NPR’s Racist Journalism Against Eritrea

Desperate minds normally get the attention of a desperate person.
Desperate minds normally gets the attention of a desperate person. Expecting results from a robot will definitely take their desperation higher

By Berhane Alazar,

As a regular tuner to NPR, on May 2, 2013 I heard a “report” on Eritrea by a certain Gregory Warner and I found his unsubstantiated report highly offensive and downright stupid. This also shows how low the NPR network has gone down in any integrity scale if it ever had one!

Notwithstanding his unconfirmed and highly exaggerated “Report” that NPR sadly found it to be newsworthy to broadcast Gregory Warner who has no clue of what Eritrea is all about. He clearly was spewing out a regurgitated long discarded stories that certain misguided elements have tried and failed to hoodwink public opinions against Eritrea.

Fairness in elementary broadcast dictates to give an equal opportunity for differing views before engaging in what amounts to uninformed stories. But to let a Gregory, who apparently does not know anything about Eritrea, demonize the government and people of Eritrea are nothing short of racist and irresponsible yellow journalism.

Unless Gregory has some ulterior motives and want to know what exactly is going on in Eritrea, he may have just burnt the only bridge he may have had.

How can Gregory expect or why would the Eritrean government allow you to waste their time when you are approaching them with your mind already adulterated by falsehood?


To start with, do you honestly believe that any useful or impartial “Facts” can be forthcoming by contacting individuals who may be fugitive from the law in the first place? People who have some axe to grind against the Eritrean government are unlikely to tell you that they were economic refugees – for they know “Political repression”, would be a better ticket to gain them acceptance by certain gullible governments abroad.

Nevertheless, notwithstanding any baggage of hearsays and innuendos concocted against Eritrea by certain quarters, then you would have found out for yourself that Eritrea has been hard at work to improve the lot of its people in spite of all the hurdles thrown at her.

Giving priority where priority is due, Eritrea continues to build basic infrastructures including transportation and communication systems, schools and medical facilities. The government has given a priority of priorities to the attainment of food security. To that effect, extensive agricultural plots have been prepared that are being fed by modern irrigation and water catchment schemes – including building some large dams and water reservoirs throughout the country. In an attempt to alleviate the hardship the long abused people of Eritrea suffered under various Ethiopian regimes, potable water supply and electrification projects have been underway throughout the country including some renewable wind and solar energies in the remote areas of the country.

Eritrea is one of handful developing countries that are expected to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals of 2015 before 2015!

Eritrea, not only believes in, but puts in practice the universal women suffrage by placing women on par with their male counterparts in every aspect of Eritrean life. It is not uncommon to see women in high government positions including cabinet ministries and state governorships. Eritrea is also on the record for making Female Genital Mutilation illegal irrespective of one’s cultural belief. Eritrea is a country where Christians and Moslems live side by side in harmony respecting and honoring each other’s faiths!

Are there problems in Eritrea? Of course there are. But in spite of the unjustified declared and undeclared sanctions that have been placed against her, she is on the economic launch pad. I am not saying this for the sake of saying. This is the facts on the ground that anyone can see for him/herself if genuinely interested. But that is neither here or there. The point is NPR loses any credibility it may have had by airing unverifiable one sided story. That is a sure bet of losing friends and supporters.


31 thoughts on “NPR’s Racist Journalism Against Eritrea

  1. With Robocalls, Eritrean Exiles Organize Passive Resistance
    by GREGORY WARNER
    May 02, 2013 2:09 PM
    https://www.npr.org/2013/05/02/180575706/with-robo

    Tucked in the northeast corner of Africa, Eritrea is one of the most closed societies in the world, so much so that it's sometimes dubbed the "North Korea of Africa."

    President Isaias Afwerki does not tolerate any independent media. The Internet is restricted. Reporters without Borders recently named it 179th out of 179 countries for freedom of expression.

    It's illegal to criticize the government — which could mean something as simple as complaining about the city power outage. Even gatherings of more than seven people might get you hauled into a police station.

    "Even asking a question like, 'Where is my father?' if your father is in jail," says Isayas Sium, an Eritrean-American software engineer in San Jose, Calif., who left the country in 1995. "These are the questions you cannot ask, let alone protest or criticize the regime."

    From his perch in California, Sium tries to stay politically connected to his country. He marches when there's a local demonstration, contributes to refugee causes and posts on Facebook.

    But there's always one thing missing. The people inside Eritrea don't dare to "like" his Facebook posts. And they never march in the streets themselves. For Eritrean activists living abroad, this silence can be frustrating.

    So Sium had an idea: If we can't ask them to come out, what if we ask them to stay home?

    An Act Of Defiance

    Eritreans typically hit the coffee shops and movie houses on Friday nights, so the idea was to use this as a passive resistance that hopefully could not be punished.

    The movement was dubbed Freedom Friday, or Arbi Harnet in the Tigrinya language that is widely spoke in Eritrea. Sium and other activists abroad then had to inform Eritreans in a country with no free media. So they smuggled out a phone book, organized volunteers on Facebook and started cold-calling the fatherland.

    "At first it was a strange thing," says London-based activist Selam Kidane, "for somebody that you don't know to phone you randomly and talk to you about things that are considered quite dangerous."

    Sium agrees.

    "The first question they ask is, where'd you get my number? Then we tell them, 'Oh, I don't know you, I got your number from the phone directory.' So some of them say, 'OK, thank you.' Some will just hang up after they hear our message," Sium says.

    Robocalls To Eritrea

    Encouraged by the response but frustrated by how few calls a couple of dozen volunteers could make on a Thursday night, they turned to a tool favored by telemarketers and loathed by dinner-eaters the world over. Freedom Friday got a robocall.

    After the taped message was sent to 10,000 Eritrean phones, Kidane says, she learned something about her countrymen. They're not as fearful as she thought they'd be. According to inside sources and recent refugees who've fled, she says, staying home on Friday nights is becoming kind of cool.

    "We thought that people would stay at home and not talk about it," Kidane says. "But it was seen as a fun thing, in the kind of jokey, young-people way that everybody was talking about it. Like, 'Oh, I didn't see you yesterday. … Did you stay home because it's Freedom Friday?' That sort of thing."

    It turned out that getting a phone call and staying home on date night are not things Eritreans worry about being punished for. But they became small acts of defiance.

    Most Eritrean analysts say Freedom Friday has no chance of overthrowing the government. Emilio Manfredi, a consultant with the International Crisis Group, says that if or when change comes to Eritrea, it's much more likely to be a coup or military overthrow — not a popular movement from a people paralyzed by fear.

    But Sium says the initial goal of Freedom Friday was never so grandiose as regime change. It was more of a cry into the void.

    "This is also to see, can people hear us? Can they see us? So that is the idea. It's just linking the diaspora movement with what is inside," he says.

    Some 95,000 phone calls later, a handful have actually called them back. They're saying they are ready to do more.

  2. Water of the duck's back!

    Do we Eritrean care who this individuals have to say? Nuh…. not an iota bit and not in a million years! Totally irrelevant! Thanks for showing an interest on our beloved Eritrea though. We appreciate the attention.

    Long live our Government. They are doing a super job.

    By the way does EriTel makes any money of this Robocalls. I very much hope so. hope so…. Keep on rolling the revenue baby!

    1. Dani boy.
      This Robocalls indeed will generate hard currency revenue. Here is how. There is a system called accounting rates that manages how countries share revenue from their international calls made between each other. Almost all the UN member countries are members of ITU (International Telecommunication Union) which manages this accounting rate system. Countries make deals with carriers of their choice. As far as I know Eritrea had agreements with AT&T for north America ,with British Telecom and an Italian carrier for Europe and with a Saudi carrier for middle east and far east. When a country makes more minute calls than it receives from a certain country it looses money to that country. How? If Eri makes 100 minutes calls and receives 1000 calls the first 100 minute calls will cancel each other and the 900 will be divided between them, So Eri will get 100 free calls and 450 multiplied per minute value which was agreed upon. If these dudes are making 10000 calls and each call by average has a duration of 5 minutes it is 50000 minutes every Friday. Nobody will believe Eei can make this much out going calls to much this incoming Freedom Friday!!! calls. The system does not differentiate between Robo and humane call.
      Aba tireg from MN

  3. I wouldn't give this so called journalist, an oxygen of publicity that way he would soon crawl to the nearest hole. Awed nhafash!

  4. A hollow foundation based on Lies where did get the information it to confirm “staying home on Friday nights is becoming kind of cool”
    These people predicted the street would be empty on Independence day, but the celebration get better and better every year.
    On their so called simulated online the people and the Government of Eritrea had kept their cool with business as usual.
    By the way regarding volunteers while at the camp of the Off-positions sides claim to have a couple of dozens they must understand they cannot compete with entire nation of Eritrea who is doing the people call rather silly people call!

  5. Have you noticed something cheap they say:- "They have smuggled a telephone directory" …… I am rolling on the floor ahahahaha …….

  6. The post attacks the article in broad terms but doesn't address the lack of freedom of expression mentioned in the NPR article.

    1. There is no Freedom of Expression for NPR, Selam Kidane and Gregory Warner. As for the Eritrean People we are expressing ናጽነት (Nasnete)!

  7. Have anybody know about interconnection fee?

    It’s like this. Whether it a robot or a dog who made a call from one provider to another, they pay Interconnection fee. The same way, when some one make an international call, let’s say, using an AT&T or MTN telephone network to EriTel (Eritrea), then at the end of every call, MTN or AT&T pays EriTel interconnection fee. The same with EriTel to those networks if someone calls from Eritrea to a subscriber of those providers. At the end of each budget year, telecom comanies offset what they owe one another and payment done in cold green cash.

    In this case, this robot is making EriTel richer by the day. Each Friday, EriTel is cashing in cold cash from surprisingly stupid human beings who have no qualm to tell proud and peaceful people to stay put to their homes even if they have something to do.

    Who do they think they are to tell me I should remain at home Friday or any other day for that matter? In fact, the more I heard about this stupid souls, the more I love my government.

    1. Maybe Eritrea should demand $1 Billion to be paid in 7 days after every robo call per robo call so those 5th columnist should do the maths $1 billion * 10000 robo calls.

    2. Well that is the basics of interconnect billing, but to make this work there first has to be some kind of "physical connect" where possible like adjacent operators or through other "middlemen" or signaltransfer points as it is called in telecom and lastly by use of satellite. EriTel uses the last i.e. satellite communication to connect to the rest of the world. This is not a cheap connection, depending on the type agreement with the satellite provider EriTel will have to pay for the use of the services, i.e. EriTel has to pay for the amount of time a call holds on to the bandwidth resources offered by the satellite.
      So as much as AT&T pays EriTel for terminating traffic, EriTel has to pay a lot to the satellite provider for use of their speech channels….. Again, it all depends on the type of agreement with the provider compared with the interconnect partner agreements, a poor agreement with the satellite provider will eventually make the satellite costs larger than the terminating profit from the robocalls.
      As an indication on how expensive satellite bandwidth connections are, EriTel has of 2012 only a 12MB link for the whole country!!!(maybe it has been increased lately…most people I know inthe west have at least 10MB to their homes, while the cell one 3G link are ca.1MB). In short I don't think EriTel is happy about the robocalls.. That is my guess.

      Conclusion: Unless you know the details of these agreements, you can't predict if it a profit let alone shouting eldorado!

      1. Do not worry about that brother. EriTel, as any other Teleco company is profitable. One thing you should know though: Not all network carriers have same charge to make calls let's say Eritrea. Some cheap and some expensive. What makes it cheap and expensive is, as you have put it, the kind of technology the other carrier apply to make the call.

        In any case, whoever made the call by using whatever tech it deploys, to get connected to the EriTel backbone, the servers must settle their cost analysis before they charge the caller. If the call ges through that means the caller has agreed to the rate of charges. If not the call won't get through.

        Now, 95,000 robo calls means ………………… do the maths. But definitely EriTel is making money. I'm glad about that.
        Hey, you know what? These god-for-saken souls are not going to keep up with their robot as I believe they haven't noticed how they enrich EriTel. Now they know about it means they are going to drop it. What a bunch of idiots!

        1. Sorry but I think you got it wrong here, in regards to the callers consent to the cost of the call it has nothing to do with EriTel profit or cost. If it originates in AT&T network, it is AT&T that is covering it's expenses for connecting to the gateway of EriTel, here the satellite, so at&t must make sure it's pricing reflects the cost. My point was what EriTel has to pay for the downlink terminating connection from the satellite, increased traffic here means increased cost for EriTel.

          Now what they can do to even this up is t make sure their terminating interconnect agreement with, say AT&T takes this increased traffic into consideration, meaning they have to update the agreement if possible.

          EriTel is profitable due to the local market, that is for sure, specially since they have no competition!

  8. May 24 falls on Friday. We will flood the streets from morning to morning. Whether robot called or not, we are on the streets to celebrate and pledge to defeat these poor lost souls.

    1. ተኣወት ተኣወት Hadish88 they will be embarrassed on May 24 while we celebrate all over Eritrea and the world. The few who are on the wrong side of the fence; They will join us when they know their prediction is not working. May God forgive for the crime they are doing and we shall try to educate them.

      ዓወት ንሓፋሽ !

  9. Do we really care about this individual dreamers? Defiantly no, it is so funny to read about your imagination what is like Friday&Robocall or Monkey call whatever you name it, it is laughable.Please don't undermine our people intelligence.This self appointed WEKARYA ( fox) only represent them self as much as serving they Master WOYANE.

  10. Hahahahahaha…sorry I'm laughing because Berhane Alazar said that he still listens to NPR. Those so called progressive groups from NPR to (non)Democracy Now! have all but shown their true colors as far as I'm concerned. As obummer treds a path of destruction worse than any of his predecessors could have attempted, these 'humanitarian' groups have done their duties of playing the cheerleaders of an empire that has gone mad.

  11. eye enda PFDJ tigebru…. 22 years talking about infrastructures!!! Building houses and roads are the mandate of a govt should do with out using slavery to built them. We value human infrastructure more while you value houses more…. That is the difference between those with senses who are asking for change and those blind supporters.

  12. I do love to see offhand goons cry like this. Thank you NPR for the Easter present . Selam and Isaias, you are our heroes. Keep exposing the government. Another sanction is on its way.

  13. Eritrea is doing miracles in spite of. I believe the country is blessed to have such hard working people and selfless leadership and Isaias Afwerqi is the nightmare of the naysayers within and without!

      1. Daniel_zero, You mean the ANTI Hagerey list, you should know people like you who don't stand shoulder to shoulder by our people in their darkest time are the traitos and will have to answer when the right time comes. Bijeka ni wilkekha, nay kalii hilina zeybilka seb kem zikonka riina alena.

  14. NPR is a tool of a Secret agent, We know that. Please we Eritreans are aware of what is going on. Just give us some time we will surprise the whole world, We are on progress.

    The most high intended for Eritrea to be successful and prosperous. say no more.

    Nine in one.

  15. To TesfaNews Admin:

    Some of our neighbours from the south of the border have managed to present themselves as Eritreans in this comments section. That Shouldnt be allowed. "Eritrea 100%" more like tigray 100% should be banned i have said this many times but tesfanews you just dont listen, others on that list is Samson, "Gual Eri" aka gual woyane, "Fev" "Concerned Eritreans" woyane agent"Tag".

    Tesfa news what the point of sharing the article from meskerm about agents of woyane then allowing them to make comments on the website ???

    Another things that needs to done is that you need block there ability to comment back. I have said this many times.

    We talk they listen that should be the moto, of this website. They can feel equality to us. Thats a error that needs remedy this can be done by blocking comments are editing thier comments throughly. Also you if warned them to behave then you need expose them in other name and shame them.

    One more thing i dont wont anybody to respond to my comments accept the admin. You need to block comments reply to Anti Eritrea enemies but that privaliage should be allowed for pro Eritrea folks like me and you others accept the "People" that i mentioned above, in some people who call our communities terrorist supporter must be removed from this website.

  16. Eritrea 000 percent What are you trying to say? We know that you are fully TEGERAWAY (woyane) You can't convince no body. Gda Eritrea ELKA SEMNA AYTERKSELNA (REKUS) AGAME!

Comments are closed.