Ottomonization of Tigray Region of Ethiopia is in Progress. Will it affect Eritrea?

For the last 20 years, Turkey has been investing heavily in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. This rapid expansion is following the grand ambition of Erdogan to make Turkey great again.

To make his dreams come to reality, Erdogan government is investing heavily in Somalia and other parts of Africa. Today, many centers are established by Turkish businessmen and institutions in Somalia.

Turkish expansion has also took footsteps in Ethiopia, especially in Tigray Region. Textile industries are expanding and other large industrial complex centers are under plan for construction.

With the curent pace, the Ottomanization of Tigray Region of Ethiopia is coming soon. Hundreds of hectares of land are now occupied by industrial complex and production is booming.

With the opening of Eritrea-Ethiopian relationship, Eritrea will be beneficiary of the merchadies trasportation through the Red Sea ports, especially Massawa. This new era is another chapter of the lost trade relationship controlled by Turkish deputies (Na’ibs) in Massawa which stayed for more than 300 years(1557 – 1869).

Although Eritrea remained a closed state for the last 27 years, Ethiopia became the center of attraction for investors. And this can expand to Eritrea of friendly economic policies are outlined.

It is hard to evaluate Turkish invesent impact in Eritrea at this moment. However, it is good to look historical contexts that need to be considered seriously for any future business activities.

Ottoman Empire and Slave Trade

Ottoman Empire is known for its vast Slave Trade aactivity in the Horn of Africa.

Massawa was its empire provice city center in the horn of Africa. Hundreds of thousands of slaves were taken through the Port of Massawa to serve in many sectors run by the Ottoman Sultanates.

These slaves were making them unable to reproduce and continue their generation. Because of these, East African Slave generations are extnicted with almost no trace.

This inhumane act of Ottoman Empire in the horn of Africa is not yet told. Therefore, any trade agreement with Turkish government should be thoroughly investigated with full transparency.

Doing business supported by heavy government funds can be a means to colonization.

The recent development in Zambia through Chinese expansion is an alarm for many Africans. And, Turkey has a grand ambition of re-inventing its past glory by creating strong economic ties with former Ottoman empire provinces.

Is the Eritrean Orthodox Church heading to the footsteps of Biblical Babylon?

For the last 27 years, Eritrean Orthodox Church has expanded rapidly in the world with the help of immigrants. However, the PFDJ controls most of the Church day-to-day activities through its agents.

These Agents are trained Political Cadres who work under the cover of priesthood, deacons and Sunday Bible Teachers and Activity organizers.

Although the Church followers are political refugees, in most cases they have no other alternative but attend church centers managed by these PFDJ sponsored agents. Bevause of this, there are occasional conflicts inside the churches.

The video below is a scenario happened in Milan, Italy. The people are chasing out the PFDJ Agent Priests from the church. It is sad to see the conflict between the people and the ruling regime members in the side the church.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=558203731296529&id=100013207215946

This is the beginning of the greater to come civil unrest in Eritrea. I call all Eritreans and other concerned international bodies to do thorough studies in order to find reconciliatory solutions before it becomes too late. Otherwise, there will be another Babylon phenomenon in Church.

In this video below, the General Secretary of the Eritrean Orthodox Church Synods, Abune Lucas has accused Eritrean Patriarch Abune Antonios as one who did traison by following other dogmas which is not accepted by the Church.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2202618523341443&id=100007799504322

Patriarch Antonios was elected as head of the Eritrean Orthodox Church and within a short time in service, he was forced to be removed from his post and put in prison since 2006. Today, he is under house arrest, making it almost 13 years.

Although the Orthodox Church has appointed other Partiarch and continued to do so until the death if the third Patriarch in 2014, the action of removing Patriarch Antonios from his position is unlawful. It has received strong condemnation by sister Oriental Orthodox churches.

The damage to the Orthodox Church is quite visible. Now, the Church has two different administration systems working inside and outside Eritrea.

The one which is working inside Eritrea is controlled by PFDJ. It has become an instrument in the sustainability of PFDJ dictatorial regime.

Outside Eritrea, the Church is further divided into those who oppose the regime but who believe in the oneness of the Church, and other USA based Eritrean Orthodox Church headed by Abune Merkorios which opposes any political meddling in Church affairs.

The combined effect of meddling Church and politics has produced a great damage to the once united and strong Eritrean Orthodox church.

Note: the cover photo shows the most notorious and main agent of PFDJ inside the Church. He is one of the architect of Banning Pentecost Church and persecution of its members by encouraging the government to take actions. His followers are now scattered throughout the world preaching radical teachings which has zero tolerance against other religions, especially Pentecost.

ታሪኽና ደኣ ንፍለጥ

ልቦናን ጠበብን ይሃልወና።

“Whoever has the most power tells history” Alaskan Indegeneous People Rights Activist

እቲ ታሪኽ ዝፈልጥ ይገዝእ። ከመይ ብዝጥዕሞ ስለዝጽሕፎ።

ነስተውዕል ክቡራት ኤርትራውያን

ኤውሮጳውያን ኣብ 19 ክ/ዘ ጥራሕ ኣይኮኑን መጺኦም። ቅድሚ ልደተ ክርስቶስ ንንግስነት ኩሻውያን ዘዕነዉ ሮማውያን ከም ዝኾኑን

ድሒሩ ድማ ድሕሪ ልደተ-ክርስቶስ ኣብ ምምስራት ንግስነት ኣዱሊስ ዓቢ ተራ ከም ዝተጻወቱን ይፍለጥ።

ድሕሪ ምምቃል ክርስትና ናብ ካቶሊካዊትን ተዋህዶን ድማ ንግስነት ኣክሱም ማዕቢሉ።

እዚ ዞባና ብጂኦ-ፖለቲካዊ ነውጽታት ወትሩ ምስ ኣተወ እዩ።

ኣብቲ ወትሩ ሰላም ዘይረኸበ ዘሎ ብ “ንግስነት ኣምላኻ” -” The Kingdom of God” ስለ እንርከብ ድማ ኣብ ኤውሮጳ ይኹን ማእከላይ ምብራቕ ኤስያን ሰሜንን ኣፍሪቃን ዝፍጠር ነውጽታት ብቀሊሉ ንጥቃዕ።

እዚ Kingdom of God ዝብሃል ግዝኣት ኣምላኽ ተስፋ ይገብር በዚ ሓድሽ ስርዓተ ዓለም The Kingdom of United Nation ሰላም ክረክብ።

ኤርትራ ሃገርና ድማ ኣብ ትሕቲ ግዝኣት ውዱብ ሕቡራት ሃገራት ሰላም ክትረክብን ነቲ ናይ ጥንቲ ንግስነት ኣምላኽ ድማ ከም ታሪኻዊ ሰረት ኣኽቢራ ክትጉዓዝ። ስለምንታይ ዓለም እናደምሰስካ ዘይኮነት ትህነጽስ ዝነበረ እናስተኻኸልካ እያ እሞ ነዛ ካብ ንግስነት ኣምላኽ ዝወረስናያ ሃገርና ኣብ ትሕቲ ጽላል ንግስነት ውዱብ ሕቡራት ሃገራት( UN) ንከናኸናን ንሓልዋን።

ንሎሚ ታሪኽ ምስፍሕፋሕን ኣረሜናዊ ወራራት ሮማውያንን ይጋብዘኩም። እዚ ሎሚ ትሮጃን ሆርስ(Trojan Horse) ተባሂሉ ዝፍለጥ ስርሓት ስነ-ጥበብ ዝኾነ ድርሳናትን ምርኢታትን ኣብ ሓቀኛ ታሪኽ ሮማውያን ኣብ መሬት ኩሻውይን ዝተፈጸመ እዩ። ብዙሕ ንመሃሮ ስለዘሎ ድማ ነስተውዕለሉ።

ሮማውያን ድማ ንኩሻውያን በቲ ዝወረዶምሰፍ ዘይብል ክሳራን ስዕረትን ስለዝተሰናበዱ ርእሲ-ኣልቦ( Blemmyes) ኢሎም ገሊጸሞም። እዚ ድማ ኩሻውያን ማዕረ ክንደይ ሓያላት ከም ዝነበሩ እዩ ዝሕብር። እቲ ርእሲ ኣልቦ ድማ ንጭካነን ትብዓትን ዝገልጽ ደኣምበር በተሓሳስባን ብልሓትን ኩሻውያን ዝማዕበሉ እዮም ኔሮም። ነገር ግና እዚ “ርእሲ ኣልቦ” ዝብል ኣምር እንተ ብፍላጥ ድዩ ብዘይ ፍላጥ ክሳብ ሕጂ ንጥቀመሉ ኣለና።

ክፋል ሓደ፡

ክፋል ክልተ፡

ገለ ብዛዕባ Blemmyes – ርእሲ ኣልቦ

Sectarianism is coming back in Eritrean Politics: “50 – 50” Ideology

Sectarianism is not uncommon in Eritrean political history. After Italians lost their colony in Eritrea, Eritreans faced a serious challenge to secure a free and independent country simply because of their sectarian politics. The diehard Orthodox Christians and Muslims were unable to overcome their religious prejudice. Instead, each group worked for their interest.

The Orthodox Christians were in favor of the Ethiopian monarchy simply because they had a perception that their religious values and threats can be secured if they can join Ethiopia. This fear-based political perception was exploited by opportunists to solidify Ethiopian interference in Eritrean politics. This sectarianism soon developed to become an ideological background and mobilization strategy by then formed strong and Ethiopian backed Unionist Party which was working under the guidance of the head of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, Abune Markos.

On the other hand, Eritrean Muslims were against Ethiopian aggressive expansion agenda mainly in fear of their religious values and discrimination. Therefore, The Muslims came together to form a political organization that advocates Mulsim interest by rejecting any form of unity with Ethiopia. They organized all Muslim communities through an active participation of religious leaders to secure an independent Eritrea. To achieve their political agenda, they formed an exclusively Muslim dominated political party, the Eritrean Muslim League, presided by a religious leader Sayyid Muhammad Abu Bakr al_Murghani, from Al-Mirghani family.

ALRA

These two sectarian political groups had dominated most of the Eritrean fate for almost two decades(1941 – 1961). Because of their extreme stands and values, they promote on, Eritrean case for independence was put in jeopardy. As a result, Eritrea was put in Federation with Ethiopia(UN Resolution Article 390(A)) which was later ended in 1961 through forced annexation by Ethiopia that led to 30 years bloody war.

This bitter sectarian politics of the 1940s and 1950s did not end there. During the early years of the armed struggle, Eritreans had no trustee among themselves. The Christian highlanders were treated as traitors. The leadership of the newly formed revolutionary front was dominated by Muslims. With the flux of many Christians to the armed struggle, a serious competition started to develop that ended into two opposing factional groups.

isciaAlthough the armed struggle was inclusive to all Eritreans, mistrust among freedom fighters was prevalent. The Christian highlanders were felt excluded in decision making. This feeling was hijacked by young revolutionaries to form a separate front later called EPLF lead by Isaias Afewerqi. Isaias Afewerqi wrote a manifesto which specifically mentions the Christian Highlanders. This brought a new type of sectarian politics at a wider context hidden into nationalistic agenda.

Nihnan Elamanan

Although EPLF became so large to include all Eritreans, its internal working guidelines had a strict code of conduct which maintained the original manifesto of “We and Our Objectives -Tigrigna Version” that discriminates Muslims who are a considered a threat to the mission. After independence, EPLF renamed itself “PFDJ”. Although it resembled more democratic, its internal working principle and excluding Muslims from day to day decision-making process over national issues became clear.

Although PFDJ is purely a totalitarian regime controlled by one-man, many Eritreans became resentful for its discriminatory approach. This gave a perception by some Eritreans the regime to be a Christian government. I do not agree with such labeling though I do acknowledge PFDJ favors Christians in most sensitive areas. But this is the nature of dictators. Anyone whom they feel confident with is not hesitant to work with.

Opposition Forces and Political Crisis

So far, the opposition has failed to build a strong resistance and united opposition group. The impact of sectarianism is prevalent everywhere. These sectarian feelings include religious, regional, ethnic and tribal sentiments. With the exception of some disgruntled and small political factions who promote radical agendas, these sentiments have not come to the surface as a well structured organizational working system.

Recently, regional-based civic associations are starting to take shape as a center of organization the wider population in the opposition camp. What is good about these civic associations is that they are trying to keep a distance from any agenda that is centered in power grabbing.

Social grievances towards PFDJ have led to perceive Muslims are excluded from power. To regain this, there are feelings which ought to proportionate power among Muslims and Christians fairly. This is a reasonable social grievance. However, power allocation based on religious affiliation can lead to unprecedented damage of sectarianism. Eritreans had experienced this in the 1950s. Most Eritreans rejected that tries to assume power based on religious affiliations. However, with growing political crisis and new political developments in Eritrea, some new initiatives are taking a momentum of a power-sharing mechanism based on an equal number of Christians and Muslims.

“50 – 50” Ideology

“50 – 50” Ideology stands for a power-sharing mechanism based on 50% Christians and 50% Muslims. Its basic hypothesis is, “to build trusteeship power should be shared equally”. One of the recent emerging pioneers in this ideology is coming from USA resident two Eritreans through their declared new manifesto called “Denver Manifesto”.

These two Eritreans who are in the forefront to promote the Denver Manifesto are Mr. Sengal Weldetnsae and Dr. Saleh Nur. Both are residents of USA and have extensive experience in Eritrean politics and profession.

Denver Manifesto

Watching their interview with Tempo Afric TV, the content of the manifesto and its spirit seems great. So far, I have not found any issue which I disagree.

My concern is with the implementation strategy. On 21/10/2018, Mr. Sengal Weldetnsae had a seminar in London, UK. During the presentation, he said that in every committee equal number of Christians and Muslims. The reason was to allocating based on Christians and Muslims is to build trust among the divided Eritreans

This is the purest form of sectarian politics. If the actors behind the manifesto believe that their document is strong motion to solve most Eritrean political concerns, what is the need for injecting religion as a means to implement the manifesto?

If the manifesto can stand by itself, Eritreans can adhere to the principles no matter what religion they follow. Not only this, power-sharing based on religion can be a source of discrimination.

I do believe that any politics that have a potential effect on the overall Eritrean social make-up should be kept neutral to religion. Otherwise, unexpected negative sentiments could develop that will us into the bitter experiences we had before.

Eritrea: Only 4 Religious Denominations are Recognized

Right to Belief is one of the basic and fundamental rights of human being. In any state where some religion has an official recognition lead an automatic discrimination of any other religion or religious denomination. Eritrea is a unique example.

PFDJ Regime Religious guidelines are strict and work through official recognition. Those religious practices or denominations which are not recognized are banned from practice.

From the Christian denomination, Orthodox Church, Catholic Church, and Protestant are the only officially recognized churches. Any other Christian denomination is not allowed to operate. As a result, many Christians who are found to practice differently are put in prison and tortured. JEHOVAH Witness Church and its members are the first victims(since 1993). Then Pentecost Church became another target since 2001.

imm

Eritrean Muslims are not different from Christians. The only recognized sect is Sunni. Any other Islamic sect is systematically oppressed and members are exposed to extremist or radical accusation which usually ends in arrest and disappearance.PFDJ Regime in Eritrea has given a recognition to Sunni Islam. Other sects of Islam are condemned and have no freedom to practice their religious rituals freely.

Many believers are arrested under the cover of Jihadists. And, those who do not want persecution are not openly declaring their sect. Instead, they are continuing their rituals within the umbrella of the recognized Sunni practices.

His Holiness Abune Antonios
Patriarch Abune Antonious

Freedom of religious practices is absent in Eritrea. Even those who got recognition are under strict control. Many religious leaders, including the Patriarch of Eritrean Orthodox Church, is under house arrest since 2006. And, contrary to the Church’s law, his position is replaced by other appointed Leader.

Other sects, like Sufism, are not officially recognized though there are many adherents since the birth of Eritrea as a colonized country. Sufi adherents are dominated by Sunnis. For a long time, they have no freedom of practicing their rituals.

As you can see in this youtube below, Sufi practitioners in Somali had similar challenges. But now, with the relative peace and freedom of religious practices, Sufi practices is reviving. I hope all religious institutions and beliefs to have full freedom very soon in a free and democratic Eritrea.

Eritreans deserve to exercise their belief systems freely without any fear of persecution, be it from the government or from any citizen.

Jelal Yassin Aberra & Co: “Fighting for the Cause of Eritrean Jeberti” or “Fighting for Jihad of a Pen”? (Part II/III)

lease find Part I/III by clicking here

Jelal Yassin Abera and the nature of his advocacy works

To be honest, I had no idea who Jelal Yassin Abera was until a friend of mine sent me a document composed of 174 paged compiled data (please click here to find the document). And during my five years in politics, I missed an opportunity to know about him. I think he is not an outspoken activist.

In his 174 pages, the detailed compilation is all about “who is who” in the current ruling regime of Eritrea. This huge data is no simple. It could only be collected by a better informed and well-educated person. It is divided into categories and analyzed. However, the technic used and observing the way the data was analyzed, it raises a critical question.

The nature of data compilation can be summarized as follows:

1. Dividing Geographical Location-based “dominant social groups”

The data was compiled by dividing Eritreans” Eritreans into two groups: (1) “Tigrigna” and “& others. This kind of classification has never been used in Eritrea. Since 1970, Eritreans are divided into 9 ethnic groups and any document about Eritrean demography lists 9 of them. Jelal Yassin used his own grouping system. But, this is done to divide the people into religious groups to serve his purpose. Tigrigna represents Christians while Others is meant to represent majority Muslims. The Tigrigna speaking Muslim(Jeberti) are grouped into “Others”. In the figure below(taken from the dossier), the color is meant to represent geographical zones(Zoba) inhabited by majority Tigrigna (blue) and Others(Red).

zonal personels
Social Groupings used by Jelal Yassin Aberra: Tigrigna(blue) represents Christians, and “Others” represents Muslims

2. Adding Jeberti as a Separate Ethnic Group

Under the existing social groupings, Eritreans are divided into nine(9) ethnic groupings. This clustering was introduced during the struggle for independence by following the Communist model of Nation and Nationalities. The ethnic-based division was introduced to replace the previous tribal groupings. It was primarily implemented based on spoken language and shared cultures. With the exception of one ethnic group(Rashaida), eight of the ethnic groups have the same name as the language spoken.

Jeberti refused to be grouped with the newly created Tigrigna ethnic by claiming their unique identity. Although they did not deny their mother language to is Tigrigna(there is some argument with the spoken language too), they claimed that their family lineage, history, culture, tradition, mode of life and religion is different from the other Tigrigna ethnic group.

After independence, the right to have a separate Jeberti Ethnic claim gained its momentum after EPLF rejected it without any hearings. The transitional government issues National ID cards that recognize only 9 ethnic groups and every official data released is prepared based on 9 ethnic groups. As a result, there is no official data, in whatever form published apart from the 9 groups.

What Jelal Yassin Aberra did is contrary to the classical statistical data representation system. He compiled the socio-demographic data by dividing Eritrean people into 10 ethnic groups. This is nothing but to serve the basic purpose he fights for. The figure he presented is a fabricated one. However, it says everything about his ambitions. In his table, he gave Jeberti 8% out of the total population size of Eritrea. This is something weird data. Although it is hard to figure why he put that number, it is not hard to reject his fabricated number.

Eritrean population 2010 according to Jelal Yassin Abera
10 Ethnic Group Classification and their Socio-demographic distribution, according to Jelal Yassin Aberra’s data

Compared to the already recognized ethnic groups, the Jeberti community in Eritrea is not significant. They live predominantly in Asmara and Mendefera. Jeberti Eritreans are known people in Eritrea for their unique way of life and activities. For the last 100 years, their number is growing through assimilation. These assimilation is creating confusion to differentiate who is Jeberti. Today, there are other Eritreans who are now called Jeberti simply because of their spoken language and religion(Muslims). For example, many Asawurta descendants who live in the highland of Eritrea are considered as Jeberti by mistake. But the people themselves never recognized themselves as Jeberti but by their own family. Jelal Yassin could have added these people, including their settlements, to magnify the Jeberti population in Eritrea.

For example, according to current groupings, I belong to Bilen. Bilen speaking people are distributed in almost an entire region. They have villages predominantly Bilen speaking people. Yet, according to the socio-demographic distribution, Bilen have never been more than 3% share. In contrast, Jelal Yassin assigned 8% for Jeberti(see the table below which extracted from the dossier). This type of presentation is misleading. If it is used for political purposes, it can be as dangerous as it is fabricated- fabrication of information.

For more details, please follow the link attached here below:

Data Compiled by Jelal Yassin Abera: Jelal_Yassin_Abera_174_page_data_Salih-Abdellah-TGRINYA-27-8-2011

3. Using the Data as a Political Tool – the incidence of Forto 2013

It is a mistake to make conclusions about the possible purpose of this data compilation but there was some important hypothesis that can be developed from the nature of the data, failed military coup d’etat of January 2013 and the political actors who played as mobilizing agents outside Eritrea.

Forto 2013
Commander of the Failed J2013 Coup D’Etat – Colonel Wedi Ali

on January 21, 2013, there was an incident in Eritrea which tried to remove PFDJ regime by force. This incident was a failed military coup in Eritrea after more than 100 soldiers led by a Military Colonel who to took his mechanized battalion all the way to Asmara and occupied temporarily the Ministry of Information building found in the heart of Asmara, Forto. Though dictator Isaias dismissed the incident by belittling the operation three weeks after, a serious hypothesis can be developed by correlating important events related to political movements outside Eritrea.

Many news outlets outside Eritrea reported about the event the time the operation happened. Eritreans came to learn about the incidence through news broadcasted from abroad followed by family telephone calls.

Example: New York Times, Paris based independent News Media(Erena), and an Independent Journalist Martin Plaut are among the first reporters of the incidence.

Of course, my objective is not to bring all the events related to the coup d’etat. Rather, I am trying to correlate the data compiled by Jelal Yassin Abera and its possible link with the operation.

Depending on the year of service and nature of data collected, it seems the information details about Eritrean institutions and personnel that were who were in power from 2001 to 2012, mainly after the crackdown of PFDJ Central Political Committee and arrest of G – 15. It has listed all the administrative constituents and structures of the regime including a detailed name list of six(6) administrative regions, 59 sub-zones, and 2606 villages or local administrations. A name list of almost every public, government, military, security, and the diplomatic officers is well presented.

Such detailed data might have been planned to be used as an instrument in outlining strategies to throw the regime and then replace officers of the ousted government with new officers. The document has compiled name list of more than 5000 government officers.

Ministry and public services combined

But there is one worrisome nature of the data. What Jelal Yassin Aberra did was, he divided the officers along religious affiliations. This is a serious political maneuvering. In many occasions, PFDJ regime is accused of as a “Christian regime”. And, if any coup d’etat is assumed within this premise, then the outcome can lead to another kind of oppression or civil arrest.

When it comes to sectarian politics, Eritreans have a bitter experience. Any attempt to that tries to look Eritrean politics along religious lines can trigger civil war as it was experienced between EPLF and ELF during the thirty (30) years struggle for independence.

It is hard to say Jelal Yassin Aberra was part of the Master-mind of the failed military Coup D’Etat. However, analyzing his family background, the case of Jeberti Rights advocacy works and the accusation of PFDJ as a Christian regime, it is time to re-think what type of political advocacy is carried by Eritreans. Any mistake made today cannot be easy to correct it. And, Eritrea can face another political crisis.