BREAKING NEWS: PIA Joins Opposition

Anyone listening to PIA’s latest interview without knowing it was PIA giving interview would be forgiven for thinking that it was one of the opposition leaders talking.  I guess the way you talk (address issues) depends which side of the food chain you are.



Or adopting this to PIA’s situation, this is PIA’s food chain

                                                        The Prey (PIA the Opposition)             

                                                                                  The Predator (PIA the Hostage Taker)           

For those who want to examine a more elaborate food chain,

Let us now turn to PIA talking like Eritrean opposition,

  • PIA said that one can’t call opposition as ‘troublemakers’ or ‘shiberawiyan’ or ‘woyane’ because one is defending and protecting one’s interest,
  • PIA said that one has a duty to defend one’s national interest [formulated based on transparent, accountable and collective decision making],
  • PIA said that just because there is a powerful force [with a gun] it doesn’t mean that one must leave once home open to be ‘giffa’ or ‘robbed’.  Of course the thief who jumped over your fence and robbed you will be happy for not resisting him but you will become his slave [‘kedemti’]
  • PIA characterized anyone that willingly submits to abuse, i.e. the ‘yes men’ and cheerleaders, as ‘Kedemti’.  We can’t agree more!  ‘Kedemti’ serve the powerful because they don’t have confidence in themselves.  As PIA said, they sell their people’s interest for their own personal benefits and glories.  Good for you, PIA the Prey!
  • PIA said that his media engaging in harsh criticism of the American administration is helpful for America.  PIA said that he would be doing disservice to America to simply applaud when they are making mistakes.  PIA is agreeing with the Eritrean opposition criticism of his brutal leadership as helpful for Eritrea.  I am getting tired of agreeing with PIA,
  • PIA said it isn’t just a wishful thinking but in reality that one can tell where a nation is headed by examining its current policies.  That is exactly what the opposition is saying as to where Eritrea is headed.
  • PIA said that when one couldn’t fool ordinary people, one is forced into scaring the people [referring to threat of putting Eritrea on a blacklist].  PIA tells us that is exactly what PFDJ has been doing for the last decade.
  • PIA told us that the Americans are intolerant when one disagrees with their views.  The Americans only want to tell you what you have to do.  I guess intolerance applies only to foreigners. 
  • PIA told us to exercise our freedom here in the West, the very rights alienated from ordinary citizens in Eritrea, to petition American government against the prospect of being blacklisted.  Interesting!


So the ‘Predator PIA’ tells his preys (Aster and Senait) that he is forced to feed on them to grow stronger and bigger to counter an even bigger fish trying to feed on him.  What should the preys do?  What would one do as a prey?

Every prey must do everything it can to survive.  It should develop its own defense mechanisms – blending with the environment, being the fastest, being poisonous and any other means to survive.  It is unnatural for a prey to submit to its predator.  

Next question, is there any difference between an internal predator and external predator in the food chain?  Or to put it differently, should a prey make a distinction between its internal and external predators?  Or is a predator, a predator regardless? 

Used Car Salesman

The most successful car salesmen are those who can describe a lemon car as if it was some super car.  That beat up Chrysler K-Car is described as a Ferrari roaring down Autobahn.  When a used car salesman is describing a lemon car to a prospective buyer, the used car salesman must first lie to himself by conjuring up images of his ideal car or that beautiful car that he test drove or saw the other day.  The used car salesman then only needs to describe the beautiful car he is imagining.  If the salesman can’t disconnect himself from his lemon car, he would begin to stutter, sweat or fumble giving bad impression to the prospective buyer. 

The problem for the prospective buyer is if he falls for the salesman’s description of an imagined car.  The gullible car buyer will drive away with his new and all cash paid ‘ferrari’ only to find out around the corner that he needs to call a tow truck.  The astute buyer brings a mechanic along, test drives, performs background check on the car manufacturer, consults consumer reports and takes other precautionary measures to avoid from buying a lemon.

PIA is able to deliver a credible ‘opposition’ talk because he disconnects himself from Eritrea’s reality.  Suddenly he was the idealist young university student wanting to fight injustice and to bring about freedom for Eritrea.  I can assure my readers that despite PIA’s harsh treatment of the opposition in order to maintain his grip on power, he has much more respect for the opposition than the ‘kedemti’ – not that we are seeking any approval from PIA or anyone else.

The world is a stage and PIA is the aspiring actor delivering a performance worthy of nomination for the Academy Awards in the best actor category for ‘almost believably acting as a victim or as an opposition and an underdog’.  This is a victim of his own making!  We would have almost fallen for his acts and scripts if we didn’t know enough people suffering under his tyrannical leadership.

Of course, one can’t help but notice PIA sweating more than ever before.  I guess talking like the opposition makes one sweat more.  I guess ERITV studio felt that PIA had to find his ‘sunshine’ and gave him an extra couple of thousands of watts of Hirgigo Power, which resulted in blackout of half of Asmara.  It is touching to see Ms. Manna pass ‘softi’ [Kleenex] to El Presidente.  Probably the interviewers were glad to see PIA sweat for a change instead of them.  Our hats off to the editor who kept his hands ready to switch cameras to the interviewers whenever PIA was gushing with sweat or reaching out to the over-soaked ‘softi’.  The editor could be spared harsh consequences under the slavery campaign for his efforts to keep El Presidente looking cool and collected.  I am also amazed at PIA’s effort to look young – not a single grey hair on his head.  That is what I call image management [image conscious not unlike the latest controversy over a magazine air brushing President Sarkozy’s love handles or President Putin showing off his well maintained upper body] to maintain the support of fast dwindling higdefawiyan base.  ‘Graying’ only suggests the end is approaching quick. Eritrea’s balance of payment would hit rock bottom if his ‘kedemti’ officials begin their own ‘image management’. 

PFDJ’s Hostage:  Ferentayo

A couple of years ago, selfi-democracy profiled an Eritrean hero and PFDJ hostage nicknamed ‘Ferentayo’.   Reminiscing his days as heroic tegadalai, Ferentayo recounted PIA’s knack for political dramas.  In the mid-1980’s, there was a major disgruntle among rank-and-file tegadelti who felt that high EPLF officials were accorded better treatment than rank-and-file.  PIA, being a consummate intrigue politician, had encouraged such disgruntlement as a means to maintain his grip on power.  His spin makers fanned false and half-truths about top EPLF officials womanizing and boozing while rank-and-file made all the sacrifices.  As a response to his own underhanded game, PIA toured the frontlines to get feedback from rank-and-file, and thus appearing to be concerned about their complaints.  PIA received credit, i.e. polished his image, for listening to the ordinary tegadalai.  PIA told frontline tegadelti that they could come to Anberbeb to convey their concerns.  In reality, no tegadelai was ever given a “pass” to travel to Anberbeb. 

During these tours, PIA encouraged tegadelti to vent their anger and concerns on these issues.  Many tegadelti had uncomfortable feelings about the whole PIA campaign and chose to keep quiet.  Other gullible ones, however, truly believed PIA came to address their concerns.  They spilled all their beans.  Few weeks later, those gullible enough to express their opinions in meetings with PIA were picked up and thrown into PIA Dungeons to never be heard of again.       

PIA has used the same old drama for over four decades.  We are tired of his drama of appearing the underdog, the concerned, the victim and the idealist.  It is wearing thin!  “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me!”

The “One Day” Deception

Whenever PIA is asked difficult questions, he replies by saying that the truth will be revealed to the public ‘one day’.  PIA and his kedemti keep telling us that America’s conspiracy against Eritrea, Woyane’s conspiracy against Eritrea, the opposition’s conspiracy against Eritrea, the crimes of illegally detained PFDJ hostages, etc… will be revealed ‘one day’. 

But when is this ‘one day’?   Think of ‘one day’ as ‘one day’ when we are all dead, or ‘one day’ when we are all senile, or ‘one day’ when no one really cares about it. 

What happens in the meantime until that ‘one day’?  When PIA tells us that American conspiracy will be revealed ‘one day’, he is encouraging rumors.  PIA is leaving all of us, and esp. higdefawiyans, dangling.  The very next day, higdefawiyans’ phone lines would be burning hot wondering what he meant.  Everyone wants to speculate on an issue PIA left dangling. 

Few weeks later, PIA appears on another interview and chides everyone for engaging in speculative rumors on the very issues he left everyone dangling.  Drama!  Or, more like, political midignigar!

What should PIA be saying?   If PIA has specific accusations to make, he should reveal all the facts or he should keep it to himself.  PFDJ hostages have been locked up until their alleged crimes are revealed to us ‘one day’.  In reality, soon after the arrest of G-11, PFDJ head office had announced to release all the accusations against PFDJ hostages soon.  Six years later, we have not seen one shred of evidence other than their continued promise to divulge their evidence ‘one day’.

When one is asked what ‘betrayal’ or ‘treason’ is, most of us simply assume it means conspiring with external enemies against one’s own country.  But that is the narrower definition.  In reality, ‘betrayal’ or ‘treason’ applies to any act that subverts the law of the land.  The question is always, what if the Eritrean public and Court of Law finds Min. Sherifo not guilty of charges against him.   What about Mr. Hassan, Mr. Bitweded, Mrs. Aster, Mrs. Senait found not guilty?  That is betrayal of their rights to be brought to Court of Law within 48 hours.  ‘One Day’ can’t exceed 48 hours or that ‘one day’ is simply when the accusers automatically become the accused for violating basic human rights. 

If we are to ever build a nation that respects the rights of its people – a country of law and civil society, we have to dismiss any justifications of delaying respecting people’s rights based on ‘one day’. 

The only purpose of spitting out the ‘One day’ phrase is for encouraging rumor mongering.  “I will tell you the details ‘one day’ but in the meantime just trust me that he is an evil person …” is cheap propaganda.   We should refuse to fall for this ‘one day’ cheap propaganda.            


PIA’s false concerns for Somalia overlooks a number of dangerous positions that PIA is advocating.  PIA is increasingly arguing in public in favor of interfering in neighboring countries to impose his brand of “New Regional Order” (i.e. poor man’s New World Order) – an updated version of “Nhnan Ilamanan” (the sequel).   In private, PIA has always espoused the idea of becoming the Julius Caesar of the Horn of Africa.  PIA, like Mao and Stalin, believes in numbers [quantity] and never in quality.  Even during this interview, he mentioned India, China, Russia and even EU as possible contenders as world power – that old dream of world domination. 

PIA’s dream has always been to become a regional power.  Barely a month after gaining our independence in May 1991, PIA was already telling us about the possibility of confederation with Ethiopia.  Although few Eritreans would object to developing a politically mature relationship with all our neighbors, PIA’s haste in entertaining this confederation after struggling over 30 years to gain our independence was a dire revelation of PIA’s grand design for the neighborhood.  Few months later, PIA was already embroiled in the Great Lakes region.

The manner in which PIA is defending his Somalia policy reveals dangerous beliefs with serious consequences:

  1. PIA justifies interference in neighboring countries as ‘good-willed’ efforts to bring about political stabilities in the neighboring countries.  In Somalia, PIA is creating a parallel government in competition with the transitional government, thus exacerbating the already tough situation in Somalia.  It should be noted that PIA’s interference politics is in clear violation of AU’s Charter of non-interference.
  2. If every African country believes that its neighboring countries need assistance in stabilizing themselves, we will be headed for African World War I in no time.


Instead of reading historical books and playing medieval politics, the best way to encourage our neighboring countries to become stable and prosperous is for Eritrea to become one itself.  We can only lead by example.  When Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and other small Far East nations built their economies and societies, they became the leading examples that encouraged other countries including giant China to emulate the small nations.  Far East is now just booming.


PIA keeps dismissing democracy claiming that there is no one measuring standards and playing down India’s democracy.  Our questions to PIA and his kedemti should be what his definition of imprisoning ordinary Eritreans incommunicado is?

The political stability and health of any nation is judged by whether its citizens are treated equally under the law of the land and are allowed to leave the country without any restrictions.  If these two are met, all the rest will follow.  No need to complicate or ‘midinigar’ [intentional confusion] the fundamental issues.   


PIA threatened us by suggesting to his interviewers that he would like to hold more television interviews on certain issues.  We hope that these are his last wishes.

It is worth also noting that due to Emperor Haileselassie’s diplomatic skills, Ethiopia has enjoyed favorable relationships with many countries for decades, even despite Col. Mengistu’s brutal and disastrous leadership.  Eritrea will suffer the adverse consequences of PIA’s belligerent – and totally unnecessary and self-destructive – policies for decades to come.

Isn’t it liberating to be in the opposition?  PIA says kedemti can’t express their views without having them censored first.   Long live Freedom and Liberty!


Berhan Hagos

August 23, 2007

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