Silencing Eritrea …

As in the past, any attempt silencing Eritrea will fail
As in the past, any attempt to silence Eritrea will fail, and Eritrea’s voice will resonate even louder, as no one can muzzle the voice of truth and justice forever.

BY SOPHIA TESFAMARIAM | SHABAIT

The late Samuel Mahaffy once wrote that “the effort to invisibilise countries like Eritrea grows from an international strategy to main power and control over others. It perpetuates hegemonic discourse, which is of course is not really discourse at all”.

He lived long enough to see the misrepresentation of Eritrea. Historian Michel Rolph Trouillot in his book “Silencing the Past” writes about how narratives are created and how entire histories of peoples can be distorted. He said “the production of historical narratives involves the uneven contribution of competing groups and individuals who have unequal access to the means for such production”.



Nowhere is this more apparent than in the prevailing narratives on Eritrea. The pain and suffering during the armed struggle for independence, and the assaults on Eritrea’s sovereignty and territorial integrity were not just a result of Ethiopia’s barbaric acts, but because of the international community’s deliberate silencing of Eritrea.

The liberation struggle was silenced. No outsiders were to tell about the gallant people and their plight under Ethiopian occupation. Eritrea was not to be mentioned in the mainstream media, who, unlike today with the internet, had a monopoly on information and news. And if there was any mention, the stories had to defend Ethiopia’s right to “squelch the insurgency”, its fight against “the rebellion in its northern most region”, while Eritrea’s brave freedom fighters were labelled insurgents, rebels, secessionists, etc. and not as they were – the liberators… beloved sons and daughters, who had won the hearts and minds of their own people, and garnered their shield and support. The Eritreans were silenced…

Established in the 1890s, long before the Ethiopia known today was constituted in 1907, Eritrea was labeled a “transitional area” and Eritrea’s history was dubbed “tendentious mythology” by the likes of Paul Henze, and other Ethiophyles that contributed to the silencing of Eritrea for over five decades.

When the powers of the day colluded to “federate” Eritrea with Ethiopia, the voices of the Eritrean people and their representatives were silenced. When the Federation Act was violated by Ethiopia and Eritrea was annexed, the United Nations and those that brokered the Federation Resolution remained silent. The silencing of Eritrea was in full force and continued throughout the armed struggle for independence.

Post-independence Eritrea was not immune to the silencing. From barring Eritrea from participating in international forums to being accused of creating an “Eritrean narrative of Ethiopian aggression and international conspiracy”, the attempts to silence Eritrea took many forms. Eritrean citizens were labeled “PFDJ loyalists”, “close to the regime”, “supporters of the regime” etc… in order to undermine their voices, prevent them from being heard. Eritrea’s leadership were also silenced, prevented from sharing their vast experiences. Suffice it to mention a few examples:

Ethiopia and the US-led international community, have in the past prevented Eritrea from participating in international conferences, meetings, military and counter-terrorism campaigns etc. US officials used demarches to call on Europeans and others to “dis-invite” Eritrea and also took every opportunity in their visits to the region to malign Eritrea and discourage engagement with Eritrea.

Eritrea offered its views on Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen, Syria and others, but the US led international community chose to ignore Eritrea’s positions and in the case of Somalia, even sanctioned Eritrea for not joining the fray. Suffice it to mention examples of how the US-led international community and Ethiopia worked to isolate Eritrea:

A 20 August 2009 cable,

  1. “Demarche: Egypt Invitation to Eritrea for Bright Star”, authored by AF Phillip Carter is clear of its intentions. The Department was requesting assistance from the US Embassy in Cairo to convince the Government of Egypt NOT to invite the Government of the State of Eritrea (GSE) as an observer to the BRIGHT STAR military exercise. The State Department cable said:

    “…Embassy Cairo is requested to communicate with Egypt’s Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the highest appropriate level to urge Egypt to remove Eritrea from th elist of invited observers to the BRIGHT STAR military exercise. Due to the time sensitive nature of DOD preparations for the exercise, immediate action is appreciated…The U.S. has strong objections to inviting Eritrea to participate in the BRIGHT STAR exercise as an observer…”

  2. US position on Eritrea is clearly spelled out in the 2 December 2009 cable, “Response: Pres. Kikwete Tells Rep. Payne That Tanzania & Turkey Will Co-host Somali Talks”. The US State Department had received information that the Government of Tanzania (GOT) had expressed interest in partnering with Turkey to bring the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Somali opposition factions together for talks. Once again, the US prevented Eritrea’s to participation saying:

    “…We are specifically concerned about the suggestion that Eritrea would be invited to the table. There have been similar proposals from Qatar and Egypt…”

Alas…Eritrea’s invaluable insights and opportunity to learn from an astute and mature leadership with deep knowledge of the region and its dynamics were squandered…

Eritrea and her people have indeed seen how narratives on Eritrea were used to silence Eritrea. The well-financed campaign by states and non-state actors, the mainstream media, a variety of NGOs and individuals produced volumes, by way of articles, reports, “research”, books, videos etc. to malign and undermine the young nation, its leadership and people.

Those who set out to silence Eritrea used distortions and even outright lies and fabrications to create the prevailing narrative on Eritrea. The vocal minority enjoyed unfettered access and forum to spew and litter academic institutions, think tanks, media and halls of government with carefully crafted narratives that sought to silence Eritrea.

The attempts to invisibilize and silence Eritrea’s hardworking men increased during the Barack Obama Administration. Just a year into his presidency, in 2009, the Obama Administration, through Susan E. Rice, then US Ambassador to the United Nations, using the minority regime in Ethiopia, engineered a sanctions regime based on fabrications and lies about Eritrea’s role in Somalia.

Today, seven years later, despite reports by the Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) that clearly state it had found no evidence to support the allegations of Eritrea’s support for Al Shabbab, the sanctions continue.

To add insult to injury, the US also adopted new sanctions against Eritrea recently, once again, based on Ethiopia’s lies and fabrications. The sanctions were instituted to silence Eritrea. To give reprieve to the minority regime in Ethiopia and divert attention away from its lawless and belligerent behavior in Somalia.

Eritrea’s enemies went to great lengths to silence the young nation and its people. The 15 year long campaign culminated in the charade at the UN Human Rights Council, where once again, the United States and Ethiopia colluded to appoint a Special Rapporteur and then a Commission of Inquiry.

Despite the outrageous allegations and assault on Eritrea’s rich cultures and traditions found in the voluminous reports prepared by individuals and groups financed by US and European agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the George Soros Open Society, there was NEVER any verifiable evidence produced to support the preposterous accusations.

Although the Commission of Inquiry was disbanded and its recommendations rejected, the scars remain – the silencing continues. Ethiopia, its handlers and surrogates continue to use the discredited reports to malign and silence Eritrea.



The attempts to silence Eritrea have now moved to Eritrean Communities in the Diaspora. Groups and individuals emboldened by the anti-Eritrea rhetoric in the media and in halls of government are now resorting to harassment, intimidation and even violence to advance their political agendas.

Today, emboldened by the diplomatic, political and military support and shield provided by its patrons, the minority regime in Ethiopia and its surrogates in the Eritrean Quislings League have directed their ire against the vast Eritrean Diaspora.

Over the years they have disrupted Diaspora gatherings, attacked festival goers, burned down Eritrean community Centers, vandalized property belonging to Eritreans, lied to the FBI and other law enforcement about the activities of Eritrean Communities, accused them of being “terrorists”, occupied and vandalized Eritrean Embassies and more.

Most recently in Holland, Miriam Van Reisen, a Dutch academic, led an aggressive and violent campaign to silence Eritrean youth from the Diaspora who were in Holland for the 13th Annual Young Peoples’ Front for Democracy and Justice (Y-PFDJ) conference.

Determined to stop the Conference from taking place, the Dutch academic and her surrogates conducted and aggressive campaign through social media and the Dutch media and it culminated in the violent protests she helped organize and lead. Van Reisen and her ilk had no qualms about fueling xenophobia and racism in Dutch society, or of using fratricide to advance their warped political agendas.

The rights of Eritrean youth from across Europe and the United States were violated. While the UN called for respect for “Freedom of Expression” and “Freedom of Association”-those rights were denied to law abiding citizens of Eritrean origin.

In hindsight, it is apparent that the silencing of Eritrea began right after independence and although the forces at play were exposed over time, unfortunately, the narratives on Eritrea have tarnished Eritrea’s reputation and emboldened her enemies.

The minority regime in Ethiopia continues to occupy sovereign Eritrean territories in violation of international law and the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commissions final and binding delimitation and demarcation decisions. It’s attempts to misrepresent the EEBC’s decisions and bombastic saberrattling continues.

The eight month long State of Emergency Decree instituted to squelch the popular protests across the country and the drought and famine stalking Ethiopia are a recipe for disaster and are a serious threat to the peace, stability and security of the Horn region.

In a few weeks, the people of Eritrea will be celebrating Eritrea’s 26th Independence Anniversary and true to form, the annual anti-Eritrea campaigns will saturate cyberspace the silencing zone. As in the past, these attempts to silence Eritrea will fail, and Eritrea’s voice will resonate even louder, as no one can muzzle the voice of truth and justice forever …

41 thoughts on “Silencing Eritrea …

  1. Why not make a case for your right to supportthe dying regime without distorting history or mentioning Ethiopia? Case one, “Established in 1890’s was Eritrea but Ethiopia was in 1907? The only problem, battle of Adwa was in 1896 when we became once again, the black face of independence in a white world. To give credit, your great grandfathers were in Adwa with their comrades from South, West, East Ethiopia coming up with a strategy to defeat them. The slaves left in Eritrea back in those days couldn’t even read much less decide the fate of our cousins. The same goes for what just happened in Holland, you can’t put 16,17 year olds born in the West by labeling them as “Eritrean youths”. They are born into a family of Eritreans who happens to be supporters of that evil. The real youth are back home with their proud culture waiting and praying for Ethiopia to end no war no peace. when chance presents itself, they are crossing that border but you know what they say, the villain plays victim so well.

    1. Ata defar Agame. You have been one brazen Agame lately. How dare you disrespect Sophia and Eritreans like that? TN, please block this brazen Agame’s IP address. Defar Agame.

    2. Time will tell ata qondaf agame, you’ll see selam zellata deqas ketdeqesa merietna hezken malet..b leyti mebhrar malet iyu..while as are get used to be unjustly criminalized, sanctioned, silenced, betrayed (kemzi kemaqum hezbi bzey identity, qondafat, lementi), and win finally, our history is evidence, no matter how much time..qezab

    3. Ayte Ugumey
      Since when have you been Ethiopian desperado? the time of acting as Ethiopian and Tigrian when ever it is convenient is effectively over, the only choice you are left with is to face reality as it is. The moribund gathering reigning Ethiopia is coming to its end station, while at the same time the real Ethiopians are getting ready to shoulder that responsibility, so the region may get the peace that was absent due to the hate mongering and erratic nature of the small clique of yours.

  2. Thanks to Our ambassadors (Sophy sister) who write and tell the facts, the distortion we leave it to the puppets, we know the reality and we’ll fight still. Allena kem qedem.

    1. I would love to see this ( Balance) wretched Weyane agent blocked since he like his
      vile cohorts are here to vilify demonize and belittle every thing
      Eritrean. He and his comrades in crime are churning hate and browbeating
      in our different forums on a mission, no to argue and engage in a sober
      and civilized discourse, but to spread fake and unsubstantiated
      innuendos about Eritrea, at the same time acting primarily as a
      mouthpiece of the antiquated clique in extending is propaganda.

      1. The title clearly states, Silencing Eritrea and made a case by mixing wrong history, how Ethiopia is evil etc.. I simply tried to correct the facts by offering a rebuttal, why not do the same instead of how to silence those who dare to stand for their side, opposition or Ethiopians for that matter. Plus, I didn’t belittle anything Eritrean, just shabo and that’s a big difference.

        1. “Amed kediquat min yisckal?”. TPLF and EPLF are not that different when it comes to governance. They both do not honor peoples rights.

        2. Ayte famine
          No one is interested about your childish comments, you tried your level best in belittling Eritrean values are symptomatic of MLLT diehards. You as un welcome guest are blemishing this respectable Eritrean forum with your hate mongering at the same time promoting the war and hate agenda of the antiquated clique clinging onto power until the legitimate owners of the Palace reclaim what is theirs. Until then feed your unfortunate and hungry subjects who are languishing under the brute reign of MLLT.

  3. You can cry all your life, but you should realize that you can’t win the great tiger Tigray people. If you don’t behave the worst will follow. You are bound lose your funny freedom!!. We are not interested in your blood sucker people or barren land, but we will take our historic Adolis

    1. Did you have your 3 means as your mentor promised? You seem out of it. It’s important to get all your nutrients you know.

  4. She is one of those who have been enjoying western life but afraid to stand by the Eritreans who have been suffering in their own land. In every article she wrote moaning about the history that was barbaric … since we have a barbaric government settled in power who hates his own people she could’ve been a voice to voiceless people who are in the hands her MASTER & barbaric regime. I know she does this for living but what about morality? At least being a human should’ve been enough to feel the pain of the people, the fate of our country which is a paramount.
    She keep discoursing at a great length on Ethiopian problem but by all means this would not eliminate the hanger, torture, human exodus the country and the untold devil act of Shaebia. As she said Shaebia will celebrate the 26th Anv. nevertheless counting a number year in year out with out tangible political, economical and social benefit would only prolong and deteriorating Eritreans problems – for that matter she and the likes of her act as a catalyst for the regime to nefariously stay in power.

    1. HI
      What do you do for living? and why don´t write and argue by your self if you have an issue why do you others do the job for you?

      1. Dear Sofia,
        You article is true but is history. We need our government to take baby steps towards governance. The problem of Eritrea at the present is governance. External enemies were there and will be there for many years to come. Please write about the burning issues, we should not help enemies of Eritrea by dwelling on our pain. We are talking and complaining but young people are fleeing the country in drones. We can’t ignore that fact. We should work to stop it while we are fighting our enemies. Don’t write for the sake of writing, Eritrea liberation did not come by words but by concrete action

        1. So you agame boy,why don’t you tell us the solution how to stop the migration instead of ur agame crocodile tears.
          I know million% that you are happy to smuggle Eritrean children, who have nothing to do with politics nor with sawa to your dingay tigray to beg the world on thier names.

          1. What the weyane’s policy, when see things like this, you get scared that tension among different peoples in Ethiopia is growing, while all the world watch..hope God will remove this unpopular minor junta so that People in Ethiopia could live in love together. Else is a crocodile tear to say tomorrow we could have avoid when unpredictable thing happen.

          2. We will squash these mercenaries & messenger of Egypt and Arabs. First thing is first, we won’t turn our face to the Gojames & Gonderes before we annihilate shabia. The Gonderes & Gojames are cornered. They won’t go anywhere. All in good time!!

        2. Tigray boy don’t you have enough to worry about in your Agame kilil without commenting on Eritrea? Worry about your little sh*t-hole Tigray.

  5. Thank you Ambassador Sohpi.always you speak truth story base in the fact.I love your artical .keep up the great job.

  6. Traitors Acting like oposition · Edit

    Sophi Sisters & Eritrean Ambassador allways demolish Eritrea’s Enemy’s only with her pen writing the Truth ????

  7. On the contrary sophia, isn’t it the regime that’s silencing anyone back in Eritrea that dares to speak against the crimes it committed? Isn’t the regime the one that has imprisoned dozens of journalists, generals, and even former cabinet ministers just because they warned that one man tyranny would lead to isolation and more violations of the basic rights of our citizens? Where is your concern about the rights of former ministers Petros Solomon, Haile Woldetensae and Brigadier-General Oqbe Abraha? Their voices were silenced and their rights abused for over 15 years and counting. Would sophia care to stand up for their rights?

    1. Those former heroes have a case to answer and they are in prison not because they ask for democracy. May be that is what you would like to believe. Neither you nor I have ample information for their cause of detention for this long but if one is accused of treason, for conspiring to to bring down the government (mutiny) at a time of war, a time thousands of Eritrean youth are sacrificing their lives to defend the sovereignty of the country, these good for nothing was conniving with western intelligence against and the TPLF regime on how to bring down the president. I am glad PFDJ took the right measure at the right time. I wish President Salva Kiir took the same action and put Machar in prison, he may not see calamity and disaster that he and his people are suffering right now. In a nut shell, even if it looks bad and distasteful to put former heroes in prison for so long, I believe it was the right decision and I applaud PFDJ for that. Thanks to that we are now keeping our unity and peace despite insurmountable external challenges.

      So I am not going to hold the entire Eritrea back for the sake of a handful criminals or not. What is detaining 15 or so government officials compared to the peace and territorial integrity of the entire nation? Since you lack some information, I advise you to read Dan Connell’s memoir about Haile Weldetinsae and Retros Solomon. If you think these group have the slightest intention to the stability of Eritrea, then read what their mentor Dan Conel wrote about their conversation. I believe some people have translated and must be available on the internet. Now buzz off, we have a bigger fish to fry. We the entire Eritrean people and the country at large to care for not a handful of back stabbers. Adios.

      1. If you admit that you don’t have ‘ample information’ for their cause of detention, then how can you believe the accusation of treason? These men sacrificed dozens of years in the independence war. People like General Oqbe played a key role in the defeat of the Dergue terror regime. How can you make an unproven allegation of treason? So far, no information has been released regarding their so-called crimes.
        Is criticizing the president for life treason? Is criticizing the annulment of the constitution treason? Is criticizing the closing down of countless newspapers treason? It seems that you are backstabbing the rights of Eritreans to criticize their governments policies. And its not just the 15 you are referring to. Think about people that were arrested after September 2001. People like Habtezion Hadgu (former commander of the Eritrean Air Force). This patriot was arrested twice and hasn’t been heard of since. That is what Eritrea has become. A giant prison for those who dare to speak ill of the tyrannical regime’s policies.

        1. I am not hear to argue if the government of President Isaias is nice and democratic. Not at all. Like any African country, Eritrea has with faults of its own but can not be considered as worse as Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt or most of the countries in the region. Non-Eritreans may buy your narrative because that what they used to listen about the country they know nothing. But for us the Eritreans, you can not sell that crap.

          You are nothing but a liar. First of we know no one arrested for criticizing the government for closing down the newspapers. Mention names if you are not lying.

          Second it’s extremely unlikely for one to get arrested in Eritrea unless committing a crime. You must be at fault one way are another to get what you deserve. Habtezion Hadgu has his own faults too. Starting the bombing of Mekelle, as we heard, he took responsibility with out any approval from Sibhat or Isaias. He returned safe with his boys while destroying weyane’s half airforce capability. That was commended but his big headed approach was at odds with his bosses. He also made blunder in the death of the two air force pilots and the loss of two fighter jets during the war. The decision he took is to blame for the lose. The other pilot who was ordered to give cover (his name was Dejen) also arrested as soon as he landed for failures. If you think Habtezion is a patriot and can get away with his mistakes, you are mistaken.
          Te same is true about General Okbe or Petros Solomon or bla bla bla. Shit happens and they are serving their crimes. No one will allow to roll back our hard earned independence because the misgivings that happened to a handful of former heroes. As I said we are looking at the bigger picture. we are looking at Eritrea and its six million inhabitants. We are looking at the wellbeing of this millions, not the handful former heroes.

          The bottom line is, I’m not nad the eritrean people is not, ready to call sanction or invasion or violence up on my millions of eritrean people who live peacefully inside the country because I am not happy how this government threats the 15 or 30 former heroes. Are you fucken nuts or something?????

        2. The same points you’re talking about, we witness them in Venezuela today, and in so many other countries who been target of infiltration and finally create a division among a sovereign Nations and dismantle a whole system to put a puppet finally to the benefit of CORPORATIONS and not the benefit of people. If you have time read true history how Yugoslavia and comrade Chavez’s Venezuela was challenged at time to understand what happened to Eritrea, ref..
          https://www.michelcollon.info/boutique/fr/home/8-les-7-peches-d-hugo-chavez.html
          https://www.michelcollon.info/boutique/fr/home/55-la-bataille-des-idees.html

      2. Thanks wedi Zemoy. Very well said. I think what I have replied to a certain hater earlier on another thread may be fitting to this another ungrateful hater in the name of Haile.
        ——————
        I don’t give a rat azz about this Bitweded or any, if you ask me. Enough with this hypocrisy. He was a fighter and a war hero like any other Tegadalay who played his part for the liberation of Eritrea. That’s is just fine. It happens that he crossed some red and blue lines [state secret and no one fully knows why] and thrown in to the dungeon. Too bad but so what?!

        What was his crime to deserve a life imprisonment? It must be a very serious crime, a crime that may put (or already putted) the lives of many Eritreans or even the country itself into a great danger. We are talking about one person putting the lives of many innocent Eritreans here.

        If that was the case, I’m sorry but I have no sympathy towards him or anyone accused of the same. If that was not the case, I am really sorry and the person who played on their lives (be it PIA) should be held accountable “in due time”.

        But at this time of age, my heart is with those who are taking the full responsibility of defending and building Eritrea as we speak, at a very demanding and challenging time. I and many of the Eritrean mass are working day and night to celebrate their achievements and success while at the same time fighting their (our) sworn enemy – the TPLF, including some of the wedo geba sympathizers like you.

        So please save your crap for some other time.

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