A voice

I heard Biteweded
a voice
with purity
from sanity
right after meditation
an enlightening
an inspiring
awakening
calling
for rights
from within the beloved
the people
from the people
to the people
yes a pure democracy
full of trust
not out of fear
never
but out of courage
out of reconciliation
peace
and development
his motto
a heart
and mind
all in one
and for one
just for one
and the one is
a product of 65,000 +
a nation of nations
a pride of pride
a diamond
of priceless
simply for the dreams
dreams of justice and reconciliation
yes, the voices echoed
almost 20 years old
yet, alive and inspiring
a sound of purity
I heard
yes I heard
a voice of purity

Originally at awate comment section in 2015 http://awate.com/like-an-addict-eritrea-needs-family-intervention/

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I dreamt pulling grasses from my mouth: What does it mean?

It was on 05/10/2016, approaximately around 5:00 AM. I slept late and soon after I started dreaming some terrifying dream. The dream I had was:

“Pulling a never ending grasses from my mouth. The grass was dry and I was pulling it using my fingers. I was  not able to finish it. I was feeling some dryness in my mouth when I was taking out the grass and some how thirsty.”

This kind of dream was recurring several times in my dreams. I wanted to know what it means. I searched on google and here is what I found on the internet.

  1. Stuffed / full mouth in dreams – what does that mean (dream interpretation stuffed mouth) – someone asked Stuffed / full mouth in dreamsResponse Given: Dream interpretation of a stuffed/full mouth. A lot of people dream about having a mouth full of food, chewing gum or something else that makes it absolutely impossible to talk, and maybe they even experience the feeling of suffocating. The following is a walkthrough of what dreaming about a stuffed or full mouth can mean.The mouth is a very important organ. It is the place where we consume food (and dispose of food if it is not good for us – i.e. vomit). Dreaming about food is often an image of psychological /mental energy (see this blog post about food in dreams), and the mouth can therefore be a symbol of how we consume and “digest” external experiences, for example an emotional one.To keep pulling something out of the mouth (gum, food or something else) as an image of something that is somewhat uncomfortable which we should dispose/get rid of, or that we currently try to get rid of. You might dream that your mouth is full of a gum-like substance, and that you are constantly trying to pull all the gum out of your mouth, but there keep being something left, and it is like there is no point in trying to pull it out.

    This could symbolize that you have “swallowed”/experienced something unpleasant in your life that you are unconsciously trying to dispose of in your dream. However, because you are not actively doing something about it in your actual life, your subconscious will be filled up by “gum” – that is, the experience or the thoughts that you are ignoring. You might even find that the thoughts or experiences you have “swallowed” have turned into something that is suffocating you because you are not getting rid of it (i.e. talking to someone about it).

    The elements that suffocate you could also be potential lies you have been “fed” as a child, and these can be difficult to get rid of. Maybe the dream thus invites you to look at the “truths” you have in life (your beliefs, and where they come from). Again, the dream might say; you need to deal with this –perhaps you need to talk to somebody about it. See also dreams of strangulation/suffocation.

    Full or blocked mouth as a symbol of not being heard. You can also dream that your mouth is in some way blocked, and that you therefore are prevented from speaking (for example with duct tape, or something else that prevents you from being able to talk). It may simply be a symbol of a general feeling of not being heard or seen, or maybe you have a hard time saying no in certain situations? What kind of a mental duct tape have you put on your mouth? Is it you or someone else who has put it there? You are the only one who can remove it.

    A final alternative interpretation is that your subconscious is trying to tell you that you’ve said enough, and that you need to be quiet.

    2. Dream interpretation / analysis is not always an easy sport, and the best way to know whether you have come up with a meaningful interpretation is that you really feel – deep in your stomach – that this is right for you in your life right now.Source: What could this dream mean about stuff stuck in your mouth?

    Given Response: 

    Let’s take a look at these symbols, you have grass, seeds, and dirt, you need to get them out, and put them somewhere they can grow. You have dirt, a medium for growth, seeds, a potential of growth, and grass, an end result / grown. Sounds like ideas and potentials to me, ideas and potentials that need verbal expression, so you are trying to get them out of your mouth, but it’s a struggle for you. Some form of creative expression, perhaps… It seems like you have a good idea of some kind, and need to communicate it, but you can’t, it’s a struggle, you know what the idea is, but can’t seem to convey it properly, or don’t know how to convey it to the right people so it can take root and grow into something good….Good luck….

    This seems to fully interprate my dreams. I hope I will work for the best of it by working on what I am thinking.

Tes REDIE

Angers, France

Voices of Justice and Democracy Challenging Modern Ethiopia

The use of “democracy” in system of governance is becoming highly volatile in today’s political market. Despite its theoretical connotation and rationale, its notion has been devalued as a simple commodity that wishy-washy politicians sell to ordinary citizens. Instead of a justifiable system of governance, it became a marketing tenet of false promises for grabbing boundless power. All false convictions aired become just instrumentation tools to scoring high number of voters.  Consequently ordinary societies lost its true essence in practice.

Ethiopia’s case is not an exception.The country is supposed to be democratic as the1st Article of the Federal Government Constitution indicates. Although Article 30(1) states it is a given right for every person to assemble and to demonstrate together with others, peaceably and unarmed, the way the federal government responds is against that.As a consequence, legitimate grievances carry the potential of becoming public disobediences, chaos, and lawlessnessacross different federal states.Grievances are being expressed through the hardest way possible that demands sacrifice by many innocent citizens.

The cause of today’s social and political unrest in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) seems to be intricate. It demands intermingled political strategies to produce at least an easing solution for the hyper tensioned and alarmingly vague situation. Though a distant observation, it is safe to say that confidence on the existing political system is gloomy. If it can be exploited for a better end, delving into the principles of democracy and loyalty, to the rule of law that respects democratic rights, is the best action.

The way the federal government behaves against anyone who raises a voice of justice is increasingly becoming worrisome. In every protest, innocent people are dying through direct gun shots. There is no justifiable reason to act in such barbaric way to control down the riots and disobedience. The pretext of national security and conspiracy of external involvements should not justify these actions. In fact they are considered as crimes against humanity.

When democratic rights fall at risk, evolution of this once monarchic and totalitarian country into democratic governance system is hard to be attained. What makes it worse is that the second largest populous country in Africa (more than 90 million) and one of the poorest countries in the world, economic and social prosperity will be hard to imagine without respect of rule of law. In fact it is becoming a major concern among thosewho believe on Ethiopian revitalization and democratization process.

Challenges of Article 39 and Democratization

Since the chaotic social and political unrest of 2015in the Oromia region, and now (2016) the wake-up of Amhara, the echo of justice is vibrating throughout the country. These people are showing their valiant stance of demand for fair equity of power distribution at the federal level and a guarantee of acceptable margin of self-rule on state level administration. Moreover, some people, like Wolkait, are demanding relocation of their state administration by claiming their identity traits, Amhara. The rejection of the Addis Abba masterplan expansion by the Oromo nationals, Wolkait identity issue, the Amhara claim of power monopoly by one ethnic group (the Tigres), the Afar and Tigray people’s democratic movement are, some of the prominent examples that dominate uncertain and sensitive political landscape.

Generally speaking, these political developments do not contradict with Article 39 of the federal government which grants nations and nationalities the rights to secede. Although looking back to the early 1990s Article 39 had justifiable reason to be included, it was a shortsighted article that conceived a huge potential of Ethiopian fragmentation. The then successful coalition force of EPRDF was composed of five revolutionary fronts that had a primary objective of forming an independent country of their respective nationalities. If Article 39 was not included, it could have been difficult to form a united country called Ethiopia, and it had its own merits for a short term relief. But this didn’t serve longer as a unifying tool any longer. With increasing popular feeling of political marginalization and public pressure for economic and social prosperity, the only soft target is to hit back on the pillars of Article 39 and force the federal government to loosen the grip that glue the states. The Oromo liberation front and the Somalis regional issue comes as spot cases.

In fact, when one delves into Article 39 thoroughly, it basically gives an opportunity of fragmentation under a pretext of democratic choice of the people, whatever the motive. Literally speaking, social groups of Ethiopia have an equal chance of claiming territorial state that can produce more than 80 ethno-centric states. Although secession is hard to achieve in modern Ethiopia in a short-termpolitical process, in a country that has ample experience of revolutionary turmoil, the issue of nations and nationalities can explode leading to civil war. The expanding political freedom among ordinary societies is pushing for a radical change in the system of governance and more political accommodation. The missing link here is appropriate federal and state democratic institutions that provide timely responses of public concern. The question is therefore, “is the government in a stage of building timely and conduciveenvironment for political rights or will it continue to act in such a horrific terror of brutal killing and squeezing political freedom?”

Ethiopian voices are engaged in a discourse of democratization and that doesn’t arrant panic because these voices were oppressed for too long. The seismic jolt created along these waves cannot be concealed neither through guns nor through blocking of social media outlets. What is needed is accommodation, listening, being responsible, tolerant and transparent, respectingrule of law, justice, and choices.

Relatively speaking, Ethiopia has come a long way in the democratization process compared to what it was before.In spite of the very few power-mongering individuals and diminishing partisan elementswiththe defunct monarchist mentality, Ethiopians today care more for economic prosperity, democratic rights and inclusiveness within the existing diversity. The late Prime Minister Melles Zenawi plans for ending poverty through education is a prime strategy of modern thinking through which the Ethiopian nation canstrive and prevail against all challenges.

Positivism within Optimism

A thorough observation on the Ethiopian economic, political and social developments indicate that their registered outcome is optimistic. I believe that EPRDF is an emancipator and its political path succeeded in eradicating fear from its own people. Unlike before, when the Derg ruled through RED TERROR, Ethiopians have reached a degree of fearlessness that they are openly opposing government policies and system of governance.

The change in the Ethiopian political landscape is immense. Nations like Oromos, whowere treated as mere servants in the past with no sayeven on basic human rights, arenow loudly campaigningfor justice and equality. The Amharas who took it for granted that their powerhouse wasthe source of rulers of greater Abyssinia, have now come to terms withpolitical representativeness,and fairness of justice. The Tigrayans, though they still control the center of the government, are equally demanding more democratic freedoms. The same can be narrated about Afar, Somalis, and Southern Nationalities, Benshangul, and Harari nationalities.

These deep rooted cumulativegrievances date back to the era of former leaders. They arenow loud and widespread because of therelatively expanding democratic freedom, changing economic status and global openness; every raised voice is becoming stronger and louder producing waves for the highly needed change.

The existing political turmoil might seem destructive in a short term view. It could be dangerous if the federal government tries to silence it by using aggressive force.  Nevertheless, if minimum and basic standards of democratic rights of societies and individuals are observed, today’s voices will transform the old mentality of governance and consolidate Ethiopia further.

The federal government needs to be wise on resolving the current trend. It is the harvest of a ripening struggle of the oppressed people. If challenges seem tougher, it is because they are passing through the last bottleneck of obstacle towards greater freedoms and transparency.

Paradox of Ethiopian refusal forHuman Rights Observers:

When Eritreans called on the United Nation Commission for human Rights group to investigate crimes committed against them, the Ethiopian government immediately endorsed the mission. Since the commission of inquiry (COiE) was refused permission to visit Eritrea, itswork became more challengingand itwas forced to collect testimonies outside the country. Ethiopia was on the forefront insistingthat the UN to pressure Eritrea.

On the contrary, when Human Rights groups wanted to see what is currently happening in Ethiopia, it is difficult to comprehend why it is refusing them permission to do so.Comparing that to its position in regards to Eritrea, it is a paradoxand a double standard. If the country is committed to International treaties, Human Rights observers should be allowed to conduct their work and see if individual rights are being observed or not.

PFDJ Eritrea and National Security

It is wise to differentiate between how the Eritrean and the PFDJ think. Without forgetting pre 21thCenturyhistorical legacies, Eritreans have limited information about today’s Ethiopian internal political cartography. To the majority, Ethiopia isperceived as the motherland of Haile Selassie,Derg (Amhara), and Woyane(Tigray). These leaders are remembered as archenemies of Eritrea. It is hard to figure out what is within Ethiopia’s politics and social composition. Even the term, “every Ethiopian” is narrowly demarcated to include the above mentioned nationalities, and such political blindness is imposed and perpetuated for a reason.

To combat external security threats, Eritrean conducts proxy war via rebel groups of the antagonizing country. This kind of strategy helps from involving itself in a direct war. Since independence, Eritrea has involvement has involved in Sudan internal problems to halt threats from Sudan, supported Al-Shabab in Somalia, and is continuing to arm and train a number of Ethiopian opposition forces. For example, there are more than ten rebel groups who are stationed in Eritrea. The engagement is symbiotic. Eritrea provides necessary support for rebels in return the rebels attack Ethiopian government. These rebels conduct occasional military operations inside Ethiopia that put security and stability in danger.

Conclusion

It is wise to recap this article by citing Article 10 from the constitution of Ethiopian Federal Government. It says, “Human rights and freedoms are inviolable and inalienable. They are inherent in the dignity of human beings. Human and democratic rights of Ethiopian citizens shall be respected.” This line calls the government to respect rule of law. It must be recognized that voice of justice and democracy always come in one package-you need to have a voice in order to enjoy justice. It cannot be concluded that today’s Ethiopian problems are solely related with Article 39. However the article provides an open environment of manipulation. In its current context, opportunists can use it as means of power struggle or dividing the country into smaller states.  This being one, Article 39 has serious short-comings that need to be reformed. Nevertheless, the people of Ethiopia should not be fooled again. Opposition groups who are working with neighboring countries should be refrained from being mercenaries of destabilization for their own country.

A united Ethiopia is a blessing, first for Ethiopians, and then to the region at large.

Betrayal of Eritreans

Memories of Lampedusa 

How Eritreans were betrayed by their own supposed responsible government at that time though PFDJ regime can not be considered as a government

No one can forget the crimes committed by the ruling regime, PFDJ on his reaction about the Lampedusa Tragedy, specially when the Eritrean citizens are named by their supposed own national TV channel to be labelled as “Illegal African Immigrants”

Awate recorded the reaction by the totalitarian regime as follows:

The Reaction of the Eritrean Regime

1. On October 4th, while Diaspora Eritreans were in a state of shock and grief, Eri-TV (State TV) referred to the incident as a case of “illegal African immigrants” who are said to be of “Horn of Africa nationality.”

2. While some may have given the regime the benefit of doubt for being uncertain about the nationality of the victims, on October 4th, Yemane Gebremeskel, the director of the President’s office, tweeted (posted on Twitter) “Condolences to the families who have lost their dearest ones in the Lampadusa disaster. Time 4 urgent action 2 ensure this never happens.” This line was featured prominently on tesfanews.com without disclosing that it was a re-write of the tweet.

3. Yemane Gebremeskel then went on to have twitter flame wars with Leonard Vincent (AFP) because the latter had asked “Has anyone thought of asking Eritrean top official if he still thought the Lampedusa tragedy is “not a big issue”? Vincent was referencing Yemane Gebremeskel’s interview with Fox News/AFP a month earlier when, asked about the exodus of Eritreans, he had replied “It’s not a big issue.”

More details can be read by visiting:Lampedusa Tragedy: A chronicle

Recognition of Individual Contribution: A Step to Transparency and Responsibility

Let’s pause and look into ourselves and identify “who is who” among those who are making history by being in the foremost list of activist leaders in the quest of justice for Eritrea. In today’s political mindset of Eritreans, many may feel discomfort when individual dissidents are picked from the crowds of justice seekers pool. Though these negative feelings have deep historical roots to exist, it is a must for justice loving Eritrean to know who is who among themselves.

The struggle for independence has left a strong footprint of burring purposefully individual talent, creativeness and leadership. Promoting individual talent is considered as nurturing individualism. From the very beginning, the revolutionary concept was designed to be a collective work. Every achievement registered is collective work, even when it is done by an identified individual. It is almost a taboo to give credit to someone who did a typical work. With the exception of the supreme leader, in rare cases, when an individual’s heroism, intelligence, talent, leadership quality etc., trespass collective recognition, political suspicion increases. Soon enough, directly or indirectly, the individual becomes victim of political silencing, often accompanied by complicated accusations of treason and fabricated labeling. The fate becomes either going to prison or get killed systematically. Hundreds of brilliant freedom fighters were passed unrecognized day in day out for this simple reason.

Such acts create organizations that burry individual contribution. Anyone who happens to be pragmatic and competent enough to bring a change within the existing system is systematically suppressed. When many talented individuals are silenced, the hosting institution falls under the mercy of one-man.  Not only this, homogenous thinking develops that later becomes impossible to accept diversified ideas. The end result of this endeavor produces one-man rule, authoritative or totalitarian system. As time passes, all powers are concentrated in one that could resemble as a monarchic rule as Saleh Younis elaborated in his recent article titled by Eritrean “System” is a Monarchy (1).

Looking deep into the mindset of Eritreans, the society seems unable to reconcile with talented individuals. The doctrine of ‘the masses’ is still alive; both within those who support or oppose the current system. Individuals who surfaced at the top because of their unique works are continuously becoming the target of harsh criticism and defamation. Though such silencing campaigns are usually initiated by PFDJ security agents, folks within the justice seeking camp apply the same style to disown individuals with outstanding performance. As a result the camp of justice seekers is in constant scrutinaizaton.

Besides its psychological side effect on individuals, failure of giving timely and due recognition has an impact on identifying “who is who” within the pool of justice seekers camp. Parallel to this, it can hamper establishment of transparent and responsible leadership. To avoid such failures, first, it is wise to appreciate someone for the work s/he is doing so that it can boast her/his motive. Second when the struggle succeeds these known figures are good candidates to hold public positions. The society can put trust on them. In Tigrigna there is a proverb that reads, ካብ ዘይትፈልቶጦ መልአኽ ትፈልጦ ሰይጣን ይሓይሽ” (From an unknown god, a known monster is better). The case of PFDJ Eritrea under EPLF and now PFDJ is typical example.

However, with increasing political consciousness and openness to democratic values, Eritrean opposition camp is experiencing a different path. Unlike before, individuals are in the course of being recognized and credited for their works. The contribution of some individuals is so big that it cannot be simply ignored. For example, in 2015, Bologna Forum recognized Professor Bereket Habteselassie for his long service to the case of Eritrea freedom, democracy and rule of law (2). Elyzabeth Chyrum, a human rights activist and advocate for Eritrean refugees all over the world, was recognized for her commendable work in 2009 (3) and 2012 (4).

The Fate of My Family under the Dictatorial Regime of Asmara

My story is a drop in an ocean. I am just lucky enough to write about my family. There are families with no one to tell their stories. Compared to the number of victims and suffering of the entire Eritrean families, the stories that are made public are, indeed few. Depressingly, individuals who boldly decided to be the voice of the voiceless so far are extremely few and not enough to expose even a penny from the unprecedented suffering of Eritreans.

Due to extreme isolation and prohibition of independent mass media and access of international body to see what is happening inside Eritrea, the world lacks specific information on what Eritreans are facing. The United Nation Human Rights Council established a commission of Inquiry (COiE) to investigate the crimes that are being committed by the regime. Though the investigating body was not allowed access to Eritrea, it managed to collect horrifying testimonies from hundreds of Eritreans living now outside the country as refugees. The testimonies were compiled and reported to UN Human Rights group in its 484 pages report of 2015 (COiE Report). A year after, in June 2016, the Commission of Inquiry Eritrea concluded that “systematic and widespread crimes against humanity are committed by the regime” and recommended the UN Human Rights Council to look after the case.

From the undocumented testimonies of Eritrean sufferings under the brutal regime which is ruling Eritrea today, let me share with you what my family are going through for the last two decades.  What I am sharing here is not compiled within the COiE report. It is a refreshing testimony coming from an ordinary Eritrean citizen.

The Unforgettable Memory

My older brother is the one who made me to be who I am today. When I was a university student in Eritrea, he decided to take care of our family. We were ten at that time, three sisters, five brothers, mother and father excluding our grandchildren. At that time five out of the eight were students: two were serving in the military and a married sister whose husband was a soldier. Since none of us was able to generate income someone had to take family responsibility and make a sacrifice for all of us. In 2003 my brother decided to abscond the army, hide, and work to care for the family after serving for four years.

After working for three years while hiding in a small family garden, until January 2006, life became so difficult for him and he couldn’t continue working under the circumstances anymore. While he was working, the military security force took my mother and kept her in prison so that my brother will be forced to come and free her. My father was working as a local administrator and they wanted him to serve them while keeping my mother in prison. That impacted my brother who had no option left but to give up him-self. After one month in prison, my brother gave-up and went by himself to let my mother free and imprisoned instead. After spending a year and half he was released from the harsh military prison and joined his brigade.

In September 2007, my brother was able to attend my university graduation ceremony. That evening he told me that he cannot live in Eritrea anymore. Together with his childhood and close friend, who is now living in Israel, decided to flee from Eritrea. Their escape was an eight days journey. They crossed the border to Sudan and went to the Shegerab refugee camp where Eritrean refugees are camped for decades. My brother stayed there for three months. He had no one to help and provide any support for him and struggled to survive there for three months. Eventually he was able to leave the camp and reach to Khartoum after we sent him around 20,000 Nakfa from home.

Life was hard in Sudan. Since our family was still in shortage of basic needs he continued to shoulder responsibility of our family. He had to work hard. He was fortunate enough to have multi-skills that helped him to work in all sorts of activities. In a short time he managed to take care of himself and somehow started to get stabilized.

While living in such challenging environment two sisters faced trouble while fleeing Eritrea when human smugglers held them as a hostage and asked for a ransom in 2008 and 2009 consecutively. My brother was the only one who was supposed to help. After paying thousands to the smugglers my sisters joined him to live with.

I was in the national service, aka national slavery as many use to call it, right after my graduation, I had no income at all and our family continued to be dependent on my brother. He continued to bear the burden of supporting our family responsibility till his last day.

In December 27, 2012 I received a “missed­call” from my brother. I called him back just to hear him saying “I am severely sick”. We were thousands of kilometers apart. I was unable to do anything except contacting people around him. They took him to hospital. Within three days he died in the hospital after severe internal bleeding. May he Rest in Peace!

This tragedy was one of the darkest experiences in my life. The sorrow I faced is still impacting deep inside my soul.

Through his support, we are who we [our family] are today.

My Family Today

Families Living Inside Eritrea

In 2011 or 2012, [I am not sure exactly on which year it is], my older brother, a second round national service, was inflicted with Tuberculosis, and he was elated when they gave him a leave: he thought it is a good opportunity to work (which is better than being a slave). My brother started to work while taking his medicine.

Because of misery, malnutrition and hard work he was not able to take his medicine properly. His TB became complicated enough that let him change the subscription and dosage amount. He somehow felt good though not fully cured. He had no option but to continue working in the small family garden in order to support his family. By then his TB went deep into entire body organs. He went to a hospital and ordered him for an immediate hospitalization. He spent six months in a military hospital. Because of repeated infection he is almost paralyzed, but we are lucky he is still alive – this brother is a husband and a father of five.

My oldest sister is a mother of four beautiful children. Her husband is in the military for almost 20 years by now. Their oldest daughter went to Sawa in 2012 at the age of 17 to complete her secondary education. After she failed to pass the national exam, they let her join the military force. Since then she is in active service. Whenever I met her on telephone I hear her cry.  My sister has also another son who went to Sawa in this summer (2016). Seeing what happened to his elder sister, soon after he went to the military camp he and other dozen of friends left the camp and fled to Sudan. He is currently living in Khartoum as a refugee.

I have another brother, a computer engineer, who is living in Eritrea. After finishing his study in 2011, he was forced to work in the national service. Since then he is working unpaid. He is married and a father of three children, aged 4, 3 and 2 years respectively.

My Families Living Outside Eritrea

From the two who fled from Eritrea, One went to Canada after waiting for six years through a family sponsorship. The second sister decided to take her chance through the Sahara desert and all along crossing the Mediterranean Sea.  After three months of life in the journey, she landed safely in the Italian soil. Now she is living in Italy as a refugee. [She has a shocking experience but she didn’t want to tell me the details].

My youngest brother also had similar unfortunate experience. He joined the military at the age of sixteen, in the year of 2007. In September 2013, he left Eritrea to Sudan. He was caught by smugglers and we paid 120,000 Nakfa as a ransom.  After spending two years there he finally crossed the Mediterranean Sea in the summer 2015. He is now living in Norway as a refugee.

And I

After serving for six years as a Lecturer in the only existing agricultural college in the country, the government sent me to China to do my Masters degree in the year of 2012. I was not happy there for many reasons. I decided to look for other opportunities and got another scholarship on my own. In 2013, I joined the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship program. Luckily France was the principal hosting country among the four other partner countries.

After two years of study, I finished my Masters degree successfully.

But life was not easy all along these years. I was married in 2011. I left my wife behind while she was five months pregnant. We got our baby in 2013. Unfortunately I was not lucky to see my beautiful baby. In the summer of 2015, I decided to let my wife leave the country illegally. I paid 6000 Euros for the smugglers to Sudan.

I had an opportunity to invite my family here in France. They could not get a passport simply because I refused to pay 2% to the Eritrean embassy in Paris and sign the regret paper. We faced the same problem in Sudan. As life was not easy in Sudan, again she continued her journey to Egypt through the Sahara. She reached Cairo safely after six days journey of life and death. I spent another 1500 Euros for the smugglers.

My wife and my beautiful daughter are now living in Cairo as a registered UNHCR refugee.

My family and I are living in different continents separated by sea of injustice. I miss them so much.

My Parents

My father, who was shocked over the death of his son, is living in anguish. My mother, who carried and gave birth to eight children, is now alone; with no one around even to help her fetch firewood. A father of eight children is no one of them around to assure and say, “Here I am, father”.

I feel the pain of my mother, her sorrow, her loneliness, and her anguish. I feel the grief of my heartbroken father. None of us is around when he needs us most in his old ages; we are forced not to be around.

I miss my brother. I hear echoes of his voice coming from the grave, talking to me, “where are you, Tesfabirhan? Are you around? Are you fulfilling our dreams? How is mother doing? Don’t let our father sit alone? Be with him.”

Sadly, I am living here in France: as a refugee, helpless, even unable to help my almost four year old daughter.  Till today and I don’t know when except I hope so, I am not able to be reunited with my family. They are stranded in the middle of nowhere expecting to join me. So far I couldn’t simply because of a piece of paper that could have let them get the visa easily.

This is the pain from within, cutting my guts. Yet, I didn’t narrate the stories of my uncle, my aunt, my extended family and my friends— how shocking do you think that would be?

Let me add this in my testimonies. It is about the suffering and sorrow of my aunt. She is a mother who lost four of her sons during the liberation struggle. Now she is living in sorrow, always crying, in a small house found in a village – in a house that has no electricity. Her beloved sons fought to bring light to Eritrea, yet, their almost eighty years old mother, like many Eritreans, lives in a dark room full of grief.

Conclusion

These types of stories are what you can hear from every single refugee today throughout the world. You can pick anyone from Eritrean refugees, just pick one and hear his/her anguish. It is horrifying beyond one can imagine.

If there are thousands of Eritreans leaving the country today, it is because of lack of freedom and injustice in our home country. Unfortunately the miser is not ending there. Even here in Europe and all over the world outside Eritrea, our suffering is continuing to exist. We are continuously living as a direct victim of the regime that let us suffer. We live in FEAR because of the extended surveillance works of regime’s embassies and forced obligations to be fulfilled whenever we need help for a different reason.

Thoughts on Inner Peace

Having an internal peace could help you to over come all life challenges. It is a strength that can strive all the shutters no matter how bitter life could be. Nevertheless when you are witnessing by yourself while your inner peace eroding abrubtly, all you can be is a helpless creature. Take care therefore for your internal peace. It is the only tool you can have when all doors to life are closing.

Voices of Justice and Democracy Challenging Modern Ethiopia

Democraty in today’s Ethiopia

[Originally published  and edited at http://www.awate.com]

Voices of Justice and Democracy Challenging Modern Ethiopia

The use of “democracy” in system of governance is becoming highly volatile in today’s political market. Despite its theoretical connotation and rationale, its notion has been devalued as a simple commodity that wishy-washy politicians sell to ordinary citizens. Instead of a justifiable system of governance, it became a marketing tenet of false promises for grabbing boundless power. All false convictions aired become just instrumentation tools to scoring high number of voters.  Consequently ordinary societies lost its true essence in practice.

Ethiopia’s case is not an exception.The country is supposed to be democratic as the1st Article of the Federal Government Constitution indicates. Although Article 30(1) states it is a given right for every person to assemble and to demonstrate together with others, peaceably and unarmed, the way the federal government responds is against that.As a consequence, legitimate grievances carry the potential of becoming public disobediences, chaos, and lawlessnessacross different federal states.Grievances are being expressed through the hardest way possible that demands sacrifice by many innocent citizens.

The cause of today’s social and political unrest in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) seems to be intricate. It demands intermingled political strategies to produce at least an easing solution for the hyper tensioned and alarmingly vague situation. Though a distant observation, it is safe to say that confidence on the existing political system is gloomy. If it can be exploited for a better end, delving into the principles of democracy and loyalty, to the rule of law that respects democratic rights, is the best action.

The way the federal government behaves against anyone who raises a voice of justice is increasingly becoming worrisome. In every protest, innocent people are dying through direct gun shots. There is no justifiable reason to act in such barbaric way to control down the riots and disobedience. The pretext of national security and conspiracy of external involvements should not justify these actions. In fact they are considered as crimes against humanity.

When democratic rights fall at risk, evolution of this once monarchic and totalitarian country into democratic governance system is hard to be attained. What makes it worse is that the second largest populous country in Africa (more than 90 million) and one of the poorest countries in the world, economic and social prosperity will be hard to imagine without respect of rule of law. In fact it is becoming a major concern among thosewho believe on Ethiopian revitalization and democratization process.

Challenges of Article 39 and Democratization

Since the chaotic social and political unrest of 2015in the Oromia region, and now (2016) the wake-up of Amhara, the echo of justice is vibrating throughout the country. These people are showing their valiant stance of demand for fair equity of power distribution at the federal level and a guarantee of acceptable margin of self-rule on state level administration. Moreover, some people, like Wolkait, are demanding relocation of their state administration by claiming their identity traits, Amhara. The rejection of the Addis Abba masterplan expansion by the Oromo nationals, Wolkait identity issue, the Amhara claim of power monopoly by one ethnic group (the Tigres), the Afar and Tigray people’s democratic movement are, some of the prominent examples that dominate uncertain and sensitive political landscape.

Generally speaking, these political developments do not contradict with Article 39 of the federal government which grants nations and nationalities the rights to secede. Although looking back to the early 1990s Article 39 had justifiable reason to be included, it was a shortsighted article that conceived a huge potential of Ethiopian fragmentation. The then successful coalition force of EPRDF was composed of five revolutionary fronts that had a primary objective of forming an independent country of their respective nationalities. If Article 39 was not included, it could have been difficult to form a united country called Ethiopia, and it had its own merits for a short term relief. But this didn’t serve longer as a unifying tool any longer. With increasing popular feeling of political marginalization and public pressure for economic and social prosperity, the only soft target is to hit back on the pillars of Article 39 and force the federal government to loosen the grip that glue the states. The Oromo liberation front and the Somalis regional issue comes as spot cases.

In fact, when one delves into Article 39 thoroughly, it basically gives an opportunity of fragmentation under a pretext of democratic choice of the people, whatever the motive. Literally speaking, social groups of Ethiopia have an equal chance of claiming territorial state that can produce more than 80 ethno-centric states. Although secession is hard to achieve in modern Ethiopia in a short-termpolitical process, in a country that has ample experience of revolutionary turmoil, the issue of nations and nationalities can explode leading to civil war. The expanding political freedom among ordinary societies is pushing for a radical change in the system of governance and more political accommodation. The missing link here is appropriate federal and state democratic institutions that provide timely responses of public concern. The question is therefore, “is the government in a stage of building timely and conduciveenvironment for political rights or will it continue to act in such a horrific terror of brutal killing and squeezing political freedom?”

Ethiopian voices are engaged in a discourse of democratization and that doesn’t arrant panic because these voices were oppressed for too long. The seismic jolt created along these waves cannot be concealed neither through guns nor through blocking of social media outlets. What is needed is accommodation, listening, being responsible, tolerant and transparent, respectingrule of law, justice, and choices.

Relatively speaking, Ethiopia has come a long way in the democratization process compared to what it was before.In spite of the very few power-mongering individuals and diminishing partisan elementswiththe defunct monarchist mentality, Ethiopians today care more for economic prosperity, democratic rights and inclusiveness within the existing diversity. The late Prime Minister Melles Zenawi plans for ending poverty through education is a prime strategy of modern thinking through which the Ethiopian nation canstrive and prevail against all challenges.

Positivism within Optimism

A thorough observation on the Ethiopian economic, political and social developments indicate that their registered outcome is optimistic. I believe that EPRDF is an emancipator and its political path succeeded in eradicating fear from its own people. Unlike before, when the Derg ruled through RED TERROR, Ethiopians have reached a degree of fearlessness that they are openly opposing government policies and system of governance.

The change in the Ethiopian political landscape is immense. Nations like Oromos, whowere treated as mere servants in the past with no sayeven on basic human rights, arenow loudly campaigningfor justice and equality. The Amharas who took it for granted that their powerhouse wasthe source of rulers of greater Abyssinia, have now come to terms withpolitical representativeness,and fairness of justice. The Tigrayans, though they still control the center of the government, are equally demanding more democratic freedoms. The same can be narrated about Afar, Somalis, and Southern Nationalities, Benshangul, and Harari nationalities.

These deep rooted cumulativegrievances date back to the era of former leaders. They arenow loud and widespread because of therelatively expanding democratic freedom, changing economic status and global openness; every raised voice is becoming stronger and louder producing waves for the highly needed change.

The existing political turmoil might seem destructive in a short term view. It could be dangerous if the federal government tries to silence it by using aggressive force.  Nevertheless, if minimum and basic standards of democratic rights of societies and individuals are observed, today’s voices will transform the old mentality of governance and consolidate Ethiopia further.

The federal government needs to be wise on resolving the current trend. It is the harvest of a ripening struggle of the oppressed people. If challenges seem tougher, it is because they are passing through the last bottleneck of obstacle towards greater freedoms and transparency.

Paradox of Ethiopian refusal forHuman Rights Observers:

When Eritreans called on the United Nation Commission for human Rights group to investigate crimes committed against them, the Ethiopian government immediately endorsed the mission. Since the commission of inquiry (COiE) was refused permission to visit Eritrea, itswork became more challengingand itwas forced to collect testimonies outside the country. Ethiopia was on the forefront insistingthat the UN to pressure Eritrea.

On the contrary, when Human Rights groups wanted to see what is currently happening in Ethiopia, it is difficult to comprehend why it is refusing them permission to do so.Comparing that to its position in regards to Eritrea, it is a paradoxand a double standard. If the country is committed to International treaties, Human Rights observers should be allowed to conduct their work and see if individual rights are being observed or not.

PFDJ Eritrea and National Security

It is wise to differentiate between how the Eritrean and the PFDJ think. Without forgetting pre 21thCenturyhistorical legacies, Eritreans have limited information about today’s Ethiopian internal political cartography. To the majority, Ethiopia isperceived as the motherland of Haile Selassie,Derg (Amhara), and Woyane(Tigray). These leaders are remembered as archenemies of Eritrea. It is hard to figure out what is within Ethiopia’s politics and social composition. Even the term, “every Ethiopian” is narrowly demarcated to include the above mentioned nationalities, and such political blindness is imposed and perpetuated for a reason.

To combat external security threats, Eritrean conducts proxy war via rebel groups of the antagonizing country. This kind of strategy helps from involving itself in a direct war. Since independence, Eritrea has involvement has involved in Sudan internal problems to halt threats from Sudan, supported Al-Shabab in Somalia, and is continuing to arm and train a number of Ethiopian opposition forces. For example, there are more than ten rebel groups who are stationed in Eritrea. The engagement is symbiotic. Eritrea provides necessary support for rebels in return the rebels attack Ethiopian government. These rebels conduct occasional military operations inside Ethiopia that put security and stability in danger.

Conclusion

It is wise to recap this article by citing Article 10 from the constitution of Ethiopian Federal Government. It says, “Human rights and freedoms are inviolable and inalienable. They are inherent in the dignity of human beings. Human and democratic rights of Ethiopian citizens shall be respected.” This line calls the government to respect rule of law. It must be recognized that voice of justice and democracy always come in one package-you need to have a voice in order to enjoy justice. It cannot be concluded that today’s Ethiopian problems are solely related with Article 39. However the article provides an open environment of manipulation. In its current context, opportunists can use it as means of power struggle or dividing the country into smaller states.  This being one, Article 39 has serious short-comings that need to be reformed. Nevertheless, the people of Ethiopia should not be fooled again. Opposition groups who are working with neighboring countries should be refrained from being mercenaries of destabilization for their own country.

A united Ethiopia is a blessing, first for Ethiopians, and then to the region at large.

De-Politicising a Program is Politics: A case of Radio Blina

Introduction

Diaspora Bilen people are gathering in Lausanne, Switzerland between May 7 and 8, 2016. These two days conferences organized by Radio Blina are special and unique dates for Bilen social groups: probably a milestone progressive achievement on preserving an endangered language and culture of a community exposed to constant massive exodus and political segregation. This historical event was initially proposed by Radio Blina listeners to extend their helping hand to dedicated individuals who worked tirelessly in broadcasting it. Though initial idea of the gathering was to strength it through financial terms a, on this event, it seems that much more will be discussed and performed to shape and empower it.

The conference is scheduled with one full and busy day period, an evening cultural concert and second half day rap-up and conclusion meetings. For organizing this event, “No PFDJ and No opposition” involvement, just pure Bilen culture and Blin language lovers initiative and gathering of Bilen people coming from all over the world except Eritrea.

So far, the radio and its lovers seem busy in creating politics neutral zone. These people who originally are subjected to constant migration due to war, political chaos, social and family disintegration, unstable life that is originated from oppressors, it is surprising and very concerning to hear such objectives from a radio established by prime political refugee victims.

It is hard to imagine a separate zone between culture and politics, society and politics, prosperity and politics, social harmony and politics. All are intermingled, hard to ignore one while working on the other. It is within this deep contemplation that the author took a thought provoking initiative to raise this topic.

The objective of this article is therefore to share a concern of an ordinary individual who belongs to a social group mentioned above, a group of society that are exposed to mass exodus and political downfalls for the last 400 years. It is pure mindful thoughts and close observation on the social dynamism. It is primarily meant to provoke ideas ahead of the conference for discussion.  On this occasion the author wishes success and expects objective outcomes to be outlined to strengthen the radio in its programs, man-power, finance and plan for reaching wider community.

  1. Radio Blina: A Glimpse

Since November 2014(First Broadcast), a radio program called “Radio Blina” started its first recorded you tube broadcast from North America by three self motivated and dedicated volunteers.  It is worth to mention the names of these objective and visionary Eritreans who reside in USA with my sincere admiration for their immensely contribution. Their names: Noredin Natabay, O’qbaselasie Mesghna and Sami Gergis.

According to informal information I have, Radio Blina is dedicated in preserving the language and culture of Bilen people. So far, it is “strictly non-political program”. Its primary objective is to preserve and enrich the culture and language targeting mainly Diaspora Bilen community. According to information gathered from its you-tube channel (Radio Blina), stream length varies from one hour to one hour and forty minutes. Since its birth, it has consistently stayed on line streaming its program every Saturday. For highlighting its achievements, the author has conducted a small research of the last six months period (see table below). According to the research, the number of average visitors and stream length are found to be 3896 and 1 hour and 8 minutes respectively.

Date Listeners Length Remark
23/04/2016 2220 01:06:31 Recent broadcast. Visitors expected to increase till the next broadcast.
16/04/2016 3282 01:06:10
09/04/2016 4321 01:18:54
02/04/2016 4424 01:04:03
26/03/2016 4128 01:02:30
19/03/2016 4193 01:08:06
12/03/2016 4128 01:09:06
05/03/2016 3995 01:00:06
27/02/2016 3709 01:12:51
20/02/2016 4434 01:04:01
13/02/2016 3617 01:11:31
06/02/2016 4267 01:21:01
30/01/2016 4527 01:00:31
23/01/2016 4659 01:03:59
16/01/2016 4696 01:11:31 Maximum visitors registered
09/01/2016 3620 01:03:01
02/01/2016 4600 01:19:58
26/12/2015 3116 01:08:11
19/12/2015 4090 01:10:06
12/12/2015 4299 01:08:06
05/12/2015 3307 01:00:59
28/11/2015 2983 01:10:23
21/11/2015 3369 01:02:36
14/11/2015 3329 01:06:37
07/11/2015 3596 01:02:31
31/10/2015 4385 01:37:01 Longest recorded stream
Total Streaming 26 (6 months)
Average Listners 3896
Average Stream Length 01:08:52

Source: Radio Blina youtube Channel (visited on 26/04/2016) [1]

Note: Number of visitors is subjected to change as the record is available to visitors all time.

From the above information, what we can learn is that Radio Blina is popular Radio channel among Bilen Community living in the diaspora. Comparing the total number of Bilen population (about 115,000, as of 2010 report), 3896 (3.4%) might seem insignificant. However this number comes mainly from people who are living across the globe, far in the east, Australia to the far west USA, from New Zealand to the far North Canada and Norway. This implies dispersed Bilen communities are connected via this service. Not only this, as the record is easily accessible at all time, it is a center of archives for primary teaching source material to today’s and next generations to come who are not able to get a chance to hear pure Blin dialect.

  1. Blin as an Endangered Language and itsHistorical Anecdotes

When people are displaced from their original land, their values, identities, languages, cultures, pride and dignity face a tremendous challenges for survival, often with difficulty, sometimes impossible and those unlucky extinct. Contrary to this, there are exceptional cases where such bottlenecks can be over-come. Blin language and Bilen People’s collective identity is among those who face a striving moments. Today, these two entities are surviving against all odds not at home but far away.  No matter how dispersed the people are, the passion to keep their identity is getting stronger than ever.

Different people work hard to safeguard their cultural identity for different reasons. In this modern world and globalization, the world is witnessing languages and cultures being extinct.  It is hard to put Blin language on these endangered languages category but circumstances and migration are putting great pressure on keeping its originality, dialectical purity and vocabulary preservation. Because of mass exodus, the people are subjected to global influence and forced assimilation to other societies.

Be it for good or not, credit goes to Ethiopian warlords and feudal, and then PFDJ ruling regime for letting these people depart from their home in unprecedented magnitude. If there is any equivalent history for their exodus, it must be that of the 16thC.

Bilen people have very controversial and argumentative history. One of the widely accepted narration states that Bilen people immigrated to Eritrea from Agow Lasta of central Ethiopia in the 16thC where they have kinships still living there [2]. Other unconfirmed oral narration says, “Bilen people were original settlers of the highland of today’s Eritrea. Through time they migrated to today’s central Ethiopia and were able to establish great kingdom. After a time, they lost their central power and immigrated to their original land”.

For more elaborated facts, the work is left to historians. Nevertheless these anecdotes give us an overview of delicate insight, “migration”.  This forced them to be exposed to different cultures and religious practices. Today, it is not a surprise to find the same family belonging to different religions and speak different languages.

  1. Bilen People and their Exodus

The last 50 years have never been friendly and often more challenging to Bilen society. Due to 30 years bloody war with Ethiopia and now PFDJ administration, the people are faced massive exodus followed by brake-down of immediate family link and scattered settlements.  Depending on the nature of push factor and challenges encountered, these period can be divided into two waves of migration:

  1. First Waves of migration and Challenges – 1960s to 1980s

When Ethiopia started burning villages and kill innocent people in mass, Bilen people became the first victims. Villages such as Ona and Besigidira were burned and their people massacred. Witnessing these horrific tragedies, families started to flee. Whole families left their home and villages were abandoned. Refugee camps established in neighbouring countries such as Sudan became their new settlements. Few and lucky families were resettled in the Middle East, Australia, Sweden, Norway and Canada.

Those who continued to live in refugee camps experienced difficulty to preserve their culture and language because of daily life challenges. As a result, families were forced to send their children in schools that offer curriculum in foreign languages (mostly Arabic). However families were staying together. This has given them a limited advantage of using their language at home.

The other group of emigrants who went far away from home and settled in a completely new environment faced a unique challenge: new language and culture. Because of daily work and limited contact with their children, not only their culture but also their native language became at risk.

  1. Second Waves of Migration and Challenges – 2000 to present

While Bilen people were living under previous trauma of mass migration and social pressure, a new wave of migration emerged since 2000 because lack of freedom and forced conscription. What makes it more worrisome for this new exodus is that unlike before, where whole families or villages were fleeing, today, the youth are fleeing as individuals. Horrified by indefinite military service and exposure to systematic torture and crimes, these young people were escaping in all directions and to unknown destination. Unlike before, instead living in refugee camps the continued their journey through Sahara desert, crossing the Mediterranean and then scattering all over European countries. Including the asylum processing time, on average three to four years were spent. These unending journey produced anxiety, unsettled living, trauma and dissociation from their habituated previous life.

Majority are young, single and exposed to all forms of identity erosion. Because of their miser life under PFDJ administration, politics is terrifying, often a taboo subject. Their previous life experience and constant brainwashing forced them to choose a path free of politics. The impact of such tendencies is quite visible in all of their social contacts and initiatives they took for their social gathering.

Bilen People and their Role in Eritrean Politics

Reading Bilen history back to centuries and then in modern times, there exists downfalls and retreats which it later affected their capability to protect themselves. Their exodus from central highlands of Ethiopia was one cause of their power lose and weakness to protect themselves. Even when they settled in their today’s territory, their capability to defend themselves remained weaker. For example, Michael Gabir [2] put in his booklet as follows:

“ብሊን ሓደ ጥሙር ኣመሓዳድራ ኣይነበሮምን፤ ብሓድነት ንጸላእቶም ብዘይምምካቶም ከኣ ብዙሕ ይጉድኡ ነይሮም። ኣብ ውሽጢ’ዚ ኣብ ላዕሊ እተጠቕሰ ግዜ እቲ ከባቢ ብግብጻውያንን ገዛእቲ ትግራይን ይጭነቕ ነበረ። ብ1863 ዓም 12 ዓድታት በጎስ ብወረርቲ ሓይልታት ነዲደን። ብ 1865 ዓ.ም. ዓበይቲ ዓዲ ተኣኪቦም ዕቑባ መንግስቲ እንግሊዝ ክሓቱ ወሲኖም።”

With the arrival of Italian colonizers, resistance of Bilen people was not that much strong. Their adoption for Catholic religion could be a possible reason of conformity and inability to safeguard the status quo. With the arrival of British administration and the ‘divide and rule policy’ introduced, these people were exposed to kinship confrontation. They claimed their family tree (Terke, Tawke and 12 Neged) as a main source of social division among themselves.

Such developments led Bilen people to weaken their social cohesion and ability to protect their common interests in unity. The impact of such disintegrations was prevalent throughout the armed struggle and now under PFDJ rule.

During the struggle era (1961- 1991), majority of Bilen fighters stayed with the ELF wing. They gained a reputation as being staunch members. When ELF was defeated and left the field, Bilen fighters were the first victims of political assassination and forced exile. Known figures within the ELF unit became vulnerable. Consequently Bilen elites were fled, far away from their home.

Resettlements and Opportunities

Because of deep connection with their tradition, once displaced from their original land, life becomes challenging: Usually followed with cultural shock, dizzy moments, nostalgic, feeling of loneliness, depression, anxiety economic deficiency, and communication problems; and often full of stress. Unable to stand these difficulty moments and in search of immediate solutions, Bilen people are known for building quick social ties and networks.

Before independence, most of the time families had limited opportunity to get connected. This weakened their cultural ties and keeps their language striving within its purity. Though occasional community gathering had some positive impact in keeping them connected, their area specific, lack of appropriate technological means, inaccessibility to played a negative role in keeping them confined, unable to exercise their culture.

On the other hand, the new wave migrants started to resettle with new opportunities. Most of them being millennials, they didn’t spent time to use modern communication systems to be closer as much as possible. Facebook, youtube, paltalk, viber, whatsap, imo, etc are among their favours. There are also websites dedicated for Bilen people and their history (such as www.daberi.org, http://bilenbogos.weebly.com). Using these social media, they continued to keep in touch and exchange ideas. As introduced above, recorded radio program is also broadcasted using youtube.

Despite the existence of such social networks, the content and message seem to shying away from politics. Almost all concentrate on language and culture. There could be acceptable reasons why these social networks spent lots of energy on these areas. Experiencing centuries old political trauma and instability indeed these people have been vulnerable to social catastrophe, cultural erosion and endangering the survival of their spoken language [3].

The main source of these dangers is absence of political accommodation and repressive system of governance in the country they lived before.   To reclaim their dignity, the best solution could have been strengthening their political share while working on preserving their language and culture through a wide network. Nevertheless any initiative so far seems to discourage political participation. For example, since its birth, Radio Blina is working under a program theme “Politics free zone”. This kind of program is the worst kind of politics as it seems to ignore political situation and social crisis of victimized target group.

De-Politicised Programs: an Impact of Political Trauma

Looking deeply on the social demography of Bilen people that encompasses hibernating clan conflicts, their past instability, failures of building common political benchmarks and current political landscapes, it is not easy to design inclusive politics. In addition, their exodus and unending journey search for basic protection produced anxiety, trauma and dissociations.

Not only this, due to PFDJ political system and constant brainwashing, politics is often foreign issue, often a taboo subject to discuss among. The impact has extended to every establishing social media.

If one looks the indirect political agenda of PFDJ, it is creating society free of politics. Eritrean community centres established under direct PFDJ supervision have one a must to observe criteria: “any member who joins such communities must drop his/her own politics”. It is hard to conspire against any motive of individuals however there could be an indirect correlation that can be drawn if a program corresponds to an existing objective.

Depoliticized programs are by themselves politics. As has been discussed in the introduction part, it is hard to differentiate life from politics. It becomes harder when the target group are themselves victims of politics. As life is something that lives, so is politics. Any program designed free of politics is far away from reality unless its politics is to depoliticise.

Conclusion

Bilen people, like the rest Eritreans are the prime victims of colonization, Ethiopian aggression and worse PFDJ rule. Their basic social structure is deteriorating, probably leading to a state of endangered society. Their culture and language is facing catastrophe. Understanding their status, these people are taking important initiatives to preserve their identity. Radio Blina is born by individuals who deeply understood their where about.

The idea and dedication is commendable. However, keeping their programs free of politics is insane. For the coming weekend, the conference to be held in Laussane is a milestone for future politics of Bilen people. The author is hoping therefore to reconsider objectives and missions of Radio Blina so that the program of the Radio to reflect the real situation. If not, any program that manifests against reality is void and hence non-representative. Above all, the worst politics is to shy away from politics. For this reason, the author wishes objective outcomes of the conference that recreate dignity and values of Bilen people.

References

  1. Radio Blina
  2. Endangered Languages
  3. መበቆልን ሕብረተሰባዊ ርኽክብንስ ህዝቢ ብሌን by Michael Gebre

Justice, Social Justice and Politics: A layman’s elaboration

Originally posted in Awate Forum comment section, here these three items are explained in rush. I am not sure whether it helps or not but it is coming from a layman’s mind.

 

A quote that initiated the idea to talk about these three items

Amanuel Hidrat of Awate wrote

“If civil right movement is a political movement for justice, and if justice comes as the product of a political struggle, then justice has always a political connotation when they are adjudicated as social justice.”

Here the writer has composed interesting points in one but I would prefer to divide them for detailed analysis.

Just to extract the juice out of this, lets filter it out so that it will fit into a question that says, “is justice politics?”

“…a political movement for justice…”

First:

If I understood you clearly, here <strong>”justice”</strong> is a product and political movement is the process. If so,whether justice is enforced by laws or not, it is not politics by itself. Justice is a consequential outcome, hence <strong>’consequentialism’*</strong>”. Therefore, politics is nothing but a means to achieve the end, (The end justifies the means).

Second:

Justice and Social Justice are different things. Social justice is a process, hence politics by itself. The struggle done under the banner of social justice is nothing but to achieve an justice. However the justice promoted under the banner of social justice is always misleading where it is up to date a center of chaos and instability across the world. I myself do not concur the concept of social justice promoted by socialists.

From these two points therefore we can extract “justice”, as the ultimate quest for human freedom and all others are tools to achieve it. My understanding, which is mentored by Saleh Johar Ghadi relies on this simple concept of justice: justice, justice, justice. Point.

Having said that any process/movement that ignores justice, for example, creation of political free zone, is nothing but against justice.

tes

*Consequentialism

My Political Philosophy

Today I am here to drop and emphasize my political approach: I am a pro-humanism. I love human being and I love justice. Within humanity, I love diversity and I dance with in the beauty. I smile every time I see human being when treated as human being. I fight against discrimination and any kind of oppression. My dream is to see human being to be like a white cloud, simply floating and unharmed.

Within humanity, there is everything and I believe for everything there is a way. Just two opposite examples: for those who love peace, everything is white and the rule of law is nature, and for those who live against [peace] there is the rule of law that calls for justice.

And my fight is against those who stand against peace. I am against oppressors, I am against lawless[negative definition – as it can also be positive if nature is the only ruling system] people.

Be them Moslems, Christians, any group within the existing social groups, I love them equally. No minority, no majority. Everyone in this world was born because nature has called. No classification and no politics within this.

I confess, political approach based on classification system of human being is in fact very allergic to me, very allergic. Approaching politics through the windows of Minority-Majority is a disillusioned communist and die-hard bourgeois philosophy. In the world of justice there is only one rule and that is justice .

My assertion is: The time you divide people on minority-majority outlook, justice is lost.. Humanity should be treated as humanity and equal justice should exist* without prejudice.

Footnotes:

*I said “exist” because there should not be anything above justice(with the exception of the Creator). I have put this argumentative word to express a philosophical concept of “To be given” as I oppose anyone who tries to give. If there is anything to be given, let it be from God/Allah and may be for some just existence.

Extracted from a comment section written at awate.com  and here is the whole content For more insights click here

Historical discourses of my family

Originally posted at awate.com

Can be accessed at: <a href="http://awate.com/a-sample-of-the-eritrean-grief">A Sample of Eritrean Grief</a>

Let me share my story with you. Some people don’t know what every Eritreans are facing, yet they comment just for the sake of commenting. Let me share with you what my family has been going through for many years.

My brother is the one who made me to be who I am today. When I was a university student in Eritrea, he decided to take care of our entire family and took the full responsibility of caring for the ten members of our family. At that time six out of the ten were students: one was serving in the military, he was married and a father; a married sister was a mother of three, and her husband was serving in the military. My brother was also served in the military for four years before he decided to abscond, hide, and work to care for the family. After working for two years while hiding in a small family garden, until 2006, life became so difficult for him and he couldn’t continue working under the circumstances anymore.

The government took my mother away and kept her in prison. My father was working as a local administrator and they wanted him to serve them while keeping my mother in prison. That impacted my brother who had no option left but to give himself up and he went into prison where he stayed for one year before he was freed. That was in September 2007.

My brother was able to attend my university graduation ceremony, which was held in 2007. That evening he told me that he can’t live in Eritrea anymore. Together with a close of his, who was in an almost similar situation, they decided to flee outside Eritrea. Their escape was an eight days journey to the Sudanese border. They crossed the border to Sudan and went to the Shegerab refugee camp where Eritrean refugees are camped for decades. My brother stayed there for three months. He had no one he knew living overseas to provide any support for him and he struggled and survived there for three months. Eventually he was able to leave the camp and reach to Khartoum after he received some money from home.

Life was hard in Sudan and he worked equally hard because he wanted to help his family who were still in Eritrea. Fortunately, he had many skills in construction and agriculture. While he lived in the Sudan, he managed to survive and even to help our two sisters who faced trouble after they decided to flee Eritrea–human smugglers holding them hostage asked for a ransom and my brother was the only one who was supposed to help. He also managed to help and finally my sisters joined him.

Until 2009, I had no income at all and our family continued to be dependent on my brother. At that time, I was just beginning to be able to support myself, but yet, I was unable to support my family at home.

My brother continued to bear the burden of supporting our family responsibility until December 27, 2012 when he dialed a “missed-call” to me. I returned his call and he told me he was severely ill. Three days later he passed away. May he Rest in Peace.

Through his support, I am who I am now.

One of my sisters now she is living in Canada. Another is living in Italy (she has a shocking experience but she didn’t want to tell me the details). My youngest brother also had similar unfortunate experience; he finally crossed the Mediterranean Sea this summer. He is now living in Norway.

My father, who was shocked over the death of his son to the extent that now he unable even to control himself. My mother, who carried and gave birth to eight children, is now alone, with no one around even to help her fetch firewood.

My older brother, a second round national service, was inflicted with Tuberculosis, and he was elated when they gave him a leave: he thought it is a good opportunity to work (the national service member who was happy because he was wounded reminded me of my brother). My brother started to work. But since he was not able to take his medicine properly, he was infected for a second time. But after some time, started to work again. But he was infected for a third time, though luckily he didn’t die. He spent six-months in a military hospital. Sadly, now he is almost paralyzed, but we are lucky he is still alive—this brother is a husband and a father of five.

I still have another brother who is under thirty years of age and he is still living in Eritrea; a father of three children, he is tied up in the national service.

My sister, a mother of four children, already has her oldest daughter doing the national service.

And myself? I am a student who just finished my MA degree program and who depends on scholarships for his daily life. I am also a husband and a father too, though separated by a sea of injustice from my family whom I miss so much.

Imagine now: if what you read in just a sample, a tragedy of a single Eritrean family, what is the cumulative, national pain that Eritreans are going through!

A mother of eight children, yet no one around to fetch her firewood and water; a father of eight children has no one of them around to assure him, “here I am, father”.

The above story is my personal story, the story of what my family went through and what they real situation they are facing. I feel the pain of my mother, her sorrow, her loneliness, and her anguish. I feel the grief of my heartbroken father. None of us is around when he needs us most in his old age, we are forced not to be around. Incidentally, these are the type of helpless people that the Nobel prize nominee, Abba Mussie Zerai, has been helping.

And I miss my brother. I hear echoes of his voice coming from the grave, talking to me, “where are you, Tesfabirhan? Are you around? Are you fulfilling our dreams? How is mother doing? Don’t let our father sit alone? Be with him.”

And I am living in France, helpless, unable to help my three year old child still stranded in the middle of the way to join me but couldn’t because of a piece of paper, a passport problem! This is the pain from within, cutting my guts.

Yet, I didn’t narrate the stories of my uncle, my aunt, my extended family and my friends—how shocking do you think that would be? But let me conclude by telling you about the suffering of my aunt:  she is a mother who lost four of her sons during the liberation struggle. Now she is living alone, always crying, in a small house in a village—in a house has no electricity. Her beloved sons fought to bring light to Eritrea, yet, their almost eighty years old mother, like many Eritreans, lives in a dark room.

Tesfabirhan W; REDIE

12.10.2015

Rennes, France

Database of Eritrean Officials who died between 2013 and 2015

26+1 government officials within two years span

Year 2013:

1.Jan. 3, 2013 – Veteran fighter Hussein Omar Shahriya – Asmara,
2. Feb. 2, 2013 – Col. Abdurahman Mahmoud Jasser – Asmara,
3. May 8, 2013 – Veteran fighter Mohammed Idris Tilul – Asmara,
4. Jun. 1, 2013 – Veteran fighter, Col. Sium Habtemariam – Asmara,
5. Jun. 8, 2013 – Veteran Fighter Mohammed Omar Suba – Asmara,
6. July 15, 2013 – Veteran fighter Col. Mohammed-Seid Saleh – Asmara,
7. Aug. 04, 2013 – Veteran fighter Mr. Woldemichael Gebremariam – Asmara,
8. Oct. 22, 2013 – Veteran Fighter Col. Ahmed Osman Mohammed – Asmara,
9. Dec. 11, 2013 – Veteran fighter Mihretab Tesfagiorgis – Asmara,

Total: 9

Year 2014

10. Jan. 17, 2014 – Veteran fighter Col. Amanizgi Garza – Asmara,
11. Feb. 07, 2014 – Col. Ibrahim Ahmed Ali, a veteran Fighter – Massawa
12. Feb. 24 2014 – Veteran fighter Col. Zerai Mengistu – Asmara,
13. Mar. 06, 2014 – The Chief of Staff of the Eritrean Armed Forces, Maj. General Gebregziabher Andemariam (Wuchu)- Asmara,
14. Mar. 21, 2014- Veteran EPLF fighters Brg. General Mebrahtu Tekleab (Vaynak), – Asmara,
15. Mar. 20, 2014 – Brg. General Amanuel Haile (Hanjema) – Car accident near Afabet but reported as – Asmara
16. Mar. 20, 2014 – Mr. Desu Tesfatsion . Car accident near Afabet but reported as – Asmara
17. May 17, 2014- Veteran Fighter Yemane Tewolde (Wedi Mama) – Asmara
18. May 28, 2014 – Veteran fighter Amanuel Gebresilasie – Asmara
19. Jun. 21, 2014 – Veteran fighter Col. Kidane Mietelka – Asmara
20. June 29, 2014- Mr. Negash Bereketeab – Asmara
21. Jul. 01, 2014 – The veteran fighter Col. Tinsaew Haile – Keren,
22. Jul. 04, 2014 – Veteran Fighter Col. Bereket Tesfatsion (Welo) – Asmara
23. Jul. 07, 2014 – Veteran fighter Girmai Tesfatsion( Brien) – Asmara
24. Nov. 18, 2014 – The veteran patriot Tsegai Kahsai – Asmara

TOTAL: 15

Year 2015

25. Jan. 07, 2014(2015) –Lt. Colonel Gerezgiher Asmalash – Asmara
26. Jan. 15, 2015 – Veteran fighter Brig. General Gebrehiwet Zemichael (Wedi-Liqe) – Asmara
27. Feb. 14, 2015 – Major Genereal Ahmed Kakay – Khartum

TOTAL: 3

28. May 09, 2015. Brig. General Kesetebrhan Gebrehiwot Mebrahtu -Asmara

Total: 1

Amazing Mathematical Facts

Shared from FB

If:
A B C D E F G H I J K LM N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Is equal to;
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Then
H+A+R+D+W+O+R+K ;
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11=98%
K+N+O+W+L+E+D+G+E ;
11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5=96%
L+O+V+E;
12+15+22+5 = 54%
L+U+C+K ;
12+21+3+11 = 47%
None of them makes 100%.
Then what makes 100% ???
Is it Money?
NO !!!
M+O+N+E+Y= 13+15+14+5+25=72%
Leadership?
NO !!!
L+E+A+D+E+R+S+H+I+P= 12+5+1+4+5+18+19+8+9+16=97%
Every problem has a solution, only if we perhaps change our “ATTITUDE”.
A+T+T+I+T+U+D+E ;
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%
It is therefore OUR ATTITUDE towards Life and Work that makes
OUR Life 100% Successful..
Amazing mathematics ، and thats why I love it cus it’s like our life.
Beautiful message!

Converse with haile TG, The Great Awatista

This converse was done between the all time great awate forum commentator and me in the discourse betewwn the heart and the mind. For more detail, it can e visited @ http://awate.com/egypt-to-the-rescue-isaias-game-interrupted/

08/05/2015

Dear haile TG,

My take on your current endeaveur is slightly different. Understanding and endorsing your call fully, I would better go for building institutional and professional trusteeship. At this very juncture of time, Eritreans are looking for more trusted institution. Personal trusteeship has led us where we are.

And institutional trusteeship has two components.

1. Law
2. Rule of law.

Just let’s take an example this forum. It is not necessarily to trust the owners of this web-site. Personally, I am here not because I trust the owners but the law they have and the rule of law observed.

The same could have been applied to PFDJ had they formulated a law to begin. Unfortunately, PFDJ is lawless and there is no law to be ruled.

The challenge is not actually to formulate a law. Eritrean governtment tried to do that through the PFDJ institution. Rather, to rule the law is the critical one.

With regards

08.05.2015

Dear haile TG,

What I agreed with you is when you state, “human being is naturally for good?”

But let’s take what we have in our political history, that of the revolution period. According to the teachings we were and still are brainwashed is this:

1. Human Being is naturally greedy. And what he has is through looting.
2. To make him responsible, we need to guide him and for what he looted, we need to take it back and own it.

First of all, I don’t know who is stating this (I know they are the dictators but I am asking why they do so). Marx, when he was fade-up with exploitation of bourgeois, he stated that and he stood against them. He just elevated to human being and became the accuser forgetting himself. Then, he went for his advocay relentlessly to bring human being under control.

The same happened during the revolution secretly in the caves of political bureau though the call to the masses had different tone. PFDJ came out from that cave and advocated it openly. Religious leaders arrested in the 1990s were of such victimaization.

This being my holistic appraoch, I accept your initiation but at the same time I am calling for a wider bottom-up appraoch. Yours being the as a grassroot undertanding.

Dear HTG, you mentioned Abba Mussie et Dr. Alganesh. These individuals stood for the rights of the people not because their personality but the institution they have built; They both own an institution and they both observe rule of law of their institution. And for both, their basic foundation is “At individual level, human being is good. If he is in problem, it is not his fault but the fault of collective actions. Hence, we need to help those in victims.”

On the other hand, PFDJ institution stated like this. Those who are in victims are only because of their own fault. Then they state, “why we care on these individuals”.

Dear you know better than me that unless we care individuals we can not care for the whole. And we have to care about these individuals simply because they are human beings. Whether trust exists or not, we should built the concept of humanity first. To do that we need a trusteed institution.

tes

09.05.2015

Dear tes,

I totally agree with you on the importance of effectively run institutions in order to realize complex tasks, deliver objectives and maintain and develop systems of transparency and accountability. However, institutions are formed in response to commonly identified needs. In other words, it is the common need that triggers the formation of institutions. And as that need evolves and grows, so does the institution that is founded upon it. Alternatively, if the need dwindles or becomes no longer existent, the institution it was supported by stops rendering service. What we have is a case of the need being the central most important element that is responsible for the life of an institution.

Let me give you an example. A group of Eritreans in various metropolis in the diaspora identified the need to have churches in areas where they lived. That need brought them together and no sooner found locations rented from their local facilities to congregate and worship, it then moved on to bringing priests to officiate their activities (effectively institutionalizing) and finally moved on to raising enough capital to own their own permanent places (many worth close to $1 – 1.5 million). On top of that they formed board leadership directorates that effectively cut PFDJ hand short from its usual deeds. All this happened in the last decade or less. Most are now coming out with their properties fully paid up and accumulating growing capital in savings. The growing financial muscle would undoubtedly help them to control their communities better and meet needs effectively. But remember, it all started with group of people with a common need coming together (faith in this case). There is a mirror success story within the Islamic Eritrean communities too. Only recently we have observed how their institution managed to respond to refugees stranded in the streets of Yemen. And also the many selfless work they do in Sudanese refugee camps. There also other faith based communities from the minority religions growing in that direction. There has also been community formations such as the one in Las Vegas. This was meant to illustrate the fact that the formation and development of institutions is based on people with common need coming together.

When it comes to Eritrean political situation as a whole, a common need isn’t being identified because the people are not coming together under one roof to discuss and identify a common need as it pertains to the homeland. And as long as such common need is not identified, how do you go about setting up an institution? My arguments here is dealing with first step towards what you are suggesting. Because it is true that institutions would be the ultimate route forward. Hence, if the organized opposition bridge the “trust gap” via the “winning hearts” then surely there will be a common need springing out of the interaction that would naturally happen with the people. Such need will trigger the formation of institutions that will meet its goals and effective day-to-day running of which and professional management would be a must in exactly the way you suggest.

How am I doing here and what is your take?

Thanks brother

PS: incidentally, the term “silent majority” refers to those missing in action when it comes to national issue:) This makes it impossible for them to institutionalize for a common need.

Date: 09/05/2015

Dear haile TG,

Your lines are always very refinied. Remember, it was because of you and SGJ that the School of Fine of Thoughts was established. I hope you have gone through the details about this school. Always you have the point and you never failed us to bestow.

Saying that, what you brought is an ideal example from which I based my argument on. Dear haile TG, acknowledgement is the very basic thing to start. As I stated before your point on table is vital as a grass-root. But we need an integral approach. If the heart and the mind are ready then there must be a push and pull factor with a well put strategy.

For example, lets take the Lampedusa incident: Once people heard about that news, no one except the PFDJistas remained inside the house. Almost all Eritreans started to roar to the streets and on the air from all over the world. More organized groups started to immerge. Before we had traditional (classical) opposition organizations but now NNN (to use your words). People started to organize on common needs and what you brought above are manifestations of the potential to organize.

Dear haile TG, I am following the progress we do. I am very optimistic to see a strong political institution very soon and a united people not against PFDJ but for their own prosperity as PDFJ is politically dead for good.

Just imagine this,

Eritreans lived with EPLF and ELF as friends (just that of opposite sex). ELF went to a hospital for long time as it was in a comma. Then, EPLF was killed by PFDJ, a never existent friend, and took the skin of EPLF, just like that of sheep and wolf, the people didn’t realize. PFDJ exploited the relationship that existed between the people and EPLF and urged marriage. The people was just naive to accept that offer. They could have asked where the long lived ELF friend is. Even they could have asked who PFDJ is.

What happened is in fact difficult to have such kind of rational thinking considering the time given. EPLF flourished in Nakfa and died in Nakfa by PFDJ. EPLF’s burial happened in 1994 (Rommedan Mohamed Nur’s interview is so loud to tell the truth for what happend at that time). PFDJ came with a cover skin and called for marriage. The people accepted unconditionally, even they didn’t ask about ELF, the trusteed friend.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?…

Then, PFDJ started to remove his skin thinking that he is already married, thinking the marriage will not be ended as marriage is eternal as that of Catholic Church. Take note, there was no force witnessing that marriage though PFDJ brought an official marriage certificate.

The people then started to say, let even that Catholic type marriage be ended.

You have a very deep understanding on psychology and social works (I have noticed it before). Counseling must be your profession (?). Then, how hard is for a divorced couples to start a new and rejuvenated life? Do you think it is easy to forget the shared life before and easily go on?

Parallel to that, ELF, though hospitalized outside the country, she was trying to continue struggle for survival. Now ELF is awake from the comma though with an ambivalent mindset. The good thing is, ELF is the one who rejected that secret and unofficial marriage between the people and PFDJ. Had ELF was present at that meeting, PFDJ couldn’t take that of EPLF skin.

Therefore, the case of Eritrean people and that of PFDJ is just DIVORCE THAT HAPPENED BETWEEN CATHOLIC COUPLES. And the divorce that happened was against conscience though a must.

Then, the heart is deeply hurted inside and bleeding dearly. The mind is in a kind re-organizing itself to start a new life. Already some basic foundation is going on. ELF are still there barking and reminding the people their own history and not to repeat the same mistake. PFDJ is there claiming the divorce is illegal. He is bringing the marriage certificate again and again as a witness; He is sayign, “look this is our official marriage with its signature signed in 1994”. The people is scratching his head and say, “NO” and “YES”. NO, because they know they are deceived, YES, because they had believed before the marriage was eternal and hence against conscience.

Dear haile TG, PFDJ is knocking again and again the door of his x-couple. He is a wolf and is never ashamed to walk even naked with a torn sheep skin. Some people are trying to fix that torn skin (the reformers) believing that the divorce shouldn’t happen. They were there in the hall (Nakfa, 3rd congress). Still they want to make that marriage legitimate. Some are hesitating as they believed that what happened was a mistake but let’s try to be.

ELF is constantly rebuking for that divorce to happen.

The missing part here is then an institution that hosts the divorced couples and help them to restart life again.

EPLFites should stop bringing the marriage certificate and trying to fix the torn skin. simply because the people knows what it happened.

ELFites should stop rebuking simply because the marriage has now ended. It was unofficial and secret marriage but the divorce is unofficial but non-secret. Just like that of Catholic couple divorce.

On our part:

Dear haile TG, let’s provide a room for these recently divorced people. We should not go again to the “trust-me” approach and test the already bleeding hurt again and again. We should stop bring the marriage certificate and burking again and again for a divorce to happen.

PFDJ is a wolf and has to be weeded-out. ELFites should stop burking. Now, it is time to provide a peaceful house for the people. And the house should be clear from the very beginning. To make the house clear, all the people need is “law an rule of law”.

For the later, as you mentioned, some communities are becoming strong. The people is starting to build the house in different parts and lets work together and assemble them so that they can run as ONE (clustering).

You see, before, industries were so selfish that they were producing everything they need in one place. Now, they learned the concept of comparative advantage and resource allocation system. Different industries produce different items but for the same end product. This is what we should learn.

With Regards

tes

Rennes, France

09/05/2015