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The Old Profession Under Threat In Our Society

Thousands of Eritreans wait in line to meet President Isaias Afwerki in New York City, Sept 25, 2011


West Virginia University 

Politics is an old profession which has been in practice in various ways and means for many centuries. Politics is not only limited to the activities associated with the governance of a country, it also embraces the practice and participation in the affairs of ethnic communities and religious institutions. In the true sense of its meaning, politics is expected to be the realm in which we attempt to realize some of our highest aspirations: our desire for political freedom, our longing for justice, our hope for peace and security. To the contrary, politics is laced with individuals and groups seeking their selfish interests at the expense of others. Politics has been abused, misused and misunderstood in its meaning and purposes. To this effect, the word ‘Politics has become the most hated word in our communities and religious institutions.  On hearing the word politics, what usually springs to the minds of our society at the present time from what is happening in land, at sea and in the whole world, are the images of animosity, hostility, torture, injustice, atrocities, bloodshed, persecution, execution, corruption, annihilation, destruction  chaos, and disorder. In our society we pretend that we know politics when we do not have the slightest idea about the real concept of politics. The following piece of classic political humor from an unknown source, modified to fit to the desired purpose of this article, illustrates the current impression and meaning of politics.

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, "What is politics?" Dad says, "Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I am the breadwinner who runs the family, so let's call me the Governor. Your Mom, under my strict supervision is the administrator of the money. So we will call her the General Manager. We are here to take care of your needs, so we will call you the Youth. The Nanny, we will consider her the People. And your baby brother, we will call him the Future. Now, think about that and see if that makes sense to you," So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what Dad had said. Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parents' room and finds his mother sound asleep. Not wanting to wake her up, he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed. The next morning, the little boy says to his father, "Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now." The father says, "Good son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about." The little boy replies, "Well, while the Governor is busy screwing the People, the General Manager is sound asleep, the Youth is being ignored and the Future is in deep trouble. If this is what Politics means, it really sticks like my baby brother’s diapers.” No wonder, as an unknown author eloquently indicated, politicians and diapers have one thing in common. Both the politicians and the diapers should be changed regularly and for the same good reason.

Politics in the Eritrean communities in Diasporas, if it was not tragic in its manifestation, is like a huge circus where the wild beasts are at play, or a distasteful and boring night club comedy with its amateur politicians and opportunists devoid of humor and sense of purpose. The heavy intoxication and sedation on politics has created misunderstanding and serious confusion, chaos and disorder in the Eritrean communities and religious institutions in Diasporas. Politics have just become a loud noise and created displacement and fragmentation in our communities. All kinds of manifestations of political conflicts and awful contradictions among Eritreans in Diasporas, whether they emanate from differences in faith, ethnicity, ideology, or origin, are but an outcome of immature and narrow political perspectives. There is lack of correct understanding of objective realities and purposes of politics, as well as just outright stupidity which could be considered as a mental disability that requires immediate medical attention. One of the penalties for refusing to participate in the affairs of our ethnic communities and religious institutions is that we end up being led by those who have no idea about the real meaning of politics. In addition, political institutions and Eritreans who claim to be political scholars or expertise have not emerged to enlighten our society on the true sense of politics and consequently politics is not currently rendering its meaningful purpose to the Eritrean society in Diasporas.

Naturally, the main goal of any dialogue on politics or any subject matter is to reach an understanding and/or a consensus among the group undertaking the discussion. Obviously, it is a process of brain storming, mental exercise and intellectual engagement to depart from one point and get to another in order to achieve a clear understanding of an issue. First and foremost the desired objective of the discussion should be clearly defined. In our so-called political discussions the two points are usually undefined and we usually do not know what we are talking about. Our objective is vague and ambiguous; we do not know where we are and we are not sure where we are heading. We argue and argue without passion and with no commonly defined objective reality. We debate with anger and argue with hostility for the sake of argument or simply to be on the opposite side based on personality or affiliation to religion, ideology or region. We debate forcefully to send our message across, but we fail to listen and learn from the other side. We argue mercilessly not to understand, but to win the argument. Under these awful situations consensus and understanding of issues are hard to reach. Instead we create animosity and we carry it home to our spouses and children causing enmity and hostility as we resort on character assassination, name calling gossips, and personal attacks. Another disturbing phenomenon that is developing is the view that approaching these situations with compromise and leniency to maintain the stability and integrity of the society is seen as a sign of weakness or defeat. Among some of us there is no neutrality or middle ground to take. Consideration of understanding and concession does not exist because our extremist groups who undermine the objective of the debate have no interest in consensus and resolution. Such notorious individuals or groups have to win the debate or make the other person’s life miserable under any circumstances. We have to be aware that we can still be true Eritreans without being nasty or involved in dirty politics. Otherwise, our scandalous actions can be considered as an insult, in fact as a serious crime, if we do injustice to the noble profession of politics.

The majority of the political debate in our communities seriously lacks points of reference or direction. Most people argue an issue by considering the standards within the American or European norms and values. Some of us talk while only considering the standards within the international norms and values. The norms and values that we use in our dialogue as points of reference are not defined clearly within an Eritrean perspective. Without knowing or having a good grasp of those indigenous norms and values within the standards of the Eritrean perspective, we debate endlessly with no resolution. In most instances, the lack of references within the Eritrean context, coerce most people to use the standards of the host nation that they reside, whether it is in America, Europe, Australia, or the Middle East. Consequently, it makes our Political discourse very argumentative, chaotic and senseless because it is not based on the indigenous norms and values that reflect the Eritrean perspective. In addition, our political discourse also lacks specificity in terms of the issues we try to address at certain point in time. Obviously, it is very hard to limit the discussion to one issue or the other, particularly among many of us who have very limited understanding of politics. It is commonly observed that if one issue is opened for a fair discussion, it would be polluted with so many unrelated nuisances and the debate ends up with arguments and insults. If you present a political issue to a group of friends and even relatives at Dunkin donuts, or Starbucks, the majority of the responses will focus trading unpleasant words to you totally devoid from the point of discussion. Whether intentional or unintentional we have the attitude and the habit of clouding and diluting any issue with unrelated issues. Thus, it is hard to discipline ourselves to focus on the specific topic or issue at hand and give an objective and honest view point pertinent to that topic without being distracted by petty issues. At the present time it is ridiculous to observe that we seem to be running away from each other for political disagreements. Many of us cannot be in the same room at the same time to attend a seminar, or eat food on the same table, or see eye to eye to each other and carry on a normal conversation like civilized people. Some of us even go to Greek or Egyptian church to worship when there is an Eritrean church in the same neiborhood. We have created an awkward situation among ourselves where we cannot join hands and work together as Eritreans.  Eventually, our Eritrean society in Diaspora, which is currently in deep crisis, may soon extinct and disappear forever as a society, if we do not get our acts together to safeguard and secure our Eritrean identity. We need to change our morality and way of thinking in terms of the attitude we show towards each other and the welfare of our society.

Political disagreement is a natural phenomenon everywhere in any society especially nowadays when the world is in turmoil due to terrorism, economic hardship, social unrest, and political threats. Eritreans in Diasporas are polarized across so many dubious political and social issues more than ever. The sole means to resolving our political differences is to identify ourselves and stand tall as Eritreans first and then we need to develop tolerance, respect for one another, and cherish our perspectives, cultural heritage, ethnic identity, and to recognize our beautiful rainbow diversity. Most Eritreans in Diasporas need to shy away from politics because we do not have the expertise in politics. We may be well aware that it may look impossible to dissociate the political issues from the social and economic issues. Unless we believe that we have the political maturity and determination to make a difference and promote understanding in our political dialogue, it is in the best interest of our communities and religious institutions to stay away from politics and concentrate on things that make a practical contribution to the welfare of our society. For most of us, instead of bickering quarreling, and wasting our precious time on gossips and dirty politics, we need to have broad popular participation in all other non-political affairs that bring us together and influence our lives and particularly the lives of our children. There is an urgent need to exercise prudence against the tampering of the cherished traditional values, norms, cultures, and history of our people. The youth need to meet the challenge of developing a progressive ethnic culture and combat negative influences in their lives. If, through our communities and religious institutions, we map out  concrete and clear social programs aimed at ensuring a bright future for our youth based on collective efforts and welfare, the challenges that lie ahead for them are not insurmountable. Let us “Save the Children” not from famine, diseases, hunger or starvation, but from the failures and irregularities of parental care and from the influence of dysfunctional and disintegrated communities and the senseless and irresponsible political quarrels and conflicts Our children are our priorities because they are the majority in our society and the ones who are expected to cherish our cultural heritage and honor our Eritrean identity in Diaspora. This obligation should prompt the Eritrean scholars and professionals to take immediate responsibility and commitment to organize and maintain viable and formidable Eritrean communities and actively participate in the activities of our religious institutions. It is incumbent on these Eritrean institutions and parents to produce and nurture our next generation with noble responsibility and unwavering affiliation to their own people. It is quite evident from our experiences that our communities and religious institutions in Diaspora desperately need our commitment and active participation in saving our children from our political nonsense and illness.

We, all Eritreans in Diasporas, need to work together to build our communities and religious institutions so that we can preserve our cultural heritage and cherish our ethnic identity. Every one of us is defined and identified by the kind of ethnic communities and religious institutions we belong to. We should all exercise our God-given gift of life to build hope, moral, integrity, and quality of life for our children. If we unite and work together, success is inevitable. We can learn to work together as brothers and sisters, or perish together as fools. If we collect the bricks together and put each brick on top of the other, we can lay down the solid foundation for the next generation. This summer, we all need to get out of our hiding places and get involved in the activities of our respective communities and religious institutions to make a difference in the lives of our children who happen to be the anchor of our social fabric.

The picture above symbolizes building our Communities and Religious Institutions by putting each brick on top of the other.
Then what are we waiting for? It is always a blessing to do something meaningful that is directed to the welfare of our own people, particularly our beloved children. Let’s remember that what we do for ourselves alone dies with us; what we do for our people remains immortal forever.
ክትመውት እንከለኻ፡ አቲ ትገድፎ ብድሕሬኻ፡ጥራይ እዩ ትወስዶ ምሳኻ

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The Old Profession Under Threat In Our Society Reviewed by Admin on 11:04 AM Rating: 5


  1. Good job Doctor. I agree with you 100%. Whenever we start a discussion with fellow Eritreans, we have all the problems you mentioned in your interesting and constructive criticism. We need to see in/under Eritrean context when we argue especially in political discussions. The good thing is that ERITREA is in a good track in almost all aspects, don't you agree with that Doctor? God/Allah bless Eritrea.

  2. 'to safeguard and secure our Eritrean identity'

    We need to be matured. Many of us lack emmotional intelligence. These days by crossing abroad and by diaspora sweat some are exposed to the modern world. These are only materially. Material doesn't make us well oriented unless we are ready to change ourselves by reading, educating ourselves. We do not have to forget how many had sacrificed their precious lives to safeguard and secure our Eritrean identity. Let us be honest to ourselves. We have to try to appreciate what is so far done and cooperate and collaborate to the betterment of the society.

  3. ኣሌክ - Alec youMay 15, 2015 at 4:08 AM

    Indeed bro, 'to safeguard and secure our Eritrean identity' Indeed.

  4. ኣሌክ - Alec youMay 15, 2015 at 4:10 AM

    This is good!, Thanks Dr. Tesfa G. Gebremedhin and **MADOTE**...Thanks.

  5. Our society in diaspora is lost and that is tragic, strengthening the Orthodox community would be a good start and perhaps to indoctrinate our peeps with our forefathers law and way of life, we have a self governing society (which is similar to the "Talmud" practice). First-off, teach people our history starting from 5000 B.C. All of this needs to be put in writing and should be read and studied at the dinner table and Orthodox churches. We need to have a common ground and a good foundation to build a stronger society.

  6. True. The doctrine in the churches especially in the Orthdox church is very strict. It lacks simplicity. There was such incidence in this church since the King regime because it has affiliation with politics. I wish our gov't let this church's administration be liberal and the simplicity and the easy access would create harmony between the believers. This time many of the priests are educated and there is improvement such as the mass is in a screen so everybody follow and children and the mass are learning bible. On the other hand families should exercise telling histories of the past. The mass media many times transmit so many programmes in terms drama, films, festivals etc. Eritrean history is also given in schools. Joining YFDJ is another means for every youth to participate in the programmes both at home and abroad. We learn other country history and why not ours. Mind you other than war breaking the strong bond among our communities have been inculcated. It is very hard to avoid it easily. With patience the behavioral change would bring back the spirit of living in harmony.

  7. But does the doctor understand the underlying cause of which he is lamenting, or is he purposely mudding the cause by blaming the outcome in the service of the perpetrator, isaias afewetk?

    Being a doctor, we can definitely assume that he knows that the tyrant is the cause of all the evils befalling our count

  8. The following is the continuation of my reply to Guest.........................

    ........the tyrant is the cause of all the evils befalling our country and people and that he is purposely deflecting the blame to the victims.

    But again, if, as he alleges, the oppositions are clueless and haphazard, then why complain about it, isn't it advantageous to his client, the tyrant? Would't it be to his client's benefit for him to remain quiet and watch the oppositions fall apart?

    As we say, all appearances are not true and as such the doctor is not targeting the oppositions but at far more potent enemy of whom the tyrant is having a nightmare, the UN Human Right Commission who is cataloging his twenty years of human right violations.

    I am sure the doctor was approached to lend his stature in defense of the indefensible criminal but the attempt is futile , attempt of the Desperadoes.

  9. ypfdj do'nt bleve in god they bleve onley in DIA their massaia

  10. Working with youth and women associations is a normal process in every regimes ever exist. This is because the policy of a given country is exercised through such means. Therefore as far as we agree that our government policy is going strong till now those who love their country should join these associations to return back the good spirit of our association.

  11. I tell you what is in the ground is exactly specified. Thanks for his explicit view. Our VALUE is the most important above all 'trase netek' is the present exercise so let everyone open his eyes see the reality and correct immediately!

  12. I agree. However, the Orthodox church may be "strict" but that is what orthodox practice is all about, maintaining this original and conservative religion, making it less strict and liberalizing it would be a dangerous move if not unthinkable. The point I am trying to address is... to maintain our religion and culture in a parallel way and to be conservative. Let's be honest, we live in a tribal world and we can see the Jews taking advantage of the opportunities in-front of them and have exploited the tax exemption laws created for religion institutions and have created many businesses under the umbrella of their Synagogs, they only employ a Jew and support a fellow Jew to succeed at the expense of others. They have the "Jewish free loan society" which they lend money to a fellow Jew free of interest, they support each other and they are are armed to exploit anyone who is not one of them and they follow the cynical cultural guide book called the "Talmud" to lead them on how to take advantage of the world... So why can't we take advantage of the system in place in diaspora? and build a tax except businesses under the Orthodox church and empower our society? Going to the Orthodox church to kiss the wall and beat the drums of gossip and donating a dollar every Sunday out of our empty pocket and going back to our dish-washing day job the next day is not going to get us anywhere... we're just bunch of retard fools and blind, we just don't see the whole picture... is it only me who the picture or am I crazy? I think not ... but I'm pissed.

  13. Since we participate in this forum to learn each other, yr point of view might not be 100 % clear to me but my view towards the believer is just to distinguish between traditional practice and the liberal form of a true Christian. Christianity teach us all the good things above all respecting each other. Eritrea is one and it is equal for all of us. Why should we hide behind the church and fight each other? When one concentrate on the bible teaching and following the mass completely forgot oneself and would be devoted to GOD. No evil thinking or hatred comes. In the past it was only a traditional practice many of us are illiterate and can't follow the mass,sometimes the language is difficult to understand so it gives room to gossip etc.

    May be if yr thinking of in the economical terms the income derived from the mass it is additional income and are used for administrative support and salary to the priests. What other income generating forms y mean is not clear to me.

    In regards to the Jews, they use it as a source of income. A jew who is not at all believer is a tourist guide and the government is benefited from the revenue.

  14. proud ypfdj memberMay 16, 2015 at 12:54 PM

    don't waste your time talking rubbish stuff
    get a life, dude

  15. Let me make it clear, we are not talking about reciting the bible... the point I'm trying to make is ... doing good for our people, in order to succeed in diaspora and have voice/power for a better life, you need a strong community and economical empowerment, thus a well established Orthodox church would be a good start. FYI.. religion institutions have tax exemption at least in the U.S and to answer your questions about "additional income generating forms etc..." churches can run businesses under their organization, businesses such as schools, properties for rent, recreational facilities with cafes, etc... that are open for all customers to use for a price of-course... and that is how the church grows and creates opportunities/employment to its church members in those above mentioned businesses. We see this kind of strong community development not just with the Jewish communities but in the Greek Orthodox, Armenian, the Egyptian Orthodox, Syrian, etc communities as well. If you are in Europe or the U.S, please look around and see for your self how those above mentioned entities have managed to establish many institutions/businesses to support their people. My friend, God gave us the tools, in this case "tax exception" law, so it is up-to us to use the tool(s) to help our selves. As the drowning old man said when they sent a helicopter to save him, he said "i don't need a helicopter, God will save me", thus he drowned.... then when the old man asked God in the after-life that why God did not save him? The mighty Lord replied "didn't I sent you a helicopter?" :)) Cheers !

  16. correction ...."did't I send you a helicopter"? :))

  17. Now I understand! Yr idea is excellent but this can be viable when there is understanding and trust among ourselves. The present situation is so discouraging. We first have to work on the conscious level of politics and come together to build a strong society. It is good to approach if there is an established organization in the church like youth association etc in yr area. Here what I knew with the mass contribution they bought a church and to pay the debt I have seen them collecting money everytime.I will raise the issue if that is possible, Thank y for this blessed idea.


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