Visit the new AsenaTv Website

Naked Intellectual Dishonesty – A Rebuttal to Dr. Fikrejesus Amhazion.

When it comes to just about any Eritrean political discourse, it is depressingly prevalent that, nowadays: cheap propaganda, empty rhetoric, undue influence, outright denials are disseminated by some Eritrean intellectuals.  In some political circles and

When it comes to just about any Eritrean political discourse, it is depressingly prevalent that, nowadays: cheap propaganda, empty rhetoric, undue influence, outright denials are disseminated by some Eritrean intellectuals.  In some political circles and especially among the youth, oftentimes and understandably so, there is a sense of  resignation prevailing as who to look for in the educated class.   When guidance and motivation is needed in the struggle to free Eritrea from autocracy, the youth hardly looks to Eritrean intellectuals.  With a spurning contempt, the youth allege, the Eritrean intellectuals are either less than vocal or hauntingly mum – politically impotent, so to speak.

Was it Albert Einstein who said, “whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important ones”?  Well, that is exactly what happened when an Eritrean intellectual went the extra mile to defend the regime in his rebuttal to a damning Newsweek story.

In the last issue of Newsweek magazine, there appears a story about Eritrea titled, AFRICA’S NORTH KOREA: REPORTING FROM ERITREA, THE LAND OF NO JOURNALISTS,, which accurately describes the sad state of affairs of Eritrean journalists; but not necessarily, in my opinion, the depiction of Eritrea on equal footing with North Korea.

“The North Korea of Africa,” so goes the famous catchphrase describing Eritrea in the western mainstream media.  Suggesting that in the eyes of western press – if you, of course subscribe to the West’s viewpoint – North Korea is bad and an outcast; therefore, depicting Eritrea, “the North Korea of Africa” must have hardly been a mode of platitude.

Tell any foreigner with a modest knowledge of Eritrea that you would be visiting Eritrea soon; initially, he would be looking at you wryly in disbelief, as if you were a muppet on a TV show; but subsequently – even then, if he was so opinionated – he would throw a contemptuous inquiry, “but, isn’t Eritrea the North Korea of Africa?”  “No, you….”  You would be tempted to impassively utter an angry retort.  “No sir, you can’t compare Eritrea with North Korea.  That would be an insult to the North Koreans,” I once politely admonished an American acquaintance.  Perhaps, the only similarity one can find amid the two is, in North Korea, there is the concept of what they call “duche” or self reliance – or, what the Higdef zombies call bikil-Tsimna,” which unlike that in Eritrea, the concept of “duche” produced Nuclear scientists for North Korea.

To say that poor Eritrea is on par with nuclear capable North Korea is indeed bizarre; In fact, it is like giving the senile dictator an enormous credit he doesn’t deserve.  I am sure the North Koreans would have been furious when they heard this outlandish hogwash.

But, back to the point, I normally do not subscribe to Newsweek nowadays, as its heydays of fiercely independent journalism are long gone and Newsweek is becoming a less than sought after magazine now.  But, truth got to be told, this time, when it declared: The Land of No Journalists, nothing could be further from the truth.  Why?

Because first, as any Eritrean – except those with less than human mental faculties – could attest, September 18, 2001 will go down in history as the day where the dictator shut down the independent press and summarily imprisoned it’s journalists and senior politicians.

Second, the Newsweek story was narrated by the victim of the very system, Mr. Fathi Osman, the Eritrean journalist who had the firsthand knowledge of the situation.  So, no Higdef apologists or foot soldiers or, any intellectual for that matter, would refute what Mr. Osman went through.

Third, Eritrea is at the bottom of the Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders and by the Committee to protect Journalists.

But to Dr. Fikrejesus Amhazion, the denial is so mind boggling that he seemed more than willing to put his intellectual integrity on the line.  As a matter of fact, he called what the Eritrean journalists like Mr. Osman went through, “cliched, cursory and incorrect”.  Interestingly, we have seen these so-called intellectuals who, not only sold their intellectual integrity to the dictator, but also pray at his altar for acceptance into his flock of mindless zombies – a lot of them, actually.

From the get go, just to prove his point – or, rather a non-point – the good Doctor infused his rebuttal with tons of, some of them self-defeating examples; when he, for example mentioned Freedom House to have sent election monitors to Rhodesia in 1979 under Ian Smith and found the election to be “fair”, while it found the election held under Robert Mugabe in 1980 to be “dubious”.  While these allegations happened to be true, the irony of his example is palpable here.  The absence of elections in Eritrea for the last quarter century seemed not to cross his mind.  Perhaps, his critical thinking skills took a nose dive into the unknown when he embarked to write his rebuttal.  Note that he didn’t put a single sentence condemning the dictator’s misdeeds.  This is a classic example of intellectual dishonesty.  This is a text book case of banal propaganda and above all, naked opportunism.

Without further ado, you be the judge and see how the divide between the so-called intellectual class and the youth is a light year apart.  May God have mercy on poor Eritrea!

Tesfamichael Kidane

Review overview
  • Hafash July 1, 2017

    It is really disappointing and depressing indeed to see a few Eritrean intellectuals these days denying the sad fact back home, and trying to defend the lawless regime. It is bizarre indeed to see them putting their ego and self-interest first instead of the people’s will and demand. What a shame!

  • k.tewolde July 1, 2017

    Mr. Kidane, I would rather have a conversation with older bold wise men back home with no academic background that some of the diaspora intellectuals here in the west.These are not intellectuals,they are intelligent sociopathic liars who lick the tyrants sandals to get a spot in his oppressive state machine.Brilliantly written article,thanks brother kidune.

  • Aba thimmer July 1, 2017

    Unlike we had extreme carriage and will to address our, undeniable right to freedom in all aspects, we are heir on unbelievable situation due to brute regime but not only! .so /however, we must also put the 2nd enemy in place. .thus is ,miss trusting and a bit demoralising. Let’s wake up!

  • adhanom July 1, 2017

    History will judge them. The opportunist dr. Who chose to be a foot soldier of a criminal gang leader may have a very small insignificant investment (a small house) that he enjoys looking at its picture or footage in his computer. He can not even go back and live in it.

  • T.zeregabir July 2, 2017

    What does an intellectual look like?
    Who is intellectual?
    There are many types of credential awards from Universities.
    Some give awards saying, “Award him PhD because he is better than his grandfather “. Thus he is called Dr/Prof but empty minded.
    Some are Science graduates and their intellect is associated to search and research. They are dawn in politics.
    Some own conflict of interest.

    Wuchu was better in political analysis than Dr. Wold eat Yisak.

  • Nahon July 2, 2017

    A shameless Doctor in service of a Dictator.
    Nothing new here, some are politically stupid.
    They serve the dictator till he throws them on the road.


  • Keshi Mars July 2, 2017

    Hello T/Michael, sorry to say that but your article seems to brush the intellectuals in one stroke as if they have the same opinion. Wow that is discouraging

    • Tesfamichael Kidane July 4, 2017

      Keshi Mars, calm down brother. Perhaps what you need to do is start reading the piece again and you will see I wrote, “…..disseminated by some Eritrean intellectuals,…” That in itself should give you a clue. In your attempt to be extremely defensive, you flushed the subject matter down the drain and more concerned about the ego. It never ceases to amaze me the way we Eritreans think. If you are one of them, sorry to disappoint you, but it is true that Eritrean intellectuals are either less than focal or completely invisible. The name “Keshi Mars” itself tell it all, isn’t it?

  • senkam July 3, 2017

    An intellectual here is meant people who have advanced degree in academia & research. Though the word ‘intellectual’ carries the meaning of a person with high critical thinking capacity, it is not the later part of the word’s meaning that the conventional usage meant. While this may be the definition, scholars whose study and research that focused on social aspect of society are in a better position to understand and analyze social problems like politics. The heaviest part of being scholar is , however, the duty to carry responsibility specially in situations like we are now. Delivering their knowledge to the subjects relevant to the matter at hand in various ways which helps the society to advance their scope of view, mobilize and organize better to overcome the challenge. This requires the scholars to come out and be vocal. Unfortunately, this is what they fear the most and try to avoid. But there are few who aggressively and actively doing it as well. The so called G-13 scholars is a classic example of delivering ones responsibility. I was a university student then and when I read the material content of that letter I was shocked because I wasn’t aware of the bigger picture of what is going wrong until I read this memo that is sent to the country’s ruler, even though I know something somewhere was going wrong.

    Not all educated are created equal. There are many who are silent, and many more who are opportunists and being used as tool of repression. Those later ones are the most dangerous ones. And, we got enough of them. Shame on them !