Mass Media and Free Press in Eritrea
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salina

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Reply with quote  #1 

Various German Talkshows have invited the writer of "Feuerherz" to talk about her book. In the course of events, it has been revealed  that she told lies about her life and Eritrea in general. When confronted with some tough and critical questions, Senait clearly contradicted herself several times in the different talkshow events. Several witnesses, including German experts on Eritrea and the Eritrean armed struggle were interviewed and have dismissed the contents  in her book as pure fiction.The German Journalists have also managed to locate a character description from the book, Almaz Yohannes aka wegahta,whom the writer defined as a tyrant and cruel army officer in ther ELF. The truth, however, was that wegahta, in her own words, was a singer in the ELF's cultural troupe. On one occasion, Senait claimed that she encountred coyotes and lions in Eritrea, wild animals that do not exist in today's Eritrea and as the journalist challenged her with this fact , embarrassment and obvious guilt in her face was vivid for all to see. Please go to http://www.dahlak.de to check  the footage for yourselves. It is really embarassing and disappointing. As they say,Truth prevails at last.

 

Hasika tirekbo genzeb ayhabka!

factual

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Reply with quote  #2 
Quote:
In the book itself, Mehari wrote: "I was too small to make a soldier. Too young, too weak, too cowardly. Moreover, the weapons were too heavy for me… Thank God, because I would have otherwise had to shoot and hit."


She never claimed that she was a child soldier. What she claims is that she was abused when she was at a school run by the ELF. That is a far more serious charge than being a child soldier. And BTW, there were child soldiers in the ELF. They were given the name "manjus".

salina

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Reply with quote  #3 

Quote:

Da sie aber "selbst für damalige Verhältnisse noch zu jung für eine Soldatin" gewesen sei, hätten nur die Schwestern an der Front gekämpft. Sie sei "nur sehr selten eingesetzt" worden und "fast immer" im Lager geblieben.

 

 

Factual,

This is an excerpt from her book. She claims she was trained as a soldier in the military unit called "Che Guevera".  In the above paragraph,she tells that  she was too young to fight in wars regularly ,but that she was  deployed albeit, seldom. This means, she fought as a soldier no matter how often. The problem is, she went to serious talkshows and claimed she served as a child soldier for 4 long years in the Eritrean field. I do not think, the "manjus" you are talking about were 6 year old children who had to go to war fronts. Besides,this is not about the ELF.The image of Eritrea is at stake here. It might interest you to know that she never did anything for the cause of Eritrea. She might as well not be allowed to profit in the name of Eritrea by telling lies. There are a number of weird lies in her book and as they say, a half truth is a whole lie. 

 

What I fail to understand is, why did Eritreans who knew she was lying kept quite for 3 full years?? Her book was published in 2004. I suggest, Eritreans who have full knowdege of the whole story hould press charges, especially the Eritrean character "Agawegahta",who was depicted as a ruthless killer in the book.

factual

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Reply with quote  #4 
Those of us who know what a corrupt and dysfunctional organization the ELF was have other sources and personal knowledge that makes us believe that abuse of all forms was rampant. Don't let me start!
salina

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Reply with quote  #5 

factual

 

It is not about the dysfunctionality or heroism of the ELF. That is an entirly different story. Her book is about her life as a child soldier at the age of six years, call it, a memoir, of sorts. According to witnesses who lived with her in the Camp, her story appears to be  gross fabrication. This is corroborated by her contradictions in the talkshows. One may excuse her for confusing a hyena with a Coyote, but how do you explain an encounter with lions in the Eritrean field? I do not think, a 6 year old child would ever forget an encounter with a lion or some form of a wild beast. Such details in the story may be side issues, but it invites to look for more other central lies. If you are able to watch and understand the TV footage that is now at the front site of Meskerem, you will be able  to see several witnesses who were with her in the Camp and they are all in agreement about her concocted story. This is the gist of it.

factual

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Reply with quote  #6 
The dysfunctional ism of the ELF is precisely the issue in that they had no clue of how to handle traumatized children. I know of many cases of underage girls who joined the front, some of them my own relatives, who were sexually used by the cadres and leaders and had children by them. As the article reported, Senait did not claim to be child soldier. But she was a war child, raised in a war-camp ran by a dysfunctional organizations. I know of women who were deliberately refused passage to Sudan because some idiotic cadre in Agordat wanted to have sex with them! The most damning charge Senait makes is that she was sexually and physically abused in the camp. I hear no strong denial of that because the ELF cadres know that their organization had child molestors among them.
Ermias

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Posts: 16
Reply with quote  #7 
Factual
I think you are having a problem separating the two issues. The bottom line is this girl has told many lies, half truths and highly improbable and unlikely stories at the expense of Eritrea and its liberation struggle. I think it is incumbent on us to protect the true story of our struggle regardless. BTW, take a look at a picture of a six year old Eritrean child from the sixties and seventies, it is amazing how small and little six year olds in Eritrea are, even now. Imagine now a six year old with a Kalashnikov tracking along the mountains and valleys in Eritrea with that weapon fighting in wars.

BTW, regardless if there where corrupt individuals in ELF or not, ELF did what it thought was best for Eritrea. Done. It is time it is left alone.

HakeGnaErtrawy

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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #8 

Selamat Meskeremites,

Senait is a character who was taken aback by her delusional dream and confessed to make other non-Eritreans like her or pay attention to her. There are several Eritrean born kids swimming between two cultures, Senait is one of those kids. She said plenty of bogus stuff to make her book readable and interesting. Do you all remember the Frey's story in which he lied about the characters of his account on his supposedly memoir, "A Million Little Pieces" on Oprah, and finally his story was exposed and he admitted to lying? He said, "I lied," flat-out! The book however sold millions between appearing on Oprah's show and getting exposed, and after getting exposed some people wandered wanted to know what that was all about, guess what happened; they too bought his book to get the gossip they missed.

 

You all know by now that there is no bad publicity, every publicity is good for business and attention. Senait's story cannot be any different, she lied about her story so people would buy the book and put theirselves in her character and imagine what its like to be a soldier at the age of six. I say give her a break, she sold plenty of books at the expense of Eritrea to which many paid with life to preserve. If she thinks she can get away by exploiting the victory gained by those who paid dearly with their lives, she must be silly. I am not too old to claim that I know what I am talking about here, but I heard many older people say; when society tells you that you have done enough and now its time to retire, you start thinking about the things you have done throughout your life. You start assesing what your greatest accomplishments were? They say, that question will haunt you for many years immediately after you retirment, I heard. Things that you could have done different if you had a second chance, I guess we are gonna have to leave it for Senait to ponder those questions when that time comes. Believe it or not she too will capitulate when the time comes, but for now let her bask in the glaring light of the publicity she is receiving. In the process if she sells many books, then she should consider contributing at least some of her profit to the Martyrs' Family fund, after all those Martyrs' Family is what she based her story on. I think they deserve some of the her profits. That way she can at least draw a comfort that her dreamlike confession wasn't after all in vain. Hey, she made money selling the stories of those who died giving life and hope to many; contributing some of the dough she ripped is the least she can do to save-about-face. I could be wrong but this is the way I feel.


__________________
What persuasion? Persuasion was done to bring the disputing parties to court, so as to resolve the matter thru legal means. The resolution protocol was agreed to a Final & Binding, and to abide by the outcome no matter what the ruling is. By not enforcing the ruling, PCA under The Hague Court (king of all courts) is being undermined by nations who claim to respect the rule of law. What a shame!
FrankNordhausen

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #9 
My name is Frank Nordhausen, I am a German journalist, staff editor at the daily newspaper "Berliner Zeitung". I would like to ask some questions, and if somebody likes to answer I would be pleased. My questions deal with the case of Senait Mehari. I try to find out what is the truth.
My questions:
Where was the ELF pioneer camp (school) exactly situated? Was it near the river Barkha?
Where the so called manjus child soldiers? If not, what were they?
Can anybody confirm the sexual abuses of minors by ELF cadres?
Can anybody confirm that children were trained on weapons in the ELF pioneer camp?
Is it possible that a part of the ELF pioneer camp was split from the main pioneer camp?
Does anybody remember Senait Mehari or her sisters Tzegehana and Yaldiyan in Sudan?

my e-mail adress: frank.nordhausen@berliner-zeitung.de

Thank you
Walta_Haki

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #10 

In such a discussion not an opinion, but historical facts are needed. The purpose of the discussion should only be to get the historical facts as it was with all its positive and negative experience.

 Those who have been in Tsebah, who visited Measker Tsebah and had contacts to Tsebah in Eritrea and in Korkon Sudan, I believe they can remember if not all the details but at least the life of the small Che, the youngest Tsebah.

Have you read Senait book "Feuerherz" ? Unless you read it yourself the small bits you get it from friends or the defensive argument of the pro and contra will not suffice you to discuss here from an informed position.

 

I have read both Senaits books "Feuerherz" and "Wüstenlied" in German. I know personally many children in Tsebah and I know some of their Measkers. My last visit to Measker Tsebah in Eritrea was in Mid March 1980 in Ruba Barka. In March 1980 I have visited Tehadso, Halitat Merih and Tsebah. We met again in September 1981 in Sudan Korkon.

 

Those who have been in ELF know who "Agawegahta" is. Almaz is well known as Alamz Agawegahta after her song. Thanks to Bashay who wrote the song that perfectly matches the challenge of the time. Agaweghta was neither a commander of an army nor a killer as described in "Feuerherz".

Agawegahta as a person is unique in ELF and as such in Eritrea. 

 

"Feuerherz" is full of fabricated lies. The worst of all it tries to defame the positive part of the struggle for independence and sale out the Tsebah school as exemplar African child soldier camp!

 

"Feuerherz" should teach us one. If we do not write our history others will twist it to fit for their propose. Those behind "Feuerherz" have concluded the history of the young Che Guevera is closed with the defeat of the ELF and they can use it now for their sensational defamation. Is their conclusion correct ? let the time tells the truth !  Or is there any legal and historical action steps of all who the history of the heroic struggle for independent belongs !

Haki teketenet nei ti siber

 


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MA
HakeGnaErtrawy

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walta_Haki

In such a discussion not an opinion, but historical facts are needed. The purpose of the discussion should only be to get the historical facts as it was with all its positive and negative experience.

 Those who have been in Tsebah, who visited Measker Tsebah and had contacts to Tsebah in Eritrea and in Korkon Sudan, I believe they can remember if not all the details but at least the life of the small Che, the youngest Tsebah.

Have you read Senait book "Feuerherz" ? Unless you read it yourself the small bits you get it from friends or the defensive argument of the pro and contra will not suffice you to discuss here from an informed position.

 

I have read both Senaits books "Feuerherz" and "Wüstenlied" in German. I know personally many children in Tsebah and I know some of their Measkers. My last visit to Measker Tsebah in Eritrea was in Mid March 1980 in Ruba Barka. In March 1980 I have visited Tehadso, Halitat Merih and Tsebah. We met again in September 1981 in Sudan Korkon.

 

Those who have been in ELF know who "Agawegahta" is. Almaz is well known as Alamz Agawegahta after her song. Thanks to Bashay who wrote the song that perfectly matches the challenge of the time. Agaweghta was neither a commander of an army nor a killer as described in "Feuerherz".

Agawegahta as a person is unique in ELF and as such in Eritrea. 

 

"Feuerherz" is full of fabricated lies. The worst of all it tries to defame the positive part of the struggle for independence and sale out the Tsebah school as exemplar African child soldier camp!

 

"Feuerherz" should teach us one. If we do not write our history others will twist it to fit for their propose. Those behind "Feuerherz" have concluded the history of the young Che Guevera is closed with the defeat of the ELF and they can use it now for their sensational defamation. Is their conclusion correct ? let the time tells the truth !  Or is there any legal and historical action steps of all who the history of the heroic struggle for independent belongs !

Haki teketenet nei ti siber

 

You read my mind, "Walta Haki." I don't claim to have read Senait's book, but I agree with the highlighted part of your comment. If you do not write the history in a comprehensive way then someone will write whatever they want and that remains to be the fact for the time being. However as time goes by that wrong (one sided) story will be refered as a support to an argument. I have seen historical facts so distorted they have become fact. The GoE continue to resist organizing historians and documenting all Ertra's historical accounts. I recommended once that four or five sectioned comprehensive books be written dating back from Belew Kelew to contemporary Ertra. That will give us the gist of where we come from and where we are heading.  I am sure there are several Ertrawyan scholars whose profession is documenting historical facts. Combined with Archeaological evidence many of the history can be revived and documented and preserved to the next generation. As it stands Ertra's history is mostly written by Tegaru, and like their heart they twist our historical account as they see it fit their future ambition.


__________________
What persuasion? Persuasion was done to bring the disputing parties to court, so as to resolve the matter thru legal means. The resolution protocol was agreed to a Final & Binding, and to abide by the outcome no matter what the ruling is. By not enforcing the ruling, PCA under The Hague Court (king of all courts) is being undermined by nations who claim to respect the rule of law. What a shame!
FrankNordhausen

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #12 
Hello. Firstly I want to assure you that I have no financial or personal interest in the Senait Mehari case. I am a staff writer of "Berliner Zeitung" and get a monthly salary. I only have got the task to find out what happened 1980-1981 in the pioneer School where Senait Mehari and her sisters went to. I have never been to Eritrea or Ethiopia or any other state in the region, and until now I didn't know anybody from there. I am just doing my job - trying to find out the facts.
Secondly today we have published in "Berliner Zeitung" an interview with Senait Mehari which covers one whole page of the edition. She defends her book and says everything she writes in there is true as she has witnessed it as a young child. You are invited to read it and then discuss about it. You can find the interview here:
http://www.berliner-zeitung.de
Then go to "Feuilleton" first page.

Thank you for the discussion.
Frank Nordhausen

adal

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Posts: 88
Reply with quote  #13 

Esteemed members and visitors:


Please read the interview mentioned above by Mr. Frank Nordhausen. It is in google translations.

http://www.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.berlinonline.de%2Fberliner-zeitung%2Fprint%2Ffeuilleton%2F630827.html&langpair=de%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8

adal

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Reply with quote  #14 

Tsebah of ELF and Keyeh embaba of EPLF were the Jewels of our organizations.

Mr. Frank Nordhausen:

 
Thank you for this opportunity to share with you my views on the issue.

 


- I visited the camp many times during the periods you mentioned above because my camp was close to the camp. My first-cousin was a teacher there and my brother-in-law was Tzebah. So I have first hand information.

 

- I had great admiration of the school, the students and the teachers. I could not imagine how they managed to get the kids to focus on education and discipline while war was waging in Eritrea. Teachers had hard time keeping the kids in school as the kids wanted to join the army and support their brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. It was against the organization's regulations for Tsebah to be trained in arms or carrry weapons let alone allow the children to join the fighting units.

 

- Tsebah of ELF and Keyeh embaba of EPLF were the Jewels of the organizations.

- They were loved and respected so much that any abuse or mistreatment would have resulted in a revolt within the ELA ( Eritrean Liberation Army ELF). We were so protective of them. Sexual abuse? You must be joking and no such thing would be hidden from us.

- We related to them because they represented the hardship of fighting for liberation but also represented the future, the hope.

-  I remember one day when the musical group came to entertain the wounded heroes at a nearby hospital. One wounded comrade who was so touched by the kids and their strength of character,he said it is worth dying to give these kids the opportunity to live in a liberated Eritrea.

- If there were any abuses and violations that this misguided lady is accusing us all (ELF), I would have known. 

- I am a living and breathing testimony that no such violations or abuse occurred at the school. I am willing to come to any court or any setting to testify that no such think occurred.


This is my short, hastily written testimony.

All of us who were in the ELF now have different poltical opinions but we all agree that Tsebah represented the best of ELF and the best in us. Senait was our Jewel, we thought, as  Almaz, Yonas, ..and the many others were.

 

 

HakeGnaErtrawy

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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #15 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankNordhausen
Hello. Firstly I want to assure you that I have no financial or personal interest in the Senait Mehari case. I am a staff writer of "Berliner Zeitung" and get a monthly salary. I only have got the task to find out what happened 1980-1981 in the pioneer School where Senait Mehari and her sisters went to. I have never been to Eritrea or Ethiopia or any other state in the region, and until now I didn't know anybody from there. I am just doing my job - trying to find out the facts.
Secondly today we have published in "Berliner Zeitung" an interview with Senait Mehari which covers one whole page of the edition. She defends her book and says everything she writes in there is true as she has witnessed it as a young child. You are invited to read it and then discuss about it. You can find the interview here:
http://www.berliner-zeitung.de
Then go to "Feuilleton" first page.

Thank you for the discussion.
Frank Nordhausen

Mr. Nordhausen,

 

Thanks for the service so far. But I have a question for you to pass on to her if it is not too much trouble. I would like you to ask her what she does with the money she made out of the two books, and if she ever thought of contributing a certain percentage to the Martyrs Family Fund in Eritrea? For example if one discovers a method, and that discovery generates money s/he gives royalty pay to the university/college they attended to gain the knowledge. Ask her if she shares that thinking.

 

Thanks for taking your valuable time to read our discussion here. Let me tell you what a friend of mine said who was only 14 at the time he joined the ELF struggle. He said he agrees with her depiction of the time, but he thinks the events were a bit exaggerated. He also assured me that he was only allowed to carry a gun after two years of verbal teachings and training (they call it maturity period). By the age of 16 he was allowed to carry a gun, yet not allowed to engage in battles. Along with his friends, they requested to engage in real battle, but they were denied because their physical appearance. He said there were young people (mostly boys) who were allowed to engage real battles, but rarely. Because the group leaders think they are weak and mentally not ready for such responsibility.

 

I am writing the exact word for word discussion I had with him. He does not like to remember the isolation and constant fear they had of the enemy. He told me that all young adults attended school; in fact as a result he is now in the medical field because he had the chance to get first hand exposure with field doctors. He said, you had to wait for either to reach age of majority (18) or physical maturity and mental readiness prior to battle engagement.

 

After the civil war between the two competing factions at the time, he migrated to Sudan. It is at about the same time Senait (the author) claimed, but he does not remember her per se. I am sure if they had the chance to chat with each other for a few minutes they would come to consensus on many of the issue she raised on her books. I asked him if there was any molestation of kids, he was quick to shoot down such possibilities. He said, anyone exerting force on others in such unlawful manner  was shot on the spot. However, he said, much like any society there might be predators preying on children, but not to his knowledge. He knows a person who disappeared (likely got shot) for improper behavior (homosexual tendencies, which was punishable by death). Aside from that he said everyone is busy with how to preserve their lives, so they can see tomorrow.


__________________
What persuasion? Persuasion was done to bring the disputing parties to court, so as to resolve the matter thru legal means. The resolution protocol was agreed to a Final & Binding, and to abide by the outcome no matter what the ruling is. By not enforcing the ruling, PCA under The Hague Court (king of all courts) is being undermined by nations who claim to respect the rule of law. What a shame!
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