Saturday, 28 December 2019

Animal Diseases and Veterinary Services in Eritrea 2001

Animal Diseases and Veterinary Services in Eritrea: The Past, Present and Future Challenges

Mohamed Kheir Omer, Gebrehiwet Taeme and Andom Gebremeskel

A paper presented at the Eritrean Studies Association Conference held at Asmara, Eritrea

June 2001

Can be downloaded at the link below:

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Refugees and citizens: Understanding Eritrean refugees’ ambivalence towards homeland politics

Refugees and citizens: Understanding Eritrean refugees’ ambivalence towards homeland politics, a 2019 article by Milena Belloni, University of Antwerp, Belgium

This article revisits ambivalence as a protracted state which does not simply develop as a result of the migration experience but stems from overlapping levels of normative inconsistency. Drawing from my ethnography of Eritreans’ everyday life in the homeland and abroad, I analyse their attitudes of patriotism and disenchantment through an ambivalence lens. Their ambiguous attitudes are arising from national and transnational Eritrean state policies and are further complicated by their role as “political refugees” in host countries. My informants’ ambivalence stems from them embodying more than one role (i.e. patriots, family breadwinners, refugees from and citizens of their homeland), from contradictory expectations pertaining to the same role (i.e. young citizens in Eritrea) and from clashing implications of being members of two different social systems (i.e. the destination country and the country of origin). Thus, Eritreans’ political loyalties and actions are characterized by a state of ambivalence throughout their migration process. Despite its peculiar characteristics, this case study sheds light on the complexity of ambivalence, as more than a temporary condition, for migrants and refugees in particular. In the current scenario of emigrant states’ transnational governance, protracted ambivalence is likely to mark the attitudes of an increasing number of people on the move as both refugees from and citizens of their country of origin.

You can access the full text at the link:

Monday, 23 December 2019

Introducing Haji Jaber's award winning Arabic novels

Introducing Haji Jabir's award winning Arabic novels

Haji Jaber is an Eritrean novelist, born in the coastal city of Massawa in 1976. He escaped with his family to Jeddah while he was breast feeding, to escape Ethiopian atrocities. He grew up and studied in Jeddah. As an immigrant in Saudi Arabia it was difficult for his family to find him a school but at last, he was able to get private education. He has published so far four novels: Samrawit (2012), winner of the Sharjah Award for Arab Creativity in 2012, Fatma's Harbour (2013), The Game of the Spindle (2015), which was longlisted for the 2016 Sheikh Zayed Book Award, and Black Foam (2018) which won the prestigious ‘Katara Prize’ In the category of the published Arabic novel. Eritrea is vividly present in his novels.

Samrawit (2012) is about discovering Eritrea after a long immigrant life in Jeddah, it is about the author’s or at times the main character’s first his interaction with the Eritrean Embassy there. It was about ‘home coming’. His first emotion-laden travel to Asmara and Massawa. Though the author had no personal memories about Eritrea, his collective memories are rich taken from his family who talked about the country daily. His mother’s longing to Zewditu, her close friend in Massawa. The main character falls in love with an Eritrean girl, Samrawit who lives abroad but was visiting Eritrea the same time he was there, he is being a Muslim and she being a Christian had its challenges. Samrawit is about this journey.

His second novel, Fatma's Harbour (2013) is about the main character from Ghinda who lives in Asmara and falls in love with a secondary school student who fails her exams deliberately to avoid Sawa and who lives at the old street of ‘Mersa Fatma’ meaning Fatma’s harbour. The street is close to Enda Mariam. Through the main character, the author takes us to youth life in Asmara, the Asmara University refusal to go to Kemtawi Maatot in 2001, the measures taken by Eritrean government, life in the national service in Sawa, the kidnapping by the Rashaida (what the author calls the Shifta), life in Shegerb refugee camp in Sudan with its old refugees of the 1960s and the new one. All those events are beautifully narrated in the journey of the main character in search for his lover. The novel was translated to Italian under the title’ L‏a fuga della picola Roma’.

His third novel, The Game of the Spindle, centers around the main character, who is a charming girl who had lost her both parents in the struggle and who lives with her grandmother who excels in spinning yarn and telling stories. The story centers in the newly formed Archives Department, where the charming girl is employed. The archives department aim is to digitalize documents written by fighters during the liberation. The folders are marked by three colors, BROWN which are considered public, YELLOW which are regarded semi-confidential and RED which are strictly confidential. People are recruited to this department after a lot of scrutiny. The beginners are given only the BROWN files and as their loyalty is tested their gradually deal with the confidential files. The main character starts with the BROWN ones, but quickly finds them boring and uses her beauty to get to the RED files.  The Red files get edited by the president of the state. She starts manipulating the stories in the files, re-writing them as she would tell the story. It is in those RED files she discovers a stunning history about her parents and about the President.

Black Foam follows a group of Ethiopian Jews, the “Falash Mura”, who are driven by poverty and desperation, emigrate to Israel in search of a better life. Amongest them is Dawoud, who changed his name to “Dawit” so that western NGOs can take him to Europe but fails. Upon learning that Falasha Jews are being transported to Israel, he invents a new identity, changing his name and history, so that he can travel to Israel alongside the Falasha Jews. However, on arrival, he faces the trials and suffering experienced by dark-skinned immigrants in the country.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Tigre Studies in the 21st Century, a Review

 Tigre Studies in the 21st Century , RAINER VOIGT, ed. / Tigre-Studien im 21. Jahrhundert, Studien zum Horn von Afrika, 2 (Köln: Rüdiger Köppe, 2015). xi, 241 p

A Review of the book;

At the 3rd International Enno Littmann Conference held at the Freie Universität in Berlin
on April 1–4, 2009, under the heading ‘Tigre, Aksum and More’, a special panel was devoted to the T gre language and literature and to Tigre society.  The present volume, carefully edited by Rainer Voigt, who was also the organizer of the conference, contains the papers presented on this panel in which scholars from Eritrea also actively participated. It is doubtless to their presence that we owe a refreshing first in Ethiopian and Eritrean studies, namely: abstracts of the articles also in Tigre. This language is described by the editor in the Introduction as the third largest Ethiopic-Semitic language after Amharic and Tigriñña;  this is true only if we adopt the new trend in Ethiopian studies, and consider what used to be the Gurage dialect cluster with nearly 3,000,000 speakers or more, as a distinct group of several separate languages.

The book:

Thanks to Suleiman Bekit for sharing

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Eritrea - Ethiopia Boundary Commission DECISION Regarding Delimitation of the Border

Eritrea - Ethiopia Boundary Commission DECISION Regarding Delimitation of the Border between The State of Eritrea and The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia 

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Aspects of Tigrinya Literature until 1974

Aspects of Tigrinya Literature (until 1974) by Hailu Habtu, a M.Phil. thesis, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1981

This dissertation aims to study the origin and development of Tigrinya as a written language-a topic that has so far received little scholarly attention. As time and the easy accessibility of all the relevant material are limiting factors,this investigation is necessarily selective. Chapter One takes stock of all available writing in the Tigrinya language frcm its beginning in the middle of the last century up to 1974. Chapter Two briefly investigates the development of written Tigrinya to serve varying functions and ends and the general direction that its development took. Chapter Three provides a glimpse of the breadth and variety of literature incorporated in the Eritrean Weekly News published in Asmara by the British Information Services frcm 1942 to 1952. The E W N represented the sudden birth and development of a secular writing and provided a tradition and a reservoir of literature on which Tigrinya fiction later drew. Chapters Four, Five and Six deal with Tigrinya fictional literature on the basis of selected themes v. g. historical and political themes (Chapter Four), prostitution and approbation against dissolute life (Chapter Five), and education and success (Chapter Six)

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Günter Schröder on what is the real population in Eritrea and why it is kept as confidential

Günter Schröder on what is the real population in Eritrea and why it is kept as confidential:

Günter Schröder, who is a German scholar with extensive research on Eritrea in particular and in the Horn of Africa in general and this is his take on what is the real population and why does the government doesn’t publish actual surveys done or conduct a population census. Based on available data and on population growth, he estimates the resident population to be 3.2 million and explains the distubing population trends.

Monday, 26 August 2019

How Eritrea's regime policies causing large scale exodus of mainly young men impact on gender distribution and population growth in the country

How Eritrea's regime policies causing large scale exodus of mainly young men impact on gender distribution and population growth in the country

Günter Schröder, who is a German researcher with extensive research on Eritrea in particular and in the Horn of Africa in general and this is his take on how the large scale exodus of mainly young men impact on gender distribution and population growth in the country. This is part of his engagement with EriMedrek.

Watch the video:

Eritrea regime's social engineering impact on ethno-demographic balance of population

Eritrea regime's social engineering impact on ethno-demographic balance of population

Günter Schröder, who is a German researcher with extensive research on Eritrea in particular and in the Horn of Africa in general and this is his take on Eritrea's regime social engineering impact on ethno-demographic balance of population. This part of his engagement with EriMedrek. On this part he explains that the average population growth in the country was 12 % but the corresponding population growth in the Central Region was 20 % that shows more and more people have migrated to Asmara, but there has been a big original population loss in the Northern Red Sea Zone (NRZ), and Southern Red Sea Zone (SRZ) corresponding respectively to 30 % and 20 %. In case of NRZ the Tigrait speaking population has emigrated to Sudan and the Afar in the SRZ have emigrated to the Afar Region in Ethiopia. This population loss was compensated by the settlement of the Tigrinya speaking highlanders in those areas. The biggest population growth has been in Gash-Barka (36 %) mainly due to the government schemes of settling Tigrinya speaking highlanders in the region.

Watch the video here:

Friday, 9 August 2019

Asmara Pictorial Book 1890-1938 Print and ebook in Italian English Arabic Tigrinya


From 4 villages to a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site


 من ٤ قرى صغيرة لـ" قائمة التراث العالمى" لليونسكو


ካብ ኣርባዕተ ዓድታት ናብ ቦታ ቅርስታት ዓለም ባህልን ትምህርትን ውድብ ሕቡራት ሃገራት(UNESCO)

From 4 villages to a UNESCO World Heritage Site This is the first part of pictorial books about Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, covering the period 1890 -1938. On the 8th of July, 2017, Asmara was included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. UNESCO, described Asmara as a Modernist City of Africa and added, “Located at over 2,000 m above sea level, the capital of Eritrea developed from the 1890s onwards as a military outpost for the Italian colonial power. After 1935, Asmara underwent a large scale programme of construction applying the Italian rationalist idiom of the time to governmental edifices, residential and commercial buildings, churches, mosques, synagogues, cinemas, hotels, etc.” This pictorial book takes you through that journey on how Asmara developed from four villages to a modernist city, with explanatory captions in Italian, English Arabic and Tigrinya.

SBS Tigrinya interview with the authors:

"ኣስመራ፡ ካብ ኣርባዕተ ዓድታት ናብ ቦታ ቅርስታት ዓለም" ዕላል መጽሓፍ ምስ / መሓመድ፡ ኣቶ ነጋሽን ኣቶ ጀላልን

A summary of  book promotion with Asmara Shuker music:

The book is available at:

Characteristics of typical African elections

Characteristics of typical African elections:

- There is lack of transparency in the process of elections
- The incumbent President has a better chance of cheating
- The loser does not acknowledge defeat even if the country is on fire
- Some times one can never make it to the presidency if one has a smaller social base, as people are more liable to elect persons from their own social base, but for some the only goal in life is to be a president, all or none
- The opposition wants to rule, in the first free elections, instead of building up on their achievements and prepare for the next elections

Sunday, 4 August 2019



Märäb Mällaš is defi nitely the toponym which has enjoyed the greatest favour thanks also to the homonymous title of Perini’s book. However, the very adoption of those two toponyms speak volumes about dominant perceptions of land and polities. In fact both denominations and particularly Märäb Mällaš refl ects a geographical position which betrays the location of the observant and, therefore his/her perception of space and power relations from a perspective strongly infl uenced by the Ethiopian polity taken as a main reference and Təgrəñña and or Amharic languages as main medium of communication. I wonder if this representation of space and polities would equally satisfy an Afar, Təgre, Kunama, Nara or Beni Amer speaker. Would it accommodate his/her perception of spatial and political hierarchies? It seems to me that dominant narratives on Eritrea and on Eritrean-Ethiopian relations implicitly assume Eritrean Təgrəñña-speaking highlanders as their main object and by so doing tend to fall in the common mistake of confusing the part for the whole. Until now historiographic analyses of pre-colonial balances of power in the region have failed in taking into adequate consideration narratives from the Western lowlands and, to a certain extent, also those from the Eastern lowlands of what is today the State of Eritrea. They have remained marginal both in colonial and post-colonial literature. 

Within this perspective a fi rst crucial step to be taken in order to draft a fair and It seems to me that dominant narratives on Eritrea and on Eritrean-Ethiopian relations implicitly assume Eritrean Təgrəñña-speaking highlanders as their main object and by so doing tend to fall in the common mistake of confusing the part for the whole. Until now historiographic analyses of pre-colonial balances of power in the region have failed in taking into adequate consideration narratives from the Western lowlands and, to a certain extent, also those from the Eastern lowlands of what is today the State of Eritrea. They have remained marginal both in colonial and post-colonial literature.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Human Rights in Eritrea 1955

Human Rights in Eritrea 1955, Modern Law Review 1955 Vol 18, pp. 484-486, article by Clarence Smith

The idea of the citizen having any rights against the authorities being a startling innovation in Eritrea, resort to the Supreme Court in defence of constitutional rights has been rare, but five cases have arisen in the first two and a half years of self-government. The earliest case, decided in August, 1953, concerned the “right to freedom of opinion and expression,” a newspaper having been suppressed by the withdrawal of its licence to print just before the persons concerned had been acquitted of a criminal charge of seditious libel. Under an Italian law no one could print without a licence, and the court held that this provision was constitutional as a means of raising revenue and of keeping the authorities informed of the existence and locality of printing presses; but that it was unconstitutional as a means of controlling the press, and that the withdrawal of the licence for this purpose was therefore unlawful.

Thanks to Prof. Kjetil Tronvoll for making me aware of the article

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Jeberti Women Traders’Innumeracy

Jeberti Women Traders’InnumeracyIts Impact on Commercial Activity

in Eritrea, a 2009 artcle  by Abbebe Kifleyesus 

Throughout the last millennium the Muslim Jeberti traders of Eritrea played a critical role in linking the diverse reaches of the plateau districts of Hamasien, Seraye and Akkele Guzay (Zoba Debub in present day Eritrea) to carry their goods and, in the process, ideas and news from one region to another. As the Red Sea trade increased in volume and momentum in the late xviiith and xixth centuries, the Jeberti confronted commercial competition from coastal peoples. Yet the Jeberti who at present represent some seven percent of the Tigrigna population of Eritrea have as Muslims always felt a divine mandate to be merchants and have traditionally posited a high institutional affinity for commercial undertaking using folk systems of numbering as a means for achieving upward mobility, social respect and upholding family economic benefits.

Thanks to Jelal Yassin for sharing

Friday, 12 July 2019

Dr. Hashim A-Shami: On the Afar roots of martyr Abdulgader Mohamed Saleh Kebire

Dr. Hashim A-Shami: On the Afar roots of martyr Abdulgader Mohamed Saleh Kebire
I asked Dr. Hashim Jamal al-Din A-Shami (widely known as Hashim A-Shami *) about the links of late Eritrean politician, martyr Abdulgader Kebire to the Afar and he wrote this note hastily in Arabic and below is a translation of his note, in English. Any mistakes in translation, mine.

"The great and veteran politician, martyr Abdulgadir Mohamed Saleh Kebire, is of Afar-Jeberti origins[1] and was born on Dese island, which is part of the Afar region within the Buri Peninsula. His mother, Fatima Kebir was from the Dahimela tribe. His brother, Ibrahim, lived and was buried in the Qenfur area, near Dese island. Kebire married Zeinab Ishaq Adam from the tribe of Sheikh Adamtu (son of Sheikh Adem). The uncles of his wife are from the tribe of Qaas Sambo. One of Abdulgadir’s sisters, Aisha Kebri was married to Ibrahim from the tribe of Kifertu. His second sister, Madina was married to Rashid Abdu from the  'Ante li Sheikh Ali' tribe  It should be noted that his mother Fatima and his sisters, Aisha and Madina died in and were buried in the village of Adai le Dora Dese Peninsula.

There is no doubt that Mr. Abdulgadir Kebire also lived in among the Jeberti in Asmara where he practiced his political and daily life and had children from his Jeberti wife. The influence of the Jeberti community was very important in the formation of his personality, development and the special social status he achieved. It is worthy to note that the Afar, and the Jeberti in general and Argobba (Arab Jebey) had important historical relations in the Sultanate of IFAT. The Ifat Sultanate was dependent on the Emirate of Adal which was in part of the Afar region. The center of the Sultanate of IFAT was in the city of 'Dawe', which is currently part of the Afar region in Ethiopia. It was the hub and zone of influence of the Emirate of Bodaye. Amir Mohamed Bodaye had authority over the city of ‘Dawe’ in the 19th and 20th century and it was the core of his Dahimele tribe.

The jeberti are originally, from the land of IFAT. According to Ibn Saeed, who lived 1214 – 1287 AD, IFAT was also known as the land of the Jeberti (Jeberta)[2] and he stated, “It has a Muslim king and the inhabitants are Muslims from different ethnic groups and IFAT city lies on higher ground.”  

Even the historian, Al-Mughrizi pointed that the Welashma family that claims to be from Arabian roots from Al- Hijaz, had settled in the land of al-Jabr (Jeberta)[3].
The great Italian historian, E. Cerulli[4], obtained, during the occupation of Ethiopia by Italy, a document written in Arabic that clearly indicates that there was a Makhzoumi Sultanate in East of Shoa established in 283 according to the Hijra calender corresponding to 896/897 AD and it was destroyed due to internal conflicts and in addition to the invasion of Ali Ibn Waliasma in 1277 AD.

As is well-known to all, Beni Makhzoum is a very famous Mekka tribe, where the great Muslim military leader, Khalid Bin Al Waleed belonged to. The Beni Makhzoum were at odds with Beni Umiah. It is believed that an important part of this tribe migrated to Abyssinia during the Islamic rule of caliph Omar Bin Al Khattab. Thus, one can say, in brief, that the Jeberti are of Arab origin who lived in east Shoa, and especially around the IFAT. As has been stated above the Sultanate of IFAT, had different ethnic groups within it (Afar, Jeberti and Argobba).

In addition to that, the Jeberti had very important contributions to safeguard  Islam and to raise its status in Gondar, Tigray, Seraye and Hamassein (Asmara). Due to that, the name Jeberti became tied to Islam such that the Islamic institution, Al Azhar established centuries ago, a special gallery (learning unit) for students from Abyssinia, known as the Jeberta gallery (riwag al jeberta).

The Jeberti, particulary in Seraye and Asmara were dynamic and active in the commercial, cultural, scientific and political fields in Eritrea in the period from 1942 to 1952. They played also big role the preservation and practice of moderate Islam, which believes and calls for moderation and coexistence among the national components, Muslims and non-Muslims. The Grand mufti, Sheikh Ibrahim Mokhtar, a graduate of Al Azhar University, played also a big role in this regard with his reformist directives. In addition to that, the presence of families and members of the Jeberti community, such as the families of Aberra,  Hagos, and Khairallah and others played an important role, too. Among the individuals, to name a few were Berhanu Ahmeddin, the veteran and courageous politician, as well as the writer and intellectual, Mahmoud Noor Hussain.

Mahmoud may have been one of the most prominent intellectuals of his time. He was fluent in Italian, Arabic and English languages, and his books in Arabic history and language, including translations of some publications from English and Italian to Arabic and vice versa, was a great contribution. I thus urge for the works of Mahmoud Nour Hussein be published. Thus, the Jeberti activity was not limited to trade, as some components of Eritreans, fond of stereotypes want to portray them. This reflects their shallow understanding of the Jeberti. Some components do this to undermine or do injustice to others.

Abdulgadir Kebire was also married to a Yemeni woman and had children from her. Abdulgadir’s son, Saleh Abdulgadir kebire was an intellectual. He graduated from the American University in Beirut. He was aware of his Afar roots and had close and daily contacts with many of the Afar, while he was the Mayor of Massawa and during his long stay in Addis Ababa, where he practised as a lawyer and later became the Chair of the Ethiopian Lawyers’ Association. During his stay in Massawa and Asmara, he was in contact with his relatives in the Buri Peninsula, especially with his aunt Aisha, who used to visit the family of Abdulgadir Kebire in Asmara. Saleh Kebire died in March 2000 and was buried in Addis Ababa.

It is known that the leader Abdulgadir Kebire was a friend of several Afar dignitaries, including, among others, Sheikh Yassin Mahamodah Qahmed, Sheikh Musa Qaas Mohamed, Sheikh Jamal al-Din Ibrahim Khalil al-Shami, Sheikh Siraj Mohamed Kamel, Haj Mohamed Osman Houri and Sheikh Rashid Ismail Hamid Hassen. Sheikh Siraj Mohamed Kamel was one of the closest friends of Abdulgadir. When World War II broke out, Abdulgadir sent his elder son, Saleh, to Dahlak to study with the family of Sheikh Siraj Mohammed Kamel and under his supervision. Saleh returned to Asmara after the British occupation and the end of the war.

I would like to reiterate again about the importance of the Jebrti’s community in Asmara in the formation and development of the personality of the leader Abdulgadir. There is no doubt that Abdulgadir had all the characteristics of leadership, knowledge and a solid will. He was an intellectual who was loyal to his principles.

To sum up what is important is not a personal affiliation of an individual to a particular tribe or a social component, but what matters most is a person’s achievement to his country and endeavours to raise the value of humanity in general and efforts in achieving freedom and social justice.

On the other hand, it is very important, but not the most important for me (Hashim Jamal al-Din A-Shami) to answer the question by Dr. Mohamed Kheir Omer. It is the right of researchers and citizens to know the background of a public person, particularly about leaders and the people who left their distinguished marks on a particular region or country. “


Hashim Jamal al-Din A-Shami


*Hashim Gamaluddin Ibrahim Al-Shami, holds a doctorate degree in Economics from the University of University of Wisconsin - Madison, USA. He is interested in the history and studies of East Africa and Southern Arabian Peninsula. He is a co-author (the other author was his father, Sheikh Gamaluddin Ibrahim Al-Shami) of the book on the History of the Afar, in Arabic that was issued in 1991, and the second edition was published in 1996. The book is in about 750 pages. His father wrote 182 pages of the book.  The book was translated to Amharic, with additions to the Arabic version in 2007 with the title (ዓፋር (ደንከልታሪክና መረጃ አርክ ምንጭ). The book was recently translated to English.

1المنهل في تأريخ وأخبار العفر (الدناكل) : تأليف الشيخ جمال الدين الشامى ابن ابراهيم بن خليل الشامي وابنه  الدكتورهاشم جمال الدين الشامى, الصادر في عام 1996 ص297 

2إبن سعيد: من خلال كتاب أبو الفداء: السلطان اسماعيل بن علي بن جمال الدين صاحب حماة, المعروف بأبي الفداء " كتاب تقويم البلدان", طبع في باريس بدار الطباعة السلطانية في عام 1850م

[3] المغريزي: أحمد بن علي بن عبدالقادر بن محمد المغريزي " كتاب الألمام بأخبارمن تأريخ ارض الحبشة من ملوك الأسلام", مطبعة التأليف بمصر
4 E. Cerulli, Documenti Arabi per La Storia Dell' Etiopia, pp. 39-101, ATTi Della Reale Academia De Lince, Volume IV, 1931

Friday, 21 June 2019

A Preliminary Conservation and Development Scheme for Old Massawa: UNESCO 1998

A Preliminary Conservation and Development Scheme for Old Massawa (Eritrea's Oldest Living town) by Ann Pulver and Arnaud  Goujon, UNESCO 1998

According to the document, the town is situated on two coral islands, Massawa and Taulud. A detailed map of the town in 1885 records 5000 inhabitants, 216 masonry houses, 233 huts, 3 main mosques with minarates, 10 secondary mosques, and 22 Arab and European Cafes. In 1888 part of the town was destroyed by fire and on 14 August 1921 most of the town was destroyed by an earthquake.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

WHO was WHO in Eritrea 1952: A Bibliographical Dictionary

WHO was WHO in Eritrea 1952: A Bibliographical Dictionary, in Italian, written by Giuseppe Puglisi

A note on the book, in English, by Jonathan Miran:

Introduction by the author in Italian:


Part I:


Part II


Part III

Part IV: Missing so far

Land Reform Policies in Botswana, Eritrea, Zimbabwe

CHALLENGES IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF LAND REFORM POLICIES IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA. A Comparative Study of Botswana, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe, a 2012 M.A thesis by Samuel Opono , Linnaeus University, School of Social Sciences                                                                                 

Im/Mobility: Homeland, Identity and Well being Amongst the Beni-Amer in Eritrea-Sudan and Diaspora

Im/Mobility: Homeland, Identity and Well being Amongst the Beni-Amer in Eritrea-Sudan and Diaspora, a 2017 PhD Thesis at the University of Leicester, by Saeid Hmmed

إمكانية التنقل :الوطن والهوية والرفاهية  في أوساط البني عامر في إريتريا والسودان والشتات
رسالة دكتورة  بقلم سعيد همد 2017  

This thesis focuses on how mobility, identity, conceptions of homeland and wellbeing have been transformed across time and space amongst the Beni-Amer. Beni-Amer pastoralist societies inhabit western Eritrea and eastern Sudan; their livelihoods are intimately connected to livestock. Their cultural identities, norms and values, and their indigenous knowledge, have revolved around pastoralism. Since the 1950s the Beni-Amer have undergone rapid and profound socio-political and geographic change. In the 1950s the tribe left most of their ancestral homeland and migrated to Sudan; many now live in diasporas in Western and Middle Eastern countries. Their mobility, and conceptions of homeland, identity and wellbeing are complex, mutually constitutive and cannot be easily untangled. The presence or absence, alteration or limitation of one of these concepts affects the others. Qualitatively designed and thematically analysed, this study focuses on the multiple temporalities and spatialities of Beni-Amer societies.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Abubaker Ashekih, 'Sendelay' one of the great Eritrean arists who left his mark on Ethiopian Music

From Right to left Abubaker and his brothers Saleh and Osman

Gift of Incense, “Sendelay” as his grandmother used to call him in Tigrait,  is a book about the life and musical career of Abubaker Ashekih, one of the forgotten Eritrean artists who left big marks on the Ethiopian musical scene.  Some of those artists composed some of the best hits for Tilahun Gessese, Buzunesh Bekele and Mahmoud Ahmed. It was Abubaker who discovered the talent of Mahmoud Ahmed when he worked as a shoe-shine boy in front of one of the clubs where he performed and later introduced him to the Imperial Body Guard Band. According to the book, Abubaker composed more than 300 songs, including marches for the Imperial guard such as “Shegietou”- Sweet heart of my life.

His story is narrated by his American wife, Judith Ashekih as was told to her by her husband. The first time they met was at Saleh Hinit office, in Addis Ababa where she worked as a secretary. Saleh Hinit was the Minister of Post and Telecommunications in Ethiopia when the Derg took over in 1974. Abubaker’s first wife was Almaz from Asmara with whom he had several children. While in Asmara he performed at Odeon and Asmara theatres. Later with the formation of the ELF, life became difficult for the musicians as Ethiopia introduced censorship of songs. Abubaker moved to addis to pursue his music career. He performed with the Imperial body guard band not only in Addis but travelled with the band to Russia, China, and Japan accompanying the Emperor. Other Eritrean artists who also performed in Imperial Body Guard band included Girmay Solomon and Colonel Girmay Hadgu.

Abubaker was born and grew up in Keren. Since early age he was fascinated by music. The only thing he wanted in life was to be a musician. His family with roots in the nobility of Habab were against his love of music. As a person he was kind person who took care of his extended family, cared about his employees and customers who were drunk by the end of the night, a naughty boy adventurer who was eager to punish those who tried to abuse him, including teachers he did not like.  Keren boys and girls will be interested to learn about his adventures in Keren.

Through Abubaker’s narration we get a glimpse for the first time on how life was for the local citizens during the fierce, strategic battle of Keren that raged from February 3 to April 1941 between the British and the allied forces and the Italian colonial army. How the local population experienced that war, hiding from continuous air raids, taking refugee in the villages in the neighbourhoods, Italian soldiers desperate to escape to Asmara asking for civilian clothes and at times threatening to get food, the sight of corpuses that lied every where.

In Addis, Abubaker’s talent was discovered by Eritrean Colonel Girmay Hadgu who was a member of the Imperial Guard and who composed music. Girmay had served in the Ethiopian contingent in the Congo. He introduced him to General Mengistu Neway who was the Commander of the Ethiopian Imperial Guard, and Girmamye Neway who had returned from Jijiga and who was looking for individuals who played Arabic music. Both tested his musical abilities playing violin, mandolin, guitar and Oud. They were impressed with his skills and asked Colonel Girmai Hadgu, how much to pay him. Girmai suggested they pay him as much as his salary which was Birr 150/monthly and they did. According to Abubaker, Tilahun at that time was earning Birr 100.  Abubaker and family had to leave Addis to the USA after life became difficult after the take over of the Derg in July 1978. They sold ‘Venus Night Club’ before travel to the US. Through the book we get a glimpse of how difficult life was in Addis during the Red Terror period.

On his first day of the job as a civilian with the Ethiopian Imperial Guard, Abubaker composed the melody of his first hit, “My eyes always follow you”. I guess it was ‘Wub Ainama’ where the style and rhythm were quite new. It was sang by Tilahun. G. Mengistu Neway called him to his office and gave him a bottle of Wiskey and 80 Birr as a bonus, for that song. His other melodies include ‘Yefikir Shemani’ meaning ‘Weather of love’ sang by Buzunesh Bekele; ‘Hiwetye Anchi Bemohonesh’- you are my life by Tilahun Gessese. Other melodies include ‘Ingudaye Nesh’ – you are a fruit of my life by Tilahun; ‘Gara Ser New Betish by Teshome Metehu meaning ‘you live by the mountain’; Kefu Ayenkash’ – may nothing harm you by Tilahu; ‘Innatye nesh’ – you are my mother and many others.
The book is an interesting read in terms of the musical career of the artist, his contribution to Ethiopian music, and in shedding light on the developments in Eritrea in the early 1940s to the early sixties and on Ethiopia during Haile Sellasie rule and the early times of the Derg. The book can be purchased at:
Abubaker passed away in the USA on the 2nd of November 2000.

A book review by

Another Eritrean artist who left his march on Ethiopian music is artist    Girmai Solomon . Unfortunately the few things we know about him was in the interview he gave to Eri TV. Girmai passed away on the 3rd February 2019.
Thanks to Jelal Yassin for making me aware of the book

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

List of Government Officials in Eritrea 1965

List of Government Officials in Eritrea 1965
قائمة المسؤولين الحكوميين في إريتريا 1965

Thanks to Jelal Yassin for sharing

Sunday, 14 April 2019

On Abdulgadir Kebire and his links to the Afar and Jeberti

On Abdulgadir Kebire and his links to the Afar and Jeberti

خلفية الزعيم الشهيد عبدالقادر محمد صالح كبيري
سألت هاشم جمال الدين الشامي (ولمجرد العريف, السيد هاشم الشامي) * عن صلة الزعيم عبد القادر كبيرى بالعفر بقدر من الأيضاح, وكتب الشامي العجالة الأتية , وهاكم دون تعديل:

"المناضل الكبير والسياسى المخضرم الشهيد السيد/ عبدالقادر محمد صالح كبيرى, من أصول عفرىة-جبرتية1 وهو من مواليد جزيرة دسى والتى تعتبر جزء من المنطقة العفرية (دنكاليا) ضمن شبه جزيرة بورى , وامه فاطمة كَبِرْ من قبيلة داهيملى, واخوه ابراهيم, عاش وتوفى ودفن فى منطقة قنفورر قرب جزيرة دسى وتزوج من زينب اسحاق آدم من قبيلة شيخ أَدمتُو(بني شيخ آدم) وأخوالها من أفراد من قبيلة قعص سمبو وايضا اخته عائشة كبيرى تزوجها السيد/ ابراهيم من قبيلة على كيفرتو واخته الثانية مدينة كبيرى تزوجها السيد/ رشيد عبده  وهو من قبيلة ’انتى لى شيخ على’ . وينبغى الاشارة على ان امه فاطمة كبر واختيه مدينة وعائشة توفن ودفن فى قرية ’عدى لى درا , (Adai le Dora) فى شبه جزيرة  دسى.

 ولا شك ان السيد/  عبدالقادر كبيرى عاش ايضا فى وسط الجبرته المسلمون فى اسمرا حيث مارس حياته العملية والسياسية وانجب ابناءه من زوجته الجبرتية, وأثر مجتمع الجبرته هام جدا فى تكوين شخصيته وتنميته ووصوله الى المركز الاجتماعى المميز . علما بان العفر والجبرته بشكل عام وعُرُقبه (عرب جبَّى) لهم صلات تاريخية هامة فى سلطنة ايفات حيث كانت تعتمد سلطنة ايفات على امارة عدال العفرية , فيما سلطنة ايفات نفسها كانت فى مدينة ’دوى’ (Dawe ) وهى جزء من الاقليم العفرى الاثيوبى حاليا , مقر ومنطقة نفوذ امارة بودايى (Bodaye) كان الأميرمحمد بودّي له سلطة علي مدينة داوي في القرن التاسع عشر والقرن العشرين وهي مقر قبيلته (داهميلا).

وفي الأصل جبرتا  (Jaberta)من أرض اِفات. وحسب اِبن سعيد الذي عاش في الفترة 1214م – 1287م  اِن أرض اِفات IFAT  تسمي ايضا ارض الجبرته (جبرتا) " وفيها ملك مسلم وسكانها مسلمون" من اثنيات مختلطة ومدنية IFAT في مكان مرتفع. 2
وحتي الأمام المغريزي في كتابه أشار أن عائلة ولعشما, تدعي أنها من أصول عربية من الحجاز , أستوطنت أرض الجبر (جبرتا).3

وتحصل المؤرخ الأيطالي الكبير, المشهور ب E. Cerulli علي وثيقة مكتوبة باللفة العربية خلال احتلال أيطاليا لأثيوبيا, تظهر جليا, أنه كانت هناك سلطنة مخزومية في شرق شوا Shoa في أثيوبيا (الحبشة) في منطقة إيفات, وانها تأسست في عام 283 هجرية4, الموافق 896\897م,  وانه تم زوالها لأسباب تتعلق بالأخلافات والتناحر الداخلي بلأضافة الي غزوها من قبل ابن ولعشما WALASHMA وبالتحديد علي ابن ولعسما Ali Ibn Waliasma, في عام 1277م. وكما هو معلوم للجميع أن بني مخزوم هي قبيلة عربية مكية مشهورة جدا , وينحدر منها القائد العسكري الكبيرخالد بن الوليد, وكانو علي خلاف شديد مع بنو أمية, ويعتقد أن جزء هام من هذه القبيلة هاجر الي الحبشة, خلال فترة خلافة الصحابي عمر بن الخطاب, من هتا وبأقتضاب يمكن القول ان جبرتا (Jaberta) من أصول عربية قطنو في شرق شوا , Shoa وبالذات حول IFAT , في إطار سلطنة إيفات, التي كان تجمع أثنيات مختلفة (عَفَر, جبرتا, و عَرقوبا Argobba), كما سبق قوله وذالك مع أتصال مباشر مع العفر.

بالأضافة ان الجبرته كانت لهم  ِاسهامات هامة جداً في الحفاظ علي الأسلام وِاعلاء شئنه في كل من قندر وتقراي وسراي وحماسين (أسمرة) حتي ان اسم جبرته ارتبط بالأسلام الي درجة ان الأزهر الشريف انشأ منذ قرون رواق خاص بالوافدين من عموم الحبشة وبعض أقطار شرق أفريقيا يسمي ب "رواق الجبرته".
كان الوسط الجبرتي في سراي وأسمرا بالذات, يتسم بالحيوية والنشاط في المجالات التجارية والثقافية والعلمية والسياسية في الفترة 1942م – 1952م وكذالك الحفاظ وممارسة الأسلام المعتدل والذي يؤمن ويدعو الي الوسطية والتعايش بين المكونات الوطنية , مسلمين وغير المسلمين, وساهم في ذالك وجود الصرح الكبير والعلامة المفتي الشيخ ابراهيم مختار, خريج جامعة الأزهر الشريف في اسمرا بتوجيهاته الأصلاحية. وأيضا بوجود عائلات وأفراد جبرتية نشطة علي سبيل المثال لا الحصر: عائلة أبَرَة, عائلة حقوص, عائلة خيرالله. ومن الأفراد برهانوأحمد الدين, السياسي الشجاع والمقدام, وكذالك الكاتب والمثقف محمود نور حسين, الذي ربما كان في طليعة المثقفين لأتقانه اللغات الأيطالية والعربية والأنجليزية وكتباته في التأريخ واللغة العربية بما في ذالك الصرف وترجمة النشرات وبعض الدراسات من الأنجليزية و الأيطالية الي العربية والعكس. ولذا أرجو أن تنشر أعمال الأستاذ محمود نور حسين برهانو. اذًا النشاط الجبرتي قي أسمرا لم يكن محصورا فقط في نطاق التجارة كما يعتقد بعض أصحاب الصور النمطية لبعض مكونات الوطن, أي اصحاب الفهم الضحل للأمور و\او الذين يعتمدون ذالك المنهج عملا وظلما للأخرين.

 كما تزوج السيد/  عبدالقادر كبيرى سيدة يمنية وانجب منها ابناء , ومن المعلوم لدينا ان الحقوقى والمثقف ابنه صالح عبدالقادر كبيرى , خريج الجامعة الامريكية –بيروت – لبنان كان يعلم صلته العفرية وكان له اتصالا عملى ويومى وثيق مع الكثيرين من العفر اثناء وجوده فى مصوع كمدير لبلدية مصوع و/ او اثناء وجوده فى اديس ابابا لفترة طويلة حيث مارس المحاماة واصبح نقيب المحامين الاثيوبيين . وكان اثناء وجوده فى مصوع واسمرا على صلة باهله فى المنطقة العفرية فى شبه جزيرة بورى وخاصة عمته عائشة التى كانت تزور عائلة عبدالقادر كبيرى فى اسمرا وتوفي رحم الله في مارس عام 2000م ووري الثراء بأديس أبابا.
ومن المعلوم ان الزعيم عبدالقادر كبيرى كان صديق لشخصيات عفرية عدة منها , على سبيل المثال لا الحصر , الشيخ ياسين محمودا قمحد والشيخ موسى قعص محمد, والشيخ جمال الدين ابراهيم خليل الشامى , والشيخ سراج محمد كامل والحاج على محمد عثمان حورى والشيخ رشيد اسماعيل حامد حسن. ويعتبر الشيخ سراج محمد كامل من أقرب أصدقائه, حتي أنه عند قيام الحرب العالمية الثانية ارسل ابنه الكبير صالح عبدالقادر كبيري الي دهلك للدراسة مع أفراد عائلة الشيخ سراج محمد كامل وتحت اشرافه ورجع صالح الي أسمرا بعد احتلال بريطانيا لها وانتهاء الحرب.

ومن هنا اود التأكيد, حسب أعتقادي, مرة أخري علي أهمية الوسط والبئة الجبرتية في اسمرا في تكوين وتنمية شخصية الزعيم السيد |عبدالقادر محمد صالح كبيرى والذي لا شك وبالتأكيد – علي ما يبدو – أنه كان يمتلك قبل وبعد كل خصائص القيادة والمعرفة اللازمة والأرادة الصلبة ويتميز بذكاء عال وأخلاص لمبادئه وقضيته.
وخلاصة الأمر والغاية ليست الأهم علي الأطلاق عصبية الأنتماء للشخص (أي عدم أهمية الشخص أو القائد لقبيلة ما أو مكون ما من الوطن) بقدر ماهي انجازالأنسان والقائد للوطن تقديرا للمواطنة ولرفع شأن البشرية بشكل عام وتحقيق الحرية المسؤلة والعيش بكرامة وتحقيق العدالة الأجتماعية و|او رفع الغبن.
وبنفس القدر وبالمقابل أعتبر سؤل الدكتور محمد خير عمر الذي انا (هاشم جمال الدين الشامي) بصدد الأجابة عليه هام جدا ولو أنه ليس الأهم, اذ أنه من حق الباحثين والمواطنين معرفة خلفية الشخص العام وبعض المعلومات عن القادة والسا سة الذين تركو بسماتهم في مجري الأمور لوطن ما أو قطر أو مجتمع معين." أنتهي

هاشم جمال الدين الشامى
  *ملاحظة هاشم الشامي حاصل علي درجة دكتورة في الأقتصاد من جامعة  University of Wisconsin - Madison بالولايات المتحدة الأمريكية ويهتم بقرأة بتأريخ والدراسات لشرق افريقيا وجنوب الجزيرة العربية وهو مؤلف مشارك في كتاب "المنهل في تأريخ وأخبار العفر (الدناكل) اصدار 1991 ,أيضا 1996 تأليف الشيخ جمال الدين الشامى وابنه هاشم الشامى, الذي يبلغ عدد صفحاته حوالي750, كتب فيها والده 182 صفحة والبقية كتبها الأبن هاشم الشامي وتم ترجمة الكتاب عام 2007 الي اللغة الأمهرية (ዓፋር (ደንከል) ታሪክና መረጃ አርክ ምንጭ) مع اضافات فيما ورد بالنسخة العربية