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Yohannes Tikabo and the King’s Men

This is the story of Yohannes Tikabo and Yosief Ghebrehiwet.  More accurately, about their beliefs. Two Eritreans, with varying degrees of enthusiasm for their particular identity.

First things first:  I am and have been a fan of Yohannes Tikabo ever since Zemen.Actually, before Zemen: I go back to the days “Tarik alewo iti Gobo.”To the days of “semiru dahaya.” Here are, to quote our mad president, my “evidences”: Here and here.

Huge fan.  How huge? At a habesha coffe-drinking ceremony in 2008, an aunt challenged me to do the customary bread-breaking prayers and I recited “Qelaximkum Erfi ychebta…“lyrics from “Ab mntayu Hailu ms beluni” (his best song–by far.)

Yohannes Tikabo is the best lyricist Eritrea has produced.  Ever.  He is a poet extraordinaire and that alone, from an artistic standpoint, is worthy of admiration.”He took this song from this other guy and that guy…” well, that is part of Eritrea’s flawed musical tradition: Osman Abdurehim claims Alamin Abduletif took his song (ny Akal vitamin) which Alamin denies; Osman Abdurehim says (well he just told me that on Facebook this month) that all he got from Sami Berhane for borrowing his “Sigir bietna zela fiqri” was 600 Nakfa; and Haile Ghebru (Zerai Deres Band) says that Osman Abdulrehim took his song “Dekise nere teberabire”  and he hasn’t paid him a penny for it.  That is our Eritrea at a time when artists are not as appreciated as they should be.

Just when Wedi Tikabo was pigeonholed as a nationalist singer whose love affair was only with Eritrea, he came up with “Fewsi lbi” an album of love songs.Now, he doesn’t have a love story (an alleged love story) that inspired his dad’s song “kem kokhob ab semay teseqila”  (dad, allegedly, fell in love with an Ethiopian Airlines flight attendant…semay, sky, get it?)  But “Fewsi lbi”, his first album (the previous were all just singles) proved that the man can write love songs—but still grounded on tradition (Go’E Leminey)This inspired a campy Amharic version which got all the “can’t we just get along?” team all excited.  Mind you, they don’t care how we get along:  a few months ago, the possibility of Isaias  reconciling with Prime Minister Desalegn got’em all excited: “we used to hate Isaias but Ethiopia has to pursue its nationalist interest, but do come and visit often.”

Wedi Tikabo, to me, is an Eritrean avatar: proud of the Eritrean Ghedli, proud of his contribution to it, grateful to the combatants, appreciative of its highest values—( I am going to list them alphabetically for the benefit of the Ghedli defamers)courage, creativity, defiance, determination, faith, honor, purposefulness, sacrifice, steadfastness, strength, and volunteerism.This is what Wedi Tikabo has been celebrating when he was, people forget, an employee of the Department of Defense, and this is what he will sing about now that he has demobilized himself: this, in fact, is what he has just sang about since he, in the parlance of DoD: Khoblilu.

The new song, Haddenetna, is classic Wedi Tikabo: powerful lyrics, but average melody. Ironically, with his visit to the US and better studios, the melody got just below average because somebody got too clever suggesting to him that he can use his own voice to create a chorus (like Abrar Osman did (he spent months on it) with bzyekazi)  and a producer who believes that every toy in the studio must be used suggested he use reverb and a harmonizer (He doesn’t need it: harmonizers are for people whose voice is iffy. Reverb is for nobody: it is one of those things Eritreans can’t seem to escape from.)

But Wedi Tikabo’s strength has been in the lyrics:  the world is an ocean: shall we swim like the fish or be eaten by the fish.In ab mntayu Hailu, he celebrated the fish for its unblinking eye (focus); now he celebrates the fish for its ability to adapt to the ocean’s waves (flexibility.)It is a new voice: focusing on what we in the opposition focus about: wasted years of the youth, absence of justice and reconciliation.He articulated the average Eritrean demand: peace (he means peace with honor: refer to the Ghedli values he cherishes) and justice. He has embraced his inner rebel: his core Eritreanism.

In his interview with assenna, Yohannes Tikabo said that  he has no interest in being a tool for the opposition anymore than he wanted to be a tool for the regime.He equated himself to a ball in the middle of the court.Yohannes Tikabo: you are not the ball; you are the player who is an aqebaqab, arrebeshto expert: free style, solo acrobatic football.  

Those of you who are disappointed that he left the PFDJ’s sinking ship: just do what we did when he was with the regime: learn to admire his skills while cancelling out in your head words you don’t agree with.Those of you who are disappointed that he didn’t denounce the regime forcefully…well, I always find wisdom in the common man.An Eritrean is listening to his fellow Eritreans ranting about how a former EPLF member has not forcefully renounced the EPLF.He tells them, “listen, I was a member of the ELF for 5 years, thirty years ago.It is still in my system.How do you expect somebody who was with the EPLF for decades to give up on it a week, a year, five years after he leaves it?” Amen, brother.

Wedi Tikabo is an artist, a rebel at heart, and it is a good bet that he has yet to produce his best work. I am not even going to wish him good luck because he is already blessed by the Almighty. I will just wait for the Eritrean National Anthem, our chant, which will be produced by him. Now, let him get his American menqesaqesi or is it mewesawesi?

King’s Men

Several weeks ago, Gedab News reported that the Tigray People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM or De.M.H.T. in its Tigrinya acronym) was involved in rounding up Eritreans in Asmara.This has outraged Yosief Ghebrehiwet.No, no, not that foreigners are rounding up Eritreans but the fact that foreigners are being identified as foreigners and it is, gasp, actually being reported. The awatistas say the darnedest things!So far  he has registered his outrage in several facebook postings, and two articles Kebessa Eritreans Suicide Mission From Sahel to Lampedusa  and a satire entitled Eritrea: The Mustach That Fell of the President’s Face. And given his fetish with serialization and self-quotations, it is likely we haven’t heard the end of it. Yay.

More on the satire later but, let’s focus on YG’s critique on the first article which is summarized in the heading: Kebessa Eritreans have been on a suicide mission since the launch of the armed struggle.As I have dealt with this argument many times before, it will be merely redundant to point out the obvious flaws in the argument (example: most of the battles of Ghedli were fought in the lowlands and lowlanders have been exiled for three generations and their return to their homeland repeatedly blocked by Isaias Afwerki); instead, I will focus on the only thing that is new in the article:

But it was the awate team that, with the deepening of the above-mentioned wedge in mind, has put the distinction cleverly this way:

“… In previous dispatches only TPDF members with passable Eritrean Tigrinya accent were recruited to conduct the roundup. In this particular mission, there appears to have been a breakdown and TPDM members with noticeable Tigrayan accents were roaming the Merkato neighborhood of Asmara and asking for “metawekia” and “mewesawesi” – Ethiopian words for moving permit – whose Eritrean version are “tessera” and “menkesakesi” respectively.”

These anesthesiologists are shrewd enough to realize that the Kebessa fools would always be driven to frenzy if the issue is identity, and they do that subtly by invoking the difference in dialect that exists between the Tigrignas. They seem to say to the Kebessa elite: “Haven’t you fought for decades to keep all those who say “menkesakesi” on this side of Mereb, and all those who say “mewesawesi” on the other side of Mereb? Nothing less than your Eritrean identity is at stake, as “mewasawesi” is being heard in the center of your Asmara; and, for that, at Merkato!” Of course, they only have to hint it for the fools to latch on to it, and forget their existential predicament.

And what was the “above mentioned wedge”?  Here it is:

BEGIN QUOTE: “The pan-Arabists have always believed that if their colonizing mission is ever to have a chance to be enacted in Eritrea, the wedge between the habeshas across the Mereb River, in general, and between the Tigrignas, in particular, must be kept alive. So anything that drives this wedge deeper is always welcome to them. They know that many of the Kebessa elite will be driven to frenzy if they are told “The Ethiopians are coming!” END QUOTE

The surreal thing about extremists is that because they are surrounded by extremists they actually think the normal people are the extremist ones. All you have to do is to read the postings of the most devoted YG fans to understand how some are just one appointment away from a visit to the psychiatrist: their problem is not with Arabists or Arabs or Islamists but Islam itself. I don’t have bunker busters, let’s see how far I go with plain, ordinary factual statements:

1. De.M.H.T. has been all the rage in Paltalks all year. This is the first time has mentioned the organization in its public pages;

2. De.M.H.T may very well have a legitimate grievance and legitimate case to wage an armed struggle.After all, as I have pointed out many times, Tigray has a larger population than Eritrea, but 22 years after the overthrow of the Derg, the TPLF controls 100% of the government in Tigray and sends 100% of the representatives to the Federal parliament. That is 22 years of one-party statehood with no political space for any opponent. We have Eritrean opposition groups in Ethiopiasome armedwho are doing that just because they lack political space at home; so we can’t pretend that we don’t understand why De.M.H.T (the armed group, not the cultural troupe) is in Eritrea.

3. The only reason De.M.H.T. was relevant (prior to the gffa incident) is that the Eritrean regime is expressly forbidden from hosting Ethiopian opposition groups and it is the job of the Somalia Eritrean Monitoring Group (SEMG) to report on it when it does.After years of showcasing Ethiopian opposition in Eri-TV, the Eritrean regime has stopped (after two SEMG reports) but they still exist in Eritrea and the gfffa story was a great expose of that. When your number one target is Isaias Afwerki, and you are given a torpedo to use it, you fire away;

4. Even the Eritrean regime understood the disaster in its hands and has been on damage control since the story broke out.Those of us in the opposition cannot afford to be squeamish when the regime is on the run, we must press on, as long as we are reporting the truth and as long as we are doing it responsibly. For somebody who has been on a self-congratulation mission that he and only he understands the urgency of change in Eritrea, his fixation with how De.M.H.T. was wronged is a puzzle.

5. There was nothing mischievous about the menqesaqesi/mewesawesi distinction: it is called reporting.As part of our due diligence, we asked: how do you know they are from De.M.H.T.? Were they wearing different uniforms from those used by EDF? No.So how do you know? By their accents and the confessions of an injured De.M.H.T. member.

6. We do not buy into the “Isaias is a Tigrayan” conspiracy.That’s not his motivation here: we believe that there is a low-key civil disobedience within the agelglot and Isaias, like all tyrants, looks for the people who will not be conflicted when executing an order. Recall that in 2001 when Isaias wanted to beat the mothers of the protesting University of Asmara students, he dispatched Eritreans from the lowlands—visible by appearance and language. 

7.  The “gffa” was the injury—an injury that has been going on for years, and something has reported on for years—something that every Eritrean opposition website has reported on so the sanctimony about, “look, I am the only one who is protesting the very idea of gffa notwithstanding who the agent is!” is self-serving and disingenuous. The novelty here was the agents of enforcement. The foreign agents were the insult.It was an insult on top of an injuryand the insult happens to catch the attention of SEMG.Total insensitivity to this insult means only two things (a) one does not see them as foreigners (never mind that minor detail about 1991 and 1993) and has actually gone on record (at Debrezeit) giving a speech asking Eritreans to “pressure” Ethiopia to do more with respect to regime change or (b) one has no understanding of the long list of virtues celebrated by Eritreans, on top of which would be honor and dignity.To such a person, these words are useless, empty words like a beggar choosing.

8. This has nothing to do with them being from Tigray or their accents; it has to do with the fact that they are foreigners.Not Eritreans.Isaias Afwerki takes particular joy in humiliating Eritreans: refer to Dafla’s interview on the General Manager of Eritrean Airlines was told that, henceforth, two of his commissioned travel agents from Pakistan would be in charge and he can either report to them or be a titular head. He was rightfully outraged: does that make him a hater of Pakistanis? Trying to place a wedge between Eritrea and Pakistan? Refer also to Isaias Afwerki telling students in South Africa that, for all he cares, they don’t have to return to Eritrea, they are disposable and he can get their replacement from India and the Philippines. The Eritrean students were outraged and insulted, rightfully so. When we reported that, were we trying to place a wedge between Eritrea, Philippines and Pakistan?

9. If the ones doing the roundup were from Sudan and they were using Arabic words to give orders, hell, yes, we would report it (as one more example of Isaias’s contempt for the people of Eritrea) and hell, yes, Yosief Gebrehiwet would have written a long article in opposition (Suggested title: Arabists in Eritrea: The Chickens Have Come Home To Roost, Part 1 of 10) and his rabid fans would have written scathing attacks on Arabs and Muslims.

10. The Kebesa/MetaHit thread is a dead-end.And here’s why.Almost all of the victims of Lampedusa were from Kebesa.True.Now, once you have embarked on that road, there is no coming back: somebody will dig deeper: almost all of the victims were from Akele Guzay.Dig more.Almost all were from Adi Keyh.Then what?Does the title of the article change to the suicide of Akele Guzay?The Homicide of Akele Guzay? Painting awate as a Jebha/Islamist is a dead-end. Here’s why: it is the most diverse Eritrean website. Period.

There is something going here; it is the same old something. I have never heard Tigrayans insulting Eritreans because they dared to be an independent State. Tigrayans, under the leadership of the TPLF, were the first Ethiopians to support Eritrea’s cause for independence and they made more compelling reasons for why it is a just cause that even some Eritreans made.They held to that principle min al bidaya li’nehaya.  They never wavered.

All the critics of Eritrea are those who lost the argument in 1991.They are the King’s Men. Like the King’s Men (loyalists) during America’s Revolutionary War (which, gasp, used conscripts and double gasp, used “revolutionary justice” on the loyalists) they were loyal to a foreign king: Haile Selasse I, whose rule they equate with Eritrea’s golden years (never mind those nuisances in Ona, etc BECAUSE SIMILAR CRIMES HAPPENED IN ETHIOPIA TOO.) America’s King’s Men thought their countrymen were rash, impulsive and disloyal. So did our king’s men: just a bunch of clueless bandits shooting their guns aimlessly. The American King’s Men were shocked that their countrymen were turning their back on Mother England and getting help from an assortment of misfits like the French, Dutch, Spanish and others who don’t even have the decency to speak English. Our King’s Men just can’t get over the fact that we turned our backs on them. Just like the American King’s Men, our King’s Men lost the argument. Well, America’s King’s Men fought for their cause when it mattered; ours just want to fantasize about an imaginary time machine. Now, when the country is down, they think they have gotten second wind.But they have not.It is only because of their echo chamber that they think they have.

The second piece of Yoseif Ghebrehiwet, the satire, was quite good.I give it a B+.The things that work is that it follows the formula of a good satire: take a point to its extreme logical end; pierce people you consider are pompous or sanctimonious;create convenient caricatures ( = ELF, Arabists, Islamist, Habesha-haters).Why it is not an A: title (unless it is a reference to a literal piece I don’t know); its length (in the time it takes one to read a YG article, knnqesaqes wela knwesawes teHarimna) and, the biggest one: a satire must be focused on a big issue everybody is talking about.The mewesawesi menqesaqesi was a one-day story; it didn’t even make it to the follow-up Gedab News: it is huge only in the minds of those who think that the use of those words is more insulting to Habesha unity than the fact that foreigners are enforcers of Eritrean homicide.

Now, as a sign of goodwill, here’s my present to Yosief Gebrehiwet and all the King’s Men from Wedi Tikabo. It is a long one…but then YG is used to that. See, that’s one thing they both have in common: they are long story tellers.




About Salyounis

Saleh Younis (SAAY) has been writing about Eritrea since 1994 when he published "Eritrean Exponent", a quarterly print journal. His writing has been published in several media outlets including Dehai, Eritrean Studies Review, Visafric, Asmarino and, of course, Awate where his column has appeared since the launch of the website in 2000. Focusing on political, economic, educational policies, he approaches his writing from the perspective of the individual citizens' civil liberties and how collectivist governments and overbearing organizations trample all over it in pursuit of their interests. SAAY is the president and CEO of a college with a focus in sound arts and video games and his writing often veers to music critique. He has an MBA from Golden Gate University and a BA from St Mary's College.

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  • Nitricc

    I don’t get all the conformists are out in droves.
    When car is made, it takes engeeners, mechanics, leberers, you get the idea what is involved to make thar car to be the end product, I get that car from the manufacturer and if I drove it with oil and the engine is lacked, should I blame the engeeners, mechanics, leberers and every one who involved to make that car to be the end product?
    Did you see how Serray’s analysis is flawed?
    There is no justification for YG to trash the entire Gedli as there is no justification for me to blame the entire workers who produced the car.
    But who wants to think, to conform is much convenient right Ermias?

    • Dave

      Selam Nittric,
      The car example you brough up to disprove YG’s argument doesnt hold water. Your example could have made sence should YG’s claim were: the revolution came up with fine values to live with but we didn’t know how to apply them after independence. YG claim , however, is that the ills afflicting the nation are made and assembled in the company know as Sahel. He is attacking the very manufacturer of the “values”: the revolution .He is blaming the manufacurer for making us live with “values” that are alien and unworkable. The following fact seems to support YG’ argument: this year the car company Toyota recalled 885,000 defected cars and took full responsibility, and so should the revolution.

  • Kaddis

    Saay : “These are the results of the 2010 Tigray Regional State elections: of the 152 seats, TPLF won all all the 152 seats.”

    Just so you know – Kinijit, an opposition in 2005 election, won 167 of the 168 of Addis Ababa council. The one seat which went to EPRDF was due to non-appearance of the Kinijit representative. So – sometimes the result does not necessarily show the process. Why its democratic when all is won by the opposition and fake when by the ruling party. I am not saying the oppositions are not being intimidated on every step – they are.

    Saay, your observation of Eth politics kind of reflect your stand on how the Eritrean opposition should pursue their political strategy and accepted by Eritreans. I see the same sentiment with the Ethiopian opposition – they believe the opposition should get recognition and position no matter what. That’s why you and AT spend very little time to argue post- Isaias Eritrea, ideologies, economic policies …– except referring to Liberal democracy once in a while. Never took the time to explain what it means to Eritrea. Those you refer as a silent group – who fears post IA violence – want to hear feasible but consistent political paths from you.

    We are doomed again with a new fanatic Blue party opposition here in Addis, the leader just announced he would close the Saudi Embassy, deport Saudi Investors from Eth, stop all international flights and commit to bring Eth nationals from Saudi if he was the PM; knowing (or not) Ethiopian Airlines is making 12 flights a day squeezing other flights and facing delays. Source on demand

    Will you accuse EPRDF if they win all seats in 2015? I won’t.

    • saay

      Hey Kaddis:

      Yeah I knew about Kinjits outcome… And the post Kinjit victory EPRDF pledge that they would not let that happen again because we have learned from our mistake. In one-party-state lingo that means, “we will rig the system so tightly there is no chance that will ever happen again.” What were the results in 2010? 🙂

      I chose Tigray Regional State as an example only because the subject was DeMHT and I was expressing my agnosticism of whether their decision to raise arms is justified or not.

      Your criticism about AT (and all opposition for that matter)slow-footedness in making specific arguments about how the economic, social, political policy of Eritrea should change is appreciated. But when the strategy is to advance a broad-based opposition, making specific recommendations will fracture the much-fractured opposition. But then how more fractured can it be: I think it’s time to do it.

      The Blue Party… How the unmighty have fallen: weren’t they just being complimented for being a responsible opposition party because they had a peaceful, state licensed demonstration? Ah, you are doing that thing supporters of incumbent parties do: “it’s good for my country to have serious opposition party, entay mo, the ones we have are not serious. So, sigh, the incumbent party just has to continue on monopolizing power.” Here in the US, the party that wins three elections in a row, goes into rubbing that “why are you so extreme” in the face of the losing party.


  • BerheTensea

    Thank you very much about Wedi Tukabo the special special singer, and the very intelligent person Yosief Ghebrehiwet.

  • Serray

    Selamat Sal,

    Based on your last response, I thought it helps to enlarge the contrast between you and yg.

    One of the things that makes your take and yg’s take seemingly irreconcilable is the way you mostly focus on what it took to be a nation and him, on how terrible the final product, eritrea, is. He works his way back pivoting from present day eritrea and you are faithful to its humble beginnings. He looks at eritrea and feels cheated; you look at it and marvel at the courage it took to be a nation. Your view doesn’t allow you to dismiss the product because, for you, the sacrifice IS the story; for yg, the product is the story. This crucial difference on how you look at eritrea allows each one of you to dig deep.

    Working his way back, yg either dismisses the cause as a colonial mindset or agrees with the ethiopian theme that the struggle for independence was the work of pan-arabists. Your outraged response is, he is a neo-andnet. You use his habesha centric recounting of our past and our shared culture and history with ethiopia as proof that he is arguing for unity. To counter his colonial mindset or pan-arabism origin of the struggle, you make ona, omhajer and the many atrocities committed by the ethiopians the cause of the struggle. The truth is, they are not; they are the effect. In fact, Haileslasie’s unilateral annexation is the REAL cause of the armed struggle and the real reason why those who started the struggle went seeking arab help to launch the fight. If HS didn’t abrogate the federation, the arab agenda will still be there (nile and weakening ethiopia) but it would’t find eritrean buyers because the condition to launch the armed struggle does not exist. Yg’s unforgivable sin is, instead of ceding this point, he makes a poor connection between colonial mentality of asmarinos (kebesains who were overwhelmingly for unity, by the way) and the religion of the founders to forcefully fit a reason and a colonial mindset or pan-arabism origins for the struggle.

    You also a have point about yg’s flimsy record on writing about the atrocities committed by HS and dergi soldiers. Granted it weakens his argument that the struggle was based on colonial mentality and is arab propped but pretending it didn’t exist is similar to the pfdjs’ pretending that shaebia’s brutality after badme is justified for security reasons. Afagn were not some fearless soldiers fighting jebha and shaebai in the battlefields, they were armed thugs terrorizing civilians in cities; they were the reason most asmarinos fled to medda, You can’t win an argument by omission. Yg goes farther, he manufactures some weird theory about asmarinos to hide the fact that 99.99 percent of them went to medda after the afagn showed up. He would rather omit a historical fact and manufacture a fake rational to insulate his “colonial mentality and pan-arab” theory in tact than state a fact. His factoring out the role of ethiopian rulers, the deafening silence on the atrocities they committed, is one good reason people suspect him of hidden ethiopian agenda. You can’t ignore your neighbor hitting your family to make a point that a family member is a brute; that is pfdjism in reverse.

    Sal, you too gloss over the atrocities committed in medda by tegadelti to keep your “ghedli is largely a force for good” theory in tact. The “isaias changed” theory of yours is a convenient copout to avoid looking at the genesis of why shaebia, not just isaias, is unbelievably brutal. The notion that Shaebia in darkness (in medda) was better than shaebia in daylight is a very difficult premise to swallow. It is impossible for one thing to be the opposite of itself. Twenty two years is a long, long, long, time for “the forces of good” to show up in force if they ever existed. The reason that most tegadlti are either silently suffering, silently enjoying the loot or actively enforcing the regime’s inhuman policy is a testament to what they were before they get to asmera. Yg’s take of ghedli’s reality (not how it came about or the purpose behind its birth) is way closer to the truth than you give him credit for. If he confined himself to analyzing gheli, to peeling it, instead of diverting himself with identity politics and his one sided rationalization of its origin, by now he might have answered the big question why.

    In my humble opinion, your fights are mostly on what you two omit. Your omissions takes the form of “the excess will be accounted for in free and just eritrea”. Since the subject being evaluated is ghedli itself, suspending its defects for later while passing a judgement of its “force for good” nature today flies in the face of logic. Yg’s omission of ethiopian rulers role in forcing eritreans (who voted for federation a short while ago) to medda and replacing this omission with an ultimately false rational is insane. If haileslasie never claimed us, there won’t be any shaebia today. His romanticizing our habesha identity while ignoring what our habesha kins did to many parts of the country to turn against them during their thirty years brutal rule is tantamount to judging shaebia after independence while ignoring the last 14 years.

    Finally, Sal, I give you credit for one more thing, you went to asmarino to challenge him when he wrote the naming piece, he never came here to challenge you. Yg, how about it?

    • SA

      Excellent analysis Serray!

    • Beyan Negash

      My good Lord! With this kind of penetrating analysis, I know Eritrea will be in good hands once all is said and done. Serray, absolutely mesmerizing analysis. Thank you for such a wonderful Thanksgiving treat – who needs the Turkey or the pumpkin pie that comes after it.


    • Sabri

      Excellent point Serray. While you are waiting answer from Sal I would like to ask you one question. You allude Shaebia must have been brutal right from the beginning. Its brutality doesn’t start after independence. As you may know, there are people who see EPLF and PFDJ differently. In their eyes EPLF represents all the good merits of the ghedli while PFDJ represents the opposite. I personally don’t belivie EPLF and PFDJ are one and the same. The only difference is the name. However, I don’t belivie EPLF is entirely brutal. There has been always genuine tegadelti both during the time of struggle and now.

      I would like to hear how you see this issue within the context of YG’s and Sal’s argument.

    • Ermias

      Oh my! I have great admiration for saay and his writing never fails to move me but this statement below is by far the very best I have ever read or heard with respect to shaebia’s past and present.

      “The notion that Shaebia in darkness (in medda) was better than shaebia in daylight is a very difficult premise to swallow. It is impossible for one thing to be the opposite of itself. Twenty two years is a long, long, long, time for “the forces of good” to show up in force if they ever existed. The reason that most tegadlti are either silently suffering, silently enjoying the loot or actively enforcing the regime’s inhuman policy is a testament to what they were before they get to asmera.”

    • Selam Serray,

      This is the best argument against the two sharp mind, showing them where they omit facts to win argument. Well done …well done. Setting facts in prospect will eventually settle the argument….so will to this endless debate. Thank you.

    • Semrere Andom

      Wonderful!. Now, my article in the phase of gestation and titled “dissecting SAAY and YG” will not add value.
      Excellent Serray.

    • santos


      Your analysis is by far the greatest and interesting that I have read so far. You have a good understanding of both writers and have clearly stated their issues. However, your points were lost in your, I would like to guess as unconsciously, effort and need to be a balanced and fair analyst/observer/commentator. We all should be for obvious reason. The problem with your analysis, which I loved and re-read, is that you, again in an effort to be an honest arbitrator, manufactured omissions to both sides where there are no.
      In my opinion, You got close to hit the nail in the head and then missed it when you said: “One of the things that makes your take and yg’s take seemingly irreconcilable…”. It is not seeming. Their positions are, in fact, irreconcilable. If one is valid, the other will find itself in a grave. Here are summaries of their thesis.
      Saleh: The Eritrean armed struggle was necessary, just, admirable and productive as Eritrea is independent. The current problem is caused by a sudden jolt caused by a greedy person called Issias and some misgivings during Ghedli. After Issias, golden Eritrea is ahead of us. Problems during the armed struggle and now doesn’t show the foundation and the means on the basis of which the nation was founded and liberated is flowed. Eritreans fought for Eritrea, therefore, reinforce that ideal despite past historical and cultural relations. Events in 1985-1890, 1990, 1961 has completed changed the situation and whatever existed before is irrelevant. Eritrea is the creation of historical events and so are all others.

      YG: Embarking upon liberating Eritrea and making it an independent nation is where the madness started and all the problems that had, is and for sure will unfold are rooted. What Gedli is flowed because what it did is to create a new identity called Eritrea by picking up colonial aspirations where colonialists left it. He argues that the hell started when the habeshas highlanders who are habesha like Ethiopia were pulled by ghedli to fight along the lowlands who have a different psychology due to their religion and identity to come up with a new. According to YG, highland Eritreans fought against their identity along lowlanders to whom the fight and divorce is in their best interest. For YG, the highlanders are the fools and the lowlanders are right on target to where they wanted to get to. Eritrea was not meant to be a nation and if the highlanders were smart enough there would not have been a country called Eritrea today. Now we have all the problems and will continue to have a perpetual problem because Eritrea is a flow.

      In my observation, there are no omissions on either side . YG doesn’t care about isolated battles and atrocities that occurred during the armed struggle because he thinks everything that happened is the result of the flaw of the idea of independent. His only burden is to show this problem will continue after Issias.

      In fact their position is so opposite and cancel each other, the debate has overflown to their personalities. The fact that both have started analyzing their personal motives for their positions has affected their readers as well. Saleh has more burden in this debate as he has to get ears of the highlanders and Christian and walk a fine line so that he cannot step into other emotional factors and has a personality that can enable him. YG is scrupulous, rigid and stiff in his approach and analysis. He knows he is arguing a point that is less popular but seem to be confident on the validity. He hopes through time people will open up. He doesn’t care much about reactions his writing are causing. Saleh, however, is flexible, engaging, monitoring and deliberately snobbish to frustrate critics.

      Fun, challenging and engaging to read them. This is maybe the single most crucial debate that can define the future.

    • amde

      Hi Serray,

      Thank you for a great analysis. It is a great example of how two people can go through the same event and experience it differently. Very well put.

    • Serray

      Thanks everyone,

      My intention was to close the gap by contrasting and making sense of their differences.


      It is true that there might be an unconscious need on my part to bring a balance but if we follow your yg’s position to its logical conclusion, he wants to partition eritrea and give the highland to ethiopia and the hell with the rest. I simply can not believe he is that callous. I think, I hope, his intention is to end the culture of sacrifice ghedli brought from medda by showing us 1) the true source of our misery and 2) to water down the hold ghedli has on us in case it resisted or reproduced. I like to believe yg writes with a solution in mind rather than to simply tell the highlanders how stupid we are.


      I have an organizational view of shaebia. In 1991, shaebia’s mission changed but the people who made shaebia shaebia are the same people who occupy, not most, but every single position of power in eritrea. The leadership of shaebia and pfdj are mirror image of each other. In corporate lingo, the difference between shaebia and pfdj is the product mix. Meaning, the only things that changed about shaebia after 1991 are the ones made to meet the demands of ruling a country; otherwise pfdj inherited everything of shaebia: every penny, every equipment, every member; plus the its goals, ambitions and, most importantly its leadership and its ideology. Everything being equal, if pfdj lived up to its name (the party for justice and democracy); if it had ushered a democratic and just system, then would have entertained the idea of it being a different entity. The Woyanes are more honest, they never change their name name, they entered addis abebe as TPLF/EPRDF and they still are.

      No, I don’t think shaebia was brutal from the get go nor do I think every tegadalia shares its dark past. Actually, most of them are its victims. By the life choices we made, we the non tegadelti showed what kind of people we are. What makes the legacy of the rank and file tegadelti conflicting is, they went to medda to free eritrea or die trying, literally. Eritrea’s reality today contradicts their original goal so completely, so thoroughly, that I concluded their silence in the face of this unbelievable brutality is a learned response from medda. They learned to be quite when their comrades were singled out for punishment for the same flimsy reasons shaebia leaders punish in asmera; they learned to count their blessing for the meager leftovers they are given when their leaders set fire to the ideals. Let us not forget that in medda eritrea, two wars for two diametrically reasons were fought until one party was totally defeated and pushed out. So the learning to be quite and to obey orders without question started in medda.

      • Sabri


        I agree with most of your assessment. There are many people both in diaspora and in Eritrea who say Shaebia means Hizbi. Whatever horrible things done by the front interprets as a necessary measure for the sake of nation.

        Reg. your last statement “So the learning to be quite and to obey orders without question started in medda.” I wonder if it goes deeper than that. I mean if you see our history it is full of obeying orders without question. Perhaps, the ghedli culture exacerbated it?


    • Selam Serray,
      I have been bypassing your comments every time I read your name, thinking there wasn’t much for me to chew. To my amazement, you came up suddenly with a serious, thought-provoking observation. A heavyweight is born in the commentaries!

    • Diglel

      though your comment is more balanced than any so far, it also suffers from some neglect as you claim “… yg’s flimsy record on writing about the atrocities committed by HS and dergi soldiers…” but you never mention that Salah Yonus never ever mentions atrocities committed by his own old organization in Jebha, such as Sryet Addis, Giffa of peasants, Falul, the Kunama massacres, Qohain, Ubelites, the burning of Tigre language textbooks, treatment of women … etc.
      If young Eritreans of my generation who lost every opportunity under Ghedli are to judge, YG’s reasoning holds more water and is on the right track. The future is on YG’s side.
      Nevertheless, it is interesting debate to follow.

    • Fair point. You have well balanced the argument.

    • Kaddis

      Amazing read Serray – keep them coming

    • Hayat Adem

      If you ever find it exigent to call upon every ounce of your energy, it has to be for a chance to read guys like serray, yg, and sal.

      • Beyan Negash

        Dear Hayat,

        It is so good to see you gaining energy, one line at a time. I pray to Allah (God) to see those few lines turning into paragraphs, into essays, a measure of your wellness for your readers will be gauged by the paragraphs you produce. It is really helpful to see you drop us a line and keeping us abreast of how you are doing.

        Pleas be well soon. In my book, you belong right there with those virtual icons you mentioned, but of course, your well-being comes first – so please take good care of your self.


        • Hayat Adem

          Thank you. I am now able to do slow reading selectively. The temptation to be part of the debates is there. And I hope the ability is also coming. Thanks again.

    • Daniel Teclegiorgis

      መምህር ሰራይ!
      Well said. As you presented it, the essence of reality conveyed with clarity fine tunes the validity of focus in cases of recycling ambiguity.

    • saay

      Selamat Serray and y’all:

      Those surprised by the awesomeness of Serray have not been reading him. About the only time Serray surprised me (pleasant surprise) is that I once referred to a random episode in Family Guy (Stewie making fun of the dearly departed aspiring writer Brian the dog) and Serray jumped right in–abusing me of my image of him as a curmudgeon. More surprising than Serray is the very quiet Santos whose insight made me so proud of the University of Awate (accreditation pending.) Now that Serray has surprised some of you, I want you to pay attention to your next treat (or threat), someone you may have been underestimating: Meron. Because he is not on our side, that is a scary talent. Hailat: እቲ ሰመናዊ ግንባር ናባኻ ሓዲገዮ ኣለኹ፥ ስርሒት ደርዐም ጀምሮ::

      Now to my omissions.

      I omitted to say that when I was 13 I saw 36 Eritreans in their 20s gunned down in Mai Chihot (gunned down by Derg.) I also omitted to mention that I saw 4 Eritreans shot in their car, outside a bar, in our neighborhood. I also omitted to mention that my cousins from Keren told me all about what they saw in Ona when I was 9. I omitted to mention that when I was 13 I spent most of my evenings figuring out an escape plan in case the Derg came knocking on our door–to escape, although I had nothing wrong. I omitted to mention that when I was 18 my best friend who had enlisted in the EPLF three years earlier and had abandoned the Front (that’s what we called it: Gnbar) told me horror stories about the Front. And, as I keep insisting, my story is the story of the average Eritrean–I am average in every way, except for my looks which have been described as “less than average Ethiopian history teacher” in these pages 🙂

      The ELF and EPLF did terrible things. And everybody, but mostly those who were part of these two organizations, knew that. (My theory about the 3 degrees of separation holds here too: thus, the average Eritrean knew this.) My argument has never been to deny that the awful things happened, but to put it in context. My difference with YG is not me denying the unspeakable cruelty and he asserting them. Our difference is in the cause we attribute to (a) the cruelty of Ghedli and (b) its role in Independent Eritrea

      Cruelty of Ghedli

      YG: Terrible, dreadful things happened in the Eritrean field and this is because we denied our Habesha identity and adopted a Ghedli/pan Arabist identity.
      SAAY: Terrible, dreadful things happened in the Eritrean field because unspeakable cruelty is part and parcel of the ethos of all communist liberation fronts.

      To support our arguments, we have burdens.

      YG has the burden of showing that those who faithfully guard their Habesha identity are incapable of being cruel (Good luck with that) And he has to show a case of a communist liberation front that did not engage in routine barbarity (goooood luck with that.) Unable to do this, he focuses on how dreadful the Ghedli truly was, while romancing Habeshaness.

      saay has the burden of showing that Habesha identity does not shield one from cruelty. This is where I get in trouble chronicling Habesha cruelty: I consider what I am doing criticism of my culture; the self-anointed guardians of Habesha consider it provocation and aggression. (I haven’t even gotten to the story of Abyssinian pearl-diving as narrated by, I think, Dr. Jordan Ghebremedhin.) In fact, I consider Isaias Afwerki himself a throwback of the Habesha kings. I also have the burden of proof of showing that every single communist liberation front was just as awful if not worse than us. Easy enough: this is why I write often about Mao, I have written even about Winnie Mandela’s “necklacing.” I could literally not finish the biography of the monster who came to be known as Pol Pot. I was just reading what Ho Chi Minh’s government used to do during its “land reform” campaign: step 1 randomly decide that 10% of Vietnamese are landlords; step 2 kill them in any way you think is efficient including burying them alive.

      Was Independent Eritrea Destined To Be A Dictatorship?

      I must say I was struck by your and Santos description of YG’s view: he looks at Eritrea, the result, and sees one that was the inevitable (and only possible) outcome of Ghedli. One word jumped out: Existentialism. Determinism. Existentialism is determinism without the grace of God, which is probably why yg’s view of Eritrea leaves me so cold. I was struck with a worldview expressed by John Irving* in “The World According To Garp” and he (his character) says that the world makes sense only when you play it back. A whole bunch of random events, and at your death bed, you look back on your life and it is all connected and makes perfect sense. Thus, Eritrea 2013 makes sense when you connect it back to Nakfa, Barka.

      My view is that the Eritrea of 2013 was NOT the only and inevitable outcome of Ghedli. This is different from saying “Isaias has changed.” (That was the late General Oqbe Abraha’s view: he wrote our mad king a letter saying that, and he got back 101 questions: how? who says this? etc) I am saying Isaias broke all the promises his organization and, he, as its Secretary General, repeatedly gave about what kind of country Eritrea would be: pluralistic and democratic. It is saying Isaias even broke all the promises the PFDJ gave about what kind of country Eritrea would be. You look at EPLF/PFDJ from an organizational perspective. Ok, so do I. Organizations are in a state of tension between the equivalent of the board of directors and the executive. Over a long period of time, with the full co-operation of the board AND, this is critical, with the full co-operation of the Eritrean people, the power of the board was reduced to nothing and the power of the executive became unrestricted. This is not necessarily a bad thing: Steve Jobs was able to do wonders with Apple because the balance of power was heavily tilted in his favor. There were many who believed that his board (central committee) were weak obstacles because Hangwiruom iyu Asmera atyu. In our case, though, it didn’t work out because Isaias Afwerki does not know the first thing about statecraft. And, slowly, I have come to the conclusion that this is because he is not sane:

      Dafla (former general manager of Eritrean Airlines) narrates the story of how he met with Isaias to ask for funding. Isaias says, sure, you will get your funding but make sure you don’t ask in your budget for just 2 planes, ask for 3 or 4. The next day, Isaias tells Hagos Kisha (who sits on the board of Eritrean Airlines) to frustrate the proposal to acquire additional planes and, by the way, these two commissioned Pakistani agents are your new bosses. Dafla asks the question: “what would I have done if he had told me, ‘no’? Who am I? I would have done nothing.”

      I think I should stop here. YG and I disagree on the cause of Ghedli’s cruelty and we also disagree that the fate of Eritrea was determined by Ghedli. It is the supporting evidence we try to give that sometimes makes readers uncomfortable.


      Did I tell you that John Irving is a facebook friend and he *wrote me*! That’s what I would be doing full time–dreaming of writing, living in the writers community, attending creative writing classes forever if you Eritreans would just straighten up your act:) I am giving you until 2015 to get it done.

      • haile

        Selamat saay

        Naw semenawi ginbar si ajokha, N’Meron ab adu’n hamed etibtun dewile keraKbo’ye ms sebu. HGDEF zbla’e s’Ena kebti t’rasi kemzela ayfeleTen alo 🙂

        Serray’s multipronged counter argument to you and YG by comparing presumed weaknesses of your respective arguments was an impressive debating skill on serray’s part. I kind of share your concern about Meron, he sure is playing law ball but I think he will never get us because it is risky to appear brainy in PFDJ land as that makes you a threat and get sidelined. So, worry not, Meron will be a spent bullet thanks to PFDJ, otherwise the day he decides to join the Truth, Justice and Dignity camp, I will auction off my “the great” title to any bidder, very unlikely I can be left alone the day Meron starts to speak the truth and be part of truth. Dehan y’Eto hgdef kerow abilo asirulna’lo 🙂



        Why did you put be in charge of semienawi ginbar anyway?? wuchu moytu diyu?

        Again, those who want to join PFDJ, “what grade school did you complete?” is the first question they are asked not “what is your name?” 🙂

      • Serray

        Selamat Everyone,

        First, hayat, I hope you are healing well and I hope you will join us soon; Awate is a much better place with you in it.

        Thanks Sal,

        Tihsho, tihsho, my brother.

        You are right, awate is becoming a nice school of ideas. There are in these pages lessons on how to implement a press freedom in free eritrea. I wish this thing is over by 2015, too, but if not, do you have to go to a literary camp to write the nove? ( About Family Guy, I don’t understand what the bastards were thinking when they kill Brain; what is the world coming to when a perfectly good dog is killed and replaced by some Italian mutt).

        Back to the issue, as I grew older, I come to appreciate even deeper the binary nature of science and math, right or wrong; a pure struggle to discover what is and what is not true.

        I split yg’s position into two to show the contradictory nature of both. First, the colonial mindset: the people most affected by italian colonialism were the highlanders and they are the ones who rejected independence and chose to be federated with ethiopia. The criticism by some ethiopians that we want to go our separate ways because we are proud of our colonial past is factually false. Even after the ethiopians went home to celebrate their adwa victory for sixty years, our habesha fathers still choose ethiopia, meaning, there is NO colonial mindset; how can there be when those most affected by colonialism, kebessa, chose ethiopia. It is their children, the ones who didn’t experience italian colonial rule, who when to medda en mass.

        Pan-arabism, well, the muslims who formed ELF and started the armed struggle never wanted to part be of ethiopia to begin with – a proud christian country ruled by a king who is ALSO head of its orthodox church. Can you blame them? They are not habesha, they don’t share the religion or the culture of the king. After accepting grudgingly the outcome of the federation, haileslasie broke a sacred promise, that was too much for them and even to many of our fathers. What they feared came true so the independence mindset was reborn. But we must also admit, there was always an arab agenda; egypt’s lifeline comes from ethiopia and instead of sharing abbay gratefully, these pricks have contempt for black africans and using one african against another appeals to them. Even today, as we saw themin that video discussing how to use us against the ethiopians, they still want to use us.

        But that was then and this is now. Thanks to yg, we now know that our nation houses heroes and villains in the same people. As much as guys like you and tegadelti tried to show us mostly the virtues of ghedli, the actions of our rulers, the silence of tegadelti and the fearless voices of people like yg, gave us the other side of the story. Equipped with both views, we are now less likely to be duped by people who use the blood of our loved ones to blackmail us into submission.

        Finally, given our solidified position on ghedli, I think it is time to move on to discussing our future in earnest. As much as we are conflicted about our past, our views on the future are no less conflicted and resolving them when there is still time will be way helpful.

        • Hayat Adem


    • Zhaile

      Hi Serray,

      An interesting take, Serray. Let me say right from the beginning I admire the way you express your ideas.
      YG position about Eritrean struggle as you, Serray, understood them: “… that the struggle for independence was the work of pan-arabists.”
      SAAY position as you understood it : “…, you make ona, omhajer and the many atrocities committed by the ethiopians the cause of the struggle…”
      Your position: “ The truth is, they are not; they are the effect. In fact, Haileslasie’s unilateral annexation is the REAL cause of the armed struggle and the real reason why those who started the struggle went seeking arab help to launch the fight. If HS didn’t abrogate the federation,…”
      I think some reflection is required about these three ideas. My understanding is that the sole reason the Eritrean struggle started, grew and eventually overwhelmed Ethiopia is because of the brutality of Hailesselassie and Mengistu’s regimes the rest is just secondary or inconsequential.

      Even after the annexation, had Hailesselassie maintained good governance some degree of autonomy economically, socially (languages, schools etc..) administratively, the Eritrean struggle could have withered away as Haggay Erlich (I am not sure if I spelled it right) states in his book about Eritrea.

      To my amazement YG never mentions the fact that ELF, Jebha, in some periods was overwhelmed by the youngsters that were pouring from the cities to join the fight against Ethiopia. In fact there were periods that Jebha was telling people to go back. They did not have enough Kalashin, food and dressing for everybody .

      YG conveniently tries to depict the Eritrean struggle as if it was only fed with giffa. This last point in light with what is going on now makes YG position very strong.

      In your answer to Santos you said:

      “It is true that there might be an unconscious need on my part to bring a balance but if we follow your yg’s position to its logical conclusion, he wants to partition eritrea and give the highland to ethiopia and the hell with the rest. I simply can not believe he is that callous..”

      This is the point Serray, YG is that “Callous” at least from his writing. That is why I hate his message. To your surprise the Old Andinet was comfortable with such idea. Amazing how history repeats itself. I it also clear that Ethiopian rulers do not care about Kebessa. They can do without them. Kebessa is just a means to get what they want. And what they want is the Red sea. And you know who is on the red sea side of Eritrea.

      If you strip your analysis of belief and trying to force (wish) a balance of contradictory ideas you will come to understand things as they are rather than as you wish them to be.

  • Elenta

    Trending: Eritrea’s ‘Bob Marley’ moment?

  • Godefay


    Irrespective of what Yosef G. said, there are some obvious factual errors in your Mewesawesi vs. menkesaksi argument:

    1. What does mewesawesi or menkesaksi mean in Tigray Tigrigna?
    a. Mewesawesi—n. 1) start-up money or seed money. Or money that helps make ends meet; ii) cause or reason for doing something. E.g.: let us go shopping mewesawesi Igri kekonena; iii) mewesewas, however, means to become inconsistent or fickle, or shifty in decisions.
    b. Menkesaksi—n. 1) permit or ID card. Menkesaksi is to move around. Menkeskas also means to get busy or take action. E.g. Tenkesakes do some something or try a new thing.

    Now, I have explained how we use the above two words in Tigray, it’s up to your readers to decide whether your DemHit vs. Menkesakesi story holds water.

    2. Correction, on point 2, you said that”… but 22 years after the overthrow of the Derg, the TPLF controls 100% of the government in Tigray and sends 100% of the representatives to the Federal parliament. That is 22 years of one-party statehood with no political space for any opponents”. WRONG. There are opposition groups in Tigray. Have you heard about Arena? Gebru and his former TPLF leaders debated, made speeches on rallies, raised money, and held town hall meetings and promised to resolve (militarily) the Ethio-Eritran impasse if they are elected. They did that in 2005 and 2010. Arena accuses EPRDF for making Ethiopia landlocked. The people of Tigray didn’t buy their agenda and the party didn’t win a seat. Mind you, I am not saying that the opposition groups are not facing problems, but there are opposition groups.

    3. Once again, there is no DemHit in Eritrea. DemHit exists in name only. The DemHit army EriTv talks about are Eritreans masquerading as Ethiopians. Most are fluent in Amharic or Tigray Tigrigna because they were born and raised in Ethiopia.

    4. I know you will not accept point three above, and let’s argument’s sake, let’s say there DemHit rebels. Let’s also be generous and put the number to 300 or even 5000 DemHit rebels living in Eritrea, the question now is, why would Isaiah and generals use this unknown group to undertake giffa. Are you telling us that Isaias and his entourage are protected by the 300 to 500 DemHit armed personnel? 500 DemHit rebels commanding around a demoralized 300,000 Eritrean soldiers, huh? Does that make sense? If that was the case, Isaias wouldn’t have lasted this long.

    5. The point is millions of Eritreans support Isaiah and his generals and they will support his government no matter what. Guess what, even the survivors of Lampadusa tragedy support Isaiah. Go to Shemelba, Tigray, and you will be astonished by the number of escapee Eritreans who support Wedi Afom. Even Wedi Tikabo, despite his apparent despise of shabia, doesn’t want to associate himself with the opposition groups. The fact is Kebesa Eritreans support Isaias Afeworki and his government. Why? Because the opposition has too many individuals with murky pasts within its leadership. Some of the leaders are alleged criminals who directly or indirectly murdered, tortured or detained political competitors in their own organizations or other political organization during the 30 years of armed struggle. Some want to introduce strict sharia law in the Eritrea they vision after Isaias. A scary scenario don’t you think?

    6. Yosef was right when he said that the majority of the victims of Isaias’s policy are Kebesa Eritreans. Kebesa Eritreans are enslaved in their own country, involuntary made leave their homeland, and forced to sell their body parts to the highest bidder. The perpetrators of the atrocities are many, but two stand out: 1) Isaias and his generals 2) merciless Arabs. Mind you Salih, if the new Eritrean refugees were Moslems, they wouldn’t have encountered the same problems Christian Eritreans are facing now in the Sudan, Egypt, and Libya. They would have been welcomed with open hearts and allowed to live, work and start a new family in the hosting countries. Proof: look at the millions of Sudanese Eritreans living in the Sudan (Kessella area). Sudanese Eritreans don’t face discrimination on the hands of Sudanese soldiers or civilians. Because they are Moslems and they are not subjugated to the killing, sexual abuse, body parts harvesting other non-Moslems face by those wanna be returnee Eritreans.

    7. Point 5 & 6 are the elephants in the room in the current political difficulties in Eritrea. Kebesa Eritreans, as much as they hate Isaias, are even wary of the opposition groups, whose past and current political agenda are, to say the least, murky.

    Thank you.
    Godefay, Ethiopian.

    • Nitricc

      “if the new Eritrean refugees were Moslems, they wouldn’t have encountered the same problems Christian Eritreans are facing now in the Sudan,”
      Godefay I know it is your culture to bend the truth but the Sudanese are Muslims and they provide you, you Christians with every assistance there is when you were fighting against the Derg.

      “22 years after the overthrow of the Derg, the TPLF controls 100% of the government in Tigray and sends 100% of the representatives to the Federal parliament. That is 22 years of one-party statehood with no political space for any opponents”. WRONG. There are opposition groups in Tigray”

      Absolutely true, if not why is it Seye Abraha, the extremist and hardliner Tigryan joined Medrek instead of Arena?
      That move alone will tell you every cheap tricks by the so called tigryans.
      Regarding the TPDM, I can understand why you deny it, since PIA beat you on your own game in creating opposition, I get it. PIA created a force to reckon with and for the last 15 years all you have to show is an obess and overweight Eritrean opposition. You wasted millions and look what you got, so I understand.

      The only thing I understand with you is the support PIA has. The main weakness of the toothless opposition is that they never admit the man has strong supporters. That is why year in year out you hear them saying PIA is collapsing, last stand, he’s gone, his days are number, etc.
      They never get it. I agree with you
      and I know why you tigryans love YG

    • Thomas

      Hi Godefay,

      From your writing, I sensed that you support/like your relative Afewerki Wedi Medhin (Hatineka or abaika medhin). If you don’t mind, could you please advice him to come back to his homeland Tigrai. When you do that, also advice Meron and Nutricc, his relatives, to join him there. We would really appreciate this.

      • Nitricc

        Thomas or is it Gebrezbiher? you are asmed of your name you came up with white name and you the nurve to call out any one? what a sub-human creature, get the %^$#@&* out of here

        [From moderator: Nitricc, you know better. Help us keep this forum clean.]

        • Thomas


          I have told several times. Thomas is my real name. You have never been to Asmara or I assume you were born and grew up in a small village without any exposure to the rest of the country. Again, There are too many Eritreans with the name Thomas. The name comes from the bible the same as Samuel, Daniel, Rufael (might be spelled different), Nathaneal (Nathan), Metthew (Matyos), Jared (Yared), David(Dawit) etc.. Men! Are we really spending time with your kind of people!! Awate Team are really patient, J!

      • Hager

        [Moderator: Hager, Mussie, etc. You are banned. Stop posting. Please don’t provoke us more, we know you enough]

  • Anseba

    May God bless wedi tukabo for his poetic lyrics.

    And may God bless more to YG for challenging my generation and helping us free from the mental slavery of Ghedli. YG has pride in his own languages and identity, as many Habeshas, Afars, Farisis and Somalis do.

    • saay

      Selamat Godefay:

      Before I address your specific points, your “irrespective of what Yosef G said…” is not a good start and I will use it as a segue to address a point missing in this debate probably because people don’t read YG articles in their entirety.

      YG accused the awate team aka the “Pan-Arabists” aka the “anesthesiologists” (I didn’t get that one) of deepening and keeping alive the wedge among “the habeshas across the Mereb River, in general, and between the Tigrignas, in particular.”

      Since people can always use the “you are quoting me/him/her out of context!” argument, I quoted him extensively in my article and those of you who think you would like to read it for yourself can go here and refer to the paragraphs under “The Demhit Side Show.”

      Now that is some serious accusation. And all those who downplay it as “identity politics” or give character references about what a good guy he is either didn’t read the article or they have dismissed it as heat-of-the-moment hyperbole.

      To accuse the Awate Team of creating and deepening the wedge among Eritreans and Ethiopians is demagogic and cynical– at best. YG wrote what he wrote knowing that for most of its existence (13 years and counting), this website has been accused of being a “Weyane mouthpiece”, “paid Weyane agents” and a “Jihad mouthpiece.” The AT has been called Agame, Agame-lovers, etc. This comment section that you are reading is the only Eritrean one that I know of that automatically suspends/bans commenters who use language that demeans people on heritage. Most of the brunt of the accusations that this website is “pro Ethiopia” has fallen on my friend Saleh G Johar. Meanwhile, SGJ has many Ethiopian friends, and has participated and been recognized by the Eritrean-Ethiopian Foundation Forum in San Jose (which gave an award to Teddy Afro for his reconciliation efforts, which Saleh G J didn’t attend because, inside joke alert, he is such a bad driver 🙂 and he addressed them in 2011 where the gist of his talk was not only should there be friendship between Eritreans and Ethiopians, but there will be as soon as the regime is gone, and there is no need for friendship brokers.

      Knowing all this, and YG knows it because, like some of us, he obsessively follows Eritrean issues (and the clue is in his “Free Eri is not Semere Habtemariam”–only the obsessive Eritreans know that reference) why would he make that accusation: hinting that we are Islamists and Ethiopia-haters? The reason is simple: instead of moderating his extremist followers, he is letting them lead him. Those of us who have been writing for some time know that “Xaba ste!” fan mail includes some from haters and he has not been able to call out the nutcases, he is riding their wave. The evidence is that he started out as advocating the cause of the whole and he is going down the tunnel of pursuing the interest of its zealot part and applying its standard: making grave accusations without any substantiation. That, of course, is his right but he is going to be called out on it. And when he is, please don’t interpret it as “personal feud”: it is a debate and the most people are entitled to ask for is civility which debaters SHOULD accommodate.

      To your points, now:

      1. We stand by the story we wrote. Really, Asmara is a small city and, as I have said before, Eritreans’ degree of separation is at most 3 (everybody knows everybody with 3 connections) so those who have friends, families in Eritrea know this story to be true.

      2. These are the results of the 2010 Tigray Regional State elections: of the 152 seats, TPLF won all all the 152 seats. DeMHT or no DeMHT, I am a critic of EPRDFs idea of democracy as a federation of one-party-states. I hope that is not interpreted as me creating a “wedge”:

      3. There is an organization called De.M.H.T. in Eritrea that the Eritrean regime supporters call the largest guerrilla force in Africa. (They say it in Tigrinya so the Somalia Eritrean Monitoring Group doesn’t hear them 🙂 I do not know its make up: Eritreans, Tigrayans born and raised in Eritrea, Tigrayans from Tigray proper, other Ethiopians. But that is entirely irrelevant to our news report because whatever its make-up, it is entirely loyal to our mad king, more loyal than the EDF.

      4. You are overstating the size of EDF that would actually defend Isaias and understating the number of De.M.H.T. soldiers.

      5. Every dictator has a 99.9% support on the eve of his overthrow and Eritrea is no exception. Yes there are people who are worried of the instability that may come after the end of the Isaias regime, yes to many the Jihadists threat is real. All true.

      6. I agree completely, although you leave out Arabs who have had positive role in this. I don’t criticize YG, or anybody else, for reporting that. I am just saying don’t attribute ill-motives on me or awate not writing about that.

      7. I have no way of knowing that since no survey has been taken but my anecdotal information is that that sentiment (circa 1997) has evolved significantly. But it hasn’t reached the tipping point yet.


  • wed garza

    A bowed/bent and grown up tree would hardly be straightened, it will end that way.
    It seems the same for YG who constant lives on taboos and limited mind sets. Eritrea for him is one-sided, unitary in language and … the rest is residual for him.
    Very hard to condone his perceptual reality and factual empirical, given ABC of Eritreans and Eritreanism together.
    Until he fully understands that process, he will face difficulties to be taken him serious by “others” in Eritrea. So better he associates himself with menkasaksi and mewesawesi.

  • welde

    Hi Mr SAL,

    Am i correct in reading you that your heatered of the habesh and Ethiopia is so deep rooted you would rather see Eritrea become the playing field of the terrorists who are waiting on the demise of Esayas to poubnce like a fox on the land of Eritrea and its people.
    Do you think its better to work for the survival of Eritrea as a nation state or stuck on hating the very people who will streach their helping hand in time crisis.

    • saay

      Hi Welde:

      I can only copy/paste what Zaul wrote; I can’t do any better: “ንሕና ምእንቲ ዓረባዊት ኤርትራ ወይ ሓበሻዊት ኤርትራ ኣይኰንናን ተቓሊስና ፥ ምእንቲ ኤርትራዊት ኤርትራ ኢና ደምና ኣፍሲስና ። ኩሉ ዜጋኣ ብኽብረትን ውልቃዊ ሓርነትን ዝነብረላ ።”

      بالعربي: نحن لم نناضل من أجل أرتريا العربية او أرتريا الحبشية، بل من أجل أرتريا الأرترية التي يعيش فيها المواطن بكبرياء وحريته الشخصية مصانة.

      In English: “We didn’t struggle for an Arab Eritrea or Habesha Eritrea; we bled for an Eritrean Eritrea; [one where] every citizen resides with honor and liberty.”

      In Amharic: እኛ፥ ላረባዊት ወይንም ላበሻዊች ኤርትራ ኣልተጋደልንም፥ ለኤርትራዊት ኤርትራ ነው ደማችን ያፈሰስነው…


      PS: SG, amend this with Arabic, Tigre, German translations so the rest of the readers understand Zaul’s message.
      [PPS: SAAY, Arabic translation added. SGJ]
      [PPPS: SGJ, how about in Tigre? Don’t force me to bring my rusty Tigre on you:)]

      • Zaul


        Translate it to all 9 Eritrean languages :), this is the most diverse forum after all. Surely the speakers of the 7 other ERITREAN languages must be present here or is it enough with English only?

        • Zaul

          ለ ራድዮ ሰበራ መስለኒ ትም ቤላ 😉

          • saay


            መልህይና “ግእዝ ፎንት” ኣልቡኒ። እስክ ፈጅር እግልጸበሩቱ። ሓቆሃ ቢስሚላህ እንደብየልኮ “ሕና…” እግልእክተብቱ::


      • Ghezae Hagos

        That is a great quote. I like it..a lot.

        Ghezae Hagos

  • Ermias

    1. Who is main cause (if not the only) of all problems Eritreans are suffering from right now? Isaias Afwerki. (SAAY agrees, YG doesn’t)

    2. But who discovered the evil IA? Ghedli did. Ghedli cultivated him, pampered him, raised him, and allowed him to do anything he wishes. He is Eritrea. He brought independence to us single handedly while all the others were watching or even being obstructionists – not my statement but most Eritreans subscribe to this. Or was IA born a monster and he would have turned out as such no matter what?

    3. Was Ghedli inherently flawed (colonial aspirations as YG goes to great lengths to make the case)? I have my deep reservations about ghedli. I am not sure if I go as far as YG but all the problems we have now were already in motion during ghedli.

    4. Tegadelti for sure feel superior over the ghebars, even over Warsai (round 1 national servicers etc.) Most tegadelti (probably over 75%) served less than 10 years in mieda. The post independence generation has been at it for 22 years. The question is – why do tegadelti feel like they are better than the rest of us while most of them are uneducated mehaiman bjeka betri kal zeyfeltu?

    5. Was Eritrea better off (socially, economically, and politically) during the reign of Hailesselassie I? I wasn’t even born then but the cases of anti muslim raids and other atrocities in Asmara are well documented.

    6. YG probably likes Eritrea to be divided in two – lowlands to Sudan, highlands to Ethiopia. Would we be better off?

    7. What is the wish of an average Eritrean person? I, being just about average, would say that let IA go away and see what happens.

    8. DO we really have a pan-Arab or King’s Men problem in Eritrea? I would say not inside Eritrea. Perhaps within Diaspora Eritreans.

    • Nitricc

      Who is this miserable creature? why don’t you stick to your religion and church. Go pray for your next meal or what ever you do in that toothless church of yours.
      “I have my deep reservations about ghedli. I am not sure if I go as far as YG but all the problems we have now were already in motion during ghedli. “
      Really? I am going bite my tang. I have been behaving for a good time and I am trying to continue to try. But Ermias what have you accomplished in your life? Forget Gedli, you are not worthy enough to talk about Gedli, just tell us your accomplishment as Ermias?

      1. 4. Tegadelti for sure feel superior over the ghebars, even over Warsai (round 1 national servicers etc.) Most tegadelti (probably over 75%) served less than 10 years in mieda. The post independence generation has been at it for 22 years. The question is – why do tegadelti feel like they are better than the rest of us while most of them are uneducated mehaiman bjeka betri kal zeyfeltu?
      I got to go cool down and comeback

      • Ermias

        Nitricc (the entertainier) – calm down dude. That is my opinion and I am entitled to it. Why don’t you argue the points one by one instead of attacking me personally? I can debate you SGJ style if you engage me but almost always, you try to kill my character and never argue against my claims.

        Okay, one day, I claimed that “strictly speaking, my religion precludes me from listening to songs that worship idols – amlko ta’ot.” I would argue that it is universal around all religions. “Ane kena’e amlak eye…” yibl metshaf kidus.

        Anyway, let’s go back to the post on hand. Ghedli – it has done an incredible amount of damage to the psyche of Eritreans. The number one thing it did is to instill in people like you the false sense of ‘extreme pride’ of being Eritrean and self reliance. Even the US cannot completely rely on itself hence all the wars. Tegadelti vs Ghebar is another side effect of Ghedli. Tegadelti are extremely resented now because of their despise to the people they said they fought for. Maybe they fought for the people but now they are fighting against their own people. Unnecessary loss of human life – some argue that we didn’t have to pay that much human life and I believe it too. There was maddness in Shaebia’s war style as they didn’t value human life more than RPGs and Tanks. I have to agree with YG on at least one thing. Women should be cherished and celebrated but Ghedli has humiliated our women and made them suffer the consequences mortal combat. The deep mistrust with our neighbors was intensified by Ghedli. The list goes on.

        • Thomas

          Ermias — You have great point there. The truth always should come one. No more hiding. How come the used to be tegadelti are now silent? If they truly love their people, can’t they see what is going? Kab beal sire nab beal komishti telewitom!! Shame on those who chose silence over freedom and justice!!

    • Elihude

      Well said on 7 and 8 and correct too. I would have a slightly different angle about the rest.

    • Thomas

      It should not be about SAAY and YG, period! I am 100% both want change in their beloved nation. They must show tolerance between each other. They don’t have to like each other, but they must be ready to work towards one goal. I really think YG is not against the our lowlanders/the religion Islam and Saay needs to stop accusing YG of a unionist. Saay does not have any evidence to show that YG is aligned with the Ethiopian rulers. At least as an apposition to the barbaric regime in asmara, we must refrain from accusing or labeling anyone who is against the regime as a unionist, Islamist, theorist etc. We have to respect our differences and we must focus on removing the cancer to our society, that the regime in Eritrea. Look how many time is wasted among the commentaries on this blog. Is it worth to have such a huge debate on such? We don’t like the supporters call us “the weyane sell outs”. How about Saay calling YG the unionist? Trust me, after over 40 years of sacrifices, I cannot think any eritrean in his/her right mind to think of unification. Calling some a unionist is huge insult. That really is unacceptable by any standard. If Saay care more for the lowlanders and YG cares more for the highlanders then that all fine. Both can always reach a compromise… About the Demhit accent/tigrian accent defense on the YG side, I like to think of him trying to focus on DIA and his clicks and NOT on the Demhit/weyane etc. I think that is what the Issayas enjoy talking…. Our #1 focus as stated on this website and else where (such as assenna, asmarino websites) should be overthrowing the Issayas regime!! Awate Team are sourceful and they can be always one of the leading medium in making this happen.

      • saay

        Selamat Thomas:

        1. “Saay does not have any evidence to show that YG is aligned with the Ethiopian rulers.” Why would I need evidence to support an accusation I didn’t make? What I said is: in all his retrospective of Ghedli, he has not once mentioned the atrocities of the Ethiopian rulers. And with that piece missing, it makes it easier for him to paint the Ghedli initiators as “clueless” people with no agenda;

        2. “How about Saay calling YG the unionist?” I didn’t call him a unionist; I called him a Neo-unionist. The former fought for Eritrea remaining part of Ethiopia; the latter wishes that we had remained part of Ethiopia and never started the armed struggle. The common thread between the two is: both believe Eritrea’s rightful place was as a province of Ethiopia. YG is not arguing that Eritrea’s cause is just, but badly executed. He is saying there was no cause for Eritrea to strive to be an independent state and its struggle to be an independent state was executed badly. Do you have a better description than “neo-unionist” for this position?

        3. “Calling some a unionist is huge insult.” This is true only if there is absolutely no basis for it. But if one believes there was no reason for Eritreans to try to separate from Ethiopia, the intellectually honest description for this is a unionist. As I have said before, YG’s attitude on the Eritrea-Ethiopia divorce is a lot like the divorce who wishes his ex could take him back but is practical enough to know it is impossible. But on principle, he has no problem with it simply because he has repeatedly said that there was no justifiable cause for Eritreans to aim for independence. In all his assessment of Eritreans, Ethiopia is completely blameless in the divorce.

        I don’t know where people are getting the idea that YG and I don’t like each other. I blame the PFDJ for not giving Eritreans political pluralism because if it had, this is the kind of thing people debate all the time. You debate, you disagree, then you have a drink (whatever your poison) and you go home and do it all over again. Absent that political culture, people think that a political disagreement must, by definition, mean the two people in the dispute don’t like each other. This is not the case. I think I will suggest to him that, for year end, he writes my nahda column at awate (we will increase our bandwidth to accommodate 22 pages) and I will write his yg column in Asmarino (I will bring my beard and prayer beads and post it in Arabic, of course:)


        • Thomas

          Thank you for responding!! I know you have a very strong points and your care for your country outstanding. Thank you very much for that!! I don’t know why I was just disturbed because I just hated the regime supporters. I thought we in the opposition camp must focus on one thing. That is as SGJ put it “weed out PFDJ”. I am not a religious person and I don’t understand much about religions. I really don’t care to learn about religion as far as I am concerned religion is a private matter. Anyone can believe in anything, but anyone cannot advertise his/her religion because no religion is perfect and none of the beliefs can be proven scientifically or otherwise. I was born and grew up in asmara. I never knew religion is a big deal to some people. I had Muslim and christian friends. All my friends behaved like me and acted like me. There was no problem at all. I have never seen a conflict between muslim family and a christian family living in Eritrea. However, when I see people talking about highland and lowland divisions, it disturbs me a lot. That is why I am being emotional and may be writing none sense here. Let’s all stop this craziness and focus on the major issue that is affecting the entire nation and the lives of our citizens. There will be no country without her people. We are either getting killed, imprisoned or migrating to the North-South-East-West of the earth. We don’t have a nation where we can live peacefully. The PFDJ are ruining everything we have. Time is not on our side, lets act today and join hand in hand fight back and claim our freedom, rule of law and our basic human rights (the right to own/self, food and shelter).

  • Thomas

    It is not a question of identity, it is a question of being mislead for a long period of time. The regime as a component of Tegadelti has mislead or made lots of us to believe that we Eritreans are unique. We have the superpower as such all we have to do is to relax. According to DIA, we are a dignified people as such we cannot copy or react to other’s advice. All we are expected to do is take orders from tegadelti leaders as they are the once who liberated the nation. It is like advertising a product and telling people to buy that product or their life could get very difficult. That the product simplifies the life of humans. So, buy the product and your will be happy with it. This is how the PFDJ is surviving. First, they made us to believe anything they tell us. For example that we are a dignified and unique people. Thus, we are not expected to think outside the box.

    YG is just trying to educate those portion of our society who are bought onto the above statement, advertised primarily DIA for over 40 years. This the sole reason that we have this silent majority. They think they are superior and that the regime understands that better than anyone in the horizon. I see YG from this angle and he has been very effective in changing minds.

    • Thomas

      The Awate Team has constantly provoked YG as such the issue has become about the kebessa (highlanders) and the kolla (lowlanders). I strongly believe that the Awate Team has diverted YG’s attention from focusing on what he can effectively do, educating the superiority complex of us, the Eritreans. That the cause of this epidemic disease is the gedli era. Now we have liberated our nation, we need to revise the feed to us propaganda and know true selves.

      • Zaul

        ንሕና ምእንቲ ዓረባዊት ኤርትራ ወይ ሓበሻዊት ኤርትራ ኣይኰንናን ተቓሊስና ፥ ምእንቲ ኤርትራዊት ኤርትራ ኢና ደምና ኣፍሲስና ። ኩሉ ዜጋኣ ብኽብረትን ውልቃዊ ሓርነትን ዝነብረላ ።

      • Thomas

        please read,
        treating the superiority complex illness upon us, the eritreans

  • L.T

    When was that”Tegaru Eritrawiyan kikonu deliyom?”You could feel Eritrawi even you are from miles away.
    I like better Wel-Wel then Asfaha Weldemicheal,I know Hadish W.Gergis(nGeshu mn Ketele) was real Eritrawi then Teklai Teklemariam (Aden),It’s the greatest thing to have Mewsawesi(De.H.T)then Mekelkosi(?)
    Don’t worry the best powers for winning wars are to catching the killer.I held now the dead Yossief’s picture for extra energy.

  • ain’t nothing new

    It’s hard to read these articles and posts because these so-called opposition people go on and on about themselves. Who the heck cares about what anyone thinks about Eritrean politics, whether you consider yourself in the opposition camp or pro-government?

    I feel like everything that could possibly be said about Eritrean politics has already been said.

    There is really nothing new to say! Everything has been said!

    Eritrea is a small country with only a few million people and same, limited recurring issues. Everything that has to do with Eritrea has literally been said.

    Ain’t nothing new boys!

    • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

      ironically, what you just wrote have been said a million times, that didn’t prevent you from repeating it.

    • haile

      You will be surprised to know NOTHING has yet been said about Eritrea, EVERYTHING that needs to be said hasn’t even been touched in the tiniest fractional part. mistir alowo iti gobo 🙂 It is good that people are warming to talk, no good to play anti-climax 🙂

  • Zegerome,

    If it can help you to stop the baseless accusation, below is the link that I took charge to explain “The Evolvement of Eritrean nationalism and the nationhood of Eritrea in 2008. The concept of national identity and common experience using history, psychology and political ideology as factors in the making of a nation was explained. The other four articles which I couldn’t pull it from the old awate files is ” The perils of Ignoring the success of Ghedli” A response to Yosief ghebrehiwet in four parts. If this doesn’t help you nothing could help you.

  • Proud Habesha

    Salah is right on wedi Tukabo and well done.

    But, Salah is wrong on YG. The Salah generation is stuck in the 1960s and 1970s. As they say, it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. The old generation of the Ghedli era will never understand about the maturity of the young generation about themselves and Eritrea, Habesha included, long and proud history.
    On the Ghedli debate, ask the young generation, almost all agree Yosief Ghebrehiwet has won it hands down.

  • Haqi

    Dear awate staff
    Pls stop the imposter haqi who is using my name, pls check my IP address it’s not the same.

    I don’t watch blowout games, plus it was late in the east coast so I went to sleep but I was shocked to find out the pats won. The magic of Brady or should I say cheaters pats, I am still mad when they beat my eagles in the Super Bowl.

    On a different not, how come every one gives wedi tikabo a pass for betraying our generation? the jumped a sinking ship at the 11 hour. The man is an opportunist who served the satanic man for over a decade; How long does it take to decide between good and evil. I am glad he is on our side but as far as I am concerned he is lekbat

    You still haves soft heart for isaias and hgdef. I gave up on hgdef and isaias on sep 18 2001

    • rodab

      Haqu dea Haqi.
      What do you mean I have soft heart for Higdef & Isaias? Is it becuase of something I said or is it because it’s Monday and just for the heck of it?

      • Haqi

        Sorry rodab Hawey I misunderstood one of your post about African dictators. Call me shelden cooper, I missed an easy sarcasm kkkk

        • rodab

          Oh I see. Yeah I did mention African dictators earlier when Sal sent link about, and I said Isias would be too modest to go 🙂 He rather name it
          But it is true in some aspects other dictators are worse than PIA. Did you read a recent news piece about President Zuma using a whopping $30 something million of public money to renovate his residence? Did you know Angola’s 1st daughter is the richest person in the land thanks to oil revenue? I am sure you’ve heard Mugabe throwing official birthday parties every year. And of course you’ve heard dictators naming stadiums, ariports and other landmarks in their own names…Peace!

          • Haqi

            It’s disgusting, kemey Geru Africa kihalfela when most of the leaders are selfish, corrupt, greedy

          • Amanuel


            Comparing IA with Zuma is wrong . Zuma is democratically elected president. You can call him corrupt. I think Mugabe is better than IA. He allows opposition with restriction. They had power sharing with the opposition. As per Angola I have no idea. I have some friends they say it is very corrupt country but the economy is growing. So the government must be doing something right. I wish that IA was more like Mugabe and Zuma than what he is really.

  • Kebsessa

    I am a big fan of YG. He is one dude who can take on two Arabists without a sweat. Sometime he may take unnecessary detour, but overall I am grateful he is there to stand up for the Kebessa people.

    • rahwa

      I wish kebesa Christians heed YG warning. If they don’t, a few years from now, Christian women will be wearing hijab and the men will say welahi. Ask Egyptian Christians, they will tell you their story.

  • Serray

    Selamat Sal,

    On wedi tukabo, can one be neutral if he goes around the world fundraising for a group killing your nation? Can he also be neural when he stops doing that? Ah…patriots and romantics, what a bundle of contradictions.

    In his latest, yg made two crucial mistakes, not in his observation but in his assignment of responsibilities. I can tell the fight is taking a toll on both of you by the way you two exaggerate each others role. Awate team had nothing to do with the reaction to demhit’s rounding up of our youth. I don’t think the team has that much influence to generate that much noise. By picking on awate for the response, yg undermined his own argument. His fight with awate is also affecting his other, and in my view, important contribution to our thinking: isaias is not doing anybody’s bidding, pan-arab or otherwise; he is practicing the medda perfected routine now focused more on kebesa than metahit…but taht is just for now. It is worthwhile to remember that he started with metahit shortly after independence and continued until 2004 when he was pimping our nation to be a launching ground for global war on terrorism. Think about it, metahit was the land where eritrea’s war for independence was fought continuously and it was the first victim of its victory. Before he came up with woyane centric names for the opposition, isaias presented them to the west as islamic terrorists. There is no pan-arabism at work here; if george bush had decided to have a base in eritrea, things would have been completely different for the pan-arab agenda whatever it is; ethiopia, eritrea and israel might be having joint military exercise as we speak.

    Having said that, his victim identification exercise should have been directed not at awate but at the writers at awate a few years back….the highland/lowland Christian/Muslim crowd. Was Yg wrong when he tried to identify the ethnic identify of those who perished at lampedusa? If ahmed rajj was right in counting the ethnic identity of shaebia employees to draw a conclusion that the regime is ethnic, I don’t see why Yg could be more wrong when he draws a conclusion that the regime is targeting kebesa. Those in sudan since the sixties became refugees because jebha and shaebia turned their homes into battlefields. There is NO war in kebesa and yet the overwhelming majority of those who are refugees in Ethiopia, Sudan, Israel and those who are perishing in the sinai and the Mediterranean in the last decade are from kebesa. Why? Downplaying the identities of the victims by someone who gave credence to those who make the opposite argument that the highlanders are beneficiaries of an ethnic regime, is not fair. I think the silence or the downplaying by those who loitered this website with their blatant accusation that the regime definitely, 100 percent, benefits the highlander shows the complete lack of shared values. If one accuses the highlander because a couple of thousand benefited from a brutal system born and raised in medda, he should at least acknowledge that hundredth of thousands of its victims are also from the same region and religion. Unlike those who tried to guilt-trip the highlanders by association, acknowledging victims by region in this case doesn’t guilt-trip the lowlanders; it just proves wrong those who wanted to divide us by falsely branding the regime ethnic.

    Where yg fails, just like those who reached the bogus conclusion that the regime is ethnic, is that he concludes isaias is doing the bidding for the pan-arabists. No, isaias is not doing anybody’s bidding; he first divided the Christians and Muslims, highlanders and lowlanders, and now he is weakening, actually breaking the backbones, of the highlanders…the group that survived ghedli more or less intact. If he survived long enough, he will go round two on the lowlanders.

    Finally, talking about fans, both of you are attracting the unhealthy types. You have many pfdj and semi pfdj cheerleaders in this one single issue and his recent relentless association of isaias regime with pan-arabism is attracting people who care less about eritrea and eritreans. In other words, both of you are approaching a point of diminishing return in this slug fest. Ghedli is not as good as you make it out to be, I mean, the regime is from ghedli and look at the mess and is no arab agenda pulling strings behind the scene; it will do us a lot of good if we don’t scapegoat pan-arabism for a mess we all know is perpetuated by party led by a wedi kebesa and his mostly deki kebesa minions. Yg’s increasingly externalizing the problem to pan-arabs pushes our half (and attracts completely useless ones from ethiopia) just as much as the highland bad lowland good crowd ended up pushing the kebesa half. But I’d we get this thing out of our system in diaspora than carry it over to the nation.

    • Selam Serray,

      Quote: “Where yg fails, just like those who reached the bogus conclusion that the regime is ethnic, is that he concludes isaias is doing the bidding for the pan-arabists. No, isaias is not doing anybody’s bidding; he first divided the Christians and Muslims, highlanders and lowlanders, and now he is weakening, actually breaking the backbones, of the highlanders…the group that survived ghedli more or less intact. If he survived long enough, he will go round two on the lowlanders.”

      This is right on the mark. Well said. I remember the stones thrown at me when I wrote about the sinai human trafficking though all the stones thrown at me was futile.

    • saay

      selamat serray:

      I. Unhealthy Fans

      What a coincidence, speaking of attracting unhealthy fans, I wrote a troublemaker at FB the following:

      “If YG is trying to advance a post-Ghedli Eritrean identity, one thing that he might consider is reading the biography of William F Buckley. In the 1950s, Buckley’s new movement attracted all sorts of kooks including the John Birch Society and he purged them by attacking them directly. YG is fearless when attacking everybody except two groups: Ethiopian rulers (past and present) and the extremists who insult Islam (not Isalmist, Islamism, radical Islam.)

      Now, Serray, I consider hating a group of people for identities they inherited (racial, ethnic, religious) to be worse than people that have a different political ideology. Even then, I can disavow what Meron supports without disavowing Meron. In fact, most of what I write is condemning what Meron supports. Have you once read anything from YG that upsets or chastises what his fans believe and support?

      2. Ethnically Identifying Victims

      Remember, Serray, I am not criticizing yg for doing that. I am defending’s decision not to do that. I am saying the reason we didn’t publish it has nothing to do with the theories he is postulating. It is for the same reason that we wrote in the second Gedab News report on Gffa DemHit that the national security team were discussing how one ministry is overstaffed with people from a specific region without mentioning the region.

      3. Diminishing Returns

      Another FBer has written a piece entitled “YG Vs. SAAY – from Arch-nemesis to Arch-Enemies?” where he concludes with “They mercilessly must be lampooned, vilified and scoffed. What a waste! What a culture! PFDJ goons and their leader did nothing different.” Notwithstanding this pronouncement (oh, boy, I hope it won’t be a petition:) I think that the debate is worth having. If it is being done in a way that is turning off readers because it is too combative and too rigid, then it is a fair criticism and I will pay more attention to my tone. This gives me an opportunity to say this: I do not hold a personal grudge against YG; I consider him to be a great writer (if lacking an editor) and a serious thinker but one whose thinking must be challenged. I consider it a compliment that I rebut his arguments: 22 intellectuals wrote a petition and I had nothing to say about it because I don’t consider them or what they wrote serious:)


      • Hi Serray and Saay,

        So i happen to represent the whole camp of PFD – the 98% of the population (Hailat… your silent majority are included).

        As Saay said me and him do not see each other in may subjects. The only commonality we could have is on our respect to Eritrea’s Gedly. And that is the major differing point i have with that crab called YG. When it come to you serray i am 100% sure Issais is more predictable than you – simply you are full of bogus.

        I simply do not have immotional attachment with what ever side propagate about ethno-religious issues. Every time i go to Eritrea i get remined the Eritrean’s at home are by far advanced than the so called ‘educated’ diaspora Eritreans.

        My cyber world memory dies when i hear the songs of Cathedrale’s bells, ‘Ezane’ Mesgid JAmi’e, ‘Wazema’ Mariam Asmereyti, Mezmur Geza Kenisha, oh… i also see the synagogue which one time was serving around 500 Jews.

        No need to mention Keren… the most religious, heterogeneous and peaceful city.

        One thing i agree with Bogus serray is both and Asmarino are cheer leaders of the non-existent ‘Kebasa Metahit’ Politics.

        We are moved far to Port Sudan guys… come on move from your narrow safe heavens.


        • Serray

          Selamat Sal and meron,

          Sal, I am lucky enough to know (through my brother) a number of regime supporters. While it is true you are one of the most articulate and relentless critic of them and the regime they prop, they are finding a way to agree with you. Logic dictates that they are not coming your way; they can’t, the intersection point, your view on ghedli and yg, is attracting them. For the same reason you made the first point in your response, it is unfair to ask to reevaluate now….no unilateral disarmament, as you would put it.

          On identifying the victims, I respect awate’s decision. My comment was directed as those who not only raised the plight of one section of our society (correctly) but assigned blame on the other section (wrongly). This was an opportunity for them to show they care about all victims of the regime. Our commonality must mean something, eritrea must mean something. If we seek our separation solution, made scapegoat of each other, it is simply a matter of time before the fabric that hold us together falls apart. That was my point.


          When Google finish with their Google Glass, we need to ask you to wear one of those when you go to eritrea so that we can see for ourselves what you are seeing over there. According to your several eye witness accounts, it is a land of plenty at peace and enjoying unprecedented freedom. Even my pfdj brother grudgingly acknowledges it is a dark nation at a breaking point. You see, it makes sense for YOU to worship ghedli unconditionally and hate yg; he contradicts everything you pretend is true about Eritrea, just like sinai contradicts you, lampedusa contradicts you, israel concentration camps contradicts, ethiopian camps contradicts you, sudan contradicts you and the world contradicts you.

          Pity, I used to marvel about our people’s ability to live harmoniously, now you made me question that. You see, unlike Sal, I question every view we share. I would rather be wrong than agree with your kind. By the way, I didn’t get the point about isaias being more predictable that me..come on, that can’t be true. I might be always wrong in your non seeing eyes, but I am more predictable than someone who always does the inhuman, the stupid, the greedy, and the evil thing…oh I get your point, too tire to hit backspace.

          • saay

            Selamat Serray:

            Speaking of regime supporters, you say: “While it is true you are one of the most articulate and relentless critic of them and the regime they prop, they are finding a way to agree with you.Logic dictates that they are not coming your way; they can’t, the intersection point, your view on ghedli and yg, is attracting them.”

            Well, let’s consult our friend Logic, syllogisms, and see what it dictates: let’s draw three circles from these statements:

            1. Ghedli is perfect; all its so called excesses are wildly exaggerated or entirely necessary for a revolution; (regime supporter’s position)
            2. Ghedli was largely a force for good and all its excesses, and there were many, were going to be accounted for in a free and just Eritrea; (saay’s position)
            3. Ghedli was a monstrosity: it had not a single redeeming quality. (yg’s position)

            The overlap between 1 and 2 is larger than the overlap between 2 and 3. There is no overlap between 1 and 3. That is the case whether 2 is attacking 3 or leaving 3 alone.


          • Saay and Serray,

            And what is wrong if i agree with Saay on any point? As far as i know me or any other person can’t strength or weaken his argument. And any one has a right to agree or disagree with anyone’s view point no matter where he/she stand on the global matter of the national politics.

            Serray, i don’t like that google Glass. I want you to go there and observe things on your own eyes.


      • Dave

        I also read that face book comment that you mentioned : ” YG vs SAAL – from Arch-Nemesis to Arch-Enemis” , and the your respones to that is spot on. I haven’t yet seen any one of you throwing insults to one another or trying to undermine one onother. You both seem to adhere to: ” kill the message , not the messanger.” As far as I,the reader, is conserned SAAL and YG happen to have strong but opposite positions on how the Nation-state Eritrea came to be , and on its future trajectories .And we happen to be lucky readers to learn from the point of view , analysis ,and writing-style of two prolific Eritrean writers. PFDJ’s mantra ” one heart” is killing the nation, and adherence to ” one school of thought ” won’t do any good to the opposition . Our motto should be: Unity in Diversity !

      • zeykesene

        Selam Sal,
        It was me who wrote the piece ‘..Arch-nemesis and Enemies’ on FB. For whatever it is worth, in the statement you have quoted the ‘they’ refers not to you and YG but to the people whom either you or YG lampoon or vilify. It should have been written as “these people must, in yg’s and Saay’s articles, be scoffed, lampooned….simply because they adhere to either of the writer’s ideologies or narratives.’ i just felt like correcting it. Apology. In a different note, i will be crossing my fingers that you would keep your promise that you ‘would pay more attention to your tone.’Hope YG would do the same. cheers

  • haile

    Kbur Brother Beyan,

    Thank you for sharing that painful experience. I am too aware of the challenges in this regard. Again, the regime is normally irresponsible and I have some theories as to why such might happened to you guys then. The truth of the matter is however, the buck stops with us, the people of Eritrea. Be it Moslem or Christian in our ranks as citizens need to start confronting this hidden malaise. If was run by certain Semere and Solomon (two christian sals:) and did exactly the same as is doing now, that connotation of “Islamist” would never have been used. Bring the religious identity in, and you get both innocent and others manipulative usage of such bigotry. I suggest Hadnet 7.0 🙂 By that I mean that good people such as yourself would write full fledged articles that narrate such issues as the project you were involved in and how it gotten scuttled. evolutionary social transformation starts with self awareness and I believe that confronting such issues of fear mongering about sections of our society in Eritrea needs to be tackled head on. So, Hadnet 7.0 would be based on frank expose on how we act and expect vis a vis our diversity.

    For now, I will leave you with a recent poem from Yohannes Tkabo (uploaded few hours ago) and thanks again.
    ስለ ‘ታ ሪም እናርሃጸ እናዓመመ
    ከይጠለመ ምስ ተጠልመ
    መን ከይህሉ ኣብ ዓዲ – ሓግዩ ዝኸረመ ::
    ብምስክረይ – ዘሎ ኻልእ’ዩ ኣብ ዓዲ
    ሓደ ካብኡ ምድፋር ናይታ ዘውዲ ::
    ብምስክረይ – ብኤሪ መለላ
    ዝቕንዞን ዝሳቐን በቲ ምሽሙሽ ቁስላ
    ማዕረ’ቲ ናይ ዓዲ ሰብ ኣይተሳእነን ኣብ ወጻኢ
    ሰብሰብሲ ‘ኳ በዚሑ
    ልብን ሕልናን ‘ ዩ ውሒዱ ናይ ዉሽጢ ኣቑሑ ።

    ዮሃንስ ትካቦ

    • Beyan Negash

      merHaba Haile,

      Thank you. There was no discernible pain in that experienced, for friendships of a lifetime were forged with many Eritreans across the board, and that was a good thing. I mentioned only two in the realms of friendships that were forged, but there are many more whose friendships I still cherish. The pain nevertheless, you are right to note, was the fact that one must prove his intentions to these invisible vanguards to even do humanitarian work is, indeed, painfully sad to watch and experience.

      I like the idea of Awate 7.0 that will be launched, I gather, as early as 2014 and that’s an excellent proposition, hope the tireless folks at Awate will heed your suggestion.

      Haile, however way you do it, please keep it coming. Fresh poem from Wedi Tkabo that was loaded this morning – your resourcefulness never cease to amaze me – Simply, beautiful

      kbret yhabellay zHaway,

  • zegeremo


    Where are Amanuel Hidrat and Papillion? Are they aware of that their mentor, YG, is bleeding badly? Can’t wait to hear what Emma has to say given he has been reading YG’s articles seriously. Come on emma YG needs your help:)


    • zegeremo

      One more thing
      …..and Eyob Medhane was carried out of the ring on a stretcher and rushed to T’kur Ambessa hospital.


      • Eyob Medhane


        That’s actually funny. Good one. 🙂

    • Zegeromo,

      You know that I don’t agree on his argument of “identity issue” and I have argued with a series of articles (Four parts) to rebuttle his view before anyone at, and one at how the Eritrean identity is evolved and the role of Ghedli to solidify it. However I have agreed on his piece “unity by subtraction” that define indirectly the civil war and its outcome. I will give you the links late this evening after work.

    • DANIEL

      Surprising to know that there are Eritreans who took YG’s article seriously!!!

  • Ghezae Hagos

    Selam SAAY,

    1. “Yohannes Tikabo is the best lyricist Eritrea has produced. Ever.” I can’t help chumming in though I don’t know what exactly I want to say. And this comes after few hours of chat, over the weekend, with the man of the hour himself. Yohannes Tkabo. Making amends; catching up on old friends, poets and singers; few jokes.

    2. Post-independence Eritrea gave us a new crop of aspiring poets whose love for the nation was simply boundless. The bohemian bunch congregate in unlikely ‘lateria’ called ‘Sheka-Simlte.’ It was birth place of many newspapers and budding artists. “Tsigenay”, “Zemen”, partly ‘Keste-debena’. Most of the budding poets hang out there. Amanuel Asrat, Zemenfes Haile, Efrem Kahsay (Wedi Quada), Saba Kidane, Meles Nigusse, Umer, Samuel Almede etc. As you know mostly became victims of Isaias’s (Is that how he spells it?) unquenchable wrath.

    3. Mostly they were poets. They produced beautiful works of poetry. ‘Qursi Qedam ab ta’emot’ gave writers and poets a chance to share, to learn and to excel. But Eritreans are not good readers. Eritreans prefer and love songs. The times needed a one that has intelligent and deep poems/lyrics combined with musical talent. Our generation needed a muscial voice. Enter Yohannes Tkabo. The rest is history.

    4. Possibly next to Yemane Barya, Yohannes Tkabo is posed to be the best lyricist. That is granted-happily.

    5. YG’s satire is fabulous. One of the guy’s greatest strengths that has been submerged in the Ghedli controversies is how much he knows PFDJ and how much he knows them well. I was lost, engrossed in the absurd lengths Issais and Yemane Gebreab would go to distinguish from anything Ethiopian/’Tigrawot’. Straight from ‘Animal Farm’, the ‘mewesawesi’ ‘menqesaqesi’ drama is portrayed so well sometimes it appeared real. The cat-mouse scenarios between today’s Eritrean leaders and its people is depicted well.

    Had he restrained himself from the urge to insist upon himself of the identity politics, the satire would be pitch perfect. What it lacked is subtlety. Nonetheless, I give him a bold A.

    Finally, here is now that may pass for a simple conjecture; but I would throw it anyhow. Let me end where you started with. You characterized YG and Yohannes Tkabo ‘with varying degrees of enthusiasm for their particular identity.’ I beg to differ: at the heart, both are proud Eritreans, with deep appreciation of their ancestral language, culture, ‘yata’, ‘xwya.’ The biggest difference is Yohannes Tkabo, and his likes ( too) are preaching us ‘to reconcile with our History.’ YG is having none of it (especially the Ghedli chapter) at this time.

    Ghezae Hagos

    • Beyan Negash


      Reading your piece I couldn’t help but wonder how a callous regime not only wreaked havoc on individuals’ lives, but also the sheer interruption of a budding civil society that will now take generations to recover from. But, all is not lost though when some of you (young men and women) are scattered the world over for now (alive and well), but that inner drive where all of the potential for literature is bottled will someday pour out as Sal seems to recognize the talent that lies within Yosief Ghebrewhiwot.

      You seem to be the only one who gets my friend, Yosief’s drift from those who never met him in person and are able to surmise from his writings the inner workings of the man. As a person who has known him in person since our days of ESRO that I wrote about this morning when answering Haile’s note – some 21 years now – I have never doubted his genuine wish to see Eritreans’ well-being socially, civilly, much as one wishes for one’s family is beyond compare. Yosief cared so much for the Eritreans’ well-being he blew the warning signs of AIDS when everyone, even those who were in the medical field were critical of his foresight (this was in the mid-nineties when I posted his articles on dehai).

      Be it the benign or the malign, everything that he addresses emanates from the depth and his unique intellectual capacities and abilities, not from the surface, his goes skin deep, and you get that, Ghezae.

      As for his identity politics, well, all I can say is the man is mad at everything that ghedli did because he is angry in what has come of it. Would anyone dare to dismiss an African American as un-American because he/she shows anger at the white-world that had been the source of Black America’s ill-fated journey of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, racism, and discrimination the corollaries of which are still visibly in existence?

      The 30 years of struggle that Eritreans fought to bring forth independence was hell on earth and for them to turn out the way they have, at least, those who are in leadership posts, granted,is where his anger should be geared towards, but then, his argument is it could not have been an isolated circumstance, it was a wholesale bad, bad, experience for all involved.

      One thing I know for sure what Yosief has been able to make Eritreans see is the removal of the sacredness of ghedli as we knew it. That ghedli and tegadelti were never subject to change and to a point of such purity that they were considered immutable and Yosief changed that perspective, making it ever more mutable.

      Prior to Yosief’s undertaking of this trajectory, ghedli and tegadelti were so angelic that nobody would dare see them as humans with their own follies and fallibilities – that myth was shattered for good. That in my book is a good thing. Ghedli ought to be respected for what it accomplished but should’ve given way to you (young men and women) to take over once their task was accomplished, much as Mandela did for South Africa.
      They went to fight to bring freedom for Eritreans but never wanted to relent or share that cherished freedom with all Eritreans whether they joined ghedli and that would’ve been the ultimate selflessness and magnanimity they could’ve bestowed on their people.

      This is the problem with the cyber world; it is so easy to rub-virtual-elbows with people that you do not know in person. I know the two Salehs in person and I know Yosief all the same. I am willing to take a bet, if these three were to spend in some sort of a retreat over a weekend, they would be on the same isle politically vis-à-vis Eritrea. But, such is the nature of the world we live today where it is easy to dismiss one another based on certain positions, instead of working hard to see where our commonalities lie; we tend to see those that separate us in their magnified form and we speak past one another rather than to one another. Consequently, dialogue seems to suffer greatly in Eritrean websites.


      • Ghezae Hagos

        Selam Beyan,

        You would have loved, I would have too, if the artistic circles were allowed to flourish. But what would Isaias’s gulags feed of off? The best, the brightest, were snatched away.

        YG:- I never met the guy as I never met Sal. I talk to over the phone once in a while; as I do with Sal. One can’t fail to see the genuine love he has for his people and for the nation. You said it well, very well.

        “This is the problem with the cyber world; it is so easy to rub-virtual-elbows with people that you do not know in person. I know the two Salehs in person and I know Yosief all the same. I am willing to take a bet, if these three were to spend in some sort of a retreat over a weekend, they would be on the same isle politically vis-à-vis Eritrea. But, such is the nature of the world we live today where it is easy to dismiss one another based on certain positions, instead of working hard to see where our commonalities lie; we tend to see those that separate us in their magnified form and we speak past one another rather than to one another. Consequently, dialogue seems to suffer greatly in Eritrean websites.”

        Ghezae Hagos

        • saay

          Selamat Beyan and Ghezae:

          Friends, your argument is with Aristotle, not me:) He expounded greatly on the distinction between BEING good and DOING good. This is the domain of Burhan Ali, so I won’t dwell on it, but GOOD people do terrible things; and TERRIBLE people do good things. It is the job of friends to tell us what a good and virtuous person somebody was (I expect you to write my obituaries); it is the job of the rest of us to judge people by what they DO and who they ARE which, as volumes of biographies tell us, are not the same thing.

          As a reader of YG, I am only interested in what he DOES, which happens to be his writings. When you two organize the Eritrean Club of Pontificators, I may sit with YG and tell you, yeah, he is a charming guy, what a prince, but at the end of the day, if I am going to be true to myself, I have to consider the measure of the man is what he does, not who he is.

          His Eritrea is a strange one. It is like a deformed child of a rape victim. Oh well the circumstances that gave to its birth are awful, but what are you going to do. You still have to love that little deformed thing. It is pity love. Then, with this child, he is only interested in praising and protecting and advocating for one of its vital organs: its heart or mind. The Eritrea in YG’s mind are the Mereb people. The rest are appendages. And the more the trans-Mereb people (north and south of the river) cheer him, the more radical he gets. And because there are a LOT of people South of the Mereb River who are cheering him, he is deluded.

          Look, guys. These are the facts.

          And with that as a background, when I read what the EPRDF elite in Ethiopia are doing, the image that emerges is clear: let’s pay attention to where our population explosition lies. (South.) They are not sitting there and writing treatise on the grandness of Habesha, they are trying to incorporate others into it. It is a Habesha Plus policy. When I read what the PFDJ elite in Eritrea are doing, the image that emerges is also clear: it is typically badly executed but, on paper, it is coherent. Then I read YG: what he writes about, and what consumes his passions is so small ball, so retrograde, and so rear-view mirror obsessed. If he was looking at Ethiopia 2020 and saying, “look guys, this is why I am proposing a Habesha-centric policy because it will be good for Eritrea because of x,y,z…” I would be all ears. He may even persuade me, because the other alternatives are fraught with risks. But so far, it is all retrograde stuff and I want him nowhere near the steering wheel. Metaphorically speaking, of course.


          • Beyan Negash

            Dear Sal and All:

            As a man of letters who far exceeds in the realms of polemics, dialogue, and the like, it is always a great pleasure to see the way you eloquently dance in the language of English. But then I am quickly reminded of Chapman’s “The Tears of Peace” in which, I forget what page, but he makes distinctions between a learned man and a wise one. The former ostensibly would be “a walking dictionary” if he does not add wisdom to his knowledge. Now, I am not accusing you or Yosief of lacking any wisdom – far from it – you two strike me as highly intelligent and capable men. If the Mullahs of Iran can find negotiated settlement with the U.S., clearly two intelligent Eritreans whose objective happens to be ridding Eritrea and Eritreans from the menace at the mainland, then clearly your commonalities will bond you to agree on many fronts related to that objective. Literature played a crucial role and was one heck of a way where transformations and paradigm shifts were made possible for the Western civilization. To that end, I just want to leave you in what Chapman had to say aboutHomer’s
            “Odyssey” by way of a preface to the book, in which he makes penetrating distinction in the way Achilles and Odysseus are depicted:

            “In one, predominant perturbation; in the other, overruling wisdom: in one, the body’s fervor and fashion of outward fortitude to all possible height of heroical action; in the other, the mind’s inward, constant, and unconquered empire, unbroken, unaltered, with any most insolent and tyrannous infliction.”

            In all of the above tempestuous behaviors please think of Isayas and his goons and the progressive ones think of Sal, SG, ZL & YG and those of us who are eager to follow your leads, with that my hope is we will redirect our energy to the issues that matter the most: Eritrea that is a wink away from the abyss.


          • zamu

            “And because there are a LOT of people South of the Mereb River who are cheering him, he is deluded.”

            What is wrong if Ethiopians ‘cheer’ Yosief? Don’t you have your Arabist to ‘cheer’ you as well?

            And “deluded” is a bit below the belt. If you are in a debate, as I think you are, can’t you keep your judgments to yourself and let us the readers make our own conclusion?

            Finally, let me say I have great respect to both you and YG.

        • SA

          Ghezae and Beyan,
          I appreciate that both of you gave us an additional perspective about YG. It was touching to read your description of YG the human being who is passionate about Eritrea and cares for the Eritrean people. Reading Beyan’s account, I also felt sad because I kept wondering if such a bright intellect is losing his objectivity because of his utter and deep disappointment at the whole Ghedli thing. Your comments about YG definitely add context to his prolific writings but I am afraid they do not mitigate the consequences of his ideas, because at the end of the day it is his ideas, not his motive, that matter as far as the future of Eritrea is concerned.
          If you are calling for our understanding of YG, I also want you to extend the same understanding for people who are offended by his writings. I can only imagine how it must be painful for the lowlanders to read his writings and to realize that they do not significantly factor in his ideas about Eritrea. Is it any coincidence that the two Salehs are waging a battle against him?

          • Beyan Negash

            Dear SA,

            The disposition that hard-wired us tends to work in this fascinating fashion. It starts with us individually first, our families next, our communities, and the concentric circle begins to widen outward from there. This is not to say that we don’t care about the outermost circle, but the attention we give is just not at the scale and magnitude we give to the first circle. That being the nature of our disposition, then, it becomes incumbent upon those of us who wish to see something being done bring the issues that interest us to the fore as we enlighten those who may (not necessarily with any malice of intent) have not addressed such important issues that they do and show them of its importance.

            A small example may illustrate this point better. In the early nineties, in Los Angeles area, I joined Eritrean community in which we began to publish a magazine called Selam. So (I forget how often) but we would meet and review the articles and edit them before publication. The article we were editing had to do with the position the writer was taking in how Eritreans should not send the coffin to Eritrea after an Eritrean passes away and that the coffin should remain in their respective community and proper burial should be conducted. Here is the rub. I was the only Muslim Eritrean and everybody was happy, I was content with the article, but there was a minor detail that I was able to bring to the attention of the group and that is this: The article states that Eritreans, but there is a large segment of the society that does not follow this tradition, the Muslim community in Orange County, for example, if and when someone passes on they bury them in the county. So, how about we make a specific reference to which of the Eritrean society this topic is most pertinent and gear to towards that particular culture. I can see the light bulb going right on through the writer’s head, at which point he said, you know, Beyan, it never dawned on me. The moral of the story: many a times people who think alike cannot see or even totally forget about others when they are dealing with issues that matters to them most, but those of us who have a vested interest in any subject must also knock doors of other groups as we let it be known we have a stake as much as they do.

            So, SA, you just now injected a very important element that is missing in my friendship with Yosief. We are both highlanders and the topics that mostly occupy us will ostensibly be the overall plight of Eritreans, of course, but most obvious one will inevitably be about the highland Muslims and Christians. I am sure we’ve had conversations about other Eritrean groups, but our frame of reference inherently gravitates to those we have a great deal experience with. So, again, next time we gather, I will make every effort to bring into that friendship fold to meet other Eritrean groups and I know more than my share of metaHit Eritreans that I even haven’t made due diligent effort to befriend – so blaming Yosief will not do on my part. But, I truly appreciate your concise yet challenging topic.


          • Beyan Negash

            Prescript Note:

            SA The following was supposed to be the first paragraph of the note I sent earlier. Forgive me trying to mind two stores (Sal’s and mine) falls into the realms of multi-tasking, which is totally not so my forte. But here it is, anyway.

            Dear SA (I erroneously and inadvertently referred to you as NA), but here is my genuine take on the larger subject of the plight of Metahit Eritreans. I recall during the early 90s when Dr. Kemal Ibrahim took up the issue of Eritrean refugees who had been languishing (at that point over thirty-years) and his work focused in finding a way to repatriate them to their homeland (my memory is failing me a bit, but vis-à-vis the UN). His efforts must have not been successful, because the same refugees (I gather, close to a half-million Eritreans are in Sudan now) and I think that’s really where the rubber meets the road. Of course, this undertaking, obviously, is not conducive in today’s Eritrea, but that ought to be one important undertaking that should be addressed when the menace that is in Eritrea runs its course – I hope soon. Of course, other refugees in many other places deserve such attention as well.

        • Beyan Negash

          Selamat Ghezae:

          I had an excellent poem that I wanted to share with you that came to mind when I read this: “But what would Isaias’s gulag feed of off? The best, the brightest, were snatched away.” I finally located both. I only wish I had that disposition, but thank God the world has produced those who could express what we are feeling. Fulke Greville gets right to the point:
          Oh, wearisome condition of humanity,
          Born under one law, to another bound;
          Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity;
          Created sick, commanded to be sound.
          What meaneth nature by these diverse laws?
          Passion and reason self-division cause.

          And in Marville’s “Dialogue between the Soul and the Body,” notice the irony:

          Oh, who shall from this dungeon raise
          A soul enslaved so many ways?
          With bolts of bones; that fettered stands
          In feet, and manacled in hands;
          Here blinded with an eye, and there
          Deaf with the drumming of an ear;
          A soul hung up, as ’twere, in chains
          Of nerves and arteries and veins;
          Tortured, besides each other part,
          In a vain head and double heart.

          • Ghezae Hagos

            Dear beyan,

            Thanks for sharing them with us. I can only understand part of them; they are too deep.

            Thanks Again,

      • Sabri

        Selam Beyan,

        Thank you for sharing with us your personal experience with YG. I inorder to understand once writings, it is important to consider the writer’s world view, perspective and condition. Do you know another Eritrean scholar whose name is Tekeste Negash. He identifie himself as an Erhiopian and he is trying to show how eritteanism is false. In his PhD theseis in 1986 he wrote about Italian colonialism in Eritrea. In that book he was trying to show Eritrean nationalism didn’t exist during the entire period of Italian colonialism. This leads him to the same conclusion YG took. The ultimate solution for Eritreans is unity with Ethiopia according to him. However, he says if Eritreans genuinely want to be independent I don’t have problem.

        I know personally Tekeste. He is very humble, intellectual and very caring person. He is very independent. Although, I don’t agree with his assessment person like Tekeste, YG amazes me. They are always outside the mainstream thinking.


        • Beyan Negash

          merHaba Sabri,

          I have not read all of Tekeste’s work, but I am familiar with his perspective. That’s an excellent analogy to bring. This right out dismissal of others’ ideas when we don’t see eye-eye with their viewpoints and thusly jumping the gun to determine one’s Eritreanity or lack thereof, based on the ideas they advance is what I find irksome.

          Until we Eritreans learn to accept people who have ideas that are different than ours and give them breathing space to think “outside the mainstream thinking” we will always be hurting our own cause. Let us stop, to borrow one commentator’s term, “vilifying” one another and begin to respectfully disagree.

          Now, I have no problem challenging ideas that individual proponents present, after all, isn’t that why these individuals are writing, so as their ideas to be accepted or negated by their readers. We seem to confuse dialogue for a debate and lack of delineation of the two has been migraine inducing endeavor in Eritrean circles for quite sometime now.

          I appreciate your open mindedness, Sabri, to be able to read, listen, and hear what the other person is trying to convey – however shocking the idea – takes a great deal of openness.


          • Beyan Negash

            Sabri, I had the following in mind to add at the end of my note above, but you know how sometimes the urge to hit the “post comment” button is too tempting and as soon as it was gone you remember you left out something you could’ve said.

            And what I wanted to add was that the obvious distinction between Tekeste and Yosief are, while the former’s ideas, concepts, and theories are confined, for the most part, to colleges and universities, the latter’s tend to cater toward the commoner like you and me and public intellectuals tend to get a great deal of wrath from the public and Yosief, I am sure, is aware of that.

            Of courses, the college and university bubble has this insulating effect to where one’s idea may stay static for a while longer while the public intellectual has a redeeming quality to it because he is being challenged day-in-and-day-out by the public, thusly, sharpening and increasing his out-put.

          • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

            Ahlan Beyan,

            In academic circles, open mindedness is supposed to be the rule not the exception. In matters of country and rights, there is no openness, that is why we have wars. If someone is trying to deny me my right, I will not be open-minded about it, I will fight back. And fighting is part of our nature as human beings, preserving the self. No Eritrean worth his salt would be open-minded to Haile Sellasie’s aggression and to advocating the continuation of that policy; people have to fight back, and they did and do. I don’t consider an academic venture, it is a tool for the struggle to assert the rights of Eritreans and fight tyranny in all its forms. Someone who denies me that right to fight is not my debater, he is my enemy (it is natural to have an enemy, Beyan, we are not angels 🙂

            You mentioned debate and dialogue, you forgot to mention assault… and it is aggression, a war that is being waged on us. In that case, we fight, we do not debate. If there are neutral individuals, they can attempt an arbitration. But those with mission, they fight back. I hope you give that view[point and perspective a thought.

          • Sabri

            Dear Beyan,

            Thank you for your lovely words. As you know it is more common to attack rather than to encounter with sound arguments among Eritreans. Tekeste after he wrote his dissertation he was fiercely attacked by Eritreans including Eritrean scholars. He usually says nobody has written counter argument. He was right until Zemhret Yohannes wrote challenging book recently. Zemhret’s and Tekeste’s books have the same title. Except Zemhret’s book is written in Tigringa both books deals with the same problem. Zemhret by using Tekeste’s source have been trying to show how Eritrean nationalism existed during Italian colonialism. This is the main and important difference between Tekeste and Zemhret. It is an excellent book. It should be read parallel with Tekeste’s book to get full flavor of the book. This is for the first time Tekeste encountered real challenge after 26 years. However, until this day he didn’t respond. Those who support YG should read Zemhret’s book to see the fallacy of YG.

            You are right. Scholarly written books are mostly confined within higher study institutions. But some escaped from this confinement. I believe Tekeste’s book is one if them.

      • Dear Beyan,

        I can dare to say this: you are “a diplomat in a debate” who try to break the schisms. I wish to have many like you who could play the role of a diplomat to watch and maintain the equilibrium of the opposites.


        • Beyan Negash

          Amanuel H.,

          You’re very kind to shower me with such lavishing title that I feel undeserving but can’t help to notice its intoxicating effect from within – and that’s when I must fight the urge of rubbing that ego with it. One thing I know for sure though is that there is a great deal of misunderstanding in this virtual world and in some nuanced way that is where I am trying to tap into.


          Indeed, ehin miheen and enkan haban has its own internal mechanisms that help drive it thrive or stop it dead on its tracks depending in how one approaches his/her counterpart – Respect is at its core. You see, Sabri, now you peeked my interest in wishing to read both of the works you mentioned to understand their positions more. That is one disadvantage of scholarly work – one can live in that bubble thinking their ideas are right until it is refuted by someone else. The problem though still remains if they are not by the wider public, then, their idea haven’t been tested as yet.


          You concise note deserve an elaborate answer, I will get back to you soon. Please check this space tomorrow.

          • SA

            Dear Mr. Beyan,
            Thank you so much for taking the time to address the issue I raised. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and sensitivity with which you addressed the issue.
            Keep up the good work of bridge building among the Eritrean people.

  • abel

    “mewesawesi” – Ethiopian words for moving permit…Really?
    This is nothing more than a pure fiction.
    FYI,one is not required to carry permit to move from one to another with in Ethiopia.Free movement of citizens is enshrined in Ethiopian constitution, “Eritrea is the police state not Tigray”.
    “mewesawesi”in Tigray means space to move around not a permit.During the Ghedli days bigots like the author used to blame every ill to Tigreans/Agame (poisoning rivers and wells,Informers of the Derg…etc).In 1991 Ethiopia become liberated from the parasitic relationship it had with Eritrea.Tigray is now at peace,flourishing and a host to tens of thousands of destituted Eritrean refugees and Sal’s Eritrea is nothing more than a wasted land,the forbidden land.

  • Mohamed Edris

    Thanks SAAY for the article
    1.“Asha Hade Derfu” That is what I call to Ysosief Ghebrehiwet
    2.He doesn’t understand Eritrea as well as today’ Ethiopia. For him Eritrea is Kebesa and Ethiopia is Tigray. Since SAAY you article has a flavour of music I will do a favour to YG to listen to Eyasu Berhe’s song “ where he says “Oromo, Afar, Somal, Amhary, Gurage etc alo belo”
    3.He once mentioned that he is from Mendefera and knew some Jeberti friends. I believe he had some kind syndrome that resulted from an experience he had with these friends. That syndrome is right on his head when he puts his hand on the keyboard.

    But thanks to Asmarino for letting his articles as an insignificant posting. It is just another article that will go down the web page to give a space for other significant articles that will stay for good time on top.

    • Thomas

      hahaha, “the syndrome right on his head when he puts his hand on the keyboard”. You are a good investigator in knowing why YG is acting the way he is acting. Why don’t you guys celebrate thanksgiving together in case that helps him to cure his syndrome, whatever illness he has:)

      • Mohamed Edris

        Well Thomas you can take a horse to a river to drink water, it is upto the horse when it comes to drink the water. Eneho meda Enheo Feres


    Awate shouldn’t spend time to argue/counter-argue with YG’s article. Nothing good comes from a person who doesn’t respect himself… Just FYI that this man’s writing is innocous..
    1-There is no Eritrean who has the patience to finish reading YG’s article
    2- His strategy to gather attnetion and steal the Eritrean show is not at all wise, he is very much in suicidal mission…lamenting the course of history won’t do any good to him. Hating your self and your family because of the the way it happens to be won’t solve your problem ..YG knows this. Why is he then behaving like this? . His intention is making ‘mama Ethiopia’ happy and underscoring his loyality for them…
    This guy is distancing himself away from Eritreans and ofcourse getting closer to his beloved Ethiopia…so why should we care about him?? he shouldn’t be a concern for us….

    • welde

      Mr Mohamed Edris, this is very dangerous…
      song “ where he says “Oromo, Afar, Somal, Amhary, Gurage etc alo belo”

      Whatever you say or write next time don’t reminded Mr Sal of that song and the war, it has destroyed the myth of his old time friend and mentor’s invincibility. And that was the song that caused Mr. SAl to give up his forefront armchair General position during the war and forced to abandon his onetime affectionate leader Isayas.

      • Mohamed Edris

        Well Mr Welde don’t you think that YG starts to do his homework to out reach the non-Kebesa Ertireans? I belive when YG listens to that song he will get the message?

  • Abrham


    “De.M.H.T may very well have a legitimate grievance and legitimate case to wage an armed struggle.After all, as I have pointed out many times, Tigray has a larger population than Eritrea, but 22 years after the overthrow of the Derg, the TPLF controls 100% of the government in Tigray and sends 100% of the representatives to the Federal parliament. That is 22 years of one-party statehood with no political space for any opponent” Really? Do they ever tried to be on the limited space available like ARENA Tigray and unitary political opposition parties in Tigrai?

  • “we are talking about Eritrea. When policy is being designed and implemented you will be on the other side of Mereb observing. You are not a stakeholder. Agreed?”
    …Saay’s response to Eyob,

    I never for a second thought you can be this naive saal, have you ever thought of the the possibility of Eyob being on the other side of the Mereb watching you implement the very policy he has dispatched you the end of the day theres is no plicy known to have been drawen in er

    • saay

      Selamat Elias:

      You interrupted yourself. Or maybe you are in Eritrea and the electricity died on you.:) Finish your thought and I will respond.


      • obviously saay, the last interrupted word “er” can not possibly end up being anything other than Eritrea, can it?

        I say so because the only known Eritrean related dream(policy)was drawn in Cairo back in the 60 with no sign of real constitution long after you got rid of your enemy(the Ethiopian)

    • Dear iWarriors,

      I am following the debate as well. Here is my assessment: Eyob appears to be giving Saay more ammunition with which to shoot Eyobai down. This does not mean that Eyob is not a capable debater, he is. He is as skillful debater as Saay is. Both of them have different way of seeing things that are politics.

      Though both can’t agree on many points regarding issues of politics, they would seem to enjoy one thing: music. Recently , however, Saay seems to have shifted his allegiance from Teddy Afro to Yohannes Tekabo in order to annoy or perhaps send subliminal political message to Eyob.;-)

      • Beyan Negash


        Here is what I see the debate favors Sal on several ground:

        1. The venue is Sal friendly.

        2. The topic limits Eyob to what he can say and what he cannot, because Sal made it clear that certain topics are off-limits to Eyob, which essentially comes down to Eyob fighting with his left hook tied behind his back.

        3. Fairness demands that, unless and until Sal agrees to meet Eyob under the two conditions above, (the venue should be Eyob friendly and the topic one that limits Sal and does not to Eyob), there will not be a winner or a loser in this game – on technical ground for now it should be deemed void. TP’s TKO song will not be played until then -:)


        • saay

          Selamat Beyan:

          2. …because Sal made it clear that certain topics are off-limits to Eyob, …

          If you perceived it that way, there is a good chance Eyob did too, as may have others. But to avoid this perception that I wrote: “At, there is no gate control. Once you are in, you are in and you can say anything you want.” What I meant by that is that there is one standard, the “posting guidelines” and there is no hierarchy. And when I said “When policy is being designed and implemented you will be on the other side of Mereb observing. You are not a stakeholder. Agreed?” I was simply saying that we, as a news outlet, do not have the luxury he, as an Ethiopian observer does because everything we say and do waters or kills whatever form post-Isaias Eritrea will take.

          Eyob is going nowhere. He is awate’s ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. mKhublal yelen. His “I am going to shut up, you do your thing” has also to be seen from the Sal-Eyob dynamic. You see, Habesha (Eritreans and Ethiopians) are the only people I know who take pride in losing their temper. How many times have you heard, “shuU wliE ile!” 🙂 Do we say that in regret or with pride?


          • Rahwa G

            Despite his extraordinary writing and debating capability, I think SAL has somehow lost the debate as he was forced to use his veto power and restrictied the extent of the battle-ground for good shooter (Eyob) when he was about to finish his bullets. In my opinion, SAL should not have given those warning words to Eyob right from the beginning of the battle for many reasons. One is because there are no or very few commenters and good debaters from south of Mereb in this house. So he could have tolerated him. The second reason can be because as SAL is Pro-Ghedli that fought the biggest army of the black-colonizers single handedly with no support from friends near and far, as many writers and commenters have been teaching me here in Awate. May be the heavy bombardment from YG was beyond SAL’s strength and he wanted to make sure that YG should not get additional support from Eyob and he picked his yellow cards. Anyway, I am freely learning a lot from these guys. Thanks

  • abou yara

    I am not sure what is so special about Wedi tikabo he is just a regular regim singer and his voice is avarage . There are alot good singers out there with nice soft voices however , his voice has no signifcant at all it used to hurts my ears and stop listening to it.

  • haile

    ሰብ ዓዋተ

    እዚ ጉዳይ ናይ ኢሰያስ ኣብ ፖርቶ ሱዳን፡ ከመይ ዝበለ ሕንፍሽፍሽ’ዩ ኣንቱም ሰባት? ካብ ቅድሚ ክልተ ዓመት ዝዛይድ ዕድመ ዘለዎ ስእልታት ክለጣጥፉልና ድሕሪ ምቕናይ፡ ቲቪ ኤረ ድማ፡ ብሰዓታት ድሕሪ ቀትሪ እናኣተወ’ላ፡ ሓደ ጉምጓም ዝተመቀሰ ነዊሕ ሰብኣይ፡ ብጸላም (ቀትሪ) ህዱድድ እናበለ፡ ሱዳን ድዩ ዕዳጋ ሓሙስ ዘይፍለጥ ከባቢ እዚ ኢሰያስ እዩ ኢላ፡ ቀሪባትልና። እዋእ፡ ብኾነ ንሓደ መራሕ ሃገር ዝኣክል ሰብ’ሲ፡ እንታይ ኣፍርዩ ኢልካ ትራታዕ’ምበሪ፡ ከምዛ ብበሊሕ ክትግዝግዛ ዝጸናሕካ ደርሆ፡ ሞይታ’ዶ ዋላስ ኣላ ዝብል ዛዕባ ጥራይ ካብ ኮነ ነገር ኢሰያስ፡ ንሱ ዝደለየ ኣለኹ እንተበለ፡ ከምታ ኣብ ሸሓን መሕረድ ተዓቢጣ ትንፍርፈር ዘላ ደርሆ’ያ እታ ጉዳይ። ከመይ ትርእይዎ?

    • saay

      Haile (the great):

      ከምዛ ብበሊሕ ክትግዝግዛ ዝጸናሕካ ደርሆ፡ ሞይታ’ዶ ዋላስ ኣላ ዝብል ዛዕባ ጥራይ ካብ ኮነ ነገር ኢሰያስ፡ ንሱ ዝደለየ ኣለኹ እንተበለ፡ ከምታ ኣብ ሸሓን መሕረድ ተዓቢጣ ትንፍርፈር ዘላ ደርሆ’ያ እታ ጉዳይ። ከመይ ትርእይዎ?

      Ha! That is quite descriptive. I thought it was my TV reception; but I no problem with my screen watching Broncos-Patriots game, so I guess it is not me. It’s Eri-TV: maybe the camera man had not charged his flash because of the electricity issue which has been solved, end of story, nothing to see here.

      So here’s something to add to the Haile Stew:

      It is to be noted that the Eritrean President arrived suddenly in Port Sudan by road leading a high level delegation, instead of air as was planned where he was received by Al Bashir.

      ርኢኻዶ ከመይ ተጻዊቱለን ወዲ ኣፎም? ዋሺንግቶን “ድሮንስ” ጨሚተን ይጽበያ ነረን፥፥ ገልጣማት! ወዲ ኣፎም ግን ብ ኣየር እመጽእ ኣለኹ ኢሉ ብ መርሰደስ፤ ኣየ ጥበብ! ኣየ ልቦና!

      Of course, if you want to know absolutely everything Al Bashir wants you to know about Sudan, forget Reuters and AFP, go straight to his own personal website where he will tell you what’s up with him and his friends (including Asaias) in three different languages:


      • Haqi

        I went to sleep when it was 24-0,and I woke to find out the pats won by 3. strange game

        • saay

          Hey Haqi:

          It was a blowout and I gave up and my son said, “dad, you gotta see this” so I did. And yep, Pats won by 3. Makes as little sense as the Broncos beating the Chiefs senseless last week but that’s fooooootball.


          • Haqi

            I call it the national football lottery. Go eagles

        • Nitricc

          How exactly does any one falls to sleep while watching football? Lol
          That was funny!
          Haqi, go to bed. Lol
          How can you fall to sleep in a football game? lol

      • rodab haha. Is that shabait version?
        PIA would be too modest to do Sometimes I consider our dictator to be a moderate when I see other African & Arab dictators taking their power-abuse to the limists, amazingly they don’t even bother to hide anything – they do it in the open….poor me I can’t think of examples off of my head right now, but I remember reading stuff that made me say ‘oh how selfish, PIA woudn’t do that’. Peace!

        • L.T

          Ayeeeee Tigrawit…..I mean Eirtrawiyan ‘ye kibl deliyee

      • abel

        The one and the only personal plane he had is Saudi Arabia and the single plane Eritrean airline is grounded as of Nov.22,2013 What other option does he had except by road?

  • haile

    Selamat Awatistas

    I was originally hoping to reply to rodab’s challenge of saay (until saay does his) on “Yohannes Tikabo is the best lyricist Eritrea has produced. Ever.” But it turns out there are other sectarian points made by some commenters that I would like to say a piece too, hence putting the thread here.

    On ““Yohannes Tikabo is the best lyricist Eritrea has produced. Ever.” With my limited knowledge of the art of music (I am an adult graduate of ERiTV’s Shingrwa and the judges there are pretty much my music professors 🙂 I found out in one of those shows that Wedi Tkabo (this is how he spells his last name by the way, not “Tikabo” that everyone does)is known for long lyrics. The judges once failed a participant and the advice they gave him was to choose his song for the competition better. They stressed that wedi Tkabo’s songs are challenging for new singers (with less experience) to play as they are typically longer and required higher degree of control throughout. Well, some of it still Latin to me, but makes me think there is something unique about his talent. In another occasion I heard wedi Tkabo say that he has a rare gift of being able to project two separate types of sounds and this was noticed by some expert that he was talking to. So, your turn saay to justify your “wedi tkabo the great” assertion 🙂

    On the sectarian points observed in this comments threads, I feel that some people are being hugely unreasonable for a purpose or out of carelessness. When the regime operatives recently fabricated a wikileaks on opposition websites, they termed as Islamist. Why? Because the two Sals are moslems? Or is there something that they declared and I missed in years of time I spent here? Is it fair to call asmarine a christian website because some of its contents (video) airs christian content? If this is not fear mongering (intentional misleading) then what? So, if a moslem Eritrean is an activist, they are to do with Jihad and if a christian activist talks about the bible, they are just opposition? This is inherently repulsive and a sick attack against our moslem brothers and sisters (without whom it is impossible to be Eritrean as we know it). Thankfully, I am a great believer on the wisdom of our people who have transcended so much ill intended ploys to pit us against each other. We can easily see through that. The regime attempted to use that card in connection to forto and routinely uses such innocent looking baits to divide our people. This great website and its owners are under such attack for opposing the regime and standing against tyranny. This is a beaten track.


    • saay

      Selamat awatistas:

      I said wedi Tkabo (new spelling, thanks Hailat) is the best lyricist Eritrea has produced. Here’s my chbTitat:

      1. Do you remember Eritreans rushing to share the lyrics of a singer? I don’t. It happened for the first time with Wedi tkabo. It happened first with “ygermenalo” (it was posted in awate 5.0) and it hasn’t stopped. The only time I remember this happening is Engineer Asghedom’s song about that unruly mule which was mating with a horse. (Lyrics available upon request.)

      2. I can’t find the lyrics to ygermenalo (I hate that song’s message but I adore the craftsmanship and the poetry in the lyrics.) So here’s an MC reading the lyrics:

      3. Even with his new song, Hadnetna, he will be rhyming a 100 words with “Assa” in the chorus. I already hear “TaEsa”, “yneKhakesa”. More to come when he goes on concert. It is what Alamin Abduletif* ended up doing with Selam Blesi/Fatna Zahra: there are at least 3 versions of the song.

      So all you doubters to my claim that he is the best Eritrean lyricist ever, my challenge is, to paraphrase a famous verse from the Quran (hope I don’t get stoned for sacrilege; and if you feel like stoning me, my friend Beyan Negash has volunteered to accept all the stones from angry folk): produce the like of these lyrics from other artists.


      * Song starts out as a love song for a girl Fatma Zahra that Alamin Abduletif was crazy in love with:

      Your name is a song for the poet
      And your name is prayer for the pious
      And your name is food for the hungry
      And your name is hope for the patient

      Then, Fatma Zahra becomes a code for Eritrea. Relevant lyrics for us “Ghedli romantics” from that song:

      ilit meSet bielew faTma zahra
      lilit meSet bielew dib asmera
      Ada gl tganeH we’agwara
      noshima re’iekwo le’asura
      wedela lamra Hd beshara

      In English:

      They said faTma zahra came last night
      Last night she came to Asmera
      To visit her people and neighbours
      I saw the tracks she left behind
      And those who knew exchanged the good news

      Fatma Zahra, in that version, was code for the “Ghedli” in Eritrea distributing flyers and delivering revolutionary justice on Ethiopians and collaborators. Sorry, Eyob.

      • Ermias


        You put so much in this article. My head is about to blow out. Anyway, great piece, as always.

        Wedi tkabo – number on lyricist, I have no problem with that because I trust your judgement as I only know perhaps a third of his songs and they are all insane. As I said here before, I have know him since childhood as he was my older brothers school mate and I think friends too. In fact, back in 2000 or so, I called Asmara to speak to my brother and he told me he was with Wedi Tkabo when WT was there because I think he was wounded on the leg (I hope my recollection serves me well). No pan intended here but WT was not what we may call such a great student. So, I have to admit his lyrics completely take me by surprise.

        For me, however, Abrar Osman is my all time favorite Eritrean singer. I do like him even more than the great Yemane Baria.

        I read YG’s article as well last night (the one you linked saay). I am contemplating to take a day off from work today to see if I can digest it. Holy smokes!

        Finally, I gave up on the Broncos/Pats game at half time and started watching Shrek only to find out this morning of the outcome.

        • saay

          Thanks Ermias:

          Abrar Osman is awesome although, like high-pitched Dawit Shilan, I can’t take more than two of his songs in a row before I reach for the controls 🙂 My favorite Abrar Osman song is “Dig Eritrea”, in Saho, although I don’t know a word he is saying. My favorite story about Abrar was that he was nominated for a Raimok award (Shama album) and he refused to accept it.

          Good luck with YG’s articles. His satire shows that if we weren’t obsessed as we are with Eritrea, he could be a great novelist.


          • Thomas

            Ermias and Saay,

            I don’t think you can draw a comparison between Abrar and wedi tikabo. Abrar is the best of the best. I think you could talk about yemane bariya, haile gebru, abrar osman, abram afewrki and others at the highest level and wedi tikabo, dawit shilla at the second level (like ganta avanti:)

    • Beyan Negash

      Dear Haile,

      This notion of perception Kebasans have of Awate being Muslim website as opposed to Eritrean activists’ medium runs deep into Highlanders mentality that Muslim Eritreans are incapable of reaching to such heights without their Christian counterparts, which really goes deep and way back to the era of Haile Selassie.

      Muslim Eritreans were systematically excluded from educational system and were encouraged or perhaps even coerced to become entrepreneur at which they became good at, so good, in fact, Asmara was replete of vibrant business Muslim Eritreans with their Emamaet on their head conducting commerce adding to the vibrancy throughout Eritrean cities.

      And, what you see now is that distorted perception writ (good heavens) smaller and smaller by the day. Unfortunately, the smallness of such dualistic mindset refuses to rise above the polemical plane where we get stuck in the realms of religion, namely, Islam and Christianity. Consider this anecdote. Travel back in time to a year or so after independence of Eritrea in Orange County, California, where the Eritrean population was divided along geographical line within one county. La Mirada was the Christian side and Anaheim the Muslim side. My friend and I wanted to create a relief organization that will collect medical equipment of various types through University of California, Irvine where this university has one great medical school with a hospital.

      So, the first thing we did was reach out to the Christian acquaintances we knew and told them our plans to reach out to their friends as we did the same. Now, things were going fast and we began to collect hospital beds, computers, surgical equipment and the like. Membership began to grow, roughly about half-and-a-half between Muslim and Christians. Yet, when we invited Thomas Keneally and Roy Pateman in our fund raising event, the place was packed, yet, the rumor mill began to grind-out that we were Jihadis under the guise of Eritrean Students Relief Organization (ESRO).

      I wouldn’t want to bore you with the details, but suffice it to mention here, however, that a Professor with whom I forged good friendship, Dr. Tekle Woldemikael published an article in a journal I forget where capturing the genesis of it all, because he, too, was a member of ESRO. The title of the article is “Bridging the divide: Muslim and Christian Eritreans in Orange County, California.

      Dear Haile, this kind of impish behavior has its deep roots in our collective psyche and its synchronicity and its proximity you seem to have sensed it and the danger of such trajectory can be way too damning to conceive here. If the two Salehs are boxed in such ill conceived box as ones who cater to the Muslim constituencies, not the entire Eritrea, then, well, I will holdout my thoughts dead in its tracks here for now. But, I hope you get the point of my note though.


      P.S. By the way, for whatever its worth let me say this: My friend Yosief G. was a dedicated member of ESRO as well.

  • Dave

    The Awate team does not want to admit the fact that the overwhelming majority of those Eritreans perished on the shores of Lampadusa and Sinae desert hail from Kebesa Eritrea, for it negates thier narration that the Eritrean regime is Tigrinya.

  • Haqi2

    [Moderator: stick to either Haqi or HaqiII, you can’t act as two when you are one.]

    Eyob medhanie has made an honest assessment. YG is the best and honest critical writer in Eritrean political discourse. A lot of young Eritreans who can read in English agree to this fact. His articles are the most shared and widely read in any social media.

    Eyob said:
    “First of all YG’s argument has never been and it never is that “…foreigners are being identified as foreigners and it is, gasp, actually being reported. …” I know that you know VERY WELL that his argument is “rounding up young Eritreans and subject them to modern slavery is worse and alarming than, who is doing the rounding up. The accent of those, who do the rounding up is trivial and very secondary than young people being subjected to to ‘giffa’. But apparently no one is wanted to focus on that isn’t it? Rather than young people being round up and dumped in a concentration camps, people wanted to focus on how those who are rounding them use correct phrases, when they ship them to sawa. It is very much evident how the Kebessa is being made to look the other way, while they self destruct. The pattern is the same, and it is working like a clock work. You tell them that they have “..courage, creativity, defiance, determination, faith, honor, purposefulness, sacrifice, steadfastness, strength, and volunteerism…”. You boost their ego, let them glide to the moon by it until they lose sight to the fact that it is them, who die in the high seas, in Sinai and end up in refugee camps. That is wrong, Sal. That is just wrong. It is not only wrong, it is also intellectually dishonest. As I already mentioned couple of times, when you made that neat demographic statistics, about the citizenship, age and gender of the Lampedusa survivors, you conveniently left out the fact that almost all of them are highlanders and Christians. Your come back for that was, “oh, if I have to break down that kind of demographic, I would have to go to identify how many from which region and that would be too complicated”. That is a very weak cover up and very lame excuse not to acknowledge that somehow Kebessa Christians have been targeted to be pushed out. The worst part is they are also deliberately made not to be aware of it. Anyway, I hope God will see and reveal to them what is being done to them…..”

  • Haqi

    No one has has changed the Eritrean political discourse than YG did.
    On the issue of the Lampedisa victims, according to the information released by the survivors of Lampedusa in, the victims are more 90 percent Christian highlanders.

  • Dear Saay,

    I like your expressions about Wedi- Tikabo.

    But i feel you are giving more visibility to YG. You guys have exposed him once. How many people do you thing read him or finish his redundant, sloppy and twisted analysis.. . forget him saay areky.


  • Zhaile

    There is some sloppy analysis here about the names of the Lampedusa survivors or those who did not survive.

    The sloppiness is that a Christian name makes you automatically a “Kebessan” while a Moslem name will make you automatically someone from “low lands”.
    This is a completely false logic to apply, and any Eritrean should not have problem identifying its falsity. YG is totally obsessed with this issue and conveniently ignores the facts. I am not sure to which audience he wrote his article.
    For me, a Christian low-lander, YG’s writing is disgusting. For a fact I know that among those who died and those who survived in Lampedusa there are some eritrean Christians from low-lands.
    YG’s historical or current analysis sounds to the point to a foreigner, to me it is Hailesselasie’s propaganda repackaged.
    By the way it is Haileselasie who said ” I do not need Eritrean people I need only the Land”. Issays is doing the same thing though in much brute and most devastating way.

  • said

    Religion & Spirituality; Two not Contrarian Concepts
    With the added meeting together of mankind through the revolution of cyberspace; instant communication; social networks and Satellite TV Networks, the Universe is rendered a virtual “Global” Village.” However, with the scientific and technological revolution that brought mankind closer together, humans at large have failed thus far to liberate from the narrow and exclusivist ethos of the inherent parochial and cultural settings they born into and find themselves conditioned and shackled by their inherent self-righteous limitations sorry for YG and alike trying to turn the clock back in dehumanizing, defaming and blaming and finding ghost enemy of their countrymen.
    Religion or sectarian beliefs, as reinforced by the traditional ritual practices, are of all the social institutions are not pulling humanity, mankind at large, back from the natural evolution and from consciously incorporating the ethos of inclusiveness and tolerance mandated by the requisites of the impositions, unprecedented in the annals of mankind, of the scientific and the technological breakthroughs that are spirally Bringing Humanity to a hair split closer proximity.
    Religion and Sectarian beliefs at large should not remain rigidly structured, where rituals should be performed not devoid from the reasoning of the power of the mind, and not utterly disjointed from the nexus of the heart and the spirit.
    Religion and deeply entrenched Sectarian values with the mandated practices of rituality should not act as the virtual barriers to the subscription of humanity at large; the evolution to new paradigms incorporating universal moral values that are commensurate with the requisites of the dictates of the “New Age;” subscription to human values that render us humans, with human dignity, dwellers in the tiny planet Earth, more adept at engaging in the natural evolution dictated by expanded shared knowledge, the facility of innovative technological creations and an ever expanded mind.
    Christianity and Islam fully imbedded of Spirituality ,love ,peace ,justice as the unifying field encompassing the mind and thought of humanity’s collective creative energies, NOT hate mongers in very narrow Structured Religion of hating the other, is the answer to rendering the new stage of human evolution an orderly, loving, equitable , inclusive, peaceful and superiorly enhancing to the mind and the soul of humans and humanity at large; the Bliss in sharing the creations of a human’s creative mind and to live in peace and harmony each to his prescription in the neighbourly love .
    Enjoyed listening to Dr. Ramadan talk at TED x Salford.

  • Eritrean Citizen

    Tigray people:

    Please stop pushing YG on us, Eritreans. If YG believes in being Ethiopian, then great! Let him apply for Ethiopian citizenship and live in Ethiopia happily ever after.

    Otherwise, please stop pushing him on us. Eritreans have roundly rejected him.

    • Asmerome

      Eritrean Citizen
      Why are reading what is not written ?? Where did you see Tigray people pushing YG to Eritrea ?? It is YG who wrote the article you should respond directly to him and him alone . I don’t think you know YG , he doesn’t need to be pushed by anybody he is a master mind with great potential and great analysis of Eritrean problem so message is out of continent please focus on the issue

  • Senai

    I don’t have a problem if Yosief Gebrehiwet believes in his neo- andnet or ethiopiawinet. He has a right to say that and leave as an Ethiopian. Problem is, he wants to open my mouth and force his Ethiopiawinet deep through my throat by belittling the struggle of my fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers.
    His political understanding of Eritrea is very shallow and the time machine he uses to analyse things is screwed. He belives that if the present situation is bad, the past must have been bad and the future will also be worst.

  • Aida Biedemariam

    As a person who always is keen in holding myself from involvement in any political organization I found it difficult not to observe the hardships the Eritreans and Ethiopians have dealing with facts. Facts are never interesting if they do not serve a propaganda purpose.
    The demhits active involvement in arresting Eritreans is nothing made up; it is a fact and not fiction. I personally understood the words tigrians use for id-card as a evidens of that the people who were there to conduct the gifa were tigrians and not eritreans but nothing more.

    Yosef seems to have problem to see Eritrea separated from Ethiopia and he is entitled to have his opinion but it would be honourable for him if he is honest about it. I would be surprised to see him write about the killings of Eritrean asylum seekers in Ethiopia by Ethiopian soldiers because it would show the brutality of Ethiopians and he would not like that.

    I remember when Ethiopia and USA wanted to list Eritrea as a state sponsor of terrorism. For Yosef all of us who did not like Eritrea to be put on that list were Isayas supporters. The worst thing is the luck of common-sense shown by when they supported this mission. They did the same mistake like they did being propaganda machine for Isayases war of 1998.

    Born in Hailesilases time I knew nothing about the history of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Both Eritreans and Ethiopians had their separate way of telling the facts. They twist the story as is suits them. The truth is I had to read what the Europians wrote to understand the whole process and that most Christian highlanders welcomed Hailesilassie.

    I agree on one thing with Yosef, the majority when watching the list of the people who are dying while fleeing the country or at war is the Christian population and that is not what awate. com would acknowledge. Because awate would like to believe those who are suffering the most are Muslim Eritreans.
    Why then are almost all of Isayas die-hard supporters are Christian is obvious. It is because he is Christian. I would prefer foreigner as a leader that treats Eritreans with dignity than Eritrean who enjoys humiliating and starving its own people.
    I believe that anyone should accept facts even if they are uncomfortable and differ on theory of why it happened and how we can prevent it from happening in the future.
    Denying the facts make us repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

    • L.T

      Our point of “Adenetawiyan” have no the mian stream of this awate communiction research and we may also find evidence of past practices when we examine the general question of “Andenetawiyan and Commndos” issues.Yet research shows this is not the case.There is a danger here of oversimplification,becouse there are scholars in diaspora,even in the early days who adopted a different,more critical to “Eritra to Eritawiyan”like Abun Prof Habtu Gebraeb,Prof Mesfin Araya,Prof Bereketaeb H.Sillasie,,Selam Col Kidane,Asefaw G.Kidan,Aida Kidane,Prof Gaim Kibraeb,Prof Pawlos Afeweqi,Dr Yieabio,Yossief,Yieabio,Tesfayee Siuom…..There is a task here for us in the clearer articulation to focus more on individuals and their communication needs.

  • Michael

    I read YG article and this one and I completely agree with Eyob’s comment on this one.

  • haile

    Selamat Saay awatistas and Sofia T/Mariam

    Saay what a great narrative on wedi tikabo. Going from here on, I think wedi tkabo needs to be in charge of his activities. This involves having his own official outlet (I was surprised to see a YouTube of his latest song with the claim [official] by someone called Yerhiwo 🙂 ) It should really come out from his own firm (something like Wedi Tkabo Music and Art Inc.) There are many artists who have recently deserted PFDJ and it is not encouraging to see them not organize their work effectively. Wedi Tkabo needs to carefully build his empire and not be taken for a ride by middle men (the likes of Fish Bahlina and others have artistic blood on their hand).

    On YG, I am impressed that you read his intelectual mewasawesi on the Demhit saga. I think is is strange that this guy runaway from his assignment to investigate kebessa baptismal naming conventions. IMO it may be euphoric act on his part because he was calling for Ethiopia to intervene for so long and he thought they finally took control of Asmara. According to an article in assenna sometime ago (that I found funny) Asmara kids were heard saying “woyane kgefu wi’Elom” at the time. YG must have taken a lead from that 🙂

    Sofia T/mariam

    I was flabbergasted on how you failed to see beyond rhetoric as regards the 22 intellectuals.

    Now, everyone knows those 22 didn’t have a clue and spot on in mentioning that they have an ex-chair of NUEYS. But that was obvious from the fact that they didn’t address their letter to azazi serhit zoba maekel, azazi serhit zoba debub… instead they wrot to Minister so and so (werdiwo minister:) You seem, however, to be lost for the right prefix letter as D22 L22..were some you mentioned. I suppose you got the D from your other friend’s (Gidus Ertrawi and Tewelde B’Emnet “defeatists” characterization). Forget that I would say C-22 for catch 22, they wasted their valuable time and innocence in writing a letter to someone who accuses them of not being there for the nation when they are “not writing” and for writing a damned letter instead of attending mekhete for doing so.

    What was strange however, you should have been happy to deal with new faces, that would have shown that you are open for business. I think you blew it 🙂


    • saay

      Haile (the great):

      Since you are an informal adviser and probably human smuggler of Wedi Tikabo 🙂 here are some things you can pass on to him:

      1. Branding: he has to choose his name. Wedi Tikabo. Wedi Tukabo. Yohannes Tikabo. Yohannes Tukabo. John Tikabo. John Tukabo. Johnnie. Tkabo. How many combinations is that?
      2. Video titling and tagging: Have you noticed that Eritreans post videos that indicate the thrill of the moment? “New 2010!”, “Newest 2011”, “Eritrea NEW 2009!” If you are looking for a Tigre song, it is even worse: “Eritrea Tigre song New!” Of course, this is entirely useless when you are searching for a video in 2013. There has to be some naming convention: I would go with name, song name, year. And then in the tagging (most important) a description of the song would be helpful.
      3. He needs a youtube channel where he places all his videos.

      On YG, I felt sorry for the Kebessa Man’s Burden he has to carry. When people were reading the list of the Lampedusa survivors, he was scanning the names not just to identify who is from Kebessa and who is not, but also who has maintained the Habesha naming tradition and who has veered off to the Ghedli names. Thus: He has to interrupt the series on Eritrean Names, with a series on Kebessa’s alleged suicide, which he has to interrupt with a series on De.M.H.T. Atlas is getting tired and you can see the symptoms: he is attacking his constituency as fools, which is a sure sign of exasperation (I noticed that happens in US politics: when Republicans or Democrats get trounced, they eventually insult their own constituents (Amercians) as being not as smart as they are: they are being fooled? They are “low information voters”, a polite way of saying dummies. That is the dead-end YG and his disciples have reached. And who is fooling them? That is when we get deep into the absurd: it turns out it is seb yegagyu zelewu.

      On Sophia T/Mariam, I am a little behind. From your writing, I am to assume that she replied to G22 (h/t to Papillon)? I am a little behind, I guess.


      • Selam Sal,

        I am kind of lost on the following excerpt from your excellent rebuttal of YG’s accusation of Awate’s report on DeMHIT.

        You said ,

        Atlas is getting tired and you can see the symptoms: he is attacking his constituency as fools, which is a sure sign of exasperation … as being not as smart as they are: they are being fooled? They are “low information voters”, a polite way of saying dummies. That is the dead-end YG and his disciples have reached. And who is fooling them? That is when we get deep into the absurd: it turns out it is seb yegagyu zelewu.

        Under a title De-Romanticizing Ghedli: Serving A Toxic Brew To The Young & The Disillusioned (Y&D) , you refered to many readers who generally accept YG’s argument as young and disillusioned, suggesting that his readers/followers are in effect misinformed, naive and easily persuaded.

        Given seemingly condescending statements from both of you (YG + Sal) , do you think accusation of elitism is unfair? What makes you that you are not talking out of both sides of your mouth?

        • saay

          Selamat Dawit:

          Excellent point. Let me see if I can try to make a distinction.

          My criticism of the young and disillusioned was made in sadness: look at all these young people who have been so abused by Tegadelti they hate Ghedli and YG is exploiting their vulnerability. I equated the disillusionment of the young with those of Algerian youth (unemployed youth) whose Tegadelti monopolized power and abused them. It’s the voice of an older Eritrean talking to young and ill-informed Eritreans.

          In contrast, YGs tone is not sadness but contempt. He is talking to his contemporaries (people his age) and telling them he has wisdom they do not have. And because he is trying to educate them about something they experienced first hand (why Eritreans took to the fields) and attempting to explain it by being silent as a church mouse about the crimes of two successive Ethiopian governments, he is hitting the wall. Now after years of using every emotional appeal, he is at the bottom of the well–you fools: the Muslims are tricking you! And the ones who are cheering him the loudest (read responses to his articles) are either from people who hate Islam ( not Islamic extremism but Islam) or One Ethiopia dreamers (this time comiuflaged with “Habesha” garb.). He cannot dare not make an assertive statement that Eritrea = Christian +Muslim. That Eritrea = highland+ lowland or that Eritreans are Eritreans by rational choice without losing his audiences so he will contine to go deeper and deeper into some Yosephville, where a passionate but tiny segment of Eritreans and Ethiopians (mostly Haile Selasse aficionados) will cheer him. The youth? Well, the romantics will prevail over the nihilists because the nihilists are by definition too cynical to believe in anything.


      • haile

        Hey Saay

        On YG…haha I would have continued laughing if it wasn’t for the tragic twist the topic has to it (hope you get me:)

        On Sophia.. yes and no and yes. The 22 have been getting a definite flak from the operatives [a yes], they still haven’t got a “Dear Enginere” reply from IA and one from each minister [is a no}, major regime mouthpieces have been propagating the informal reply there by associating it with the regime [another yes]. Here is how it all was given to them:

        1 – Gidus Eritreawi politely told them that their letter’s content would be hard to believe to even have come from an elementary school level kid, “chira harmaz R’Ekhum harmaz temen’yu aytbelu”

        2 – This was followed by a certain Tewolde who stated categorically that these 22 are the latest sighting of the “defeatists” only this time sent by Shiela Ketriut of UNSC HR rapportour. That pretty much sealed their fate.

        3 – Finally Sophia Tesfamariam came along to blast them that they are not even “one of us [PFDJ]” as they didn’t pay attention of the Embatkala re-organization that saw the NUEYS chairman out. She even mused at the relevance of their title in their ill fated letter (I think btsay and btseyti was what she was looking for] 🙂

        So far there is no such a letter as:

        “Dear Compatriots
        The GSE has received your letter dated XXXX. After careful review of its content, we wish to invite you, and other interested parties you wish to invite, to a meeting to further discuss and exchange views on the issues raised. We take this opportunity to thank you for the interest you have shown and encourage you to remain seized of such matters pertinent to peace and development of the country of your fathers and mothers. We hope to see you all at Hotel Intercontinental Asmara. Reserve your places in advance. Peace out, GSE”

        Instead, they keep punch them left and right zehmqo aloni, and poor muhurat must be dazed by now 🙂

      • yohannes

        hi,salih , a admire you, you are a good writer,But wedi tikabo was a singer for almost 20 years, even you never mention his name before, but whats that all(WUDASETAT)even when you hear in his interview with ASENA he mention all those giving me bad names when i was in eritrea now to name me (jigna)its not right,i dont know you go to eritrea to visit your family ,i mean in eritrea his popularity is never high (approval rate) almost if you ask eritrean youth in eritrea the singer they like is(allah yerhamu)its ABRHAM AFEWORKI if you see in the screen saver most youth use his picture, and second singer the youth like is SHILAN,i wish wedi tikabo luck,if i can give him advice, to be succesful people to like him, to stay away from(mumerdin)i mean from those useless opposition groups,,,thanks

        • saay

          Selamat Yohannes:

          When you swing the bat, make sure you don’t miss. Here’s what I wrote in November 2006, after Abraham Afwerki passed away:

          The Passing of A Star

          I really thought Abraham Afewerki was going to do for Eritrean music what Khaled did for Algerian (Rai), Oliver Mtukudezi for Zimbabwean, what Habib Kote did for Mali or what Teddy Afro will certainly do for Ethiopian music within a few years: internationalize it; get our songs played at college concerts and Starbucks. (Hopefully, we will be spared the dentist office and the hotel lobby.) Abraham had the talent and, crucially, a knack for marketing and, rare for Eritrean musicians, his songs were love songs you would have to search hard to find the derEmom, Hredom, Hamotom afsesom in his song collection. He was a prophet of love and peace. Literally days before he died, Ben from (a man I am proud to call wendmye) had an audio editorial where he expressed his dreams of seeing a Teddy Afro-Abraham Afwerki join tour.

          A star has passed, but we still have many more. To appreciate them while living, when was the last time you listened to Wedi Tukabo? A friend once told us that when Yemane Barya died, Wedi Tukabo just would not leave the das he was lingering around for days and maybe weeks. Just absorbing the legend’s aura. Well, the osmosis is complete. No disrespect to Yemane, but I think Johnny Tukabo has more talent as youtube is my witness. If Abraham had the potential to make the world love Eritrean music, Wedi Tukabo has an even more ambitious goal: to make Eritreans remain in love with Eritrea. Despite the brutes who rule it.

          Ah, the Internet…

          Incidentally, the article is actually mostly about what Serray, Meron, Sabri, Amanuel and Gadi are debating: the “developmental state.” The Chinese characters for Africa translate to “wrong continent.”


          • Selam Saay,

            I don’t know whether it is a slip of memory loss or a miss, but I haven’t read your 2006 article as linked.

            Regarding “DS” I was arguing about the nature of government. And DS is an economic policy and I have no clue why Meron brought it to the debate when we are debating about structure of government. I hope Meron and the rest understood DS as “economic policy”. If there is a problem with “DS” in African countries it is with the nature of the government. But this is another topic for anther time.

          • Sabri


            DS is more than economic policy. It is a kind of a system one country choose. DS penetrates almost all aspects of life: economic, political, cultural etc. DS can be friendly with globalization, privatization but it is totally against neo liberalism. To say DS is only economic policy underestimates its scope.


          • Ermias

            Oh my, I have to admit, I thought you had suddenly fallen in love with WT songs but I was dead wrong. As many of your articles as I have read, I didn’t come across the one you dag out of the archives. Another reason for me to have followed you since the late 1990’s or early 2000’s. Salih Younis – an Eritrean genius. You are a living legend.

          • saay

            Oh stop, Ermias 🙂

            I am just a writer whose output is subject to the whims of the muse: sometimes a gem, sometimes a dud, and mostly things with a built in expiration date

            The one I pulled from the archives is not bad: it talks about gffa and how to do it in a manner which disempowers Eritreans, a Development model for a nation, report cards on Eritrea, and Wedi Tkabo. What we discussed in 06 is what we are discussing in 13.

            Thanks btw Ermias. Don’t give me a big head; I don’t have the neck for it.


          • Sabri,

            May be you could call it economic philosophy “against neo-liberalism” But it is not yet taken as economic philosophy. It is a hypothesis and yet on experiment on the ground.PM Melles on his doctoral thesis (though unfinished) “The African development:Dead end and new Beginning” have argued DS for developing countries as the new beginning. Did I re-frame my comment?

          • Sabri

            Selam Emma,

            I don’t agree DS is an economic philosophy. It is not either hypothesis. DS has been practiced more than 4 decades and proved it works. Of course the term DS is relatively new. DS, as The Economist aptly described is state capitalism. DS as state-led economy is one of the main factor behind the success story of South East Asian countries. What Meles wrote is not new. He was mostly inspired by the great economist Joseph Stiglirz who founded in 2000 the alternative institution at Colombia University. Meles was a close friend of Stiglitz. Meles after the split within his organization in 2000 he must forward new concept as an alternative to his Mllt. Meles found DS perfectly match his interest and pushed vigorously to implement it both at Africa and Ethiopia level.

        • rodab

          You are onto something about Wedi Tikabo’s “rating”. Not to underestimate my fellow qedamay zurya but I know Sal is gambling when he declared, “Yohannes Tikabo is the best lyricist Eritrea has produced. Ever.” Even if you look on the age group Wedi Tikabo is in, you’ve got reputable artists like Dawit Shilan, Temesgen Taniqo, Jemal Romedan, Tesfalem Korchach, Senayit Amine, Feven Tsegay, Kiros ‘meAt were’, Solome MaHray and more. [What’s with the nick names anyway? Almost every male artist got them. If America is a nation that loves abreviations and acronomys, Eritrea is a nation obssessed with nicknames]

  • welde

    “There is something going here; it is the same old something. I have never heard Tigrayans insulting Eritreans because they dared to be an independent State. Tigrayans, under the leadership of the TPLF, were the first Ethiopians to support Eritrea’s cause for independence and they made more compelling reasons for why it is a just cause that even some Eritreans made. They held to that principle min al bidaya li nehaya. They never wavered.”

    Is it really you Mr SAL or somebody massacring you Mr Sal?
    I have never thought that I would read such betrayal from Mr SAL…

    What will the hardliners Eritreans, HIGDEF and oppositions, would say? An acknowledgement of the very fact that TPLF was never an enemy of the Eritrean people desire for independent would be a bitter pill to swallow for them. I hope you would continue to write and destroy the myth that Tigray was /is against the Eritrean independent. All the nation and nationalities of Ethiopia support and accept the independence of Eritrea as determined by the overwhelming majority of Eritrean in the 1993 referendum, anything else is a wishful thinking.

    • saay

      Selamat Welde:

      Hope this answers your question, of just another prior time I was grateful to the Great Weayanai:

      There are others where I thank Weyane Tigray for being the only organization in the world whose support for the Eritrean cause was consistent. None of the “Arab” countries consistently supported Eritrea. Of course, to Weyane Tigray, the “Eritrean cause” meant the “EPLF cause” and they had no hesitation in liquidating its enemies, including other Eritreans, but that also applies to EPLF.


  • BerheTensea

    Excellent points, that is very informative article. Thankyou very much

  • Lula

    Mr. Saay: Big mistake!

    YG doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Wedi Tikabo. The difference being: YG is ignored while Wedi Tikabo is celebrated.

  • Lula

    Wedi Tikabo is the best Warsay ever!

    There are other Warsays that are very, very good also: Jemal Romodan (Gezana, Nski Do Tibideli…etc) Korchach and others.

    Among the ladies: Helen Meles is still the Queen.

  • beyan negash


    Seeing the title of your article prompted me to read it right away because wedi Tkabo’s song was one that really got me out of that melancholic stupor I have been in since the infamous tragedy of October 3rd. I listened to it so often at home that my kids were getting agitated by it – I resolved that by using ear-piece instead. At times you use Muse to express your appreciation of certain articles, and I think you used it as recently as when you expressed your appreciation to Semere’s latest article.

    When I first heard weddi Tikabo’s Hadnetna that is what came to mind; his Muse springs from seeking refuge in ghedli. He gets his inspiration from it and he did excellent job in taking us to that emotional place where no amount of article writings can do. So, while Wedi Tikabo’s Muse reaches us to the realms of that emotional place Yosief’s Muse reaches to the faculty of our intelligence using the same source as that of wedi Tikabo’s, thereby, challenging us to think, to resist, to rebuttal him hence.

    There are some nine Muses that the western civilization alludes to, ranging from Muse of history, of music, lyric, and love, to the Muse of tragedy, sacred poetry; from Muse of dancing to the Muse of comedy, and finally to the Muse of Astronomy as they literally carry the object that corresponds to whatever Muse was calling on them.

    I couldn’t help but wonder where might Eritreans authentic Muses, such that of Wedi Tikabo’s being ghedli, could emanate from. Here are random Muses a la Eritrean style: Muse of Mariam DaArit, Gabriel, and Michael. Muse of Shakh Jemil, AbulQadir Jelani, and Ziyara Abi Addi. I bet , between you and Haile you could come up with far better Muses that I could ever compile here, but you get my point.


  • L.T

    Some say Salih also wrote”yamarinna sewasiw-Amharic”Be’idmey kesenebet,kullun nemray-To live long to see much-,”Anenn Yarkutyen”-I and my friends-,”Nay De.M.H.Tn Gffan Tarik”-History of Tigria-“Wedi Teqabo Ney melqes z’ema”-Wedi Tiqabos,s songs of Grief.
    Qennaz/mach Yowhanns Tiqabo was a man of many talents and he was not only a great patriot also a kind of engin/eer for Isaiasim,one of my favourites he had been.He was completely”self duty”.Wedi Tiqabu was very young(1998)when he became Fittwrarri a senior Azmarri,a famous writer(!).there was no man like wedi Tiqabo…”ati gobo seb alewo”.
    Some of Salih’s articles may have remained with him for the rest of his life and reflected in much of his writing.L.T had not been “happy” wiith Salih.
    Lijj Tamrat of Norway,Bitwedded Iyob and Qonjit enemy’s friend is my enemy”.Hayat still had problems w+th her health.
    Salih in line with Tega/haru principle and saying…wedi Tiqabo

  • Eyob Medhane


    Do you remember that I told you the speech you have made to “attendants of an event organized by Eritrean and international human rights activists and was attended by Eritreans, friends of Eritrea, the Africa Desk of the UN” was one of your best speeches and writings? Well, if that is the case, this one must be one of your WORST writings. I mean by far. I have no idea how you went from that to this.

    First of all YG’s argument has never been and it never is that “…foreigners are being identified as foreigners and it is, gasp, actually being reported. …” I know that you know VERY WELL that his argument is “rounding up young Eritreans and subject them to modern slavery is worse and alarming than, who is doing the rounding up. The accent of those, who do the rounding up is trivial and very secondary than young people being subjected to to ‘giffa’. But apparently no one is wanted to focus on that isn’t it? Rather than young people being round up and dumped in a concentration camps, people wanted to focus on how those who are rounding them use correct phrases, when they ship them to sawa. It is very much evident how the Kebessa is being made to look the other way, while they self destruct. The pattern is the same, and it is working like a clock work. You tell them that they have “..courage, creativity, defiance, determination, faith, honor, purposefulness, sacrifice, steadfastness, strength, and volunteerism…”. You boost their ego, let them glide to the moon by it until they lose sight to the fact that it is them, who die in the high seas, in Sinai and end up in refugee camps. That is wrong, Sal. That is just wrong. It is not only wrong, it is also intellectually dishonest. As I already mentioned couple of times, when you made that neat demographic statistics, about the citizenship, age and gender of the Lampedusa survivors, you conveniently left out the fact that almost all of them are highlanders and Christians. Your come back for that was, “oh, if I have to break down that kind of demographic, I would have to go to identify how many from which region and that would be too complicated”. That is a very weak cover up and very lame excuse not to acknowledge that somehow Kebessa Christians have been targeted to be pushed out. The worst part is they are also deliberately made not to be aware of it. Anyway, I hope God will see and reveal to them what is being done to them…..

    • Thomas

      You have a strong point there. I think Saay’s motive in replying to YG was because YG’s article on his brother, Ali Abdu and the DIA’ mustache admiration/copying stuff. I think Saay needs to stop being sensitive when his brother, the former of servant of DIA, is picked up for the obvious reasons. No one can forget how Ali Abdu defended DIA. Ali Abdu was very rude and obviously has mislead the international society/medias such VOA, Reuters, etc. In short, he had contributed to our disaster by encouraging DIA and the other criminals. This can never denied. Saay – you must not be defensive and go after whoever is blaming your brother. To you, it is about love for your brother and to us it is the crime that your brother has committed. Your brother needs to come out and apologize for this wrong doings. It is really strange to see you making everything about DIA and not the ministers (his loyalties – the most was your brother Ali Abdu)

      • saay

        Selamat Thomas:

        I didn’t see THAT one coming. The moustache bit was in the satire, with which I have no problem because it is satire.

        My critique was of his “Kebessa Suicide” piece and only as it relates to his hypersensitivity about DeMHT accents. I have been replying to the quackery of YG before during and after Ali Abdu demobilized himself. And be careful with the “we” stuff: in an Eritrea with rule of law and justice all public Eritreans will have to account for what they did– including those who were rooting for The king, you know the nech lebash, militia srnay 🙂


        • Thomas

          Hi saay,

          I really like your firm standing in seeking justice and in our struggle to get rid of the beasts/blood suckers who are exterminating our people and our beloved nation. We are even need more know than anytime before to be united and work together hand in hand to save lives of our beloved citizens. I wish to see the rage between and YG stopped for the seek of our nation and people. I think you guys are a big deal when viewed from each eritrean citizens. We have lots for respect for you and we would expect to see/go for something bigger than acting and reacting to individuals like YG. I know YG is just fighting back because awatistas are accusing YG working for the unification of Ethio-Eritrea. This is no different than the regime supporters accusing anyone who is against the regime as a weyane sell out. What makes your accusation worst is that the person being accused is an Eritrean and is a very dedicated person who dreams day in day out to see justice and law abiding government installed to govern our beloved nation. The regime is a universal killer and there is no kebesa – kola (highlanders and lowlanders in this case). The fighting going on between awate and YG just outrageous. Could you guys see the big picture and ovoid fighting with YG. It is just destructive. Our people are smart enough to know who is pursuing what agenda. Rest assured, there will never be kebessa and lowlander quarrel. Let’s just unit and eliminate our universal killer, the HIGDEF regime.

          • Thomas

            please read,
            We are needed even more now than………….

    • saay

      Selamat Eyobai:

      First advice: do not play poker. You do not have a poker face. When you get mad, you can’t hide it, you just explode. I used to advise you to take your diabetes pills but now I have decided it is best to give you time to cool off. Now that it has been a good 12 hours, lets try this:

      1. At, there is no gate control. Once you are in, you are in and you can say anything you want. But, at the end of the day: you are an Ethiopian. It is important that you remember it and the readers remember it because we are talking about Eritrea. When policy is being designed and implemented you will be on the other side of Mereb observing. You are not a stakeholder. Agreed?

      2. The awfulness of Gffa (round up) is something that is covered by every Eritrean website, paltalk room, oppo radio station and every Eritrean opposition group. In fact, most Eritrean opposition groups who have a news outlet have no news other than that there was a gffa going on in Eritrea. In Eritrea, the gffa organizers, themselves Eritrean agelglot, were in a low-level civil disobedience. By that we mean: they would text their friends and tell them to stay away from neighborhood xyz because there was a gffa campaign scheduled. That is: gffa was being sabotaged UNTIL Isaias, creative as usual, decided to use De.M.H.T. (who have absolutely no stake in Eritrea, and have no relations, nobody they know, ie. a mercenary army) to conduct the gffa. So your (and YGs lecture) about how Eritreans are indifferent to the nature of gffa is, as usual, ill-informed. (That’s a polite way of saying: it is shockingly arrogant and stupid.) The headline news was that gffa was failing because Eritreans were refusing to co-operate and Isaias found agents who would.

      3. To you, and YG, the fact that Ethiopians (habesha?) are participating in rounding up Eritreans is no big deal. YG lives in some imaginary world (Yosephville) where highland Eritreans and Ethiopians live in a state of bliss…but you know better because you live (at least psychologically) in Ethiopia. Imagine Eritreans (highlanders at that) were part of order enforcement unit in Ethiopia: how would that be accepted by your Amara (habesha) cousins? You know better: please don’t toy with the idealist heart of YG. You were ready to dump YG and all his cries for justice the minute you got a hint that Isaias Afwerki is ready to talk to your prime minister, remember? Don’t make me retrieve the archives:) So, to us (ordinary Eritreans) Ethiopians rounding up Eritreans is no different than Sudanese rounding up Eritreans. You know that your foreign minister told us: our relationship with Eritreans is no deeper, no better, than our relationship with Kenya, Somalia, Sudan. So please don’t toy with the poor Habesha heart of YG which is stuck in 1972.

      4. You really are beyond clueless if you are thinking I am boosting the the ego of Eritrean highlanders by mentioning words like “courage, creativity, defiance, determination, faith, honor, purposefulness, sacrifice, steadfastness, strength, and volunteerism.” These are the highest virtues of the Eritrean revolution which is owned not just by Eritrean highlanders by all of Eritrea. Man, they invented it, and they live it. Listen to the interview of Yohannes Tkabo. Listen to the presentation that Eritreans in Israel made in commemoration of Lampedusa: these Eritreans, mostly highlanders, mostly opposed to the Isaias regime, mostly stateless and waiting for their asylum papers to clear, ended their commemoration with a Moment of Silence and “victory to the masses” chant straight from the EPLF. Your case is lost Eyob. You lost. Just like you chose an identity with the Southern nations and nationalities and Ogaden, the Eritrean highlanders chose an identity, an Eritrean identity, in partnerships with their lowland and Muslim compatriots which they paid for in blood, in tears and sacrifices and they are not going to trade it for whatever habesha glory you are selling. It stings, but get used to it now or you will have a life of disappointment.

      5. You misunderstood my argument as to the micro identity of Eritreans. We at (take your time, research it) are liberal democrat Eritreans: we do not advocate Islamic issues or lowland issues exclusively or predominantly. This is the factual inconvenience, the wall, that YG and his disciples (you included) face. We are for an Eritrea that is governed by liberal democratic values. Anything that we think takes away from that (including irresponsible journalism) we are fiercely verbal about. We published the name of the survivors of Lampedusa. We published the names of the martyrs (yes, martyrs) of the 1998-2000 border war. We will organize it, analyze it in every way except in religious and regional terms. You know why? Because, when you are studying it from South of the Mereb, and YG is studying it from Los Angeles, it is Eritreans in Eritrea who have to live with managing it. NOT YOU. And we have a higher responsibility. You want to mention that 90% of those who died in Lampedusa were Eritrean highlanders? Fine. Go ahead now and tell us where from the highlands they were. (We know that too: should we itemize it?) Then, tell us what percentage of Eritreans who leave their countries live in Sudan because they know nobody who lives in Europe or North America and, oh, what is their religion and region? (We know that too: should we list it?) In short, with all due respect, you are out of your element: you, and YG for that matter, do not know the Eritrean society in anything but the most superficial sense to make declarations. I will give you one example in this regard: you have been railing about how Arabic was chosen over Tigre as the co-official language. You know WHO was a decisive factor in that decision? It was the Tigre. You are a “Google Eritrean” and we are Eritreans who have to live with the consequences of what we say and do.

      In short everything you prescribe for Eritrea is something you would never accept for Ethiopia. An assertive and resurgent Habesha identity? you would never do that in Southern Ethiopia and Southeast Ethiopia. But you propose it for Eritrea. Reconsidering the negotiated and agreed upon official language? You would never ask for reconsidering Amharic as the official language of Ethiopia, but you will ask why Tigirnia? Why Arabic? Questioning heroism and gallantry faith and honor in Ethiopia? Hell no: you celebrate it in Ethiopian history, but you mock it in Eritrean history (Ghedli.) I know why you do all that, but it is unkind of you and downright cruel for you to give hope to YG that there is a chance that this world–a world you would never accept in Ethiopia–will ever be accepted in Eritrea.

      Eyobai, Ethiopia is beautiful. But when it comes to Eritrea, it lost. Here’s a song for you: Bob segar’s “beautiful loser”. It’s a good one; send a copy to YG 🙂


      • beyan negash


        Eloquent counter argument. Far better than the article itself – blow by blow – I am not sure if Eyob is going to have any fodder left in his cannon to fire back. And this is not even round five yet and TKO may be in order soon. Once that is declared, Ted Pendergrass’s TKO will be on the ready to be played all day.


      • Eyob Medhane


        I will start from number 5 and work my up to number 1.

        5) The identity of Eritreans, particularly the subject of the discussion the list of Lampedusa survivors and victims is not that much complicated to identify, if they are Kebessa Christians or not. Their names tells it. In the case of the victims, their origins are also identified. That would make over 90% of them Kebessa, Eritreans. It does not matter one identified that from Los Angeles, Tesenei, Asmara or Addis Ababa. To tell that neither YG nor I din’t have to have the “inside scoop” you may have. And that list tells us that almost all of them are highlander Christians. No matter how you sugar coat it, that fact can not be changed. About me prescribing language to Eritrea, I don’t remember, when I did that. I don’t think I have ever said that Eritrean official language should be this or that. I of course always said that Arabic is being imposed on Eritreans, Tigre is becoming extinct by coercion and imposition and Habesha culture is being rammed over by align cultures. None of these of what I said suggest what my preference is for an official language in Eritrea. I however remember that you yourself said there is no difference between ‘official language’ and ‘working language’, except semantics. Since Ethiopia’s ‘working language’ is Amharic, according to you, it would make it an ‘official language’ of Ethiopia. Hence, I don’t have to wish to make Amharic an official language in Ethiopia. It already is. About being a “beautiful loser”, I am sure the ‘victory’ is doing wonders for you.

        4) Yes. I do believe that you are boosting Eritrean highlanders ego with those phrases and I also do believe that is strategic. We all know and heard all sort of bravado and the ‘we are number one’ ‘gura’, largely coming from Eritrean Kebessa. What I see is the unrealistic and over inflated view of themselves being put to a ‘good use’ for their own self suicide mission. Having in mind the existing prejudice and whispering to them that ‘they are out of this world special’ , especially way better than those of their kin, who would say “mewesawesi” (ewwwwww) rather than “menqesaqesi”. That will do it to them, wouldn’t it? Keep them separated and as far away as possible from Tigrians and other Ethiopians so they wouldn’t point out to them and, if necessary help them out of the predicament they are in. Of course the rest of Eritreans that are not Kebessa do not have the burden that is befallen on Kebessa, and in fact are encouraged to look to their kins across Sudan or across the red sea to be influenced by their language and culture. As you said, if Eritrean Kebessa have chosen an identity in “partnership” with their lowland and muslim compatriots definitively, they would not have been the only ones, who are dying the high sees and in the Sinai. The truth is it is being afraid that they may look and call for help across the border. Therefore, it is better to keep them occupied with trivial matters, boosted ego and smoke screen.

        3) You are right. It is NO BIG DEAL, who whips, as long as one is being whipped. Flip the coin, Sal. What matters to you is that a Tigrigna speaker with a different accent rounding up people and put then in a concentration camp? Would it be better, if someone with a perfect Asmarino accent do the same thing? This is where your argument falls apart. For the young men, who ever rounds them up to ship them to sawa, both way they would end up in a concentration camp. Of course, what would outrage you most is not that. The guy, who took the young men to sawa asked for “mewesawesi” right before, he sends them there. For the question you asked me, how that would be perceived in Ethiopia. Well, people would be angry that they would be getting rounded up to a concentration camp rather than how the guy, who rounded them up asked for their “metaweqya”. That was the reason why, TPLF marched to Bahirdar with out firing a single shot. And they did do the marching through all of Gojjam asking people for their “mewesawesi”. People care less, about what language they spoke. They just wanted them to relieve them from ‘Beherawi wutiderna Affesa (giffa)’.

        2) Because so many times the awfulness of ‘giffa’ has been discussed on Eritrean websites and it is a well known fact in Eritrea, this is now the time to discuss about the funny accent of those, who do the ‘giffa’? That’s an interesting logic, but hey, you know better.

        1) Agreed. Now, I am going to shut up. You do your thing…

        • Zaul


          Do continue your writings please, you bring a fresh perspective.

          The obsession with the demographic distribution, religious affiliation and ethnicity is quite disturbing and I have seen it from both camps. If we only can live together by competing wombs, then we’re all doomed.

          If we Eritreans as a nation are to have a common a future we must be able to identify what the pillars of Eritrea are without taboos, politicizing, accusations, crocodile tears and cries for democracy and human rights in name only:

          – Our commonalities pre-Italian colonialism?
          – 1941-1951.
          – 1952 federation constitution (Not a holy book).
          – The events that took place 1951-1961.
          – The events that took place 1961-1971.
          – The events that took place 1971-1981.
          – 1981-1991
          – 1991-2001 (relations w Sudan,1997 constitution (not holy), the Border war)

          – 2002 — Present. What is the damage?
          – The way forward, what can we learn from our history?

          Article 39 might not be such a bad idea after all?

          ” Article 39. Rights of Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples

          1. Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has an unconditional right to self-determination, including the right to secession.

          2. Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has the right to speak, to write and to develop its own language; to express, to develop and to promote its culture; and to preserve its history.

          3. Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has the right to a full measure of self-government which includes the right to establish institutions of government in the territory that it inhabits and to equitable representation in state and Federal governments.

          4. The right to self-determination, including secession, of every Nation, Nationality and People shall come into effect:

          (a) When a demand for secession has been approved by a two-thirds majority of the members of the legislative Council of the Nation, Nationality or People concerned;

          (b) When the Federal Government has organized a referendum which must take place within three years from the time it received the concerned council’s decision for secession;

          (c) When the demand for secession is supported by a majority vote in the referendum;

          (d) When the Federal Government will have transferred its powers to the Council of the Nation, Nationality or People who has voted to secede; and

          (e) When die division of assets is effected in a manner prescribed by law.

          5. A “Nation, Nationality or People” for the purpose of this Constitution, is a group of people who have or share a large measure of a common culture or similar customs, mutual intelligibility of language, belief in a common or related identities, a common psychological make-up, and who inhabit an identifiable predominantly contiguous territory “

          • Zaul

            Here is a interesting read on Eritrean politics from 2010.

            Yosief G and Saleh Y, a message to you.

            “There is a diversion in the Eritrean question. A symptom that for years has been confined to a perverted few has now become a national epidemic and is capable of distracting the Eritrean public from attaining the national goal: The goal where all, the governor and the governed, would abide by the law; where all can freely access available opportunities and share the benefits, and where the poor and disadvantaged would be guaranteed social protection and equal advancement – at least in the realm of the law. These goals are now being endangered. Today, sub-national goals with religion as the main dividing line are solidly installed into the Eritrean psyche. What used to be a taboo, the wisdom of the ‘Aynefalale’ slogan, has now become a standard mark of activism, albeit evil, and an instrument for agitating people. The sad turn, however, and most disturbing one, is that Moslem intellectuals, the once ardent nationalist vanguards, are now joining this mishmash politics. Today, for Moslem and Christian intellectuals to work together and guide the public in attaining higher concepts of national values requires not only strong individual determination and commitment but also a unity of purpose. They need to indulge in mind-storming discussions with one and only one objective in mind: finding the most feasible formula for Eritrea. They have to be strong enough not to be a part of the problem, but a means of finding the solution to the problem.”


          • saay

            Zaul (Great name):

            From this end, do not worry. You see, I prefer to work with Haile (Ghezae, Serray, Semere, Sabri…) or any other liberal democrat. If I can’t have that, I will work with Nitricc, Meron, Selam BEFORE I partner with YG. You know why? At the end of the day, all the people I mentioned, understand/appreciate/guard Eritrea. ፍረኖ ኣለዎም:: They are not going to sing me Habesha songs and deliver me to Ethiopia. I cannot say that for YG and his disciples. They mock Eritrean nationalism, they ridicule it. They call my country “artificial” and “manufactured.” They insult its heroes and praise its villains. So, yes, I will be awed by his talent and yes, I will enjoy reading him but I don’t consider him a partner because he is willing to negotiate away everything because he doesn’t believe in Eritrea other than using it as an example of colonialism gone wild.


        • Rahwa G


          Great reply. Hope you won’t disappear for good.

          • Beyan Negash

            Dear Zaul,

            You captured the whole essence of the issue in one paragraph and I look forward to reading the link you sent. In my response to Haile in a different thread I address to some of the thoughts that you present here. Really timely note as I have no doubt, based on your note, the link will be even something more enlightening in this regard.


        • saay

          Selamat Eyob:

          Ah, you are doing it again. How would Ethiopians in Meqele have reacted if they learned that a demonstration they were holding to dispute the results of the 2005 elections… Wait change Mekele to Addis…how would they have reacted if they learned those with the sticks, assisting the Akaki special forces, are their Habesha cousins from Eritrea?

          1. You keep saying this over and over so something is not registering let me try one last time: the Gffa (round up) of Eritreans has been going on since 2000. That’s 13 years of uninterrupted gffa. 13 years of conscription, 13 years of deserting the conscription. And, despite YG’s claims, it was being reported, opposed by every single Eritrean opposition group, media outlet, particularly at the Paltalk rooms. The NEW thing was the involvement of De.M.H.T. Are you saying that for a news outlet this is not newsworthy, particularly when confirmation of the presence of this organization is badly needed by SEMG? Are you really saying that it makes NO difference at all to the youth who is doing the round-up? If so, why was there a riot? Why did the PFDJ go to great extent to deny it happened?

          2. Please research the status of Tigre language in Eritrea. Perhaps Haile/Meron could give u more detailed reports. Your worries are misplaced. Isaias does not like the Pan Arabists (never did since 1967) and Tigre is one of his shields in that battle.

          3. At the New York speech that I gave, I said (not in my notes, but it is on video) that if Isaias Afwerki was a white man, or if he was the prototypical bearded Mullah, the world would not put up with such a brutish slave master. The accusation by YG and you is that is part of the conspiracy to hide from highlanders how they are being systematically eliminated: we do this by instigating conflicts with Ethiopians (YGs accusation) or failing to organize reports in a way that would drive this point home (your accusation.) Both are absurd points. YG begins, as he often does, with a wrong premise. This time: the Awate Team are Arabists. He then goes on to build his shoddy arguments, building his house of cards on a rickety foundation. (One has a visual of the Awate team with a radio ordering the Asmarinos to protest DeMHT.) Your criticism about statistics would be valid if we were reporting events from a Kebessa/Metahit prism selectively. Who is being victimized by Isaias Afwerki? In absolute numbers? As a percentage of population? Those reports must be done– but we prefer if those are done by responsible academics with the right motivation: those obsessed with creating an Eritrean formula for peaceful sustainable harmonious co-existence, as opposed to what you and YG are selling: come home to Emama Ethiopia. Oops, I mean Habesha.

          Finally, whoa, I guess you are on high alert. When I said all the songs of Wedi Tkabo are about courage, honor, etc, I was defending him from those who accuse him of being an Isaias toastmaster. I was saying his songs are in praise of timeless values and he will continue to sing about those values, with emphasis on justice. He has never sang a song in praise of the government, as far as I know. And prerequisite to a country governed by justice and rule of law is that thing which drives you and YG crazy: Haddnetna (which happens to be wedi tkabo’s first song after he demobilized himself.)

          That word says that come hell or high water, when we Eritreans are negotiating everything, we are not negotiating one irreducible minimum: we are equal stakeholders in a country called Eritrea, that entity that YG, you and all his disciples call an “artificial entity.” That is: the bond between Eritreans must first be strengthened–so that, for example, the Habesha is not looking South and the Beni Amer is not looking West for guidance, and inspiration but inwards.

          What is most cruel about you Eyob is that while Ethiopia is making an effort to consolidate its identity as a Habesha Plus country, you keep dragging poor YG to stay stuck in his Habesha Minus vision of Eritrea. You look out for Ethiopia’s interest–you were ready to dump YG and embrace Isaias at the slightest hint that maybe perhaps he would negotiate with you a land for electricity deal–and let’s look out for ours. And in that campaign, you KNOW that the YG’s are considered in the parlance of the Wind: “tHuz.” (Ask for translation:)


          • Zaul

            ክቡር ሓው በያን

            ኣነ ኣይኰንኩን ጽሒፈያ እታ ዓንቀጽ ፥ ንሳ ስለ ዝሰሓበትኒ ጥራይ ኣንጠልጢለ ኣውጺአይ ። ከም ሓደ ለባም ተጋዳላይ ነበር (ተሓኤ) ከም ዝበሎ እዩ ግን ፥ ንሕና ምእንቲ ዓረባዊት ኤርትራ ወይ ሓበሻዊት ኤርትራ ኣይኰንናን ተቓሊስና ፥ ምእንቲ ኤርትራዊት ኤርትራ ኢና ደምና ኣፍሲስና ። ኩሉ ዜጋኣ ብኽብረትን ውልቃዊ ሓርነትን ዝነብረላ ።

  • L.T

    Sunday are a time to dress up and visit to friends or family.”Seeey Seyy-Seyyy”.

  • semere Andom

    Hi Sal: welcome back from “mkublal 🙂
    At a habesha coffe-drinking ceremony, an aunt challenged me to do the customary bread-breaking prayers and I recited “Qelaximkum Erfi ychebta…“lyrics from “Ab mntayu Hailu ms beluni”

    Knowing you this is hilarious, but I have upgraded your status from a benign ghedli romantic to a true romantic. I hope that next time someone challenges you for traditional “meadi mlAl” prayer your do not say ” ab tsaeda geza tinebir abona temsghen ” 🙂

    • saay

      Selamat iTegadalai* Semere:

      I should put it in context; the pre-coffee discussions were about how we Etitreans in America have forgotten our culture and we probably don’t even know what to say…I had no ready-made verses, and Wedi Tikabos song was huge then (2008) and I went for it. Just once.

      I would like a demotion from Ghedli romantic to Ghedli-grateful. Hanti xurura tray gdefeley. I don’t have revolutionary era cassettes (video or tape), no posters, no flag (neither version of Eritreas flags moves me) and no slogans. Your problem is with the Wedi tkabo generation not mine: that camp is made of true romantics and true nihilists.


      *iTegadalai (clever for its dual meaning in Tigrinya and Tinglish) is stolen from a smart dude who shall be unnamed for now.

      • Semrere Andom

        Hi Sal: To demote you I need to audit that what you said about not owning all the artifacts is true. Not that I do not trust you, but as one Right Wing Case Nut President said “Trust, but verify 🙂

        The “iTegadalai” is in deed clever, but incorrect for its duality in Tigrinya for the following reasons:
        ayTegadalai needs a comparative clause, iTegadalai iGebar for example. You cannot just say iTegadalai Semere. You cannot say zeyTegadalai either because to use “Zey” you need a verb, not an adjective like Tegadalai, to mean or say non-Tegadalai, you have to say “eTegadalai”, like esebAwi(inhumane). Therefore I am eTegadalai or “ZeyTegadele” or iTegadalai iGebar Semere. You are iAsmarino iKerenino :-). You got it?

        eTegadalai (electronic Tegadalai in English and eTegadalai (non-Tegadalai, in Tigriniya)

        • saay

          Selamat Semere (i-tgadala):

          Sure, why not, it is audit season. Call using Face Time or skype video and you can scan the house:) I just hate the new flag (“dead olives on a bed of blood” as an awate writer described it ten years ago) and the one it replaced ( I guess that would be the green olives floating on a sea). Ok, I really loved the EPLF flag (especially when it is mounted on a tank…just kidding!) but that is probably just nostalgia talking. The thing is: when Sheriffo told us the Hafash Wdbat are disbanded, I believed the EPLF: we were done with the revolution: no more zkre semaetat, no more awet nHafash, no more drar tegadalai, no more revolutionary songs… but it keeps on going. If you can’t take the people to the field, bring the field to the people.

          And even with the pomp and circumstance the PFDJ does it the half-assed way. It has generals who wear ill-fitting uniforms (no professional soldier pride), presidents wearing sandals…PFDJ slogan should be “Kla, gdefena bejakha!” The asmarino PFDJ edition would be: “kla, Kheliyena bejakha!” The DeMHT version would be, oops, never mind: there is no DeMHT in Eritrea, it is all in our imagination.

          When I was a kid and it was that time of the day, and you were walking by some government office, you had to stand still (and curse under your breath) whenever the Ethiopian flag was being raised or lowered. Khndey xemam zey texefE. At least the Ethiopians made the effort to blow the horn to indicate the occasion is solemn When the Eritrean flag is being raised or lowered and you are near a government office, you still have to stop, except that the PFDJites blow a whistle, the same one traffic cops use. (Uh oh, here comes Meron to tell me I am wrong:)

          Anyway, when you lefties and all the Development State advocates are engineering the State, I hope they will remember that some citizens just want one thing from the state: to be left the hell alone.

          “Wing Case Nut”? Somebody has been reading The Daily Kos for too long. Overkill, much? That was not his proverb, by the way, he was actually quoting a Russian saying. Speaking of “trust”, I heard a joke attributed to a New Yorker. “You know how we say Ef U in Yiddish?” How? “Trust me!”

          Nah, I am sticking with i and not e. Maybe “iTegadalai” does not work in Tigrinya for reasons you gave, but maybe I can make it work by switching to Tigre, and from noun to verb. “i” is negation prefix in Tigre and I can make it work 🙂 i-kon?


          • Semrere Andom

            Hi Sal:
            I like “i-kon”, better actually for reasons that will remain secret now 🙂
            Leftist? tselaEna tsegam ykun, i-konkun. awu aleka ambubo natey hasabat, semay zhagerkas(sorry, I mean eritra zhagerka) anes tsegam. i-falkani, I-gebeyka 🙂


  • Haqi

    Wedi tikabo is an amazing artist but an opportunist who betrayed my generation for a decade plus but I am glad he has left the satanic regime. You don’t need a decade to decide between good and evil; The fact remaines that he milked hgdef bandwagon only to turn his back on them; that is lekbat in my book. Wedi tikabo is like a candle in the wind
    Sal nebsi easy, Eritrea has been blessed with an amazingduring artist of the past and present and he isn’t the best lyricist ever—I reserve mine for yemane barya.

    As for yg I agree with you 100%, the man is tokato negram.

    • Haqi

      Rip yemane barya. We miss you