An Open Letter to the Eritrean Intellectuals

By Fesseha Nair


Dear Sirs/Madams,

Dear Compatriots!

In this open letter, I would like to appeal to all Eritrean intellectuals to show sympathy for the oppressed people and join the forces for democratic change in Eritrea.

The role of the Eritrean intellectuals during the political and armed struggle was very decisive so that the struggle for liberation of Eritrea at last has succeeded. Eritrean intellectuals played an important role in helping articulate and couch the terms of our liberation struggle during the political and armed struggle.

The political struggle was joined by the student and labour union helped to mobilise a wider support for the cause of Eritrea during the self-determination of the Eritrean nation after post colonial era. It is the former students and others who conceived the idea of the nation Eritrea. During the armed struggle, it is the intellectuals who have given the struggle organizational structure and statutes.  The role of intellectuals is to bring social changes. Thanks to the past Eritrean intellectuals who helped us analyse events, processes and implications of each stage both during the political and armed struggle in Eirtrea.

No one denies that in the past Eritrean intellectuals played a leading role in the liberation of Eritrea. It is the former Eritrean Intellectuals who dared to speak the truth to the colonisers. They observed and interpreted the reality, challenged the colonisers and they have stood for the universal values of humanity.

Dear Compatriots,


While our past intellectuals have played a decisive role , where is the role of the intellectuals at this time of persecution and oppression of our people under authoritarian regime? Why are they silent?

The opposition camp has been appealing to the Eritrean Intellectuals join them and perform the important functions in society for democratic changes.

Here;  I would like to quote a passage of speech from Jean Paul Sartre’s quotation to the French Intellectuals during the brutal French war in Algeria,

“ Dear countrymen, you who know well everything that was committed in our names – is not correct. It is not right that you don’t say one word on that to someone, even to your own soul. You keep silent of fear not to reply to yourself. I understand that you perhaps in the beginning were not aware on what had happened; later you doubted that such things might not happen, but now you know everything and yet keep silent.”

You don’t need information from me what is happening today in our country. What is happening to our people is clear like the daylight. You know everything. After independence, those at the helm of state power are using their might on mass persecution, extra judicial killings and disappearance daily. Intellectuals are always defined by their inclination to speak truth and humanise those in power. The Eritrean people is in prison. Where is your role as intellectual? Why silence? Why is the new generation intellectual silent or taking the side with the oppressors is not the inclination of the intellectual. In the past, Eritrean intellectuals joined the political struggle and later the armed struggle but today’s generation doubt to join the struggle from dictatorship to democracy for reasons that are not tangible.

Honourable Eritrean Intellectuals!

You can have your reasons no to join the camp for democratization in Eritrea but couldn’t you organize yourself and establish a union of Eritrean intellectuals for democratization in Eritrea? All the opposition political and civil organizations struggling for democracy are calling all intellectuals with various background to participate in building a democratic Eritrea.  It is the strategy of all the forces for democratic change to create and sustain an environment in which intellectual work is appreciated and promoted. For the opposition forces the establishment of a policy institute that will promote research, interaction with different intellectual perspectives and policy positions, and employ professional researchers to do this work,  will constitute an important platform to link with the political and civic organizations.

Dear Compatriots!

The aim of this open letter is an appeal to all Eritrean Intellectuals to redirect their academic and intellectual efforts to remove the authoritarian system and replace it with democratic system of governance respecting the universal human rights.



                                  With best regards,

Fesseha Nair



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Posted by on Aug 8 2007 Filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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