The Fight against the Eritrean Tyrannical Regime Must Continue

For the last 9 years, we rallied peacefully against PFDJ-sponsored ‘so-called’ cultural festival in Australia, demanding the transfer of power to the people; respect for human rights; an end to oppression and extra-judicial killings; an end to confiscation of people’s land; the prevailing of the rule of law; citizens’ rights to education, proper health services, employment and other rights that a decent and good government provides to its people. Our cries for justice have been ignored; our demands for the rule of law have not been met. In fact, the political, economic and social situations have been worsened due to the irresponsible acts and failed policies of the Eritrean government. So, why should we stop raising our voices on behalf of the voiceless and oppressed people inside Eritrea?

This year, our focus is on the Diaspora community in general, and in particular those who live in the free world and who have chosen to be silent in the face of oppression and the ever growing injustice committed against the Eritrean people. We remind you that you are morally obliged and duty bound to speak for the Eritrean people and to stand-up against injustice. We remind you the freedom that you enjoy are the outcomes of sacrifices paid by people who believed in liberty, freedom, justice and democratic principles. So, why don’t you demand the same civil rights for the Eritrean people and be part of the democratic struggle for change?

Although you are aware of the dire situation in Eritrea, we remind you of the following:-

  • Our youth have been denied the right to education and are forced to serve in the military for indefinite period, and in the process, they have wasted their youth, future and valuable time in trenches.
  • Our elderly have been arrested, fined a sum of money well beyond their financial capacity and humiliated being accused of assisting their children to flee to neighbouring countries.
  • Our religion leaders and teachers have been arrested and disappeared without any charges and fair trial.
  • Our politicians have been incarcerated for demanding the implementation of the constitution and the rule of law.
  • Our people’s land have been confiscated
  • Our farmers have been ordered not to sell their produce and to hand part of their produce to the Eritrean government
  • PFDJ refused to accept any form of humanitarian aid while the people are in desperate need of assistance

These are some examples of the sad situation in our home country. If these atrocities and irresponsible acts by the Eritrean government don’t move your conscience, what else?

The peaceful demonstration has achieved its main objective of encouraging a significant portion of Eritreans in Australia to boycott PFDJ festival. Festival turnover is on a steady decline from one year to the next, although we don’t expect any formal admission of that by the Eritrean authorities. The demonstration is having a consciousness-raising effect certainly not to the desire of the Eritrean regime and its supporters. It is undeniable that the aim of the festival has shifted dramatically; from an earlier purely income generating occasion to a survivalist political intransigence. The insistence on the continuation of the festival in the face of popular rejection is almost getting to a point where it can only be interpreted as a meaningless challenge to the will of the majority.

Enough is enough, fight for the people’s rights.

Melbourne Rally Organising Committee

26 December 2010

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