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  • “Eritrean values are my passion” - Stefano Pettini

    By Billion Temesgen

    Eritrean Profile

    When did you first come to know about Eritrea?

    In 2001 I served as a technician for the UN and was stationed at the Asmara airport when peacekeeping forces were stationed along the Eritrea and Ethiopia border. Immediately after the Algiers Agreement, an international mission was established to ensure that the two countries would abide by the agreements reached in Algiers during the transitory period. This was the period in which the two were to withdraw to their respective borders prior to the conflict and wait for the final and binding decision of the Border Commission.

    So when did your fondness for or “pact of friendship” with Eritrea start?

    After the EEBC passed its final and binding verdict we moved out of Eritrea. I went back home to Italy. At that point, I began reading the distorted stories that were being published in the mainstream media. Things like how Eritrea started the war by invading Ethiopia, untruthful news of how Eritrea was defeated, fabricated famine reports, and many other things that totally contradicted what was really going on in the newly-liberated African nation. For the very same reason that I was here during the peacekeeping mission, I felt responsible to tell what I saw. I am not a journalist by profession, I am a military man, but I started my battle against fake news about Eritrea. I developed a website to counter the stories and journalists that were spreading baseless information. Every time there was something negative out there, I would write a piece or simply put up a photograph to contradict it and somewhat put a slice of truth out there.

    Any examples?
    For example, say if something was circulating under the heading of “University Shut Down; Dispersed Students”, I would post pictures and share brief articles about the opening of colleges around the country. If the header was of drought, I would post photographs of dams which, by the way, were much fewer compared to the extensive chain of dams dotted throughout the country and activities carried out nationwide towards water conservation. I was collecting my material, studying about Eritrea and its people, integrating with the extremely humble society, and fighting fake news as much as I could.

    You are passionate about the unique traits of the Eritrean railway. Did you, perhaps, notice the Eritrean railway from above during your mission in 2001?

    I grew up in Rome with a big passion for trains, especially the Eritrean type. I like the old, classic railways. When I first came to Asmara, I sensed the scent of the trains in the outskirts of Asmara. I went to see and it was just so beautiful! I met the director of the railway who was assigned to the post soon after independence. The rehabilitation project for the railway was highly organized and planned. The first step was inspection. A thorough assessment of what was left after decades of war was conducted. The second phase consisted of restoration, followed by attaining whatever was needed to completely restore and expand the railway to eventually integrate it into the country’s overall developmental drive. For the overall project, three commissions were established. One was assigned to track the railway, the second commission was to assess the dispersed materials, and the third was to locate and organize the senior employees of the railway. At that time, they were old, and over the years most of them have passed away. Slowly, one kilometer after another, bolt after bolt, the Asmara-Massawa railway was finally completed.

    What was your impression? 

    It was great. Like I said, I had the great fortune of meeting the former director of the railway. Unfortunately, he has since passed away. I knew his office was being encouraged to fully engage in the restoration of the railway. The Eritrean landscape is amazing. And the uniqueness of the Eritrean railway with the beautiful landscape in the highland will surely promote tourism in the country, especially now that the “no war, no peace” situation is finally over. I know there are national plans to extend the railway nationwide to boost the national development drive. Moreover, wait until the train starts running through the capital. It will be great!

    Why is Eritrea so special to you?

    Eritrea is a place of great values. The people are nice and humble. The history is wonderful and only a few people in the world know the true image of the country. The young people offer help to the elderly, and in buses they give up their seat for someone older than they are. The values here are incredible and what fascinates me most is that the whole identity of the nation revolves around such values. Eritrean values are my passion.

    Thank you!
    (Note: Stefano Pettini has been, and is still, highly involved in the national railway rehabilitation project)

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  • ንምዕባለ ኣገልግሎታት ከተማ ኣስመራ ዝምልከት መጽናዕታዊ ጽሑፍ ንዘተ ቀሪቡ

    ማሕበራዊ ኣገልግሎት ከተማ ኣስመራ ንምምዕባልን ንምስፋሕን ብምምሕዳር ዞባ ማእከል ተመሪሑ ብማእከል ካርታን ሓበሬታን ኤርትራ ዝተዳለወ መጽናዕታዊ ጽሑፍ፡ ብ26 ሚያዝያ ንዘተ ቀሪቡ።
       ኣብ’ቲ ናይ ሓደ መዓልቲ ዘተ፡ ብደረጃ ሃገር ላዕለዎት ኣወሃሃድቲ መደባት ልምዓት፡ ጸሓፊ ህዝባዊ ግንባር ንደሞክራስን ፍትሕን ኣቶ ኣልኣሚን መሓመድ-ስዒድ፡ ሚኒስተር ዞባዊ ምምሕዳር ኣቶ ወልደንኪኤል ኣብርሃ፡ ጠቕላሊ ሓለቓ ስታፍ ሓይልታት ምክልኻል ጀነራል ፊሊጶስ ወልደዮውሃንስ፡ ሓላፊ ፖለቲካዊ ጉዳያት ህግደፍ ኣቶ የማነ ገብረኣብን ካልኦት ሰበ-ስልጣን መንግስትን ተረኺቦም ነይሮም።
    ኣብ’ቲ ኣጋጣሚ፡ ከተማ ኣስመራ ብዅለንትናኣ ዝተማልአን ጽፉፍን ማሕበራዊ ኣገልግሎት ንኽህልዋ ዝሕግዝ እማመታት ዘጠቓለለ፡ ዝርዝራውን ዓሚቚን መጽናዕታዊ ጽሑፍ ቀሪቡ።
        እቲ ብጆሜትራ ጌታቸው መርሃጽዮን ካብ ቤት-ጽሕፈት ፕረዚደንት ዝቐረበጽሑፍ፡ ቀረብን ጠለብን ማይ ከተማ ኣስመራ፡ ምዕባለ ኤለክትሪሲትን ጸሓያዊ ጸዓትን፡ መስመር ረሳሕ ፈሳሲን ጽሬት ከተማን፡ ኣገልግሎት መጓዓዝያን ጽገና ጽርግያን፡ ክረምታዊ ተፋሰስን ማይክዖታትን፡ ዕዳጋ ኣሕምልትን ፍረታትን፡ ከምኡ’ውን መኸዘኒታት ማይን ካልእን ዝጥርንፍን ብዕምቈት ዝፍትሽን’ዩ።
       ጆሜትራ ጌታቸው፡ ቀረብ ማይ ከተማ ኣስመራን ዝርጋሐኡን፡ ምንጭን መገብቲ ዲጋታትን፡ ዝርጋሐ ሻምብቆታት ማይን ዘሎ ሕጽረታትን ብዝርዝር ድሕሪ ምብራህ፡ ኣብ ወቕቲ ክረምቲ ኣብ ኣስመራን ከባቢኣን ዝዘንብ ዝናብ፡ ማይክዖታቱ ተለልዩ ብግቡእ ክኽዘን እንተኽኢሉ፡ ኣስመራ ጸገም ማይ ከምዘይብላ ኣስሚሩሉ።
      ህዝቢ፡ መንግስቲ ብዝድጒሞ ስማዊ ክፍሊትኣገልግሎትማይከምዝረክብዝሓበረ ጆሜትራ ጌታቸው፡ ኢንዱስትሪታትን ዓበይቲ ትካላትን ግና ብኸምኡ ክቕጽል ስለዘይከኣል፡ ናይ ታሪፍ ምትዕርራይ ክግበር ምዃኑ ሓቢሩ።
       ኣመሓዳሪ ዞባ ማእከል ሜጀር ጀነራል ሮሞዳን ዑስማን ኣውልያይ፡ እቲ ዝቐረበ መጽናዕቲ ዝርዝራውን ስእሊ ዝህብን ምዃኑ ጠቒሱ፡ ደረጃ ብደረጃ ንምትግባሩ ምምሕዳር ዞባ ዝከኣሎ ከምዝገብር ገሊጹ።
       ኣብ መወዳእታ፡ ጸሓፊ ህዝባዊ ግንባር ንደሞክራስን ፍትሕን ኣቶ ኣልኣሚን መሓመድ-ስዒድ፡ ኣስመራ ከም ማእከል ምምሕዳር መንግስቲ መጠን፡ ኣብ’ቲ መጽናዕቲ ካብ ዝተጠቕሱ፡ ናይ ቀዳምነታት ቀዳምነት ተለልዮም መድረኽ ብመድረኽ ክስራሓሎምምዃኑብምሕባር፡ ኣብ ኣስመራ ጥራይ ዘይኰነ ብደረጃ ዞባታት ዝተታሕዘ ሓያሎ ናይ ልምዓት መደባት’ውን ከምዘሎ ኣረዲኡ።

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  • Eritrean Festival 2018

    Asmara, 10 August 2018

    Eritrean Festival 2018 will be held from 31 August to 8 September at the Expo Grounds in Asmara under the theme “Peace for Sustainable Development”.

    According to Ambassador Zemede Tecle, Commissioner of Culture and Sports, the festival will feature the objective situation in the homeland and especially the prevailing prospect of peace and cooperation in the region.

    Indicating that the national festivals in which unity and cultural identity are reflected, Ambassador Zemede said that the festival will include traditional villages, cultural performances and traditional music instruments as well as exhibitions.

    Ambassador Zemede went on to say that with the new era of peace and cooperation in the region, Ethiopian artists and visitors are expected to participate.

    The nine days festival will be highlighted by educational and children’s exhibitions, children’s village, photo exhibition, bazaars, seminars, talent show among others, Ambassador Zemede added.


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  • የኑረነቢ ማህደር” Published in Tigrigna

    "የኑረነቢ ማህደር” Published in Tigrigna 
    It is my great pleasure to announce that the book, by the title of “የኑረነቢ ማህደር” written by Tesfaye Gebreab and translated to Tigrigna by Daniel Habtemariam has been published. In the month of May, 2018 the book will be officially inaugurated in Asmara and Massawa.

    The book will be made available in North America, Europe including more than 100 countries through Amazon. More locations where the they are going to be available will be announced via the social media.

     In Eritrea the books will be made available in Asmara through all the book stores. Also the book will be similarly distributed to the book stores in Assab, Massawa, Keren, Mendefra and Tessene.

    I have also the pleasure to announce that “The Nurenebi File” has been translated into English by the famous Eritrean author and historian, Alemseged Tesfay and is ready for publication. It is expect that the English version will be ready for marketing in the month of July and August 2018.

    Debessay Gebriel
    Gebriel and Son Publishing LLC.
    Alexanderia, Verginia.

    For more books from Tesfaye Gebreab, click below to order!

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  • Interview with Legendary Nipsey Hussle from Eritrea

    Billion Temesghen Speaks to Nipsey Hussle (

    “You might think money is important but it’s the togetherness and families being tight that make life better.”

    Eritrean American recording artist and entrepreneur Ermias Asghedom, better known by his stage name, Nipsey Hussle, is one of the few success stories of rappers turned into inspiring entrepreneurs. His life experience of transition from a teenage street rapper to a successful recording artist, emerging business power and a father is surely reflected in his discography. His latest album, Victory Lap, is an album of mindfulness definitely worth a listen for spur. Ermias Asghedom has always had the support of his young Eritrean compatriots who’ve perceived his glory as their own. Q&A’s guest, today, is the legendary Nipsey Hussle.

    • -Welcome back home Ermias. How does it feel to be back?

    It feels good. It has been fourteen years since I was here last. Seeing the way the city and everything else have changed is gratifying. I spent three months last time I was here. This time I’ll be around only for a couple of weeks. I am here to visit my family and reconnect with my grandmother, my cousins and everybody else. I love to be here. The people, the food, the culture and the life style are extremely good.

    • -Take me back to the beginning of your journey as a recording artist. What are your memories from then?

    I grew up in Los Angeles where Hip Hop was a big sensation in the 90s. Death Row Recordings was big and was located just down the street where we grew up. Tupac, Snoop, Ice Cube and a lot more artists were at their pick in the 90s. I grew up surrounded by art. What we saw on TV as children was filmed and recorded in LA. At that time for us to be like those artists it seemed very tangible. I started writing and rapping when I was nine or ten years old. Back then music equipment was not as easily accessible as it is now. But as we grew older the equipment was more and more affordable and when I turned fourteen or fifteen we got our equipment and started recording our own music.

    • -Who is this ‘we’ that you keep referring to?

    My team. My brother and I. Whatever I did, I had the support of my brother. I also had a group of young people I grew up with who wrote and produced songs.

    • -You always write your own songs. What inspires you?

    Life. Growing up in Los Angeles is a unique culture in the streets. Hip Hop reflects what goes on in the streets, the neighborhood, the people, life style and many others. I want to reflect those realities.

    • -You are now an established recording artist of constant professionalism. What would Hip Hop be in your own words?

    A form of expression for young people who have so much to be told. It is a vocabulary, it is an art and it is a culture that originally was only of young people in America but now has gone global. The neighborhoods from where Hip Hop came out had unique environments and situations that made people search for a real and efficient form of expression. From police brutality to gang cultures, the riots, racial discrimination and more unique events that urged the growth of Hip Hop in terms of music and Hip Hop in terms of culture and identity. The Hip Hop community in every part of America spoke about events that took place all over the country. In New York, for example, there was a graffiti movement and break dance movement. So, Hip Hop was like CNN for what was going on in the streets. Each region had a specific approach but deep down it was all about the struggle for equality and respect for African Americans. The story of Hip Hop is similar to that of Jazz. Music in America was an expression of our struggles; being black in America. And I, as an Eritrean American, I feel connected to this aspect of the African American history. May father is from Eritrea and we have always been in touch with our Eritrean ancestry and culture thanks to him. However, we still grew up in South Central LA all of our lives. So our exposure was to the culture of Los Angeles, which was gang culture. I was born in 1985 and grew up in the 90s. The LA rise took place in 1992. Rooney King, the brutality of LAPD and all of the social issues that took place back then happened in our back yard.

    • -No doubt that music, Hip Hop or Jazz, echoed the desire of freedom and equality for the African American population. However, with Hip Hop the gang culture also became part of the artists’ lives. Hip Hop was a powerful and peaceful tool but at some moments was also linked to violence. I’d say you would know better as you are rooted in places, like you correctly refer to as ‘the back yard’. Could you please elaborate for the bigger population of the international community which is not familiar with gang culture and its link to Hip Hop? Also, are gangs scary? Terrorizing?

    If you come from areas in which gang activities are common then that becomes part of who you are. You encounter it as a natural part of life. I guess the equivalent metaphor would be coming from a place of war. If you do you are conscious about war even as a child and later without even realizing it you become part of it. Afterwards these people of war areas become involved in different ways. Some of them become fighters, some become writers, some sing about it and some become politicians. Everyone, one way or another, creates a subliminal link to what he or she has growing up. And the gang culture is similar. It might have all started as self-defense but then everyone became part of it as it was the dominant culture of South Central LA. Young people, children, mothers, fathers, shop owners, entrepreneurs and just everyone takes part in it. However, everyone’s reaction and connection with it differs from one person to another. The word ‘scary’ or ‘terrorizing’ is for people who are not familiar with it. But for those who grow in it, it is just a serious matter. It has been there for generations. It is dangerous. People die. And if you trace it back, it originated from racial discrimination. Black people were being targeted by white gangs. It formed as a form of protection for your own black people.

    • -Your ability to connect with your listeners by unlocking some sort of understanding is notable. Now, in your recent works, you are putting out conscious notes for your listeners to grasp through your music and see in your actual life as a self-reliant entrepreneur. Are we nearsighted to an avant-garde attitude to Hip Hop leaving behind the common themes revolving around lavish rides and models?

    You could say so. My recent music is about the reality of the business; the challenges of working for your own business and how to be a black young successful entrepreneur. I want my music to be an inspiration of individual growth in the economic sector. That is the path I took as I grew up and I want to put it in music. My life is different from when I first came out as a teenager with expressions from the teenage perspective of young men in the streets. Now, as I grew older and became successful in music and business my perspective changed accordingly. And so my art evolved with it.

    • -What does being Eritrean mean to you?

    More than anything I am proud of being Eritrean. The history of our country, our struggle and the underdog story, the resilience of the people and our integrity is something that I feel pride in being attached to. Most definitely I do remain closely in touch with our history and our people. I have had the pleasure of preforming in festivals of Eritrean communities like that of San Diego. We also went to Europe and participated in similar events with the community.

    • -How is it, growing in an Eritrean family?

    Good Food!

    • -You have many fans here that feel your glory, success and fame as their own.

    I want to thank my Eritrean fans for feeling connected to me and for supporting me. I feel extremely grateful. I am going to keep coming back here and make frequent returns. Thank you for embracing us, the music and for supporting it. Thank you for keeping my name alive out here. I respect you.

    Your stage name ‘Nipsey Hussle’ is a name that Eritreans here took the liberty of making their own as ‘Nebsi’, in Tigrigna literally translates to ‘self’ and as a slang refers to ‘home boy’ or just ‘homie’. Therefore, the meaning that we have of your name is either ‘self-hustle’ or ‘the hustle of a hommie’. Would you want to officially correct it in our national newspaper now?

    Absolutely not. Actually the name was given to me by older friends who made a reference to a comedian called Nipsey Russell. I was educated about the Tigrigna link to my name recently and I am just so glad it makes sense in Tigrigna and there is no need at all to correct it. Let it be the way it is. That is how I want to keep it with my Eritrean friends and fans.

    • -Ermias, is there anything you want to add before we finish our interview?

    There is, actually. I want to say how gratifying it is for us to be able to come home and be able to have a country that we can call our own, where the leaders, the police, politicians, business owners and entrepreneurs look like us, and are in charge of their own destiny, and each has a say in the overall power structure. It is just so impressive. We are not used to that in America. There is a taboo that we are inferior…

    • -I am sorry to cut you off but it is so sad that they make sure young African Americans grow up with that ideology which you correctly refer to as taboo…

    Yes. Sadly that is the reality. But here in Eritrea it is different. Had it been so in America, too, there would have been less violence, less insanity and no violent families. You might have material advantage in America but life is not all about that. The sense of family, peace and respect is alive out here in Eritrea. No drug addicts, no violent families. You might think money is important but it’s the togetherness and families being tight that make life better. All we think of in America is a concrete reality in Eritrea. As for me to be part of it is a pride I carry profoundly.

    • -Thank you so much for your time. I wish you further success.

    Thank you. My album just came out in February; it is called Victory Lap. I Hope you enjoy it!

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