Eritrea – Pushing the Panic Button to Its Peaks

By Abdullah A. Ado
Feb. 17 2010

Pushing the Panic Button over UNSC-Sanctions:
As I write, aware of the impending demise of Afewarki and his military Junta’s dictatorship, PFDJ-henchmen including Ali Abdu, Minister of Information, Yemane Gebreab, Head of the Political Affairs (PFDJ), and Teame “Mekele” a member of PFDJ are said to be in Frankfurt, Germany at the Innside Premium Hotel Niederrand. On this mission, they are tasked by Afewarki to: (a) coordinate PFDJ-clandestine activities in collaboration with those who sympathize with PFDJ; (b) plead to the Diaspora to show up in the February 22nd 2010 gatherings and demonstrations against the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions; (c) establish new, independent routes of laundering money; (d) coordinate and put into action cyber attacks on websites which are proactively sending out current affairs; and (d) closely follow up opposition groups’ demonstration planned to take place in Geneva, Switzerland on February 23, 2010. These PFDJ-junta henchmen are on a last minute PFDJ-trip before the implementation of the UNSC-embargos curtails them; and to disclose Afewarki’s relief and make it possible to prolong his PFDJ-military junta rule. Indeed Afewarki and his PFDJ-junta are highly concerned and in search of a way out of the quagmire they have indulged into due to the rapid decline of support from Diaspora.

On his part, on February 6, 2010 Eritrea's EU-Ambassador, Girma Asmerom, arrived at Folket Huset, in Backa, Hisingen, Gothenburg, Sweden, to speak to those Afewarki and his PFDJ-junta-friendly Swedish-Eritrean groups and plead to them to come out in huge numbers on 22 February 2010 and demonstrate in public in order to awaken the Swedish public opinion against the UNSC-sanctions passed on December 23, 2009. To his surprise, however, some 30 members of the newly established Swedish-Eritrean Association for Democracy and Justice were actually gathered to protest against Afewarki and his PFDJ-junta outside Folket Huset. Seeing these demonstrators Girma Asmerom slipped out of the meeting hall through the back door protected by the Swedish police in place and avoided likely confrontations by protesters that held placards with pictures of Eritrean prisoners of conscience without trial in Eritrean deserts – including the Eritrean Swedish national Dawit Isaak Esayas and demanded the immediate release of these prisoners.

Following suit on the order transmitted by tyrant Issayas Afewarki ambassadors are attempting to refute the UNSC-embargos imposed on Eritrea; and even orchestrating events including holding press conferences. A case in point is the recent press release made by Salih Omar, ambassador to Kenya, in which he claimed that accusations against Eritrea for its involvement in Somalia has never been substantiated or verified. But his contention was instantly refuted by the Somali Ambassador in Kenya who indicated as evidences were put on UNSC-table for their decisions.

Ruling under the barrel of the gun
As evidently observable, most of the PFDJ-Junta members are Eritrean highland Tigrinya minorities who are about 700,000 people of the nearly 5.2 million people within Afewarki’s Eritrea, a fiefdom held in complete hostage; while the very people of Tigray where TPLF originated from, and who rescued EPLF from the paw of the Dergue are over 6 million population wise. So what is all these where Eritrean Tigrinya highlanders romanticizing their hollow pride, identity crisis, contempt and disillusionment. For those of us who side with the oppressed Eritrean population, Afewarki and his military junta are our subjugators including Afar, Kunama, Saho, Beja, Bilen and other minorities. As far as we know, the Eritrean highland Tigrinya minority group rules Eritrea under the barrel of the gun. Even during the early 1990s referendum moment we were warned by Issayas Afewarki and his Gestapo soldiers that kept on threatening the public with such statements as: "If you vote Red you are dead!" Now that Issayas Afewarki is spending a large portion of the national funds on weapons, he used that as an excuse to stay in power and cancel the regular elections and the drafted constitution.

So what is all this mumbling about Eritrean identity? Can we then call this a genuine highland-lowland ‘unity’? Not as far as the oppressed Afar, Kunama, Saho, Bilen and Beja communities are concerned. Mind you, Eritrea is still on the making. It is a fragile nation formation experiment that can easily crumble by its own internal frictions and factions. Every abnormal action being waged by Afewarki and his PFDJ-military junta are leading to a possible faction and to the good old days of the ghedli era. The Sawa garrisons’ national service policy is nothing but an exact copy of Shaabia in between the 1960s through to 2001; created with the aim to manipulate and acculturate the youth teghadelti group out of the silent and salient majority within Eritrea with what Afewarki terms as indoctrinating ghedli values in the youths’ mind.

Elites busy with drafting scenarios:
While pushing the panic button around the glob is continuing, few Eritrean Tigrinya Highland group elites in Diaspora continue with their age-old fashionable lame excuses trying to divert attention from critical issues of Issayas Afewarki’s military junta rule at home. In so doing they continue with idealist arguments in conference halls waging for a peaceful takeover of power and on how to continue the status quo with highlanders securing the usual top seats of power. To this effect, suffice to look at few of the known websites, where almost all articles coming regularly from these Eritrean highland Tigrinya elite groups reflect the key concern they have after Afewarki’s demise. They talk of what would happen once tyrant Issayas Afewarki is gone for no return? What kind of constitution should Eritrean peoples have? What kind of government should Eritrea install next? What languages should Eritrea have as its official national language? How do Eritrean peoples resolve the traditional land issue at stake? What should be the role of religion in future Eritrea? Which is viable - Decentralized and Federal or unitary and unionist regime?

Obsessed as they are with promoting their exclusive Tigrinya Highlanders agendas that have entirely to do with the hereafter, they pay little attention to the shocks faced by the silent and salient majority of the Eritrean peoples here and now. For Eritrean Tigrinya highlanders, it is not Issayas who is their primary obstacle or enemy; but whoever they think will be bickering and competing against them now and in the hereafter for taking the seat of power in Asmara. As they were customarily acting during the revolutionary heydays of the 1960s through to 2001 their cry for “democracy” has provided them with an excellent camouflage to do whatever they are doing in politically correct ways in their mind-set-up. But tragic enough our peasant and pastoral communities within Eritrea lack the “barest minimum” of Eritrean highland Tigrinya “democratic play” that could prevent them from all the havoc and horror-filled living conditions we witness in Issayas Afewarki’s Gestapo junta ruled Eritrea in the name of ghedli that has been and still is taxing our peoples’ limbs and lives mercilessly. So it is rather high time that we in Diaspora speak for them, demonstrate for them, and to call a spade a spade and slap them on the face.

As far as RSADO is concerned we say the fragile Eritrean nation formation can only hold water if there is attitude change and constitutional governance. Otherwise what is in a name ‘Eritrea’ and its ‘sovereignty’ without keeping our oppressed pastoral and peasant communities’ worth, respect and value? What do we have in stake in an unimplemented draft Constitution, where only Eritrean highland Tigrinya elite in Diaspora collectively drafted without the consent of the silent majority peasants and pastoralists?

Those of us who write exposing the genocides and madness acts and actions of Issayas Afewarki and his corrupt PFDJ-junta in Eritrea are often attacked, verbally, in pen, and physically and in false reports on the internet, often by ‘Eritrean highland Tigrinya minorities in Diaspora’ who continue protecting their own financial interests and their kin holding autocratic power at the cost of surviving on peasants and pastoralists labour and military services.

Concluding Remarks:
As far as RSADO and the vast majority of peasants and pastoralists are concerned, if the UNSC-sanctions are realized, it is not the Eritrean people who suffer from the arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze; rather it is only the coffers of Issayas Afewarki and his PFDJ-military junta’s corrupt henchmen whose assets may eventually be frozen. In fact, it is better to freeze their assets. These assets are nothing but stolen from the slave-labour of Eritrean salient and silent majority.

But the empty rhetoric and cries by Eritrean highland Tigrinya groups of ‘‘fake unity’’. Boils down to answering the following critical question: Who is really carrying the brunt of the suffering due to Issayas Afewarki’s non-stop oppression in Eritrea? As far as we see it these are the rural peasants and pastoralists. In such circumstance, we can’t unite with those who do not appreciate our dying for Eritrea on the formation stage; we cannot hold a rally pretending that the UNSC-embargos are a bad thing for our people. Things could not possibly get any worse for the Eritrean masses than what is so ticklish enough for Afewarki and his ruling junta clicks caught in panic and run around the glob pleading for a demonstration show-off cases.

For those of us who side with and represent the oppressed peasants and pastoralists of Eritrea, the UNSC-embargos are a way forward. If the global demonstration is against Issayas Afewarki and his military junta, then that would be wonderful action for us to join, clap-our hands, and make our voices heard to the wider-world telling enough is enough. But rallying and encouraging the Eritrean Diaspora to challenge the golden opportunity that has befallen with the UNSC-Sanctions would be an absolute waste of human resources. On the contrary, it is high time to make a joint wake-up call and unite all Eritrean peoples in Diaspora against Tyrant Issayas Afewarki and his PFDJ-military Junta.