Tesfabirhan Redie, my compatriot friend, Well said and am with you on your article. However we cannot deny the fact of a certain people in Eritrea have always practiced an ethnic based polices and genesises against our people.
The most recent ones are the komandos under the name of haile selassie of ethiopia and now with people of Tension type of people. This is the historical facts that it cannot be hidden or forgotten.
Tesfabirhan Redie, I could not disagree more. You cant equate the Agazian on the same level as the Jeberti question. Jeberti have been around for centuries in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan. They are simply asking for recognition for this historic identity. An identity based not on ethnicity/language but common origin. Sometimes, you jump to quick conclusions about something. The Jeberti question is part of the civil rights question of ordinary Eritrean. The PFDJ took it upon themselves to re-define Eritrean identity by erasing groups that were not within its sway. You are continuing the same PFDJ ideology unwittingly. So, much for your liberal democracy credentials.🙂 Here is a group that advocates for a civil status(historic recognition) no different than indigenous groups rights and does it in a non-violent manner. They organize cultural events to strengthen this identity. They contribute immensely to the material and intellectual wealth of the country. Yet, you equate them with genocidal Christian Jihadists like the Agazians.
I think you are mixing things. You wrote:
“The Jeberti question is part of the civil rights question of ordinary Eritrean”
And this is what I am saying it should be. I am not against civil rights question. As a liberal Democrat, I fully support their rights to be known as they wanted to be. My problem with Al-Nahda Party.
Jeberti People’s question can not be solved politically but through legal means. It is a question of human rights issue. If Eritrea recognises the rights of individuals/groups to be identified as they wanted it is all done. At this time Eritrea is under oppression. What the Jeberti people better could do is an advocate for their civic rights by forming civic associations or civic movements.
If we open files of Al-Nahda Party, all we can find is identity-based politics that will put them in conflict with other Eritreans.
The irony is this:
While no other Eritrean except Jeberti can be a member of Al-Nahda Party, members of Al-Nahda Party are free to be members of other political parties. This double standard.
Frezghi, I don’t know what makes you nervous. Aren’t you the one who was opposing any sectarian/regional/religious based political groupings? Were you then following your PFDJ ideology?
For me, Aga’aziansMovement lead by Tesfatsion is not different than Al-Nahda Party.
Mind me – I am not against Jeberti people but against Al-Nahda Party.
I am not against Aga’azians but against Aga’azian movement lead by Tesfatsion.
Tesfabirhan Redie Any political movement based on the ideology to either follow its narrow minded ideology or to label those otherwise against it, is nothing but a crime in the broad daylight. Based in this regard, Tesfasion’s ideology is nothing less than a brutality against any sense of humanity and nature of diversity.
Tesfabirhan Redie, your mentality is too linear. You should be an engineer or a mathematician. First, it meaningless to say this is a legal issue and this is a political issue. All oppressed groups have a political issue with the Govt of Eritrea. The Govt refuses to set up an impartial court system. So, the only venue left is the political sphere. Second, I am not sure if Al Nahda does not allow membership for non-Jeberti. Even if they did, they are only one small group of Jeberti. The other 99% of Jeberti support recognition of their unique identity. Does the 1% of Nahda Party’s viewpoint make all Jeberti into twins of the Agazians? The Agazians are concentration camp advocates. They are genocidaires. They would bring a huge civil war to our country. What will Jeberti recognition bring? A 10th group in our 9 group mindset, some updating of history books, and maybe a holiday or two. So what! It doesn’t hurt anyone.
Yes, I personally oppose sectarian/regional/ethnic groupings. I will not join such groups. Especially if they pick up arms on that basis. However, if it is a non-violent movement and collaborates with other groups, I can live with it. There are different types of groups. You can’t lump them into one because of some vague similarities. For example, you didn’t differentiate that Agazians advocate putting lowlanders in concentration camps from Al Nahda’s non-violent stance. Your “political scale” missed this huge difference. On your last paragraph, you also made pointless statements. Agazians and Tesfatsion are inseparable. There is no peaceful Agazian movement. Agazianism is Tigray-Tigrinyism. It seems to RE-MAKE the Eritrean composition. Re-making nations is always a violent venture. On the Jeberti/Al Nahda question, you made yet another such statement. It is meaningless to say you are not against “jeberti” as a people. What does that even mean? You are not against them socially? politically? On a personal basis? etc etc? Are you against recognizing them as a unique group? You have to be more specific.
And most importantly, the Jeberti question should be on the platform of the entire opposition. Since the blatant oppression of the Jeberti by the regime is clear, meaning their identity is not recognized, it should be part of the coalition against the regime. Groups/individuals whose oppression can be demonstrated and quantified should be issues for all Patriots to advocate. The opposition spends too much time counting regional origins of the 80% Kebessa who make up the regime officials. A dubious venture but one that occupies the minds of too many Highlanders in the opposition. Whereas 50% of Eritrea, lowlands, and a large percentage of Muslim Kebessa(Jeberti) have little participation in the govt.
Jeberti people as Eritreans have every rights- political, social and economical. What I am opposing is the sectarian nature of Al+ Nahda Party.
Frezghi Mesmer nea eba n yeman temeles. You advocate against sectarian grouping at one point and here you are now defending one.
Siem Yohannes, I am defending the Jeberti issue being compared with Agazianism. I am not defending Al Nahda mode of organization. Just the issue they represent which is larger than them. I don’t believe in sectarian/regional/ethnic organizing as a strategy. But, I believe those groups have issues that should be represented in a national platform. I dont throw away the issue because I dont like how it is organized. I see every legitimate issue as part of a national platform. Our recent discussions have been the regionalism issue in Kebessa. There is some legitimacy to the idea that the regime discriminates against the cultural rights of Akele Guzai, Hamasein, and Seraye. By erasing those regions without a democratic mandate, the regime deprived those areas of their historic cultural rights. The regime also plays the regions against each other. BUT, can we make the case that the regime discriminates against one region more than against others? Using numbers and statistics? It is very hard to do. A large percentage of the regime’s forces are hidden. No one has exact statistics of the regime’s forces by region. We only have uninformed guesses. One thing we know for sure is that the upper level of the regime is overwhelmingly Kebessa. The middle level is also largely Kebessa. The regime plays a balancing game on the regional proportions to prevent any one region from having an overwhelming advantage. This is why I believe the regionalism issue is about competition for power and bragging rights. Not about cultural rights or regional discrimination. If it was a legitimate issue, it would be put on platforms and be clearly understood by everyone. In contrast, the Jeberti demand is simple and direct. Recognition. Why wouldn’t the opposition support a legitimate demand by a legitimate group of people who are asserting it in a non-violent manner? The Jeberti is a good example to oppressed minorities in Eritrea. They help each other. They value education and business. They get along well with Christians and Muslims. They intermarry easily with fellow Muslims. As a result, they are the richest “oppressed group” in Eritrea.
Frezghi Mesmer the article doesn’t throw away the jeberti issue so does Tesfabirhan Redie. Of course, I don’t compare al-Nahda and agazian but all ethnic-based groupings have concerns and questions which all Eritreans should seriously consider because it is a national issue, and it is the right way to solve it otherwise such groupings might lead to unwanted tension between eritreans after the fall of PFDJ.
Siem Yohannes i think Frezghi is using his double standard scales.
Tes, not sure how long you have been away from Eritrea, but you seem to have lack of understanding of everything Eritrean
Zaki Zerom watch see youtube video
Tesfabirhan Redie, that video is nothing to be afraid of. If the Jeberti speaker believes that they are also owners of Eritrea. Good for him and good for us. Let him own the huge problems we face today alongside the rest of us. All Eritreans are owners of the nation. If you listened a bit better, you will see the sense of disenfranchisement and abandonment that come from being erased from history.
Brother, Tesfabirhan Redie. As we all know the people of Eritrea as a whole are living under the brutal dictatorial regime now, thus it is not a secret that no one has the fundamental rights as they should, besides those mercenaries/mops and brainwashed ignorants who are clubbing hands for the dictator. When it come to Alnahda, although I neither heard of it nor agree with any sectarian political part (should that be its aim), I would still pay close attention to the reasons forced them to be sectarian. We have to dig to the root cause of an issue, in case they deprived of their rights and resolve it to eliminate the toxins caused sectarianism.
No justice in Eritrea and as a result of this crime I won’t be surprised if I see 10s of more fictions under any names, unfortunately.
Lastly where there no justice NO peace or prosperity. Believe me……
Osman Mahmud I agree with you. In case you don’t have enough information, here is something to share:
The Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA) is an Eritrean opposition umbrella composing of 13 political Organizations. It uses all the available means of struggle to topple the current Eritrean regime. It has convened its unitary organizational Congress in 2008. The names of its member organizations are as follows.
Democratic Movement For the Liberation of the Eritrean Kunama-DMLEK,
Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization-RSADO,
Eritrean Peoples Democratic Front-EPDF,
Eritrean National Salvation Front-ENSF,
Eritrean Liberation Front-ELF,
Eritrean Peoples’ Party-EPP,
Eritrean Islamic Party for Justice and Development-EIPJD,
Eritrean People’s Congress-EPC,
Eritrean Peoples’ Movement-EPM,
Eritrean Nahda Party-ENP,
Eritrean Democratic party,EDP,
Eritrean Islamic Congress-EIC, and
Eritrean Federal Democratic Party-EFDM.
Osman Mahmud, they are saying they are also owners of independent Eritrea ALONG with other groups. The common perception is that the lowlands started the struggle and the highlands helped finish it. The Jeberti are not in the common picture. The speaker is simply adding the Jeberti as co-owners of the struggle. He never says that the ownership is exclusive or that it belongs more to them than anyone else.
Frezghi Mesmer do you know that Jeberti issue is not born after independence?
Tesfabirhan Redie, okay. When was the Jeberti issue “born”?
Frezghi Mesmer, I am asking. Please share what you know about the birth of official Jeberti Identity Recognition issue.
Tesfabirhan Redie, from what I know, it started with the inception of the EPLF. Isaias is known to not care for Jeberti. So, he minimised their history of struggle and gave them a little recognition. Isaias minimized Jebha even though he was a member of the leadership there himself. He pushed a narrative about Jebha that was negative and full of omissions. For the earlier struggles, Jeberti, he could not acknowledge them without acknowledging Jebha after them. The final tipping point for the Jeberti struggle was after Independence when the PFDJ deliberately did not recognize them as a distinct group. Imagine, Rashaida were included but Jeberti left out! With Isaias’ Diaspora speech in 1994 to a largely Kebessa audience where he ridiculed Jeberti’s uniqueness, it took on a much more serious tone. Denial of Jeberti identity has now become a common view among Kebessa. Even among justice seekers, attitudes of scepticism and doubt exist. You, as a liberal democrat, should be on the forefront of advocating for oppressed identities within a state. Oppression of the Jeberti identity is on the same scale as the oppression of indigenous groups histories and minority contributions in the West. Every Western liberal is against these practices. How come you can not do them same in the society you come from?
Frezghi Mesmer in the simplest opinion, I disagree on recognition based on contribution, To be recognised on how you want to be is a human rights issue.
Saying that, Jeberti as a people are fighting for recognition in four countries: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia. I think their fight for recognition can extend also to the middle east. Hence let us not confine it as it is an Eritrean issue.
Another thing, the issue of Jeberti was also raised during Derg Administration.
It is not therefore whether they contributed or not.
Let is therefore honest.
Personally, I don’t go into “what have they done” dirty politics. I fully support for their identity no matter what they did or what they are doing.
I remember in 1988 name withheld was working with Dr. YASSIN ABERA during Ethiopian Dergi time processing with Ethiopian officials to recognize and to give place for Jeberti, to a group of students he showed us all the communication documents with the government, I remember he told us if we didn’t do it now tomorrow EPLF will not recognized us, he said we are running out of time. 1 and a half year after that time Dr. Yassin killed by Esaias.
The matter is, the issue of nations and nationalists is the concept of communism/socialism aimed at clustering people together so that their shared identity can be merged for a social and common identity. In a free and liberal world, identity issue remains with the owners themselves.
Dr. Yassin ‘s daughter was in studying with me in India at the time her father killed and she was one of the students in the group the person I said name with held when he showed us the documents and narrated us all the process. When we heard Dr. Was killed in Asmara we said 100% done by Eseyas gangs.
Munir Abdalla Isaias can do a lot. But the case of Jeberti should be taken away from Isaias. He is not the person to give recognition. This is, in fact, the main problem with those who fight for recognition, They should ignore Isaias and own their own recognition process.
Brother Tesfabirhan Redie, you got this one completely wrong. It is wrong comparison. You can oppose Ethnic and religious based political groups in general but singling out al-nahda is not right. Their demands are accepted by most respected opposition groups. Al-Nahda is the member of EDA and has a leading role in The Eritrean National Conference for Democratic change. Singling out Al-Nahda is not justifiable. You have the Kunama, Afar, Saho and 4 religious political organisation. Also, we have, to be honest about the other organizations as well, they might have national names but their members could be from one village or Enda.
Redi Aybu Ok!
Let me ask you this:
Is Al-Nahda Party representative of Jeberti People like all other Ethnic based political organization?
Is a political party that works for the recognisition of Jeberti people as an ethnic group?
Al Nahda represents it’s members, only. Just like all political parties. Anywhere. AL Nahda endeavours to promote the rights of jeberty.
Redi Aybu And Aga’azian Movement represents its members only.
Dear Redi Aybu, fundamentally, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a grouping that stands for its rights within legitimate boundary, such as should it’s rights were violated or it was deprived from practicing its fundamental rights, however it is also equality important that group recognises the rights of others as much as to what it stands for otherwise, that itself is a blatant violation towards the rights of others…which is very dangerous approach towards earning the respect of others.
Lastly, since I never heard of Al Nahda group of Jeberti, I would appreciate if you can please share with me the link to its website to learn more about its aims and an ideology.
I personally liked the article but a little bit unfair concerning Jeberti. I recall that isn’t only Jebert’s question, there are many others who have similar questions. None the less, at this point in time I do absolutely recommend that we all come together to put in place strong and workable national constitution and the rule of law to restore our human freedom. Once this is achieved than we can work around identities and many other complicated issues and problems without compromising our national integrity, identity and sovereignty.
Michael Kalaeb, I wish that was the case. I think the reverse is the case. All legitimate cultural/economic/ethnic oppression issues have to be part of a national platform. Then, the various divided groups might start working together.
Frezghi Mesmer please stop your double standard. The Jeberti case is a humanitarian case. Anyone who respects human rights have no problem with Jeberti people. Those who oppress people oppress anyone. Saying that their case is not different from those who are fighting for justice.
Personally, I don’t agree with you that the Jeberti case is put in the National platform. If it is going to be put, it is the Sectarian nature of Al-Nahda Party. This political party is injecting hate speeches by fabricating false history.
For me, Al-Nahda Party = Aga’azian Movement lead by Tesfazion.
Tesfabirhan Redie, lol, wow. There is no comparison, bro. You have lost your sense of proportion.
Frezghi Mesmer I don’t think so. You are rather playing a double standard. If you are against sectarian/religious politics, oppose Al-Nahda Party. Otherwise, don’t pretend you care for others.
Tesfabirhan Redie, can you mention the hate speeches of ENP? If you are aware enough mention any ideology from the political charter of ENP that lead the country to “hate”. I don’t think you read the charter but to your knowledge, it is a national party but it includes the excluded right of Jeberty by the others. Be conscious before you write.
Ibn Ahmed, are you a member fo ENP?
Ibn Ahmed, thank you for being available to us. Is it true that non-Jeberti can not join ENP?
Any Eritrean who is not member of any other Eritrean party without any discrimination of his ethnicity, religion and gender can join the party.
Tesfabirhan Redie what can you say about the above reply of Ibn Ahmed?
- What can you say about the above reply of Ibn Ahmed?
- Tesfabirhan Redie Where did u got none Jeberty can’t be a member in Al Nahda?
Munir Abdalla Well this video says everything about ENP.
Tesfabirhan Redie, You seem as one of our heroes justice seekers and we as ENP are proud of you. But, we are sad to read the baseless accusations on us. You can ask or read the contribution of our party to the unity of the Eritrean political groups. If you have a lack of info don’t hesitate to ask our brothers and sisters who are active in the struggle against the sadist regime in Eritrea.
Ibn Ahmed And visiting ENP’s website is very simple to know who the members are.
Tesfabirhan Redie let me ask you two questions, first, I just saw the video, does the meeting/gathering was by Al Nahda party or other groups of Jeberti? second, you said “visiting ENP’s website is very simple to know who the members are”, are you telling us about ENP by the type of their members (I think all are Jeberti if I am not wrong) or by their charter? if it is the type of their members, can it apply to others too what you said about ENP?
Munir Abdalla having a good charter doesn’t mean a political party is not radical. The video record shared by Bahlbi and many others in the web page of Al-Nahda Party is a testimony what is going inside the closed meetings. if these kind of records are available to the public I imagine worse radicalization that is going on within Al-Nahda party.
Tesfabirhan Redie I asked you two questions but you failed to reply properly, you can’t make a conclusion and accusing people or a party with a very dangerous label based on video shared by someone in their website, suspecting them that they are doing something in closed door without proof at hand. My friend yo are free to consider them not only the same as Agazian of Tesfazion but worst than them too but do you think people will buy your argument based on what you provided as evidence? I am not Al Nahda party member and never participate in any of their meeting but I have close friends from the party in the leadership position, I never heard from them or near to that of what you are accusing them of radicalization, nowadays it became a fashion to any Muslims to tag them the word radicalization if you didn’t agree with them. You need to show us in their charter if they are accepting or not accepting none Jeberti and of such videos if is made on their official Al Nahda meeting or gathering, other than that your argument is weak may be hate otherwise based on your arguments most Eritrean parties and movement will be on the same category, for example recently there was hot discussion if I am not wrong in Frezghi Mesmer FB page or Zaki Zerom FB page about EYSC split history based on the interview done in ENN TV, if you follow the discussion it was all about the 3 regions only, how many persons in the leadership from that region and how many from the other region and other issues about the 3 highland regions, so based on your arguments, seen them the type of the people in the leadership,can we conclude those groups are radicals and dangers to Eritrea the same as Al Nahda and Agazian of Tesfazion?
Munir Abdalla my friend, I am not conspiring. I am discussing based on available information. You asked me and I responded, Unless you are open minded you will not give an ear for what I am responding. In case this is the website I am talking about.
My concern is very simple. If Jeberti People are demanding for recognition to be given they are dead wrong. There is no one to say “yes you are Jeberti or NO you are not Jeberti”.
What I am saying about radicalization is the brainwashing tactics used for the Jeberti people against others, Look how Haj Suleiman is responding, If you are claiming Haj Suleiman is not member of Al-Nahda Party, or you are saying that Dr. Ibrahim Siraj is talking about, well Al-Nahda should take steps against these people to stop hate speeches against others.
Brother Tesfabirhan Redie I don’t know what is the measurement to be open mind and closed mind. Still, your arguments are based on suspicious, a Jeberti said that and a Muslim said that. First of all Dr. Ibrahim Siraj isn’t Jeberti but Saho, his mother is Jeberti. Also, Al Nahda party is representing its members only, they don’t have authority or control of the whole Jeberti. It’s is unfair to ask them to control all Jeberti. Again if we apply your 3 ways of labelling of Al Nahda to other Eritrean parties & movements we will not have a single party in the opposition including PFDJ different than Al Nahda. I wish you engage them in a different way than labelling them unfairly to Agazian Tesfazion unlike them who openly speaking ethnic and religious cleansing. They are very much peaceful party since you don’t have to prove of what you are accusing them.
Tesfabirhan Redie, you are simply wrong on this issue. You can’t prove that Al Nahda does not allow non-Jeberti to join. A member of ENP has just told us that any Eritrean who is not a member of another party can join. What proof do you have? You should retract the article and use another example. A suggestion. Agazian is in a class by itself. You can’t compare it to another Eritrean group. Much less a non-violent group like ENP.
Bahlbi Y. Malik,
Well, the fundamental problem with ethno-centric or religious/regional movements is that they often pray to the wrong god, bark up the wrong tree and shoot at the wrong target. First of all, whatever they are trying to obtain/gain was never denied by the Eritrean people. Whatever they are trying to obtain, they cannot achieve it by excluding themselves and /or excluding others. This is not a jebrti or Kunama issue. It is a national issue.Whatever they do, they should stop treating the issue as their private matter. The Eritrean people are their strategic allies. In his struggle for recognition, the speaker in this video has attempted to distort history, cooked up statistics to inflate the size of the group, expressed disregards for others”malna wo malom”(we don’t care about the other ethnic groups; we only care about ourselves…….” The Us vs them attitude would only harm the victims more than it harms the perceived enemies. The Jeberti who are linguistically, culturally and religiously equipped to serve as bridgege between highland and lowland is now attempting to burn the bridge.
Bahlbi Y. Malk you are simply great. This video was in my mind but I didn’t want to share as it fuels the identity politics. This much are fascistic. If they want to be known as they want to be, why they ridicule others?
And the same person is claiming that Jeberti are the owners of Eritrean independence as their son/father Abdel-Kadir Kebire is the first Martyr of Eritrea. Such claims will only worsen their claim.
Other people will react consciously or unconsciously to their claim negatively.
In a free and just world, no human being is discriminated based on religion/ethnic/color/region. Jeberti people are discriminating themselves. And this will produce an unwanted side effect.
Dear Bahlbi, Eritreans living outside Eritrea are free to be registered according to their social groupings legally. The country they register doesn’t ask them who they are. They simply fill a form and create civic community as per their request. Sadly those who bring identity issue never questioned why the countries they live in give them such full freedom.
Haw Suleiman is so narrow minded – just like that of Tesfatsion. His speeches are full of hates and provocative. I wish he has some wisdom of his forefathers, the Jeberti.
Bahlbi Y. Malk, Diaspora political groupings are isolated from the larger body politic that exists inside Eritrea or even in the Diaspora. As a result, radicalism is inevitable. We see it across most political groups. Their platforms tend to become radicalised as a result of frustration, lack of metrics, and static political development. I have not heard the link you included yet but can guess at its content. I totally agree with your characterizations of these issues as national issues and not a private matter. Although, one can not be a nationalist by himself.🙂Meaning, how many political groups recognize, as part of their platform these various issues? How many put the Jeberti/Kunama/Saho issues on their platforms? None. The nationalist groups mention social harmony in general terms. The sectarian/ethnic/regional groups only mention their own oppression or that of another group they relate it. It’s never holistic. Let’s take the Jeberti. On their Jeberti Day celebration, how many other Eritrean groups make a point to attend? You see my point. As long as opposition politicians do not reach out to these various civic and political groups and acknowledge their particular issue, that pan-national platform will not emerge on its own. The creeping radicalism of even the mild-mannered jeberti is an example of what happens when a political movement is isolated from the larger society into an echo chamber.
Frezghi Mesmer it is better to admit your flaws. If you believe that diaspora groupings are isolated from the larger body politics and as a result radicalization is inevitable so what makes you consider Al-Nahda Party as a sane party? whether it is 1% or less doesn’t matter for radicalization to happen.
Watch first what Bahlibi shared and come with your conscious mind that opposes sectarian groupings.
Haw Suleiman is a dangerous man, just like that of Tesfatsion. His speeches are full of hate and lies.
Bahlbi’s comment is not only about Jeberti, it applies to all.
Zaki Zerom indeed but the video he shared is very important regarding the topic at hand as it highlights the hate speech of Al-Nahda Party. Otherwise there so many similar political movements who diffuse hate speech.
Tesfabirhan Redie, misunderstandings are explained. Not admitted to.🙂 Stop trying to win the argument and instead learn from it. Yes, Diaspora causes radicalization. However, it is up to us to calibrate it and put it in the proper perspective. A group saying violent struggle has gone too far. But, a group that believes in non-violence but will not allow non-group ethnics to join has not. At least not as far as the Agazian genocidaires. As long as they are willing to work with other Eritrean parties, which they have, I think the membership issue is not as relevant to the larger issue. In and of itself, I think the membership policy is the wrong policy. Any Eritrean should be allowed to join any group.
Frezghi Mesmer well, this what I know about Al-Nahda Party.
Anyone can not member of Al-Nahda party as it belongs to Jeberti people but Al-Nahda Party members can be members of other political parties without exempting their membership. This is designed not because their concern is common with other parties they join but they want their case(Jeberti issue) to be heard.
So much confusion.
In politics, one can not possess to political principles. If one is member of one political party, he/she must stay within that party unless officially declared for his/her leave.
And this is the hate in diffusion by Haj Suleman:
ክ/ኦርቶዶክስ ከበሳ፣ ካብ ላስታ ዝመጹ ስደተኛታት’ዮም፣ (ሓጂ ስሌማን)
On whether I will win the debate or not, I am not the one who is trying to silence the other. But facts are facts.
When I write something, I am fully knowledgeable for what I wrote and I am responsible for every single line I dropped. The time you try to silence me I will not.
But I may do mistakes/misunderstand things. For this I am ready to be corrected. But to silence my opinion, it is against my rights.
Frezghi Mesmer there is no question that the weak or nearly absent political connection between diaspora opposition and the Eritrean public within Eritrea is largely one of the most difficult political bottlenecks they/we face.Thus, the lack of progress and growing political stagnation can be frustrating and be discouraging to the say the least. That much I agree.However, in addition to the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that this kind of radicalization was born out of political stagnation, it sounds very simplistic to justify it as such. Besides, we are not talking about any gullible and visionless youth, whom out of economic and political frustrations found vision and purpose in radical religious ideology. We are talking about seasoned politicians and highly educated citizens who are seeking ethnic recognition and other fundamental rights.They should have known better. The creation of socio-political enclaves may be a comfort zone for unhappy minorities but it pushes away the majority who should have been part of the change they seek. If this culture of exclusion and demonization of the “other” continues, at some point it will become a taboo for “the other” to attend any ceremonies/celebrations organized by the groups in question. The bottom-line, it takes two to tango.The last point on the absence of comprehensive political platform is a legitimate point but who is going to create that if every one of us creates our own political clans? I believe that most ethnic groups and regions have different demands and grievances but if we fail to solve our common problem which is a lack of rule of law and constitution, we will never be able to solve our individual problems. Wedhanka.
Bahlbi Y. Malk , the Diaspora effects on political evolution are severe and underestimated. Suffice it to say that a fish needs water and a politician needs exposure to his constituents in order to interact positively with reality. Diaspora politicians see themselves as being Eritrean politicians outside of Eritrea. In reality, their constituency are those Eritreans who voluntarily interact with them in the Diaspora. A very small number unlikely to be representative in the diversity of origin or diversity of ideas. As such, an echo chamber is very easy to create. Echo chambers lead to political stagnation due to the lack of interaction with the larger political body. As a result, the metric of political evolution becomes the evolution of ideas and not evolution of action-based goals. If the ideas are to “evolve” without interaction with the body politic, the echo chamber and isolation from the larger body encourages radicalism. We can point to many examples in the Diaspora opposition. One current example is the regionalism organizing. For years, regional sentiment affected all groups in various ways. It was always underground. Yet, because the opposition never addressed it adequately, the underground echo chamber exploded. Region-based parties came out of that explosion. If the larger opposition had addressed regional concerns openly and honestly AND coopted the regional discrimination issue, this would not have happened. But, the opposition, as you recommended, emphasized the larger “common” problems. Politically, this left a large vacuumin the sentiment of the people that could be exploited. And, exploited it was to create new groups that are total political deadweights in the fight against the PFDJ. The reasoning behind the regional sentiment, discrimination, was never adequately propagated by the media into people’s awareness. So, when these new groups emerge, the existing ideas about regional organizing(they just want to rule) become the default political conclusion of those that do not support regional organizing. The Jeberti issue is no different. Even as it was openly propagated, as opposed to the underground agitation of regional sentiment, the politics evolved towards radicalism. The reason? Because the rest of the opposition never widely supported the Jeberti question. Most were ambivalent towards the issue. If the Jeberti are left into their own echo chamber, without interaction with the whole, then it is inevitable that radical figures like haw Suleiman emerge. The way forward has to be co-opting of all legitimate political sentiments of ALL groups into one platform. A parallel effort to engage groups within their gatherings should also be made. Then, the whole can coalesce into a collaborative alliance of groups. Otherwise, the creation and maintenance of political clans will continue. EYSC’s idea of “change from within” was revolutionary in that requiring addressing internal realities as part of strategic planning. Most groups rejected it because it was against their existing political culture.
Frezghi Mesmer Frezghi Mesmer you seem to be serious but timid. Let us take at face value. As a liberal Democrat, I see the merits of any political and civic rights movement within the framework of today and the future. Though in today’s Eritrean political situation the notion of political and civic activism are of mixed in nature and very confusing, some have gone wild to confuse the people for what they advocate for. The Jeberti case is not different.
First of all, any individual/group of people have a right to be identified as they want to be in a free world. Ok, Eritrea is not free and I am not naive to expect wild card for Eritreans to choose who they want to be. But those who live in democratic countries they have failed terribly to go wild and fight for their recognition.
Take some Jeberti people who live in Sweden or Norway. Does anyone ask them why they wanted to be Jeberti? Or did anyone said to them, “No you are not allowed to form Community of Jeberti People”? To be frank, I don’t think anyone questioned their identity. To my disappointment, the same people who are free to be who they are are fighting with a regime that does not respect human rights to get recognition. This is ignorance. What the Jeberti people could have done is use the opportunity they get in the free world to show who they are in a way they wanted to be. And as Eritreans, they can fight with other Eritreans for the rights of people to be respected. Singling out the issue of Jeberti, and to the worst case, through the radicalization of their own people by imagining an arbitrary enemy, the Christian highlanders, is indeed dangerous.
To the worst phase of their radicalization, some Jeberti came with Al-Nahda Party. This party is a radical party, mostly driven by fanatic Islamic ideology, is diffusing hate speeches against others. This is the worst politics one can expect.
The ideology of Al-Nahda Party is motivated by two complex patterns.
1. Identity Issue
2. Religious issue.
These two cases are putting them in a spotlight. Look how Aga’azian movement lead by Tesfazion is attacking the whole Jebert people simply because to confront with Al-Nahda Party? We can’t make an excuse that this party does not represent Jeberti people as a whole, as per your claim, only 1%.
The case of Jeberti people falls within the basic human rights issue. For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of Article 2.5 says;
“Persons belonging to minorities have the right to establish and maintain, without any discrimination, free and peaceful contacts with other members of their group and with persons belonging to other minorities, as well as contacts across frontiers with citizens of other States to whom they are related by national or ethnic, religious or linguistic ties.”
For more details, you can visit http://www.ohchr.org/…/Profession…/Pages/Minorities.aspx
If we go further, if Al-Nahda Party is organised as representative of Jeberti people like all other Ethnic-based political organisations, that is different. As you are recently advocating against Sectarian politics, the party can be challenged accordingly. But at this stage of their political discourse, Al-Nahda Party is more on the rights of recognition of Jeberti as an ethnic group rather than an advocator of Jeberti political interest.
What I always ask myself is this:
Suppose PFDJ welcomed their struggle for recognition, what is then left as a motivation for a struggle?
Frezghi Mesmer, Correct.Yes, there has been so many socio-political issues that we have either been unaware of or deliberately ignored by the Eri society but they are now coming to the surface in a more worrisome fashion.My whole argument/expectation at this point is that, people regardless of their political stands, should use a basic political rule of thumb. Realistically speaking, the jeberti group has more likelihoods of coming to power than many Eritrean ethnic groups/regions. Because they are highly respected and accepted in Semhar, Senhit, Barka etc. But these kinds of approach can only cost them their allies and they can/will knowingly or unknowingly serve as an ultimate ammunition for Agazian-like mindset.This rule of a thumb applies to the regions too. Region-based politics may be easy to gain regional support, temporary noises and political patronage but it is a scar that can/will haunt the region(s) for decades to come.If I were to partially spill it in less diplomatic terms, I would put it this way: It is statistically and demographically impossible for Akeleguzay to come to power without the support of Seraye and/or Hamassien. The same goes for Seraye. The other regions may have other alternatives. Thus, any region-oriented political movement is nothing more than emotion-driven circus which would severely harm the actors as well as the integrity and solidarity of the society.
Bahlbi Y. Malk, I don’t support their approach. I support the issue. If the Jeberti issue was part of the national program. The narrow groups would not have come to existence. On the political leaders’ lack of vision, you are quite right. However, they don’t think that far ahead. Again, the Diaspora subsidises bad politicians. Inside the country, politicians live by their abilities. Better politicians defeat bad politicians. In the Diaspora, a politician might have just enough ability to satisfy 50 people and convince them to join his party. That is called a politician in the Diaspora. He doesn’t have to please business and social groups. Or balance the various interest groups in society. His income comes from his employment in the host community. As a result, he faces no consequences for his bad politics. To overcome the Diaspora effect, self-aware and reflective Eritrean politicians have to accept/address issues from various narrow groups as much as they advocate for general democratic change. Otherwise, they can never hope to defeat the narrow politicians who have all the natural advantages.
Frezghi Mesmer I disagree with you that the Jeberti issue needs national platform. It is part and parcel of the struggle for human rights. Unless we want to complicate issues, Jeberti case is very simple – just let us consider it as basic rights to human freedom where identity is a non-issue. For me, even those Amiche who were forced to leave Ethiopia can claim as Amhara simply because they speak Amharique language. The state should not have interference in people’s choice. What the state should do is respect people’s choice.
The era of communist ideology is over. We can not, therefore, bring identity-based politics back to the surface. If we do, as those regional/religious/identity politics, it is not different from that of PFDJ.
Let us remember Nihnan Elamanan whenever we organise according to religious and regional bases. No matter how one be national the starting/conception is what it defines.
Tesfabirhan Redie, what world are you in? 🙂Identity politics is all we have. It is our main stumbling block. The PFDJ suppressed all identity and now it is more virulent than before. If anything, we still copy the identity-neutral nationalism of the PFDJ. Let us embrace a diverse nationalism/patriotism that appreciates the role of each group in its historical context. Such an approach respects diversity and strengthens the unity of the people. Liberal democracy requires truth. Truth in the Eritrean context requires recognition of the unique contribution of the Jeberti, Tigre, Bilen, Kebessa, Afar, etc etc. If such a truth-based approach is followed, recognition of Jeberti contribution is inevitable. Once their contribution to Eritrea is acknowledged, then recognizing their unique identity is not far behind. Why do you think the PFDJ propaganda and anti-Jeberti sentiment focuses on minimising their contributions? Minimization of contributions is the first step in oppressing a national minority. Simply, by being a liberal Democrat, and telling the truth. You are giving Jeberti their earned and proper role in Eritrean history. It takes lies, distractions, and obfuscations to reduce their role and thereby reducing their proper identity.
Frezghi Mesmer the good thing is you can argue from any political dimension. I wish I have your skills of a double standard. Recently you were opposing sectarian politics. In case, here is the definition of sectarianism.
A sectarianism is a form of bigotry, discrimination, or hatred arising from attaching relations of inferiority and superiority to differences between subdivisions within a group. Common examples are denominations of a religion, ethnic identity, class, or region for citizens of a state and factions of a political movement.
For more detailed information, please read the link given below. You seem to forget what you fight for at one time and then flip-flop when it comes to reality. I thought your watch-dog skills is principled.
Thank you Raphael Arefaine. The record you shared is very rich. I am happy that my arguments fall within his teachings. My argument is exactly what he is teaching. Very useful. Thank you again.
Tesfabirhan Redie, that was a waste of 15 minutes.🙂 The speaker was conjecturing instead of giving clear answers. First, he says tribes/nationalities don’t exist in Eritrea. They were created by the Ghedli because of socialism. Second, he said that being a tribe is not a “right”. Human rights are a right. But, tribes/nationality identity can not be a right. The rest of it was filled with unnececessary and unclear examples. The sounds of a paltalker who loves his voice. My interpretation is that the speaker is loath to give Jeberti an identity. So, he questions the definition of identity itself rather than rejecting Jeberti identity outright. On the tribes/identities, of course they exist in Eritrea. Once the govt and the society start thinking in those terms, then it becomes real. The definition that speaker gave becomes a scholarly fact if the socio-political body is ignoring it. On the right to identity, who says it is not a right? Prior to genocide of a minority, the state tries to delegitimize the minority group. As they do with Rohinga in Burma or as Hitler did with the Jews. Of course, Jeberti oppression does not extend to that level. But, the systematic de-legitimizing of their identity follows a similar reasoning. The chauvinistic reasoning goes like this. They are not natives and so they do not deserve any special status or recognition of any kind. They avoided the war of liberation. They value Arabs over Eritreans. All of these are popular stereotypes designed to de-legitimize the Jeberti in everyone’s eye. If recognition was imparted, then these popular myths would start to disappear. The jeberti would assert their rights and it would become normal for Eritrea to have a “10th group/tribe”. Some Eritreans would rather give the 10th tribe designation to Amiches than to Jeberti. That is the degree of chauvenism that exists against them.
Again, as Bahlbi said, people are barking at the wrong tree by making an assumption that a segment of the society is opposing how the want to lead their communal life. The only thing that could potentially be a huge problem is if people couldn’t agree on secularism. Other than that , everything else should be covered in the future constitution.
Zaki Zerom, lets boil it down. Ignore the one Jeberti speaker who is a bit radical in his thinking. What about the other 99% that support a distinct identity for Jeberti? Is it worthwhile for the opposition to give them that recognition? Do you give them that recognition on par with the other 9 groups? We are all dancing around this question. Please address it.
Frezghi, I can only speak for myself and what I think it should be. It is not up to anyone to give or take identities. Any group’s identity is what the group collectively thinks it is, not what others think of the group. The opposition is in no position to recognize or not but as far as I know I do not see anyone in the opposition objecting a Jeberty identity.
Bottom line, the Eritrean society is structured such that ethnic identities are attached to villages and geographic localities. Therefore the Jeberty identity recognition in itself would only have little meaning and I think the Jeberty will always feel left out from the land discussion the rest of us seem to be obsessed with.
One positive note about Jeberty though,. They are in a unique position to play a huge role (if they grab the opportunity) in uniting the country. They are the closest to the Christian highland, and at the same time to the Muslim lowland.
Frezghi Mesmer to give you a simple answer; I am not the one who recognizes them, it is their basic human rights. What I do and am doing as my responsibility is to fight for people’s rights to be respected. I don’t fight for Jeberti people by singling out them, I just fight for universal rights. Within this struggle, I respect their rights to be identified as they wanted. I am no one to recognise them. They are the one by themselves to be recognised as they wanted.
Tesfabirhan Redie, if that is your answer to the Jeberti question, then you are deaf and blind.🙂 They are victims of a false history. They started the Independence struggle first but were written out of it by the victors. This much we can verify with known facts. What does it cost you, a justice seeker, in openly acknowledging this? Others talk about killing and dying for a political goal. Surely, a simple acknowledgement of historical truth is a small price to pay. Acknowledging a group concern doesn’t take away from your support of universal rights. Also, universal rights is a pale substitute for RESPECT. People fight and die for the self-respect of their people and their nation. To jeberti, a future democratic Eritrea is probably fine but a future democratic Eritrean society that gives them their proper respect is ideal. People fight for the ideal. Not for the “improvement”. Besides, the Jebertis are in the Diaspora. They already HAVE universal rights. What they don’t have is the respect and deserved acknowledgement of their fellow Eritreans. If you think in terms of political strategy, you will see that only fight for the proper respect of the Jeberti contribution will motivate Diaspora Jebertis to join the justice camp. If the fight for universal rights was motivation enough, they would have joined long ago and not have needed Al Nahda.
Zaki Zerom, spoken like a farmer or pastoralist. Merietey merietey end belka. :)The identity attached to land is fine but it is not the only form of identity. The Jeberti have their own unique economic culture that makes land-based identity difficult. You can even say undesirable. They are merchants and skilled artisans. They rarely farm. If you don’t farm, you don’t have an attachment to a land or to a specific village. It gives you the flexibility to move where there are economic opportunities. In the last few generations, as their businesses have gotten larger, they have settled in towns and villages. They have become part of the community. Especially in Asmara.
Frezghi, I am not sure what you are trying to say but people tall about identities in a context of political representation. The majority of the ethnic groups advocate for some form of federalism. If federalism becomes the winning idea, I believe it will be based on geographic region and the Jeberty will be part of the Highlands. That’s why I said recognition of identity alone isn’t something worth discussing without the underlying demands that follow the identity recognition.
My only concern is when people demand representation based on multiple identities (ethnic, religious at the same time ), the idea of equal representation fails.
That said, one thing I really do not approve of is when some Jeberty’s try to make their case by arguing that there is NO Tigrigna ethnic group and something along that line. It is simply stupid and offensive.
Zaki Zerom, do the Jeberti say they dont want democracy in Eritrea? just their own recognition?:) It is understood that the Jeberti demand is a demand for truth. If someone is written out of history books for political purposes, without any recourse to courts or public media without fear persecution, isnt democracy a solution for such a group? Democracy is even more crucial for minorities than for the majority. I can see most Kebessa being satisfied with a govt similar to Ethiopia’s. Where economic liberalism/cronyism affords them an improved lifestyle. In such an atmosphere, minorities can still be oppressed that do not fit the propaganda of the state. In a democratic system, minorities have rights to organize, rule-of-law, and use of public media. If the comparison holds true, the Jeberti are invested more in democracy than the “majorities” in Eritrea. It is the only way to realize their goals.
Frezghi Mesmer and Zaki Zerom I have a question for you:
You both are supporters of One Nation Movement. And One Nation recognizes only nine ethnic groups as their motivation graphic photo shows. And now you are coming in support of Jeberti’s quest for recognition. Isn’t this a political confusion?
If you remember why I opposed One Nation, one challenge I put was the question of ethnicity as they came with.
Please help me to understand your political clarity. I am in a state of confusion for what you advocate for.
Tesfabirhan Redie, I support justice which means I am for changing the imbalances/discrimination that affect various groups. The collection of group-specific grievances should be part of a national program. I support the issue that motivates the sectarian/regional parties but not organizing on that basis alone. Meaning, I see the Jeberti/Kunama/Saho/Hidareb specific issues as national issues. Recognizing the issue doesnt mean I have to accept organizing on that basis. We will never defeat PFDJ if we do not have a collaborative and unitary political program. We can create that program by co-opting all the various group specific issues WITHIN the umbrella of the democratic struggle. They are part and parcel of it. Anytime a nation does not have human rights, existing social/regional/sectarian grievances are excerbated due to the lack of a judicial/legislative mechanism. On One Nation, that is one poster. Surely, we can change it or add to it.
First: I hope the poster designed based on 9 ethnic groups to be changed. Doing this One nation will move miles in its political endeavour. I consider your answer here to be an honest response and I appreciate Zaki Zerom statement that depicts One Nation’s honest mistake on these 9 ethnic groupings.
Second: I fully agree with ou that we need to recognise people’s grievances. A champion of such advocasy in Eritrean politics is Amanuel Hidrat. Recently I wrote a lengthy article about his works, And I am in full support of our social grievances. Jeberti’s case is not different.
I am also a full supporter of Afar’s grievances, Kunama’s grievances, Hidareb’s grievances and those who want to named as they wanted to be. Without recognizing (recognition here does not mean to give permission but know its existence) our individual/social grievances we ca n not have a genuine struggle.
Because of PFDJ divide and rule policy so much is in our stock to be solved. But what we can fight against is another politics that will divide us further by creating confusion and hate. I am therefore advocating against these issues.
As a liberal democrat, I am for human rights. So much is therefore to fight against.
Who is actually confused….? The one who uses the words (terms) of ethnicity, nationality, and identity interchangeably or the one who advises the person who seemed to be in identity crises and seeks confirmation from others for what he is? I think that the former is; the latter is in the right track and deserves at least a thank you for his honest and direct sharing of his piece of mind. But the latter loses the capability to realize the benefits he gained from corresponding with the former.
Tes, I think it is an honest mistake by only stating the officially recognized ethnic groups. I can guarantee you everyone I know in this group do not have an issue with number of ethnic groups.
Actually, if you listened to senior’s last interview, she even said there were 2 more ethnic groups in Eritrea nobody is talking about. My first time to hear that.
Well, if it is an honest mistake, it has to be corrected but I doubt. It is more of an ideological issue. Nationalists, as members of One Nation are proud to label themselves as such, identity matters to them. Official recognition is just a matter of deception. Why should they simply promote Eritreans as a whole instead of listening who is who in Eritrea?
People like Solomon Tesfamariam are Ultra-Nationalists who care less about Rights of People. Instead they are constantly writing about the country by ignoring the people.
Now that if One Nation is honest, they should officially apologize to the Eritrean people and change this delete this photo from their archieve.
On the forgotten people,
Yes there are forgotten people.
Based on Language
1. Dahlaki People – these people speak an almost extinicting language. It needs tobe preserved by all means before it is too late. These days PFDJ is disturbing their thousands of years preserved culture, heritage and language by leasing Dahlaki Island to foreigners. We need to fight so that these people to exist.
2. Tokirir – Hausa people
These people somehow have recognition in summer festivals. But they are not yet considered as equal with other Eritreans. They have their own language, culture and mode of life.
These people are different from the other Tigrait speaking societies. Beni-Amir are unique people with unique culture. In fact, if there is Jeberti case in the Tigrigna speaking society, there is Beni-Amir case in the Tigrait speaking people.
Ok, the Jeberti people have better access to education and economic activities. They are using these opportunities to speak louder. What they are forgetting is Eritreans rights is forgotten by the regime in Asmara.
Jeberti’s case is not religious/ethnic issue, it is a basic human rights issue that need broader consensus to be reached by all Eritreans for all Eritreans.