ውልቀመለኽቲ ብዘይ ናይ’ቲ ዝገዝእዎ ህዝቢ ሓገዝ ስልጣ ክዕቅብዎ አይኽእሉን እዮም”

“ውልቀመለኽቲ [ከምበዓል ኢሳይያስ ኣፈወርቂ] ብዘይ ናይ’ቲ ዝገዝእዎ ህዝቢ ሓገዝ ስልጣን ክዕቅብዎ አይኽእሉን እዮም::

(ካብ “From Dictatorship to Democracy” ዘርእስታ: ብ ዳንኤል ረዘነ ናብ ትግርኛ ተተርጒማ ብ ናጻ ዝተዘርገሐት መጽሓፍ::)

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We speak therefore we are –Republic no.2

A monthly underground newsletter from inside Eritrea has it’s second issue. Republic, written in Tigrinya language, is critical of the government. Criticizing the government or it’s policies is a crime in Eritrea.
You can download this new issue from here (Repuplic_Eritrea_Vol2).

Click image to download Republic in PDF

Click image to download Republic in PDF

You can follow Republic newsletter on twitter.

Correspondence with an Anthropologist

(Updated 9/17/2014)

Dr Maximilian Forte recently shared an article which he believes is very important. He shared Sophia Tesfamariam‘s recent blog on Zero Anthropology Facebook page with the following note:

“This article outlines and denounces the work of US anthropologists in Eritrea in US-funded campaigns backing political opposition in the country. The author of the piece [Sophia Tesfamariam] is a prominent Eritrean American activist. Those involved in the AAA [American Anthropological Association] should have a close look and perhaps consider further action.

He later posted an essay at ZeroAnthropology.net explaining why he considers her work very important:

…in light of the controversy that erupted with the publication of Sophia Tesfamariam’s outline and condemnation of western anthropologists working to support regime change in her native Eritrea…

Dr Maximilian Forte is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Concordia University, Canada.

Given these circumstances, I decided on a quick read of Sophia Tesfamariam’s publication. In her most recent post, Sophia uncovers information on the identity of funding agencies that support the work of several Western scholars that write on Eritrea. To the readers’ surprise she discovered that Western agencies are the major funding sources of Western scholars. Previously this information was only available by accessing the scholars’ academic CV or LinkedIn profile.

As an example, Sophia gives the names and brief outline of nine distinguished scholars: Tricia Redeker Hepner, Dan Connell, Frank Smyth, David Bozzini, Victoria Bernal, Maryan Van Reisen, Jennifer Riggan, Sara Dorman, Kjetil Tronvoll.


Dr. Maximilian C. Forte

Dr. Maximilian C. Forte

As a matter of principle I do not engage with government sympathizers. I believe that anyone unable to comprehend the suffering of Eritrean people until now probably does not deserve my time.

An exception to the rule, I decided to confront Dr Forte. Following is the “correspondence” that ensued in the comment section of his ZeroAnthropology.net posting and continued on Zero Anthropology Facebook page (switched to Facebook after my last comment on the website did not appear): Continue reading

ዝተመላኽዐ ዛንታ ገድሊ (ብ ዮሴፍ ገብሪሂወት)

እዛ ጽሕፍቲ ትርጉም ናይታ “Romanticizing Ghedli (I)” ዘርእስታ ብዮሴፍ ገብሪሂወት ተጻሒፋ፡ ብ 12 መጋቢት 2008 ኣብ መርባእብ ሓበሬታ ኣስማሪኖ ዳት ኮም ዝተዘርግሐት ጽሕፍቲ እያ። ናብ ቛንቛ ትግርኛ ብ ኣዳለውቲ ጋዜጣ መሰለይ ተተርጒማ፡ “ምቅንጃው ገድሊ” ብዝብል ኣርእስቲ ከኣ ኣብ 2008 ተዘርጊሓ ኔራ። ንምርዳእ ይሕግዝ ብዝብል ገለገለ ናይኣተረጋጉማ ምትዕርራያት ገይረ ኣቅሪበያ ኣለኹ። 


ሓደ ካብቲ ቀንዲ ንህዝብና ኣጋጢምዎ ዘሎ ጸገማት፡ ተቐናጅዩ [ካብ መጠን ንላዕሊ ተመላኺዑ] ዝቐርብ ዛንታ ገድሊ ኤርትራ እዩ፥ መብዝሕትኡ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ነዚ ተጋኒኑን ተመላኺዑን ዝቐረበ ዛንታ ክርሕርሖ ፍቓደኛ ኣይኮነን። ምቕንጃው [ብሓሶት ዝተመላኽዐ ታሪኽ] ንሃገር ክቀትል ይኽእል’ዩ እንተ ኢልና፡ ከምዚ ናይ ኤርትራ እዩ። እዚ ሎሚ አብ ጉዳይ ሃገርና ንዕዘቦ ዘሎና ሓንቲ ሃገር ንሓደ ስነ-ሓሳብ ከተጥፍኦ እንከላ ኣይኮነን (ከምዚ እንተዝኸውን ምሓሸ ኔሩ)፥ እንታይ ደኣ ሓደ ስነ-ሓሳብ ንሓንቲ ሃገር ከጥፍኣ እንከሎ እዩ።

ገድሊን እቲ ምስኡ ተተሓሒዙ ዝኸይድ ናውትን ሓዊስካ፡ ነቲ ንነዊሕ እዋን ኣብ እንግድዑ ጾይርዎ ዝጸንሐ ህዝቢ ከቢዱዎስ፡ ኣብ ክጻወሮ ዘይክእል ደረጃ በጺሑ ይርከብ። እዚ ባዕልና ዝፈጠርናዮ ኣውሬ፡ ሃርጋፍ ሸውሃት ስለዘጥረየ፡ ሸውሃቱ ንምርዋይን ቀጻልነቱ ንምርግጋጽን ነባሪ ዝኾነ ናይ “መስዋእቲ” ባህሊ ክፍጠር ኣድልይዎ። ንሓደ ንጹር ዘይኮነ፡ ደብዛዝን ኣካራኻሪን ሕልሚ ንምውሓስ፡ በዚ ጸይቀ-ግኑን ኣውሬ ሓደ ወለዶ ድሕሪ እቲ ሓደ ክብልዑን ክሃልቑን ኣለዎም። ሎሚ ኣብዚ ናይ መወዳእታ ዕምሩ ድማ፡ ንመላእ ሃገር ንኸጽንት ኣብ ምውጥዋጥ ይርከብ። ሻዕብያ ክመውት እንተኾይኑ፡ ሃገር ድማ ምስኡ ከም እትመውት ኣቀዲሙ ወሲኑ’ዩ። ዛጊት ብዙሓት ኤርትራውያን፡ ክንዲ ነቲ ናይ ሃገር ሱር ሕማሞም ኮይኑ ዘሎ “ገድሊ” ምምራር፣ ገድሊ ድኣ ኣይኹን እምበር ንዝኾነ ካልእ ነገር ክውንጅሉን ሓላፍነት ከሰክሙን ይመርጹ።

እቲ ኣዝዩ ዝገርመኒ ነገር፡ ኣብ ዝኾነ ይኹን ጉዳይ ሃገር ቅንጣብ እኳ ክሰማምዑ ዘይክእሉ ወገናት ከይተረፈ፡ ሓደ ዘሰማምዖም ነገር እንተሎ፡ እቲ ተመላኺዑ ዘሎ ዛንታ ገድሊ እዩ። ዝተመላኽዐ ዛንታ ገድሊ ማለት፡ ንገድሊ ጸጽቡቑ ካብ መጠን ንላዕሊ ምግናን፥ ነቲ ገግናዩ ከኣ ምንእኣስን ከምዘይነበረ ምኽሓድን እዩ። Continue reading

Eritrea: Definitions you have to know

Majority of Eritrean dissidents prefer to write in English. It can be painful to follow Eritrean news and political works if you don’t know certain acronyms and popular non-English phrases. The following list should be useful to those not too familiar with Eritrean political writings.

ELF Eritrean Liberation Front (popularly called Jebha). A nationalist insurgency. The ELF started armed resistance against Ethiopian government in 1961, a year after it was founded. The ELF was the strongest nationalist group until it divided into competing groups in the 1970’s and was finally defeated and pushed out of the country in 1981 by EPLF (the strongest of its splinters).

EPLF Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (popularly called Shaebia) is a nationalist movement that started forming in the late 1960’s early 1970’s and officially formed in 1977. The EPLF defeated Ethiopian army and won Eritrean independence in 1991 . The EPLF renamed itself PFDJ in 1993.

G-15 A group of 15 prominent politicians within the PFDJ party that published an “open letter to the PFDJ” in May 2001. The open letter criticized President Isaias Afewerki. All were accused of treason and 11 members of the group were made to disappear on September 18, 2001, the remaining four were out of the country at the time and still remain abroad.

Ghedli Refers to the revolution and the armed insurgency for independence (1960’s—1991). The word is also used to refer to the era of the insurgency. Tigrinya [ገድሊ]: ‘struggle’.

Giffa The practice of raiding villages or neighborhoods (often at night) to recruit new conscripts and arrest suspected deserters. Giffa was a common practice of the Eritrean insurgencies (1960—1991), and is still a routine practice in Eritrea today. Tigrinya [ግፋ]: ‘to gather’

Halewa Sewra Shield of the Revolution. The internal security service of the EPLF. Tigrinya [ሓለዋ ሰውራ]: ‘guards of the revolution’

Hidri Suwuat Dream of the martyrs. Tigrinya [ሕድሪ ስውኣት]: ‘what our martyrs have entrusted us with’.

Isaias Afewerki President of Eritrea since 1993 and leader of the EPLF since 1975. Referring to persons with first name is proper in Eritrean culture and it is not common to refer the president by his last name.

Jebha Popular name of the ELF. Arabic [جبهة]: ‘Front’.

Menqa Dissident political grouping of mostly university students within the EPLF that started around 1973-74. The Menqa group allegedly accused the EPLF leadership of undemocratic behavior, all were made to disappear by the EPLF. Tigrinya [መንካዕ]: the animal bat.

Mieda Referring to the Ghedli revolution. Tigrinya [ሜዳ]: ‘Field’.

PFDJ People’s Front for Democracy and Justice. Formerly EPLF, it is the only party in Eritrea.

Shaebia Popular name of the EPLF and PFDJ. Arabic [شعبي]: ‘Popular’.

Tegadalay A common way of referring the Ghedli era soldiers of the insurgency (Feminine Tegadalit). Tigrinya [ተጋዳላይ]:  ‘Fighter’.

TPLF Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Ethiopian insurgency that overthrew the previous administration and assumed power in 1991. TPLF was a partner of the EPLF during the insurgency and an ally of PFDJ until the 1998—2000  Eritrea-Ethiopia border conflict.

Warsai A common name referring to the new generation national service conscripts. In contrast to the older generation of revolutionary fighters. Tigrinya [ዋርሳይ]: ‘One who inherits’.

Warsay-Yikealo the Warsay-Yikealo Development Campaign (WYDC) which was implemented in Eritrea two years after the end of 1998—2000 border conflict with Ethiopia. The campaign extended the 18-month compulsory National Service indefinitely. Under WYDC Campaign, conscripts are assigned work (military or civilian work) without salary except a nominal pocket money of 145 to 500 Nakfa. Conscripts who refuse to work are treated as military deserters and punished. Tigrinya phrase [ዋርሳይ ይከኣሎ] can be translated as: ‘The inheritor is all-capable’. (see Warsai and Yikealo)

Woyane A common name referring to the TPLF. Tigrinya [ወያኔ]: ‘revolution’.

Yikealo A less common name referring to the Ghedli generation of fighters (Tegadalay is more common), as opposed to the new generation of conscripts Warsai. Tigrinya [ይከኣሎ]: ‘all capable’ or ‘almighty’. (The traditional Tigrinya male name Yikealo is in reference to God, not insurgency fighters).

Sophia’s interview with Australian radio vs. common sense

SBS with Sofiti - Copy

Sofia Tesfamariam at SBS’s studio

In a recent interview with Australian SBS radio,Sophia Tesfamariam introduced herself as the Director of US foundation for the Horn of Africa, a non governmental organization based in the US. But if you are curious about her political affiliation, I strongly suggest a visit to her personal blog (at stesfamariam.com) and search for “pedophile“. Read a couple of paragraph of the search result for an insight on the Director’s opinions about those of us not very enthusiastic about Eritrean government.

The interview focused on issues close to every Eritreans’ heart: Eritrean politics, human rights, 2% diaspora ‘tax’ and the Eritrean refugee crisis.

In my recent article titled “the Authorized version of events” I had given examples of  typical Eritrean government responses to events in Eritrea. In that regard, Sophia Tesfamariam was not a disappointment.



The Covert Government

Ms Sophia Tesfamariam is an unofficial-official representative of the Eritrean government. Asked if she came to Australia on official capacity representing the Eritrean government, she explained… It happens she’s been declining invitations by the Australian-Eritrean community year after year, this time she could make it so she’s here. The program host seemed satisfied with her response. He did not press the issue further.

Even though she’s not officially a government representative, she carries her self as such.

Such is a typical standard operating procedure of the Eritrean regime. The Eritrean regime is very “organic”. The overt administration structure is just for show (even in the army). The real structure is underground. It is filled with people that represent the government one way, that is, the government works through them and everyone knows it but the government is not accountable for their actions.

Eritrean government structure is better understood by treating it like an urban gang structure. There are no official guidelines or official posts but every body in the gang (and the neighborhood) knows everything. Everyone knows who calls the shots, who does what, who is whose rival, what actions have what consequences…–very much like Eritrean society.

(Minor edits 9/17/2014)

Eritrea: The authorized version of events


The Eritrean government propaganda are so outrageous that even the hardcore government supporters have to tune-down government propaganda in an effort to make the claims seem less stupid.

Even critics often moderate many of the government’s claims just to make them reasonable enough to be critiqued (for the claims are silly beyond that possible to criticize).

The above is taken from my post a year ago, “Eritrea according to the government”. Then I discussed how the “authorized version” of Eritrea is nothing like the Eritrea people talk about. Government supporters and critiques alike routinely moderate the government’s stand on things. It’s not fair.

Below I have laid out the typical government position on various things. I am playing the sober government official. This piece is not a satire.

[These government stands are pretty much “common knowledge” for anyone who follows Eritrean government affairs.]

The authorized version of events

(1) Arrest of G-15

It is common knowledge that 15 or so high officials were arrested in 2001. Some people focus on the “how” and on minor technical details. Doing so they miss the big picture: “why?”

The G-15 were not arrested for criticizing or challenging the government. The Eritrean political culture is based on constructive criticism and discussion. Those officials were arrested for treason and for collaboration with the enemy. They trampled on the blood of our martyrs and decided to negotiate through back channels with our enemies (Western powers and Ethiopia) in order to ‘sell’ Eritrea for personal gains.

Talking on the “how” and on technical aspects of their arrest… true there might have been certain procedural oversights, or even blunders I dare say. But that should not divert us from the big picture. They deserve to be arrested. Justice needed to be done.

(2) Freedom of Press

Eritrea does not ban independent media inside the country. The closing down of the three or so non-Eritrean-government owned media had nothing to do with freedom of press. The reason these newspapers were closed in 2001 was because it was found that these newspapers were being subsidized and operated by Western elements. We have evidences that suggest they were being used by foreign intelligence agencies. Obviously we cannot allow foregn intelligence agencies to operate in Eritrea.

Various Western so called human rights and press freedom organizations have accused us of lack of press freedom. This is baseless accusation.

Reporters Without Borders  for example has ranked Eritrea as having the lowest press freedom in the world while at the same time, simultaneously, ranking Eritrea alongside North Korea. This shows the West is ignorant of North Korea.

(3) Arrest of ‘journalists’

Our constitution guarantees freedom of press and the government holds this right dear. What must be emphasized is that the so called journalists who were allegedly arrested in 2001 were not arrested for their journalistic work. No one in Eritrea has ever been arrested for being a journalist.

(4) Closing of the only University

The University was restructured to meet the ever increasing number of new students. The university was restructured and its resources reallocated to various new colleges. The new colleges were purposely installed across all regions of the country to ensure equal development of all regions of Eritrea. In short the university was “multiplied” by opening new institutions of higher education.

As a result the number of students enrolling and graduating across the country has grown dramatically. The new colleges have their own challenges: they might be less equipped, infrastructure is still basic and so on. But that is the price we are willing to pay for the future development of education for all.

(5) Detention of University students in 2001

In 2001 students of University of Asmara volunteered to work on development projects in their summer break. Accordingly the government assigned the students  to participate in the reconstruction of their country. The students were assigned to work on rural Eritrea for the summer, which they did.

Some media outlets deliberately distorted this simple fact and made outrageous accusation on the government. They reported that because the university students refused to comply to work without compensation, the  government had detained the entire student body (over 2,000 students) in a desert military camp at Wia (about 45 kilometers south of Massawa city) for months. Such reports are utter rubbish.

(6) Involvement with Al-Shabaab of Somalia

We have been accused of arming, training, and equipping armed groups including al-Shabaab. And hence become the victims of an un-just sanction by the UN Security Council since December 2009.

Eritrea supports the self determination of the Somali people and condemns the involvement of any foreign powers trying to institute puppet government in Somali.

The Eritrean government is committed to helping the Somali people by all diplomatic and political means. Other than that the Eritrean government has never armed, trained, and/or equipped any armed group in Somalia or in the region.

(7) Clashes with Djibouti

The United Nations and the Djibouti government claimed that Eritrea had military clashes with Djibouti on 10 to 12 June of 2008. Furthermore, they claim that Eritrea has refused to disclose information on Djibouti combatants killed or captured in these so called clashes.

The government of Eritrea deny there ever was any military clashes with Djibouti. The government, therefore, has no knowledge of and cannot produce the allegedly ‘missing’ Djibouti combatants.

If there was any minor border skirmishes between Djibouti and our border patrols: we deny any minor border skirmishes.

It is a shame that this false information, along with false allegations of trying to destabilize parts of Horn of Africa was used to impose UN sanction on Eritrea in 2009.

(8) Detention of Orthodox Patriarch: Abune Antonios

The Eritrean Orthodox Church is the biggest Christian denomination in the nation. Regarding the administration of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the government of Eritrea has knowledge of the following: Abune Antonios was elected Patriarch by the Holy Synod on March 2004 and enthroned as the third Patriarch of the Eritrean Church on April 2004. On January 2006 the Holy Synod decided to remove the Patriarch and elected Patriarch Dioscoros as his successor.

We have heard allegations that the Eritrean government was involved in removing the Patriarch. Some have even gone as far as accusing us of detaining His holiness the ex-Patriarch.

As matter of principle the Eritrean government does not involve in any internal working of religious organizations. We cannot comment on church internal procedures. We don’t keep track of citizens and we don’t have any reason to investigate the whereabouts of the ex-Patriarch Abune Antonios.

(9) Persecution of religions

Eritrea guarantees the freedom of thought and freedom of religion. Various Western so called human rights organizations (including the UN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International) have accused us of religious intolerance. We stand accused of the banning of houses of worship, torture, arbitrary arrest of persons based on religion (including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, Orthodox Christians, and Moslems). In addition we stand accused of interfering in the religious orders and the administration of the Eritrean Orthodox, the Catholic, the Lutheran and the Moslem.

We deny all accusations.

(10) Restriction of travel within or outside the country

This piece of misinformation is repeated everywhere that it is often accepted by the gullible without question.

The government of Eritrea does not impose travel restrictions. This misinformation stems from the fact that Eritreans doing their military service under the National Service are not allowed to leave the country without completing their national duty.

In addition while doing military duty, conscripts are of course subject to certain restrictions of the army barracks they are in. this is standard procedure for any country. Otherwise any Eritrean who has completed his or her National Service is free to leave and enter the country just like anywhere in the world.

(11) Shoot-to-kill border policy

Eritrea is currently in a standoff with the Ethiopian occupiers. The Ethiopian government currently has occupied land that belongs to Eritrea and has refused to heed to the the final and binding arbitration of the  The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EECB).

Due to the extensive militarization of our borders and the repeated incursion of Ethiopian army units into our borders, people illegally crossing the border risk being mistaken for enemy combatants. So far the government has not reported of any incident (accident) in which a civilian was shot at, but it would not be unprecedented if that happens given the tense nature of our borders.

People caught leaving or entering our borders illegally are brought before civilian Court and processed according to the law. It is unthinkable that any citizen risks arbitrary arrest, torture or even death for crossing our borders illegally.

(12) Indefinite conscription

The Eritrean law requires that all men and women spend 18 months of National Service which includes six months of military training. Draft dodging is a crime and is punished as such. Cases are handled on a case by case bases and I cannot comment (nor can I remember by heart) on the possible punishment handed to individuals for draft dodging, but I can definitely guarantee that any punishment the Eritrean legal system issues if fair and fits the level of the crime.


*please e-mail me (DissidentDiaries@Gmail.com) or use the form below to send me additional topics I should address.


ይገርመናሎ፦ ኣብ ደገ ዝቕመጡ ኤርትራውያን ይግረሙ::

ፕረዚደንት ኢሳይያስ አፈወርቂ ብዛዕባ ምሕደራ ኤርትራ አመልኪቱ ብዝሃቦ ርእይቶ ብዙሓት ግዱሳት ኤርትራውያን ይግረሙ፦ “ዴሞክራሲ ዘይ-ዴሞክራሲ: ብዙሕነት ናይ ሰልፍታት:… ከምኡታት ዝበሃል ምህውታት አብዛ ሃገር ክመጽእ’ዩ ኢሉ ዝሓስብ እንተልዩ አብ ካልእ ዓለም: ወይ ድማ [ከም ኣማራጺ] አብ ወርሒ ሰፊሩ ክሓስብ አለዎ:”

እዚ ከምዚ ዝበለ ርእይቶ፣ ኣተሓሳስባ ናይቲ ዘብረዮ ዘይብሉ ን ልዕሊ 23 ዓመታት ኣብ ስልጣን ዘሎ ፕረዚደንት ምዃኑ ሃንደበት ዝኾኖም ዜጋታት ብዙሕ ይግረሙ:: “አብዚ ሃገር ካልእ ሰልፍታት ክህልዉ አይነፍቅድን ዘስምዕ ዘረባ ተዛሪቡ ምስ በሉኒ: መጀመርያ ሓሶት’ዩ መሲሉኒ:” ይብል ሓደ ካብቶም ዝተገረሙ ዜጋታት: “ሕጂ ውን ‘ተኾነ… ከቢድ’ዩ::” ንምግራሙ መግለጺ ዝኾኖ ቃላት ስለ ዝሰኣነ: ናይ ዓቅሊጽበት: ርእሱ የማነ ጸጋም እንዳበለ::


“ዴሞክራሲ ዘይ-ዴሞክራሲ: ብዙሕነት ናይ ሰልፍታት:… ከምኡታት ዝበሃል ምህውታት አብዛ ሃገር ክመጽእ’ዩ ኢሉ ዝሓስብ እንተልዩ አብ ካልእ ዓለም: ወይ ድማ አብ ወርሒ ኮይኑ ክሓስብ አለዎ::”

“I’m surprised!” ትብል ካብቶም ዘዘራረብናዮም ሓንቲ ቅድሚ ሽዱሽተ ወርሒ ብትምህርቲ ናብ ካናዳ ዝመጸት ኤርትራዊት መንእሰይ፣ ብምቕጻል: “I’m surprised! ካብ ኣፉ ክሳዕ ዝሰምዖ: ናይ መንግስቲ ኤርትራ መርገጺ ከምዚ ምኳኑ … you know… wow..” ብምባል ምግራማ ገሊጻ::

ሓደ ካብቶም ንመንግስቲ ኤርትራ ብትሪ ዝቃወሙ መንእሰይ ብወገኑ: “Now we have the proof!” ኢሉና: ገጹ ብታሕጓስ ብርህ እሉ:: የማናይ ኢዱ አብቲ ጣውላ አሞርኪሱ: ነቲ ጣውላ ብአመልካቲቶ አጻብዕቱ ደጋጊሙ ከም ደርሆ ትኹብ ትኹብ እናበለ: “ኣብ ኤርትራ ዴሞክራሲ ከምዘየለ: መንግስቲ ጨቋኒ ምኳኑ: ሕጂ ኣሉ ዘይትበሃላ መርትዖ ረኺብና::” ነቲ ጣውላ ምምርኳስ ገዲፉ: አብ ሰድይኡ እንደገና ንድሕሪት ቅንዕ እንዳበለ: “now we have proof!” ኢሉ ብታሕጓስ::

ብ፦ ብኹላቶም ዝተገረመ ተዓዛቢ

They too have their story–Desiderata

Political discussions in countries ruled by oppressive governments are marked by arrogance and noisiness—persons the poem Desiderata advises us to “Avoid” in its first stanza. Such arrogance is even extreme when the government is a totalitarian one.

In Eritrea, where I am from, we have a saying which I translate as “It is better they do evil deeds to you, than they imprint on you to do evil” (ካብ ክፉእ ዝገብሩኻስ ክፉእ ዝምህሩኻ).

Sadly the legacy of oppressive governments is not only in the deeds they do to their citizens but the evil they imprint on the political culture of the country. Many African countries, and my country in particular, are case in point.

The arrogance, the intolerance and noisiness of the government is mirrored in those change-seeking groups (all in exile or in Eritrean prisons, by the way). Once learned, it is difficult to un-learn something (and we all thought learning was hard). The damage of such a political culture becomes more painful when you see such arrogance become the cause of weakening whatever few pro-justice or pro-human rights groups these countries have; there by prolonging the life of the evil oppressors.

Before advising that we avoid loud and aggressive persons (vexations to the spirit, indeed!), the poem advises us to listen to others, and even to the dull and ignorant (I am thinking government sympathizers); they too have their story.

This timeless piece by Max Ehrmann has a lot to teach us. May God give us the wisdom and the strength to un-learn the arrogance and to speak our truths quietly and clearly.

Desiderata first stanza (click to be directed to the entire poem)

Desiderata first stanza (click to be directed to the entire poem)

ዘመነ-“ሻዕብያ” ኣምጽኦ ቃላት


ኤርትራውያን ሎሚ: ቋንቋና (ፖለቲካዊ ቋንቋና) ብብዙሕ መዳያቱ ኣዝዩ ድኹምን ኣዝዩ ዘይገላጽን ኣብ ዝኾነሉ ግዜ ኢና ዘሎና::

እቲ ሓያል ጸሓፊ ጆርጅ ኦርወል ብዛዕ ብልሽውና መንግስታት አመልኪቱ: ምስ ብልሽውና ፖለቲካ ተተሓሒዙ ዝኸይድ ብልሽውና ናይ ቋንቋ ኣሎ: ይብል::[1] ንጨቆንቲ ስርዓታት ንምርዳእ: ነቲ እቶም ስርዓታት ዘተኣታትውዎ ሓደሽቲ ቃላትን ዘይንቡር ቋንቋን ቀው ኢልካ ምስትውዓል የድሊ: ይብል::

ቀጺሉ እቲ ጸሓፋይ: ብልሽው ቋንቋ ፍረ ብልሽው ፖለቲካ ጥራይ ኮይኑ ደው ኣይብልን’ዩ: ይብል:: እንታይ ደኣ: እቲ ብልሽው ቋንቋ ብወገኑ ንዝያዳ ዝተበላሸወ ፖለቲካ መሰረት ይኸውን:: በዚ ኸምዚ ብልሽው ፖለቲካ ንብልሽው ቋንቋን እናደረኸ: ብልሽው ቋንቋ ብወገኑ ኸኣ ንብልሽው ፖለቲካ ሓጋዚ እናኮነ እቲ ዓንኬል ይቕጽል::

ፖለቲካዊ ቋንቋና ድኹምን ጋሕማጥን ዝኾነሉ ምኽንያት ኣተሓሳስባና ከምኡ ድኹም ስለዝኾነ’ዩ:: ግናኸ እዚ ፍረ ድኹም ኣተሓሳስባ ዝኾነ ድኹም ቋንቋ ብወገኑ ነቲ ኣተሓሳስባና መሊሱ ድኹም ንክኸውን ሓጋዚ ተራ ይጻወት::

ከም ርእይቶ ጆርጅ ኦርወል:- ፖለቲካዊ ብልሽውና ንምዕራይ ብቐዳምነት ነቲ ቋንቋ ብምዕራይ እንተጀመርናዮ’ውን የምሕረልናዩ::

እስከ ኣብ ጉዳይ ኤርትራ ንፈትኖ:: ንአብነት: “አገልግሎት” ወይ ውን “ታዕሊም” ዝብላ ልሙዳት ቃላት ክንዲ ንጥቀም በቲ ትርጉመን ዝኾነ አጸዋውዓ “ወተሃደራዊ ዕስክርና” እንተተኪእናየን ዕላልና ከምዚ መሰለ:-

“ኩሉ ኤርትራዊ ክዕስከር ግድን’ዩ: ወይ አብ መዓስከር ሳዋ ወይ ዊዓ”:
“እቲ ዕስክርና ብሕጊ ን 18 ወርሒ ጥራይ’ዩ ዝነበረ”:
“ኣብ ዕስክርና ክንደይ ዓመት ገርካ?”:
“ኦይ ንሱ ደኣ ዓስራይ ዙርያ እንድዩ ተዓስኪሩ::”
: ወዘተ.

ትርጉም “ግፋ” ብሕጽር ዝበለ:- “ናይ ምንግስቲ ፍቓድ ወረቐት ሒዞም ንዘይተረኽቡ ሰባት ብኣልማማ ብሓይሊ ብረት ኣስገዲድካ ናብ ቤት-ማእሰርቲ ምውሳድ:” እዩ:: አብ ክንዲ “ግፋ” ትብል ቃል “ማእሰርቲ” እንተንጥቀም ከምዚ ምበልና:-

“ሎሚ ንግሆ ወተሃደራት አብ ገዛውትና ን ብዙሓት ኣሲሮም ወሲዶሞም:: ልዕሊ ክልተ በጣሕ”:
“ጽባሕ ንግሆ አሃዱና ክትኣስር ክትወፍር’ያ::”
: ወዘተ.


02/01/2013:- ኣብቲ ኣርእስቲ “ሻዕብያ” ክብል ከለኹ: ነዚ ንኤርትራ ዘመሓድር ዘሎ ስርዓት ማለትይ እዩ:: ምናልባሽ ነዚ ዘሎ ስርዓት “ሻዕብያ” ምባል ትኽክል አይኮነን ንዝብሉ ወገናት ይቕሬታ ይሓትት:: እንተኾነ ግን: ኣብ ውሽጢ ኤርትራ ልሙድ ዘይኮነ መጸውዒ (ከምኒ “ስርዓት-ህግደፍ” ወይ “ውልቀ መላኺ ኢሳይያስ” ወዘተ.) ክጥቀም ኣይመረጽኩን:: ደሓር ከኣ ብዛዕባ መን ንዛረብ ከም ዘሎና ርዱእ ክሳዕ ዝኾነ አክንዲ “ሻዕብያ” ዝብል ቃል “እዚኦም!” ብዝብል ተኪእና እንተኣንበብናዮ ውን ጸገም የብሉን::