem is simple: we have been held hostage by territorial and civic outlaws, Weyane for the territorial and Shaebia for the civic. The non-demarcation of Eritrea’s borders with Ethiopia and the non-implementation of the ratified Eritrean constitution of 1997 are the twin-evils as far as yours truly is concerned and the culprit is Weyane, for the former, and Shaebia, for the latter. Mank makes laws to govern himself and himself in relation with others. Man who does not practice what he preaches is a hypocite and a liar. Both the president of Eritrea and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and their governments are two sides of the same coin. May God bless us wth peace and bread and help us end war and dread!

        Cheers and Peace!

  • MB Idris

    Another great Article.It is rejoicing to read the wonderfully written and profoundly thought and
    analysed piece.May Allah grant you and your family health and fortune

  • b’Alti W’qatto Arwe (As in a girl with a dragon tattoo).

    Dear Amanuel,

    As usual, I read your piece with an ample interest. As I immersed myself into the threads of historical contexts with a touch of philosophical vortex of cause and effect, I had to gear up into something else where I am still struggling to find the junction between the presumed triggering effects of a major social shock-waves and your narrative related to the ever nagging and not so fluid dynamics between EDA and ENCDC.

    Sure enough, I don’t have any illusion what so ever of playing an instructor or a college professor who sharpens her pencil to critique a term paper, rather, my intention is to highlight my shortcomings as I try to comprehend your otherwise prolific knack for political and social literary genre.

    My knowledge about EDA or ENCDC is not only limited, one would be tempted to hand me a booklet with “EDA or ENCDC for dummies” as one realizes that I am a neophyte to say the least. Having said that however, as much as it is incredibly mind boggling as we search for a tipping point or a trigger effect in the dire circumstance of Eritrea’s political, social and economic realities, I say, it is not that people are insensitive to the ugly realities, rather, they are desensitized where an abject fear plays a major factor.

    Moreover, if a social implosion was to take place in Eritrea, it would have happened when Isaias incarcerated the high government officials circa a decade ago. As I see it, the last straw would be either disgruntled middle ranking military personnel will take matters onto their own hands or nature will take its course as Isaias is struggling with his health. God bless us all.


    • Sis Arwe,

      I was expecting the political organizations to play a major role to accelerate the presumed wild cards I mentioned as a tipping point for a wider social movement. But at the same time, I was trying to show the ” inertia frames of references” who failed to play a major role as social accelerants. I don’t think sis Arwe will miss the junction between the presumed tipping point and the role of the organization to exploit and funnel, to mark the explosion of seismic mass movement.