The Afars: Eritrea’s Forgotten Refugees

Courtesy The Image Works

Courtesy The Image Works

Thousands of refugees have made their way to eastern Ethiopia across Eritrea’s porous southern borders in recent years.

Many traveled by foot through the Danakil Depression, one of the lowest and hottest places on earth. Others slipped across the heavily militarized frontier with Djibouti. Still others escaped in small, single-sail dhows to Yemen. But they fly below the radar of most western media, aid agencies, and analysts, largely because they remain in the region rather than joining the flood of other Eritreans trying to reach Europe.

They are the Afars, a tightly knit Muslim minority that has long made their home in one of the most inhospitable corners of Africa — and are determined to keep it and the culture that sustains them. In the 19th century, European colonial powers and a rising Ethiopian empire carved up the parched lands of this proud warrior people, largely for their strategic location on the Red Sea. Now, like the Kurds, they are divided among three countries — Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Eritrea.

By far the largest number lives in the arid plains and volcanic hills of eastern Ethiopia, which is where most of those fleeing Eritrea end up. I spent a week there as part of a year-long project on the Eritrean refugee experience that has taken me to camps and communities from North America and Europe to Israel, East and Southern Africa, and South and Central America.

Many tell similar tales of political repression, desperate escapes and perilous desert, jungle or sea crossings to find a place where they can rebuild their lives in relative freedom and security, though each account has its twists. But the Afar stories carry the added dimension of an assault on their culture and identity by a highly centralized state run by the army that won the country’s independence nearly 25 years ago, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front.

The EPLF runs Eritrea as if it were still a guerrilla base area, combining an obsession with secrecy with a compulsion for control that leaves no room for disagreement and has left thousands in prison for petty political crimes — or for simply trying to leave. But the Afars are as determined to hold onto their identity as to their culture, which frequently gets them into trouble.

Afar Voices

Ali Ahmed, whom I met in the Assayita refugee camp, fled in 2007 to avoid a compulsory national service originally mandated for 18 months but extended indefinitely in 2002. The extension came after a devastating border war with Ethiopia that was halted by a truce in 2000 but never resolved, leaving Eritrea on a permanent war footing.

eritrea-refugees-assayita-refugee-camp-ethiopia-afar

(Photo: Dan Connell / The Image Works)

Ali said he left after watching too many friends “disappear” into the army and never return. But he was also angry over the arrests of prominent Afar elders on what he insisted were specious charges of disloyalty designed to break up their traditional system of self-administration.

Abdalla Mohammed, 32, from a small village outside the port of Assab, fled Eritrea in 2009 after 10 years in national service, but he cited the treatment of the Afars as the main reason he left. “There was no equality,” he told me when I met him in Assayita. “They abused our language, our culture, our religion.”

He said it finally became too much, so he started planning his flight as he waited for the right moment. “To leave is very difficult,” he observed, leaving unsaid the fact that border guards have long had shoot-to-kill orders. During the Eid celebrations at the end of the Ramadan fast, he slipped out, walking 16 kilometers in one night to reach Ethiopia. He went straight to Assayita and has been there ever since.

Mohammed, also in Assayita, had grown up within the liberation movement and had himself been an EPLF fighter. But in 2004 he found he was losing the use of his left leg and was diagnosed with diabetes, so he requested leave to go to the Asmara capital for treatment. When he was refused, he went on his own but still lost his leg. Upon his return, he was fired for going without permission. Angry, disabled, and impoverished, he decided to flee.

“I had served this organization since my childhood in the field [with EPLF],” he said. Rebuffed by the authorities, he had turned to an Afar sultan to plead his case and was given money for a boat trip to Yemen. He had to flee there, too, when Yemen collapsed into chaos and civil war last March, taking a small boat to Djibouti and making his way to the refugee camp. He said he has no idea about his future: “Just I am here.”

Life in the Assayita Camp

The Assayita camp is perched on a barren, rock-strewn hillside two kilometers from the town of the same name. Once the regional capital, the dusty settlement of one-story stone and adobe buildings is now something of a backwater, reachable on a barely passable, sand-swept, rutted road. The camp is an hour’s drive from the newly built regional capital of Semera and the busy two-lane highway that links Ethiopia’s heartland with the port of Djibouti, through which 90 percent of its imports come.

The refugees here are free to come and go, and there is constant traffic by three-wheeled bajajs (motorized rickshaws) and donkey carts between the camp and the town. But there is little for them to do there but shop for basics not provided in monthly UN distributions, if they even have the money to buy anything.

eritrea-refugees-assayita-refugee-camp-ethiopia-afar

(Photo: Dan Connell / The Image Works)

Assayita and a second Afar camp to the north at Berhale are administered by Ethiopia’s refugee authority (ARRA) and supplied by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. A handful of Ethiopian organizations run small projects, but there are no European or American NGOs here, despite the fact that many are active in camps elsewhere in Ethiopia. In this and other respects, the Afars are caught in a vicious circle. Because they remain in the region instead of risking the dangerous — and expensive — trans-Sahara and Mediterranean Sea crossings that have gotten so much attention, they fall through the proverbial cracks.

UNHCR counted nearly 29,000 Afar refugees at the start of 2015, but more have come since, many choosing to live in the towns with distant relatives without registering. A principal difference between them and those of other ethnic groups is that most arrive with or are joined by their large, extended families. They tend to settle near others from their places of origin, creating more or less stable enclaves. This is a key factor in discouraging secondary migration, but money is another.

Most are too poor to afford the fees smugglers charge for transit to Europe or North America and lack the diaspora connections highlanders often have to wire the money to them. Some younger men register for resettlement to a third country with the UN — mainly the United States or Australia — but if it doesn’t come through, they stay in the camp. Others who have more resources choose to stay rather than give up on their homeland.

Unsafe Anywhere, Unwilling to Leave

Abdalla Mohammed Abdalla fled Assab to Yemen in 2005. He had just arrived in the town of Assayita with 17 members of his extended family when I met him in a mud brick building that ARRA had rented for new arrivals. The women and children were spread out on mats in two rooms in the otherwise unfurnished house. A dozen soldiers, most of them non-Afars from the Eritrean highlands, some still in their uniforms, occupied two other rooms in the rear, also unfurnished.

Abdalla had been an underground cadre of the EPLF in the 1980s during the independence war and was elected to the Afar regional assembly in the 1990s. He said he did his national service as an organizer for the EPLF-sponsored youth union and in the Afar administration. But after he refused to withdraw from Assab during the border war, when most highlanders working in the city fled — “I was born in Assab. I would never leave!” he explains — he was accused of “accepting” a potential Ethiopian occupation if the city had fallen (which it did not), and he was jailed.

He said he was sent to the Neferer Prison near the now defunct Assab oil refinery and kept there for five years, beaten frequently and repeatedly called a traitor for not leaving his post with the other officials. Upon his release, he used personal connections to get a boat to Yemen and left immediately, settling in the small Yemeni port of Mokha, where he found work with local fishers and did day labor. His family soon followed.

When the civil war broke out in Yemen and Houthi militiamen captured Mokha, Djibouti Afars came to evacuate the many Eritrean Afars there. But Abdalla said he feared staying in Djibouti because Eritrean security services sometimes kidnapped high-value refugees and they’d already come twice to Yemen to get him. So he brought his family to Assayita instead, determined to stay close enough to Eritrea that he could return if and when the political situation there changes and he can finally feel safe.

Dan Connell is a visiting scholar at Boston University’s African Studies Center. He’s reported on Eritrea for almost 40 years is working on a book on the refugee experience. Visit his websitedanconnell.net for more information.

  • SEphrem

    Judging from the faces on the picture above, the writer must have been interviewing people from another land – these are certainly not Eritrean Afars. Nothing unusual of him. He may mislead and misinform some unsuspecting, naive audience and readers with unverifiable tales and representations but not those on whose behalf he portends to speak and depict.

    • Ibby

      Good article but the covering photo is not for Afar people. I don’t think this was intentional

      • John

        What really annoys me is when a so called scholar from Boston University writes an article about the plight of Afar people of Eritrea and then post a picture of the Bana tribe from Ethiopia. The Bana tribe are well known for their colourful beads and it seems to me that Mr Connell was more focused on content of his article than the picture he used. Honest journalism is judged not just by the content of the article but also by pictures which make up part of the story. As the saying goes “ A picture is worth a thousand words” and it is a shame that despite his 40 years of experience he got this wrong! Shame his article is let down by deceitful picture.

        • John Feffer

          The author had nothing to do with the original photo published with this article. The photo editor made a mistake, and a proper photo was substituted.

    • Amanu

      SEphrem, I think it is definitely a good idea to go after this crap producing fraud to the university he is associated with. This requires a challenge and he needs to be rebuked by this institutions

  • Hassan Meqe

    Thank you Dan Connell,
    One of a few remaining independent, fact based journalist/reporters out there.
    Thank you for visiting the Afar camps in Ethiopia. The Afar are indeed forgotten
    in every sense the word.

    There are many more Eritrean Afar refugees who are scattered around the neighbouring states,
    in Djibouti, Sudan and unfortunately even Yemen. It believed the Afar are single most displaced ethnicity out of Eritrea per capita. In Ethiopia alone there are five times more unregistered refugees who are unaccounted for or simply rooming the desert. This is outside the UNHCR figure of 29,000, it estimated over 200,000 Eritrean Afar have fled Eritrea.

    No question the Eritrean Afar camps in Ethiopia lack theaffectionate eyes of the donor countries in particular. It lacks basic needs and opportunities for these mainly young refugees, with meager food rations, lack of education, activities for the youth and access to medical need for the
    sick and elderly. It is indeed inhospitable and unforgiving situation.

    But one of the most “erroneous and misleading” information that has baffled us the Afar
    rights activists and others who have brought up Eritrean Afar case internationally, are the fact “they(Afar) are not willing to go resettle in the third countries”. These are absolute lies. This may have contributed for Afar being forgotten by the international communities, especially by Donor countries to UNHCR. These lies about Eritrean Afar refugees being incompatible or can’t adjust
    to the western culture if they were to be given the chance to resettle in the USA, Canada, Germany, Sweden, and elsewhere in the world is the product of systemic racist propaganda out there and single most contributor to their neglect. With plane-load of humanitarians, journalists,
    donor agencies visiting Ethiopia’s other camps every year, very few make it to investigate
    Afar Eritrean humanitarian crisis. The Eritrean Afar youth have fled Eritrea under exactly similar circumstance to those of other Eritreans elsewhere in the Ethiopian camps, they fled endless military services, persecutions, repressive system and the Afar youth are just as educated
    but yet to be considered for resettlement opportunities.

    This misleading information that have closed the doors shut for Afar resettlement opportunities have been the work of social engineering project by Isaias Afwerki and his Tigrigna support base in Diaspora. These “walls of racial bigotry” has been emanating from ruling class in Eritrea and unfortunately has now trickled down into Ethiopia and the west. The culture of domination of
    minorities such as the Afar is the prime source of these Afar refugees in crisis in the first place.

    Let’s all say no to discriminations, racial bigotry and favoritism,

    Let’s all help the Afar refugees in need.

    I congratulate Don Connell for having the courage to go
    visit the Afar people,

    Well done!!!

    • Rahwa Tesfai Ghermai

      Fool. Your DAN COLONIALISATION cares neither for the AFAR nor for the African-Americans whose plight his WICKED CIA mind has never acknowledged.
      CORRECTION:- on the other hand he is probably interested in Afar pussy

      • http://danconnell.net Dan Connell

        Get over yourself

        • Daniel

          Did she (Rahwa) touch some nerve?

          • DavidYeh

            I think she did…

          • http://danconnell.net Dan Connell

            She made me embarrassed for Eritrea with her descent into the gutter,, insulting Afar women in her righteousness. This is the sort of garbage one expects from people like Donald Trump. You should be embarrassed too. Her comments have no place in this dispute.

          • Daniel

            Don’t fret Dan, she insulted you individually, big deal!! With your nonsense article, aren’t you attempting to insult people intelligence?

          • Yoel Samuel

            If you only have half decency of Donald Trump, Mr rat. You just makes us embarrassed for your obituary. # traitor, # atheist, # lie

        • DavidYeh

          You have serious issues. You’re the one who needs to get over with himself.

      • Hassan Meqe

        @Rahwa
        You Tigrignas Neither care for the Afar, It looks like you suffer from some of the characteristic I have mentioned above, Characteristics of Racial Bigotry against the Afar people, the ruling class, which I believe you belong to, will be responsible if the Afar were to secede from Eritrea. Just to teach you some history lesson about Eritrea and the Afar, The Afar started the liberation struggle not the Tigrigna’s you see in power today. They hijacked the revolution. Why in the hell would you think the Afar
        will secede any way. Why in the hell are you upset, Change your attitude about
        Afar and you will live in peace with them and other minorities. You should be ashamed
        of yourself.

        • Daniel

          ‘No question the Eritrean Afar camps in Ethiopia lack theaffectionate eyes of the donor countries in particular’

          You mean they are being discriminated by donor countries too?

    • DavidYeh

      Another character with hidden agenda…lol

      • Daniel

        indeed

    • Yoel Samuel

      another Eprdf imposter

  • http://danconnell.net Dan Connell

    SEphrem & Nathan: Writers don’t choose photos or write headlines. They write stories. Editors choose photos and write headlines. I submitted the photos that have my name on them with photo credits. The photo editor chose the top one, which I did not see until it was posted, so lighten up on your self-serving criticism and deal with the story. Deceit? Hardly. What point would there be? This was a mistake by the editors but no more sinister than that.

    • Rahwa Tesfai Ghermai

      DIRTY BASTARD, you will CROAK before you succeed in dividing OR conquering my people.

      • http://danconnell.net Dan Connell

        Brilliant thoughtful reply. But it isn’t me who’s creating all these refugees. You should be looking elsewhere for the source of the problem. Maybe a mirror.

        • Daniel

          KKKK, you all people to preach about causes of the ills of the world? why don’t you look yourself in the mirror? You really are priceless Dan Connell.

        • DavidYeh

          Your relentless Eritrean head line is old thus why don’t you try something different? You can have better and lucrative business with Ethiopian refugees.

        • Yoel Samuel

          May be we should look at the verdict of the west against Eritrean people.
          1. Broken promise to implement the international border decisions by the Us, Un Au Eu …. Sentenced the whole Eritrean people to defend the long border while creating a military system and creating a beast Issayas.
          2. Sanctioning Eritrean on false accusation from historical Eritrean foe Ethiopia , maintaining sanction regardless of current reality ….. Sentenced Eritrean pope to economic disaster.
          Add the two , Sir, gives you refugees. You can spin or mask what ever you want, those two decisions are the main causes for refugee crisis in Eritrea. And , respectfuly sir, you know it in your heart but decided to cash your legacy before you die.

          Just remember, your hands are not clean on those decisions because funny people like susan rice rely on your lies under 40 years expertise on Eritrea blanket.

      • Daniel

        @Rahwa,

        isn’t it hilarious Dan trying to be the proverbial ‘more catholic than the pope”?

    • DavidYeh

      There is nothing to deal with this crap story, man. Why don’t leave Eritrea alone and get a life? You’ve lost with all missions already.

    • Makda

      Good for you !!! Who cares what pic is used .
      Here is my point of view tho!
      I personally don’t agree with Eritrean government and for that reason I left home and reside in U.S.
      Now I know a lot of things are going on in Eritrea but treating Afar and and their religion unfairly isn’t one of them .
      Believe me not Moslems have it good in Eritrea . In fact it is the other way round . Christians can’t practice their religion out side of the three regions accepted by the government . Christina’s Are been persecuted and jailed !!! But Moslems are actually more better treated in Eritrea . Plus 1%of the population accounts for Afars in Eritrea and Gues what ?
      They have their sultan with full power allowed by the government . I wish I was afar for real !!!
      I saw some comments too ,
      They think Tigrinya tribe has everything to do with this …. Let’s not go there !!! Don’t let a non Eritrean bring a comment and instil this thoughts not unity among us.
      Eritrean government isn’t the best government and we all know it . But during this times the only way to beat it is to be together !!!’
      At last Don Conell please have your facts straight before submitting an article because it car hurt your credibility !!!! Do things to bring together not separate them . Correct me if I am wrong but as an Eritrean I feel like this article you wrote can bring more harm than good . You don’t want to be that person do you ??!

      • Hassan Meqe

        Whether you like to twist it this way or that way, we, the Afar lay blame upon you ,the Tigrigna Majority for our sufferings. Stop mixing up the question of Ethnicity to the Muslim plight in Eritrea ,

        We are not persecuted because we are Muslims; we are persecuted because we are Afar people.
        We are persecuted and displaced from our ancestral lands because our land (Dankalia) is the breadbasket for Eritrea. It contains vast natural resources, including large potash deposits, gold and other metals. Dankalia’s coast is significant geopolitically; it includes the country’s two main port cities of Assab and Massawa which are the economic engine for Country’s future development.

        The Diaspora sympathizers of the Eritrean regime want to keep the world in dark of these facts, The ruling class (Tigrigna) have made it their mission to displace
        the Afar from this land and inherit its wealth; they do this using multifaceted
        strategy,

        The regime is using violent means to displace Afar,using rapes of Afar women, torture and mass executions of Afar leaders and businessmen.

        The regime supported by the Tigrigna Diaspora uses the constitution (whether implemented or not) to claim Afar lands and sea, resources for the use of Eritrean state (Tigrigna).
        Using the propaganda hate, Fear, Racism, Marginalization, assimilation, mass resettlement of highlanders into Afar territories….

        The UN Special Rapportuer and the Commission of Inquiry (COIE) have acknowledged these facts,
        See the UN links below,
        http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session23/A.HRC.23.53_ENG.pdf
        http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/CoIEritrea/Pages/ReportCoIEritrea.aspx
        To deny all these atrocity against the Afar ethnicity is it a call for another conflict and instability in the region.

        Ethnic conflicts are just as bad as religious conflict;
        you better wake-up and address the real issues by minorities and the indigenous people.

        You can’t pull the wool over our eyes anymore, and disguise it otherwise, Racist Bigots!!!
        Yes, this is coming from proud Afar Eritrean, not Ethiopian impostor!!!!

        • Makda

          Hassan , listen
          This is exactly why I wrote what I wrote !!! Earlier .
          Why blaming Tigrinya instead of blaming the government ????
          I personally don’t have any issues with any ethnic group and the same with the rest of Tigrinya people . If people are voting for the government is not for the accusations you mentions its for their personal gains most probably but you I am sure are very well educated person and for you to simply generalize a while ethnic group is just to silly and in wide on my opinion .
          Plus I thought Eritrea was for al of us Eritreans ! Why say our land and resources of afar is been exploited ?? Really Hassan ? I am happy you are a proud Afar and I do believe that you are beautiful and humble people but please stop this nonsense and speak up for all Eritreans !!!!

          • Makda

            Excuse spelling errors !!! Auto correct is killing me .
            Anyway
            Wanted to add ….
            I thought afar people were nomads ??? How are they even pushed away from a place they are not even living for a whole year ? Come on now !
            It really saddened my heart when you wrote the Eritrean state (Tigrinya ) .
            We wouldn’t have said that if you were a wise person ! Sorry if I am insulting you but I feel like I should say something to you now before you go down the long dip whole and not find your way back later .
            We are all Eritreans and we should stick together and beat anything that come against it !!!
            Stop this silly ideology of yours !!! It is exactly what the British used to separate us before ! It is an old and out aged system leave it behind Hassan !!!
            Be a wise man and speak up for all Eritreans !!! I am sure you are suffering but who isn’t in Eritrea ???? Don’t change it to an ethnic problem . This is clearly a problem of a man in Power!!!!!!

          • Hassan Meqe

            Did you just see what you said Makda, Do you see the racial bigotry in your voice? ” I thought afar people were nomads”, ….Unless you are a minority or Indigenous people you won’t relate to what we are going through in Eritrea today,

            Yes, we are nomadic, yes we are patriotic, Yes we are doctors, Yes we are mothers,Yes we are Martyrs ,
            Yes we are proud People, Long established, self governing people, Long long before Eritrean Tigrignas.

            We were Nomads and fishermen when you Tigrignas were begging us to hid you under our beds from the persucution from the Dergue,

            We were nomads and Fishermen when you Tigrignas have begged us to to take cross the red sea from the persecution of the Emperor Selassie.

            We were nomads and Fishermen when you finally decided to fight for your rights in Eritrea,
            Do you remember that time when you begged these nomads and Fishermen to help you with weapons from across the middle east, Afwerki remembers that,
            Do you remember the time when you wanted to hid you children, your weapons in the enclaves of Dankalia? The Afar were there for you.
            Have you forgotten the Afar sacrifice,
            Have you forgotten the Afar so you can now speak proudly as Eritreans,
            Oh people of the highlands, what have you became? You may think the Afar hate the Tigrigna, but a good friend is a one to puts you in check when you are wrong.
            Respect the Afar people’s rights to their self determination, political status pursue their economic, social and cultural development freedoms in their own territory.
            These are the values what Eritreans have fought for and died. This is what the Afar is all about, How can any peace loving citizen of Eritrea deny this to Afar, in this days and age?

            You want peace , we have one, you want war we have one, your choice,

            I, as an Afar Eritrean, i want peace , and I pledge to you the Afar will meet you in the middle way for peace and respect, Are you ready to comedown of your high-horse to meet the Afar for peace?

          • Makda

            I don’t have time to talk nonsense !
            You are a small minded person . You are actually saying that all the colonialism was only for Tigrinya people . We were all colonized Hassan! You say you helped us yes as you should . That’s what we need to do for each other . You sound like you don’t have any right just as afar people . Ok let me ask you !?
            All those Tigrinya people you are blaming what are they getting ??what you are not getting . You know Tigrinya people are fleding like no other but you are simply ignoring it .
            All this time we Tigrinya girls were hunted by MPs to go for national service but your girls were spared just because they wanted to respect your traditions … Really Hassan I am speaking facts here no emotions . If you want to grow and really help your people start thinking wide and think for all Eritreans .
            I am sure afar are having problems but we all are . But you say that you a re doctors teachers to tell me that you are educated . Here is the thing tho … Education works well with wise people . Be wise look for it and try to find it sir.you will gain more than lose and you will spend your time on a much important issues than just trying to separate people who have been coexisting for generations with peace .
            Actually lets talk out in person come out and let’s talk … If you really think Tigrinya people are actually depriving you your rights and not care about your well being as a people . Come out lets talk .
            Let me speak up for you if you really have a problem , I don’t discriminate !!!!

          • Hassan Meqe

            I know you are not sitting at Denden Hall Asmara at position power,

            All we’ve asked of you as Diaspora supporter, Is for a little nderstanding and sympathy for our atrocities predominantly committed by your people, You’re not even acknowledging that suffering. This tells me you are not accepting
            the olive branch I sent, You opted of war instead, Let’s see were that takes
            you.

          • Makda

            Correction : I don’t even support the regime I. Eritrea .
            I speak for all oppressed Like I said I don’t discriminate .
            You don’t even know what war means. Are you calling this social media behind a screen action war???Honestly I believe that you have never been affected personally . Rather you are a power hungry person . I can smell it from far. If you really want power I can teach you how to get it . For sure what you are doing is not the way . You better put your self on check. don’t even talk about the real Afar people of Eritrea because we will speak for them . They don’t need your pity even if you think you are Afar . You are just like The author of this article. You seem to act like you care where you are just pursuing your own agenda.
            People of Eritrea let us open our eyes.

          • Daniel

            @Makda,

            Are you that stupid to think this guy is either Eritrean or Afar? What is the matter with you! Are you incapable of reading between the lines. HE IS AN IMPOSTER!

          • Makda

            Honestly Daniel I was hurt to see a person calling them selves Eritrean can actually creat lies to manipulate a situation to their own agendas . I try not to be stupid but I can only believe he is an Eritrean antil I have a fact that he is not . Thank you for putting me on check ☺️.
            tho if he is Eritrean and thinks like this he must be mentally challenged .
            Anyway I can’t hide it i am really sad 😔😔😔😔.

          • Yoel Samuel

            Makda, he is not mentally challenged. He is @game. You probably young to get to know @games but they are by default beggars, self haters, imposters, lies, manipulative, haters …… Stay way far from them!

          • Yoel Samuel

            people this Hssen Meqe is Eprdf @game imposter. He is every where, trying to make us believe eprdf mandate in the form “The UN Special Rapportuer and the Commission of Inquiry (COIE) have acknowledged these facts”
            ……LOL it old news by now the us, un au eu ……all operate under eprdf. Disgusting beggar. Worry about aid addict mama ethiopia, your Ethino Centeric Govt and your 90 mill dysfunctional ppl. Eritrean problems Eritrean Solutions. This Afar fiasco was produced by Ethiopia’ s eprdf gov and now it is on Don Connell hand for enhancement next thing , we will hear it from susan rice.

  • Milly

    I don’t think that picture above depicts the Afar tribe of Eritrea. It looks like a completely different tribe from a completely different country.

  • Rahwa Tesfai Ghermai

    Lame bastard, how perfectly predicatable that you would have taken that cause under your wing. The AFAR are more my people than they are your people DAN COLONIALISATION and you WILL FAIL in your attempts to force them to secede.

  • Noor

    Dan is right, authors don’t get to choose the title and accompanying photographs of their report. He shouldn’t blame for the editors mistake with the photo. And why is it a big deal when what matters is the substance of the piece? Please grow up!

  • Tekle

    This is one of the most informative report on the predicament of the Eritrean Afars. Dan Connell’s contribution in exposing the crime being perpetuated against the Eritrean people in general and that of the Afars in particular should be an eye opener for the nay sayers and the mentaly challenged. Dan has been the most trusted and reliable friend of Eritrea for over forty years and his dedication in serving out strugle for justice without fail deserves our recognition and gratitude. As usual, Dan’s timely and scholarly contribution is admirable and historic. THANK YOU, DAN.

  • Minnasie

    Eritrea seems unique in attracting the predatory type Ferengis who pose as “friends.” Eritrea is no more than a commodity to peddle for such people. One of the crimes of the PFDJ has been to expose the country to such sadists. Dan does not fit this profile. He has been loyal to Eritrea in bitter times but these days I feel he is giving up on Eritrean independence by cozying up to the Ethiopians and driving a deeper wedge among Eritreans.
    I know of an unscrupulous woman who calls herself a scholar who is the worst predator I know. Eritreans are naïve and too trusting and allow themselves to be used.

    • Yoel Samuel

      Exactly. Our worst enemy is letting our enemy write for us while no body bother to stand up for the truth. Dan Connell has been traitor of Eritrea since the war. People need to stand up for the truth.

  • Daniel

    Someone give Dan Connell an award for best creative fictional work. Don’t believe a world that comes from this dudes mouth or pen. His unhealthy obsession with Eritrean affair is mind boggling. But we appreciate the attention. Keep obsessing, we take it as a complement.

  • Daniel

    The honourable Archbishop Desmond Tutu once remarked,

    ‘When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land’

    The point is, in case it hasn’t dawned on anyone, the likes of Dan Connell are the modern day missionaries.

    Wake up folks don’t be fools all your lives. when you see moles like this Dan be the mallet and bash them before they do serious damage.

    • Hassan Meqe

      @Daniel, Believe me when I say, The biggest threat to Eritrea’s Sovereignty and Unity is not the Afar,or The Ethiopians or anything else, It’s the Racial Bigotry of Eritrean Tigrignas, This is what created The current ruling Class and Isaias, Afwerki.

      My advice to you and your likes in all over cyberspace,
      Please wise-up, Just like the Bishop Tutu said, don’t close your eyes on your fellow Afar, you may lose the entire thing (Eritrea) if you don’t treat people right, If this Bigotry is untreated,people will opt out!!!!.

      • Daniel

        Pretending I am actually talking to an Eritrean Afar and not an Ethiopian imposter with a made up muslim name, I ask this question: whom will we lose Eritrea to exactly?

        • Vincent Thilbaut

          to a civil war!

          • Daniel

            Vinciboy, don’t lose sleep. Now get back to your joystick.

          • Yoel Samuel

            I must talking about different Eritrea then

      • Yoel Samuel

        , Hassan, eprdf Cadre, why don’t leave Eritrea issues to Eritreans and worry about your ETHINO CENTERIC govt, Aid addict mama Ethiopia , 3% ethic woyane won 100% of Ethiopian ( with 100 ethic groups) election, Very funny. Things are ticking in country of yours. The day addis ppl SPRING RISE on woyane, it will be the end of @games as we know it. Get off Eri d**k and get your life. Disgusting beggar

        • Extraterrstrial

          Till you bring back the stolen people and land of Afar and Kunama you will never leave in peace.

          • Yoel Samuel

            At least you got guts to spell what you want. You reminded me your grand father midjet Slassie and your father animal Mengstu. If you want to visit you cousins grave in Nakfa plz be our guest. Aint no USSR now though. disgusting @game

          • Extraterrstrial

            It is not far when AssMaria burn to ashes.

          • Yoel Samuel

            Well, nothing new, I only hear drums. If you want to see AIDHIOPIA in to pieces, bring it on.

  • DavidYeh

    You telling us the people on the picture are Afars? I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.

    • Daniel

      Apparently his expertise stretches as far as writing the article then he leave for other to attach the pictures :)

      • DavidYeh

        Apparently that is supposed to be his cover up for his one of the shittiest articles.

  • DavidYeh

    This Dan guy is ridiculous. What ever he writes is a joke. He seems and acts as if he knows much about East Africa in general and Eritrea in particular but he doesn’t at all. He is in fact a deceiver for the sake of his own special interest.

  • Ber

    @Dan You said, “The photo comes from the editors of the site, not me. My photos have my name on them. Writers don’t pick photos or do headlines.” That’s is an outright lie Dan. Shame on you. Ok you didn’t took the photos yourself, but I have no doubt you knew the photo will be used as a headline for your article, beforehand. Worst, for an avarage unsuspecting reader, you sould as if you took all the photos yourself, while you were visiting in the area. Ayyyyy Uncle sam cought again with his hands in a cookie jar kkkkkkk. There is a say in Eritrea loosely interprated as follows, “He who is very eager, dreams what his heart desires.” Its all good. We blamed on your obsession with the GoE lol.

    Come on now lets be serious Dan, its your article, mind you, you went all the away to the area, of course, we all know by now, you did that not bc you care about the Eritrean Afars but bc you are obsessed with the GoE, and yet you allow the editors to put a photo of their choice that you spent so much energy and time eh? That’s just is BS. You must be kidding to yourself Dan, seriously. It just doesn’t make sense at all. Just because you couldn’t take any sensualised photos that will help you defaming the GoE, your usual favorate target, mind you going all the way there, and now telling us, well its the editors’ mistake and blame it on them, is just an outright lie and disgraceful to say the least. It really is Dan, and thats makes Dan Connell, the father of all media prostitutes. No one can beat you on that. That we all know.

    Having said that, now you got to admit your mistake and should appologize, speacially to your unsuspecting average readers, who don’t know the sinster agenda you have against Eritrea as country. As the rest of your informed readers, who caught you with your pants down, well we have no a slightest doubt in our mind that, yes you didn’t took the photos yourself, but its YOU not the editors chose the photos on your artcle, to deliberetly sensualise the story and mislead your audiance about the GoE as usual. Well, that only confirms your media prostutution job, which you are very good at Dan, the so called an expert in Eritrea politics lol It so sad!!!

    Rememeber, Against All Odds, Dan? Eritrea is doing it again. Eritrea is thriviing and it will previal again AGAINST ALL ODDS, So Dan, Mr. twisted mind, “the Camel is marching, while the dogs bark”. So keep on barking doggy!!

    KKKKKKK you changed the photo now eh?? Welll its too late, The damage is already done. We caught you with your pants down, kkkkk Changing it now, won’t change the fact that you are the father of all media prostitutes. At your caliber, to make such a mistake, just bc you are so obsessed with the GoF is ridiculous!!!

    • Hassan Meqe

      Look at the magnificent and the array of diversity of the Afar people; they are the cradle of humanity, they are the mother of all mothers, Yes including the present day Eritrean Tigrignas, The Afar are just as colorful and beautiful as the people you make fun-off in the picture of the article. The history has mistreated the Afar, but Eritrea cannot destroy the cradle, even if she tries. See the link below

      https://www.google.ca/search?q=afar+people&newwindow=1&site=webhp&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj7tNGKpsfJAhXl64MKHdIkAQAQ_AUIBygB&biw=960&bih=650

      • Teazabay Hidegu Algisu

        Hello Dan, It is not your first time to write a story that does not go with the truth. Do not worry. Till you get it together, continue with the same pace of writing. It might take you a long time. It is okay. These guys are criticizing you because they do not understand your poor writing proficiency. I know you are born in English language, but you have difficult time to handle the only language you know. It is okay. Do not worry. You will get it together one day. Try and try. Please do not give up. Guys, leave him alone. He is just practicing writing in English. Even though his stories are not cohesive and do not synchronize with the pictures, what is the big deal? He does not know how to write in English. Please, give him a break till he gets it together. Thanks!!!!

  • Fiseha

    Dear Dan Connel,

    I used to have respect for you when you visited Eritrea long time ago during liberation of struggle. I thought you were a good friend. Every time you write an article or talk this days , it becomes against the core values and freedom of Eritrean people and it’s Government. You loosing a big respect that you had by the day like this one. It is wrong moraly and irresponsible as person like you to meddle in Eritreans affairs just to cause division among Eritreans. It unacceptable by any Eritrean when you try purposely to create division to our fabric that hold us together as people. As you know years back we will figh you bacj and expose you as evil man when you try to create damage to our unity. Please restrain from such obvious and cleatr message of yours to save some some respect..

  • Michaelinlondon1234

    So let me see if I have this right.
    You have used photo’s of nomadic herders to try to justify your article.
    Teach them how to plant trees and coppicing while they are being nomads would be more useful.
    Teach them how to plant native fruit trees where they normally camp would also be good.
    Teach them how to make a sand and charcoal water filter using a stack of water bottles might be useful as well.

  • Daniel

    Kkkk, long and behold Having caught with his pants down he (Dan) has now changed the picture.

  • http://danconnell.net Dan Connell

    Those who argue that calling attention to discrimination against an ethnic minority in the name of “national unity” undermines Eritrea need to listen to themselves and hear the echoes of debates going on in the US where whites accustomed to privilege respond to the Black Lives Matter campaign by arguing that All Lives Matter and insist that to say otherwise is to be divisive. Sound familiar?

    But this is not new or unique. Every privileged group uses such arguments to defend their position. Men resisting women’s equality, whites resisting racial equality, you name the hierarchy, you’ll hear the same argument.

    In the 1960s when I first became involved in politics, civil rights protestors attacking racism were told they were anti-American. The slogan of the privileged was “America: Love it or leave it.” Sound familiar? Criticism of Israel for its treatment of Palestinians is called anti-Semitic. Sound familiar?

    False unity masks structural weakness. Genuine unity and national strength are built on shared struggles for rights. Everyone’s rights.

    • Daniel

      Save us your gibberish Mr Connell, do you think you can fool the people? Your are the modern day ‘missionary’ or mercenary with fake human right concern. Give it up, this is not the 1920. Nobody buys your smoke and mirror.

    • Amanu

      Dan Connell has been trying to incite civil unrest for a while now. The people of Eritrea collectively must consider taking his defamation to the anti-defamation league. His writing and work are not designed to inform it is designed to generate hatred and division. This is what the ADL stands for. “The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Now the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry,” Stop hate and division among Africans. Stop Don Connell from spreading hate

    • Yoel Samuel

      I don’t know where i should start. But respectfully Sir, you are mixing up orange and apples big time.
      1. You can blame Eritrean dictator govt on all otheir policies but not of ethic equality. Every ethic group in Eritrea is facing the same brutal policies as the people of afar. Its all over, across the board. Your attempt to set civil war on Eritrea, using the gap existed by current dictator of Eritrea regime,is though ,sir, puts you in a new low level, TRAITOR.
      High lighting ” Black lives matters” in a country that imitate communism is very comic and it is insult on your readers intelligence.
      If you are truly concerned about civil rights ,as 1960s Don Connell would though , Sir, , please spend some time on Ethiopia where 3 % of ethic Tigraynan won 100% of election. Thats big “Ethiopian lives matters ” right there, African version. Eritrean problem is far from that. Feel very sorry for your readers insulted by your 50 Eritrean expert blanket. Like one comment said your profile don’t fit you work.
      2. The only reason you focusing on Afar people as your allies in eprdf govt is Assab. It would be classy if you spell your position on that matter.

      Your false narrative might gives you a 15 sec fame to sell your book by cashing your legacy, but , trust me, your obituary will not sound good with big words of traitor, atheist.

    • Makda

      Oh Don ,
      What we are saying is we have bigger issue as a whole nation and let’s deal with it together . We speak up for afar now but the bigger issue is forgotten . The whole country is repressed not just afar . What is the point now picking a small group and focusing about them . In those camps you said are Afars . Am sure Tigrinya and others are among them too . You are way better than this . If you care about Eritrea like you say you do , work to unit people so we can get stronger together .
      see what you did . We are actually talking garbage to each other here because of your article . Be a positive leader !!! I am saddened you are actually comparing this problem with the African American problem here in america . Two different issues in all bases . You might be a well respected professional in your field but this is not rocket science for me to change you .
      I will give you facts of you really need one find me .
      I can learn from you and you can learn from me . From a real person with true information for you to share .
      Simply nonsense !!! Really sad !!

  • Kibri Hager

    This old fart Dan Connell has gone senile willing to write any gibberish to fool the general public. Trying to bring chaos to Eritrea has been his life time goal and today Dan can’t seperate apples from oranges. As an Eritrean let me remind you of something you may have forgotten Eritrea and Eritrean will never kneel down.

  • Amanu

    Dan Connell has been trying to incite civil unrest for a while now. The people of Eritrea collectively must consider taking his defamation to the anti-defamation league. His writing and work are not designed to inform it is designed to generate hatred and division. This is what the ADL stands for. “The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Now the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry,” Stop hate and division among Africans. Stop Don Connell from spreading hate

  • MH

    Thank you, Mr. Dan Connell for bringing up the plight of the Afars. As an Eritrean, my experience and view is that the dictatorship is repressing all ethnic groups and destroying all cultures in Eritrea. I would also suggest to some of the commentators to focus on facts instead of personal attacks. Dispute the author’s facts and statements by bringing your own facts and not by hatred and personal attacks. If you believe the author has other motives, please enlighten us with such details, facts and references. Otherwise, you are only showing us how low your experience, knowledge and intelligence levels are.

    • Daniel

      I assert I just saw a pig fly. Now dispute my statement by bringing your own facts.

      • MH

        Daniel,
        In this age of Internet of Things and low flying Drones, I will give you the benefit of the doubt., since you might have seen a low flying pig-shaped drone. Therefore, no disputes from my side:)

        • Daniel

          No pig shaped drone, it was an actual pig. So do please refute this claim by fact. And don’t tell me pigs don’t fly. Because this one did. I saw it with my own two eyes as much as Dan Conell witnessed the prescution of Afar people.

  • Wodi Shiketi

    Daniel
    we have to remember we are dealing with an individual that is
    challenged and has a sore spot on his heart when it come to Eritrea, so
    we should not be surprised by his continuous accusations of our country
    that has been going on for a long time. We need to accept the fact that
    this evil minded individual has made it his job to attack Eritrea every
    time he gets a chance and this individual has made it his life time
    project to fabricate stories, facts and vigorously challenges Eritrea’s
    existence as a free nation and what it is doing to build a nation but
    his evil mind always works in derailing and trying to put a road block
    of what our country is doing by injecting unfounded stories and facts.
    The irony about all this is that he is so screwed up to understand that
    the Eritrean people are on his heels and fully understand what he is up
    to and do not put any weight on his accusations and his evil intentions.
    He can bark what he wants and he is simply under estimating the
    resolute of our people that they have learned in our thirty years of
    struggle and that many accusations have been levied on us and we have
    become immune to those accusations and take them as they come and put
    no value on them, but he thought his unrelenting accusations will force
    Eritrea to give in, Anjale belo. I will like to Dan that you are a
    nobody and your intentions are being witnessed by millions of Eritreans
    as one who tries relentlessly to inject accusations on our country. and
    this will be carved in our minds and if you think your evil intentions
    will sway our people stay tuned ” You Haven Not Seen Nothing Yet”. You
    biggest mistake is the underestimation of the will of the Eritrean
    people. The time you spent in the field within Eritrea during the war
    should have taught you what gallant, determined and not people to mess
    around with and this should have taught you a lesson but your have
    turned you back on Eritrea and this will be remembered not forgotten.

  • Afar Fan

    Dear Dan and Everyone,
    I would be insincere to erase your contribution for Eritrea. God knows you did more than most for Eritrea during the independence struggle. You were one of the few journalists to penetrate the mainstream media and give the rare publicity Eritrea had in those days.
    Once, I even learned about the death of a close relative killed by Ethiopian soldiers in my village through one of your articles. I remember the rage and helplessness I felt but grateful to you for making me aware.
    Now, I believe you had nothing to do with the picture that Foreign Policy attached to this article. I know enough about publishing to know how things work. I think you were ill served by the editors and their insensitive “Africa is a country” mentality.
    Having said all that, I don’t think you were prudent in this article. Whatever one says about Issayas, he has not victimized the Afars separately. He is an equal opportunity oppressor. You know as well as anyone that no one is safe around Issayas.
    If any group is suffering more than anybody else today, it is highland Christians. It is ludicrous to characterize highland Christians as privileged. In Israel, Sinai, Libya, Ethiopia, Sudan and everywhere, they are disproportionately victimized and tortured.
    To compare highland Christians with Whites in America during the civil rights movement is outlandish. America was to my knowledge was never threatened by war from Canada or Mexico as Eritrea is from Ethiopia. American stability and sovereignty was never threatened by poor blacks demanding civil rights. You know more than most people that the TPLF and their toy Hailemariam Desalegn are drooling and trying to use the Afars for their ambition to wage war. You don’t need to go further than to listen to Desalegn’s recent incoherent gibberish to realize this. You know the history very well.
    Eritrea is at its lowest point and that is why I question your motive in this article. If anything, Afars are more oppressed in Ethiopia and Djibouti. Why not expose that, if you really want to write about Afars? You talk about structural weakness in Eritrea. No one denies that. We never had peace in our history to strengthen our structure and build a nation. If you have Eritrea’s interest at heart, you don’t try to widen the rift in this young nation.

  • Gabriel H

    There are over 42 million hungry and thousands of homeless people in America. Mr. Dan Connell is worried for people thousands of miles away. He does not care for the people he has sinister motive. Leave Eritrea alone and care for your people.

  • Some Information

    Some information on the Afars in the Horn of Africa
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-16620783
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-16687617
    Future project suggestions for Dan
    Anuak Genocide in Ethiopia
    Atrocities in the Ogaden
    Atrocities on Moslems and Oromo by the EPRDF

    • Yoel Samuel

      Sorry Eprdf cadre , but it is old news by now BBC get their facts about Eritrea from Eprdf media.

  • DavidYeh

    Mr. Dan, you think you got better at this, Noh! There is not lucrative business for you with Eritreans anymore. You bogus fairytales are already old. There are over two million Ethiopian refugees that you can utilize for your special interest.

  • Samiel Mehary

    Mr. Dan, you know better there are not minority in Eritrea. What we have in Eritrea “HADE HEZBI HADE LEBI”. You must swallow the truth don’t go around. Leave Eritrea for Eritreans who paid heavy price for 30 years long war and paying heavy price Eritrea to be exemplar for Africa.

  • Ber

    Dan now that you get caught with your pats down, u decided to replace it with what looks like to me is cutting and pasting from google, as you or your edotors did with the privious photo that was originally posted; bc when I googled Afar Refugees in Ethiopian Camps it came out with exactly photo you originally posted. So your replacement photo raises even more questions,
    1) If your purpose was to travel all the way to Denkalis in order to expose the GoE maltreatment of Eritrean Afars, how come you didn’t take a photo of Eritrean afar refugees in the Ethiopian Refugee camps? That would have make your story more credible. You/your editors can’t just google another photo and cut and paste it again. So to me there were none that were out of ordinary events you saw about Eritrean Afars that could help you sensuialise your story period.
    2) When was this photo taken? Bc the people in the photo replaced could easily be Ethiopian Afars or Dijubouti Afars taken during the Derg era for that matter. I mean anything is possible. Did you verify that? If so where is your proof? You can’t just google an Afar photos in the internet and then replace it bc that will only confirm that you are a prostitute Journalist as you are already preceived by many in your past dealings regarding Eritrean politics. .
    3) The photo is showing as taken by The Image Works, who is Image Works? What was the purpose for taking the photo, and how current is it?

    I know the rash behind replacing it asap Dan. No doubt, it’s very embarassing for you to put a wrong photo, thinking no one will notice and then get caught red handed. specially with over 40 years extensive knowledge and exprience as you always brag about. But Hellooooo !! you can’t just replace it with any photo of Afar people out there, who again could easily be Djuboutian or Ethiopian 0r even worst the photo could have being taken during the 1984 Etiopia famine in the Afar region lol I seriously didn’t know you could go this low Dan. I mean it. Given your past in Eritrean hitory, I have always given you the benefit of a doubt, but not any more Dan.

    Let me say now a world or two about your dubious and divicive title of you article
    “a tightly knit Muslim minority”
    FYI Muslims are not minorty in Eritrea; the whole world know that Eritrea is equaly divided 50/50 among Muslim Christians population. Where you got the Muslim minory idea is beyound me really.

    Even the so called Eritren opposition parties are starting to realize the conispiracies out there agains their country Eritrea, which come in different forms to undermine its sovereignty. So now all Eritreans, putting our political differences aside, we all in unison are saying FOOL ME ONCE….. One can safely says, 99% of all the comments you got here were negative and saw it yourself too, i.e. including from those Eritreans, who are not really fond of GoE. So Dan you need to weak up and smell the coffee. La partita a finita. The game is over lol OROMAi!!! Time to look another victim Dan. Seriously!! May be the Weyane land will be a fartile land for your BS lol

    In fact, what I found out now is, the wrong photo you put originally, was a photo of peope from souther part of Ethiopia, who were forced to leave their land bc the Weyane junta had sold it to multinationals. So instead of exposing the real gynocidal Weyane for mistreating its own citizens, you chose to attact the GoE, worst with the photo of Weyane victims and nothing to do with Eritrea. How low is low for you Dan? Jesusss!!

    • Daniel

      Well said Ber.

    • http://danconnell.net Dan Connell

      This exchange gets more ridiculous as it goes on. I took this photo in Assyaita Camp in Ethiopia’s Afar Regional State by me in June 2015. I was back in Assayita last month and then in Berahle Camp, but my camera jammed so I started using an iPhone. A few of the photos from this trip taken at the sulfur springs in Dalul are up on my FB page. Your google search may have found my photo of the Afar refugee in Assayita, which is also on Facebook, though I am skeptical you found the same one. Show me/us the URL. But you are making a huge issue out of photos without dealing with the substance of the article.

      Afars are a minority. They are also Muslim. Ergo, they are a Muslim minority (one of several), whether Muslims are 50% of the total population or not (which I often say in articles as you must know).

      Many Afars are also refugees, some in Assayita (9,000+), some in Berahle (8,557) and many more in villages and towns in the Afar State. Some are also in Djibouti, mostly in Djibouti City. (Most Eritreans in the Ali Addeh camp in Djibouti are Tigrinya speakers.) And some are in Yemen where they are caught in the crossfire of a civil war. They are all Eritreans. They are all in need. The international community is doing too little to help or protect them. Does this concern you at all?

    • http://danconnell.net Dan Connell

      And what’s this nonsense about not taking photos in the camps. Did you actually look at the article? There are two others embedded in it that show the terrible conditions people face there where sandstorms and high winds blow right through the flimsy tents they get.

  • Extraterrstrial

    This people should join Ethiopia, from the start they were not Eritrean. Free the Afar and Kunama people now from the onslaught of the Eritrean Tigrignas dictatorship!!!

    • Daniel

      Agame kondaf, dream on!

    • Yoel Samuel

      @game, why don’t worry about your Aid addict mama Ethiopia, your Ethino Centeric EPRDF govt of Ethiopia and your 90 mill dysfunctional ppl……… before you obsess with Eritrea. Disgusting beggar

      • Extraterrstrial

        Shabia parasites are experts in insults, I don’t think this is what your Turkish, Italian, British, Egyptian masters thought you while ruling you as slaves.

        • Yoel Samuel

          well show me what you learned from your feudal masters except foot washing, lying, begging, faking, worshiping your feudal masters ……
          Eritrean problems, Eritrean solutions. Eprdf cadre , worry about your Ethic Centric govt, your Aid addict country, your 90 mill dysfunctional ppl ……..

  • Teddy Sheda

    Down the hill Mr Dan goes. Please be sure the door doesn’t hit you on your way our.
    After decades of trying to penetrait and control the Goverment of Eritrea and then recruiting some sell outs trying to set up his own little puppet goverment in 2001 and then still not giving up sets up a whole bunch of sell out organization which he then used to entice youth to flee and become Refugee and tries to gain International attention crying his famous crocodile tears, Mr Dan has shown he is at his final stage and hence showing his true colors of his true intentions.
    I am suprised anyone let’s him post anything anymore let alone belive this person to be more caring about any Eritrean than Eritreans. You should know better

  • American Friend Of Eritrea

    I think PFDJ is bad news for Eritrea but I think it did one thing right.
    If it really leased Assab to the Saudis, that is brilliant. The EPRDF rats and their friends such as this author are frantic. It explains why they are writing this nonsense.

  • Sirak Bahlbi

    The phrase ‘growing old disgracefuly’ applies to Dan Connell every time he tries to intervene in Eritrea these days and attempt to change the course of the nation. It is very likely the respect and esteem afforded to him for his contribution during the struggle for our independence has gone to his head and left him with the undue impression he has the power and influence to effect change in politics of Eritrea. White-Man-Burden in a closet if you like.
    I recently watched a video clip of Dan Connell openly claiming he does not want to die before the Eritrean Government is unseated. That is very sad and not expected form an old person who wants peace, stability and progress for the Eritrean people. It is also sad to see Eritreans questioning his initial motive of why had he zeroed in Eritrea in the first place. Did he have a mission in Eritrea in parallel to people like Gayle Smith had done in Ethiopia? fostering a friendly government that can be tamed and controlled by infiltrators. Which ever way you cut it, for Eritreans, Dan Connell is growing old disgracefully.

  • Med Shehim

    Thank you Mr.Dan for spending time in those harsh camps and getting the real account of what’s have happened to forgotten Afar refugees While none of those so called Eritrean NGOs that’s getting countless Aid and donations in the name of refugees never put their foot on these camps just because they are all Afar Refugees. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends (MLK). God bless you!!!

    • Yoel Samuel

      ” ….. non of Eritrean NGO in the name of refugee” You must mixed the AID to eprf govt. The one gov that cook refugee # s to get more Aid is the @game govt of Ethiopia. You smell eprdf cadre, disgusting beggar. Worry about your Ethio Centeric eprdf govt, your aid addict Ethiopia, …………….

      • Med Shehim

        You Philthy Shabia you can do name calling and all that, but at least Ethiopia is where you find safe heaven they give you shelter, education, food etc… when your psychopath dictator chase your ass away. If you love Your life in Eritrea so much Why don’t you stay with your fucked up uncle Afworki Instead of crossing the border to Ethiopia or dying in sea and become a food for sharks. Anyway sooner or later The Afars will join back their Afar brother in Ethiopia. You can say good bye to Assab and the Red Sea but you can keep your misery to yourself.

        • Yoel Samuel

          You sound like just your grandfather Slassie and your father Mengstu, they didn’t end up good, one under the toilet and the other one is still in hell.

          …..” bye to Red…….” Very Funny. If you want to visit your cousins grave in Nakfa, be our guest, @game. …….” ethiopia is safe heaven ……..” ,tell that to your church UN the will send you more aid in the name of any thing. The @game Eprdf govt just start new campaign , on the name 50 years drought BS, to get more aid to corrupt :

          http://www.startribune.com/ethiopia-over-10-million-will-need-food-aid-in-january/360843901/

          So @game worry about Aid addicted ethiopia and it Ethino Centric govt and leave eritrean problem to Eritreans.

  • Whocares

    Oh my God!
    The main issue here is afar people plight by the barbaric government who waged relentless wars against everyone of its neighbors and for that matter its own people. We know that it’s a truth and the pictures have not any problems. It exactly shows Afars in their desert shanty huts. The thing that I don’t understand is why is these bloggers don’t have a care and sense of humanity beyond barking against any criticism against a wel known criminal dictator depot?
    Mr Connell, please don’t judge us as we that area people are different and have a different perspective about everything like any other people in the world.

    • Yoel Samuel

      Another Eprdf imposter

  • Hassan Meqe

    Dan Connell,

    Dan,
    You are a brave man,
    Continue standing-up for the little guys and the voiceless,
    this is what you did as a foreign journalist in the 60’s when no one dared to
    see the Eritrean liberation fighters.

    I will tell you why this article about the little Afar was blown out of proportion by Tigrigna (Ruling Class). The Uproar of the Tigrigna against the Afar is nothing new or surprising. This is not the first article you have written on the plight of Eritrean refugees but rarely do we see this type of reaction. You have touched a raw nerve in the hills of Hamasein.

    I will tell you why they are reacting this way.

    a) They want to keep the entire world in the dark about the Afar plight in Eritrea. They see us (the Afar) as a commodity rather than indigenous people with history, culture and aspirations.

    b) Articles by you and any other UN Special Rapportuers, Indigenous rights groups, or anyone else about Afar situation in Eritrea irritates them. Because they think if no one know about the Afar they will continue abusing them and their resources.

    c) The Afar homeland (Dankalia), its strategic coastal areas, geopolitical interests, the ports, Potash and Natural resources are estimated around 200-300$ Billon dollars worth. There is nothing in terms of natural resources or strategy in the hills highlands (Hamasien). Danklalia
    is the Jewel of Eritrea, The breadbasket of Eritrea. Afwreki has militarized the entire Danklia, and its no go zone. Even for tourist.

    d) President Afwerki has just sold/leased vast Afar territory to Australian corporation for 100’s of millions; recently, He has leased/sold Afar ports and strategy to Gulf Coalition some say around 6-7Billions for 30yrs no one knows.

    This is why every time western media writes
    about the Afar the Tigrigna’s come-out swinging.

    The other obnoxious excuse they use is this mountain lies that the Eritrean regime is “an equal opportunity oppressor”, haven’t you heard this lie before Dan?.

    Let me tell you what is happening to Afar in Eritrea. What is happening to Afar is not indefinite military service, or the usual human rights violation. It’s the whole sale assault on their identity. The Afar are being terrorized. They are being Tigrignaized through assimilation by mass relocations of Highlanders in Afar territories, bombarded by Tigrigna language Media and News papers, The Afar Culture are being destroyed, the Afar alphabet has been altered, their territory has been cut in
    half, their environment and indigenous trees have been cut by the massive armies throughout Dankalia, their traditional practices like fishing, livestock raising and cross border trading have all been destroyed. These crimes are in addition to physical violence of mass , mass graves and executions of Afar leadership, Rape and tortures, mass displacements and refugee crisis. The ruling class has silently committing cultural genocide against Eritrean Afar people.

    The regimes’ extended families in Diaspora (Tigrigna) have been the fuel behind the Afwerki by attacking human rights defenders like Dan Connell to come to the aid of our people. These groups in the Diaspora mainly well to do, well educated highlanders are benefiting from western
    democracies, the rights to freedom of expression, rights to own properties, their rights religion and the rights to practice their culture and so on, but yet the deny others to enjoy the basic human right to carry on as indigenous people, the same rights they enjoy without persecution.
    But when people like Dan come to come to the aid of disenfranchised and marginalized Afar, the Uprooted Kunamas’ they are quick to label them as Ethiopians or someone with other hidden agenda to break up Eritrea.

    The Current Eritrean regime is not an equal opportunity oppressor. Tomorrow if the regime were to collapses and true democracy prevails, The Tigrigna Eritreans will go back to their dwellings, to their vibrant traditions and Language and culture and economic pursuits with no difficulties.

    I’m not talking about physical harm for Afar and Kunama, I’m talking about Losing our Afar Identity, Afar have nothing to look forward to, their land has been stolen, Afar culture have been submerged, Afar leadership has been decimated. This is a cultural genocide against Afar
    people, and unfortunately endorsed by Eritrean Majority class (the Tigrigna).
    On the other side, The Eritrean lowlanders and Muslims have abandoned the Afar
    with their silence to come to the aid of indigenous people.

    The other vicious tactics employed recently by the regime synthesizers and die-hard supports in Diaspora, the likes of Sophia Tesfamariam, who are cleverly playing the “FEAR-CARD”, into the watchful eyes and ears of the Terrorism experts, policy makers , all in the names of
    peace and security in the region on behalf of mother Eritrea. These hate
    mongers have used their influence and their regime financed money to use the
    Fear Card, Fear of the unknown by labeling the Afar and their region as
    potential threat to the west and possible home for radicalization by extremist groups, In order
    to alienate the Afar aspiration and self determinations. The Afar are not extremist and they never have been, they never will be!!!

    These Tigrigna extremists would do anything to stay in power and keep the statuesque by furthering their agenda of rape of Afar resources, racism and marginalization to subdue the other ethnic identities and marginalized minority groups in Eritrea.

    The US, EU and UNSC have the international obligations to defended the rights of minorities and indigenous people in Eritrea. Recently Eritrea has been closely watched by these powers for
    producing refugee crises. The west needs to look through these refugee crises and
    this mountain of lies and come to the aid of the Afar, Kunama and others who need their help, as they have intervened with the Kurds, the Yazidis, in Balkans, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.

    The Afar will survive this onslaught but, History will Judge the Tigrignas and the Ruling class for what they have done to Afar people. Long live the aspirations and bravery of my traditional elders, my people(the Afar), The Afar will never surrender.

    • Yoel Samuel

      EPDF must pays you good to write a book on comment section. Sorry @game.EPRDF imposter, you can rap all day but the only Ethinc Centeric govt in a horn is your government, the EPRDF govt of Ethiopia, where one ethinc group ,3% of the population, has won 100 % of parliament seat for the last 25 year. Very funny. @game, leave Eritrea Issue alone , and worry about this:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikVl6auH83w

      • Hassan Meqe

        Historically Eritrean Tigrignas(the Highlanders Christians) had an affectionate ties with Ethiopian cousins than the Afar and Moslem Eritrea did. When did this super Eritrean-ism started for you guys? Refer to the following quote by historian, During the annexation of Eritrea “nearly 48 per cent of the Eritrean people, the overwhelming majority of them Christians, had expressed a desire for an unconditional union with Ethiopia”. http://www.harep.org/ifaapr/FULLTEXT01.pdf
        Don’t you know your history, The Tigrignas are more Ethiopians than the Afar, nothing wrong with that, be proud of who you’re. Stop labeling us(The Eritrean Afar) the Ethiopian(EPRDF) agents when we fight for our rights against your government in Asmara.

        • Yoel Samuel

          Sorry @game imposter for making your EPRDF job difficult. ……..Traditionally Ethiopians colonizers cut Eritrean mothers breasts. Traditionally Ethiopian colonizers bomb Eritrean people with atomic bombs . Traditionally Ethiopian colonizers rape Eritrean kids. Traditionally 99.985 people vote for independence, a record for any country. …….
          Sorry EPRDF agent, I make sure people are aware of you as long as I see you spreading your poison. Eritrean problem, Eritrean Solutions. Worry about your ETHINO CENTRIC EPRDF govt of ETHIOPIA. Worry about your Aid Addict ethiopia. Leave eritrean problems alone.

    • MH

      Hassan Meqe,
      Interesting. Instead of using someone else’s platform to post your nonsense, why don’t you maintain one yourself and provide us the link?
      Or may be just go fight and free yourself from your “Tigrigna” oppressors? That is how Eritreans got their land back after all…

  • ghezaehagos

    Dear Dan,
    You researched and reported the plight of Eritrean refugees from different refugee camps and countries, including Israel and now you focused on Afar refugees in Ethiopia. You should be thanked for your noble efforts. You are the voice of the voiceless and the constant reminder of the forgotten, the down-trodden.
    Of course, the Isaias loyalists would deny everything. They would deny and lie because to them there are no refugees, Afars or others; to them there is no violation of human rights in Eritrea, no matter what the reality and impartial reports say.
    Due to the exodus of Eritrean youth and children at alarming rate affecting Eritrean families across the board, we indeed tend to forget the plight of our dear citizens, the Afars. Your article, dear Dan, hence is very much welcome to remind us our citizenry and moral duty.
    In the city I live, the Canadian government has resettled some Eritrean Afar families. Their story is heartbreaking as you may imagine. It also dovetails to what the others are experiencing as reported in your article.
    In the end, Dearest Dan, you take solace in knowing you are doing the noblest and bravest mission of ’em all: you remembered the forgotten.
    I don’t think the Almighty will forget that.
    Yours,
    Ghezae Hagos

  • Kimfehrlich4

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