Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Eritrean Police Report on Awate 1951

Eritrean Police Report on Awate 1951

Source: Courtesy of Halesellasie Woldu's book on Awate with 486 pages published in 2018 in Tigrinya and Tigrait

Friday, 30 November 2018

a 2018 Book: Postliberation Eritrea

Postliberation Eritrea, a book by Tekle Mariam Woldemikael, Asefaw Bariagaber, Victoria Bernal, David M. Bozzini, Amanda Poole, Jennifer Riggan, Gaim Kibreab, Dan Connell, Georgia Cole, Magnus Treiber, Milena Belloni, and Michael Woldemariam, 2018


  • -          Introduction:
  • -          Globalization, Imitation Behavior, and Refugees from Eritrea
  • -          Civil Society and Cyberspace: Reflections on Dehai, Asmarino, and Awate
  • -          The Catch-22 of Resistance: Jokes and the Political Imagination of Eritrean Conscripts
  • -          Ransoms, Remittances, and Refugees: The Gatekeeper State in Eritrea
  • -          Imagining Emigration: Debating National Duty in Eritrean Classrooms
  • -          The Nexuses between Exit, Voice, and Loyalty in the Light of the Indefinite Eritrean National Service
  • -          Eritrean Refugees at Risk
  • -          The International Community's Role in Eritrea's Postliberation Phase of Exception
  • -          "Eritrea" in Switzerland's 2015 Election—A Missed Chance for Dialogue between Politics, Social Work, and Refugees
  • -          "Why don't you move onwards?": The Influence of Transnational Ties and Kinship Obligations on Eritrean Refugees' Feeling of Being Stuck in Italy
  • -           Making of an African "Pariah": Eritrea in the International System
  • -          Conclusion: Eritrea's State of Exception and its Broken Mirror

And can be read at the following link

Thanks to Katharina Strehler for sharing

Saturday, 13 October 2018

When Arabs and Indians were recruited to work in Eritrea and Somaliland December 1934

When Arabs and Indians were recruited to work in Eritrea and Somaliland December 1934:

from online resources as part of the Qatar Digital Library's digital archive:

The file contains correspondence regarding the recruitment of labour from the Aden Settlement, the Aden Protectorate, and Yemen, for service in Italian Somaliland.

Following requests from the Italian Consul at Aden for an increased number of labourers to work in Italian Somaliland and Eritrea, the India Office, the Foreign Office and the Aden Chief Commissioner consider the options available to prevent the recruitment of British Subjects or Protected Persons for either the Italian or Ethiopian forces. Following communications with the King of Yemen it is agreed that Yemeni subjects should also be prevented from travelling from Aden ports for that purpose.

Monday, 1 October 2018


اسماءعائلات مصوع [الجزيرة] وأصولهم  ، 1910
اسماءعائلات حرقيقو وحطملو وامكولو ، 1910
اسماء التجار المسلمين في مصوع ، 1901
اسماء تجار المنسوجات ، والجلود ، واللؤلؤ ، وأم اللؤلؤ في مصوع ، 1912
اسماء الأعيان المسلمون من مصوع (1880  1890)
اسماء عائلات السادة في مصوع ، 1860  1880
اسماء القضاة
Appendices of a 2004 PhD thesis by Jonathan Miran

From the abstract:

This dissertation examines the making of a complex Red Sea urban coastal society in Massawa (in present day Eritrea) in the second half of the nineteenth century. As a centuries-old port town Massawa's traditional role and raison d'etre has been to mediate between multiple commercial spheres connecting regions of the northeast African interior and beyond it with regions of the Middle East and South Asia. My study examines how a particular new conjuncture of political, economic, technological and migratory factors in the wider Red Sea and western Indian Ocean area in the middle decades of the century transformed Massawa. It re-organized the structure of its commercial relationships, which, as a result, shaped the particular social and cultural make-up of the port-town's inhabitants.

Appendices include:

- APPENDIX 1: Massawa [Island] Families and Claimed Origins, 1910
- APPENDIX 2: Families of Hirgigo, Hitumlo, and Omkullo, 1910
APPENDIX 4: Muslim Merchants of Massawa, 1901
APPENDIX 5: Textiles, Hides, Pearl and Mother of Pearl merchants in Massawa, 1912
APPENDIX 6: Muslim Notables (a'yin) of Massawa(1880s-1890s)
APPENDIX 7: Sadah (Sayyid) Families in Massawa, 1860s-1880s
APPENDIX 8: The al-Ghul Family
APPENDIX 9: The Family of 'Ubayd Ahmad Ba Hubayshi
APPENDIX 10: Pedigree (nisbah) of the Hayuti Family
APPENDIX 11: The 'Abbasi Family
APPENDIX 12: The Nahari Family
APPENDIX 13: The Safi Family
APPENDIX 14: The Ba Tuq Family
 - APPENDIX 15: Sample of Marriage Linkages among Families in Massawa, c. 1850s­ l950s
APPENDIX 16: Main Line of Descent of the 'Ad Shaykh Family (Semhar and Sahel, excluding Barka)
APPENDIX 17: The Khatmiyya tariqa in Eritrea
APPENDIX 18: Mosques of the Massawa Conurbation
APPENDIX 19: Qadis and Muftis ofMassawa, c. 1603-1960s.
APPENDIX 20: Demographic Figures for the Massawa Conurbation, 1886 and 1910
 - APPENDIX 21: Sample of Slave Manumission in the Sharia Court, 1868-1885
- APPENDIX 22: Real Estate and Moveable Property Transactions of Shaykh 'Abd Allah
b. 'Umar b. Sa'id Ba Junayd and Shaykh 'Ali Ahmed Ba Junayd in Massawa, 1868-1888
Thanks to Jonathan Miran for sharing

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Articles on Self-Determination and Secessionism in Africa

SELF-DETERMINATION AND SECESSION A 21st Century Challenge to the Post-colonial State in Africa by Redie Bereketeab

Self-Determination and Secessionism in Somaliland and South Sudan CHALLENGES TO POSTCOLONIAL STATE-BUILDING

Determinants of Successful Secessions in Post-colonial Africa: Analyzing the Cases of Eritrea and South Sudan, a 2014 MA Thesis, by By Albano Agostinho Troco, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Self-Determination and Multi-Ethnic Societies in Africa

How students in Eritrea and Norway make sense of literature, PhD Thesis

How students in Eritrea and Norway  make sense of literature, a 2010 PhD Thesis, Oslo University by Juliet Munden


This study is about how people make sense of literature. More specifically, it explores how Eritrean literature in English is read by students at two institutions of teacher education, one in Norway and one in Eritrea. It is therefore a comparison of two interpretive communities. One underlying assumption is that culture, especially how national identity is constructed, maintained and challenged, influences the discoursal positions and interpretive strategies available to readers. The students‟ responses are analysed in the light of their national cultures and the social, educational and institutional contexts that they share. A second assumption is that each individual response cannot be completely accounted for by these factors. Readers, then, give meaning to texts, and texts achieve meaning first when they are read. But a text limits the coherent interpretations available to a reader.    There are few qualitative comparative studies about how people make sense of literature, and this in itself is a rationale for this study. What comparative studies there are typically organise respondents by nationality, but refer only briefly to their culture and context. An important component of this study is therefore a methodological discussion of what a comparative study of nationally defined groups of readers entails. A further motivation is that there is currently virtually no research in the humanities in Eritrea.         

The bulk of the material is provided by twelve Eritrean and ten Norwegian students of English, who wrote about three Eritrean literary texts: a fable, a short prose narrative and a play. They also answered a questionnaire about their experience and expectations of literature. To contextualise the literary texts I review the political and aesthetic space of literature in Eritrea, and provide an overview of Eritrean literature in English. Both groups of students reported finding fiction useful because it expanded their horizons and gave them an opportunity to learn about other cultures. Unlike the Norwegian students, most of the students in Eritrea looked to literature first and foremost with the expectation that it should contribute to upholding a moral society and their own moral integrity.      The students in Eritrea were fairly consistent in being assertive in response to all three texts. Unlike the students in Norway, they were confident of having found the meaning of the texts they read, using strategies apparently developed through encounters with oral literature, the literature of which they had had most experience prior to their studies. The students in Norway were more likely to point out the individuality of their responses, with the possibility of there being other interpretations. The responses of the two groups were most similar in regard to a previously unfamiliar literary text about young people, where both were concerned with the importance of friendship and the innocence of childhood. They responded most differently to the nationalist play The Other War. The students in Eritrea consistently reproduced a national narrative template which was not available to the students in Norway, whose preferred interpretive strategy was to offer an understanding in terms of the characters‟ interaction, emotions and earlier experiences. This strategy, which they brought to all three texts, did not necessitate an understanding of social and political contexts, nor a moral standpoint. Student texts provided a rich material and they were well-suited to a research situation where transparency was an important consideration. A broader understanding of context than is found in most earlier studies of reading has proved conceptually valuable in accounting for the strategies and discoursal positions of the two interpretive communities.

Not All Liberation Movements Lead to Democracy: A Comparative case Study of Uganda and Eritrea

Not All Liberation Movements Lead to Democracy: A Comparative case Study of Uganda and Eritrea, a 2015 MA Thesis, University of Colorado. By OMUNU ABALU

Diaspora tourism and the negotiation of belonging: journeys of young second-generation Eritreans to Eritrea

Diaspora tourism and the negotiation of belonging: journeys of young second-generation Eritreans to Eritrea, a 2017 article by Graf, Samuel

Published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(15):2710-2727.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

The United Nations and the Independence of Eritrea

The United Nations and the Independence of Eritrea, a 286 page book, published by the UN in 1996

"The military conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea was one of Africa's longest struggles for independence and one of the world's most protracted campaigns for self-determination since the founding of the United Nations."

"On 27 April 1993, the Referendum Commission announced the official provisional results. Of those who had cast their votes, 1,098,015 had voted "yes" and 1,825 had voted "no"; 323 votes were invalid and 53,838 were tendered ballots, cast at a polling-station at which the voter was not registered. This meant that 99.805 per cent of those participating in the referendum had voted for independence, and only 0.17 per cent had voted against. Eritreans voting in Ethiopia, the Sudan and other countries, as well as members of the EPLA, had voted "yes", again with nearly total unanimity. "


Thanks to Habesah AGreat for sharing

Friday, 24 August 2018

Highlights from the report of the UN Commission to Eritrea 1950

Highlights from the report of the UN Commission to Eritrea 1950

Resolution 289 (a) (IV) consisting of three parts, each dealing with one of the ex-Italian colonies. Section (C), relating to Eritrea, was adopted by the plenary session of the general assembly on 21 November 1949, which established the United Nations Commission for Eritrea to ascertain more fully the wishes of the inhabitants of Eritrea and the means of promoting their future welfare. 
The five-power-commission consisting of representatives from Norway, the Union of South Africa, Burma, Pakistan and Guatemala was established to ascertain the wishes of the Eritrean people and to solicit the views of interested governments. The commission established its head- quarters in Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea, and held some seventy public and private meetings between 15 February and the end of April 1950.                                                                                             

Members of the commission with Haile Sellasie and the British Ambassador

During the same period, it visited various parts of Eritrea and travelled to the capitals of Ethiopia, Egypt and, Italy to consult with these governments. At the end of April, the commission retired to Geneva to prepare its report and recommendation for submission to the interim committee for its meeting on 15 June.

The commission members were too pressed for time to prepare a joint proposal and, instead, they agreed, on 8 June, to submit some selected  documents along with their individual recommendations. The Norwegian member (Erling Qvale) proposed that Eritrea be united with Ethiopia; the South African (F.H. Theron) and Burmese (Aung Khine) that Eritrea be federated with Ethiopia; and the Pakistani (Mia Ziaud-Din) and Guatemalan (Carlos Garcia Bauer) commissioners that Eritrea be an independent state. The reports of the commission was presented to the Secretary General (Trygve Lie)of the UN on June 9, 1950.

This report is in French, but easier to read the tables about the population breakdown by language and religion, the names of the members of the political parties they met and other relevant info.

Summary of AG-048 United Nations Commission for Eritrea (1950), files

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

The Future of Ethiopia: Developmental State or Political Marketplace?

The Future of Ethiopia: Developmental State or Political Marketplace? by Alex de Waal


" In my case, one prism through which I interpret Ethiopian developments is the analysis derived from numerous discussions that I had with Meles Zenawi between 1988 and 2012. I initially developed the framework of the ‘political marketplace’ as a critique of Meles’s theory of the ‘democratic developmental state’. In particular, I saw monetized or marketized politics as a threat to the stateled developmental order that Meles envisioned: I argued that as well as the two scenarios he envisaged, namely economic transformation versus a relapse into poverty and chaos, there was a third: a political marketplace. The rationale for this paper is that these two frameworks, the developmental state and the political marketplace, offer analytical insights that are important for understanding Ethiopia today.

This paper has two parts. The first is based on those conversations with Meles. I have notes from many of them (especially from the period 2007- 2012) and recollections of others. I have organized them into the themes of the developmental state, democracy and nationalism, and foreign policy and security strategy. In each case what I present are amalgams of notes, verbatim transcripts, and a few inferences. They are rearranged for coherence. "

Sunday, 29 July 2018

The politics of retreat: Soviet Union/ Ethiopia

The politics of retreat by Prof. John Keane, a 1990 article on the process of dismantling of the Soviet Union by Gorbachov.

The politics of retreat of the totalitarian state:

The politics of retreat is an article that was written by John Keane (a Professor of Politics at the Polytechnic of Central London) in 1990. The article analysed the changes that were taking place in Soviet Union under Gorbachew. The writer addressed the retreat of the totalitarian state. Though Ethiopia and the Soviet Union are different to compare and 2018 is not 1990; the changes taking place in Ethiopia look similar to those that took place in the Soviet Union, then. The Gobachew phenomenon looks like the ‘Abiy’ phenomenon. Does Abiy intend to dismantle the EPRDF totalitarian state? This makes the article an interesting read.

The politicians of retreat are a new specie of political animal. Although schooled in the arts of conventional politics; politicians of retreat always begin their careers in the corridors and committee rooms of state power-they are not driven by lust for power or visions of grand victories through conquest. They are instead skilled in the art of unscrewing the lids of despotism by forming new compromises and withdrawing and retreating from unworkable positions.

The politics of retreat is naturally a delicate and a dangerous process. Its leaders  are trapped within the quicksands of politics. They risk their lives at every step, and they are always surrounded by enemies operating in the shadowy corners of state power. The legitimacy problem confronting politicians is partly due to the fact that they hasten the disintegration of the existing despotic regime, thereby threatening certain individuals and groups whose power base lie within the system. Politicians of retreat help dramatically to widen the political spectrum. They tend to speak of future gains. They know one thing best: the despotic regimes can die of of swallowing their own lies and arrogance, and that fear and demorilisation can not govern forever. Their actions often have unintended consequences of fostering the growth of social power groups acting at a distance from which they help to dismantle. The politicians typically sow the seeds of their own downfall.
The politics of retreat is a dangerous bussiness. There comes a point when it intensifies the crisis it is supposed to resolve. Events become pregnant with unforseen consequences. Many  subjects become active citizens who are no longer impatient. Controlled retreat begins to turn in choas.

Thanks to Niels Harbitz for making aware of the article

Friday, 29 June 2018

A History of Ethiopia, Nubia and Abyssinia, 1928

A History of Ethiopia, Nubia and Abyssinia, 1928 by Sir Wallis Budge

a 423 page book in 2 volumes with 49 plates, 31 illustrations in the text and a map

Thanks to Abo Homed for sharing

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Book: Mussolini in Ethiopia, 1919–1935

Mussolini in Ethiopia, 1919–1935

Mussolini in Ethiopia, 1919–1935 looks in detail at the evolution of the
Italian Fascist regime’s colonial policy within the context of European
politics and the rise to power of German National Socialism. It delves
into the tortuous nature of relations between the National Fascist Party
and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), while
demonstrating how, ultimately, a Hitler-led Germany proved the best
mechanism for overseas Italian expansion in East Africa. The book
assesses the emergence of an ideologically driven Fascist colonial policy
from 1931 onwards and how this eventually culminated in a serious
clash of interests with the British Empire. Benito Mussolini’s successful
flouting of the League of Nations’ authority heralded a new dark era
in world politics and continues to have its resonance in today’s world.

Can be accessed and downloaded:

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Eritrea: Initial National Report (1999-2016) by State of Eritrea


For the first time the Eritrean Regime has written a 100 page report on the State of Affairs in Eritrea prepared on 28 March 2017 by the State of Eritrea,  Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR)

OR download it from the link below:

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Saddam and High-Ranking Officials Discussing Khomeini, the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, 1979

February 20, 1979 
Saddam and High-Ranking Officials Discussing Khomeini, the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, the Potential for Kurdish Unrest, and the Iranian Economy

 من محضر اجتماع عقد يوم ٢٠ فبراير١٩٧٩ حضره صدام حسين ومسؤولين عراقيين رفيعي المستوى يناقشون الخميني والصراع الإثيوبي الإريتري واحتمال الاضطرابات الكردية والاقتصاد الإيراني، وتقيمهم للثورة الارترية

Saddam Hussein: Of course, the Eritrean revolution has become weaker than its previous state. When Ethiopia was preoccupied with Ogaden [An Ethiopian region that was the subject of conflict between Ethiopia and Somalia] in Somalia and when Somalia failed to provide quick advice to the Eritreans, we told them [the Eritreans] before they rearrange themselves and since they have not recovered yet from the events [inaudible], as an assessment of them in this phase. But they did not listen and continued in their ways. We do not expect the Eritrean revolution to end in a complete victory or full retreat in a short time because it became a part of the international equation [dynamic] with different parties, ethnic groups, and trends fighting each other. We do not have something intrinsic in our analysis to our stance or position, but it can be summarized by saying that their position is weaker than before. They are not expected to achieve victory in a short period or to be defeated in a short period because it has become a part of the international equation. What makes it easier on them, of course, is that the discussions have become broader, where their position is based on the Soviet weight in Ethiopia. Now, Africa and the events in Iran have become more interesting than Eritrea for the Soviet Union, which is more interested now in events in Indochina than Eritrea. This is an issue that depends on the orientations, interests, and points that have priority in the agenda. Sure, the Soviet weight is going to ease on Eritreans through Ethiopia, but I do not believe that the Eritreans are capable of achieving an imminent victory or have the power to defeat them soon. But their position is weaker than before. Comrade Sa'doun, do you have other remarks about this subject, the subject of Eritrea?

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Eritrea/Ethiopia/Somalia - Soviet Bloc relations confidential declassified documents

Eritrea/Ethiopia/Somalia - Soviet Bloc relations confidential declassified documents

On Eritrea: 14 confidential declassified documents 1977 - 1991

On how the Soviet Union and Germany wanted to solve the Eritrean problem and on the secret negotiations they conducted between delegations of the Derg and Eritrean Liberation Fronts

Ethiopian - Soviet Bloc relations:  86 confidential declassified documents (1956 - 1991)

Among other issues, on the Ethiopian-Somali war of 1977 and how they tried to prevent it and later solve it; on how they assessed the final years of the Derg

Somali  - Soviet Bloc relations:  52 confidential declassified documents (1971 - 1991)                     

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Letter from Erich Honecker, leader of the German Democratic Republic to Brezhnev on the Derg and EPLF talks in 1978


Erich Honecker, the General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party (SED), leader of  the German Democratic Republic from 1971 until the weeks preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989

Esteemed Comrade Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev! On 23 March 1978, the second meeting between the representatives to the Provisional Military Administrative Council of Socialist Ethiopia and the Eritrean Liberation Front took place. Upon request by the Politburo of the CC of the SED, Comrade Hermann Axen, member of the Politburo and CC secretary, participated in the talks. [Berhanu Bayeh and Aforki declared again their desire to terminate the bloodshed and to do everything to solve the Eritrean problem by peaceful means.] 

Among other things both sides agreed in the first meeting on:

1. Both sides confirm their resolve to stop the bloodshed immediately and bring about a political solution. 

2. The Provisional Military Administrative Council of Ethiopia will make a public declaration expressing its concrete proposals for the implementation of regional autonomy for Eritrea in the framework of the Ethiopian state and under inclusion of all willing positive forces in Eritrea. 

The Central Committee of the EPLF recognizes the achievements of the Ethiopian Revolution and declares itself ready for cooperation in the interest of implementation of regional autonomy. 

3. Revolutionary Ethiopia's secure access to the Red Sea must be guaranteed by its uninterrupted access lines and its control over Asmara and the ports of Massawa and Assab. 

4. Both sides form a common commission for the purpose of implementing the above points and all other steps for the security of the Revolution in Ethiopia and regional autonomy in Eritrea. It was agreed to inform the leadership organizations of Ethiopia and of the EPLF and have them communicate their positions on the results of the second meeting and the proposals of the SED at a third meeting in the GDR in mid May.

Read the whole report:


January 31, 1978 Memorandum of a Conversation between East German leader Erich Honecker and Siassi Aforki, General Secretary of the Revolutionary Party of Eritrea, in Berlin

Aforki: We are very proud and very happy about this meeting. It is a historical meeting. The first visit of our comrades in the GDR already brought very positive results. [...] We highly appreciate the good offices of your country and your party. What we have achieved so far is already a turning-point in our fight. The results of the meeting with the Ethiopians are still uncertain, but in any case it will be a historic meeting. In the past 17 years a fierce battle has been waged. Not one meeting took place between Eritreans and Ethiopians. If something developed from this first meeting, this will not only be good for our two countries but for the peoples of the entire world. The only pre-condition for it is goodwill on the Ethiopian and on our side. 

Comrade S. Aforki: The main problem is in how far Ethiopia is willing to meet our demands. It is clear from the start that if Ethiopia is not bringing along new proposals, a solution will not be possible. There is no point in discussing the possibility of unifying both revolutions. What we need are guarantees that the fight against imperialism and reaction will continue. Only one principal question is of importance. Everything depends on the capabilities and tactics of our organization. We won't be picky in minor questions. It is totally clear to us that in the case of an actual agreement its implementation is the important thing. Then we will check the details and implement them patiently. Eritrea has many enemies within and without. If they all find out about it, we will have many difficulties. But we are preparing for it. It is true that we are not the only organization. That, however, does not worry us. Because of our great influence and military strength we can succeed. The other two organizations in Eritrea have allied themselves with the imperialists and the reaction in the Arabic region.

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union on Talks of Ahmed Nasser (ELF-RC) in the USSR Solidarity Committee, 1978

June 07, 1978 Information from the Central Committee (CC) of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) on Talks of Ahmed Nasser (ELF-RC) in the USSR Solidarity Committee

In effect, the three talks which were held with Ahmed Nasser proved that the Eritrean friends are not yet willing to approach the question by giving up the slogan of independence for Eritrea. Their argumentation is that neither side should coerce the other one into negotiations and a solution could only be a result of unconditional negotiations.

In the first conversation on 7 June, A. Nasser indicated that the ELF-RC would possibly consent to a federation. In the following talks it was not mentioned again, and by the time the third talk took place on 8 June, the position of the Eritrean friends had even hardened.

You can read the whole report here:

The rest of 14 confidential documents of the Soviet Bloc on Eritrea related issues 1977 - 1991: