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When Even Good News Is Given A Shrug

On behalf of myself and all awatistas (whether you like it or not), I would like to congratulate Nigerians and Ghanians for waking up one Monday morning (let’s assume it was Monday) and learning that they no longer belong to the dreaded “low income” country but the up-and-coming “low middle income” country. Yay! Please join me in giving a special shout-out to Nigeria which surpassed South Africa to become Africa’s largest economy. This must have meant quite a lot to the Ghanian president who ran on a platform of improving the livelihood of Ghanians. Of course, cynics among you are going to ruin it all for us and say that this had nothing to do with prudent fiscal/monetary policies but an abrupt change in the way that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is calculated. The cynics would be right.  This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Maternal Mortality Ratios (MMR) and Eritrea was in the top 10 countries in reducing MMRs.  The ordinary Nigerian, Ghanian and Eritrean have shrugged off this “good news.” Why?

1. Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

There have been a number of books and journals from scholars bemoaning the lack of reliable statistics on Africa, particularly after the Ghana (2010) and Nigeria (2013) GDP jumps. This started a domino effect with other African countries lining up for adjustment to their GDP (Ethiopia, where are you?) and the IMF/World Bank taking a skeptical look. Of course, when you move from “low income” to “low middle income” category, you lose some concessions like favorable interest rates, so some Africans are not incentivized to adjust their GDP upward, even if the math says they should.

Those of you who have taken econ in college and still remember it (without cheating and going to, like I did) may want to skip this section or treat it as a refresher. For the rest of us, there are two ways to define and calculate GDP: the expenditure approach and the income approach. The two should give you the same number because one man’s expenditure is another man’s income. (Please notice I did NOT say one woman’s expenditure… because I am not sexist.)

The Expenditure approach says that a nation’s GDP is the sum of four expenditures:

1. Private Consumption (C ): Goods and services purchased by households.
2. Private Investment (I): Machinery investment, increase in inventory, home purchases;
3. Government Purchases (G): Goods and services purchased by government. This does NOT include transfer payments that the lefties love (welfare, social security, etc)
4. Net Exports (X – M): exports minus imports

If you use this approach to calculating GDP in Africa, you are stuck with a lot of problems. How does one quantify and qualify goods and services purchased by households in an economy where there is contraband and bartering? You can’t quantify and qualify increase in inventory where inventory is hidden to minimize taxation because the tax collectors in Africa use the eyeball methodology when assessing tax: “beautiful and fully-stocked store you got there; it would be a shame if something were to happen to it!” ) Government purchases that require hard currency are easy to track (assuming they are not “national secrets” that can’t be shared): but what about off-the-book purchases like the ones that are common in Eritrea? Finally, net exports depend on a customs office with sterling record keeping, which Africa is solely lacking.

The Income approach says that a nation’s GDP is the sum of four incomes:

1. Labor Income (W): Salaries, wages, fringe benefits and transfer payments (social security, welfare, etc.)
2. Rental Income (R ): income from rental of households, as well as income from royalties, patents and copyrights.
3. Interest income (I): household incomes derived from lending money to government and companies
4. Profits (P): company profits (more accurately, “accounting profit”, add back depreciation and indirect business taxes)

Here, too, you have the same problems. The labor income most likely does not count the cash-market: it probably only counts actual salaries. Rental income: to evade taxes, there are side-side deals, tax transactions that the statisticians can only estimate. Interest income is negligible: Forget lending to government: Africans are loathe to keep their money in the bank fearing the confiscatory and coup-prone governments. As for company profits—we have a problem at the top line (quantifying revenues) and the middle line (quantifying expenses), never mind the depreciation and business taxes.

In short, when aggregating the numbers, regardless of what methodology is used, the statistician is faced with a challenge at every level.

This assumes there is a statistician: in much of Africa, the statistics department is one person, who is often lent out to other departments.

When it comes to GDPs, the focus is on GDP growth or decline, that is, it is a relative measure on whether the country’s economy is getting better or worse. Because the comparison is done using “constant dollars”, a base year is required for calculation. The base year is supposed to be one when the country collected a lot of data on its economy. The downside to this is that if the base year is ancient, it may be over-counting sectors of the economy that are no longer dynamic and/or it may be understating sectors of the economy that didn’t exist when the base year was established (telecommunication, smart phones, etc.) The World Bank/IMF recommends that the base year be changed every five years; in Africa, many countries are using 20 years-ago as a base year. Nigeria was using 1990; Ghana was using 1993.

In short, the sudden shift in Ghana and Nigeria GDP’s growth is attributed to changing the base year. Cynics, rejoice.  Well, cynics never rejoice. For more on this, you can read Morten Jerven’s book: “Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It” or his article:

2. GDP Per Capita

Of course, GDP, even when accurate, is an incomplete report—as I keep reminding my Ethiopian friends who are celebrating their country’s status as one of Africa’s biggest economies. The one that matters is GDP per capita. This is because GDP growth is meaningless if it is not keeping up with population growth. But GDP Per Capita is even harder to depend upon because African governments are notoriously unreliable when it comes to taking a census.

This (dearth of statistics) is actually one of the most surprising things about the Eritrean government. Surprising because the EPLF was famous for its data gathering and crunching (locally referred to as Ornek.) If you are skeptical about this, you may want to refer to:

(1) the “Martyr’s Database”, a report that was smuggled out and published by awate and asmarino. The part we published is a small fraction of the data that was gathered. Our decision to withhold the info was for national security purposes but it was ominously interpreted later on by our friend Yosief Ghebrehiwet as  “awate the anesthesiologist conspiring with the Eritrean government in the extinction of Bhere Tigrinya)”;

(2) “Eritrea: Its Land and People”, a report that was smuggled out and published by awate. The details are impressive: the government had broken down the population to the hamlet/ qushet level.

(3) There are also reports published by students working on their dissertations who have used private (non-published) reports that still indicate that the government is collecting census data. A good example of this is a paper published by Yonas Tesfamariam Bahta and Berhane Okubay Haile (University of the Free State, South Africa), entitled: “DETERMINANTS OF POVERTY OF ZOBA MAEKEL OF ERITREA: A HOUSEHOLD LEVEL ANALYSIS.” The two relied on a 2008 census (never published, of course), which breaks down the population of “Zoba Maekel,” by household, down to every village.

Occasionally, if not rarely, there are genuine national security questions to withhold information. More often than not, when governments do not release statistics, it is either because there is something unflattering about them or, in the case of the PFDJ which has always seen itself as a vanguard guiding us and protecting us from demagogues, because “gziu aykonen.” The way they think: if we give them the data, somebody is going to sit down and compare the population of Maekel with Debub and Gash Barka and demagogue it. In other words, it is all our fault that there is no census about Eritrea published for 60 years! Plus, according to the government, all statistics are bad and unreliable—unless they tell the world how great we are, in which case, by all means, publicize away. When The Economist published a report about how Eritrea’s economy will be one of the fastest in the world, Yemane Gebremeskel tweeted a supporter to congratulate him for a job well done in publicizing this wonderful news which (in its executive summary) added a qualifier: we think the government will mismanage it anyway and we don’t expect this to trickle down to the people. Oh well.

Going to our friends, the Ghanians and the Nigerians, while the sudden doubling of their GDP may have pleased the political class, it meant nothing to the average person and was, therefore, shrugged away.

3. WHO and Maternal Mortality Ratio

The World Health Organization (WHO) just issued its annual report. I like WHO because it is one of the few international organizations that issue country reports that are not telling us that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Its reports are always “things are getting better and here are some countries that are really, really doing well.” At some point, WHO is going to be like the March of Dimes, making itself extinct because its mission is complete. (March of Dimes was fighting polio and that malady is largely defeated.) In the meantime, WHO is like all GOs and NGOs, unable to resist the need to create urgency: it its press release, it said that global maternal mortality rates are the same as having two plane crashes with 100% fatality every day. Well. You can read its report here:

Before we get to the report card, let’s see the definition of Maternal Mortality Ratio or MMR. Maternal mortality ratio is defined as “maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.” Just to confuse us, WHO also reports the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMRate), which is defined as “the number of maternal deaths in a population divided by the number of women aged 15–49 years (or woman-years lived at ages 15–49 years.)” Of the two, the more dramatic one is the MMR, probably because it is the one that is included in the UN’s Millenium Development Goals (MDG). Specifically, countries have a target of reducing the MMR by 75% between 1990 and 2015.

The 11 Best Performing Countries

I have taken the 11 best performing countries (in terms of reducing the MMR by 75% or more) and added additional data to see if we can find co-relation. The additional variables are continent, governance, and population size.

I added continent only because the press reports I saw said that most of the top performing countries are in Asia (sending us Africans some subliminal message) and, of course, the press reports are, as you will see below, overstated.

I added governance because that’s really the debate between the “We Are On The Right Track” and the “We Are On The Wrong Track” Eritrean political groups. I chose Freedom House’s ranking system because they have been issuing country reports long before it was cool to do so (close to 40 years and, therefore, they are reliable). Freedom House gives a 1-7 rank on Freedom and Civil Liberties (1=best; 7=worst) and then uses this to classify a country as: Free (F), Partly Free (PF) or Not Free (NF.) In short, I included governance to try to see if there is a meaningful relationship between the freedom/liberty citizens enjoy and improvements in their MMR. (Hint: Cuba had answered this question decades ago: authoritarian governments are good at things that require rallying people, soldier like, to a cause.)

Finally, I included population size because, when the report of the Top 11 countries was given, I noticed that it included nations that are tiny. This makes intuitive sense: in statistics, when you have a small denominator, the rate will swing dramatically with small changes in the numerator. Or, as a TV producer once told a guy with a show that is barely watched: “hey, the ratings for your show just came in. Congratulations! Your viewership has increased from diddley to diddley squat!”

Let’s look at WHO’s report card, modified to include the other variables:


Cautious Conclusions

Before you draw conclusions, remember the mad scientist who cut off the legs of a frog, one leg a time, each time followed by the order “Jump!” When the frog wouldn’t move he wrote in his log, “A curious phenomenon. It appears that frogs become deaf when you cut off their legs!”

Let’s put our Mad Scientist hat to look at the MMR correlations:

Mad Scientist 1: The best way to improve MMR is to convert your population to Islam because the best-performing country, Maldives, is a Muslim country. (The other countries on the list are exceptions)

Mad Scientist 2: You need authoritarianism, preferably dictatorship, the kind that will get you 7-7 NF rank in Freedom House, to get results follows. (Bhutan, Capo Verde, Nepal, Romania are exceptions.)

Mad Scientist 3: You need freedom and democracy to improve a nation’s MMR. (Eritrea, Laos, Equatorial Guinea and Rwanda are exceptions.)

Mad Scientist 4: Small countries register fastest improvement in their MMR. (Sao Tome, Belize, Guyana, Djibouti, Swazliland, Mauritius are exception.)

I don’t know what the reason for the impressive MMR is, but my position is: if true, it is great news that Eritrea has reduced its mortality rate because, at the end of the day, that is really what any government should be measured on: how are you improving the lives of your population? Of course, in a country where over 70% of births happen at home, (by the way: did you congratulate your midwife? May 5 was “International Day of the Midwife.”) one may be skeptical, but WHO factors this in.

But there is a reason why this good news is shrugged at by the people.  If a mother’s life is spared, thanks to your policies, but if this same woman was chased out of her own country thanks to your policies and drowned in the Mediterranean, don’t expect the people to thank you for your governance.  It reminds me of an Amharic song that still wakes me up in cold sweat: yematreba fiyel zetegn tweldalech.

Eritrea’s Economy

And what is the point of saving a life if you are going to enslave it?  Unlike the field of health, economics depends on a lot of things that cannot be ordered: free people taking risks to get rewards.  Enterprise.  And how are we doing there?

Well, there is another report that comes out annually that, to me, is the true measure of whether Eritrea is making progress or lagging behind. That is the “Global Competitiveness Report” which is put out by World Economic Forum. It is supposed to tell you where each country ranks in terms of competitiveness which is, of course, the only way to improve a people’s standard of living. The Global Competitiveness Report came out in September 2013 and once again, Eritrea doesn’t not appear anywhere. I mean that literally: you can do a search command and type “Eritrea” in the 569-page and we are not there.

All governments want to hide bad news and publicize good news. What we Africans are lacking are impartial, non-politicized offices that publish statistics—good or bad—whether it harms or supports the government. A good example is the unemployment rates that are published by the Labor Department on the last Friday of each month. Obviously, we don’t have the resources for that but we should make it a goal to have our Statistics office to be free from politics. Otherwise, we will be one of those countries that don’t agree on anything and have no common ground.

The Isaias Afwerki regime has lost the confidence of the Eritrean people because of a series of bone-headed and stubborn decisions.  When confidence and trust is gone, even great news like the one issued by WHO about Eritrea’s MMR is treated with a shrug. And, for that, Isaias Afwerki has nobody to blame but himself.

About Saleh Younis

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  • saay7

    Selamat Jo:

    Not sure how enlightening it is and, no, I don’t think you are naive at all. The short version is that Ethiopia, despite having the upper hand in May 2000, did not negotiate terms that were favorable to it. The strongest points that each party had were as follows:

    (a) Ethiopia: we have administered the areas in question for a very long time.
    (b) Eritrea: notwithstanding who administered the areas, treaties signed between colonial Eritrea and Ethiopia show that the disputed areas belong to us.

    If your strong point is that administration matters, keeping institutions and people intact matter, you would argue for the supremacy of fairness and conscience over law. This (as we came to learn later) is called “ex aequo et bono.” If your strong point is law and literal interpretation of treaties, you argue for exclusion of “ex aequo et bono.”

    Article 4.2 of the Algiers Agreement says: “The Commission shall not have the power to make decisions ex aequo et bono.”

    Simply put, Eritrea argued for terms favorable to its case and Ethiopia, for reasons that blew my mind, agreed. I don’t know if it did this because it was trying to assure Eritreans that it had no intent besides getting its land; or it was confident that even without ex aequo et bono it would win. But the fact is it did and it did it with eyes wide open (lots of expensive lawyers, jurists were representing it.)

    I tend to think it is the latter (it was 100% sure it would win: remember, its first announcement was a happy one: that it got everything it wanted; Eritrea, as usual, had no reaction: suq meritSna.”)

    So now, all the talk about 5 points and 10 points plan is: we have changed our mind: we want ex aequo et bono: it is not fair to the people, it is unacceptable to the conscience to separate these people who consider themselves Ethiopians through and through from their land and institutions (and houses of worship.) And, instead of trying to PERSUADE us that it is the right thing to do, they admonish us for not seeing it as the right thing to do.


    • haileTG

      hey saay

      Thanks and great analysis. I want to bring up what you said “Ethiopia was 100% sure it would win.” Also, PMMZ wrote to the UNSC soon after the decision and underscored that “…it is unthinkable that Ethiopia would agree to handing over the flash-point village of Badem after so much sacrifices were made to reverse “the agression”. Now given the facts on the ground (I am going above your intended reference that is confined to the courtroom outcome) and also in view of what you stated as “…here is where Eritrea is making the same mistake Ethiopia did. It is
      expecting the UN to operate on the basis of “ex aequo et bono,” what can we say about the validity of their “assumption” based on your point ” Ethiopia was 100% sure it would win”?


      • saay7

        Haile the gr8:

        Clever! In light of the death of Omar Hassen Tewil (one of our liberators), let’s re-orient this towards finding a solution.

        Otherwise, if one wants to a stickler for these things, the Framework Agreement says that the “Organization of African Unity, in close cooperation with the United Nations, will be the guarantor for the scrupulous implementation of all the provisions of the Framework Agreement”, and one of the provisions was to “carry out the delimitation and demarcation of the border between the two countries.” Since the Framework Agreement was endorsed by the UN in one of its Resolutions and since the Framework Agreement is part of the Algiers Agreement, it stands to reason that the UN is, at least implicitly, a guarantor. (It was explicitly a guarantor of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and the Technical Arrangements Agreement.)

        Like I said, I believe the strategy the Isaias Afwerki regime is using is wrong because it thinks it can pressure the UN to pressure Ethiopia to comply. We have the benefit of hindsight: 10 long years since the EEBC issued its ruling, it hasn’t happened and its nowhere near happening. At what point does one say “this strategy doesn’t work, let’s try something else”?

        The solution was actually provided by an unlikely source: Ambassador Girma Asmerom. Unfortunately for us, Girma Asmerom tends to fall off the reservation and sometimes say things that do not reflect the views of the Isaias Afwerki regime (refer to his Dec 2001 audio interview with where he was insisting that Yemane Gebreab is wrong and the 2001 elections have not been cancelled.) But if he is reflecting the views of the regime, what he said is that if Ethiopia agrees to accept the EEBC ruling unconditionally in the morning, we can discuss the adjustments it wants in the afternoon. That’s what needs to happen WITHOUT mediators or arbitrators: just the two sides talking face to face.


    • Jo

      Selamat Saleh,

      It is a great analysis and very enlightening indeed. I think, if they ( Solomon T., T. Kifle and others) could only snap out of their oxymoronic ( we will make your life unbearable to make you realize we care about you) attitude, learn from this statement, “…instead of trying to PERSUADE us that it is the right thing to do, they admonish us for not seeing it as the right thing to do.”, adjust their approach towards us accordingly, and PERSUADE us otherwise. How a wonderful world it would have been!!

      I also agree with you (in your response to haile) in the approach of Ghirma Asmerom vis a vis dialog.

      Thanx! indeed. (mind you, it is with double “e”):)

  • Rodab

    Hello Hailat,
    Nice iNews analysis. Nice dig, too. Really! I am wondering as to why I don’t see it on the front page. Not being approved as Gedab News Analysis is not bad enough….

    The other day The state media referred to Major General Awlyay as the administrator of Zoba Maekel. He was the head of the sport commission till that point. The news also debuted a Minister of Labor and Welfare Gebrihiwet KaHsay who held the position now held by Awlyay, and succeeding Minister Salma Hassen. I have no information on where Salma is moved to now, any words on that? Also what other silent reshuffle are you hearing?

    • saay7

      Selamat Rodab:

      For those who think that Isaiasism and PFDJ distinction I make is just me overreaching, consider that, several weeks ago, Gebrehiwet Kahsay was shown at the Cabinet of Ministers meeting saying, just like his colleagues, nothing. Not only did the Eritrean people not know why the governor was at a cabinet meeting (because Eri-TV just showed his face without any announcement), I am very certain that THE MINISTERS THEMSELVES didn’t know why he was there just like they didn’t know when the new Minister of Finance just showed up.

      At the time, I wrote (in Tigrinya of course, so the “enemies” don’t read us:) Haile the Gr8 to ask, hey, Gedab News was going to do a report on this but halfway through we said, “what’s the point? It is like reporting Isaias changed his blue khakis to grey ones.” Could Gr8 News cover it? And he essentially said, “yawn! I will pass!”)

      My point is that the contempt (nEqet: bdiE) that Isaias Afwerki has for the Eritrean people is applied on the “Cabinet of Ministers.” And thus the clear separation between Isaiasism and PFDJ.


      • Rodab

        Hi Sal,
        Your point is well taken. My feeling is those who believe PIA=PFDJ and that there couldn’t possibly be a slight change of governance with a Isaiasless PFDJ are in the tiny minority. And most of them are here in Awate. Oh and don’t try to reason about the likelihood of a better and reformed PFDJ without the handful on the top. You might as well talk to the wall:-)

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Hey Rodab,

          Just for the record, what it matters is which idea brings durable peace and harmony to Eritreans. The Eritrean people gave the unsuspected and unconscious support to PFDJ. And the outcome became slavery and migrating in droves all over the world. Being in the minority view doesn’t in anyway implies that their ideas are wrong. It will be proved otherwise when it hits home the consequence of “tyranny of the majority.” After all you have already their “value system” and you will endure the pain that caused from their value system. Those who separate Issayas from PFDJ, believe me, history will teach you that they are hand and gloves “one as leader and the other as system” in the near future.

          The great American legislature, Ted Kennedy, in his DNC speech of 2008, had echoed the following words “The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on”. For those who are in the minority view, his message is a reminder and has optimistic value to them. So They will continue by saying, the hope will remain alive, the dream will continue, and the effort will persist to change the value system of PFDJ.

      • tes

        Dear saay,

        The Dictator Issaias and Pfdj distniction is very clear and simple. DIA is PFDJ, but PFDJ is not DIA, simple as it is. All the minsiters are PFDj, but PFDJ is not all the ministers. PFDJ is the sytem that braces people like DIA. I hope, you will not say me DIA and very few others, some of the still in the pfdj netwrok formed pfdj and is theirs. No No, No!

        Why I say this, pfdj is the system that rules Eritrea with ideologies, policies, strategies, programs and projects (and they have special rule of law called Rule of the Jungle) and this is manifested in all sectors of the transitional Eritrean government (transitional since the date of independence, NO formal government of Eritrea, you know that better).DIA as the master of pfdj ideology (they need to take care for the intellectual property e as they arnot the owners, oh I forgot, Eritrea is not member of WTO, no worries).


  • Amde

    I like the clarification that the article is talking about the the disintegration of the Ethiopian “Government” as opposed to Ethiopia the country. I haven’t read the article so I can’t really judge. But it is most likely talking about some re-alignments within the ruling coalition of EPRDF, as well as within the individual parties within it. Keep in mind when European publications talk about goverments, they are typically talking about coalition governments formed to represent parliamentary majorities. I take their talk of government formations and disintegrations in the same light.

    I don’t beleive EPRDF is about to disintegrate, let alone Ethiopia. There are too many institutional things built in and the sheer momentum of a phenomenally effective bureaucracy. But the Ethiopian leadership is now for the most part a new generation that did not fight against the Derg. As essentially a single party state, it is anybody’s guess what the true ideological orientation of the many of the new members are, but basically, if you are ambitious and you wanted to have a career in government, you become a member of one of the coalition parties.

    I actually think it is a good thing. Even if politics is for the privileged of the EPRDF, having some kind of dynamism internally – call it an informal competitive checks and balances – is a much healthier situation than the cult of Melles we were being bombarded with.

    Now they just need to ease off the Melles hagiograohy and start working on their own generational narrative.


  • Semere Tesfai


    I said this many times and let me say it again. The Woyanes have learned their lesson (the price of close relation with their kin on the other side of the Mereb River). And they will never, never….ever repeat that same mistake again – for as long as they are at the helm. Not that they don’t want good relation with Eritrea – they do (at least some), because the Killis of Tigray and Wollo are the most to prosper from good relation with Eritrea. But they are not going to do it; because they can’t even if they want to.

    I hate explaining myself using analogy , but what the heck – the thing about PFDJ and Woyane is like – the kind position (opinion) you take towards your old lover, to win the heart of your new lover. The more outrageously insane position you show towards your ex (hate, trashing, aggression…) the more your new lover will love you and trust you.

    Or simply, the Tigreans are 6% of the Ethiopian population and they are married to the
    Amara extremists. And they can’t sleep with Amara extremists and fall in love with Eritreans. Any effort while the Woyanes are at the helm is a waste of time. I hope you got my drift.

    • Pappillon

      Semere Tesfai,

      Are you for real? Really? That is the worst analogy I have ever heard. Are you saying that in order for the Weyanes to stay in power and win the hearts of the Amharas, they trash and badmouth PFDJ? I think you’re watching more of a reality T.V. say, “The Atlanta Housewives.” Get real!

      • Semere Tesfai


        It worked for Meles. Didn’t it?

        • Pappillon

          Semere Tesfai,

          Meles was never appeasing towards either the Amharas or any other ethnic group. And he is on the record when, ዓሰብ ዓሰብ አንዳበሉ ምስሃወኽዎ እናሃለ ጎልጎል እናሃለ ፈረስ ሓይሊ እንተ ኣለኩም ኬድኩም ኣምጽእዋ እዩ ዝበሎም. You’re getting carried away with conspiracy theories. You need to take it easy. Trust me, Eritrea will be fine once the tyrant is gone.

    • Kim Hanna

      Mr. Semere Tesfai,
      I read many mundane posts, some good, some bad, some crazy, some sad and then voila out of the blue a comedy jewel.
      What an analogy!
      Well Semere, your suspicion is right. We are in love, not only that we are married.
      So don’t be coming around looking over our fences, no more. You hear!

      • Dear Kim Hanna,

        The drama with Eritrea is not only that her elites have brought her to this utterly precarious and tragic position, with the danger to implode and become a failed state, but most importantly, the elites continue to be a completely incorrigible group of people, who are diachronically insensitive to the suffering of their people; callous at heart and blind to reality. Why they continue to say, our way or the highway, while everything is disintegrating before their eyes, is beyond me. Unfortunately, “triumph over what you call your enemy or disappear while trying, ignoring the cost to the Eritrean people”, seems to be their guiding philosophy.

        Implementation of the eebc decision first and then negotiation, and the other way around, has become a tug of war, which they know they are not going to win. Mr. Cohen and others tried the PFDJ way and they failed, and nevertheless, Eritrean elites continue to sing the same mantra. The present status quo of animosity, my friend, serves their purpose, and that is why they are insisting on the same unattainable demand. An insignificant piece of land should not have defined the fate of Eritrea, even if Ethiopia has failed to respect her signature.

        The sin TPLF has committed, in the eyes of Eritrean ultra-nationalists, is that they have declared in the most unequivocal way that they are Ethiopians. Eritrean ultra-nationalists had put all their hope on the disintegration and demise of Ethiopia,
        to create the Eritrean giant of the horn, and this has not happened, because the people of Tigray wore their Ethiopian colors with pride. Be sure, they have
        made the right choice for the sake of their bright future and the bright future of all Ethiopians.


    • Jo

      Selamat Semere,

      Yes Sir!! I got your drift alright! worse, they are mistaking the resentment Eritreans have towards they government, to sympathizing with their cause: to compromise everything Eritrean. Wrong.

      Luwam zelewo leiti!!

  • Pappillon


    The following is part of an article penned by an apparent PFDJ where it seems to be a bit of a curious take and might as well be alluding to the coming of age of the much hyped “PFDJ in reformation.” Read on….

    I spend most of my time reading and researching, assisting fellow Eritreans in need, and writing articles in defense of my country, Eritrea. For me, Eritrea is everything. For I know that a people without a county of their own are like birds without wings at the mercy of their enemies. I thus have a strong belief that Eritreans, irrespective of their differences and anger with their government, must defend independent Eritrea and its people. It must be made abundantly clear that Eritrea belongs to the Eritrean people and not to the PFDJ government or its leader Issayas Afeworki, as some seems to believe. Consequently, Eritreans must be very loyal to their country and its people, irrespective of the nature of their government. If we don’t, one day we could be like birds without wings or a nesting-place. Is this what we want? The answer is obviously
    an emphatic no. For independent Eritrea is going to shine forever.

    Read more:

  • Dawit


    • Fanti Ghana

      Thank you, and I owe you one, for saying what I could not say for fear of Moderator’s wrath!

      • Dawit


        Moderators are extremely tolerant. You could have said anything subject to their guidelines. The guidelines is a kind of mini-constitution. It ties the moderator’s hands if say things that does not go against the guidelines. I know some times they might get irritated by what we say but seem to have learned the value of tolerance.

        • Fanti Ghana

          Thank you, and no worries Dawitom,
          I have known since the moment they launched their
          website years ago. They have been awesome ever since, and I am thoroughly
          familiar with their guidelines. In addition, I know recovering from the kind of
          attack they had two Sundays ago is a daunting task. In fact, they did very well
          in their speedy recovery, but today, it was too hot at work, I was feeling
          lazy, and I, suddenly, felt entitled to say that for blocking me from posting during
          cleanup for a whole week. I am okay now.

  • Eyob Medhane


    Where are you, man. I found the answer for the question you’ve asked me the other day. What does a guarantor do?

    Here you have it. That’s what a guarantor do… 🙂–Kiir-claims/-/1066/2311816/-/aeq3vp/-/index.html

    Stop laughing, man. This is serious. You too, Sal… 🙂

    • haileTG

      Dear Eyoba,

      My insider knowledge doesn’t stop with PFDJ. In fact that is the boring and slow going portion of my portfolio 🙂 My lead picture of PMHD that was forwarded with my earlier comment asking you the question was meant to give you a clue of the mood of your country’s PM with the SS guys 😉 Now let’s listen how Kiir explained that Machar was so corrupt that he had to go to all out war to save the new nation!

      PS: IA has told me that he is willing to come to IGAD to personally request to join the club, but scared that PMHD would break his balls 🙂 🙂

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Yodita,

    could you help us to establish your password in the desqus in order to avoid going back to the article. It is tiresome especially when the comment section run pages and pages. Pleas do so.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Rahwa T: I am pasting down your question because I did not have a prompt to answer it where it was.
    “Mahmud Saleh,

    I am an Ethiopian. I appreciate your wise approach in handling sensitive political issues of the two countries. But I don’t have that appreciation this time and kindly ask you to give us a bit of deeper explanation on some points. I am interested to know about those Eritreans fighters who helped the “weak” woyane and wounded and died to “free” Ethiopians from the brutal regime. I always feel this is highly exaggerated and wonder if there Eritreans fighters at all who died on Ethiopian soil excepting those heavy-weapon operators who helped at Shire. I believe you are the one would help me in having clear understanding of this. I am ready to accept the truth, but if and only it is substantiated with evidence, not the type of unfounded arguments that I read from few great writers here at Awate forum.”

    My answer:
    1. Rahwa T, it is my sincere desire that we looked forward instead of dwelling in the past.
    2. Eritreans helped Ethiopians for their own interest and the other way round is also true.
    3. I would not listen to any Eritrean who tells me Eritreans “liberated” Ethiopia from Mengistu single handed; nor would I listen to any TPLF cadre who tells me they saved EPLF FROM EXTINCTION
    4. There was cooperation and collaboration that went through rough stages, at times, which culminated in 1991.
    5. The brunt of the war and the best army of Ethiopia was in Eritrea ( don’t take my word, please try to obtain recent books by Derg officials and generals- Mengistu himself, Fikre Wegderes, Dawit Woldegiorgis…General Wubetu Tsegaye who commanded hueletgna abyotawi serawit or ሁ.ኣ.ሰ), as our sworn enemy they down play or try to minimize whatever appreciation they give to Eritrean Tegadelti, nevertheless, you will have a pretty good picture of the situation.
    6. TPLF military doctrine was different than that of the EPLF, TPLF pursued a mobile and guerrilla strategy while the EPLF put most OF its man and equipment resource in trench war fare; EPLF did not have a choice, it was cornered and pinned down by the mightiest military in black Africa supported by Soviet military hard ware, training and advisers, SO IT HAD TO DEFEND ITS BASES AND SO DEFENSE LINES WERE CREATED WHICH WENT ON FOR TEN YEARS…VERY…VERY..LONG ONES, however, EPLF also combined mobile and guerrilla styles too.
    7. These differences made TPLF lighter, since it did not have ” a must defend” rear bases, it did not acquire the know how that comes with trench war fare, meaning- even if it was capturing tanks and heavy artillery pieces it was destroying them- you need a formidable rear base, technical support and networks of roads to utilize those heavy pieces of equipment.
    8. TPLF fighters were as fierce as their Eritrean counter parts, they had their own great Ibrahim Afas, Wuchus..Ali Ibrahims…Said Salehs…Petros Soloms…). They have a history they should be proud of and we do have a history we are proud of.
    9. So who did what?
    I don’t have complete info to give you the full extent of the cooperation; what I will jot down are just reminders. But first the context:
    I am talking mostly about TPLF and EPLF; bear in mind there were two major organizations in Eritrea during the inception of TPLF, there were also multiple nationalist organizations in Ethiopia, Oromo, Ogadien, Afar…etc; both the ELF and EPLF had had contacts with these organizations; I will list what I know from the EPLF side only, and also remember, this is just an account of a person who happened to be in the field in those years and not a privileged inside story.
    When TPLF was launched around 1975, they had an advantage of the fact that there were Eritrean organizations who were happy to assist TPLF to get rid of Mengistu which would help them get Eritrea liberated. So Eritreans were doing it for their interest; and Ethiopians were also assisting Eritreans for their own interest. So it was mutual. Now some of the facts:
    * EPLF helped set up and assisted a lot of Ethiopian organizations (I don’t want to waste your time, and frankly, mine, too, they are many, some known others very small). The assistance included training, material, technical supports, joint operations inside Ethiopia, releasing POWs who wanted to join different organization after training them (by the end of the liberation war, there were around 150,00 POWs released, not all of them became fighters, some went home others abroad, some decided to be fighting with us and paid dearly with their lives to liberate Eritrea), political and diplomatic support, since Eritreans were ahead of their Ethiopian counter parts in this field, thanks to the works of pioneers like the late Osman Saleh Sabe, the world and particularly the Middle East was familiar with the plight of our people and the nature of our revolution.
    * Now the sensitive part: TPLF/EPLF, who did what?
    I hate to go to this subject, but since I am asked, I will jot some that I remember.
    – there is no controversy that TPLF was helped to get started by the EPLF ( when the founderS of TPLF decided TO GO for armed struggle, they sent a batch to Sahel to get trained and seek material assistance); EPLF (shaebia), as you know, does not speak of what it contributed, but I hear a lot from the other side. Here are some points for starters.
    * TPLF had a solid ground to build on like getting military training and manuals, organizational skills, military experiences (their military training and military units organization and names of ranks were copy cuts of that of the EPLF.
    * They were getting continuous training in areas of military science, paramedics, music (their cultural group was trained in Sahel), explosive training (land mines), artillery, garages…., propaganda, their first broadcast was from Dimtsi hafash radio of EPLF in 1979, (ironically, ELF also had a joint radio program with the EPLF at that time, TPLF, later, is accused of participating in the liquidation of ELF, in 1981)….etc
    *I don’t know if they needed military hard ware except in the early years, they were fighting and capturing arms.
    * Their trainees, about a brigade size participated in1982, derg’s largest offensive, they were as fierce fighter as their Eritrean counter parts, of course Eritreans were way ahead of them in trench war fare and endurance (constant assaults and bombardment, living in close quarters…); sadly some ex-TPLF cite this as an exaple when they brag of saving Eritreans from defeat, they either ignore it or probably their experience limit it to know that a brigade size of trainees was nothing to the man power EPLF committed in its defenses which ran for hundreds of kilometers and which busied more than ten brigade EPLF strong force, but it is something we need to thank the people of Tigray for. There are tigrawot who gave their lives to defend Eritrean struggle.
    * There were events in which the people of Tigray gave material to the cause of Eritrea.
    * 1983-1985: the lost opportunity years, TPLF spent them in cleansing itself and reorienting its military strategy towards major military operations (Gidey zaratsion and Berihu, TWO TOP GUYS WERE KICKED OUT OF TPLF, AND MELES WAS PROPELLED TO THE FRONT.
    * 1988: demise of nadew ez,TPLF extends hand of cooperation.
    * Now I come to your question:
    – like I tried to alert you before, TPLF was light, not because it would not acquire heavy military hardware but because of its military doctrine; so when it offed on attacking big military garrisons, like Shire Endaselasie, naturally it needed assistance, and was provided with it. Nothing of a big stuff.
    *Its offensive continued; well, it was good for us too, in fact it was a smart thing to take the war in to Ethiopia, therefore, heavy artillery and tank units were sent, plus advisers and technical supports; again nothing to brag about; they went all the way to Addis, until the border war broke out our units were in Ethiopia, nothing to brag about, I guess, we were doing it for our good, and not necessarily to “liberate” Ethiopia; Ethiopia had more than enough man power and tech know how to liberate itself; we just happened to have had readily available capabilities to offer, and EPRF leadership was smart to utilize it without selling out its interest.
    * EPLF also waged battles inside Ethiopia ( for instance: the capture of Asosa, how many kilometers from Sahel? joint operations with all Ethiopian oppositions at that time.
    Bottom line, Rahwa, please pray for peace, and let’s look forward, lets work to make war our generations experience only, let’s not hand over our kids the culture of guns and violence, war is not cool; it is ugly; as an Ethiopian, look at your country. You can definitely see the difference between war and peace. That’s why we, the people, have responsibility not to echo what the cadres say.

    • Yodita

      Mahmud Saleh: You are an overwhelming owesome person!! What a great privilege to have you in this forum. We will all be enriched and benefit a great deal from having a look at our contemporary history from a close range. Between the lines of your powerful post, you ooze with honesty and simplicity and yes great wisdom. God bless you.

    • Rodab

      Selam MaHmud,
      Very rich and informative message. Kudos!
      I had heard Ethiopian POWs captured by EPLF who latter ‘decided’ and joined the TPLF. But unless I forgot it, I didn’t know there were actually some who joined the EPLF and even paid the ultimate price. What could have motivated them to take such super extra miles is something of wonder to me. This, of cource is assuming their decision was of free will.
      Thank you sir, and keep up the good works!

      • Mahmud Saleh

        salam Rodab and Yodita;
        Thank you both for your encouraging words.
        It was voluntary, most of them were doing it as an act o f”payback”, if you will, some of them as an “internationalist duty”, remember Che Guevara, may be Yodita can say more as to why people could have fought in foreign lands helping others. There were mrukhat tegadelti who rose up to company commanders, married to Eritrean tegadelti,….etc. While they were in captivity, they were able to form their own “government” so any complaints of abuses and mistreatment was addressed, particularly in the eighties, the Red Cross was involved so their living improved. They had doctors from among themselves, they had teacher and continued education (I don’t know if they had classes beyond elementary). The problem was that it was overwhelming for EPLF, and dergue refused to accept them, even through the red cross, he denied having POWs all along, so prior to any anticipated offensive of the derg, all those who wanted go were released because it was expected new POWs would arrive.
        * I obtained the number (150,000) yesterday from a researcher named Tekie Tesfaldet who is archiving war damages and atrocities in the Dept of Archives.
        I can tell you EPLF was careful in its transaction, all POWs were registered and let go, in most cases,including in front of observers, those who decided to stay on. That was of course EPLF.

        • T. Kifle

          Dear Mahmud,

          Truth be told. You are the most reasonable EPLFite I ever read and that is great thing to witness. I, however, have one thing to point out here, I will have a say on the theme of your answer to Rahwa some other time .

          Now, The POWs you mentioned had undergone a slave labour for years. Clearing roads, digging in trenches, underground bunkers and what have you. So EPLF’s handling of POWs was terrible to say the least. As to why they joined the struggle, as we cannot rule out some might had “International spirit” running in their heads, we cannot also rule out their desire to escape slave labour choosing dying in fighting dignified than languishing in backbreaking chores . Of course that’s much better than ELF’s onslaught of the POWs as we all know but far from the conventional handling of prisoners of war.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            salam T.Kifle: so, this is just my opinion and is based on what I saw. I am not an authority, so do not squeeze me to death; you know who to call if you really want an official take on this issue. Now, before I proceed commenting on your comment, let me just say something as a back ground:
            -both countries have no good records to brag about with regard to prisoners in general and POWs in particular ( hate to remind you of Minilik’s maiming of Eritrean prisoners of war during the battle of Adwa, 606 Eritreans had their right arms and left legs amputated)
            – You must be familiar with how tegadelti prisoners (Ethiopians and Eritreans) were treated; save the tortures of civilian wudabat under derg; we will need to work hard to change our attitude toward human rights.
            – In one of your entries, you cited “Romai” and how he along with his comrades were murdered
            -Generally Africans and particularlt ‘habesha” are not great when it comes to human rights; it will take us talking to each other respectfully to raise the awareness (particularly the youth of both countries ( but I can tell you, we are better compared to some areas ( think of sierrra leone and Liberia treatments fo their captives)
            Having said that,
            1. Yes I saw them clearing roads, and building schools and hospitals, but so were every tegadalay or gabar with a beating heart, we were working around the clock for survival; we were literally cornered, so it is not that tegadelti were idle and the POWs were doing tegadelti chores; every living soul in Sahel was working around the clock. Yes, every prisoner is kept involuntarily, of course, in that sense you may characterize it as a form of slavery, they were never made to work trenches ( you would not show a POW who could be released or could escape your positions and your trench working artistry (every army has its own techniques in trench works, tactical diployments of its forces…and alignment of its positions)
            2. Remember that EPLF was under constant pressure, with meager resources including clothing and food; whar would you do if you were in that dire situation? You can not just let them go (I called a friend of mine who worked in the department of prisoners for many years and who checked my previous take on this issue, he said that at one time the number of prisoners were more than the tegadelti in the rear bases), where are you going to release this peple? ( Guantanamo bay prison), you have to make sure they do not come back to fight you with the next offensive. So, I guess we did what we could for the survival of both of us (the prisoners and tegadelti). We shared with them from what little we had till the mid eighties when a committee of pows which comprised Col. Girma Tesema, deputy commander of Wuqaw Ez, after the commands demise, pilot Bezabeh Petros…etc, I believe Dawit Woldegiorgis had something to do with it, too, made diplomatic pressures and brought in humanitarian aids to the POWs, which improved their lives.
            3. on the joining of EPLF, it was volutary (they were not lured by any offers, and actually was done at the same time; when it was release it was release; you had choices, to join other Ethiopian organizations, to go home or if you want to join the EPLF….it was open.
            4. The problem was refusal of derg and not EPLF’s determination to “enslave” them.
            5. T.Kifle; poverty is poverty, we were poor captors, poor in resources and poor in experience, but we never intended to enslave them, I believe, under the dire circumstance, the EPLF did a remarkable job and tens of thausands were able to reunite with their families. I believe the information of our handling was reaching derg’s soldiers which encouraged them to lay arms and surrender, if we did not have a good reputation, I don’t think we would end up capturing that many.

          • Rodab

            Dearest MaHmud,
            Superb, again! It is regrettable you weren’t around here in the forum all these years (or where you?). From now on, it will be your posts I will look for first, whenever I come here to baytona, for you’ve become my biggest memhr. God bless!

          • SA

            I second that Rodab. Mahmud is great not just for his wealth of information but more importantly for the manner he is sharing his knowledge with us. He seems to lack the defensive and belligerent posture of some of our Eritrean writers here in this forum when the issue of Ethiopia is raised. I also appreciate Amanuel Hidrat and Haile the Great in this regard, i.e., the mature and peaceful manner with which they discuss Ethio-Eritrean issues.


          • T. Kifle

            Dear Mahmud,

            Thank you for the candid reply. And I would like to tell you that the two of us are almost in the same page except we have our own way of stating the “facts”. Now let me give some introduction as you beautifully did here and in your other thread before I address some of your points.

            The TPLF I knew articulated that struggles survive thrive and reach their goals fundamentally due to their inherent strengths and stipulated causes. Here “strength” is redundant since no strength can be accrued with out having the right cause imbued by those who carry them on their shoulders (whatever that means to an observer). In their bid to unseat the military dictatorship, the Ethio-Eritrean Ghedli, I would assume, had enjoyed one of a kind the best cooperation between each other. However, that doesn’t mean the revolutions would necessarily die in the absence of the other. Rather what it would mean is the goals would linger, would take unbearably longer time to achieve. So it’s fair to state that we worked out our ways, we helped each each when we feel like doing it on our own terms and succeeded. Both Fronts should be grateful for the help and presence of the other where the absence of one would significantly diminish their efforts and defer their achievements. On the other hand, the world is not bereft of examples of revolutions that died before they could achieve their goals. The fact that the cause is just is a necessary condition but not sufficient to guarantee victory. Both fronts understood that and willingly cooperated.

            If that is the case, what are the underlying problems as far as the interactions of the two ghdelies is concerned?

            1. The problem starts with EPLF’s understanding of their exaggerated roles in the help extended to TPLF completely at variance with your beautiful. exposition. They thought that they were the creators and mentors of Ghedli Tigray. I would have been fine even with it had the problem just ended there but the fact is that it entailed series ramifications which costed both countries immensely when they assumed state power in their respective capitals. All their policies were crafted based on this hallucinations taking Ethiopia ( Woyane in their parlance), as a junior partner that can be converted to any use at whim. Why? because, the country is “a loser”, militarily “defeated” with a blessing of being headed by a political force that EPLFites knew inside out and could not say “no” to their demands no matter what. So dear Mahmud, my whole interest is not to bring the past in an attempt of defining the future; rather understanding of the role of our past in the decisions we make and actions we take here and now.
            2. EPLF’s act of “big brother” has also induced a frenzy on our side with palatable patriotic undertones that further complicated the relationships. As Solomon T. has explained elsewhere in this forum, main stream politics in Ethiopia have no soft spots of goodwill for Eritrea. But I believe that we can have a measured response irrespective of the behavior in Asmara or that of the ultra nationalists in Ethiopia. That would be possible if Eritreans understand the fundamental flaw and come out of their indifference or adherence to a reasonable middle ground.
            … to be continued

          • T. Kifle

            Dear Mahmud,

            Allow me continue
            from where I stopped.

            1. The 1983/4 saga.

            You would be very much aware that Tigray was hit by a serious drought that left people in their thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. The world was more than willing to help but Derge wouldn’t allow humanitarian operations to be carried out in rebel-controlled areas: a behavior well in par with its nature. TPLF at the time decided that people be transported to Sudan where they can receive international aid in relatively peaceful conditions. Then, it requested EPLF for a safe passage through the Eitrean corridor to Sudan. The answer to that very humanitarian request was a big “NO”. The people of Tigray: who their sons and daughters been buried in the mountains and valleys of Naqfa and Sahel for a greater common good were denied to set their feet on Eritrean soil in that hour of dire need and had to trek out all the way to Sudan carrying their children on their back and shoulders. What would you make out of all of that? Normal political forces will do everything to extend help and or avoid harm to civilians to the extent of entering temporary truce as the prevailing situation demands. I can bet with my life TPLF would never have done that to any people including Eritreans.

            2. The reason forthe denial of access to the corridor had been triggered by TPLF’s explicit
            political stand on EPLF that it lacked attributes of democratic nuances. EPLF severed the relationship on its own, cut all the ties until 1988, a year where it again wanted to mend back the relationship on its own request and accepted by the other side because there was no point in nursing grudges while the bigger enemy is hovering over the horizon. That had created so much disappointment in the rank and file of TPLF but the final conclusion they came about was that EPLF had the right to decide who would walk on their soil though very inhuman in its essence.. They didn’t dwell in it: they moved on.

            3. The artillery unit. Actually that was one battalion provided by EPLF itself as a token of goodwill for the lost years (4-solid years with no communication what so ever) and TPLF accepted that good gesture with respect and gratitude. TPLF, in fact EPRDF at the time, was not in dearth of logistics but no matter how small it would be a help of a good friend is still good and I was personally happy for their presence as it would mean indicative of the interconnectedness of struggle and how it would affect our feature relationships for the better when the war ended. Alas! I was proven wrong. It actually been exploited to formulate wrong policies for the government while the Eritrean elites who should have known better took it a stock of bragging in their utterance and writing.

            4. The POWs, You are right we Africans have to walk miles before we value the essence of human rights and the right of prisoners of war. Menilik’s handling of POWs, brutal as it was and recorded in history, has nothing to do with the mishandling of the same in our own fronts. The explanations for the mass murder of POWs under ELF cannot be buried under the brutality of Menilk, who lived almost a century before us. Yes, Tegadelties were working to cater for their daily lives as well as their struggle were more than ready to pay the ultimate for its cause. But the POWs were made to work under-duress for no other purpose attached to it except they being fallen under their captors. If PFDJ is doing it right now on its own people, it would be more than righteousness
            doing it in Meida.

            5. Assosa. That
            actually had been initiated for looking new partner in the political entity of OLF and I can tell you the wound of that operation are still fresh. EPLF benefited nothing from that expects elevated the barometer of hatred as the operation targeted particular ethnic group as orchestrated by OLF.


            Let us leave history for historians. We cannot live in history while we need each other to make the future of our children much better than the Eritrean and Ethiopia we inherited


            With much respect.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            T.Kifle: We are almost there to shake hands, brother, and declare PEACE. As you heard Gen. Omar Tawil has passed away in prison, Gen. Ogbe, Mahmud Sherifo, Astier Fesehatsien….. are rumored to have died also in prison, many of the founders of the organization you think I am defending are either gone or are in prison, our youth have been made future less…. Economy? forget it. you think I am bragging? What do I brag about? what makes me talk down to you? There is nothing that makes me proud at this time. My hope is we will again make it our way; we will make it against all odds, and this time, it should be real and sustainable. That’s why I encourage people to break ranks and organizational affiliations and work for the common good. You are able at least to bury your political opponents in their country; your opponents are able to openly criticize you, for the first time after Minilik, an Ethiopian head of state was buried in his capital with honor; your economic growth is a pride for all of us; EPRDF changed the face of Ethiopia, I hope for good. That’s undoubtedly the genius of Meles and his colleagues, you need to be careful not to lose the momentum.
            I could, again, go to your points and stretch the debate, but I think I put forward what I thought were facts and the way I saw them and you did put your own counter naration(may be not done?), let the reader decide.
            I will just comment on the blockage; I did not even know about it until years letter, and still do not know what happened to exact it the way my Tigray friends tell it. however, like i said it to Rahwa, I hope one day my son to research it in the university of Mekele and Asmara and tell me what the heck happened. But it is very sad.
            On the pows, I don’tknow if Bezabeh died and it won’t surprise me if he is dead; hey, Gen. Omar has just died in prison.
            Correction: about a brigade participated in the last campaigns of EPRDF. IT WAS COMMANDED BY WEDILETTE (YEMANE), one artillery battelion, commanded by the late col. wedi Ali, a tank battelion commanded by wedi Asfeha, and heavy manchine gun battelion(ራሻሽ) i could not get the name of its commander. Rommadan Awlyay (EPLF’s) mechanized units commander at that time, now M.Gen.also spent time there.
            ***I want to underline some points:

            EPRDF at this point was beyond any body’s control, it was so big, they did not really need equipment. They had more than enough, after all they had already liberated Tigray, and actually at one point they sent some tanks to us according to my buddy who was with our mechanized units ( I was in Dekamhare front).
            እዚኣ ብትግርኛ ክገብራ እየ ዓርከይ TiKifle (ሽሽ…ዕላልና ከይጽይቑልና)። እቲ ኣብ ሕ/ሰብና ዝነበረን ዘሎን (ዝሕባእ ኣይኮነን) ኣብ ሜዳ እውን ይንጸባተቕ ነይሩ። ” ኣነ እሓይሽ”, “መን ከማይ…) ኣብ መንጎ ጀብሃን ሻዕብያን ካብ ነበረ..ኣብ መንጎ ሻዕብያን ወያነን ክነብር እትጽበዮ እዩ። ንሕና ግን ሓላፍነት ኣለና። ከም ትግራዋይ መጠን መንግስትኻ ነቶም “ኣሕዋትና…ጸግዕና..” ኢሎም ዝመጹኹም ኤርትራውያን ጽቡቕ ጌሩ ክሕዞም ተማጎት። ከምቲ ነፍሰሄር መለስ ዝበሎ ” ኣቑሳልና ኣይንሕከኽ”። ኣነን ንስኻን ብእንገብሮ ምክብባር መሪሕ ክንከውን ኣለና እምበር፡ ወናማት ካድረታት ዘዝበልዎ ክንደግም የብልናን። ፖለቲካኛታት ከናቑቱ እዮም ዝደልዩ፡ እቶም ኣጣቓዕቲ ወይ ዝክፈልዎ ስራሕ እዩ ወይ ድማ ሰኣን ፍልጠት እዩ። ኣነ ብፕርፖጋንዳ ኣይናበርን እየ። ንስኻ እውን ከምኡ ከም ትኸውን ትስፉው እየ። ስለ’ዚ ምርጫ ኣለና። ወይ ፈሊጥና ክንጽይቕ ወይ ድማ ጽሩይን ንጹህን ሕልና ክንኩስኩስ። ምሳይ ከም ትሰማማኦ በዓል ተስፋ እየ። ኣብ መወዳእታ በዛ ካብ ሃንቲ ካብተን ንሃይለን ንዓኻን ዝለጠፍክዋ መልሲ ዝቑንጭላ ጠቕሲ (ኣብቲ ናይ ዑማሮ) ክፍለየካ። ” ድኻ ሓረስታይ ኤርትራ ንሓዉ ድኻ ሓረስታይ ትግራዋይ ‘ ዓጋመ’ እንተበሎ ሃብቲ ኣይኮነን እዩ። ከምኡ እውን ድኻ ትግራዋይ ሓረስታይ ንሓዉ ድኻ ኤርትራዊ ሓረስታይ ‘ ዓስከር…ወይ ግዙእ ጣልያን’ እንተበሎ ዝያዳ ሓርበኛ ኣየግብሮን እዩ። ኣብ ሓርበኛነት ከምዘይንተሓማመ ተፈታቲንና ኢና” ኢለ ነይረ። ስለ’ዚ ግዜና ኣብቲ ዘተሓቓቑፍ እንተተጠቐምናሉ ይሓይሽ በሃላይ እየ።

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Mahmud,

            You are very diplomatic without losing your ground. That kind of positioning opens the door of understanding and eventually will pull us to talk on issues of common interest. Continue to bring ground breaking in that diplomatic voyage.

          • Yodita

            Kbur Mahmud Saleh,
            T. Kifle debating you is helping us to see an aspect of you (and of him too) which otherwise we wouldn’t have. We are mesmerized by both.
            Would I be right to say that you are a product of the EPLF that incarnated creativity and selfless service up to sacrifice for a better tomorrow? Would you have emerged the way you are had you spent your time at the front with the only scope to replace the Derg by the present government in our country? Your persona, your maturity, through your writings defy that. More than your experience and knowledge and writing skills, it is your wisdom that sky-rockets my hope that our tomorrow is not bleak.
            We are learning so much more since your name appeared in Awate!!

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear Yodita: Thank you for the encouragement and ሽኮር ቃላት።

          • SA

            Thank you Mahmud and T. Kifle for sharing your knowledge and doing it in a mature and peaceful manner. You guys are simply great.


          • Pappillon

            Dear T. Kifle,

            Many thanks for the historical narrative which could potentially shed some light on the ongoing and at times seemingly chronic mistrust between the two governments. Would you be kind enough to touch on the much touted and if it is true at all where Meles was seen as a man with a soft heart for Eritrea and if his policy towards Eritrea was influenced by his Eritrean blood line? Or was it mere conspiracy theory concocted by his detractors. It is perfectly fine if you opt not to discuss it at this point in time or in a public forum.

          • T. Kifle

            Dear Pappillon,

            There are people who attribute the firm position of TPLF on Eritrea’s self-determination to Meles’s bloodline. I would say either these people don’t know their Meles and TPLF or they were trying to bury their heads under the wafer-thin sand like the proverbial ostrich. TPLF’s stand on Eritrea took root way before he came to prominence.

            The thing is this. He happened to lead a country riddled by all kind of wars that run as long as its history and as a consequence turned itself into beggary and extreme destitution while people’s mantra reminisces the usual and mundane”African bread basket”axiom. He understood the fundamental flaws Ethiopian political elites and leaders nurtured all long had a direct correlation to the poverty and backwardness the country have become famous for. He also understood that Ethiopia was extremely weak not only economically but also politically where the bonds that once held the nation intact were about to break one thread after another. The old chauvinist patriotism and value system externalized all the problems the country was facing to external conspiracies and no one seemed willing to look inside, hence, no stop could be made to reverse the grim reality we as a people were daunted for. Then, he came with an alternative theory: that Ethiopia is weak not because of external conspiracies but due to inherent flaws in identifying and hence addressing its main challenge-poverty. He argued that unless we changed this reality, Ethiopia would reach a point where its survival as a nation state would at be a stake. He tried to create a consensus within the EPRDF leadership and later with the entire cross-section of our societies that our number one enemy is neither this or that external enemies but home-grown poverty we had been blinded to see it clearly for what it is. External vulnerability is directly proportional to internal variables where the stronger the internal indicators, the better the deterrence. Therefore, Policies(both external and internal) were geared towards that effect: to fight poverty. How do we do that? among other things, we need to have peace. Peace within and peace wit our neighbours. He was deeply at pain in the last war for all his theories fell apart for reasons we all know and wanted to come out of it as quick as possible.

            The other theory with which he managed to influence his followers had been that one cannot be good for his own people and bad for others . If one is bad for other people he, more often than not, would be bad to his people too. So he used to say the extent we are good to others will serve us how good we are to our people. Of course, this is extremely idealistic view but that was the man inspired partly by pragmatism and partly by idealism. Meles’s “soft-heart” for Eritrea, therefore, had nothing to do with his bloodlines but has to do with the loyalty toward his theories


          • Pappillon

            Dear T. Kifle,

            I am deeply indebted to you not only for your candor where the issue at hand could as well be sensitive but as I read your input I felt as if Meles was explaining himself. Meles should be proud of himself (please excuse the present-tense) not only for changing the course of the nation for better but for producing a remarkable citizen like you. No kidding. Again, thank you.


          • T. Kifle

            Dear pappi,

            I am humbled by the nice words. Thank you very much.

          • tes

            Dear T.Kifle,

            Your narrations have veins of blood within them that can easily be part of my own veins. I strongly agree with you that Late Melle’s blood line has nothing to do regarding Eritrean views but the common pragmatism and partly by idealism approach to problem-solution search. No matter how it can be conspired, the truth is, Eritrea as a free country that was born because of colonial hegemonic scramble among the land that was interconnected because of different reasons.

            TPLF accepted the colonial outcome and in this line, Eritrea was and is a FREE nation. Any attempt to nulify this truth was nothing but followed by chaos and blood sheds. No matter how deep your critic is, you are the man who can sit again on table for the better future of these two people.

            Thank you


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam T.Kifle,

            I have no doubt that you have understood the man “Meles” and his thought process. As I have read his dissertation for his PHD (unfinished) brought in to light by Habtamu Alebechew, after his death, I saw a man with a vision not only to his country but to the region. The man is not only pragmatic, he was also theoretician challenging the ivory tower of academic insularity of our era. He challenged them that “trickle down economics” of the west doesn’t work in developing countries.

            Actually, I heard myself his theory that “one can not be good to his people and bad to others” when we asked him to increase the admission of Eritrean student to higher education in the Universities of Ethiopia. This is what he told us: The reason we are doing is not to satisfy you ( you means the opposition), but it is because we believe educated societies can understand intra-state and inter-state conflicts. The more we produce educated citizens from both sides the more the possibility to resolve our difference. So he said, we took it as a project to the concept of good or friendly neighborliness. Currently, his theory bottom up development has got credence within the African leaders. What a remarkable man left untimely.

            Mr. Kifle, thank you for giving us the insight in the man’s mind who was totally devoted for peace and development.

          • T. Kifle

            Dear Amanuel,

            Thank you for the nice words and I am aware from your writing here at awate that you have high regard towards him. and I am very much appreciative of that. There are many issues that can be said about him ranging from leadership qualities to scholastic contributions as you aptly described it here. He was a game changer. Unfortunately we lost him so early.


          • T. Kifle

            Dear Mahmud,

            This last instalment was designed to run a different course. But reading your latest reply, I decided to make it look different in tone and content.

            No, I am not that kind of person swayed by sentimental bravado and low-level talk like the ዓጋመ OR ‘ ዓስከር…ወይ ግዙእ ጣልያን’ etc. I really am not that kind of person. I am not writing here for the quest of gratification by mounting insults on my Eritrean brothers and sisters but to have a seasoned exchange of views that would help us heal our suppurating wounds step by step. It is not to mean you said that in your messages but find it imperative to open myself a little bit to you. I try to find out the information I need and formulate my thoughts based on my values. I air my views on issues and point out mistakes committed by my government and the party I support in the open. And for me the Eritrean problem, how complicated it seemed looks easy to solve. May be I am naive but I hold the opinion that our problems are surmountable given the state of mind in PFDJ and its elites touches the ground.

            Therefore, In the spirit of brotherhood and future relationships let us brave to call a spade a spade. Still, I am looking for your answers for my questions on the policy framework of PFDJ. I am the opinion that most of the problems we are facing in common today are reflections of PFDJ’s misguided policies towards my country which have their basis on misunderstanding of their role in Ghdeli in particular and the Eritrean identity in general. Why I focus on this particular issue is because I have convinced myself that the main problem we are living to witness arise from those values. If you brush it out now as we have been doing it in pre-1998, we would bogged down into the same trap as the fundamental issues wouldn’t be touched. So I expect from you or from any Eritrean for that matter that Eritreans have to make a u-turn with their value system towards Ethiopia. Then only true reconciliation would take its natural course.


          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear T. Kifle: I don’t think you understood well my last reply to you, or I may have made it create ambiguity; it has nothing to make you feel tight. (readers please retrace all the threads between us); now, you want to call a spade a spade, I thought we have been discussing in that spirit all along. I want you though to remain specific; for instance you are talking about values, as though Eritrean values need revision. Could you specify what value system you are talking about ( because you are not calling a spade a spade, you are overgeneralizing in all of your answers; you are bent on a fishing spree).I have been as specific as possible with what.. when… where… who…(dates, events, quantities… of topics I replied to. Could you be generous too with your replies, particularly, I urge you to be specific.

            1. “Still, I am looking for your answers for my questions on the policy framework of PFDJ.” (your request)

            I am not a member of PFDJ, I carried the card for 4 months only, I have never agreed with its policies.

            2.” I am the opinion that most of the problems we are facing in common today are reflections of PFDJ’s misguided policies towards my country which have their basis on misunderstanding of their role in Ghdeli in particular and the Eritrean identity in general. Why I focus on this particular issue is because I have convinced myself that the main problem we are living to witness arise from those values.” ( your statement)
            a/ share with us the misguided policies of PFDJ towords your country; I really want to know.
            b/ What Eritrean identity are you talking about?
            c/ “PFDJ’s misguided policies……which have their basis on misunderstanding of their ghedli…” T.Kifle, this has been an ongoing contest between both Ghedli’s ( Eritrean and Tigrean), and unless you become comfortable to reread the Tigrigna part of my last reply ( That this bikering is most probably rooted in the frictions between the two Tigrgnas ( I am not a Tigregna, so I may miss some subtle cultural expressions; please correct me if I am wrong) which could combine cultural and historical contentions expressing itself in Mieda when both organizations tried to sort out issues (big brother/small attitudes); add to it some ideological and doctrine differences (by the way woyane was adherent of the most radical leftist leaning and was accusing EPLF of being bourgeoisie (that would mean in todays language, we were more democrat)
            I urge to clarify point by point on the questions I raised so that we may have a common definitions and understanding, particularly on revising or having to make ” a u-turn with theirvalue system towards Ethiopia.”
            I need what value system you are refering to and what Eritrean identity are considering. Thanks.

          • T. Kifle

            Dearest Mahmud,

            If card-carrying membership is to mean anything, I am not currently member of TPLF(already disclosed to SAAY during our debate under YG’s article published here on Awate) but my political view falls in the fundamental pillars which the party stands for. That’s why I like SAAY’s teasing phrase “harbegna weyanay”. In any case I also am not interested at all to dwell in the history of ghedli. In fact, I am one of those who wish to see the “romanticising” thing is kept to such a minimum. Now back to the main issues of this instalment.

            I am sorry that I couldn’t make my point clearly to your satisfaction but I believe I have understood your last message and that’s why I avoided unnecessary details and kept it short for I accepted the main theme of your message wholeheartedly. And please rest assured that you made a perfect sense in your Tigrigna paragraph as well. My intention in the above thread has been to initiate a discussion on the points I mentioned with a special focus on the policies Asmara has been pursuing towards Ethiopia since independence. When I say this, I don’t mean that you are part of the decision makers per se but to know your take on the matter with a belief others may also enrich the forum with their insightful inputs.

            Now, the cultural and value squabbles that existed between Ethiopian and Eritrean societies following the colonial divide and further consolidated with thriving of ghedli, I believe, are not unique and are basically harmless if they are limited to inconsequential “gossip corners” and individuals.

            But if such narratives are shared by individuals who are at the helm of affairs and are made into use as policy inputs, that would be a harbinger of eminent disaster to unfold. So All I am saying is the Eritrean Ghedli gave rise to PFDJ’s distorted sense-of-self and that is reflected in almost all of its policy formulations (political, economical etc) that put the state of Eritrea in a combative posture. That’s where my concern lies. I am not bothered about who is who nor am I in a mood of comparing those two entities as history will be the right judge if we are lucky enough to have objective historians that is. I see ghedli Tigray as a necessary evil. That’s all there is in it as far as I am concerned. I am also happy for them if Eritreans celebrate their ghedli with any degree of reverence they see it deem.

            why I am bothered then?
            1. I am yet to see Eritrean elites criticise these policies that factors in Ethiopia lobe-sidedly and that led to war
            2. Even the G-15 (taking Haile Woldetensae’s take( I pray for his safety)) didn’t seem to criticise IA for his wrong policies but for mismanaging them while the right thing to do should have been objecting the policies themselves as they were not based on Eritrean own potentials
            3. All the mighty writers at Awate and elsewhere(save few) hold Ethiopia responsible for escalating the war instead of condemning the initiator of the war proper at the same time hold IA culpable for leading the war badly. This gives me a sense that even if IA was to leave office by some kind of spell, there is still a chance to be entangled with another round of internecine conflicts when a leader feels like he is capable of leading a successful war. So I expect that IA should be condemned for his unprovoked aggression in no uncertain terms. I expect Eritreans lash out their government for attacking the Ethiopian market while Eritrea could have done well in open and honest dealings in a clear give and take basis. I expect Eritreans condemn the massacre of school children at Ayder, the deportation of Ethiopians in 1991 in equal terms they condemned the deportation of Eritreans from Ethiopia in 1998.

            Dear Mahmud, this was what I wanted to say.


          • Mahmud Saleh

            T kifle: Now, you have made it clear and thank you; My communication with you so for has been mature and productive. This is where I get confused and frankly frastrated; I see the time and opportunities lost for both countries, I was not there when the war broke out ( and I would not do much even if i were there, anyway), the topic you’ve raised is beyond my comprehension (it is madness, period);I was so vocal against it ( Eritrean style, coffee shops) and finally we are where we are ( again, what I dreaded most). I may have my opinions on each of the topics you raised, but I am also aware of my limits, so hopefully, others get in to the discussions. Most of them have been discussed through the years; I know you do not expect the same response from Eritreans, but there have been criticism of the way the conflict was handled. Remember, the conflict had begun long before Badme, but was kept away from citizens. That was fatal on the Eritrean side; I touched this subjects on more than two articles in Tigringna published on I will probably have additional say in later in the day ( Iam busy now, but will once again see you later. I admire your candor and your will to communicate with the “other side.”

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear Kifle:

            I have assumed defensive posture for the last few days; it is the tradition of shaebia to go on to offensive after a period of attrition (just for joke/ ንፈገግታ), this time it is going to be on brotherly exchange of views. I have learned greatly from your debate, and frankly SAAY was right to characterize you as a “well read harbegna wayanay”, debating you has solidified my long held belief that had we had open and genuine person to person dialogues or an open society, perhaps, we could have avoided many of the devastating policies that put us in this predicament. In order to give you my personal take (it’s good we know now that we are in this dialogue merely to understand each other’s view of the other side, as concerned citizens, and not necessarily representing our respective government positions); I have narrowed the discussion to 4 major areas (taken from your last installment) and I hope this will conclude our fruitful discussions. Let me know if you are going to continue with your lists, so that I can wait and give you a summarized personal take on the issues you raise.
            Your last installment contained specific and very important elements:
            1. Since PFDJ was a continuation of EPLF (Ghedli), its value systems (which
            were biased against Ethiopia) emanate from ghedli and hence there must have been a biased attitude of ghedli towards Ethiopia even during the ghedli years; and you seem to be focused mainly on “the overstated” (or exaggerated, to use you word) role ghedli Ertra played in bringing about change in Ethiopia and thus developing the sense of entitlement in becoming the deal maker “ big man in the hood”, correct me if I misstated it; if not I will understand the value system you are inquiring about as the “exaggerated role of Eritreans in bringing change in Ethiopia and their assumption that they were/are the makers and/or breakers of deals in Ethiopia.” I think we better keep it in that general statement lest get lost in the labyrinth of details.
            2. That value system caused the deportation of Ethiopians in 1991, bled
            or hurt Ethiopia economically (many Ethiopians characterize it that way); and
            hence, “ I expect Eritreans lash out their government for attacking the
            Ethiopian market while Eritrea could have done well in open and honest dealings in a clear give and take basis.” You believe
            that value system lead to the border war or “unprovoked aggression”, and to the situation we find ourselves in now. Therefore unless Eritreans revise their ghedli attitudes, roles, views…etc., or as you frequently put it our value system towards Ethiopia, we won’t have a lasting peace.
            3. Those entrenched value systems, perhaps, hinder or at least have
            hindered Eritreans from looking into themselves critically to be able to make “a U-Turn” on their views towards Ethiopia. Here you bring Eritreans inability to criticize the president’s/ PFDJ’S policies that had led to the war stating that
            whatever criticism made was on handling the war and not on the initiation of it;
            (you mention writers, Haile drue …); and that lead you to have “a sense that even if IA was to leave office by some kind of spell, there is still a chance to be entangled with another round of internecine conflicts when a leader feels like he is capable of leadinga successful war.”
            4. “I expect Eritreans condemn the massacre of school children at Ayder, the
            deportation of Ethiopians in 1991 in equal terms they condemned the deportation of Eritreans from Ethiopia in 1998…. the list continues”

            I kept the last to emphasize the ugly face of war in my reply to you later. So if we’re good to go let me know.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear T.Kifle: I am here just because I promised it, concluding our discussion. I am not sure if you are going to find it or remain buried, but a promise is a promise. It is my personal take of the points you raised, I have no opportunity to get documents and most of the sensitive dealings that were conducted between the two fronts (EPLF&TPLF) are as you know sealed/classified; we don’t know when they will be made public. This alerts us of the fact that sometimes we may be carried away by emotions; we may be dancing to the drum beats of the propagandists of both sides. Peoples of both countries need to be alert. Going to the topics you raised; I am not doing this to give you information that you have not had, but because you asked me with good intentions and I want to reciprocate it with whatever little information I have. Bear in mind that in most cases it is the interpretations and misunderstandings that are creating the problem. What an EPLF person perceives as perfectly well intended assistance might be perceived on the other end as imposition/bullying…etc. The fact is the same the other way round too. What exactly had been transpired between the leaders of both sides in the White House of shaebia (in Anberbe/ስንጭሮ ዓምበርበብ) and in Tigray will yet to be discovered. We will know whether shaebia’s role was exagerated or not when those behind-the-doors-dealings are declassified. For now, we can only speculate and make a meaning of the open interactions and formal/official documents that you can find in the open. With that let me say few lines of the points you raised.
            1. Both ghedli (Eritrean and Tigray/Ethiopian) I believe did consolidate the universally expressed value system of mankind to be free and made them refined and reoriented towards:
            a/ winning the war
            b/ushering a better future
            I suspect you were tegadalay, or if you were big enough to follow events closely in those years, you would be able to see how close we were. Both ghedli had the advantage of having close proximity of geography, culture and history. What you are stressing on is the perception of many Ethiopians that shaebia was the evil of all; as if woyane would not exist if shaebia did not instigate it, train and fund it. Of course, it’s rubbish. If I believe Tigray people and other movements had a just cause, history tells me that at the end they will attract enough popular support to get rid of the system oppressing them. If I apply the same logic to Tigray, it was a just cause and would have made it on its own. However, I believe the realtion of both sides made victory come faster, and reduced the sacrifice one would need to pay had it took on the task alone. So, I can assure you the people and tegadalay did not have a bloated feeling of liberating Ethiopia; the official documents and official lines (which could be googled- things like the 1977 founding congress of EPLF programs; disseminated EPLF literature… highlight our relation was internationalist (language used till the 80s), international cooperation (language used afterward). There is always a feeling of confidence and self reassurance in any society and army, and therefore, it does not surprise me if you heard some EPLF tegadelty speaking of creating Ethiopian resistance. That’s on both sides, though. You heard of the legend that TPLF saved EPLF ass; that a brigade of TPLF rashed from hinterland to save a packing-ready-to-flee EPLF! LOUGHABLE, I am sure you agree with me. But the grudge is there and is expressed, in most cases with demeaning attitude towards Eritrean ghedli. Eritreans did what they could to get liberated, part of it was taking the war in to Ethiopia by way of regional organizations. The only difference is: we saw our relation with the TPLF as one that’s more than any other relations, because:
            a/ it never faltered recognizing the just cause of Eritrea
            b/ it was a formidable fighting force with popular support
            c/it was just too close to be the “other” culturally and historically.
            There is no case when TPLF compromised in its principles or got pushed around even in issues EPLF did not normally compromise (case in point: Badme, tplf would not compromise in its ownership, it was EPLF which compromised stating that it was not time to waste energy and resource fighting with an ally when a whole country was under a common enemy, derg).
            2. Post Independence: a/ I don’t know about the deportation issue, but I am against any forced, and uncompensated deportation
            b, Again, I don’t know what was hashed in areas of diplomacy and security behind doors and in the corridors of both capitals, we are aware only of the official communiques. So, I am not going to say much. however, when I interact with Ethiopians, I hear the same grievance, that Eritreans bled Ethiopian Economy. I ask them, ” What was your government doing?” Isn’t that what businesses do everywhere, exploiting existing loopholes and maximizing profits? If Ethiopians are going to complain about this, it should be addressed to the government of Ethiopia. Eritrea was devastated by war of 30 years, and was trying to find opportunities of markets everywhere. EPLF TEGADELTI served 4 years more without pay, in addiTION TO THE YEARS THEY HAD ENDURED IN THE STRUGGLE, in my case 16+4=20 years. So, I see it as a survival efforts and not because we felt we were entitled to rob Ethiopia. In 1994, I went to Adis Ababa for a joint workshop with our Ethiopian counterparts. An Ethiopian friend gave me a ride to show me the President’s compound, we were not let to enter it, but his point was to show me that it was guarded by shaebia commando? I thought it was an exaggeration and still think so. Yes,there was an Eritrean commando units, but I don’t think they were there for operational needs. Ethiopia had more than enough trained army. But it illustrates how you could misinterpret facts. I don’t believe ghedli value system has to do with the border. Our ghedli value system (the communal value system of truthfulness, good neighborliness, the will and preparedness to resist subjugation, patriotism…selflessness..hard work…etc were expressed individually and communally); they were not different than those of the TPLF. It was all political, EPRDF was struggling to establish legitimacy, and so rightfully; This might have clashed with Eritrean economic survival efforts; poorly handled,this might have culminated in the bloody war. In any case it needs experts and research.
            3. Value systems are changeable, they evolve with time and the challenge of given situations. Certain people may display highly charged patriotic valor in certain situations and generations, but may simmer down with changing attitudes and with understanding. I had different attitude towards Ethiopia once in my life, that situation changed and hence I changed. Ethiopians have to conduct themselves responsibly; grudges and the feeling of revenge should be confronted. It is my belief that both people were dragged to war in the past; we should not allow it again. With regard to PFDJ/PIA, I think the people of Eritrea will have their say. PFDJ is behaving the way it’s behaving because it’s not threatened; I am talking about the absence of an opposition that has a popular support. Just see what proposal and agitation, language…are used by participants of this forum who portray themselves as super heated patriot opponents. Who in his/her right mind is going to waste his/her time even affiliating, let alone working with them? I know they do not represent the majority good citizens, but this time of super militant attitude turns off people as illustrated by the facts on ground- decades of grand gatherings and splittings but nothing really tangible. Unless common guys like me take matters in to their hands and lash both sides, encouraging individuals, groups of realistic and practical plans, unless we stop following passively, the journey is going to be longer which will elongate the suffering of our people. Right now I am concerned about the plight of my country, future Eritrean relationship with Ethiopia will depend partly on what role Ethiopia plays in the meantime.
            4. I know of that school; all I can say is it was horrible. I am a father of four boys; I sympathize with the parents.War is bad; usually innocent women and children pay the price. I am not going to say much; it went all the way to EEBC; I hope that will be the last war; the last grotesque images we see. I grew up in war; you might have seen 1990 carnage caused by Ethiopian planes in Massawa ( please check it on youtube), I remember Hawziens carnage in Tigray too; I know the devastation that Ethiopian army caused on civilian installation in Tesenei, Barentu, Senafe…and you know what scars left in Adigrat and other places. Our role should be peacemaking and watching those politicians who are not going to get the direct heat of war, but who end up benefiting from them. I will watch mine, you watch yours, particularly those of your side who happen to regret supporting the just cause Of Eritrea.

    • saay7

      Selamat Mahmud:

      I don’t know what I like more: your narration of history or that you are doing it without a lot of chest-beating.

      One small correction: the first group of TPLF trainees (which included Siye, Abay Tsehai and Meles Zenawi*) were trained by EPLF at Riesi Adi (Hamassien) and not Sahel. The training occurred in January 1975; TPLF was formed in February 1975.

      * The late PM didn’t accompany the group: he decided to visit his mom’s family in Adi Quala (according to historian and TPLF co-founder Aregawi Berhe).

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Yes, thanks, SAAy7.

    • Rahwa T

      Mahmud Saleh,

      Thank you very for your nice reply. I have been reading your recent posts and I
      enjoyed almost all of them except the one from yesterday. In fact the post I am
      referring lacked the usual calmness and maturity that were typical characteristics
      of your posts. After reading that comment, I doubted if it was coming from the real Mahmud Saleh and had to check and recheck it twice before I kept my fingers on the keyboard to write my question to you. I was confident that you would respond to me. Although I was expecting a reply with some more quantitative figures and names of the Brigade (name of the army) involved in the fight, I think you have genuinely forwarded what you know – “yalewn yewerewere nfug aybalm indilu”. So more or less I am satisfied with your answer although I need additional information from the other sides as well on few of the points you mentioned. Believe me I would not have trusted 20% this response, had it been coming from the AT, irrespective of thier unique writing skill, I think they are kind of “deqi-shuq”, who would do everything to win their argument, as somebody described him here in this forum some time ago.

      As your last point you mentioned the participation of EPLF in the battle of Assossa. I think I have heard or read about it. It was long before EPRDF pushed the derg army out of Tigray and TPLF has not participated in this battle. The information I have is that it was jointly operated with OLF and EPLF. But Assossa was not liberated and the mission was not to liberate the town. The sad part of this battle was that both OLF and EPLF not only looted the hospital, but also patients who were being treated were identified based on ethnicity and only patients who hailed from Amhara were brutally killed.

      Bzkhone kemti zbelkayo ndHrit kab meri’ay nqidmit mTmat yiHaysh. You know what, coming from the boarder of the two nations, I always think of forgetting the past and focus on the future. But most of the talks the run among the Eritrean websites are not inviting. I hope the future would be much better.


      • Mahmud Saleh

        Rahwa T
        ራህዋ ትግራወይቲ ምዃምኪ እንተትነግርኒ ብትግርኛ ምመለስኩልኪ ነይረ። ብዝኾነ፡ ደለይቲ ሰላም ክልቲኡ ወገናት ኣብ ዘቀራርብ እንተሰርሑ ጽቡቕ እዩ። ኣብ ሓደ ናይ ትግርኛ ጽሑፈይ ” ኣዕጽምቲ ተጋሩ ኣብ ጎቦታት ሳሕል ኣሎ፡ ኣዕጽምቲ ኤርትራውያን እውን ኣብቲ ተልምዕዎ ዘለኹም መሬት ኣሎ” ኢለ ነይረ። ኣብቲ ቀዳማይ ኲናት ክልቲኡ ህዝብታት ዝያዳ ተሃስዩ፡ ኣብዚ ዳሕረዋይ እውን ብብዝሒ ዝሃለቁ ክልቲኡ ህዝብታት (ኤርትራን ትግራይን) እዮም። ስለ’ዚ ኲናት ከይድገም ክንጽሕፍ ክንጐሳጉስ ሓላፍነት ኣለና። ቅድሚ ሕጂ ዝገበርናዮ ናይ ምንዕዓቕን ምብልላጽን ትርፉ እዚ ንርእዮ ዘለና እዩ። ከብዚ ተማሂርና ንመጻኢ ክንጥምት፡ ክልቲኡ ህዝብታት ድሕሪ ሕጂ ብጽሉላት መራሕቲ ተኾብኲቡ ኣብ ኲናት ከይጥበስ፡ ብፍላይ ነኣሽቱ ደቅና ክትሰርሑሉ ሓላፍነት ኣለኩም። ናይ ትማሊ ናይ ትማሊ እዩ። ስለዝሓተትክኒ ኣብ ርእሰይ ዝመጸኒ እዩ እምበር ንምርምር ዝበቅዕ ኣይኮነን። ናይተን ወታደራዊ ሓይልታት ወይ ኣሃዱ ዝበልክየን ክርከብ ይከኣል እዩ( ነቲ ናይ መወዳእታ ካምፔን ናይ ህወደግ እምበር በብግዚኡ ኣብ ኢትዮጵያ ዝሰርሓ ኣሃዲታት ሻዕብያ እንድዒ)። ምናልባት ሰላም ምስ ኮነ ኣብ ኣስመራ መጺእኪ፡ ኣብ ኣርካይቨስ መንግስቲ ኣቲኺ ሽሂኺ እንዳሰተኺ ምርምርኪ ትገብሪ ትኾኒ። ንሕጂ ግን ገዳሲ ኣይመስለንን። እቲ ኣገዳሲ ናይ ትማሊ ዓወትን ሓበንን ዳግማይ ናብ ምንቋት ከይሰደና ምጥንቃቕ እዩ።

        • haileTG

          ብጣዕሚ ልዙብን፡ ክትሰምዖ ባህ ዘብል ምርድዳእ ክትገብሩ ኣዝዩ ዘሔብን እዩ ኣሕዋት። ይቐጽሎ እዩ ዘብል።

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Haw Mahmud,
          Thank you. Your words like “mesno Libona” cools the hot heads and stops the chest beating hands. Keep up please.

        • Pappillon

          ዝኸበርካ ማሕሙድ ሳልሕ

          እቲ መሳጢ ዘረባኻን ለበዋኻን ብሓቂ ብሓቂ ንዝመጽእ ወለዶ ጥራሕ ዘይኮነ ንዓናውን ዓቢ ተስፋን ትምህርትን እዩ ምኽንያቱ ሎሚ ካባይ ጀሚርካ ብዙሕ ግዜ ስምዒት ስለዘጥቃዓና ናይ ምርድዳእን ምልዛብን ዘለና ዕድል አንዳ ማህመነ ይኸይድ ስለዚ ኣብሞንጎና ተረኺብካ ልቦና ዝመልኦ ምዕዶ ስለዝለገስካልና ብዙሕ ከመስግነካ ይፈቱ ሃገርና ኤሪትራ ተስፋ ኣለዋ ከማኻ ለባማት ሰባት ስለ ዘፍረየት


          • Mahmud Saleh

            salam Pappilion: Thank you and Ilike it when you close your comments with “haftkha/tkhi”

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Dear Rahwa: I brought Asosa to give you an example of operations the eplf was conducting separately or jointly with other Ethiopian organizations (it is a matter of little research, the young ones of you could pull it out fast). I said ” the capture of Asosa ” not “liberated”, I was not there, but war is war, I have not heard about the atrocities you mentioned; however, it should be a reminder, that during war human value is cheaper than the value of the bullet that kills him; also read my reply to u in Tigrigna.

    • Nitricc

      Hi Mahmud
      you said…

      7. These differences made TPLF lighter, since it did not have ” a must defend” rear bases, it did not acquire the know how that comes with trench war fare, meaning- even if it was capturing tanks and heavy artillery pieces it was destroying them- you need a formidable rear base, technical support and networks of roads to utilize those heavy pieces of equipment.

      Very true, but it is also true that point # 7 has created extremely dangerous tension between EPLF and TPLF. So much so, the Tigray hardliners were created to hate and to destroy Eritrea due to point number 7.
      After every battle which preformed jointly by EPLF and TPLF; and when it comes to dividing the captured weapons. EPLF insisted in having the heavy artillery and the tanks while giving the light armament to TPLF. EPLF thought TPLF needs no heavy artilleries and tanks since TPLF was on the move and has no base to defend i.e. EPLF Thought there was a need TPLF to be established as lean, fast and light attacking beast while EPLF to be armed with heavy artilleries and tanks and when ever TPLF needed heavy artillery EPLF to come and do the job. The idea was establishing two different fighting forces that can compliment each other and destroy the Derg army. This idea TPLF thought EPLF was taking advantage of them and EPLF as envy of TPLF.
      On of the earlier joint battle aginst the Durg was in the place named Nebelet; in Tigray. There was great deal of disagreement about who takes what. And finally they agreed to split it equally and the TPLF buried their share of heavy artillery at the place named “Feres-may” at the supervision of a fighters named “Teklu Hawas” and “ Qoqah” They never used the weapons. Because for one; they don’t know how and two; whenever they need heavy artillery EPLF was there to save the day.
      This noble idea of having two different styles of fighters was interpreted differently by some TPLF members. They understood it as the Eritreans were super and looking down on Tigryans, on the other words their inferiority was at work. Then, was the creation of TPLF hardliners the likes of Siye, Gebru Asrat, Hayelom, Abay Tsahaye etc born and ever since they hate Eritrea and Eritreans.
      From the get go the problem was EPLF believed the relationship with TPLF to be was strategic; while TPLF believed tactical. So, from the get go there was glaring differences.
      If EPLF didn’t believe in a strategic relationshp why in the world would go to the distance in convincing the Tigryans to fight in behave all Ethiopia instead of freaking Tigray. In EPLF eyes, there was a great believe in a long term strategic relationship with Tigryans but the Tigryans had a different idea to destroy Eritrea. They believed in tactical and when the time was right; they tried to destroy Eritrea.

  • Pappillon

    Eskinder Nega,

    How long has the tik tik tik been going on? PFDJ zombies have been a fodder of Isaias’ not so sober moments when he sung the same song for the last ten or so years where the lyric is “ጃንዳ ወያነ ኣብቂዑ እዩ” when in fact you’ve all along been the butt of all jokes. I suggest you quite listening to either Asmara Rose or the guy who insists on using his Eritrean sounding grand-father’s name as well when his last name is Abbay (not so Eritrean). They both are messing your head up. Incidentally, Eskinder Nega should be grateful to the heavens for he is not in Isaias’ Eritrea for he would have been a guest of honour in Isaias’ dungeons either in Era-Ero or Embatkala. His family are not in a speculative mood to know whether he is still breathing for they are able to at least pay him a visit. He is in a land where incommunicado or los-desaparecidos do not have a room.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Hey Saay,

    I just went back to re-read the interview of Hiruy Tedla Bairu. The interview was done by you in 2001. In his response how and when the “Labor party” of ELF was formed is very interesting. It expose the baseless accusation against ELF as Arabist organization. Here is the excerpt of his answer pertinent to the party: “The ELF was led by an openly secret movement known as the Labor Party which was openly Marxist. Many thought I was one of the founders…it was not true. It was already founded in 1968 by people like Saleh Iyay, [who moved back to Eritrea in 1992], Ustaz Mahmoud [formerly head of the ELF’s Department of Education, deceased in 1992] and of course the brilliant Azein Yassin.”

    The YG group and Eyob Medhane from the Ethiopian side haven’t any clue on the Eritrean Political dynamics of that era. We told them to refer to “history makers” to learn the evolvement of Eritrean politico-history. I am sure these arrogant individuals will not hesitate to tell us that our Muslim Eritreans could not establish a Marxist -party, as religion always become the hallmark of their argument. The three individuals mentioned in the Excerpt are and some other few individuals are the Political ideologues of that era. Just to remind you again, please try to interview “Ibrahim Mohammed Ali” one of our democratic icons in the leadership of ELF, the unsung hero even by the standard of EPLF. He is the “Branna” pertinent to Eritrean history. To the YG and his followers, we owe them the untold history to extricate them from the thick forest of “tzenetzeway Libi-welde.”

    • tes

      Dear Amanuel,

      Let me use this chance to share to awatistas my views on the Dead Soul’s philosophy of YG. This piece is extracted from comments on FB group (Hanti Alem).

      You [addressing to a friend who asked me to clarify my comment on logic of fallacy] asked me about philosophy of fallacy.

      let me first define what a fallacy is. According to online oxford dictionary,
      Fallacy is a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound arguments:

      1.1. Logic: A failure in reasoning which renders an argument invalid:
      1.2 [mass noun] Faulty reasoning: the potential for fallacy which lies behind the notion of self-esteem.

      having this as a basic definition, lets see its philosophical perspective,

      In philosophy, I will bring here two and I will discuss the first one. we have the term Composition of fallacies, fallacy of hasty generalization.

      let me discuss then the first as I said. Fallacy composition- this term says, A fallacy of composition arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole or even of every proper part of the whole.

      Example we have;

      1. Consider the argument, “This fragment of metal cannot be broken with a
      hammer, therefore the machine of which it is a part cannot be broken
      with a hammer.” This is clearly fallacious, because many machines can be
      broken into their constituent parts without any of those parts being

      2. Atoms are not visible to the naked eye.
      Humans are made up of atoms.
      Therefore, humans are not visible to the naked eye

      3. You like the taste of ice cream.
      You like the taste of scrambled eggs.
      Therefore, you like the taste of scrambled eggs mixed with ice cream.

      4. If a runner runs faster, she can win the race. Therefore if all the
      runners run faster, they can all win the race. Athletic competitions are
      examples of zero-sum games, wherein the winner wins by preventing all
      other competitors from winning.

      For mroe examples please visit,

      If this is the philosophy, then how YG approaches the Eritrean question. By the way, his approach is Inductive Reasoning, meaning, from detail to general. And YG is smart in this, as he goes through one by one, that
      we already know for its existence, but, the general message is hard to trace easily. He puts you in his boat (he has a pen for that) and finally if you are blind enough, he can take you to his final dead soul. I said dead soul because the question he is looking for does not exist and did not exist and it will not exist.

      To come back to his approach with line to fallacy of composition,

      1. the Ghedli did wrong to Eritrean people.
      The Eritrean people did not like the gedli
      therefore, Eritrea as a free nation should not have existed.

      2. Ethiopians were not happy with the out of the colonial period.
      Some Eritreans even had the same belief
      Therefore, Eritrea belongs to Ethiopia

      This is his approach!!

      If it creates any inconvenience, the moderator is welcome to delete this.


      • Yodita

        Dear Tes,

        In my view, your post is a badly needed criterion in discerning perceptions!

        I particularly dwell on the mistaken notion that “… something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole…” because it is this fallacy that disfigures some arguments. A part of a whole (sometimes a detail) is taken as the dominant aspect.

        To arrive at the real nature of something at a given time, you would have to analyze and weigh all its component parts and distinguish the dominant aspect, failing which you will risk giving it a wrong interpretation.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Hey Tes,

        I agree reduction approach finally falls apart, so does YG’s argument.

      • House of Stark

        dear Tes.
        1) Could you please, refer me to the article in which YG said that Eritrea should not exist?.
        2) People say he (YG), does not offer solution but it is quite the contrary, wrote the solution to Eritrea in one of his 2010 article.

    • saay7


      What you don’t know is that behind the secret party, there was the Super Secret Party. While Saleh Iyay, Ustaz Mahmoud and Azien Yassin were secretly Marxists, they were super-secretly Islamists/Arabists.

      Obviously, I am joking. But honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if yg wrote something like the para above since he has gone “A Beautiful Mind” on us:)


      • Mahmud Saleh

        Salam SAAy7:
        take the idea of getting I.M.A to get invited.

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Salam Amanuel: I agree; thanks.

  • tes

    Haddas Ertra in crisis

    Is it my computer problem or it is like that?

  • saay7

    Selamat Solomon:

    I think what those who are demanding unconditional literal implementation of the EEBC ruling are telling you is this: whatever you are saying (we Ethiopians are angry, feel betrayed, a great injustice has been committed against us, etc) is not relevant to the issue at hand because it is because the two parties were angry, felt betrayed and were subjected to injustice that the arbitrators were called in to begin with. I believe your emotions are real; I want you to consider the sense of betrayal and injustice that Eritreans felt (some still do) is also real.

    With all due respect, what we have here is a case of buyers remorse. Some Ethiopians believe that given the resources that were used to “reverse aggression”, they should have dictated the terms of peace. Ethiopia didn’t, and Ethiopia is now trying to dictate the terms of the implementation of the ruling.

    I don’t understand how Ethiopia agrees to terms with specific language and then accuses the judges for doing their job. Issues like the separation of land from people, fairness, equity are what are called “ex aequo et bono.” The arbitrators could not do that because the terms of the Algiers Agreement, that Ethiopia signed with no gun pointed to its head, prohibited them from doing that. The arbitrators have said: we don’t have the mandate to go outside of our mission BUT, if you, the two parties, while you are implementing the ruling MUTUALLY AGREE to make changes here and there, it’s up to you.

    That can happen IF Ethiopia says that it made a mistake, it shouldn’t have agreed to “ex aequo et bono”, that it violates Ethiopian constitution, that the Ethiopian National Cabinet couldn’t ratify it…create some legal garb. But to pretend that Ethiopia is complying, when it is not, is an insult to Eritreans or a form of bullying (“you and what army?!”) Not a good thing for neighborly relations.


    • Jo

      Hello Moderator,

      I posted something, like magic, it disappeared. Did I screw up something?


  • Pappillon


    That (disintegration or signs of disintegration) is not what I see on the ground. Instead what I see is higher learning institutions popping up like there is no tomorrow across the country. A light rail way cutting across the bustling city–Addis. A express high way of its kind connecting cities. Investment pouring in to share not only the sense of optimism but to have a share of the sounding economy. Ethiopians are going back to their country not only to enjoy the too good to be true life the country has on the plates but to contribute as well. Of course, sadly enough, Isaias’ Eritrea is the reverse where Eritreans are leaving the country in droves as they are suffocated to the point of opting to take a terrible risk in the deserts and high seas. Now, if you have any healthy brain cell left in you, it shouldn’t be too difficult to see which regime seems to be on a verge of collapse. Moreover, who should be on the sarcasm mode of “dream on”. It is evident.

    • Eskinder Nega

      It’s all fake. It’s make belief. The country is about to implode.
      It’s better not to believe anything a Tigrawai says when it comes to what’s going on in Ethiopia because they are always trying to paint the TPLF in a positive light when the facts suggest otherwise. The facts are that there is massive repression, killing and jailing of journalists and average citizens going on in Ethiopia. John Kerry was forced to admit and declare that Ethiopia needs to stop its brutal treatment of its citizens and stop violating their human rights.
      I am pretty sure (100 percent sure) that non-Tigrayan Ethiopians see matters differently than you do Pappillon.
      The situation is acute.

  • tes
  • Kokhob Selam

    . . . . መ ን ኢ ዩ ቀዳሚ . .

    ኢዚ ዓርከይ ዋሎ –
    …. ኣይስእንን እዩ ዝብሎ :-
    ……….ኣነን “ሞተ ኸደ “ሕሎ :-
    ……………. ንሱን ነይደክም ዕላሎ ::

    “ቁጠ ባ ዶ መ ንግሲቲ መ ን ብ መ ን ይጽሎ “:-
    ኢሉ ይሓተኒ በሉ እንታይ እየ ክብሎ ?

    እውእ!!! ቁጠባ ድኣ ‘ሞ :-
    ……. ምሕደራ እንተዘየሎ ዘጠዓዕሞ :-
    …………ስሩሑ ብጉልጽነት ዝግምግሞ :-
    ……………..እንታይ ይዓብስ መ ን ክ ‘ሽለሞ ?

    እንተበልኩዎ ወዳያት ዓጂብዎ :-
    ስቃየይ መ ኣስ ተ ራእዎ ::

    “ሓቂ ‘ኮኾባይ መ ን የለምልም :-
    ውልቀ መላኺ ዶ ‘ቲ ብዓል ደም :-
    ንቁጠ ባ ኣብ ሃገር የርዕም :-
    ወይስ ዲሞክራሲያዊ ንሃገር የህብትም ?”

    ቶኽሳኺተይ ኣበይ ኢለዮ ኣነ –
    ኣብ ገዛእ መሬቱ ሰላም ዝስኣነ –
    መ ሰሉን ክብረቱን ቶኾ ነነ –
    ነብሰ ትልኽ ትብል ዝብላዕ ስኢነ :-
    ካልእ ነይሓስብ ይዋግእ ጠ ኒነ :-
    ጽባሕ ሃገር ይምራሕ እቲ ዝስልጠ ነ::

    ‘ም በር ውልቀ መ ላኺ ከይዱ እንተተባህለ :-
    ብዓል ዲምክራሲ ስልጣ ኑ ምስ ደልደለ :-
    ቁጠ ባ ም ም ቅ ራ ሕ እንተ ኣብዩ ቅብጽ –
    ድሕር ኣይክብልን እ ክመርሕ ብ ዓመጽ ::

    ቀረብ ን ጠለብን ምስ ዘይሳነዩ :-
    ድኽነት ይስዕርር ፍልልያት ዓብዩ ::

    ኤእ!!!! ለባማት ግዲ ኣይሰኣኑ –
    ብድሕሪና ኣርቂቆም ዝመ ዝ ኑ ::

    እቲ ሞጎት ዓርከይ ይቅጽል ይቅጽል :-
    እቲ ኣነ ድማ ናብ ፈጣሪ ምህለል ::

    ክኢላ ኢኻ ‘ሞ መወዳድርቲ ኣልቦ :-
    ፍሕ ዝበለ ወገን ናብ ሃገር ኣክቦ :-
    ራህዋን ምዕባለን ሰላም ‘ው ን ሃቦ-
    እንተ ነቲ ጨ ካን ቅጽዓዩ ኣድቦ::

    “ኣለኻ ዶ ኮኾባይ ኣብ ሓሳብ ጥሒልካ –
    ናይ ጽባሕ ቁጠባ ዶ ኾን ተራእዩካ –
    ቪላ ምስ ርሻን ዶ ብሕልሚ ሰሪሕካ –
    ጥሪት ሃብቲ ሺሻይ ካን ከቢቡካ ::”

    ኣንታ ጽባሕ ‘ሲ ትኹ ን ንደቂ ጽባሕ :-
    ዘሕስብኒ ዘሎ ናይ ሕጂ ጨርባሕባሕ ::

    ጨርባሕባሕ እወ ናይ ሕጂ ኣኹ ድር:-
    ሕድሪ ከቢድ ጽባሕ ዘመሓድር ::

    የግዳስ ናይ ሕጂ :—
    ኣይፊቱ ኣይፍትፍቱ ባዕሉ ዝነገሰ-
    ….ብጨካን ግዝኣቱ ሓፋሽ ዝሓመስ –
    …………ንኽቡር ባህልታትና ፍጹም ዘራኸሰ –
    …………………ቁጠ ባ ነይጠቅም ስርዒቱ ከይፈረሰ ::

    KOKHOB SELAM 12/05/2014

    • Dawit

      You need to publish a book if it is possible.

  • Pappillon

    I thought it was a typo. It probably meant to say PFDJ.

    • Africa Intelligence

      Dear Pappillon,
      Can you imagine if this article had been about Eritrea instead of Ethiopia? The so-called opposition would be tripping all over themselves to highlight the disintegrating nature of the State and the disarray that is being observed in the Ethiopian Government, in addition to the ethnic uprisings and violence.
      They would be all over the article like a cheap suit. They would have analyzed every little sentence inside out and forward backward. But because the opposition is in bed with Weyane Tigray, they are afraid to touch this subject. Hmmmm!

    • Nitricc

      Pappi your wishful thinking aside, it amazing your fate on the Tigray led gangs. It is not what look like to you. They are eating each other no end behind the doors. Melles wife and Bereket Simon are on their last leg while Sibhat Nega is on the driver sit. The sad part is the slave; Desalegn hailmariam is stretched to breaking point trying to appease both sides. Just wait a little bit and you will know what I mean. As far as PFDJ to designate, oh well, dream on. PFDJ will reform itself to progressive and responsible government. You just Watch.

  • Africa Intelligence

    What to make of the Africa Intelligence Report that Ethiopia’s Government is Disintegrating? Do we ignore it? Do we discuss it?

  • Dawit

    Selam Yodita,

    To: Yodita, Rodab, SaaY, Secular Socialist and others who might be interested to know or concerned as to where you stand in the political spectrum of right-left , I would like to direct you to this website:

    The site has a quiz which presents pair of statements of which you have to pick one. The quiz’s various pair of statements (social as well as economical) attempts to determine, based upon your choices, where you fall in the political spectrum.

    The quiz, however, gives only two choices leaving out other possible explanations. Take a look at this for instance: the first of one of the pair of statements states that poor people are getting help from the government for free,, and the second one asserts that poor people remain destitute because government is not generous enough to lift them out of poverty. One among many possible explanation is that poor people has remained poor because taxation favors the rich at the expense of the poor.

    Well, based upon the quiz, I am a solid liberal.

    What are you ?

    • Yodita

      Selamat Dawit,

      It appears that this quiz was catered for USA readers (the classification is Republicans, Democrats or Independents). Some European countries have (in their parliaments, political parties, media, litrature, art, etc) a much wider range; from extreeme right to extreeme left, like in France and Italy to mention but a few. For a lot of reasons I do not want to bore you with, I decline your invitation convinced that I would end up being classified as someone different than what I believe I am.

      PS – If this media outlet is related to Press TV, it doesn’t conduct such quizes for scientific research. Anything but!

      • Dawit

        Selam Yodita,

        I concur with you.

        • Yodita

          Dawitom, thank you.

    • Kokhob Selam

      and why someone has to think of all this when there is nothing of all this in his nation today. dawit have good time with Adel here.

      • Dawit

        Dear Kokhob,

        Sorry but I don’t understand Chinese. 🙂 Can you summarize the message?

        • Kokhob Selam

          kir kir kir !!! Sir, How can I do that if I don’t understand Spanish? you better learn Chines it is the most spoken language.

          • Dawit

            This is how a fight starts:-)

          • Kokhob Selam

            and that is how ends.

  • haileTG

    Second and final installment in the currency topic – (link provided at the end)

    – Do you know that the art on the Eritrean currency was designed by a certain Clarence E. Holbert, a talented US African American artist who once worked as a security guard for the US Printing & Engraving firm. Clarence never heard of Eritrea at the time he was assigned to work on the design for Eritrea’s first ever currency.

    – The reason for the Eritrean notes being the same size and color was an express direction given by IA. The currency, Holbert recalled, “features the everyday people of Eritrea because Eritrean President Isaias

    Afwerki had given specific instructions that:

    – The money could not feature cabinet or government officials or their relatives —The new money should reflect the common people.

    – The money could not feature images of war.

    – They money must all be the same size and color scheme — The people should look at the note to

    determine the denomination rather than judging the denomination by the size of the note or color scheme3

    – Holbert indicates the president wanted to increase the literacy rate of the country, which was at 20% at the time.

    – Holbert, after 31/2 years of researching Eritrea, decided that women and animals were important to the history of Eritrea and this is the reason we have many of the bank notes featuring women.

    – He also said The notes depict Eritrean fighters raising the (Eritrea People’s Liberation Front) EPLF flag — Very reminiscent to American soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima.

    You may think that the regime would have deligated artists such as Michael Adonai to express and capture Eritrean heartbeat in such important historic undertaking, it wasn’t to be. In fact, Holbert recalls:

    “On one of his trips to Asmara, Holbert said “I was there at the airport after a long flight from Washington. I was paged and I raised my hand to answer the page. The Eritreans who met me at the airport came over and hugged me. One of them told me ‘You don’t know how good it made us feel to see that it was one of us who designed our currency.’ The very next morning,” he said, “a person very high up in the government came to my hotel, hugged me and said, ‘Welcome home.'”

    “That melted my heart. Being a black American in the United States — you know — the things you go through… doing such a deed for the people of Eritrea, made me feel good that the country has embraced me.”

    hmmm….’You don’t know how good it made us feel to see that it was one of us who designed our currency.’

    Read full text here:


    • Hope

      Again, try to use a common sense propaganda. We adore Michael Adonai in all aspects.
      The only reason this African-American gentleman was picked up was simply because he has that specific experience on that specific field. This has nothing to do with just “Arts”.

      • haileTG

        hmmm…and you know that, do you?…dear hope, hgdef doesn’t appreciate your type of half baked support…either support them or don’t. Heard of something called honor or it is anything goes in your neck of the woods?

  • haileTG

    Selamat awatistas

    A quick iReport News Analysis:

    – IA considering the use of a Sudanese private company, Sudan Currency Printing Press (SCPP), a limited liability company to supply the Eritrean Central Bank with its paper currency needs.

    The SCPP, established in 1994 is the main supplier of printing products to the Sudanese government (currency, passports, receipts…). Recently an Eritrean opposition radio broadcasts have reported that Eritrean banks had (briefly??) reduced the amount of cash withdrawal by customers to 5000ERN at a time. It is hard to confirm the veracity of this news because 5000ERN is a small amount to deal with for banks in Eritrea and their customers where deposit and withdrawals are transacted with sackfuls of currency at a time. It is common to observe people transporting large blocks of cash in carts or large sacks from and to the banks. The most common and widespread exchange rate is the informal one with $1 fetching around 52ERN nowadays in Asmara (roughly three and half times the official rates that were frozen in their a decade and half ago rates). Hence, the 5000ERN might have been a very temporary measure.

    Currently, Eritrean paper currency is supplied by the leading supplier of African paper currency, a German based $2.5 billion Munich-based firm Giesecke & Devrient. The company is known to be amenable to the German government pressure as evidenced in its stoppage of contracted service to Zimbabwe in the summer of 2008, bowing to a request from the German government in connection the EU sanctions on Zimbabwe. Eritrea being under UN sanctions and heavily criticized for its severe violations of human rights by the EU (in the last EU-Africa summit), it may not be far from likely to imagine that the IA regime is experiencing problems in dealing with the German company to supply its printed currency needs. In going ahead with the Sudanese alternative, the regime is of course down grading from a high standard German supplier that is renowned for its secure currency expertise to a less known one (much like trading Navigo airlines for Lufthansa).

    As to the other aspects, as fuel and electricity import, they are hard to take seriously at this time. Their implementation requires investment in the sector that the economy is way too weak to handle at this time. So, the view is that it may be added to camouflage the main aim of the trip as hypothesized above.

    Of course, Gedab news is hoped to give its authoritative analysis soon.


  • saay7

    Well played, Dine:) You are pulling a Nigeria-Ghana on me: the baseline is wrong:)

    If you are going to be such a stickler for accuracy, you should focus more on the fact that the MMR (like every goal and every indicator on MDG) is based on household surveys, regression analysis and sometimes educated guesses. The 380 MMR given for Eritrea, for example, is really a regression analysis derived from a low of 290 and a high of 610. And, ahem, for enat agerachen Ethiopia, which has reduced its MMR by 69% (congrats): its 420 MMR has a low of 240 and a high of 720.

    Incidentally, all you YG fans who eat up his alarmist hzbi kebesa Tefaena! tewadaena! haleqna! with no supporting data at all, here are the fertility rates* for Eritrea and Ethiopia, according to the UN (probably they are in the anesthesiologist camp:) The first number is fertility rate in 1990, the second is the fertility rate in 2013:

    Eritrea: from 189 to 150
    Ethiopia: from 216 to 140


    * Fertility rate is measured per 1,000 15-49 year old females. For an interactive map, refer to the UN’s World Population Prospects. Google it:)

    • Amde

      Hey Saay,

      That fertility rate data is interesting. I’d have thought with all the discussion about indefinite national service about young people missing their window to start a family, the impact would show in the demographic numbers. A higher fertility rate than an Ethiopia that is generally at peace with a growing economy is not what I’d have expected to see.

      Assuming it is true of course. But interesting.


      • Kibr

        but an increased fertility rate for a nation only shows the ineffectiveness of its family planning program and does not necessarily show an increase in population. In fact, it can indicate a lot of undesirable situations ranging from underage marriage and rampant unwanted pregnancies

      • saay7

        Selamat Amde:

        Well, friend, the problem is that those who say that due to national service the window of opportunity for raising families is gone, Eritrea’s population is in decline, etc have no data to support their case. They think saying something loud with absolute certainty is a substitute for evidence. If there is a source more authoritative than the UN’s World Population Prospects, I would like to know.


        • Amde

          Hi Saay,

          it occurred to me that this is not a trivial matter. Yes there are sanctions in place, and the economy is not the best and people are emigrating in very large numbers, but how close is Eritrea really to societal collapse or state collapse? Numbers like those suggest that perhaps it is up in the air.

          My feeling is that since the repercussions of Eritrean State collapse is huge for the region, and by extension for the world in this particular day and age, that is something that will be avoided by the powers that be at all costs. So my money is on some kind of back channel support for the Issayas regime / PFDJ to continue for a few more years at least.

          I don’t know how one would define societal collapse, but with a strong regime, unless the state finds its institutions severely weakened by the loss of personnel and/or revenue, I don’t think the refugee crisis is going to have much impact on the internal control of the regime. The only political impact I see is that it gives the diaspora a political leverage. I guess we’ll see,

          PS. I don’t know how you are able to be in so many conversations and monitor what is going on in so many threads and still maintain your real job. Blows my mind. My hats off to you sir.

        • haile

          Hello Saay (እዛ እቶቡስ ናበይ ገጻ’ያ?) 🙂

          As you know I am firmly opposed to the notion of narrowing down those affected by region, race or religion. It is a matter of historic responsibility for Eritreans NOT to give in to such entrapment narrations. However, your above argument my be hastily conjured. As we know population data isn’t reflective of REAL-TIME measurement. In fact, predictions are made from base years that are between 1/2 – 1 decade ago. The assumptions and factors that are considered don’t include unexpected occurrences(such that half a million people – mostly the productive segment) would abandon the country. You need to wait almost the same length of time as from the base year to assess the impact of the current events and the trends that it would set. It wouldn’t be possible to provide a supporting data for the assertions that when over 80% that are caught up in the current crisis are the young and those that are supposed to replenish the population and also reduce mortality rates due to their economic productivity. Population growth models are logistic in nature but exhibit critical nodes where by if (within the age structured analysis) numbers gravitate to such critical levels, either carrying capacity is exceeded and over crowding happens or in the opposite case scenario the critical level forces the population to reproduce enough to make up sustainable levels and hence cascades down to zero. Population numbers, in real-time, are dynamic and constantly changing, while UN population data is semi-static only being updated in intervals (annually) with an inbuilt time-delay. So, those people are saying that the population is passing through those critical levels and the UN wouldn’t have caught up yet (by default). The UN might have predicted increase in the population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the year of the dreadful events. This could serve as an extreme form for a counter example to your intuition in this regard.


          • saay7

            Selamat Haile and Amde:

            Haile zgr8:

            ኣቶቡስ ፎቶሪኖታት፥ ኣውቲስታታት በዚሖማ ‘ምበር ከም ወትሩ ናብ ምስራቅ (to the east ma brother to the east!) I welcome your kind of debate: one that is based on facts and stats. You are arguing that the UN population forecasts may be wrong and you have given your reasons for it. So now go the extra mile: give us an example of a time when UN pop forecasts were proven to be wildly off. The mistake we Eritreans make is that we assume all the challenges Eritreans are facing–almost every single one originating from the criminally incompetent administration of Isaias Afwerki’s regime–are new to the world.

            When I read YG, I don’t read dispassionate discourse; I don’t hear arguments with supporting evidence; I just hear IT IS BECAUSE IT IS SO. The tens of thousands of Eritreans who are migrating have a mouth: why don’t we ask them: why did you leave the country? Did you think that you/your ethnic group was being targeted? All I see when I read YG is a man with a bullhorn shouting “hzbna Tefiu!” and you know exactly what he means by “hzbna.” It is the man with the bullhorn that evolves to Milosovik.


            It is not as impressive as you think. The backend of disqus, the comments come in a stream and with most of our commenters now wearing a white hat… well, you may just want to keep your hat on. It’s low maintenance and I have colleagues who help a lot: some named, some anonymous:)


          • haile

            haha..Saay.. on wards and forwards, no looking back like the great escape from Sodom & Gomorrah 🙂

            According the UN population statistics the Eritrean population is predicted to increase at a rate of 2.9% annually (between 2010 – 2015). We both agree that 2015 has not yet happened and the said interval has
            seen large scale outward influx of refugees. Add to it the fact that this prediction for 2010/15 is based (at the very least) on the previous two consecutive such intervals, i.e 2005 – 2010 (penultimate previous interval) and 2000-2005 (ultimate previous interval). Overall this takes you a whole 15 years back from the actual UN prediction that “in the year 2015, on average, the Eritrean population would grow at a rate of 2.9%”. This prediction couldn’t have factored to ramification of the flood of almost half a million Eritreans out of
            the country!

            Now let’s get into number crunching. Close to half a million Eritreans flooded out in a mere 10 or so years, well inside the UN analysis interval that would have precluded it to be factored into their predictions. According to fair estimate, these levels of migration would constitute around 10% of the total population. Now, the same UN data estimates that 22% of the Eritrean population is made up of the young people between 18 – 24 years of
            age. Now here is what might be scaring the “hizbey yTef’E alo” group, if the demography of the migration is kebessa heavy (say 90:10 percent ratio), this would amount to roughly double or about 18% of the Kebesa population, if we are to assume the kebesa makes up about 50% of Eritrea (for argument’s sake). Now, let’s apply the 22% young 18 – 24 year olds across the board, hence being that over 90% of the refugee population is young and let’s even say 75% in that young people’s group (18 – 24), you are looking at about 13 – 14 percentile (NB: not percent) out of this pool of young and productive 22 percentile is being wiped out. What that means is the UN growth index has been overtaken by extenuating circumstances that is wiping out the best part of the reproductive segment of the kebesa demography.

            Now, here are my reservations:

            – We have no reliable ethnic profile data for the actual migration levels. For example, what is happening to the Afar population? What about Kunama? What about others? Hence, the same might be happening there.

            – We are looking at the disintegration side of the equation and still haven’t seen how recovery would be once things return to normal.

            – The “hizbey yTef’E alo” is ill considered. It creates a false sense of culpability against our other segment of the population (metahit, Moslem, Arab…whatever they like to frame it as). The lowland Eritrea hosted a 30 year civil war of epic proportions with enormous cost born by our people in those parts of the country. I have never come across of them consider levying that sort of accusation on the rest of the population.
            They paid the price as something that has to be paid in the making of our nation. I think it is childish to even entertain “hibey y’TefE alo” instead be it kebesa or metahit, portion of Eritrea is still Eritrea and we can
            see the problem as an Eritrean problem.


            Yes it may be reasonable to assess the present situation as very problematic for a segment of our people. The UN data isn’t and can’t be (inherently) the right tool to analyse it. UN data is supposed to be used for
            more long term assessments, assuming stable conditions. So to answer your question, the 2.9% prediction for 2010 – 2015 is wrong because it couldn’t have forecast the current influx of refugees of such young age interval.


          • Amde

            Hi Haile,

            Considering that one of the sins PFDJ is constantly accused of is the mystery of the missing census, I am not sure where the UN Population Data is coming from. I am sure by now they have sampling techniques they have been honing over the decades, but I’d imagine national census data would be a big component (if not the main component) of UN demographic data. That is one of the reasons I question it.

            I tried to compare a number of the other reported UN demographic data and I find that I have to get better heads than I to explain the methodology. I looked at 1975 – 2020 for Ethiopia Eritrea and Syria, as we probably would be familiar of the news.
            (The number of immigrants minus the number of emigrants over a
            period, divided by the person-years lived by the population of
            the receiving country over that period. It is expressed as net
            number of migrants per 1,000 population.)
            ERITREA (Large EMIGRATION 1990/95, Large IMMIGRATION 2000/05, nothing spectacular otherwise)








            -0.1ETHIOPIA (large EMIGRATION 1975 – 1980 perhaps war/revolution, decent upspike 1990-95 war is over)








            -0.1SYRIA (Large IMMIGRATION 2005-2010 perhaps Iraqi refugees into Syria?, large EMIGRATION 2010-2015 Syrian refugees fleeing leaving civil war? don’t know what to make of the 2015-2020 number)








            I feel the Ethiopia and Syria data are reasonably well explained with the recent geopolitical history as we know them. The Eritrea data is just weird to me – doesn’t match current news or recent history.


          • saay7

            Selamat Amde:

            This conversation evolved from a post-script I had written about Eritrea’s fertility rate into population forecasts…

            Population forecasts, as you know, depend on three forecasts: fertility rate, mortality rate and net migration rate.

            The one that surprised you, Eritrea’s fertility rate, is the one that happens to be the UN’s expertise: when it comes to Africa, the UN gets it right; those who have done reports on the UN’s forecasts after the fact (which is why I was inviting Haile Zgr8 today to research but werfiru alo lomi in some mini-war:) say so. It gets mortality rate a little off (underestimates it.) The net migration is a bit of a wild card but the point is that the UN has been doing this since 1950 and it has been refining it ever since. I believe (if I am not mistaken) the base year is constantly revised: it is not like they wait 5 years or 10 years using a static number.

            If you want to cross-reference the UN with other sources, I recommend the CIA World Factbook (whose online edition is updated WEEKLY) and Nation Master (which updates it whenever it feels like it:)


            Incidentally, both say that Eritrea’s net migration rate is 0. I think the CIA would know about our migration, no?



          • haileTG

            Hello Saay,

            ደሓን ናይ ኽተት’ሲ፡ ብዝኾነ ህግደፍ ዝተረፈን የብለንን፡ ተቖሻሚደን፡ ንየው ሃዲመን ኣለዋ። ክሳዕ ብዕስለ ምስወፈራ፡ እንደገና መላዒሰ ዝሓማጅገን፡ ዝግ ኢላ’ያ ዘላ መሬት፡ ንሻቡ ቁሩብ ብርከይ ሰይረ ከዋግዓካ በል:-)

            Let me first summarize my position (which you can correct if needed):

            – That the UN prediction of population prospects is indeed very professional and high end. My concern is that in Eritrea’s case, what we are discussing is relatively recent and may not have been factored into such statistics (10 years). E.g. if you look at the UNHCR reported numbers of about 313,000 Eritrean refugees, it is a one year old data covering till December 2012/January 2013. Much happened since and still hasn’t made it through the reports. Inherent time delay, that’s all. Of course, it would be helpful if you can definitively rule out this.

            – As long as one relies on these data forms (in the absence of nationally produced and more recent once) it would be a weak source all around, i.e. even those in “hizbna yTef’E alo” camp are not provided with sufficiently updated data to base their arguments. Despite, also the inherent political folly of advancing such argument to begin with.

            Now to the points you make. 18% growth of Hamasien or Maekel carries further component, urban migration (Asmara being the capital). So, it may not be referring to an actual population growth in an absolute terms. Did Aqordad or Mendefera register similar rates? Not likely (I know they weren’t studied). Again, net migration 0 may sometimes (assumption here!!) be indicative that the lack of available data. [strangely enough, Eritrea’s net immigration (short term/seasonal) includes diaspora Eritreans (confuses the situation further by being used to cancel off each other e.g 50000 emigrated and 20000 immigrated to visit hence it would cancel off from the original) 🙂 Beles ye Beles ;-)]. One huge problem in dealing with the regime is its highly unprofessional ways of dealing with virtually every aspect of its interaction with NGOs and other donors. Please review the work of the “UN population fund” in Eritrea and its activity in raising conditions to lower MMR. One of their huge difficulty is in dealing with the low skill levels prevalent in this field of the MoH. I am saying all this in order to express my reservations as regards of what NGOs are able to achieve. The regime even blocked the assesment of malnutrition levels few years back which caused much diplomatic fanfare with the US state dpt.

            So, saay, my point is that the UN is not only inherently limited by standard methodology on what it can forecast but also has to work against intentional barriers and sometimes has to make do with what it has in order to meet deadlines. On the other hand, close to half a million Eritreans (almost the population of a small country or three of our small ethnic groups in total) leaving in a short span of time, most being young and productive and those left behind also being blocked off from meaningful economic activity, to such a small nation like ours would have a sever ramifications.

            Jumping the guns and trying to use it to divide the nation and ethnically or religiously polarize it seems to me unfounded, ill considered and political opportunism.

            ሕራይ ከይደ በል መዓል ህግደፍ ዘርጠብጠብ እናበላ ይቃላቐላ ኣሎዋ። ሓማቲለየን ክምለስ’የ ወዲ-ያትኩም ኣነ፡ ቱታ….

          • Pappillon

            Dear Haile TG,

            “ሕራይ ከይደ በል መዓል ህግደፍ ዘርጠብጠብ እናበላ ይቃላቐላ ኣሎዋ። ሓማቲለየን ክምለስ’የ ወዲ-ያትኩም ኣነ፡ ቱታ….” That is pretty funny. ኣጆኻ ዝሓወይ ሓገዝ አንተደሊኻ ምሳኻ ኣለኹ ካልእ እንተዘይካኣልኩ መንቀርቀር መኾስ ወይካኣ ዓይኖም ክግስሞም በርበረ ሒዘ’ለኹ


          • haileTG

            Hey Papillon

            ዓሽ ተዓዊቱልና…ንስኺ ዋዕሮ ሓፍትና ዘይብሉ’ኸ ቀደሙ ኣበይ ክሰልጥ ኢልክዮ’ኺ። ግን ንእሽቶ ከማኽረኪ፡ ዋላ ከም battle plan ሕሰብያ። እተን ዓይኖም ክግስሞም ኢልክየን ዘሎኺ በርበረ’ሲ። እዋእ….”ንመቐመጨኦም” ዶ’ኣይምሓሻን? ሃጽ ኢሎም ከማን ይጠፍኡልና ተካል ገጸኦም መንደፍ ወዲ መንደፍ! ዓይኖም እንተንቁርክዮም’ስ ኮፍ ከይብሉ ዝገደደ። ርዖም ሒዞም ድምጽማጾም እንተጠፍኡ እዩ ዝሓሸ። ሕሰብላ ፓፒሎን ዋዕሮ፡ ነቕ የላን፡ ገጥ ኣቢልኪ ሓዚ እዛ ሓፍተይ።

          • Pappillon

            Haile TG,

            I shouldn’t say this for I am a typical ሓፋር and cultured ኤሪትራዊት but what the heck I will say it: መቐመጫኦም ይሰርሕዶ ኢልካዮ ኢኻ ቀደም ወዲ ኣፎም ፉዞ ጌርዎ እንድዩ.


          • saay7

            Wo Hailat:

            This is an epic piece: a classic Haile book-ended by vintage Haile:)

            1. I never thought of the “Maekel” population growth from Asmara-migration standpoint. I always exclude Asmara from Maekel (I treat it like its own zoba)–thanks, that was an eye-opener;

            2. Nation Master used to report that Eritrea has the world’s largest net migration rate (on a per capita basis.) It doesn’t anymore; neither does the CIA World Factbook, nor the UN. So that one still stumps me. I know that is calculated mid-year. Could it as simple as them counting the Diaspora return to Eritrea (May-August) as emigration?

            3. I agree with you that getting data on Eritrea is virtually impossible: the police state won’t disclose it; and it won’t allow NGOs disclose it because either they don’t exit or, when they do, their mewesawesi permit is severely restricted. I do remember when Isaias did his critique of calorie counts and disputing the science behind calculation of malnutrition rates (ኽቡር ፕረዚደንት ምኽሪ ለጊሱሎም): this was when he coined (during a TV interview) a short-lived slogan (Mao would have been disappointed) that Eritreans should skip breakfast. While his propaganda machine was telling Eritreans there was no famine in Eritrea, he was meeting with UNICEF and begging for help, according to an extremely revealing wikileaks:


            4. My point is that an opposition member that is not fact-based is toxic and a liability inflicting collateral damage on our cause. This, regretfully, is how I see YG: a man who once held much promise but has chosen to descend into the quick-sand of ethnic politics, cheered, in no small part, by Ethiopians who would be horrified if an Ethiopian was to have that kind of discourse about their country.

            ቀልጢፍካ ተመለስ፥ ናይ ኢንተርነት ኲናት: ምዱብ ግዜ: ደረት: መንጎኛ: ስለ ዘይብሉ ዓወት ስዕረት የብሉን:: ተረባሪብካ ዘፍ ጥራይ! Waste of your talent, I think.


          • saay7

            Selamat Haile the gr8:

            Yet another example of a man earning his title:)

            Before I got to my counter-example, allow me to say this: if what YG is presenting was done in a scholarly way, with the tone carrying the appropriate tone, I would be curious. If he didn’t have such a tendency to just make up stuff as he goes, I would pay more attention. He has stumbled into the bigots erogenous zone and he just says wildly irresponsible things that, when the you know what hits the fan, all his fans hiding behind their fake names will just disappear into the mist. So, as one of the few (percent wise) of writers/commenters who write/comment using their name, I have some solidarity with him and I am trying to say “Don’t go there…unless you are armed with reams of facts.”

            When you don’t have a baseline (what is out population) it is risky to reach conclusions; especially so when one attempts to break it down by social groups. What we can say with absolute certainty is that our youth are migrating in big numbers. Beyond that, we need data: data: data.

            I have three data points that are not even entirely representative. 1952, 1997 and 2008 and only for one province/zoba of Eritrea that of Hamassien/Maekel (and even that is not comparing apples to apples, so we need to be cautious before we draw definitive conclusions.) All populations below are, obviously, referencing Eritreans who live in Eritrea. For an estimate into how many people live in the Diaspora, the CCE’s Dr. Tekie Fessehazion had done a report which I can find, I think.

            In 1952, the British Military Administration updated a census that the Italians had made. It said that Eritrea’s population is 1,031,000 and that of Hamassien is 118,000.

            A 1997 census conducted by the Eritrean regime was published by awate in 2004 (link provided below.) The census showed that Eritrea’s population is 2,634,985 and that of Maekel is 503,201.

            A 2008 census (referenced in “International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics”, a paper written by two Eritrean scholars) says that, according to a 2009-published survey by Zoba Maekel Administration, the population of Maekel is 591,368.

            Over an 11 year period (1997-2008), the population of Maekel grew by 18%. I think you would agree with me that this is puny growth given that in Sub-Saharan Africa, the population doubles every 35 years. Here’s what is missing:

            1. 1997-2008 is a long period. Was the rate of growth uniform or did it suddenly decline in 2005 (the first reported cases of human trafficking/smuggling/mass exodus)?

            2. Is the rate of growth for Maekel identical to the other provinces? If not, what are the differences attributed to? Proximity to Sudanese/Ethiopian border? Other reasons?

            My problem with YG highly-irresponsible “hzbi kebesa Tefaeka” is that he doesn’t quantify anything, he doesn’t qualify anything, he doesn’t do comparative analysis, he doesn’t consider any reason besides the most illogical explanation: that the EPLF/PFDJ which is, by all accounts, dominated by Tigrinya highlanders is deliberately exiling Tigrinya highlanders. Even more irresponsibly, he says that we (Awate Team) are cheer-leading this because it syncs up with our strategy of demographic change!

            Population, census are extraordinarily sensitive issues (so sensitive that in places like Lebanon they just stopped taking them.) It doesn’t help when YG uses his bull in china shop approach.



            1997 Census

            2008 Census of “Zoba Maekel”

            Bahta, Yonas Tesfamariam, and Berhane Okubay Haile. “Determinants Of Poverty Of Zoba Maekel Of Eritrea: A Household Level Analysis.” International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics (IJFAEC) 1 (2013).

  • Pappillon

    Dear Horizon,

    Either I am losing you or you’re losing me. You seem to be reading what is not written. I say it respectfully of course. If I have to reiterate, the emphasis is of course the objectives and mandates of Ghedli where it was exclusively to bring about independence simply because, the trajectory was the King’s unlawful abrogation of the spirit of Federation in tandem with the wind that was blowing across the continent where again Eritrea was not an exception. The quest for independence meant owning a sovereign nation with a defined geographical reality where the people claim an identity cultivated through their own unique experiences.

    If I have to state the obvious, Ghedli was never a luxury but an incredibly difficult choice taken by men and women when they were denied their rightful quest for independence and when other venues were completely exhausted. It was not an adventure. Or a fantastic story where a hero and a villain on a stage to entertain an audience. Moreover, the fundamental common ground of those who set out to fight the external force was the ultimate trophy– that is independence where again, democracy, multi party system or freedom of speech were for all practical reasons relegated to the back-burner. It is prudent to keep in mind that, Ghedli was objectified by a Front not a political party as we know it depicted with in the norms of a nation-state. Everything was intensely mobilized to defeat the enemy where the motto was, “The problems of the day can not be solved by speech or majority vote but by blood and iron” (read: Otto Von Bismarck). What was expected was a complete commitment and dedication for and to the cause where often times difficult measures were at stake. I am not by all means condoning the clandestine activities that had taken place with in Ghedli where measures were taken when certain group of people (read: መንካዕ et al) entertained a political space which seemed to be too early to demand for when Ghedli was not consolidated enough. That as it may however, a different venue should have been sought instead of eliminating them out right. The reason I brought the particular incident of መንካዕ up is to underscore the intensity and focus of Ghedli where everything was second to the main objective that is–independence. That was precisely the reason, the Front had a fluid policy in its dealings when it comes to ideology where the modus operandi was practically anything and everything was a means to an end. When it found itself dealing with the East, it would buy into and daly with Communist leanings; when it found itself in need of something from the Arab world, it would pull an Arab stint and the same political chameleon would be exercised when it dealt with the West as well.

    When independence was achieved however, the shapeless modus operandi was meant to be rendered anachronistic in terms as it could not and was not able to synch with the reality of the world that was coming of age and those who demanded for the complete overhaul of the system that had come all along with its merits and downsides were dubbed traitors and were thrown to the dungeons when unrelenting dictatorship and tyranny is taking the nation to the bottom of the abyss. It is prudent to keep in mind that, those who demanded for the transformation of Ghedli after independence were the very part and parcel of Ghedli thus it is dishonesty at its best to throw all the blame on Ghedli. If Ghedli was carried on the giant shoulders of the Eritrean people, wounded Eritrea is agonizing under a cruel feet of a tyrant who betrayed the very spirit of Ghedli.


  • saay7

    Dine, more likely, they were just taking the aggragate for Ethiopia and giving it an Eritrean property. Wait, let me restate that so Eyob doesn’t think I am accusing Ethopia of stealing Eritrean property…

    • dine

      ya Moalem sal, if that is the case eritrea definitely stole under developed regions of ethiopia (Afar, Gambala, Benishangul and Ethio-somali) property.but what if Eri-gov manipulate the data to say we were miserable under ETH occupation and now we making big progress? one more question about sudan purchase electric power from ETH and sell it to ERI. help me up to understand it please ?

  • lili

    I met Saleh Younis when I was 10 years old going out with my old brother. After talking a
    while with my brother he asked me what my grade was at school and I told him that my grade was 10
    out of thirty. His answer was. Go home and study now so that you will not have
    the same grade again.

    I felt so miserable because that was my old result and not real at the time. My real
    grade was much worse than ten out of thirty. I thought of what he would say if
    he knew about my real grade.
    He is still semms to be a tough teacher.

  • SM

    No third world Nation to my best knowledge has tried what the GoE has been doing when it comes to decentralizing the socio-economic sector of governance.
    Contrary to your assertion,I watched the Eri – TV showing services rendered to the remote rural Eritrea.,for which The EPLF and the PFDJ is quite known.
    I have seen Mobile Clinics …In the remote areas.I have seen illiterate Tigre Women from Sahel sitting for the 8th Grade National Exams.
    By any standard, despite its poor record of bad governance and despite its limited resources…the GoE succeeded in achieving most of the MDG….including provision of clean water,Improving the MCH status ..The MMR Saay is talking about included;the Immunization status. …Control of Infectious /communicable diseases…malaria controlled by 97% besides TB and HIV infection going down and better than all the neghbors ,almost all of them except the food security issues,which will be a history in a yr or two.
    Literacy Rate is going well. way better than the neighbors..
    I admire your legal U turn…and this will help you to convince the Silent majority…by being balanced,reasonable, more objective and transparent.
    BTW,I do not believe there will a better option than what you proposed about the urgent solution to our current mess.
    I beg you to keep debating on thus issue…the ICG proposal we talked about before…

    • Fenomeno

      Like stated in the above article, off course there are some postive developments in Eritrea, for example concercing the Millenium Goals (of which PIA was a bit cynical in his last interview). However, do these positive developments outweigh or come even close to the many sad developments?

      Next to that, couldn’t these goals have been achieved if there was free press? If there was an implemented constitution? Rule of law?

      • SM

        Did any one,even the hard core PFDJ supporters,deny what you mentioned,which we are debating about ?
        Get it real.
        The subject matter here is:
        Admitting the positives will help us to help check deeply the negatives of the PFDJ system and will also help us to have a better and positive approach in challenging the PFDJ and in discerning the real solutions for th ereal problems,as some one said it eloquently here in this forum.

  • saay7


    It is your hagherawi gdeta to now include Natnael Berhe in your fantasy football team.
    Go Nat!


    • NFL Sunday

      Dear SAAY,
      I will include him in my fanatasy football. But I expect him to pay his 2 percent.
      He appears to be conscious of his Eritrean heritage. Upon receiving the news that he was drafted by the Giants, he tweeted wondering whether he will be the first Eritrean ever to play in the NFL.
      I am told he is a proud member of YPFDJ! Good for him. We wish him all the best!

      • saay7

        Selamat NFL Sunday:

        Well, if you are going to remind him about 2%, you might go all the way and tell him about “National Service.” Contrary to what people think, the National Service Proclamation applies to all Eritreans, including those who live in Diaspora, but particularly to the YPFDJ.

        Do that and all you will hear is the sound of crickets.


    • Nitricc

      hahahah SAAY i am sorry but he is 5th round pick. Do you what the odds are he will make it to 53 men roster? i do understand it is it achievement to get to the draft. The probability to get to the NFL is like one person for every 200 collage football players. So, give him his props but he got to earn it to play in the NFL before I put him on my team.

  • dawit

    Dear Saay7,

    You wrote “On behalf of myself and all awatistas (whether you like it or not), I would like to congratulate Nigerians and Ghanians…”. whether you like it or not? why you didn’t ask our vote? Is this a sign of a latent dictatorial tendency? Just curious!

    • saay7

      Selamat Dawitom:

      Sometimes my jokes are too subtle. That was me making fun of the Isaias regime which, when issuing letters, sometimes says “on behalf of the government and people of Eritrea” as if it has the consent of the people:) And, good luck getting from your Ethiopian debator documentation for one of the urban legends that the “One Ethopia” group created: Eritrea became one of Africa’s greatest coffee exporters:)


      • dawit

        Dear saay7
        I was also making fun on your jock! and Big Dawit hs continued the jock, he may come up with a cartoon.
        On the serious side of the joke, I have a confession to make, not fake one but real. am a ‘dictator’ of my household. I have two daughters, and when they were children I made almost all their decision till they reach 18. On their 18th. Birth Day I took them for a special dinner and told them this. ” Up to know I made all your decision of your life consulting you some times, but I made the final decision. Now you are eighteen, our role is changing, you are the decision makers of your life and I will act as your consultant. You can come to me for consultation any time you want me, I am available 24 hours”. So my daughter are now grownups but they always consult me about career, jobs etc.
        Now you know my stand on IA, may be when I write my article we will discuss that in detail.
        On the ‘Urban Coffee Legend’, debate thanks for wishing me luck, and when it arrives, of course AT will be the first to know the fact, and we can have a coffee ceremony Eritreans and One Ethiopian together at Awate’s big Jebena on the greatest jock ever invented ‘Eritrea the largest Coffee Exporter in Africa’ .

    • Mahmud Saleh

      salam dawit,
      Good job; we need to watch saay7 like a hawk!!!!!!!!!

    • Dawit

      Dear Moqsi,

      You said “why you didn’t ask our vote?”

      Who asked you to speak on our behalf?

      You should have said “Why you didn’t ask myvote”? :-):-)

      • dawit

        Dear Big Dawit;
        You are right moqsi I apologize for speaking on you behalf. Saay said it was a joke making fun of IA, and mine was also making fun of Saay, and I believe you making a fun on my ‘politically incorrect’ statement. Let the Joke continue! we need laughter as we discuss serious matters.

  • said

    The regime lies about everything and nothing can be trusted. Be it about health or Education, Eritrean education is almost non-existent. The so-called education system is there only to propagate and brainwash the youth, and to maintain the status quo. Eritrea is now undeniably a failed and ruined country. it is an absolute nightmare, with all the basic services either missing, or a totally inadequate level. It has sunk to way below the level of sub-Saharan African nations. Many nation are advancing country like considered backward like Sudan, Rwanda and Zimbabwe has much better public schools. Well-known fact that Kenya has more advance reliable mobile and Internet networks. Tanzania and Botswana has better public hospitals, unlike some segment of our intellectual, those totally prostituted cheaply, the so called selfish ‘elites’ who buy regimes lines. Still there are many brave ad pure and ‘unsold’, working for a new Eritrea. At least many of them, are obsessed with finding new ways to change their country in the right path. Extremely dedicated, honest, brave men and women who are free and honorable citizen, Eritrean people who live in Eritrea are living in constant fear, in horror. Often they do not realize it, because this state of mind ‘living in fear’, is considered (normal). This fear, also explains why almost nobody rebels, or is willing to start a rebellion against the regime. People are paralyzed by an abstract fear, which actually has its roots in ignorance and insecurity. Eritrea is one of top country and unfortunately the scariest and scared places on earth. What is now governing Eritrea system is morally defunct, it is corrupt. What is ruling the country now is not even in agreeable cultural or a political system: it is paralyzed and incurable a disease. As it is now, two decades after 1991, for many people of Eritrea have no idea and clue about any other system except their own PFDJ dictorship, or about true democracy. PFDJ have done a good job by locking the nation in perpetual fear, in horror, in moral total surrender.

    Many of us know intimately Ethiopian colonization and many African countries over the centuries Europeans of various color and strains have tried to fulfil their ugly fantasies in Africa. To plunge, convert and conquer, subjugated and enslave, dominate and discriminate. But when many Eritrean diaspora set off to Eritrea in 90th many genuinely who had hoped to contribute to an economic project on the newly born nation. Many truly believed that the EPLF had fought for the freedom of all Eritrean people regardless of their ethnic origin, faith or place of birth. NUSO have totally different idea .EPLF with rigged and uncompromising Bolshevik and moist ideology, even those they declared soft ideology was Marxism and Leninism face that claims to pursue “progressive politics for a fairer and better world. The dream of an utopia idea of Bolshevik and moist ideology of a 80th was heyday time , in reality EPLF was oppressive ,cruel, corrupted and misguided bunch believing in power of the one absolute party and power of gun . Few heroics tegadelty naively that raised their voices was met with a brutal death, a cruelty and unwarranted and overreaction. Sincere patriotic and senior members of the EPLF were quietly eliminated, assassinated and killed for questioning the fascist dogma. For many Eritrean that found this horrible information and knowledge, it was very profoundly disturbing and challenging time. It turned everything they thought they knew on its upside down, the killing and purge cemented a culture of fear that has shaped a generation to this day. This appalling knowledge and event remained so secret and little known inside or outside Eritrea?

    In after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was TPLF to have made a political U-turn and benefited from western aid and donation. Abandoning Marxism and Leninism as its ideology. But what deeply disturbed and rattled Eritrean was that– diaspora intellectuals whom many admired for their contribution to the Eritrean Couse – some seemed to have turned a blind eye to the killings. It was as if their commitment to the EPLF party was so deeply entwined with their destiny and that in the end, they only wanted to hear the voices for truth from their masters and their leader and fell deaf to the calls from below. They never cared enough to search and find for truth. Few became so disillusioned they giving up altogether – on everything that is Eritrea. For many sold-out diaspora intellectuals they have a history of toeing the EPLF party line – it is called delusional discipline and unity – in the pursuit of freedom, equality and justice that never existed in the first place. Exemplified by George Orwell’s account of his personal experiences with the Spanish communists in Homage to Catalonia.

  • Ethiopia Disintegratinge


    What do you guys think of the Indian Ocean Newsletter article about the Ethiopian Government Disintegrating since the death of Meles Zenawi.
    I quote: “The telephone network run by Ethio Telecom provides a very poor service, mainly because of frequently
    electricity outages which also affect the water distribution system when the electic pumps stop running. The cause is
    breakdowns of the aging transformers purchased second-hand from India. Regionalism becoming more intense – since the end of April, the federal police have brutally repressed student protests against the master plan in several universities in the Oromia Regional State that would expand Addis Ababa into Oromo areas.

  • NFL Sunday

    Nat Berhe, the captain of the Sandiego State Aztecs, is the latest Eritrean athlete to have some success on the biggest stage this year. Meb Kflizghi, Zerisenay Tadese, all of our cylcists – Natnael Berhane, Merhawi Kudus, Daniel Teklehaymanot and now Nat Berhe in the NFL!

    Nat Berhe in the NFL! That is very exciting! I am now a NY Giants Fan. I hope the go all the way to the Superbowl.

  • Rodab

    Thanx Thunder. And thanx to the Sudanese website for filling in the void left by EriTv.

    The Sudan signed agreement to purchase electricity from Ethiopia recently. And now Eritrea is signing agreement to purchase electricity from the Sudan. In other words, Eritrea is to purchase electricity from Ethiopia, indirectly. Cool!

    Can economy/business/commercial succeed where diplomacy failed and do their magic to convince the two* despotic, unaccounted regimes to reconsider their rigidity and be overcome by the will of the two great peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia? It is to be hopped.

    * Admittedly, the PFDJ is worse than the Woyanes in governance, whereas the Woyanes are worse in respecting their own signature on the border verdict. These are facts!

    • haileTG

      Hey Rodab, cool down ma man, it is a good news Sunday 🙂

      “The 45-kilometers electric line with a capacity of 66 kilovolt, will link Sudan’s eastern town of Kassala and Eriteria’s Teseney town. The Eritrean president also toured the Khartoum refinery and the currency printing facility.”

      In connection to the indirect ties between Eritrea and Ethiopia, here is what the same news article said:

      “Sudan, which in past proposed to reconcile Addis Ababa and Asmara and forge strong economic relations, holds regular meetings with officials from the two horn of Africa foes aiming to enhance bilateral cooperation on various fields.”

      Spot on again Rodab. BTW my iReport is still on, we are having technical glitch that is all 🙂

    • Eyob Medhane


      “…Can economy/business/commercial succeed where diplomacy failed and do their magic to convince the two* despotic, unaccounted regimes to reconsider their rigidity and be overcome by the will of the two great peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia? It is to be hopped….”

      Can you be more disingenuous? Do you see how you sound arrogant, how you sound, you feel ‘entitled’? The normal manner and behavior, when you want something from someone, directly or indirectly is to speak to them nicely. There is no business, economy ties going on between Ethiopia and Sudan here. Your president goes to Sudan every three months to blackmail Beshir and gets what he wants. That is not trade ties with anyone directly or indirectly. That is thuggery. I guess with some Eritreans, that is accepted as a normal business practice and to be admired about particularly in your Shabia friends circle. We all know about such kind of business practice that you have conducted with Ethiopia (91-98). Remember? When you were repackaging and selling Ethiopian coffee? Remember the time of “Ityopia yegarachin Ertra yegilachin?” That time is gone. Not ever never to come back. Never. So be humble a bit. Tone down the arrogance. Give it a rest. ‘Despotic’ or not there is nothing absolutely nothing that “woyane” needs from you. But you do. Hence, ask what you want nicely. The arrogance doesn’t seem to get you far….

      • Hope

        Well, we do NOT need you either—You are the ones, who are sleepless as to how to make us down—- since you know that we can live without you.
        You are the ones who are barking day and night about Sea Outlet—sos ,you rather stop your arrogance—and go to your Aiga online and or tigray online and express your arrogance.

      • Rodab

        I am not sure what’s upseting you but there is nothing arrogance nor entitlement about wanting to have an economic relantionship between the two countries, be it Eri-Sudan or Eri-Ethio.

        What you claim happend before, and this whole thing “Ityopia yegarachin Ertra yegilachin” is something you and the likes love to sing whenever the mood kicks in. I haven’t seen any such quotes or anything that was alluded to Eritrean officials. It is most likely something you guys imagined, and out of repeated imagination in your heads, became a “fact”.

        In any case, we are talking about the future, better not get stack in the past with incurrable victim mentality. And so as far as Eritrea/Ethiopia economic relations, yes direct negotiations are the best way, or even the only way to go. But they’re not happening and probably won’t happen in the very near future. Why? because one side said it wants to re-open a done deal border verdict that costed so much lives and hadship to both sides, and the other said, nope! The latter isn’t blameless in a sense that a little flexibility could’ve helped, but the former takes the lion’s share of the blame. All they have to do is honor the damn agreement they told the world they agree to its ‘final and binding’ nature!

        As for our government’s behaviour, well there is plenty to talk about but only the part that affects the relations with your country concerns you.

        Now, how do you figure it out that there is no business or economic ties between Eritrea and Sudan (if that’s what you meant to say)? For countries that are not at war and with borders not cordoned off, is it even possibile to avoid economic relations? Well, isn’t the very message you are commenting under telling you, in black and white, an economic relations between the two countries? Oh, wait. In your definition that is just thugetry. Of course there are multi-facated economic activities going on between the two nations (I hope you don’t ask me for figures, data…that would ruin the rest of my day). The fact you don’t know about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it just means is you don’t know about it.

        • Eyob Medhane

          Ok Rodab,

          My blood sugar is intact. Had a good good lunch and coffee. Now I can stop yelling at you 🙂

          Here are my points.

          1) Should there be an economic ties between the two countries (Ethiopia and Eritrea) it will never ever be a kind that was from 1991-1998) Never! Are you kidding me with the “Ityopia yegliachin Ertra yegarachin never been said”? Please don’t. Because, you are opening an old wound. Eritreans used to tell us that to our faces in Ethiopia. I personally know an Eritrean, who was later deported and died in Asmara, who humiliated a traffic police, because he pulled him over. If you lived in Addis at that time, you wouldn’t have said that…..

          2) True that Eritreans and Sudanese societies may have a cross border trade between each other, but the “economic ties” between the governments is purely based on black mail. That is an open secret. Isayas threatning Beshir to ignite civil war in Eastern Sudan, if Beshir doesn’t give him what he wants. That is Shabia’s trade policy with Sudan.

          3) The border ruling issue is just a ruse of Shabia that they bamboozeled Eritreans, especially Kebessa Eritreans with to rule over them. (In case of the Kebessa to make the extinct) Other than that Ethiopia has accepted the ruling. It wants to demarcate it by negotiating the physical and technical aspect of the process, so communities and socities wouldn’t split in two two different countries. That was all. That’s what Nigeria and Cameroon did. That was what Ethiopia is asking..But you don’t want it to be solved this way would you? If you do how else would you rule over people?..

          • Rodab


            1) Thanks to the secretive nature of the two regimes, our (we, the ordinary citizens) knowledge regarding what sort of economic interactions took place is very limited, if any. But sure enough I anticipated the way business are done will dramatically change. Hopefully for better mutual benefit. After all, we live in dynamic world.

            2) On the Eri/Sudan economic relations, you’re grossly mis-informed and this has to be your least knowledge in our little chat here. Don’t you know whatever limited import/export we have, it is with the Sudan? I guess not.

            3) On the border issue, you are giving me your governments tiring talking point. Now who is being disingenuous? Isn’t this something that has been deafening us for a decade now? If Nigeria and Cameroon re-opened a talk on their border conflict, that is because they Can do so at their prerogative. What you can’t do is outright refusal to the agreement you inked, specially, when you should lead by example with Addis being the continent’s political headquarter.

            Lastly, on #1, you based your justification on what people said or how they viewed it, but on #2, hmmm people don’t really count, it has to be government-to-government. Well played!

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Eyob Medhane:
        ” ‘Despotic’ or not there is nothing absolutely nothing that “woyane” needs from you. But you do. Hence, ask what you want nicely. The arrogance doesn’t seem to get you far….”
        Who is acting arrogantly: I see you repeating the years 91-98 which you seem to underline as the years Eritreans sucked Ethiopia, but you forget the years -1975-1991 that woyane had sucked us dry in blood and treasure,
        -you forget the 30 years that Ethiopia sucked us dry in blood and material
        -you forget that the tanks you see when woyane entered Ethiopia were ours and were commandeered by our boys and girls.
        -you seem to ignore the fact that our boys and girls died in Ethiopia helping EPRDF up on its feet, CONSOLIDATE ITS POWER (remember Oromo issues…).
        -You seem to ignore you were using our ports almost, well, free (you ignore why General Biteweded Abraha is in jail,(hint: ye asab guday)
        -you ignore the thuggery your government did on Eritreans, literally robbing them of money and property beyond your ability to repay, and how about the kids and moms you dumped over the border in the desert; i will treasure the heroic stories I heard of ordinary Ethiopians who took matters in to their hands and risked their lives to help out Eritreans; and that’s what gives me comfort that both peoples can live peacefully when instigators of hate like you are made irrelevant; how? read below.
        QUM NEGERU: Both governments made strategic mistakes to pitch both peoples against each other, but both peoples refused. I don’t see the animosity you belch out in ordinary Ethiopians, and vice versa; both sides’ cadres need to be reminded that your business is almost bankrupt. It was a necessity for Eritrea which came out of war after 30 years to sick assistance from Ethiopia ( I don’t know if assistance was sought) and it was a strategic decision for the government of EPRDF to have stable Eritrea since the benefit was mutual, it was proper and any one who knows the situation on both countries in those years will tell you to please save your ranting. We have not asked you to pay us for the lives your successive governments killed in its 30 years murderous campaigns- for the atrocities and and for the property destruction, for the wiped out cities and villages and for the agony ( I am saying your governments not your people). There is no way you will quantify it and there is no way you will even fathom paying it, not alone with your 91-98 fiction. At the end:
        *I hope Ethiopians will do better, because strong and prosperous Ethiopia is an asset for democratic Eritrea and vice versa.
        *I know the majority of Ethiopians do not entertain the same spiteful ranting.
        *Make no mistake Eritrea will come out of the current situation strong, you will never ever make us regret our journey, you will never ever be able to disintegrate us…never, even with the help of your hero, YG. This is also true for those who want to remind us that our decision to be free was wrong, THAT’S THE GOAL OF ALL THESE RANTING, WHICH IS FUTILE.
        *There will come time, hopefully very soon, when Eritrea and Ethiopia will have mutually beneficial relationship, and become at peace with each other; that day is not good for hatemongers, buckle up brother.

        • SM

          Shukren ghezillion Wed Ad.
          Allah we”Akber!!…yes..God is Great and will keep His promise that Eritrea and Eritreans will finally see the light at the end of the Tunnel…..Insh’Allah. ..God willing.
          God bless you…Saay ‘ s twin brother?At least in principle..

          • mahmud_saleh

            Dear SM;
            The call of the day is get real, honorable, principled; no more passive following, for both sides. We should not let both extremes to have it their way, nor should we blind ourselves from the positives. I usually use a simple test.
            -If some one gets mad when winds of peace b/n the governments blow thinking that it will protract PFDJ reign
            -If they get mad when doctors graduate from Irota
            -If they get when any good news come out of Eritrea,
            -If they are happy when some armed groups cross into Eritrean territory and kill national service kids who have no crime but guarding the border..etc, I remind them of Mitch McConnell, who said that Repulican’s priority was to make Obama ” a one term president.” That’s putting politics before national interest. and you know what, Obama got reelected.

        • Rahwa T

          Mahmud Saleh,

          I am an Ethiopian. I appreciate your wise approach in handling sensitive political issues of the two countries. But I don’t have that appreciation this time and kindly ask you to give us a bit of deeper explanation on some points. I am interested to know about those Eritreans fighters who helped the “weak” woyane and wounded and died to “free” Ethiopians from the brutal regime. I always feel this is highly exaggerated and wonder if there Eritreans fighters at all who died on Ethiopian soil excepting those heavy-weapon operators who helped at Shire. I believe you are the one would help me in having clear understanding of this. I am ready to accept the truth, but if and only it is substantiated with evidence, not the type of unfounded arguments that I read from few great writers here at Awate forum.

          • Hope

            Please refer to the Martyrs Album through the AT—and you will find that lots of Eritrean Heroes fell all over Ethiopia.
            What If I tell you that I lost my own cousin was maryyred just in front of the “Menelik Palace”?

      • Abinet

        What coffee export are you talking about?WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE? Hahahaha

        • Eyob Medhane

          Come on Abi,

          Learn how to speak ‘Isayasigna’ it is ‘Where is the evidences’ 🙂

    • Dear Rodab,

      IA had said that he has plans to import electricity from the GERD. This could be the first stage of approaching Addis; of course, indirectly through Khartoum, thus protecting his egoistic nature from interpretations of all sorts by different
      people including the opposition, if he goes directly to Ethiopia to get electricity. This is another circular journey. Sudan gets electricity from Ethiopia and then directs it to Eritrea.

      Even then, this could be a sign that the reclusive kingdom is starting to learn the hard way that it cannot live forever by building a tall wall around itself. Nevertheless, no one can be sure whether he got out of his den for the sake of the people, or for his own survival, to calm a possible anger he might be feeling from the people. Remember, when he said go to where the water is, as people were complaining of shortage of water in Asmara.

      • Hayat Adem

        If true, amazing circular journey. But it is a progress. Eventually, there will not be a wall between these two peoples. Let anyone futilely toil to build a 50ft tall fence on the border, we (the people of both sides) will show her/him a 51ft ladder.

  • dawit

    Dear Saay7,
    Thanks for great tutorial, I was able catch-up with my ECON 101. As someone said ‘there are three kinds of lies ‘Lies, damn Lies and Statistics” so one has to be careful in interpreting any kind of statistics. Besides the difficulty of collecting the data and its manipulation or crunching the numbers, as you indicated about GDP and MMM it really difficult what they represent or mean to the average Joseph and Marry?

  • sara

    khalee’ salih
    since you brought up Nigeria’s success story, let me add something you unintentionaly forgot to include in your report… Nigeria being a success the well known international economic forum was held there recently in abuja, in fact some are saying Abuja has now replaced Davos and i don’t think this November there will be one in Davos, on the flip side Nigeria is also becoming a hub for a new group called BOKO HARAM who have kidnapped almost 300 girls from their boarding school.

  • Thunder

    Isaias visited Khartoum for 3 days the out come of the trip he will buy electricity + petrol and the Sudanese central bank will print Eritrean currency Nakfa, read Sudanese Arabic website

    طباعة العملة الإريترية بالسودان.. تنظيم المسارات التجارية

    التفاصيل نشر بتاريخ الأحد, 11 أيار 2014 09:18

    تقرير: محمد إسحاق
    فى اطار زيارته للسودان، قام الرئيس الاريتري اسياس افورقي يرافقه وزير الكهرباء والموارد المائية بزيارة لشركة مطابع السودان للعملة ومصفاة السودان للذهب، والتي وصفها بعض الخبراء الاقتصاديين بالزيارة الناجحة بكل المقاييس، خاصة على الصعيد الاقتصادي، كما انها جاءت فى الوقت المناسب تحت ظل الراهن الاقتصادي.
    وخلال زيارته الى مطابع السودان للعملة ابدى الرئيس الاريترى أهمية التعاون مع البنك المركزى السودانى فى طباعة العملات الاريترية بالمطابع السودانية، واصدار كل ما يحكم اصدار العملة من قوانين ولوائح، وفى ذات الاطار ابدى محافظ البنك المركزى السودانى موافقتهم على التواصل والتعاون مع دولة إريتريا الشقيقة. هذا التوجه المطروح جعل الخبير الاقتصادي محمد ابراهيم كبج يشير خلال حديثه للصحيفة الى ان فكرة التعاون فى طباعة عملة دولة ارتيريا بمطابع السودان يصُعب تطبيقها فى اطار الحراك الاقتصادي فى العديد من المجالات خاصة فى اتجاه التصدير، واكد كبج ان كانت لارتيريا منطقة حرة بين البلدين وقدرة على التعامل مع السودان فإن هذا بالضرورة يساعد فى سحب العملات وتقليل ارتفاع فى الدولار، الى جانب ذلك قال ان هذا التعاون يمكن ان يساعد ارتيريا من الناحية الاقتصادية بتصاعد تصدير محاصيل موسمية الى السودان، ويمكن ان تكون هذه المحاصيل مصدراً للعملات الحرة لها. وأضاف كبج ان التعاون في طباعة العملة الاريترية فى المطابع السودانية سيؤدى الى تحسين الاوضاع الاقتصادية وتبادل المنافع من ناحية تنشيط التجارة بدلاً من العدائيات بين البلدين. ومن جهته أشار الخبير الاقتصادى البروفيسور عصام الدين عبد الوهاب «بوب» فى حديثه لـ «الإنتباهة» إلى التعاون الذى يتم بين ارتيريا والسودان فى مجال طباعة العملة الاريترية في مطابع السودان الذى جاء بمبادرة من رئيس الاريترى أخيراً، قال إن دولة ارتيريا هى دولة مجاورة للسودان وهذا يحتاج الى تحسين علاقاتها مع كل الدول، والتعاون مع أسياس افورقى أمر مهم يمكن البلاد الاستفادة منه، لافتاً لضرورة توسيع التجارة البينية بين البلدين فى كثير من المجالات لفائدة البلدين، وقال إن هذه المبادرة اذا تم تطبيقها سوف تزيل الكثير من الحواجز وعبرها يتم تحريك وتنشيط الكثير من السلع التجارية بين البلدين فى الفترة القادمة، واشار إلى ان هنالك الكثير من القوانين واللوائح تحتاج الى المعالجة وتصحيح المسار بين البلدين الشقيقين، خاصة قانون تجارة الحدود الذى يحتاج الى تفعيل وتنظيم لانسياب السلع بصورة منتظمة.
    أما الخبير الاقتصادى د. محمد الجاك احمد فقد اضاف فى حديثه أن فكرة المبادرة ستؤدى الى نوع من التحكم فى عدم ارتفاع وصعود الدولار، الى جانب تنشيط حركة التجارة بين البلدين بصورة ممتازة.

    اتصل بنا

  • feven1

    “I don’t know what the reason for the impressive MMR is, but my position is:………”poor Saleh Yonis, you honestly expect maternal death to be high in a country where the young don’t even wait until maternity, instead leave to die or live elsewhere?….even those who got caught by pregnancy while in Eritrea can not imagine raising a child in that country that I’m sure you have heard of stories about Eritrean moms giving birth on a boat in Mediterranean sea?……you remind me of many wounded Amiches who before their Ethiopian friends boast about lifeless Asmara being tranquil….

    • saay7

      Selamat Feven:

      There is a two part to this. One is simple math:

      Numerator: death of women while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy for a given period multiplied by 100,000
      Denominator: Live birth of children for a given period

      WHO (a reputable organization) says that for Eritrea this ratio used to be 1700 in 1990 and it is 380 in 2013.

      Related to this is also the infant mortality rate which has also showed significant improvement.

      The other part: what happens to the women once they have children? What is the quality of care they receive? What is their quality of life? What is the quality of the life of their children are all valid questions and my answers are that Eritrean mothers and children are having a terrible life because of the policies of the Isaias regime.


      • dine

        Ustaz sal, is there a country called Eritrea in 1990 recognized by WHO?

        • saay7

          Nice dine.

          What happens is that we inherit all Ethiopian data from 1990. The whole MDG is based on that. So, if we don’t meet the goals, we already have a counter-argument ready “you know, there was no Eritrea in 1990”:)


          • dine

            saay, which means there was a data has been done for each Provence in ethiopia at the time.

  • Pappillon


    There is first time for everything. Here is a good news where an Eritrean-American selected to play for NFL.

    • dawit

      Waw! Can any good come from Nazareth? I am not surprised that some good come from Eritrea, because Eritreans athletes have been doing in cycling and running marathon. but I am surprised that it is reported at AT. but as you said “there is first time for everything”.
      Thanks Pappillon for the information.

    • SM

      Pappi haftna,
      You never knew that:
      ‘-9 out of 11 of the Ethiopoan Soccer team was comprised of original Eritreans
      -You never knew that the young soccer team of Eritrea almost won the CECAFA cup
      -You never knew that the under age Eritrean Soccer Team won In Sweden or Norway few yrs ago
      -‘You never knew that Tadesse Zerisenay has been the sole record keeper of the 10k meter until recentlyx5
      -You never knew about Meb the Olympics Marathon Silver medalist
      -You never knew about the countless Eritrean Tigers of the Cycling Sports
      -You never knew about the NBA candidate,Thomas Kekati playing in Europe
      -you never knew about the new rising stars following suit their brother,Tadesse Z.

  • ALI-S

    Thanks for the great read and the very positive outlook. I have nothing to add.
    As you rightfully noted, in our earnest to deny the PFDJ any credit, we stopped seeing anything positive about Eritrea. On the one hand as I would like to believe this negativity is motivated by irrational ways that we have followed through the years and need to be reviewed. On the other hand the magnitude of the challenges that Eritrea faces combined inexcusable mismanagement and absurdities of governance tends to dwarf some of the achievements.
    That is why some form of revision is required on both sides. We do not control how the PFDJ sees things and we cannot ask why the PFDJ does not see anything positive in what the opposition is trying to do at the level of intention. But we can influence the way the opposition sees things as you tried to do in this article.
    My theory here is something like this: we cannot see what is wrong with the PFDJ unless we start to see what is right about it first.

    • saay7

      Ahlen ALI-S:

      Not the point I was trying to make but if that is what you got out of it, it means the author did not make his points well. My point is that we (Africans) shrug off news, even good news, because we have no independent or trustworthy institutions:)

      Beyond that, I believe Econ is your field: it happens to be my passion but I sure would love to get your take on it.


      • Hope

        Hey–three of you–Saay,Mahmoud Salih,Younis Hussen–and some others as well(no discrimination–intended or implied),will make this forum–more than a “World Class One,of the type” as Ermias said it correctly–Please do NOT go away–stay here..

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Why do women not get the care they need?

    Poor women in remote areas are the least likely to receive
    adequate health care. This is especially true for regions with low numbers of
    skilled health workers, such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. While levels
    of antenatal care have increased in many parts of the world during the past
    decade, only 46% of women in low-income countries benefit from skilled care
    during childbirth6. This means that millions of
    births are not assisted by a midwife, a doctor or a trained nurse.

    In high-income countries, virtually all women have at least 4
    antenatal care visits, are attended by a skilled health worker during
    childbirth and receive postpartum care. In low-income countries, just over a
    third of all pregnant women have the recommended 4 antenatal care visits.

    Other factors that prevent women from receiving or seeking care
    during pregnancy and childbirth are:
    lack of information
    inadequate services
    cultural practices.”


    ***This is a spot that probably we need to give the government its
    due, health sector. However, is this bright report reflective of the diverse socioeconomic,
    urban/ rural divides? Is there any way you could say something if the data
    gathering apparatus covers the whole nation relatively equally (for instance, would
    data that would reflect MMR in areas like Hasta, the gorges of Sahel…) and
    other remote areas have equal chance of being collected as those in the cities
    (you gave the reader a good caveat regarding African statistics, I am just
    wondering if there are improvement/technologies introduced on those areas). How independent is the WHO
    reporting? I know the old zeal of health cadres; but for some time I have not
    been there; my info is mainly from ERI-TV; the small information I have from
    individuals who worked in those remote areas tell me that all social services,
    including distribution and quality of education, in those areas have
    deteriorated compared to the years of struggle.” Clinics” are undermanned, and
    run at best with nurse assistants, I am not sure of the midwifery program. The
    point is: even if those dedicated health cadres are doing what they could,
    since the health sector is public and lies on the expenditure side of the
    equation, the politically constricted economy of the country affects it
    adversely however UN assistance remains in place, less revenue=less
    expenditure=less health service.

    • saay7

      Selamat Mahmud:

      Welcome to Awate! What I wrote is really, to use a common Tigrayit expression, ኣምሮትማ ሰኒ’ ታ:: Beyond that there are many more awatistas who know a lot more on the subject, particularly our friend Haile The Great. We just have to invite him nicely: he has a lot more baldonga on this subject than I do:)


  • haileTG

    Selamat Ethiopian Awatistas 🙂

    (I know this is slightly out of saay’s topic on MMR, but still a Good News)

    I would like to ask the following question to T Kifle (I thought of Eyob Medhanie, but then suspected he might be a mid ranking EPRDF hence T Kifl, possibly a senior one, might be a good one – we will even up Eyoba no hard feeling)

    It is great that Ethiopia has finally brought the S Sudan conflict to a peace agreement (IGAD mediation chaired by Seyum Mesfun and Guarantor of the agreement PMHD)

    Under such situation, what would be the right thing for Ethiopia to do as a guarantor of the peace agreement? What should be or is the moral and legal expectation of guarantors of a peaceful agreements?


    • Solomon T.

      Until you get a full response from T. Kifle or Eyob M., let interject myself in here (uninvited of course!) and give you my 2 cents. First off, PMHD is not a ‘guarantor’ but just a witness and the witness has no role what so ever in enforcing the agreement if that is what you are expecting. If any of the signatories fail to abide by the terms of the treaty, it will be the international community that is expected to collectively punish the violator. There is nothing Ethiopia can do to enforce the agreement except giving its testimony that the terms of the agreement have been violated and referring the violator to the entities like the AU or UN that can impose penalties (like sanctions).
      If you recall the AU, UN, and the US were the witnesses (and not the guarantors) to the Algiers agreement signed by Ethiopia and Eritrea. And their role is exactly like the role of PMHD in the peace treaty between Kiir and Machar. They have no power what so ever to enforce the agreement if Ethiopia or Eritrea decide not to abide by its terms. In fact, the consequences of violating the Algiers agreement are not stated in the document and the only thing the violator can lose is the goodwill while negotiating international treaties in the future. That is why nobody could do anything about the failure to implement the border demarcations for so long because of Ethiopia’s requirement for negotiations. Such agreements can be implemented only when both parties are willing to abide by the terms fearing the loss of international goodwill and in the case of the Algiers agreement the loss for Ethiopia has been minimal largely because of the poor diplomatic skills and Notoriety of Isaias in the region.
      Solomon T.

      • Eyob Medhane


        True. IGAD is the guarantor of the peace deal. But, Ethiopia and PMHD is chairman of IGAD that indirectly makes him a guarantor…..

        • haileTG

          Selamat Eyob and Solomon,

          Eyoba, yes the whole reason for asking this is to relate it to the stand of in the Ethio-Eritrea case. I think you proved my assumption wrong about the mid level 🙂 (am not listening to Rodab again:)

          As per the text of the agreement between Kiir and Machar, it was signed as:


          Hailemariam Dessalegn Prime Minister of the FDRE and Chairman of IGAD

          Witnessed by the IGAD Special Envoys

          H.E. Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, Chairperson of the Mediation Process

          H.E. General Lazaro K. Sumbeiywo

          H.E. General Mohamed Ahmed El-Dabi

          So, it may be that PMHD is actually a guarantor in his own right as the PM of Ethiopia.

          Thank you Solomon, please lead away by all means. I was actually to post the link you forwarded and very disappointing that Eyob never read it before. In Eritrea, every adult is required to have two copies of that document. One copy issued during national service and the second when you get old age discharge from national service and go to return your old AK-47 and be issued a new one for your peoples army service (kidding). Yes, we sure heard the US, UN and AU were meant to be guarantors. Then I heard two distinctive explanations by those sympathetic to these guarantors, as to what is meant by it:

          1 – That they are ONLY guarantors for the “cessation of hostilities” component of the the Algiers agreement.

          2 – That the UN doesn’t have power over sovereign matters of member states.

          Yours is also (appears to me) a new departure point where by you state there were never any guarantors to begin with but rather witnesses to the agreement. I need to look into that but wish to clarify that if indeed that is what you intended to say or I misunderstood you.

          • Solomon T.


            Thanks for the details of the role of PMHD in the SS peace treaty. I now stand corrected that PMHD (Ethiopia) is in fact a guarantor and not just a witness to the agreement.
            There were guarantors to the cessation of hostilities signed by Ethiopia and Eritrea and they were the OAU and the UN as stated on page 3 of the agreement available at:


            When it comes to the Algiers agreement, however, there were never any guarantors to begin with. There were only witnesses as clearly stated on the final page of the treaty. In addition, the consequences for violations were not stated in the treaty. That is why Eritrea could get away with violating a major part of the treaty by occupying the 25km temporary security zone inside Eritrea and by chasing out the UNMEE before the border was demarcated. Similarly, Ethiopia can refuse to abide by the border delimitation decision resulting from the treaty without any consequences except loss of goodwill and trust in the international community in dealing with future treaties. In such cases, the treaty can be implemented only when both parties decide to go ahead.
            I know Eritreans always talk about the UN,AU,US etc. as being guarantors of the Algiers agreement but no such a role is assigned to any of them by the signatories and the claim is unfounded.

          • SM

            Please clarify the role of the UN.

          • SM

            In other words,the whole issue seems to be just PR gimmick and a formality….so as to appease Ethiopia.
            If the E BBC decision has no legal weight ,why did the UN endorse it?
            Saay,help us here,please.I see some joke here as usual.

          • saay7

            Selamat SM:

            The witness/guarantor distinction is not as clear-cut as Solomon is making it. The way the Eritrea-Ethiopia agreement was negotiated, it was a series of documents–(1) OAU Framework Agreement; (2) Modalities for Its Implementation; (3) Technical Arrangements (terms agreed to by both parties in advance of its drafting but Ethiopia later on reconsidered and introduced “Consolidated Technical Arrangements” that was laughed off by the negotiators); (4) Cessation of Hostilites Agreement (agreed to by both parties) and, finally, (5) the Algiers Agreement.

            Here’s where the “guarantor” mess is created: the way each agreement was written was to build on the previous one (the preambles of each agreement endorsed the previous agreement.) “Guarantor/guarantee” doesn’t show up anywhere in the Algiers Agreement, but it exists explicitly in the “Technical Arrangements”

            17. The OAU and the United Nations will be the guarantors for the scrupulous implementation of all the provisions of the OAU Framework Agreement, the Modalities for the Implementation of the Framework Agreement and the Technical Arrangements for
            the Implementation of the Framework Agreement and its Modalities.

            Now, an Ethiopian might say, “that is nice, but Ethiopia never agreed to the terms of the Technical Arranegments (or, more accurately, had changed its mind about it and proposed the Consolidated Technical Arrangment)” And, sure enough, the preamble to the Algiers Agreement do not make any reference to the Technical Arrangements (because, unfortunately for Eritrea, after May 2000, a lot of the language in it was rendered moot by the “facts on the ground.”) So, the question is, why does “Technical Arrangements Agreement” exist in the OFFICIAL UN record of a document that the two sides had agreed to?


            Conclusions/Life Lessons

            (1) Ethiopia’s “Five Point Plan” proposal to amend the “final and binding” ruling of the EEBC was not its first time at renegging agreements: it had done the same in August 99 by agreeing in advance to the “Technical Arrangements” but then, after the fact, proposing the “Consolidated Technical Arrangements.”
            (2) Ethiopia had repeatedly rejected offers to sign each agreement (commit to in signature) but wanted a Comprehensive Peace Agreement. That was Algiers Agreement, which it signed, but still wants to re-negotiate.
            (3) Eritrea’s demand that the UN do anything about this is very naive: the UN will not do anything beyond issue resolutions and “remaining seized with the matter.” Ten years of Eritrea’s young life were wasted in demonstrations, letter-writing campaigns that will do anything to change the UN’s priorities.
            (4) Isaiasism’s trumping of PFDJ was largely based on the Ethiopian duplicity and international inaction: Isaias went back to the First Principles (learned at Mao University) that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” All the Somalia, Djibouti adventures were Isaias trying to get some leverage but ayKhonelun.

          • tes

            Dear Saay 7,

            Kindly clarify what you mean when you say, “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

          • saay7

            Selamat Tes:

            It is one of the many quotations found in Chairman Mao’s Red Book that were common during our Ghedli (and that of Harbeyna Weyanai.) I believe it means that you cannot have political leverage unless you are armed. The Eritrean version of this is narrated in a collection of short stories that I read in my childhood. The book is called “KenewagaAkum”:

            A hoodlum visited a shopkeeper and ordered that the shopekeeper empty his cash register…otherwise (እንተዘየሎ!)…and would leave the sentence unfinished. The threat was enough for the shopkeeper to surrender his money. This happend a couple of times until the shopkeeper wised up and armed himself with a stick:

            Thief: Give me all your money…otherwise!
            Shopkeeper: [holding his big stick]: Othewrise?
            Thief: Otherwise…I go home! [እንተዘየሎስ ገዛና ንኸይድ!]


          • tes

            AHlen Saay,

            Thank you for the insight. Could you then enlighten us the complication of this principle when it is applied in international relationships?

            Kindly request

          • saay7

            Hey Tes:

            I will just ask a question and you figure it out:) Ukraine has 7 neighbors: Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldovia and Russia. What do you think would have happened if, instead of Russia, it was Poland which annexed a part of Ukraine?


          • tes

            Dear Saay,

            Joining after finishing my exam. I am in Romania and hope confrontation will not come to my current short-time home. Does Poland has oil to supply to Germany? Poland was a cause and political game during the world wars (at least one) and Germans know that and will not repeat same mistake, as Russia is always next door.

            To come back, if Poland had moved to that level, by now we could have deafened by the artillery and missiles of Russia and definitely I could have missed my one semester class, and probably worse even. Let the nuclear be not for now at least.

            Am I on the track?

          • Bel

            You are welcome!
            Good English = Check
            Clarity = Check
            Carefully written/edited after = Check
            A bit of a nudge from me, look where you going.
            Again don’t mention it
            By the way, when are you planning to go back to Eritrea to give back and serve your nation? You know there are some Eritreans back home praying for/counting on your return, to get the same chance the Eri Gov. offered to you. You don’t return, you block the way, right?

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Tes,

            The current geopolitical confrontation along the black sea peninsula will not go beyond the scope of cold war. Don’t worry, you will finish your academic education, and the cold war won’t go beyond Ukraine if it will happen anyway. Focus to your education, the Eritrean politics has long way to go to even be structured to the desire of Eritrean people.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • tes

            Dear Amanuel,

            Your words have a soul entertainment power within them. Thank you!

          • tafla


            Good advice to Tes if he can stay away from Eritrean politics, I hope he completes his PhD. Tes, get your PhD and get rich bro 🙂

          • tes


            thank you for you too and I am simply watching your spirit coming to my territory. You have the pen.

            Saying this, visiting awate forum and reading your comments and great articles, worth to pursue for PhD. I am getting the wisdom of Eritreans like you and sure I will have for what you said soon.

            One point though, could you explain to me what to be rich is?

            Hawki Tes

          • tafla

            ሰላም ተስፊሽ፣ ዮዲት መሲለካ ኣለኹ፣አንታይ ጌራትካ ወደይ 🙂

            Awate is for the most part a political forum, some forumers are extremely skilled debaters and might give you the impression that they are spreading objective knowledge, while they are pushing their worldview on you. I myself stand closer to PFDJ ideology (doesn’t mean I’m uncritical of aspects of their adminstration), but when I read you, I see a fellow Eritrean with great potential in your own field of study and I just wish you to go as far as possible in it, hence the PhD-talk and the other thing about getting Rich, why not go for it? wealth+knowledge=power :).

          • tes

            Haw Tafla,

            Thank you for your compliments. To tell you, I can not free myself from politics and I am not going to regret (like most of the pfdj juntas-who failed to complete their studies but used to regret in front of the masses for not doing it. I am on the right track for that and I will do. I thank you all for your brotherly advice. Parallel to my study, I can share my responsibility also to expose what I think is a move or an act done against justice and more for having a working and sound policies in dictatorial FREE Eritrea.

            Silence kills and I don’t want to keep silence when my people, including me are suffering from the atrocities acted and is acting on Eritreans. here, I just got a chance to meet the mentioned great political debaters Eritreans, though of small experience, I feel good to learn and act. I am not here from no where to no where. I am here because I have to be.

            I want all in life, education, prosperity, happiness and peace. The first two are upto me[in fact I am on the right track, Thanks God], but the later twoe needs common will and here I am for these. I can not live in happiness when my families, my fellow Eritreans are living underground, I will not feel happiness while my fellows are simply liiving in the streets of foreign countries, I can not feel happiness while my fellow Eritreans are turtured, I can not feel happiness while my fellows are drowning in the sea, I can not feel happiness while all the Eritrean people live in mourns. I can enjoy life, even there is enjoyment by killing, turturing, jailing and shooting human being (this is what PFDJ are trying to get pleasure from). Two bottles of wine are enough for me to be happy momentarily. But when I wake-up, I see, hear and feel my fellow people to mourn.

            Eritreans did not fight to suffer. In the Budhist scripture, the meditation is done to avoid suffering, but suffering can not be simply avoided through wishful thinking or material prosperity. Suppose, I became rich by working in the diaspora, but, when there is good time back home, I have to be there, when there is sad time, I have to be there, I can if I am rich.But Eritreans can not find this. Should I pay thousands to call my family through the the tunnel of death, where shot-to-kill policy is in practice, should I pay tenths of thousands to human traffickers to free life? The list more than I can say.

            Then, what is to be rich for Eritreans? This is what I asked to Yodita. PhD is nothing but to do research on problems and I can pick one of the millions of Eritrean problems to have my PhD and this is what I said to Ben. And, I am doing that. I will make research on real Eritrean problems to get solution. [Oh, I am in food sector and I hope I will work in food security policies). My perspective is broad, at least, when i give my reasoning for what it is right to have full happiness.

            therefore, I am not here randomly, I have a reason, not only here but in the Eritrean politics. My reason is simple, I don’t want to join the silent majority.

            Silence kills!!! One point though, silence to me is, when it to me is blessing, but when I keep silent when people are yelling at me, for help, and I keep silence, then it is a crime. Eritreans, including me, are yelling to remove the dictatorship and those who are silent are committing crime. By what ever means, let’s BREAK silence!

            I thank for all awate forum, the great writers and debaters, whom their materials wish to be published soon and made available to Eritreans, inside Eritrea and outside and learn for wisdom.

            Dear Tafla, I am coming across ideologies, oh now almost 10 years of my journey. therefore, feel free for such influences. If I am totally influenced by those great Eritrean politicians or thinkers better to say then I will not regret as I will have a rational reasoning if I do so.

            Thank you haw tafla

          • tes

            Dear Yodita,

            PFDJ has one big success in his entire life time.

            1. He corrupted the mind so that no good minded Eritrea is FREE from politics.
            2. He trained Eritreans to be rich illegally.
            3. He trained how smuggle people.

            PFDJ failed to change though for one major and and important thing and that is “To Forget who you are and what INJUSTICE mean.”

            I am an Eritrean and I am for Justice, not for politics. Within this principle, I am rich as far as Eritreans live in PEACE full of JUSTICE. Therefore, I am here to search my mind how much I am corrupted by PFDJ, to turn the lost soul of me, I am here to learn what LEGAL means and I am here not to smuggle, but to Share with my fellow Eritreans and friends of Eritrea, who always believe who I am.

            Yodita, I am not politicing, I am just saying!

            Hawki Tes

          • saay7

            Selamat Tes:

            I wouldn’t worry about it. Are you familiar with the satirical magazine “The Onion.” It had a piece called “Thanks For Being So Cool About This”, a satirical piece of what Putin would write if he was writing Western leaders. It is spot on and it is funny.



          • tes

            Ahlen Saay,

            No, I am not familiar and thank you for sharing.


          • Solomon T.

            Saay and SM,

            There is a clear distinction between a guarantor and witness in international treaties. Please look at page 60 of the handbook of international law at:


            It states that “…the signature of a witness has no legal effect. It will not make the witness state a guarantor of the performance of the treaty”.

            The page of the handbook that describes the role of a guarantor is not available online but here is how the US Institute for Peace defines a guarantor:

            “A state, group of states, international organization, or other entity such as an alliance that is obliged to ensure the maintenance of an agreement, in some cases by the use of force. In its original usage, the term usually referred to a formal, legal commitment to take action in the event of a breach of obligations by a party to a treaty. In recent years, the term has been used more loosely to refer to a party that monitors or bears witness to an accord.”


            So a guarantor carries a responsibility to enforce the treaty even using force while a witness may put the signatories under moral pressure but nothing more.

            The fact that the “Technical Arrangements Agreement” is deposited with the U.N. doesn’t necessarily mean that the UN endorses it. Countries can choose (and always do) to deposit their bilateral treaties with the UN. Even if the UN endorses any of these treaties it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will enforce them. Enforcement mechanism andconsequences of violation treaties have to be stated in the treaty and must be agreed upon by signatories in advance. The Algiers agreement doesn’t say anything about consequences of violation and the UN can’t do anything if one of the signatories violates the terms of the treaty in such a situation. The UN’s role in the Algiers agreement is as such like any other witness. All the witnesses can be considered ‘moral’ guarantors but they don’t have legal power to enforce the treaty.

            Once again decisions by arbitration commissions do not have legal force unless the treaties that establish such commissions clearly state what the consequences of the violation of their decisions will be. The Algiers agreement doesn’t state the consequences of violating the EEBC’s decision. So the only thing Ethiopia can lose by refusing to implement the border suggested by the arbitration commission is a goodwill which doesn’t seem to matter that much at least so far.


          • saay7

            Selamat Solomon:

            If we go by the letter of the agreements, then you are right: the Algiers Agreement makes no reference to the Technical Arrangements and makes no mention to the word guarantor. We were, I thought, talking about the spirit of the agreements.

            I believe you will agree with me that agreements mean nothing without good will. In this particular case, the Algiers Agreement was the outcome of a series of agreements that began with the OAU Framework Agreement. At each stage of the agreement, each party–depending on who had the “upperhand”–demanded one thing from the mediators: since we can’t trust each other and we have asked for a third-party to mediate, who will ensure that what we agree to is implemented? It was a staple of the negotiations for each party to send “comprehensive exam” style list of questions (in the words of the late PM Meles Zenawi) seeking clarifications. One thing that Eritrea wanted was a guarantee that whatever was agreed upon would have the force of implementation. It is one of the reasons it pushed for moving the facilitators from the AU to the UN. It is one of the reasons it asked for the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). It is why the word “guarantor” exists in the Technical Arrangements.

            You conceded that the Technical Arrangements was part of the Eritrea-Ethiopia bilateral treaty and the fact that it resides with the UN must have been done with consent of Ethiopia. Beyond that, your position appears to be yes, Ethiopia agreed to terms that it is not complying with, but there is no authority to force it to do so.

            This reminds Uncle Sal of 1996 and Al Gore (before he became St. Al Gore.) He made a call from the White House on behalf of a defense contractor and, later on, when he was being pressured that that is political corruption/cronyism, he said, you know, I had checked with my lawyers and my lawyer had advised me that there is “no controlling legal authority” about that. Your arguments are very much in that vein: it is wrong, but there is no legal authority to enforce this wrong-doing.


          • Solomon T.

            Selam Saay,

            I’m not saying “life is not fair, move on” because I know that will not produce the kind of relationship I wish the two countries would have. What I’m saying is that Eritrea should be willing to accept the offer
            from the Ethiopian government to negotiate taking the EEBC border ruling as the starting point because of the following reasons.

            1. There is nothing legally binding in the Algiers agreement (despite the claim to the contrary in the document!) because all the elements that make a treaty binding are missing as I demonstrated in my previous posts. The fact that the Ethiopian government has decided to negotiate on the basis of the EEBC ruling is, therefore, a big concession and Eritrea should jump at it. Ethiopia could simply say “life is not fair, just move on” but it did not and Eritrea should happy about that and my second and third points explain why.

            2. There are major mistakes in the border ruling by the EEBC. As I posted on this forum a few months earlier in response to HaileTG, there are huge chunks Ethiopian territory (besides Badime) with tens of thousands of residents arbitrarily placed on Eritrean side of the border. Some of these districts have never been under Eritrea in any form and it is simply unfair to the local communities to ask them to involuntarily change their citizenship or ask them to leave their land for the mistakes made in the Hague. There are similar but smaller Eritrean districts placed on Ethiopian side of the border despite the fact that the Ethiopian government has decided to concede some of those territories (like Monoxeito and Tsorona) as ‘undisputed’ Eritrean territories even when the colonial treaty put them on Ethiopian side of the border. So I don’t think Ethiopia is being unfair by asking to negotiate the fate of the affected communities for the sake of lasting peace and good neighborliness between the two peoples.

            3. Ethiopia has lost so much in terms of material and human resource as well opportunities due to the unprovoked aggression and refusal to reverse the aggression by Eritrea and I don’t think Ethiopia is sufficiently compensated for all the losses. And remember that Eritrea invaded not only the disputed territories but also large areas of undisputed Ethiopian districts. So if Ethiopia wanted to be so ‘unfair’ it could simply refuse to negotiate any of the territories it has re-gained through so much sacrifice. The fact that it didn’t and is willing to negotiate on the basis of the wrong EEBC ruling should be appreciated by Eritrea.

            I cannot and have not conceded that the “Technical Arrangements was part of the Eritrea-Ethiopia bilateral treaty” because it was neither signed nor ratified. The fact that it is deposited with the UN as part of its archives doesn’t mean much because the UN deposits all sorts of documents for
            informational purposes. Remember that the map with ‘virtual demarcation’ of the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea by the EEBC is also deposited with the UN but it doesn’t have any legal value since no treaty or pertinent international law gives the EEBC the authority to ‘virtually’ demarcate the border.

            Finally, I would like to say that those little pieces of land in dispute mean so much for the local communities and I hope Eritrea (in the near future) will have a government sensible enough to recognize that these pieces of land mean nothing at the national level and should not be a reason to destroy the future the country.


          • saay7

            Selemat Solomon:

            Thank you for your informed and thoughtful response. I think you may become my favorite Ethiopian, replacing Eyob and T.kifle:)

            1. Item 15 in the Algiers Peace Agreement says: “The parties agree that the delimitation and demarcation determination of the Commission shall be final and binding.” The two parties signed Algiers Agreement willingly, instituted an impartial arbitrar in accordance with terms of the Agreement, then complied with the terms of the Commission throughout the arbitration proceedings, hired first-rate international lawyers to argue their case and then Ethiopia said the decision of the Court is neither final nor binding simply because there was an outcome we didn’t foresee: how to separate people from land. I am not a lawyer, but this appears to me a violation of the terms of an agreement.

            The Monoxeito and Tsorona concessions by Ethiopia are cases of overconfidence, I think: somebody making a play to persuade a judge that the “natna aynheben: zeynatna ayndelen” slogan. I think it was an outlier: similar to a part of the common border in the Bada region where Eritrea and Ethiopia were both stating that some land (it must be a toxic wasteland) does NOT belong to them and the neighbor should have it:)

            So now it is 10 years later. From an Eritrean perspective, I see the border dispute exactly the way one sees about suing a deadbeat and winning. There is winning and then there is collecting. Will we able to collect? Will we spend a million dollars to collect $10? Those who say “it is the principle of the thing” will say: yes. And they will wait for eternity for the right situation to emerge: Ethiopia, in a bigger crisis, strikes a deal with Ethiopia. Ethiopia, with a new government who doesn’t care about the Northern border, complies. They have been saying that for 10 years.

            Those of us who are more pragmatic say no. Make a deal. From my perspective though there is a caveat: I want a Nixon to negotiate with China.


          • Solomon T.

            Selam Saay,
            Flattered to hear that I’m about to replace your two long-time buddies through a couple of exchanges with you! Hoping that you are not trying to disarm me through nice words!

            I think it should be clear to Eritreans that there is nothing legally ‘final and binding’ about the EEBC ruling. Ethiopia could be said to be under moral burden to abide by the ruling and that is why the government has decided to accept the ruling and invited negotiation on how to correct some of the major mistakes in the ruling while implementing it on the ground but there is nothing in treaty that legally forces Ethiopia to abide by ruling now or in the future.

            I understand if you feel like Ethiopia is reneging on the terms of the treaty when it asks for further negotiation and you might have doubts as to whether you can trust Ethiopia in future dealings but
            please remember that Ethiopians in general and Tegaru in particular believe that enormous injustice and betrayal was committed against them by the leadership of Eritrea (fully supported by the people) throughout the war and later by the EEBC ruling. You have to appreciate the fact that we were (and some still are) very angry by the arrogance and betrayal by Eritrea. So most Ethiopians won’t feel
            morally guilty if the government decides to completely abrogate the Algiers agreement and tell Eritrea to go to hell! This is partly because Ethiopians don’t feel Isaias and Shabiya are sufficiently punished for the bellicose behavior they displayed during the war and afterwards.

            You said you ‘won’ the border ruling and you have been wondering when you are going to get your land back. To be honest with you, nobody on our side of the border believes Ethiopia is occupying your land. Those little pieces of land for which Eritrea is willing to destroy its future have always been under Ethiopia but were unjustly ruled for Eritrea by the arbitration commission (some based on maps unilaterally drawn by Italy and some others like the Irob land just arbitrarily). So Eritrea should be very grateful to the Ethiopian government for not rejecting the EBBC ruling outright and ffering to negotiate only minor modifications in its implementation.

            My personal opinion is that Ethiopia and ritrea should be able to do much more together and those little pieces of land hould not be a reason to hold them back. And the dispute over the border
            should be resolved not by focusing on the spirit of ‘winning’ and scoring oints here and there that you seem to be more interested in, but rather in a ay that doesn’t violate the human rights of the people who live in the border istricts. It should be resolved not by just adhering to mistaken and mechanical border lines drawn by outsiders who don’t care about the two peoples and their future together, but rather through reasoned dialogue that takes the entire future relationship between the two countries into account. Until most Eritreans (including you) and their government stop dismissing every positive gesture that comes from the Ethiopian side as ‘over-confidence’, ‘practicality’, ‘conspiracy’ etc., and start to appreciate Ethiopia as their strategic partner for progress, there is no hope that the border issue will be separately resolved. I think a reasoned discussion and debate between ordinary citizens like what is happening on this forum is a good starting point to develop such an attitude on both
            sides but we have a long way to go, unfortunately!


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Solomon,

            I hope you are not from the governing body of the Ethiopian government, talking their policy. All your talk is resistance to any mutual resolution. Your echo is simply saying, if you don’t take our proposal you won’t see the border demarcated. Don’t you think that your counterpart will also comes with their own proposal? My friend, If you look the future with your grudges and continue your approach with deep-seated resentment, you are not good for both brotherly people. Let me tell you this if it could fly on your face and say something rationale to you, and that is, for me “the lives who are lost in that senseless war are more worth than the piece of land you are talking about.” That is why I am advocating for a peaceful resolution to avoid any further bloodshed. Eritrea with or without that piece of land could prosper and live at piece with itself and the rest of the world, and surely after the existing regime.

          • Solomon T.

            Selam Amanuel,

            If you read all my posts carefully you will realize that I have no ‘resentment’ or ‘grudges’ against anyone. What I have stated is the reality from the Ethiopian perspective. If you noticed I never said ‘take our proposal or go to hell’. What I said is a comprehensive negotiation is the only way out because the attempt to rigidly adhere legal issues will not work because of the reasons I stated in my other posts. If your stand is “the lives who are lost in that senseless war are more worth than the piece of land you are talking about” I fully agree with you and all the major issues that are keeping the brotherly peoples apart including the border issue will be resolved when a workable majority of Eritreans and their government develop that kind of attitude. So it doesn’t seem you and I are that much apart!

          • Solomon T.

            Selam Saay,
            Flattered to hear that I’m about to replace your two long-time buddies through a couple of exchanges with you! Hoping that you are not trying to disarm me through nice words!

            I think it should be clear to Eritreans that there is nothing legally ‘final and binding’ about the EEBC ruling. Ethiopia could be said to be under moral burden to abide by the ruling and that is why the government has decided to accept the ruling and invited negotiation on how to correct some of the mistakes in the ruling while implementing it on the ground but there is nothing in the treaty that legally forces Ethiopia to abide by the ruling now or in the future.

            I understand if you feel like Ethiopia is reneging on the terms of the treaty when it asks for further negotiation and you might have doubts as to whether you can trust Ethiopia in the future dealings
            but please remember that Ethiopians in general and Tegaru in particular believe that enormous injustice and betrayal was committed against them by the leadership of Eritrea (fully supported by the people) throughout the war and later by the EEBC ruling. You have to appreciate the fact that we were (and some still are) very angry by the arrogance and betrayal by Eritrea. So most Ethiopians won’t feel morally guilty if the government decides to completely abrogate the Algiers agreement and tell Eritrea to go to hell! This is partly because Ethiopians don’t feel Isaias and Shabiya are sufficiently punished for the bellicose behavior they displayed during the war and afterwards.

            You said you ‘won’ the border ruling and you have been wondering when you are going to get your land back. To be honest with you, nobody on our side of the border believes Ethiopia is occupying your land. Those little pieces of land for which Eritrea is willing to destroy its future have always been under Ethiopia but were unjustly ruled for Eritrea by the arbitration commission (some based on maps unilaterally drawn by Italy and some others like the Irob land just arbitrarily). So Eritrea should be very grateful to the Ethiopian government for not rejecting the EBBC ruling outright and offering to negotiate only minor modifications in its implementation.

            My personal opinion is that Ethiopia and Eritrea should be able to do much more together and those little pieces of land should not be a reason to hold them back. And the dispute over the border
            should be resolved not by focusing on the spirit of ‘winning’ and scoring points here and there that you seem to be more interested in, but rather in a way that doesn’t violate the human rights of the people who live in the border districts. It should be resolved not by just adhering to mistaken and mechanical border lines drawn by outsiders who don’t care about the two peoples and their future together, but rather through reasoned dialogue that takes the entire future relationship between the two countries into account. Until most Eritreans (including you) and their government stop dismissing every positive gesture that comes from the Ethiopian side as ‘overconfidence’, ‘practicality’, ‘conspiracy’ etc., and start to appreciate Ethiopia as their strategic partner for progress, there is no hope that the border issue will be separately resolved. I think a reasoned discussion and debate between ordinary citizens like what is happening on this forum is a good start to develop such an attitude on both sides but we have a long way to go, unfortunately!

            P.S. There was a lot typo in version of this I tried to post earlier but I don’t see it here. So I’m trying to post it again. I apologize if the earlier version is still under moderation.

          • Jo

            Selamat Solomon T. and Saleh,

            “So Eritrea should be very grateful to the Ethiopian government for not rejecting the EBBC ruling outright…” Well!! what does that say about the respect of rule of law?

            “And the dispute…should be resolved not by focusing on the spirit of ‘winning’ and scoring points here and there…” Isn’t that the core of your resentment against the EEBC: Ethiopia didn’t win the ruling? Would you have argued like wise, if the ruling was the other way around and it was the Eritrean government that was demanding to have a dialog before the implementation?

            If you are asking for the goodwill of Eritrea, how about showing a bit of goodwill of your own for a change and implement the ruling? If you don’t trust the Eritreans, what makes you trust worthy? Specially, having in mind that you are threatening to renegade on an agreement, that was witnessed by the whole world body, because it didn’t go your way. What if the Eritrean government decides to get engaged in a dialogue and either party finds the proposals/demands of the other government unacceptable? What happens then? Would the dialog have a time limit? Would the Ethiopian government say, hell!! at least we tried and didn’t work, let us demarcate the border?;)

            The Eritrean government is, I think, willing to dialog, but after the implementation of the decision, what is wrong with that? Why is that not acceptable to Ethiopia?

            Saleh, could you be kind enough to enlighten me if I sound naive or am missing something? Thanx!!

            Luwam zelewo meAlti!!

          • SM

            Thank you.I will not need any sleep aid tonight.

          • Hope

            As usual,this is the same trick we have been witnessing all along.
            Bottom line though,eritrea is an Independent Nation and a memeber of the UN.
            You can go and trash your EBBC decision from your end point ,which you have done so far for the last 12 yrs or so–with changing stands–saying like:”It is Void and NULL,legal none sense”;We accepted it in principle”—then the 5-point-plan–then another mumbo-jumbo trick will come—etc—
            The issue of S Sudan has to do with covering up your rule of jungle in dealing with the EBBC decision—and you can mumble here and there but you cannot change the tRUTH…even if you masters back you up,as a million lies and tricks,flip-flopping is NOT equivalent to a single piece of truth..

    • Eyob Medhane


      Come on. Even mid-level EPRDFites should know this 🙂 (I wish I was one) 🙂

      In South Sudanese context, I think what is expected from Ethiopia is to keep what it has been doing so far, which is being impartial and continue gaining trust and respect of both parties. That way, should the treaty is violated by one party or both, it will have the credibility and gravitas to get involved in what ever way necessary to make sure the ceasefire is respected. Other than that a guarantor should check up on both parties and facilitate everything that it is asked for to make sure the deal is upheld. In today’s signing ceremony, PM Hailemariam’s a bit veiled warning to both sides is evident that a guarantor may have a responsibility of a watch dog for the agreement to be upheld.

      He said, “…The world does not sit idly by, while killings are going on…”

      Now Haile, I see what you are angling for with this question. You are trying to pull the hypocrisy card on the EEBC guarantors, right? Sorry buddy, if you are trying to do that, it would be comparing apples and oranges. Please confirm to me that was your angle, and I will explain to you how they are apple and orange……

      • Solomon T.

        Please, make no mistake, there are not guarantors to the Algiers agreement. There are only witnesses that have no enforcing power unlike guarantors. Yes, Haile is trying to establish equivalence between PMHD’s role in the SS peace treaty and the role of the witnesses in the Algiers agreement. In both cases, the witnesses are just witnesses, they are not guarantors. You can read the Algiers treaty to see that the AU, UN, and the US are stated as witnesses and there is a huge difference between guarantors and witnesses.
        Solomon T.

        • Eyob Medhane


          Thank you so much. Actually, you may not believe me, but I never checked out the Algiers agreement. Glad you forwarded the link. I will read it…Thanks again….

    • T. Kifle

      Selamat haile TG,

      The situation in SS is very fluid and a daunting task for Ethiopia. As I said in my last post to you, SS leadership is a sort of disorganized entity lacking in the necessary institutional structures and culture of conflict resolution within themselves. I have very little hope that these two cocked men would see beyond their immediate self and take the interest of the people of SS at heart. In any case Ethiopia has to demonstrate impartiality, in the short term focus more on what should be done to avert war and escalations between the factions. It has entered international peace keeping obligations in abyei which means impossible to stay on course if the SS’s leader of the day withdraws goodwill and support. There are international and regional powers that are more than happy to influence even stall the process. If one of the faction leaders feels endangered, he might take any step to avoid or minimize the risk by inviting in external forces as Uganda is currently doing. Egypt is hopeful to use the situation as a blessing in disguise: sneak in with a pretext of extending hands to SS but aimed at close monitoring of the GERD. Your Eritrea would obviously play the role of the spoiler with all its capacity. So the SS problem is not as such SS’s problem alone. The regional factors are always there but the problem in SS is exacerbated by their non-existent institutional capacity one of the weakest (as to me even weaker than that of Somalia). So in the short term,

      1. Ethiopia should encourage both parties to come to terms with the past, encourage them go through a sort of reconciliation process, help them adopt fair power sharing mechanisms

      2. Improve the peace prospects to humanitarian operations and address the plight of the affected people.

      In the long term:
      The key issue would be building constitutional governance with all the appropriate tools in place.It’s not an easy task but that is the sure way of converting a guerilla to conventional governing entity. So it would provide help including in technical terms more than it has been doing in the past.

      If everything fails to produce a positive result and the factions resort to fighting, well, it has to act after seeking full support of IGAD and AU. It should not go for anything unilaterally unless there is clear indication that Egypt and Eritrea are influencing the situation. But any military action would only bring them to where all has started. Even after fighting, the objective conditions remain the same. No solution except through give and take and stick to institutional reform.


  • Bravo Abebe Gilaw!

    How’bout that Abebe Gilaw fella? He sure has balls. More EThiopians need to grow balls like him and challenge the tyranny and pillaging and rape of Ethiopia that is going on by Tigray. Bravo Abebe!

  • Real Ertrawi

    Eritrea would be number one in every category – economy, health care, education..etc were it not for hasadat neighbors like Tigray. That is the simple truth. It was on a trajectory to achieve great things until Weyane decided to screw things up for Erirea. Every Eritrean knows this.

  • said

    All knowledge that is about human society, and not about the natural world, is historical knowledge, and
    therefore rests upon judgment and interpretation. This is not to say that facts or data are nonexistent, but that facts get their importance from what is made of them in interpretation… for interpretations depend very much on who the
    interpreter is, who he or she is addressing, what his or her purpose is, a what historical moment the interpretation takes place. Edward W. Said

    Recent article reported in NY Times that African economy is growing rapidly Many countries in
    sub-Saharan Africa are growing at a phenomenal clip. Nigeria’s economy grew by 6.7 percent in 2012. Mozambique’s grew by 7.4 percent, Ghana’s by 7.9 percent.Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole is predicted to reach 5.2
    percent this year. Investment funds are starting up by the dozen, finding local entrepreneurs.

    In 2011, roughly 60 million African households earned at least $3,000 a year. By next year, more than 100
    million households will make that much. Trade between Africa and the rest of the world has increased by 200 percent since 2000. Since 1996, the poverty rate has fallen by 1 percent per year. Life expectancies are shooting up.

    Only about a third of this new wealth is because of commodities. Nations like Ethiopia and Rwanda, which have
    no oil wealth, are growing phenomenally. The bulk is because of economic reforms, increased productivity, increased urbanization and the fact that in many countries political systems are becoming marginally less dysfunctional.

    Africa should not be seen as merely the basket case continent where students, mission trips and celebrities
    can go to do good work. It has become the test case of 21st-century modernity.It is the place where the pace of modernization is fast, and where the forces that resist modernization are mounting a daring reaction. Asmara regime has
    no respect for the intelligence of the Eritrean people and no respect for the integrity of the Eritrean. Carefully, but craftily done. When accepting truth in death .There was a time when common sense and common decency counted
    for something. One have to try shed light from a different perspective outside of the one dominant dimension. A nation with core of a multi-ethnic and multi-religious polity, More than two centuries ago, Edmund Burke lamented “everything which takes a man from his house and sets him on a stage.

  • saay7

    Selamat Hayat:

    Optimist? Me? Oh, no, don’t force the Conservative Party to kick me from its club. A defining characteristic of conservatives is a deep and abiding pessimism about MAN: that only a thin line (the Grace of God) separates the man who walked on the moon from a savage beast.

    I will give you three examples. Roy Pateman (in Even The Stones Are Burning) predicted a long honeymoon between EPLF and TPLF. Professor Samatar (a Somali nationalist) wrote very reassuring articles that Islamic fundamentalism would never, ever take root in Somalia. When they turned out to be wrong, I couldn’t resist asking them at some mixer I happened to be at: WHAT HAPPENED? Finally, in the Eritrea-Ethiopia border war, there were stories of Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers raping women and I went out on a limb to say that that is such an “un-Habesha” behavior I wish the governments would go easy on their propaganda…Then I read the EECC reports.

    So, no, I am not an optimist. And this is why I propose a PFDJ-without-Isaias solution. Because when I see 50,000 De.M.H.T soldiers in Eritrea, 200,000 plus conscripted soldiers, I can’t see any scenario where an “armed struggle” will create anything but a massive disaster. And those who say otherwise are wild optimists who don’t know our history and our proclivity for producing Shefatu. In the period that the Brits were in charge of Eritrea, they wrote reports about Eritrea’s economy and they said the only one that is making any money is fishing and that’s only because its the only industry the shefatu haven’t gotten to.

    Now, what I meant by “one of those countries that don’t agree on anything.” Until recently, we agreed on two non-negotiable things: the cause of Eritrea’s armed struggle was just. The territories of Eritrea are inviolable. Your hero is chipping away at the first doctrine; the “autonomy up to and including secession” are chipping away at the latter. And, of course, Isaias Afwerki, by denying political space to the moderates is emboldening the extremists and radicals.


    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Saay,

      You always poke on my eyes when you say “PFDJ-without-Issayas solution.”. I was thinking about you that you are rational on issue of “plain field politics” which is the ideal of justice and democracy. Albeit my perception is completely wrong. Just a reminder, Yesterday Judge Piazza, struck down Arkansas ban on same-sex marriage and he said , I quote “this is an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality”. From his remark, I am reminded how politicians tried to narrow the definition of equality in order to advance their parochial interest. I don’t see a “rational reasoning” on narrowing the rights of the marginalized political groups.

      Whether Issayas is there or not, the power of politics in Eritrea is in the hand of PFDJ. Because he already built in an institution not only for him but also for them with their “value system” in the constitution he shelved temporarily. I don’t see advocating for them while the state machine is in their grip. PFDJ is a political culture of exclusion, and until we establish a political culture of inclusion,to use your own word “heaven help Eritrea” to extricate our people from the doctrine of PFDJ. A system that repel our young generation and drove them out of their country is not even worth to think about it even after Issayas. Eritrea doesn’t look to keep its children under its blossom. One thing though, history will not stop from recording the role of each of us, on all we say and all we do.

      • saay7

        Ahlen Emma:

        Abayka! You are mistaking my first step with a final solution. Here’s how I see progress in Eritrea:

        1. Isaias resigns/is removed from PFDJ;
        2. PFDJ elects his replacement and, with Eritreans and world’s pressure, agrees to have a unity government for a transition period;
        3. In this transition period, the 1997 constitution is in effect. The unity government issues party formation and electoral laws;
        4. The transitional unity government governs for 12 months until such time that the party formation and electoral laws are drafted;
        5. Parties run on platforms including a platform to amend the 1997 constitution;
        6. The winning parties form a coalition and amend the constitution.

        Now, all of the above takes us to Average African Country. All of the above are just to get us out of the hole we are in, to sea-level. After that, the Eritrean politics evolves, organically and INDEPENDENTLY.

        Now, can I hear your proposal? I mean step-by-step, the way I have outlined mine above?


        • Amanuel

          Selam Saleh
          Ezs Nska tblo ygbero eyu zebl. Seriously, are you joking or dreaming? PFDJ-IA. I think PFDJ with out IA is like a fish out of sea. PFDJ is an organisation has had no congress for the last twenty years, its CC haven’t met for the last 12 years. It is a dead organisation, if it had any life at all. I wish our problem is as simple as you put it. If there is any internal change it is coming from the army.

        • haileTG

          Merhaba Saay,

          Why can’t we stop aiming for the “average African” for Eritrea? You know the average Africa has deeply intractable problems of ethnic, religious and social problems. I believe Eritrea and Eritreans deserve better and higher than the “average African” to aim for. Again, we need to compare notes with your Gedab info. because my info tells me that hgdef is the “most hated” entity in Eritrea proper. Not the “on average frequently hated” entity. To me IA is the cork on the champagne bottle, Eritreans will breath a sigh of relief after his grip of the security apparatuses of the nation. After him I would guess it would need the worlds greatest PR genius to sell hgdef mendef to Eritreans. It is a dead case.

          I had a different proposeal that you said might end up as another dictatorship (some a year and half ago:) My assumption is that any organization that plans to move to Eritrea and run government after change is best to forget about it. However, as 1.5 million strong diaspora ranks represents huge resource in financial, network, expertise… that would be a back bone of a democratic and well meaning government in Eritrea. Currently, hgdef supporters enter mekhete meetings with two brain cell worth of intelligence (enough to control their clapping reflex). We can move away from that and engage a military government that would come by overthrowing hgdef in good faith, encourage them to draw timetable no longer than 24 months for constitution and one more year for elections (they may be encouraged to run for elected office by leaving the military). We have representatives that pressure them while shoring up support and mobilizing resources for their transitional administration. Stop the slave master relationship inculcated by hgdef and common in YPFDJ and mekhete meetings but meticulously work and hammer out agreements with them and develop frank discussions. ente hgdef gn gexun dimxmaxun tebonaquru ktefE alewo 🙂

          Just a two cents worth


          • saay7

            MerHaba Haile TG:

            I am not aiming for an average African country; I am trying to prepare us that that is what we will get in a post-Isaias Eritrea simply because in the last 22 years, we haven’t built a democratic culture or democratic institutions in Eritrea. Or in the Diaspora, for that matter.

            Let’s not get hang-up on the name (PFDJ, EPLF). Let’s focus on the collective: a group of individuals, all EPLF veterans, who are bureaucrats, civil servants, soldiers, mass organizations: that group will gel into an interest group and will demand that it be treated as a force to be reckoned with. And given the decades-long political monopoly in Eritrea, this entity and religious institutions will instantly become the most well-organized ones in a post-Isaias Eritrea. And that will be the group that, in your scenario, the military government will court. The goal is law-and-order: we will be pushing for law that respects civil liberties; the military government will be pushing for order. Standard Third World country stuff.

            “average African country” is, from where we are, a vast improvement.


        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Dear Saay,

          I haven’t mistaken you. In fact we have different worldview. I see PFDJ with or without Issayas is a “political system” with its organizational value system reflected in the temporarily shelved constitutional document (you know from where I come). It is an already institutionalized system, and surely an exclusive system by all account (no detail to that). So putting this argument in sight for the public, here is my proposal for a peaceful transferring power to the people.

          1- Call for dismantling the PFDJ-system (not the party) and advocate for an “inclusive-system” to resolve the political crises of Eritrea. If the PFDJ welcomed (which is unrealistic) then the following step should follow.

          2- Form a government of National Unity (GNU) made up from non-affiliated technocrates (non-affiliated means -from the existing government and the political organization) for a one year.

          3- The GNU will form an ad hoc committee made up of Political and legal experts (with the same life span of GNU) to revise the constitutional document (a) to correct the hybrid governmental structure envisioned in the document (b) decide the nature of the head of state (either president or prime minister) (c) Change CUG to DUG to satisfy the grievances of our social groups (d) visit the land and language issue and make some adjustment on the provisions.

          4- The GNU will form also a committee that draft the electoral law within a year which allows the political organization to compete on equal bases – setting the plain field of democratic discourse.

          5- Set a date for a referendum (popular vote) for the two document (the revised constitution and the electoral law). With that the supreme-law will be enforced after the election of the executive body and the legislative body.

          6 – set the election date to proceed with the election.

          7 – set the “transferring date” from the GNU to the democratically elected body.

          After this process, I have no doubt Eritrea (the nation we dearly stand for) will march on the road of democracy governed by the rule of law after decades of oppression. The democratically elected Eritrean government will promote the policy of peaceful existence with our neighbor countries. Furthermore Eritrea will play a great role in contributing to the conflict of the Horn countries.

          How about that my friend Saay?

          • saay7


            I like it: a lot. One minor detail you left out (or I missed): what is the law of the land when all this is happening?


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba Saay,

            The law of the land, call it “the supreme law in the state of Eritrea” will be “the constitution” that is revised by the “revising committee or ad hoc committee”, voted on by the Eritrean people (referendum), ratified by the newly elected Assembly. I have no doubt that document will be defended by all citizen and will reconcile the grievances of Eritrean people. What we have missed so far is goodwill to resolve differences.

          • saay7

            Emma Arkey:

            I think you will agree with me that it takes time to form a “revising committee”, to organize a referendum, to elect an assembly that will ratify such constitution. My question is: what will be the law of the land (the supreme law) while all that is happening?


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Buddy Saay,

            You are a CEO. Don’t CEO’s chart a rule how their organizations will be run? I am sure you are familiar with that. The GNU as CEO of the transition government, they will draft how the state will be run, keeping the current infrastructure of the state (the ministries not the ministers). That is why I stuck with independent technocrats. Technocrats know how to run things (like my friend Saay), not kidding.

            Second if arrogance is substituted by goodwill, there will be no hurdles as such. It is not only I see it from optimism point of view but from pragmatic approach of resolving differences. To tell you frankly if the “revising committee” knew the contesting ideas of the stakeholders, it is easy to pull them to the center of gravity and that is “the Eritrean value system.”.Besides there are only three areas to resolve from the document (a) the structure of the state and the distribution of power – between the center and periphery (b) issue of land (c) issue of language. Not more than few months. The same with the electoral law drafting committee. All in all give them a year to finish excluding the election process. If they are drugged give them 2 to 3 months additional. That is all.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        When Eritreans reach a point where moving along the lanes of PFDJ is perilous, they will rise up. That threshold is not reached, you are a science man; so our efforts should be that of a catalyst enzyme to lower that threshold. What I mean is domestically brewed or a combo with a domestic leadership on the steering wheel is preferred; it is smooth and cost effective in terms of human and territorial safety. When a system gets squeezed it becomes receptive to negotiations, compromise and bargaining which is the essence of conducting politics, and by the way I find to be a hallmark of your writings. Now, what the opposition says and does will affect how fast that threshold reaches the tipping point. How sure could we be opposition-lead dramatic change will result in the desired outcome of a democratic Eritrea? Did not an armed EPLF say that? Do we see democratic culture in most of the oppositions? If the goal is to help the Eritrean people, why are we experiencing never ending proliferation of this organizations? Is this a good indicator that upon weeding out pfdj, we will have a better than PFDJ ruled Eritrea? I agree with you that the ideology (if there is any) PFDJ is erected around should be dealt with. To get to that point we have to convince it that its existence is threatened unless it comes to its senses. That point will come only when people perceive any changes will put them in a place better than the one they are at. I believe SAAy7 is right in saying PFDJ – Issayas, (he has to further qualify it), but my view is, that is for the initiation and the following stabilizing period then back to your idea of an inclusive process, something we should have done at least after referendum. SAAy7 anxiety is real for our generation. If we didn’t spare each other when a common enemy was hunting us down, there is no evidence that we have wised up this time. Civil war chipped away a good portion of our resource during liberation years and its ugly legacy lives on. In fact, as we speak, there are armed factions which could not get their acts together. You can imagine what could happen when the big prize appears on the horizon, or when they sit down for distributing it. If we can see disciplined, popular, united opposition, our anxieties and assumptions would probably sway the other way, again depending on the expected quality of the change/ cost; my experience, and an ever bugging anxiety have been solidified by the woks published in this site, which in clue SAAy7, and now Ali Salim, Semere Tesfai minus his demographic crunching.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Haw Mahmud,

          You told me to work as catalyst enzyme. I also gave you the substrate where the enzymes could act to facilitate for a peaceful transition to democracy and stability to our nation (check my response to Saay). In any case the fate of Eritrea depend on how PFDJ want to change their value system to the Eritrean value system. Whether the the opposition is weak or strong I will not flinch from what is right for the Eritrean people. I don’t fight just to weaken PFDJ. Absolutely not. I am here in the fight to change the system of oppression in Eritrea. I want Eritrea to be governed by a rule of law that serve to all of us including the PFDJ by the way. Otherwise what makes me different than them.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear Amanuel: I have been following your postings since long time ago, and i am familiar with your views. I am not questioning your desire to see the change I long to see; and actually, I have touched that stating i have known you for compromise and inclusiveness. I am dissenting with SAAy7 camp on envisioning the most desirable possible approach.

    • Serray

      Selam Sal,

      While reading your response to Emma listing the sequence of events, I was thinking, the implementation of the constitution is the death of both isaias and pfdj. Because of that, pushing for its implementation WHILE isaias is in power will get us to the same place. Emma thinks the death of isaias is the death of pfdj but somehow he wants a new constitution written from scratch because the 1997 constitution will empower the pfdj. Go figure.

      In response to hayat you wrote, “Until recently, we agreed on two non-negotiable things: the cause of Eritrea’s armed struggle was just. The territories of Eritrea are inviolable”. I am not sure what you meant by “we” but our fathers chose death or unity with ethiopia in our recent past. One can say – and will be 100 percent correct – until very, very, recently, we were equally divided on the cause of the armed struggle. That we are divided now and will be in the future is preordained. While you guys and the pfdjs want to believe that the cause is universal, it is not. Just like the vote was split leading to the referendum, if we were to take it today, it will also be split. The 1993 vote was an aberration representing a flitting second in our history and if you base our future on this aberration, you will be very disappointed. Yg’s ideas are real, some times more real than yours as the above quote of yours makes clear. My suggestion is, instead of pretending he represents himself and a few others, look back to our past with certain respect to the choice of our fathers. In free eritrea, I think there is as many votes to yg’s idea of eritrea as there is to arabic official language. The fact that you don’t think that way doesn’t mean others don’t.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Serray,

        I am completely disappointed by you. This is your second time to misrepresent my position. Very sad from an individual of your caliber, who can read between the lines. Is it by design? I am really worried. Where did you read me arguing to start a constitution from scratch? I have never argued to throw the document and start from scratch? Could you help me one thing with due respect, and that is , to quote me exactly and don’t raise my name without quoting me. Or ask if you are not sure about my message. At any rate, if my latest response to Saay could help you, I think I posted it after yours, please read it.

        • Hayat Adem

          Hi Emma,
          Yes, you are calling for a revised constitution (prior implementation) that fundamentally improves its content to include all stakeholders without throwing away the draft in its entirety. But if I’m take the essence of your ideas, I’ll refer to two of your stated positions with regard to the constitution: 1) you are opposed to the present one because you believe it is totally boned out of one party value system, which belongs to PFDJ, 2) the existing one is CUG and it is your view that the next revised one should be anchored on DUG.
          -So what part of our shelved constitution is not based on PFDJ value system so that we will be able to figure the rest part of it to be inclusive enough, and therefore valid enough to be saved and included in the next improved document? If I answer my own question, nearly all articles of this constitution are pfdj value-laden except for few descriptive generalities. If so, incremental and corrective revisions and amendments are only possible when the intention is not to change the very essence and character of the constitution but improve it. Moreover, going from CUG to DUG is an essential character change that can’t happen short of writing anew. It sounds as if you are advocating for a new one, regardless of your wording (mid-way meet, compromise, negotiated etc), a view which I share. Although I understand Serray’s justification on the call to implement it as a tactical weapon of bringing down the regime, the content of the document is not worth the ink it was written. What makes Sal different from Serray on the constitution is that he actually supports it beyond tactical reasons and more for its value.

          The biggest sin of this document is its spirit. It declares as if it is entering a contract between the people and the government, referring to both as partners on equal footing. It misses in placing the notion that the people don’t co-own the document. They solely own it. The government takes an assignment from the people which they hire and fire it depending on its performance. A constitution is social, political and legal contract amongst people of the nation. Government is not a party to the contract, it is an assigned entity, a trustee to safeguard enforce it.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Hayat,

            Good to see you back after a brief disappearance. Unlike Serray, you understood clearly my positions. Understanding each others take, will definitely make the debating process smooth and possibly a teachable moment could come out of it. The whole idea of taking the stated positions are anchored (a) from the current standoff or deadlock between the pro and against the document on the legitimacy of document (check the nature of the polarization) (b) Based on my core belief that CUG can not serve for multi-ethnic society like ours, especially with the current grievances we have. So always my attempt will be to find the middle ground “to satisfy the opposites” by knowing the nature of the opposites. Clearly,as the clouds of civil strife is hovering over us, to unlock the deadlock is my prime motive here.

            Back to your question, if you have followed the debate between me and Saay, we came to the point that the document was drafted based on the “value system” of one organization and that is the value system of EPLF now PFDJ. The only thing I could think off that doesn’t include their value system is the bill of rights. The bill of rights are “the universal standard” in all constitutional democratic governance. The rest part of the constitution must reflect the value system of the entire Eritrean people and the existing political stakeholders. Whether it is “revision” or “revision and amendment” we can’t escape from writing, because we are changing some of the provisions. So the issue is what kind of writing should we make. Is it the whole draft or only certain provisions. My suggestion is only three provisions. In my view changing the phrase “centralized unitary government” to a phrase “decentralized unitary government” and changing the phrase from “state ownership” to “private ownership” is not drafting at all. Then the detail will be dealt by the assembly as bills within the framework of the constitution. Eritrea should not be exposed to continuous authoritarian regime of centralized unitary government.

            Serray is not debating on the value of the constitution. He is simply telling us “the implementation of the constitution is the death of both isaias and pfdj”. There is no rationality to it. Suppose, okey if it happened, then what “value system” does he want? No hint. Or if he want to implement the current document, isn’t it the value system of PFDJ, he keep telling us to be dismantled? Sal proved it last time by quoting the good doctor. The good doctor had said the “Constitutional Commission used this Charter [PFDJ’s National Charter] as a benchmark of consensus and hence a point of departure for national debate on the constitution, in an article he wrote for the Journal of Democracy in 1998.” So where is Serray’s stand on the constitution that is drafted on the value system of PFDJ?

          • saay7

            Selamat Hayat:

            A correction/Clafiricaion. You said, “what makes Sal different from Serray on the constitution is that he actually support is beyond tactical reasons and more for its value.” I could write pages (and I have) about many of the things that the 1997 constitution contains that I disagree with. I support it because, as you said, for tactical reasons and (b) because whatever is written to replace it will also have many (if not more) articles I disagree with.

            I try not to make my personal preference the standard. For example, I hate the Eritrean flag specially its resemblance to the flag (no offense Ethiopians) but when I see Eritrean youth attach to it (including Eritrean opposition youth) then Is say if it means something to my people it has to mean something to me. This is what makes me a terrible politician: a politician makes maximalist demands (that have no chance of ever becoming a reality) so that s/he can use that as a leverage to negotiate. I don’t think we as Eritreans have time for that kind Dirty Dancing, if you get my drift.


          • tafla

            Selam SAAY,

            “For example, I hate the Eritrean flag specially its resemblance to the flag that reminds me of the bad old days (no offense Ethiopians)…”

            You make it sound like such a big concession, the flag is not that important. It doesn’t make any difference in people’s lifes.

            We have more serious issues that those who adamntly reject the 1997 constitution, instead want to interject some cherry-picked articles from the 1952 constitution and the ENCDC constitution.

            ARTICLE 1

            Adoption and ratification of the Federal Act

            1. The Eritrean people, through their representative, hereby adopt and ratify the
            Federal Act approved on 2nd December, 1950, by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

            2. They undertake to observe faithfully the provisions of the said act

            ARTICLE 20

            The electorate shall consist of those persons Possessing Eritrean citizenship who:

            (a) Are of male sex;

            (b) Have attained the age of twenty-one years;

            (c) Are under no legal disability as defined by the law, and;

            (d) Have been resident for one year preceding the election in the constituency
            where they shall vote.

            ARTICLE 42

            Eligibility All members of the electorate shall be eligible for election to the Assembly provided that:

            (a) They have reached the age of thirty;

            (b) They
            have been resident in Eritrea for three years and have resided in the
            constituency for two years during the last ten years;

            (c) They are not disqualified for any reason laid down by law; and

            (d) They are not officials of the Eritrean or Federal Governments, unless they
            have resigned at the time of presenting their candidature.

            ARTICLE 26

            Freedom of conscience and religion The right to freedom of conscience and religion shall include the right everyone, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

            ARTICLE 28

            Recognition of religious bodies As persons before the law Religious bodies of all kinds and religious orders shall be recognized as possessing juristic personality. Consequently, any religious denomination or any group of citizens belonging to such denomination shall be entitled;

            “(a) To establish and maintain institutions for religious, educational and charitable

            “(b) To conduct its own affairs in matters of religion;

            “(c) To possess and acquire movable and immovable property

            “(d) To administer its property and to enter into contracts

            ARTICLE 37

            Properties right

            Properties rights and rights of real nature, including those of State lands, established by custom or law and exercised in Eritrea by the tribes, the various population groups and by natural or legal persons, shall not be impaired by any law of a discriminatory nature.

            ARTICLE 38


            1. Tigrigna and Arabic shall be the official languages of Eritrea.

            2. In accordance with established practice in Eritrea, the languages spoken and
            written by the various population groups shall be permitted to be used in dealing
            with the public authorities, as well as for religious or educational purposes
            and for all forms of expression of ideas.

            courtesy of:


      • Pappillon

        Dear Serray,

        I actually agree with you on some points sans YG’s outright condemnation of Ghedli. First though, if the endearing term ደቅና was a fabrication at all, it has given out a wrong impression where as you seem to insinuate that the fathers were all along for a unity with Ethiopia. As far as the reality on the ground attested however, the fathers gave their support to the political maneuver of the King when they were truly convinced that, he would remain true to his words but of course the rest as they say is history as the fathers remained hapless and too weary to fight the king, their sons and daughters took up the arms and headed to the mountains to fight the King and a military junta to the end. That is precisely the essence of Ghedli. As such, in its pristine sense, it has accomplished what it set out to deliver.

        YG’s selling point revolves around a wrong cause-and-effect mind set where the sad reality of present day Eritrea is taken for the “unholy” working-mission of Ghedli. That is were it gets murky in YG’s otherwise nearly convincing narrative. That is, when Ghedli remained true to its mission, Isaias has done the undoing where even people of a bright mind can not seem to see the elusive difference. The agonizing and horrifying reality of present Eritrea is the making of one man–Isaias Afwerki not Ghedli not PFDJ for the latter is a make believe “followers” created by Isaias himself. PFDJ is a caricature of an organized entity compounded not by an ideological conviction or party lines but by a sheer fear of one man to the extent of mind control as they are made to believe that there is no Eritrea in his absence. That is where I agree with you when surprisingly, some Awate commentators including moderators of this forum are treating PFDJ as a done deal party with a power to reckon with. To assume that PFDJ either can be reformed or once Isaias is gone it can be rehabilitated is naivety at best and missing the essence of the reading on the ground. Once the tyrant is gone, the entire edifice crumbles and there will not be a PFDJ to negotiate with for there will remain none.


        • Serray

          Selam Papillon,

          Think of actions and consequences. One of the irritating things about ghedli romantics is they don’t think it applies to their ideals. The search for independent eritrea could be traced to Italy’s colonial ambition. If Italy never colonize eritrea, the idea of eritrea will never have existed. If haileslasie abides by the federation, ghedli as we know it would never have existed. If shaebia regime was humane, democratic, transparent and a believer of the rule of law and justice, you and I probably never have crossed roads and yg would have been a fighter for other worthy causes.

          Shaebia is a consequence of an idea and an action. Meaning, how ghedli ended with shaebia regime on top is a reflection of everything ghedli is. I don’t know why the ghedli romantics make it look that the idea of eritrea came from God; eritrea as a nation is totally men made; foreigners at that. That people go back and revisit that idea is the most natural thing given what price was paid to make hyenas rule it. I like the discussion going on at asmarino right now as it related to how eritrea was fast developing during haileslasie’s first twenty years rule or how jebha and shaebia contributed to arresting that development by destroying roads, bridges and factories. If we are to become intelligent eritreans, it is by knowing everything about it; not by being hoodwinked by unscrupulous romantics who make the discussion of what we witnessed in our lifetime a taboo. Pfdj = shaebia and shaebia is ghedli. No amount of double talk can change that. For me anyone who separates isaias from shaebia and shaebia from ghedli is dishonest.

          The armed struggles happened because haileslasie didn’t keep his word; the discussion at asmarino is happening because tegadelti didn’t keep their word of free nation and free people; not just isaias but all surviving tegadelti who remain silent enjoying their loot or enforce the inhuman regime’s brutal rule. There is no human being capable of stopping that discussion by double talk or by degrading those who raise the issue. The last few weeks I spent a lot of time with pfdjs; it is amazing how nostalgic they are of the late fifties, sixties and early seventies.

          Here is what most of us will admit soon or later; it took ghedli and HS/dergi, first in the lowlands, then in highlands, to stop those nostalgic times; the horror of the last 23 years is totally self-inflicted notwithstanding the bogus claim that woyanes declared war on us (when shaebia leaders accepted they ignited the war). I for one am happy that yg raised the independence project. For me, ghedli romantics, both the pfdj and the opposition types, are the most dangerous for our future. Anyone who discourages, degrades, and tries to shut down the discussion about our journey to independence is one step behind those who made it criminal. In free eritrea, those who push for arabic SHOULD face those who question our journey to independence, an independence that is not independence at all.


          Now, why is amanuel not challenging the point you seem to hyperventilate?


          I read your post as you suggested. Your first is unrealistic. If jebha was the winner in medda, would you think you can dismantle it by simply calling for it? Because your proposal is premised on an unrealistic assumption, it will never fly. Don’t sweat, though, if the constitution is implemented, even by isaias, the regime will naturally implode. Think vampire and sunlight. For the record, the changes you propose to the constitution are all good give or take a a couple.

          • Pappillon

            Dear Serray,

            YG’s talking points are evolving into a high tech ንሕናን ዕላማናን where the undertone is disturbing to say the least. He is appealing to the Kebessa people as if he has conducted a meticulous counting on the people who are leaving in droves and as if they are exclusively from Kebessa as well. Furthermore, his unabated onslaught doesn’t end there but he is accusing certain segments of the Opposition of patting Isaias on the back for rendering Kebessawian deserting the nation so that as he put it ShaEbia ultimately will be deflated of its hallow weight. As I see it, it is a cluttered imagination gone-wild if not a conspiracy theory unbecoming of his caliber.

            Sure enough, Eritrea was economically way better off during the King’s era including when the military junta was in power. This angle of argument however can not be evoked to weaken if not to bury the merits of Ghedli simply because not only a hindsight is at play here but also the young generation who opted to take up arms in the mountains was not driven by economic grievances but by something that need to be seen with in the zeitgeist of the era. It was a time when the wind of change was blowing across the continent where nations were demanding independence from colonial powers. Evidently, Eritrea was not an exception. As such, the cause or the struggle for independence gained an immense popularity not because of an appeal for democracy, constitutional governance or multi party system rather it was a call for independence nothing more nothing less. To be more precise, the dreams and expectations of the Eritrean people was not democracy and all the bandwagon that comes with it rather it was a dispassionate dream and an intense longing for independence. And that is precisely what the mandate of Ghedli was.

            If it means anything however, Isaias had promised to elevate Eritrea on par with middle income nations where Eritrea to be an envy of the nations in the continent. Obviously, he couldn’t live up to his promises and that is where the striking difference between Ghedli and Isaias rests. When the former lived up to its mandate and promises, the latter failed armed with an immaculate deception. It is a high time to internalize the differences so that one can get off the high horses and make useful of oneself to bring about the needed and practical changes on the ground.


          • Dear Pappillon,

            I find it difficult to understand when you say that Gedli had no other objective than independence, a mandate which you say has accomplished perfectly.

            If it is so, what then is the essence of this ιndependence, when it is without a soul, such as freedom, democracy, constitution, or multiparty system? If Gedli has no such characteristics right from the beginning, and the dreams and the
            expectations of the Eritrean people were not freedom and democracy; then is it wrong to accuse the constructors and implementers of Gedli, who later became the government of Eritrea (for PFDJ=Shabia=Gedli (Serray)), for what they do/did to the people of Eritrea, for freedom and democracy was not part of of Gedli’s plan? Could there be other factors as well, such as abhorrence for the Ethiopian factor, or some foreign power, for things cannot occur in a vacuum?

            Independence for whom and for what purpose is a question one cannot avoid to ask. If it is only to have an enclave of land, which Eritrean elites can call their own, after all, Eritrea belonged to none other but Eritreans before Gedli. Almost no Ethiopians
            settled in Eritrea for business, be it farming, trade or otherwise, except of course, few government officials. As much as the people of Tigray is concerned, the connection is a long one that goes deep into the past, and I wouldn’t say that they caused discomfort to the Eritrean society. In fact, before Gedli Eritrea belonged exclusively to Eritreans, while Ethiopia belonged to Eritreans too. If
            the absence of freedom and democracy were the cause of Gedli, which Ethiopians were also hungry of, there could have been some logical explanation, although a common problem required a common solution, by Ethiopians and Eritreans together.

            One can conclude that the fathers of Gedli needed the land and not the people (may be the enslaved type of people). Although they had all the plans for the land of Eritrea (borderlines, flag, national anthem etc), they had no plan whatsoever for the people (no freedom, no democracy, no constitution etc, and
            the weird thing is that it is said that the people were not longing for these), and no wonder then people are treated in the most horrendous way by their own rulers, as seen after independence.

            Then, where is YG’s fallacy? Is he wrong, when he says Gedli had no objective reasons to occur, it was not anthropocentric, the people were enslaved, exploited and inhumanly sacrificed, Gedli was not meant to serve the interest of the people but the interest of Eritrean elites, it was brutal and its outcome the PFDJ government even more brutal, and a big crime was committed by Eritrean elites
            against their own people?

          • dine

            she is saying, eritrea was a colony of ethiopia, the Gedli fought to get rid of the colonizer(ethiopia) nothing more nothing less. like the rest of Africa fought against the colonizer except she forgot the ”referendum”

          • T. Kifle

            Dear Horizon,

            I am not sure if you have this information. After the “amicable” relationship EPLF and TPLF enjoyed before and after the immediate aftermath of the Red-Star Campaign, mid-level TPLF ranks who observed how the EPLF run its business posed a serious challenged to TPLF leadership of the time. The main theme of the challenge had been this: Is Shaebia a tactical or strategic partner? The question had a basis in the manner the TPLF leadership handled the matter for didn’t communicate anything to the fighters except explaining that both fronts had common enemy and should stand together if they were to win over. Then they demanded their leadership explained if TPLF and EPLF were ideologically, operationally one and the same.What those middle level cadres didn’t know, however, is that the leadership itself had already made up their minds that shaebia would be a liability after independence but didn’t communicate that to all lest, given the nature of shaebia, it would harm the relationship and prolong the life of the Derg. Of course, as it turned out, there was also a minority group that held a position that Shaebia was pretty fine. But it is said that it was in the minority. Then the cadres mounted much pressure over the leadership compounded with other burning strategic issues and sometimes self-styled maladministration grievances gave way for reform with in the front. Shaebia sniffed in the information and got enraged. That led to severing ties and blocking the passage way to Sudan during the 1984 famine which is a blot clear early indicator of EPLF’s meanness.

            Then, TPLF continued its reform, communicated everything to the fighters and civil mass organizations that shaebia lacked the creeds of democratic attributes. Apart from ensuring independence: a question any fool can raise and garner support by invoking excessive dosage of hatred towards the “colonial Ethiopia”, enjoyed every support in logistics that came from the Arab world to weaken and possibly disintegrate “Christian Ethiopia”. They bothered little to the human dimension. When they feel like to have conscripts, they descend to the villages and pick the village men and women from their farmlands, cattle-herding, from their honeymoon and what have you. They had an extreme sense of entitlement over the people of rural Eritrea. TPLF provided even to change this mode of getting enlists. But that was too cumbersome for them to do. Who cares to persuade and make the people volunteer when they can round them up in their thousands in a single sun as they are doing it right now?

            In the its final deliberations, TPLF It also made it clear that Eritrean self-determination is inviolable and would be decided by majority vote by the Eritrean people after the military junta is deposed. Every TPLF tegadaly was aware of this very fact (Read Amora: who perfectly explained the nature EPLF while he was quizzed by Derg officers before they brutally killed him and his comrades in the most tragic way). So according to Shaebia the end justifies the means. That was their at the time and is now.

            Yes, certain things are irreversible. one of those things is Eritrean independence irrespective of the facts that triggered it. But buying into a nonsensical polemic of diminishing the mission of ghedli into a mere “means” is just a joke.

            Dear Horizon, therefore, what should gone wrong in Eritrea had gone wrong during ghedli. Even TPLF with a relatively clean path is in a serious challenge as we speak to ensure good governance.


          • Dear T. Kifle,

            A thousand thanks. It is an eye-opening information unknown to people like me. Thank you again.

          • Yodita

            Kbur Horizon,

            Does this ” … eye-opening information…” then classify the Eritrean ghedli as one for a flag raising, land liberating (hollow) one that Pappillon is claiming and T.Kifle is supporting?

            Why are very smart persons like you ALL taking a generic (nonspecified) aspect of a people’s earnest but very costly attempt to a genuine liberation and expounding on its complexities instead?

            Respected Pappillon’s matter of fact stand is bad enough but Kbur Horizon, are you giving up what you started to most clearly vouch for because of T.Kifle’s “…an eye-opening information unknown to people like me…” ?

          • Yodita

            Correction: Please read 4th line: and NOT expounding on its complexities instead? Thanks.

          • Dear Yodita,

            Pappillon and T. Kifle have explained to us in the most vivid way possible the modus operandi of EPLF and Gedli, and especially the sacrifice of democratic procedures for the sake of the final trophy, which was independence, a sovereign nation with a defined geographic border and its own identity. I had no idea that Gedli was first about liberating the land and then the people (that is what I understood).
            The selfless sacrifice it demanded with no questions asked, and if asked, which meant severe punishment, shows the existence of a dictatorial iron grip during

            The ideology of everything is a means to an end (independence) and the political inconsistency of the leaders, show their Machiavellian nature. When the turn of the people came, after the achievement of the first phase of Gedli (liberating the land), with its
            attributes of independence, border, and sovereignty, implementing democracy and human rights in the second phase, turned out to be expecting a dove from an egg of a serpent.

            This is indeed eye-opening to people who believed that Gedli was about getting rid of an outside force, and giving political and democratic freedom for the people of Eritrea, which they could not have while with Ethiopia, before it was hijacked by DIA and his cohorts. Now it has become obvious that in the nature of Gedli, there always existed the essence of dictatorship, and transition from control of the Eritrean people by an internal force instead of an external entity, i. e. replacing a foreign dictatorship with homegrown one.

            Look at what you said, “genuine liberation”; which can exist only if the people are liberated before anything else. Liberating the land only is no liberation, because
            the soul of any libration is the libration of the human factor first, which in the case of Eritrea is missing.

            People are the center of my worldview, and that of most peace-loving individuals, and the brotherly people of Ethiopia and Eritrea are very important to me. My dream is to see the day when there are no soldiers at the borders, people and goods flow in both directions unimpeded, and the future generation of Ethiopians and Eritreans are satisfied with the arrangements their fathers have put in place, having
            in mind the interest of both people, thus creating a generational peace. Our temporary foolishness, despite the great pain it has caused, cannot separate permanently the two brotherly people. However,
            the two people should be reborn, if they want to see peace and prosperity.

            Therefore, Dear Yodita, as much as I am concerned, it is not about changing my position, but about being educated everyday in being one of the fortunate students at the great school of


          • Yodita

            Dear Horizon,

            Many thanks for taking the time to reply to my query. I rest firm with my own convictions that the Ghedli endeavour was not to replace a foreign ruler with a local one (a harsher one at that)!

            Let alone a small country like ours, the immense China had its trappings. When members of the Party in the calibre of Deng Xiao Ping came forward saying it does not matter whether the cat is black or white as long as it eats mice (signalling to the Maoists that some of the economic programmes they were following were doomed to fail), he was sent to hard labour. It was only after the Death of Mao and the fall from grace of his wife and the Gang of Four that he emerged and was able to elevate his country’s dire conditions.

            ምእንቲ መጎጎ ትሕለፍ ኣንጭዋ was a sort of a mantra by progressive Tegadelti who were not going to squander all the gains made to achieve an important threshold, i.e. independence that depended on many other outside factors.

            What happened after that is a further indication that a flag-waving type of liberation was not what the sacrifice was all about. Show me another country that would imprison that number of people in
            leadership position who had devoted their existence to the cause accusing them of TREASON? Show me a country that would close all nascent media outlets and imprison or chase out its publishers and editors, en masse?

            Most of those in leadership position sided with the ruthless and crafty man. I call them PFDJ and not Shaebia. On the other hand, after decades of struggle, it is humanely understandable to be struggle-weary and crave for a home and family life.

            In my view, whosoever believes that our Ghedli was there to bring the type of independence
            we have now, should support YG for saying it brutally.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Well said T. Kifle.
            “They,” EPLF/PFDJ, “had an extreme sense of entitlement over the people of rural Eritrea.”
            They still do, and that’s been their major weakness that fed down all of their other weaknesses.

          • Yodita

            Kbur Horizon,

            Great flawless piece! I am eagerly awaiting for Pappillon’s response to this.

            I believe that (EPLF) Ghedli at a point in time advocated that to sacrifice resources and lives in order to achieve a flag-waving liberation of the land only (a la IA today) was not the only scope. The fact that Myriad of ሰውራዊ ትምህርቲ was organized by militants, inside Mieda and outside, discussing and debating and creating awareness in the process, lend support to this affirmation. It was taught in no uncertain terms, that the struggle was not to replace a foreign ruler by a national one who is a part of you (which turned out to be thanks to you know who) but to liberate the land in order to strive to liberate the man.” ካብ ሕጂ ጀሚርና ብዴሳዊ አተሓሳስባ ክንህነጽ ኣለና” is not a phrase I am coining now.

            I fully agree that if the scope was to change a foreign ruler by a national one (who is being accused of being worse than the two previous foreign ones), YG would be justified to ‘mercilessly flog’ Ghedli the way he does.

            PS I just read T.Kifle’s post and note that he is referring to the 1978-1984 era when the Ghedli had been compromised and IA was weaving for control. By then IA and his yes men’s grip had taken root. When TPLF cadres were asking if “… TPLF and EPLF were ideologically, operationally one and the same. ” there must have been grounds that led them to believe so in the first place. I do not think the TPLF leadership was unaware of the hijacking that was taking place in EPLF.

            One thing I regret about T. Kifle’s take is that for him Shaebia or EPLF is IA. It most certainly is NOT!! There are hundreds and thousands at home who WERE and ARE Shaebia and EPLF who have struggle fatigue after 30 years, came back to impoverished realities and gnash their teeth with sorrow on the turnout of events for which they had given their youth, energy, dream, hope. They have been made toothless by IA and his inhuman ability to CLAMP and IMPRISON.

            Shaebia is a heroic selfless undertaking by a people that contaminated the good hearted and
            the altruistic. Before its kidnapping, it was loaded with promise and worth sacrifice and believe me it left some foreigners who visited ‘gaping’ and immortalizing it in their writing . Shaebia will never die and is anything butIsaias Afewerki. T.Kifle: i expect you to know that, Sir.

          • Amde

            Dear Horizon,

            I have to say in my opinion Pappillon is completely honest and correct about it. I don’t believe most fighters were out there sacrificing their lives for an abstract notion such as “democracy”. There may have been some that had more abstract or internationalist notion of the ultimate goal of the fighting, but my guess is that since they knew for a fact that it was not something they can sell, it was limited within the secret ideological core of the (Eritrean PRP) within the EPLF and the Labor Party within the ELF.


          • Pappillon

            Dear Horizon,

            Either I am losing you or you’re losing me. You seem to be reading what is not written. I say it respectfully of course. If I have to reiterate, the emphasis is of course the objectives and mandates of Ghedli where it was exclusively to bring about independence simply because, the trajectory was the King’s unlawful abrogation of the spirit of Federation in tandem with the wind that was blowing across the continent where again Eritrea was not an exception. The quest for independence meant owning a sovereign nation with a defined geographical reality where the people claim an identity cultivated through their own unique experiences.

            If I have to state the obvious, Ghedli was never a luxury but an incredibly difficult choice taken by men and women when they were denied their rightful quest for independence and when other venues were completely exhausted. It was not an adventure. Or a fantastic story where a hero and a villain on a stage to entertain an audience. Moreover, the fundamental common ground of those who set out to fight the external force was the ultimate trophy– that is independence where again, democracy, multi party system or freedom of speech were for all practical reasons relegated to the back-burner. It is prudent to keep in mind that, Ghedli was objectified by a Front not a political party as we know it depicted with in the norms of a nation-state. Everything was intensely mobilized to defeat the enemy where the motto was, “The problems of the day can not be solved by speech or majority vote but by blood and iron” (read: Otto Von Bismarck). What was expected was a complete commitment and dedication for and to the cause where often times difficult measures were at stake. I am not by all means condoning the clandestine activities that had taken place with in Ghedli where measures were taken when certain group of people (read: መንካዕ et al) entertained a political space which seemed to be too early to demand for when Ghedli was not consolidated enough. That as it may however, a different venue should have been sought instead of eliminating them out right. The reason I brought the particular incident of መንካዕ up is to underscore the intensity and focus of Ghedli where everything was second to the main objective that is–independence. That was precisely the reason, the Front had a fluid policy in its dealings when it comes to ideology where the modus operandi was practically anything and everything was a means to an end. When it found itself dealing with the East, it would buy into and daly with Communist leanings; when it found itself in need of something from the Arab world, it would pull an Arab stint and the same political chameleon would be exercised when it dealt with the West as well.

            When independence was achieved however, the shapeless modus operandi was meant to be rendered anachronistic in terms as it could not and was not able to synch with the reality of the world that was coming of age and those who demanded for the complete overhaul of the system that had come all along with its merits and downsides were dubbed traitors and were thrown to the dungeons when unrelenting dictatorship and tyranny is taking the nation to the bottom of the abyss. It is prudent to keep in mind that, those who demanded for the transformation of Ghedli after independence were the very part and parcel of Ghedli thus it is dishonesty at its best to throw all the blame on Ghedli. If Ghedli was carried on the giant shoulders of the Eritrean people, wounded Eritrea is agonizing under a cruel feet of a tyrant who betrayed the very spirit of Ghedli.


          • tes

            Serray, if we are leaving one to defend himself, it is good upto the level that he lives alone, but Emma and you and all of us live together and what we say matters for all. In this principle, I am not hyperventilating, but I am expressing my understanding to Emma’s veiws. what I dislike is when ones opinion is reiterated wrongly to suite to predefined or probable perception.

            And at the same time, what are you doing with my lines too? Just a question for you

      • tes

        Dear Serray,

        You might better know Emma, but from the date I started to visit awate forum, I have never never never read in the way you paraphrased it. You wrote, “the death of isaias is the death of pfdj but somehow he wants a new
        constitution written from scratch because the 1997 constitution will
        empower the pfdj.” I am in position to defend Emma or anyone else, but I will not close my eyes when ones words are taken in the opposite direction.

        I am reading in detail each comment posted since my visit and I have got some views changed by other poeple, but yours is exceptionally TOTALLY Wrong.

        Emma says, the system, not PFDJ or Issaias. I use to say PFDJ and its ideology to your attention. Even in one of his comment here, he didn not object the presence of PFDJ as a party, he is against the system PFDH built.

        regarding the constitution, He is more knowledgeable and I came to understand that he wrote and debated about it for a long time. Hope I will read his articles soon. In one of his response to me, I remember that he wanted me to clarify my comment regarding the constitution based on my comment. And I responded to him that by assumption we can take the constitution be as a legal ratified document. In his reply, he didn’t accept that as he responded by saying the constitution has shortcomings that can keep the country under totalitarian regime for ever unless corrected (Sorry I have misunderstood you Emma). I didn’t read any word that says the constitution was wrong and has to be written from scratch. These two views might belong to you, as the mouth speaks what is in the heart. If you are doing it purposely, AGEB kinibleka trah!!

        haki kitguetsets kela Ageb mibal bahlna eyu, welakua shabia nrebhiu kibil enteatsewa.

    • Eyob Medhane


      So now you got to the stage, where you called yourself and your people “Shiftas”? Yigermen’alo, ale zefagnu :-)I knew that YG’s penetrating articles are reaching very far, but I never thought it would get to you that way. In couple of articles of YG and Ghirmay Yebio that I read they were making the same point of the shifta behavior of many, which of course includes the fascist admirer Idris Awate……

      • saay7

        Selamat Eyobai:

        “The whole area in the 1970s was infested with shifta. Almost every sub-district of _____ contained two or three renowned shiftas who had under their command groups
        ranging from five to thirty in number. Some of the leaders of these shifta bands were essentially of a criminal type, like Alem Eshet, who considered himself in sole command of his domain. The more powerful shiftas had considerable numbers of automatic rifles. They knew the rugged and rocky terrain like their own backyard and could manoeuvre effectively.”

        You know which country I am talking about here? I will let T.Kifle help you out, but it is NOT Eritrea:)

        Shifta is not just a bandit. Shifta is an outlaw and a rebel. The point I was trying to make to those who look at present day Eritrea with tens of thousands of Eritrean youth meekly accepting enslavement is: this is the exception and not the rule. The rule in Eritrea (and Tigray) is that armed rebelliousness is a common phenomenon. Something that Meles Zenawi understood very clearly when he was warning his countrymen against marching to Eritrea (mengedun cherq…) and something that present-day inviters of Ethiopian intervention (like your hero YG) don’t seem to be aware of.

        Incidentally, I am told that YG had a complete meltdown in his Facebook page and he has taken a page from my comments here and accused me of being a PFDJ agent:) I knew the meltdown was coming; I just was hoping for a few years of fun before it happened.


        • Eyob Medhane

          Ok Sal,

          I am not getting into between you and YG, but I read what YG has written about what you have to say about ‘Shifta’ and ’50, 000 DEMHIT fighters’. It is hardly a melt down, but very logical analysis. Where did you get that ‘50,000 DEMHIT’ anyway? Did even Shabia have that much, during it’s hey day of the 80s? He was just calling out on your tendency to exaggerate and he was exploring why you were doing this. 50,000? Really? 50, 0000 Tigrians armed and ready to attack Tigray and they still never managed to even fire a shot in Tigray, yet? where did the ‘shifta’ spirit you have attributed to them go?

          I also see your tactic of splitting hair that ‘Shifta is not a bandit’. You can give it what ever name you want. You can even call it ‘Wonbede’, but shifta is shifta, as awate was. A wanted out law. Period.

          • saay7


            That man accused me of “openly working with PFDJ” and repeated his accusation that i am an “anesthesiologist” numbing the highlanders from awakening to the reality of their “extinction.” I think that is a meltdown. Now, before I address the De.M.H.T issue, let’s discuss this issue of Eritreans mass migration and the four schools of thought:

            YG School of Thought: There is a deliberate campaign by the PFDJ to empty Eritrea out of Tigrinya highlanders and there are those like who know this and are hiding the information because it agrees with their demographic agenda. YG doesn’t explain why a political party would work actively to hollow out its own base;

            Isaias Afwerki School of Thought: There is a conspiracy by the West to leave Eritrea defenseless and we have evidence that they facilitate the human smuggling and we have evidence that they give Eritreans preferential treatment on asylum hearings;

            Region-Focused Opposition School of Thought: Most of the Eritreans leaving are from ______ area and this is because Isaias Afwerki is trying to change the demographics in favor of ______. Or conversely, most of the Eritreans leaving are from _______ are and this is because he is using them as potential source of remittances and this is why all of them, after they get their asylum paperwork visit PFDJ offices and pay 2% tax.

            Sal Younis School of Thought: I don’t have any data to reach a conclusion. PS: I am not an anesthetiologist.

            My hesitation has to do with 1981. That year coincided with the implosion of the ELF and the election of Ronald Reagan. It was also the year that tens of thousands of Eritreans were, for the first time, accepted in large numbers to immigrate to the West. Now, is this because Ronald Reagan came with a policy of not just containing the Soviet Union but defeating it? Is it because there was a deliberate effort to make sure that the ELF collapse is permanent. In 2005, I interviewed one of the ELF leaders (Megestab Asmerom, now the chairman of EPDP) and this is what he had to say:

            “During this period, [1981-1985] there was an international conspiracy to ensure that the [Eritrean Liberation] Front’s combatants never returned to the field. The Western nations had opened up their gates for migrants and this was the period when many combatants got the opportunity to go to Germany, America, etc.”


            Now to De.Me.Ha.E. It has been described as Africa’s largest guerrilla army. Whether that is 30,000 or 50,000 is something that is open to debate. But what the skeptics (and those with superficial knowledge) do is judge the organization by its name “Democraciawi mnqsqas Harnet Tigray” when, in fact, it has nothing to do with Tigray. It may not even be made entirely of Tigrayans and those who are may have been entirely rounded up in Eritrea. But now, it is the equivalent of Isaias’s Republican Guard. It is the one that gets all the ammunition all the resources when the EDF has been hallowed out. Because Isaias’s policies have completely destroyed the EDF, this is what Eritrea is left with in 2014: a poorly-armed poorly-trained People’s Milita who will “defend the people” from enemies; and an elite, well trained, well armed Isaias Republican Guard (De.M.H.T.) whose sole agenda is to protect him.


          • Eyob Medhane


            what? Really? really? Are you telling me that Ronald Reagan has conspired against ELF, in order to have Eritrean ragtag militia to fit his ‘No containment, but defeating the Soviet Union’ grand plan? Are you serious, and you actually quoted a person, who gave you that interview, taking him seriously? How is that better than PFDJ saying ‘The westerners are depopulating Kebessa Eritreans’ delusion? With your response, you actually gave YG credence of his analysis. You just repeated the PFDJ delusion to me. Did Ronald Reagan even know what Eritrea is (If it is a country or a food) or even more absurd what ELF is? Come on. You are much better than that……

            I know what YG said. I know what Isayas and PFDJ believe. I just learned what some in Eritrean opposition say about the Kebessa plight. But, you never say what Saleh Yunis believe about it. let me ask you directly AGAIN. What do you think about it, Sal? Remember? I asked you sometime ago, when you spelled out every detailed demographic data about Lampedusa victims, you skipped the fact that almost 100% percent of them were Christian Eritrean highlanders. Why was that? Doesn’t all of them being Christian highlanders merit analysis? In stead you cloud the discussion with a lot of words and absurd analogy of Ronald Reagan election. Now, let me ask you respectfully, Sal. What is your take on Kebessa Eritreans being driven out in thousands from their homeland? Why do you think it is them that die in Sinai, in the high seas and fill refugee camps, disproportionatly? Have you ever written a single article, why specifically this group was targeted? Please provide me the link. I look forward to read it. You said you don’t have any data to have a say about it. yet, you had a lot to say about so many other things and you analyze so many events brilliantly, without providing a date. Could you please give a try to this one?

            You said, ‘DEMHIT’ is described, the largest African gorilla army’… By who? tesfanews? I thought you implied, if you don’t have a data, you refrain to comment, when it comes to the Kebessa, but DEMHIT, well that is ok to through a number based on source that is never quoted… Come on, Sal. That’s just not right….And to top it off, you said they may not even all of them be from Tigray. Wait a second, if they were not from Tigray, how come they all say ‘Mewesawesi’?.. :-)…

            P.S “Mengedun Cherq…” has actually a different meaning, according to the man himself, who popularized it… 🙂


          • saay7

            Ah Eyob:

            Where to begin. You have a way of making me feel old because you write with such certainty about complex issues.

            That thing you ridiculed with “what? really? Really?” is really a generation of Eritreans talk about: how is it that in 1981, the hitherto unfriendly West, all of a sudden, had so much sympathy for Eritreans who had been in refuge in Sudan, some for 2 decades and was allowing any Eritrean (or anybody who claimed to be one.) The ELF then was not a “ragtag militia”–it was such a threat that all its military leaders were assassinate in Sudan. And the gentleman I interviewed, Mengestab Asmerom, is an extremely intelligent person. So just with your first sentence you displayed your characteristic arrogance ignorance–a deadly combination–and part of your charm, of course.

            I have heard all the theories as the specific make-up of the Eritrean population that is mass-migrating to the West, some that I shared with you, and some that I haven’t. Of all the ones I have read, the one that makes the least logical sense is the one that YG is espousing. When one makes an argument as explosive as the one that YG is making–that the Isaias Afwerki regime is deliberately de-populating Eritrea of highland Eritreans–he owes his readers something more than a declaration. But it fits with the general theme in all of YG’s writings–correlation is the same as causation: if A preceded B, A is the cause of B.

            As to why I don’t write about it, it is for the same exact reason that I didn’t write anything in the EPLF-TPLF honeymoon period when other segments of Eritrea were talking about how Tigrai-Tigrini conspiracy is emptying the country out of the Muslim and the lowlander, etc. Eritrea is my country and on issues that relate to people’s ability to live harmoniously in perpetuity, it is best to resist the temptation to indulge the urge to say something unless one can back it up. Ironically, YG knows this–when it comes to Tigray. His outrage at awate was that we were writing about De.M.H.T. without 100% certainty and this will have an impact on harmonious relationship between Tigrinya of Eritrea and Tegaru Ethiopians.


            On Mengedun Cherq, the late PM Zenawi (whom YG quotes as one who was committed to regime change in Eritrea and laments the current seeminly indifferent attitude of his succeesor) has gone on record, several times, to say that presence of Ethiopian army in Eritrea for a day more than necessary would be disastrous. The PM was right and YG is, as usual, wrong.

    • Bel

      Hi Saay,
      So much has been said and a lot of drums have been beaten regarding the Lampedusa tragedy. Above all the horrible case of the Eritrean woman (who gave birth while drowning) among the victim have been chewed and used as a political thing or as a tool to garner support at the expense of the grief of Eritreans. No one in this forum was missed from getting soaked and drowned from the the crocodile tears of Haile the G, and now this fine lady hayat is trying to do that (The reason this time being fear of people, like you would start to talk positive things about Eritrea. I am sure your Haile is also in a state of panic with the new direction of Awate and also the variety of participants. I am sure he is feeling the wind of lonely ness. But that is not the topic here)
      The reason I am writing to you is, because you mentioned something about a woman in Mediterranean sea, in your above article (It might be a generic thing, but I am assuming you are referring to that woman) and also in your reply to Hayat above, you seem to be in agreement to her main point (The rewinding of events that supposedly happened, regarding the victim woman). Now, asking, questioning or demanding or condemning or rising up because Eritreans are leaving their country could be a valid thing. BUT, the very fact that they drowned in an accident in general, and the case of the woman who gave birth in the sea, is basically for sensationalizing and exploding things used solely for the purpose of defamation, because:
      – Most of those victims (Almost all) have been in Libya for more than (At least for a year – waiting for the good weather to come, for instance) a year or two
      – Hence, the woman, most probably got pregnant either in Libya, or in transit (Most probably in Libya)
      – As sad as the tragedy is, as un-Eritrean as accusing the dead it, we can not hide the very fact that the woman endangered a child by boarding a boat at 7 Months down in her pregnancy. Seriously, her running away from Eritrea is one thing, but the fact that she boarded the risky boat, in Libya, while pregnant, in not way can you stick it to the Eritrean government (Or to Issayas, or Issayassists, to use your term)
      – The family members of that fine lady who finance the trip of that fine woman, while knowing she was pregnant (If they knew. May be they did not, if she got pregnant in Libya. Or may be they do) are also to blame for the child endangerment
      – Those Eritreans who saw but did not prevent or advice against the trip of a 7 months pregnant woman on board of that boat are also partly to blame (We don’t know for sure, but it wouldn’t be hard to guess, the one who got her pregnant, would most probably was in the boat, or in Libya waiting for another one)
      – Of course the traffickers who allowed a pregnant woman on board are extra criminals too.
      Sensesionalizing aside, it is so hard to stick that specific condition of the Eritrean woman to the Eri Gov, well, of course if you are not Haile, and you are smart enough to use your brain on something important

      • Pappillon

        ህግደፍ መንደፍ

        ስቕ ኢልካ ሃለውለው ኣይትበል ንሓሸማ ሊፕስቲክ ክትለኪ ኣይትፈትን ደቂ ሰባት ኣብ ጸበባን መከራን ዝበዝሓሉ እዋን ሓደገኛ ዝኾነ ስጉምቲ ይወስዱ እዛ ሓፍትና ድማ ዓቕላ ስለ ዝጸበባ እያ ከምኡ ዓይነት መንገዲ ፈቲና ሕጂ እቲ ጉዳይ ንምንታ ወይ ካኣ ኣበይ ማኣስ ጠኒሳ ኣይኮነን እቲ ሕቶ ከመይ ጌርና ኢና ንህዝብና ካብ ናይ ኢሳያስ ጨቋኒ ስርዓትን ካብ ከማኻ ዝኣመሰሉ ሙሽሙሻት ሰዓብቱን ነጋላግሎኣ እዩ

        • haileTG

          መርሓባ ፓፒሎን፤ ትሰምዕያ’ዶ ኣሎኺ እዛ ተማሃሪት ገስረጥ ህግደፍ። ነዚ ክትልፍልፍ አያ ግዜ’ኣ ኣጥፊኣቶ። መቓብር ፍሒራ ድማ ምስ መዋትያን ትምጉት ኣላ። ነዚኣን መማህርታን፡ ከይቀበርና ሰላም ክንረክብ ዘበት። ቅድሚ ሕጂ እውን፡ ኣብ ደሃይ ዝበሃል ቀደም ዝጠፈሸ መናውራ ህግደፍ ዝዝርግሕ መርበብ፡ ብዛዕባ ሓንቲ ኤርትራዊት ከም ተምሳል ሃገርና ተጠቂማ፡ ከመይ ገይርካ ኣእዳዋ ንድሕሪት ኣሲርካ፡ ብስሪንጋ ጸባ-ኣደ ካብ ኣጥባታ እናሰሓብካ፡ ካብኣ ኣዲኡ ዝመንዛዕካዮ ህጻን ከምተጥቡብ፡ እናበለት ከመይ ዝበለ ግዕዙይን ዘግናንን ትሕዝቶ ብስም “ዘልኩ’ደኣ” ናይ ብርዒ ስም ጽሒፋ እያ። ናይ ብሓቂ ካካይ ሰብ፡ ብልክዕ መልክዕ እዚ ጎድፍ ስርዓት እትሰርሕ። ጀዋሲስ ናይ ሰልዲ እያ።

          • Pappillon

            ሃይለ ሓወይ

            ኣነ ናይዞም ህግድፍ ዝባሃሉ ሰባት ሓንጎል ከመይ ከምዝሰርሕ ፈጺሙ ክርዳኣኒ ኣይክእልን እዩ እቲ ዝገርመኒ ነገር ቁሩብ ሕልና ዝባሃል ነገር ዘይምህላዎም እዩ ሰብ ከም ሃመማ እንዳ ረገፈ ሳዕስዒትን ዳንኬራን ከመይ ገይሩ ይራአዮም ተመሊሶም ካኣ ዘይሓንኩ ሃገር ጽቡቕ ኣላ ኢሎም ይዝምሩ ብጣዕሚ ዝገርሙ ሰባት እዮም

        • Bel

          ህግደፍ መንደፍ, huh?

          May be it has been quite a while for you or/and may be it is done differently in your land of the woyanie, but you need to have sex to get pregnant, and having sex also has its own procedures and steps to fallow. And during ጸበባን መከራን, sex is the last thing that comes to mind (As it is kind of luxury and demands some comfort). Unless, of course rape and force is involved, well if that was the case, then you fools should have focused on the rape aspect as a consequence of the migration . So, cut the crap.
          You see:
          – You are lucky because you can say anything and insult any body with out even an “IHIH” from the moderator
          – The so called opposition are unlucky because they have you (And the Geldam, replying to you ) , an Woyanie stooge as their representative, or spokeswoman
          – The Eritrean people in general are unlucky as subordinates like you are making a joke out of their case

      • haileTG

        “I did not choose to be a refugee” – A Visual Art Exhibition by Michael Adonai – Tune in on today’s Assenna Radio Program for the First Extended Interview of the Famous Eritrean Artist

      • saay7

        Selamat Bel:

        First, on the “new direction” of I have been saying the problem is Isaias Afwerki since I can remember; SGJ has been saying the problem is Isaias and no more than a couple of hundred people for as long as I can remember; Semere Tesfai has been saying exactly what he has been saying since 2010 ( Every columnist we have has been saying what he had been saying for years. What has changed is Ali Salim*

        So what happened that we now have a diverse Eritrean commentary class. May I offer a counter-narrative as to why we have a more diverse forum now? You see, for a long time, the PFDJ had taken the position that when it comes to the opposition (or “so-called opposition” as it likes to describe us), we should be shunned and ostracized: don’t attend their meetings, don’t socialize with them, don’t visit their websites. And because of this MemrHi, many pro-PFDJ Eritreans had boycotted our meetings and our websites. No opposition opinion was allowed to be heard in the media it controls or are friendly to it. (shabait, alenalki, biddho, dehai, etc.) Then something happened last year: tesfanews came and for the first time, one could actually read dissenting opinion in a government-friendly website. This means, to me, that there was a change of policy at the PFDJ, a subtle but real one, after years of total blackout. People like to congregate with like-minded people and once they saw that those who share their opinions are here, they started coming.

        Now, to your question.

        I was thinking of a generic Eritrean mother crossing the Mediterranean, not the one who drowned with her child. Lampedusa was huge, but it wasn’t the first, nor the last. And the grief over Lampedusa was not “crocodile tears”–I wish you would not be that cynical. It was real. From the opposition side, the grief was accompanied by a sense of helplessness, and self-blame, not just blaming the Isaias Afwerki regime. We are blaming the Isaias Afwerki regime for its policies that resulted in that, and also its insensitivity after it happened (wegaH tbel leyti parties, and Isaias Afwerki not even given their families condolences on “behalf of the people and government of Eritrea”)

        Is it unfair to blame the Isaias Afwerki regime for the disaster? I don’t think so: governments are accountable for anything that happens to their citizens. That’s what leadership means. When good things happen to Eritreans, they want to bask in the goodwill (“President Isaias Afwerki today met with cyclist Natnael..”) and when terrible things happen to Eritreans, they take the blame. The buck stops somewhere, does it not?

        There is a tendency by those who are supportive of the regime to minimize the exile as simply a case of globalism and/or a case of enemy quarters trying to empty out the country of its fighting forces. What they forget is the scope. I was at a meeting a month ago where a Catholic Charities representative announced that about 50 underage Eritreans (all under 17) are coming to the US and would we Eritreans volunteer to adopt them so they are not placed in a foster home? The activists Elsa Chyrum talks about the most shocking thing she saw in Ethiopian refugee camps were unaccompanied minors that the Ethiopian authorities (or UNHCR) have no idea how to deal with. (awate readers were first alerted to this by a report that Dr. Bereket Berhane Woldeab wrote.) I don’t know how the exile of children to Tigray can be explained by pull factors or any of the explanations you gave above.


        * According to YG, Ali Salim has arrived with his new message at the direction of the Awate Team because we are trying to save PFDJ so that we can numb the Kebessa people as they slowly get extinct. You see now why I think YG is having a meltdown?

  • Dawit


    • saay7

      Selamat Dawit:

      Very funny! But us right-wing nuts love political pluralism: moderate-right, libertarian, extreme right:) We just don’t think that the very young and the people without property and the illiterate shouldn’t vote or form parties:)


      • Dawit

        Merhaba SaaY,
        I always admire your intelligence, knowledge of Eritrean history and debating skills. When it comes to politics (American +Erittrean), I have sensed your conservative leaning. I recommend you read an acclaimed book entitled “Capital in the Twenty First Century”. I downloaded it on my Kindle, I am on page 25 now. It’s a very good reading. May be the Author would be able to convince you (right wingers) whose laissez fair everything is wrong. 😉

        • The secular socialist

          No need to recommend saay Thomas Piketty’s amazing research. Cons and neocons will anyways conclude that he’s a retarded Marxist

        • Yodita

          Hi Dawit,

          Are you the caricaturist? I am an incurable left-winger and was impressed by your powerful above post!

          Ms Bzuh selamta.

          • Rodab

            I am familiar with left wing / right wing phrases as applied to Western political system. But what do these descriptions mean in our case? When you say you’re left-winger, what does that mean in simple terms?

          • Yodita


            In very simplistic terms, when the advent of left wing administration reared its head at the beginning of 1900, the lots and lives of masses and masses of people were elevated from nil to (employment, education, sanitation, social security of all sorts) that hardly existed before. Left wingers, globally vouch for a more rational distribution of wealth and opportunities. Right wingers believe allowing individuals or firms to arrive at obscene levels of wealth, making the state porous enough for them to determine, through their powerful lobbies and excessive wealth, the fates of poor countries to remain hostages as future potential markets purposes. They strangulate developmental undertakings if it messes with their economic domination value. Left wingers, in my humble view, have not been around long enough as the exploiters but in one century (with its ups and downs) have made a dent against utter poverty and destitution at global level. The whole thing being about economic supremacy, right wingers can only exist in rich countries, poor ones are relegated, by default, to tread the left wing road (say I very humbly).

            Now SAAY* could say the above ‘gibbeish’ in a couple of sentences and we would all be enlightened. Unfortunately for us, in this particular case, he will not. Thank God we have him where it matters most, our country.

            *or Mahmud Saleh, Horizon, Serray, Hayat, Pappillon or other Awate giants.

          • Rodab

            ሕራይ ዮዲታየ፣ ከምቲ ልሙድ ጽቡቕ ኣጸሓሕፋ፣
            ነቲ ቁጠባዊ ሸነኹ ጽብቕ ጌርኪ ገሊጽክዮ ኣለኺ፤ ኣባና ኣብ ኣፍሪቃ ኩሉ ነገር ዶቡ ዘይፍለጥ ሕውስውስ ዝበለ ስለዝኾነ፤ የመናዊ ጸጋማዊ ክንፊ ዝብሃሉ ነገራት ዘለዉ ኣይመስለንን። ኣብቲ ማሕበራዊ ሸነኻቱ ግን፤ ዋላኳ እዞም ቃላት እዚኦም ኣይሃልዉ’ምበር፣ ብግብሪ እንተሪእና ዳርጋ ብምሉኡ እቲ ህዝቢ የማናይ-ክንፊኣዊ (ዶ ዋላ ክንብሎ?) ኣተሓሳስባ ከምዘለዎ ዘጠራጥር ኣይኮነን፤ እቲ “ዓቃባዊ ባህሊ” ዝብሃል ኣዘራርባ’ውን እሱ እዩ ንዓይ ከምዝርድኣኒ፣ ማሕሙድ ሳልሕ ወይ ሃይላት ከኣ ይኣርሙኒ’ምበር።
            ብዝኾነ ክብረት ይሃበለይ፣ ብሩኽ መዓልቲ።

          • saay7


            “ብግብሪ እንተሪእና ዳርጋ ብምሉኡ እቲ ህዝቢ የማናይ-ክንፊኣዊ (ዶ ዋላ ክንብሎ?) ኣተሓሳስባ ከምዘለዎ ዘጠራጥር ኣይኮነን”

            If what you are saying it true, I would be very encouraged. However, I believe the reality is quite the opposite, Rodab. Social justice, economic justice, income redistribution, equitable growth, assertive role for the State, etc are all left-of-center viewpoints in the West that have mass appeal to egalitarian societies like the ones in Eritrea.


  • Hayat Adem

    I will walk you through backwards on a story of an Eritrean child and a mother who died together in the sea connected to each other by the natural cord, the umbilical cord. A moment back the mother was alive on a boat hoping to make it to the coast with her unborn baby. Days back, she must have suffered rough and uncertain months in Libya and many strange places to get there, on top of her pregnancy. Months back, she was in Eritrea and she must have felt the hardships unbearable to stay and become a mother in Eritrea. Could she have imagined such a hardship and tragic end of her life- not just giving birth in the sea, not just giving birth to a dead child, but birthing while she herself was dead? Such is also a tragic maternal note that needs to be included in your story when you feel you should say anything about good news of maternity in Eritrea. There is truth and there is artistic truth. The truth is it is reported MMR is declining tremendously in Eritrea. But we know how hell Eritrea is to everyone to mothers and kids and even unborn babies. ayaye ”eti Abiye si’eliy knri’e alona yibil.”
    Towards the end, you said, “Obviously, we don’t have the resources for that but we should make it a
    goal to have our Statistics office to be free from politics. Otherwise,
    we will be one of those countries that don’t agree on anything and have
    no common ground.” HMmm, have not we become one of those countries already? Where are you fetching your optimism from while looking at the status quo, Sal?

  • tes

    Dear Saleh Younis,

    It is good that you came now with a reasonable title. This work can help us to explore what really has been done during the regime’s time. Your explanation is so clear and logical that it will help us to go across the vertical and horizontal structures of PFDJ political, social and economical aspects. Thank you again brother.

    My question to you,

    During the last 10 years, according to reports, there are around 300,000 Eritreans who left their homeland.
    1. Did the GDP growth puts into consideration the money sent back home as remittance to the family?
    2. Did the GDP considers the military conscripts income?
    3. Did the GDP include the 2% tax collected by force in the foreign based PFDJ embassies?
    4. Did the GDP considers the the black trade income (controbanda) that became the back-bone of PFDJ economy?

    I kindly wait for your response?

    • saay7

      Selamat Tes:

      If you notice, my descriptions of GDP were followed by a lot of questions of how those who calculate it address the challenges posed in Africa since GDP is an aggragate of four things that are difficult to compile in countries that are, um, “pre-literate” is I think the polite way of saying it. With that caveat:

      1. The GDP does not count remittances. The GNP (Gross National Product) does. The GDP is focused on geography, i.e. what happens within a defined territory regardless of the nationality of those in a given geography; the GNP is focused on people–the financial activities of nationals of a specific country regardless where they live.
      2. Yes it does because it would be considered salary (if you are calculating GDP using the income approach)
      3. Refer to question # 1.
      4. Yes it does. Refer to question # 2.

      The only use of GDP is that it compares apples to apples: what matters is the delta or the change year over year. Otherwise, what gets counts in GDP and what doesn’t is so absurd that…well, just read this very illuminating article particularly as it relates to how a horrific accidents involving two cards would ADD to the GDP:


      • tes

        Dear Saay,

        Thank you for the direct answer to my question. It is good that we excluded the debating 2% tax and remittance that is sent from abroad to Eritrea.I might have further question regarding the 2% tax collected by PFDJ offices then; if it is not included within the GDP, then, why PFDJ constantly claims the money collected is for national development program? (Just based on quest of reasoning based on economical meanings of 2%.)

        Your ensight is very deep but full of political questions.

        1. The title is biased.

        The title says, “When Even Good News Is Given A Shrug”

        I have referred an oxford online dictionary to understand the definition of “shrug.” According to the definition given, 1. “Raise (one’s shoulders) slightly and momentarily to express doubt, ignorance, or indifference” (Object) 2. (shrug something off) Dismiss something as unimportant.

        The first definition corresponds to the first one. Then; why people are in doubt with the [good news -to be friendly with you]? Or are they “Ignorant” about the progress that exists in Eritrea about PFDJ administration?

        You have picked one goal of the millennium development goals (MMR) and according to WHO report, Eritrea ranked 7th in this regard. You tried to under estimate the definition given by WHO for MMR as you claimed, it confuses. Here, first, you were happy that Eritrea succeeded to overpass the millennium goals, but you were not happy with the defintion of WHO for MMR. Bizarre!!!

        Dear Saay, I could be more happier if your reference and narration was inclusive all the 7 millenium goals. According to UN report, Eritrea hit 6/7 ( This is the report, what is on the ground, only the Eritreans who are claimed the beneficiary of the goals can be the real testimony.

        You concluded for this by blaming DIA,

        is your the last part of your conclusion, “The Isaias Afwerki regime
        has lost the confidence of the Eritrean people because of a series of
        bone-headed and stubborn decisions. When confidence and trust is gone,
        even great news like the one issued by WHO about Eritrea’s MMR is
        treated with a shrug. And, for that, Isaias Afwerki has nobody to blame
        but himself.”

        My dear brother Saay, your intentions are very clear, to blame Issaias, the dictator. As for me, I blame the system they created, the PFDJ.

        You have mentioned the drawbacks of GDP and I agree with you. But, GDP now adays is no more a measure of a country development sign. More powerful index are available, to mention some,
        1. HDI (Human Development Index, in which GDP is part of it) –,
        2. WDI, now-available,

        And more detailed one by one indicators are available here.

        May be to ordinary person, who is not knowledgeable on economic terms, if asked about GDP or Eritrean development indicator values, it is not a surprise to have as a response a “shrug.” But for a well informed citizen, if you give the values, the Shrug that you will receive is not because of the values but on YOU! Because YOU are bold enough to tell the values that are estimated by the world statistical data bases but non existent in the ground. therefore dear Saay, there is no good news in economic terms that comes from Eritrea.

        Hawka tes

        • saay7

          Selamat Tes:

          1. You are over-thinking the title of the article. The Reuters report that covered the doubling of the Nigeria GDP had this line: “Many Nigerians shrugged off the GDP news” and interviews them. You can read it here and you will learn, as I did (if you don’t know already), Nigeria has a movie industry (Nollywood)

          Similarly, I was saying that many Eritreans will shrug off the MMR report because they can count a long litany of terrible things that the Isaias Afwerki regime is responsible for.

          2. I agree with you that the GDP is an inadequate measure; I gave examples in my follow-up comments that you are replying to. To dramatize this: 1,000 farmers producing food and cotton, consuming the food, using the cotton to make clothes for themselves and using staws to make huts would contribute nothing to the GDP. You take the same 1,000 farmers, put them into two jumbo jets that crash, paramedics show up, insurance company forms are filled, payments are made to the survivors…all of that would contribute to the GDP.

          3. Whether what is to blame for in Eritrea is Isaiasism or PFDJ is a debate Emma and I are having; join in:)


  • Pappillon

    Dear Awatewian,

    Here is a clip where our late leader Ahmed Nasser (May his soul rest in peace) articulates and reflects on the trying moments of ELF and how the split came about. Please forward or mark it on 38:41. And if you’re interested you can see right after that where Isaias the tyrant is doing his charming while hiding his true self.

  • T. Kifle

    Dear SAAY,

    Right after reading your article I got an alert from my favourite Indian daily “The Hindu” which carries interesting article from the NYT News David Brooks under its “World view” column and found it worth sharing on here. Allow me quote a paragraph from it which goes like

    “Wainaina had other tips: The people in said book should be depicted as hungry, suffering, simple or dead. The children should have distended bellies and flies on their faces. The animals, on the other hand, should be depicted as wise and filled with family values. Elephants are caring and good feminists. So are gorillas. Be sure to show how profoundly you are moved by the continent and its woes, and how much it has penetrated your soul. End with a quote from Nelson Mandela involving rainbows. Because you care”

    the link carries the whole of it

    Obviously “it will get worse before it gets better”



  • SM

    Kudos to you for your objective and balanced assessment and approach
    Democracy= Social Justice
    I will expect a follow up Al Nahda on other Health (control of Malaria, IV infection, TB, immunization) and Social Justice indicators like Literacy Rate,Clean Drinking water ,rural development…etc

    Thanks for giving us some break from the dirty politics.