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Unfiltered Notes: Are we losing the deeper message of Eritrea’s courageous Catholic Bishops?

Unfiltered Notes: Are we losing the deeper message of Eritrea’s courageous Catholic Bishops? By Tewelde Stephanos, June 14, 2014                    Email:   Many have commented on the exemplary moral leadership of the four Catholic Bishops articulated in the

Unfiltered Notes: Are we losing the deeper message of Eritrea’s courageous Catholic Bishops?

By Tewelde Stephanos, June 14, 2014                    Email:


Many have commented on the exemplary moral leadership of the four Catholic Bishops articulated in the now famous document titled “Where is Your Brother?” 1,2.  Such courageous moral stand is truly uplifting anytime but especially so at this moment of Eritrea’s grim reality.


But I worry if we are losing the deeper lesson of the good Bishops already. Some of us are concluding as if the message only applies to the regime and its supporters. Yes, the lawless regime makes Italy’s apartheid era look good by comparison. The wanton plundering of Eritrea’s material and humanresources and Isaias saying “no one gave me a contract” to create the oppressive and corrupt regime leaves no doubt he is the worst enemy the country has.


That is not the whole story, however. Could a one-man empire last this long if we had heeded the Bishops’ deeper lesson? Did we honestly stick with the spirit of their question – “where is my brother”? What was our response when the disabled veterans were mercilessly mowed down or when so many people were herded to prison, some never to be heard from again? Except for very few brave souls, like our Catholic Bishops, we have all failed to do the right thing and that is why the regime has thrived this long.


Let’s start with the most contentious. In 1991, Eritrea’s tegadelti were given boundless respect and admiration. Then tegadalai Bitwoded Abreha was jailed without due process of the law and thetegadelti did nothing to help his mother who, as the word of mouth reporting goes, was knocking on all doors to gain her son’s freedom. Because the tegadelti stopped asking “where is my brother” things only got worse from there. Then came the jailing of Muslim teachers in Keren, the massacre of the disabled veterans in Mai Habar; followed by one horrendous crime after another. And what did thetegadelti do? Nothing. Even the top leaders who ignored the pleas of Bitwoded’s mother have disappeared without a trace since. And because they did nothing, even tegadelti’s children are fleeing Eritrea confirming what they (the tegadelti) let happen has made Eritrea unfit for their own children. While all this mess is unfolding, Eritrean society wrongly took the back seat assuming the tegadeltiare there to safeguard freedom only to find out freedom cannot survive unless it is guarded by all. As the tegadelti abandoned the spirit of freedom and justice they supposedly fought for, ordinary citizens (derisively referred to as gebar by tegadelti) also willingly accepted a second class citizenship role. And it all went downhill from there.


How about diaspora Eritreans and Eritrea’s so-called educated class who enjoy full personal freedoms provided by our host countries? Did we wish the same freedoms for our brothers and sisters inside Eritrea or try to speak truth to power? Not even close. The vast majority of us kept quiet (even as the regime closed the only University in the country), and the voices of few brave ones were continuously drowned out in favor of a corrupt regime that is still in power. The irony of ironies: we even mis-used the freedom of expression allowed in our host countries to demonstrate in favor of a regime that kills people demanding those very rights.


How about religious leadership? Except for the consistent and united moral leadership of the Catholic Bishops – both now and in 2001, there is not much to speak of here either. The Protestant Church has been extremely quiet; and one dares say complacent The Orthodox Church is severely divided and cleverly manipulated by the atheist regime. It can’t even rally in a united way to free the ailing Patriarch who was demoted by the regime and replaced by immoral “leaders” who continue to turn a blind eye as the regime brutalizes their brothers. The role of the Mosque is not that better. Forgetting they are our brothers and sisters, we have been dormant or complacent as the regime viciously attacked members of the smaller faith groups.


Predictably, the regime and its supporters have started playing the same old song that the Catholic Bishops were funded by Eritrea’s enemies. Of course it is a bankrupt argument because Eritrea’s enemies did not massacre the disabled veterans, closed the only University, nor convert Eritrea into a despotic state. We did. But let’s assume for a moment that an enemy did fund the Bishops to write the deep, thoughtful and caring document. A document that is full of practical advice on how to solve our problems, a document that awakens the soul to do the right thing, a document that arouses sympathy for a mistreated brother or sister. A document that appeals to our sensibilities to never do what we did to Bitwoded’s mother ever again. If there are enemies like that who help you accomplish such noble causes, I, for one, want as many of those enemies as I can find. I am sure many also feel the same way.


But let’s go back to the bigger picture. Segment it anyway we want – by gender, by age group, by religion etc., our collective behavior has not been that good. After all, the hated regime is still there doing what it does best – promoting backwardness, poverty, ignorance and destruction.

Collectively, we are all equally bad for letting things get this ugly. No group can claim virtue over any other. But now is our opportunity to right this wrong, to rise from the ashes, to heed the Catholic Bishops’ message to never stop asking “where is my brother?” again. Because as the saying goes, if I don’t stand up when they take away my brother, there won’t be anyone left when they come for me. This regime will surely go.  And good riddance! what a moment that will be. What we will allow to replace it, is the real test awaiting us. Are we now getting the deeper lesson outlined by the good Bishops? Are we going to allow another mother’s heart to be broken like what let happen to Bitwoded’s mother and the countless mothers like her?


I feel nothing but gratitude for the stand the Catholic Bishops took. And for that, I say, I am a Catholic today.,  June 6, 2014

Review overview
  • goitom June 15, 2014

    we need to show our support to the call by demonstrations around the world. where are the opposition parties? what are they doing? where are the youth? they have to organise demonstrations…reading and writing is not enough we need to show them our support by showing it. Assenna needs to read the whole message of the bishops for the coming one month once a day. It could be forgoten like the previous events.

    • Smerrrrrrrr June 15, 2014

      You start it my brother, don’t just talk

  • ahmed saleh June 15, 2014

    After that message ;
    It hurts to hear the truth and we
    can not find the answer except to
    feel ashamed of ourselves as Eritreans.

  • bhaki June 15, 2014

    ህዝቢ ንመሰሉ እንተዘይተላዒሉን ተቓወምቲ ድማ ብዋጋ ካልኦት ለውጢ ዝጽበዩ ተሃልዮም፣ ዋግኡ ከም`ዚ ንርእዮ ፍልልይን ጥፍኣት ህዝብን ሃገርን ጥራይ ኢዩ ዝኸውን። ሓደ ይቓወም`የ ዝብል ውድብ ይኹን ውልቒ ካብ ካልኦት ከይተጸበየ ተወዲቡ ዕላምኡ ምስ ዝተግብር ጥራይ ኢዩ ለውጢ ክመጽ እዝኽአል። እዞም ጳጳሳት ንር እሶም ኣብ ሓዊ ይ ኣትዉ ኣለው። ዋጋ ካል ኦት ኣይተጸበዩን። ካብ ዋግኦም ምጽባይና ግን ክልተ ሞት ምኻኑ ኩሉ ንነብሱ ከም ተቓዋሚ ዝወስድ ሰብ ክስቖሮ ይግባእ። እንተ ብህግደፍ ወገን ግን ንሶም ዕላምኦም ከጥፍኡን ከጣፍኡን ስለዝኮነ ዕላምኦም ኢዩ።

  • Sala June 15, 2014

    “ሓውካ ኣበይ ኣሎ?” ዝብል ሕቶ ንህዝቢ ኤርትራ ኣይምልከትን፡ እዚ ሕቶ ንሓደ ሕልና ዘለዎ ቅኑዕ ህዝቢ እምበር፡ ንከም ኤርትራዊ ዝመሰለ ንቕድሜኡ እሾኽ እናረበበ ዝኸይድ ርእሱ ከም ተመን እናተጨፍጨፈ ተዓዚሙ ዘስቅጥ፡ ዝተፈሸለ ህዝቢ ኣይኮነን። ንህዝቢ ኤርትራ “ንስኻ/ኺ ኣበይ እሎኻ/ኺ?” ዝብል ምኣኸሎ። ወያል ዝኾነ ህዝቢ

  • Delaii fithi June 15, 2014

    Bigenzeb felaliemuna ezom rugumat higidef

  • silent June 15, 2014

    Where is your brother?
    My heroic brother is in Eritrea. Serving magnanimously his beloved country, ready to defend and build it. Those who betrayed and runaway are not my brothers and their fate or whereabouts are not my concern.
    Priests, priests un corno!
    Real priests believe entirely in the omnipotence and all-knowing God, thence, they leave all terrestrial matters to Him to sort out and decide and concentrate in their prayers.
    Real priests don’t incite people to revolt and create havoc or dissent against their own leaders, on the contrary, they pray the good Lord to bestow the leaders enough wisdom to enable them to govern with justice and dedication.

    • Sala June 15, 2014


      • ERITREAN4LIFE June 15, 2014

        NO, FUCK YOU.The truth hurts does it not? my heroic brothers and sisters are building the nation of Eritrea as well, and paving the way for the next generation while you traitors and Ethiopian pretending to be Eritreans in front of a computer are done, finished. History is repeating itself again. During our struggle for independence we had Eritreans traitors working with the enemy in all areas(disseminating false information, spying, fighting with arms against ERITREAN PEOPLE and their desire for INDEPENDENCE), Now we see them arise again. These traitors are the WEAK LINK, that must be removed.


    • ERITREAN4LIFE June 15, 2014

      WELL SAID.

    • AHMED OMER June 15, 2014

      you are real silent and blind because you are talking bullshit you and your monster master Weddi SHORMOTA FROM THE same lying and fooling school .
      The religion leaders have responsibly toward the humanity their job is for their flowers safety and well being I am asking you idiot SHABIA’S LEADERS what kind of humankind are all SHABIA’S LEADERS are trait each other by different ways more than 70% of them killed and jailed by the mad dog Weddi khommarit Asiyas majority was clipping like you are doing now .Good news for you ,you are going to be jailed or killed by the mad dog’s new ARMY DEMHIT CONGRATULATION .

  • Mike June 15, 2014

    In this Father’s day I speak on behalf of those Catholic Bishops who stuck their neck and wrote this letter “if Authentic” on behalf of all Eritreans? These people have put themselves “on the cross” per say… for you and I.

    Are we going to generate another cyber articles that will dissect and chew this Catholic Bishops’ letter for a week or two and let them get crucified? I know we have some that feed in to this frenzy and generate pages after pages.

    I think the “Historical” Church of Orthodox got its share of execution a while back the Protestants have gotten their share of prosecution as well. Jehovah Witness also has gotten their share fare as well. Not to leave out the Muslim community- they also have gotten their share or prosecution. But this one is, Catholic Bishops, has spoken up. Although a bit late it is still a sign that people are willing to stick their neck now and clean up the messy and dysfunctional gov. of Eritrean.

    Next in Line before end of Eritrean Gov?

    Who is, now, left that has not gone through prosecution? Let us wait a bit until the remaining group in Eritreans who are still pretty much relaxed & untouched in Eritrea get(s) the whiplash. Or should we be doing something else? God bless your initiation Eritrean Catholic Bishops.

    One more thing:
    Where are those hopeless opposition groups? They are, recently, have gone away and I was wondering when their season might be for another round of new theory or plans?

    God bless Eritrea and Happy Father’s day!!!!

  • Tes June 15, 2014

    Message to those who can see and listen. Where is your brother? Time to think and determine to eliminate HGDEF from the surface of the earth. They are inviting us know to bolegna which is good opportunity to teach those zombies a lesson they could not forget. They will come to dance on the top of the dead and they will think Gayla as causal. We have to surprise them distract the gathering at any cost and make the event to be a game changer and a very good deterrent for HGDEF supporters not do do the same act. Break their shoulders not to dance again and stop their wicked behaviors. By now every one knows HGDEF and its stooge only know one language.

    • ERITREAN4LIFE June 15, 2014

      keep dreaming, it will never happen. EPLF/HGDEF/PFDJ/SHABIA is here to stay.

      • ahmed saleh June 15, 2014

        Who is the real Shaebia ?
        Refer to recent interview of Dejen
        and those who grow up and schooled in Sahel . If you say I care about EPLF than these young guys , I say ” Get lost ” .

        • ERITREAN4LIFE June 15, 2014

          Your comment does not make any sense. Who is shabia? The Eritrean people. Shabia means “people” in Tigre. I support and care for Eritrean people in general, also support and honor the principles, vision,commitment, guidance, resilience, dedication of the EPLF/PFDj/CURRENT ERITREAN GOVERNMENT. Eritrea is destined for greatness, it will triumph against all odds once again. Understanding who our(Eritrea or AFRICANS)true enemies are(the west- USA,EUROPEAN, WHITE RACIST ELITES and their supporters)can help all Eritreans understand the schemes/plot/conspiracies of our enemies. To be frank, if the so called opposition who sincerely desire the best for Eritrea knew and understood the nature and intention of the WHITE man, they would know this ancient and modern enemy of the BLACK man is the source to nearly all problems in this world. I am proud of our leadership who understand these devils intention and who have stood their grounds. I can go into details of their(whites) history or behavior regarding destabilization of nations, assassinations, economic/cultural/political/military/psychological warfare, racism, etc., but would take a long time. The reason why I mentioned these devils, is because they are doing everything to create havoc on an AFRICAN nation who is determined to become completely independent, be it economic, political, etc., in turn, influence other nations from bondage. They(whites) are working with our African brothers and sisters such as Ethiopia, Djibouti,etc., working with Eritrean saleouts/traitors, and so on to DEFAME OUR NATION/HISTORY/GOVERNMENT/PEOPLE, DIVIDE THE PEOPLE, HINDER DEVELOPMENT,etc. by spreading LIES ON TOP OF LIES.


      • Verify June 16, 2014

        In your dreams . Nothing stays forever . Everything has it’s time limit in the world . If you believe in Scinece , that is what it says.

        So there is a limit to PFDJ too . I can’t precdict how long , but sooner or later , they will leave the power to some others .

        And forsure you will wittness this pretty soon.

  • Simon G. June 15, 2014

    So, what are you doing yourself to implement what the great bishops’ calling? Being a catholic for a day is meaningless to me. So do, some criminal catholics who implements isayas’s order.
    The question is, again: what are you planning to do?
    We are talking too much here (ከም ጸለምቲ ኤመሪቻውያን ብሰንኪ ጻዕዳ ክብሉ ዝነብሩ ፡ መፍትሒ ክንዲ ዝደልዩ፥ ዘረባ ጥራይ), and do nothing. Those bishops took action. What about us?

  • Eritrean Salvation Army June 15, 2014

    ALL Youth in Asmera and Dekemhare Keren Mendefera BArentu Must Go out for a big Peace full Demonstration in memory of our martries who died in Lumpdusea sinai LIbya in sudan and ethiopia Jubuti In YEmen .by liting candel and the walk began from all churches and mosques

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