Why I think we Eritreans should be fully behind the peace process

Why I support fully the peace process between Eritrea and Ethiopia and why some Eritreans in the diaspora are rejecting it.
We know Weyane/TPLF, the previous racist and tribal regime in Ethiopia, had been financing and relentlessly working on humiliating Eritreans — not just the Eritrean government. I can even go as far as saying that they really targeted the Eritrean people. It started this inhuman and sad chapter 20 years ago when it started deporting Eritreans or Ethiopians with Eritrean heritage. I will never forget how they humiliated my uncle in front of his neighbors. Thousands of properties robbed by TPLF cadres, more than 80,000 people like my uncle were humiliated … my father was put in prison only because he was of Eritrean origin; and this was the start of their campaign to destroy us Eritreans the people physically and psychologically.
The past few days, after thousands of Ethiopian Oromo’s and Amharas’ sacrifice, these evil people are no longer in power and the Eritrean government rightly started the process to accept the peace call offered by Dr. Abiy and working in partnership with him to keep the dangers of TPLF from reversing this golden opportunity. I am glad that the main actors in this peace deal are not the TPLF – its a good thing that they are marginalized and hopefully they would also be completely rejected by the good and peace loving people of Tigray.
And this is also a strategic move by Eritrean government to embolden or prop up the the new Ethiopian government because TPLF are down but not out, as we can observe from their tigraionline.com daily hysterical cry; they seem to have turned now into a terrorist organization. So the deal with Dr. Abiy was really important and timely. President Issayas said in one of his speech addressed to Dr. Abiy and its government that “we are with you” to assure him his support.
So shouldn’t we Eritreans be happy that the source of all our suffering, TPLF, are going away? Shouldn’t we celebrate just like our Ethiopian brothers that TPLF are gone? Or should we put the blame on the Eritrean government for all our suffering? All the wrongs and mis-management, the exodus of the youth from Eritrea is the consequence of the evil TPLF’s soft war waged on us for the past 20 years; but this is another long topic perhaps for another time. We know, the suffering — sacrificing of our young at Bure, Tsorona, Badme … was clearly not about Badme but about TPLF’s agenda to subjugate and humiliate us Eritreans — just like it did in Addis Ababa against the peaceful Eritreans civilians. Badme was just an excuse — TPLF tried to humiliate us, the Eritrean people, for the past 20 years. I celebrate the peace — but above all I celebrate the demise of TPLF as they were the root cause of our suffering. You can see the Eritrean people’s reaction on the streets of Asmara, the Ethiopian people reaction — Weyane are gone and all of a sudden we are witnessing genuine hope and joy for the future generation.
Let me come to my initial point on why some Eritreans are rejecting this peace deal. And who are these people? I group them into three groups:
  1. People with irrational hate towards president Issays Afeworki or PFDJ
Yes they have committed many wrongs but under the circumstances in my opinion they didn’t have any choice. Eritrea needed to survive and we were in survival mode for the past 20 years; democracy and good governance policies are relatively luxuries when we are talking about the survival of Eritrea as a nation.
2. Some were were on the payroll of TPLF for the past 20 years:
These group of people couldn’t come to terms with the fact that their masters are now irrelevant and, out of pity for their masters, are trying to undermine the peace process. Their only loyalty is their pocket. To organize and coordinate a demonstration with slogan “down down Issayas” on the streets of Addis Ababa where, at that time, thousands of Ethiopians were being slaughtered was an insult not only to the Ethiopians but also added salt to the injury of Eritreans who were humiliated 20 years ago on the same place by the same TPLF who sponsored these pseudo demonstrations.
3. And there are those prominent Eritrean leaders in diaspora:
These are prominent leaders and intellectual Eritreans who have now become a mere observers of this historic event and not at the center of it all, they feel bitter and irrelevant insteading of being happy and supportive of this historic event. I felt quite sad that leaders like Ambassador Andebrhan, Gen. Mesfin Hagos not fully embracing the peace deal but still putting their personal issues ahead of the benefit of millions of Eritreans. This is an abberration of judgement on their part. I really expected better from these able Eritrean individuals.
Having said all that, we Eritreans should put our differences aside and work towards strengthening this hopeful peace process and encourage and support fully our government in its endeavor to achieve it. I see a bright and hopeful future for Eritrea and I fully support our government and president Issayas Afeworki.
God bless the people of Eritrea and its leaders.

relevant facts:
— 80000 Eritreans were uprooted from their home in Addis Ababa by these evil “tenkolegnoch” — their properties robbed by TPLF cadres [deportees – refworld]
— on a pretext of Badme, they started war on three fronts and promised that they will deliver Assab to Ethiopians [ listen to the speech by the then weyane diplomat in Washington, DC just before the third round battle of the 1998-2000 war.
— once they realized that they couldn’t win by force [ don’t trust me listen to Ermias Leggesse an Ethiopian writer and journalist on Esat TV], they accepted to a peace deal — not because Eritreans were defeated [ ESAT TV – who won the war, an Ethiopian opinion]
— they embarked on a new front — make Eritreans welcome to Addis Ababa, with a condition that Eritreans first humiliate themselves even more by denouncing a government that defended the above war at the very same place where thousands of Eritreans were humiliated
— organized and funded organizations and parties that staged fake demonstration with slogans “down down Issayas” on the same streets of Addis Ababa where Ethiopians were slaughtered by the Agazian terrorist police force
— spent millions of dollars on  Eritrean parties who say or do negative campaign on the Eritrean government, the country and specifically Issayas Afeworki
— spent millions of dollars to lobby and sustain the unfair embargo on Eritrean government, that actually targeted the Eritrean people

Agazian TV – my take

This is a gentleman who has been posting videos regularly about Agazian people. I have listened to a number of his videos and he sounds interesting and his obvious profound knowledge about vast subject matter — specifically about political philosophy is educational and very refreshing when explained in Tigrigna; but also dangerous if not listened to with critical and skeptical mind.
He claims to be a Tigrigna nationalist, an anti-globalization and anti-multiculturalism advocate. And he, predictably, was happy that Trump won- and not for the right reasons. He also said in one of his videos that he was campaigning for Brexit. So this guy obviously intrigued me.
In a nutshell here are his positives and negatives based on the videos that I watched.
Tigrigna people in Eritrea and Ethiopia are one people He says too much negative things about Muslims of Eritrea
Concerned about the exodus of Eritrean youths He tends to belittles other Eritrean intellectuals who do not prescribe to his views of the world
promotes Tigrigna identity and pride he has a visceral hatred towards the amhara ethnic group
he belittles and ridicules Eritrean artists if he disagrees with their social or political views
he sympathizes way too much  with TPLF ( though he criticizes some of their policies)
he opposes multi-cultural society

While respecting his intellect, I so wish that he could find a way to see the positives of aspiring to live in harmony with other groups of people who do not look like us or have different religion than ours. It is the right thing to do.

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Why I signed “the petition”

There is a petition going around to sign for Eritreans living in many European countries and the US that condemns a recent UN committee report on Eritrea. This petition is being distributed by Eritrean embassies and consulates to fellow Eritreans.

I have signed this petition not because I have made an objective analysis of the report and proved that the Eritrean government is innocent of these alleged crimes in the report. It’s because I feel that the intent of the report is not to bring justice to Eritreans but to single out a small nation which, despite all the injustices it’s being subjected to by the international community for more than 15 years, is trying to survive on its own. I have signed this petition as a show of defiance to the UN for having double standards when it comes to human rights issues. I have signed the petition because the president of the UN human rights is none other than the number one human rights abuser Saudi Arabia. It’s interesting that the UK has backed the election of Saudi Arabia to the chair of the human rights council. Human right issues according to UN is based and guided through petrol-dollar currency; and anything that this organization produces has no credibility as far as I am concerned.

For your information, the Committee has written a scathing report on Eritrea regarding numerous gross human right violations. The 500 page report claims that the Eritrean government systematically “use of extrajudicial killing, torture, rape, indefinite national service and forced labor may amount to crimes against humanity”.

If the alleged crimes in the report are true, we have to pressure the Eritrean government to bring the perpetrators to justice. I am sure in a country where there is a desperate economic situation, where the country is in a state of war with its neighbor, where religious fundamentalists have always been a threat to its survival, the condition is ripe for some officials within the government to commit those alleged crimes. In these desperate times, corruption, bureaucracy abuse of power is a natural and expected evil among people who are given responsibility and power. We have to encourage the government to weed out these practices by being bold and criticizing them responsibly. It doesn’t help to shout and insult from outside and incite hatred with one another. We need to work within and show support and try in our own way influence change progressively [and responsibly]. Through no revolution or violence have we witnessed justice or democracy brought to the masses in the history of mankind.

2014 prayer and gratitude

As 20141224_173034 (1)we bid farewell to 2014 I would like to pause and meditate for a second and thank Him for what he has given me. I count my blessings and be grateful for His generosity. For the gift that keeps on giving.

I became a father to this wonderful son Heyabel — a gift of God. It’s an experience that sure is going to change the course of my life. I pray that God makes me a better person — a decent human being. A person who will make his son proud.

I pray that God makes me be someone that my son will look up to and be proud of. A person who will make sacrifices to give all the opportunity and sound education and upbringing to his son. I pray that God makes me a better husband to my wife Feven.

I pray that God gives me the wisdom to raise a decent human being, some one who will be proud of his heritage, a God fearing individual and someone who respects and accepts all human beings as equal. I pray that he will be fearless to speak his mind without fear of social or peer pressure and able to assert his place on this earth. May God gives me the wisdom to be a decent father and a good role model for his son.

I also pray for my brothers Henok and Heber and my sister Makda. I pray that God helps them in their future endeavors and find success and happiness in whatever they do in their life. I pray that the coming year will bring us a lot more closer physically and spiritually. This Christmas, the four of us Kokobe family with our spouses and kids, was a very special one. It was the first time every one of us spent Christmas together after a very long time and it was simple and yet very special. I pray to have many of those in the future.

I pray to my beloved mother and father, who are no longer with us on this earth but continue to be part of my life spiritually, that they are in a better place.

I also pray for our family back home in Asmara starting from our grand father Abahagoy who is, thank God, still going strong. He is being taken care of by the non tiring Semaynesh ( the wife of my uncle Mekonen). I pray that God gives this family the strength and blessing to deal with some of the difficulties that are normal consequences of caring for the elderly.

I also pray to all those uncles and aunts who passed away — may you all rest in peace.

May God also bless my in-laws and bring happiness and joy to the family of Tewelde.

I also pray to all Eritreans and Eritrea in general that the day will come when the misery and economic difficulties of its people is over and its people find peace and tranquility. I hope that the people who are leading this nation find wisdom and strength to guide its people out of its current plight.

I pray that 2015 brings contentment in our life. May we have the wisdom to seek what is important in our life instead of fall prey to the consumerism and instant gratification driven life that is bound to ruin and make us miserable in the end. I pray for peace and love to humanity.

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My son — Heyabel ህያቤል

heyabel-1Heyabel ( ‘hi:’jɑ:’bel / In tigrigna or amharic : ህያቤል ). There is a small detail as to how we came to chose the name Heyabel for our son. In fact the credit for this wonderful and beautiful name is none other than a very young cousin of Feven — he is only four.

Time was of the essence and we were running out of a names that really clicked as they say or a name that would make us say “that’s the one!”. But all the names that we had in our list of names couldn’t evoke that kind of visceral response. Then one day haphazardly it was brought to our attention that a barely four year old cousin of Feven has asked his uncles that Feven calls our would-be-new born son Heyabel. It’s not a name that you would expect any four year old would come up with. I was impressed but at the time I didn’t think it would be a name I would choose for my son, but I just added this name to the long list of names that we would choose from for our son.

Just one day before the birth date, after going through all the list and a bit of contemplation, I turned to Feven. She was at that point in between her incessant pain from the contractions that comes practically every 10 to 15 minutes; and told her that we call our son Tobias (which means the goodness of God). Seeing her pain and what she was going through I thought this name would be uplifting, appropriate and most of all fitting. I liked the sound of it and hopped that she would like it too. But she gave me this look — you know the kind that one would give when offered something disagreeable. She told me that she wouldn’t like to call her son that because she said she didn’t like the sound of it. Well, the name kind of sounds very German even though it is also a biblical name. Therefore, I grudgingly scrapped it. That day we went to bed — a sleepless night due to her non stop contractions — without deciding on the name of the baby.

The next morning, the day our son would later be born, the contraction got a litle bit closer and more stronger so we called the hospital and they advised us to come directly through the emergency entry. It was around 10 a.m when we got there and after a brief monitoring and a check of her cervix opening which was at 6 cm; she was at an advanced stage of labor. So the waiting game for the opening to hit 10 cm started in earnest. Painful and with very little respite in between contractions. Since Feven made a choice to not receive an epidural the pain was so unbearable and even at one point there was a moment of hesitation to get one but she bravely decided to go through the labor without any anesthetics. It really takes some courage and a very high threshold of pain to do this.

It was during this period while Feven was in painful labor that I told her that I would actually like to call my son Heyabel –gift of God. I knew she would like it and so it was decided that we call our son Heyabel.

At 3PM in the afternoon Tuesday September 2014 Heyabel Bineyam Kokobe Araya was born after making his mom suffer a bit. That day I saw the wonderful work of God. The gift that He gives us through these beautiful creatures and the joy they bring to us. The beauty of life and God’s work is indeed so mysterious, and wonderful at the same time.

I also thought about my mother and father and about what they must have gone through when my mom gave birth to me. At least I am able to say that I experience what they must have experienced then. I wish they were here with me to witness this, to see their son be a father for the first time. How beautiful it would have been to see their face in this special moment.

World Cup — Cote D’Ivoire vs. Colombia

FOOT_EquipeNat_cotedivoire_drogbaToday’s match puts African hopeful Cote d’Ivoire against Colombia. I haven’t seen both of their opening matches against Japan and Greece respectively but I hope for a fascinating game.

The odds on favorite is of course Colombia, not withstanding the fact  that there is a huge contingent Colombian fans in the stadium in Brasilia  it sure will make them feel that they are playing at home and this could be a huge plus for Colombia.
Let’s hope that Drogba and Yaya Touré would make some impact and pull off an upset.
My prediction is for Colombia to win it but I hope that I am wrong.
Colombia 2 Cote D’Ivoire 1
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Current plight of the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea:

A rather brief reflection on the current plight of the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea:

It was with great sadness that I learned of the tragedy that have unfolded on the thousands of Ethiopians living in Saudi Arabia. A month ago hundreds of Eritreans perished trying to cross to the European shores of Lampedusa, Italy.

Eritrea_lampedusa Saudi-Ethiopia

All these tragedies and the lack of empathy to human plight is something that has become the norm in our times.

The great imbalance of wealth between the world’s richest countries and the developing world is ever so widening that people from these poor nations are taking greater and greater risks to get to the doors of the rich nations. The European Union has long closed the door on legal migration that people are now coming to Europe not by demanding Visa for entry but through the so called human smugglers risking their life savings and on most cases their own lives.

The explanation to this human plight is a lot complicated than it appears. There are a lot of stakeholders. The lack of low skill, low wage workers in the West that encourage the people from the poorest nations to come in search of those unwanted jobs. The thugs that see this as a business opportunity and take advantage and exploit these poor and desperate people. The diaspora community in the West that directly or indirectly encourages their compatriot to leave their country by promising a better life. The despotic governments propped up by their western sponsors that look only after the interest of their masters and make the plight of the poor mass worse and worse by the day.

What is at the core of this very disturbing problem?

The West’s policy on the developing world has consistently appears to encourage, support and sustain these despotic, puppet and corrupt governments which only protect the interests of the very few and indifferent to the impoverished majority. In Eritrea’s case by stifling the life out of the country not because the government is worse than the other but because it defiantly wanted to be independent and not a puppet ( what a travesty, but that’s a whole other subject). Almost all the West’s so called humanitarian interventions only worsen the condition that it initially sets out to resolve; making these countries dependent on their yearly strings-attached welfare-checks that only seem to benefit the very few.

I am not trying to put all the blame squarely on the West for the continuing tragedy that is unraveling Africa, but the biggest share of the blame should be put on those with biggest wealth, power and influence — the West in this case.

What is wrong with having geopolitical policy that makes Africa stable and it’s people richer which is also beneficial for the West? Wouldn’t this be more sustainable, ethical and in the long run even enriching to the West? The current policy that systematically disrupts, creates chaos and later give the appearance of trying to manage the crisis and in the process make a beggar out of the African people. Make people risk their lives to migrate to the West and in the process forgo their human dignity? Frankly, who really profits from this human indignation?

The Trayvon Martin verdict

ImageToday I walk up to arguably one of the biggest news of the year. A man ( white)  who killed a 17 year old kid ( black) is acquitted. History repeats itself. It’s sad that the racial factor was also as important as the tragic loss of a human life.
You can actually track a black man and kill him if you “feel” threatened. This is what the verdict on Trayvon Martin case seem to have shown to the world about the justice in America.
Of course no one knows what actually happened between Mr. Zimmerman and the 17 year old kid Trayvon Martin on the night the killing took place. But if one is to sum up in a sentence what happened the night the killing took place: a white man tracked a black teenager who happened to be wearing a hoodie and killed him on the grounds of self defense, and a jury acquitted him. 
This is similar to what happened some 20 years ago to the cops who beat savagely Rodney King and were acquitted. In that case there was a graphic video footage that actually showed the cops doing their barbaric act. Of course, it didn’t prevent the American justice from acquitting those cops. Just another proof that the American justice system is so biased against people of color.
I wonder if the kind of riot scene that followed Rodney King’s verdict will be repeated in this day and age where social media assisted mass demonstration is easier to organize and sustain.Or if people are so desensitized by repeated social injustice and numbed to do anything about it.   
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Couleur Café – Wyclef Jean/ Kery James

This year’s Couleur Café music festival started yesterday Friday 28th June. There were two artists I wanted to check out — Wyclef Jean and Kery James. It is the first time for me in 10 years to go to this event.


Wyclef Jean was certainly made to be the highlight of the day. But for me a big disappointment. Perhaps, I was expecting something better. For a start, he only sang three of his own songs. The rest was Bob Marley, House of Pain, Nirvana … what a let down. He was constantly boasting that he came with 6 hours of music and he is only allowed to do one hour, I was like perform at least some of your own freaking music b*$tch. Towards the end I was a bit irritated by his stage antics. There was Jimmy Clif’s act at the other stand and I was like, shit he might as well sing “reggae night” and I will just go home and end the misery of this rain drenched Brussels night.


But all was not gloomy and bad, Kerry James, the current top french rapper made such an energetic and top draw performance. From the get-go, till the end we were treated to a high quality full of energy excellent performance from this guy. Now that’s what I call live music. He was the star of the Friday proceedings as far as I’m concerned. I was too tired and with no energy to go for the next Jimmy Cliff’s concert. Hope it was better than Wyclef’s.

Wyclef — total let down, man!! Where fuggee at?!! (http://2013.couleurcafe.be/)

The Blue Nile saga – Look over here, don’t look over there!

How wonderful!! ( being sarcastic, here). Puppet dictators in Egypt, Uganda and Ethiopia creating a diversionary tactics .

The regimes in these three countries are facing big internal unrest and would love desperately for an event or preferably war, the latter would definitely make their masters very happy, to divert and in their sick logic prolong their hold on power. And it couldn’t come any bigger than this — regional war that could potentially bring about huge profit to the arms industry( the global business that manufacture weapons and military technology to kill people).

I hope these puppet/dictators come to their senses and resolve this big sham before it causes huge humanitarian and economic catastrophe.

I also hope that Ethiopians understand that natural resources, in this case the Nile River, is  to be shared equitably among people who have been living and sustaining their livelihood with for ages. You just can’t all of a sudden appropriate something that you have no exclusive rights to and expect flower bouquet in return.