Tuesday, April 24, 2012


A lot have been and is being broadcasted about this topic through the different medias recently. For majority of us, it still is a conundrum that we longed for the real picture and the truth. I am dragged in, to lend my hand for innocent victims of cyber war who indeed are toasted between the realist and the opportunist. A map can explain more than thousands of words. This summary will unveil the demagogue, buried inside the words and phrases that have been disseminated through the different medias.
VIDEOS USED IN THE SUMMARY (all uploaded on YouTube)
click on the hyperlinks or copy and paste the URL

  • Ethiopian News in Amharic : Tuesday, March 20,2012 - Clip 2 of 3 (uploader ethiopiantv); here in after refereed as video1; (URL:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVTKmafcvoE)
  •  WelQayit Sugar Factory.mp4 (uploader EthioMekalihh); here in after referred as video 2; (URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QnqXD0c3Tg&list=UUPkn62cRupXGcZ1Gl7_agVAindex=40&feature=plpp_video)
  • Waldiba 3rd Reportage by VOA Radio (uploader Deje Selam); here in after referred as video 3; (URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jczc7gV-qyM&feature=relmfu)
  • The Monastry of Waldba (uploader TTEOTV); here in after referred as video 4; (URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=jmuXs0qQycw)
  • waldeba part one (uploader misnappy1); here in after referred as video 5; (URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJzgh6ehRiQ)
 Fig 1. map of Woredas of Tigray National Regional State with marked area in focus

 Fig 2. closer view of the area in focus with details.
please note that to view the location of a given coordinate, follow the steps below.
a. copy & past the coordinates in Google web site search box
b. click search command next to the search box or press the enter key.
c. click the map link on top left of the website.
If hyperlinked, just click it.
Zarima river is one of the west/south bank tributary of Tekeze river which is found in the Tekeze Basin. Starting on the north side of Siemen Mountains (Debark vicinity ~ 3200 meters above sea level; m.a.s.l), the river flows north to confluence with Tekeze river at coordinates ( 13.860081,37.76825 ) & elevation/altitude 780 m.a.s.l. The river streches over 115 kilometers. Zarima river has significant tributaries which one of the west bank tributary is a land mark demarcating regional line between Amhara National Regional State and Tigray National Regional State ( 13.638271,37.780738 coordinates of the confluence of Zarima river and the said river). From its source up to this point, Zarima river flows in the Amhara National Regional State, while the later demarcates the limits of two Woredas namely Tselemti Woreda & Wolqayt woreda in western Tigray National Regional State. Other significant land mark along Zarima's river course include Zarima town (coordinates 13.340017,37.882576) located on the  north bank of Zarima river where the main highway running between Gondar and Shire (highway 3 per Google map) crosses Zarima river.
2.1. THE DAM 
 Fig 3. statics of the dam from the film footage of video 2
The main aspect of this project includes building a dam on Zarima river. On video 2 (fast forward to 0:10 here in after referred as FF 0:10), the foundation of the dam is said to be laid on altitude/elevation 810 m.a.s.l. Cascading down from ~3200 MASL to ~780 m.a.s.l, Zarima's river course intercepts the elevation/altitude 810 m.a.s.l around 8 kilometers upstream from its confluence with Tekeze river (coordinates 13.816536,37.79696), which is going to be the dam site.  The dam height mentioned on this video is 143 meters, which defines the elevation of the crest of the dam to be 953 m.a.s.l. The dam defines all aspects of the lake created.
By definition, full capacity of a dam doesn't indicate the lake surface elevation to be equal to the elevation of the crest of the dam. If so, there will be uncontrolled overflow of water which otherwise can be called emergency situation (a rare to none to happen). To consider the optimistic size of the created lake, this worst case scenario is considered on this summary. This assumption defines the surface elevation of the lake to be 953 m.a.s.l. The map produced, based on Google map shown above considered contour line 960 instead of 953. This means that the perimeter of the lake is the 960 contour line traced on Google map. Three facts led for this consideration.
  • ease of tracing the contour line introducing less error since the available detailed contour on Google map is every 20 meters
  • exaggerating the already worst case scenario by additional 7 meters of piled water
  • since most of the reservoir is in deep gorges, the 7 meter altitude difference wouldn't bring big change on the surface area coverage. Please note it makes tremendous difference on the volume of the water stored which is not a big worry/wow for the topic under discussion.
As it is rich in history and age, a lot can be said around the different aspects of Waldeba Monastery. Leaving aside all, this summary will be tuned on the where about of it and its interference, if any, with Wolkayite Irrigation Project.
3.1 Location
Any potential resource leading to the specific location of the monastery is investigated below.
  • As per video 1 (FF 1:22), his excellency Abay Tsehaye (on minster level, CEO of Ethiopian sugar corporation) pointed the bordering rivers to the monastery as Tekeze river, Zarima river,  & Enseya river. video 4 (FF 3:41), and Video 5 (FF 8:26) documented that, four rivers surround the monastery; although the rivers name is not mentioned.
  • As per video 3 (FF 1:00), his excellency Ato Sisay Meresa, Head of Tselemti Woreda, briefed quite the most information about the monastery location.
  1. It is found in Tselemti Woreda of Tigray National Regional State.
  2. The neighbouring woredas are Tselemti Woreda in the east, Asigede Tsimbela Woreda in the north, Wolqayt Woreda in the west, and Addi Arkay Woreda in the south.
  3. It is bordered by Tekeze river, Zarima river and Ensaya river.
  • As per video 2 (FF 8:15), his excellency Engineer Araya Girmay, project engineer of Wolkayt Irrigation Project, pointed the direction of the monastry in reference to Zarima river as East. 
So, where exactly is the Monastry located at?
Under the slogan "Let's describe the whole world," wikimapia.org has opened doors for any body interested on locating what so ever on a map. Under the key word "waldiba monastery" (click it), some one had tried to point the monastery. The pointed location does not represent Waldeba Monastery for the following reasons.
Fig 4. the located place on Wikimapia under the key word "waldiba"
  • The place is completly west of Zarima river which is in Wolqayt Woreda while Waldeba is east of Zarima river in Tselemti Woreda..
  • The altitude/elevation of Waldeba Monastery is 1118 m.a.s.l; but this location is 920 m.a.s.l. Read the contour for yourself  by clicking Map type on the top left corner of "waldiba" on wikimapia.org website  and then click the link Google terrain from the drop down window.
  • From the film footage of video 5; FF 6:17 ( partly shown below on Fig. 5), one can see that the facilities/buildings are well below the plains closer to the top of a gorge/valley. But as one can see above in Fig. 4 that, most of the facilities/buildings are atop the hill on Wolqayt plains.
Fig 5. north view of Waldeba Monastry (captured from the film footage of video 5; FF 6:17)
Fig 6. Waldeba Monastery as seen on Google map.
The exact location of Waldiba Monastery is  at the coordinates 13.632182,37.964072. It is now described on wikimapia.org under the key word WALDEBA MONASTERY. It will be lame to end the investigative summary at this point. There is one unanswered question! Does the Irrigation project interfere with the monastery? The dam itself is out of question which is 28 kilometers away (air distance) in the north west direction from Waldeba Monastery. The far most eastern edge and the closest part of the lake to the monastery (coordinates 13.62163,37.817388) will be ~15 kilometers away from Waldeba Monastery; hence there will be no interference of the two!
This summary will put the opportunist on a cul-de-sac, liberating the innocent victims of lie in a cyber war, and bringing the drama to an end. The absolute opportunist (some countries and global organizations), who never want to see a prospered Ethiopia, will never alter their strategy. It is proven on a number of macro and micro dam projects that Ethiopia is/was engaged. As to the local opportunist, let it be clear that development driven Ethiopians will stand united in the fight against poverty without compromising development projects with politics.  The wrong ball (politics), on the  wrong field (development projects), obviously scored "ፎሪ" (in soccer language). Truth will always prevail. If you may, listen your uneasy stomach that is telling you how Ethiopia deeply needs these development projects.


  1. Dear Zeru I appreciate your effort but when there is such controverial cases the government should also invite the opposition party members to visit the area and disclose the reality. The government is trying to sale all counter propoganda against what is written and said but TPLF led government will not learn to build teams from other opponent parties to clarify such confusions.

    The experience i have here is that such issues could topple down an administration in a democratic country so rather than justifying it is better to invited those parties that are not wining and dinning with TPLF.

  2. So why the people from Amhara region cry loud while it is completely in Tigray region? Thank you Zeru!

    1. It's not the people from Amhara region. It's some extremist, corrupt politicians or so called leaders, and some confused people. The people all over Ethiopia want development but some of these corrupt so-called leaders from time time confuse some of the people with false propoganda.


    3. @YEAH Jay
      If this helps you to enlighten yourself, check this article!

    4. Oh, that's right sweetheart, just settle 500000 tigres in amhara land and then have a referendum; typical agg@game logic. Bitch I assure, i nor my parents and their parents belong to your clan. We are what we and tekeze shall be our witness to your invasion. I am an amhara and i've never ever heard of your kind until the day your clan pointed a gun in the face of my parents and took them right in front of me.

      I shall not rest until the day you leeches leave my home; i shall be pushed to use force to free my home and i will. You will see your so called tigre generation in the future pay; give me 15 years and don't worry your agg$game invaders shall pay as well as your mekeleo.

      My motto goes like this you kill my family i kill yours.

  3. Peope are talking a lot with out knowing the facts on the ground. Even many think that waldba lay near to Gonder town. They don`t have any geographical facts about the monastry, the lake etc.The government could propgate the project to the people on tv and other massmedia before the opposition misguided the people.

    1. Dear Haile and anonymous
      It reminds me again Meles`s saying what relevant has Axum for Wolayita and the South. It is a curse to have such Gott centered people in Ethiopia like you both. Whether it is in Gondar or Tigray Waldba Monastry is a Historical place for the country and it should be protected by all Ethiopian who believe that they are Ethiopians. What I read between the lines is that both of you are filled like a coca bottle with the TPLF doctrine, which could not move the country an inch forwad in terms of Democratic governance and respection of Human rights.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Great Info Zeru --- very informative. When/if there is similar disinformation campaign in other future projects, please do investigation on them and too tell the truth to the people. Thanks again

  6. I must say, I found your investigative report very informative so I thank you for your effort. However, from listening to the VOA's several reports about this issue one is left with the impression that there is a massive cover up. Me personally believe we should be focused on the facts, especially if they are presented by professionals instead of priests and monks who can't know anything about the technical issue. So why doesn't the responsible people produce a credible TV documentary made up of independent professionals? That way the VOA propaganda campaign gets discredited and with it eroding its credibility as well as exposing its ulterior motive. Please do not underestimate the power of religious propaganda.

    1. Unfortunately VOA has turned into an anti-Ethiopian criminal entreprise! And some of the so called Holy Men who are supposed to be working Holy Work -- including doing their part to assist in creation of jobs to help their fellow men --- are intentionall or unintentionally doing the oposite. The gov. needs to make it clear some of these monks either have no idea of what they are taking about or have other ulterior motive.

  7. Dear Zera'u Hagos!
    I always appreciate every thing you post. Thank you!
    Regarding Waldiba the issue is not something related to religion or spirituality.
    This issue is far beyond religion. What is happening now is the politics of keeping Tigray poor and detached from its extreme the lands stretched west of Tekeze. The inherent enemies of Tigray are after every activity that may result in strategic advantage to Tigray's economy. 100 years ago Menelike annexed west of Tekeze so as to weaken the then Tigray and its war lords. similarly Hailesilassie annexed Raya to wollo so as to deny tigray an access to a potential crop production land the ultimate goal being realizing everlasting Shewan dominance in the Ethiopian state. By the time the government of EPRDF startaed stretching hydro power lines to tigray it was hot issue 10 years ago. It used to be propagated as if stretching electric line to Tigray is something like economic sabbotage. The lake of Tekeze and its power generation activity was a hot issue for the eternal enemies for fear of realizing self sufficient Tigray. Now they are trying to do their level best to distort the wolkait sugar project. For one thing they still preach west of Tekeze is still Gondar and the residents of Wolkait, Tselemti and Tsgede are Amharas. so they are in fear of having another Tigrigna speaking town like Humera in the low lands of wolkait. You know Waldiba was established during the time of Alameda, in the first millennium during the Axumite period by Tigrian hermits. few centuries later it was the holy father Aba Samuel,from eastern Tigray, Atsbi menberta lacality, who re-established the abandoned monastery. by no means the holy land of woldiba is related to the evil enemies of Tigray. Waldiba and its true fathers has always been the God fearing sons of Tigray. Zera'u Hagos, I appreciate your articles after you posted about the "Lake Amora" across Giba river. Keep on having such issue on line. I presume you are the real thinker for the future of Tigray in particular and Ethiopia in general

    1. Forgive me to use this occasion to express my heart felt gratitude for all the posts you made. Sometimes I wonder as to how you dedicate your time, skill and knowledge to be pragmatic in convincing people to believe in the initiatives you come up with. I have words of praise for the initiative regarding lake Mekelle.
      Part 1
      Dear Zera’u Hagos Cherkos
      I have no words strong enough to express the depth of gratitude I have for you for the marvelous initiative you come up with and for the depth of analysis you did. I believe it is very impressive to have such fruitful minds. Everything starts with such noble idea. I was touched by your article regarding the lake of Mekelle across the Giba River. It is a gift from the Almighty for the neglected city which still lacks sustainable wash strategy to date. Most of its residents are having scanty water supply too little to survive live alone to lead modern life.
      The initiative you proposed is far beyond satisfying the demand of the city for wash (water and sanitation service). It does have values which are too big to be fully described by my article. Anyway, I want rise the following supportive ideas
      1, having ample water source is the cardinal input for modern lifestyle; healthy life is unthinkable without hygiene and sanitation. And this cannot be acquired without ample water supply
      2, Water is the sole source of natural beauty; it is simply impossible to imagine the major cities in the world being far away from beaches and coastal lines. It is worse than imagining having New York /Sydney/Paris/London/Tokyo and so on without electric city service. The given cities existed before electricity come in to being but not without the nearby water sources which gives them special beauty and sense of freshness and sign of modernity.
      3, we Tigrians deserve to have a city which can be source of pride for our brave and committed people. History has already given Mekelle the golden opportunity to represent the image of Tigray. Whether we like it or not our external image is being reflected with what Mekelle looks like. Fortunately, the residents of Mekelle come from all corners of Tigray. Moreover, unlike other localities in our region, Mekelle is home town for all without having special sense of indigenousness, no special privilege of being home town to certain sub clan or locality of Tigray. By beatifying Mekelle we can simply change our image in the country Ethiopia in particular and the world in general. This does not mean the other towns should be neglected. All I am saying is Mekelle should remain center of excellence to all Tigrians

  8. Part 2

    4, No one respects us so long us we remain poor and uncivilized. And civilization is mainly reflected by having clean and shining towns. We can see nearby regions doing much to capitalize in certain towns of their region so as to build their image. Bahardar and Awassa are examples worth mentioning. Luckily, unlike most other towns in Ethiopia the towns we have in Tigray are known for having uniformity in road design and building distribution. Most of our towns; Endasillassie, Axum, Wukro, Humera etc have better founding plans to easily develop them to modern metropolitan cities. We can develop them to attractive towns with minor cosmetic (aesthetic) manipulations such as; road construction, gardening and plastering less pleasant buildings. My suggestion solely depends on Ethiopian context
    5, the mere point I am training to make is far beyond the physiological and social need for comfortable residence. Its significance in cementing Ethiopian unity while having its diverse nature intact is immense. Self reliance and good economic viability is vital in bringing societies together. This is because; the essence of unity is appreciated by all partners for having complementary effect in the livelihood of culturally and linguistically diverse societies. Putting oneself in comfortable positions somehow loosens the attitude of the bitter enemy towards oneself.
    Imagine! the cruel act of the Italians on the innocent people of Ethiopia during the Mussolini period. However, no one in Ethiopia heats them too much despite all the crimes committed by them. We even yarn to go to Italy for better life. The sole reason is the image of civilization they have created in our minds masking their bad deeds. On the contrary, the toxic Diaspora is still propagating hatred towards Tigray despite all the sacrifice we made to correct the derailed historical course of Ethiopia. This is because we could not yet change our image of poverty with signs of civilization and development. Once, we manage to posses beautiful cities and green landscape we will win the hearts of all including morbid enemies. To live you with simple example from Dr Solomon Enquay’ s “The agony and ecstasy of Tigray” He mentioned “ I don’t know why the Derg used to release some political prisoners in fewer occasions and members of EPRP,ELF and EPLF were some of the beneficiaries, however, on one had that chance from the imprisoned TPLF members” . For me the answer is clear. It affirms that no one cares for the poor. Otherwise, there is no logic to soften the heart of the Derg towards ELF/EPLF members better than they do towards TPLF members. The home take massage is no body respects us whatever democratic and impartial governance we rooted in Ethiopia so long us we are still poor. Hence, we should show others that we are hard working and economically viable by displaying marvelous cities and towns in the electronic media. Let us create sense of pride in the minds of our fellow youngsters so that they will have confidence and self consciousness. Let’s us not kill the moral of youngsters born in other parts of Ethiopia and abroad by displaying the over degraded landscape and poorly managed ( designed) cities and towns of Tigray.

  9. Part 3

    6, we Tigrians have plenty of natural and human resources to capitalize on; this includes unparalleled history of civilization, courage, literature, spirituality and righteousness. We have highly committed people who can change histories so long us we keep on sensitizing them through rational national feeling. We have a land full of gorges, streams and plane lowlands with ample natural resources
    7 Imagine! Tekeze streams with slow pace in the low lands of Setit turning west of Adiabo for 200 to 300 KMs. We can simply use small scale water pumps to irrigate tens, if not hundreds, of thousands hectares of land in the southern bank of the river without waiting for fancy and costly irrigation projects. By doing so we could have had produced cereals and cash crops for the entire region. The rest of over ploughed Tigray topography could have been spared for area closure where we can easily harvest honey and rear domestic animals. We could simply flood the oil laden Middle Eastern counties with fresh and organic agricultural products.
    8, Tigray is full of gorges and various small and medium size rivers and streams. All we need to do is search for narrow gorges in the routes of Giba, Wera’e, Zamra, Kaza, Zarema and other rivers for earth dams to be built with no compensation for displacement. By my lay observation, I have seen several narrow gorges where small cost dams can be built. By doing so we can use the downstream banks for plantation of fruits that we can export to the Middle East along with the animal products I mentioned earlier.
    • By doing so we could have created job opportunity for the immigrating youth.
    • By doing so we could have repeated the miraculous accomplishment of the arms struggle we wagged to the advantage of our people.
    • By doing so we could have served as glue to the Ethiopian unity
    • By doing so we could have won the heart of all black people in the planet to further increase tourist number
    • BUT, I am afraid, we may be lacking political commitment and the will to transfer power to the energetic and capable segment of society (the youth)
    9, Additionally, It is not that costly to have our own second hand Cargo planes which we can use to export the agricultural products to the nearby cities in the Middle East. We have comparative advantage in geographic proximity to lift our products to their destiny in a matter of few hours. We can simply win the minds of consumers by utilizing our cheap labor for reasonable price and organic agriculture in comparison to other suppliers. By doing so we could have created jobs for our youth and migrants from nearby regions and countries.
    10, having said, this let us think and rethink critically! We need fertile think tank and committed leadership. Staying in power is useless so long us our people livelihood is unchanged. We Tigrians have every input for development at our disposal except for lack of commitment from the selfish leadership who persistently clenches on political power. The people should not remain laboratory subjects for the failing policies. We should respect leaders based on their practical achievements rather than entertaining speech they make.

  10. Part 4

    11, these days, the fertile lands of Humera and Raya are being under utilized for lack of proper agricultural mechanization. The so called investors in Humera plough by tractor once a year while spreading the seed. They use human labor to wed and harvest. Their per hectare yield is even smaller compared to the small scale land owners can produce. This is because the small plot of land owners properly and timely deal with their land. As a result the so called investors are underutilizing the land. Had the land (common wealth) been given to thousands of households, both the number of benefices and production could have raised rather than having small individuals possessing thousands of hectares? Most of these selfish individuals simply exhaust their wealth by building residences in Gondar, AA and other places rather than investing in Tigray. The remaining money is spent on drinking and gambling. Ultimately Tigray is not having any benefit from the so called investors for two reasons. 1, they use no technology to increase production while scrambling the scarce land in a country where fellow citizens are lacking pieces of land to flex their muscles on. 2, they extravagantly exhaust the money they earn from Tigray by having luxurious vehicles, homes here and there and consuming alcohol. If at all the people of Tigray benefit from the low lands of Humera, it is from the daily labors who work for the selfish investors as seasonal migrants for they win the daily bread of their poor families. Were it not been for the poor land management, the daily laborers could have had reasonable share of the land for better land use and wealth distribution. Naturally, all Tigrians have equal birth (natural) right to the land use. For obvious reasons, Feudalism has gone for good.
    To my knowledge, an investor is one who has capital knowledge and skill to intensify technological input to lands so that he/she can increase land productivity. By providing land to such individuals the production increases which in turn create other investment where the land less can get job and food security. But the reality in Humera is quite contrary. The so called investors use similar technology with those who have small plot of land. Similarly the land productivity even declines with the increase in size of the land for poor management. There is inverse relationship between the per hectare productivity and extent of land possession.
    12, I just raised the above issues to assert on the need for think tank in Tigray. Let us know that nobody cares for us for bleeding too much to liberate Ethiopia so long us we remain poor. Even others may find it shameful to be led by such incompetent segment of population. The reason is one should care for oneself before considering others. The massage is TPLF should care for Tigray before pleasing the other parts of Ethiopia. In case of calamity it is Tigray who will serve for your safety.

  11. Part 5

    13, Should we shine economically, academically and physically through hard work and strategic thinking, we will be the one to be considered as glue for the future of Ethiopia by all Ethiopians. The Amharas were trying their best to please the Eritreans so as to keep them under the umbrella of Ethiopia for they already had Asmara, Massawa, Asab and the red sea, while disguising Tigray for having no economic advantage during the imperial period. That was also the sole reason for Mengistu Hailemariam to bray and bluff on the observance of May Day, 1989 G.C after the Derg retreat, from all of Tigray. “Tigary is worthless fighting for; it cannot even cover the cost for chalk”. This is also the existing misconceptions which still drive the toxic Diaspora to this day to the insane attitude towards Tigray.
    Let us show them that we are the true sons of the ancient Ethiopians (Axumites) by being successful economically, academically, culturally and spiritually. Success is the best reward. It is double edged swords which can hart the envious more than any mighty weapon on Earth can do so. We do not want our enemies vanish for ever, rather we want them see our success. Let the Hamasseins see a city of our own sweat and skill shining over the Italian built Asmera. Let us use all potential resources to shine again the way our forefathers did about 1500 years ago.
    “Those who do not history will be forgotten by history” a saying from Israel ( B.General , May, 28, 2012; interview with Ethiopian TV on the occasion of Gunbet, 2o)
    Let us show the world our fathers’ blood line still continues. Let us show them still we are Yeha and Axum.
    Stay blessed

  12. I am Eritrean and I am Hamasseine. I am happy my fellow tigrian have achieved this. I took hatred, the hatred is the job of our politicians. Let see our similarity in blood, and everything. So please don't think that we kind of hate you, we our brothers in case you realize.

    1. Thank you Samuel Gebretnsae! As you said and if it wasn't for the past century, we are absolutely one!

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Thank you Zeru Cherkos and informative.

    Please use the correct administrative map of Tigrai.

  15. Great to know you. I like it. I will follow you sir.

  16. the Land & Monks of waldiba Belongs To Gondar Ethio

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