The Habesha Diaspora

Eritrean American.
College Graduate.
Languages Languages.
Hashtag Hashtag.
Selfie Selfie.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is how I feel when white people try to tell me about racism. 


I really hoped everyone would have made better choices regarding da3esh (IS/ISIS/ISIL, etc.). But no one did. And now the fear of “homegrown” terrorism is growing… So brown and black followers of my tumblr, I present to you something that is hopefully not new at all:

(Copied from

Know Your Rights: What To Do If You’re Stopped By Police, Immigration Agents or the FBI

- You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
- You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.
- If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
- You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.
- Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.

- Do stay calm and be polite.
- Do not interfere with or obstruct the police.
- Do not lie or give false documents.
- Do prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested.
- Do remember the details of the encounter.
- Do file a written complaint or call your local ACLU if you feel your rights have been violated.


Stay calm. Don’t run. Don’t argue, resist or obstruct the police, even if you are innocent or police are violating your rights. Keep your hands where police can see them.
Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away. If you are under arrest, you have a right to know why.
You have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for refusing to answer questions. If you wish to remain silent, tell the officer out loud. In some states, you must give your name if asked to identify yourself.
You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may “pat down” your clothing if they suspect a weapon. You should not physically resist, but you have the right to refuse consent for any further search. If you do consent, it can affect you later in court.

Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible. Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way and place your hands on the wheel.
Upon request, show police your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.
If an officer or immigration agent asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search. But if police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your consent.
Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. If you are a passenger, you can ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, sit silently or calmly leave. Even if the officer says no, you have the right to remain silent.

You have the right to remain silent and do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents or any other officials. You do not have to answer questions about where you were born, whether you are a U.S. citizen, or how you entered the country. (Separate rules apply at international borders and airports, and for individuals on certain nonimmigrant visas, including tourists and business travelers.)
If you are not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you must show them if you have them with you. If you are over 18, carry your immigration documents with you at all times. If you do not have immigration papers, say you want to remain silent.
Do not lie about your citizenship status or provide fake documents.

If the police or immigration agents come to your home, you do not have to let them in unless they have certain kinds of warrants.
Ask the officer to slip the warrant under the door or hold it up to the window so you can inspect it. A search warrant allows police to enter the address listed on the warrant, but officers can only search the areas and for the items listed. An arrest warrant allows police to enter the home of the person listed on the warrant if they believe the person is inside. A warrant of removal/deportation (ICE warrant) does not allow officers to enter a home without consent.
Even if officers have a warrant, you have the right to remain silent. If you choose to speak to the officers, step outside and close the door.

If an FBI agent comes to your home or workplace, you do not have to answer any questions. Tell the agent you want to speak to a lawyer first.
If you are asked to meet with FBI agents for an interview, you have the right to say you do not want to be interviewed. If you agree to an interview, have a lawyer present. You do not have to answer any questions you feel uncomfortable answering, and can say that you will only answer questions on a specific topic.

Do not resist arrest, even if you believe the arrest is unfair.
Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t give any explanations or excuses. If you can’t pay for a lawyer, you have the right to a free one. Don’t say anything, sign anything or make any decisions without a lawyer.
You have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot listen if you call a lawyer.
Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested. Memorize the phone numbers of your family and your lawyer. Make emergency plans if you have children or take medication.
Special considerations for non-citizens:
- Ask your lawyer about the effect of a criminal conviction or plea on your immigration status.
- Don’t discuss your immigration status with anyone but your lawyer.
- While you are in jail, an immigration agent may visit you. Do not answer questions or sign anything before talking to a lawyer.
- Read all papers fully. If you do not understand or cannot read the papers, tell the officer you need an interpreter.

You have the right to a lawyer, but the government does not have to provide one for you. If you do not have a lawyer, ask for a list of free or low-cost legal services.
You have the right to contact your consulate or have an officer inform the consulate of your arrest.
Tell the ICE agent you wish to remain silent. Do not discuss your immigration status with anyone but your lawyer.
Do not sign anything, such as a voluntary departure or stipulated removal, without talking to a lawyer. If you sign, you may be giving up your opportunity to try to stay in the U.S.
Remember your immigration number (“A” number) and give it to your family. It will help family members locate you.
Keep a copy of your immigration documents with someone you trust.

Remember: police misconduct cannot be challenged on the street.
Don’t physically resist officers or threaten to file a complaint.
Write down everything you remember

File a written complaint

Call your local ACLU or visit

The Birds (Part I) - The Weeknd

Watching HBO documentary about thwarted terror attack and they say:

"He became fluent in the language of Jihad."

What the does that even mean? Why can’t you answer that? Who can I yell at about this? 

Taking many many Arabic classes…

Expectation: I’ll use it to help people and get an awesome job making people’s lives a little easier. People totally want Arabic speakers with cultural understanding.

Reality: Unemployed and eavesdropping on really boring conversations Arabs have in supermarkets, libraries and on buses. 

I may or may not have spent the past three days acquiring 180 episodes of the Arab Version of Crossfire (الإتجاه المعاكس). My parents have both acclimated to people yelling loudly in Arabic at all hours of the day.

I think this is that one thing that will take my Arabic from mediocre (limited working proficiency) to near fluencey in listening/reading. And I am not even embarrassed.

Mreyte Ya Mreyte.

Three years ago, I took a first-year Farsi course at UW. It was pretty fun. The best thing was the lovely cadence Farsi is spoken at. As compared to Arabic anyway. And every time I talk about it I have to show people this video. 

Maz Jobrani on the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour.

Anonymous asked: Could you further address your opinion on freedom of speech and democracy in Eritrea? Don't you think that people being able to discuss the issues would play a fundamental part in the nation's progress? And could you also share your thoughts about Sawa? I don't mean to come off passive aggressive or something, but I get the vibe that you actually know what you're talking abou,t and therefore I value your opinion, whether I agree or not.

No, definitely. I think I understand where you are coming from. And I am really interested in having these conversations (and would love to hear your ideas as well). I think progress can only come from having really open conversations about difficult topics. 

In my previous response, I talked about more modern freedoms (freedom of the press, freedom of expression, etc.) being less important for Eritrea currently than access to water, reconstruction efforts and food availability. 

I say this because I don’t believe the majority of the pressure for these freedoms are internal. I think they come from external powers. I think that if grand efforts were made to bring these Western liberal ideals to Eritrea the situation of everyday people would not change. 

I think that if Eritrea is able to focus on building its physical and economic infrastructure and then begins to focus on bringing in these freedoms - well, Eritrea would become a truly modern state. That is a much much more difficult than it sounds. But, I believe it is possible if the world does not continue to treat Eritrea like a pariah state.

I definitely think that freedom of expression is important in this stage of Eritrean society. I also think there are a number of cultural factors and historical determinants that create issues…

First, in Tigrinya culture (I am not sure about the rest of Eritrea’s ethnic groups) if your family has an issue you don’t discuss it with outsiders. Things are kept close to the belt. The same idea is definitely extrapolated out to the Eritrean government. If things are not going so great we can all acknowledge it, but why would we air our dirty laundry in front of the world? And if you have followed Eritrean politics in the past ten years you’ve seen that they take it pretty seriously.

Additionally, there is a generation who invested their entire lives (if not during their life itself) to the independence effort. This investment in Eritrea’s future cannot be matched by today’s youth. It’s a fact. You can’t get around it. I will never know that level of nationalism. 

So how do you have freedom of expression in a society that doesn’t want to talk publicly about its issues and doesn’t necessarily value the opinions of those who weren’t involved in the struggle. 

Personally, I think it will only happen if the youth start investing time/energy into learning about the ideas and ideals of a generation. I don’t necessarily mean adopting those ideals, but acknowledging and building upon them. 

Also, the fact that the youth seems to be anyone under 18 in 1991 is seriously weird. How is 40 still considered the youth? And it’s because of this issue of personal investment.

Sawa is a tricky topic. I think Sawa is a great opportunity. It is a great opportunity to meet different Eritreans, learn about other ethnic groups, and learn how to communicate linguistically and socially with the rest of your country. I think the military aspect of Sawa is dumb. I think if Sawa didn’t have military training it’d be a great institution. Or if Sawa had two sections - military and academic. 

Mandatory military service isn’t unheard of in different countries. Especially in a country like Eritrea that has history of armed struggle. I just think the militarization of this upper level of education is strange.

Of course, this is just my opinion. As someone who has and never will be in a military of any kind. 

Now, if you ask me about the Sawa festival… Haha. I had the opportunity to sit around with some organizers of the Sawa festival and that sounded like a lot of shenanigans. Just not my cup of tea. 


The Crisis of ISIS: A Prophetic Prediction | Sermon by Hamza Yusuf 

A much needed Sermon, everyone should listen to this.